Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Off Season - I'm Still Here!

Yep It's been quite a while since I've made a post... sorry.  But I'm still alive!  It is the off season and I've been having fun being a bit more relaxed and doing some different activities.

Jen and I have gotten out for a hike here and there.  We had a good one up to the top of Mt. Ralston, which is just south and a little west of Lake Tahoe and I think the peak is 9600 ft.  It is a steep, steady climb and it was COLD!  But we made it!
And I've been able to actually get out on some "fun" rides, with no training goal, and not even a heart rate monitor!  Over Thanksgiving I rode a few hours with my brother in San Luis Obispo up on Cuesta Ridge and in Poly Canyon.
It was a good fun shred down some rocky trails.  But the road section to get back wasn't fun on my big Reign X.  My brother is loving his new Santa Cruz Tallboy though.  And I have to say I'm a little jealous.  Over Christmas we met again for another ride on Cuesta Ridge, but this time I brought my Anthem (XC bike).  We took a trail called "What?" down which is just a chute of jagged granite rock and the whole time you're just holding on hoping you don't flat.  Or maybe that's just me.  It was a challenge, and fun in that regard.  But I definitely enjoyed the flow of UC Santa Cruz trails I rode the day before.  I love that place!  Anyways, the holidays were great and the time off was awesome to just get out and ride with no agenda and enjoy mountain biking in those places and the local stuff in Auburn and Folsom.

In December I had the day open so I decided to enter the Folsom Cyclocross Race.  I don't have a CX bike this year, but Rick Cunningham was nice enough to let me borrow his Rocky Mountain Rail.  Thanks Rick!  I got maybe a 10 minute warm up in, oh well, and then we were off!  ...and about a minute into the race and after the first couple barriers I remembered... Cyclocross is hard!

But it was a great feeling to get back out there getting a really good workout with some other guys for an hour.  My lack of warm up and familiarity with the bike on the first couple laps dropped me from the lead group but after I remembered how dismounts and remounts worked I wasn't loosing any ground and was gaining in the last couple laps, and came in 4th.  Not bad for December I'd say.  Good times.

Since it's January, the training has picked up for me.  That means lots of time on the bike and unfortunately by myself.  At least I am easily entertained and am content with whatever songs get stuck in my head!  A couple weeks ago I was riding before work, heading back on the bike trail after a few hill climbs and had my first road crash.  It didn't feel too great.  I went into a fairly sharp right hand turn at maybe 19mph in a wooded area and hit some moss that I didn't see.  My back wheel slipped out and I rode the slide into the other lane but wasn't able to hang on and went down.  Wrist, knee, shin, and chin caught the pavement but the wrist got the worst and is actually still not recovered.  Probably because I haven't laid off it and am still riding :-).  But I did add a little extra detailing to my road bike finishing the rest of the ride, courtesy of my bloody chin.
Last year I wasn't able to ski at all and I was bummed to say the least.  But this year has been quite the opposite of last in that we've gotten a TON of early season snow.  I was finally able to make my way up to Sugar Bowl on the 3rd and made some turns in the cold stuff.
I took a couple good tumbles early on getting used to the skis again on the double black goodness.  Snow is nice to fall on :-).  I found an area of the mountain that was my "hidden gem" off of a new (to me) chair lift.  After a little hiking over along the ridge it was well worth the sweet fresh stuff that was knee deep.  Awesome.

So that's what I've been up to.  Living life.  It's back to the races, literally, in a couple weeks.  The TBF MTB Kickstart is the first XC race of the season on 1/23.  And everything is looking forward to the first big race, the Pro XCT at Bonelli Park March 12th and 13th.  It already seems so close!