Wednesday, December 31, 2008

39 cent gas

Local grocery store chain has this buy $50 in stuff, get 10 cents off gas at the Uppys gas chain. Cool. I eat off the salad bar there, and at $5.99 a lb, you can rack up the dough pretty quick. Yesterday, I pulled into a gas station almost on fumes, and got my 20 gallons (yeah, I had a 5 gallon gas can to make sure of it)for 39 cents a gallon.

How cool is that.

Being the cheapo that I am I usually get my munchies at Costco and Wallyworld, but that mid-day away from the office break is worth it to me, even if lettuce is more expensive than steak. (well probably, not that I get to eat steak unless someone else is paying for it...)

I've been the lucky recipient of all the Spin Mafia emails... where they are riding, when, how fast, meet up points, and other chatter. Guys, get a job. The rest of us schmucks have to WORK. Crap, I just sit at my desk as the messages pop up on one of my TWO computers, and I've just about ground my teeth down to nothingness. And just as I get a day off, the weather is going to change, the temps are gonna drop and the wind will be howling. I'm so jealous that its just sick.

So they'll be out there riding, I'll be the only one in the world working, and will have to run at night in the dark. The way I figure it, you all owe me. Just cuz...

Have a great New Year and watch out for the drunkin' slobs...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Merry Christmas Dog Drop

Julie laughingly says that there is this underground network where one dog tells another dog, "hey man, you get dumped... go to this Karen Lady's house. She'll feed ya. Just look at her with melting eyes and she's a goner..."

So Friday, my guys are barking like crazy and I hear nails on the front porch and find 3 very smelly hunting beagles. You know, melty brown eyes, sweet kisses, and unbearable stench. I was done for. A little kibble here, some water there, and I caught one and set off to find their homes. (Yes, I fully know the impossibility of that, but its a FELONY to take someone's dog. Even when they are on your property.)

So, I amble across the road and promptly find out that its not the 3 of them that were on my porch. No, its 8 of them. Being pack dogs I was swarmed, kneed, and thrown to the chip seal road on one knee. Ouch! Bigger ouch to the little tacker that I happened to squash- who proceeded to scream like I was ripping her toe nails out- which brought out the neighbors to see the mass murder in progress.

From here it gets a bit surreal... Play Twilight Zone music now. I'm in the road, squashed beagle howling in outrage, pack of beagles trying to lick my face, knee throbbing, and cars zipping by...

Neighbor tells me that the dogs were dumped (duh) as they had no collars.

Then a bunch of hunters stop and talk to the neighbor (because of course I'm female and therefore insignificant) and one says that he'll take the dogs. He opens up the back of his truck and buckets of blood pour out. Yes, he was deer hunting. And all thats left of said deer is a head (conveniently cut off by the chainsaw in the truck bed,) the deer heart, and liver and blood. Lots of blood.

The dogs are in heaven now and abandon me to the spoils in the truck. Said hunter starts shoving dogs in a tiny crate, and when they couldnt fit in one more, put the rest in the truck bed to the ecstacy of licking the entrails.

Yum.

And off they went.

And now I'm wondering if I did a bad thing. Will they be ok? Are they happy and warm? Did they get fed this morning?

Yep, I'm a schmuck. If you come to my house, I'll feed you. Just do me a favor, don't knock me flat in the meantime...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ridin' on Christmas

After last nights run, which was about 60 degrees and way too hot for a long sleeve shirt, you would have thought that I would have known better than to bundle up... Yeah, you'd be wrong. At 5 miles I had to stop and take my light windbreaker off and shove it in my back pocket. A few miles later I was wishing that I hadn't worn my heavy gloves. At least I hadn't put on my booties and skull cap. I think I would have died with them on.

But what's to complain about. A close to 60 degree day on Christmas. The sky was blue, wind wasn't too bad and the cars were driving like they had good will towards men.

Long about 20 miles I kept hearing this noise, like a dog tag on a dog thats about to chomp on you. I'd look back quick... no dogs. Ride a little further, hear it again. No dogs. This went on for about a half hour until I finally realized that I was hearing the zipper on my windbreaker.

I hope that all of you were very good this year and that Santa brought you all kinds of cool new gear. I've been cooking beef hearts for the dogs, the ultimate yummy gift to my best buds. Now we go for a hike in the woods before sitting down to supper. And nope, I'm not sharing in the beef hearts, somethings are just too wonderful for the guys to share.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Slip Sliding Away

Thursday nights are computrainer nights. Oh lucky me, to get on a trainer next to my buddy, Toxic Rainforest Bill. J and Bill won the tandem championships at our race one year, and people kept commenting that they couldnt see her she was ducked down so low... you would have been too, if Bill was in the front of the bike spewing sweat like a geiser gone bad.

So I'm stuck next to Bill. And the sweat is flowing. And flowing, and building to a toxic level so bad that Hazmat was on stand by. Just as the going was getting really tough, my trainer tried to make a run for it.

Ever been on a trainer that tries to exit stage left? Its a very disconcerting feeling, let me tell you.

Last week, Sharon tries to wipe me out, and this week Bill tries to sweat me out.

You guys are just going to have to do better. You might corrode me out, but I'm not scared of your slime. (ok, I am scared, but I've had my shots. So I'm probably ok.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funniest Forum Thread Ever

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=2131300;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;;page=unread#unread

Ok, so we all know that cyclists are a sick bunch of people... Now the tri-folks show their true colors. I was laughing so hard that I was crying.

The next time I hear someone talk about vegemite (what the heck is that stuff anyway?) I wont be thinking about food.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tacky Light Tour

Well I took Georgie down to the Beach for the last dog shows of the season. We stunk on Saturday, but had the Beach bennie of 1. getting to run on the Boardwalk, and 2. getting to run on the Boardwalk under all the Christmas lights. The roar of the ocean, seagulls to peak Georgie's interest and lights for me. Whats not to like?

Well the Christmas parties at the hotel for one thing. Drunks are only fun if you are one of them. Trust me on this...

So Georgie and I went out real late and walked on the bike path as all the cars came down the Boardwalk. We only got yelled at one time, and did pretty much the whole thing again. $10 per car is dirt cheap, but waiting on Atlantic Ave to que up was a bit more than I wanted (we're talking hours.) Plus, the walk did us both good.

If you aren't a beach bunny, like me, the winter time is the best time to go. For the most part crowds are down, the hotels are cheap, and dogs are welcomed. Georgie loves stretching out on a king size bed, and from looking at the rest of the guests, I can assure you that he was much better behaved than they were.

Sunday George took a Group 3 in the Sporting Group which should solidly put him in the top 10 Brittanys in the country. Too cool. Now if I can just work on that we bit of photography flash phobia that he has developed. You can just never tell with dogs, but he hates photographers. Big and bold about everything else, but point a camera at him and he wants to exit stage left.

It looks like this is going to be another running week. Darn rain. Why cant it fall in the summertime when we really need it? Thats ok, running with George is a guaranteed way to run really fast.

George gives a nudge to remember the little guys at Christmas. His fav charity? www.Americanbrittanyrescue.org, but your local shelter could probably use some love too. How about donating a bag of dog food or two and getting some good doggie kharma!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The fun of home amputation

I'm usually pretty good with knife skills. It's one of those things you have to practice, and I cut up stuff often. I also believe in having good equipment, and keeping it nice and sharp. No dull knives for me.

Good thing. Cause when you slip a little, you want that knife to make a nice, clean cut. Clean cuts heal much faster than those nasty, gagged sawing things. Unfortunately, really sharp knives tend to also cut deeper.

So Wednesday night, trying to cut up a piece of Summer Sausage... and zip, a slip of the knife and all I could see was bone. Yuck. Other nice thing about clean cuts... it takes awhile for them to hurt.

So I grabbed a clean towel, and applied pressure and proceed to pace the floor. (Somehow pacing makes everything better.) The dogs lined up to stare at this strange behavior and you could just read what was going on in thier minds..."Poor Karen, she used to be all right, but lately, she's just gotten weird."

After awhile I got the bleeding to mostly stop and was able to survey the damage. Yep, cut deep, but not thru the bone. The thought of spending the night in the ER was out, so I patched it up, and tried to go to bed.

Yesterday I got my tetnus shot and the lecture for not going to the ER as after 7 hours they cant stitch things up. Thats ok, I heal fast. And stitches itch. Bad.

So last night I got to get babied at the computrainer races. Had to get my bike put on and taken off for me. No mercy while on the trainer though... Col. Sweatsalot had a trainer slip and tried to take me out. All the while Ms J was whopping up on everyone. You'd have thought that they would have let me have a sympathy win since I had to have a shot, too. But NOOOOO. No gifts.

So this Christmas, keep your knives sharp, and your eyes on the prize. A near amputation is bad enough. A real one whould have put the damper on the savings account.

And to all my buds at Cyclocross Nat's... I'm praying for rain for you...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

GamJams Reviews: Trainers and Rollers

Lets face it, I really don't want to be spending a lot of time on my trainer if there is any chance that I can get out on the road, and well, ride on the road. Winter time is trainer time, and unless I really want to be riding narrow, country roads in the freezing cold and dark, I am facing a lot of time on the trainer.

My trainer of choice, the Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer. I just scored a new one on ebay for $200 w/free shipping. Good thing, my old one is well used, and starting to show the lack of love.

What do I like about it? It's easy. Of all the trainers, this one requires the least amount of fiddling with to work well. Set it, and forget it. (unless you use it for multiple bikes, in which case you have to tweak it for each bike.) Usually I just put a shoe or a phone book under the front wheel and I'm off to suffer land.

Mine has traveled all over the country, been dropped, thrown into the truck and still performs admirably, even if the wear and tear is showing. It's quiet, solid, and the only trainer crashes I've had have clearly been my fault.

Which trainers don't I like... the Kinetic Pro and that wacko Kinetic Rock and Roller model. Those little locking rings can be a twitchy thing and I trashed a nice wheel as I went toppling over. They also require a level of exactness that I just don't have the patience for when I'm in a hurry.

Cycleops Fluid 2. They're a good thing, and there are great deals on them on ebay. Do something for the economy, go buy one or two!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Col. Whinesalot

We planned on getting a gang together to ride from Dorey Park on Sunday. Sunday was predicted to be 40 degrees for a high with 20-30 mph winds with higher gusts. Prediction didn't change... it was the same way all week.

So, Sunday at 10 am, Col. Sharon calls. "Uh, RABA just cancelled the ride. What do we do?"

So I told her that I really didn't care what RABA did, we were riding...

"But its really cold and windy and we're going to die and you know how my feet turn to ice!" (Add a couple hundred more little whinisms here...)

So I told her to call J, and if she could convince J that it was too cold, that we'd alter the plans. Hah on that. J told her about all the rides that we've done in the snow. (which of course nixed any whining that I could do...)

And who was up front pulling and charging the whole way? Col Whiner. See She cant whine at work. When you are leading troups you have to be totally convinced all the time. So we are her little escape, she can whine away with us. What are team mates for!

And while I still owe Mike a winter tire review, I can give two thumbs up reviews... Being the cheapo that I am, I bought a new skull cap from Dicks during their 50% off all things Reebok last week. My head, and therefore my body, was toasty warm. And it even has a ponytail slit! At $20 bucks, it was too much money, but at $10 it was wonderful. (Ever notice that magical $10 price point?) The other got to have was my new Craft winter booties... Toastie toes. Happiness is toastie toes. Now if Santa would only bring me a nice new warm pair of Craft winter gloves!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's the little things that make you happy

Yep, I'll say it again. It's the little things. Its not a new car, or rings or crap like that. Sometimes, its something small.

Yesterday I was having a craptastic kind of day, and then... Patricia from Chipotle called. Yep, Chipotle, who sponsors a certain bike racing team, so I try to eat there a couple times a month without getting a burrito the size of my head... (by the way, per Bicycling... the steak soft tacos- if you dont get sour cream and guac are 650 calories). Anyway, Patricia called to tell me that I WON lunch for 10-14 of my friends (read 14 in Karenspeak) Yeah, baby! The whole kit and kaboodle- a meal, chips, salsa, guac and a drink. No, she didn't say if that included beer...

Geez, I started doing the Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Joy dance. Then I got to start inviting friends to lunch... Now thats where the real happy, happy-joy came in. Times are tight, I really couldn't afford to take 13 of my buds out to lunch right now.

But now I can. Thanks Chipotle. What a Christmas present!

And then afterwork, empowered by the thought of free steak tacos and a drink (no chips for my fat ass)I went and just killed my run. 5.5 miles, and I powered up the hills, and was picking it up at the end. I swear I could have run forever.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Joy.

Behold the power of free food!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Totally Wussy

Way back when, when I was a runner vs. a biker (even though I'm running now more than biking thanks to daylight and workload), I used to laugh at everyone who put on enough clothes to land in the Antartic. Pretty much anything over 33 degrees was shorts weather and you had to get below that to warrant gloves. You know, the cheapo 2 for 1.00 Walmart stretchie gloves. Anything more than that made me sweat too bad.

Then I took up biking.

The first two years, I was pretty good. Shorts into the 40's... Then tights under shorts. I rarely wore more than light long finger gloves.

And I still laughed at the Artic Troopers out there...

Now, it hits 50 degrees on a windy day and I try to find anything else to do besides bike. Not only that, but at 50 degrees I have heavy tights and gloves to run as well.

I totally wussed out today and bought a new pair of Craft winter booties. 50 degrees and I had the booties on. My toes were nice and warm, thank you. And since my Sugoi capri tights might as well be full tights, my calves were warm as well.

What wasn't warm... that 1" section between the capris and my jersey. You know, my FAT. I'm sure it quickly went from pasty white, to pink, to beet red. It was the only part of my body that was screaming at me to buy more clothes.

I don't know how I'm going to make it thru the really cold stuff to come. I'm already missing the nice warm days we had last winter. How the poor slobs who live in upstate NY do it, I'll never know. (and hope to God to never have to figure out...)

So if anyone has any winter duds they want to donate to my cause, just let me know. Either that or let me move down south...

(and speaking of down South... Sharon I hope you have hit the road adhead of the storm...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random thoughts on life

Life is not fair. I come in to work this morning and I have a bunch of "come ride today" emails. Because of Thanksgiving, our month end is bumped up to today. So not only can't I ride today when the rest of you slackers are out on the road, I'll be working late today to get the month end stuff done. So stop rubbing it in, you are making me cranky.

I was running last night and got sideswiped. Running is dangerous. Guess what sideswiped me, go on, quess! Nope not a big honkin' SUV... I got smacked by the flag on a RECUMBENT! If I hadn't jumped out of the guys way, he would have just plowed me down. To make it worse, he was going so slow that I could have sprinted up to him and shoved him into traffic if I hadn't been so stunned that I almost got run over by a RECUMBENT of all things. And the pea brain didn't even apologize. Looser.

You know, not that RECUMBENTS are bad, or that people that ride them are odd or anything. Because to follow down that train of thought might make me like the 90% of drivers who think that cyclists are odd, and ok to run over...

There was a great story in USATODAY on pilots who help transport shelter dogs from areas of low adoption to places where they will be adopted. I help move dogs from time to time in our well coordinated transport team. By truck. Out west we have utilized some of the pilots where the distance is too great. Isn't it wonderful that people can take something that they love (flying) and turn it into something that helps out another living being... Anyone who thinks they might like to do transport, give me a shout. Most legs are an hour or less, and you can do as many, or as few as you like.

On the same vein of helping things live... I read about a well known cyclist who was coming home from his training ride in the dark, with no lights, when he was hit and killed. I've been using these wonderful KNOG lights lately. They really aren't made to flood the road with light like mountain bike lights, but they dont have to be charged for hours, either. They are good lights, have a great plastic wrap around thingy that makes putting them on and taking them off easy, and they really do make you visible. So if you run the risk of not getting in before dark, get a new light. I hate it when we loose good cyclists...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks Firemen!

Last night I got home from running, threw the dogs out and jumped in the tub. Minutes later the sound of fire engines could be heard... so I hopped out, dried out and called Cliff to get the a scanner check.

One of my neighbors had a fire. I think fire companies from all over Goochland came. For a miserable, cold, rainy night, my normally quiet street looked like a war zone.

After awhile they got matters in hand, but the family had to get Red Cross assistance. I offered to take in any of their animals, but they didn't need me.

Who did they need... all those volunteer firemen, who came out on such a wickedly bad night to help out one of their neighbors. Thanks to all of you who volunteer your time to keep us all safe. In a rural county, with no hydrants, on cold, rainy nights, you all are just the best.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The year in advance

Well its pretty much a year down. Yesterday was the VAcycling Association meeting and we are all approved for the two races that we'll put on for next year. As always the State Senior TT that we put on and the Ft Lee race which will now be in the spring instead of the fall when everyone is sick of racing. I can tell you this, looking back on yesterday, its is good to know that you have friends who will stand by you when another club decides they want your championship race. Its one thing to bid every year for the championship, its quite another thing to have another club decide that they want the championship, and oh, they want to do it on your course! How'd that work out? Not too good.

What is really nice about the meetings is that the people who really want to make cycling work, and make cycling better come out. Yeah, sometimes things can get a bit dicy, but for the most part, the meetings really are about making things better.

So to that end I'm awful glad that Van Dessel is going to bring racing back to Waynesboro. That Waynesboro crit course is TOUGH, and the town has always embraced cycling.

And kudos to the guys in Roanoke who after their kick ass 3 days in July are going to do it not just one 3 day weekend, but two. I can't wait!

Special kudos to our friends at Natures Path (who keep me in bars...) for scoring the State Senior Crit for the Town of Ashland. Ashland is the Center of the Universe and should have cycling again after the demise of Cobblestone. Hint, walk across the rail road tracks to Homemades by Suzanne... yum.

So this year is over, for which I am very Thankful. Now I get to start gearing up to suffer all over again, with a full slate of races next year. Maybe this time all that running will pay off over the winter!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday night racin'

Last night we had a good Cycor turn out at Endorphin for the computrainer races. Mark North and Paula Smith joined us, for a total of 7 Cycor die-hards slogging it out on the trainers. If you can't get outside to ride, a little good hearted competition is the next best thing... even if it is done inside.

Funniest thing of the night... Paula and Sharon battling up the last hill. Me yelling at Sharon to dig and sprint, Sharon trying hard to sprint at the same time that she wanted to tell me to go to hell. Sharon nips Paula by less than a second. Who says you cant take this stuff seriously?

So how's the running going on the other dark nights of the week? I'm up to 5+ miles, just about where I want to be distance wise. It's rough, and I still dont want to run with anyone, and J you can forget me entering any running races in the near future. Running might be a great way to stay in shape when you can't ride, but what I'm doing is a far approximation from what I used to be able to do!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Computrainer low down

Yep, its that time of year, when all the little Cycor folks head on over to Endorphin Fitness (Michael Harlow's wonderful facility) to slog away on the Computrainer. Suffering alone is just wrong. Somehow, suffering with your buds makes it much better. Still sweaty, stinky and nasty, but ok.

Molly has been great and has gotten many of the local race courses, like Wintergreen programed in. So we can race Wintergreen, or Jeff Cup, or go over when we want and slog it out alone. Again, alone is bad.

After not being on the bike for almost two weeks my legs were screaming last night. I think I did my slowest ever performance on a tough course, and today I'm paying for it. Kudos to Gregg Gammon who used to get so pissed off when I would pass him in the last mile(or less) every week. Gregg positively stomped me last night.

And the pool of toxic sweat was just as bad under Big Bill's bike as ever... I dont care what he says...

So when the days are short, and the work days are long, give the computrainer a try. You too might become addicted.

Oh, and it looks like Chainlove has run thru the Reynolds wheels... but they had Zipp cranks on yesterday, and had pictures of 808's... I'm thinking they are going to be selling off Zipp wheels soon. Go on, take a look, bet you get addicted, too! (J is going to set up a 12 step program for me... Lord, I'm an addict and I need help. Just the thought of the tiny window to get a good deal has me drooling. Reynolds wheels, Zipp cranks, heck Pedro's bike cleaner kits. I admit it. I need help.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Heal Up Quick, Mark

While I was down in Virginia Beach, my buddy Mark Pye (aka Pyeman) got hit by a car in Bon Air. All I know, the driver of the car was charged with the accident, and Mark is in MCV- I think he has a broken arm, bad lacerations, and I'm hoping that is it.

So Mark, heal up quick. How in the hell are you going to do long rides with me if you are loafing in bed trying to recover from eating asphalt? Slacker...

If you haven't been to the Beach... you have to do it in the off season. My $350 in season room cost me $59 bucks. (Yeah they upgraded me, because I'm, well... Me.) My brittany George had a balcony room on the ocean near King Neptune. Too bad the City hadn't turned on the holiday lights yet, but we had a blast running on the boardwalk anyway.

Georgie scored his first group placement, which should have him nudging the top 10 britts in the country with only a few shows under his belt this year. Georgie is such a sweetie that he had people oohing over him... and I was able to direct them to Britt Rescue who happened to have a few great dogs at the show who really need a good home. Georgie is such a good ambassador for the breed, and I'm glad that I can use him to help the dogs who need a hand.

Funny sight of the weekend... The City has spent a ton of money redoing the convention center... who hangs there? The homeless. That's fine with me, they kept coming over and talking to George, thought it was mighty funny that this big show dog was named George (with a New York accent... Geohwge). What were they doing all day? Well, to my eye... they were stripping the coating off wiring(copper) that obviously came from HVAC type units. Missing any?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mean people suck

Literally.

Yesterday morning I was a little late for work as I had to stop and get gas in the Queen Cab. No biggie, and it was actually kind of nice as the prices just keep going down. I filled up because I had to drive to Orange last night, and the Beach on Saturday morning.

Ok, fine.

At lunch I zipped over to Wallyworld to get my stash of Diet Coke for the weekend. When you swill the stuff as much as I do, you need to buy cases at a time, and as much as I hate Wallyworld, the price there is much lower on cases of soda.

Soooo, I'm driving home and for some reason I glanced at the gas guage. Empty. At first I thought the guage was stuck. Nope, empty. Some scum sucking pig siphoned my tank at Wallyworld.

I hope you aspirated gas, you son of a flea bitten poop eater.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The slogfest

I've finally hit the tipping point on night riding. Last night I was able to get in a quick 22 miler, but quick is the key word. This is the off season, time to recharge, and having to hammer from the second you get on the bike is not exactly a recharge kind of thing. When you live in the country, it gets dark early and riding with lights is iffy at best.

Other alternative... riding death circles in the West Creek business park. Yes, I know other people do it. To me, its like riding in trainer hell. You go round and round and are always at the same place. The only excitment is watching for deer as I've had some close calls in there.

So whats a girl to do... run.

Yeah, yeah. Its a love it or leave it kind of thing. I love it. I just really hate having to start running again. Its not fitness, its the pounding. The next day I feel like someone has beaten the pants off me with a baseball bat.

So here's to suffering thru the opening weeks of running season. If I can make it for a few weeks, I should be set for the winter. Trust me, its a lot more fun to run 7 miles in the dark downtown, than to try to slog 20-30 in the dark, at 30 degrees in West Creek.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm addicted...

Times are tough. I've been on a self-imposed spending cut off. The way I figure it, the economy is going to get much worse before it gets better. My job is pretty much recession-proof, but that doesn't mean you can't get laid off. Plus, my little nest eggs are shrinking to the point that when I'm 90 I'm going to be bringing my cat food lunch to work.

And then there is Chainlove. Come on, you know it. And you are probably a closet Chainlove addict, too. Every half hour or so, up pops another deal. Yes, most to the deals are on stuff that you really don't want. Sometimes though, the deal you can't pass up pops up.

All of a sudden its like panic sets in. You gotta do something, and you gotta do it now, or poof, the deal is gone.

A few days ago I scored a set of those nice Reynolds Attack Wheels. For the price you just couldn't let them go. Not only were they dead cheap, but Chainlove charged like $18 bucks to ship them. Beat that.

Today, I was on hold hell at work and I pulled up the website... there were the Reynolds KOM wheels that my buddy has been lusting after. I got him on the phone just in the nick of time, and now... he should have his new climbing wheels in about a week. As he says... Wintergreen is going down!

I'm going to get real sick of PBJ here before long. In the meantime, my new wheels are on the way, and I'm just sure that they are going to make me younger, stronger, thinner and better looking. Carbon fiber does that for you.

So go on and look. I bet you get addicted to Chainlove, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Operation Kitty Rescue

Cliff lives on the great pet dumping way... (I do, too). Spring is deer dog dumping season, and fall is kitty dumping season. If you think that you are doing your pet a favor by taking it out to the country, you should know that the survival rate for your pet is pretty grim.

Thursday someone dumped 3 kittens. Cliff saw them in the road and tried to get them, but they were skittish so he went back to the house and brought back food and water for them. Saturday we searched for them, and it was pretty obvious that something BAD had happened and we couldn't find them.

Last night as I was going up the road, my lights caught four little eyes... again in the road. I was able to call him on the cell phone, told the dogs to behave and parked the truck.

It took a half hour of the kitties and I meowing at each other, but Cliff now has a 6 week old (+-) little white and black kitten, and a 10 week old (+-) yellow and white kitten, snugged up on cushions in his basement. The other little kitten obviously met a bad end. They are cute as can be, incredibly hungry, but surprisingly healthy for their stint in the woods.

So if you think you might like a lucky bundle of love, we have two that need homes pretty badly. And if you think that this proves that dumping pets in the country is ok... think of the other kitten that didn't make it. The Richmond SPCA offers free cat spay/neuter every spring to try to stop this senseless stuff. Get your cat spayed. Stop the insanity.

To my four dogs in the truck... who had to watch the show from the side of the road, with a 1/4 pizza for temptation... good boys. They seemed to know the gravity of the situation and were completely silent the whole time this operation went on. And the pizza... was untouched. Happiness is a well trained dog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wine, women, no song

J and I smoozed with the folks with big bucks last night at a wine/tapas party to thank the donors at the Virginia Historical Society. Not that J or I have $$. In fact I was looking at the servers from Sharper Pallet and thinking that might be a nice side job for me in the off season...

As always, we were the youngest folks in the room. That's sad. What's great about it is we got to flirt with everyone and rescue the staff when it looked like they were getting a bit to much attention from the donors.

So we flitted from table to table, drinking luscious wines from around the world, snacking on empanadas, chorizo, lamb skewers and other yummy stuff. By the end of the night,we had new friends from far and wide.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things are looking up

Lowest Gas Prices in Richmond
2.99 and 3.04 (Manakin Sabot- where I live!)

I don't know how long this latest little dip in the price of gas will last, but I'm going to be right happy now that it's here. Who'da thunk I'd be overjoyed at gas at $3 bucks...?

This is the time of year that all the great deals start piling up, and so far I've been really good at letting them all go by. Yesterday Chainlove had several great deals on Reynolds carbon fibre wheels... and I let them go. Frugal is good. Debt is bad. Being in debt when the stock market is doing back flips and stock brokers are jumping off the ledge (or should be jumping off the ledge) is just bad.

It's always darkest just before the lights permanently go out... but until then, maybe gas will stay at $3 bucks...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Random Acts

Face it, fall is coming, and the days are getting shorter. For me, getting a ride in after work is a true rushed affair. I zip home, throw the dogs out, and jump on the bike and go. There is no time for playing around.

So last night when everyone and their cousin wanted to talk to me as I was trying to get out the door... I was a wee bit stressed. I grabbed the bike and pedaled down the driveway and totally forgot about blinky lights.

I live in the country. When it gets dark, it gets real dark.

Damn, ok, one ride shortened. Then I thought, nope, pedal faster!

All worked out just fine until I got to the intersection of Maidens and Fairgrounds, my one really busy road that I have to cross. After a solid 10 minutes of waiting with no breaks, I was starting to sweat it... there was no way I was going to get in before dark.

And then...

This really nice man looked at me from his red truck. He smiled. He checked the oncoming traffic, and he stopped. Then he waived me across the street holding up the traffic behind him. Love you guy in the red truck! Mean it!

I was hauling freight in, but I got in before it was totally dark. One more ride for the record books, and a new friend out there somewhere.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Columbia to Scottsville

Sunday was one of those fall days that just have to go down in the record book as fab. 48 degrees to start, and it hit close to 80 in the afternoon. With a gentle breeze, you really couldn't get a better day. To be out on the bike... priceless.

We hooked up with a RABA ride from the desolate flood town of Columbia out to the little C'ville bedroom community of Scottsville. Scottsville has the coolest old fashioned 4th of July celebration, with bluegrass, vendors and fireworks by the levee.

You start out of Columbia by climbing a one mile hill into Cumberland. Nice. All the way out to Scottsville there were great views, great farm land and really nice people. Once in Scottsville it was obvious that the money pinch had come to roost in this little burg. Two of the restaurants we had eaten at before were closed, as was the first gas station we went to and the convenience store. We were lucky enough to find a gas station open, and then had to again climb out of the flood plain.

I would say that except for getting stung in the neck by a yellow jacket as I was screaming down one of the steep hills that this was just about the perfect ride. 63 miles, lots of hills, great roads. If you'd like a cue sheet, give me a shout and I'll email you one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm

Ok, Dr Marc: We are going to have remedial training on exactly how to strap down a $6000 bike. While bikes should fly down the road, they shouldn't literally fly off your vehicle. Ouch! Now that's gonna leave a mark!

Like J says, sometimes its ok to be a wee bit OCD. Like me, when the bikes were on the top of my Camry, I'd ride with the window open so that I could reach out and touch them every 45 seconds or so... now that they ride off the back of the Queen cab, I have to have a clear view, and not only do I strap them down, I tie them up. (and have gotten to races with bikes and/or wheels only hanging on by dog leads...)

When Regina Jacobs was ruling the track (running) she had this nasty habit of pulling out of major races... when she thought she was going to get busted. It was sinus infections, etc... all a month out. (she finally got hers in the Balco affair)

Spartacus, say it aint so! How many top riders pulled out of the worlds because they were tired, didn't want to lead young guys, had a hang nail, or whatever? If these guys get caught cheating, I hope they have to forfeit a testicle or two... Give them a penalty that hits home, as it were...

And I may just have a new love... we do a century in the slop on Sunday, and teammate Brian emails me to let me know that as our team mechanic he wants to work on my bikes... Oh, Brian, do I have a scummy bike for you! I think it has dried worms living in the bottom bracket and the idea of having to soak the more crusty bits off has left me cold. (good thing I have back up bikes...) Now I can leave the less glamorous stuff to a studly guy while I do my nails or something! (yeah, right)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sharon's First


Welcome to "Love Your Bike" season. Or as I affectinately call it, Century Season. This is my favorite time of the year, soon to be taken over by windy and dark season, which is NOT a favored time.
We dragged poor Sharon up to Hartwood for her "maiden voyage." Considering the fact that we took her out on a 50 mile ride a few weeks ago, and that was her longest ever ride at the time, 100 miles was going to be a stretch. Not to worry though, we told her that she could do it, and we were sure she could. All we had to do was hold her back and keep her from killing everyone in the first 50 miles!
Sunday was humid. Think Equatorial humidity. Spontaneous shower stuff. Roads wet all day stuff. The kind of day when you know that you should use chamois cream, but since the shorts were already wet by the time we left the parking lot, you didn't want to add to the moisture wet.
(Shoulda used the cream...) We always blow off the first stop and by the second I knew that it was going to be a crotch rot kind of day. Wet shorts are just bad all over... Wet roads that kick up all kinds of slimy nastiness are just bad. Not drinking because its just too wet is bad.
In the end we lollygagged most of the ride, averaged 17.2 mph, and finished strong. The bubbly poured and no one died. A good sink bath got off most of the nasties, and a healthy dose of Badger Balm should take care of the lack of skin down there (I hope).
Funniest site of the day... the girl on the Specialized with one water bottle but 10 Gu's taped to her top bar... They do have food at centuries. How you could choke down that much Gu in a day is beyond me. Doing it on ONE bottle of water...? We passed her about a dozen times, and slowly that Gu stash disappeared. She must have an iron lined gut.
Congrats Sharon on your first century, you da woman!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Svein takes silver!

I first saw Svein Tuft when he came down to little old Richmond to race the US Open race. I had hip surgery the day before, but was bound and determined to make it to the start line to cheer everyone on. So Cliff got me as close as he could, and we hobbled me over some 7 blocks.

It was cold. It snowed. April in Virginia, who would have thunk it... The race started late as the TV helicopters couldn't fly in the storm, and poor cyclists were freezing to death in Williamsburg.

Out of nowhere comes the tuff man from Canada... up Libby Hill on the nastiest cobblestones you've ever seen, over and over and over again. What made everyone love him? When they said that he was from Canada and was used to riding in that kind of weather... Svein looked shocked and said that heck no, he wasn't!

So I started following this guy, watching him have great results all the time. Tour of Missouri, Pan Am Games... he seems to do well everywhere. And now his team is folding so its seriously cool that he pulled a silver medal out of his bag and will hopefully get a gig on a big team.

Kudos to the Tuff guy from Canada from the Richmond Chicks! Way to go!

Dan Nicholson on VA Currents Tonight


Cycor's own Dan the man is on Virginia Currents tonight, so check out your local PBS station for the time- usually 8 pm!
Dan is of course a former paraolympic world record holder, Paraolympic gold medalist and national champion. He has moved from the flood zone of the City of Richmond out to Waynesboro where he is now retired from racing and back working at Home Depot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Second Coming

There were rumors all spring, then when summer was coming around you could feel a steady pounding of the drums. Today Tom Demerly put out an all points bulletin that Cervello was going to make a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

And here she is, the second coming... The new P4! (make appropriate oooh, ahh noises that we have all been trained on at baby showers...)

Yeah, I know that Cervello said that there wasn't a P4 in the works. Like they were really going to ruin this years P3 sales. Now all the people who bought those so last year P3's are going to have to ditch their bikes and get the P4. Its a steal, $6800 with Sram Red. Buy two, they go fast! (literally)

Funny thing about the ultimate go fast bikes though... most people can't ride them and would be better off on a much cheaper P2c. Yeah, you've seen them... they're the ones who have extra spacers under the bars and still can't maintain an aero position for long. They have to get up and stretch and try to uncontort their necks. All that stretching makes them go slow. Extra spacers throw off the handling of the bike. The P2C is a great bike, but in the quest for the "best" it gets overlooked.

Nice to have your 3rd best bike be the best bike for most people, huh?

So if any of you get one of these latest and greatest bikes, say in a size 51, and you find that it doesn't quite fit you, let me know. I'm such a nice person that I'll take it off your hands, and won't even charge you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chi Hauling

It helps if you are going to drive out and back 1000 miles in a weekend to have a buddy along. Lucky for me, I have J. Who else would come over, ride at 0 dark 30 on the first sub- 50 degree morning of the year, and then pile into the Queen cab for a road trip to Depressionville, Ky with me?

New best place to eat on the east coast... Tamarack. That's the WVA arts tourist trap where WVA artisans show off their wares at incredibly inflated prices... The saving grace? The Greenbrier has a food court there, and you can eat real high quality stuff for very little $$. I've been to the Greenbrier, they sure don't price the food there the way they do at Tamarack! Broiled trout, roast potatoes, green beans, all for $9 and change. J got salmon. It was the best we ate all weekend, not to mention the cheapest.

We make it to Winchester, Ky and its pretty obvious that hard times have hit that town. The hotel next to our hotel had the EFIS siding delaminated and littering the parking lot. We were sure we were in the WRONG place. Our Holiday Inn was next door and J and I watched people go in and out of the "abandoned" hotel's rear doors all night. It was surreal. The only place in town we would eat at was a Applebees, and it was maybe 1/3 full on a Saturday night. I got fajitas, and the guac and salsa were FROZEN. Obviously, people don't eat out much in Winchester.

Coming home was interesting to say the least. I haul a trailer about once in a blue moon. I can do it, I just don't often have call to. So pulling a trailer full of my Dad's riding lawn mower, generator, and other equipment was interesting. Add that I have a small truck, and had to go over big mountains...

So J and I decided that when the economy really tanks I'm going to start a new business... Chi Hauling. In J's words, " Karen is going to market a new trailer-hauling school - it's called "chi hauling". It's based on the principal that everything "flows" or moves forward. It entails NO backing up because that would be terrible karma that would set the world off its axis, so all one needs to do is move ahead, smoothly, "flowingly", and serenely. She's even determined that if the insurance industry gets too bad, she and Cliff can become a long-haul team. She'll drive forward, and if the need ever arose to go in reverse (and that would be VERY RARE), that would be Cliff's job.... ;)"

We made it. No backing up. 3 tanks of gas home, only 2 out. (Of course we couldn't run the a/c coming home, either.) We got the trailer dumped off at U haul with 3 minutes to spare.

Life is good. All is right with the universe, by not backing up, the ocean's will still flow. I couldn't do much to stop the debacle in Congress, but we'll work on that for the next trip.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Enter the Twilight Zone

I don't watch a lot of tv. I have a satellite so I can get VS so that I can watch bike racing. Guess what, VS hasn't shown a lot of bike racing, and they don't show cross over the winter. With the economy in the toilet, why have satellite? So when my trees grew enough to block the signal, I decided to ditch the dish.

Except, as a 10 year customer, DISH really didn't want to loose me...

So they sent out a little man to check my satellite. My only caveat since they do 1/2 day scheduling, the little man had to call me before coming. Heck, if I'm going to miss a 1/2 day of work, a call might actually allow me to not be tied to the house. Yeah, no call, and no signal.

End of story? Afraid not. DISH was sure that their "Area Manager" could fix this problem and they'd be happy to send him out on a Saturday. Again, 1/2 day schedule, he would be there between 12 and 5. Again, I requested a call first. No problem.

Again, no call. And if that guy was an area manager... I'm Sara Palin- lipstick and all. He barely spoke English, I had to loan him a ladder, and when I asked him about the call, he told me they don't do that. He asked me why he was there, and then told me that I had too tall trees and would have to cut them all down. Then he left, but not before telling me that if I got a real expensive package, I could have signal. No thanks.

So last night I get a call from this snarky woman who wants to reschedule my appointment since I wasn't home when their guy came out... What? Yes, she had it on her list, that I wasn't home. I told her that I was home, described the "area manager," his vehicle, what he did at my house, and the fact that I had to loan him a ladder as he was not prepared. Then I told her that, and yes, he didn't call before coming out.

Oh, they don't call... she does. When the guy is about to leave his last job, he calls her and she calls. Every time. I asked her what number she called me at... she didn't know. But she logs it. I asked her if she had her log. Yes, she did. So what number was on the log. There wasn't one... So if there wasn't a number, how did she call me? Well she didn't think that that mattered... Oh, and if you didn't reach me, is that why you put that I wasn't home, even though I spent 30 minutes with the "area manager?"

To make it even more funny, this "area manager" was supposed to make sure my service was cancelled. My dish was deactivated when the first guy came out. Did he stop my billing? Nope.

So now I can drive over to Cliff's to watch the one or two more races VS shows this year. And I'll save 50 bucks a month. That's almost a tank of gas. Almost...

Monday, September 15, 2008

End of Summer Crit

Kudos to Sharon- who said, "We shall have a race, and it shall benefit the soldiers and their families on Ft Lee. And so in the course of a day, it did come to pass... and this race went off pretty much without a hitch. No one crashed, and every one had a great time in that odd way that bike racing can be called a great time. There was drama, there was suffering, and there was a whole lot of sunburn from the 95 degree September day.

And Karen declared... it was good.

Money was raised, prizes were won and Ruth shouted encouragement until she could shout no more.

People who don't even race bikes came out to help. Cliff was everywhere, and did everything, as always. Jeanne Minnix designed the coveted tshirts, Poppa Ben course marshaled, SanDee course marshaled and helped at registration. Even the Best Buy ladies got in the act helping to hydrate heat stricken racers- including the Divine Miss K.

How does a great race happen? It takes a village. For all the people who went out of their way to step up to the plate, we thank you. To Chip Goble at Natures Path who always supplies us with yummy bars, we thank you. To Carolyn, Chip's Mother- who makes sure we get the bars, we thank you. Best Buy, General Dynamics, SRA International, and Hammer Nutrition, we absolutely love and applaud you. Chik fil a and Dominos gave free coupons. Area merchants gave primes to some fast racers.

Team mates like Bill Battle who step up to the plate and always ask, "what do you need? What can I do?" Julie who pulled triple duty, ran and won a 5k race in Fredericksburg, broke the land speed record and did super work in both the 40+ and cat 1-3 races to ensure that we won the women's team BAR, Steve who came out and raced and worked in the midst of a family crisis, Greg and SanDee who stayed to volunteer despite having storm damage from Gustav, Katie, Trent,Sonya, Tom and James who were always where they needed to be... we wouldn't do this without you. You always pull thru. Every job is important.
Steve Coehlo

Thank you everyone who worked, raced, and helped us raise money to support the troops who selflessly sacrifice so much to keep this the land of the free.

We cant wait to do it again next year!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The week before rush

We are 3 days out from our benefit race at Ft Lee. Col. Sharon said, we will do this, and so we did.

I have no idea why you can plan for everything to the smallest detail, but the week before, the craziness starts. The mad dash for straw bales after a drought. (Hay bales would have been impossible to find.) Hammer didn't get our confirmation order, but graciously Fed Ex'ed the product to us when we could show them that yes, we did it email it. (and the stuff should be on my porch tonight) Missing boxes of shirts, and the EBAY effect of people wanting to be the very last person to enter.

Do you know what all that does to your blood pressure? Sky high. Sharon, bless her heart, took most of the week off to handle all this. Good thing...

She sent email after email telling people that if they don't pre-reg by Thursday afternoon, getting on the base is a pain. Pre-reg, and she'd leave a list with the gate guards. Thursday evening, she was getting emails from people begging to get on the list.

The cool things: The tshirts that Jeanne Minnix designed for us are in and as usual she did a fab job. Chik fil a gave a ton of free coupons, Dominos has given free pizza coupons, and our friends at Natures Path again came thru with yummy bars. If nothing else, we are the club that does bike races where you get nice swag bags. Just like a tri, without the tri cost.

So kudos to Col. Sharon, who's can do attitude never ceases to impress me. When other people say they are going to do things, and don't, Sharon ALWAYS pulls thru. Good on you, girl.

And to all those people, in my club and not... who so graciously called and emailed to help. Thank you. It is so refreshing to have people ask what they can do to help. All of you, make racing better.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Burp-o-meter


So Sunday, we're out on a great ride, and we stop at this little, itty-bitty country store. Think tiny. And there we are, resplendent in our flashy team kits and bikes...
And what does J and Sharon do? Burp off. To make it more fun, J walks over to throw away a coke bottle as this little old man was topping off his gas tank, and cranks out one of the loudest burps you've ever heard. I swear it would have set off a Richter scale as well. The little man, kind of fell back against his car and looked at J with new found respect, or horror. I'm not sure which.
Who would have thought that all that gas could come out of someone as small as J... I"m not worthy. I'm not worthy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lifesaving X 2

My dogs love the water. This summer it has been so dry that they can literally run lengthwise down the South Anna River. George, in particular, is hard to keep out of the river and creek.

After 6" of rain today, no one is running down the river. The river is up more than 6', and is almost out of the banks. The happy little creek beside it is likewise full and rolling.

So, there I am on the phone with Col. Sharon, getting regaled by the latest nonsense on the VAcycling list about our race next week, when I spy, out of my little eye, George about to jump in the river. So I dropped the phone, kicked off the shoes, and yelled as he went in, and went under.

Then I went in after him, and went under. Good thing I took all those life saving courses, huh? I got him to the bank, but couldn't get purchase on its muddy surface, and was able to haul him up to Cliff as I started downstream. Cliff was able to get a foot hold and get a hand to me, and popped me out.

So who was stupider, me or the dog... I'm not going to let one of my guys drown, but you have to respect the force of water. Geez, no wonder people drown after tropical storms, that water was powerful. I don't kayak without a buddy, and never without a vest and a helmet, and here I jump in wearing 20 lbs of cotton jeans and shirt.

Alls well that ends well. Now its time for a nice, hot bath, and a glass of wine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Whole Check

When I'm finally crowned Queen of the Universe, one of the first things I'm going to do is make all repair guys USE cell phones to call customers to let them know when they are going to arrive. This "I"ll be there between 12 and 5, unless I'm late" stuff is no longer acceptable. My satellite is out, and that's what I got. After taking 1/2 day off work, they can't fix it. In the meantime, I got to wait at home in a snit because I couldn't get out on the bike, and I had to take vacation time to wait.

So what do I do when I get aggravated? I clean. Tropical Storm coming? On the roof with me to clean the gutters. Then I dismantled the vacuum cleaner to unclog all the dog hair. By the time the guys got there I was sure someone was going to die.

Who? Me. My head was so stuffed up that I could no longer breathe from all the dust. Which meant that after they left that I still couldn't get out and ride.

So, I went to the new Whole Foods. It's like Disneyland for adults. I probably wont buy groceries there, but all those food bars, with salads, soups, seafood, smoked meat (really...), and the best looking pizza that I've seen in a long time. Oh, and then there was a wine bar. I could move in. Like today.

Too bad that the paycheck doesn't stretch quite far enough to actually do that. Cool store, great customer service. Good prices on some stuff, the moon on others. After a nice hard bike ride though, this is going to be the go to place. We can all go and stink up the place and everyone can get exactly what they want.

Next to open... Trader Joes a block away. For as much as I hate Short Pump... it may just be my new favorite area.

Now if all these great customer service oriented companies could just teach the repair guys what customer service is...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lessons from Bull Durham


The Divine Miss J is wicked fast. Both on a bike and on her own two little feetsies.
Saturday she again won this race up near Leonardtown, and as always the local reporters were all over her to get the story. Saturday was nasty. It was hot, and soupy. Not great running conditons. And our Miss J, being the honest person that she is, told it like it was. Geez, you can almost hear the Grusome Growler in her as you read!
Ok, so here is today's lesson. If you ever win a race, and have the great joy of having to respond to a reporter while you are still anoxic, you must take a page from Bull Durham, or track and field sprinters, whichever...
1. Thank God. Today God made my feet very fast, and I thank him for giving me the gifts to have such a divine ability to fly down the road. For it is thru his gifts that I am the supreme being that I am. (and by implication, you are a looser, probably because you squashed a turtle in another life.)
2. Thank the city... We are so blessed that (name of city here) has graced us with such a beautiful venue to have this event. The people have been so gracious to me and I cant wait to come back with bus loads full of tourists with full pockets of cash to spread around to all the businesses!
3. Thank your sponsors. Don't they sponsor you to get their name in print? Want them to do it again? I wouldnt be here without all the help from the best bike/running shop in the world, (name inserted here) They have literally made me what I am today. (and by implication, would make a looser like everyone else fast, too)
I'm going to be working hard on J. Next time I fully expect to see a prime Nascar quote out of her.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A life well lived

Every once in awhile you read something that kind of sets you back a bit. I was surfing at lunch and came across this: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Features/Endurance_sports_legend_Barbara_Warren_dies_after_Santa_Barbara_bike_accident__495.html


When it is my time to go, I hope that I have a life as full as Barbara Warren. Criminy, war survivor, film star, Ironman, winner of RAAM (2 person), and the list goes on and on and on and on. This was a lady who had no moss clinging to her.

Barbara was competing in the Santa Barbara Triathlon when she had a bike crash which left her paralyzed. When it became obvious that the condition was permanent, she asked to be taken off the ventilator and died with her family around her.

I didn't know her. You probably didn't know her. But Luke, there was a disturbance in the Force. Another great one has passed.

I hope when it's my time to go, that I can look back on such a life and know that I did everything that I ever wanted to do, and that I left such a legacy behind. And I hope that if I'm ever in a pickle like Barbara, that my family and friends will let me go and not leave me trapped in a shell.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Live and let Die

I believe that all little critters deserve a chance. I plant extra in the garden so that the little guys can have extra to eat. The deer ate almost all of the peaches this year, but it was dry and I bet they needed the moisture.

I dont use pesticides. Not only does that stuff kill bad bugs, but good ones, too. Plus they also poison me, and all the rest of the critters that live at Camp Runamuck.

I'm going to make an exception. Cliff and I rode early this morning so that we could get ready for the cook out we're throwing this evening. We stopped at Ukrops to get the last few things and were coming in the door when one of those MFing European Hornets got me.

No, its not like a bee sting. No, its not like getting stung by a yellow jacket or wasp. These suckers are 2-3" long, and look like a wasp on steroids. What does it feel like? I imagine like getting stabbed. I went straight down and now I can hardly move my right arm.

Two years ago I had a nest of them. They were pretty placid and were having a good time eating some kind of sap that my oak tree puts out. Then they stung my Doberman. And then they all died.

So tommorrow, the plan is to find the nest and then wait until dark. I don't want to spray where there can be innocent bystanders. But those huge suckers, they're goin' down.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sonya takes the Cake

Super Sonya wins the VACycling Omnium! Way to go girl, for a first year racer, she steadily improved all year, and showed that she can compete in any venue... up hill, on the flat, in time trials! We are all really proud of you and how far you've come!


And a huge shout out to Pave' Maria, the most consistent, fastest, nicest competition a girl could ever have. Week after week, all year long, Maria kicked my ass and then some. It doesn't hurt that she has the best equipment manager in the biz, either. (Even if he did let her down at the last time trial... just kidding, Ben.) Maria is going to look mighty fine next year in that state champion jersey.

And an even bigger thrill for little Kristin and her bud, Mallory who tied to win the Omnium for junior 12-14 girls. Tying your best friend... what a blast!

So 2 omnium winners on our girl's team. Now that is an accomplishment I'm proud of!


It's RAINING!

After not having rain for 2 1/2 months, its finally raining! It's probably too late for most of my landscaping, as no matter how much bucket watering I did the oak trees would just suck it up.

I wish I was home, laid out on the sofa watching all this wonderfulness falling from the sky. I love rain.

Tonight I think I'm goning to start the winter running early. Running in the rain is the best.

It's raining. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Personal responsibility

I got out to ride late last night as I've been trying to get a lot of work done at work. Yeah, they call it work because it isn't fun... If it was fun, they would call it fun.

I went out the backway on the rich side of Shallow Well so that I could talk to the horses and get centered again. Some days you just need to step back and do what makes you happy.

When I got on Shepherdstown the same chow/lab mix chased me that always chases me. This time, his owners were in the yard- and they didn't call off their dog. So after I yelled at him, jerked my leg away as he tried to bite me I slowed down until I wore him out.

And then I turned around and came back to talk to the owner...

I asked this 50ish lady if the dog was hers. Then I introduced myself and told her that I was really afraid that one day, when her dog went to try to bite me he was going to get squashed by a car, that it had almost happened a few times. She shrugged. Then she told me how it was cyclists fault for luring him into the road.

WTF?

I asked her when she watched her dog chase me and almost bite me what I did to lure him into the road. Well, cyclists call the dog out by yelling and then pepper spray him.

So yelling "dog", and then scrambling to get out of the way is luring him out? Apparently so.

Its pretty funny when you come to think about it. So I thanked her, extended my hand which she was kind of forced to shake and then I told her that she may want to think about that. You know, neighbor to neighbor. I told her what I do for a living, and then gave her my "you are on notice speech, and how legally, if someone gets hurt because of her dog... well, it can get right expensive. You know, neighbor to neighbor.

I am always amazed that people don't do better. If you have a dog, take care of it. If something is wrong fix it. If you actually like that dog, build a fence. I find it totally strange that common sense and decency is such an out there kind of concept.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Congratulations Jenn!!!!!

Graphics Goddess Jenn and her super stud boyfriend got engaged this weekend. Adam, who is always pushing Jenn to new and bigger heights made her climb up Vesuvius on the Parkway, and when she got up to the peak proposed. Now there is a man who understands that you have to work for the best things in life! Wow, a 13 mile climb to get a diamond ring!

Best wishes you two for a lifetime of love and happiness!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yum!

For Cliff's birthday I got him some little things and the big TA DA, a wine dinner at Lemaire, the 5 star restaurant in the Jefferson Hotel. I scored big time, getting us in for 1/2 price, one of my better deals of this year.

Worth it, oh yeah!

Pre-dinner reception with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc, fried oysters in grits, fresh figs, etc... yum.Then we were ushered into a single room with a long dining table. We were lucky enough to sit across from a med flight pilot and his wife, and a lovely lady who works for International Blood Services. She told us some very interesting tales of her travels and travails in Africa. Yikes.

Course after course of unbelievable food, paired with wine from Washington... all presented by the vintner. Getting to sit next to her and ask her questions all night was the best. Wine and wine making are facinating and she didn't disappoint in that regard.

Got a couple hundred laying around and want to do something really cool? I highly recommend doing one of the wine dinners at the Jefferson

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winning is fun

Some weekends just turn out picture perfect. Not usually, but the rarity of it makes it all the more sweeter when it happens.
Saturday was the last Go Fast Turn Left Race of the season. I won't lie, I hate going round and round a speedway, but I love racing, and these races give me a prime chance to ride for my team mates.
It took all I had three times to finally get J into a breakaway that would stick. J works for me all the time. Getting to help her every now and then makes me feel worthwhile. Sharon and I blocked while J, Pave Maria, and Emily lapped the field.

J, by the way is the chick that everyone hates to be behind. She's a total monster. Skinny as a rail, strong as an ox. You just flat can't draft off her.

In the sprint she took second to super sprinter Emily. Then came Sharon, to take the cat 4 race. Sharon has been working on sprinting drills all summer, and one up, you are not going to get her. What did Sharon say about her win? That it was all the sweeter because she had a part in getting J up the road. And special kudos to Jenn... Jenn's big goal for her first year of racing was to be able to hang with the pack for an entire race. Congrats Jenn, last race of the year, and YOU DID IT!

It wasn't just a team love fest, either. We LOVE Kevin Dillard. Somehow he always finds a way to make a stinky bunch of chicks on bikes look great. He's always around, taking pictures for free. Of course, those cool ones in this post are from Kevin. We love ya man, mean it!

Sunday it was back in the Queen Cab at 4:30 to get to the Sportsplex for the Coastal Crit. Those 4 am wake up calls get to you after awhile. I was a bit concerned about such a flat course, with a mixed field of cat 4, 40+, cat 1-3 race with cat 1 racers, but it all worked out just fine. A few near misses, but no crashes in our race.

10 primes. 10 primes in one race, geez they must have worked like dogs hitting up every business at the Beach! As I don't live anywhere near the Beach, and don't do tanning beds, the primes were not for us. So what did we come home with? First 40+, First Cat 4 (Super Sonya on her 2nd win of the season), and 2nd Cat 4 for Sharon who started her sprint from way back.

All in all a good weekend. I think we'll keep it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eau du Bike Racer

Coming home from the Coastal Crit I glanced in the rear view mirror to see the pretty, blue, flashing lights. After all was said and done I called J and told her that a cop pulled me over. In the background I could hear her hubby- Dave say, "What, she was driving too slow?"

Ok, so I"m a safety first kinda girl. As a litigation Specialist for a large insurance company I've seen all kinds of ways that people can get messed up, and more messed up is just not something I need. So I try to be safe, always. Yeah, and I race bikes. But like Gilbert told the women's field before our start, he knew that our race would be safe, because if anyone did stupid stuff, that I'd yell at them. (and everyone in the field nodded their heads...)

So this young officer came up to my door and asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. Now I've handled enough police shootings to know that lipping off to a kid with a gun and a badge is a bad thing. It is, trust me. I did have to tell him though that I hadn't a clue why he stopped ME!.

Now if he had pulled over J or Sharon, we would have known, me, no clue.

So there he was peering in the truck and taking a good look and smell and I swear his head snapped back. There were no drugs in my truck. I could have used a hand full of Motrin, but there were none to be had. So I told him that I was a bike racer and all the crap in the Queen Cab was two days worth of living in the truck.

I swear his eyes were watering. Eau du Bike Racer... gets them every time. I usually put my kit in a hazmat bag, but there on the seat next to me were two days worth of jerseys and shorts. Not to mention, little ole' me, sitting there radiating the day's efforts.

Why did he pull me over? Missing registration stickers. What did he do? Let me go. Quickly.

Eau du Bike Racer. We might just have to bottle this stuff up and sell it to the military.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wickedly tired

Last night was a longer toodle day. As the season is winding down, I'm starting to show my age, and I am just not recovering very fast. So I'm going to take it slow this week, give myself a recharge and hope the stuff going on in my hip subsides. I went out for a longer recovery ride, with lots of hills that I planned on riding easy.

That was the plan, and I'm glad to say that except for a 200 meter chase to catch up with a gang of lycra clad, smooth legged, handsomness that I nearly succeeded. There I was, huffing up the long drag to the Rockville store, when I hear "It's Karen!" "Hey, Karen!" "Catch on, Karen" "Karen, where's the champagne!!!" Just makes a girl giddy to have all that testosterone flying by her, you know? So I latched on for a little bit until the cars behind me made me realize that I was not following the plan. So back to the small ring, to spin home for this tired puppy.

It probably won't help matters that I was up at 4:45 to make sure I could watch the men's tt on MSNBC. What a cool race! And what is up with the toll booths on the course! I think it was Contador who almost took one out! Geez, it was just a wicked ride, and I wish I could have seen the women's race as well. (They cut to beach volleyball, which I just can't understand. )

With track racing about to start, and then track and field, I think I'm in for a couple more weeks of sleep deprivation. I went to the wrong floor of my office building yesterday, and wondered why they moved the cubies around. I predict that stuff is going to get worse before it gets better....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just Ridin'

After a hard weekend of racing, sometimes you just need to go out and toodle around a bit. So I headed out to the rich side of the road to talk to the horses. You can learn a lot from horses if you pay attention.

1. All the horses have fly sheets and hats these days. Getting eaten up by bugs is not nice, and if you are going to go out in public, a hat can be a good thing.

2. All the horses in my neck of the woods have grazing muzzles on right now. Due to the vagaries of nature, you may have gotten plenty of rain, but in Goochland we are Sahara dry. Horses need to think they are eating all the time, but if they actually could eat all the time during the drought, they'd destroy the pasture. (and end up eating a lot of dirt.)

3. When the sun is out, horses get in the shade. Horses may be walking vet bills, but even they aren't dumb enough to stand in the sun and bake if they can help it.

4. Horses understand team work. One guy usually is on the lookout for bad things, while everyone else snacks or sleeps. If everyone was on the look out all the time, no one would get to eat or sleep. Team work keeps you safe.

A little farther down all the corn fields are getting cut already. Yeah, it's August, but since we didn't get rain when we needed the rain the corn out here is a close total loss. So the farmers are chopping it up and making silage to feed the cows. For the first time in years some of these guys were going to make a profit due to the flooding in the mid-west. Unfortunately we couldn't buy any of that rain and crops here have dried up to nothing.

Toodling on the bike is always an eye opening experience. Just going a little slower and you never know what you'll see. Like the deer in the soy beans, the foxes following the combines to get the mice and rats that get scared up... lots of stuff.

Life is good, but it sure would be better if it rained!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pride in your hide

Saturday was a great day for racing. It was cooler, but earlier(which meant a 4 am wake up to drive down, yawn!) From the get go, the attacks were furious, but futile.
One lap to go and field was still together for about 100' and then wham the attacks started again! Fast, furious, just what racing should be. Lots of bumps, a whole lot of cussing, but no crashes and no cars on the course during OUR race.

Long drive home for a birthday and another 4 am start for Sundays PLT #3.

I swear competition makes you stronger. I live for it. I would much rather get 2nd or 3rd in a strong field, than 1rst in a weak field any day. When I ran, I used to win the local races on a regular basis. What were my favorite races? The big ones- the ones with the tougher competition. I could place in my age group at Lynchburg in the 10 miler, but couldn't get up for a top placing to save my life. Yet that was always my favorite race.

So having BJ, Maria and now Mimi down here racing has done me a world of good. They have made me be stronger and faster. When BJ went down this spring, it took some of the wind out of my sails, but Maria was always there to kick my butt. Sunday, Maria flatted about 1/2 way, but I knew that I still had to pour on the gas or Mimi would get me. She didn't. I beat her by one second. And in order to get that, I had to have my second best time on the course ever.

This one was truly a solitary effort. I left the new computer at home. There it was, on the counter when I got back. Good thing I was a runner and can do effort based racing. I'm thinking that next year I should just ditch the computers all together, and just do tt's by feel. Maria started a minute ahead of me, and I could just make her out in the distance. I was bound and determined to keep her in sight, but lost her in the curvy roads thru the trees. Next time I saw her her day was done. The only other rider I saw was Laura Cook as she blew by me on her way to another pr.

Trust me, it can get lonely out there. At least until the 6 mile road back when the Mafia were yelling for me. Thanks guys. You know I love you.

TT's are a solitary effort. Or they are supposed to be. Please don't plan to cheat out loud in front of my truck. It gives me heart burn to hear it. Cheating just sucks. Drug cheats aren't the only cheats out there. If you aren't fast enough to beat other people... work harder. You'll get there. I did. You can.

The boys did force me to find a new favorite place down in Chesapeake... Woodchicks BBQ. Ok, service is slooooow, but the Q is grand. Onion rings, yum! And the company, the best.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ride Straight, Enter Early

Welcome to Friday where the whole week comes crashing down and you try to jam everything you didn't get done into one day, or one post.

There have been tremendous discussions in our local area about rider behaviour. My local Goochland paper has a flame war going on right now in the editorial section about how dangerous bikes are on narrow roads because someone almost got hit head on when a dump truck tried to pass a bike in a blind curve. Like a lot of the response letters have pointed out, Goochland is a rural county, and if you substitute farm tractor for bike, no one has a problem. The problem is that people insist on going 45 mph or faster on roads that you can not safely travel 45 mph on. Slow down.

Cyclists themselves are to blame for a lot of the bad rap. Group rides that take up the entire lane, and pacelines that contain 30+ riders do not meet the definition of sharing the road. Some rides have gotten so bad that I won't ride with them.

The Thursday night A ride was really bad, but last night broke up into manageable groups. So I decided to join them so I could ride with Cliff. All in all it was fast and safe. Except for swervy guy. Swervy guy, you need to ride straight. Go get a set of rollers. You will be black and blue for a long time, but you'll either eventually learn to ride, or will give up. Either way, the rest of the world will be safer. I eventually passed this guy, but it was like riding behind a drunk driver... you cant pass because you dont know what they are going to do next.

I sincerely apologize for the massive Tourettes stream of profanity that I threw out. Getting crashed by people who can't ride is not tops on my list...

Also not tops on my list is the new VAcycling competition to see who can be the absolute last person to enter a race. I envision people watching the seconds click down, waiting until it almost hits one before hitting the button. Even BAR winners, with free entries... don't enter until the last minute! As a promoter it really gives you heart burn.

Everyone got Braden's email this morning. He's going to have to pull the plug on the last Go Fast race is people don't enter now. What a lot of people don't realize is that you can easier cut off the costs is you cancel a race early vs. the night before. So for Pete's sake, enter the damn race. It's not EBAY, you aren't going to get out bid.

And people wondered why I put a late fee on the time trial. It was to stop this stupid stuff. You know you want to go, and the very few people who have to buy their spouses permission, should start that bidding process a little earlier than the day before the race!

Peace out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sometimes you just go home

Last weekend was lining up to be the driving weekend from hell. Saturday I had to be in Roanoke/Salem at 7 am for a dog show with Georgie, and Sunday I was to race and volunteer officiate at the Age Graded Road Race. Oh, and come home in between times... Somewhere in there I was supposed to sleep as well.

Saturday was ok. I got up at 3 am and was on the road shortly there after. We got down to the tiny civic center and found that most of the open space for dog crates was taken. I finally found a nice place and stacked all my stuff. An hour later I had a lovely confrontation with some Ridgeback people who announced that that was their space and I had to move.

I was about to call them out, and then looked at them, and then at Georgie, and decided to let them have the space. I was right, and would have won, but you never know what jerks will do to your dog when your back is turned. Fun experience number one.

George was at his dazzling best and won Best of Breed. I then hung around for 8 more hours only to overlooked in the group, and then had a 3.5 hour drive home...

Sunday I got up at 3 am to head up to the road race. It's a beautiful 2. 5 hour drive over the mountains with deer on every shoulder... I got in a little before 7 and checked in with the chief ref. My job, to ride in the wheel truck in case there was an emergency on the course. This was a blast. Ken drove me around all morning and gave me the local color, and I got to give him color commentary on what was happening. We both got to listen to the moto refs on the radios- my favorite phrase... the field is NOT animated. (Heck, I wouldn't have been much animated out there, either...) I gave a little Fat Frogs boy the only fluid I had in the truck- a diet coke to try to keep him hydrated when he ran out of water. (and I picked up his trash when he threw his bottle on the side of the road.)

All in all, that was fun!

What wasn't fun was the fact that my hip was completely tied up from all the truck riding for two days. By the time I did one race my hip was screaming at me. By the time to warm up came for me, I was done. I thought about it, even went to get changed, but the numbness down the leg wasn't going away, and the course wasn't getting any easier. So I loaded up and went home.

Yesterday I spent the day stretching, icing, taking motrin, and applying kitty-heat. Fuzz, my cat, practiced his brand of kitty magic, laying on my hip and calling the kitty- Gods to make my hip heal. (I think he was calling someone as he air kneaded in his happy state.) I'm back on the stability ball hoping that its a minor nerve irritation and will be better by this weekend.

Page Valley did a great job with this race. The course is tough, but fair. The locals were wonderful and supportive, and the scenery was to die for. Congrats to all who suffered on the road, especially my team mates!