Just when we get into a groove from being home from the last work, travel, race trip we start to pack our bags for another! I absolutely love this time of year when we can escape the spring storms for desert and costal sun. This time around we were off to California for the Santa Cruz MTB Festival followed by Sea Otter. Which will randomly end days later with a last minute decision to race on the Front Range of Colorado.
Being fairly opposite in nature, Jeff and my travels are usually quite entertaining. This trip began with a comedy of errors as we arrive into Santa Cruz after two days and many hours in the van to realize our hotel does not accommodate sprinter van sized parking. Jeff’s patience seems to take a vacation when navigating the large sized vehicle around costal roads and cities that are made for small sized sports vehicles and mini clown cars. Through periods of awkward silence and built up frustration – it was my turn to take charge, and I was able to find us a beautiful little Airbnb along the coast that ended up being cheaper than our claustrophobic hotel. SCORE!
Not only did this place save us money, its location couldn’t have been more perfect. Just a short 10 minute walk along a dirt path brought you right to the ocean, away from the sound of cars, and closer to crashing waves and a cool ocean breeze! Not to mention it was just a short pedal from great trails at Demolition National Forest.
We had a day to settle in, ride, and check out the local attractions – which usually just lead us to Whole Foods take out to enjoy along the beach. Then it was time to get to work! The Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival had a cool vibe and attracted a great bunch of people. The nice thing about this event was being able to see first hand how many people already knew about Ergon Bike and were excited to hear what they were coming out with this season. As many people know who work events like this, having a crowd of this type makes your job that much more enjoyable.
As that event came to an end we were off to Monterey for the next! The Sea Donkey, Sea Beaver, or more properly known as Sea Otter; seen as the season kick off event for every discipline of cycling and most every bike brand.
It’s so nice to see everyone in one place from friends, racers I admire, sponsors and colleagues. My purpose at Sea Otter is to work – I handled all of Ergon’s PR as well as worked sales under the tent. Throw in a block of training, and I was happily at my max for what I could manage all while maintaining an up beat, positive attitude!
Being able to race would’ve been fun and a great experience, but it just doesn’t work for me. As much as I would get goosebumps of envy watching the girls line up – I know I have a long season of adventure ahead of me. My racing for the week was basically TT’ing the commute in and out of the venue each day. I must say, the oxygen rich (actually same amount of oxygen, just the partial pressure is the difference <–NERD) California air produces some very beautiful power numbers! What was far more beautiful than the numbers, were the winding roads along the commute.
Sea Otter came to a close, and we were on our way back to Colorado. No trip to California is complete without returning with a full body of Poison Oak!
As we returned home, the fatigue from the past two weeks hit me like a freight train! What better time to decide to do a last minute race on the Front Range! Jeff was off for a week in Germany a handful of days after we returned and wanted to squeeze in a race before he left. Knowing myself, I was very hesitant… but having a better mind set on racing this season and talking it through with LW we decided it was perfect timing for a “training race”. Let the game of recovery begin! Between rounds of elevated legs, mellow rides, and nutritious meals I was slowly returning back to normal.
I had convinced myself I was excited about this race – but in reality, I was dreading it…I had a poor, less than snappy pre ride, and spent the day before the race tired, crabby, and cursing traffic. My attitude was NOT right all the way up to when we lined up in the morning. Bless Jeff’s heart he still loves me after being such a pill.
The funny thing is, once we were off – my crabbiness subsided and went right into a fun, race mode. I quickly realized what a “training race” really was. It was an opportunity to try out new tactics, paces, mental strengths etc. So, I did some smart things, some not so smart things, but all in all kept up a good pace through the 5 laps and 1,000 turns which happily lead me to a third place finish! I was utterly exhausted, but very content. Most importantly, I was proud of myself for turning my brain off and just pushing the pedals. It really is that simple; keep smiling and keep pushing the pedals!
What’s next? Our local backcountry bash, The Firebird 40!!! This will be such a baller course this year! Check it out here.