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,