Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede

I feel bad about posting so infrequently. Now that we are six weeks into the school year, you'd think that I'd have my groove back, but I just don't. Between doing Paleo and having a broken oven for two months, my excitement for cooking is somewhat stunted. I am hopeful that the back ordered part for my oven will arrive this week. I would not have guessed how often I use the oven. Oh well. The absence of something helps you realize its value.

This past weekend Ellie and I were in Winter Park for the last time this season. We shared a hotel room with another rider and his family. I like to give Ellie a chance to acclimate to the altitude before high mountain races. It reduces her headaches.
Ellie was less nervous than at the previous race, but still concerned. She wanted to get a good start and ride without any technical issues. She was off of the line like a rocket. It was exciting to watch. She zoomed up the hill. This course was very much like a cyclocross course, so it was almost like it was built for her skills and her power.

By the time she passed me on her first lap she had a wide gap between her and the second rider in the category. It was about 1 minute and 10 seconds, which is forever in a race. She was looking strong and in her element.

Somewhere between that lap and the next one, she lost a lot of ground. She took a drop hard and landed on her seat wrong. The result was that her saddle was now pointing upward. She tried to hammer it down with her fist, but it would not go. She knew that she could not do the remaining miles standing the whole way so she was forced to stop and ask for a tool. She pulled in to a sharp full stop next to a course marshal. He took his time to cheer for all of the riders that were passing by. Then he pulled out his tools and slowly went through each one until he came to his multi-tool Then one of the spectators wondered if Ellie would get a time mark for getting help. They discussed this and it was decided that as long as he does not touch her or the bike, there would be no time demerit. All the while, Ellie is waiting anxiously, know that clock is ticking and that her competition is passing her by. Once she got the tool she fixed the seat and was on her way. The process took at least two full minutes, putting her in fourth place at that point. (The lesson learned here is to carry your own tool.) She was able to close some of the gap and catch the third rider. Although she made up much of her lost time, she came in third place. She was not pleased with that result, but will use that experience to fuel her next race.

The girls race before the boys. That left Ellie open to cheer on the rest of the team .

It was exhilarating to see to see them fly by at the start of their races. The bright yellow of the team kit makes them easy to find.
Ellie greeted each team member at the end of his race with a bottle of Gatorade. It made me smile to see how much they care for and support each other.

Several of the kids on our mountain bike team come from Black Sheep, Ellie's Road and Cyclocross team. One of the boys who is actually on the Monarch HS MTB team was hanging around at the edge of our camp. He seemed a bit lost. When the Black Sheep kids noticed this they invited him over and offered him some lunch. Elijah looked reluctant, but thankful for the offer. We came to learn that he feels more comfortable with our team than his own. Over the course of conversation we learned that his home had burned down to the ground that morning. It seems that something exploded in the basement. The family got out with what they had on. Everything else, including the cats, was lost in the fire. I was amazed at the amount of composure Elijah displayed. Again, I was so thankful to have such a wonderful team, one that could welcome a rider from another team and offer him unqualified support. That is really what is important - supporting and celebrating each other.

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