Monday, June 30, 2008

Winterpark MTB and basking by the creek.

Since the promoters of the Dead Dog Classic wouldn't let us register 3 hours after the registration deadline, Clare and I planned an epic weekend. With a sweet ride to Estes on Saturday under our belts, we packed up the Jetta and headed up to Winter Park for a mountain bike race on Sunday. The race was one 16.4 mile lap... which I thought was pretty short (soon to realize that it still took almost 2 hrs for a reason!!!). 2,500' of climbing, 3 near-death experiences and 109 mins later... I finished the race. The race took off with a 1.5 mile climb varying between 6 and 18% grades. Ouch. I wasn't off the back, but felt awful. The course was awesome and much of it was above 10,000'. Tough breathing! There were 3 major climbs: 2 service road climbs and 1 single track climb. The singletrack climb was much more enjoyable than the service roads for sure-- and even better than all the climbing: the descents! Descending was gnarly-fast, and it is where I could pass the ladies (and some guys) that passed me on the climbs! Rocks, roots, switchback-craziness. FUN!!! I can't wait to head back to the mountains! The mountain photo is one of the views from our drive back to Boulder from Winter Park. Vaaaarrrrriiieeeee NICE!
Midwest mtb racing: climb, descend, climb climb, descend, climb descend, descend, climb
Mountain West racing: climbclimbclimbclimbclimb, descenddescneddescenddescend, climbclimbclimbclimb, descend, climbclimb, descend descend descend descend drop descend descend.
On our way back down from the mountains, I couldn't resist from stopping to build a mini-snowman. Clare sat in the car because she "couldn't be bothered" to get out... even though she has NEVER made one in her life. ever. Alas, I think I'll try to make a snowman every month of the year from now on. Some people try to ski every month... I'll just stick to making snowmen.

That brings us today. While I had a turbulent morning, it ended really well. I had a rest day (easy ride to the grocery) and Clare didn't return until 2 from her epic voyage on the peak-to-peak. Soon after her return, we headed to Chipoltle for a burrito. AND what is better than a chipoltle burrito? A FREE chipoltle burrito! Thanks Garrett!

While at "chi-poodle," we met up with a cycling friend, Robbie, by chance-- He also stopped to chow and the was heading down to the Eben G. Fine park to hang in the creek. Sounded fun to us- I had never gone to chill in the park.
Clare is definitely enjoying her time in the grass!
I am contemplating jumping in, unfortunately, the sun had gone behind a huge cloud for sometime and it wasn't as HOT out... so I just chilled the legs.

In the park, you'll run into some strange folks! Here's Robbie- trying desperately to walk on his hands... he was inspired by a woman who had actually been doing yoga-stands on her hands and arms. Impressive!

Cheers to fun days and more to come!!! Can't wait for more barbecues and more times hanging at G.Fine Park.



Saturday, June 28, 2008


I have had a stellar day in Boulder! No bike shoppe until next Wednesday... so that means... tons of riding and getting things organized!!! I'm pretty excited. For sure. Today Clare and I got in a nice ride- we took a road that led us to the bustling metropoli of Lyons, Ramond, Allenspark and Estes Park. The day couldn't have been better.

For the past couple hours, I have been getting ye'ole Fuel race ready for tomorrow. It has been my trusty steed for about 5 years-- although now that I'm in the mtns, I really need some disc brakes. I'm planning for a full-on forearm workout tomorrow! WinterPark is hosting a mtb race-- I've never been to Winter Park AND I've never raced my mtn bike in Colorado, so it should be interesting! I'll take some photos. for sure.
Okay. So now that I've been done working on my bike, I've been chillin' out on the patio with Jerry our delightful domesticated deer . In the photo he is about 20 yards from me... and at the moment, he is being harassed by some neighborhood kids. Poor Jerry. He's getting bothered and I'm sipping on a glass of wine, computing, with my feet up during a perfect evening! Anyhow... I keep hearing from multiple people that "there are NO mosquitoes in Colorado." Well. They are all wrong.

I found one latched on to my shoulder. Don't worry. I killed it. NOW there are NO mosquitoes in Colorado. This one is probably an invasive species that came to CO with my luggage from last week in Wisconsin. Thank God it wasn't full grown. (wishful thinking?)!!

Until tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If you've ever wondered what goes on...

At our host house in Minnesota for Nature Valley, we were pleased to find a sweet collection of wigs. You can tell that Clare wishes it was still 1982 so she could rock out with Whitesnake and sing "here I go again" at the top of her lungs.

Here am I before our race in Sheboygan... I was riding around trying to find amenities and I ended up getting a flat. I had 9 aluminum shards in my back wheel and 3 in the front. Seriously. Don't ride around construction sites.
Here is Cari- this is after the race in Sheboygan- She is shown here AFTER I untangled her sports bra and this tank top. It was almost tragic... and she could have possibly been arrested. Thank goodness she wasn't.
Finally, here is a picture of me pondering WHY my helmet is always on crooked. If there is anything more frustrating I don't know what is. For some reason, it always falls to the left. Is my head crooked? Who knows. The helmet never stays adjusted right. Cari will just keep reminding me to straighten it. :) thanks Cari.
We had a fun weekend- the 'giro de Grafton' was an excellent event it was a fun and active race-- lots of attacking, covering, and countering-- At Sheboygan I was in a break with 4 other girls-- Kristin Wentworth, Rachel Eichers, a girl who was the collegiate national champ and another girl who was super strong. Cari Clare and Anna did a stellar job of letting us get away. For the final lap, I came around the corner in 2nd-- a couple girls sprinted around me with plenty of time to get on their wheels-- unfortunately I was way over geared and I didn't have the snap to recover. This week: practice leadouts. :)

tutu. k


Clare doesn't really drink clam juice... but she does like to eat bison occasionally.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hangin' in P-ville & recaps from the weekend

Meet my Pa! He came to the race in Stillwater on Father's Day- I do wish I would have been racing, however it was nice to hang out with him!
Here is my new t-shirt. I thought Cari would like this one-- it is a nice new white tee! :) Since I'm planning on being really eccentric when I'm 50, I figured I need to start wearing something other than plain tees... I'm beginning to branch out. Tweet.
For all of you who didn't know, Clare is primarily sponsored by Clam Juice and presented by Bison. Yes. Bison meat. Ever since she has made the switch to Clam and Bison, she has become faster. We believe it is the rare electrolytes and minerals in the clam juice that expedites the delivery of ADP to the glycolosis that occurs specificly in liver cells.
Okay... so maybe not.

Meet Judson Steinbeck. He is a middle school teacher for a Waldorf School in LaCrosse, WI. He came to ride in Platteville while passing through-- apparently during his first year of teaching, a family of one of his students talked Judd into taking a rabbit for his classroom. He obliged becasue the family promised to take the bunny for all holidays AND buy the bunny's food. After thanksgiving of the FIRST year he had the bunny the family sent a NOTE with the student to school stating that they "couldn't take the bunny home for any more holidays." Now Judd and Joy own a bunny AND buys all of the food for it. **Note to self... if an offer comes from a student/student's family with some sort of pet.... don't take the rabbit!!

Finally--- Here is a photo of our back patio in Boulder. Again... absolutly Amazing-- I'm looking forward to hosting some evenings w/ evening beverages. Thanks for reading-- HI MOM!



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stages 2-4

All things considered... this year's Nature Valley went much better than last year's Nature Valley. You may not remember, but last year I raced my first criterium (ever) in March of '07 and within a couple months upgraded enough to go to Nature Valley with my team. Turns out, my first 5 day stage race lasted 18 minutes and it isn't because I'm just that fast. Anyhow I made it until the 4 stage this year- I'll give a brief rundown of this years events...

Stage 1: St Paul Criterium. Rain and carnage. Everyone started the next day.

Stage 2: Cannon Falls Road Race. I had a good starting position and was moving up ever so slightly... and then we crossed a wooden bridge... and then... everyone stopped and we were directed to turn around. Within a half mile from the start, the comm 1 car took us the wrong direction. So, the people in the back were now in the front and vice versa. For me, bummer! All that good momentum was lost. Anyhow, the "neutral" start was anything but neutral. I think my HR was about 240* for the neutral start. There was more confusion when we took our first left turn- the lead moto ref went on the left side of the median and the lead car went on the right. Clare burned up her matches hauling herself up on the other side of the median.
*I'm exaggerating, the highest I have ever seen my heart rate is 187-- actually a new high for me this week.

The first Queen of the Mountain (QoM) was soon after the first turn and the pace was high. Maybe I didn't get a good enough warm up or whatever... but I found myself dangling... and then passed by the moto ref, then passed by comm 1, and then passed by team car and team car and team car... you get the point. I was fading and working really hard to get back to the group. I could see that it would be so much easier up there! Next thing I knew, I was by myself-- but I could see Clare just up the road, so I chased her for a couple miles. I beat her up for the 2nd QoM and we worked to catch 2 more riders (just so you all know that is a joke, by this time-- no one was even at the QoM line). I didn't realize, but there was a group of about 12 right behind us. I know it may sound crazy, but I was relieved to see that I wasn't DFL. We were fairly organized and things were going well- I thought. Our "chase group" was smooth for the most part, although we did have a couple surgy susans in our group. All in all, it was nice to race through the country side in MN-- kind of like being home. yah.

The stage finished w/ a 5 lap circuit that I was able to watch. Cari hung in strong and did well, finishing just a couple minutes behind the main field. Tina Pic came away with the win-- check out her credentials.

Stage 3: Time Trial
An approximate 6- mile time trial- out and back course with a steep hill tacked on to the end. Not that I am GREAT at time trialing, but I am beginning to enjoy this event. Among some of the teams I think there was some confusion with the rules. They were time cutting at 125% of the winners time. Translation: anyone who came in with times above 125% of the winner's time was to be cut. Some riders chose or were told to "roll" it and ended up getting cut. Bummer for them. Kristin Armstrong won the time trail by 42 seconds-- she finished with a smokin' time of 13'44" and second place was 14'26". HUGE win, especially over a such a short course. I finished in the top 88 of 123 and didn't get cut-- Clare top 71, Cari top 64.

Stage 4: Minneapolis Criterium
Second race of the day (TT was that morning)- I felt good, excited and ready to race. But, for me a series of unfortunate events unraveled infront of me and I was cut from the race early. Bummer. Here's went down.
1. Staging. We were planning on staging 15 mins before the race, we got to the start 20 mins before the race and everyone was there. We had to start in the back.
2. Kristin Armstrong sat at the front for the first 8 laps and drove the pace at the beginning- super fast. The field was completely strung out the entire time I was in the race.
3. I'm learning to be aggressive.
4. The back of the field was beginning to gap and I was moving up one by one clawing my way back to the main field. The girl in front of me almost crashed in a corner when we were very close to closing the gap. I had to slam on my breaks to avoid running her over. The thought of actually crashing went through my mind... crash and a free lap or being done. At that point we had a group of about 4 and we were working to get back on, but we couldn't recover from that gap that had just formed.

I was pulled, along with 5 others. I was pretty bummed. I know that pace was hottt for a long time and the teams are stacked with world-class riders-- It is still tough not be able to hang in. Clare almost made it to the end until she detonated... Cari hung in until the end and finished with the field!

Gabe and his friend Mike came to watch last night and I was able to get a bite to eat with him after the race.

For me, that is it for Nature Valley 2008... until next year... 3rd time is a charm???? The girls race today in Mankato, an 86-mile road race-- and Sunday for the Stillwater Criterium. Today, instead of the RR, I am pretty sure Missy is going to send me out on a ride to get some miles!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting to MN and Nature Valley Stage 1-- St. Paul Crit

So here it goes...
Tuesday we made our pilgrimage to the bus station. $20 will get you a round trip bus ticket to Denver International Airport. The plan was to drop Missy off at the station and I went to drop my car off and walk to the station.
12:06 I drop her off
12:09 I drop my car off at Greg and Cari's, begin walking to the bus station
12:13 realize I left my phone somewhere, turn around ad RUN back to my car--
12:15 not in the car, but on Cari's counter top... As I got in the phone was ringing. Missy was stalling the bus driver. I thought the bus left at 12:30... but It actually was supposed to leave at 12:15. One thing we forgot to discuss before hand.
12:16 Bus is waiting for me. I start sprinting (with my heavy backpack & my helmet flopping about) back down towards Pearl Street, three blocks down, I realize that I still have the KEY to Greg and Cari's in my hand. Turn around. RUN BACK UP 16TH STREET. AND BACK DOWN.
12:20 After sprinting around downtown Boulder I found Missy @ the bus stop, on the curb, with no bus. Bummer. No worries though, the next bus would get us to the airport in time, but not with a lot of extra time.

Making a long story short, I flew Frontier- probably the worst flight ever. I sat in the last row (no reclining seats). Next to me was a Mom a 5 year old and a 1 year old sitting in 2 seats-- the row across from me, a mom and two kids. Screeching and screaming. Anyhow, I felt bad for the moms having to travel by themselves. But get this, 15 mins left for the flight the little girl starts yelling for her daddy... who was sitting across the aisle and two rows up. WTF. That is all I have to say!

Nature Valley Stage #1: St. Paul Criterium

It was wet, the weather forecast was dismal. It was pouring for much of the day, and then let up around 3 when we pulled in to downtown St. Paul. I had made some sort of comment to someone about how it is nice that the volunteers don't have to set up the race course in the rain.... 20 mins later it poured.

My dad, Phyllis and Jen showed up to watch the race! It was great to see them and I wish there was more time to hang out with them. I got a good warm up in and all the ladies started the race in pouring rain. Right away the race strung out and people were slamming their breaks for the second corner (a decent going into an off-cambered left turn). The tight course was 1.1 km with 150 racers on it. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the front riders to begin lap the riders off the back. It was a cluster. I raced for about a half an hour and then was told that our group had 1 more lap. On my last lap, I went down on the 3rd corner. I slid out and slid across the pavement-- an easy crash really- except for my elbow and my 2-day-old bar tape! On the same corner people were crashing at least every other lap. It was carnage! crazy! Everyone is starting the road race tonight.

For some photos:

The officials ended up cancelling the men's race after a moto ref went down in one of the corners.

Stay tuned for 5 more stages!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday + new apt video

Okay, so here it is. Friday. I woke up and "unpacked" for an hour. Went to work... doughnuts and coffee.... or just coffee for me. Anyhow, we had our specailized rep in town to tell us all about the FSR mtn bikes and HOW cool they are and all of the "kool-aid" to go with it. At u-bikes, we call most techy garbage Kool-aid. It is good to know, but most customers won't understand a lick once you start even mentioning the word "components." So mentioning the horst link, the brain, rebound, sag.... and others can make for once confusing conversation.

Anyhow after that I prepped to go on one epic solo voyage. I left at noon- rode from Boulder to Lyons, Raymond, Riverside, Ward, Nederland and back to Boulder. This ride took about 5.5 hours and was absolutely gorgeous. I wish I had my camera. I was going to pack it, but was out of space. For this ride, food was more important. Once I was up in Raymond (after about a 20 mile climb...) I was riding on the Peak to Peak hwy. This is a beautiful road. At one point, a car quickly pulled to the side of the road and the driver jumped out w/ thier camera.... I thought I had better smile, because they were taking a photo right of me coming up the hill. I looked over my shoulder, and there was longs peak. Absolutely beautiful. I can't wait until Gabe and I climb it later this summer/fall.

I finished up my evening w/ a well deserved shower and a crappy dinner. The best part of the night was Missy, Kris and Craig coming over for adult beverages! oh! and my phone conversation with Gabe. It is so nice to be able to host people now!

"Happy Thursday"

Even though it is Friday, I need to tell about some adventures yesterday. I had the alarm set for 6 so I could get my ride and efforts in before going to work. Unfortunately, I awoke to more RAIN! So needless to say, it was easy to hit the snooze... or actually just turn the alarm off. I worked from 10-7 at the bike shop.

Here's something that tends to be common in Boulder (the bubble that is 20sq. miles surrounded by reality). A gentleman and his wife came in the shop yesterday at about 5:45. I began talking to the wife as Catherine was showing the guy some sweet carbon road bikes. Turns out he was planning on going on a ride the next day (which happens to be today) to Jamestown, so he 'needed' a new, light bike.

So, I stood to the side and cracked jokes with his wife, while he test rode some bikes, both $4000, both sweet. I left Cathererine with the couple to go dust some bikes (or something to that effect). Next think I notice.... she has him test riding a specialized s-works... which retails for about $5200. The guy is going on a 30 mile ride. He isn't winning the Giro! He bought the S-Works. Crazy! Most importantly, the guy is super happy and loving his bike! I'm sure it will help him beat his friends to Jamestown.

So after work, I busted home, changed and ran out of the house to get my workout in. All things were successful, only thing is that I was coming home in the dark. I brought my back light so I was safe (don't worry Mom). I took the Boulder Creek path all the way home when it was almost completely dark. I have to say, I was smiling the entire time. This multi use path winds along Boulder creek under all major roads and past numerous parks. I happened to meet up with some people who were on the Thursday Night cruiser ride. They dress up their bikes, turn on their boomboxes, and cruise the town shouting "Happppppy Thursday!"! It was great. So the last crazy cruiser I saw was a guy in costume riding a 3-wheel bike. he had something in the back basket (stereo?), tiki torches (lit) on either side of the basket, and a green light underneath his bike... throwing out some sweet ground effects. Mind you it was completely dark, so all I saw was green ground effects and tiki torches. I passed him and told him that his bike was the best bike I had ever seen. He laughed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We got back from Tulsa, OK on Monday and I was able to get all of our stuff moved into our new place! The new place is beautiful- in an excellent neighborhood with cool people and a Trail that takes you down to Pearl Street-- in 3 mins. And I'm happy to report that the ride back up doesn't' take that long either.

It is considered a studio apartment because it doesn't have a door on the bedroom, but it is definitely big enough-- plenty of storage, a nice secluded patio, newly remodeled, bamboo floors, and a sweet bathroom. I am already enjoying it! My things are still in boxes in the middle of the floor, but I figured I'd take my time unpacking!

As for Tulsa, it was a good weekend for the team. Overall , we didn't take home any wins, but for us I feel like we worked well together and learned a lot AND had fun! The community of Tulsa really pulled through to run the race on Sunday. They had a crazy storm come through-- knocking down power lines, trees that closed roads-- all in the middle of the day on Sunday. They cancelled the races before ours and worked together to get the pro races going! How awesome. Thanks Tulsa!!!! Tulsa update Coming soon w/ photos!