bicycle

cycling makes my world

go round

k on motobecane cafe noir

cycling

cycling adventure (part II)

I remember the moment, standing over my duffle bag full of camping gear at 4am, half-awake and trying to choose between a pillow and long underwear. The pillow won. Over the next several days we woke up from camp @ 530am to a car alarm someone was setting off on purpose (and i thought i got away from the city) to sucker us out of our sleeping bags and tents and inside for coffee and breakfast before heading out for our long daily adventures up in and around Auburn, California…  my decision would come back to haunt me… zooming down steep hills at 7am in nothing but a cycling jersey and t-shirt clocking 40 miles an hour max was a fine recipe for bronchitis — and yes, it was so worth it. We had a blast, me and my team ladybugs compadres and i definitely contributed at least 250 miles (i confess i didn’t do them all this year).
 
The weather was outstanding, the crew was incredible, the food was excellent, the cyclists were friendly, and the Gold Country Fairgrounds was a very nice homebase. Nobody got injured (i heard one person maybe fainted) and everyone worked together to make it a safe and sweet trip. I particularly loved listening to tent zippers and trains chugging along, rattling through the night. I hope to stay on the every other year plan but who knows. I seem to have less and less time anymore to do anything. For now my plan is to get back and finish Book #3 of my trilogy — the Daughter of Darkness series — so you probably won’t hear from me for a while about running or cycling events.

Oh! I forgot to mention i could not wear my prescription eyeglasses so i got a little bit lost every single day of the ride. We were trying to follow arrows taped to the ground to know where to turn and thankfully we had maps and crew looking out for us, so i never went more than a mile or two off track. Also, in Auburn i greeted a unicyclist with a coffee who was riding a steep grade like a pro, and one gorgeous solitary deer the last day on the American River Trail heading home. There were plenty of horses and cattle and goats and bees in boxes, and the occasional snake which had unfortunately been run over. We also got crop dusted the first day at one of our rest stops. The planes seemed to be dusting us more than the fields! Don’t know what that was about – we don’t look like crops? – but it felt like a mean country bumpkin trick and we got out of there as soon as we could!

The final day we rode into William Land Park [via the Sacramento Riverside road and Marina and Old SacTown and a desperate turn through Loaves & Fishes and the Railyards] to a staging area for lunch, and I was the VERY LAST one to arrive because i got lost again that day, somewhere near Loaves & Fishes. I got on course and pedaled hard and made it just in the nick of time, as we had to line up and ride with a motorcycle escort to be at the Amphitheatre by noon for the celebration. A cyclist with a puppy dog in his basket fell over and some asshole almost ran him over. Everyone got scared and angry for a second. Then he was back on his bike, puppy intact, and everything was golden again because the group that was there to celebrate our homecoming was spectacular and loud! And the mayor of West Sac was there to give a nice speech as we stood up with our bikes on the stage and hero medals around our necks. I shed some tears myself, which immediately crystallized into salt on my cheeks. I was rather dehydrated.  
 
Anyways, thanks to all our friends and supporters, and to the organizers of the event! This year we have thus far raised close to a quarter million dollars! Love from me to you.
KatYa  ‘just another ladybug on wheels’

ultra

ultra (run 4 life) part 3

Mile 20. After walking and talking with Davin (a race volunteer) for a while, and having taken whey protein and plenty of electrolyte water, I began to get my legs and my head back. The trail was leveling out after the long ascent. Only then did I realize how hard I had hit the wall. As you approach your physical limitations, you risk losing mental focus and becoming cognitively impaired. Had I been out here alone I could have been in serious trouble, out of water, tired and dehydrated. You cannot see changes in your condition as quickly as your friends can. If you get disoriented and the trail is not well marked, you never know, you could end up lost in the woods for days. Both internal and external conditions can change faster than one might imagine. Apparently my speech had become kinda lethargic and was now picking up, but I wouldn’t have known without Davin telling me. I am pretty certain that had he not noticed something was wrong and pressed me a mile back, I wouldn’t have asked for help. My mind was doing me a disservice! telling me to stay strong and persevere to the next aid station.

I thanked Davin profusely and he went on to help another runner who needed him. I got inspired by all the runners passing by with words of encouragement. Then I was able to help an older man who needed a strip of K-Tape for the pinched nerve in his neck. I brought some in my wristband. I would see him and Davin again, eating BBQ in the village at the end of the race, and we would be all smiles and gratitude.

The trail leveled out, thank god, and we came up on the mile 21 aid station, only ten miles to go! The sun came out (despite forecast for afternoon rain) and I grabbed some tasty broth and an energy bar and sat myself down in the grass for several minutes to catch some rays and thank my lucky stars (with a prayer) that I had survived the wall!

finish line 2017 wtc50k

The next 5 miles was like one long even cut in the side of this mountain, overlooking lush foothills and the canyon. They call this area ‘Auburn Lakes Trails’ and what with the sun peeking out of the cloud cover this afternoon, the river far below us, it was magical! All our climbing paid off. The pain I felt earlier was replaced by an inner calm, and a woman named Lydia stopped to give me her own special cocktail, two Advils and a Tylenol. She said ‘they tell you to stay away from the NSAID’s while running, but i say fuck it’ and we both shouted ‘fuck it!’ together in one burst of comradery before she flew on past me up the single track. I was gonna take my time getting home.

run 4 life

run 4 ultra (run 4 life) deux

The single track led us down to our first river crossing and my feet were suddenly cool and wet, but my socks and shoes vented the water perfectly, turns out I would have no trouble with the half dozen river crossings throughout the course. I looked forward to the cool waters. Next we rose up and traveled along a hillside which afforded beautiful views of the forest and the river now far below. There would be a lot of mud in the first 8 mile loop, before coming around to the starting gate and our little ultra village and family. I ran with a nice lady for a while who told me all about her horses on a ranch in Livermore where she lives. There was a man behind me who took a heavy tumble, and we stopped to see if he was okay and he gave a spirited yell, ‘it’s not a race unless i fall!’

K before 50k

I was in great spirits by the time I saw Tosh (mile 8) who ran a quarter mile alongside me to the first aid station, where I stopped for a tasty chocolate peanut butter bar, and said goodbye to my brother who wished me well. He even put my nieces on the phone for me to say hello before we parted ways; he had to go back home to the Bay Area. I was so happy he showed up for me today.

I got back on the trail feeling good. We made our way down and around and down a few miles to the fire road, crossed and headed down the long quarry road in the canyon which ran alongside the roaring green river for another 5 miles or more. I did well on the downhills, running 9 minute miles. I thought I was in good shape with my belt full of roctane and water bottle full of gatorade, and my potassium salt S-caps. But I realized on Quarry Road that my legs were starting to feel heavy, and I began to worry about my failure to train on hills all winter long. I could be in big trouble! The only elevation I trained on was a 5 mile run up and down the Blue Ridge Trail, overlooking Lake Berryessa in Winters. The problem was I got poison oak on that trail and so I never went back to the hills.

K finishes 50k

No amount of energy I consumed was gonna help me up the side of that canyon, which switched back and forth from about mile 15 to mile 20… it became a truly brutal and endless hike for me. My head got light, legs heavy, and my asthma kicked up, and my hopes of having a strong and level journey like I had running the CIM just 3 months earlier, were dashed. I had to slow and step off the trail to let dozens of runners hike up past me, and several were kind enough to ask me was I okay and offer help. I finally agreed I needed help around mile 19, when one of the ‘Safety Sweeps’ named Davin saw I was in trouble. He began refilling my empty bottle with electrolyte water, while telling me about his quest to run the coveted Western States 100 mile race before he’s 50 years old. He has 3 years experience running ultras, and he’s 47 now. Parts of this particular race, the Way Too Cool, overlap with the Western States Trail. Listening to Davin’s story helped me take my mind off of the wall…

ultra

run 4 ultra (run 4 life)

March 4th, 2017 in Auburn, California (#wtc50k) was the longest (7hours:46min) and farthest (50 kilometres) I ever ran in my life. Not a particularly impressive pace, just an extreme athletic effort to keep myself in tune with the world and its demands.

This was a trail run through the American River Canyon, with river crossings and over 4,000 feet ascension, and my first major ‘norcal ultra’ event. I was very excited for a whole lotta fun and adventure, and the only problems I faced leading up to the event were poison oak and heavy rains in January and February in Sacramento where I live and train, which caused the American River to grow and grow, and some of my runs had to be cut short due to trails and water fountains I relied on being deluged and underwater!

K before the 50k

What an exciting winter -2017- watching the drought in our region come to a muddy and verdant conclusion! The same could be said of my run.

I arrived with my boyfriend by my side in the little town of Cool, and we parked the VW and met up with my brother by the starting line (along with 999 other runners) where the little ultra village was setting up. I realized I had forgotten my inhaler and found the medical tent where a very kind lady (one of the volunteers) decided to rescue me with her own inhaler, which she ran off to get from her car. She would be the first of many volunteers who stood out for me this day, and without whose support I never would have finished the race. I am grateful to them all!

famous wtc frog cupcakes

We took a couple pics and I did a little dance on a snapchat my brother recorded for my nieces to enjoy, and before long I was off with the second wave, running down the access road past our little cheering norcal family assembled there on this little hill, heading for the muddy canyon trails. I was wearing my New Balance Leadvilles and my Run the Parkway shirt from last November’s 20-mile run in Sacramento, which was my first ever race. I hit a wall pretty hard in that race, then made it through the CIM (one month later) without a bonk (my first road marathon). I had to wonder, was I headed for disaster today, or another strong and even finish?

ultra.runner

#ULTRA!

finished my first norcal ultra! #wtc50k

8 hours. turtle frog
thanks 2 all the volunteers and safety sweeps
who made this event possible and
great fun in Cool, CA!
k – wtc50k – finish