Monday, April 25, 2011

Da bomber!

You know that post run leg jolting? Just as you're about to fall into a deep sleep your legs jolt so hard it wakes you up. They twitch and move but the bad ones come when your mind wonders back to the trail. In your dream you clip a rock. You never fall because you jolt wildly. Sometimes it's so bad your legs go straight up in the air. This is maddening. After and long grueling race all you want to do is rest. Sometimes the jolts are so bad I wonder if I am going to strain an already tired muscle. After Hardrock 100M I laid down to sleep. I was tired and my body was beat. Instead of resting I kept reliving the glorious day and night in those mountains. However during my reenactment I kept tripping and almost falling causing the most intense jolts. Some of them almost hurt. Poor Bill was getting a good beating. I couldn't take it anymore.

In my dream I was desperately trying to not fall, trip or stumble. It wasn't working. After I don't know how many jolts I decided to try to embrace the stumbles. Instead of trying to stay upright, which would cause the muscle contraction I would pretend I could fly. Kind of like the commercials you see on TV where the guy jumps high in the air and lands perfectly, parkour. Instead of jumping I wanted to fly so that's the imagery I created. Now instead of being anxious and trying not to fall I would invite it and fly a good distance before I would touch down again. This worked! No more jolting and I was sleeping. Of course I was still engaged in a wild dream session but now I had wings. I have used this every since and it works every time. A good post run sleep, ah.

Last week I had several conversations about mountain biking. Mostly with people who are good MTBers. As we talked I heard myself say, "I suck at the downhill's" a lot. This is not a lie but I suck at the uphill's too. The difference is I am not afraid of climbing but I was afraid of descending. My lack of talent is a fact. However if I don't change the way I ride downhill I will not make the cutoff for the Leadville 100M ride. The math just won't work. I need to attack the downs and the flats aggressively because no matter how good I get on the climbs I still won't

make it. I left the last conversation pissed off. Pissed at myself because I realized at that very moment that I am creating and

manifesting my own destiny. That last conversation was Thursday. Friday morning came and I announced to Bill that I decided I am going to own the downhill's. If you know Bill or have read this blog for any length of time you have a grasp of his personality. He is calm and confident. While I am loud and expressive. I was going on and on about how I plan to change my perspective, blah, blah, blah. He stands there getting ready for work and just says, "Honey you know what you need to do and if you're afraid it's not going to get any better because you will never push yourself. You know this better than anyone". From that point on I decided I love the downhill's. My bike eats rocks for lunch and if I have enough momentum it will roll over anything. I was done saying, "I suck at the downhills"! I am now a bomber in my mind.

I can fly down anything. Bring on Sugarloaf Pass!

Saturday was the Peak Sports Mudslinger XC MTB race in Blodgett Or. 21.8 miles and a profile that looks like this. 3,800 feet of climb with lots of slick muddy stuff to practice my new attitude.

This would be my second MTB race ever. Old Pueblo 24hr was my first but it was flat compared to this baby. Bill, Micheal and I headed down and on the most beautiful day Oregon has seen and we raced. It was a mass start with over 300+ riders and I put myself nicely in the back of the pack. The climb right of the gate was fine but got my heart singing. Climbing on a bike is hard. It makes running uphill seem like cake. Mathematically that makes total sense, right? You have to power not only yourself but your bike up. Once again I carried way too much stuff. I now realize that is a huge mistake and will carry much less of load next time. The course climbed on a mountain gravel road then took a trail to another gravel road. It would repeat this pattern many times with the trail sections being steep descents to another gravel road. The trails were muddy! Many times you were just sliding while performing your best balancing act to keep the bike from slipping right out from under you. The climbs were brutal and I had to walk my bike up one steep section but I rode everything else up and down. I owned the single track. I clocked over 10 MPH on one section. The rest I was too busy weaving around trees to look. One section was so steep and twisty I found myself balancing on a root while hanging on to a tree. Then I hear from below, "Let go and ride, it's a great picture". The photographer was below so I had to ride now. The course reminded me of McDonald Forest 50K. I was a back of pack finisher and at one time I raced a 12 year old and took pride that I could out climb him. It's the small victories. I think I was maybe in the last 15 riders to come across the line. It took me 3:12. Bill came rolling in with a stuffed bunny in his pack. They hid eggs and bunnies on the course and you got a prize if you found one.

Leave it to Bill to get a bunny. It was awesome. Now here's the amazing part. I rode my ass off! I pushed my heart rate so hard on the climbs it reached 176 and never came below 165! I was working so hard my eyes rolled in the back of my head, you know the feeling. I rode the downs fast reaching speeds of 25 MPH on open sections. I toppled only once. I still came in close to last. There were barely any woman riding and the ones who were have quads the size of my body! To top it off among the woman I am OLD! These are strong athletes. The men who were in the top ranks have legs so huge they make bodybuilders look like they need to hit the squat rack. These are serious athletes, no doubt in my mind. Once again I was very inspired.

Afterwards I was spent! My body was like a wet noodle. I was scheduled to run a 1:10 negative split run right afterwards but I had to bail. I just couldn't do it. Of course now I wonder but I had 4 hours the next day (Sunday) with some M-Pace effort. When I finished I was seriously curious how that was going to go. Sunday I got up at 5 am and Bill drove me out to Newberry and I ran the trails back to Lief where he picked me up. It was rough start but I got a groove going and did a fairly good job. What I noticed was interesting. My body was fine but my cardio system was taxed. I had a hard time getting things rolling there. I got 4 hours to do a lot of thinking and have realized I love MTBing. Saturday really helped me graduate from a gravel road rider to a mountain rider. I have lots of work to do but am loving the challenge. I truly suck at the sport but love that drive and frustration. It's uncomfortable. And, my goal is to not be passed by any woman on a single speed! Come on, really. I just want one of those chicks to move in with me so I can pick her brain. However impressed I am with their strength and ability I am not sure I want quads that size. I don't think you can have one without the other but then there's Lance. ;)

I am just about to finish up a serious block of training. It's been a tough hard block this last 4 weeks but I can feel the changes. My running miles are in the 60-70 range and my biking is about 6 hours a week. Most of my runs include some quality. I am loving it but ready for a break which I get next week leading into Miwok 100K. As the Leadwoman events get closer (starting July 3) I am getting more focused. Now that I am a MTB bomber in my mind things are looking up!


  1. LOVE IT! Ronda you continue to impress with your attitude...and you know success at the Leadwoman will be all about attitude, not huge quads :-) Have a blast at Miwok and keep the reports coming!

  2. Good post Ronda. You made me LOL a couple of times. I bet that twelve year old was a big twelve. :) The Bill part was good, our spouse's always balance us out. I bet you surprise yourself and do really well at Lead. Stay out of the poison oak this time at Miwok!

  3. Believe it, exercise your brain muscle! Totally eating awe right now.

  4. You have such a great attutude! MTBing is so hard, letting go signifies so much, more than just flying down a descent. Great job on the continuing progression. Good luck at Miwok, I didn't know you were running it! I have a feeling Leadwoman is going to go AWESOME for you!

  5. I love your attitude, Ronda! You always amaze me. Good luck at Miwok!