Monday, April 26, 2010

A Letter To Goliath

Dear Goliath,

Hi, how are you? I hope your training is going well. I have been watching you race for a couple of years now. I have seen you podium many times. I have watched promoters hand you $$$, and some great schwag. You dont really know me. This year you will not even recognize me. I have been working hard and cant wait to get this 2010 season started.

You see, I { WE } have:
trained ALL winter
completed looonnnnggg gravel rides
endured boring indoor rides on the trainer
suffered thru the 20 degree weather
worked on downhills
climbed a lot of hills, over and over
doing P90X tapes, back to back
gained speed
shed weight
dropped my Clydsdale status
Eaten healthy
upgraded my bike
started running
hired a trainer
missed Happy HOurs
skipped buffets

I realize you are strong, fast, talented, and have worked hard to get where you are. However, just because you won a lot in 2009 does not mean sh*t. Be prepared for some pain this year. It will be you who will be pushed , by me. You will feel me breathing down your back. Even if you do not see me just know that I am close. I will be watching for you to bobble, choke, have a flat/mechanical, or just run outta gas. When you least expect it...

I will be competition this year. There will be several epic battles between us. Each one better than the last. I am looking forward to seeing you.


Special Note: To ALL the Davids, you know who you are, keep up the hard work. It will pay off.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BONEBENDER An Odyssey in Pain and Pleasure

This race was a major accomplishment of mine last year.. I got a 2nd place trophy for dragging my bike through the mud for over 4 hours.. I had never experienced a ride in mud before this and learned quickly how difficult it was. This was my first race in a Team Seagal jersey and I needed to earn it, right??? I couldn't believe we were allowed to ride the trail... We were destroying a lot of hard work. I build trail and know what it takes to rebuild when people make the wrong decision.

I wanted to do this race so I could actually ride the trail... The weather was going to be perfect. I have been looking forward to seeing all the usual suspects, since CXMAS was the last HUGE gathering of likemindedness. However, watching my nephew complicated things and I wasn't sure if I had the legs to warrant a 4 hour drive .. By Thursday night I had already walked a few miles and rode my bike for 5 miles. Jim offered to watch the kids on Sunday so I could race. Hmmmmm, very tough decision. Watch kids or play like a kid??? Be a human hankerchief or blow snot rockets?? Wow, thanks honey, I guess I could race if you are sure...

Jim put the finishing touches on Connor(My trusty beast of a in Sarah Connor), in true TTM style the night before. We decided on 32x19 since I did not have an18 cog yet. In hindsight, a much better choice would have been 32x20 since I had not fully recovered from the 24 hr effort..

There were about 250 racers and the weather was perfect..
I got registered and did some socializing and then got myself together. Jim was chasing the kids and informed me that I had a flat tire, luckily he fixed it before I got back so I didnt freak out.. We had the prerace meeting and were off to stage our bikes and run. There were so many of us I wish we could have had at least a minute between the 6 hr and the 3 hr racers.. By the time we hit the trail it was a huge clusterf@#$ and that caused a lot of tension for a lot of people... Having a good attitude during a race like this can make or break you... I had 6 hrs of riding to do and my overall placement was going to be decided on this lap... If I lose my cool now I will be setting myself up for failure.. Plus, waste a lot of energy I could use later...It was very unfortunate to have the biggest douchebag ever behind me for the first 30 minutes... He must have had low self esteem and seemed to enjoy berating other riders , so much so that I asked him to stop since he " was ruining my ride"" He finally shut up... Lap 1 was an eternity but worked out in my favor so I could memorize the trail.. I had not set any goal except to ride and socialize...This was going to be FUN!!!

Lap 2 was fantastic... The trail definitely had its fun parts.. It was dry and the technical stuff was fun... Or so I thought. The trail was becoming littered with contents from jerseys. I even saw an asthma inhaler and hoped that the owner was doing another lap to find it.. I had made 3 multi hour bottles for today and that worked well. Jim was pit crew again and took great care of me. You dont get any better than Jim in the pits. I heard he also helped several others...Taking pics, beer and bottle handups, whatever you needed.

Lap 3 was when the pain set in.. The technical stuff was sucking the life outta me...Even with my fab new fork I was feeling it.. When I came in off this lap I learned I was in third... What?? Didn't they know I wasn't racing today? Then something inside me snapped... I went on Lap4 with my mission to catch #2 .. She was on a geared bike and kept dropping me on the pavement... It sucks when you are already turning yourself inside out and someone with less effort flys past you in the big ring on the road. For about 30 seconds I had the pleasure of riding with "The Mashor", Mitch Johnson.. He asked how I felt, and if I was going for another lap (my legs were trashed). I said are you nuts and NO. He said he was fried too but going for one more. Whatever Mitch..I finally caught #2 in the last mile and hoped she was quitting.. It was 530 and Now I was in 2nd.. I was surprised to see her filling a camelback... She took off.. Shit.. Jim said that I should go, it was the difference between 2nd and 3rd... Team red Wheel had yelled out " One More Wendy".. That encouragement had me throw down my bottle and take off... I realized I did not have a chance to hang on to 2nd, but I reasoned that it would be better to lose by a couple of minutes than by an entire lap... I gave it everything I had... I fell at mile 50 in the rocky section and it knocked the wind outta me... I started walking until I was able to get back on..The trail was littered with gu packets, trash, pumps, cartridges , and misc.. I was fortunate to have a "Mountain Feed Bag" that kept all my essentials safe and accessible... You should check in to one ... I do not have to put anything in my jersey pockets and dont have to worry about bouncing anything out... It also makes changing jerseys easier ... And thanks to our Sponsor Simple Straps . Shout out to Kyle !@!!Thanks!!!! Tube and Pump locked on the bike and ready for action, never slipped any during the 24 hours of Syllamo or Bone Bender! Gitchasum!

I really wanted to be enjoying an Ice Cold Delicious Pabst like everyone else by now... I finished about 3 minutes behind 2nd place. I had stepped outside my happy place thanks to Mitch, Jim, and TRW.. I was able to secure 3rd place and a total of 58 miles for the day.. I have no regrets...

As I laid in bed everything throbbed.. I started to feel euphoric as the pain danced throughout my body.. I loved it.. sometimes it's the only way to know you are truly alive unless you HURT.. Embracing the pain and pushing through it makes you a badass... Dontcha think??

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Before leaving for Ark, my 21 yr old son Trevor slipped a sealed envelope marked " to be opened in a moment of weakness... " in my stuff.. Before heading out on Lap 8 I decided to read it... Not because I felt weak, I just wanted to know what he wrote...Here goes...

So I guess you think youre
some kind of awesome now
Huh? think youre pretty cool?
Some sort of big deal?
Well check it out... You are
Your competitors.. Theyre scared of you
Youre vicious.. an animal
While they were out partying, sleeping, being idiots, etc..
You were training, drinking protein shakes, and Hammer gels
You deserve this more than them...

Thank you Trev.. I reserve the right to keep this letter forever and read it whenever necessary...

Having a great pit crew kept me on top of my lighting situation... Jim also made sure my bottles were topped off and I had gels and lifesavers... The life savers were exactly that... Hammer puts out a great product, Sustained Energy, however, Mr Holtman and I both agreed that it was not our choice to do 24 hrs with... Will have to investigate that... It tastes like nothing and after a hard effort I needed something that had a taste but did not need to be chewed or swallowed... Anyone with an opinion please share...

Coming in from Lap 8 I felt amazingly good.. I actually bunnyhopped my way through camp that left Jim a little shocked.. I normally do not do such things... Who was this girl??? I refueled, lubed the chain, lubed myself and set out for Lap 9, hoping it was my last night lap... I know my helmet light must weigh next to nothing, but by now it felt huge... As I was walking up the hill I passed another racer in his granny gear... I asked him why he was riding this hill instead of walking... He really did not have an answer... I informed him he might actually go faster if he walked it.. He looked puzzled but kept riding anyway... After I walked the last steep part I looked behind to see him off the bike... Later he told me that was good advice...

Lap 9 is a little of a blur to me.. About 5 miles in my borrowed beacon shut off... I was devastated... My Blackburn light is ok, I am not knocking it... However, there is a few very technical spots in the last 2 miles that I was dreading riding without the Niterider light...
I did ride a bit slower now... As I crossed the last road to the last 2 miles out I was scared and had decide to walk the tech spots .. I stopped to drink and said a prayer and asked God to give the battery about 5 minutes of juice.. Thats all I needed.. I pushed the button and the light came ON.. No shit.. It really did.. I was able to ride all the tech spots and into the campground when the light finally went dead... Now I had rode a dirty century!!! Yahooo.. I needed to take a break NOW... When I got off my bike my body started to spasm.. Never experienced this before.. I shook and twitched like a junkie.. WTF was going on.. Mentally my mind was saying" you are a member of Team Seagal, You do not quit, You need to keep going, you can do this". My body was giving me the finger.. Jim saw my struggle and eventually saved me from myself.. Deep down I knew that I would hurt myself if I did not rest... Besides, everyone had taken long breaks and had even slept... I had not done either yet.. I curled up on the ground, was covered and left to die...

Now do you really think I quit???? Hell no ... All of a sudden I sat straight up and looked around.. Once I realized where I was I decided to do MY victory lap.. #10 was going to be done... Jim got special permission from Steve to ride with me.. It was great to school him on a trail since its usually the other way around.. Jim can tell you himself, but he was shocked by how my riding skills had developed, pretty much overnight... I did not hurt as much as I thought I would and that I would have plenty of time to decide do another lap when we got back to camp...

During the ride through the campground I told myself that if Karen was there waiting for me I WAS GOING.. Noone was going to stop me... She wasnt there.. The promoter said he " doubted if I could catch her" I guess he didnt realize that I wasnt here to beat Karen.. I was only trying to beat me.. See what I was made of.. I hopped off my bike and decided that I was done.. A very bittersweet decision... After completing 10 laps, 115 miles , I enjoyed a delicious Pabst and stumbled to the shower...Amazing are the effects of one beer after such an epic effort..

After Karen completed Lap 11 she got off her bike and said " you are such a bitch!!!" I said "me" She said " yes you, you really pushed me ".. That was a great compliment coming from that one.. She is a Machine.. She had guessed that if she had waited I would have went out again... She was correct.. The season has only begun.. And what a beginning..

Winning is about struggle, effort, and attitude--- and never ,ever,ever giving up...
I may not have gotten a trophy but consider myself the winner.. I learned so much and cant wait to do this again...

There are many people to thank, you know who you are.. Pat yourself on the back and know that you have helped me tremendously and I appreciate it... I will thank you in person when I see you..

I am very fortunate to have a fantastic husband.. A lot of couples could not have endured the 6.5 hour drive there and the 8 hr drive home, we were talking and forgot to switch highways... I am very lucky to have you in my corner baby and with your encouragement and support I will be very successful this year.. Thank you baby...

I hope to have some pics up soon...
One final note: I know there is no crying in a Seagal jersey, they were tears of joy fellas.. Get over it!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

24 Hours Of Syllamo

Since my pit crew, Jim , was out on the course taking pictures about 1 mile away I freaked.. I am not as familiar with my bike as I would like to be.. I know how to fix a flat and that is about it.. Luckily, Don and Noelle fromTRW saw me struggling and came to my aid.. I thought we could just take the back wheel off Jims bike, but the chain would need to be shortened. So they put Jims wheel back on and I would have to ride his bike.. I love this bike , but it was set at 34x20.. I refueled and hopped on it... I walked the hill and went as fast as I could thru the rest of the course..Some would have been crushed by this.. I have been trained in the art of superior attitude so I just rolled with it.. My bike was fixed for lap 3 , so I changed my socks and shoes and headed out again..Last month Jim bought me a pair of Specialized mtb shoes for my b-day.. They are super and make me faster but they are not quite broken in yet..

. . Heading out on Lap 4 I was feeling very comfortable with my riding and had the course memorized.. This helped a lot since I was on a singlespeed and needed to keep momentum up and over the short grunts.. I learned to use the trail and conserve energy by using a few quick pedal strokes up the grunts and then just recover and flow downhill.. I had borrowed a fantastic light from Busken.. OMG what a great light ..NITERIDER Lights. I knew I would not need it for this lap but took it just in case .. I returned from lap 4 at 730 and refueled and changed jerseys since I wanted to wear my white" old school" jersey at night...

Lap 5 came and went.. I now know what it is like to have a bright as f*** light... I loved the way the light fanned out over the trail.. I usually ride with just a helmet light , but this bar light has me rethinking it..It was so dark by 830 but with that beacon I was still able to ride fast downhill... If I learned anything on this trail it was how to downhill.. I was needing to work on this since I use my brakes way too much.. I had made a deal with myself that if I was going to walk the hill I needed to make up time and lay off the brakes.. .. I continued to pedal and pedal.. I almost hit a raccoon and chased a skunk off the trail.. I could hear other animals but tried to keep my focus on riding.. I did not get to ride with anyone. We were all doing our own thing.. I had intended on doing at least one lap with "Babyfood Bob" , but that never worked out...

Laps 6 and 7 were tough.. I made a couple of calls at the top of the climb to check on things back home and hear a friendly voice... Jim is an excellent pit crew and motivator, however sometimes I need to hear it from someone else... I was beginning to feel the pain.. Until now my longest ride was 65 miles.. I had completed 80 miles and it was starting to get cold... Somehow I misplaced one of my arm warmers so I rode this lap with one..

After lap 7 I rested for an undetermined amount of time.. I think I had been riding about 15 hours by this time... I got very cold since I stopped riding so Jim built me a fire and covered me with blankets and a sleeping bag.. He set his watch , he hit snooze once and then I HAD to get up.. I knew the longer I stayed the harder it would be to get moving again... I put on my leg warmers and Underamour shirt ... Jim had checked my bike, Connor, and lubed the chain about every other lap so I had no worries.. I had tried to eat a bagel, but choked on it.. Liquid fuel is the way to go for me.. Hammer Sustained Energy , electrolytes, and Expresso Gels were amazing, but sticky and just plain gross after 18 hrs.. I knew I had to keep forcing at least one bottle and one gel each lap in order to keep going... I did experience cotton mouth so my Extra gum came in handy..

Lap 8 ...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stay Tuned Jerks!

The 24 Hours of Syllamo was...amazingincrediblephenomenalaweinspiringgroundbreakingearthshatteringawesome, and the most fun I have ever had on a bike... A few days have passed and IT is all still sinking in.. I cant wait to tell you everything... TTM decided to leave on Thurs. afternoon , so after dropping our trail monster off with family we headed to the HUB to pickup a couple necessities and then to our teammate Storms house to borrow some lights... Finally we head to Ark.. We had our jeep Wrangler packed to capacity and then some.. After a 6.5 hr drive we entered the park in the dark, put up our Hennesy Hammocks and tried to sleep... I was so excited to be here since I heard from everyone how epic the trails were..

Friday morning we moved our camp to the front of the park were the race start and finish was.. We had the best spot since we were there first... Jim and I decided to ride the course, but since we forgot the map that was going to be a challenge.. In true TTM style we guessed where the course would be and rode about 5 miles and headed back for lunch... A member of TRW, Don Daly, was circling our camp like a vulture when we returned... After he set up he decided to join us to look for the course again.. He did not have a map either... We knew that the course started with "the hill from hell" so we climbed ... It was not as difficult as i thought it would be, however, my heartrate reached 177 at the top... Not good... We took the trail to the right and that was our first mistake.... Syllamo trail has something for everyone, and a few things I was not prepared for... This ride was about 15 miles and took us 2.5 hrs since we cleared off trees and drained mud puddles.. The ride was amazing and exhausting and I started to question how I was going to ride some of the gnarly scary stuff for 24 hrs... in the dark too... We met the race promoter, Steve Kirk, after our ride and he informed us we were not on the course... Yahoooo... He told me the course was way easier than the stuff we rode... I felt better... I also learned that its stupid to ride 20 miles the day before a 24hr race...

Mr and Mrs Holtman had arrived and we sat around a small camp fire and chatted until it was time to retire... I had a hard time falling asleep since there was a raccoon, the size of a small child, harassing Jim.. He was yelling at it and throwing rocks and sticks at it... The raccoon was not skeered at all.. Finally all was quiet, or so we thought...

Morning arrived and Jim made coffee with the Jet Boil, that exploded, AGAIN... it was unfortunate my shoes were under the table and were assaulted with coffee and grounds... I was assured this would make me faster... Breakfast was oatmeal, well, no it wasnt... The Raccoon had eaten all 4 bags I packed.. Payback huh?? Now I am stressing about what I am going to eat... Todd and Karen returned from breakfast with a brown bag for me that contained toast and oatmeal!!! Things are starting to look up... Thanks guys..

Waiting until noon to race was hard... I put on my armour about 11 and finished organizing ALL my junk... I knew I had the best pit crew around so I did not have to do much.... Prerace meeting was at 1145 ... The rules and checkpoints were discussed.... My stomach was in knots since it was now Game Time... Did I train enuff??? I was going to find out.... At one point I wasnt sure if I was going to cry,vomit or shit myself.... Luckily none of the above happened....There was a 1/2 mile ride thru the campground to the 10.5 mile course and then 1/2 mile back to the start.... I did not have a goal , at first, only a strategy in mind... I would walk the hill every lap and ride like hell the rest of the course.. As I walked I passed 2 fellas already tossing their lunch and Don from TRW and Todd both had flats... It was going to be a long day....

The next 10.5 miles was glorious... The trail was very easy to follow and very easy to ride on my singlespeed.... Lap 1 was pretty uneventful, until I reached the campground... I picked up my bike by the seat to move it and the BACK tire and chain fell OFF... Yes it did... It was going to be a loooooonnnnnggggg day...

And there you have it Part One!!!!