Monday, December 31, 2012

Kick Wax, Tires and Stick Shifts

A Few weeks have passed since my last post and Art is healing well. He is actually getting around with a cane now, and things are looking positive. Although he is still not supposed to adduct his leg to the side, he has already, in theory, schemed a way to mount the trainer. I imagine it is just a matter of time before he starts getting on a bike in some form. I will also add that it was quite convenient that Art and his doctor scheduled appointments that made it impossible for us to go to Nationals. This is all good, just incase the idea came to mind again. Being that Madison is reporting a minus five degrees today, I think I am okay with sitting out this race, even if it is Nationals. Brrrr cold! What was I thinking anyway?

As soon as I let go of the race, I seemed to be re-energized, almost like the race had been a weight holding me back. I was able to get out for some outstanding solo mountain bike rides. I was riding longer and more confidently, cleaning sections I had not cleaned in months. Cyclo-cross is a welcome diversion and change of pace that I not only enjoy, but welcome. However, in my heart, I am a mountain biker first, and the experiences that transpire in the woods never stop to please or reward my soul.


Last week, while out mountain biking by myself in some pretty cold conditions, I suffered a cut sidewall on my tire that caused me to walk five miles back to my car. I was down on myself for failing to repair the flat, but I did not have the right tool or the ability to improvise to get things fixed. Because it was so cold, I just wanted to keep moving. So I walked out letting my failure weigh heavily on my shoulders. I did not feel so bad when later that week a well known bike mechanic admitted to walking out with a flat and called his wife to pick him up part way. I guess it can happen to anyone, and the best I can do is to try to learn from any mistakes and try to be more prepared next time.

A ride with a five mile walk, is still better than none. I am actually thankful to get out that day, as real winter kicked in a few days later, covering the woods with snow. Some people were out and about with their fat bikes, which I think are pretty cool, but with a wall full of XC skis, I grabbed my skis instead. This brings me to next subject: kick wax. After 35 years of skiing waxless skis , I have recently invested in waxable skis. I gave it a few humble tries and never got it quite right. I suppose I need to experiment until I reach enlightenment or zen in the old world tradition of ski waxing. Waxing, like driving a stick shift car is a bit of a zen thing for me, and I am not ready to give into letting go of my connection with things or even the perceived control in everything just yet.

..... 2013, still trying to keep connected, and of course, Cross Country and Super-D Nationals!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Master's Racing

watch out... I'm in charge of bike maintenance for 6 weeks!

Last Sunday was Limestone Cross, the last stop on the MAC series schedule. I have been following the MAC series in support of the open women’s 45+ class. The MAC has been leading the way for female masters by offering this class, and it has gone from 2-3 racers to nearly 20. I compare it to men’s 55+ which has also taken off in many areas. Women and men alike are staying active and racing as they get older, which is very cool. Some of them actually kick butt and race competitively with elites, but for many of us, a master’s class offers an appropriate competition experience.

Weather predictions were for light rain on top of a few days rain that had already fallen. I was pretty certain that the course would be moist, but I watched the weather forecast closely the day before to keep an eye on temps. If we were expecting heavy rain with temps dipping down towards freezing, I would certainly have opted to stay home in bed. Two or three degrees could be the difference between a sloppy race and hypothermia. I have been close to there twice and did not want to re-live that experience. Luckily temps held steady in the 40’s, so the race was on for me.

Everything was going well and on schedule as part of my pre-race routine. Then as I was getting ready to head to my start, Larry stopped by the truck and told me Art had crashed on his hip, could not walk, and would I take the truck down to pick him up near the start line. Art was done for the season and he knew it, yet he insisted that I stay and do my race before we went to the hospital. As you read this, you must be thinking that we are crazy for this type of thinking. I was prepared to leave the venue when Larry delivered the message at the truck, and yet I let Art convince me that I should race. Perhaps we are crazy, but if you follow any of my racing, you will know that my first national champion title came while Art’s leg was in a cast. I guess we just enjoy supporting each other as much as racing ourselves.

Distracted and minus part my warm up, I took the start line and raced. The course was pretty fun and it supplied my only wet cross course experience this year. It has been so dry this year, that I feared being out of practice, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the handling aspects of this token wet race. The temps and light rain were, for the most part, very comfortable. It was a few moments to rip my lungs out, burn my legs, challenge my balance, run around like sugar crazed kid and forget about what lies behind or ahead.

A little disappointed not to hang and socialize at the last race of the series, we were both faced with the reality of getting Art to the hospital to face the facts: another broken hip. Luckily all the parts from his replacement hip looked to be in good condition, but he was faced with a 6 week heal. Art knows the routine well and will be back on the bike soon. Some may wonder if we should not race in fear of these things, but people are known to get hurt in the bathtub or on the couch while hardly being alive. Some of us just need to feel alive.

In the mean time, I am registered for January Nationals in Wisconsin. The predictor puts me in second place, which means less about my racing ability than it does about the need to get more ladies my age out here racing. I doubt that I will actually go, but who knows?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sandy’s Awakening

Monday night, 7:30 … lights out. Going to bed for what seemed like an ordinary adventure camping trip night for me turned out to be much more for many. When I finally got online a few days later, I discovered houses had burned, hospitals evacuated, coastal homes gone and much of the tri-state area was without power.

As I walked my neighborhood streets, trees and branches piled up, and tangled power lines hanging, all I heard was generators as far as I could hear. The sound resonated and burned into my head like a disturbing dream. Not because the storm was so bad, but because it reminded me that our society is so dependant on gas consumption. ….Gas being something that will run out and very likely has been contributing to the acceleration of global warming and could have been a factor in causing a storm like this.

On one of my many walks after the storm, I saw a couple that had dragged their generator out onto the lawn and were blowing leaves with an electric leaf blower. Not only are we a society that drives cars everywhere, but we have forgotten how to rake, sweep, walk, ride a bike or do anything by hand. We have always been a move ahead to progress type of society, but perhaps we need to take a step back and rethink some paths, before we take the wrong path too long. I am uncertain if big business and politics have brain washed us all or if we are just in denial, but Sandy has caused some concern, and perhaps that is a good thing.

So a few weeks have gone by and I have ridden my bike only a few times. Art and I have begun to work on cleaning up the trails. I know there are many people who’s sanity depends on riding a bike, so trail work may take the place of a few races right now, and that is okay too. Many people have been inconvenienced, frustrated and even turned bitter. I hope we all can move ahead to better places with better solutions. Thanks to those that have been helping others to recover from this storm. Pay it forward is a good place to start!

After failing at warming pizza dough over the water heater pilot light, a double boiler did the trick.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Just one week ago, I found myself too tired to ride, climb my stairs, think or even hold my head up. I did not think that a week of good weather could cause me to get so tired, but, there is much to do, and when the sun shines, pixy goes out to play. Some people use a coach or a training plan but I tend to follow the sunshine. I often find myself at this equation in life: Sun = play, Rain = write. So, here I am at home writing, hunkered down, waiting for Hurricane Sandy.

The weekend Trifecta all started with Marty's Cross on early Saturday morning. I say "early" because early races caused us to get up at 5:00am. As I mentioned earlier, I work by sunshine, and the sun never shines in NJ at 5:00 am, so already I was working against my ways. This race, which is part of the local series, also happened to be the New Jersey State Championship. I put in a solid race on an unusually hilly course, leaving not much left over in my legs for anything else. Then I hung out for the festivities, and chilled with teammates and Linus, a charming little jack russell terrier.

Sunday was up early again and this time I was off to Blue Mountain with my mountain bike to race for a bottle of wine, which I somehow won. My legs were toast, but the wine ended up briefly in my hands, as I drank it the next day. The memories of the ride will be with me for long while. Blue Mountain has some awesome trails!

From The bottle ride, I headed over to the grand opening of the West Milford Family Pump Track. It was an incredible sight to see so many kids on bikes. Little and big kids alike, having a great time. I am very proud of all the hard work of the many Jorba volunteers that made this happen. I made an attempt at a few laps on the pump track, but my legs were screaming. It was home to bed for me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Road to Happiness

Over the past three weeks, I have done five cyclo-cross races and had a super-charged start to my cross race season. As much as I wanted to keep that positive race momentum rolling, I knew a weekend not traveling and racing would be beneficial for my mental health, and give Art and me a chance to catch up with other things. When Art requested the weekend off as well, I quickly agreed. If he was feeling the race bug calling, it would not have taken any arm-twisting to get me out there racing, but that was not the case. We took a weekend at home.

Last week was a bit rainy, which is good now and then, because I can actually let myself not ride a bike, and do something else. I was able to spend fours hours, with camera and clinometer in hand, scouting possible future trail re-routes. This may not seem like an exciting job, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Sure many plans and even dreams do not pan out, but finding another equation is even more satisfying and usually a better one in the long run. When you take the time (years in some cases) to find this perfect route, get all parties involved to approve it, actually watch volunteers build it and then ride it while hundreds of smiling mountain bikers travel along the trail, it is very rewarding.

As the rainy days moved out, I did something that was not in any of my already minimal training plans, but something I just felt like doing: I went for a long hilly road ride. It was probably the last real warm day of the season and the sky was blue, and the woods were wet. I felt the roads of Harriman calling me, so with no heart rate monitor or drills in my head, I left with just a bike, a camera and a sense of exploration. It felt somehow right for me.

Normally, I visit the top of Perkins at Bear Mountain in winter or spring when the road is closed to cars. The only people on the top then are extreme cyclist and hikers, like myself that make the effort to get up there by their own power. That alone is an empowering feeling after making the effort up such a climb. This time, the road was open, and I was just another tourist mingling around the top. Although I shared the view with many, it was just as special as on my winter rides. Once again, I am reminded of the beautiful landscape and roads, so close to my home in the Hudson Valley.

I took some pictures and set my own pace for the day. Although it directly had little to do with racing, it felt good to be out in the sun doing what made me happy. Any day riding a bike is good.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nittany Lion CX

A full year gone by, and cross season is here once again. I do love my long, lazy, warm days of summer filled with mountain bike rides. Each year I am sad to see summer fade, but then cross racing puts a smile back on my face. Short, intense and somewhat social craziness, cross racing has just about the right percentage of each ingredient that I need to put fun into my bike world this time of year. If you have not been to one of these events, you owe it to yourself to check one out.

log riding options, for those that like to please the crowds

...or not, if you prefer

as long as you are having fun and go really fast!

Going into this weekend, I was a little apprehensive if my lack of preparation for cross season was good enough, but this is cross, the awkward 40 minute stepchild of road, track and mountain biking, and anything goes, right? ... So there I was, anxious, and at the start line with dozens of other like-minded ladies, ready to let it rip!

Gun goes off, I encounter a slight delay in pedal engagement, but then, like a canon, I am shot out of the pack to the front. Before I even know where I am, I am driving into the first turn and passing. It took me all last year to find a place to do one of these passes, and it was the last turn of the last race, last year. Here I am doing the same move in the first turn of the first race, this year. I don't know if this means anything, but I suppose I could have subconsciously dreamed about it all summer, who knows? I certainly do not think I am an aggressive racer, nor do I want to be known as overly aggressive, but it’s nice to know I can get the job done when needed. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and all it’s cornering opportunities. I chased and got chased. It was a fun day, and I decided to go back the next day for some more.

Sunday’s course had an interesting up to a log that many of the ladies were talking about. I did it twice on the warm up and decided it was not a big deal, but I never felt smooth on that part, or the barriers that day. During the first lap I had some minor contact with a woman who was trying to pass me and then I struck the wheel of another woman in front going up the hill to the log. Luckily we all kept it upright and seemed ok with the miscues. On my last lap I found myself in what I thought was 4th place with 2nd and 3rd right in front of me. I was chasing hard and then noticed that the woman I thought was the leader, was now behind me chasing me. …Say what? This was just the motivation I needed to push me even harder. It was a battle right to the end. Another fun day and the weather could not have been more pleasant.

Bring on the cross season! Next stop: Charm City

I think this little lady bug was enjoying her day as well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Team Camping Trip

my birthday ride with the girls:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bear Creek Preview for 2013 Nationals

Since my last race at Enduro Rama I had been feeling a bit burned out and not looking forward to anymore racing for this year. A week off the bike, and I found myself back in the saddle, riding for enjoyment once again, but I was still not feeling much like racing. Art really wanted to race Bear Creek Pa Aug 11-12 to get a look at the trails that may be used in next years National Championships which are finally coming back to the east coast. So back out to Pennsylvania we went, but this time I tagged on a day riding out at Rattling Creek and a nights stay at Glasbern, a working farm Inn outside of Allentown.

The riding at Rattling was good, but I find myself becoming a snob as the local trails in New Jersey are really outstanding and other places never seem as nice. The stay at Glasbern was really nice. We had a lovely dinner of grass fed meats, raised on the farm and homegrown vegetables and dairy products. The farm was beautiful as well. Art and I never did take a 30 year anniversary trip, so this was a really nice splurge for the day, and just another reminder that I am married to a very special guy.

Friday we headed over to Bear Creek in the rain and waited until the rain stopped to get on the XC course. It was quite technical and being that it was wet made me ride/walk with caution. My mind set was certainly not feeling up to racing with my first inspection of the course.

Saturday was the Super-D and we all got up early to take some practice runs. This was not the usual ski area set up where you took a lift ride to the top for your runs. They had a pick-up truck to transport you uphill like in the old days. The super-D course was not nearly as technical as the XC and in two runs, I was confident. I was seeded behind Art and in front of Willy and then trials superstar, Jeff Lenosky in 1 minute intervals. I enjoyed our little NJ posse. I ended up having a great run, super smooth and in control, but maybe not hanging it out as much as some of the other racers. Willy and Jeff caught me a few turns before the finnish, which was way better than I expected. The run was a blast!

Cross Country: The main purpose of attending the race at Bear Creek was to preview the course for next year’s National Championship, and I had not put much preparation into the race in the week prior. Art had installed a new front tire after Salisbury, and I was waiting on a new rear tire that was on order. I was aware that my rear tire’s sealant was dried out, but I thought it was not practical to mess with the tire until the new tire arrived. I am telling you this, because what I did was not something I would recommend you ever do. Yes, I was lazy, but don’t do what I did. Sealant MUST be updated every few months if you want Tubeless to work properly. Stans NoTubes even makes a handy injector and a valve removal tool to make this maintenance job quite easy.

Race day I warmed up like usual and found that I felt better than expected in the fitness part. I took a quick preview of the opening singletrack before my race to check the conditions. Conditions were perfect but I rode several lines through the first rock garden to connect with my bike handling. This also helped reassure my confidence. Fridays pre-ride on a wet course had left me apprehensive, so a few runs through the rocks left me sure of my skills and balance.

I went to the start line and was finally released onto the course from the third row of women. By the top of the gravel climb I was in 4th place behind a super engine. When we got to the rock garden she dismounted and my practice came in handy as I found a way to ride around her and up and over the big rock with ease. I eventually climbed my way up to 2nd place mostly by just staying on my bike and nursing my traction over wet rocks and roots. Although, at that time, I had a 10 year record of never flatting in a race with tubeless, the #1 reason why I love Tubeless tires, is because low tire pressure allows my rear tire to hug the ground when I need it.

My initial effort left me a tad over my limit as my stomach started to cramp, and I had to back it down a tad putting me back into 4th. As soon as we hit the technical stuff, I came to life, and was riding like a rock star. These trails were quite challenging and demanded all my focus. My mind was far from suffering but delighted with challenge. I was riding like a completely different person than on Friday. After hopping and soaring my way down the mountain I was faced with a climb that seemed easy in anticipation of the decent. This was truly a fun bike handler course. Everything was going great, right?

… and then about 1 mile from the finish I felt things getting weird with my back end. Sure enough, I had flatted in the rear with no sealant. When I got home I found that I had speared a nail making 2 holes and nicking my rim. The holes were small, and if I had fluid, I probably could have limped out, but that was not the case. I did eventually finish and as the only 50+ women, awarded the win, but my biggest prize was conquering the trails. It also was a good reminder that if I do not properly maintain my tubeless, I increase my chances of flatting, and in this case, broke my 10 year record of never flatting in race. I'm hoping to be better prepared for my next race and National Championships.

What sealant will look like when it dries out

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Biker I Am

Although I have two more mountain bike races on my schedule, Kittatinny mentally marked the official end of my mountain bike race season. Salisbury Enduro Rama is behind me and I had hoped to have been a little more competitive at that event, but some equipment miscues and a stomach bug that hit me hard at 2:00am the morning of the race, had me off my game. It was an awesome well-run event with really fun trails. I was glad to rally and not only get on course (roll of TP included) by 9:30 am, but to finish with a smile. I would like to mention that the many bottles of Hammer Fizz that I started drinking by 4:00 am were a big help in getting myself hydrated enough to get out there.

In lieu of a not so great race performance and experiencing the disappointment of some trail vandalism on one of the trails we had built, I was feeling the desire to step back from being a biker for a few days this week. Between mountain bike and cross racing, trail building and advocacy, I often end up juggling my focus around. This is great to prevent burn out, but much of what I do is still related to the bike, and now and then I need a break. Sometimes just putting on a dress to cover my biker tan and go out to dinner with my man is all I need to feel renewed. I know and you know that the biker tan is still under my dress. I suppose it is just an identity charade.

If I can use the tide as a metaphor, this would be the ebb tide of my race season, where treading water is welcomed. Today I decided to head out by foot in the woods to 1: not be a biker, and 2: To try to be a hiker for a day and see some of our trail building from the perspective of the other user group. About a mile into my hike, I caught up to a group of seven women out for a hike. They were from "Adventures for Women", which seemed like a cool group to encourage women to build confidence and seek adventure. The first thing they mentioned was that they liked the new re-route by the DPW, which was very rewarding to hear.

As I forged ahead down the trail, I noticed that I always walked the lines that I would normally ride on my bike. I tried several times to try another path and be a hiker, but I always ended up back on my favorite bike lines looking for flow. I had no idea that I could be so programmed. So my feet became my wheels and I walked the rollers and so on. I guess you can not take the biker out of the biker. ….A biker I am.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Local Blue

I read "eat local" all the time, but I often find that I am buying blueberries year round from the other half of the hemisphere because I love them so much. Local New Jersey blueberry season is finally here, and what a treat it is to eat them each day.

Blueberries have a diverse range of micro nutrients such as manganese, B6, vitamin C, vitamin K. In just one serving, you can get almost 25 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system. Blueberries contain substances that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity. In short, they are a little berry packed with goodness. No wonder the bears up at Ringwood love them so much.

This is my all time favorite blueberry recipe:

pick, eat!

That's right, they are perfect by themselves. Other things you can do with them include: add to salads, yoghurt, cereal, almond butter sandwiches ... the list goes on. Eat um while they are here!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bulldog/Butterfly Rump

When I stepped out of the house at 7:00 am, I could not believe how hot it already felt. I usually do not mind the heat, but when compounded with direct sun and extreme humidity, I felt like I was cooking inside. As soon as Art and I arrived at the Bulldog Rump race, we set up the ez-up tent next to our van to assure a shady spot for the remainder of the day, and it would be a long day. We were lucky enough to get a parking spot on the edge of the field and catch a few light breezes that made the humidity seem just bearable.

I saw off my Cat 3 teammate, registered, got my leg marked and returned to the tent. Looking out over the field that was filled with wild flowers, dragonflies and butterflies buzzed around. I was amazed with the butterflies, as they flittered around with care-free direction, getting caught with the wind and then redirecting themselves and visiting the nectar flowers along their journey. Call me crazy, but the motion and seeming playfulness of the butterfly reminded me of mountain biking.

As I prepared for my race, the vision of the butterfly's flight was embedded in my head. Perhaps the heat was getting to me, but I did not have my race head on, and I seriously wondered how well my race would go, when I was dreaming of butterflies. I finally let go of the butterfly vision and started my warm up. You may wonder, how much does one need to warm up in such heat, but it is my heart that needs to prepare to adjust to the intensity of a race, not a bring my legs up to speed thing.

Gun goes off, and I immediately find myself trapped in the back and unable to get through. I get a tad flustered, but eventually a gap opens and I am on my way chasing down the lead group ahead. I reach the lead group just as I hit the bottom of the opening climb ...not good. I hang on, but I was near my max by the top and allow a gap in front. Good thing, as a girl in front faltered causing a few behind to fall down. I am off the bike in a hurry and hoofing it to the top. Then there were more traffic issues that threw me into surges, ending in stomach cramps once again.

I slowed down and gave up a spot, but by the time I got half way through the technical twisty single track, I had rested enough to settle my stomach issues and was still in the hunt. I had about a quarter mile with tons of traffic, both men and women. I did not want to be too pushy, but I was beginning to feel like my wings were being restricted. Then I finally asserted myself and managed to squeeze by a series of riders. Finally free, I opened my wings and went.

It actually felt more efficient to ride slightly faster once I had cleared myself from the clog ups on 3/4 of the first lap. The rhythms and momentum on the course were a blast, and I think the butterfly visions helped me in that area. Half way into the last lap. it began to rain, which felt so good. My dusty legs turned black, and the rocks got slippery enough to slow me down some, but the cooling effect of the rain was welcomed. Feeling quite as ease with the rain, the finish line appeared quickly and smoothly and I felt quite satisfied. It certainly was good finish to a not so certain race start. Found out later that I had the fastest Cat 1 time, so I guess I am still hanging in there at 54.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Spectrum of Vegies

groovy beets and russian kale

chilled gazpacho

pasta with grilled beets, sausage, kale, mushrooms and leeks

With summer in full swing, vegetable gardens have started to produce many yummy fresh vegetables, and a week of hot weather has made me rethink my dinner menu:

Chilled gazpacho for a hot summers night.

Beets are thought to have an abundance of Nitrites. Nitrite is important in biochemistry as a source of the vasodilator nitric oxide. I have never been a big fan of pickled beets, but now that I am aging into pre-hypertension, which I inherited from my mom, I have been searching for anything in my diet that will keep me off medication, while racing. Grilled beets taste fantastic! ... and the colors are really beautiful and a great way to brighten a plate of food. My teammate says that eating beets keeps her from cramping on the bike in long races.

Some other vegies that taste great grilled are bok-choy, asparagus and sweet potatoes. Get your vegies ... tis the season!

Monday, June 11, 2012


EnduroRama is not the typical Cross country race that I am accustomed to racing. It is a laid back fun format, with intense technical sections designed for speed junkie trail riders and cross country racers looking for a few thrills. The result is a fusion of cultures coming together for a common goal: technical riding, fast and fun and plenty time in between for some social interaction.

Each rider must complete 5 individual technical time trail sections found along a 12 mile ride. The timed sections are mostly downhill, while the transfer sections are more uphill to get to the tops of each stage. The event is also supposed to be more about technical ride challenge than just fitness, although I never doubted that the rider that would take home a crown on this day was going to have some major fitness.

EnduroRama is also a fund raiser for the Allamuchy chapter of Jersey Off Road Bicycle Assoc. (JORBA). Jorba organizes most the volunteer trail building and trail maintenance for mountain biking in New Jersey. This event was quite fitting as Allamuchy is the first park in New Jersey to have a legally built by Jorba, sustainable, advanced, skills trail: “Lumpy Bumpy”. If you have been on this trail, I’m sure you have released your personal expression of giggles, laughs, screams, and even blood and tears. Oh yeah, the trail is that good!

crowns waiting for a King and Queen

Zanfel poison ivy remover, a perfect swag bag gift

racers awaiting stage 1

We all received our little timing chip on a string and headed out to the first stage. The timing was self serve: we had to swipe in and and out, which was cool. It allowed for some freedom as the day went on. I took my time riding to stage 1 as I knew things would get backed up, and indeed they did. I had a 40 minute wait in line to my start, so my warm up climb was out the window now. This aspect of the event did not sit well with me being a XC geek that always warms up. I had a chance to talk with some down hillers in line and I realized that they were all experienced at the waiting part, and that my issues were just personal.

I had a perceived bad first stage, with miscues, slipping and sliding on wet rocks, stomach cramps, dead legs and feeling like I was having a heart attack. I never get nervous before a race, but for some reason I was a bit anxious before this event because of some the extreme terrain. I have been suffering from borderline hypertension (a hereditary thing), and this race may have compounded this situation as my blood pressure was a record high on Saturday. This in itself may have been making me even more anxious. So at the end of my first stage, I was uncertain if I should even continue.

Patty, Alex and I talked after the stage, and we decided to step things down a notch, to limit our risks and just continue and enjoy the riding. This was a great idea, and I have to thank Patty for convincing me to continue. We all came through and finished wearing smiles. I enjoyed myself, feeling better with each stage. Rollie, the trail I feared the most was a blast. I even claimed the bragging rights on Lumpy. I am very proud of the handful of women who challenged themselves to get to the finish line. This race was no walk in the park.

The riders I interacted with on course all seemed to be having a good time, and the vibe of the whole day was great!

When I got home, AARP magazine arrived and wouldn't you know it, there was an article on taking risks and going outside one's comfort zone for good health. Apparently risk taking diminishes after 50 for most, and tedium can lead to other unhealthy habits. The opening line for the article was: "Whatever scares you, do it now.". Hmmm, Looks like I already have that one in the bag. Maybe next year I will try to get some more from the over 50 crowd to sign up.

Art catching some rest waiting for results

All hail the King and Queen of EnduroRama!