September Race Recap

Fall is HERE!!!!!!!! My favorite time of year! The last race of the TMBRA Texas State Championship Series is a week and a half away, and that will conclude three and a half years of racing in the books. Oh how time flies!

Three weeks ago was the Dave Boyd Huntsville Classic. Throughout the entire spring we were super spoiled by staying in hotels because of the constant racing, week after week, . It was time to break out the camping gear and enjoy mother earth a little bit deeper. All of the previous TMBRA Fall Series race venues (Huntsville, Ruston, Tyler) always bring back such sweet memories! This is where our TMBRA family began to form, and new friendships blossomed. Not everyone likes Huntsville because of its lack of elevation gain, and “technical” features, if you don’t want to include ginormous piles of sand and roots as “technical.”  That is basically what Huntsville is, a SUPER fast, rooty, sandpit. Which, by the way, is perfect for taking a spill in. I got to experience that sand one on one right in my face! I just don’t understand why anybody wouldn’t enjoy going that fast on a mountain bike no matter how “non-technical” it is.  As long as the rubber is rolling on dirt I’m a happy camper!

Carlos’ race went really well! He got a solid start going into the trees somewhere around top ten. Through out the race he began to move up little by little and next thing he knew he was rolling through the finish in fifth in a stacked field of nineteen guys!!! Oh man, it was so exciting! I can’t even describe how much my heart was jumping with joy!

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For the Women’s Pro field we had SEVEN girls! I know to all you boys this seems like a puny number, but that’s HUGE for us! So awesome to see cycling really start to grow for us women.  We have, hands down, the most AMAZING support here in Texas! In numerous races there has been an added payout for the women and not only that, but this past weekend in Ruston, LA there was equal prize money for the Pro Men’s and Women’s Categories! WOW! I’d like say a huge THANK YOU to Jennifer Behling for making this happen right out of her own pocket! And ladies and gentlemen, this is not the first time she has contributed to the women’s prize money. With that being said, my race in Huntsville was fast and FUN! Yes, I got to eat a little bit of dirt, but pushing yourself to the limit is always a blast! I walked away with the win, a nice envelope filled with a little green, a jar filled with a little sand, and an awesome Muscle Milk backpack now filled with a little cycling stuff!

Now Ruston was the real adventure! This is really one of our favorite races and trails of all time. Park Ranger James Ramsaur really knows how to keep a trail in tip-top condition. It’s so awesome that they even blow the trail off to clear it of leaves and pine needles! Between that, the flowy burms, the screaming Tomac Hill, beautiful scenery, pristine soil, and race organization to absolute perfection with Tobin and Jennifer…why wouldn’t you make the drive to the piney woods in Louisiana?

We got the earliest start for the weekend that we could and arrived at the park around 3:30pm Friday, set up camp, and hit the trail. It was all the bit of fun that I remembered! Saturday morning after breakfast and coffee we went out for one last pre-ride before resting up for the Tomac Hill Time Trial (TT) that evening. I was the only girl to do the TT, which was absolutely absurd to me because there was even a payout. So I got to have a little under ten minutes of fun riding my bike as fast as I could and I got paid for it!!! Score! I have to say that I was a bit nervous starting out on Tomac Hill where all eyes are on you and the penalty for failure is pretty high. But I cleaned the drop and had a smooth ride, so I was a happy camper!

Now Sunday was a different story.  The forecast was predicting a high chance of rain overnight Saturday and through Sunday morning. We were crossing our fingers that the weather man would be wrong, as they normally are (sorry weather man, but it’s the truth.)  Before bed we cleaned up camp, left out only what we would need in the morning, and put our bikes along with everything else under our canopy. This was going to be our first time camping in the rain, and it started to come down pretty early. At some point in the night I got out of the tent to tinkle and on my way back, checked out how the canopy was holding up…not very good! Uh oh! There was so much water that it starting caving in on both sides and water was dripping on my bike! So Carlos adjusted the straps and fortunately that fixed the problem before it got ugly. I finally got some good sleep towards the end of the night.

My favorite husband got up early and woke me up with my coffee and oatmeal. What can I say girls, I picked a good one! So we sat in our tent having breakfast waiting for the rain to settle down. It was perfect timing when it stopped, giving us just enough time to tear down our entire campsite, load up the truck, get ready and then realize that our start was earlier than we had thought…oops! So our warmup was pretty non-existent, which is never fun (or good) to start a race cold. But it was what it was.

There were only two of us in the women’s pro field, Jen and myself.  I knew that I didn’t really want to be full throttle for this race because the muddy conditions are still very new to me. The soil is similar to that of Tyler State Park, which I have ridden in the rain before, but I was still a little hesitant to just open up. So I pretty much just kept a steady pace for the whole race. Carlos’ category started two minutes behind us. In my first lap a few of his guys passed me and shortly after Carlos came by. He was looking strong and had a good pace going in third place.  When he passed, he told me his water bottle had popped out of his cage. Uh! Not good.  As the race went on it rained on and off a few times and the trail was getting sloppier and sloppier.  I was in the middle of my second lap when I saw Carlos’ jersey in the distance for the first time since he had gone by me earlier.  I didn’t know what was going on because I knew I wasn’t going any faster than before. I was going back and forth with James, who was in fourth right behind Carlos. Without knowing what Carlos’ race had fully been like, the last thing I wanted to see was us catch up to him and him lose his position. Well, what I didn’t know was that he had slipped on some roots and hit the ground hard in his first lap.  All in all he was okay, just got twisted pretty good. This, in addition to nearly an hour of race pace with no water, and then trying to make up time on the second lap with a super slippery back tire on the climbs made out for him hitting the wall. In the last mile of the trail James rode by him to take third.  Carlos and I crossed the line together, him in fourth and myself in first.

Although it wasn’t the race he had visualized, he still made out with a solid finish, and I had SO MUCH FUN! I know not everyone may feel the same, but I thought the mud was a blast to slide around in! You really got to test your limits in the corners and pray that the mud or slippery roots wouldn’t claim you.  We were dirty as could be, and our bikes needed a whole lotta tender loving care, but it was well worth it! So many memories come from races like this, and they are ones you’ll never forget.

One more XC race for the year in Tyler next weekend will wrap up the season. Hope to see everyone out there…this is one you don’t want to miss!

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Fossil 50 in the Books!

About three and a half years ago when Carlos and I were new to riding, we would venture out to different trails as often as we could. There are several in about a ninety mile radius and we wanted to try them all. One of our favorites has always been Solavaca Ranch and so we figured the trails at Dinosaur Valley State Park would be similar since it’s just down the road from it. This one summer it had rained quite a bit and all the trails in the metroplex were closed. We figured, what better time than now to make the trek to Glen Rose and figure out what this Dino Valley was all about.

When we arrived at the front gate, the park ranger told us that the trails were open…we just had to cross the river to get there. Huh? So we figured it couldn’t be THAT bad. Well, we were totally wrong! In an attempt to cross the very flowy river, we took off our bike shoes, and my knee pads (because YES I did wear knee pads at the time), threw our bikes over our shoulder and started walking across. The water got higher and higher and not even half way across we were already knee-deep. The rocks we were walking on were slick and the current was strong and pulling us to the side.  About half way across the water was up to our hips! Next thing I knew Carlos was yelling at me, “Retreat! Retreat!” I knew it was deep, but I figured we were already this far so why quit now? Then he said, “I got hooked!” I wasn’t sure if I quite heard him right so I said, “WHAT?!? Did you say HOOKED?” He said, “Yes, there’s a fish-hook in the top of my foot!” OMG! Seriously?! So we turned around and made our way back and sure enough he had been caught! There was even a real worm dangling from it…gross! We figured it just wasn’t meant to be and so we rode Solavaca instead. So that is our Dino Valley story and sadly we never went back until last weekend to pre-ride for the Fossil 50. All I can say is it was awesome!!! That’s probably one of my new favorite trails and I’m so glad I’ve been able to ride it so much in the past two weeks!

The pre race meeting was at 7:45am and we figured we would just wake up early and save the money for a hotel room. We had everything packed and ready the night before so we could pretty much just get up and go in the morning. We woke up at 4:15 am and hit the road at 5 am. The start of the race was at 8 am. It was a le mans start where we had to run around a tree, then to our bikes, hop on, then ride through the start loop. (The bottoms of my feet are still sore by the way. I’m going to have to figure out this running in carbon shoes thing before cyclocross season comes around. Ouch!) My competition is never tame here in Texas between Jessica and Christina, who were among the ten or so women signed up. All I knew was that it was a long race and it was going to be HOT, so I needed to stay focused on racing my own race.

The start was fast, which was totally expected. The beginning of endurance races like this are funny, because many times there are a good handful of people who are racing the first hour like it’s the only hour they’re going to be racing that day. So there were lots of crazy, sketchy, and uncalled passes going on. I had guys hitting my leg with their wheel from behind me as if I was the one at the front of the pain train, when really there were about six or seven of us wheel to wheel, and I was smack in the middle. It can be challenging to stay focused within the mayhem and next thing you know I go sliding out in a corner. No damage was done, except for the gap that I created between myself and the group that I was planning on sitting in with on the roads to Dino Valley.

As I finished my lap at the ranch and headed to the highway I could see the bunch up ahead of me. They were so close I could taste it, but I knew I was going to have to put in a big effort to catch them. I got low and started drilling it. I caught up to a guy that was between the group and I and asked if he wanted to work together, but he wasn’t very interested in burning any matches this early on. I rode solo for a bit till a guy from Cadence Cyclery caught me. I’m not sure of his name, but he was awesome to let me jump on his wheel and bridge the gap to the group. Thank you Mr. Strong Cadence Man! As soon as we began to sit in, Jessica and Art (Colonel’s) went off the front. They kept a steady gap and at one point Carlos went to the front of the group to pick up the pace. The group didn’t stay on his wheel and when he realized he was riding solo he dropped to the back with me for a quick recovery.  A few minutes later he told me to jump on his wheel.  Carlos closed the gap and we caught them right as we approached the feed station at Dino Valley. Perfect!

We knew what we had coming at this trail and it can be a little demanding in some spots, so it definitely wasn’t the place you wanted to be fatigued. We backed off the pace a bit and kept it a little more steady. About two miles into the trail, Carlos’ tire starts spitting Stan’s out…bummer! He had a flat and it was too big to seal. I stopped with him and a few minutes later he told me to go ahead. I told him “No,” but about the third time around he was pretty stern about me continuing on without him. (sad face) So, that’s what I did.

I felt pretty good at Dino Valley and even cleared some rocky technical sections that I wasn’t able to get on my pre ride the weekend before! The temperature was really starting to rise and some sections of the trail felt really hot, which made me so thankful when ever I was shaded in the trees. When I got back to the feed station before exiting the park, I stopped for a minute to down a Pickle Pop grab a few flasks of frozen Coke and switch out my bottles. As I hit the park road heading back to the ranch I was nice and re-energized. I had a good pace and finished up Solavaca backwards with a bang…literally. I was almost home free until the second to last turn of the entire race and boom, I slide and bang my knees to the ground. So OF COURSE I was talking to myself out loud saying things like, “Really Lisa?! REALLY?? Here? Uh! You were ALL MOST DONE!” I don’t know how far back I was from Christina and Jessica, which I don’t think was too far since I could see Jess through the trees in parts of the trail. Overall I was really happy with my performance in the heat and despite the two silly falls, I rode pretty well. I can honestly say that working with a coach has helped us a lot! Thank you Bryan Fawley!

Carlos on the other hand had a totally different experience after he flatted. Trying to get his tire to seal he used up most of his CO2, so when he put a tube in and began to inflate it, there wasn’t enough air to get him rolling. Dang. So he waited till a rider came by to loan him some air when Jeff (Cycle Progression) came to the rescue with a cartridge. For some reason this CO2 didn’t work and Carlos was stuck there waiting again. Eventually our teammate, Aaron Anderson rode by. He gave him a cartridge and luckily this one worked and Carlos was able to keep riding. A few miles later as he was going down a pretty rocky descent, a friend of ours had crashed and was just getting up from the ground. Carlos asked him if he was okay, and Gary said he was. The more Carlos rode the more he thought about it, and knew Gary wasn’t okay. So he quickly turned around to go help him. He had crashed pretty badly, and there was another guy there with them too. Carlos was going to help them find their way out of the trail but Larry, the guy that was there, was more familiar with Dino Valley so he led Gary to the aid station.

About fifteen minutes later, Carlos went flat AGAIN! This is when the hike began. After a wrong turn trying to find a short cut out, and lots of hiking in the piping sun, he finally crossed the dry river bottom and found his way back to the trail. A rider stopped and gave him another tube and more CO2. As he was changing his tube, Boyd Wallace was walking by with a flat rear tire. Both him and Boyd were out of water. So as soon as Carlos got himself rolling again he told Boyd that he would bring back some water from the feed station. He made it to our cooler and grabbed water and the extra flask of frozen Coke. He didn’t have to ride to far before he ran into Boyd RIDING! Someone had helped him out with a tube and some air and got him rolling again. Carlos gave him the water and flask and Boyd was good to go!

After finally leaving Dino Valley on his way back to the ranch, he saw Jeff on the side of the road cramping pretty badly. Carlos was able to return a favor and gave him his magic pocket flask of Elete Electrolytes, as he is no stranger to cramps himself! Jeff put a few drops under his tongue and he was able to start pedalling again. Once they were rolling, Carlos offered to pull him back to Solavaca. When they got back he decided his race was over. He was smart enough to realize that he himself was super dehydrated from hiking with no water in the baking sun for so long. All in all he was just happy to be able to help fellow riders. He said, “I guess God didn’t want me to race today. He had different plans for me.”

What an adventure! The format, the venue, the trails, and the race overall were so so cool that I can’t wait for the next Fossil 50! Bryan Fawley did a great job with this one! You DEFINITELY have to put this on your calendar for next year!

Mellow Johnny’s Classic…You live. You learn. You race!

I am absolutely overwhelmed by this past weekend racing at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic. I can not even fully describe how special it is to have so many friends, family, fellow racers and riders, and of course my amazing husband to support me, cheer for me, encourage me, and put a smile on my face around every corner of the trail. I didn’t quite get the result I was looking for, but it’s always a great experience to race the best of the best.

I know I haven’t written in a while, it’s been a mentally and physically challenging past three weeks. I must have superhuman competitors because racing every weekend without a break can really knock the sails out from someone, and I didn’t even do the 6 hr endurance race and short track that some of them did at Waco a few weeks ago.

The weekend after Waco we raced out in Comfort. Last year and this year I have concluded that this particular weekend always feels like one of the longest weekends of the year for me. Friday we pre-rode the entire 27 mile loop out at Flat Rock Ranch. Saturday we took advantage of the Mellow Johnny’s course out at Flat Creek Ranch being open for pre-ride and rode three laps out there. I had been on the fence all week about racing Sunday and I went ahead and signed up anyway. I knew that riding the rocky terrain would help me brush up on my technical skills rather than spectating.

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We were so fortunate to have friends with family who live only about fifteen minutes east of Flat Creek and were nice enough to provide us with beautiful and cozy hospitality. The view was amazing and the area was so quiet and peaceful. That, along with the weather and good company made for a perfect race weekend!

Carlos and I were both racing at the same time but each of our races headed out in different directions on the course. Silly me had ridden the whole course Friday EXCEPT my start loop. Oops! So when the whistle blew we sprinted up a hill and next thing I knew I heard a loud crash just behind me to my right. Jennifer Taylor had been on my right so I knew she had probably gone down, but I didn’t want to look back and cause a wreck myself. So I focused on Jessica who was in front of me so I could see where the start loop was taking us. The first nine miles of the race are pretty rocky and last year was the first time I had to race the complete upper loop. I remember not being able to clear several of the obstacles last year and this year I was happy to be riding a larger portion of the tricky rocks. All in all I had a decent race. My goal had been to work on my technical skills and that I did! I finished in third place, Carlos finished twelfth, and we both went home with tired legs.

We are so blessed to have such a flexible job with some pretty awesome clients and were able to start our weekend off early Thursday and head back to Dripping Springs to hit up another pre-ride at Mellow Johnny’s. The course was flowing better and better. Friday afternoon I got in one more lap. The course felt much different from the day before. You could tell that there was more traffic on the trail, rocks were being thrown around, and lines were getting sloppy. I went over my bars on a loose decent and of course I had to land on the same knee that I injured on my Rockyhill pre-ride. It wasn’t that bad, just a little insult to injury…literally. You know they always say, “A bad pre-ride is a great race.” I just kept repeating that to myself for the rest of the ride. That evening we kicked up our feet and I iced my knee.

Saturday morning was a little chilly. We parked near the top of the newly famous STRAVA climb and Carlos set up my trainer and road bike next to the truck. The Cat 3’s were racing right before us so we got to heckle our friend Lisa and all the others suffering up the climb before I had to get ready for my own race. While warming up it was great to see teammates and friends pass by and wish me luck. I headed down to the start line for 11:30 call ups. I was really excited to see other girls from Texas step up to a race of this caliber. Like I said in a previous post, the talent in Texas is pretty unbelievable! There were three Texas girls on the line and almost a fourth! Unfortunately Melanie Etherton, who would have been number four, had an injury the day before in her pre-ride and she was unable to race. We missed her on the starting line!

The anticipation and hard training from the previous weeks and months was all for this first big race of the year. When the gun went off I took the line on the right and fought through the clouds of dust. Apparently I was a little too far right because I got smacked in the face with a branch…that’s always fun! I was about mid pack before the last right hand turn on the start loop before hitting the road again, when my cleat popped right out of my pedal. AH! I was in such a heavy gear that I almost couldn’t even keep pedaling without being clipped in. As I struggled to catch my pedal again I felt several bikes fly by. NOOOO!! I entered single track near the end of the pack skidding, and flying through the corner out of control. Finally I settled in and calmed myself down. This is not really the type of trail you want to ride over your head, even if it’s to move up a few spots. Crashing wouldn’t have gotten me very far. Up the climbs and in the open spots I was feeling strong. I was able to reel a few girls in and make some passes.

The rest of the race I yo-yoed back and forth with Rebecca Gross who was right in front of me. The crowd was incredible and poor thing was probably so sick of hearing, “GO Lisa!” There was no sneaking up on her! After the race we talked and when I told her I was the one right behind her she said, “You must be Lisa.”

It was a great race, a total learning experience in so many ways, and only 47 seconds away from my Top 10 goal! So after the race I decided to cash in my chips, walk away a winner (in my book at least), and be thankful I was still in one piece. Carlos was racing the next day and I wanted to be all about him! He’s so awesome at taking care of me and being my support system that I couldn’t wait to do that for him. So I set up his trainer and got his bottles and race nutrition ready. His field was pretty large with close to forty guys. The start was super dusty, but thanks to his Oakley Windjackets he was able to see, as opposed to previous years when all the dust got in his contacts! He had a strong, clean race and had a ton of fun! The way that he described his race was, “he had a bad start with a good end result.” He’s always said, “if you race from the back, you will not finish in the front.” I think we both proved that this weekend!

You live. You learn. You race. 🙂

A little over six weeks away and we’ll be in beautiful Monterey, CA for the Sea Otter Classic! Can’t wait!

We would like to thank our AMAZING sponsors, Comedy Defensive Driving, for the generous hospitality, financial support, and promoting safe driving as we train on the road!

Elete Electrolytes for knowing exactly what our bodies need to stay hydrated for ultimate performance!

ESI Grips for your superior comfort and ultra light weight technology…did we mention how bling our bikes look?!?

Honey Stinger for on and off the bike top of the line organic fuel!

Roman Strength for our super sturdy plyometric boxes and equipment for our functional training!

Plano Cycling and Fitness for the best bike maintenance and always keeping us rolling!

We couldn’t do all this without these guys so make sure and support those who support us!

Rockyhill Roundup

The season kickoff for the Texas XC Mountain Bike State Championship Series was this past weekend at Rockyhill Ranch in Smithville, TX. What it really felt like was Exctruciation Exam Part II! The forecast was promising rain, and rain it did…the morning of the race! Sitting in our hotel room staring out the window we contemplated not racing at all. It was still early, around 7am and Carlos’ race didn’t start till 10. We decided to at least be optimistic that it wouldn’t keep pouring down so we switched out our racing wheels that had Specialized Renegades on them to our training wheels that had Specialized Fast Traks. Still not a mud tire, but better than the slick Renegade.

We headed to the ranch at around 8:45 to check out how all the Cat 3 racers looked coming out  of the trail. As they rode in their bikes and jerseys were covered in mud. The start of the race was rerouted to bypass some of the red clay areas that get real bad. Carlos’s loop was going to be one long 18 mile loop so it was commit or quit for him. There was no turning back once he got out there. He suited up and started warming up. The only way to get better at riding in mud is…to ride in mud! We were hoping with the reroutes there wouldn’t be anything bad enough to damage our bikes.Carlos' Start Smithville Carlos starting line smithville

He lined up at the starting area and they were off! As his large group raced up the long jeep road start he was splashed in the face like crazy from the puddles of mud. The first and last quarter of the race were the sloppiest. The back half is generally pretty sandy so it wasn’t too bad after the rain. It was in the back half that he was in a pace line on a jeep road and fixated on the wheel in front of him. He lost concentration for one second and hit a side wall of the trail. It all happened so fast that Carlos went flying and landed on his back. A few guys passed him at that point as he got up and pressed on. In the slippery last few miles of the trail some muddied up roots claimed him. His front tire pulled to one side and he hit the ground. It was a rough race.Carlos Rockyhill

While Carlos was out on his adventure race, I was back at the car getting myself ready. My start was scheduled for noon, but the rain delays from earlier had carried over to our start time and it was now changed to 12:20. I rode around and tried to get a warm up in near the finish area so I could see Carlos come through. He rolled in and it was about five after twelve. I got in a few more quick sprints and lined up.

I saw several new faces, which is really exciting to see the sport growing in the women’s field. Our course was originally supposed to be around 3.8-4 miles and we were racing four laps. Like the other Categories, our start was also rerouted up the jeep road along with a few other sections through the trail. When the whistle blew we quickly formed a line going up the road and I was in third behind Christina and Jessica. When I looked back at the top of the climb we had a pretty good gap from the rest of the group. Lisa DH RockyhillThe trail wasn’t too slick for the first few miles, but the mud on a few climbs felt like it grabbed ahold of your tires and didn’t want to let go. My bike felt so heavy! I had lost sight of Christina and Jessica midway through the first lap and I rode solo the rest of the race. The last few miles of the loop I was starting to regret not taking up cyclocross this winter! I was sliding around like crazy on two sections called “The Grind” which is a big dip, and “The Wall” which is a REALLY BIG DIP! When I saw the tire of the guy in front of me going side to side at the bottom of The Grind I knew I needed to be extra careful. The whole area was really tricky with some off camber turns and wet red clay.Lisa The Grind Rockyhill Lisa Rockyhill

Each lap I could see the leaders on the other side of the trail, each of us hammering in opposite directions on the jeep road, I was heading toward the start/finish and they were going out on their next lap. On my final lap as I was passing a lapped rider I caught a glimpse of an Austin Flyer’s Kit through the trees. I didn’t have any room to let up! Not ever looking back I kept pressed the pace and crossed the finish line seven seconds before Kate Sherwin (Austin Flyer’s.) It was an awesome race with some great competitors!

Podium SmithvilleI am really excited to see such growth in the amount of women that are coming out! There is so much talent here in Texas and I know had there not been any rain that morning even more girls would have been racing.  I’m pretty happy with the results of this race, especially with the conditions, and my training is right on track!  I’m excited to continue to get stronger and to see how the year unfolds.  2013 is going to be full of BIG goals and BIG races!

Crits + XC = Fun Times!!!

Busy! Busy! Busy! Between training others, training ourselves, and all the other fun stuff in between we’ve got a heck of a lot going on! So we apologize for the delay in race reports. Over three weeks ago we kicked off The Irving Criterium Series. So for the next six or seven months our Wednesdays will be set aside to hammer it as hard as we can for some awesome high intensity training! It’s been really cool to see such an improvement in our fitness from last year to this year. Last year was the first time we had raced a crit and I have such awful memories of just holding on for dear life, grasping for air, all in horror of getting dropped…which OF COURSE I did (and more than once)!!! : / Last year the “C”Race was my challenge, so of course I had to start with that again this year. When the race was over my body said, “OK, I’m ready to race now!” I felt like such a wimp for watching even the junior kids do the “C” Race AND THEN the “B” Race! LOL So the next week I stepped it up and did just the “B.” Again, I felt great and was so proud that I could hang on with their 25+mph speeds in a group of 70! This was a major stepping stone for both of us this season to be on the road in such a large group. Talk about different from racing solo in single track! Carlos has been doing awesome by racing both “B” and “A!”  I decided last week to bring on the suffering and follow his lead, so I entered the “A” Race also and hung on as long as I could. Last week my computer clocked both races at over 26 mph avg!  So far so good with the Wednesday night crits. We’re ready for another good one this week and temperatures have been awesome!

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A few weeks ago we raced in Coldsprings, TX at Double Lake Resort. We’ve done this race in the past so we knew what to expect out of the trail. There’s not much to it besides being on the gas the entire 12+ miles. I still can’t think of a single spot where you can let up. Not to mention a section of single track was taken out this year due to some major muddy spots and in place of it was a little over a mile of jeep road, besides the other sections of jeep road that were already in the course…hence the “being on the gas” part! Rumor is that some don’t like this race because it’s not technical enough. I personally think they don’t like this race because it is a true test of fitness. With that being said, the turn out was really small, not to mention there was also the famous Ouachita Challenge this same weekend out in Arkansas. I’ve never raced it before, but I heard it’s pretty awesome! Anyway, in my race there were only two of us. Kim was having trouble getting a new tire she had recently mounted to seal so she knew that this might cut her race short. Unfortunately it did so I was left racing solo. I didn’t know this so I kept trying to push my own pace so I could at least compare my time to the guys that were also doing three laps. I went into this race trying to turn in a solid time. At the end I was really happy about my performance and my time and how great our training is coming along.

Carlos’ race was a smaller race as well. He had sixteen guys in his field and nine out of the top ten in the TMBRA standings were in the line up. It was a very fast, fun race and Carlos took 11th place. He was disappointed because he’s been struggling with his starts and this race was no exception. It really cost him not to get a front position before going into the trees. All in all, his time was really solid and his fitness is definitely there! He knows he still has areas he needs to work on but ultimately it was a great day of racing!  We both thank God for every race or ride that we can walk away and tell you guys about!

Solavaca

The weather is starting to finally feel like spring and the temperatures couldn’t be better! Despite all the rain that has kept our trails closed, there is plenty of road to be ridden! Last weekend was the fourth race of the TMBRA State Championship Series, the Cat Claw Classic at Solavaca Ranch in Glen Rose, TX. Now does that name sound familiar?!? If you’ve read our “About Us” page then you know that happens to be the place that started it all! With all the rain that we mentioned above, the race was up in the air with a high chance of getting rained out and possibly being cancelled. Not only that, but Carlos and I got some sort of stomach bug in the middle of last week. He got it MUCH worse than I did with almost 103 degree fever, hot sweats, body aches and just all around crappiness. It was TERRIBLE! He even lost 5 lbs from his average 165 lbs weight! I was well enough to go to work the next day and when I came home he had the nerve to tell me he was going to race the local Wednesday Night Irving Crit! I told him he had lost his mind and the only reason he could say that was because he was lying on the couch not having to use an ounce of energy! LOL The second he stood up to walk around he quickly said, “You’re right. I don’t think I’m racing tonight.”  But from now on you can expect mid-week race reports because the local crit series has begun! I didn’t pre-register for Solavaca because despite the stomach bug, I also didn’t know how my elbow was going to feel since I hadn’t been on my mountain bike since my crash at Mellow Johnny’s. We went ahead and drove out there Saturday to check out the trail conditions since we are pretty familiar with the trail and know that the several creek crossings were going to make things pretty slippery.  They had about 8 inches of water in them. Considering the circumstances the trail was in tip-top shape thanks to all the work that Mack put into it. My elbow felt pretty good for most of the ride. It was only towards the end that my stitches felt like they were going to rip apart, but I knew a little bit of Aleve would help. For this one we decided not to camp since Glen Rose is practically a local race. (It’s only about 90 miles away.) We had an 8:30am start time which meant we had to wake up at around 4:30am. Compared to our normal Monday-Friday this is actually sleeping in an extra hour for us! : )

Sunday morning we got to the ranch right before the sun came up and we had plenty of time to get ready and get a good warm up in.  Carlos had told me to go ahead and let whoever wanted to lead get out in front of me and really focus on just riding my own race. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel since my riding time had been drastically cut down since after the Comfort Race which was at the end of February. Despite my asthma giving me a little bit of trouble, my legs felt great! Jessica set the pace and we pretty much rode together the entire first lap. Going into the second lap I got stuck behind a few riders in one of the few technical spots on the trail and she was able to open up a gap on me.  I kept my focus on staying steady and not blowing up. Later, my chain dropped as I was climbing up out of one of the deeper creek crossings. I put my chain back on, got back on my bike, and right away knew I needed to get off again and spin my wheel because my chain was in the wrong gear. Not sure how long this all took, but it felt like FOREVER!   The trail was so much fun that morning and it was really cool to hear your tires roll as you would rail a corner.  I was really enjoying being back on my mountain bike! It was a fun steady ride and I ended up a little over two minutes behind Jessica, coming in second place.

Carlos broke the golden rule which is not to make any changes to your bike right before a race. The Specialized Demo Truck was at the ranch on Saturday and he hopped on one of their bikes and really liked the way the stem was set up on it. That night he made some changes on his own bike and said, “tomorrow’s race is a test.”  He positioned himself all the way in the back on the starting line. As I was standing behind him I even thought to myself, “why in the world is he all the way in the back?” But I knew he would have his reasons. His group had 28 total and he ended up in 16th place. He absolutely loved the way the bike handled and said to me that this race was the confidence booster that he needed. He felt great  both physically and mentally during the race.  Accomplishing both of these things in a race isn’t always easy. We have definitely realized that this is where experience shines over fitness. We both understand that it is going to just take time for us to catch up in this way to some of those that have been racing for several years.  The one thing that we really want to focus on is to have fun and learn to ride like we train! Riding and racing is supposed to be fun, and every once in a while you have to take a step back from being so serious about your training and racing and just give yourself a break. We both definitely used this race as a break for some breathing room just to see how it would all turn out to JUST HAVE FUN! There were no time-splits, no hard passes, and no added pressure! Just what we needed!

Wherever you are, we hope you are having a great week! Pictures will be posted soon!

Guess What?!?

First things first, Happy Friday!! I hope everyone has had a great week! We are on the road to Comfort, Tx for race #2 of the TMBRA series. Training was good this week and the forecast once again looks promising for another awesome race! We’re camping this time and I can’t wait! We both love that part about racing!
Ok, now guess what?!? Next weekend, what was going to be just race #3 of the series has now turned into the most important race of my life…so far. For those of you who don’t know and haven’t checked our Facebook page, my license has been upgraded to PRO!! Now I can compete in the Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT)! God is so amazing and He keeps blessing us with all these opportunities! The old saying states, where there is a will there is a way, but really, when it’s His will there is definitely a way! Now I’m sure if you have read the “About Us” part of our blog you know that things have happened SO fast! So, is his overwhelming? ABSOLUTELY! But it is definitely EXCITING! Now we all know how important sleeping is for training, and this news has sure kept me awake! LOL : ) A new element has been added to our training…outreach. This outreach is to help us afford traveling and racing. But I tell you what, two weeks ago we had no idea this was going to happen so soon. So if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing, trusting in Him!
So on that note, we hope you guys have an awesome weekend and get to enjoy some beautiful weather wherever you are! Stay posted for a race recap and pictures!

P.S. Lalla, we’re working on a Plopper fan page ; )

Race Pics From Warda!!!

Hi guys! I hope everyone has had a great week so far! After a super cold race weekend, the temperatures have been AMAZING this week! We have been able to get in some really great training rides in this beautiful weather! Today is our day off, so as I promised here are more pictures from the Warda Race, even more will be coming this weekend…I hope you guys like them!!!