Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Well the Music Plays and You Display Your Heart for Me to See.

My new Nutcase helmet. I'm pretty enamored with it.
 Me: I am so in love with you.

John: Your cat is a complete Jackass.

I'm delusional, so I'm just going to go ahead and assume that he meant that he loved me too, inspite of my cat...
Archie is the ugliest, orangest  Nutcase helmet ever.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Am a Wunderlust King!

 It's been one hell of a cold Winter in Iowa this year. Except for about 3 hours on the bike trainer in the unheated garage every week, I haven't been able to ride like I wanted this year.

 We've been forced to try other sports instead, like bowling, and if we were going to bowl, we had to have a Big Lebowski movie party, right? There really was just no way around it. And if we were going to have a Big Lebowski viewing party, we had to make White Russians. We looked online and found a few options to the traditional drink. My favorite? The Anna Kournikova: It's like a white Russian, but with skim milk - a skinny, low-fat White Russian. People are oh so very witty on the internet these days.

 The best thing about this Winter, is the snow and the Cross Country skiing. We've been able to ski almost every weekend and it has been amazing. I just started skiing a couple of years ago and because the snow has been so sparse the last couple of years, I never got a chance to work on it and get better. This year I finally got that chance and I suddenly understand all of the things my brother was trying to teach me the first time I skied. I glide so much better, I lift my feet in corners and I can even double pole now. Yea me! Next year, my goal is to conquer skate skiing. I've tried a couple of times now. John has tried to help me at it by suggesting I use my ice skating skills I acquired as a kid. I had to remind him that I grew up in Arizona and didn't have the means to acquire any such skills.

Although the skiing has been great, it has taken away from the running I normally do in the Winter. We have a 25K part trail race that I'm not sure I'll be ready for on March 15th. The best thing about this Winter, is that John and I have planned a trip to Tucson in about 10 days. So, next Friday, I plan to be getting back up to speed on my trail running in this park outside of Santa Fe. It's called Tent Rocks and I can't wait to explore it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

On a Steel Horse I Ride.

I thought I would acquaint you all with the bikes in my stable. I know that I have written about some of them in the past, but here I am, organizing them by order of when they were acquired.

Here is my first real bike I ever got. I bought it with my income tax return in march of 2011 for $800. It is an aluminum frame Motobecane cyclocross bike. I raced road and cyclocross and gravel races and road it on mountain bike trails. If you are poor and want an all around bike that you can do most things on, I recommend getting a CX bike. I still use this bike on my trainer and for RAGBRAI and I rode it around Louisville when we went to Cyclocross Worlds. It is a bike I take when I don't want to worry about it getting stolen. I would be very sad if I didn't have it, but I have other bikes who can do what it does now.
The second bike I acquired was a gift from John. It was his old road racing bike that he fixed up for me to use to race time trials and triathlons. I bought the aero bars and paid $600 for the used  tri-spoke and back disc wheel from a friend of mine. It is an a aluminum frame Specialized E5?. I'm not sure of the year either, but it has served me very well in time trials and triathlons for the last couple of years. There is a chance that I might take over John's old aluminum frame P1 time trial bike, but I haven't been able to get the aero bars and the fit quite right yet.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Trophy, No Flowers, No Flashbulbs, No Wine


So, I haven't been writing much here or anywhere and I need to start. I also want to work on looking at my training and racing and trying to remember what worked for me, what didn't, where my head was on a particular day, and even more importantly for me being in my late 40's, where my hormones were. 

To that end, I am going to try to change my blog a little and use it to talk about training and races more, so I can look back and see what I was doing. It's hard for this old lady to remember from one day to the next, let alone one year to the next, what the hell I did. I will still write about personal stuff here and there, but those of you who couldn't give a rat's ass about racing (and I do understand that), feel free to ignore me. I also hope this helps any women, older women especially, to get into racing or if they already race, to commiserate and rejoice or feel superior or whatever helps.

Photo credit Mark Consadine    

Photo credit Mauro Heck

 This weekend was my favorite race of the year. It is called Jingle Cross Rock and it is in my hometown and it draws cyclocross racers from all over the state and it's also a 3 day party. Everything about it is wonderful.

This has been kind of a tough Cyclocross season for me in general. I had to cat up. I was a beginner last year and placing in most of my races. How it works for most women, is that we don't have a lot of categories. We are either beginners or we race with the best in our fields. I found it VERY humbling to go back to being one of the last finishers in most of my races. Lord knows, I'm not expecting to win nationals or go to the Olympics in any field, but to consistently be fighting for second to last place did tend to bruise my ego even more than my legs this year.

At one point early on, John told me that I didn't look like I was having any fun and seemed pretty negative about it all. It was hard to hear, but I knew he was right. I just had to correct myself. Instead of stressing out so much about my results (or lack thereof), I still tried as hard as possible, but put way more emphasis on having fun with it. I love to ride my bike up hills and in mud and sand and I get so happy when I "master" a part of a course I didn't think I would ever figure out how to ride. Plus, the other people who race cross are always amazing and fun when I come with my head screwed on the right way (which can be tricky), I have more fun than should be legal.

Photo credit Chris Munday

Going into this weekend, I was ridiculously excited and I was at a good hormone place and ready to ride. I raced the 2/3 women category on Friday night. I started out pretty strong, but I was bounding over the logs, when the woman in front of me just stopped. I had nowhere to go and was in mid-leap, so basically slammed into the fencing and my bike. I have no idea how I was able to stay upright, but I did. Of course, most of the field had passed me as I got on my bike and tried to get my chain back in a decent gear, at that point and I played catch-up the rest of the race. Not exactly my forte'. I was able to get a few places running up an evil hill, but finished a few places from last.

On Saturday I woke up feeling crappy. My nose was running all over the place, my ears were itchy and I was dizzy (even more than normal). I decided not to race and hoped I would feel better on Sunday.

Sunday came and my dizziness subsided. Even though I was still sick, I didn't want to give up a chance to do a muddy race. So, I raced. I was second from last by the end, but I learned how to ride my bike up a muddy hill, after a brutal run-up and I couldn't do that the first couple of times I pre-rode the course. In my delusional brain, I was triumphant. I celebrated the rest of the day.

Today, I am still a little sick. I really want to run or ride, but I'd rather rest and get better for my race on Saturday. Most importantly, I am still smiling from all of the weekend antics.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

We Will Find You Acting On Your Best Behavior

I haven't blogged in so long, that I don't really know how it works anymore. I can't put the text where I want it and moving things around is a mystery to me. I'll just write anyway wherever it let me. So, if it looks clumsy...It will only be fitting to me.

So, I've never been mechanically inclined, but now that I'm riding bikes so much, it's silly of me not to know how to maintain and fix some of the easiest things. In addition to changing a tire, greasing and putting on a chain, I also can now replace pedals, and mess with the barrel adjustor too. Now, The Guy is teaching me how to build wheels. It's pretty interesting, except that there is a lot of talk of lubing up the nipples and inserting them into the rims and I start laughing so hard that I can't concentrate on the task at hand. Maybe I'm just too immature for bike mechanics...

Cyclocross season is in full swing now. We went down to Hermann, MO for a race a couple of weeks ago. They seem to take their cyclocross a little more seriously down there. The women in my race were all very nice and really, really fast. Even the woman who raced in a pink wig, I think was probably drunk and kept telling everyone that she was just racing for bacon and dollar bills beat me. Right as we were being staged, they were announcing the name of the winner of the race before ours. His name was Titsworth. No, really. I kept cracking up every time they said it and all the other woman around me were completely stoic. So, maybe it's not just wheel building, maybe I'm too immature for bike racing in general.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So, this blog is mine, right? Sorry I'm rarely posting. I have a photo for you all. I raced Snake Alley in Burlington and it rained and it rained and it rained some more. The cobblestone is much harder to ride when it's slippery and you can't get much traction. I haven't done well at this race in the past and this year was no exception. I think I did a little better than last year and I figure if I keep trying and getting even a little better each time, one of these years I'll actually do well, right? Hell. It's worth a shot. IT doesn't cost anything but blood sweat and tears (your favorite band). Anyway, here is a picture of me doing it. I figured, if I wasn't very good, that I should at least wear fun socks...

In other news, Coadster is in Spain until the first week in July and is surprisingly homesick. I am hoping things will be better for her, once she gets into a routine. She said she was going to the beach as soon as her classes were over, so that ought to cheer her up.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This photo has nothing to do with my post. It is me running up a flyover at Cyclocross Worlds in Louisville, KY at the beginning of this month.
So, work has been hell and our boss tried to make things better by bringing us all milkshakes after lunch. Nice, right? He offered one to my co-worker.

Co-worker: I'd love a chocolate milkshake, but then you'd have to call the ambulance to take me away, since it would put me into a diabetic coma...

Boss: So, vanilla then?

Har har har har...

Friday, December 21, 2012

And a Real Famous Cat All Dressed Up in Red

Have a great Christmas, or solstice or apocalypse, or whatever holiday you care to celebrate. It looks like Archie will be providing the entertainment and keeping our house Santa free this year.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Stinky with Archie.
My cat can be such a fucking asshole most of the time, but I still love him so much. One of my co-workers said,"The things we put up with for our cats, we would never tolerate in a relationship" Ain't it the truth.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Time Doesn't Wait for Me

Oh, hell. Sorry about the absence...Again. Today I will just post photos of the last few months. if I try to add much text, I'm sure I won't finish this post either. So, here it is:

We went to the State Fair in August.

In September we went to La Crosse, Wisconsin for a weekend of bike riding for The Guy's birthday. This was at the railroad trails.

Then Cyclocross racing season started.
We did a race outside of Iowa City and it rained the whole weekend. I told The Guy that he looked like a sad clown when he finished. He told me that he felt like a sad clown too.
Here we are both muddy and looking like sad clowns.

For a race before Halloween, called Spooky Cross at Living History Farms in Des Moines, we decided to dress-up. The Guy strapped a creepy zombie baby on his back and rode the whole thing with it. Pretty.

I decided to just go as a zombie. I called myself The Riding Dead, and it was pretty accurate.
If I was a little faster, an image of me in zombie make-up, coming over a hill might be a bit more frightening...
In Iowa, our audiences aren't always that impressed with our races.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Too Hot, This Town is Too Hot

Hey, remember me? yeah, I'm the slacker who never writes and never calls...

Anyway, I thought I'd post about RAGBRAI, since it was well over a month ago, and all. This will mostly be a photo post, because I'm still busy and lame - an annoying combination. I'll also say that the president and his posse will be speaking across the street from my office on Friday. They'll be closing most of our building up for much of the day. None of the muckety-mucks are telling us what that means for us. I'm sure it will be interesting, though.

Soooo, RAGBRAI.....RAGBRAI was very, very hot. It was 100's of degrees out and we rode in the sun in that heat for the first 4 days. On the 100 mile day, I got a little heat stroke by the end. I had the chills and was super disoriented and weak and it didn't occur to me to get off my bike and sit in the shade. Duh. Luckily, The Guy noticed I had fallen off the back of our little riding pack and came looking for me. He told me just to pull over by some trees and we could sit for a bit. Another guy came and joined us with the same issue. Up the road, someone was selling coconut water out of the trunk of his car. I have no idea what was in it, but it made me feel instantly better. I had tons of regular water on me, but I think I was sweating out any electrolytes or vitamins.

So, after a stormy night in marshaltown - one that was so windy, it bent our tent pole, the weather became much more temperate and we had lovely days filled with bicycling, eating bad food and drinking any type of beverage...And fun. The days were very full of fun.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Oh, I'm Getting Older Too

My birthday was a mixed bag this year. After last year's totally perfect birthday weekend, I knew I couldn't expect that again. But luckily, the good easily outweighed the bad.

I took Friday off of work and went to visit Coadster in Ames. We went to Reiman Gardens and checked out the butterflies, the Leggo sculptures, and of course, the world's largest cement gnome.

Then we drove to Des Moines to eat lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. We stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up all kinds of stuff, since we don't have one in my town, and then finally to the gas station, to fill up The Guy's car. Alas, I couldn't get the gas cap unlocked. I tried, Coadster tired and then three other customers tried, with no luck. I called The Guy and he had no idea why we couldn't get it unlocked. He had to work until 5, but then he would drive to Des Moines with his other key to see if that helped. Of course, it would take 4 hours for that to happen and I would be sitting in a parking lot in West Des Moines on a 95 degree day that whole time. The Guy was smart enough to call a locksmith to help me out. It took a while for him to get there and he couldn't unlock the cap without basically beating the cap into many, many messy shards. So, three hours later, I finally got out of the damn parking lot and on the interstate home.

Saturday of my birthday weekend, we were supposed to do a bike race in a little town called Le Claire, Ia.  We decided to pre-ride the course and somehow got lost. We found ourselves in the next town over and had to ride down a busy street along the Mississippi River to our race. By the time we got there, everyone had already taken off. Oh, well. Our ride was pretty anyway.

We then headed to Maquoketa and went on a bike ride there. It was the third day of a migraine for me, and after all that riding and taking migraine meds, I was beat. We made it to a church, when I told The Guy I needed to stop. he was a very gallant boyfriend and I rested under a tree while he took off back to his car, on his bike and drove back to pick me up.

We met Coadster and her boyfriend at the hotel and they had sodas while The Guy and I had a drink at the bar downstairs. Then we had a lovely dinner and went to see Brave at the drive-in theater just outside of town.

On Sunday, we went to the caves in Maquoketa and hiked around. We were going to try to canoe or kayak, but it was extremely hot and the river was crazy low, on account of the damn drought. Instead, we all decided to go our separate ways and The Guy and I headed back home.

On Monday (my actual birthday). I got up and had the 5th day of my migraine (le sigh). I took even more meds and was able to make it though another hot, but nice day of lunch with The Guy and his mom, a nap, ice cream with The Guy and my girls and finally our Monday Night Bike Ride with some friends. So, aside from a few bumps, I couldn't ask for much more from my extended birthday weekend.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Right Before My Very Eyes.

Me getting a gander at my new bike in the hotel lobby.
It's been almost a month since I posted. Sorry. In that time I turned 47, did some races and went on RAGBRAI.

I guess I'll start with my birthday. Which started about 2 weeks early. I had been interested in getting a road bike - a Cannondale Caad 10. It's aluminum, instead of carbon fiber, so it handles really well, but is about half the price of most road bikes. Cannondale doesn't sell their bikes on-line and there isn't a dealer anywhere near us who had the bike in my size. So, I had to let it go and figured I'd wait until next year's bikes came out and there were still plenty of them to buy at the beginning of the season.

Then, when we went to meet my brother and his wife at the hotel in Maquoketa, before the triathlon, I was telling my brother how I had to make sure I could ride my time trial bike up that 20% grade hill at the beginning of the bike portion of our race. He said, "Wouldn't it be easier on a faster, lighter road bike?"

"Um, I guess..." At that point, my sister-in-law walked behind me and The Guy wandered into the other part of the hotel lobby and reappeared with a Cannondale exactly like the one I wanted. Still not getting it and thinking that one of the other racers had left their bike in the lobby like my brother had, I said, "Hey, this is exactly like the bike. I want! I wonder who's it is?"

The Guy answered, "Yours." He had been sneaky and found a shop in Madison, where my brother lives and had him pick it up and bring it down for me. The best surprise and birthday present ever!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I'm Hotter Than the Sun on the Fourth of July

Stinky in her funky 4th get-up.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. It was hot here, but we were able to deal with it.

On Tuesday night, Stinky and Coadster had gone to the Quad Cities and The Guy and I were happy to have a night to ourselves - for the most part. He went on a training ride, and I got everything ready for dinner. I grilled salmon with a lemon. butter and fresh dill sauce. I steamed asparagus, made a salad, aute'd zucchini and red peppers and then served it with good bread from the co-op and brie. It was all very good. While we were eating, our friend JH stopped by to show off his '80's Panasonic bike that he bought from the Bike Library and was fixing up. He stayed and ate some salad and salmon and we talked bikes for a while, before he took off. I've been DVR"ing The Tour, so we watched the last part of it, before we went to bed.

I went for an early run on the 4th - it was almost 80 degrees by 7:30. The Guy went to his mom's to help her with a few things. My plan was to tidy-up the house and go to the store, before The Guy's ex and still friend, came to visit from Minneapolis. I made the mistake of reading my book for a half hour, but it was so good, I had to finish it. If you haven't already, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a great read...Especially the last half.

The Guy's friend finally arrived and we had lunch and then road our bikes, in the hot, hot, heat to the Resevoir to swim. Riding home, after we were soaking wet, was WAY more comfortable than riding there.

In the evening we went downtown to eat. Almost every restaurant was closed.We were on a waiting list for a while at one place, but the kept telling us it would be longer and longer, so we finally went to The Mill. Coadster joined us and I had the veggie lasagna and we all tried to avoid watching the hotdog eating contest that was being shown on all the TV's there.

We rode our bikes home to the sounds of the fireworks display going on behind us and it was all so very nice.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Rock the Boat. Don't Rock the Boat, Baby

So, I did my second triathlon of my life, which was also my second triathlon this month. Jeesh! I might be a little too old for all of this, but I really like triathlons.

This one was called an adventure race and took place in Maquoketa, Ia. Basically, they just replaced the quick swim with a very long and arduous canoe race - at least for those of us who didn't train for it...

We left for Maquoketa on Friday evening to make sure I could actually ride my bike up the 20% grade hill, right after the canoe section. We met my brother and his wife for dinner at the really cool hotel where they stayed, then we went back to their room for a drink and to talk about our itinerary the next day.
There were these cool lime kilns at the last transition spot.

We got up early and deposited our things at each transition.

We listened to our instructions and then we were off. The canoe part was the hardest for me. My brother races canoes on a regular basis, but I've been on a canoe about 4 times my entire life.The water was very low and so we had to maneuver a lot and our times were much slower than they would have been, had their been more water. My brother yelled at me a couple of times, but I just told him I didn't understand what he was saying and he said, "I guess I should stop yelling then..." Yes. he should.

We finished the canoe and grabbed our bikes. I was dead after the canoe, but my brother was raring to go. He took that steep hill in no time flat. I, however, felt like I crawled up it. I regained my strength a few miles into the ride and came in only about a minute behind my brother.

The Guy was waiting for me at the last transition. This race was a little more lax. usually,  you aren't allowed to have any outside contact, but here they didn't care, so the guy took my bike and helmet from me and I was off to run my 5K.

Of course, it was about 95 degrees by then and I hadn't been drinking enough water. I started getting the chills, but I kept going and when I finished the race, a man came over and handed me a piece of cold watermelon. It was the best thing anyone could have done for me.

My brother and I ended up winning the co-ed, race canoe category and got $80. Since my brother paid the $50 entrance fee, he kept the cash, but he had paid for our dinner the night before, so it was only fair.

 I went home hot and tired and happy. It was pretty grueling, but I'm so glad I did it.