Friday, September 30, 2011

1001

been at this for a while now...

high highs/low lows

Post-vacation blues?
Who knows...
I've got no reason to be down and very little to worry about, but the Funk was here upon waking.
I know, I know...
September brings shorter days and sleepless nights. Always.
Genes.
All that good stuff.
I know.
Which brings me some consolation...it's not me. (though, it is me)

Anyway.

I split a snake in two this afternoon on Sunset Hollow Road and that made me feel awful.
Right near the farm with the sign.
Ugh.

that is a bacon chocolate chip cookie to go, in case you were wondering

awful awful awful.
For the rest of my ride, I was all crazy-angry-hammer-hammer-pant-hammer-hammer-pant.
Very attractive, indeed.
Now I feel a million times better.

Hey.
I  We have a wedding to plan.
Although I may have been down this road before (and I'll elaborate on that sometime soon...my thoughts about getting married again, the whole nine) Bill sure hasn't...it's a big deal and we're going to do it right.
I am giddy when I think about being his wife.
I am giddy when I think about The Dress.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

pictures and words (Vermont 2011)

About to enjoy some of the best trails ever with some of my favorite people


Trout River takeover

me & Kathleen



ducking under the lines (Maple syrup lines, duh)


there they go...

He just asked me to marry him!


the Inn (our digs for Sunday night, after two nights in the lean-to)


date night (guys, I'm getting MARRIED!!!!!!)

the Inn at Mountain View farm


overlooking Lake Willoughby (guys, I'm getting MARRIED!!!!!!)

Newport VT

celebratory drinks on the lake  


Ron & Kathleen

my fiance (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)




Vermont was full of surprises this year.
It still hasn't completely sunk in yet. 









Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

be back in a few...

Now it's time to take a break and enjoy some mountains and trails and campfires and friends and Trout River brews and the first days of fall...
where I'll be

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

making it happen

Another rainy practice (this time at Location B).
"I'm not feeling very inspired," my dad grumbled as we geared up and set off on a warmup lap.
"Neither am I."
How many hot laps until our sour attitudes turned around?
One.
Practice is like that.
Location B has a brutal run-up, a long staircase of railroad ties and busted pavement on a steep hill.
I'm going to keep working that awful awful awful run-up...
"You responded really well to every attack," my dad said.
"Thanks. It's only taken me, what? Four seasons to finally start to get the hang of this?" 

photo courtesy of Anthony Skorochod via FB...thanks for all the work you do for us narcissistic racers!

Can't wait for that Hillbilly Hustle!

Monday, September 19, 2011

the Monday after a double cross weekend...

my dad

Anne Rock

not Violet (but, sure looks/sounds like her) 

oh, just Marla Streb

and Dennis

Breyla & Harlow minding Evie's dogs

The Monday after a double goes something like this:
  • when the alarm sounds at 5:35am, I give myself an extra 20 minutes of sleep
  • the usual breakfast of a Lara bar won't suffice...real food, please! NOW!
  • the drive to work is a blur...how did I get here?
  • the two flights of stairs to the office are now The Amphitheater of Pain
  • the usual lunch of a yogurt and granola won't suffice (but, has to)
  • the afternoon is a blur...how did I get here?
  • the mood is light, but the legs are kinda heavy
  • Breakfast is for dinner (bacon! eggs! taters! oh, my!)
  • bed time can't come soon enough  
How about you?

Charm City Day Two

On paper, Day Two was anything but stellar for me.
The course, mostly reversed with a few subtle changes, was without Saturday's mud.
Faster.
I, however, was not faster.
The group I started with began to pull away little by little into the 2nd lap...I didn't have the same confidence in the turns that I felt the previous day (which is silly, because the course was dry this time around).
Heidi and I traded wheels for a bit until I overtook her on after the road crossing to the ball fields.
My goals were simple:
Don't get lapped (by the Euro pros & LVG, nbd)
Don't be last
Approaching the finishing straight on the bell lap, I was pulled (with the 80% rule in effect) as the leaders were gaining on me and about to complete their race.
"What you'd do? Bail so you could watch the sprint?" My dad said as I rolled up to the finish (off course).
"Um, no, I got pulled."
Duh, BP.
And I did get to watch Laura outsprint the Belgian for second place, which was awesome.
As for me, I met my goals (although, really...getting pulled vs getting lapped?).
I learned a few valuable lessons about racing and will continue to refine some of my techniques and tactics based on the wisdom shared with me over the weekend.
Even though I struggled yesterday, I still had fun (how can you not have fun at Charm City?)...
and I intend to see this through all season long, back of the pack and all.

 

   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Charm City Day One (I Told Me So...)





okay, but what the FRIG is this kick?? Gee whiz, I am sorry you guys had to see this... 

I'm way too destroyed and elated to offer up anything other than this:
It's good to be back, in any capacity...
That was the most fun I have had on my cross bike in a very long time.
The love I have for this particular kind of bike racing is too big to waste...(plus, the bike itself is pretty sweet, you know? I worked really, really hard for that bike way back when).

So.
Back at tomorrow.
Good night & thanks for reading.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kickass Dough


This is how I relax sometimes and it also happens to yield a wonderful (and wonderfully easy) dinner.

Assemble these ingredients for kickass, super-ridiculously-easy pizza dough:

  • Approx 4 to 5 C flour in a large bowl (shake it through a sifter as it goes into your bowl...I never actually measure the flour, I just kinda pour heaping handfuls one at a time into my sifter/sieve)
  • 1 beaten egg and a drizzle of olive oil (I usually combine these in a mug)
  • A generous palm-ful of sea salt
  • Half a bottle of beer
  • a pint of tepid water
  • 1 packet rapid-rise yeast
  • honey
So.
In a large measuring cup (I have a 32 oz heavy-duty Pyrex that's perfect for this, because you'll end up pouring this stuff slowly in a bit), I usually combine my half-bottle of beer and my tepid water, add the yeast, then stir til it dissolves. Drizzle some honey in there to feed the yeast. You'll want some of the tepid water on reserve.
If you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, awesome...Use it with the dough hook.
If not, awesome...make a pile of your flour on a clean surface with a well in the middle for your wet ingredients (this is so messy, but the way my grandmom taught me and such fun, you guys).
Add the salt to your flour.
Combine the egg/olive oil  with your flour first...then slowly add your yeast/beer mixture(if you are using the mixer, use a slow speed and gradually pour in your liquid...if you are doing it by hand, gradually pour your liquid into the well & incorporate the pile of flour from the outside in)...
You'll use at least an entire pint of beer/yeast Water and if the dough is still dry, add more tepid water LITTLE BY LITTLE.
The dough should be elastic-y and supple...Remove the big clump of dough from the mixer at this point, because the kneading must be done by hand (don't cheat & let the Kitchenaid "knead" it, the mixer is only used to incorporate all your shtuff and get it going).
Knead the dough (just keep turning it over & onto it itself, keep making it into a ball, working it working it working it ...give it some love for a few minutes, but don't overdo it or your dough will be tough).
Let the ball of dough rise in a large bowl, covered with a dish towel (preferably the tea-towel kind...I don't know why, but it just works).
The dough should rise in about two hours, but you can let it sit there longer.
When you are nearly ready to make some pizza magic, preheat your oven to 425F degrees.
Any old cookie sheet will do, but my mom's mine happens to be the round kind with little holes all over it.
Remove your dough from its bowl (it will deflate a little when you take it out and knead it again...that's normal).
I roll my dough out with a badass heavy-duty old school wooden rolling pin sometimes...
Sometimes, I stretch & shape it by hand.
Either way works and either way produces an awesome result. The rolled out version is usually thinner and crispier...just sayin.

Top it with whatever your little heart desires and bake in your hot oven...keep an eye on it (usually takes ten to fifteen minutes for the crust to become golden-brown).
Let that beautiful pizza rest for a few before slicing/digging in...so. freaking. good.

What I put on ours last night:
Pizza #1: sundried tomato chicken sausage (browned and crumbled up first), sundried pesto, roasted garlic, some kind of fancy mild Italian cheese from Wegman's (it was sheep's milk, I don't know what it was called, but it melted beautifully).
Pizza #2 (the better of the two, in my opinion): homemade basic basil pesto, roasted garlic, Pecorino, goat cheese, pepitos (pumpkin seeds), cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, copious crunchy salt, and an all-over drizzle of honey

Disclaimer: My dough always comes out perfect. I never make it the same way (last night I used Rogue Amber Ale, sometimes I use Victory Hopdevil or Terrapin Hopsecutioner)...Sometimes I use two packets of yeast, sometimes it only rises for the bare minimum. All I know is, my grandmom showed me the basics when I was a kid and I am certain she sends some kind of crazy-ass dough-blessing down to my kitchen every single time I make pizza.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

practicin'




it is GPOYW, after all

So.
I'll be the girl not wearing a skinsuit, gasping and red-faced, at the back of the pack.
Who the frig cares?
I love it as much as the girl who is winning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

true to form

Scrambling at the last minute to sort out my license and shell out a bunch more cash to race race race...
I just can't stay away and Charm City is too great to miss out on.

I should have been at Nittany and now it's time to get my season started.
Yay, cross!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

lemonade




Jim Thorpe in favor of the Coal Cracker Classic in Tamaqua.
Solid decision, amazing ride.
Cheers to last-minute adventures.


nbd

At 3am (or 3:12...3:17...), I wake up and can't go back to sleep.
Four nights in a row now.
No biggie...
there have been times when this goes on for weeks or worse, months.
No biggie.
I try to go back to sleep.
It doesn't work.
I take a benadryl, get out of bed and read or drink some water and watch bad TV.
By 5, I am usually drowsy enough to go back to sleep for an hour.
This morning, however, I'm too anxious to go back to sleep.
We're leaving at 7 for a race.
Not a cross race.

I'm tired and anxious.
I can sleep on the way home, right?

It's 9/11.
My son asked about the planes "crashing into that really tall building in New York City."
He said he saw a picture online of the building after it crumbled.
"Did you ever see that, mom?"
He asked if he was born yet.
"No. Not yet. Not for a few more years."
I told him a little bit about the day and he was kind of stuck on the fact that there were no planes in the sky and no cell phone service...that everywhere was quiet and not unlike a ghost town, that there was nothing but news news news on TV for a while.
I could see his wheels turning and I recognized that look in his eye.
Because when I was six, I was afraid of stuff, too...
I was afraid of the sun blowing up and WW3 and nuclear power and being snatched up by a stranger and even vampires...I remember like it was yesterday.

And on a different scale, I suppose these things are part of why I wake up at 3 and can't go back to sleep...I still worry.
Just not about vampires or the sun blowing up.

9/11 was a Tuesday and I was two months into my training as an orthodontic assistant.
When the first plane hit, I was in the middle of my first solo diagnostic records appointment (which means I was in a private room with a patient taking their photos, x-rays, and impressions).
When I emerged from the records room & walked out the patient, the office was eerily quiet.
The operatory was still, silent (so weird for an otherwise bustling Tuesday morning).
I made my way back to the operatory, to find most of the staff crowded around Dr.Wilkes' tiny TV in the doctor's shared office.
We were unable to reach most of our families.
At lunch, I drove around aimlessly with my radio on (they had turned it off at work).
I was mad that we were finishing our day, business as usual.
I could not believe patients were coming in after school for wire adjustments and retainer checks.

That Friday, my day off, I went to a service at St.Agnes church by myself.
I don't go to church, but it felt good to be among people and just listen to song & prayer...
I was twenty-six.
I remember watching MTV sometimes that week to escape the news, as nothing else was on.
Even MTV was weird...stuff from the vault I had never seen before. I mean, I didn't even know there was a video for Bob Marley's "One Love."
I wasn't a mom yet.

So...a mountain bike race today.
No big deal.
Clearly, there are bigger things to worry about or lose sleep over other than being the last girl to cross the finish line or having to get off my bike for something tricky or intimidating.

so easy to lose perspective sometimes, isn't it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

sparks

I was reunited with barriers and mud and grit and wet grass and and sloshy turns and tricky chicanes and  cantilever brakes and soaking shoes last night...
When it was all over, I found myself wanting more.
Soon.
Even if it means starting in the last row.
Even if it means turning myself inside out to simply not get lapped...

Seems I've got some scrambling to do before Sunday.

Monday, September 5, 2011

wondering

photo courtesy of his dad, Jeff


Wondering what he'll be into...
what he'll be good at...
what he'll be afraid of (other than the usual kid stuff now like thunderstorms and peanuts)...
what he'll be when he grows up...

I don't know how it all happens so quickly, so fleetingly...
I only know there's no use trying to slow it down.
Already in the throes of first grade, of packed lunches and homework and what-do-you-want-to-wear-to-school and tying shoes and riding a two-wheeler...in just one week of this, he's grown up more and more and more.

Slow down, kid.
Just, like, a couple notches.
Thanks...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

twizzlers and sunshine

After being off the bike for a week, I knew it'd be tough yesterday afternoon.
But.
I had twizzlers in my pocket and sunshine sunshine sunshine.
Fortunately, the trails barely took a beating from Irene.
 
Roaming around HH at a poky little clip, I felt sharp and together, in spite of my leaden legs.
LazyFriday rides are the best.
And even the laziest of rides aren 't really that lazy...

Rehydrating with Pinot Noir was a bad idea, though.
Bear Creek exploration today.
Holiday Weekend...holla.


does anybody remember Mr.Winkle? I swear he was out there keeping pace behind a fellow rider, panting and skipping jauntily along...



Thursday, September 1, 2011

maybe it's time to...

Reston. Cold

picture courtesy of Anthony

Nationals 2009 (upon unpacking my pedals)

Phelps 2010 (close enough to ride to the venue as my warmup...clutch)

BP (checking my tire pressure)

skinny ass Julz 

even Bill does it/did it



Maybe it's time to squeeze a few cross practices in after work one/two days a week...
Maybe it's time to have fun with this again.
Maybe it's time to admit my stint in the CAT2's was a joke and really, I have no business being there, but that doesn't mean I have to give this up.
Maybe it's time to have FUN with this again.
Maybe it's time to have fun. with. cross. again.