Monday, June 27, 2011

Anniversary and Rim Nordic #1

8 years has passed.  
Not one doubt.  
Many things have changed.
As long as we are together,
nothing is too big to conquer.
Celebratory beer.  Firestone Parabola from our trip to Santa Ynez.

Champagne flutes from the wedding.

Almost 10 years, going to have to do something special for that one.

Many more to come...

Racing back to back weekends can be a bit on the stressful side.  Camping AND racing back to back weekends put me right on the edge this past week!

Friday I was in meltdown mode.  Between work, bike maintenance, camping gear sorting/packing, training, racing, and general life stuff like cooking and dealing with the fact that my Dad has been in and out of the ICU for the past couple of weeks...   I was maxed out on all levels of stress.  I feel for Allison.  I had to have been like a teenage girl with PMS.

I was freaking out that there wasn't going to be a Yellow Post camp site available late on Friday where we had hoped to camp near Keller Peak.  I was trying to run contingency plans in my head and just couldn't even manage to fathom a guess as to how I was going to save the day in the dark.  For once Allison was the calm, go-with-the-flow, person.  The drive was full of tension and I felt like the world was crushing me as we inched our way  through northbound traffic.

Yellow Post site #2 was open.

And it was RAD!

Deep breath.  Holy crap, things worked out (BTW it was the last available site and we likely would have missed out had we been 5 minutes later).  Looking back on this I need to remember that things will work out.  Stressing about these things won't make the situation better.  As long as Allison and I are in it together everything will work out.

In any case, the relief that I felt was just like the sound of cracking open an ice cold beer.

Not too long after pulling in we figured out part of the reason that it was the last available site.  There was garbage everywhere.  The people that had occupied this spot previously were of the lowest possible ilk.  We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the amazingly beautiful location picking up all manner of refuse.  We totally filled a kitchen sized garbage bag.  Sometimes I forget how low of a life form humans are.  Moving on.  We set up camp and cooked a typically fabulous BBQ dinner before staring at the camp fire for a bit...

Pork Chop, Asparagus, Quinoa

Thanks to Allison for capturing the best images to share!
Please note, fire had just gotten going and I underestimated the dryness of the wood, I don't usually have the giant flames rolling like in the picture.  #firedanger
Saturday I had my work cut out for me.  After breakfast I wanted to stockpile some firewood so that I wouldn't have to purchase more from the store.  $7 for a tiny bundle of super dry fast burning wood just seems like a waste of money so I cut and chopped and carried firewood back to camp for a while before we kitted up for our planned 3hr MTB ride.  Lots of dead-fall around the area meant I had plenty of raw material!

Getting primal.  When the log is too big for the  tiny hand saw and the hatchet,  I used the SMASHER.
We then kitted up for our ride and Allison needed my ID and USAC card from my wallet.  I had placed it in the car, but then we ran for Fuel and supplies after setting up camp and it was no longer where I remembered putting it.  We frantically turned the car and camp upside down hunting for it.  We came to the conclusion that I had to have lost it after paying for the supplies at the store so we jumped in the car and drove down searching the sides of the road.  We asked inside the store if anyone had turned in a wallet.  Things looked bleak.  Then Allison remembered that I had told her that I put it in her camera bag!  Wow!  I don't like feeling stupid, but what a relief!

Ride time!

The route we picked for the ride was lots of fun.  We left camp and climbed towards Keller Peak, then dropped down Exploration Trail, climbed 38 to Rim Nordic, rode a lap and most of a second lap of the XC course for the next day, then back down 38 and up to camp.  I felt pretty good on the ride, I struggled a little technically on Exploration Trail, but I think that it was likely due to a severe mismatch between tires and trail conditions.  The Rim Nordic course was super fun and I was totally looking forward to Sunday's race!

After the ride we checked off all the boxes for stuff that needed taken care of.  First on deck was cleaning up and we had a bit of fun with showering outdoors.  Following that was hydration, food, bike prep, firewood, pictures, etc.  I harassed Allison about her iPhone, but I am glad she is enjoying and I like having the pictures to steal for my blog!

I think it was good for me to get some time with the SMASHER, it was definitely therapeutic.
After all the work on our firewood collection and the fatigue from the ride I decided I needed to rest a bit so I went to lay down in the tent for a few minutes while Allison prepped our bottles for the race.

A delicious Ballast Point Sculpin IPA was consumed and a typically amazing BBQ dinner followed that and we were in bed long before I was able to burn through my stack of fire wood.

The Mann site complete with Sworks'.
Sunday was another beautiful day in the mountains and after breakfast we broke down camp and packed it back up in our little TDI.  With all the driving to races and stuff I am really glad we pulled the trigger on the new car.  

With the later race start and an extra long warm-up Allison's patented Steel Cut Oat breakfast and two Jetboils of French Press coffee didn't seem like enough.

My stomach was grumbling big time about 30 minutes before race time.  I wolfed down the easiest food to get to in the car (2 Fruit Leathers) and was super stoked that they had Clif Bar samples near the water jugs by Registration.  I shoved a tiny Clif bar in my mouth, slammed a small cup of water, dumped some more water on my head and back, and lined up to go racing!

I was bummed to find out that my wave started 8 minutes behind the Pro men.  I guess if I want to get to race with the big dogs I need to get upgraded!  The coolest part about racing Rim Nordic is that if CAT1 men place in the top 5 of the Pro class *times* they get to take home the prize money for that position.  I was on a mission.  I wanted to be in the money!

Photo credit : Mrs. Dean Swank.(Laura Ranney)
Off the start line I didn't waste any time.  I set a harder pace than what was comfortable and only Jason Rusnak followed.  It was really hot and dry out but I wasn't holding back.  I hoped he would hang on longer than he did as it can be motivating to race with someone else, but I was soon all my myself with the exception of an occasional rider, none of which were moving fast enough to work with.  Two themes kept me moving as fast as possible.  First that this was preparation for Nationals, this was hurting myself at altitude, if I am to do well at Nationals I need to race fast at over a mile of altitude.  Second was that I wanted in the money!  There was a good showing from the local Pro racers and it was going to be a huge boost of confidence if I could finish with a top 5 time overall.

Photo credit : Mrs. Dean Swank.(Laura Ranney)

I gave it my all.  I had a few rough patches during the race, on the second lap I had some issues with staying focused, I even went down on a loose corner losing precious seconds.  On the last lap I had some issues fighting with my dreaded leg cramps.  Overall I felt like I had a decent race.  In the end I gave it what I had on the day and came up the fastest Amateur time on the day, 32 seconds behind the 5th place Pro time.  Didn't get in the money but there were some seriously fast dudes out with the deepest Pro field I have ever seen at Rim Nordic.

Definitely an awesome weekend all around.  We are already trying to plan what is in store for the three day weekend ahead.  Whatever I do I look forward to doing it with this girl...

Best companion ever.

Full gas toward Nationals!  BRAAAAAP!!!

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