Archives › April 2011
April 6, 2011 – Now I remember why I don’t race any more – you have to get up too dang early. But I’m up and on my way to N. Wilkesboro, NC for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek to race in the female duo category with my awesome partner, Arleigh Jenkins (brainchild of em:pwr cycling) and my “pit crew” Shelley with me. It’s supposed to be a beautiful Saturday for racing, albeit a little windy, even though it rained earlier in the week things should have dried up nicely.
Little did we know an isolated storm sitting right on top of Warrior Creek dumped rain on the course Friday night. We arrive to a soupy, soggy, greasy 13 mile trail. It was agreed Arleigh would do the first lap since I did the first one last year – that’s only fair, right? After her pre-lap I think Arleigh was trying to come up with any way to get me to do the first lap but she sucked up and went out there with 300 other brave souls to sling some mud around. When the first of the racer boys started hitting the start/finish line we could tell it wasn’t pretty out there – their backs were slathered in mud as were their entire bikes – not good! Several people even stopped and turned in their timing chip after one lap – the mighty mud had worn them out and they couldn’t return for lap two (they really should have stuck it out, more on that later). Riders continue to cross the finish line while I’m trying to warm up and psyche myself up to have a very slow, safe lap – no need to kill myself out there.
Arleigh comes through and collapses on the ground – mind you she is riding a rigid SS over 13 miles of up and down soupy mess – covered in mud. I take off and hit the woods and the ground is dry, not a puddle in sight. I’m thinking – what were they talking about, it’s not nasty out here, the trail is in excellent shape. I hear others on the trail who had already done one lap speak out loud in amazement at the difference in the trail from the first lap – unbelievable they say. I guess 300 riders on the trail will dry it up real quick. I continue my ride – enjoying the fact I don’t have mud hitting me in the face and I’m not sliding down the wet berms. I finish my lap and make it back to the pits to find Arleigh in street clothes – I had said before I went out that she didn’t need to do another lap since we were just out there to have fun – and she obviously didn’t have a problem with that.
That was the end of our day – we sat at the start/finish line, ate BBQ chicken and pork, gelato and watched our friends keep going round and round. We did two laps and came in 3rd – can’t beat that!
As I dive deeper into training and coaching, the question of power always comes up. What have I used, why have I used it, and so on…. As I’m researching more to decide on purchases in the future, or recommendations for friends I have questions for you.
How many of you own a power capturing device? (Garmin, SRM, Power Tap, Quark, Polar)
Which brand do you favor, and why?
How valuable is the data?
Did you buy from a bike shop or online? Was it worth the purchase price? What is missing from Power that you want to see – and what’s the future look like?
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
- Tire selection
- Gear selection
- Lack of riding in the mountains
- Lack of gears
- Lack of suspension
- Lack of pre-riding the course
- Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!
A Monday morning tradition that we are starting to keep you motivated and to be striving for your goals even during a hard week or long hours at work. Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you? Send us your answers and photo to girly@BikeShopGirl.com
I can’t say enough great things abouthttp://rebeccarusch.com/. In years past I’ve had the honor to be in her pit as a mechanic, get a pat on the back at a race and more than that she’s always that constant voice in the back of my head on hard rides and long races.
1. What’s your name and location?
Rebecca Rusch, Ketchum ID (AKA Sun Valley)
2. What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Endurance mountain biking, but I also ride ‘cross, road, pump track, super D and townie/commuter.
3. What is your first cycling memory?
Ripping my purple banana seat Huffy down the brick street in front of my house. We lived on a quiet street on a hill and our house was near the top. Rolling down without pedaling was pure freedom, but I also kind of liked turning around and working hard to get back up so I could do it again. I guess that was my first type of “training” and the realization that it was rewarding to “earn your turns” so to speak.
4. Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?
Marla Streb. Hands down. She has handled a very long term racing and cycling career with such passion and grace and has done pretty much EVERYTHING. She started mountain biking at 28 after leaving her job in molecular biology AIDS research. Since then she paved the way for women in downhill by earning multiple national titles, world cup podiums and a SS world champ title. She’s also competitive in endurance races like La Ruta. She’s a Mom of 2, manages trail building projects in South America, she’s written two books, lived on a sailboat and manages the Luna women’s cycling team. She just announced her 2011 return to racing and will also be coaching ride clinics this year and just launched the opening of a bike cafe called Handle Bar in Baltimore. On top of all of that, she’s super friendly, funny and just the kind of person you want to hang out with. I just hope I don’t have to race against her this year!
5. What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?
Winning the 2010 Leadville Trail 100 and breaking the long standing women’s course record. The beauty of that day is that I worked hard all season for that one event and, like magic the training, dedication, equipment all aligned perfectly on that specific day. Peaking perfectly and having a race unfold as you visualize it is an elusive, slippery goal to grasp at. More times than not, things don’t go as planned. This time it did and I was elated with my performance and thankful to the team of people who helped me pull it off. It’s a day I won’t forget.
6. In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?
The #1 race goal is to try to defend my Leadville Trail 100 title for a 3rd time. It has never been done and my training plan is built 100% around this goal.
However, I also have some new projects that I’m super excited about. I have designed the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour for 2011 that will include various mtb events for women and girls. The events are all different, including a women’s only mountain bike race in Colorado (Bike Beti Bash), a high school girls race team in my home town (Wheel Girls), and the first event of the year, SRAM Ladies Lounge at Sea Otter! I will also hopefully be showing the 2010 Race Across the Sky Leadville 100 film in various locations as IMBA fundraisers. I love racing and have no intention of stopping anytime soon, but I also love to share my experience with other riders and help people find out how great riding a bike is! These extra projects are all just a natural progression in my own education and riding experience.
April marks many things. April fools, spring showers, flowers, bike racing, major league baseball and many other things. It also marks the month of biking. 30 days of biking to be exact.
30 Days of Biking
The only rule for 30 Days of Biking, April 1–30, 2011, is that you bike every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth.
Registering will shoot your name onto our master participants list, setting your name in virtual stone. Interaction from here is up to you! Bike every day, then tweet (using #30daysofbiking) or blog, or Facebook, or Flickr, or Tumblr, or Daily Mile, or write a snail mail letter about it. Make videos and songs. Be pleased as punch you’re biking and fulfilling an awesome goal.
How We are Getting Involved
This is something I find very exciting and I’m glad to participate. The guys behind 30 days of biking have an amazing idea in place, hopefully we can inspire more butts on bikes!
Some examples of how I’ll be getting on the bike… today I’ll run to the bike shop 3 miles from work on bike bike. Tomorrow I’m racing. Sunday I’ll do a recovery ride. During the week if I can’t do a true ride, I’ll do my errands around work on my bike. Even if its a bike ride down the greenway to take photos. Do it, I promise every time you stretch your legs around those pedals turning, you’re body and soul will thank you.
Go sign up now! 30DaysofBiking.com