Monday, May 31, 2010

Holy Hot! Mellow Johnny's Spring Classic, May 28-31, 2010

Memorial Day weekend was chalk full of bike racing, Texas BBQ, Tex Mex and old pals of Tim's. We used the Mellow Johnny's race as an excuse to get back to Austin, but what we didn't bargain for was the heat. 95 degrees or warmer every day! Leaving high's in the 50's, the body was a bit in shock, but oh well.
We flew down Thursday afternoon, getting into TX late. After midnight it was still 87 degrees, so I knew we were in for some heat. Friday's pre-ride was a good indication that drastic measures would have to be taken to stay cool. Racing naked was not an option.
Friday night, we met a few of Tim's old pals at Chuy's for tex mex. It was great to catch up and Tim tried to beat the heat with a frozen strawberry margarita. Who would've known that would be his drink of choice. Like I said, drastic measures to beat the heat!

Travis, Tim & Gary

Saturday was race day for me. We went off at 10:30. You would think it would be cool-ish in the morning, but I was sweating buckets during my warm up and so warm, I cut it short and tried to get my core temp back down. The course was fun and the race was well run, but it was a matter of survival in the heat. My body has not adjusted to exertion in this kind of weather. I had a great start, then 40 minutes in, the chills started. I was well hydrated, as I opted to go a bit untraditional and use Tim's race camel back thing. Having a hose to get ice cold liquids on fast single track was key. I don't think I would have drank enough with bottles. But Tim was at the feed zone giving me ice cold bottles to pour down my back. It was a long race and I fell back to 9th, but the body wouldn't go any faster. I was so happy to be finished and alive!

Purple faced. (photo courtesy of Dave McElwaine)

After the suffer fest was over, we headed out to a buddy of Tim's house and were treated to an afternoon on Lake Austin on his boat. It was a great way to beat the heat and after jumping in the 50 degree water, I was almost cold. It was the first time since getting to Texas I felt comfortable outside. And at one point, chilly. I was in heaven!

Yikes! White skin and bad biker tans!

On Sunday, it was all about Tim. His race went off at 11. I was Susie support and with him only doing 2 longer laps, I made a point to be at the start, run to the mid-way feed zone, back to the start finish, then back to the feedzone, then back to the start finish. Sounds like no big deal, but it was quite a hike. I had to run to make it so I didn't miss him. And the elevation change was from the lowest part of the course to the highest. I got my workout in. Tim didn't get a call up, since we were in TX territory. Even though a 'national series race', call ups were for the TX series only. He worked his way to the 2nd row, but got behind someone that couldn't get into his pedals. Tim stayed calm, races his own race and ended up 4th. The ironic thing about that is that Tim made more money racing this past weekend than I did. They pay well in TX.

The very exciting start of 57 Cat 1's, 40-49. 20 of them DNF'd due to heat! They didn't have as good of support, obviously!

Tim on his way to his 4th place finish.


Tim came out ahead in the earnings. I guess he buys dinner and drinks!

And directly from the race course, we had to make a mandatory stop:

Then after showering, another mandatory stop:

After yummy Texas BBQ, we headed to his tkd buddy, Travis' house. It is always fun when old friends get together, because I get to hear stories about Tim and some for the first time. It was a very mellow evening, in air conditioning. Travis' wife Stacy was already a week overdue for their first child. She is a trooper! And his friend Ben's wife was pregnant too. I didn't drink any of the water, just wine.

Melitta, Ben, Stacy, Travis, Me, Tim

Monday morning before packing up, we had another social outing and breakfast with another buddy, then off to Zirker park to check out the Greenbelt I had heard so much about. I have to say, after riding it, it is fun, especially for access right from the city. A gold mine. We didn't have enough time to jump into Barton Springs this trip, but it would have felt good. And then back to Portland. The temperature was in the 60's when we got back and I have never been happier. It was a great weekend and in 3.5 days, we packed a lot in! Next up, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic!

Great trail with some great technical sections, some smooth fast stuff. Too many people on the holiday weekend. You really couldn't go very far without seeing people.

Getting HUGE air! Tim missed the pic, but it was HUGE!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunshine & Singletrack. Really.

Abysmal weather forecasts don't stop us from riding, they just make us pack more gear. Heading out on Friday to the cabin, things didn't look good. Cold and rainy was how we left Portland Friday and cold and rainy is how we returned on Sunday night. The in between story, however, was about sunshine and fantastic fun. Is it too good to be true?
Seriously, as we left on Friday, it was hailing and pouring rain most of the way to Hood River. Tim and I parked at the China Gorge and headed off on our TT bikes to pre-ride the Mt. Hood TT course. Yes, I have ridden that stretch of road a million times, but never on a TT bike. We overdressed, prepared for the hail and rain that we thought would eventually reach us, but we were treated to a couple of hours of sunshine and nice weather riding. Who would've thunk?
Most people bailed on us for a weekend of riding at the cabin due to the forecast. One braved the Butler plan for Saturday and a few more for Sunday. Saturday was a real treat. 30 miles, mostly singletrack, aside from Tim's exploratory ride, with sunshine, great views of Mt. Hood and the awesome conditions. Surveyors was in amazing shape.

I told you it was sunny. You don't get views like that on a cloudy day.

Crisp and clear with occasional clouds. On the far side of Surveyors!

Sunday we had a bit less sunshine, but dry. We did a loop from Tollgate Campground, climbing up Dog River, across Surveyors to Oakridge, which we had never ridden. Fun trail. Highlight may have been the HUGE bear tracks on the trail toward the end. Thankfully no bear in sight.
So, for all of you who suffered through the rain this past weekend, good on ya. We prefer to head east to the rain shadow and enjoy the empty trails on Mt. Hood. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone. We want to keep it a secret.

The boys on the way down Oakridge. Tim, Seth & Jeff.
Don't worry, Tim and I may be in the same outfits as Saturday, but I did do laundry. The view of Hood was not as spectacular as on Saturday. Bummer we forgot the camera on Saturday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Racing & Riding. Southern Oregon style. May 15-16, 2010

Before we were racers, we were riders. I guess we are still just riders that like to race. Tim and I are fun hogs, so since we were going to take the plunge and drive all the way to the Spring Thaw for the first time ever, we made it a weekend by riding the North Umpqua on the way home.
The race was great. Big kudos to the organizers. I show up to register and get handed $5 refunded for the on line service charge. I get $5 for the Brewery and a free lunch ticket for race day, along with a printed schedule for the days activities, where things were actually on time. The course was, well, good for a race. 7 miles of climbing from the gun on road, then a couple more on singletrack. Then a long hauling sort of flat road for 10 miles or so, then 6 miles of descending on singletrack. My plan of trying to put time on Lizzy on the climb to pad my downhill skills did not work. She was my rabbit the whole way. But the road on the top I got lucky. I finally caught her group, flew by and never looked back. I had some great groups of guys to work with and then with my small mishap heading down the gravel road instead of singletrack (forgot which color arrow I was supposed to follow), I powered back up, got back on course and tried to just let it flow. Holding up some of the guys and trying to let them get by w/o losing too much time, I won by over a minute. It is good to have some new fresh fast ladies to actually race against.

1st place not the easy way!

Tim had a great race, finishing 2nd, but was beaten by some guy from Reno.

So, with the racing part of the weekend over, we raced out of there to get to the house I rented on the N. Umpqua. The pictures had looked amazing, so I was excited to get there. It was not disappointing. We had a nice evening, chilling on the deck, drinking wine, making a nice dinner and listening to the rapids right below our deck. If you ever need a place to stay, you should check out River Vista.

Relaxing on the deck.

The view of the narrows.

Yep, it was cool.

Tim attempting to grill with charcoal. He did a great job!

Playing on Turtle Rock in the morning. The view to the right from the deck.

Then it was time to hit the trails. We were woefully unprepared, very unlike us. We had forgotten our maps, info for the trailhead to the Dread and Terror section and there was no cell reception, so couldn't rely on the old iphone to save us. Whatever. We went. How hard could it be? On our first try, we ended up riding the Panther section. Then we saw a map that showed that we were not going to be riding to the Dread and Terror section from there. It was a great way to start. 10 miles (5 out and back) of pretty awesome singletrack. But then it was time to move on. You would think we would have remembered the name of the trailhead after looking at the map, but after driving 15 miles or so down 138, we had no idea. One area was closed so there was no access, but we finally made it to the Toketee trailhead, which gave us an extra section, the Hot Spring section, to ride prior to D&T. It was great, but I think the whole NorthUmpqua trail is great. You may be wondering why we were in search of a section called "Dread and Terror". Well, we had ridden it in '04 or '05, and remembered it being spectacular. And the name is fitting. There are some extremely technical sections, and a lot of fun, swoopy riding, but when not riding by the river directly, you are on a trail about 2 feet wide on a cliff that falls to the river, hence the name. Unfortunately we had enjoyed coffee on the deck a bit too long in the morning and with our Texas alpine start, we did not get the entire Dread and Terror section ridden, but the over 26 miles of singletrack we did ride was amazingly fun, challenging and hopefully we did a good enough job of using Tecnu afterwards that we will be free and clear of poison oak. And now I can just dream of the trail and look forward to going back. We discussed it and eventually we will do the fun hater event and ride from one end to the other in one day! A 79 mile adventure. That day will come.

Tim on the smooth Panther section.

Beautiful rock formations.


Small rocky section on Dread and Terror.

Towards the end of the ride.

Weeping walls. Like riding through a waterfall. The section prior was so much cooler, but there was no stopping. It was too fun to ride!

Loving it.

One last slippery, steep waterfall to ride down.

No ride would be complete without one of these.

Dirty bikes are happy bikes. Now the long drive home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Biking in Bend: Double header weekend! May 8-9, 2010

It was a busy weekend. My mom, sister and nephew are visiting, so off to Bend we went for a nice extended stay. Tim and I had decided as long as we were there, we should race both Saturday and Sunday. Road and then mountain bike. I arrived on Thursday evening and had a great day riding singletrack on Friday. Then it was an action packed weekend once Tim arrived.
Bend Don't Brake was a new road race and instead of pre-riding the Chainbreaker course, we went and did five 10 mile loops. Tim raced in the a.m. and I raced in the p.m. Our race was quite uneventful, just like I wanted it. But at 4 miles to go, we were neutralized and had to wait for about 10 minutes while an accident from the 4-5 field was attended to. The race was going to come down to a sprint anyways, so the delay didn't affect it too much. I actually played the finish smart, grabbed some wheels and walked away a victory. Tim also had a successful day, riding with a break out front and then taking the sprint for the win. His win was a lot closer than mine!

Tim and I in our prizes from Bend Don't Brake.

Sunday was the fun race in dirt. It was also Mother's Day. I was hoping to bring the "W" home again for my mom, making it two for two, but my legs did not cooperate. I could fake it in the road race, but there was no faking it in the mountain bike race. But at least it was a race. Alice, Lizzy and I were off the front from the gun and riding together. Then passing became an issue as we came up on the cat 1 men. Alice made a great move and Lizzy and I did not get around. Lizzy and I rode together for most of the race, playing a bit of cat and mouse, but my legs were failing me and I was holding on for dear life. Lizzy was rocking and I followed her on the last bit of singletrack before the infield. I had a bit of a bobble with my pedal hitting something, and she got a gap. I closed it back down, but there is no way to pass on the finish. The sprint to the finish was not a sprint, as there was no way to get around and I was 3rd by a second. Alice got a minute on us. I may have had flat legs, but unfortunately, Tim's race was derailed by a flat tire. Since the men did 3 laps, after my 2, I had gotten an update that Tim was 'killing it' and was way out front of all the cat 1's and in the top 10 overall. I was so excited. I waited near the finish line, and waited, and then waited some more until people that he was supposedly in front of were finishing. They told me Tim had a mechanical, so I started to worry. Yep, Tim got a flat. Amazingly he did fix it himself under pressure and even though he lost his podium finish, he still finished 5th with a 5 minute flat change. So, the Butlers were unable to take the double header, but it was a good weekend of racing and fun with the family. Happy Mother's Day to all the brave souls that raise children! I admire you all!

Tim out there killing it prior to his flat with 5 miles to go!

Me out there suffering!

Mom enjoying Mother's Day watching us race. Thanks for being such a good sport, Mom.

My nephew Musa before his melt down that caused him not to do the kids race.

Our lopsided podium. Where's Lizzy?

My sister Cathy, her son Musa and my mom, Sigrid.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not slinging too much mud at the Mudslinger! May 2, 2010

A weekend of wet, slippery trails. Saturday we went up and checked out the trails outside of Sandy. They are pretty awesome. I felt a bit guilty riding them in the mud. I also felt a little bit slippery! But it was good practice for the Mudslinger on Sunday. An early a.m. to get on the road to Blodgett. Weaver, Tim and I made the trek and it was a good day of riding. With a bit of mud and no rain and some sun. Hmmm, was this really the Mudslinger? Unfortunately there were not enough women there, per usual. With Alice at the Gila, it was a lonely race. But I was kind of glad, b/c I didn't feel all that great. We stuck around for social hour and for some lonely podiums. Thanks Mike and crew for another great race!

The lonely podium on the top step.

The second place podium stance.
He was the only one there and the picture I took was so dark, so I played with it a bit.