Saturday, June 30, 2007

Marysville (Saturday)

Yes, a zombie bit my left thigh... I tried to climb to higher ground, but was riding downhill. All of Fatmarc's anti-zombie tactics escaped my frazzled mind. What follows is an attempt to convey my race experience...I'll do my best in my weakened, bewildered state:
Surprisingly more nervous than ever at the start...smiled and tried to relax (confidence...confidence).
Found myself wheel-to-wheel-to-wheel with Lindsey & Kristen and Cati closer to us than ever. Handled the first lap without any flow, zero finesse...Lindsey tried to pass me on a sketchy, tight downhill ("On your left..."). Without any safe place to immediately yield, I held my line...there she goes on my left anyway, our bars inevitably lock up and down we go...CRASH!
Assess myself (ouch, ouch), assess my bike..."Are you OK?" I ask. She untangles herself, hops on bike. I say, "Check your bike. Keep a cool head..." She apologizes and I sail off, only to be caught again.
Today I finished closer to her than I have all season (2nd and 3rd respectively...1st place went to a newcomer, a stranger to the MASS).
What else made my day?
-Sanchez (honk, honk) cheering me on as I fled merrily through the grassy, flat stretch (yes, merrily...)
-Kristin passing me and holding me off for much of the first lap...although I attacked on the start/grassy hill & eventually dropped her, I am thrilled that she is bouncing back so strongly post-baby. Go, mama!!
-Cati hung onto us all the way until the creek...she is riding so well.
-Seeing Monkey line up at the start...I joked, "You know this is only two laps...we aren't racing for 12 hours. Are you okay with that?"
-Gary made an appearance, protective helmet & all, to cheer on the racers & spritz us with water between laps...He is excited about his upcoming "Humpty Dumpty" surgery. Wear your helmets, always.
-I have an awesome imprint of Lindsey's chainring on my left thigh...good thing I'm not the short-shorts type.
-The Magic 8 Ball was right! I am superstitious...pecan pancakes every Wednesday before a race now?
What sucked about Marysville today:
My dad "took one for the team" today (the other team, no less)...His buddy, Charlie (of Guys), cut his heel to the bone on one of the early bridge features. My dad and several others literally carried the poor guy out (he received 36 stitches...my Zombie bite is nothing). My dad is in need of some rest & recovery himself, so his DNF to help a Guy in distress was a blessing in disguise (sorry, Charlie...certainly not at the expense of your injury).
Back for more tomorrow (hill climb...yes! short track...yes!), so off to bed...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ride Fast, Ride Safe

Good luck this evening all you Night Riders...see ya in the morning!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Something About Mary(sville)

I won't even divulge what the Magic 8 Ball (at Cracker Barrel) had to say when someone asked, "Will I be on the podium at Marysville?" And that was after someone ate their fair share of pecan pancakes. Maybe someone should have asked the more important question, such as "Will I fall into the creek as I slip and slide clumsily along the crazy, twisty roots?" About Marysville... I am sad, but also relieved, that the childcare logistics did not work out in my favor for the Friday Night Time Trial...I haven't touched my light since 7 Springs. I love night riding...I love the otherworldly sights & sounds. I love the element of creepiness (actually, I am terrified of the creepy possibilities, terrified of being without my light source, terrified of being stuck with a mechanical in the dark...what better way to face such anxieties, though?). I am still a bit freaked out from my crash at Neshaminy. I don't want that to hold me back. But, I also don't want to race over my head. About my bike... My bottom bracket is tight, which puzzles me, as the bearings were just replaced. Hmmmm... My seat post has crept down a bit the past few rides (yeah, I noticed that on the climbs immediately), in spite of making sure it was snug. Hardly a crisis, but I am left with tomorrow to work it out & hopefully sneak in a tiny little ride to assure myself that everything is race-ready. In spite of my nerves, I am truly giddy with excitement. Marysville... I feel like I'm going to summer camp!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Funky (Part II)

Funky like Parliament. Funky like the JBs. Funky Good Time! I feel better already (doesn't take much). Today was my unceremonious last day at work...next week I start my new "career" as the token female at the shop (for one glorious day a week...truly, I cannot believe my luck). A weight was lifted as I walked out of the office...six years of scampering down to the Main Line (at the crack of dawn, no less) to help create eerily perfect smiles has taken its toll. I will not miss the white uniform, nor the strict "completely white shoes only" rule (and no, Crocs, are not acceptable)...This morning, I asked a teenage patient about her summer plans & she replied, "Nothing. Just sailing camp. And we're going to our place in Bermuda..." followed by an aloof eye-roll and "woe is me" sigh. Poor thing. Hung up my lab coat one last time (Kathy was like, "You're not taking that with you?!" and I think she was serious)...and that was it. And... My kid called me "Cutie"... Ha! Now I just have some ordinary nerves to work through (preparing for essentially 3 races this weekend), some sleep to catch up on, a tall glass of Very Vanilla Quik to enjoy, and a book to dig into (Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik). Maybe even in that order.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Funky

Not funky like Fred Wesley or Maceo Parker... Funky like no appetite. Knots in my gut. Icky pallor. Maybe it's the gross humidity. Or maybe I'm a little bit sad that tomorrow is my last day at the Practice (oh, who am I kidding? Last week, my coworkers had an actual pizza party for me and even my boss was confused, "Wait, you've been here six years and all you get is a pizza party? And isn't your last day next Tuesday?")... Maybe I miss my husband who has been working his ass off high above the city skyline...
Maybe I feel like I was too impatient with my sweet (though very devilish,lately) Kid (if I'm sick of my own voice today, imagine how he must feel...ugh).
Maybe I am anxious about my mom's health... Maybe I wish my brother would get his act together before his baby is born. Maybe I am still intimidated by that gnarly section of trail down by the water at Marysville. It's just a funk...nothing more, nothing less.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Laurels

Ike almost looks angelic...ha!
The Dinosaur Tree
We all need a red wagon
Today we rode a dinosaur, conquered the bridge monster, napped like Kings, and ate Pirate Worms and Cannonballs for dinner.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Necessary Evil

Wow...no takers for a road ride this morning (was that some kind of faux pas, posting a road ride on the team forum? Oops...just looking for some company). Admittedly, I was giddy with excitement this morning about my impending "road ride." Anyway, with two solid hours all to myself, I set out with intentions of getting as far afield as I could in sixty minutes, then I would charge back home. Meandered along the back roads, crossed 322 (pheww), settled into a strong rhythm...In my right ear, Charles Brown sang, "the Honeydripper" all along Creek Road, past the little donkey barn... Treated myself to some of my favorite back roads of Chester County...rolling along, pushing steadily until it was time to go back. "Police On My Back" (the Clash, as if you didn't know) chased me up 842, climbing & climbing (Oh, except I'm not done...I don't live 3 blocks away from "the finish" anymore...oops) Decided to breeze through town, time was on my side...found myself back on New Street and headed home. My legs & my back thank me..."Thanks, Kim, for the pavement...thanks for not finding any rocks or logs...thanks for not overheating." My lungs & heart thank me, "Thanks for keeping us strong...now don't blow it with a gooey grilled cheese." One thing that still perplexes me... I'm pushing along, countless cyclists on the other side of the road doing their thing...I nod, I even smile (I can't help it...it's a breezy, beautiful perfect Saturday morning...traffic is light, the sun is shining...we are out riding, we are not at work, or changing diapers, or scrubbing toilets, or getting our teeth drilled...come on)...Everyone is so stern and unrelenting. I am not out to make friends...I am not trying to start a conversation from the other side of the road. Just smile, or nod in return. Is that against the rules? Are you going too hard? Whatever...I'm going hard, I'm snarling & gnashing inside, my heart rate is up there...but, I can't help smiling.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Eat, Drink & Stay Upright

Good luck to all the brave & daring souls heading out to the inaugural 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey this weekend...Sleep well tonight, kids! Perhaps next year, with preshool looming for the Little Boss, I will be able to squeeze in a few extra miles & take part in such events...with races dropping off the face of the MASS map faster than you can say "Summer Scorcher" (Hershey...but, I liked that! Susquehanna...that's a great course! Sewell...awww, man...first race on my SS), I will be in search of other diversions next year. Wait...let's get through cross first! No, wait...let's get through this season first.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wissahickon

When I was a kid, we used to hike at Wissahickon & visit the Indian, "Teddy Esham," as my little ears heard it (actually, Chief Tedyuscung...which is still incorrect anyway, as the statue is not really that Lenape warrior)... Today my dad & I set out for a pretty mellow ride...we only pushed when necessary to stay afloat & hit it only slightly harder on the longer climbs. Until today, I believe all my rides at Wissahickon have been in rotten, nasty temps (brutally hot or freezing cold)...today was beautiful. What a difference a change of scenery, a casual pace, and good company (rather than your leg-marked competition) makes. I feel better already. Dutifully drained a bottle of Recovery Magic (Vanilla Quik...it's not just milk, it's Magic Milk), put Kid down for a nap...and I'm next!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aftermath

3 days later and I am still torn up. Usually I ride with Cool Cati on Wednesday nights, but my aching body says, "nooooooo....please, no..." Maybe things have dried out since last night/this morning's rains, but I just don't have the energy to battle it out with any more roots or logs. Not today. It is hard for me to decline, to cancel, to bail on a ride...but, if I have learned anything this year/this season, it is that recovery is just as important as all the hard/fun/necessary efforts. Last week, I felt sort of ambivalent about Neshaminy ("Ehh, Neshaminy...not my favorite, take it or leave it"). Now that the fog has lifted (you know, the post-race high-low...the dehydration meanies...the salt-crust yuckies...the scrapes, bruises, sore muscles), I honestly think this was my most difficult effort this season. So far. I mean, ouch. So...on tap for today: A long nap (open the windows, stretch out) Breakfast for dinner (mmmm...scrambled eggs, bacon, Strawberry Quik) Lazy neighborhood walk with the Wild Thing before bathtime/storytime (hopefully we'll encounter some creatures!...last night brought us a lonely deer, bunnies, and even a snake) Early to bed Tomorrow: Healthy breakfast & Huge cup of black tea Ride with BP (French Creek or Wissahickon...just me and my dad)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Neshaminy

Sexy! My future coworker (hee hee...more on that later), Evan (our trusty Wrench)
Neshaminy (presented by efficient as hell & well-organized Guy's Racing)...
Lap One:
Holy Shit, Holy Shit, Holy Shit...that's me, Kimmy Kim, leading the women's field around the prologue.
Hey, that's me...first one to duck into the woods...
And that's me, first chick down the Chute (gasping, "Holy shit!! Oh man!" the whole way down)...I don't ride those kind of downhills...but, I'm in front...Still!! Stay cool, sip sip...
Lindsay catches me (of course), but Nikki is still back (what?!)...
Here comes Nikki ("Come on Kim, let's go!")...I grab her wheel. At the bottom of the little creek, I feel someone breathing down my neck...No! Up a little rise, don't look back...
Pass Nikki in the twisty-turny rooty log-after-log section (yes, passed Nikki).
Approaching lap/finish area, see my dad with Rick B on the sidelines??? "What happened? Are you OK??" He nods, he looks fine...F***. Gun it for dad!
Lap One, Done.
Lap Two:
Back into the woods...hold steady. Take the turns with more power, trust the Kendas (they are magic on the squirrely roots & mud)...2nd! Feeling good, blast down a gel, sip sip...gettin hot.
CRASH!! (Oops)...thanks, Cycle Works Masters Guy for kindly heaving bike off me...He checks the brakes, I check the gears (and my throbbing head). Helmet, check! Shake it off, clear the cobwebs...Go! Note to self, lap 3 dismount for that up-&-over, avoid another endo/crash (because I will make it to lap 3).
Trepidation creeps in, slowing down, heating up (sip, sip)...Nikki catches me and we work together a bit...she drops me (but, not without words of encouragement). Now I am in 3rd and I am hurting, but I will not give up 3rd...
With a quarter lap to go, I find myself in my little ring on the last climb...cramps. No!
Lap Two, done!
Lap 3 (final lap):
Around the prologue once more, now the Experts are staging...
No, they're STARTING!
Freight train chugga-chugga-chugga...Are you serious? Approaching the woods in a pack of really fast, really fierce guys, I pull aside & graciously let them by.
Into the woods I go, and soon enough...Freight Train...damn! Again, pull aside...
Wait, I'm hanging onto 3rd for dear life, I have no idea what kind of gap I have, and my head is throbbing...Ride, go...Here they come..."On your left, On your right, Experts coming through..." Jesus...trying to eek out a crappy line on the right, I'm pushed off my bike. Again, I wait & let them pass.
F*** it, they're Experts, they'll work around me!! (No disrespect, but I'm racing, too)...Go, Kimmy...
Triple X (Caution!) Descent and yet another pack is hot on my heels...I dismount & hop down the nasty downhill for the last time (I still can't believe I rode it twice...so not my thing)!
Through the cool rocky off-camber, the Expert Women start to filter in...Hey, here comes Wendy (her first expert race)! Damn, she has ride this 4 times...OK, get my act together, keep a cool head...Go, go, go! Now I am cramping in muscles that I didn't know would cramp, but I power up the last climbs, put a few guys between me and whoever is back there (I know she's back there!)...last time onto the grass, charge it to the finish. 3rd, indeed!
Woozy, my dad hands me a bag of ice for my head & Jay from Guy's hands me a colds bottle of water (ahhh...plain water). I collapse on the grass, dizzy, yet somehow exhilarated.
Salt-crusted, beat-up...too fried to even hear Rico calling my name for the podium (I have to admit, I am a nerd & really would prefer a medal instead of a visit to the prize table...unless there is a gift certificate for a day at the Spa on the Prize Table). Too nauseous to enjoy a tempting beer at the super-friendly Biketopia Tent (finally had the pleasure to meet the Caveman himself in the flesh).
As for my dad...
He simply didn't have his race legs (so unlike him to DNF...he bailed during lap 1)...that's what 45 days of amoxicillin, an infected wisdom tooth (and ensuing extraction 11 days ago) will do to you. So, instead he spent Father's Day cheering on his daughter.
Post-race, enjoyed dinner with my family...my mom gave my dad a bottle of Limoncello for Father's day, but my stomach was too tweaked to indulge. All I want is a soak in the tub, a good stretch, and a big cup of (decaf) mint tea.
Happy Father's Day! (Jeff...you are an awesome daddy)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oh Man

Weird... I have an earache. My entire left ear feels inflamed...hurts to yawn and swallow. I am extra-tired, but too uncomfortable to sleep. Uh-oh. What does this mean for Sunday? I have not missed a race yet...I've missed plenty of school, plenty of work... On the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Natural Science this morning, my dad uttered a rather nasty expletive as he was cut off on 76 (imagine that). My son mistook the expletive for, "Bigfoot." Thank goodness...that sounds much cuter than "Dickf***!!" For good measure, Wild Thing added, "Darn it, Big Foot!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ugly Fun

Downingtown got the best of me tonight...tagged along with my dad for a "prescribed ride"...intervals & emphasis on hills (thanks, Dr. Pain...). Last night's storm may have knocked power out of Wegman's for 90 minutes, but it barely left its mark on the trails. Weird, cold, bleak weather (arm warmers? hmmm, I guess so)...greasy, slicky-slick roots, and thicker, nasty brambles. My mistake...looking down, rather than ahead ( "Oh, hi there, Root"...flail, slip, sputter). Chased BP as fast as I could, forgoing any semblance of finesse or flow. Some rides are just meant to be ugly and this was no exception. Still, I work hardest when I train with my dad...something deep-rooted about wanting to shine for my parents (and not in a weird starved-for-attention kind of way)...just can't bear to disappoint my dad. I have noticed that when I ride with my dad, it never feels like work (as in structured training sort of work, believe me I am suffering)...he can't possibly realize how much fun I am having gasping for breath, trying to grab his wheel.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vacancy

Convinced Jeremy to join me & Kristin for one last tear around French Creek before his departure. We rode a feverish little romp through the muggy, sweaty woods and doubled back for a feisty little bonus loop...more, more, more! I know exactly how Kristin feels (she is whipping her post-partum badass self into race-ready shape)...it is far from easy. Still, we didn't hold back much & she was dropping me on the descents...I am happy she is back! After a quick stop at home to clean up (barely) and grab a snack, we high-tailed it to the airport and said goodbye to Jeremy. Tonight, he informed me that his flight to Atlanta was delayed (after all that fruitless rushing around) & my response was, "Damn, we could have charged Red & White after all!!" Next year... This is the first night in 2 weeks that we have no guests at our house...it is too quiet!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Philly

Shannon & mechanic, Josh Brooke Miller Henk Vogels' steed
Strategy
Jeremy
Chopper 6
Shannon's first lap (up the ubiquitous Wall)
Blink & You'll Miss It
Geoff Kabush
The ladies, the ladies...
Feed Zone (thanks to Jittery Joe's soigner, Thomas, for the hospitality)
Lemon Hill
This was my first year at the race...now I get it. I'll be back next year!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Don't Remember What I Like About Winter

Really, I'm almost embarrassed to admit how perfect this day was...perfect weather, no exaggeration. Left my kid with a babysitter for the first time ever (besides my parents or my cousin) to ride French Creek with my dad & Jeremy (yet another friend staying with us this week). We had a remarkably excellent ride...it was fun wearing my lungs on the outside of my body trying to hang onto the boys. Damn near race pace (for me, at least), but a huge smile was plastered on my face (along with countless buggies...gross). Jeremy is a dyed-in-the-wool roadie (his wife, Shannon, is on the Aaron's team)...last year when they stayed with us, we took him for his first mountain bike ride since he was a kid. Some people are just naturals...to say Jeremy is a natural is an understatement. This year, he came back into town to watch the Philly race, but admittedly was more excited about hitting the trails again. Thursday, we rode Dtown... Friday, BP introduced him to Fairhill (and in true BP fashion, they got quite lost & happened upon new territory)... Today, classic French Creek...my dad jokingly offered to buy dinner if Jeremy could make it up the Fire Tower (rocky, rockier, and rockiest) Climb in his big ring. Well, we all enjoyed dinner from Limoncello on BP tonight...thanks, Jeremy, for being such a badass! Nicest badass you'll ever meet (again, no exaggeration). I was like, "I think you're full of shit...I bet you don't even have a road bike..." the way he was flowing. As for me, I don't know what was going on, but my bike felt light as a feather...I was riding without a care in the world. Ahhhhhh... Upon returning home, my son was just beginning to get fussy ("I missed you, mom..."). I was happy to hear the Babysitter took him to the park & pushed Tough Guy around on his little trike...you can't put a price on being able to leave your child in good hands (but, damn...it's good to be a Babysitter in '07...cha-ching). While the kid napped, I reluctantly finished my book (Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill...I did not want it to end, it was that good) and fell asleep on the front porch. Two more guests (Kari & Glen) arrived this evening from Georgia (bearing gifts of Jittery Joe's coffee straight from the source). Tomorrow we all convene in Philly to cheer on the Girls .

Friday, June 8, 2007

Until Next Year, Aaron's!

Lancaster Reading (Catherine Powers) Lancaster Sprint How they Roll...
"Don't goooo, Catherine..."
Rebecca & Shannon hoisting their featherweight Specialized Ruby Pro bikes
The team departed this afternoon & I must admit, I was sad to see them go...
Catherine & Shannon returned this year with two new teammates, Sarah Caravalla & Rebecca Larson. Not only are these women consummate professionals & incredible athletes, they are truly fun to have around. It has been a pleasure & a privilege to host this awesome team again...
already looking forward to next year.
What to Expect When Hosting a Professional Cycling Team:
-More stinky bike laundry than you can handle (which you will graciously insist on washing, folding, sorting...because you genuinely want them to relax)
-Cooking for a crowd (no problem...again, you are more than happy to feed them healthy & tasty fuel for their training rides & races...in return, they lavish your humble cooking with heartfelt praise & insist on doing the dishes. Nice!)
-Shop Talk ("Wait...you mean you don't have to pay for your bikes, your gear, your entry fees, your travel expenses...Oh, yeah...that's what pro means.") Not to mention, helpful insight on racing, nutrition, training, and equipment...maybe even a little peloton gossip (OK, not really).
-Team swag (thanks for the super soft girly-fit Aaron's Pit Crew tee...I will proudly wear it Sunday as we cheer on the team in Philly)
-Someone else to entertain your child while you grab a quick shower (or cook for 9 people)
-New friendships (sustained through e-mail, Christmas cards, and little surprises sent throughout the year such as a pair of toddler-sized Crocs or a Maurice Sendak pop-up book)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Summer Vacation

" What??" Let's be Prairie Dogs
"Hi...feed me...anything"
"Where's the King Cobra? Why does the porcupine have those orange teeth? What do owls eat?"
Green Tea Frapp...my summer weakness (now available in "lite"...ha!)
I feel like I'm on summer vacation...
Slept until almost 9am, spent the day at Elmwood Park Zoo (my son's idea), had a green tea Frappucino & oatmeal cookie for lunch (my son's idea), and enjoyed a killer ride at Downingtown tonight.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Baby Turtles & True Religion Jeans

Spotted a two year-old wearing True Religion jeans & a Juicy Couture hoodie at the Swing Set place today (rainy day destination)...where does it even go from there? Spotted a baby turtle in the middle of Ravine Road...got off my bike, carefully scooped him up & placed him in the nearby stream. He gleefully paddled away, seemed like he knew what he was doing... During dinner tonight, I marveled at the fact that I was sitting among some of the most badass women/professional cyclists...talk about living the dream. Yesterday, Catherine was on the podium with Laura Van Gilder and Ina at the Lancaster race. We put balloons on the mailbox & the Wild Thing helped me draw a celebratory sign for her door. Today, she helped my son build his water/sand table while I cooked...it really is a privilege to host such a great team. One minute, I'm following their results (and podium shots!) on cyclingnews.com, next minute their enjoying ice cream with us on our front porch. Love it!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Danville Tour De Tykes

My legs are in bad shape following yesterday's race... scrapes, bruises, and even a little Poison Ivy. My legs must be stronger following yesterday's race...that was some outrageous climbing! The start nearly had me in tears...I was out front for maybe 2/3 of the road climb, then...how could I already be bonking? Up, up, up the road we climbed. Save the little ring til we hit the steep gravel...why am I getting passed already? Shift. Oops...that was my big ring...that's why I'm blowing up. Ugh...ok, get my head together...go. I was dreading the first mile of singletrack...last year, I found the switchy, (wet) rooty trails puzzling & intimidating. I remember jamming up several girls and getting passed, never to catch up again. This year, conditions were on my side & I was able to focus and push hard. As we hit the woods, I was the third woman back (second in my age group) and I would stay there til the bitter end. Managed to claw my way up to Lindsay (first place) and hang onto her wheel for several miles, but when we hit the long, technical descent she gapped me and I lost sight of her for good. Recovery was limited to a few fast flats...the climbs were endless (though, thankfully rideable) and the downhills were challenging. Blistering heat definitely factored into many people's races yesterday...I passed guys I couldn't catch up to on my best day. My dad was fighting hard to hold onto 2nd place and he took a wrong turn before the last Sport/Expert split...with only a quarter mile to go, he lost several places....needless to say, it was a long drive home. Last night, the rest of the Aaron's squad arrived...I broke down and indulged in a Maggie Moos's Mint/Oreo ice cream sandwich. With all these skinny asses around lately, I've been reluctant to eat any junk. Last night, I earned it...

Friday, June 1, 2007

No Kidding!

There's our buddy, Scott Z, back in town for the triple crown...and who is that getting directions back to his girlfriend's parent's place? Oh, just Lance Armstrong... (photo courtesy Steve D)