It’s time for us to thin the herd a bit. I got this Kelly Knobby X about 10 years ago in Vail. It’s actually in really good shape and runs great–I only raced on it for one season. It’s a little heavy but with a classic, smooth-riding steel frame, it’ll never go out of style. Perfect for someone looking to get into ‘Cross, or swap out the rear wheel, make it a fixie, put on your skinny jeans and you’ve got a hipster head-turning machine. I think it’s a 56″ frame–should fit someone 5’6″-5’10″. Asking $400. Let me know if you have questions.
Thanks to Dave Clifford for the great photo
The last race on my schedule this summer was the Golden Leaf Half Marathon in Aspen this past Saturday. Only a week after the MTB marathon nationals, I had no idea how I’d feel come race morning. What I did know is that last year’s winner, Stevie Kremer, would be missing but that many other strong ladies were registered including Lindsay Krause. As a sure sign that this race season is over (at least for a few weeks), the battery in my heart rate monitor strap died as I was warming up. I was a little bummed because the first climb up Snowmass always produces a high heart rate, but I was also secretly relieved to run free of the numbers and data.
With fast men in the group like Rickey Gates, Karl Remson and Lance Armstrong, the field quickly spread apart in the two miles of steep dirt road climbing before we hit the singletrack. I started on the yellow brick road, aka The Government Trail, right where I wanted to be– in first for the women. I took a quick glance behind me and didn’t see any women coming, but I knew I needed to push the pace the entire race. I think Lindsay Krause is probably faster than I am on the flats so I needed to have a lead coming into the last few miles of bike path into Aspen.
I caught myself enjoying the beautiful scenery and changing leaves a few times, and my feet felt great in my La Sportiva Vertical K’s. But I tried to keep pushing myself and ended up finishing in 1 hour 42 minutes 45 seconds. Good enough to cut just over five minutes off my time from last year and over three minutes ahead of Lindsay Krause. It was really nice to finish the summer knowing that my hard training sessions thanks to Lindsay Hyman at Carmichael Training Systems had paid off. And since my heart rate monitor strap battery is taking a break, I figure it’s time to enjoy a small off season, especially since I have not had one since Axel was born two and a half years ago. But, I have the feeling I will find another race soon.
Full results can be found here.
Although it was my lowest place finish of the season (3rd), it really was my best result of the year. The USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals in Bend, OR had a stacked field of women including favorites Pua Mata and Kelli Emmett.
With just a few weeks remaining before the race, MOOTS rider Kelly Boniface and I decided it would be fun to make the trip. Our moms weekend away. Securing a house through friends, we booked our flights, rented a car and made sure to keep up on the intervals. However, neither of us ever looked at the course info, weather in Bend nor many other details. It was quite a surprise when we arrived to a place more drought-ridden than Colorado with lots and lots of sandy singletrack. Isn’t Oregon wet with roots?
Arriving in Bend midday on Thursday, Kelly and I pre-rode the last 12 miles of trail – Tiddlywinks and Funner. There wasn’t much climbing but lots of swooping singletrack. Despite crashing a few times, I enjoyed the trail and was thankful the race would be spread out at this point to keep the dust down to a minimum.
With some beta from Colorado friends, we opted for a new section to pre-ride on Friday. It was another great piece of trail with small, punchy climbs and fast rolling singletrack. My borrowed bike was not running perfectly so we made a pit stop in Pine Mountain Sports. Marc got my bike running right with customer service all shops should strive for (Marc, I still owe you a muffin or beer). We enjoyed a great dinner made by our friend Rachel Hadley from Aspen who was racing as well, and then got some rest.
Both Kelly and I were feeling okay race morning but not amazing. After a good warm-up and a Honey Stinger gel, we lined up at the start. I was thankful I missed the call-up as that puts pressure on me that I don’t really enjoy. Lining up in the second row behind Pua, Kelli and Kelly, I decided to stay with the lead group as long as I could. Pua settled in at the front as was expected, Nordic skier extraordinaire Evelyn Dong behind her, Kelli Emmett, then me and local Bend racer, Serena Gordon, vying for position. Although we lost the rest of the pack early on, the first three quickly lost dropped Serena and I.
With a few minutes lead, the top three rode away and I was able to pass Serena on the first singeltrack descent. Serena caught me on the short climbs until I finally pulled away at about mile 14. From this point on, I rode completely by myself. About 16 guys passed me the remainder of the race but I wasn’t able to hang on their wheels as they went by. After some great riding on the Flagline Trail, I passed Evelyn on a road descent as she had flatted. I’d been catching glimpses of her but I don’t like passing people due to their misfortune. That being said, I knew I needed to take advantage of the fact I had not had a mechanical yet so I kept riding hard.
Heading into the last 12 miles, I got a split and realized I wasn’t going to catch Kelli Emmett. I settled into a comfortable pace making sure to race smart without flatting or crashing. With very few men catching me and no signs of women coming from behind, I began to slow with 8 or so miles left. I enjoyed the singletrack, relaxed and made sure to not lollygag too much. Coming across the line in 3rd place after 4 and a half hours of racing, I was psyched with my finish. Top three in a national championship with super fast women is something to be happy about. Yeah, I probably should have raced harder at the end but it was nice to end the mountain bike season with a relaxing finish. Kelly Boniface bonked hard at the end but raced well to finish in 5th place. Two podium spots for the moms!
Carbondale friend, Scott Leonard, finished 3rd in the men’s age group 35-39; Rachel Hadley of Aspen won the women’s amateur race (beating many of the pro women); Rachel’s husband, Shawn, finished 4th in men 40-44; and skimo buddy, Cary Smith, blew away the singlespeed race. Way to represent all of you! Results here.
This weekend is the last race on my schedule (at least for a few weeks) – the Golden Leaf Half Marathon in Aspen. Field is stacked this year so it should be very fun!
Yesterday I raced in the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike race and then I did a trail marathon on the same course today–but honestly, looking back it really felt more like a week-long adventure race.
For me, the race started on Thursday, packing the kids’ clothes, cooking rice cakes and gluten-free scones, and getting my borrowed bike dialed. On Friday, I worked in the morning and then Ian and I both came home early to squeeze the truck full with all our gear. We rolled out at about 3pm and arrived in Steamboat a couple hours later. In the ‘Boat we stopped at BAP to register for the race and picked up our accommodations for the night: a brand new Big Agnes Big House 6 tent. From there we were off to the KOA, where we met our good friends Rob Russell and Elinor Fish, with their 3-year-old boy Reed. We got the tent up and dinner started, just in time for the rain to start.
With everyone exhausted, we got the whole family into the tent for bed by about 9, but some of us were far from ready to go to sleep. Axel would have nothing to do with his Pack’nPlay and so we tried to get him to sleep on the floor with the rest of us. It didn’t go well and let’s just say I got less than a good night’s rest.
We woke up to drizzling rain, which added to my already sour mood. I almost threw in the towel right then and there, but got dressed and made my way to the start line. I felt pretty terrible for the first lap, but after about an hour and a half of racing I started to come around. I caught up with Rob, who was racing on a team with Ian, but having mechanical issues. Rob is a great descender so his misfortune worked in my favor; I grabbed his wheel for the long descent to the end of the first 25-mile lap. There, Rob handed off to Ian (Elinor was kindly watching our kids) and I caught sight of my friend Kelly Boniface, who was running in second place in the solo race.
I caught and passed Kelly on the next long climb and managed to hold on to second place for the rest of the race, feeling better and better as the day went on. With the morning’s rain, the trails were in great shape and I really enjoyed the awesome singletrack on the course. National cyclocross champion Katie Compton defended her title for the women’s win, while Russell Finsterwald won for the men. There was a solid showing for Team Honey Stinger, with Peter Kalmes in third, Trevor Walz in fourth, Daniel Methany in seventh and Max Taam in eighth. Ian had a fast 2:18 lap, and he and Rob finished in fifth for the duo men. Full mountain bike results here.
On Saturday night, we wimped out. Max and his girlfriend Jessie had an extra bedroom in a condo they rented and when they offered it to us, we jumped on the opportunity. I slept really well and then got up early for the start of the run with Max and Jesse, both of whom had raced yesterday as well. At the start line, I was somewhat surprised to see Lance Armstrong standing next to me. Cool.
Anyway, my legs were definitely tired from the mountain bike race, but I actually felt pretty good overall. There were a few women right behind me as we started up the long first climb, but eventually I opened up a gap and then I raced for almost two hours without seeing anyone. I have to say, there aren’t too many race courses that would make both a great trail run and a great mountain bike ride, but the Steamboat Stinger definitely is one. I had just as much fun running the course as I did riding it the day before.
Lance had great race and won handily for the men. I was pleasantly surprised with my win for the women and psyched to finish in eighth overall. I also was crowned “Queen Bee” for the fastest combined time in both races. Jessie finished in third place with her combined time. Max was King Sting. Steamboat Pilot story about the race here.
What started as a rough weekend, ended up being one of my best of the summer. Len Zanni, Colin Osborn, Nate Bird and the rest of the Honey Stinger/Big Agnes crew put on an awesome race and not only did I win cash, but I won a couple of sweet, new Big Agnes sleeping bags, and a real deal cowboy hat from the famous F.M. Light and Sons.
I couldn’t have pulled off the weekend without the amazing support of Ian, who talked me off the ledge several times in the days before and during the weekend. Elinor and Rob were awesome helping out with the kids. Colin was kind enough to loan me his Trek Superfly for the race, which ran better than my own. Max and Jessie saved us with comfortable beds and a roof over our heads on Saturday night.
Sponsor shout for this post goes to La Sportiva–I wore the new Vertical K shoes for the run and they were awesome. Super light, with enough cushioning for a 25-mile trail run and plenty of traction on the technical trails of Emerald Mountain.
Now, I’m off to Rhode Island to visit my family and enjoy a little vacation. Thanks for reading!
Max Taam, Jessie Young and I planned to run the Four Pass Loop outside of Aspen yesterday however the weather did not agree with those plans. As we started running from Maroon Lake, a light rain fell. Reaching Buckskin Pass after an hour and twenty minutes of running, we made the decision to run to Snowmass Lake then to Snowmass Ski Area and possibly across the Government Trail back to my car.
Jessie heading up towards Buckskin Pass early in the morning.
Jessie & Max at Snowmass Lake.
With the weather holding with clouds and no rain, I suggested we run up East Snowmass Creek to East Snowmass Pass and Willow Pass. Despite Jessie being hesitant for about 30 seconds, it didn’t take much convincing. If the weather rolled in, we could always turn around and be at Snowmass Ski Area and out of lightning danger very quickly. Plus, then someone wouldn’t have to take the bus back up to Maroon Lake to pick up the car.
After running down Snowmass Creek, we headed up East Snowmass Creek.
East Snowmass Pass looking down at Willow Lake. We descended into the valley and up Willow Pass on the right.
We took our time, enjoyed the lakes and passes but got in just under 31 miles with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain. The rain stayed away long enough making us wonder if we would have been clear on the Four Pass Loop where our best escape would have been to Crested Butte or Marble. Next time we’ll get the full loop however our new ‘Three Pass Loop’ was a great alternative.
Willow Pass with the Maroon Bells and our trail back to Maroon Lake.
Garmin stats can be found here.