Women’s Weekend at Ray’s Mountain Bike Park

This past weekend was Women’s Weekend at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, in Cleveland Ohio. Four women traveled up to the Friday/Saturday event; unfortunately Patrice was out with the flu, and Ginger with a banged up knee. This was my first foray to Ray’s, and it really did live up to the hype!

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Jen picked me up from school on Thursday night, and Kathy met us at my house. It took quite a bit of finagling to get the hitch rack on my sister’s car to work well. The freeze/thaw/ice and snow of Ohio winter had frozen much of the mechanical pieces in place, but we finally managed to load the bikes in sub-zero temperatures. Soon enough we were on the road to Cleveland, and the miles flew by with good company. Anna pulled into the hotel right after us and we tucked in for the night.

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Friday morning we headed over to Ray’s in time for the 9 am start. There was snow on the ground, but it was (mostly) dry in the warehouse. It is amazing what they’ve created in that space. Jen showed Kathy and I the ropes, while Anna reconnected with friends from last year. Immediately I learned lesson #1 at Ray’s: Use flat pedals and sneakers. The guys at the shop there were super friendly and helpful, and lent me a set of flat pedals. This was crucial for me to feel comfortable in the park, especially with the format of Friday, which entailed a lot of stopping and starting.

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We were introduced to all the amazing coaches, and given a run down of where they’d be. You could go anywhere you’d like, and catch different pieces of coaching. I started in the beginner area, and Kathy, Anna, and Jen went over to the sport area. I was able to work on a few skills before lunch like riding berms and over a pump track.

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Jen came to find me and let me know that Kathy had taken a spill. She was okay, but took a pretty nasty fall from about four feet up, and ended up with a bruised face and neck, and a fat lip. She needed a sit out for a bit, but eventually got back on the bike, and we worked some laps on the XC trail.  Lesson #2: Get back up when you fall, and try again!

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Lunch was brought in for us from Fat Head Brewery. We had delicious pork and pasta, and were able to sit by the fire and take a short break. We also could pick which prizes to drop in our raffle tickets for the afternoon drawing.

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Post-lunch was more playtime. I worked for a while on some skinnys and then headed over to the sport area to try some more challenging things.

By 4pm we were all pretty tired, so we regrouped for the raffle drawing. Anna was our big winner, taking home some nice items from Fox. They raffled off a ton of great prizes, and everyone went home with a nice goodie bag. We headed back to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub before dinner.

The next day we were back at Ray’s after breakfast. Anna and I had signed up for a small group lesson with Lindsey Voreis in the morning. Kathy was also able to join our group. I’m really glad we took this lesson for two reasons. First, Lindsey’s personality and coaching style as well as her outlook on life really spoke to me as a rider. I’m so thankful we got to spend some time with her. Secondly, the small group format was really superior to the free format of the day before. As a small group we were able to focus on several skills together and actually get to practice things a couple of times. I also liked how within the group, we were at different level and they more advanced ladies were willing to help out those less advanced. Once of the last things we worked on was taking a drop. I was very nervous, but one of the other women in my group asked me if I would be more comfortable following her—and this totally helped! I was really proud of myself for riding the drop. Even after a few times, it wasn’t pretty, but I feel much more confident on this type of skill.

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After the lesson, we met back up with Jen who had a blast all morning playing around the park and meeting other women riders. She even went into the foam pit!

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Lesson #3: talk to other women and go ride with them! They show you new places in the park or help you try out a new skill!

We finished up our time at Ray’s with a few last laps on the XC trail before packing it up happy. I’ll leave you with some last words from Jen:

It’s always a great experience to see a group of adventurous ladies come together to help inspire each other to try new feats, skills and never-done-before accomplishments! And a BIG thanks to Ray’s for providing not only the incredibly fun environment for a variety of riding experiences, but ALSO for providing the opportunity for us to have a non-threatening environment all to ourselves without the distractions and intimidations of super-awesome male riders and kids. Even if just for a day and half…that was a unique treat! AND, the addition of having the arsenal of inspiring coaches available was awesome.

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Stony Creek 12/6 hour Mountain Bike Race

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The folks from Team Jeni’s braved the weather  and headed to Michigan this past weekend for the Stony Creek 6 and 12 hour endurance mountain bike race.

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We quickly set up the tent in the sun while Amy fanned back her hair and I arranged all my things in a parking spot we were supposedly saving in case other teams needed a spot… IMGP9055IMGP9054

The crowd and race pool was much smaller than the times we had been at this race before,  but at 8am Jen quickly started off for our women’s 12hr trio and Chris of Team SixOneFour headed out for the men’s trio. The course came in just shy of 10 miles and it was pretty fast with 3 climbs, a small technical section, a few puddles in low areas, a fast gravel section and a gravel section that felt like quicksand (to me anyways…)

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Jen and Chris finish up the lap as Sarah and Amy (6 hour duo team) skeptically listen to what we’ve gotten ourselves into. And “uuummmm” Jen thinks dirt is soooooo tasty!

The day progressed with fun, fast laps and no real issues. Reports were made of a black squirrel, multiple snakes, snapping turtle and dead crayfish.

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Sarah and Amy started off for the 6 hour at 2pm and about 3 times more teams showed up for that, which made the course fun. Prior to that, the main obstacles were pedestrians, boy scouts, a family trying to hike with loaded packs, stray toddlers, dogs off-leash and folks cruising (slogging) around on hybrids.

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Then around the 6/7th lap, Noah (Backroom Roasters) took a banked turn with a little too much heat for the sandy, washed out terrain. He ripped off his read derailleur & wreck his seat and had to run/ride to end of lap from about half way in. The guys were able to rig a single speed for the next lap.

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Then during that lap, he had further mishaps and with mid-lap repairs and having to then finish in an even worse gear, he was still able to finish the lap within 15 min of normal lap pace time they were keeping.

AWARDS!

12 hour 4 person team:

Eric, Chris and Noah took 2nd, finishing just one lap shy of the top team whom didn’t have any major mechanical mishaps and had 4 people.  PLUS!! It was Eric’s first race since having major hip surgery 9 months ago. And he crushed it!

Jen, Kari and Patrice took 3rd, and were the only women’s team. We totaled 11 laps! IMGP9143IMGP9146

Getting pizza before watching Sarah bring in the tale on the day for Team Jeni’s! IMGP9052IMGP9147

And most importantly, we actually had ice cream to give out this race! Backyard Mint was the day favorite, and this dog was the happiest recipient!

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Rider from Trails Edge and the CX Czar for Team Velvet Elvis were also satisfied!

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Tune in folks in two weeks for reports from the Ride to Recover and the AOA Mayhem!

May Updates!

The folks of Team Jeni’s have been busy like bees since the polar vortex thaw.
Sarah had some great commentary from the Scioto Trails OMBC race : “I think I may have spent more time off my bike pushing it up the hills fondly named the 3-tiered Bitch (a misnomer as it now has about 10 tiers) and The Wall!” However she pulled 3rd and Quickdirt has a great writeup of the event!

photo from Quickdirt

photo from Quickdirt

Amy ran the Cap City Half Marathon! Kathy ran the Boston marathon!
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Isaac race in the collegiate triathlon national championships in Tempe, AZ!
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JD ran his first 10k at the Three Creeks Half/10k/5k and came in 14th overall, second in my age group. Then went to the Iron Furnace Trail Run (20k) at Lake Hope. My first ever run more than 10k and finished 27th. That was fun, muddy in spots and hard – some steep climbs.
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What is this, a running club now?! Well, it’s probably a result of the long winter but otherwise everyone’s just been riding and having a good time!

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This week folks are returning to the Stony Creek 12 hour mountain bike race. We had a great time in 2102 and are stoked to be heading back again! Isaac and Kathy are headed to the American Triple T the following week (check out Kathy’s cameo in the video!), which is on your humble blogger’s bucket list.

So tune in next week to see if we were able to buy the podium spots with icecream!

Early Spring Updated

Hey all! Spring is in full spring and the Jeni’s folks have been out and about a bit!  First of all, we have a new sponsor – Roll: is now our bike sponsor! To kick off the season, they are holding a camp/demo day Saturday at Alum and you can get the details here!  They are also holding a ride out of the Rockmill brewery TOSRV weekend, which is a bummer as a good chunk of us will be in Michigan that weekend. But you can get the scoop at the facebook page and don’t forget to send your mom a card!

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And the story of the spring folks was that Sarah podiumed at the 1st OMBC race and got engaged. Though Chris wears the jersey for Team 614 we couldn’t be more stoked for them. It’s a love story for the OMBC books! Check out the story on QuickDirt!

10154524_10106272371673774_7358784022382128555_n10155161_690391001018145_2155996523728111878_n Tune in next week for updates and a Throwback Thursday to last time Team Jeni’s headed to Michigan for the Fun Promotions enduro race with ALL THE ICECREAM.

Winter 2014

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It’s been a bit quiet here on the ol’ blog lately but the folks of Team Jeni’s have been anything but dormant!  While we wait for the trails to thaw and sun to shine again, here’s what everyone’s been up to!
We had a lovely little team dinner, complete with dino cake and discussing the upcoming spring season:
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February held a  Planet Adventure trail run for Amy, Kathy and Jen. Well, a quarter marathon, night-time trail run with 6-8 inches of snow…
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Sarah gave a great interview to Quickdirt and you can find it here: Getting Into MTB Racing: Sarah Boylan, Novice Q&A.
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Kathy, the team’s resident triathlete costarred in a great video about the American Triple T: here!

Kari‘s has been putting in hiking miles with the pups.

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As have Amy and Tim:
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Issac has been doing a bit of trail running and some snow biking:

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Mark has taken up wood turning and reproducing:
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And the Peters’? Well, they’ve been up to every sport possible, taking Bentley along too!
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Denis has been somewhere warm with Bike and Build:
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And me, your humble blog host? Well, I’ve moved south to be closer to rock climbing but have unexpectedly distanced myself cycling areas, so I’ve been exploring Kentucky.
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Tune in next weekto see if the ladies return to Barry Roubaix and what events make the list of everyone’s spring calendars!

Smith Farms Recap!

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Hey loyal blog readers. As folks start to unthaw and remember that you never cleaned your bike from that cross race in December, we realized that we never gave a recap of Team Jeni’s awesome race at Smith Farms.  The specifics are hazy now, but it was windy, warm, cold, cloudy and sunny all through out the day. We had icecream to give away and Mikey’s Late Night slice help feed the racers too.
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Our sponsors provided some great podium prizes and pity pies!
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And we had a great day out there. Thanks Cap City!

The ladies and kids had a blast too:
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