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Sky Racing…On Foot!

Flag skyrace5Well, slap my tush and call me Sally…I can’t believe I am doing this! Actually, I am going to say this exact same thing at the end except with ‘I can’t believe I am still alive’. ūüėģbeth p2p4 2015

After this year’s Point to Point, of which I spent 11 hours and 75 miles¬†suffering¬†the climb up¬†every steep hill and feeling as excited as a child learning what the word fast means on every descent at altitudes between 8000-9000ft; I thought 24 miles running thru the forest at the same relative elevations-cake. Albeit, a¬†remarkably large piece of¬†very chewy cake¬†teeming with nuts; but still, who doesn’t love cake? I know I do. ūüôā

What an ultra marathon actually¬†is: It’s not just about running. In fact, there are times when running isn’t even an Flag training Oct3option. They should rename these events “Adventure Humps”. There¬†is¬†magnificent scenery every where you look; no noise pollution… other than the wildlife, some wind in the trees, my footfalls on dirt¬†and my own panting for more SABINO CANYON3oxygen…it is complete silence. There is¬†overgrown flora dodging and giant boulder scrambling, sometimes a little butt scooting and there is invariably a rightful suffering. It really is more than just “a run”. It’s a daunting and awe-inspiring playground that takes a certain boldness for one to actually¬†delight in.Flag training Oct4

Having been practicing my pre and peri-race nutrition, this day I was going to truly test it out at the Flagstaff Sky Race. No morning coffee for this gal.¬† ūüė¶ ¬†I think it may be what I miss the most on run days. I drank a good portion of¬†my smoothie (oh yea, there is coffee in there. yay!) and did some light yoga and stretching. I love to start mornings off with yoga! Wakes you right up. Beth’s Smoothie (yes, I’m naming it after yours truly) is made with

Smoothie Smile

Smoothie Smile

blueberries, banana, vanilla yogurt, coffee, beet juice, protein powder and some honey. It’s pretty tasty and for someone who isn’t a big smoothie fan, I actually look forward to this on my running mornings.

A¬†chilly morning for this Tucson girl,¬†¬†I soak up the heated¬†car seats while¬†waiting for the start time and the sun to shine over us before heading outside. I don’t feel nervous at all, which is unusual for a race morning, but maybe that’s because I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into. I don’t feel it’s necessary to warm up, not sure why other than the beginning of this course is a fairly steep hike towards the sky…plenty of time to warm up there. Apparently the Sky Race has become popular as there are twice as many people at the start than last year and it had 100% finish rate! Oh, I’ll finish, don’t worry. There are a genre of athletes huddled around, some drinking coffee! Green with envy. There are super fit,¬†mostly naked runners¬†(it’s like 33 out). There are long haired hippies. There are runners dressed for snow with Flag skyracetrekking poles. Poles? For a run? That makes me giggle…but we’ll get back to this later.¬†And then there’s me, wondering a little if I should try for the hole shot or take off my long sleeves…and where’ my sunglasses? The start is totally informal with a blow up arch and a guy with a megaphone. At 0800, the whistle blows and we’re off.

Down to a¬†sleeveless shirt and knickers with my new (and super on sale cheap!) running pack, I’m sweating as soon as we pass a 1/2 mile and onto a steep, boulder strewn singletrack. The bird sanctuary. People are kinda bottled up here and someone from behind yells out “I know it’s a bird Flag skyrace2sanctuary,¬†but are you all¬†bird watching up there?”. Yea, I was sorta thinking the same thing, but hey, what do I know, we’re¬†less than¬†1 mile into a 24 mile run. So sure,¬†I start passing people and getting ahead of the crowd. Ah yes, this is more like it! The trail gets steeper and more technical. I run where I can, scramble up boulders and around loose switchbacks. A guy with those damn poles is gaining on me. Really? No way. I pick it up. Run back and forth with another gal who looks to be about half my age. She’s faster up and I pass on the downs. I guess I’m not so bad at negotiating the trail on foot, so I smugly¬†think at the time. Finally after about 2000ft of climbing, we hit the towers near the CatWalk around mile 6. Let the legit running begin!

View from The Catwalk.

View from The Catwalk.

Oh, it’s just fantastic! The scenery flies by on the descents and I have time to peak at it on the climbs. It’s rolling and I can run. I want to run! I feel amazing! Over the CatWalk and down the Hobbit Forest. I feel like I’m running on air. I pass a couple of guys, one passes me. I’ll try and keep up. I’m doing it, too. Short, fast steps. Leaning into it. Negotiating the trail like I know what I’m doing! Until I’m not anymore. I swear, you should lock me in a padded room, I am a danger unto myself. As I launch over a root, my back foot just catches the edge of it. That split second¬†in slow motion: UH-OH.¬†I slam down onto my right knee, keel over onto my chest and forearms and slide down the trail. ¬†safe!¬† At least there’s no cactus here. I jump up immediately. “I’m ok, I’m ok!” Oh no, no I’m not and double over onto the side of the trail. I’m sure it was a quite impressive flop to the two guys who were lucky enough to witness it. One says “Take 10 seconds, walk it off”. Walk it off, my ass, I can’t even bend my knee. Crap. Who crashes while running? Yep, this gal does. And yes, after a few minutes, covered in dirt and bleeding, I continue on.

I walk at first and then when the trail turns upwards, I attempt to run again. It doesn’t last long. My knee can’t handle running. I’m like 8 miles in and reduced to walking the next 18? I’ll never get out of these woods. Ok, I didn’t come here to quit; so I walk. I keep walking for miles and miles. I come to terms that I will be walking for a long time. I try to keep my pace up as much as my knee¬†will tolerate and¬†in the next 10 miles or so, I get passed by many, many people. Aren’t they all so kind and concerned…. “Oh my, are you ok?” “Do you need anything?” The best one… “At first I thought that was a tattoo and then I realized you were bleeding, you ok?” Yes, thank you for asking, now let me wallow in my own pool of blood, tears and dismay. Oh! Even better yet… “You had a good fall…niiice.” Really? No. Not nice, not nice at all. I certainly do not recommend it. Falling is a pain in my ego… and knee and elbow and chest.

Ok, so hiking¬†along thru the woods,¬†I consider¬†the beauty and peaceful quietness that doesn’t exist in most of the other places in our lives that I am surrounded by. I find it to be a wonderful thing. My attitude perks up and I honestly hurt a little less. I find I can jog some on the uphills and be mindful of the descents. This is still ok, I’m gonna make it. A man comes along and walks with me for a few minutes. As we chat, I confess this is my first ultra marathon and its becoming quite a learning experience for me. In a voice of shock…and I’d like to think just a¬†tiny bit of¬†awe mixed in there…he asks

Hindsight is 20/20!

1a. Hindsight is 20/20

why I would choose this particular race as it is “one of the narly-est courses out there.” Huh. Guess no one shared that with me. Course, I didn’t do a ton of research either. I sorta decided to do it the week before. Kevin showed¬†slight concern over the elevation profile posted online; but I brushed it off…. Had I known there might be grades in the 40th percentile, I may have thought twice. Ok, probably not. I am¬†a glutton for punishment, you know. ūüôā

At the aid station just 7 miles from the finish, I change out my pack for a running belt and handheld bottle. I’m experimenting what works best for me and up until now, was about 50/50 between the two. Here I get the usual “Gosh, are you ok?!” and then “Don’t worry, everyone¬†is going to be walking soon.” I don’t think I even heard that until I realized what it meant. (refer back to¬†photo 1a…) The trail soon disappears and we begin traipsing straight up the mountain. Excuse me?¬†I finally start to see some of the people who have passed me during¬†my “hike” and moving forward leaving them behind. One adventurist¬†speaks awe at how fast I seem to be moving upwards. Really, I’m just avoiding not rolling back¬†down the hill and therefore would then¬†have to start over again. ¬†It’s that steep.

Flag skyrace4With just around¬†4 miles left, I can see where we will cross the finish, sorta…..at the bottom of a ski hill…You know how¬†you ride a bike around switchbacks, winding your way up or down a mountain? Yea, we runners don’t do that. We just cut straight thru that shit. The guy next to me is literally scooting on his butt down the loose, pebbley hill. There are giant trenches every 50 feet or so in which it becomes easier for me to find a jumpable width¬†across rather than go down into and climb back out of. This whole stretch here, I now understand the poles. If I only had a pair of trekking poles this would be so much simpler. I have a new found respect for you people using poles….I promise never to silently giggle at you again!

Then¬†we continue out onto the final 3 miles, half of which is the same steep¬†bs we just went down except now with some weird mesh covering the ground that your feet get all tangled up¬†in.¬† The final aid station is a simple 1.8 miles downhill to the finish. I had a shot of coke and descended the longest 1.8 miles I have ever encountered….burping that coke up the entire way. Not quite as good as it was going down…killer coke

Baby heads. Loose pebbles. Ruts. Stupidly steep grades, and a slight fear from that minor incident earlier… It feels like the finish will never come. Until it does. A few people clap. Some offer kudos. Some offer food. There really aren’t many spectators at the end. I take my happy meal box and head straight to the car for some warm clothes. It doesn’t matter who was at the finish or if anyone even noticed I came thru it. I did something today that would never have crossed my plate a few years ago. I pushed myself thru the suffering of a nasty fall¬†and the unknown and I am proud of myself.

I seem rather proud of myself here.

I seem rather proud of myself here.

Things I learned today:

You can crash on your feet…the ground isn’t any closer at 5’2″

I’m actually¬†not the only one who’s falls while running

I can definitely do more than I thought I could

Liquid nutrition is certainly the ticket for me

I love my pack more than my handheld

In reality, no normal human runs the entire ultra

Flagstaff Sky Race stats:

24.3 off-road miles

8200 feet of elevation gain

Altitudes of 7,000-11,500ft

8 hours and 7 minutes overall time

46th/70 starters

3 bottles of GU Roctane Grape

2 servings GU Lemon chomps

5 GU gels with 5 small cups of water

10oz with GU Nude brew

10oz plain water

4oz of Beth’s smoothie

1 major fall

A totally epic adventure…I’m hooked!STARR PASS2

So since this “training race”, I have been really trying to put in¬†my miles on foot¬†and also trying to be¬†smart about advancing them. I absolutely love what these trail runs have become for me and am completely enjoying the new challenge of these efforts and where they are taking me. Some of the most amazingly beautiful and secluded scenery that I am witnessing CSP2is unreachable by bike.7 FALLS2

At this writing, I am 3 months away from my 50 mile Antelope Canyon race and still only half way there on miles. My feet hurt. I have discovered new tightness’¬†arising and pains that go deep down to the bone. I am learning to¬†take better care of my tootsies, calves and Achilles.¬†I have a long way to go…and I want to make it there!

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2015 MBAA Team Relay & March Colon Cancer Awareness

marc30

It’s March. Which means it’s colon cancer awareness month. So…ask me why I’m Blue!

 

Getting a bunch of mountain bikers together to race bikes, cheer on teammates, drink beer and raise awareness for important stuff like colon cancer prevention. That’s what I wanted to do and it came together as a first-class event!

Get some!

Get some!

Sunrise Le Man's Start

Sunrise Le Man’s Start

The MBAA’s team relay race, “Marc in the Park” is a super fun way to boost team camaraderie and racer confidence and it was a perfect opportunity to promote the March campaign for colon cancer awareness.

 

Thanks to some pretty awesome sponsor support, we had rad schwag to give away while educating¬†the folks out at the race. Northern Arizona Gastroenterology and Forest Canyon Endoscopy had Dr. Hawthorne on site to answer questions, a tutorial life-like colon (not to be confused with life-size) and fun prizes like necklaces, footballs and noise-makers…which were¬†a hit with the kiddos, much to their parents dismay. CCA campaign 2015 GUGU Energy Labs, always stepping up to support a great cause, provided some of their newly branded bottles, caps, gels and recovery mix to hand out at our display. Nothing draws people in like awesome free stuff…then ya nab ’em quick and teach them a thing or two before they know what hit ’em! ūüėČ

Throw, learn, win!

Throw, learn, win!

 

I created a ball-throw game to lure people in for some fun. They got questions based on their throw and after an ‘open-posterboard’ quiz, got some cool prizes. Dr. Hawthorne made sure to elaborate on all the hard stuff and helped people assess their own risk of colon cancer. I think we reached at least a few people and definitely brought attention to how important prevention is to a lot more out there. Prevention is better than cure!marc21marc11

marc44

Pod-ium!

Team OVB faired quite well at the race! We put together 5 quad teams and came out with a 2nd place Mixed team finish and a 4th place Master Men. Everyone had a blast and rode their hearts out! I saw our peeps sprinting into the exchange both on bike and on foot after the dismount. There were some PR’s to be captured and some peeps with super fast laps. It was truly awesome! I chose to ride my singlespeed Fate since the Epic was needing¬†a front shock resealed and in the shop. It was a last minute decision, but turned out to be a good one. With two of our Mixed squad on SS, we still pulled out that 2nd place! Sweet!

Yea baby!

Yea baby!

 

 

There was some wildlife interaction out on course. As I followed a Nationwide racer on a smooth descent, two deer came into view. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I may not have believed it. I thought to myself, those deer are going to cross the trail. As I feathered my brakes in anticipation of them running right between us…it didn’t exactly happen as my mind’s eye thought it should. Deer #1 slammed right into him and while it kept on running, that biker was flung into the air-rear wheel tumbling over front-rider still attached and smashed into the dirt. Deer #2 ran behind me. I crushed my brakes. “Oh my God” is all I could say at first…the shock of what just occurred…that deer just took him out! Then finally I could see if he was ok. After a few moments to remove the shock from himself, he told me he was ok. Nothing seemed broken (bones, I’m talking), he remained conscious thru¬†the crash¬†and he let me go on to inform the others¬†at the venue what had happened. I hear he is quite sore, but doing ok…lucky…it was not a small deer. I kept my eyes peeled, searching the desert for the rest of my lap.

"oh my gosh! oh my gosh! what do I do!? what do I go!?"

“oh my gosh! oh my gosh! what do I do!? where do I go!?”

 

 

rattler

hisssss….

Then there was a temporary stoppage for one of our teammates (along with multiple other racers) for a trail blocking rattlesnake. With a toll of one venomous bite that no one wanted to pay, they waited. If you’ve never encountered an angry rattler, they are fast and dangerous when its hot out, and you’ll need medical assistance ASAP if bitten. Don’t fight them, you won’t win, go around…and don’t believe those macho men out there who say otherwise. After checking the surrounding cacti filled desert around the trail, they proceeded to walk¬†around the snake (bikes between) and on with the race.

marc29

 

 

Junilla Arrieta LMT joined us for a little post-race massage to help keep the muscles loose. You can catch her at Rubs on Oracle right here in Tucson or she can bring her table to you!

 

After the race, the team chatted and helped out with the awareness campaign booth while enjoying some tasty brews from Catalina Brewing Company. Keep your eye out, they will be opening a taproom in NW Tucson soon!

Sippin' on some brew, findin' some shade.

Sippin’ on some brew, findin’ some shade.

 

marc24What an event this was! I’m thankful to be a part of Team OVB, who cheer and encourage each other, who help out and volunteer where they’re needed, who work their butts off on the race course, who come together to promote the sponsors we believe in and raise awareness for things that might hit very close to home for some of us. Thanks for a great day, everyone! And thanks for a great event, MBAA!

 

For more information on colon cancer, prevention and how you can spread awareness, please visit the CCA website, our friendly neighborhood GI doc (<—- click on the sponsor! Over there! <—-) and check out a previous post.

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Ask Me Why I’m Blue

colon-cancer-ribbonIt’s March and that means it’s colon cancer awareness month.

Did you know that colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer AND it’s the¬†third leading cause of death in both men and women combined inside the US? Around 50,000 people die a year from this preventable disease. Incidence rates have been decreasing for most of the past two decades, which has been attributed to an uptake of colorectal cancer screening among adults 50 years and older. From 2007 to 2011, incidence rates declined by 4.3% per year among adults 50 years of age and older, but increased by 1.8% per year among adults younger than age 50. So, with regular screening, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. And if cancer is present, earlier detection means a better chance at becoming a survivor. As an ICU nurse, I see the effects of colon cancer after diagnosis within the late stages of the disease and as an athlete, I believe that a healthy lifestyle is more than an ounce of prevention. I am absolutely an advocate of preventative medicine.IMG_0104.JPG (2)

The American Cancer Society estimates¬†over 132,000¬†people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer¬†in 2015 and¬†around 50,000¬†will die from¬†it in the United States. Colon cancer does exist in my family history and I know I don’t want myself or other members of my family to become¬†one of these¬†statistics. So, let’s take a look at what colon cancer is and how we can prevent it!

What is it? Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, occurs in the colon  or rectum. The colon is your large intestine or  large bowel and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Most colon cancers develop first as colorectal polyps, which are  abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous. Colorectal or colon cancer first develops with few, if any, symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, they may include:

*A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool

*Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely, rectal bleeding, or finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool

*Finding your stools are narrower than usual

*Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloatedhealthy-colon

*Losing weight with no known reason

*Weakness or fatigue

*Having nausea or vomiting

These¬†symptoms can also be associated with many other health conditions. Only your¬†doctor can determine why you’re having these symptoms. Usually, early cancer¬†does not cause pain. It is important not to wait to feel pain before seeing a¬†doctor.

Some facts you need to know to increase your awareness of where your risk level may be:

-in 2011, 90% of new cases and 95% of deaths from colon cancer occur in people 50 or older.

-Colon cancer does not discriminate and can happen to men and women at any age. While rates for colon cancer in adults 50 and older have been declining, incidence rates in adults younger than 50 years has been increasing.

-People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or children) who has colon cancer are between two and three times the risk of developing the cancer than those without a family history.

-Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) may have a higher rate of colon cancer. Partly because of disproportionate screening, African-American men and women have a higher risk of developing colon cancer and a lower survival rate (about 20% higher incidence rate and 45% higher mortality rate) compared to Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans. The risk of death is also increased for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.colon

Unfortunately, the majority of colon cancers are still being diagnosed at late stages.

-40% of colon cancers are found while the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum).
-36% of colon cancers are found after the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue).
-20% of colon cancers are found after the disease has spread to distant organs.

Get screened at 50!

Get screened at 50!

This is why Early detection is so vital — over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is one of the most detectable and, if found early enough, most treatable forms of cancer. An increased awareness, appropriate screening and maintaining a healthy diet along with exercise are contributing to increased survival rates and prevention all together. Since the mid-1980s, the colon cancer death rate has been dropping. By finding more polyps and cancer in the earlier (local and regional) stages, it is easiest to treat. Improved treatment options have also contributed to a rise in survival rates.

-The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the local stage is 90% (confined to colon or rectum).
-The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the regional stage is 70% (spread to surrounding tissue).

-The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the distant stage is 13%.
-There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors alive in the US.

So what can you do to decrease your risk?

-Find out the facts.

-Spread the word! Wear your Blue for awareness and let people know prevention is the key.

-Get your screening colonoscopy!! If you are age 50 or older, you need one. If you have an immediate family history, you may need to start earlier.

-Knock out those preventable risk factors:

-Eat your vegetables and fruits! Get the right fibers and keep your colon flushed out and happy.IMG_1729

-Increase the intensity and amount of physical activity (Ride your bike!)

-Limit intake of red and processed meats

-Get recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D

-Avoid obesity and weight gain around the midsection

-Avoid excess alcohol

For more information on what you can do and how you can help the cause, visit http://www.ccalliance.org, http://www.cancer.org/ or talk to your friendly local gastroenterologist.

Yes it is!

Yes it is!

(The statistics above were compiled from the American Cancer Society’s 2015 Cancer Facts & Figures and Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2011-2013.)

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DCB’s Dawn 2 Dusk 2014

Rain. Really?! Nah, it’s southern Arizona, we won’t actually have to race in the rain. Well, it says 100% chance. Oh.IMG_0323
This changes¬†a lot for¬†preparation¬†of this year’s¬†D2D.¬†There’s always big prep for any endurance race: food, water, calorie count, clothing, recovery,¬†gearing; but now with this major rain coming in, the appropriate gear for it must also be packed and carefully thought out. We’re fair-weathered folks down here in Tucson! This could be a big deal ūüôā
I’ve packed everything but the kitchen sink! Wait, do I need that, too? For two days out of town and two people racing a 10 hour race, I feel like we’ve got enough stuff to camp out for a week! Event tents, tarps, the tent walls. Rain jackets, water-proof tights, the most weather-proof gloves known to man (of which I can do nothing in other than hang onto my handlebars). Bikes, food, drink. The list goes on and on.
“What did we forget?”
“Absolutely nothing. I don’t feel like I forgot a thing!” I say confidently. Which is an unusual thing for me to say…
Unpacking at the hotel to repack the things to be left out at our venue set up:
“Where’s my tool kit?”
“Heck if I know. Where’s all the bottles I mixed and labeled?”
“I thought you didn’t forget anything!”
“Crap. I did bring the sunscreen. Damn.”
“Yep, we won’t even need that!”¬† Mud, it’s nature’s sunscreen.
IMG_2076Setting up for the race, how can it possibly all turn against us tonight? The sun is out, I see blue sky. Ok, there is¬†some wind, but there’s always some wind.
Dinner, a tasty beer. I slept pretty well. Something else I rarely can do before a race.
4am alarm and it’s raining. Pretty sure it’s been raining for hours. I must be honest here: I don’t mind being out riding in the rain, but it sure is tough to start in the rain. I say out loud that I would prefer to start in the dry and if it must, rain after I’m already in the thick of it. I will later regret having said this. It’s like carelessly using the ‘Q’ word at work…always produces the exact opposite effect.q word
With camp set up in the wet darkness and rain gear on, trying not to layer too much as to roast myself the moment I start pedaling; I wander¬†down to the start in chilly rain. By the time the gun goes off, the rain has actually stopped and after the first 2 miles up the road, before even hitting dirt,¬†I feel like I’m about to burst into flames. The jacket comes off and I toss it to Kevin awaiting his turn of a Duo and roll on¬†thru the venue. Massive gloves remain, water-proof tights still on.
What a thrill! There is mud everywhere! Some is sticky, some is slick. Sometimes it’s like riding thru glue. I can’t help but laugh and giggle every time I roll up behind someone and get splattered with ungodly amounts of mud!
“Did I get you?”
“That’s ok! I’m having the time of my life!”
I¬†eventually pedal up behind another singlespeeder and stick with him. We are actually chatting as we finish the climb and begin the first rolling descent. I know what a good endurance rider this guys is, so I look past the fact that I’m not already red-lining and actually riding at a conversational pace and¬†roll with it. I can hear the riders behind us, of whom we’ve just passed and have linked on behind our locomotive, mention the fact that we are “chit-chatting”.
“You want to go around?”
“No.” Well, ok then.
On the last descent before crossing back over to the venue, we ride into a dense fog. Wow! This is really freaking cool! I’m ready to move to San Francisco! Joking, never;¬†but riding thru fog is a fun kind of eerie. It’s quiet, you can’t really see anything around you until you’re right up on it and it’s almost like you’ve wandered right into the picture book story of ‘Where the Wild Things are’. Of course, maybe it’s so exciting because it never happens here; but again, I’m all smiles!
Lap 1 done. I eat a GU and make my way onwards. No need to change any clothes yet, I’m just the right comfy. My Roctane bottles have enough calories and hydration for my size and¬†with this cold weather to last me two laps. Which is a good thing seeing as I left most of my mixed bottles at home in the fridge. Now I know why I usually show up slightly over-prepared for anything, once in a while it comes in handy. I don’t bother carrying any food with me at this point. Laps are¬†only about¬†an hour, I can’t do a darn thing with these gloves on anyhow-I’ve tried before, quite comically so.¬†(But I’m extremely happy to have them! My hands are for once not cold. Yet…) winter glovesCalorie wise, I should be on target to get my 220/hr in, so I feel good about how it’s working out.
Out on lap 2, it starts to get real quiet. Isn’t there a race going on here? I ride for strangely long periods without seeing another soul or even hearing birds or wind or something. But they’re out there. People do pass me. I pass others. Part way up the initial climb, I start to gain a following. At one point I look back and have 5 guys on my wheel. I ask if they want to pass and no one cares to go around.¬†I find it a little comical for whatever reason and smile secretively.
“It’s a good pace!” I think to myself this seems unlikely to a non-solo participant, but alrighty-den; and laugh again when our train starts passing people:
“Left. Thanks.”
“One more”
“One more”
“Oh, there’s like five of us.” I hear back there. The SS solo female on lap 2, leading the way!¬†HAHA It just seems sorta funny to me. bike train copy
Finally as we come into a descent, the second rider comes around, offering to help me out, then¬†proceeds to leave me behind like I’m standing still. Eventually most of those riders pass me on the Tonto descent, too…you can’t gear for everything and this is where I am somewhat disadvantaged to the Gears. Kevin tells me later that Rider 2 saw me pull up to refuel and told him I was riding so well, he actually had to back off on the climb a few times. Dynamo!
While at my feeding trough, Kevin chuckles that I am completely and utterly caked in mud! My glasses have mud all over them. How can you even see? Oh, I guess I don’t notice it all the time. One of the guys next us offers me a beer, I tell him I’m already seeing spots, a beer might only encourage that! I actually got a laugh out of him. I crack myself up often; others, maybe not so much. It’s all good. ūüôā
Laps 3-8 come by smoothly and rather uneventfully. I eventually change my gloves to something more functional, happy at the fact that shifting wasn’t involved while wearing them because even that can be a nuisance in them. I never did take off the tights, the sun peeks thru some here and there; but I never felt too warm so I figure I might be cleaner underneath if I leave them on anyway. At one point, I look at the other riders around me and wonder why they all look so clean. How did I possibly find every inch of dirt and mud out there and that guy has a white jersey on? Kevin will tell you that’s just me-if there’s dirt, I’ll find it…and roll around in it, or at least look like I have!
The laps still remain¬†weirdly quiet. Of course, at the venue, there are always people screaming and calling out your name-it motivates! It is bizarrely peaceful¬†for a lap race, tho. So, I talk to myself. Often.¬†Sometimes in my own head, but mostly out loud. (Don’t laugh, you know you do it, too) I talk about my gearing, it seems perfect. Again, great job hubby on guessing that one! I can sit more than not, of course this changes the further into the race I get. I don’t mind and have found that I would much rather mash standing up on a harder gear than to continually do micro-burst spinning on an easier one. I talk about the creak that seems to become increasingly louder from my bottom bracket. Not that usual little eccentric creak, this is an unhappy dying crepitus that I¬†start to¬†feel as I pedal. I wonder if it will freeze up from all the wet dirt? Guess I better just keep pedaling and not let it stand still too long! There’s not much else to think about regarding the singlespeed…only once did I search for¬†a shifter that wasn’t there. I’m in love with¬†this ol’ bike! ‚̧
Occasionally, I think I see something odd moving out in the desert.
“Hey, what¬†was that?!”¬† Then I realize it’s the splotches of dried mud on my glasses…hmmm..maybe I should have taken the time to clean them off.
Randomly, there comes this guy standing out on the trail.
“Whatcha got there?”
“Margaritas!” Of all that’s good and mighty… it’s a margarita machine! He can just shoot the stuff right in your mouth as you speed by if you like.margarita machine
I¬†talk to myself¬†about my pace. Feels different than other races in that I don’t feel like I’m blowing myself up the entire time, I almost feel like I’m at a conversational pace a lot of the time. I know this because I am constantly talking to myself. ūüôā ¬†My lap times are fairly consistent, this is how you’re supposed to pace for such endurance events. I think the singlespeed benefits me in this:¬†I can only push this one gear as hard and fast as this one gear will let me for 9 or 10 hours. There’s no going slower¬†uphill because I can gear down to make it easier, no gearing up to pedal faster or longer downhill.¬†There are inescapable exertions and forced recoveries regardless of how you feel.¬†It is what it is and it is what¬†the body will do with it.¬† (I know, deep, right?)
The wind picks up in here somewhere and a big tailwind begins to push me down the long descent at the end. This helps out tremendously, ok, it helps out on the descent; the climb is now into a headwind so I suppose it evens out…somehow. I guess.
I discuss my food intake with myself. I’ve had to change GU mixes (due to the fact I had left my memory back in Tucson along with my bottles), so in addition to a GU gel with each lap (Roctane keeps me moving!) and my bottle, I also eat a couple of the portables I made. Mmmm…salty baby potatoes…and mini pizza bites! …and chocolate sweet potato mini-muffins! Oh photomy! Calorie and fluid intake still on target.IMG_2715
Coming around to head out on lap 9, I know that I¬†will make it in time for a 10th and final lap-what an accomplishment! With or without gears! Here’s where I wish I had taken just slightly more time to assess the situation in front of me. As I re-mount at the lap-thru, Kevin is also heading out on his last lap.
“Get on his wheel!!” People yell out. Kevin looks back at me and smiles that ‘come on honey’ grin I know all too well. I can only laugh. He takes off like he’s being chased by 5 large thugs wielding crow bars and an unfed bear! I’m left in his dust…or rather mud. Right, I already know he’s gonna work his cute little ass off to stay ahead of me! Go for it babe, I’ve got 110 miles in my legs already, I just ain’t got that kinda fire left in me! …And then, there it is.
stormStraight ahead of me is the blackest, ugliest looking sky I’ve seen up in these here parts…and I’m riding right into it. Oh sure, my jacket and monster gloves would be a really smart thing to have right now; but I didn’t pick them up. So I put the hammer down. I try to find that fire and ride as hard and fast as I can…Uphill, into a massive headwind with leadening legs and muddy bare feet. (ok, I wasn’t barefoot, but that would make a good story right?) And, so it seems, I have¬†put down a tack hammer.
bike storm

Exaggerate? Me? Never.

Maybe I can outrun it. Doubtful. Maybe it will skirt around me. Why would it¬†ever do that? As I get towards the end of the climb, the lightning starts. Beautiful, except for the fact that my bike and I are coming directly underneath it-and no, we ain’t fully carbon here. The thunder booms all around, I can feel it vibrate¬†inside me. It’s just a little bit¬†scary. Can’t stop, gotta just book it outta there. The rain starts to come down. Oh, it stings! Is that…sleet? Yep. Oh goody, hail, too. I am getting wet and very cold. I start to not care, I take chances and slide around corners and pedal as fast as my little legs will let me. I feel a little at ease knowing Kevin is somewhere ahead of me. Wait a minute. He ain’t coming back for me… Fogel’d! Ok, tides turned…I wouldn’t turn back either. Onward with you, fool!

There are others out there, I’m passing people like it’s still lap 1. People yell out my name or ‘great job’. I try to mutter thanks, but I just want to get out of this weather fast!
“Come on, Peeps! Let’s go!”
Hey, where’s that margarita guy now? A little ETOH might have given me a false sense of warmth right about now.¬†I guess he was smart enough to get out of the rain.
Flying down that final Tonto descent back towards the road crossing and then the venue, it’s like I’m barely touching the ground at times. Floating over the bumps and skidding around the corners. Eyes open, but barely. Danger! I could destroy myself out here right now, but YeeHaw! Giddy-up and Go Go Go! (As a matter of fact, I gained back some time on Kevin right here) Every rock and jostle of the bars sent sharp biting pains thru my bitter cold hands, my arms were beet red and completely numb and my teeth begin to chatter uncontrollably.
I pedal right past camp, into the venue and that damn¬†last mud puddle I’m sure was purposely placed prior to every dismount on every single lap just to make sure if you weren’t muddy or wet enough before, you are now. The promoters had all gone off half-cocked on tearing down the venue for concern of dangerously high winds. Hey, we were still riding out there!
I was on target for a 10 lap race and if only I had been smart enough to be prepared for that weather on lap 9, I would have gone for it. Rolling in just 3 minutes before the cut-off time, I didn’t need the 10th lap for the win and I don’t have that many screws loose to keep going; but I did¬†need to get warm ASAP.
I called out “Mark me down for 9! I’m done with this!”
“That was awesome!” The time-keeper gals say. Maybe, more like nuts if you ask me! Ok, sometimes I¬†do think I am certifiable…but only a kinda. ūüėČ
With hands still clenched in the shape of my handlebars, I try to grab enough dry clothes to cover myself and head to the bathrooms to change. The hands are completely useless! I can’t get a single piece of clothing unzipped. I simply can not undress myself. Other ladies come in.
“Sorry, could you please unzip this? I can’t seem to make my fingers work.”
I manage to get the now soaking, muddy tights off along with the plastic bags on my feet (ah! Something to put this mess in!), standing in the shorts underneath which seem to have remained¬†semi-dry, someone else helps start my jersey zipper. Once I get all that off, I realize my helmet is still on my head and in no way can I get a shirt over it. For the life of me, I can’t undo the stupid clasp. For crying out loud. I wrestle the damn helmet off my head with it still buckled¬†and after about 10 minutes of work, I manage to¬†get my sweats and shirt on (none of it an easy task!). I hear Christina come in.

“Oh thank goodness! I need help.” How can she be any nicer, she actually pulls off my nasty compression socks that I’ve had on for 9+ hours of sweat, mud and rain. I believe I couldn’t have done it without her, still be¬†sitting there fermenting in them. After standing under the hand dryer for a few minutes, I start to feel warmer and the pain in my hands cease. This is when I realize I have no shoes. Really, Beth? With warm, dry socks on; there is no way I am putting wet bike shoes back on. Again, Christina saves the day and goes to get my shoes. Thank you, friend!

IMG_2753

Beautiful Ending.

christina

Sums it up! Thanks Christina!

Race over. Storm over. Dry and getting warmer. Teammates jump in to help tear camp down while we’re waiting for awards. I’m ready for my Chipotle burrito and a beer! No burritos? ūüė¶ Sad I am…someone stole them? Who needs two boxes of burritos all to themselves?? Steph hands me a nice IMG_2221Dogfish Head 120 IPA…and an extra burrito! Awesome…and big enough to share with my hungry hubby! I’m a happy girl. ūüôā
This D2D is certainly a memorable one. Being simply plastered in mud from the moment I hit dirt at 7:30AM until the rain and sleet washed much of it away at 4:30PM, and let me tell you, there is nothing like a little hail after 115 miles on your bike to really get you moving; I had an absolute blast! Smiling the entire epic event (except maybe during the hail :o) and loving every minute of it!

I ended the day in¬†1st¬†for Women’s singlespeed and 1st Women’s Overall, would have come in 3rd in the Men’s geared and solo competition; I pulled off a total of 9 laps in a ride time of 9h3m and elapsed time of 9h19m, rode 127 miles and gained 8700ft of elevation. This is the biggest ride to date on my singlespeed. I am pretty dang proud of that!IMG_2758

IMG_2763

I like dirt ūüôā

Team OVB made a fantastic showing with 15 teams out there and 3 podiums. Kevin Utley and Jonathan Dufek earned 2nd in the SS Duo, Stephanie and Mark Hawthorne brought home a 2nd place finish in SS Mixed Duo! (The Honeymoon is never over for these guys! ;))  You can check out all the team results at http://teamovb.org/ . Way to go!!
Thanks to all you out there who helped out in mixing bottles, food distribution and clothing changes for this race! Couldn’t do it nearly as efficient without you!
Thanks to all my awesome sponsors and supporters this 2014 year! I couldn’t have lasted thru any of my endurance races without GU Energy Labs to keep my nutrition always moving me forward on the trail. Without the love, support and expertise of Oro Valley Bicycle, I wouldn’t be able to do all the¬†things bike related that I dream of doing. I couldn’t do any better than what Specialized provides in way of bikes for me to perform my best. The¬†limitless encouragement, love and friendship of Hawthorne MD/Forest Canyon and NAzGastro¬†keeps the motivation flowing. Of course, my number one hubby is super at keeping the machines running and providing unshakable optimism, I couldn’t ask for a better partner on this adventure through life!
I am so grateful for every opportunity that has come my way and for this life that I live!IMG_2757
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See you all in 2015 when we’ll be thankfully welcoming back some wonderful people, racers and sponsors and super excited to greet some new ones!! Stay tuned! ‚̧
IMG_2751

Yee Haw!

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Modern Wheaties.

As most athletes will tell you, the food you eat can determine how well or how poorly you¬†perform almost as much as your training does.¬† As the years have passed, I¬†have taken an increasing interest in nutrition and the benefits many foods hold for us whether before/during/after exercise; as well as in our everyday long-term health.¬† Although I do research foods and herbs, use them as my routine preventive care along with using the best products to train and race with; I haven’t had the opportunity to really mentor others about this particular part of a healthy lifestyle. Oh, I’ve had discussions at work or with patients, attempting to help them ‘fix’ how they may currently fuel their bodies. The idea of nutritionist intrigues me! So when I was given the opportunity to speak not only about on-the-bike fuel, but also the how to’s of off-the-bike, to a great group of high school mountain bikers coming into their own..I was stoked!

After some very important, core busting, off-the-bike workout with Coaches Kit and Tom, I get to sit down with the group and chat about one of my favorites things..food. What a cool bunch a kids these guys are! Totally open about what they do and don’t do and gobbling up suggestions from the experienced.IMG_1136

There are all levels of knowledge among these kids. A few of the more seasoned ones had some kind of idea for what worked for them on-the-bike, others had nothing to pull from and almost none of them knew how to make good choices in their everyday lives. Of course, all things come in experience which several of the boys are newcomers to sport and many of our choices are a product of our environment (and what families can and do provide). We learn by what we see done around us.

I put together an interactive presentation that the kids could participate in. I created some handouts providing information I have found extremely useful thru my own experiences, to help remind them when no one is around to help and to help keep the language and science at a kids level, I got to use cartoons! It was fun to design! I also enlisted the help of my go-to bike fuel, GU, to help provide some product for the group to sample and GU came thru with a great array of tasty goodies. I think the GU crew was as excited to get the kids involved in the pursuit of proper nutrition as I was!IMG_1282

We started with on-the-bike nutrition. Simple things like When you need to start thinking about more than water and how often you need to eat and drink during exercise. How to time your intake as opposed to waiting until it may be too late. We touched on important things for our particular environment..the heat of Tucson summers. How dehydration affects you, how that can change based on temperature, effort or altitude; things such as when the GU Brew with extra sodium (and my fav..Blueberry!) is most appropriate and how/when to add extra sodium using the new Roctane capsules. We touched a little on how important recovery is and what the right ratio of protein and carbs assists in muscle recovery, the easy ways to hit that ratio with Recovery Brew or even chocolate milk. The kids asked a lot of really great questions and genuinely were interested in how to improve their performance with nutrition.

With so many choices in product out there, we discussed what GU had to offer for different situations because its¬† what I have found works best for me and its what I rely on for both training and racing. We examined how to sample food, gels and drink mix during training to decide for themselves what will work for their bodies. Try it before you race with it! The GI tract is always a fun subject..and especially with teenage boys! One aspect of endurance fuel I did leave out was the use of caffeine. Although I am an advocate for what it can do and many products do contain it, these are young kids who are superiorly elastic to adults and not in need of added caffeine in their growing bodies. With this in mind, the high school league has actually banned the use of it¬†during racing. We touched on bonking and what that means and how to eliminate that with the use of GU fuel. This may be especially important on a mountain bike where your focus and decision making ability can mean the difference between a successful and fun race or training ride or ending up with your face in the dirt or lying mangled in a pile of rocks. The kids and I both offered up some of our own experiences in the bonking topic…this always makes for some interesting stories!IMG_0813

We also talked about their nutrition at school and at home. How to make good decisions with what choices lie in front of them; such as in the school cafeteria or learning how to pack a lunch; helping their parents choose foods at the grocery store. I was pretty amazed when I¬†asked how many of them felt they had trouble making healthy food choices, every single hand went up. And when asked if that difficulty was a of lack of knowledge versus¬†feeling there just wasn’t a healthy enough choice offered…the answer was the latter. As we dug a bit deeper, the most difficult place for these kids to choose a healthy food seemed to be at school.
I find it very interesting, and a little scary, when a 14 year old tells you there are no healthy foods in the school cafeteria. Many of these youngsters do not¬†yet possess the understanding or experience¬†of how to choose between whole foods or processed, how to make the best of what is available; they rely on their role models for guidance (parents, teachers, athletes..). Shouldn’t the school cafeteria be an easy decision for these kids instead of an unnecessary dilemma? Should their only choices really be greasy, processed, fatty-meat filled pizza slices; glutinous, artificial mac & cheese or pink-slime filler burgers? Or if you don’t like those, maybe try the vending machine for a candy bar and soda. As healthy, athletic adults, we wouldn’t choose to put these things in our bodies on a daily basis (or maybe ever in some of those examples), why should we force our kids to ingest them five days a week,¬†nine months out of the year? Something to think about..IMG_1140

So we did a lot of talking about how to choose the better of what is offered when both option A and B seem to fall short on healthy ingredients. This doesn’t always mean it will be an ideal choice, but it will be a better one. Eating a turkey sandwich on white bread with a piece of fruit is a way better choice than fried chicken and instant mashed potatoes with globs of gravy or one slice of vegetable pizza¬†rather than¬†three slices¬†covered in meat and extra cheese¬†and those choices are certainly better than eating nothing at all (which has often been the decision of at least one kiddo). As a young teenager, you aren’t frequently granted the opportunity of running yourself to the grocery store and¬†picking out¬†your own foods to pack and store in a fridge at school-of which most schools do not even have a refrigerator accessible to students-so having the capability to think about how to make a better choice or how to brown-bag it with minimal tools¬†(ice packs!); these can be pretty important things for a kid to learn and they do need their parents to show interest and to teach them. There were a few parents present during the kids’ workout and our discussion. They added in opinions and asked questions and got to hear their child’s concerns, maybe some for the first time. These are the parents that encourage their kids and have a real interest in what they’re doing…Way to go mom and dad! That is how I grew up, successful and independent and healthy because of my parents and I believe all kids deserve that same attention. Don’t you?

I really enjoyed doing this nutritional clinic! On and off bike nutrition is something I have learned to understand over the years and it feels pretty awesome to share this with others; and especially young, knowledge-hungry, moldable minds. And, not having kids of my own, I was definitely educated on how a teen thinks these days and what sort of things are thrown at them. I can’t wait to follow up with these¬†guys later in the year and find out what they have improved upon, learned and discovered for themselves so maybe we can push the envelope even a little further!

A big thanks to GU for helping provide their trusted and reliable on-the-bike nutrition for this new generation!

Food is a wonderful thing! It can heal you and it can kill you. Enjoy everything in moderation…and eat REAL food!

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Nice save, Beth!

Well, let me tell you about my fun little ride today. It was a doozy. I’m just out there for some fun, pushing it when I feel like¬†and sometimes¬†JRA (our lingo for¬†‘just riding along’…you know, usually this is when something is about to occur).

Its a¬†beautiful morning in the neighborhood and I’m heading out the door to play in my backyard, which lately has become something like a sandbox in places. Remember those? Any way, the temps are finally cooling off and it’s about 60 which is perfect riding weather. The sun is just peeking up over the mountains and believe it not there is no wind. Weee!

After the first climb is under my belt, and I am quite pleased at making it through all the sand this morning, I begin the second climb up to the saddle. Beautiful singletrack now, but a bit washed away after this summer’s massive monsoon season. There is this one spot I just can’t seem to get thru anymore. Well, that’s it…I’m sweeping that stupid sand off the line. So here I am, squatting with a big stick in my hand sweeping the sand off the trail. After about 10 minutes of work,¬†I¬†hop back on my bike, descend past where I cleaned up and climbed over it again. Yea! Much better. I feel satisfied…and dusty.

I continue on and descend from the saddle, not too shabby and the brakes are working! My back wheel is a bit squirrely, seems its not¬†even on the same bike as the front wheel and has a mind of it’s own. The darn rim is bent, badly. If you can hear me out there, give a girl some help here, Stan’s! At the end of the sweet descent, I climb up towards the Gypsum mine (no longer in use). There is some double track, some single and definitely more sand. Its very¬†quiet and¬†even a little creepy at times knowing the only thing up here is me, a rundown mine and whatever ghosts might be lingering (ok, it’s Halloween, so,¬†ya know).¬†I turn around at the top of the main climb and head back down, JRA. (You feel it coming here, right?)

My wheels fail to communicate and I get stuck off line. I’m bouncing off baby heads and out of control. My butt slides off the back of the seat. My left foot comes unclipped. Getting faster and knocked every which way. Then my right foot comes unclipped. Uh-oh. I’m still hanging on with both hands and my belly resting on the seat, my left knee is rubbing against the back tire and as I come dangerously close to a rather large ocotillo, I manage to get the brakes on and come to a stop….without a major crash. Whew! Seriously, I sometimes wonder how I am still in one piece! Except for the super tender tire burn on the inside of my left knee (yes, I look like I’ve been run over. hahaha), I am otherwise unscathed. This whole ordeal lasted a meer¬†few seconds, but it was certainly enough time to weigh out the consequences that [could have]¬†lay ahead. This is one for the books, an excellent save if I do say so myself.

Next up is the sandy jeep road leading to the rest of the singletrack¬†I will hit while still in the Tortalitas. Going smooth, if not a bit slow secondary to a¬†loss of momentum¬†thru the¬†deep washes. The singletrack¬†is awesome! Fairly fast and not too torn up. And I’ld¬†like to say uneventful here, but that would put me in really deep shit. No really! And literally.¬†I couldn’t miss it. I ran right thru that really deep shit, cow pattie¬†to be exact. And as it splatters up onto my bike and onto me for the next several minutes while my tires roll over the dirt, I am thankful that it has missed my face. At least I am not eating shit! ūüėČ

Onward! Cause that’s what I do. The rest of the ride, I will say went well. I headed over via a power line road into the Catalinas where I climbed up and descended out back to the paved road home. I was riding¬†to enjoy the day and the beautiful fall weather that doesn’t last very long¬†in Tucson, and that’s exactly what I did. I hardly saw any other people out there and I¬†feel grateful that I was able to get out and appreciate what the world has to offer us here. ūüôā

My backyard playground!

 

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Interbike 2012

Interbike: ¬†Two full fun-filled, bike-knowledge-gaining, contact-making, never-off-my-feet days! Whew! I feel tired just saying that! To top it all off…I got¬†USA Cycling approved upgrade email just before taking off to the convention!¬†¬†I can officially call myself a Pro mountain biker…now I just need to prove I deserve the title!

This was my first trip to the big industry show, Kevin’s been a couple of times so I sorta relied on him for a get-it-all-in plan. We started out leaving Tucson at 6:10 am on Wednesday (I am amazed at how many people were actually waiting to fly out at this time of day), if I were to venture a guess, I would say that at least half of the people on our flight were heading to Interbike. Saw some familiar faces and a few new ones, too. Arriving at just after 7am in Las Vegas, we found a shuttle to the hotel and checked out bags. I might have waited just a bit long in booking a hotel room, missing the great deals that Interbike offered to attendees, I just needed something decently priced for the little time we would be spending there. Just so happened that hotel was on the other end of the strip. Yes, you can walk the entire strip; however, it is not a straight shot and the zig-zagging added on some distance.¬† After the 3 miles brisk walk to the Sands Convention Center, we were finally in line at will call for our passes. This was quick and well organized. Yay! We were official.

At first sight, Interbike is a bit overwhelming. There is sooo much to look at and so many cool new product out there, you really do need to have some kind of plan in hand. We sat near the entrance, opened a floor map and started marking our routes. Since we were right in the area, our first stops were some custom cyclery. Kevin really enjoyed this and there were some really skillfully and stylish bicycles here. Some cool ideas emerging.

The second thing I will say about the show is…every great rider you could want to meet is there! We met several and saw even more of the who’s-who in biking and so many of them are down to earth, really easy to talk to people. I mean, there is nothing like having a one-on-one conversation with Ned Overend! And whether or not he actually will, he expressed interest in follwoing my racing this next year…and I think he will..he’s just that kinda guy.

Ned Overend!

I also got to meet Rebecca Rusch, have a conversation over a beer while waiting for SRAM schwag giveaway! She is amazing! Just what a phenomenal athlete and role model for women in the sport.Gives me the extra shove to show my grit and determination to do whatever I put my mind to!

Rebecca Rusch

I also met up with Olympian and bronze medalist Georgia Gould for the second time since Nationals. I am so lucky! Even got to see her throw down on the foosball table at the Clif bar booth!

Georgia kickin’ some foosball butt!

Kevin and I made lots of contacts during out two day adventure thru biking. Selling myself and looking for sponsorship among all the celebrities and big business was tough at times, and so easy at others. Maybe just tells me who I really belong with.

I had a very promising talk with Champ-Sys and am excited to see where our next conversation leads!

I also am continuing a friendship with Mr. Bruce Dickman and ProGold Lubricants! I am stoked to be using their product!!

Lube it and go!

I am also¬†enthusiastic about a few other prospects¬†that showed some encouraging interest, I can’t wait to get involved with all of them!¬†…could a new toy even be in¬†my future?!?! Only time will tell.¬† Overall, I think that this trip to Interbike was a positive experience and a successful venture. I am eager for what comes next!….

 
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I don’t think the heavy stuff will come down for quite some time!

O yes it will! HA!

Started out a beautiful, cooler, cloudy morning. Hitting Willow Springs sounds great. The Weather Channel says its raining, but its not…they’re never right anyway! …Or are they?!

We rode in from the start of the dirt road, just need to get those few extra miles in. Then onto the single track, 16.7 miles of fun single track. The plan was to do 2 laps, ride back out and then I would finish by riding home on pavement. Mid way thru lap 1, the¬†skies¬†are looking just a bit darker around us…but not over top us. Ok, maybe cut it to a lap and a half. There is a¬†massive headwind on the entire back half of the course¬†and a copious mess of sand has overtaken some of the trail. And I must say, the Arizona brush can be vicious when overgrown! Needless to say, it was taking¬†longer than it should to finish this lap!

Once we are back to head out on¬†our start of lap 2, the thunder begins to boom. Oh and a bit of a lightning¬†show in the distance. Still no rain overhead, but everywhere you look there is rain coming down with thunder and¬†lightning crashing.¬†¬†We must be in the eye of it! I’m thinking¬†we hightail it outta there before we get caught in a massive thunderstorm!

Surrounded

Speeding back out to road, there is wind and spectacular skies to entertain us while we pedal..hoping it all stays at bay, that we stay in this small pocket of dryness. Almost there and not wet yet. But oh, how we shouldn’t think such things. With less then five minutes back to the truck, the downpour hits. No, it doesn’t start with a sprinkle. It doesn’t¬†just rudely¬†spit at¬†us. It is a torrent of rain. Big, fat, heavy drops coming down way faster than I can pedal! The thought ‘this might be hail’ even crosses my mind; but before I can spend too much time thinking about it, we roll up onto the truck.

We rush getting the bikes in so we can get outta the rain. I’m soaked. Head to toe. Soaked. And, uh, I’m actually cold. Yay for seat heaters! And maybe it’s finally fall!

 

And wouldn’t ya know it….as I sit here typing…the sun is shining!

 

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Today I started…

Today I started a blog. Let’s see how we roll… ūüôā

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