14 July 2008 By Rachel’s


Wow. What a trip! I just got back from doing way more driving in four days than I prefer to do in a month. I don’t even have to question whether it was worth it. When you put together an awesome travel companion, epic mountain biking and scenery, and catching up with many of my race friends, of course it’s on my list of one of my best weekends ever!

On Thursday we left for Reno right on time, er 3 hours late!?! Luckily we didn’t have to be anywhere at a particular time. Typically even an hour in the car drives me nuts, a 3 1/2 hour drive to St. George I’m driving eveyone else crazy. Poor Art, 6 hours to Reno, 3 more to Downieville, 1.5 to Tahoe, and then 10 back to the 801? I suppose you’ll have to ask him how he faired with a ADHD girl who can hardly sit still for 5 minutes let alone hours on end. When I told my friend Lance (whom has been my companion on many roadtrips) we were driving out instead of flying, he told Art, “I’m sorry man, good luck!”, the thought that came to mind was “Mean boys!”.

Anyway, the trip was great! I found I knew many more people than I thought. Because I race for Monavie/Cannondale, many others knew me that I didn’t even know. I know them now! My friend Nancy commented a couple of weeks ago that, “Rachel knows no strangers”. I personally like it that way. Engon (works for Scott) who stays at my place en-route to events was there, many cool Xterra friends, Emma, Laura, Mario, and more. Lance and his new girl friend Gina, and the list goes on! Even Bob Kinsley (friend formerly of the 801) came to cheer us on and hang out a bit after the race.

So about the race? Well, lets just say I am getting better at downhill, but I still have a long way to go. The 3000 foot climb for me was no problem and I was one of the first women to the top in my field. After that I found out still that 5200 feet of descent if still a lot too much for my nerves to handle. I was much faster than last year and finished a respectable 8th place in the women’s expert field, but I need to learn to trust more that I can go downhill at high speeds and keep the rubber side down. It’s coming. I especially know I didn’t ride to my potential considering the explosive amount of energy I still had after the race! Art also placed 8th in the men’s expert field which is amazing considering he has only raced twice this year!
Dirty girl head to toe right after the race.
Mandatory post-race bicycle storage–slightly different than a tri scene?!?
So after the race I was my usual hyperactive self, laughing and running and dancing around non-stop for about 4 hours (while everyone else was barely moving) before I finally came back to Earth just in time to watch the bicycle jump contest into the river. This is soooo cool as a few of the competitors pretty much put on a full bmx trick show before landing bicycle and all into a swimming hole.

We didn’t stay for the late night festivities and instead headed to Tahoe so we could ride the Xterra Nationals Course. The next morning I received a very welcome surprise call from Gene Murrieta who lives in Incline Village. He heard from Emma I was in town. It was great to catch up with him before and after the ride. Emma met up and rode with us. I was so excited to show Art my favorite places and views in Tahoe, but with all of the CA fires, there wasn’t much to see. Next time! After the ride, I was adamant that we swim in Lake Tahoe and did so with a happiness I can hardly explain that I have when I get to be in such beautiful refreshing water and scenery.

We left Gene, Emma, Tahoe, and a weekend full of wild memories and headed home. Today. I am completely sore and bruised, tired, and happy!

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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