Tuesday, March 18, 2014

True Grit Epic

I had been worried about going to Utah for this one for a few weeks now. March 15th is pretty early for a Northeasterner to do a hundie. Well, at least for this one. I flew in Thursday and threw my bike together and went off to spin the plane out of my legs. I looked at the start because I was told that this would be the worst part on my spinny gear. It was rough, but not as bad as expected. The scenery was pretty freaking amazing and my body and bike were happy to be back in the desert.

Stolen from Shoogs

On race day I had a good start and was able to work a lot harder than I normally do without having to back off. I felt good and was riding the tech well. I was actually enjoying the hell out of the tech sections. There is a good mix of slow and fast tech. The slower sections were my favorite. They were what I like to call the "puzzle tech". I love when you have to think about your next move or you're off the bike walking or off a 6 foot drop or plummeting off of a ledge of a bluff in this case (Eek!). It keeps me on my toes and I don't zone out.

The wind was extremely brutal. It had me stopped in my tracks at times. On some of the downhills a gust would come and knock you off your line. It made things a little more interesting. Turns out when I watched the news later they said there were wind advisories all day and that there were up to 60 MPH gusts. The wind not only gave racers an extra challenge, but also did a number on the course markings. The tape at a lot of the intersections and turns was blown. It was hard to decipher which way to go. I made 3 bad choices on Saturday. I have made wrong turns on courses before but they have never been fatal. This is the first time I have ever been so off course that I did not know how to get back.

The TGE has some pretty tight cut-off times so each time I went off I had to work my ass off to make sure I made the check points. At one point I went so far off there was no way to recover.  I found my way to an aid station eventually and knew I was past the cut-off and DQed. I was beside myself to say the least. This never happens when I'm feeling terrible and wishing my bike would fall apart or that I would be abducted by aliens.

I did the ride of shame back (after I was pointed in the wrong direction by a volunteer and eventually figured out how to get myself back). That was a little more salt in the wound. I got back to the start/finish and told a smarmy volunteer what had happened. He looked at me and said, "Maybe the singlespeed was too much." I wanted to punch him in the face. I said something to the effect that it had nothing to do with the bike, the markings were blown and shitty and a few expletives may have flown out of my mouth. Dick. I went back to the truck and was beside myself. I could not stop crying. I couldn't even breathe. I called Mike and he picked up right away. I was crying so hard I don't think he could understand me.

I'm trying to look at the bright side and tell myself I got some good riding in and was in beautiful weather. I also felt good. Really good. I think that's what makes it even harder to take. 
Thank God I was out there and surrounded by really great people. We had a really great weekend and I thank all of them for talking me off the ledge. I know it's racing and shit happens. I know that. It is just a tough pill to swallow. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meanwhile, somewhere in AZ...

I headed out to Tucson to do SSAZ again this year. I find that it's a good fitness and technical skills reality check. There was a change up to this year's course which included a shuttle to the start up the Mt. Lemmon Highway. The bikes followed in a Uhaul. The shuttle ride up felt a bit like this:

I even think there was a guy with a goat. I was waiting for a chicken to weave its way through the bodies. I wish I had words for the smells emitting from said bodies. By saying there was some pants shitting and that I got a contact buzz off the guy's breath next to me should give you somewhat of  an idea.

Once we were dropped off there was the waiting for the bikes to be unloaded:

After that some quick words and we were off to play on our singlespeeds for hours.

People ask me if it's a party or a race. The answer is yes.

Any course that ends with La Milagrosa is bound to be a good time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I'm not really great at reflection. I do look back, don't get me wrong. I just don't like to stay there too long. Whether good or bad, the past can hold us captive and keep us from moving forward if we linger too long.

I like to focus on new adventures. Some may never come to fruition, but the hope and the endless possibilities keep me going every day. Resolutions aren't really for me, either. It's always something unattainable like " I will not curse so much."  That resolution is always broken by 12:02 a.m. (sometimes 7 a.m. if I couldn't stay awake).

I prefer to say to myself that I will keep moving forward. Always.