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!