Mountain, Cross and Shuffleboard Nats

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I could not see more than 10 feet in front of me between fog, mist and my fogging glasses, but I got in a lap this morning. The climbing is really going to suck, literally, with all the mud. They added more steep ups at the start finish from last year. With the mud, it may be like cyclo-cross run ups :(. The single track enchanted forest was slippery, but quite doable and kind of fun in a cowboy mountain bike kind of way. In it's current state, it may not be worth pushing too hard in there on race day. Many wet roots on off cambers and turns. I came out the section feeling mentally charged. The forest may be the best part of the course, although most people I talked to, said it was their least favorite. Weather is supposed to lift by late afternoon today. I am looking forward to a few sunny days. :)
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I raced early this morning. Temps were perfect ( 55-65 degrees ), sun shining. Much of the open roads dried out nicely. The very short section of rooty single-track held some moisture, but the deep mud firmed up. The deep woods roads were still wet, but not deep mud. So overall, course was in great shape.

I had 4 women in the 60-64 age group and I diced it up the entire race with the winner. I felt pretty good and gave it all I had, but my fitness could not get me up the climbs any faster than she could. We must have gone back and forth 8 or 9 times. It was very exciting. I am so glad to have a carrot to chase. It helped push me for sure. The course is 80% boring roads, and not really a race that suits my strengths. So before even seeing results, I sense that I did ok. I do not think that I could have pushed too much harder, and I rode pretty clean on the few sections that were challenging. Fitness wise, I could have ridden faster in the woods, but with all the wet roots, I just tried to keep it upright. I passed other racers and no one passed me on a downhill or tech section. Actually, that is where I caught up to other racers including the winner.

My team mate got 2nd place as well. Art's class was large so we will need to see official results to see how he did. I'll give more of a recap when results are in. For now, I am chilling and kind of glad to have the race done.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
When I got up this morning, Tom announced that it was 52 degrees outside. That is a tad chilly for an Arizonian! Getting ready to go, I was on the fence about warming up with arm warmers. I put them on and took them off several times in the truck. Then for once, a hot flash came at a perfect time: no arm warmers it was and that was a good choice as I did not need them ever. We got our legs marked, met my competitors, and off we go.

I always feel like I get dropped off the start, but I settle in and find a place. There are tons of roads to make passes. Actually, the course is 80% roads.:(
As soon as it went up I made some passes and got sight of the leader and started reeling her in. I eased up before a steep ramp and she went out of sight. As I entered the single track I saw her approaching from off the course. Apparently she over shot the entrance. I starred passing right away trying to put people between us, but she was a strong rider and I could here her breathing through the whole trail. I passed a racer, she passed the racer too. We had 2 ladies in front of us so I could not ride faster, but that was good because any faster and I would have been flailing and slipping on roots.

As soon as I got on the road, she made a pass. I managed to keep her in sight and reeled her back in on the machine made roller coaster downhill. There was a short cut over flat rocks that made for a better set up at the exit and she missed it and ended up in the tape. I rode right by and clued her in where she should go next time. I am not sure if that was a good idea, since she ended up beating me, but that is just the way I fly.

She passed me up the next climbs, but just as soon as I thought she got away, I saw that I was still close. I reeled her back in by root single track and rode her wheel all the way down. She was a good rider for sure. On the road it looked like she was gassing out so I passed her. We went back and fourth several times. I am a steady type and usually do not do that sort of thing, but it was good and pushed us both. I saw the downhill coming and made a major effort to pass and take the lead. She passed me back for the last time on the middle climb. I tried to reel her back in, but did not see her on roller coaster. Once out on the last climb, I could see her and shadow her pace, but not close in. I was at my fitness limit.

I ended up 42 seconds back from her, but shaved 7 minutes off of my time from last year on the same course. I went into this race feeling Iike I would do worse than last year, but I was better for sure. My time was competitive in the younger age groups too, which is a huge accomplishment, especially on a year when I have been struggling with fitness. I would have loved to win, but being beat and putting in a good race is better than not going at all.

I just took a walk in the woods and this is a beautiful place! I wish more of the race was actually in the woods and not just on roads. I said it 10 years ago and I will say it again: "I doubt I will race here again".
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I have had a week to let it all sink in. Although, I would have loved to grab the top spot at nationals, I am still pleased with my race, and glad that I went. Racing should be racing, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be out there giving it all I got. In the past few years that has been a little less than previous years, which I am willing to accept, but may still want to improve. Not sure what is up with my health or whatever is causing fatigue and my inability to get back in shape, but I am not giving up yet. My doctor seems to think the vitamins I had been taking for the past year were causing some sort of shut down. Not sure I completely buy that, but I am keeping an open mind. I have been off the vitamins for 2 weeks and if it ever stops raining, I will get riding more and see what happens.

After looking at my Strava, I confirmed a few things. Even with my fatigue/long race issues, I belong in the cat 1 race. Some of my downhill segments were pro fast. I know how to ride the bike, use momentum, and ride efficiently like a Cat 1. It is just my fitness that is not there, and it shows in my climbing. I actually used to be a good climber. Not so much these days.

This week Art and I raked and cleared 1/2 mile of new trail. We are trying to get some new sections in, and old sections re-routed before the festival. We will be working on July 29 and Aug 19 to get the reroutes done, and Thursdays on the new trail. Hoping to have things greatly improved for this years festival.

During all yesterdays rain, we started stripping wallpaper in our bathroom. Say goodbye to cathedral ceiling height blue lilacs. They were really annoying and way too busy for my taste. A few days to let the walls dry and will continue painting on the next few rainy days. While we stripped, our pond flooded. Luckily it did not come close to the house. It just flooded over the dam onto the lawn near the spillway. All the gates were open and the overflow spillway were running. There just was too much volume for the spillway. A heron was fishing in the flood waters.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
The bathroom project continues... We have not been working on any schedule other than: if it rains, we work inside. If it is nice out, we work on the trail or ride. The holes were patched, and walls sanded. There was a heavy coat of sizing under the wall paper. I worked all day to remove a 3 foot section only to find out that it was not glue but sizing. Art informed me that it was ok to sand and paint on top. You can not see in the picture because of the scaffold, but Art added a window sill and pillar trim ( pictured ). We painted a medium shade on just one wall and a light shade on 3 walls. If we feel we get enough light we may add another wall of medium. I like the medium color better, but Art feared it was too dark. We will think about it until the next rainy day, and then need to wrap it up.

Lots of new trail to build, and hoping to get a few sections opened for the festival. Art is actually out working now. I did not go. I felt like I needed a day off. I have a blister on my thumb that is very minor, but I have not taken a day off and it just will not heal. I also clipped a tree with my handlebars and went down in a weird way. It's like I fell up onto a bank and slid down with my arm up, and strained something in my shoulder. I do not think anything is seriously damaged. I just did not want to overdo things.

It has been a month on the new bike, so I had Art trim my handlebars and fork down to where they seem comfortable. Hopefully I will not hit any more trees this week. It has been a great week for wildlife sightings on the trail. I saw a great big bear out on the Red trail in Ringwood on Monday. He was big enough that I waited for him to move off. He was grub hunting out on the rocks by the lookout. I also saw a rattlesnake at Sterling today. I am appreciative of having these cool places to ride my bike where I get to visit with some wildlife in nature.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Yesterday was 3 weeks since racing at nationals. I was pretty flat on the bike for 2 weeks after the race. I was beginning to wonder if I would get my energy back, and at exactly 16 days after the race, I bounced back. I had a great road ride over the weekend that felt like old times, but without the high end fitness. It was really nice to ride into Harriman and not have to struggle to get back. Today was equally enjoyable riding all of Sterling including an out and back on the new section. I had not been up the new section since spring. Wow, that crew has built a lot of cool trail. They really inspire me! I wish I was a little younger and stronger and able to build that quickly and professionally. They do great finish work. Hopefully I can bring that into my work at Ringwood. Last night at Dirty Thursday we punched out a good section just 4 of us, and 2 of us were women.

At a meeting with my supervisor from the hiking group, there was talk of possibly creating stipend/grants for supervisors. This concept is not new, My brother builds in Vermont and gets paid. I know a bunch of people that would rather build trail for minimum wage than work at the grocery store. Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933-1942 took unemployed men out into the woods to build our forest roads. There are a few similar programs today. However, there may be issues finding enough qualified leaders. Well, food for thought.

I was hoping to race Peter Pounder this Sunday. Art crashed out of SSusa, so not sure he will want to go back if it is raining. So I will see. I have raced in the rain many times, but these days, I tend to skip the rainy races because I have been there, done that, and would rather save the trails for a better day. I do not condemn all those that race in the rain. I just no longer need to prove anything to myself on every little race or ride.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Bathroom: Wallpaper is off, walls painted and the window trim reworked. That is about all we can afford right now. As much as I thought I hated the marble, it looks ok once the wallpaper went away. The shower had been redone by the previous owner within the last decade, but everything else is 1988. The vanity is eighties modern formica with plastic pulls and a mirrored medicine cabinet with eighties glamour lights. That is the only light here that has not been converted to LED, and we use it all the time. So, maybe a new vanity and light fixture in a few years if we have another monsoon season in NY. For now, we are out of rainy day projects! I hope it stops raining so I can go build trail and ride my bike.
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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Yeh, that silly fixture takes 8 bulbs and because they are visible, I did not replace them with the odd shaped Phillips LED bulbs like elsewhere. I got some eccosmart at HD that were the ordinary shape and half have blown in the first few years, so I am sticking with any other brand right now.

Thanks for the box idea! I actually have a visual plan for the vanity space with upper cabinets and it would involve a shorter light fixture and an overhead light in the soffit. We will have an extra wire/box when we take the time to take out the track lighting on the ceiling. ..... but next year.