Friday, July 17, 2015

XTERRA East Champs VA

Day before getting some good food.   Photo Trey Garmin Xterra
Last year I was able to come and race this course for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this urban adventure! The course is a blast with a crazy zigzagging swim through the James River, a challenging and fun bike course with some fun crazy fans to liven things up in the middle of the woods, and diverse run going from urban to climbing the "mayan ruins" to rock hopping a route finding through a dry riverbed. I had a blast here and had my best finish in 7th. So this year I was really looking forward to coming back to this race and seeing if I could better that result.

I came out to work in the DC area for a couple of days and enjoyed the hospitality of David and Stephanie before I went down to Richmond. Thanks to an amazing group of athletes in the Richmond area I got connected with Karl and Jo Ann who took me in for a perfect homestay right on the course. Made my prerace prep so easy. 

Well, it was a hot one! Hot and humid posing a myriad of challenges for the athletes. This makes things like hydration and nutrition even more key through the race. The pro women got our own start wave a minute after the men and just under an hour before the age groupers. Which was crucial in helping the women have a clean race without a couple getting through and the rest getting stuck in the crowds amplifying the time gaps.

Ladies running the sandbar midswim

The water was pretty low this year so along with some extra running up a sandbar you could also be surprised by rocks sneaking right beneath you! I tried to get out fast but lost that first group pretty quickly. After running Belle Isle I dove back in to find the current back across the river. I obviously did not have the fastest route or best swim back across because some of the girls I was with were out ahead of me. As I swam back I was thinking how hot I was already while still in the water. We may have had close to the same running as swimming with the sand bar, Belle isle and run to T1. In transition they were keeping people clear and yelling to see how many Pro bikes were still left unattended. "One!". Ha! Not encouraging to me. 

Running Belle Isle about to dive back  in with Maia right on my heels.   Photo: Xterra

Coming out of Swim  Photo: Jo Ann Gordan
Onto the bike I got on and raced down the bridge to get to the single track and catch up! Made sure to take in some nutrition here. It is early and easy to eat. I also chose to take my Camelbak with frozen Osmo active. This stuff is amazing anyway, but when it is hot....the best! I could see the next girl not far ahead, Britany and was focusing on reeling her in on the single track. However, I just couldn't get my legs to push. I finally got by on some of the technical stuff at the back of the course but she soon passed me again on a road section and my legs didn't really feel like they came around till the end of the lap. Finally! As soon as we hit single track I got by her and Sarah and tried to quickly open a decent gap. It was going pretty well and my legs were better but this go I just rode dirty through the technical stuff and kept messing things up which was just frustrating. By then end of it Brittany and Emily had caught back up and came into T2 right behind me.
Dropping to the tunnels  Photo: Jo Ann Gordan
I came into T2 in 6th and sped through transition to get going. It was going to be a hot run!  I knew Brittany was a fast runner so I wanted to do what I could. She ran me down about 1.5 mi in and I could not even match her pace. I did keep her in sight and just kept going thinking I couldn't let Emily catch me too. As I climbed Mayan ruins it was like a wall of heat! There was no air moving in that spot and as you climbed up it was suffocating. I ran down the stair tower and onto the little out and back section and saw most of the girls ahead me in the race. I was able to keep it strong and make it to the bridge with Brittany still somewhat in sight. This is the best part almost there. I was able to hold onto 7th. Staggered straight through the finish and collapsed in the misting tent under the spray.

Coming into T2  Photo: Pax Tolosi

I was not able to better my 7th place from last year and I was slightly disappointed with my race. Just couldn't get the bike together better. It is alright I was happy to hang strong and so happy to see some of my friends have breakthrough races and take their first podiums. Suzie Snyder nailed the bike course and took her first US series win.  Emma blazed the run almost making up a 6 min deficit. Catherine Sterling made some huge leaps and climbed onto the third step for her career best. Maia Ignatz blazed the race with speedy bike and run to take fourth and friend from CA Kara LaPoint took her first podium despite severely rolling her ankle a couple miles from the finish. While these are my competitors and I really wished I could be up there too. I actually really enjoyed seeing their victories. Next time!

Into the tunnel
So, still love this course and I will look forward to coming back.  Right now I am focused on XTERRA Beaver Creek tomorrow! I had to get this report up before the race or I know it would never happen ;)

Let's see what  can do in the mountains now that I am a low lander. I have had a nice week a home visiting family.

More Great Photos from Backlight here.

Full results here.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Boggs Funduro

Oh Boggs, where do I begin? This race had been on my list of bike races since moving out here. I actually decided to do it last year but I was a day late in the decision because the race had sold out. Well, this year I planned on it and got registered right away.

Apparently I am a special kind of crazy because I not only decided to do the 8-hour solo but I figured if I am doing that I might as well throw in a hill climb on Fri and a Super D on Saturday and race in the whole Funduro. Yeah! My better half decided to split it with a friend and go the 2-man team route. We hooked up with some Folsom bike teammates who so graciously saved us a spot to lay our tent and provide some good info and good times camping.

We made it out Fri afternoon and by the time we set up camp and got things figured out I had to head over and race the hill climb. At some point I had hoped to take a lap of the course beforehand as a warm-up but there was no time for that. So, I got right down to the nitty gritty hill climb. Ouch. Those just hurt. After burning my lungs out, I hacked my way back down to the camp area and jumped on the podium in 2nd place for Pro women. I figured I would hang out with the family and take it easy after that and not even try to get a lap on the course.

Our pit crew of kids, still an hour til start. 
The main race day came and we all got ready to get out there. We had a great set up with the Folsom Bike tent and pit area right at our campsite. It was just past the main area where you came through the laps and worked great! All our kids playing and cheering and people hanging in our own area.  Well, I got to the line and started somewhere in the middle of the mass. I didn't really want to start right on the line. While it would have been nice to get out in front of a lot of people, I also wanted to just sit tight on that lap and take it easy. I knew I would go too hard if I was on the front. My plan was a nice easy lap and then to do my second lap as a race lap and then just try to ride strong the rest of the race. For the Funduro they add your fastest lap to your hill climb and Super D times, so I needed a fast lap. So, that is what I did. Worked well since the whole first lap was just a train and I got to see the course. Second lap I went for it, blowing by alot of guys along the way. That was the only lap I didn't take bacon. After that I refueled and settled in for the long haul. Ashlyn gave me some encouraging cheers each time I came through. Around lap 5 I was stopped eating something and she just asked me what I was doing. Why I was standing there? Love that girl.

The end of lap three and the beginning of 4 were really a bit painful but I just kept trucking. Laps continued to get a bit slower and slower.

Oh, but bacon!! I lived for that bacon each lap, and everytime I went past the sign that said "8.9 miles to more bacon" I wanted to rip it out!  I love bacon and I loved my Osmo. I don't think I have ever loved it more.

Finally, I was at lap 6.  Now, I knew I had till 5 o'clock to finish but I was thinking that was 8 hours. So in my delirium of lap 6, only looking at my Garmin time and not at time of day I thought I was done. There was no way I could complete another lap (I thought). What I wasn't thinking about was that I actually had 9 hours to ride to finish the lap. It just had to be started by the 8 hr mark. I had told myself I would need a good 1:15 to make it safely around another lap.
So, I just settled in and plodded through that 6th lap thinking how tired, done, and maybe slightly relieved that I wouldn't need to go around again. Well, I came through the lap and there was Drew yelling an update.
"You have the fastest lap of the day, and you will be down by less than 1 minute if you can complete your 7th lap! You have 1:12! You gotta go!!"  Until this point in time I really had no idea where I was at all so it was all news.

Ugh! My mind began to reel a bit as I started riding again. Do I go for it? I don't know if I can make it around that fast. As, I began, the course guy yelled to me me "If you're gonna go, you gotta GO!" Ooof what to do? I rode to our pit, no way I could go without another Osmo! I looked at Ron and said something about what am I doing??  He jumped in and grabbed me a full bottle as I stood there reeling and confused and said "Yes, Drew was just here and you have to GO!"

So, I tried to wrap my mind around it and get going knowing I would have to go hard now. I had to walk the technical spot as I have no skills at this point and then I was just trying to get moving and I crashed on a loose corner. I picked myself up. It was not a bad crash, but I thought to myself "Really, you should just turn around now and go back, no way you can make it". Then I got back on my bike and I went for it. I pushed and pushed and tried to ride smooth. I was thinking man, this will really suck if I don't make it and this lap doesn't count. I gave it all I had and pushed over the last climb. Once I got over I looked at my watch and knew it would be close but it was all downhill. So, I let it rip. I came up behind one guy on my way down "I gotta go!" I yelled and flew by. He yelled encouragements to me "you got it!" I came through the last tight switchbacks and I could hear a loud roar at the finish I only hoped I was making it, I came around the corner and the roar died....  Silence, or so it seemed in my head, as I looked up at the clock just past 5:00.

I missed it by 3 seconds. Really??  Unbelievable.

I rode 80.5 miles (longest ride to date) and 11,400 in vertical with 8:45 of moving time although that last 11 doesn't count because I was 3 seconds too slow :-) 

The look of filthy disbelief

I was second overall and sat just a couple minutes back in the overall All mountain.  I was so grateful to have some good food a beer and some rest sitting and enjoying the evening around the campfire with great people.

Oh, but I still had to ride back up the hill and do the Super D on Sun! That was fun. There was way too much pedaling in that super D!

Turns out that last lap didn't matter at all! It would have given me a minute on the competition so I would have been less than a minute down overall. But she beat me in the Super D anyway!!

Drew kept asking if I was mad at him for making me do another lap. The answer was definitely not. Despite how badly I did not want to do another lap, I learned that I had more left in me than I thought. I don't think either of us actually thought I would even come that close to getting it. Considering I am training to be good at 3 sports and my races are around 3 hours, I was pretty happy with the day. So, while it was crushing at the time I am glad I had the perseverance to push through one more lap and to push hard. Never give up.

Podium photo

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pro Series Kick-Off: XTERRA West Championships

Alright! The 2015 XTERRA US Pro series kicked off this past weekend (April 25) in Henderson, NV just outside of Las Vegas. It seemed to sneak up on me fast since I have no idea what happened to April!!

Leading up to the race I was feeling pretty good. I felt like training was going well and I had a good boost of confidence getting a win under my belt in Granite Bay. The pieces were coming along. I felt like my swim times were coming down in the pool and with the encouragement of my swim coach, Joan. I was feeling like my times would be dropping. Also, my run was coming back together again. Well, you just never know. In triathlon you train all the parts and the pieces and then you just never know how it will all come together on a specific day. Beauty. 

I headed up to Truckee a few days before the race to road trip with fellow athlete Sian Turner. We got a move on and made it to Vegas to give the course a spin on Thurs afternoon. Well, nothing new here. This is my 3rd year doing this course, and I have never seen it as a terribly technical or fun course but it definitely poses its own unique challenges. The climbs are steep and loose which can take skill and there are a few loose descents along with a great sand pit that you really need to figure out where to ride.
Ha! This is not one of the technical parts :) Just the desert.

We stayed right at Lake Las Vegas where the race is held and shared a room with Sian's Braveheart crew Tammy Tabeek and World Champ Lesley Patterson (who decided to race last minute, having sustained a fractured shoulder a month ago and swimming one-armed). Friday was low key with some pre-race prep. I joined Lesley at the pool where she discovered that she could actually use her arm for the first time.  

Race morning
Race day came and the weather looked perfect. It was overcast and a great temperature rather the heat I have dealt with in the past at this race.  Thanks to the incredible support of my main sponsor this year, Massage Vudoo, my body felt good and I was excited to don my brand new race kit!  I went about my usual race morning set up and was feeling much better this year compared to last year when it was my first race as a Pro. Before I knew it the 8 o'clock start was looming and I headed down to get a nice swim warm up.

I was feeling good on the start line and was focused on staying with a main group as long as I could. I figured as long as my goggles didn't fill up again in the first 100m I would be much better off.

Photo: XTERRA  Pro swim start.

Here we are, go time! I jumped into the right side of the tail of the main group and swam hard. Yes, that start was aggressive. Going well and I was thinking how far I have come in swim starts. Then I also looked up and saw Lesley's purple arms way up ahead. Seriously, I just swam with her yesterday! We got the typical rumbles but what got me was someone next to me actually grabbing my forearm as we were going. Ok... just shift, bounce off the person on the other side, keep swimming. Well, she did it again.... keep swimming, get ahead. AGAIN! That one got me and I pulled up for a split second, stop grabbing me! Well, then I was off the back after a second. Ugh. So, I swam the rest of the swim mostly all alone. When I came up to shore after the first lap I came out next to the buoy and began to run around the flags but heard a strong "HEY" I looked and they pointed me back. Apparently, I missed the first one. I didn't even see it. So, I had to run back and go around and then continue on. There was another girl not too far ahead and I heard Sian yell jump on her feet as I ran through. After the lost seconds on shore, I really wanted to catch her feet! Second lap was uneventful and I tried to put a strong push towards shore.  *Lesson: Don't let them grab you! Or don't let it get to you :)  

I ran up to transition with someone right on my heals. I found that it was my long time competitor Maia Ignatz. I was ready to get on the bike and get moving and see what I could do there and I knew I had to get going with Maia right with me in transition. I had a little snafu with my wetsuit and timing chip and had a less than stellar T1 and Maia made it out ahead of me. I got on the road but was getting situated, tried to eat a bit, put on a glove, dropped the other glove, ate a bite, took a drink, choked on my food. *hack, hack, swerve. "Don't worry I'm a professional here". 

Well, I did get it back together about the time I hit the trail and set my sights toward reeling in Maia who had put a descent little gap while I haggled around on the road. I kept focused on getting the legs moving and not killing things on the first climbs. I was beginning to feel good and the legs were coming around but I still had a gap. We hit some of the descents and I let it roll. I love my Liv Lust on these sections. I can just ride that thing and it puts a grin on my face! We came down a little descent and into the sand pit and I went for the line I chose in pre-ride, and Bam! I was on her just like that. I held her wheel for a second and then decided to go. Now onto the next. I could see fellow NorCal superstar and friend Kara LaPoint not too far ahead in a few spots and set my mind to reel her in. I rode hard and I rode smooth through the rest of the lap and then into the next. However, about halfway through the second lap Brittany Webster (who went on to get 5th!) caught me and we went back and forth around the sand pit as she had a little spill. Then she turned it on and gapped me. I then saw another girl coming up and set in to pass her. It took a little longer because she put up a fight when a guy passing me cheering my name and my cover was blown! I pushed down to T2 and was able to see the girls that were just ahead. I was never quite able to reel in Kara and saw her just heading out of T2 just as I was riding in about 8th place. So close, well I put in the 2nd fastest T2 and got out on the run where we got to do another lap on the bike course :)

Photo: Trey Garman, XTERRA.  Pushing to overtake that last girl in the feed zone 

This is where I lost it... again...Well, I set out strong knowing that I could put down a strong run. First mile, Good. Second mile... long climb and I began to cramp at which point Sara Schuler came blazing by me. I couldn't even try to hang with her at that point. But I stayed focused on what I was doing and I ran the climbs alongside the AG bikers and tried not to get run over on the descents. I knew Maia would be coming for me, she always does. About 2.5-3 miles in, there she was. I made a quick joke that I think I held her off a moment longer and then she flew away. Gone. I think mentally that just shut me down. At this point I was just running the rest of the way. I didn't feel like there was anyone I could catch and there was a large gap for anyone else.

 I finished in 2:45 and 10th place in a strong field of women, and was happy with the overall improvment at the time. I was 13 minutes faster than last year and actually felt like I was in the race! That was huge! It is only afterwards that you reflect and find the disappointments with getting gapped so bad on the run.  I did run much stronger than I have but I don't think I pushed it. Need to work on this. 

Sian put in an awesome day and had her mental game dialed on the run to come away with and Age group win and 13 overall, I loved her race report! We packed up and headed out of there to get on home. Good times all around.

So, this weekend I will go partake in some Funduro shenanigans and do my first ever 8-hr mountain bike race at Boggs. Yay for mountain biking.

Next up will be getting my head in the game for Southeast Champs in Pelham AL on May 16th!  I have heard great things about this course and I am excited to go and see it for myself.

More Photos

Huge thanks always goes to my supporters especially my husband Drew, making it possible.

I thought the shirt summed it well.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

XTERRA Real and my First Overall win

The 13th running of Xterra Real at Granite Bay was my kick-off for the 2015 season! This is a great race for me to go into and just shake out the cobwebs and get that first triathlon of the season. TBF Racing holds a series of Mountain Bike races out at Granite Bay through the winter and the Xterra comes after these so I have the advantage of having been on these trails a lot by this point.  However, it is always interesting to get that first tri in and see how everything is coming together. 

We do have a great group of ladies in this area so we always have some good competition. Also, this being an early west coast race you never know who else might show up. Going into the race I knew I would have my work cut out for me with Team Freeplay Pro, Kelsey Withrow, on the start line. I knew that she is a top swimmer and a strong triathlete. I was just hoping there would be enough mountain biking out there.  Also, the usual strong competitors, including Kara LaPoint and Sian Turner were out to keep things lively.

Love loving my new Liv Lust Advanced
Race day turned out to be a perfect day for racing, far from the downpour and muck we endured at last year’s race. The water was a great temp and I just got a new HUUB wetsuit which I was excited to get into! The race started and I felt confident and good in the water. My wetsuit was super comfortable without any restriction and I felt great. The swim is about  1000m and was fairly uneventful. On the long run up to transition I knew that I would have some work to catch Kelsey who put in a killer swim split and beat everyone out of the water by a significant amount! I was the 4th woman out and passed one right out of transition.  I hit the bike hard to try and catch Kelsey and also hold off Kara who I saw right behind me. There is an added section of course in Xterra that the normal bike races don’t do adding a little 2-mile loop at the back of the course through sand and rocks. On my way back from this, I could see Kelsey up ahead so I knew I was getting close. I caught up not long after that and sat in on her wheel for a bit to take a breath and wait for my opportunity. I knew she would be a strong runner so I wanted to pass and be able to put in a gap right away. I also knew I didn’t want to wait too long with Kara not far behind. My new bike, the Liv Lust Advanced, is sweet!! I was having so much fun on the new bike and I felt strong. I passed about 3/4 of the way through that first lap, and put in good push on the rest of the bike to try and get as much time as I could.  Kara is always a strong competitor. She is coming off a recent injury but I know she seems to come back strong, and the one thing that had suffered the least would be her running. 
Heading out of T2
 As I came through the last lap and then onto to run though I was confused as people told me I was the 2nd woman and to go catch her, I was about 50 sec down. I was confused by this but just kept my head in and tried to put in a good strong run.  I really wanted to get a win here on this course. The past years of doing it, I was 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014, so I figured a win would do.  I crossed the line and they announced that I was 2nd. Not gonna lie, I was disappointed. I was really happy with my race and the improvements I had made on this course breaking the 2-hr mark, but I was disappointed and confused based on all the reports of friends and spectators. Turns out there was a mistake and the other girl had in fact had a great swim (you recall I was 4th) but missed that extra 2-mile section on the first lap of the bike course. Sunday, I was declared the winner.  This was actually my long sought after first overall win in Xterra!

A strong race and a win is a good way to kick off the season.

We had a great day out at Granite Bay! Drew also got to race and that is always fun when we get to toe the line together! It was so fun seeing so many friends and familiar faces out there. A few of the girls from last weekend’s Ride like a Girl clinic also climbed up on the podium! 

Next up…still debating whether I will make it to Sea Otter, but my focus will be the USA Pro Series kick-off at West Championships outside of Vegas April 25.

Big thanks to those supporting me!  Massage Vudoo, Folsom Bike, Hoffart Chiropractic, Liv, Bolle, and RooEpic. You all rock!

So much fun racing with these ladies


Friday, March 27, 2015

New Racers (A photo recap)

It is hard to believe that the off-season has already come and gone and I am about to leap into my season! 

This winter and spring has been great and I have enjoyed my time getting out with a bunch of young athletes.  From high school racers right down to some 5-yr-old triathletes. As I mentioned before there is a great local race series to get up to speed for the season. One of the things I enjoy about these races is racing alongside a bunch of the high school athletes. The earlier of these races work well for the high-school athletes leading into their main races of the season as well. It is so fun to race with them and see how they progress.
Racing with fast high schoolers at Granite Bay

For the second season I have volunteered as an assistant coach for Tri4Kids. This is a local Triathlon club done by TBF that targets kids from 5-14. We have some monthly workouts and TBF puts on a series of kids triathlons throughout the summer. I started doing it after my daughter decided she really wanted to do a Tri at age 4. However, she tends to only want to race at this point. It is fun to teach kids the basics and see them get excited about health and sport!
Bike clinic with Tri4Kids

Folsom Bike in conjunction with Cycling Development have put together a junior MTB program for 8-14 to get them some mountain biking skills before they get to the high school level and join those racing programs!  This has been a lot of fun for me because I love to play in the dirt and I love seeing these kids getting into and pushing their skills a little more each time!

Jr MTB with Cycling Dev & Folsom Bike

XTERRA/Ride like a Girl
Something else I love is getting more people and women in particular involved in XTERRA! I have noticed that there seem to be a lot of women doing triathlons and a fair amount getting into mountain biking but as soon as you put the two together the attendance goes way down as evidenced when I raced the Dirty Duathlon! All of the time I get into conversations with people about XTERRA and how they would love to do it. It seems there are a lot out there who want to, they just need a little extra boost to give them the confidence to dive in and do it.

This past weekend Sian Turner came down from Truckee and joined me in leading a women's XTERRA clinic and preride for the XTERRA Real triathlon that will be held this weekend the 28th. We had a great group of ladies come out and we took our time going through the trails. Everyone seemed to push their limits just a bit and ride more confidently than before. My hope is that they all took away something from the clinic. I know I had a good time!

Also, thank you to those who supported the clinic! We had some great raffles too! Folsom Bike, Osmo Nutrition, TBF Racing, and Massage Vudoo. Also, Sian for her help and some Luna bar snacks from Luna Chix!

XTERRA Ride Like a Girl Clinic

Now it is time to get to business! Tomorrow I will kick out the cobwebs in my first Xterra of the season. Here we go!

Dirty Duathlon

It is so great to have a local race company that hosts some great early season events. TBF Racing puts on a MTB series through the winter, and I have enjoyed having these early season races to kind of work my legs into race shape and have some hard workouts!  Most of the races this season were great but I also got one that started pouring rain right on the startline! That was a wet 2-hrs.

In late February I went ahead and did the Dirty Duathlon out at Granite Bay. A great way to test out the running along with the bike. 

 It was great having some teammates out there racing as well! Things didn't start off too bad on the run. I wasn't feeling awesome on the day in general but it seemed to be going alright until after looking very closely at the arrows I ended up on the levy looking down across the parking lot to where I knew I was actually supposed to be running. A few young guy were right behind me and I said something about us needing to be down there. They chose the rock hopping puddle mucking to get over there while I chose to just run out the levy and down into transition. Sometimes you just roll with the punches, thankfully no big deal for me it added about an extra .2 of a mile. Bike went alright nothing special course was in good shape just damp and then the run again.... I definitely didn't have the same run speed on the second go but I did feel that I was able to pick a strong pace and hold which is something I am working on.

Turned up a win and 10th overall.  Not a bad day.


Friday, November 07, 2014

2014 Season Close

It is hard to know where to start. Sometimes the disappointments are just not as much fun to write.


XTERRA US Nationals seemed to hold a bit more weight and expectation for me this year just because of the nature of my going Pro this season. I held higher hopes for that race because I was holding out hope for position in the XTERRA points series.  Nationals held mixed emotions. I was disappointed because I did not race quite as well as I knew I could and therefore my placing was nowhere near where I was hoping it would be. I was 18th.  However, I had decent improvements for my personal times on this course (not one that I tend to race well). Notably, I was 4 min faster on the run and had significantly decreased my swim time gaps to the leaders.  I knew it would be very difficult to place where I wanted to since the women's pro field has grown in depth and talent. The women's field was larger than the men's field! 

I tried to keep a positive outlook and move on from this as I trained for Worlds.  I felt like I had some descent training in between but not a big solid block there is just so little time in between and I got a small cold that I had to kick right away! Anyway, I really didn't know what to expect from this race. I felt somewhat confident based on my past races here on this course. But, I also knew that this would be a whole new game racing with the best of the best.

My Mother-in-law made the trip to CA to stay with Ashlyn and Drew and I both got to get away to Maui this time!

Enjoying some rest day Acai bowls on the beach.

We arrived in Maui to a downpour on Wednesday. This was the day they opened the full bike course and I came to many reports of everyone getting stuck on the course in wet muck. The course had gone quickly from wet and slippery to rivers and mud so thick that your wheels wouldn't turn. So, the next day I chose to stay off the course and give it time to dry. However, Sian and I did try to go the next day and I probably could have just stayed off :). It was better but still so slippery that you could barely walk up the steeper climbs in bike shoes!

Runs enjoyed in Maui
Drew got some great time running and SUPing and surfing and I enjoyed some downtime and just race prep :) 

Going into the race I was feeling pretty good but also just not sure what to expect. I knew I had no target on my back having gone up to the pro ranks but that also adjusts my goals. Not having an age-group title to defend and just wanting to race hard. There was no pressure not a lot of expectation. Besides that little bit inside that just wants to have some breakout race. Sometimes that is what happens when we take off all the pressure we have our best performances. This was not that day.

Photo by Xterra:  A little idea
Race day arrived and so did the surf. We got to the swim start with some good sized waves. The gun went off for the Pro start at a good time. I went out good and was swimming with a good pack for the first lap I felt. I even came in for my beach run successfully on top of the waves. However, that little beach run and getting back in just zapped all my energy! I was crawling as I tried to find my rhythm again. Then I kept getting pulled inside by the currents only to get swamped at the second bouy by the wave of men all packed in. The second portion, which was supposed to be shorter took my a bit longer than he first! yuck. I was eager to get on the bike but I had no idea where I was in the field.

 I started riding only to find myself continually frustrated.  I was packed in with a bunch of guys passing at very inopportune times and cutting me off. Then somehow  I kept getting behind the people that would just fall over. 3 times it happened. This kind of took the rhythm out of the first half of my bike. Finally I found some space and had a great time once I got to the downhills. The course had dried out perfectly and the conditions were great! I could actually see as we flew down the mountain. I was able to real in about 5 women ahead of me on the bike so I didn't think I was doing too terribly.

Thanks for the photo and cheers Planet Sun!
I got onto the run in feeling fairly good of course a little spent. I was not looking forward to the first part of the run which is about 3 miles of climbing. I tried to just keep it steady and get to the top and then try to let it all hang out. But I was passed by about 4 girls already. I just kept steady on and persevered everytime my course turned up again. At some point I just took to making it my mission to encourage Hannah Rae everytime we leap frogged, as I could see she was struggling through.  Finally made it through my favorite downhill (because it is close to the finish) and tried to run it fast and then I hit the beach which just hurt. Almost to the finish and I got passed by 2 more on the grass. Made it. 

Right at first I wasn't sure what to think. My race didn't feel that bad, there wasn't anything that I could pinpoint that really went wrong but I was thinking it wasn't that great. Then I saw results and realized just how slow I really went.  Wow, such is life.

Post-Season Thoughts

So, many have asked if I am glad I went Pro or if I regret doing it. I can say that I have no regrets!  I feel like we have to seize the opportunities in life. I debated on the decision a lot early this season. I ultimately decided that I wanted to dive in. Sometimes the only way to keep improving is to give yourself a bigger challenge. I knew that it would be a whole new game this year and I knew that I would not be racing for the top spots. Ashlyn had still not begun school for most of the season and my time had been limited but I wanted to go for it and get that first season experience under my belt.  It seemed to be good timing. Friend and fellow rookie pro Kara LaPoint recently wrote about her first season as a pro for Freeplay Magazine and I felt like she was telling my thoughts on much of it. Similarly, I felt that I had reached a high point as 2013 age group World Champion and I needed to go for it. No, I still did not have an overall amateur title nor did I win all the time, but I knew what would take me further.  
I did have a moment during the run when I was getting passed by another age-group girl, when I was thinking that I used to be that age-grouper passing the back part of the Pros and this time, I was that pro getting passed the top age-groupers. At that moment, I sure liked it better the other way around. :) Moving on up. I learned so much this year! While many of my races were not what I was hoping for I still had a few good ones! Now I have learned from racing alongside some very talented women and I now have more experience which can lead to more focus and getting to the next level.  I am excited for next year! 

Thanks for a Fun Season!

Family-First I have to thank my family. No athlete can be successful without support. For me my family is first so without their support I could not do what I a doing! I was so thankful to get to take Drew to Maui this year and have him cheering for me!
After the race I was talking to Ashlyn and she asked me how my race was.  I told her about it.  She said, "Well, that's okay, Mommy, as long as we get out there and do our best!"  I love that girl. If I can teach my 5-year-old the ups and downs of sport and how to work hard and all the things that go into makes it worth it. She still likes to tell people I was at the World Champions.  Of course the extended family too. For the Grandmas who love to make visits in October or trips to Utah and so much more!

Folsom Bike 
 and LIV -Thank you so much for all your support this season. Special thanks to Erin Gorrell for the encouragement and support. The women who gets stuff done! This shop is amazing. Thanks for all that you guys do and for taking great care of my baby. 
     WTB- thanks for the great tires. I chose to go with the awesome fast rolling Nanos for Worlds. The course was perfect and the tires were perfect.
      Osmo-Love this stuff! I first tried it before Worlds last year and now I am hooked. I love the Osmo for women and I don't think I have ever had another drink that I have enjoyed so much while racing hard! A frozen camelback of Osmo in Maui is definitely the ticket.

Thanks LIV for providing an athlete ambassador program that helps me with a great ride! An outstanding company that is doing great things for women in cycling and making awesome bikes for us!

Massage Vudoo - Thank you Tom for all your support and confidence in me and your enthusiasm. These are some of the worst (read: torturous), most productive hours my week!  You are awesome and I can't thank you enough for not only torturing me but believing in me.

Vince Hoffart - Seriously great Chiropractor! Thanks so much for your patient perseverance into my issues. I am so thankful I listened to the recommendations from my fellow athletes to come to you.

Seriously, between Tom and Vince, they keep my moving!

Bolle Eyeware- Thanks to Dave and Bolle for providing me with some of the best eyewear around for the past several years. I love these!

RooEpic - Thanks for keeping me stylish especially through all my workout. More specifically, those long hot track workouts and runs.  Gotta have my RooEpic.

Coach Joan - Thanks for all your help in the pool and believing I can get much faster! Mostly thanks for all your support and encouragement! You are always encouraging.
Also, Calfit swimmers- You guys are awesome and you make me look forward to swimming so much more!

Coach Justin- Thank you for all your help this past year. You have been awesome. Thanks for working with me and thank you for caring so much how things go!

So many more! 
Well, here is to next year and not feeling like this !


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Downieville Classic

Ah Downieville... what can I say.

The race has become the All Mountain World Championships and consists of a two day stage race. Saturday is the Cross-country where racers endure the 7 mile 3200ft climb and then race down the mountain with 5200 descent. Then Sunday is just the downhill.

I had a great time here last year so I was excited to go back this year and see if the race would deliver again, only this time I would be racing both days and Pro.

It did.

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HERE is the photo gallery from MTBR.
 I entered early this year based on last year's finish but this time I would be moving up to Pro. This made me a little nervous because I know that this race generally draws a good group of Pro women. This year I was able to get to Downieville and ride earlier in the summer as opposed to just 2 days before the race like last year. I love riding around here.

Race weekend still snuck up on me! I was coming off recovery time following Xterra in Beaver Creek and I was really excited to have some fun riding my bike on some fun trails. Well, not my bike...again, this year I was riding a borrowed bike since I currently only have a hardtail. My friend let me use her Liv Lust Advanced. Such a great bike!! I rode the Lust with Maxxis Ardent front and WTB Beeline rear.

Again, we rolled up to town early on race morning and somehow, again, I was feeling a little short on time. By the time I picked up my packet, got geared up, and weighed in my bike I didn't have much time for a proper warm-up. I was also have a small problem with the fact that my Camelbak, that I had smartly filled and frozen with Osmo the night before, was still a solid block!! So I put this on the pavement in the sun and went to spin for a few minutes. I tried to get some teammates to sit on it but apparently no one was too keen on that idea. I was able to get it thawed enough to start breaking it up and I figured it would be alright.

Anyway, before I knew it we were standing on the back of the Pro start and off we went! This wave starts soo fast up the first section of paved road. Knowing that I didn't have too much warmup and also that we would be climbing for awhile I was content to hold myself to my pace and hang off the back. I could see Teal Stetson Lee just up ahead and was just fine to keep her right there.  I knew as we climbed I could get stronger. Sure enough a little over 1/2 way up I was able to real her in and make the pass. Now I just wanted to get some time on her before the descent! I was feeling pretty good. It was a HOT day and you could tell people were struggling, I think temps were around 90 on that climb (so happy to have my frozen drink). On the flat road near the top of the climb I caught Jamie Busch and kept pressing on. When I came over the top I was told I was 4th woman (apparently 1 of the girls was incognito!). I was really happy to hear this as I thought I was a bit further out than that! Now for the fun.

There are not many courses where you get to race downhill longer than you got to race up! I love this, it favors the all-around rider that can do both well. There is still a fair amount of pedaling on this long descent and there are actually still a couple climbs, so the work is by no means over once you go over the top! I really enjoyed the race down, I had a pretty clear course for most of the way. This was great! Last year I was in the lines of Expert men. As I came through the lower portions of the course I got more reports that I was about 4th women. I tried to keep pushing all the way through just in case there was someone close, but no...

I got to the end and found out that I was 5th! Going into the race I had told a friend that my goal was top 5 here, so I was happy with that even though the reports said 4th. Then, I found out that in Downieville the podium only goes to 4! A little bummed, but still happy with the day. I was still sitting in 4th in the All Mountain :)

Ashlyn and I finished the afternoon taking care of Nora, (friends dog, so he and Drew could go ride) and relaxing in the river watching the river jump.

We camped up near Packer Saddle on Saturday night, which is the start for the Downhill race on Sunday. In the morning we had plenty of time just hanging out. It was a little weird! This was my first time racing just downhill with a TT-type of start and my start wasn't until almost noon! It was nice to hang out in camp with the family, but I also have a hard time just waiting when I am going to be racing. Anyway, it finally came time to head up and get ready. This being my first time I wasn't totally sure how to go about getting ready. So, I just did some version of the usual.  I was the second to last of the Pro women to go so once we started it was still a lot of wait. I really just wanted to do well enough to stay in 4th at least, but some of these girls seemed to be really fast experienced downhillers!

I finally got going and pedaled hard right away, (maybe too hard) I was a little amped and screwed up some line that I have never even thought about right off the top. Anyway, just tried to get going. A bit later I messed up another part that I rode fine on preride then followed that with a few more bobbles and "falls" laying down the bike. Nothing bad, but stopping in a downhill is not clean or fast! I passed the girl who had been in 3rd the day before (mechanical) and I soon got passed by the last girl who started behind me. I was not feeling too good about that. Finally, I took a deep breath and calmed myself down, "just ride smooth and have fun" I thought. After that it was pretty good on the bottom section which follows the same course as the XC. I passed another girl with a flat and then as I came down to the last section of singletrack on First Divide I came across another girl walking her bike with a flat. It was Larissa, who was 2nd the day before.  She asked if I had a pump. I didn't, but I stopped and gave her an extra CO2 so that she could make it to the finish. I have been told that this is not good race tactics :) but hey, I was feeling like I had such a bad run, and I feel like it is better to go with good people tactics anyway. 
Made it to the finish in 1 hour.  Yes, it is a long downhill. It was good enough for 5th, again! I was very surprised about this with how I felt about my run. It was messy!

I spent the rest of the afternoon waiting to find out if that CO2 cost me the spot on the podium or not. The AM championship is scored on a point system! So you get points based on your finish and ties are weighted toward the Downhill. All said and done, base on time I would have been second behind a ripping Kelli Emmett who destroyed us all! Based on points I was 4th! I think it was a successful weekend. I had a blast and learned a lot.

Women's AM Pro podium (L-R) Me, Teal Stetson Lee, Kelli Emmett, and Jamie Busch
 Downieville delivered yet again a great weekend! This is definitely a favorite and one to keep in the schedule!

Here is a great photo recap of the weekend from Pinkbike. A little lacking on the female coverage but the photos are great and a lot of my teammates are in there!

Also, a fun little recap by the Angry Singlespeeder.