Monday, February 29, 2016

She's Tripping Down the Streets of the City. Smiling at Everybody She Sees

Oh, Iowa. Sure, it's supposed to maybe snow tomorrow, but on Saturday, it was up into the 60's. So, we took so much advantage of the weather to play outside.

We met our friends at the Deadwood and headed to Riverside. The wind was pretty strong going South and West. We had a lovely ride there, ate lunch at Murphy's and then headed back.

We had a tailwind for most of the ride back and boy was that lovely.

Since John and I both ran in the morning, we were sufficiently tired and ready for bed at an embarrassingly early, old people time.

Sunday morning was very pleasant. John and I both settled into the couch, where I drank tea, he drank coffee, I read my book and John watched one of the European classic races, pointing out to me the critical strategies going on with certain riders.

It was a great way to spend the morning, but it was too nice outside to stay on the couch all that very long. John and I got up and went on our respective running routes. Then I came home and made a nice tofu veggie stir-fry over brown rice.

 We stayed in after lunch for a bit, so we could get some things done around the house. I cleaned up my table that somehow attracts every piece of paper in the world and a huge, unruly pile seems to amass beyond my control. So, I cleaned up that mess and got all my tax stuff together. FINALLY.

By the time we were considering riding, the temperature was dropping steadily and the wind was gusting out of the Northwest.

We didn't figure we could ride road bikes very easily, and all the trails in our area were too wet to ride our mountain bikes on, so John suggested we do a townie mountain bike ride.

He led and I followed and we rode on the park across the street from us and went to the high school after that and rode on this dirt path by the tennis courts and then on the grass that encircles the track.

We found this cool place that just has a big water tank (?) on it and it's next to Hickory Hill Park, so it was fun and rolly and we scared up some deer and then headed to Seven Sister's Road.

In the 80's when Scott Blvd was still a gravel road that washed out whenever it rained, I used to run Seven Sister's Road and at that time, it eventually connected to Dodge Street. Seven Sister's Road is crazy hilly and now they made a new road close to it, so there is a big gate that is usually closed to the part that used to meet Dodge Street.

For some reason, that gate was open yesterday,  We were able to ride down the C road and then I saw the back of the billboards. I went over to see what they looked like from the front and that is what I saw. I had no idea they would be so digitized. I asked John why they had a billboard of an extremely concerned Will Ferrell. but he said he thought this guy was part of a news team. I guess that's what I get for not watching regular TV ever...

We rode home from there and it was so windy, it felt like my helmet was going to blow off my head.

So, we might get some snow this week. The good thing is that it's March now and things should be warming up in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jus' Do Something Random

 Today's post will be all about the random. I plan on  just jumping from one thought to another, and you can all just try and follow along...Or not.

I got new running shoes yesterday. Out of the blue, John bought me that black pair of extra support Altra trail running shoes about a month ago. They are awesome, but they are a little heavy and they are zero drop, which seems to make my calves very tight. So, I bought the blue pair of Saucony's. They are lighter, and will be better for running races and have an 8% drop. I'm hoping having two pairs of running shoes that are both a little different, and alternating wearing them for different types of running will help my messed-up feet and beleaguered, old, body. It's the first time in my life I've had the luxury of switching-out two new pairs of shoes when I run. Lucky me!

Two years ago today, we rode up Mt Lemmon in Tucson. As we rode up it, we hit at least 3 different ecosystems and saw so many other riders. I would love to do it again. One of these days...
 Last night, my brother, sister-in-law and her mom came down from Madison to watch the Hawkeyes play basketball against the Badgers. We all met and had dinner at Augusta, a Cajun fusion restaurant that just moved from a smaller town, into Iowa City. The food was still amazing and we got to have fun family time with John and both my girls.

 We headed over to Brew Lab to kill some time before my brother and his family headed to the game and John took this photo of me and the girls...

As you can see, Coadster was REALLY comfortable with me hanging on her like that...Or not...And that's why it was hilarious to do.

I just finished reading "The Blazing World" and am currently reading "The Unknown World". Maybe I should read "The War of the Worlds" next and see who would win between the sexist art snobs of the first novel and the African American slave owners of the second book. Hmmmm.

On Saturday morning when I was running and it was so nice out, and I was slogging down the bike path and saw all these wonderful, happy, families riding bikes and I passed one skinny, white, 10 year old looking boy and I waved to  him as I passed and he gave me the black power fist in return and I laughed almost the whole rest of my way home.

Since we're not really going on a vacation outside of Iowa (except possibly a Christmas time trip to Washington DC), I have some extra vacation days to play with. Starting next month, I get to take a whole day, a half day and 3 hours of a day of vacation a month all the way through July. I can't wait for more time to ride and run this year.

Okay. That's just about all the random I can fit into one post...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let's Cure it 'Cuz We're Running Out of Time

Oh, man. These warm weekends are the best. On Friday night it was warm enough to sit on the porch with the cats for the first time since November. The cats love it when we're out there. They can lie on us and, if it's Archie, make us lose all feeling in our legs while they look at birds and bunnies and squirrels.

On Saturday it was in the upper 50's...In February. Really. I ran a 3.5 mile route and it didn't hurt my hips too badly. Then we ate lunch and met our friends for a bike ride to Solon. It was incredible. The birds were singing and every motorist who passed us waved and smiled at us. So great!

We made it to the brew pub and ate good food and drank good beer and just as we were getting ready to ride back, Bell Biv Devoe's song, "Poison" came on and we had to dance around the fire like pagan fools.
Don't worry. Archie loves dance parties too. I think he may finally have received enough attention.

We decided to keep the dance party going and had everyone meet back at our house. It was a lot of fun and everyone gave us a hard time that we were up WAY past our bedtime. That's right. We stayed up until 11 pm on a Saturday night. Scandalous!

It also gave our friends a longer opportunity to harass John. He isn't all that into dancing in general, so the boys smother him with all of their wild dance moves.

Sunday was a nice, mellow day for me. I spent some time cleaning the hell out of my living room and reading the end of a book. Then, John and I went to the rec services building for a lap swim. I was a little slow on the draw that day, but the nice thing about swimming is that it is basically no impact, so I can just go slowly and work on my form...Which could take decades.

Anyway, it does seem like the weather is breaking and we're moving toward a better season for me and most Iowans I see, seem to be much happier than they were a week ago. Now, if only my back/hip issues would rectify themselves, I'd be all set....

Monday, February 22, 2016

I got to, Got to, Gotta Take it Slow.

We got our BOB trailer and John put it together. Archie seems to like it. If he weren't such an A-hole who puked and pooped every time he rode in the car, we might think about taking him for a ride in it...

So, I started this thing where I try to clean the hell out of one room of our house every day. We still tidy other rooms, but I'm talking about doing more deep cleaning. Since we have a small house - 7 rooms altogether and 1 of those rooms I don't touch on account of Coadster staying there and I respect her privacy and also she's an adult and can clean her own mess. Ahem. Anyway, that leaves me 6 rooms and we only have one bathroom, which sucks for 3 people who need to get ready at the same time, but sure is nice during cleaning time. How much time do people spend cleaning when they own a McMansion and have 3 or more bathrooms. Ugh! I pity the fools....

Since I implemented this plan on Thursday, I have come closer to cleaning the hell out of one room every other day. Okay, so it's not perfect, but it's better than I was doing. I still have 4 more rooms to clean this week. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reckless and Wild, They Pour Through the Turns

Okay. I know I said I was going to post about the race a couple of days ago, but apparently, I lamed-out and didn't get to it until today. I still haven't figured out how to load the video John took of the start, but I will try to make that happen this weekend.

So, we walked around State Street before the race. Usually when we go to Madison, we are either hanging out around my brother's house or going to races around the area and don't get to see much of the downtown area.The last time I spent much time on State Street was about 20 years ago. It has changed a lot since then. It used to be all hippie type clothing stores and head shops. Now, it's a mix of all kinds of things. I'm glad about that. We saw Slayer was playing and we thought it might be perfect to hear them right after a fat bike crit, but it turns out that they weren't playing until March. We had to miss the RAWK!

 So, remember how I said they encouraged costumes? Well, Burne had his idea all set. He decided to be a scarecrow, which was brilliant since it was so damn cold out and it gave him the perfect excuse to wear Carhartts and stuff his clothes with nice, warm straw.

 We got ready at the parking ramp at our hotel. I'm sure the other guests saw the straw all over the ground and wondered why someone felt the need to bed down their car for the night...

This was the first time I met the Easter Bunny. Later, at the bar, I got to talk to her a little and she was just as adorable as her costume.

Marvin the Martian was also an excellent costume. Although, he doesn't seem to be all that very aero.

John helped Burne with his costume before the race. I'm not sure what he's doing here, but he might be knocking the stuffing INTO him.

They decided to do a Le Mans start. Which means people stage their bikes and then walk to a designated area. When they blow the whistle, they all run to their bikes and then hop on them and ride. I didn't hear them from where I was standing, but Burne said all of the racers were yelling and whooping and making tons of noise when they started running.

Our friend Rob didn't wear a costume, but he did pretty well in the race. By the way we gauged it, we figure he was somewhere in the top 10. They said they placed the first three men and women, but after that, everyone else was 4th.

They called this the World Championship snowy, nighttime, fat bike crit...Which, of course, just means it's the ONLY snowy, night time, fat bike crit. We kept telling Burne that no matter how he did, he would be 4th place in the World Championships.

Burne did great. He got right out there and was having a blast around the first couple of laps, when his back tire went flat. Damn it!

John saw it and went to meet him at the start of the race. He asked everyone around if they had a pump and helped Burne pump up his tire. Burne got around another lap and a half before his tire went flat again and since he didn't want to mess-up the rim of his beautiful, new bike, he had to give up the ghost and DNF (did not finish).

After we all met back at the bar, we asked Burne if he had fun on what he was able to ride of the race. He said it was a blast. So, according to how I look at racing, where the person who has the most fun, wins, Burne was actually the snowy, night time, fat bike world champion. RAWK!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Okay. So, my weekend away was amazing. We headed to Blue Mounds State Park and met my brother for some cross country skiing. The conditions were fast and icy, not my favorite...Especially when I haven't really skied all year. My brother tired to help me feel more comfortable skiing down  hills, but I needed some practice. So, I told him and John to head out on the longer course, and I would repeat the easier course and that worked out really well for me.

We headed to the Grumpy Troll for lunch and then made it to Madison and checked in to our hotel.
My brother had to go help with Winterfest and we made plans to meet him later for dinner.

 We decided to walk around Lake Monona at sunset and check out the cool ice formations up close and personal. It was cold as hell outside, so we didn't walk for long, but it was gorgeous.

 Stinky texted to say she was at my brother's house and our friend Burne to tell us he made it to town as well. We made plans for the evening. We were all meeting at the bar in our hotel and then we would figure out where to go for dinner from there.

We decided on Brocach the Irish Pub and it was great. They have a wonderful fish fry on Friday nights and John ordered an awesome appetizer of fries with melted cheese curds and veggie shepherds pie on top of them. Holy cow! That was good. Stinky and her cousin got some time to hangout and they are already planning their next time to hang-out.

My brother finally finished volunteering and we all headed to his place. He wanted to sit in his hot tub, which just happens to be located outside where it just happened to be below zero. I was too much of  a wuss to go in there, but most of them did and John said he hair was freezing. Crazy people....

On Saturday morning, we headed downtown to watch the skijoring. It was ridiculously cold and the dogs still were kind enough to pull their humans around on the snow. It was kind of fun to watch.

John and I headed to the indoor hot tub at the hotel to warm-up and then we grabbed Burne and went back out to have lunch and check out the high school cross country skiing championships. My brother asked if we wanted to ski that day, but we decided to take a break, since we were still so sore from the day before and it was about 20 below with the windchill.

In the evening, we met even more family members for Mexican food and margaritas. Ole'! We had to scurry back downtown by 7 to help Burne get ready for his race. I'll write a little more about that tomorrow and hopefully upload a video of it.

I will say, that the race was some good old fashioned, icy, cold fun. There were a lot of costumes. Which, is as it should be, as far as I'm concerned. One guy wore almost no clothes...And did I mention it was freezing outside? I can't imagine that could be at all good for a person. Anyway, the pin~ata guy above, wore my favorite costume.

We headed back to the Irish Pub and met our teammate and his wife and talked bikes and RAGBRAI and racing and then we all were way to exhausted to stay out any longer.

 We woke up to our last day on Sunday morning and got some packing up done, then headed to Marigold for breakfast. If you ever go to Madison, try to eat here. The food was amazing and the ambiance was charming. the duck confit hash was one of the best things I've ever eaten.

We met my brother back at Blue Mounds for one last ski. The temps were almost in the twenties, so it felt nice and warm, but the snow was falling...Which made the skiing slower, in other words, better, for me. We got a good hour and a half in, while Burne rode the fat tire trails there, then we met Stinky for lunch back at the Grumpy Troll.

Driving home was tricky in the storm, but we made it all in one piece and then we had to contend with the beastly cats. It was just one scary adventure after the next on Sunday...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lovely as a Winter Day.

I'm not the biggest Valentine's Day celebrator. You either are a good partner most days or you aren't. Artificial displays on a required day make me sad for people.I was single for many, many years before John and I started dating. If I want flowers, I buy them or grow them for me. I don't wear jewellery. and I'm trying to be better about not eating sweets. What John does give me every day, but was very apparent today, was his thoughtfulness. consideration and respect.

Today there were some scary, snowy road conditions on the drive home from Wisconsin. Stinky didn't feel comfortable driving in them. So, John drove her car, while I drove outs until we got to Iowa and the roads were better. Then Stinky was more comfortable driving and he and I followed her in our car all of the rest of the way  home. He said it  wasn't a big deal, but he is so good at helping out and making sure the girls and I feel safe and comfortable. It's always a big deal to me. Of course, the biggest deal is that he puts up with  my fat, orange, cat.

Here's to appreciating your partner and treating them with kindness and consideration every day.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Take Off to the Great White North

This was from the first time we went to Wisconsin to CX country ski in 2011.
Well, kids. We're heading to Wisconsin this weekend. We haven't been skiing there since 2011, but since we aren't getting any skiable snow here this Winter, we're going to head North and find us some. It will be nice to see my brother and sister and Stinky is going to come with us. I can't wait. it might be the only real vacation we get this year, where we actually leave the state, not for a race. Winter Fest in Madison should be a lot of fun, and you know how I am....I'll be sure to take a ton of photos.

I hope you all have a great weekend and nice Valentine's Day...If you celebrate that kind of thing.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Me, My Thoughts are Flower Strewn, Ocean Storm, Bayberry Moon

I got this shot on the internet. Our bob trailer should look something like this.

So, remember how I said I wanted to do more touring and bike camping? Well, John just made that easier. I thought I would just slowly buy paniers in the next few years, and eventually get set-up to have enough of what I need to bike camp and tour. John emailed me yesterday and said he bought a bob trailer, used and on sale on ebay. I'm excited to do some weekend bike camping trips. I hope we can finally do our ride to Stone City, camp at Matsell bridge and hang out and eat and drink at the General Store Pub. We can also seriously think about going self-contained on RAGBRAI this year.

I've read the pros and cons of using a bob trailer instead of bagging it all on your bikes. The cons seem to be that if there is a strong crosswind, it can be hard to handle your bike, and that it can be wide on narrow roads, people are tempted to pack too much stuff on it, because they can and if you are trying to transport it on a ferry, it can be cumbersome.

The benefits to a bob trailer are that it's easier to balance your weight than with paniers, it can carry as much as you need, we can ride it on gravel roads and even some light single track and we can lock it to a tree and leave our campsite with our bikes and without any bags to go on more of a training ride.

I'm excited to see how it goes, try out the trailer, save some money on  hotels, but most importantly, to BIKE CAMP!

Monday, February 08, 2016

My Brain is Hanging Upside Down

This weekend was kind of migraine dang doozy. I had a migraine for most of Friday. Saturday I was exhausted the entire day.  I should have known what that meant. Even so, I got a 3.5 mile run in and John and I did a 31 mile road ride, just neither of them were very fast.

I woke up on Sunday with a REALLY bad migraine. Probably the worst I've had since October. I watched a European cyclocross race and then I couldn't take the pain any longer. I took my migraine meds and slept for over 3 hours.

The worst of the pain was gone, but I was still pretty weak. We were going to swim laps and I was going to try to get a run in, but I couldn't do it. Instead, I read an entire (though, very short) novel and snuggled with Heidi cat.

I finally felt better in the evening. Instead of watching the Super Bowl, we met a couple of friends of ours for fondue and cocktails. We had a lovely night. The Super Bowl was on, but it wasn't all over every wall, so we could watch some commercials and got distracted by the shininess of the halftime show.

Here's hoping for a migraine free work week....