Random Recap

The “fun” thing about not posting weekly-ish is that I get to empty interesting photos from my phone and try to string them together in a way that makes some sort of sense/entertainment for you, the reader.

I’ve been a little low on bike motivation for a while. Given Indy’s need for somewhat constant care, I’m not making any large race/travel plans for this summer. I’m not going to board him, and I don’t have the disposable income to pay for personalized dog sitting. So, I’m having to look to other places for opportunities to set goals for the upcoming year.

A couple of weeks ago I watched one of my coaches at the gym win the championship fight for his weight class… in 47 seconds. To see the outpouring of support from the other coaches and students at the gym was incredibly moving. I’m looking forward to trying out for the competition team in two weeks. A sizable portion of the tryout criteria is conditioning. So, I’m trying to get that in however I can, though being sick with two different colds in the span of three weeks sort of put a damper on that.

My two favorite workouts so far are riding the singlespeed up Lookout Mountain…

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…and, of course, riding indoors. Get on, warm up, kill it, cool down. Boom- One hour and you’re done.

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In the meantime, there’s a little bit of change going on with my work situation.

(unrelated pics of SRAM’s Reverb service clinic)

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Once there was a barn dog named Hank (bear with me for just a minute. There’s a point to this story). He wasn’t overly affectionate, but he was cool with most people. For whatever reason, Hank hated me from day one. From the moment I pulled up in the barn parking lot, he would growl and bark and follow me around giving me the stink-eye. No amount of coaxing, squatting, avoiding eye contact, and offers of treats befriended him. Maybe I smelled/looked/sounded like someone who abused him. Maybe he didn’t like the sound of my car. No idea. Lord knows it wasn’t because I don’t love dogs.

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The service manager at the Highlands Ranch Elevation Cycles is a human Hank. Dave is an excellent mechanic, a highly skilled rider, and generally seems like an OK guy. Dave also dislikes me for, well, I have no idea why. So, I’ll spare you the gory details and just say that as of Wednesday, I requested to not work with him any more. Lucky for me, the shop Owner/Management is very understanding, and I very much enjoy the company of my coworkers at the other two shop locations, so I’ll be splitting time between the Downtown Denver and Boulder shops. I think Elevations is a great place, so I’m not going to let one unfriendable person out of a company full of nice people mess that up for me.

Having yesterday off actually turned out to be a really good thing for me. I was able to go to the 6:00 Jiu Jitsu class that I normally can’t go to because of work. It just so happened that it was belt testing/promotion night. I left with two more stripes on my belt than I came in with…

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I know these guys would be proud.

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After the subsequent Muay Thai class, one of the long time students/coaches talked to me about her plans for getting a women’s sparring/training group together. She’s pretty badass, as are the other ladies that are on her short list for the group. I’m honored, for sure.

Help People

It started back in October when I was working at the Elevation Cycles location in Boulder- a man came in the shop asking to use our phone because his friend outside needed an ambulance. Outside, there was a man laying in the grass by the main entrance of the shopping center. I have some first responder training, so, as the guy inside was finishing his conversation with 911, I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and went outside to help. The guy in need of help was under the influence of god-only-knows what and could barely hold himself upright. I put a hand on his shoulder and asked if he was OK and he eventually sat up on the ground, and his friend sat down next to him and put his arm around him. The guy who had used the phone explained to me how they were homeless, and all they had was each other, and that they watched out for each other. I brought them a cup of water and sat on the ground with them until the police and ambulance showed up, and the really high/drunk dude told me I was the most beautiful angel that he’d ever seen, and his friend (who was not quite as drunk/high) agreed. I laughed and took it as a drunk/high expression of general appreciation.
The part of this story that really hit me hard was the statement the guy made about how he and his friend watched out for each other, and how no one else cared about them.

Yesterday I was leaving Whole Foods, and a man was standing outside, asking random shoppers for help. As I put my cart back in the cart area, I watched someone blow him off and someone else ignore him completely. He approached me and said, “I need help. I’m having a really hard time, and I just need a couple of bucks.” I paused and told him, “Yeah man, I’ll help you out.” I gave him two dollars, and he seemed a little overwhelmed, then held out an arm like he wanted a hug. I gave him a (somewhat tentative) side hug, and he thanked me profusely and walked off down the sidewalk towards the main road. I have no idea where he went or what he had planned for the $2, but I don’t think it really matters. There’s a chance he went straight in to the liquor store that’s next to Whole Foods. He could have used it to get on the bus. No clue.

Since I moved down in to Denver from Blackhawk, I’ve given a few other handouts- either a few bucks or whatever food I had with me- to people obviously in need.

I’m writing about this because it seems like there are so many people who don’t want to help anyone but themselves. There are people who won’t hand out a couple of bucks because they think the person they’re giving it to will spend it on booze or drugs or whatever. My thought is this- no one stands outside a Whole Foods asking for help if their life is totally effing peachy. What they spend the money on doesn’t matter… what matters is that they asked for help, and someone thought they were worth helping. If you strip down the rough appearance and addictions of anyone, they’re human, flesh-and-bone, just like you.

There was a man passed out on the bike path a couple of weeks ago. He was laying motionless in the middle of the path. It’s a well-traveled area, so I’m assuming people had been just riding around him like an inconveniently placed speed bump. I stopped and asked if he was OK. He gave me a thumbs up. There was a big plastic bottle of vodka next to his bag leaned up in the bushes on the side of the path. A couple of days earlier, a customer had tipped me $10, and I had it in my jersey pocket. I handed it to the dude and told him, “next one’s on me, man.” He was really happy and wished me a merry Christmas. That’s the only Christmas present I gave anyone this year. I’m sure he went and bought booze with it. It doesn’t matter.
Empathy- imagine if you screwed up, made bad life decisions, and were homeless and alcoholic. You probably don’t like yourself, don’t care about your well being, and don’t feel like you’re worthy of anyone else caring about your well-being. In my optimistic brain, if enough people show you that you’re worth caring about, maybe you’ll eventually think of yourself as worthy of getting help. Or, you’ll go buy another cheap bottle of vodka. It doesn’t matter, because, at least for a few seconds, that guy felt like someone gave a damn that he looked dead instead of just dodging him like an inanimate object.

When you’re warm and well-fed, empathy can be an uncomfortable feeling to deal with. It’s way easier to ignore someone and/or assume that they have ill intentions and go on about your comfortable life.

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. Don’t give me any “atta girl” comments or anything like that. I don’t even want you to acknowledge to me that you read this. I just want to take advantage of the fact that I have an audience to motivate/encourage people to help other people however you can. Just read this and go do good for other humans who need help.

Adventures on Hold

Aside from a little snow on Christmas Day, the Holiday season came and went with little fanfare. I did go for a quick Christmas day hike up Green Mountain. It’s close to my house, and gives you one of the coolest 360 degree views of Denver and the Front Range.

North towards Boulder:

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South:

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East Towards Denver:

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IPhone pictures don’t really do it justice, of course.

The couple of inches of snow on Christmas day were a good excuse to bundle up and go for another fatbike ride the day after Christmas. I rode it down the Ruby Hill Park sled hill as a bunch of kids cheered me on then hit the South Platte River Trail before the snowplows got there.

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I’d love to take the fatbike to places other than the bike path… bringing me to the point of my post today. Since it got too cold to leave little old Indy out to wander the back yard, I can’t leave him alone for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time because he’s reached an age/level of dementia where he can’t go any longer without pottying on himself in his crate. It’s been hard… there are a couple of nearby winter bike races I’d love to go to and a lot of days where I’ve had the time and good weather to go up into the mountains and explore, but, in reality, Indy needs me more than I need to do those things.

It’s occasionally frustrating, but he’s been my best buddy for over 15.5 years now. I picked him out of the litter when he was the size of a gerbil and his eyes were still closed. I chose him over the others because, as I went through and picked each puppy up, he growled at me (a 2-week-old puppy growl is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard, so I was immediately smitten). He’s been by my side through a lot of really difficult times in my life… more than any person I know. So, he’s 100% worth sacrificing a winter of adventures. I’ve got a lot more winters ahead of me, and he doesn’t. I owe it to him.

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The ability to bring him with me has been the #1 condition of employment at my previous and current jobs-

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On a less “my eyes are feeling leaky” note, please visit your local bike shop. Your bike likely needs a tune-up,  and by bringing it in, you’re preventing boredom that leads to desperate activities such as mopping, campy shifter rebuilding,

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and whatever the hell Brian is doing here…

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Oh yeah, and speaking of bike shops… everyone at mine got one of these at the company holiday party:

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It will likely see the sidelines of the gym before it sees the trail. I’m having a blast training MMA again. It’s definitely helping to maintain some fitness while it’s cold/dark.

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I have a lot of incredible training partners (one of which has an incredibly bony back that I hit my chin on when we were drilling takedowns/sprawls). Most of them are bigger and/or stronger than me, but I’m used to that from back when I started road biking and would go on the hammerfest group rides with the dudes who raced a lot. It was hard as hell, but it only made me better.
I’ve figured out that the hammering you get on a group ride is way more ego-driven than one you get with good training partners practicing MMA. On the bike, it’s very much wanting to inflict pain on your group-mates, drop people, and show off how much stronger you are than them. In the gym, when you’re doing it right, the goal is to make both you and your training partner better. You can train solo to be fast on a bike. You can’t train solo for combat sports, and you can’t improve very far past the ability of your training partner.

The saying at the gym is, “Together, we are stronger.” It’s a beautiful thing.

Snow Days

I’m pretty sure that the people who watch the weather in the Denver Metro area stay high on legal weed 24/7. Since it started getting cold, any time there’s imminent snow, there’s some sort of winter weather advisory. However, Tuesday morning, Indy woke me up at 5:30 to potty, and as I was stumbling half-asleep through the house to take him out, I wondered, “why the hell is it so bright in here?” Then, I looked out the back window and saw that there was a blanket of snow on everything.

Nothing like shoveling the porch at 5:30am in a snow storm to let your dog know you love him.

We ended up getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10″ (TWSS)
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Lucky for me, I’d brought a demo fat bike home from work a couple of days before that. My original plan had been to go ride up Rollins Pass, but I couldn’t leave Indy alone for that long, so I ended up not going. I set out on some of the less-busy roads and bike paths near my house.

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They snow plow the paths here. It’s pretty sweet. I did figure out pretty quickly that trying to ride through unplowed powdery snow is basically impossible. My take on fat bikes based on my 2.5 hour initial ride is this- no bike is great at riding in the snow, it’s just that a fat bike is the least sucky of all bikes to ride in snow. I’d like to try one on trail sometime this winter.

I think the flask is a pretty important part of the riding attire

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Taking on Winter without going a little stir crazy has been a little bit of a challenge. Luckily, the weather usually isn’t too bad. Sometimes, I grab an occasional night ride after work.

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Sometimes, I work on my ground and pound.

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Working in a bike shop over winter is an exercise in keeping yourself busy/entertained.

I got to check out a SRAM ETap bike the other day. I like it. I’m on the last gen 2×10 SRAM Red right now, and it’s great. I’m going to hold out until ETap has been revised at least once and is available at the Rival level before I consider upgrading.

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Speaking of upgrades… I upgraded a Speed Concept tri bike the other day.

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If you don’t know what #onelessarmadillo is, you are missing out. Check out the Just Riding Along podcast on Mountain Bike Radio, and you’ll also hear about that, as well as the McSnuggie:

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Don’t listen to the podcast if you’re my mom.

Doping in Memphis

Winter is tightening its grip on the Front Range. I’ve taken a lot of my physical activity indoors with the recent revisiting of MMA. You might remember last time that I trained a good bit in MMA, I lost a fight and ended up with a broken-as-hell nose. In the following months after that, John Trent, who I’d been training with, sold his gym, and I was only able to get back in for Jujitsu classes for a few months before moving away.

Fast forward, and now that I’m not living high up in the mountains a long drive from civilization, I’ve found a new MMA home at The Training Camp. I’m starting slow, unlearning a few bad habits, honing good ones, and learning piles of new ones. There’s a large amount of experience under one roof there. I’m looking forward to trying out for the competition team in January.

Speaking of competition, one of the master’s dudes from Memphis finally got popped for doping, this time for testosterone and Ritalin: Master’s 40+ Winner Busted

It’s sad in lots of ways… mainly because I know Todd Hickman is a really nice guy. If you didn’t click that link before you met him, you’d think so, too. He’s never the guy that you hate to see show up for a group ride. I’ve always suspected that there are other 40+ dudes in Memphis who are taking testosterone (and/or ritalin, which is just as easy to get a script for from your family doctor). Most of those dudes have gigantic egos and tend to reside on the “asshole” end of the “how nice are you?” scale. So, it’s sad that it was Todd and not one of them.
It’s sort of like if a group of cars passed you on the interstate doing 110mph. One of the driver tailgates you and flashes his lights at you and another one seems to exercise some sort of common courtesy to pass you before speeding back up to his group. Later down the road, you see that the one who’d not acted like a dick has been pulled over by a Trooper and the rest of the group continued on without him at 110mph. You’re glad that one driver doing something dangerous is off the road, but you wish it was the dude who’d acted like a jerk.

I hope that Todd’s experience and punishment (4-year ban) is a wake up call to any other Memphis-area masters racers who are riding down the same road. I hope that Todd comes back clean in 4 years and continues to ride and race, because he’s a kind-hearted person who screwed up real bad.

Maybe I’m naive in saying so, but as a female, I feel like there’s much less concern about my competition being dopers (with the exception of maybe some of the upper-level racing I’ve done). For one, a 40 year old woman can’t waltz in to her doctor’s office and claim sexual dysfunction in order to get a (out-of-competition) legal prescription of testosterone. So, we’ve got that going for us. Also, women generally just get faster with age (to a point, of course). Outside of confounding life factors, it’s not like a 35 year old woman can tell a huge difference between her ability to train and recover the way she did when she was 22 because of a change in her hormone levels. While the allure of things like stimulants and EPO might still be there, the draw to take testosterone is less than that of men.

Anyways…

I went back South for Thanksgiving last week. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible, so my plan to hit Syllamo on the way back home was thwarted by torrential amounts of rain. I did get to ride bar bikes with Kenny one night

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We cruised Germantown neighborhoods then stopped at Huey’s for burgers. I’ve taken to ordering an Old Fashioned at any bar I go to, just to see what I get. While it’s an incredibly simple drink, what usually comes out it some sort of watered down shot of whiskey with a cherry and an orange slice in it that may or may not actually contain bitters. I’ve only found one bar so far (the Golden Moon Speakeasy, where my love of Old Fashions first began) that actually makes one as good as (better, actually) what I make in my kitchen.

Other highlights of my trip back to Memphis included sushi dinner with the parents-

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Low point? Getting a speeding ticket two hours from being back home in Denver. The trooper had no mercy on me even though little Indy was crying/howling in his crate because he had to potty. If you’re wondering, the price of doing 82mph in a 75mph zone in Colorado is $98.50.

That’s mostly it for now. Time to do some yoga before work.

Occasional Adventures

Obviously, my post frequency has taken quite the hit with the onset of a 40+ hour work week. I’m getting settled in to a routine, though, and likewise, getting settled in to a rental house after being somewhat “nomadic” for a couple of months when I had to make the transition from living/working in the mountains to living/working in Denver, then dealing with moving and working a lot. It’s getting better, though.

First off, don’t forget- I’m selling a small Jet9 RDO. In order to be competitive with eBay pricing, I’m pricing it at $1900, shipped anywhere in the lower 48. It’s still in the box. I’ve only taken it out enough to snap a couple of pics of the color (slate/black/yellow).

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As I alluded to in my last post, life now is days at Elevation Cycles in Highlands Ranch, riding when I can, and MMA classes a few days a week at the new (to me) gym. Weekend before last, the shop sponsored a work trip to Fruita. All three shops closed early on Saturday (and remained closed until Tuesday morning), and everyone rolled out to go west to the desert. Since I had Saturday off, I took full advantage and went to a jujitsu seminar with Andre Galvao.

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It was a great day of learning. Also, I had the privilege of watching two people get black belt promotions (the two dudes on the outside of the pic below). It was emotional… in a room full of really tough athletes, there was hardly a dry eye.

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Afterwards, I loaded up the Subaru and started my trip west (somewhere along the way, I rolled over 100k). The desert scenery and riding never disappoints. We rode the Lunch Loops and Ribbon trails on Sunday then Kokopelli on Monday. Dave- the service manager/mechanic in at the bench next to mine, who could be mistaken for my older brother based on riding style, proximity to gingerness, and general surliness, rode the drop in to Horsetheif.

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I am the only woman between the three Elevation shops (other than the lady who does all the important stuff like paychecks and whatnot). I definitely put some pressure on myself to prove that I could keep up with the guys. I feel as though I was mostly successful in that.

Work itself has its expected high and low points. Example-

High point- geeking out over rehabbing a classic old Pinarello with Capagnolo Nuovo Record-

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Low point- assembling a Speed Concept

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It’s like trying to assemble Ikea furniture without an instruction manual.

Saturday, on my day off, I went up to 92Fifty to get the rest of my stuff out of the bike shop. I took the opportunity to go explore the nearby James Peak Wilderness area at the end of Rollins Pass road.

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I’d passed the trailhead multiple times over the summer, and wanted to check out the snow and stuff. Hiking a trail in feet of packed-in snow was a lifetime first for me. I can’t wait to go back a little more prepared and hike up higher.

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That’s about all of my adventures for now. I’m posting pretty regularly on Twitter and Instagram if you’re in to those things (links over on the right of this page). I mostly stay off of my personal facebook page. Facebook has become a shining example of how terrible,  uncaring, and racist a lot of people are. I don’t want to waste my time confirming something I’ve suspected all along, so I quit really giving it much attention.

Work, MMA, and a Jet9 for Sale again!

Since my previous post, I’ve focused more on getting settled in to my new job and new house (signing a lease sometime next week to make it official. Woohoo!) With short days and cold nights, I haven’t been able to ride like I normally do. It’s going to take some re-adjusting to my new schedule in order to get back in to a routine where I’m able to keep some sort of fitness over the winter.

I did get out on Monday with Joe, the Rocky Mountain rep. He lives in the Ken Caryl area, which means he has access to the trails on the private Ken Caryl property.

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Working at Elevation Cycles is good. Saying that my coworkers Dave and Brian are really good wrenches is somewhat of an understatement. I’d let them overhaul my bike before a race and not even check it over before I started. Also, the shop dog Ella is in love with Indy. She tries her best to get him to play, but since he’s 99% deaf and 85% blind, he just stares at her and shakes when she starts hopping around him and yipping. When he sleeps (most of the time), she comes back in to the work area to check in on him hourly.

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The shop is closing early on Saturday the 7th and will be closed on the 8th & 9th for a trip to Moab. It’s pretty rad to be at a place where we get a most-expenses paid trip to go ride someplace rad. Since I’m off on Saturdays, I’m gonna leave early in the morning and get an extra ride between here and there.

Outside of work and riding, my winter “stay active while working a bunch” plan is to get back in to the gym for some MMA training. I’ve never been as fit and felt as good as when I trained MMA, and it’s something I can do after work on most days of the week. Tonight, I’ve got a first lesson/evaluation at this place: http://www.thetrainingcamp.net/

I’m funding my winter of MMA with one of these:

The New Niner JET 9 RDO

Yeah… so, when I was taking photos of scratches on my Jet for a potential eBay buyer, I found some small cracks in the seat tube. They’re sending out a warranty frame in the colorway pictured above. If you’re interested in a small slate and yellow frame new and in the box, I’ll sell you this one for $2,000, shipped to your door (they’re on Jenson USA right now for $2,300). I’m going to also put it on various online swap meets through facebook, but if it sits for a while, I’d consider other reasonable offers before I put it on eBay. Email me andrea at brickhouseracing.com if you’re interested.

 

Finding Peace.

Life since Breck Epic has been hectic…

Ok, that’s an understatement, but I’m gonna roll with it.

There were a couple of late-season races. I went to the Winter Park XC finale the weekend after Breck Epic and felt alright despite the physical destruction I experienced the previous week. I can attribute that, in part, to the wisdom I’ve gained though years of racing. I felt like a total animal off the start, but knew that on partially-recovered legs to not follow that feeling and end up fully shelled and barely moving forward. Wise pacing paid off, and I won the “King of the Rockies” race, giving me 2nd place in the series behind a woman who’d just attended a couple more races than I had.

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Then, there was Cougar Slayer. You park in Boulder, take the bus to Nederland, and race back to where you started.

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It’s a net loss in elevation, but is still an absolutely brutal course. Since it was a gps-navigated course, and I attempted to use a Garmin 500, I got lost a lot. I had to sit and wait at intersections repeatedly while my Garmin caught up to me. I eventually resorted to riding with other (slower) people with better GPS units. So, I missed the 8 hour cutoff for the handmade belt buckle. I do get the 100% totally uncelebrated, unrecognized (other than right here) title of “first woman to ever complete the full Cougar Slayer course.” So, there’s that.

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I realized while I was on course at Cougar Slayer that physically, I was recovered (and possibly even stronger) from Breck Epic. However, I wasn’t mentally prepped for the final task I’d scheduled for my season- Vapor Trail 125. It became obvious to me after a couple of race days that the Breck Epic rivalry between Sara Sheets and I had become legendary. I had all sorts of people I’ve never met before asking me about it (Sara is somewhat legendary herself, so the idea that another rider came out of “nowhere” and challenged her to the point of near physical breakdown astounded a lot of people). You can’t go to a race like Vapor Trail 125 without being fully prepared both mentally and physically, so I bailed on it…

Maybe next year.

Getting away from racing and on to the point of my extended hiatus and this blog post… Somewhere in the midst of the whole “living in the mountains” experience, a hard reality hit me.

I belong nowhere else.

I’ve alluded to it in the past, but I’ll go ahead and say it out loud here- I was having some serious issues while living in Memphis. From the time of Vapor Trail 2014 until I left town in March, I was basically a prisoner of anxiety attacks and their resulting depression. If the trails were too wet to ride (common in the Memphis winter), you have to ride on the road if you want to ride at all. I kept having panic attacks when I was road riding. I kept feeling like a failure, a worthless person, and all the other things that go along with losing the ability to do something you once loved because of an invisible handicap.

Then, the mountains happened. I found a place where I could exist with the option of not having an anxiety attack any time I rode my bike. Last Spring, Someone wished that I find peace where I was headed. I feel like I finally have. I feel at home in the mountains. My soul feels at peace here.

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I’ve found friends in the mountains, too.

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…because, basically, this is how I felt in Memphis:

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As a result of my decision to not go back to Memphis, part of my “too busy to write a blog post” was procuring non-seasonal employment and a place to live… both pretty tall orders in Denver/Fall. In the midst of it all, I went with 92Fifty teammate Tim Lutz to 24 Solo Worlds in Weaverville, CA. Along the way, we stopped at Park City and Lake Tahoe, which are pretty amazing places to ride.

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When I came back, I had a job at Elevation Cycles waiting for me (the Boss there was pit crew next door for Kelly Magelky at the Worlds race). So far, it’s been pretty rad. It’s the first shop I’ve been in where starting pay can cover real-life living expenses, and none of the employees seem disgruntled & under-appreciated (aside from 92Fifty… where I was the only employee, and was neither disgruntled nor under-appreciated).

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So, this is now… a rental house in Lakewood, career-path bike shop employment, and a lifetime of mountains to explore by bike. I feel like myself for the first time in a really long time.

Breck Epic

When I started Breck Epic Stage #1 with 4 other singlespeed women, I really had no idea how the week wold turn out. My experiences there the previous two years have been that everyone rides kinda hard and the race ends up unfolding on its own with generous time gaps between the participants. This year turned out to be very different.

On day one, Sara Sheets and I rode to the first singletrack together. However, after the first climb/descent, she disappeared in to traffic going up the next climb. I figured it wasn’t worth chasing my ass off on the first day, so I just kept it steady and finished 4 minutes, 27 seconds behind her. That’s nothing in stage racing. I was stoked.

What followed after that was the hardest 4 days of riding either of us could possibly imagine. I rode downhill with reckless disregard for personal safety because I knew I could out-descend her and make her chase. However, by the last descent of stage 3, she reduced my downhill advantage to an easily surmountable gap. We traded uphill blows as well, both riding and hike-a-biking. We’d periodically battle from the time we cleared starting-climb traffic until we would get to the final descent of each stage, absolutely exhausted, and she’d let me roll ahead of her and finish a few seconds ahead. According to the power numbers, we raced each day a little harder than the previous. It was sort of nuts.

You can hear the daily reports (and some early-week interviews with other racers) on the JRA Mountain Bike Radio Page: http://www.mountainbikeradio.com/just-riding-along/breck-epic-2015/

We finally relented for Stage 6 and rode at a friendly pace for the shorter/easier final stage. It was a relief to cross the finish line. I think we both couldn’t quite believe what we’d just been through…

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I had a lot of people ask about my bike setup for the race. Steve Domahidy of Domahidy Designs was nice enough to let me use one of his Ti Hardtail frames. I put a Pike on it (the one off my new Pivot 429sl) along with Industry Nine Pillar Ultralite Carbon wheels, a Quarq powermeter, Endless 22t Kickass cog, a dropper post, Ergon grips and SMC3 Saddle, and some beefy-ish Maxxis tires. I took that bike through Hell and back, and everything was incredibly solid (and comfortable as well).

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I also want to send my appreciation out to some other sponsors who helped me through the week in one way or another…

Gu Energy Labs (Daily, I consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 scoops of Roctane Drink, 3 scoops of Gu Electrolyte Brew, 7 Roctane Gels, and a bottle of Recovery Brew)
92Fifty Cyclery
Elevated Legs (every day for at least an hour!)
Smith Optics

There were also some great photographers on course, and I’ve been sharing a daily pic or two on my Facebook page.
Devon Balet
Eddie Clark (responsible for the great stage 6 finish photo above)
Micheal Kane (took the other nice shot of me riding)
Liam Doran

Mike McCormack and his army of staff & volunteers put on an amazing event.

Ready to Rock

I think it’s been one of the busiest recovery weeks I can remember. That last Winter Park race was rough- and rightfully so. I basically was lumping race days in with more long training days, recovering during the middle of the week, then repeating the cycle over and over. Each time, the block of training days felt a little harder until finally, right on schedule, I went to race the last XC race, and my body was like, “DUDE, WTF???!?”

So, I took a few days off, and I’ve been riding on a more “normal” schedule since then. I even went for a nice hike on Fairburn Mountain, which is just across the street from my neighborhood. I could hang around in the aspen tunnel all day…

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I also found this in the middle of the woods. No trail, no other sign that people had even been there for a long time-

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Last week, Jessica and John from Texas came through while she was on a big road trip. I showed Jessica my favorite trail in Golden Gate Canyon- the Mountain Lion trail. It’s one of my top 5 favorite descents, ever. There aren’t many people I’d take straight to that trail, because it’s got some rocks, roots, and plenty of places where you can hit your front brake and see those things up close. However, Jess excels at rocks, so I knew she’d be game.

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The next day, we went to Rollinsville Pass. I wanted to show them the train trestle on the Winter Park side, but a storm cloud began gathering and growing as we neared the top. So, in order to avoid the lightning and hail I’d encountered before, we turned back at the Needle’s Eye tunnel.

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Monday, Kenny from Memphis also made a road-trip stop-through. Matt and I rode with him at White Ranch. My legs finally felt like they’ve turned a corner and started to feel really good. I pushed the pace a little on a climb, but kept the ride short and sweet after that. Kenny and Matt went on to ride some more, and I went home to eat and recover in the Elevated Legs.

Side Note- There will be an Elevated Legs squeezing station at Breck Epic. It will cost a little money, but considering how much you’ve invested already if you’re doing the race, it’s chump change. I will be nearly living in my set of Legs when I’m not racing because they really work to get rid of that heavy, dead, post-race feeling. You should check them out for sure.

It’s definitely a tough to balance between recovery and visitors, but I seem to have come through it successfully. It’s a good thing, too, because the ladies’ singlespeed division at Breck Epic is small but strong. I’m full of beet juice and awesome right now, though. I’m also going to be racing this totally kickass bike-

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After the Steve Domahidy episode of JRA (one of the best ever, BTW), I hustled my way in to him letting me borrow one of his Domahidy Designs titanium frames. I put my Pike on it along with all my singlespeed parts, and it rides great. It makes me even more excited for next week.