Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ironman Cozumel + Frigid State CX Craziness

Since it's the holiday season I'll try not to be too harsh by rubbing all kinds of warm, beachy, photos in your face. However, I can't help but share some of the awesome moments of this years trip to Cozumel!


On December 1, 2013 my husband Tom became and Ironman for the SIXTH TIME! Having done a few of these myself it's definitely true that they never get easier.  After struggling through a very personally challenging run Tom claimed this to be the "hardest Ironman he ever finished."  When it comes to Ironman a statement such as that has nothing to do with the actual course itself, but rather the personal struggle, tenacity and perseverance that it takes to get your body across that finish line.  A day where you can say those word's "hardest Ironman I've ever finished" is a damn good day.  So proud of you babe, more than you will ever know.

 
 
 
Huge Congrats to Jeff, Paul, David, Sue, and Michelle for their Ironman finishes! This was a trip amongst friends and Lisa, Christina, Kathy and my parents Karla and Jack all had a blast cheering and making ridiculous signs.
 

Afterwards we did what people do when they are in Mexico!  We laid at the pool, drank way too many margarita's and had way too many shots of tequila (some of us more than others). We also spent way too much time laying in the sun and as a result I nearly burnt off the top of my right foot, eek!

 
 
In order to get to and from Cozumel Island we had to take some freak show 15 seater plane from Cancun. This nearly caused me a panic attack...it looked so retro ghetto on the inside that I could have put money on us sky jumping our way out of there. But turns out the flight was pretty smooth. Go figure.

 
 
When we got home Friday night, it was zero degrees outside and then Saturday morning I did one of the dumbest things ever ...I went to the State CX Race!  It was so freaking cold I think my body was in total shock.  Needless to say it went pretty horrible for me...

 

Don't worry, I was quick to laugh this race off and realize that yep, now is a really great time to take a break from racing, the demands of training schedules, and watt goals, etc.  I've decided not to race CX Natz this year and instead rest up for the spring MTB season. I was a hard decision, but for me, right now...it's the right decision. 

So bring on the snow biking and the holiday cheer!!!  I have some big dreams for next year and some new races that I am beyond excited for. Stay tuned. In 2014 I will let go of fear and pressure and finally become comfortable with uncomfortable.  I will not wait for Jan 1st to make positive changes, life is now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jingle Cross DID NOT Rock - Take 2

Okay, to be fair Jingle Cross DID rock for most people...

Photo Credit: Kevin McRee - Cyclingdirt.org
It just didn't rock for me.  Since it's been a week I figure it's about time I stop licking my wounds and get this blog post over and done with.  Don't get too excited though, because if you're hoping for an Oprah special, you'll be seriously disappointed.


Photo Credit: Yet another bike photo
 To make a long story short, a multitude of chaos happened last weekend, but really it all boiled down to these 3 things:

1. My tires were UCI illegal - This literally "let the air out" of Friday Night. Day 1 = DNF Sure,  I should have known, but it's my first year so I get a pass.

2. I crashed on Day 2 = DNF -  broken derailleur hanger, and the bull struck again (I thought I kicked that?)

3. I'm tired from all the travel, mechanical and racing stress of this past year. Day 3 = DNS

In all honesty, I was pretty bummed out earlier this week. Some of my bummed outtedness was warranted, and some of it was not.  Monday Tom sent this photo to me via email with a sad face next to it.

Photo Credit: Dave McElwaine - Cycling News
At first the photo nearly made me cry.  Really? My very first Cycling News photo...and this is the moment they capture?

But then I remembered how incredibly hard I had worked for this photo.  For this moment, to have been able to line up at the start of a UCI Elite CX race and to actually feel as though I belonged.  I've learned over the years that things usually don't go as planned. Sometimes it's for the better, and sometimes it's for the worse.  But in the end, last weekend was a part of my journey as a cyclist and this moment that Cycling News happened to capture will undoubtedly impact the many years ahead.  I'm guessing it will be for the better :)

Outside of the chaos that was last weekend there really were a lot of positive  moments.

Friday Night Foundry tent, under the lights - so incredibly stoked!


Day 2 Race Start
Photo Credit: Dave McElwaine - Cycling News
 
Good start = Good company
seconds before I went bull in a china shop
Lastly, I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards the Mpls CX community. So let's call this an early Thanksgiving!!  It still humbles me the # of people that went out of  their way to offer me their spare sets of tires and wheels and even their bikes.

Matt from Foundry got his hands dirty Friday night to help me mount up a new set of tubeless tires when really he could have been having fun drinking beer and watching the men's elite race. Thank you so much! Huge thanks Aaron for borrowing a set of spare tires and a massive thanks to Jay and Kristy from Hollywood Cycles.  Kristy wasn't able to race as she hurt her back, yet they didn't even flinch at the chance to offer me the tires off her spare wheels...Jay even took them off moments before his race start, this was a gesture I'll never forget. Thank you Bush for wrenching on my bike Saturday, you are the best, and really just chatting with you helped cheer me up.  Thank you to my coach Matt for listening to my ventathon...and thank you Tom for everything...I know he would have given me the skin off his back if I could have used it as tires :) 

Lastly.. thanks to all the rest of you for your hugs and kind words and for just stopping by to see if you could help.  It meant the world to me.  I am lucky to live and race in such a fine community.

And I am lucky that I will live to race another day. 

But first....I will be heading to Mexico to watch my husband chase his Ironman Cozumel dream.  Trust me, life is good.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mill City CX and other things..

Before we talk about anything else…check out my cute man getting FAT air at Iceman!  

Photo Credit: MarathonFoto


Generally I would be too thrifty cheap to throw down on a race day photo from Glamour Shots, but when your hubby goes monster truck rally on the flyover at Iceman, you spend the money! 
Last week I was suffering from a major Iceman hangover, but fortunately I had a few things to keep me distracted.  It’s November… which mean I am officially back training one night/week at The Fix Studio!  Winters in MN can be really long…so long that I’m not sure what I’d do if I couldn’t happily walk into this door at least once a week!
 
Larry, Sophie, Lev (and their new mechanic Eric) all rock and really when it comes to power training nothing tops “The Fix. Wednesday marked the start of the Nov-Dec session which meant…I had to do a field test, ugh.  I hate power tests, cuz basically it’s an all out major sufferfest with really no one to chase except your own pain.
Then Thursday night this happened!!
 
 
My buddy Isaac did one of the most generous things ever and came over to our place to teach us how to mount tubeless tires!  Being a newbie to this off-road stuff we haven’t really learned how to master this technique, so having Isaac show us meant the world to me!  Tires make me go apeshit!  Seriously I’ve spent so much time over the past year stressing out about my tires it’s not even funny. Even ask Matty Leiz about my tire drama, I’m pretty sure he won’t even talk to me about tires anymore. 

Photo Credit: All City X/Fulton Racing
 
Finally Sunday rolled around and it was time to race again and test out my tires!  Mill City CX almost froze off my toes last year with its creek crossings, so needless to say I was ecstatic when I realized that the creek was dried up this year!  The course was still pretty sweet with a few hills and a run-up. 
The skirted rock star Kristy picked a much better start spot than most of us and then shot out like a cannon taking the hole shot. I was able to pass through the first sand section to gain the lead.  The rest of the race was spent mostly trading places with Corey and at times it almost felt as though we were in the midst of a heated battle of 1 on 1 hoops, only I was breathing much harder.  It was one hell of a race and I was really enjoying the battle…well until the 2nd to last lap when things really started to fall apart for me and really I had nothing left in my legs.  Corey was able to create a gap on a climb and I really never recovered.  In the end, I think it was a great race for both of us.  
I have been spending most of this week recovering and getting my legs prepped and ready to rock Jingle Cross.  In fact as I type this my legs are sausaged up in compression sleeves, and I’ve also spent a serious amount of time this week like this:
 
This photo cracks me up because Vito follows me everywhere. I guess he is a bit more of a crazy cat like me.  Chubbs on the other hand, she is much more of a chiller, like Tom.  Vito and I could both use little more chill.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wolf Tooth Chainring - It's Grrreat!

My brand new Wolf Tooth chainring is easily one of my favorite things about my new Foundry Harrow set up.  It’s the last piece of the puzzle and I’ve finally been able to ride it enough to be able to tell you folks how truly awesome it is!

Last summer I splurged and went XX1 on mFoundry Broadaxe mtb set-up.  It was one of those “go hard or go home” type of situations.  Needless to say it was (and still is) amazing!  Being able to take a couple mechanical risks out of the equation not only made cycling finally seem simpler to me, but it just took away a lot of unnecessary frustration. One less derailleur to worry about, no more dropped chains, and no more “oh shit, big hill and I’m in the wrong ring up front” chaos.
I started out this cross season really wanting to have a set-up that would mimic this. Huge thanks to Wolf Tooth Components for helping me make this possible!
 
Wolf Tooth’s “Drop Stop” chainring with it’s narrow/wide tooth configuration allows you to essentially make yourself an XX1 like set up without the need to drop a $$ bomb switching out your entire drive chain.  I threw this chainring on a FSA crank I already owned, and then combined it with a 11-36 cassette and SRAM Type 2 derailleur in the rear.  
Lone behold, peace and order have been restored in the world!!! 

 
I don’t need to tell you how clean that looks, it’s pretty blunt and staring you in the face.  I’ve been racing this set-up for just over a month now.  Admittedly I had some initial concerns about the security of the chain up front. No need to worry any longer!  I’ve raced this set up on a SUPER muddy day at Green Acres and also on a SUPER bumpy day at Red Barn. No dropped chain! It is amazing and I can’t imaging racing any other set up ever again!  Of course the 11-36 takes some getting used to with its larger moves between each chainring, much like the XX1 set-up.  However cx racing just became simpler AND with this switch my Harrow lost nearly a ½ pound that I no longer have to lug up stairs and over barriers!  HOOOOOWWWL! grr...




Wolf Tooth Components is a Minneapolis based company, which of course makes them that much cooler. They are definitely on to something huge and I’m pretty sure we will all start to see these chainrings popping up more and more all over the world.  Right now I can assure you that you’ll also see me saving some $$ and weight this fat bike season by throwing one of these on my snow beast. Party on! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Iceman Cometh - Best race ever!

My first Iceman race is officially in the books!  We sure had one heck of a weekend and I already miss blue waters of Traverse City!  That city is easily one of the most beautiful places in America.  I can't wait to go back some time in the summer when the resort town is in full steam. 

Tom and I left Thursday afternoon with a goal to make it 7 hours north for our evening stop in Manistique, MI. It rained pretty much the entire drive - ugh!  We arrived to our motel around 11 pm Michigan time.  Since it was so late in the evening the owners said "we'll just leave the keys in the room and settle up in the morning."  This is why I love the UP.  So much trust and life is just simpler.  Our motel room was super cute and everything that we needed.  I am quickly becoming obsessed with motels. How is walking 5 steps from your car to the door of your hotel not the coolest, most convenient thing in the entire world?  Motels are so underrated. 

Free Internet?? Yes please!

Friday morning I went for coffee and bagels at the local supermarket and Tom went for a 45 minute run and then were on our way, crossing over the Mackinaw Bridge (ahhh!)


and finally arriving at Einstein Cycles in Traverse City!  EC is easily one of the best shops in all of Michigan and owners Jason and Kristie basically "built this city" from the ground up starting the shop in their own garage!


Photo Credit: Cody Sovis
Tom and Jason have gotten pretty close over the past couple years and we were so fortunate to be able to stay at their lovely home over the weekend.  Huge thanks to both Jason and Kristie for all their hospitality. It was so great to know them both as well as their cute lil kiddos. We felt so welcome and spoiled all weekend long.

Friday was spent mostly at the Expo visiting the Foundry and Einstein tents and filling our tummies at North Peak Brewery.  Saturday came quickly and after being treated to French toast and bacon we headed up to the start.  Tom was racing at 10:20 in the Fat Bike class and Jason and I weren't racing until 2:30 PM in the Pro/Cat 1 class.  This is such a neat part about Iceman.  Basically 5000 racers go off in waves all morning long and then the finish line is one big huge party as all the riders await the finish for the men's and women's pro races! 

Pretty soon Tom, Danielle, Evan and the other Jason from Einstein were off!! Jason and I headed back home and were able to watch the live feed.  Unfortunately we had to leave before I could see Tom cross the finish!  He broke his chain and was lucky to have some help from a couple locals and this allowed him to still finish the race in 17th place and still a pretty awesome time of 2:30.  He had a blast and is officially obsessed with the new carbon Salsa Beargrease...ut oh. 


2:30 PM seemed to roll around pretty quickly and I was feeling great after a pretty good warm up. This was the first time that I had started in a "Pro wave" per say and admittedly I was a bit star struck lining up some of the sports greatest riders in Catherine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Amanda Sin and Chloe Woodruff.  I had a decent spot in the 2nd row and expected the roll out to be a total smashfest.  I was actually surprised at how reserved the start of the race was. I found myself in a pretty good spot early on sitting maybe 6th or 7th wheel until someone crashed in a sand pit and broke apart the pack.  I managed to stay upright, but for the life of me wasn't able to bridge the gap.  I spent a large portion of early part of the racing riding alone until finally I was amidst a chase group with a few other strong riders.  One of the riders was the super nice Tricia from Chicago that I had met at Subaru Cup last July.  She is about as new to cycling as me and boy is she strong.  We worked together for most of the race and were even able to reel in about 3 people in the last 45 minutes of the race.  It was awesome and such a blast to ride with her. 

Photo Credit: Eric Fredrickson

However, in the end this is a race and we both knew it was going to eventually be a blood bath to the brutal end. I went for an attack with about 5K to go and looking back perhaps it was too soon as I couldn't' shake Tricia for the life of me. During the last 10 minutes of the race we had one of the most epic battles I've ever been a part of in my young cycling career. And what made this even more awesome was the last 1.5 miles were packed with spectators screaming and cheering for us! The roar of the crowd felt like the tour!  I actually had the lead heading over the flyover towards finish line however when I got out of saddle to sprint it was obvious I had burned every little match I had.  She got me by a wheel length!!  But I was still elated and so stoked and excited about being able to battle like that to the very end!  I was also happy for Tricia who had one hell of a race after battling some injury stuff. We both were stoked to be in the top 10 and also shocked that we managed to not vomit all over the place. 


Afterwards it was so fun to be greeted by everyone! To learn that Tom had a blast despite the chain breakage, Jason and Nate both had a great pro races, Evan and Jason W were 4th and 6th in the Fat Bike class, my Foundry teammate Mackenzie got 3rd place overall, and my Michigan bff Danielle won the Fat bike race! What a day!  So fun to celebrate afterwards and get to know some other local Traverse City gals Chelsea and Stacy! Beer never tasted so good!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

MN CX Racing and My First Win!

3 weeks since my last blog post?  Slacker... Honestly I've been busy - so busy that I think the 60 minute massage I had on Friday might have been the first time I relaxed in the last month.  Perhaps I should do more yoga?  Nah, I hate yoga.

The real deal is that I was racing like a crazy animal and go! go! go! non-stop pretending that I really don't have a whole lot of other life going on besides racing.  Eventually it caught up to me like it usually does and I crashed down like a ton of bricks. So yep, some time off the bike and some adjustments to the race schedule were on tap.  Now I am refreshed, revived and just finished up a couple back to back weekends of awesome MN CX. 

Last weekend was Green Acres CX weekend.  When they announced that this would be a 2 day event this year I was totally stoked. Honestly when it comes to cx course difficulty and atmosphere nothing really gets close to Green Acres around here.  It's probably the closest thing to Jingle Cross in my opinion.  Now Sports does an exceptional job putting on a race and who doesn't love free food, beer and mud?

Thanks Todd Fawcett for the photo -dirty, lovely, cross
I'll be the first to admit that the Green Acres course is a challenging one for me  It has a massive hill on each lap and being a bigger rider it's probably not one of my strengths (I am slowly learning what those are these days!).  Last year I totally suffered on this course so I knew in order to do well here this year it was going to take a massive effort.   Thankfully I had some kick ass support from Foundry Cycles & a cheering section filled with good friends Lisa, Christina, Katy and Aaron. I also had a toasty Foundry tent to warm up in, and a super hot Tomcat in the pit with my spare bike (this was important on a muddy day 2). 

Thanks Todd Fawcett for the photo --- heading up the massive climb.
Day 1 started out as a snot flying sufferfest with me losing ground on the massive hill and gaining it back on the off camber descent and cornering sections.  Midway through the race I had an unfortunate slide out on an off camber turn and couldn't'  bridge back up. That's cx for ya.  I was happy to take the 3rd step this day behind Corey and Jen...two very strong riders.



Me, Jen, Corey
 Day 2 was rainy and pretty much mud everywhere.  I had a horrible pre-ride lap and really just prayed that lowering the tire pressure would make a difference and thankfully it did.  Considering the conditions and my lack of experience riding in wet conditions I still can't believe I never crashed.  Corey however definitely had me on the grassy ride up (or run up in my case) and to her credit she executed an exceptional race.  I crossed the finished 16 seconds back in 2nd.Overall, I was happy with my performance on a couple of tough racing days...but man was I still hungry for my first ever MN CX win.... 

Which happened yesterday!!!!  Eek!

SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Red Barn CX was awesome and it's flat course with multiple turns definitely suited my strengths.  I took the hole shot and led for the entire race holding off junior Kelly Catlin (remember this name!) who is an exception road racer with a boatload of power and cornering skills. She is just starting cyclocross this year so still a cat 3, but damn her future is bright.  
SABIOPHOTOGRAPHY.COM with Kelly

MN CX racing for women is definitely on the rise and these days it's hard to predict the podium and that is what makes racing so awesome.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have these women as friends and to be able compete against them week in and week out.  We continue to raise the level and make each other better racers.  This is just the beginning. 

Huge thanks to Carlos Sabillon for capturing some amazing images.  He is one of the very best and I am always amazed by his work!  
SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM at Erickson Bros Tree Farm

Also, a massive amount of gratitude goes out to my coach Matt with CTS. We did this in just 1 year!  Do not put limits on your dreams!!  This past month has been a bit of a struggle for me....and rising up to the top step yesterday was a true testament to his coaching greatness. 

SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM with Terra and Jen
Next up...Iceman Cometh!!! I have been waiting for this coming weekend for more than an entire year! It's going to be a flippin riot!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Foundry Harrow!!

har·row
n.
A farm implement consisting of a heavy frame with sharp teeth or upright disks, used to break up and even off plowed ground.
tr.v.har·rowed, har·row·ing, har·rows
1. To break up and level (soil or land) with a harrow.
2. To inflict great distress or torment on.

I am jacked to have added yet another CX tool to the weapon shed and I've been looking forward to finally tell everyone all about it. Foundry's newest cyclocross racing machine is the Harrow! My first impressions of this bike were obviously that it was clean and bad ass in it's appearance, but hopping up on the saddle was a whole 'nother experience.


This bike is mean. And more than capable of tearing up the CX scene and causing a serious amount of distress on your opponents. The first thing I noticed racing at the Trek CXC Cup was the front end stiffness of this bike is unreal, almost indescribable. It's so stiff and reliable in the corners that actually when I'm not on my Harrow I've questioned if my front wheel skewer was screwed on tight. The Whisky No. 9 Thru Axle Fork that comes with the Harrow is revolutionary and combining this with a stiff, racey frame and a reliable disc brake set up is what makes the Harrow a racer's dream. Trust me, throw a leg over a Harrow and see for yourself... it will blow your freaking mind!

 
Over the past month or so I've been slowly putting my signature on this ride. I've added some ridiculously hot chrome housing along with a nice set of tubeless wheels. With Foundry's support I was also able to add on a set of SRAM Hydraulic brakes to only make the breaking sicker than it already was. This week I'm beyond excited to be building a no worries 1 X 10 set up with a no drop Wolf Tooth chainring that just arrived in the mail! By the end of this week my ride will be 19 lbs of pure awesomeness.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

METAL CROSS

Last weekend was finally a weekend at home and the much anticipated METAL CROSS. I raced the Saturday race and although I had planned to race on Sunday let's just say "shit happened" and it didn't work out :) Leading up to this race there had been a ton of chatter about how awesome this year's course was going to be having moved locations to Clearwater, MN. They certainly did not disappoint and the cross Gods even threw a morning drizzle into the mix. The course was certainly a "real cx" course with a ton of sand, a couple sketchy descents and a muddy stair run up.


Tom was out riding his bike in the frigid rain getting ready for IM Cozumel so I made the trek solo but was super lucky to be greeted by the Foundry crew, a nice warm tent, and some last minute mechanical help on my bike (thanks Noah!) I was a little flustered wondering if I had the wrong tires on my Harrow for the wet conditions so I did a test ride on my Auger Canti. Turns out that the disc brakes and thru axle fork on my Harrow are too awesome to pass up in wet, unpredictable conditions so I still opted for the Harrow and in the end I think it was the right choice. Why is everyone not racing disc for cx? The difference is truly amazing.

The Harrow totally rocked, I on the other hand should have probably spent some more time playing in the sandbox as of late as I really sucked it up on the sandy sections of the course! To my credit it was pretty gnarly and I certainly wasn't expecting to be swimming my way through this race! Pretty rad.


So let's just say it wasn't my best day racing bikes, but in the end I was happy to barely hold on to 3rd place! The best part of the day may have just been slamming down a post race burrito (Thanks Foundry!) and enjoying a couple beers with Rob, Eric, Noah and Anna.

Someone didn't get the rain boot memo!
I just finished getting soaked in the rain on my bike and just as well as it's time to dial it back, get refreshed and ready to race Green Acres in a couple weeks.  Green Acres is the place to be!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Trek CXC Cup

Last weekend was the Trek CXC Cup and also my very first race with a UCI license. I will admit I was pretty nervous to be lining up next to some world class pros...but I was also pretty jacked to see how well I would do against some of the best competition in the country. Waterloo, WI was definitely the place to be seen last weekend.

I was also beyond stoked to be racing on my super freaking awesome brand new FOUNDRY HARROW!!! I have always loved my Auger and my Broadaxe, but this Harrow is one bad ass machine and I could tell instantly how lucky I was to be able to race on it. More on my tool later this week...but for now let's just say, this bike is rad!


Tom and had a slow start getting out of town on Friday and rolled in to the Madison Red Roof Inn about 10 PM. I had joked on facebook that night that I was pretty sure this was the place where the Gingers were supposed to stay, ha! This was the next stop on this years Sketchy Hotel Tour and I won this room on Hotwire for $38/night. How bad could it really be right? Well, bad enough to wake up Tom up Saturday night to some lady pounding on hotel doors screaming for help and then the cops showing up a minute later. So yep, next year I think we'll opt for Sun Prairie instead. April 10, Hotwire 1. meh.

Day 1:
Saturday morning we were up early. Tom bundled up for a 4 hour ride and I headed out to Waterloo to check in and check out the course! On my trek out to Trek (ha!) I ended up pulling out onto the road right behind a pick up truck with two matching black bikes! "Those have to be Augers!!" Turns out they were and the truck belonged to my Foundry Teammate Mackenzie Woodring! She's a super fast and super cool chica from Grand Rapids, MI (apparently the GR cult breeds fast biker chicks, right Danielle?). It was awesome to meet her in the morning and to also be racing with a teammate!

I went to check in for the race and turns out when you race a UCI race you have to go through a special check in process. Fancy. And also, since I don't have any UCI points I had to draw my race # and call up. You control your own fate..eeek! I reached deep down into a bag and pulled out race # 21! For all you football fans...Tom says I drew "Prime Time."


My warm up went pretty good, the course was super greasy from the morning dew and seemed to be super freaking bumpy compared to our smooth Tuesday Night CX Races, but otherwise it was a lot more technical than the video seemed to show with a ton of 180 degree turns. I was stoked! I spent most of the day messing around with the bike fit on my new ride and finally by the time the race rolled around I was ready to rock! #21 meant I received a 3rd row call-up. They called me up, checked my tire width and then we all waited about 10 minutes for the start whistle like a bunch of caged animals.

I had a fairly good start with the exception of almost killing myself over a sandbag. The first lap was fast as all get out and I thought that maybe I was sitting in the top 10 coming through the start gate. No way!?! Well that was short lived as I was riding off the back myself and was soon passed by a blazing group of 5 or so women including Mackenzie! I tried to grab on but my legs did not respond. I reminded myself that there was still another 4 laps and that's a lot of racing left. I was holding my position fairly well through the 2nd lap right close to some familiar fast ladies, Amber, Emma, Jen and Linda. I was feeling pretty good and was able to ride the hill that most racers had to run up
.

Chasing the Linda/Amber train!


Unfortunately mid way into the 3rd lap i dropped my chain and had to get off my bike to fix it. At this point they all went wizzing past me. Ugh. I fixed my bike, and fought like hell to catch back up. pretty sure I've never suffered that bad in my entire life. Linda/Amber and I battled all the way to a finish line sprint where I was able to come in 18th place Elite 2 seconds back from Amber. WOW!! That hurt so stinking bad I instantly thought "I can't believe we have to do this again tomorrow!"


Day # 2
I decided to skip the morning pre-ride today and sleep in. Tom went to get in a long run around Lake Monona so took my bike for a little spin near the lake to loosen up the legs and on my way back stumbled upon the Willy Street Fair. So much fun, they even had a parade. I love parades, always so much shenanigans going on!


Oh and I even did some shopping by bike. Turns out if you put a Bike on T-Shirt...I will buy it!


Finally we headed back over to Waterloo for the 2nd race. I was pleased with my warm up and suprised that my legs actually felt better than the previous day.  I enjoyed chatting with the fellow MN ladies Carrie, Jen, Corey and Terra before the start. I had a 3rd row call-up again and lined up next to Linda, another friendly and fast MN racer. If you find yourself in a race next to Linda you know you are riding fast. So at least I was starting in a good spot!

The whistle blew again and I had an awesome start, was really stoked to be right on some fast pro wheels after the first run up. I didn't have enough juice to hold that spot for too long, but that was fine as there was a ton of other fast ladies right there with me. This race was a bit of a cluster for me with another dropped chain and then a crash on one of the dusty corners. Bull strikes again! In reality it was however a blessing in disguise because the cluster gave me no choice other than to suffer more than I thought was possible once again to bridge back up to Corey and Linda. I had great legs on Sunday and was able to make up almost all of my lost ground coming in seconds behind Jen who had an amazing race!  I finished 17th overall Elite!

Jen on the chase....she got me!!!
What a blast! I had so much fun racing and mixing it up all weekend long with some really great racing friends.  We are so fortunate in MN to have so many fast and dedicated cyclists. I admit I have really caught the cx bug and just typing this post has me all jacked up to race again. In cross life is simple.  "Is snot running down your face? are you breathing so hard that you can hear nothing other than your panting breathe? Are your legs burning so bad that they are swearing at you? If the answer is no, you should go harder.