brickhouseracing

December 25, 2012

In Defense of Hike-A-Bike

Filed under: Trail Riding — Andrea @ 3:47 pm

With Ryan out of town visiting family and Poolboy Matt off work for Christmas, we decided to make a quick pre-Christmas trip to Syllamo. Rather than the usual trail riding, I convinced Matt to join me in exploring a couple of off-trail paths that looked as if they were once “roads.” During the course of both Saturday and Sunday rides, we ended up pushing our bikes for slightly upwards of 20 minutes in order to navigate steep, overgrown, and/or deadfall-covered terrain. Matt (bless his heart) did his best to stay positive, but I could tell that he wanted to stab me in the neck with a chainring.

This brings me to my main point of this post- why are so many people so bothered by hike-a-bike???

It seems like most riders (I’ve heard it from everyone- average joe to all-out pro) hate traversing/climbing/pushing/carrying over less ride-able terrain. Why? Short of things like yellow jackets, wasps, and belligerent motorists, I can’t wrap my head around the concept of hating anything during a mountain bike outing.

In less than 1 minute, I came up with this list of 10 things worse than hike-a-bike:
- Root canal
-Rush hour traffic with lots of angry commuters
-Being late to anything
-Overcooking a really nice cut of meat
-Air conditioner out of order in the Summer
- Running out of anything important on Christmas day and all of the stores are closed
-Desk Jobs
-Homelessness
-Fast Food
- Listening to people argue politics

See? You could be experiencing any one of those things (among others), but instead, you’re out in the woods with your bike. How can that possibly be bad? (unless yellow jackets or wasps are involved) It’s like listening to road racers complain about wind or a hill or something… it’s just a “thing” that comes with the territory. Embrace it.

December 11, 2012

Decisions…

Filed under: Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 3:40 pm

I need help picking colors for two Industry Nine wheelsets.

The easier one will be a mountain wheelset- the type with the baller I9 hubs & spokes and a black aluminum rim (the rim I’ll get is not a stan’s rim as pictured in the link, but the other options are the same). I’ve already settled on purple hubs, but the spokes, I’m not 100% sure on. I was thinking that black, gold, and purple should all be included, though I’m not sure as to what extent. My bikes are black (Air 9 RDO) and black & white (Air 9 CYA SS), and my kit will be purple and black.

The one I can’t make up my mind about is the road wheelset. Once again, I’ll have my choice of I9 hub color, but the spoke options are either black or silver with whatever color nipples I’d like as well as either black or silver for the rim. I want flashy without trashy, and this is the bike they’ll be used on most of the time:

Don’t say red. Red is way overdone.

November 26, 2012

Thanksyllamo 2012

Filed under: Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 9:48 am

It’s going to be a bit of a long post, but I figured since the stuff that happened before the termination of my Thanksyllamo weekend wasn’t incredibly interesting, I’d just hit the high points and get to the (blood)gushy stuff.

After a fun Strava-hunt road ride with Ryan, Matt, and (Matt) Robbins (home from PT school for the holiday), Ryan and I got to packing the singlespeeds to make the drive up and over to the cabin in Mountain View. Last year, we started the tradition of inviting friends to the cabin for riding, eating turkey, and all the requisite shenanigans. I brine & roast a turkey, cook other traditional holiday food, and it’s generally declared the “best turkey ever” before everyone passes out on the couch/recliner.

We arrived in Mountain View Thursday evening. WalMart was bustling with employees getting ready for the black friday sale that was starting 2 hours early (preparations included pallets of stuff wrapped in plastic lined up in the aisles with tags saying “do not remove until 10PM” as well as various balloons showing customers where to start lines for bigger ticket items, like the 952in TV and whatnot). We collected what we needed for dinner and got up to the cabin to enjoy some wine, football, and turkey brining. Later that evening, Matt made it over as well.

Friday, we rode the green trail and most of the orange and blue trails. The highlight of the ride was likely the discovery of the beaver dam just downstream from the 3rd creek crossing… and by “discovered,” I mean we were about halfway across the creek when our bikes nearly floated away, and we had to wade through thigh-deep water to the other side. Just past that, there was a huge tree blocking the trail, and, further up, a re-route of some sort that led to us getting out of the woods onto a logging road in an unusual spot. We were out for about 3 hours before we went back to the cabin to meet up with Zandr and start cooking dinner.

Dinner was awesome, by the way:

Saturday morning, we decided we’d wait until Kenny arrived from Memphis before we rode. I gathered some tools and went back to the beaver dam/tree-blocked area of trail and cut a re-route from the main trail to the low side of the dam and back up to the main trail just past the fallen tree. Other than some finessing of the steep section just before the large tree (it’s too soft/steep, so in order to prevent excess erosion/blowout, the trail needs to be a more gentle bench up the side of the hill rather than a straight shot), the re-route should keep the riders and the beavers happy.

When I arrived back from my trailwork, Kenny was at the cabin, and everyone was getting antsy to ride. We decided on a lap of the yellow trail, starting with the “easy” side that climbs from the middle trailhead up to the red trail before dropping back down into the fun/rocky section. Once on the trail, everything was going well. I was leading the train as we hit the first mini-garden of rocks. I rolled though with no problem, but just on the other side, something caught my front wheel and teleported my bike off to the right, slamming me left knee first onto the ground. It hurt like a mofo, and, for a minute, I sat on the ground doing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5reDsSIiAk (sorry, some glitch in the wordpress matrix is keeping me from posting the actual video here. It’s an all ages video, so click away)

Being chilly out, I was wearing knee warmers. I’d hit my knee hard, but, my usual M.O. is to not look under the knee warmer when I fall. However, just a few minutes up the trail, Matt stopped for a flat tire, and I noticed that there was blood coming out of the knee warmer. Uh-oh.

I decided I was going to go back to the cabin and take care of it. However, by the time I rode back 1/2 an hour and drove 15 min to the cabin, it was still bleeding, and the pain radiating out from my kneecap was ominous. I decided I’d go to WalMart in search of a walk-in clinic, or at least some butterfly strips that I could use to close it up.
I arrived at the pharmacy and, as I’d expected, there is no walk-up clinic at the Mountain View WalMart. I explained my situation to the pharmacist, and he said  that the only place I could get stitches right now would be the emergency room, but he’d be happy to take a look at it and tell me if he thought I’d need stitches. When I pulled the top of my knee warmer down (I’d changed out of cycling clothes otherwise, but the knee warmer was doing a good job of absorbing blood), the cut oozed out enough blood to make the pharmacy tech, who’d also come out from behind the counter out of morbid curiosity, gasp and say, “bless your heart!”

Pharmacist: “How long ago did this happen?”
Me: “Uh… close to 2 hours ago?”
Pharmacist: “If you want this to stop bleeding and heal up faster so you can get back to riding, you’re gonna need 4… maybe 5 stitches. Those butterfly strips aren’t gonna do too well on something that moves as much as your knee.”

Well, crap.

So, I purchased a first aid kit and some other random supplies. I made a deal with myself that if I went to the ER, and it was packed with people, I’d go back to the cabin and try to patch myself up. If it weren’t busy, I’d go in and get a professional to do so.

I walked in, and the waiting room was totally empty. The check-in lady blessed my heart at least 3 more times before they took me back to a gurney and cleaned everything up for evaluation.

A lady who was trying to pass a kidney stone came in just after me, so I think the doc looked at her first, because I was waiting in there a while. He decided on 4 stitches and an x-ray since I was getting a nice bruise and some swelling on my kneecap. Luckily, the x-ray was clear.

The nurse handed me a Tylenol-3 prescription, which I refused and told him I was going back to the cabin to sit in the recliner with an ice pack and a glass of wine. This wasn’t totally true, as when I arrived back at the cabin, I found the four guys (Ryan, Matt, Kenny, and Zandr) pacing around the kitchen like starved animals and snacking on anything that didn’t require cooking. I warmed up leftovers and made fresh cornbread before officially retiring to the recliner for the remainder of the night.

I’d hoped that by getting stitched up that I’d be able to ride a lot sooner, but it’s slowly becoming clear that the badly bruised kneecap/under kneecap area is going to cause me much more pain and suffering than a few stitches. Instead of riding with Kenny and Ryan on Sunday, I went home early with Matt and laid around watching football and periodically icing my knee. I’m bummed, and I’ve got no idea when it’s going to not hurt enough to ride again. At least the weather is crap today. I had to take Turbo to the vet to get a small mammary tumor removed & biopsied, so I’ll probably lay around in my pajamas the rest of the day and attempt to edit some GoPro footage into a cheesy montage while I wait to hear back from the doc. Here’s a picture of some cuddling dogs to pass the time…

August 20, 2012

Next?

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 7:33 am

So, now that I’ve conquered The Epic, what do I do for an encore?

I think that this trip solidified my wishes to (next season) leave 100 mile racing to people who enjoy racing for >7 hours at a time. I like the 3-6 hour timeframe. I like stage racing. I like stuff that’s really damn hard.

I’m entered in the Shenandoah 100 and Fools Gold 100 right now. Both are terrible singlespeed courses if you’re racing geared riders (especially the SM100). With races scheduled 1 week apart, I’m not sure which I’m planning on doing, but I’m leaning more towards Fool’s Gold. Both, you say? Yeah, of course I’m thinking about going to both. It’s sooooooo much driving, though…

Then there’s always the Pisgah Stage Race the 17th-22nd. I loved riding the tech stuff at Breck. Maybe I’d love Pisgah more?

I don’t know… I’ll probably figure it out the week before Shenandoah.

August 11, 2012

Day 12- to Breckenridge

Filed under: Trail Riding,Trails,Training — Andrea @ 2:20 pm

Ryan and I were up early to put everything in the car, drink lots of coffee, and get to the airport around 7:30. It was time to say goodbye to the Tetons and travel across the vast high desert/plain/whatever you call it to the real elevation. Sometimes, I get bored and take random out the window and self portrait photos…

 

Once I was in Breck, I had just enough time to unpack at the condo and get in a short ride on some “neighborhood” trail and (of course) the pump track. Even after hours in the car, my legs were still feeling great. I was cut a little short by rain, though that’s probably a good thing since I’ve vowed to eat most meals in my condo. So, I needed to get back and go to the grocery store for provisions. What I’ve realized so far is that being a mountain tourist town, groceries here are stupid expensive. I’m not sure that it’s going to cost any less to not eat out, but at least it’s a bit healthier since I won’t be tempted by some of the more delicious things like french fries and pie.

 

Day 11- more recovery (again)

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 2:04 pm

Since I’ve fallen a little behind on the updating, I’ll keep 11 and 12 short and sweet…

With the advent of recovered legs on Wednesday, Thursday, I was itching to go back and conquer the moto trail that we’d bailed on the day before. However, under coach’s orders, I had to take it easy. So, instead, Ryan and I drove up to Targhee and rode the Rick’s Basin part of the PH course backwards (spoiler alert- it’s easier that direction!)

I rode the singlespeed and took it as easy as possible, though, relatively speaking, that’s not 100% easy compared to riding geared.

Afterward, I went back for one last dip in Moose Creek. I also tested the “underwater” feature of the new camera. It may not take the absolute best photos, but at least I won’t smash this one like I did the previous…

 

By then, it was time to start dinner and packing. Friday, I’d drop Ryan back off at the airport and make the 8.5 hour drive down (up?) to Breckenridge.

August 8, 2012

Day 10- Testing the Legs

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 9:43 pm

Today was my only ride with much intensity between Pierre’s and the Epic. The mid-week workout on the training schedule between race weekends is never without a tiny bit of anxiety, because if it’s good, you know everything is on track, and the next weekend will likely be kickass. If it’s bad, then the next weekend is uncertain- I’ve definitely had my legs turn around by Thursday and Friday. I’ve also been in a hole.

Since Saturday, I’ve done everything I can to help my body recover from Pierre’s. Today, it was apparent that it’s paying off. I felt like there was no altitude.

We tried a few trails near Victor. I’d seen what looked like a nice singletrack climb on a local internet trail map. We rode several miles on a violently undulating powerline road before turning onto the real climb. It was incredibly steep, occasionally rocky, usually washed out, and covered in moto tracks. We alternated between pushing and riding for a half mile (average of 13% grade for the 1/2 mile). Unfortunately, we were low on water, and I was thinking about not totally wearing myself out. So, we turned and rode back down.

I hate that. Live to fight again, though, right?

Some people would have hated our ride today. We were on an exposed, steep powerline gravel road for a while. Then, we pushed and fought with a blown out moto trail. I don’t get why people hate rides like that. They’re hard. They aren’t flowy, smooth, or even technical in any sort of way that most people think of as rewarding. It’s a mountain bike ride, though. They aren’t always pretty, smooth, ride-able, or anything else that people long for when they come across trails like this one. I’m going to have dreams about what I missed by not fighting all the way to the top.

Ryan, picking his way down a sketchy, rocky/rolly descent:

 

The next climb:

Day 9- Tourist Day

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 8:20 am

Tuesday, I took a day off the bike. Ryan and I decided to indulge in some of the local tourist fare. Amazingly enough, he’d suggested going horseback riding. If you’re just now joining us here at The Blog, you should know that I used to be pretty damn good at riding horses. However, I’d never suggested the vacation trail ride since Ryan (according to his own account) “might have ridden once as a kid.” So, when he said something about going for a ride, I jumped on the opportunity.

On a related note, I’d like to officially thank Mitt Romney for being so obnoxiously, controversially rich, that NBC see it fit to show the Olympic Dressage competition in a stretch for ratings. I was getting sick of swimming, gymnastics, and beach volleyball. I digress.

Amanda suggested Linn Canyon Ranch. I signed us up for the 3 hour lunchtime tail ride. When we arrived, we met Melissa, our guide, and Ashley and Roscoe, the horses. The ride was a gorgeous trip on BLM land through Aspen groves (some of them had to be hundreds of years old), pine trees, and open meadows. Other than Ryan’s horse (Ashley) taking him off-road through some bushes on several occasions, everything went swimmingly. After lunch, we swapped horses for the ride back, though Ashley was wise to my experience within the first few minutes and never went bush-surfing.

Afterward, we ventured over Teton Pass to Jackson and checked the Aerial Tram to the top of Mt. Rendezvous. Tourist trap? Sure. Scenic? Incredibly so…

 

August 7, 2012

Day 8- More Recovery

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 7:07 pm

Monday was another laid back day.

After laying around and watching some Olympics, we went to late breakfast at the Teton Waters Ranch restaurant (they sell some amazing grass-fed beef there, too). Then, we followed that up with more laying around and watching Olympics while killing time before the tour at one of the local breweries.

 

After a little more snacking and laying around, we took off to explore some more of the local trails. I think I’m still dragging ass a little from racing on Saturday, but the scenery was worth it

 

August 5, 2012

Day 5- Pierre’s Hole Pre-Race

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 10:21 am

The day before a race is always a mix of nerves and recovery.

Friday morning, after a few cups of coffee, I took the Enve wheels off of the singlespeed and readied the Jet for its first endurance race. The decision to ride that bike hinged mostly on the descents in the PH race loop- one 20 minute long downhill from the Targhee Ski Resort to the valley floor and multiple other fast, sweeping ski hill trails. The full suspension provided an extra band-aid for my unfamiliarity with prolonged high-speed descending.

After a quick spin (I found a pump track!!!!) and bike wash, Amanda and I drove down to Moose Creek, an ice-cold stream fueled by snowmelt. It’s colder than any icebath I’ve ever had back home. Then, lots of relaxing with podium legs, dinner, and Maddie the dog…

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