As kids we say, when I grow up, I want to be…

These are people we respect and who’s character we really honor. I’m not ready to grow up any time soon but it is fun to say things like, “I want to be her when I grow up”. Growing up here means reaching a potential for which I’m striving.

I’m lucky- there are a whole lot of amazing women on my team- NRC– to whom I completely look up. They have supported me in my beginner efforts of mountain biking and have really given me inspiration. When I first met many of these women, I’d think, “wow, she’s so great and such a force out there- I’ll never be that way” until I would learn that not that long ago, maybe a season or two, they were in the same position I am in now.  Dina, Nicole/Cages, Lupe, Amy, Sara- and all the other NRC Big Blue Army team chicks that have inspired me to get up after falls and have confidence in the potential of my abilities- thank you.

I am also completely blessed to have someone who has taken time  out of his workouts and schedules, on his recovery days, to take me for rides and help me with my skills.  I feel so lucky to have his advice and help and above all patience for when I get frustrated with not being able to do things or second guessing myself.  He is an inspiration not only with racing and ability but for perseverance and not giving up.  Thanks Caveman– I really do mean that even when it may seem like I’m not listening, I’m always soaking up all your advice and take it to heart, I am appreciative always.

Now on to race talk:

During the Mas-O-Menos race this past weekend in Terlingua (west Texas desert near Big Bend Park), the army was in full force.  NRC did magnificent and we had a great time doing it.  I had my first victory ever and the top step of the podium felt good and earned.  The course included a sickly hard mountain which I hiked for 20 minutes, bike carried on my back 70% of the way.  My strategy was that I’d spend more effort and energy (and frustration) trying to ride sections of the mountain than I would by walking it.  By the time I got to the top, the second place woman wasn’t far behind me because she did a walk-ride combo, though I had started the mountain with a comfortable lead.  My strategy worked because once I got to the top, my legs were strong and fresh and my rear was ready to get back in the saddle, whereas others were hurting and tired.  There were a few more little inclines but the part of the race after the mountain was mainly down or flats.  I put it into my largest ring, hardest gear and concentrated on letting my legs just pound the pedals with all their force.  I kept it in my mind that I could not let up- I kept thinking she was right behind me, waiting to attack when she saw I was weak, so I just kept going hard and with all I had.  I ended up just 57 seconds behind the fast female 30k and a full 10 minutes in front of my competition.

Caveman did the fantastic- getting 1st in single speed, and getting the 3rd fastest time of any 50K rider- all done without gears.  Awesome!

With about 4 miles left in the course, Caveman passed me and it was a nice site- though to be honest, I would have loved to cross the finish of my 30K before he concluded his 50K ride- but that shows you just how much of an animal he is and just how far I have to go.   A female rider passed me while he was still in my site.  She gave me a quick word of encouragement which put a big smile on my face.  I wasn’t sure exactly who she was but knew she was someone awesome and a pro.  Turns out it was Rebecca Rusch– endurance adventure athlete extraordinaire and the winner of the 100K women’s race.  I felt like a little kid seeing a rock-star when she passed me- I’m pretty sure I also giggled. I, along with all of the people at the race, are in awe of her abilities.  She’s cool, she’s nice, she seems like a whole lot of fun.  Rebecca, I want to be you when I grow up!  Thanks for those few words of encouragement at the end of my race.

I want to do that too!!!

I want to do that too!!!

Here’s some more info on Rebecca from Outside Magazine.

REBECCA RUSCH Adventure Racer Ketchum, Idaho
WHY SHE RULES: Rebecca Rusch is the quintessential adventure racer—which is to say, she’s a sports addict. In 1994, she was a walk-on at the Newport Beach outrigger canoe club; in 2000 she and her eight crewmates won the sport’s national championships. Not long after, she was recruited by a women’s whitewater rafting team from California—and helped lead them to national championships in 2001 and 2002. Given her hyperactive, hypersuccessful résumé, the itinerant Rusch (she lives out of her Bronco eight months of the year) seemed destined to get hooked on adventure racing. She started Team Montrail in 1998, and the four-person squad went on to win the Raid Gauloises, in Kyrgyzstan, in June 2003. But being the lone woman on one of the top adventure teams in the world isn’t always a good thing: “The guys’ attitude usually is ‘I’m going to beat you!’ ” says Rusch. “It revs me up when I can hold my own with a bunch of men, but sometimes it gets a little intense.” SAYS WHO: “Rebecca understands what’s required to be great, and she’s gone out and done it,” says former Raid winner Ian Adamson, 39. “She is definitely a force to be contended with.” HOW TO AVOID A STROING TESTOTERONE OVERLOAD: Hang out with the girls. “It’s my therapy,” Rusch says of her recent all-women outings—like notching female first ascents in Yosemite and riverboarding (think boogie board, with handles) the entire length of the Grand Canyon, some 300 miles of Class II-V rapids, in 19 days. FORWARD SPIN: She’ll help Team Montrail defend their title at the 2004 Raid World Championship and try to improve on their 2003 second-place finish at next year’s Primal Quest. —KATE SIBER