Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elkhorn Hot Springs - Fall 2013

We arrived the empty Grasshopper CG at midnight, it was about a four hour drive from Victor, ID to Polaris, MT.  We briefly scoped out the hot springs which was 1/4 mile up the road from the CG, then headed to find a camp spot. Our selection was slim, 24 out of 24 spots were available.  We rolled out the mattress, sleepin' bags, down comforter and watched the stars. It was chilly, so our 70 and 90 lb squiggly furboyz decided to snuggle in between us in the early a.m. hours, we were warm and AWAKE!  

The next morning we checked out the other camp sites, looking for sun since we would be camping here again. While the water was boiling for coffee and oatmeal, the furboyz totally ripped around, chasing chiselers, squirrels, checking out every sound, movement, nook and cranny of the wide open empty CG. Although it was uninhabited by humans, it was filled with gorgeous Ponderosa pine trees, huge rocks, tons of firewood, streams, birds and at times, silence. 

We had b-fast and headed to the hot springs. There was a lot of work going on from a recent wind storm which had blown down and damaged thousands of trees. When we got to the pool, there were 4 people there, 2 were leaving, within minutes, we had the place to ourselves. After soaking, it was time to ride! The plan was to ride from Elkhorn to Wise River and back, 66 mile (empty road) ride. We were both looking forward to riding and reminiscing about this section of the Tour Divide.  We had a nice tail wind on our 2 hr ride to The Wise River Club, where we had lunch and reminisced some more, JayP shure has some good stories! The wind was not our friend on the 2.5 hr return trip to Elkhorn, thankfully JayP is used to pullin' me around.  After grabbin' a recovery drink A.K.A. beer, we went for our 2nd soak of the day, then headed back to camp. Jay made a nice big fire while I made diner. Not long after that, it was back to watching the stars and the fire. 

The next day we pretty much repeated our previous day, except we headed towards Jackson, MT for an out-n-back dirt road ride. We saw some hunters, but the road was still quite.  There were great views of the valley and open fields.  At times the forest got really thick and smelled so fresh. We went back for one last soak, then it was homeward bound. The furboys were so tired, they slept the whole way home. 

There is a lot of exploring to do in this big and quite area, so I am shure we'll be heading back.  Hopefully my camera will be working. 

Til' next time!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I was very excited about Moosecross this year. Being part of the Victor Velo board, I know how much planning and organizing went into this race, great job team!!  JayP is the course director, and fer shure has it figured out.  Some more steps and a dirt pile were added this year only adding to the fun of this already super sweet course. I ride it often with my boys, Rippin' and Chillin', they know it like the back of their paw.  

I was a little intimidated showin' up to the start line with my MTB, while most of the other ladies had their fast looking, skinny tire bikes, but Magic Wanda assured me, at the very least, we'd have a good time! My heart was racin' and I couldn't wait to here the words GO!

With 24 women starting, I didn't want to get caught up in a crash off the start line, so I eased into the mid pack pace line over the whoop-de-doos. There were definitely a few VERY fast ladies off the front who I knew it would be hard to catch, but it ain't over til it's over! After swooshing through the chicanes, climbing the 12 step run up, the course sweeps back to the new dirt hill climb, with a short, super fast n' steep downhill which leads into the grass. The grass zig-zags back n' forth over a small hill allowing you to see where everyone is, it includes a small barrier, which could have been ridden, I didn't figure that out until after the race was over, then it shoots out to the bike path for a short bit, back into single track up and around a couple dirt benches which leads into the barriers. Being vertically challenged, the barriers seemed a bit high and I was glad to hear some other ladies thought the same, back to the pavement, through some rough dirt, sharp turn, through the start finish area, beer shot optional-REPEAT!!  There were so many spectators and cowbells were goin' off!

This course is soooo fun!! I settled in and started to relax, trying to figure out where I could make up time. It was the grass! I was able to catch the others from the steep DH through the grass. So I tried to take advantage of this and really push through the grass, eventually passing 3 riders.  I also like to talk to racers while I'm around them, just for fun.  My 7 lap average time was 6:40, with a shockingly fast 4th lap of 6:19.  I felt great, had fun, no mechanicals, no crashes, and finished in 5th place overall.  Good job Magic Wanda! 

Til' next time!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The adventures of 2012

At year end it is so fun to look back at all I have accomplished and learned through my cycling experiences. Every single event I partake in, I always learn something. It's just amazing after all these years, the learning never stops. That is part of why I continuously look forward to the next adventure, because I know indeed I will learn something. 

This year I learned so much. Shure I have been racing and competing for close to 20 years, but many races have been as a team or with Jay. This year was different. I started out by deciding I was going to attempt the Tour Divide, from Banff Canada to Antelope Wells NM, 2745 miles.  In order to prepare for such a feat, gear needed to be tested and I needed to ride. We are very lucky to live where we do and have the conditions that allow us to ride 365 days a year, with the right bike & gear of course, which I am also lucky to have.

My 2012 year started out with the Grand Targhee 1st annual Fat Bike race. Here I learned about putting new tires just days before a race. I didn't check to make shure the rear tire was seated on the rim and within 15 minutes from the start going around a curve my tire rolled off the rim. I had to let pressure out of the tube to get the tire back on which was my 2nd lesson learned, NEVER leave the pump! I was lucky to have 2 good friends roll up and help me, even offer me a bike! I finished in 2nd place with a time of 3hrs 12 mins, this year I finished in !st with a time of 2hrs 20 minutes-whew! what an improvement! 

The 2nd race of 2012 was the Arrowhead 135. Conditions were fast, and instead of listening to my instincts, having faith in my ability to change the tire, I stuck with the big knobby Nate tire I had on. This tire was way too aggressive for the conditions and I really felt it slowed me down.
The 3rd race was the Togwotee Winter Classic. I've had good luck at this race, lets hope it stays that way, since this is next on the list.  

The 4th race was the 12 hr Equinox Bike challenge. A friend and I had gone up the night before to check out  the course, relax and enjoy a little get away. We decided to go for pizza instead of staying in. Well 5 long island ice teas later, a push up contest and meeting up with my husband at 1 am, who had ridden from Victor, things were not pretty. I think the last time I had a long island ice tea was back in the 1990's sittin' at a bar on the Jersey shore. I really had no idea what I was getting into. The next morning I was so sick and hung over. We still rode, alternating laps, but I wasn't able to eat or drink til about 4pm that afternoon, hurting unit fer shure! Lesson learned-UGH!

The 5th race was the Stagecoach 400. This was it, this was the 1st time I was going to be ridding and make all my own decisions. Yeah, I was definitely nervous, but also very excited! I had some mechanical, food, sleep and navigation issues, but learned from each one and got thru them. I am planning and looking forward to returning this year. 
Then it was "the big one", the Tour Divide! I was so excited, but again oh so very nervous. Gettin a ride up to the start worked out, gettin thru Canada and the snow was tough, but I was fortunate to have people to travel with. Once we got to MT, the pack split up. I didn't mind riding alone, it was so freeing. It's hard to race this race b/c there are so many beautiful places I wanted to enjoy, lakes I wanted to spend the day by swimming, "plush" empty campgrounds. I had so much fun when Jay and I completed this race on a tandem, the company of my husband, the memories, the good and hard times we got thru together, the ups, the downs, but this time was different, but only in the way he wasn't physically there. I had a great time figuring things out. It was hard for me to get up and focus on the "race" at times. The BIGGEST thing I have learned from this race is that-I NEED a REALLY loud alarm! Other things learned: I don't need as much food as I think I do, and that I WILL be okay. I learned abut my nutrition, my comfort zone, to make decisions that work for me, my gear, and my desire to come back and do this race again. I think about the TD daily. I'll be back!
3 weeks after returning from the TD, I attempted the local Targhee Hill Climb, 12 miles, from 6700 to 9000 ft, fast! Shure I'm fast! I just rode close to 2800 miles with elevation around 200,000. I did a nice long warm up, which I probably didn't need, actual tired me out I think. I finished mid pack, but had a fun day watching friends and being outside. 

Ahhh, the Fitz-Barn was the next adventure, so sweet. Being able to leave pretty much right from my front door on my bike and ride through my backyard 350 miles to MT, with a party waitin'! whee-whoo! I had sooo much fun during this race. the terrain was variable, the places I came across were un-expected at times, and I rode really hard, pushed myself, trying to WIN! Again, I had a bit of a problem gettin up! It's hard for me to deal withthe dark and cold, gettin' out of a warm sleepin' bag, the sun is so warm. I had so great memories, meating up with Jay and TJ, close to 100 miles in outta no where, how light my bike/kit was packed, the excitement of a many friends 1st bike packing journey. The huge horses I ran into and rode with in the dark. fearing a bear run in. being slightly dehydrated. sleeping. finishing. It was August so still comfy sleepin outside.

Then I fell into a slump for a few months, kinda riding but not really, gettin the dogs out n such. Maybe I was just waiting for the snow? Novemeber, I decided last minute to go race the 25 hrs of Frog Hollow in Hurricane UT. It would be a nice break form the cold temps setting in and a warm place to ride. I learned it's hard to do a 25 hr race without support. I felt great, except for some blurred vision 12 hrs in which could have been caused by a variety of things, the course, festivities/crowd were great, I saw many racers I've got to know over the years. Due the the eye conditions I wind up sleeping for 7 hrs but still rode 144 miles. Due to the amazingly fun course I would definitely go back to this race. 

2013 has started out great, so I'm moving on to a new year, with a new post, SOON!!

See you out there!

Friday, February 1, 2013

How many?

I often think of how many miles I have ridden through my entire adult life, how many times have I turned my pedals?

So here is the math equation I've come up with:

I have beed riding for 20 years, competitively.

1990-1999-2,000 miles a year avg=18,000

2000-2008-3,000 miles a year avg=24,000

2009-2012-5,000 miles a year avg=15,000

57,000 miles, thats it?!?! It seems like I have ridden soooo many more. 

However, the adventures, places I've been and things I have learned are beyond any calculation I could come up with. 

This year I am going to keep track of my miles and see how close I am to my guesstimate. 

So far for the month of Jan I have 177 fatbike miles, 32 ICC miles, 20 miles of snowshoeing and 20 miles of skating. 249 miles for the month of Jan, 2013.