Monday, June 16, 2008

The Ax broke me

(left, This guy Chip crashed on top of some one's rear cog and all ten speeds are tattooed on his face. He should make next year's poster I think.)

When I envisioned Lumberjack, I assumed it was a mountainous course since it was located at a ski resort. I was pleased to find Big-M ski area is a cross country ski resort! There were multiple flat sections and all the climbs were the short power types that, yes, will wear on you over time, but it sure beats sustained climbing for me. I went in confident.

However, the suitability of the course to my preferences was not enough. I did not finish the race. I completed 75 miles (3 of 4 laps) but did not make the time cut off to start my final lap. I knew at the start of lap 3 I would not make it, but I figured it was a beautiful day (high of 79) so why not get in 75 instead of 50. I think I was sick because at the start line, I saw all these people with armwarmers, vests and jackets and I could not figure out why I was so warm feeling. I kept thinking, these are the same Michiganders who survived that brutal winter of snow? Oh well, can't blame illness cuz if I'd been in better shape, I would have been able to push through a bug. NEXT TIME. . . .

What a phenomenal course. As advertised, it was 99% singletrack, mostly smooth, a bit twisty in places, with almost no exposed roots. It was perfect for long distance racing since you could settle into a great rhythm. Racers passed and yielded trail with ease since there was always space to maneuver. There were gorgeous sections of tall pines and fields of fern-like low growth.

The climbs lasted no more than a minute (except for one), and I suspect the pro women and certainly the pro men used middle rings for all the climbs. It was not technical, at least by rocky, twisty, or obstacle standards. It lent itself perfectly to a 29er and I did see quite a few on the scene.

My blogging friend Anne let me set up under their tent. Her husband Dennis offered much needed support for me as I pitted before lap 3. All I wanted was Oreo cookies and he happened to have some!

She had the race of her life, placing 4th overall behind 3 Powerhouses, Trek's Cheryl Sornson, Karen Potter (, and Danielle Musto (Kenda). Anne rode a 29er but I do not recall the manufactuer.

Here is the women's podium (Anne at far left) and as if that weren't enough, Anne also won a Cannondale full suspension frame in the raffle. Danielle (2nd from left) has a race write up on her blog. Also, the 3rd place male winner Harlan Price did a write up.

Finally, I was reunited with Founder's IPA at the awards ceremony. Their brewery is in Grand Rapids, and there is no circulation of it in Southeastern VA. Glad they help sponsor the race!


Danielle Musto said...

It was great seeing you again Liz! We need to keep track of races that we will both be at, and I will always try to bring some IPA for you :-)

BTW...I think the people wearing the arm warmers and cold weather gear were from the South!

Lindsay Hall-Stec said...

Sorry about your race and that I didn't stick around long enough to meet anyone. It sounds like you had fun at least. :)

Anonymous said...

Hope you're feeling better. Sounds like a beautiful race. We're already missing you in Norfolk.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Dinsmore! We miss you Liz! Good to see all the positive things you have to say about the race, I love your glass half full tude! Next year that 4th lap better watch out for the Schleep!


Liz Schleeper said...

Thanks guys! I am pretty settled but am missing the general harrassment I get at home. People who don't know me are nicer :))

jw said...

these epics are so cool! Congrats! I am almost outta here!