Tuesday, May 24

Stepping Stones

I promise that as I continue to stage race, that my race reports will become much more concise and fluid and timely. As of now each experience is so big and multi-faceted that it is hard not to fixate on even of the smallest signs of improvement and excitement. I still have one day of Gila to dig through, and that day, I finally felt like a bike racer. But until then, there is a slight side step to the Stepping Stones and Building Blocks that are becoming my weekends of hugging the fog-line on the local mountain roads.

So much happens each and every day and ride, its extremely hard to narrow it down. There have been crashes, but even those are far enough past that my hot pink sweatshirt lint is sticking to the uncovered scabs. Hot huh.

There was a crit in the rain, there was a turn with a large paint strip. Both my wheels went right, my body ejected left. Thanks to hours of softball as a teen and many afternoons spent on the slip-n-slide as a toddler, I kept my chin/face up and slid belly first into home. Er, almost the curb. I was shocked, and even more stunned as 2-3 racers behind me hit me as I lay prostrate on ground, launching them onto the slippery asphalt next to me. You slide really, really well on wet asphalt. I burned through two jerseys and a base layer to get some stellar road rash on my stomach, hips, and elbow. The worst is seeing your friends go down, and some sustain painful injuries.

The week following Rain Crit brought the largest volume and intensity of training I have had to date. The majority of my training period is done solo, and this week fell right into place. By Friday I was wrecked and fatigued, up against some huge climbing days.

This is where the fun began. Locally there are awesome roads, climbs, and places to experience! Friday I headed to Oak Glen for roughly two trips up the front side and realized there is virtually zero traffic up there.

3 hours, 5k of climbing 41 miles. Time for Mexican food!

After many Tour of California discussions, Brian and I decided to sit out the hype and pedal it out instead. One of our most favorite rides is Idyllwild through Hemet round trip. We picked up Mark on the way and embarked on an amazing ride. As we rose above the smog line and into the thin mountain air, I couldn't help but be thankful for the amazing place we live. And began wishing the boys we leave me alone! I was cooked and their pace was relentless, yet Brian would push me back into the group and keep me together. Oddly, I think this was statistically our best Idyllwild trip, but if I had read it strictly by the legs, I would have hung it up. They do lie sometimes!

92 miles, 7,200ft of climbing, 5:15 ride time. Plus a nap. And Mexican food.

Sunday Funday! Do you ever get an itch? An idea that won't go away and you aren't satisfied until you have explored it fully? Sunday was that day. All Brian said was "Don't do anything stupid."

The Plan: Ride to Big Bear round trip solo so I could see the finish of the Kenda Cup MTB race where I could see many friends and some of my awesome clients! I had no idea what would go down!

Riding up 38 it was smoggy and humid! The thick air stuck to my skin and clogged my lungs, I felt like I was back in Vermont prepping for Mount Snow NORBA national! As I got closer to Angelus Oaks the air cleared and the smell of pine started to over take the smog and I knew I was in for an adventure. I saw Jason Reynold (ZZ Top) and his pup heading for a walk and he offered me food and water, as did "Naked Man" (Those of you old-skool NORBA racers know him - now he works at a boys camp by Jenks Lake. And is no longer called Naked Man. His name is Rick.) Somehow, I seem to have people looking out for me and it is awesome. Rick passed me about an hour later and stopped, just checking to make sure I was dialed. I was since South Fork camp ground is open!

I have never ridden this far up HWY 38. From South Fork to Onyx hands down the worst, hardest, longest, when-will-this-end part of the ride! But I really really wanted a PayDay and a Coke, and there is NOTHING out there, so I knew I just HAD to get to Big Bear. And once you come this far, whats another 11-12 miles?! Unfortunately for the return trip, those miles rapidly ticked by as I descended into town! D'oh!

Here's the truth: Any part descending on this ride - INSANE head or cross winds. My triceps were on FIRE by the time I got home! The ride "down" the mountain contains about 3k of climbing. Jokes on ME! I never ever ride with headphones so I created training plans and wedding menus in my head in between spotting cloud creatures.

But getting to the race was the best reward! So many hugs and smiling friendly faces. I never thought I would be "that girl" that shows up to a mountain bike race on my road bike! But I have business to attain to! The ride home flew by, the PayDay and Coke were delicious, and I even ate some Cheeze-its for some salt. :)

94 Miles, 6:06 ride time, 9,300ft of climbing. :) My arms hurt the worst.

This ride was truly a breakthrough for me. Fatigued, solo, uncharted territory and success. I was never stressed, nervous, down, or unmotivated. I have some racing to do and exploring beyond our local San Bernardino mountains is to be had, the best thing I can do is prep myself both mentally and physically!

Total in 3 days: 230 miles, 21,500 ft of climbing and just over 14 hours. :) I did not ride my bike today.

Awesome to see Allison and Justin Mann out as well, and their blogs are awesome! Allison is coming off a rough spot of training with a foot injury, one day we will be lining up together in the dirt again!!

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