Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A week in the heat: Cascade Cycling Classic, July 20-25, 2010, Bend, OR

For not being a 'road racer', I have a few stage races under my belt this summer. Since I had never done Cascade, I figured, 'why not?' It is one of the big NRC races in my backyard. I had no excuses, no conflicts, free place to stay, friends to visit, so this was the year to do it. I got hooked up with Touchstone Climbing out of CA to guest ride and one of my 'teammates' from Nature Valley was also guest riding. How bad could it be? Other than the forecast change of high 70's to mid 90's, it was a great event. Here is how it went for me.
Old Mill Prologue, Tuesday p.m.: Silliest, shortest race I have ever done. 4+ minutes of fun. I ended up 24th, so much better than I thought after taking the worst lines ever around corners and using my brakes way too much.
Stage 1: McKenzie Pass Road Race, 72 miles, Wednesday: This was a beautiful course. I witnessed the scariest crash I have ever seen. I was too far back when the climb started getting amped and missed the acceleration and was just within feet of the pack. Then had them in my sights forever trying to close the gap with no success. I was finally joined by a group and we rode together to the finish, not chasing, but just riding. We lost a lot of time this day, but lesson learned. Be at the front when a climb starts. Finished 30th. But Emily, my teammate, was in the top 10. I was now working for her.
Stage 2: Skyliners Time Trial, 16 miles, Thursday: My third TT this year on a TT bike. No expectations. Kendra had made me do some intervals on my borrowed TT bike the week prior. It must have paid off. I got passed, so I was pretty certain I didn't do very well, but I finished 17th.

Stage 3: Cascade Lakes Road Race, 72 miles, Friday: I had learned my lesson on Wednesday. I was determined not to get dropped. Well, the attacks right out of the parking lot and trying to chase exploded me. Dropped, but this time got back on with some work, no problem. Then I participated in the 'chase' after some got away. I was just doing what I was told. Then the last climb was brutal. I stayed for the first section, then it shattered. I was part of that shattering. I got with a good group that kept pushing to the end. We lost a couple of minutes. Not too bad. I was 28th across the line, and Emily stayed where she needed to be, climbing like a mountain goat.
Stage 4: Downtown Bend Criterium, 50 minutes, Saturday p.m.: This was not an exciting crit. 4 corners. Lot's of braking, a few crashes. I stayed safe. Finished with the pack. I had a horrible start, as it did not roll fast off the line, and I lost my balance, had to clip out, touch my other foot down, but stuck. It was not cool. Oops. I finished 32nd.
Stage 5: Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, 52 miles, Sunday 1:10 p.m.: I was dreading this race. It was in the 90's by the time we started, I had heard it was really hard. I was scared. But I was fine. I mustered through the 3 laps, almost got hit by a truck head on, tried to protect Emily and keep her out of the wind and racing smart. Probably got a bit dehydrated, but finished with the main pack. A few escaped out front, but no one really knew. It was fine. Much better than I had anticipated. I finished 35th. 10 girls were off the front at various places and 35 of us were 1:30 back. My overall GC finish was 27th. Not bad for someone who is not a 'roadie'. Is it CX season yet???

Amy and Aaron with their new addition to the family.

Pre-crit chaos.

6 of the 8 team members. Post race beers and burgers!

Emily figured her top 10 merited a little 'treat'.

Emily finished 9th overall! GREAT finish!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another weekend in the 'Hood. July 17-18, 2010

Summer is glorious in Oregon. Weekends at the cabin are something to really look forward to. This weekend was no exception. It turned into a fun weekend with lots of friends, fresh fruit and riding! Saturday was a "Texas alpine start" as we like to call them. Tim and I ventured out on our road bikes, doing a shortened version of the red hill loop. It was perfect weather, views, etc. Not a bad day on the pavement.

Views of Adams were spectacular. You could see Ranier too.

Self-timer photo.

Such a great road to ride your bike.

Mt. Hood is always an awe inspiring sight.

Tim can hold the mountain in one hand.

Red Mountain in the background. Lot's of lava rocks.

Crossing the river the other direction. They were actually working and made us wait.

Then the party got started. For dinner we were up to 8 guests. Our friend Emily Ohlin, who I have known forever, but has never been to the cabin, friends from MN that we met bike racing over the years, Kyia and Anderson, friends and fellow bike racers, Chris and Brooke and then Patricia Down, on her way to Cascade with me from Montana. It was a table full of good food, laughter and then cherry eating contests. Everything has to be a competition.

Anderson, Kyia, Me and Tim. Cheers!

Post-dinner satisfaction.

Let the cherry eating wars begin. Tim beat P. Dowd in eating 10 cherries at one time. No one lost any fillings.

Sunday we split into two groups. The longer ride (Tim, Brooke & Chris), and the more mellow ride, (Me, Kyia, Anderson, Emily and Paul, who was leftover from Russ' party down the road). We did surveyors out and back from the powerlines, but only the singletrack. It was mellow, beautiful weather and great views.

Anderson, Kyia and me with Mt. Hood in the background on Surveyors Ridge.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mt. Hood Madness: June 10-11, 2010

With the recent heat wave in Portland, it was so nice to arrive at the cabin on Friday night to a nice cool evening on the deck with no mosquitos. It was pretty much paradise. As was the weekend of riding. We decided to do a pre-RAMHOOD (ride around Mt. Hood) on saturday. A 87 mile road ride with 8500 feet of climbing. It was amazing weather, great views, good friends and just plain fun. A bit of suffering of course, but a great day on the bike.

Tim fording the creek. We went the 'old' way and the creek was crossable.

Heading into the gravel section on Lolo Pass. Still smiling.

The lone puncture of the day. But still smiling. Darn rocks.

One of my favorite views of Mt. Hood.

Rest stop in Rhodie.

My best guy. Team RCB!

Erin chillin' on the deck. Amazing that in 2 weeks she will be a mom! Don't worry, she didn't ride this year, just came up for the cool evening on the deck.

Then to top off the weekend, we had to play in the dirt. Although 15-mile was not clear, it was still a variable amount of suffering and some sweet singletrack without trees down. Good attitudes make any ride good. But the final descent made you forget about the misery and the climbing over trees.

Me, Dave, Tim & John

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Fabulousness!

Our plans to go to Whistler and learn how to 'huck' and play in the dh park were thwarted by my crash in WI and my lingering sore ribs. And to top it off, I had acquired some kind of bacterial infection on my vocal chords and was speechless (literally), coughing (which hurt), and hacking up nastiness. Lovely start to the long weekend. But we were cabin bound. Tim still took Friday off and we had 4 days of fabulous cabin time and bike riding. Life is good. We were joined by friends off and on. Recruited some overnight guests from the trail on Sunday: Brooke and Chris. Wendy and Emily brought the posse and it was good eating, few small projects accomplished and some serious relaxing and some amazing trails. But very little photo taking. Oops. Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!!!

Great weather in the 'Hood. Even when it was raining in PDX on Friday, it was sunny at the cabin.

Tim, Emily, and Wendy on Knebal Springs.