Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grinder post-race

After the race, Drew and I cleaned up and walked down to the Lodge where the after party was in full swing.  There was an awesome bluegrass band, Reilly Coyote, picking for our entertainment. 
The food was good and we each got one free microbrew, but lucky me I got two because Drew was abstaining.  The awards went on for quite a while so we camped out with Carl and Doug's family in the shade.
I had to stick around to see if I'd won the women 40-49 age category*.  I knew I was ahead of that chic I passed early in lap 1, but didn't know for sure if she was my competition. Turns out she was and she didn't make the time cut so she DNFed (Did Not Finish).  I beat her fair and square and for my efforts I won a giant huge magnum of wine from a local winery, a cool bike necklace, and a couple of sweet beer glasses.  Since I am lucky, I also won the most stylish bike jersey I've ever seen from Club Ride in the raffle.

* I tried to register in the Open (Pro-Expert) category, but they wouldn't let me race there because I don't have a UCI license. I would have taken last place by 8 1/2 minutes in that category.

 After the awards we ate a late dinner and hung out with the folks from Broken Spoke Cycling Club by their bonfire, complete with roasted marshmallows.  Then we turned in for an early and complete night's sleep under the stars.

The next day we wanted more punishment so Drew, Carl, and I did the 17 mile Fisher Creek loop which was up and over Galena Pass on hwy 75 down in the breathtaking Sawtooth Valley.  It was a good post-race ride that had a long slow grind up a FS road and a thrilling, long downhill complete with be-on-your-game exposure, wildflowers gone wild, weathered granite outcrops, small stream crossings, and ripping singletrack.

 Carl, being the never-off-duty bike mechanic that he is fixed my bike mid-ride and a couple of strangers' bikes too. What a guy.
It was a perfect ride to knock down our already tired legs in preparation for Pierre's Hole in two weeks.
Here is my Garmin track.
 Fisher Ck / Wilson Ck loop by jubebug at Garmin Connect - Details

After the ride, we went back to this mini-store
 to buy a $3.95 bag of Doritos and this $6 six pack.

 You all know I am a beer connoisseur, but my choices were Bud Light or Keystone Light.  Keystone Light seemed more appropriate for our next stop at Alturus Lake.  What a gorgeous natural lake!  It looked to me to be formed by lateral and end moraines at the juncture of two valleys.  It was so clear and very cold.  We didn't spend a lot of time in the water, but enjoyed watching Carl's dog Millie frolic.
As the sun was getting low, we headed back toward the camp, but stopped for dinner first at Smiley Creek.  Another idyllic setting with tasty but expensive ($11 for a chicken sandwich and $6 milkshakes) fare.   

We had to wait for the kids to quit playing on this carved log before Carl could snap our picture.
 The Sawtooth Valley is truly gorgeous. Pictures don't do it justice.
 What vacation would not be complete without large concrete animals?

But all fun days must come to an end so we drove back over the pass but stopped for one last look.

Monday we woke to find we were the only campers left, so we packed it up and headed down to Sun Valley for a short easy ride on Corral Creek trail, Corral Creek by jubebug at Garmin Connect - Details, before packing it back home.

That was one of the best race vacations ever!  I would highly recommend this race for anyone looking for a longer distance but not gruesomely brutal mountain bike race.  Great grass-roots feel in a fabulous setting!

Urban camping

I am typing this post from the garage. I am urban camping for the third night in a row.  The house is uninhabitable right now because of noxious polyurethane fumes from having the floors on the main level refinished.  It is a long story that I'll highlight in a future post with pics of the floors, but for now I'll show you my urban camping setup.  I'm sleeping in the garage on a cot. The cats have their own cot, but they choose to sleep on my cot with me.

 It's not too bad actually.  This morning I made a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs that included sauteed onions and peppers, which I picked from the garden six feet out the back door of the garage. Convenient really.

Hiking around the front of the house, ducking under a bush, shimmying up a ladder and crawling into the spare bedroom through a window to use the toilet and shower, not so convenient.

Drew is on his mancation looking at airplanes with his Dad and our friend Jim.  At least I take pleasure in the fact that he is sleeping in a bunk room with a couple of other guys that snore.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Race Report: Grindin' the Grinder

 The Trip

At the last minute, Drew and I decided to take on the Galena Grinder Marathon. The "Grinder" is a race our friend Doug has done and talked about for years.  His whole family goes up in their travel trailer to Galena Lodge, which is on Idaho Highway 75 north of Sun Valley and Ketchum on the way to Galena Pass and Stanley in the Sawtooth Mountains.

There are two races going on at this venue, the cross-country (22 mile) race and the marathon (44 miles).  In preparation for our upcoming Pierre's Hole 100/50 race, we thought the Marathon would be a good prep race.  It was!

 I had to throw in this picture
 as documentation of me working on my bike.  Drew and Carl (top mechanic at the bike shop) were giving me grief for having a dirty chain.  OK, OK, I cleaned it!

After an 8 AM start from the house, delayed because we were watching the first half of the penultimate stage 19 of the Tour de France (best TDF ever!), we made the 5 hour drive to Galena Lodge.  We had our two smart phones going with live feeds of what was happening on the last climb up the Alpe d’Huez. Bike geeks!

We arrived and set up camp next to Carl.

 I have decided that I am too old to sleep on the ground the night before a bike race, so we've invested in cots instead.*  They are very comfortable, but unfortunately, we don't have a big enough tent to house them, so we improvised with our sun canopy.  It doubled as a frost canopy this time.

*We were hoping that Bobke could make the trip, but we are worried about the old air-cooled engine on a hot summer drive up a mountain pass. He stayed home :-( 

Our set up lacked any sort of privacy, but all the other campers had tents or trailers, so we just figured they weren't looking.

We pre-rode a portion of the race course on Friday evening, then cooked up some pasta and made a tossed salad as the temperature dropped and dropped.  I went to bed in our exposed quarters with much trepidation about how I would stay warm.  A few minutes after we tucked in, Doug and Susan came carrying an extra sleeping bag for me.  SAVIORS!  It kept one side of me warm, but I had to keep rotating to keep the other side from freezing.  When we woke, our water bottle and sun shower were iced up.  It must have been in the upper 20s. Brr.

The Race

The Marathon started at 9 AM.  It was so chilled through when I finally got out of my semi-warm bag that I had to start the race wearing knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, arm warmers, and a vest.  My Garmin says it was 42 degrees at the start.  I started out slowly at the back of the pack with only Doug behind me.  About a half mile in I passed one guy, then another.  About 2 miles in I passed a woman that looked to be in the 40 to 49 age category with me.  I knew before the race that there were only two in my category**, so I was hoping this was her and that I could stay ahead of her for the next 5 to 6 hours.

** I tried to register in the Open/Pro-Expert category, but I didn't have an UCI annual license so they wouldn't let me.

The course was pretty fun.  Most of the climbs were on fire road in the back woods.  There was a lot of singletrack too, with just enough exposure, log roll-overs, bridges, tight turns, and close trees to keep it interesting but not mentally draining.  There was one long hike-a-bike section where the grades were up to 22%, but honestly, I welcomed the chance to get off my bike and push for a few minutes.  Marathon racers do two 22 mile laps, and the lap comes back through the start/finish area 3 times before the actual finish, so it is great because you can stop at your camp and grab food or whatever and dump all those warm clothes.  That is a really nice set up because, frankly, the aid stations were not very good and placed in funny places.

I took it pretty slow the first lap because I wanted to be able to finish.  I did start to get worried though around 2 hours in when I was still 7 miles from the end of lap 1 and had only an hour to make the time cut.  I ended up going through the lap at about 2 hours 33 minutes, so no worries.

It was on lap 2 that I began to feel good.  I started to pass some guys that looked to be in a bit of hurt, my husband included.  We rode together for a mile or so but he was having stomach problems and the like, so I dusted him ;-)  By this time, I had drunk about 48 ounces of water, a 20 ounce serving of Hammer Sustained Energy, and ate a gel.  Before the hike-a-bike, I ate a nutty Mojo bar for some long-lasting energy.  That seemed to do the trick and my legs, while tired, held up to the task.  My left knee, which I re-injured a few weeks ago, was still weak, and consequently, my right quad was doing a lot of the work.  Poor thing would be sore to the touch for days afterward.  Go legs!

5 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds after the start gun I finished the course dirty, tired, and smiling.  Drew came in a few minutes later in the same condition. What a ride!
I would recommend this race to anyone looking to get into endurance racing.  The course was technically not too hard, there was plenty of climbing but none of it was excruciating, and the event itself was a hoot.  Really great grass-roots feel.  I have challenged Drew to a rematch again next year.

Next up: post race activities and the rest of beautiful Idaho.

In case you are interested, here, Galena Grinder 2012 Marathon by jubebug at Garmin Connect - Details, is my Garmin track. Or you can preview it below, I think.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Race reports: USCS#2 @ Round Valley and I-Cup Snowbird @ Dutch Hollow

This post is long overdue, so I will keep it short.  Just a couple of race reports.

Utah State Championship Series Race #2 at Round Valley.

Although I didn't think so back in my college days, Saturday night is a great time to race mountain bikes, as I found out on June 25 at Race #2 of the new Utah State Championship Series.  Some of our friends turned into race promoters and they've done a great job putting together a new race series.  This was supposed to be an XC (cross country) race, but for the Expert Women category, it was really more of a mini-endurance race.  We had to do 3 full laps of a 9.3 mile loop, which was the same distance as the pro men and women (who are a lot faster than me and therefore get 'er done a lot quicker).  At the start there were 5 women lined up including me. I knew 3 of them to be faster than me and there was one wildcard. Well, maybe I could beat her.  

To make a long race story much shorter and less painful than it was, it turned out I didn't really beat anyone.  I took off in last place off the start and there I stayed.  The wildcard chic was riding in front of me, but she had a mechanical and didn't finish the race. I came after in at 2 hours and 44 minutes, well behind the other three, for my first ever DFL.  Guess I need to train for endurance races some more.   

Icup Snowbird 
With the massive snowpack of 2011, the July 2nd Mountain Bout was moved from its traditional home at snowy Snowbird ski resort to perfect, warm, dry Wasatch Mountain State Park near Heber.  I wanted to try racing on these trails for fun so Drew and I went to pre-ride the course on the Wednesday before the race.  Big fat thunderstorms made for a dirty pre-ride and expensive bike maintenance later on to get the grit and water out of our bikes.  The rain, though, made for almost tacky trails twisting and turning through scrub oak and grasslands.  

The start groups were split into two start times, which, when combined with a pretty low turn out, made for gloriously uncrowded racing. Nice!  

I lined up with 5 Expert Women this time, two of which looked to be newbies.  Off the gun I was in 4th place, but moved up pretty quickly to 3rd.  On the first steep climb I passed the gal in 2nd because, I later found out, she had ripped off her rear derailleur.  The other newbie ended up giving up her bike to the friend that had no derailleur, so no-derailleur girl was still able to finish, but I never saw her again.

I was feeling pretty good and I think I had about 3 minutes on Ellen when my drive train started to sound Horrible.  It felt as though hard effort on the pedals was going to rip the derailleur off.  So I ended up stopping a couple of times to see if I could find the problem and losing a lot of time on the steep climbs.  Enough time that Ellen passed me and I had to chase her back down.  I did get around here on the last half lap to take 2nd overall.  

I rushed down to the bike shop only to be told that all my bike needed was lube on the chain.  Seriously, how silly is that to have almost lost the race because my lube wore off.  I am switching to synthetic lube.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Drew miraculously had a holiday off. This has not happened in at least 3 years. It was time to put aside the house projects and enjoy the day.  

We celebrated our U.S.A. Independence by a 7 AM start to a great 2 hour bike ride with the team

after which Drew and I continued up the mountains for another 2+ hours.

Later, we went to a barbeque at the Hypios', for which I made this patriotic and delicious cheesecake dessert.
and I got to wear my hat and flag jewelry. 

It was a good party, plus, in the name of tax revenue, the Utah legislature changed our fireworks laws this year so that we can now blow up bigger stuff.  I was tickled to be able to light off some fireworks I had stored in the garage for a couple of years.  They were big and went boom!  I love this country.

Fireworks are grand, but they don't do good things to our air quality. Check out the spikes in the PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller) chart below (top chart) at about 10 PM each night surrounding the 4th.  We could almost taste it.

Later in the week Drew and I made our first accent of Thaynes Canyon up to Shadow Lake.

There is SO much runoff water high this year but the trails are now open and in great condition.  It is sweet!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Birthweek Activities

Mid-June is a fabulous time to have a birthday. I used to think it was a rotten time, because all the other kids got to bring treats to school and hand them out on their birthdays, thereby getting lots of attention and well wishes. Summer birthday kids didn't get that treatment.  But now I make up for it with lots of fun summer activities around my birthday, so I think June is a great time for birthweek.  Now that I am officially over 40, I have earned an entire week of celebration instead of a single birth day.
I started off birthweek by playing in my backyard to my heart's content. I would not allow myself to feel guilty that I should be training for that little race coming up on August 6.  I worked all day Saturday moving rocks around, fixing sprinklers (yes, the ones we just installed), weeding, and generally producing massive quantities of vitamin D.

Saturday night, Drew came home.  Sunday morning I made a fabulous jalapeno potato salad, edamame succotash, and strawberry rhubarb pie

in preparation for our picnic at Red Butte Garden's summer concert series later that evening featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters.  Sunday afternoon we went for a short ride, and then cleaned up for the concert.

Even though we got to the waiting line for the concert later than I would have liked, I weaseled us down in between some large groups with big blankets, since we were only 2 bodies.  We set up our lawn chairs about 8 rows back from the center of the stage - -PERFECT.  To make it extra perfect, the two people directly in front of us were young boys that were (a) small, and (b) more interested in their Gameboys than the music and therefore content to sit down quietly. Plus they left early. Score. Here is our view of the stage.

What a beautiful venue.  There was plenty of time before the music started to enjoy those salads, pies, and wine.

The opening act was Toots and the Maytals; they were excellent.

Really got the crowd fired up. Here is a video of one of their last songs.  

Time for the main act: Big Head Todd and the Monsters. They were even better! 

I had not been to a live concert in a couple of years and not to a rock concert for many more. I forgot how good and loud concerts feel.  We showed our age by wearing ear plugs!  Here is a little clip of the concert. Check out the wild drummer Brian Nevin. He was on fire.

Birthweek took a hiatus on Monday for me to get a dental filling and work half a day, but birthday Tuesday we were in full form starting with breakfast at Eggs in the City.  I ordered the crepes as a special treat because I had never had them.  They were so good and I said as much to the waiter. He said, "if you come in on your birthday they are free." Hey, what a coincidence!  Free crepes for Lucy.

Breakfast was followed by a bike ride on recently snow-free Park City trails,

and then a drive in my freshly detailed truck

Later we were joined by our kitties while we enjoyed a before-dinner drink our new high deck off the master bedroom,

Birthday dinner was at a restaurant I'd been wanting to try for some time.  Meditrina serves small plates, so we ordered a bunch and they came out one after the other.  I tried to take a picture of each plate:


The SCALLOPS PICATTA — sea scallops in a lemon caper butter sauce over squid-ink spaghetti, was really great but I didn't get a picture of it, because I was still laughing at this

which is Drew eating PICKLED BEETS

 But I thought they were wonderful

We had STUFFED PIQUILLO PEPPERS — Maryland blue crab, marscapone, with a lemon-almond cream sauce.

and I think this was seared TUNA

There was BEEF TENDERLOIN CARPACCIO — with arugula, artichoke heart, red onion, and a whole grain mustard viniagrettem and
CAJUN HOT AND SOUR GREEN BEANS — sautéed with cajun spices, garlic and lemon. 

BACON CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN — over corn, butterbean, and turnip purée with candied pecans.

and one of my favorites was PATATAS BRAVAS — grilled red potatoes with caramelized shallots, spicy tomato aioli, and chili oil, which I did not get a picture of. 

Coupled with two glasses of sangria, it was all good! 

We came home to devour birthday carrot cake from Carlucci's Bakery (they made our wedding cake) before turning out the lights on the pinnacle day of birthweek.

But birthweek was not over.  Wednesday night my teammate Ellen hosted a get together for women on the Revolution road bike racing team and mountain bike racing team. We are the same team with almost the same sponsors, but because of the differences in training and riding requirements for the different types of racing, we hardly know each other.  It was a great way to meet some of the ladies and we got to eat our sponsor Cafe Rio's chow.

Thursday night Drew and I hosted the No-Guilt Book and Dinner Club.  It is a book club but you don't need to read the book (that's the no-guilt part of it). We have dinner before the discussion so the host makes the main entree and others bring sides and drinks.  I chose a Mexican menu and made both chicken and spinach enchiladas.  Oh, and another strawberry rhubarb pie, because that is a Mexican favorite, of course.  Heather made flan. I love flan.

Friday Drew left again so that was the official end of the celebrations.  It was a busy and delicious birthweek that I got to spend mostly with Drew.  What a great way to end #40.