Monday, May 18, 2015

Fulton, Almanzo, Many Thanks! and Thank God it's taper time!

It's taper time!!!! Yippee!!  There are some people in this world that hate taper, but guess what....I am not those people!! I love taper so much and it couldn't have come soon enough, because I'm totally smashed!!  This past month of racing and training for Dirty Kanza 200 have been super amazing and fun... but at the same time really exhausting and really challenging.  When cycling is your hobby sometimes the planned "rest" that you have just doesn't end up being rest.  You all know what I'm talking about. All I have to say at this point is Thank God we don't have a yard to mow or any flowers to plant right meow!

The last couple weekends were so packed and so fun....and so full of so much suffering!!!  I love this cycling community so much that my cheeks hurt from smiling!

This years Fulton Gran Fondo was a huge event with a amazing turn out of over 1200+ racers!!  A 100 mile ride race that finishes at a brewery is an obvious recipe for success and it far from disappointed.  My plans for this day were pretty vague an in hindsight I probably should have had a plan and that would have been to just chill ride, however instead I couldn't' help myself when the packs of racers flew past me. Like a drooling dog I pounded the pedals and proceeded to suffer like it was going out of style, pretending that my legs were not screaming at me the entire time.  It was a fun practice in road racing which I have no experience in whatsoever ...and I managed to hold on for awhile, until well I couldn't hold on anymore :)  and then had to swallow a big helping of humble pie.  And oh boy was that first legit experience of getting majorly dropped in a road ride. Watching the pack ride away from me when they still looked so close....and knowing that I had to work so much harder now because I was by myself and of course right into a headwind :)  Yeah, brutal. Now I'm laughing about it....but when my buddy Sam rolled up on me that day - it was not a pretty sight.  I proclaimed "I feel like ass" and he responded, "yeah you look like ass too!.... you're back is all full of salt!"  I'm so thankful for great people like Sam as that comment turned my frown upside down - and led to a pretty sweet day on the bike, complete with one of the best post race parties around!!  Beer, food trucks, a few bands, and a lot of people feeling really awesome about riding 100 miles.  It's so my Heaven.

This past Saturday was my first Almanzo 100 experience and it was just about as awesome as predicted with over 1000 racers!! I'm pretty sure when Chris designed this course way back when, it was with a big shit grin on his face, as I'm certain he found just about every single hill in southeast Minnesota.  Nearly 8,000 feet of gravel torture...I swear I can still taste the suffering.

My goal for Saturday was mostly to just to race as hard as I could, to make better decisions when and/if I was dropped and to finish feeling confident in my fitness and my fight for Dirty Kanza!  When I look back on that goal I can easily say the race was a success!!  I spent the first half of the race holding on for dear life to a strong group of riders which eventually ended up in me getting dropped for the 2nd weekend in a row -- except this time I managed my mind, and my energy so that I could rebound and grab on to the next chase group.  I ended up spending the majority of the last 60 or so miles with a really awesome group of dudes, a few I had just met on the course and a couple I already knew.  It was muggy, it was hard, we laughed, and I swear if it wasn't for the Banjo Brothers Oasis at mile 80 I might have had a serious meltdown!  Seeing them, and then Elvis, and then cracking open a can of Coke....yeah, that was the highlight of my day!! 

Now it's time to recover, rest, and watch the fat cat try to fit into small cat boxes.

Hahaha! I so wanted him to sit down!
On Sunday I went off a referral and splurged on a massage with Tony Mcpherson at Crossfit Kingfield (nope I'm not doing Crossfit).  Rad dude. If you're local and looking for a good massage - you can't go wrong here.

This week I'm feeling super thankful for all the people that support and inspire me as I chase my dreams.  Chris the Bicycle Fit Guru, the lovely folks at LazeriSSi Pedals, the 45NRTH guys that continue to encourage me all year long, Chris with SRAM, Fulton & my All-City Crew; Dolan and my favorite Midtown riding buddies, the Fix Studio, and of course my amazing family and friends. Tom even botched a legit workout on Sunday to basically drag my zombie self around town. And then he put up with hangry meltdown after hangry meltdown for nearly 4 hours. Gosh... how did I get so lucky, and how did we end up a couple of endurance freaks??

Tonka Cycle's mechanical support has been HUGE for me these past 6 months.  Such an amazing bike shop, filled with genuinely nice people. And Lord knows I'd have thrown my bike off a cliff or two if it weren't for these guys. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You make riding fun, and

Lastly, I'm super thankful for my awesome coach, Matt.  After working together for 2.5 years I no longer need to explain and/or justify my craziness.  He keeps me grounded and this week he is reminding me that we've done the work and now it's time to chillax and enjoy!

I admit chillaxing is going to be hard to do, as it's been awhile since I've been this excited about a race.  Gravel.....where the heck have you been all my life?

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