Monday, December 31, 2007

A well balanced dog...

When I used to show dogs one of my favorite breeds was Belgian Sheepdogs... Besides being a wee bit on the sharp side, they were wickedly smart and funny. The parent club of the various Belgian breeds do outstanding jobs in highlighting the fact that these are WORKING dogs. In fact, on of the parent clubs has a motto that a well balanced dog has a Champion at the front of it's name and a Utility Dog degree on the other end. Trust me, happiness is a well trained dog. Dogs like kids are not born with PHD's.

So this morning I head out on my ride and encounter a young man (17-20 ish) with a border collie mixed with something really big young dog on the side of the road. I was puffing uphill, and just as I got to them, the dog ran into the middle of the road, splitting the baby as it were. Ok, so I'm looking at our hero, waiting for him to call his dog... Wrong movie, girl. Young man is not mean, just kind of ... out there. So now there is a car coming at us, a border collie trying to herd me, and an owner who is "out there." Having a young dog biting my foot as a car is coming is not my idea of fun. Having him bumping the bike trying to turn me, even less so.

Finally, the car passed, I was able to sprint away, and life was good. Unfortunately, I can pretty much guarantee a bad end for poochie.

Obedience training is one of the best gifts we can give to our best friends. Cars and dogs are a bad combination.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I wanna be a weatherperson

Friday I checked weather.com and it said that the rain was going to stop before 3 am. Cool. The Saturday morning run-ride could take place. I called J and told her we were on.

Saturday morning at 6 am I was up watching the news on tv. The weather gal said that the rain was pretty much over, but there was a small chance of showers. The radar screen was clear.

Only problem, when I looked out the window, it was pouring rain.

I'm 2 miles from the dopler radar, and accu-weather just plain isn't.

So Cliff came by and we decided to bag the ride, and went into town to run. On the way, J called. "K, J here. So is it raining?" "Yep." "D says that its not raining." Big pause... "Well J, we're heading down 64 and the windshield wipers are swiping as fast as they can at this liquid stuff falling from the sky." (noise in the back ground.) Then J comes back on, "Well, D says that its going to stop..." I told her to call me back around noon and we'd try to get in an afternoon ride. We ran just shy of 8 miles and it "didn't rain" on us almost the whole way. At least it was warm...

Sunday I was going to host my team to ride Cliff's mountain bike trails with an eye towards putting on a mountain bike time trial sometime in '08. I got up, and looked out the window and decided to get out on the road quickly. Good thing. By 11 am it was starting to rain, and then it rained all day. I thought roadies were wusses, but the mountain bike guys were calling in to cancel the ride before the first drop landed. The weather people predicted rain for much later in the day.

So I want to be a weather person. In my job, you get it wrong and someone has to take the heat. Before I present a big case I swear I sweat a couple gallons as I double check everything. Man, wouldn't my life be great if I could be wrong more than 50% of the time!

Friday, December 28, 2007

For the love of chocolate

Vendorfest is not quite over after all. Yesterday I got this ginormous box of the most killer cookies anyone on the planet has ever eaten. I ate one. I admit it. Then I promptly put the box in my bag and decided to get rid of the stuff. You can't eat what you don't have.

Someone else had given me a 10 lb tin of Hershey's chocolates. Now that's just mean. I'm telling you. Just plain mean. So I gave them to Cliff. Guys need chocolate. Especially guys who are faster than me. Last night Cliff and I were going to run again together, and I decided to weigh him down a little more and brought him that box of cookies. I went on the maker's website and those suckers were over $5.00 per cookie. They were small, too. And they definitely needed to be far, far away from me.

This morning Cliff called me. He gave the chocolate to two brothers who do odd jobs on their construction site. Believe it or not, the two of them ate ALL that chocolate already. I'm sure that they're off some place in a diabetic coma by now. Poor guys are rail thin and work themselves to death. Now I've probably killed them with chocolate. What a way to go...

So remember in this pre-race season, friends don't let friends snarf chocolate.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Words of Wisdom from Greg

Lemond that is...

I got my Procycling magazine yesterday and Greg Lemond was the guest editor. Yeah, yeah, I know that he has had his up and down moments here lately, but there was something really interesting he said about training. He said that he didn't believe in the more is better training philosophy that is going on now (my paraphrase) that by doing too much you cause the body to release too much cortisol. As a more is better kind of girl, I had to look into this....

One of his arguments was to look at Jan Ulrich. He trained all the time and couldn't seem to loose the gut. Cortisol makes you retain body fat. I can tell you that when I ran 50-80 mpw that I would stay the exact same weight. My buddies who ran 20-25 mpw could loose weight. Greg's solution is to ride an hour and do intervals.

So I went to Winkipedia my latest and greatest source for info and found that Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted by the Adrenal Gland. Hyper = Cushings Syndrome, Hypo = Addison's disease (JFK). Cortisol acts to increase blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and has an immunosuppressive action. As a corticosteroid it also acts as an antagonist in the treatment of allergies and inflammation. Prolonged over secretion causes hyperglycemia, excess gastric acid secretion, a weakened immune system, osteoporosis, brain damage which impairs learning, and my favorite- the laying of belly fat.

So maybe old Greg has a good take on this after all. Most of us aren't going to be riding the Tour this year, and our races are under an hour. Maybe the thing for me to be doing, with my high stress job is interval training, which is something that I hate the most.

If you have a take on this, I'd love to hear it. And no, I'm not going to get my supply of Cortislim!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santa Gets a Repreive

OK, I'm gonna give Santa a pass this year. He didn't bring me a new bike, but left me a note saying that I have too many bikes, and need to stop naming them! (not happening.) He did bring me a neat new toy though, a Garmin for the Queen Cab! This of course, puts J out of a job. J has saved me on numerous occasions when I have gotten lost in very, very questionable areas.

The conversations tend to go like this: "J, just left the race at RFK, and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is closed. I've been driving around trying to find a way to get to 301, and I think I'm in a bad way here! Where the hell am I, and how the hell do I get home?"

Then J would go into her best map lady routine, find out where I am better than a bloodhound, and get me the most efficient way out of whatever mess I had gotten myself into.

On one of my emergency trips cross-country to take care of my Mom, J and her hubby saved my sorry butt on more than one occasion. Believe it or not, you can get most of the way cross country on about 2 roads from my house. 64 to St Louis, 44 after that. I happened to have to come back just as tornadoes and other fun stuff hit. Trust me, all you need to know about driving you learn from bike racing ie.... when you have 60 mph cross winds, and you go to pass you will end up in a ditch. If you have to pass, do it gradually. And listen to your team car (J) they know the dangers you are going to face up ahead. J and D would be on line, calling me with updates and re-routes to get me home. It was a harrowing experience for all of us.

But now I have this new toy. It even talks to you, and from where ever I am, all I have to do is hit the home key, and allegedly it will get me there. I'm not sure if J is really out of a job or not though. I doubt that little dohicky will be on the computer with the latest and greatest wind speeds, rain fall amounts and stuff like that. I may have to keep J on the payroll after all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunshine in the Fog

J came over last night to ride with us on a "Tacky Light Tour" downtown. It was an interesting bunch of people, not what Cliff would call the wine and cheese crowd. After a start that resembled Critical Mass, and a bunch of riders running red lights, and drinking beer out of bottles in their pockets we decided that this was probably not a group for us. I'm a stick in the mud, I think that sometimes we deserve the reputation that we get on the roads, and I'd just as soon not be part of furthering that bad reputation. No offense, thats just the way it is.

This morning J and I went out as soon as the fog lifted a little bit. The roads were soaked, and while lifted was a relative term, the conditions were not bad. It helped that again we looked like the Sun out there, in bright yellow jackets, with full light set ups. While most of the cars out there didn't have lights on, we did. The way I figured it, while it was 40 degrees out at 8 am, and predicted to be 65 for a high for the day, 40 degrees and not actively raining was better than 65 in the rain with up to 50 mph winds anyday.

We almost made it in before the wind started, but the last five miles were tough. Of course I did what I always do when that happens, I sent J up to the front! Yeah, lets put the skinny bitc* up front! J is strong as an ox, and is a hell of a puller. Even if you really can't draft off her...

So hopefully, you all got out to ride today. And hopefully, eveyone behaved themselves. Santa's coming... and he's been watching!

I know that he's bringing extra special stuff to:
James- for putting up with me and J.
To Felix- for working so hard to get all the details of running a club done. It's mind boggling how hard a job that can be.
To Jenn- for joining a club and then jumping up and taking charge of designing all new kits right off...
To Cliff- for taking care of my dogs when I race, and generally keeping me on track...
To Pete- for sending me funnies and making me laugh..
To Ben- for giving me the best advise ever and sympathy thru the trying times after my hip surgery
And to all the women I race against, who were so supportive of me when my Mom died this spring, thru the surgery woes, and during my recovery. I'm so proud to be associated with all of you.

Karen

Friday, December 21, 2007

Creatures of habit

Ok, I'm old. I've gotten set in my ways, and whats really bad is when total strangers have taken notice.

Pretty much every day I go to Ukrops and have a salad. Except for the rare days, like today, when they have seafood wraps in the prepared food case. Then I get a wrap. Otherwise, its a salad. A very expensive salad at almost $6 per lb. Ouch. I get it there because I can sit in the area off the coffee shop area, at a four top table, and grab the paper that people always leave behind. I get the paper that way because that's recycling. Recycling is good. Plus, I'm cheap. I have to save money after having that $6.00 per lb. salad.

Today I got the wrap, but someone was sitting at my table. I turned around to snag a paper (recycle) when I had a tug on my sleeve... the little man who had sat at my table had come over and was motioning me to come to the table. "So, sorry!" he said. "I sit at your table. Here, you sit! You sit! You sit here everyday!" Before I could protest, he moved his lunch, and grabbed mine and moved it to the table.

Yes, I sit there everyday. It's by the window, but has a heater vent right under it. It's also far away from the side door that brings in cold air. Until today, I really didn't realize that I do sit at that table. Every day. Isn't it funny that just when you think you are totally anonymous out in the world you find out that you aren't.

So Merry Christmas to the little man at my table today. I'll make sure to notice him next time!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just a little funny


Sent to me by a well known cycling official... who says that refs don't have good senses of humor!
Now I'm not sure what he's implying here... that the women on my team are more "endowed than most", or that we shouldn't ride together. Or maybe that there is some serious blondness going on at Cycor? Hey! Maybe that's why Santa brought us all those neat new sponsors!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hopefully the end of Vendorfest

I'm just not cut out for weeks of parties. I admit it, I'm old. I don't know when it happened, but I came to the concrete realization that I just can't hang anymore. Actually, I never could. Ruths Chris serves big glasses of wine, and after 3, I'm toast.

Last night was hopefully the very last party I have to go to. I did manage to make my excuses for the post dinner drinks and head home. I don't think my tummy could take one more night of too much wine, guys and song. At least I didn't have to get up to run at 5 this morning.

Racing season starts early this year and I'm sure going to pay for all of this fine living. Let no good deed go unpunished!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Finally, the sponsor announcement!

NEWS RELEASE
December 18, 2008
Richmond, Virginia

Fiorucci Foods, Inc. has signed a multi year title sponsorship of CyCor Sports LLC and its cycling teams/clubs. Located in Chesterfield County, Fiorucci’s mission through three generations has been to provide authentic Italian foods known for their high quality. It is a 150 year old company that started in Norcia, Italy using long-cherished family recipes and with the help of old-world artisans, they became the number one selling deli meats in Italy and in the United States. Claudio Colmignoli, president of Fiorucci states: “We are very excited about getting involved in the Richmond community. We have been based in this area since 1986 employing Richmond area citizens. Through the sponsorship of CyCor and its partners who advocate a healthy life style we believe that we will realize our investment in the community.” John Jack, Fiorucci vice president of business development adds: “We will incorporate this strategic sponsorship with the launch of our new product called Rostello, an old Fiorucci recipe for the main stream deli meat category.” Thus the team will be known as Rostello presented by Fiorucci.

CyCor is a 14 year old cycling organization that started in professional cycling and now field’s amateur road and mountain bike teams including over 100 members in its recreational club.

Coming aboard as Supporting Sponsors are Endorphin Fitness (EF) and Advance Orthophedics Center (AOC).

EF provides endurance coaching, personal training, and group/corporate wellness. Michael Harlow, owner of EF said: “Endorphin Fitness is thrilled to be a partner with CyCor. We seek to change lives. Through unparalleled endurance coaching, personal training, and group/corporate wellness, we support life change by helping people realize their potential. Our charge to "Live Red" is the outward expression of this philosophy.”

AOC is a full-service orthopaedic center with two locations in Richmond. At AOC each patient is treated with the pinpointed expertise of a trained sub-specialist, a physician who dedicates his entire practice to one area of orthopaedics. The result of this approach: state-of-the-art healthcare. Dr. Kenneth Zaslav of AOC states: “The Sports Medicine Center at AOC is proud to sponsor athletes from Virginia that try to push the limits of their sport and promote a healthy athletic lifestyle. We firmly believe in these athletes and their quest to be the best.”

CyCor’s exclusive Bike Shop Sponsor is its former title sponsor of 6 years, Conte’s of Richmond. The first Conte’s bicycle store opened in Newport News, Virginia in 1957. When Charles R. Conte, Jr. became president and David Conte became vice president of Conte Bike Shops, Inc. they already had successful stores. They began exploring other ways to expand and replicate their success, but still keep the tradition of their father’s neighborhood bike store philosophy alive. P & K Ventures, Inc. purchased the franchising rights from Conte’s Bikes Shops, Inc. making them affiliate companies thus forming The Conte Enterprise. Now they have six franchises with franchise stores to open next spring in Conyers, Georgia, and Bel Air, Maryland. According to David Conte, “ Conte’s is happy to continue the sponsorship with the new Cycor cycling team to support and grow the sport of cycling.”

Another returning sponsor is Fast Signs of Alexandria. “Fast Signs of Alexandria is proud to be sponsoring such a strong cycling program with Team Rostello presented by Fiorucci and strong cycling advocacy in CyCor” said Kirby Newman, account executive.

CyCor staff includes:

EXECUTIVE : Felix Tapawan Garcia – President, Tom Doyle – Vice President , Thomas Bowden, Esq. - General Counsel, Jennifer Roman - Marketing Services Director, John Hewitt – Webmaster.
WOMEN’S PROGRAM: Karen Hanson- Program Director.
MEN’S PROGRAM: Mark Pye – Program Director, James Schaefer - Road Team Manager, Brad Turner - MTB Team Manager.
CLUB PROGRAM: Bill Battle – Program Director
EVENTS PROMOTION PROGRAM: Karen Hanson. Bill Battle, Brad Turner.


For More Information:
Felix Garcia
804.402.5722
cycorsports@comcast.net
www.cycorsports.org

Thanks Georgia for getting the discussion rolling

First take a look here:

If you haven't seen/done this already, please read the short petition below for equal prize money in UCI races for top 5 women and men and please sign.
http://www.petitiononline.com/equalpay/petition.html

Petition was started by mountain bike racer Georgia Gould and there is an interview with her in VeloNews you can read more about this:
http://www.velonews.com/race/cyc/articles/13802.0.html

Be sure to read the Velonews article before coming to your conclusion!

I was not going to blog about this. That is until I started reading some of the biggest dumb ass comments on various message boards. So because I'm stupid, I'm going to stick my foot in the fray.

I think that prize money for local races is a bad idea. Races cost a tremendous amount of money to put on, and its the prize money that a lot of times kills races. I can think of many road races that just don't happen because they loose money. Who the hell wants to work like a dog, only to be yelled at by Lycra wearing skinny GUYS who think that because they were 3rd in a Cat 4 race that the world owes them homage? To top it off, at the end of the day, all you have to show for your effort is that you lost money! If I redid this system, I'd take a page out of the tri book and only award prize money to "elites."

And yes, I'd award equal prize money, at least thru the top five places.

Now I'll tell you why. Running used to be a male oriented sport. The guys were very happy to keep it that way, too. Most running races now have as many or more women in them than men. Cycling? We girls have a saying, the only reason why guys let us race is so that we'll do all the work. Ouch. That one hurt, didn't it. Go to most crits and count how many races for guys there are, how many races for juniors there are, and how many races for women there are. Want to know why more women don't race? Lets take your local cat 5 guy, at his first race, and put him in a crit field with a bunch of cat 1 guys. Think he's coming back?

So when the guys are belly aching that more women don't race, lets be honest about it. More women don't race because the system is stacked against them. I know. I've been the new cat 4 woman racing those awesome cat 1 girls. I've seen bad crashes because of it, too. I've seen a lot of women say that they won't race crits anymore because of that stuff. And, to make it worse, since there are so few road races, they can't race there, either. That leaves time trials.

Down here in Virginia, we have lots of time trials. They are very, very well attended by women. Fact is, we get deeper women's fields than those precious cat 1-2 mens fields.

Women will race if given a good chance, are treated well, and encouraged to come back. Sponsors are trying to reach that women's market, look at Specialized and their great efforts to give women bikes and apparel that actually fit. But guys, if you think that any sponsors are giving prize money because they think that someone wants to watch YOU race... you need better drugs. On our local level, few people are watching ANYONE race. Most sponsors are doing their stuff for community service. Lets get real here.

I came from running and I remember super talented Vickie Huber who lived with her infant daughter in her coach's shed so that she could train. I know lots of women racers who don't live much better. Lets not begrudge the best of each sex the opportunity to not starve. If we all have to cut out the paydays for the 50 year old men, and the master's women to do so, I'm for it.

That's just my opinion. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, December 17, 2007

OK, What I REALLY NEED!

Sunday I got up from the multiple days of licentious behaviour to start running cross country to build up some kind of speed. Two miles cross country, then quarters on the track, and then another 3 miles cross country. Oh yeah, and it was raining, and 33 degrees. Windy, too. Of course it would have been in bad form to whine about it, knowing that the real psychos were out in Kansas facing snow, ice, and eyeball deep mud.

Cliff informed me that if I was going to keep partying like I've been I'm going to have to start training for that as well. By the time we did the second quarter on the track I was stick a fork in me done. I really did try not to whine, but I think a few tantrums did find their way in there.

Running across some farm fields Cliff started egging me on... hot chocolate ahead. Yummy, hot chocolate will warm your tummy, just got to run to get it! Come on girl! Now thats a man who knows how to motivate me.

This morning I got up at 5 am to run in town. What do I really need? A house keeper. Maybe just a keeper. It sure would have been nice to have Alice from the Brady Bunch. After the run I found out that the shirt that I grabbed to change into... was tights. See what happens when I fold laundry? Crap, so I had to rush to Walmart to buy something to wear. When I got back to the office, I discovered that I should have checked my bag a wee bit closer... I also didn't have shoes.

So now I'm trapped at my desk, with my feet under it so that no one sees that I have running shoes on. Yep, what I really need is Alice. Santa, can you bring her to me?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What I really want

This time of year gets hectic. Friday night I took my office out of towners to Pomegranate for dinner, and drank far too much wine. It was good, a nice Cotes du Rhone. Food was great, and the company- the best. Saturday I had to run/ride thru the too much wine fog, quick spritz off and take my group around town, and then that night get to the company Christmas party. My company does raffles all night to encourage everyone to stay. I never win anything, so about half way thru I started to think about what I'd like to win...

Really good shoes.. you know for WOMEN! Shoes that fit my feet, like those heat molded jobbies. Who needs Italian toe killer heels. I want carbon sole savers!

Great gloves. I have a glove "complex" and wash the suckers to death. I'm tired of gloves that rip up my nose, or allow my fingers to freeze. I want winter gloves that keep my hands really warm, and summer gloves that are kind to the nose, and my poor hands.

Lights! Being seen is crucial. I want light weight lights that really work! Something that even dummies like me can use for both road and mtn biking.

Wheels! What cyclist doesn't like great wheels... I can't afford some of the fabulous wheels everyone has. I see these "new" companies, like Planet X and Blackwell with such nice stuff, but I don't see this stuff at our races... Are they any good? Can I afford them?

So Santa Baby, put a little present under the tree, for me. I've been a very good girl this year, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Got Lights?


I got up early this morning to go for a run in town as I have a in house party this morning, am entertaining out of town co-workers tonight, and our big company party is Saturday. Every little bit of exercise that I can get in to stave off the holiday pounds is pretty important right now. So despite the heavy fog, I headed in as the roads are better to run on in town.


I know that I looked like the Sun in the Jimmy Dean commercials. If you are going to run in the dark, especially if you are going to do it in heavy fog, being seen is vital. So I had on a bright, reflective, yellow jacket and a blinky light. I would just as soon not become a grease spot on the road.


Most of the roads I run on are neighborhood streets, and it was both quiet and beautiful. There is something wonderful about being out while the rest of the world is asleep. Well, most of the rest of the world.


Believe it or not, I did almost get hit this morning. Not by a car, but by a mountain biker! Not your poor Hispanic worker going in to work early, so don't go down that road. This was a guy with some skill, out in the dark, wearing all black. Yeah, and no lights. Not even a blinky. He came fast and was going to make a quick turn into the road that I was running by, and just about plowed into me. Me, the iridescent one...
We get a bunch of people hit on their bikes down here every year. The cyclists get all up in arms when the police start their investigations with the assumption that the cyclist is at fault. Guess what... sometimes we are. Riding in the dark, in the fog, wearing black, with no lights... doesn't do much to improve the assumption that we don't belong on the road.
Oh, well, off to dry my hair. Fine Norwegian hair and fog make for a Medusa-like do which is frowned on in the office!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sponsor Teaser

Felix Garcia and Tom Doyle have been working hard this fall to get new sponsors lined up for the team. Last year, they had a nice sponsor lined up, who disappeared as the drug stuff started back up with a vengence in cycling. As you can imagine, I have "issues" with drug cheats. Our team is proof of the damage that filters down.

Anywho, Felix is going to be making the announcement probably tommorrow or Monday. I'm very, very happy. It really helps to have sponsors that you totally believe in, no matter if they are your sponsors or not. Julie, Cliff and I use one of the them, the ortho group, on a regular basis. You can say we're frequent fliers... The big sponsor... I know exactly where their stuff is at Ukrops. Yum, yum, yum. I've teased the girls on the team, "think beautiful Tuscan nights, out on the terrace, looking over the hillside... Yeah, you're gonna need snacks to go with that now aren't you! Yum!

Of course we'll still have the bike shop sponsor who has stood by us forever, and a certain bike racer with a sign company as well. Don't you just love companies that give back to their sport?

So for all my team mates who have been anxiously awaiting the news release it is coming. Poor Jenn Roman, our resident graphics goddess is getting really busy putting our new team kits together. If you'd like to see some of her work, click on the blog link to Ro Loves To Ride... she has an AMAZING piece of her work on her blog. I'm trying to talk her into making some seriously cool cycling t-shirts to sell. You want one, I know it.

So that's the teaser for the day. I'm really psyched.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Climbing Anyone?

I have issues with climbing. Most of them mental, and some physical. Being asthmatic does not make for swift pedaling uphill. Add to that that stinking hip problem and I've developed quite the complex for all things vertical.

So imagine my surprise on Saturday when for the second week in a row I beat all the guys up both big hills on the way out to Ashland...

It makes me start to wonder... hmmm, maybe that Wintergreen thing might just be doable now... Maybe. I've actually had far less trouble climbing the mountain in non-race situations than on race day. Two years ago my leg went numb and I couldn't get the breathing under control and thought that it was the better part of something (not valor) to whimp out rather than get carted off in an ambulance. That's the psych part of asthma. Sometimes adrenaline helps shut down those breathing tubes.

It's been a tough row post surgery this spring, but I think I'm really starting to see some power come back in the leg. I keep having these good day/bad day issues and if I do a mountain climb, it had better be on one of those good day deals. Sunday, was not a good day. I guess I'm only allotted so many of those per week. So maybe, God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be back out suffering with everyone else this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just a little mite...


Sunday J, Cliff and I went out for an easy 45 miles to Ashland and back. J, my resident bird authority was the first to see the juvie eagles and gets the gold star for the day. Every ride with her is an education, as she can hear birds, tell you what they are, where they live, and all that fun stuff. In the summer, we'll go by a field and all of the sudden I hear her say, "Grasshopper sparrow," and by osmosis I've learned birds while riding.
Unfortunately, I've also gotten to practice my home grown emergency vet technique far to often while riding. I've patched together a lot of dogs while waiting for either their owner's or animal control to come. Some make it, some don't. All of them steal a little piece of my heart. Sometimes owners thank me, more often they don't. It's one of those nasty facts of life I've had to learn to accept.
Cliff and I found a puppy in a ditch a few summers ago. We called animal control, but their eta was about 3 hours, and the little guy was starving. So Cliff left me to go try to scare up some food. People rode by me, and some stopped to tell me that they had seen him in the ditch for a week. Really? And you didn't stop to free him?
Sunday, we were accosted by a ferocious little dachshund. She chased Cliff and then got confused when she saw me. So I turned the bike around to herd her back to what I hoped was her home. She promptly flung herself on the pavement and rolled over. When I stopped, she crawled to me and licked my hand. Then she decided we were best friends in another life and proceeded to go into ecstatic moans and slurps as we got reacquainted.
I asked the neighbors and they told me that "oh, she's fine, she's in the road all the time." So the rest of the day, I had to wonder about this little mite, with the coy eyes, and friendly attitude, and how long it will be before she meets a bad end. And then I took my 3 guys out to their acre sized dog yard, with 4' tall goat fencing to play with them. You can't save them all on a bike ride, but sometimes, little mites find their way to Camp Runamuck. We'll just have to wait and see...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Eww that Smell

Saturdays I've been doing this run/ride thing with Cliff. We get to the ABC ride parking lot, go out and run 5-6 miles and then come back and ride 40 plus miles. Ok, this is a Karen Math Question... how many sets of clothes do two people have to have to do the run and ride?

Answer: 6. Six sets of clothes. Running clothes for two people, then bike clothes which cant be the same running clothes because they are now wet, and starting off a bike ride with wet clothes is just awful. After the bike ride you can't sit around in wet bike clothes, and you can't put the running clothes back on as they are both wet, and smell bad. You can't continue to wear the bike stuff or you'll get butt fungus and other nasties. So now you have to have clothing change number 3.

After we ride we hit the grocery store as the ride is in town, and we live out in the country. Ukrops baggers insist on bringing groceries to the car (no tipping!!). It must look like a bordello to them, a van full of clothes tossed willy nilly around which have to be moved to get the grocery bags in.

The really fun part comes at home when I have to slip said clothes in the door, with groceries, past the dogs. The dogs think that the smelly clothes are just wonderful, and tend to pull them out of my hand and go into rolling fits on them. Bobdog, is a sock thief and I'm sure that there is a stash of smelly socks somewhere that only he knows about. You know the sight of true love when you see Bobdog laying with one of his prized socks, licking and rubbing his face on it.

Needless to say, laundry is a constant chore here. The perils of not washing this stuff immediately is a hamper so toxic that no one will go near it. Trust me, I've learned. I had to wash my skinsuit 3x in Fabreeze after leaving it in the truck for a week after a race. I was sure it was a total loss.

May all your clothes be fresh smelling. We'll be in the truck with the window open letting that eau du cycling stink out.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let Vendorfest Begin


Vendorfest has luckily for me been very light so far this year. It's hard to loose a bit of the flab when people are constantly sending you gourmet goodies, nuts, and booze. Face it, no one's willpower is that strong that you can walk by all this stuff, day in, day out.

So, I went to Costco and got one of the huge veggie trays. Funny how that is lasting longer than the Harry & David Tower of Treats that came in.

Last night one of my favorite law firms came up from FL to take us out to dinner. Now that's a treat I'll take. We went to Buckheads, one of my favorite restaurants, vs the big chain places like Ruths Chris. There I could eat well, without breaking the calorie bank for the week. Grilled scallops. Yum. It probably helped that I ran 5 miles instead of eating lunch, too.

So everytime you look at the big displays of holiday fare, remember, Jeff Cup is coming. Every pound is a pound that you have to schlep up the hills!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday funnies

I thought that it just might be a "me" problem with frozen body parts, but I guess not!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Week In Review

When I was a little girl on Edgewood Arsenal, we had a kid on the block who was the definition of an accident waiting to happen. Poor Sean, if we were playing baseball, he would walk up behind you as you took a swing... I know, I knocked his teeth out one day when I was at bat. Housing was bad, and the Army condemned our garages. So we used them as forts, and would jump off the roof. Sean fell thru and fx his leg. If we were playing Smear the Queer(I know, not pc), Sean would get tackled and just happen to fall on glass and get sliced up.

After awhile, his Mom had his biorhythms done and he wasn't allowed outside if his were low. No kidding. To bad Sean didn't have his done in college. He ran off the road one night, killed the passenger in his car, and is now in a persistent vegetative state. Some people have all the luck, and its all bad.

That would also be me this weekend. First came the broken spoke on Saturday which left me stranded for 1.5 hours on a concrete post while Cliff had to ride back to get the van. That messed up my hip. Then Sunday I had to use a different wheel on my bike on my hill ride to Hadensville. J drove 60 miles to ride with me, so we were going. 2 miles out on the road I discovered that shifting with the new wheel was not great, 4 miles out I knew that shifting was not possible. So we rode 50 + miles with me having ONE gear. That really made my hip feel great.

Sunday night it rained. We need rain. Rain is good. I got to Cliff's and found out that he didn't get a paper and had to go out to Gum Springs to try to find one. Found it! And when I went to back up, I hit a post. I was going 2 mph, which should have been fine. Nope, somehow I missed the bumper, and hit the edge of the bed of the truck. Its going to be a very, very, expensive mistake.

I think of Sean all the time. He was a wonderful, fun kid. Maybe we BOTH should have had our biorhythms done. Some days you are just better off staying home with a good book. The trick has got to be knowing which days!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

So Tell Me Why...

Ok, we all know that ice is nice. It's drilled in to us by all the docs, pt, and coaches we've ever had. After my hip surgery in the spring, my ice pack and I have become best friends. There are days that we are almost inseparable. Ice really is nice, and my hip is very glad for it.

So how come if ice is so nice, cold and wind are so bad? After yesterday's debacle, I was laid up for the rest of the day, with my ice pack! It was so bad that I could barely walk up stairs, and doing much of anything was out of the question.

I think its that nasty wind stuff. Some days when the wind is bad, and particularly right after I had the surgery, I would put a plastic bag over the hip to kind of shield it from air. I don't know why it helped, but it did. Moving air, aching joint, bad combination.

I'm trying to get out again this morning. We're doing my hill ride to Hadensville, and I'm hoping that the hyjinks are on someone else this time. I asked Santa for a team car this year. I've been good. I swear!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Just One Of Those Days

Yeah, you know that kind of day. Its the kind of day when you swear you can hear the entire town coming down the road singing that song from the Color Purple, God Is Trying To Tell You Something. Right Now.

I'm not fond of wind. Really not fond of wind when its really cold. Starting off a ride semi-wet after running 6 miles just seems to be tempting fate. It was a wee bit warmer this week than last, but that blasted wind was starting to get going as we got on the bikes. I have my new gloves on order, but they aren't here yet, and my fingers were cold.

Cant you hear the singing?

We had gone about 18 miles, just 2 miles to the coffee shop when the record broke. Paching! What in the world was that noise and why is my bike wobbling? Yeah, my nice new Ksyriums broke a spoke. Now that's a new one for me. I usually associate broken bike parts with big whoppers who are trying to ride parts that are too light for them.

Ok, is that singing again? Come on! My big Bertha Butt is not THAT BIG! Criminy! The only bike part that I've ever broken was a chain, and thats because the deraileur was not adjusted properly.

Paching! We did everything we could, but a broken Ksyrium spoke in the rear instantaneously makes the whole wheel way out of true. So Cliff turned around to ride back and get the van, leaving me sitting on a concrete support for a light pole. In the wind. Fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-reezing to death. I thought I was going to snap my tongue off freezing. Hip aching, going to make you pay for being such a dumbass riding in the wind and cold freezing.

An hour and a half later Cliff shows up. I was almost crying I was so glad to see him. I think I would have gotten in Ted Bundy's car if he had a heater going full blast.

Moral to the story, we're going to have to get a team car if I'm going to ride all winter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Time for a check

Since most of us are out of doors on a regular basis, and sweat like pigs which dilutes or removes sun screen, its time for a skin check.

Skin cancer isn't anything to play with or ignore as many of us are finding out. My teammate Katie is one of them. She has had melanoma removed. This is serious stuff.

One of the best marathon runners in the world, Deena Drossin, has also been affected. And today on cycling news, Amber Neben. http://www.cyclingnews.com/riders/2007/interviews/?id=neben_nov07

I've been trying to get an appointment to see a dermatologist for awhile now. The earliest appointment I can get is late April, and most of them aren't taking new patients unless they have a diagnosis of cancer. That in and of itself is cause for alarm. Get checked. One of my former bosses died of melanoma.

Thanks
Karen

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Angels Amongst Us



Have you ever seen such a haul! Too bad I didn't get the "ta dah" picture, which was a huge trailer, with all the bikes in it.
It's amazing what a few people can do to make the lives of someone else better.

















From our HR dept.-
The Angel Tree campaign was a great success due to the kindness and generosity of our employees. You will be happy to hear we sponsored 110 angels providing clothes, toys and special items from their wish lists. This included 24 bikes! It took 2 pickups, 3 SUV’s, a car and a trailer to get all the gifts to the distribution center.




















Now if I could only ride my bike to work! (no bikes allowed on the Wiley Bridge. Grrr....)

Serious Eye Candy


And yeah, I stole the picture, but it's worth it...

Is he tasty or what?

Thats Michael Lovato, tri- guy, nice guy, funny guy.

My idea of a perfect combination (except for that swim stuff.)

Bikes Begone!

No, thankfully, not my bike. But... sometimes I'm as dumb as a post, and last night it could have been my bike.

I went to Endorphin for our Cycor computrainer race night, and had the pleasure of inviting the best urologist/biker in Richmond to ride on a trainer next to me. We love Ike, and if you ever have pee pee issues, he's the go to guy. Needless to say, we rode hard, and I was soaking wet, and whipped when I got home. I went inside, got the dogs in, and jumped in the tub, then went to bed.

Thankfully, when I went out to go to work, Dottie my Lapierre was still on the bike rack where I left her. Thats the joy of living where I live. While I won't say that there is NO crime in Goochland, there is significantly less crime than in the city or surrounding counties. I can pretty much guarantee that anywhere in the City that if I had left that bike on the rack and went inside for more than 10 minutes it would have been gone.

I look at Craigslist a couple times a week, and check out the mountain bike forums on Richmond-More. Sadly, its just about daily that bikes are stolen. Stolen from garages, porches, from inside locked vehicles. Leave a bike on the porch and run in and get something you forgot, yeah, its gone.

So thank my lucky stars Dottie is still with me. I'm going to have to make one of those signs that all my friends who have garages and bikes on the roof rack use. You know, the flip down sign that says, "STOP!!! Bike on roof!" Mine will go on the front door... "STOP! Bike on rack! Go GET IT!!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Joys of Kid's Bikes


I'll say it again, I work at a fabulous place. Colony is a huge believer in "Give Back" and while we normally adopt about 10 families, the new HR manager decided that we would adopt an entire Angel Tree. That's about 200 kid's for Christmas.


No sweat. I got my Angel, and had a blast buying clothes and toys. For someone who doesn't have kids like me, it was a fun way to get in the Christmas spirit.


Ok, not fun. The guys in the mail room came hunting for me. Seems that everyone went to the big box stores and got kid's bikes that need to be assembled. So of course they immediately thought of me. You know, the chick who is constantly getting those huge boxes that contain bikes and wheels and other goodies.


Too bad I didn't also get the case of wine that should be here any day from my wine club. I could have used a bottle or three while trying to put these things together. Have you ever tried to put together one of these pieces of crap, um, bikes? Nothing works. I spent an hour trying to get simple cantilever brakes to actually lie flat on the rim. One rim. I finally had to bag the whole deal and go back to work. Face it, exactness and kids bikes just don't go together.
So all thru the land, little kids will wake up on Christmas morning to their first bikes under the tree.... Slapped together by yours truely. It's a frightening thought.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thule ROCKS!

I have a wonderful Thule 4 bike hitch. Love it, love it, love it. One of the rubber straps broke, and I couldn't find the right replacement part on the website.

If you've read some of my posts, bad customer service really chaps my ass. Really good customer service, is a great thing. Thule wrote the book on customer service. Not only was the chick on the other end of the phone happy, and helpful... when I told her what the problem was, she put it down as a warranty issue and is sending me all new cradles for the bikes. Then she told me that they are tight, to use dishwashing liquid to get the cradles on the bars.

I think I have a new best friend. She went skiing in Vermont this weekend, was impressed that we were still riding here. Its a fabulous thing to have customer service people who use their own products, know them, and know how you use them. I'm pumped.

So if you need a bike rack, buy a Thule. They rock.

The Bravest of the Brave

Ok, I don't necessarily mind riding in the rain. Its a pain, you have to clean your bike real well afterwards, and the chances of flats goes up, but what the heck. You race in the rain, you'd better be used to riding in the rain.

All bets are off when you are talking about winter. Riding when its cold and rainy just totally sucks. J and I still talk about the Jeff Cup we did in the rain which actually didn't seem so bad at the time, until the end of the race when we couldn't shift or brake on the way back to the van, and then had to help each other get undressed as our fingers wouldn't work. (6 guys just got that dreamy look on thier faces and started a low chuckle...) I can tell you it wasn't such a fantasy for us, more like Nightmare on Jeff Cup Street.

So when it started to rain on Sunday, I was pretty sure that no one would come for the women's ride. Wrong. Three of us made it, and it was exactly the three that I thought. I had called J and told her not to drive the hour up, so I knew she wouldnt be there, but Katie and Jenn, were there ripping to go. And like most things, once we got started, it got better. Then it just flat out got fun.

I love riding with the guys, but every now and again its a blast to ride and have girlie talk. We did some season planning, discussed pt stuff, and other stuff you cant print. Jenn is pumped for the season and is getting stronger all the time. Now that she and Katie have figured out that they live within spitting distance of each other, they can help each other out. Its a match made in heaven.

And having Jenn around... I cant rotate pictures, and Jenn is this amazing graphic artist. When you see our new team stuff, its going to be Jenn's work. Finding her was one of my big accomplishments for the year. Not to mention she does great things for my ego. I've been doing my best to loose a pound or twenty, and having her go Wow! makes those efforts worthwhile.

Now if only I could get that Jillian chick from the Biggest Looser on the team. I'd like to know how she gets people to loose 20 lbs in a week. Crap, I'd like to loose more than one a week! I bet she'd scare those pounds right off of you... This year I'm not going to be an "Old Chick who gets fat and slow in the winter!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Center of the Universe

That would be Ashland, Virginia to the uninitiated... Or on Saturdays, its also called Bike Mecca.

Cliff and I did our routine on Saturday of showing up for the ABC ride an hour early so that we could go run 5 miles. It was 19 degrees at the house, and 21 in the parking lot as we started. 21 running really isn't that bad unless the wind is blowing really hard. Lucky for us, it was blowing about 10 mph. The run was great, 1/2 on road, 1/2 trail, it just didnt get much better.

Then back to the van to pick up J for our ride. This was when things got tough. It was probably about 25 degrees, and the wind was picking up. That's just plain miserable. The Ashland ride can pull several hundred riders on a good day, and you could tell that it was NOT a good day as there were less than 10 riders not counting us.

The first ten miles were just awful. Both J and I were having a rough time with our hands and I swear I thought the tips of my fingers were just going to fall off. At least I hoped they were as they hurt so bad. Normally I have hot hands, so I bring two pairs of gloves, the start off ones with Windstopper, and another light pair to switch into after a few miles. I never got out the light ones as my hands never really got warm. Ouch.

When we got to Ashland Coffee & Tea, the most bike friendly shop in the universe, the talk quickly got to technical gear. I'm a big believer in having the right clothes for the event. My friend Paul fell in freezing water during an ultra trail marathon he was running with us. Cliff fished him out and we were sure he was going to die as it was in the low teens. Paul had on the right gear and was dry within about a mile. Technical stuff really can save your life.

During the ride my body was fine due to a Goretex jacket. My feet were very toasty warm with my Pearl Izumi fleece lines booties. I didn't even need wool socks. I just put bike shorts over my running tights and the legs were fine. I really am going to have to find a better pair of gloves for the cold and windy days though. Good stuff costs money, but not nearly as much as the misery and cost of treating frostbite.

Its a good thing that our winters are so short. This cold stuff with wind just sucks.

For something that doesn't suck, pull up ACT's website and check out their listening room. We went and had dinner and saw Susan Greenbaum play last night. I keep waiting for her to make a breakthru and hit the big time, for the time being, you can catch her every now and again at the most bike friendly place in the Universe.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Counting Pennies

I'm not a big one for the Black Friday madness, and in general the idea of shopping at Christmas time gives me the willies. This morning, I needed a new front deraileur as like a dolt, I ordered the wrong size in a grouppo and couldn't return it. Doh!

So 7 am I'm in Performance Bike, they have one without the box that they let me have at a big disocount. Thanks! Performance was having a 20% off sale, so I got some tubes and socks and stuff and gave the kid at the cash register my card, and the coupon. He rang it all up, and told me the total which seemed high. So I asked him if he took the 20% off and he said yes. The person behind me started to get checked out and out of habit I scanned the reciept. Nope, he hadn't taken the 20%, he thought the computer automatically did it.

No problem, with many apologies, he credited back my card, then re-rang everything, apologized some more, and did everything but fall on his sword. Nice kid. No worries, but looking at that reciept saved me over $27.00. To some of us schmucks, thats real money.

Dicks had a coupon to get my running shoes, today only for $59.00. There's a Dicks at the Stony Point Mall, which is DEAD. So I went in, got my shoes from a rack, and went to the front cashiers. Four cashiers. I gave the front line "manager" my shoes, and the coupon which she balled up and threw in the trash. Then she told me the charge was $72 something. I told her the shoes were $59.00 that I had the coupon. She told me thats right they rang up $69.00. ? Ok, I explained to her that I had the coupon, they were $59.00. Then we proceeded to a circular conversation until another cashier walked over, took the coupon out of the trash, and showed it to her. Then they proceeded to have a conversation as she handed me the pen to sign the reciept.

Ok, two stores, two totally different reactions. The Performance Store was a honest mistake, the kid apologized, and all is good. Dicks.. that sucks. There is a great Dispair.com poster about customer service that says something along the lines of, "if we ignore our customers long enough, maybe they'll go away." I think I"ll send a link to it to the Dicks Customer Service email address.

So this holiday season, while you are out helping out the economy, take a gander at your sales reciept in the store. I hit two stores, and had both overcharge me. That's 100% of my transactions for the day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Marshall Mechanical Women's Road Racing Team

I want to give a big shout out to Ann Hardy (pictured) and Emily Helmbolt who are taking the initiative to start up a women's racing team. Ann and Emily are some of the best and smartest racers around, and I know that they'll have a kick ass team. The more women oriented teams there are, the better off we'll all be.

So here's to you, Ann and Emily! I know that you'll have a great team, and I can't wait to race against you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dream a little dream


Saturday night I had a dream that I was fast again. Not J fast, but the old me fast. When I woke up and looked at the paper, the race had corrected my time and had me down as running 40:08. So just by dreaming on it, suddenly I WAS faster. (still sucks though.)
Sunday we all gathered for the infamous Hadensville Hill Ride, and before we started, the whaling and gnashing of teeth about the fact that "F***, Karen its 29 DEGREES! cries were starting. I have a sign by the front door that says, "NO WHINING!" I just kept pointing to it. 29 degrees is bad, but when you are climbing you get warm, and there was no wind. Of course, decending is kinda bad now that I think about it.
Our first adventure was on Rt 250 with Cliff up the road when suddenly from the left I see two pit bulls flying across the yard to intersect us. Pit bulls cant run fast for far, but for a short distance they can sure get a jump on you. So we sprinted hard and then heard the sickening soft tissue thump as the leader was hit by an oncoming car.
We got to the bottom of the hill and collected Cliff and headed back up to see what we could do. The dog was in the woods and I had to go wake up the owners and convince them to come out of the house to try to do something. I was sure I was going to get shot. Turns out the dogs never leave the yard per the owner, she lets them out of a kennel to play. She didnt know where the third dog was, the one on 3 legs as a car had hit him, but her sweeties... Beyonce' and Cody would NEVER go in the road. That was it for me, exit stage left.
We got to the store in Hadensville and poor Katie chose that moment to go for broke. Two brothers in the parking lot heard us hollering at her and decided to join the fray. I think it was the highlight of their day stopping that crazy red head from pumping all the way to Charlottesville! You've never heard such cackling, and name calling. They were hysterical.
As soon as we left the store, a bad car crash happened right in front of us. Whamo! That one, we didnt stay for. Dogs are one thing. 29 degrees, and now wet from climbing we were not going to wait around for cops to come.
So next time you are bored, come join us on the Hadensville ride. Its always an adventure.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NASA, we have lift off

I know that everyone has been waiting with baited breath to see if I did or did not meet my goal in the 8k today. Some 4 weeks of running after putting up the goal, I ran 40:07 this morning vs. the 50 minute goal. Yeah! Yeah, it still sucks. Thats a suckfest time if there ever was one, but, it's my first race post-surgery, so I'll take it. In fact, I'm going to call it my new PR, or PR-PR.. for post recovery personal record.

Julie was sure that I'd run much less than 50 once I got out on the course and the old "Grusome Growler" juices got flowing. She wasn't wrong. I was going to be content to sit about mid pack in the corrals, until I was told to move up. Its a shame that the people that told me to move up didn't tell some of the walkers to move back. I bet they would have had a much better time if they hadn't had those pesky fast folks running their asses over. I took me forever to get to the start line, and then I had to play dodge walker with people who were walking 3 abreast ahead of me. Grrrrrr.....

Once I was able to break free, it was a fabulous run. Too bad they had clocks out there, because I thought I was running really fast again. If I just didn't look at how slow everyone else was running, I could imagine myself back in the old days.

You have to take each day for what it gives you though, and for me, this was a stellar accomplishment. I ran 8k, I didn't get hurt, and I really exceeded what I thought I could do. Now I'm thinking about all the races coming up, and if I just do some interval workouts behind(way behind) Julie, I might just be able to sneak up in time before bike season. It will take a lot of ice, and a lot of motrin... but it just might work.

And... if I needed anything else to be thankful for today, I'm thankful I still have my teeth. I got on Dottie and headed out to bring James some gels and fluids. Unfortunately the expansion joints on the Lee Bridge had other things in mind for me, and I ended up with 2 flat tires. At least I didnt get stuck in the joint like I was afraid of as I hit it. I like my teeth. I had to walk almost 2 1/2 miles to get to where Julie's husband Dave could get me as I didnt have enough tubes. (who has 2 flats at once?) In the process I got to see James, but couldnt get his stuff to him. Im thankful I have such great friends that they'd come get me, thankful for my teeth, and thankful that James made it in dispite me. It was a good day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Marathon Madness


The Richmond Marathon is tommorrow and all thru the land the familiar battle cry of "Oh, God! What am I gonna wear!" is echoing thru the halls. Temps are going to be about 35-40 at the start and will hit 50 by noon. Ok, folks that is PERFECT weather. Perfect. Unless you are James, who thought that last years temps that hit the 80's mid race was perfect. He's a cyclist thru and thru. Runners were laying down and dying (not literally) last year. James was having a field day.

It's not going to be like that part of A Christmas Story, where the kids dare each other to stick their tongue onto a pole. Thats cold. This is going to be chilly. Think throw away shirt, or my fav, a black Hefty bag with holes torn for your head and arms. You have to remember to tear the arm holes. A friend of mine asked why one time and I know I gave her the dumbass look of all time as we were walking over rough ground. You tear holes to protect that nice and probably expensive dental work that your Mom and Dad scrimped for...
I told James to wear arm skins so that he could peel them down and hand them to me. I'm betting I find him in long sleeves, gloves, and maybe a jacket. At least the homeless people make out well on Marathon Day, all that nice stuff people throw off as they over heat... its a good thing.
Me, I'm going to run the 8k, run back to the Queen Cab, and get Dottie out of the back. I'd normally bring my mtn bike, Boo Boo, but Cliff isnt coming, and she doesn't fit in the back of the truck. No way I'm leaving an expensive bike on a bike rack in town. I'll hookup with James at a few places on the course that his wife can't get to, and give him his fluids and gels, and then head back to the finish to cheer him on.
So head on downtown on Saturday. Park way out and ride your bike in. You'll be glad you did. Susan Greenbaum is playing at the finish line, there will be tons of people to cheer for, and I guarantee you a good time. (or your money back.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I think I can, I think I can


I don't know why, but I like to suffer. Shhhh, its a secret. Why else would I have Molly at Endorphin, load up Wintergreen onto the computrainer last night. I could have ridden rollers with James, but I like to suffer, not go flying wildly into walls and stuff.
So what did I do, I rode the computrainer and kept trying to catch the wench in the red shorts who was on the computer screen in front of me. The harder I rode, the harder she road. I just know that she was laughing at me. Who was I to think that I could catch her in her snazzy red shorts and jog bra!
Of course I was never going to catch her. She represented me. Ok, maybe a little skinnier, but she was still me. When I was suffering, she was suffering. She just looked better than me an wasn't making those disgusting noises I make as I slog my way up the steep stuff.
48 minutes of solid suffering. James just shook his head. Yeah, why would a relatively nice, almost normal person put themselves thru that... especially since this is the OFF SEASON (his emphasis). I think he really just wanted to see me go airborne when I'd get bored on the rollers. He likes suffering too, just not his own!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Its a disease...


Ok, I admit it. I'm seriously addicted to good deals. Fact is, I'm just a bargain slut. Put my nose on the trail of a good buy, and like a Walker Hound on a 'coon, I'll be out all night until I have that sucker treed. I'm not alone, my friend Paul finds haggling with car dealers to be so much fun that he offers to do it for anyone that he knows who is looking to buy. Paul can make car salesmen cry. He's my hero.


I've been running with my friend, Katie. Katie has a beautiful daughter that she brings with us, which is seriously cool. Running pushing a bike trailer... not so cool. Think pushing a mack truck. So I went on a mission to find Katie a really nice baby jogger.
Isn't it pretty! These things are very expensive, but thru the magic of Craigslist, Katie now has a pink and purple jogger. Kylie's favorite color is pink. It's kismet. All of this for $30.00. The lady who sold it to me was so pissed. I don't think she knew how much her hubby paid for it, and as I was writing the check, he asked her how much she sold it for... I dont think there was marital accord in their house last night.
So if you really need something, ask. I bet with a few hours lead I can find it. Cheap. I love a good challenge.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Questions, Questions

James sent me an email this morning that he sent to all his friends... you know, one of those getting to know you things that you did in MIDDLE SCHOOL! Geez, James. Funny thing is though, we all have all these acquaintences, but not many of us really know each other any more. By the time I was 20, we had moved about 20 times. No kidding. I am really good at making acquaintences, and have precious few true friends. The friends I have, I tend to hold very dear. Can you count more than 5 friends? I can't. But I know and admire a whole lot of people.

Do you really know your friends? Maybe that silly email questionaire wasn't so silly after all. And in case you got one from me, I'm still wearing those white cycling socks with the holes in them. Just like James...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Living Each Day

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENN!

Saturday was a fabulous day. Crisp, blue skies, chilly temps that we should have for this time of year, and a stiff wind to challenge us. It lined up to be just about a perfect day, the kind of day that you look forward to.

I started off with a 5 mile run with Cliff just before sunrise. When I used to show horses, I knew that this was the kind of day that you were likely to get bucked off, as that crisp weather brings out the hyjinks in all of us. It was the same for me and Cliff as this was probably the fastest I've run in more than a year as the weather made me feel so good.

Back at the van we amassed a group of riders... Katie and a bunch of the new Natures Path girls and headed out on our ride. I seem to have killed another computer as I was going to use the Garmin, and it was DEAD. I don't know what it is about me, but technology, especially bike computers, have trouble around me. So pace was a bit iffy with me in the lead, and I had to rely on if the person behind me was still there, or not.

Coming back in was much better, as we split up and joined a bunch of guys coming back. There were probably 2 young guys, 6 or so older fast guys, and me and Katie. It didn't take long for the young guys to get gapped and Katie and I had to sprint around them to catch the fine wine guys. Cliff, of course, was in the lead, killing everyone. He's such an animal. I don't think we ever so the "kids" again. I always wonder what they would have thought if they really knew that the age of the guys who just dropped them was anywhere from 55-65. Anyway, it was an exhilerating ride back. I knew that I'd be on the ice packs later, but you have to give it your all every now and again.

When I got home, I went to the computer to see the results of the men's Olympic marathon trials. The trials were in NYC, on a 5 lap, tough, tough, course. This was probably going to be one of the best men's fields ever, and I had really wanted to go, but couldn't. Halfway thru reading
www.letsrun.com (thanks Weldon and Robert) J called. We were both in shock.

I had skipped to the message board, and had started with the early log ins on the race, and they were talking about how great Ryan Hall had done, what happened to Meb, and that now that Ryan Shay had died, maybe Hall was the future of American distance running. Ryan died?

To be honest I was thinking "dying a big dog death." AKA, he fell apart and didnt do well. (A phrase that I've been known to act out from time to time.) The further I read I kept seeing questions, "Did Ryan die?" What happend to Ryan?

Ryan Shay, 5x National Champion from the 5k to the marathon, died of ? at mile 5.5 of the trials. How does it happen to a 28 year old elite athelete, in the best shape of his life. It wasn't the pace, they started off slow. Someone has mentioned that he had an enlarged heart, but so do most really good ones. The autopsy is today and it will be weeks after that before the real story comes out, if they can ever figure it out.

I wish Ryan's family peace with the memory of a young man who lived every day to the fullest. He was an outstanding person, who died doing what he loved, surrounded by the best and brightest of the US runners, many of whom were his training partners. It was just way, way, too soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A typical Colony Halloween

I work in a pretty unusual office. We like to have fun. In fact, its not really about having fun, its about bonding, and beating the crap out of the other departments. Here are some photos from our version of "Deal Or No Deal" for the Halloween skits that each dept had to do. That's Renee who was our contestant. Renee blew everyone away, I see an acting career in her future. Of course, the whole episode was videotaped so that people could be blackmailed in the future, and we're going to send the tape off to the producers in hopes of actually getting Renee on the show.

As I have little in the way of acting skills, I was one of the "ladies" who carry the briefcases. Of course, being a big money kind of girl, mine had the million dollars in it. Too bad Renee didn't pick it.

So who's did she pick? Yep, thats my big boss, "Candy Graham." Cool isn't it to have a boss, who has a wicked sick sense of humor isn't it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Runnin with Katie

Actually, we could call this "Pushing Kylie!" My bud Katie came out to run with me last night and brought her beautiful daughter Kylie to join us. Katie doesn't have a jogger, being a cyclist, she has one of those pull trailers.

I now appreciate motherhood even more. Better than that, I really appreciate the choice to like other people's kids! Setting up that trailer was a JOB, and pushing it... well, I have muscle aches today like I've never had before. I loved it. Kylie had a great time even if she did look at me like I was a Cereal Killer. That trailer might be huge, but it did a good job on my wacky, off and on road adventure.

So here's hoping that I can talk Katie into coming back out and joining me again. All we need is a little push to get going!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nova Marathon Challenge

Geez, if you didn't love PBS before, this would have to do it. Take a bunch of couch potato slobs, and in 9 months turn them into marathoners. Yeah, yeah, I know. I've always poo poo'd the whole charity runner thing as a gimic for people to get a free vacation on the back of a charity. Trust me, not much has changed. I still believe if you want to donate to a charity, you should donate to a charity. Donate directly to the charity with no strings attached. And for God's sake, run said charity thru Charity Navigator to make sure that the money you dontate actually goes to the charity.The nice thing about this was this was not a charity group. This was a real, monitored, scientific kind of show.

But I digress. We were talking about this Nova show. It was wonderful. They actually showed how hard it is to take someone who doesn't run and turn them into a runner. I was inspired. Then I was jealous. Sheesh, where was my heroine, Uta Pipig,when I needed her to inspire me? Trust me, I ran races with Uta. She was waaaaaaaaaay, I mean aaaaaaay up there from me. Her Boston win the year when she had "tummy distress" remains to me the most soul baring moment ever in sport. To watch her run with these people made me cry. I was so proud of all of them.

I wasn't the only one. I called Cliff afterwards and he told me that he couldn't stand it. He was crying at the end, too. I rarely watch much tv, and this show was a treat. I have no desire to run a 6 hr marathon. I could still WALK a 6 hr marathon. I was so darn proud of those people that I cried. That was a tremendous achievement. It made me want to run out and do Richmond anyway.

Then reality set in. I still have no desire to run a 6 hr marathon. I love everything about marathoning. When you are talking about personal achievement, its not about doing, its about overcoming. I could do a 6 hr marathon right now. Heck, I could probably do better than that. There would be no achievement in it, and would probably be a lot of detriment. I'll still want to be there though. Deep inside me, I'm still a marathoner.

My friend James is running Richmond. I'll be out there on my bike after the 8k to bring him support and fluid. If I can't be out there, it will be the closest I can be to doing it. Maybe if I'm lucky some of the wonderfulness will rub off on me. I sure hope it rubs off on James. I'd love to see him qualify for Boston, to have him get to run by the deafening cheers of the Welsley girls, and to get the glory of knowing that he QUALIFIED and ran the Boston Marathon. You go James. Run really, really fast...

Who do you love?

This month's Bicycling mag has a pretty funny little quiz... who do you love... your bicycle or your significant other. Think its an easy answer?
Ok, lets go!
1. I'll never forget the first time I saw you. Ok, Cliff wins. I was running, and he is an animal. You couldn't help but be impressed. Bikes...

2. I wanted you instantly.... I'm pretty slow to warm up. The only thing I've wanted instantly was that track bike, and that was because I'm such a bargain slut and I knew that I could get it cheap!

3. I often find myself dreaming of you... Ok, its a tie... I dream of biking all the time, and my daydreams of other things... forget it, I'm not sharing.

4. There's more than one photo of us together on my desk. Um, bikes win! (But there are more of them... do I divide the number of photos by the number of bikes to make it more fair?

5. I love showing you off to my friends. Probably a tie again.

6. My friends often remark how attractive you are. Yikes, tie again. Plus, most people tend to remark how much of an animal Cliff is vs. how good looking. I think its just as much of a complement.

7. In a typical week, we spend 5 or more quality hours together. Tie again.

8. When you're around, I often look at you with admiration and longing.
We're starting to see a trend here... tie again.

9. In the last 3 months I've spent more than $250 on you. Easily. Tie.

10. I desperately want to take you to Italy. Oh, yeah baby! And France, and across America, across Virginia, across everywhere. Tie again.

11. Our last ride lasted more than an hour. Since I did my last ride with Dottie and Cliff, that would have to be a tie again.

12. It's thrilling how you respond beneath me. Smut brain. I'm not answering on line. Go wash your head out with soap.

13. I would never let anyone else ride you. Ok, a clear winner for Cliff. I let people ride my bikes all the time. Just nice people. Clean people. People with no diseases and a kind touch. Cliff, I'll break your hands.

14. You make my heart beat faster. Tie. Usually its Cliff making me ride really hard, on Dottie. Other times... see above. You need help.

15. You make me feel young. Wrong on both sides. Both make me happy, but tired. Tired makes me feel OLD! Old is good, think of wine.

16. You have taken me to places and shown me things that I thought I would never see. Tie. I usually go places with Cliff on a bike.

17. When I'm with you, I'm at peace with the world. Ok, tie. Except for when I almost get run over I never have bad times on the bike. Some not entirely optimal, but never bad. Ditto with Cliff. Both make me feel that things are always going to be ok.

18. You were made for me. Neither. Bikes are mass produced. I'll never have a custom bike. Cliff was made for Cliff. I just got lucky in the choice department!

19. I can't live without you. Neither. But life would sure suck without bikes and my honey, now wouldn't it.

20. I will never upgrade you to a newer model. Ding Ding! We have a clear winner! I can always find loving homes for my bikes, but Cliff is a keeper!

So how did you score? Honest?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome Home Wind!

Yes, indeedy we have now entered yet another one of my favorite seasons.... Wind. We moved my century ride in Powhattan to Sunday due to rain on Saturday, and were faced with beautiful blue skies, cool(ok chilly) temps, and 20 + mph winds. Head winds, cross winds, more cross winds, and finally on a stretch out to Cumberland, a tail wind. You know that bad times are coming, when 50 some odd miles into a ride, you are cruising at 25 mph.

For the wind challenged out there... that means you are going to die coming home.

Powhattan is fabulous. The roads are just to die for... smooth, fresh asphalt, little traffic, fun roller hills, and plenty of places to take a call of nature. This is my favorite place to ride, even above my routes, as my routes are all chip sealed. We didnt hit chip seal until we were in Cumberland, and even then, it was only for about 10 miles. We saw deer, nice people, tons of cyclists, and if it hadn't been for that pesky wind thing, we would have had a perfect day.

Congrats to Big Bill on hitting 7000 miles for the year a few miles from the parking lot on the way back. We graciously let Bill take the lions share of the pulls on the way back (into the wind) so that he could be the first to celebrate. I know that doesn't make sense, but it sounded good at the time. Face it, me 5'6" and Bill 6'2". I was much better off behind him going into a head wind! Ditto that for the reason I let the team of Andy and Mary on their tandem take some of the harder pulls into winds... its harder for tandems to stop/start, so I wanted them to have freedom to do what they needed to do. You can rationalize anything if you try hard enough!

The bummer of the day was J not being there. Hopefully she can get in to see a good tummy doc today. We miss you girl!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Black Clouds

It was a dark and stormy night. Our intrepid heroine, bravely faced the crazed commuters going down Grove Ave, potholes, kids running, and adults darting in and out to make her way to Retreat Hospital to rush to the bed side of her valiant partner, and best buddy, J. As God was on her side, she easily found a parking spot in the garage and rushed thru the maze like hallways to the ER only to find J, high as a kite, and in typical J fashion ordering the docs and nurses to do things "her way."

Melodramatic, huh?

Poor J. She's been having tummy issues for a few weeks now. Fleeting, painful, but not really something that you could nail down. Good thing she works in the hospital, and when things got bad yesterday, she could just walk down to the ER. Problem is, skinny-minny J is so skinny that the cat scan couldnt definitively show if it was her appendix or not. So they just kept shooting her up with pain meds, and kept telling her that her room was ready and they'd move her "soon." Hours later, she finally got moved, but they still wouldn't give her anything to eat in case they had to go in and rip out the pesky offender.

So how was J taking it? Well in typical J fashion, she knew everyone's story by the time I got there... not just the nurses, but the other patients. She had charmed everyone into changing the meds to the ones SHE wanted....

So keep your fingers crossed that it turns out to be something benign. J has a big race to run at the Ntelos 8k. She's been hovering on the low 18 min. mark for 5ks all season and has been planning a big break thru. Damn, she's fast.

This would be a bummer of a way for her to get out of riding 100 miles with me on Sunday, now wouldn't it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ok, so I'm a thief


Not only did I steal this this morning, but I burgled the local Wawa. I'm so ashamed and am thinking about just heading off to the Goochland jail and checking in. Of course I'd have to ask immediately what kind of offense I'd have to do so that I could end up in solitary confinement. I might be a thief, but I'm a discriminating theif and wouldn't want to end up like those common theives.
So how did I take this shocking turn to the dark side? I'm going to call it insanity. I'd be hard pressed to call it temporary insanity as most people know that I skipped over the edge long ago. So I must just be plain nutzville. Or it was a lack of coffee. Of course, I hate coffee, except for the smell and don't drink the nasty stuff. Or maybe it was payback for the fact that one girl in Wawa routinely overcharges me. I don't know. I'm bad, and need to be punished.
It could be an over abundance of euphoria from all the rain we got yesterday. We had nice, steady rain in Goochland until about 8:30 pm when the skies opened up and it flat out poured. I'm thinking we got about 3-4" total in one day. Thats more than we've gotten since the beginning of summer. Combined. Sounds like as good an explaination for my new found life of crime as any.
So maybe I'll wait until tommorrow. Go to the store manager and fall on my knees and beg forgiveness for the fact that I stole from her. I can only guess what possessed me to put that newspaper under my arm as I got my mega cup of tea, and turkey and egg white bagel. It surely was the Devil that made me forget to put it on the counter though. I'll pay for the paper and will hope they won't hold it against me too much. I just can't live without my Wawa.
t

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I dont see you, you dont see me

I think that everyone decided to give me a scare yesterday. Call it early Halloween tricks or something. When I was researching getting my hip repair in the spring, I signed up for a forum about the condition which was very informative, if very scary. The problem with this surgery is that not many doctors do it, and of the ones that do, very few do it well. Complications are rampant, and from what I can see, very few people have done as well as I have.

The forum had been quiet for months, and yesterday I started getting flooded with emails from it. I knew that there was a chance of spontaneous hip dislocations after the surgery, but geez, is there a rash of them right now. People going to bed, and coughing. Wham, hip dislocation. Step off a curb, hip dislocation. Sneeze, you get the picture.

The new complication is calcification of the psoas tendons and the labrum. Boo! Now they've scared me. When I run I get a tearing feeling down into the groin and quad. I figured I was breaking up scar tissue, which just has to be done. We'll have to see how this one plays out.

Speaking of running, I went out in the City last night again. Besides running over the leaves that everyone rakes into the street, it was pretty great. I'm still doing the Fred Flintstone thing... spinning legs that dont go anywhere, but my stride will eventually come back. I hope...

I did 5 miles of slog walking. Probably ran about 4.5 miles, and walked intermittently. When I got to Shadwell Alley, I decided to walk it. I looked up at a 6' privacy fence and saw a small hawk, like a kestrel. 4 boards over was a squirrel. The two of them were pointedly not looking at each other. You know, its the boogeyman under the bed thing. If you pretend he's not there, maybe he'll just go away! I don't know if the hawk wasn't hungry or what, but I thought it was pretty funny how the two of them were so busy ignoring each other, that they didn't notice me at all.

Hey, maybe it will really rain this week! Everybody do a rain dance!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stranger and stranger....

Saturday started off great. I actually RAN 45 minutes with Cliff prior to the ABC ride, and for the first time, I actually felt GOOD! I'm trying to be smart, and decided to quit while I was ahead and didn't keep going, but instead headed back to the van to get all the bikes out, and take UP for a spin around the still deserted parking lot.

UP is a blast. Its going to take me a long time to get used to the track position, and the no brakes thing. Geez, that bike is fast. I was whipping around the parking lot in no time. When J got there, I sent her off on her, and J pronounced the bike "scary." Then Cliff laughed, jumped on and was wizzing by like he had ridden a track bike all his life. Its not fair. He did that to me as well when I was trying to learn running dismounts off the cyclocross bike. I just have to face it, he's an animal.

J was a bit taken aback by the range of bikes and riders on the ABC ride. I told her not to worry, the majority do this 10 mile out to Ashland ride, eat lots and then ride back. We break out quick and go a different way to do 40 miles. Big sigh of relief. So we start down the road and almost get taken out by a triguy with a huge yellow reflective triangle off the back of his bottle launcher. I guess he just overbalanced on his aero bars and the closest soft spot was us. Sorry, we sprinted ahead and he almost crashed into a ditch.

From there we caught Cliff and J gave him an earful about how we had to get out of the mess, right as we got to a set of railroad tracks. From behind us, the triguy came up, I guess he couldnt stop, and he went wildly riding cyclocross style, ala Lance Armstrong at the Tour, across a field. Surprisingly enough, he made it which put him ahead of the field. Cliff was impressed and decided that we had to ride with that guy. It took strong vocalizations from us to convince him otherwise. Plus we blew his wheels off as we went by. The poor sap didnt know what was going by. Riding with people with no bike skills is just plain scary. Halloween is not for another week and I'll save the frights for then!

Later we hooked up with Dr Ike, the best urologist in Richmond, and it turned out into a testosterone festival between Ike, Cliff and our buddy Andy. Ike turns 63 next week, Cliff was 63 in August, and Andy finally had to shake his head about the adults beating up on him. Julie and I just hung at the back and laughed at the fine wine guys determined to show each other up. For a Saturday on the weird side.... it just doesnt get any better than this!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekend Reading Material

Ok, I've been saving this one. Don't read it at work, you'll get fired as there are 6 volumes!

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=olympianpart1

Editor's Note: Maybe you can identify with this. Some ESPN.com editors were sitting around watching the two-man luge event during the 2006 Winter Olympics. "Hey, I could do that," one of us said. "Anybody halfway athletic could do that." At that moment, an idea was born: What would happen if a better-than-average-but-not-great athlete, who also happened to be able to write, tried to make the U.S. Olympic team in the Summer Games' equivalent of the two-man luge?
So, we posed the idea to Kathryn Bertine, a former ice skater, professional triathlete and accomplished author. Bertine, who was struggling along on a four-figure annual income from her triathlon competitions, happily agreed to donate the next two years of her life to pursuing a longtime dream, a dream shared by tens of thousands of Americans trapped in the everyday demands of their lives. You know, little obstacles like jobs, kids, lack of talent.
For the next two years, Bertine will chronicle her Olympic quest for E-ticket. While finding a spot on the 2008 U.S. team is the ultimate goal, Bertine will take every opportunity along the way to stop and smell the sweat socks ... and to share the smell, taste, sound and feel of the experience with you. You'll meet coaches, teammates, competitors, good guys, bad guys, people who will make you laugh, make you cry, make you cover your eyes in horror. You'll find out what the day-to-day life of an elite athlete is like, get a feel for the kind of sacrifices necessary, see for yourself what kind of politics is involved.
In the first installment of Bertine's adventures, she begins the search for her sport with a visit to the modern pentathlon training program at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

So what sport does she finally decide that she can make the team? Cycling! Now before you jump up and down, this girl was an ELITE LEVEL tri girl. So she had a pretty good head start on going from nada to the Olympics. What I think was amazing was how quick she marched up the ranks.... and how well she did. This is some of the best writing out there, and I laughed my ass off.

Here is what she ate prior to Seven Springs... I really need her metabolism. It must be the mountain air!

Over the past 3½ days, I consumed the following foods:
2 large Domino's pizzas (Hawaiian)4 Belgian waffles with syrup3 bowls of oatmeal5 bananas3 oranges1 Sara Lee banana nut muffin4 Trader Joe's Thai peanut noodle bowls2 La Salsa burritos2 giant squares of lasagna1 bowl of the pasta that looks like little seashells and is quite difficult to stab with a fork½ jar of chunky peanut butter27 peanut butter-filled pretzel nubbins1 Caesar salad with Brutus-sized croutons1 giant slice of garlic bread slathered with butter1 buffalo burger1 plate of fries cooked in duck fat4 Clif bars (two maple nut, two blueberry crisp)15 Carb-BOOM energy gels (chocolate cherry, caffeinated)8 packets of Sport Beans (seven fruit punch, one orange)8 salt tablets1 Coca-Cola12 bottles of Cytomax sports drink (apple berry)4 gallons of water