Friday, April 17, 2015

Trails That Lead Home

That's what I hear...
It's official, I signed up for the Whiskey 50...and got into law school (still waiting to hear from Harvard buuuuut I'm not holding my breath). It took less than a week to hear back from two schools (jury is still out if they even read my application- see what I did there?). It's nice knowing that I at least have some place to go in the fall (once I figure out if that's the cheapest place or the one with Whole Foods closest- only kind of kidding.) Knowing I'm in has made me definitely realize that the things I'm even slightly inclined to do-  I probably should just do them because the next three years won't warrant as much free time to go ride my bike. 

I took a break from thinking about law school to go to Fruita with some friends. We started with riding Friday in Buena Vista. Having never ridden the trails it is definitely
worth a trip back, if for nothing but the views. Fruita was great, for some reason I thought it was going to be warm and it was but not during the night in the tent, when I couldn't feel my toes. Riding in the exposed hot sun is brutal- you feel like you rode farther than you did and you need more sunscreen than normal. All in all, it was nice to take a break and just ride and camp. I think I'm starting to see what the appeal is with going to the middle of nowhere and sleeping outside (but don't get me any camping gear for my birthday- I'm not there yet).

I took Sully up to South Dakota for Easter. Unfortunately there aren't any trails out my back door yet; but there are some cow trails that we were able to improvise on. We had only planned on riding around 2 hours (I had already ridden one when I met up with Sully). Somehow we ended up on the wrong cow trail (I know all trails lead home, but not necessarily the most direct way). We ended up on a ridge looking at the house and had to backtrack another hour to get back. 
See the trail?
See our mistake? 
 It didn't hurt to spend more time on the bike but we'll have to go back and really map them out (or get Wayne to redirect the satellites for us)

Last week was my biggest time wise spent on the bike so far this year. It required some creativity in getting all the time in with work- I realized I should probably eat something before taking off on a 4 hour ride (I already knew this) but sometimes it's hard to get anything in at 6 in the morning. Working on it though. James pretended he wanted to buy brown rice hot cereal (because I'm allergic to most of the easily accessible breakfast foods) and said I could have some (isn't he nice?)
Some improvising while riding

Fundraising for World Bicycle Relief is going well, I'm at 20% of my goal! I have some more ideas in the works to get the word out- don't forget you can still donate!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Every Passion Has Its Destiny"- Billy Mills

Chills, Anyone?
If you have never heard Billy Mills talk, put it on your list of things to do. Go find a podcast or youtube video. It's really an incredible sensation to listen to him describe winning gold in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. I remember listening to him describe the race and finished thinking I could accomplish anything! He was an underdog going in and a full minute slower than the favorite in the preliminaries. With two laps to go in the race there were only two other runners with him in the lead group. Down the final stretch, Mills describes the race where he is contesting the others and getting pushed around and at that moment he realizes that this is the closest he will ever be getting the gold medal. With that he surges ahead and wins the race. He goes on to talk about how he took on moment and turned it into a lifetime of giving. He co-founded a nonprofit group Running Strong for American Indian Youth. The group aims to fulfill basic needs of American Indian people and help communities gain self-sufficiency and self-esteem.

Might have to start focusing more than I have been...
I think of that speech a lot going into Leadville this year. I still get chills thinking about it. With the thought of going to law school this fall (acceptance, pending), I figure this is the closest I'll be to having the resources available to me, the time to train, and the overall well being to really go for it and try to get sub-9. Which means taking 1:20 off my biggie, right? I have 100 miles to do it, actually 104. I actually got a coach for this year, who seems to fully back my crazy idea of crushing my PR (probably helps I'm paying him to believe in me). It's actually nice, I just get on my bike and ride, no guess work or thinking am I riding hard enough, far enough, fast enough. I just supply him with my numbers and he takes it from there.

The biggest thing I'm excited for about Leadville is that I was given a spot on the World Bicycle Relief team (only four spots). WBR provides specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in rural Africa. What a great way for me to use my passion to help others be connected with education, healthcare and economic opportunities. Part of being on the team means I have to raise $5,000 for the group. I feel like it's the perfect opportunity for me to give back. I have gotten so much out of cycling in my life, that providing a bicycle to someone who really needs it not only  gives them a new bike, but a new outlook. If you want to donate you can at

Training officially started this past week, with a field test and lots of intervals (okay, not that many but definitely more than I was doing this winter!). I'm pretty excited for this season and to experience all that comes my way! 
Yay for riding 65 miles with friends!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Training

Winter training hasn't involved much biking, well it has, but not the focused kind. After White Rim I took some time off and went up to South Dakota to work on my mother's judicial campaign. Which was a lot of fun and a lot of work. It began to light the underlying thought about law school.
One of the many supporters showing maximum support!

So warm!
I spent a few days in San Diego with Sully's family for Thanksgiving, it was strange, eating Thanksgiving dinner outside in 95 degrees. I didn't hate it. We spent time at the beach and went on a few runs.

The beginning of December I spent mostly in the library finishing a paper on Tuberculosis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, for a graduate class. Which also sent the spark about law school burning brighter as many injustices stem from poor policies in place or even lack of a policy to hold people accountable. It also made me realize how much I miss being in a college library, with only the occasional drunken student running through and banging on trash cans during St. Patrick's Day. The public library attracts a bit of a different crowd-- one man brought his own mustard in and kept squirting it directly into his mouth. Not exactly my study food of choice.
Wayne loves taking photos

Sully came up to South Dakota with me for Christmas. Frank expressed his excitement by informing me, "I got him a present so he better get me something" nothing like the spirit of Christmas. We took our cross bikes and rode around and discovered some very under utilized trails.

Sully headed down to Austin when we got back for Cyclocross Nationals. With him gone I spent most of the time studying for the LSAT and watching "The Good Wife", which I attributed to studying because it's all about lawyers. 

I got a new bike in January, a Superfly FS 9.9- a full suspension cross country bike. I wasn't a fan of the color on the 9.8 and the 9.9 is fully customizable. The shop let me get it under their demo program and pick the colors. I think I did a pretty good job, although Wayne's first impression was, "it sounds like a hippy threw up".

February was weird enough weather that we spent the first half riding out side in a little more than jersey and shorts.
Usually requires a little "oomph"
I went to Hall with Wayne and Sully and make it up the big rock a few times which always makes me feel like a badass.
Wayne loves it when I take pictures
The weather finally realized it was Winter and so Sully and I headed down to Sedona to visit his parents and ride in 75 degree weather.
No snakes were seen this trip!!
Unfortunately when we came back it was still winter and thus back to riding the trainer and dreaming of Spring. I officially start tomorrow training for the Leadville 100 so thought I would catch you all up before jumping right back into it. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

White Rim: The Most Epic of Adventures

"What section of White Rim are you guys doing?" Sully asked. Not sure how to respond I said, "Uh...all of it...". "Okay, do you have an exit strategy?" He inquired. "Yeah, finish it and exit." That wasn't quite working for him. "What if something happens?" He probed. "Call Alex." "What if you don't have service?" "Ahh, we'll be fine. Don't worry." This conversation took place at 9pm on Friday as I was heading to Moab to ride the 103 mile White Rim trail the next morning.

The beginning of any adventure begins with getting there-Ha!
Dana and I had been talking about riding White Rim for a while and the opportunity presented itself when we'd have some friends there the same weekend. Done. We roughly had a plan, start around 8, go clockwise, just keep pedaling, and plan for anywhere between 9 and 12 hours. The route is about 75 miles on double track along the rim with the final 25 miles being on gravel and pavement going back to the start near the visitor's center in Canyonlands. We thought it would be best to leave a car near the 75 mile mark and shuttle the start. After a little putzing around, like sitting down to eat breakfast, we left Moab to park my car and begin. The road to park my car required some negotiating, the double track was rutted in some places and had massive rocks in others with sand pits scattered in between. I was grateful we wouldn't have to ride up it in the dark.
Hour 1 selfie
We got to a "Y" and were surprised not to see any other cars but didn't think much about it. We loaded up into one car and took off for the start. We pulled back onto the highway and about half a mile later saw the road sign for where we should have parked the car. "Uhhh." "Ohhh!" And then we both hysterically broke into laughter and laughed so hard that we cried. Alex pulled over and asked what we wanted to do. "Muh, we'll figure it out. We can always hitch hike to the car or have you come get us." After some confusion on where the start was we were finally on our bikes, it was only noon.  Don't worry we brought the guide book and a big map.

Guys couldn't hang
The start was great with a nice 3 mile descent into the canyon. About 15 miles in we came on a group of older guys riding it. We asked where they were stopping and then told us (about 10 miles from where we were) and that they started around 10:30. When we casually told them we were doing the whole thing they seemed flabbergasted. Dana and I rode with two of the guys and the guy I was riding with seemed to want to push the pace so I did. After going around a bend I decided to wait up for Dana. The guy stopped with me to wait for his friend as well. We saw Dana get off the bike but couldn't figure out what she was doing. The guy I had been riding with expressed his concerns about Dana being able to finish. I started laughing and informed him that she's one of the top ultrarunners around and knows how to do endurance.  He was stunned and offered me some cliffblocks, which I was about to tell him that I was carrying about 6,000 calories with me but the Wayne in me interjected and saw it as free food so I took it and thanked him. Those guys took off and Dana caught up saying she had to stop to go to the bathroom. We laughed about the fact that they were only doing 25 miles today and were concerned about us when we started 90 minutes after and still caught them. We also wondered what they do at camp all day, like why not keep riding?

The views never got old
After that we faced a steady incline, the kind you don't realize you are riding uphill until you turn around. It was only made worse by the fact there was a nasty headwind. When do we turn around and get the tailwind? We rewarded ourselves at the top with skittles. We kept cruising right along running into only two more groups riding. One lady was very excited, "That's just fantastic! Two girls, just two girls riding into the dark! Doing the whole thing! Just two girls!" Dana replied with, "Yep! Just two girls pedaling" which was our motto from there on out.

We kept saying how lucky we were because we have the best views watching the sunset from the top
of a hill. We were then greeted by a friendly family when we stopped by a campsite to put our lights on. We chatted and took them up on their offer for a buffalo chicken sandwich. They made sure we didn't need anything else before we continued. As we were walking away I quietly told Dana that my light was dead. She fumbled around in her bag and produced another headlamp. Good lord, it's not like I don't have access to multiple other lights and I pick the one that can't hold a charge. 

Dana crushing!

We took off into the night with about 17 miles left. Riding at night was pretty awesome. You could never quite tell when you were next to the rim except for a feeling of vast emptiness lurking right there. We even contemplated telling Alex to sit this one out, we were going to do another loop.
We were certainly slower in the dark but didn't fret much about it as we were only going to mile 73. Plus, the temperature had cooled off a bit making it more enjoyable riding weather.

The last 17 miles were pretty uneventful. We both fell, but it was more of a slow motion get stuck in the sand and then fall over, which if nothing else was more comical than anything. With some more navigating we got to the campground right around 10. Two people came out and asked if we needed
water, which we both had plenty of. What we really wanted was a ride but they weren't picking up what we were dropping down. Seven miles was the next push, and we figured we'd probably see Alex sometime soon.

The seven miles were flat and dead-ended into a "T". If we turned left it took us two miles down to Mineral Bottom, where we had initially planned on parking. If we turned right it took us up a ridiculously two mile steep climb before another 10.7 miles to the highway. We paused at the conundrum. We took the left, hoping maybe Alex thought to park where we wanted to. We descended down and reached a parking lot. We went through seeing no sign of his truck and stopped in sand gully. We looked at the two track leading out the other side and only saw deep sand going up. Not wanting to forage through that we turned back to head towards the highway. If nothing else we'll get cell service there and have Alex meet us. "Oba dee obladi da..." Dana would sing when we got back on our bikes, "just keep pedaling." And then we'd laugh. Just two girls pedaling. We climbed back out and passed by the road we had just come from and started the incessant climb. We stopped about halfway up and sat in the middle of the road to eat snickers. We contemplated taking a nap but thought it best to get a hold of Alex and then sleep.
Clearly not taken at night.
We persisted and crested the top and began an easy spin on the gravel. Two miles later Dana's phone pinged. Oh my gosh this is the best! Dana tried calling but not enough service to connect. I sent a text, "Alex it's 12:14- we are on mineral spring road heading to 313- please come get us :)" Not a moment later I got a response. "En route" Oh my gosh! This is it! "Dana! He's coming!" We continued cycling on, because really at this point why not. Debating what "En Route" meant, was he at the big campsite, or town or closer. We worried maybe he would take the wrong road but decided he probably wouldn't. We saw what looked like two head lights in the distance, "Hammer time!" We pinned it for maybe 2 minutes before realizing the closer we got the further it seemed to be.What is that? Is it a car? Even if it's not Alex, we're getting a ride (Alex later told us it was a well site, which made sense as to why it was not coming to get us). We kept checking in with Alex. I told Dana it was the longest I had been on my bike, she told me to join the club. At one point she biked closer to me and whispered, "So, four minutes ago...." thinking it was going to be something about Alex, I said "Yah...?" "I ran over a snake!" Still hushed. "Was it alive?" "Yah" "Okay, well thanks for waiting to tell me." Later I found out she was going to wait 5 minutes to tell me but couldn't wait that long. I thought to myself, this is why we're not sleeping out here, I'll have some snake cuddle up next to me and that would be the death of me.

The best shuttle bunny.
The rumbling of Alex's truck along with distant headlights made us euphoric. "Most epic adventure ever!" As we took off towards the truck. I told Alex I have never been happier to see any human at 1:30am as he rolled down his window. We recited the whole trip to Alex as he drove us to my car. We decided to all camp there instead of driving an hour back to the big camp. Marinating in 13.5 hours of sweat, dirt and blood wasn't my ideal condition but I still seemed to have a pretty restful sleep. When I woke up the next morning and got out of the car I saw Dana and we immediately burst into laughter. Like she said, "You know it's a good adventure when you wake up and just start laughing before saying anything." I couldn't agree more.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The SilverRush 50: The Golden Ticket

The gun went off and because the bullet didn't hit me I did what everyone else did and started the race. Oh my gosh, what have I done was my first thought as I started lumbering up the steep incline. I had even talked some of my coworkers into doing it. "It's so much fun! Way better than the 100! It's only 50 miles." Yah... about that.
This is what we're working with...

Last year when I was training for 100 miles, 50 miles seemed like another training ride. When all you have is a 50 miler it's a different story. While I had raced the course before it still felt foreign most of the time. The rain the day before had saturated into the ground making spots more difficult and on the initial climb up on the first 10 miles there was still quiet a bit of water running down. It rendered the course more difficult than before as the single line to take was forming a small river going down. It wasn't terrible when riding, but with it being muddy and slicky, towards the top many were walking on the bank of the road to avoid getting their shoes dirty. I didn't try to be a hero in any sense and got off and found my place in the line.

I was elated when we reached the 10 mile mark and made the turn to begin the descent into the first aid station at mile 13. I didn't stop at the aid station, because I didn't last year (and nothing ever changes) and it seemed like vulchers with everyone else pillaging. Muh, I have food and I'm still okay on water were my thoughts. The next descent is into what I used to think was the enchanted forest, because how I remember it is you descend, climb a little bit and then descend into the half way point. Not even close in my mind I took about 14 miles out of the course and found it to be a much longer path to the half way point. This was not the case as I realized we were far from half way and the trudge brought more hiking and more misery. I descended only to begin climbing again, which last year I thought was "the best!" and this year I thought I may have hit my head harder than I thought if this is what my definition of fun was. 

The forest opens up as you begin your last climb before the halfway point. I was not happy to see it. At this point the leaders had already passed me heading back in and seeing the little ants marching up the hill side only made my heart sink.  I begrudgingly shuffled on.

Getting to the turn around point wasn't bad, except that the whole way I knew I was going to have to ride it again, except going up. After the turn around point the pitch back up was ruthless. Not only do I hate to hike but I hate it even more when I'm having to push my bike up a steep grade. My legs ached and I still wasn't sure how I thought that this was fun. At all.
The well seemed pretty shallow

Making it to the last aid station was a relief and at this point only having a gel and banana I pulled over to load up and became one of the vulchers I had noted earlier. Only 13 miles left, I can do this. I checked my time, I hadn't quiet remembered where I was at time wise this time last year but definitely was not set to hit my mark. The three miles up to the turn off to begin the descent seemed a lot longer going up than it did going down. I was still on the climb up when my time reached 5:55 (the time I had finished in last year). I almost starting crying, almost. This is awful, absolutely dreadful. I should just stop but the only way to get back was to descend back into town on the trail, and that's what I did.

The descent wasn't exactly all descending and with about 6 miles left I saw a guy pulled over who had passed me early and stated "do it for the beer at the finish". I asked him if he was needed anything and he said he was cramping. I told him I had some gatorade he could have. He thanked me and apologized for keeping me. I told him it didn't matter as I was already 45 minutes off my PR. Snarky, yes, but that's where I was at. I even contemplated just pulling off to my car before getting to the finish line because I thought maybe a DNF would be better than what my time was going to be.
The race summed up in one photo

I didn't do that, I finished. I wasn't elated to finish like I had thought I would be. But was certainly appreciative that it was done and I had survived. I found the two coworkers I had roped into it, they looked about as defeated as I did, which made me feel better. I somehow ended up fourth in my age group with only a 25 minute difference between me and first place. I hung around for the awards ceremony because one of the people I talked into doing it ended up getting first in my age group. She got the ticket to Leadville (sidenote: totally rocked it this year). There was another spot up for grabs in our age group, but getting 4th didn't exactly have me holding my breathe for it. The 2nd place girl had already won her place into Leadville and declined it. The third place girl hadn't shown up to the awards ceremony. When they called my name for the golden coin to seal my spot into Leadville, I surprised myself with how excited I was to think about going back. I ran up and snatched it so fast there would be no mistake that I wanted it.

That means I'll be going back to Leadville. After I grabbed the coin and signed my name my next thought was, "my parents aren't going to be too happy about this." The nice thing that happens with the coin is that they give you the option of signing up for this year or next year. With how my training has been going and how I've been feeling I knew that there was no way I wanted to do it this year. Which means I'm in for 2015. 

I certainly haven't thought too much about training going forward or really riding my bike too much. I spent the weekend of Leadville this year hanging out with this bunch at my family's cabin. It was a much needed break and now it's on to the next adventure. Cyclocross.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

All the Marbles

 Do you ever have it that your past self does something that your future self is really grateful for? Did you follow that? 

The other night I was stressing about the SilverRush 50 (which is probably happening as you're reading this-positive energy would be appreciated). I was talking to Sully, more whining really (I'm really lucky to have him, I know this) I had gone to the endocrinologist and he didn't think that anything was precipitating from my whacked out hormone, at least it wasn't correlating to the symptoms I was complaining of. He didn't see the need to go on medication for it (I didn't either,
messing with hormones is messy) but it put me back to mostly square one. His best guess is that I'm anemic for what my body is used to for various reasons, or potentially sleep-apnea, or my diet. Really I joked with him that is prescription was to buy a cast-iron and call him in the morning? He laughed and then seriously suggested that and iron supplements. Which does nothing for the race that is happening now. 

Anyways I was stressing to Sully because my mileage hasn't been where it should be and when I was training for the 100 most of my rides were 50+ anyway so I didn't think about it. I came into this season with the thought that I want to beat my time but as things developed and my training didn't I don't want to get too high of hopes. But still sometimes it's just really hard not to grumble about what could have been. I was going through my list of everything, well I got 2nd last year and what if I don't even finish this year, what if I get a mechanical, what if I bonk, what if I can't breath up at that altitude. That's mostly where he cut me off. "Uh, you do realize you rode 30 miles up in Leadville last week and you didn't have an issue." Ohhh, that's right, I did! In a moment of really showing my brain injury I had
Narnia is behind here.
forgotten about that ride. I had planned to see how my breathing handled being at altitude and to ride with a friend who lives in Leadville. She moved up there to train for ultra running (badass) and I know her through friends but she also bikes which is better for me since I don't think I could keep her pace for a mile. I figured I would head up early and do some riding and then meet her later and do some more. I didn't feel the need to ride the 50 course because I don't really know it so drove to a spot on the 100 that I'm more familiar with. But then I remember Wayne and Alex talking about how cool the Colorado Trail is around Leadville and remembered a turn off that I could loop into part of the course. I settled on that and began. I think every ride in Colorado starts with a climb but it was singletrack and not terribly technical, where it's not even fun. I rode that for a good portion until I came to a trail junction where I jumped off the CT and back onto the course section that took me up miles 45-50(ish) or the Columbine Climb. I climbed up there but when I started descending about halfway down linked it back up with the CT trail. The only way to convey to you how much fun I had on that trail is to tell you when I was done I called Sully and asked if we could move up to Leadville. I think he just needs the idea to sink in a little more....

I finished with that ride and had just enough time to eat before meeting my friend. The trail system up here is unreal. She took me on a loop that we left riding from her house, maybe a 10 minute spin up if that, and then all of a sudden you are on this unmarked trail system that loops and swoops and has some (2) pretty sketchy exposures. I was in awe the entire time that it's just out her back door. She used to live in Boulder so she knows how picky they are there about the trails and which ones bikers are allowed on and what not and she told me in Leadville people don't really like rules. 

All race ready

Long story short (I know I'm really good at that) is this: The SilverRush 50 is going to be what it is, whether that's beating my time, making the cut off, or getting a DNF. As much as I'm aware of my body I still feel like I'm in a foreign place with it sometimes and I'm not really sure what's going to happen. But if nothing else it will be lessons for next year...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's Not A Tumor

Sully can impersonate this pretty well.
I haven't been feeling like myself lately. And when I say lately I mean the past 10 months. I haven't been wanting to post until I figured out what it was because it seemed like we were close but since ruling out a brain tumor we're back to square one.

Look at that healthy brain!
Initially I thought I was just recovering from Leadville, and then things at worked changed and then I was studying for the GRE and then I was taking the GRE and then I was moving and then I was switching jobs and then I was starting to up my training and then I was trying to race and then I knew something was off. Not terribly off  just not right, but off enough. I saw a doctor who chalked it up to just "paying the price of being on birth control" when I mentioned that might part of
the issue. Yah, uhh okay. I went and saw my doctor, the one who navigated everything with my brain injury and told her everything. She ran all the tests she could and then some. I apparently have an abnormally high amount of a hormone that can lead to issues later on and cause some problems now (biggest one, fatigue) the number one cause for most is a tumor pushing on the pituitary gland. I had to get a Brain MRI to rule out a tumor, which I did and then they did. Which puts up back to mostly square one and off to see an endocrinologist.

Not that it's really super significant to write about my medical life but a little because well mostly it has been impacting my riding. As a result I seem to end up more on my Remedy or my single speed cross bike because well it's a little depressing to get on my race bike and feel like I'm out for a Sunday stroll. I feel like I'm missing that next gear, to kick it in and go.

My current nemesis
It hasn't been awful, there are certainly more dreadful things I could be facing. I've gotten a little better at riding my Green Machine (remedy) and have found a new focus after Leadville. There is a technical trail outside of town that has a technical rock section. I can occasionally clear the whole section going down (except a left turn off a rock at the top, I can't turn left!) if I haven't bonked or started crying. But there is a huge rock that I cannot get up. I like riding with Sully I do, I really do, he has lots of skills so he can pick a line and go and he makes it, with flat pedals or clipped in. I on the other hand have been working and reworking lines to try and muscle up all my strength to get up and over. The past two times were actually progress. Our last time Sully and I must have spent good 15 minutes of the ride up on this one particular section. We talked lines and I tried different routes when finally the stars aligned and I was able to ride up onto the rock slab take the line that sent me onto a little rock that made the lift to the big rock shorter than other places. That's all I did was get my front wheel on the big rock and without much more momentum to carry me I stopped. It was a step though, and the building block I need to keep going with it.

Since then I have ridden it by myself only to rework and reride the line multiple times only lifting my front wheel onto the larger rock but never having that kick to really get up. But it's progress. As as result I haven't thought much of the other sections and when I conquer this I will be like a kid who only has once magic trick and when asked to see more try to convience the person that the one I have is so amazing I don't need anything else. I'll cross that bridge at some point though.
And occasionally this still happens....

I turn 25 this weekend, which I'm not super stoked on. Mainly because it only means one more year on my parent's health insurance. I also have the Firecracker 50 and SilverRush 50 coming up in the next three weeks. I was hoping to do the Firecracker as a team (each person does one 25 mile lap) but haven't locked down a partner and I'm don't feel super confident on my long distance riding abilities right now to really try to track down a teammate when I might completely bonk. If your interested though, let me know. One requirement: no expectations.  Even the SilverRush is up in the air at this point.