Trek Women
September 25, 2007

Last Race of the season

The Single Track Escape race was my third and final race of the season.  After my chain got stuck in mile one, and I crashed in mile two, the race went really well and I got 6th place in the women's sport division.

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It was the most technical race I have done, due to the tight turns and narrow tree passages.  I don't really know what happened to my chain in the first mile, but it kept rubbing on my frame and I couldn't get it to stop.  I had to hop off my bike to fix it apparently.  As soon as I got off, there seemed to be no problem, so I got back on and tried to catch the ladies who had just passed me.  After the race I looked at my frame and it had gotten scratched up pretty bad from my chain rubbing.  Nothing a little touch up paint can't semi-fix though. 

The fall I took in mile two was kind of funny.  I had to really haul butt after my technical problems, so I was going pretty fast. I was excited and confident that I had caught and passed three lady riders.  Still going pretty fast, I got a little too close to the edge of the trail and...BANG!  Just like that I was on the side of the trail and my bike in the middle of the trail with the handle bar completely twisted around.  The end of my handle bar had clipped a small tree trunk.  It happened so fast I had no time to react; I just went where physics wanted me to go.  It didn't hurt (well my shoulder was a little sore the next day), but my biggest concern was getting my bike out of the trail so the riders behind me would not have an unnecessary obstacle to roll over.

The riders I had worked so hard to pass just moments before, were now ahead of me again.  I didn't waste a second, got back on my bike, and was determined to pass as many of them as I could (especially this one girl who looked like she was 12 years old; I wasn't about to be beat by a 12 year old! Humiliating!).

The rest of the race went really well and I worked my way up to 6th place in the end. The best part was passing this rider in the last mile.  As I came up on her, I recognized her from my very first race at Buck Hill.  She had gotten first place in the race, and beat me by like ten minutes.   I couldn't help but smile when she got stuck in a tight turn and I passed her with a polite "thank-you".  She might have been having a really bad race, but I prefer to think that I beat her because I am becoming a better rider.

With the racing over for the season, it is time to think about next year.  I hope to keep riding enough to do really well in some races next year.

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My friend Lindsay did great in her race, especially since it was her second mountain bike race ever. Third place finish, good job.  Lindsay, you really should race more, you're pretty good.  Her boyfriend, Scott, was in the sport race with me.  He raced single speed and got third, even after an unfortunate short ripping experience. If you see him, ask him how he had time to leave the trail, go to his car, change shorts, and still place third.

September 21, 2007

It's hard to say "Goodbye"

Sadface Well, I just said goodbye to one of the most special things in my life...my road bike.  Remember that blue, fast bike that I purchased after I gave back the stolen one? (read "I stole my first bike" blog)  Well, that blue beauty is gone now.  Out of my life forever.  I put him in a box and mailed him away to some guy in Oklahoma. It was really hard to let him go.  I apparently had a big attachment issue.  Some people can go through bikes like pairs of socks, but I develop relationships.

That bike meant a lot to me because it was such a big part of my life.  We went on endless rides together.  It took me up into the mountains and through the city traffic.  I rode it to work, to class, to soccer practice and even to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July.  My very last ride with it was yesterday to the Minneapolis Public Library.  Man, I am going to miss that bike.

Today, I wanted to go mountain biking, but I didn't have time to load my bike up and drive to the trails.  I had to do some form of biking today...I have the Single Track Escape bike race tomorrow, and I don't want stiff legs.  I ended up going to extreme measures...I took my mountain bike for a road ride!  Just picture me on my Trek Fuel Ex (yeah, it's full suspension) going around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. Well some of you don't have to imagine, because you saw me. Yeah, I know what you were thinking when you gave me that strange look.

Just because my road bike is gone, doesn't mean you won't see me out on the roads.  I will just have to have to make a few compromises and adjustments till I get my new road bike. (won't be till December or January)  More discussion about the new road bike possibilities later.

It is kind of silly, but I hope to see my blue road bike again someday.  A reuniting of some sort.  Who knows, it could happen.  But until that day, farewell.

Keep Riding!

Note to new owner in Oklahoma: Treat him nice!

September 17, 2007

Chequamegon 40

This weekend I rode in the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival held in Hayward and Cable WI.  Don't worry about the pronunciation...if you are not from Wisconsin, you won't say it right.

The race was through off road trails that went through the beautiful forests of Northern Wisconsin.  The weather turned out to be perfect, despite the cold frost the night before.  There were thousands of cyclists who showed up to race, including the pros.  I got to meet and chat with Lea Davison, who is on the Trek VW Pro Team.  She was way cool!  I also got to see guys like Travis Brown and Gary Fisher! The whole scene was just amazing.

Now, for the race...  I did better than expected, considering it was only my second race ever. It was 40 miles long, but it flew by.  The trails were fast and fun. Rolling hills the whole way. The best part was being surrounded by other riders the entire race.  There were 1700 riders in the race, and unless you were at either end, you were surrounded.  It was great!  I even passed about 20 people in the last 3 miles.  I ended up getting third in my age group (18-24 yrs).  Lea Davison got first in my age group...and she's a pro rider!  (There was a 45 minute gap between our times, but that is beside the point).  I went to the awards ceremony and they gave me a nice plaque for my third place finish.  It was a nice touch for the end of a great day.

I am really starting to like this whole mountain bike racing thing.

Keep Riding!

September 10, 2007

A Little Shop Talk

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I have long since determined that a good bike shop is not only filled with excellent products, but also excellent people. 

From chain grease and patch kits to wheel sets and aero bars- Getting the right product (at the right price) is always the number one concern.  Names, companies, and designs change from shop to shop, but for the most part, you can get something that works for you in any one of them. 

What makes one bike shop different from the next, I believe, is the service that you get. Do the employees acknowledge you when you walk in?  Do they offer assistance or direction? Are they willing to spend time with you whether you want to drop a dollar on a power bar, or a couple thousand dollars on a bike?  Do women get the same attention and service as men?

To me, it is important to feel like the bike shop wants me, not just my money.  When they ask how my bike is treating me, it is not just a fancy “hello”.  They really care and want to know how the bike is performing (especially if they sold it to me).  I also think it is important, as a woman, to be listened to. I don’t want some kid showing me the line of comfort-hybrid bikes when I told him I like to mountain bike.

Getting the products you need for all your biking adventures is very important- but just as important are the people in the bike shop that help you get what you need.

What do you think?  I would love to hear your opinions.

Keep Riding!

   
September 4, 2007

"Don't try this at home"

I came across this video clip on the internet. Check out the crazy things this lady does on her bike!  It is amazing. You go girl!