Girls On The East Side

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This year's 21st Annual Ashland, Or Spring Thaw DH saw two Shine Riders hit the top of the podium as well as earning spots for fastest women on the mountain of the day. Robyn Embry clocked a blazing time of 4:50:39 placing her 1st place Pro Women and Kirstie Douglass came in at 5:11:17 ranking her 1st place Expert Women Open. Robyn took fastest lady on the mountain of the day while Kirstie swiped 3rd fastest earning both ladies some cash to take home along with their medals. The weather this year at the race was spectacular, sunny and warm, a relief from last year's surprise snow and rain. The race is called a DH but the course, Cat Walk, is more like a really long flow track (others called it a pump track on steroids) with one 12ft gap, bumps, lots of tight bermy switch backs and loads of narrow, ribbony-fast single track that becomes even faster when you add as many pedal strokes in between as you can. The key to mastering this course is tuck low, stay super nimble, and stay off the brakes! The corners come up quicker than lightning and were probably the biggest determination on how a racer ranked at the end of the day. The dirt was compact and allowed for speedy traction on much of the course, but the decomposed granite in the corners was dry and loose upping the challenge and the thrill factor. The 100 yard slight incline sprint to the finish left racers sucking wind and proving what they had left to shave off just a few more seconds if they could. Besides a fast course, the vibe at the race is really mellow and fun. This could be because the course is more flowy than technical reducing some of the pressure or the fact that the event is secluded, tucked up mid-Ashland mountain. It's a trek to get your vehicle up to the start and the feel is definitely "out in the middle of nowhere." No lifts, no parking lots, just lots of trail, trees and a hint of rocks. Ashland Mountain Adventures provides shuttles on race day and an awesome lunch was spread out for the racers reducing the primitive as well as an electronic chip timing system fueled by a generator. The event coordinators, Eschlon Events, were trying out a new timing system along side a former system and there was some grumbling in the crowd regarding times, but that goes with the territory and at the end of the day you just have to be happy with how you feel you did personally. The Ashland Mountain Challenge two day enduro style race will be coming up June 23rd and 24th and Cat Walk will be included in a stage of that race. Looking forward to more!

Robyn Embry stoked to be on top.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Places to Go and Trails to Ride

The list of mtb trips to go on keeps growing and it's all about finding the money, time and energy. I figure if I write them down I will be more apt to do them:
1. So Cal - Fontana, Viper trail, Santa Barbra
2. Whistler
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 . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being In the Moment

Sometimes I just want to look down. Mountain biking is all about looking ahead, anticipating our next move before we get to it. What we are doing right now has already happened, in a blink of an eye, and it does not matter as much as what lies ahead, which then passes in a blink of an eye and we're again looking ahead. It's a strange space to be in, not here right now, but always one second ahead. It sort of goes in-line with and against the peace we try to seek in our everyday non-riding lives. Live in the moment.

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

Season Finale

The Tara Llanes Classic MEGA DH ('mega downhill' must be enounced in a baritone monster-truck-rally-announcer's voice. MEGA DOWNHILL. It's unavoidable) was the perfect way to cap the Northstar Downhill Series for the summer. Bringing in 200 racers and loads of vendors this is the 5th TLC running with Tara herself MC'ing the event that has a great vibe.

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:
Female Open
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

Adventures in Ashland

Two races back-to-back in the past month have been held in Ashland, Or and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to ride! The trails are really well built; twisy, jumpy, tacky and berm-a-liciuos!!! all winding through a beautiful canopy of trees.

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!

After our race day on Saturday we spent Sunday exploring a few new trails down the mountain and I am now convinced that Ashland is the greatest place to ride . . . we'll be back sooner than later for sure!View from the top of Mount Ashland. There was snow at the top and warmth at the bottom. The trails finished at beautiful Lithia Park.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

World Cup Schedule 2011

2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
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)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MTB'ing As an Art Form

It seems mountain biking is such an art form because you don't see things as they really are. Instead of rocky, root strewn ground you see a line, a distinct path through the patterns -- and maybe something tricky to play off of -- that your eye and your tire follow before your mind even commands them to. Instead of a thread of trail outlining a cliff's edge you see in a-half-of-a-heart beat a sturdy monorail that your bike is naturally hooked to. Mountain biking is fast and slow at the same time. In what else that we do could this condition possibly exist?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last Super D of the Season

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


See Jane Jump Festival -- DH work-shop, all ladies, with pro coaches. I wannna go, I wanna go! Next year.

See Jane Jump 2010 from Darcy Turenne on Vimeo.


I love this video (Darcy Turenne) and I love Dakine gear . . . sponsorship one day maybe??

True Travel Love from Darcy Turenne on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Took a nice long XC ride yesterday evening . . . oh my aching muscles. It hurts so good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race Weekend

This past weekend was a race weekend extravaganza at Northstar . . . ok, well not that dramatic, but it was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work with a case of the nerves mixed in.Practice run Live Wire Classic, Sunday Sept. 29, 2010: Taking it easy, testing out the legs.
Friday evening was the Super D -- the race started with a nice fat stretch of lung & leg burning pedaling, ugh. The Le Mans start had me in second place when we hit the twisty, pedally single track. The lead girl was a xc racer who admonished the rest of the girls before the race to "hold back at the start to save some for the end." Then she took off like a shot, hahaha. Nice. Unfortunately none of us were ever able to catch that tricky girl. I was still holding second when I arrived at the fun downhill part of the course, the upper section of Karpiel. Karpiel is a double-black diamond that I had never ridden before, especially not on the Nomad. However, once I got over my intimidation it turned out to be the most fun section of the course (can't wait to ride it again. I'll wait until I get my DH bike to ride the lower section which is much nastier with steep rock gardens and drops and such). The dirt was loose and there was a bit of sliding around but all-in-all the course was in good condition. From Karpiel we hit a section of Pho-Dogg I had never ridden before -- fun also! Then on to twisy, rocky, flatish Woods - technical, tough and challenging, finishing on fast, smooth Deer Path (back to rocky, twisty a bit at the end on Lift Line -- one of my favorites). Having a blast and pushing it as much as I could I came in 1st in Sport class and was thrilled!
Live Wire Classic, Race photo
After resting up a bit on Saturday, Sunday came and the big Live Wire race was on! I learned something comparing these two races 1) Don't put too much pressure on a race, the nerves will break my concentration 2) I need a little alone time before a race to get inside my head. [Friday I had no expectations and about two hours alone before the race to get warmed up and in the right space]. I felt pretty good during my race run, but definitely made a few mistakes which cost me valuable seconds and I definitely could have pushed a little harder -- although, after comparing notes, you feel like you're spent at times on the course. The track could not have been in more perfect condition! A nice rain the night before left the course super tacky but not muddy at all. It was bliss. It was quite chilly waiting almost two hours at the top for our start time (too much time to get the nerves going and too many people to find any time inside your head). Even though I wish I could have raced a little faster and gotten about 15 seconds better time, I have to say - wow! it was fun. I love riding Live Wire -- and next year there is another race and I can correct the mistakes I felt I made this race (not enough speed into the jumps, faster in the corners, keep LOW the whole time). Next year I will also have a dedicated DH bike which will help out considerably. Until then my awesome Nomad got me through two races this weekend with a 1st & 4th 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


Two races coming up this weekend: Friday the Super D and Sunday Liiiiivewiiiire (aka Livewire Classic) . . . three days and counting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Storming Northstar

Today we stormed Northstar, or actually, Northstar stormed us. First run down and it started hailing, followed by pouring rain and then thunder and of course next came the lightening. The lifts were shut down and the only way to get in a second run was by pushing your big DH bike up to mid-mountain and catch "Lift-Line" run -- which several of us riders who couldn't get enough did. But before we called it a day and gave in to the weather, we captured a few small jaunts on photo and video . . .

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

Super D #1 Northstar

Yesterday kicked off the first race in the Super D series for Tina and I up at Northstar. After compartmentalizing our day -- working in the morning, getting into race mode in the afternoon -- we headed up the hill and the butterflies started. I found that laughter really is the best medicine and once we started cracking jokes the tension melted away . . . that's the ticket.

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

New Trails at Squaw (these photos are not from there)

Yesterday I rode with a really fun group up at the new bike park at Squaw Valley, Tahoe . . . it was crazy and beautiful . . . and unfortunately we did not get any photos. Although the photo ops were great, no one had a camera, or would have wanted to get off their bikes long enough to take a picture for that matter.

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

Megavalance -- we should try it!

Don't forget to click on the square in the right hand corner to make it full screen (like I forgot to do). Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Skill and Fitness

You hear those two words a lot when you talk about mtbing: skill and fitness. Yesterday on my way home from working in Reno I stopped at Northstar for a few hours. It was a relaxed day because I had not gone up with any of my friends to ride and it was a second-hand trip to my business trip in which I did the presto-chango from business suit to freeride clothes in the parkinglot after a 10 minute nap in the driver's seat of my Highlander.

It was a great ride! Working Livewire with run after run was a blast in progression. Then I decided to pedal across the mountain to the trail we had ridden in the first-ever Super D at Northstar last year (right before I shredded my knee for the season. yikes!). Flameout is the name of the trail . . . and it is brutal. I now remember why I was so whooped after the race last year. That trail is 20-25 minutes of t-e-c-h-n-i-c-a-l (if you really want to spell out a word that long). It is physically and mentally punishing and makes you cry out for the smooth, flowy, easily-launched-in-the-air ride of Livewire. I was beat up after Flameout. At least in DH you have gravity to help you overcome obstacles (albiet I don't hit the big features in trails like Boondocks. Talk about demanding) . . . but this course it's you and rocks and twisty, narrow single track and gravity isn't always there to lend a helping hand. Sometimes sheer brutal pedaling speed is the only way to attack. It is quite equally demanding of both skill and fitness . . . and in this Super D season which starts July 23rd, I look forward to crushing it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

MTBing: The Adventure Art

It's hot and dusty and summer riding is in full swing.

Sorry we haven't been posting lately but we've been out living adventures.

Marianne has left for Sweden (her home country) and is living the good life visiting friends and family and swimming, kayaking and biking around scenic lakes. We miss you Marianne and are a tad bit jealous simultaneously. That happens. Before she left she rode the Pioneer trail out of Nevada City -- can't wait for her to come back and show us the way.

I, Kirstie, have been off seeking new trails and adventures. I met a really nice couple at Sea Otter and connected with them for a kick-ass ride in Ukiah, Ca. They were generous enough to take the day off and show me some of their DH trails. The first one rocked hard -- steep, (but a bit loose), windy, jumpy. It had it all. The next trail was a true freeride adventure -- complete with harrowing experiences. They said it was a new trail their buddies had built but as we skid our way down a steep, shrub encrusted mountain-side any semblance of a trail disappeared. We found ourselves lost -- for about three hours -- basically managing our bikes down the mountain as opposed to riding. Once we found our way down the shaley mountainside, out of a waste-high weeded hillside and through the backyard of a farmer's house, down his private road and out to finally find our vehicles we kissed the ground and celebrated what is to go down in history as a great adventure. (It's always nice to look back and say how much fun that was although while you're going through it you're cursing the circumstances you have put yourself in). A few days later I found myself off to Northstar with Tina and we had a BLAST! I went back the next day to watch the National Pro GRT race but was too pooped to really ride much -- did a little. And this past weekend found me on a late night drive up to Downieville to spend the night in the back of a pick-up truck -- ahhh, open air sleeping is the best!! The riding was glorious the next day, although the amount of snow at the top on Sunshine was a little wearing to slog through. We were warned but chose to forge our own path -- occasionally getting lost. I love Downieville for the riding (excellent!), the scenery (spectacular) and companions you meet on the way (always friendly). Definitely DH MTBing is the friendliest sport I've participated in so far. Today took me on a challenging XC ride through the back trails of Applegate -- Hermet Hut trail, always a good one!

Tina's been busy too. Besides our incredible day of riding at Northstar, this past week her and I rode the fun, fast, flowy part of FHDL loop and enjoyed ourselves the whole way. She's out kayaking today after a Confluence ride. I can't wait to hear about her adventures.

There is no shortage of great stuff to ride. We've even found two new trails in Auburn that are begging to be better explored by the Girls. Time is the only barrier. Balancing life with riding is an art and we are always perfecting our art. And we are loving it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Did I mention I met the Athertons in the med tent at Sea Otter . . . what, only once or twice? Oh, ok then.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Case You're Wondering

World Cup DH MTB Schedule

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

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From Race Pace To Going the Distance

Two days in a row of riding with the ladies and the elbow is feeling fine . . . the fracture is just a distant memory. Time now to get the muscles back in riding shape -- Northstar should be opening soon! Sunday the ladies and I climbed our usual butt-kicking climb to the top of one of our favorite trails (which may be the site of a super fun Super D race course coming soon if the race promoter can get past a few recently encountered snags). At the top of the trail I was challenged by a random dude who was riding with a friend -- he saying he had only ever seen two girls riding a Nomad before and I was the second one. He wanted to see what I could do on that bike. I tried to say I was just coming back from an injury but after a good long group discussion about bike set-up and components I decided no more sitting and talking and 'no excuses' and took off -- with Tina, two random dudes and Marianne on my tail. I flew! I don't think I have ever ridden the Culvert trail so fast or so precise -- or ever had that much fun on it! It seems the key to speed on that trail is staying loose and flowy in the rutted sections, having a good lean in the corners (and letting the rear drift a bit) and using the small jumps and rocks to launch into the next section. After pausing at a common pause-area the gentlemen passed by with a 'niiiice job' and we waited for Marianne who had experienced technical difficulties along the way. Victory was had!

The next day Marianne and I set out on a completely different ride. I took my son's new awesome XC bike, a Giant Trance x2, and Marianne and I rode what will become known as the Cross the Canyon Waters' Edges Ride -- or some name more more clever when we think of it. It was a new loop for us that we invented along the way. We started at the bottom of the canyon at Mammoth Bar by the edge of the middle fork of the American River . . . climbed up Ranch trail, up Ranch Dressing Trail until we crossed Foresthill Road then headed down Doc Gordon's road (a big breezy fire break trail) cruising down 1.5 miles to the stunning Upper Lake Clementine. We enjoyed the serenity at Clementine's water's edge for a few minutes until we made the leg-pumping climb back up and over and down Stonewall to the other side. Back to where we started. It was a beautiful tour of the canyon -- the foliage was green and the wild flowers still blooming thanks to all this late in the season rain and a touch of humidity. It was quite the loop. And it pooped me out. I was toast the rest of the day. I'm sure that ride helped me get my bike riding legs back though. Both rides did in their own way -- Two totally different rides on two different bikes in two days. How lucky am I? Pretty darn lucky!


Monday, May 31, 2010

Maribor World Cup Results

Sometimes-local pro-rider Joanna Petterson placed 13th in the first World Cup DH race held in Maribor, Slovenia. Congratulations!

And you should really read Rachel Atherton's account of the race by clicking on her post in our Blog List to your right --> . . . you might want to grab a cup of coffee, or beer, or wine, or beverage of your choice and settle in first. The read is worth it.

Maribor World Cup: Women's DH final full results

1 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles3:39.590
2 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center3:39.900.31
3 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker3:43.333.74
4 Céline Gros (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz 743:48.088.49
5 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) www.funfancy.jp3:50.6611.07
6 Myriam Nicole (Fra)3:55.1715.58
7 Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) Scott 113:59.2019.61
8 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team4:03.8724.28
9 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek World Racing4:06.0526.46
10 Miriam Ruchti (Sui) Team Vario Racing4:07.1227.53
10 Claire Buchar (Can) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense4:07.1227.53
12 Anita Molcik (Aut) Yeti4:07.5227.93
13 Joanna Petterson (RSA) Commencal USA4:08.8129.22
14 Jessica Stone (GBr) 2Stage Factory4:09.0629.47
15 Petra Bernhard (Aut)4:15.3935.8
16 Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS4:16.7737.18
17 Caroline Sax (Fra)4:30.8751.28
18 Fanny Lombard (Fra)4:33.1453.55
19 Emma Atkinson (GBr)4:58.351:18.76
20 Sophie Borderes (Fra)5:18.661:39.07

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back On Bike

Man what a feeling. To be back on a mountain bike. Yesterday I got back on the trail and rode, really rode for the first time since the fracture. No doctor's note required -- we know what our bodies need and can handle. Mine told me it was time to ride. The first section of single track on the Culvert trail was a little harry. I didn't remember the line being so rutted out and I could feel the chatter in my elbow, but nothing that was telling me to stop. When Tina and I got to the end of the Culvert trail I said to her, 'when were there so many rocks involved in mountain biking?' Haha, we had a good laugh. And then I followed 'Her Quickness' down Clementine and I marvelled over every section of the trail. Wow! What a feeling. My legs were burning, my lungs were working and my heart was beating right out of my chest. I'm sure my heart was pounding not just because I've gotten a little-out-of-mtb-shape but because I'm so in love. So in love with mountain biking.

See you out there!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sea Otter Was Classic

(Photo of practice run before race shows me riding with a yet undiagnosed fractured elbow -- ouch!)

Sea Otter Classic 2010 had us hoping for the best this year. We started out missing one girl from the Eastside so only two were going to represent. (One girl got a brand new totally bitchin' [yay, 80's slang] Intense 951 as a trade off. Sometimes those decisions have to be made). The other two of us signed up for a race we were not yet familiar with at Sea Otter -- the Super D. We went in not knowing what to expect and one came out pleasantly satisfied. If this post seems all about numbers 1,2,3 -- it's because it is: Three talked about racing, two went to the race, and one ended up racing.

I started out Thursday practice on an absolutely gorgeous day out at Laguna Seca all by myself -- no one from my group showed up until that evening. The course was more than perfect. It was fast, flowy, jumpy, challenging but not too rutted-out. Riders lined up for practice runs chatting excitedly with each other, happy to be together where bike lovers/geeks/enthusiasts come from all over. I met local people, people from Florida, people from Nashville. It was awesome! I was feeling really good on my bike too and focused on having a great ride. I wanted to get in as many runs as possible so I figured I'd hang out on the DH course most of the day.

First run, I got familiar with the course -- and as I mentioned, it was fun! Second run, was probably my best of the day and I felt totally at one with this course and my beloved bike. I was getting really excited for the race on Saturday. Third run, I was surprised at how I was already feeling tired. It's amazing how much physical and mental strength and stamina a three minute course demands! It totally blows my mind and is very hard to explain to some people who couldn't understand -- how long is race, they ask? About a mile, I say. Uhhh, is there response. I explain it's like a sprint, a very intense, high skill level sprint. The mind and body are working very quickly and powerfully together (I usually don't give that much information). What can I say, I'm in love with the sport.

It was my fourth run where I crashed on a gap jump. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I mean I know that I decided to land on the right side of the jump and that the landing was off-camber, but it happened so quickly that I was tossed to the ground, sliding across the dirt on my full-face helmet. Thank you helmet. I let my body go limp -- you know that feeling when you know you are not going to pull out of a crash so you just surrender to lessen the torsion of your body at impact (learning to crash . . . it is one of the skill levels). The pain was immediate but the endorphins were high and I didn't realize that I needed to go to the medical tent until about an hour later. Once I got home an x-ray confirmed a fracture in my right elbow.

To spare the reader any more details, I opted not to race in either race, the Super D or the DH. I made a practice attempt at the DH before the race and the course was very choppy now compared to Thursday and I decided since I couldn't ride to my full potential and that I would listen to the pain, I wouldn't race. I was beyond disappointed about the DH race, but had to tell myself "there's always next year." And there is. I got excellent care from a totally hot intern in the medical tent. (In fact he emailed me and asked if he could use my case for his class presentation. Go for it dude). I got to meet Rachel, Gee and Dan Atherton in the med tent. Dan actually gave me some riding tips and the greatest smile ever. (Thank you Dan!). So, Sea Otter, like anything in life, is what you make of it. And what you take away from it. I chose to take away a great experience (although Friday I was suffering quite a bit) and continue learning from this classic year at Sea Otter.

Healing is going really well. I'll be back on the bike again soon!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jump Session #1

Today was all about clearing that one gap jump at the top of Culvert Trail.

We took a few practice runs at it . . . and then hit it and cleared it . . .
and then cased it. Then it turned into a flat changing (and broken chain fixing) session as we tallied up three collective flats for the day. Jumps and flats -- all in all it was a good start. Now we are readying for Jump Session #2.


Friday, March 26, 2010

MTBing is the Best Medicine

When the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you're having difficulty pulling out of a funky mood . . . there's nothing like getting on your bike for a quick skip and hop down a beautiful trail to set your world straight and put a huge smile back on your face. The welcoming glow of single track. (Auburn, CA)