Girls On The East Side
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Robyn Embry stoked to be on top.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
1. So Cal - Fontana, Viper trail, Santa Barbra
3. Oregon Super D Series, Whoops trail, Black Rock
4. Duthie Park Washington State
5. The Whole Enchilada, Moab, RedBull Rampage
I am sure there is more, this is off the top of my head. I think it's a good start . . .
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I am horrible with meditation, I say I am going to practice it, but I don't even know where to begin and I don't put any effort into beginning it. I do, however, try to practice being in the moment. Not letting my thoughts wander to anxiety about the future or regret about the past. Just right now. The perfect moment. I'm exactly where I am supposed to be doing what I am supposed to be doing. This, obviously, is not the practice of looking ahead.
I find both mountain biking and being in the moment a great practice for the brain, and the soul for that matter. But how to do both without them conflicting is sometimes conflicting. On my best rides I am energized and feeling aggressive - strong and intent. The focus it takes to be an aggressive rider is somewhat meditative, nothing else exists in that moment except for you and the trail and your bike and your breath, and I'll say it again - what lies just ahead. And what lies just ahead is constantly and rapidly changing. It's a perfect combination of being strong but relaxed. Relaxed enough to flow like water through the trail. Strong enough that your brain and body work harmoniously to muscle over and around obstacles that you only see as clear paths. It's trickery in a way. That is not a rock. Look beyond. That is a ribbon of path around that rock or that rock is now a launch pad into the next section of trail. Thank you rock for being such a great launch pad. It's not an obstacle it's only what is beyond.
Lately, in life, I've been practicing being in the moment and being satisfied with that moment. The other day I went out for a ride and all I wanted to do was look straight down. I did not want to look ahead or to think lightning fast. I did not feel the energy to have my body react spontaneously. I said to my friend I was riding with - these are the days I just need to hike. The problem, however, was I was not certain I was feeling that way until I got on my bike and tried to ride. And I say 'tried to ride' literally. I could not for the life of me get motivated enough to master some of the tricky sections of trail I had mastered a million times. I was paralyzed really, by fear mostly. Because I noticed if I'm not feeling particularly energetic or motivated suddenly that steep, rocky, narrow section seems very undesirable. This is not fun, this is not what I want to do right now and even though I may possess the skill the brain is very much in control. That's the thing with mountain biking, it is a mind-over-matter sport more than anything. If I put my mind to it, I CAN do it. It's convincing the mind to let go of reasonable or unreasonable fears. It is reasonable to be afraid to jump a gap. However, we desire to challenge ourselves and the thrill and satisfaction of achieving a new goal usually, hopefully, overrides the fear. And that's outside of the physical feeling of mastering a new trick or section of trail. A mountain biker knows when something feels right and when it doesn't and we all ride in pursuit of that 'right' feeling. Not to mention the endorphins and adrenal that we've all become addicted to when we are doing our sport and we are doing it well. The mind-body connection is unavoidable. And that brings me back to my original statement. Sometimes I just want to look down. It could be a variable brain chemistry thing, it could be something else going on that I am unable to put out of my head. But it is an uneasy feeling for someone who is normally driven to wanting to achieve and master. After two or three rides like this I start to wonder, will I get it back? Will I always feel this unmotivated, will I always just want to look down instead of looking ahead?
I am sure the answer is no. Just as sure as I am in this moment right now. For now, I will accept and resign myself to look at what is right in front of me. Life is a balance - work, family, relationships, me. Sometimes I need to jump off that tight-rope and just sit. Nothing happens when I sit. Maybe nothing is supposed to happen right now. And then after some time sitting I will be ready to look ahead. Look fast and strong and look ahead.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The meganess in the Tara Llanes Classic lies in the fact that this course is almost twice as long as any other DH course - 10-13 minutes - with a nice lung-busting, leg-burning climb a few seconds into the race. Although the climb is merely a gap in time when it feels like your wheels are just standing still as you try to power your heavy, squishy-travel bike up soft powdery dirt, it got a lot of talk. Some competitors chose to ride their lighter all-mountain weapons and even spotted was a (gasp) skin-suit sported by pro-men's first place finisher Ryan Condrashoff. But obviously the dude knew what he was doing.
For most of us regarding bike selection and outfitting the climb took a back seat to what lay ahead on the descending trail, Sticks & Stones. This is a trail that lives up to its name. The dirt is loose-as-fook in the top section, sinking into corners and riding the slide. There a few drops off logs and because it's Northstar, always rocks, which then descends to the lower section into rock-garden-palooza - trying to make a clean pass through a particularly gnarly rock-garden was my highlight challenge of the day. The course then shoots the racer out to a speedy ending through the newly restored (nice job trail crew!) Datona Berms off the wooden-feature stadium jump to an all-star fly into the finish line. Way fun! And by the time the racer is at the bottom it seems the climb at the top is a distant memory, far removed by all the other radness encountered on the trip down the mountain.
Lending to the good vibe at TLC is its mission with proceeds being distributed between the Tara Llanes Road to Recovery Fund and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center to find a cure for spinal cord injury. Tara doles out the awards and gives hugs. Friends that have raced together all season are there for the last and final and tons of new faces who have traveled long and far all co-mingle. The vendors are there to show off their new products and offer support - much thanks to the Specialized tent for bleeding my SRAM brakes on my Santa Cruz V10 just minutes before I had to be at the start gate. Big thumbs up!!And here's the lowdown on the women's podium:
1. Abigail Hippely 10:59
2. Robyn Embrey 11:11.4
3. Tasa Herndon 11:30.9
4. Adrienne Schneider 11:42.4
5. Rosemarie Daiek 12:18.7
6. Miranda Carr 12:46.4
7. Jaclyn Paaso 13:20.0
8. Mary Moncorge DNS (unfortunately Mary had other matters to tend to - her boyfriend's shattered wrist from practice)
Female Sport 29 and Under- a slight course variation from the Open competitors so times don't compare
1. Shanna Carlen 12:00.7
2. Anna Wigandt 13:43.7
3. Morgan Howe-Cobb 13:49.0
4. Allie Sorrensen 17:43.5
Female Sport 30+
1. Brooklyn Dewante 13:00.0
2. Kirstie Douglass 13:35.3
3. Marika Holmgren 15:49.0
4. Ivy Lui 16:13.1
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The first race was the Spring Thaw DH that only one of us from GOES (our new acronym for Girls on the East Side. Like it??) competed in. It was cold and snowy/rainy on race day but I managed to take 1st in my category and 2nd fasted woman on the mountain of the day earning me $100! (This well covered my race entry but not quite the travel expenses. Still, getting money for winning a race felt like a pro for a half-of-a-second, hehe). As usual I raced with some really great women and am glad to get to know more new rad lady shredders.Did I mention it was snowing/raining . . . and it was really c-c-c-cold? I sat in the car after my pre-race practice run wrapped in a sleeping bag and couldn't even take my helmet and goggles off because I was too shivery.Our second race, four weeks later, was the super fun Super-D. We started at the top of Mount Ashland and raced our way 12 miles through several different terrains, including Catwalk my new favorite trail that we raced in the Spring Thaw. Tina and I were the two GOES that represented and placed well in a tough category. Tina taking 6th and I seconds behind placing 8th. I wasn't feeling so great on race day - tired and a bit of a headache/sore throat but pushed through and managed to have a blast despite it all. Our plan for next year is to put in more XC training miles well in advance of the race because of the nauseating climb and for me - more rest!!! (and perhaps my own private room. Five of us crammed in a crappy hotel room with bikes, luggage, and what not and all were snoring and farting around me. Sheesh!!).
My new buddy that I see around at some of the races shot this photo. I look like I'm about to laugh because I think I am . . . all these guys on the side of the trail with beer cans lined up in a pattern and someone shouts my name. What, who? Oh, I can't let my concentration break. I've descended now to the Cinderella trail and it is steep and loose with tight berms and hoppy ruts . . . must concentrate, must not laugh, almost to the finish line!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
April 23-24: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (XCO/DHI/4X)
June 4-5: Fort William, Great Britain (DHI/4X)
June 11-12: Leogang, Austria (DHI/4X)
July 2-3: Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada (XCO/DHI/4X)
July 9-10: Windham, New York, United States (XCO/DHI/4X)
August 6-8: La Bresse, France (DHI)
August 20-21: Val di Sole, Italy (XCO/DHI/4X)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The adventure began before we even got on our bikes. Once we reached the top of the Zephyr lift the trucks and vans were waiting for us racers to take us to . . . bumm, bumm, bummm . . . the very top of the mountain. Our bikes were tossed (in our minds they were tossed. Someone made a comment about 'bike spaghetti.') into the backs of vans and eager, mindless riders piled into SUV's with no seats in the back. Up terrain that looked like you should only ride your bike down we bounced our way around the back side of the mountain to make the climb to the top. The ride was so bumpy that one of the racers, our new friend Roxy, bounced so high her already unstable shoulder popped out of socket. The van stopped while a few riders got out and collectively popped the shoulder back without so much as a squeal from Roxy. She still raced, placing 3rd.
Once at the top, our nerves now taking over, we lined up ON OUR BIKES for our mass start - yay, not La Mans style! Off the line I was the third girl out of ten. I really wanted to hold my position so even though the dust from dirt-thick-as-could-be coming off the first two riders was choking out my vision I tried to stay fast. I could only see the top of Adrienne's, the rider in second, helmet in front of me and I kept my eye on her helmet's movement -- if the helmet went up, set- up for an obstacle, if the helmet tipped sideways, crouch in position for a turn. It was that way for what seemed a long time but I am sure was only a minute until we hit thick, thick dirt single track that was on a slight upgrade. The pedaling was nauseating and I could hear Tina, who was on her light xc bike, coming up behind me. I could also see Adrienne, on her heavy DH bike, slowing down. Stuck between the two I held my own back down the familiar side of the mountain and in to rocky, silty terrain. I was keeping good speed until a wipe out in a sharp, rutted out corner sent me over the handle bars. . . I was cussing like a sailor when Tina (sport class) and Molly (pro) stumbled past me. Damn it!!!! I vowed to catch them and quickly overcoming the mental aspects of the crash I sped up to them on the ladder bridge where Tina had dove off because of two flat tires. I passed her slowing down to ask if she was alright and hearing a word I am sure was "fine" I kept in hot pursuit of Molly, now the rider in front of me. The rest of the rocky, twisty race I was pushing it, but not as hard as I know I have in the past. I think I was a little worn out from a long week of work, but still, I made a strong finish through the technical, but 0h-so-fun bottom of the run to place 1st in Sport class (finishing behind all three pro's).
It was a great run for a last race . . . I am just sorry for Tina who flatted out. Big bummer! At least she took it like a sport. Hopefully next year we can say 'she took it like a pro.'
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
th place. I even got new tires put on her just for the weekend -- Minions -- and as Mike at ABW says, "Minion's are the shit!!!" I quote. I also agree.
The thing I also enjoyed about this race weekend was not just the riding and the pushing and challenging myself to bigger and better things, but the atmosphere. No other sport I have been involved in before has the camaraderie been so fantastic. Everyone is happy on a bike and the women in the sport reach out to each other. It is amazing. I made more new friends this weekend and they are fun, super-chill women. Just the kind I like to hang with. And I admire them for how they push themselves. Monday, I was tired, I could barely get out of bed . . . and it was so worth it! We'll be racing again in a few weeks - the final in the Super D series and maybe even the Boondocks DH race on a borrowed bike. We'll see . . . I'll keep you posted.
p.s. - Tina was unable to race the Super D and came in 2nd in Live Wire. Woot, woot. Go Tina!
Marianne is kicking ass developing a strong leadership presence with NorCal and the Placer Foothill Mountain Bike Club. Very impressive ladies, very impressive!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
If you can see way down the road you'll notice all of us sad sacs pushing our bikes up the fire road . . . we must ride! Thanks T for letting me borrow the 951, that bike rules the school!!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
However, things didn't go so smoothly for me once we got on the mountain. My Lyrik fork was just rebuilt by a local bike shop the day before and while it seemed a little stiff on first impression, I really didn't have time to give it a good test run until my practice run where I found out I had about one inch of travel! I was cussing like a sailor the whole way down and not even sure I was going to race at that point. When I was supposed to be up at top of the course at the mandatory race meeting I was down at the bike park's quickie bike shop -- although they didn't have the time and resources to perform a real fix on the fork, they took care of me by taking some air out of the fork and putting some lube around the dust seals. This got me to about four inches, not quite the ride I'm used to, but still I decided to head up the mountain to attempt to race anyway. Arriving late I was happy to find they still accepted me and in a few minutes I was lined up for the (lame) Le Mans start to the race.
After a false start (I heard the word "GO" and me and another girl started running, even though the guy was still only explaining the rules -- oops. No harm) I took off like a shot and managed to be the first girl to reach her bike, flip it over, jump on and take off towards the dusty, rocky, loose single track that would be our challenge for the next 20 minutes or so. There was one length of flat fire road in between and that was where I was passed by a super-fast xc girl. I vowed to catch her on the DH but was met with one more bike malfunction - chain jump. After another session of cursing I had the chain back on the ring and was back on my bike, but alas unable to catch her. The rest of the ride was quite the arm pumping, leg pumping challenge with plenty of technical sections and twisty turns.
Tina, who for her own bike issues had to ride her heavier DH bike, caught up to me at one point and we got lost for a minute which didn't help in my quest to take the lead - it was a confusing course for sure!! After all was said and done I was very happy with a second place finish, Tina in third. It was a great race overall and we even made a new riding buddy, Roxy from Oakland. Looking forward to the next race -- and getting my Lyrik dialed in!!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
So, totally unrelated, here are some photos taken on the confluence trail in the canyon just beyond my house. These were taken on a nice, hot, dusty Sunday morning. . . Northstar Super D race in five days and counting!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
2010 World Mountain Bike Calendar
May 15-16: World Cup DHI #1 & 4X #2, Maribor, Slovenia
June 5-6: World Cup DHI #2 & 4X #3, Fort William Great Britain
June 19-20: World Cup DHI #3 & 4X #4, Leogang, Austria
July 24-25: World Cup XCO #4 and DHI #4, Champéry, Switzerland
July 31 - August 1: World Cup XCO #5, DHI #5 and 4X #5, Val di Sole, Italy
August 28-29: World Cup XCO #5, DHI #6, and 4X #6, Windham, New York, USA
August 31 - September 5: World XCO, DHI & 4X Championships, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada