Tag mtn biking

getting dirty at blankets

blankets creek dirty duathlon (directed by local adventure racer lisa randall), i jumped at the chance to race on the trails i learned to bike on. they are just north of atlanta (in woodstock), so it was one of our local stomping grounds. after the bodbikegroup xmas party, we rode out here and i was surprised how much better i felt on the trails (yeah, i’ve improved a bit in the 2 years since i’d been here! ;)   so this could be a good race for me!

first, i’ll admit i slacked off with registering and before i knew it the race had filled! i got on the waitlist immediately and luckily a girl i knew couldn’t make it, so i was in. phew! i was able to crash at a friend’s house, so i drove down friday afternoon and was able to squeeze in a meeting with a client before meeting some people for dinner.
saturday morning came early and my plan to arrive at the race an hour early to get a decent transition spot backfired; oh, i was on time, but so was everyone else. i found a spot about 2/3 back – which technically didn’t make a difference as we all made a full loop around the pit. after claiming my spot, i spent the next half hour catching up with friends instead of organizing stuff and testing my bike (afterall, i just had the failed brake lever replaced! fingers crossed the hoff had it all finetuned!) 
the race started in waves to alleviate potential backup. the women went off 5th. as we waited, i checked out my competition – fellow bodettes jackie & mindy, multisport specialists kim & marisa, and sorella badass kerry. it would be a tough day! 1 minute after the masters men, we began our run. i darted to the front and found my pace. from the parking lot, we ran straight back to the dwelling loop, running it counterclockwise. i caught the back of the pack guys quickly, which energized me more. 3 women did pass me (although 2 were in the relay division so i wasn’t as concerned), but i was feeling strong and steady… that is until about 2/3 around the loop when my heart did that weird palpitation thing it does sometimes (like in the Waterfront Tri last summer and Hogpen Hillclimb 2 years prior). it was a very pronounce flutter, followed my a strange draining feeling throughout my body, leading to a bit of dizziness and my vision narrowing. scary, but at least i’ve gone through this before. i slowed, then stopped when i kept tripping. out of a lack of knowing what to do, i grabbed my inhaler which seemed to help settle things. i started jogging again after about 1.5 min, and was up to a run another minute or so later, although somewhat guarded. as we hit the stick of the lollipop that would take us back to the TA, kim caught up with me and we ran it into the pit together. (run time: 40:49.. approx 5 miles)

after a speedy transition, i was on the bike racing down to the right side of mosquito flats. this would have been a nice flat warmup, but there was a bit of a backup and of course its not always easy to pass on singletrack. i was a bit concerned, hoping this wasn’t going to be signs of things to come…   the course next took us through part of the new north loop (SORBA-Woodstock is doing a ton of work on this trail system, with this being their newest concentration – great job!!) kim passed me here, which was no surprise as she is an awesome cyclist; i had planned on chasing her anyways. next we hit the dwelling loop, again going counter-clockwise. this was interesting as all of times i’ve ridden this loop (like nearly a zillion), i’ve only been on it once or twice this direction. this will be interesting! luckily by now the crowd had thinned and i only had the occasional rider to pass (and vice versa). i had passed a few girls, so it was only kim in front of me – until kerry snuck by. grrr….   but a few minutes later (very near where my heart thing happened), i passed her on the side of the trail dealing with cramping. it did not sound good!  i crossed my fingers that the twinges i felt in my calf would not forth….
after dwelling we hit the south loop, which i have not been on in years. it is considered the advanced loop, with a few tricky technical spots and rock gardens – my favorite (not!) i was actually pretty impressed with my riding, easily hitting things that i don’t think i could before. but sometimes i paid a price – the power to get through a section would cause my left calf or right foot to cramp up. yeowsers! yeah, they didn’t stay away and i was left with a dilemma: power through a technical section and cramp, or get off & walk it (& feel like a tool), but not cramp. i ended up doing a bit of both… and at one point (with me off the bike and cramps attacking), jackie pedaled by. i cheered her on and got back on my bike. this loop seemed a bit long, but then again i couldn’t hardly remember it so i wasn’t sure how to pace myself. finally we started weaving through the pines and i knew we were close. after the drop off the hill (fun to zoom down even if i don’t catch any air), it was home james! i boogied it back in (although not catching anyone), finishing with a total time of 1:55… good enough for 2nd place in my age group (right behind jackie) and 3rd overall woman (kim won).  woohooo!!
we cheered on all the other finishers (it was a perfect spring day!) then got ready for the 2nd big event of the day: Outspokin’ Bikes had donated 2 sweet fsr specialized bike to give away. lisa devised a crazy race on clown bikes. it was hilarious! a young guy no more than 10 or 14?? won one, and the girl marisa i know won the other. congrats!!
the awards ceremony was short, sweet, and highly profitable. lisa really outdid herself the amount of prizes she was able to get for the race – over $14,000 of products & gear, with Outspokin’ donating over $9k themselves. (Thank you!!) We got to pick our own prizes, so i immediately went for a Thomson gift certificate (good for a seatpost or stem!) and the collective’s roam dvd  (the collective makes THE best videos out there if you haven’t checked them out yet). then i was also awarded the fastest transition time out of everyone there – yep, more than 200 of us out there and i was #1. hehe! i snagged some tifosi sunglasses. (i also won a bottle of monavie juice – intriguing stuff, where one shot it gives you all your fruits & vegis for the day. and it’s yummy!)

team amino vital! taylor & dayton raced the men’s relay, placing 2nd. 
lisa (the RD) + me, 2nd place age group / 3rd overall woman!

that night, my mtn biking friends had a party, so it was good to kick back, catch up, and drink a few. i drove back to chatt the next day and had a good (although slightly uncoordinated) recovery/easter ride with the hoff at raccoon. 

sunday training days

i haven’t kept up with posting things lately but that doesn’t mean i’m sitting back being lazy – on top of lots of training, work has been super busy too. i’ll write more about this past weekend’s duathlon soon, but here’s a quick visual recap of the previous two weekends…

shannon, jeramie and i hit the cherohala skyway for some road bike action. after fueling up with momma’s pancake breakfast, we drove over to tellico plains and parked near the ranger station at the base of the skyway. our plan was to ride up, over, and down to snowbird for a snack, then ride back up, over, and down. jeramie’s modest estimate was 5-5.5hrs. well once we got to the top we realized it was going to be closer to 6.5-7hrs… daylight would have been tight and the skyway isn’t a place to be caught at dusk. plus i don’t think we’d have brought enough clothing for the temps at the top an hour or two later. (and not sure any of us had the legs for 10,000′+ feet of gain today!)

totals: 4.5hrs, 57 miles, 6625′ elevation gain (started around 680′, topped out at 5390′ at Santeelah Gap)

the sunday before (that would be the weekend of the CPZ race i did not do), a group of us headed over to the ocoee for a tour of the big frog 65 race route. sunday’s weather was great – clear skies, but still chilly; a good bit of snow still on the ground. didn’t take too many pics – i had to work hard to keep up with the seasoned riders i was with. that is until my front brakes totally failed. a piston in the lever fell out; no trailside fix for that. luckily we were only 5 or 6 miles from the end, so i took it easy/safe. (thankfully i noticed this problem before a big downhill!)

totals: 4hrs20min, 38 miles, about 4000′ elevation gain

shannon, me, micah, jeramie, jamie

my ghetto feet warmers
(forgot my booties so i was at the mercy of jeramie’s leftovers. 
micah called them “grover feet”. hey, they did the trick…)

time to get high in the sky

they say be careful what you wish for; it just may come true. well, after 5 anticipation-filled weeks of wondering, hoping, and thinking about every what if in the book…… IT has happened. the participants of the 2008 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike “Race Across the Sky” has been announced. AND…. I MADE THE CUT!!

jeramie called me at work to congratulate me. i really had no clue what he was talking about at first…then i was jumping up and down in my cube at work. (they all think i’m crazy anyhow.) i thought we had a decent chance to get in – there’s actually a group of us from Chatt that turned in our applications as a team. it’s great that i’ll have local folks with the same goal to train with. but what’s even cooler is that my cousin Amanda, who lives in leadville, got in as well! (i recognize the names of several of her friends too).

to make sure i stay on task, i do have a coach that will be whipping me into shape and keeping me focused. this is the first time i’ve had one, but i’m super excited about his plans for me. (he’s a pretty kick ass athlete too… his focus on off road endurance events of many disciplines is what made him attractive to me. while my focus is the L100, i don’t want to stop running and plan to still do some adventure races and duathlons…..)

if you have any altitude tips, please send them my way (the race is between 9000 & 12,600′!!). i’m trying to figure out when to head out there for the race (maybe 8 days before??).. and possibly planning an early summer training weekend out there with some locals.

(now to figure out how to actually fall asleep tonight!)

a very dorky xmas

I headed to N.Ga for the annual BOD xmas party this past weekend. It was good to see everyone and catch up. A few pics are below. On Sunday, Clifford, Matt & his friend Chris went biking at Blankets. Wow, it’s been over 1.5 yrs since I’ve been here. It was a bit weird, remembering the trail (as I used to ride here a few times a month) but not having it exactly as I remember. Matt also took us on a tour of the new North Loop that is under construction – very nice! SORBA Woodstock is doing a great job down there.

Rusty & me

me, Clifford, Mark

the gals: tracey, amy, lisa, natalie

trev’s handy work, always in demand during the gift exchange. 
regulation championship cornhole set
wall art made from barbed wire, scrap metal & a chainring.


this past weekend i joined fellow vixens lisa & star (both headed to the Leadville 100) and colleen & her husband franklin for a big ride that i’ve been wanting to do for awhile: the cohutta death march.

it pretty much lived up to everything i’ve heard: painful. brutal. epic. the death march is a ride that circumnavigates the cohutta wilderness management area in north georgia. the ride is on forest service roads, with tons of elevation. since it was a loop, the gain/loss equals out, but it certainly did feel like we went uphill a heck of a lot more! about 2hrs into the ride we ran across jeramie, who was out doing a diff loop. (i just talked with him and he said he saw a nice big bear hanging out on the road where we had just come from. we didn’t get to see any wildlife though.)

the pace was solid and the leadville gals put a hurtin on me. they’ve been training so much; their fitness level right now is quite impressive! i’m definitely not there, but managed to hang on, although i was looking at spandex-clad butts most of the day. we really lucked out with the weather. the morning started off around a cool 62 and didn’t get much above 80. the clouds increased as the day went on, but the rain stayed away from us. about halfway through, we used franklin’s filter to refill our camelbaks from a creek (at least this one could be classified as running water, unlike the puddle i used at the UOG earlier this summer). we kept well fueled and hydrated, but my legs still burned constantly. my pack was also hitting my lower side back funny, which was quite annoying. with 2 hrs left, we came across some houses with people outside that kindly let us use a well to refill our paks once again. i really wonder what they think when they see us ride up… i’m sure we looked/smelled grande…

not much more time to go and things have been pretty uneventful. no crashes, no bears, no bad weather, no freaky motorcycle guys… then on a nice descent (and i have to say, i’m getting much better at them, with the new bike & hydraulic brakes…), where i had a decent amount of speed, i hit a wasp of sorts. and of course it stings the crap out of me – the inside of my lower lip to be exact. yeah, NOT fun. i’ve only been stung by yellow jackets a few times, and this was much bigger and too black to be one of those. not knowing if i was allergic to this thing, i hightailed it down. when i met up with everyong at the bottom, i had tears running down my face, was trying desperately not to hyperventilate, and my lip was throbbing so much i couldn’t talk (like when you leave the dentist with half your face numb). i took a benadryl to help with the swelling… it did the trick. but it also sucked every last bit of energy i had. there was about 45min of riding left and it was sooo hard. my eyelids were heavy, legs not wanting to move like before. it was like the sleepmonsters coming after 20hrs of adventure racing. not fun!!

we made it back to our cars finally and hit a cracker barrel for dinner, consuming massive amounts of food. (i had all but passed out in the back of the car before, then had to fight off a food coma!)

i’m still pretty sore and tonight’s tuesday night ride was not an easy one. but, it was a great workout, and as i said, very humbling.

a few stats:
80 miles
approx 8000′ of elevation gain
8hrs 16min ride time
(total time about 1 hour more)

steppin up the training

so with the Montana race around the corner (in exactly 2 months we’ll be done with it!), i really need to log a lot of miles and elevation. this past weekend, i joined star & lisa (both training for the Leadville 100 mtn bike race) for two days of biking. on saturday we headed back to the ocoee for a 5hr ride (about 4 hrs on forest service roads and 1 hr on singletrack). then on sunday when our legs were nice & tired, we hit the road for a 5hr ride from red bank to graysville (79 miles). while i took today off, i decided to register for the Cherohala Challenge, a 115-mile road ride in the Smoky Mountains in 2 weeks.

Here’s what they say about it:
THE Challenge: 115-Miles
The Dragon: US129 with its famous 318 curves in 11 miles.
Cherohala Skyway: a road with the highest average elevation of any road its length east of the Mississippi.

These legendry ribbons of pavement are joined by scenic, rolling, country roads in Tennessee and North Carolina and together create an unforgettable epic ride.

The 115-mile loop begins/ends in Tellico Plains at an elevation of 900 feet. The route twists through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests and climbs to 5,300 feet with over 9,000 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy some long descents after reaching the top, but before you coast into town, you will contend with “the sawteeth”, over a dozen 0.5-1 mile rollers.

And check out this profile – ouch!!

memorial weekend….

since the whole car clutch fiasco last week, my weekend plans went topsy turvy. instead of hitting a wedding down in hot, smoky florida, i was able to hang local and indulge in a few days of fun. i couldn’t justify spending money on a race saturday, so instead i helped out and ran sweep for the first 16 miles of the inaugural scenic city trail marathon here in chatt. (mostly on the jones gap segment of the cumberland trail we’ve run a few times.) while the pace was slow, i got in a good run on a hot day…. however, i have a few mysterious welts on my legs that are a bit annoying and i see a huge patch of poison ivy surfacing on my forearm. big props to joey and the boonies for putting on a great event!

on sunday, i joined jeramie, jim & star for a long mtn bike ride out at the ocoee. after a delish pancake breakfast at cracker barrel, we headed to thunderrock campground, where we ran into fellow adventure racer kim moore from georgia. she joined us on a killer 4.5hr tour of some great forest service roads. we did see a black bear cub bounce off the road at one point, but luckily no momma was in sight. i swear we did more ascending than descending. my legs were sore from the previous day’s run so i struggled a bit and bowed out of the single track finale (the snickers marathon bar i had towards the end wasn’t sitting well either). after refueling at subway, we headed back to our cars at the cracker barrel… where jim’s clutch decided not to work all of a sudden! (eek! i swear i had nothing to do with it!) luckily i had just renewed my AAA membership and used it to get a tow back to town. afterwards, the tow dude checked the clutch fluid levels, which happened to be low. topping it off with some brake fluid proved to solve the problem and jim lucked out. (unfortunately my problem was not that simple… or cheap!)

today i recovered and worked.. yes, worked, even though it was a holiday. my colorado cousin amanda arrives in the morning so i’m taking a few days off to show her what the east coast mtns are like!

update on the commuting last week: while it only equated to 2 full days, it was great. only some minor close calls with idiot drivers (nothing too close). i was definitely in super casual mode at work, but luckily i can do that. and i love being able to get stuff done around my house with my computer not being there! i’ll definitely be making more of an effort in the future to do this more.

The Birthday Ride…

The weekend may not have gone as “planned”, but today was a great day. I finally was able to hook up with SORBA-Chattanooga to help with some trail building up at Raccoon Mountain. It was a small group since it was Mother’s Day, but we got a good section on the new trail from East Overlook to Laurel Point looking great. After 3.5 hrs of manual labor, we worked up an appetite and ate lunch. Then I set out for my first trip on the new sections, which now allowed 1 complete loop around the reservoir. I rode it clockwise- which worked out well for many areas (EO to LP was nearly all downhill, and I got to go down Grindstone), but this turned the expert section even harder…. and this isn’t my forte to begin with. Yeah, it was slow going and some walking, but I had a fab ride, even if it was a solo endeavor. (I’m starting to like doing this, esp somewhere that is close, gets good cell coverage, and usually has other riders around just in case).

Animal count: 1 wild turkey (that surprised me as much as i surprised him), 1 4-5 foot black snake slithering away, and 1 tick.

Here are some pics I took of the rock path on the side of the dam… pretty amazing! (taken with my phone – didn’t bring the camera unfortunately).

Happy Birthday to Me!

OK, so the timing is merely coincidental… I’ve been doing some design work for Lynskey Performance (hopefully one day their site will go live!)… in the meantime, here are the fruits of my labor: their 310M, an absolutely stunning handcrafted titanium frame! Hopefully I’ll be headed down to the Mango Bike Shop soon to help out with the build… I’ll move some parts over from the Kona & Trek, then sell those to finance some shiny new parts.

a snowy recovery

So this week has been a bit lazy, but it’s ok – I need a bit of a recovery, right?? Wednesday, Chattanooga woke up to a nice coating of snow – a nice (little) taste of what I’ll be seeing next week in Colorado! Most of it melted by the next day, but some was still stashed on Raccoon Mountain for today’s mtn bike ride (about 13 miles).

So this brings me to the rest of my recovery. I was feeling good, stretching, taking epsom baths, had a massage.. did a light session on my trainer on Tuesday. Thursday I wanted to hit spin class, but it was full so I did weights and hopped on the treadmill for a light run. I did a 5min light run, but my right shin area was feeling a bit off. I stopped & stretched, then did another 10 minutes before I realized I just couldn’t do any more. Today’s mtn bike went pretty well, but towards the end (where there was more climbing), I started to feel it a bit more. Not a bad pain at all, but more of a sensation that just doesn’t seem right. a light tightness.

I stopped by Fast Break (local running store) to talk to Joey. His thoughts are that it is Anterior Compartment Syndrome. Bascially, the muscle becomes inflamed and too big for the sheath that surrounds it. When this condition is acute, bad things happen (that I’m not going to think about, but ironically, this was a condition shown on the Grey’s Anatomy 2 days before Mountain Mist.) If this is what I have, it’s not severe at all. But, I must be careful so it doesn’t continue to be inflamed. That means… more rest. Ugh!! Not what I want to hear when I have another event on the horizon. I’ll play it safe though, as this year is ramping up to be pretty good and I don’t want to sit out and watch for 3 months like last year!