Monday, May 19, 2014

3 Hours of Mesa Verde

12 Hours of Mesa Verde is in its 8th year and is more popular than ever.   Shannon and I have raced this race four times!  We keep coming back because of the super fun course, great vibe, and awesome promoters.  Despite technically being a 'grassroots'  race, it draws some of the fastest racers in the country and sells out year after year with this year being no exception.

Typically, Shannon and I race co-ed duo.  We alternate laps over twelve hours, which means we are each on full-throttle for six hours.  This year we opted for a more manageable 4-person  team which means only three hours full throttle for each of us; hence 3 Hours of Mesa Verde.

Shannon, Dizzy, and I spent the weekend camping in a borrowed pop-up A-liner.  While the pop up was by no means luxurious, camping with heat when nighttime temperature dips below freezing is much more my style!

Our team killed it!  We finished fourth in a super competitive field.  While my lap times were not as speedy as last year, they were respectable for where I am at with recovery.  My body may not quite be where it was last year, however my bike is certainly working hard to make up the difference.  My Pivot 429 carbon dualie is the PERFECT ride for the Mesa Verde course.

Since I don't have many photos from the weekend, here are some of my beautiful bike:

 Pivot 429 Carbon weighs in at 23 lbs 9ounces as pictured.
I am loving the SRAM XX1 1x11 for racing.
My Mesa Verde gearing was 30x11/42.
 I love my Ergon saddle and grips.  With mild post-chemo neuropathy in my hands,
 (okay, maybe not so mild.  When my hands are cold I can't change a flat
or unlock the door to my home), 
having proper positioning and increased support on long rides is imperative
 Stan's NoTubes 29er Race Gold wheels.  When paired up with Continental X-King Protection tires, 
I have simply the lightest most reliable wheel/tire combo on the market
 Beautiful Enve handlebar, stem, and post.....nothing but the best for this 429!
 Xpedo M-Force 8 Ti pedals are insanely light weight, but do not sacrifice a stable platform.  
Side loading bottle cage fits my size Small frame perfectly. 
I run a gel flask holder on my bike.   Don't want to waste time reaching my pocket for fuel!

I should note that Kris at Go-Ride built this bike up for me just before Mesa Verde.
He is incredibly tedious and detail-oriented.
My bikes always work beautifully after he works on them!  

Every time I ride this beast I feel grateful to have such an incredible bike that not only rips races, but is so much FUN to ride!

Soaking in life's grandness from 7000+ feet!
Always smiling on this bike!

So while I love, love, LOVE my 429 carbon dualie, I am pretty excited to get this new bad boy built ASAP!  Not only is it the sweetest color ever, I am thinking sub-20 lbs.  Ridiculous!  Did I mention life is grand?

Pivot Les 27.5 carbon hardtail!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Comeback #2 ?!?

The past few months since my last blog post have flown by.  A lot has happened.  We sold our home in Salt Lake, moved into temporary housing in Park City, made another trip to the desert, have been home shopping in our 'spare' time, and competed in my first race of the season.

Phew.  That's a lot for anyone to wrap their head around, let alone a couple who just finished their second round of cancer treatment in three years!

Despite the chaos.  Things are good.  Exciting things are happening in our life and we are happy and healthy.

As for 'training', our personal craziness and my body's post-treatment need for increased rest and recovery, has resulted in a toned down training program from 2013, when I was my fittest.  This didn't exactly help me exude ass kicking confidence going into my first race in a long, long time, however with a bit of a perspective and expectation change, all was good.

We headed down to St. George for 6 Hours of Frog Hollow.  Shannon and I were registered to race co-ed duo, where we alternated racing the super fun 15-mile lap over six hours.  This is one of my favorite places to ride and happens to be the same exact race that served as my 'return' to racing after my initial diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in 2011.

Our race plan was to first and foremost have fun.  Sounds easy enough considering I love racing my bike, but honestly I wasn't sure if turning myself inside out in a bike race would still be fun for me.  My body and mind have been through a lot.  Would I still be mentally strong enough to push hard when I was tired?  Would it still be fun?  So with that plan in mind and my uncertainty about how I would respond (mentally and physically) to racing, I had to distance myself from being competitive with other teams (friends), opt out of the often fun pre-race smack talk, and just ride my own race.

The Le Mans start (from the St. George news)

Shannon killed it on his first lap.  He rolled in a few minutes behind Chris Holley in 2nd place in our category.  I took off for my lap, and although I felt like I was riding well, I was soon overtaken by Amanda Carey on the single track part of the climb.  I tried to hang on....kind of.....but she is wicked fast so I mostly just continued at my own pace.    Over the remaining four hours, teams were nipping at our heals and of course we were trying to chase down the leaders, but I stuck to my plan of riding my own race and Shannon continued to race really strong.  Between laps I focused on fueling and hydrating instead of worrying about lap splits.  In the end, we finished 3rd in a very competitive field, but more importantly, I had fun!  I absolutely still enjoy racing!

Finishing up my 3rd and final lap

Greeted by one of my favs at the finish

Great photo in the St. George News race coverage

A pretty badass podium!

Next up is 12 Hours of Mesa Verde on a 4-person team.  Last year, the week after Shannon and I won this race, I was diagnosed with my recurrence.  This milestone comes with a heavy dose of emotion, although I can't think of a better way to celebrate my health and resilience one year later!

Dizzy has acclimated well to our new (temporary) home