What a year! After a solid winter of training, I was eager to begin my 2018 race season. The plan was to mix it up and try longer races, new races in different parts of the country, and attempt a stage race.
I worked hard over the winter: twice a week indoor trainer sessions & twice a week strength sessions as part of the Sessions:6 Base Builder Program. The six months of training were progressive, moving through different types of intervals on the trainer and progressing in weight in the strength class with the focus being on posterior chain strength, push-pull strength and core work all which aid in power and bike handling. I typically rode outside (or on the trainer) two other times each week for an average of 10-12 hours of training per week. One of the biggest training changes I made this year was to keep up with strength work twice a week throughout the race season. I firmly believe it kept my body strong to endure 11 races, the most I have done in one season.
The race season started with a bang with two 50 mile mountain bike races in back to back weekends: the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ and Marathon Nationals in Arkansas. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive though excited, because I had never raced a 50 miler nor had I raced at these venues previously. I also hadn’t been able to log as many endurance rides as I would have preferred to do to prepare for this race distance. Regardless, both races went well and got me in better shape. What’s wrong with racing yourself into shape?!
In June, I had three races: two were shorter distances (Beti Bike Bash and Vail Go Pro Games) while the other was a notorious beast, the Crested Butte Fat Tire 40. I didn’t have stellar placing at these races, but I could tell I was getting in better race shape just in time for my key races in July: Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, the Silver Rush 50 in Leadville and the Leadville Stage Race. I was thrilled to be on the podium for my key races. I finished up the season with some “fun races” in Winter Park in August and thoroughly enjoyed being back on familiar and incredible trails.
Highlights from the race season:
Gawk Factor: There was a star-studded field at the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ as many pros were using this race as a jump start to their race season. I have a memorable selfie with young Kate Courtney, this year’s UCI World Champ.
Most Fun Course: The two-lap course at Marathon Nationals in Arkadelphia, AR was 50 miles of twists and turns through the trees and full of fun, punchy climbs. I fell 5 minutes short of nabbing the age-group title, but I loved this race and can’t wait to ride more trails in Arkansas.
Best Memory: Racing with my daughter, Sofia, in the Firecracker 50 as she partnered with her buddy, Alex was a blast. I pulled her up the long climbs, and I followed her smooth lines on the descents. It still makes me smile to remember finishing the race together. Thanks to the blazing fast lap by Cody, he and I won the Co-ed Duo Division for the 2nd year in a row. Sofia and Alex placed 4th which was quite the accomplishment in a field of 62 teams.
Hardest Course: Riding 50 miles and 7300 feet of climbing at the high-altitude Leadville Silver Rush 50 was definitely the hardest race of the year, but I loved it! It was such an adrenaline rush and a confidence-booster to take a 2nd place overall female to Julie Dibens on such a challenging course.
Best Overall Experience: The Leadville Stage Race was the first stage race I have ever done. I suffered from altitude sickness on Day 1 but hung in there for a 5th place overall female stage finish. I felt stronger and better each day and fought my way to 3rd place overall female. I met incredible people at this race and have special memories of working and pace-lining with other racers such as Randal “Bike” Bennett, Amy Dunleavy and Ryan Krol throughout the three days of racing.
Highest Heart Rate: The Epic Singletrack Super Loop in Winter Park is one of my favorite races. I was eager to use my high fitness before the summer ended and ended up battling it out with Emily Schaldach for the last place on the podium. My heart rate had been averaging 162 for the race until the last 10 minutes along the Serenity trail where it hovered at 174. My legs were burning and my heart felt like it was going to bust out of my chest, yet I was able to pull away from her just enough to snag 3rd place overall in the female pro/open category.
Thinking About Next Year!
September has been all about fun rides with friends, coaching the high school mountain bike team and getting caught up on TV shows. It is also the time of year when Cody and I begin planning for next year’s race season. Stay tuned for those plans! I am looking forward to beginning focused training again on October 1st with our Base Builder Program: strength sessions on Monday and Wednesday and bike trainer sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. While I enjoy having a break from structured training, I actually prefer to have the routine in place for my busy life. Plus, I get to be with my training buddies at the gym!