Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This photo is me racing at the Spirit Mtn Powdermonkey race two weekends ago. This section of trail is really twisty windy making it tough to go fast. Scott did most of the labor to make this section of trail.

The middle photo is at the awards ceremony for the Seeley Hills Prefat race. I love this race cuz the speeds are high and there is excellent single track. The weather was perfect for the race (upper 60/low 70's). Going down on the pavement during the start of the race, my legs didn't feel that great. But then we hit the gravel and they felt much more comfortable. I felt way better in this race than the last two races. I felt like I could go hard. I got in a really good group of ski hutters. There were seven of us at one point training along the course. Then Joe busted his seat, Harry dropped his glasses and stopped to pick them up, and Ross flew up the steepest hill on the course, gapping the rest of us by 20 sec or more. I got a nice gap on the rest of the group through this bit of singletrack, but then wasn't sure if I took a wrong turn or not, so they caught back on. This was definitely one of the most fun races I have done. I won for the women and was 10th overall amongst the men. I got this really cool clock that I have attached a photo as well. Thanks goes to Bill Schwalbe, of whom took these photos and have a bunch of others posted on www.teamskihut.com Check out the photos of spirit mtn race. It gives one an idea of what the trails look like at spirit.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Today was a big day. I passed my motorcycle endorsement test! I was pretty fired up that I passed. I got a little nervous during the test and missed a few points going around the cones, but the rest of the test went fine. I especially liked having to stop really fast. I skidded the tire a bit.

Otherwise, I am just busy with work. Today is an off day and yesterday was an easy road ride. I lifted a few weights with just my arms. If I go too long between weight work-outs my arms will start to feel wimpy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This past week has been really hectic. I was on vacation between jobs and had to get my new office set up and started to work on some presentations. I'll be teaching at The College of St. Scholastica this next year. I am really fired up.

I also gave a free women's mountain bike clinic last night in duluth. (at Hartley). I think there are about 12 women that showed up. Alise, from the ski hut rides, organized the event. It was really fun to work on skills and give the women some technical advise. I was really impressed with how everyone improved. There are some women that plan on continuing to meet on Tues evenings at 6pm for casual riding. I may show up to some of these as time allows, or have additional free clinics.

I also learned how to take my motorcycle's carburator apart and fix it (sorta) last week. It died on me during my endorsement test multiple times last week. The instructor made me reschedule for a different date. I was pretty upset that it didn't work. After getting it home and having Irv (father-in-law) walk me through how to take the bike apart, etc, we saw the air box was loaded with fuel. No wonder I couldn't get it to work. I felt a little better about myself after that. The endorsement test is all done in first gear around cones in a parking lot. My bike works fine on the road, but can't handle slow speeds or idling well enough to get me around cones. I may just use the full year of my permits eligibility.

This last sunday was the Powdermonkey race at Spirit Mtn. The course is really challenging. I was a bit disappointed in how my body felt. My legs get really heavy fast and then I can't push and go hard like I like to. I got passed by men I usually never see in a race. The women started 30 sec behind the expert men. I was passing men within the first 5 min of the race. There is a group of men that will not let me pass. This has happened in several races, and its the same group of 2-4 men. A few of them crashed (hard) in front of me. Another one I kept trying to pass on singletrack and he'd speed up and not let me by, or we'd get to two track and he'd go gangbusters to get ahead. I would catch back up on singletrack and the game would start again. Oh well, that's racing. I should just get faster and then not have to worry about them at all. This racecourse is probably the toughest in the midwest and its easy to go out too hard and explode, or implode. There were lots of crashes from what I heard. The toughest downhill on the course is similar to a downhillers course (it was used as part of the downhill race a few years ago). There is so much trail at spirit mtn that hopefully in years to come we will be able to make one big loop. This year was only 3 for expert men and 2 for expert women/comp. It was fun and nice to have a race close to home.

Next race: likely seeley hills prefat.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This photo is courtesy of the mining journal (www.miningjournal.net). They had a nice little write up of the Ore to Shore race. This race was definitely one of the hardest races I have finished, both mentally and physically. I didn't feel good at any point during the race. My legs felt heavy and I felt the hills were more work than they should have been at this time in the race season. I felt pretty slow. My time was seven minutes slower than last year. The course conditions were tougher as well, though. With the lack of rain this year, the stretches of sand seemed longer and deeper than years past. Luckily, I got in a good group not too long after the start of the race and held with them most of the way. The Eppens tandem came around our group with about 20 miles to go (they flatted early on in the race). They shattered our group. I had just got done working kinda hard and needed a little recovery when they past us. I struggled to stay with the group and then got dropped. I probably rode the last 15 miles in mostly by myself. In past years I have had difficulty with cramping...hamstrings, quads, adductors. This year my hamstrings were cramping pretty bad the last mile. Luckily, there was no other women around to sprint finish. I was really glad to see the finish line. I jumped in Lake Superior with kit still on - including my bike shoes. I was covered in a layer of dust from head to toe.

Doug and Anne Swanson rode to Marquette with us in the VW van. It was fun to have them with. I felt bad that Doug didn't have a better race. He was doing really well til he kinda bonked the last 1/4 of the race or so. Scott and Anne did a great job of getting me bottles, but missed Doug one time cuz of the amount of driving it took to get from one spot to the next. I felt bad they had to hang out for the awards, but Doug still won his age group. I got some nice prize money and a cool chair made out of bicycle rims. I think they are made locally in marquette. It matches the stool I won last year.

Our good friend, Charlie, took 20th overall and the last payout spot for the men's overall. His 6 year old daughter, Sophie, helped with hand-ups. She's a really tough kid and fun to hang around.

We drove back part way on saturday night and slept in the van. It comfortably sleeps 4 with the top poped up. Sunday Scott and I went for an easy two-track trail ride. It felt good to spin the legs. My legs felt quite achy after the previous day's efforts. Monday we joined The Ski Hut Monday Night Ride at Spirit Mtn. The PowderMonkey MTB MNSCS race is this coming sunday, Aug 20th. We added a little bit of trail in the am and rode it in a bit during the ride. For those of you familiar with Charlie's Demise (part of the Grady Downhill); it does a switchback now instead of going straight down (where Charlie almost severed his Quad tendon a few years ago). Even with some rain the past two days, the course is still dry and a little dusty.

Today is a rest day and a motorcyle endorsement test this afternoon. Better go practice.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's been a busy past few weeks. I have been practicing on our motorcycle and will hopefully take my endorsement test soon. It's been really fun riding around, and mostly riding behind Scott to do errands and get to/from work. We are really fired up by the mileage (80 mpg).

We finally got some rain. Friday we had inch sized hail pelting down and pouring rain. We were inside our shed when the storm hit. It sounded like being inside a tin can with rocks hitting all sides...all at once. Then it stormed the next morning, rained the next day, and then stormed again monday night. We had to cut the Monday Night Ski Hut ride short due to thunder and rain. We got quite wet before getting the bikes back into our car. Too bad it was lighting, it would have been fun to jump into lake superior before heading home.

Scott is riding his bike more often and seems to be coming around. He may not race the rest of the season. He can go easy just fine, but long and hard are not do-able at this stage. I am starting to feel better. I had a few weeks where all I wanted to do was sleep. I am sure I was fighting a virus of some sort I picked up at work. I felt almost normal on the Ski Hut ride yesterday, and felt probably the best I have in some time. Not sure if its also the heat taking my energy.

Doug and Anne's wedding was this weekend. It was fun and we were really glad to be a part of it. Dan is always hilarious and it was fun to sit with Harry, Megan and meet some new folks. We also got to catch up a little with Hollywood and Kimberly. My dad is a frequent visitor to Hollywood's shop. He set his time trial and road bike up and is really happy. My dad's pretty funny. He's trying to cut weight for the senior olympics coming up in October out in St. George, UT. He really wants to win the yellow jersey (the overall) in his category. Nice to see him still racing at 67. He is a good road biker, but mountain biking would not be very kind to him I am afraid.

The ore to shore is coming up next. I hear they haven't got any rain recently like we have. Lots of sand to look forward to. When I was in college we used to run intervals at forestville trails near the end of the race. I love going to marquette!