Thursday, July 12, 2012

Round Lake

After reading on websites and in guide books that the Flume Trail is basically a freeway in the summer, I revamped our plans and decided on a trail with two passes by a lake and plenty of creeks, knowing that would keep the pups happy. So we headed up to Big Meadow TH again and this time headed to Round Lake, the PCT, and back.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


For the last few weeks, I've been riding in Tahoe as often as possible and it has been absolutely amazing!

First up was Silver Lake to Horse Thief. Well, in all honesty, I'm not sure I would recommend this ride. Last year, my dad and I did this one and we got turned around by a snow bank. And in the end, riding down the way we came up was more fun because although there was some hike-a-biking on the way up, it was nearly all rideable on the way down. But this time we didn't get turned around and that basically meant we got to do a lot more walking and walking has a way of zapping your rhythm and then your motivation.

Halfway up.

My dad.

Emigrant Trail. Clearly no one told the immigrants about switchbacks.

Still climbing/walking.

We rode down the side of the mountain to the right.

The snow bank that turned us around last summer.

9,000+ feet.
Horse Thief. Pretty destroyed by motorcycles up top.
After this ride, I decided to head to a known entity to guarantee I wouldn't be walking so I put in a few loops at Hole-in-the-Ground.
Anthracite Ridge, I think they call it.
I didn't get too many pictures of the trail because my camera fell out on the first loop, and by the time I got back to it on the second one, the battery was dead. Super fun, though, and a nice 5 hour ride.

On the hunt for another 5 hour ride with some technical riding, I planned a ride that started at Big Meadow TH off 89, climbed along the Tahoe Rim Trail to Freel Peak (at 9,300 feet), and dropped to Star Lake. It was epic.
Aspens :)
Lake Tahoe!
Freel Meadow.
More prettiness.
Tahoe's sandy singletrack.
More of it.
And more.
Getting closer to Freel Peak.
And closer . . .

View from Freel Peak.

Another view.

And another one.
Star Lake.
Me at Star Lake.

Back down.
Back down.
In fact, this ride was so fun, my dad and I went back and did it on Saturday and added a few more miles out to Monument Pass.

In the end, with intervals on the days between trips to Tahoe, I rode for 6 days straight and 20+ hours. And though I'm sure I ate more calories than I burned, I appear to be down another couple of pounds. Hope it helps this weekend at the Tahoe 59er. Next up, Flume Trail tomorrow with the hubster and pups.


With the school year over and the loads of grading and writing behind us, J and I headed north to the Coloma/Lotus Valley for a few weeks to enjoy the river and mountains. Our first day here, though, I headed up to 6,000 feet to race the Sawtooth Challenge. I'd never ridden this course and was pleasantly surprised to see that the course would be laps on an 8 mile course composed of really windy and technical single track and very little climbing.

I did my best to get a warm-up in but I was admittedly feeling the elevation and so ended up instead with about a half hour spin before I hit the start line. Not great. And I could feel it when we took off and one woman went off the front and I sat fourth wheel gasping for air.

Eventually, though, my legs did wake up and as we worked our way through the course I started to get impatient with the pace. The woman sitting second was clearly struggling with the rocks, something I'm really comfortable with, so it felt like every time the rocks increased we slowed way down. So finally, at a bend, I passed the girl in front of me, and a short while later, pulled around second. Eventually, too, I caught the men ahead of us and could feel some fall in behind me. Much to my chagrin, when a man in front of me bungled a technical section, the man behind me picked up his bike and ran around me, which was frustrating since I wasn't the reason we were stopped. I rode his wheel until we hit the fire road we started on and then put my head down for the short bit of uphill, dropping that guy and making up some of the ground I had lost due to my poor start. For the next few laps I just kept pushing it, really hoping to reel in the woman who had gone off the front at the start of the race. Finally, with a lap and a half to go, I saw her red jersey through the trees. Sweet! But, just as I pulled up behind her, I could feel my rear rim hitting every rock I went over. I must have burped a tired. Argh! I had no choice but to stop and put air in so I did. By the time I was back on, first was gone. I took a deep breath, told myself I still had a lap to catch her and by the time I crossed the start line and headed off for my final lap, the announcer told me she was about a minute and a half ahead of me. I pushed through the final lap, and with about a quarter mile of singletrack to go, caught first again. She looked tired and I pulled right up behind her thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could get around her before the fire road finish. But the course was windy and tight and so I had to wait for the fire road. As it neared we both shifted down, and then we were on the fire road and up out of our saddles. I was right on her wheel going into the fire road, but only had about an 8th of a mile to get around her. Sadly, I couldn't pull it off. Ciest la vie.


In T-minus 18 days my dad and I are racing the Trans Rockies as a co-ed duo which means that for 7 straight days of racing we need to be within two minutes of each other. In preparation, we've been doing a few 8 hour co-ed duo races which actually function very differently--we do as many laps in 8 hours as we can, but only one of us is on the course at at time--but we call it Trans Rockies prep nonetheless :). One of these races was the Hammerstein in Laguna Seca, CA.

I started us off at noon which proved to be a good choice as I put up the fastest woman's lap of the day on that one, coming in at 53 minutes, start loop included. I also had an IF over 1.0 which I was ecstatic about since I spent the month before this race feeling really terrible and while getting in the right amount of training hours, definitely coming up short on intensity. My dad went out next and I spent the break with my mom and Rosie.

My dad came in with a blistering fast lap and I was off again. I fell in behind a pretty fast guy and in the process of sticking on his wheel, I slid out in a corner, tearing up my knee and, I would find out later, busting my derailleur hanger. I hopped back on, though, and tried to make up for lost time. Then, at a steep section, I shifted down and sent my chain into the space between my rear cassette and wheel. Ugh! I had to stop, flip my bike over, and start tugging. A very nice man stopped to help just as I pulled it out, and I thanked him for his good karma. Finally, I came in and based on my time, figure I lost about 6 minutes.

Rosie likes chairs.

Is it over yet?
Again, my dad put in another good lap, making up for some of my lost time, and I was off again. This time, I was a bit more conservative because I could feel my legs growing tired. About 10 minutes in, someone fell in behind me and for most of the lap he stayed there which proved to be a huge help as it kept me motivated. On the slog out, he pulled up beside me and said hi, and then offered to take a pull which was much appreciated.

I finally checked our standings when we made it back and we were sitting in second behind a fast couple who appeared to be ahead of use due to the man's 50 minute laps. (My dad and I were in the 53 to 56 range.) My dad and I just kept chugging and when it was all said an done, finished 12 minutes behind in 2nd. While bummed, I later took solace in knowing that the woman has the fastest course time on the Tahoe 100 course.

The Whiskey 50

My magazine shot
Whew. I'm finally caught up enough on work to put down a few words about the Whiskey 50.

After a 4am wake-up call (again) to catch my 6:30 am flight out of SB, I arrived in Phoenix and got scooped up at the airport by my mom. I love it when my dad and  I race the same races because having my mom and dad around, and their puppy Rose, makes everything way more fun.  My mom and I couldn't get out of Phoenix fast enough--what a dismal city!!!--and after confusing one strip mall for another--got coffee and were on our way.

The pro-rider meeting was at 12pm and so after a quick stop by the hotel to scoop up my dad, we made our way to the venue. The race takes over downtown Prescott so being at the venue was a bit like being in an alternate reality where cars and pro football are replaced by bikes and pro mountain biking. My kind of town!

At check in I learned that not only was I number 1 on the pro rider roster, I would be also be rocking a bright pink number plate with the number 1. Sheesh. Having that number on my bike was little like walking around naked all weekend. Look at me! Look at me!

I didn't know how to feel about the mountain bike crit set in the heart of downtown. Mountain bikes on cement? Meh. Mountain bikes on a short hard cement climb? Meh. Mountain bikes on a short hard cement climb with some of the best riders in the nation? Definitely meh. But much to my surprise when I got on my bike to warm-up, my nerves weren't too bad, and my legs felt good. The course was composed of two steep climbs separated by a brief flat (about 2:30 minutes), and a descent, (about 30sec). As a result after the searing pain of climbing, you didn't get enough to descent to recover, and thus went into each lap feeling way less recovered than you hoped to be.
Me and my BFF Georgia at the crit start

Climbing in the crit

So, the gun went off, and as I pedaled I was pleased to see I was sitting in the thick of it. And as we hit the steep stuff, I was pleased to see I was holding steady. And after a few laps I was pleased to see that I was sitting with some big names and feeling strong. And, as I already posted to FB, I made my mom proud. Some folks sitting next to her asked, after they heard her cheering me on, "Oh, my god! Is that your daughter? She's riding with famous people." He he. The crowds were also amazing. A ton of people turned out and made me feel like I was in the Tour. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

My bed buddy, Rose!
Sunday went off, well, okay. The first few miles were on pavement and mostly uphill and as the pack really started to pick up the pace I knew I was going to have to balance my desire to be in the thick of it with the need to save something for the climb out of Skull Valley which would be 16 miles long and start at about the half way point. I seemed to find the necessary balance, though, because I picked off a few riders on the single track and felt like my legs were holding steady. By the time I descended into Skull Valley and could see the men climbing back out and then the lead group of women, I was pleased with where I was sitting. I got bottles and Hammer Gel from my folks at the aid station and then began the climb. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes later my stomach turned on me. I'd take in calories, get nauseous, spend 15 minutes recovering, and then go through the cycle all over again . . . for 16 miles. It sucked. And to top it off, I hadn't pre-ridden the final single track section and had somehow convinced myself there was literally no uphill when I finally hit it. Not true. I had cramp hill and a few others. Bummer. But eventually I did hit pavement again and rejoiced in knowing the finish line wasn't too far off. I wanted a sub 4 hour race but came in about 20 minutes after that. Oh well. I've since revamped my pre-race  nutrition, opting to omit most of what I used to take in and so far so good.