Monday, June 22, 2009

The MNSCS Dirtspanker race was just over a week ago. Scott got 7th and I got 2nd. The course has a nice long climb on it that I just tried to stay steady on and not lose too much time to Jenna, but I did anyway. I stunk in the singletrack and after talking with Scott this past week realized my rear shock was locked out. Wrong race course for that to happen. Scott felt ok during his race until he started cramping on the 3rd lap and still had one more to go. He only lost one place. The rest of the week after that race I felt wasted. The course is so fun, but definitely one of the more challenging courses in the midwest. Spirit Mountain is tougher though (that race is in Sept). There is also a new race in Duluth this year at the new Piedmont trail system. It starts in Lincoln park and climbs up to the infamous Exhibition drive (in the wintertime where all the houses are all lit up with Christmas lights along the Duluth hillside). From there it will enter the new singletrack built over the past couple of years by COGGS and other volunteers.

Scott and I finally decided late in the week to go to the Chain Drive Festival in Houghton, MI. It was tough to decide between that race and Mt. Morris, but Houghton is definitely a cool town to hang out in so we chose to go in that direction. Thankfully, Scott took the initiative because if it were left up to me I would have been sitting on the couch or catching up on sleep instead of driving 4.5 hrs to the U.P. I was not excited to race as I had not ridden my bike in two days, put in a long day at work on Friday in the clinic and felt both mentally and physically wasted. Scott drove the whole way with Kiera playing nicely and then finally falling asleep while I tried to sleep, but somehow it always seems to escape me.

Luckily, a friend of a friend helped Scott find us a babysitter during the race so both of us could race. Scott later wished he would have been the babysitter and saved the entry fee and babysitting money.

The course was really fun. Since it had been two years since we had raced the Chain Drive, they have added a lot more singletrack. The singletrack is well worth the drive even if neither of us felt that good while racing. Scott was in second place until 10 miles to go. His group wasn't going super fast, but he just fell apart and couldn't push his pedals any more than an easy spin. I almost caught up to him so that tells me how bad his race was as my legs hurt the entire time while racing and I felt like my head was in a fog of fatigue. I also had way too much air in my tires in the singletrack and felt like I was in a pin ball machine getting bounced around. The rocks were still slick from the rain the day before. I should have stopped to let out some air. My skills are just not that good yet. I was very glad to see the finish line. I was thankful I still finished first as I was sure the second place woman was going to catch me. As neither of us felt stellar about our day and Scott considerably more bummed than I, we decided to head home straight after the awards.

Kiera did really well and loved the babysitter. She had a great day looking at all the people and everything. Of course when she saw me the crying started as she finally realized she was hungry and then settled in for her first nap of the day in the early afternoon. Since getting back to Duluth after sweltering in the VW van with no AC, we have been to the zoo, lakewalk, on a hike with a friend and visiting with several of our other friends and their children. It is fun to see Kiera interacting with other kids. We are thinking she'll be an extrovert and take after Scott more in that way.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is a photo of Kiera and her Great Aunt at the Afton MNSCS race a few weekends ago. They had a blast and it was so nice of her Great Aunt to want to hang out with her. We had a very busy weekend first by celebrating my dad's 70th birthday party in his hometown of Mora. There were a great number of relatives there...from as far as Alaska. Then we hung out and stayed at the Swanson's meeting their friends that have a 6 month old and of course seeing little Stella.

I felt better at the Afton race than at Cable by quite a bit. It is a different type of race course though being primarily singletrack at Afton, whereas the new race director at Cable took out most of the singletrack. I can tell I have not found my pre-pregnancy racing form, but things seem to be heading in the right direction. Or at least I thought so after the race. Scott didn't finish his race. He doesn't seem to do well in the heat. It was about 85 degrees and, thankfully, windy. Our car doesn't have AC, so Kiera got a bit overheated and fussy on the way home (poor kid). By the time we got home that night it was 41 degrees in Duluth. We got a better warm up this time than at Cable. However, I am more concerned with getting our babysitter and daughter all set up that I don't warm up as well as I should. Nothing like a race to jump start the system!

The Cable Classic was our first race (back in May). Neither of us got a warm up as we were trying to make sure our baby and babysitter (Michelle F-H) were all set. They had a blast and Michelle did such a great job of keeping Kiera warm and happy. The race was about 35 degrees at the start. I really didn't want to race, but since we had a babysitter I felt obligated. I didn't feel good racing, got a really slow start and couldn't wait for the finish line. There was quite a bit of singletrack missing from the race course compared with previous years and at one point in the race I got kinda bored. We really like the Hayward/Cable area and have been racing this race for years to support the area. On a high note, I did feel better racing this year than last year while pregnant. Scott didn't have a very good day. He doesn't really know why except he may have seasonal allergies. The cats have been gone from our house for about a year and he is feeling much better overall. He no longer naps everyday after school/work and has been a whole new person in terms of energy level.

As far as expectations for this season I've come to realize I shouldn't have any. Neither of us get regular sleep and thus regular training is difficult. Some days while riding I feel so tired that I am not sure that it is doing me any good except it is good to have some time to myself. Our next planned race is this coming weekend - Mont du lac MNSCS race. There has been additional fun singletrack added to the racecourse lap from last year. I hear it is really fun! I'll get a chance to preride it the day before the race as I work the days the course is open to ride (Tues). Since Afton, neither of us has felt very well and my rides are exceptionally slow with zero ability to go fast or hard. So, one or both of us may be handing out water instead. We'll see.....