After 11 years of living in the Roaring Fork Valley and being in awe of Mt. Sopris daily, I finally got Ian to the summit yesterday. He’s never been motivated to hike or ski the mountain as he prefers to mountain bike the amazing trails at the base, but I mentioned it late Saturday evening and he jumped on the opportunity. The weather wasn’t pleasant with high winds and not much in the way of sun, but once we determined the snow was stable we went anyway. We don’t have many early mornings without the kids so when my parents took them overnight, we had to take advantage. It wasn’t my fastest trip up and down Sopris but it was my favorite (despite a little whining on my part with my crappy skiing).
Just two weeks ago, as I mentally prepared to go in for another small surgery on my ankle, I got a call from Jari Kirkland asking me if I could go to Ecuador for an adventure race. I told her that I was nowhere near trained for it. Of course, I really wanted to go. I talked it over with the guys from the team and told them that I might be a liability—they didn’t care. Ian told me that sure, it might not be prudent for me to race, but how often do you get a free trip to Ecuador. So, 24 hours later, I decided I was in for the Nonstop Ecuador Es Tu Cancha race.
I’m very excited to get out for another adventure race and to see Ecuador. My training has been upped significantly, adding some night riding and paddling.
I have a few more weeks squeeze in some training, especially at elevation (Quito is at over 9K feet!). I plan on running the Four Pass Loop this weekend and getting out on a few long rides. This race will be a wildcard for me, but I’m excited to have a goal to work towards and it’s motivated me to be as ready as possible.
I got the green light to skin and mountain bike a few weeks ago and I’ve been enjoying it to the fullest. Although I haven’t skied since mid-April Mt. Sopris is calling my name, especially since my new Sportiva Spitfire boots arrived this week. They fit great right out of the box and feel fine on my foot. Maybe this year I can motivate some friends to ride bikes with me from the house and then ski from snowline. None of this wimpy car stuff. I think round trip we’d still be around five hours…if all went smoothly. Any takers?
In the meantime, I’m enjoying every ride on my new Scott Scale 29er. Even with burly, heavy tires the bike is super responsive, so much so, that Ian has his eyes on it for a few races. But I’m not sure I’m willing to share.
With physical therapy a few times a week, I’m slowly gaining mobility back in my ankle and foot. I’m still no where near running but thankfully I feel great on the bike and in the pool. My strength is coming back the more I ride and with three gym sessions a week. Someday in the next few years I’m hoping my left calf will regain the size of my right one.
Time away from competing has given me a chance to reflect quite a bit. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is coach, train and mentor women especially. I’ve started taking courses to get my personal trainer certifications. Although I haven’t talked about my intentions much, I already have a few clients lined up and I’m looking forward to building a program for them.
As I spend more time on the bike, the temptation to jump into a mountain bike race is building. I’m feel pretty fit but I don’t have the ankle mobility to get off my bike and run up something or around someone. Am I capable of racing for fun knowing I may need to hold back a little? Honestly, I have no idea…
This weekend I did two big local runs (Basalt Mt. and Mt. Sopris) in an effort to cram in some high altitude mileage and test my legs a little bit. On Friday I found out I’m going to be racing in the Trans Rockies Run with last year’s champ, Anita Ortiz. The TransRockies is a 6-day stage race covering 113 miles and climbing over 25,000 feet in elevation. Unfortunately, Anita’s race partner, Katie Mazzia, is injured and cannot defend the title this year. I’ve wanted to try this race for a couple of years so when I saw the news on Facebook I immediately jumped at the opportunity to join Anita. Anita is fresh off a win at the Western States in her first 100 miler and is always fast, no matter the distance. We’ll be racing against big names like Nikki Kimball and Kami Semick and alongside Dean Karnazes and Helen Cospolich. Thankfully my legs felt pretty good this weekend.
As I have been running for hours on end the past three days, I’ve actually been daydreaming a lot about skiing and randonee racing. After all, skiing down Mt. Sopris is a helluva a lot faster than running down it. La Sportiva recently unveiled their new ski mountaineering race boot and I can’t stop thinking about it. The Stratos has a 100% carbon outer and weighs in at only 2 pounds! Just think how fast I can go uphill with those on my feet – I won’t even know they’re there. Now, how do I get my hands on a pair? They cost $2,200 and only 20 pairs will be available in the US.
Until I figure out how to convince La Sportiva and Ian that I have to have a pair of the sexy carbon boots, I’ll continue to pound out as many miles as possible on the trails and roads in the Roaring Fork valley. I need to be ready to race at Anita’s level in just three weeks!