For some reason this last quarter of school was really tough. Maybe it was the fact that we had 10 classes to juggle, maybe it was that we were typically in class 7 hours a day then had to go home (in the dark usually, thank you mr winter) and study all that material. Regardless I was so ready for our break. Eugena and I had planned a sweet trip for spring break so here it is:
Friday March 9th: I finished my last final around 11am and headed home to get the car ready (2 road bikes and 2 mountain bike on top of our subaru is a beautiful site), and headed out. We were on our way to Lawrence, KS for the Devils Revenge Duathlon. We camped at the state park that evening and the next morning got up ready to race.
Saturday March 10th: The Duathlon started with a 2 mile trail run then a 10 mile mountain bike ride, and finished with another 2 mile trail run. The day was beautiful, a nice sunny 60 degrees at the start. There was about 115 racers in a mass start that included about 1/3 mile of pavement before getting on the trails. I felt good on the first run but had a little lateral knee pain in my right knee towards the end of the run. I hit the bike portion ready to have a great ride. I was riding the Rig and had been concerned about the single speed being a little limiting in terms of not having a big enough gear to go fast. I talked to one of the race organizers that morning who was also riding a Rig and he assured me that the trails were built for a single speed. Turns out he was right. There was just enough small short climbs and enough rocks that the trail was perfect for the Rig. I was having a blast and riding pretty well. The mtb ride was 10 miles but was 2x5 mile loops. The first loop I found myself not being able to find a good rhythm. But the second lap was awesome, I had a good beat in my head and felt like I was flying. Luckily the race had spread out enough by then that by the second mtb lap I hardly needed to pass any other racers. I came into the last run transition in pretty good shape. I counted only 7 other mtn bikes as I was changing into my running shoes. As I started the last run that slight knee pain quickly turned into a full blown "screwdriver shoved in my knee" type of pain. "Deal with it" I told myself and hobbled the 2 mile run. Unfortunately all the hard work I did on the bike was lost as I was passed by about 3 or 4 people on the run. When I finished I ended up 13th overall and 5th in my age group. Not to bad for a single speed and on a busted knee (this puts my marathon plans in a bit of a bind, more to come on that....).
Eugena on the other hand was pretty much awesome. She had a good run and a great bike and took the honors of 1st place overall female. Yeah, she pretty much rocks. I'll let her describe her own race on her blog.
Here is a blip from the race website, "Eugena Gunderson made the trip from Kirksville, MO payoff with the Overall women's title in 2:03:39. Eugena was actually on the way to Colorado for spring break and "can really use her cash winnings" to enjoy her trip out west more." We left for the rockies from there and made it to Denver where we decided to call it a day and stay with some freinds for the night.
Sunday March 11th: We got into SLC around 1 in the afternoon after a verky bleary drive through Wyoming. It was Eugena's birthday so that evening we had my family and some close friends over for dinner for a little get together. Pretty relaxed and low key.
Monday March 12th: I headed out for a ride with my dad in the morning and then went to the shop to get eugie fitted for her Moots. 8 weeks from March 12th! We then headed down to Moab with some cafe rio in our bellies. On our way into town we stopped to get in a short ride at Klondike Bluffs. It was a nice short ride and a good intro (reminder) to riding on sandstone. We got at spot on some BLM campground along highway 128 and the Colorado river (Drinks canyon).
Tuesday March 13th: My mom and dad came down for a couple days so we hit slickrock tuesday morning. The three of us (captain, eugie and I) hit the 2 mile practice loop with boudreaux before dropping the dog off with my mom and taking off on the full loop. It's been years since I have ridden slickrock but I don't think I've ever had as much fun as riding it on the Rig, plus it was a great workout. Eugena did awesome once she got used to riding on the sandstone hills. We had a great time out there. No one got injured, it was perfect weather (about 70 deg and sunny), and we were all challenged trying to clean some of the moves. It was so nice to be back riding on slickrock. I have missed the mountain biking there. It will be good to be back in the state by this August and to be able to take advantage of the desert some more.
Wed March 14th: Today we had a sweet road ride in store. I've always thought it would be incredible to ride through the Arches Natl park, so we did. We left from Moab around 8 am (a little chilly start) and found ourselves soon climbing a nice 2-3 mile climb up into the park. Unfortunately we didn't bring a camera on the road ride, but I have to say it was one of the most scenic and incredible road rides I've even done. To be riding next to giant sandstone walls and pillars was just beautiful. The whole ride was an out n'back route around 50 miles. The profile includes 3 climbs on the way out and 2 climbs on the way back....exactly what I love. It was awesome.
Thursday March 15th: We were supposed to ride porcupine rim today but I injured my knee slightly during the previous day's ride. I must have strained my vastus medialus (part of your quadriceps). Eugena and I were pretty bummed that we didn't ride porcupine but we decided that it was best to play it safe. Porcupine rim is a 21 mile point to point that is pretty much in the middle of the desert. We figured that if my knee were to get worse it could turn into a 15 mile hobble back to the car. So kind of dejectedly we packed up and decided to head up to SLC for our last couple days.
Friday March 16th: We hung around the house a bit and got ready for a road ride. We rode the prison loop and stopped by the Jordan "Beetdigger" high school lacrosse tournament. It was nice for eugena to be able to see a bunch of the girls that she coached when we lived in utah.
Saturday and Sunday: Diving across the bleak and dreary plains of Wyoming and Nebraska...pretty exciting huh?
It was so good to get out of kirksville and away from school and reconnect with eugena. The southern Utah desert is so amazing and we're pretty excited to be moving closer this summer. There is something that is special and healing about this part of the world. I've always enjoyed spending time in Utah desert country and this break renewed that love. More pictures of our trip can be found here.