biking adventures

Moisty Marji

WARNING – super long and rambling run-on sentencey and made-up words
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After sleeping for what seems like the same amount of time it took me to finish the #marjigesick100 , I can finally write up a tiny bit of what this awesomeness felt like. I can’t really call it a race report because it always feels more like an adventure than a race! and sincerely the parts I remember and cherish most are all the friends and strangers I got to ride with along the way, that help you get through different sections, and of course all the amazing volunteers and buds at the aid stations, hosing you down with cold water, or shoving tasty grilled cheesers in your face hole, offering smiles of encouragement to stick in your pocket for later when you’ll have to dig deep, I promise I couldn’t have finished without you all. So great to see so many friends, new and old at the registration party, either coming back for revenge or giving Marji a try for the first time, or just here for support and burritos, thank you for all the kind words of encouragement.

So great to pre-ride Pine Knob and Wildcat with Matt and the Salsa guys on Friday, and some of the Negaunee stuff on Thursday when we got there. I can’t thank Matt enough for all he does to help me get ready for these races, planning the whole trip, driving while I sleep and mouth-breathe in the van, cooking the tasty meals, cleaning and getting my bike ready for me, pre-riding sections he knows I might struggle on but encouraging me to try to ride them and giving me pointers so I can get through sections quicker, pre-riding those sections before race day helped a ton, hearing that Danny and Heidi ride that stuff on the tandem, even more badass than I already knew they were, and celebrating their anniversary on the day before the Marji, amazing!

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Race morning was great to be camped right at the start line, thanks to Evan for booking the place for us, woke up well rested and finished getting my junk ready, the extra half-hour helped with my typical flooftiness. So great to see a bunch of familiar faces at the start line, Allen and Chad, Greg, Megan and her parents, Tyler and Carey, high fives from friends who I’d raced with in previous Marji’s, Ryan and Ben, such a fun start to the race.

The run went well and heard all the cheers from GR buds and the Blackrocks guys, even had the awesome Doerr’s at my bike to help me put on my hydration pack and told to have fun! racing down towards Harlow and getting passed but also high-fived by fwends like Evan and Jake, watching the locals like Greg and Steve-O and Matt Bloch rip down Top of the World showing us all how it’s done, leaving us in their dust (possibly farts) and in awe of their ability, so fun to ride around the cabins with local yooper miner Paul with the huge muscles and even bigger smile and laugh and getting positive pep talk about how we all were gonna friggin’ finish dammit, funny he said I could ride with them and stick it out, but great to see him throughout the day! Thanks to cheers from people like Grant who and Steve on Andy Gregg trail, yelling out “buttcrack” for me and impressively braaaapin’ all the rocks and roots like ’twas no biggie. Heading back up towards Forestville and feeling a bit nostalgic that the Harlow Lake trails were already done, my first mountain bike race ever was the 12-hours of potluck on those trails many moons ago, but I knew there was plenty of more sweet single track to come. Bopped on over to enjoy wildcat and knew that I’d probably be hike-a-biking on Pine Knob soon. Ran into Thuner and was great to have a bud to ride with for a bit. That guy’s awesome, just got a fat bike about a month ago and signed up to do the Marji! we carefully rode the rest of Pine Knob and the fun stuff on North Trails, I kinda was feeling super cool and took a bermy turn a little too loosey goosey and got my leg twisted up between my handlebar and top tube, but Thuner waited for me and helped me shake it off, and surprisingly for me, that was my only real crash of the day, awesome! I was having so much fun ripping’ through the trails, going up Collinsville climb, I was whee-ing and cheering and turned back to say something about how much fun it was to Justin, but it ended up being a dude just riding, he asked if I was racing and said I had left my buddy behind, doh! sorry Justin, I waited for a bit on the road as I ate my pocket burrito ( a trick I learned from the Blackrocks dudes the year before), but then the girl on the fat bike passed me, I decided to keep going and try to catch her. Felt great on Lowes climb, and was sad at first that we didn’t get to go under the creepy wet tunnel, but that sadness didn’t last too long, after hearing some cheers from Jen and Nate and others that were briefly stopped at Lowes parking lot, we got to go under the tunnel yay! rode a bit of fun stuff then caught up to singlespeeder Mike, who was geared today, and we were both feeling the heat. I was about to say how I probably could’ve used some cold water, but didn’t think the south trailhead was coming up just yet, and then right on the side of the road were some sweet poopoo-pee-pee signs and a heavenly Candy with a hose spraying anybody who wanted it down with ice-cold water, that was a game changer for sure, thanks Candy and friends! Hit the south trails and was having a blast, especially coming down eh line and hitting the south trail head! So happy to see a bunch of buds there, thanks to Teravail and Kurt for all the goodies, and updates on how Matt was crushing it! after a bit of chatting with Dustin and some other friends, volunteers stuffing ice packs in my jersey and pickles and m&ms in my pocketitos I got back on the saddle knowing fun climbs up to Marquette Mountain was coming up. So great to see Jen and Nate heading up the road right before Scary Trail, Jen is a badass and was climbing the whole thing, super impressed and inspired to try to keep up. As much as I can’t ride Scary Trail I always secretly enjoy taking my bike for a walk through there. I remembered last year riding that section with the Blackrocks dudes, Steve and Austin and Gregg  and Leckie, even witnessed Austin ride that crazy mustache-looking wooden bridge feature. This year unfortunately saw a dude that had crashed on a log roll on not-so-scary, just hanging out on the side of said log, I gave him some salt tabs and pickles since he said he was cramping up, he thanked me and told me to keep going on, total badass to keep going himself ! it helped a ton getting to ride up the ski hill with Jen and Nate, talking about non-race things like dogs and jobs helps the day go by a little faster. I think for a while after that I stopped for a snack and lost them, so I was riding a bunch of stuff by myself  and that was kinda starting to get me in a weird tired mood, seemed like the long two track to Negaunee should be coming up soon but I was starting to feel floofted. There was one section of fun berms that woke me up and then I chatted for a little bit with a dude that had crashed and was thinking about calling it quits at the aid station. I told him to at least stick it out until the “wurst” aid station, and was telling him all about how Nevin and Michelle and Trudy and Leckie and Neil were gonna be there with all the best stuff, I think I had him convinced, and he asked me how much it cost, when I said free, he was off! hehehe When I finally saw that cardboard box saying “wurst aid station” up ahead, I was so dang happy! Got there to what sounded to me like an undeserved but very much appreciated round of cheers! Laura put a cold washcloth around my neck and Leckie handed me the tastiest grilled cheese and had me sit down as he filled my hydration pack. I sat there and chatted with Neil and Sarah and Trudy the dog, ate two grilled cheeses, some coke, pickles and a brat, it was the wurst! so so hard to leave! But off I went knowing a bike path was coming up. I luckily ran into Kip at some point during this part, Kip is one of the OG Marji racers, the first year he was with the group of 3 that finished last, and last year I joined those ranks, so we had that in common and chatted about how awesome Marquette trails and people are, we rolled into Jackson Park together and was so great to see Stacie and all the other volunteers there.

It was coming up on 11 hours at this point I think and I was wondering who had won and how Matt had done, I asked and heard that he was in 2nd! so dang proud. My brain was starting to really flooft off at this point, and I was struggling a bit trying to figure out what to eat, what else to pack. I changed out of my moist shammy’s in the portapotty into less-moist shammy bibs from the day before. It felt kinda good, but I knew my buttcheeks were mad at me. I went off a bit into the treeline to re-apply some chamois butter and had a crazy look on my face I’m sure a mixture of something between relief-pain-and minty surprise,  I hadn’t thought anybody was looking, but at that moment made an uncomfortable too long direct eye-contact with another racer and my hand down my shorts…I tried giggling it off an walked back towards my pack that I had pfffted all over the place. Put a headlamp on my helmet and made sure the one on my handlebar was good to go. I knew I had to keep going so I hustled back out and told Kip I’m sure I’d see him again back out on the trails, I knew Kip would be a great motivation to keep going because I knew he wasn’t a quitter, so that was huge. I loved getting to ride the new Humpty Dumpty stuff, especially after hearing from Heidi how she and Danny tackled that bridge, hehehe. I was name-dropping them to others I was riding with at the time, trying to sound cooler than I am ha! I also kept reminded myself how cool it was we were getting to ride in old town Negaunee, kinda like a ghost town, remnants of the town where buildings had to be abandoned because of the unstable ground, pretty friggin neat and unique! I rode down the double stairwell and my heart rate increased by a million beats as I barely braked in time before hitting some trees hehehe. I tried riding up the staircase Matt had challenged me to try a couple days before, and made it almost to the top, but not completely. Next up was some the always beautiful Panorama section, where I broke my rule from last year to stop and take at least just this one picture…

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the first year I tried the Marji, I was about to quit at Jackson Park, but Wheeler and Danielle had told me about this view and that’s what I went back out to see again, what a spectacular spot. After that was some crazy stuff along the fence line I had remembered descending during Polar Roll, rode a bit with Nate again which was nice, he was gonna finish I could tell, and he kept on going. It was starting to get dark and this is where I was starting to unfortunately start negatively thinking about quitting. I knew some of the bluff climbs were coming up, and going into the neighborhoods and the switchbacks and climbs in the dark by myself were starting to get me down. I leap frogged with a couple people, and we were all struggling, I started doing the math in my head and realizing I was at least 2 hours slower than last year by the time I’d reach Jackson Park again, knowing how long it took me and Jim to finish the last 15 miles I was slowly convincing myself to give up. Luckily there were a couple riders who I asked if they were going on, and one dude from Negaunee said he had come this far, he had to finish. He asked me what my plans were, and in my head I had given myself 3 ways I’d keep going. 1 was if I made it back to Jackson Park by 11:30, giving myself 5 hours to finish and ending at 4:30 like Danny had predicted the last racer to finish. 2, if I heard that only 2 women had finished…I knew Carey would have rocked the race and also that Megan was doing awesome! I wasn’t sure how many racers were gonna finish this dang thing, but wouldn’t it be awesome if the DNF for women was lower than the average and 3, if I could find somebody else to ride with and try to get DFL again, wouldn’t that be awesome to get the perseverance non-buckle. Seriously though I had 95% given up, I was already crafting the title of my strava for the day, something like “Marji wins again, best 3 out of 5” and was feeling bummed I’d have to text Todd with “quitter #353” “perseverance poser” and how many people I’d let down by not finishing. I kinda stopped eating and only drinking begrudgingly which wasn’t helping, miles 75-85 seemed to take forever and I was bumming pretty hard. I rolled in to Jackson Park again to a cheery “Caw” from Matt, I was trying to hold back tears when he asked me how I was doing and I said “not so good, kinda tired and my ass hurts” Some great buds were there with huge smiles on their faces though and got me whatever I needed, and it was so great to hear that Matt again had done awesome and finished in 2nd place, what an incredible accomplishment, the only person to have 3 belt buckles! Jeff Smith brought me a PB&J, Tyler got me Coke, Matt started getting my lights all ready and taking all the extra junk out of my bag…I still wasn’t convinced and just told them I wanted a beer and to sit for a bit…I ate and drank and was getting a wee bit re-energized…then I saw Paul head out into the darkness for the final section! he high fives me with his yellow work gloves and told me to finish strong. Then I saw two badass ladies start to head out into the dark too… dang, that was giving me even more reason and hope to keep going. Then a stranger that was already on his bike, ready to go, rides up to where I was floofted on the ground, and asked if I was going back out, as he wanted somebody to ride with…with all the encouragement from Matt and Tyler and Jeff and Stacie telling me we were definitely not the last people out there, I kinda toyed with the idea and thought at least I’d gather all these snacks everybody was preparing for me, head out and then maybe stop to eat everything and then head back in, but I’d trick everybody into thinking I might go all the way, so I stuffed my face with bacon and chips, let Matt get everything ready for me on my bike. For some dumb reason took my cat tank top off and put on a 3/4 length sleeve shirt (which I promptly took off about 1 mile in and rode the rest of the muggy hot 15 miles in just my sweaty ratty old bibs), forgot to use the porta potty, but didn’t want to keep this patient stranger named Aaron waiting, and we were joined by Marquette Jim and off we went. Last year I was lucky enough to have another Jim to ride with and that made the world of difference from the year before. I don’t know if I can finish the Marji in the darkness by myself, I saw how weird I got and down on myself, having people to talk with and just chat at that time in the race is a huge boost and complete game-changer. My mood started to change, Jim was great because he rides these trails once a week in the early morning, and had tons of great advice of what to expect, what was rideable and what wasn’t. Aaron hadn’t been on the trails before, but was an awesome encouragement full of positivity at that point and was climbing strong. During Flannel Shirt I think, the local Negaunee dude I had talked to before, passed us, and so did Kip, I told Aaron he could head out with them if he wanted, but he said he started this last part with me and that we’d finish together. Jim had taken some extra downhill section somewhere and ended up behind us, but then rejoined and showed us the way. we took a snack break on the bench up where during the day time you can see the ski hill, and Jim told us more about Caroll Jackson, one of the awesome trail-builders who unfortunately had a heart attack and died while building one of these awesome trails we were getting to ride on that day. I looked down to my muddy sweaty Spoo socks that I was wearing in honor of our friend Scott who passed away earlier this year and I told Jim and Aaron about him and how he’d ridden some of these trails up here during Polar Roll and I’m sure would’ve loved to be doing the Marji. I’m not sure what time it was at that point, probably 2 am, we had our lights off, my feet dangling on the bench, sitting in a sweaty bibs and sports bra between two strangers, nomming on pickled green beans, looking at the stars and thinking about friends who no longer are around to ride their bikes with us, and thinking what an honor it was that I got to ride these trails, that my body was strong and healthy enough to do so, that Matt had ridden countless miles and places with me showing me tricks and encouraging me to ride better and faster, and that two great guys Danny and Todd had put together this amazing challenge, their wives Heidi and Stacie put the same amount of hard work into letting a bunch of yahoos have an amazing experience in this wonderful Yooper land, all the amazing and inspiring friends I’d made up here, I think at that point I realized we were gonna finish, and finish strong. We got back on our bikes and I think I drank one of those gas station energy shots, boy did that wake me up. I climbed all the way up ski hill climb, not dabbing at all, delusions of getting a QOM heheh. We stopped somewhere for a nature break, Aaron and Jim kindly ignored my unapologetic farts and dismissed my dumb mistake where I thought I was being all sneaky crouching in the shadows, only to later pick up my bike where I had dropped it off, shining the 950 lumens directly towards where I was hiding all lady-like hehehe doh! Anyway, the rest of the miles were a blur, I tried to remember them from the year before with Jim Draheim, I told Aaron about the alien-like green goo puddles towards the end, but how I thought all the hard stuff was behind us, Marquette Jim quickly chimed in and said I was wrong, since he knew these trails and that for sure there were monster climbs to come. I wasn’t looking at my mileage and at one point Aaron said something about only 6.2 miles to go! I said yay! just a 10K, there were supposedly all these awesome lakes we were nearby, but it was so dark. I saw a toad and many hills, we were walking but then got to ride mostly out of the saddle to ease the buttcheeks. Aaron commented on how it had been already an awesome day, where you seem to go through groups of people that you ride with, each one of them becoming an important puzzle piece in helping you get through all the miles. How lucky we had all been that our bikes had served us so well so far, and that’s for sure! I hadn’t crashed which is amazing for me, and my bike, thanks to Matt’s care and attention, had not had a single issue. The dropper post this year made a huge difference for me, and I was just so dang happy everybody had convinced me to come back out here. I finally looked down at my mileage and realized Aaron hadn’t taken into consideration that the course was actually 103 miles long, so we still had about 6 miles to go. Luckily a lot of it was two-track and rideable. So fun to get to Jasper knob and see the important message at the top. Jim told us a bit more about gemstone and we looked at the Stars a bit, Aaron’s light died but we let him ride between Jim and I and walked back down Jasper Knob and that last little bit into downtown, we saw the glowing magical hematite, which I told Aaron and Jim that the belt buckling nerds and anybody that finishes in the daytime doesn’t get to enjoy, we rounded the corner and rolled in towards the U R Tuff Enough banner thingy, saw Todd and Danny and Stacie and the awesome timing people and Mark and I think Jim’s wife and kids, and the three of us rolled over the finishing line together. I was certain we were last so I made sure to be slightly behind the other two because I wanted the title of DFL again…but then Stacie said we for sure weren’t, that there were at least 3 other people still out there and they weren’t expecting them until 9am, doh! whatever we still rolled in just before 5am and I was the 100th finisher! I’m dang happy about that! Couldn’t have done it without so many people, thank you to all who offered encouragement and cheers and bacon and pickles and especially to Matt for always believing in me and encouraging me. Marquette is for real our second home, so many great people up there, and they always welcome us such warmth, we are not worthy but will soak it all in, thank you to Todd and Danny and Heidi and Stacie and all the countless other volunteers that make this amazing race possible. Thanks too to Matt’s mom for always taking care of our dingdongs so we can go up and have all this fun, this is what they think about it

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Can’t wait to sign up for it again next year! happy Marji!

https://www.relive.cc/view/1195193074

 

 

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biking adventures, Uncategorized

1 of 200 dirty women 

Much like the FOMO I experienced 2 years ago while crappily pit-crewing for Matt during his first Dirty Kanza, I’m experiencing similar FOMO now as everybody is writing their awesome race recaps and I’d love to do the same, mostly for myself so I can remember why I’d love to do it again next year…but also because I’ve been such a huge procrastinator and just recently gave myself a rule that I can’t play my phone games until I do this dang write up, and I’m really missing my phone games, so here’s the darn recap ok? mostly pooped out of my brain thoughts in really long floofty run-on sentences hehehe. and much like how the DK was long and winding at times, so too is this blogpost…it might also smell like cow poop along the way…be warned

As I’ve been pondering (procrastinating) what to write about, it seems to be less and less about the actual bike riding or anything useful to others who might be reading this and want to do this race in the future, and mostly comes down to funny-only-to-me little stories and the great interactions I had throughout the day with different people I talked to…the people that looked like cows and the ones that looked like real people too.

Firstly the people named Matt, whose chillness and belief in me calmed my own silly nerves. Never having ridden more than 112 miles, I surprisingly wasn’t too worried, bc Matt seemed to believe I could do it, so gosh darn it, I thought I could do it too. Not only that but he drove us down to Kansas, took a couple of us on a pre-ride of the start and finish the day before, helped show me how to fix my bike if I’d ever need to (which luckily I didn’t), set up my Twin Six Rando with 650B tires so it fit better and my lower back and legs didn’t friggin’ hurt at all during the 206 miles. Most cry-inducing for me was seeing Matt at the finish line, waiting to give me a hug, after rocking his own awesome race and getting 10th overall working mostly by himself. Two years ago I underestimated how quickly he’d finish the third leg, and I totally missed him finishing in an incredible 4th place during a brutally muddy year! We waited too long to cheer for other friends at the third checkpoint so nobody was at the finish line to hug and congratulate Matt on an epic race, so to see that he was there to help me unbuckle my helmet and give me a hug after my first DK, really made my day, and the only time I teared up, I swear! what a great husbandito! I’m so lucky!

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Photo credit: David Gabrys  |  Removal of Helmet credit: Matt

Other people that really made my day were our local Emporian hosts, Joan and Ron! They were awesome! thanks to Matt’s sponsorship through Salsa we got to stay in their home with a pretty nifty exercise machine to keep my legs loose.

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photo credit: Chris Clemo

They made us delicious homemade cookies and muffins and cinnamon rolls from scratch, all I had to do was stick my hand in the homemade handcrafted “grandma’s cookies” cookie jar that Ron made for her out of wood. They also told us all about how Emporia has the 2nd best water in the world ( I tested it, it’s true) and about the free zoo, that I’ll have to come check out another time, when I’m not busy riding all day, hehehe. Even they were at the finish line, ready to give stinky sweaty ole me a hug! that was so stinkin’ nice of them, the #1 hosts with the #2 water!

Other people I was super happy to see at the finish line and throughout the day at the pit stops, were the best crew I could’ve ever asked for: the Clemo brothers John, Pete and Chris (which is what host-mom Joan kept calling Johnboy, great, another nickname to add to his list) Seriously the best, they would be there at the aid stations, pointing me in the right direction for the portapotty’s so I could work out a fart, while they lubed my bike chain and refilled my hydration pack, fed me pickles and cookies and other delicious snacks, as well as told me how Matt and Jill and Chelsea were doing and funny stories to keep me laughing in between miles, next year it’s their turn! we’ll have to con somebody else into being our snack-sherpas. It was so nice seeing other support crews out there like Dan and April and Tom and Kurt and David, seriously I don’t think you guys know how much it means to see y’all’s smiling faces throughout the day!

 

snax make me so happy….

Pinter and me and Chris Clemo, cheersing our mazapan Mexican snax provided by Jill

I was grateful throughout the day for so many things. To start, the weather was great, not too windy, not raining yet and not muddy. Grateful for my bike not having any issues at all throughout the day. Grateful to be one of 200 women that were going to do the race that day, including my awesome friends Chelsea and Jill!

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Grateful for all the previous lady friends who had done the race before and made it look like a fun thing to give a try (Danielle, April, Sally, Kaat and Michelle and many others) Grateful that I was injury free and able to race, and thankful for friends back home who had gotten injured or for other reasons couldn’t make it but were still cheering us on, that meant so much to me, your positive attitude encouraged me to keep going. Grateful for our friends Kelsey and Bob back home who were taking care of our dogs so we could come ride bikes for fun, and taking them on epic adventures of their own. Grateful for my fat biking friends who made us a delicious dinner the night before the race and fun chats to ease the nerves. Grateful to find friends along the route, like David taking pictures, or Chad who’d driven up from Texas the night before just to cheer us on and even made signs for me! wahoo!! One of the most exciting things for me was during the first 50 miles, biking along and seeing an 8lumens tent coming up with a dude wearing hair pants and another dude high-fiving people….I high-fived as I rode by and asked if they were bicyclepubes, they might’ve lied but they said: “Yes!” and boy oh boy was I super excited! I’ve been on this ludicrous quest to try and figure out who they were…and for a brief delusional minute I believed them and couldn’t wait to get to the pit stop so I could flaunt on Instagram about my now famous high-fived hand and never wash it again! there were high fives from kids along the way too…so those might’ve tainted the bicyclepubes grime, but that’s ok, those high fives from kids were sweet too!

I was thankful to get to start the ride with my GRBC teammates Jay and Eric, who went on to have amazing races themselves.

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Super fun having Andrea, who I had met 2 years ago at DK as we were both there as support crew people, this year we were both racing in it! I heard a voice call out my name about 6 miles from the third aid station, after realizing it wasn’t a cow again talking to me, and it was Andrea I was so happy, and she was riding strong! it was awesome riding those 6 miles with her, talking about Casey’s pizza and all the other snacks we were gonna have after we finished this thing.

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Photo credit: Kim Morris

I seriously had an amazing time and think there was something magical in the air. Loved getting to be one of the 200 women, and I’d get so excited when I’d see another lady out there. I probably chatted with them too much, like Wendy, who was part of the round table discussion the day before and had given awesome advice about being selfish and not feeling guilty about going for a ride, I leapfrogged a bit with her and kept chatting, I think I finally got the hint when I snuck up on her again and she said “oh, it’s you again” hehehe. My most favorite was when I’d get passed by the awesome singlespeed ladies! so frickin’ inspired and amazed by all of them! and they were all so nice and friendly throughout the race, I had the pleasure of racing SS with some of them earlier in the spring at our local Barry Roubaix race, and kept up on their adventures and just reading about how they all got together to make a ladies SS category was so cool! I can’t wait to try DK next year with 1 gear!

Other thinks and thoughts about the race that I’m just gonna fart here because I’m tired of writing properly and in coherent paragraphs:

people had given me the advice to every once in a while look up and take in my surroundings and the beauty of the Flint Hills. I did this quite often, but every once in a while I’d remind myself to also listen to my surroundings and take that in too…the birds floofting around, the gravel pionging off my steel frame, the spinning sound of my hub when I got out of the saddle to stretch my legs…listening to make sure I was letting out only a fart, nothing more nothing less….hehehe

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my Twin Six Rando performed magically! upside down and right side up and in the rain too!

I had my map on my Garmin but wouldn’t look at the mileage…and I totally think that helped me get through the day without thinking too much about how long it was taking me or when the next checkpoint would come up. I’d give myself little treats along the way, saying if I didn’t look at the mileage until 4 more turns or 20 more cows, then I could guess the mileage before looking, and if I was close, I could eat another mini snickers bar…I think it worked

at one road crossing before the slight detour I heard a commotion of 3 people in a truck honking and yelling at the racers, I thought they were trying to tell us that maybe we had missed a turn, but when I caught up to the guy they were yelling at I think they were the only locals that were mad that this race was taking place in their neighborhood, on the fun side of that experience was that the racer they were yelling at happened to be a guy from Puerto Rico, when I started chatting with him about the incident, it got me attempting to chat in Spanish, which I then realized I was completely making up words, that might’ve been the kick in the pants Alejandro needed because he was then outta there hehe, no heckling from 3 locals can get you down, but a weirdo making up words in Spanish can hehehe

I took candy from a stranger, in the form of a butterscotch candy from a skinny guy on a fat bike.

For a couple miles during the third leg I was in the middle between to fun tandems, a  tandem sandwich if you will. I really enjoy and appreciate tandem racers, they always seem to be encouraging others along the way and seemed to be having a great time, I’m so stoked two Michigan ladies who I met racing SS, did the DK tandem and got 5th in that category, you guys are awesome Middy and Heidi!

I like to think my brain was deciding to break up the race into different thoughts throughout the different legs. During the first 50 miles, I was thinking about instagramming a picture from the portapotty about my encounter with bicyclepubes, during the second 50, I was thinking about all the snackaloons I was gonna eat, during the 3rd leg, my brain was mostly concerned with this giant fart that I kept trying to release into the wild, but didn’t want it to turn into a surprise turd, the last 20 miles before cp3 all I could think of was where to find a tree to drop a deuce, while at the same time not trespassing and not exposing my butt to too many fellow racers…thoughts like these are what got me through the day! the last little bit was in the dark and I couldn’t figure out how to get my screen on Garmin to switch to night mode, so I tried sticking as close as I could to others by following their blinkies…all the way in and finally finished…with about an hour to spare before midnight!

when Jim, the race director gave me a hug and shook my hand at the end and told me “I like your glasses” I told him “thank you! I like your race!” and I totally meant it! see ya next year DK…now back to my phone games

thankful also to all the photographers out there! I was able to flip the script and photograph this one with her dog

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and found this one of me…I must’ve been going super fast hehehe

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Secret Mickey D Queefs and Quaffing On in Brown County with friends

Matt and I are sitting in a Starbucks in Frankfort KY right now, mooching off the wi-fi and using a gift card Peggy, the lady whose dog I ran back home gave us for our year off. After a couple days of mooching floor space and free fart air at the Salt Creek Inn off of some great GR friends Jay and Eric, this year of roughing it in the wild is off to a great start hehehe. When people asked me what our first stop would be, and I mentioned Brown County Indiana, most people laughed, because it didn’t sound that exotic. However I had heard awesome things about mountain biking there, and it did not disappoint! Brown County is the Sh!t! and not just because of the colors.

We arrived Thursday night and grabbed a pint of Indiana’s finest zombie dust at the pine room bar where we were treated to some live music and locals sharing their pub snacks and shenanigans with us. We waited a bit until Jay and Eric showed up, then went to their room and spread out our air mattresses and took over every nook and cranny in their room and claimed it as our own. Woke up on Friday and were greeted with sunshine and some wind, but we were happy about the promise of warm weather and kraaked on over to the trails. Jay and Eric have been coming down here for spring training the last couple years, so they showed us around, we even ran into some other GR friends Ernie, Kristen, their kids Fin and Moses, as we started biking and I was so impressed by Fin showing me how it’s done, climbing those hills on the north gate trail, even if your legs start to get a li’l tired.  We kraaked around, went up to hesitation point, hesitated a tiny bit, then decided to kraak back down to get some snacks. While Eric, Jay and I took the walnut something trail back, Matt decided to give Schooner’s Trace a try.

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We got back to Salt Creek Inn and sprawled out in the sunshine and ate some lunch, Talon showed up and waited around a bit for us to fart around a bit then headed back to the park to rip some more trails. I let those nerds go off and went exploring some stuff on my own, taking pictures and whatnot, being a creeper taking a break at one of the playgrounds, taking a tiny nap on one of the bridges, playing on the tire swing a bit, which probably caused one of the chains to strain, because when I then saw a bunch of kids come over to play, I went and watched like a creeper from a picnic table, and saw a teenager hop on the same swing and one of the chains broke and she fell into the mud puddle underneath…hehe doh!

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keepin’ it classy in front of room 131, we joked that the Nashville tour trolley was going to use us as a point of interest. michiganders in their natural habitat, hammocks and jorts

anyway, I went back into town, explored Nashville Indiana a bit, which is pretty neat, tons of little ice-cream shops and galleries and fun alleys to ride your bike through, I bought myself a Cadbury egg and snacked on it in a field, then met up with everybody else. We showered and headed back into town to Quaff On Brewery where our night was just about to get better.

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Quaff On: to drink heartily with gusto….which we did

Being Michiganders, the 60-ish degree weather which was too cold for the locals to sit outside, was plenty warm for us and we got a table on the porch right away. We ordered some tasty beers and decided to try some appetizers of pulled pork nachos and chicken wings…they were dang tastiest nachos and chicken wings I’ve had in a long time, and we were all friggin’ grinning from ear to ear….we had thought about ordering real food, but when the waiter came back, we ordered another tasty round of nachos and wings and added some beer cheese and pretzel sticks! I looked around the table and was so grateful for all these friends, warm weather, the best beardliest husband, but mostly at that moment thankful for the tastiest of wings and nachos, we were pretty stinkin’ happy and our bellies were full of happy too, which would later come out as farts, but for now they were just happy. Thanks to Poppa Jay, he stinkin’ treated us all, then on the way back to the Salt Creek Inn, we stopped at the Hoosier Liquor store and stocked up on more Three Floyds goodies and  went back and partied  more in room 131.

Trying to be lady-like, I went and stunk up the nearby McD’s restroom, which became my second home for a bit this past weekend. getting my queef on after getting my quaff on, it didn’t matter though because back in 131, the nachos were making their second appearance, a room full of rap music, pfffts, friends, double IPA’s and good stories ensued. The construction guys in the room next door even had a deep fryer on the back of their truck, trying to compete with our party times, but they couldn’t even come close. Tyler arrived around midnight, we hung out for a bit, I was in the direct line of a missile fart so I tried to get out of the way, plopped down on my air mattress and fell right asleep, a great day had been had!

Saturday was another awesome day of riding some sweet trails in Brown County, (just the beginner stuff…hehe wink wink) we rode about 30 miles, and I tried one called Bobcat, which is unlike any trail I’ve ridden before, super narrow goat trail type stuff around some fun switchbacks, thanks to Tyler for letting me know what was ahead,  if you haven’t been to Brown County I definitely highly recommend it. We all headed back to the Inn to lounge and snack on the stoop for a bit, then most of the guys went back out, while Talon and I stayed back. My butt was starting to get a li’l chapped and I wanted to go into town and check out the ice cream shops, thanks to Talon for the mint-chocolate chip ice cream cone! Was fun chatting with him and finding out about his job, talking about our dogs and how we both get our news from the Free Beer and Hot Wings show hehehe. We all met up again and headed back to get our Quaff On at the brewery for round 3. had another beer at the pizza place next door, then headed back to the Inn and made a fire in the pit in front of the lobby, I snuck back to the room early and took a night nap hehehe

Allrighty, I should probably start wrapping this long-ass post up. Matt’s been doing real internet work here getting the results from the Lowell 50 on the MGRS site, and I’ve been here flooftin’

Sunday was an awesome gravel ride into some pretty big climbs and wind, but was such a great time. We had some food at the Pine Room and said goodbye to our friends, super thankful for them sponsoring us this first little bit of our trip, thanks for all the food and floor space and farts and fun times.

Matt and I finally actually camped last night on Raccoon Ridge up in the park and it was awesome. The temp was great and I slept real good, went on a couple hikes and pretended I had Beau and Pedro with me. We got on the road, called my aunt and were thinking about checking out the place in Kentucky where my grandpa grew up, but figured it was a bit out of the way, as we’re heading to Tennessee to check out some things there, but maybe on a different trip we’ll go see that part of the US, thanks again for reading, sorry for the rambling on…

 

SNACKERVENTURE LOG:

1 cadbury egg – using free CVS money

mint chocolate chip ice cream – Thanks Talon

the BEST pulled pork nachos and chicken wings from Quaff On Brewery – Thanks Jay for round 1 and 2 and thanks Eric for round 3

 

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Fart Friends in front of Salt Creek Inn, great group of GRBC teammates
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Go Fund Yourself

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logo created for my snack fund
for our year of adventuring, my biggest fear is that I’ll run out of snack money…hehe. so on a recent road trip to some fat bike race with Matt and Bill Fartindale, we brainstormed an idea to create some fun bike ride/race with all my friends, call it the “go fund yourself” race, and in exchange, unabashedly ask friends to bring me snacks or a couple American pesos to buy snacks along the way. Then while proudly showing off my mockery of a logo for said race at work, my coworker Michaela also told me she would be looking forward to my snack blog, so I’m trying to make these two happen at once. Unfortunately I’ve procrastinated and will have to put the race off until some time later, possibly June. However I can still try to ” go fund myself” while making fun graphic things for friends. If you have any need for a poster or logo or stickers or even the need to photoshop your roommate riding your dog on a cous cous beach, I can help you out! Check out my website  www.buttcrackjenny.com

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with photoshop, I can make all your wildest dreams come true!
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Van life: smells like Dominicks

Over a year ago Matt and I pinky swore over some beers that we’d quit our jobs and take some bike adventures across the good ole USA, today in a surreal culmination of a pinky swear coming to fruition, we’re jobless and happily in our van and on the road, right now near Kokomo Indiana! Dreams do come true! Thanks to so many friends and family and careful planning (mostly on Matt’s end) we are able to make this a reality and I can’t wait to explore so many places with my best friend! I also swore to some people on digits other than my pinky that I’d attempt to blog about our adventures, so here I am trying to keep my end of that bargain too. Today as Matt packed the van with all our bikes and camping gear it took me back to my childhood, and the multiple van trips my family did from Mexico City to New Albany Ohio. My dad would do most of the three -day drive in our brown Aerostar, or “the lords ford” as my dad called it sometimes 3 times a year with us weird Mexican kids piled in the back on our bed made out of all the American snacks our Grandma would send back to Mexico with us. They were some of the best trips, with lake swimming, fried chicken, cactus army fights and the alphabet game and singing along with cassette tapes of Donna Summer.

Early van life in “the Lord’s Ford” Aerostar
My grandma would send us off back to mexico with all the best snacks, thanks Aunt Janey for all the photos!

I’d spent most of the time in the back fighting with my siblings, waiting for night time to see any city lights or my favorite of all, pretending to be asleep when my dad would stop for snacks and then wake up conveniently when he’d crack open the bag of chips or cookies and say “mmm, smells like Dominick’s” and demand he share some with me.

Over 30 years have passed since those days but I can assure you that this will be my same travel plan of attack on this year off with Matt, to fulfill my duty as the snAcker! While Matt spent the last couple days and morning packing the van, making food, cleaning our bikes, mapping our route and other essential trip plans, I partied with the dogs, watched Survivor and my other shows, and mostly have been snacking and snoozing already on our 4 hours in to our year-off adventure! I’ve already polished off half a bag of jalapeño chips, double fisted some frig newtons, and spilled some of Matt’s tasty pasta salad on the one pair of jeans I’ve packed for the next 3 weeks. It’s how I roll! We’ve been chatting about all the fun riding we’ll be doing this weekend with friends in Brown County, then some hill climbing in Tennessee then more mtn bike braapping with other friends in North Carolina! I feel so lucky! Now and back then, living the van life with my loved ones, and the snacks I love as well, thank you all.

Saying goodbye to these nerds, super thankful to the best mother-in-law Pam for watching them for us

All the best snacks are in the back of the van!

Alrighty, I never promised this blog would be pretty, it’s mostly the ramblings of my thoughts and my thinks in my brain compartments and departments, I might try to edit and clean it up later but for now I’ll leave it as is

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The picture that came stock, can’t figure out how to edit it out yet hehehe