Monday, August 30, 2010

Fabulousness in North Cascades: August 27-29, 2010

After a week off the bike, it was time to make up for 'lost time'. I started my long weekend early, sans Tim, detouring to Buckley, WA to ride with my pals Andrea and Paul Weymiller up at Crystal Mountain. A loop I hadn't done in 6 or 7 years. A beautiful day and a great ride.

Andrea, Paul and me at the half way point with Mt. Ranier.

That view doesn't suck.

Then off to Seattle to hang with Pam Frick Schwartz, my dear friend from college, on Wednesday night and Thursday day. We were heading to the North Cascades with Doug Reid, and since he had to work Thursday p.m., I made a guest appearance at Cycle U's Thursday night bootcamp, led by Kristi Berg. Fun times. Tim took the train to Seattle Thursday evening and we decided to delay our departure to Friday a.m. Setting up tents in the dark and possible rain was not sounding fun.
Friday morning, we headed out on the North Cascade adventure. It was a beautiful drive, and we found this tall, skinny guy that looked like a bike racer at the gas station along the way.

I feel short.

So does my car.

Friday's ride was Cutthroat pass. We did a loop, which held some pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Making it a bit more epic. We encountered overgrowth so high, you couldn't see. The manzanita would shift and brake for you. It was a pretty big buzz kill after the epic-ness of the ride. But we mustered through with good attitudes and the trail opened up and ended with more beautiful views. The 5 miles of pavement at the end to get to Mazama wasn't so great. Doug had forgotten about that, but at least our ride back to the cars was there. 36 miles of fun! One way.

The boys: Doug, Ryan & Tim.

Tim and I at the top of Cutthroat Pass.

On top of the world.

That tiny speck riding is Ryan, just after the shadow. Gives it some perspective.

Another 'summit'. See the steep switchbacks left of me. We rode down those. Yikes!

Buzz kill. Thick brush post fire has overtaken part of the trail.

Just when I thought the scenery couldn't be beat from Friday, Saturday provided to be spectacular. Aside for the navigational errors to get to the trailhead, the ride was as expected. Well, we didn't expect snow, which we saw at 8000 feet. The ride was spectacular. Angel's Staircase loop. A ton of climbing, a chunk of hiking up a rocky pass carrying your bikes, but ending with a descent back to the car that, per usual on fun singletrack, ended too early. Aside from a few flats, some chilly weather, it was just smiles ear to ear. Pictures do not do this ride justice. You have to do it.

The crew headed out on Saturday.

Doug pointing to where we are going, although I don't think we believed him.

The lake before the real climbing started. And right before it started snowing.

Like I said, 'real' climbing.

It took a while. Check out the lake we were just at.

Finally at the top. A short traverse until we go down.

Taking it all in.

After safely reaching the bottom of the rocky part. But we had more climbing. Some flats. And snow. And not many more pictures. But then we had one fun descent. I can not tell you how fun the final descent was. I wish I had a video cam.

Sunday was another adventure in navigation. What we have found is that the maps in this remote area are not the best. Roads labeled with different names than the signs, trailheads not exactly where you thought they were. It was epic in it's own way. A long out and back lost finding the trail, then some more on two wheels. But when you are riding in such a beautiful area, you just make the best of it. And it was so different from the previous two days. So much diversity. Fun times. Too bad it had to end with a 6+ hour drive home. Oh well. We will definitely go back. So much more riding to be explored.

One of our many "look at the map" stops.

We finally did find singletrack.

The fun factor was high.

All smiles.

Back to the shin beating grass and bushes.

A successful trip!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A weekend without riding. Sad, but true. August 21-22, 2010

So, I had my dreaded 'rest week'. Surely those who know me know that I probably did anything but rest. So, Monday, I had a ceiling fan installed, went to the cabin with Wendy and split wood with my rented hydraulic splitter. Tuesday I hung out on the deck at the cabin, Wednesday I went for a run and attended Ladies dinner, Thursday I got a massage and went to Kreuger's and Friday I went to the cabin and went for a run. And then we really did it. A weekend at the cabin without riding our bikes. It was dreadful. But there was wood to stack on Saturday and then Sunday, I got a lot of knitting done, read a little and just did what I was supposed to do, a whole lot of nothing. Oh, that's right, we did go for a run. So, now it is back on the bike and I couldn't be more excited. I guess that is kind of the point of the week, right?

Wendy & I knocked out the whole pile! 5 1/2 hours of hard labor. (not really resting)

Thursday night at Kruger's with my friend Dawn.

The stacking crew. It went fast with 5 people!

Baby time on the deck saturday night. Erin brought Sam for a visit.

Everyone had to have their turn.

But if you didn't hold the baby, you had to do shots.

iphone party at the cabin.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A weekend of OBRA Championships: August 14-15, 2010

This was the last hurrah of summer mountain bike racing in Oregon. The OBRA Championships for both short track and cross country, all in one weekend. Needless to say, we participated. The cabin would have to wait until the following weekend for a visit. It was a super hot weekend, reaching 100 degrees on Saturday at the race (according to my Garmin), and luckily Sunday's location was a bit cooler, reaching only 80. We felt lucky to be racing in Alsea Falls for the cooler temps.
Saturday we headed to Sherwood, OR for the short track race in the heat of the day. Tim and I both started at 1:15. We both came out of that winners. It was a fun race, even though it was hot and dusty.

STXC, which wasn't so short.

Tim off the front.

Winner in the middle, please.

Sunday we trekked down to Alsea Falls. Tim and Jeff raced at 11, so we were there earlier in the day and it was still in the 60's at 10:30. Pure bliss. Then I raced shortly after 1. It was a shorter xc race, but still hard, with a super steep climb we had to do 3 times. In Tim's race, it came down to a sprint finish, and unfortunately he got nipped at the line. He won last year and did his best to recapture the title, but had a good race and finished 2nd. Although my race was not easy, it didn't come down to a sprint. I traded places with Alice this year and finally finished on the top step. My first OBRA XC Championship. Only my second ever, the stxc being my first. A good final weekend of racing.

Thank you to all the hard working race promoters in Oregon. It has been a great 2010! I know, cyclocross is still to come, but the mountain bike and road season has been great. We are very lucky to have such dedicated people in OBRA! Thanks to the volunteers, officials, results people, and everyone. It is a thankless job. You make racing fun in Oregon! I am proud to be a member of OBRA!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mid-week bliss: McKenzie River Trail. Wednesday, 8/11/2010

I didn't think I would be craving singletrack so soon after the High Cascade 100, but heck, the opportunity presented itself. How could I refuse a great ride with great gals. We made the trek to do the McKenzie River Trail today. This time, however, from top to bottom. I haven't shuttled it to ride one way for a while. Last year Tim and I got darked out. But last year I said I was not going to let another summer go by without riding McKenzie. It was a great day. Perfect weather. A wonderful day of summer.

Check out the color of the water.

And how clear it is.

It is very well maintained.

The waterfall was gushing.

The gals, Emily VanMeter, Wendy Williams, Lisa Turnbull and I, at the blue pool.

Monday, August 9, 2010

High Cascade 100: August 7, 2010

I always say I will try anything once. Well, I did a 100-mile race back in 2006. I think I said I would never do it again. But that was at altitude in Utah. This was in my back yard (sort of) and early enough in August that it would be possible to recover before cyclocross. And I was in much better shape. Plus, I haven't done enough mountain biking this summer. And I have had no fun hating in the schedule. No mountain bike stage races, no marathon, nothing. I couldn't stop myself. I had to do it. And now with it done, I can say, yep, I am glad I did it. It was fun. Will I do it again? Ask me next summer.
The race started early. 5:30 a.m. That meant a 4 a.m. wake up call and sneaking out of Ryan's house as quietly as possible at 4:30 to arrive at Wanoga by 5. At o'dark thirty, we were rolling out of Wanoga. I stayed towards the front, kept an eye on Cheryl Sornsen, the NUE series leader and someone with a heck of a lot more experience at this than me, and just stayed with her. This strategy worked. Although she got away from me after the first pit stop in Wanoga after the first loop, I closed the gap and we rode together again until about mile 65 when I turned around on the climb and she was not there. In my head, I thought, hmmm? I should put the gas on and get out of sight. I did just that, but I also had a blast. The riding was so good up high. No dust. I actually passed through a snowbank, a freezing cold creek and I was riding with a smile on my face still. But after the second loop, I could have been done. I had ridden enough epic trail for one day, but I had 12 more miles. I refueled and got some water and headed out for the last loop. I knew I was in good position, but I had no idea how far back Cheryl was and I knew it couldn't be far, so I still had to push. I reminded myself it was only 12 miles. I had already done 88. I can not say it was easy. I had to mentally force myself to go faster, keep it smooth and finish strong. With about 2 miles left, I was out of water, feeling the hunger and ready to be done, so it was my motivation to go faster. The faster I went, the sooner it would be done! 9:31 was my time. I had won. And I was 15th overall. I surprised even myself. Now it is done! McKenzie on Wednesday anyone???

Loop 1

Loop 2

Loop 2

Loop 3: 2 miles to go.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

RAMHOOD weekend: July 30-August1, 2010

We extended our weekend back to Thursday. Sort of. Tim's work had their summer event, a nice rooftop dinner, and I proceeded to work on having the best hangover ever on Friday. That made for a rough start to the weekend. I never really got 'drunk', I just got sick. Never again! Have you heard that before??? Friday I had the pleasure of spending some bonus time with my amazing friend Gina and her little guy Calvin. I had to ride my bike first to try to work out the cobwebs from the night prior.

Tim and I not in helmets. Still in Oakley's though. (Thank you, Sean)

Hanging with the Klotters.

Calvin hamming it up at Mt. Tabor park

And then we were off to the cabin for RAMHOOD. This was the 4th annual Butler RAMHOOD (Ride around Mt. Hood). We also provided a HAMHOOD (Half way around Mt. Hood) for those not inspired to circumvent the mountain. Departure time: 9 a.m. We were changing it up a bit this year and going clockwise. It was a small group for the full RAM, but great weather and great views made it as enjoyable as ever.

The crew: Patrick Wilder, Bill Zale, Joe Holcomb, Tim & me

The boys hamming it up at one of the many scenic views of Mt. Hood

Patrick getting jiggy on the Pacific Crest Trail. OK, not really. No bikes, duh.

Triple Trouble.

82 miles down, 5 to go, and still smiling. And about 8500 feet of climbing in our legs!

Although rider participating was lower this year than in the past years, the post-party was well attended. We had a record 20 people for dinner and 20 guests overnight, although 3 people camped in tents. Our good friends, the Weymillers, with their 3 kids, were in attendance for the party, passing through on their annual trek home from Sunriver to Buckley. And we had some late joiners that really wanted to just ride on Sunday. It was great!

The Weymillers: Andrea, Paul with Mary, Theo & Hannah in front.

Katrine has purple hair. Yikes!

I was sick of getting pictures with the boys: girl picture.

Sunday, everyone went their own directions. Some driving home, some off to hike, some to road ride, but the Butlers did what they love to do most of all: mountain bike. Lisa and Doug were the only ones to join us, but we had an amazing ride on one of our favorite loops that has been recently cleared, so our first time this season. An awesome weekend! And to think all of this fun started with a really bad hangover!

Tim, me, Doug & Lisa at Boulder Lake

I love riding my bike!