Monday, July 28, 2014

BIKEs, and TRIs, and TEEs! Oh, my!

What's a girl to do when she is cooped up in the Big Easy for two weeks??? 

RIDE HER BIKE OF COURSE!!!

Thanks to EVOC for making the best bike box ever...as a result bringing my bike on this trip was a piece of cake.  For the first time I even put the Broadaxe together and packed it up all by myself.  I ALMOST felt like a mechanic.


Take me with!!!

During the week I would make the 30 min trek over to Lakeshore Drive to crank out some power intervals.  There were plenty of runners and cyclists and  I felt safe during these hot, humid evenings.  In the end I was rewarded with palm trees and amazing sunsets!!

 
On my weekend layover I was stoked and frankly pretty proud to have cranked out a combined 8 hours of riding in the "North Shore", Abita Springs area. Both Saturday and Sunday I drove across Lake Pontchartrain via the 26 mile mile Causeway Bridge.  I so badly wanted to take a picture of the drive across the bridge, but I was too freaking scared to get out my phone for fear I'd end up driving right off the bridge!! It was freaky.  Some of my co-workers were explaining that every so often cars do end up crashing over the bridge and if they are lucky folks jump in the lake to save them.  Umm...that did nothing to ease my anxiety.

Saturday's ride took me along some quiet country roads, past many horse ranches and incredible homes.  I rode pretty close to the center of Louisiana's multi-million dollar horse industry.  I could almost taste the cash!


Is that a TCF Bank? Nope, it's just someones house
 
My 82 mile ride was horribly hot...so hot that I remember thinking "how on earth do people live here?"  At one point during the ride there was a quick rain shower...I figured like in MN there would finally be some kind of cool breeze following the rain.  WRONG!  Instead it was as if someone had poured water on the hot stones in a sauna.  Hot, wet, steamy, nasty.   Thankfully I planned this ride so that it ended right at Abita Springs Brew Pub.  I killed a burger and I promise that beer had never tasted this good!


 
Sunday I rode back and forth on the Tammany Trace trail system which is a 30 mile Rail to Trails route.  It was really safe and pretty.... and at times it felt like you were riding through a tunnel of trees.


This 50+ mile ride ended here!

 
 
What an adventure!  However I am so happy to finally be home!! This trip really made me appreciate the beautiful clean city we live in.  I realize how much we take for granted safety and the luxurious paved and dirt trails we have here.

This weekend I was so excited to be home that I couldn't wait to shred 40 miles of  Elm Creek dirt at the Menacing 40.  It was a blast, except I think I crashed better than I rode!  But, what's not to love about a $30 race on amazing trails with hot dogs and beers afterwards?  Thanks Maple Grove Cycling, MORC and Three Rivers Park District for a great day on the trails!

Yesterday we woke up at 4:30 am (OUCH!) for Chisago Lakes Tri! The weather was perfect and it seemed like everyone had great races...I love when that happens!  Lisa had a fabulous race and took home the Gold for her age group!

 
Lastly...I opened up the mailbox last night and was stoked to unwrap two really awesome brand new t-shirts from BELCH!!  I've been wanting this "Mustache Ride" tee for so long and the surprise "Excuse Me" racer back tank nearly made me melt!!  I am obsessed with racer back tanks so much  -- and it's safe to say that this is the best one yet!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bandit Cross...where have you been all my life?!

Although a week has passed and the scabs on me knees have already fallen off....I am still floating on a post Bandit Cross high!! What a freaken riot!

Bandit Cross....where have you been all my life?!!  

Photo Credit: Chris Le ("The Radavist")
The ever famous All-City Cycles puts on a grassroots event called Bandit Cross at least every few months or so. I like to call this "junkyard cross." Which means pretty much anything goes as far as course layout is concerned. It's  a tribute to the early cross days in Europe before things got super fancy and commercialized.  It's a very informal free event in which you just kind of show up and race whatever bike you got (yes - we did sign waivers....this is America after all). 

Photo Credit: Chris Le ("The Radavist")
Last week's Bandit Cross was a part of the All-City Championships and started at Hobo Camp in Bryn Mawr Meadows. The race course consisted of grass, dirt, puddles, concrete, overpass helix ups and downs and traversed it's way across railroad tracks, some pumpstyle singletrack and even included one of the gnarliest dirt pile climbs.  This pile was full of dirt and concrete chunks and at times it felt like you were trying to walk your way up quick sand.  I found out the hard way that the knee technique doesn't work so hot! Luckily a fellow competitor grabbed my bike at the top and helped me...thanks dude!

Photo Credit: Chris Le("The Radavist")
All in all it was bucket of fun!  On the 3rd lap we had to wait for a train to pass,.  As a result the group got bunched together and my gal pal Cori snapped this sweet photo of a bunch of us making our way over the tracks all at once! 


Photo Credit: Cori Pepelnjak
This photo below pretty much sums up my happiness about the evening. Leave it to the "Party Brand" to deliver the coolest post race award eva!


Photo Credit: Chris Le ("The Radavist")
If you are still reading my blog I'm guessing it's because you love bikes, you love adventure, or maybe you don't care much about bikes but you love me anyways (Thanks Mom!!).  Regardless, I've missed my blog too.  I haven't shared much lately because for the most part I haven't been able to figure out where to start. Let's just say that a lot of "life" has happened in the past month or so.  Sadly, Tom's mom suffered a massive stroke and as a result we have been slowly adapting to a massive change in her life as well as ours. It's been pretty painful and a harsh reminder that there are no guarantees.Philippians  4:13.

I'm also shipped off to New Orleans for two weeks for work. I managed to bring my bike, but let's face it - it's far from ideal in terms of my upcoming bike races. Oh well that's life.


Photo Credit: Yours Truly
Life.

It's wierd how life can make u stop and think. How it can suddenly shift your priorities, and decide that there is no time like the present.  Lately I've been really missing long rides and riding with other people. I've been spending a ton of time pounding out solo intervals and forgetting what I really love about being an endurance athlete...racing and suffering.  I've missed the tired feeling after a long workout.  I've missed the anxious feeling of waking up wondering if I'll be able to accomplish the task ahead.  Long story short I've got some awesome adventures on the horizon that are a bit different from the norm for me. 

First up is Pikes Peak Ascent on August 16th.   Yes, I'm going to climb up a mountain ON FOOT!  And the reason I want to do it....is simply because it's there.  It's 13.1 miles to the Summit at 14,000+ feet.  I'll admit that I'm slightly concerned  I might not make it and that in an of itself I find exhilarating!!   Since it's a month away, coach and I figured I had better start doing some "footwork."  I tried to explain to my coach that "footwork" means something entirely different to a gym rat.  


Photo Credit: Anonymous
Stay tuned - I'm back on the train.