Wednesday, 10 May 2017

2017 Woodnewton Ocup #1 & Kingston Ocup #2

April 23 - Woodnewton - such a great fun day!  WOW could not really be a better day - warm sunny perfect dirt on fun trails.  Plus so many of my favourite people were racing too which made it even better!  (still working on sorting out that knee...thankful it's better on a bike!)

Hike-a-bike city
May 7 - Kingston mud fest....
we arrived on Saturday to the scene of riders totally covered in mud bikes just caked thick.   So we chose to hike the pre-ride to save the bikes for racing Sunday.  (My husband was with me this time - excited he was going to race too!)
On our pre-ride-hike so many fun sections but 90% of the trail was soupy ankle deep glop which for me is basically hike-a-bike city.   It was challenging staying upright in some places just walking in hiking boots vs cycling shoes & no bike to push!   
 Plus it was still raining. And it rained all night.
And the morning still raining:
Rain starts?  It never stopped!
And I learned I have a limit to what I will race in! (plus my grumpy knee was a factor - on the bike it's fine - after hiking not so much) So I just said no & decided to save the bike & body & not race.   Sad to not ride - but happy to not have a giant mess to clean!  Ya definitely getting old & soft.  Huge kudos to the tough cookies who raced!

Kingston - we'll be back!  Those awesome trails have cool stuff!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

April 15, 2017 Homage to Ice...Why am I doing this?

Long time no blog....been busy with 3 injuries in the past 2 years! Ugh! 
  Finally cleared in March to resume normal activity.  My normal means mountain biking!  So happy!  

 Very excited to share I was at a bike race last weekend!  And not just spectating, cheering or helping out with timing, but RIDING MY BIKE in the Homage to Ice XC Marathon Race!  

A bit crazy for a first mtb ride I know but it sounded like fun idea for a Spring ride & I've heard that Substance Projects events are pretty cool too - so I signed up for the 1/2 marathon distance of fun on trails that are supposed to be sandy & dry - and also barely known to me (maybe 2 ocups worth of knowledge). I was looking forward to get a good ride in following arrows & not being lost!  

Ha! I obviously misread the weather forecast (I swear it said 20c & sunny)...but nope we got this

 Basically the weather was terrible.  Really quite unpleasant & unnerving for a first MTB ride after a long time away being hurt!  
I even skipped the usual on-bike warmup.   Instead I chose to warm up by delaying getting cold & wet by getting fully ready to ride then hiding from the rain inside my car as long as possible.  

While I sat there watching the rain pummel my windshield I considered going home.  
I don't have to do this.  It's no big deal.   I can decide to be a fair weather only rider.  Starting now.  Nobody will mind.  
WHY am I doing this?  I've raced in disgusting weather before but somehow maybe because this was the first ride of the year for me or because after 2 years off being hurt my idea of a fun time has changed?   

Or maybe with thoughts of 'suck it up buttercup' & barely 3 mins before my start time I shut off my complaining brain & jumped out of my car & on to my bike & rode to the start area to line up in the rain & cold with the big crowd of crazy people.  

And boom we were off!  I was riding my mountain bike! On really fun trails!  In the rain!  So much rain the whole time with bursts of even harder rain just like the weather radar map shows.  Plus no leaves on the trees to block it meant the trails were full on muddy & all the wood especially the 1000 logovers were super slippery & excellent practice.   I was so happy I remembered how to ride over logs especially since with my shoulder injury from last spring no way I could even do one of them never mind the 1000 I did last Saturday.   

Just being on my MTB & how it feels flowing along in the I missed it!  So happy!
Even happy to remember how slippery corners feel, and slippery hill climbs, slippery downhills, etc etc.  And did I mention the logovers?

And I wasn't alone.  Approx 200 racers were zig zagging through the trees & no leaves means you can see people all over the place which is really neat.   

Then it was over.  And the rain stopped.  And people hanging out & chatting (many I hadn't seen in 2 yrs!).  And there was FOOD c/o Substance Projects - part of your entry - how cool is that?

Fun riding bikes & great people - definitely glad I didn't wimp out & go home.  
That's WHY! 
My poor bike actually doesn't look too bad but took me 2 hrs to clean

Monday, 30 May 2016

Baby stepping like its 2015

Yup.  Again. Just like last year.
Just in time for riding in the forest.
Except this time I partially tore my rotator cuff...argh!

Not even exactly sure how it happened (playing on the Hardwood low ropes course? crashing my mtb on that last ride in Pennsylvania? too many pull-up attempts?)... probably a combination of these things & I'm fairly certain my daily riding through the pain was making it worse until my angry shoulder just wouldn't let me hold handlebars anymore!

Looking back at the past couple weeks I am very thankful for the more minor nature of my injury.  I shudder to think how it must feel to have a completely torn/damaged one partial tear has been so painful I now understand how it's possible to become addicted to painkillers.  Scary!  Especially since I think my pain tolerance is pretty strong!

But the fact that as of today I can now sit here at this desk and type on my computer without too much discomfort makes me super excited that I'm moving towards being able to ride soon I hope...

Here I go stepping like it's 2015.

Maybe a little carried away with my love of the colour red?  2016 Ocup #1 at Woodnewton in the rain...kinda hurting...but still having so much fun.  

A little bit glad I wasn't able to race Ocup 2 at Duntroon Highlands! WOW crazy 'winter in spring' conditions!

Happy to cheer on the awesome tough Master Sport Women braving the Duntroon SNOW & MUD!


Thursday, 7 April 2016

MTB Marathon Nationals at Horseshoe Sept 13, 2015 - Adventure in the Citizen category!

I got a new 'hand me down' computer this week & found this post from last fall that never got thought I'd share...

After getting my cast-boot off & getting back to riding again mid summer I saw a post for this race & right away I wanted to do it.  It sounded like an awesome tour through some of the best trails in Horseshoe Valley ski area & across in Copeland Forest & also over at the Heights of Horseshoe.  All in one long event!

I really had no idea this was going to be probably the toughest race I've ever participated in to date.
But looking back - there were a few clues...

Clue 1 - Before registering I asked Peter if I should sign up for the full 70km distance or the 1/2.   He did not hesitate to advise that the 35km (1/2 distance - 'citizen' version) was going to be a better fit for me & will definitely be a great challenge. 

Clue 2 - A few days prior - my assigned workouts became really gentle.  Filled with terms like 'easy spin', 'easy effort', 'eat well', 'nap', etc. Not even a course pre ride.

Clue 3 - The fact it was the 'Canadian Marathon Nationals'. For real.  Huge clue.


On race day I woke up to rain pounding my bedroom window.  Instead of going back to sleep I got up & ready to go looking out every few minutes watching more rain fall.  I was seriously hoping by some odd chance it might not be raining at Horseshoe.  Considering I live less than 5 mins drive away from Horseshoe Resort this was very unlikely.

And for some crazy reason I left my nice warm dry house where my family was having breakfast by the fire & drove over to Horseshoe.

5 mins later I arrived and parked my car & sat in it for a minute while the rain pelted the glass.  Had a moment thought of maybe it will let up a bit.  Nope. And for some strange reason I also did not once consider leaving & going back home.

Got on my bike & warmed up a little by riding around in the rain for just a few minutes.  Not sure I was actually physically getting warm but I was busy warming up my brain thinking positive thoughts of how it's good we will be in the forest and not out on a road, etc.

And then my family surprised me by showing up!  Not sure if they were there to laugh or cheer but the fact they also chose to leave the warm dry house to be out in the rain says either they love me or were there to rescue me or both.

Then I gave away my rain jacket & it was go time!

Go as in straight up...the 'start loop' to separate the riders started straight up. Up & down the ski hill at Horseshoe twice before crossing the road to Copeland.  I was pretty much crushed after the first 5km & super happy I was signed up for the 'citizen' version - pretty sure I couldn't ride that twice!

Then under the tunnel across Horseshoe Valley Rd. to the Copeland.

The Copeland forest section had lots of double track mixed in with some singletrack & all the hills possible including the steepest hill in the land.  (20% grade) Which I totally had to hike-a-bike up.  But it was ok!  It was covered in footprints. Actually many many hills were covered in footprints which really made me feel better - I was not the only hike-a-biker out there!

Then the course took us over to the vintage singletrack trails from the olden days (1980's??) over at Horseshoe Highlands. All new to me though & the parts I remember most were super extra skinny off camber across the hill trails - very cool & interesting but my difficulty was in dealing with all the random crazy angle fallen trees across the trail - that were of course wet & super slippery.  In dry conditions - even never having seen them before (no course pre-ride) they weren't that big & I'm fairly confident I could ride them.  So approaching the first one business as usual....then zip!!! I'm off!! Ok back on the bike.  On to the next!!! Off again!!!  Wow getting back up & going again after those was totally zapping my energy! So plan B - hike-a-biking over the angled logs though slower was less risky & for sure less tiring & there was still a long way to go.

And there was the rain. Still raining.  Even just part way in my shoes were totally full & each pedal stroke I could feel the water sloshing.  Still I was having a lot of fun!  Totally embracing the adventure & the challenges of unseen trails in pouring rain & also keeping to a schedule of eating & remembering to drink - even when not hungry or thirsty.

Then we were back through the tunnel and into the Horseshoe Valley side.

When I was looking at the course map I had read it thinking we would ride all the Horseshoe trails first, then Copeland side then back to finish by the main chalet.  But nope they saved the majority of the Horseshoe trails for the latter part. Which included all the race trails at Horseshoe with no 'sport class friendly' ride arounds (of course not! remember clue #3 - it's marathon nationals!).  Many sections I had ridden before in the rain in 2014 and many that were totally new to me.   So many steep slippery climbs to hike-a-bike while sliding backwards each step.  Each time I was so happy to make it up and celebrate that I was only doing 1 lap around!

And while doing my 1 lap....remembering the amazing elite riders at the front were going to catch up to me soon... I was a little worried about getting run over!

But when they caught me what actually happened was not that at all...they just passed me easily & I got to watch them ride & hike up stuff right by me & appreciate their skills & strength close up!  So amazing!  (and yes they were hiking sections too - but wow such awesome fast hike-a-biking!)  Some of them were so smooth & it was amazing to see how different riders handled tough stuff in different ways.  Some with powerful finesse & some with more of an agressive attack style.  All of it awesome.

Then....just as I thought we were near the end & it was almost over....I noticed people riding back up the hills we rode at the start....oh no...the first time at the beginning that start loop was super tough - now at the end...omg no idea how I rode up those hills again but

somehow I did it.  Finished that 'bleep'er!

And a few weeks later - with more appreciation for a sunny day.... back for more fun in the beautiful Copeland forest!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Summer Break 2015

Right at the beginning of riding season (shortly after doing Paris to Ancaster) I broke my foot!
And no - not from a spectacular bike crash...just from slipping on the stairs in my house & slamming it into the metal spindles.  Really very lame.  So lame I given up even trying to cook up a better story.

After I did it I went through a period of denial.  Pushing aside the fact that my foot hurt a LOT & got worse every day.  Various friends told me it looked bad/might be broken/go get it looked at/xray/etc (even a physiotherapist & a nurse).  I ignored them. Though even to me I had to admit my foot looked terrible.  All toes were black, black on the top & left side & even black on the bottom. 

For a week I held on to the notion that I just bruised it really badly.  No way it's broken. It even felt better in my bike shoe & pedaling hurt way less than walking.  Plus the snow was gone, trails were finally dry & it was just the start of riding season!!

And for a whole week I kept on stubbornly riding like normal.  I even raced the first Ocup....
which was the final straw.

Holy $%^& that was painful.  Advil & adrenaline can only do so much.  Even clipping in my foot into my pedal  OUCH  Pedaling hard up hills OUCH  Riding over rocks OUCH... So much OUCH.

2015 Ocup #1 Woodnewton - Being stubborn - but psyched I was killing the big rock garden this year OUCH
I finally surrendered & limped in to the hospital.

Sorry it IS broken
And a cast & 6 weeks of couch time to start.  A highlight was getting switched from the plaster cast & crutches to a space boot cast. I could make coffee & carry the mug to the couch so easily without crutches!  Then when the cast came off fully I was allowed to road ride for physio.  I could carefully mountain bike too - but absolutely no falling/banging my foot around because even after the 6 weeks in a cast my bone still wasn't fully healed.  If I rebroke it only way to fix next was surgery which I was lucky to have avoided in the first place.  It still felt really delicate too (the bones were movable - so gross) and I was super happy to be able to do fun little rides again with my kids in the woods. 

So then for the rest of the summer - gradually getting back at it. Back riding.  Slowly.  Holy smokes...6 weeks plus 4 more in hard flat sole shoes only & being careful & much grumping around & probably too many cookies... thank goodness bike shorts are stretchy... feeling like I'm starting at the bottom...

But also I've come around to feeling OK with being at the bottom!  I was so upset at the start.  But realized not only was I really lucky just a minor injury but my life with bikes is a forever thing & this was just a blip.  Just another hill to climb.

And now I sure am dying out there but I am so happy & thankful to be BACK!

Aug 30, 2015  back racing again - Provincials at Duntroon Highlands - awesome tough fun course - hills were killing me but my foot felt good!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Paris to Ancaster - April 26, 2015

So I finally did it.  After many years of thinking about it…I did it!  My first Paris to Ancaster!

I knew it would be a big race but it was huge...2350 riders this year!  For sure the largest crowd of people & bikes I have ever been in.  It was even exciting just waiting in the start line!

Me & my P2A friends at the start.   
The first 60K was awesome.  I was having a great time.  A nice day riding country roads, farm lanes,  muddy off road sections of trail, some rail trail, some fun adventures too - like getting my foot stuck in a hidden-in-the-mud wire fence,  etc....all part of good times on bikes.

60k of Happy Times!
Then the last 10K happened.  What the heck? I was just riding along a nice fire road with a nice (!) NE wind in my face when my legs decided happy times were over & started cramping up.  Ugh.  I had to totally slow down to soft pedal mode to keep spinning to just get done.

 Either it's just my perception or it's actual fact - the last 10K of Paris to Ancaster is the most killer part.  I was expecting it too - but really didn't know what I was in for.  Earlier on (somewhere in the first happy 60K) was a mudslide.   I partly carried my bike & partly rode down it (proud!).  After that I was thinking this mudslide business isn't so bad.  But I learned they saved the real crazy one for later.

 The last 'mudslide of death' went on forever and ever and ever.  Thank goodness my bike is pretty light to carry but hiking down a steep chute keeping my balance with my bike on my shoulder with legs screaming at each step of deep mud sucking at my feet...was a long way from happy times.  All I could think was  "why am I doing this? what is wrong with me? I paid money for this?"

And then...not too far after that...THE hill.  I was warned about the awful hill at the end.  I knew it was coming.  I had done practice rides to include a big hard hill at the end to be ready.  But - I never practiced climbing a big hill at the end of a long ride with cramped up legs & shoes full of 100 lbs of mud.  The Martin Rd. climb at the end of those final 10k with delicate crampy legs was pretty awful.  Some hike-a-biking helped get it done & I managed to mostly stay on the bike and pedal quite a bit including the last steep part near the end though I didn't know I was near the end...

I had no idea I was at the top at this point of total misery.  10 seconds later I was all smiles!

And then it was done!
And I want to do it again.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

2015 Milky Way Intergalactic Fatbike Race - March 8, 2015

Fatbiking is a big thing!  Everybody's talking about it, doing it, loving it....and I wasn't so sure.  It just looked kinda slow & weird....and so I kept not trying it.

Until this winter & I finally ended up going for my first fatbike ride at Hardwood with some neighbourhood friends & fatbike lovers...and I had a really fun time!  

But that was back in December & since then its been all about skiing - always DH for sure but the biggie this year has been XC at Hardwood & lots of it!  

Then with winter coming to the was time for The Milky Way Intergalactic Fatbike Championships - very seriously fun deal - costumes encouraged, etc....and I just had to do it.  Borrowed a really nice Trek Farley from Hardwood & lined up for my first fatbike race!

Matchy matchy - Trek Farley blues!
Really fun ripping around the XC ski trails as fast as possible! (and next year...a costume & no snow pants!!) 
Woo hoo 1st place!