Take… "2"?

After the massive effort last Sunday at Fontana I took Monday off (as usual - it's my "errand" day) and decided since it was mid-cycle to do a bit longer of a ride on Tuesday, but with less intense efforts. I felt KILLER out on the bike. I hadn't had a training day like that in a long time. Wasn't pushing hard at all, but just really enjoying pedaling. Unfortunately Justin did not feel so great. We wound up a tad shy of 2 hours, with some easy efforts.

I was going to take Wednesday as it came, just get out on the bike at lunch and see how I felt... Well, I put in an effort and didn't feel horrible; did a 3min effort and then backed off a tad. So, I kept it going with efforts and recoveries the entire way. Solid hour! Still feeling pretty good.

Thursday we planned on heading out to our local easy mountain bike loop. I was planning on taking it easy, but Justin was out for redemption after a week of feeling the race efforts, the crash recovery, and tons of poison oak. He and Luke sped off, and I spun slowly behind, far far out of sight. It was pretty cold.

I took a right where I thought the boys may have gone, but I wasn't sure. Wasn't up for a steep climb, so I just stood around listening to the silence to see if I could hear them coming the other way…eventually I heard some tire skids and around the bend they came.

I chased Luke and Justin down with Ben from Troupe hot on my wheels. He asked if this was our "slow" pace! I was like, "I'm working like crazy!" I fell way off after that since my legs were feeling it and not happy. No reason to put myself in a hole! I was out for a cruise. Made the boys wait for me a bit, but that's okay. HR was ridiculously low every time I stopped pedaling uphill.

Friday was a short regen spin in the morning. Good thing, too, cause right after work it was off for a family/friend dinner and we didn't get home until almost 10. Spent the next 2 hours or so packing up for our first race weekend away from home! I had been up just after 5 on Friday morning, so by midnight I was a zombie. It's a wonder I didn't forget anything imperative.

Saturday we slept in til about 7 and I got to work making us some delish oatmeal. We got on the road shortly after, and before 11 were down at the venue for Sagebrush Safari.

We met up with Steph and Dan, and it had been a LONG time. We did a ride with them around New Year's, but they had been our prime riding buddies last year, and it was a much needed reunion!

We hung out on the flats chilling, but once I hit a higher HR I decided to just go for some sweet spot riding up the hill. The course was marked, so I just kept following the pavement up and up. I looked back and didn't see anyone for awhile.

Justin was putting in the chase

Mt. Pinos in the distance. We gotta climb up THAT??

The group catching up


Look fast - unsuccessful


I'm just glad that I spent so much time hiking LAST weekend that my calves and shins were fully ready for the task! :)

I was fully enjoying the course. The descents were SO fun! I wasn't sure how it would play out on race day, but I was having a blast on the pre-ride.

I hit the hills again once we got down off the fire road and put in another easy effort back up to Four Corners.

I knew I wouldn't like this on race day!

I set off up Pinos in a solo attempt and got in some hard efforts on the steeper sections. I was thoroughly enjoying the climb and the views were spectactular. Got up to the top and took a short break to eat what little calories I had (definitely under packed on liquid and food!)

Shortly after the pack rolled up!

We rode with a few other guys, and finally met Adam from the Gary Fisher 29er crew! We chatted a bit on the way back up to Four Corners (again?!) about Joy's adventures in Costa Rica!

Once back together we made a run down the final singletrack. It was nice and sandy and dusty! Still a blast.

We hammered out the pavement and made it back to the venue in time for some lunch on the rocks before heading to the in-law's for dinner and bed.

I didn't feel like I was really recovering as well as I could've been (tons of walking and standing, and hydrating), but we had a killer dinner of grilled salmon and ahi, salad, and brown rice. It was SO good. There was hardly anything left over! We all destroyed the food.

I sat with my feet elevated for a bit, and off to bed we went.

I'd crashed UPHILL on Saturday, so my somewhat "twisted" ankle bugged me all night, and my legs definitely felt the efforts from the previous day on Sunday morning. I made some extra oatmeal goodies, we packed up and headed south for the race site. It was packed already and we got there before 8:30!

I tried to stay out of the wind and seated, but did a bit of walking around. Everyone was pretty spread out, but chatted with a few people and hung out in the truck to keep dust-free and warm.

We got suited up pretty early and cruised around a little, and headed out for a warm-up. We made it about halfway up to Four Corners and Justin needed to do some adjustments, and my legs just weren't feeling like any further efforts were going to help.

Got everything suited up and off we headed to the line!

The Pro men took off in a cloud of dust, and we took off shortly after.

I had no idea what to expect when we hit the tarmac. I thought maybe the group would stay in a nice peloton so we could work together on the flats in the wind. Pua had other ideas! She sped off like a freight train and the rest of us wound up strung out behind her single file. I don't know about anyone else, but it was all I could do to just hang on to Krista's wheel in front of me. I thought I'd be blown by the time we hit the ascent. Pua attacked off the front as soon as the road turned up, and I went around a few people and was sitting in 2nd. Pua had already made a gap too big to close. There were men in front of me, and people behind, but no one going a similar speed, so I climbed into the wind up to Four Corners solo. I had a small gap on Amanda, Kathy, Natasha, and Zephanie, but they weren't letting the gap grow at all! I hoped to make up some time on the singletrack, but when I hit the slickrock climb they were right there!

I continued to put in efforts on the super fun descent that followed, and generally forgot I was racing I was having so much fun. A train of men rolled through, but I had no chance of hanging on! They were smoking. I don't think I touched the brakes on the fire road descent, but shortly after we hit a false flat and the hike a bike loomed in front of me. I saw Pua picking her way through the men's field ahead, so I knew the women behind me would see me also! Continued moving at all times and putting in efforts where I could.

I got to the top and solo'd that. Once I got to the turn to go downhill I was faced with a massive headwind! Going downhill is not usually so slow and laborious! Put in a lot of time solo, and eventually down on the false flat looked back and saw a big group of guys coming my way. I had no hopes of latching on to the first few, but tried to draft wherever I could!

The climb up to Four Corners was fairly painful. Lots of wind and no relief. I grabbed a fresh bottle (though my initial one was less than half empty!) from Business Darter who is a highly coveted pit man and definitely stands atop the pit guy podium at every event he is at! Not only did he hand me my bottle mid-climb, but he also was snapping shots whilest mid-hand off. That takes skill!

I wasn't much looking forward to climbing up to Mt. Pinos, but made the best of it. I looked back on the big switchback and saw a LOT of riders. I saw a few red jerseys in there as well and knew the Pro women were chasing me down! Pua was out of sight! I put in a few efforts thinking the top was much closer than it actually was, and suffered all the way to the top! It was sweet relief with we turned on to the fire road descent. I was hoping to recover a bit in order to have some energy for the last ascent up to Four Corners.

There was a LOT more traffic this time around with the other categories out on their shorter loop. Lots of traffic on the final descent, but I had a good time just trying to hang on.

I spent the final flat back to the finish line begging my legs to hold on to 2nd place. I hit the dirt and heard "just one more mile!" I hoped he was kidding, but when I saw the motorhomes in the distance I knew I had a LONG way to go!

Pushed it the entire way and was stoked to finish 2nd behind Pua! 3-6 came in not too much later! It was all really close! The Pro women definitely pushed my limits a ton this past weekend, and I was ecstatic to place where I did.

I was a bit out sorts after crossing the line, so half spun around in a daze, waiting for Justin. I cheered on a few people, wandered around, and Sarah was awesome for letting me know Justin was fine, but he'd stopped to help out an injured rider.

We took our time getting dressed and stayed for about 98% of podiums to cheer on Vu and Matt

After that I was done with the wind and the sun and we took off. We snacked on some Clif/Luna bars and then Justin had the brilliant idea to stop at Rita's in El Cajon. What! I was full already!

We split a burrito anyway (3rd meal since the finish!)

The ride home

No post-race beers or candy for me this time!

Killer weekend overall. No complaints. Sho-Air is putting on a killer race series for us here in CA and I can't wait to head up to Sea Otter in a few weeks!

It's not May, but I've got about a "month" of mayhem coming up pretty soon! 3 race weekends in a row. I decided already I'm taking the day after Idyllwild off! Course, I will have to do some cheering for the Super D!

Until next time...