Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WEMS Race Update: Northern Kettles

Mad FORCs' Team Tortoise ruled the 100 mile women's team category at the WEMS Northern Kettles race. Here's their report:

We arrived late Friday night around 11 pm, set up camp and slept at the parking lot in the car. Woke up the next morning to NO RAIN! Yea!! It was a very nice day with a nice breeze.

Kathy went first and had a good lap. I went second & was slower than her by only a few minutes! (We took our time in between laps but seemed to have very consistent times regardless of the talking, eating, etc.) On my second lap, while pulling over for the fast guys, I saw a man in the middle of the forest picking up stuff with a poker. I thought he was picking up trash so asked what he was doing....he was picking mushrooms during the race! He was oblivious to all the racers whizzing by! (Not oblivious to me, though...I'm not fast!) We chatted for a little while, since I've never seen anyone picking mushrooms!

Kathy heard owls & cranes during her laps. I heard feisty horses neighing while I was waiting for her in the parking lot....there was a group riding horses on the other side.

Kathy did her third lap. And after resting awhile, did a 4th. We won first place! (ha! ) And won prize money!

It was a perfect day for a race!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Women's Dirt Retreat

From Renee:
It’s hard to believe but 2012 marks the 11th year for the Mad FORCs organizing the Women’s Dirt Retreat.  It was a treat to be able to have Alison Dunlap back to be our featured instructor and, of course, it is always great to have Madison’s own Sue Juedes out assisting.  Both of them are amazing riders and genuinely fun people to be around.

In an amazing stroke of luck we also lucked out with perfect weather which has not always been the case.  Anyone else remember the year with the tornado watch when lightning struck the ski jump at Blackhawk?  That was a stressful day!  Our featured instructor that year was Jacquie Phelan and I don’t think she’d ever been in a true Midwest style storm before.

Once again we had a great group of women participating.  This year we mixed things up with one day for women newer to mountain biking and one day for those who have been riding longer.  Overall I liked the new format although we decided to go with a short day on Sunday since it was Mother’s Day.  Next year we plan to do a longer day on Sunday (but avoid Mother’s Day hopefully!).  We also moved the event to Cam-Rock because everyone in the club is so psyched about the trails there.  

It’s no secret that I have a short attention span and am always up to something new but it’s hard to give up on an event as cool as the Dirt Retreat.  After many years of mountain biking it can be pretty easy to take the sport for granted.  Not at the Dirt Retreat though.  There’s nothing as rewarding as hearing a rider say that they successfully rode something for the first time or just hearing the excitement as people even try things they hadn’t before.  That never gets old!  Every year we have women who are just so new to the sport that everything is novel and exciting.  I love getting that reminder about just how awesome mountain biking is.  It definitely makes me want to get out and ride more.  It also reminds me that I don’t have to challenge myself by taking up a new sport (can you say road biking, cyclocross, running, cross country skiing, rollerskiing, swimming, etc) but I can push myself out of my own personal comfort zone once in awhile on the mountain bike.  Or I can just take some beginners out on a trail I’ve ridden a million times and see it in a whole new and exciting way.   Thanks to everyone who attended for making me appreciate mountain biking for the great sport that it is.  I can’t wait for 2013!