By the numbers
Miles: running- 443, biking - 2,544
Most miles in a month: bike - 590 (May), running - 70 (November)
Least miles in a month: running - 23.5 (May, no coincidence there), bike - 83.1 (February)
Coldest race weather: A 55 mile gravel race in 14*
Hottest race weather: A 16 hour adventure race in 95*
Running: 2 (both trail)
Bike: 9 (6 gravel, 3 mountain bike)
Adventure: 7 (3 24 hours or more)
Orienteering meets: 5
States I raced in: 7 (Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas)
New to me races: Rocheport Roubaix, Physically Strong 8-HR, Creve Couer Heartbreaker (MTB), 24 Hours of Cumming, Hellbender 16hr AR, Tomahawk Challenge 24hr AR, BT Epic (MTB)
Repeat races: SHITR, Tour of Hermann, Cedar Cross, Hairy Hundred, Dirty Kanza, Stubborn Mule 30 HR AR, Indian Camp Creek 9 hour (MTB), the Fig 12hr AR, Castlewood 8hr AR, Pere Marquette trail race, adventure camp, Thunder Rolls
Best race experience: Dirty Kanza hike-a-bike
Worst race experience: BT Epic trainwreck
After going back and forth about it for around 6 months (turns out I'm almost as slow to commit as my husband was), I joined Momentum Racing at the beginning of the year, but only after making sure things like "I'll always adventure race as a Virtus girl" and "I'm not really focused on winning bike races" were cool. Being a prime subscriber of Virtus's "Fun is better than fast" motto, I wasn't sure how I'd fit in on a team that thinks fast is fun, but it turns out there was plenty of room for me.
I ran my first trail race of the year (also my last running race until December) at the "Turd Annual" ShITR (Shivering Icy Trail Run), a nighttime trail half marathon organized by my friends at ROCK Racing. Starting out the year on trend, I was totally untrained for the distance but had a great time catching up with my friend Aaron as we covered the trails at a pretty chill pace. Later in the month was my very favorite January tradition, the Team Virtus MLK weekend at Berryman, where I had my first sub-freezing camping experience and learned that I have some things to learn about cold weather camping.
|Mandatory photo op by the ice before things started to thaw.|
|With Bob and Luke on the Joe Dirt loop|
The month started with an awesome gravel ride with Bob in the Massas Creek area near Warrenton. While neither of us thought to download the course to our Garmins (we're definitely not the team grownups), Bob got it figured out and we enjoyed a straight up fun ride in a beautiful area. The temperature was a balmy 31*, but there were plenty of hills to keep us warm.
|Frozen water bottles, frozen camelbak hose, frozen water coolers...|
My first adventure race of the year was the Physically Strong 8 hour, which was particularly exciting because it was my sister-in-law's first AR. We got Chuck to join us and then coaxed Patrick out of retirement to complete our team. It was a blast getting to share my favorite sport with another family member and some of my favorite people.
|I'd say she took to it pretty well!|
I ended March with the Death by Gravel in Steelville, MO. There's no day it would have been an easy ride for me, but following up my February bike mileage low of 83 miles with 94 miles of gravel and around 9,000 feet of climbing made for a humbling (though scenic) day in the saddle.
|It's a beautiful area.|
March may have ended on a rough note, but it was almost immediately followed by spring break and much happier bike miles. With Momentum I logged a fun metric century on the Katy complete with a mid-ride stop for pancakes and followed it up two days later on the Berryman trail with Luke, Amanda, and Dave.
|Photo credit: Dan Singer|
With a bike race almost every single weekend, May saw a lot of time in the saddle. Mickey had convinced me to "race" Cedar Cross (instead of treating it like a social ride like usual), leading to a much unhappier race experience but a considerably faster finish time. Because I have a short memory, two weeks later I did the same thing at Hairy Hundred, except that since Mickey was in pre-Dirty Kanza taper mode he stuck with me and "coached" (aka didn't let me stop) me to my first-ever first place finish (also aided by the real first-place girl's missed turn).
|Coolest prize ever.|
|Looking both pretty and ridiculous. The fact that the picture is so flattering makes the idiotic helmet a little heartbreaking.|
Photo credit: Mike Dawson
|Not me, but you get the idea. Photo credit: Jason Kulma|
June featured my typical post-DK training slump, interrupted only by the Stubborn Mule 30 hour AR. Out of four bike rides logged that month (four!! I did that many races in May!), two were during the race. The 10-hour drive to Cable, WI, was a drag, but it was totally worth it to ride some of the fun-nest singletrack I've ever ridden. I also got to experience being totally lost in the woods with no idea how to get back to the road, but thankfully Chuck was able to sort things out pretty quickly. We had a strong race and finished first in our division.
|Finished with the paddle after more than 24 hours of racing and only one trekking leg between us and the finish.|
Photo credit: Lori Vohsen
My racing life blended nicely with my family life this month, as both Mickey and Chuck and Lori's son Jacob joined our team for the annual mud volleyball tournament in Hannibal, MO. They played awesome and our team had a good year, which definitely helped justify their places in my life in Jeff's eyes.
Council Bluff was just a warmup for the Hellbender 16 hour AR, which the four of us were racing together. And by "warmup" I mean that if the heat was bad at Council Bluff (it was! I think we spent as much time in the lake as on the bikes that day. Except for Bob, who did both at the same time), it was significantly worse racing all day in 95*. On the other hand, the temperature definitely sweetened my first experience tipping a canoe in a race.
|Before we tipped it, though, we got to carry it. For half a mile. Good times.|
Photo credit: Rolla Multi-Sport Club
|In case you thought all that ^^ was hypothetical.|
I'd been eyeing the 24 Hours of Cumming gravel race since its inception last year, and when I realized Cumming, IA, is about 20 minutes from my brother's new house I knew it was a sign. I registered for the race, hoping that its 400K over 24 hours would be a big enough challenge to scare me out of my annual post-DK slump. Sadly, this was not the case, and I drove to Iowa having ridden less than 200K over the entire previous month.
I was pretty disgusted with myself afterwards; however, I fought flats in that same tire for the next 3 months before finally finding a piece of a staple embedded in the tread, so had I stayed in I was probably looking at many more flat tires. And it gave Jim, who served as my crew, the opportunity to get a glimpse of the race on his way to pick me up on the side of the road; when he got there, he told me, "I didn't realize just how alone you are out there." Also, while I totally let myself down, I did get to visit my brother and his family as well as finally meet Steve Fuller and Sarah Cooper, who I've blog-stalked for a long time, as well as the very cool and inspiring Steve Cannon. And Iowa is beautiful. I'll be back.
|Helping Luke change his flat tire.|
Over Labor Day weekend I raced in the Indian Camp Creek 9 hr mountain bike race. This event and I have a complicated history, including an initial outing where a miscommunication ended up in me having to ride an extra, very very unhappy, nighttime lap, and a second go when major saddle issues forced me out way early. This time around, I rode 56 miles and stopped feeling like I could definitely ride more; I had around an hour and a half left and ended up regretting stopping early, but I was being conservative with the next weekend's Tomahawk Challenge looming. And I still won second place because there were only two of us in the division.
October was not a peak month. I finally got to take a mountain bike clinic I've been eyeing all year, only to slice my leg open in a dumb pedal accident almost as soon as we started the level 2 instruction.
|It looked every bit as bad as it looks here; thankfully it didn't hurt nearly as bad as it looks.|
The gash itself was far less trouble than the resulting 3 weeks battling infection, but if you're going to get hurt this is my suggestion. It was a hassle to deal with, but other than being really nervous about re-injuring myself I didn't have to miss out on much.
BT Epic was in keeping with the non-peak theme for October. I've never had more confidence and less physical ability than in this race, where I totally blew my nutrition and spent 40 miles falling apart on anything remotely uphill. Chuck is a saint, because while my implosion screwed his goals for the race, he stuck by me and was as patient and encouraging as could be.
|Taken at the end of the 10 miles of fun preceding the 40 miles of misery.|
Photo credit: Josh Brown
Chuck and I headed back to Kentucky for the Fig 12hr AR, one of our favorite races from 2014. It was in new hands this year, but 361 Adventures provided the same kind of fantastic race experience as Flying Squirrel Adventures had. The Red River Gorge area is amazing, and what it lacks in singletrack and navigable waterways it makes up for with challenging terrain and incredible beauty.
|Chuck during our initial trek.|
My last AR of the year was another race that had changed hands, as Alpine Shop took over the Castlewood 8hr, This was my first time actually racing with Mickey, and what we lacked in canoeing ability we made up for with teamwork. I'd totally race with him again, but not before we both gain some paddling expertise.
|*Not actually going in opposite directions.*|
|Running and smiling...it's been a while since both happened at the same time.|
Photo credit: Robin Rongey
All in all, it was a very good year. My thanks to everyone who was a part of it, most especially my teammates, my awesome crew(s) Emma (DK) and Jim (24HOC), and all of the race directors and volunteers who've poured their time into these wonderful sports we love.