brickhouseracing

August 20, 2013

Breck Epic- Stage 6 and 6.5

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 7:56 am

6.5? Yeah, more on that in a minute.

Stage 6 is a slightly more moderate stage, starting with a face-kick climb out of town, but then hooking in to Boreas Pass road, which gently slopes up to an aid station on the Continental Divide. From there, it drops down on the Gold Dust trail and loops back on another relatively gentle gravel grinder climb, back through the aid station, and down into town via Boreas Pass and some of the same roads/trails we’d climbed out of on the first day of racing. Basically, a giant figure-8.

Since Matt had helped me out so much during the week, I figured it’d be fun to meet him at the Aid Station and ride the back loop of the 8 together, treating him to one of the more fun descents and unique “channel” of the Gold Dust Trail without forcing him to traverse any stupidly steep or difficult climbs in the process. My GC lead was insurmountable, so I figured we’d just ride party pace and have a good time.

The start of stage 6 is a hammer fest up the bottom of Boreas Pass to get to the first section of trail (where the group bottlenecks and hits the granny gear). I was feeling my cross country/angry pace from stage 5 on top of the usual “6 days of racing” fatigue, so I didn’t do a good job with the hammering. I did go as fast as I felt able, though, and, as I had done before, I tried my best to grind up the steep spots rather than pushing. Eventually I made it out on to Boreas Pass and slogged my way to the top to meet Matt. I stopped to refill a bottle and he fell in with me to fly back down the trail.

We stopped once on the Gold Dust trail to help out a guy who needed a pump. On the enduro section following that, I realized that Matt may be having a bad day, because I dropped him going downhill (he’s got mad BMX kid skills, so he’s usually faster than I am). Once we were back on gravel and climbing back up to the aid station, it was confirmed- Matt was having altitude problems. Being the perennial momma bird, I stopped with him for a snack then towed him the best I could back up to the aid station. There, we handed out some Coors Lite (the PBR handup was already gone by then) and passed around a bottle of Red Stag. Matt rode off with Donna Miller and Devon Balet, and I took off to finish the course.

My favorite part of stage 6 is racing the whiskey to the bottom.

Later on that afternoon, we headed to the Quandry Grill for the awards banquet.

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Susan and I were joined on the World Championship podium with the Angry Single Speeder. As you can see, Susan has her pinching fingers ready, and I’m hauling back for an Epic sized smack…

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(of course, he’d given groping permission prior to his podium appearance)

While at the Quandry, there was much discussion of Stage 7 at the Gold Pan Saloon. Matt was feeling run down and drank a Red Bull and Vodka in an attempt to rally. However, as we sat later at the Gold Pan and the room started to get crowded, it was obvious that he was fading hard. He went and sat outside while I finished my drink and socialized with some of the nice folks from Osprey, who’d showed up for the Breck Bike Week expo. I went outside and found him sweating and looking pretty miserable on the steps of the building next door. So, I called off my stage 7 and we shuffled back to the condo.

The upside?  It did make Stage 8 (packing and driving) much easier.

The question of the night at the Quandry (via Matt) was, “how much would someone have to pay you to turn around, right now, and start riding the whole thing over again, backwards?” My answer? Nothing more than food and lodging. I loved nearly every minute of the race, and, if there were a 12 day version that included riding every course backwards, I’d do it in a heartbeat (I’m not sure if Mike McCormick, the race promoter, feels the same).

Now, as the winner of the official/unofficial Singlespeed Stage Race World Championships, I’m waiting on a tattoo appointment to get one of the “flowers” of my left arm tattoo filled in with world champion colors…

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August 19, 2013

Breck Epic- Stages 4 and 5

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 7:57 am

Yeah, I fell off the “write a blog post in the morning wait time” bus after stage 4. However, now that I’m home and have lots of spare time, I can elaborate on the fun of each stage…

Following stage #3, I was totally hosed (I can say that now since the race is officially over). After I’d cleaned up, I crawled into the bed and laid there, unable to sleep because my heart was thumping up behind my eyeballs. Eventually, Matt brought a pot of gluten free mac and cheese up to me, and I devoured the whole thing, straight out of the pot with a spoon. The remainder of the time before the podium/rider meeting was spent wallowing in bed and watching an afternoon COPS marathon.

So, the morning of Stage #4, I was kind of wondering what sort of legs I’d have. Last year, they’d come around well, and, luckily, this year was quite the same. After the first gut punch climbs out of town (the first climb is never fun because, being on a 32×22, I get passed by traffic on the way to the climb, then get caught in granny gear traffic on the way up), we rode a trail next to an aqueduct through Keystone. My moment of glory came when I rode all of the skinny bridges on one section of trail (ok, so they were ground level and 2 feet wide with a drop off on the left side, but I clearly remember skateboard-pushing over at least one last year).

After a steep hikey climb and the next aid station, we started the gravel road climb up to the Colorado Trail. Its pitches are just right for singlespeeding comfortably, and I fed off of the misery of all the granny geared riders as I passed them. I was starting to feel better about descending as well, and was only passed back by one person on the way down to aid #3.

The climb out of  aid 3 was a gut puncher, but I decided that instead of pacing myself and walking early, I’d start riding some of the steeper stuff- just to see what would happen. I still walked a requisite amount, but I did decide at that point in the race that I should start doing some squats and whatnot to make my legs stronger. I finished stage 4 feeling better than the day before, putting another chunk of time into my competition.

That afternoon, feeling as though my body was starting to absorb the effort instead of resisting it, I shuffled around with Matt in downtown Breckenridge, poking around in some of the touristy t-shirt shops before going to the evening riders meeting. I don’t remember what night this is from, but for the most part, Matt stayed back at the condo during the meetings, because he’d cook stuff like this:

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(Buffalo burger, rice, wilted spinach & garlic, and sweet potato fries covered in cheese and bacon)

The next day’s challenge was stage #5- the Wheeler Pass stage. The course changed a little from the previous year- omitting the Peaks Trail climb and adding a climb on Miner’s Creek road instead. I was sorely tempted to try to repeat my effort from last year, where I rode & hiked through nearly the entire “peloton” to catch the front of the Open Women’s field, who’d started several waves ahead of the singlespeed women (Wheeler is the only stage to use a “wave” start, and SS Women got the short end of the start stick and went LAST into a singletrack climb). Trying to avoid a repeat of the previous year’s wave start, I asked Mike at the rider’s meeting if, since there were only two of us, he’d just toss us in with the Open Women, and he told me that’d be no problem.

That was only partially true, because, Thursday morning (which would later be dubbed “Throat Punch Thursday”), he announced that we’d start with a giant wave #3- one back from the open women. I guess he couldn’t have the singlespeed men, who were also stuck in there, getting butthurt that the SS women were one wave up? I don’t know, but at least it wasn’t in the very back.

The course started with a quick climb up the ski hill to spread things out before dropping down a little and turning onto the Burro Trail. I don’t really know what it is about the Burro Trail, but I like to hammer the hell out of it. It’s rooty as hell, kinda rocky, and there’s multiple lines up most of the pitchy spots, so if you’re in “hammer” mode, you can take the “f*ck these roots” line straight up past 3 people who are taking the “eww, roots” line off to the side. I went cross country pace up the climb prettymuch the entire time until I reached the hike-a-bike section of the Wheeler Trail. At that point, I had only gained a little time on the open women, so I decided I’d just stay in my “spot” in the hike line rather than racing through everyone like I had last year.

At the top, there was bacon. Last year, since I was racing my heart out of my chest, I hadn’t taken the bacon feed. This year, I had to make up for it in spectacular fashion, not only taking the bacon feed, but somewhat humiliating myself in the process:

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(photo credit to Eddie Clark, who later asked to make sure I didn’t mind him posting it)

The descent off of Wheeler Pass is a widow-maker. The trail above the treeline is skinny, steep, off-camber, and lined with rocks and bushes that want to grab your front wheel and send you cartwheeling into more rocks and bushes. I wrecked on that section during the Breck 100 a couple of years ago. The next part of the descent, once you’re back into the treeline, is more steep, rocky, and tricky. I wrecked there at last year’s Breck Epic when I was doing my best to out-descend Jennifer Wilson for the stage win. This year, with a huge lead for overall 1st, I decided I’d play it safe (Dax Massey, who was in the men’s SS lead, wasn’t so cautious, and had a hard wreck, breaking two ribs, puncturing his lung, and ending his week of racing). I made it down and onto the bike path without incident.

The bike path is singlespeed purgatory. I had multiple people offer to let me draft, but, with the exception of the faster downhill section, I wasn’t staying on any wheels of anyone. One guy even tried to push me, but I yelled at him right away to stop. Pushing is only a valid SS gear when it’s you, pushing your bike.

In previous years, the course went from bike path to the Peaks Trail. This year, it was re-routed (to avoid dogwalkers/hikers) to go up a terrible climb on Miner’s Creek Road before dropping to the flat part of the Peaks Trail. It was the one time this week that I cursed at hike-a-bike, mostly because the climb before was fun/rooty and on singletrack, and the Miner’s Creek re-route was exactly the opposite and gained about 500 extra feet before descending back to the Peaks Trail.

By the time I got to the Peaks Trail, I was in Angry Singlespeed mode. On the short punchy uphill or techy spots, I hammered past anyone on a granny gear with whatever was left in my legs, making short work of the final few miles of the course. Throat-Punch-Thursday, complete. All that was between me and the SSSRWC (singlespeed stage race world championship) was a somewhat easier stage 6.

 

August 14, 2013

Breck Epic- Stages 2 and 3

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 7:41 am

Last year, for stage 2 (which included a large climb and descent section of Colorado Trail), we were treated to cold, all-day rain. I finished that day mildly hypothermic with the worst case of “ice flipper” hands I’ve ever had. (side note- I think that anyone who has done much riding in the high mountains will have a story that includes the coldest they’ve ever been on a bike being in the month of August). This year, we were treated to mostly gorgeous blue skies (one “normal”  5-minute shower rolled through the course area, but I managed to skirt it).

I was excited and slightly nervous to ride the big climb on the CT. The other two times I’ve done it (Breck 100 and 2012 Breck Epic), I’ve ended up hike-a-bike-ing a fair amount. However, this year, as I mentioned previously, better gearing and fitness meant for good times most of the way up (I took the hike option for several short, steep spots in the name of self-preservation). Even more fun? I had a working fork for the first time in a hot minute, so I was able to go a little faster on the awesome 6 miles of downhill on the other side. I’m still mostly slowed down by my brakes, of course, but the new fork makes a big difference in comfort and fun factor.

With all of its fun singletrack and good weather, stage 2 was another great day on the bike. However, the weather report for stage 3 was looking a bit more ominous. With a 40% chance of rain later in the morning, and two trips over the Continental Divide (French Pass and Georgia Pass), I packed a rain jacket and a hand-saving pair of water resistant fishing gloves (pics and more about those when I’ve got more time). Both of which came in handy during the very difficult day. The best part of the day was the Colorado Trail descent off of Georgia Pass (it goes from flowy and open to rocky and steep within a half mile). I found myself nearly sitting on my rear wheel on several occasions. The 2nd best part of the day was finishing, because I was starting to feel pretty rough with fatigue yesterday.

I finished in just under 5 hours, knowing I’d won the day, but assuming I hadn’t won by nearly as much, given my slower pace. However, I found out at the podium meeting later in the day that Susan, my lone competition, had wrecked on one of the early descents, and had a rougher day than I, losing about an hour and a half. I’ve now got a 3 hour, 26 minute lead for the overall 1st place.

That’s pretty awesome, but I’m not without my own issues. I am pretty sure I have shingles. I’ve got a spot on my back (between my shoulder blades) that started aching a lot last week. I thought it was a knot in my muscle, but then a couple of days ago, a rash popped up. Then, yesterday, a spot in front of my arm pit started to ache- a pain that shot through my ribcage like a knife. This morning, another small rash spot over the pain. I asked the internet for advice, and turns out, it’s probably this: WebMD Shingles. I’ve decided other than some ibuprophen and topical corticosteroid, I’m not going to a doctor until I get home. The antivirals and oral corticosteroids that can be prescribed have some sucky side effects that would not add to my stage race enjoyment. 

Gotta go… time for stage #4!

August 12, 2013

Breck Epic- Stage 1

Filed under: Bike Racing,Out West Trip — Andrea @ 7:54 am

Ok, so I haven’t said much since Dolores, and I DO have some fun photos and stuff from the couple of pre-race days in Breck, but I figured I’d post real quick about yesterday’s stage since I’ve got a few minutes before I have to get to stage 2 this morning.

First off, I have Matt here with me, which has already made life soooo much easier. I can come in and drop bottles in the sink, and by the time I get out of the shower, the bottles are clean and refilled, and the condo smells like lunch. He’s also on drop bag duty, so he’s been riding my drop bags down to race HQ every morning at 7:30am while I sit around and drink coffee. As I type, he’s giving my bike a once-over and making sure it’s ready for today.

Yesterday’s stage was tough (ok, they all are, but that one’s a hair gnarlier because of the French Gulch climb in the middle). As I mentioned previously, I’m going with a lower gear this year (32×22) than I did last year (32×21). The combination of better fitness and gearing means that I’m riding a lot more and walking a lot less. The combination of riding more/hiking less means that I’m going faster overall…

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Yeah, it’s only two of us in the category, but, the stats that make it really awesome include coming in with a time of 4hrs, 10min… ~30min after the first open woman (same as what Dax, the lead male SSer did vs. the open men), and 40 minutes faster than last year.

I couldn’t have had a better first day. My pacing and nutrition was spot-on, my legs felt great, and, I ended up with nearly an hour on 2nd place. The only “downside” to my day was the enduro classification- between having fork problems, being on a low gear, and not quite being acclimated to the speed of the descents out here, I’m likely to be waaaay down in the women’s standings. Luckily, today, the fork issues are solved- the SRAM neutral support guys replaces my old dual air SID World Cup fork with a brand freakin’ new soloair SID World Cup. Holy awesome.

I gotta go ride now…

August 9, 2013

Road Trip #3: Dolores

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 4:45 pm

My next stop after Salida was the teeny little town of Dolores.

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I stayed with my friend Lauren Hall, who, before she moved off to Colorado to become a world famous sprinter, used to live/race in Mississippi.

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(no, she didn’t get that kit from probikekit.com)

When I arrived there on Monday, Lauren was out running errands. Being a little stir crazy from the 4 hour drive, I decided to ride up to the local trail system, Boggy Draw.

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The scenery out there is gorgeous, of course, and, when I arrived back at the house, Lauren was home and getting prepped to make dinner, which was equally as amazing as the riding:

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She had a dog stuff catalog on her coffee table. I ordered three of these:

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Staying with a pro is always fun. On her recommendation, I started a daily beet juice regimen. She made it the first day, and it was yummy (I think it involved pretty much every fruit and vegetable in her fridge). My recipe the next day (2 beets, 4 carrots, 1 apple) was not nearly as good. Beets are kinda rough, but rumor (actually, lots of research) has it that they’ll make you faster

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I took tuesday as my one day off the bike for the trip. That morning, I drove to nearby Cortez for yoga (here’s the sky, looking angry, on the way home)

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…and played around with her Compex EMS on “active recovery” mode just before bed.

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Wednesday, I went back for more yoga, then hung around the house in anticipation of the afternoon group ride at Boggy Draw. Unfortunately, some afternoon rain moved in, and only a couple of people showed. The rain quickly soaked the trail, so we only made it around a small loop before bailing out. I only took a couple of photos:

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Wednesday night, we went to the Dolores River Brewery and saw a really cool band. Highlight of the night? A few people from Osprey were there, too. Lauren introduced us, we chatted about Breck Epic and whatnot, and Jeff Fox, the head marketing guy, offered to let me try one of their newest packs. It’s amazing who you can meet in a tiny bar in the middle of nowhere:

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Thursday morning, Lauren and I went to Cortez to take a tour and meet people at the Osprey headquarters:

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The pack is a new one they’ve been working on. I’m looking forward to trying it out, because they’ve gone to great lengths to give it pockets that are very on-bike accessible. I’ll post some pics and info once I’ve had a chance to ride with it a few times.

After the tour, Lauren and I said our goodbyes and I headed off to Breckenridge.

 

 

August 6, 2013

Road Trip: #2

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 10:18 am

Sunday morning, I planned out a nice-sized ride from the hostel. The main goal was to ride ~10miles of the Rainbow Trail and then a lower-elevation, shorter trail called Little Rainbow back towards town. First, I walked to a local place for breakfast.

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Yard art from the trip:

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The route (ridden clockwise):

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I rode the singlespeed, and the 32×21 was great until the very top of the initial climb up Bear Creek Rd, where I started to feel low on oxygen and had to hike a little. The first 6 miles or so were gorgeous and flowy bench-cut singletrack with occasional open overlooks before intersecting another forest road at a trailhead:

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At that point, the trail jogged down the road a little (you can see on my route where there’s an “up” in the blue line where I thought incorrectly that maybe it jogged uphill). The next 3-4 miles of trail were much steeper and gravelly. I did a little more hike-a-bike before getting to the next intersection where I’d turn off to go to the Lower Rainbow trails:

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After a slightly hairy jeep road descent, I found the trail intersection and started down the next portion of trail. The lower rainbow was super flowy and nice as well. My only interruption was a heard of elk that exploded up the side of the mountain as I rounded a corner. As the retreated, they kicked rocks at me. No photos of the elk, but I got one of the “elk were here” sign:

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The rest of the trail was great, and, being mostly downhill, went by almost too quickly. Once I’d descended back into Salida, I stopped at the SubCulture bike shop to talk to the mechanic who’d given me some trail advice when I’d stopped by before. Over the past few rides, I’d determined that I didn’t want to keep the Niner Low-Top bars at their full 720mm width. Since I didn’t bring a saw guide and saw with me, I asked him to cut them down just a little (they’re about 705mm wide now). He did the most perfect on-bike cutting job I’ve seen, ever.

When I asked how much I owed him, he kinda shrugged his shoulders, so I told him I’d bring beer back after I cleaned up and got out to find lunch. Just my luck- the owner of the food truck parked next to the shop was in the store, and he’d mentioned some sort of amazing concoction of a chicken tamale, fried egg, and turkey chili (the mechanic, Raphael, said that the food was amazing, and that the guy fed the shop every day). Perfect timing, because about the time I was back with a 12-er of PBR (yes, even in the land of incredible microbrews, mechanics request PBR), I was hungry enough to gnaw my bars shorter.

And, the food was incredibly amazing, and perfectly satisfying for post-ride hunger:

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Raphael and his dog (not pictured- his girlfriend, Claire, also a singlespeeder. She was closing up shop and came over to give him ribbing about it later):

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Random photo: desert was overpriced single-serve Haagen Dazs ice cream- For those of us with no self-control when it comes to ice-cream portion control…

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The next morning, I went and flat wore myself out on the city pump track. It’s likely the best-built one I’ve ever ridden. If you go to Salida, definitely don’t skip it.

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Once I was tired and sweaty, I headed back to pack up and get moving to Dolores. The verdict on Salida? I’ll definitely be back. I only scratched the surface of riding there, so I will have to visit again in the future (of great interest- an 80something mile trail ride that includes riding to the Monarch Crest trail on 4th of July).

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2013

Road Trip: #1

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 6:23 pm

After a fairly uneventful drive across several states, I arrived in Salida, CO yesterday afternoon. Yes, I’m going to Dolores also, but I had to make a pit stop and check out some extra trails before I settled in to my “chill out” spot. First order of business was lunch and stopping by some local shops for trail info and essentials, like hot pink/rhinestone gloves.

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I got a bunk at the local hostel. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel, I highly recommend it. Bring an open mind, though, because a lot of the people you meet will be “weird” in some of the most fascinating and awesome ways. It’s an interesting mix of hikers, bikers (this particular time, a guy riding the continental divide trail and a woman road riding down the pacific coast before heading east), and all sorts of travelers from all over the place. Usually a cute dog or two, also.

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After I unpacked, I went out for a quick ride around the Arkansas Hills trails. Included were plenty of scenery, as well as the first of likely many hike-a-bikes of my trip (first photo).

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Soon after I arrived back from riding, I went to dinner with a group from the hostel. WTF moment of the day occurred when a sketchy van pulled up with four fat bikes on the back and four middle-aged women inside. Whoa.

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Back at the hostel, a group of three guys showed up to stay the night and ride the Monarch Crest trail in the morning. I’d researched the Monarch Crest trail before I left Memphis, and had made tentative plans to ride it on Sunday.

Side note- the Monarch Trail starts just off the road that goes up & over the Monarch Pass. You can ride to the start, but there’s also a park & ride shuttle that will take you up there. The ride up is pretty hairy with truck/RV/car traffic, etc.

I figured it’d be more fun to ride with the smaller group, so I went with the new plan. The trail is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I could ever get tired of the view from on top of a 12k foot mountain pass.

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If I ever met the person who thought up the idea of this trail, I’d open mouth kiss him/her.

 

July 31, 2013

Ready for the Action

Filed under: Around the shop,Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:14 am

Today, I’m wrapping up the final bike prep for my trip. Based on my experience with Breck Epic last year, I’m making a couple of changes. First off, the gearing…

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Endless makes a ginormous variety of cogs- prettymuch any size and color you could possibly wish for. The cogs also happen to be super fat and light, too. They definitely live up to their name. As an extra bonus, Shanna, the seller of all things Endless, is a bundle of smiles and energy. I know her best only through the internet, but this photo sums up the general gist of her personality (found via Google Image search that took me to Jeff Zimmerman Photography). You can also take a look at the Endless Bike Company facebook page.

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I’m going to try the 32×22 at Breck and see what happens. If I dislike it, I’ll just swap out to something else between stages (something we discussed on JRA Monday night and decided was “OK” via the “ethics” of singlespeeding). Click the JRA link and listen to something else while you wait for the most recent episode to arrive in the archives.

Moving along to other big mountain-related stuff, I also decided to beef up the brakes a little. Last year, I glazed over/wore down a couple of sets of pads. This year, I’m using Shimano XTR race brakes (as opposed to SRAM XX), and I’m opting for a 180mm front rotor and set of the finned trail-style brake pads (yet to be installed):

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To wrap it up, I opted to replace my slightly worn “light” Maxxis Ardent with a new one in the EXO version. At ~740g, it’s a little on the heavy side compared to the non-EXO version (advertised at 690g, but mine was 651g), but I like the added sidewall protection for the rocky mine trail descents that are a staple of the Breck courses.

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I’m using the Ikon 2.35 on the rear, also with EXO sidewall protection. The higher volume adds an extra layer of comfort on a hardtail, though, if I feel like I want more tread, I’ll swap to a Crossmark.
Side note- If you’ve been living under a “What wheels are those?” rock, they’re the Industry 9 Trail 24s, and they’re the best combination of stiffness, width, and bling that I’ve found in a wheel. The hub engagement is phenomenal, too. Don’t ride a set unless you’re prepared to be spoiled forever.

In case you failed to notice in the blurry pic of my rotor, Yes, the scooter is muddy. On my off days, I’ve been participating in a heated game of scooter photo-tag (you take a photo of your scooter at a place of interest, post it, and someone else finds the spot, posts a photo there, then goes someplace else and puts the next spot up for everyone to find). Since I’ll be out of town for a little over 2 weeks, I left the group with a doozie. In case you were ever wondering,  a 50cc scooter can off-road like a champ.

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July 29, 2013

Closing In

Filed under: Bike Racing,Training — Andrea @ 7:53 am

As the time to leave for Colorado is closing in, everything is falling into place for the trip. I had a just-challenging-enough three day block of training at the end of last week, which left me with weekend recovery days. I’ve felt lately that my body is becoming somewhat stunted in its fat metabolizing abilities (main symptom- if I go out for a training ride, I feel kinda lethargic until I get 100 or so calories of sugary stuff into me).  So, Saturday and Sunday morning, I did what I’d like to call “Hell on Earth” rides, where I essentially got out of bed, into cycling clothes, and onto my bike before eating anything or drinking any coffee. The goal is to force the body into revving up fat metabolism in order to have the energy for exercise. Like any sort of training, it’d probably work better if I did it more often, but it’s a special sort of suck that makes riding, even for just a low-intensity hour, pretty dreadful. It’s not totally terrible to have a reason to eat extra Gu Chomps during the course of my ride.

That has to be one of my favorite things about not working- I can do longer/harder training outside of the weekend, then spend Saturday and Sunday screwing around doing “weekend stuff.” For instance: I decided we need crepe myrtles in the yard (if you’re from The South, you won’t have to click on that link). Through a fair amount of research, I learned that it’s possible to make new crepe myrtles from cuttings of old ones. And, just my luck, my parents had the exact color that I was hoping for…

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I went to Lowe’s and bought potting soil (even buying in to the special one that’s supposed to be good for this sort of thing) and some rooting hormone powder. Once I was back at their place, my dad took a variety of old/new cuttings, we powdered them, and stuck them into some pots.

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Since I’m about to leave town for a few weeks, my parents agreed to daily watering and care. Hopefully, about the time I’m getting ready for the first cyclocross race of the season, I’ll also have a few crepe myrtles to plant in the front and back yards.

To go back to the whole “going out of town” thing, did I mention that I’M REALLY FREAKING EXCITED?!?!? The high mountains of Colorado are calling me. They felt like a magnet last time I drove out to Fort Collins and beyond for Natz. I prettymuch just had to wave at the giants and their puffy white clouds as I skirted around the outside of them along my way. I’m also extra stoked to hang out with rock star road sprinter Lauren Hall, who I used to race against “back in the day” when she lived in Mississippi. If you live under a “never-pay-attention-to-women’s-road-racing” rock, she’s essentially America’s female version of Mark Cavendish, except she’s not a total wanker. If this petition works, there’s a green jersey with her name on it.

Side note- if you haven’t signed it, then you’re not able to read my blog again until you have.

Of course, along with hanging out with friends, there is that whole “Breck Epic” thing that starts on the 11th. With the seriousness of the racing I’ve done so far this season, it almost feels like a race-cation to me. Don’t get me wrong- I take every race seriously. However, this one is kinda more of a 6-day singlespeed adventure with a party at the end than an “elbows out” barnburner like Trans-Sylvania.

Epic times are afoot!

 

July 24, 2013

Adventures in Dog Parenting

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 7:23 am

If you’ve been around here very long at all, or you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I have (among other pets) a little old terrier named Indy. Last Wednesday, after I played ball in the back yard for a few minutes then ran to the grocery store, I came home to find Indy limping around the house and holding his left foot up (sympathy pains for Momma and her bad left foot?) I decided I’d give it a day before I took him to the vet, but, by Friday, it wasn’t any better. So, we went to see Dr. Speth at Germantown Animal Hospital.

One X-Ray later…

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(note the “two piece” bone in the left foot)

Dr. Speth took him to the back again, and, when he came back, he’d splinted Indy’s little foot, and Indy was quite upset about it.

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Once we were back home, Indy was pretty stressed. I gave him his anti-inflammatory medicine and sat with him on the couch until he passed out

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Fortunately, dogs have their own great way of adapting to physical hardship. Over the next couple of days, Indy started figuring out how to negotiate all of his usual activities with his little peg leg. He started clopping around the house enough that we put part of an old inner tube around the end of his splint because he was wearing through the outer wrap part.  Now he actually acts like he feels better than normal- I’m thinking because he’s on a regimen of Rimadyl, which may be making any of his other “old dog” aches & pains go away. Good thing, too, because he’s gotta wear it for another week and a half!

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