Thursday, September 26, 2013

...A different kind of buzz...

Back in Winona last month, something in me changed.  I've loved riding my mountain bike since Jay started teaching me, but it never really clicked 100%... like there were barriers I couldn't figure out that kept me from taking my riding further.  But somewhere along the trails and bluffs of Holzinger & Cherrybomb, I think I found it.

Single Speed USA still courses through my veins and fuels my desire to hit the single track whenever we can.  The best part, though, was the amazing skills I found in myself while taking it all on.  I rode as if I never questioned myself.  I BELIEVED in myself, and that's something, admittedly, I rarely do.  I even keep a fortune cookie fortune on my bathroom mirror that says "Believe in yourself and others will believe in you too"... I'm starting to wonder if there's something to it.

To keep the flames roaring, we took that energy into 4 weeks of events, travel, racing and fun.  The week after SSUSA was my sister's wedding down in Reno, NV.  It was a whirlwind 4 days/3 nights of traveling & celebrating and everything turned out perfect, including meeting my new bro-in-law for the very first time.  I've never seen my sister so comfortable and at ease, like she truly found her other half.. I'm so happy for them and feel so blessed to have been part of the celebration!

Then, the next weekend we were off to Maplelag Resort for yet ANOTHER bitchin' year at the best Mtn bike stage race around!  I missed the racing last year due to injury, but was so happy to have some of my best finishes ever at the races - so much fun.  And, ss always, the races were awesome, the dinners were savory and every day was full of great time spent with friends... I love coming up here each year :)  And to spend our time with our THC/Girl Fiend family all weekend was perfect!  I'm so happy to have taken the leap with these teams - it's been endless fun all year.
To keep the momentum going, Hwood and I went up to Hayward, WI to watch the Cheq 40 race.  We'd both ridden it multiple times, and we discovered last year that heckling and giving soda hand-ups atop Fire Tower Hill was WAY MORE FUN than the pain of racing it.  And this year, we were extra lucky to have Teresa, Rusty, Barry, and Mitch join us for the antics!  With backpacks full of beer, scotch, lemonade, Red Bull, and dixie cups, we were prepped to cheer & support our teammates and friends as they crested the hill.

It was a friggin' blast and I think this 'bout sums it all up...
 Take a break?  Nah... This last weekend we took on the final Mtn Bike Race of the MN Series, the St. Cloud Jail Trail.  After all the fun-riding lately, the tight, twisty single-track with rocks and roots was exactly what this girl was craving.  I was so excited to see that my Girl Fiends Alye and Pip were there and we knew exactly what we needed to do - get Pip the win and fill the podium with Girl Fiends.

When the race began, we quickly took position at the front with me and Alye pulling for Pip to get her into the single track first and effortlessly.  We gapped Pip just a bit, so I pulled Alye into the single track first, jumping on her wheel as we began to weave between the trees.  Pip got back on fast, so I let her by to take a lead position.  Much to my surprise, rather than dropping me, the three of us rode together for the entire pro-lap and into Lap1.  Pip rode away from Alye and I in a rocky section of the lap, but I was able to keep on Alye into Lap2... something I've NEVER done... Alye usually puts 10-20+ min. into me during a race, but not today.

I was riding out of my mind, scrubbing speed in the corners and never thinking twice about an obstacle as I cleared it.  The light-switch was definitely on!  With half a lap to go, our competition was nowhere in sight and we were lined up to sweep the podium, Girl Fiend style!  Alye had begun to pull away from me and I was riding hard to close the gap when my left grip clipped a tree, turning my bars completely to the left, cartwheeling me over the bars and onto my back.  My feet were still clipped in as I laid upside down, trying to figure out how to get out of my pedals and back on the bike before I lost too much time.  Heck, I never even looked for injuries as I put my bike back onto the trail and hopped on.

But it was over... my crash had broken the seal on my tubeless front wheels, spilling the Stan's No Tubes all over the trail.  I tried riding it for a moment, but the protests from my brand new HED. Belgium+ were excruciating to listen to.  It's what, 3 miles to the finish?  I can do this.  I HAD to do this... last time I'd raced St Cloud, I was sitting in third when I head-butted my handlebars in the rock garden, breaking my nose and ending my race.  This was payback... I wasn't going to quit.

So, my mtn bike race turning into a duathlon.  I ran the final three miles of tight single track to the finish.. and as I did, one-by-one, my competition caught me and left me in the dust.  Third to sixth in the final miles, but I wasn't going to quit.  I had my fist raised high in the air as I ran my bike across the finish line.  Thank heavens for my Northwave Vega's - they were so comfortable to run in and the heel support kept me from rolling my ankles in the rocks & off camber sections.

It had been one of my best races and I wavered back n' forth all night between happy and pissed.  But when the dust finally settled, I was so proud of myself.  Maybe it's the new LaMere 29'er... either way, the light switch is on and I can see things in a much different light.  And I love it and now can't seem to get enough.

Maybe that's why every time I hear "Royals" by Lorde, I think of raging on my bike... it's my kind of buzz..

And we'll never be royals
It don't run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain't for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler,
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Kristy Kreme

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