Thursday, February 28, 2008

Normal, Right?

The limbs from these Star Wars "Guys" (as we refer to them around here...even the female action figures) continue to disappear one arm (or head) at a time. Tiny hands and stray forearms can sometimes be found oh, in a teacup (sometimes with a few sips remaining). Or in the hood of a sweatshirt. So the little Wiseguy dismembers them, then proceeds to stash the parts in odd places. All children do this, right? Not unlike cutting Barbie's hair. ***I swore off gratuitous parentheses for the New Year (and I am only half-kidding). I can't do it! See?! Not to worry...although the toys are admittedly age-inappropriate, we are past the stage of putting toys in our mouths (that accounts for me and the kid)...no choking on errant Q-Tip sized light sabers or Boba Fett helmets around here (thank goodness). Gum on park benches and gray snow are another story entirely. Boys are gross!

Get Your Bowl On

SRAM Red Bowl...sounds like a fun opportunity to embarrass myself even further. Hey, it's for a great cause...maybe my mom can impart some bowling wisdom on me. Maybe I will just spectate with a martini in hand. Maybe after a couple of said martinis, I won't suck. Yeah, maybe!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, I Will Be Humbled, Alright...

So, there is all this chit-chat about "moving up..." Been talking to friends, teammates, my everyday heroes basically, and I keep hearing, "Yeah, it's humbling...moving up." No shit it's humbling. I fully expect (and even painfully embrace) that... Do you think I wasn't humbled when I moved up to Sport (oh, look...that warrants capitalization...surprise!) a mere 5 months after giving birth to my firstborn? Do you think I wasn't humbled upon puking at the finish line at Fairhill (blah blah blah thousand degree heat, open gaping wound...blah blah blah)? Do you think I wasn't humbled that last treacherous race of 06, when Laura (where are you, Laura? We need to ride!) slayed me at the finish line, leaving me sooooo dead last? Again. Who cares? I am mentally prepared to take a beating...and I guess if I wasn't remotely stressed about this, then I shouldn't be competing in the first place. Competing. Heh heh. Is it bad that I am thinking about cross already?

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Prefer to Watch Movies at Home

Last night I watched Once. I was into the music before even seeing the film...I don't know, there is something endearing about Irish singers/songwriters to me (maybe a little crush on Glen Hansard)...and Marketa Irglova's voice is lovely. I loved the film...simply, it was heartfelt and authentic. I did not watch the Academy Awards, but quite serendipitously (and through the magic of Tivo), I was able to watch Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova accept the Oscar for Best Song ("Falling Slowly")... And that is clearly a sentence haplessly written by a girl in dire need of a good night's sleep. Oh...so was that one! Good night!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reason Number One

By the time I race 7 Springs this year (September), I would like to be totally comfortable riding at night. Parts hurt today...they hurt a lot...rrrrrr. Stiff neck, sore back, achy shoulder. After Sean showed us the infamous rock/drop last night, I unwittingly began pondering the risks we take on our bikes. I know, I know...no different than the risks we take driving a car, or crossing a street on foot for that matter. Well, yeah...it is different. Cause I do it for fun. Reason #1: I do it for fun...all other reasons follow that...fitness, self-confidence, mental health (oh, that is a biggie). So, I thought about the risks, the injuries...but, I did not get stuck on it. I do it for fun. I want to do it again and again and again...I never want to stop, in fact. The bathroom will not get painted tonight. Sleep may actually win this time. See, spring is coming...sleeping just a little bit better with each passing night. You know...the bathroom probably won't get painted this weekend. Or perhaps even this month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shooting Satellites & Lunar Eclipse Ride

Snow ride. French Creek. Me, my dad, and Sean. Slow going, frustrating start. Find a rhythm, find a groove...okay, let some air out that rear tire, now I know where we are. Let's have some fun! Stop to marvel at the full moon, fading snow flurries, and excellent conditions. Revisit the scene of the crime (the robbery of Sean's cross season), double back and climb out... Scramble quickly through super fun snow covered trails. Running down the lights...almost out. Down down down past the cabins, back to road. Uh-oh...the road is deceptively icy. Uh-oh...thud, slide, crash, skidddddding...motherf***er, ouch ouch. That's my head. That's my ass. That's my elbow. That's my lower back. That is an eclipse happening in the sky... I don't know...I think this bike thing is here to stay. I don't think this is going away any time soon. How can you forget a night like this?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stormy Monday

Rachel gave me unexpected good news about my fork...you just never know who may be listening or reading. Nice! I baked 3 little loaves of banana bread for my son's class...it is our turn for "Nutritional Snack Day" (thanks mom, for reminding my sorry ass). My friend Kate made Matzo Ball soup and offered me some (Kate from elementary school). Old friends are good friends. My son would like to get a dog and name him "Nippy." Scotty Z was 39th in the Tour de California prologue...he beat George Hincapie and Mario. Go, Scott! If I can't sleep, I am going to my dad's to watch today's stage at 11pm... My other friend, Kate, bailed on me twice today...first for Longwood Gardens, then yoga. She can redeem herself by locating "Teen Witch" on DVD before our sleepover (yes, that's right). Yes, they call it Stormy Monday...

Quit Whining

Rrrrrr...I heard a rumor that this won't be in til a "J" month (June? July? January?!)...My source didn't know the details and I can't confirm until the boss is back in town. I know, I know...we should all be so lucky to be stressing over a bike build. I know, I know...between my dad & me, there are plenty of solutions to this minor glitch. I know, I know...there are bigger problems looming in the world. I know. But, summer??? My fork?? Wahhhh...but, my bike.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"They Should Rename This Place 'Barrel of F***ing Monkeys!' "

French Creek Sunday...yay!
Almost 2 and a half hours...red and white, followed by some "bonus tracks" on the other side...me, my dad, Nudy Sr (who we picked up just before crossing over to the Dark Side), and shop urchin/friend, Colin.
Nudy Sr. bailed before we hit the B-Side for some feisty extras...good ride.
My dad was lucky enough to catch sight of me losing ground and basically throwing my front end up and over me, sliding and flailing beneath my bike...I stupidly let my head absorb the brunt of it, cause god forbid I let the new ink get damaged...(ohhhh it's so pretty, no I won't post a picture...but, yes I will show you...ohhhh, it is so pretty!!). Soft landing...in between a mass of rocks...up to my old tricks, wheel caught something going uphill...my signature move. Smoooooth.
Anyway,
Colin had never been to French Creek ("You've never ridden here?! What?!")...so, I thought he would enjoy Red & White. He did!
I mean, that initial downhill...jeez! Right? What's not to love?
Saw a piece of the badass Beans contingent as we rounded the corner back to Shed Road...
(Lander, Rob Lamb, Henderson on his Gemini...effing badass, Marcus, and Big Ben). Sitting across from Ben in Mr.Sneddon's Photo 1 class (Henderson...go Warriors...oh shit!), I never could have predicted we would one day be on the same mountain bike team...I never could have predicted that I would want to race bikes, let alone ride for fun.
Anyway, there they were, rolling on back to St. Petes via Red & White...
I don't care what you say...they have my respect.

I am, after all, a Bean.

They are some baaaad motherf***ers!

***I do not care for the Craft Prowarm base layer...I know today was too warm for such a piece, but even on my coldest rides I find it soaked and nasty. I will stick with my trusty quarter-zip mock neck Smart Wool lightweight base. With a tiny hole in the left sleeve. Best layer ever.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jigsaw Falling Into Place...

I feel healthy again. Yesterday I took my lonely cross bike out for a spin and found myself charging pretty hard... for no reason other than I just felt like...hammering? I am lucky I like to play outside. I am lucky I like cold weather. I am lucky to have time and desire to ride a bike. All the pieces fit yesterday afternoon...my legs felt strong, I had the roads to myself ('cept for a few courteous school buses), and there was an excellent playlist in my right ear. It's not hard to have fun when all the pieces fit.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ink

My new favorite tattoo artist is Rob at Xtreme Ink (West Chester, across from Gilmore's)...I have never returned to the same place. I will now. I mean...if I require more ink. can you tell I miss living in the borough? My mom advised me to go out and spend money...I was in a funk. I don't think spending money is the answer. I do think new ink is the answer. It had been in the works for a while. Then I got sick. Rrrrr! It has come to fruition... and it is perfect. Rob at Xtreme Ink...lightest touch, beautiful work. Go. (on your way back from buying chocolate at Eclat)

Eclat

Visit this place. Worth the trip. I insist you try the caramels (chocolate covered). They are sublime. I am partial to the milk chocolate variety (what makes them so distinctive is not only only the perfect caramel filling, but the the scattering of salt on each peice of candy). I also like the champagne truffels. And the Hawaiian ginger caramels. And the lavender chocolate. You see where this is going, right? Go choose your own assortment. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happiest Girl In The Woods Tonight

bottle it... Happy happy happy twinkling snowflakes, glittery trails...ahhhh
Me and my Dad
Susan, Dave?Dan? (sorry, dude), Sue, Jeff, BP
Now I feel better!
My second group ride this week...I like my solo rides, I really like my rides with BP, but it is fun to ride with different people (especially this time of year for some reason).
BP set a perfect pace for conditions tonight...I did my best to stay upright & close (enough) to my dad's wheel. Weighting my rear wheel on the slip slip slippery roots and such was a game I mastered by the end of our ride...there is only so much of me.
Jeff Kaplan has made impressive strides on his mountain bike...I haven't ridden with him since his early forays at Brandywine and he looks like he belongs out there on the trails, for sure. Sue, recovering from some nastiness involving a kidney injury, was a trooper and I can't wait to see her tear it up in the woods as her confidence comes back.
You just can't beat toasty hands, dry feet, the sound of sleety snow smacking the leaves, and pure white glistening trails after the sun goes down...
Such fun.

Go Take a Nap, Would You?!

I could sit here all day and stare a these huge snowflakes...snowflakes the size of my hand. I am irritated and mad. I am at odds with a small handful of people...exhausting. I didn't get enough sleep (shocker). I want to ride (especially while it is snowing)... I am charging my lights. About those Grammys: What an odd pairing...Keely Smith and Kid Rock. Made me feel uncomfortable. Jeez. Anything else? yes... freaking neighbors, the Pernas, goddamn car alarm was going bananas at 1:30am (and I had actually been sleeping...really sleeping). freaking Pernas!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

But, Mommmm!

13 Strong

How cute is Mara? How bitchin is Nikki's faux-hawk? Kristin has my favorite hair color ever
Nope, not my swag...
Anne Rock...um, she is talking about Flowbee...or Lance Armstrong's mom.
Dapper Hebe bestowing a golden "cheering bell" on BP...BP, he's my dad!!
more badasses...clean & imbibing...nice
Seriously, I think there were more people present on the Belmont ride today than the MAC Banquet...
Last night found me following my dad down to Manayunk, all spiffed up for a crazy evening of cow bells &...well, that's (mostly) all really...
Today, I joined Anne Rock on what turned out to be a rather large group ride...headed to Manayunk for the seond time in a matter of 12 hours...met at Falls Bridge and enjoyed a thorough tour of Belmont...Please join me & sing, "It's log! It's log!"
What a great place to hone those technical skills...for real, log after log after log...every permutation of log-ness imaginable. Every size, every angle...no joke. 3 hours of ambling through the tightest, twistiest, loggy-est trails I think I have ever been on. Some snowflakes fell, I ate black cherry shot bloks, my hip ate a sharp turn and a tricky root...good people, good ride.
I am actually forgoing an immediate shower for a nap.
I must admit I am pretty beat.
Yes!

Insomnia Rules My World

So, the weight of the world does not keep me up at night...in case you were wondering. Quite simply, it is purely seasonal, dictated by the shorter days & dreary weather... So, no...it's not as if I am plagued by worries and such. Well, that is not entirely true. I worry plenty... about: What color headset will look sassy with my (awesomely beautiful) new frame!

I fret about:

The fact that my son will only eat gummi bears, ice cream, cinnamon toast, and chocolate...(and I also wonder how I should react when he begins to strip down and climb up on the table during dinner, throwing bacon and french toast in his wake...).

Sometimes (most of the time) the kid truly has exceptional manners, but sometimes...jesus!

Yes, of course I think about the bigger things, and of course there are sometimes "bigger things" weighing on my mind, but mostly I simply cannot fall asleep.

So,

books,

mindless magazines,

sleepy music,

even a comic book (my friend insisted I check out Deadman...I have to admit, once I put my skepticism aside, I really dug it)

Colored pencils,

blank notebooks,

lists,

notes...

It is already February.

In some respects, this has been an easier winter...some.

Tomorrow,

a cold & windy ride on frozen trails.

yay!

Friday, February 8, 2008

"Ride it Like You Stole it..." Um, Okay!

So my second year of racing, I was going to move up to sport...a little thing called pregnancy forced me to hang up the bike (for racing at least). The following year, fighting to shed some baby weight & surviving on a couple hours of sleep (seeemingly) a week, I threw myself back into racing. What better way to get one's fitness back. That was a frustrating and humbling season for me...I struggled in the beginner class at Blue Marsh (struggled.at.blue.marsh...yeah), struggled more at Granogue, then by Danvillle bit the bullet and moved up to Sport. My logic was simple: I am sucking. Let me suck while riding a longer distance with faster people...at least I am back out here, trying to go hard & trying to learn how to race. By Sewell, I was just enjoying my time on a bike again...grateful to have a brief respite (okay, escape) from a newborn and the chaos/confusion/emotional exasperation (and yes, sometimes, elation) that goes with that... Sewell was my first race on my newly converted single speed (my beloved steel Kona Fire Mountain...my first mountain bike, a Christmas gift from my dad). I remember something about that race very clearly (I do not remember my result and that is just fine)... Approaching the very first rise (in hindsight, it is barely a hill), I dismounted and ran my bike, fearful I wouldn't make it in my wussy single gear...I watched the field scramble by me, a blur of dry dust into the single track... I pedaled like mad to catch someone, anyone...and then breathing down my neck, were the cool kids on their warm-up lap. Uh oh! Behind me, I heard all kinds of words of encouragement and support...they patiently stuck behind me, coaching me the entire lap...I would huff & puff, "Go ahead, get by me...." and I would hear, "No no no...you are doing great. Ride it like you stole it! Come on, single speed!!" Approaching a climb, they would shout, "Get up...get out of the saddle, push it, come on!" and I dutifully stood up and grinded out climb after little climb, I did not have a clue. As we rounded the corner to the ubiquitous Red Bull arch, they broke off and continued to cheer each time I came by for two more laps... It was fatmarc and Buddy. They were on their Spot brand single speeds, I distinctly remember pink helmets... Why am I thinking about this now? I always go back to this when I think about what I ride, my "equipment"...I think about this as I choose the pieces of my bike build puzzle now, as I treat myself to a new toy. I wonder what disc brakes are going to feel like on my new ride, if these changes will improve or heighten my ride or race experience...and then I remember that day at Sewell, when I didn't have a clue...yet, I knew as I stuck around to watch their race, that there is beauty in simplicity...there they were riding one gear, riding rigid...kicking ass (with style, I might add)... So, no...I don't think different brakes are going to change the way I ride... maybe I will have a little more a confidence to open up or let loose a little on the downhills... More than anything, I realize I just need to keep at it...keep riding. This will be my 5th season and I am still excited to race. I need to harness that excitement (and soon)!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Moving Up

All I want to do is listen to Radiohead & LCD Soundsystem and I am going to make myself sick of them...I tried keeping the cds out of my car. They end up in my bag...which inevitably ends up in my car. Somehow they keep coming up on "shuffle" when I am listening to my Ipod, trying to sleep... Made my way over to the new MASS site... Freaking out a little bit about moving up. Freaking out a lot. Why? The distance doesn't scare me much...I can probably handle that. I can handle that. I may be the last one to drag my sorry ass over the line, but I can handle that (too). I imagine I will find myself most nervous about being out there among the really fast, really skilled women...that is what I find most intimidating. I looked at my cross bike longingly yesterday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fat Tuesday

My brother sounded awesome tonight...they only played 3 songs before opening up the jam, but it's not like I was out for the long haul anyway. It's always amusing to watch the revelry that is Mardi Gras (especially when not partaking in the alcohol part of the equation)...drunk guys and drunk girls clamoring for green, gold, and purple beads. Stayed for a set, called it a night. So big deal...I can't ride my bike for a few weeks. This may be a good thing, you know? I just raced a full mountain bike season (completed every race I started), followed by a wickedly fun cross season (every MAC race, then some...)...and what did I do when that season ended? Started riding my mountain bike again. Every chance I got. So...a forced break may be just what my body needs. I couldn't overtrain if I tried...I just don't have the opportunity to overdo it, but I am sure a little time off is not going to be my demise. Who knows, maybe I will feel fresh when I am able to ride again. Maybe it will suck... In the meantime, I have to go dress shopping...there's this formal I'm going to...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Don't Kiss Me or Drink from My Water Bottle, Okay?

I don't have the flu anymore. I am probably not allergic to Tamiflu (though, I can stop taking it). I have mono. Mononucleosis...the kissing disease, as my mom reminded me. Hee hee. I don't get to miss school. I am not supposed to ride my mountain bike until I am fully recovered. My spleen is tender. Two hours at Wissahickon with my dad & Colin yesterday (PRIOR to my diagnosis) was ill-advised. At least there is an explanation for feeling powerless and weak on every climb...(and I was blaming Disney...in spite of eating healthy and running, I was blaming Disney and air travel...and Disney!). Rest (ha), good nutrition, and no exercise (ha...that is not funny)... I really wanted mono in eighth grade. My best friend, Diana, missed a month of school. An entire month. My grades were terrible in middle school....all I wanted to do was draw pictures and write notes to my friends, so that is all I did. And wished for mono so I could take a month off from middle school hell.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm back...

(un)seasoned traveler...first plane ride Lego Dragon
My lovely mom enjoying the highlight of the trip...a birthday cruise for my Aunt's 60th...my mom & I literally outran a monorail, cut through (Disney!) shrubs (scandalous) & crossed a busy freeway to make it in time...so worth it. Thank you, Therese, for including us on this peaceful & relaxing evening!!
My sweet godson Cousins!
don't slay the cricket!
moments after wiping (his) tears
My son summed up his Disney experience with these polite words, "I don't care for Disney World."