Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bike racing was easy! Hood 2 River Relay Race Report.

I realize I don't blog anymore. It's not that life hasn't been exciting. I went the the Cayman Islands for almost a week. I've been doing some wicked fun riding, etc. But heck, I am retired. I am just living life. Planted a garden, etc. And a few months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to support one of my favorite race promoters, Chad Sperry, and sign up for the inaugural Hood 2 River Relay and race solo open women. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? I'll tell you what I was thinking. I thought I would train. I thought it would keep me motivated and in shape. I thought I would run more. I thought a lot of things, but never did I think I would win and never did I think I would be this damn sore afterwards. This race makes bike racing a piece of cake.
I didn't go into this event totally blind. I did actually do the PPP (Pole Pedal Paddle) about 16-17 years ago solo when I first moved here. A friend (David Knoll) invited me. I talked another friend (Pam Frick now Schwartz) into doing it solo, but together. We started together and finished together and we were total hacks. It was awesome. 

Pam and I upon completion of our PPP.

So, I knew it was going to be a logistical nightmare. I knew I would need help. And I knew I could do all the events, even if I would suck at some and I knew it would be a kick ass workout. Best part about it was that I overestimated the time it would take to finish it by about an hour. So, here is how it played out.

Leg 1: Alpine Ski. They made us run up to our skis up a steep hill. It was a great way to get the blood pumping. I was not even close to getting a good start off the line. Nor did I take any risk going down the gates. I guess I forgot I was in a hurry. There were ruts. Snow was variable. I had no edges or wax on my old skis. And my good friend Erik Weeman had already sliced his shin open during the warm up run. Slow ski, but whatever. It was FUN!

Leg 2: Nordic Ski.  After the slowest transition in history after being told I had to walk across the mat with my skis, thus having to take my boots out of my bindings, I struggled. I didn't even think to walk across in my socks with the boots still attached to my skis. Duh! I have these 2 pin Pilot bindings on my skate skis and they are NOT easy to get fastened ever. Add adrenaline. Forget about it. Eventually I got going, and the skate was awesome. HARD. But great. And way longer than 2 miles. Snow was pretty darn good. I love skate skiing, but it felt really hard. And two laps going up this hill. I guess I forgot it was a race. And supposed to be HARD. 

Leg 3: Mountain Bike. Or in my case, CX ride. Only 7 miles. Probably the one leg that needs a little improvment to make it a true MTB experience, but it was fine. Bombed down the access road and down to teacup and then did a loop in teacup that we normally skate. It was a lot rougher than anticipated and I had a blast. I caught several people on this leg. Smiled the whole way. Realized that screamer hill is hard on bikes and skis. Ughhh. I grabbed my TT bike at the transition, but when I went over the mat, no beep. Somehow I had lost my chip. A bit of panic and confusion, but mostly just a big bummer.

Leg 4: Road bike. 27 miles. Downhill mostly. In a head wind. I used my TT bike for probably the last time. I may have been uncomfortable, but I was aero. And apparently built a huge gap on this leg. I had no idea where I was in the race, I just pedaled and reminded myself to stay on top of the gear. I didn't feel particularly fast and I was just annoyed that even downhill I had to pedal the entire time. It was hard. I focused on drinking and eating something, b/c I knew what was coming next. And I was dreading it.

Leg 5: Run. 6.7 miles. More than 10K. Pure hell. I had been dreading this. I hadn't run enough to prepare. I knew it. But after being so uncomfortable and sick of being on my TT bike, I kind of welcomed being upright and running. Until I was running. But I channeled my inner Erin Ford and told myself to keep going, one foot in front of the other, quick turn over. Use the momentum. It hurt, but I probably ran the fastest I have run for a long time. Without my timing chip, I will never know what my split was. I even forgot my bag at home that had my garmin watch in it. I was liberated from any data during this event. The run was long. And painful. And towards the end, not really marked. I was a bit misguided, but got back on track and to the beach where I met my kayak for the first time. 

Leg 6: Kayak. 1.5 miles. Way too long. Very windy. Word to the wise: maybe check your kayak out prior to the race when renting and get it set up for yourself. The seat and feet were too far apart, so I just winged it and with all my practice from the Grand Cayman trip (one time on a sit on top kayak), I struggled through it. I got blown all over the place. Lots of back paddling to get back on track. I was so relieved to see the shore, and then I stood up. OUCH.

Leg 7: Run to finish. Ouch, ouch, and double ouch. I looked over my shoulder several times just to make sure no one was going to pass me at the last minute. I won. It was very anti-climactic. No one was there. Sans chip, the timing guy was very confused. But then it was party time. Food, friends, sunshine and just being done! I survived. I did it! And somehow I won. That was an unexpected bonus. 

Back at the cabin with our weekend guests, Ashley and Nate Koch, and Erik Weeman who had fresh stitches in his shin, we ate, drank, cooked, laughed and enjoyed. It really wasn't about the winning or losing. It was about the people. It was about the experience. It was about the personal challenge. It was fun. Like bike racing always was. A great Saturday in the books. I am glad I put it on my calendar. Despite not being able to walk afterwards! Thanks to Breakaway Promotions and Chad Sperry for creating this event and making it happen. It should be put on your bucket list. You won't be sorry.

photos to follow if I can find some...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Racing while retired, backcountry craziness and moms visit! The rest of March 2014!

6 days of backcountry skiing at altitude does not prepare oneself for jumping in a road race. Turns out training works. And when you don't train, racing hurts a lot more. I didn't want to ride alone though, so the Gorge Roubaix on Saturday was my ticket to some good misery. The hail and wind almost put a fork in me. Not being anywhere in contention, I simply pulled over and put my jacket on and let the pack roll away from me. The gale force winds did not allow for riding and putting on a jacket simultaneously. For anyone racing, they now exactly what I mean.
But that is one day of my March. The rest of the month has been incredible. My mom came to visit and we had some good fun. Then I left and went to Boise to meet up with longtime friends, Brett and Laura Nichols. I was joined by Mike Hills, our friend from Springfield, IL and then other buddies of Bretts for some quality mountain time. Amazing snow. Amazing company. The only sad thing was Tim was in Asia sweating his butt off working and wasn't able to join us. But March has ended with a bang! I love my life.

Having mom around for 10 days is always nice!

Spent a weekend getting crushed by the boys.

Brett made me work hard for my turns!

The turns were always awesome. Corn and powder for 6 days. Crazy awesome.

I love the sawtooths.

Can I stay here forever???

Awesome group of peeps!
And NO pictures from racing or riding this past weekend. When you are off the back suffering, turns out NO photographers wait for you. Hopefully now people REALLY believe me. I am retired. I am not training. I am a fun hog and if there is riding/skiing/etc. involved and it is going to be fun, let me know. I am in!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My amazing life! 2014 so far! 3/6/14

Blogging has not been on the forefront of my 'things to do' so far in 2014. I guess I am just living life and figure, who the heck wants to read about that? Oh, that's right. My mom and mother in law do and possibly a few long lost friends. But of course, I mostly do it so I can remember all the things I do.
Our winter has kind of sucked. January we were 'forced' to do some more mountain biking and riding, but we started getting desperate, so we did ski.
First attempt at silly Tilly. Not much snow, but just enough.

And after skiing in the rain, we were rewarded with a rainbow on day 2.

Back to biking.

And hiking

There was snow to skin up at Timberline.

And the next day they biked...



The snow came in February and made its way to Portland. But don't worry, it didn't last that long.
The 2014 snow storm. We went to the cabin and enjoyed it, but took no pictures.

And the next weekend, we were beach bound.

Then Tim went riding and I went in search of snow with the girls.

We ended February and started March in Snowbird, Utah. Not a bad way for Tim to celebrate his birthday.

February, we usually go to the Wallowas, but due to the tragic event the day before we were headed there (2 people died in an avalanche), our trip was cancelled. We made the best of it and enjoyed the snow on Mt. Hood. Now my mom is here and there are great adventures planned for March. I will try to keep you posted. All in all, life is pretty darn good. I have a cold, but the blog is updated. Whew!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new! Happy New Year! 1/1/2014

It's hard to believe that a new year is here. A lot of changes in 2013 and fresh start for 2014. We have been a bit under the radar in December. We were doing the final packing of our 'dream house' to finally depart on December 14th. With a crew of amazing friends, we moved to our new abode and said good bye to a great chapter of our lives. I said my final good byes to the house on the 16th after a few days of wrapping things up and cleaning, but with all said and done, I am fine. It is, after all, just a house. We entertained and hosted many friends in our 5 years there. Lot's of good memories. It was an easy place to live. Built exactly for our needs. But we are just as happy in our new home and gradually finding new processes and systems. Eventually we will be 100% organized. I would say we are at about 80-85% right now. 

I can't even recall the highlights of 2013 off the top of my head. I guess winning a national and world title in January would be one of them, but that seems forever ago.
The Wallowas in February is always a highlight. And I added on Anthony Lakes this year. Super fun!
Spring was a compilation of skiing and riding. I even snuck away to Whistler with some friends.

My mom came to visit somewhere in there. Seems we need to take more pictures next time. There were also plenty of weekends hosting friends at the cabin, including Pam and her kids for spring break. And my sister had a baby back in MN. I didn't go visit, but got some great updates on Anna Maxine. 
The beginning of summer began to look like many others. Lots of riding. And racing. But normality was disrupted at the end of June while I was in Bend racing the Blitz and dog sitting Frank, with the sad news that Ralph Butler was going into hospice. Tim and I were soon on a plane to Wichita. Tim's dad, Ralph Butler, passed away at the end of June. We had a nice long trip to Wichita with family, despite the sad circumstances.

We spent the rest of summer sort of recovering and riding and racing. Plus continual visits from friends. Lindsay, who deserted us, my friend Chris and his girlfriend from San Fran. We squeezed in Cascade Classic and then we hosted our dear friends from Madison, the Sloans (and Hartzell's). It was a busy July!
August was filled with lots of great riding (mostly mountain biking and ramhood-ing) and prep for cyclocross.


And then September was here. The BEST month ever. Not only the start of CX season, but my birthday!!!


I was excited for my 2013 CX season, after sitting out the previous season. It started out great. 2 local wins. Then Star Crossed and a disappointing 4th, one second off the podium, but extremely encouraging considering where I was in my training. I was reassessing already and considering bigger goals. But then it happened. Too much time in the car? Too big an effort at the race? Too bumpy of a course? But my back gave out and it talked back. Loud and clear. So after many tears, a decision was made. I made the choice to 'retire'. Only to have more tears come a few days later when a friend and fellow racer, Amy Dombroski, was killed while training in Belgium.

That really set the tone for the rest of my year. Life is short. No wasting time on being sad, mad, grumpy, etc. I am lucky to be alive and I will make the most of it. It was October and right after retiring, we got an offer on our house and had to buy a new one. October was a busy month of working with a realtor and dealing with the ups and downs of the worse house sale ever that never ended, but we managed to have some fun! I mountain biked while Tim races and even got Tim to mountain bike with me.




The epicness of the sale of the house and buying one continued into November. It wouldn't be over until closing as far as we were concerned. But we found a house and had an accepted offer and we had an offer on ours and things were looking more solid. I got a new bike which I couldn't ride enough. We continued to ride. Tim raced. I hosted a 13-year old bday party for Katrine. Tim's mom came for Thanksgiving. It was different than our 'normal' but we made it work. I did sneak in a race the Sunday after Thanksgiving just to have some fun in the mud on my singlespeed.

December was a blur. After Tim's mom left, it was game on for packing. We had amazing friends help with the transition. I had a few tears upon final turn of the key at 2124, but it is all good. We spent Christmas eve in our new home, Christmas day with good friends in Hood River, then the rest of the long weekend at the cabin mountain biking since there was no snow.






 All in all, 2013 was a good year. Lots of changes. Always adventurous. Taking life as it came to us. Making the best of all things. Isn't that what life is all about anyways? Never a dull moment and I am looking forward to 2014. I've set some resolutions. Some goals. I look forward to the challenges that are ahead.  Happy New Year to you and thanks for coming along on my adventures with me. Cheers!



Monday, December 2, 2013

And that's a wrap for November. It's December already??? 12/2/2013

Time flies when you are having fun. I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving. We certainly did. An awesome mtb ride followed by a great dinner with Tim's mom at our favorite place on earth. The cabin. But the rest of November hasn't been so bad. Here is a picture recap since my last post:

Sold a house:

Bought another:


Packed a bunch of boxes.  Hosted a 13-year old b-day party at our cabin. (sorry, no pics.)  Did a trail run. Yes, you heard it right. A RUN. The thing you do with your feet and not your bike:

Tamanawas Falls.
Elk Meadows trail before I ran into snow.

Bought a new mountain bike:

More travel = more fun.

Had a great first weekend of riding it!

Freezing cold inaugural ride at Post Canyon.



Day 2 was Surveyors and super connector out and back! Awesomeness.




Snuck in a cool road ride:

Crown Point. WINDY!
Multomah falls and back.

 Went to the cabin for Turkey day and rode lots of bikes (3 days of fabulous mountain biking) and ate a lot of food and hung out with Mama Jada and Kendra and Melissa:


Wendy joined us for our turkey day ride, but couldn't say for dinner.
Although you can't see them, it was a 4 volcano view from here. Hood, Helens, Ranier & Adams.
Had a little bit of snow. Just the right amount to ride.
15-mile is always an ass kicker.
An awesome dinner with Tim's mom at the cabin!
Friday we did Knebal/8-mile from the Surveyors trailhead on 44 with super connector.
Just a quick Dog River out and back on Saturday.

And even did a CX race. Yea, I know, I said I was retired, but racing SS with the boys with a avg HR of 156 is not really racing. Just fun in the mud:





 And now December is here and the real chaos begins. Most are gearing up for the holidays. We are packing up all our belongings and will be moving mid-month and in our new house amongst our boxes for the holidays. Starting the new year in our new house. New beginnings. Next chapter. Happy holidays everyone. Be safe. Enjoy.