Downieville Classic 2011

Downieville Training Day 1

At 11pm on Friday night, I signed up for a gnarly, 46 mile, 2-day, cross country/downhill race in Downieville, California to take place in roughly four months.

The Downieville Classic All Mountain World Championship requires that you use the same bike with the exact same set up for both cross country and downhill races. No exceptions. This 46 mile race is split up into two days: first day, a 29 mile cross country course and second day, a 17 mile downhill course.

The training has begun. I have been recovering from e coli for 5 months and thought this would be a great kiss off to being sick and a big welcome back to the biking world. Or…I could just be crazy. There is no beginner class. There isn’t even an intermediate level. This is a big kids only race. I will be racing with Expert Women. Even in my best racing days, I was never an expert level racer.

The hardest thing to come to terms with is the loss of muscle, agility and cardiovascular ability that has occurred over the last 5 months. That being said, my goal is to simply finish the race. It would be an awesome accomplishment.

I have decided to motivate myself to ride hard every day (no exceptions!) until Downieville race day.

I also decided to keep track of my inner talk. One of my toughest obstacles in training for a race is my own mental frustrations. I wanted to watch my confidence and ability build over time…

Downieville 2011 successfully finished, I am now preparing for 2012.
For my reflection on my Downieville experience…click here.

Sunday, March 13: Day 1
“GO, GODAMMIT!”

(Legs were out of rotating power very early on…)

Time: 1:25

Distance: 10.5

Monday, March 14: Day 2
“In mountain biking, slow and steady does NOT win the race. Push it, lady!”

(Half way up the killer hill and unwilling to change gears, slow down or stop and take a break this time…I made it!!)

Time: 1:15

Distance: 10.5

Temperature: 26F

Tuesday, March 15: Day 3

“I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”

(Tough day mentally. I woke up sore and tense and NOT wanting to ride. At the base of the killer hill, I was on the verge of tears. After switching to easy gear and hoofing it up as hard as I could, I struggled the last bit and made it. On the way back, the short and steep hill was another killer where this “I can’t do this.” came into my head…I either was going to give up or push harder but staying where I was at wasn’t an option. I gritted my teeth, put the last little bit of energy I had into pedaling, and made it up the hill.)

Time: 1:05

Distance: 10.5

Temperature: 26F

Wednesday, March 16: Day 4

I did not ride. My legs were tired and I chose to snuggle in bed instead…I felt very guilty. On the positive side, I got my new tattoo. It’s awesome.

Thursday, March 17: Day 5

I didn’t ride again and felt like a complete slouch. So I ran the trails behind my house for a half hour. Then went out for St. Patty’s day. :o) Sometimes, you have to just give in, I guess.

Friday, March 18: Day 6

No riding. I worked on getting my new job cleared. I went running for an hour on the trails. Cross training feels good but trails are still very muddy!

Saturday, March 19: Day 7

I didn’t ride again and felt like a complete slouch. So I ran the trails behind my house for a half hour.

Sunday, March 20: Day 8

“Go, go, go, go, oh fucking jeezus, go…”

Epic ride. Toughest yet. And I did it. I just kept having to tell myself to GO. It worked!

Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Distance: approx. 40 miles

Temperature: 38F

Monday, March 21: Day 9

My legs are killing me. I do believe that I have strained the muscles in my thighs from my epic ride yesterday. I feel proud of my accomplishment – I rode a ton yesterday! I went to acupuncture today and will hop back on the bike again tomorrow. Lots of Gatorade and carbs in the meantime…

Tuesday, March 22: Day 10

No riding.

Wednesday, March 23: Day 11

Drove to Rochester and back for training for my new job. No riding. Boo!

Thursday, March 24: Day 12

No riding. Not liking this trend. Hip in bad shape!

Friday, March 25: Day 13

Drove to Rochester and back for training for my new job. No riding. Boo!

Saturday, March 26: Day 14 (Two Weeks!)

Worked all day. Getting worried that I’m not getting enough riding in. It’s been snowing, freezing and no trails are open for riding. Decided to start looking into spin classes.

Sunday, March 27: Day 15

Monday, March 28: Day 16

First day of work. Fell down the stairs. OW. Big bruise on the spine and a hip that feels out of place. Taking it easy…

Tuesday, March 29: Day 17

Mapped out a 1 mile loop on the farm. Up the driveway and down the trail! Muddy on the way down but feels SO good to ride a TRAIL!

Time: 2 hours

Distance: 13 miles

Temperature: 40F

Wednesday, March 30: Day 18

Up the driveway, down the trail!

Time: 1 hour

Distance: 6 miles

Temperature: 42F

Thursday, March 31: Day 19

NO riding. Work work work.

Friday, April 1: Day 20

NO riding. Work work work.

Saturday, April 2: Day 21

Shendagin Road and Dirt Road Riding

Time: 1.5 hours

Distance: Approx. 14 miles

Temperature: 50F

Sunday, April 3: Day 22

Trail riding at Buttermilk Falls!! Apparently, you aren’t supposed to ride here. I didn’t know that BUT…it felt awesome to get out and do some downhilling, FOR SURE. I also remembered that trail riding is nothing like road riding. It’s harder. Nothing can prepare you for the trail except…the trail.

Time: 2 hours

Distance: approx. 10 miles

Temperature: 48F

Spin Class:

Time: 2 Hours

Distance: 43 miles

Monday, April 4: Day 23

No biking. Did acupuncture instead. Best session yet!

Tuesday, April 5: Day 24

I took a spin class at City Health Club which is the equivalent of a 1970’s bath house with bad music and stained chair cushions. The bikes were incredibly janky. Mine had a crank set problem that made it feel like I was vibrating on a locomotive every time I made a rotation. I didn’t mind, considering the jarring reminded me a bit of mountain biking down a fire road at 35 miles per hour. The “retro” stationary bike was so “retro” that it didn’t have a computer so…I’m guessing at my mileage, etc.

I reminded myself today that Downieville has an elevation climb of 3,000 feet. Yikes. My spin instructor seemed more intent on breathing and COOL DOWN techniques than kicking my ass so I chose to kick my own ass with the mental picture of what 3,000 feet actually looks like. It looks like a ridiculously large mountain. Because that’s what it is. So that’s what I pictured. And that’s when I stood my ass up on that bike and huffed up a bazillion hills while my spin instructor kept emphasizing lowering the heart rate and peddling fast, not hard. Screw you man, I have to get UP A MOUNTAIN. So I pushed my legs at the strongest resistance I could and allowed the sweat to run down my face, unabashedly.

Time: 45 minutes (I would guess more like 30, considering we started 15 minutes late and warmed up for 20 minutes and then cooled down for 10…wait, where was the work out???)

Distance: approx. 15 miles

Wednesday, April 6, Day 25:

Although I didn’t ride, I DID set up a time to ride on Saturday! I was exhausted from work and it was rainy and cold. I know, no excuse…but after 50 degree weather I just couldn’t bring myself to ride in 38 degrees and rain/snow…

Thursday, April 7, Day 26:

Worked all day – until 8PM. No riding for me, even though it was GORGEOUS outside. I work until 8PM tomorrow, too. Sucks to have to like, earn money and stuff.

Monday is supposed to be SUH-WEEEET outside so I’m going to do a “work from home” day…

Friday, April 8, Day 27:

Worked all day – until 8PM. No riding, again.

Saturday, April 9, Day 28:

Gorgeous day but no riding. Did some trail runs instead.

Time: 1 hour

Distance: 3-4 miles hiking

Temperature: 60F

Sunday, April 10, Day 29:

Road/Dirt Road Riding at Hammond Hill State Park. Ran into a nice guy that I beat up a hill. I must be getting stronger! Spent quite a bit of time chatting about trails in the area.

Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Distance: 14 miles

Temperature: 53F

Spin Class at Island Fitness – this class is business. Pushed hard today and almost threw up.

Time: 2 hours 7 minutes

Distance: 42 miles

Monday, April 11th, Day 30:

Shindagin Road/Dirt Road Riding

Quote of the day: “You can do it. You can do it. YES! I did it!!! (Giggle)

I made it up the hills in half the time today – increased my MPH by DOUBLE. It felt good. Really good. And I had fun. Am I finally in that next stage of riding – the FUN stage?? Oh, I hope so!

Time: 1 hour

Distance: 15 miles

Temperature: 73F (yay!!)

Tuesday, April 12th, Day 31

Riding in the rain = no fun. Followed it up with tea and an Indian dinner at a friend’s house.

Shindagin Dirt Roads

Time: 45 minutes

Distance: 7 miles

Temperature: 45F

Wednesday, April 13th, Day 32

No Riding.

Thursday, April 14th, Day 33

No Riding.

Friday, April 15th, Day 34

Shindagin TRAILS

Quote of the Day: “I’m going to rip the shit out of this trail.”

Time: 2:45

Distance: Who knows? I had a ton of fun!

Temperature: 54F

Saturday, April 16th, Day 35

Recovery Day.

Sunday, April 17th, Day 36

Island Fitness Spin Class

Quote of the Day: “Mash it, Mash it, Mash it.”

Time: 2:08

Distance: 41.5 Miles

I pushed harder and used more resistance. My body felt it but I went same mileage with more difficulty. My spin instructor informed me I was over-compensating by moving side to side and need to stay center. Maybe used too much resistance.

Monday, April 18th, Day 37

Recovery Day.

Tuesday, April 19th, Day 38

Since falling down the stairs, my hip has been out of whack and riding for 2-3 hours at a time is really making it cramp up. I went to a massage therapy appointment and really worked on releasing some of the muscle tension in my legs and re-aligning my hip so it starts working properly again.

Suggestion: Visit Jeffrey at Ithaca Community Acupuncture or GreenStar for an awesome massage. He really incorporates body and muscle function into his treatment plans for you.

Wednesday, April 20th, Day 39:

Shindagin Blue Trails 1, 3 and 4

Quote of the Day: “Hurry up. You need to get home and sell shit.”

Time: 1:15

Distance: 12 Miles

I have gotten into a sell everything mode again. I’m moving soon and I just don’t want to carry everything again so I rode for an hour and came home and sold my bed. Now, I’m sleeping on the floor. I guess I sold that one a little pre-emptively…

Thursday, April 21st, Day 40:

Work day. Wah, wah…

Friday, April 22nd, Day 41:

Central Park, Schenectady, New York

Quote of the Day: “You are going to be racing! Push!”

Time: 1:00

Distance: 12 miles

I pre-road the HRRT Easter course at Central Park and then proceeded to camp in the pouring rain and gusting winds all night and all morning. Thankfully, the rain stopped around 11:00 AM…nothing like pulling a tent down in torrential rain to prepare for a race!

Saturday, April 23rd, Day 42:

RACE DAY!!! Central Park, Schenectady, NY

Quote of the Day: “Game face, Christine. Game face.”

Time: 1:42

Distance: 18-20 miles

I completed my first race of the season and my body went ridiculous lap one. It took the whole lap to get it together and I had to do some serious self-talk to get my head back in order to do lap 2. Did much better, mashed it and finished 2 out of 4. Not bad for first race.

Sunday, April 24th, Day 43:

Shindagin Hollow Trail Ride

Time: 1.5 hours

Distance: approx. 15 miles

After some hiking and exploring in the woods on a “dead” trail…we did a couple loops and a couple good strong climbs.

Monday, April 25th, Day 44:

Day of rest.

Tuesday, April 26th, Day 45:

Work day.

Wednesday, April 27th, Day 46:

Shindagin Hollow, Blue Trails 1, 3, and 6

Time: 1.5 hours

Distance: Approx. 15 miles

It’s muddy!!

Thursday, April 28th, Day 47:

Work day.

Friday, April 29th, Day 48:

Shindagin Hollow, Blue Trails 1, 3, 4, part of 5, and 6

Quote of the Day: “If he can do it, I can do it.”

Time: 1.5 hours

Distance: Approx. 12 miles

I decided to ride the entire time in the middle ring on the back in recognition of the Single Speed European Championships taking place this weekend. It’s frickin’ HARD. Especially climbing the road the last time around. Ow.

Saturday, April 30th, Day 49:

Road ride to Shindagin Hollow, Shindagin Blue Trails 1, 3, 4 and 6, Road ride back (the long way) from Shindagin

Time: 3 hours

Distance: 22 miles

Beautiful day in central New York. Did a really long loop and had a blast meeting people on the trails. I met a group of kids that were celebrating a birthday party by mountain biking trails 4 and 6. That’s what I’m talking about!!


One thought on “Downieville Classic 2011

  1. Pingback: Happy Anniversary, E. Coli! « Trust Your Journey

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