Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Creating a MONSTER

This weekend I had the opportunity to ride Binder Lake for the second time. Last year Jim and I did the team thing at the Tall Oak 6HR Challenge. I remembered the trail being tight and twisty with a few technical spots. Keeping momentum would be important. It was pretty warm, but not as hot as last weekend. Sydney decided to come along when I informed her that there would be a rep from Specialized, Justin Neeley, and a shiny belt buckle, Don Daly's, she might like to see.She also insisted on bringing her bike so she could get her ride time in for the day. Don was the first person I saw. The buckle is amazing. I said " your right Don, if I owned any makeup I could use this as a mirror"Don replied with " wow, that beauty is natural", or something like that.

There were at least 100 people riding and more girls on SS than I have ever seen. We were all going to embrace the pain at high noon.After a short run we were off and spinning and grunting our way through the trail. I do not have a lot of experience on the tight and twisty stuff. I started to feel like a gorilla on a tricycle. About 2 miles in I bobble and lose a couple spots. All of a sudden I feel my breathing change. Like I am trying to breathe through a coffee straw. At a rocky section I hop off my bike to catch my breath. WTF??? That has never happened before. Lap #2 was much better as I got more comfortable and recognized pieces of the trail. Lap#3 was probably the best. I rolled up on a guy on a pink bike and he stopped riding and moved off the trail. I heard him say " Go Team Seagal" as I passed. While it was not one of my best performances, it was a great finish. I was happy to be done and be Pabsted.

I was hugged immediately by Sydney and she told me I did a good job. Then she asked if we could go swimming. Great minds think alike. A crazy after party followed the awards ceremony. If you waited around long enough you were lucky to see the infamous Bob Jenkins. He was presented with the coveted Pabst wrist sweat band for showing superior attitude and good taste in beer at the Leadville 100. I guess you could go buy a sweatband, but doesnt it feel better to have earned one?

I wish I could have taped the conversation Syd had with Justin when she cornered him. She said " I need a new bike" and "some clip on shoes and clip on pedals" " some gloves without fingers and a new helmet that doesnt hurt my head" " a jersey like my moms and a bottle cage" She showed him the $3 she made picking up trash and said " its for my new bike" and handed it to Justin. He directed her over to Uncle Storm, who was not in a position to say no, to ask him for a new bike. All he could do was nod his head up and down. I think that was a yes.

Tonight Syd and I biked 4 miles around the neighborhood. She is going to sleep good tonight. So, are we creating a monster? or have we already?

****Thanks climberstephen for the photo ****

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Biking to Preschool

I remember the good old days when every kid rode their bike to school. If you got there late you would have to stand your bike up next to a tree because the bike racks were full. Most of the bike racks , these days , have been removed from schools. Today my 4.5 yr old rode to preschool. The ride took us 30 minutes, its almost 3 miles. I rode behind her while Jim followed closely in the Jeep. We had sidewalk the entire way. She chatted the whole way about how happy she was to be riding her bike to school. She arrived with a red, flushed face, so we informed her teacher why. Her teacher said she was impressed and would let Syd share how she got to school with the other kids. I am so proud of her and look forward to riding with her again on Friday. I just hope she not too mad when I go to pick her up with the truck!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Exercise in Ecstatic Exhaustion

I looked up the word 'rapture' and found it to mean" the state of mind resulting from feelings of high emotions, joyous ecstasy ". Reading that had me sign up for the 12 hr solo at RIM. This would be my second 12 hr, on a course I had only heard about. Knowing this was a Team Seagal favorite race only sealed the deal. I was ready to experience rapture, but the in misery part left me confused. I did not realize how true these words would be.

Jim and I headed to Crowder State park Fri afternoon. We watched a huge storm develop from the Hwy., just before we reached Trenton. It was unfortunate that the storm was headed in the same direction. After driving over 4 hours, we set up our tent and canopy in the rain while observing the lightning. I was not prepared for this. It turned cold quick and I wished I had packed some jeans and a hoodie. No kidding. What effect would this rain have on the trail? We were assured it would drain well. I hope so.
While enjoying frothy beverages with Mitch the Mashor we listened to Greg Ott snore and talked about everything bike. Around 1030 I was ready to turn in. A short time later our teammates, Storm and Coach, rolled up. Coaches fiancee, Ashley was in tow to cheer us on and stay level headed so we could document it later. Around 11 pm, Jason Pryor and Gunshow Busken , joined our tent city. Apparently the Holtmans got a late start and a hotel room. SMART.

Waking up to a cool morning led us to assume it would be a nice day to ride for 6 or 12 hours. Never assume. By the noon time start I swear it was 110 degrees under my helmet. The humidity was off the charts. What was my goal again?

After a short run to the bikes, RIM was underway. Jim was doing the 6 hr, so I new it would be at least 6 hours before I saw him again. After completing Lap #1, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and realized that I may not possess the effort that was going to be required here. I flipped the switch to survival mode early and just tried to keep a sustainable pace for the next 10 plus hours. I also threw out the 9 lap goal.

I wanted to throw in the towel after 1 lap. I remembered that we drove 4 hours and I did pay $55 to do this, so I wiped my forehead with the towel and pressed on. The desire was still there and sometimes thats all you need to get you through.

Connor, my bike, was in great shape, except when the brakes started making a loud shrieking noise. This scared the hell outta me, especially on that water bar descent. Storm assured me " as long as your not losing power you are good".Damn! I could not pull out after 2 laps and cry bike mechanical. Keep pedaling. It did help that the faster solo riders were passing me and offering encouragement. Stoney, from TRW, tried to sneak up on me and smack me on the ass like usual, but I heard him squeaking before I saw him. I was prepared this time.
I made sure to sip on my Sustained Energy, which is really gross when its warm. I filled my 50 oz. camelback with ice every stop. It kept my back cooler and was quite refreshing to sip on while the ice melted. That in itself kept me going. The aid station at the dam was manned by the best volunteers I have encountered. The music was loud and the lights were bright at night. I do not try new things during a race and would not encourage anyone else to. However, the orange Gatorade saved my life. I never drink this stuff. I am rethinking that. I could fit the small bottle in my bra and it helped to keep me cooler. Plus , I really did not have anywhere else to put it and I could grab it easily.

Lap#4 is a blur. Heading out for this lap I finally noticed the huge timing screen set up . I was in 4th place. " Whatever, just ride" is what my mind told me. I remind myself I do not do this for hardware. { Although trophies are nice, I only need the pain in my legs as my satisfied reward. I also thought of Bob Jenkins, who was hopefully still in the game at the Leadville 100. I knew he was struggling also. As if on cue, Christine Ford rolls up behind me and says " I hear your not feeling well" Understatement!! She then says " Not giving up is the sign of a champion" Under my breathe I say" or a dumbass". I am thankful she said that. I replayed it over and over the next few laps.

Lap#5 I was greeted by Jim holding out a can of chicken noodle soup. He wont admit it , but I believe he stopped his race to help me. I am lucky he supports me even thought he may not get why I do it. On this lap I learned how to throw up and keep pedaling. Its easier than I thought . Stopped again to get more Gatorade. I hope this stays down. It is on Lap #6 that I change socks, shoes , and my jersey. I did not have the luxury of a shower and a fresh kit after each lap like some people I know!!! The NightRider lights I borrowed from Gino were attached by Storm and I was off. Why was I still doing this? Was this fun? It was not fun. It hurt a lot. Finishing Lap 6 was going to take everything I had and I wasnt even going to enjoy it. The air was cooler now, chilly,cold sweat is not easy to get used to after you have baked all day. The trail was pitch black by now. After completing 8 plus hours of riding I felt I deserved a full night lap. I wanted to see if I rode the trail any differently. I was right, I did. This lap was both the most fun and the most painful. I had to dig deep since the start of this race. What I was getting in return was totally worth it. Several of you know what I am talking about. I got " the rapture". Did you? I also got the misery part.

I rolled in at 11pm more than ready for a Pabst. I was satisfied and in need of a shower. My legs had been covered in mud since lap 1. I let the mud act as a sunscreen and insect repellant . You know , like the pigs do. It worked, dont knock it till you try it.The after party went on until about 3am. I dont remember anything.

Ps. I did get a Garmin Forerunner 101 as my prize. The women were picked first for the podium. That was really nice!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


This past Friday I was invited to join Mary and Laura, from Team Momentum, and a fella name Ken for a Lost Valley and Matson ride. Normally I would not have been able to go, but, Jim decided to work from home. You probably assume that as a stay at home mom I have all the free time in the world to ride. You would be wrong. I was looking forward to riding Matson. The last time I was there was about 2 years ago and I was terrified of roots, rocks, and couldnt climb to save my life. There are no pics so use you imagination. What I did find humorous was that the three barbies were on 29ers and Ken was on a 26er. I made sure to tell him that people who ride 26ers have incredible technical skills, and big things come in small packages. I think we bonded then.

After applying sunscreen and a mega amount of bug spray we were on the trail by 1030. I knew I was going to have a tough time keeping up with these 3 on geared bikes. I was geared at 32x19, which is fine for LV. There were the usual muddy spots, other than that the trail was perfect. Once we were on the Katy I was spinning my legs off. Not complaining. Mary and I chatted while Laura and Ken pedaled in the distance. They were probably discussing the next adventure race, The Berryman 36 hr. Yeah, they are badass.

I will not bore you with how effin hard it was to climb that hill to Matson. I found out quickly that 32x19 was not gonna cut it. I rode 3/4 of it and was gasping for air at the top. My legs were definitely going to feel this ride. Matson was fun and I rode everything , except a couple of the rock stairs. As I rode I remembered how afraid I was last time I was there. That is one reason why I enjoy mtbiking. You can always see improvement if you remember where you came from. The new stuff is spectacular and I hear there is more to come. While Laura fixed a flat I called home to check in. I was pleasantly surprise that Jim had done the grocery shopping. Yeah! He told me to keep riding and have fun. Support is awesome. I also learned that 32x19 , for me, is not a good choice at Matson. I did get a high five after making the climb out. That was tough. I look forward to riding Matson again, several laps will be necessary.

On the Katy again I spin, spin, spin. We take the Hamburg back to the mound. We completed just under 30 miles. Not bad. When I got home I noticed the dishes were done too. I was handed a recovery drink, R4 by Endurox, and pushed toward the shower. When I returned I was greeted with a super chicken sandwich and small salad. Wow. I am so lucky. Hmmmmm. What does this man want???? Little did I know that he was planning his own ride of epicnicity to take place on Sat. Thats cool. The support thing goes both ways at our house.

This week I will spend getting ready for RIM. Packing and organizing food , clothing and making sure Connor has everything he needs in order to complete 12 hours of misery. Are you gonna be there??? The only acceptable excuse for missing this one is if you getting married or in the wedding party. Congrats to Dave Breslin and his bride to be.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rapture Here I come

Word officially came down today. " Your still solid" were the exact words Jim said to me as we discussed Rapture In Misery. I responded with " Do you really believe that" followed by " I feel FAT, Not PHAT". Connor is in great shape from his makeover and assured me he is up for the challenge. I have been itching to do another long race for a while, especially since the Berryman Duo did not go as planned. I might be an" endurance junkie" . I will let you know after the next 24 hour.

After a little arm twisting I committed to the 12 hour. I think its a good idea to see where I am at physically now . I have had more mental training these past 2 months which put my physical training on hold. Maybe that was a good thing. Maybe I did need a break. In April I was ready to attack a 24 hour. I am proud of that effort and thought if I achieved nothing else this year I would be happy. What Bullshit... The lies we tell ourselves.

This race will provide the ground work for tweaking my training the next 7 weeks. I dont know what to expect and am not familiar with the trail. Whats a good goal? I figure 10 laps would be good and anything else better. Too high? Too low? Anyway, the plan is to ride when I can and walk when I have to. "I have everything under control." Really

In other news, I have it on good authority that I will soon be the proud owner of my very own Major. Yes, ME... I guess I will just have to give Psychocross another try.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

YO Camera Huggers

THANK YOU to all the picture takers at the Dirt Crits. THANK YOU for providing the proof of what we do. A picture says a thousand words, sometimes more. Without you we would not be able to see ourselves making" those faces" or catching the moment we swear did not happen. Thanks especially to Thrasher for immortalizing my memories. You managed to take 2 of my fave photos last year. One I dont recognize myself in. THANKS!!!!

Saving the best for last

So its true. If you build it they will come. They sure did come out in force this past Thurs. We had arrived by 530 and still had to park near the overflow parking. We hadnt even unloaded our bikes and Jim was already in trouble, who knew you couldnt have alcohol in that part of the park? I was very excited about this last race since Jim would be racing in the cheerleading kit. Now everyone knows why I love him and intend on keeping him. You have to admit he did look oddly sexy in it.
When the race started I thought there were like 100 people in the B class. I was wrong, there were only about 90. The first turn grabbed several victims, since about 2 bikes could fit through. The Major needs some love and some new brake pads. Not having brakes on that turn alone caused me to take a guy down . I did apologize and he laughed and said something about "women bikers".

This was the last crit so I gave it everything I had and then some. I was not in line for any hardware, just trying to build some confidence. These races are way outta my comfort zone. I am not fast so my main objectives are to stay upright and not get lapped. I am not used to such a large crowd watching either. Kinda makes me nervous. Anyway, I rode the Major like a stolen mountain bike. I picked some bad lines , at first. I was feeling quite confident but definitely riding with some' reckless abandon '. There were 2 girls I knew directly behind me. Pedal, pedal faster, played over in my head. I could hear the spectators cheering for both of them , which fueled my fire to keep them behind me. On my last lap I went down, pretty effin hard, slid down that short rocky spot just after the bridge. Dont know what caused it, but was amused that I fell on my right side. Great, thats a first. Lucky for me I have another Power Ranger sleeve if I intend on making this a habit. I got up and then noticed 1 of the chicas was gonna pass me. She did and while blood, from my knee, filled my right shoe I chased her. Catch her, pedal faster, your bleeding, now my mantra.
The leader just informed me he was behind me. He said " can I pass when your ready". " Sure, go now on the left" was my response. Not long after came three chasers. The leader of the three was itching to get around me, but I would have had to stop and get off my bike to let him pass. I was not willing to do this, I was racing too. I guess he got impatient. Basically, I took a tree for this guy and those that followed. I brushed it off and pedaled on to catch the chica. Who I found , off her bike about 5 seconds ahead. I asked her if she was ok and pedaled on. I was absolutely pissed when I finished and could not reel it in like I can most times. After speaking with the other girl I found out that they did the same thing to her. Which made me even madder. There are not many women who mountain bike. And it pisses me off to see that those of us that do get treated like that. Excuse me, but I am passionate about his. I will get out of anyones way, but when its safe. A little common courtesy goes a long way. I guess he is lucky that I did not find him since my blood was boiling. These races were for fun and I let some A- hole take my fun factor right into the toilet. I feel badly for being so angry, but in the future, if you are not a member of TEAM SEAGAL I will not take a tree for you. PERIOD.
That being said, I am over it. I look forward to the partay at Lone Wolf today. I made several good contacts at these races and look forward to riding and learning from them. Next year will be amazing , dontcha think?