Monday, June 22, 2015

Bashing with the Betis

18 miles doesn't seem very long when comparing it to my other race distances, but when in the midst
That would be nail polish going on...
of it, it seemed like it when on forever. It didn't help that for the first 6 mile lap I kept looking at my power meter box instead of the mileage box so felt like I was going nowhere when really I was making progress.

The race had started off with me in the second row, there were no official call ups and I didn't want to push my way up. I started next to a girl I knew so that helped. Sully and I had talked about how important the start would be and getting from the double track to the single track as fast as I could. I didn't get there fast enough and was following many others into the line. I wasn't worried though because I had no idea what to expect, and knew not blowing myself up on the first lap was probably in my best interest. There were a few steep switchbacks climbing up, one girl in front of me tried to pass another but ended up running into her, I got off my bike and ran around 
I'm surprised I didn't melt in the heat
them which spiked my heart rate and gave me a little anxiety because I wasn't sure if that was proper etiquette or not. I jumped back on my bike (good thing I've practiced my cross mount!) and took off on the chase, the girl I knew was still in front of me and I knew if I hung around her I would be okay. I've always struggled with passing people and would only follow suit when someone else made the move around someone and I would try to sneak in with them, like, "oh, I'm coming by too!" but usually would get caught behind and would lose some seconds until I could get around too. 

I made it through the first lap, and saw Sully at the start of the second to get my first bottle. I grabbed it on a short climb up and took some in. I knew I could push harder on the second lap and so I did, I also knew that I had to get more aggressive with passing, upgrading from my, "hi, when you get a chance, but really no rush, I'd like to get around you, but really only when you can" to "when you get a chance". I kept picking people off, and tried to get to the next person in front of me and just keep pushing. Some of the dirt was lose on the back side and I was constantly worry that I would slid out but kept it somewhat in control. I did most of the passing on the second lap, the group had spread out and I had no idea where I was in relation to anyone. I passed through the finish with one more lap and with Sully standing if I wanted water or GU, I thought about it for a moment too long before shouting "GU!" at the last minute to grab it. I knew I needed something to ward off cramping as it was hot and extremely exposed. I had to take it in and was trying to figure out when but went into the single track right behind a lady and knew I was not in position to ingest it then. I needed to get round her so I could get the GU. I took the left on a clear shot and got around her, but knew with 5 miles left I had to not get complacent and keep pushing. I took in 
half the GU because that was all I could manage before needing both hands on the bars. By now I knew the course enough to know where I could gain time, the short uphills and where I should reign it in, the loose corners. With 3 miles left I realized I should have put something in the bottles, like scratch or nuun because my calves were beginning to cramp. Just the first signs when you feel your muscles start to pull. I tried to prevent them from seizing by staying in the saddle on the short climbs and stretching them on the descents. I kept pushing but could keep feeling the slight ting in both my calves and would pull back just a little. The last half a mile twists around with sharp right turn onto double track that has a steep climb before flattening out into the finish. I took the right but had to get out of the saddle to get up the hill, that's when it happened, both calves seized, which was both hilarious and not. I was so close and yet was far enough that I had to keep pushing, I'm sure I 
During the cramp
was grimacing the whole time. I crossed the finish line and immediate got off my bike, sat on the ground and stretched both legs out. I was announced the unofficial winner of my age group as I sat there and had one of the shop owners and Sully come up to grab my bike and give me water. I rode my bike around for a cool down with Sully and then I had to stop and throw up the coffee and GU I had taken in. Ooops. Negative feed? 

Parker all dressed up for the drag race 
We hung around for the drag race and the podium. I ended up winning my age group and getting third for the expert field which I was pretty happy with. To give you perspective last year I raced sport and got third in my age group. I felt great through out the whole race, minus the cramping but was happy that I kept pushing and kept racing and didn't get complacent. This was the race I was hoping to have at Grand Junction, but glad to at least have it. 

Last Tuesday I hosted a happy hour and silent auction at the shop, which was a huge success, $1,700 was raised for World Bicycle Relief with some really cool prizes being donated for it. It was pretty amazing to see so many people show up and support the cause, it might have helped that there was free beer, but whatever gets people in the door! 
We're all winners!

This weekend I head to New York City for a wedding and decided to fly with my bike because I'll be there for four days and it seemed cheaper and easier than having to rent one. It might be little excessive to take my bike but why not? 
New kit day and new spot on the podium!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two Gears: Hard and Harder

I hadn't really put together that I had ridden the trails for the Grand Junction Off Road 40 until I pre rode it. I have ridden the trails before a few times but didn't really put together that it was the same, as I would never willing chose to bring my race bike to these trails for the most part. Thank goodness for the pre-ride. I was with one of Sully's riders and his girlfriend and they were nice enough to stop and talk lines and talk about the course.

I was still nervous even the morning of knowing what was in front of me, it's pretty technical and incase you don't remember I got a brain injury riding down a gravel road. I started right behind a friend from Boulder who was doing it with his dad, which helped. Once the gun went off I took off
This is before everything went south...
into the rhythm of getting to the trail as quickly as possible to avoid the bottleneck that happens on the single track. I followed the flow of people onto the dirt and up to the Widowmaker Hill, which everyone gets off to hike up at this point. One guy on the side of me hoisted his bike onto his shoulder to carry without realizing his front wheel kept taping me in the head, I wondered how many brain cells were dying because of it, briefly, and then jumped back on to continue. Thanks to the pre-ride I knew what was in front of me and what lines to take which helped immensely as most were getting off their bike to run around or crash but allowed me to stay in my rhythm. I had cleared all the technical features on the first half that I was worried about and feeling mildly confident in how I was riding until I took a wrong turn. I didn't realize it had happened and maintained my flow behind a few other guys, one who was extremely cranky and kept dropping the f-bomb which I thought at first he was mad that a girl was riding behind him and trying to pass and then later realized he knew that we had all taken the wrong turn but decided to keep riding as well and just spew profanities about it. It wasn't until we all got to the next junction that 30 of us had realized what had happened. Fortunately, instead of having to backtrack we were able to loop around. I took off but most people seemed to mosey on back to the course and since I had no idea where I was going, was at mercy to their pace. We finally reached the first aid station and I got back on track. 

Maybe this should have been a map
After a quick technical descent I kept the momentum going and knew what was coming thanks to my handy-dandy temporary tattoo which was an aid station followed by an uphill slog. I had taken enough time getting lost that I was approaching the hill climb with all the guys on their enduro ready bikes (designed much more for going downhill than up) which helped as I was able to slowly pick them off on the 7 mile double track climb. I would flutter between feeling great and feeling sorry for myself. Which probably correlated to my eating and drinking intake. I was frustrated that I had gotten lost and had assumed that I was in last place but then I would switch modes and be okay with it just being a really good supported training ride. I was grateful when the climb was over and a short descent greeted me to bring me into an aid station. I got off to change the scenery and maybe feel better about things, and I did, briefly until I got back on my bike and continued the next 2 mile slick rock climb up. "Just keep pedaling" I kept repeating. I gained a surge of energy when I saw my friend's sisters and girlfriend at the next aid station. I had told them about getting lost and was able to ingest as many oranges as possible before leaving, knowing the end was near. 

I was still about 11 miles out but what remained flowed mostly downhill and it put me back on the section that I had pre-ridden. I hit the 2ish mile road section with a group of 4 guys and followed them back into the single track. I was last but soon scooted around two when they got off to walk their bikes on some rocks and then around the next one shortly there after. I was following one into the only technical section I was worried about, he got off and I stalled while he moved out of the way. I proceeded down the line I knew but only to be forsaken at the end. The line I wanted fed back into the trail but I bobbled and turned my wheel away from the trail and down towards the jagged rocks the littered the hillside. I bailed off my bike and it fell onto some rocks and I jumped and landed unscathed. Fortunately the guys who were walking down behind me were there to ask if my bike is okay. "Uhh oh, ha!" I looked to see my right brake level lying in the middle of the trail. Huh, so now I have a front brake left for the rest of this descent. You have got to be kidding me. I got back on and gingerly began pedaling. The next section was a short uphill climb with an exposed ledge on the left. I shifted down but didn't realize that I broke the shifter so every click to go down was doing the opposite and moving it up to a harder gear. I didn't even put it together while I was pedaling into a harder gear.  I hopped off to walk up with everyone else and it wasn't until I was back on that I realized I didn't have access to the rear shifter and now was stuck in the smallest cog on the back. Great, so now I had two gears left; hard and harder. And only the front brake. This is hilarious. 
Not so funny at the time
I started to get into a grove, and maybe became mildly overconfident with one brake. I gained some speed going down into a left corner that was grooved with rocks. In a panic I locked up my front wheel which skidded my bike straight into a rock. I didn't even notice the damage at the time but later saw that I had taken off a few layers of paint and exposed the carbon, ooops. I was fine, but my poor bike. I had no advantage to my predicament, I couldn't get going too fast on the downhills and was stuck in two hard gears for going up hill, so I bounced between riding and running. At least it's good practice for the hike-a-bike sections in Leadville. I ended up on the pavement that was a 2 mile ride back to the start when I met up with my friend's dad. One of his cables had broken so he was limited to the gears he was able to use as well. I rode in with him where we talked about the course and what had transpired over our separate journeys. I was never so happy to see a finish line. I ended up 6th for women, which might have been the most disappointing thing, with everything that happened I should have gotten annihilated, but only 9 women were in my category. I'm not sure how to get more women racing but that's for another blog.
So glad to be done. 
I meant to get this up sooner, but some things transpired at work that took a lot of energy. Since the race, I've been riding mountain bikes more, at least when it's not raining in Boulder. This weekend I'll be doing the Beti Bike Bash, which at 18 miles is by far the shortest race I'll do all year! Eeek!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gravel Metric Ride (or was it a race?)

I didn't know what to expect walking onto the USD campus. I was pleasantly surprised by it all. The whole campus resides on one giant city block, which seems fairly easy to navigate given that the law school is in one building only. The meeting with the dean to discuss orientation options went rather smoothly. I was thoroughly impressed with how versed she was with Leadville, I had sent her the link before and we figured out some options. The rough plan is to fly out Wednesday and then fly back Sunday for the first day of classes. She said she would talk to the professors about not calling on me for the first week so I could transition and regroup after; law school is taught under the Socratic method so that was a relief to know, she just wants me physically there the first day of class. She was concerned about me missing a lecture on Thursday by the bar association on character and fitness to talk about the standards set forth about being in law school and a potential lawyer. I wasn't going to mention it but then my dad intervened (I knew I brought him for a reason), "oh, her mother was on that board for 14 years so we can handle that." or something of the variation. That settled it- that would be all I needed for a pass. We spent the rest of the afternoon meeting with a realtor and looking at houses. I'm sure I'll feel much better once I figure out where I might be living so I can get things there sooner rather than later. 

Sully and I then headed to Sioux City and rode mountain bikes, followed by road bikes in Madison, and mountain bike again in White Water, WI at the John Muir trails. All were pretty fantastic, except the road ride, it was a little bumpy. 

The gravel metric was something else. I didn't know what to expect, it's not advertised as a race, but I
Clearly excited about the unknown
could have certainly been fooled. It started with a 5 mile police escort to the gravel; they stopped us and let everyone regroup i.e. let all the guys go pee on the side of the road before starting us again. The ride started and the only advice I had to go on was to stick with a group. Which I tried with the lead group, but they were real fast so I was off the back pretty shortly after. I was riding by myself for a good 5 miles, stuck in between the lead group and the group behind them, not wanting to slow down but unable to reel anyone in. I got lucky when the course took us through a farmer's field, and it slowed some down that I was able to get back on to someone's wheel. I kept thinking the first 15 miles that this isn't going to be sustainable, I'm going to bonk at some point if this keeps up. Around mile 20 I was on my own again when a guy, Brad rode up and I stuck on his wheel, we worked to pull to the next guy and from there the three of us pulled up to the next two and then there was five of us. We stuck together till about mile 40, I chatted with an older lady who was only out there to see "if she could keep up with us youngins" she could. The course takes a 5 miles round about a lake which is over a snowmobile course, so you're really just riding through grass which slows everything down substantially and we were able to catch more people and get strung out through the sections. 

Clearly more excited- look at how fast I look!
I saw Sully on the other side of the forested area right before the check in point. He told me his rider was winning and one of the guys we know from another shop was up ahead and to go catch him. I rolled into the check in point, got my wrist band punched (super casual), right as a big group was rolling out, I had enough time to grab a banana and start fighting to get up to them. It took a while but I finally managed to catch up and slowed my pace when I ran into the guy I knew, who was carrying beer and pizza in his frame bag. I rode with him for about 4-6 miles, enough time to watch him fall into the creek and then he started developing IT issues and stopped to do yoga. I did not have time for that. From there I hooked on to a group of Sram employees and let them pull me in the rest of the way. I did take pulls through out but by then there were seven of us so never for any substantiated time. 

This was the finish line, I think
I was surprised when I finished that I had finished in the capacity that I did. I kept waiting to bonk. Unlike Colorado where a climb is followed by a descent, there were no sustained climbs followed by any descents it was just 68 miles of pure pedaling. I can't say I didn't like it, I'm still not sure if I liked it but I didn't mind it. I don't think I've ever spent as much time staring at the wheel in front of me as I did during this ride. I ended up averaging 17.2 mph over 4 hours- there aren't official results but Sully thinks only 3 or 4 women were in front of me, not that it really matters....

I got bumped by a car last night when I was riding home with Sully. It seemed strange because he was pulling out but had stopped and I was crossing in front of him but only after stopping to make sure he saw me. I'm still not sure how he didn't see me, I had look at him when he was looking at me, so maybe he thought I was clear on the other side already. I went and he rolled forward and then stopped and then rolled forward into me- still not sure how he didn't see any of this happening. He just bumped my back end but it was enough to rattle me. I got off and was on the side walk looking at my bike to see if any damage was done. Everything checked out but I had no idea what to do so I did what seemed logical and just started crying. The driver rolled down his window to ask if I was alright, Sully said I was fine and I was and the bike was so he continued on his way.  I'm sure I'm just extra sensitive to it after my last one being a hit and run. After he left I completely lost it and  my leg started shaking. It's not that I was injured or hurt in any capacity and I knew that at some point this would probably happen again. I was more just shocked by it all. It only left a scuff on my skewer but it popped in his bumper (so, I won, right?). At least he stopped to check on me and it was nice having Sully there to check out my bike right away. I took another minute before getting back on and finishing the 400 yards to our destination. My bike is fine, I'm fine, physically and mentally, it's certainly a different scenario when the guy doesn't drive off but actually stops to check on you. Fortunately these don't seem to be an every day occurrence so I thought I would mention it; let me just repeat, mom, I am fine. 
This was in Iowa, super smooth and fast 

This weekend is the grand junction off road, which is 40 miles. I'm pretty excited for, I definitely feel like I'm getting stronger and from what I hear it sounds like a fun course- I forgot to register online (Chris, can I get on the same program as Bryan with you?)- but it doesn't seem like it's full and offers on the site registration on Friday. And if not I'll just race bandit (haha, kidding, what did I just mention about the character and fitness of law students). 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This is a Joke, Right!?!

"This can't be seriously happening!" I said as I kept double checking the start date for University of South Dakota's law school. There is no way, Leadville is August 15, with classes starting the 17th and mandatory orientation August 11-14th. And here I thought I would go into Leadville with no real stress, no brain injury, no broken bikes, just smooth sailing to close out this chapter of my life. Every argument against USD has been trumped by it being so cheap, and Kara lives really close so if I need to take a hiatus she has a whole house for me. Except for this - this has certainly thrown a wrench in it. I know the logical thing for most people would to be just miss Leadville this year and hope to do it later. I can't give it up though, I'm so close and so committed. Six months ago this might have been a different story, one where I would be traveling around passing the time till law school not thinking about Leadville, but here I see the finish line. I've tried to figure out the best option but I can't seem to end up with one where I win at both.
45 miles in the rain, I'm clearly enthralled.
I was contemplating this all the other day at work, wondering out loud what I would be like on the first day of class coming straight from racing Leadville, someone pointed out I would be the fittest one there. I'm going to be at USD this coming Thursday, Sully and I are heading to Chicago for a gravel grinder (60 miles on gravel) and stopping there on the way to check it out. I have set an email to explain my unique position and to talk to someone about options when I'm there- I'm hopeful but have some trepidation about it. My dad will be visiting there with me and my mom told me to take him to the meeting. I said I wasn't sure if he would see my argument for how much I want to do Leadville this year and might not understand why I can't just go to law school. She laughed and said that as a lawyer you often have no idea why your client decides something but you still argue for them. If it all works out it will end up being a funny story, but it's not there yet. I have thought about just going to another law school, some have given me enough money that it's not the same but close to USD but then I weigh practicing in SD and this makes the most sense. To have the entire network there and to know most of the lawyers in the state by the time you graduate is invaluable. I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it too, it seems so silly to think about going to another school because of a race.
Finally got the WBR kit!

It's not just racing Leadville though, I'm really excited about being on World Bicycle Relief this year and want to see that commitment through. Why I want to go to law school stems from the same reason as wanting to be a part of WBR. We'll see what happens, and I'm sure I'll keep you posted. I know that this seems like such an insignificant problem to have and really I should be grateful to be in this position, right?

I have the Gravel Metric this weekend, which is a more casual 60 mile gravel ride and not so much a race. You just email this guy, pay $15, show up and he gives you a handkerchief with the directions on it, so that should be interesting. The weekend after I'm doing the Grand Junction Off Road, which is 40 miles on trail. I'm excited for the GJ Off Road to see how much I've improved in a month (since the Whiskey 50). There isn't too much to do until I figure out what the plan of attack is for everything, except keep riding my bike- and drinking coffee.

Right now I seem to have a lot of anxiety about the law school dilemma; I can't figure out, like most women, how to have it all.

*Disclaimer: I'm sorry if this comes off as I'm an ungrateful brat who should just be happy that I have all the opportunities I do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whiskey 50: Back With A Vengeance

"Ugh, how is this happening, again?!?" I expressed my anguish over the weather while I took cover under Sully's team tent. Whiskey 50 was the next day and the weather still didn't look great. I was in my riding clothes trying to pre-ride and stuck watching the ebb and flow of precipitation come down. The saying goes "chamois time is training time" and so I was able to get my pre-ride in by sitting in my riding clothes for an hour constantly checking the weather for race day and questioning why I voluntarily chose to come back. 

The rain wasn't suppose to start until noon for our race, but I wasn't convinced. I even stashed a third set of winter gloves behind the bladder in my camelbak just to guarantee they would remain dry. I even debated wearing shoe covers, Sully thought that was a little much but the constant flashbacks of last year had me questioning his rationality. 
All the layers!

The morning of the race I woke up and stepped outside to be pleasantly surprised with only a crisp chill in the air and cloud coverage, but no rain, no snow. I still put on a long sleeve base-layer, jersey, arm warmers  vest, and long sleeve jersey. As well as a hat, buff (to cover my neck), winter gloves and knee warmers, but no shoe covers. Sully talked me into leaving my long sleeve jersey with him at the start line which later I was grateful that I relinquished it. The start began with a bang (literally multiple guns), and with a rough game plan of trying to get as far up the front as possible to get on the single track first. I took off and began the longest training ride on my mountain bike of this year. Getting on the single track was effortless and I was surprised at just how much of a different race it is when you ride everything. At one point on it the riders bottlenecked and
everyone had to get off, not sure what was happening I was a little anxious. The lady behind me must have picked up on it and assured me it was fine, we were in 5th and 6th place so no reason to panic. I wasn't as conscious about my place as I was trying to make sure I didn't get cold again. 

The single track was really fun and over too soon. The next section is a fire road down to the turn around point, Sully told me it wasn't worth trying to mash down it and just ride it. I ate some food on the way
Steady decrease...
down- unfortunately I hadn't done the best job wrapping it in aluminum foil and so the peanut butter went all over my face as I tried to squeeze it out (good thing I already have a boyfriend!). At the turn around I grabbed a full banana without dismounting and  began the trudge back up the hill. The first 11 miles weren't bad at all, the last three were brutal. I had a bit of a biomechanical with everything beginning to ache. I just had to get back to the single track and so I schlepped along, and didn't put up much a fight when I would get passed. At some point during  long endurance races I find it becomes less of a race against everyone else and more of a race against yourself. I was at that point, I just needed to finish. 

This was before cramp hill...or after
I reached the single track and every ache I had seemed to go away. I'm sure it was more mental in knowing I was almost done and back to the fun. I've followed enough of Sully's wheels to feel pretty confident with my descending skills at this point. There was one concern I had and that was "cramp hill" I was informed that most people cramp on it but it's only about 4 minutes so if you have to get off and walk it's not too bad. I kept riding and each little hill would wonder if it was it, and then I wouldn't cramp and so would wait for the next one. This continued until I reached the pavement and realized that I still have no idea which hill was cramp hill. The last miles on pavement are still mostly down hill, I was  so excited that I was actually going to finish I didn't even care when it started raining. I came across the finish line and was so relieved that it was over with no snow- and no need for a third pair of gloves! 

All done! 

I ended up finishing 9th overall for women. Those last three miles on the hill I got passed by 4 or 5 girls and was only able to catch back up to one. It's early enough in the season that I'm happy with how I finished and I know I have somethings to work on; like preventing biomechanicals and doing a better job wrapping my food. Sully and I went for a ride in Prescott on Monday and wouldn't you know the weather was near perfect. So much so that one of the girls on his team is convinced that I'm the one who brings the bad weather. 
Skies out...thighs out

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!