Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prepping for the Regional Xterra Championship James River Swim

Part of the fun and challenge of Xterra racing is reaching goals - finishing the race is one thing (for me!), but chasing points to nab a regional championship is yet another. Beyond the regional championship, is the national competition and the ulitmate - the world competition in Maui. The ONLY way to be eligible to compete in nats and worlds is to compete in a Regional championship within the region you live. For the mid-atlantic states which includes PA, that means heading to Richmond Virigina and enduring a river swim in the James river. River swimming is interesting, to say the least. I feel fortunate to have the Susquehanna river to practice in - IF I can get into a groove of taking the plunge in river water. So last week I took my first plunge -- here's that 1st report:
River Swim #1 - Rockville Bridge, Marysville
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Or in this case, dead fish and rocks and crayfish, oh my! I can't say its enjoyable getting in the Susquehanna river for a swim, but it was a necessary must to get the mindset ready for the James River swim portion of the Xterra Regional Championship in Richmond VA on June 15. "Rick-- there's something wiggling down there!" "Jill, you aren't supposed to be looking DOWN, you are to be looking at your hands entering the water - so stop looking down!" "Rick...I just saw a dead fish... Rick, there are some sort of barnacles sucking fast to my wetsuit!" Rick...what are those bugs.. Rick...Rick.." And there are snapping turtles, remants of the days-gone-by barge era (metal rope complete with a loop in it yet -- get caught on that baby once!), fish hooks, huge rocks cropping up out of no where, huge blood-sucking carp, tires -- you get the picture. My swim lasted a total of about 15 minutes with the girly way I was acting. THIS is the Susquehanna though -- not the James. There's actually a sandy beach at the James -- and certainly swimmable without anything on your feet. I'd never venture in the old Susque without booties on (by the way, you CAN swim nicely in kayak booties -- the booties that are just like socks). But I don't think the booties would protect me from the snapping bite of the turtle. Ouch.

River Swim # 2 - Millersburg Ferry Wall

This river swim was much, much better. Millersburg is a quaint little town where my hubby grew up. In fact, he grew up poling and canoeing on the river so no wonder he likes kayaking so much. There's a historical ferry that runs from Millersburg to Liverpool a couple times a day in the summer, and they dredge a channel for the ferry to run in. I was thinking maybe just above that channel would be a good place to practice a river swim -- its deep enough and I know there are no rocks because of the dredging for the ferry. And there's little current above the ferry wall. Should be similar to the James River swim. But I had to make Rick go with me 'cause I still get a creepy feeling about being out in the middle of the river. My mom near had a fit when I told her I'm swimming in the river -- but she was ok when I told her Rick's going along in the kayak. There's no fear in the James River at the Regionals...there's tons of other people AND kayakers everywhere. But training alone in the river? That's a different story. So we headed to the M'burg and took the plunge. I have to admit I actually enjoyed it - all 50 minutes of it. It was calm, beautiful, deep enough that I couldn't see the wiggly things on the bottom, and I kept my focus on swimming -- not where I was or why. The down side, it IS the susquehanna, and for some reason today it was murky which actually was a good thing. I really, really don't like what I see at the bottom of the river. Maui has cool things on the bottom, not the Susquehanna River! Even Jersey Joe PA enjoyed the training session.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prepping for the James River Run

In just over two weeks, the City of Richmond Virginia will be taken over by the Xterra family for the East Coast Regional Xterra Championship. The course is truly unique -- laid out in the middle of the city, yet one of the more challenging courses. The swim is in the James River (more coming on that), the mountain bike course is 18 miles of Island trails, park trails neighboring the river, and a little bit of road (very little). Its amazing how they crammed so many miles of trail in an urban setting. The run is probably the most diverse of them all with a little bit of everything...pavement, grass, steep steps, fire road, black-top road, bridges, more steps, rooty-twisty wooded trail, and the part most interesting - river rocks - right out in the river. And they are HUGE. Some require a bit of crawling. And its sorta like a maze figuring the best way to go to avoid having to backtrack because of a moat you can't get over. I'm guessing if its high water, the course changes over the rocks. But the year I did it, we rock-hopped a sizeable portion of the run. It's truly unique. So how do you train for something like that? Get out and find some rocks! Jersey Jo Pa did.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend R & R

Being a non-race weekend, the R&R factor was fairly high. Still sticking to the training plan, I opted to ride the Singlespeed for the social ride with the local bike club this weekend. The Rattling Creek Single trackers host a Memorial Weekend ride every year for 7 years now. Most years I'm in the midst of some crazy training plan and try to coerce my group into doing my training day (poor buggers), but this year is an easier training plan MINUS the Heart rate monitor (loving it!), thus I could mesh it into the group ride without anyone really noticing. They thought I was riding the Singlespeed just cause I like to ride the singlespeed. Well, it hurt and today I feel it. But that was part of the training plan. We only had 1 mechanical in our group, and we did all the rockiest of trails (that was part of the "plan" too!). And afterwards, we ate bad picnic food and shot the breeze. Good times -- beautiful weather.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jersey Joe Pa - and He Runs an XTERRA Race!

Joe Patanella is the race director of the King of the Hill Xterra in New Jersey. The Race Directors can make or break events -- "Jersey Joe Pa" really makes the Jersey Xterra an awesomely good time. My very first Xterra was this race, and Jersey Joe Pa helped sell me Xterra racing. He has a push up contest, a sit up contest, and swag coming out the gazoo that on a whim, he will start throwing in the crowd. He'll say stuff like "who wants a shirt... first one here gets it." And the crowd gathers around him. "Who wants a backpack...who didn't get a prize yet." All the while his heavy Jersey accent can't go un-noticed as he chants and yells, and "directs" the race. He's an energetic guy that's puts on a cool XTERRA event. I'm sure it gets to be duldrum from year to year, figuring out what kind of trophy or what prizes to give. This year, we got bobbleheads. Normally, my trophys end up in a drawer hidden forever. But Jersey Joe Pa is turning out to be a fun little toy that is bringing piss-your-pants laughs to my house. It started one evening when I went to bed, and I heard my hubby tiptoeing up the steps and when I opened my eyes, there was jersey Joe Pa about 2 inches from eyes staring me in the face. I near died laughing, and I couldn't stop laughing. You have to understand my hubby whom normally is very straight-faced and has a dry sense of humor. So when Jersey JoePA was staring at me, it was simply histerical. Last night, I'm going about my business getting ready to take a bath, and I reach for the washcloth, and there's Jersey Joe Pa again! Ready, willing, and able to take a bath with me! Once again, it was histerical. I also sited him watching American Idol the other night AND laying with the cat. So who knows where he'll show up next, but he's a trophy that won't go in the drawer any too soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Xterra King of The Hill Race Report from First-Time Xterra Rookie - Sheena Perry

Let’s see where to start.

Left a 5:55 am to get there. After a brief hiatias including 3 U turns in less than 1 minute perfictly exicuted in all NO U turn areas we got gas, water, and bagles. I asked for a whole wheat bagle toasted with NOTHING on it… they stuff a bagle in the bag and NO they didn’t even bother to cut it. Asked for a blueberry bagle the same way… got the same thing imagine that… none the less we arrived at 8:15 in NJ.

Jill and Ricky were already there and were at the car when we arrived. As soon as the car door opened the whining began about have to go to the bathroom (no idea who that was J). Went down to the beach area and of course the bathrooms were closed! AHHHH! I gotta go! Back to the cars to get the gear and down to transition to pick our spots which was right next to Jill J. After dumping the gear we wandered to the bathrooms on the other side of the beach. Ok I will stop with the boring.

We lined up on the beach and the race started at exactly 10:00. It was a ready set go!!!!!!!!!!!!

375 yard dash down the beach to the swim only to jump into 57 degree water, try to get a breathing rythem after those two breath taking events! And if that wasn’t enough to drowned you, there were about 100 other cometitors to help you out! Kicking, hitting, pulling, pushing, bumping, waves of water coming at you in perfect time to enter your mouth to make you caugh and hack and of course you know you just drank some serious nasty! If you survived all of that the second lap was a cake walk! J
(For description of Lap 2 of the swim see above, minus 375 yard dash.)

Once out of the water you had to fight your way out of your wetsuit which is never an easy feat, wet or dry.

The bike was next. Oh my what am I in for now was the only thing crossing my mind. Well it was all uphill out of the beach area to go up some more followed by some nasty sharp switchbacks in which I got to follow some guy who passed me going up hill put all his weight on his handle bars and almost did an endo on every corner till he finally stopped and let us go by! Then the mad dash started cause I didn’t want anyone following me. Faster go faster, shit shit shit tight corner coming, shit breaks, faster, faster, shit breaks again, oh MY GOD TREEEEEEEEEEEE!! Phew! I missed it J Yahoo!! Straight away pedel, pedel, pedel… Yes! no one caught me! What the *uck another hill! And up and up and up and up does this *&)@#* thing ever end? 10 minutes later the answer is NO! Finally down hill! J who’s happy I’m happy!!! What what the hell is this shit? No one said rock garden for the next 5+ miles ahhhh! Not happy any more L I like rocks but not that much! Ride just ride shit shit don’t wreck holy crap here comes another Psycho… HEY IT’s JILL! HI JILL… BYE Jill! (from behind I hear “holy crap look at her go”) haha I said “That is my friend!” The rest of the bike was more of the same, lots of shit, crap, and oh *ucks accompined by tons of rock and climbs.

On my way back to transition I saw Chrissy on the run... she was sporting a few new colors, blood red and some shades of blue and green. She stopped to tell me she took one hell of a spill. I asked if she was ok:

Chrissy: “I don’t know”
Sheena: “Are you going to finish the race?”Chrissy: “Yeah”
Sheena: “Well then we will check you out later, now get going!”

Then I got to see Jill again looking good on the run. However, unknown to them, in my mind I was really hating both of them and secrelty plotting revenge. (still plotting, suggestions welcome please send to the e-mail that sent this)

The run, yes the run. The run was great! Ok so I can’t lie but it was way better than the bike. Could have should have run faster but didn’t know what I was up against especially after the bike. I actually passed 2 people on the run to try and make up for ALL the people that passed me on the bike. Came around a corner and there it was... the finish line! The only thing between it and me was sand, lots more freaking sand! I hate sand and damn it I was finishing... I could hear Chariots of Fire blaring for me and those little people in my head chearing... oh wait, wait those aren’t just the little people in my head its Chrissy and Jill too! YAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!

All in all I hated it but don’t worry Jill, things I hate I usually end up loving becuase I hate it. Always looking to get my ass kicked and have great friends cheering for me at the end. I keep trying to tell Chrissy that is where she messes up finishing so fast... no one is cheering for her, how sad!

Sheena Perry: 2:25
Jill Wiest: 2:16
Christina Bohensky: 2:09

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Back to the Drawing Board

Poor Rick always has to take the brunt of my bitching and moaning about my poor race performances. And he repeatedtly says to me: "Stop." And he would love nothing more than for me to just do what I feel like doing and paddle with him more. Part of me wants that, yet another part of me knows if I stop, I'll really stop and will lose all motiviation to do anything and that's where the weight starts coming back and laziness sets in, and the aches and pains and health issues that non-exercising people complain about. My dear old dad is 78 and was active his entire life as an owner/trainer/driver of harness horses. He still slings 100 lb feed bags and 5 gallon buckets of water around like he did when he was 16. And his advice has always, always been: NEVER STOP. And he is SO right. My Dad inspires me.... so I'm not gonna stop hubby. I may not ever be fast, but I ain't gonna stop. I SO wanted to not embarass Rick yet again on Sunday, but I did. Once again, I was one of the stragglers crawling out of the water. But I'll keep plugging away and see what happens next. I have 4 weeks to prepare for the Regional Xterra Championship in Richmond Virginia. 1st or 2nd place gets me to Maui. I know I can't do first 'cause Val Hardin has too many male genes in her system and will take the top spot - although she's been known to register and not show up. Maybe I should race like I did in 2005 when I never expected to win. Just race. Just do my best and not worry about where I finish. I slugged out of the James River with about 5 people behind me in 2005, then one-by-one passed the "45-49" legs - one of them being last year's 3rd place World Champ, Jackie Ryan...maybe I should just repeat that performance. Maybe I think too much. ARGH!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Here are the King of the Hill Xterra Results

Summary of the folks I know that raced:

Sheena Perry: 2:25
Jill Wiest: 2:16
Christina Bohensky: 2:09
Sue Anne Clark: 1:59
Sarah Lichtenwalner: 1:53
Don Morrison: 1:58
Annette McGiven: 2:06 (she's 50!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A couple Xterra KOTH Pics

Post Race -- Sheena, Jill and Christina

Jill cussing the swim and the wetsuit

Tobaggon Hill

Sheena (red shouldered suit) that's Don Morrison in front of her.

Chrissy (purple hat).

XTERRA King of The Hill Race Report

For Sale: a women's large wetsuit - worn once. Also, swim paddles and fins. I spent 5 months trying real hard to get better at swimming and I thought I did...until today. A 400 yard dash at the start of swim just fucked me all up. I couldn't breath; I couldn't get in a rythym to figure out how to breath and swim at the same time; I felt like my wetsuit was cutting off my circulation to my chest (more lack of breathing); I couldn't see, I couldn't get my bearings. I couldn't think. I felt like I was dizzy. It was unbearable. But one thing I COULD do was breast stroke! Can you believe that!? I frickin breast stroked half of the swim leg. It was horrible. I forgot everything I was working on the past 5 months. Pathetic, aboslute pathetic. I simply freaked in the water. Musta been bad memories from 2005 Lake Tahoe. At one point I even took a breath-- UNDERWATER! What the heck!?@? nasty, nasty, nasty. My time was actually 3 minutes SLOWER than 3 years ago and I'm sure it was all the swim 'cause my run was good (for a change) and my bike felt pretty good too. I came into transition after the swim and pouted like I did when I was 7 years old. "I don't wanna race anymore. It aint' fun" was going through my head. But I forced my self on the bike, and then got really pissed off at myself for the pathetic swim. That's when I race best -- when I am pissed. So I passed bunches of people on the bike and even two guys on the run! (That's rare!) and finished 2nd in my age group of about 4 girls (that's rare too). But the one girl was pulled out of the age group cause she won overall the women which pushed me to 1st. But I still suck, bigtime.

On a happy note, Christina was 2nd in her age group even with a crash that gave her nasty scratches on her arms. Her sissy Sheena wasn't far behind, but I'm not sure where (same age group); Xterra Ambassador and MASS Lowerider racer Sue Ann Clarke was 1st AND improved her time by I think another 5 minutes in her 5th year of this event; and Annette McGiven was 1st in her age Group too. And the rookie of the year already goes to SARAH LICHENWALNER!!! Her first Xterra, her first swim in open water and she was 3rd overall women AND first woman out of the water! Incredible. I'm jealous. I said to her hubby, geez...not only can she ride and run, she swims too! And rob says, " I think that's what she does best of all." I'm impressed as hell. Nice going Sarah.

I just don't know what to do about swimming. Crap on it. Maybe I should just paddle with hubby. Pics coming on the race.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Xterra Race Anyone?

Oh the excitement of anticipation building to the first Xterra race of the season. My two buds coming along are full of questions just like me. What's the water temp? What are you wearing? Won't it be too cold? Are you wearing a camelbak? How long is the run? It advertises 5K, but somewhere else it says 4 miles? What's the bike course like? What's the run course like? Don't fart in your wetsuit, here's what will happen if you do (that was funny as hell - a picture of a big ball of rubber). Both of these girls are experienced triathletes and know the ropes, but don't we always have a zillion questions? Actually, they are more like, what if's? What if its cold... what if the bike course is too hilly. What if I'm last out of the water. What if I win!? Well then you get to go to Lake Tahoe and Maui if you keep winning. There's that carrot that never goes away. Part of me really wants that; but another part says shit its expensive to do that stuff! But the experience is incredible and I never finished Lake Tahoe, so I have to finish up business out there someday. I never got as excited over races as I do for Xterra. Many of the MASS races the last couple years actually made me feel like I didn't want to go. I'd dread upcoming races. You learn the courses, and know what to expect... hills/rocks/fast girls/etc. I always hated Granogue and believe it or not, the Farm in Marysville! Loops weren't my favorite 'cause I was always getting passed and it slowed me up. And please don't put me on short steep climbs. I walk. But dread is not in the Xterra pre-race vocab. Its more like anxiousness, eagerness, aroused, and of course nervousness. I said it before a thousand times, my thoughts go to the swim. I've been working SO hard at it. The run too to a bit lesser extent than the swim. Then I wonder, will my bike split suffer since I've spent so much time on swimming and running. If all goes well, I hope to shave 9 minutes off my time with most of that in the swim. You say, 9 minutes - that's nothing! It's a lot in my book. I'm shooting for a time of 2:04. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Final LODI 12-Hour Report

I promise, this is the last...but its a good one! Thanks Uncle Don for an awesome write-up and the incredible pictures!! very cool.

Howdy y'all,Been away from computer access for a while - vacationing on an island in Florida - but felt compelled to augment the already stellar reports contributed by the fine racers I had the peasure of rubbing elbows with all weekend. Basically, what everybody else already said, plus my comments: kuddos to Jake for doing the insane solo thang, kudos to Donna and Jill for rocking the Female Duo class, kudos to Rick for his support and assistance to all during the entire event, and Kudos to Brett and Zach for riding like insane, rabid, sleep-deprived computer programmers on diet coke and skittles. S'pecially Zach for rising to lengendary status that weekend for his ability to pull doubles when we needed to erase huge time gaps and reel in CityBikes's fast guys and crush them into snivelling little girly men (my appologies to any snivelling little girly men I have offended with that comment). Actually, the CityBikes guys were awsome to compete against and were all round great guys. Much respect. They fully expected Zach to catch and dispatch with their secret weapon fast dude on the last lap, and were greatly concerned with Zach's well being when he rolled in barely able to stay upright on his bike. Great guys. Except that part where they beat us. In that respect they suck and I hate them more than pinging cables on frame tubes and squealing disc brakes. And those anoying popups I can't seem to get rid of on certain web sites. But I digress. Here's to fun race courses, most excellent people to hang with, no rain when the forcasters are predicting it, riding your freaikin' guts out, most excellent and sportsman-like competitors, and nearly full bottles of Vodka. The good stuff. Oh yeah, here's some pics at this link:

Uncle Don aka "slow but gettin' less slow white fat middle aged dude...with sqealing disk brakes...who dances with wolves...and likes Vodka...the good stuff"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Next Up - the First XTERRA of the Season in the Mid-Atlantic Region

These are the only races that make me nervous and the nerve endings are jumping already and its 8 days out from the race! I believe its the confidence thang in the water AND what's in the pot at the end of the rainbow. Many folks get into triathlons because somewhere in their lives, they swam - usually as a competitor on a swim team. They have perfect swim form and glide in the water just like a fish. Me? I started swimming 5 years ago and didn't get a lesson until recently. Every stroke is a struggle. Racing mountain bikes or running a 5 or 10K are nothing compared to starting a race with a nice 20 or 30 minute swim. You know that feeling that you can't breath at the start of a race? Well stick your head the water and try that. Holy crap its a different world. Every stroke must be perfect -- you have to constantly think about 10 things every 2 seconds and don't DARE get tired or it will all fall apart and you'll start sinking. Its definitely one of my biggest challenges. And the end of the rainbow? Well that would have to be Maui. Almost every serious triathlete at some point wants to look in that pot sitting at the bottom of the rainbow and see what they can find. Heading to worlds is the ultimate acheivement in ANY sport, so who wouldn't want to do their best to get that honor bestowed upon them. Initially, I started this season focusing on a better swim and better run times; but now with the season about to start, the focus is shifting to that pot at the end of the rainbow -- how can we refuse!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So How Does One Feel After a 12-Hour Mountain Bike Race

That question was posed to me pre-race, and I thought it deserved an answer.

Short answer - It depends.

Long answer - depends on:
  • The course - technical or not. climbing or not. Long or short laps.
  • The Team - solo, duo, or 3-4 person (more people, less laps - solo - lots of laps)
  • Your competition - are you pushing to win, or breezing to the podium due to no competition and just riding at an aeorbic pace. Anaerobic the whole time? You'll be wiped out.
  • Your food consumption pre and during race - this is a biggy. Don't eat, you'll bonk. Don't eat the right things, you'll bonk. Eat during laps (gel or energy drink), between laps (energy bar, recovery mixes, cookies, whatever works for you) and you'll be ok. Always, always drink plenty WITH electrolytes.
  • Your physical state - are you fit. Endurance ready? Have you been riding for several years or is this your first crack at anything long or with a team. And mountain biking requires some upper body strength -- have you been lifting your weights?

I usually feel like shit after these things...but this one was different. I did a duo, and Donna did some research prior to the race and was told switching laps with your team mate will give your body just enough time to rest, but not enough time for it to start shutting down. And that advice was right on. Donna felt good the whole time and was ready to take on a 5th lap if needed. She's big on nutrition, and stretched between every lap. I was ok for the 4 laps, but was cramping on the 3rd and 4th (I shoulda followed Donna's lead on stretching), so I'm no sure a 5th would have been wise. The part that hurt me most afterward was my arms from going over logs. I stopped lifting weights about a month ago, and I felt it on this one. My legs were fine, and I didn't have that physcially-tired for days feeling. I was tired from lack of sleep, but not physical draining. The course, for me, was perfect -- very little climbing and no rocks. Don't get me wrong - I love a sweet rock garden, but they can sap all energy out of you fairly quickly in a race. So for the 12-hour race, no rocks and no climbing was perfect. 12 Hours of Lodi was a perfect 12-hour race for the solo rider.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Even MORE Lodi Reports

It really was worth writing about.... here's Jake's report. Jake Davidson is a 20 year true endurance rider...he rode 9 laps solo! That's a mere 72 miles. Holy crap. Jake rode down with Don and Zach and Rick and I were both getting a kick out of "the kids." Playing with their iPods, texting girls, talking girls. Truly young boys at heart.

Monday, May 5, 2008

More on LODI -- Reports and Pics

Ricky Brown's Pics are here.

Don Pagano's Pics are going to be here (I think). He takes really, really good shots.

Zach's Blog is here and his report will be coming too (I think).

And below are the Weiser's reports... very nice! Brett is Mr. Creative. Thanks guys. Yet another memorable weekend in the history books.

There are some things that you go into not sure what they are going to be like or if you can even do them, let alone like them….well this was one of those things. I wasn’t sure about this race with the midnight start time, riding all through the night and the potential for rain and thunderstorms with wet, muddy roots. As Jill stated in her report i didn’t like the twisty, turny, loggy, rooty, off-camber, no-rocks course…at first. We did a pre-lap ride on Saturday afternoon. The temp was in the 80’s, it was hot and humid and the pollen count was way high! I was trying to keep my heart rate down and it seemed like every time we turned a corner there was another short, steep rooty, twisty climb---nothing like Michaux---AAAHHHH! I wasn’t a happy camper. When we laid down at 7pm to try to sleep with the band playing, all I could think of was, I’m going to die out there. I was really scared. I was imagining the worst scenario with rain and lots of mud and falling off an off- camber creek bank or bridge several feet down. I expressed my fears to Brett and he told me to just go out and do your best and ride with your head. So, after a couple hours of half sleep we got up and ready for the start. At about 11:45 it started to drizzle and I thought, oh no, here we go…but it stopped after 5 minutes and we never saw any rain after that! The start of the race was fun. They did a prologue loop with a lead bike on a trail that circled the woods around the field where we were camped and came back into the field by the start. The lead bike dropped off and we were all free to take off. Since the prologue loop did little to separate us, it was like a parade of lights in the woods with the trails twisting and doubling back on themselves—oh yea, and a radio playing heavy metal music was blaring on someone’s bike behind me, which made me ride faster because I didn’t want to listen to it! It did make me laugh, though. I soon realized that a drop in temperature was making all the difference in my riding and I made it through the first section in what I thought took an eternity in the daylight! With all the other riders and the camaraderie, it made it a lot of fun and I cranked out what I thought was a pretty good lap….Lap 2 was almost just as good, but a couple minutes slower, 3 was my worst lap-I was sore and tired. Before lap 4, I had some extra hammer gel and I felt great for that lap. As Jill said, I was ready to do lap 5, but we didn’t need to and both Brett and I somehow had to get our tired bodies back home! I regret not doing it but it was the smart thing to do.

To quote Chili, “we both agreed this is another chapter closing in our racing books. Neither of us are planning to do any more 12-24 hours races anytime soon. Especially a midnight start.” I said that before the race, but I need to modify my statement: I’m leaving the door open for 12 hour races, but just ones that are closer to home! i felt great for most of the race and I believe it was because my body never got the chance to shut down. If the race would have been closer to home we wouldn’t have had a nasty drive at the end.

Also, this is one of those things that you say you are never going to do again but for some unexplainable reason you can’t resist doing again!

Ask me tomorrow how I feel….:)

Kudos to my Hubby, Don and ZACH who did an awesome job. They made me cry when I saw what they did to their bodies. You guys are awesome!

**Warning** I directly quote my thoughts at one point, and they contained foul language. So I'm just tellin' ya at the beginning. I guess I'll edit it for wider distro.

Writing this makes me tired.

We went to Lodi Farm, outside Fredericksburg, VA, for the 12 Hour race. Started at midnight, so less sleep available than a 24-hour race. I was on a team with Zach and Don. They talked me into Expert class. Bastards. Where's the sandbagging in Expert class? I was out of my element!

The course was kinda like Marysville on steroids. 8.1 miles of twisty, loggy, rooty, roller-coastery, twisty, turny, where the hell am I singletrack with a couple (maybe) 100-yard stretchs of field thrown in. Rest? Recover? Speed? These things mean nothing to a Jedi Expert. Only steering, braking and accelerating . . . all the time. I didn't drink anything my first two laps. I was afraid to let go of the bars.

Zach was first up, followed by me, and then Don. Until we were 8 minutes back to the CityBikes team after the first rotation and Zach opted to pull a double lap that put us 3 minutes up. He put 11 minutes on them in two laps. Yes, Zach carried us. He was a monster. I followed the double lap and promptly gave up that 3 minute lead and put us back down by 1 minute. The race was back and forth like that the whole way. Everytime I started my lap, Zach would gift me with a 3 minute lead. Everytime I came off my lap, we would be 1 minute behind. I wanted to punch myself in the head. My fourth lap, I was working hard. Damn hard. It was deja vue. Third time in a row I knew how far back that other guy was. I was cranking for dear life to not see him behind me. And then my right hammy got locked in a vise. Oh, dear god. Stay on the bike. Keep pedaling. Hey, there goes my left quad. Then my right quad. Great, they're taking turns. Wait, something's relaxing . . . power up this hill . . . whee, there goes my left groin! Ever try to descend while hovering over your saddle and bunny hopping logs while both quads are in knots? I had to softpedal and wussy-spin through some stuff just to keep legs moving. The guy's right on my tail. Strafe a downhill to scream around a corner into another quick up. Can't stand. Gotta downshift. There he goes. Did I mention I wanted to punch myself in the head? Then tremors rippled up and down the outside of my left quad. After that it was, "Minimize it, motherfucker. Fuck you, legs, fuck you." Through the neverending flat twisties near the end of the course, where you can see the other guy everytime you turn, but you can't tell if they're 25 feet or a minute ahead of you. Bobbled on a turn and had to dab--bad news! Back on the pedal and keep spinning. Never get off the bike when you start cramping. It only invites more hell to dinner. Push as hard as I can through the rest of the course to finish my last lap, once again 1 minute behind. Don was up next and worked his tail off for his best lap time of the race. It was all down to Zach to try to catch the leader on the 14th and last lap of the race. It was Zach's 6th time out. Did I mention he carried us? He was a monster. We wouldn't be surprised if it was a sprint finish. We knew Zach could catch him. Even the other City Bikes guys expected Zach to catch their rider.

Waiting for end of the lap, we see the City Bikes guy cruise by the back of the transition tent before the final straighaway to the finish line...Where's Zach? This isn't good. City Bikes finishes, arms in the air, first place, we clap, we look for Zach. Nothing. Heck, the City Bikes guys were surprised, too. Even they expected Zach to catch their last guy. We keep waiting. No Zach. Definitely not good. Finally we see him weave past the backside of the tent. Not looking good. He comes down the straightaway and you know he's left everything out there somewhere on the trail. Pulls up to the table, I jog over to meet him and tell the people our team number. He slumps over his handlebars and doesn't move. Thrashed. More people gather. We get him some fluids, slowly try to work him away from the table to some shade, to something. More fluids. He finally perks up enough to weave back to the campsite and collapse into a chair. More fluids, electrolytes, time. We finally wander back over for awards. More chair slumpin' but then he chows down a BBQ sammich and baked beans. We get called up to the prize table. Look over the pickings . . . not much left . . . a bottle of Hammergel for me to give to Donna, Don picked out a bottle as well. Zach lingers the longest, finally picks up a ballcap....a black Monster Energy Drink ballcap with the green "M" on the front. Hey, that's fitting.

We ended up second in 3-man Expert. By mere minutes. Wow.

Donna and Jill Wiest raced Duo Woman open. They won. With 8 laps. Awesome!

And Jake Davidson rocked it Solo for the 12 hours, clocking 9 laps...awesome indeed.

Thanks for reading.


12 Hours of Lodi Race Report

Short and Sweet: Donna and me were 1st place women's duo with 8 laps total (and not by default! and the women's division was "open" with all ages); and Donna's hubby's team, Brett Weiser/Don Pagano/Zach Adams were the TEAM of the day, and in our eyes WERE First. They raced harder than anyone there, battling it out for 1st the entire duration of the 12-hour period. And if anyone knows about Relays, you know what its like when two teams are running minutes apart -- its hard, chaotic pushing each lap - to the point of blow-up, throw-up, and riding harder than you ever knew you could. The Troegenators were awesome - they raced an incredible 2nd in men's expert.

Donna and me each did 4 laps. While Donna wasn't keen on the very twisty, turny, loggy, rooty, off-camber, no-rocks course, I was happy there were no climbs to hold me back. It was an 8 mile course similar to the RICHMOND XTERRA course (this location was 1 hour north of Richmond), and for those racing MASS, it most resembled Sewell, with a lot more turns and switchbacks. I liked the course once I got in the groove of how-to-brake-on-turns and not lose too much momentum. Donna started for our Duo at race start time of Midnight, and we rotated each lap up to the ninth. The fun part of these races is letting your team mate know you are coming into transition so they are ready to roll when you turn over the baton (and at night, you have no idea who's coming - so you need something to let them know). Prior years we used a zingy power Puff girl thingy that kinda whistled; this year our battle cry was "VILLY FISHA!" At 6:00am, we realized another female duo was only 20 minutes behind us! (they weren't on the roster when we picked up our packets). So we both really started racing - up to that point we were merely riding (at least I was!) My 3rd lap rocked and rolled - I connected with the bike, the trail, and whole wheat fig newtons. Everything came together for that lap and I was thinking how my new training plan and coaching is paying off. My 4th lap started rusty, but got oiled about 20 minutes in and started rocking and rolling again. I was pushing to get back so Donna could get out for the 9th so were sure to nab the win. Donna felt ready to do her 5th lap if needed and I was a very happy camper she was ready for #5 'cause I didn't think I could do 5 at that point. But when I came to the finish, Donna and Rick said we didn't need the 9th, the other other team finished with 7 laps. So we were done with 4 laps each and a win. Once again, we both agreed this is another chapter closing in our racing books. Neither of us are planning to do any more 12-24 hours races anytime soon. Especially a midnight start. We tried to sleep from 7:00ish to 11:00ish, but they had a friggin' band playing during that time! Earplugs helped a little, but not too much. The 5 hour drive home was long and tiring.