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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inspirational Cyclist: Cara Hamann

Meet Cara Hamann!

Cara has been absolutely invaluable in growing the women’s cycling community in Iowa City. I owe my own start in cycling and racing to the efforts of both Cara & Sandy Kessler. Check back soon for an upcoming post about how these two teamed up to create the Women’s division of the Iowa City Cycling Club and started the Chamois Time Race Series.

In the chaos of running a local race series, and organizing and coordinating other Iowa City Women’s Cycling Club events, Cara managed to earn her PH. D. in Epidemiology (way to go!) and start up CJH Recycled Bicycle Part Jewelry. She also happens to be one of the most down to earth and friendly people you will meet. And did I mention she is one tough competitor on a bike! Learn more about her below!

How did you get your start in cycling?

Besides biking as a kid and commuting a mile back and forth to campus while I was an undergrad, I started out by doing triathlons when I moved to Texas to get my Master’s in 2003. I did that for about 4 years and then I think I did my first bike races in the form of a time trial series when I lived in Connecticut. I also did a little bit of mountain biking in both Texas and CT on my old college commuter crappy department store MTB (I had no clue back then how bad it was). Sometime while I lived in CT I did upgrade to a better MTB. I moved back to Iowa in 2008 and promptly got into all kinds of cycling, including road, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing. My boyfriend Brian was a big part of what got me to try those things out. I still did a few triathlons, but started focusing on biking and haven’t looked back.

Cute Couple!

How long have you been riding and/or racing?

So, depends on how you calculate it. I didn’t really get into it until 2008, so 5 years, but if you include the triathlon/time trialing, I guess you could say 9 or 10 years.

Sylvan Island Stampede 2013. Photo By Angy Snoop

What bikes do you have?

Raleigh 3-speed cruiser and an old Bridgestone mountain bike that I use as townies. I also have a Specialized Tarmac Pro road bike, Specialized Stumpjumper carbon 29er, Specialized tricross expert, Specialized tricross singlespeed, and a Surly Karate Monkey.

Do you have a favorite race?

Old Cap Crit—super tough, but super awesome feeling loved while racing around downtown Iowa City and having someone calling out my name on every corner.

How has racing shaped your life?

Cycling has made me tougher and more resilient both physically and mentally. It has provided me a way to connect and make wonderful friends. It has made me happier.

What is your favorite aspect of cycling?

The community it provides. Some of my best friends are those who I have met through cycling and cycle with regularly.

Any goals for the end of this season or upcoming season?

Get back in shape and get faster! Last year as I was finishing up my dissertation racing and riding fell to the back burner. With that behind me I am back in the saddle and ready to ride.

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of cycling?

I make recycled bicycle part jewelry, using parts that are saved from being thrown in the trash. I really like making jewelry. It allows me to be creative and it is fun to incorporate bike parts, makes it a challenge and a little bit green too.

I also have a bunch of other hobbies/interests: reading, gardening, a little bit of knitting, taking walks and playing with our puppy, running, swimming, listening to music, cooking, and pretty much any type of arts and crafts projects.

Editor's Note: View Cara's Jewelry website at http://cjhjewelry.com/ or stop by Geoff's Bike & Ski to see her jewelry in person!

Any tips for women interested in starting riding or racing?

I would just encourage women to dive in. Especially in the Iowa City area there is a lot going on in women’s cycling. Monday and Wednesday group rides and there are always women at the local races. Everyone is nice and always excited to see more women out there. A common concern we hear is that someone is afraid of being to slow or getting in the way during a race or ride. I would just say to not worry about those things. Overall, it is a welcoming community and we’d love to keep it growing!

Thank you Cara for all you have done and continue to do for women's cycling in the area! I really do owe you for providing me an outlet to get a start in cycling though the group rides. I can't thank you enough for how much it has changed my life!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sugar Bottom Scramble

I got to line up with Amanda Miller – holy cow that was awesome!!  She rides for TIBCO/To the Top women's professional road cycling team. I was pretty intimidated at the start, also lining up next to Kim Eppen and Brittany McConnell- these girls are fast!

Pro Women Line Up
Photo by Angy Snoop
Needless to say, the women’s field was stacked with super strong and talented ladies. The competition was at least as tough as a WORS race, which is pretty sweet for a local Iowa race.
The start of the race took us down a gravel road and up a decent gravel climb. I was able to enter the single track 6th – not great, but not bad either. The 5th place girl was not far ahead and I tried to chase her down. My legs were feeling terribly flat – I was immediately regretting last weekend’s SS USA race
Before long the leaders of the men’s comp class were catching up (they were only leaving a 1 minute gap between groups). About half way through the south side trails I could hear a group of the guys yelling at each other and was glad they were still behind me, for now.
I would have to say, a lot of the guys at this race were the worst about passing all season! Let me start by saying, if you are one of the first guys, contending for podium positions, I will gladly be more than accommodating at letting you pass. If you are mid pack, I’m not going to completely pull off the trail and/or stop to let you by, that is just ridiculous. If you want to pass, you are going to have to give a little effort to go around. I’ll move to the side of the trail, but not off it. And if you don’t take the effort to pass me on a double track section, I’m not going to give room as soon as we hit the singletrack. This may sound snarky, but I’m still racing for a podium position. And please don’t pass me, just to slow down in front of me. I’m girl and ahead of you, get over it!
Ok, sorry for the rant! I talked with several girls after the race and a lot of them had the same problem.  Not sure what a good solution would be, except to maybe have a larger gap between categories…
Back to the race! I entered the single track in 6th and ended up finishing in 6th place. It was so hot and humid that I was happy to just finish. ICORR put on a fabulous race and the trails here are fantastic. (Warning, I may be little biased as these are my home trails :)).  But really, they are great trails to ride!
There was a huge turnout of Iowa City Cycling Club & Mercy/Specialized Riders. It was a fantastic day of racing and spending time with friends. And huge thanks to Ben & Ingrid for hosting everyone for dinner afterwards!
Let’s just say, that after racing for the 6th time this month (20th race of the year!), I think I’ll take it a little easier this week. I started off by passing out at 9:30 Monday night and getting a solid 9 hours of sleep. That.felt.wonderful. I think I’ll volunteer for the last Chamois Time race this Wednesday. Now to finish up those series trophies! 
Happy Riding!!

Friday, August 23, 2013


If you enjoy soul crushing climbs (mile long hike a bike anyone?) and absolutely demoralizing downhill sections, Single Speed USA is the race for you! And you don’t really have to be a single speeder, this was just my second time riding my bike set up single speed, you just have to be completely out of your mind ;) I’m still not sure how I was talked into doing this, but Aaron Robnett must have tricked me into it.

Aaron (aka guy who tricked me into SS USA!) and his
buddies at the pre-race meeting.
This year’s SSUSA was held in Winona, MN, a beautiful city surrounding Lake Winona and bordered by bluffs, most notably, Sugar Loaf. While the bluffs and ridgeline were gorgeous, I also had to cringe at them, knowing we would probably be riding up them…
Sugar Loaf
 Sure enough, at our pre-race meeting they let all 300 of us know we would be making four climbs up during the 35 mile course, and have 4000 ft of elevation gain.

Aaron & I pre-race.
Singlespeed bikes everywhere!
To top it off, we would have a Le Mans start, running to our bikes. GAH! I thought I was going to DNF before even getting to my bike. I must work on running!

 I found my bike quickly and hit the trail. I had a little bobble over a rocky uphill turn and another girl passed me. I rode along with her just ahead and we reached a rocky uphill section too steep and chunky to ride. Everyone was dismounting and pushing their bikes up. There was a long line of us hiking up, up, and up. I eventually was able to hop back on my bike and ride. All the volunteers I went by were letting me know I was the second place women. What?! Up until this point I really hadn’t decided if I was going to race or just ride. Now I felt like I had to race.

Single Speed USA
This climb was much steeper than it looks!
I honestly don’t remember much more about the first bluff besides my arms hurting from squeezing the brakes so hard on the way down. I was behind a group of guys and let them set the pace. It was easy to feel like we could be going faster but then we would come across a sketchy rock section and I was glad I hadn’t hit it with any more speed.  We descended off Holzinger and onto the road for a couple miles to the next bluff.
I made it to the base of the second bluff and the volunteers again told me I was the 2nd place women. I was astonished; before, I thought they must have been mistaken! They sent us up a rocky, sandy, gravel/dirt road, and after some serious climbing, I made it onto fresh cut single track. It was slippery with the loose dirt and pine needles and I went down on a simple corner, sliding out with barely any speed.

Part of the ridgeline 

Eventually, I made it to the first of the aide stations, which was really just water & beer. It was crowded and I had water so I didn’t stop. I wanted to try and keep my momentum up the dirt access road. The sand on the road was pretty deep and the road kept pitching steeply up, then leveling-off, and then starting off with a gradual incline, then another steep pitch before plateauing...over and over again. I road my bike as far as possible, dismounted on the steep section, then hopped back on and repeated the process until I finally made it to a reasonable climb. We rode around some on top of the bluff, where I was passed by another girl, putting me in 3rd place. And then headed back down the same gravel road we first climbed up. I was pretty spent already and felt really bad for the people just starting the climb up – they had no idea what they were in for!
The course led us back down the road, to the area we started at, and to the second aid station. This was around the 20 mile mark, which is the distance of an average XC (women’s) mtb race, and what I’m used to. Only 15 more miles to go! I refilled my bottles and headed back onto the trail to climb up Holzinger for the 2nd time. The road got incredibly steep (not a surprise by this point) and I had to dismount and push my bike up. I kept thinking the steep part would have to be over soon, but it was never ending. It felt like I pushed my bike uphill for 2 miles, so I’m guessing it was around ½-1 mile. Still a ton no matter what it actually was!
At the top we popped out onto the road and took the road to the Sugar Loaf area. I really thought we were past all of the hike a bike sections, but they just kept coming. I just kept reminding myself, “this could be worse, at least you’re not at work, you can do this” But just below the base of the rock outcropping on Sugar Loaf I almost gave up. Thankfully there was another rider with me who encouraged me on. I tackled the steep sand covered last little bit, which would have been hard enough to climb without a bike in tow. And I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and the lake. I wish I would have stopped to take a picture!
View from below. Sugar Loaf is the rock outcropping on the far left.
The decent off Sugar Loaf was nasty. There were huge rocks and drop offs that you would expect to see on a DH course. I chose to walk it – I didn’t want to break anything on me or my bike. I made it this far and wanted to be able to finish!! (And there were bikes broken on this section- at least that is what the photographer told me when I jokingly scolded him for photographing me walking my bike!).

  I hit the road again to the start/finish area, knowing I would have about 8 miles left. I felt sick to my stomach at this point and shoved some melted oreo/graham cracker crumbled conglomeration into my mouth, hoping it wouldn’t make me feel worst! (My dear husband gave away my only cereal bar before the start of the race to an intoxicated participant, not realizing it was all I had besides shot bloks…oops). I thought for sure the aide stations would be well stocked, but they barely had enough water, and ZERO food.
At this point I was ready to be done. No other girls had passed me, so I knew I was still in third place (or “on the podium” as all the volunteers yelled as I rode past). I didn’t want to lose my place so I kept pushing on. After another set of endless climbs I was rewarded with the first section of truly fun single track all day. It was towards the top of the bluff, was nice and flowy and everything was a luscious green. It was wonderful…until the log overs started. There were probably 8-10 of them, many too tall for me to ride, or back to back, also not rideable with my 26” wheels, or on a turn with a tree to run into.
After what felt like way more than 8 miles since entering this section of course, I finally hit the final descent to the finish line. Finally a fun and flowy descent! I crossed the finish line as the 3rd place women. I certainly didn’t expect that for my first SS race!
I rode straight to our car and found Aaron there. I promptly kicked off my shoes, laid down on a blanket, and put my feet up. I couldn’t believe  I survived.
Notice Aaron's clean legs? He finished about an hour ahead of me!
Unfortunately the race organizers only kept track of the first 20 or so riders, so I have no idea how many others I finished ahead of, or even how many others even finished before the time cut off.  I kinda wanted some serious bragging rights!
I was all smiles the next day. So happy to have survived SS USA!
Our friend Trevor rode with a GSP on his bike, confirming our thoughts that there were some extra miles and climbing! 38.92 miles & just under 4789 ft of elevation gain!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wildlife Wild Mtb Race

After Saturday’s State Championship Road Race I wasn’t so sure how a mountain bike race would go the next day. Last week I did a Crit the day before a mountain bike race and felt great, but crits aren’t nearly as long as a road races! I was starting to think I was crazy, but then Brittany, Kevin, and Ben decided to come to the race after they all raced in the State Champ RR. (Maybe we are all just a little crazy?).

My husband Aaron and I arrived at the race course with enough time for a pre-ride, deciding to just ride the first half of the 8 mile loop. The singletrack was surprisingly rocky, and was very tight and twisty. The trail was extremely dry and dust was kicking up everywhere. I was worried about cornering too fast and sliding out (especially cautious after last week’s DNF from a mechanical).
We lined up at the start, with the Expert Women taking off at the same time as the Expert Men, which I have discovered is really not bad. We made it through the grassy section and onto some doubletrack and there was a thick cloud of dust. Brittany was right behind me and I yelled to her “I can’t see!!” and she jumped in front of me and told me to stay on her wheel. We continued to charge after the expert men and made it into the single track with just one other woman right with us. I pushed as hard as I could to stay with Britt and after a little while she pulled off the trail. She had a bee in her helmet – not good! She got it out quickly and was right back with us in no time. I led for a while until we came to some double track and she came around and took the lead again. It was so nice to have a teammate there and one I could follow through the trails. She kept me going strong!
We exited the south side of the trail and made our way to the north side, which was the more technical, rocky, and tight portion of course. There was a little climbing and Brittany got further ahead. I could still catch glimpses of her and tried to keep her in my sight. I’m not sure where, but at some point the girl behind me fell further back. When I made it through the start/finish at the end of the first lap, I had a 27 second gap on 3rd place and Brittany had a 34 second gap on me. I could tell that Rachel, the 3rd place girl was close and I kept going as hard as I could. I kept thinking she was on my wheel and then it would turn out to be sport men. I made it to the north side of the course and I tried to stay aware of where she was and thought she had fallen back just slightly. I didn’t want to have her catch back up.

 I made it to what I thought was the exit of the single track onto the gravel road back to the finish line, but I still had another section of single-track to go. I hesitated and Rachel was right behind me and then passed me before diving back into the single track. Crap! I tried to stay on her wheel, knowing I would have an opportunity on the gravel road to pass, I made a small mistake over a rock step up and she got a little gap. I hit the gravel section hard and fishtailed around the corner, but didn’t lose balance. I think I scared the course marshals :) There was single track around a little pond/lake and then some double track to the finish. I was gaining on her and then there was a girl from the sport race right at the turn to the finish. I had to go off the double track around her and finished 4 seconds behind 2nd place. Major bummer, I was so close!
Oh well, can’t be too disappointed after my win in the road race the day before!
And now I need to get back to eating an ungodly amount of food (time for second lunch) and doing weird stretches by the microwave at work while waiting for said food to heat up. I can’t begin to imagine what my coworkers think of me – and yes, I am on my afternoon break as I type this ;)

Brittany McConnell – 1st Expert Women
Emily Robnett – 3rd Expert Women                                                           
Illinois Mountain Bike Racing
L-R: Melinda Capbell, Rachel Furman, Brittany McConnell, Emily Robnett, Beverly Enslow

Kevin McConnell – 2nd Expert Men
Aaron Robnett – 3rd Expert Men

L-R: Jason Rassi, Kevin McConnell, Ryan Bauman, Aaron Robnett, Brad Segall

Ben Anderson – 5th Sport Men Overall (3rd Age Group)

Add caption

State Championship Road Race

I think I’ve been bitten by the racing bug, I cannot get enough –and road racing to boot! This weekend I geared up for another double race weekend, with the State Championship Road Race in Riverside, IA and the Wildlife Wild Mtb race in Edwards, Il. My biggest hope going into the weekend was to not have a repeat of last weekend’s mechanicals! Ok, so maybe that’s a lie, I also wanted to do well! I am more than ready to upgrade to a 3 on the road, but haven’t had the result or points to show it. Going into this weekend I knew I needed a good result to get my upgrade request approved for next year.
We may have had a small field, with just seven riders, but they were also some of the faster cat 4 ladies in the state. We had a nice neutral start to get of town and things picked up just slightly. We had a 32 mile course ahead with the majority of the large climbs in the first 12 miles. Ideally my teammates (Alijah & Lauren) and I would make a break on one of these hills. Lauren took charge on the front, setting a high pace. Several hills and miles later we were all still together. I took a turn on the font, keeping the pace high until we got to the first turn on the course. Alijah made an attack and Sarah and I caught on. Lauren road really hard and also caught up to us. The turn took us from getting a nice push from a tailwind to having a decent crosswind.
We maintained a decent pace, but knew with the crosswind it would be harder for the chase group to catch up. There were a couple major accelerations but we all stuck together. No one was willing to really take a turn on front and the pace really suffered. After we turned again going north into a headwind I finally suggested we echelon. That way we would all have to work. Everyone agreed and we quickly took the pace from a measly 15 mph, to a more decent race pace of 19-20 mph. There were a couple climbs where everyone again just seemed content to sit on other people’s wheels, but I wasn’t going to let that happen. I motioned for everyone to continue to rotate. If I wasn’t getting a nice rest before the finish I wanted to make sure no one else was either!
We were closing in on the 30 mile mark and I started to think about what to do at the finish. I knew it would come down to a sprint between the four of us. I’ve had my timing off all season, going too early and getting beat at the line. I knew I needed to wait, but didn’t want to wait too long and not have enough time to really kick. There were two junior boys with us and one of them started to kick for the sprint really early prompting Lauren to go with him. Everyone started to accelerate, but I made sure to not go full out. Alijah and Sarah started to really sprint and I held on and finally at the right moment I got down in drops, got of the saddle and kicked as hard as I could. I passed Sarah, and Alijah, and kept my head down and made sure to sprint though the finish line. I couldn’t believe it; I won for the first time all season- Yes!!!!  I knew I had the strength, but was and still am learning road racing tactics, especially the proper timing for the sprint. Luckily it all came together for me for the State Championship race and hopefully this was my last race as a cat. 4!
Now I just needed to rest, rehydrate, and refuel for the Wildlife Wild Mtb (edit: link) race on Sunday…
The ladies of the Iowa City Cycling Club & Mercy/Specialized team had quite the weekend!
Women’s Cat. 4
Emily Robnett – 1st
Alijah Beatty – 2nd
Lauren Trolley – 4th

Women’s Pro/Cat 1/2/3
Kim Eppen – 1st
Brittany McConnell 3rd
Darian Nagle-Gamm 5th (Her first race as a Cat.3!!!)
Cassandra Kessler – 6th
Karen Stierler – 7th
Darcy Sanford – 8th

Monday, August 5, 2013

Iowa State Championship Crit + Mathiessen XC = Busy Race Weekend!

State Championship Crit
A Crit and an XC Mountain Bike race in one weekend sounds like a good idea, right? Well that is what I was trying to convince myself! I felt like I was warming up for cyclocross season with a two race weekend.
The weekend kicked off with the State Championship Crit in Des Moines on Saturday. Fittingly, it was right in front of the State Capitol Building.

I was excited to have my mom, niece and nephew there to watch the race and to cheer me on. I was really hopping to have a good race, I’m still a cat 4 on the road and would really like to be able to upgrade to a 3 for next year (I’m a cat 1 for XC and cat 3 for Cyclocross, I just don’t race on my road bike often).

There were about 10 of us on the start line, including my teammates Darian & Alijah. A 1-2-3 finish sounded pretty cool and was a strong possibility. It was going to be a short race, just 30 minutes long so I was guessing about 12 laps. 
Things started off quickly and there were a couple unsuccessful attacks, people just testing the waters. After about 2-3 laps, my teammate Alijah went for an attack from behind and just one other girl was able to follow. I was in front and didn’t do a good job of anticipating. With a teammate up the road, I let the other girls try to catch, but wasn’t going to try and pull them up to her. The two in front were maintaining the gap. I still took some pulls on the front of the chase group, but kept a safe pace, not trying to pull everyone up.
Eventually, there were just 3 of us left in the chase group, (Darian, myself, and another girl).  At this point, I tried to make an attack, hoping to bridge the gap, but was unsuccessful. I got a little gap on the uphill, but was pretty much caught by the downhill. I was having some serious issues shifting from my little ring back to the big ring after the climb. It was hesitating and taking the whole straightaway before the big downhill to engage.  With just two laps to go I did have a small gap to 4th and 5th place and then my chain fell off. No!!!!!!!!! I pulled over in the wheel pit and to my extreme luck there was Hopson (team/club director) and he put the chain back on in no time and gave me a good push to get going again. I could see Darian down the road at the bottom of the hill and knew she was close to the girl now in 3rd place. I pedaled as hard as I could. And then I saw the girl who was in 3rd on the side of the road, with someone trying to fix her chain! (I found out later she had actually crashed around a corner). I continued to go as hard as I could and finished in 4th place. I was a little disappointed about dropping my chain, but it could have been a lot worse and I could have lost a lot more places! It wasn’t quite the 1-2-3 finish with my teammates that I had hoped for, but we still managed a 1st, 3rd, and 4th place finishes. Not bad at all!

Alijah (1st), Darian (3rd), Race Baby, and Myself (4th)
Darian & her mini. Holy Cuteness!

Mathiessen Mountain Madness – Oglesby, IL
After the Crit on Saturday, I was a little leery about doing a mountain bike race on Sunday. The last few XC races have been extremely tough. At the same time though, I was looking forward to having a good race after being slightly disappointed about my chain falling off the day before.
The expert women and men were starting together (I wasn’t so sure about this!) We had a neutral start with a guy leading us out for a road start before hoping onto the race course. 

Lead out guy

We took off at a decent pace and things just got faster and faster until the lead out guy pulled off and we were able to go full out. We hit the long grassy start/finish stretch with everyone jockeying for position. As far as I could tell there was just one other lady (a little ahead) that was keeping up with the back of the men’s pack. We made it through the start/finish straightaway to a taped off grass section that was exactly like a clyclocross course (this really was practice for ‘cross season!).
Beverly made it into the single track first winning the first prem. She was really going fast and I made sure to not let her out of my sight. I needed the visual motivation to keep going really strong. My legs felt great, a welcome change from most races, but she was just flying through the first lap. I caught up to her, but made a few small mistakes and had to chase her down again. We made it to the final climb out of the little river valley and I was right behind her the whole way. I knew I was going to really have to push myself to keep going strong for the next 3 laps. I was feeling pretty good at the top of the climb and went as fast as I could down the straight away. Amazed, I had a decent gap. I thought for sure that Beverly would be right behind me.
I made it into the single track for lap 2 and kept pushing hard, I wanted to make sure that none of the other ladies caught back up to me. I had the leaders of the men’s sport class pass me and they kept me motivated by giving me something to chase after. I heard another person behind me and thought for sure that one or two of the girls had finally caught; it turned out to be more guys. What a relief! This reminded me again to keep pushing. I really, really, didn’t want to get caught. I made it up the climb without problem and was still feeling great. Looking back and writing this, I still can’t believe how good I felt out there!
I had a gap going into the third lap, but had no idea how much of a gap (I found out later it was 3 minutes!). I got passed by more of the sport class guys, but luckily there weren’t any girls in sight. I was getting towards the end of the third lap and the possibility of winning was starting to cross my mind. If I could hold the gap, this would be my first win since upgrading to a cat 1 earlier this year. I knew I needed to keep focused though and keep pushing. I didn’t want anyone to gain on me but didn’t want to do anything stupid either. I was flying down the long technical decent before the final climb out. I got too close to a log on the side of the trail and hit something on the rear of my bike. I didn’t go down or lose balance at all but thought I dropped my chain. I looked down and sure enough my chain was just hanging, but to my utter disbelief my derailleur was also hanging off. I got off my bike thinking “this isn’t happening ,this isn’t happening, I’m so close” and there was nothing I could do. I was devastated and there was nothing I could do but hike my bike out along the trail and watch as all the women went by. So much for not doing anything stupid!
I found a course marshal to ask if there was a short cut out, and he graciously offered to carry my bike and walk back to the start with me. I’m horrible with names, but I think it was Darin? Thank you a million times for helping me out! That would have been a long lonely walk without your help! He was so nice, and chatted with me the whole time, keeping me from dwelling on what happened.
I reported my DNF to the officials and carried my bike to my car, so I could get changed and gather my emotions, I was pretty upset. I just kept thinking how did I let this happen, why couldn’t I have been just an inch further away from the log? Why did I have two mechanicals in one weekend!? I don’t think I’ve ever felt this sort of frustration! It was such a great day, a super fun course, and I felt great, and then I had to stop. I was a crazy mix of being pissed off but also happy with how I had been riding and feeling.
I found Aaron right after he finished his race (2nd place – yay!) and told him what happened. 

Men's Expert Podium (the women didn't stay for a group photo)

I was worried I caused some major damage to my bike, but he assured me it was just the derailleur hanger. That was a small relief. He changed quickly and we turned in our number plates and then found the 312 boys. I’m not a beer drinker, but I took one today! We chatted for a while with the 312 guys, they are a pretty cool bunch!
I had forgotten about the 2nd prem they had announced at the beginning of the race and got the KOM prem for the first person up the climb on lap two. Sweet! I grabbed a 12 pack of 312 for my prize (absolutely delicious when mixed with lemonade…just try it).
We had fun chatting with the other racers, and event organizers. Everyone was so friendly. We are really loving the PAMBA series races! What a great bunch of people and fantastic race courses! I will definitely come back to this race next year. It was such a fun course, one of the best yet this year.

Here’s to hoping next weekend’s road race and xc race go a little better!