What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Xterra US Nationals Went

Finally. My toes grip the boat ramp and my eyes suck into my goggles. I'm at Xterra US Nationals, watching the camera crew fly by in the helicopter.

ka-PLOW! Championships call for CANONS, not guns.

The frenzy-- so many bodies!-- the cold--



Okay, it's okay-- just calm down. You're excited. Just breast stroke and get your breath back. Put your face back in the water..

#GASP!!!!!!! gasp#GASP!gasp#GASP!#GASP!!

My breath isn't coming back! What is this? Altitude? The cold water?
I try my face in the water again--##GAAAAASP!!!## Is my suit tightening up? What is this feeling?

The field charges away. I am the lonely duckling-- gasping, back stroking, wondering what is happening, digressing, surviving, focusing, breathing. Volunteer kayakers take a special interest in me and paddle alongside. One suggests I swim more horizontally.

Panic suppressed, I approach the shore for the first time just as the pro field laps me. Their greek bodies are born from wetsuits. For the first time, I am able to put my face in the water without gasping and I swim the second lap as I wished my first had gone.

Then, thankfully, the swim is done. I wobble up the boat ramp to the transition area.

Bike rack lane one, two.. my bike should be riiiight.. riiight.. WHEREISMYBIKE?!

DAMN IT, whereismybike?!!

Oh, where is my bike? Please--

Oh. Yes. I am in the wrong section. My bike is over there-- all alone. Clearly-- there is my bike.

Dry feet, pull on socks, shoes, spray sunscreen, food in mouth, drink water, helmet/glasses, stuff food in pockets, Camelbak, gloves, get out of there!

Oh, thank goodness I'm on my bike. I know how to ride a bike. I can breathe on my bike. I pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. I pass, get passed, pass, get passed. There is climbing and single track, double track, polite competitors-- "can I pass whenever it's safe?"

Rocky, dry, double track climbing. The forest closes in-- single track climbing, white barked trees, red leaves sprinkle the ground like a contrived painting of fall, but it's not contrived-- it's REAL and it's ridiculous. Climb, climb, climb. Thousands of feet we climb.

Oh my goodness! A downhill! SWOOP, SWOOP, SWOOP. I love mountain biking. I am glee, I am zone, I am mountain bike.

Oh my goodness, we're climbing again.

Climb, climb, climb, climb, climb.

I can hear the music from the transition zone! I am close!

No, I am going away.

The sounds disappear.

And I am climbing.

Climbing, climbing, pushing-- I am pushing my mountain bike.

I am exhausted and I am CRASHING my mountain bike. For no good reason, I crash me and my mountain bike. Twice.

I am stiffly, cautiously, drunkenly steering through switchbacks and I am surviving my mountain bike.

Please, please, please, let this leg be over.

More climbing.



Whip on my shoes, Oops! shoulda drank more water, I prance out of there and--

more climbing.

I march.

I alternate: jog, shuffle, march. Jog, shuffle, march. Oo-- pretty butterfly. Jog, shuffle, march. It is GORGEOUS up here. Jog, shuffle, march. "Trail running is fun, even when you're slow," I think. Jog, shuffle, march. #FALL!!# Jog, shuffle--

And eventually--

I finish. In four and a half hours.

Beat, but alive.

I feel alive.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I went to Xterra US Nationals

I went to Xterra* US Nationals.

*Xterra is an off-road triathlon: swim, mountain bike, trail run.

It's sorta funny how it happened. I tried Xterra Black Diamond on a whim. Ended up at Xterra Portland by accident. And I qualified* for Nationals by surprise.

*(it's not terribly difficult to qualify, as Xterra is still a small sport).

Many people who qualify for Nationals don't actually go to Nationals.

So why did I go to Nationals?

Did I think that I could win my age group? Maybe if I had a REALLY great day.

Did I think I could place in my age group? Maybe if I had a really GOOD day.

Did I think that it would be really fun, expanding experience? Absolutely; even on a slow day.

I had a slow day; but I still loved it. One of the hardest athletic things I've done juxtaposed in some of the most eye-popping landscape on which I've had the privilege to lay tire tracks.

Totally awesome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The way I see it-- I didn't have a choice.

The Enchantments. THE Enchantments. Of COURSE I was going to go see the ENCHANTMENTS.

She fingered the map, "the way to go is up to this lake, then over Aasgard pass.." and through the Enchantments.

That's not an offer to refuse.

It's only a 20 mile day hike. And Aasgard only gains 2000' in a mile. And much of it isn't so much "trail" as it is "path across boulders."

But whatever. I was going to see the Enchantments with Laura. It'd be a whole day of Laura time in some of Washington's most treasured landscape.


Of course, the miles added up and I wobbled and hobbled more and more as the day went on. Laura was patient. And kept us on schedule. Even when my shoes turned to cheese graters, we had to race the light-- so no picnics and few pictures. But it was awesome. I'm ridiculously sore. And the big blister will go away.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Fans-- Thank You

Over the past few months, I've had a couple drop-offs in posting. A few weeks here and there where An Adventure Called Bicycling was silent.

Each time, I received one or several e-mails from regular readers. Some told me why they like my style, or how certain posts inspired them. Some went further and just asked that I keep posting!

So to all those fans of this little bike blog that have sent me notes of thanks or encouragement-- thanks. I read them. Several times. And it keeps me posting.


Wenatchee has..






It's been a long while since I've ridden a quiet ribbon of chip-seal- with so many organic textures and colors to woo me. And far too long since I've had company on a ride.

I'm looking forward to finally kitting up for a team in the fall. No allegiances have been signed quite yet. Right now I'm focusing on Xterra US Nationals on Sept. 25, then: CYCLOCROSS!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Masi Hibernates for the Winter

Time to hang up the track bike, this summer on the velodrome has come to an end.

In my first season on the track, I've gone from the mandatory beginner's class to winning cash primes under Friday Night lights.

I rode aggressively, stupidly, patiently, impatiently, with snap, courage and enthusiasm.

And it's GREAT cross-training for Xterra and cyclocross!

A Progression

155 = Thurs Night # -- for beginners

678 = Weds Night # -- as a Category 4 Woman

807 = Weds Night # -- with the Category 4 Men

126 = Friday Night # -- as a 3 with the 1/2/3's

Bronze = 3rd in State Championship Scratch Race

Bronze = 3rd in State Championship Points Race

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Xterra Portland

Just weeks previous to Xterra Portland, I raced my first Xterra (off-road triathlon) in Black Diamond, WA. I raced just to participate, finish, and investigate how the distance felt-- then I unexpectedly won my (albeit small) age group.

So at Xterra Portland, in a bigger field-- I was there to turn up the heat! Unfortunately, I really DID get heated up!

SWIM: I remembered the wetsuit this time! My swim split was a whole 6 minutes faster.

BIKE: Oh, my-- the transition zone always gives you a zap of adrenaline! I went busting out of there determined to NOT be overly courteous and complacent about passing. I just passed, passed, passed, passed, passed, --whoa, BREATHE--, passed, passed, passed.. then when I figured I had to be leading my age group, I yanked the reins. WhooAAAAA. Don't forget about the run, pal!

RUN: Turns out, as soon as I left the woods for the run-- KAplow!! 95 degrees. Oh my goodness. At Black Diamond, I hit the run feeling springy. After churning my legs up and down the faster and less technical mountain leg, I was not treated to this luxury. AND-- I was dehydrated to boot. I jogged, I shuffled, I took walking breaks, then for the second half of the run-- I took a big, continuous walking break. I knew that if I ran, I could put myself into REAL trouble. And my mom was there, so I thought it better to not end up in an ambulance. I flew a white flag of surrender. Get me to the finish!

Turns out, I developed enough buffer on the bike leg-- that I held onto 2nd in my age group! Hey, cool!

And now.. *cough*..

I'm going to Xterra US Nationals in Ogden, Utah.

Yeah, more on that to come. ;)
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