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.

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!

Editor's Note: Maybe you can identify with this. Some 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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The woods have eyes

My Dad called me on the way home last night, the family that bought his house, have now sold their house, and its moving time again! Yeah, moving time into a house that my Dad hasn't bought yet!

I've been trying to get my Dad to move closer to me for about 10 years. There are no services in central Missouri, and there is just plain no way to get out there thats easy. Health care is hours away, and pretty much all of his friends have either died, or are in such bad health that they cant do anything. So after my Mom died this spring, he finally agreed that it was time.

He sold his house in record time to a neighbor that had coveted it for years. The only hold up was that the guy had to sell his house, which in this market was tough. Well, its sold. Now my poor Dad, who has hemmed and hawed about buying a house has to do something, NOW!

So he called me last night, and wanted me to look at a nice rancher not far from my house. Being a double duty kind of girl I decided to get on Dottie, and ride over before it got dark. House hunting, riding, it works. On the way, I could hear crashing in the woods and finally got to a clearing where two does and a buck just stopped and stared at me. They didn't move, I didn't move for a bit. Sometimes you just get those perfect moments on a bike where the whole world stops. Of course, then a big SUV came up behind me and I had to get out of the way.
I think this is going to be a great place for my Dad. It's on a "high-dollar" street, its managable in size, and with all the muckety mucks that live there, it will never be over developed. And, all the deer can come to his yard every day as I know he'll be feeding them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Crosssing Over

Well, Jenn did it! I'm always so proud of her! This is Jenn at her first cyclocross race, doing it on a mountain bike no less! She's hooked now and looking for a cross bike of her very own! It takes such guts to decide to do something and then actually do it. Jenn, I'm really, really proud of you!

So many girls tell me that they want to race, and then they consisently come up with excuses as to why they cant. Be like Yoda. Do or not do. There is no try. Most of the girls who tell me that they really want to race would be great at it. They'll never know though. Showing up really is half the battle.

Jenn you rock.

Dear Lord...

'Dear Lord: Thank you for bringing me to Timmy's house and not to Michael Vick's -AMEN!'

Ice is NICE!

I'm a very goal oriented person. Once I have a goal, thats the plan, and it takes an act of Congress to get it changed. If the goal goes on paper, sorry, its not going to change. So I've set a very modest goal, I'm going to run the Ntelos 8k in 50 minutes. Thats seriously slower than what I would have run it in the past, very seriouslyslower. But... like I told Julie after her surgery, you have to have old pr's and post surgery pr's. So this will be my post-surgery new pr race.
Now I'm getting from Julie what I did to her. You know, the whole psych job of you shouldn't do too much, ice is nice, its going to be ok, and don't kill anyone speaches. I'm surprised she just didn't whale off an break my nose. Fact of the matter is, starting back running hurts. My balance is off, my form is terrible and everything hurts. I have tons of endurance, but can't take the pounding. When I see people running on the other side of the road you start getting that secret wish that they get hit by a bus because how can they be running so good when I cant. Whah!
My biggest nightmare happened last night. I ran downtown so that I could run on roads without a bad camber. I did try to run on side roads so that no one would see me. I even did good, ran a mile, walked a bit, ran a mile, walked a bit, ran a 1/2 mile, then walked about 2 miles back to the car. One of the guys who I used to run with passed me, did a double take, and stopped and said, "Karen?" I wanted to slug him. Yep, its me... grrrrr.
This too shall pass. I'll either be able to run again or I won't. Its a challenge. In the meantime, after running I curl up on the couch with all my ice packs, hip, groin, knee, it band. The dogs think its great. Me, not so much. And if you see me running, pretend you dont. Its safer that way...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Richmond Folk Festival

Ok, so one day I'll figure out how to rotate pictures on this silly thing!

Saturday was just about a perfect day. Got up early, ran with Cliff, and was actually smart enough to say when, long before I started to hurt. Then we joined up with the ABC ride, and did 40 some miles to and from Ashland. Nice people, a good ride, what more can you ask for?

Later, Cliff and I headed down to the Nat'l Folk Festival. Wow, it was the bomb. They had so many people that they ran out of water and ice on the first afternoon. Water for the day? No, the weekend! Even the satellite parking was sold out. Lucky for us, we know this town and had no problem finding a parking space. It helps when you are fit enough to walk places.

The funniest/saddest sight of the day was the handicapped shuttle. Handicapped in more ways than one, as one of the golf carts attempted to climb "Mt. Ethel" with 2 people in the back that had to weigh over 500 lbs each. Mt. Ethel is about 150 yards long, maybe 21-22% grade. We were coming down, and I can tell you from doing hill repeats on that monster in the past that you had better be ready to go up. Well, that golf cart made a valiant attempt to climb, but just couldnt get up, and had to stop and let the people out half way up, or risk flipping over. It was quite the sight.

We hooked up with Bill and Molly, and had a grand old time watching the Holmes Brothers from Saluda. Wow, can those guys play. We saw them later doing a Hank Williams tribute where they stole the show. Zydeco, Texas Swing, Latin, Gospel, R & B... you name it, it was there on one of the many stages. We were planning on coming for a few hours, and ended up staying until the shows closed down. It was awsome.

Next year the show will be back as the Richmond Folk Festival. We'll be back, and hope to see everyone there!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Felt up

Ok, I know this is going to drive everyone crazy... but I've been saving for a track bike of my very own. I think track racing looks like some kind of fun, even if slowing the bike makes my knees ache.
So being the bargain pig that I am, when a team in Colorado was selling their track bikes that had been used for 3 days of racing, at less than 1/2 price on EBAY, well I was all over it.
So meet the newest addition to the clan...
Her name is "UP". (Get it!) I know James is going nutz now. He hates it when I name my bikes. The way I figure it, anyone you hang around with as much as I hang around my bikes, well, you had better be on a first name basis with them. You know, establish a real relationship and all that so they are less inclined to hurt you or screw you over.
I cant wait til she gets here! Durango to Richmond. What an adventure!

The perils of lawsuits

Ok, so most people know that I work as a litigation specialist for an insurance company. My nearest and dearest friends think its pretty funny that I understand that people feel a need to sue everyone. I'm a pragmatist. Whats funny about it is my own personal belief that lawsuits are a tremendous drain on you, and in the long run really aren't worth it except in very rare occasions. Like almost never occasions.

My huge case in GA just settled. After 9 count em 9 years of litigation, the plaintiffs "won." Their win was a net loss in excess of $100,000. Now their attorney made money. Lots of it. My attorneys made money, lots of it. The plaintiffs lost huge amounts of money, time and good will. Congratulations.

My problem with suits is when they interfere with what is for the public good. Peope really think that they are really suing an insurance company, and we all hate insurance companies. Right? When I worked for the Virginia Municipal League, Gary Taylor's family sued the City of Blacksburg when he died there in a tri. Yep, they got a settlement. And it took a lot of work on my part to stop the VML from telling all the cities, towns and counties in VA to stop allowing cycling and running events. That one stinking suit just about cost all of us the races we love. Ask me about the real stories behind the scenes one day and I'll tell you. Gary promoted races, many without police, and knew that he had to obey the rules of the road in the tri. I feel bad for his family, but...

So a guy died doing Ragbrai. You know the drinkfest across Iowa. He was trying to cross the center line on his bike, and got caught in a grove and thrown and died. Very, very sad. His family sued. They got a settlement. The net result, the county where that happened has passed a resolution that the event is no longer welcome in thier county as the roads were not safe for bikes. Congratulations. The resolution has a chilling effect on other events there as well. If Des Moines Iowa isnt safe for Ragbrai, is it safe for a crit, rr, or tt? How about running events? Dont think so...

We all enjoy our sports. All of our sports are risky. We know this. Our families know this. Life is not a bubble. We fall, we get banged up and sometimes broken up. It happens. Suing the municipalities for it has a chilling effect on everyone. Sad isnt it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Before you hit send...

Somedays you just cant win. There is this funny email list called "Ridefinder." Now I tell everyone that they have to take most cyclists with a grain of salt. Trust me, most of us are just plain jerks. I'm not sure if we have more jerks than the general population, but somedays it sure seems like it.

So, yesterdayRidefinder sends out a post about the Farms of New Kent Century. The Farms is a development that will have horse farms, a vineyard, stores, and housing. The developers are trying to draw in people with money. Cyclists have money, so they do a kind of a fair, and put on a "free" ride. Problem is, they dont mark the roads, have few rest stops, and aren't real good on details like having the cue sheets be correct. The first year we all did it we got lost, the cue sheets were wrong. Ok. We managed to get back in, no muss no fuss.

Last year, I did it with my friend Paul. The cue sheets were really bad. We kept making wrong turns, would end up 4-5 miles in the wrong direction, but would figure it out from the map, which was very hard to read as they had xeroxed it several times, and then apparently highlighted the route. At the final rest stop, a volunteer told us that there were cyclists lost all over the road, and many were making their way back to her to try to get back. She wasnt a cyclist, she was from a church group.

Needless to say, Paul and I got very, very lost. I figure we ended up doing about 150 miles. The cue sheet would have you turn right or left onto roads that didnt intersect with the road you were on. It was awful. We didnt have food or water for over 50 miles. We'd retrace and retrace and try to figure out where we were, and where we needed to be. Finally, it was really, really getting dark and we were running out of options. I took a chance, saw a major road and figured that it had to go close to where we were parked. So in the dark, we were riding with no lights on a 55 mph road with no shoulders. It was very, very scary.

So, when I got the email from Ridefinder, I put out a reply about what happened. This is the reply that I got from Bud Vye:

Karen ---As I recall, they issued excellent maps for all of the routes at thestart every year they have done the event.Perhaps you should have looked at yours.As I can attest from the Heart of Virginia, marking the roads is a tremendous amount of work (plus being illegal, if you were to ask VDOT,who owns the roads, so its pretty obvious that a county wouldn't do it)and it really shouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately, you are far from the only one who can't or won't read a map or cue sheet.I'm afraid you won't get much sympathy from me for getting lost.Bud Vye

Nice. Some guy came to my rescue on the email list. I'm a big girl. I dont need rescuing.

This was my reply.

Thanks Tim. I was using the cue sheet. Problem was, they would have you turn left or right onto a road that did not intersect with the road that they had you turn off of. I race bikes, currently #1 ranked in the US Masters woman (tt). Do many centuries every year. Ride about 7000 miles this year. 2 years in a row, my group got lost on the Farms of New kent rides due to errors in the cue sheets. I’m not stupid. Graduated Magna Cum Laude. Last year, my ride partner was the COO and Senior Vice President of the Richmond Fed. He’s not stupid, either. Both of us can read maps, both of us know how to use cue sheets. Surprisingly enough, we both were trying hard to use the map and cue sheet. The year before, it was me, Cliff Pleasants, Julie Smith and Les Newman. Cue sheet was wrong then as well, but it had a slightly different route.

From the volunteer at the last rest stop- there were riders lost all over the road. I’m not from New Kent, I’m from Goochland. Since I am not familiar with the roads I had to rely on their information. And of course a map which has been Xeroxed and then had a magic marker over it usually isn’t much good. We did about 150 miles that day, most without water.

So thanks for the kind words Bud. I hope when you go out of town you never have a cue sheet that is inaccurate. If you do, please be sure not to tell anyone about it. We wouldn’t want them to miss the fabulous experience of being lost with no help available.

Ron I did this off the ride finder list.


Karen Hanson

Im not kidding when I tell people that most cyclists are jerks. I'm doing a century the same day in Powhattan and have invited select nice people. The jerks can stay home. Or go to New Kent and get lost.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Running, anyone?

I haven't run more than a few feet here or there since about 3 weeks before my hip surgery in the spring. When I asked my surgeon if I could run again, he'd switch the subject back to biking and would never give me a straight answer. I love running. That was not acceptable. My PT suggested that if I was to try running that I should really do it in small bites as any problems that I would have probably wouldn't surface for a few weeks, when they would hit me full force. Ok, but I've never been known to do anything half measure.

So needless to say, I love running, and the idea of running has scared the crap out of me. The Richmond Marathon is coming up, and I'm entered. No, I'm not running it. I entered last year when I was running pretty good and was thinking grand things about qualifying for teh World Du Championships here, and running a 'thon again. Neither happened. Surgery happened. Watching everyone else running, and talking about running is killing me.

So at lunch I bit the bullet and went down to the RIVAH and slogged thru a run of about 2 miles. It was awful. I was taking itty bitty bike spin circle strides, my hip was locked, my knees were killing me and I was so slow that I didn't want anyone to see me. Joan Benoit has written that when she first started running when a car would go by she'd stop and start looking down like she was examining flowers or something. I was pretty close to that. God help me if anyone saw that performance.

So I'm committed now. If it doesn't work out I'll probably be committed. I hear the 7th floor at Tuckers is nice. 3 squares, lots of nice drugs, and people taking quietly to you... Until I have to check in, the plan is running at lunch time a few times a week. Maybe next year I'll either have my qualifier or be in a padded room!

Rats, Its Gnats!

Ok, in the winter time its dark and cold...
In the spring, its dark and wet...
In the summer, its really good...
Then it gets hot...
After racing and driving every weekend, you get burned out a bit...
Then comes chip seal season and the inevitable flat tires and broken windshields...
And now,
Right before the cold weather hits,


It won't last long, just until the first frost..., but until then my abbreviated rides (due to darkness after work) are plagued with the little f'ers. It really wouldnt be so bad, but with a wicked deviated septum I need to breathe out of my mouth, and I chew gum. Yuck. Eating a few bugs is par for the course, gum with black specks is just nasty.

So now I'm stuck with the catch 22, do I wish for a heavy frost to kill the gnats, which will also kill my bergmansia which is finally going to do a massive bloom, or do I pass out trying to breathe thru my nose? Decisions, decisions...

Monday, October 8, 2007


Click on this, its quick and really shows why you have to run thru the line...

Or ride thru the line as I think I remember Zabel standing up on a sprint that he "won" and loosing. I always would wonder watching tri's on tv how the leaders KNOW that they have the race won as they are high fiving everyone down the finish line.

The video was from the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Ghastly hot, and reportedly short on cups, water and gatoraide: 88 degrees by 10 am. Ouch. 1 person died, hundreds went to the hospital and the slow folks found that the race was cancelled for them and they were directed back to the start. Wise move on the organizers part.

We got together a bunch of people to go out to Vegas years ago to do the marathon. What they used to do was collect you at about 5 am, drive you out 26 + miles into the desert, and drop you off to wait for an hour or so with no tents or anything. It gets really cold at night in the desert and really hot in the day. It gets really hot, really quick. To make matters worse, water in Vegas tastes nasty, so most people started the race pretty dehyrated. I know I did. The start was 26 degrees, and by the finish line, it was close to 90. It took me 3 iv bags, one of which had to be heated before I could speak coherantly again. I did finish though, 3:42, but dont have any recollection of the last 6 miles.... Most of the water stops there didn't have water, either. Hot weather, marathons, dehydration... all bad.

Cliff ran Pittsburg the year they ran the marathon trials there. I was taking a break from 'thons, and was just going to run ab0ut 17 miles of it. yikes, this was the year that only one guy went to the Olympics as only Rod Dehaven could go with no one getting a qualifying time. It was about 80 at the start, and got into the 90's. The citizens race started an hour after the trials qualifiers, so I started with Cliff and ran about 5 miles with him, then cut out and headed for mile 20. I helped with the water stop there and I dont think I've ever seen anyone look as bad as those guys in the elite field. Joe Lemay looked like Gumby, 6'4" of rubber flapping in the breeze. Dave Morris was so confused that he couldn't open a bottle of water. It was scary.

After those guys passed, I ran to the 18 mile mark to wait for Cliff. I picked him up and ran ahead and hit every aid station and would bring him ice to put in his singlet and shorts. People were dropping like flies everywhere, and the home owners along the course were putting out sprinklers. How people didn't die in that race I'll never know. Cliff, the old dog, ran within 10 minutes of his normal time, I think a 3:40.

Biking is much better. I rode to Ashland yesterday morning with the wind at my back. I was averaging about 25 mph on 623 out, and paid for it big time on the way back. Wind at your back out, wind in your face back. To make it worse it was a hot wind. I'm cooked today. I'm not in the hospital though, and tonight will be better.

Stay cool.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cheaters Beware

Just like Al Capone wasn't caught for being a mobster, I think it's highly amusing that drug cheats are now getting caught not for being drug cheats, but for lying about it. Marion Jones is due to plead guilty today to two counts of lying to prosecutors. I find it highly amusing that she still contends that at the time she was taking "The Clear" that she didn't know it was steroids, that Trevor Graham told her it was flax seed oil. Sure, it was. Most of us either pour flax seed oil in cereal or take capsules, but Maid Marion, a college educated, very smart woman didn't see anything wrong with the fact that she had to put it under her tongue. She also didn't see anything wrong with her tremendous speed I guess, either. Oh, and how about the backne? She could have been a star for Proactive it got so bad.

What I think would be really amusing would be to have the second place person at all the races Marion won, sue her for lost earnings, publicity, and sponsorship. I always wondered why Suzy Favor Hamilton didn't do that to Regina Jacobs. Suzy was a perpetual also ran to Regina, and never got the $$ as a result.

People say that cycling is rife with drugs. I think all sports are. Track and field and cycling just are the sports that are actually trying to do something about it. Isn't it ironic that in the end its going to be the Feds that crack things open. Not for using drugs, but for lying. Maybe Martha Stewart can give Ms. Jones some tips on how to do time and come out on top.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Where to store a severed leg...

Authorities To Return Amputated Leg To South Carolina Man
POSTED: 5:32 pm EDT October 3, 2007
UPDATED: 11:33 am EDT October 4, 2007

MAIDEN, N.C. -- Authorities say a South Carolina man who mistakenly lost his amputated leg when it was sold in a barbecue smoker at a public auction will get the appendage back.
John Wood had been battling to regain custody of the leg from Shannon Whisnant. Whisnant found the leg in a barbecue smoker he purchased at an auction of Wood's belongings last week.
Whisnant first turned the leg over to police but later claimed ownership of it, saying he wanted to charge admission for people to see it.
Wood's leg was amputated three years ago after an airplane crash. He had been keeping the leg so it could be cremated with him when he dies.
Capt. Tracy Ledford of the Maiden Police Department says Wood, of Simpsonville, S.C., has arranged to pick up the leg.

Flying to Hartford

Thank God for Contenental. In order to get to Hartford, I could fly them to Newark, wait a few hours and then fly there, or if I went another airline, you have to go Richmond to St. Louis to Hartford, to Detroit, to Atlanta etc... I have a basic rule that I dont fly North to go South, or East to go West. It's silly.

When I got to Hartford, one of my attorneys picked me up, which was easy to do as the airport is about the size of Richmond. I'd never met her before, but she immediately picked me out because of my sport's bag. I guess I come with a reputation.

There was one decent hotel in Hartford that had rooms, and yikes, mine ended up costing over 300 bucks. Yikes. It was a double decker room, with the bedroom in a loft, two full baths, all full of really nice soaps, lotions and stuff. James' daughter Kristin will be thrilled to get all the swag, which I was able to talk my way past a nice TSA guy with. Of course it ment leaving my toothpaste behind, and having to use a gallon size zip lock bag to get thru security. He suggested that I just check my bag, but my record with airlines loosing my luggage is berry bad and I wont do that. Being a military brat has its advantages. I pack light.

So why the $300 room? Bruce Springstein was in town. Rats, I would have loved to have gone to that show! Instead we got bumped from the usual steak house dinner, (again yeah!), and went to a fabulous Italian seafood place instead. Grilled sea bass beats a hunk of meat any day. The champagne reception in the hotel was really nice, too. Having it all paid by someone else, even better.

Having the mediation flop, not so nice. But, cell phones are an amazing thing. I did about a full days work when I was stuck in Newark 1/2 the day on the way back by phone. Getting to do it in a bar, drinking Sam Adams, priceless. Any weight I lost last week I'm sure has found its way home.

If you are going to have to suffer thru travel, you might as well do it in style.
Now to the endless pages of email that await!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blue Skies

Friday, I drove up to Arlington to let my Dad have a chance at closure with my Mom. Mom was a Lt. in the Army Nurse Corps, and if you know a woman in the military, you can pretty much thank the Nurse Corps for being pioneers in the Armed Services who gave them that chance. After she married my Dad, she continued her service to the country by being the wife of an Army Colonel, and President of the Officer's Wives Association most bases we lived. Mom took great pride in the fact that she could pack at a moments notice, and by the evening of the day that we'd arrive on a new base could have the whole house unpacked and looking neat as a pin. She was an amazing woman.
I think my Dad was pretty shell shocked at the funeral, and as a result he didn't see anything. He really needed to go back, but his hands on the face plate and get to make his peace. Mom loved gardening, and would have loved this place. She overlooks a beautiful courtyard and fountain, which lucky for us on Friday was not turned on. It was a gorgous day, with robin's egg blue skies, a nice, crisp breeze, and I swear that you could see forever. Friday was just a good day to sit and remember the life of a really wonderful lady.
After we got our act together we made a slow progress around Arlington. Having a family member buried there does have its privilages which includes a vehicle entry pass. So we respectufully made our way up to Arlington House to pay our respects a the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and made it in time for the changing of the guard.
If you haven't been to Arlington, its a great place to go to get in touch with the sacrafices that have been made to make this the Land of the Free. It is quiet, peaceful and a perfect place to see the cost that so many people have made. For my Dad, I think the beauty of the setting, helped him to know that my Mom truley is in a better place, free of pain, and at last getting the honor that she so richly deserved. God speed Mom. We all miss you every day.