The Laguna Mountains in August

Supposedly this is the coldest summer on record in 100 years. Any other summer it would be too hot to ride Noble Canyon mid day in August. It might not be the best year to swim in La Jolla Cove, but it might be the best summer to mountain bike. Saturday, we headed up the side of Mt. Laguna for a chance to ride Indian Creek and Noble Canyon. I think Tim was trying to get to second base or something. Note the lack of shirt. He also refused to shave for several days, said it fit with the mountains and it was manly. He suggested I do the climb portion of the ride without my jersey. I told him no way, I didn't bring any protection (sunscreen).

He's really happy in the below picture. I flatted, which allowed him to ride one of his favorite parts of the ride twice.Of note, a hot moutain bike tire is much easier to change than a room temp 650c Michelin. So easy, I already had the tire changed when I saw him coming back. I thought about using my CO2 but who needs that much pressure in a moutain bike tire. Tim had the pump and we were off again in a jiffy. 

On another note, we have to find a new place to live as our current rental is being sold. Tim found a place on Craig;s List near where we like to ride. It's a double wide for $1500/month, but if we are willing to feed the cow's and emu's we could have a discount on the rent. Seriously people, feed the cow's and emu's for a discount. They could at least have some free range chickens or something.

Soon we were at Penny Pines. Home of the best artesian well west of the Mississippi. We refilled our water and had our version of a picnic in the mountains, a warm almond butter and honey sandwich on sprouted grain bread. After 3,000ft of climbing it sure tasted good.

Then it was time for dessert. The single track descent. We earned it and we ate it up. I love mountain biking. When you ride a "technical" section it feels like you are a legend of your time. After watching the video, I confess, I am only a legend of my mind.

But whatever, I am not hurting anyone.  Maybe if we believe in our minds we are doing something really spectacular we are better off.

 Last week I shared a lane in long course masters with a man who insisted he swam 1 meter/second. That would be a 1:40/ hundred meters (not yards, meters). I let him lead because I don't repeat on the 1:40. We hit the wall at 2:00 minutes. He said without cracking a smile that we were repeating on the 1:40. I thought maybe I miscalculated and followed him again. This time I threw in some drill work so I didn't run him over. We hit the wall at 2:05. He still insisted it was the 1:40. I confessed to Coach Terry what was happening. I was having a hard time not choking on the water I was laughing so hard. We decided whatever floated his boat was fine, unless of course he was a math professor.

 Tim and I are adopting some rules and doctrines by which we mtn bike.
 # 1 Single track is sacred and it shall not be disrespected with conversation.

Singing however is legal. It's actually performance enhancing and I was singing!
My tune: Video Killed The Radio Star

Xterra Snow Valley Race Report

A few years ago I watched Tim do an Xterra. It was painful even to watch. I swore I would never ever do an Xterra. Truth is I lied. I lied. So Xterra Snow Valley it was.
Mountain Oasis.

The coolest part of Xterra Snow Valley is the swim. The lake is part way up the mountain. I actually did not feel like death on the swim this time. Considering the swim was at 7,400 ft of elevation, I call it good. Tim had the "bestest" swim start ever. While most people flocked together on the shallow side of the lake. Tim figured out it was deeper on the other side. He started on the shore. When the count down began he ran and dove into the water. He had a ton of momentum and swam off the front of the pack. That was cool! My wave started 3 minutes behind so I sort of copied. Sort of, because I didn't sail through the air carrying the same momentum into the water like Tim.

In T1, I took my time in transition. I figured this race was going to require some anaerobic efforts and I would need to keep my heart rate down when I could. For the first time in my triathlon life I put on gloves in transition. I didn't want my hands to slip during rough terrain. We climbed to the top of the mountain on a sandy fire road. I spun along like it wasn't sandy feeling pretty good and smooth. Some fast girls drop me. I was nose picking and they were butt kicking or something. Ouch. Some day , no nose picking, just bitt kicking.

Once at the top it was time for a quick descent. It went directly down the fall line. No switchbacks. I didn't really appreciate the course going this way because "ANYONE CAN GO STRAIGHT DOWN A BLACK DIAMOND." It's the turns where the craft is. Oh wait, that's skiing. I'm confusing my sports again.

 I was lucky enough, to start descending behind this girl who was AWESOME. Clearly she had skill. She knew the line and was NOT afraid to pass the boys. The  boys who were white knuckling the brakes and having a rear tire skid fest. I am a chicken about passing but monkey see, monkey do. I did like she did. I dropped the boys.  A little while later we climbed and the girl climbed away from me. I guess if I'm going to go anywhere in sport I better start dropping girls. The boys are too easy and drafting men isn't legal.
 After going over a bunch of bouncy bumps. I shifted and threw, literally threw my chain off to the outside. Me...and Andy Schleck, we do those things. I had to stop and put it back on. The chain was in a precarious position and I understood how a chain could break. Early in the ride some point I noticed I lost my nutrition. I was carrying two gels. I had a hydration pack with 35 ounces of water with a ZYM Catapult tablet and that was it. I drank all of my water and I hoped for the best. I'm not sure when a good time to take in the nutrition would have been anyway, so maybe this just made things simple. I sound like such an amateur dropping my chain and nutrition, oh wait. I am an amateur.Duh!

I was excited for trail running I love trail running. The run was not at all what I imagined. It didn't have any rhythm or flow. The terrain wasn't just steep, it was rough. Many of the descents had ditches at the bottom so you couldn't carry your speed with ease. Some parts were to steep to run. I thought I was doing terrible as the run wasn't going like I had imagined it would. When I had to walk I kept questioning if it was really necessary or if I was giving up. It was all so confusing. I didn't know if I was trying too hard or not trying. I didn't know where in the world I was going. It was much easier to run when somebody was in front of me. Then I could copy. I tried to just focus on running when I could and hurdling the ditches. I was so glad I did the 300 hurdles in high school. Even if I fell a few times in high school and was made fun for falling in addition  to being a 100 pound weakling, who was short with freckles, glasses, and good grades. Who was actually cool in high school anyway?

There was a girl in green ahead of me and at some point I caught her. Then she ran faster. We started to race. A half  mile out, I decided to surge a bit. I thought I can hang tough for 800 meters. 2 laps around the track. Note to self: 800 meters on a track does not equal 800 meters at Xterra. I offed myself on the next climb. I started to make a funny noise breathing, my internal organs felt like I splashed them with icy hot. I thought I was going to pee myself. I walked for a moment. It's only acceptable to pee yourself yourself if you are winning. That's the rules right?

The green girl passed me. I started to run again. Soon it was a down hill to the finish. Not an easy downhill. One that would be easy to trip and somersault down. I saw Tim. He yelled "Get that girl, she is in first place". She was really in second but all I could think was: I should have just peed myself. I was in first place. Turns out we were really in second and third in our age, not first. I started charging, hurdling ditches left and right. I tired not to stutter step and hurdled with my non- dominant leg forward. That leap was off kilter and my leg sort of buckled. Darn it, the gap opened a bit. I regained my composure and I felt like I was flying into the finish. I really liked the downhill race to the finish. I was 3 seconds too slow but I thanks to the race into finish with Stephanie (formerly know as green girl) I went faster than I would have alone. So fast, I even chicked my husband on the run.
I'm the figure in black, 3 seconds back.

Cheers to Age 30-34 winners and my new Facebook friends.

Big Bear Fun

Saturday Tim and I headed to Big Bear for the Snow Valley Xterra race. We decided to take full advantage of the few hour drive by heading up Saturday morning. We couldn't really just sit around in Big Bear "resting" knowing there were miles of single track to be explored. So we came up with an idea. Lift Service. Technically it's cheating, but it sure was fun.

Mtn biking is like playing. I couldn't wait.

My bike "Fat Tire Flossie" loves single track.

I'm not sure she loves hanging upside down from the chair lift though.
I asked Tim if he thought "Fat Flossie" was scared. He said "No way"

The miles went by pretty quickly. It wasn't quite all down hill. 20 miles of single track snuck up on us quickly. Time to call it a day and rest up for tomorrow.