Winning a Kayak in a Bike Race, “Forced” Altitude Camp and A Case of Food Poisoning
Just a little taste of what’s been going on in my world these days.
After the La Bresse World Cup, I had a few days at home before heading up to Vail for the Teva Mountain Games. Teva Games is a great event- there are lots of different sporting events (kayaking, running, cycling, rock climbing, etc) and there is always a lot of prize money up for grabs. However, part of me always dreads racing Teva Games due to the high altitude (the race starts at 8500 ft and climbs to well over 9000ft) and the soul-crushing climbing (think steep, loose fire-roads). This year however, Vail had a crappier-than-usual winter which meant the trails were dry a lot earlier than normal, and the organizers were able to put together a fantastic course. The climb was still long, but it wasn’t too steep, and when you got to the top you were rewarded with a screaming-fast new trail complete with bermed corners and a few small table-top jumps. The descent got a little choppy after hundreds of people were out riding it, but man was it FUN!
There was a pretty solid group of Pro women as is usually the case at Colorado events. I knew the combination of climbing and altitude was going to be painful, so I took it a little easy at the start- at that altitude you pay for those hard efforts. Sure enough, a few minutes into the race I had moved from 6th or 7th into the lead. I settled into a steady pace, but Kelli Emmett was only about 10 seconds behind me. At the top of the climb she was still there and I was getting a little worried, but I knew there were still 2 more laps and plenty of racing to go. Nevertheless, I hit the downhill hard- Kelli is a talented descender and I wanted to stay ahead of her if possible. By the start of the second lap I had opened up a pretty decent gap which I maintained until the finish. It was a tough day with a lot of climbing, but I had a blast on the old-school-style course.
While we were waiting for the podium presentation, Dusty saw a couple guys with kayaks standing near the podium. “I bet you guys won Kayaks!” he joked. We were all surprised when I got to the podium and it turned out I really DID win a kayak! Thanks to Dagger Kayaks for throwing down a cool prize and…getting me into kayaking?
Usually I stay in Vail and race the road time trial the next day, but this year Ben and I figured a good solid training day on the mountain bike would be more productive, so I headed home after the race. A week later, Dusty and I were out for a road ride when we saw some smoke in the distance. By the time we got home, the plume of smoke was visible from our house in downtown Fort Collins.
Gusty winds that night meant the fire spread rapidly, creeping closer and closer to town. The next day, we could smell the smoke, and our street was visibly hazy. I had a hard training ride on my schedule, so I called my friend Tim who lives in Breckenridge. “Feel like being my tour guide?” I asked. “Sure,” he replied. So I headed up to the mountains for the day. When I got back to town, the plume of smoke had grown and was visible from much farther away. I didn’t sleep very well that night, and the next day the air was still very smoky. I was worried about training outside, so I made another call to Tim to see if I could stay at his house for a few days so I could train in fresh air. No problem. So I packed up and headed back to the mountains. I had never really ridden much in the Breckenridge area (when I get home from trips, I rarely feel like packing up and taking another trip- I’m that lazy), so it was really fun to get to ride some new trails. My forced training camp was turning out to be pretty enjoyable.
After a few days I headed down to Colorado Springs to race the 3rd round of the US Pro XCT. The course was in a different park this year, but it was still fast and fun. Later, we went out for Thai food (pretty normal for our team- we like Thai food). That night I slept fitfully, waking up a few times with a pounding headache. At 6:30am, I was hot (our air conditioner had turned off), nauseous and I still had a bad headache. I wanted to go sit outside and cool off, but as soon as I stood up I felt sick and ducked into the bathroom to throw up. Except I didn’t really have anything in my stomach to throw up so I just sat there and dry-heaved (finding it mildly entertaining that I was making all the right sounds, but nothing was coming out). I got back in bed. Katerina suggested I try drinking a Coke, but two sips of that and I knew it wasn’t happening. Pretty much all I could do was lie there with my eyes closed. The race wasn’t until 1:30pm, so I figured I still had plenty of time and thought a little more sleep might help. I slept another 2 hours but was still just as nauseous as before and couldn’t eat or drink anything. I decided not to race. I was really disappointed, but there wasn’t really much I could do. I stayed in bed, half-sleeping for another few hours before I felt like I could maybe eat something. I made some instant oatmeal with a ton of water in it and drank that. It seemed to revive me bit, and I finished the Coke I had been nursing all morning. Slowly, my headache was dissipating, and while my stomach wasn’t yet 100%, I felt like I could at least drive my car.
After checking the status of the High Park fire and seeing there was still an “unhealthy air” advisory still in effect in Fort Collins, I headed back up to Breckenridge for another couple of days. Eventually it was time to head home, pack all my crap for the next three weeks and fly to Canada for round 5 of the World Cup. And here I am, thankful to be sitting in our air-conditioned condo instead of continuing to sweat out of my eyeballs (due to the heat and humidity) outside.