Monday, March 30, 2009

Picking your wins....

Some weekends you just have to pick your wins. Sunday was Jeff Cup and my race was over well before it started. With no fitness, and heavy fog to niggle my asthma I was out on the course to have a day on the bike. I made it with the pack half way up the hill at the winery, and then just rode what the lungs could do. That is until the sun came out and dried up the fog. Then miraculously I was fine.

Poor J wasnt fine, she was with the lead pack until 1k to go, and then cramped so bad that she couldn't pedal. Some days.

And Sharon who I would say in horse lingo... "full bloom with dapples" was raring to go. All week she was up on her toes, pulling at the bit. And she got stuck behind 2 count em 2 crashes to have her day effectively ended early. Some days...

So this week we are celebrating GEORGE! Georgie Baby is kickin butt and takin' names on the show circuit with my buddy Gina. He won Best of Breed both days this weekend over the dog who is going to be the new #1 Brittany in the country. (Thats 3 for 3 in head to head competition for George with that dog.) Last week Gina took him down to Danville for the Gun Dog Nationals and George got to hang out and be a dog. This week, he's brushed and fluffed and playing the part of a show dog. Go GEORGE!
And if the next time you see me I'm a little meaner... today was day one of Nutrisystem. It's 8:00 and I'm starving already. A little less junk in the trunk might make me climb a bit better though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Bob Waddle

When I go away on business, my dogs go on a vacation to Cliff's house. Think of going on a cruise, but on land. There are rides, swimming, hiking, and of course... EATING. Cliff is sure that my dogs never get enough to eat. They tell him that all the time.

So there is breakfast with the Captain, brunch on the veranda, mid-morning snacks after a swim. Oh, then lunch. And after a Kubota ride, you have to have cookies... Then there is a formal dinner, and late night buffet on the Ledo Deck.

Poor Bob. He comes home and all the goodies are gone. I got home just in time. Bob can hardly waddle. I had to take his collar off as it was too tight. To pick him up... man, thats a weight lifting session.

The guys are looking at me like they'd really like for me to go away again. I was drinking a Slimfast this morning for breakfast to try to help with my own little Bob Waddle.... Bob just looked at me like there was no way he was going to be forced to drink that crap... you know, unless it was served on the Ledo Deck. Maybe after cookies, for a late, late, night snack...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back on the ball again...

There is no place like home, there's no place like home. You'd think that I'd love being in Florida for work, and you'd be wrong. I was soo glad to get home, to sleep in my own bed, to snuggle with my dogs, and to ride my bikes. Oh, yeah, and to do over the phone coaching with my girls... Geez, you really do miss your buds when you are away.

Saturday it was the team presentation for Richmond Pro Cycling and Craig and the boys looked fabulous. The food at Savour was great, the wine, not so much. But, I'm hoping that it was a good fund raiser for them and for the Faison School (Autism). I have a friend with an autistic son who is a math whiz. Autism is near and dear to my heart.

Sunday, J and Colsweatsalot went down and had fun at the Sleepyhole crit. As the first real crit of the year, its tough to get the kinks out and Ive been told that the women's race was squirrely as hell, but no one died. Its always a good day when everyone come's back alive. Sharon was kept in place by J and Pave Maria... J said that I didnt even have to be there to be there. Maybe I can get my boss to believe the same thing... really, I dont have to go to Florida for trial, I'll be there even if I'm not there.

Now Sharon says that she knows that she's ok when she can hear my breathe. Maybe I can play tapes of me snuffling in courtrooms and people will think that I'm there, too...

And to Maria: riddle me this: How in the hell do you manage to get off the bike, barf, and get back in with the pack? Crap, last year I got off the back wheel of someone and sat 9' off the back and couldn't get back on to save my life. And I didn't barf. Although I really wanted to!

One little Karenism for the day... as a small word of encouragement for our newbie cat 4 chickies... if you have an open field, remember that those girls are out there racing with the cat 1 old timers. You guys dont throw your newbies to the wolves like that. Give the newbies a wee bit of encouragement. Have a separate pay out... of SOMETHING for the chicklets. It doesnt have to be much. We're getting an fairly high percentage of cat1 and cat 2 women in the area. Lets do what we can to encourage newbies.

And on that note: our Ft Lee race will again have a separate cat 4, 40+ womens race. Yeah, there are some cat 1 40+ers out there, but at least they are older! (and wiser)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break?

Ok, so I'm down here in Ft Meyers with all the teeny boppers with perky ti, well you know...

Except I'm here working, in a freezing cold courthouse. I can save businesses and municipalities in Florida a ton of money... turn off the a/c. When I got to the hotel my room was set on 62 degrees. First day of trial and I'm in a cute little short sleeve suit and just about froze my whatsit off. Today, I wised up and wore a long sleeve suit. Tomorrow I'm out of suits and will have to make due with a long sleeve dressy shirt. Its just nutz. Everyone over 25 is in long sleeves.

And everywhere I eat, some 20 something calls me "sweetie..." Baby, I stopped being sweet a looong time ago. It could be worse, they could call me ma'am. Oh, and in the land of fresh fruit, no one is serving fresh fruit. The hotel has a 12.00 breakfast buffet, and the fruit is melon from Mexico. No strawberries and no citrus. Nutz.

Now if I can just get the other defendants at trial to bring me some oranges, life would be good. If not, tomorrow there is a farmers market, and somehow I'm going to get there and eat until I get sick.

Oh, and I'm going thru serious withdrawal. First no bike. Nuff said. Second, no wine. I refuse to drink crap, and since my hotel is in the boonies, and I have no car, its a hike to get to anywhere. We had lunch at a bistro near the courthouse today and the ladies in the table next to us were drinking what looked to be a really nice Chablis... just like any coke head I started to drool, and shake and go into the dt's. I went so far to drink a beer at dinner, and sweetie, its just not the same.

One more day of trial tomorrow and then I'm flying back on Friday. Let me tell you, there are liars, damn liars and statisticians. Any series of numbers can say anything you want them to. Please don't let facts get in the way of whatever you want to say. And my favorite phrase of the day is that " I know this from my long years of experience." Which means exactly whatever you want it to mean. If I drank a whole bottle of that nice Chablis at lunch I'd probably know that the sun rises in the West. You know, from my 43 years of experience...

Saturday, rain or shine, I'm on the bike. There really is no place like home...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

God is trying to tell me something...

Everyone has their own little tricks to get them thru a time trial. I play music in my head. Happy music. And I plan which songs I'm going to have go on in there for different parts of the course. Today was not going to be a happy music day.

I'm heading down to Dismal Dash... and I realize that I have left my towels by the door.

Then I realize that when I packed up the truck Saturday night that I left the Garmin on the charger. Ok, its raining, its cold, I have no towels, my fitness level sucks, and oh, I have no computer. All ok. I dont flap easy. I can deal with all this.

Then I pick up my chip as this race is chip timed. And by the time I get back to the truck I discover that I have dropped the chip somewhere. And I cant find it. So I have to go beg for another, with the understanding that if it doesn't turn up I'm going to be out some dough.


And then I take the bike out of the truck and start to put the wheels on it. Whereupon I discover that my hub on my disc wheel has separated from the wheel. (just the body, not the actual spindle.) I almost put the bike back in the truck, but said f'it. It wasn't a crit, and since I could jimmy everything back on, and got it real tight with the skewer, I figured if I crashed, I wasn't going to take anyone else out. Plus it was raining, and you usually get hurt less crashing in the rain.

Riding around the parking lot, I found the chip in a pothole full of water. This after getting a new number, so I just turned the chip in.

At the start there was a huge gap in the 40+ chicks field, so the likelihood of me having carrots to run down was small. Oh, and my team mate who had gum for me ended up on another part of the course.

When I got going I had no idea what kind of speed I was carrying. Which was probably a blessing as my finish time was a new personal worst. What happened to the happy little diddy that I normally play in my head? It kept getting taken over by that song from the Color Purple... God is trying to tell you something. You know, right now. I kept battling back with the theme from Rocky, but I'd get half a verse in, and then whammo, the record would change. Kind of schizophrenic time trial thinking...

Oh, and if anyone finds these really cool gel arm pads for aero bars... they are mine. After the turn around I kept feeling this hard edge on my arms, but just decided to suffer thru. I'm figuring when I got out of the saddle to get back up to speed the arm pads must have stuck to me instead of the bars and took the chance to liberate themselves.

I made it back in, new personal worst time ever, but somehow with a few $$ to pay for a whole new set of arm pads. Tommorrow I'm off to Florida for the ultimate stupid trial of the year. I'll spend a whole week listening to hydrology, climate, crop, economic experts and will try hard not to rip my eyes out. By the end of the week, I think I'll have set a new sufferfest record. First today, and then the trial. I figure that I should be ready to kill tt's after this week. After this week the rest of the season is going to be EASY!

Thanks to all the officials and volunteers for suffering thru me today. Yes, I actually have done this before. Maybe once or twice...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lil Belgian Weather...

You'd think that I would be genetically suited to weather like today. Dad's family is from Norway, and heck, they all lived in Iowa. Mom's family was Scotts/German. You'd think a day like today, a balmy 36 degrees and light rain should be just up alley. And you'd be wrong. Oh, so wrong.

Rain is supposed to be heavy after about 12, so I headed out in the drizzle to get a few miles in these legs that have no miles in them. Yeah, I could have ridden the trainer, but I knew that I wouldn't ride long enough, or hard enough. So I put on a thermal jersey, thermal tights, a skull cap, my best gloves and a really nice Gore Tex jacket that I got when I used to do some testing for Gore. Most days that's too much, today... thank God for the bodacious amount of clothes that I have.

I saw bluebirds, piliated wood peckers, and robins galore. What didn't I see? Cyclists. Since I live on the great bike way... either they were wimps or I was just plain kwayzee. I think the people in the cars that were passing me were pretty sure it was the later. I could see little old ladies looking out the window with severe looks of disapproval on their pinched faces as they passed me. You know what they were saying... "See Milton, like I always told you. Those bike freaks are just nutz. Someone ought to do the world a favor and lock them up! Hurmph"

I'm back now, and I'm going to soak in the tub until I warm up again. I may get out by tomorrow in time for the Dismal Dash. Or maybe not. Its probably going to take about 3 or 4 fresh tubs of water just to get all the mud out of my hair from the back spray. A few more after that and I might thaw out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why dogs matter

Because everyday that I look in my dog's eyes I know that there is a God. There are just some beings on this earth that make the world a better place.

But I'm really scared. There are several mainstream groups out there that want to eliminate dogs. To me, this world would just SUCK without dogs. Dogs RULE.

Who are these dastardly organizations? Don't you just want to go out and make sure they fail? Want to be shocked? Do ya?

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I don't know how PETA who kills 97% of the dogs that it takes in can call itself "ethical", but they can call themselves "purple" for all I care. PETA you may recall had several employees arrested not to long ago for going down to North Carolina, taking dogs out of animal shelters by telling the staff that they would get good homes. Yeah, and a few miles down the road PETA's little mobile snuff van killed them.

What did they get arrested for? Littering... the staff couldn't stand the stench of the dead dogs, so they would regularly go to a dumpster behind a shopping center and dump the dead bodies. Don't believe it? Do a google search on the internet. Oh, and ask PETA why they don't have any shelters, have a 15,000 walk in freezer in the basement of their Norfolk, VA headquarters, and got a per lb. rate with a local crematorium.

Think HSUS operates your local shelter? Nope. HSUS operates NO shelters.

Some quotes in their own words:

In The Animal Rightist's Own Words: From Wayne Pacelle (President) The HSUS
We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding ...One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding. (Animal People News, May 1, 1993)
We would be foolish and silly not to unite with people in the public health sector, the environmental community, [and] unions, to try to challenge corporate agriculture. ("Animal Rights Convention 2002" convention, July 1, 2002)
Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting.Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle (October 8, 1991)

More From The ARs...PETA, Ingrid Newkirk (President)
There’s no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all animals.- Washingtonian magazine (August 1, 1986)
Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.- Harper's (August 1, 1988)
The bottom line is that people don't have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats... If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.- Animals (May 1, 1993)
There is no hidden agenda. If anybody wonders about -- what’s this with all these reforms -- you can hear us clearly. Our goal is total animal liberation.- “Animal Rights 2002” convention (June 30, 2002)

Like your dog? HSUS and PETA call dog ownership SLAVERY. PETA had the gall to protest the Westminster KC dressed as the Klu Klux Klan.

Want to do something for animal welfare? Donate directly to your local shelter. Better yet, volunteer there.

As we say in the rescue biz: Saving one dog's life may not change the world... but it sure makes a world of change to that one dog. And when PETA says that all dogs are better off dead than to be owned... I'm not sure that one dog would agree.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Life is good

Some weekends turn out just perfect. Or in my case, as close to perfect as you can get.

I was over at Cliff's getting veggie skewers and chicken ready for the grill when he whispered that the beavers were back. I got out on the deck just in time to see the beavers tug boating it up into the creek looking for low hanging branches to munch on. Beavers are seriously cool.

We took the dogs out for a hike and not only did we have a mouse chase, but I got to see some wood ducks on the river as well. Like I said, damn near perfect.

Today I got to try out the new tt bars on a ride with Cliff and Paul. Yep, I think they are going to work just fine. I pulled us up 623 at 25 mph and everything felt like it was supposed to.

It was funny, coming home there was someone who had a car like J's trying to back out of my driveway. She couldn't quite get it figured out and almost backed over us as we were pulling in. She said that she was looking for somewhere to park and I told her that she could park on my access road. Then she asked if the owner would give permission. Since I live on the Great Bike Way, and pretty much everyone around here knows where Camp Runamuck is... I knew that she wasn't from around here... nope, from Texas. I just hope she figures out how to back up a car when she gets back from her ride...

Tonight bbq pork tenderloin and more veggie skewers on the grill. Oh, and the Paris-Nice race on vs. Yep, life is good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pedal Power

Since my fitness is abysmal from the 6 weeks I've been babying my leg, and J has a big 8k road race tomorrow, we did the first Pedal Power race at Endorphin. Seriously cool- a computrainer race designed to show how hard it is to create and store energy, so that people have a better understanding of energy conservation. J and I are totally in to this. We better be, since Felix is on the Gov.'s Energy Commission, and has just started a new alternative energy company. Go ahead, ask me about solar...

One thing I can do, is measure effort and give it all... and having every one's times, watts, etc... up on a screen... just makes it so much easier for me. While the computrainer is a hell of a work out, it is not like riding on the road. With my fitness level I would have been dropped big time at the races this morning at Bryan Park. Despite my fitness level, Julie and I won. Overall.

One of the guys came up to me afterward and told me how cool it was that I ran everyone down. Yep, that's me, analytical. I knew exactly where my barf point was, and rode about 2 watts under that. I'm pretty sure that Molly would not have wanted to clean up after me had I gone over the line. J had to ride blind, but as usual, she blew everyone away in the w/kg arena. Don't mess with J. I needed the feedback, she just goes. Like an Energizer Bunny on steroids. Cept with J, there are no drugs needed. Wickedocity, yep, she's the definition.

So what did we get in our major haul? Hot damn... we got a back pack that has a small solar panel that can charge your cell phone when you put it in the sun. Oh, and a couple of these great rechargeable battery packs, headsweats, tshirts, hats, eco-friendly water bottles... and a $25.00 gift card to 3sports. Each. Damn, life is good.

I'm probably going to need that solar powered cell phone charger though. Like the slippery little sucker it is... my cell phone slipped out and decided to stay at Endorphin over the weekend. So since I have no home phone, all my friends will be calling the cell phone all weekend running down the batteries. Lets hope I can find it Monday when the batteries are dead and I cant hear it ring.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gotta love the Pyeman

After my team mate Mark got tossed around like a rag doll, stomped on, kicked and run over, he was bored silly and spent gobs of time self medicating thru retail therapy. After he got a killer deal on a Trek TT frame, and a whole bunch of components, he found that his new find, killer ITM carbon aerobars just didn't fit his newly smooshed body and deformed shoulder.

Lucky me. I was able to get the bars, and for a really nice Cabernet, Mark put them on and rerouted all my cables. Isn't she pretty!

Now I have to get out the Adamo saddle to try to make the bike UCI legal. I hear the breaking in, adjustment period is a beotch. So I'm going to be riding on my lonesome this weekend so that no one hears the howls of pain as I learn to adapt. I love that cheapo Performance tri saddle, and having to cut 5 cm off the nose of it (where I dont even ride, thank you) is just not right.
So, thanks Mark. You do wonderful work. I hope you and Lolly loved that little Cab. '05 was a very good year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Wheels I have...

Ok, I swore it would never happen, but I'm a wheel slut. I've started in one of those programs, that meets nightly, so that I can stand up and stammer, Hello, My name is Karen. I'm a wheel slut. And then the crowd murmurs... "Hello, Karen."

Alright, its a dream. Maybe. Cliff swears that wheels are breeding in my house.

The wheels I love...

I have a Hed 3 clincher (aluminum rim) for my tt bike. Is it even possible to knock one of these wheels out of true? Its fast. Like I tell everyone, any absence of speed on the tt bike is not the fault of the equipment. Its fast, it spins up fast, and it holds speed. On a non-windy day, its just a dream. Go down to the Dismal Dash and that cross wind section in the last 5 miles is a different kind of dream. Nightmarish.

Pete told me once that I wasn't one of those "weensy" girls and that I should just go. So I do. I think weensy is a euphemism for flat chested. He didn't say...

I have a Renn 575 disc on the rear. It absolutely does the job. And at $500 it was a sure whole lot easier to swallow than a Zipp disc. And since I have never seen ANY concrete evidence that one disc is substantially faster than another, I'll pocket that savings, thank you. Needless to say, its a clincher, like all my wheels. There has been some interesting studies on the speed of clinchers vs. tubulars, and besides that, gluing tubulars is not my idea of fun.

For race wheels I won a set of Zipp 404's, clincher, dimples, with a wireless powertap. Yes, I'm a lucky wheel slut. How do I like them? Jury is still out. The ride is ROUGH. Yes, they are fast, but there have been races where I think my hands are going to quit and leave for China. That said, they are pretty, they are fast, and they are mine. And I think I'll keep them.

What do I ride everyday? Mavic Kyrium SSL's. I'm also a cheap wheel slut and I have been lucky to find great deals on great wheels. Yes, I know there are lighter wheels. And there are cheaper wheels. But these wheels are bomb proof and rarely, if ever need to be trued. It is a pain if you break a spoke as Mavic has different spokes for all the wheels, but that's why I have friends like Ben at 3Sports, and my team mate Brian. They always have stuff laying around to get me back on the road in a jiffy. So on sale, these are the go to wheels in the house.

My favorite road wheels... the great Mavic Kyrium SE wheels- I think they were a limited edition, have a red spoke, and I got them for a song on sale, with a coupon and a double secret handshake. I ride them, race them, hit pot holes with them, and love them.

Last summer Chainlove was on a Reynolds wheel tear and I got a set of the Reynolds Attack wheels. Sharon whined so much about how I got the deal that I let her have them. Chainlove... now Bonktown, my kind of place. There is nothing like getting a 1000 set of wheels for less than 500... carbon to boot. Now they live at the Sweatsalot residence and just dream of coming to Camp Runamuck to visit their friends...

I think the best wheels for racing are the ones that are fast, that aren't going to give you heart failure if you break them. Same with a frame. I can race the Zipps because I didn't pay for them. If I had, they'd probably sit in the den. The rest of the wheels will probably outlast me, and were not so expensive that my cheap little heart would break if I had to replace them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Delightful or Frightful?

I guess its all in your perspective.

I had to drive home from Waldorf to Goochland in the snow last night. I have 4 wheel drive on the Queen Cab, so I was pretty safe. Not! Silly drivers kept wiping out all around me. Folks, learn how to drive. It was silly slick and aholes kept trying to zip around lines of cars into the deep section of the road, and would inevitably end up in a ditch.

Needless to say, that hour and a half drive took well over four hours. It was wild.

And boo hiss to VDOT. I finally saw a few of their trucks on 64 right at my exit. I followed them off the highway where they lifted their blades. What, you couldn't continue to plow? Geez, that pissed me off.

I hope that Gina got home from the shows... she took George home with her. While I'm trying to get back in shape, Gina is going to show George, and her husband is going to run him. All the way home I kept worrying about Gina heading north into the storm.

This morning I got up to about 8-9" of the white stuff. Its all in how you look at it. The little black dogs went out and had a glorious time. It wasn't long until Bob and Petey looked like little abominable snowdogs. Dallas the Doberman... he was not amused. He stood pressed up to the back door trying in vain to keep that nasty white stuff from touching him. He waited, not patiently, for me to shovel a path for him so that he could do his business.

The little guys, thought that was funny as hell.