Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sylvan Island Stampede

Let me start out by saying I FREAKING LOVE RIDING MY MOUNTAIN BIKE!!!! Last weekend felt like a brief moment in Heaven and I just can't wait for MN to finally buck up and kick winter out the back door.  Get off me!!!

Oh and Holy Crap I'm 30!  and you know what...it feels pretty damn good.  Of course lets be honest, 30 looks absolutely nothing like I imagined 30 to look....but that's the best part, it's so much more bad ass than I would have ever even imagined!!. I feel so young these days it's incredible and ever since I started riding mountain bikes...I swear I went back in time. I mean who doesn't feel young with dirt on their face and scrapes on their knees?

My birthday started out with a bang on Saturday as I spent my first few hours of 30 getting the Midas Touch over some stupid leaky tire and $65 and 3 days later the air pressure light went on again.  Really? Oh well,  life could be worse! 

Much worse in fact as my heart hurts for all of those affected by the Boston terror attack. What a sad day. I am harshly reminded that my every day problems are small and that life truly has no guarantees. I am also reminded to LIVE LIFE NOW, and to live it freely, with no regrets.

So on that same note a month of so back, I decided to start off my 30s with a mountain bike race! And since we live inside an igloo here Tom, Spoo and I made the 5 hour trek all the way down south to Moline, IL for the Sylvan Island Stampede....grrr.  Sounds so scary!   The drive was totally worth it as once we arrived it was as if we had found an oasis!  The sun was shining on our pre-ride Saturday and Sunday I could not believe it, a miracle had taken place and suddenly we had ourselves a 75 degree SUNday.  Break out the shorts and the Corona's!! I was sweating.  Apparently it was crappy weather back in Minneapolis? meh.

The race took place on Sylvan Island which is basically an island inside of a bigger Rock Island.  Apparently there used to be a steel mill here that was closed in 1956 and then eventually demolished.  The Island is now home to some seriously gnarly, rocky, and rough single track.  There was even shards of glass all over the trail as apparently no matter how much of it you pick up, it just keeps rising to the surface.  I think its pretty cool actually.  The 3.75 mile course loop was super flat, but really technical as there were tons of rocks, cement slabs, brick step ups, etc.  It was very industrial to say the least.  I was trying out a new set of Michelin Wild Race'r tires for this race and needless to say, they were perfect for the course and I really liked how they handled on the many twisty turns. 

Both Spoo and I were racing in the Expert class which started at 2:20 PM.  The race atmosphere was better than expected and almost reminded me of a cylcocross race with all kinds of tape up and with multiple laps.  The men's race was 6 laps and the women's was 5. I was super stoked for Spoo as this was to be his first race since upgrading to cat 1.  Since they started 3 minutes in front of us I started doing the math and set a goal to not be lapped by any of the expert men!  Finally we were off!  I had a pretty good start and was able to barely get the lead heading into the single track!  I felt great instantly and was really happy to have pre-ridden the day before.  I of course crashed on the first lap and on the 4th lap I probably became the first person ever to drop a chain with XX1, but I knew I was capable of accomplishing this, so that's okay.  And then just to top it all off,  on the last lap my water bottle cage lost a screw and came undone trapping my pedal, yikes!!! In total caveman style I reached down and ripped the thing right off the bike. Woah.  But through all this chaos, I randomly felt a sense of calm and was able to maintain the lead throughout the race!  I crossed the finish line 1st female and just moments ahead of Spoo (praise God!) who came screaming in with everything he had left!  He rocked his first cat 1 race finishing lucky 13th out of 30 racers.  What a beast!!! Tom was so awesome during hte race letting me know my splits and giving me hand-ups. Damn I am lucky.

As usual I am still on post race high and absolutely can't wait until the next one.  We really need the snow to melt now...but in the meantime I need to hurry and get my new Foundry Auger ready for the Mammoth Gravel Ride this weekend, I can't wait to break it in in true gravel style. I am also looking forward to drinking Hamms out of the back of Angie Mracek's car....this weekend is surely bound to be an adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Happy 30th, April! I'm three years in, and must say, it's been the best decade yet… and, it just keeps getting better! I know it will be the same for you :)

    And, huge congrats on more stellar riding! You are amazing and so inspiring!