Sunday, May 31, 2009

fun with toddlerheads

I had forgotten what it feels like to have trashed legs. After taking a long, unscheduled break from training and racing it feels good to be this tired. This weekend was all about getting getting out of the city for some hard riding. Yesterday we went to Pine Log to try out the new singletrack and I wanted to take the Rotwild hardtail down some gnarly "toddlerhead" covered ridgelines. (Note: we usually call them "babyheads" but I heard the term "toddlerhead" in Colorado. If we are getting technical, I would call the Pine Log rocks "adolescentheads" haha). Anyway, my legs never seemed to wake up and today was no different. Today's ride was a 4.5 off-road one in Ellijay that ended with the descent down the Windy Gap trail. I suffered bad again today, but at least I got some good hours in and I can rest tomorrow! It feels good to know that I actually deserve the rest now, so I'll enjoy it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lots of photos from CO

clicky click

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gunnison Growler Race Report

We lined up at 6:45 am or so for the neutral start. At 7:00am, a guy shot off a really loud gun (twice!) and the Ergon FJ rolled out with the 200+ racers following. I had no idea who I was up against except for my teammate Sonya Looney and some other badass looking Colorado chicks from CB, Breck, and Boulder. I was glad for the neutral start which was 3 miles of pavement to the sickly steep dirt (mud) road climb. I sat behind Sonya and Juli and once the Ergon FJ turned off the race was ON. I kept Juli and Sonya in sight but part way up the steep climb I think I started choking I was breathing so hard. I let them go and tried just to spin in the granny. However, the road was so muddy and there were tons of people and not many lines to choose from. Singlespeeders started jumping off in front of me, my glasses started fogging, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I rode as much as I could but soon realized that I might die on the first climb so I jumped off and follwed the singlespeeders. I could barely breathe even walking up the dang climb. I tried to chill and warm up while stuck behind some slow riders while on the beginning singletrack. I knew I could ride faster than them but I also knew it was going to be a long 64 miles with the mud and didn't want another asthma attack. After about 30 minutes of sitting in, I started to get antsy so I went for some passes. There were more steep climbs than I thought and I really just couldn't go hard otherwise I started getting that uncontrollable panicky hyperventilating feeling. My whole upper body would feel weak and I would feel like I was going to pass out. I let this happen a couple times before I finally decided to not care who was passing me and I would just have to RIDE this race, not RACE it. I didn't have my heart rate monitor so I just had to go on perceived effort. I kept a pace that I knew I could sustain over the course of 8 hours, which is how long I had planned to be out there. I would granny up the steep singletrack climbs and middle ring the sage single/doubletrack sections. The descents were a blast. Skull Pass and Enchanted Forest were my favorite sections of the first lap because of the fun technical sections and the familiar dirt and trees. It started raining pretty hard on the rocky ridges in the last 15 miles of my first lap. I was still on pace for a 4 hour first lap, but I knew the 2nd lap would be a little longer due to fatigue and more technical singletrack on the 2nd lap. The rain and wind got even more strong in the last 5 miles and my pace slowed significantly. If I tried to push harder, the cold air irritated my breathing even more. I was feeling a little frustrated but the trail was still fun so that kept my attitude relatively good. I rolled in from the first lap in about 4:15 and Junko (Yuki's girlfriend) was there to refuel my PowerBar products and Squirt Lube my chain. Thanks, Junko!

The first 2-2.5 miles of the 2nd lap were HORRIBLE. It was so muddy while climbing the Notch trail that I had to walk almost everything that went uphill. Hiking up the steep slick rocks was rather treacherous, too. The doubletrack between the Notch and Rattlesnake was also supermuddy and barely rideable. The peanut butter mud reminded me of Southeastern mud but not quite as bad as the mud from MudSweat&Gears a couple weeks ago. I was riding with a couple singlespeeders so at least I wasn't alone. After the Rattlesnake section (woohoo!) the trail started to dry out and I was able to hammer a bit more. The singlespeeders and I yo-yo'd a bit and soon I was at Skull Pass again. Man, what a fun section of trail. The sun came out and the next 8 miles or so went pretty well. THEN, about 5 miles out, it started pouring rain again, and hailing. Again, just in time for me to hit the last of the rocky ridges. I got really cold and could barely hold my bars. Everything was frozen, hail was pelting me in the face, and I could barely stay upright because of the strong wind. I started to get really pissed, stopped eating and drinking, and basically went into survival mode for the remainder. I walked way more of the last section than I had on my first lap and an 8:15 finish time no longer felt realistic. I think I spent an extra 30+ minutes navigating this last section with rocks in my socks and my calves banged to a pulp from my pedals. I am not a big fan of walking my bike. I rolled into the finish around 8:50 which was good for 5th overall and 2nd in my 30-39 age group. My teammates were all done way before me but were awesome to wait for me despite the wet/cold temps. I guess about 6 of the 64mile women racers ended up DNF'ing so I was just happy to finish and get in a long training ride. My legs felt good and even did my knee!

Thanks to Gunnison Trails, Dave Wiens, and all the sponsors that made such an awesome and grueling event. I will definitely be back!

Scroll down a couple posts for the photos, and I'll upload my own tomorrow.

Gunnison Growler Pre-Race Report

The team (Jeff, Sonya, Yuki, Eddie, and I) headed down to Gunnison on Friday. We stopped in Salida for good coffee and food and to visit the famous Absolute shop. When we arrived in Gunnison it was kind of chilly and overcast and we all went for a little spin of the course. Gunnison is a cool, small town. We were able to roll out of the hotel and hit the race course in just 3 miles. As soon as you hit dirt, the course starts with a bitch of a climb up a dirt road that must be 20-some% steepness. Luckily Jeff said this would be the worst climb of the day and we only had to do it once. Still, I suffered like a dog in my granny gear and started mentally preparing myself for the race-day "warm up". After that we hit some singletrack and some of the more challenging technical stuff. I wasn't really feeling it and started to get a bit nervous..still the views were gorgeous so it was a good ride. We ended the day with a good dinner with the whole team (minus Dave) and Juli and Chuck (Michigander transplants to the CO Springs).

Saturday was a hearty breakfast and coffee at "The Bean" in the AM. After that, we worked on bikes a bit and headed out for another pre-ride. Jeff and Sonya went off together, Yuki waited for his girlfriend to finish out the ultra-run, and Eddie and I went to pre-ride the more technical sections that we would encounter on the 2nd lap of the race. I did much better today and actually got to enjoy some of it. The views on the course were amazing. I knew I wouldn't be able to pre-ride Skull Pass as I didn't want to tire my legs out too much. Skull Pass was the other tech section of the course that the locals kept mentioning. After the ride, we had some head shots taken and then chilled at Gunnison Brewery. They were awesome and let us taste all the beers, my favorite was the Dirt Farmer Pale Ale. While we were at the brewery the skies let loose and the temperature dropped quickly....greeeaaat. We stood in line to pick up our numbers and super cool Growler t-shirts. Killer logo and t-shirt! Then the entire team headed to the home of Dave Wiens and Susan DeMattei for dinner. It was really great, except Dave was still on Race Director duty. Their kids entertained us and the food was delicious. Thanks, Susan!! I finished my prep for the race (basically just PowerBar nutrition products) and hit the sack early for the 4:30am wake-up call...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

hello blog: Gunnison Growler quick report

The Ergon FJ. Yeah, we fit 5 of the 6 Topeak-Ergon USA riders in here plus all our gear!

I have a lot to catch up on! What a trip it's been so far...I'm back in Denver for a couple days before reality really sets in again. In the meantime, I'll do my best to remember all the fantastic days I've spent in Colorado...

For now, I'd like to give a huge thanks to Jeff Kerkove, Dave Wiens, and the rest of Topeak-Ergon USA for having us out here! The Gunnison Growler was probably the best race I've done in terms of the course...the trails are just amazing. Everything was perfect (except for the weather, but that's no one's fault). I did think it was kind of funny that we traveled across the country to race in the desert...and ended up racing in mud again! I, personally didn't "race". I never made it past my endurance zone...though my legs felt good, I just couldn't go hard because of the altitude. Still, I rode very consistently, was pleased with my skills since I haven't really been on the mountain bike much lately, and just had a really really good time riding. The Rotwild R.R2 hardtail was the perfect bike for the course..I love it. The Conti 2.2 Mountain King tires were also the best tire choice (Thanks, Jeff), the Magura brakes and Durin Race fork made the technical sections much more manageable. Yeah, I have nothing but good things to say about the bike! I'll have a more detailed report with pictures later but for now, here are some of Yuki's shots. I think I ended up 6th place in the overall women and 2nd in my age group. I'm ok with that since I think I was probably the only woman coming from sea level! And, this was my longest mountain bike ride since last September!! I'm just really happy to finally be racing again..that break was too long.

Yuki, me, and Jeff preriding two days before the race

One of the smooth sections of trail, weeeee!

Team Topeak-Ergon USA minus Dave Wiens

(out of order) Waiting for the start

Yuki showing us lines two days before the race

The ladies of the US team (Sonya Looney and me)

Mid-way point, muddy and refueling for another 32 miles

Coming in after getting stuck in the hail storm...very very happy to be DONE!

My teammates were really nice to wait for me. They must have been freezing..I know I was.

Stay tuned, I have a lot more days to report on and pictures to share. It just might take me a few days to get it all updated!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

heading west

Early flight to Denver in the AM. I'm excited that the forecast is for 93* and sunny! It's like 50's and rainy right now in Atlanta...what??! Jason from Pivot Cycles/BH Bikes is going to be waiting at the airport (thanks, Jason!) Not sure what else is in store for the week...mostly chill, acclimate, ride easy, hang with Topeak-Ergon teammates and friends, etc. We are all heading down to Gunnison for the Growler on Friday. My fingers are crossed that I can acquire some new clothing while I'm there...I am down to one pair of shorts with chamois intact! Yikes!

See you in Colorado!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


So after a couple rides on my new mountain bike I had to send it off. It's currently on its way to Colorado where I will meet up with it on Tuesday. I've only had three mountain bike rides since the end of March! I love my road bike but I miss dirt roads, singletrack, and gravel. I miss the solitude of off-road riding.

I've done a good bit of intensity on the road bike lately, but not much endurance stuff. My knee has been touchy so I haven't wanted to over-do it at all for fear of putting myself out of training again. I'm supposed to ride 6 gaps tomorrow so my fingers are crossed that I survive! After that it's vacation time and taper time for the Gunnison Growler over Memorial Day weekend. I'm sorry to miss the BURN 24 hour race this year, but excited about going to Colorado. I'm currently registered for the 64 mile Growler, but in light of the lack of endurance training I'm going to talk to coach about doing the 32 mile race instead. She might want me to just go out and suffer, though, for training sake of course!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

random thoughts on my new bike

I hadn't ridden a 26" wheeled bike in over two years, so naturally I was a bit curious as to how I would perceive the "little wheels" since Rotwild does not make a 29er frame. Now that I have three rides under my belt, I feel like I can give a pretty fair assessment.

1) Climbing: This bike weighs less than any of my HT 29ers (even my singlespeed). It climbs faster, I think. Granted, I do have 2.2 Conti Mountain Kings on the F and R and I was running a 2.4 F and 2.2 R Mountain King on the 29er.

2) Obstacles: I haven't ridden a ton of techy stuff yet, but I've purposefully taken "bad" lines on the trails I have ridden to see what the wheels will do. I'm not sure if I was just expecting to come to a halt at an obstacle because of the "little wheels" or what, but...oh HEY...the bike does just fine. I will say that the rollover is different, not really sure what the word is to describe it, but certainly a 29" wheel is smoother rolling over an obstacle. BUT, I (so far) have not had any harder or easier time getting through anything technical.

I guess the other side of this would be, this particular bike is WAY easier to manuever through obstacles and twisty/tech terrain. This is probably just because the bike is lighter, the wheels are smaller (and have less rotating weight), the 26er is just more flickable. I'm not sure that's a word but I've heard others use it. I can't wait to ride it in Florida! That is one place I always wished I had "little wheels".

3) Descending: I still cannot believe I'm riding a carbon hardtail. Seriously. The bike floats and the fork and frame just suck it up. The Magura Durin Race MD100R fork is the best fork I have ever owned. And, I've owned a Fox before. I'm really impressed.

My bike weighs about 20lb. now and that is with old XT brakes and a heavy crankset. The new Shimano drivetrains and Magura Marta SL brakes should drop even more weight from this fast little machine!

I will say, that if Rotwild ever makes a carbon HT 29er Singlespeed frame, I'm all over it!!!! :-)

I won't get any more rides on it until I get to Colorado on Monday. It needs to get packed and shipped tomorrow!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mountain Biking Kliniks at REI Atlanta & REI Perimeter

New riders and beginner racers are highly encouraged to attend. Please spread the word!


the crankbrothers eggbeater 2ti pedals were phenomenal! no issues with all the mud, unbelievable!
check out my shoes, i think they weighed 10 lb. each and this is after i knocked the big chunks off.
this is my leg. you can see a swiftwick logo in there somewhere.
guess who that hot guy is and you win a prize.

i can't even think of a caption for this one that does it justice!

DS&G quick update

Friday preride was great, once I got the bike dialed in..this was my first ever ride on the Rotwild R.R2 hardtail and my first ride on 26" wheels in more than 2 years! It took a little bit of time to get used to the handling but once I did, it was great. That bike is a fast climber and smooth over technical descents. The Conti tires on DT swiss rims combo was awesome and the Magura fork is plush as can be, with no break-in time required. I'm a big fan already. I had to use some old XT brakes this time around..I'm really looking forward to having my Maguras installed! started pouring at the Start line. Eddie did the first lap. He broke his chain, had to run into the pit to fix it, and picked up where he left off. I guess the trail was not bad on the first lap while there was still water on the course. However, when I went out on the 2nd lap, the course had already begun to quickly deteriorate. The parts I could ride were a blast, but they were quickly followed by cement-like dirt sticking to the tires, fork, and between the rear tire and chainstays. Everyone was walking everything at this point. It was a matter of who was a better hike a was no longer a "bike" race. 'Cross tires and a Lefty fork seemed to be the lucky components of the day...I think the avg mph for my lap was 3.5 to 4. It took me around 2 hours to do 8 miles of the course! Cara, our third teammate, had already said she wasn't going to ride at all and we were in the 4-person class. I realized there was no point to this and walked out of the lap. However, I could not carry my bike, it weighed as much as I do at this point. When I finally made it back to the pit, thanks to Eddie helping to rescue my bike from the course, I found that many people had already called it a day after 1 or 2 laps. The winning solo laps turned out to be 4 (40 miles) for a 12 hour race! This was one day I was REALLY glad to not be racing solo, even though there was a huge cash payout. Still, it was a really fun day with cool bike racers and my knee felt GOOD! I'm so happy about that :-)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Packing up for Dirt Sweat & Gears

I haven't done this in awhile! The last endurance race I did was in October!! It looks like it's going to be mudfest but no worries, it will still be fun. Essentials being packed include:

FRS chews and drink

PowerBar Energize Smoothie bars and Gel Blasts
PowerBar Endurance

Swiftwick Socks
Lots of Twin Six tees
...and of course

Rotwild R.R2 hardtail with
Ergon grips
Continental Mtn King/Race King tires
Magura fork (my brakes are not in yet)
DT Swiss 1450s with Stans No Tubes
Terry Saddle
Thomson stem and seatpost
Jagwire cables
Eggbeater 2ti pedals
Topeak accessories

...we're gettin' there!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Stuff for sale....

Also coming soon: Fox 29er fork ($375), American Classic 29" singlespeed and geared disc wheels (price TBD), 29er tires (Exiwolf, Nano, Vulpine), 16" Soma Juice 29er frame in midnight silver ($325), 2 sets Jones Ti H bars ($100/ea) and more....stay tuned.

For now, I have two new White Brothers Magic 80 29er suspension forks. Leave a comment if you are interested in making an offer.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Shocking, but true

I don't want to jinx anything but it looks like I am going to actually race this weekend at Dirt Sweat & Gears! My Rotwild hardtail is sort of a frankenbike due to the borrowed parts and old parts on it to make it work...but hey, it should roll. Coach said "no" to racing solo but "ok" to racing with a team. So far I've been able to sucker two others into racing with me, but none of us are doing it for any other reason except to ride an awesome trail and enjoy a huge party with the coolest riders in the country. Seriously, it seems like EVERYONE is going to be at this race. I have my fingers crossed that my knee holds up OK. I'm getting a massage on Friday AM, and will have my foam roller and massage stick on me at all times :-) I'll post some pics of the bike once I pick it up from the shop tonight.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Back in the Saddle: Day 1

Coach had me doing an endurance ride with some bursts today, just to ease back into training. I actually felt great, and I'm hopeful that I have not lost as much fitness as I originally thought I had. Regardless, I am lucky to have one of the best coaches around and I completely trust her and will just do what she tells me to do! I can't wait to get back out tomorrow...also, I can't be TOO sad that I didn't race the Dirty Spokes 6/12 hour today because it is pouring outside. I am sooooo ready to get back on the dirt, though! Just need the mountain bike built now.