Sunday, April 29, 2012

Warrior 100k - wounded vets - our heroes are mt biking for recovery and fun

Warrior 100k

Please take a few minutes and give the men and women at least that - they deserve our time, our thanks, our donations -  They ensure our freedom!
They are riding mt bikes without limbs, with brain trauma -- One guy said six weeks ago he was ready to kill himself and now he is mountain biking!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

La Ruta Lou and Cheryl at finish line!

My first race at Sea Otter where I actually trained!  NOW I know the difference between Cat 1, 2 & 3!

I may be an intermediate rider, but I am not yet an intermediate RACER!  lol - So why did I sign up for Cat 2?  I got to ride more miles and climb more hills for my money and ride against some very fast women!  My race was not to start until 8:55 a.m. - I was warming up and nearly missed the whole thing - I had to rush  through all the young guys to get to the front where my group was lined up. There were 15 women over 50 registered in Cat 2.  The morning was very foggy and really tough to see where we were going - Like a horror film! - First big mistake I made was "pre-opening" the Gu packets!  It leaked out and my shorts were stuck to my legs and my jersey was stuck to my shorts! The Cat 1 guys were coming around for their second lap and it took some getting used to having these fast guys passing you on single track.  On a sandy turn a guy came up behind me and hit my rear tire and I went over the bars and cut my bad leg again! -- No big deal, but it hurt and I already had 7 stitches in that same spot! -  I felt I was dropped pretty fast and I seem to be getting used to that!  A woman in my race got in front of me and must not have done a pre-ride, she went down a very bad line on the most technical part of the course and crashed really badly on that rutted downhill - well, I heard there were a lot of crashes in that spot, one guy went to ER and had his spleen removed.  

All in all, it was a perfect day for a ride.  The sun finally came out and I just gave it my best shot.  It's a lot different "racing" 20 miles than it is "riding" 20 miles in my local mountains.  So many people on the trails and passing made me nervous for a while.  Then I got to the point where the Cat 3 riders turn right and finish, and Cat 2 riders (me) turn left and keep on climbing.  This extra four miles was beautiful and lots of fun single track and steep climbs!   Suddenly I realized I was all alone! I mean the view was spectacular and it seemed I could see for miles, but no humans around! I said to myself, okay, Cheryl, you have been watching carefully for signs, you cannot be lost.  - there were actually some women behind me, two, I think, but they were too far back for me to see.

I stopped and let some air out of my tires and, again, had to pee!  I have to limit my water intake! lol

 But I really noticed, wow, those flowers, those hills, it was so pretty!  I am in a race!!! what am I doing admiring the views? lol -

My good friend and mountain biker, Sue F. reminded me when I got home how far I have come since I started riding.  When I met her and we would ride, if I ever got to a part where I could not see someone, I would freak out! Fear really has ruled my life, sadly enough, and I am so grateful that mountain biking has really helped me get over these deeply embedded fears of being alone and not trusting myself to find my way out of a brown bag!

 I also kept thinking of what my friend Lauren said, "keep moving, anything can happen" - so I tried to do just that, minus crashing, letting air out of my tires and bathroom - lol -I kept moving and finally saw the two or three sisters climb out! I am not sure what they call it, but it was a FUN climb out!  I felt really strong on the climbs, not as fast as I would like to be.  But feeling strong at the end of a race is a good sign of endurance, says Coach Lou! 

Just like in Counting Coup, I climbed a lot of what I saw others walking, and I was doing my best, and that is all I can do, my best.   I was totally confused about where the actual finish line was as I got to the end and stopped, I think, two or three times , asking spectators, "is this it?"  T hey were all yelling and cow bells were clanking, keep on going! lol - too funny - I was tired, but excited when I saw LOU and Eric standing there waiting for me - What a great relief that was!  I knew she was coming and was happy to see them both!  Louise Kobin (La Ruta Lou) and I have been working together with her coaching me since last October and these last two events of Counting Coup and Sea Otter were two goals, two dreams, that WE worked for together!  Thank you, Lou, I could not have done it without you!!!!!

Yes, I wish I could say I was happier with with my times in this race and counting coup, but who does not want to be faster?  Lou always has the greatest little one-liners to make me feel better.  She asked me, "would you rather be third and have the same time?"  No, I would not! She is right.  She told me it's important to race your own race.  You never know who will be racing out there!!

Right off the bat she noticed I had too much tire pressure, and suggest I might raise my bar up a bit.  BTW, making those two small changes improved my riding a lot!  I had no idea what too much pressure can do to a ride, like causing me to skid a lot and lose traction! I kicked out a good ride yesterday with those changes!

 This has been once-in-a-life-time AWESOME experience for me.  I just never imagined after being told I had six months to live and cancer twice, and being told my liver was shot, that I would be doing something this, even if I did live, which nobody expected!

Today while speaking with my daughter Danielle I was telling her that I still feel disappointed and trying to work through it.

 She is such a smart woman (daughter) - I have been emotional and crying, and she said something along the lines of, "Mom,  you are awesome, I cannot even ride a mountain bike 20 miles - Mom, you survived breast cancer, multiple myeloma, addiction to alcohol, and you are a grandma!"  lol - thanks, Dani, for reminding me just how great I am doing with the help of prayer, family and friends, I wonder if I am actually in some sort of shock or something!  Wow! Did I really climb 8000 feet and ride 44 miles on April 7 and then race 20.2 miles and 2850 feet on April 22?   Two mountain bike races in a two week period!

Yep, I did - and if that does not seem a like a lot to you, just try it!
Lou warned me that I very likely would not be recovered or be 100% from racing Counting Coup in time for Sea Otter, but it was doable, and so doable it was.   I came home to my cool award that the Warrior's Society sent me for counting coup ! My first real trophy at age 54, hey, now, can you beat that? ;-) --- Look out, ladies, I will be back next year for both these rides!

I told Lou I am just beginning.  This is my training year, 2012 - now let's look at the races for 2013!  This 'granny' gave up her granny gear and going to be training on her new Ty single speed and my 2 x  9 S-Works!  

We don't really get old.  It's just a number.   For me, getting older is something I never thought I would even have the chance to do!!!  Have you ever stopped and thought how lucky you are if you have your health and get to grow 'older'?  Some don't have these options to grow up or grow old or ride a bike.

Meeting Coach Lou (La Ruta Lou) is one of the best things to happen to me.   She is a kind soul with a big heart and a smile to melt you.  She has wisdom and peace of mind I can nearly reach out and touch.  She is the REAL DEAL, so to speak.  She has been racing "something" most of her life, and because she is calm, cool and shares this love for mountain biking, I simply could not ask for more of the perfect person to help me live out my dreams and some day win a race and get on a podium!

Stay tuned because that time will come! Right, Lou?

Thank you, God, my family, riding partners, friends and my dog Mai, for all your patience, love and support!

p.s. (if you read this far and you happen to click the link at the beginning from garmin, you will see the heart rate strap was on crack! - had me going from 47 to 240 or something insane!  These straps just stopped working?  You think someone trying to tell me something about listening to my body and not a strap???  Or maybe the doctors put in bionic boobs! lol


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Racing CAT 2 on Sunday - pre-rode cat 3 today -

sea otter cat 3 EASY pre-ride - waiting for a new girl by stenogrl at Garmin Connect - Details

Today was the most perfect weather you could ever ask for.  I met a girl at the start of the trail who has never been to sea otter or raced.  Her goal is to finish the beginner on Sunday in her age group.  Since that was my goal to finish CC on April 7th, I thought it perfect to ride with her and help her out and WAIT!
I had to WAIT sometimes 15 to 20 minutes at top of climbs - but it was nice to ride with someone slower so I did not burn myself out on a pre-ride.  I know my coach is/was concerned that I am recovered enough from counting coup - with only two weeks in between, it's not the best situation.
And I moved up a category to race with the faster women --- I hope I am not last again! But if so, I know I pushing myself and doing my best!  Coach Lou says I can look at 2012 as a base training year for race experience....I love that!!! So I can really start planning races in 2013.

Not sure why, but possible because most of my life I was ill from something - and sick of being sick, etc.
So many surgeries, so many set-backs! I still don't know what was the worst!  Shingles on my face kept me out of work for a year and still gives me pain and will forever - cancer, broken femur  ? ;-) lol
Even I laugh when I really think about it all.  And so, if that means I want to spend the years I have left having the fun times I missed out on, then I wish to thanks God!!!!  It is purely the Grace of God that I have these opportunities!   And the Grace of God I have my health for today!
I am so Grateful for my family and my friends and my coach for standing behind me.
Not really so easy being my age and tackling this stuff - but it's not like I had a lot of choices.
I got my health back at 54 and so there you go!

Wish me luck on Sunday, please!!! ;-)) no matter what, I am having fun !!
And I get to meet Coach Lou in person - Yeah!! She is coming to the race.   My race starts at 8:55 a.m. on Sunday, so send prayers for a few hours please!

Peace and Love to all
I am so LUCKY !!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

More photos from counting coup

 Danielle gives Mom a BIG hug
 Me and my riding partners
 River is so hot and tired but a real trooper
 River and Oma chatting about the race
 My baby brother Bruce and his son Parker
 Eastcoast Stephanie does like photos - sorry sis
And my favorite Sarah Jensen tookd the female record on Counting Coup - about five hours ahead of me! lol

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Counting Coup - April 7 - Finished -

1 - Goal? Finish:  Check
2 - Have fun:  Check
3 - No blood: Check
4 - Thank my coach, Lou Kobin, training partner Douglas Kubler - family and friends!! Marwan, Derek - Amy!
CHECK - family - you know who you are ;-)
I am pretty tired today and legs are not cooperating with much but resting!  My family left today back to their homes and I have no words to thank them all.  I will be posting a lot of photos, so have fun.
My family showed up to LA and surprised me with team T-shirts - birthday surprises everywhere. The shirts, as you see in these photos are so cool.  They had "Ride for Life" on the front and the back you can read in a minute!When I found my coach Lou Kobin while searching on the Internet about my Jones Fracture and breaking my foot, I found her because she had had the same break!  Then I saw she is a world famous mountain biker, trainer, coach, physical therapist, etc -  She pretty much, I assumed, would only coach pros, but when she said she would coach me through Counting Coup, I had a new dream and my little world of thinking I cannot climb steep mountains changed fairly fast and my life took on a whole new meaning, thanks to Coach Lou!
I remember right off asking her what to eat because I wanted to lose weight, and she said, just eat healthy and the pounds will fall off, and they did! I have lost 13lbs without dieting.

We began our journey last October and the goal was to finish Counting Coup 2012 on April 7th, my birthday. AND WE DID IT! Yesterday I got my first Counting Coup feather!  Yes, I was hoping for better time, but a goal is a goal, right?  The ride was much more technical than I expected after a lot of climbing, or maybe I was just too tired once I did over 8000 feet of climbing?  I don't know.  This was my first mountain bike endurance race and I think being sick off and on with the cold since end of January took a toll on me.  I was at the doctor many times and went through four rounds of antibiotics.  Next year I am getting the flu shot.  But a the three weeks before the race, I was REALLY sick with fever and flu and thought about backing out.

 Also, I really wish I had gotten out there  to pre-ride upper holy Jim.  It was pretty torn up by the time I got there.  I made the four corners cutoff and was very relieved, but only by 15 minutes.  Phew!
I had no idea the rest of the ride would take me so long, after getting to Santiago Peak ---I learned a lot of lessons for next year.   My Garmin started off with the heart monitor strap not working and so I had to put the Garmin away or it would drive me crazy trying to fix it!  It was cold in the morning, but not for long.  The moon was out and full when we started. My good friend, Derek, stayed the night out in the parking lot so he could take some photos in the morning at the starting gate.  THANK YOU, DEREK!

 I noticed once it was daylight that the HR was not registering.  Not a good time for my reliable $700.00 Garmin to not work, but Lou had me train a few times without the heart monitor to learn to trust my body - good thing!  Climbing over 8000 feet in 44 miles on steep mountain roads and descending some scary single track is not something I thought I would be doing in 2012 after breaking my left FEMUR in 2009, my left FOOT and getting a Jones Fracture in June of 2010 - not to mention bone marrow cancer and breast cancer!  Of course, we all know that my friends of Bill W play the biggest part in my life!  Starting a mountain bike ride off in the dark was new too - yes, I had a light, and it was pretty cold in the bottom of the canyon!

The winds were strong for a while and then got better.  I got my feather and I think I am too tired to write the details and make much sense right now.  I did my best, and I cannot ask for more than that.  I am grateful to my family and friends - and mostly my COACH LOU KOBIN AND TRAINING PARTNER DOUG KUBLER -  My friends and family were getting worried that I was out there so many hours. 
As I came across the finish line with three sweepers behind me, everybody was singing happy birthday to me! Cow bells were ringing and people were really rooting for me!  How nice that was.  It is a good feeling to be loved by so many people.  Thank you all!

Lou and Doug, please know that without you both, this Ride-for-Life dream of mine would not have been possible. How cool is it when a dream comes true!
Thank you both for loving me, supporting me, driving me, pushing me, giving me hope and helping me reach a goal I would have thought was not possible!!!

Next race is Sea Otter in Monterey April 19.  Next year I will back to beat that time at Counting Coup, or maybe go for Vision Quest - but I plan on making my coach a permanent part of my budget because it's awesome to be working towards a goal with someone with so much experience to share with me.  Let's go, Lou - I have racing dreams in front of me. ;-)  Possibly the Traverse?  May 12th!

Getting older does mean we have to stop living very physical lives, as far as I am concerned.  Doug always reminds me, "it's just a number" - I am fairly certain I will be editing this post later and/or adding details.  I am tired and need to sleep, but also excited to share with my friends who read this blog how it went.
Love and night

                                                Cheryl and doug getting ready
                                                  Last few feet of Santiago Peak
                                                  Pain Divide early morning
                                                       Maple Springs
                                                  Patient family and friends wondering where I am
                                             Cheryl FINALLY CROSSES THE FINISH LINE
                                                     Cheryl gets her Counting Coup feather
                                             Sister Stephanie and daughter Dani !
                                          Sister Debbie and granddaughter river in team Cheryl shirts
                                             Morning start (out of order)
                                           Morning ride taking off! (out of order)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Counting Coup is Saturday!

Sorry, I have not written here, but been a hecic and fun week.  Getting last minute work on bike, etc. 
My brother Bruce, Eastcoast Stephanie and their son Parker flew in last night from Georgia and it has been a blessing to spend some time with them!
My sisters and Greg come in the morning and my daughter and her family -
I am hoping to head to Orange County around 11:00 a.m. where I got a room at the Hampton, six miles from Black Star. I am planning my breakfast, clothes and ready as I will ever be.  This feels like the adventure of my life time and I hope I have many more to come.
I love this training and challenging myself to my very best and give something all I have!   Sure beats shopping!
Tonight I went to a meeting with Eastcoast and we had some great conversion and bonding time. 

I just need to keep thanking my couch Lou and my riding partner Dough for bringing me so far.  I have trained as much as I could while running a business and I just hope it's enough.  I know Lou has given me great tips on handling any situation that may arise and that's what counts!  Welcome the Pain!  keep fueled and hydrated - smile and have FUN - I am looking forwar to my big challenge and hope I kick ass!
At least that's my goal! 
Pretty tired, so my next post will be the results of the ride on Saturday!   Please send me prayers!

cheryl ( the super tired version) need sleep now! ;-)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Encinal training ride was wet and muddy yesterday! 2500 elevation; 20 miles; 2:45 minutes

Doug, Amy and I set out in the misty rain about 9:50 a.m. yesterday.   Lots of burning mud in my eyes, some wet branch nearly took out my left eye! -- other than that, we have a blast.   Amy and Doug were behind me on the first part of the climb and Amy was reminding me of the good practice it was for me.  In a race fast people may be behind me and want to get by, but I need to remember to ride at my own pace and pace it, not race it for endurance next Saturday.  It's their job to go around me!  I also decided to take off the seat dropper and took about a pound off my my bike.  This race is 80% climbing, so I am better off slowing down on the downhill and keep my bike light for the long climbs!  My tires add more weight, but I don't think changing to racing tires now would be smart since I have not been training with them. 

I am so excited about my family flying out to CA to support me.  Been in bed for hours crying over the whole emotional thing!  Never worked so hard at anything!!!!!! - well, possibly court reporting school was harder - But I will keep my eyes glancing at my red cap on my bike:  EASIER THAN CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you all for standing by me and believing in me on this one!!  Next Saturday is close!