Friday, June 22, 2012

Red Wing Classic MTB Race

Finally it was here!  My first Minnesota Mountain Bike Series race of 2012!  I've come to realize that in order to "race" Hottie I've usually got to do a bit of travelin.  However it's all good since I am getting to see a lot of new areas and this was my first trip to Red Wing.  What a beautiful place set right on the river!  Memorial Park is where the race is held and its pretty much right at the top of a huge bluff and the views are incredible!  I was racing in the Sport class which meant a race start of 11:00 AM!  Can you believe that?  a whole 3-4 hours later than most of my tri's!  Tom was driving...which meant I was navigating...which is you guessed it...a horrible combo.  However I'm guessing if we flipped flopped...still a horrible combo.  I should probably just ride in the back seat from now on since we ended up in Hastings...oops.  Thankfully we realized our mistake quick enough to still get to the race with just enough time for a small warm up. 

The fun part about these races is that they are pretty much all day long fiesta starting With the kids and beginner races finishing with the expert/pro races. By the time I arrived the race day energy was already in full affect...think getting to the bars around 11:30 pm..just like that! I loved it.  Just before the start it was smoking hot and I was worrying that my ALL black All City jersey was going to turn out to be a horrible choice. Also I had ordered a size large and realized it was...well a bit too large and thus I had to tighten it with some safety pins in order to keep my spare tube kit from bouncing around...ghetto! 

The line up for the race start was quite interesting.  It kind of went in waves. Seemed to be a few different waves for the men based on age groups and well since there isn't quite the # of women racing only one wave for us...right in the back.  I was already getting antsy about how the start was gonna go...where to line up my bike..how fast would the smash out of the gates be... etc.  Also they had this thing called "call ups"  It's exactly as it sounds..basically they call your name if you are good enough and then you get to move up to the start line first and thus pick your starting spot.  Craziness...obviously since I've never done a race my name was not called :(  So I took my sport in the back row which is most likely where i belonged and waited for the gun to go off. 


BOOM!  woah...holy shiz i couldn't believe how fast we were just ripping out of there and just like that I was in probably 8th or 9th place.  I was mostly observing at this point and then remembered...THIS IS A RACE...MOVE YOUR ASS!  at which point I did and was able to pass a couple gals on the hills entering the first single track portion of the race in maybe 5th place.  It actually didn't take too long for me to pass most of the women...well except for 1 gal in a super cute Lululemon bike kit..so not just for the yogi's?  So I was in 2nd...but my tongue was practically touching my knees!   I remember at one point looking down and my watch said 11:32 (our race started at 11:08) i though holy shiz...I still have like a whole nother hour of this...I had better chill out. I was able to see Tom and and some other spectators on some of the single track sections...awesome.  It was super fun to hear them cheer.  However.....I did manage a nice wipe up right in front of them.  Couldn't believe the timing! The trail wasn't wet, but it was a bit slippery and I realized that i completely SUCK at climbing hills with roots cuz it seemed like every time I'd get stuck on the root, spin my back tire and pretty much topple over.  The icing on the cake of these incidents was that meant I got to run my bike to the top of the hill...hard and hard core.  At least good practice for cyclocross season I figure (yes I fully intend to dabble in that too!)
LOTS OF THIS!!!

I had heard about this portion of the course called the "stairway to heaven" and I kept wondering when it would suddenly come into view.  About 3/4s the way through the first loop we took a hard right and BAM there she was.  It was probably the most ridiculous thing I've seen thus far in a race (it was close to as gnarly as the Kuparasaari Half Big Bertha Hill from 2010). No one around me the first time through was able to ride their bike up it.  I just took one look and conceded instantly....by the time I  ran up it (okay more like walked) my calves were in huge knots!  I was stoked to get back on my bike but was worried how much time I lost with those walking shananigans.  I was still in 2nd...well until I dropped my chain...damn it.  I need to learn to act calmly in these situations..instead I swore like a truck driver and was so rattled it probably took me twice as long as normal to fix the situation and also gave me a front row view of the now 2nd place gal passing me...not cool, I also realized that even though I was still in 3rd, the gal in 4th was now right on my arse. Dang move it... I knew we still had quite a bit of racing to do so I was hopeful I could use my endurance to make up some ground...however not so much.  I finished the 3rd loop only 21 seconds behind 2nd place (I just kept seeing her blue jersey... like a dangling carrot).  We were both about 3 minutes from 1st place. IT WAS A BLAST!!!!!  And the other gals were super nice and friendly at the finish and it was fun to ramble about the challenges of the race...loved that and can't wait to race again!   


 Next up is the Lutsen 39er race this coming Saturday!  This race is mostly on gravel and snowmobile trails with I think only about 4 miles of single track. However the North Shore has been getting pummeled with rain over the past few days so could end up being a royal mud bath!  Party on!

Monday, June 4, 2012

DIRT, DOGS, and CHEERS

Dirt:
First off...this girl is obsessed!  Ever since my first mtb ride at Theo I have been completely hooked and can't stop talking about this new new adventure. I feel like mom and dad just came home with my first Huffy!!! Lets Ride!!  You see when it comes to most things for me there is no half assin it...it's an either balls to the walls or no thanks ..and poor TCat I'm 100% certain he just sits back and laughs at how I digest these new experiences and won't shut up about them! 

Since I am a glutton for competition...before I even bought Hottie I was already google stalkin up a storm when and where I could race her!  I heard about these Buck Hill Thursday night races, they sounded pretty laid back and a nice pressure free opportunity to give er a go!  This would be only my 3rd time riding Hottie and I knew I was totally out over my skis on this one...and I was so nervous all day I probably peed 25 times!  I signed up for the Recreation Women Class which apparently only includes about 7/8 people...in fact shockingly I would say women only represented about 10%  of all the racers.  Thank God I got there early enough to do a dodgy warm up loop at which I was quickly presented  with the opportunity to learn how to get passed, which proved to be a very valuable skill 30 minutes later. 


Race started at 6:30...first the Advanced Men, then Advanced women, Rec Men and finally Rec Women!  Boom!  We were off... I was a little hesitant (chicken shit) and surprised out of the gate how fast the pace was.... by the time we had made our way up to the start of the single track I was quite out of breath.  This was to be a 2 loop race for the rec wave.  I spent most of the 1st loop trying to figure out how this passing situation was and I was feeling like a red bull in a china shop when passing some of the rec men. The first gal had a mechanical and I was able to pass the other gal on one of the uphill road sections...suddenly I was in first and I couldn't believe it!  It was ridiculous and super sketchy riding as I was thinking "how could this be happening..I don't even know what hell I'm doing!" or much less where to go!  I started to feel more comfortable on the 2nd lap and things were flowing pretty smoothly...until crunch my chain flew up into my wheel...i had to stop and pull out the chain, and run up a few hills before able to mount my bike again..at this point I WAS DYING!!! Total panic attack mid race and my heart rate must have been 200!  At this point some of the advanced men were catching me and it was feeling like a total cluster!  Of course I ddn't want to stall anyone...yet still wanted to ride as fast as I could. I was so relieved to finally finish the race and it was only 37 minutes long! I was shocked that I had won!  I had no idea these races could be this hard...and definitely was surprised at how much fun I had...wow!  The post race atmosphere is fantastic with everyone just chilling having a a beer and watching all the kid races...I even saw a 5 year old boy crash hard, hit his head...and then get right back up and finish!  Awesome! I was so stoked afterwards I couldn't fall asleep and pretty sure I spent the whole night dreaming about it!   Big thanks to Chris for helping me fix the rear derailleur situation and also fitting me properly on this bike...I already race again tomorrow...Elm Creek Sprint Series style!

Dogs:
Believe it or not there has been more fun to the past couple weeks than just racing!  We spent memorial day weekend in the CHI TOWN catching up with good friends Shan, Trav , CC and Matt! This was a somewhat central meeting spot since we're all scattered across the country now.  TCat and I went for a run Saturday along the lake shore...okay it was probably more of a jog..but still it was a good hedge for the 2 Chicago dogs, Geno's East and numerous bud light limes that was put away this weekend! See I even "trade" on the weekends :)  We all had a blast checking out the city and we roasted literally in 97 degree heat outside Millennium park!  Are we in Mexico? This was my first legit trip to Chicago and I really loved it!  Here is a late night photo with my two besties! What a couple Divas!


Cheers:
The Buffalo triathlon was my first race back in 2006 and ever since then it has held the crown for my very favorite local race!  They do such a spectacular job and it's no wonder they got 1600 people to sign up this year!  The race as usual went off without a hitch.  I was bummed to not be racing, but knew I wouldnt' get the result i wanted since still recovering...besides I was also more than stoked to just cheer for my TCat who was racing the Sprint as well as friends Lisa, Andrea, Jason, and Donnetto!  One bummer though...no latte...that can never happen again.  The TCat had a fantastic race...taking 9th overall in what seemed to be a very competitive sprint race relative to recent years.  He was really throwing it at the end and I could tell by the pained expression on his face...I was so proud and happy to see him have a good race!  Lisa also raced strong as usual and looked so great on the run!  Jason always smiling and Donetto finishing as well...these 2 amaze me since they both competed with me only 4 weeks ago in the St. George hot mess than I have been trying to repress.