Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hillbilly Hustle Elmer, NJ...the Hustle is ON!

Damn, he makes it look so easy!!
I want to be Mark's bike for Halloween...check out that rad goblin green! Go Fitzy! Nikki & ferocious Ginger
Can't's cool to merely have my name on the same page!
literally eating mud whatsoever.
Hup Hup!! This shit is fun to watch...I forgot about that part!
Weary from the effort.
Amped from the friendly vibes & and super-fun course.
Relieved that the first one is over...
Relieved that it was an absolute blast.
I knew it would be a good day as my dad unwittingly pulled up next to this guy's ride...
Good energy, words of encouragement, easy chatter to quell the nerves...Fitzy & Marc (and for that matter, the company they keep...) always illicit an immediate calming presence. For my first race of the season, seeing those familiar faces hushed the anxieties that messed with my sleep last night.
BP & I assessed the course...dry, technical, flat, and fun...did I mention flat? And dry? Peppy warm-up, no pressure on myself. My goal? Ride a clean, safe race.
Lined up with the women and was happy to see Nikki and Jess...not so happy to be in the mix with all the "A" chicks (there was only one category for women). I knew the intimidation would be fleeting, as that would be the last I'd see of the Fast & Fabulous until well after the race.
From "GO," I held onto Jessica's wheel...lap after lap after lap, we traded spots, wheel-to-wheel, holding off one other girl...I finally advanced a tiny gap on Jess with 1 lap to go...
Until I went off course.
And she followed.
"Kim...we're off course...Turn around, turn around!!" (ahhh, the first and likely last time I would get a gap on the '06 Queen "B" of the MAC)...'ve got to be kidding...there was maybe half a lap left to dig in and catch up. No problem, time to make it hurt a little. Where are those tricky corners when I need them?
Caught Jessica and we worked together to claw our way back to the "other Jess" (our only competition once the "A Train" took off on lap 1, sweeping Nikki up in their midst...good for her). So we had our own little race for our own little 1-2-3, which was pretty exciting in itself.
On our last charge up the "dirt ramp", made a move to pass "the other Jess" and clung to Jess S. til the end...
Worked out exactly as it should have...and damn, that was fun.
My dad finished third in his group and earned a cool medal...felt great to see a smile on his face after a pretty disheartening mountain bike season. BP is back...phewwww!
Oh, as for the excuses, I clearly need practice (lap one:"Oh, hi there barrier, would you like a bite of my front wheel? Sure, here you go. Yummy, right?")...
I saw some smooth moves out there for sure, but for every graceful step-through and fluid leap, there were plenty of awkward gaffes (not just my own).
Practice, practice, practice.
Okay...first one, all wrapped up...
I'm ready for more.
That's all I needed to know.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stutter-Step Much?

Really, all I can do is laugh at myself. Cross Practice tonight was both fun & frustrating. We met Charlie at Downingtown and set up a groovy loop...plenty of tight, rooty corners...some nice technical descents...a great stretch of fast gnarly hairpin turn into a run-up... Problem is, my legs are officially pummeled. I suppose Bear Creek could have done me in...stupidly, I made no attempt at a recovery ride on Monday (I think I opted to nap instead of spin). After a few casual laps, I expected to warm up...when it came time to do the first hot lap, my legs just wouldn't cooperate. No juice. No fire. Charlie & BP disappeared...I decided if speed was not to be, I would instead work on skills, technique...tempo, no mistakes. Uh, no. I don't know what I was doing out there, but I was certainly not getting over any barriers/logs with any finesse. On my final lap, barreling through the grassy flat section, I veered right into the weeds & bramble...woozy, light-headed...couldn't keep myself straight. Weird. What, body? You trying to tell me something? It's hot? I should drink? Okay. No problem, we're finished anyway. Called it a night, headed home... After a satisfying dinner of egg whites, toast, & a recovery shake I felt like me again. Pheww. As for racing this weekend? Well, I'm not entirely concerned about looking foolish out there (I mean, really...trying not to get lapped by the fastest lycra-clad Masochist out foolish does that look anyway?)... I am concerned about lining up with the cream of the crop (I noticed the Hillbilly Hustle has but ONE category for women...yikes...and I made the mistake of glancing at, okay studying, the confirmed rider list). Intimidating? Only a little. But, I have this going for me: I'm not easily embarrassed. And I don't quit.

That's Enough...

Playgroup Wrap-Up: -hours spent organizing toys, removing anything that can become a weapon (I've seen Mr. Potato Head launched across the room to the shrill cries of "Bombs away!!!"...I've also seen an innocent Penguin Pop-On become a "laser shooter"): I lost count, but I should have been hanging out with my husband. Or sleeping. -hours spent cleaning the house (or at least moving piles of clutter to rooms where the doors can be shut): I didn't keep track. I swept. Vacuumed. Even mopped. Wiped toys with Clorox Anywhere Spray. (I guess it should be noted that our house is usually pretty clean, even somewhat organized...I'm not manic about "housekeeping"...there are usually plenty of toys underfoot til about 8pm...crushed goldfish crackers and spilled juice are not uncommon on the kitchen floor until the end of the day...) -hours spent watching ALL the neighborhood children demolish our playroom & obliterate our kitchen (not to mention freaking out my super-sensitive-"I don't want to share these days because I am a toddler and these are MY things on MY territory...and you're going to drink all MY juice boxes, too?!"-son): two endless hours. I loathe Playgroup. I loathe it even more when it's my turn to host it. It's hard for me to welcome all the other moms into my safe little have them scrutinize the snacks I serve, the toys we play with, the pictures on the walls... These women are not my friends...our only common thread is our children. Playgroup is not my outlet to interact with other adults/moms...I only do it for my kid. And my kid, truth be told, does not seem to enjoy it either. Playgroup brings out the worst in him...He spits. He throws. He grabs. He doesn't share. I'm with him. All those kids make me want to spit and throw and grab and not share. That's why I have one kid (for now, he is all I can handle). Group dynamics such as this confound me... I'm not really interested in gossiping about the noisy dog that wakes up the entire cul-de-sac every morning at 6AM...and they're not interested in hearing about my victory at Bear Creek last weekend. I'm not worried about my kid...I know eventually he'll take turns on his own and willingly share his toys. I aced Child Development in college. I was a great preschool teacher once upon a time. I know this stuff. I just forget sometimes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday at the Shop

I learned how to wrap bars today... What else? My coworker asked me how I got that "cool scar" above my left eye. "Oh, that scar?" I say, pointing to the offending line, "That's from sleeping and being thirty-two years old." Yep. Still, it was an awesome day and I love my job.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bear Creek Summer Showdown 2007

Going Up? Heather, Wendy, Cati, & Donna
Beans...2nd place overall Cannondale Team Cup
Rick used the team cup to down a Hop Devil...mmmmm!
Craig (King Michaux) & Dave
Kimmy Kim's 2007 Series Winner Championship Jersey...
Young Beans
Party on...
Bear Creek is no longer my nemesis...we have finally made peace.
The past two years I have been DFL at Bear Creek...that's right, double DFL. I have always regarded Bear Creek as a frustrating hike-a-bike with no flow, no fun.
Today I had zero expectations, zero self-inflicted pressure. In my mind, I was out for survival, looking for a little redemption.
This is the first time I warmed up solely on the road...did not even set foot on the course, did not check out the start or staging area. No pressure, no worries...I had the series locked up for #1 in my class and my goal was simply to ride safe and smart.
Last race of the series and I won.
I won my race...I won my race at Bear Creek.
How's that for redemption?
The best part...I truly enjoyed myself today. I am proud of the way I rode, really held my own out there. Tapped into some confidence that I never knew existed. In spite of Obi Wan/BP's warnings echoing in my head ("Don't take unnecessary chances...don't end your cross season before it begins...that place is brutal..."), I challenged myself on the rocky descents and tricky switch backs. Couldn't help felt good to be in the front.
Our team had a great showing, with Beans all over the & orange everywhere.
As for the Team Cup, we lost our grasp of First Place at Seven Springs...we walked away with second overall...our team has grown so much stronger this year.
And me?
I have the sassy Championship Jersey.
Who knew?
Yeah...this was a good day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eat, Sleep, Poop, Cry

Seven weeks after his arrival, I finally get to hold my first nephew, little Rob...
"How is it going? Are you guys getting any sleep?" I ask. "He cries. A lot." "Yep..." "And the poop, my god!" "Uh huh..." "He cries a lot!" Well, he can get away with it, I suppose, because he is so freaking cute. And tiny! He doesn't talk back to his mommy. Yet. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Skinsuit Diet (Day 3)

(My son wears size am I going to squeeze into this?!)
Eat to ride, not ride to eat...
sounds simple enough.
I was doing great until I had dinner with my cousins tonight...Therese made her irresistible ravioli...that's all I can say.
As for cross practice (Cross Practice! Yeah!), I am:
-still slow to warm up
-still horribly awkward on dismounts & shouldering (and damn...I forgot about that right shoulder soreness)
-still tentative in the tight corners
-faster on the descents
-stronger on the short, steep climbs
Leaving my kid this afternoon sucked...just plain sucked. Babysitter arrived (not the one he has a crush on), the tears started immediately. Real tears.
A quick kiss, "I'll be back soon, I love you."
By the time I reached the bottom of the driveway, I could hear the piercing wails.
Shit, my phone!
I had to go back inside to retrieve my cell phone...big mistake.
Now he was in full-bore hysterics...sobbing, blotchy, boogie bubbles...the works.
"I'm going to grab my phone and use the bathroom...then I'm going for a short bike ride. I will be back to read you stories before nap."
I use the bathroom and as I'm leaving (again), Kiddo is screaming, "Pee some more, mommmmmy!! Pee some more and don't leave!"
Then I do the wrong thing. Again.
I sit beside him, give him a hug...pop in his favorite Scooby DVD.
It gets worse.
I give him a packet of candy corn.
So, not only am I sending the message that the babysitter is incapable of comforting him, but I am placating him with candy and movies.
Of course when I got home, he was fine...Babysitter informed me that he was slow to calm down, but eventually ate all his lunch & played. The television was still on and his little eyes were bleary from crying (like me, he doesn't recover quickly from tears...the blotchiness and puffy eyes remain seemingly forever).
I felt like a lousy mom.
Lately, my son is very clingy or wants nothing to do with me (and he's not afraid to say so)...nothing in between.
I know this "phase" (so tired of that word) is a reflection of the fact that my husband is here for bath time and bedtime stories at best...I know the Little Guy misses his daddy...I'm sure he senses that our family is stressed (daddy's hours, my grandpop's failing health, the arrival of Baby Rob). Kids sense these things, kids know when their little world is amiss.
Ughhhh...I just want a beer.
...the Skinsuit Diet says, "No!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Acorns

"Hey! Who are you in the woods?! Are you a squirrel? Orrrrr a chipmunk? Orrrrrr a Baddie?"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just the Staff of Life, That's All

two peas in a pod
Moroccan Chickpea Flat Bread (adapted loosely from Jamie Oliver)
6(ish) Cups Flour (that's the lovely thing about making this bread...unlike many baked goods, the measurements need not be will work out, I promise)
Three packets yeast
1 Can Chickpeas (mashed rustically w/ a masher or pureed in a food processor...both methods are great...the puree just imparts a more elastic dough)
Some spices (table spoon of cumin, pinch of cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper...adjust according to your taste)
About 2 Cups tepid water (I usually fill two pint glasses w/ lukewarm water & set aside)
Use that Kitchenaid Mixer that you had to have...or use a big mixing bowl...or just use a clean kitchen table (I prefer to use a small, cramped corner of the table inconveniently located far away from all my ingredients which I assemble on the fly, remembering shit as I go along)...
This is a great application for the Captain Hook/Dough Hook that comes with the mixer!
So...dump almost all the flour in a bowl, dissolve all your yeast in half the water (add a generous drizzle of honey to feed the yeast, stir, baby)...
Start mixing, add the second half of your water...add chickpeas, add spices
If the dough is dry and weird, add some water...if it's gooey, just add a little flour
Once the dough feels nice & smooth & dense, knead it, punch the air out for a good 5-7 minutes...leave it in a nice mound in a bowl greased w/ a little olive oil...cover w/ a kitchen towel (unless you use liquid fabric softener...cover w/ Saran Wrap or the bread will taste like laundry)...
Leave it in warm area away from drafts for a good 45 mins to an hour to rise (should nearly double in size).
Preheat your oven to a whopping 450 degrees.
After dough has risen, knead it a bit...tear off big hunks (like a fist-full), roll the chunks flat
Bake directly on rack about 6-7 minutes...Keep a close eye on them, they bake quickly & puff up magically right before your eyes.
No need to flip them or anything...I usually grab them with BBQ tongs, let em cool for a minute, then enjoy one immediately.
Awesome the next morning with honey and tea.
We like to listen to the JBs ("Breakin bread with my mama breakin bread with my mama breakin bread..."), but the dough rises equally well with Bad Brains or "Thriller"...
We also like to completely blow up the kitchen, making sure the flour gets everywhere (the harder to clean, the better)...but, do your own thing & let me know how it turns out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

(Other) Stuff that Matters to Me



Today was Little Rob's Baby Shower...good timing, because he is finally coming home tomorrow. The little guy is now seven weeks old...amazingly, he is still not even "due" yet (October 12th was the original due date).
Sitting beside my cousin, Therese, I was struck by how lucky I am that my kid gets to grow up so close to her brood (she has four...she juggles them beautifully). Watching them reminds me of when we were kids and would scheme sleepovers and adventures ("Ask your mom...No, ask your mom first..."). Surely, those days are closer than I think.
How about that cake?!...A simple yellow pound cake with butter cream icing from the Bakers of Buffington (Downingtown)...Helped myself to a painfully large corner piece, affording me lots of extra icing (Skinsuit be damned...I don't care if I have to eat seeds and lettuce for the rest of the month to make up for this cake) yummy, so yummy, so yummy.
I brought a piece home for my hardworking husband.
I also brought a piece home for my breakfast tomorrow.

Smartwool Jersey and Knickers...Summer, You're Already a Fading Memory

Is it unusual to wake up with a bloody nose in the middle of the night every night since I took a toddler's foot to the face? I expected my ride to be a little tough this morning...we headed over to Downingtown. My dad and I agreed to keep it need to race. Thanks, dad. Into the woods, immediately making all the wrong moves, looking down rather than ahead...lost my rear wheel on a diagonal root that I usually dip right over (now I have a weird walnut-sized knotty bruise on my ass). I was too busy narrating my sucky-ness ("I suck today...I'm going to suck at cross...I mouth hurts...My ass hurts...I suck...I suck...This sucks...Cross is going to suck...") that I forgot to just ride. After we crossed the road, I stopped the crazy Suck Loop in my head & began to just enjoy know, just ride my bike. this is a Sunday morning ride, this is fun...this is more like it. Crunchy leaves, dry and dusty singletrack...just rolling along. The entire right side of my face feels sore and's been three days since the extraction of ONE tooth and my head is a throbbing, icky mess.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not Exactly Mom of the Year

My face is swollen today... I had a "lite" Green Tea Frapp for lunch. I raised my voice to my child more times than I care to admit. We had a showdown at nap time and we both lost. I want solid food, patience, and world peace.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reliving My Youth

I am laid up, enjoying some sweet drugs with a nice, fat ice pack wrapped around my face. Watching Shrek 2 (I didn't think 300 or Snatch would be appropriate for my nearly-three year-old partner in crime). This morning I had an errant wisdom tooth removed...apparently it was a doozy and general anesthesia was the only option. Back when I was a teenager, I had the other ones extracted via "twilight" sedation...piece of cake. This was a bit more ruthless...I don't like being knocked out. Just as I began to drift off, Doc says, "Okay, Diane, you'll be asleep any minute." Diane?! Just take the right tooth, Doc, please! I'm hungry. Can someone make me some oatmeal?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Just Like Riding a Bike...

...For the first time. Ever. That is how cross practice feels to me right now. Barriers? Ummm...about those... Good thing we are only hopping over PVC pipes right now, or I would be pretty wrecked. Dismounts? Don't even get me started...have I actually done this before? Did I think I was any good at it? After panting and stammering around the "course" for a good while, I decided I should probably have like three almonds for dinner. I feel like a jiggly, slow mess... Upon arriving back home, I came to my senses and decided to make a little spinach pasta with homemade pesto. And chicken. And yummy bread. No dessert. Not even the very last Goetze's Caramel Cream. Cause after all... Cross is Boss.

You Know It's Time To Buckle Down on Potty Training When...

...You are met with a swift and powerful kick to the nose upon changing the "morning diaper."
I think he knocked me out...I know I saw stars...when I ambled back into the ring for another round, Clubber says, "Mom, why is that boo-boo stuff coming out your nose?!"
Oh, you mean BLOOD???!!
Just when I thought he was going in for the jab, he gave me a quick smooch.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Jim Thorpe

trout stream Misty Watch the snakes, BP! pretty
Look at me, dad!
Boulder field
Yes, the Lehigh Valley is smiling at me!
Can you believe I actually balked at the muddy, wet trails?
Then I reminded myself, "Get it together, like this shit..."
One little bitch-slap over a mossy rock later and I was back to myself, working up a sweat and feeling the lovely flow that is classic Jim Thorpe Fun.
We hit the Deer Path spite of a slippery start thanks to last night's thunder storms, the trails were awesome and more scenic than I remember.
Wrapped up Deer Path, stopped at the car to top off our fluids, then off to the Glen Onoko trail...ahhhhh, Good Old Glen Onoko..Where it all began, the genesis of my Mountain Bike Love...I still truly enjoy that trail and its beautiful overlook. Watched the soaring hawks for a minute, but didn't linger as the bees were out in force...
A great day spent with my dad, doing what I love...just for fun.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

This Time Last Week...

I was pedaling solo over to the transition tent, easing along the gravel access road... Musing about Rick's "Dewpoint Data..." Digesting plain pasta with sea salt... Nervously tinkering with my helmet-mount light... Tonight, I am a sniffling, sneezing mess... Pitifully shivering under a blanket, nursing a cup of hot chocolate (already?)... Too cold and lazy to get off my ass and draw the boiling hot bath I am craving.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Just Wondering

"Mommy,where did you come from??" "What do you mean?" "Where did you come from? Did you come from a factory?"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

30 Minute Trail Run

Ascending every little hill, all I can think is "Amphitheater of Pain...Amphitheater of Pain..." On the heels of my dad, I am hopping over logs...bounding across roots... On foot. It feels weird to be on these trails on two feet rather than two wheels. But, it's for cross... therefor, I like it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


the only bike I want to look at this week...
Although I feel great, there is no desire to pedal or sit on the saddle...this is the perfect time to enjoy a little transition, a little rest.

Monday, September 3, 2007

24 Hour Challenge 7 Springs

Mudhoneys 2007
Wendy, Kristin, Heather, & Kim
Slummin' it in the condo..."We have a hot tub..." (cue angels singing from above)
The Fleet
Kristin & Heather surprised us with team shirts
Even the West Chester Cycling Club came out in force...
All Smiles (pre-race)
Baked Beans
Heather & Nancy getting psyched for the running start
And they're off!
Which Sidis are mine?...
The Bronze
Parting shot...
24 Hour Challenge of 7 Springs, PA
Noon Saturday: Heather has a strong running start and a fast first lap (1:28).
Wendy takes off for lap 2 and turns out a flawless and feisty 12 miles.
Lap 3 sees me heading out around 3pm charged up and excited to hit the lap is just three minutes slower than Heather's. Awesome.
Lap 4 Kristin gives it hell and finishes quickly for our first complete rotation.
We are in third (and there were only 3 Expert Women teams registered), but we feel confident and focused.
Second rotation goes smoothly until Wendy ends her lap in the dark with failing lights (lost about 15 minutes)...I head out for my night lap wary, nervous. Mile marker 3 leaves me a little spooked one has passed me, no one is in sight. Just me in the woods...for several miles, I feel as though I am the sole rider out there in the night. Eerie. Hammer harder, get the night & the creepiness out of my head. Mile 7 approaches the "big climb" open switchback up up up the slope. Craig passes me, it is motivating to hear a teammate's voice. Quickly, he the top of the climb, the Beans "way station" is all but deserted...just Decarlo stoking the campfire. "Keep it up," he offers. Grind out my night lap nearly 15 minutes slower than the day. We are losing ground. At transition, Kristin struggles as her light won't turn on. Noooo! Wendy disassembles it as I race to mount my backup light on her bars...Lights on, she dashes into the woods. Wendy & I head "home" and refuel, rest...
Third rotation: The dark barely slows Heather down & Wendy is out for redemption...I manage to stay consistent & actually enjoy my second night lap. This time, the Beans tent is completely deserted & camp is quiet at the crest of the hill. The air is chilly around the lakes, but the spookiness is gone. I wrap up my third lap around 6 I coast back to home base, the sun is just barely creeping up over the mountain. Ahhh...36 miles down. Now I must sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I am back on the trail. When Kristin returns, it is my cue to eat. Now it is morning and my stomach is tweaked, as expected. I manage to eat half a bagel with almond butter, I drink some green tea. I beg for Tums & Rob obliges.
We are still in 3rd, but the gap is closing...our goal is to complete 4 laps each.
4th rotation: When Wendy shows up at transition it is 10:24 on my watch...I have one hour and thirty-six minutes to return or the race is over & Kristin won't go out for her fourth. We want 16 laps!
The sun is shining. My forearms are magically no longer sore. My head is clear. My belly is fine.
I love my last lap...I can't believe how great I feel and I am flying, flying, flying. Approaching the big climb, I eat three blue Sport Beans, tearing at the package like a little wolverine...yummy. When the Beans tent is in sight, I dig a little deeper...the closer I get, the harder I charge...the tent is full, but I can't look at anybody...I hear my name and the beloved cluh-clunk of cowbells, so I go for a sassy little sprint and blast it up the hill, just for they are really making some noise & I go for it...4 more miles...I have to make it, I know noon is soon...sail through the rock gardens, eat up the gullies, mash up the very last, dreaded gravel road climb...
Around the lake, I am pushing, pushing...mile marker 12...Come on, do this!
Turning the corner, a sharp left up a steep loose gravel hill, Wendy & Heather are jumping up and down...utter excitement. I made it, holy shit! With three minutes to spare, Kristin heads out for her 4th, our 16th as a team...we did it.
In the end, all three teams turned out an impressive 16 laps(Bike Line won, with Live Dirty Girls coming in second, leaving us in third) and Millennium Bob graciously called it a "tight race" during awards...I am so proud of my team and we had a blast.
Miles raced: 48+
The Course:
12 dry, fast miles of beautiful rocky, classic East coast single track with a long, double-track descent, a gradual loose rocky wide climb, a monster switchback ski slope climb, 4 distinct flat(flattish) rock gardens in a row, a tight rooty section with a bunch of cool gulley features and a gnarly construction/dirt road climb to the last stretch around the the main much better dry (remember Hurricane Ernesto last year?).
Food consumed noon-noon: Veggie burger on toast, 4 Powerbar Vanilla Recovery protein Shakes, 2 bottles of Coke, 100+ oz Gatorade endurance, 4 little bottles Fierce Grape Gatorade, 3 vanilla Gus, 2 bags blue Sport Beans, 1 entire package Stacy's Pita Chips (plain with sea salt), 1 heaping plate of pasta with olive oil, salt & Grana Padano cheese, countless oatmeal cookies, 2 miniature Hershey Bars, 1/2 bagel with almond butter and honey, 1 slice of corn bread with honey...
Post-race: consumed 1 Victory Whirlwind, 3 slices pizza...too tired to eat!
We soaked in the hot tub & watched "Zoolander" until every one began nodding off, sleepy & 8pm the last revelers (including myself) turned in for the night.
Beans had a great showing with several teams on the podium (Baked Beans, Blended Beans, Mudhoneys...)...Henderson turned out some incredibly fast laps and stayed just as fast through the night...Craig and Ben proved to be an awesome duo (as did Rick & Nancy, with Nancy riding an impressive 7 laps and Evan & Josh) and even Scott's ankles survived.
Can't wait to do it all over again!