Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scamp-venture 18: A Mountain Bike Love Affair

Jay and I loaded up the car and Scamp and headed to see Mother Henderson and introduce her to Rosco P. Coltrane for the first time. The weather was beautiful and it was great to see Dot!

To add to the fun, we got out and rode Mtn bikes with Thomas on Saturday as Serena played with Rosco. We hit the Sugar Bottoms, prepping for the next morning’s race, the Sugar Bottom Scramble & Iowa State Mtn Bike Championships. The trail is AWESOME! Super fast and flowing and perfectly laid out! The best part was the Lil White Fox doing everything I wanted at the same time coaxing me into things I’d hadn’t been able to do before.. railing down drops I’d typically hesitate on, hittin’ the bridges without question (I have a slight fear of heights still to overcome), and learning to weave among the trees with less turning and more leaning. Sweet!

Come race time the next morning, I was ready! I didn’t push for the hole shot, but I quickly moved into first on the climb, diving into the single track in the lead with my heart and lungs ramping up nicely. I wove through the single track faster than I’d ever done before, getting the rear end loose around the turns and exhilarated by the trees whipping past my fast. It was awesome!

I was setting the pace and was surprised to find me and 3 locals off the front with the rest of the field nowhere to be seen. Within a few miles, we started catching the men’s field that started just a few minutes in front of us - we were catching the dudes!!! As we popped out of the single track of the first loop 5 mi later and onto the road to the last section of the course, I pulled aside and invited the three IA gals to pull through - it was their championship on the line, and I wanted nothing to do with interfering with it. I was having so much fun just riding my brains out, I was happy to finish 4th!

Jay rode an amazing race, taking the Single Speed without breaking a sweat! Nice work, love!!! All in all, it was a bad-ass day of racing. Plus, we got done early enough to spend some time with Dot before heading home.

So in love with riding dirt,

Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Scamp-venture 17: Run for the Border

Jay and I grabbed the pup and loaded up the Scamp last Friday to cross the border into WI for a chill weekend of camping and mountain biking. This weekend was the 2011 Border Battle between MN and WI at the White Tail Ridge Mtn Bike trail and we wanted to be there for every minute of the action.

We left town Friday afternoon to get there early for some rough camping in the field where all the excitement would take place Sunday afternoon. We had intended on riding the trails before sundown, but the quiet summer air around us kept us in our lawn chairs as the week's worries melted away.
Saturday came around slowly and Jay took advantage of no schedule, sleeping til 11:00 as I quietly read my book and sipped my coffee in the sun. One of my teammates who lives nearby came by to chill for a bit and toss back a couple beers. CB, you rock! So, after a lite lunch and some tinkering on the camper, we saddled up in the afternoon sun and rocked out a couple practice laps. The trail was AWESOME! So flowing and fast! I couldn't believe I've never ridden there before - I'll definitely be back!

The ride was fabulous, and a great prelude to another wonderful weekend with my boys. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset to tuck us away for the evening, followed by a delicious candle-lit dinner.
Once dinner was over, we all crawled into bed for a movie and some beauty sleep to prep for the next day's race.
Once Sunday arrived, there was no question what the weekend was all about. Our once quiet field filled with families and bikes galore. The races preceding ours were full to the brim with eager racers and the energy was high. Although I love to sleep in, sometimes the anticipation leading up to the afternoon race can be agonizing. None the less, I was excited as hell when I got my call-up to the line, shoulder to shoulder with some AMAZING women, including two other Hellians, Sophia and Ridge. Jay's been riding phenomenally this year, earning himself a call-up at the start, too, and had an amazing race.

Me, I spent some time off the bike in the first lap thanks to some not-so-polite Comp riders and got put into a tree twice thanks to a couple non-MN d-bags... losing some 5 min. on my competitors. I didn't give up, though, fighting my way back and taking minutes off my lap-times each lap. I was railing trails I'd only seen the day before and I was loving it. The sound of my rear wheel sliding through the corners was exhilarating, and I wished I was being filmed just so I could show Jay. :o)

At the end of the day, I was happy as hell to have done the race and for spending that sunny afternoon enjoying the great outdoors at speed. When I got back to the Scamp, I found my hubby a little banged up, having crashed in his final lap taking a turn a little too hot. Other than mud, blood, and scrapes, he had a WICKED contusion on his leg, making it look like his calf muscles had spun around to the side of his leg! The swelling's coming down already, but that nice purple bruise is working it's way to the top. Nice!
We took our sweet time packing up our campsite as we hung out with the rest of our team and their families, and enjoyed some barley sodas in the warm sunshine. As the last of the volunteers packed up their stuff, we finally pulled out of the field and headed home. But NOT before we raided a Pizza Hut on the border for some killa TACO PIZZA! I don't know why MN doesn't offer it, but it's the best take out pizza out there! YUM!

After 17 Scamp-ventures in less than a year, I still can't get enough! So, until next time... eat, drink, and be merry!

Kristy Kreme

Monday, August 15, 2011

Road Season Finale

Saturday Jay and I met up with the Chucker for a leisurely ride out to Excelsior and back...yeah, you heard it, I said leisure ride! No races on the calendar allowed us to sleep in til 9 (thank Heavens!) and go for a mellow ride w/ friends. It was a glorious Saturday! The weather was great, the time on the road perfect, and we had the pleasure of having my mom and step-dad over afterwards on the sunny afternoon.

After some belated birthday celebrating, we got Mom and Randy out for some tasty vittles at Burger Jones for an early dinner and lots of laughs. It had been a while since our schedules matched up but it was totally worth the wait and we had a fabulous time! Thanks Mom & Randy - we had a ton of fun and Rosco was super happy to meet his Grandma! :o)

We laid low Saturday night to prep for our early rise on Sunday for the State Road Race Championships. In our true night-owl form, though, we struggled to get to bed before midnite, even with a 6:00AM wake-up looming over us. None the less, we ate, drank, and were merry before retiring to bed that night. The morning came early though, and it was a struggle to get the puppies out of bed. Jay and Rosco finally rose after I spent some time banging around in the kitchen making coffee and toast.

Jay raced in the morning wave in the 35+ race and Rosco and I chilled on top of the hill to offer feeds and support. Jay is so self-sufficient, he never needed a thing, so Rosco and I relaxed and napped lightly between laps. Jay rode a great race but, as he puts it, it was about 4 1/2 minutes too long... he was off the front with another rider coming into the finishing miles but blew his final gasket with less than 2k to go, only to finish quietly within the pack. I was so proud of him and the risks he took, there was no reason at all to feel otherwise. Next up.. me.

So, after being there for 4 1/2 hours already, it was finally time for me to race. I warmed up a bit on the trainer and jumped into the pack when called to the line. It was awesome to have my teammate, Cheryl B., at the line with me - a recent recipient of a fresh new upgrade (CONGRATS!!!). The race was steady to begin, but it wasn't long until Tessy was at the front driving the tempo up to 27mph. I was on her wheel and kept it going as she pulled off, only to find myself solo on the road the next time I looked back.

I kept the pace steady but the gap was soon bridged by Heather T. I wanted to stay gone as long as we could, so I kept away from the mind-games when she wouldn't pull around. She started to pull through after a bit and we were able to keep the pace high. Linda S. and Tessy W. pulled off two bitchin' attacks and got up to us one-by-one... we were a destructive force and charged away from the field. Unfortunately, one of Heather's own teammates chased her down and brought three other competitors with her. It wasn't long until the field caught back on, but the attacks didn't stop there.

I did my best to stay on any wheel I could to remain with the top contenders and stretched myself beyond my limits. At mile 18 or so we hit the major climb and I was struggling bad, having done everything I could for the 3 miles prior to hang on. Luckily the pack wasn't attacking the downhill, and I was able to recover down the hill at 35 mph and catch back on with a lil help from my friends.

There were 7 of us off the front with 2 laps to go and we never looked back and never relented. The pace remained intense to the line. With two miles to go, the leg cramp that surfaced in the week prior's mtn bike race resurfaced and started to weigh on the strength I was feeling. I attacked the first 0.6 miles of the hill as though it weren't there, moving into 5th of 7 in the lead group. Unfortunately, as the pitch increased, so did the pain in my knee and the searing pain in my IT band. With 40m to go, Amy and Heather passed me as I pedaled as fast as I could up the hill. Seventh overall and 4th in the Cat 3's... I couldn't have asked for a better 4th place finish!!! Those are some of the toughest women out there, and I'm just happy to say I hung with them to the finish.

It's kinda hard to come back to this course as defending champ and finish 4th. But the competition this year was intense and I can flat out admit that this was one of the hardest races I've ever done. Especially having not done a road race in 2 months, I'm crazy happy with my performance and finish! Shit, I could have finished last place and been happy for myself just because of that first major break with Tessy, Linda, and Heather. I rode out of my comfort zone for 50 miles and have no reason to feel sorry for not getting on the podium.

I'm sure that, out of the gals in the rest of the breakaway I'm the only one who doesn't train, so to be part of their pack at the finish was a genuine honor. Next year: intervals and training rides... or maybe we'll stick to late night concerts and partyin' with friends, who knows?

Saying goodbye to the road season,
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Scamp-venture 16: The Iron Range

Friday night, Hwood and I were lucky to find a puppy-sitter (thank you tons, Cross!) so we could get away for Vegas & Kate's wedding. The weather was perfect for their outdoor ceremony, and I was so excited to be on the arm of my snazzy-dressed hubby for the night... it was the third time I've ever seen him in a tie, so it was fun!

The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was fabulous! Thank you so much for having us, kids! You two are an amazing couple and we're so happy you found each other.

After a long night of celebrating, we slept in on Saturday before heading north to Duluth for the next round of Scamp-ventures. We wanted to get up early and pre-ride Sunday's Great Hawk Chase mtn bike course, but some AM rain storms made the trails to muddy to ride. Instead, we hopped into the camper for a short nap and a quick road ride to the top of Hawk's Ridge and back. We then met up with Jeanne and Greg for some tasty treats and cold beers before bedtime. It was a great way to just chill with our friends who we mostly get to only exchange a quick word with at 'cross races. Later, we closed out the night by parking the Scamp in their driveway and tucking in for bed.

Come Sunday, we had an awesome time riding the trails and seeing friends. Hollywood had a killer finish, taking 11th in the Expert, Devon locked down 7th with ease, and Pip rocked a sweet 3rd place in the Expert women! And I was happy to take 5th behind some awesome women! Although the weather was beautiful and I didn't want to hit the road, we knew we had some weekend traffic to deal with and got on the road by 4:30. We stopped off to grab some grub for the road and get some fun pics in..
Puppy is still so tiny, that pink quick stick looks HUGE next to him!

Pony & the Scamp

Unfortunately, our 2 - 2.5 hour drive was extended by a lot of construction & weekend traffic, causing us to get home 4 1/2 hours after we left! It was ridiculous! Probably won't be going up that way again any time soon. Sheesh!

So ready to camp and ride again!
Kristy Kreme

Scamp-venture 15.5: Mommy & Me Weekend

Hwood and the Chucker took the Scamp up to the Cayuna trails for Vegas's 'dirty' bachelor party of mountain bikes, boats, and camping. The Scamp was all perdy in her finished splendor but since Rosco and I weren't there to help tell the story, it only counts as 0.5 of a Scamp-venture. Jay had a great time, though, annoying poison ivy and all.

Me and Rosco had a wonderfully fun and clean weekend at home together just hanging out. We kicked it off with a ridiculously lazy Friday night, cuddling on the couch and watching documentaries about dogs... perfect way to relax after the work-weeks I've been having..

Saturday I got to spend some time solo, getting up early for the All Women's TT to get my ride on. The course was AWESOME! Even though the heat was climbing as the start creeped up and the air was thick with moisture, I was excited to get El Gato on the road and push the legs to the limit. Once the race began, I was surging with energy and fire, cornering faster than I ever have and bombing the downhills.

It was fabulous! With the hills, heat, and wind, I wasn't surprised that I was slower than my goal average speed. I was, however, ridiculously surprised to find that I'd had a killer time, taking third overall and winning my age group, against some really fast women! Wow! Thanks to Endurance Promotions for an awesome event! I hope to see it on the calendar again next year.

So, exhausted but happy as can be, I returned home to clean up with Rosco and hit the town. I had fun introducing them to our friends having a garage sale, hanging in the sun, and running errands. We returned home for more relaxing and vegging out. Sure, I thought about cleaning the house or doing laundry while my hubby was away, but skipped it this time. How fun is it for me to clean all weekend while he's out having fun? He can help me when he gets home. So that's exactly what I did - Rosco and I laid low all Saturday night!
Puppy was so sleepy, he forgot to tuck in his tongue!

Come Sunday, we were relaxed and ready to roll up to the Hillside Mtn Bike race. I'd only ridden there once before, but had a fabulous time riding the trails and pushing my bike to the limits. Hwood met us at the course, covered in poison ivy and more exhausted than I'd ever seen him. He still rode hard and knocked out a top 15 finish.

Although the relaxing, quiet time with the puppy was cozy and sweet, we missed Hwood terribly and were happy to all return home together Sunday night for dinner and time spent veggin' out as a family. :o)

Wishin' every day was the weekend,
Kristy Kreme