Aug 24, 2012

Homeward Bound: Biking in Tahoe, Oregon and the Gorge Paddle Challenge Race Report


To recover from the Tahoe-Nalu SUP race Andrew and I did some riding around the Tahoe area. We first headed to South Lake Tahoe to check out Mr Toads Wild Ride. It was a long haul UP, luckily I like UP.... the first part of the down was technical with a nice film of dust making it extra slippery... I was in the wrong headspace...thinking about the race that just passed and my future in the sport of SUP etc..... not helpful when trying to mtn bike down slippery boulders... needless to say I realized my thoughts were on cloud nine so took it easy and decided to march down some of the more difficult routes. Luckily, the technical sections didn't last too long and I was able to get my head back in the game and enjoy the rest of the descent. It was fun.....After about 5 hours we were back in the car and in search of a beach. We found one in Tahoe City. I got out on the SUP and practiced some bouy turns until the thunder and lightning seemed loud enough to scurry me off the water. We enjoyed some shopping and headed for the summit of Mt Rose. We spent the night on the summit as it was very close to the trailhead of our next ride: Tahoe Rim Trail into Flume Trail.
   TRT and Flume trail were very scenic indeed, flowy and fun. It is a shuttle ride and luckily we knew some amazing folks in Tahoe (Jennifer and Craig) that offered to pick us up at the end of the ride. We actually rode the flume trail the opposite way then most in order to get a little more of a technical descent later on in the loop! We enjoyed ice cream and burritos at the end of the ride!

BEND Oregon was our next destination. We were running out of time so our stop in Bend was short but sweet. We magically happened to be in the city when my old adventure race teammates Jason and Chelsey were in town (a rare occasion). They were kind enough to lend us a bed and make us some delicious dinner. Jason also pointed us in a direction of  a nice mtn bike ride. We rode the Mazrek trail the following day. It ended up being a longer than intended ride but fun nonetheless. We climbed up the road to some waterfalls then had a steep singletrack climb into a 13 mile singletrack descent. All not that far out of town.

Following Bend, we headed to our last stop on our 3 week road trip... Hood River. We had been here before but it is a lovely town with a great vibe. I had my second SUP race here.

Gorge Paddle Challenge
Chasing Allsion

My second PRO/Elite SUP race. Still no specific SUP training, still riding mtn bikes and camping, still had some firsts....
The wind conditions were set for a huge downwinder on Sunday so it was short course on Saturday. We arrived on Friday in hopes of some wind so I could practice some wave riding.... no luck.... it was dead flat so instead we went shopping! I got myself an adjustable seat post specialized style, a lightweight down jacket AND... that was expensive enough for one day! I eventually got out for a little paddle on the Starboard carbon New. Andrew and I enjoyed dinner at a taco stand by the road.... Delicious!

Saturday proved to have slight winds, enough to feel the headwind and ride the downwind and cause some chaos... The start was crowded as we ll headed to the left side to avoid being pushed downwind of the first bouy turn. I decided to start BEHIND the fast people and it worked out okay... it was roomier and so I could actually get some strokes in. I still need to work on my starts as I don't seem to paddle hard enough right away.. I am an endurance athlete in every way.... it takes me some time to get in my grove but in these one hour races... every second counts (as I am quickly learning by my close finishes with others....). I had a pretty terrible first lap and was about 8th place.... but into our first headwind I quickly realized I had a strength... HEADWIND... not the most fun strength in SUP but I suppose a useful one in certain races... I paddled passed a load of ladies and found myself in 4th behind Allison.. Unfortunately for me that is where I stayed for the rest of the 4 laps of the course. Allison is a really strong paddler and we are very similar in strength..... It is exciting and I look forward to paddling against her in more races... I finished about 7 seconds behind her in 4th. Not too bad for my second elite race with no specific SUP training.

Sunday was the downwinder. It was blowing hard. I was nervous not for the race but to not like it, to not finish it, to get ultra annoyed with the conditions..... It was my first downwinder.... it won't be my last but I do need A LOT more technical practice in order to be efficient and fast. The best way I could describe my emotions was that it really was FUN but very frustrating at the same time. I tried different tactics in catching waves etc but I just wasn't getting it enough and tons of paddlers were flying past me no matter what I did... Not my best result but that wasn't on my radar anyway for the downwinder... it was all about doing something new, something a little scary, and finishing with a smile on my face.... I look forward to the next one!

We took off after the race and made it back to Vancouver that night....

We are now finally back in our apartment but living in a flexible manner as we are renovating....

Battling for 3rd.... Couldn't catch Allison.... 

4th place
more race pictures HERE

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

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