Saturday, June 21, 2014

WORS Red Eye Rendezvous...finally.

Rain, rain, go away...come again some other day!! Lately, I've been singing this tune with a tone that is much more angry than the one in which it is usually sung.  It's been raining non-stop in Minneapolis.  So much as of late that the lakes are pretty much overflowing onto the bike paths! It's obviously cramping my style. And I'm using that as my excuse for getting this blog post up so late ;)

Lisa, Bull, Cooper, Anna, Sarah
Tom and I headed up to Wausau Saturday afternoon in order to be able get in a quick pre-ride.  I was super stoked to see that 50% of the course was on fast flowing cross country trails.  I think many folks were grouchy about this, however I personally think a race like this is the best in that it really rewards both the technically adept and the physically fit.  In essence, the best "athlete" usually wins.  After pre-ride we joined our buddy Benny G for dinner at Red Eye Brewerey.  I mean since they sponsor the race it only makes sense to eat there right?  Okay fine,  I really wanted to try their beer...and yes, it was fantastic.

Sunday morning was amazing.  We slept in until 9AM, rolled down to the Hampton free breakfast and shoved our faces.  I couldn't' believe my eyes, they even had French toast sticks!!!  By the time the race finally rolled around I was feeling really ready to race.  I've noticed a huge difference this year in my decision to "race less."  I am able to recover quickly after races and then get in some great training before the next one rolls around..  This year I am coming into each race feeling mentally sharp and physically fit.  I remember last summer feeling totally blasted and basically just trying to "get through" a lot of races. 

Each race has it's own strategy, and for this one my plan was to fight for the hole shot and force a fast initial pace up front.  I wanted to go out hot in the hopes of breaking up the field and best case scenario be first into the single track. I lead for most of the lead out, but was passed by Cooper shortly before heading into the single track.  As much as I've improved on my technical skills I'm still not quite as smooth as Cooper through the single track and as a result came out of the first section with a gap to already bridge.  I did my best to catch back on, however I spent the  majority of the race chasing her.   

I loved the course so much, it was awesome!! there were plenty of rocky sections and I so loved revving up the engine on all the double track sections.  About halfway through the 3rd lap it suddenly started to get kind of dark, and then really dark, and then it started sprinkling rain (cool!) and then all of the sudden we were racing in the midst of a torrential downpour!! To be clear, this wasn't a typical hard rain, this was like a flash flood style monsoon!!!  It was crazy, and insane and I could barely see the trail ahead of me which was soon covered with water  up to my bottom bracket.  It was a riot.  It was, exhilarating, scary and insane and I loved every freaking minute of it!!!  Finally we all reached the finish line.  At which point it pretty much stopped raining. 

It was so much fun to chat with all the fast ladies after the race about our struggles to see the trail and how we had no idea what on earth was underneath all the massive puddles. I am so grateful for WORS and this opportunity to race my bike.  Each race is memorable in it's own way and I'm always left hungry for the next one!

Post race "That was awesome!" with Cooper

Monday, June 2, 2014

MT BORAH EPIC + Another Double Header = Happily SMASHED!

Tom and I just finished another double header weekend and based on how we both feel today it's safe to say "won't do that again!"  SO TIRED!

Friday night involved getting a late start on the road due to a small work emergency.  This is never good cuz if we don't head up north after 4pm it's 100% guaranteed that two things will take place.  1) Tom will complain about how horrible the traffic is and then 2) April will get annoyed that Tom is complaining about how horrible the traffic is and complain about Tom's complaining about how horrible the traffic is.  So in usual style this took place for about the first 45 minutes of our drive. The rest of the trip was smooth sailing and we rolled into  Hayward just in time to pick up our packets! Whenever my race number has 5's in it I get warm fuzzys. 

We had a 10:30 race start and this time is definitely my favorite.  We slept in a tad, downed some French toast at the Norske Nook and headed up to Cable for the start.  I just love the energy that is undeniable on race morning. I enjoyed saying hello to friends we hadn't seen in awhile and was happy to warm up on snappy legs.  I had a small debate about wearing my Hydrapak and in the end decided to go without it since it was hot and I'd have Tom at the aid stations to give me hand ups.

The start was neutral so I was easily able to work myself up to exactly where I wanted to be.  The first 3 miles or so of the race are on gravel roads and then it's pretty much 99% singletrack so I knew it was huge to be able to enter the singletrack with the lead group of women.  I even had prepared myself mentally to suffer and bury myself the first 3 miles, however when that moment came somehow the "oh sh*t this is really hard" devil voice won. I fell off the lead group, but managed to fight off the pain enough to enter the trail in 4th position in the midst of a bunch of dudes.

The CAMBA trails were so amazing and I rode more berms in this race than I'm pretty sure I've ridden in my entire life thus far.  For the record, I suck at berms....but it was fun trying to pretend I was smooth riding them!   Next year I own those berms.  At one point I accidentally followed the guy in front of me onto the 200 foot log short cut that I had planned to skip.  I seriously almost shat my pants.  I remember saying "what!! this wasn't supposed to happen?" I was pretty much in shock the entire time and then afterwards I was in awe over the fact that I ACTUALLY RODE IT!  It was easily one of the most beautiful moments I've ever had on a mountain bike.

Photo Credit: Tom Held
Since the race was 99% singletrack it was a challenge to drink from my bottles and take in nutrition and by the end of the race I was pretty toasted.  Lesson learned...when in doubt, wear the Hydrapak.  In the end I was happy to ride to a 4th place finish amidst of a field of some very talented ladies.

Winner: Worst Finish Face Ever
It was a good day to be a mountain biker and I can't wait to ride those trails again! The best part...all the $$ from the race goes to CAMBA so they can keep on rollin!

Sunday I got to do one of my favorite Tom (and my fav Lisa) race Buff Tri!  We woke up to torrential downpour nastiness.  Luckily the rain stopped just in time for the race. Tom had a solid race and seeing him really bury himself heading into the finish line nearly brought tears to my eyes...passion is powerful. He finished 7th and Lisa also raced to a 2nd place finish in her age group!

The weekend was so good that Tom and I couldnt' stop!  Actually the truth is that my coach scheduled a recovery ride (blah!) and so I drug Tom out to Birchwood CafĂ©.  I so love riding my fat bike on chill rides!  Pow Pow Powerwheels!