Monday, June 11, 2007

Firecracker at Falls City

by Shannon

So this past weekend my husband, Noah, and I headed to Portland, Oregon for a weekend of riding, racing and, well, family time. It was a beautiful weekend until the evening before the race in which it started pouring. It poured most of the night and most of the next day. We drove from Portland where my sister lives down to Falls City for the Firecracker MTB race. The race is held at a free ride park, that should tell you how the course is going to look. It was raining when we got there but I decided I needed to pre ride. So I went out and got some pre race mud. The course climbs on a fire road for some time before it turns left and heads up a muddy slippery pitch, in which at the top you get to climb over tree which is about waist high, unless you can ride the off camber slippery ladders that go up and down each side. You then hit the fire road again for about 1/2 mile until you make a right turn up a totally unridable climb. This was the longest hike a bike I have ever seen in a XC race and once again quite slippery. Once to the top more ladders to get over some more downed trees and then another fire road up. Once at the top it is fun downhill for about a mile, turns to fire road for a little then it turns left and goes straight down the hillside, crazy dhing. From there the DH is fun for a little a few more ladders one with a drop at the end then a fire road decent which makes a 180 and goes straight up a slipppery mudd climb back to the start finish. It sounds like a lot but it was all compacted in to all but 4.5 miles. Now to the race. I felt pretty good. The course is totally my husbands style so I felt a little strange with him on the sidelines watching Noah. I started pretty good, no one would go so I took lead and a couple of girls went with me. I let them by and hung on the rear wheel for awhile. We climbed up and up and when we finally got to the downhill one of the girls was downhilling like my husband, insanely fast. I was dropped. I was having problems with my glasses so I had to take them off. This turned out to be interesting because when we hit the fire road decent I was going so fast that it was like I was being attacked my a million little mud nazi's. It was crazy, I couldn't see anything, If I opened my eyes I would get splatted with mud and then my contacts would move all over. I decided then that I needed to put my glasses on before the Fire road next time, even if I couldn't see out of them. I lost a lot of time the first laps trying to figure out the vision issue and just getting used to riding in the mud. I actually got caught by another girl, which pissed me off so I stepped up my downhilling the third and fourth lap. The awsome thing was that as muddy as it was my shifting stayed perfect and my brakes worked awsome the entire time like there wasn't any mud at all. Got to love Easton and SRAM. My husband put on a Nobby Nik and a Skinny Jimmy so my climbing traction was awsome even though it was slick as snot, I could ride better than I could walk. So I kind of settled in the Second and third lap. I haven't raced much there year and I think it was showing. I was unsure of how my body would do (especially my knee) so I settled in and I shouldn't have. The last lap I decided I needed to go. So I cranked the climb. Just as hard as I could go 185 plus Heart rate the entire time, and pushed the downhill, testing my limits. I made some awsome time on the girls in front of me and put 3 minutes on the girl I passed at the begining of the lap. Now if I could just figure out how to get my mind and body to push that hard the entire way. It was a good race, I got 3rd to some amazing riders so I am happy. I was so caked in mud, about 1/4 inch on my bum and I couldn't even unzip my jearsey because there was too much mud in the zipper. My face was unrecognizable. The best part about it was I got to race my mountain bike and race on some awsome trails improving my skills. After the road race last weekend I have realized my true passion lies with the nobby tires. I just LOVE mountain biking.

So for those wondering how my knee is doing, here is a little update. My friend is a rep for a certain bike company (name not to be disclosed) he gave me their newest pair of MTB Shoes to try. I switched over 2 weeks ago and have been riding them soley. They are very very stiff and seem to keep me more in alignment. Between that, Physical Therapy, icing twice a day, and motrin, my knee seems to be doing a little better. Maybe I am mental but it seems better. I still have pain when racing but it is tolerable for now. I am hoping this is a trend and I will be back to myself in the next month. I am just so happy to be racing at all right now, that placings don't matter. They will come when they come. Welll Noah and I are off to support my husband this weekend for his first every solo 24 hour race. Should be fun!!! I will enjoy his pain I think after doing it solo last year. He He He.

Until next time...

Happy Trails.


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