Monday, May 30, 2011

rattled

Sailed over the bars.
Landed with a resounding thwack on the left side of my face/head.
Left knee drug its way across the ground immediately thereafter.
Bike was up the slope, behind me.
Too hot around a soft turn.
Too fast, too cocky.
Chasing the fast kids.
And my dad.
They weren't too far ahead.
Far enough to grant me a few seconds alone.
Alone to assess what was luckily no damage.
Me? Check.
helmet? check (good. so sure I heard that sound...that crashy-helmet sound)
Me again? um, check.
No blood.
Just a tiny bit of blood.
Here is Kathleen, looking a bit concerned.
"I'm fine. Really."
Here is Bill.
"I'm totally fine. Look."
Pick up my Salsa. Untangle Salsa.
Brakes? Yes, check.
Three others are up the trail a little.
"You crash? You okay?"
My dad.
"yep...all good."

Let's ride.
Rattled.
Been a while since I went down like that.
Think of Max and how he took a header in the driveway the other day in front of his friends.
On foot.
How was his skull not split open, by the way?
Jesus. That kid.
He so wanted to cry.
he didn't cry.
I didn't cry.

Hot freaking hot hot hot day.
two hours.
Fair Hill.
Superb loop.
"Ron's hangover pace" (as my dad calls it) is lively for sure.
But, good.
It's a good, spirited pace.
Rattled.
Hot and sticky and humid and buggy and dusty and gross.
Good times.

those blooms from the tulip poplars are all over the place! Love that orange.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

what we do

We have a thing for amateur pyrotechnics.
And marshmallow fruity pebble treats.
And limoncello.
Not necessarily in that order.
Have a safe & happy holiday weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

field trip

Riding the schoolbus rattled my nerves a little... 

approaching Milkyway Farm

gracious Farmer Sam indulging the Flat Stanley photo op

Robotic Milking machine FTW!

Rosie

Jake (the, errr, steak)

who is having fun?

may I please just stay all weekend and sample all the ice cream flavors?

Ice cream hayride FTW!!

best Friday at the Farm ever
Milkyway Farm ...if you are in the area, you must try their ice cream.
Field trips never get old, do they?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ninety

Sometimes, I find the days off my bike are adding up and suddenly have become a whole entire week (gasp!) or more (yikes!) .
Sometimes, the first day (or few days) back on the bike is painful and feels like starting from scratch, with zero fitness.
Sometimes, the hills I have climbed with ease have become steeper and more demanding than anything in my memory...at least for a little while.

Sometimes, though, I come back stronger.
Sometimes, I am able to trick myself into feeling fresh after a week (or more, as it were) off the bike.
All I have to do is erase the loop that says, "but, it's been seven eight nine days since I rode...ugh I feel like such a fatass ugh I'm soooo sloooooow ...it's been so long since I rode blah blah blah..."
All I have to do is remember how hard I've been working to eat healthy and sleep well  and take care of myself.
That's all it takes to turn the pedals over with a little more energy, a little more life.

Plus.
It was great to ride with my dad...it's been a while.

I started running again.
It's all part of my plan to not suck it in at the beach this year.
I seriously need some new sneaks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

benedrunk

Kid-strength Benedryl is my lastest fix for the sleep issues plaguing me.
2 grape meltaway tabs at bedtime, preferably with a cup of jasmine tea, sets me right.
Too hot for hot tea this evening, though.


I was in a rotten mood earlier, but I cleaned my house and feel much better.
My friend, Sara, is holed up in a TGIFriday's in Indiana seeking shelter from a Tornado.
Things could be so much worse.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

chapter books

The days are just flying these past few weeks...
filled with everything but bike rides.
Impromptu picnics, good books, work, laundry, great dinners prepared side by side, playing outside, waking up early to run, work, laundry, work, laundry, drawing pictures, writing notes, avoiding my bike, work...

My son and I started reading the first Harry Potter installment a little over a month ago...not quite an entire chapter a night, but damn close.  
Sunday night we finished The Sorcerer's Stone and he was so freaking elated.
"I can't believe we finished my first ACTUAL big kid chapter book without hardly ANY pictures, MOM!"
Harry Potter certainly wasn't my first choice, but the story kind of grew on me.
Soon, my son will be reading books completely on his own.
This is one part of being a mom that I am pretty excited about...I'm excited about getting it right, about helping him fall in love with stories.
I can't imagine having grown up without them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

bunny

Critter fest in our back yard.
Most relaxing weekend ever.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

post number 901

Sunshine.
All. Day. Long.
Did I get on the bike?
Nah.
Volunteered at Chester County Hospital's Mayfest with my awesome coworkers and tackled about a year's worth of neglected yard work.
Everybody knows how much I enjoy yard work.
Next week, rain or shine, I'll get back in the groove.

highlight of my morning 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Erma

I think about my grandmom often, but I think of her maybe a tiny bit more fondly every time I pull my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (yes, proper noun) out of it's cabinet (yes, it has a special cabinet in my kitchen).
Tonight we are having falafel and Moroccan chickpea flat bread with some other yummy accompaniments.
The dough is rising.
Erma would definitely not have been into this particular feast, but she did appreciate my rosemary foccacia (its dough mixed with love in the Kitchenaid).

The mixer was her gift to me at my bridal shower...like twelve years ago. Unlike the marriage, the mixer is still going strong.
Thanks, Erm...miss you.
   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

tour of Cali recap

(as told by a 6 year-old, mainly just disinterested in Grampy's "bike racing show" until this):
"So, the guy in the front was wearing a blue bike suit and he crashed and he had a hole in his shorts in this area RIGHT HERE on his BUTT, mom! And they had to like blur it up on TV because he had a hole in his bike racing suit on HIS BUTT bahahahahahahahaha!! and, mom, he kept RACING with his butt all blurred up!" (more peals/squeals of laughter)

Anne Rock, are you hearing this?

so far

So far, it's been a productive day. My morning at work was filled with lots of laughter and enthusiasm in spite of the gloomy weather. The morning FLEW.
In four minutes, I'll head back and hopefully the afternoon will FLY, too.
I've decided to start saving up for a trip to Texas. I want to visit Sara and take Max to Austin and drink beer at the movies. Texas is awesome.

I have almost forgotten what he looks like with front teeth
 

Monday, May 16, 2011

bzzzzzz


cheerful, huh? crazy ass bee was going bananas yesterday 

 I don't remember everything being so lush around here last spring.
Where was I??
How was your weekend? Do anything fun?
Mine was kinda weird.
I bounced in and out of a funk.
Highlights include sushi with friends, a very lethargic ride around White Clay before the rain, several long naps, and a date with Bill.

Oh...and ice cream so divine I had a dream about it that very same night.
Salted Caramel Chocolate at Scooped.
ridiculous.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Friday!

It's Friday!
You know what you should do?
Treat yourself to the new Beastie Boys release because it's awesome.
And take a nap or go for a ride (or both, even better).
What are you doing for fun this weekend?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, I Love You

Quick debate...road? trails?
Road.
No, trails!
Reply to Cati's text..."I'll be at the bottom of Harmony Hill in a half hour if you want to link up."
Dressed, out the door, and pedaling joyfully/furiously to the trails to the trails to the trails.
24 minutes later I am on the path, ready to make the right hand turn onto the dirt.
(bliss)
There's Cati with two friends in tow.
Ushered into the front, I lead our little crew up black & white and through all the good, good stuff.
So much fun.
Even when these trails get old, they never get old.
Do you know what I mean?
Always on my toes here.
Always something to learn or master or do better or try again.
Or not.
Sometimes, just utterly flow... like on this perfect springtime evening.
Back at the bottom of Harmony Hill, we part ways.
Solo, I take my favorite roads home and finish up with a brisk descent through the park to my neighborhood.
The sun is still shining and my mind is clear.
A hot shower, a bite to eat, and all is right in the world again.
Thank you, Wednesday.
do you like butter??

Monday, May 9, 2011

mother's day

see, I knew we would be fine

I love being Max's mom

he's going for it

look at them...

happy
Cinnamon rolls.
Recovery ride with my boys.
Dinner with my super-awesome mom (thanks to Bill).
Very sweet sentiments from my son.
Sunshine!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

French Creek 2011 "On The Rocks" my ass...More like "Straight Up"

Sorry, friends, I have no pictures from the race.
My little orange point & shoot was tucked away in my gear bag, but I was too destroyed after the race to capture any friendly faces or teammates on the podium. 
Shortly after arriving, I summoned Bill to pedal around with me. My nerves were out of control and I knew a few minutes spinning around together would greatly help calm me down.
I was right.

Soon, too soon, it was time to race.    
Ouch.
French Creek hurt badly.
I wanted to have a great race.
I finished 10th (out of 11 under 40) in my first elite race, although a few other women in my class ended up not finishing.
This race was so not about my result, though...
This race was about forward momentum, literally and figuratively.
On both counts, French Creek was a huge win for me.
Although I am so comfortable riding those trails, that confidence didn't entirely translate during my race.
For the most part, it did, but I could have done better.
Did I tell you I love French Creek? Have I gushed about how much joy these trails bring me over and over again?
I love French Creek.
Every rock garden, every undulating descent, every punchy climb.
Love.
Alas...
Racing here?
Yikes.
May I briefly illustrate the course?
It went something like this:
Start fast (climbing), climb some more, climb again, go downhill for a bit, climb a long climb, turn sharply left and keep climbing, climb to the top, climb to the top of that and so on...it was brutal and challenging and so very rocky (expected) and man, my back is shot.
Lessons learned this time around weren't so much humbling, but just a bit eye-opening.
I learned it absolutely sucks to line up as the second group in the entire Elite/Expert race (directly behind the Open Pros and two minutes ahead of oh, the whole men's expert field)...
Being swallowed up by the really fast guys on a sketchy gravel descent was downright intimidating (even when they are gracious enough to offer gasping encouragement and kind enough to actually use my name).
Getting bumped a few times shook me enough to back off and watch the few women I was hanging with pretty much walk away.
Bye, ladies...I'm just going to curl up and die right here while these guys roll over me, okay?  
RRRRRRRRRR.
Clearly, I need more experience.
I'll get it.
I also learned that although I may be a great bike handler, I need to go faster.
Like waaaaay faster.
Why am I not afraid to ride fast, but when it comes to racing I hold back?
It's silly.
Woman, it's a race. Race your damn bike.
Experience has also taught me that my first MASS race is always tough and not indicative of how my whole season will play out.
Hopefully, this still holds true!
Ugh, that's enough introspection.
After 22ish miles of unrelenting rocks and seemingly all climbs (there had to be a few descents, but damn if I can remember them), I finished strong.
Strong is satisfactory.
Fast is next.

Friday, May 6, 2011

cinnamon toast

My son eats cinnamon toast for breakfast nearly every morning.
This morning, I joined him because I am so sick of yogurt and cereal.
The antibiotic I am taking for a freaking ear infection is tearing up my stomach.
He's onto something...cinnamon toast is awesome.
I mean, I guess I forgot just how wonderful cinnamon toast is.
This may be a little extreme, but I bet we'll try it anyway!

It's Friday.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

brooding

I worry and I brood and then I worry some more.
When I am done worrying, I worry even more for good measure.
It even has a name and when Dr. White kindly explained my diagnosis about eight years ago (in the midst of treatment for insomnia), I was hardly surprised.
What? This makes you a little uncomfortable?
Sorry.
Me, too.
It's why I write about bike rides and bike races and being a mom and wrenching on teeth and slaying stinkbugs and playing Star Wars and eating good food and dancing to Michael Jackson.

So.
When my feelings are hurt or when I may have done something to hurt somebody, I brood.
Long after the fact, when the air is cleared and everyone else has moved on, I worry and worry and worry.
It's a loop that I get stuck in more times than not.
I've adapted helpful skills to cope with this irritating idiosyncrasy of mine, but I have chosen not to go the med route.

The two coping skills that I find most helpful and successful are riding and writing.
I rode my bike today with my friend, Wendy.
We rode 13+ hilly miles of rocky trails.
We rode deep into the woods and chased each other up and down challenging climbs and tricky descents.
I was gross and sweaty and my back was aching.
Bugs were stuck to my chest and inside my sports bra and helmet.
It was an awesome ride, but sh*t was weighing on me.

40 minutes in the car, alone, with my favorite songs, a hot shower, a hug from my son, and I am still brooding.

So.
I blog.

My takeaway from this morning is a gentle reminder, friends:
Pause before you post/publish/chime in/send, lest you may unnecessarily hurt somebody's feelings.
Comments and posts can be deleted, but the sting might hang on a bit longer.
There is so much that I don't share on this blog (that's what drafts and journals are for), so please don't lose sight of the fact that it's not all here...there is a bigger picture and an actual life, a busy/complicated/full/real life outside of silly little "hardtales."



     

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

anxiously waiting

My son should be home soon.
Since the accident, I freak out a tiny bit inside when I am waiting for him to come home.
Especially on a Wednesday night like this, approaching 8pm, waiting waiting waiting.
I'm anxious as it is...the sharp and surreal visual of my first-born covered in glass and blood hardly helps.
Accidents happen, life goes on...anxiety sucks.

Speaking of anxiety...
French Creek (On the Rocks, as it were) is fast approaching.
Pre-reg closes at 10pm.
I know I'll be there.
French Creek is my favorite place to ride and one of my least favorite places to race.
I want to have a great race there.

Bill is at the Phillies game.
He has changed my life...one+ year later and I am so smitten, it's ridiculous.
Ridiculous, guys.  

fourteen stinkbugs later

"At least they're harmless."
"For now."
"For now? Huh?" (he's thinking, why are we talking about stinkbugs? again?)
"I mean, by next summer they're going to super-evolve and grow sharp fangs and become poisonous."
"Super-evolve."
"Totally. Mark my words." 

I hate them and they know it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wawayanda Revisited


just me

Ron

Bill (sigh...)


BP (and the BP strut)

Six in the morning.
BP at the wheel.
LCD Soundsystem on the stereo.
Jumbled nerves and jitters.
Two and half hours in the car.
Two plus hours to ruminate and try to de-jitterize. (that's right)
Approach Wawayanda, marvel at the large and plentiful rocks.
Marvel at the unending lake.
Chatter about skipping/missing Granogue.
Chatter about nerves.
We're here.
Warm up.
Line up.
And so it goes...
right back into it.

There I am, at the line...
Women are chatting about wet bridges and tricky rock gardens and pre-rides and flat legs and equipment woes.
What has changed since I last raced like this (meaning, racing like I care)?
Not much.
Still nervous.
Maybe a little more savvy about tuning out the incessant chatter, so as to not blow it with head games before we even get rolling. (because that sucks!!)

There I am, after "go", climb the first hill.
I am mid-pack and watch the local women pull away a bit.
We all jam up when we hit the rocks.
Frustrating.
I can ride this, I know I can ride this rrrrrrrrrr!
Epiphany: it doesn't matter if I can clean this...who cares? just. keep. moving... 
And so it goes, I just keep moving.
On the bike, off the bike.
Whatever it takes to get through the traffic.
On the bike, off the bike.
Miles tick by and I need to work harder.
I remember that this is racing.
Traffic will spread out before the second lap.
I will ride this stuff.
This is not a thirteen hour relay slogging through the mud, conserving, preserving, racing with my boyfriend.
This is just me (politely) asserting, "On your left."
This is just me, picking my way through brand new competion and remembering what I used to do.
And doing it a little bit better.

There are rock gardens that don't let up.
Greasy roots and a few mud pits.
More rock gardens.
Double track that rips and lets you breathe.
More rocks.
Rocks like French Creek.
Rocks like Jim Thorpe.
Rocks a little bit like Bear Creek.
It's freaking rocky.
You know what? this place is hard.

Then, 15 miles later, I've crossed the line and I am finished.
Spent and nearly cramping.
With the same smile I haven't smiled in a long time.
It's the goofy, awkward, destroyed smile I can only conjure after finishing a bike race.


I'm not gonna lie...
this post was a struggle.
I scrapped a few paragraphs about the guilt that plagued me for skipping Granogue.
I scrapped a full-on blow-by-blow race report.
I scrapped the "well, I missed 3+ years of XC racing due to divorce/broken bones/mono accompanied by bed rest..." (who caaaares??)
I simply wanted to share how it feels to put myself out there again.
I simply wanted to say, I am giving it a go.
Wholeheartedly.
And that feels pretty good.
Thanks for reading.