Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
In our true form, we brought the puppy and the Scamp, set up camp under a peaceful canopy of tall pines, and kicked it into relax mode for a couple days. The weather was perfect for camping, and we slept until 10:30 on Saturday morning. We rose lazily to make coffee and sit quietly outside with Rosco as we welcomed the day.
I’m confident in my ability to climb, but Jay pushed me to challenge my comfort level descending. I wrapped my fingers around my bars on the descents, avoiding my brakes with everything in me, and let the little white fox rattle and bounce frantically beneath me. It was exhilarating! This summer has improved my mtn. bike skills by leaps and bounds, and I am so excited to take on this challenge.
When we returned to our campsite, Rosco was ecstatic to see us and sniff around the great outdoors. The warm afternoon air kept us comfortable as Jay worked on his bike and we made ourselves a tasty spaghetti and meatball dinner. Afterwards, we decided to have a date night and went to play some mini golf together. I don’t know what it is about mini golf, but it felt like we were dating all over again. Jay was talking a little more smack than the club could back up, but we had an awesome time! We each shot a hole-in-one... Jay’s was the best - the hole had a loop-de-loop in it and Jay nailed it on the first try. Too bad he hadn’t given me the camera to film it as I’d asked.. oh well, we know it happened. By the end, I had him by 7 strokes!! Bitch, please! (I guess I forgot to tell him that I used to golf with my dad in high school)...hehehe
We returned to our campsite to snuggle with our puppy as the sun tucked itself away, and drifted off to sleep as a cool breeze passed through our windows. We set the alarm early for Sunday to gather up our things and get to OO in time to catch our bud Tyson as he rode. He was riding it start to finish, so I met him at OO as Jay drove the car to the finish then rode the course backwards to us, then we would drive him back to his car on our way out of town. It was the perfect set up.
Tyson picked me up and let his heart rate come down a bit as I used the first couple miles together to warm up my legs after a quiet hour long wait at the parking lot. Jay surprised us early, having found a short-cut back to double OO just after we’d departed and chased on from behind. By then, my body was ready to go and we amped up the pace a bit. The day was much warmer than it typically is on race day and we quickly worked up a sweat. We ran into a few people, but spent most of the time enjoying the course and spending time with each other.
On one of the fire roads, we got behind a couple pick-up trucks and paced them down the road as we bounced over the rocks and railed through the turns. I think the hunters even got into it, upping the speed and having to shut it down in the turns to maintain to control. We turned when the trail turned and said goodbye to our pace cars. We got to the dreaded Fire Tower climb, but I was so happy once we completed all four tiers of the slow, will-testing gravel trail, discovering that the legend was much more frightening than the real thing. I won’t lie - I walked one section, but remounted and took on the next - it’s gonna hurt, but not as much as I thought.
With 10+ miles to go to the finish and the worst behind us, it was time to enjoy the trail and the stunning woods that spread out around us. I don’t remember what mile we were on, but I remember the quiet peacefulness of the trail as we rode in silence. I took some time from my exhaustion and wondered at the trees that towered over us. The midday sunlight cut through the trees in long sheets of light so bold I was sure I’d feel it brush gently across my skin as I passed through it. It was stunning!
Muddy and tired, we were full of joy as we loaded up the bikes and headed home for the weekend. The early start was awesome, getting us home in no time, ready to take on the work week yet again. It’s weekends like these, though, that make me salivate for a long vacation away... relaxing night after night beneath the stars, enjoying my family, the great outdoors, and the peace in life we work so hard to have.
Labor Day weekend brought another round of good times at Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN. This time, we took off work early to get up in time for a short ride before the Friday night dinner. As always, the food was wonderful and the late summer temps made for a perfect end of summer getaway.
We hung out around the campsite during the evening, chilling out at Hollywood North with a large chunk of our Silver crew camping in the same loop, and many more to come. The overnight temps were great and we happily slept with the windows open and enjoyed the fresh air. Come morning, we hurried down to the lodge for some tasty crepes, sausage, and hot coffee before the first race of the day.
First up was the TT, 3 miles of single track and ski trails as fast as you legs and lungs will let you go. I through down with everything I had to take third place, just 1.5 seconds in front of the Pip. I never thought I could beat her in my life, but I took enough time out of her on the ski trails to start the stage race off in third.
We had some 4 or 5 hours before the short track, so we went out to check out the Sunday course a bit after lunch. My legs were TOAST and wanted nothing to do with going up any sort of climb, so I called it a day early and Jay joined me for a little relaxation time before the next race.
They combined the Expert Women and Comp Men for the Short Track race - 15 min. on ski trail, Crit style. It was blazing fast and my quads were screaming from the first time we hit the climb. Half way through the race I go taken out from behind by one of the comp men as we crested the hill. I never saw it coming - one minute I was dancing up the hill, the next I was being slammed full-force into the ground. I hit so hard my helmet came off and the wind got knocked out of me. With adrenaline pulsing through my veins, I didn’t hesitate and remounted my bike, adjusting my helmet as I tried to get back in the race.
Pain instantly set into my left wrist and leg and made continuing difficult. I got lapped by Sarah KJ with two laps to go and pulled without any disagreement from me. I was given a 4th place finish, and was perfectly happy with it. I found an ice pack and wrapped my swelling wrist immediately. The racer came up and apologized after some coaxing by Jay, but I think some part of him thought I was in his way and was partly to blame. Whatev.
After a tasty beer to take the edge off a bit, we were ecstatic for the spaghetti feed dinner ahead, polishing off bowls of salads, noodles and sauce as if we couldn’t remember the last time we’d eaten. The whole resort was booked, with people sleeping in the massage rooms after the lodge rooms all filled up. They even had to turn away a chuck of the campers from the dinner service because they’d reached capacity. It was impressive how many people had come out to enjoy the fun.
After our bellies settled, we grabbed our buds for some quality time resting our tired muscles in the hot tub extraordinaire... a 25-person hot tub, the largest in MN. The stars overhead as we returned to our camper were stunning, and we lounged lazily beneath the tiki torches with the Black n’ White Crue and the Bauer boys who’d come to join us for the night and Sunday’s big event.
Sunday came fast and I was excited to find out they’d altered our course to just one full lap of the new course. It was perfect - I was exhausted from the 3 rides on Saturday and just wanted to get in the zone and ride as fast as I could muster up. To top it off, they started us BEHIND the Comp and Expert Men - Bitch, Please! No having to worry about some crazed men trying to pass you during some crazy-technical section, no pushing, swearing or yelling... I wish they’d do that every time.
I knew it wasn’t going to be my best race, so I happily entered the single track in 5th behind the other gals and just focused on riding technically sound. The course was awesome and I was having a blast flexing my newest skills on the descents and Degobah System roots. Yoda’s out there, I’m sure of it. Sittin’ on his haunches, taunting the riders with his “Ride it you must. The force is strong in you.”
I rounded out in 4th for the Stage race, and laughed with the rest of the podium as Sarah soaked the fans in champagne from the top rung, and passed it along for the rest of us to enjoy. Being the good teammate I am, I took the Pip’s pulls since she’s still not legal. Then Aly and I polished off the bottle to kick off yet another night of goofin’ off with our friends, good food, and hot tubbin'.
Come Monday morning, we filled our bellies with Smorgasbord goodness and readied ourselves for the long trip home. Before we left, though, we made sure to get some last excitement riding the new section of trail and get some lake jumpin' in! Let's just say Jay should've done a few things different...
Six hours later, the blood was still shootin' out two feet when we took the compress off. Being a "man", he wouldn't let me take him to hospital or stitches.. but it seems to be healing up nicely. Although I was a lil worried about him for a while, it still turned out to be a rockin', great weekend! Huge thanks to Jay, Jonelle, and the whole fam that Maplelag a lil piece of heaven! Can't wait to see you again!