Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back to BC

Wow I am so ready to be out of a car!! We decided to drive back home through Montana to spice things up. The change is nice, but I’d rather be home already. It was a really good trip though. I finished up a very consistent string of races with a 9th in the xc and another 8th in the Short track at Norba Finals. The string of good racing at altitude has me pumped to race the World Championships at Sea level. I learned a lot about my racing these past weekends and am hoping to put it altogether in NZ.

Snowmass was very similar in course layout to Brian Head. Huge climb off the start & big ring descents with lots of flatting opportunities, but this weekend they through in a long single track climb which led straight into the start climb as we did 1.5 laps. Perhaps Norbas aren’t the best prep for World Cups in terms of course design as climbing courses are selective and don’t emphasize the necessity of working through traffic, but the competition is great.

The short track this weekend was pretty rough so I used my Norco Dually… and am so glad I did. We got to ride a bunch of jumps, punchy climbs and rough ST making it more like a mini xc race than the typical pack dynamics. I started horribly even though I got a pretty wicked call up. I had to work hard to clear the traffic, but kept gaining spots and eventually found myself in 8th behind Heather Irmiger. My race ended just as the thunder showers opened up for the men.

My travel-mates also had a good weekend Ricky finishing top 15 in both events and Hadley riding strong in the 20’s. After many months of traveling together Keith and I dropped Hadley off in Salt Lake City. He was flying back to NB to wrap up his race season. So Now I’m in the Vancouver area until Friday when I fly to NZ. I’ll get the chance to visit Norco and do some new trails while I’m here.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fruita, Colorado

Have now done three fun mtb rides in Fruita in the Kokopelli and North Fruita Dessert trail areas. Today's ride was probably my favorite. Keith and I did a trail named Steve's Loop and then rode over to Troy built. We followed the canyon perimeter and even saw a few lizzards.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Off to Fruita

Had a huge Burrito on the way. Yummy. Then got stuck in traffic. A big forest fire had crossed the interstate. Luckily there aren’t a whole lot of trees around here. Then we went through some of the most crazy scenery I’ve been through. Red rock spires, Canyons and they just stretched on forever, no services for 110 miles. After we took Ricky’s bag off the roof we could go a lot faster and strolled into Fruita at 11:00. We now have a spacious hotel room with fridge and microwave as well as bike storage. We have been experimenting with microwaveable meals. Yeah wraps! Ricky has gone off to the race track. They claim their Go Karts can hit 100 miles per hour! Yeeha!

Race Day: Norba Brian Head

As we started the ascent to Brian Head you could feel a weight begin to press in on your chest. I don’t think I have ever felt that horrible in a warm up before. My legs felt like they were being pulled in all directions. People have been raving about the single loop course and from looking around we knew it would be good. The sun decided to shine on us today and the race got off to a good start. First we climbed up a long paved climb. My heart rates were really high in warm up and I knew other girls were much more used to altitude so I just sat in and let them work. Willow Lead most of the climb which eventually turned to dirt and continued up. She paid for her effort though and got popped before the crest. It was now just 6 of us: Heather, Dara, Shonny, Georgia, Jimena and myself. I was feeling the effort pretty good and not knowing how much climbing was left I had to ease up. I crested the next climb to see the girls funneling into a single track climb ahead of me. Damn, I was almost there. Katerina Nash then bridged up to me going a really good clip and I followed her down the first descent. Not having seen anything before I just crossed my fingers the rocks she was riding off had good landings. She was screaming down the hill and I couldn’t match her on the day. A lot of the men had flatted on this rock strewn stretch, but the women made out okay. The descents were all fast big ring stuff. By the second substantial climb we had climbed from just under 2000m to 3300m! Ricky summed up the race with the words, “I’ve never dug so deep to go so slow”. Gretchen Reeves caught up to me at the base of this climb and we rode it together. Going into the descent I slid out a bit on a loose corner and she got a gap. The next couple descents were rough and twisty and I felt great. I was catching the categories that had done the shorter loop and hoping I could make up some lost ground here, but everyone must have been riding well. Apparently Katrina Nash caught the lead girls here and was putting the hurt on them. I didn’t see another of my competitors for the rest of the race and managed to salvage my 8th place position. I wish I had known before what the last 20 min of the course was like. I think I could have finished a lot stronger if I knew how much energy I could use or had to conserve. It was a great race and a good altitude experience. I caught views of red rock mesas below from the climbs and zipped though a beautiful birch forest. There was a lot of single track and A LOT of climbing which didn’t feel so hot at over 2000m. I don’t think I’ve ever been so beat after a race. Man did Wendys taste good!!

Result went 1.Heather Irmiger, 2.Katerina Nash, 3.Shonny Vanlandingham, 4.Dara Marks Marino, 5.Georgia Gould, 6.Jimena Florit, 7. Gretchen Reeves, 8. Me, 9.Sue Haywood, 10. Chloe Forsman
Kabush was 2nd, Ricky 10th, Toulouse 17th and Matt 30th.

After the race I wasn’t much feeling like Short track the next day. Keith let us all hang out in bed as he cleaned our bikes and checked them over. What a guy! After a good sleep and a spin in the AM (See interesting notes) I felt like a new person. Warming up didn’t feel nearly as bad today. We used the same start for the short track and then headed onto the dirt, into two 160 degree corners and then a nice corner straight up a hill and jump and down a rough trail back to the pavement and headwind. I got off to a good start in the 20 min race and was able to secure a top 8 position by being aggressive through the tight corners. There were primes on the first two laps so the race broke up right away with a group of 8 of us off the front. I was able to stick with it for 16 min before letting a deadly gap form. I then was in the fun position of no man’s land as I TT’d behind the leaders, but ahead of the chasers for the rest of the race. Still it was by far my best Short track performance and I finished 8th and actually rode with the leaders in a crit style event! It was the same 8 girls as yesterday with the exceptions of Sue Haywood winning today and Gretchen Reeves dropping out. She had won the marathon that morning!!!

Notes of interest:

Matt and I did a spin from Beaver into the surrounding country side. On a 3 mile section of highway we saw 75 road killed rabbits!
……Later that same day while driving to Fruita (through some crazy scenery!) a rabbit found luck to be on his side as he darted out in front of our car and managed to be missed by all four wheels as we zoomed over top.


Vancouver: After Mt Washington we headed back to Sandra Walter’s place for a couple nights. Her family was awesome and we got well rested and fed for the journey ahead of us. We even got to ride some of their backyard trails. Sandra Schooled us …or at least me on Triple Crown and showing us why those trails belonged in her backyard.

Vancouver to Utah: Keith, matt and I left Sandra’s Tuesday morning and headed south. Popular Sandra had to stay behind for a couple weddings. After a stop for French toast in White rock with my coach Dan we crossed the border with our well loaded Subaru. After Several hours of driving through plains we spotted a tower on a distant hillside and decided to make it our ride destination. Horse Heaven Hills as we later learned provided us with a nice fire road climb before sending us down a steep hill face through tumble weed and sage. Not the most exciting ride…except for the worries we might start a fire we had to be on the disc brakes so much, but it was good to break up the car ride.

That night we made it to Glenn Ferry, Idaho by midnight. The next day we drove to Ogden Utah in time to hit up a bike shop and head for the hills. Our plan was to camp under the stars at the base of Skyline trail. After about an hour of single track climbing through dense brush and about three flat tires we had gained a lot of altitude. Our legs were feeling good, but we had some real fatigue going on from the traveling. No longer able to withstand the bush wacking for an uncertain trail outcome I turned around and headed back to camp. At this point we had decided we needed a good night’s sleep and perhaps an outdoor sleep wasn’t the best idea for us. Keith headed back down the trail with me while Matt duked it out to the crest. As it always turns out in these situations Matt found a sweet single track descent and made it back in about the same amount of time we did. Ah well!

The Ogden Lodge was a lively place. Apparently we slept through gun shots, but Keith did awaken to the massive thunder shower at 3:30 am. Yeah for choosing a hotel sleep!
Off again to Salt Lake to pick up Ricky Federau. The car is now riding substantially lower. We now have 12 wheels, a hockey bag of tires and 4 bikes outside the car. Inside we have 4 people all under the critical 135lb weight limit and all the rest of our gear. We have gone through Keith’s Off Spring Cd’s in order and are started on his Rolling Stones Collection. That night we make it To Beaver, Utah. This is to be our home for 3 days. It’s about 45 minutes from Brian Head, but only at half the elevation.

We enjoyed wicked road rides and Mexican food here. The Super 8 staff were great, but the quarters a little cramped – Okay way too cramped for the 4 of us and our bikes and no fridge or other kitchen niceties. Matt and I picked up a $10 BBQ at the local store and Ricky grilled up some chicken Breasts to go with our camp stove cooked pasta. We made out alright but are looking forward to moving.