Monday, March 24, 2014

When The Sun Shines......

It's amazing that when we put intentions "out there" and believe in them whole hearted, we make things happen.  I am transitioning, more doors are opening, and I continue to say "yes" to all that makes me feel good.

I remember being asked how long I would continue to race?  My reply was, "until I stop having fun".  Last year I had moments racing when I questioned if I was "having fun".  They were moments that passed and I moved on.  At the end of the 2013 race season, I knew I needed to take a break of some kind.  I made no definite plans for the 2014 season, committed to no races, I broadened my fitness beyond bike specific, I played in the snow and loved it, no trainer rides, no racing goals......  As I cleared my mind and schedule I began to appreciate all my accolades, my talent, and my experiences more than ever.  I sat back and started sharing "IT" all with confidence.  I feel like as my training got smaller, my world got bigger.  I have so much excitement toward; fitness, riding my bike, celebrating accomplishments, cheering on others, family, friends and life.  I have many personal goals and I am driven to make them happen.  I dream BIG!  

As all this awesomeness surrounds me, the opportunities are numerous and are falling into place.  Aside from being a group fitness instructor, I have become a Personal Trainer.  I am pretty pumped to also introduce/provide Pilates (small group) and Cycling (advanced) Programs at the gym.

Who knows..... I may choose to do a few races this year.  Show up and giver'!  I am registered for an adventure race and I am really looking forward to it.  I can't wait to ride lots, play in the mud, and engage in friendly competition hot laps.... ;)  My blog will be updated as my adventures play out.  My ideas are endless.  Things feel good, things feel right!

"Be present in all you do and with who you are around because we are the controllers of our own fate.  Be in the moment.  Life is too short, be passionate about everything you love!"  ~ xo

Cheers,
Sue


When the sun shines, we all glow! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter White(s).............



I took advantage of the fairly mild temps and beautiful morning today, and I took down the last of the outdoor Christmas decorations.  It's kind of depressing in a way, because that really solidifies the fact that the holidays are behind us and we have to wait 11 more months to do it again.  This past holiday was probably one of my favourites!  So many more memories, family, laughter, and fun!  In fact even with the insanely cold temperatures we have experienced, I would have to say I am loving the real northern type of winter we are having.  Before I get to far ahead of myself in this post, I am going to rewind to where my last post left off.... at least as far as the time frame is concerned!

I decided to race the Michigan State Cyclo-Cross Championships at Addison Oaks, promoted by Tailwind Racing.  It was cold and windy!  The course was wide open, pretty flat, and more of a power course than technical course.  I didn't have much of a race mentality and I as excited as I was to be doing another cyclo-cross event, I really wasn't pumped up and ready to "rock".  That's ok though because cyclo-cross was just a bonus to an already awesome MTB season.  Erin was brave enough to battle the cold and came-a-cheerin', bell in hand and a "peppermint patty" beverage!  Although the spectators seemed to be few, it didn't matter, I had one of the best cheering for me!  At "go" Kelly Paterson was first off the line and I tucked in right behind her.  We came around at the end of lap 1, and on the very corner that we were warned about at the start of the race, I went down hard, sliding across the gravel road/trail.  Not good, that leads to a straight a way, and a great opportunity for everyone to hammer and that's kinda what happened.  I got up, felt like I tore my pants from the hip down, felt like my finger had been ripped off, but to my surprise I was in one piece and the cold had me comfortably numb that could carry on.  So at that point I just rode, not very focused, but just had some fun (I think?).  In the end I took 3rd.  It's all good.  Afterwards, Erin helped bandage me up with my first aid kit in the van (toilet paper and Scotch tape... ;) ...)!  She also supplied me with a warm "drink" and then we hung out and cheered the elite men on.

(Last race of 2013!)
(I was off the bike for a couple of weeks and then hopped back in the saddle...... this was before the huge snow fall!)

LET THE SNOW BEGIN.........  MY WINTER ADVENTURES.......  :)

When the snow started falling and didn't stop, I actually got excited!  I spent so much time outdoors, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, making forts and snowmen, having snowball fights and taking lots of pictures.....  

In the pines at the back of our property (a.k.a "Deep Dark Jungle").  The snow was heavy on the trees and the sun was peaking through just enough to make it look like the snow was glowing.  It was beautiful!

The secret entrance!  Snowshoe fun!

This ride was a total fail! lol..... Clearly not a fat bike!  The roads were too bad so I thought I would try and power my way through the dense deep snow.  This did not last long.  I went back to the house and grabbed my skis!

In the summer, we scooped up a couple pairs of cross country skis, poles and boots for like $10-$15 at a garage sale!  How crazy awesome is that?  It's been a blast!

Trail through the front pines and my snow angels!!  We have the best snow removal system!  My oldest son keeps our driveway cleared...... So, bonus, our driveway is clear, but it leads to a road that many times is not! 

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY.........

For some reason, I was really excited for Christmas last year.  I began my decorating early/mid November!  That was so unheard of for me!  In the past I usually didn't start until December!  Last year, we hosted Christmas for my family (12 adults and 16 grandchildren).

Don't think I can ever top this "tree topper"!

Christmas cheer...... just getting ready for the December 24th festivities!  I got this picture just before my oldest son (Nelson) made a crazy face!

With all the snow that had fallen before Christmas we weren't quite sure if we were going to pull off the "surprise" we had planned because the tractor and wagon would never of made it through the deep snow out back in the open field.  However, a few days before Christmas the snow melted..... but the ground got real soft..... posing another issue.... getting stuck in mud!  Luckily mother nature cooperated and the ground was hard and frozen by December 24th morning!  Our plan was sure to work........  


(My sisters, my parents and me, the grandchildren, the gator and tractor "decked" for the holidays!)

The "surprise"...... Jay, myself and the kids had been working in the back pines since November.  We cleaned things up and made trails.  I told all my sisters and their families, that adults and children must come with warm clothes on Christmas Eve.  They were to ask no questions as to why!  Everyone followed instructions!  On the afternoon of the 24th, everyone hopped on board and we headed out for a hay ride.  Nelson took care of getting us all out back to the pines! Paiten and I did some decorating and wrapped some trees like candy canes and hung bulbs from branches!  We lead the group to the center of the pines where a bonfire awaited.  Christmas tunes playing, hot chocolate and coffee in thermos', Bailey's, cooler full of drinks, and marshmallows to roast!  We had so much fun singing, dancing, drinking, cheering, and staying toasty warm by the fire!  Adults and children having an old fashion Christmas......  It was awesome....  It was pretty magical!!

I made stockings for the kids this year!  I grabbed old flannel plaid shirts (being Canadian we have many.... lol...), and some old flannel plaid pj bottoms and stitched them! The kids had long skinny "new" socks for Santa to put treats in!  I also got a new "two wheeled" tree ornament!

Max and me, out for a ski!

Dog, snowman, cat..... it was all possible..... 

LET THE COLD, THE WIND AND SNOW DRIFTS BEGIN..........

As the temps changed and the winds got stronger, the landscape took on a whole new look!  This was in our backyard!

The piles grew bigger.......

I would head to the back of the property everyday, and everyday I was in awe!  

Looked like "land waves"!

Inspired.....


In the moment.....

Soon perhaps, I will be back in the saddle!?  For now however, it's an extended off season.....

Cheers,
Sue


:)

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Little Bit Of Cross........

"Cyclo-cross (sometimes cyclocrossCXCCXcyclo-X or 'cross) is a form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter (the international or "World Cup" season is October–February), and consist of many laps of a short (2.5–3.5  km or 1.5–2  mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.[1][2] Races for senior categories are generally between 30 minutes and an hour long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions."  

Coming from a mountain bike background, cyclocross does not hurt any less, it just hurts in a different way!  On the weekend I headed over to Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills, MI.  Tailwind Racing had back to back cyclocross races on the Saturday and Sunday.  I had cyclocross tires put on my mtb.  I did one CX race a couple years ago.  It was such a good feeling to have no pressure and very little nerves going to a race.  Ahhhh........

Day 1 - Saturday, Nov. 23. -  It was about -1 C at race time.  The course was awesome, a bit muddy, a bit slick, a bit tight, a bit twisty and a whole lot of fun!  What really stands out in my mind from Day 1 was just how bad I was at dismounting!  Geesh.... I think I came to a complete stop a couple of times.  With Kelly Paterson and Ann Schwartz on the line I knew it was gonna be tough.  Kelly took off from the line and lead the race start to finish.  I came in second about 6 sec. behind her.  I was smiling from ear to ear.  

Day 1 - Pro women at the line!

Day 1 - I'm really not pigeon toed but this picture says otherwise!  I knew it felt awkward and after seeing this picture it wasn't pretty either! 

Day 1 - Podium

Day 2 - Sunday, November 24 - It was about -5 C at race time.  There was a small change to the course.  Again it was awesome, hard pack, dry, fast and of course a whole lot of fun!  On Day 2 the women's field grew by 3 making it 8 at the line.  Kelly was first off the line and I was right behind her.  Her and I battled the whole race.  There was improvement on my dismounting and getting over the barriers. In the end on Day 2 it was me that crossed the line first by not even a second!  Once again a great time!!

Bottle/block of ice!

Getting pinned up!

Day 2 - Podium

I guess I wasn't quite ready to be done my season after Iceman.....  and I just might extend it a little longer for the final Tailwind Racing CX race, December 8!

Cheers,
Sue

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Iceman Cometh 2013.......



The Iceman Cometh may be the biggest race in Michigan, however my post will be kinda brief.  More pictures than story because my weekend can be summed up pretty quickly......

Package pick up and a few other "goodies"!

This was a stacked field, with many Canadian and American National Team members in the mix!!

Iceman Recap  

Warm up: 40 min (shorter then I hoped for but I made the best of it)
Race start time:  2:33 pm
The elite women's field was so strong!  I had a great start and my legs felt really good.  I was sitting in about 6th position, tucked in nicely and holding comfortably when we got to the first sand pit.  I didn't have the right line and my front tire got pulled and off I went into the dead brush.  I couldn't keep my balance and landed on my a$$.  By the time I got up, realized I dropped my chain, fixed it, ran up the rest of the sand hill, I was dead last with no one in sight.  I stayed pretty calm and knew I had a battle ahead of me.  So I chased and chased.  I caught the back group and quickly made passes.  I stayed on the gas and brought the lead group back in sight.  There was one other racer that grabbed my wheel (Bridgett Widrig), she was able to give a few short pulls but we were unable to close the gap on the main group.  So it was chase until the end.  Soon enough the end was there, with an insane, cheering, rowdy crowd..... I came through in 7th!  I was happy with my race and there was not much more I could do... well other than not have crashed!

Teammates of past and present and........

How could we pass up the opportunity of snapping a "selfie" with a Canadian Olympian and World MTB Champion - Catharine Pendrel!! 

So what's next.... I thought I knew, but now I don't..... stay tuned..... 

Cheers,
Sue

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Iceman Cometh Challenge Races Over the Years..... Picture Review.....

One of the highlights of my racing days!!

Iceman 2009

Iceman 2009 - After party!

Iceman 2010 - My first Iceman racing for the Bell's Brewery MTB Team

Bell's Brewery MTB Team Iceman Afterparty Promo - Video
(If you have never seen the video..... go ahead.... have a look!)

Iceman 2010

Iceman 2010

Iceman 2010

Iceman 2010 - My awesome teammates!

Iceman 2010 - Post party - continued.....

Iceman 2011

Iceman 2011

Iceman 2012 

Iceman 2012 - Enough said.......

ICEMAN 2013, COMING SOON.............

Cheers,
Sue



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Peak 2 Peak 2013.........

After last year's P2P dreadful weather, I hesitated to even look at the weather forecast for this year's event/race.  That cold to the bone feeling has seriously scarred me.  I put my hand over my eyes, allowed for a small crack between my middle and ring fingers, squinted my eyes slightly (as if doing so would make things better) and checked the weather network in the middle of the week.  Well it was looking to be about 10 degrees warmer than last year but a 60% chance of rain come race time.  I packed my bike bag in preparation for any type of weather.  This year Erin and I had an awesome addition to our riding gear.... we have the Pactimo clear, feather light, breathable, rain jackets.  This would help us, should we need to deal with the downpours of past!

We (Jay, Erin and myself) arrived at Crystal Mountain around 3:30ish, brought our stuff up to our room (we stayed on site), put our layers on and went out for a pre-ride.  It was cool and overcast out.  It did start to rain while we were out but of course we were prepared.... thanks to our awesome rain jackets!!  We managed to get lost and slightly off course for the 3rd year in a row. (Just a small section with no signage) Something that my teamie has taught me, is to see the landscape that surrounds the trail when you are out "just" riding!  The fall colours were out in full force!  It was beautiful, in fact we commented on how things almost looked fake.  

The course had a slightly different route this year.  A section of gravel road and sandy double track was added and a section of single-track was omitted.  The final climb up the back side of Crystal Mountain was no longer going straight up, it went into the trees that paralleled the green monster.  The climb was wide and had steep punchy sections followed by a short flat before hitting another steeper section.  I liked this new way of climbing the mountain.  To me, it was an improved climb and although it tested the legs, it was broken up.  Being in the trees is better than being in the open!!

(The colour, the beauty!)

(LMAO.... I just put anti-fog on my glasses, and when we stopped to take pictures my glasses fogged up, except where my eyeballs were!!  Unbeknownst to me that I looked that creepy, I kept taking pictures, until Erin burst out laughing. That is when I realized what I really looked like and took a couple more pictures sans-glasses!!)

(Bikes always get first class!  Our room was cozy, and our view spectacular..... overlooking the front side of Crystal Mountain.  The race course was in "our backyard")

It rained pretty heavy Friday night.  Which was very reminiscent of a year ago!  The forecast was now only 30% chance of rain come race time.  Well Saturday morning came, the temps were fair and it was not raining.  The ground looked soggy but the skies looked bright.  

(Good morning racers!!  This was the first wave(s) start, again the view from our room.  Let's just say, hearing the loud speaker, and seeing racers make their way to the start area had my tummy flipping and I was "down to race weight" pretty quick!)  ;)

After a good warm-up, we got to the staging area with about 2 minutes to spare.  A very quick chat with the other girls and off we went with the elite men! 

(Staging area!)

The race headed out in front of the ski hill and then narrowed onto a paved path as it turned to the right.  Well with all the riders, of course there was a slight bottle neck.  I was in a pretty big gear and coming to a stop made it a bit tough to get going again.  Mackenzie Woodring had gotten through and grabbed on to the tail end of the elite men.  She was gone and gone fast.  My high end seems to take a bit longer to kick in! So now with the group split, I was pulling the rest of the elite women's field.  I held a conservative pace out in the open.  Once we hit the single-track, I picked up my pace and pushed a bit through the winding trails.  I soon had a distance on the remainder of the women's field.  With all the rain that had fallen on Friday night, the trail was slick and the thin layer of mud zapped some energy out of the legs but overall the trail conditions were pretty good!!  In the sandier areas, it was bone dry.  We had three 12.5 mile laps to do.  I felt great and rode smooth and strong without any issues..... well that was until I came around on my last lap!  It was the final descent, I went around the orange snow fence chicane, the ground was really loose.... as I made the turn my front wheel dug into the "sweet spot" and I bit it, yep in front of the cheering finish line crowd!  Oh, it was pretty "saweet"!  I took a mouth full of dirt, had to fix my dropped chain and then pedaled my way underneath the "finish" banner shaking my head!  

(The final podium - Mackenzie Woodring 1st, Me 2nd, Lauri Brockmiller 3rd, Erin Vicary 4th)

A HUGE thanks to Endoman Promotions - Tad Peacock and his amazing crew/family/volunteers!!  What an event, top notch, equal awesome payout, and great atmosphere!!  Also thanks to mother nature for giving us perfect weather conditions to race in!!  2 weeks to Iceman.......

Cheers,
Sue