Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Frazer Mountain Madness

Last year's hill climb start
(photo courtesy of
Frazer Mountain Madness)

Last weekend I had the pleasure of riding around way up above Taos. I was still tired from Sol Vista... or at least from the drive back, which landed me at home in Albuquerque at 1:30 am and in time to show up at work at 7:30 am Monday morning, where not only did I have four deadlines to meet but the a/c in the office was broken. I was trapped at my desk pouring water over my head as the temperature climbed to 90 degrees by the end of the day. Good thing the water cooler was working.

By the end of the week I was recovered enough from the heat exhaustion to get up north and support one of my favorite NM races, the Frazer Mountain Madness. It's two days of mountain biking up above the Taos ski valley, with a hill climb the first day and an even bigger day of climbing for the cross country race on Sunday.

The people who promote the race do a great job-- they have tons of volunteers, they work to add more amazing singletrack to the course every year, and they round up some great sponsors including Santa Fe Brewing Company, who provide FREE BEER for the racers. Their Hefeweizen tasted so good after a long high-altitude ride.

The Mountain Flyer sent James Rickman up to report on the hill climb. Good press for Damian, Mike, the two junior winners Haley Ruch and Lewis Gaffney, and me.

Gotta love Haley's quote in the article:

Truly amazing, however, was the finish some 37 minutes after Gaffney of 11-year-old Haley Ruch, who grimaced as she crossed the checkerboard flags. When asked what would possess someone her age to take part in the madness, she had a simple answer:

“(The race course) is really close to my house and I like to climb,” she said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

National Championships ST Race Report

Another day of sitting around nervously all morning after not sleeping very well at night, followed by moving my legs in incredibly slow circles for an interminable 20 minutes. Oh, with a fun but way too short ride down a hill.

15th. But it hurt, bad. Sorry I flipped you off, dude, but there was no way it was going into the middle ring up that b.... usiness.





National Championships XC Race Report

Start hill is steeper than it looks.

On a positive note, I loved the course and had a fabulous start. I had a fun week leading up to the race, in which I got to hang out with Mary and Jenna and Becca and see my parents' new place in Colorado Springs. I got to relax a lot since I had the week off of work.

I knew the course well and it was one that suited me. Or at least it should have.

The course consisted of a super steep grunt of a start hill followed by about 12-15 minutes of climbing some switchbacks. The descent was very steep at first and then became winding and bumpy, with a nasty interlude climb through an open area covered in wood chips. To put it mildly, the downhill didn't provide much recovery time. 4 laps of grueling fun.

My start was top-10 and I finished the first lap in a great position, but after that I fell apart. My legs and back started hurting bad and pretty soon I had no power.
I was descending better than I had all season, due to a pretty simple problem with my bike setup that had gone undiagnosed all season until the day before the race, but I just couldn't climb. Might have had something to do with the change in position that resulted from fixing the bike issue. I got passed like I was standing still on that climb. It was humiliating even though it was good to get to cheer for some of my friends having great races. If you have to eat dust, better to eat the dust of people you like, right?

Long and painful story short, I was passed by a few girls on every lap to send me to the finish line in 18th place.

Immediately after the race I was somewhat baffled at my poor performance, but now I have a pretty good idea of a number things that went wrong in the week and even in the months before the race. At least I know what to do differently next year. It's too bad that was my last big race this season, but there's still time to work on things for the local races coming up. And hopefully nationals will be at Sol Vista again next year.

Jenna hangs out on the beach at Lake Granby...

while Qimmiq pretends to be a water dog.

However, when I throw the stick beyond wading depth...

... Nope. Not worth getting THAT wet for it.

Meanwhile, lots of surfing in the condo...

...and the highlight of the day: trip to the grocery store!!
Jenna has removed the back seat of her car to hold her bike,
so the three of us piled in the front for a sweet ride.

That IS my suffer face.
I know, it looks like I am happy,
and in a sick and twisted way I probably am.

I have to go up that thing AGAIN?

Glad it's over. Becca, Jenna, me, Patricia.

Spectatin' at the men's race-- this was the best part of the course. Wheee!
We took Jack, Jeremy, and Patricia out to show them the sweet downhill after our race.
Please note that Jenna is wearing a clean chamois-- it was the only clothing she had in the car.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Photo Tribute to Mogli

All these photos have been floating on my desktop. Time to put them away in the interwebs. Best dog ever, most likely.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mogli, c. 1996 - July 1, 2009.

We miss you, sweet girl. Thanks for all the great years we got to spend together.