Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'd rather race any day. I know almost everyone I race with, and trust almost all of them. I've been known to go up and have what I affectionately call the "Karen Talk" with people who I think are not going to be safe. Face it, despite an unfortunate crash earlier this Spring, most of the women's races down here are very safe. We know what's important. And when you have broken as many things as I have, you really know how much it sucks to spend a Summer laid up in a cast, or worse.
So this morning I had to tell yet another bunch of guys that I wouldn't ride with them. I'm sure they think I'm a bitch. I am. Born and bred. Growing up in the military we were taught to stand up and fess up. I'm a bitch, there I said it. Some of you guys take really stupid, unnecessary risks. Some of the really stupid stuff you do can get me hurt. Since I really hate being laid up, and make a terrible patient, (ask anyone who knows me...), if I think you are going to continue said dumb behaviour, you can just go off without me.
My friend Sharon dug up this really cool 10 page guide to pace line riding and gave it to me to distribute. If you want a copy, let me know. If you find one on your windshield after a ride, its because I love you. Really. We can all use a little help now and again.
Me I need help weeding the garden. So if anyone wants to help me, show up in loose clothing with good gloves. When the tomatoes, squash, green beans, beets, peppers and other veggies come in, I'll share. Promise.
Ya'll be good out there, ya hear?
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I knew last night before the fast ride that I was not feeling great. It was some kind of humid, and the storm clouds were brewing, but like an idiot, I pushed off to join the pack. By mile 5 I was having serious doubts. A few miles later I was having trouble bridging gaps, and after the first big hill I would have been shelled off the back if big Kevin hadn't waited for me.
Thanks Kevin. What I really needed was a PUSH! Or a shot to the head...
By the time we got to the Vontay Hill my guts were rolling. I got shelled some kind of bad. Which would have been the end of the story except that J and Cliff decided to come back for me to prolong my agony. Have you ever ridden with someone who can ride faster than you when you are ready to hurl? You can't ride their speed, but they think you can ride faster than you are, and the effort just makes those tummy juices flow. Then the misery of the situation hits you, and you just wish that either you would die, or they would... God I love J and Cliff. I wanted them to leave me for dead in the worst kind of way.
We finally got back. I think the last 5 miles must have taken a few days at least. It was funny, I could ride about 18 mph alone, but couldn't handle 22 in the paceline, even with no wind and on the flat.
We headed off to Jason's Deli and I had them make me a grilled cheese- sick people food. I swear that little sandwich kept growing on the plate and I left part of it and the soup mostly uneaten. That is definitely not like me.
Tonight is the first of the women's rides of the summer that I lead. I had better get into a better situation before 6 tonight or its going to be another rough go. Maybe someone will take mercy on me tonight and just kick me in the ditch!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Cliff came over this morning to get me out of the funk and we decided to ride west, young(ok, old) girl. Pretty much straight out Rt 250 towards C'ville on some of the prettiest and hilliest roads around. It was just what I needed. Hill therapy. Or, suffer therapy. 70 miles of that and I think I'm back on the straight and narrow. Add a head wind the whole way out and you have a perfect storm of helpfulness for a bad attitude. We went thru Gum Springs, Hadensville, Shannon Hill, Ferncliffe, Town of Louisa, Cuckoo, Shelfar, Inez, crap I forget the rest.
I can tell you that the menu at Obregato(?) in the Town of Louisa looks wonderful. If I had had a few more bucks on me I think I could have convinced Cliff to stop to eat. I'm not sure if they would have let us stinky cyclists in, but I'm pretty good at begging. That looks like a place we'll have to go back to.
Not so much the Everyday Cafe'/gas station. Cliff went in to get us a coke while I guarded the bikes. You hate to judge a book by its cover, but there are some mighty strange lookin' folks out there in Louisa. How such a beautiful town ended up with such a group is beyond me.
And how can Cliff convince dogs to go home so easily is also beyond me. Two big black dogs came charging at us at one point, and without raising his voice he just told them, "go on home, ya'll, go home." They looked at each other abashedly, and turned around, heads down and headed back. Its like magic. I was gearing up for a sprint- up hill.
So I'm tired, gearing up to grill some teriyaki pork tenderloins with a mighty nice Merlot for a chaser. I guess my attitude is improving, and maybe by the time I finish mowing, weed eating, pruning, and all the other chores tomorrow I'll be happy to go back to work.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
This morning I'm out riding with Cliff and the guys and you know how sometimes your chamois just wrinkles a tiny little bit? Yeah, like a Skoal commercial... " A little between the cheek and gum." Except with bike shorts its just not very nice. (not that I can imagine a chaw of tobacco being very nice, either.) I must have looked like a total spaz on the bike trying to get that little fold to stop pinching the hell out of my more sensitive parts. It's going to be a Badger Balm kind of night.
Trust me, I know all about keeping the area in shape. The whole de-forestation, wet ones, out of the shorts, and I have about 3 different home cooked chamois cream recipes. After you have to get a saddle sore cut out in the operating room you really learn that you don't want to repeat the procedure.
Tomorrow had better be a better ride. With gas prices so high, it looks like I'll be riding from home instead of RFK. I hope everyone there has a fab ride, and that everyone keeps the rubber side down. RFK is a great race, I just cant swing the gas!
Friday, May 23, 2008
This is the end of the quarter and things absolutely, positively have to get done. Top it off with our quarterly results meeting that normally ends at 4:30, and you have some serious rushing. Making it worse, the meeting didn't end at 4:30, it ended at 5. My fast ride leaves at 5:50. To get there, I have to drive 30 miles home, get the stuff together, get on the road and drive another 20 miles. Do the math...
Cliff had my dogs out, the van loaded with my stuff, including shorts, shoes, jersey, helmet etc... It was great to literally jump out of my truck, run to the van, and get dressed as we were zipping down the road. We got to the park just as our group left...
So we rushed to get out and down the road to race to catch group 3. I did my best Michael Jackson imitation with one glove. When we caught up to everyone I had to beg for 40 seconds to go pee. Yes, I really can pee that fast. We girls learn quick that when you have to drop your drawers to go fast.
Special thanks to the guys who broke with the pack so that I could get a hard effort in. Big Mark, you da man. Putting Mark on the front was a "just push play" move. He asked what I wanted, and went up and hammered the group into submission. You gotta love him. Except for a few of the nastier hills on the 2 ride, I think I got my work out in. I hate those hills anyway.
Happy weekend everyone. Be safe.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
One guy who is trying his hardest to do things right is my buddy and team mate Steve. Steve is on a mission to break an hour at our State TT. He's dropped a ton of weight, and comes out and rides as hard as he can. You can tell how hard he's working, he is looking great, and is always wonderful to be around.
Check out his new blog at go-steve-go.blogspot.com. You da man Steve! Just stay away from Dennis' warm beer and you'll beat your goal!
My Irish friends drink warm beer, but that's because they don't know from ice cubes. Of course they also say that we drink our beer ice cold to hide the taste- that American beer tastes like piss. I've never drank piss, so I wouldn't know...
Of course by the end of the ride I could have used one of said beers. Crap, it was windy last night. Kim begged Cliff and I at the beginning of the ride "Lets just go get pizza!" Noooo, I told her... my ass is too big and since the race on Sunday was bagged I needed to get a hard work out in. Wind, is our friend, I told her. Hah! (2 women on the ride last night- the dumb two.)
Not only was it windy, but the pace line yo-yo'd because of it, making gaps to avoid crashes which you constantly had to keep closing down. It was exhausting. By the time big Kevin got up to the front of the line heading to Vontay, pulling at 30 mph people were getting shelled right and left. Then I got dropped off first in line to go up the hill and promptly...
BOOM!!!! Did you all feel the explosion last night? That was me, blown to bits... molecules of Karen scattered into the wind...
If Cliff hadn't collected me and some of the other debris out there and dragged us back, I'm sure that I'd be dead in Rockville somewhere. It wasn't pretty, but we made it back. Cliff is still laughing at me. Yeah, wind is my friend. It's a great training partner. Just like hills and mean dogs.
I could have used one of those beers. Cold though, very, very cold.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Back in our old office I had sinus infections constantly. It was so bad that the ENT put me on maintenance doses of antibiotics. Antibiotics are BAD. Between the deviated septum, and the mold in the walls I was feeling mighty bad. Then the ENT recommended a sinus wash kit. Ewwww... GROSS! Except, these things work. Really work.
I finally broke down and bought one of the suckers and within a week my sinus infection was gone. Now I had to do the washing twice a day at first, but it only takes a minute to do so it was worth it.
I even have my Dad doing this. Cliff finally bit the bullet and got a kit as well. Several of my friends with bad allergies have been able to go off their allergy pills by sinus washing. Heck, the thing is so good that USA Today did an article on the whole system (not just Neil Med) advising that ENT's were now recommending people with sinus infections do this vs. antibiotics.
Last night everyone was cutting hay on my training route. I swear my eyes were just pouring tears trying to get relief. I was coughing, gagging, snorting and expectorating massive amounts of gu. By the time I got home, I was in rough shape. I grabbed the Neil Med, washed, and was able to sleep just fine.
So if you are suffering, go get a kit. They cost about $12.00, and while you don't want to have your squeeze watch you do it, it sure does help!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Dern rain. I get to a race at 7:30 am, and am on one of the two bikes all day. First the track races, which as always were a blast, and then gearing up for the crit, which I was really looking forward to. Just as we were ready to get called to the line, the sky opened up and it started to rain. Just a gentle rain. When I heard the race was called I was more than irked. I ride in the rain. It was a good call. We've lost too many good women racers this year and really can't afford to loose any more. Danielle gave me a hug and told me it was ok to sulk. Sulk I did, but it was still a good call.
Genie brought her sweet dachshund to play with Bob, but Bob stays home when the temps get above 70 degrees. Black, fuzzy dogs and heat are a bad combination, especially with me racing and not able to watch him all the time. There were other dogs there, too. Sharon politely gave one owner a plastic bag and a bunch of towels when their dog took a massive dump right where bikes come in and out of the infield. We were standing at registration and watched them look around and then walk off without cleaning up. Gross. If you are going to bring a dog to races, look after them and for crap's sake, clean up after them.
The Heal Up Quick comment has to go to Dr Mark. Poor guy, I feel terrible about teasing him in the am about rubber side down. He told me he had a bad feeling and that it had been awhile since his last inky dink. I watched him go around looking monster strong in the Cat 4 race, and was 20' away when he went down. Man, that looked like it hurt. Nice to have Dr Matt at all the races to patch us up.
Oh, well. It looks like my normal Monday easy day is going to become a Monday hard day. Dern rain!
Friday, May 16, 2008
What was the notable thing on the ride... this new guy on a Cannondale. Ever see Ferris Buehler? When Ferris is trying to get back home before his parents and Dad is going down the road behind the old lady? I think this guy is related to her. He went this way and that way, and this way and that way. Funny how you can be fairly fast and do that. I really wanted to give him directions to Endorphin to get on the computrainer and let him play with spin scan for awhile. If he stopped pedaling squares, he'd ride smoother and be so much faster. (not to mention a whole lot less squirrely and less nerve racking to ride behind!)
Sunday is Go Fast, and it looks like there will be 3 of us women in the track race. I'm pumped. Who knows, if enough women see how much fun that stuff is, maybe we'll be able to get a race of our own! Between the 3 Go Fast races, and the 2 Fat Frog races at Langley there is enough of a reason to buy a track bike ladies, and it really helps when you look at how dirt cheap they are.
Super Sonya told me that both she and Tom won their mountain bike races this weekend. I cant wait for the full report, they are animals!
And speaking of animals.. I foster sometimes for American Brittany Rescue. Do you have room in your house for a temp dog? got a yard and need someone to play in it? Most foster situations last about 2 weeks, sometimes a little longer. ABR pays for all the expenses, and finds the homes, but temporary shelter is a priceless thing. My last foster was as a result of a death in the family- and the dog was fabulous. If you think you could help, either contact me, or go to www.americanbrittanyrescue.org It's a good thing!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So.... James has been hounding me to get a power tap, and I've been resisting much harder. When I was a fairly competitive runner our coach tried to get us on heart rate monitors and J and I proved exactly how uncoachable we could be. I tried it, she didn't. At the end of 2 months I gave mine away. I got paranoid looking at the numbers, and the lag time of 5 seconds between effort and show up on the monitor was killing me.
So I did it. I got a good deal with a 20% off coupon and just went ahead and ordered it. 7-10 days and it should be at the house ready for me to try to figure out. With as much as this sucker cost, I had better use it. And, it had better make me stronger!
What I am hoping is that it cures a notorious problem of mine. When I was a runner Coach Benson told me that I had a classic problem, I ran medium hard all the time. I rarely ran easy enough to be a rest day, a real rest day. At the same time, except for in races, I never really ran hard enough to be a really hard day. So I taught myself to go one speed. (Trust me, slow for Coach Roy was something above a walking pace, and not a J walking pace...) If I'm training by power numbers, I'm hoping for a clearer definition in my pea brain of what is hard enough, and what is easy enough. The middle numbers should be fairly self evident.
So here's hoping that I don't get the normal brain freeze when I'm listening to James. It typically starts off ok, but then turns into a Charlie Brown scene. You know, when the teacher is explaining something, and all Charlie hears is "Blah, Blah, wha wha, blah, blah." Good luck James, you will end up loosing your hair over this one I'm sure!
Monday, May 12, 2008
It's time to face facts and pony up and take care of problems before they become so unmanageable that you just cant fix them.
After the Walter Stosch meeting on Thursday where he was pretty doom and gloom about the fact that no one wants to raise taxes to fix the roads, I read this in the Times Dispatch this morning... http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2008-05-12-0166.html Funny thing, I bet this afternoon I get an email from various representatives telling me how those tax and spend Democrats are at it again. If politicians dont stop talking out of both sides of their faces, and actually SUPPORT something that needs to be done, I don't know how things will ever get done. Democrat, Republican, zebra or groundhog, just do what has to be done. (I appreciate that Walter is on the for-front of trying to get this situation fixed, even if there are obstructionist forces out there who will use it against him.)
So if you care, call your representative and tell them how you feel. Me, I want roads widened. It is good for bikes, and good for cars. Cars that aren't riding on the edge of the road are less likely to crash, and the roads don't break down as quick. Guess what, there is Federal Matching Funds available, too. In order to take advantage of that free money, you have to put up money.
But on a good note, Snoop Dawg is BACK! I don't know how, but he is some kind of tired, and looks like he dropped 5 lbs overnight. I dont know if someone took him and he ran back, but he's home, and sleeping like a rock. After I got a few hundred ticks off him, and got lots of good food in him, he passed out. Plan is to get him neutered this week, and all his shots.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We originally were going to have J, Cliff, my friend Paul, and me. Soon we added team mate Mark Pye, then Tom Doyle and a friend of his. Within a few miles we were picking up passengers right and left, and it wasnt long before we had a train of about 20 riders. Leaving the 25 mile stop the next hazard is a bridge on RT 5, that is steel grate. However, there is a concrete area down the middle. Two of our passengers wouldnt listen to me telling everyone that they needed to be on that concrete strip, and just about crashed the line going over the bridge.
There is a reason why I like knowing who we are riding with. There are an awful lot of strong riders out there, unfortunately, not an awful lot of smart ones. Getting into Jamestown one of the two bridge guys did a "bowling for dollars" deal, and as the line came to a stop tried to come up the middle of the pack to get to the front. Hey, I understand, riding in the front of the line is easier, but knocking down all the pins is just not cool when you are on a bike ride.
It helps to have such strong people on my team around. It was very cool, still wet, and for some reason, I couldn't make myself drink. 100 miles and one bottle of fluid and 3 Red Bulls is a bad thing. Now I remember why I hate Red Bull. As a caffeine free girl, they did real bad things to my system, and I was burping the last 25 miles in. I also had a sugar spike like you wouldnt believe.
Thats ok, 100 miles, 20 mph, in just over 5 hours including the rest stops. (Thanks J for killing everyone else off!) Add on to that 3 bottles of champagne for the first century of the year between 5 people and you have some happy campers. If I can actually get up and make dinner, 2 more will be happy. You can only eat so much trail mix in a day...
The only down note of the day? Our foundling dog, Snoop Dawg was gone when we got home. Cliff was suspecting that his owner saw him, and probably snuck over and took him. Wouldnt be such a bad thing if Snoop had actually been cared for before. I've never seen such an amazing transformation in a dog as good ole Snoop had in the weeks that he was here. From a sad, starving dog with open wounds everywhere to a happy, smiling guy whose new coat was starting to come in all glistening white. I'm gonna miss Snoop, from being found on the side of the road, to a member of our family, he had an awful good time while he was here.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Check it out here, and if you are dying to know, cyclingnews covered some of the UCI races she's done...
Get 'em Girl!
I always find that before and after talks are where things get done, so of course I was the little social butterfly pouncing on poor unsuspecting politicians. Rudy Butler is on the Board of Supervisors for Goochland and about every transportation initiative across the country. God love him, he told me flat out that Goochland has no money for new bike lanes. I know that. I actually don't want bike lanes(gasp!) what I'd like to have is either a wider road or at least some kind of a shoulder.
Face it folks, I think its an easier sell to the public to say that we are going to widen the road to make it safer for everyone than it is to say that we are going to build bike lanes for those damn cyclists. I cant begin to say how many bad accidents I've investigated because the roads are narrow and have a large drop off from the pavement to a drainage ditch. Heck, half the roads in my county aren't even wide enough to be stripped.
Virginia's transportation budget is 4 billion. Nope, sorry, that was LAST years budget. This years budget has been cut 25%. Most of that goes to pay past debt. It's time for some reality. We can't even maintain the roads we have unless someone gives a little. We actually have to fund transportation, and then do the things that we need to do to make roads safe for everyone.
So if you talk to your representative, maybe that would be a good topic to have. Tell them that you ARE willing to pay a little more to have decent roads. Or at least come out to some of these meetings to see what the real numbers are.
Grrrr (Thanks Jenn, Adam, Cliff, James, Bud and his wife for coming. Thanks especially for James and Cliff giving me targets to pounce on. I'm terrible with names and need refreshers!)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Of course if I could ride my bike over the stinkin' Wiley Bridge I wouldn't need a scooter in the first place...
So tomorrow night is what I'm sure was supposed to be a dog and pony show for Walter Stosch, former speaker of the house for VA. It's all about transportation and he's bringing the guys from VDOT. I'm going to be there, told him I'm going to be there, and that he and VDOT should be prepared to discuss cycling issues. It's awful nice that VDOT keeps doing all these "alternative transportation" studies at great expense, but I'd like to see some of them actually put in action! Grrrr...
If you have nothing to do tomorrow night, how about joining a few of us as we mix it up with our representatives at the Twin Hickory Library, from 6-8. Who knows, maybe if we can convince Walter that bicycling is an important aspect of his community he will act on our behalf.
Yeah, that will probably happen about the time I can afford Stella the scooter...
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
One of my neighbors (ok a mile away but where I live that's next door) has a border collie mix. They got the dog about a year ago, and in keeping with Goochland tradition, the dog runs loose. At first the dog made a little game of running with bikes. As time has gone on the dog has gotten more and more aggressive, and lately has just flat ass gotten dangerous. The sit and wait for you in the bushes by the road kind of dangerous. The lunge directly at you at a 90 degree angle dangerous. Trust me, you cant out-sprint what you cant see. Monday she almost got me, and even worse, just about ran me head first into a car.
Last night I saw movement at the house and called for the owner. As I came up the drive, the dog attacked me. If I hadn't had the bike to use as a shield I'd be in the hospital. Nice lady. Mid-60's, lots of money, well educated. Got the dog from the SPCA... the whole deal. I told her that the dog was becoming a real danger. She told me that she noticed that the dog was giving bikers a hard time... (long pause) I asked her if she understood the liability situation at hand. "Uh- huh?" You know, you know that your dog is dangerous, and yet you let it continue the behavior? All this while the dog was STILL trying to bite me.
After some give and take, where I told her that 1. I was her neighbor, and 2. the Litigation Specialist for a major insurance company, and 3. exactly how bad she could get nailed when her dog either bit someone, or caused someone to have a head on with a car she came to her decision.... Yeah, she'd just give the dog to someone else.
Why people like this have pets is beyond me. If you get bit by a black dog on Hanover Rd, at a house/farm called Windy Hill, I'll testify for you. She's on notice, she already knew, and I more than a little pissed about it.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I really hate the way newspapers write this crap...
"While there was a helmet found at the scene the police couldn't say if she was wearing it..."
Yeah, she could have been bathing in it, eating out of it, maybe was carrying a pet turtle in it. Most likely though, since helmets are ment to be worn on the head... SHE WAS WEARING IT.
And if the other driver turned right and struck her, they didn't collide, he took her right of way and killed her.
It's bad enough when the police write reports that either imply the cyclist is at fault when they aren't, but wouldn't it be nice if newpaper reporters also didn't play along?
I am not a climber. I'll never be a climber. Which per James is what my problem is. Not that I'm not a climber, but that I don't believe that I'm a climber, and you cant do what you dont believe you cant do. Well, not exactly. I can climb Wintergreen. I'm just slow as shit.
What was fun, in a masochistic way was riding around with James and Jake, who are both the skinny climber dude body type. Paired up with Tom Richeson on the team who makes Rassmussen look fat, and I was surrounded by skinny climber dudes. Jake was bouncing around feeling the love, Tom was doing that little Tom giggle, and James was busy trying to pull my head out of my ass. All in all, a party atmosphere, with Katie's daughter Kylie running around collecting rocks and attempting to get in the road.
So... I honed my skill up the mountain. It wasn't pretty, but I eventually got to the top. Thankfully everyone else hadn't packed up and gone home before I got there! Lets just say that the team did great... Jake 2nd cat 4, Tom 3rd 40-49, James 11th 40-49, Greg Guinter 12th 50-59, Frank Smith 16th, Bill Battle 17th, Katie 5th cat 1-3, and Sonya 5th cat 4, I squeaked 5th 40+. *Thats because there were 5 of us...*
Now good ole Bill was the star of the day. Bill has Battled Wintergreen for years, and swore if he could get below an hour he'd never do it again. Since last year he dropped about 28 lbs, and several times a week climbed Wintergreen on the computrainer. We all knew that Bill would do something wonderful on Saturday, and he blew away that hour mark, 51:10. I'm expecting that it may be weeks before Bill comes down from this performance. I may need some more honing, but Bill fought the mountain, and won!
Friday, May 2, 2008
And big kudos to Col. Sharon from Ft Lee! She told me that she needed work on surging and stuff. So I told her to be tough, and rule the ride. Go ARMY! Off Sharon would go to attack the field every time you looked around! Get 'em, GET 'EM and off she'd go!
And super big kudos to Biker BJ. Just got an email from her main squeeze that she breezed thru her collar bone surgery and will be back kicking heiney in no time! Enjoy the drugs BJ, coming back is tough!
Happy Friday everyone. Sufferfest at Wintergreen tomorrow...