Monday, June 11, 2012

A good day for the Kenny family (mostly)

Yesterday was a busy day for our family. I had already been planning to travel down to the Peoria area to race in the Jubilee Challenge when we learned that Chris and Martin Kratt, the brothers from the PBS show "Wild Kratts," would be returning to Brookfield Zoo on the same day. "Wild Kratts" is one of Christopher's favorite shows so, Tom & Christopher made plans to spend the day at the zoo, while I made plans to go race.

(Martin Kratt on stage.)

This race always seems to have very hot weather but, at least, the trails would be dry this year. There is quite a bit of climbing but the trails are fun. You definitely have to stay on your toes, though, as there are quite a few switch backs and hair pin turns, sometimes when you least expect it. I knew there was going to be a low turnout for the women's expert race but I was also psyched. I've been training pretty consistently this year and have also been trying to improve my technical skills -- particularly, when it comes to turning and trying not to brake so much before log piles.

I had tried to find someone to carpool with and didn't have much luck. So, I decided to take advantage and planned on bringing a small cooler to keep up in front with stuff to eat/drink in the car and have a big cooler in the back. I had decided I wanted to fill my Camelbak bladder with ice but didn't want my Heed to get too diluted when the ice melted -- so, I made Heed popsicles. = )

I couldn't find our ice cube tray. I think Christopher had wanted to play with it at some point for some reason. So, I took his old juice cups with lids and filled a bunch of them half-way with Heed and put them in the freezer. I then put the frozen Heed in the bladder with some ice cubes and more Heed. I packed the cooler the night before with lots of ice packs, etc. and, I'm thrilled to report, that at the start of my race there were still some frozen parts in the bladder and I still had cold Heed to drink by the end of the race. It was somewhat of a hassle to do but it was definitely worth it.

I got there early enough to preride the course. I missed the turnoff for the sport/expert loop and just did the beginner lap. I figured that let me know most of the course and that I'd be doing the climbs in the sport/expert portion enough during the race anyway. I had switched stems last week -- trying an 80 mm with more rise. On Saturday, I rode and thought that I should switch back for the race. Well, preriding on Sunday with the 90mm stem felt really odd so I switched back again. A huge thanks to Tony Thaller who helped me get everything tight so I didn't kill myself during the race.

I spent some time sitting in the air conditioning in the car, put some Palos Meltdown fliers on cars, sat in the car again and warmed up. At this point, I knew it would just be Betsy and I. She had injured her arm pretty bad on a trip in the spring and had not been on the bike much. I thought I might have a chance to beat her but she is a speedy lady with awesome mountain biking skills and this was one of her home courses. Last year, she found out she had Lyme disease and was on drugs with bad side effects. She still beat me at Matthiessen even though she was feeling lousy. I had been totally psyched, at the time, to just have been ahead of her for half of the race.

I actually stayed in front of her the whole race. I would think I was safely ahead and then would either see her, hear her or would have someone tell me she was right behind me. I only finished a minute ahead of her, maybe even less than that. I'm still in awe that I was able to do it. I'm sure she'll be kicking my butt again soon but yesterday was definitely very, very cool.

As a bonus, I got another plastic cup! Now that I know they have a medal and $ in them, I was very happy to see it. = ) It is definitely an excellent idea to keep the medals/pay outs organized.

Worst part of the race, listening to the radio on the way there and having "Call Me Maybe" stuck in my head for most of the time. That was pretty horrible.

I know this weekend is the WORS CamRock race. I'm kind of sad I won't be able to go. But, a trip for a bike race is no where on the list of things Tom would like to do for Father's Day.

Speaking of Tom, he unfortunately now understands how crappy you can feel after spending too much time in the heat. Tom and Christopher got to the zoo early, on Sunday, to stake out a spot to watch the Kratts Brothers. They watched the show, waited in a very long line to get Martin Kratt's autograph and checked out some of the zoo. From what they told me, Christopher had a wonderful time. Tom -- not so much.

(Christopher and Martin Kratt)
Afterwards, we went to Tastee Freez to celebrate my win with a funnel cake for me, ice cream for Christopher and a shake for Tom. It was a long, but wonderful, day.

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