Nicola and I drove up to Santa Cruz on Tuesday in Brendan's Sprinter van, which fortunately has nothing in the back of it, making it easy to cram 5 bikes and a bike box in the back.
Maybe the highlight of the trip for me (which is sad because I was on a US Cup podium on Sat) was nailing my interval workout on Wednesday. After the crash and Bonelli #2 my body was on the struggle bus for quite a while, so hitting the numbers on such a hard workout was pretty special.
|Riding out to the interval hill, not really knowing what to expect from my body.|
After that it was all business all the time! I got to help coach a skills clinic with Rebecca Rusch's GoldRusch Tour Thursday, which was attended by SO many women!
Got to meet some crazy cool people I've only seen on the internets before!
And we wrapped up Thursday night at an athlete party hosted by Crank Brothers, where I got to meet even more super cool people, ate the best BBQ of my life, AND discovered this crazy cool fruit that looks like a lechee! (also somehow this is the only picture I got from the CB party, hahaha)
Friday was all about pre-riding the XC course, socializing a bit and participating in a rad panel of Pros for the GoldRusch Tour. It was hard to be around the whole festival scene and not run around like a crazy person chatting with anyone and everyone, but I think I did a pretty good job hiding in the Ridebiker RV for a few hours to get off my feet in the afternoon.
And of course Saturday there was a good dose of bike racing, complete with a delayed start, 6 painful laps and a podium held at the wrong time hence the dirt still on my face. Apparently everyone else got the memo about the early podium because they at least were able to find hats!
And more schmoozing with sponsors. This is my favorite part of Sea Otter because I love getting to thank all the people who support me in person. Jim Felt in the picture below is one of the coolest sponsors to ride for and for some reason he really believes in me :) Pretty stoked the way this season has worked out that I get to ride Felt bikes... it's a dream come true.
In the spirit of full disclosure, there was a bit of celebratory wine drinking Saturday night which may or may not have resulted in a massive dehydrating headache on Sunday. Let's just say the GoldRusch Tour skills clinic Sunday morning was rough. BUT once again, a great time with so many amazing women on bikes out in the sun, working on valuable skills like cornering in loose off camber switchbacks!
Sunday was the last day of the festival, and I finally got to meet my spirit animal Yoann Barelli. This guy is always SO STOKED to ride bikes. I love his enthusiasm and crazy videos on Instagram. This was the second best moment of the weekend (after nailing those intervals...)
AND FINALLY on Monday Brendan and I hurried to finish taxes before hitting Soquel together pre-drive back to SoCal. It's always fun riding with Brendan, and he forced me to take the trail we rode on our first ever ride when we were dating. Back then I broke up with him multiple times because I was so terrified. This time I was screaming with joy, hitting some jumps, and more in love with bikes and the boy at the end than the beginning. We've been riding bikes together for 8 years, kinda hard to believe how big that number is :)
And that's it, Sea Otter 2016. I have a HUGE love/hate relationship with the weekend, mostly because I put so much pressure on myself to perform well in front of all the sponsors who are there in person, and because it's so damn hard to balance saying hi to everyone with resting so I can race well, but from this side I think this was one of the best Sea Otter's yet.
Today is a rest day, which means I'm not allowed to ride bikes (although I will 'walk' the dog from my bike in a bit, hehe). But mostly it means I need to be cleaning our filthy house. If anyone dropped by to surprise us I would be horrified at the moment, so it's off to vacuum 100,000 dead crane flies off the floor (what the hell happened here when we were gone?!?!) and wash about 12 loads of laundry :)