Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, warmest wishes for a Very Merry Christmas!

Cathy - skiing in Bethel

Mike - snowshoeing Grafton Notch

Oreo - playing in the wrapping

Friday, December 21, 2007

Extreme Snowshoeing?

Any of you who know us well know that nothing we do is ever done the easy way. We work hard and we play harder, and today our play was hard work!

We set off into Grafton Notch to do some snowshoeing. I figured we would be out about an hour and a half, so didn't think to bring water or snacks. Lesson learned. The kiosk showed a loop starting with the Eyebrow trail that would be 2.1 miles and climb 1100 feet. Ok. We're off.

Looking up to where we climbed; Looking down on the truck from the top

The trail started out easily enough, and I soon was shedding layers. Then, we got to the steep part of the trail. So steep that they've installed metal rope rails, and metal ladders! Unfortunately, the pictures don't really show just how steep this trail was, but looking back down it, I didn't want to have to try to retrace our steps.

Didn't realize that was where we were headed; Hanging on for dear life!

Trust me when I say this was really steep!

Only halfway there - that's why we're still smiling ;-)

Clawing my way uphill; Snow and ice

Small wonders; Leaving tracks

Up, up and up we went. When we finally reached the top, we were very nervous - the trail brings you out to an exposed ridge with great views, but also large snowdrifts, and big danger if you get too close to the edge. We managed to follow the trail back into the woods to an intersection - the prints we had been following continued up to another peak, but we wanted to go down, and no one had been on that trail yet. It was an adventure looking for the white trail blazes as we headed back downhill.

Going up was hard, but going down was as well. Lots of slipping and sliding (thankfully this part of the trail was nowhere near as steep as what we had climbed), and breaking the trail going downhill was tough. We finally made it back down to the car - TWO AND HALF HOURS after we started! Great workout though, and the views were fantastic!

As we were heading out of the parking lot, we had to stop and wait - the plow truck had gone off the highway, and a logging truck was pulling him out of the ditch with a chain! Not a sight one sees everyday...

Here are also a few pics from yesterday's adventure - we went riding out of Gorham, NH to Twin Mountain. There is more snow out there than I have seen in a long time! Some of these trails run along railroad beds, and are typically nasty to ride because the rails are showing and tracking your sled. Yesterday, the rails were covered, and the riding was smooth! Put on another 87 miles on our second day out.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Opening Day in Winter Wonderland

The phrase "opening day" means something different to everyone, but most associate it with the first game of the season at Fenway for the Red Sox (at least in these parts). To us, however, "opening day" is the first day we can legally get out and ride our snowmobiles in NH, and it happens on December 15 every year.

Yesterday, Mike and I trailered over to Errol, NH to get out for our first ride. We were excited to be doing something besides riding our bikes ;-). There was definitely PLENTY of snow, especially as we climbed to elevation going towards Pittsburg, NH - likley close to 3 feet on the ground. Conditions were closer to mid-season than opening day!

It was also FRIGID. Starting our in Errol at about 8:30 am, the gauge in the truck read 0F! We had a tough time keeping warm between the wind and the air temps, so called it a day after 100 miles. Fun start to the season though - we haven't been out this early in the season in a couple of years (and this weekend last year, we were racing our bicycles!).

Thursday, December 13, 2007


With the decision not to go to Kansas behind us, as well as the racing for the year, this past weekend was a mix of household duties and "purpose-less" riding. After a morning of Christmas decorating, cleaning the attic/garage/basement and other chores, Mike and I went out for a ride.

We had no purpose. We played in the snow and after deciding that was tough going, went out on the road for a loop through Concord and Carlisle. We weren't racing. We weren't training. Just out riding for the pure pleasure of it. We enjoyed it so much on Saturday that on Sunday we hopped on the mountain bikes for a quick tour down the snowy rail trail towards Fawn Lake to check out the ice (it's not ready for riding yet, in case you were wondering).

Riding for fun - what a great concept!

Yesterday, I definitely had a purpose. I was on a mission. One day. The mall. A Christmas list. I went out in the morning to start my Christmas shopping, and while I cannot decree completing the task, I did make it 80% of the way through! Now if I can just get through all of the wrapping...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Adventure That Wasn't

Hello? Has anyone seen my motivation? I can't seem to find it anywhere!

Mike and I have decided not to make the trip to Kansas for Nationals next week. Together, we decided to end our 'cross seasons on the high note they are currently on, and not to add the stress and turmoil of Nationals this year. Both of us are tired, sore and lacking the motivation we need to be successful in Kansas.

The 40+ hours in the car was also nagging us both. Let me just say that this decision is better for our relationship, and our mental and physical health.

We will be supporting our teammates and friends in thought, and will anxiously await the results each day. This was a tough decision for us. I, personally, feel as if I am letting the team down, but I just don't have it at this point in the season.

Good luck to everyone who will be making the trip - NEBC ROCKS!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wrentham MRC

Again with the cold. Mike and I and some other brave (aka stupid) riders put in a solid 3 hours at Lynn Woods on Saturday on the mountain bikes. I haven't ridden there all year, and we had a blast playing on the rocks. It did, however, take me all day to get any warmth going - temps on Sat were in the 20s, with the wind HOWLING along the ridges.

Sunday morning was not windy, but it was still cold. And gray. A great day for a 'cross race - all we needed was some of the snow that was forecast for later in the day ;-). It was really tough getting warmed up for the race. I donned my now familiar warmup gear of down jacket and blue jeans to take a lap of the [frozen] course. Great course despite the absence of "the rock" from last year - lots of tight turns, and some really fast sections. Woohoo!

Only 4 women had pre-reg'd for the Elite race, so the promoters ran us with the Juniors and B Women. Of course, day of saw some of the big guns coming out - Rebecca W, Amy W, Kathy S, Jennifer S, Stephanie W, Karen T and Libby; and Alie K made her comeback after a bad crash at Gloucester!

Since there were 9 of us, we all lined up beside each other. This caused me some panic as I wasn't sure how I was going to avoid catching bars with Jennifer on one side and Alie on the other when the whistle blew. This lack of confidence cost me on the start, as I was the LAST person onto the field. Yup - DFL AGAIN. Will I ever learn????

I decided, since I was behind Karen (whom I've never been able to beat in a race), that I would hang onto her wheel. She starts slow, but will put in big efforts to catch the group in front. When she went around Libby, I went with her. I stuck to her wheel like glue for the first lap and a half. Then, in the woods, she slowed and I went around. That was the end of her race - she dropped out saying she couldn't feel her fingers (did I mention it was cold?). I could see the group ahead of me, and Mike said it was 30 seconds. Sounds reasonable, but it was insurrmountable, and their lead grew as we continued on.

As the race progressed, I could see the leaders of the 3/4 race making time on me, and I worked really hard to hold them off for as long as possible. I managed to hold Christina (the eventualy 3/4 winner) off until the barriers on the 5th lap, where she finally passed me. But, I passed her back as she slowed in the woods. She eventually caught me, and then Julie L (IBC) passed me as well. I hung with both of them in the final lap until they got a gap, and were gone.

I have to say, it was deflating to be passed by the 3/4 leaders as I was racing in the ELITE race. Really made me question what the heck I was doing... The rest of the 3/4 women aslo did well, and looked like they were having a fun (but cold) time). Congrats to Teri for a 6th place finish!

In the end, I finished 7th. Not too bad. Not last, and not lapped. This was the last race for me until Nationals though, and I am VERY excited about that!


Mike had his best race ever yesterday, also finishing 7th (and I was #104 and he was #204 - strange!). Here is his perspective on a great result:

The whistle blew and it was a mad sprint for position or just to warm up. We had a guy from CycleSmart, Paul C,. and then I managed to scam on the back. We got a gap going and I was struggling but hanging in there. Then after a lap or so CornerCycle's Kevin H. showed up. He was content to just hang for a lap or so (as he was still saving himself for the A race) but then moved to the front and put in an acceleration. That was it for me; off the back. A lap or so in no mans land before I got picked off by Mike and then Chris from GearWorks/SpinArts. An NBX rider got me next and I knew that was going to be the last come hell or highwater. I stuck with him and we bridged back to Chris and the 3 of us rode the rest of the race together. Pretty uneventful besides a small mishap/slideout in a corner and running my knee into the rear brake arm hurdling a barricade on the final lap. Foiled my planned attack but oh well. Managed to hang in for 7th out of the 33 that finished. My best result ever I'd say and I managed to stay ahead of some folks that I have never beaten before.

Mike also rode "the log" on several laps. I got a couple of good shots, as did Bill from FastShots.

Kudos to the good folks at MRC for putting on a fine race! I am finally warmed back up. And we did get some snow overnight - about 4 inches. Supposed to mostly rain today though with snow showers through the week. I guess winter is finally arriving!