Monday, December 10, 2007

Reindeer Run

Since pulling the plug on my cross season I've been kinda looking for a new goal. I always do better when I can work towards something. So about a week ago we're driving along and Marc says, "there's a 5k next Friday I'm going to do it." I said ok, that's cool. He does them from time to time. So it wasn't that unusual. Then he says, "you're going to do it with me". Yikes, ok. I've never done a 5k, but hey it's for Special Olympics and I've been running some for cross, so what the hell. So I bumped up my running some; running a little longer and a little more frequently so I could see if I could finish a 5k without having to walk. So a few days prior I start asking questions as to when it is, where, all that sort of stuff. He says, "oh I have a race Sunday, so I'm not doing it. But don't worry I signed you up". AHHHHH! Not only have I never done one, but now I'm doing it alone!

Luckily I did not have to do it alone. Besides the other 300 plus people that ran, so did Rob, Liz, Megan and Amy. It was great. It was a chilly night with light drizzle, but we all ran along together with our antlers on our heads jingling away. They all were able to carry on conversations as I just focused on breathing and keeping up. I ended up just over 30min. I was hoping for under, but what the hey, it was my first one and I'm a cyclist, not a runner. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday was the last cross race of the season for those not going to nationals. I didn't race, but went down for support and work pit.
Some people are really getting into the Christmas spirit. Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane.
While Megan and I are working pit, Kris and Ethan are working another pit. mmmm
We saw some odd things in the pit this past weekend. I'm not sure who this belonged to, but I would have loved to see him come in for a bike exchange.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

That Time of Year

I haven't had a lot of pictures lately. Mostly out of laziness. So here's a whole bunch that pretty much describe what I've been up to.
So after the USGP I pretty much cracked wide open and ended my cross season. It was a series of unfortunate events that lead up to the big crack, which I could go on about, but that would just be whining. So I'll just say I needed a break so I'm taking one. The only bad part is once I'm through my break, cross will be over and 10 months away again. Oh well, I'll be nice and hungry next year.
So in my break I've been filling up my time with just about anything but cycling. I've been doing a lot of climbing. It's been great to finally be getting some calluses back. My hands had gotten so soft that when I climbed a couple weeks ago my fingers turned bright red and swollen. I looked like I had sausage fingers!
I'm also trying to get into the Christmas spirit this year. We kinda missed Christmas last year with cross and going to Nationals. By the time we were home for a weekend it was Christmas, so it just kinda passed by quietly. So this year I've started getting out some of the decorations and strung some lights. Ah, so pretty.
When I was out the other day I saw this guy driving by. He's obviously in the Christmas spirit too.
On not as pleasant a note. We had to take Riley to the vet again. He had a tick, we pulled it off, he messed with it, it turned into a hot spot and then got infected. So now he's sporting the cone head look. He's actually on his 2nd cone now as he smashed his first one to smithereens. Watch out, he uses it as a battering ram!
When we were in the vets there were all kinds of pictures around the room. One was this flea. It looked normal at first until we notices they added people teeth to it. Check out those chompers!
Good luck to all those that are still out there racing! It was a great season. It was great seeing, racing and hanging out with everyone. Thanks for all the cheers and encouragement. It means so much.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Cube is Not a Box

I was talking to my sister the other day and in the course of the conversation she mentioned the Wii system and commented how it's sold out all over. I said that I had just spoken to a woman that found them online on Friday, so they may still have them. I told her it was called Pandora's Box.

Today: I get a call from Jen double checking the name of the site before informing her co-worker. I again tell her it was definitely Pandora's Box.

Just now: received another call from Jen saying, "what are you trying to do to me!?"

Me: "what?"

Jen: "I gave that site to my co-worker, my 60 year old woman co-worker. Which she pulled up at work and she started freaking out saying, 'oh my, oh my I can't click on any of this.' I figured she must have entered it in wrong so I pulled it up on my work computer only to find out it's some sort of child fetish website!"

Me: "ha ha ha ha ha, oops, sorry. I could have sworn that's what it was called. It was Pandora's something."

Jen: "yeah I found it, Pandora's Cube."

Me: "well that's kinda like a box."

Sorry Jen!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Going Nuts Over Nuts

Last night we went to the grocery store. It was a Thursday night so we figured it'd be slow, we'd get in, get what we need and get out. Painless right? Yeah, not so much. First we get there and everything is moved around. They changed their entire floor plan, so I couldn't find anything. Normally I can skip the aisles I don't need and go directly to what I do. But with everything moved I had to go up and down each aisle, making sure we weren't missing anything.
Then Amy texted me. Normally I go to the store by myself, so I'll text her back while shopping. No big deal. But Marc was already impatient with me wandering around, so he gave me a hard time and told me to do it later. So I put my phone away and kept shopping.
Finally we were at check out. There were a few open, so I picked the one with the least amount of people and got in line. I began unloading the cart and about half way through I realized the belt hadn't moved. I looked up and saw the cashier moving in slow motion inspecting each item as she scanned it. I was like great, this is gonna take forever. At this Marc gives me a hard time and says to suck it up. If I can text while shopping, I can't complain that the cashier is slow. I agreed, but still wasn't happy.
Eventually it was our turn. She's talking to herself saying, "oh no look at all this, who is going to bag all this", with this real spacey expression. Marc heads down to the end and says he'll bag, she just needs to ring us up. She says ok. totally relieved. Again, she begins to move in slow motion inspecting each item as she scans. That is until she comes to the bulk nuts. I had 2 bags of nuts, in separate bags. She picks up the first bag and says, "what kind of nuts are these"? I tell her they are hazelnuts. She replies, "well I know they're acorns, but do you know how much they cost?". I told her no and again said they were hazelnuts. She turns to the girl at the next register, holding up the bag, and asks, "hey I don't know where to find these, I know they're acorns, but I can't find them listed". I said again, "that's because they are hazelnuts". The other cashier is just looking at her pissed off and says just look under nuts. She slowly turns to her screen and begins hitting buttons looking at the screen with wide eyes and gaping mouth. She then calls to another girl to come help her find the acorns. She comes over and tries to find them but can't. (Because they are not acorns!) Then the manager comes over and he takes the bag and says he'll be back he'll go check the price. She says ok, turns back to the register and shakes it off (she actually shakes) and then continues on. She picks up the next item and goes, "oh no, another bag of nuts. At least I know these are walnuts". At this I almost jump over the belt. I as calmly as I could reply, "no they are almonds". She just stares at me with a deer in the headlights looks. The other girl comes back over and says, hey, we'll just give you the shelled almonds price since we can't find the right one, and rings it up to $9.11 for almonds. Like she's doing me a favor. I again, trying to keep my composure say, "no, there's no way you're charging me for shelled almonds, they cost more. I'm not paying $9.00 for almonds". She says ok and takes it off. Luckily just then the guy comes back with the correct price and everything is rung up correctly.
It was an incredibly painful shopping experience.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hot Topic

I've never had much luck with Hot Balm in the past. It's never really worked for me regardless of how much Ive applied. And if it did work, it started working too late; like once I was home after a hot shower. So this year I got 'hot' instead of using Marc's 'mild'.
Saturday was a cold overcast day threatening rain, so I decided it'd be a great day to try out my new 'hot' Hot Balm. Thinking I'd have the same reaction as previously I slathered on an absorbent amount from upper thigh down to my ankle. Then I put on 2 layers of knee warmers to really work up a sweat.
As I went for my pre-ride and my I could feel the slight burn, but it was nice and not too hot. I abandoned one set of knee warmers for the race, and again, it felt good, not overwhelming. Then after the race I jumped in Tom's Sprinter to clean up my leg (which I bashed into the concrete coming off the beach, leaving behind some skin). I wasn't in there for more than a couple minutes before my legs started to burn, then burn quickly turned to a fiery pain. I cleaned up my leg quickly and disembarked. As soon as I hit the cool air, the pain eased. Problem was I had to sit in the car the whole way home. My upper body was freezing as we couldn't turn the heat on since my legs were on fire.
We stopped on the way home to pick up rubbing alcohol and witch hazel. Both which I've heard removes Hot Balm. So I rubbed and rubbed trying to remove as much as possible so I could take a hot shower. Once I figured all was good I got in the shower and slowly eased the water warmer and warmer. It felt good, not burning. Then I decided to shave. HA! What a mistake. The fire came back 10 fold and nothing made it subside for about an hour.
Sunday I used very little Hot Balm. It was much better.

Weekend results:
Saturday was Beacon. It was a cold and blustery day and I was still not feeling well. But what the hell, I raced anyway. Well, I was in a race. I'm not sure you can call what I did 'racing'. I basically bundled myself up, slathered on a ton of Hot Balm and had a nice ride in the park. Sunday went a little better. I was feeling a little more like my old self and had a little spunk back. Was able to fight it out a little and managed a respectable finish.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Long Live the Rut!

Ok, I feel like I need to say more after my last post. Marc has been giving me a hard time all week. I didn't mean 'rut' in the way that I hate cross. I love cross. It's just a bit all consuming, that's all. I've had a huge break from it this week as I've been sick all week. As it turns out I miss my rut. I've been longing to get back out on the bike all week. I even tried one night, only to find that I had an endless supply of snot and mucus and my head was on fire. But hey, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger right. I sure hope so anyway as I was just checking out the weather for tomorrow's race, 40 and raining! Just keep moving forward.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cross Rut

I've been kinda in a funk lately. I wait all year for cross season and now that it's here and we're pretty much in the middle of it, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I feel like all I do is work, ride, eat and sleep. I know that's the way it goes and once it's over I'll be missing it all over again. But as for right now I'm feeling a little like I'm in a rut.
Last weekend, like many weekends lately I went to a cross race. Last Saturday was the Wayne Scott Memorial race at Fair Hill. It was a blustery, cold, overcast day. However, the course was pure beauty. I absolutely loved the course. It was fairly flat with false flats, some natural barriers, a short run up and a really long sand pit. Oh and did I mention about 50 billion turns. It was great. I wasn't feeling the sand pit at first. It was a lot of running and incredibly long, but it seemed to work to my advantage. Who knew I could run. It was great to have a course that was actually my style. I couldn't complain at all. I gave it my all and had a great race. Minus a few errors (like not paying attention and running off course) everything went well.
So today I'm back in my rut. Figuring out what I need to do each day, even though basically everyday is the same. Today is the one day I usually get out of my rut and go climbing. I love climbing but it has definitely taken a back seat to cross. Today I'm not going though as I feel a little under the weather. So I'm going to stay home and rest. Rut, rut, rut...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blunders and Bloopers

This past weekend was my first double weekend and the beginning of the MAC races. Day 1 was Granogue. I knew I was in trouble the night before. We had spent the afternoon taping the course in the pouring rain walking up and down hills. Probably not the best pre-race workout. Then my dinner got me sick and I didn't get to bed until late. Great. Saturday comes and the rain is gone. Only blue sky. That's a plus. I grabbed something to eat, tried to warm up, but my legs were wood. They refused my every attempt. So I raced on dead legs, had an absolutely horrible start and last lap and didn't even contest the sprint finish. Yup, that's bad. So I ended up getting 15th. Not horrible, but not what I wanted either. To make matters worse, once I checked the results and all looked good I went off to do what I needed to do. Apparently then there was a protest and they moved me all the back to 20th! I was not 20th. There were girls that continued to race after they were done and they protested the results. It's not my fault they didn't pay attention when the officials told them to stop, or the lap cards. So yeah I wasn't happy.

Then comes Sunday. I decided I'd use my anger for good and put it into Sunday's race. I knew it'd be a tough one as it was more wide open and not my style, but I was hell bent on having a better day than Saturday. I took off well from the start, then as I got into the sand I struggled something fierce. I didn't think much of it as it's sand and there wasn't a groove yet. On the other side Marc's yelling at me to stand up and 1 more gear. I kept thinking I don't have anymore as I'm mashing away. I'm loosing places quickly as everyone goes past me. I continue on, still struggling. I come around again into the sand pit, still struggling. That's when I hear Marc yell "get out of your big ring". Yeah, found my problem. I never shifted back down. I was mashing away with no more gears cause I never looked down to see that I was still in my big ring. I quickly shifted and took off. Now in last place I had a long way to catch back up. I started picking people off one by one. Then as I come through the start/finish going into my 4th lap I get lapped by the lead C guy. I throw up my hands and ask the officials what they want me to do. They waive me on. Luckily I made the cut to have one more lap. I passed 4 more girls and had another sprint finish where this time I gave it my all and it worked out. I ended up with 19th, which isn't great. But hey, I raced a hell of a race, so I'm ok with that.
Rotten Rob sporting some flora in his helmet.
This is the band that played at the race Sunday. Yup, a band played all day! It was awesome.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weekend Off
No racing this past weekend. Marc and I packed up and headed out to Portland, OR to see Erika and run around. She was awesome. She took us all over the place showing us all the cool things that is Oregon. We even went wine tasting one day. I don't like wine, but it was very interesting experience. Instead of saying I don't like wine, I can now I say that I don't like woody wines and dessert wines are ok. Really I prefer a Mojito, mmm.
Marc and I headed out to the beach to see the Pacific Ocean. Marc was thrilled at being able to say he touched the Pacific. He actually went out and stuck his hand in the frigid water. I felt seeing it was enough. It was a sight to see however. Very different from here. There were big rocks and the waves seemed to come in forever.
We saw some logging, that was sad. Everywhere was deep lush green forest and then you'd come across a huge patch where it was just stripped clean.
I did have to get a little work out in since we didn't have the bikes with us. One day we went climbing. It was a really cool gym in the heart of Portland. It was the middle of a Thursday afternoon and it was packed. Well, packed for a gym. Everyone was really nice. The holds were way worn, so it was very challenging. Saturday went for a run at Tabor Park. It's an old volcano, so it was quite hilly, with a million steps which Marc made me run over and over again.
Later Marc, Erika and I went out to a gorge, I forget the name. It was cut by the Columbia River. On one side of the Gorge was Oregon and Washington on the other. I could even see Mount Saint Helens. That was cool.
We went and hiked up the side of the gorge to the top of this huge waterfall. It was beautiful. Marc was making fun of me though because I took off strong at the bottom following the John Hopkins XC team who just happened to be out there. About half way up I died and staggered the rest of the way. Marc and Erika just laughed at me.
Overall beautiful trip. It was one of the most bike friendly places I've ever seen. There are bike paths everywhere and tons of commuters. So cool.

This was actually supposed to be a picture of the bike path, but by the time I shot the picture the riders were out of the frame.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bad Bad Day

Ok, I may go on a little rant here. Yesterday was Hagerstown. I already wasn't excited for this race. I didn't like it last year, so couldn't amped up for it this year. I will say the course was much better, besides being bumpier than hell. But the part that irritates me is my 40min race was practically cut in half as I was pulled at about 25min and I had only done 3 laps! I didn't even the extent of it until I got back to the car and checked my watch and saw that I should still have another 5min of racing left and I had already stopped had 2 conversation and was now changing. The reasoning behind it was we "the women" we towards the back end of the men's field and they were pulling the men because there were too many people on the course, so they pulled us too. Well let's just think about this reasoning for a moment. They're comparing pulling the back end of the men's field with pulling the entire women's field, mmm. Did they forget the fact that we're always towards the back end of the men's field? Or that we start 2min behind the men's field? And I've been pulled a lap short before because the leaders have come through and I've finished on their lap, 1 lap down. It's all good it happens. But this was beyond that. Who knows if those last couple laps would have changed my standing. The point is, I'll never know because I didn't get the chance to actually finish my race.

Rotten Rob blowing kisses.

Lisa and Betsy. Lisa raced her ass off. After a short detour she got back on course and made it back up to 2nd, Awesome!

Monday, October 01, 2007

This is Marc. Also known as Fat Marc or Faticus. He's around 5'10", longish brown hair, big sideburns, usually styling some sort of baggy shorts/pants, t-shirt and probably a hat. Oh and also he's my husband.

This is Soupie. He's around Marc's height, longish brown hair, big wolfing sideburns, also styling baggy shorts, t-shirt and a hat. He is not my husband.

Problem is, when I'm not paying attention these two look awful alike.

Let me explain. Yesterday was Lilly Ponds. After my race, I hung out in the pits all afternoon watching the races, cheering people, helping out when needed, while snapping some pictures here and there. By the last race of the day, I was very tired and very hot, I had shot as many pictures as I wanted to and didn't feel like carrying the camera anymore. So I figured I'd hand the camera off to Marc to put in his pocket. Meanwhile everyone was still very intently watching a close race between Wes and Jeremiah. So I wander over to where Marc had been standing, and look at his pocket thinking I'll just slip it in and not bother him. I notice however that he has something metal hooked on his pocket. I didn't recognize what it was and just stared at it for a moment. Then I grabbed it and pulled it out because I didn't want it to scratch the screen on the camera. As I'm pulling it out, I ask "hey, what is this"? I did get a response, however not from Marc. I looked up and realized it was Soupie. Yeah, I was in Soupie's pocket. Nice huh. I about died. I apologized all over the place, then took the camera to Marc, the real Marc, and looking him in the face, handed off the camera for him to hold. I told Marc what happened, he just laughed at me. Soupie was a good sport as well.
Sorry Soupie!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Do You Need Directions To The Pain Cave?

If so I have them. I spent a lot of time there yesterday.
I've been a little apprehensive about this first race. I wasn't sure where I was in ways of fitness and where everyone else would be. I've been riding, but I can't gauge myself by those I ride with. They're all so fast and I'm always at the back. They always give me positive feedback and are very considerate, saying "you're doing great monkey, and we can't go until monkeys ready". Don't get me wrong, I love riding with them, but that doesn't tell me where I am with my own peers.
So yesterday was the season opener in Charm City. The women's field was huge. We had 27 starters. That's awesome to see so many women come out. But also more pressure. There don't seem to be any slackers in cross. I suppose it hurts too much to just do it on a whim.
We lined up and I got a good spot. Christina bumped me on the line and says smiling, " you just make sure you go fast". As she was lined up behind me. We take off and I tapered my start a little. I wasn't exactly sure where I was going as I didn't hear the instructions on the prologue loop. We're on the course and the dust is flying and my mouth is gritty and dry. It's hot and there's no water feeds. Ugh! I keep going. Me and Laura (her 1st cross race ever) are battling back and forth for several laps. I'm having to race the entire time. More Ugh! I start to get close to a couple of girls up ahead. Marc is cheering me on giving me updates on where people are. I catch one, but me and Laura are still going back and forth. Marc tells me I have one lap to go, I need to take off. I question him, the lap cards say 2, he assures me no, it's only 1, the lead C guy came around. I put it all out there. We're still battling. I start too see Doran. I chased her all last year. I can't quite catch her though. As I'm coming around, thinking I'm about to finish Marc tells me I have 1 more, he was wrong before. I about died inside. I hurt so bad and now I had to do another one. I kept going. Marc rode next to me outside the tape trying to encourage me and keep me moving. I was in such pain. I put so much out the lap previously and here I was still racing. I kept going though. Right towards the end I managed to catch Doran. I was about to die, but I had to keep going. I knew she wasn't going to let me go easily. Marc is again beside me trying to get me to stand up and sprint. All I wanted to do was hurl. But I kept on. I ended up keeping my place as I crossed the line. Doran stopped after she finished and says "so me and you again this year huh". We both just smiled.

Yesterday was so fun. We all now have the first race behind us. It was an awesome day. There was a great turn out and everyone did awesome. Marc and Ethan won their races. They were both ecstatic. Wes got 2nd behind one of the Italians, awesome job! Dan got 4th, behind the other Italian. Morgan and Lisa got 4th in their races. I ended up with 9th, yeah, top 10! I'm happy. I know I'm missing all kinds of people. Everyone did really well. Great job to everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Think I'm a Hypocrondriac. I Hope.

Let me explain. I sit in a closed office building all day long as most people do. I don't know why they can't make them with windows that open. Probably something about a controlled environment or something. Anyway, we're now heading into that time of year when people start getting sick and as it happens the woman that sits in the desk next to me is sick. She's been caughing and sneezing and blowing her nose for 2 days now. I keep urging her to call her doctor, or better yet, go home. But yet she stays.
I've been doing my best to steer clear of her. But there's not much to do when there's only a thin partitian between us. I've washed my hands a million times. I'm careful not to touch my eyes or mouth. Yet as I sit there and listen to her, I start feeling worse. My nose starts running. I've blown it a couple times and wonder, "is it allergies or am I catching her cold?". Then I think my throat is getting sore. I go in search of Airborne. I take my vitamins. I start feeling my head for a fever. I feel closterphobic with all the contained germs flying around with no excape. I find myself holding my breathe when I hear her sneeze or cough. Like that's going to save me from catching it. I call Marc and tell him I'm not feeling well. I start to panic. Finally she goes home. But I'm left trapped with the contamination.
Now I'm home. I'm breathing more freely. I'm going to go for a run and see how it works out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Only Me

Ok, this happened last weekend. But I still it's still worth telling. Last weekend we attended a wedding in Philly. After the ceremony we headed to the reception where there were cocktails, dinner and dancing. The dancing area was in a foyer. It was a large space with some small tables around the sides to sit or drop some stuff on. We (me and Marc, his 3 brothers, their wives and his parents) had taken over one table. We piled all our stuff on it as we moved about.
All was good until I leaned on the table. I was a little tired and watching something so I leaned back on the table and felt the table move, just slightly. So I stood back upright. A few minutes later I leaned again, only to feel the table move again. At this point I felt the table needed further investigation as I didn't remember it being on wheels. I turned around and put 1 finger on the table and pushed it, expecting it to roll. Yeah, that's not what happened. As soon as I pushed on the table the one side went crashing to the floor. This caused all of its contents, including a couple candles in which had been burning for hours, several purses, wraps, and about a dozen or so of filled or empty glasses, to go flying. The table completely collapsed. It made a loud noise, not to mention all the screams as people were covered in drinks and hot wax. Yeah, I caused a scene.
Shortly after Marc walks back over to see the chaos and asks what happened. I tell him the table collapsed. He asks who did it. I say me. He just looks at me and shakes his head.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I love cross. I love cross. I love cross.

Usually I can't wait for Spring. Everything comes back to life, the sun shines a litter longer and it slowly starts to warm back up. Also, it's because it brings on Summer. My favorite season. I love Summer and usually never want it to end. It goes by so fast and before you know it, it's gone.
This year was no exception. Except, I kept finding my mind wandering to Fall and cross season. As June approached it got stronger. By July it was unbearable so I went out for a run. Yeah, that only happened once. So hot, and way to far off to put myself through that kind of torture. Yet, my mind still lingered.
Last week Marc took my wheels in to get glued. It's getting close! Went out and tooled around on my cross bike. Not quite the same as a mountain bike. I found this out quickly as I sped down the the normally very smooth mtb trail, only to touch the brakes, then grab them, then to white knuckle them while screaming and swerving just in time to avoid a tree. Yeah, that's when I remembered cross brakes are to scrub speed, not to actually stop. Ugh! That was a close one. It'll take me a bit to get myself back to used to it. But it'll come.
One more month!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Frisbee Love
Brought home this giant Frisbee from OR. Marc laughed at me, but I knew Riley and Layla would love it.Riley usually let's Layla have her way, but not today.
Layla's so excited she's practically flying back to me to have it thrown again. (notice not one foot is touching the ground)

Monday, August 13, 2007


After a great night watching Dave, Amy and I headed home to finish packing and lay down for all of 2 hours before heading to the airport. I call it lay down because is 2 hours really a nights sleep? Anyway we headed off to Salt Lake City, Utah to see Marc finally and bomb around the Outdoor Retailers show. After a very sketchy plane ride we arrived safely in Utah to find a very ill Marc. That sucked. But it was great to see him none the less as it had been 17 days since I had seen him. He was off riding from Portland to Salt Lake City for the Conservation Alliance while I was home working. Somehow I think he got the better end of that deal. Mmmm, after the bike trip was over for him, he still had to work the show for a week, so that's we headed out to visit him and hang out.
Brey-la-la and I spent Thursday running all over the show. It was crazy. It was held in this giant convention center in downtown SLC. It was like a giant mall of everything you like. Only thing is, you can only look, you can't buy (tons of swag though). Every possible outdoor type thing was there. It was great. We went into sensory overload.
Friday we headed out to Park City. Figured we'd get out of the city and into the mountains and do some riding. Oh and mountains they were. First we had to rent bikes, no problem finding them, just some problems getting them set up and they were tanks. Then we got a map and took off up the trail. I say up the trail instead of on the trail because that's what it was. The trail head was a very steep climb, which leveled out a little into a lesser degree, but still quite steep and we just kept going up and up. It was never ending. We switch backed a zillion times onto steeper and less steep sections, but still climbing none the less. At one point we passed a woman on her way down and I asked if we were near the top. She just looked at me with this look of utter exhaustion and amusement and laughed and kept going. I thought this was a bad sign, but proceeded on.
Then a couple guys came from behind and Amy took off with them. I was with them shortly as they were catching a breather, but then off they'd go and I'd be alone, climbing. At the next trail break they were waiting for me and Amy says they're headed to SLC and they'll drive us back. It's an 18 mile downhill into the town, all we have to do is get to the top. I reluctantly say ok, but warn them I'm going really slow as the elevation was kicking my ass, besides me not used to climbing this much. We take off again. Now we have to head up a very steep power line trail with loose rocks. I couldn't even ride, I had to get off and hike. At this point I was beyond hurting to pure pain and misery as I was breathing to almost the point of hyperventilation just trying to get some oxygen. We later found out we were above 10,000 feet. Yeah, since I live around maybe 500 ft above sea level, 10,000 was not good.
I get to another break, Amy waits with me and stays with me from here out. We are still climbing, up and up. We finally get off the power line and head into another set of trails, still climbing. As we reach a clearing, and the top of a ski lift I look up and see we still quite a bit to go to the top. There was no way I could go up anymore. I told Amy. She was disappointed, but agreed to head back as we had lost our guides by this point as well. At this point I finally asked her what time it was was to find out how long we had climbed. I try not to look at time as it just messes with my head. Turns out we climbed for 2 hours! Amy climbed a little less time as she had to stop and wait for me numerous times. But 2 hours of climbing, that's insane! We turned around and then headed back down. Only took us about 45min to get back down. It was beautiful. I did get to look around more on our decent as I could finally breath. We met a really nice woman out on the trail with her 2 dogs. She races road hill climbs. More insanity!
Here is where I can finally see the top of the mountain. Also the point where turned around as I realize there's no way I can get up there.
This is only part of the way up, way near the begining. That little town we're looking down on is Park City (and where we sterted).

Friday night we all went to the Keen party in SLC and they premiered a clip of the Conservation Alliance documentary of the trip Marc was on. It was cool. Saturday back to the show and more swag, then after the show was the Bouldering Championships up on top a parking garage. It was really neat to watch.
This is inside OR. These dogs are sporting life vests and fetching all kinds of water toys.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I'm going to see Dave Matthews tonight with Brey-la-la. I'm so excited! Most people I know don't really care for him. Some actually cringe at the thought. But I like him. He puts on a great show.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Funny Business In The Woods

Got up early and met up with Ethan and Jan for a ride at Iron Hill. I don't usually ride there due to all the creepy people that lurk in the parking lots and woods looking for hook ups. But with the race coming up, that's where people are riding, so I figured what the hell, I'll be with people.
Lap 1. Rode with Ethan and Jan. I felt bad as I wasn't having a particularly great day and was kinda dragging ass. Jan on the other hand was feeling spunky. So as we were about to head out for another lap I decided I'd go off by myself and just do part of the lap as I had to pull off soon to get home.
Lap 2. All is good for the first couple sections. Ride them cleanly, knowing the lines I want this time. Then as I am coming up tissue trail, all by myself, I spot 2 guys on the side of the trail. One is facing away from me and standing with his hands over his head like he's being frisked. The other has his pants around his knees, holding his junk, staring right at me the whole time as I ride by. He's didn't even try to pull his pants up or cover himself. Let's just say I was a little taken back by this. I didn't say anything, not even hi. I mean really, what do you say?
I got back to the car and luckily there were several cyclists there. This made me feel better. I got my stuff together and went home. That was enough Iron Hill for me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's a Mouse?
I was driving home this afternoon and I saw this. Bug people are crazy. I know it's a company car, but still, it has ears and a tail.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's Way To Hot For This

The other day I went for a road ride by myself. I intended to do a short ride, little climbing, nothing too strenuous as it was brutally hot outside. I take off and somehow decide that heading down 273 would be a nice change of pace as I always go any other direction but that one. So as I hit the first hill with no warm up, it hurts a little. Then the second hill, still not warmed up, other than boiling due to the heat, and I grind up it. I head into Newark for a change of pace. Then decide to take Creek Road as it will be shaded. Unfortunately that's 2 more climbs. At this point I realize I've done a little more effort than I had anticipated so I would start working my way home. I cut through campus to avoid major roads, also more shade. Just as I pull back out of a neighborhood I'm right in front of a big pack of riders. Great. I glanced their direction and didn't recognize anyone. I get caught by the next light. mmm I could turn around and say hi, but no one pulled up beside me, so I don't. Yeah I know, antisocial. The light turns green and I go on my way. A little faster than normal, but nothing crazy. I get to the next intersection and look back to check for cars and the group is right behind me. Ugh. It's green so I keep going. I figure they are just finishing up their ride and heading back to their cars. But just in case I pick it up a notch. I get the next light, but don't want to look back. So I pick it up a little more. I'm moving along and all is good until I turn straight into a big head wind. Yuck. I look back and no one is in sight. I figure they must have pulled off and finished up already. I grind on into the head wind. Get to the next turn and I hear voices behind me. I glance back and damn if they aren't right there. I couldn't believe it. Well I could. It's not like I can't be caught. But they were no where to be seen last I looked. I had a huge gap and then they were back on my ass. So I threw down again and just laid it all out. I knew I had 2 big straights before the next couple climbs. If they were going to catch me it would be on one of the climbs. So I figured I'd put as much distance between us as possible. Somehow I managed to hold them off. They never caught me before I pulled off. I know they could have caught me if they really wanted too. And I'm not really sure why it mattered whether they did. But for some reason it did, so I drilled it and about killed myself. I don't know why I do these things.
The last couple of weeks have been so busy in a really weird way. Mostly because I've been working constantly. Today was day 10 in a row. 2 more days and I finally get a day off. I can't wait.
I will say it is self inflicted. I swapped a weekend with someone else so I could have the weekend off that Harry Potter came out so I could read. So that caused me to work a double last weekend. And I could have had comp time during the week, but I chose to take one of the days the Friday the book came out and then Monday so I could finish reading. Then we're in August now and it just happened I ended up scheduled to work this Saturday. So put all that together and I get 12 days in a row of non stop work. Oh joy!
But hey, I was able to go get my ticket Friday morning that enabled me to get a great place in line to get my book at midnight. Then I read for pretty much the next 3 days to finish it. I'm such a slow reader it's ridiculous. This may sound a little obsessive. However, it's more that I hate spoilers. I can't stand when I hear the end of something before I get to see it for myself. So unfortunately, with a ton of spoilers lurking at every turn, that caused me to have to read the book fairly quickly so that I could know before I heard. Overall, not a bad ending. I just couldn't believe all the people she killed. She killed about everyone. I will not say anymore in case anyone reading this hasn't read it for themselves.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Big Hills with Big Bush

Sunday was Fair Hill. It's right in my backyard. But I just wasn't feeling it. So I wished the guys good luck and took off on the road. It was a sweltering day. One of the roads I wanted was closed and I took a really awful way to work my way around it. I haphazardly weaved all around Newark coming to an intersection, thinking "I don't want to go that way, that has a big climb". Only to go the other and realize it was a bigger one. I was sweating so bad it was pouring out of my helmet and into my eyes. My hands were so slippery it was hard to hold on to the bars. On my way home I decided I just wanted to be home, so instead of taking the longer more gradual climb home, I bit the bullet and went down the belly of the beast and did the 273 climbs.
To describe it better, 273 has a long false flat, then a deep valley that you have to climb out of and then a second smaller valley, which you also have to climb out of. So I don't choose this option unless I'm feeling extra spunky and up for a challenge, or like Sunday when I just didn't want to be on my bike for another minute and just wanted to get home the shortest distance possible.
The false flat was fine. There was a head wind, but it actually felt good in the heat. Then into the valley. Just as I'm started to head back up the other side I hear screeching breaks beside me. I turn to see Big Bush on the mountain bike, number plate and all. He turns and smiles and says "is this part of the course?". Very surprised, I tell him no, he was way off course. Still smiling he explains that he had pulled out and was headed back to the fair grounds. We chatted the whole way back.
Oh, it hurt so bad to climb and chat trying to make it seem like it didn't hurt. He was funny and nice, so it was all good. As we are just about up the first climb he says, "I thought once I pulled out of the race I wouldn't have to do any more climbing". I laughed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Up & Down

Last night we went climbing and we finally top-roped. I was paying very close attention on how to tie my knots and do everything correctly. The last thing I want to do is fall or have something fail. Then the guy says, "yeah, you don't have to worry about that knot failing, the rope will snap way before that knot will be an issue". Nice.
Upon returning home we walked in to a pack of CO2 cartridges in the middle of the floor. I thought this was odd. Why would the dogs get into them? Then I remembered what else was in that section of my bike bag, Hammer Gel! I checked my bag and my entire case of Raspberry Hammer Gel was missing. I looked in the living room and there sat the empty box. This morning Marc found the wrappers. Layla (we're guessing) had taken them upstairs to enjoy in the comfort of a nest she made out of a pile of Marc's clean clothes he had on the bed. They're not so clean now.

Only a couple days left to pre-order "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows". I finally pre-ordered mine. I've been such a slacker. I was going to just wait and pick it up on Saturday. But I'm so paranoid I won't find it. For book V we just stopped at Walmart (after going to several other places and it being sold out) and they had a huge stack. But I heard they're now taking pre-orders too. So to be on the safe side, I've pre-ordered.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Twilight Crit
Last night we went up to West Chester for the Twilight Crit. This is always a good evening. Luckily it wasn't as hot as last year, which made it much more pleasurable. Ran into a ton of people and some we hadn't seen in quite some time. Which is always nice. We walked around to different vantage points as the racers zoomed by.
Just Breathe

It's early Saturday morning and we are running late to get out for a ride. I'm grabbing pieces as I run out the door. No time to clean out my Camelbak, so I grab a bottle & a cage I'll have to install before taking off. As we pull into the lot we see Buddy, Rob, and John have already arrived and are waiting for us. I also take note, their cars are no where in sight. Mmm, this means they rode here, so they're warmed up and I'll be starting cold. Ok, no problem, this is a mellow ride and we're starting off on double track, so I'll be ok.
We park, start getting everything together, and Marc realizes he's forgotten his shoes. He's slightly frustrated at having to have to run back home, but says he'll meet us on the far side of the park in about a half hour and takes off. Buddy in turn says, "wow, that's not going to give us much time". Oh crap, this isn't great for me.
I get myself together, install the water bottle cage, Buddy adjusts my breaks for me, saying I'll be faster now that I'm not dragging breaks the whole time. Yeah, cause that's my problem. hee hee. I do thank him because it has been driving me crazy listening to it drag, which every time I complained Marc would tell me, "they're disc brakes, that's what you get". He hates disc brakes.
We take off. We're going at a nice clip, but I'm ok. We hit the singe track, still not too bad. I'm hanging in there. They've got me up front, Buddy riding second wheel, then Rob, then John. They are talking amongst themselves telling stories. I'm just trying to keep my pace up. We cross over into Middlerun and Buddy asks me where I'm headed. I say left. He tells me to go right, it's more direct. I tell him it's more climbing that way, it'll take me longer. He insures me I'll be fine. I go right. I get bogged down a little but it's not so bad. Then we hit the church climb. The roll up it like it's nothing. I'm grinding away behind them. We reach the parking lot where Marc is waiting, he looks at me and says, "wow, were you guys hauling". As I stand there panting, Buddy casually says "no, not really". Then he turns to me and tells me to lead off.
We continue on, up one hill down another. It's a beautiful day, but I'm definitely working my butt off as they all talk casually behind me. At one point Buddy ask, "Diane, are you ok, you've been really quiet today". I just reply "I'm just trying to breathe". At this they laugh.
In all it was a beautiful day, and a great ride. Everyone is always very nice, and no one ever tells me I need to go faster or that I'm too slow. This is all pressure I put on myself. It took me a year to get back in shape enough that I could even ride with people again (even if it is on their slow days) so I don't want to screw it up. So I go out and pound away. Hey, it only makes me stronger.
Thanks for the ride guys! Even though it may not always look like it, I have fun every time!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Far Far Away
I finally figured out how to get pictures off my phone that were texted to me. Sorry Fitzy, I didn't figure this out before I deleted the bikini pictures.
Below are some pictures of Brey-la-la's trip to Washington. Aren't they beautiful! I had to cancel my trip last year, so I'm living vicariously through her.

Olympic Peninsula, off the coast of Washington state

Mossy Rain Forrest

Rainbow in the Mossy Rain Forrest