Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Epic and some more... of riding!

It all started with a great idea, then the idea grew a bit to lets ride from Moose Mt. Road to Top of Norquay ski hill in Banff, connecting all our favorite trails somehow! The Idea was never really research in much debt from my side, but I'm big fan of point to point epic rides, so I trusted it would be a day of awesome riding, and epic it was!

The ride was sent out to a few folks but it ended up being Jon, Craig and my self. They stopped by the house around 7AM to start early, we had some food and a few little bike fixes to do. I still figured we had plenty of time do all the logistics around car drop etc and riding before the end of the day. I ended up changing my mind about the big bike vs the broken 29er in the last minute, chose the 29 with a bit of a dummy fix (getting good at this fix), and it would be a great choice! We got on the road just after 8AM so lots of time left in the day. First stop Banff to drop of my truck. Then we ventured back towards Calgary, and to Moose Mt. Rd to get started with the day. On the way we stopped at Barrier Lake to do a drop off of some drinks and snack for later. This would be approximately half way of our day we figured. I thought Id heard a six or so hour day, so I left a can of orange pop, that should be a good addition to the two bottles I had with me, and get me to the Husky on Highway for some more supply.
Jon and Craig and my self finally ready to get going. We started out with Pnuma, climbed up the lower section, then the upper part which I don't think I've done before. It was technical and steep in parts and I felt we were going at a pace I wasn't sure I'd be able to sustain for the day, but tried to keep up. We came out somewhere on Moose Mt, and from there on I'm not sure I'll use the right names of trails we did as it was mostly new stuff for me. We descended something I have done before (double track down to Moose Packers).
We then started climbing up Moose mt, my favorite (well I think, as far as I recall) part of the day. Under Jon's hand in the picture there some awesome switchbacks and behind there an awesome hike-a-bike section up to the summit! Truly Epic! And I was in heaven!
 We made it to the "Helli pad" and a little bit further before the first hike-a-bike started. Not a very long section up to the Summit, a few hikes, and a couple of guys on bike was coming down, but probably did an in an out, and maybe that is a smart thing to do.
A quick call and a breather to discuss options on where to go next. In my head I had no clue, looking around it seemed like the only way was back out the way we came. But Nope! Craig knew there was a route across the scree slope, as he did this 9 years ago (which all along I thought was 1 year ago! Not only did he remember that, he also remembers there is a trail from the gas plant up to Jumping pound. And according to Jon, since he had done the topo research, it should be mostly downhill!! Ha ha..
So we ventured out on the scree! We planned on not loosing too much elevation as far in the distance and some closer too, we saw some cliffs and would like to come from the top rather than have to be stuck under. I think that planned worked out pretty good. It took me a good 30 min to an hour just to get used to the height and steepness of the slope. I now see the benefit of getting used to pushing your bike on both side of your body. As all the way across (1 hour 30 min total) I had to push and cary bike on the up slope, there was just no way the left side could do it. I know will practise for next epic!
Early on I lagged behind a bit so Jon kindly came back and took my bike down for a little bit. After this I sort of pulled my self together and forgot about the height and potential fall to death scenario!
This is very close to the end, and Craig had taken a lower line, while Jon and I was up high, above the cliffs I mentioned earlier. Jon went down to look around the corner to see if maybe we could get around as just above us it looked steeper and hard to get up. It felt like he took forever as I sat and "enjoyed" the view, and got my self thinking too much again about the height, to the point I felt it took so long I worried he wasn't coming back! ha ha.. your mind is a crazy organ.. or at least mine is. But thank goodness he came back and the verdict was no go around corner, so up the hill it was. And it wasn't as hard as it seemed. But we were a bit concerned about Craig who were down below and had to make it up the cliffs. When I saw Jon get on his bike a few meters up from me I smiled inside, very big smile! We road down some a sketchy slope full of rocks down to Husky plant and waited for Craig, well before I got on my bike I ensured I saw him cresting as well.
Might not seem so bad and long, but this slope is looking back at what we just did, pointing out you can't see the full path as it is a couple of gully's. I think next time we should maybe try the ridge it self? or maybe there is another way around.
Everyone were still smiling, so all was good, so now, 3 1/2 hour in or so it should be easy breezy, get on Craig's trails to Jumping Pound ridge! Guess nothing came easy today. I now learned it wasn't a year since Craig did this ride, it was 9 years, hence the memory a bit lacking, can't blame him for that. We road down the Husky road looking for the trail head, climbed back up and came up with the plan on staying on top of ridges (open, so we can see where we go). Our other option were to turn back, get Jon's truck, drive to Banff, get my ride and never speak of this again! We chose to continue of course. Jon's GPS wasn't really our friend either, but we had a good guess on what ridge in the far view was Jumping Pound and aimed to hit it. So we bushed whacked a bit, got to a open ridge. From here it looked like we had to peak two tops before topping Jumping Pound. We went down and up the first, we road around some trees for a bit, and by chance we just happened to run into a trail. All of Craig's memory now came back, this was the trail! We still had to do some hike-a-bike, but the ride or hike was still amazing and epic as can be. A little bit more confusion on the second peak, but we peaked Jumping 5 hours into the ride and 27km in distance!! We now only had, according to original plan, Down JP to Lusk, over to Barrier to climb Jewels, up to Razors Edge, down to highway, on TR. Canada trail to Canmore, then Rundle mountain to Banff and up to the ski hill!! hmm and about 5 hours of daylight. A bit of revision of plans. We made it down to the Powderface road, and had a quick chat with a local couple, and also got some much needed water as the two bottles we each brought were long gone! We took Lusk, which was beat up pretty bad, when we arrived at Barrier Lake I was so happy to get my little orange drink! But the boys came out of the bush with no drink for me?? First I thought Jon was pulling a joke, but someone seriously had stolen my drink, and also Jon's power bars!! I was so disappointed, well for two minutes or three.. Jon offered his red drink which almost made up for my loss, and then Craig gave me one of his two bottles as well, so all of a sudden I had two bottles of drink (for those who know me, that's a lot of drink for kate), but didn't think much of it. After the the ride I know I should have....
We rode over to Jewels and climbed, it felt really good actually, to be back on the bike, riding some real trails. We had a quick stop at the waterfall, both boys had a quick shower. At the top of the climb we waited a little bit for Craig, I asked him how he was doing and he had got a cramp and stopped for a bit, but I still didn't clue in on the fact that he only had one bottle as he gave one to me, and I didn't know he was on empty, felt really bad after. Though, we got down and on the highway both the guys seemed to have got some second wind, or maybe I just lost all mine! We flew away and I could barley hang on. Our new plan, stay on the highway to Banff, with one stop at Husky. I made a quick call to my friend Vlad, to kindly have a check on my house and dogs who I'd left at home, a can of coke and a yogurt (the only "food" that was appealing at the time) and on the road again.
Craig and Jon was nice enough to slow down the pace on the road a little bit for me. We estimated an hour to Banff from the gas station and they were pretty much bang on!! ha ha... for once..
When we got to Canmore we jumped on the bike path, super nice I'd say, the picture was pretty much my view for the most part on the road, thanks guy for dragging me in. As the sun were setting we got into Banff, but of course hardcore plans don't end with a car parked in town. In my head I'd decided that there was no way I could climb up, I'd be at least an hour and it was late already, close to 930PM! So I suggested we plan what to do for food, Jon thought we'd just pedal hard and plan food when pace was slower while climbing up to the truck, that didn't help my plan on not riding the hill.... so I sold them on the idea of "time management" basically.. I'll bike into town, order some food, and it'll be ready for when they come back down! I didn't have to sell to hard, they didn't seem to mind that I bailed out of the last climb. I rode into town, stopped at the place that had the word Pizza in it. And by luck, as it was 10 min to ten and kitchen was closing at 10 so I just got the order in on time.
Jon and Craig came down closer to 11, we all huddled in the truck in our bike gear and stinky bodies  as you know by now, we are still learning the tricks to an epic day and point to point... none of us left anything in the drop off car! We drove to Bragg Creek, dropped Jon off and I got back to my house passed midnight..... EPIC DAY!!! and no complaints! Thanks Jon and Craig for being such great ride buddies!

Happy Riding Always!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under the rainbow...

...I got to drive!
Home from Bragg Creek last night. I was lucky and had a nice ride with the dogs and barely got mud on the bike.

Happy riding!
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lost for words...

... and still in a bit of disbelief. I spoke with my dad shortly after the first attack, even that seemed unreal, he had left Oslo as they shut down the city. Little did we know what was coming.

I left worked early as didn't really get anything done, spoke to my brother, spoke to my mother who was with my sisters family, I watched the news, prepared for Edmonton, watched some more news and struggled with what to think, things like this just doesn't happen back home. Listened to the news on the drive up to Edmonton, registered and skipped pre-ride, it was wet! Watched the news on the TV at the hotel. Didn't sleep much. Got up and watched some more news, and it just kept getting worse. How could it get so big? how could one person? These are just kids, living in what we thought was the safest place to be!

I tried to focus on the race I came up to do. I wanted to do this Canada Cup after a bad event in Canmore. I went down to the course early to pre-ride as my start wasn't until 230pm. But when I got down to the venue I saw some pretty muddy bikes come back from riding the course, so I decided to keep my bike clean for the main ride. When back to the hotel for some breakfast and back to the TV. Not the best prep, but the race wasn't really important at this point. Though, I came to race, and needed to ride to get my mind on something else. I had an ok warm-up, not long, but got my heart rate up a bit and felt ok. The start was fast as usual and I was the last person in the field and struggled to get up with the really fast girls. As we got to the single track I thought I was in an ok position until one girls pretty much pushed herself in front of me, and another followed! OK! guess that's how it works in short intense xc races, but there should be a rule that if you push your self in front you better keep going and stay with the rest! But we didn't, we quickly lost contact with the lead girls, the fast girls and there was no spot to pass. I got in a comfortable pace and eventually got by two, then a little bit later I picked up another, and then I lost count, might have been another here and there. It was very muddy and slippery, specially second half of course, which first lap was pretty much a run a bike (or walk a bike). I ended up riding most of the race on my own, so got stuck in a comfy pace for a bit and had to kick myself in the butt to remind me that it was a race, but all and all I had a good day on the bike. The body responded properly to hard effort and did what it should when I slowed down, so I was happy. Cathrine Vipond won the day, two girls on pink bikes I think and then Mical fourth, some other girl, and then me. Alana won the single speed category, and did the elite race on the same muddy bike after! Nice work!

After the race it was back in the car and drive home. Saturday I went in to Canmore to see the finish of the 24 event, can't say I miss riding at night, but it's something about these events that makes them attractive. Meredith and Angela took Toby for a ride, while I walk around the course for a bit.
Headed up to cougar creek for a nice hike with SQ, and that was the weekend pretty much.

Now, a few days since the horrible situation Friday, it's been some time to think, but there are still no words really. I'm sad but also proud to see how the nation is coming together.

I'd like to share a quote from AUF member Helle Gannestad;

"When one man could cause so much evil - think about how much love we can create together"

My thoughts goes out to those who lost loved once, family members and friends. It seems everyone is touched in one way or another, and it is truly admiring to see how Norway have chosen to fight hate with respect, togetherness and love!


Monday, July 18, 2011

A couple of weeks...

...go by like that!
The week after Fernie was very low key. Caught up on a few things around the house and worked and very little riding. Made it out for a midweek ride with the dogs, Meredith and Angela which was nice. We road up Pnuma starting at the Moose Mtn Road, which I had never done. Got to the top and there was a local midweek downhill race. We turned and went back the same way, on a very busy trail at this point, with people climbing up. The rest of the week was pretty mellow with some leisurely hikes at COP.

SQ enjoining the view from top of JP
The following weekend was pretty relaxing as well, with a road ride downtown Friday. Got Sequoia all tagged up for a summer in Calgary! Though crossing fingers that the tag never have to be used. So far so good, though she would love to figure out a escape route into our neighbors yard for some delicious orange cats on a leash!

Saturday we hiked up JP which was great, would have been nice on a bike as well, but I was pretty happy to be on foot going up. Coming down my little toe wasn't too happy with being pressed against the front of the shoe so the bike would have been a good option. Happy to see the snow gone, and both JP and Cox looks like a great ride. One weekend soon it will be on the to-do-list. A few more pictures in the end as well.
Sunday we played for a little bit at the Nordic Centre before meeting up with Steve for some dinner. He came down from Edmonton after just finishing, and qualifying for New Zealand might I add, in triathlon. So China this year, then New Zealand next year! I can only hope I'm close to as fit when I'm ready to retire! So happy for him.
So on to another work week, and even less riding. I made it out to Bragg Creek for one ride Tuesday, which I enjoyed, worked hard going up, then took it easy down and let dogs enjoy the ride. Got out early enough to avoid any traffic jams on the trail. Skipped Thursday COP ride with lack of energy and with some weird car sick feeling (when I'm the driver... sort of weird eh?). Met up with Lisa in Canmore Friday as I was picking up my registration pack for the race on Saturday. We did one lap of pre-ride, and quiet enjoyed the course. Fun, short and no sections to get bored on at all! Saturday I got up, had my regular breakfast, took dogs for a hike at COP and headed out to Canmore once again. The Canadian National Championships! wow.. big names and very serious, so obviously I got a bit nervous as this is not my cup of tea..had a very quick and low key warm-up, which could have been the reason for what to come!? The start was as quiet as a start I've ever attended, you could hear a needle drop in the grass!! it was very strange, there was a few people watching and you couldn't even hear them. Olympic spot in the view for some of them maybe? or maybe every race at this level is like this... not sure, it felt pretty intense though, and in my head I was smiling a bit, and this picture totally eliminated any nerves I had. The start goes, and the dust is flying (probably should have kept my glasses on for the first lap eh..) and in about a few seconds in I feel like crap, again, very strange feeling as this year the start (though this might have been harder than any of the others I've done) hasn't been my issue, I could handle the pain, hang on hard for about 20 min and settle in to a pace. But not today, I hung on, but there was no response in my body, I could go as hard as I could but no peak in heart rate, I slowed down, and not quick return of heart rate, I just plain old sucked. Sort of what I'm used to from other years, but not this year. While I'm riding, and feeling terrible sorry for my self, I'm analyzing everything I've done the last couple of weeks, sleep, rides, how I've felt, what did I do etc... the engineer in me is already looking for the root cause of failure!! But one lap in, I haven't figured it out, though at least I'm keeping my mind busy, still in pain and once in a while the thought of quiting come around trying to knock me out, but with people along the course cheering you on (people you know and people you don't know) it is not an option to quit, and I'm not a quitter. All I wished for was to not see a Luna come up from behind!! And then, through the feed zone half way through, I see a blue shirt over my left shoulder and I thought that was it, gees was I ever slow. Thank goodness, she was going through the feed zone on the other side! phuu! that was close....
Danelle Kabush had a great race, both of them rode really strong, I knew I had to ride hard and top of my game to stick with them, I tried but didn't have it in me. Pendrel  took home the win, and another Canadian Championships, she is a amazing rider. And the rest of the girls strong as well, there is no shortage in strong Canadian female riders.
Trish enjoying a cool down!
So after a terrible day on the bike there is only one thing to do the next day! Find the fun again! Went out with Gerry and Trish and road up Prairie View and down Jewels, then up again, and down Hector!! oh yeah!! what can I say, the best day in a long time! Though if you asked Trish and Gerry, who had a bit of a longer Canadian Championships experience than my self, they might have a different view on the day. Though impressive ride by the two with a couple of hours of sleep :)
The dip after was probably the highlight, or maybe the nap later on?? not sure...

Still working on the root cause analysis and will update if I every figure it out, the science of my body and it's response to effort under different circumstances.....

Happy riding all!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Rest day at...

... Rona, lifting 30 by 24 slabs. 3 more to go.
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F3 Day 3 - some more...

...sweet single track and brutal climbs with exhilarating downs!
One of the noticeable differences this race year is the high end output I'm able to pull out in the start of a race and yet settle in my own pace and last ok to the end. This was the case day one, two and today. Though with the slightly more crowded trail after only a short time to split riders up, the climb up hyperventilation was a little more reasonable then earlier starts. With a questionable bike my plan was to avoid front shifting to much and ride safe, try to crest first climb in front as I thought it would be it for hard climbing of the day....I stuck with the plan though I was wrong on the only 1 hard climb! We came out roots and started climbing, not too bad, superfast road decent and then got turned on to Eriks trail up! Not too long but steep in the end. After this we road up kids stuff and from there on all new stuff to me. Eventually we started another climb that seem to last forever! Before we popped out on the road and got the pleasure of going down broken derailure and sidewinder to the finish. Such a fun day! A couple of near misses to remind me not to try to be a super woman on the downs, safe it in! Bike held up, zippy ties did the job. Margie Smith had a great day and came in shortly after me with a local Fernie girl and Marg Fedyna riding strong right behind.
Overall Margie got hold of second and Danelle third. Happy to be racing in a field of some very strong riders.
After a quick packing up, some good food and awards it was on the road back to Calgary. Not sure what's next besides some riding locally and enjoy the summer!

Happy riding!

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Bike fix for dummies...

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F3-day 2 a bit of...

...everything both in riding, interesting events and so on...
Day started an hour early today and it was noticeable cooler out, but I lived a bit on the edge and left arm and knee warmers behind :)...good call, it wasn't long before I hit the red zone again and heat naturally produced kept me toasty warm to hot for the rest of the ride. Very similar start to yesterday, hard pace to stay with the lead group, first climb in the top end for most of it and about an hour in I finally started feeling ok. At that point I had left the girls but knowing they are never far behind so no time to get too comfy. The field was stretched out much quicker today and found my self riding solo or with a couple of guys for most of it. It is nice as u can set your own pace and line going down but also tricky with very limited course markings. I found my self stopped many times looking for markers and hoping for people to show to verify I wasn't lost. But lesson learned from other races made me look twice even when riding in group. At one point we lost one guy flying down missing a right turn (which from the sound of it many missed), we tried to call him back but no luck. He missed some sweet single track! Two additional major climbs and of course rewarded with some fun down hill trails made for an all around good day. Ended up flying down the last road to a stopped train and only to be sent back up again. I missed a turn, so after being ready to be done I wasn't to happy a out that. I did the extra little bit only to see people flying down the road just like me and not getting sent up again...oh well, it is what it is and still love riding:) I quickly got over my little burst of negative energy and hope it'll be a better marked and marshaled course tomorrow.
So then bike cleaning. I always spend a little time cleaning bike after a race, makes for a clean bike and gives me the chance to ensure it is all good. Well today I didn't get that assurment I was looking for!
Crack around front deraillure mount and its pretty big. Not too much I can do bout it, but figured a couple of zippie ties will at least make me feel better about it, will see tomorrow....
On the more positive note, ended the day with a nice spin with Mer and dogs to the icecream shop and it was Good!

Happy riding!
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Friday, July 01, 2011

Day 1 - start and finish

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F3 day 1 - Toby or...

...I? Not sure who is more tired.

40 km should be easy breezy, but I've always found the shorter the harder! Start wad ok until we started climbing, road climb to spread the field before single track, plan worked, I tried hard to be first girl in to single track with took me in redzones I've not been yet this year and yet I had to see Marg fly by with no effort! 40 min in the max didn't seem like a good plan, but when we finally hooked on to the Coal discovery trail the pace slowed down. It quickly became a group as different levels of descending skills. Not easy to pass, but after a bit things spread out. I felt like in Portugal, I knew the girls were right on the tail chasing me down. After coal discovery we climbed up sidewinder (a fun trail to come down). I figured the girls (at least three very strong climbers behind me), would close the gap, I worked hard again to try to crest the climb first into next single track section and earn a little gap again (splitting bears)...only to learn next single track was out. Instead high speed descend on road! So no putting gap on the girls on this, so Hyperventilation had to hurt too, crested it and still not caught and for the first time I thought maybe I can get this stage! it home. And I did, paying for it as we speak but hopefully I wasn't the only one who went full the looks of it Toby went full out also, hanging out by the track watching the start and finish.
No result postings yet, but a couple of minutes on Danelle Kabush, and I think Marg Fedyna third, didn't see Margie but I'm sure she was right there as well.
Tomorrow over to the ski hill side to play in the mud!

Happy Riding!
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