Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Piece of Cake and fresh snow! March 26-27, 2011


Well, I had a choice. Race saturday or sunday or both. Hmmmmm? A race with 3 miles of gravel each lap which I haven't raced, or banana belt? I chose to race Piece of Cake. No offense to BB, but I would live w/o doing one this year. And the second parameter of the weekend was that if Saturday was 'too easy', I could/should race Sunday. Well, I made sure that I was cleared for a ski day. But not really intentionally. I swear. Here is the story.
The drive out to Amity, OR was mostly dry, except for the downpour which lasted 10-15 minutes and the foreboding black sky in the distance. It was going to be a doozie. Changing my layering system 5 times, I finally made some decisions. With some rain off and on, I decided not to 'warm up'. I probably should have pedaled more than to the "honey bucket" and back, but I didn't. The first lap was the perfect warm up. I sat in. Tried to figure out how I was feeling and then on lap 2, someone attacked and I just decided to pedal hard and bring her back. I did, but somehow the entire group did not follow and then we hit the gravel and I was away. I was joined by a gal, Sara, and was glad to not be alone. It was windy. It was hard. The last thing  I wanted was to pedal alone. But we were away, so there was a choice. Work hard and get away and try to stay away or wait and be brought back. Duhhhh. I went for it. Sarah helped as much as she could, but I knew there was a really strong group behind us. There was no letting up. Not for a second. I was supposed to get an interval in, so I did. But then the 'interval' was over and I had lost my partner to a flat and I had a long way to go. There was a lot of self talk. A lot of wondering what to do. If I could indeed do it. The gap was never that much. But I kept telling myself "out of sight, out of mind. Pedal harder." My other thought was about Cancellara. If he could do it, I could do it. I will not lie. It sucked. It was hard. It was not how I anticipated this day going, but I also though, well, if I were mountain bike racing in Fontana, it would be me alone. No drafting. Suck it up and pedal hard. It was not as much fun alone, but in the last 5 miles, when a few gals were chasing hard and the gap was diminishing,  I asked myself "did you sit off the front for 25 miles just to lose it in the last 5? NO! Pedal harder. Keep going." Lot's of self talk, but it ended well. I pulled it off. A win off the front for 30 miles. OUCH! I think I made it hard enough to earn a pass to ski. Bummer I didn't even get a cake! They ran out. Ummm. Who stole a cake they didn't deserve??? I didn't really need it. I got home, did a quick turn around and drove out to Hood River to hang with my pal, Erin O'Connell. 
Sunday morning we woke to the snow report of fresh snow. Apparently everyone got the same memo, b/c the parking lot was quite full and the there were (gasp!) lift lines. Thank goodness, b/c my legs on the first run were saying, "hey, what the heck? Quit beating me up." It was almost hard to ski, but I mustered through, enjoying every minute with good friends in the full on winter conditions. After almost 4 hours, we decided to call it a day and go to a late lunch in Hood River. Quite a wonderful weekend. Win a bike race, ski with my two friends named Erin and have lunch with them to boot.
Now off to Belgium on Thursday for Tim's dream vacation. On Sunday we will be on the sidelines of Tour of Flanders cheering our hearts out. Enjoying the classics. I am starting to get excited. As excited as I can get to go back to Belgium... again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SNOW MUCH FUN!!! March 18-21, 2011

March continues to be busy. Mom still here and random visits from friends in town on business, like Tony Torrance on Tuesday.  Then I got sick on Wednesday and remained curled up in the fetus position for a day. No relation to Tony's visit, I am sure.

Tim , Sue & Tony
But the week passed and the weekend came. This past extended weekend will be hard to beat. My cousin Brian, who is in the Coast Guard at Depoe Bay came up with his wife and boy Zach.
Bryan, Zach & Gina. Zach has a lot of energy. He is 3.
Kendra and Melissa came for the weekend to play in the snow and O'Malley even joined us Friday night for pizza and movie night. Saturday morning I skied with my good pal Erin "O'Malley".

Sort of a blue bird powder day. Amazing morning of skiing. Didn't want to leave, but I had promised Tim I would be home.
I came back to the cabin to go ride with Tim, but much to my surprise, Tim had decided because we had so much new snow, we would go XC skiing. Kendra, Melissa, Erin, Tim and I headed out for the 'long loop' from the cabin. I hadn't done this yet this season, so the 3.5 hour, 11 mile ski was great. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The ladies!

 I thought I was back to pedaling the next day until we woke up to even more snow. Coach K gave us the green light to play in the snow, so Tim and I went as high as the stone shelter. Kendra and Melissa joined us to the A frame. It was a winter wonderland. I was smiling ear to ear. I really do love snow.

Trailhead photo.

My first time up Tilly Jane this season.
I love snow! Melissa and I at the A-frame.
Fresh snow, breaking trail. Life is good.
Had to go to the stone shelter for pictures.

Then Monday came. I stayed at the cabin with my mom and then met my buddy Seth Patla at Meadows in the morning. 3 hours of ever changing weather and conditions, ending the day large, with a run down God's Wall. It was a great way to start the week. Then to Hood River and across to Washington to play on Syncline. We did one lap on the rock garden, then up little maui and down coyote. A great ride, with very little (maybe 3-4 minutes) rain. It was the perfect day.

On our way to Coyote in the ever changing gorge weather.

And thus the weekend was over. Although it seems every day is a Monday or a Friday lately. Not a bad way to go through life. Training again is feeling good, or bad, depending on how hard it feels. But definitely making my way back to race shape. Slowly but surely. Mom leaves tomorrow. Then I really have no excuses to slack off.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness: B-days, family, biking, skiing, winetasting, racing, etc...

WHEW! March is off with a BANG! After my return from Utah, things got busy. Too busy to blog, apparently. We started the month with celebrating Tim's 45th birthday. Nothing special, but a nice sushi dinner with lots of saki! And Belgian pralines in lieu of cake. 

My handsome birthday boy.

Then my brother Nik and his gal pal Sara arrived.

Then Ryan & Kira came to town and we celebrated Ryan's 30th birthday (damn, he is YOUNG!) and went to the opening of the Het Fairwheel Podium where both our cross bikes are proudly displayed.

The birthday boy, Ryan, Kira, Tim & I.

Then a weekend of bike riding, wine tasting, Tim doing his first race, P. Dowd visiting, etc.
Patricia Dowd and I enjoying some post ride libations. She raced. I just rode.
The crew: Melissa, Kendra, P. Down, Nik, Sara & Bill
So serious. Except for Coach K.
 My mom arrived monday, so we headed to the cabin. Nik and I skied for a day, making some sweet turns, then I dragged him and Sara nordic skiing on Wednesday, so I could get some skate and classic skiing in.
Nik and I enjoying the ever changing weather at Mt. Hood.
Our favorite run of the day. We tracked it out. So nice...
Mom feeding the rodents with wings on the deck.
Sara and Nik on the bridge at Multnomah Falls in the rain.
Me and Mom

Then back to P-town to get rid of Nik & Sara. One night with Tre in town. Busy times at the Butler house. Then off to Echo for some mountain biking. Granted, I wasn't going to race, but how do you go to a race and not race? It's really hard. Especially when there is nothing wrong with you except the fact you haven't really started training yet and it is the opposite of what you should be doing. But heck, I did it. And won. A pleasant surprise. And although it hurt, I felt so much better than I should have. Unfortunately Rebecca Rusch showed up and made me work harder than I would have liked too. Oh well. Perhaps it made the victory that much sweeter, b/c I actually had to 'race'.  Tim had a great race too, getting bested by only Greg Turpin.

Second place!

I pulled off the 'W'. Barely.

Jenni, Me and Rebecca for the overall.

Then to the cabin for a night, only to wake up to rain. And then we are up to date. 13 days into March. It's been a great month so far. The training is starting for real now. No more fair weather riding for me. Time to get serious. At least I got the first race out of the way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

UTAH!!! February 24-27, 2011

During the 'off season', I am packing it all in. Backcountry for 4 days, then a quick trip to Utah with friends. The irony of it all, is that this trip was made with 2 gals I started skiing with when I moved to Oregon and who were around for my first mountain bike rides ever. Now with them both having kids, it is special to sneak away for a ski trip because through all the life changes, one thing didn't change: we all LOVE to ski. And it is great (and rare) to have female friends with the same abilities and able to really enjoy all the mountain has to offer. And it was for Kristin's 40th birthday. 
Wednesday evening we headed to the promise land. It promised powder. And of course, once we left, Mt. Hood finally got some of the white stuff too, but we had 4 fantastic days of skiing. We had committed prior to the trip to stay up in Huntsville at the Atomic Chalet and focus on Snowbasin and Powder Mountain this trip. We were not disappointed. Granted, Friday Snowbird got a lot more snow, but we were skiing great powder too.
Day one was just Kristin and I. We checked out Snowbasin. A great mountain. Lots of diversity and natural terrain to ski. It needed a little refresh of snow. And it got one. We picked up Kira that evening and then there were 3. We headed to Powder Mountain on Friday to check out this less known gem. So much fun. And so much terrain. It is a bit slower moving (only one high speed quad), the lodge reminded me of ski bowl and there is no fancy one piece gold studded ski suits with fur. It is all about keeping it real. And skiing fresh powder. We decided we really loved it!  Day 3, we went back to Snowbasin. Fresh tracks until the mountain was tracked out and just a great time. Legs were getting weary, but we forged on. Day 4, Kristin and I went up to Powder Mountain once again to ski more of the Powder Country. Still great snow left, but the sun was doing a job. A perfect way to end a great trip! I really do love snow. I am addicted. I may even be forced to shell out $69 for Meadows before seasons end.

So darn pretty

Fresh tracks at Snowbasin on Friday

Kira, Kristin & me

It never ended...

Gondola photo: 3 different shades of blue.

Had to go to the top.

Waiting for some visibility from the very top. Start shack from Olympics.

Oldest bar in Utah in Huntsville down the street.

We closed 'er down on Saturday. (9 p.m. closing time!?!)

We even found fresh tracks on Sunday