This weekend was pretty eventful! Friday started off a bit rocky with yet another pathetic attempt by the Big Fat Chicken to mountain bike! Coach Matt and I were headed up Millcreek to ride the Dog Lake trail until we realized the gate at the top of Millcreek is still closed, bummer! So we decided to try out pipeline, one of my very favorite trail running trails. I was thinking, "yes!" for multiple reasons: #1 Pipeline is flat (apart from one section that will be described later;) ) #2 It requires very little technical skills, not too many rocky sections, no crazy downhills, mostly smooth dirt (hence the reason people RUN not bike on it ;) #3 I know that trail from top to bottom, every turn, incline, river, and pretty much anything and everything about it. Which reminds me, I must add in an important side story: In my first blog I referenced a certain trail runner vs. mountain biker battle that I have had in the past. This battle just so happened to take place on this very trail. Last summer I ran on this trail or others up Millcreek canyon almost every day, and I must admit that I began getting a bit aggravated by Mountain bikers...and for good reason! You see, not once but TWICE did I have a full contact collision with a mountain bike. Both times I was just running along, minding my own business when BAM out of nowhere a mountain biker came cruising full speed around a corner and SMACK right into me! (I have the scars to prove it!) So you can understand my immediate hesitation to mountain bike at all, let alone on one of my favorite trail running routes...I would inevitably become one of the annoying mountain bikers I'd grown to hate! However, in the spirit of friendship and a whole hearted attempt to help with Coach Matt's severe case of biker burn out, I agreed to ride up pipeline (however next time I told him I would be running, not biking, up the trail behind him!) The conclusion of this trip was frighteningly similar to before and on a much less technical trail...and I mean MUCH less technical! It was a flat dirt path for goodness sake and I still struggled to ride it. Four or so minutes into the ride we came to the one and only hill (which I knew was there of course because I've run up it a million times) and I didn't quite anticipate it well enough (gear wise) and pedal pedal pedaled until I came to a complete stop and tipped right over! After that I accidentally snapped a little at CM, which I am apologizing for here and now, I'm very sorry Coach Matt!:) So I have yet another unsuccessful mountain biking attempt under my belt, CM says I just need practice, however I'm not sure my body can take any more "practice!"
Embarrassment face...but look at the beautiful trail!:)
Friday may have started out rocky but it only got better!! I had scheduled an appointment at Binghams cyclery (our team shop sponsor) to get fitted for my new TT bike!!:) I went on my lunch hour and Chris made all the adjustments it needed (which involved sawing a lot of things, kinda funny how it all works) and said it would be good to go by 5 when I got off work. I was in a little bit of shock because I didn't think I was going to get to take it home with me for quite awhile but Chris is amazing and said, " You'll be needing it for High Uintah's wont you, take it, all I ask is that you kick ass!" I think I did a short happy dance (short only because I was frightening the other customers!) and went back to work, counting down the hours till 5 when I could go pick it(her) up. As you know my beloved road bike is named Ruby, so I felt it only fitting that her sister be named as well. My Mom and I brainstormed for a bit and came up with Stella! So here she is!! Pretty huh! Not to mention FAST!!!! :)
My cute Mom showing off her flawless Time Trialing form! Super Aero!;)
There she is, super pretty, super aero, super fast, STELLA!! :) (pay no mind to the dorky wheels, she will get aero ones when her budget allows...someday!;)
Saturday was the state road racing championship race in Logan!:) CM and I headed out bright and early with our signature car stuffed full of bikes, wheels, more wheels, race clothes, and lots of post race food (mostly for me, I eat a lot, especially on race days! We like pb and honey sandwiches!:) ) It was cloudy with some sprinkles on the way there but it ended up staying dry for almost the entire race! The course consisted of a twenty mile loop with one big climb, we did the loop 4 times for a little over a 60 mile race. The field for our race was pretty big so I was excited, and I had four other teammates there with me!:) We had all decided earlier that we were going to work to try and get teammate Alisha (she is incredible) the state championship title! Our group started out slow with team captain KK at the front doing most of the work. No one attacked up the first climb, obviously because we realized we had to do it 3 more times after that! On the second lap KK rode up and down the row of girls giving us the game plan and chatting with a couple other strong girls from other teams in the attempt to get them to go with Alisha when she attacked on the next climb. My job was to try and go with Alisha but be sure not to pull the entire group up with me and bridge the gap. We rounded the corner that took us into the climb and Alisha took off (she is by far the strongest female climber in the state!) with Kris Walker (the one KK told to go with her) on her wheel. Kris can't climb as fast as Alisha so she was off the back a ways. I caught Kris making sure I was alone and not pulling the group with me and then we caught up to Alisha. The three of us pace lined for quite a ways, but Kris informed us that since she was from Idaho (and wouldn't be considered for the state title) that she wasn't going to work because she wanted to have enough left to make it up the hill two more times. We noticed a small group of strong girls not too far back so Alisha and I (not wanting to do all the work ourselves for 30 more miles) sat up and let the other group of girls catch us so we'd have a longer pace line to work with. We rode with those girls for almost the entire third lap, dropped a few of them on the third hill, then had a weird span of time where no one would work, so the pace was slow, and the entire group caught back up to us. So much for a break off group! I wasn't too worried though because I knew Alisha would drop them all on the last hill and my job would be to just keep them from bridging the gap up to her before the finish! (like they even could, she is super fast!!:) It played out pretty much like I expected. We got to the final climb, Alisha took off, climbing like a maniac (a freaking awesome maniac) away from the group with Kris Walker behind her. The finish was 6 or so miles from the top of the climb (I can't remember exactly) so I got to top of the climb with a small group of girls, most of them all from the same team (which is bad news for me). I had an inner struggle with what to do at that point, I knew that I could bridge the gap to Kris and try to get second place, but I didn't want to bring the group of girls with me and threaten the gap Alisha had put on the field. So I sat back with the group with the hopes that I would be able to out-sprint them all at the line and take third (in my mind this seemed very unlikely because Laura Howitt was in the group with me, she is one of the strongest women in Utah and a great sprinter, plus she had a few teammates with her, I thought I was toast!) The goal is to sit on someones wheel and sprint around them at the finish, you never want to lead out a sprint! This is a fact I knew quite well but couldn't really avoid during this finish. As we hit the 1 km sign I was completely boxed out by the Ski Utah girls (Laura included) and you get disqualified if you cross the center line. I knew if I squeezed by them I'd be leading out the sprint, and in most cases when you lead out you lose! But I also knew I couldn't sit back there because I was completely stuck! So I took the risk (like a very important Dr. CM once told me, you've gotta take risks!;) ) squeezed by the Ski Utah girls, (I could see the grin on Laura's face, she was thinking, "you rookie, go ahead lead out the sprint see what happens!") I stayed seated until I heard the tell-tale sound of gears shifting (that is what you listen for with attacks too) and I took off with everything I had, just waiting for someone to come sprinting around me, but shockingly no one did! And I got 3rd place!:) I was super excited about it, a 3rd place finish and 2nd place in the overall Utah road race championships (because Kris is from Idaho so she doesn't count in the state championship placing) I'll take it!! Coach Matt ran to the finish line to snap a picture as I came across and was excited because he thought it was an awesome shot...then he looked at it later and noticed there was no one there! Hehe but he did snap this ridiculously dorky picture of me after I got my prizes! CM hasn't been feeling too well lately so he didn't feel too good about his race, I blame it on the giant spider bite that continues to grow on his arm...ahh time for a visit to the doc CM! It was a great day for our team, 1st and 2nd place finishes for PCIM, Hooray!! :)
The photo finish...minus me!;)
Yes, it is nearly impossible for me to make a normal face!
Sunday was good too, CM and I went on a ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was SO beautiful!! As much as I hate hate hate all the rain we have been getting, I absolutely love what it has done to the mountains! Beautifully green everywhere, gorgeous waterfalls, snow tipped peaks, I LOVE living in Utah! That is also what I love about riding up canyons, you can be in the hurt locker and not even care because it is so gorgeous where you are riding! And to top it all off it was the first beautifully sunny and warm day we have had in over a week! After coming back down CM said I should go ride Millcreek if I was still feeling good, so I took off up Wasatch towards Millcreek. It started getting a little cloudy when I was about half way up Millcreek, and with all of the recent afternoon thundershowers we have been getting I was certain I was going to get dumped on if I didn't head back soon. I rode up to the gate (which is still closed for some reason) and turned around to head back. By the time I got to the bottom of the canyon there were some pretty dang scary black clouds in the direction I was riding. I made about a mile from the base of the Mount Olympus trail on Wasatch before the rain, and hail, and lightening came!! I'm not gonna lie I was a tiny bit scared and was really hoping someone would pull over and give me a ride (although that could have been scary too!) Ruby wasn't very happy either, she has gotten rained on a bit too much lately, and riding through a hail storm and massive puddles is not the best for her! The rain finally stopped, but the wind didn't, and my clothes were soaked so I was super cold! However, I was on my bike, and no matter how cold, wet, rainy, or even hot it is, life is always good on the bike!:)