Month five of 2015 down. Most time duration and elevation gain in a month, so I continue to build on stuff, even though Wyoming got confused and had some Seattle-like weather for most of the month. While I debated building an ark for the impending flooding and doom, the month ended with some hot, sunny weather.
May was a busy month jammed packed with a lot of things…
- Started off with my team’s charity event, Ride for Reading, where we donated and delivered a couple thousand books to an elementary school in Denver
- Afterwards my fabulous teammate, Brittany, and I headed up Mt. Falcon. Reminded me a lot of east coast rocks, with lots of chunk terrain… anytime I can be reminded of PA while riding I get happy… however, Brittany’s definition of “the climbing is over!” needs worked on! 😛 We did some 2000+ feet of climbing in 9 miles. The fun started when a thunderstorm rolled through and we had to bomb the descent in the pounding rain and hail. The lower part of the trail turned into a slip and slide, and I slide out and ended up covered in mud. Fun times!
- First weekend in May included Koppenberg, where I was the first up the Koppenberg climb, and placed 5th overall. I followed up with a 7th place finish at the Wheels of Thunder crit the following weekend in the cold rain.
- The weekend of May 16th & 17th I spent it down in Denver with my teammate Wendy. On the 16th we did the VIDA MTB Clinic at Valmont Bike Clinic. I wanted to do a clinic to gain more confidence on flying two wheels off the ground, off drops. I didn’t do a whole write up on the clinic for the blog as I came away mostly disappointed because I was matched with a coach who had a personality that clearly didn’t mesh with mine, along with riding style and thoughts and opinions on cross country mountain biking that were polar opposites of my thoughts and opinions. After a morning of struggling with a slammed seat and feeling completely disoriented on my bike, I put my seat back to my PROPER height, and was nailing table top jumps at the dirt jump park. I went with Wendy to her afternoon group, which was working on basic technical skills. I found a couple of rock drops at Valmont that I was soon flying off of. The coach of Wendy’s group, though a downhiller, was amazing and said my technique was great, and I ended up going off the medium slopestyle jump confidently! Now just gotta translate that to the drop on Stone Temple Circuit at Gowdy. I did have a very scary and nasty fall off of a rock feature that knocked the wind out of myself when I took my seat to the stomach with all my body weight, but I got back up and rode the rocks.
- The 17th was the Superior Morgul Bismarck Road Race. This is the course that was part of the Coors Classic (and is seen in American Flyers. Cue cheesy 80s music). It’s tough with a decent amount of climbing and included 3 trips up the “Wall.” Another girl and I were first up the Wall, but I hung back and regrouped as I knew it wouldn’t be smart to go solo in the wind. I nearly dropped off the back of the pack coming into the Wall the final time (the finish was at the top), but caught, and ended up placing 5th as I opened a gap on the climb! Woohoo! It was so painful… not sure I’ve ever really felt like I was going backwards pedaling as hard as I could in the granny gear before. Definitely a surprise, as I wasn’t sure how I’d do in a road race that didn’t involve any dirt sections.
- New Belgium Brewing Short Track started in Fort Collins! Oh man I love these races, and they served a purpose as my VO2 max workouts for the week. First week I had a good gap in 1st place, and had a very hard over the bar crash as a lapped rider swerved into me. Seriously one of the hardest crashes I’ve ever had, and it was on flat ground, funny! I ended up in 2nd by a few inches, but it was still a good race! The following race (damn rain kept interfering and two dates got canceled) I placed 2nd to my super awesome pro friend Suzie. It was fun racing super hard again, and on my Fate. I think I still prefer a hardtail over full suspension! As bonus fun I got to ride Suzie’s Trek Superfly single speed, which I had been eying since last year due to the black/purple color scheme. I took a lap of the course, and found single speed to definitely be interesting, but awesome as there’s no shifting to think about! So I’ve decided to purchase the same bike 😀
- Following weekend I traveled to Crested Butte and Gunnison for the Half Growler. Whew, what a crazy race, but I stayed smiling! The Sunday after the race I went back to Gunnison and watched Wendy race the Meowler (32 mile MTB, 9.5 mile trail run duathlon), ate some lunch, and then headed back. I willed myself onto the bike and rode Upper, Upper Upper, Whetstone Vista, and Tony’s trails… WOW! What an AMAZING ride! The weather played nice with a break in the rain/snow, and the trails were natural and chunky and rooty. I was transferred back to my east coast rocks happy place (side note… who knew my happy place would be the rocks of Pennsylvania?!). My legs were tired so I took the climbs easy, but I couldn’t get enough of the terrain. I only turned back when daylight started to run out and because my cell phone died. I had planned to ride again on those trails in the morning on Memorial Day, but was greeted with a few inches of snow and a pretty bad headache so I headed home. But I am definitely returning to Crested Butte!
- The rain slowly began to break as the month wound down. Maybe summer was coming after all? I ended May with the Gowdy Grinder. I’m still at a loss at how to process what was an incredibly disappointing race for me as I went from 1st to 6th in a matter of 10 minutes in advanced women. Part me just cracking, part not being use to racing in heat (anything over 70 and my body hates me), part rear tire that hates keeping air in itself, part my technical skills not showing up, part possibly too hard of a pre ride the day before, and part a lot of pressure on myself to continue the podiuming streak at this race. Luckily my parents were there at the finish line for hugs as I couldn’t help but to shed some tears at the immense disappointment. I realized I should’ve trusted my skills and stayed in open women, which is what I originally registered for, as Mo Rocka and Albert’s Alley are definitely easier to handle without the brutal short lap of Stone Temple beforehand, and I shouldn’t have worried about the “real” pros in that category… I honestly think looking back I would’ve had a better race experience in open, which is the opposite of what I was thinking when I went to advanced. I just can’t win… need to trust that initial instinct. It’s really left me evaluating a lot about racing this year and training and why I do what I do. We’ll see…
Training did kinda get messed up due to the weird weather, but seemed to have worked out OK. Trails are finally drying out so I look forward to some long mountain bike miles at Happy Jack for some endurance, and hopefully long after work rides on the road – though now it’s thunderstorm season! I’m looking forward to getting the single speed and opening up another avenue to experiment with and hopefully sharpen some of my mountain biking skills at the same time. Time to just keeping moving forward…