Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Run Whatcha Brung. Burnin' At The Bluff 2012

The week before the race was not an easy one.  Frustration ate at me, hell, shit was coming at me in all directions, I deflected what I could.  I would be losing a job, again.  One of my family members is not behaving, again. Just to name a couple. You know, reality.  I was able to get in a few night-time runs, I love to run when its dark, fewer cars and quieter. There would be  No time for biking. Not the ideal set up you want to have before a race.  Especially a  12 hr race.

Friday morning I take my little one to the bus stop in tears.  "Mommy, don't leave me.  I want you to take me to Family Fun Night, not Nana."  I tell her that Nana has a special weekend planned and I will see her as soon as I can on Sun. morning.  I smile and wave as the bus passes.  I barely make it indoors before I cry. "That's it, I am not going".  Jim tells me to take my JTS for a spin and think about it.  Ten miles later I return and feel rejuvenated.  Funny how a bike does that. Too bad the feeling lasted until we got on the highway.  Two hours until our destination.
Kona's and Kuat go together like PB and J

As we head to Council Bluff I continue to beat myself up about being a bad Mom.  I was also going to miss a soccer game.  Bad Mommy!  I should be the one taking her to pick out a pumpkin too.  The waterworks go off several times over the 100 mile drive.  My husband is a super guy when it comes to handling tears and making me feel better. I don't cry very often so it kinda scares him when I do. He grabs my hand and just holds it, reassuring me and reminding me that I deserved to have fun and ride my bike.  True. Damn, I think God gave me a little more "guilt" than others.

TTM storm shelter with two Eno's

It had rained the night before, Thursday, so the trail should be perfect. The weather for Sat would start out cool but possibly warm to 80 degrees. WTH?  Not typical October in the mid-west weather. There was a chance for rain late Sat evening, which would hit around award time.  Once again, its mountain bikers against Mother Nature.  Please don't screw me on the weather. That course is tough enough without adding water. Besides, you are already bringing me an unwanted 'gift' this weekend.  Thanks a lot bitch.

Am I dreaming?
Really liked this timing chip idea

We arrived at the campground around 2pm.  Typically, we would be rolling in around 8pm. I like to arrive in daylight. Much easier to set up camp. More time to visit.  You get it.  Seeing my teammates and friends brought a smile to my face.  I haven't been to any races this year, it was nice to catch up with everyone.  Mia... especially you.  My teammate from NY brought me some supa special home-made treats and a Harden The F*ck Up bracelet.  How sweet. Honestly, C-Dubbs makes epic brownies.  I hear he uses Duncan Hines.  Most of the team was hanging in trees, ENO -style.  We were tucked in by ten.  No, Team Seagal has not gotten old, we have gotten wise.  Some of the fellas had their eyes on the buckle.  Pain and pleasure first.  Party afterwards.  Priorities, ya know.

Jim showing off his muscles

Yes, Courtney.  It's real.  And it's mine, all mine.

"I have no idea Pat"

The morning of the race NOTHING went right.  I mean NOTHING.  The meeting was late, I felt fat in my kit, I couldn't eat and felt like puking, I couldn't swallow my coffee, I didn't know what to pack to take down to the finish, that fuggin gift showed up, etc...  You get the idea. I started to think of my kiddo and what she would be doing today, without me.  My stomach tightened, guilt.  Home was two hours away. I was dressed in spandex trying to get my head together.  I wished for a pair of those red sequined shoes. I wanted to click my heels together and be home.  This is were Sasha takes over.
Ready for deployment, my magnificent machine

 Alright Wendy, STOP your whining, you are here now. H.T.F.U.  Make the best of it.  Ride the hell outta that Kona.  Make it yours.  Earn it today.  Get focused. Have fun.  Stop bitching and get ready to pedal.  Sydney is fine.  Your goal is to stay with Emily.   That is going to be difficult since she is rocking  gears. Now all you can do is pray for legs and hope you picked the right gear, you are stuck with it.

That's a lot of money laying on the ground

Gotta get out in front
 At 28yrs old, Emily is an accomplished road /trail runner, cyclist, tri-athlete, IronWoman, adventure racer, and the list goes on.....  My mission was to stay with her as long as possible, try to keep her in sight. I can do that, can't I?  The first lap around we bunny hopped each other a lot.  It was going to be a long day so I didn't worry if she got too far ahead.  A lot can happen in 12hrs.  My plan was to keep turning the cranks as efficiently as I could.
Gino, Cock Punchor, Me, and Stove

 To my surprise, there was only a minute separating us at the end of lap one. Yay me. That last mile climb had me worried i might lose time there.  The second lap I just kept Emily in sight.  There was no reason to put the hammer down yet, it was still early.  At the ned of the second lap there was still only a minute separating us. Yay me, again.  Maybe this was going to be a good day after all.  There is nothing more awesome than two chicks battling mountain bikes. Is there?

 My magnificent Kona and I are getting along splendidly. My chain is a little tight but, doesn't that make me more efficient?  Except for the intermittent cold I kept experiencing, the weather is good. Easy fix. They covered up my new guns but, I was very glad to have kept my arm warmers on.  Many people gave me props when I came in and I thank you for it.  A few words of encouragement go a long way.  After a short pit stop, I head back out with renewed optimism.  I am breathing good, pedaling well, feeling strong, legs feel good, all awesome stuff to come together during a race.  Without warning, all of a sudden things go sour.  My mind decides NO.  Focus is gone.  My mind wanders and I start to pick bad lines. I run into a tree, directly into it. You think that would have been enough to wake me up.  It wasn't.  I start walking, eating and drinking,  hoping that would help.  It doesn't.  I finish up that lap and find out Emily is about 15 mins ahead. There is no drive to catch her.  Sad but true, there is no drive.  I tell my husband I am not having fun.  I always have fun.  He told me to ride to the BEER.  So that is what I did.  Those Seagal fellas had an aid tent set up about five miles in at the Enough boat launch.  Seems fitting huh?  I have had enough and in need of a Pabst.  This is my fourth and final lap with the last 8 miles being the funnest.  I hopped off my bike and accepted a beer from Dave.  Sitting at the table I see Peat Henry, also having a Pabst.  WTF?  He was going for 10 laps before his knee blew up.  He wasn't crying in his beer and neither as I.  After 30 minutes I got back on the trail.  Pabst infused optimism.

Gino got a buckle

Finishing this lap I pull the plug.  Yay, I am in one piece and minimal owwwies.  I made sure to find one of Emily's Pfoodman teammates and let them know I was stopping.  At first I felt horrible about quitting. I cleaned myself up and got out of the kit so I could cry.  After a couple minutes I realized that I could not be upset with my result because I had not done the work.  I did everything but ride my mountain bike. My results were what I deserved.  Four laps out there is awesome, not as badass as 6 though.

Emily and I
Emily quit riding after finding out I had stopped.  Very smart move on her part since she has the BT Epic coming up.  Emily and I hugged, drank,  and shared some words of wisdom before we were finally called to the podium.  Too bad that the rain showed up right before and everyone left. Those of you who stayed, thanks.   Emily, I am damn proud of you.  Keep pushing it girl, I may be back next year.

You can read C-dubbs account here.
Emily's account here



  1. nice stuff, sasha. i know the feeling of wondering what the little one is doing while i am out.....having fun.. you rocked it as always!

  2. Being a parent is awesome and I don't want to miss the fun stuff. I am impressed that I stopped. I promised a little boy I would paint his room blue. There was no reason to do it in agony.