Friday, December 19, 2008

Sponsors are awesome.

It's not even 2009 yet and I'm already talking about 2009 sponsors . . .

Gu has come on board for 2009. Good thing because I heard a bunch of talk at the end of season party about an assault on WEMS in 2009. Plus the FORCs love 24-9 and who doesn't need some Gu then??? I've been meaning to try their Roctane so now I will (I'll feel obligated really).

Saris Cycling Group is returning as a sponsor as well. I love having local sponsors. It's cool because you know the people behind the products. Plus now they have a disc compatible power tap so fast girls (you know, like Deb) can have fun playing in the dirt and measuring their power output and geeking out over data. Fun!

Willy Bikes . . . love them. Great local shop, great people, just all around great in my opinion. What else can I say . . . . they're so awesome and they've helped me out so many times.

Horny Toad . . . because it's nice to look good too! I've got so much Horny Toad clothing that sometimes I feel like I just stepped out of the catalog. Ironically I'm wearing a sweet HT top as I write this (in a great shade of purple, of course).

Bob's Copy . . . because who doesn't need some copies from time to time. Flyers, newsletters, posters, signs. Great people. Downtown location. Brings back memories of college and picking up my course packets.

More later . . . .


Friday, October 24, 2008

Leadville and other adventures

First of all, I have to say it's pretty awesome to get a hardbody award for attempting Leadville! Thanks!

I've been meaning to give you all a race report on Leadville. So here's what I did on my summer vacation:

This year my husband and I decided to do the Leadville 100 in Leadville, Colorado. Leadville is a tough race and one of the first endurance mountain bike races. The race is a 100 mile/12 hour mountain bike race ranging in elevation from around 9,300 to 12,600 feet. There is an elevation gain of about 14,000 feet.

We decided to do every WEMS race leading up to the event as training, a plan which was stymied by excessive rain washing out two of the events. (P.S. I love the Levis Trow trails! Ride them!) We were also doing a lot of training on the side, but our most serious preparation would be our two week vacation in the upper elevations of Colorado.

Altitude sickness was our biggest concern, so we laid out a demanding plan:
  • Hike to the top of Long's Peak, a 14er
  • Ride up Mount Evans, another 14er
  • Ride the Monarch Crest trail, which flirts with 13,000 feet
  • Ride Molas Pass, another trail in the 13's
  • Ride Crested Butte trails, up to the 11's
By the time Leadville rolled around, elevation was no problem for me!

I have to say, I've rarely been on such beautiful rides. It was the height of wildflower season in the mountains and we had several memorable rides where brightly colored wildflowers slapped our handlebars and obscured the turns on winding, cliff-edge trails. Monarch Crest was especially fun. We took a shuttle bus to the top of the trail and rode 34 miles of amazing views and fun, fast singletrack. Crested Butte was also gorgeous for its wildflowers and worthwhile for its fast, creative trails.

For me, Leadville was almost a secondary concern on this trip. I had so much fun doing everything else! However, we arrived in Leadville two days before the race to get ourselves registered and settle in. Leadville is a small town, but that weekend was flooded with cyclists.

We registered and attended the introductory meeting, which felt more like a religious revival as the announcer revved up the crowd for the upcoming race. Dave Wiens (the several-year champion) was introduced to his many adoring fans and competitors, and Lance Armstrong also made a bashful appearance.

We hadn't done much preriding, so I wasn't sure what to expect when the race started. Prior to the race we'd received dire warnings about the difficulty of the course - impossibly steep slopes, deadly ruts, etc. And that was on top of the elevation. On your own, the course wouldn't be too difficult. Crammed in with hundreds of other riders is a different story and there was much calling out of directions and riding in long lines at the beginning of the race.

Nearing Powerline descent, which received the brunt of dire warnings, things started to thin out. The ascent to powerline is a cool gravel road that runs along the back of a scenic ridge. Passing over the ridge, you begin Powerline descent. Powerline is a rutted rough double track trail...that's rutted enough to really make it more like single track. There was often only one good line through this. I made it down fine and took off down the road for the next stretch of course just as an ambulance pulled up to take away an injured rider. Powerline is considered the most dangerous part of the course.

The course then went through a series of paved and dirt roads with some double and single track. There were a couple checkpoints and aid stations and then the Columbine climb! Columbine is a big dirt road climb that winds for what seems like ages. As I started the Columbine climb - the top of which was the halfway point, I was passed by Dave Wiens (the leader and eventual winner) with Lance right on his tail!

I started nearing the top where the trees began to thin thinking, "I'm almost there!" I was wrong. It's still a couple more miles of hike-a-bike at 12,000+ feet to get to the top aid station and checkpoint.

Happily, what was a hike-a-bike up due to the huge amount of people was a quick bomb down. Riding downhill, I was able to shave enough time to make it to the checkpoint at the bottom in time. Did I mention? Due to safety concerns, Leadville has time cutoffs at some of their aid stations. If you miss the time cutoff, you get pulled from the race.

I was really pushing the time limit. I made it to the base aid station only ten minutes before the time cutoff. I joined up with a pack of other riders about my speed and we took turns drafting on the paved and dirt roads. Our pack quickly broke up at the North Face, however, which is a ridiculously steep and loose section of trail that we had to achingly tiptoe up. While I pushed it on the last section of doubletrack, I missed the last time cutoff by 15 minutes. I had ridden 74 miles of tough trail in 9 hours and 15 minutes!

Leadville was a very fun and well-organized race. Their support volunteers were fantastic. Schedule permitting, I may be open to doing this race again someday. And of course, Leadville helped for my other big (non-biking) accomplishment this year - my first marathon! After all that elevation training, I had lungs of steel.

View my photo album here: Colorado Trip Pics

Thursday, October 23, 2008

End of Season Party

Last night was the Mad FORCs End of Season party . . . . we ate some delicious food, drank some beer, caught up on what everyone is doing these days and plotted for next year. We also handed out our annual awards.

This year's winners are:
Hardbody Awards -
Deb Joseph for her 12 Hour Solo victory at 24-9.
Carol Hassler for giving it a go at Leadville 100.
Ridge Benedum for tackling Ironman (and fitting a 12 hour duo into her training!).

New Racer of the Year -
Gwenn Davis - Although Gwenn isn't technically brand new to racing she hasn't raced much and not in a while and this year she did a WORS and a WEMS. We hope it inspired her to come out to a few more next year!

Party Girl of the Year -
Is it really a contest? Michelle Reddington showed us all how to party by spending a lot of time and consuming a few drinks at Stop #1 at 24-9. She showed us that life at 40 can still be filled with laughs and good times!

Spirit of Mad FORCs -
Diane Nordstrom for leading almost all of the Tuesday night road rides and making sure people came out so she could whip them into shape. She also serves on the Steering Committee and is the one who keeps everything (and everyone) organized and on track.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ladies Night

Ladies Night in Photos . . .

First off a huge happy birthday to Michelle!

Michelle looking strong and making 40 look like the new 20!

Congratulations to Miss Blackhawk 2008 - Nice job Spencer! Girls dig the hippy chick look.

Who's Ben checking out . . . the runner up in Miss Blackhawk 2008 . . . Dave "always a bridesmaid" Bell

Diane likes to get the fire roaring!

The racing action:

Monday, June 30, 2008

FORCs go International

There is mountain biking in Taiwan , and Kerry managed to get invited to enter a race under a local team’s banner – 2nd in the over 30’s – on a truly hideous day, on a borrowed bike.
The Forcs go global…

Kerry's looking forward to seeing everyone at 24-9 as she'll be back in the states.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday Road Rides

I finally got out for my first Mad FORCs Tuesday ride last night. For those of you who haven't been on one yet all I can say is that you need to get in on the fun! This week it was Diane, Deb, Michelle R, and myself and we headed to the lovely Goodland Park and back.

Now I showed up for this ride with too few miles on the bike and legs that were tired from too much running and rollerskiing. However, it can be hard to concede that you are no longer a biker when hanging with your teammates. To that end I knew I would need to employe every trick I've learned in my days as a "roadie" to hang on to this ride.

Here's some tricks for those of you who might have few miles on the bike but a strong desire to look like you've been riding:

1. The most important thing you can do to ensure that you look like you've been putting in chamois time is to always (and I mean absolutely always) ride on Diane's wheel. The more wind the more you must never let anyone else on her wheel. Diane is taller and broader shouldered which translates to a killer draft. This works double for me as I can get an amazing draft and since I have very narrow shoulders I give a very small draft which adds to the sensation that I'm fit. This proved to be my saving grace last night!

2. Try to always be at the front of the group when you get to a hill. This serves two purposes: 1. You get to set the tempo and you can set it at a pace you can survive. 2. If someone passes you and increases the pace you can still fall off the pace and remain in the group since you are starting at the front.
*As a sidenote, if you can't be at the front at the hill then do whatever you can to make sure Deb isn't as she can set a blistering pace by slowly inching up the pace and leaving everyone in the dust. Ouch!

3. If you don't have the fitness for the hills then you better work double time on your descending skills because you're going to need them if you don't want to be feeling sad and spit out the back.

4. Keep your time at the front of the group short and sweet. Although Diane wouldn't cut me any slack in my attempts to not pull through it can be beneficial to try and time things. As mentioned taking a pull on the hill is good so you can set your own tempo. Pulling downhill with the wind at your back is also a sweet move. Taking the pull right before a stop sign and then kindly rotating to the back as you clear the intersection can be a nice move as well.

I've got a few more tricks but I think I better keep them to myself or I'll find myself at the front of the group taking a long pull into a hard wind!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Family Night at the Time Trials

What an event it was! Racers, kids, dogs, people jumping off the new jumps and total craziness everywhere you looked. The grill was going and the night was action packed.

A few shots from the evening:

Monday, June 16, 2008

2008 Women's Dirt Retreat


What an amazing weekend! It was so fun to hang out with all the great gals who came as participants and as instructors. Here's some photos of the weekend.