Saturday, October 29, 2011

Xterra World Championships 2011

I just got back from racing in Maui for Xterra World Championships!  We enjoyed a wonderful 5 days there and I turned out a good race.
This year Xterra moved the race up North in Kapalua a new venue for the first time in 15 years.  There has been alot of hype about this new course and I was excited but not really sure what to expect.
The swim started a little crazy with a mass start of 670 people and the worst part was the chaos at the first bouy!  The ocean was very calm on the day of the race without the big swells they had two days prior and were expecting to move back in.  I felt like I had a descent swim but found that it was actually pretty slow once I got out on the bike course behind everyone. It seemed from feedback I had gotten from people and then from my pre-ride that this course would suit me a little bit better than the old one.  This bike course was a lot of fun with so much variety.  Once I got past the bottlenecks in the first 3 miles of the course I was able to start to push the pace and gain some ground on the bike and especially on the long fast descents (a strength of mine). I had no idea what to expect on the run because I was unable to get out and see it.  All I knew was that it went up for 3.5 miles with some difficult steep climbs in there and then down through some twisty tight trails.  As I came in from the bike I tried to get myself ready and positive for the run.  As I got into it I found that I was feeling pretty good and I just kept passing people through the run.  This is new for me and it fueled me and helped me to keep pushing through!  It was a difficult run course but I really enjoyed it (besides the terrible grassy climb to the finish)! This was the best run performance I have had in an Xterra yet.  I actually moved onto the podium during the run portion and gained ground!
This is the short version of my race report, please go read the full race report on my blog.
The day went pretty well!  I ended up on the podium taking 3rd in my Age-group,  8th Amatuer woman, and 21st woman overall.  Huge improvement!
You can also check out the course in the highlight video.

This is a wrap for my 2011 season and I am so thankful for all the support and encouragement this season.
MORF this year it has been great.  Thank you to all our sponsors!  Newton, I have loved racing in the shoes this year!  Wouldn't trade my Maxxis tires for anything.  First Endurance has some great race and recovery fuel! Thanks to Dave at Redstone Cyclery for your help.

Long, hot, slow beach run nearing the finish!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Leadville Trail 100 Run:

Leadville 100 run:

Where to start? How about with stating that none of this could have been possible without my super supportive and well organized wife Katherine, or without my pacers: Mathew Arnold, Jason Davis, Tim Redmond, and my brother Casey Vaughn. I would also like to say thank you to Annie for being an emotional pillar of strength! I honestly could not have asked for a better support staff!

I feel the need to give a little extra thanks to Katherine before I begin the post. When I say this would not have been possible without my wife, it is an understatement. Katherine put up with my constant training during the week, my lack of duties around the house, spending of fortunes on gear and food, the complaints of constant sunburns, blisters, and soreness. She took control where my ability to plan or pay attention to details was not sufficient. She secured hotel reservations, transportation plans, needed nutrition, race planning, aid station organization, pacer organizer and informer. Katherine does more than expected and never complains (well maybe a couple times). She is truly an unselfish individual, who I adore. Thanks, and I love you!
I am going to organize this gibberish by daily happenings. As I feel with as much rambling and tangential rants as my brain can produce, this will be the only way to maintain some sort of coherent structure:

Thursday (Day 1):
Matt ad I planned to leave the house around 9am, however with as unorganized and busy as we both are, I was hopeful to get out of Golden by noon. We nailed it; we were on the road, caffeinated, and had food on its way to digestion by high noon! We were in no rush anyways, as all I needed to do today was run through medical/race day check-in by 4pm. Once we arrived in Leadville, Matt and I checked in to our one bed studio apartment that would be our home base for the next 3 nights. It was small, and this would make it all the merrier once Tim and Katherine arrived on Friday. We were not too concerned as the hotel was going to be of little use come 2am Saturday. After checking into the hotel, Matt and I headed to the race check in which happened to be right around the corner (Leadville is a smaller town, so fortunately everything is right around the corner). I weighed in, answered some general questions concerning my health and got my race packet. Coming from the usual experience at Ironmans, where it is like getting through National Security to check-in, this experience was rather relaxing to me. The atmosphere was spectacular as well, the people were generally excited and helpful, and there seemed to be no pretentious attitudes. I loved witnessing the wide variety of participants taking part in this race. You look left and you see a 65 year old man rocking some all grey New Balance from the 60s, a first generation tech tee, and a bandana. You look right and you see a 23 year old kid in vibrams, no shirt, and some new Oakley’s. There was one of every kind, and all seemed to understand that this town, this race, and this adventure would be something we all would soon share. It was also crazy to me that out of 850 registrants, that only 700 would show up on race day, and that only 350 would finish. This meant that half the people I was meeting and seeing would not finish. It must be very hard to train like everyone else, invest so much into this undertaking, to ultimately ride back to Leadville in a car!
After race check in and some quick sightseeing, Matt and I decided to have some dinner. Through some minor interrogating of the locals we realized that there were really only a couple of true “dining” options to choose from. I for one am fine with this, as I despise dinner decisions. We huddled for a moment and decided on the local’s favorite, the $10.95 Filet Mignon. Some may say, "A $10 dollar steak"… that is super sketchy? I say, “a $10 dollar steak… what a steal, give me two!” Post our delicious steak dinner Matt and I grabbed some “Gluten Free” Bud Light and headed back to the old Timberline for some sleep.

Friday (Day 2):
After a solid night of sleep, Matt and I decided that today would be a day of eating and enjoying the beautiful town of Leadville. We had a delightful breakfast and headed back to the hotel to catch some quick Jersey Shore (YEA BUDDY!) before we headed out on our bikes for a bit. The 1:30 bike ride was relaxing and beautiful; there are indeed some great trails to enjoy around Leadville. After our bike ride we headed to the race meeting. Very inspiring, and it even got me a little emotional. While watching what this race means to the organizers, town of Leadville and its participants you begin to see that this is more than just another race. The town and people involved truly care about this town, the race, and all the participants. I hope Lifetime carries on the true meaning and spirit behind the Leadville 100 run!!!! Following the meeting we headed over to the solo Mexican establishment and filled up on chips & salsa, tacos, and water. We also devised our plan of attack for the rest of the day, which would be absolutely nothing. We did drive out to Turquoise Lake which was a long drive in the car, and that wasn’t even going to be 1/6th of my RUN the following day. Later that day we headed to the grocery store and stocked up on some essentials for the run. We then sat and waited on the rest of our crew to show. Katherine and Tim finally arrived around 7 and we headed straight to dinner. I had some fish tacos, some bread and then called it sleepy time. I started trying to go to sleep at around 8:30, but knew this was going to be a long night of little sleep and much anticipation. Around 9pm a crazy thunderstorm moved in. This system brought in some torrential rain, much lightning, and some colder weather. The storm also lasted for a better part of 3:30 hours. These circumstances would not have been so alarming, other than the fact that the forecast for Saturday night was supposed to be identical. Oh well, worrying never helps….

Saturday (Day 3/Race Day):
Alarm, ALarm,ALArm,ALARm, ALARM,… It was now 2am and time to get up, shovel as much food down as possible, get some coffee, and take care of the rest of my race morning business. Needless to say, I was anxious, but I was not nervous. I was just ready to start and let this adventure unfold as it may. The way I looked at it, the day was going to have numerous ups and downs, but I just needed to control the things that were controllable. My main concern was nutrients, pace, and energy conservation.I lined up somewhere in the top half. I knew the start was going to be mild, and with many miles of road before the trails began, there will be plenty of time to pass, get passed, and find my pace! The gun went off, followed by some loud cheers, beeps of start button on watches, and the clicks of headlamps being turned on as we headed off into the night. We headed up a good hill as we left town, once I crested the hill I took a second to look back at the lights of Leadville, and the mile of Headlamps bobbing behind me. This is a view I will remember for a very long time! Once we hit the dirt road to head out of town, it got quiet…. Everyone knew we had a long pain filled day ahead. My stomach decided to start a little bit of a party after the initial excitement had ended. It did not bother me too much however, as I knew it had plenty of time to settle down (it took its sweet time, it partied another 50 miles until I hit the turnaround :)). The sun started to rise around the outgoing climb of the Powerline. This was a great part for me as it was the first real test of the run, and you could see the mental games it was playing on people. However, I just kept my slower than normal pace, and trudged on. I wanted to run slower than slow as I knew the last 30 miles of this race could either be “man, this has been a long day” miserable, or the ”I would rather have 1000 paper cuts being filled with salt” miserable. Before I knew it I had reached Twin Lakes aid station, and was starting to suffer a bit. My stomach was still partying, I was developing a headache, and I was about to start the climb up Hope Pass and to 12,500 feet. While at the Twin Lakes my wife counted my caloric/water intake and informed me I was way behind. She gave me the “we have spent way too much money, time, and energy on this for you to blow it due to nutrition” look. I knew at that point I should shut up and shove some food down the old gullet. So… I sat there and ate until Katherine deemed it suitable for me to leave. Though it annoyed me at the time, 15 minutes later while climbing Hope Pass I started to regain my energy and soon to follow my spirit. I would hate to think what would have happened had I not been set straight. Once I got to the top of Hope Pass, I took a second to look around, simply amazing! Epic landscape, that I felt I could truly appreciate due to my current situation. I now only had 5 miles of downhill running before I got to the turn around with my first pacer!!! It brought a smile to my face to know that within the hour I would have a good friend of mine running alongside that was totally dedicated to my perseverance.

The Turnaround (Miles 50 to the 60.5)
Chapter 1: (Matt NSR and the creek crossings…Yeah Buddy!)
As I reached the turn around, I was running through my mental checklist. What do I need to do here to secure a safe return trip, and ultimately a finish? First, I need to check-in with medical. I weighed in, and had only lost three pounds, very solid. This means my nutrition/hydration is working so far. Secondly, warm clothes and possibly rain gear. Thirdly, make sure my pacer and I are on the same page. After grabbing some warm clothes, Matt NSR took my bag from me and insisted on carrying all my gear. I hadn’t realized the burden of carrying my endurance pack until I had taken it off. It was such a great feeling to be running with no extra weight. It was even a better experience to realize that my support crew had all of this planned out and are way ahead of me in planning. At that moment I quit planning and relinquished all control to my wife and crew. This was another weight that I was relieved to let go, I knew they had the best plan for me. As we headed back up Hope Pass the relentless climbing was wearing me down, but Matt was supportively pushing me, knowing that once we reached the top all the pain would subside. Matt and the crew had obviously devised a plan for my caloric needs. Every ten minutes or so I was being asked had I eaten, what did I eat, and did I need water? At the time I was disgruntled, and not wanting to eat, but I did. This constant monitoring is what got me through the race. Matt had me on about a 3-400 calorie an hour diet. I was having problems swallowing but I would just chew things up a bit and then flush it down with some water. It was also good to have someone there to joke with and be able to take your mind off the fact that you were slightly only further than half way. Matt and I cruised down hope pass and back to Twin Lakes and the 5 river crossings. By the time we hit Twin Lakes it was starting to get dark and I was getting a little colder. So at Twin Lakes aid station, I changed my wet shoes and socks, and gathered some slightly warmer clothing just in case. Thanks so much MATTY!!!!!!!

Twin Lakes to Fish Hatchery (miles 60.5 to 76.5):
Chapter 2 (Bathroom Breaks, Garden Gnomes, and a Rave):

Jason Davis, my next pacer, was more than prepared for the 15 miles of intense JV shuffling that was to come. So Katherine packed up Jason’s backpack with pizza, trail mix, Lara bars, and some honey stinger chews. I was supposed to have it all down by the next aid station, and by this point it was all I could do to eat a jelly bean. We started off slightly uphill, but luckily Jason had secured me a set of hiking poles (which I used for the next 30 miles). They were so great to help take some stress off of your legs, especially on the downhill, where you could plant them before you land. As we started to climb I was feeling great, and I was pumped to have Jason along side. He has paced me before and new exactly how to keep me hydrated, fueled, and most importantly made sure to keep me positive. Jason was pretty much my pack mule as well. He was carrying a camel back, two handhelds, all my food, extra clothing, and a boom box (just kidding, but great idea for next year ). I was carrying a jacket, and what was starting to feel like a 300 pounds of me. We were running the runnable and hiking the questionable, but I felt we were moving at a very good pace. Jason was making sure I swallowed (I say swallowed because chewing wasn’t an option as it would make me gag) as much food as possible. Once we were about to hit the long dirt/paved road section back into Treeline and ultimately Fish Hatchery, I felt a bathroom break coming on. Natured called, I answered, and some magical energy from places I speak not where was unleashed! It would fuel a furious shuffling dash all the way to Treeline. Once Jason and I hit Treeline it was officially dark. My wife being the beautiful brains of the operation had a great idea to give Jason and I glow sticks to hang from our packs to help her separate us from the rest of the pack once at Fish Hatchery. Jason, bless his soul shuffled with me for two of the five sections. It was probably the longest 15 miles of his life, but he hung in there like a trooper and never complained about my blistering 12-13 minute miles. About a 1/2 mile out of Treeline it got real dark, and my glow stick was tied to my pack, and it was swinging back in forth in front of my face. I felt like I was being interrogated by the rave police while…. umph umph umph…biddddda biddda buuuunh… umph umph umph was raging in my ear. Though I hold nothing against raves, 70 miles into a 100 mile run is not the time for me to be raving. So I handed Jason my glow stick and he was inundated with two rave promoting glow sticks swing back in forth in front of his face . Once all that was situated we finally hit the stretch of road into Fish Hatchery where Jason and I decided to sing about promiscuous ladies accidently in front of females and ask the gods above “why we couldn’t have yard gnomes serving us warm apple cider”…”I mean is that too much to ask… is it?” Sorry for this Hunter S. Thompsonish ramblings, but all part of the adventure. With the help of glow stick, raves, gnomes, and a bathroom break we finally made it to the Fish Hatchery and that much closer to the finish line. (Thank you Jason AND KELLY for helping me throughout this year. Your support does not go unnoticed!)

Fish Hatchery to May Queen (Miles 76.5 to 86.5)
Chapter 3 (Tim “the experience”, and the 6 false flats):

My brother and his lovely lady Annie had finally arrived, and were a sight for sore eyes. It made me smile and gave me a little surge. You really realize what great friends and family you have when they are there to support you through something like this. Once we said our hellos, we immediately said our goodbyes, and Tim and I shot off in the dark. It was good to have Tim with me for this leg as he had just finished his first 100 miler and was “experienced.” I let Tim try and set the pace while I shuffled slowly behind him. This next section, by far, proved to be one of the most challenging of the trip home. Up and over Powerline. The worst part was that you would climb for 45 minutes come to a flat section and think phew that was hard. Then you would head straight up again. The funny thing is, I had run this section not 8 hours ago, and you ask yourself “how do I not remember this?”… Oh yeah, I was fresh and going downhill ! Anyhow Tim was a trooper, he kept me constantly engaged and was trying to spark my walk to a shuffle at all times. It felt like false flat after false flat, and it was really dark, the participants were spread out, and this was fairly difficult terrain. However, I knew once I reached the top I would be at mile 80 and would only be a 20 miles from the finish. After a final few curses and personal demons slayed, we finally reached the top and mile 80! Tim and I started the downhill, and by this point it sounded something like this, “ouch, ouch, ew, ah, sh**, ouch, poop, ow.” I tried to keep my grunting and cursing in a somewhat rhythmic fashion as I felt it would aid in my uncoordinated ballet along this rocky steep descent. Tim the whole time would constantly keep an eye out and partially catch me as I would go to stumble. I must say, one of my most proud accomplishments from the LT100, was that I didn’t fall ONCE… nope not once! As Tim and I descended down the Powerline you could see the lights and hear the rumblings of May Queen in the distant. I knew however it would be a while until we reached our destination. So for the next 1:30 or so I stared at Tim’s feet while shuffling close behind. To be honest, I know we talked the whole time but I feel my mind was shutting down slightly. We were going into energy conservation mode. I kind of felt bad for Tim, most of this leg I was either cursing rhythmically or staring at his feet in a partial slumber. This is why I appreciated Tim at this point; he had been there and knew about how I felt. Finally after another hour or so of stumbling we made it into May Queen. Thank ya TIM!!!!!!

May Queen to the Finish Line (miles 86.5 to 100)
Chapter 4 “How can 8mi take 2hrs?"
To give an idea of how great my team was, and how tight a ship my wife was running, I saw a friend of mine Audra from Evergreen while standing at May Queen aid station getting refueled by my support staff. She later told me that they were as precise as the military, she said she could barely even catch my attention due to the strategic nature and focus my support crew had. I was the only thing they were paying attention to. This is what got me to the finish line. Once I was meticulously refueled and my pit stop was over, my brother and I headed out for the last 13.5. Before I start, I cannot tell you how great it was to have my brother run the last bit with me. No one knows me better besides my brother and my wife. We had about 8 miles along Turquoise Lake and another 5.5 or so back into town. It was getting very cold by this time of night and the next 8 miles were all along the shore, which made it even colder. This was proving to be the most difficult section of the race for me by far. My body hurt, but most of all I was just sleepy. I was flat out falling asleep. My brother would clap to wake me up, start a conversation, but within 10 minutes my eyes were crossing and I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. Casey stuck with it however and made sure I was doing everything to keep myself awake and moving. It was so hard to believe I was moving so slow, but I was super tired, it was a fairly technical section (at least at this point), and my legs were aching a good bit. After about 4 miles we passed a campfire were a gentleman was drinking some adult beverages, but also had some flavored Pellegrino. It was delicious and also had a decent bit of sugar which helped a good bit with my energy levels. We traded names and a handshake, and I headed back out into the cold and quiet night. Quiet at least for 5 minutes, when the gentleman from the campfire decided to start yelling motivational phrases. It was cracking me up, every 5-10 minutes I would hear “GO JOSH” and I would respond with an “AWE YEA”. It was indeed the little things that would pass 45 minutes or so that you truly grew to appreciate. For the next 30 minutes or so I just stared at my brother’s feet and shuffled along, until finally we hit the dirt road that signified 6 miles to the finish. Casey was constant with the “good pace Josh” and the “we’re almost there Josh” just enough to wake me up and confirm that we were still moving forward. He would run beside me, which made me feel fast, but soon thereafter he would decide to eat a snack or drink some water while walking, and he would still be right beside me. This was a good reminder of how slow I was really going. After some ups and downs on the dirt road, we finally hit the concrete which lead us about a mile to the finish line. It is so funny to me how you suffer so much and think you couldn’t run to save your life, but as soon as you see that finish line the legs magically start working again. With about .25 of a mile to go I saw my wife and Annie, who quickly congratulated me and escorted my brother and me through the finish line. IT WAS OVER. The funny thing is how anti-climactic the finish line truly was. The journey, the memories, the heart of the race was out there, not at the finish line. Though it was nice to lie down while knowing you did not have to get back up!

The race was over, the sun was up, and I was ready to go to bed. However this was an adventure I hope I never forget. I can never thank the people who aided me during this race: My wife (Katherine) who without being by my side I would NOT HAVE MADE IT. Her undying support, organizational skills, and total dedication to my finishing of the race is something I cannot say enough about. To Matt (NSR) and his constant great attitude and relentless attention to my nutrition, I will always be grateful. To Jason and his year of support, planning, carrying abilities, unspoken understanding of my needs, and $20 dollar headlamp, I owe you big time. Tim and his wealth of knowledge, lack of sleep, motivation, and true interest in my journey, it did not go unnoticed. My brother (Casey), I don’t even know what to say, you are my best friend, and partner through many rough adventures, I love you. And last but not least, Ms. Annie, constant deliverer of positive vibes and happiness, you are a blessing to mankind!

The Leadville 100 Trail Run was one of the best experiences in my life. There were many things that will never be forgotten. I know this is a long rambling blog post, but it could have been 10 pages longer if I had discussed everything I had wanted. The competitors, the prep rally, the volunteers, the crews, the route, the town of Leadville, the string of headlamps bobbing in the night, it is a life changer. It was everything I expected, anticipated, dreamt about and more. It is good for humanity and I hope it never waivers from the founder’s vision!

Thanks again to AGAIN! Who knew NEWTONS Could even make you shuffle faster and more effecient!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

XTERRA Lory & King of the Rockies

MORF had a great weekend racing and volunteering at XTERRA Lory and racing mountain bikes at the Winter Park King of the Rockies race.

At XTERRA Lory, Vanessa finished 1st in her AG and was the 7th for amateur women OA. Natalie raced her first XTERRA tri and did an amazing job -- she placed 6th in her AG, had a ton of fun, and finished smiling! Mike and Aaron represented MORF by volunteering before, during, and after the race.

XTERRA Lory also had some post-race slip-slide races.... Natalie raced to try and win an XTERRA wetsuit and had a lot more energy to do this than you'd expect from someone who'd just raced for a few hours in the heat!
At the final Winter Park race of this year, Debby won overall for the amateur expert women, and also won the series for her AG. After a season of work and international travel, Ryan raced with a few gears on his bike and placed 2nd in his AG for expert men.

Josh also recently raced the Leadville Trail 100 and finishing in just over 27 hours!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Xterra Indian Peaks, Crankworks, Boulder 70.3

Winter Park Mountain Bike Series - Crankworx
Great race! Had some time off after BC so had some nice rested legs. It was a little weird not starting with the pros I found myself off the front early and setting the pace for the field up Sunken Bridges, not sure how comfortable I was with that. Conserved energy on the lower part of the climb cause I knew I needed for the top rocky part. Took the lead again on the way down and maintained for the most part the rest of the way! First overall Expert win! 9th Overall w/ Pros. - Debby

XTERRA Indian Peaks
Another good day. I love this race it is one of my favs. I was so happy that the wind didn't pick up like last year so that made the swim so much better. I like the TT start. Bike is one of my favorite XTERRA bike courses with some really fun Single track and fast flowy sections. It is actually a mountain bike course :) I put down the 3rd fastest bike split for the women but could not run fast enough to stay in there. Of course this is a fun rough trail run which I am still being conservative on the ankle. I ended up 2nd AG and 6th Overall. Just need to gain some more confidence and speed on the run. - Debby

Also at XTERRA Indian Peaks, Greg placed 2nd in his AG and Josh placed 4th in his AG.

At the Boulder 70.3, Vanessa placed 4th in her AG.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MORF in July

The MORF team has kept busy racing in July, and we've had lots of time to see each other!

Greg & Debby raced the Winter Park Mountain Series Valley Point to Point, while Jason and Vanessa raced the Boulder Peak Tri. Debby took second at the Valley Point to Point, and Vanessa placed fifth in her age group.

A good MORF contingent raced Xterra Beaver Creek -- Greg, Aaron, Casey, Debby, and Vanessa all raced while Natalie cheered us on and Mike volunteered. Greg was racing very strongly and near the top of his age group until midway through the bike when he tore his derailler off his bike. After several attempts to change his bike into a singlespeed, he ended up running the last 8 miles of the bike course (with his bike!) before beginning the official run portion of the race!

A highlight of this race was seeing our teammates. Although none of us wanted to see Greg running on the bike course, it was great to have fellow MORFers shouting words of encouragement as we saw each other out on the course. Debby and Vanessa came out of the water together and then Debby shot ahead on the climb (as expected!! She is rocking her mountain bike!!). For anyone thinking about racing this next year, take Aaron's postrace advice that "training for that event would probably have proven to be an intelligent move! " And for the team -- next time we get together, we need a group shot in our kits!!

It was great to see everybody... and good to see so many MORF Kits out on the course!

MORF's version of Where's Waldo: Can you spot the MORF kit here?

Debby @ Xterra Mountain Champs

This weekend was Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek it is the final race of the championship series before Nationals and is also known to be the most difficult of the series. Going into the race I was feeling excited to race because I know I have made some big improvements this season but also a little apprehensive about trail running on my still healing ankle. I had to keep telling myself I am already qualified for Worlds so the goal here is to still race hard but not re-injure my ankle!
Saturday brought a beautiful race morning as I set up transitions and tried to get my ankle all warm and ready. I got a great spot in transition right next to the pro rack. The race starts in Nottingham lake in Avon. It was a nice 66 degrees for the two lap swim. I tried to start smooth and then get into a good pace. I felt good and actually was able to find some room which I have had trouble doing here in the past. When I stood up out of the water I was excited to see that I was exiting right alongside my teammate, Vanessa, who is a great swimmer. This boosted my confidence because I knew that I had made a big improvement on my swim. I fumbled through transition which was a little slow. I chose to take the time to put on a brace for added support for my ankle. I jumped on my bike and got my legs spinning on the short pavement section before we start climbing. The bike course consists of about 3600 feet of climbing and much of that is right at the beginning. I got into the train of people on the climb which was slightly frustrating but was probably good because it held me to a good pace at the beginning, forcing me to not go out to hard on that climb. I was feeling strong and passed a few ladies on my way up. However, I got passed by one girl near the top. So the chase was on and she is a really great climber. I wasn’t able to catch her and was about a minute and a half behind as I came into T2. Another terrible transition and I was off running trying to get myself psyched for this run course that as always kicked my butt with another 1600 ft of climbing! I had some slight quad cramping on the first big climb but felt that I was able to hold a better pace than in the past. I got to the last single track section and stayed focused on not rolling my ankle. I was still able to cut my run time by 10 minutes.
Success! No rolled ankles and I was able to take 2nd in my age group. I cut my time from last year by 29 minutes! I am happy with the day and now I am looking forward to some more gains by US Nationals in September and then World in October. I know there is room for improvement and also hopefully a strong and healed ankle.

- Debby

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Wrapup

MORF had a presence at several races this weekend -- Greg placed 3rd in his age group at the Loveland Lake to Lake tri, and Justin, Ryan, Debby, Erin and I raced the Winter Park mountain bike SuperLoop. It was super indeed -- for the promised 18.1 mile race, Justin had a good position in the pro race, and around mile 16.1 each MORFer dug in deep for the final two miles... except... the race didn't end. Nope! The race had unannounced bonus miles for a total 23.8 mile race with 2,680 feet of climbing! Luckily, that just meant more time to enjoy the sunny warm weather and bike hard. Justin and Ryan raced on fully rigid bikes because they are ridiculous, while Debby, Erin and I enjoyed our more-plush full suspension bikes. Justin also raced without water, but that's another story....

The top 5 things about this race:
1. PERFECT race weather!
2. Awesome mountain biking!
1. Moose tracks on the trail... and I was pretty sure they were new, given that I wasn't exactly in the top 10 (or 100) across the finish.
4. No moose sightings!
5. I was also SUPER impressed by the race etiquette I experienced -- every single person who passed me called their pass and was friendly, nobody was rude or impatient, and nobody called me pumpkin.