Thursday, February 06, 2014

Loppet Festival-Part 2

I woke up excited to race. It was cold, but the sun was shining and it was absolutely beautiful out. After breakfast, coffee, and more coffee, Jill and I headed downstairs to clean our bikes.
So glamorous, I know :-)

A fellow cycling friend recently told me that he never washes his bike because people always come into the shop with a mechanical saying, "I was cleaning my bike and noticed...."

How ironic that I thought of him saying that as I was cleaning my bike because a few minutes later I noticed that my bike had suffered a huge mechanical during the trip over. Even writing about it now makes my heart sink because it was such a crappy feeling. I was like, "I just spent 13 hours in a car and now I can't race." 

I spent the next half hour trying to reach my friends and finally I got a hold of them. They were headed to the Uptown Diner for breakfast and would bring spare parts there. Jill and I were out the door and driving before we realized that we didn't even know where the Uptown Diner was. Haha! I must have looked completely crazy rushing in the front door of the diner.  Everyone else was having a nice, relaxed Sunday breakfast and I was still dressed in pajamas. I made a mental note to return to the Uptown Diner the next time I'm in Minneapolis because it smelled really great!

By the time we got back to the house we grabbed our bikes, threw all of our stuff in the car, and immediately headed to the race venue. We were starving by this time so both Jill and I shoved cold, pizza from the night before into our mouths :-)

We made it to the start line with just a few minutes to spare and it felt completely surreal to be there. There was nothing to do but laugh (mostly out of relief) as it had been such a crazy morning...such a crazy trip. I waved hello to friends and then we were off. Ready or not it was time to race.

My lungs and legs immediately went into shock the moment I started pedaling. Actually my entire body went into shock and I wanted to puke and faint at the same time.  

I think I felt like anyone would feel after spending the previous day in the car, being stressed all morning, eating pizza for lunch and not getting a chance to warm up....

Regardless of how I felt, I really enjoyed the race. The course was absolutely beautiful. We crossed multiple lakes (city of lakes) and spectators were all over the place, cheering us on. It was one of those picture perfect days complete with people flying kites overhead. I felt like I was riding in a postcard or something :-)
Happy to be on the podium with April Morgan and Kristy Henderson...two very fast racers!
I'm proud of how Jill and I handled the whole weekend. We dealt with really crappy driving conditions, mechanicals,  and still managed to have a lot of fun.  I guess if I had to have something go wrong, this was the race for it to happen at. As it turned out, I had several Salsa fat bikes at my disposal.
I am so thankful for my friends!
 I wish we could have stayed longer to hang out, but we had to pedal our bikes back to the start. It was a short ride but the sun was setting and we were freezing by the time we got back to the car! We stopped for dinner, and then made it to Madison before calling it a night. Four hours of sleep later we were back in the car to finish the drive...needless to say both Jill and I were completely exhausted by the time we got home.

Next year I plan on coming back for the whole weekend. The drive is too long to just spend a day in the city and the Loppet festival is really awesome. Everyone should check it out as it consisted of two full days of racing and ice sculptures and beer tents. So cool!!!

I want to send a huge, huge THANKS to our friends Tom and April for their help. Thanks guys :-) I also have to thank Jill for being such a great traveling buddy. This winter has been full of adventures and I'm going to suffer some serious withdrawals when the winter race season is over....

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