I haven’t had a chance to post up much about my recent racing lately.  I’ve been running around like a crazy chicken getting ready for all the upcoming fun.

This past weekend the new season of coaching for me officially kicked off.  I’ve been assistant coaching with Coach Gina for the past month during the pre-season workouts but the south beginner’s team had its first meeting, along with the three other teams, early morning Saturday.  I love doing this.  I love being a coach.  Meeting these women and helping them to their first triathlon gives me so much and I feel lucky at every single practice to be part of this step in their lives.  I wish all of you who read my blog could meet each of them.  Being a coach has changed my life in so many ways and has really made me so happy.   I’ve got a crew of 23 athletes along with the most amazing support from the other coaches and my wonderful team leaders.  They help keep me sane in the middle of the tornadoes that come up before, during, and after workouts.

Here’s my ladies from last year!  All who started the race, finished.. and finished with big, huge smiles on!  They still impress me so much.

How could I not be proud of these women?!

How could I not be proud of these women?!

When I decided to start mountain biking, I thought of these women a whole lot.  Whenever I got nervous or scared (and I did), I’d think of how they made a big step in their lives to challenge themselves.  I was in the very same spot back in 2005 when I decided to do my first tri and I felt it all over again when I signed up for my first mountain bike race.

I still get nervous when I’m at the line but luckily I race with/against some pretty kick ass women who make it loads of fun.  This past weekend was no different.  I raced at Warda, the same course I knew by heart after doing my first endurance 6-hour race at back a few months ago.  I know my strength (power) and I know my weakness (skills) so I knew I had to haul like a banshee once the whistle blew.  That’s what I did.  I lead the pack strong and hard for the first 2 miles of the course.  My skills in the turns and curves are not up to par yet so two women passed me once we were a bit in the woods but I knew I could close the gap with the next power straight. I love putting it in my big gear and just mashing it until my legs hate me.  I can always push harder and go more than they think.  I came out of the second half of the course in 3rd and pulled in to second after a power sprint before the beginning of the 2nd lap.  I was passed by the3rd place girl at about the same spot she passed me before.  I held on and came in 3rd overall with a big smile on my face.  I love the course and had a great time. I’m proud of what I did and it was great to see teammates and my guy out there cheering me on.  I went as hard as I could possibly go and there were points when I felt like I had nothing left but I pushed a little more and kept going.  Caveman did great as well and stayed really strong throughout his 4 laps.   He’s a big inspiration to me and I love to watch him race.

Now I’ll work my race update backwards:

We skipped the race at Waco last weekend for my own mental stability since all the coaching madness was about to start.

We both packed it up and headed to a cold race at St. Jo’s a few weeks back.  I had a decent showing but learned that 4 cups of coffee while waiting for my late start is not a good strategy.

Terlingua was the first race of the season and an awesome time.  I’ve never camped out in that area before and really loved it.  I’ll certainly put this one on my calendar next year.  There’s a stupid, sick mountain half way through the course.  When I say mountain- think big here people…BIG.  I ended up riding what I could but, like a majority of the racers, ended up walking it.  I walked for 20 minutes- about half of which I decided it would be easier to carry my bike on my back instead of pushing it up.  Good decision.  My strategy of getting to the top without killing my legs by trying to ride up worked out and I was super fresh at the crest.  I put it in to big gear and flew down as hard as I could.  I had a big ol’ smile on the whole way, loving it like a dog loves his head out the window.  Good times.  I came out of it with one nice cut from a very unspectacular fall that produced much more blood than it should have, and a 1st place finish.  My first podium finish on my own (Caveman and I took 2nd at the Austin Urban Assault last year) and my first 1st ever!  We partied it up that night and had a great time, not wanting to leave and get back to the real world.  Caveman got 1st as well and did it on a freaking sigle speed.  I really do wish I would have been there to see him riding up the mountain.  My goal was to finish my race before he finished his.  I did a 30K and he did a 50K. No such luck- he passed me with about 2 miles left but it sure was a nice site to see!