Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Hwood, the Chucker, and I headed out to Chaska last weekend to take on our first dirty century race with high hopes of simply finishing. Saturday was the Dirty Benjamin - a 107 mile gravel & dirt road race, looping from Chaska to Watertown and back. I'm not one who enjoys tossing the word 'epic' around, but this one may have definitely qualified. Nothing chaps my ass more than hearing someone say that some 20 minute weekday crit was "epic", but taking on a 15-25 mph headwind for the first 50 miles of a gravel century, self-supported, cue card guided.... now that was friggin' epic!!!
The start of the race rolled out more civilized than I imagined so Jay and I quickly moved ourselves to the lead riders to ensure a great position from the get-go. We entered a length of snowmobile trail and put the hammer down, trying to separate ourselves from as many riders as possible. Four miles in and we were with the top 10 and feelin fine.
Once we made it out to the gravel roads, the wide farmlands opened up and allowed the winds to step up to the plate and abuse the crap out of us. Jay was the best teammate I could have - never leaving my side and letting me find my pace in his draft. We made it to the 50 mile check point and stopped only long enough to refill our bottles and choke down half a PB&J each. With heart rates still high, we jumped back onto our bikes and onto the road.
We continued northwest and into the wind for a bit, bringing attention to my screaming left hip flexor. It was seizing up bad, making every pedal stroke a challenge. Jay slowed the pace up as I tried to massage it out. We hit the Luce Line Trail for miles 62-69 and I tried desperately to keep my wits about me and not break down. The trail offered a nice canopy of trees to hide from the wind in, and the flat trail was almost hypnotic as you quietly pedaled along. I stopped quickly to pee and stretch out my hip flexor, but realized quickly what a terrible idea that was as the mosquitos swarmed and feasted on my blood.
With thirty miles to go and no reduction in pain, I looked over at my sweet sherpa of a husband and said "This is AWESOME!!!". We were doing it! Our first gravel century race and we were hauling a$$ and sittin in the top 20! We just had to keep pedaling. 80 miles. 90 miles.
At 100 miles, euphoria kicked in and masked the pain and exhaustion. We pulled out onto a paved road that took us to our sweet downhill finish. Though we still had a couple miles to go, we were all smiles. Hwood and I even caught the Chucker, so the three of us got to ride in together as a team. When we pulled into the parking lot, Stukel raised up his arms - I WON THE WOMEN's OPEN!!!!
Our goal had been to get in under 7 hours and we rocked it in 6 hours 14 minutes! On top of it all, I finished 14th of 111 riders!!!! Bitch, please!I'm still floating from how awesome it was! I can't wait to do that again. Thanks to all the peeps who put it on - that was so RAD!!! And the biggest thanks in the world to my husband who never left my side. I couldn't have done it without you my love!!! You're the best part of my world and I love the daylights out of you.
Friday, June 11, 2010
With the lite drizzling that had gone on of the course of the day, the trail was perfectly tacky and extremely fast. The Little White Fox wanted to make up for a slow showing at Afton and dragged me up the hill. Hwood rode behind me for the entire race to help teach me a few skills I still have yet to learn, and that was awesome! I wish he could do that everytime!
I must be getting the flow of Buck down, cuz once I was in the single track I could completely open up. I railed through the turns and had fun letting my rear wheel get a little loose. Though my lungs burned more than I'd hoped, it was still light-years better than a month ago and my speed showed it.
On our second lap, I amped it up a bit and was able to pass 2 advanced women (who had a 2 min. head start!). With the finish in site, I charged the climb in a last ditch effort to beat my fastest time of 39:25....
With a fist full of breaks, I crossed the line and stopped to see my new personal best time of 35:50!!!! Holy frijoles!! I had FELT fast, but I didn't know I was actually going that fast! My first mountain bike win ever!!!!! So freakin' awesome...
YOWZA!!! I couldn't have done it without my coach to help me through some of my barriers. Thank you, Jay! You're the best coach and hubby a gal could have! Heck, any man would be pretty lucky too. But I'm sure happy he's hetero :O) I love you, Jay!
Still ridin' high,
To test the waters in the most abusive way I could think of, I raced the St. Peter Time Trail on Saturday.... nothing like a 40K time trial to welcome you back.... especially since I haven't raced a time trail since last September. An hour before the race, the outlook was not good. My legs were exhausted from a ragin Roller Disco the night before... but heck, Hwood and I won the couple's costume contest, so it was worth it!
Back to the pain.... about 5 miles into the TT my lungs burned. Dead center in my chest my lungs practically cramped with the strain of trying to expand. Something finally gave a few miles further down the road and they opened up and filled my legs with oxygen. Since it had been a while since my last TT, my expectations were as low as a redneck's IQ, and mile after mile I kept extending my goal time to beat. To my utter disbelief, every time I looked at my computer, my speed was great so I kept truckin along.
With 12 miles to go, my crotch began swearin' at me like a sailor, tempting me to stop. But, I figured the only way off the bike was 12 miles down the road, so I pushed harder figuring that the faster I went, the sooner I'd be done. Diggin my heals into the ground, I soared across the finish line exhausted. When I looked down at my finishing time I near crashed my bike! 1:04:06!!!! Just shy of 3 minutes faster than my previous best!
Awesome pics, Seth!
I tried messin' with Jay and acted disappointed at a super slow time and told him to check my computer. He looked at me, astonished, and congratulated me on a killer time. It's so nice to have my hubby always there to share in my experiences, especially my first win of the season!
To keep the good times rollin, we headed out to Afton the next day to conquer the ski hill with our mountain bikes. My legs moaned and complained for much of the race, but I never gave up. The rocky sections were a little over my head, so my performance wasn't totally where I wanted it to be. I still took home a win in my age group, though, so that was super awesome!
Jay took on the pro race during the peak heat of the day as Smokey and I baked in the sun. Although he was totally exhausted from Saturday, he stuck to it and finished strong. I am so proud of you baby!!!
By Sunday night, tired and tanned, Hwood, Smokey and I returned home to put our feet up and relax after a fun weekend gone by. A little late in the season to finally come to, but I'll take it.
Back on the bike wagon,
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Kenny & Lou hooked us up with a place to stay again, and we had a blast. It's definitely the place to stay for great socializing and bikes. Not to mention Smokey is a huge fan of their 3 yr. old black lab, Ridley! They played so much, we had to wash the slobber off of Smokey before we loaded up the car to come home.
We spent our days out riding our bikes and watching and racing some killer Iowa races, starting with Snake Alley. That Snake was rad and I wish I could have tackled it a few more times, but my slowly-departing sickness was too huge a barrier to overcome.
Hwood and I tackled the Melon City Criterium at Weed Park, but the heat and lingering illnesses proved impossible to overcome yet again, forcing each of us off of our bikes earlier than we wished. Lucky for us, though, father Bob was up n' at 'em enough to come out and watch! Thank a ton for coming out, Bob! Bob, Smokey, and Dorothy spent the afternoon basking in the warmth under the shade of an old oak tree.
Smokey's such a good boy - we left him off leash most of the afternoon and he played and lounged with the rest of us.To add to the fun and excitement, we followed up the day's events by joining Ken, Lou and the crue on their bitchin' wine ride. At dusk, we loaded up our bikes with wine, cheeses, breads, hummus..even some creme brulee, and hit the road for our fave park. Almost 50 people saddled up for fun, and no one was left behind.
Sometime after midnite, we headed back... but not too fast as to deny an impromptu disco!
Needless to say, we had an awesome time! Lucky for me, Hwood and I were on a tandem, ensuring I made it home quite safe after a couple of glasses of wine.
Thanks to all my favorite peeps for another awesome weekend on the road. Hwood & Smokey, you're the best companions! I love you!
Road worn & weary,