Monday, October 29, 2007

My Other Backyard

So I rode alone this afternoon until just before the sun went down...
Climbed one of my favorite hills three times in hopes of a better night's sleep...
Got some things on my mind and I am happy to escape, even if it's just for one hour.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Velo-Cross, Trexlertown

Plans changed... By eight o'clock last night, I lined up a sitter (my mom is the best!) & gathered pretty much two of everything I'd need for a muddy, wet race. My dad generously prepped my bike, as I was knee-deep in dinner/bath/bedtime stories... Yay, I get to race Velo-Cross!! Woke up several times through the night to the sound of pouring, pouring, pouring rain. I knew it was a gamble, racing the way I've felt all week... Well, I'm glad I followed through because the race was a blast. Great course, great effort... I'll take 4th behind Lauri Webber, Kristy, & Jill any day...I worked my ass off out there. I'm happy with the lines I took & the decisions I made. One really important decision today, for example? Taking advantage of the hot showers at the Velodrome after my race. Yes, hot showers. Everything is coming together little by little (Frank, it finally clicked my third time through the sand...I get it now...thanks!) and I am having way more fun than I care to admit. Still soooo much to learn & refine, but the puzzle doesn't loom quite as large with every race. This is the best I've felt since the whole Lyme thing started. Clearly, I just need to keep on moving (and then rest, rest, rest). I'm sure this guy captured the mud in all its glory...check it out! Hiding the Halloween candy from myself has proven futile (for what? the eighth year in a row?)...The following bags of candy have been found & opened: Twix Skittles (I don't even like Skittles...that's why I buy them) Dum-Dums (the sour kind...I thought I could resist) Junior Mints (although, I really didn't expect them to even make it to the actual Trick-or-Treaters) Tootsie Rolls (Ewww gross! I have no control...I have...A Problem)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween Parade

I thought cross practice would help me feel better & loosen up...
Wait, I just said, "I thought cross practice would make me feel better..."
What is wrong with me???
I could not resist...the park & the bike beckoned. Two laps into it, chasing my dad's wheel, I did feel better. Cold! Muddy! Wet!
After cross practice, we enjoyed the Halloween Parade in West Chester...
The Kid really got into this year...he suckered us into buying the $10 pseudo-light saber so he could duke it out with Scoobie Doo.
Smarties, tootsie rolls, dum-dums, sweet tarts, marching bands, glow sticks, costumes, perfect crisp October weather (finally!)...fun, fun, fun.
Now I am running a low fever...chills, stiff joints. I'll say it again...fucking ticks.
Check yourself diligently...I thought I did.
Definitely no racing this weekend...I was excited about Velo-Cross, but clearly I need some rest. And some probiotics.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are You Racing?

After making the rounds last night and stumbling happily upon this , I just want to share this little gem: 2006, Iron Hill Mountain Bike Race Lap two, I am trolling along, politely trying to pass a fellow chica...meandering around some dry roots...just rolling, la la la. Hot on my heels, Anne bellows incredulously, "Are you racing?" "Ummm...yeah." She passes swiftly... Shit...I better pick it up...no, I guess I'm not racing...Race, dammit, race!! I still carry that sentiment with me... Any time I feel myself relenting, unwinding, relaxing, or slacking for even just a second out there...I hear that voice, "Are you racing???" Love that!

Wah wah...

Lyme disease sucks. I know I could be suffering from far worse, but I feel crappy. Grumpy. Tired. The joints in my fingers ache...that woke me up twice last night. My fingers. My stomach is torn up from the antibiotics...all I ate today was carbs (a plain waffle, plain pasta, a plain bagel, and yogurt) and riding my bike is not an option in the next few days. No racing for me this weekend...I'm going to ride my mountain bike at my own pace, maybe a visit to The Dark Side. And this bulls eye? Holy shit...it really looks like a bulls eye now. Pretty cute. Fucking ticks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Immersion

So here I am...fully immersed. Eating, sleeping, breathing cross... a healthy obsession. I knew I had it bad when I showered and put clean jeans on after Sunday's race...and my legs were all warm and cozy from the balm I so diligently applied that morning. And there I was, in my cozy-warm-pummeled legs reverie...I had forgotten all about the hot shower/balmy-warm legs/after-race nap (but, I'm too amped to actually sleep so I'll just lie here and bask in my weariness...ahhhh). I love that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Care for some Lyme?

Awesome...sixty blue pills, all for me. Friday I thought I had an ordinary bite on my leg...as the day wore on, the "bite" grew to the size of a quarter & felt warm to the touch. Hmmmm... After packing my race bag, the internet junkie in me consulted the mighty web...I found lots of creepy images of spider bites and bulls eye rashes...I signed off when I started feeling itchy & paranoid. Saturday morning, I woke up completely rested & ready to conquer/survive Granogue...with a silver-dollar sized welt on my right thigh, barely resembling the fabled bulls eye. A visit to the doc today confirmed my suspicions...likely Lyme Disease. I won't know for sure for another 3 or 4 days, but I'm being treated as such in the meantime. This may explain the joint pain that's been plaguing my wrist, the weird vertigo-like dizziness I've encountered on and off the bike, and the fatigue that I've been attributing to racing/training. Or maybe I don't have Lyme disease and I'm just tired, dizzy, and bug-bitten with a sore wrist from wrangling a toddler all day.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wissahickon Cross Ludwig's Corner

Podium Shot BP!
Jay...joined us for practice this week...the more, the merrier
Gary Kelley ridin & smiling
"I want to see the pit, too, Grampy..."
Cheerleading Tryouts...I made the squad!! Yes!
hee hee
My mom at a bike race...and I think she actually enjoyed it
Family Beans
What I Learned at Ludwig's Corner Today:
-A crappy start and an unruly crash does not dictate how the race will play out.
-I can get sandwiched between two bikes, go down on the pavement, pick myself up & jump back in...unscathed (this time, thankfully).
-Clawing my way through the pack and making up time is possible after all...I am stronger than I thought.
-Running through the sand is probably more taxing and slower than riding it...yet, I am stubborn and I ran.
-The women's race doesn't get the same respect as the men's (what a revelation)...I doubt it's intentional, but the official made it very clear that the men were to stage 8 across, absolutely no overlapping in the grid.
When the women rolled out, we were smooshed probably thirteen across...not cool...and forget about relenting & taking the next row, it was a cluster f***...made for a sketchy start (locked handlebars, bumping wheels)...
The women were also told we'd have two minutes after the men, yet the gun went at about thirty seconds..."GO!" Uh, you mean NOW?! Love that.
-Doesn't matter...in the scheme of things, if I race smart and push myself harder, I'll rise above those details that create stress in the dreaded early moments following the start...
-Finishing in the top ten of my age group at a cross race is just as satisfying (perhaps even more) as making it to the podium at a mountain bike race. Perspective is key...look at the group we are racing. The field has grown considerably and the breadth of talent is downright impressive...I've gotten over the humility...now it's about chasing that fast group and doing my best.
-It's all relative...I love cross!
-Oh...and for those that think the women had an aggressive start...how about the fella with the completely taco'd wheel? I believe he was running to the pit, from the start, dead last up the hill...Never give up.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Granogue Cross 2007

Loved, loved, loved the section around the tower... Nikki won... deja vu...no wait, I have been here before...
did not love, love, love the root-around-the tree
there goes my badass dad...
Husband, son, boss/friend, dad...support crew
"Mom, you did a great job at your bike race!" Awwwww...
The Good:
-The start...no stress upon entering the grid (I had the Monkey on my right...it doesn't get any better...smiles, kind words, unwilling to give up that front row...yes!)
-The course was challenging and tricky and super, super fun...my favorite parts were the section around the tower (if you hit the off-camber on the high side, it was zip zip zip)...actually, I liked the entire tower side this year (minus that effing root around the last tree before the road)...Actually, I enjoyed all of it this year, especially the subtle changes.
-I plowed into a thicket of bamboo before the run-up...luckily, bamboo is very forgiving.
-My husband and kid were there to cheer me on...what a boost to hear, "Go fast, mommy!"
-We supported a great cause .
-Soft pretzels!
-New gear (yes, I need another East Coast Cross sweatshirt) and a complimentary cowbell for the kid ("My own cowbell! Cause I forgot mine! Wow!")...thanks, you made his day.
-The DCCofD and the formidable race they give us year after year...
-The MAC is here!
The Bad:
-One more time...that effing root.
That's all...no complaints. Just the root.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Right Words, The Blue Eyes

As I am scurrying around getting ready for work, my son is underfoot (as usual) doing his best to sabotage my every effort...he disappears momentarily.
"Mom!!!" excitedly, calling me from my closet, "Mommy!! LOOK!!"
Kid emerges from closet holding a Spiderman treat bucket.
"Oh, that's a surprise for Halloween night," I explain.
"Mom, I didn't know about that surprise! Mommy, you're great. I can have this now!"
"Well..."
"Mommy, you are great. You cutie pie!"
How can I say no?
How?

Hmmmm...Teeth or Bike???

Feels like Christmas Eve...tomorrow my bike will be complete. Building a bike has been an exciting process... Every step of the way, every part carefully chosen...not cobbled together from hand-me-downs or parts that have been collecting dust in the basement. I haven't treated myself to any new toys in quite some time...nowadays it's all about the Kid and necessities and paring down and not accumulating extraneous "stuff." I must admit, it feels good to treat myself to something really nice. Pretty serendipitous how the bike materialized before my dentist determined I'd need at least two very pricey crowns. I would not have made the practical choice anyway.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday Hike

Ridley Creek Park... been enjoying these trails my whole life. I'm so happy that my kid digs hiking, too!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Marsh Creek Fall Classic 2007

Share the trails, share the lake...
Relax, you can have a turn later!
This race was great before it even began for the simple fact that I didn't need to set my alarm.
Cool breezes greeted me at the park...fall is here. Warmed up with Cati on the course & was happy to find more hills on the new loop.
During staging, I was happy to catch up with Fort James (on a curiously cool sea-green Kona)...his little one is already 6 months old. In turn, James looked a lot more rested than when I saw him at Marysville! Ahhhh...the joy of juggling baby/racing/training/surviving! Our race was delayed nearly an hour because some really cool, really mature hunters changed the direction of the course markers...this caused nasty stress on my part, as I was on bought time with the babysitter/Grammy. My mom generously agreed to watch my son, in spite of the fact that she was up til 3am caring for her other nephew. One apologetic phone call later ("Sorry, mom...we haven't even started yet..."), and I was ready to race. Six women lined up...fierce determination to finish fast & finish first gripped me immediately. I wanted to win, I wanted to be the first woman to cross the line. With Deborah to my left and 15 seconds til "Go", I knew I would have to do everything in my power to stay with her. If I could hold onto Deborah, I may have a chance. (Not 5 minutes before, we were joking about our first race here last fall when I accused her of "Sucking my wheel for 3 full laps and then blasting me on the final downhill to the finish, beating me by mere seconds..." to which she replied, "Aww, I was going to do that again today!")...So, in my mind it was on. Deborah was first into the woods while I stuck myself to her wheel...The crisp real October air left me feeling gasp-y and sucking for breath. Not once did I turn around, I just glued myself to Deborah... Pulling away from me on the first descent, I put my head down and pegged it to catch her...swept around a rutted sharp turn and watched Deborah flat right before my eyes...no, no, no! "Do you have everything you need?" I asked. Grimly she replied, "Yes," and waved me on. "You sure?" Ughhh! It's never fun to see a teammate in that position, even when it's a teammate you so want to beat! Still, a race is a race...on I charged, intent on passing as many men as I could. The course was super-dry and fast...ate up my first lap in a surprising 26 minutes. The next two laps were more of the same, digging into every climb & never looking back. As I crossed the finish line, I was bummed that Deborah & I didn't get to play a little cat & mouse, but it was still immensely satisfying to be the first of six strong chicks to wrap up a really fun race. Now I am going to dig into a heaping bowl of pasta with olive oil, parmesan, & salt salt salt... it's what I feel like having.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And You Don't Stop...

Tomorrow I will be living it up at the Marsh Creek Fall Classic mountain bike race... I have been on my mountain bike twice since the end of the MASS...once for a night ride with BP and once at Downingtown. I love the woods, especially this time of year. No stress, no pressure...I have a soft spot for this local event (helps that I can pretty much roll out of bed and be there in a matter of minutes). Good times, indeed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alright, Alright, Alright!!

Puddles!
Chilly breeze!
Rain!
Cross is in the air...
Practice today promises to be the real deal...a little muddy-mud, a little slicky-slick...
The bike build has begun & I should be on my new wheels well before Granogue (ahhhhh, the clock is ticking).
Now, where are those knickers???

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beware

this may remain on the wall long after Halloween is over...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Whirly Bird Cross Bryn Athyn College

I did not love this course. Honestly, I didn't even like it. Rutted, bumpy, flat, bumpy, rutted, rutty, very bumpy...and flat. And rutted. Bumpy, too. Janel had a victorious first cross race ever on a hardtail mountain bike...Oh. "Yeah, when we laid out the course yesterday, I figured I'd be better off on a mountain bike." Well, yeah...obviously. I gave myself a much-needed attitude adjustment before lining up...suck it up, have some fun, suffer hard & make some girls out there suffer harder. Ashamed of my bratty demeanor, I was determined to have a strong (hot) race from start to finish...and smile about it. After the men took off, the official threw his hands up & shrugged, "GO!" Oh, you mean, like, now?! Because all the girls are chatting, unclipped...because, you know, normally we don't go WITH the men. Or normally, we're told, "You'll be starting with the men..." So, the start was lame...Yep, I got the hole shot, which felt pretty hollow because half the women were not even prepared to start.

4 laps (yes, only 4) later, done. Anne Rock handed my ass to me today, graciously nonetheless. Maintaining my position proved challenging today...advancing proved very difficult. Wishing for hills was futile...no hills magically materialized mid-race (although, some weird carpets materialized mid-race covering a stretch of rocks...). The carpets were real...the heat did not, in fact, go to my head.

So, the Perna/Dubeck Squad had a little case of Sucky Attitude-itis...but, we chatted with some friends , had a few laughs, and spent the morning on our bikes...

A good race, in spite of itself.

Now, how about some mud???

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Same Track, Different Uniform

Ventured over to My Old School (middle school, of course) for a little cross "drill"... It happens to look nothing like the same school that saw me: 1) Morph into a wannabe Punk Rock Girl ("Dad, can we go to Zipperhead this weekend?") 2) Get pulled from P.R.O.B.E because of my slipping grades (my parents actually considered this punishment?) 3) Lose a little bit of faith in seventh-grade humanity when Kim N. stole the Hip Hop Lyrical Robot toolbox that I painstakingly crafted in wood shop

The only thing that looks the same is the track...the same track I begrudgingly walked around & around during the mile run fitness test year after year after year.

I am pretty confident that I could run a decent mile these days, but it was waaaay more fun to sprint around the track on my cross bike.

Typical Night Before Race jitters and prep...so much easier to pack up for a cross race than a mountain bike race. Having admitted that, I wonder what I'll forget tomorrow.

Unwound as a family with the Jungle Book & popcorn. Halfway through the movie, our son stripped down to his diaper and proclaimed himself "Mowgli."

I gave him my blessing to sleep in the woods, but he didn't go for that.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wake-Up Call

Pitter-patter, pitter patter... 6:59am. Noooooooo! "Mom? Mom?" Shuffles closer, pokes my left eye. Excitedly, "Mom! I can say bicycle and I can say tricycle and I can say popsicle now!!" What? Did he practice all night? Because until this morning, all he wanted to do was ride his bicycle-cul-cul and eat possicull-cul-culs. Cross practice tonight with our Fearless Leader. I'm scared.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Potty-Training, Pride, Pronunciation

Started early Christmas shopping tonight here. For myself ;) What a day...my kid impressed himself today with his potty skills. I'm watching his self-confidence soar right before my eyes and that simply amazes me. Most of this stuff gets figured out as we go along...that is how we roll... Tonight our son told us a story... Usually, after we wind down at bedtime & read several books, he'll say something like, "Tell me a story about when I was a little baby..." or "Tell me the story about your friend who ate raw chicken..." Not tonight. Tonight, he was the storyteller of an elaborate yarn involving his Blue Bear and the search for a magnifying glass to look at bugs...pretty wild. There was even dialogue...hey, I was hanging on his every word. Made up for the awkward moment on the playground this afternoon when Sophie's mom asked about his helmet. "It's my fucking hat," he replied matter-of-factly, like Duh! As Sophie's mom collected her jaw from the ground, I said, "Viking hat?" "Yep, mom... my fucking hat," Sonny said sweetly.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happiness

My bike has shipped my bike has shipped my bike has shipped my bike has shipped!!! Yipppeeee! Building a new bike...a bike made for me...for all 5'2'' of me... My mom invited us over for homemade Belgian waffles for dinner last night. It's October. The sky was completely dark at 8:15 this evening. Cross is here. ...and my bike has shipped. ...and the Wild Thing has finally settled on a Halloween costume (of equal importance to building a cross bike).

Monday, October 1, 2007

Don't You Guys Have Some Chipmunks to Harass?

Hands off, kid...and no photos! Put the camera away! I bite. I eat small mammals!
Stop gawking...That's it, I'm heading for the yard
Can you see me now?