Monday, February 25, 2013

The off season! Getting in as much skiing as possible!

The end of cx season always signifies the beginning of ski season, however short. Our first weekend back, we decided we needed to have a shake down cruise before our big trip the next week. So a cabin weekend with a few hikes up Tilly Jane to the stone shelter.
Great weather with a 4 volcano view!

For ten of the past 12 years, we have made a trip to eastern Oregon to do some backcountry skiing in some of the best terrain and snow Oregon has to offer. Wallowa Alpine Huts is awesome and always something to look forward to. Although our winter has been a bit light on the white stuff, we were able to find amazing powder stashes and enjoy yurt living at it's finest with good friends. I always look forward to this trip and it is hard to not go back. We love CB and his crew!

The road is actually straight! Crazy pic of the WAH camp before and after in Halfway.

Our partial tow in. 

Chillin' on the first day after the long hike in. Getting ready to do avy stuff and ski!
The first thing apres ski! Every day!
Great weather day 2.
Day 2 on the 'X' team (for extra vert) meant the best run of the day, but an extra 2000 ft climb before heading back to the yurt. It also provided an amazing sunset on way back to yurt.
Day 3 finding fresh powder. Long treks, but so worth it! And new runs!
Last night to finish all the alcohol. Shot ski for everyone!
Last day! Sad to say good bye, but looking forward to an excellent day skiing.
Excellent last day in the Enchanted Forest. Secret powder stashes! Great tour to get there.

Chic pic! Beth Ann and I.

As sad as it was to leave the Wallowas, the trip came to an end with some drunken fun in Halfway and a good local meal at Wild Bill's! But the trip wasn't over for three of us. Beth Ann, Mike Hills and I headed to Baker City to stock up on provisions and then headed up to Anthony Lakes for another 4 days and 3 nights. It was practically a must since we were so close. And it had been 9 years since Tim and I had been there. We rented out the new yurt and self guided our way to amazing terrain, great snow and some very fine meals.

cozy. beth starting a fire.
First half day (1/4 day) checking out area. Just a quick tour...
Ending in the resort for a groomer down.
Beth being my sous chef.
Day 2. Directly to the 'goods'. An amazing day!
Beth doing due diligence. It was bomber.
Sun came out mid day. Such a great day with fantastic skiing.
Beth & Mike on top of Angel Peak.
Our playground! Skied all of that!
Best yurt snack ever!

Day 3 we headed to a different basin.
First run was in the middle there.
Beth had binding failure on our super steep fun run.
Doesn't look steep from photo, but may be the steepest backcountry run I have done. Ever. We did it twice.
The see through walls of our yurt.

Day 4 the visibility was low and the snow was dumping. We played it safe and still had a great day!
Ending with beers in the lodge. (I borrowed Mike's for the photo.)

So 8 days of hiking around seeking out powder was amazing. Good friends. Good times. After a nights sleep in my own bed, I tried to catch up on everything and then we headed to the cabin for the weekend. We can't get enough snow. The storm forecasted was not as epic as promised. Saturday was an epic fail with a flat tire on the subaru and a trip to Hood River for me, but Tim had a nice tour. Sunday we posed as skate skiers at teacup. That is hard! But I love it. Must. have. more.

Erin Ford and I before we headed out on our 2nd loop.
Lookin' good.
Views were great. But where is all the new snow???

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The shortest cx season ever! Ending with a rainbow! Louisville, KY, Jan. 28-Feb. 4, 2013

LET SKI SEASON BEGIN!!! This may have been the shortest cx season ever, but it felt really long. 2 races, 2 wins. Although the season actually began back in August with shattered dreams and lots of tears, I salvaged my season and accomplished what I set out to do. As some have pointed out, this may be the first time in history that someone has raced only nationals and worlds (masters) and won them both. It wasn't easy. It was a lot of work. More tears. Lots of self doubt. But in the end, hard work and perseverance has paid off. I am proud to say I won masters world championships for age 40-44.  I will now always be a world champion. There are too many people to thank, because without the positive energy I choose to surround myself with, I would not have even attempted it. Goals are good. They make you focus. They make you dedicated to recovery. I am lucky it was possible.

Just a little race recap (or week recap):
Arrival in Louisville, we were greeted with temps in the 60's. Tuesday's pre-ride, we were sweating in long sleeve jerseys. It was a shocker. But it would change fast. Wednesday, a super early wake up call for Tim's heat race at 8:30 a.m., temps had dropped, but not too much. Rain overnight with high winds, tornado warnings in the morning and sloggy conditions, it was 2 hours delayed, but 10:30 the gun went off and Tim placed 2nd in his heat. Front row start for Friday. We were off to a good start. 

Tim having a great qualifier. Leading Don Myrah, who would eventually be the only one to beat him in the heat.

Success!!! Front row for Friday! Pit person is happy. (that's me)
Thursday was my race day. 2:45 start. It didn't freeze solid overnight, but conditions were a mess by the afternoon. I didn't even bother to pre-ride, but watched others slog through the course. That was enough beta for me. I watched Studley's race and knew what I was getting myself into. Course conditions worsened by the hour. I would like to say my race was 'fun', but it wasn't. You could hardly pedal. Running was sometimes faster. It was as un-fun as it could get for a cx race and worse case scenario for me. 15 minute laps. A true slog. Heavy bikes. Slow motion racing.
I was determined to get the hole shot, having a front row start for the first time this season. :) I did and once we hit the dirt, it was like the brakes were on. I could not separate myself from anyone. I didn't pit going by the first time, but did every time after that. It was the slowest race I have done since the Mercer Cups in New Jersey. Kristin Weber was running faster than I was riding and on that second lap, I was getting scared. One mistake. One small mechanical. It could all be over. Anything could happen. I had to stop and clear my front fork to get my front wheel to turn. I couldn't get going after the barriers. It was miserable and K. Weber would put 10 seconds back on me by running sections I rode. I didn't know I had it until I hit the tarmac to the finish line. I have never run uphill as fast as I did that second lap. I wanted to win sooooo bad, and I was going to chew my arm off to do so.  I worked my ass off and in the end, I did it. What a relief! World Champion had a nice ring to it.

My first holeshot of the season.
Friday was Tim's race at 12:30 and my turn to pit. It was horrible. I didn't see any of the race, b/c my head was buried in a frozen drive train, chunking off mud, trying to get a bike ready for him to pit every half lap without pressure washers and only the bucket of water I had brought. It was camaraderie in the pits. Folks that had peeps so far back out of contention were helping me get Tim's bike ready. Even after their people got pulled, they stayed to help. I did my best with Drew's help. And in the end, Tim finished 6th. He got shoved into the tape on the start, but got back in and never gave up. I wish I could have cheered or seen a bit more. I was super proud of him, but wouldn't see him until much later, b/c I pit for Tre the race after. Another total shit show. I think I was more sore and wrecked from pitting on Friday than racing Thursday. 

Good thing I brought my 'b' bike too, b/c he ended up riding it. Pit was truly epic.
So, with all said and done, it was a great cx season. I wish it would have been different. Watching the elite races on Saturday was amazing. Racing would have been amazing. It was history being made. And even on the other side of the course, I was proud to be a part of it. Now bring on the snow!!!

Ryan would sure look funny with Tim's body.

Hanging with Solana for the race! Being super fans.

Our awesome host, pit person, etc: Drew Hartman (& Michelle)