Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 Ladies Pamperfest Challenge

2012 Ladies Pamperfest Challenge
Rockwell Relay Ladies Pamperfest 2012 Rockwell Relay 
2012 Pamperfest results

Same race (minor course changes) but different cast and crew. It was with mixed emotions that we learned that this year's challenge would require a roster change. The Larsens, were doing their semi annual trek to La Canadienne's home country ohh Canada, and Swedish Liz was unable to participate. So without further ado, let me introduce "needs a nickname" Jody Matsumori. Red Rider's sister who lives in California was up for the challenge. 

We meet Jody who is wide awake at 6:00 am on an already muggy (for Utah) Saturday morning and begin our journey towards the starting line in beautiful Snow Basin, Utah. We arrive on time with a cool easy breezy 30 minutes to spare. Side note: Pearls of Wisdom by Rodzilla, "When you are in charge of transportation for two female riders, ensure you deliver the goods on time. This will make for a pleasant experience for the rest of the day" 
 Level Boss

Team "Lisa's Sisters" and Rodzilla as the +1 soigneur "rider support" were officially on the scene.

It was a great turnout, I think there were about 73 teams total. Dan Stewart "the Race Director" was all smiles shaking hands and ensuring all the women had a chance to check in and enjoy the famous pancake breakfast before the 8:00 am start. Little did I know he was about to drop a bomb on all those unsuspecting female athletes. 

Now the name "Pamperfest" has always been a bit of contention with the cast and crew. If you're on a two woman team, there just isn't going to be any type of pampering. Me being the antagonist, I always likes to refer to the race as "The festival of pampering" Side note: Pearls of Wisdom by Rodzilla, "Don't be the antagonist when your out manned and out gunned, makes for a bad day." 

Good thing there weren't any vegetables or stones
  Dan Stewart announces that their partner who provides all the manicures, facials, pedicures, massages, etc. will NOT be participating in this year's festival of pampering.

Luckily Dan is quick on his feet and gets some last minute volunteers that save the day. He follows his potentially bad news with a well thought out contingency plan. He identifies that there are some 11 year old girls that have offered their services in the place of the missing pampering people. I think to myself that those pampering people must have been on the same bus as the folks who were supposed to bring some smoked brisket to the 2011 Moab Rockwell Relay.

On to the race start and AND another side note from Rodzilla: "When you decide to wear your 2012 Rockwell T-shirt at the pampering fest, you should be prepared to be viewed as an official working the race."

Jody is first up and starts her leg 1. I can't help but feel a little nervous for someone who has been training at 50 feet elevation, and who also pointed out that she doesn't like riding in crowds, not a great combination to be starting at 6,391 feet elevation and in a group of 70 riders for a mass start.

Red Rider and I cheer her off, and rush back to the truck. We decide to get her bike race ready and rush off to support Jody. To our surprise she has already cleared the first climb and is already working her way down the hill. 

Jody is doing great and already heading around Pineview Resivor. We leap frog her a few times and I am Johnny on the spot with the water bottle, but she has no time for that. Side note from Rodzilla, "I realize that I didn't really tell her that I am one of the best "hand up" masters in the Rocky Mountain region, don't believe? Re-read the St. George Rockwell for video proof." I further realize we haven't discussed my insistence on the finer principles of hydration. We will have to discuss this more later, for now it is time to get Red Rider to the starting line and ready for the first baton hand off.

Okay, if I am going to boast about my hand up skills, I better also mention my uncanny timing and strategy skills.Using my skills, I manage to get Red Rider into the hand off area with an over abundance of time to prep, potty and exchange. We pull in and I inform Red that she has about two and a half minutes to get her act together. As she sprints of to the restroom (I later found out that Red had to bypass the 20 minute line for the women's restroom and barge into the men's room....excuse me..any dudes in here?) Nice thinking Red! Jody pulls in and Red sees me signaling to her and just makes it to me as Jody pulls in to exchange the baton. An then Red is off for the toughest hill climb of the day. I scored that as a beautiful exchange. Red didn't quite agree.

Jody's got her jitters out, and she is officially 25% done with her day. I think she is now hooked!

Leg 2: Red Tackles the beast. 

Red has been training all year climbing every canyon she can get her legs on. She even made me take her to this exact climb to give her just the confidence needed to conquer Leg two. 

Rockwell Leg Notes
Shortly out of Huntsville you will take a left and start the climb of Trappers Loop. This is the steepest and most difficult climb of the whole route, making you the hero of your team! The ascent is about 1100 feet over 4.3 miles (average 4.6% grade). The descent is one of the steepest as well, fast and fun! 

Indeed: Rock on Red...your done with this climb!

The 1100 feet of climb prove to be too much for some of the riders, I even saw some walking their bikes up this hill. Way to go Red! Ladies and Gentlemen please keep your arms and legs inside the ride cause we are cannon-balling to Leg 3.

This time I choose not to make the same mistake as last time, better head off and get Jody to the next exchange point with enough time to prep !!! (In the excitement I forget to talk about hand ups...)

Leg 3: Jody's toughest section

If you're an experienced Rockwell participant you will have by now undoubtedly learned that the elevation maps fail to accurately prepare you for how many climbs you will actually need to deal with. For example, the below graph.

This would have you believe that there are only two climbs....Oh no you learn that those little tiny bumps means your going to have a bad day. Well okay not a bad day, but at least a surprise you may not have been counting on.

Okay back to the water bottle hand ups. First off, again my fault, I haven't had a chance to fully explain the finer points of how to make the exchange. In Leg one she didn't need water, okay fine but now it is 90 degrees and she better start drinking. I prep a nice ice water for her, I run along side her as she grabs it. (Good Job right...?) No, she takes one sip and throws in down a ditch. Huh ?!@#?!

Okay, I hope that sip tasted good. We leap frog to her toughest climb, this time she is out of water and I think she is learning. This time she makes sure to pull her bottle before she gets to the water bottle exchange point. (LOL!)

It is hard to tell, but I actually have a zoom lens on this shoot, she is about a quarter mile away, and biking with one hand....okay maybe not that far.

Okay now she is all set fresh water and about 5 miles to the exchange. She has her steepest section to conquer and then a nice downhill ride into the exchange.

Leg 4: Red Rider's Time Trial (TT) "Finding your inner 999"

Okay so what is "999?" It's my way of saying you are going all out. If you don't like it, make up your own.

Red decided that this was going to be her time trial course because of the somewhat flat terrain. The Leg was just under 15 miles with 650 feet of climb, and Red gripped it and ripped it. It other words she owned it. I think she reported passing 8 riders on this section. I know she got 4 of those kills on this hill alone.

Leg 5: Having fun with water bottles

Okay, lets see what am I forgetting? Oh yea talk to Jody about how to trade water bottles. Well another speed round to the exchange and again no chance to compare notes. Jody killed both this leg and her water bottle. I will let the picture do the explanation on this one.

Okay, this time I thought it would be fun to capture this precision on film. 

Exhibit A, clearly shows Red Rider in place and ready to swap bottles. 

Exhibit B,
Jody ejects her water bottle an easy 150 yards before she gets to Red. NICE !!

Exhibit C, Roadkill!

Exhibit D, Hand off success.

The temperatures are well into the 90s and it is hot, but that doesn't stop the girls. Making great time doing well. Way to go.

Leg 6: The Canyon out and back. A.K.A. Rodzilla's lunch run

Every employee in the state of Utah is entitled to a 30 minute meal break. I think there is even a union that governs this fact. Leg 6 is a beautiful canyon ride, that starts and ends at the same place, and they ask for the support vehicles to stay behind. This allows me to get some great nutrition at the only restaurant in Oakley. Say what you will but this is tradition, oh and it was good too.

We wave goodbye to Red as she heads out, I set up a blanket and some chairs under the only shade I could find. I set up Jody with some water and a ice pack and then I head out. It is really hot, but look above the Polar King sign, what is that a dark cloud, maybe some shade?

Just as I finish my gourmet meal, the clouds roll in and suddenly bark out some thunder. Jody jumps up, and runs around looking a little unsettled. I sit still and think that a nice summer mist is exactly what we need to bring these temperatures down. As the drizzle turns to a down pour, people start scrambling. Just then the loudest crack of thunder followed by lightening gets me up and out of my chair. We throw everything in the truck and Jody and I discuss what we should do. 
About a minute outside - DRENCHED!!

 As we sit there, the winds pick up to gusts of 25-30 blowing all canopys, signs and chairs all around. We are watching people chase random things all around the park and I start thinking about Red, all alone fighting the elements with not even as much as a jacket. I can see the black clouds and lightening hitting the mountains that she is in.

Without further delay, I decide to go look for Red for fear of her safety. So we go blazing up the canyon. 

As we head up the canyon we pass several teams loading bikes and riders into their cars. I stop to talk with a few and they declare they are out and done. I am now starting to wonder if our day is over as well. Really not sure what state of mind Red Rider will be in. To my relief I find her a few miles from the bottom. She is in great shape and having the ride of her life. I present her with her options and she chooses jacket. That a kid!!

We head back to the exchange and there are only 4 cars. Before we left I bet there were easily 20 or more. 

I think this next picture is really telling, I was really surprised! 110 degrees (which is street temperature) down to 60 degrees in a little under two hours WOW!

Leg 7: Jody's last, lets make it interesting...dirt road?

Jody connects up with four wet ladies and they form a pact and they head out as the fantastic four. Also note, that the full family support has arrived as well. The rain had turned back into a drizzle. Jody's last leg was re-routed to a dirt road. Chemistry 101- what do you get when you mix rain with a dirt road?" None of that mattered now, Jody had her sights set on finishing strong, rain, dirt, mud it didn't matter. I really loved supporting Lisa's sisters, they were always so positive no matter what. That was cool.

As the fantastic four pedaled on to Heber, the race seemed to be just about the four of them. We didn't see anyone else ahead or behind for some time.

Back on wet asphalt, we got time for a couple California gang signs.

At this point neither rider is done, not by a long shot. Jody has one more serious climb, and I am not sure if she knows it. I love this picture, I think she left the fantastic four behind. She was ready to be done!!! (That's her husband cheering her on. Her kids cheered her on from inside the warm, dry car.)

Okay Jody, climb this last hill and then scream all the way down into Heber, and guess what. Yea girl, you're DONE!!! Way to stick to it.

8th and Final Leg: Heber to Soldier Hollow

For the last hour I have been watching Red Rider get more and more uncomfortable. I haven't yet thought of a copyright term for this feeling, but as rider four in the St. George Rockwell Relay I know exactly what is going on. Everyone around you is done, and finished but your still looking at another 20 miles featuring 1200 more feet of climb into a very stiff head wind. Hang in there Red, soon you will be dry and finished as well.

Red is on the bike and heading back towards the mountains. As she climbs up the bench I couldn't help but take a picture of what most bikers hate seeing.

A quick pep talk from her Dad as she passes by; heading up for her second to last climb of the day.

Overall it was a fun day full of great rides, family and crazy weather changes that comes with living in Utah. The girls conquered the ride and I'm proud of how they stuck through it the entire way! I believe we are all in for another round of Rockwell Relay - Pamperfest in 2013.


  1. Yom and Jodi are AWESOME!!! Love the recap of the race Rodney. Thanks for posting it. I am living vicaiously through you!


  2. What an awesome ride, you ladies are awesome! I hope to be able to do this ride one day but for some reason I think I'll be without such great narration and recap. I will say with all the great pics taken my favorite pic is the worst one... the wind blown flag. Proof along with that rain that both ladies are hardcore!

  3. Agreed, the wind and rain took what is a challenging ride already to the proverbial 'HNL'. Well done both of you. Jen (La Canadienne) has been sad for months knowing we would be in Canada the day of this race (her favorite last year). The ride we signed up for provided a race jersey and required all riders not signed up as a club to wear it for the event. La Canadienne wore her Rockwell Relay jersey instead (defiantly). She was with you in spirit all day. 2013? Book it.

  4. Rodzilla, we might need to add you to the professional staff next year.

    Thanks for the write up and great coverage

  5. I was searching the web for the race results and pictures and I stumbled a crossed your blog. Really cool, your girls experiences were very similar to ours and was fun to read. I have forward your link to my family to get a good feel for what we went through. I never saw you guys out there, and based on your finish time looks like we were about 30 minutes behind. Unfortunately the lighting was a little too much for us and we resigned the race on stage 6. We will defiantly be back next year. I am adding your blog to a must follow.

    Thanks again