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Saturday, July 26, 2014

tour de Rockland

As a long training ride, I was looking at doing 12 hours of Millstone up in Vermont as part of a team or some similar event to get me out for 6+ hours on the MTB. However, to save moneys and travel times I figured I'd just initiate my own endurance ride at our local xc spot.  

I pulled together a 12 mile loop at Rockland Preserve in Madison CT that included nearly 1,000' of climbing and a good mix of flowy single track, technical rock gardens, and fast double track. I anticipated each loop would take up to 90 minutes.  

I ended up riding 48+ miles (4 laps) in 6 hours and 45 minutes.  I rode the first two laps with my local buddies, Todd and Dave.  I felt very fast on my third lap (solo), however fatigue set in by my 4th and as I entered the last few miles of technical trail I was getting pretty beat.  Amazingly I still managed to clean all the obstacles.  

Overall, I felt good throughout this exercise.  I think my nutrition was lacking towards the end and my general fatigue and low blood sugar affected my riding a bit.  This is the longest MTB ride I've done in 4+ years.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

Headed to Oak Hills, NY for 4+ days of camping and bluegrass music.  This is probably my favorite event of the year and if you haven't been- you're missing out.

In addition to awesome music, I managed to get 3 great road rides throughout the Catskill Region including most of STAGE 3 from Tour of the Catskills which includes the famous Devil's Kitchen Climb.  

The weather was beautiful and so was our time there.  Already excited for next year!  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Root 66 #11 Barn Burner and NE Regional XC Championship

My racing focus is starting to shift towards preparation for the longer races that loom towards the end of summer- Hampshire 100k &Shenandoah Mountain 100- and this week marks a significant increase in volume compared to most weeks I race xc.  It also lacks the intensity I usually like to have in my legs.

I was tired going into this race and it hurt.  We drove up to Walpole MA early in the morning for our 930am start.  We rode the first mile of single track and dialed in the one technical section.  I then warmed up solo and tried to rally.  I did some sprints and could tell from my performance and HR that I was tired.  Not only was I tired but I was nauseous.  It was also very humid and hot.

As we lined up I kept wishing the whistle would blow so we could just start racing and I could throw up in the woods where nobody would see me.  Luckily that never happened.  The whistle blew and I went out hard into 2nd position in a field of 20+ riders.  Hugo was leading and I sat on his wheel knowing he was a strong and good rider to follow.  50 yards before the hole shot we got passed by John "Fjord" from Westchester NY (its the best chester).  I didn't want him to run away so I passed Hugo and hopped on John's wheel.  The three of us went screaming through the rock garden and quickly split the field.  Damn we were flying.

After 20 minutes of working at this intensity I forgot how tired and sick I felt before the start of the race.  "I might be able to keep this pace after all." We dropped Hugo and kept riding.  John never dropped pace and we were flying.  At 45'ish minutes in I started to feel the pain again and knew I needed to drop my pace if I was going to finish.

I pretty much limped through my last lap and barely pulled 2nd place.  I was hurting.  Congrats to John and Hugo they were racing unbelievably well and it was a pleasure riding with them.

Katie finished 2nd place to a National Champ!

Cat 2 30-39

This was a great course and although it was considered "easy" i thought it was really fun and physically challenging.  There is no place to hide and lots of pedaling to be done.  No major climbs but the short punches will get you.  It was nearly all single track and thats always a plus.

Dirtwire was there and made this radical race recap.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Root 66 #10 Bike for Bovine Stonewall Classic

Katie Urso takes 3rd place for Wmn Cat 2 19-34

After a week "off" cycling around Italy at low intensity levels I wasn't sure how things were going to pan out.  In addition, the fourth of July weekend offered a bit more beer drinking than I typically have on a racing weekend.

We spent the night in VT and arrived at the race venue in mid morning.  The farm area is beautiful and the weather was perfect.  Some rain from Thursday made the course slick but no mud pits.  I pre-rode the course as part of my warm-up with Pete and Sean.  I expected a fun but easy ride and was surprised with some of the mini-techy spots that were thrown in.  Overall the course had a nice flow and the trails were going to be fun at race pace.

I finished my warm-up solo and felt pretty good.  Thats always a good sign.  The start was a bit delayed so I hid in the shade away from anxious racers.  My start was less than ideal, second row and slightly on a double fall line. The whistle went and everyone blasted off.  I fell into 4th or 5th position on the fast dirt road.  Sean attacked and I could tell he was about to split the field apart so I hopped on his wheel and fell into 3rd position.

We rode the first 15 minutes together as a lead pack of 4.  Sean bobbled a steep uphill and I got past him with Pete on my tail.  We hit the largest climb  (which isn't much) and I decided to attack the leader and make a pass on the single track.  This was mostly an experimental tactic and I wanted to see if I could attack on the biggest climb and create a large enough gap to keep the rest of the lead group at bay.  It worked although Pete and Hugo were dangerously close.

At the end of lap 1 I attacked again to increase my gap on Pete.  It appeared to work and all that road biking must be paying off.

I rode lap 2 and 3 very fast but conservatively to hold my lead and win the race.  It was awesome.  Chocolate milk and podiums filled the rest of our afternoon.  Glorious day in NH.  Thanks Stonewall Farm!