Race Report

Race Report: 2021 Dead Swede Hundo

AKA one of the hardest days on a bike ever for me.

I had registered for the 60 mile again this year, but after CO2UT went well, I decide to ask to go up to the 100. Communication was a bit… nonexistent, but I got the ok a few days before packet pick up from the promoters. Still with no confirmation that it was actually real, it was not until I picked up my packet if I knew I was a sure go for the 100. I was, and suddenly there was no turning back! My reasoning went two ways: it was going to be a hard day regardless – the 60 was stacked with fast women which meant I’d have to hammer for 3.5 hours, and the 100 is just hard.

I’ve done the 40, won the 60, I guess time to survive the 100?

It was setting up to be a hot one (in the 90s), and if there is one thing that is my kryptonite, it is heat. With fifteen women registered I set a goal for top 10, and decided I’d be super excited if I pull off a top 5, as it was not just about heat… the course has nearly 10,000 feet of climbing.

CaC

The first stretch of pavement miles were okay and chill, but I popped off the lead group on the second gravel hill after I saw 400 watts and realized I could not sustained. Mile 9 and I was already disheartened and not having a good day. I kind of kicked myself for not riding my own race and trying to stay with that group, but alas there was nothing I could do at that moment. Suddenly I heard “There’s my friend Heidi!” and Emil rode up with a few of his teammates so I was able to ride the “Feedback Train” until Red Grade, which was good company.

Oh Red Grade… the stupid hill/mountain/death march you are. Steep paved grind, even steeper gravel BS until the singletrack trails which are suppose to be a reprieve, but aside from shade I think I said a cuss word at every switchback. Then it was time for more stupid gravel BS, culminating at a point I was walking my bike with about ten others as my silly carbon soled “gravel” shoes rubbed blisters in my heels.

So… why do I do this?

Red Grade brings out a lot of chances to think over your life choices. It was a pensive day for me.

Once you’re to the “top,” it really doesn’t stop with continuous up and down terrain. My baby gear and I made best friends. I drank, I ate, I yelled cuss words. The only good thing is it was clouded and the elevation made temps a bit cooler.

Then the descents started, and I learned I was probably beyond the capabilities of my brakes a good chunk of the time on the eroded, rutted, sandy forest road downhills of death. I caught my friend Leeann and rode out of the sketchiest line ever that made my body do one huge pucker as she shouted something about this being “my thing” (well, I am a mountain biker, but I do prefer 100mm of front travel and brakes that aren’t road style levers with big rotors normally). My hands would seize up and I’d take a quick moment every so often to shake out one hand, hoping those few seconds wouldn’t cause me to lose control. It was never ending. Throw in a Land Rover Defender climbing one of the narrow two tracks, and it just spelled a fun adventure!

But soon I knew I’d be off the damn mountain I was on when I saw the knee deep creek crossing, where I took the chance to pop my feet out of my shoes for a quick massage before hiking my bike up a sandbox of a hill. So again, why I am doing this?!

Then it was time for one of scariest descents of my life thanks to road conditions and dirt bikers/ATVs not amused some cyclists were ruining their day. I made it safely and partially reckless to the singletrack descent, where I learned my gravel bike cannot corner like my mountain bike on downhill switchbacks and landed 6th on the Strava leaderboard (yes, I am crazy…). Time to finish bombing off Red Grade, which can kiss my butt. I never want to see that road ever again in my life. Not even in my Fozzy.

I stopped at the aid station in Big Horn as by now I was nearly 5 hours in and had drained my camelback. Unfortunately the aid station volunteer didn’t really like fill it up at all, but it is what it is, and I took off to ride solo the rest of the day on the course I’ve raced a few times over. Except I wouldn’t call what I was doing this day a race.

Soon the foot pain increased, and on three separate occasions I cried while pedaling because my feet hurt so bad. I ended up loosening my shoes all the way up and pedaled like that for ten miles or so (can’t say it really helped). By now it was solidly in the 90s and the last 46 miles of the course would be in full Wyoming sunshine. Oh, and no wind because hey, we didn’t need wind in Wyoming on this day…

I stopped again in Dayton at the aid station for a cup of cold water and a few baggies of fruit snacks and another handful of Endurolytes, and explained how cycling shoes worked to the volunteer and tried to push the pain out of my mind. The stretch from Dayton to the “bacon station” is always the worse part of the course, and as I was catching 40/60 milers, I could tell a lot of people were in a bad way in the heat – waiting for rides, getting picked up, calling people, just walking. I debated jumping into an irrigation ditch or the river when I’d see it, but I also really wanted to get this damn race over with. When I hit the 6 hour mark (whenever that was, probably way before Dayton) I got really annoyed as CO2UT was barely over 6 hours total with 3 extra miles (and half the climbing, ha).

I stopped again, this time at the Bacon Station for another cup of cold water before enjoying the descent and final ten miles. “Enjoying” being a loose term. I tried to do some math on if I could beat 8 hours, but math has never been my strong thing. I ignored the goose bumps on my legs, and the wonky feeling in my stomach and just tried to pedal as hard as I could at 120 watts. Total wattage cottage happening this day…

Finally there was the final climb, which does seem easy after Red Grade. I can’t believe I thought it was so bad the year I did the 40 mile course. It is cake! Down the pavement, through the neighborhoods, avoiding getting T-boned by a horse (so many horses on the bike path…), down the hill to the finish, where of course a woman tried to walk out in front of me… and in typical Heidi fashion, on a day where I pretty much stayed in my granny gear, I sprinted…

96.7 miles, 9668 feet of climbing, 7 hours 51 minutes. 5th place overall women (3rd in 30-39… but there were no age groups this year).

I immediately started crying and yanked the Shimano gravel shoes off my feet and threw them down before I was out of the little finishing corral. Then I laid down and cried some more.

Never. Again. Never.

I’m proud I finished the 100. Two years ago in 2019 when I did the 40 I would’ve never imagined doing the 100. It’s a freaking hard race, and the heat only made things about 500000 times worse. Twenty degrees cooler and I would’ve had a much different race I think (may I point out Sunday’s high was projected to be 79……… *!?/swear words). But it is one for sure I am completely okay with calling “one and done.” Been there, done that. I can think of better ways to earn drinking ale from curved horns in the halls of Valhalla than a Viking themed 100 mile gravel race.

Two more weeks and I get to play in the 90 degree heat again at Robidoux Quick & Dirty. Here’s to hoping that is a much faster day (I’ll revel in the fact it has half of the climbing!)

Random facts & numbers:

  • 7 SIS gels, 1 Uncrustable, 2 child size packets of gummy fruit snacks
  • 24oz bottle of orange Tailwind Endurance Fuel
  • 12oz Nunn sport mix
  • 8 Endurolyte tablets
  • 12oz of Gatorade
  • 1 blistered heel
  • 1 empty Cameback way too soon after it was refilled
  • Countless moo-cows
  • 1 massive polo ranch
  • Lots of beautiful mountains
  • 12.5mph average speed
  • 1 girl riding a horse while standing on its saddle at the finish line (confirmed it was not a hallucination)
  • 1 shout out to Nick, who asked “Are you THE Heidi, as in heidiridesbikes?” and asked to take a photo with me!
Race Report

Race Report: 2021 Desert Gravel CO2UT

They say the third time is a charm, and indeed CO2UT happened on the third race date it was scheduled for. In full disclosure, I registered for the race because it had a dinosaur theme, and I’m a six year old at heart and dinosaurs are one of the best things ever – AND – it was an excuse to get back to the desert after three too many years away. I decided to bite the bullet and register for the “Triceratops” course, which was 100 miles. When I registered for this in the spring of 2020 I had yet to even race a 60 mile gravel race, let alone 100, but the triceratops is Wyoming’s state dinosaur so it only seemed logical.

The problem with first year races is I can’t look at finishing times, so I had a year to fret about what racing 100 miles in the desert would seem like (or just racing 100 miles in general). Luckily Morgan, the race director, gave some helpful information that he expected the average pace for the 100’s to be 12mph, so I could plan nutrition. But other than that I was kind of in the dark, which was tough. I did 103 miles with a few friends earlier in the spring on the road bike and was feeling feisty and powerful til the end, but the ride also involved pie, green chili fries, soup, and tacos – none of which were available at CO2UT.

16 gels in my bag, 1.5L of water in the Camelback, and bike all lubed and ready… and it was race morning on May 22nd. I awoke in the strangest mindset. I mean, it was BIZARRE. So normally my method of speaking about racing is I have to race XXX miles this weekend, ugh. Which is silly, I don’t HAVE to do anything bicycle related – racing bikes is not my job, and honestly it is quite the first world privilege to be able to just take off of work and go tootle around the desert for a few hours for no other reason than I paid money to. So, strangely enough, I awoke to the though of YAY, I get to ride my bike for 100 miles today!! Okay Heidi, what did you do with Heidi?

My friend and training buddy, Tom, offered to drive me down to the race start since he was injured and unable to race. While waiting for my start time, my friend and teammate, Sarah, rode by, who was already suppose to be racing. She had some mechanicals, so luckily they said she could start with the 100 mile racers (she was in the 75 mile race… yes, CO2UT starts the 75’s before the 100’s). We lined up and soon we were off on 7 miles of neutral pavement. Racing would start when we hit the gravel on 18 Road (and end there, too… no racing on pavement aside from one half mile stretch or so at miles 20 and 70). It was nice to have Sarah in the pack as I trust her wheel and I could nervously chat away race nerves.

Sarah and I did our work to get into the front-ish group, avoiding the chaos of ejecting water bottles as we hit the rough gravel on 18 Road. Sarah dropped off my pace after a few miles, and I found myself strangely feeling good and strangely still in my “omg, can you believe I GET to do this today?!” mindset. I didn’t have much strategy to this race except just survive and to eat an SIS gel every 30 minutes after the 1 hour mark. So I decided to go and just see what I could do as I knew was at least ten 10 among the women at that point.

So pedal pedal pedal I did. I blew through the first aid at mile 20-ish, and swore through a few miles of rutted cow pasture (which I did love how a racer I passed said “No, these are dinosaur tracks!” which was just an awesome statement to make). I had been steadily catching and passing 75 mile racers, which gave some motivation, but at the same time made it tough as number plates didn’t exactly dictate distance category and now I was in full on racer mode wanting to do the absolutely best that I could.

Aid 2 came and went and I could tell I was good on water (1.5L Camelback plus 1 bottle of 200 calories of Tailwind and 1 bottle of SIS electrolyte tabs is what I ran). The 100 milers split from the 75 milers at this point, and course traffic whittled down as we headed towards the Utah border. I decided this was a good place to eat an Uncrustable to boost the caloric intake, and I got the pleasure of taking a few miles to finally get the thing swallowed while chasing down riders in front of me. Exactly on the Utah-Colorado border I had to stop for a nature break and also to reapply some chamois butter. I was happy the only two racers that passed during this were men, so I wasn’t losing positions.

Flying down the Utah border was fun, although there was a stiff headwind. We rejoined with the 125 milers, so once again course traffic got all mangled up. I ended up quite alone on the section working back to Aid 3 (which is Aid 2 also – my course was a lollipop). I was still feeling good, luckily. At Aid 3 I decided to continue on, and latched onto a few racers that I’d go back and forth with for the next ten miles or so.

Then about at mile 65 or so I hit the tough times. The race was flying by, but eventually things get tough regardless how fast or long the race is. Naturally this was around the same time as the second go ’round with the cow pasture, which rattled my forearm muscles so much it was painful (I was very envious of the guy I had been riding with who had a MTB fork… he dropped me on this section, duh). Aid 4 (same as Aid 1) came and I knew I was good on fluids so I pushed on up the climb I started regretting the minute I flew down in a few hours prior. I rode in a group of a guy and a girl in the 100, which was good company as he played music and we discussed random things as we huffed and puffed up the climb in the full sun.

Then it was time for a very high speed section of double track, and time for me to get a little scared of descending on a gravel bike (I don’t trust desert sand and dust!). My friend Emil, who was in the 125 mile race, flew by me in a pack with an exclamation of “That’s my friend, Heidi!” and that perked me up to watch his double track descending wizardry. By then I had dropped my climbing pals, and since I knew that girl was in my race I got rejuvenated to finish out strongly.

Up and down, up and down some more… soon the trailheads of 18 Road were in sight and I knew exactly what was left – a few miles of high speed descending to the finish line. Of course, there had to be like 30mph winds thrown in, but I’m a Wyoming gal after all and if there’s one thing I can do, it is grit through a stiff headwind. I chased down a gal who I caught on the final climb, and we asked each other what distances we were in and the answer was both 100. We had a few seconds of awkward pause and then hammer time. The race is a race is a race to me, and I wasn’t going to chill at this moment. So there went that Heidi with a wattage cottage at mile 89!

91 miles later… 5 hours 32 minutes – bam! All done! Wait, wasn’t it a 100 mile race? Well of course, there was 7 miles of neutral spinning back to the second finish line in the park in Fruita that didn’t count. And… it… was… the… longest… 7… miles… of… my… life… No joke. Torturous. By then, everything was hurting and all the adrenaline was gone. Oh, and my Garmin decided to just stop navigating so when I got to the park, I was on the wrong side of the finish line so had to go around the block.

Officially 99 miles later, announcer Larry welcomed me across the finish line and I was handed my dinosaur finisher medal! Woohoo!! 6 hours 26 minutes total according to my Garmin (which included a few minutes of standing around at the start). Next order of business was yanking off the carbon soled shoes and apologizing to my feet. And taking a selfie. Sarah and Tom wandered over from Hot Tomato with a cup of ice water for me as I tried to figure out where results were posted.

4th place overall woman.

!!!

Top 40-ish overall of everyone- men and women.

!!!

Time for a selfie!

Shoot, gotta stay for the podium now! Which I failed to clean off my dirt unibrow for, so I was looking like a delicious hot mess. I thought I got 2nd in 30-39, but since the other girl was top 3 overall, I was awarded the win among the 30-39 age group (it might’ve been my first every race podium where I didn’t realize I won, and tried to argue that I didn’t).

CO2UT 30-39 Women Triceratops podium

So… hmm… this was all very very very unexpected. I was just hoping to have a good day, survive, keep the bike in one piece, and my stomach fed. I didn’t think I’d be racing the course. I also didn’t think I’d have a bizarrely positive mindset about the whole thing. Honestly, I never even really got mentally low during the race, more of just a “if I have to ride over a another freaking cow hoof print I’m going to kill them all for steak” moment. I will say, CO2UT is a fast course, and I do worry what will happen when I end up in a 100 mile gravel race that is more in that 7-8 hour category. Six hours is nothing on a bike for me really… 7 or 8 hours pushes it into more unknown territory. But it is a promising start to my gravel events in 2021! And I think I’ll definitely be back to give the “Utahraptor” (125 miles) course a go! (Seriously, where did Heidi go?! This isn’t Heidi talking… 125 miles?!)

Race in numbers and random facts…

  • Pactimo summit raptor bibs keep the bum bum happy!
  • SIS gels (mix of regular and electrolyte formulas) every 30 minutes starting at the 1 hour mark. I replaced the gel at 2.5 hours with an Uncrustable
  • 1.5L of water in the Camelback (not completely drained, maybe 0.25L left), and drank 12 ounce of Tailwind, 12 ounce of SIS electrolyte tab solution stuff
  • 1 little packet of Chamois Buttr on the Utah line
  • 1 OrNot handlebar bag holding all the snacks
  • 15.7mph average speed
Race Report

It’s only been a few years… 2021 Fangdango Race Report

XCO racing, what’s that?

Well, it’s something I haven’t done since July 2019.

Eep.

Alas, here I was, a ball of nerves fretting about racing Fangdango. With MTB Nationals in Winter Park again, I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t qualify to race them, regardless of my feelings of them flouting current CDC testing guidelines for those fully vaccinated (that’s a whole ‘other rabbit hole that probably only annoys me because I work in public health and am all too familiar with best practices and recommendations… see, there’s that rabbit hole!). XCO races, let alone USAC sanctioned ones, have become incredible rare in Colorado, so Fangdango was my only feasible option.

I raced Fangdango in 2019 and had a horrid race where I came in last in Cat 1/Pro by… a long gap. I had cat 2 & 3’s catch me type of gap – it was bad. I find it to be pure a fitness course, and to this day I hide lack of fitness with skills when it comes to mountain biking (and cyclocross). So I was really nervous coming into the 2021 edition. I had only gotten back on my mountain bike for the first time since November the previous weekend, and I felt slightly rusty and I could tell my lack of strength training this year when it came to technical uphill climbing. So, for the first time probably since an LMBS race, I was a ball of nerves the day before and leading up to the race. I’ve been so caught up trying to get the endurance for long gravel events that I forgot what XCO felt like, except for just knowing it was going to be painful AF.

2021 is bringing out the big race fields, and Fangdango was no exception, with 16 women starting in the Cat 1/Pro/SS wave (with another 16 cat 2’s behind us, and then the cat 3’s). This was my biggest MTB race start group ever for my category (I mean, obviously I’ve been in mass starts with like 400, but not what I mean), and naturally I apparently forgot how to start a MTB race and flubbed my clip in at the start and was kinda like “oh, we’re going now, okay, eek, pedal!”

Nevertheless, I was able to work myself up into the lead group through the start loop and out for the first of three laps. I was a bit shocked to find myself there – I was REALLY good at underestimating myself for this race, apparently. I soon enough found myself making some passes and holding position. I remember just kinda thinking “huh, cool” and going with it. It freaking hurt, my lungs burned and the familiar taste of blood in my lungs returned, but I also was enjoying racing my mountain bike super hard like I did in “the before times.” I did pretty well until halfway through the second lap when it was like my body went into some sort of weird limp mode. It felt like I couldn’t get my heart rate up and my breathing was really calm. I didn’t exactly see this reflected in my heart rate data when I reviewed it post race, but I know it was real. Maybe it was mental, I don’t know. I honestly might think it was the adrenaline wearing off to be truthful.

Starting my third lap I knew I had two gals chasing me from behind and I just tried to keep on the pedals to stay ahead of them. Sadly in the final minutes of the race on what is really the last big descent, my rustiness in XCO racing came out in full force and I flubbed a downhill into kicker feature, and ended up at a dead stop in my hardest gear, unable to pedal with my calf cramping. If I was thinking, I shouldn’t just dropped it to the baby ring (long live the front derailleur!) but I panicked as one gal caught and passed me and I didn’t think clearly. Next up was the slog into a 26mph headwind up a sandy climb, and the second chaser passed me. By then I was just toast and pedaled it out to the finish and let them ride off into the sunset.

Whew, done and dusted in 1 hour 26 minutes flat. I knew I finished in the top half, which was a relief to me. Finally I tracked down some results, and saw that they actually did break everyone into age groups, and alas, I was leading the 30-39 until that windy sandy climb of doom when Megan got around me. Rats! But nonetheless, I was excited to finish 2nd, with a solid gap to 3rd and 4th. Overall, I finished 6 out of 12 cat 1’s, and was ahead of one of the pros as well. Much much much different than 2019’s saga!

I won ESI Grips, which was super exciting since I use them! Thank you, Rattler Racing, for NOT giving us pint glasses for podium prizes, haha! Also, Terra has a super cute baby!!!

Soooo… I think I’m going to race nationals now 🙂 Which will be my next XCO race… Eep!

Also, damn I miss XCO racing. It’s what got me into competitive cycling, and dammit, I MISS IT. Sadly, with the Laramie MTB Series dead (dramatically cries), there’s just not a lot it to do in my area (hence the whole nationals being the next opportunity for short distance racing). But in general I miss mountain bike racing, including the marathon/endurance distances so maybe in 2022 I’ll swing back that way. I filled 2021 with so much long gravel nonsense it is hard to squeeze anything else in. Woes of being a cyclist that dabbles in all the things, eh?

Much love to my team, Square1 Racing! My teammates Sarah and Mary also raced, with Mary getting 2nd in cat 3! Maxxis Tires kept me rubber side down (yes, even that mostly worn out rear Aspen did perfect on the course… and, I’ll change it out soon, I swear… maybe like end of June, LOL). Tailwind kept me fueled (at least with the two sips I managed to take). And it was super fun hearing cheers along the course from the “Laramie Fast Kid Club” as I’m dubbing them (Isa and Tristian and company!)!!!!

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Will I jinx 2021 if I talk about my plans?

It’s a legit question…

I am excited to announce my sponsors for 2021:

I am continuing with my team Square1 Cycling. I am also continuing to work with Tailwind Nutrition, returning to the Trailblazer team in 2021 and continuing our partnership into its sixth year! Also back is Maxxis Tires, who also supported me in 2019 for mountain biking.

So racing? Eek, I hope it can all happen! Promoters were able to show their ability to safely host some events in 2020, so I’m building off that momentum. On tap for me are mostly a LOT of 100 mile gravel events, a few shorter gravel events, a few XCO mountain bike events (still unsure if I’ll race nationals in Winter Park), and of course a full cyclocross season.

Whatttt???

I know, who thought this “90 minute, max effort” racer would be tackling 100 mile gravel races. But here I am. We’ll see how crazy the plan ends up being.

I am currently registered for CO2UT (a postponement since 2020), Robidoux Quick & Dirty, FoCo Fondo, and the 307 Gravel Series. For full plans, you can see my 2021 plans under the Results & Rides tab.

On the bright side, I’ve been putting in the work and am currently enjoying my first recovery/regeneration week of the training plan!

Race Report

I got to race bikes this year, and that’s pretty awesome

Let’s see where I left off…

After the Dead Swede’s award ceremony I began the four hour drive home to Cheyenne. Ideally I would’ve spent the night, but I had a cross race the next day that I was determined not to miss. I got home, swapped out some things in my gear bag, and drove the two hours to CycloX Parker the next morning. I didn’t have high hopes as my legs were trashed both from racing the Dead Swede and all the long hours in the car. I started slow, letting my legs come around, and finally made the pass to put me into the lead. Victory #2!

CycloX Parker – Photo by Brent Murphy Photography
Podium ceremonies made a return

Next up was CycloX Interlocken, which is one of my favorite venues. It is HARD, probably one of the hardest courses out there we have for singlespeed. I’ve had a few close calls to winning, but I’ve never managed to pull it off. Aside from one bobble trying to ride something on the first lap, I rode smoothly to my third win of the season. The beat went on…

Carnage Corner at CycloX Interlocken – Photo by Shawn Curry
I finally got my Interlocken win!
I started getting superstitious about my socks… third win, third time with those socks

My friend Julie and I signed up for Schoolyard Cross, and I figured I’d try my hand in the open field since I received my cat 2 upgrade!! (Yes, who knew I was earning upgrade points this whole time?!) I got my geared bike ready, and wouldn’t you know, Cheyenne received a record snowfall of 14 inches. At 5am Julie and I made the call that our lives were not worth risking during the drive down to Castle Rock, and I went back to bed. Turns out conditoins were cold and miserable at the race, and it was way too sketchy of a storm to be driving in anyway. Shoot. I mostly sad for Julie, as it would’ve been her first cyclcoross race and I haven’t been able to share the love of cross with too many newbies before so I was super excited for her.

Halloween marked the next race, and a new venue at CycloX Broomfield. By now the COVID situation was heating up a bit more and I had a gut feeling it might be the last race. This race was practically a women’s UCI event, and the open field filled so Sunny Gilbert jumped into singlespeed. Everyone made a point of telling me “you won’t win this one” which I couldn’t tell how to take. Eitehr way, I did NOT start smart, chasing Sunny and plastering myself to her rear wheel for about half a lap until my body (mostly lungs) reminded me I’m not an elite pro in cross. I’d end up third on the day, not shabby considering the strong field. Even better, Katie Compton never lapped me. And that, is a victory!

CycloX Broomfield – Photo by Brent Murphy Photography
I didn’t wear the lucky socks…

Lance and the Without Limits team came through with one last race before Colorado shut down again, securing the venue in Parker in mid-November for CycloX Parker 2.0. Another strong field lined up again, and so did a snow squall minutes before our race start. Crazy strong winds (you know it’s windy when the Wyoming person says it’s windy) and snow pelted us as we took off. Tracy and I swapped positions a few times before she bobbled on a corner and I made my pass stick. Tracy is crazy strong, and being chased by her is HARD. I took to riding the technical course smoothly and not freaking out too much that the moistened baby-powder-dirt was clogging my pedals (everyone was having this problem). Final race of 2020, and another win!

CycloX Parker 2.0 – Photo by Brent Murphy Photography
No lucky socks, but it worked out for me! No podium ceremony this race, so we did our own

I suppose I really can’t complain of a race season that consisted of:

  • 1 win, 1 2nd in mountain bike
  • 2 wins in 2 gravel races
  • 4 wins, 1 3rd in cross and the CycloX Series win overall in singlespeed

My cross season felt like a dream. I was really worried going into the season that I didn’t properly prepare as I was trying to have long endurance type of fitness for the two overlapping gravel events. I really didn’t do much high intensity intervals and I never did any running work this year. But I think what I did paid off. I can do 30 second, 1 minute intervals all day long, but my endurance always lacked. My gravel racing prep gave me crazy consistency over the course of my cross races – some races my lap times only varied by a handful of seconds!! Considering years ago when my later laps would be minutes slower than my first, this is a huge step in the right direction! I also hiked a lot this summer, including one week at the end of August where I put in about 50 miles of walking and hiking. I noticed the improvement with my hill run ups and barrier work, my body didn’t have that same “OMG WHAT ARE WE DOING OFF THE BIKE?!” panic. So… the lack of cross specific structured training didn’t hurt me. And of course, every year I see the improvement in my handling and technical abilities even though I’ve always felt to be a good technical rider (I saw this on the mountain bike, too).

2020 was good to me on the bicycle. Sure, racing was reduced, but I managed to keep focused. I went from thinking 60 miles rides were scary to doing several 65+ mile rides on gravel every month. I rebuilt all my fitness, and then kept going. I surpassed my annual mileage record and still have a little less than a month to go. I learned that I can do things that I thought weren’t in my wheelhouse, like longer gravel events. I finally realized doing something other than the bike can help big time, like hiking.

So 2021… well, it’s the race season that’s more up in the air than 2020 was. It’s hard to register for events knowing that the situation is still ever changing. I did begin my training plan, using FasCat (who I’ve used in the past for cross), and tested (crappily) to my highest “beginning the training season” FTP ever. CO2UT, a gravel race in Fruita, was moved from the fall to April, and I’m entered in the 100 mile race. Pretty scary stuff – as it’s the inaugural race so there’s no previous finish times to look at to help with planning… is it a 6 hour 100, or a 12 hour 100? Eeek! I also registered for the 100 mile course for Robidoux Quick & Dirty in June. Tentatively planned are – if they happen – CSU road race, Louisville Crit, Boulder Roubaix, 307 Gravel Series (aside from the one that is the day before Robidoux, ugh), Laramie MTB Series, Laramie Range Epic, Dead Swede, maybe USAC MTB Nationals, and of course a full cross season. We shall see…

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Race Report: The Dead Swede 2020

The final climb of The Dead Swede (Photo by Powder River Photography)

2020 has been a struggle when it comes to racing. Races either cancelled, or moved their date. The Dead Swede was one of these – from an original June date to beginning of October. Like in 2019, I targeted this race as one of my “A” races when planning my season, along with Bear Bait 8 and the Laramie Range Epic. Bear Bait 8 happened but I was the only one in my field, the Epic went virtual, so that left me with lots of fire for The Dead Swede.

Last year I raced the 40 mile course and loved it, but bumped up to the brand new 60 mile option for this year. When I registered I had barely begun to get 60 mile rides under my belt, so I was nervous about how it would go, but thankfully after a spring and summer of lots of 60-70 mile rides, I felt confident with racing the distance, especially after Robidoux Quick N Dirty.

Some of the 2019 crew returned – Eric and Mike! Brian was new to the crazy crew. Sadly we couldn’t get our sweet Air BnB from last year, but were able to at least catch up over dinner before heading to all our hotels.

It was a chilly 40 or so degrees on race morning, as we all stood around debating clothing choices. I glanced at other women I saw, trying to size up my competition. I really had no idea what to expect, much like at Robidoux. The Dead Swede did see a big drop off in participants when they moved the date, but there were still about 90 starting the 60 mile race (the 40 mile race had the most participants this year, but still about half of what came out for 2019’s race). Not horribly shabby, considering how 2020 panned out.

Waiting for the start.

8:05am and off we went! A couple rows of recreational riders were at the front, so I quickly made my way through them during the neutral start to get to the front of the pack. My strategy is mostly “get to the front, then you know if you’re passed.” A small peloton formed, but it wasn’t nearly as organized and fast as the previous year’s. Apparently I made an enemy with a 15 year old when he rapidly swerved into my line and I scolded him, so he went on to call me out on Strava, ha! But yeah, I didn’t like the group, lots of weird riding happening. Needless to say, it was a relief when we all turned onto the gravel and could spread out a bunch.

Then, it happened. A ponytail and neon pink jacket passed me and she looked mighty strong on the climbs. I was going to have to work for this one, it seemed, but I was nearly immediately discouraged by how strong she appeared on climbs. Eric kinda laughed at me, and told me not to worry. Gotta love good gravel friends like that!

However, after a few miles it was apparent some of the tactics that were coming into play, and I didn’t like them (aka, sitting in my draft but not willing to return the favor), so I yelled over to Eric that I needed to put down the hammer. It was mile 12 or so… of a 60 mile race. So early with so much tough climbing left, but I had to make a gap. It was rolling downhill into the first aid station in Big Horn at mile 16, so to my advantage and I let my legs do their thing. I breathed a sigh of relief at the gap, but as I turned around on the out and back, it was obvious how small it was not only to 2nd place, but 3rd place. I told Eric once again, “I don’t think I’m winning this thing,” and he rolled his eyes at me.

Out of Big Horn I climbed in a small group with Eric and South Dakota Guy, all of us taking small turns into the wind. I lost my group when I took a few seconds of non-pedaling to yank my bibs back down over my knee warmers (the worse!) and take a gel, but kept the guys in view. The course then turned onto the fantastic Dry Weather Road, which lives up to its name with baby head rocks, ruts, and overall awesomeness. After this fun stretch was over, we joined the 40 mile course where it leaves the pavement, and I was back into familiar territory from last year.

With a headwind from the north-northwest, my times were decently slower than the previous year’s, but I kept pushing on, stealing glimpses behind me when I could (but I realized 2nd place had probably removed her neon pink jacket by now and would be blending in with all the other dark dots behind me). I went back and forth with South Dakota Guy, Eric, and Brian throughout the course, which was nice to have familiar faces. I rode into Dayton with Eric, but he needed water at the aid station so I kept going on, time trialing on the false flat to the second-to-last major climb of the day. A climb in which I was nearly creamed by a semi truck hauling sheep… ugh.

By now there was a nice tailwind, which was much appreciate. I flew past the final aid station, knowing I had about ten miles left, and most of it is downhill and very fast. I was pedaling like mad, when my Garmin gave me the “you’re off course!” beep. I panicked braked and looked around, as there was an intersection. Brian wasn’t far behind me, so I let him catch me and he said his Garmin did the same, but we were in the right direction. By now I was panicking, and knew I lost precious seconds. Pedal pedal pedal. Finally the last climb appeared, which was hellacious last year. Luckily with a tailwind this year, it went quicker and didn’t see all that bad because I knew what to expect, and I took my time smiling at the photographer, unaware I was being chased down with intent…

All smiles on the final climb! (Photo by Powder River Photography)

To the top, and I hit the pavement for the last few smooth miles before the finish. I hammered as much as I could, knowing I had to finish strong (and it’s good I did this!). Finally it was the final steep bike path descent, and the finish line, which I sprinted for with Brian!

YES I DID IT!!!!

1st Place overall women, 6th place overall out of everyone… 3 hours 37 minutes 1 second!

Brian and I were still trying to breathe normally and get out of racing mode when the 2nd place woman crossed the line, only one minute and nine seconds behind me. “Oh wow, that was really close!” I remarked to Brian. It felt really good to work for the win and to have to put a lot of effort into it. Sure, easy wins are nice (I had a 20 minute or so cushion at Robidoux), but there’s something sweeter when it is close and required a lot of work and panic and fear for several hours. Eric rolled in next and told me how much he wanted to call me on the final climb and let me know she was chasing me down. It was close!

Nothing like a finisher’s beer from Black Tooth Brewing!

The Dead Swede 60 mile is a fast race, so I had a comical amount of food and water on me, though I do like to lean towards being over prepared. I had 2 liters of water with 300 calories of lemon Tailwind mixed in, and terrible me, I still haven’t pulled the bladder out of my Chase Vest, and noted how much I drank. Starting one hour in, I took an SIS gel every 30 minutes, which was an amazing tactic I’ve never tried. This really kept me fueled and I was never hungry. SIS gels are also so easy to eat, I just rip them open and smoosh the entire gel into my mouth at once. Because they’re isotonic, I do not have to worry about drinking right after I take one, either. I also had two bottles of plain water on my bike, but I never touched those. I think with the cooler temps, I could’ve gotten by with just bottles on my bike without the camelback, and not needed aid stations, but it was still so nice just to have the water on my back and to not have to worry about stopping, which eats into precious seconds.

No podium this year, so just this goofy photo of myself. I am slightly sad they didn’t give out spears or axes as trophies, but hey, it’s 2020, so understandable.

Second Dead Swede done and dusted, and still one of my favorite events! I did like the October date, as the temperatures stayed cool and the autumn colors made everything pretty. I will definitely be back in 2021, and now the debate is beginning on if I should give the 100 mile course a go….

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2020 CycloX Valmont Race Report

We be cyclocrossing, even in 2020!!

Cross is here! (Photo by Brent Murphy)

One of my biggest flaws when it comes to competitive cycling is giving up before the race even starts. I’ll see a start list, and get all discouraged knowing a podium isn’t possible. Going into the first cyclocross race of 2020, I did just that.

To be fair, we didn’t know there would even be a 2020 season until a few weeks before as Without Limits confirmed a six race series. I was shocked to see that the race at Valmont would happen, but excited I could finally get some racing under way, even if there would be some long gravel races crammed in (including Robidoux Quick N Dirty the day after this race). I still didn’t train for cross specifically, as I figure making sure I had the fitness for 4-5 hour events was much more important.

With some panic training in the week leading up to CycloX Valmont (I’ve decided #panictraining is a legit training tactic now!), I kept checking the registration list. I kept seeing some fast names appearing in the single speed race, and I became more discouraged – to the point I almost considered racing in the cat 3 race instead. But I stuck to it.

Race day came, and it was interesting: no pre-riding, masks required until the 30 seconds to go, and no team tents/spectators/handups. Not what we expect from cyclocross, but sacrifices to be made in order to race. I warmed up a bit on the road, got stung by a wasp, and then took my place on the starting line.

My normal style is crazy sprinting at the start to take the hole shot, and then usually peter out in effort. This race was different, as I just paced Kristal and didn’t shoot out on the front. As we came off the starting climb, Kristi made a small mistake on an uphill corner and I found myself in front. OK, cool, I’ve been here before, everyone would end up passing me.

Except… they didn’t. I ran the 5280 stairs (thank you 60 miles of hiking in the last month) and settled into racing “blind” since I had no pre-ride – which is not uncommon for me to do in mountain bike racing, so it is something I am comfortable with, thinking on the fly and reading courses as I’m racing. The course was switched up a bit, which was awesome to keep it fresh after so many years of racing at Valmont. This venue has always been interesting for me, as it’s one of the venues I’ve never really had good race luck at podium-wise, but one I enjoy (minus the dang stairs). In 2017 I finally landed on my first podium, but it took a foot of snow to make that happen. In 2019, I had a crazy race and landed in 3rd, even after a big crash, which was one of my best races. But no way could I ever win here..

I began catching the tail end of the SW Open field and rode up to near mid-pack by the end. Not shabby for only having one gear! (Photo by Brent Murphy)

I focused on staying steady and staying out of my own head. I could check my gap to those behind me in certain parts on the course, and noticed some switch up in positions, but tried not to care too much. It was feeling surreal, leading a race at Valmont. Lap after lap I came through the start/finish still leading and I kept reminding myself to stay focused, remembering how I had a big crash on the final lap in this race in 2019. Aside from running into the tape on lap 3 or 4, things went pretty flawless for me.

I love Valmont’s “sand” as I don’t sink into it like real sand pits. (Photo by Brent Murphy)

Finally on the fifth and final lap I allowed myself to believe that it was really happening – I was going to win at Valmont in a well attended, legit field! I entered the finishing straight and fretted about posting up, but I gotta admit I’m still very nervous about taking both hands off the handlebars, so I did an enthusiast one arm fist pump.

Photo by Ryan Muncy

I’ve always referred to winning at Valmont as my “Eleanor” podium, a reference to Gone in 60 Seconds. I still don’t know how it happened, with my lack of cross-specific training leading up to the race. However, once I viewed my lap times, I realized maybe there is something to the long endurance training, as the most they varied were 11 seconds, which is pretty crazy to me (when I first started racing cross, my final laps would be minutes slower than my first lap). I didn’t feel like I was struggling at the end (except maybe on that damn 5280 run up). And what an amazing lesson in getting out of my own head, and not letting start lists discourage me! To boot, I am finally learning how to race smart… winning the hole shot doesn’t always mean anything, and controlling my start helped keep my lungs and legs happy.

Here’s to a great start to the 2020 cyclocross season!

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2020 Robidoux Quick n Dirty Race Report

If you’re going to have a 2020 race season, why not cram gravel and cyclocross all together, amIright?

Originally the 2020 Robidoux Quick n Dirty was scheduled for June, but alas, like many events, they decided to move the date (vs. cancel, which was appreciated, until cyclocross was confirmed to be happening, which leads to “OMG I gotta race two opposite disciplines in the same weekend!”). I’ve known about this race for a few years now, but this was the year I’d make the 90 minute journey to Gering, NE to race it. Why I never knew Gering was so close, I’ll never know! I chose the 65 mile (aka 67 mile) distance for this year, as I slowly work up my ability to race longer distances and times.

After racing CycloX Valmont in Boulder on Saturday morning, I hightailed it back home for lunch, a shower, and a quick cuddle session with my kitty cat before heading to Nebraska. This was not ideal, and I was exhausted just thinking about another 90 minute drive after 3 hours total in the car going back and forth to Boulder. It’s not like the 2020 race season snuck up on me, but it still felt like that as I tried to remember what I all needed to bring.

Strangely enough, I’ve never ridden a bike in Nebraska, though I live so close!

I awoke Sunday morning to some pretty terrible wind that had awoken me several times during the night. If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s pay money to race in wind in a state that isn’t Wyoming. The smell of smoke was in the air from the rapidly exploding fire near Laramie, and I scrunched up my face even more. I just didn’t wanna. But alas, I kitted up, packed up my tent, and headed out to McDonald’s for some breakfast.

As I’m sitting in my car enjoying my latte and trying to wake up, I realized my gravel bike looked really funny… dammit, my seat bag was missing! I totally forgot I had taken it off and put it on my commuter bike when I did a longer ride with it a few weeks earlier. I tried not to panic at the idea of racing 67 miles without a tube. I always have a pump in my camelbak which was helpful, and I had a CO2 (with no inflater head). I pulled my giant multi-tool out of my race bag and put it on my “whiskey barrel” bag on my bike. Well, at least I had some stuff? I am tubeless, but this is goathead country. Ugh. Not ideal. Totally not ready to race bikes this year!

After a quick rider’s meeting, we lined up for the started. Technically there was about a 50 minute window for each race distance to start, but it seemed like most wanted to roll out at 8am, especially for those wanting to ride in a pack to hide from the wind. The start was first, and I stuck with the lead group of men for about a mile or two before dropping off as I felt the day before’s cyclocross effort. This put me solo for about 25 minutes until a group of four caught me.

It was good to ride with Steve, First City Dudes, and “Omaha” for awhile, as we cruised with a slight tailwind. Shortly before Aid 1, First City Dudes both flatted, and the rest of our group splintered off as we hit the first sustained climb of the day. After a fast downhill, it was time to turn into the 20mph sustained headwind out of the west, which was painful. Nothing like pushing 10mph into the wind, on a downhill. These miles were probably the most demoralizing, but I guess the perk is everyone was going slow (except for one guy that flew past me on aero bars like there was no wind).

After the headwind stretch from hell, it was time to mash down the highway for a few miles, with a climb. More demoralizing slow speeds down the pavement, but I felt the climb wasn’t bad. Once I hit Aid 2 (I never did stop at an aid station), I got a second wind, and also lots of recovery thanks to some fast sections. Steve, Omaha, and my friend’s son, Bryce, caught back up to me and we formed another group for several miles, until they all dropped me once we turned into the headwind again.

More mashing and trying to stay motivated and well fed as I headed up Carter Canyon towards Robidoux Pass. I had heard about the “super steep climb,” but I was relieved to see it was actually quite short. Whew, to the top. Now it was time to enjoy about 14 miles of flying so fast with an awesome tailwind – so fast I’d have to break for cattle guards as I didn’t want to die. I probably could’ve pushed harder, but it was nice to just spin lightly and enjoy going faster than 9mph for once.

One more stretch of northbound road into the crosswind, and then it was time to fly into the finish.

4:42:10, 67 miles,1st place for women (and about 15th overall). Whew!

I crossed the line, found some shade, and got my aching feet out of my shoes as quick as possible. Grabbed a beer out of trough, admired Ashton Lambie’s quads and Lauf, and found some friends.

One of the coolest trophies I’ve won!

Overall, wind aside (which is an uncontrollable factor), this was a great course and race! The roads were in great shape, despite the warnings about conditions – barely any washboard and not loose at all. It was definitely necessary to either have navigation on a GPS, or a cue sheet as the course was barely marked, but I think this is pretty common for gravel races due to the large sizes of the courses. I had no issues with using my Garmin and the TCX file. And honestly, the wind was manageable. I’ve ridden in worse, at least mentally.

Nutrition wise, I played with a different strategy. Usually I try to feed with a SIS gel every hour, but this day I did every ten miles starting about 18 miles in. I used my Camelbak Chase Vest with a 2L bladder of water with 300 calories of lemon Tailwind mixed in (which was about the one hour mark). I consumed 6 SIS gels, a combo of regular, electrolyte, and caffeinated ones. This seemed to work out well, but I think I might’ve needed more frequent gels to keep the energy levels up. Robidoux also served as a my shake down for The Dead Swede, which is coming up in two weeks, and that course has more climbing (and more frequent as it’s filled with rollers), so I’ll keep feeding strategies in mind.

Race Report

Bear Bait 8… finally racing in 2020!

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The trails on Casper Mountain are some of my all time favorite! Seriously, hidden gem for sure! Tight trees, rocks, roots, twisty, sometimes reminds me of Novo Mesto World Cup courses with Kulhavy hiding in the trees (and gnomes… happens around lap 6 when I start losing my mind)… love them all! Funny race moment, some guy yelled out, “There’s no flow!” and I responded, “Welcome to real mountain biking, not that groomed flow crap.” That tells you my opinion on the trail building methods around my parts….  and I’m confused, as I think these trails ride really well, but then again, I really have no idea what “flow” means and why everyone is obsessed with it in these parts.

What, a bike race in 2020?!  Say it isn’t so?!

Starting a “race season” at the end of June is something unheard of for me, as I’m usually racing March-December, if not all year around thanks to random fat bike races.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like 2020 would be the year that would mock me with the best fitness of my life with no chance to use it outside of Strava QOMs.

Thankfully, Bear Bait 8 was given the go ahead up in Casper for June 27th.  Though field sizes were down, I was thankful for the opportunity to go ahead in race in a pretty microbiologically safe way, COVID-19 screening waiver and all.

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I camped right on the race course the night before, sleeping in Fozzy. Perfect!  I’m not a fan of Casper as a town, but Casper Mountain can’t be beat!

This is my third year of entering the 8 Hour Solo category, but sadly no other women registered for this year so I really, in theory, didn’t have to try hard to win.  But that thought is nonsense, so I decided to see how many of the men in the solo category I could beat and to actually earn my win, and get the most out of my entry fee.

The trails on Casper Mountain remain fantastic, and I settled into the course which was about a mile longer than 2019’s.  8 hours is a long time to ride a bike, so I reminded myself to pace at the beginning, letting the duo and team racers fight it out for the fastest lap award, as I tried to calm my asthmatic lungs in the dust.  I turned a 49 minute first lap, which is about four minutes faster than my fastest 2019 lap, which puzzled me… it must’ve been a faster course, or maybe I was faster?  (Or maybe both?)

Things went well for about the first three laps, and then the struggle bus arrived at the station.  It was a hot one this year, with no typical cool temperatures and/or rain.  Dry, hot, dusty.  Everything ached.  I started to realize everything I did wrong like a newbie (honestly, I really was out of practice on racing and preparing to race my bike this year).  I wore carbon soled shoes… my feet can’t stand endurance mountain bike racing in carbon shoes (I usually wear decently cheap composite soled shoes for long MTB races).  I realized this mistake on my second lap.  I stupidly had my Brains on my Specialized Epic set pretty firm, and when I adjusted my front fork, I actually made it firmer, which killed my arms and hands on the rooty course.  The heat made the flavor of my Tailwind mix very unpalatable.  Ugh.

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My little pit area, complete with the best camping chair everrrrrrrr.

I stopped for a break after four laps, sitting down to enjoy an Uncrustable and a Red Bull, and this revitalized me.  I felt spunky for my fifth lap, even after I had a wreck that was comical and really didn’t make sense (I punched a tree stump which flung me off the bike superman style, and I bounced.  Literally bounced!).  Sixth lap it all went downhill again, and I ended up sitting for a few minutes with my shoes off, massaging my combination numb and painful feet.   I thought about quitting since I really didn’t need to keep going to “win.”

I took another break after my sixth lap, and decided to ditch the Camelback of Tailwind that I wasn’t drinking, and opted just to carry some SIS gels and a bottle of plain water.  I drank a second Red Bull (this stuff is magic juice for racing, I swear!  I learned Kate Courtney’s secret to success I think!).  I took off, feeling revitalized once again, and a lot lighter without the Camelback on my back.

I can through at 60.9 miles, and 7 hours 44 minutes after my eighth lap and called it good.  Because at Bear Bait 8 you can complete your final lap before or after eight hours, I could’ve kept going, but called it good due to the pain in my feet (if I didn’t have that pain, I would’ve entertained a ninth lap).  This effort was good enough for the win in my field of one (ha ha), and also 5th in the men’s category, finishing ahead of two of the guys.

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I am salty and…. not as tired as previous years racing this event, despite the highest mileage so far.  Previous years I’d always have a good cry as my back muscles seized up at the finish, but my back was not protesting when I finished this round (however, it did after the 3 hour drive home)

Whew, third Bear Bait 8 solo done and dusted, and all the random quirks of racing worked out!  And unlike most races, I finished with the thought of “I’ll be back in 2021 for another solo!”  Eventually I’ll learn to do a 4 Hour Duo, but until then….

Lessons learned:

  • Pay attention to what shoes I grab.  I haven’t worn my carbon MTB shoes all season, so why I grabbed them out of my car versus my composite pair was beyond me.
  • Tailwind was mixed too strong for my taste buds this go around.  This year I have been playing around with using SIS gels along with Tailwind for a better nutrition plan for gravel racing, so I think I should’ve mixed my Tailwind at about half strength so it would’ve remained more palatable (I mixed 700 calories in two liters, I think 300-400 would’ve lightened up the sugary flavor).
  • Don’t ever, ever set the front Brain to nearly firm.  Yeesh, Heidi.  There’s even a sticker saying which way to turn it!  I can’t believe I raced my bike for years with it set up like that, how awful!
  • Starting my race season at the end of June is rough.

Lessons aside, still not bad for what is quite possibly my only mountain bike race for 2020 (but hopefully not the only race).

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Oh the year it could’ve been…

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One of my first rides of 2020 with the Square1 Cycling crew

Well 2020 has been interesting, huh?

I came into the new year motivated to get back to where I was a couple of years ago.  I started piling on the miles, and riding long rides I never thought I could survive.  Back to back 65 mile days, riding with fast groups, doing stilly stuff like riding my heavy gravel bike up Rist Canyon.  By mid-March I was nearing 1000 miles ridden.  2020 race season was going to be my b*tch!

Then, well, a pandemic of a novel virus happened.

Like probably every American out there, I’ve watched as my life upended in the last few weeks.  Races cancelled, permits pulled, group rides called off.  As people battled for toilet paper, work situations became uncertain, and travel basically banned, athletes have had the struggle of what to do now.

It’s been hard, I won’t lie!  I know (as I’ve read it on social media), a good chunk of society is like “get over it, it’s just a stupid bike race.”  I think that’s trivializing the situation.  First off, nobody can tell someone else how to feel, how to grieve, how to feel loss.  Yes, are people dying, losing their jobs, etc?  Hell yeah.  But that doesn’t mean a cyclist can’t feel sad, depressed, angry, whatever about their situation.  I use cycling to even out my mental health and deal with day to day stress.  Cycling is how I connect with others, socialize, and just feel normal.  That’s all been threatened.  While the outdoors is not cancelled (yet), most group rides are.  I feel isolated from my friends, especially ones I’ve finally reconnecting after years of blowing off riding a bike, and that’s hard.  I do not spend forty hours a week with people who are cyclists, let alone athletes, so I have been living for the weekends this year.  I’m also angry at myself for blowing off 2018 and 2019, and not riding as much and in a way feel like this is some weird karmic payback for largely turning my back on cycling the last few years (yes, I know irrational.  Shush).

So what’s my plan?  I’m forging ahead, sticking with my training plan and milking every day I can ride outdoors to the fullest.  My yoga studio moved to a live stream mode.  Kate Courtney is posting up fantastic videos of her strength routines (she wants to kill me I think, or so my hamstrings tell me).  I reactivated Zwift when I want something more than the blue boxes of TrainerRoad and weather/daylight is not cooperating.  I’m watching the food consumption.  I’m plotting new routes I can ride from my house that I have never explored.

My goal “A” race for the year falls on June 6th, which is tricky.  I will be absolutely, devastatingly heartbroken if it gets cancelled, but I also know eventually racing has to be allowed again.  It’s easy to just throw the hands up and want to give up, but as I look at the crazy things I have managed to accomplish so far in 2020, I don’t want to give up the fitness I have regained.

For now… let’s remember some of the fun times of 2020.

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I was in Iceland (solo!) for the dawning of 2020. Here I am ice climbing on Sólheimajökull on January 2nd.

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I sold my race car in January. I owned my Spec V for just shy of fifteen years. I was on my way to a gravel ride in Fort Collins when I ran into my old car!

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Always the maid of honor, never the bride in Colorado Cross Cup for single speed! Fourth year of 2nd place. But I win in bringing the shenanigans.

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The Colorado Cross Cup trophy collection

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The one time I attempted to race a bike in 2020, and it was cancelled. Old Man Winter had a little too much winter going on. The 50km people were not allowed to start. I was sad, as I was feeling strong and ready to fight to win the thing, and not to mention crappy conditions are my thing! But I did get to hang out with some of my favorite people, so not all was lost.

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I climbed Rist Canyon for the first time in three years. It was still as awful I as remembered.

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Weekend gravel group rides became my jam, and suddenly riding 50-65+ miles on gravel didn’t seem like a hard task at all!

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As the days of being able to spend time with friends dwindled, I soaked up the moments with my awesome gravel group

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Adventuring on my final weekend of being able to travel to Colorado for awhile to ride.