I'm not exactly sure when I decided that we should hit up the Wildlife Prairie Park IHRS race, but next thing I knew it was on the calendar. We weren't really prepared as far as "OMG, what about the kids!?" However, it all worked out.
We headed down to Kickapoo Township at about 8am. It was a pretty uneventful drive until Google maps had us on all these back roads, under I74 back under I74, where we finally took matters into our own hands and just got on I74. Sometimes I really hate GPS directions.
Anyway, we arrived with not much time to get ready. Enough, but we definitely couldn't do anything but get dressed and warm up.
At the line I was surprised to see so many women! It's very rare to see more than three in the IL races lately.
Since there was no time to pre-ride I went into this course blind. I had no idea what to expect. The lead out seemed long (it really wasn't) and I wasn't sure when we dumped into the singletrack. I just remember thinking it was bumpy.
It wasn't long before we made the turn into some fun singletrack. I was a little more brake happy than I would have liked, but that's usually the way it is when you're unsure of trails on your first lap. I was really looking forward to my second lap knowing more of what to expect. I was barely leading at the start of the race, but I felt comfortable. I wasn't pushing too hard, well, I was, just wasn't gasping like I was at the start of Palos or other races I've done. My stomach felt a little crampy but nothing that was too terrible... until it was terrible. It was like all of a sudden I felt like I was being stabbed. I tried to ride it out but couldn't so I slowed down. I let 2nd place go by in hopes that slowing down might let me feel better. It didn't. So I thought, okay, I'll just relax here for a bit and catch them. But no matter what I did my stomach just kept cramping. It was like sharp pains. The harder I pushed the more painful it was. Then I started getting pissed off. I really wanted to ride the trails. They were my kind of trails.
The second part of the course I didn't enjoy as much as the first. Especially never having ridden there before, and I guess because every rock made my stomach feel worse. I also, as much as I love technical trails like Blue Mounds and WPP, I don't enjoy racing them, but rather prefer riding. Anyway, I pushed through the first lap hoping I'd feel better on the 2nd lap.
I then asked myself what I was doing. I wasn't having any fun and my stomach hurt. I could barely ride and when I stood up I almost had to hunch over. So I sat on the side of the trail for a bit. I thought sitting would at least make me feel better to ride back to the parking lot for a DNF. It didn't, but I went back anyway.
As I got to the car, I farted the longest windiest fart ever. Miraculously I felt better. I seriously can't believe that I was in that much pain because of fucking GAS! In saying that, I've had a bunch of stomach issues this year, more times than I can count. Pre-riding Palos the day before the race I had a similar issue; luckily I didn't have any problems during that race. I think I might start keeping a food diary and see if it's something that's triggering it. But back to race day, I grabbed my phone and rode out to where I had ended my race to snag a picture of John. I could feel the gas pain coming back a little bit, but never to the extent of what I had earlier in the day. The gas pain even made my back hurt, to the point I wasn't sure what was going on- stomachache? backache? both? or one causing the other?
Anyway, I hate a DNF. For a second when I think about it I get all mad, but when I then really think about it, there was no way I could ride let alone race. And when I did feel better, I wasn't up for 16 more miles well after last place went by me. I'm just not that motivated, especially almost 3 hours from home. Also, after a race I always enjoy looking at results and hoping people snapped some cool photos, but the DNF kind of takes the fun out of that.
I loved the trails there. They were fun. I'd like to ride them over racing though. I just hate not having the rhythm I want on that type of stuff. Besides it's just more fun when you can look around and enjoy what you are actually riding. Especially there, it's very pretty, and cool.
Thanks to PAMBA for putting on these races. Everybody there is always kind and attentive.
Their hard work is very much appreciated.
I'm not exactly sure when I decided that we should hit up the Wildlife Prairie Park IHRS race, but next thing I knew it was on the calendar. We weren't really prepared as far as "OMG, what about the kids!?" However, it all worked out.
This year I haven't raced much. Sylvan Island and Black Partridge are the only races on my 2012 resume. Lots of things have kept me away- kids, family, money, bike, injuries, etc. It hasn't helped that the mileage of the IHRS women's cat 1 races haven't had me motivated to sacrifice anything. They are just way too long but that's a whole other blog post.
I felt obligated to race Palos. It's my home course, I guess, and I won it last year. It's just kind of expected I suppose. I wasn't looking forward to it so much because I haven't ridden near as much as I would have wanted to this year. The same things that had me not racing also had me not riding so much. I have no complaints though, accept for that bike and injury thing, but that's also another blog post that probably won't happen.
Anyway, I got my frame back from FORM the middle of the 3rd week of July. John and Ryan helped me build it up so I could get back on it asap. It took me a few rides to adjust, actually I'm still adjusting because I'm picky and anal. Then we went on vacation with my family. I thought I'd get a lot of riding in, which didn't happen. BUT I was able to get a couple rides in during that week that were pretty solid so I felt better about how I'd feel for the Meltdown. I actually wasn't dreading it and was sort of excited to see everybody and ride my bike.
Pre-riding the course the Saturday before I got some major stomach cramps which meant some other things. I was nervous I was going to be sick all day and not be in the best shape for the race. I've had issues with dehydration this summer and didn't want to deal with that on Sunday. Turns out a short nap and a good lunch was all I needed. Phew. There was a brief moment on Saturday where I thought about just hanging out with everybody and heckle people while drinking beer. I also had this same feeling Sunday morning. But I know how much I'd regret not racing. I'll save that for cross.
I don't think you could ask for a more gorgeous summer day. Mother Nature really took care of us.
We arrived well before our start and set up in our usual spot by this one tree. I really like it there, but walking/riding up that hill throughout the day really sucks. But it's just so crowded up top. But I also miss seeing people.
Before I knew it, I was getting dressed in my kit. I always hate this part. I forget everything- food, drinks, check tire pressure, blah blah blah. And I always have to pee multiple times. Warming up was super crowded. The FP car at the bottom of the one pavement hill kind of clustered things up, but it was mostly because there were people EVERYWHERE! I couldn't believe how many people were there.
I ran into Bos and headed to the start/finish area. Good thing I did as they started the race at least 5 minutes early! I wondered how many people were going to miss the start!? I knew of two people; I'm sure there were more.
Anyway, the horn went off and the grass uphill was not near as hard as I thought it would be. It was actually uneventful as my heartrate barely went up (well not near as much as I thought). Climbing up after bad ass hill is an entirely different story. Leia, who eventually won first, shot around me near the clay hill. Okay, I'm in 4th now, Liz in first, Holly in second and Leia in third. As I hit the grass hill to climb back up the comp men were already passing. HOLY SHIT. I wasn't expecting them until Turf which is where they caught me last year. It was a bit crazy for awhile. Patti passed me coming out of 4 corners. So I was in 5th. I dropped into Turf where I saw Patti off to the side, she was cheering me on. I hoped she was okay, but it was way too fast and unexpected to ask. At first I was right on the Comp guys, but soon there was a gap in front of me. I knew there was a guy behind me, I asked if he wanted to pass, but he said he was fine and he'd let me know. Okay. So I rode for a bit. I really wanted him to go by. Then I heard chatter behind me, arguing sort of. The guy behind him wanted to pass, the guy behind me was like then go. I don't know if he expected him to stop or pull over or what. Anyway, it got to a point where I looked behind me and there were like 8 guys. Ugh. I don't want to be that person so I asked them to go by. I consider myself fast on Turf but not top comp fast. When they passed I felt a lot more comfortable.
Turf is probably one of my favorite trails, Psychopath is not- the first part anyway; once I crest that 3rd climb I actually do like it. Turn down Dynamite up into Three Ravines. I held my own with the comp guys for a bit then as it climbs after the second ravine (where I saw Liz and realized I was in 3rd at that point), I knew they'd be stronger than me so yielded a bit so they could get by. Luckily it wasn't crazy in there. Down into that gravel multi track which is so fun, up then left into One Day. I was feeling okay and dreading the middle of Gravity Cavity where lately I can't seem to power up. Liz So was behind me on her cross bike (you go girl) but unfortunately crashed in the berms and, I think, broke her derailleur. I made sure she was okay and headed up towards GC. As I was rounding up into there I heard the generator and I knew Anne was in there. YES! I fucking love that part. I got an adrenaline rush from Anne, Mike, Ben and everybody else cheering plus the high fives, that the first part of the climb went by sooo fast; I slowed a bit on the second after the root up, but recovered again for the 3rd up. I was surprised I wasn't suffering too bad.
My race was pretty uneventful to be honest. Except for 3 ravines on my second lap. Coming into the ravines I felt like something was loose in the front end. I assumed it was my skewer but then had thoughts of my fork lower not being on. I locked it out and I didn't feel it anymore. I wondered about headset, fork issues, etc. After the first ravine I felt the looseness locked out and unlocked. I got off the bike and checked my skewer, it was fine. I got back on and started again and it felt loose. So I stopped and it was loose so I put it back on. Started heading down the drops into the second ravine and I thought my wheel was going to fall off. I stopped again on the jump and sure as shit my skewer was off... WTF! Very scary. So I used both hands to push that fucker on all the while hoping another woman didn't come screaming by. After that I never had another issue. I've had issues with that skewer before. I'm guessing something is up with the spring getting caught and then uncaught or something. Time to replace.
Moving onto GC I grabbed some gummie bears from Ben this time as well as some high fives. First lap I didn't realize he had them and I just high fived him dropping the poor gummies to the dirt.
By the third lap I felt like I was by myself most of the time. I ran into a few dudes on Turf. I stayed behind some guys probably longer than I should and I did the same on the climb up Pscychopath. It's a sort of given that during the race I'm going to lose focus and think about ice cream and laundry. I'm content to ride somebody else's pace when I shouldn't be. So when I let Liz Shull pass me thinking she was one of the Elite men I was just like "WTF RACHAEL, not again!" And I was doubly pissed because my legs weren't even tired. So I got by her on 3 ravines and tried to punch it all the way home. I still grabbed some gummies and high fives on GC though. I did let off a bit coming around the corner not seeing her because then my legs were like wait, stop! So in the end it was good, but I still am having trouble letting go of that mistake I make as I never seem to learn from it. Oh well, I guess that's just me. I should probably wear a HR monitor and set the alarm or something.
I was pretty happy with 3rd. I had no idea what to expect coming into the race only having raced twice and the last race being well over a month ago. I was also glad to not have suffered like I thought I was going to. Though maybe that meant I should've gone harder ;).
CAMBr did a most excellent job with the race again. A huge thank you to all those that volunteered their time to make a super fun successful event.
Posted by spicyride at like 11:50 AM
My stomach had been acting up for the previous 24 hours and I hoped it would settle once I started racing like it did on my ride yesterday. We started with the men. We were right on the back of the field for a bit. I'd prefer to have an open course however them in front of me probably helped me not blow myself up in a few minutes time, not to mention gave us a 5 minute gap on the sport class. It was hot. I had to wear a hydration pack as I didn't know anybody to hand up bottles. I hate hydration packs. For some reason today my bike felt "off"; I don't know if it was the hydration pack, my new cleats (I think they are a bit too far back) or what. But I was leaning a bit on my arms, which has never happened before. It didn't affect my climbing or riding, but towards the end of the race my forearms were really tired.
Anyway, I was trying to stay away from Gina. I could hear her on occasion right behind me. Which is surprising because my bike was making so many noises I thought it was going to explode. My headset was loose (which I only was guessing at the time as it was just swapped) which had me off the bike a couple times to make sure my wheel was on. I don't know what sounds like it's going to break off in the rear; I think it might be my derailleur. I stopped to make sure my rear wheel wasn't going to fall off. I grabbed the derailleur a couple times to make sure that wasn't falling off either. My crank was creaking something fierce as well. But then I was like "fuck it. If it's going to break, it's going to break; there's nothing you can do about it so just go." So I did. Do you know how hard it is to ignore all those horrible bike noises? Ugh.
The front of the sport guys caught me, actually I don't remember when they caught me. Then it was a slow trickle after that. I finished the first lap wondering how I was going to finish two more. As I headed into my second lap, just before I dipped into the singletrack I saw Gina headed for the finish shoot. I figured I had a couple minutes on her. So I continued to ride a steady pace and killed it anytime it went a bit downhill. There is one section there that is super rad after you climb out of the first switchback- it's like a slight downhill twisty singletrack with lots of little dips and log crossings.
By this time my stomach was starting to feel off. I thought I just drank too much water (another reason I hate hydration packs). I ended up puking on my top tube; I cooled it on the water after that. I knew I was hot, but at the same time there was a nice steady breeze that made its way through the course most of the race. I ended up puking more liquids out again. I didn't want to let up but at the same time I didn't want to be a wreck for the next few days. A couple of the sport guys said I had a sizeable lead so I backed it off a bit. Or at least I thought.
Going in for the third lap Gina was right on my wheel. D'oh! She actually passed me for a second as we crossed the start/finish area. I remember thinking, GOD DAMMIT- I don't want to work! And right after that I stepped it up and kept stepping it up for the last 7 or so miles. As I approached the last downhill switchbacks I noticed I was a mess. My legs were aching and my arms were pumping; my tris were hurting. I dreaded that last switchback climb out. There was just misery left- switchback climb out, multi-track and then a bumpy grass finish. When I was on the switchbacks I thought I was going to cry. My legs just didn't want to go anymore and my stomach was cramping. The grass finish felt forever, but when I looked back and didn't see anybody in site I just soft pedaled it in relieved to be done. Gina rolled in 4 minutes or so later.
I feel like I did this at my last race- in the middle just completely forgot what I was doing and then ended up having to really pick up the pace. Today wasn't fun. 1:50 minutes of misery (actually more considering I still feel like shit) and about 25 minutes of fun. Racing has never been a total goal of mine but I've done it as it's nice to push yourself harder than you normally would, there are great people, and it's fun to talk about later with John and others. Lately though, I'm just not that into it. I'm sure part of it is I'm sitting here on the couch with a messed up stomach dreading the bathroom, not to mention John had a terrible race. However next race is Jubilee the day after the girls' recital and I've already tried coming up with excuses as to why it's not a good reason to go- one so far is I won't be recovered from the recital the day before, like I'm dancing or something. I don't know if I'm ready to give it up completely just yet, but I definitely feel like my excitement for it is fading. Getting ready today I just wasn't into it all, and it's one of my favorite courses. My kids sort of push me towards this too. A part of me would have loved to have gone for a long singletrack ride today, played soccer with Zoe, talked what-ifs with Casey and had a beer. It would help immensely if everything was closer.
Posted by spicyride at like 8:36 PM
I always start the first race of the year sick. I wonder if it's really not an illness but a severe allergy that hits me right at that time. Anyway, I was up in the air regarding racing Sylvan Island. My wrist is still fucked up and I was sick. I also remember hating the drive last year and with a 2:20 start time I knew we'd get home late.
The forecast wasn't looking too good for race time. I didn't want to deal with those types of conditions but at the same time sometimes those races are the most memorable and fun to write about. All my drivetrain parts need to be changed anyway, so what the hell right? I also knew, though he'd never admit it, John REALLY wanted to go.
With all the rain we got overnight on Sunday I knew we wouldn't be riding trails anyway, though a nice road ride to multi also sounded nice. But who am I kidding? I rarely miss out on an opportunity to ride trails- especially tight techie trails with minimal open and climbing.
Sylvan Island received about an inch of rain overnight. I expected the trails to have a lot of standing water, but to our surprise the trails were only a bit slick, but mostly tacky. A little too tacky, but that's way better than a soupy mess.
There were six of us starting in the women's expert/open race. I think three were local and threes of us weren't. It was time to go. I tried to get on Robin's wheel even though I know it was futile, but at least it gave me the motivation to get to the singletrack fast. I knew my first lap was going to be the sloppiest and most painful but at the same time I knew it was going to be my fastest which sometimes makes the difference for me in a long race when it comes down to the end as I tend to lollygag mid-race. I really need to work on focusing. Though I will say that is one of the hard parts of racing with the lack of women. It's rare that I'm ever with competitors so you tend to almost forget that you are competing.
Anyway, back to my first lap. It hurt. I went from second to third right away. I ate it hard going into one of the singletrack sections on my first lap. It took me a few to get my bearings right, and luckily I talked my way through not losing any confidence over it. Unfortunately 4th place caught me shortly after. She was never that far away and I hoped that once I settled, which was coming soon, my next lap would feel so much better and consistent.
I was right. My HR settled and I was more confident in the singletrack. 3rd place was less than 30 seconds away. I went into my 3rd lap feeling super confident... maybe too confident as I went OTB for the second time IN THE SAME FUCKING SPOT. Only this time I hit my head and was actually airborne a lot longer. After I hit, I assessed that I didn't seem to be hurt. My wrist took a huge portion of it (my poor left wrist probably wants a divorce). My helmet was full of mud and over my eyes. My glasses were dangling off of my face. I could feel my right thigh by my hip throbbing. I had mud down my shirt, my whole left side was covered and it was all down the tape on my wrist. I got back on and actually didn't feel bad. It took me a bit longer this time to gain my confidence back. But now I was irritated with myself. I was sure 3rd place was more than 30 seconds up at this point and who the hell knows where 5th place was. So I headed into the 4th lap with the wrong attitude.
Here's where I made my biggest mistake. Last year we only did 4 laps because the lead expert men passed us and they pulled us. So I figured this year would be the same as well, the lead expert men passed me on my 4th lap. Not to mention I did hear thunder. So I was barely riding. Feeling sorry for myself. I was out of water, my head was throbbing, my left hand wasn't working and I was muddy and itchy. I wasn't racing. I saw John, yelled hi and then shortly after he asked if he could get by. So I got off my bike and let him by. Got back on and shortly after that saw Gina in the woods behind me. Seeing a competitor got me back into race mode and I picked up the pace. But I still thought I was done. And then they waved me on for the 5th lap.
Fuck. I have no water. I hadn't eaten... I got over poor me really fast as I headed into the singletrack and rode faster and pretty flawless. It made me realize just how stupid my 4th lap was. Newb. It started to rain but I actually thought my tires were hooking up better with it being slightly slick instead of tacky where my treads seemed to fill up a bit. I was also having issue with the black rock and the black dirt- I have no depth perception so it was really hard seeing those in the turns. Jury is still out on whether those are the tires I'm going to run this season.
I'm really glad I went. I really liked the course; in my opinion much better than last year.
No results or pics are posted up yet. I didn't load the race into Strava yet either. I just wanted to get this up while I still remembered.
Posted by spicyride at like 11:44 AM
I'm a fair weather cyclist. If I have to wear more than 2 layers I just say no. I have no desire to ride when it's cold. NONE. I don't even miss it really. I usually preoccupy myself with cross training indoors and the internet.
I don't know how to explain it but if I can't ride the way I want to ride, riding just doesn't interest me. Bundled up in a lot of clothes- mostly the big gloves- I can't handle the bike the way I want. Trails are usually snow or ice covered in spots so I can't ride as aggressive as I'd like.
Yesterday I was bored. It was technically a rest day so I had nothing planned for working out. The sun and 50 degree temps motivated me to get outside. So I went downstairs to pump up my mountain bike tires. I grabbed my helmet,shoes and their covers. Threw on my wool knickers, jersey, windproof jacket and my mint green dakine gloves and headed outside with music cranking through my headphones.
My plan was just to hit up the paved loop. Not a mile into my ride I knew this was going to be a mistake so I decided that after crossing Harlem I'd head over to the Swallow Cliff area. A destination if anything. I didn't feel bad really but I knew I had a tail wind for much of the ride. I ignored that there wouldn't be a tail wind on the way home on the straightest hilliest portion of my ride. I planned to just head out to Rte 83 and back, but of course when I saw the entrance to the multi-track how could I resist? So I dumped in. It was wet. It's been worse however. I rode to Rambo Hill and then headed home on Kean to 119th.
Man, was I out of shape. It wasn't so much that I was struggling as how slow going it felt. I know the wind didn't help. And I suppose I wasn't expecting much different as I haven't ridden my bike in a long time. But for some reason when you've been off the bike for so long, when you get back on it's like your body remembers how fast you were when you rode last and it just doesn't respond.
Still, it was such a nice day to be out. I was thankful for my wool as times I was super sweaty, and then pretty chilled.
My legs felt like jello for a little bit once I got home (mind you I rode a mere 16 miles) but later on I felt normal as I do today. I think mostly because I didn't eat before or during. I'm glad to get that first ride out of the way and looking forward to it just getting easier from here on out.
I was reminded how much I miss riding even though it wasn't singletrack. Though I was happiest in the trees. Just something about it that makes me feel so alive and happy.
Posted by spicyride at like 11:06 AM
I can't believe it's a new year already.
As I get older it seems like time just flies.
We ended the year at a cross race and started one with the same.
I don't do resolutions but with that said I really need to get back into a routine of putting some sort of work out into my schedule. I'm still having wrist issues from my crash at Sheboygan back in October. I don't think I wrote about it. Or did I? Huh.
Anyway, I can't do yoga or push ups. I can ride. But jumping at Ray's eventually becomes an issue.
Ray's. It's what's on my mind for the winter. Hopefully I'll get out there this week.
I plan on being there the 15th for sure.
Mountain biking is not on the brain yet. I just put all the IL races in my calender. I haven't done that for WORS yet, which I guess says a lot for what I plan to do this year.
I miss WORS how it used to be but I won't miss what it eventually became for us.
It's just after 11pm. I'm pretty tired but just not ready to say goodbye to Sunday yet.
Posted by spicyride at like 11:14 PM