Still loving our lil home away from home, Jay and I loaded up the mountain bikes into the Scamp, grabbed the puppy, and headed north for the 2010 Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. Jay and I raced in the Short & Fat together, a 16 mile sprint of a mountain bike race. For Jay, a 17-time Cheq 40 racer, it was his first appearance in the Short & Fat, and my third.... the last one was 2 years ago on my single-speed that got a rear flat a mile into the race. Let's just say I had some redemption coming my way after spending 2 hours and 14.5 miles riding my flat tire.
We set up camp at Dale's beautiful piece of land in Cable, WI - one mile into the race, right on the course - it was perfect! Eight acres of untouched land with a utility pole and fresh water - we just pulled right in, opened the door to the Scamp, and made ourselves at home as the rest set up tents and Dale got his trailer up and running.
Scampin' in Style
Jay munchin' on our Tequila Chex Mix (chex the macrame owl!)
We had a great time, inviting Crossmax, Tim, Dale, Caveman, and Mark into our camper for our first batch of spaghetti on the Scamp stove, beers, wine, and good times! With hard races ahead of us all, we called it a night sometime after eleven and tucked ourselves in for some bikey sleep.
Come sunrise on Saturday, I battled my stomach and tried desperately to keep my coffee down. Jay was ready and able, filling my head with ideas of speed and agility, and all I wanted to do was puke. Crossmax set us up awesomely before the sun peeked out, getting our bikes on the front line as we got ourselves ready to ride. Although our ideas of the outcome varied, we geared up and rode to the start, watching our breath escape us in the cold fall morning.
When the gun went off, Jay and I were right there, sucking exhaust from the back of the ATV, getting ready for all hell to break loose. Once they split off the road, the speeds soared and I was quickly out of gears, tearing down Randysek Road at 33 mph! The intensity remained high for the first 5 miles, never relenting, fighting my screaming lungs and struggling to remain at the front of the race. Anna & Zoe caught up to us and moved in front as I worked to keep my wits about me and I switched into pursuit mode.
Jay and I bridged up to Zoe before we hit the Berkie trails and we were riding strong. A slip of my rear wheel on Big Bertha cost me time and forced me off my bike near the top. Within those few seconds, Zoe and her dad were out of sight. We tore through the trails faster than I ever had before and it was amazing! I was riding so far outside of my boundaries, I didn't even care where I finished, since I knew I was riding as well and as fast as I could.
With 4 miles to go, Jay and I were riding a great pace with 4 other guys, just hammering our way to the finish. Jay and one of the guys got to talking - he was racing with his son and they were having a blast. Jay mentioned that next year I was going to move up and do the full 40 mile race and the guy asked "Is she going to be 17 already?" .... Ha! .... Jay replied with a smile, "No, that's my 30-yr old wife".... I guess the braids take a few years off. :O)
Jay rode off on his own with one mile to go, and I was stunned as I crested the final climb to hear one of the volunteers tell me I was the third place woman. As the thought set in, the pain in my legs and back faded as I charged through the last few turns and crossed the finish line. I was shocked beyond belief when they stopped us at the line and herded us into the winner's circle - WTF?? I couldn't stop smiling. Now, instead of fighting my stomach, I was fighting back tears.
As I got interviewed after the race, I was completely floored yet again when I saw my dad walk up smiling! He was there to see me get on the podium and to see my name in lights! So freakin' awesome!!!!!
If it weren't for all the support, time, and patience Jay has had for me as I've learned to be a better mountain biker, I would never have found myself on top of that podium, looking back at my sweet hubby, my dad, and my friends as I felt light as air.... thank you babe, I love you more than you'll ever know. And my dad, who taught me never to give up.. thank you! And to my super sponsor Hollywood, making sure I'm always ready to ride, Party On!!! And to all my friends and family wishing me luck and believing I could have a great race - Thank you!!! I love you all!!!!
It was an awesome evening of hanging out with friends and celebrating an amazing finish. Once the sun set and the temps dropped, Hwood and I retreated to the Scamp with lil Smokey to cozy up and watch a movie til we all drifted off to sleep... this is the life!
Come Sunday Funday, we were both exhausted but amped for another day of having fun biking. Jay and I both did the Crit Cross, each making it to the finals to battle 4 laps of mtn/cross bike fun. Hwood road his brains out for a 7th place finish, and I surprised myself by finishing third. To get the most out of it all, though, we made sure to join the other events.
Skinny ole Jay DESTROYED the bike toss, winning with a 55' toss of the old clunker! And I impressed myself with a win in the bike limbo, getting my crossbike diagonal to sneak under the pole at 39"! It was fun for all and I am so glad we were there to experience it all. Gary and his team put on one of the best races around! Thanks to all the workers and volunteers who made this weekend perfect.
Jay was sweet enough to let me take a mini catnap for the first half hour of the drive, then I happily took the helm to get my boys home safe. With the Scamp safely behind the cruck and me at the wheel, Jay and Smokey sawed logs in unison as we made our way home. Now, happily in our jammies, we snuggle on the couch, contented with yet another awesome weekend of Scamping and riding... in love.
(He's never without a Dew, is he?)
The happiest girl in the world,