Tuesday, July 31, 2007


OK so I have too much time on my hands...I was analyzing the 24-9 results..and realized that if I had in fact chosen to race in the SS category (non-Nationals) I would have placed 5th and been on the podium!! Dang. It was a co-ed category, but I would have placed better than I did in the Open Women Nationals category.

Can't have any regrets, though. But still....sigh.

Eddie and I scored a mini-keg of Bells Oberon today, so I must stop thinking about the race and go enjoy my beer.

Pics courtesy of Trev & Anne:

24 hour Nationals (24-9) Race Report

I will try to make this as brief and not boring as possible...so nothing like the race itself :-)

The run was not real long, but painful none the less. I can't believe I ever used to be a runner. I swear I thought I tore my hip flexor in the first 10 feet of the run. I guess I should have warmed up first instead of chatting with everyone I saw.

I was surprised I wasn't the last one on the bike..the course started out with a long section of doubletrack for the first lap to spread things out. A nice long gradual downhill followed by slight inclines made sure I was spinning my legs off and let a lot of people pass me..including Sarah K and some other solo women. I expected this, though. My hope was that the other solo women would crank in their big rings for the first half of the race..and then blow up...and I would consistently pedal my singlespeed all the way to the podium. Nice thought, in theory.

We finally hit the first section of singletrack, not even technical, and everyone was stopped and walking. This right here is the reason I need to start sprinting in the run. This was unbelieveably painful.

The daylight laps went on as planned, I was feeling awesome after finally warming up (it took long enough!) and I was riding consistently. Trev and Anne, my support folks who had graciously volunteered to fly up from ATL to help me out were new to this thing but learning quickly. I had to guide them through some things, but that was to be expected. They got a lot quicker as the race went on, with having stuff ready and waiting for me.

The flat course was really a lot tougher than I thought it would be..no time for recovery. You had to be "on" in all the singletrack..use of the front brake could prove disasterous if used incorrectly.

I think it was 7pm that we were required to have lights on, but I like to wait until the last possible second to actually turn them on while I'm riding (to save battery life). This proved to be a mistake because as I was descending a short rocky section, I took a bad line and rolled over a sharp rock that instantly pinch flatted my rear tire. Oh shit...my worst nightmare. In all the races I have done to date, I have not flatted even once. Now, it was happening on my rear tire, in mosquito-ville. I think I got the West Nile virus from this whole episode...I was covered from head to toe in mosquito bites. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my tire off the rim. The new WTB tire + Stans rim is a tough combo and I couldn't get the kwik stik lever under the bead (should have kept a regular lever with me too). Sarah K actually stopped and used her lever to get my tire off to me. I couldn't believe it..how nice was that. Well, then...my CO2 wouldn't work. That was the point that I started crying...uncontrollably. I picked up my bike and started walking. I realized I would have to walk at least 8 miles or more to get back and I put the bike down and tried again..no luck. Nat Ross came by and said "oh....Eddie's coming". I waited..waited..no Eddie. I kept walking. Finally, I saw him and he stopped to help. I can't thank him enough. It would have been the end of my race had he not helped me. Now, I'm FOR SURE getting tubeless set up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, that lap turned out to be about 45 min. longer than expected. I was angry, and ready to come back. It was now dark, and my crew told me I should be good with my batteries. Unfortunately, 4 miles into that lap, both my lights died. I think everyone in the forest could hear the F-bombs I threw out at that point!! This is not a course you can easily follow someone else out on...it is so tight in the singletrack. A really nice guy named Scott offered to let me follow him, then he just ended up giving me his helmet light. I ran it on "low" so it was still kind of hard to see, but better than nothing. I'm spoiled and used to the big 2-HID Light & Motion setup. About 25 minutes later, that borrowed light died too. WTF!!! I followed some others when I could...walked when I had to. Then, another nice guy, who was actually pitting with the other nice guy Scott, loaned me his Niterider bar mount. Wow, I was really impressed with all the kind gestures I was receiving. Unfortunately, again, that light was near death and I had to follow others out until I got to the pit area. Another really long, bad lap. When I got to the pits, I couldn't hide my frustration with the pit crew...apparently I was given one superlight battery with half the burn time and the second one was either another SL or an uncharged battery. At this point, I was in 8th place and there was no way I could make my way back up to 5th. This was really hard to swallow. I didn't give up even though I didn't see the point if I wasn't going to podium. The other girls were staying consistent and I just had two really bad laps. Physically, my legs were still rockin' but I wasn't taking enough calories in since I hadn't planned on those extra long lap times. I always cry at some point during the night at a 24, but I spent 90% of the next lap with tears streaming down my face because I felt sorry for myself. I had worked so hard for this race...I felt great...but with only one gear to work with here I was pretty much screwed when it came time to play catch up to everyone else. I knew it couldn't happen. I concentrated on just riding smooth and taking in as many calories as I could so I could finish the race out without losing any more positions.

I was really happy with my gear selection, the only things that really hurt were my toes, hands, and butt. That's why I prefer a course with more climbing and descending. I finished with 12 laps, 171.3 miles, and a beer.

Thanks to:

Trev, Anne, and Richard Walker (the crew)...a millon thanks for making the trip and all the help...I know it is a tuff job.

Everyone for the cheering...Poz, Roberta, Steve & Kirsten, The Founders Racing & Slingshot crews...Joe P, Dan J, Jason, Scott, Chris, Aaron, and more....seriously, thanks.

Vassago Cycles, WTB, White Brothers, Bike29.com, Twin Six, Tifosi, Ergon, Industry Nine, and Eddie O for setting me up to do the best I could. I only wish I could have done better....NEXT YEAR!!!

Do you think Chris Eatough has to work on his bike by himself behind the laundromat the day before the race? Hmm...

This is how I feel about running:

Me, winning my own make-believe Womens SS National Champ category...Go ME!!

I think Danielle finds Nat Ross..um...yummy.

More pix to be posted here soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's over.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Before the race, Danielle asked me if I have a lucky number (hers is 6). I told her not yet, I was still waiting for one to come to me. Then we joked about how my number plate for 24 Hour Nationals was 45, and that didn't really sound like a lucky number. Well, now I know, 45 is not my lucky number...neither is any combination of it...4, 5, 9, any multiple thereof.

Oh, and one more thing...there is no glory in Womens Singlespeed racing.

On a positive note, I felt freaking awesome...I doubted my legs on the first lap after the run from hell, but after I warmed up, I was on. I was really consistent until the bad luck fell upon me.

I ended up 8th out of 12 with 171.3 miles on a course that beats you to hell because it's so flat but bumpy in much of the singletrack. I had time for one more lap, but it wouldn't have made a difference. My fate was sealed with 8th place during the night. My hands, feet, and butt hurt the worst. No crashes. I was the only woman solo 24 hour singlespeeder. I guess everyone else is a lot smarter than me :)

Congrats to Danielle (3rd place solo female), Sarah Kauffman (4th place solo female), Mary Collier (5th place solo female), and Joe Partridge (3rd place SS). Also congrats to Eddie O (4th place solo male--2nd year in a row!) More later.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Made it to the Midwest

We arrived in Michigan at 12:30am, not too bad with the full car we had, plus two dogs. That makes an 11.5 hour drive..it was certainly not boring though! We hit a hail storm in KY, that had ice accumulation on the roads..crazy..I did get pics. We also had a really close call with a cop..we were sure he was pulling us over, but all of a sudden he got off the highway, phew! But, would you believe we did NOT stop at Starbucks or Moe's? This could be a first ever for us. We did get a burrito, though, and had enough BURN in the car to keep Eddie going.

Many thanks to George at Bike29.com for getting me my last minute parts..unfortunately..I forgot the handlebar I ordered has a 31.8 diameter and I forgot to bring the right stem..d'oh!

Not to get too ahead of myself here, but I've already decided that if we don't get more than 2 women to sign up for the Fools Gold 100 miler I'm going to do it. We need 3 women in the category to pay out the full amount..I would hate to see that money go to pay out more of the guys since I know the women are out there.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dilemma...or not?

Everything is pretty much packed up and ready to go. I still haven't registered for the race..and now I'm wondering what I'm thinking! Not about racing..no, I am definitely racing.

The NORBA National Championship category is Pro Open Women..and I hear the competition is stacked this year. Then there is also the "regular" 24-9 mile race that has a Solo Women and a Solo Women SS class. So.....which do I enter? Do I enter Nationals to fight for the last spot on the podium (which is NOT by any means going to be easy with the competition and combined with the fact that I am choosing to race with one gear)...or do I enter the "regular" race in the SS category...and have a much better chance of the podium?

Do I really care? I tend to think that SS doesn't need it's own category, I've seem to do just fine on it racing in the Womens Open in general. However, all the top 24 hour racers in the country are coming out for this one.

I guess I have a long drive and several days to mull it over :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kind of quiet around here..

I feel like we're the only ones not at ORAMM :( No riding for me today, I'm completely cooked (like I should be, I guess). On tap for today is going to the Mango Bike Shop to retension the spokes on my I9s. The front spokes are really in need of tensioning, so I put on the American Classic wheel yesterday to replace the I9...I really did notice a significant difference in the ride. I much prefer the I9, all other things equal...air pressure, tire, etc. After that, I can hopefully meet my friend Jodi and lay out at her pool. She lives in one of these high rises that feels like a luxury hotel to me...it's like a mini vacation when I go visit her. With my meteorological luck as of late, though, it will rain all day. It is looking pretty gloomy outside right now. Tomorrow is the day we leave for the great Midwest...land of cheese curds and beer....mmmmmm.

P.S. Arleigh..did you get my email?

Friday, July 20, 2007


Thanks to everyone that has emailed me about support @ Nationals. I'm still working on it but, at the very least, Danielle's awesome Slingshot crew (THANKS guys!) has offered to lend a helping hand since we are pitting next to her. I can't really count on anything else this late in the game..but who knows, maybe something will work out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007



I just found out that one of the guys that agreed to come up to 24 hour Nationals in Wisconsin to do support...just bailed. Yup, that leaves me with no support. How the heck am I going to find someone now!!

If anyone has any brilliant suggestions, I'm all ears. Unfortunatley, I have $7.59 to my name right now so I can't afford anyone expensive :( However, I can offer to trade an entry to the Fools Gold 100 race in exchange for support.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More photos by Rob Giersch

time to crack

24 hours of 9 mile (a.k.a. 24 hour Nationals) is coming..we're leaving in less than a week to head to Michigan to drop the dogs off with my parents..taking the ferry over from MI to WI, and heading over to 9 mile. The ferry is $$$$ but should cut out a total of 18 hours of drive time for us over the entire trip...that's worth it!

Yesterday was supposed to be my last really hard training ride..and Eddie (my coach) told me he wanted me to crack like he did last weekend. I rode alone, and unfortunately it was super wet and muddy. After my first lap, I looked like I had just completed a 24 hour race in the rain and mud! I attacked every hill like I should have..and pushed my pace as much as I could without slipping on the wet roots and pinestraw. I kept my avg HR pretty high but unfortunately..never cracked. I felt just as good in my 3rd hour (or better) than I did in my 1st hour. I thought I had done something wrong and sort of felt bad, but Eddie told me not to be upset about feeling better than expected. I think this is probably because last week was kind of easy in that I was 8 hours short of my training hours!! Since I am still feeling good, I'll have another long hard ride this weekend, and then it's all about rest all the time until the race.

Richard and Mike Livingston are coming up to do support for this one, which is awesome because I will actually have my own support!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Outdoor Photography with Andrew Kornylak

See Andrew Kornylak's blog for the full write up of the day.

Photo by Yvette Tolson:

Photo by Rob Giersch:

More of Rob's photos are here.
Photo by Jack Tuttle:

Photo by Jonathan Enck:

James Davidson warming up, with Namrita O'Dea riding (c) 2007 Andrew Kornylak

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fools in the Rain

Our friends Laurie & Roger got a big group of 15 or so to pre-ride the 50 mile version of the Fools Gold race yesterday. Eddie and I had a previous engagement which required us to be models for Andrew Kornylak's outdoor photo shop so we couldn't make their ride. The forecast for Sunday would be wetter than Saturday so no one really took us up on our offer to ride it on Sunday. Chris was the only one that was into riding with us (he doesn't like to ride in the early AM either), so the three of us set out on our merry way this morning with hopes that the rain would just stick around Atlanta, and not head up north towards the mountains.

We started at the Game Check station on FS 77, since it would be a good midway point to refuel without going too far off the race course. Except...Eddie forgot the map and even though he is the Race Director, he wasn't the race course designer and doesn't have the course memorized..oops. We decided we'd do the best we could by memory since all three of us know the area pretty well. As we were getting ready to ride, Eddie realized he forgot his riding shorts..big OOPS. He would have to ride in his cargo shorts and boxers all day...with no chamois butter and his minimalist saddle..ouch.

We finally hit the road and soon the trail. Looking back on it, we did a lot of the singletrack backwards from the way it will run in the race (the more fun direction). Today's direction had us climbing lots more and I wasn't too thrilled about it since I had my flatlander gearing set up. 10 minutes into the first trail I banged my knee on my stem trying to clear a steep pitch of rutted out trail littered with deadfall. That hurt like hell and still hurts as I'm typing this. Eddie and Chris were keeping a reasonably easy pace though, I guess they were being nice to me. My view was still of their butts the whole day, though.

Midway through FS 141 on our way to Montgomery Creek Falls trail, it started to rain...then it started to pour. That trail was still in good shape, but we knew the Bull/Jake singletrack would be icky because it's a lot of red clay. When we got to the FS road, we opted to do the climb up to Cooper Gap, over to Winding Stair Gap and come back down 77 to the car. It would be quite an abbreviated ride, but it was seriously pouring and not letting up.

I'm not sure how many miles we covered, but we kept a pretty easy but consistent pace. We got 3 hours in...3 hours shy of our goal of 6. I would have taken more pics, but I didn't have an underwater camera. Oh well, it's just been that kind of week.

Damage assessment:

I'm looking pretty clean..at least with the camera 5 feet away.

Chris isn't too dirty, though his Wingnut is.

...and then there's Eddie. Yeeeeaaaahhhh....no comment.

Poor Eddie, he didn't have any other shorts to wear home so he had to drive home in a towel, which meant we couldn't stop for Mexican food!

More pics of Conyers yesterday:

Waiting to start riding for the cameras

Vassago baby!

The Granite "Wall". Trust me, it's much steeper than it looks. So steep I had to get off and push at the top.
The catwalk. Eddie and I rode this about 16 times yesterday while people took pictures of our super smooth trail moves.
Twin Six love
I was trying the "self-portrait while riding" move and almost crashed on the granite...so this is the best I could do.
Eddie snapped this one of my boy and me crashed out on the couch after a long day on the trail.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trying some new stuff

Got this from Dedicated Athlete the other day...I'm going to give it all a try.

This week has been pretty unimpressive...not as many hours on the bike as I'd like..partially due to rain, and partially due to me not being the superstar I thought I was with the big gear. I've still been riding with it, but it's kicking my ass..or rather my legs' ass..but anyway...I'm putting something a bit easier back on so I can really get some good efforts in without blowing up in 5 minutes :) It was a fun strength building exercise while it lasted..but I'm moving on.

Tomorrow, Eddie and I have a modeling gig...yup that's right! I have no idea what it will entail, but it will involve bikes. Andrew Kornylak will be the photo man for the day...he does amazing work, he's also the one that shot our wedding.

Sunday is a pre-ride of the Fools Gold 50. Is anyone going to join us?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Black Magic

Warning: Sexy bike content.

Note: This is NOT my bike..though it is going to take all the restraint in the world not to keep it :) I'm loving the new frames!! The Black Magic JW would look smokin' hot with my pink King headset..But, this is my sisters FIRST mountain bike ever...and Eddie and I are going to build it out for her. She is going to have one nice ride when it's done..and it will of course be Wobble-naughted for her. West coast riders..be on the lookout for her when it's done!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Resistance Training

I'm stealing Danielle's title because it's so fitting. Arleigh, you will like this..

This past week, I've changed out the gear on my SS one too many times, I was beginning to think a derailleur might speed the process up a little bit...so, I decided to just pick a big one and go with it. I spent 12.5 hours on the 34x17 this week..yes that's bigger than 2:1 for you SS dorks. How do I feel afterwards? Great, actually. My legs are tired, but not any more tired than they usually are after a long weekend of riding. Now, I'm rethinking the gear I'm going to run at 24 hours of 9 mile...technically, I can have two sets of wheels with different gears on them, since I'm not in a SS category. But, I can't help feeling like that is lame. We'll see what happens.

I received a package today..it contained a Black Magic Jabberwocky...not for me though (boohoo), but for my sister!! Yes, her first mountain bike is going to be a KICK ASS Vassago Jabberwocky 29er SS...she's going to be turning some heads in Cali!!! Soon, I'll have her racing 24 hours on that thing :)

I also got a new WTB Rocket V saddle and the Weirwolf 2.55s to try out. Based on my love for the Exiwolf, I feel like I will really love the Weirwolf for some of the mountainous stuff coming up.

Pics to come tomorrow.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Looking back....

What was the first mountain bike race you ever did?

Mine was the Firecracker 50, in Breckenridge, CO. Not exactly most people's idea for a good first-timer race..but I'm not really always full of good ideas :) My boyfriend (at the time) decided it would also be a good idea, so we bought our plane tickets and headed out west. We had no idea what bikes we would ride, we figured it would be easy to find a rental when we got out to Breckenridge. So, the day before the race, we started hitting up the local bike shops. We found 2 Rocky Mountains that were about 35# but I wasn't really satisfied with that. I was starting to get nervous that I might have to suck it up and ride at altitude with a bike that weighed a ton..until we walked into a ski rental place that rented bikes during the summer...they happened to have 2 Santa Cruz Blurs for rent...one was a size L, and that turned out to be mine for the day. My ex-BF got to ride a brand freaking new ano orange XL Blur...that was actually really light (from what I can remember). Anyway, I had been skiing and hiking at altitude many times, so I wasn't really worried about that. I didn't have many issues with it, though my HR would show to be a lot higher than it felt on the first climb out of town. I held my own for the rest of the first loop..until I got lost. Yes, getting lost on my first race ever...I guess that set the trend for the other races I've done since! I rode most of the course, I got a little freaked out by the exposed sidehill stuff but that's because I had never even ridden anything other than a "beginner/intermediate" local XC trail in Atlanta, before. My ex-BF and I did one loop of 25 and then decided the BBQ and festivities in the park at the midway point looked more appealing than riding another 25 miles, so we bailed on the race and drank some delicious Colorado microbrews...man that was fun!

I'd like to do this race again next year. In fact, I think I'm going to change up my racing quite a bit next year...I've done several races in the Southeast more than once, and change is always good. There's so much I want to ride in other parts of the country..I'm thinking Firecracker 50, Leadville 100, 24 Hours of Landahl, 24 hours of Moab, Kaibab Monstercross, 24 hours of Old Pueblo, Creampuff...hmmmph. I think we should just move out west. Oh well, my current financial state of poor student doesn't really make this a viable option right now, so we'll see what next year holds.

My plan for the rest of this year is:
24 hour Nationals (24 hours of 9 mile)
Shenandoah 100
Firewater 50
and maybe a couple random 12 hour events in the Southeast thrown in for fun.

Huge HUGE thanks to Mallie for my fantabulous new blog!!! Check out her site, she's raising money for the 24 hours of Booty in exchange for bloggy-designs. THANKS Mallie!! :-)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Red, white, and blue

I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday. I did, I was crashed out on the couch by 11pm after a few Sweetwaters and fireworks..yeah, I'm cool :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

Woohoo! Just got back from the Cartecay Bikes 4th of July ride..fun time, as always. In brief, this is pretty much how the day went...

7:30 am - wake up (keep in mind, we have a 1.5 hour drive at a minimum, and the ride starts at 10am)

7:45 am - wake up enough to actually do something...this involves the usual pre-ride routine of taking the dogs out to play, feeding the dogs, transfering the riding clothes from the washer to the dryer, waiting for them to dry, making up bottles and gathering food for the Wingnut packs, gathering tools, and loading up the car.

8:20 am - I ask Eddie if he could change out my gearing..real quick :) I had a 34 x 20 on there, but my legs were still aching from the weekend, and Tuesday's ride..I really wanted an easier gear.

8:45 am - After much sighing and "choice" words under Eddie's breath, we finally hit the road to Ellijay.

9:35 am - We almost run out of gas..luckily we made it to the gas station and filled up 15.3 gallons in my 15 gallon tank..d'oh!

9:45 am - We realize that we forgot the bag with our food, drink mix, bottles, etc. SOL. We have to stop at the grocery store now..we're still a good 40 minutes away from the trail and Eddie's pretty much giving me the silent treatment..when he's not telling me this is all my fault that we're late :) The truth is, we're never on time for these group rides...and everyone expects us to be late. It's kind of funny.

10:15 am - We leave the grocery store with bottled gatorade, Oatmeal Creme Pies, and a butt load of Fig Newtons..oh, and a Cherry Pie. Yuck.

10:30 am - We get to the turnoff into Ellijay...Eddie says some more "choice words". Huh? The road is blocked for the Ellijay 4th of July parade...greeeaaat. The volunteer fireman gives us directions around the parade..but of course we get lost.

11:00 am - We finally roll into the parking area...and not surprisingly, everyone is long gone. We joke about how we're the "F" group. Eddie and I were both planning on riding with the "A" group, but the "A" group was probably almost done with their ride at this point. We figured we could at least catch up with the back half of the "B" group.

The ride route went up the gravel road to the Bear Creek trail..which is pretty much a long gradual doubletrack climb with some rocks, roots, and creek crossings. Then we hit the gravel road that takes you to Potato Patch...what a BI+CH it was today...it hurt..it felt like it hurt more than the gravel roads did during the Cohutta 100. Anyway, soon we were finally at the turnoff for Mountaintown Creek, which is a treat. It starts out uncomfortably fast..steep singletrack, with whoops, random rocks, and overgrowth covering part of the trail. It then mellows out and turns more technical..which I prefer because you can't get as much speed. A few technical descents...through a brazilian creek crossings (only 25% of which are actually rideable..for me at least). And then back to some wet, rooty, rocky, single and doubletrack...and fast gravel road back to the car.

Eddie thought it would be funny to ONLY take pictures of me walking the nasty creek crossings..HAHA :) The truth is, I rode the descents so fast that he couldn't pull the camera out in time to catch me.

We caught up with everyone at the end of the ride, and finished it off with some mmmmexican food. yum.

Good times! Happy 4th of July, everyone.

P.S. one more random pic from early June..aren't these the finest looking endurance racers in the southeast?? :).. my sexy husband cleans up niiiice.