Sunday, September 14, 2014

Home!

So this past week was a major lesson in sleep deprivation.  We raced the 24-hours of Hanson Hills last weekend, came home Sunday, worked Monday and then flew to Vegas on Tuesday. Then we took the red-eye back on Thursday night. As a result I think I missed out on two full nights of sleep this past week.

Talk about being a complete and utter Zombie!

Our 24-hour race was awesome and Vegas was a lot of fun. Full recap coming up...but for now I'm going to bed. I did a 58 mile ride yesterday and a 91 mile ride today. Both were on my fat bike and I'm exhausted. Time for some Zzzzzzzz's!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

50 shades of purple

In my last post I was talking about how excited I was for Skirts in the Dirt. I can't believe that it's been over a week since the race happened and I haven't updated my blog once. I suck!!!

Skirts in the dirt was easily the most fun that I've had all summer. We had around 30 women show up to our skills clinic the day before the race and it was a blast. I was so excited so see so many women conquer their fears and try new things. It was 100% awesome.

We were out in the sun all day and by the time I went to bed I was exhausted. That did not stop me from waking up early though. I was too excited about the race. And I got even more excited when I showed up at the venue and saw that the parking lot was already filling up. A lot of little tutus were already pedaling around and warming up. It was so cute!
The next thing I knew I was standing in line to buy a skirt to race in. And not just any skirt mind you. It was a pink skirt with smiley faces on it :-) Completely awesome and completely made to fit a small child. Luckily I had bike shorts on underneath.
That's me on the left, my friend Steve was rocking the skirt on the right
There were over 125 women who showed up to race...pretty incredible for the inaugural year. I'm writing a blog post about it for Salsa so I'm not going to write much more, but I'll be sure to post a link when it's published.

This past Sunday was my birthday and I will be the first to admit that I feel really old right now. Not so much from being a year older, but from crashing my brains out on a wet bridge. My war with bridges continues....sigh.

This was probably my least glamorous but hardest crash in two years. It rained the last couple of days, I was bombing down a hill (ON A PAVED PATH) on my fat bike and the next thing I know my head was bouncing twice off of wood.
Thank you Lazer Helmets for protecting my head...again and again and again!
I am so sore....so, so, so, sore!
One of the many various purple bruises from the crash...I'm pretty colorful right now :-)
Even though crashing sucked, I'm really, really, really lucky I'm not more hurt. I eventually was able to start pedaling again and made it down to the GR Bike Park to practice my pump track skills for the GRBC ladies ride. We manage to have fun wherever we are. 
I spent the rest of the weekend eating birthday cake, ice cream and spending a lot of time with my family. It was awesome. 

This coming weekend I'm racing the Hanson 24 race and then a day after that I'm heading out to Interbike. Scott couldn't go but he was able to transfer his airline points so that my favorite travel buddy could go instead. I can't wait!!! PS. Thanks Scott :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

n + 5

You know the rule regarding how many bikes you should own, n + 1??? Where (n) is the number of bikes you currently own and the (+1) is the bike that you want to add to your collection? Well after the Salsa demo day yesterday I'm at n + 5. Technically I could be at even a higher number then 5... but let's not get too crazy.

Long story short: I WANT THEM ALL!!!!

This will surprise no one when I say that fat bikes are a ton of fun. I didn't think it was possible for them to become more fun then they already are...but then I rode the Bucksaw
Please, can I have it??? 

This bike will ride over anything and almost everything. I took this out just as it was getting dark and spent the entire time laughing.  It was seriously the most fun I've ever had on a bike and I felt like I could just CRUSH anything in front of me.  
100% fun. 200% BadAss.
My little sister took out the Blackborow and our friend Rolanda rode the Beargrease. Both were fat bike first-timers and both had a blast on them. My favorite part of the ride was hearing my little sister giggling as she bombed down hills on the Blackborow. It's designed for 5-inch tires...and actually made the Beargrease look tiny.
When I first heard about fat bikes a few years back, I remember thinking to myself that I would like one to ride every now and then. Obviously that changed the moment I got my Mukluk and couldn't stay off of it. Then I got my Beargrease and it's my #1 training bike year round. Now I'm at the point where I feel the need to have multiple fat bikes...n + 3 (at the very least!)

The demo was packed with happy riders and I never got to ride the Carbon Spearfish or the Carbon Horsethief but I heard nothing but good things about them. My Spearfish is by far the best bike I've ever ridden/raced, and word on the street is that the carbon version is lighter, stiffer and snappier. Naturally I want it.
Toni testing the Spearfish over rocks...
The Carbon Horsethief is absolutely beautiful. Out of all of the bikes, I really wish I could have tried this one out. I heard that it's fast, fast, fast.
My friend Tara (farm team racing) whipped past me so fast on the Horsethief I could barely snap a picture!
So, to sum up yesterday...pretty perfect. I was either in the woods riding bikes or standing around with friends looking at bikes. If only every Monday could be like that. And my coach was pretty understanding when I told him that I spent my "recovery day off," riding bikes all day long :-)

Below are some of my favorite pics from the demo...




Luckily I had today completely off because my legs are completely cooked. Not so much from Monday, but because I put in 12.5 hours between Saturday and Sunday. They definitely needed a rest day. 

I have a feeling that the rest of this month is going to fly by and really I need time to just STOP moving so fast for a day or two. Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) I'll be leading the GRBC ladies ride from Merrell trail at 6 p.m. (as long as it's dry), and then on Saturday I'll be teaching a ladies skills clinic at Cannonsburg ski area at 1 p.m. And then Sunday will be Skirts in the Dirt!

PS. There is still time to sign up for Skirts in the Dirt. It's going to be a blast so spread the word!

PPS. I did a blog post for Salsa about the 10 things I learned in 10 years of racing Lumberjack. Click Here to read it :-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wausau 12 hour race report!

Once again the Wausau24 did not disappoint. I was completely worn down, tired and sad from the week before but I'm SO HAPPY that I went. The whole weekend was an adventure. Getting stuck in Chicago traffic with my two race bikes on the back of my car (SCARY), stopping in Madison for a bike fit from Craig Watson, pre-riding the course in the rain with Jill and Steve, watching Jill get an impromptu tattoo on her butt the day before she raced 12-hours solo, having a ton of fun riding on the course, and going to Red Bud road after the 12-hour race was done to cheer on the 24 hour solo riders.

Racing duo with Brent Gale was a blast...the whole weekend was a blast. We were aiming for 6th place and ended up in 2nd place. Total overachievers :-) I could write pages about the weekend, but sometimes pictures do a better job portraying what happened. So here's a bunch of pictures!










photo by Gary Smits
photo by Gary Smits
Next up for me is Skirts in the Dirt! Inspired by the Beti Bike Bash it's Michigan's first ever all women-only mountain bike race. Spread the word :-) I'll be teaching a skills clinic the day before so it's going to be a busy weekend!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to wear a helmet 101

It seems like July has been the month for Helmet Safety. Not only did I help run the skills course for GRBC's annual helmet giveaway, but Jill and I also have taught a few bike safety classes to a summer camp for pre-kindergarteners. 

We had our last one this past Monday. I arrived WAY too early and entertained myself with helmet and safety selfies while I waited for Jill to arrive.
When Jill showed up we went to the classroom and found out that the kids were just finishing up their snacks. One of the teachers met us at the door and informed us that the class was a bit bigger then last time. "How big?" I asked. She smiled and answered that we would be teaching about 60 kids.  60 pre-kindergartners!!!!!!!

Instantly we were all...
Before we entered the room the teacher had the kids watch a short video on helmet safety. Then it was our turn. We were barely in the door when one of the little girls shouted out to Jill, "why is your bike yellow, pink and blue?"

It had already begun :-)

The first thing we covered was "things to watch out for when riding a bike." One little girl raised her hand and immediately blurted out "CARS!" We applauded. Then a boy raised his hand and shouted, "CARS!" We applauded again. Then the next 5 kids suggested bikes...like motorcycles. It was hilarious. The purpose of the summer camp is to get kids ready for kindergarten in the fall, so that they at least understand the concept of raising hands and listening to the teacher. Most of the kids understood that they had to raise their hands, but the whole waiting to be called on before talking thing went right out the window. So we basically had about 5-10 kids talking to us or to each other at all times. Which, in my opinion, isn't too bad since there were 60 in the room!

Jill showed everyone how to put a helmet on and then we tested them. They LOVED that.

Then we decided to do a drill we thought up (because we are geniuses) where the kids pretended to ride a bike by pedaling their hands. Every time we held up a stop sign they had to stop. It worked at first. But after the second time we held the stop sign up the kids thought it was more fun to keep "fake pedaling." Oops. They were all shouting and laughing...it was impossible to keep a straight face.

I decided to test them one more time about the whole helmet thing by putting my helmet over my face so that they could tell me if it was right or wrong.

Seeing me with a helmet over my face pushed them over the edge!!!

If you look at the kids faces every single one of them started laughing. At that laugh slowly turned into a joyful scream. This happened last year too and I was actually happy that Jill was there to witness it. It was kinda sorta awesome. And for one boy in the front it was JUST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE! He looked up at the ceiling, started shaking his head, and was screaming at the top of his lungs. That's the beauty of being a kid. There are so many times when I wish I could do that...but it probably wouldn't be as cute :-)

That was our signal to leave. I think we got the main message across (always wear a helmet) and once again I had a blast. It's amazing to see little kids process the information that you give them, and then hear the questions that they have. Half of the time the questions are completely unrelated to the subject that is being talked about but that's what makes it so much fun.

As always, I'm completely in awe of teachers and STILL firmly believe that you can never, ever, ever, ever pay them enough.

Now I'm off to Wausau for the Wausau 24. I'm racing 12-hour duo with T6 Brent and I can't wait. This past week was completely craptastic as I lost one of my aunts who I loved very much. She was one of my best friends growing up and my family is still reeling from it. I don't know how a week has gone by already but I am so ready for some serious dirt therapy. I basically packed on autopilot and I have a nagging suspicion that I am forgetting something huge. The good news is that I'll have a day to figure out what it is before the race.

Wausau 24...here I come!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July

A few weeks ago I made the official decision to take the month of July off from racing. Mostly because I want to get a good month of training in without having to travel or take any time off...and also because I've run out of money for racing and need to save up :-)

Anyways, at first I thought it would be hard to take a month off but it's already the middle of July. How is that possible? Slow down summer!  I think part of the reason why July has been speeding by so fast is my coach has been keeping me busy with workouts. The last thing I've been thinking about is racing.This weekend I had more pressing concerns, like how I was going to walk up the stairs without collapsing and where I wanted to go for fro-yo.

On Saturday I was out the door fairly early. I had a few tempo intervals to do early in my workout. After that I hit a lot of this...

 and a little bit of this...
By the time I was done I had a little over 60 miles on my fat bike. Legs=tired!

I was hoping to get a long day on my Spearfish on Sunday but it rained really hard Saturday night. So instead I met up with my little sister and rode out to Grand Haven. The ride out is mostly flat with a few rolling hills, but it seemed like we were pedaling into the wind the whole way there. Of course, once we got to the beach we had to climb up to lookout point :-)
Ouch...
My Beargrease enjoying the view!
By the time we arrived to Grand Haven I had 50 miles already in, so we had to stop at the gas station to refuel on our way home.
Just being my "normal" self. Wandering aimlessly while wearing a helmet and eating beef jerky!
By the time I dropped Toni (my little sis) off and got back to my house I had 100 miles in. My first fat bike century of the year!

Surprisingly enough my legs don't feel too tired today. But that being said, I'm sure I would think differently if I tried to get on my bike and pedal. Thank goodness for recovery days!

Right around the corner is one of my FAVORITE-EST races of all time, the Wausau 24. I'll be racing co-ed duo with Twin Six Brent! This is one of those races that I can do year after year and it never gets old! Last year was my first year racing duo and I learned a lot. I made the mistake of not paying attention to the weather leading up to the race which was a total rookie move. We ended up with a really cool day, which was awesome racing weather but really cold for sitting around between laps. I remember wearing a hat and having to borrow my teammate Aprils jacket in between laps. This time I will be much more prepared :-)