Monthly archives: June, 2008

Ales and Trails…this weekend!


IMBA California is holding their fifth annual Ales and Trails benefit on Saturday, June 28, 2008 in Miwok Meadow, China Camp State Park (San Rafael, CA) from 9am – 4pm.
Featuring:
Guided rides and skills clinics for all levels! Mens, womens and coed clinics led by World Champion Shaums March, National Champion Rachel Lloyd, Strong, Light and Beautiful, Maureen and Emma from the Lost Coast Brewery Team, REI Outdoor School and more.
Meet and ride with Blind Mountain Bike Racer, Bobby McMullen.
Six Breweries serving beer on tap – Lagunitas, Marin Brewing, Moylans, Lost Coast Brewery, Sierra Nevada and Pyramid (root beer).
Gourmet BBQ
Live Music
Dirt Rag Photo Contest
Silent Auction
Attendee swag bag including IMBA/Ales and Trails Beer Sampling GlassVisit http://www.alesandtrails.net/ for more information and to register online.

Come join Maureen and Emma on the rides!



NorCal HS Invitational Camp

Last week Maureen volunteered at the NorCal High School MTB League’s Invitational Camp in Tahoe City, CA. The camp was 5 days and featured races, skills clinics, informational seminars, and lots of fun! League participants were invited to the camp based on last season’s results. The top racers at the camp were invited to NMBS #4 in Deer Valley, UT this weekend. Along with racing at the NORBA, they are going to hang out with professional racers on the Subaru-Gary Fisher Team, a very exciting opportunity! The kids rode hard and Maureen had fun leading rides and getting to know the riders. They rode sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail, a high-altitude, rocky, and awesome experience. The food at Granlibakken Lodge was great, the icy waters of the Truckee River were refreshing, and the company was excited about mountain biking…a perfect combination!



Ashland 12 Mile Super D


Last weekend Tsering and I (Emma) headed North to Ashland Oregon for the famed 12 mile Super D and to check out the town of Ashland as we are looking at places to move right now. The trip was awesome! Driving north for races is so much more enjoyable than heading south. We were surrounded by massive Redwoods and cliff side ocean sunsets on our way to the race and traveled through green hills and past Mt. Shasta on our way home. That beats staring at a semi truck on 1-5 for 8 hours hands down!
We arrived to Ashland on Saturday with just enough time to drive to the top of the mountain and get in one run on the course. Tsering’s brother Themba was nice enough to come with us and help with the shuttles and race support. Thanks Themba! The course was EPIC! Almost entirely single track, it began with a ripping fast open descent followed by a brutal steep climb at altitude, then twisting through some rocky wooded single track, some rolling terrain, switch backs, ridge riding through the redwoods, and finishing with a loose, granite-like single track section. The course is almost entirely down for 12 miles, starting at the top of Mt Ashland and finishing just above the main town. Both Tsering and I were on our hard tails and by the end of my pre-ride, I was feeling a little skeptical. This course is no NMBS Super D, it’s the real deal and a full suspension bike is definitely an advantage (should’ve borrowed a Quad XC!). I was getting pretty rocked on the braking bumps and had major arm pump by the bottom. But I was AMPED on the course! Pretty much the most fun race course I’ve seen in a long time.
We finished our ride and rolled back through town the our campsite, Wells Springs. This place was surreal. It was like stepping into the Rainbow Gathering. They had a little music festival set up in the main area with rocking spiritual beats, you could rent a tee-pee, and they had sulfur water from the spring running though the whole place! In the lobby, the cute hippy receptionist even offered me some organic salad with kelp dressing. It was awesome! We pitched our tent on the lawn and headed back to town for some dinner and to sample to Oregon brews. Both were delicious. We even checked out a local nightclub to get a sense of the evening scene. Not bad for a small town, though the treble was waay too high. We got back to our campsite and gathered around a campfire with some Medford locals who gave us the low-down on the town.
We woke early the next morning, packed up our site and drove to the summit for the start of the race. We arrived with plenty of time to dress and warm up as Tsering decided to race in the hardtail category after seeing the kind of bikes people were riding the course on. My race wasn’t until 11:30am so I watched some of the pros start, stretched, and chatted with other ladies who were racing. Tsering went off around 10:30am and had a strong start, but got a very unfortunate flat about 3 miles into the race. With nothing on him to fix it, he hiked back up the course and asked the official if he could go again. They said they’d let him, but he’d have to wait until all the women left. My race went smooth. I had a good mellow start on the fireroad, which was now pretty loose and stuttered from the other racers. I punched it on the climb, knowing that was the only place I’d be able to make up time on the girls with bigger bikes. I caught my one minute woman on the climb and passed her as she was walking her bike up the hill. The rest of the race flew by in a swirl of oxygen deprivation as a I tried to maintain speed on the descents and push it on the climbs. Right before the bottom, I ran into 2 male WTB riders making their way down the finishing switchbacks. They were talking a lot and as I got closer I realized it was blind racer Bobby and his guide! It was amazing to witness these guys tearing down the trail with speed and confidence, even though one of them cannot see! They were super nice and let me by, but by the time I passed them, the girl who was walking on the hill had caught back up to me. I finished just ahead of her and felt pretty stoked on my run of 50 minutes, even if my hands had gone completely numb from braking. Tsering’s 2nd attempt went smooth (no flats) and he passed 5 girls on his way down. However, when the results were posted, we were disappointed to see that they didn’t restart the timer from his original start so it looked like he had the most epic Super D ever according to the official record.
At the finish, we spent 2 long hours waiting for the shuttle back up, but had fun talking to locals and meeting new people. The Oregonian riders were all really friendly. We even had the pleasure of getting to know Lindsey, Bend local, Kurt Vories’ wife, and bad ass racer who won my category. Once we got to the top, she even hooked us up with some yummy brews. Thanks Lindsey! The raffle was already in action when we got to the top and I filled up a plate with pasta and salad that they had for the racers. Nice! I got a cute t-shirt in the raffle and was psyched to find out that I got 3rd for Open Expert Women in the race! Some of the sport girls had killer fast times and beat me, but I was still happy with it. I beat a few girls and I was on my little XC hardtail, so I was stoked. Not to mention, the custom glass blown medals were pretty much the most awesome medals ever! After the race we went into town for more food and I chilled in the lovely Lithia Park and read my book. Ashland is pretty damn cute and the riding is sweet! If only I could find a job there…
-Emma



Update from Maureen in Rwanda!

Hi friends!
I am writing to say hello from Rwanda! I came here a week ago to help with Project Rwanda and the Coffee Bike Project. Coffee is Rwanda¢s only true export, and independent coffee farmers are helping to turn this country’s economy around in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.
The goal of the Coffee Bike Project is to help Rwanda by helping its farmers. Mountain bike legend Tom Ritchey designed special coffee bikes made to carry extremely large loads of raw coffee beans to the washing stations. The bikes offer faster means to transport fresh coffee cherries to buyers, allowing the farmers to generate a much larger profit. The bikes are distributed among the independent farmers through a micro-loan system.

I am here with five others from UC-Berkeley. We’ve been building up donated bikes, visiting bike shops, and teaching Rwandans how to maintain their new bikes. We have also had some time to travel the country and see its beauty. We went on a safari and saw zebras, baboons, hippos, an elephant, and lots of cool birds. We also traveled to the volcanoes in the western part of the country, along with the massive Lake Kivu. We spend most of our time in Kigali, the capital. It has a lot of people, cars, motorbikes and black exhaust that stinks.

This is my first trip to Africa, and it’s quite different than I imagined. I thought I’d see a huge desert without much greenery (i.e. the Sahara), but I was wrong! Rwanda is a very small country, but the landscape is full of beautiful green rolling mountains. It reminds me a lot of western North Carolina, with one major difference: almost every inch of land is farmed. Bananas, potatoes, corn, cassava, avocados, passion fruit… We are just a little bit south of the Equator, but the weather is really mild. I think our elevation is about that of Denver (~5000 ft). It’s been humid but the temps are usually in the 70s.

The children wave, smile, and yell ‘Mzungu’ when we pass them. This word means ‘foreigner’ and it’s pretty funny. They are so cute! Most families have at least 3 children, so there are a lot of kids yelling at us. When we bike past them, they run with us smiling and cheering…some hang with us for at least a mile!

One of the coolest things we’ve done so far is ride 100 km (~60 mi) from Kigali to Ruhengeri to deliver some mountain bikes for a fundraising event in August called the Wooden Bike Classic. It was very difficult terrain, made harder by a few downpours and waning daylight.

Collectively, we’ve taken over 1000 photos, but we’ve not yet had a good-enough internet connection nor the time to get them on the web. Another interesting thing about Rwanda is the lack of land-line telephones. Everyone uses cell phones (we guessed they skipped the whole land-line thing), and you pay as you go, buying minutes from street vendors in the form of a little strip of paper with a scratch-off code.

We have a blog, but we haven’t really been able to maintain it (again, we blame the unreliable internet connections).
Anyway, here is the blog address:
http://bearsinrwanda.blogspot.com/

You can learn more about the Project at this website:
http://projectrwanda.org/

And in case you were wondering, yes the coffee really is good! Supposedly Starbucks buys the top 40% of Rwanda’s crop.

I hope this email finds you well…thanks for reading!
cheers, Maureen
(Thanks to Sean Sevilla for 3 of the above images. We will post more updates from Mo soon!)



Friends of Tamarancho

Maureen recently raced at the local Friends of Tamarancho race where she came in 2nd for prowomen. Here is her report:

A fun local race in Fairfax, Friends of Tamarancho is always a fun time. The weather was a stark contrast from last weekend’s summer swelter at Firestone. There was a cool breeze and almost chilly temps at the race start, perfect for racing! The course has some tough climbing, technical descending, and lots of trees. We did 3 laps of the 6-mile course. I tried to hang with Rachel Lloyd, but she was so blazing fast, I didn’t see her after the starting line. I ended up a solid 2nd in the Pro/Expert Women’s field. It was fun meeting some Marin locals and hanging out with friends. (Special thanks to Jacob SB for the picture above from the Firestone NMBS and for the images of Mo in the previous post)

Around that same time, Tsering and I took a much-needed break from studying and made a trip to Santa Cruz for some awesome single track riding! We were joined by Tsering’s brother Themba who borrowed my beautiful custom Ahrens bike. It was a little too small for him, but he totally pulled off, like a dress in a cyclocross race ;). We did several runs of the sweet single track descents above the UCSC campus which included several trips down the teter-toter. The riding in Santa Cruz always reminds me of why I love mountain biking! -Emma



Firestone NMBS, Xterra, and Celebrations

Apologies for the lack of posts of late! Life has been crazy busy this spring with lots of racing and the insanity of finishing up school and then moving back home (at least for Tsering and I). Maureen has been holding down the fort for the rest of the crew though and has made her way to lots of races this season and continues to excel above and beyond everyone’s expectations. She recently raced at the NMBS #3 race at Firestone in the brutal heat and thrived! Here is her story on the experience:

While E & T were off on an educational sabbatical, I (Maureen) went to NMBS #3 (aka Firestone, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, or Santa Barbara…I’m not sure which is correct). My main memories of the race are of sweltering heat and dead grass.

XC: I started ok, got a sweet call-up, my bottles got boiling hot after 20 minutes of riding. I crashed 12 minutes into the race on a steep, off-camber turn on the first downhill. I went too fast into the turn and ended up flipping over the handlebars into the grass. It definitely could have been much worse, but I gracefully rolled over and averted serious harm. At the back feed zone I started going very slowly and was passed by most of the field. At the start of the next lap, something clicked and I got a second wind. I passed several girls on the first climb and held my position till I came across a rider laying in the grass on the last climb…it was Georgia Gould with heat exhaustion!! I stopped to assist Pua and Heather with the rescue effort, but it was clear that more help was needed, so I continued on to look for help. Then I saw a 4-wheeler on the main road, and I knew help was on the way. I finished my race, ending up 21st with my health intact. Goal accomplished! I drank 6 bottles of water and had at least 4 dumped down my back by race volunteers and my ace-feeder Mark. After the race, we went to the beach and swam in the ocean for a much-needed cool off.

STXC: The race started at high noon in the boiling hot sun with gusty winds. I had a good start and settled into my rhythm. I slowly picked girls off and played roadie games by drafting in the headwind sections. The course was pretty flat except for one short climb. I worked harder than ever before and it was good for 12th place, my best finish to date!! At the end of my race I felt pretty bad from the heat and had to seek shade for 20 minutes. Brutal!!

The Super D was right after the short track, and it involved a sketchy shuttle ride to the top of the course. The course was so windy that some of the descending felt like climbing. I ended up 8th, in the middle of the pack. But, I was only 4 seconds behind Kelli Emmet, the winner of the XC!

Overall, I had a fun time, got to hang out with my family, and do some tough bike racing. A perfect, but hot, weekend!

Brian also did some racing in the Southern California heat that same weekend at the Xterra West Championships in Temecula, CA. Brian had a great start to his race with a killer swim that put him well ahead of most of his competitors. He had a smooth transition to the bike and felt good at first, but had a hard time drinking or eating and started to feel the cumulative effect of the heat and the fast pace. The run was brutal for Brian who started to feel sick to his stomach and puked several times, churning up the little that was in his stomach. He still finished a very respectable 29th considering suffering from heat exhaustion and losing his breakfast, but is amped to see how he can perform at the next Xterra event after some more training in the heat and lots of recovery from the Temecula weekend.

Tsering and I (Emma) were finishing up the most EPIC stage race during this same period of time: college. We were both finishing up our senior theses, writing our final papers, preparing for final exams, and hosting our families for graduation. It was a bummer to miss out on the NMBS race at Firestone, especially since I was leading the series before the race, but school definitely needed to be tended to. Now it’s all over with though and we are both Cal alumni! Tsering graduated with a BA in Environmental Science and I graduated with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies with an emphasis in Conflict Resolution. We are both living in Southern Humboldt at least for the summer and applying to jobs in Northern California and Oregon. Let us know if you know anyone who’s hiring for some exciting, ethically-satisfying jobs that will help us extend our addiction to mountain bike racing. And thank you to our respective friends and family who supported us in our educational endeavors!
-Emma