Monday, March 03, 2014

Pando race report!

This past weekend was race #7 (Cuyuna Whiteout) in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. For a long time Jill and I were hoping to race the entire series but (after a lot of going back and forth) we couldn't make the trip work. Although the Cuyuna trail system is AMAZING, we just couldn't justify spending 28-plus hours in the car for a 19-mile race. Next year we are planning on being more strategic with our race schedule and I'm hoping to combine the Cuyuna race with some extra ride days. And hopefully next year Chipotle will sponsor us :-)

Anyways, it was the absolute right decision to stay home as I had SO MUCH fun this weekend. As luck would have it we were able to race the Fun Promotions winter season series finale at Pando, which happens to be less then 30 minutes away from my house. Jill and I decided to race duo in the open advanced category which meant that we had to do as many laps as possible in 3-hours. I raced the first half and it was Jill's responsibility to "close it down!"

The race started at noon and it felt like a luxury to sleep in. When I finally arrived at Pando I was really excited to see so many friends and GRBC teammates racing.
The sun was shining and I couldn't wait to race my bike. Plus I was extremely excited to break out my new Lazer Helium helmet which is ridiculously comfortable. It's like wearing a pillow or something.
We started with a winter version of a Le Mans start, which means we had to race tubes down the toboggan hill. I've never gone tubing before and I think I had more anxiety about attaching my tube cord to the cable and getting pulled up the hill then I did about the actual race. I managed OK, which is surprising since I am the most awkward and clumsy person that I know.
One of the many bonuses of racing with a teammate is that they can capture all sorts of awkward photos at the start...here I am anxiously pulling my inner tube and worrying about the hill :-)
The promoter told us that the A-groups were going off first and would be followed by the B-groups. I heard my friend, and GRBC teammate, Mackenzie Woodring ask if we had to go head first down the hill just as the guys in front of me dived onto their tubes. Without giving it another thought I dived onto my tube head first and we were off....
AHHHHHHHHH!
I looked to my right and noticed that Mackenzie was sitting upright on her tube and spinning nicely down. I instantly wished that I had done the same thing because going head first was not comfortable. But then I looked forward and realized that I had bigger things to worry about. Like the fact that my tube was rapidly catching up to the guy in front of me and my head was about to be rammed up his butt.

I was laughing and screaming so hard I was one step away from peeing my pants. I don't ever remember having this much fun as a kid.
I'm not sure where my head is, but those are my legs sticking up in the middle... (photo: Jack Kunnen)
"Oh hey guys!" We were a tangled mess until eventually our tubes stopped...
When participating in a tubing threesome, it is important to make sure that you color coordinate! (photo: Jack Kunnen)
When our tubes stopped we decided to just hop off and run the remaining distance to our bikes...
I was like, "come on friends....wait for me!!!"
It was so nice having my teammate cheering me on...especially since I was practically the last one in the first group to reach my bike.
Apparently I like to run on my tip-toes in the snow :-)
I was so, so, SO happy to see my bike. The parking lot was practically empty when I started riding and I could see the tail end of my group heading into the woods. Clearly I suck at tubing and Jill is going to have to represent on the tobbogan hill next year.

I headed into the woods and started catching up to people and continued to do so for the rest of my half of the race. It was so much fun! The course was a mixture of firm snow, with a few mushy parts that required staying in the "snow grooves!" The sun was shining and being in the woods made it seem much warmer then it really was. My legs were a tiny bit tired from the week but once I started to warm up I felt great. I'm positive that I was smiling the entire time. I couldn't believe it when I looked down at my watch and realized that an hour had already passed by...time really does fly when you are having fun!
Wheeeeeeee! (photo: Jack Kunnen)

I seriously loved every single moment out on the course...even the parts that included me landing on my butt in the snow! (photo: Jack Kunnen)
Finally it was time to slap hands with my teammate and Jill was speeding off. I decided to ride into the woods and try to take some pictures of my friends!
I love being out in the woods in the winter time!

I barely made it half-way through the woods before my teammate was speeding past me on her second lap!
There were quite a few different categories in the race, so I had no clue who Jill and I were up against! We were really excited to take home the win :-)
I couldn't ask for a better teammate!
Afterwards it was a blast to be able to hang out with the rest of the Grand Rapids Bicycle's women's team. I am so proud and excited to race with these ladies! We all race in different disciplines but I look forward to the races that we can travel to together!!!
From left: Mackenzie Woodring, Kim Thomas, Jill Martindale, Me :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was the best write up ever! A tube lemans start and then snow biking. It almost makes me want to live up North...almost. :-)