Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bikes, Beer, and Buckles. Burnin' 2011

I have recovered from the buckle blues, and am ready to present my side of Burnin'.  Mark your calendar for 2012, it only gets better.  Mesa and crew know how to throw down a race and an after- party like no one else.

Farinella  The Ringmaster

Saturday, October 8th, was a perfect day to compete in a solo 12 hour mountain biking event. The weather was beautiful, as a high of 85 would surprise many.  A potpourri of racers show up to Mesas' Burnin' at the Bluff .  By potpourri I mean everyone from " the best of the best" to those who " have a dream", so to speak.   Council Bluff Trail is not for the faint of heart.  Every year, the rocks are spectacular and become more plentiful.

Just a reminder
 The trail is 12 miles around the lake, where there are several places to eat sh*t, or easily just roll off into the lake. The last mile is a masochistic  climb to the finish in the campground.  Yes.   I expect to be humbled by the long climbs, each lap I ride them.  I also expect, each lap will be more torturous then the last.  Yes.

TS Hammock Headquarters

 I picked a 32x20 gear set-up and crossed my fingers.  The night before I was second guessing myself with a 32x21.  Jim said " no " and hid the tools.  Then he crossed his fingers.    I started locking out my fork, on purpose, every ride this year.  This race would be no different, in fact I am thinking of going rigid next year.

Connor and his new wheels
 Courtesy of the husband and Team Seagal sponsor Velocity, I had some sweet new white  Blunt SL's  to enjoy for the day in, tubeless style. This 12 hour race would be my second ride on them.  I'm not worried, Jim pushed them to their limits at Lost Valley and ran them in a 12 hr AR in the weeks prior.

While having coffee, race morning, I visited with several athletes gunning for the highly coveted belt buckle.
Everybody wants you

Dwayne was going after a record 10 laps. There was no doubt in my mind he could do it.  I did not want to throw out any goals for myself. Been there, done that.  Last year did not go as planned.  With very limited racing experience this year, I was just going to stay positive and do my best.  I felt good physically and my head/heart were in it. I also packed my superior attitude and state of mind , in case I would need them.

In my opinion, lap one is the hardest of any race. On this bone dry, loose trail, there would be some slide outs too.  There is very  limited passing coupled with some technical stuff and short grunts for the first 3 miles.  I would be riding lap on a somewhat cautious side , so I could check out the new wheels and tires. Ignitor on the rear and Captain Control on the front. I handled the terrain and rocks easily with these faster rollers - I get tubeless now!  I wish I had changed to this set-up for Syllamos Revenge.

Rollin' out ( photo cred  Remember This )

On lap two - my already loose bottle cage, broke entirely - totally interrupting a pedal stroke and sending me flying.  I came away unscathed, shoved my full bottle in my bra, and moved on.  I was wearing a 50 oz Camelback, filled with water only.  I needed to rethink my fuel choice since my bottle cage had broken.   As luck would have it, the Team Seagal support tent, at the Enough boat ramp, was giving away free Shot Blocks by Clif Bar.  I found several unopened bags scattered along the trail - which I took as a sign to try them.  I ate them all day - for the next 9 hours. They were delicious and worked well.  Definitely saved my ass.  Jim removed my bottle cage, while Mr. Farinella cut off a partial strip of the plastic under sole from the bottom of my left shoe. Great.  My bike and my shoes are falling apart and I have 9 hours left.

All smiles  ( photo Brandon Amos)

I had no concept of time the entire day.  I also had no idea where my competition was.  I felt like I was on a different planet.  I was in the zone.  I was so focused, I had a hard time hearing and comprehending what was going on around me. I had conversations, but don't remember them.  I felt a little wild-eyed and kinda crazy at times.  Very cool.

During lap 3,  Stoney from TRW rolled up on me.  I was trail-side,  a little confused having noticed  my tires were leaking Stans.  Both the front and back were slowly seeping out.  Stoney was no help and said " to just keep riding and think thin", or something like that, smacked me on the butt and he was off.  Thanks, Stoney.  About 5 hours in now, I started to miss my ipod.  I had decided to do my entire race without music.  I didn't want to be a hindrance to the elite racers.  I wanted  the experience of being inside my own head all day - that's a blog in itself.  I felt great as I pitted from lap 3.  I aired up my tires and downed a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

Diggin' deep. ( thanks Brandon )

 Lap four was quite warm and Team Momentum shared their for ice and filled my camelbak.  At mile 5  I was joined by a teammate, T'tocs was doing a fun lap.  It was during the next 2 miles he would confess to me that he was checking me out that morning.  He had not realized it was me.  Great - and now you're riding behind me looking at my butt.  He replied "Ugh, not all the time- I have to pay attention out here." Considering he is 23, and I am 42, that felt awesome.  I am glad he was with me when I need the entire plastic under sole portion of mt right shoe removed.  Both shoes are almost useless now. The next 6 hours in them sucked.

I think I need new shoes 

 Looking back to the last two years at Burnin, I rode my entire 5th lap in the dark. This year I was 4 miles into my 6th lap before I had to turn on my lights. This alone made me feel I like I've done something right in my training.  Taggort, another teammate, graced me with his presence on this lap. I had borrowed lights from Mr. Pryor and apparently didn't have the helmet light on tightly enough.  Taggort stopped to help me put it on correctly and even offered me his lights to use instead. What a guy!

 I was not prepared to ride in the dark.  I left in the warm daylight and forgot to grab arm warmers.  Dumb move for sure. On lap # 6 I got cold, bone chilling cold.  The downhill, after the climb at mile 4,  is super fast.  At times, it was difficult to  maintain the pace needed to stay warm.  Once I felt the cold invade my bones I knew lap 7 would be even more difficult to stay warm.

I returned from my 6th lap at 8:27. I had 33 minutes to talk myself into going out again.  There is no question, that if I had left on a 7th lap, I would have completed it.  But, at what cost?   Was it worth the agony of climbing those hills a 7th time?  Hell yea.   But was it worth the risk of getting hurt?  Definitely not.  Taggort was my voice of reason when I needed it.  He helped me see there was no reason to go out again. The buckle was already mine.  I had already surpassed last years result and Sydney would get her mommy back in one piece. That last thought alone sealed the deal.

I was thrilled to accept the prize and stand next to Gabrielle Renner, who also kicked major ass and completed 6 laps.  She has a lot to be proud of.  Six laps is no joke at Council Bluff.

(great photo Adam Rybar)

Dwayne met his goal of 10 laps. Team Seagals single speed boys snatched a buckle.

Jerks with Buckles

 My husband's Clydesdale  team with Brian and Keith  also scored a buckle.

Gimme buckle please

You can look, but no touching

 It was a great weekend.

The next day we rode up to a secret mountain top.  I need to get clearance from the team before I tell you any more than that.  Happy Trails.


  1. Awesome job! Boobies on the Bluff! That is a race not to miss!~

  2. Nice work out there! Tubeless is great...just do not forget to add more latex every 4 months or so.... It sucks when you let that stuff evaporate. Shoes - I've broken them in races and always bring backups. Why does stuff always break at the races? LOL.