Occasional Adventures

Obviously, my post frequency has taken quite the hit with the onset of a 40+ hour work week. I’m getting settled in to a routine, though, and likewise, getting settled in to a rental house after being somewhat “nomadic” for a couple of months when I had to make the transition from living/working in the mountains to living/working in Denver, then dealing with moving and working a lot. It’s getting better, though.

First off, don’t forget- I’m selling a small Jet9 RDO. In order to be competitive with eBay pricing, I’m pricing it at $1900, shipped anywhere in the lower 48. It’s still in the box. I’ve only taken it out enough to snap a couple of pics of the color (slate/black/yellow).


As I alluded to in my last post, life now is days at Elevation Cycles in Highlands Ranch, riding when I can, and MMA classes a few days a week at the new (to me) gym. Weekend before last, the shop sponsored a work trip to Fruita. All three shops closed early on Saturday (and remained closed until Tuesday morning), and everyone rolled out to go west to the desert. Since I had Saturday off, I took full advantage and went to a jujitsu seminar with Andre Galvao.


It was a great day of learning. Also, I had the privilege of watching two people get black belt promotions (the two dudes on the outside of the pic below). It was emotional… in a room full of really tough athletes, there was hardly a dry eye.


Afterwards, I loaded up the Subaru and started my trip west (somewhere along the way, I rolled over 100k). The desert scenery and riding never disappoints. We rode the Lunch Loops and Ribbon trails on Sunday then Kokopelli on Monday. Dave- the service manager/mechanic in at the bench next to mine, who could be mistaken for my older brother based on riding style, proximity to gingerness, and general surliness, rode the drop in to Horsetheif.







I am the only woman between the three Elevation shops (other than the lady who does all the important stuff like paychecks and whatnot). I definitely put some pressure on myself to prove that I could keep up with the guys. I feel as though I was mostly successful in that.

Work itself has its expected high and low points. Example-

High point- geeking out over rehabbing a classic old Pinarello with Capagnolo Nuovo Record-




Low point- assembling a Speed Concept


It’s like trying to assemble Ikea furniture without an instruction manual.

Saturday, on my day off, I went up to 92Fifty to get the rest of my stuff out of the bike shop. I took the opportunity to go explore the nearby James Peak Wilderness area at the end of Rollins Pass road.


I’d passed the trailhead multiple times over the summer, and wanted to check out the snow and stuff. Hiking a trail in feet of packed-in snow was a lifetime first for me. I can’t wait to go back a little more prepared and hike up higher.






That’s about all of my adventures for now. I’m posting pretty regularly on Twitter and Instagram if you’re in to those things (links over on the right of this page). I mostly stay off of my personal facebook page. Facebook has become a shining example of how terrible,  uncaring, and racist a lot of people are. I don’t want to waste my time confirming something I’ve suspected all along, so I quit really giving it much attention.

Work, MMA, and a Jet9 for Sale again!

Since my previous post, I’ve focused more on getting settled in to my new job and new house (signing a lease sometime next week to make it official. Woohoo!) With short days and cold nights, I haven’t been able to ride like I normally do. It’s going to take some re-adjusting to my new schedule in order to get back in to a routine where I’m able to keep some sort of fitness over the winter.

I did get out on Monday with Joe, the Rocky Mountain rep. He lives in the Ken Caryl area, which means he has access to the trails on the private Ken Caryl property.



Working at Elevation Cycles is good. Saying that my coworkers Dave and Brian are really good wrenches is somewhat of an understatement. I’d let them overhaul my bike before a race and not even check it over before I started. Also, the shop dog Ella is in love with Indy. She tries her best to get him to play, but since he’s 99% deaf and 85% blind, he just stares at her and shakes when she starts hopping around him and yipping. When he sleeps (most of the time), she comes back in to the work area to check in on him hourly.


The shop is closing early on Saturday the 7th and will be closed on the 8th & 9th for a trip to Moab. It’s pretty rad to be at a place where we get a most-expenses paid trip to go ride someplace rad. Since I’m off on Saturdays, I’m gonna leave early in the morning and get an extra ride between here and there.

Outside of work and riding, my winter “stay active while working a bunch” plan is to get back in to the gym for some MMA training. I’ve never been as fit and felt as good as when I trained MMA, and it’s something I can do after work on most days of the week. Tonight, I’ve got a first lesson/evaluation at this place: http://www.thetrainingcamp.net/

I’m funding my winter of MMA with one of these:

The New Niner JET 9 RDO

Yeah… so, when I was taking photos of scratches on my Jet for a potential eBay buyer, I found some small cracks in the seat tube. They’re sending out a warranty frame in the colorway pictured above. If you’re interested in a small slate and yellow frame new and in the box, I’ll sell you this one for $2,000, shipped to your door (they’re on Jenson USA right now for $2,300). I’m going to also put it on various online swap meets through facebook, but if it sits for a while, I’d consider other reasonable offers before I put it on eBay. Email me andrea at brickhouseracing.com if you’re interested.


Finding Peace.

Life since Breck Epic has been hectic…

Ok, that’s an understatement, but I’m gonna roll with it.

There were a couple of late-season races. I went to the Winter Park XC finale the weekend after Breck Epic and felt alright despite the physical destruction I experienced the previous week. I can attribute that, in part, to the wisdom I’ve gained though years of racing. I felt like a total animal off the start, but knew that on partially-recovered legs to not follow that feeling and end up fully shelled and barely moving forward. Wise pacing paid off, and I won the “King of the Rockies” race, giving me 2nd place in the series behind a woman who’d just attended a couple more races than I had.


Then, there was Cougar Slayer. You park in Boulder, take the bus to Nederland, and race back to where you started.


It’s a net loss in elevation, but is still an absolutely brutal course. Since it was a gps-navigated course, and I attempted to use a Garmin 500, I got lost a lot. I had to sit and wait at intersections repeatedly while my Garmin caught up to me. I eventually resorted to riding with other (slower) people with better GPS units. So, I missed the 8 hour cutoff for the handmade belt buckle. I do get the 100% totally uncelebrated, unrecognized (other than right here) title of “first woman to ever complete the full Cougar Slayer course.” So, there’s that.


I realized while I was on course at Cougar Slayer that physically, I was recovered (and possibly even stronger) from Breck Epic. However, I wasn’t mentally prepped for the final task I’d scheduled for my season- Vapor Trail 125. It became obvious to me after a couple of race days that the Breck Epic rivalry between Sara Sheets and I had become legendary. I had all sorts of people I’ve never met before asking me about it (Sara is somewhat legendary herself, so the idea that another rider came out of “nowhere” and challenged her to the point of near physical breakdown astounded a lot of people). You can’t go to a race like Vapor Trail 125 without being fully prepared both mentally and physically, so I bailed on it…

Maybe next year.

Getting away from racing and on to the point of my extended hiatus and this blog post… Somewhere in the midst of the whole “living in the mountains” experience, a hard reality hit me.

I belong nowhere else.

I’ve alluded to it in the past, but I’ll go ahead and say it out loud here- I was having some serious issues while living in Memphis. From the time of Vapor Trail 2014 until I left town in March, I was basically a prisoner of anxiety attacks and their resulting depression. If the trails were too wet to ride (common in the Memphis winter), you have to ride on the road if you want to ride at all. I kept having panic attacks when I was road riding. I kept feeling like a failure, a worthless person, and all the other things that go along with losing the ability to do something you once loved because of an invisible handicap.

Then, the mountains happened. I found a place where I could exist with the option of not having an anxiety attack any time I rode my bike. Last Spring, Someone wished that I find peace where I was headed. I feel like I finally have. I feel at home in the mountains. My soul feels at peace here.










I’ve found friends in the mountains, too.




…because, basically, this is how I felt in Memphis:


As a result of my decision to not go back to Memphis, part of my “too busy to write a blog post” was procuring non-seasonal employment and a place to live… both pretty tall orders in Denver/Fall. In the midst of it all, I went with 92Fifty teammate Tim Lutz to 24 Solo Worlds in Weaverville, CA. Along the way, we stopped at Park City and Lake Tahoe, which are pretty amazing places to ride.








When I came back, I had a job at Elevation Cycles waiting for me (the Boss there was pit crew next door for Kelly Magelky at the Worlds race). So far, it’s been pretty rad. It’s the first shop I’ve been in where starting pay can cover real-life living expenses, and none of the employees seem disgruntled & under-appreciated (aside from 92Fifty… where I was the only employee, and was neither disgruntled nor under-appreciated).


So, this is now… a rental house in Lakewood, career-path bike shop employment, and a lifetime of mountains to explore by bike. I feel like myself for the first time in a really long time.

Breck Epic

When I started Breck Epic Stage #1 with 4 other singlespeed women, I really had no idea how the week wold turn out. My experiences there the previous two years have been that everyone rides kinda hard and the race ends up unfolding on its own with generous time gaps between the participants. This year turned out to be very different.

On day one, Sara Sheets and I rode to the first singletrack together. However, after the first climb/descent, she disappeared in to traffic going up the next climb. I figured it wasn’t worth chasing my ass off on the first day, so I just kept it steady and finished 4 minutes, 27 seconds behind her. That’s nothing in stage racing. I was stoked.

What followed after that was the hardest 4 days of riding either of us could possibly imagine. I rode downhill with reckless disregard for personal safety because I knew I could out-descend her and make her chase. However, by the last descent of stage 3, she reduced my downhill advantage to an easily surmountable gap. We traded uphill blows as well, both riding and hike-a-biking. We’d periodically battle from the time we cleared starting-climb traffic until we would get to the final descent of each stage, absolutely exhausted, and she’d let me roll ahead of her and finish a few seconds ahead. According to the power numbers, we raced each day a little harder than the previous. It was sort of nuts.

You can hear the daily reports (and some early-week interviews with other racers) on the JRA Mountain Bike Radio Page: http://www.mountainbikeradio.com/just-riding-along/breck-epic-2015/

We finally relented for Stage 6 and rode at a friendly pace for the shorter/easier final stage. It was a relief to cross the finish line. I think we both couldn’t quite believe what we’d just been through…

stage 6

I had a lot of people ask about my bike setup for the race. Steve Domahidy of Domahidy Designs was nice enough to let me use one of his Ti Hardtail frames. I put a Pike on it (the one off my new Pivot 429sl) along with Industry Nine Pillar Ultralite Carbon wheels, a Quarq powermeter, Endless 22t Kickass cog, a dropper post, Ergon grips and SMC3 Saddle, and some beefy-ish Maxxis tires. I took that bike through Hell and back, and everything was incredibly solid (and comfortable as well).


I also want to send my appreciation out to some other sponsors who helped me through the week in one way or another…

Gu Energy Labs (Daily, I consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 scoops of Roctane Drink, 3 scoops of Gu Electrolyte Brew, 7 Roctane Gels, and a bottle of Recovery Brew)
92Fifty Cyclery
Elevated Legs (every day for at least an hour!)
Smith Optics

There were also some great photographers on course, and I’ve been sharing a daily pic or two on my Facebook page.
Devon Balet
Eddie Clark (responsible for the great stage 6 finish photo above)
Micheal Kane (took the other nice shot of me riding)
Liam Doran

Mike McCormack and his army of staff & volunteers put on an amazing event.

Ready to Rock

I think it’s been one of the busiest recovery weeks I can remember. That last Winter Park race was rough- and rightfully so. I basically was lumping race days in with more long training days, recovering during the middle of the week, then repeating the cycle over and over. Each time, the block of training days felt a little harder until finally, right on schedule, I went to race the last XC race, and my body was like, “DUDE, WTF???!?”

So, I took a few days off, and I’ve been riding on a more “normal” schedule since then. I even went for a nice hike on Fairburn Mountain, which is just across the street from my neighborhood. I could hang around in the aspen tunnel all day…


I also found this in the middle of the woods. No trail, no other sign that people had even been there for a long time-


Last week, Jessica and John from Texas came through while she was on a big road trip. I showed Jessica my favorite trail in Golden Gate Canyon- the Mountain Lion trail. It’s one of my top 5 favorite descents, ever. There aren’t many people I’d take straight to that trail, because it’s got some rocks, roots, and plenty of places where you can hit your front brake and see those things up close. However, Jess excels at rocks, so I knew she’d be game.


The next day, we went to Rollinsville Pass. I wanted to show them the train trestle on the Winter Park side, but a storm cloud began gathering and growing as we neared the top. So, in order to avoid the lightning and hail I’d encountered before, we turned back at the Needle’s Eye tunnel.




Monday, Kenny from Memphis also made a road-trip stop-through. Matt and I rode with him at White Ranch. My legs finally felt like they’ve turned a corner and started to feel really good. I pushed the pace a little on a climb, but kept the ride short and sweet after that. Kenny and Matt went on to ride some more, and I went home to eat and recover in the Elevated Legs.

Side Note- There will be an Elevated Legs squeezing station at Breck Epic. It will cost a little money, but considering how much you’ve invested already if you’re doing the race, it’s chump change. I will be nearly living in my set of Legs when I’m not racing because they really work to get rid of that heavy, dead, post-race feeling. You should check them out for sure.

It’s definitely a tough to balance between recovery and visitors, but I seem to have come through it successfully. It’s a good thing, too, because the ladies’ singlespeed division at Breck Epic is small but strong. I’m full of beet juice and awesome right now, though. I’m also going to be racing this totally kickass bike-


After the Steve Domahidy episode of JRA (one of the best ever, BTW), I hustled my way in to him letting me borrow one of his Domahidy Designs titanium frames. I put my Pike on it along with all my singlespeed parts, and it rides great. It makes me even more excited for next week.

Bike Race/Human Race

I raced my third Winter Park Cross Country race yesterday and secured my 3rd win in the Singlespeed category. For as awesome as the previous race was for someone on a singlespeed, this one was bad. I rode the same gear- 32×21, and, while I usually expect gear choice to be one of compromise (gear so that you’ve got the “right” gear for a majority of the race and gut through the rest), this time I felt like I had the wrong gear- on either end- for a majority of the time. It started on a five mile climb with the last mile or so being steep, rocky forest road. There were a lot of similar sections where I was either standing on my gear at 30 RPMs or hike-a-biking. There were what seemed like an equal number of slightly downhill gravel road sections where I was totally spun out for minutes at a time.

I probably wouldn’t have had as hard of a time with the steep spots if my legs weren’t loaded up with Breck Epic training. My average power numbers were definitely a little on the low side. Unfortunately, I forgot my garmin at the previous race where I was feeling awesome, so I can’t compare between the two with anything other than knowing I felt way better last time and finished 4th overall for the women rather than 16th like yesterday (the course had a little to do with that for sure, but I’d still expect better).

So, now I rest. Of course, I’ve suddenly got all sorts of ideas for crazy rides, but I’m forcing myself to take a hiatus from them until after the Epic.

I feel like I need to take this chance of having some spare Sunday afternoon time to write a rebuttal to my own blog post from a couple of days ago where I stated that everyone needs to be humbled by the mountains so that they learn another level of respect for nature. One thing I’ve also learned from being in Colorado is that everyone also needs to live for a given period of time in a place where you see, on a day-to-day basis, the products of a large minority population living at or below the poverty line. In Memphis, you can’t get away from it. You don’t have to watch the news- it’s visible any time you drive/walk/bike in the inner part of the city. No matter how high you build your fences and how much you gerrymander school and voting districts, the crime and difficulties that result from a population of individuals oppressed by generations of lives of poverty are visible all over. There are zip codes in Memphis that have 3rd world infant mortality rates.

I’ll never personally know what it’s like to be a poor black person, but you’d better believe that living in Memphis made me realize just how privileged of a life I’ve had as a middle class white person. There are a lot of people here, living in their unique mountain bubble, who haven’t and won’t ever see, first-hand, the struggle that some people face just to exist in everyday life. It’s not their fault, and I’m also not saying there aren’t people struggling and poor in Denver. I’m saying that the crime and problems that exist as a result of a huge population of people in need are far more invisible here than they are in Memphis. The end result is a noticeable undercurrent of attitude and behavior that lack both gratitude for one’s good quality of life and empathy for those who don’t share that same quality of life. Not that people like that don’t exist in Memphis, it just seems like there’s way more of them here.

So, Colorado people (or maybe I could say anyone lucky enough to have a house, computer, and internet), some of you need to realize just how lucky you are to be in such an awesome place. Don’t take your mountains, nice weather, and generally high quality of life for granted, because there are sooo many people who will never get a chance to experience what you’ve got.

Respect the Mountain

If everyone on earth had to live in the mountains for a few months, they’d learn first hand that nature is something that you respect, because it’s way bigger and more powerful than any of us. It’s not just predators like mountain lions and bears, either. The mountains, in general, don’t play around. You have to know what’s out there and prepare for it, and you still may get caught off-guard on occasion.

The other day, I went out for a ride up Rollins Pass. It was my 3rd attempt at getting to the top, and, I’m happy to say, I made it up…



…and over



Something wasn’t right, though. I usually love being over treeline on top of mountains. It’s a very special place for me. Instead, I felt anxious. I wanted to get down… for no obvious reason that I could see (there was that one grey cloud that skirted by in the first photo, but it was otherwise nice), hear, or think up. I just didn’t want to be there, which is way out of the ordinary for me.

So, rather than explore around up there, I started back down the way I’d came. Just as I crossed back over the tunnel you see in the pics, a huge, black storm cloud appeared from around the mountain in front of me. On top of a mountain, lightning is both extremely dangerous and absolutely terrifying. It was at least two miles to get solidly back below treeline where there was less chance of getting struck. I saw some people hiking away from their truck with Missouri plates, and told them, very firmly, to get back in their truck until the bad weather passed. Then, I put my jacket on (you always carry a jacket up here because it’s possible to go from 70 and sunny to 45 and raining/sleeting/hailing in two minutes flat) and pedaled my ass off to get down the mountain.

Luckily, I was into the trees when the storm was overhead. Not totally safe, but way better than being exposed. It’s a good thing, too, because the thunder was deafening. There was hail… lots of hail. I didn’t want to stop because I didn’t want to get hypothermic (my pocket windbreaker is great, but it has its limits). It was incredibly painful, but at that point, I was just really glad that I wasn’t being struck by lightning. I didn’t get a picture then, but here are a couple of pics from a nearly identical storm I drove through the other day. The hail was so blinding and thick on the road that traffic stopped for a few minutes-



When I arrived back at my car (parked at the nearby Moffat Tunnel), My upper thighs and back were welted from the hail. That was scarier than a bear outside your RV at 4am.

Also on the list of “non-predatory things that could kill you” are moose. They don’t have natural predators in this part of the world, so they aren’t afraid of much, and occasionally get territorial towards humans. I was riding with a teammate the other day when we rounded a fast corner and startled this guy off the trail. He went right back to what he’d been doing, I snapped the photo, and we GTFO of there.


Yesterday, I went out for another adventurous ride into the backcountry. The same thing happened- I started a large moose as I descended into a small clearing. It moved so fast, I only saw the back end of it as it jumped into some thick foliage. It was as if someone was driving a brown minivan into the bushes. I kept going without trying to get a good look at it. I definitely heard it snort at me.

I respected nature and everything in it before I got here, but in the last few months, that sense has been elevated to another level. While the risks are still relatively low, it’s still humbling and awe-inspiring and so many other things all rolled in to such an amazing place.


Getting in to the Garbage

Though I’ve been out of Memphis for 3.5 months now, I’m still getting involved with the stupid stuff that happens there. Namely, this: Stanky Creek Time Trial

If you click that link and read the race flyer for the Stanky Creek TT, you’ll see that women don’t get an actual race. They race their respective categories, against dudes. It’s not even about equal pay at this point… it’s the fact that there’s not even a WOMEN’S CATEGORY. The promoter could break a limb off a tree and write “winner” on it or find a pair of crappy socks in the LBS bargain bin… whatever. That’d be shitty, but at least there’d be some sort of recognition that yes, women actually exist, and sort of matter. A friend of mine from Nashville (part of the Tennessee Women’s Cycling Project) brought this up on Facebook and questioned the race promoter about it, and this was the response:

“It could be debated all day long and from all points of view, but we did what we felt was the most fair and the most economical. We would love your feedback and the feedback from all the women after the event and will consider it for next year.”

After further talking with the promoter, he admitted that the women’s categories are always a loss of money, so if she could find a sponsor herself, he’d make a women’s open time trial. I immediately jumped on the offer and put up the $60 required to make a ladies category. She told him that the money was gathered and that the sponsors would be Brickhouse Racing and Just Riding Along on Mountain Bike Radio. He then refused to put anything on the flyer that had to do with me. Apparently, we’ve had some sort of differences in opinion in the past (that I don’t know about). He later told my friend that he didn’t want her money and that he’d make a women’s open race without it, but they’d only get a payout if at least five women showed up. They’re still trying to work out an amicable solution, but she’s prepared to take the money and give it out herself, despite his wishes. 

That’s a load of garbage right there. I don’t really care about not getting recognition. I’m just glad that the women are going to get treated fairly, one way or another. We talked a little bit about it on a special episode of Just Riding Along with special guest, Amanda Batty.

Here’s my afterthought- Women’s categories at races may just add up to be another expense, but they’re soooo necessary. Think of it like this- if you’re a promoter, you wouldn’t NOT have portapotties at your event, would you? No. They’re an expense, but a very necessary expense. One that you expect to have. One that you plan for out of respect and comfort for the people who come to your race. I hate comparing women’s racing to a porta-potty, but THAT’S how necessary it is to have a women’s category at your race.

On a totally different note, at 4am this morning, I awoke to what sounded and felt like someone, or something, was stomping around on top of my RV-house. The noise continued, the RV shook, and I realized that there was a bear raiding the garbage cans that sit directly behind my bedroom wall. I looked out the window to see, no more than a few feet away, a large black bear was dining on a bag of garbage. He heard my window open and darted off with the bag in his mouth. A few minutes later, he returned for seconds. I yelled at him from the window, and he ran off for good. Black bears in Colorado are way bigger than the large dog-sized bears in Arkansas.





Jet9 RDO for Sale

This bike was purchased back in 2011 soon after the Jet9 RDO was first released. In 2013, I broke the front triangle while racing Trans-Sylvania, and it was replaced under warranty. So, this is a 2013 bike with a newer Fox Shock, carbon links, and 142×12 rear triangle.

I’m selling the frame (it’s a size Small), SID RCT3 fork (120mm), Chris King headset, Zipp stem, Niner carbon handlebar, Hope seatpost collar, spare derailleur hanger, and a nearly new GXP bottom bracket in a PF30 adapter.

This bike has been used. It is in good condition, but the frame and fork do come with some cosmetic scratches and chips. When Niner warrantied the front triangle, they sent to protective tape uninstalled. I suck at installing those things, so the edges peeled, and now it looks less than perfect. Everything still works great, though.

I’m asking $1600 plus shipping (if you’re in the Front Range, we can work out a delivery). Email me andrea at brickhouseracing dot com if you’re interested.

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One Last Jet9 Adventure

This week, I’m replacing my trusty Jet9 RDO frame with a Mach 429sl. The Jet’s been a pretty badass bike. I’ve used it to win two Tennessee State Championships, climb huge mountains, climb small mountains, tackle rocks and roots from Memphis to Colorado, raced two enduros on it, and basically turned to it any time I wasn’t sure what sort of challenges I’d face on a given ride or race. If you refresh the page a few times, you’ll see that the Jet is a reoccurring theme in a lot of my adventures.

In my quest for Breck Epic prep, I decided to do a huge ride Sunday to stack some fatigue on top of my sore cross country legs. I went with 92Fifty Team friend Shane, who wanted to ride the Cougar Slayer course. Per Shane’s recommendation, I took the Jet9 because A) I wasn’t sure what the trails would be like, and B) I figured it’d be a nice final epic ride for that bike before I sell it off to the next person. We planned a shuttle, and he loaded the course into his garmin. He figured it’s take us somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 hours.

Easier said than done.

Within the first 30 minutes, we were searching for a turn off of a forest road and on to a trail. We eventually found it when we saw three random old dudes on circa 1995 mountain bikes riding through the woods on a trail not far from us. One guy’s canti brakes were howling as he picked his way down a long descent. The trail dumped us out at what looked like someone’s driveway. Luckily, no one was home.

We were somewhat lost other than knowing we were west/northwest of Nederland. That’s basically how much of the adventure went until we arrived at the Sourdough and South Saint Vrain Trails. I’d never ridden them, but Shane was somewhat familiar. I lost my front wheel on a rock climbing up Sourdough and fell on to more rocks. Luckily, I wasn’t any worse than bruised.

Soon enough, we were back to only having a vague idea of where we were… somewhere near Ward. After some more forest road riding, we found ourselves on a moto trail near Gold Lake. It was pretty terrible. We were both getting to be death-march tired and were only 30-something miles in to the course (the course being 62 miles plus another 10-ish to get back to his house from the end). I did get a nice picture of the view from the top of a ridgeline climb.


Soon after, I wrecked again near the bottom of a descent that was so blown out, it was basically a chute full of loose rocks and sand. Still just bruised, we descended more of the same stuff to Lefthand Canyon Road, where, at mile 40ish/6 hours, Shane brought up the option of turning left instead of right to leave the course and head back to Boulder. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, we decided to go back to the house (the tipping point for me was that I’d left Indy on his porch, and I was a little worried about him).

It was a tough day. We finished up with 54 miles and 5,500 ft of climbing… though, if I had to make an educated guess, about 5200 of those feet were climbed by 35 miles into the ride. I was beat. And, to top it all off, pulling up at Shane’s house, I realized that I’d left the keys to my car- our shuttle vehicle back to Nederland- in my purse, in Shane’s car, in Nederland. I had to call Matt to come up after work and give us a ride to get Shane’s car.

At least Indy was perfectly fine. On the way home, I stopped and picked up a pint of cookies and cream ice cream and ate the entire thing. Those two things made the day more tolerable.

I needed a brutal beatdown of a ride like that. I need to get at least one more of those in my legs before Breck Epic, and several more of them before Vapor Trail 125… two months from now.