29 March, 2013

Evening trail ride

Yesterday after work the weather was nice and the trails were dry and @KYMBALou gave the greenlight. But I had to pick up my bike from my LBS Clarksville Schwinn. My drivetrain made all kinds of racket during my race on Sunday. Had to replace the bottom bracket. It was trashed. I'm thinking that spin through the deep creek at Jake Mountain and my lack of bike maintenance are what caused it. Brian said there was water sitting in it. Note to self, if you ride in water or power wash your bike, take the saddle out and turn it upside down for a couple of hours to drain. 

By the time I got home, ate a bite of food, changed clothes and aired my tires it was 10 after 6 when I started out. I put my headlight on the handlebars and headed to the park. It was a beautiful evening. I started to ride down Dog Hill and Tim O yells at me, "ma'am, you can't ride these trails". Always being funny he is. Tim's a great guy. At first I wondered if I had enough clothes on as riding on the road was brisk. But when I hit the Hogan's fountain climb I warmed up quite nicely thank you. I felt surprisingly well considering I hadn't been in the saddle since Sunday and this was Thursday. Spinning on the road for 2 miles to the park helps. There weren't as many people out as I had expected, a few walkers and a few runners and a couple of MTBers. As I rode No Net I was feeling really good so I headed to Wilderness at Seneca by way of the Golf Course. Riding around the golf course is always a challenge for me. The trail is rutted and lots of roots and some little punchy climbs. As I circled around the backside I saw 3 CS Schwinn racers. The trails were great. Wilderness only had the 2 usual spots that stay wet except in drought conditions. A lady MTBer was leaving as I was entering the trailhead. Later as I wound back around on the bucket loop there were 4 trail runners going in the opposite direction. Those were the only people I saw in Wilderness. Once I got to the top of the hill I wussed out and rode the switchbacks back down instead of taking the hill climb back over to Pee Wee Reese. I rode the road back to Cherokee and finished up the loop. As I took a few minutes in the gravel lot resting I checked the time, ate half a Lara bar and started again. I knew I would run out of daylight, but I didn't care. I rode the 5 mile Cherokee loop clockwise. Ran into Seth, Joe and Brian twice. The last time I was climbing Barret hill after No Net and heard them up top coming down. So I pulled over. Already had my headlight on at this point as the sun had settled behind the trees. They were flying down through there, no lights all three dressed in black. If they hadn't been so loud I'd not have seen them. As I make my way to Hogan's fountain the sky turns pitch dark. I thought about a conversation I had with coworkers. One saying she won't walk alone in the park, too risky. If I waited to only walk or ride with others I would never get out there. I try to be alert and aware, but I'm gonna do the things I like to do. The full moon didn't rise until 11 pm last night. Which made me sad as the sky was cloudless. My toes were cold and I started getting a little chilled. I couldn't see the walkers as I rode up Dog Hill on the road heading back towards home. I finished with 20 miles, it took me 2:40 but I just wanted to ride. Not concerned with speed after 3 days off.

Didn't ride today, hope to ride Saturday and Sunday and Monday. Have to take a day here and there though. Besides the hands weren't happy today.

Sounds like the weather will be outstanding tomorrow and then rain Sunday morning. Now to decide where to go and ride. Have plans to make some yummy soup in the morning early.
Then go to see Mom tomorrow evening

The magnolia is about to explode into full blossom.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend to you.


27 March, 2013

MTB racing is tough and fun

and is full of spills for people with lack of skills like me. Falling down is part of it. Doesn't mean I like to fall. I don't. It hurts! I found bruises Tuesday and today from Sunday's race. I landed on my left shoulder two different times. It's taken several falls in the last few years and talks to me louder each time. Sunday evening we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat. Halfway through dinner my left hamstring cramped from my glute to my achilles. I jumped out of my chair and walked to the other room. Thought I might've yelled, but was told I didn't and didn't scare the people around us. 

Today I visited my holistic shaman. She works miracles on my body after hard training or races.  45 minutes in the infrared sauna and hour on the massage table and I'm as good as I can get at this age.

I'm not fast like I want. Doubt I'll ever beat the 30 somethings I race against. Have a big birthday this year and try to remember my body is much older than my mind.  :) Just because I think I'm Peter Pan doesn't mean the body can live up to the task.

It's important to play, and laugh and have fun No Matter How Old we are. 

So I have lots of room for improvement and need to train harder. It's almost April and temps will rise and laps times will get faster hopefully.

Enjoy the full moon tonight


26 March, 2013

Chickasaw Trace mountain bike race

It was damp and foggy when we arrived around 7:30 or so. Signed in and started race prep. There were quite a few people I know that went. Of course there were more that were going to go and didn't due to the forecast, yadayada It had rained overnight, but only lightly. I took some pictures and cheered friends on and was in the feed zone for my teammate. There were only 4 Cat 1 women, two I know personally and 2 from PA and NC. My friends came in 1st and 3rd. The Cat 1 race (both genders) was 3 laps. Listed at 9 miles the laps were more like 8.1 according to my Garmin. But still I admire everyone that raced 24 miles on Sunday. Brian had a very good race. I spent his third lap prepping my bike and myself. I had about an hour between his finish and my race. Rode the beginning of the course, through the rock garden and then when I got back to the van realized I had been in my big ring for that. Such an AirHead! haha  Every CX or XC race I've done I always go for the holeshot. Not Sunday. Big Mistake! Several of the Cat 2 women in front of me got off their bikes at the rocks. UGH so frustrating. But it was my own fault. I was running 5 or 6 and caught a wheel  and stayed with her for most of the first lap. It started pouring rain at some point. I mean bone soaking. But it was good because it kept the mud from sticking to the tires. KK passed me not far past the rock garden. Then the top JR boy passed us. But with about 2 miles to the finish the first of the Cat 3 men started passing me. That slowed me down more than I wanted. I got to the end of the first lap and stopped long enough to catch my 2nd wind, get nutrition from Brian and started back out. I was slower than I hoped for at 1:15 ish. The 2nd lap I was alone the entire 8 miles. I never saw a single racer, only the volunteers. They started packing up when they saw me. They thought I was the last one, but I wasn't. It stopped raining and the sun tried to come out a few times and the wind picked up. This meant the mud started getting drier and stickier. Well I fell once on the first lap, but can't tell you where. On the 2nd lap, I was so happy. I rode all but one short part of the rock garden. Proper gearing and no traffic made it easy!  haha   After the rock garden there is some twisty stuff then a drop into a muddy runout . I bombed it just like the first lap but once I hit the runout my tires slid out and I landed on my left side and hit my head. Immediately got up and started again. I got slower. The mud got thicker and deeper. The last three miles is more climby but there were places that I couldn't get any traction and just spun out. I could hardly walk up some places. Wish I'd had toe spikes. With 2 miles to go I just prayed for the next mile marker. haha it's those little goals that keep you going. I finished. I was 7th of 10 or 11 that started. It took me 3 hours to ride 16 miles. CRAZY! But it's done  Glad I did it. Proud of those that raced 24. I'm so grateful Brian was there at the finish. Most people had left, except for the Cat2 women and their entourages. He was so very helpful. He got the back of the van cleaned out so I had someplace to strip and dry off and change. He cleaned my bike and then drove us home. 

I have plenty of work to do on my fitness and bike handling. It's only March, right? Also have a lot to learn about my nutrition. I shivered for an hour or so after changing. But I wasn't cold. I think I was bonking. I was very tired, I know that. 

Here's what I looked like at end of the race.

Chickasaw is an AMBC race and is a qualifier for USAC XC Mountain Bike Nationals in July at Bear Creek Resort in PA. I'm so excited to travel to new places and ride new trails!

Hopefully, there is more to come. 

I had a great weekend. Hope you did too!


25 March, 2013

MTB season has officially started

I need to post about it, but yesterday's Chickasaw Trace XC race kicked my butt. Recovering tonight. Will write it up soon.

17 March, 2013

March 13 MTB holiday part 3

Sunday brought a cold lazy morning and watching the Paris-Nice prologue streaming online. We went to Raisin Wood, Dalton's local mountain bike park. It's named for Saul Raisin, a local of Dalton's and former member of pro UCI team  Crédit Agricole.  That was a very fun place to ride. My legs weren't quite ready for the climbing but am glad I did. Definitely helped work out the buildup of lactic acid from Snake Creek. This is another park that alternates direction depending upon day of the week. Runners are to travel opposite direction as mountain bikers. Seems to make sense. There were some trail runners out. The two I saw were blazing fast!

I can't imagine riding this one on a SS. After riding it was time to head to our next destination, Mulberry Gap. 

It had snowed on Saturday and when we got to the FS road it had cones and a sign that said Road Closed. We turned around to make our way from the other side of Ft. Mountain, but I was able to reach them via Facebook and they said the road was clear and open to their location. So we turned back around and drove past the barricade and on to MG. It is such a wonderful place to stay. I can't say enough good stuff about it. This was my home for 5 days. The cabin has two separate rooms with separate entrances. (others have a door between for families, etc) and bunkbeds. Another cabin has more open floorplan with queen sized bed. There is a hot tub that sits outside beside the creek. From conversations we had with Dianne and Ginny, they stayed fairly booked Spring through Autumn. 


Breakfast and dinner are included with each night's stay. They also do their best to accommodate special dietary needs/requests. This was a nice treat being diary free, gluten free and one that only eats fish and eggs but no other meat. The dining/living room has a wood stove in the center, which makes for cozy conversations with new friends. 

Monday morning we had a fresh layer of snow and it was still snowing through breakfast. Breakfast was oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sliced bananas and strawberries. It was nice to not be in a hurry to get someplace. Once we got our gear together and loaded in the van, we drove to the Bear Creek trailhead. The higher elevations had deeper snow than we had at MG. The plan was to ride Bear Creek trail, Pinhoti 1 and 2 then drive back up to get the van. Bear Creek was beautiful and the creek was full of rushing water. B2 riding Bear Creek
This is my riding buddy shooting video as he rides down the trail. Not a simple task! Makes me want to buy a video cam to shoot new places and trails. There was plenty of climbing and had to cross creek a couple times. The climbing definitely warms you up! The descents were fun and I tried to not be a big scaredy cat. Because there
had been snowmelt there were definitely some wet sloppy places full of leaves. I still don't like the feeling of my rear wheel fishtailing, so I braked more than I probably should. All in good time, right?  ;)  I rode 13.5 miles with 1,600 ft of climbing over 2.5 hours. When we got back to MG my riding partner wanted to continue to ride. So he grabbed some food and proceeded to climb back the way we came to the van. He was all in for another 2.5 hours, 14 miles and 2,900 ft of climbing. Some day I hope I have the fitness to ride that much in one day, climb like that and be able to catch air too. 

Monday night after dinner we built a fire behind the cabin. A new friend Will joined us and we visited and kept the fire stoked for several hours.

Three days in the saddle is about my limit these days, so I took Tuesday off. It was a rainy day, that turned into a deluge at one point. I stayed in the community building, read and kept the stove going. I also watched a small stream materialize through the room. Once the rain eased the inside stream dried up quickly enough. 

I knew I didn't have what it takes to ride Pinhoti 3 and 4 on Wednesday, but I also knew I didn't want to stay inside and not ride a 2nd day. It had gotten colder again and snowed overnight. So I thought I would go out and ride the fire service road up to Bear Creek trailhead. 9.4 miles and 1,500 ft of climbing. Once I got about halfway the snow was frozen ice. My rear wheel spun a couple of times so I got off and pushed. This was what I saw at one point:  

Thursday we drove to Bull Mountain. Another IMBA epic, as is the Pinhoti. After checking out the trail maps and elevations I decided to ride Jake Mountain. It seemed a bit less climbing. I also wanted to ride solo and not worry about slowing anyone down. I had fun. I met a man and woman walking their horses fairly early on. I got off my bike and waited for them to pass. They were very nice. So not too much further I'm riding along and starting to go downhill and see a creek crossing. Boy, did I misjudge that one! It was deep and wide and cold. I rode it and got completely soaked up to my mid thighs and of course my entire backside. I was grateful that the average temp for my ride was 60F. So much warmer than what we had ridden so far. The trails were fun and had a lot of nice fun fast flow. Still, it took me 2.5 hours to ride 11 miles and climb almost 1,500 ft. I got turned around as I approached the parking area and rode towards Bull Mtn for a good half mile or so. Thank goodness for garmin. Haha, directionally challenged people should be very careful riding solo on new trails. I quickly shed my wet clothes and draped them over the hood of the van. Got into nice dry clothes and sat in the warm sunshine and waited. The closest town is Dahlonega, GA. It has a nice city square with a round-about in the center and some cobbled streets. The local "brewery" was an italian place that didn't have much gluten-free options so we went across the street to the Porter House. Excellent choice for dinner after a nice day riding in the mountains.

Friday morning we had another tasty breakfast, packed the vehicles and said good-bye to Mulberry Gap. I will definitely go back and visit again. We drove to Ellijay, GA which is the closest town to MG. Had read about a mtb trail there so we found it and rode. This was a short and easy ride to spin out the legs from day before. Another challenging place for me and I can't imagine riding it on SS.  :-)

Drove into Chattanooga and checked into The Crash Pad, a very cool hostel with superbunks, clean showers and free eggs and coffee in the community kitchen for breakfast. I already have my reservations for Racoon Mtn! 

Went to Booker T and pre-rode the course. Well I rode the outer most loop. My riding buddy went out again with the promoters as they finalized marking the course. After sleeping very well all week and the first night at the hostel, I had a very short night sleep on Saturday and did not race on Sunday. It's probably a good thing, though wish it had turned out different. A good race for him in the Cat 1 race. 

I must say this was one of the best week's holiday I've had in a long time. So relaxed, lots of riding, delicious food and great company. I enjoy going places and riding new trails. It was nice to go to a trail with someone, but be able to ride your own way with no pressure to keep up or feel like you are holding others back. It was nice to ride together the days we did, too. Good friends and good riding are something I will always cherish.


12 March, 2013

I'm always amazed

at my ability to not see reality for the desire of a fantasy.

Last week was wonderful. I am trying to keep that memory as long as possible.

Friendship should be cherished over romance.

09 March, 2013

good times

bike rides and good meals and easy conversations

08 March, 2013

Part 2.a

so much fun. I am a lucky person. it's been a great week so far. more later.

06 March, 2013

March 13 Holiday - Part 1

I've taken time off (unpaid) to ride my mountain for a week. Friday I drove to Dalton, GA. Stayed in a cheap motel, pre-reg'd, got my Snake Creek mug (jar) and had dinner. It was a solo kinda day for me. Talked and texted with friends that came down, but never saw anyone.

It was nice being close to the venue. I brought plenty of food. Happy I had a fridge and micro in the room. Sweet potato and hard boiled egg was my pre-race breakfast. It was a cold morning and had snowed overnight. I decided I was going to finish this 17 mile trail. So I took my time. Lack of training/riding certainly showed. I stopped and walked too much, mainly to prevent an asthma attack. I reached the sag and felt good. Tired but good. The remaining part of the ride was new for me. I enjoyed it until the Wall. 34 milers were starting to pass fairly steadily. I watched many others push their bikes up the wall as I did, so I didn't feel too badly about it. Once atop the wall the rock garden begin. I'd heard about them. I was able to ride more than I thought. The pedal strikes were frustrating though. I guess I was just too tired to keep good form. Lots and lots of people started passing, so I pulled over so most wouldn't lose their momentum. It was nice to see a friendly face about a mile and a half before the water tower. Debbie was taking pictures as people rode a rock garden. She was being a kind soul and didn't tag me. I was caught behind a couple of guys riding and I was pushing my bike. 
Once we got to the gravel road I was in relief. I kept it slow until the pavement. Once on the highway I got as aero as I could and let it go. I know I had a huge smile as I crossed the finish line. D.O.N.E. Took my bike to the van and walked back to the festivities. The food looked deelish, but nothing I could eat. I walked around a few minutes but caught a big chill, so went back to the van and drove to the hotel room. The wheezing had kicked in and lasted for about 3 hours. I rolled up in the blankets on the bed and tried to get warm. Hot shower felt great.

Here's a pic of where I'm staying.

More to come