Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black n' White goes out with a bang

Saturday was the grand finale of the mountain bike season in MN, closing it out with the Great Escape Mtn Bike Race at the St. Cloud jail trail. I love this trail and I was super stoked to wrap up the season there with all my pals. To top it off, Hollywood Cycles's mountain bike team sealed the Team Omnium to take home the State Championship in the MN Mtb Series! Go Black 'n' White! Hwood even made shirts to celebrate it!

Anyways, the race was fast approaching and Pip and I made our way to the line. Considering the amazing weather, I was surprised when only 3 other gals joined us... bummer. But the conditions were great and the trail was FAST! I got the hole shot and held it til the first main climb. I was still tired from Chequamegon, so I slowed up and let Pip into the single track in front of me. Sure, I wasn't railing as fast as Pip, but it was the fastest I've ever ridden the course before. Me and the White Fox were killin' it, riding a blazingly fast 4th place!

All was going great into my final lap until I hit the rock garden on the 1st half of the lap. As I tried to make my way through the rock garden without losing too much time, my lack of sugar in the brain and focus on what's next caused me to miss a large boulder on the right side of the trail. My front wheel nailed it, bouncing straight upwards, and collided with my nose with such force, a large "crack" filled the air and the next few seconds disappeared in the blur of adrenaline and shock. I stood there looking at my bike laying in the rocks, trying to get my wits about me and finish the race. Then I looked down.....

Large red drops fell from my face and I instantly knew my race was over. "Someone grab my bike"..."How am I going to get through these rocks and off the trail?".... Lucky for me, the rock garden happened to be a great spectator section, so I wasn't alone. I collapsed onto the grass as the kindest people in bike racing grabbed by bike and hooked me up with tissues to try to stop the bleeding. As small as this world is, Jay just happened to be riding by just seconds after it happened and saw me hunched over in a pool of blood and skidded to a stop instantly. He came back to check on me, but I figured it was just a broken nose and urged him to get back out there and finish the race.

As for me, I had help off the trail and into the arms of two EMT's and a Dr. to make sure I knew who I was, where I was, what day it was, and to check my eyes and nose for damage. Lucky for me, nothing was broken. But my Garmin mount on my stem slit my nose open, and the impact busted open the inside, so I sat quietly with a fist full of gauze and an ice pack, trying to stop the pain and blood.

Day one...
Add in a massive crash for Jay later in his final lap, catching his leg between the bars and frame, wrenching his thigh hard so hard he temporarily thought he broke his femur. Luckily, he hadn't broken anything either and just wound up with a gnarly hematoma. Add that to Pip's f'd up wrist and Scotter almost breaking his collar bone, and the Black n' White was having a very Black n' Blue day. :o) All in all, we still won the State Team Championship!!! Bitch, please!

Follow that up with some great food and fun at Leslie's wedding reception, it was a very diverse day! Yep, that was me sportin' a lil black dress and face bandaide... $0.25 cent!
Come Sunday morning, that nice gouge invited some friends to play and Captn Black Eye moved in....
Day 3....
Day 4....

Yeah, I'm not embarrassed by a black eye. I was impressed by my coworkers who greeted me at work with "What did you do on your bike now?".... but was kinda disappointed in the "you look like you got beat" comments. Seriously? Have you met me or Jay? Whatevs. I'm just happy nothing was broken and I left the trail on my own two feet. Sure, I can't wear glasses for a couple more days and sneezing feels like the end of the world, but I'll live to ride another day.

Shinin' on,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scamp-venture 21: Cheq 40 & Camping Fun

For the 5th weekend in a row, and for the 20th time in just over a year, Jay and I loaded up the Scamp and headed out of town for a lil getaway. Back to Hayward we went, for my maiden voyage on the grand Chequamegon 40. This was Jay's 20th appearance so little anxiety plagued him, while the fear of the unknown quietly perched outside our kampsite, wait to catch me off guard.
I always feel like.... somebody's watching me....
We headed back to our new fave place, the KOA, and got a site in our favorite row of trees, deep in the middle of all the excitement with all our favorite 612 Crue. Lucky for us, we headed up Thursday night, so the extra relaxing was super welcome!

Friday morning, I drove Jay out to double O to meet up with none other than Jason McCartney of Team Radioshack and Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Cervelo! I knew I wouldn't be able to hang at that tempo all the way to the finish, so I only dropped off Jay and met them at the finish, planning to warm up my legs later in the day. Jay had an awesome time riding with the pros!
Rosco at OO

Christian, Dirk, Jason, Hwood, and the buds

Our ride later was nice - a easy 1 hr. out n' back just to spin out the legs, and not overdo it for Saturday's race. After our ride, it was nothing but easy living at the campsite, chilling fireside, enjoying some wine and pasta with my honey...

Come Saturday morning, it was game-on and we didn't hesitate to get out of bed and on the road. The excitement was thick in the cool morning air and I was itching to get started. The 4-wheelers began revving their engines and the riders saddled up, ready to take on the rollout. I kept to the sides and tried to take it all in without getting too overwhelmed.

The course was intense! I rode with everything I had in a sea of 1,800 riders. About 5 miles in, I found my hubby on the side of the trail.. waiting for lil ole me. The front of the pack went out at 38+mph hour and Jay held tight, only to blow a gasket after Rosie's Field. Sweet hubby he is, he pulled over and waited for me to make sure my first Cheq 40 was great. We rode together and held strong to a couple different groups all the way to OO... 1:07 on the clock as we rode through... awesome pace!

We hit the log-jam at Fire Tower Hill and combined riding and cyclocross skills to get through each climb. With 10 miles yet to go, I was feeling great! I wish I would have had a lil more sugar in the brain, though, considering I went off Roadie mentality and chose not to eat.. big mistake.

At 5 miles to the finish, my left leg began to cramp ferociously. I fought it as best I could but blew completely with 3 miles to go. I let 5 women get past me in that short distance, which didn't help the emotional state. Even though the 1 mile sign slurred in front of me, my legs rejected my request for them to pedal hard just one last time. Exhausted, bonked, and emotionally wasted, we rode across the finish line together. Our time was 2:55:59 - 4 minutes faster than my goal (even with a full-on bonking!), and I ended up 30th in the Women's overall (goal was top 50 - Bitch, please!). It was awesome!

Unfortunately, it took more than an hour to find PD and the van, full of warm clothes, beer, and $$ for food. It's kinda hard to roam the grounds searching for our pal when it hurt to pedal and we were too worn out to walk. Once we did find him, though, we bolted fast, wanted to get back to lil Rosco and a warm fire. Although I bested my goals, I still haven't figured out the plan for next year. I think I still need some time to sort it all out and recover from the worst Bonk I've ever had. I get that it happens, but it's still a big deal to accept for some reason..

Anyways, sick as a dog from the full effort of it all, I laid in the camper as Jay made us some grub to recover. Slowly, I came around, and was able to join the Crue at the fire some 4 hours after the race. Rosco was loving the outdoors, digging in the sand and chewing on sticks. Although a nap was much needed, we entertained friends instead, staying up for good laughs and antics until the wee hours of the morning.
The Swan-Fish Newlyweds
Kart wheel or handstand on the fire ring?
Me & Hwood
Hwood & Tyson soakin up the laughs

It rained all night and we found this cool image in the dry sand when we awoke!

Sunday morning, we loaded up early, headed for Sunday Fun Day. The weather was gloomy with rain in the forecast and I was too sore to ride. As we approached the registration table, the sky opened up and washed the hillside with cold, wet misery. We took one look at each other and jumped back into the car, headed home for sweatpants and football. Sure enough, we were home by noon, time enough for a 3-hour nap on the couch as we listened passively to football games on the TV.

It was the perfect relaxation to follow our weekend away. Why oh why can't we get away for a week? I love my family and camping and I truly wish I could spend more time sharing them togther. That, and Hwood wanting a putt-putt rematch, why not get away again?

Happy Camper,
Kristy Kreme

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scamp-venture 20 - Kings of the Kampground

Last weekend Jay brought me up to Hayward, WI to introduce me to the Chequamegon 40 course for the first time. I’ve raced the Short & Fat 16-mile race 4 times ... taking a fast THIRD PLACE FINISH in the Women’s overall last year! Bitch, please!..... but I’ve never taken on the 40-mile beast.


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.



Sunrise

By early afternoon, we were awake enough to gather ourselves and our bikes to get our ride on. We chose to break the ride into two sections to avoid any headaches: Saturday we rode the start to Cty OO, and Cty OO to the finish on Sunday. It was awesome to actually see Rosie’s Field for the first time - all the horror stories make it sound like a war zone - but having an real image in my head for the first time made this lil rider much less anxious. As for the Birkie trail, it was pretty standard. I love riding the Birkie and fire roads and could do it all 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


Gilly...

Rosco & Hollywood, Kings of the Kampground


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.


Madly in love with my life,

Kristy Kreme

Scamp-venture 19 - Another Day in Maplelag Heaven

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.

Pip, Hwood, Me, and crabby pants.. I mean, Jake. :o)


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.


Nice sweatshirt! Where'dya gettem?

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!


Rosco checkin' out the bear skin rug


Ridin' high,

Kristy Kreme