TOE 50M MTB: This was quite a race. 8,000 feet of climbing. It was a great way for me to evaluate my MTBing progress. The climbs were long and all on gravel roads with the exception of a few grunt trail sections. Once you completed a 30+ minute climb you would descend on single track. Short, steep and fast. Sometimes the trails were just too gnarly for my skill set which would cause a dismount. Mostly unplanned in the form of a fall. I fell more on this race than I have fallen in my whole short MTBing career. I had only 2 half endo's and believe it or not they were both in the same place! Since the course is 2 loops I got the opportunity to perfect things. Just by accident Micheal and I were together pretty much all day. This made for some good laughs! A nice light hearted approach to craziness made the falls much less painful. I do have a nice large bruise on my right bicep. My handlebar met my arm on the way down, ouch. My splits for the loops were exactly even! Now that is endurance J. I absolutely loved the race and would do it again in heartbeat.
After TOE50M I took one day to get all myself pulled together before I did the 13 hour drive to Utah. My family is in Paris working. Yes, Alex has his first job. It was short 5 day stint at the Paris Air Show. Quite the learning experience for him and dad. Since his job is not affiliated at all with Bill's company Alex got a good lesson in working for someone else. He's growing up! I am spending 2 weeks here in Park City. I've been busy getting to know trail systems I am not familiar with. So far it's been a great time. Bill and Alex will be joining me in a few days and we will make our way to Leadville. It's going to be a great summer but I will miss my animals! I already miss my needy cat. However, our house sitter is spoiling them like crazy. What I am not missing is my "To Do" list. I know I make my life way more complicated than it needs to be. I can't pull my type A distraction tactics here in Park City.
TRAINING: I feel like my training is coming to a close. The volume is still high but mentally I am focusing more on the races which start on July 2nd with the Leadville Marathon. Bill will be running it too. Should be a fun time.
Last Friday I hired a guide to take me on a killer mountain bike ride here in Park City. This is what my workout called for: "2 hours, Mostly below threshold except for a 30 minute black out push. Focus on cadence and holding that hard effort". I have not ever had a workout that said "black out push" but I like it. I envisioned working so hard that my eyes would be rolling in the back of my head. When I showed up for the trip I was ready to get schooled. My guide just happened to be a crew member for the second place woman at Leadville MTB, incredible. He told me right away he would be returning with her this year as her mechanic. Not only did he make adjustments to my bike but he gave advise straight from her mouth. When we arrived at the trailhead he had me go first so he could get an idea of how I rode. It started out uphill and right away my heart rate was screaming. It was narrow, rocky and dry. Wonderful single track but elements I have very little experience on. Where's the wet mud? After about 7 minutes of climbing he had me pull over and this is what he said, "Watching you climb up this hill is making me tired"! Good thing I have no ego around this. My reply, "Well I am already tired". He said, "You have a really strong upper body why aren't you using it"? I said, "Oh, this is just for ascetics it doesn't get used much". He said, "That's about to change"! My thoughts were….bring it on…it's about time this came in handy". He showed me how to stand and ride uphill. My heart rate dropped at least 20 beats and it was so much more efficient and easy. After about an hour warm up and lots of skill lessons it was time to "black out". We stood at the bottom of the valley and he said we're climbing up there. He pointed and I said, "By that house way up there on the third ridge". His reply, "No, beyond that". Sweet! I got my head in the game and off we went. He got in front and tried to keep pace with my new climbing skills. Around tight switchbacks with lots of loose gravel my rear tire would spin. I would reposition and get a better grip all the while
staying out of the gully. He pulled over and got behind me. I continued to ride and my breath was coarse. I needed more air and at moments I felt like I was going to puke. He said, "Your doing awesome Ronda do you need a break"? Nope, I'm riding. That's all I could muster. I crested the top and was elated but almost blew chips. My heart was beating so hard I could see my chest thump through my jersey. A high five from Chris and an atta girl was reassuring. At that moment I felt pretty darn invisible and certainly very alive! It took me 47 minutes to make the climb and someday I will return for a rematch.
That's my only MTB ride since TOE 50M. The rest of my training has all been running. My leg speed has suffered a lot but Matt said that would happen. I have let go of some of those expectations and filed it away under "Fall project". Currently I am around 7,500. The tent I slept in went to 9,000. I think I got some benefit from it since I am not gasping for air too badly. However, it's not gravy. I still feel a tug on my lungs.