Thursday, May 27, 2010

Race Report - 12 Hours of Tsali

Last Saturday was the 12 Hours of Tsali mountain bike race. Basically, if you're crazy you start riding your bike around the Right Loop at Tsali, and 12 hours later you stop and see how far you've gone. If you're only slightly imbalanced then you find 3 good friends and sign up as a team - so then you ride around Right Loop, wash yourself (oh yeah, and your bike) off at the bike wash, lie in the shade pouring ice water on yourself while two of your friends ride, and then put all of your gear back on and get ready to do it again while your third friend rides. I would be in the latter category.

We got there in the pouring rain to set up our pit area, and then as soon as we were totally wet and all of our stuff was too, the rain stopped for the rest of the day. Awesome. Which meant that the first lap of the race (which I rode) was a complete mudfest.

Here I am after said lap:

Emmie's laughing because she didn't have to ride in all that mud. (although the little kid in me really likes riding in all that mud. under normal circumstances it's so irresponsible to ride on muddy trails. but this was a RACE - so I HAD TO ride those muddy trails. again, awesome (but for real this time.))

My three race compatriots. Kelly (who I'm pretty sure turned the two fastest loops by any woman in the whole race - there's a reason why she's wearing the sponsored jersey), Emmie (who I'm absolutely certain had the fastest time of the day if you factor time not spent training into actual minutes on the course), and Robin, who is my usual partner in crime and who has gotten in crazy good shape over about a 1 month period.

Here I am taking off for my second lap. Do I look happy or what? There's something to be said for this biking thing. (Although if there had been a cameraman at the top of the fire road there would also have been some distinctly not-so-happy pics.)

Kelly and Robin walking me up for my third lap. Love the headlamp on in the middle of the day. Except back in the woods it really wasn't all that bright, so then the headlamp seemed not so crazy.

And when I finished my lap it was getting downright dark. Which turned out not to be such a good thing for Kelly. Lesson we all learned: invest in good lights for night racing. Seriously. Good lights are good thing.

All four of us after Robin's last lap. It was almost 11:00 pm by this point. Turns out 12 hours is a long time. But - we had a great time.

And - we actually ended up on the podium. Second place women's team! Woohoo! And maybe even cooler, we were 17th out of 35 for all of the teams (womens, coed and mens.) The trophy was this enormous 3 foot tall monstrosity covered in glitter and a gold plated girl on a bike. It looked like something I won in 4-H in 1980. Except for the girl on the bike part. We made Kelly take it home since she rode the fastest laps, and her kids love it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Week in Pictures

Here it is - the week in pictures.

Candles, candles more candles. And a few lanterns. This was most of Tuesday.

Half of the labor force of Spotted Dog Farm. (aka my dad)

The other half of the labor force at Spotted Dog Farm. (aka me) I know, fetching outfit, right?

Little League Night at the Tourists game. Soooo fun. And cute. Have I mentioned how cute Little League is? Thought so.

Version 1.0 of my next big idea. There'll probably be a version 2.0 and 3.0 before this totally comes to fruition, but right now I'm wearing version 1.0 and loving it. I even went running with it on to test out the construction - it passed a hot and sweaty 4 mile run with a bunch of harder efforts in the middle (aka to those that run, but not to those with middle-school humor, as fartlek. Seriously. Look it up.) And since it made it through all of that with flying colors I'm thinking I'm on to something here. There will be more beta testers. I'll report back.

And now I'm off to bed. You think that tent just puts itself up at 6:30 in the morning? After it loads all of the flowers and plants in the van and drives it over to the market? If only it did. Maybe I should look into an upgrade.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Just Call Me Eastman Kodak. . .

Because I can finally take pictures again. But rather than buying another cheap camera, we instead bought semi-expensive phones that take pictures. Good multi-tasking, right? I figure this way we only have to worry about breaking one thing.

So here's (part of) our weekend in pictures. I don't have any City Market pics (partly because I didn't have time to play with the new phone, and partly because it was so windy I was afraid we were going to blow away like Dorothy. We actually saw a tent lift up and turn over - scary.)

But fortunately I didn't have to worry about the wind too much, because it was my turn to head to baseball instead. Hooray! Here's our baseball player (though he looks a bit more like a chipmunk in this picture than he does in real life.) Little League is soooo fun. They're so flipping cute. Plus the game was tied in the bottom of the last inning, and Sam scored the winning run. So he was feeling quite happy when this picture was taken.

After market and baseball were over, we headed over to the farm. It was the prettiest day:

Here's the regal beagle (also known as the current spotted dog of Spotted Dog Farm):

My two favorite boys in the world.

Sam showing exactly how big my Dad's prized flame azalea is. It's really, really big. I think only about half of it is actually in this picture.

Today was spent in equally beautiful settings - Bent Creek this morning (where my bike legs decided to return! Hooray! I don't know where they went last week, or why they decided to return, but I'm really happy about it.)

And then we went on the funnest adventure ever - which is going to warrant its own post once I get the pictures our friends were taking. But here's the teaser - check out Navitat Canopy Adventures. It was AMAZING! And I'll have the photographic proof in the next few days.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

So last fall I got this idea - that it would be the winter of the mountain bike. My slightly neglected, probably lonely mountain bike would finally be back on the trail. It would be happy and fulfilled. I would be fit.

But then this winter struck - and Bent Creek (where I habitually go, since it's soooo close) was under snow. For weeks at a time. But I didn't know this was going to what the *whole* winter was like back in February when I talked Emmie into signing up for 6 Hours of Warrior Creek as a duo.

So we were excited to be doing the race (my first mountain bike race since 2004, and my second mountain bike race since 1993. Seriously.) But we weren't feeling quite as prepared as one would hope.

Nonetheless, eaaaarly that Saturday morning, Emmie, my mom (for moral support, and because she doesn't like to miss a party), and I set off for Wilkesboro.

Here we are pre-race in the tent village (also known as the pit area.) We came up with one firm strategy - have fun, don't stress.

And here I am about to head out to the start. Note Big Bertha - my bike. She's a big girl. I actually had people marveling at the fact I was out there doing the race on such an old, heavy bike. Don't listen Bertha! Don't listen!

The start. You might notice it's just a big, fat mass start with about 300 people. Hmmm. I quickly developed a strategy for this also - stay out of the way. Considering I wasn't really trying to race hard, it seemed best to stay out of the scrum at the front. So I was in the back quarter of the field, and it worked out swimmingly. That also meant that I spent a goodly bit of the first lap at the end of a loooong caterpillar of riders in the singletrack, which caterpillar would sloooow down going up hill (when otherwise I might be semi-likely to pass someone), and speed up going downhill (where thank god a little bit of space would open up, since I'm not the best going downhill.)

But even with the congested first lap, and Emmie's flat from hell on her last lap (hole in the spare tube? check! crapped out co2 thingy? check!), we still had a great time. We definitely weren't the fastest team, but that wasn't the plan. We had a great time, mountain bike people are incredibly nice and cool, and now we're going back for more. That's right - now we've found two more friends and we're signed up for 12 Hours of Tsali. I'm telling you, we just can't get enough of this stuff.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Market Season is Here!

And to prove it, here are a few pics my friend Leslie took last week:

And while I wish I could blame my absence from the blog entirely on being busy getting ready for market - and that was for sure part of it - I don't really know why I fell off the wagon. Once I fall off, though, it takes a while to remember to climb back on. But now I'm committed! After all, I have a real live race report to post! And with that teaser, I'll meet you back here tomorrow.