Thursday, August 21, 2014
Thanks to our good friend Myrosha, Gerhard and I got to get involved with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I have been really enjoying these videos, and the outpouring of support they represent, so I wasn't too upset to have my number called.
Especially because one of the neatest people I've ever met has been battling ALS for many years. He was once a fur-trader for the Hudson's Bay Company -- hence my choice in bucket -- and his stories are treasures. ALS is a terrible thing and it's time to put an end to it.
I wanted to do my challenge in a drought-friendly way. So here is my seawater version. Fun fact: Seawater doesn't freeze until it reaches -2*C, so although this water was not solid, I assure you it was COLD.
We also donated, of course, and you can do the same at alsa.org, or als.ca in Canada. Thanks to Gerhard for filming/editing our addition to the #icebucketchallenge phenomenon.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
With my hand feeling almost normal, I decided to put it to the test on the mountain bike for a weekend up in the Big Bear neighborhood. Pre-riding on Saturday, I noticed some aches during descents/heavy braking, but otherwise, I think I'm out of the woods.
At least physically.
Mentally, I was definitely having a tough time shaking my observation that lately, bad things seem to happen to me while I am mountain biking. So, I set no performance goals for this race, applied no pressure, and just recognized it as an opportunity to accelerate the processing my brain needs to catch up to my healed bones.
It also happened to be my first race with a "pro" license so that was an interesting dimension as well. Especially since the other pro who showed up was the one and only badass lassie, Lesley Paterson - 2012 Xterra World Champion. An honor and privilege to share a race course with a truly elite athlete -- a quality she exemplified when after cruising to victory (she had six minutes/lap on me ...), she suited up for a trail run. That's rainbow stripes stuff. I, on the other hand, went straight for the nearest Coke and deck chair.
Warming up wasn't a problem -- it was over 90 degrees and dry out. I kept mine short opting to hang out in the shade rather than spin laps on the asphalt parking lot across the road, baking in the sun.
Nerves had my stomach in knots and nothing brought me relief except for when they finally said "go." They ran the pro/expert category together and I was stoked we had seven women to race, including my Ninja teammate Michelle! I jumped off the line, got a good couple pedal strokes in to lead the pack and then tried to find a pace that would suit the climb and the heat. Lesley stayed on my wheel for a little while, and then came around for the hole shot. I was half waiting for her and hoped to hang on to her wheel but with the heat, (and my inferior legs ... I shamelessly admit it) I had to cut our clinic short.
I settled into my pace for the rest of the climb, keeping Lesley in sight, but only just. The last I saw of her, she was punching the last of the singletrack ups. In fact, that was the last I saw of almost anybody. Racing alone is always a tough one. But it gave me a chance to exercise my brain a bit. I felt like I had some mtb OCD or something; I had to check every line choice, corner, and obstacle ten times whereas before my various wrecks, a single glance would have told me all I needed to know. It takes a lot of time to check and re-check your decisions, so I could feel myself getting slower. Also, did I mention it was HOT?!
By lap three, I'd made peace with the course a little more, found some flow and even some other people! I also hallucinated a car on the double track and large black floating orbs. Pretty sure the swarms of bees were real though. It was a tough day for me, but I checked off the only goal I set for myself: finish safe. (I also took home a silver medal, $50 cash money and a sweet raffle prize - yay! Thank you Rim Nordic!)
Ninjas were out in good form as well. There was a lengthy awards procedure afterwards as the cheery crew at Rim Nordic handed out medals, trophies and raffle prizes for this final event of the series. We collected a pile of hardware, including the third spot in the team overall! Congratulations Ninjas! And thanks to the La Chinas for helping me with transportation and being swell people to hang out with all weekend. Likewise to "the Three Bears" -- I'm stoked we got to get to know each other a little better and you guys are awesome. A great crew for our last Ninja Cabin weekend. Where did the summer go?
Full results here.
Series results here.
|The Three Bears: John, Mark and Eric shredding the Snow Summit park on Saturday|
|Paige with Ninjas Mark and John, ready to rock!|
|Ninja Advait, looking cool and collected on the start line|
|Ninja Michael, thinking about our new gang signs ;)|
|Ninja Michelle claims third in Expert! Congrats!|
|Thanks to the La Chinas for this tremendous find!|