Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 11 of 12

This week was busy with my surgery consult for my eyes and with Sydney's Pre-school Graduation. Thank goodness it was a taper week. I have been working on getting my head right and getting my gear together. My bike got the royal treatment at The Hub and is in perfect shape to ride some 204 miles of Kansas gravel.

Mon- Road 10 miles

Tues- OFF

Wed- OFF

Thur- Road 25 miles

Fri- Road 15 miles

Sat- Hiking at Taum Sauk - sleeping in the trees

Sun- Hiking out of Taum Sauk

Only 50 miles of biking this week and about 8-10 hiking.
Looks more like a recovery week than a taper week.

I was not going to cram in any more miles this weekend. It's just not necessary at this stage of the game. I spent the weekend with Sydney and Jim and do not regret it. DK200 is this coming Sat., June 4th. It is also Jim's birthday. What a way to spend it huh?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Family Races at ICCP

This past Sunday was a very successful race day for the Davis family, also known as Team Trail Monster. Sydney had her first taste of mountain bike racing. Jim and I are so proud to watch Sydney enjoy and participate in something we both love. It was great to be surrounded by so many people who have watched Sydney grow into an amazing 5yr old and hear them cheer her on.

the line-up, she is in the pink

Crushin' it

Sydney had a rough time through the field, which beat her up a bit, but once she hit the single track she was fine. It was very hot so she did melt a little, but recovered quickly just before the finish line.
Yea! I did it!

Special thanks to my mom and sister who took care of Syd after her race so Jim and I were able to do our 6 hr solo races . This race had a single speed class for the women, of course I wouldn't have missed it. I know Karen had to have something to do with that. Nice work Karen.

Karen "the machine"

Over 170 racers showed up to ride the 8 mile laps in the almost 90 degree heat. Very impressive for a new race in a new place that hasn't been raced yet. I kept Connor set up 32x20. I could have easily pushed a bigger gear on this course since there are no climbs to speak of, however, I have learned that pushing a larger gear in heat is just suicidal. My goal was to not let Chris Ploch catch me until Lap 4, and stay upright. No reason to get hurt 2 weeks before DK.

The first lap was the hardest. I had to find a 6 hr pace in heat I am not used to. Several went out too fast and suffered for it. I passed many trying to get themselves together and dig out of the hole they put themselves in to. Some took a DNF and became spectators with beers.

I kept my pit stops to a minute or less. I only have one bottle cage so I had to stop every lap to refill. The course became more familiar with each lap. I do not ride ICCP because I don't like the horse poop. A huge thank you to the volunteers that cleared the course. I did not see any out there. Since my accident at Berryman and a 5 day hospital stay , because of a poo infection, I stay away from it.

Jim looking strong.

About 2 miles before finishing Lap 3 Ploch got me. I know I am getting faster. Last year he would have had me on Lap 2!

The amazing Ploch

I caught Jim as I headed into the woods for Lap 5. He was rocking it and looked great. Yea, we are competitive like that. He rode behind me the entire lap, code for used me, and dropped me as Lap 6 started. During this lap I also caught Karen, she let me pass. I kept my pace and knew I did not see the last of her. I had 2 more laps to go.

Lap 6 was a game changer. The wind, rain, thunder and lightning rolled in. The trail conditions went from awesome and dry to miserable and muddy. About 3 miles from the finish I slid out in the mud and went down still clipped in. I looked over my shoulder to see Karen closing in on me. I would not be able to hold her off in these conditions. When she caught up to me I asked her if she wanted to pass. She said no and she had an idea.

The race was called about 5 hours in so I didn't have to do the 7th lap. Karen and I finished hand in hand. I would not have wanted it any other way. We had both worked very hard and deserved to win.

We even finished 1 lap ahead of the 6hr women on gears. It was a great result for such a hot day.

Jim did beat me by 2 minutes. All I can say is "Great Job Baby and see ya at the DK200 next weekend. I will be seeking my redemption there".

**** Thanks to Suzanne and Adam for the pics and all the volunteers who helped make this race a huge success. ****

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 10 of 12

This was not the week I had planned. Life got in the way and I had a 6 hr race on Sunday that I wanted to do well in. This is how it all worked out

Mon- Road 10 miles , easy spin to recover from Syllamo

Tues- Off- took bike to The Hub

Wed- 24 miles Mountain biking- Last 4 miles with Sydney

Thur- Off

Fri- Off- picked up bike

Sat- Road 20 miles

Sun- 50 miles- Mountain biking-

None of those OFF days were planned. But I think it was good that it worked out the way it did. I needed every bit of legs for the 6hr , especially since that was my last hard effort.

Roughly 105 miles = 10 hours saddle time

Next up: Building a Goblin and the ICCP race report

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Spanked at Syllamo


I hadn't planned on doing this race this year. I wasn't sure how it would fit into my DK200 training schedule. My wonderful husband, Jim, signed me up for Syllamo's Revenge as a surprise. He accidentally signed me up to race with the SS men, not that it mattered. He said, "It will be good for you". I think that was a code for"this is going to be....."

Mr. Holtman. Sorry I couldn't resist temptation

Earlier this week, my bike was invited to a sleepover at Mitch the Masher's house. Connor was due for some necessary spa treatments - and he came back tight and right, ready to tackle the Arkansas trail! It's amazing how a bike rides so much better with a tight headset and a newly manicured fork and brakes. Thanks Mitch!

Yes, I trust this man with my bike

After a 4.5 hour drive, we were greeted by The Three Musketeers - Mr. Pryor, Busken, and Weinkein. Within an hour we were on our bikes climbing the first mile up to the trail. I was happy to see how much easier that climb was this year. I had done it 10 times last year at the 24hrs of Syllamo, so you could say I was quite familiar with it. The four of us pedaled out about 3 miles and turned around. Holy cow! where are the lines through those rocks? Maybe I'm not a very good technical rider after all. There would be several dismounts in this stretch. Little did I know how many dismounts there would really be in those first 15 miles to CP1.

Jim and I headed to Team Seagal HQ at Sarah's Cabins. What a beautiful cabin to spend 2 days with 10 teammates in. Yes, Team Seagal had a superior showing of 7 in the 50 miler and 2 in the 125K. It was shaping up to be an excellent weekend. The weather was on our side too. Also, I was informed that the trail was in better shape than last year. Really?

Someone ate this Fri. eve, was not me

The night before I get my gear and fuel organized. I am so used to doing lap races and making pit stops, I felt anxious and rushed. I made a huge mistake in setting a 7.5 hour goal and a second mistake comparing this race to the BT Epic. Not the actual trail, rather the distance of the race - in order to make my fuel bottles.

This is when a case of the nerves sets in. Not being familiar with the trail and having only a handful of rides on my mountain bike didn't make me feel very confident. This race would either make me or break me. Make me, please.

At 7AM the 125K began. Nico and Orin represented Team Seagal and were the only 2 from MO in the singlespeed class. They would be riding the same course with the addition of riding the red loop twice, which was awesome, and some of the yellow loop.

125K start

The 50 miler started at 8AM. The start is a 11%, 9/10th of a mile climb to sweet single track - sort of. Somewhere about three miles in I fell, HARD. Landed on my left side and found a sharp rock with my knee - Blood. Great. Only 47 miles to go. The mud helped clot it so I kept moving.

These first 15 miles took a huge mental toll on me. I fell several times and each time I reminded myself that the DK200 is just 3 weeks away. I don't want to be on the start line broken. I walked so much my feet hurt. Cycling shoes are made for riding, not for walking over slippery rocks. I had no idea that the 1st CP would take me so long. I looked at my Garmin and felt like a slug. My mind was screwing with me . Thoughts like "WTF are you doing out here", "You are not really a mountain biker", "Hang it up, the road riding has made you a wuss", "You should quit" were running through my mind. I never have those thoughts. EVER. At one point I yelled "STOP" really loud to force the negative thoughts out. It worked. Seeing Jim at CP1 helped until he said "Where have you been?" I know he didn't mean it the way I took it. He took my bike from me and cleaned my chain while I used the facilities. The next five miles went much better. I rode a lot more, which built my confidence. My knee still hurt and my legs felt like lead, but mentally I knew I was going to be okay now. Only 30 miles left.
Karen crushing it!! SS style

I ended up riding with the same 6 guys for awhile. They were pretty cool but I could tell they weren't at all thrilled to be riding with me. At several points, they would not let me pass. Even when I asked. Frustration. There was quite a bit of climbing in this section so they had no choice but to let me "billy goat" past them. I was also thankful for the gravel climbs. I was able to pass 4 fellas, walking their bikes, and did not see them until the finish. ** Ladies , any tips on how to pass the fellas?**


I performed a "superman" move around mile 35 that I heard was "impressive" I got up a little shakey from that.I did not hit my head. However, the visor on my helmet saved my face. Apparently, I am quite entertaining to ride behind. I said "How do I look?" after I got up. He said "More importantly, how do you feel?" I said "I need to keep moving. Ask me again later."

The wet roots and rocks were very difficult to navigate. Hundreds of muddy tires had crossed them by this point. If I lost momentum I had no choice but to stop and hop off. I wondered if running 32x21, instead of the 32x20 I chose, would have made any difference.

Stormy's finish

Coach thinking Spaghetti!!!

I met a guy named Noah - we fed off each other for awhile. He put things in perspective when he said "My kids would be so proud of me right now" We shared CliffsNotes versions of our lives and came to the conclusion that we were both awesome people and there was no way we would let them pull us if we didn't make the cut off. I wasn't looking at my Garmin any more until the finish. It hurt too much to see what kind of snail pace I was keeping. I wanted to enjoy the rest of the ride and try to salvage some self-esteem.

My teammates kept themselves busy while waiting for me

Noah and I made the cut-off, with 45 minutes to spare. My transition took about 1 minute. Noah was going to stay and catch his breath. I had to leave him. There was a great climb to the next 9 miles of single track, with more elevation and switchbacks.I had heard this was like 6 miles of climbing. There was also a stairway you had to climb while carrying your bike. Insulting and slick. After this section was 12 miles of sweet stuff with little elevation. It's too bad to reach that point and most riders legs are fried. I was amazed at how many people I passed on that loop. Finally I was starting to feel some dirt mojo. I would have done that section again. The last 3 miles they say "is all downhill" - they lie. I knew it wasn't. I had been riding solo for about 1.5 hours before I popped out at the gravel road. The same hill we had climbed at the start. Bittersweet moment. The race was almost over. I screamed the entire way down. I bet the three volunteers at the bottom couldn't wait to put a face with that screaming.

I did it!! I crossed the finish line at 7:52 and change. { the clock was set an hour ahead for the 125K}

Finishers Hug.. Who is it?

I forced myself to be positive and accept such a disappointing time. It was hard to look around and see everyone already cleaned up and spaghetti fed . I had just finished and was covered in bruises, mud and blood. Pieces of my soul were left scattered on the trail. Pieces I would never get back.Everyone I talked to had killed their times from last year. They were so proud and satisfied with their efforts. Me? Not so much. I slipped off to get cleaned up and work on my superior state of mind.

No words

This is what I came up with.
My bike was perfect. No mechanicals. I passed many with flats. Three attempting to convert to single speed. Two with broken chains. And others were just broken period.
I have no excuses for my performance. Actually, I have several, but I refuse to make them. I guess I was due a rough day in the saddle.And now that I've had it I have realized I learned some valuable skills at Syllamo. Also, what happens when you're at the back of the pack. You get home to look through 1500 pictures to see that the photog got only one picture of you, on the climb in and I was behind someone.

Mary ALL smiles afterwards

My teammates all finished extremely well and all beat their times from 2010.

Orin - 8:09, SS 6/11
Nico - 8: 52 7/11

50 mile
Gino 5:37 SS
Coach 6:49 SS
Ponchor 6:16
Storm 6:51 SS
Taggort 7:10
T'Tocs 6:51SS

I am proud that I finished but will be seeking Revenge since I am not satisfied
My Perspective
313 people signed up
201 finished
156th place

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week 9 of 12

It's hard to imagine that the DK200 is less than 3 weeks away. This week I took it easy since Syllamos Revenge was on Sat. I am so glad I did. That race was.... well, I am still speechless .

Mon-Road- Big Ring only- 28 miles 1:38

Tue- Road- Big Ring- 17miles- 1:09

Wed- OFF

Thur- OFF

Fri- MTB- Syllamo Trail 8 miles, 4 out and back [32x20]

Sat- MTB race- 50 miles {32x20}

Sun- OFF

Road- 45 miles MTB- 58 miles = 12 hours in the saddle

I have two posts in the works. Building the Goblin and Syllamos Revenge. My next race is the ICCP 6hr, single speed style, this Sunday the 22nd. ICCP is PERFECT for beginners. The Goblin will be there for your viewing /riding pleasure. You will be surrounded by awesome people and get to ride your bike on a beautiful trail. It's a guaranteed good time!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 8 of 12

This is my last rest week. The DK200 is June 4th, 25 days away. Beyond just the riding/training for this event there are still many other things to figure out. I will be taking Felix , my DK weapon of choice, to the Hub this week for a tune-up, so he will be race ready. Mentally I am ready for this. Physically I think I am close. After completing Syllamos Revenge this weekend I will be more confident. And confidence goes a long way in my book.

Mon- Road 10 miles easy and a 4 mile walk

Tue- OFF

Wed- Road 21.5 by myself, 3.5 with Syd

Thur- Road 25 miles

Fri- Road 17.5 miles

Sat- Road 3.5 with Syd

Sun- MTB 13 miles at ICCP

Total= 114 miles and 8 + hours in the saddle

This week I plan on fitting in some road and mtb miles if the weather cooperates. Not too many miles with a race on Sat. It's my first time doing the Revenge and I hear it's quite a treat for a single speeder. Hope I pick the right gear.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Middle Fork Mayhem A Team Seagal Non Race

If you missed the 2nd Annual MFXC 2011 race then you will be very disappointed with my recollection of this race. You had to be there to experience it for yourself. I lack the appropriate verbage to describe exactly what took place. Also, what happens on the MF stays on the MF . I could never come close to writing as well as this either. If you stayed home because the thought of getting wet/muddy was just tooo much for you, I hope you HTFU this year, as being wet/muddy will be the least of your worries.

We met at a special place in the woods to begin our assault on the Middle Fork. We were given the rules, regulations, and other secret words before our send off. The race would be a little shorter than last years and would be going backwards. approximately 34 miles. The creeks and water crossings were high. We were going to get wet. There was a beautiful blue sky and it was sunny. Should i have packed along my rain jacket just in case? Nah

Jim talked me into running the Nico Toscani gear, 34x19. Nico , pictured above, may smile while riding this gear. Me , not so much. It was awesome on the road portions but quite challenging on the trail. I grunted and groaned while I pushed that gear. At times I to felt new chest hairs forming and poking through my jersey. I crashed four times. Only one was really serious, but I kept moving. Isn't it funny how the small scrapes and bruises hurt the most?

And the big stuff doesn't look like much?

I missed a turn and ended up in a huge open area. It was a good climb to this mining area so I will just call it extra training. It was here that I met the New East Coast Syndicate, a member of Team Seagal I had only heard of. I hope I made a good impression even though I was pissed I had gotten lost. Any lead I had worked so hard for was gone now. I saw both of my worthy opponents as I hopped on the trail. Surely those chicas on their gears would catch me at any moment. I am not used to being hunted, the one out front. Not sure if I liked it, but being there did push me a lot harder to stay there.

The cold rain/wind combo hit about 2 hours in. I was already soaked from the water crossings so no big deal. Except now it was very cold since the sun disappeared and I wasn't going to be dry any time soon. I just kept moving and cussing Jim for talking me into the Nico gear. I was trying to decide if I hug Jim first or kick him in the junk.

I played rabbit with Dan from OZ cycles. Not sure how he felt about it, so Dan, if you read this, leave a comment and tell me how you really feel. After 4 hours I saw the KONA tent with several jerks huddling to keep dry/warm. Success tasted like mud, but it was success. I finished in 4hrs and 10 minutes. I nabbed myself a sweet trophy and a $25 gift certificate to Flaco's Taco's.

The other chicas finished shortly after me and we sported our mud facials to Dos Primos. Great times and further proof that, " the best things in life are free"!!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Let It GO

I can't wrap my head around this one. I don't get it. It doesn't make sense. I try to take care of myself. I watch what I eat and drink, and exercise more than most folks my age. And,more importantly, why now? Things are going pretty good for me.

About one year ago I started having trouble seeing out of my right eye. I thought I might have kicked up some dust in it on a recent road ride since I wasn't wearing glasses. I let it go. After a few months I started to notice things getting foggy. It scared me a little. I let it go. Six months later I was having difficulty reading to Sydney. I started borrowing Jim's reading glasses. I also was getting some mild headaches. I avoided the computer and reading books and magazines. I let it go. Soon after that, I avoided driving at night. The glare from the other headlights made it almost impossible to see anything.

Some of you might have noticed that I did not attend a single night ride this year. The light hurt my eyes. My night laps at Burnin' and at RIM were frustrating because I couldn't see as far ahead down the trail as I could in the daylight. I had to renew my driver's license in March and failed the eye sight test. I had to have a restriction put on my license. I let it go.

What I have failed to mention was that I had been to a Dr., an opthamologist, who performed several expensive tests, spent maybe 3 minutes with me, and told me I had perfect eyes. He did not understand what I was complaining about. I let it go.

Here I am a year later, I went to see a new Dr who informs me.... " I don't know why or even how, but , you have cataracts." I said " Excuse me?"

How a cataract affects your vision

normal vision Photo depicting how a cataract affects vision  cloudy vision

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Like looking through a foggy or frosty window. Makes it difficult to read and drive a car, especially at night.
They develop slowly, it took nearly a year to wipe out my eye. They target people in their 60's or 70's. It is very rare that someone in their 40's gets them, especially since they do not run in my family. But there's good news. I can be as good as new, possibly better, by having cataract surgery.I can't let it go any longer. There is a chance of blindness if I leave it untreated.

I explained I had some mountain biking races coming up so surgery would need to be in June after Dirty Kanza. She said to be particularily careful while riding at night. Wonderful. Syllamo's Revenge would be over in the daylight, I hope. But the DK200 was going to be a lot of darkness. Very dark. They don't line their gravel roads with streetlights in Kansas , do they?

So, fellas with those incredible lights that I have borrowed in the past, Stormy, Gino, Mashor, or Busken, if you don't need your lights the weekend of June 3-5th , I would like to borrow them again.

I did not write this post for sympathy or to feel sorry for myself. I used my blog as an outlet for my emotions and I wanted to leave you with this piece of advice. " NEVER let it go"

Week 7 of 12

I feel much better about my training this week. Even though Mother Nature has not been on my side I found a way around it and only spent a short time suffering in the rain. I am not sugar so I won't melt. I also swapped my roadie 23 tires for the 40's ! What a difference that made.

Mon- Trainer 30 miles 2 hrs

Tues- Road 25 miles 1hr 39

Wed-Road 27 miles 1hr 56

Thur- Road 18 miles 1hr 13

Fri- OFF

Sat- Charity 5k walk with Sydney
Road 12 miles

Sun- Mountain biking Middle Fork 37 miles { got lost}

Totals- 137 miles on the bike- 12 hrs

This next week is a rest week. Good thing too, pushing 34x19 yesterday almost turned me into a man. Ha Ha