Over the past two weeks Jeff and I have pedaled across mesmerizing new stretches of trails, hours of sitting in the van, and jumping from hotel to hotel. It is a proper start to the season, but always a delight to be home.
Our first stop of the travel block was Sedona, AZ for the Sedona MTB Festival. Coming into my 5th year on a mountain bike, I have never been to Sedona before. My excitement for the new terrain was tangible as we concluded our 9 hour drive. We arrived right at sunset and took advantage of the hiking trail behind our hotel which led to illuminating red rock views surround by lush green shrubs and cacti.
Throughout the weekend we roamed the Sedona MTB Festival talking with people in the industry and consumers about Ergon’s 2015 products. Along with the consumers we put the products to the test with Sedona’s techy flow. The conditions were perfect and the company even better. We had a chance to catch up with the IMBA crew Jordan and Lani on their recent adventures traveling year-round throughout the United States and beyond, leading trail work sessions, meeting with land managers and working with IMBA Chapters/clubs and the communities they serve to improve mountain biking opportunities. Of course, plenty of riding was involved in this catch up time.
After a late night of strawberritas, it was time to hit the road to our first race of the season. My newly gained lack of tolerance lead me to sleep the entire van ride to St. George, which made checking into our honky low-budget hotel seem like a 4 seasons.
We spent the week leading up to the True Grit Epic riding trails and working from whatever place we could find with WiFi. It wasn’t until the second night at dinner where the stay at this hotel came to a screeching halt. Jeff found a couple spots of three little bug bites in a row and his itchiness was enough for me to do a little research. I came to find that it was BED BUGS! I don’t know how, but we were able to check out of that place and into a clean hotel within the hour. Poor Jeff had the heebie jeebies for the next few nights even after a proper hose down.
A couple days prior to the race we decided to stay off the bikes as up to this point, we’ve been riding quite a bit. We threw out the reality card and pretended to be real bike racers by treating ourselves to a massage before heading to Zion National Park with our friend Fixie Dave for a cold water walk through The Narrows.
This was a great highlight of the trip as I get a little burnt out of monotony and strive to get out and experience traveling outside the norm that revolves around a number plate being zip tied onto my bars.
So, finally it was race time. Nerves and excitement were at a perfect level and everywhere we turned we ran into familiar faces. I was on cloud nine. What could possibly go wrong? There could be one thing to go wrong… which it did. I ( EARMUFFS ) got my period. I’ve talked about it in the past, and each month this little monthly treat is known to completely knock me on my ass giving me flu like symptoms. The night prior to toeing the line I was restless with cold, night sweats and woke up to my little friend. Knowing this was more than likely going to happen, my coach LW asked me a month ago what I would like to do – and I said, “Let’s see how I can mange with a good attitude and a healthy dose of over the counter drugs”.
I rode the waves of symptoms prior to the race and tried to stay positive. After warming up, my legs ached and my stomach was turning. I kept telling myself, the adrenaline of the race will act as a natural pain killer and along with staying hydrated and intaking a healthy dose of over the counter NSAIDs I will be just fine.
To my surprise, I was just that – I was just fine. Besides not feeling like I could really push the climbs as much as I would’ve liked, I stayed calm, consistent, and mentally blocked out the pain. Knowing the climbs were all fairly short, the sick feeling never stayed around too long. This took me to a great finish of second place behind a local hammer, Joey Lythgoe. I was completely stoked!
I know a lot of people don’t like to hear about this issue, but it is something women have to deal with. Knowing I have the ability to work through it is a huge confidence builder for the season to come!
Overall the block of work/travel/and racing was a huge success. We were able to catch up with a handful of our favorite people, meet new ones, get plenty of Vitamin D, and experience this one precious life we are given as fully as our energy levels would allow.
It is always a treat to come home to our little community in the mountains and be able to share the stoke with friends – that’s what it’s all about to me. Sharing the experience and writing my own story.
My apologies as it can be hard for me to put coherent thoughts together after a block of travel like this, so thank you so much for reading – and most importantly thank you to my amazing sponsors for standing beside me in doing what I love – living. BH Bikes Castelli Cycling Ergon Bike Limar Helmets Xpedo Pedals Handlebar Mustache Osmo Nutrition LW Coaching Smith Optics Pearl Izumi MTB Shoes Elevated Legs Yoga Off Broadway Yetis Grind Continental Tires