Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Frozen40, Frostbike, & Field Tests

Can you freaking believe that it is almost March and we are only like 10 days away from one of my favorite days of the year...daylights savings!! EEEK.  I've had major spring fever lately, shopping for sandals and tank tops and I'm so stoked that ripped jeans are back in style...you have no idea!!

Thanks to my bestie Ericka for assuring me that it's still okay to dress like I'm 15
I keep having to bring myself back to reality and remember that my favorite fat bike race ever is coming up...Fat Bike Birkie!  This race is absolutely awesome and I can't believe that they have already sold out at over 750 participants!!  It's amazing how far this sport has come.

Speaking of amazing fat bike riding. Check out the awesome video 45NRTH put together with sponsored rider and buddy Evan Simula - it's pretty rad.

Groomed trails are where this sport is heading and I'm happy to be racing for a brand that is advocating in this space. I am also lucky to be able to ride great amazing trails like Elm Creek.  The thing is...these trails don't groom themselves and I am humbled by the work and
efforts of those that maintain them.  If you haven't yet I encourage you to help support their future grooming efforts here: https://www.gofundme.com/elmcreek

Frozen 40 seems like it was a lifetime ago. It was brutally cold that day and I was beyond stoked to come away with the win and a new course record. The race took me darn near 4.5 hours!! Since I feel that blogging should be timely and I missed the boat I'll leave you with a few photos that really show how awesomely cold and fun this race was!!

 
Sarma Racer, Matt Acker is leading the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series
Photo Credit: Bill Vitali
I also was victim to an epic PODIUM FAIL!!! 

 
When Tom posted this photo on Facebook I damn near spit out my beer.  I'm certain there were at least a few "ooop look at her pink undies!" It still makes me laugh every time I see it. I even find it more comical that I feel the need to explain myself and my compression tights. In all reality this could have easily been pink underwear...because lets face it...who doesn't like pink underwear?

Last weekend I was lucky to be able to attend Frostbike & hang out with sponsors 45NRTH and Lazer. 45NRTH booth was killer with a huge Musk Ox.  I of course had to take a photo with da boys and da beist....and I couldn't stop petting it all night. It was so cute.

Me, Scott, Kurt & The #45NBeist & New "Ride Groomed" Hats!
45NRTH released their brand new tire combo the Flowbeist and Dunderbeist. RELEASE THE BEIST! I'm convinced there is nothing these tires can't handle.


yes, that's Jay Petervary...
Evan Simula in the background rocking the new tire combo in Grand Targhee
Lazer is coming out with some really awesome new shades in the coming months, the Waymaker Way1 and Way2 and I'm damn near obsessed with them. I tried on like 8 pairs and decided I want ALL OF THEM! Especially this pair!!


Oh and I got to try on their Lazer Genesis Lifebeam helmet with built in heart rate monitor.  I'm pretty excited about this helmet and the possibility of losing the annoying HR strap.  Lazer is so innovative.  By the way...have you tried their Magneto shades yet -- they are amazing for winter riding.

Since I finally took a couple weekends off racing, coach has had me doing some speed intervals to get ready for the Birkie and then tonight had me do a field test....UGH.  It's been awhile and I don't know what it is about field tests, but I swear I get more nervous for these tests than actual races. However, not much beats that exact moment when you realize it's over and you know you don't have to do another one for at least a couple months. Aaahhh.  Here was my view post slaughter fest. 

Yes our house is a bit of a disaster -- but check out cute little fat boy.  That's where he sits every single time I ride the trainer.  It's the cutest thing ever and melts my heart.

Speaking of fat boy...he's down to 16 lbs!!!!  Way to go Vito!

Lastly, huge congrats to 45NRTH teammates Evan Simula & Danielle Musto on amazing races this past weekend.  Evan placed 3rd in the Rovaniemi 150 in Finland, and Danielle took the win at the 906 Polar Roll!!  Talk about beists!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout

I was so pumped about Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout that I had actually planned to post this blog last night....however at about 6:30pm I decided to take a 30 minute nap and then accidentally woke up at 9:15pm....oops.  If being tired is any indication of how much fun someone has.... I am winning!!!!

I arrived home from Houston Friday just after 2:30pm and immediately bonded with my bike Bear after missing him so much last week.  An hour later Dolan arrived which meant that he pretty much got to watch me finish getting ready and move all my stuff from one suitcase to the next.  Needless to say we got a late start heading up to Crosby and arrived at the C-I Pub around 7pm to pick up packets, share a beer with good friends and even participate in a Meat Raffle!!!  And guess what....I won!!!


Winning a meat raffle has been on my bucket list for quite some time now, so winning some meat turkey at the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout was a dream come true!  Immediately following the raffle we grabbed my loot and headed straight over to 45NRTH's rental cabin for the Stud Party!!

 
Huge, huge thanks to 45NRTH for pretty much laying out the stud carpet for all of us.  I've never had so much fun swapping tires in my entire life!  It also felt really good to know that not only would I have the right tires for Saturday (conditions were icy), but also that I would be able to race safely.  This was my first time riding on studs and I couldn't wait to hear the frying bacon. 

The race didn't' start on Saturday until 12:30pm which meant that we got to enjoy an awesome pre-race breakfast at the Heartland CafĂ©.  We got to the race with plenty of time to warm up and I somehow managed to fill-up all that time with a bunch of chaos...which included a trip to the porta potty, Kurt adding pressure to my tires, and then deciding to ride back to the car put on another layer (which was absolutely the WRONG choice!). In the end I only got about 10ish legit minutes to warm up and then of course again missed my chance at a front row starting spot!!

Photo Credit: The amazing Todd Bauer
As you can see I'm lined up right in front of that neon green beauty that I call a husband.  While I was dorkin' around he actually took my advice and got in a proper warm-up.  Folks...never give up your race secrets :)

Finally the gun went off.  Actually it probably wasn't a gun, but you know what I mean.  I was very pleased with my jump off the line and managed to work my way into a pretty solid starting position as we exploded up the first straightaway section of trail.  My legs felt pretty darn good for having not ridden all week & I was pleased to be nearly hanging on to the front pace group.  The studded Dillinger5s that I mounted on my Sarma Naran's were the perfect choice as I was able to corner on the ice with ease. Things were going fantastic. 

Well, at least until I took the first left hand turn and was quickly passed by a neon green blaze that didn't even say "good job honey."  What???He didn't' even say anything? Punk. I'm not supposed to be behind him.    I quickly mashed my feet into the pedals to grab his wheel. Tom seemed to be riding with wings and I remember feeling happy and excited for him as he smoothly worked his way through all of Sagamore's twisty turns. But of course I was also wondering What the heck is wrong with me?  At first I was content to just sit in in his draft for a bit, but then it became harder and harder for me to hold on.  I fell back about 10 yards due to some poor cornering on my part and realized that I needed to make a move in order to get back on his group at which point I took a corner real tight and then SMASH!!

Yea...that's me on the chase!!
Photo Credit: The Amazing Todd Bauer
I smoked my left handlebar on the tree trunk and it pretty much catapulted me off my bike to the right.  Rats!!! As CJ Smith put it....it was a nice "45NRTH yard sale!" I quickly got back on my bike and was pleased that it didn't hurt much and also to realize that I hadn't really lost all that much time.  However now I was in no man's land and could not make up the gap for the life of me. 

I rode a strong last couple of laps and was happy to maintain my position as first female, smashing my previous result on this same course in 2013.  It was a great race for me and an obviously even better race for Tom. He's been hitting the training hard lately so he definitely deserved this result. As I was mashing my way to the finish line I remember thinking how proud I was of him and how I couldn't wait to hug him and congratulate him at the finish.  However, as I rolled through the finish chute and made eye contact with him I realized that he was pumping his fist in joy for having beat me.  


Can you freaking believe that????  NEVER AGAIN!

 I am being gracious in defeat....but really...you are going down!
Huge congrats to Pam and Chelsea for battling their way to 2nd and 3rd overall respectively.  Jill rolled in 4th after pretty much driving through the night to get to the race and then Martha (we call each other  "Fatties")  rounded out the top 5.  Way to go ladies!

Jill is so fast she is invisible on the youthful age group podium!!
Saturday night awards and post race party were so much fun. Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout has such a neat small town feel about it and it really warms my heart.  I'm starting to fall in love with the town of Crosby and it's obvious that it's such a genuine community filled with some passionate people. Tom and I are lucky to have such amazing and fun friends. I laughed so hard this entire weekend that I'm pretty sure it made up for all those core workouts that I "forgot" to do!

Post race with Jill Martindale, 45NRTH Scott Patterson & The Yeti!
Photo Credit: The Amazing Todd Bauer
 Huge thanks to my sponsors 45NRTHSarma, LazerBicycle Fit Guru and Compex. You each make this sport both possible and exciting. I am humbled by your support and even more honored to represent your greatness.

Photo Credit: The Amazing Todd Bauer

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bikes, Cats, Work & the Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet

So I'm sitting on a plane on my way home from a Houston work trip and I just realized that I was briefly paranoid that the gal sitting next to me might be looking over my shoulder and reading my very "private thoughts"...and then I remembered that this blog is not private at all! Ha!

I also realize that I cannot wait to race my bike tomorrow at the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout because right now I feel exactly like this....

 
This winter has been one that has really tested my capacity to balance all the things that I find incredibly important in my life.  This week I did not get to ride my bike -- but I did get to connect with some really incredible people, with beautiful accents from all over the world.  Yesterday as we sailed down the Houston Ship Channel, alongside vessels of grain it occurred to me that I have a pretty cool role in ensuring the United States can help feed the rest of the world. What a neat feeling.

 
Although work has occupied a greater part of my life this past year, I really do feel more balanced. I am  also incredibly thankful to be working with a CTS coach that looks at me as a whole person, and not just as a cyclist. Often times it is Matt, that reminds me that it is OK to miss workouts, that it's okay to have gained a few pounds over the holidays, and that even though things don't always go as we plan  -- that doesn't mean that we still can't accomplish great things!

Photo Credit: Al Iverson

Photo Credit: Penn Cycle
Last weekends Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet was probably my favorite race of the year so far! The lack of snow in MN this year has really made it a struggle for some of the race promoters -- but they did such an awesome job with the new course that I wish we'd have the same course every year!! It was so fun to be on the open 3 lap course and to have so many people out spectating on nearly every corner.  It really was a hilly and painful riot and I couldn't stop smiling the entire time.

Photo Credit: Chris Chavie
 
Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick
I also had a blast hosting four dudes in our small apartment - well at least after I finally got them all trained to put the darn toilet seat back down!!  Friday night we walked down to Pub 819 and joined Dolan for dinner so we could all eat and act like goons!


Then on Sunday we finally made our way over to the new Surly Brewery to celebrate!!  


And just like that....it's another fat bike weekend!  I hope to see you all in Crosby!!!