WHOA! That was one hell of a weekend...
I will keep this as short as possible! But before I tell you about my weekend of racing, here's a shout out to a couple of my clients who competed at the GO PRO GAMES after absolutely working their butts off all winter long.
Ysmael is 36 years old, a professional flutist from Venezuela! He competed in his first mountain bike race ever this past weekend and placed 16th out of 40 men...
"I've been wanting to jump into a mountain bike race for a long time and after randomly meeting Coach Heidi on trail one day, I knew she would be the right person to help me achieve my goals in the most positive and fun way. My experience training with Heidi has been far more than I ever thought it could be. I have a full time job, a family, and I practice competitive Capoeira which is so different from biking! Her approach in training me has been extremely different than anything I've done before and I've never been so strong in my life. She constantly listens to me and takes into account what my goals are, how much time I have for training and how my background in other sports compliment the workouts she prescribes. From these discussions, she developed a truly personalized program that challenged me and pushed way past what I thought I could do. She suggested a few races I could do and that could also be fun for my family to attend and watch. My first one went perfectly!! I placed higher than I was expecting and raced much faster than I thought I was able to. I was so well prepared and felt completely confident after all the specific training we had done & pre-riding the course together, which made the race pure fun (and some suffering too, of course!!!). My 12 year old son and wife were there with me and it was one of my favorite weekends of riding so far. My next race is the Breckenridge 30 and I can't wait!!"
Marcello, Ysmael's 12 year old son providing a perfect water bottle feed!!
Marc is 52 years old, an anesthesiologist from Denver, and somehow he's found a enough time to train and join me in The GO PRO Ultimate Mountain Challenge!!
Marc getting pumped up to run "the hardest 10k in the country"...!
"Heidi has been my coach for about 10 months and when we were planning for race season, she suggested we do a couple of races together. The Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Games and the Buffalo Creek Xterra. At first, I was nervous that the UMC would be too hard (Kayak, mountain bike, trail run, TT), but with Heidi's creatively fun training plan and her constant enthusiasm and encouragement, I felt confident I could do it. I took a week to join Coach Heidi & CHEF Z at The Cyclist's Menu Tucson Road Camp in January. It was an incredible jump start to the year and my fitness! We find time to train together about once a month. We usually do a few intervals, then practice bike handling skills and I'm a much more efficient rider now as a result.
The UMC experience was grueling and brutal but made so much easier with Heidi's encouragement and help throughout he weekend. Whenever I thought it was too hard, I would think about Heidi and her mental toughness and commitment to my success and that propelled me to continue and to push harder.
Ultimately, I followed through with my goals, trying my best, completing the race, and having as much fun as possible.
I'm excited to see how far Heidi's coaching will take me this summer and beyond. She makes me want to work extra hard!! Not only has she helped me take my fitness to the next level, she is an amazing person who cares about my success."
Congrats you guys!! It's been so cool for me to see your hard work pay off...
OK, I will make my story short & sweet!
Race #1: 4 mile kayak down class 2-3 rapids on the Eagle river
This is my 4th year in a row competing in The Ultimate Mountain Challenge, and it's my one day of every year that I jump into a kayak, turn my brain off, and hope to make it out alive. This year, the river was RAGING. About 1/2 way to the finish line, I weaseled myself into a huge rock hole and completely dumped & swam. I was scared! The GO PRO GAMES has a first class professional river rescue crew and they immediately tossed a rope and pulled me out (although, not to sound dramatic or anything... I felt as though I was holding on for my dear life! Water poured over my head and the river was pulling me along so quickly, it felt very unnatural to me). My kayak on the other hand.......... floated about 1 mile downstream. I had to finish this race. I ran 1 mile in my floppy wet shoes with paddle in hand, jumped back into the boat, and finished the race!! 15 minutes or so behind Gretchen Reeves....
Race #2: 22 mile Mountain Bike Race
It's a climbing course with about 1,500 feet of elevation gain per lap (3 laps). It's classic Colorado mountain biking... one of my favorite style of races. For me, a climb like this is one of the best parts of mountain biking. You have no choice but to push yourself as hard as you can to the top, a short moment to gather yourself, and then a ripper of a descent back down and then you do it all over again. I placed 10th overall in the Pro women's race, but Gretchen still got me by 2 minutes....
Race #3: "The hardest 10k in the country"
1,600 feet of climbing, 1,600 feet of descending = the hardest event in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. I held my own and surprised myself placing 8th overall, 4 minutes ahead of Gretchen. Extreme and hard, but so much fun. There's something so freeing about getting off the bike and onto my feet. Andrew Chad took a couple of shots of me finishing the 10k (attached below), pure exhaustion!
Race #4: 10 Mile time trial up Vail Pass
This is when I completely turn into a "wildcard". The downhill pounding of that 8AM trail run destroys legs. Oh boy, Vail Pass, 1.5 hours after I finish the trail run... here goes nothing! When TT started I settled in nicely and even though I felt like a turtle, I did everything in my power to hold that pace to the top. It's maybe the best lesson in racing, to know in the back of your mind at all times, that even if you don't feel like you're making progress, HANG IN THERE... because you never know. I won this stage by 48 seconds.
A huge thank you to CHEF Z for your amazing support, and Gretchen Reeves for always pushing me to the limit.
Until next time!
The Whiskey 50 weekend never fails to be an enormously significant time of year for me - five years and counting!! Whether it be my fitness, health, or some other big life change in general, every year, I'm in a totally different place then I was the year before.
The Whiskey this year was over the top! Somehow it worked out that a handful of clients I've been coaching all winter joined me for this monumental weekend. And, WHOA... I experienced something during our long weekend together that's unquestionably never happened to me before.
To start: CHEF Z, Jake Schuppe, and myself, hosted The Cyclist's Menu "premier race support house" in Adventure Seekers LLC "Yukon" the trailer.
"Yukon" has 7 private beds, a full kitchen with a 5 burner stove, mechanic and bike storage room, living & dinner room, a hot water shower and more. CHEF Z was our in-house chef, Jake was our full-time mechanic/trailer master, and I was the coach & CHEF Z's sous chef. To learn more about our "Premier Race Support House" experience at the Whiskey this year, CLICK HERE.
Another reason why this year's Whiskey was so over the top for me...
I was there to teach my athletes how to ride the course, and give them 100% support on and off the race course.
I'm blown away by all of my athletes performances... but Carole was an extra special rider out there. She's been in a sling (recovering from invasive shoulder surgery), sitting on a trainer on the coast of Florida ALL winter long. She's never even been mountain biking before but insisted she needed a goal to keep her motivated throughout the winter. She's got her eye on the Leadville 100 this August!!
I really can't believe how much you did during our 4 days together, Carole!! I'm blown away by you girl. Enormous congrats - you earned it.
Amber is another gal that blew me away at the Whiskey 50. She's only done 2 mountain bike races ~ ever, but we've been training her all winter long in prep for the infamous Leadville 100. The girls and I had a blast practicing the course in the snow, hanging in the trailer, and indulging in CHEF Z's creations together.
In the end, not only did Amber have a smile on her face the entire race, but it's so amazing to see hard work pay off. She placed 9th overall. Wow!!
Oh, and to top off our weekend... I even got to jump into the Whiskey 50 race on Sunday morning. I was on a vision quest out there, loved every minute of my time on my Ibis Ripley and feel so lucky I was able to attend this event for my 5th year in a row. A huge congrats to all!!
Next stop: The Epic Rides Grand Junction Off-Road!! Hope to see you there...
See you soon,
ROOTS, ROCKS, REPEAT.
Holy s*%#, that was one hell of an adventure...
Before I show you some photos, most of which were taken by Icon Media Asheville btw, I have to tell y'all that you've got to put this one on your list. I left North Carolina last week with a new family. Blue Ridge Adventures throw's down a mind-blowing week of bike racing, and so much more...
Over and over I'd say out loud to myself, "Heidi, focus, be careful, we gotta get home in one piece"!!
Pisgah had an extra dose of good vibes out there with Mark!! Not only was he the the oldest guy out there, but he only started mountain biking 2 years ago...
Sue Haywood, adding incredible spice to the trail all week on her new Ibis HD3... The Green Machine!
This was taken on the very last 7 mile climb, on the very last day. Total survival mode baby!!
Mr. Ripley & The Green Machine
1 of thousands of waterfalls in this amazing rain forest...
So many new good friends made.
In my zone!! Feeling so lucky I was able to sneak out there and do this...
A hard fought 3rd place overall finish in the end. Congrats to all!!
"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up" - Babe Ruth. That's the quote on the back of my trophy. I usually don't know what to do with trophy's, but this one has touched my heart. Handmade by Matthew Gentry!! Thank you so much...
There were a lot amazing things that seemed to happen last week during the Pisgah Stage Race. After letting it all soak in, I have to say that working with client and incredible friend, Mark Reichmann over the past few months, was an incredible experience for ME. He would send me pictures of himself on the trainer, looking like he was going to puke. :) He simply worked his butt off to feel good at Pisgah, and he sure as hell blew us all away out there with his performance. I'm so proud of this guy!!
I had to add this one of Mark on the trainer, post-interval!! Nice work my friend.
Thank you for everything Todd and Blue Ridge Adventures!! We'll be back.
My photo story of the Vail, Colorado's 2015
GO PRO ULTIMATE MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE
Cheers to my private chef, my Ibis bikes, and my GU Energy race fuel. Thank you for your support!!
SO much that goes into a 4-stage event!! Especially when it involves both water and dirt...
4 miles of class 2-3 rapids... always a relief to finish this stage!
I surprised myself and took 1st place in the kayak portion of the race by only 1 second! Jaime Brede finished just behind me! She and I have been competing in this event together for the past few years, having her energy there is always one of the best parts of the weekend.
Year after year, the downhill portion of the course continues to be one my favorite rippers of the season...
This year we were lucky enough to have XTERRA Champion Emma Garrard join us in the challenge! I finished in 2nd place, a few minutes behind Emma in the Mountain bike race.
"The hardest 10k in the country"
No matter how strong you are on your feet, this is always the hardest part of the weekend. Ouch!
To top it all off... a classic time trial up Vail Pass.
This is one of the most exciting race weekends of the year and I'm incredibly passionate about coaching my clients to kick some butt out here with me...
Until next year!