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.

July 17, 2010

Breck 100 pre-report report

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 8:31 pm

Did the damn thing. On the singlespeed. 12 hours, 53 minutes, and 5th overall of all the women that had finished when I left the race venue. Time for beer.

July 16, 2010

Day 23- Pre-Breck 100 Rambling

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 9:51 pm

I tried to chill as much as possible today, though I probably did a bit more walking than what’s “recommended.” I went back to the Blue Moose for breakfast… seriously, they have the best coffee of any place I’ve been on this trip. I wish they would open at 4am for a pre-race meal like the one I had before natz.

After consuming mass quantities of cheese omelet and coffee, I went back to the hostel for a little while to let it digest and catch the end of today’s stage of The Tour (Schleck had better dig into his suitcase of courage when it comes time to TT). Next up- massage… it was niiiiiiiiiiiice (though not quite as intense as the one I had in Frisco a couple of weeks ago). And yes, my legs are still a little sore from the hike down from Elbert on Wednesday. Shut it.

After, lunch and some work on my race resume. Somehow I’d lost the previous file, so I ended up having to go back on USA Cycling and re-do most of it. By the time I was finished, I wanted to ride around a bit and stop by packet pick-up. A couple dozen laps of the pump track were in order as well:


So, now everything’s ready to go. This is it. The culmination of my trip. The reason why I’ve been on the road for the past 3 weeks, riding and pushing my bike up every possible hill along the way. I’ve been staring at Wheeler Pass all day today- every time I’ve sat down someplace, it’s been there, giving me the “face off ” look that fighters give each other when they step into a cage fight. Time for bed…


Day 23- Back to Breck

Filed under: Out West Trip — Andrea @ 9:51 am

I can’t lie- I was sad to leave Leadville. It’s a gorgeous, awesome place with a lot of great people. However, I’d already reserved my spot in Breck, and wasn’t able to change it. So, I packed up and headed north.

I was in town too early for check-in, so I did a little grocery shopping, visited the liquor store to pick up some local brews, had a picnic lunch in Carter Park, and wandered around town a little bit. I wanted to ride the pump track, but there were a bunch of kids/parents all over it, and I didn’t want to get shown up by an 8 year old, so I nixed that plan. When I finally checked in, not much was going on. Too early for dinner, no one to socialize with… I was bored.

(for the first time since I left Memphis a little over 3 weeks ago)

Eventually, I went to dinner @ the Breckenridge Brewery. I love how nearly every place in town has multiple vegetarian options. The vanilla porter was delicious, too. The remainder of the night at the hostel was quiet. I watched the Tour replay and had another vanilla porter. Renshaw is a courageous leadout man. Sucks he got DQ’d for keeping Dean from getting on Cav’s line.

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