Friday, August 1, 2014

The Final Countdown!

Today marks the two week countdown until Team USA jets off to Bialystok, Poland and the 2014 MTBO World Champs! Preparations have included team conference calls, jerseys shipped cross-country to see about sizing, and tips shared back and forth on our group Facebook page. Our team spans from Minnesota to Texas, and from Oregon to D.C., with a few more states making up the middle. We can't train together so we've been working on our own to make sure we're ready by the end of August. Sue and I wanted to share a little of what we've been doing here on the west coast (best coast) to get ready for Poland.
Thanks to friend Michelle for the sweet pic of Sue!

First of all, we've been racing. Portland has a great 8-week short track mountain bike series running from June to late July at Portland International Raceway. We both compete in the awesome Elite/Cat 1 Women's field in twisty, bumpy and fast 40-minute races. This style of riding is great for the short, powerful bursts of speed necessary in MTBO.

On top of racing, we've also been interval training on the bike and focusing on core strength both at the gym and at home. Without a ton of time to get on the trail for intervals, I've been spending many of my early mornings on the back porch with a very professional set-up: lawn mower displaying my workout, heart rate monitor watch wrapped around the handlebars, AND sweet vintage Descente jersey. You can check out all the bling in the photo below.

Any chance we can get to look at maps is obviously helpful, with the gentle reminder that everything looks quite different at race pace! We try to do any Foot-O events close by, and will go on longer mountain bike rides with old maps in our map holders just to practice reading on the go. Trail riding with map boards has definitely been a great opportunity to spread the word of MTBO. Riders heading in the opposite direction generally stop and inquire as to what that contraption might be on our handlebars.
Cue the "Rocky" theme song!

Our bikes also needed a little love in preparation for our week-long training camp and week's worth of racing. We grabbed new Kratos tires from Rubena, especially after finding some "Stanimals" hiding out inside the old tires from the Stan's No Tubes sealant of yore. One of my tires was also losing air out the sidewall -- it was time for a refresh! Add in an upgrade of some Avid XO hydraulic disc brakes and I'm starting to feel pretty set.
Are those sea monkeys...? No! They're Stanimals! 

And last but not least, we've also been recruiting. Sue and our club, CROC, hosted a local MTBO race at Stub Stewart State Park in June, and another short training exercise at Mt. Tabor Park in SE Portland this past week. Participants from both events left asking when the next race would be, which we considered a good sign. In order to get the US Junior MTBO movement rolling, we've decided it's absolutely fine to start recruiting youth at a very young age. On that note, I'd like to introduce you to our new friend, Willa Miriam -- she should be taking the junior MTBO circuit by storm in say, year 2030? Her parents say she's trying to decide between orienteering or bike racing -- why not both?

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