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 this...it 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.

Add caption
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.


Monday, July 28, 2014

XTERRA Mtn Champs

I am behind again but I wasn't really sure what to say about this race. Terribly disappointing maybe...

Well, it started out with vacation back home in Winter Park for a couple weeks which was great! I was hoping this would give me ample time to get acclimated again to the altitude (at 8500 shouldn't be a problem) and some time with the family and riding some great single track. It did take a bit to breath again but about a week in was starting to feel more normal again with my training sessions. I did an Epic Single track race a week before. The start of that hurt. Those races seem to always start fast with a climb. I went out feeling good climbing with the lead girls then about 4 mins in the lung  burn was so bad! I dropped back a bit and rode the rest of the way to the top of the climb with the expert girls. As soon as we got to the top, it was a really fun course and it was just playing catch up for me! I ended up 5th, (this is CO racing :), women's turnouts for MTB is so much better!).

Anyway, I had a good week leading into Beaver Creek. I do not like this course at all but was really trying to feel positive about it and be confident in my strengths and training.

My mom and I left Ashlyn with my sister and headed to BC for the race, just the two of us. It was nice to have a night out with mom. I got there in time to get a little swim in. I thought that was important since I hadn't been in my wetsuit since Memorial Day! I got all ready to go and we had a nice dinner at our usual pre BC spot.

I look ready squinty eyes and all  :)

 Race morning came and I got all set up at T2 and then back to the hotel and getting stuff to T1. I was feeling a bit extra antsy today, but just pushed it off. I think I just had a little high hopes of doing well here. 

I felt like I started out pretty strong. I was feeling pretty good and felt like I held onto the main group a little bit longer. I was really glad that I had gotten that initial high-altitude-feel-like-your-going-to-drown swimming out of the way 2 weeks ago. However, I did get a kick to the face which caused a slow leak in one side of my goggles. I kept going and debated trying to fix it or just doing the whole thing like that. There was another girl drafting me nicely so I figured a quick re-seal of the goggles and switch spots would be good. I ended up loosing her feet though and we both swam the whole thing about the same distance apart. I didn't think my swim was anything crazy but it seemed solid despite the goggles and I was pretty happy with were I came out of the water.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be the highlight of the day. 

I had some issues coming out of transition with my helmet buckle but got ready to get into the bike. I could see the next girl, Kim,  just ahead of me and I knew that I could catch her and decided to get the legs going and real her in. But... nothing really happened. Then the next 2 girls came by looking really strong and I told myself to grab a wheel and go with them, but... no I just rode where I was. It just seemed like I had no race gear for the day. My head was saying "GO, push hard!" but my body just did nothing. Then, to make matters worse, once I came down the fun little downhill section on Corkscrew I came out on the last little fire road descent about 1/4 mile from T2 and my rear through axle came out and my wheel was coming off!! I had to stop there and spend a few minutes trying to get it back in. It took forever as I was having trouble getting it lined up right. I burnt my hand on my searing hot brake rotor in the process. Since this thing unscrewed itself somehow during the course of the ride this may well have had something to do with my lack of power possibly. Just another piece to the day.

This is where it all started going south for me.

So, by this point my brain had no push and I was not looking forward to doing the run course in reverse, but I set my head to it and got to work, until it went up unrelentingly for quite a ways and I was brought to the speed walk. At this point the top two Age-group women had passed me and I gave Meagen Sheridan a good push because she still had some push in her.  I tried to run hard on the downhills and then came to the second round back up the mountain. The first part was not all that steep and I kept telling myself to keep running but kept finding myself walking. Finally, I got to the dirt road and was able to maintain a steady run up the final climb. Once I got to the single track I was ecstatic because I knew it was all down. Now, I was sure much happier to be running down this part than when we used to go up it. Made it through and I was actually a minute faster than 2 years ago. Ha! I know that I have made so much more progress than that. :)

I ended up 16th on the day. A very disappointing finish for me.  However, there were so many girls out there today that had amazing races and I was so excited for some friends! The Pro women's field was larger than the pro men's field in this race and was filled with some great ladies! Also, I believe about half of us are mom's.

As my brother-in-law says, I never learned anything about myself by winning all that time! So, I try to take these days and see what I can learn. Part of that is hard because it is hard to pinpoint why I was so flat. But, lesson of the day.... Never forget to check that your through axles are screwed tight! Many races are a test of perseverance, this one was no different. Now, not letting the bad day get to your head and moving on is the big thing. Just before the race, Kara Lapoint posted on twitter, "Our true measure is our worst day, not our best." Good stuff. The great thing is that at the end of the day, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out there doing something I love, even on the bad days! I am grateful for all the great people that I know through this sport and for all of the ones that support me in the good and the bad!  A little shout out to all my sponsors!! 

Had a great time being back in Winter Park and so thankful for the support of my family. It was a little disappointing to end the trip on this note. I was so glad to have a night away with my mom, thanks to my sister for keeping Ashlyn!

Next up Downieville Classic!! 
Watch this for some great footage of all the fun last year.   See cover photo.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

XTERRA East Championships/ USAT Nationals

 I am so glad that I was able to make the trip out to Richmond for this race! I had heard good things about this race and really wanted to try another championship course out but wasn't sure how I was going to make it happen.  It was such a blessing how everything came together for this trip. I have gotten to know an amazing network of people in this area as well as Xterra friends! I was holding out hope to go and it came down to everything coming into place in the last week and even better than I could have hoped. From help through my shop, Folsom Bike, to friends that I swim with right down to my awesome massage guy, Tom, all the pieces came together and I owe it to all these people for helping me get there!

My mom was coming out for a visit and flew in on Wednesday so she was here with Ashlyn while I had a buddy pass to fly straight to Dulles on Thursday! I got to stay with great people David and Stephanie Miller who were heading down to the race on Friday. John, Steph and I got out and got a little preride in on Fri afternoon and I had a blast. It was definitely wet from all the rain in the two days prior and the humidity is not something I am used to but that course was so much fun. I got hooked up with an amazing homestay in the area and was so grateful to be staying with Chris Jeffrey. My plan on Saturday was to just do a short run. But as I heard about different parts of the course and looked at the swim in the river I ended up doing a little bit of everything. On this course I was glad I did. It was more than I had planned to do but I was feeling so much better than last time thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Vince Hoffart and my muscle man Tom Self at Massage Vudoo! I think I have found a killer combination there.

swim start--that's me bottom left.
Race morning was great the temperatures were down and the humidity was way down and it made for great race weather with our early start.

The swim was different and fun. You have to swim across current and up the river and zig zag for different bouys with a mini trail run on isle in the middle. I was so grateful that I got in a swim on Saturday and had a good idea how strong the current was and how high I had to aim to make the bouys!  A lot of people had problems, but I felt pretty good with my swim. I felt really relaxed amidst some chaos. I came out of the water right on Shonny's heels and chased up to transition. I was 8th out of the water, which is pretty good for me.

I jumped on my bike thinking maybe I could try and grab a wheel of Shonny for a minute or two, but nope, by the time I got myself situated she was gone! I pushed down the road and dove into the singletrack. Such a fun course! My first lap went fine. Despite having my share of bobbles, I rode most of my lines fairly clean. There were a few that I realized I needed to change on the next lap. However, when I came around the next lap I was mixed in the age-group race starting their first lap. The first part wasn't too bad as people were fairly willing to let me pass. I think it helped just a little having people around to push me as opposed to the first lap all alone. David Miller came up behind me and gave me a good push mentally when I really needed one! Then we got to all the technical parts that people were coming off or just walking and that was a little frustrating since I knew my lines for that lap and was forced to walk in the line of age-groupers. It also makes me feel a bit spastic on my bike because I am still trying to race but also forced to sit back and wait. I know this cost some time but I did have a blast on this course! Super fun with technical rocky sections, roots, bridges, creek crossings and riding through drainage tunnels, and of course sections lined with fans and hecklers all dressed up and noisy. Here is a link to a local article. I was 6th fastest on the bike for the pro field.
Fun section of the course lined with fans :)

I came out of transition and onto the run right behind another girl. She was running at a good pace and I was trying to keep with her. I was feeling alright for about a mile and then she just opened up the gap and I could not hang. After running through some streets over railroad tracks you come to the "Myan wall" which honestly was a lot smaller than I was expecting from the way people talk about it. It is a steep scramble/climb up some railroad ties. As I was climbing I saw a girl coming right up behind me. As we ran down the tower, my head was spinning with how many circles we made and she was right on me. I determined not to lose any positions on the run and held fast. I made it through the out and back and to the river crossing and the "dry way" and was again grateful that I had come out to this the day before and knew where I was going through this rocky section. This was my favorite part of this run. Through a stream over boulders and up a little ladder. After that is just a fun section of trail and then the home stretch over the bridge and back to the finish. Through this second half of the run my stomach was NOT happy and I was a little worried. It hadn't really been feeling great the whole race, but this is where it got bad. I just kept telling myself I was almost there and I could make it without a stop! I finally opened up a gap on the girl behind me through the dry way and made it too the finish. I did not lose any spots on the run! Yay! This is a common problem for me.
Dry way

7th place!
I had no idea where I was in the field when I crossed and then Chris came up right away and told me I was 7th. I was so happy to make the last spot in the money for the pro field. This also was good enough to get back in the top 10 in the series.  

This race was truly fun XTERRA racing! All aspects of the race had fun challenges of their own and it was a great race! Definitely one to do again.

I definitely have some work to do to catch those ladies ahead of me but this was progress from my last attempt. Next up will be Beaver Creek, CO in July.

More photos here.

Oh yeah..... Ashlyn got to race on Saturday too with Nana B cheering her on.

 She is having fun and she got third.


Friday, June 06, 2014

Shasta Lemurian Classic

This is a little late being the race was the end of April. Sorry!
I had heard good things about this race and that it was definitely one I should do. As it got closer I actually debated whether we should actually go up there this time. Well, we did decide to go and camp (rain and all) and a have a fun family adventure. So glad we did!
Got up and ready and made it over to the other side of the lake where it was much colder with winds at the race start! It was chilly and then I realized I didn't even bring my arm warmers! I knew I probably wouldn't need them once going, but before the race I was downright cold. Also, we somehow managed to be running a little late even though I thought we had plenty of time. Mostly because of the racer meeting 30 minutes before start. Anyway, I didn't get much of a warmup and just got over onto the massive start. Kind of crazy, I didn't hear anybody saying anything just some clicking pedals in the front and the whole pack started going. I guess that is how we roll here!
I really didn't know much of anything of the course except that we started with a long climb and there was going to be another big climb later with a bunch of fun singletrack in between! We started the climb and teammate, Craig, told me to settle in because it went for a ways. I took his advice and got into a good climbing pace. I knew there was at least a couple girls up ahead, one I recognized from Big Sandy and another that passed and was climbing just in front of me. Soon we came down and raced on the road across the damn and onto the first singletrack, this is where it got fun! I passed the girl that was right in front of me off that first single track and then heard reports that I was the second female. I soon caught Tracie and passed around mile 9 when she bobbled and had to come off on a climb. This was right before a fun flume section of the course where my new 27.5s really shine. I was able to put in a little gap there! I love the speedy acceleration of the my Liv/giant Obsess 27.5 in the corners and punchy climbs!  Somewhere along the way, a guy I passed told me there was one more girl up ahead. I was confused but figured I needed to catch her if he was right. So I kept pushing. I have to say all the guys I was riding by were great gentlemen, even calling up to the others to let the lead female through. I have to note this because that is not always the case when passing men. Soon, the one who told me there was another girl caught me again and informed me that he gave me bad information, it was actually a guy and I already passed him :)
Then we hit the really long climb. Not knowing the course, I had no idea how long this went. I was good for a long ways pushing a good pace and then it just kept going and then finally got steeper with dry pine needles and we had to come off. I wasn't sure I wanted to use these different muscles! Soon, though we finally finished and were rewarded with a great trail that descended through the forest. There were some great little sections of trail through the end of the race.
I crossed the line as the first female by over 3 minutes.  I really enjoyed the course even though I had very little idea what to expect. The race experience was made even better by an awesome post race meal, huge burritos! We made our family kid swap and Ashlyn and I hung out for burritos and awards while Drew headed out to try and ride at least some of the course! 
We finished out the weekend enjoying the afternoon at our campsite and one more night of camping. Ashlyn worked her bike skills a bit too.  
I am definitely glad we didn't miss out on this one. That was some great riding and the rain the day before made the track perfect!