Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CPT Nationals the Non-Race

So why do I call it the non-race, because for me that’s what it was. If you have read my previous blog post you would know that I broke my tail bone, just six days prior to Nationals. So for six days I laid on the couch taking pain pills and crying every time I thought about missing nationals. If you know me, you know the entire time I was crying I was trying to find a way to go to nationals, and I finally found a way. No there was still no way I could compete because I could barely walk, but I did find a way to be at the race.

I emailed Jason, the race director, and asked if he would have a volunteer spot open where I would not have to walk much, and he quickly replied that he had a spot for me at race headquarters, which was the start and finish line along with CP 4. Next I had to find a way to get there, I couldn’t ride with Chuck because his family was going and there was no room, so we planned on him stopping at my house and me following him, and if I couldn’t drive, we would pull over and he or his wife Lori would drive my van. It was a good plan and it worked out well.

We made it to Lake Barkley in Kentucky and although I had tears in my eyes a few times because I wanted to compete so badly, I keep thinking at least I’m in the middle of all the excitement. Lori was my stand-in for the race and this would be her first adventure race and it was 30 hours to boot. So I would be the cheerleader and team photographer at this race.

We all signed in Chuck and Lori for the race and me as a volunteer. We checked into the hotel which was fantastic, my room looked out onto the Lake, it was beautiful.

We all headed to the pre-race meal it was the best meal I have ever had at a race.

Next we went to the racer meeting where the racers got their maps and instructions, then were sent off to plot points before the race start.

I stayed for the volunteer meeting where I got my instructions and found out that I would be working with Jollett and Beth at race HQ. We would be recording times as the teams came through CP4, and then when they finished. We were also in charge of making the coffee, hot chocolate and chili for the racers when they finished the race. Lucky for us, Beth’s husband Martin helped out also, so we had plenty of backups if anyone needed to leave during the race.

At 6:00 on race morning I was at HQ helping with setup and strategically placing my lawn chair to see all the action. I was sitting out on the beach with the bikes to the right of me and the canoes to the left of me.

The race would start with a run across the beach to grab the paddling gear and run out to the canoes where they would do a quick paddle and land back on the beach to start a trekking section. The racers took off and made the first paddle loop really quickly then headed out on foot.

After an hour teams started coming back in, so I had to put down my cold diet coke and get to work.

I would yell the time and team number, while Beth would document it.

Jollett was busy using the cow bell to try and lead the racers to the tent, so she could punch their passport.

A few hours later we sent the last racers out on the second paddle, we tried unsuccessfully to call the lodge to turn in times so we had to change the plan and start texting the times in. Since that was one thing I could do without much movement, it became my job. Once we had all the times reported, we had many hours of nothing. Jollett took a drive to the airport to pick up one of the racers girlfriends, and Beth and Martin took their son into Murray to do some skateboarding. I had nothing pressing to do, so I just hung out at HQ and watched the guys move truckloads of bikes to the bike drop. I also spoke with random people who wondered what was going on. I spent a lot of time explaining adventure racing. Most people thought it was crazy, but they wanted to know everything about it. I might have even converted a few non-athletes into adventure racers.

At almost midnight I went back to the hotel for a few hours sleep before the racers started finishing. When I came back to HQ at 6 am Saturday morning, two teams had already finished, Wedali, a four person team and I soloist, who I happened to know, Bill Stevens.

So I went back to sitting and waiting, my tail bone was killing me so I also spent some time laying on the picnic table.

It was really foggy out and we could hardly see the water, but we kept ringing the cow bell hoping the racers in the canoes could hear us.

Soon a few more teams came in and then I saw them, it was Chuck and Lori and they were smiling, I was so happy for them, I thought I might cry. They ran up through the finish line and I knew they had fun, they weren’t yelling divorce threats or anything, they were just two happy racers, finished with a long hard race.

While Chuck and Lori ate baked potatoes and chili, I continued logging in times and reporting them via text messages. Chuck and Lori headed to the hotel for a much deserved shower and nap, while I stayed and waited for the last racers to appear. The fog had finally cleared early in the afternoon and I took a few pictures of the beautiful scenery.

So race day ended and I got some really great schwag for volunteering, actually more than the competitors got. I was given a pair of HI-TEC running shoes, a cool fleece jacket, a pair of Swiftwick socks and a really great Checkpoint Tracker ball cap. I made out like a bandit. Maybe I should think about being a volunteer instead of a racer in the future. Well… maybe not, I could never give up adventure racing, no stupid broken tailbone will stop me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

I decided that there was no way I could possibly write a blog post that could give the Warrior Dash press that it deserves. So this will be a video blog dedicated to the race that beat me. Oh, so you want to know how it beat me. Let me try and give you the story before my keyboard explodes due to the tears flooding it. Yep, you read that right, the tears. When I say the race beat me, well it really did.

I entered the race to run with my daughter China, who is a cheerleader not a runner, but she can really run, so this would be a piece of cake for her.

The race started and all went well, we were having a great time, the obstacles were so much fun, even though they were too high for my liking. China went first and coached me over all the tall obstacles since I’m afraid of heights. Telling me not to look down and telling me I could do it. This is the funny part, I got over all of them only shaking a few times too. We ran to the finish line, making it through the fire pit without catching ourselves on fire and slid right into the mud pit.

Lori and Chuck were with us with Michelle not far behind.

We all swam through the mud pit and slide down the muddy hill to the finish. Of course Beer Man and Beer Girl had already finished because they had an earlier start time than we had, they were already in the Beer tent living up to their names.

The WWF wrestlers finished just in front of us also, they looked awful tough, and there was no way I was going to pass them.

I know what you’re thinking what could have gone wrong, well, during that last ten yards when I was sliding down the mud hill, guess what, there was rock sticking out of the mud, it wasn’t big and I didn’t even see it until it was over. Yep, I hit my butt right on that rock, while I was sliding along pretty fast, it hurt so bad I was not sure I was going to keep my breakfast down. I got up and put a smile on my face and got my medal and a few pictures. You would think with all the junk in my trunk there would have been no way this could have happened, I still can’t believe it, this will go down in “Robin Stupid Things” history. In just a few minutes it started hurting so bad I could hardly walk, it almost killed me to jump in the lake to get the mud off. With China’s help I got some dry clothes on, but it was all downhill from there.

After I was home I took a shower to get the rest of the mud off, then went to urgent care, where I asked the doctor, to please tell me I was being a big baby and just to buck it up. Stupid doctor, he just said “sorry, but you have a really bad break in your coccyx, which is the bottom of the spine otherwise known as the tailbone, and you need surgery.

So I had to wait until Monday to see an orthopedist, where he told me the same thing and told me how lucky I was and that there was NO WAY that I could race at Nationals on the next Friday. So my crying from the pain turned into uncontrollable sobbing because I would have to miss Nationals. I tried every way possible to talk him into letting me race, but it was a BIG FAT NO . So right now, I’m in the middle of a pity party, tears and all, still trying to figure out a way to go to Nationals. I know one day I will laugh about this, but for now I’m trying to estimate the number of tears I have lost, since that’s about the only thing going into my workout log for a while.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Excellent Adventure

The weather was so nice, the mountain girl, that's me, couldn't stay away from the woods. So Russ and I rode out to Southern Illinois Unversity in Edwardsville, IL and hit the single track for a little fun. My Trek Top Fuel was almost floating over the trails. Oh and I decided to wear my helmet cam so I could share the adventure.

WARNING! You might get jealous while watching this.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Burning at the Bluff or Homecoming

All year long I wait for the infamous Burning at the Bluff Mountain Bike Race and this year was no different, so I pulled a team together and planned for a great race. My teammates, Chuck and Mike and I even went as far as to make a trip out to Council Bluffs one night after work and ride the course. We had so much fun that we couldn’t wait for race day.

The plan was to enter the race after we did a course pre-ride. So when I got home that night my daughter, China, asked me if the whole family was going and camping for the race, she was excited, Burning is one of the few races that my kids like to attend. I said “sure we will camp” and asked if she wanted to bring a friend, she was all for that. Then she asked what the date of the race was, so she could call her friend, and that was when the nightmare started.

China’s high school Homecoming dance was the same day as Burning. Oh, so my brain went into overdrive, wondering, if I rode the first 2 laps maybe I could make it home in time to help China get ready for the dance and take pictures of the girls. After some thought I realized that there was just no way I was going to be able to make the race and Homecoming both. I had to make a choice, then I had to tell my teammates.

Chuck and Mike took it really well, they didn’t cry or anything when I told them and they even said there was no way they would race it without me, so it was over for all of us. I would have gladly helped them find a replacement, but they said “no, it’s one for all and all for one”. I do love those guys.

So the big weekend came, I was a little sad about missing Burning, but China will only be in high school for another year after this one and I really don’t want to miss any of her last few years at home.

I started the weekend by taking pictures of China and her friends in action at the homecoming football game.

Both China and her friend Madison said that since I wasn’t racing they wanted to be in the blog, because of course they knew once they made the blog, they would be famous.

China and Madison are both flyers they are left and center.

They also made the jumbotron at the game, so they are like super celebrities.

So the game ended with the Tigers beating Belleville East, a team that is actually much better than they are. The weekend really started with a bang, I guess when you have players this big anything can happen.

Saturday came and the weather was beautiful, even as I was getting in a good long road bike with the boys that morning, I was thinking about my friends who were racing at Burning, I kept thinking what a perfect day to be in the woods on a Superfly, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me this year. So I finished my ride then ran around all afternoon getting ready for my big night of taking just the right photo, or maybe just a million photos and hoping that a few of them would be good.

Of course China and Madison looked great, along with all their other friends.

I even took a picture of China and her boyfriend Alex, even though I would be happier if she didn’t have a boyfriend until she was 35.

I finally had to go home and let the kids go to the dance and have a good time, but at least I had about 150 pictures to spend my night looking at. And… as for missing Burning at the Bluff, it was totally worth it.