Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finally here…

After months of planning and training, it is finally time for me to fly off to Prince Rupert for my adventure race. I leave tomorrow morning. I am more calm than I thought I would be, although I do have butterflies in my stomach. Got the packing done just before dinner; a wonderful T-Bone and mushroom/veggie medley by Jesper - I am a lucky girl to have such a guy.

Packing - no matter how I sliced it, I would need to bring on extra baggage, which the airlines charge for. Adventure racing requires a lot of shit! My pack with the mandatory gear comes on as my carry-on. For my checked bags, I decided to go with the bike in the golf case, a big suitcase and the adventure gear box. Everything weighs under the 50 pound requirement, so no extra charge there. Airlines don’t charge for golf cases (go figure), so I will only end up paying an extra bag fee each way, much cheaper than the fee for a bike case and extra bag. Oh, you wonder how I can fit my bike in a gold case, do you?!?! There are benefits to being a small chica!

Work has been really busy, but I have finished everything I committed to accomplish before the race. It wasn't easy and I've had work on my brain a lot more than I like. Last night I dreamt I was appointed the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. I worked for the Ohio EPA for about 14 years and left as a senior manager, but it was still a pretty crazy thing to dream. Jenny Tiell, a former Deputy Director from my old days at the Ohio EPA, was in my dream and I was concerned that she would have issues reporting to me as her new boss. I wondered why my former colleague and friend Kate Bartter (a former Governor's Office Cabinet member) didn't congratulate me. I need to callboth those ladies after my race and tell them about my dream. In my dream, I delighted in thinking about the many changes I would make at Ohio EPA that I have always wanted to see happen believe me, there are a lot!). There’re a many people at Ohio EPA who would not be happy with my changes! I also wondered how I would balance this demanding job with FUN. I was working late and wnated Jenny Tiell and some young wonk to go home so I could leave the office too and go play soccer. That’s clearly what the dream was about, balancing work and play.

The race planning has been a roller coaster of changes over the past couple of weeks. Race organizers had to make some sweeping changes to the race location and format due to greater than normal spring snowfall and subsequent flooding. It’s seems the Prince Rupert area is something like a federal disaster area. First, the mountaineering sections were beefed up to account for the extra snow; crampons, ice axes, snowshoes, avalanche beacons, shovels and probes and such were all added to the mandatory gear list. Then, the whole mountaineering section was scrapped. Soon the snow began to melt and the rain began to fall, causing widespread flooding. Most of the area we were to be racing in was deemed too dangerous to even be in, even if we could get there. So, the race organizers found a new place, Haida Gwaii, an island in the Queen Charlotte Islands. We have to take a 12 hour ferry to get there. From what has been sent out to us, this area is home to some of Canada’s native peoples who rarely let outsiders in. So that’s pretty cool…

The downside to the race changes is the way the transitions areas (TAs) are set up. The race organizers cannot transport all our gear boxes to every TA due to limitations on the size of vehicles they can use on the island. So, we have to anticipate what we’ll need for each section and put that into the one gear box out of five that will be carried to each specific TA. Suffice it to say, it’s a planning nightmare that, if screwed up, could result in a big fat DNF for our team.

Regardless, I am stoked for the race to finally be here. I know the race will be super fun, even with the new format. It will still afford wonderful views and wildlife sightings. It will still be an opportunity for me to push myself to new levels and meet challenges. I will still come back with a fantastic story for all of you.

You can follow my team’s progress during the race at this link:

Click on the little camera devil that indicates the race report for the Raid the North Extreme.

Next post will be my race write-up!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Takin' it easy

I'm taking it easy this week before my race. Yesterday I went on a nice little mountain bike ride with Jesper and a friend, Don. I rode the Fat to continue getting used to her. We did about 12 miles at Centennial Cone. It's not the most difficult trail, but it's super flowy and has awesome views. I've heard some riders complain about how easy a trail it is, like it's a bad thing. Then go ride somewhere else. It's not like there's a shortage of trails out here.

I made myself keep my heart rate in Zone 3 and 4. I can't wait to get out an hammer again!!! This taking it easy stuff is tough! I feel like such a wuss.

The wild flowers alone were worth the ride and made going slow tolerable. I especially like the snapdragons - who knew they grew wild?!?!?! They remind me of my childhood when we had them growing in our gardens in Germany. There were hundreds of yellow ones all long the trail. I like to make them open up their "mouth" by pinching them.

I took one crappy picture, which does not do the trail justice.

Of course, today I called my Dad to wish him a happy Father's Day. He had heard from all of his offspring and was very happy indeed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Energy is BUILDING

I am starting to get all hyper (more so than ususal) and antsy. I'm not nervous. It's more like the feeling you get the night before Christmas. I'm sure some of it has to do with all the extra energy I actually have, now that I am smack-dab in my pre-race taper. No more 3 hour runs with a loaded pack to wear me out. No more mindless laps paddling around and around and around the Boulder Reservoir, followed by a LONG run with the pack. Just a little 40 minute jog with the dogs. And then the run is over before I hardly feel that it has started.

I have warned Jesper about my builiding state of spaztic-ness. He didn't need any warning; he already saw it coming. Methinks this man might know me pretty well.

I feel pretty orgainized for the race. There are only a handful of things I still need to get or do; more sunscreen, body lube, munchies for on the course, couple more carabiners, ... and I need Jesper to help me configure an attachment for the towing system on my bike. I'm sewing a system on my pfd so I can attach a hydration bladder to the back and a food pouch to the front. I'm pretty pleased with my little project so far. For the most part, everything is beggining to accummulate in little piles in our guest bedroom.

The weather report for Prince Ruprt, BC is not quite what I have been hoping for. I'm not sure what I was expecting; the area is a rain forest afterall. Its going to rain from now until the race starts and then, thankfully, it looks like a clearing period will come on. After almost 2 weeks of solid rain (plus what's already been coming down), I think it'll be a wet and muddy course. Mostly, I'm bummed that the temps are lower than the average for this time of the year. I'm not worried at all about my fitness for this race; just about being frickin' cold.

At least I won't be freezing my arse off up in the cold snowy mountains. Loads of new snow in May and June, plus some warm days to melt it, have created a snowpack that is not so stable. The race orgainizers have (wisely) rerouted the course to keep racers off the snowpack. Since my team mates (and probably 90% of the racers) probably don't know jack about how to use an avalanche beacon, walk in coils with crampons, etc., I'm OK with reroute. Heck, I don't even know how to self arrest a fall with an ice axe (watching Touching the Void does not count as knowing a skill). We'll probably miss some awesome views, but it'll be a safer race and I think one that is to our advantage, the non-mountaineers that Team
SMAC/HART/Alpine Aire-Inferno are.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blog Virgin

After prodding by some girlfriends, I have decided to enter the world of blogging. I'm not the most computer savvy person, so I'm bound to create some screw ups.

Gosh - now I need to think of something to write! I suspect most of what I will write about will be mountain biking, running, racing, and all other sorts of outdoor pursuits. I'll try to throw some "normal" stuff in for my family, maybe even a pic or two of me without a helmet on!

OK - I had a fantastic 3-day weekend that started with, you guessed it, a mountain bike ride!

A fellow mountain bike gurl, Lynda from Utah, was visiting fam in Colorado. So brg ( and played hookie on Friday to meet up with Lynda and ride the smooth trails of Buffalo Creek. We couldn't have asked for better weather; sunny and 70-ish. The ride was a perfect easy ride of 21 miles with several breaks to eat and get in some girl chit chat. Unfortunately, we couldn't convince Lynda to let us kidnap her for Mojitos and dinner in Boulder!

I am supposed to be tapering for a big adventure race in less than two weeks, hence the easy ride on Friday. On Saturday, Jesper (my super fantastic BF) and I took the dogs for a little hike. I would insert a picture, but I can't figure out how to rotate it. Next time! Told you I wasn't too computer savvy.

On Sunday Jesper and I checked out Rabbit Mountain, a nearby trail we had not been to yet, for a quick mountain bike ride. The trail is pretty short (less than six miles) but it was rocky and fun, with some pretty views. Both Friday and Sunday I was riding my old Fat Chance Yo Betty!, which had been in a box for over 2 years since moving out to Colorado. I had forgotten how fun that bike is! I'm planning to ride it for my adventure race, since it's very light and geared. I think gears will come in handy for a 6 day race.

Now I'm back to the work week, but that's OK. I've got brg's Tuesday Night Girls Ride planned for tomorrow andI'm sure I'll put in some easy running and such later this week.