My next event is the biggest event I have done before. Arizona Trail Race 300. It is my A+ event of the year and I am really excited for it. I have a hall pass and I am going to be there!! April 15th. No entry fee, no prizes, absolutely no support. The training countdown clock says 5 weeks to go. What that means for me is that all my speed work, VO2max and threshold work is done. All my intervals are done and cross country racing is done.
Now the plan from here to AZT is to ride a LOT at my happy smile pace :-) Pack up my bike and head off into the desert for a few days. I did just that last weekend.
I had the pleasure of DH's company too which made me very happy. An adventure with DH is always a good time. We explored the Woodbury desert area and camped in the Joshua tree forest. Joshua trees make crazy shadows near sunrise and sunset.
The silhouettes of the Joshua trees against the night sky turned into dinosaurs and cartoon characters
It is amazing how much stuff you can pack with you on a bike! Unpacked it kinda pukes out into a yard sale
We found some tasty water out there. This one made happy noises, blurp, sqwoosh, blop, splash, blub-blub.
This one had four goldfish swimming around in. Kurt had already been there a couple of weeks ago but didn't tell us exactly where it was so we were checking every tank we saw. DH riding ahead found it first "the fish" he squealed out as I rode up. Giddy :-)
DH was single speeding and he would crank on ahead and wait for me at waiting places. This one was beautiful. Indian Spring. So much clear beautiful water in such a dry place.
I love the Redrock Rampage XC race here in St George. This year was its 16th year running. Before the race I chatted with its promoter Glen Ames. He mentioned maybe it was time to change up the course. I told him no way!! This race is a tradition and you don't mess with traditions.
This year Rampage was all about Wallenfels vs Binghams. Let me tell you this aint little league anymore this is big time ;-)
Joel flying the Bingham colors gives Emma a pre-race strategy talk on the start line
First off were the boys 10-12 yrs age group. Already stalking each other are Bryn Bingham #648 and Wesley #655
Go!! Bryn hammers off the start and Wes keeps an eye on him
Next up are the 9 and unders. #220 Lauren Bingham looks relaxed and confident smiling on the front row. Emma is staged in the second row.
Joel must have told Ems to start fast as she hammers off out of the saddle!!
The boys come through and go out for their second and last lap. Bryn and Wes are flying and have a massive gap on the rest of the field - no other boys are in sight when they come through. They are working it AND working together!! Strategy in the 10-12yr field - you bet there is.
Lauren Bingham takes the 9 and unders win AND she beats all the boys too!! Awesome ride from Lauren.
Ems rode hard and finished with the biggest smile I saw from any racer all day.
Flushed cheeks and finish elation
Bryn makes it into the finish chute chicane with a bike length lead on Wes and takes the win by 1 second in a sprint to the line
Two wins for the Binghams!!
I raced too! We had a strong Pro women's field who started FAST. Too fast for me for the first 10 minutes and I had to pedal hard to keep up! Then everybody slowed a little or my body kicked in and I pulled ahead to finish first. I am an endurance gal!
For Byrn and Wes their 18 minute race was a teeny tiny warm up for the next 24 hours of non-stop-play-sleepover-play more. They hyped it out relentlessly. It was amazing to watch. Those two boyz are a force when they get together!!
Kids were all the talk at this race. 17yr old Keegan Swenson and 15yr old Noah Talley raced with the PRO men finishing 2nd and 6th respectively - WOW!! We have young talent here in Utah!
There was much talk and activity too this weekend about Utahs bid for a High School Mountain Bike League being spearheaded by Lauren and Bryn's dad Chris Bingham, Lori &Dave Harward and Justin Thomas. They were at Rampage taking names and drumming up support. E mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help on any level from sponsorship, logistics to coaching.
It feels good to see all these kids having fun with bikes!
I haven't seen much of DH lately. He has been shut up in his Dave cave with his nose deep in a coding obsession/binge (which when ready, will be unveiled by him - my lips are zipped). Fri night is usually date night so we took it outside this week to get DH off a chair.
After the "real" ride we messed around on Wes' new 24" wheel dirt jump bike. Lacking some good jumps we made the best of what the curb had to offer - but plenty action for me. It is a fun little bike. Makes me want a pump track! Is there one in St George?
Thanks Joel and Skylere for the bike - I love it, err I mean Wesley loves it ;-) Emma is very very very very jealous and wants one too.
5th time racing at Old Pueblo was as fun as ever. Friday night treated us with a sunset which was the calm before the storm. I spent Friday visiting folks. OP is like a big bike reunion after the winter. So fun to catch up and find out what everyone has planned out for the year.
I've raced at Old Pueblo solo geared twice, solo single speed and duo. This year I went for 5 person open co-ed and joined the infamous Jack Mormon Militia team. Matt Harding, Joshe Wolfe, Kenny Jones, Chucky Gibson and me.
I was a bit out of my element racing on a 5 person team - just a bit. More people to let down with a bad lap and more people to go do a slow lap themselves... More team members, less control. However the weather was mega challenging this year and made me say thanks I wasn't solo. We had wind/dust/wind/rain/wind and more wind.
Josh took the first lap and the running of the bulls - which was as crazy as ever
I went out on the 3rd lap and was blown off the trail a few times. It was WINDY. At one point I was blown into a huge barrel cacti and my foot, still in the pedal, got stapled to it! I yanked myself off it and pulled out a few spines back in the pit.
Our pit set up rocked. We had a huge tent with a 125,000 BTU/hour space heater. Luxury!
Overhead lights, a microwave which I used in anger and much banter. I don't know if having a lady in their midst mellowed out the JMM banter - probably a just a bit?
The weather got ugly for a while. My 1st lap was about 7 mins slower than I expected - ouch. The wind blew me all over the place and I was glad I had little wheels with me. I was the slowest team member. We were in second place after 5 laps but it was close - we had a race on our hands. The team in first place sent their fastest guy, Ben Sontag, out for 2 laps right away and we were chasing. We talked a little strategy. I offered to sit out a rotation. I didn't really want to sit out a rotation but the fact it was dark, pissing with rain and blowing a gale made it kinda attractive at the time!! That and I wanted to be a team player.
We agreed I would sit out a rotation to let the team catch up. Then Josh came in off his lap soaking wet and amped from killing it. We told him the strategy that I was going to sit out one rotation. He said - "I've never heard of that before" and called bullshit on the whole idea - so I was back in :-) :-)
Every one of us rode brilliantly with no mechanicals, mishaps or bad laps among us - we pulled into first place sometime in the morning and finished on the top of the podium. I got to take one of those cool OP bike trophy's home again - Thanks JMM's :-)
My duo partner from last year Scott Morris repeated his win with a new team mate Eszter Horanyi. At first I was jealous of their luxury pit set up until my team mates unpacked the microwave. Good stuff.
Another awesome 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo in the books. I do like that race and will be back again next year. Team, duo, solo, gears, SS?? I just don't know yet...
Sunday on Gooseberry Mesa was amazing. We slacked around in the morning so ended up riding later in the day. Winter afternoon low angle light and shadows had all the slickrock colors popping and the Zion cliffs glowing.
Zion seemed to loom larger than life above. Somewhat surreal.
We rode out to the point on the North Rim trail with a nuclear tailwind.
At the point the wind died and it was strangely/beautifully calm.
Then the wind flipped direction and we had a tailwind all the way back to the car. Whoohoo!!!
DH and I often bring surprise snacks on the trail for each other. I made this mashed yam, rice and secret spicy sauce mixture that was super yummy.