High(er) elevation fun!

Early last week we all got the idea to head up to the mountains for some high (er, for So Cal) elevation training! Saturday was to be laps at the latest 12 Hours of Rim Nordic course, and Sunday would be the Big Bear Shootout #1 for Justin and I. Steph and Dan were going to ride, possibly Rim Nordic again, and Luke was going to head out for a hike with his sweetie, then hit the road once he got home.

Justin and I were up pretty late on Friday, so got a late start Saturday morning.

My balance for the evening did not get in the way of us heading out...

We had to hit up wally world for a new camp grill, and the grocery store for a few minor provisions. The sky was pretty grey at home, but once we got about a mile up the highway on the way up to the mountains it was gorgeous.

Nasty stuff down below, though. It wasn't all just haze/clouds. Lots of smog.

We got up to the middle of the mountain sometime around 11 and once suited up, we figured we'd head up what we thought might be the end of the course until we met up with the crew already out pre-riding. Could've been interesting if we were wrong, but about 1.5mi later we ran into the group descending down and almost at the finish.

Unfortunately I wound up sliding out pretty bad on a loose corner and wound up with a skinned/bruised elbow, and bruises on my hip and knee. Yay! Kept riding since the parts all worked fine, and the scrape dried over eventually.

I was covered in a fine dust all day

Ominous clouds rolling in

Steph gettin' her prep on

Weyland contemplates

Luke and I headed out for my first full lap and his 2nd shortly after, and Justin and Steph transferred the course file from 705 to 705 (sweetness).

Was it humid? Or, was I just working too hard?

Luke leads it out, but we were conversational the entire way

Until Justin caught up and pushed the pace!

Justin was done after one, but I was determined for 2. Steph and Dan went for a bottle refill and I hung out. Dan mentioned the clouds looked pretty dark on the ridge. No sooner had Justin showed up from putting the camera away (just in case) when rain started to fall. At that point I was pretty cooled down from lap 1, and we hit the road. Sprinkle showers fell for the next 30-45 mins, but no real rain hit that I could tell.

Think it'll fit?

Justin and I drove down, passed our campground exit, u-turned, and then I had the brilliant idea to drive all the way back up past Rim Nordic to Big Bear Lake to check-in for the race and get some bandages and tape for my arm (so I could sleep/race). So, up up and away we went. Registration wasn't open yet, but we hung out and chatted with Gabe and Lety, checked in, stopped in at Rite Aid for some not Telfa and non-hurt sticky tape. Also, I was walking to the register and caught sight of THIS so had to buy a bag.

Back down the mountain we headed. Clouds were looking dark, and I wasn't looking forward to a night in the rain, but we met up with the rest of the camping crew, and toward our campground for the weekend near Green Valley Lake (all that was available).

The road down to the campground was fairly bumpy, but not horrible. Just a long 4-mile slog that left a fine coating of dust on everything in the bed and on the bikes. We got down to a big water crossing and Steph and Dan determined their car just wasn't meant to run through it. Luke and Charressa carried on, and eventually Justin and I crossed as well, and the campground was about 1/4mi later. Really quiet and pretty nice (your basic FS campground).

We unloaded and set up camp. Sky was blue and temps were pretty good.


Our new grill

Justin preps the bikes

Set up

Charressa and I set up their new campstove, hooked up the propane and created fire!! Don't laugh, I'm not very camp-savvy!


After dinner Justin and I cooked up some really old smores (nothing was bad, but it was old stuff!), and then we all shared some Jiffy pop. Lots of bike talk, training talk, racing talk. Good stuff!

Hit the hay some time before 11. We were up before the sun and for some reason camp was extremely loud. Someone blaring a car radio, and another group of campers yelling back and forth. Weird. It wasn't even 6 am yet! We had planned on sleeping in til 7, but had had breakfast by then ;)

I filled this Thermos with coffee Saturday morning around 7:30. Sunday morning at 7 am it was still warm!

Justin and I packed up camp, bid farewell to our camp-mates, and headed up the hill to Big Bear Lake once again.

We stopped in at the restaurant to use the facilities and saw Slater and Monique out there! Remembered that this race was part of the multi-sport Open Air Big Bear series. It brought out quite a few first time mountain bike racers! After some chatting we drove up to just near the start and chilled out. Justin did last minute bike prep and chain cleaning, and I hung out in the truck. It was pretty warm out, but a spectacular day on the mountain.

Eventually it was time to hit the warm-up, final prep and then we rode up the hill to the start! Good turn out for sure, and they started right on time. There were 5 pro women (the usual!) and we took off in a mad flurry.

My legs felt stellar! For about 5 minutes. Then the power dropped way off. I did what I could to hang onto Joy's wheel for awhile, but that became futile. Kicked it down a bit, spun, and hoped to recover on the rollers. I'd come back feeling pretty good after a short break, and have her in sight, and then she'd take off again! Sarah caught back up as well, and we battled it out for 2nd for a bit. I think I finally was able to make a small gap on a descent, but everytime I looked back there she was!

I nearly went down on the singletrack loop that the long course includes, and once when I pulled into the bushes to let another rider pass my right calf cramped up. That has never happened. I've felt pangs of cramps before, but never a full on cramp. I tried to stretch it out, but it felt worse, so I clipped in and figured I'd give'r until my body quit. I managed to reel Joy back in again somehow, but once we hit the fire road off the singletrack she put in an attack again and was off the front.

I slowly spent the steep fire road climb back up to the main fire road reeling her in, and just caught her as we hit the turn. We both hammered like crazy across the rollers, and I spent the first singletrack on her wheel! It was a blast descending down behind her. We hit the fire road again and she gapped me a little, and someone got between us. After trying to pass some of the lower categories, on a steep climb section the SS in front of me dabbed, and I was forced to dismount and run. The gap grew. Another rider in between us, then another, and the first guy behind Joy would not let anyone pass. The rider in front of me had a few unsuccessful attempts at passing, and eventually got around, but it was pretty techy and narrow, so I was stuck behind. I couldn't make up the time, but eventually went around and hammered to the line.

Great race! Had a blast out there. Justin and I tried to cool down spin back UP to the truck (that was fun!), used the sun shower to rinse off, had some food and headed down to the restaurant for free taco's and awards!

We had a good time hanging out, but after awards I was ready to hit it. Long drive back down the hill and we had a ton to unpack/clean up after our camping weekend.

The after math


Yeah, I had a lot of cereal yesterday ;)