Saturday, May 21, 2011

Frolic Mud Fest

Today was the MN Mtn Bike series opener, the Freewheel Frolic. As was the case last year, rain had it's way with the course, turning the flat and flowing raceway into a tough and muddy mess. With all nastiness aside, I was super excited since today marked the day that Sophia and I raced as Experts for the first time! Bitch, please!

The course was so saturated - it was the slowest and sloppiest prologue I've ever done there. Trudging across spongy grass, spraying muddy water onto ourselves and entering the single track on the 1st of 4 laps covered in our 1st layer of mud. I got into the single track in third, but started having difficulties controlling my sweet Tomac early. My rear brake pads completely withered away instantly, but I didn't realize it until I lost control of my bike in a chicane and wound up in the trees. Still unaware of my lack of brakes, I crashed again around a turn at full speed. When I got up, I checked my brakes and found nothing. The mechanics of it still worked, but there was no resistance at all.

Only half way through my first lap and no rear brakes and just a hint of front brakes....I didn't even know that could happen! I tried hard to keep up my speed and stay back on my bike and rely on the front brakes, but they didn't last long. I kept losing control around the slick turns and made my own lines through the trees, slowing my bike like Fred Flintstone with my feet dragging through the mud and brush.

It wasn't long before my front derailleur bogged down with enough mud to retire for the day. Into my second lap, my cassette started bitching too, refusing to move all the way into a gear or allowing the chain to get sucked up and locked long enough to force me off the bike and correct it. By the last lap, I had 2 gears left, had been passed by almost everyone, and was just aching to finish (pun intended). I was cut up, bruised, bashed, and wearing about 10-20 lbs of mud on me and my bike. I was elated to cross the line and know the suffering was over.

I grabbed a beer and reflected on the fight with the rest of the hard-ass mountain bikers who dared to race the crappy conditions. I love this sport!
And to top it all off, our lil family of Tomacs did awesome today!! Sophia, proud owner of a Tomac Flint 29'er, finished in 1st of her age group and 5th in the Pro/Expert Women overall!!! Way to go, chica! You are awesome!
Hollywood finished a bitchin' 4th overall in the Men's Pro/Expert class and won his age group after blastin' out his signature hole shot. Love you babe! You're riding awesome!
I found myself on top of the podium, winning my age group, and taking fourth in the Women's Pro/Expert overall! DAMN!!!! My poor lil white fox needs a mechanic's love BAD, but I still had fun.
Once I finally got all the mud out of my ears and a$$-crack, I found that all the mud stuck to me had given me a whole new set of tan lines... I look like a speckled goon who got in a fight with a cat holding a baseball bat. Oi!
Can't wait to hose down my bike and prep for the next adventure!
Kristy Kreme

How to get out of a $200 tab at Red Lobster

On Wednesday night, Jay and I joined my brother, sister, mom, and step-dad at Red Lobster for a wonderful family send-off dinner before my bro left for his new Air Force base in England. He'll be over in England for at least 3 years! Now I just have to start saving those pennies and update my passport so I can see him before then.
Dinner was a ton of fun, even though I don't like seafood. If it doesn't have at least two legs and live on land, I'm not interested. Although I did once eat moose that had fallen in a lake after being shot. Yum! So, I happily filled up on caesar salad and those ever so heavenly, altogether naughty, garlic and cheese biscuits. Pretty sure it didn't help me get any closer to race-weight, but who cares.
My sister stayed with chicken while the rest filled the table with lobster, shrimp, and crab legs. Jay, himself, devoured a pound and a half of crab legs before enjoying a sinful fudge-filled chocolate chip delite. I've learned to eat left-handed so I can shield my plate from crab leg spray as Jay eats - blowing the crab out of the shell rather than using the shell-cracker. It's quite the spectacle!
The food was good, but sharing some laughs and stories with my family was so much better. Sure, it wasn't the raucous antics that Jay's birthday bring about, but it was still one of those nights when the table was so full of life, the rest of the room disappeared. I couldn't even tell you if they were busy that night or not. All I know is that I got to sit by my lil brother and celebrate the huge move he was about to make. I am so proud of you honey! And I hope England is the gateway to a world of adventure and happiness in your life. I hope we can get there soon.

So, when the night finally began to close and the crew began to close down for the night, we passed around the tab trying to figure who racked up the biggest bill... leave it to my hubby to polish off 1.5 lbs of crab legs, lobster pizza, molten cookie dessert, and 2 strawberry passion colada's, each with an extra sidecar of rum... somehow he didn't know a sidecar was almost as much as the cocktail.... sweet innocent hubby. Trying to find a way to save money, we sent the airman over to the lobster tank to start bobbing for lobsters.
If they kick us out, we don't have to pay the tab, right? Well, his face never hit the water, but it was still a ton of fun! Thanks for humoring me, kid. :o)

Missing my baby brother,
Kristy Kreme

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scamp-venture 12: Scampin' in Sconny... again

Hwood, Smokey and I spent another weekend in Sconny to open up the 2011 mountain bike season at the Cable Off-Road Classic. Luckily, we have a number of friends with cabins in the neighborhood, and our buddy Rick let us pull the lil Scamp into the driveway and sleep until race time.

As we prepped the Scamp for sleepin' as the evening hours waned, Jay hung out in the garage with Rick and Wade, working on bikes, as Smokey roamed the woods with a bike blinkie-light hooked to his collar. Once I got him back to base camp and hooked up to his chain, Rick clued us in on the large black bear that hung out on his deck the evening before... 20 yards from where we set down our anchors. Uh.... guess there'll be no mid-night potty runs! I warned Jay that I'd be peein' in the puppy's litter box if I had to. Don't need a half awake run-in with a black bear in the dark!

Come bed time, I locked the Scamp door (who knows if bears can open caravan doors!), and crawled into bed with Smokey and my hubby, ready to snuggle in before the big race. We were so comfy on the new cushions, we never woke when the bear strolled up to the deck again to snack on the donuts that Rick left out for it. Yowza! Probably better off that way... I may not have been able to get back to sleep if I'd seen it... but you better believe I had my camera sittin' out just in case.

Come race time it was wet, windy, and the temps hung in the mid-30's. The start was blazing fast and my legs wanted NOTHING to do with it. I watched a number of riders pass me on the beginning mile or two, but luckily none of them were women (other than the three that started in front of me). We got into the single track and somehow I was ON! I navigated the rocks and roots better than I've ever ridden before - it was awesome! Sure, it was cold, wet, and crazy muddy, but I was riding phenomenally.

At the half way point, I came upon Jay waiting for me at a feed zone. His race wasn't going as well as he desired, so he hung out and waited to see how I was doing. He was impressed to find me sitting in fourth place, and happily followed me along the trail to see what I've learned since last year. With Jay on my wheel, we tore through the course. At the final feed zone, with 10 miles to go, we were elated to know the end was in sight.... but somehow lost contact with the course. 30-40 of us missed a turn somewhere and wound up doing 3 miles off course, trying to figure out where we went wrong and how to correct it.

As we headed back to the feed zone after multiple stops and discussions with the group, I started to bonk big time and wound up losing control of my bike in the mud and flipped over the bars. When I finally got up, I realized that my bars were no longer perpendicular to my wheel.. they were parallel! DOH! As tears filled my eyes and my emotions flooded passed my race tenacity and straight to the surface, I cried as Jay wrenched them back into place. There we were, lost, tired, and muddy... but Jay still took a moment to hold me as I let it all out and tried to get my head back on straight.

He gives great hugs! And even though my body ached not only from fighting the agonizingly slow and muddy trails, the crash, the top-tube-impacted bruises on my legs that hadn't yet surfaced, I found a way to keep going. We stumbled on the trail and turned into the single track, hoping we were going the right way. Unfortunately, it looked just like the beginning of the race, so we turned around again. Once we ran into some other racers who had NOT missed the turn, we found out we were on the right trail, but going the wrong way... so, we turned around yet again. 10 miles to go, and a half hour of time just wasted away....

We settled in and finished it out as fast and as hard as we could. I finished 8th... but that was by far the LONGEST and TOUGHEST mountain bike race I've ever done. It was truly bitter sweet. And to have my husband behind me, encouraging me all the way to the finish, was amazing. Love you, babe!
Exhausted and freezing cold, we hurried back to Rick's cabin to snuggle up with the puppy in the Scamp for a midday siesta. It was GLORIOUS! Even though it was a lil dreary, we decided to stay another night and ride in the morning before coming home. We cozied up in the camper for some dinner and a movie with our favorite lil traveling buddy.


Rick tipped us off to the Makwa Trail out of Seeley, WI so we packed up the caravan after breakfast and headed out of town.

The trail was AWESOME! Super sweet flowing single track! When you race as much as we do (10-12 months out of the year), it's a rare and wonderful pleasure to ride together just for fun. The sun was out and the 60+ degree temps were just what we needed to clear out the legs before coming home.
When our ride ended, Smokey was anxious and waiting for us. I think he's finally figured out that the snow is gone and it's safe to go outside again (knock on wood). So, what do you do with a mini dachshund when you've got the best trails around at your fingertips? Take him single track riding, duh!

It was a blast! We had so much fun this weekend, the return home just flew by. I just couldn't wait to get home and look at our pictures and videos and relive it all. If I haven't said it before, I love our Scamp! It's the perfect 4th member to our lil family. :)

Road worn, weary, and on top of the world,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smokey vs. the Beetle

I've taken advantage of the spring weather over the last couple weeks and have been commuting to work via my bike. Today, I thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine on my way home, only to come home to my sweet puppy making me smile...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scamp-venture 11: Weekend of Racin' & Rockin'

Friday night, we began the weekend with a smooth ride together on our way home from work, before headin' to the Myth for a killer Surly Jones & Hairball show. It was awesome! Surly Jones was on hungry and on fire - playing their brains out to a packed house - and I was in charge of getting a bitchin' group of Surly Gurly's ready to get rowdy and bombard the stage during their last song of their set.
Luckily, the Gurly's were awesome and we pulled it off as Surly Jones had the crowd eating out of their hands. Awesome show, guys!! I love helping out and watching your dreams come true!
We got home at midnight and realized there was no way we'd have time to make breakfast before our 7AM departure come Saturday morning for the race, so Jay made us some scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast before bed as we packed up our gear for a cold and rainy race to come. Yum! I love midnight breakfast!

The race, not so warm, but at least I got to ride with 3 of my favorite gals - Hellians Cheryl & Jacki, and Ply-wood pal Kristi O. Cold, wet, and rainy, it was a group ride of 5 gals until the 500m mark. The pace was up to mid-30's+ and the road wet, so I sat up quickly when Jacki, Cheryl, and Angie started bumping shoulders. Jacki held on for 2nd, Cheryl 3rd, and I happily rolled in for 4th. H-Wood, on the other hand, rocked out an AMAZING 60+ miles for a raging 2nd place finish! Great work babe!

With nothing on the docket for Saturday night, Hwood and I retreated to the Scamp for the next phase of the remodel. Other than replacing the door hardware to get our door to hang straighter, we tore out the old cushions and replaced them with brand new cushions and covers!
And, what do you do with new cushions? Sleep on 'em! We loaded up the car and headed to Lacrosse, WI to join our teammates and friends for Sunday's Lacrosse Criterium. Thanks to Devin and fam for hosting us and the lil Scamp!!!! Can't wait for the next time we can get out there and hang. :o)
After a great night's sleep, we headed out for Jay's first 40+ race! It was PHENOMENAL! Jay solo'd off the front before the very first turn and never looked back and never let them get closer than 14 seconds back! For an hour, Hwood dug deep into his pain cave against 20+mph winds and never wavered, sealing an uncontested victory with spunk! I was so freakin' proud of him!

When it was time for my race, I was honestly not excited. There was a lot of great talent there and I was not looking forward to getting my a$$ handed to me in a killer wind. I decided that I would just ride my tail off to hang in the pack and use it as training more than anything. You can only imagine how surprised I was to still be with the pack 1/2 way through the race and feeling great.

Coming into the final turn, I was tailgunner, but hungry for a top-8 finish (payout was 8 deep). As we barreled into the last turn for head/cross wind finish, I cut the turn tight and kept inside the wind-protected side of the road, taking up 4 places to finish 6th behind one of my She-roes, Linda S. It was probably one of the greatest crits I've ever been in! The women I raced with were strong and fit, and I found a way to hang and pull it out of my back pocket for the finish. Just the finish I needed to get the season rolling.

This was yet another amazing weekend! Lots of friends, fun, riding, and enjoying each other's company. I'm just so lucky to have the most amazing partner in crime, Jay. I love you babe! Thank you for always having fun with me and screaming your brains out as I chase my dreams!

Smiling and relaxing,
Kristy Kreme