Monday, April 29, 2013

Here Comes the Sun!

Oh my gosh I swear this last weekend was like heaven on earth!  I dont' even know where to start! In typical MN fashion we just skipped right over the 60s and have been living it up in the 70s here the past few days! 

Check out my new Lazer Helium Helmet!!! Totally matches my  Foundry Kit!!
One of my favorite things about living in MN (admittedly these are harder to come up with these days) is that once summer hits we go hog wild and try to jam in as many BBQs, bike rides, drinks on the patio, etc as possible in a few short months. Summers here are ALL OUT!!! 

Hold up, let's rewind a bit. Before all the fun sun arrived we had some more snow and I ended up having one of those "I hate winter, its snowing and all my races are getting postponed, my life is so hard, I can't take another trainer ride, I NEED A FREAKING BREAK" kind of a weeks.  So after completely spazzing at my coach we decided since all the above was happening it was probably a really good time to take a week off!  And so it went, 7 full days off the bike!  I will admit it was really nice. I got caught up on work and our apartment is clean(er) and once that time was up I felt refreshed and couldn't wait to ride my bike again!  You see I do not reside in the camp of those that are unable to take rest days. Yes I am intense at times and type A, but I for some reason lack the obsessive compulsive gene  I really appreciate rest and mentally I just need a break sometimes. It works for me.

So I had planned to take it easy and enjoy a nice quiet weekend.  And then Saturday night while I was in my sweats...this happened!!!


SURPRISE!!!!!!!
I have some pretty awesome people in my life and they surprised the sh*t out of me for my 30th birthday!  I seriously had no idea. The funny thing is, Lisa and I were out shopping at Costco (for a jewelry party on Sunday) and I totally dressed like crap and was wondering why she was so done up and smelling nice!  And somehow she even convinced me  to open to door carrying 2 big trays of food!! Nevertheless It was a blast and I was taken away by how many people showed up.  We even had a keg of a Lonely Blonde! I am blessed and I truly love all of you that made this happen! THANK YOU! 

Me and my cute lil party planner!  He looks so proud!
 Also, if this is your gift bag...thank you so much for the lovely bath products....I still can't figure out who this is from and it's killing me to not be able to personally say thanks!!!


Last Monday, work sent me to Quebec, Canada  for a couple days and it was pretty sweet!  Well in that geeky visiting feed mills and watching trucks get loaded with soybean meal kind of way :)  And of course everyone spoke French there and I speak NO French, so yep, that was interesting.  We were in the car most of the time so I had good views of the countryside and we drove by a ton of Maple Tree Farms with Sugar Shacks for making maple syrup. I tried to explain to them that Sugar Shacks represent something a whole lot different here in The States
.
Oh and I was forced to eat Poutines which are pretty much french fries with cheese curds and sauces of sorts on top.  What we ate looked almost exactly like this... I can't decide if I should say YUM or YUCK.


Canada is so much cooler than I thought. on a side note, Tim Horton's is totally overrated.

Flying back to MN rocked as the snow was supposedly behind us!  I rode outside Thursday and Friday and even commuted home for the first time this year!  I totally need to commute more often.  I will admit I haven't fully embraced this commuting thing because I absolutely hate hauling all my stuff with me on my back. However, I picked up this new commuter pack from Banjo Brothers before Bonelli and let me tell you, it's commuter life altering!  I love it!


In fact I love it so much that as I was commuting home Friday and I decided that 30 was the year I commuted 30 times.  So 29 more to to go. I know 30 times is not much, but it's a start.  29 more to go!

I tried to spend as much time as possible Saturday  in the sun and only came inside for a massage.  I also refused to wear sunscreen all day long....After being this white for so long any color is good color.  Sunday I behaved myself, sprayed on the 50 and got in an awesome long ride with Eman. Afterwards Anne treated us to a home cooked meal. Man I am spoiled.... and Life is damn good!


















Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Foundry Auger!!

Alas....there is a new bike in the tool shed and I can't stop staring at it.  My very own Foundry Auger!  It's so freaking hot!!  Its unbelievable.  If you can't tell by this photo I was beyond ecstatic to take it out for it's very first ride.


I swear, every time I swing a leg over one of my Foundry bikes I feel just a little bit more bad ass than the last time. I feel as though I can conquer the world, and everyone else had better watch out!!   In fact, its a miracle I didn't crash my bike last week because I'm pretty sure I was staring down at it's awesomeness the entire ride!! 


Of course I have been dying to write this post ever since the bike arrived, but I was hoping to wait until after the Mammoth Gravel Ride to do it so that I could update you with how well it performed during that adventure. But since MN is brutal these days, they had to postpone the race :( which means that post will just have to wait for another day. 

However, what I can say today is that I am incredibly stoked to be riding for Foundry this year and I am 100% convinced that their bikes are the most bad ass bikes on the market. The performance and responsiveness of these bikes is unmatched and really all you have to do to believe it is just ride one. CAUTION: This is not your flashy look at me kind of brand.  These bikes are meant to ridden, and they are meant to be ridden hard.  Foundry is full of grit, sweat, and guts... there is nothing passive, fancy or soft about it. This is most certainly a brand I can get behind and I am extremely honored to ride their bikes. 

The Auger like the rest of the Foundry bikes is a "Tool Not a Trophy."  Last I checked this tool is pretty hardcore!


Dictionary.com seemed to disagree with me for some random reason....

au·ger

[aw-ger] Show IPA
noun
1.
Carpentry.
a. a bit, as for a brace.
b. a boring tool, similar to but larger than a gimlet, consisting of a bit rotated by a transverse handle.
 
Shenanigans...I don't know what on earth they are talking about..and it's obvious they haven't ridden this beast of a bike yet! There is absolutely nothing boring about it!! Just ask Mackenzie Woodring, she rocked her Auger over 62 miles of gravel last month to win the Barry Roubaix....pretty sure she had a blast!  http://www.cxmagazine.com/barry-roubaix-open-women-winners-foundry-auger
 
Lastly,  I particularly love that Auger ends in GRRR, and over the next year I promise to grit my teeth and flare my nostrils as I dig and drill my way though gravel, dirt and grass.  It's gonna be one hell of ride!!
 


 

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.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Training Camp

Spring Training Camp was a blast, and I am already missing my camp high! Once Feb/March rolled around it seemed like everyone and their cat was attending some form of spring training camp in warm weather and I had some serious training camp envy....well that was until Fix Studio announced they were putting on a camp with Loon State Cyclist down in Whalen, MN.  The price was a steal, I had never been to a cycling camp, and I had 1 day of work vacation available so book it!!! I had to miss the first ride on Thursday, but life's not fair, so that's okay.


The drive down took forever since since 494 totally sucks AND I'm directionally challenged and ended up in some wrong town about 20 minutes out of the way...hmm. But this meant that I must have arrived at camp right around dinner time as the 4 mile gravel road to camp was filled with Nature!!! (that's why i come up here..Goulet!)

Awesome Possum -- my first ever possum sighting...yes there was still snow in Whalen


This was the 2nd deer to run right in front of my car...caught on camera you punk!

The camp base was at Cedar Valley Resort which was very cabin like minus the lake out back and the cell phone service, yikes.  Don't worry I am still alive. I was booked in Moose cabin with 4 other rock star campers, all of which I had never met before!  In fact I knew only a couple people at the camp so I left with a bunch of brand new buddies, yeh!

Each day there was a long and short ride option so yep, I figured I'd go all in even though I really hadn't ridden my bike more than 50 miles since Epic George!  I was mildly freaked out as I was the only chica on the morning ride on Friday which meant I knew it was bound to be a sufferfest. I could also tell by the drive in that there was going to be some serious hills.  And for the record this was actually going to be my first legit group ride as up until last September all I really owned was a tri bike. I was nervous as road riding has so many "rules" and I really just didn't want to be that carnie that screwed up and caused some epic crash!!

Friday morning's ride went as predicted  and my legs were in instantly in serious shock! ...I spend about 30 seconds taking a pull and then the rest of the 3 hours holding on for dear life.  It was sick fun!! Well until about 50 miles in when my quads were feeling swollen and I was desperately thinking "where in the f%*k is the Subway."  Both days we stopped to "eat fresh" for lunch which was already prepared and waiting for for us when we arrived. Spoiled!


Both the afternoon ride on Friday and the Saturday ride were lower on the smashfest scale and I left camp feeling reinvigorated and psyched about getting in some good long training rides!!  I also learned a few things about riding in a pack and patience (thanks Chad Macy for the tough lesson!) I have zero patience and I learned painfully on Friday that I better get some asap if I want to do well at some of the longer point to point races!  I also learned that riding with a sag wagon is really rad and that women in bibs have to be creative when it comes to peeing on the side of the road.  Lastly, an echelon formation is apparently not just for the birds??!! Quack!  No... I will not be signing up for any road races. My foot is in the sand...literally.

Gear bag stored in the sag wagon...full of snacks

oh...and  I forgot to mention we ate GOOD!  Birchwood Cafe had baked up some sweet meals and am pretty sure I took down the best pot pie eva!

And... just when I thought life couldn't get any better....my sponsor Foundry has left me speechless by adding a new beast to my tool shed!!!   I am beyond stoked ......Here is a sneak preview....ahhhhhh!!! 


More on this later in the week!!





Monday, April 1, 2013

and...It's APRIL!!


 Tom and me at Ore to Shore this year...yes Tom is the cat.

Well it's April Foo'ls day today and I just so happened to pull off one solid joke on a customer of mine, so I'd say it's been another successful year.When I was younger I used to run around tricking folks on this fine holiday and then instead of saying "April Fools!" I'd say "April Fooled you!"..yeah,  pretty dorky.  Anyways, I of course love the month of April for obvious reasons, so bring it on.  And in case you are wondering, yes I was indeed born in April...and yes my parents are both super creative.  

This past weekend rocked as I had Good Friday off of work and met up with Spoo for a Tonka Loop and my first long ride out on the road this spring. It was warm and eventually sunny,  and it was so much fun to be going FAST again! In fact I was convinced we were going against a headwind the entire time as I was just not used to all the riding that fast!  I knew Spoo from back in another running life of mine so it was neat to reconnect now that we also share the same passion for mountain biking! I'm scheming a way to drag in him and his Chili con Crosso to a cx race this fall!  My Chili was so happy to finally be getting some sun!!


Easter Sunday was the bomb.  Heck any day that starts with a Mimosa is a good day. I also got to play Bunny for the kiddos!  My niece Addie is the best chiller ever, I swear, I dont' know how she does it...I need to learn to chill like that.  Aren and I spent a good part of the afternoon trying on mustaches!


April should be a super fun month as I've got a few new experiences planned, including my first gravel ride.  However before that I'll be participating in my first cycling focused training camp this weekend down  in Lanesboro, MN. The Fix Studio is putting this on with the Loon State Cyclist Club. I'm pretty stoked as I've heard the riding down south is awesome, and I'm certain the camp will be stellar.  I however don't know anything about group riding etiquette so I just hope I don't kill and/or piss off anyone. I'm also praying the rain in the forecast decides to flake on Saturday.  I'm guessing this will be the most volume I've packed into a couple days since last spring. Then, the following weekend we're road tripping to Moline, IL for a IHRS cross country event. This will also be my first race in my 30s...hot damn!!