Friday, December 21, 2007

Here is my new winter bike. I got the photo from the web site. I have not gotten a chance to ride it yet as the weather turned too warm and I don't want my first ride on it in the slush. It is supposed to snow later tonight and into tomorrow (up to a foot, but that much is a stretch) so give the snow a few days to set up and the temps to drop - perfect riding weather. My small Paragon geometry is very similar to my med Trek racing bike. All I do is put on a 90 mm stem and the Paragon is ready to go. It fits great and I love a 29er for winter riding.

I hope to have some in-action photos soon........

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It looks like this again in Duluth. We got about 12" a few weeks ago followed up with 16" more a few days after that. We were busy shoveling and then, of course, cross-country skiing since. The trails are in fantastic condition! That is why I have not blogged. We are too busy skiing, coaching, finishing my grad class, and working! It is soooo nice to have snow this early. At first there was so much snow we could only snowshoe (before the ski trails were groomed). One day it seems like all I did was shovel. It was fantastic! I love snow.

Coaching the nordic ski team is going really well. Scott and I are having a blast and we are really impressed with the athletes. We ski at various trail systems during the week and then others on the weekend as much as possible. We usually ski at Spirit Mtn and Magney - both of which are great trail systems (and connected so one can ski a lot of K in one day and not get bored).

My new winter bike should be arriving soon. A Gary Fisher Paragon 29er. Light Blue. I cannot wait to ride it! The trails are all set to go as long as I have a bike to ride. I have some new winter riding tights to try out as well. Hopefully, the snowboarders have been busy boarding on our bike trails next to the groomed runs at Spirit Mtn. They pack the trail in and make for great riding. The snowmobilers do a great job on the snowmobile trails of packing them in as well. It has been really cold here for quite some time now, so skiing is the way to go. Once it gets around 0 degrees F, it gets pretty tough to stay warm on a bike. Even at 10 above it can be tough if the sun is not out.

Work is super busy. Finals are next week for our students so there are lots of things to get done beside prepare exams, post grades, etc, etc. My grad class is pretty much finished - thank God! I learned a great deal and had great classmates of which I learned a lot from as well, but it took a lot of time and I found I had to be extremely efficient with my time and cut out other things for a while.

Well, more work to do. With the holiday season upon us and our shopping just started today, we have a lot more to do. Thankfully, not too much. Can't say I really like to shop. Hopefully, I'll get our camera out on the trails to share some cool photos. All I have been taking photos of lately is one of our two cats sprawled out and belly up in front of our wood pellet stove. Funny how one cat loves it and the other won't go near it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yesterday was my first ride since the Iceman. My right shoulder was killing me on Monday and Tuesday this week. I couldn't believe how sore it was. I couldn't sleep very well for a couple of nights. Then I put some electrical stimulation on it at work. What a relief! I can avoid taking ibuprofen and slap that machine on instead.

Our ride went fine along the road, my shoulder was a bit sore just putting weight through it, but tolerable. If we would have stuck to the road, it would have been fine, but we rode the railroad grade and then had to climb up Grady's downhill (part of the MNSCS Spirit Mtn course). I had to get off a few times as I couldn't pull up on my bars enough to be effective to climb the hill. I probably hurt it worse than I originally thought, but I still think it is mostly bruised. I hit the ground so hard when I fell! There was so much adrenaline at the time that I didn't realize just how hard that was. I have been running all week instead and have to hold my elbow bent to prevent jarring my shoulder. Kinda crazy. Hopefully, it will heal up quick. There was a blanket of snow on the ground when we woke, which lifted my spirits. Winter is on the way!

Scott is at the CX MN Champ in the twin cities without me today. I can't race cuz I can't hang on to my bike well enough and have good enough control of my bike. It'd be dangerous for me and for others around me as I would be more likely to lose control and not regain it. I hope he does well. He had a bit of a rough go at the Iceman. He bonked hard with 7 mils to go. He can't seem to keep his chain on his bike and after dropping it three times and then catching back up to his group, hit the wall. Once he did that he limped in.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scott and I headed to the Iceman Cometh in Traverse City, MI this past weekend. After working 1/2 a day on Friday we made it to Mackinaw City where we stayed overnight then drove the rest of the way Saturday morning. We got there in time to pick up our packets, hang out a bit, then get ready for the race.

It was mid-40s and sunny during the warm up and I got too hot, so I took off some of my clothing I was planning on racing in. I didn't feel very good during the warm-up; mostly lethargic. I could tell Scott didn't want to tell me I was going slow. My bike worked fine and Scott dialed in the shifting. I was all set to go.

This year they didn't do call-ups for women, but luckily I still got on the front row. Once the guy said "go" I missed my pedal or something and ended up behind another rider anyways. We had just gotten up to top speed when one rider cut off anther rider right in front of me, she jacknifed her front wheel and endo'd right in front of me. It happened so fast that I was on top of her flying, crashing hard, and then getting run over by another handful of women. Our bikes were tangled. I finally got up and got my seat out of another gals spokes and then got on my bike. The bars were so far twisted they were almost pointing back wards! Luckily, DJ from Clif Bar was right there and helped me turn them back. I don't think I could have done that one my own. So there I was the last woman to get back on her bike, with 27.5 miles to go and the lead group long long gone! I started picking off riders and it seemed each one took alot to catch. A few riders latched on and after about 4 miles I finally bridged up to Kyia and Heather I. I rode behind them for long enough to rest just a bit, looked back and realized a few women hung onto me. I passed Kyia and mentioned how we needed to 'drop the rest of the group'. We were together for another few miles and then I don't know what happened, all the sudden I was alone and chasing down some men in front of me. When I crashed my right shifter was bent, along with my deraileur, so I only had a few gears in each chain ring to work with. My gears would skip going uphill so I had to go up in a much harder gear than I wanted to. I finally caught up and passed fourth place and was sitting in third for most of the race. #63 and I would change places pulling, the gal behind me even pulled once. I was using way too much energy getting up hills and would lose my momentum due to my bike deciding to shift on its own. It wasn't until much later in the race (about 3 miles to go) that I realized I could go up the hills in my small chain ring (Duh) that too slowly realized solution may have cost me one or two places. With about 12 miles to go or so I started getting cold! The sun tucked itself behind the clouds. I was working hard to try and stay warm. I could see the second place woman about 30 seconds up and was trying to catch her with about 7 miles or so do go. I tried to bridge the gap and was making some progress when we hit more hills with about 5 miles to go, and realized my legs were shot. I was trying to hang in there, but the guys I was with only wanted a free ride, #63 had dropped me when I couldn't shift well enough to get up a hill and the rest of the group with him, including the woman that drafted off our group the majority of the race after I caught her. Then I dropped my water bottle and limped in as best I could. I really gave a good effort and am pleased with how hard I worked to get the place I did. It could have been much worse, or worse yet, I could have gotten seriously injured during that crash. I crossed the line in fourth, with dried blood 1/2 down my shin from a gash in my knee, my right hip bruised. It wasn't until later that evening, after the adrenaline wore off, that I started to stiffen up and assess more of the damage. We drove to Munising the night after the race, slept there (terribly as I couldn't get comfortable) and realized my right deltoid is bruised (can barely lift my right shoulder overhead), I couldn't take a deep breath cuz the left side of my back and chest hurt, and had additional minor bruising. That was by far the worst crash I have ever been in and hope to never be in that kind of heap again! The season is over for me and not exactly the way I wanted to finish it, but again I am pleased with my effort and that I didn't give up.

We were both really thankful for the Lalonde's being willing to transport some of our clothing to the finish line, for DJ getting me settled down and twisting my bars back at the start after I crashed, and for DJ and Wendy also for giving us a ride back to the start of the race where our car was parked. They also gave us my marathon overall and wors overall prizes, which they were nice enough to pick up for me at the wors awards ceremony a month back.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scott and I have been super busy (who isn't?) with teaching, coaching, and still riding our bikes some. The weather these past few weeks have been perfect for training and enjoying the fall. Today we woke to snow on the ground - about a 1/2 inch. If I were younger, I would have probably dusted off my rock skies and skied around our yard. I hear the U.P. should/is getting some snow. Should make our drive to Traverse City interesting, much less we'll see what happens for race day conditions. I am not ready for 30 or less degree weather. Our house was frozen this morning. Our cats were fighting for which one got to sit on my lap - there wasn't room for both.

Coaching the ski team at CSS is going well. Scott and I are both taking a day or two a week. I love coaching! It's fantastic working with athletes wanting to get better and fun to dust off those cobwebs of information! The athletes and rest of the coaching staff are great! Both Scott and I look forward to getting on real snow.

Bike training is going as well as can be expected this time of year. I have taken a lot of days off, started running and hiking and rollerskiing with the team to break things up. After this next race I'll hope to take some time off from the bike entirely, although I took about two weeks off after Sheboygan. I was feeling too shot, run down, and not excited about riding. It's gotta be fun!

Lots to do...more research for the next case study due. Three down and three to go for my graduate class. I've done more research this fall than I can remember. It takes a lot of time. Combine that with the lack of home internet service and thus the reason its taken me almost a month to update this blog!

Monday, October 08, 2007

On saturday morning when Scott and I left Duluth it was 50 degrees and foggy. By the time we got to Chippewa to meet Doug, it was 80 degrees - hot and humid! Thankfully, we rode in air conditioned comfort (Doug's car) the rest of the way to Sheboygan. It would have been a pretty uneventful trip, except we almost had to get our preride in in the middle of nowhere. We couldn't find a gas station after the needle hit empty and all the low gas alarms no longer went off. Doug was figeting, Scott was laughing, I was trying to think of how long I could ride before I'd swelter in the heat.

Jumping out of the car in Sheboygan was like jumping into a sauna. Hot and humid. Sticky. We were greeted by Mr. Anderson offering a wet 'wonder dog' to snuggle up to. We got kitted up and rode the course a coupld of times for tomorrow's race. Scott and Doug were going faster than I wanted to go, but they'd wait for me every now and then. My legs felt bad at first, but then loosened up. Probably a remnant of the long car ride. I was not looking forward to the race next day - I had not ridden much in the past few weeks. My legs are tired and we have really been enjoying hiking in the woods instead. We got some good food that night and some good rest. The luxury of cable afforded a movie in the AM to settle my nerves before the race.

We got to the race a bit early so Scott cleaned my brakes. Amazing what a difference that made. My bike felt faster than it had it weeks! I got an OK start. I was in third going towards the prime and I wasn't going to contest it, but the gal in the lead got caught by the group and then I got around Sue to get the prime. Jenna flew by me just before the single track. The elite men were waiting to get into the single track and so we had to wait as well. Jenna got in the line of men first then myself with with a few guys between. I got around those guys to bridge back up to Jenna. It was tough to get around the men in the single track and we had to wait until an open spot to get by. We were going really fast that first lap and then Kyia got past Jenna and me running the steep up while we rode the switchback. She was flying. We were all three together as Kyia cleaned the Equilizer, while Jenna and I ran up the rest of the way and had to bridge back up to Kyia. All three of us were still together for another 1/2 lap or so. I was riding behind Kyia with Jenna in the lead. Jenna got a little gap on us so I went around Kyia to bridge back up to Jenna. We were still all together for a while, but I am not sure for how long. I was trying to drink as much as possible each lap. I felt pretty bad the first lap, but then started to feel better after that. I knew I had to be a little careful in the heat. I would get by Jenna here and there and she would attack on the longer uphill past me and get by me before the singletrack. I yelled to let Jenna know her extra tube was dangling down towards her front wheel spokes while going up the hill after the water crossing in the last lap. I told her I would not attack as she had to fix it. I rode ahead, but knew she would catch me again. I didn't know how far Kyia and the rest of the women were behind so I couldn't afford to stop. This is racing! Jenna caught back on and got by again before the last section of singletrack with the switchback. We rode together - Jenna in front, up the equilizer - both of us running and Jenna just edging me out for front wheel on the remount. I passed Jenna on the 'Sheboygan Slickrock' and got into the last small section of singletrack first. I had to get through the sand cleanly, but inadvertanly shifted down one gear too low and had to spin through too much. Jenna must have been too close and I heard her unclip. I knew I had to go right then otherwise it would be a full out sprint at the end. She is fast and can bridge a gap quickly, so I went as hard as I could and was surprised when she didn't catch me. I was pretty pleased to take the win. Fantastic competition.

On the way home we were all rockin' to 80's music. Gotta love the big hair bands and the one hit wonders.

Today after work Scott and I went for a great hike along Chester Bowl. The creek is rushing and higher than I have ever seen it with the trail alongside the creek showing signs of having been underwater.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

This weekend we were down in South Kettle Moraine for the Fall Color Festival. The 'timed event' course was changed from last year to include 10 miles on the connector and with two blue Muir loops and an additional part of the red loop the race was about 35 miles long. Scott tried out some tires that he had not tried before. They are very fast and similar to the 'crows', or as I call them 'lucky charms' (which are not so lucky as if it is slick at all - there is big risk of going down - right Charlie?) The course must have had a heavy dew, or rain the days leading up to this saturday. There were a few big mud puddles with difficulty in some spots getting around them.

Doug, Scott, and Tristan did the 30 mile race - along with about 50 other people. I rode two + loops (about 25 miles)before volunteering out with the women's clinic. I had a blast. There were 20 enthusiastic women looking to improve their bike skills. It was fun to work with the other women. I would definitely do that again! I got in about 35 miles of riding, despite having to 'work'. That was great. My legs were a bit tired from the previous day's ride in Eau Claire with Doug and Scott. They were flying through the single track while I attempted to keep up. It was really fun!

Scott didn't have a very good day - as he crashed twice due to his tire selection and caught himself about eight more times from going down. Doug won with his 1x9 combination. He was pretty fired up about it. We had a good trip down and back. We had excellent accommodations and good dinner the night before.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This past Sunday Scott, our friend Joe and I headed to Iola to race. The about 5 hr drive was pretty uneventful. I was a bit nervous to test out my legs as I had not been on my bike in a week. My legs felt really bad after (and during) Cheq, so I took the week off and just walked and hiked instead. The fall colors are near peak and I love hiking in the woods with the leaves on the trail. McFaddens have joined us a few times, including little Bodee.

I had a nice chat with Lori S. that improved my spirits prior to warming up. The women got to start 15 sec again behind the men. I really like that format! We caught up to tail end of the men at the top of the first climb. I did not pre-ride the course and there was more sand than I remember earlier this year. The first long downhill was full of bumps and it was difficult to get around some of the men. One guy was trying to fight me for position, would get ahead of me, then slow down on the downhills. I tried to be a bit patient and finally stayed ahead of him not even half way into a lap. The singletrack was really fun and I felt I could go pretty hard on the ski trail. I was not climbing as well as I would have liked - it was like the long season was catching up with me on the climbs. Another week or two of rest should help. I led from the start of the race and was never challenged, adding a minute to my lead each lap. It was fun to race a shorter race. Michelle P. was very nice to agree to do hand-ups for Scott and I. I was so lucky that I got enough cytomax during the race as I got really not the third lap. Duluth has not been so warm lately and the upper 70s temp was a bit of a shock.

There was one section in the trail that was particularily sandy in the singletrack while riding uphill that it just sucked the life out of my legs for about 20 seconds. I almost went down once as I got too close to a sandy ledge along the singletrack, but saved myself from going down by riding sideways for a few seconds. The guy behind me was impressed. There is so much less congestion starting where the women start, which is really nice. No more fighting with comp men to let us pass.

Scott had a good ride, but chose too easy of a gear on the singlespeed. He rode a 34x19; he should have had a 34x17. He lost a few spots by not being able to go as fast as he would have liked on the ski trail portions of the racecourse. His next project is turning that bike into a 1x9.

Next off this weekend is the Fall Color Festival. Scott and my teammates will be racing. I'll be helping with the women's clinic and women's ride. I'm fired up. Should be a good time. I heard they changed the trails there some and made them even better. Should be good to see.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

To answer CP Farrow's comment - Scott is fired up to race Bushy's single speed 29er tomorrow at Iola. His back and hamstrings have gotten worked over this past week, but the ride is worth it. Scott already has a little tatoo to boot - that little kokapelli biker guy on his left ankle. I don't think he'll be converted to a single speed for good, but his Kelly 29er is going up for sale.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Chequamemgon is over. Today I skipped the criterium to test ride a Trek 69er instead. I had so much fun! Scott and I rode the Ojibwe trail. The 69er was a blast. I could go fast on the corners and over roots and rocks. If anyone gets a chance to ride one, I highly recommend it! It'd be a great bike for WORS courses.

At the start of the Cheq 40 on Saturday, it was around 40 degrees. It took my body a while to get warm while warming up. My toes were cold until the gun went off - then I forgot to think about them anymore. I had a really good position on the paved lead-out and once we hit 77 the lead four-wheelers let the race start - so the speeds were higher on the pavement than in past years. There was a crash after about a mile on the pavement to my right and just behind me. I was in very good position going into and then out of Rosie's Field, probably the best start ever. I didn't know where the other women were until Sue Haywood passed me and then Jenna. All three of us went back and forth for the next 20 miles. It was fun and fast. We were in kinda a weird group of guys that didn't get that we women were racing against each other for the overall. They would cut us off, make bad turns and then crash, ride straight through these big mud puddles when there was a nice dry line around, but mostly not realize that we were racing against each other and not them.

For some reason with about 16 miles to go I got dropped on a road section. I was just feeling bad at that particular time and lost my group. Sue and Jenna probably put a minute on me in the next mile. I took some gel, cytomax and kept trying to push, but it was like I was breathing hard and going no where. My legs were protesting. I didn't start too fast and I kept thinking I'll start to feel better again. Then Lea Davison passed me. I was trying to stay in it and still hoping to work my way back to the lead group and the podium. I'd try to latch on to guys that were passing me. I caught up with my teammate Doug and he tried to pull me up to the next group, but I could not hang on. I just felt bad. Then Kyia passed me going fast. I kept trying to push, but the legs wouldn't go and I couldn't make myself work any harder. Kinda like bonking, but not really. It felt like my HR just dropped and wouldn't get back up to race pace again.

So I finished fifth. My worst place ever, but 'only' 3 minutes down from first. I was sure I lost at least five minutes with how slow I was going those last 15 miles or so. I guess I should feel lucky that I finished at all. It is hard not to be a bit bummed as I would have liked to feel better. I just like to race fast and did, but for only 1/2 the race. I don't have to tell anyone how hard it is to win the Chequamegon. There are so many things that have to go right and many other things not to go wrong. It is a long race and anything can happen.

It was good to hang out with all the Trek people - we have a really good group - along with the midwest racers. Scott was in heaven as Telemark Lodge has a Ms. Pacman video game that he, Doug, and Dan were trying to conquer. I think the game won this round.

By the way if anyone is looking to buy a certificate for a new Thule multipurpose roof rack system AND one 517 Peloton Bike Carrier. Retail price roughly $300. Sale price: 1/2 of new (roughly $150 or B.O.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I have been trying to get rested up these past few weeks. My legs felt pretty bad for about two weeks after the Seeley/Rhinelander double-header weekend. I would have one good day, and then several bad ones or days where I didn't want to ride, which is quite unusual. Work has been really busy and my days kinda long that combined with the decrease in daylight has been a bit of a bummer. I had to ride the trainer last night for the first time since last winter. I ride very little on the trainer during the winter and never in the summer, but sometimes I just have to do what I have to do to get my legs moving. The fall is getting really cold, we have had days with lows in the 30s commonly and highs in 50s to low 60s this week. It's been a bit of a shock. In Duluth every fall the mice like to find a nice warm house to occupy once it starts getting cold. I found mouse droppings in our bathroom vanity drawer a few days ago. The next morning our cats has a nice little dead 'gift' for us when we woke up. Our girl cat went over to the dead mouse picked it up with her teeth and shook it around one more time to emphasize the superiority of her mousing skills. She is probably the one that actually made the kill, as our boy cat just likes to chase them and then will get bored if the mouse stops moving.

The next few weekends will be busy. This weekend is the Cheq and then there are races every weekend thereafter for about a month. Then the Iceman in early Nov. I am hoping to keep my race shape through the fall and hope the weather warms up a bit. CX season starts soon and I have a Trek OX2 just waiting for me to race. My OX2 is my first choice to ride in the spring with the addition of fenders. I am looking forward to racing again this weekend as I have taken a few weekends off. I need racing to keep me motivated and honest about my training. Otherwise, I would probably just ride as much as I wanted all the time and maybe torch myself. I love riding my bike.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day everyone! For those of us that return to the classroom, our labor is about to begin! Teaching is full-on once the semester starts. I will be taking one graduate class while teaching this fall. I like it already (of course I had to get a head start reading due to the long weekend).

Yesterday my parents threw a 65th birthday party for my Uncle from California. It was great to see my cousins, aunts and uncles along with my siblings and their children. I am the 6th of 7 children, so it was quite a party. Scott stayed home. He recently found out he has giardia. He'll start on antibiotics tomorrow. No wonder his racing DNF rate is over 50% this year. That little bug is taking all his energy! He was planning on heading to the Maplelag MNSCS race this past weekend, but decided with how he was feeling he'd probably DNF. It is too bad that neither of us could do the race. We both love that race and racecourse!

Last week I took quite a few days off from the bike. My legs felt aweful after racing two races last weekend. I finally got back on the bike on Thurs, then had to take Friday off (went for a little hike instead) and then felt pretty good on Sat and fine on Sun riding easy. The racing season takes its toll and I still have four or more races left, depending upon CX. Duluth hosts its CX race Oct 13th, so we'll both probably do that. We'll see. Today we plan on riding with an old high school friend from my XC ski racing days and owner of one of my WORS series Gary Fisher bikes (prize for the overall). The trails are in really good shape. We have gotten a bit of rain so they are no longer dusty, but rather setting up very nicely.

My guess is that the fall colors will peak early due to the dry weather. Hopefully, my tomato's will ripen before the fall thaw. I have a ton of green tomato's right now. My green peppers are producing, they are very little - about a 1/4 size of those in the store, and taste so much better. Hopefully, next year we will have even a bigger garden and more berry plants. We should have quite the little produce farm to replace our lawn! The neighbor put up a fence partially cuz I think they were tired of looking at our 8' high deer netting with fluorescent flaggin on it around our garden. It does camoflauge it nicely from their view.

Should be a pretty busy week getting used to a new schedule, learning all the new student's names and riding when I can.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Last Friday we headed down to Seeley, WI to stay with M&M the night before the Seeley Prefat race. We got there later than we had planned, but had a nice dinner and chat with our friends. Their hospitatilty is always outstanding.

We rode our bikes to the start of the race Saturday AM. I didn't get as much of a warm-up as I would have liked, but I guess that was OK. We could ride a combination of pavement and gravel to the start and it wasn't far away by bike. We met Scott's dad and brother at the start, both of which were doing the race.

The start of the race was a little sketchy this year. The start was pretty slow. Scott's brother Brad just rode off the front. Pretty characteristic of him while the pack stayed together. Some guy started leaning into me during a straight stretch on the pavement lead out. I held my line, so that was fine. Good thing this wasn't my first mass start as one of us, or both, could have easily gone down. We hit the first uphill and I felt like I was going backward. My legs didn't respond. I went from front to midpack. Then we hit the first trail uphill and I was still barely moving. I worked my way up slowly to the pack of guys I settled in with - it was a group of fellow Trek rider and Ski Hut guys. Good group as we worked together well. We were all together until the first section on singletrack. I got around on guy ahead of me and then was second in the line going through the singletrack. By the time myself and the guy ahead of me got out we had a huge gap on the rest of the group. I knew I had to race the next day, so I was trying to conserve some energy and we rode the ski trail and stayed together. I lost him on the last section of singletrack I think mostly to me trying to conserve for tomorrow's race knowing that I was ahead of the next woman by some time. The race was between 25-28 miles long. I finished first for the women and 12th in the overall results. Scott was 6th and his brother 7th. Scott felt pretty bad during his race, but hung in there to finish it off and get a bit of prize money. I won this really cool wall hanging that has a hygrometer, thermometer and barometer made out of wood, complete with tree bark and a roof. My friend and hostess, Michelle, was second. Good job, Michelle!

Scott and I discussed prior to the race that I should not race due to the WORS marathon on Sunday of the same weekend. But, we both love the race course, like to support local race organizers and Tom Gaier does a great job pulling this race together. His son won the men's race over Jeff Hall and TJ Woodruff in the sprint.

So, on Sunday M& M, Scott and I jumped into the van and headed to Rhinelander for the WORS marathon. We got there a little later than anticipated and got a short warm-up before a long, 42 mile race. I was cursing myself during the first two laps for racing the previous day. My legs and body was very tired. The start of the woman's race was pretty slow, but I realized my legs were not climbing well, so I hung back with the pack until the first section of singletrack. I got to the front, never looked back, and had a considerable gap by the end of that first section. The singletrack was really bummpy. My triceps and back got a bit sore. Had I known it was so bummy I would have softened by suspension a bit more. I felt bad for those riding fully rigid and hardtails. It must have been kinda brutal in sections for those riders. The full-suspension made a big difference. I got passed by two groups of comp riders during the second lap, which was quite a bit earlier than normal. I finally could hang on to the third group and stuck with them for the last two laps. They were riding better on the uphills and flats, but I catch back on on the downhills and singletrack. I started to actually feel better the last lap where I felt like I was racing. I wish I would have kept track of my lap times, I am sure my last lap was the fastest. Scott felt really bad during the first lap of his race, and decided to call it a day. Luckily, I got a bottle of Cytomax from him as I was running out. I perked up quite a bit and I attibute my being able to race that last lap to his hand-up. I won this race and the Marathon Series overall.

This past week I have focused on getting my legs recovered and back to their normal energetic state. I also started teaching again, so I am getting used to a new schedule. I am also going back to school to get my transitional DPT degree at St. Scholastica, where I teach, so it should be a pretty busy school year.

Friday, August 24, 2007

So it was off to Mount Morris last Friday (a week ago - yeah, I am really bad at updating sometimes!). I couldn't find anyone from Duluth that wanted to go and I couldn't talk my teammate, Doug, into changing his plans which is completely understandable. I'd want to be where my loved one was too. Speaking of such, Scott stayed home to race at Spirit Mtn, so I got to drive alone which wasn't so bad. It was pretty quiet except for my Ipod. I can't remember the last time I went to a race by myself. It is not nearly as much fun without Scott! I tell Scott all the time that if he stops racing, maybe I would too. Although, he is THE BEST water boy so as long as he would still be up to the task and want to come along I would probably still race. I want to be like Scott's dad, Irv, when I get older. He is 68 and still racing. He did the Spirit Mtn race this weekend and ended up second in his class of 50 and older. The guy that beat him is 'only' 60. Pretty cool. Irv doesn't really care to race fast, he just likes to go downhill and through the technical stuff fast and then 'get the uphills over with'. Guess I would feel the same at almost 70.

So I got to the race venue after 5 hrs in the car. The course is brand-new. Don, from WORS, saide 300 volunteer hrs went into making the course and he hopes to bring the race back each year and build upon what they did this year. It is a 4.8 mile loop. Kinda interesting trail in that it cloverleaf's in, out and near the start so that spectators can see the racers often throughout the race. The start is a pretty slow uphill. Then there is a lot of switchbacks both up and downhill through rocky and smooth singletrack. There were a few roots, but not bad and the course slowly climbs the downhill with plenty of opportunity to pass other riders as the course goes in and out of the woods. It also had some flat sections and then an infamous bridge over this tree about 10 feet into the air. Thankfully, there was a trail around it as I still avoid bridges when I can - probably due to Scott's accident a few year's back.

I was a little sad on my pre-ride cuz I was riding alone, but things perked up on race day when I started to run into fellow racers, our team manager Chris, and teammate Tristan. Tristan was back racing. Chris brought the infamous Travis Brown with him and along with the Lalonde brothers, we had quite a nice group. It was overcast while I was getting ready and once I started my warm-up it started sprinkling. I wasn't worried about rain cuz Duluth hasn't seen much rain all summer (we're in a drought) and I just didn't think it would rain.

The men's race started and 5 min later the women's race started. I was expecting to see a few more Pro women there, but Sue Juedes showed up along with the rest of the WORS regulars. We had a nice and pretty big group of women! It was really good to see Sue - she's looking really fit. Our race started in a light rain, but I didn't think it would continue to rain. The course was slippery as some (most?) of the corners are on a downhill slant and along with the grass and powdery dirt that turned to slippery topsoil once saturated enough, the course got more slippery each lap. The first two laps we OK, but the third lap I went down on this steep right hand turn due to the off-camber nature and the soaked grass. I didn't make that mistake twice. I rode at the front from the start and was never seriously challenged, although with the nature of the course, it looked the the other racers were closer than they were. My legs felt a bit tired yet from the Ore to Shore, but I was pleased with my effort for the day. I finished almost 6 minutes up on the second place women.

It rained the rest of the day through the Comp, Sport and Citizen races with the course deteriorating with each lap. Luckily, Wendy needed a warm place to sleep and DJ was nice enough for me to help him change my tires to mud tires for the expected races on sunday. Wendy and I had a great chat and nice dinner at the bar of the hotel with our choice of either 'pizza or cheese sticks'. Pretty funny that was it on the menu. But it was late and we needed to get to bed. DJ hung back at the race venue to sleep with the dogs.

We showed up the next morning - after finding the biggest cup of coffee I have ever had - for the time trial and short track. After the race meeting with Don and the other racers, the course had not recovered enough from the previous day's race to allow us to race! Bummer. So by 9 AM that morning I was back in the car and heading towards home. Dj and Wendy hooked me up with some homegrown tomotoes (which are great on salty pizza and omletes) and nice Clif bar parting gifts. If I got back in time I would get to see part of Scott's race. It was pouring rain at times on the way home. At times it felt like I was in a waterfall mist - it was so white all around. I had not seen it rain like this since last spring! By the time I got to Spooner it had let up and by the time I got home, the ground was still dry and dusty. I got to see Scott race his last lap at Spirit (the race was 2.5 laps long). He was in a group of 5 guys coming around his last lap. I was really hoping he'd he'd come through first of the group up the last singletrack climb, but he started cramping and by the time he hit the finish, lost about 2 minutes to his group. It was fun to watch him race! Jeff Hall loved the course and would really like it if we hosted a NORBA national. This is his type of course and I think he could podium on this course.

So, it is off to Seeley for the Pre-fat and then to Rhinelander for the last of the WORS marathon races.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This week I have been focusing on recovering from the Ore to Shore. I rode easy on Monday and then due to work and poor sleep was not able to get back on my bike until today. I rode the Spirit Mountain race course for the race happening this Sunday as part of the MNSCS series. The course is fantastic! It has two new switchbacks - one going uphill in the pines (instead of a steep climb that 99% of riders had to run anyway) and one downhill to prevent erosion. The side of the hill that was disappearing has been re-bench cut with a nice retaining wall. The noteable "Puker" uphill has been replaced by a singletrack uphill that courses along the creek. It is a fantastic uphill, in the shade and challenging in spots - much more exciting than the long grind up the gravel uphill. The course will then take riders to a section of trail that has not been part of the race course previously. It will cross a creek several times. The course should be a 2/3 loop followed by two full loops. A nice change from the five laps the Elite class normally gets to enjoy. Spirit Mountain is a real mountain bikers course. Full of roots and rocks, fast descents, switchbacks, tricky climbs and downhills and fantastic scenery (not that you'll have time to enjoy it during the race). I wish I could race it, but our regional team has the WORS cup this weekend instead. Good luck to all the riders this weekend!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Scott, my teammate Doug, and I packed ourselves, along with all three bikes, inside the car and left for Marquette Friday morning for the Ore to Shore 48 mile Saturday. Doug stayed at our house the night before and got to experience the natural air conditioning of our basement spare bedroom accommodations. Little did he know he would miss that on the drive over. Once we got to Marquette, we did a quick pre-ride and then headed to dinner with the Eppens and Chris Shaw.

Neither Scott nor I got any sleep that night. Our hotel was really loud and our room was next to the laundry room - we could hear the washer and dryer running part of the night. Our room was too hot, then too cold. I got up twice to adjust the temperature. I am still not sure if I slept at all. I was trying to not get worked up while trying to sleep that night and reminded myself that I am still laying down and resting, even though sleep escaped me.

Scott went out for breakfast as I always bring my own from home and brought me back a coffee. Not the best coffee, but a nice way to start the day after a sleepless night. We joined Doug and Chris and headed over to the race start. Luckily, it was not hot. I was really nervous, but was trying not to get wigged out. I had not raced in a month, took a whole week off the bike during that time, and I cannot remember the last time I have done an interval. I was wondering if I could go fast at all. During the warmup my legs felt a little sluggish, but I wasn't expecting them to feel like rock stars. I did a few hard efforts to test things out and spun my legs out before awaiting the start.

I lined up second row and got a pretty good position. The lead-out car kept everyone tight and I was suprised that the start wasn't faster. The race truely started once the lead car pulled off the road and the race proceeded onto two track. Kyia was ahead of me on the paved sections, but I was only two riders behind her. Gabor passed me on the road as well. I was sitting in third going into the two track. I got in front of Gabor, but I didn't actually see her as I passed and then slowly pulled in Kyia. I got by her just before the first climb and could hear her breathing behind me as we climbed up the steepest part of the hill and as the course turns left, then right and then I couldn't hear her anymore. I didn't look back. I kept passing guys as I climbed to the top and then was chasing the guys in front of me to get into a good group. I was working my way up through the pack when Ron Raymond, now riding a Gary Fisher complete with kit, comes by me and yells for me to 'hang on'. I hung on the best I could for as long as I could. We cat and moused a little bit due to the deep sandy sections and the climbs. I'd catch back up on the technical descents and then try to hang on during the flat sections. Ron was a great alli to have out there. There was another guy that was working with us and then our group tended to work together, then break up a bit, then come back together. Later in the race some guys caught us and then didn't want to do any work; pulling the old person card. Ron dropped us all then and just started flying with about 8 miles to go. I was starting to feel my legs want to cramp wirh about 13 miles to go so I forced myself to slow down a bit, drink more, and just hold onto the lead while avoiding full-blown cramping. My right quad partially seized for a bit and thankfully let go.

Scott and Chris were instrumental during the race, providing both Doug and I with handups. I ran out of Cytomax about 5 miles before the first handup and started to suffer a bit. I got my hand-up and ran out again. I was forcing myself to drink everything. I had to get two bottles for the third hand-up and downed one while Scott was running next to me up the blacktop hill in order to get the bottle when I was done. Climbing, sucking down gel, and drinking as fast as I can so I don't lose my group and get dropped on the hill. I ran out again before the last hand-up and again had to grab a bottle, drink part of a second bottle while Scott ran alongside in order to get when I was done. I had to get enough fluids to prevent full-blown cramping that happened the first two times I raced this race. I was impressed with the Fuel and how it ran in the sand. I kinda like the sand as it is the only type of technical riding where I have any chance at passing Scott during a training ride. It was incredibly dusty on the trail and according to locals, Marquette hadn't had rain in three weeks! They were having an unusual dry summer. Much dryer than last year. The conditions showed it. I don't remember riding in that much sand for long stretches of time. My time was slower than last year and last year I felt really bad during the entire race.

This is a really long, tough race. There are so many things that have to go right, and not go wrong that it could be anyone's day. Kyia is a tough competitor and I know I am always going to have to ride fast when she shows up. I have to bring my 'A' game to these big races and I was nervous that I would not be able to go fast due to some of the races I have had this year where I have felt just terrible. I am lucky that I was able to go fast enough during this race to win. Doug didn't have such a good race as he took a wrong turn and lost a ton of time. I am sure his blog will have an interesting race recap.

With the awards not until 6:30pm, Scott still got a ride in at the Mount Marquette (South) Trails. They are full of fantastic singletrack and start behind the Nordic Bad Lodge. Our friend, Michelle, joined him as she DNF'd due to flat. Not much of a birthday present for her, as I am sure she would have been on the podium.

We got home at 1 am after the race. Some fellow racers had hit a deer, losing one headlight, so we escorted them as far as Duluth. They were headed to St. Cloud and can't believe they were continuing on. It was early in the morning! Unfortunately, I didn't sleep in very long and have been in a fog all day. I must be overtired as I have been unable to fall asleep after several attempts at a nap. No riding for me today. My head is so tired I would probably hit a tree, or worse.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scott and I took a week off from riding and got back on the bikes last Monday with the ski hut ride. That ride is always fun cuz we just chat with our friends and get to know any newcomers. We both also had to go back to work last week, which I was surprisingly ok with. It is nice to have a break, but it also nice to feel productive. I am battling a little poison ivy - for the third time this year. It is on my back and I didn't realize what itched so bad for about a week. I can't reach the area to scratch it or tell what it was. I thought I got bit by a bug while gardening, but evidently I must have gotten it on my bike jersey or shorts somehow during our vacation. I tried to ignore it until finally I asked Scott to put some Tecnu on it. A few more applications and it should be gone.

I have been just riding easy this week and taking rest days when needed. I am feeling really tired today. Sundays are not usually rest days, but my energy levels are so low that I will focus on training tomorrow instead. The Ore to Shore is coming up and I want to feel fresh. I have found that I tend to overdo my training, so I am trying to err on the other side of the spectrum instead. My legs have been feeling the best they have in months. Granted I am just riding easy, but I have had problems with my legs burning evening during easy rides prior to taking some time off. I am feeling much better. It can be a challenge balancing work and training and I think most people try to cram it all in and forget to get proper rest. I try to remind myself that training should make myself faster...not just tired, and not overly tired making getting through a regular day tough. I've been there during my XC ski days at NMU. Dragging my butt through training, school and having zero social life as I didn't have energy for anything else. That sucked! Doug plans on riding over with us to Marquette, so the ride should go pretty quickly. He can be pretty entertaining.

Scott watched a Twins game with Dan S and Jesse R the other night and also scoped out the I-35W bridge collapse. They couldn't get very close to the site due to the police guarding a large area surrounding the bridge. Scott's brother lives only 5-6 blocks from the bridge, so we were pretty thankful he was at work during the time the bridge fell. It is so sad the people that have died.

I have not been blogging much due to not riding much, but also due to building huge gardens in our lawn. We are working to get rid of our lawn. We plan on growing berries and vegetables and prevent using our gas lawn mower. We hope to have so little lawn left that we can use our reel (human-powered only) mower for the entire lawn. We no longer have much of a front or south side lawn. Our back lawn is also in the process of conversion and then we have a huge field we'll convert next year. I love garden work, although I am not very good at it. The deer also really appreciate my efforts, so this year I put up an eight foot deer fence. Now the bunnies and the chippies seem to still get in. I don't want to poison them, so I'll have to find another solution to that problem.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From Houghton/Hancock area Scott and I drove north to copper harbor to check out the trails. We rode some of the trails that are part of the race course September 1st or 2nd this fall. We were told to ride Paul's Plunge, but rode most everything else before we had to call it a day. The singletrack is fun - full of roots and rocks. The rocks were really loose; more like riding out west than the midwest. Copper Harbor has a really active bike community and they are in the process of making more singletrack. We rode some new stuff that was a little sketchy with the bench cut into the side of a hill with a revine to fall into if one is unfortunate. I was off on my skills that day, so I got a nice little hike through some of those sections.

We rode into the tip of the keewenaw penisula the second day on gravel roads and two track. It was really nice and we were able to ride close to the lake on parts and follow the map we purchased at the local (and only) bike shop. We cooled off (and cleaned up) in the lake with a public beach. It was really nice to hang out, ride our bikes and read on this vacation. This is what we needed to do, and unfortunately it came at the time when we were planning on doing big races instead. I need time off from racing for a few weeks as the most important races are the second half of the season. I don't feel I have raced well in roughly a month, so I am working to get back on track. We got home on sunday and neither of us has ridden our bikes since. I am taking time off until I feel like riding, which it usually sooner than later, but it has been four days already. As a distraction, I am building gardens in my front lawn. That is digging up my front lawn with a spade - by hand. I am sure my neighbors think I am nuts. I am feeling that my yard needs to produce vegetables rather than grass and weeds. I have been reading Mother Earth News and getting lots of ideas. I am working on convincing Scott that we need chickens, amonst other furry creatures. He's a tough sell.

Other good things: Cytomax came in the mail while I was gone. I really like the pink lemonade cytomax drink and the evopro and muscle milk drink mixes. The evopro vanilla tastes awesome in a berry smoothy with plain yoghurt.

My Oakley sunglasses are working great! I really like the flak jacket - the lenses are fantastic that allow enough coverage so I don't get extra air going in to produce tears as I am flying downhills.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scott and I are currently hanging out at Cyber Cafe in Houghton, MI. Our trip to VT took a detour to the U.P. We were in Marquette for the majority of the week, poping our van top up at Tourist Park and mostly riding from there. We rode the South trail system and met a guy (thanks Tom!) that took us around on some of the trails and found some others on our own. We then headed to little preque isle/sugarload/harlow lake area to ride. Really nice singletrack there as well. We rode quite a bit each day and somehow managed to find our way back to the park from harlow lake via backroads making a nice big loop, instead of taking 550? back to town. We rode some other various trails the next day and watched the new Harry Potter movie. Good flick. The trails in Marquette are fantastic and we cannot say enough about how good they are and how much there is. I would have never thought there would bew that much. There are also supposedly good riding near munising and ishpehming, but we didn't ride there. Maybe next time.

Another gem we rode witht the Down Wind Sport's ride was in Gwinn. We rode about 1/2 of a 27 mile singeltrack loop. My previous teammate at NMU, Jeff and part-owner of Down Wind, got us connected with the ride. It is always good to see him and his wife, Melanie again. We just slept in a random spot that night and then headed up to Houghton/Hancock to ride the Maasto Hiito/Churning Rapids trails. We rode almost 4 hrs, got a bit turned around, but finally made it back with some water and energy left. Great trail system and home of the Chain Drive race.

The best cup of coffee in Houghton is here at the Cyber Cafe. Good food at The Library. The best cup of coffee we could find in Marquette was at The Bagel Shop on third street. One of the best places to eat is the Casa, but also Nordic Bay. The south trail system is located behind Nordic Bay, making it very accessible if one were to stay there.

Scott has kept me posted on the US Nationals races. Congrats to Kyia and Jenna on fine finishes. From some of the pictures, looked like it was 'a little' muddy. Reminded us of West Virginia a few years back. I am a little sad we didn't go, but I also know that the easy riding and relaxing we are doing is the smart thing to do at this point in the season.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brutal. That about sums up yesterday's race in Suamica, WI; the second WORS marathon race. The course was pretty flat and it took about 15 minutes of riding to hit the first of three sections of singletrack. The women started 1' after the men. Four laps of 11.5 miles.

I felt bad from the start. I wasn't breathing hard, but my legs were killing me. They just hurt and never recovered at any point in the race. It was like trying to get logs to turn the peddals over. Not sure what is going on or why, but something is wrong. I have had about four races this year where I just feel bad the whole race. I don't recover after uphills and I have zero power. I wanted to be done with the race after the first lap. I saw Scott sitting in the grass (he started in the men's group a minute ahead of the women) and I knew he felt bad. He won't keep riding if he can't race hard. He was suffering going slow, so he pulled the plug on his race. I wanted to be done, but tried to keep the lead each lap so I could win our entry fee money back. Kind of a lame reason.

I caught up to a few expert riders in my first lap and after passing two guys that decided to race again, we had a nice group for about 1.5 laps until the single speed guy crashed in front of me in the singletrack and the geared bike guy got a gap on me. After a good effort I caught back on to him and rode another lap with him, but I was suffering already. I could do very little work for the group of us two. He got ahead of me before the end of the third lap and I almost caught back on before the end of the single track, but then a group of comp riders needed to get by and I let them pass, opening the gap. Going into the final lap I had to time trial it through most of the lap, not lose my lead, and keep my bike upright. I got really dizzy numerous times while riding. I would take more water, some more quick sugar - I had a total of a bottle of Cytomax, a camelback full of water (2 liters), and 4 gels during the race, but yet I would still get dizzy off and on. I started cramping on the last lap with about a half lap to go. My right Hamstring cramped after I passed a gal in the singletrack. I finally got that to settle down when my right quad started to quiver, then my left, then my left adductors. Another group of comp riders caught me and I jumped in the back of their group. I couldn't believe how much easier it was and my cramping subsided. I finished with the tail-end of the group - which included our good friend and Scott's summer boss, Mike Haag.

I was very happy to be done and all I could do after is lay down. I was so tired.

Scott and I stayed with M&M's good friend from G.Bay. Really nice couple and fun to hang out with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No racing this past weekend. We needed the weekend off. I read Kyia's blog about her race and Jenna's crash. I hope she is OK. I hate crashing. Sounded pretty bad for her to have to rest for a while before getting back on the bike.

Scott, Narum, Big Daddy, Todd, Bushey and I went for a longer ride on trails on sunday. We had a great ride. Fantastic trails and only saw probably two cars as we crossed roads to get to other sections of trail. I had to tape up Scott's wrist (otherwise his hand goes numb) and Narum's shoulder (AC separation) prior to heading out. I got another chance to further my taping skills last night at The Monday Night Ride. Dr. Mougeon took a spill landing on his shoulder; another likely AC separation. Luckily, he is Dr. and has a bag full of different types of tape. We got him taped up as well and hopefully he followed through with the X-ray to rule out a fracture. I think most of us mountain bikers know what it feels like to have to go to work wounded. I have worked with a sprained wrist on several occassions after falling on my bike. Scott separated his R AC joint and had to relearn how to write on the chalk board while babying his R shoulder. It's kinda like a rite of passage, so to speak. You prove your toughness and worthy to get back on the bike.

Doug and Anne Swanson stopped by on their way through back from the North Shore to home on Sunday. It is always great to see those two. I did a little diagnosing and treatment regimen for some knee pain that Doug has going on since the NVGP. They enjoyed the brownies I made (they must have had ESP cuz the brownies came out just as they arrived; sorry Ski Hut you didn't quite get all of them as Doug had to take a few for the road). I don't crave chocolate like I used to (which is fantastic!) since going to see Dr. Mougeon.

Today we are planning to head out to Mont du Lac for a trail ride. I love the trail out there, full of really good technical singletrack. Tuesday nights are the only night of the week we are allowed to ride there, as it is privately owned. It is really nice of the owner to let COGGS host a weekly ride there. It is a free ride if you are a COGGS member, or $5 if you are not a member. With membership you get a really cool bike hat that fits under your helmet for colder rides. The hat was designed by Kate, the Emperor's girlfriend and loyal COGGS member, and Kyia Malenkovich managed our order through the company she works for and did a great job for us!

Next on our agenda is deciding to stay with our decision and head out East for nationals, or go to Colorado instead to just ride. I am torn between the two as I have a really bad start position for nationals.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I am finally feeling better. Yesterday I had the first ride where I felt normal in two weeks. I actually felt good. I took this recovery mix Dr. Greg put together for us after my ride today. It tastes kinda like sweet 'greens'. I like the taste. We need to get out today before it thunderstorms. The weather has been fantastic lately. Sunny, hot; it's summer! There are tons of tourists in Duluth. Makes it hard for Duluthians to avoid them. Scott and I took the motorcycle to dinner last night. It was so warm. Duluth usually has cool air going that fast, but yesterday it was sweltering. We had to sleep in the spare room in the basement. It is fantastically cool down there.

Last week I finally felt well enough to get back in my garden. There are some things growing. The critters somehow got inside my fencing, but I brought in reinforcements, planted a few more things and am hoping for the best. The McFaddens have a ton of woodchips for me to put to good use in my garden. I am not much of a green thumb - but it gives me something to do and we get some produce out of it.

I am reading a great book by Elizabeth Vliet. "Screeming to be heard, hormone connections women suspect...and dr's still ignore. The author is a physician specializing in women's health. She goes into great detail on topics such as PMS, peripmenopause and menopause, thyroid disorders, among other topics. I studies endocrinology in college to some extent, so her review of information is nice, plus all the interconnectedness between hormones and how the brain and body works (and potential irritating symptoms). I have a couple other books by her that have been revised with the latest information.

Scott is torched from helping our construction friend, Mike out these past few weeks. He has not been riding cuz when he gets done at the job site, all he can do is lay on the couch.

The littlest McFadden is getting bigger. He's almost back up to birthweight. He is so tiny. We went over the other night with some fresh strawberries picked at the local strawberry farm (Finke's), and shortcake fixings to share. We really like having the McFadden's as neighbors! We went and picked more strawberries yesterday, so now we have a freezerfull for the rest of the year. Raspberries and blueberries are next!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On our way back from Eau Claire, Mike was driving and he and Charlie were deep in conversation. Scott and I were lounging in the back seat of the van - overly tired from our days efforts, when we see this deer headed for the mid section of our van from the driver's side. A half second later we hear a 'THUNK' against the side of our van, we look back and see the deer toppeling into the ditch, take a few efforts to recompose itself and then run into the woods. Mike stops the van and we all jump out to assess the damange. No dents in the van, luckily. Then we look at Charlie and Mike's bikes on the rack out back. Mike's is fine, but the above photo notes the damage done to Charlie's bike. For the photo, Charlie added the helmet he pulled out of his bag right before race time to find it crushed. It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but the back half is squished that Charlie can barely get that thing on his head. The van has an extra helmet that Charlie used for the race, on the condition it would come back unscathed.

I have felt really bad the past three days. I should not have raced. I have been hot and cold from saturday until monday, and then just feeling horrible since. I went into see Dr. Greg on Monday, so I know that things should get better soon. I am so tired that I can't do anything. I took Monday off from riding and tried to ride yesterday. If we would have gone any slower, we would have fallen over. I tried to encourage Scott to head on his own while I slogged home, but I guess it wasn't that bad of a pace for him. I have no desire to do much of anything, even ride, which is really odd for me. I hope I feel better soon as it is a beautiful day outside.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Scott and I loaded up the van and pickup up Charlie and Mike to head to the Wors race in Eau Claire yesterday. I almost didn't jump in the van and if I had to drive I would not have gone. Saturday my stomach was bad and I spent most of the day on the couch curled up with the cats. Not sure if they like it too much when I infringe on their space. I still felt pretty crappy on race day, but decided to show up to try regardless. I have had good races in the past not feeling very well and since the van was going anyway....

Charlie and Mike met us at Beaner's in west Duluth. Much to their disappointment, Beaner's had not yet opened for the day. Charlie was in shambles not knowing where his cup of jo would come from for the day. I like to think that drinking caffeine is all mental, but there are physiological benefits (and detriments - I once had a pt that told me she had to discontinue drinking coffee because the daily 32 read that right 32 - was giving her heart palpatations.)

Off in the van ... riding in comfort. I tried to get some sleep, but Charlie was a little chatty. I introduced him to the book I am reading, "Screeming to be heard" by Elizabeth Vliet. This book goes into detail about various hormonal and other problems women have that most doctors overlook. If anyone has gone to the Dr, got some obscure explanation and felt not listened to or taken seriously then this is a good book to read. We really have to advocate for ourselves, but I'll save that for another day.

After about 10 trips to the bathroom, getting all 'kitted' up for the day, Megan Anderson, the legendary Harry Anderson's wife, agreed to give up water bottle hand-ups,we started our preride. Kudo's to Megan! She saved us all. Preride went fine, but I could have easily stayed home and been on the couch. My legs felt fine to go slow and spin. I did one pick-up; that was enough.

Kyia and Jenna showed up, so knowing I was not feeling that well, my goal was for top three. I got a good start, but went straight where everyone went left, but it wasn't a big deal I still was third behind Jenna and Anne down the two track. I could barely see Jenna from all the dust kicked up from the men's pack that started 15 seconds ahead of us. I got around Anne and was on Jenna's wheel for a little while, when Kyia came flying around to take the lead. We all stayed together in a line until I looked up and saw a line of guys waiting to get into the singletrack. Kyia and Jenna went off to the left. The course turned right into the woods, so I rode through the tall grass on the right and got pass about 10 or so men. At another congested area I got by a few more. This was the best my race would get. I stunk it up in the singletrack. Kyia caught back on and got pass me. She was on fire on the two track, but I stayed with her for a lap. Then got gapped on the singletrack and lost her on the two track. She caught on to a group of guys and held on...I was not able to get back on to the group and rode best I could for the day. My legs felt flat, had zero turn-over, and as Charlie stated later in the van, I did not have the racing 'eye of the tiger'. I stayed in the race regardless cuz if Jenna, Kyia and I finished we would get fantastic Norba points. I didn't know that Jenna had crashed early in the first lap and then called it a day. I wondered why she had not caught me during the race, I was not going that fast. Kudos to Kyia she raced well and fast. Good to see her race well.

I have not raced in a race on that fast of a race course in a long time. Nor as dusty. I had way too much air in my tires for a course that dusty and loose around the corners. Scott had a really challenging day. We forgot to tape his wrist so his right hand went numb throughout the race. After the first rocky descent about a mile or two into the race, he blew his fork. He couldn't ride singletrack and thought he was just having an 'off' day until he realized it was his fork that was diving as he would go through turns, etc. He endo'd and fell three times the last lap and more during the previous laps. His bike has never got through that kind of test in the past. Scott took his fork off this morning and is off to get it sent in. We have a big trip to VT coming up and he needs his fork to work. VT has a very technical descent, similar to riding at Spirit Mtn.

On our way home, we stopped by to meet the newest McFadden. He is so tiny! He is about 6# and they named him Bode. It is fun to see our friends holding and taking care of such a tiny little baby. Diana and Todd are already good parents and they have only had four days of practice. I hope I get to babysit. He is very precious!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

This past week has been super busy. Tristan was up from Sunday to Thurs. Can't say I have ever cooked that much for Scott and our house guest. Tristan was really easy to have as a house guest. I had a few extra days off from work so that was really nice. Scott and I were able to do some things we normally don't get to do during the work week - like hang out at Beaner's, our local coffee shop. We went there today as well. On days I work I struggle to get on the bike. Yesterday I just couldn't get my legs to push my pedals and was going painfully slow. I let Scott ride by himself and turned home. Days I don't work I find I have so much more energy to ride and do other things as well.

Today we took the motorcycle out to watch the Duluth Duathlon. There were a lot of Ski Hut MTB team and triathlon team members competing. Scott said the temps were in the mid-50's while we were watching. My good friend from College, Amy, and her husband Al stayed at our house last night before the big race. Al did the race while the rest of us watched. It's always good to see Amy. We skied at NMU together and she makes me laugh. I have a picture of us together on the podium from the 1992 Korteloppet hanging on our wall. I love that photo - we look so young.

Tomorrow we are planning on heading down to Eau Claire. I am pretty tired so I plan on laying low today, riding at some point and then heading to a friend of our's house for a BBQ party. Todd and Diana had their first baby this past thursday and hopefully we'll get a chance to meet the little guy today or tomorrow. I love other people's babies. Especially if the babies are not crying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tristan is up staying with us for a few days seeing the new Doctor in town, Dr. Greg. He's trying to get his health back so he can race fast again before the end of the season. He joined us on The Ski Hut ride last night. There was a group of 20 plus riders. A few women showed up, which was great! One gal is only in Duluth for a few months and she did incredibly well as the trails are not easy. There are quite a few bridges that make me nervous cuz you'd land in a revine if you fall off the bridge. No casualties last night, thankfully. Ever humbled, my 69 y/o father-in-law rode a bridge that I dismounted and walked across. He's amazing. The trail also has roots and rocks and some pretty tricky uphills. Ever since getting my contacts put in my correct eyeballs, my technical skills have been returning to their former level. I realized riding with Dan and Scott that something was wrong. I couldn't get over any log piles or anything tricky. I switched contacts and its like a whole new world unfolded. Nice to not feel like I am looking through coke bottles.

Scott's brother Brad, could not find a ride from Duluth back to mpls after the Mont du Lac race. He decided to leave at 9 PM and ride home. Scott gave him a ride to Carlton, he rode to Moose Lake in the dark (he wouldn't take the light we offered). He had to stop cuz he couldn't see. He slept on a park bench until 3 AM when he awoke because his thin sweatshirt couldn't keep him cozy (he didn't have anything with except bike clothes and a sweatshirt). He wouldn't take the bars I offered, regretting his choice as he awoke starving. He made it to Pine City by 7 AM and then home around noon. 12 hour ride on his mountain bike with knobby tires. It usually takes him between 8-9 hrs to go the entire distance to our house on his road bike. He said he won't ride again anytime soon from Duluth on his MTB, ride in the dark and not take food with him. Crazy nut.

On another note, I was witness to a motorcycle accident the other week. I was riding my motorcycle and this guy in a trunk from the other direction was waiting for me to pass before he turned left, when I saw a motorcycle come up behind him and failed to stop. The motorcyclist hit the trucks rear left bumper and fell right into my lane. It was like watching a slow-motion endo on a mountain bike, onto pavement. The dolt wasn't wearing a helmet, but had gloves and some good boots that probably prevented him from braking his ankle. He was wearing short sleeves, so he got some nice road rash to commemorate the day. Luckily, I had slowed down enough to avoid running the guy over. I stopped and was shaking. It's usually the moto that gets smucked by the car, not the other way around!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Scott and I drove 20 minutes to the race start at Mont du Lac in Duluth for race #4 of the MNSCS series. The MN series races are the toughest races of a series. Really good climbing, technical singletrack. The race courses remind me some of the Norba's I did a few years ago. They are definitely races that will make someone a well-rounded racer. It was really hot, especially for Duluth standards. This was probably the second hottest day all year. Tough to acclimatize to all in one day for the locals, especially the expert men. It must have been around 90 degrees during the race by the time the race started at 1 pm. COGGS put on a great event. They sent us up to the top of the downhill from starting up the bottom and then looped us though to do the top half of the hill multiple times. The hill is steep in places - granny gear for some.

The women started with the men - which I like. It's good practice as it is pretty similar at Norba's racing with other pro women. The guy right in front of me broke his chain about three pedal strokes into the race. I was in pretty good position after the climb and into the singletrack. I got buggered up behind some men that didn't shift down enough to get up the steep ascent after a really bumpy and fast downhill. I had to run the next section until the flat. I caught back on and followed in the singletrack a group of guys that seemed to mostly have ski hut jerseys. It is really difficult to pass on the singletrack, so I had to wait a bit to pass. I got buy three or four guys and then finally caught up with Charlie and Todd, which I knew they must not be having a good day if I am passing them on an uphill. I tried to ride pretty steady each lap and the singletrack smooth.

Nicoli (Ski Hut) was right behind me going into my fourth lap up the long hill. At the end of last year he said to me, "Sara, my goal is to beat you". That is quite a compliment! I couldn't let him pass me without having to work really hard at it. I got into the singletrack ahead of him and could hear him back there from time to time for the first half of the lap, but didn't see him and had a nice gap before turning to finish. He still had another lap to go so who knows what would have happened had I had to do another lap. (Thankfully, the women do one less lap than the men). I drained an entire water bottle each lap - including what I poured on my head and my back.

Scott got 8th for the day. He rode the singletrack well, but the climb took it out of him. He just couldn't climb well. Maybe it was from all the brush-clearing back breaking work he did earlier this week to help a friend of ours out. He also drove the dr mower (not sure if that is the correct label) around the course the Tuesday night before the race to get the long grass mowed and the trail in race-ready shape. There were a quite a few volunteers helping out to build the new downhill to replace the really fast straight-shot downhill on the back of the course. The new downhill is full of turns, switchbacks, coupld bridges and even a little bit of uphill. Scott seems to think it adds on at least a minute to each lap. Each year the course gets better and better! Thanks to COGGS for hosting a great race and all the volunteers! There is talk of doing one big race that would be a huge loop from spirit mtn to mont du lac and back. It could be really epic, but most of all a spectacular race.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Scott and I headed to watch the Nature Valley Grand Prix last night. We drove down first to ride at Mammoth with Dan Swanson. Dan was trying to drop Scott and I for stretches at a time during the ride. It was so much fun! Duluth doesn't have much of nice windy fast singletrack due to all of our roots and rocks that will slow us down. Then we went to Jesse's and carpooled into downtown Mpls to meet Anne to watch the races!

The criterium was fantastic to watch. The women went first and were haulin. It was fun to watch them take tight turns. One gal went down on one of the last corners of the last lap. Luckily, no broken bones. The men were flying the last 20 minutes or so of their race. Their bikes were close to sideways going around the corners. We got to watch Doug race. We couldn't tell if he was tired or bored sitting at the back of the pack. As riders were getting blown off the back, he held on to the rear of the pack, but still in contact. The last 10 or so minutes he moved up quite a bit and said he wished he would have started to move up sooner in the race.

We got home today and are getting geared up for Mont du Lac MNSCS race tomorrow. Should be fun. It's supposed to be really hot. The course is in really good condition and is pretty challenging. It's on par with Maplelag and Spirit Mtn as far as technical difficulty and climbing. Scott installed a new screen door on the front of our house, where there previously was not one. Hopefully, it will help cool our house as summer is here (at least for the next few days or so).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This past weekend was fantastic! We got out of Duluth and sweltered on our drive up to Hougton. We couldn't believe how hot it was! After a pretty uneventful drive across northern WI and through the U.P., we checked into our hotel and rode for about an hour on the start of the course. Just long enough to get to where the singletrack on the course starts and ride a bit of that. I was still trying to get my suspension adjusted after riding the season thus far with it much too stiff.

We rode over to registration, this time at the MTU campus, we ran into the twins from Boulder, CO. Tony used to work at Trek, but made the move to Boulder and took a job with Pearl Zumi. The twins brought with them Kerry Barnholt - fast mountain and cyclocross biker and really nice gal as well. It was really nice to chat with her as she is a fellow Physical Therapist and Biker. I was a bit nervous to race against her as we have not done the same race since she was second behind Sue Haywood at the Chequamegon in 2004. We ran into her after that in Moab, UT of all places. It was really cool cuz they had this group of about 20 pro/expert women riding for the weekend and we got a chance to ride with them. It is really fun to ride with skilled and fast women MTBers! There are a few I know in Duluth, but not that many at that level. Super cool.

So the Keewenaw Chain Drive - 32 mile - race started at 10 am EST. I love early races and early Saturday races are even better! The start was a controlled start down downtown Houghton took a right hand turn across the bridge to Hancock and then a sharp right under the overpass and out to the cememtary. The cemetary has this long switchback paved uphill that lasts about 2 minutes and then it funnels into the singletrack. The singletrack is full of roots and rocks, but not nearly as abusive as Spirit Mtn for the most part. The course is two track and single track. Very Fun! Good benchcut and banked corners, tight single track in places and pretty unique riding. The bridges are wide enough. I just can't say enough good things about the course. The last 5 miles is kinda uphill, but not nearly as bad this year as I remember in years past. I felt kinda 'bonky' after about 40 minutes or so, but then started to come back around after a bit of refueling - I probably just waited too long. Kerry and I were riding side by side down main street and just before the start of the two track. I got in a group of guys and stayed in their draft. I stayed ahead of her on the cemetary climb, but then didn't see her again after that. I could hear her from time to time during the start of the singletrack, but never made contact again. I get nervous riding against really good riders, and I knew I would have to go really hard. Luckily, there were no mechanicals and I was able to hold her off and take the win. I lost the men's lead group early on this year, so my overall finish amonst the men was not as high, but my time was faster than last year's. Scott held it together to take 4th. Great conditions, Great race, Great town, and kudos to the race organizers - they do a great job!

Our original plan on Sunday was to head down to the Wors Phillips race. After much contemplation and humming and hawwing we decided to check out some new singletrack up in Calumet instead. Fantastic post race day singletrack! Nice and smooth singletrack that isn't too tight. Basically, a giggle ride. We rode 2.5 hrs and barely rode part of the trail twice. The conditions were perfect - not too hot and the company (Scott) even better! We are already trying to plan a trip back to the Keewenaw just to ride. We are told there are more trails to ride in Copper Harbor and a race this year both in Calumet and Copper Harbor.

It was nice to meet a few people at the race that read this blog. THANK YOU!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This week of training was better than the last. Last week I had to take three days off - not sure when I have done that last. I felt pretty bad in the race at Wausau so the resting didn't help. We have a new Dr. in town, Dr. Greg. He bought Northland Health and Wellness. He is really fired up to work with athletes. He had us ride our bikes to the clinic and then test us for which energy products would work for us the best during training and racing. Pretty cool stuff. He's got some great ideas. He has worked with Jeff Spencer (Lance Armstrong's personal Dr. that Lance would fly to accompany him during the Tour de France every year). Scott and I are a bit 'tanked' already only after a few races, so Dr. Greg is helping us get back on track. Scott and I often wonder what would happen with our racing if we could just stay healthy and energentic all season long. I have not raced as much as I would like these past few years due to low energy problems - I just have taken more time between races to recover.

We are still in the process of building some nice singletrack. At Spirit Mtn, while riding yesterday, we noticed someone did a nice re-route around this short steep grindy uphill - very few people can ride up. Then we can upon a downhillers jump that they built on our trail - so Scott nicely moved it so someone wouldn't get hurt if they accidentally hit it while riding the trails.

I was thinking of racing Afton until I started not feeling very well. Looks like they will have to have fun riding without me.

Better run. Got bike work to do and then a ride!

Monday, June 04, 2007

I was muddy from head to toe. I couldn't see out of my sunglasses after the second lap. I finally pulled them down to the bridge of my nose so I could see, but still protect my contacts. Mudd spray was flying off the bikes in front of me. On the third lap the rain started to come down converting the trail into a slick muddfest. The middle of the course was full of thick mudd. The grass was matted down from riders trying to find grip. The women's race started fifteen seconds behind the men. I was trying to catch the lead men's pack - bad idea - and looked back to only see Anne G. behind me. I let up a bit after realizing there is no way I would catch the men - and their draft. At the top of the first significant uphill, I was along to try and chase down the elite men in front of me. I keep picking off men and joining groups for a while. I felt pretty slow from the start all things considered. I just couldn't push on the flats, but the uphills felt fine and I could make myself push pretty hard. During the first lap I passed Brad and Todd from Team Ski Hut - Todd was carrying his seat post that had broken during the first few miles. He went on to finish the race with no seat. Imagine, standing for 2 plus hours riding, only using the big ring. The second lap I passed Charlie - from Team Ski Hut. He was laughing about needing to let out air from his tires - he had put 40 and 50 lbs of air in before the start. I crashed really hard while trying to lap a rider during the third lap. I had not pulled my glasses down yet and thought the large rock I was going over was flat. Evidently the thing was like hitting a wall. I landed hard right on top of the thing. I got up fast, but my left shin and knee caps hurt so bad I could barely spin my pedals. Charlie passed me back laughing. I lost my group as well. Then I was really crabby after that. I felt like I was just riding for a while and stopped racing. I hate going slow and I felt slow. My legs really hurt from the fall. If felt like I had a flap of skin hanging down my leg. When I got done, I was just badly bruised. The third and especially fourth laps felt like I was riding in the snow - the mudd was that deep. I kinda giggled to myself cuz I love riding in snow. If I had not crashed earlier, I probably would have enjoyed it even more. Four ten mile loops around nine mile forest. A little bit of singletrack - a lot of two track. I was thankful and relieved to see the finish line.

Monday, May 28, 2007

This was a super busy weekend. No races, but it felt like we did a race each day since saturday. Scott and Mike, along with Charlie, Todd, Joe, and Jesse (who drove up from the cities to help out), all worked two solid days to get a new roof on our house. I was go-to girl - doing all but getting up on the roof. I don't like heights. Bad things can happen if one falls from up there. The roof looks great! I like the look of the green roof. Our neighbors sounded a bit disappointed that we would re-roof our house with a different color to no longer 'match'. Our old roof was in a sorry state, so luckily it worked out for Mike to lead the project this weekend.

I planted about 30 trees in our yard - to get rid of the grass and as windbreaks. I finished planting my garden and made an eight foot high fence around my garden to, hopefully, keep the deer out of our garden. The neighbors feed the deer so I am going to have to cross my fingers and pray a bit along with this fence. I used the deer netting variety - that stuff will make you cross-eyed looking at it, and then tied some orange tape to it so that animals won't run into it. I had to take today off from riding. All the trail building, compost moving, tree planting, etc, etc caught up with me. I was just shot today, but kept going as I had six year old Sophie to keep track of as Charlie was helping roof. Plus, she's cool to hang out with and a really good worker. I try to keep her as busy as I can. Hate for her to get bored! She was intent on collecting as many old nails from the roofing project as she could. Evidently, Charlie was supposed to pay her per nail that she found in the grass, etc. Todd even brought a magnet on a stick to help her find them with. Not sure how big of a hole Charlie has in his pocket, but I kept Sophie a little too busy for her to have made her fortune.

I had a nice ride saturday by myself. The boys went out to dinner - along with Diana - while I just had to get out and ride. I had been hauling compost, getting a truck stuck, then unstuck; and making trail. It felt like I had waited forever to get on my bike that day.

I rode yesterday with Amy, a friend of mine from college - NMU days. We won our first NCSA National XC ski championship together before NMU switched to NCAA's. She was a really fast XC skier. We grew up racing against each other in high school and then skied together in college on the same team. It was really fun until we both got so overtrained we could barely get out of bed. Amy doesn't live in duluth, but just showed up at my door on her bike. So I took her on the new trail we put in this weekend (we built about 1-2 miles of new trail). Amy's new to single-track riding and it brought back memories of when I was first riding. Back then I didn't like riding with anyone else but Scott. I used to laugh and tell Scott that 'my feet belonged on the ground'. Amy's one of my favorite people so it was fun to bike along and chat.

I will be off to wausau for the wors marathon next weekend. Should be fun as I have not raced in wausau for a while and the loop should be longer than a regular wors course. Looking forward to it!

Friday, May 25, 2007

This last monday was the first Monday Night Women's Ride of the year. As you can tell from the photo the conditions were a bit less than perfect. 40 degrees and foggy...a not so atypical day in Duluth. We had a great time riding and chatting. Rachel, in the blue, borrowed my Gary Fisher 29er and Michelle rode her singlespeed.

The Women's ride happens every second monday each month. We meet in conjunction with The Ski Hut ride (go to and click on Monday night ride, 'read more' for the location, or call the store). This is a 'no drop' ride and there is usually a second rider from the ski hut to keep the group together.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cable Classic - 23 mile long course

Race day was yesterday...I love racing at Cable. The long race is about 1/2 singletrack and the rest two track.

It was 63 degrees and humid as we drove out of Duluth. Sunny on the way down and then as we were getting ready to warm-up, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. The rain let up at the start, but temps dropped as the race went on. Our 8 mile ride fromt the finish back to our car was freezing.

The race got started at 10 am. The lead-out car went pretty slow, so it wasn't tough to stay up near the front. I got behind a few guys in the first section of singletrack and couldn't get by them. Unfortunately, that opened a gap between our group and the next group that we couldn't seem to chase down. The singletrack was fantastic! Twisty, windy, but able to keep the momentum going. I was racing with Team Hollywood and a Ski Hut guy for most of the race. It was fun to be racing with fast men! I was able to hold my own on the uphills and singletrack, but had to work on the road sections. I felt quite a bit better than I did at Maplelag last weekend from the standpoint that I could get my legs to spin up the hills and my legs didn't burn the entire race! Some races I know I just have to suffer through. I didn't have it as bad as some of the other Duluthians racing. Our friends Charlie and Brian lauched off this moto-style burm that is on the trail to slow people down prior to crossing a gravel road. Brian launched first and dislocated his shoulder. Charlie didn't hit his brakes at all prior to going off this thing and landed hard - crushing his helmet and looking like he'd been dragged behind a horse for a mile or two. Reports from the volunteer manning the area - Charlie flew the highest and furthest. Way to go Charlie!

Scott had a bit of bad luck as well. He was leading the race with Jesrin G. They had a comfortable gap ahead of the chase group. Scott said he felt fantastic! He couldn't go hard enough. Then he flatted. After his tire sealant failed (not enough in the tire) and big air failed to put the air in the tube (went everywhere else); he had to put a tube in, but then the tube had a hole or something. Then he finally begged a tube and air from another racer, but by then he had gotten passed by 1/2 the field or so. He raced his way back up to 44th, a big disappointment from the way the day started.

Scott and I lubed up our chains with Dumonde Tech racing lube. There is this huge puddle 1/2 way or so during the race that there was no way around. I biked straight through it and thought that was the end of clean shifting. I had zero problems shifting after that. Even the cool down ride to the car, my chain didn't sound dry or nasty.

So I finished first amongst the women, and 13th overall amongst the men. I wasn't too far out of 10th (about a minute). I could see a group of six or so men right ahead of me on the long two mile two track section into Cable, but was kinda tired and didn't have enough left to pour it on. Luckily, some Hollywood racer passed me and didn't try to drop me. Thank You!

I love racing cuz I learn something new each race. Whether it is how to better prepare for the race, race strategy, tactics, etc, etc. It is great having men to race with as they are very fast and it is tough to get around them being about the same speed. It makes me work. Nicoli A, an accomplished XC skier and improving MTB racer, stated in his Russian accent last year "Sara, my goal is to beat you." He came pretty close this race, only 1/2 a minute back. Looks like I have more work to do.....

A contrast from yesterday, today we had snow on our deck when we awoke this morning. We went for a nice little walk in the woods and are in recovery mode. I am really tired today, so looks like an afternoon nap is in order.
Photo by: Gary Crandall

Friday, May 18, 2007

Well, this week has been not too eventful. My first women's MTB ride got postponed until next monday due to up to baseball size hail that fell in Duluth. Quite a few of our friends experienced some hail damage to their vehicles. Trek sent me some cool stuff to hand out for the women's ride. I am trying to spread the word. We'll meet every second monday night of the month through the summer in conjunction with the ski hut Monday Night Ride - the women will go on a separate ride, but meet in the same location.

Training has just been ok. I must be tired from racing these past two weekends. Scott and I race tomorrow in Cable WI for the Cable Classic. I love that race! Really nice singletrack. Scott's 67y/o dad will race as well (along with his brother that he battled with last year in the race).

Better get to cleaning the bikes and getting the VW all set to go........

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This past weekend we were at a UCI race at Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN. The course was phenomenal - a real mountain biker course and one that will make you a better racer and rider.

I raced the Pro race. There was a small field, but most of the women have been racing nationals and racing since end of March. This is my second race of the season, so I know I am not in top form, but I like to go fast and hard.

I got a good start, but one minute into the race, my legs started to feel sluggish. I had a difficult time pushing gears and getting the cadence I needed. I got passed and was 5th or 6th into the first small section of singletrack. A gal fell in front of me and the leaders gapped the rest of the field. Then I dropped by chain right before the big uphill wall and had to run up. I passed two riders in the lake section of singletrack, but then it took me a while to get passed the rider in third. I finally got past her in the singletrack, but by then the first two gals had a gap. I felt I rode the singletrack pretty well, especially considering how little I had ridden it this spring due to the snowmelt, wet trails, etc. My legs burned the whole race and I didn't really ever feel fast, just felt like I had to suffer to keep my spot and not give it up to the gal not too far behind me. I could see her from time to time as the course double-backed on itself, so I knew she was trying to catch me. I held her off for third place. I was satisified from the race as I did the best I could given how my legs felt.

My bike was set-up perfectly as I took some air out of my rear and front shocks since Iola and switched tires to the Bontragger Revolt X. I had perfect traction in the singletrack.

Sunday, us gals did a long group ride. It was really fun to ride with other fast women (although we rode slow)!