More Than I Can Chew

I'm going to admit it right now, with this Adventure Race, I bit off more than I can chew. I have (rather unsuccessfully) been trying to acquire some mountain biking skill before the Nov. 6 race. While I thought it was something I could do with a little practice, I realize now I am in way over my head.

I haven't quite figured out if I'm going too fast or going too slow or if I'm just too stubborn and trying to ride through large, jagged rocks that I should not be riding through. I fall. I fall a lot. In fact, on Saturday, if I fell once, I fell at least two dozen times. I managed to re-open the cuts on my right leg and I also managed to fall squarely on the end of my handle bar. That one left a perfectly round mark and bruise on my chest. It didn't knock the wind out of me, but it was close. Ironically enough, it hit me in the same place that I was hit one time by a golf ball. But that's another story.

I was doing well, actually. I had gone out by myself last week and then MO and I went out on Saturday. We were having a blast and I was doing well until the Dreaded Red Trail. It is a rocky and twisty new section of trail and that trail clearly had a bone to pick to me. I fell once, twice. Then I got frustrated. The more frustrated I got, the more I fell and the more I fell, the more frustrated I became. I was on the verge of tears (and I'm not a cryer) so about 1/2 mile into the trail (yep, that's all it took - 1/2 mile) I told MO I was going back. I was not going to cry. I was not going to cry. There's no crying in mountain biking. I didn't cry.

Almost back to the trail head, and on a much easier trail, I fell for the last time. That was when I landed on my chest. It hurt. It hurt a lot. But I was not going to cry. Instead, I was doubled over in the middle of the trail, gasping and wheezing and cursing at that stupid rock. I gave up and walked a good portion of the trail back in. Not my best moment, but I was scared shitless to go over another rocky section and I could walk faster anyway. I hurt, I was bleeding, and covered in bruises.

So yeah, more than I can chew. Every time I rolled over Saturday night, I groaned in pain. At least my chest doesn't hurt as much. John told me if I wanted to start doing 2-a-days, he would beat me with a stick before bed. The good news is that we also practiced orienteering and that part, I loved. I can rock a topo map and hold a wicked bearing. So I will be holding up my end of the bargain. I just hope MO brings enough bandages.


3rd Time's a Charm?

3rd time out mountain biking. Believe it or not, I'm getting better.


Watch out for that Tree!

My second time out on a mountain bike was slightly less successful than the first. I was riding out at Shawnee Mission Park, which is much more technical than the River Trails we were riding last weekend. I had a slight misunderstanding with a small tree. It wasn't a crash, but we were both trying to occupy the same space at the same time, and if you remember anything from physics, you know that just isn't possible. The tree won. I'm still not very quick to get re-clipped in to my pedals either, which can cause problems. Right now, I would say my skill level is just slightly above that of a drunken monkey. Ok, maybe not that bad but I have a long way to go.

I have to admit, I know next to nothing about mountain biking and I have WAY underestimated the concentration, skill, and athleticism that mountain biking requires. Not to mention the risks involved. Mountain bikers are serious bad asses, and I totally understand why they think road cyclists are pansies. Cuz we are.

Bumps and bruises aside, I am having a ton of fun out on the trails. I love being outside and I love adrenaline, so this is an awesome combination for me. I think I'm going to try to continue mountain biking into the winter as cross training for Rocky. That seems like a more-attractive option than biking on the road in the winter or sitting on the trainer. Just what I need - one more sport!


I'd Like to Introduce

Adventure racing team Old Dog/New Trick!

Team Member: Old Dog
Name: MO
Age: Old as dirt
Occupation: Doctor (to stitch up SK when she crashes)
Sign: Virgo
Interests: Dressing up as prima ballerinas
Turn ons: Women

Team Member: New Trick
Name: SK
Age: Younger than dirt, wasn't born yesterday
Occupation: Engineer (to keep MO from getting completely lost)
Sign: Aquarius
Interests: Beer and bicycles
Turn ons: Bike shorts
We signed up and made it official. Someone should start a pool for how many checkpoints we get before we're totally stinkin' lost. I'm excited - this is something totally new for me. I was out on a mountain bike for the first time today and luckily only lost a little blood. Talk about adrenaline rush! I'm hoping to get at least 3 bikes in a week between now and then. As for the orienteering, well, hopefully I remember something about topo maps that I learned in school.


Should I??

I've always wanted to...
I have a good cardio base...
And a potential victim, I mean teammate...
Damn you Bonk Hard Racing and your very tempting Smithville 8-Hour Adventure Race!
Should I? Or should I wait until I have more than 30 days to prepare??


Tour de BBQ

Genius! Someone decided to combine two of my favorite past times - cycling and BBQ! Last weekend, 11 of us did the 35 mile route in Kansas City's Second Annual Tour de BBQ. Last year, they had about 400 riders, this year they said it was closer to 2,000 and all the proceeds went to the Livestrong Foundation.

It was a little chilly the whole day but fun none the less. John flatted out about 7 miles in, but otherwise it was a fun and relaxed ride. Until...

They ran out of food at the first stop! What started as a ride, turned into a race. We decided it was every man for himself and we all rode with purpose to the second stop. Our whole group passed enough people we made it there in time for food, but the second stop ran out, too! The last stop was our favorite - Oklahoma Joe's - so we rode the last legs even faster.

But Oklahoma Joe's doesn't disappoint and they had plenty of food for everyone. We made our way back to the finish for more food and beer. I think we probably spent as much time in line waiting for food than we did riding, but it was still fun. My strategy for next year: ride the first 10 miles hard to get in front of 80% of the riders and then cruise from there. Clearly these cyclists are serious about their BBQ!