Sunday, August 31, 2008

NMBS#6: Brian Head, UT, August 30-31, 2008

Rockin' the XC descent.

The season is over! I have survived my second year of racing as a pro, mostly in one piece. It has been quite a year and this weekend was no exception! Although my parents and the kids had cleared out and left us to fend for ourselves, we did survive. My initial thought was that this weekend could be a good one b/c we have been at altitude for over a week, but then when I think about all the riding and fun we had and the very little recovering we did, I decided it would be just a fun weekend! I was not going to worry or stress too much about it. I had just had a month off of racing and a lot of fun riding in Oregon, did an stage race last weekend, rode all week and am focusing on getting ready for cx. But as competitive as I am, it was still a race weekend.

Race Day 1: Short Track & Super D (or so we thought)
Reverse the 'normal' order, in order to allow Geoff Kabush to fly back from Australia after racing the world cup to race the XC, it was going to be good to use stx as an 'opener'. It went way better than I anticipated. It hurt, of course, but I was in the mix and then found myself with the lead group as it eventually dwindled down. Towards the end, there was a prime and I got popped, I could not sprint at this elevation, so 4 off the front and it came down to a race for 5th. I wanted it so bad, but my body did not seem to respond to my brain willing it to go faster and I had to settle for 6th. My all time best short track, so no complaining for me. Tim also had an awesome race, beating up on most of the younger kids and taking 1st in his age group, but 3rd overall. It was not easy, but fun.
We had an hour or so to go get something to eat before we could practice the super d. We headed up the lift and it was looking a bit dark in the distance. About half way through our practice run, hail and lightening. It was epic. Poor Cass got a flat, and we left her. It was too cold. I was psyched I had brought my jacket. So we prepped ourselves for a very cold, wet race at 6 p.m. And came back, got warm, dressed and headed back about 5:30 to get on the lift. And then they told us it was a no go. Check back at 8 a.m. for an update. Great. I was psyched up and I really didn't want to do it right before our xc race. Oh well.
Tim's first place peformance

I was in front of Georgia, and then on her wheel. Not a bad place to be. It didn't last.Tim's STX podium

All ready to go for Super D, but it was postponed

Race Day 2: Super D & Cross Country
It was decided that super d would go off at 11:30. Not ideal with a 2 p.m. xc start, but it was a fun race and a good course. A lot harder than I wanted it to be. Way too much pedaling. I knew I couldn't win the series, b/c I missed 2 races, but had a solid 2nd, so I just had to finish it. But as competitive as I am, I had to gun for it. I took third and was pretty happy, riding conservatively, keeping the rubber side down. But it took a bit out of me. Tim had an epic run and won! Quadzilla has some power and it was a perfect course for him! His second first place this weekend!
Cross Country started at 2, mixing the pro men and women together for the start, since it was a single long, 24-mile loop. It was neutral at the start, so I thought it would be o.k., and it was for a short while. And then something happened. I started going backwards. A lot. I was the third to last person to the top of the climb. It was a 35 minute+ climb and I was shocked that I had nothing. I really tried to push, but nothing. And then I worked my way back into the race slowly but surely. Not that far back in, but up to 13th. Thank goodness for the descent. I was looking forward to it the entire climb. It's a rocky, gnarly descent that claimed some tires, but not mine. I had tractor tires on. And a camel back. Probably not the best strategy, but oh well. I didn't have a feed and it was a long race. Tim had a great race, finishing in second! A strong finish to the season!
Super D podium (my buddy Cass, me, Kelli, Amanda & Maureen)
Tim Butler ruled the super D too!

Now that it is over, I am really looking forward to CX. I have a long drive home, but I am picking up my new bikes in SLC and getting fit in Boise, to a productive drive! See y'all out at Alpenrose for the first cross clinic. I think the fever has started.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The week between: Vacation at over 9000 feet!

Tim & I at the Bryce Canyon overlook.

Well, since we were in Brian Head and the NMBS finals are the weekend after the AMC, we had ourselves a nice little vacation at altitude. Gasping for air was just one of the highlights. My niece and nephew, Abi and Alec, were here with Grandma & Grandpa, my mom and dad. It was truly a family affair. Also, my sister flew in for a couple of nights with Musa and a friend. Then Cass and Chris were also here. We had a full house and a week full of excitement, before we had to go back to racing. Check it out...

Hike down in Bryce Canyon on Monday.
View from Inspiration Point. The hoo doo's are fantastic.Alec & Abi give us a fashion show of their new school clothes Grandma bought them.
Tuesday it was the Boy Scout Loop with the kids. A fun 11 miles. They rock!Pizza afterwards with the niece and nephews!Wednesdays ride turned out to be a bit too epic. But great views. Tim, Cass, me & Chris.
Fun in the kitchen!
Thursday we went to Navajo Lake with Abi and Alec! Another great ride on their last day here.
Friday we headed to Gooseberry Mesa. A longer drive than anticipated, but fun riding!
And great views!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

American Mountain Classic: Brian Head, UT, August 21-24, 2008


A long time ago, Tim and I decided that because Trans Rockies was not going to work out (we though the house would be getting done in August), we would do a mini version in Brian Head, Utah. A 4-day stage race with a short prologue and then 3 epic days of riding. Did we realize how hard it would be to ride 50 miles a day at over 9000 feet? And not just ride, but race? Oh well. We had never been to Brian Head, so why not? And that is how the adventure began. My adventure began with the long drive last monday when I loaded up the car and drove to Boise. I spent a day with Brett and Laura, but Brett was pretty much worthless, as he had injured his hand, but no worries, he set me up with some buddies of his to ride on Tuesday near Bogus. Lots of fun. And then early Wednesday I set out to pick up Tim and Cass at the SLC airport and continued on to the land of no air. And Thursday the racing began...

Alec & Abi ripping it up on their bikes after we arrived!

Prologue: Thursday, August 21
Apparently I missed the memo that said that this prologue really didn't count for our cumulative time and it was 'optional'. Hmmmm? An optional stage that didn't count? Of couse we raced, but since I didn't think I could win (which did have a $500 stage prize), I hung for as long as I could and on the last climb, I let the leaders go. I settled for 4th and no glory and a good little 6 mile warm up for the next day. Tim also placed 4th, setting him up good for the starting block the next day.

Stage 1: Friday, August 22nd
Although logisitcally challenging (we had to be driven to the start and picked up from the finish), this was by far my favorite day. What an epic day of riding and amazing trails with great views. In fact, I had to be careful not to check out the scenery for too long on the Virgin River Rim Trail, b/c the drop off was quite spectacular. It was a tough 56 miles, but I had a huge silly grin on my face most of the time and just rode without a care in the world. It didn't really feel like racing. In fact, I had to remind myself to pick up the pace more than once, b/c I was usually all by myself and just riding along. I did pick up the pace, however, when I saw this really cute blue butt just in front of me. It was Tim. We sprinted for the line, but he beat me. I should have done the stealth sneak attack instead of hooping and hollering letting him know I was there. I took 3rd in the stage and he took 4th. A fun day of racing! And Monavie had a film crew there, so a lot of smiling for the camera and interviews. I don't think I am the most articulate after riding for almost 5 hours.
The start in the middle of no where.The finish in the middle of another no where.
A scenic view on the way home at Cedar Breaks.

Stage 2: Saturday, August 23rd
This was one tough day. Luckily they decided to eliminate the prologue loop from the start of our race and just let us go, climbing up the asphalt and ascending and ascending. This day was way too much road and fireroad for my personal taste. The singletrack we did have was super fun and unfortunately on the first descent, I flatted. This is only the second time I have flatted in a race. Tim came up on me and offered me some assistance or at least anything I needed. I told him to get going and I pried the stans strip out and put a tube in and carried on. I was paranoid the rest of the day and rode pretty easy on all the rocks. Unfortunately all the fireroad, etc was rocky as can be. Some of the most technical roads I have ridden. Lots of out and back, seeing where I was in comparison from my competitors. And the most cruel joke was an out and back to the highest point in Brian Head, topping out at I was gaining time back and passing all the gals that passed me when I was fixing my flat, but it wasn't enough. I ended this stage in 6th and Tim was 4th again. 4.5 hours in the saddle.
Giving 'er on stage 2.Dad checking out Alec's bike.
Monavie had a film crew there.

Stage 3: Sunday, August 24th
YIKES! What a way to end. It was not nice. 2 laps of the XC course, each 24 miles with 3400 feet of climbing. And the first half was trail we had already ridden and we knew it was going to hurt. Not to mention the road climb off the start. But sometimes it is great trails and scenery that make a ride epic. Today it was the suffer factor that made it epic and the Dark Hollow trail. That was some good fun. Big rock drops, tons of rocks and just a small amount of fear factor. It was good stuff. It is what kept me going, b/c I knew I would get to do it again. Yahoo. Tim and I got to ride together a bit, but I had to go first on the descent to try to make up some time. And try I did. I actually was moving pretty well. A bit too well on the gravel road in the corner, b/c I went down hard. Real hard. Opened up my left arm again. I pushed on and rode to the finish, but it wasn't enough. I had lost my 3rd place by 4 minutes. Tim, however, moved up in the GC, b/c my teammate, Art, did not finish. So Tim gets a 3rd place in the Elite Men 40+ and I get a 4th in the Elite Women. A good way to spend the beginning of our vacation! And now we are in Brian Head for the week. Tim will work half days from here and I will hang out with Abi and Alec, my mom and dad and Cass! Heres to a week of fun in the altitude!

Tim took 3rd, but no one showed up for the podium.

Tim had the pleasure of losing to Tinker. Yep, opened up the same arm, again! It is like a magnet to gravel.




Cass & I before and after...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hot weekend in the 'hood.

Portland was baking this week, so we were excited to escape to the cabin. Little did we know, it really wouldn't be that much cooler at the cabin. OK, it was cooler, but when it is over 100 degrees in Portland, 85 is still too hot. And riding we saw temperatures in the 90's. Not to mention the forest fire and the level 1 warning the sheriff delivered. It didn't stop us from enjoying some of our favorite trails.
Saturday we did the big loop, up Pocket Creek to Bennett Pass Road, then Boulder Lakes, Crane Prairie and back up a new trail we had never ridden and back up the other side of Boulder Lakes. We were going to do Gunsight, but my shifting was just jacked. (found out later it was a stiff link. Man, did it make me angry). Then we descended down Gumjuwac. So fun. But bummer on the shifting. In the heat, it was probably enough.
On the way up Pocket Creek
My favorite log in Oregon
Boulder Lakes from the top.
Gumjuwac's most fun switchback, where Tim is taking the picture from.
View of the Gnarl Ridge Fire.

Sunday gave us no relief. It was hot and we didn't get our early start. Corey & Michelle had brought Casey up to beat the heat too, so a nice evening with friends and a nice leisurely breakfast. Tim also slept until 10. That never helps. We refer to that as our Texas alpine start. Tim, Corey and I rode Surveyors out and back, and then Michelle met us up there and I went down Dog River with her. Another great day on the trails, but I am sad to say, it was the last weekend for a while. On the road Monday morning, headed to Brian Head for the American Mountain Classic and the last NMBS race, via Boise to visit Brett & Laura. I'll hope to update soon!
Michelle & our little buddy CaseyMt. Hood in the background
Always love Surveyor's Ridge.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2nd annual RAMHOOD!

The crew: Kendra, Melissa, Kris, Tim, Russ, Tre, Erin, Robert & not pictured, me.

RAMHOOD (Ride around Mt. Hood) didn't happen 4th of July weekend like last year (http://www.suebutlerrides.com/2007/07/ramhood-july-4th-2007.html) due to other commitments, so we scheduled it for Saturday, the 9th of August. Last year it was way too hot. This year, we saw it all. Rain, sun, fog, smoke, etc. A strong group of 9 riders with 6 finishers! The turnaround group still had a solid ride around the Lost Lake Loop and the RAMHOOD route was slightly altered due to high water where the bridge is out on NF-16 and we included the bonus loop. This year it was 98 miles and over 11,000 feet of climbing. 

Here are a few pictures:

The clouds were moving in. No views of Mt. Hood.
Road block on initial Lost Lake loop.
A bit wet, but still smiling. Tim in his new white kit. Hmmm? Good choice for today?
Tim on Lolo Pass Road where the pavement is about to end.
Mt. Hood Grocery stop in Rhododendron
We finally saw Mt. Hood about 2 miles from home. A bit smoky from recent forest fire.
Kris feeling victorious after finishing the punishing ride!
Rob with the best helmet hair ever!
The crew for dinner! 11 people strong. Always a good crew at the cabin!

So, then we traded in the road bikes for what we like to do best! Mountain biking. A bit of a crew change for our off road dirt ride. The trails were in great condition after a bit of rain, but I couldn't say the same for my legs. A little bit tired from the day prior, but I still managed to put in over 3 hours on the dirt! I love riding my bike!!!

Corey, Jeff, Me, Tim, Brad & Russ.