April 10, 2013

An Oregon Road Trip and Mudslinger - Living Up To It's Name

Last weekend, Ben, Piper and I embarked on a mini-vacation.

It began on Thursday evening. We loaded up the Element and headed all the way to Sisters, for a night at the Five Pine Lodge (thanks Joel!).  We explored the lower Peterson Ridge Trail network on Friday morning, with Piper in tow (she is becoming a pretty good little trail dog) and enjoyed a few sweet treats at Angeline’s. 

Next on the agenda, the Oregon Coast at Pacific City. In true spring time fashion, the weather was sporadic, but lovely (in an Oregon Coast sort of way) and both Ben and I were able to get out and enjoy some fresh coastal air; Ben on his surf board and I on my MTB.  Piper had a hay-day frolicking in the ocean and I couldn't help but smile to see our little family having so much fun together.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Corvallis, to visit some dear friends, from our Opal Creek days and enjoyed the splendor of their company and their locally-sourced (from their backyard), out-of-this-world cuisine.  Spending time with them was truly relaxing and I am fortunate that we had the time to connect.

Sunday morning was RACE DAY! Ben and I headed to Blodgett, for the 25th edition of MUDSLINGER! Mike Ripley always puts on a stellar race and this was no exception.  The weather was perfect for an event entitled MUDSLINGER – no further explanation necessary.
Photo: Oregon Velo
Photo: Oregon Velo
I came to this race to win.  At the start line, I knew this was going to be a tough and challenging day and I was excited to race and see what I could do on my new Giant Anthem. The first long climb felt good and I sat patiently on Alice’s wheel.  And then, it was time to go.  Taking the lead and getting a gap, I charged up the next climb, knowing I had to put in some meaningful time on Alice if I was going to hold the lead on the next long decent.  Two-thirds down the greasy single track, Alice made the pass, and it was back and forth from there on out.  I was climbing stronger, but Alice was railing the downhills with incredible speed.  In the end, Alice took the win by under 20 seconds.  I crossed the line in 2nd.
Photo: Oregon Velo
And even more noteworthy was that Ben also toed the line. Yes, Ben Gordon.  Never before had he raced a mountain bike – and he had fun.  In fact, he told me the next day that he thinks he will do another race.  
There was nothing more awesome than for me see Ben after the race was over, smiling! Two muddy bikes, one exhausted pup and the love of my life, enjoying the sport I am so passionate about.  It was an awesome weekend, in so many ways.  Thanks to all that helped to make it so.

For more on my team, All Access Racing – check out our team blog at http://allaccessracing.blogspot.com/.  HINT: Brennan crushed it!