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.


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


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

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