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


Day 7- Recovery

Filed under: Out West Trip,Training — Andrea @ 6:43 am

Sunday was all about recovery.

I woke up stiff and sore, had breakfast at a local place in Victor (lord, I’d forgotten about green chili on eggs), and got a kickass massage. As soon as I was finished, it was off to Jackson to pick Ryan up at the airport.

We hung out for a little while in Jackson and had a late lunch/early dinner at a Thai place. While we were there, some bikers took a liking to my haircut. Enough so that one guy asked if I minded if he took a photo. I didn’t care, and I took one of him, too.

Speaking of mohawks… the Curiosity Mars rover landed successfully. Why is that speaking of mohawks? Well, this guy was the flight director: Bobak Ferdowsi. Maybe now, the mohawk will be seen as more of a sign of rebellious intelligence rather than social rebellion. On the other hand, there’s also the off chance that every hipster and wannabe will now decide that mohawks are the ultimate in irony. Time will tell.


Once we were back in Victor, we rode over to the pump track. I freaking love pump tracks.

Afterward, I waded in the icy creek for a few minutes to put the finishing touches on the recovery trifecta (massage, ride, and icebath).

The recovery road to Breck Epic is off to a screaming start…

August 6, 2012

Pierre’s Hole 50 Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 9:14 am

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling hungover.

Quick physiology lesson- when you go to altitude, there’s NOT less oxygen in the air. The air pressure is simply lower. The lower pressure means that there’s less of a drive to force oxygen across the membranes in your lungs, so you end up with less oxygen in your blood. When you arrive at altitude, your body’s first reaction is to attempt to concentrate your blood by dumping water out. It’s a lot like what happens when you drink alcohol, just at a slower rate. It can, however, result in a similar headache/run down feeling like what you’d get with a hangover.

I remember last time I was at altitude that a few days in, I had a similar morning. I took the morning off, had an early lunch at a greasy spoon in Cimmaron,  NM, an relaxed a bit. I felt better by that afternoon, and from there I continued to feel more “normal” with the ~7000ft of altitude.

Saturday, I had to race. At 6am, I felt pretty rotten. Luckily, the race didn’t start until 10:15. I had time to take some aspirin, mainline several gigantic cups of coffee, and make a delicious omelet that included feta cheese and leftover roasted sweet potatoes. I felt slightly better about the time I started packing the car to leave.

In the race parking lot, there were a lot of other women. I have no idea how many other women were racing, but it was a lot more than any other race- local or 100- than I’m accustomed to. They all looked strong. I fought off intimidation by thinking about how hard I’ve trained leading up to this race. I readied myself and rolled around for a little while to warm up. The race started like Syllamo on steroids… straight up a 500 foot climb on the ski hill access road then down a really fast descent. Everyone wanted to get to the singletrack first.


I rolled up to the start area and weaseled my way up to almost the front. It was a good spot- only one other woman was ahead of me, so I knew I could keep an eye on everyone and have an idea of my placing as we cruised up the hill. It was a good strategy. When the race finally started, I rode at my own, hard pace. I could see the woman who was ahead of me, and one other passed me, so I managed to enter the singletrack in 3rd place.

The descent from there down is the “mill creek” section. It takes about 20 minutes to get down and begins with several swoopy downhill switchbacks… the ones I wasn’t very comfortable with negotiating. This time, though, there was a guy ahead of me that was actually holding me up. He wasn’t being totally slow… just cautious. The ground was incredibly dry and dusty, so it was very hard to see the trail ahead in the crowd of riders. Eventually, the slow-ish guy overshot a turn, and I passed him. I increased the speed a bit, and made it down quickly (and even got a compliment from the local guy behind me for picking good lines).

The next part of the course was a paved road climb. I paced myself at about 8.5 mph. During the next few miles of climbing, I was back and forth with several women- one of them on a singlespeed. I was unaware that there was a women’s singlespeed category for the 50 mile. Would I have done it? I dunno… both the women who passed me were riding 32×20, and, as I’d found out earlier in the week, that was too much for my level of fitness/acclimatization.

We then descended Bustle Creek, which dropped down lower than the road we’d just climbed. Again, the track was so dusty that you couldn’t really see the ground. There were a lot of washouts and holes that I narrowly missed by blindly following the guy in front of me that looked like he knew where he was going. The course then cut through a ranch and climbed back up some doubletrack. Amanda had previously described the climb to me as “soul-crushing.” It was hard, and, in some spots, very steep. It was there that I caught up with another woman on a singlespeed. I passed her when she walked the steep spot at the start of the climb, then she caught me in the middle, then I left her again on the steep spot at the top. I thought she was gone, but she caught back up and passed me as I tried to recover on the road climb that followed the doubletrack out of Bustle.

As I cruised in to the last aid station on the loop, Evan Plews, the men’s 100 mile leader, passed me. As we both drifted towards the aid area, he yelled at me to GET OUTTA THE WAY.

Uh, yeah dude.

The last part of the loop was a swoopy, rolling trail with a couple of rocky patches. I realized there that I was getting more comfortable with the higher speeds of the mountain hills vs. the ones I was used to back home. I passed back through the start/finish area, topped off a bottle, and headed back out for another loop. A couple of miles down the trail, I realized that I was feeling overly tired. I’d neglected to eat much during the last section of trail. Knowing that the long descent was approaching, I made the decision to pull off the trail and cram a powerbar. While I was doing that, another woman rolled past me. I got back on the trail and started to reel her back in. I noticed that I was getting the most time back on the technical and downhill spots. Within a few minutes, I was on her wheel, and she let me by. It was motivation enough to send me flying down Mill Creek at breakneck speed (I caught a couple of guys who had passed me back before the start/finish).

P.S. The Jet9 RDO LIVES for descents like Mill Creek.

The next climb was mostly a solo effort. I knew there was at least one woman coming for me, so I kept the pace going. It wasn’t until the second time up Bustle Creek that I saw another female racer. I started reeling her in. When I passed her, I tried to look like I wasn’t sweating out of my eyeballs and breathing like an exhausted racehorse. Once I was back on the road, the caffeine from the gel I’d eaten at the bottom was starting to kick in, and I pushed the pace a bit until I reached the top.

After a quick stop at the last aid station, I headed back out for the last few miles of course. Suddenly, my right thigh cramped itself into a giant knot. I yelled at it and beat it with my fist. It eventually calmed down enough that I kept going, though it kept threatening to cramp again whenever I’d go uphill. I backed off, but then realized that the last woman I’d passed was a couple of switchbacks behind me. I was going to beat her or lock up completely while trying. My hail mary strategy was to stand up every climb and push a hard gear. Sounds odd, I know, but the cramping was worse if I sat and spun.

Thankfully, it worked.

I rolled across the line in 5:33. Thirty minutes behind the winner, and good enough for 6th place overall (They placed me as 4th women’s open, but 2 women in the singlespeed category finished ahead of me as well). I was exhausted and stoked.

Stoked with 6th? Yeah. Why? Well, since CX season ended, my races have basically been solo efforts. Either everyone is a lot faster than me or a lot slower than me. I haven’t had the chance to actually be competitive and race with other women. So, yeah. I’m super stoked. I left everything out on course.

Watch more video of 2012 Pierre’s Hole 100 NUE on


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…

August 2, 2012

Roadtrip Days 3 and 4

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 4:44 pm

Yesterday and today, my riding included a healthy portion of the Pierre’s Hole loop.

I’d previously been highly undecided as to whether I’d race the 50 or the 100 mile version of the race. Other than Amanda, the NUE-bound contingent at this one is thin. Not that I ever think a podium is inevitable, but the chances are better than usual for me. After a slow start to my NUE season, the points and press from a podium finish would be really helpful. The press, especially. Getting a mention in Cyclingdirt or Cyclingnews is always a nice ego boost.

However, looking ahead (and back, for that matter), my focus is the Breck Epic, which starts on the 12th. With my recent periodic bouts of difficulty in recovering from hard racing/training, the prospect of recovering at altitude from 100 miles of racing at altitude is a risk that could leave me starting a 6 day stage race with some leftover fatigue.

I made my decision while I was riding the singlespeed on Wednesday. Fifty miles, full suspension bike. Focus =self preservation for Breck Epic. I’ve learned in yoga class to not let ego take control and jeopardize well-being. Turns out, this can apply to bike racing as well (instructor Debbie is gonna love reading this one).

The course is a 25 mile loop based from the Grand Targhee resort. It’s beautiful, though I’ve figured out that I have little to no skill at negotiating the steep, groomed 180 degree switchback turns in the downhill direction. Those don’t exist in any place I’ve ever ridden (save the Super D course at Winter Park two years ago), so I just don’t have enough trust in the relationship between my front tire and the berms to maintain mach speed through them. I foresee a local person or two yelling at me on Saturday when I brake like mad and roll around them nice & slow.

Today, I rode the Jet. I’ve always thought it was fun, but I’ve never really pushed its limits. I probably didn’t on today’s ride, but I got a lot closer than my previous rides around Memphis. That bike lives for courses like this one. The PH50 might as well be billed as a Marathon super-D race. I’m excited.

Also today, there was a wildfire somewhere in the area. When I left for my ride, the entire valley was filled with smoke. Kinda reminded me of the summer haze back in Memphis…

August 1, 2012

Day 2 Photos

Filed under: Out West Trip — Andrea @ 3:04 pm

Another gallery… includes a feedlot (you could smell it a few minutes before you could see it), lots of scenery shot from the driver’s seat of the Element, and a construction zone that involved a pilot car. I finally made it, though…

Roadtrip- Kilometer Zero

Filed under: Out West Trip — Andrea @ 2:41 pm

Half of Sunday, I spent riding, packing, and generally pacing around the house trying to remember all of the things I usually forget. My Mom stopped by and dropped off some goodies (pictured below). No matter how old you get, you’re never too old for your mom to bring you up to speed on snacks before you leave for summer camp.

Unlike most of my other car-based adventures, I was actually pretty well-prepared by Monday morning. My goal was to leave by 7:00, and I made it out by 7:34 with the goal of getting as far through Nebraska as possible. I took the slightly scenic route somewhat diagonally through Arkansas and Missouri to Kansas City. After a late lunch there, I continued north. There was a lot of corn, and a very nice sunset somewhere close to Nebraska City. I eventually rolled in to Grand Island around 10:30 and found a Super 8 that smelled vaguely of urine due to a fresh cattle trailer parked next door.

Tuesday, the driving continued, though it did get a little more scenic- especially since my GPS decided that I should take the scenic route north from I-80 to get to Victor. I ended up in tourist traffic in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton parks, but made it to Amanda’s in time to go for a short ride and work some of the car out of my legs.

Driving is generally kinda boring. Like this blog post. Here are some photos from day 1. I’ll make the Day 2 gallery a separate post…

July 21, 2010

Days 26 and 27- The Road Home

Filed under: Out West Trip — Andrea @ 7:25 am

I’m not gonna lie- the drive out of Breckenridge was depressing… as was the grunt on I-70 to Denver. Within a short time, all I could see of the mountains in my rearview were the big, fluffy clouds that float over them. I set my cruise control at 80 and did my best to not look back.

The drive was just boring. I seriously considered staying up and driving through the night, but I was so uncomfortably sore and bruised up that I decided to stop in Tulsa and get some sleep. The next day, I found comfort in seeing the Ouachitas as I passed through western Arkansas. Of course, they aren’t the same, but they are where I’ve cut my teeth as both a trail runner and mountain biker, so they feel like home.

When I stopped in Conway for lunch, I felt mild culture shock. I’d forgotten how large everyone was in The South. I wanted a salad, but all of the ones on the menu included chicken. Then, I noticed that on the entire menu, the closest thing to a vegetarian entree was a grilled cheese off of the kids’ menu. I ended up ordering a crispy chicken salad without the crispy chicken.

Then, it was on for the final push to Memphis. I don’t know about you all, but I love the Memphis skyline. I knew I was home when I almost wrecked while admiring it- there was an old, rusted out truck pulling an equally decrepit trailer that was stacked well above cab-level with wooden pallets “secured” with a rope that was looped around the pallets and under the bottom of the trailer several times. He was in the middle lane going about 40 mph.

Ah… home sweet home.

Some things, you can only get in Memphis. I heard this song on the radio soon after avoiding that truck. No matter how awesome my travels are, the first line of the song (~35 seconds in, after the Biggie sample/hook) still rings true (warning, there are some “bad words” in this song)…

July 20, 2010 Article

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 8:54 am

Hey, I’m “Equally as impressive…” as the fast chicks!

Breck 100 article on

July 18, 2010

Day 25- Breck 100 Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 11:06 pm

I picked a heck of a race for a first try at a singlespeed 100.

With a reported 13,719 feet of climbing- much of it on singletrack, the Breckenridge 100 is considered one of the hardest 100 mile races in the U.S. (and, yes, before you ask… even harder than the Leadville 100).

I arrived at Carter Park early and set up a small pit area, and soon enough people were gathering for the neutral rollout from the park to the beginning of the course. At 6:00am, we were off. Loop 1 started with the tallest of the climbs (a hair under 12,500 feet) over Wheeler pass (the same climb I was on a little over a week ago when I ran in to the insanity that is mountain weather). I did my best to pace myself on the way up. Even though I was feeling good, I walked the pitches of road that were redlining me.

Once we were off of the jeep road and on to Wheeler Trail, I had some bad luck. Going up one sharp uphill pitch, the guy in front of me stalled out. I tried to put my foot down, but the ground dropped away so steeply from the side of the trail, there was nothing to put it on, and I somersaulted down the hill sideways and slid another 10 feet or so. Luckily, the ground was soft, and I rolled into a good tuck until everything stopped spinning. The descent on the other side was precarious- the trail is steep and covered in a lot of loose dirt and rocks. Even though I was being more careful than usual, I still managed to fall and split my shin on a rock. The two spills were enough to shake my confidence a bit the rest of the way down.

After a few miles of bike path, the course turned back up the Peaks Trail. After the initial climb, that’s one of my favorite sections of singletrack- a lot of rooty, punchy climbs that suit an aggressive riding style. I was thoroughly enjoying myself when the singletrack gave way to the pavement on Ski Hill Road to head back into Breck/Carter Park.

I made a quick pit stop before starting loop 2, though it wasn’t quite quick enough. As I was heading up the crazy switchback hill out onto the course, the 68/32 mile races started their neutral rollout. They got to skip the first loop that the 100 mile riders rode and began their races on our loop #2. This meant that as I was trying to pace myself on the initial climb, I was forced to either speed up or stop and get out of the way for charging 68/32 mile racers. That sucked. A lot. I lost several minutes waiting for conga lines of those guys storming up the trail.

I eventually dove back in when the guys wearing white cotton gym socks started showing up.

Once that nonsense cleared out, the course followed part of the Firecracker 50 course to the French Gulch climb. This is the same one that I’d suffered through 2x in the Firecracker course. I’d fully support operations to strip mine that mountain into oblivion.


After getting through that part, it was mostly downhill for a while to an aid station where one of the workers thought it’d be cool to tell people that the next aid station was only 3 miles away with a little climb. He acted dead serious in saying it, but I was suspicious, so I filled both of my bottles. Other people weren’t, though, and tried to cover the following rather difficult portion of the course with only 1 bottle. To make matters worse, the next aid station (which was much further aweay than 3 miles) was out of plain water. Luckily, the trail snaked along the outer part of a golf course, and many of us refilled at their water fountain.

Somewhere along there, I rode with a woman who said she was in the 100 mile SS race, but I never saw her on the results sheet (even as a DNF), so I don’t know what happened to her.

During that loop, I started getting some really bad pain in my right big toe. It felt like an old running injury from a couple of years ago, so I was hoping that I could avoid getting off of my bike for anything because every time I walked, it felt like my toenail was trying to explode off of my toe. That was prettymuch the only time I was hating life during the race, and luckily, the final loop was reletively mild.

Loop 3 was, by far, my favorite. During my preride the week before, I’d taken a wrong turn and gone up a horrible, rutted, steep dirtbike trail from Indiana Creek to Boreas Pass. So, I was plesantly surprised to see that the course was routed on a much more rideable jeep trail. I made the time cutoff over Boreas by 40 minutes (plenty of time, but I’d like to not even have to think about it in the future). The descent from Boreas onto singletrack to Como was AWESOME! It went from a slight, flowy downgrade to rock gardens that were really fun to pick through. Once I made the turnaround at the Como aid station, I headed back up what seemed like an endless hill back through Boreas Pass.

The nice thing about that loop is that it ends with 10 miles of almost all downhill riding. It gives you time to relish in the fact that, barring a catastrophic accident, you’re going to finish a really, really tough race. I crossed the line in 12 hours, 53 minutes. Apparently, I was the only SS woman that finished, and my time was good enough for 5th place overall in the women’s race (all age groups- geared/SS).

F***ing Awesome.

After a podium photo and some food, I headed back to the hostel to get cleaned up and get out to celebrate. I ended up at a nearby bar (aptly named the “Dive” bar). The night almost got off to a bad start when the “way too drunk” guy started hitting on me and getting waaaay in to my personal space. I told him to leave me alone and tried to ignore him, but he was persistent. I told him that I was going to beat him if he didn’t leave me alone. Apparently, the bartender overheard and had one of the emplyees escort him out before things could get out of hand.

At the bar, I met a really cool British couple who was in Breck for a vacation. I also met an aspiring country music artist and all of his friends, who, after a few rounds of drinks, sang along with “She Thinks my Tractor’s Sexy” when someone played it on the jukebox. Really great way to end one of the hardest race days I’ve ever had and the best road trip I’ve ever been on.

« Older PostsNewer Posts »

Powered by WordPress