Tag Archives: cycling

Get Dirrrrrrrrrty!

Just as I was starting to become weepy about the dreadful winter wetness of the trails, I see a ray of light (and mud) at the end of the tunnel!

DC[1]

IAMEXCITE!

The Cold Hearted Crits will begin at 8:30am on Saturday and the two weekends of racing that they are offering will be all the dirt crit/short track love you will get in the StL until JULY!!!

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

When folks offer up opportunities for us to race in the dirt during the crappy-ass winter, we should support such generosity with attendance, yes? (YES!)

If you are not in Louisville this weekend, come on out to the Cold Hearted Crits on Saturday, Feb 2, 2013 at:

West City Park – 2200 Sunshine Drive, Festus, Missouri 63028

If you ARE in Louisville this weekend, you will have one last chance to race a dirt crit on February 16th. After that, you are hosed until July.

JULY!

Races are only $20! Do it!

Lunatic on Wheels: The Story of a Princess Tomboy and Her Quest for Sanity and the Fountain of Youth

1The following is an excerpt from a guest post that I wrote for A Pabst Smear.  You can read the post in its entirety here.  Enjoy!

Lunatic on Wheels: The Story of a Princess Tomboy and Her Quest for Sanity and the Fountain of Youth 

By Gory Dreadmond

When Sasha came to me and asked me if I would write about a piece about why a 40-year old woman rides her bike, I thought, “HECK YES!”

Writing and cycling!  Yays all around!

Then I thought…

Hmmmm…Why exactly DO I ride my bike?

I mean, I know I ride for the obvious benefits of fitness, health, and vanity, but did I have a deeper reason?

Not really.

I mean…YES!

Of course!

I ride my bike because I am an undiagnosed lunatic.

If I didn’t have bike riding as an outlet, I would lose my bleeping mind…cry a lot, eat my emotions, and possibly cause bodily damage to others.

I am forty (4-0) years old and started to feel really old and useless when I was 30 and pregnant.

In the middle of my pregnancy, I had an overwhelming urge to get back on the bike after a 16 or 17 year hiatus.

I mean, I was never a bike racer or anything cool like that when I was a kid, but I rode everywhere and I rode long.

Once I became an adult, I was like those crabby-ass adults in the Frosted Mini-Wheats commercials…and I REALLY wanted to be the kid.

My then-husband took his Cannondale hybrid (He is 6’1” and I am 5’6” so that was a good option, yeah? No, it was not.) apart to get it ready for me to ride when the baby was born instead of getting my own bike that would actually fit and also be ride-able.  It stayed apart in pieces on the basement floor for another 18 months. I left.

I finally got back on the bike when I was 32; I felt 80.

My rather small A-cups were even saggy and my ass just sort of hung off my back and drooped to my leg tops.

(I paint a lovely picture, no?)

I wasn’t overweight at that time (though I had been many other times in my life), which is why the whole “ass situation” was even more disturbing. I always pretended like this did not bother me when in fact I was freaking right the fuck out.

I started riding and immediately, I became an asshole.

I mean, it was pretty instantaneous as I rode my sweet assed 5-yr-old hand-me-down MTB around Forest Park like I was effing boss yelling , “LEFT!” and freaking the shit out of rollerbladers and baby-jogging mommies.

(continued at A Pabst Smear)

Just Like the Rest of Us

While USADA’s “Reasoned Decision” about Lance Armstrong’s case dropped yesterday, I and most people I know dove in and attempted to absorb the information presented in the report.

While I have never been a Lance supporter, the news that we all knew was coming felt very different once it arrived.

Sure, I had already been submersed in Tyler Hamilton’s memoir which certainly scratches the surface, but even I was shocked…and saddened by a lot of what was revealed in USADA’s report.

I had expected to feel something different.

I had expected to feel a vindication of sorts.

Something that I am sure many Lance-doubters expected to feel.

I expected to smirk and toss out snarky one-liners.

I didn’t feel or do any of those things.

Instead, I felt empty, sad, angry, unsettled.

I wanted to take Lance and shake him.

I wanted to sit alone with him and ask him why…and hug him a little bit.

Then I wanted to punch him in his remaining nut.

As I watched friends of mine reveal their broken hearts, I could only feel sad about how many people I knew who were disappointed and truly saddened by the news.

It made me sad to consider the many people outside of cycling who really seemed to “need” him.

I got really pissed…and alternately, very compassionate.

Maybe this all happened for a reason…?

Maybe we/they all needed to see that Lance and his cheating friends (including my beautiful George) are humans…just like the rest of us.

They are scared little boys who made some really crappy and flat-out wrong choices.

While I will not allow the false logic of “everyone did it” to excuse the behavior, I will afford my “True Believer” friends a little marination time for reality/fact-absorption and some time to mourn the loss of a very powerful illusion.

I have sat back and examined how all of this makes me feel and I like it.

I ask that you all take a look inward and around you at those in your life…even if only for a moment.

Consider being your own hero and celebrate the hero in your friends…and maybe even your enemies.

It is said that we both love and hate qualities in others that we recognize in ourselves.

I think I have always disliked the “it’s not about the bike” mentality from Lance because it never really was about the bike….for him or for me, but not in the way his book suggests.

I think I always resented that he made it so difficult for the rest of us to feel like heroes because he cornered the market and made us all look weak/slow/lame/less.

However, I have always praised him for the athlete he is and was and his ability to say “fuck it and fuck you” and get on his bike with double birds blazing at the world.

I have no doubt that he will continue to do that, and while I will still shake my head at Lance, I will do so now with a smile as well, knowing that I can on more levels than I would like, identify with that asshole inside.

(Not THAT asshole, but the psyche.  Derrrr.)

That said, like the literal asshole, everyone has one of those just as they surely have their opinions on the whole scandal of Lance, the cyclist.

I have a new “Ah-ha!” today.

It was there when I watched my daughter sleep this morning, realizing that I am in fact her hero.

It was there when my friend delivered homemade soup last night to make me feel better, realizing that all my friends are heroes.

Those “ah-has” felt really good and I now know that I don’t ever want to enjoy an “ah-ha” that brings sadness to people about whom I care….or even to those about whom I do not care.

Taking any sort of pleasure in this situation would make me feel pretty horrible as a human, because this whole matter just sucks all around for far too many people….especially those who decided to not cheat and lost out on what should/could have been theirs.

Sure Lance, George, Michael, Dave, Christian, Tom, Levi and the rest of the dirty riders may have won many races if they had raced clean, but we’ll never know now.

And while I had always believed I was game for that feeling of satisfaction at the exposure of Lance Armstrong and his army of cheating enablers, I take greater pleasure and feel immense relief that I was not in fact up for it.  I felt sick.

As I told one friend this morning, I sort of want to hug all of those dirty little cheaters as if they are frightened little boys, including Lance and perhaps  even especially Lance because he is the most terrified of not having the “this” that never really was and which was so much more important to him than anything else.

In needing to win, he lost at life…and that is nothing for me to take pleasure in.

I am not going to read about Lance anymore; the seven Tour titles never meant much to me.

I hope we can all take a deep breath, exhale, and ride our bikes (or whatever it is we love to do) and just feel happiness and peace about our personal choices.

We are all underdogs.

We are all heroes.

And we are all fantastic.

A year a go, Lance and I had an opportunity to talk privately.

It was a good conversation in which we shared our thoughts with each other and I discovered myself to be someone who up until that moment I had only imagined I was…strong.  Confident.  Unafraid.

Like him, I didn’t back down from my opinions and I maybe understood him as a person a little better, and I think he was surprised that I was less snarky one-on-one, and without the ass-kissing or attacks of which he has become familiar from others.

It was a playful and relaxed conversation, the details of which I have no intention of sharing.

I am not going to bring on the snark today, Lance…

I am going to be my own hero, and maybe yours, and wish you all the best and all the non-manufactured strength you will need to get through this period and back to the man who is at the end of the day, a parent and a human…just like the rest of us.

My Dirty Little Birthday Ride

I am welcoming my 40’s in a proper way…getting dirty in a non-cougar sort of way!

Screw “over the hill”…we are going UP the hill…and it’s gonna ROCK!

Where you ask?  Castlewood State Park of course.  Herrrr Derrr!

Meet at 8am at Pavilion 1 (first lot on left; playground).

Start the day with a few hours of dirt climbing the trails of Castlewood (Love, Roller Coaster, up Grotpeter to fire road, cross Ries to Justin’s Revenge, cross Kiefer Creek back into park and thru creek and onto old dirt crit course to road and up Lone Wolf. After that we head to the back and ride River Trail, Blue Ribbon, and recovery back on the flats of Al Foster to Singing Nettle and River Trail back to the lot.

*The part of the ride in the front of the park is cx-friendly for some, however, if you fear or simply cannot turn, this is not the course for you and I do not want any of my friends to bleed on my birthday because I already have the sads about getting the olds. It’s my party and you cannot bleed unless I want you to, OK?
This will not be a hammer-fest and anyone can meet up at any point in/on the ride as we will likely stop back at cars before and after Lone Wolf in case anyone needs to replenish hydration/nutrition.
This is a chance to get together with other dirty folks and have some laughs and fun on the trails.
I do not expect or want any of the following:

  • Singing of that one birthday song…unless you make it dirty;
  • Gifts that can be wrapped or cost money;
  • Cute/adorable kittens;
  • Balloons
  • Singing cards (or any cards); save the planet and all that.
  • Whining, crying, or general complaining about life, significant others, kids, jobs, or that “MTB is hard”.  Yes it is.  So is life.  HTFU.

Anyone bringing any of that “Over the Hill” nonsense is likely to get kicked in the junk or have an “accidental” spill when they least expect it; I am crafty like that.

**Bring: Helmet, water/food, extra tube(s) and air, and a positive attitude.  It is a park and it is lovely.  Everyone is welcome because I do not own the park…Weird, I know.

If you don’t come because you don’t like someone else; you are a tool and I am raising an eyebrow and giving you a duck face right now as I type.

If you don’t come because you don’t like me, I thank you in advance for your absence and truly appreciate your thinking enough of me to stay away. (This is not sarcasm.)

If you don’t come because you have to work, I understand…but am sending this out now so that you know which day to get “sick”. If (IF) you call off, please let us know so that no one checks you in or tags you in a photo and you get busted by your boss.  We have your back.

If you don’t come because you are in CO, I understand and am still shooting smiley double-birds at you for not packing me in your suitcase. I LOVE Colorado, you guys!!!  (tee hee)

All kidding and pseudo-threats aside, I hope you can make it!  If you cannot, I hope to see you at Crankfest on the 19th.  WOO HOO!!

Post-ride bite to eat at Sasha’s on DeMun (roughly around noon; maybe shoot me a text and check).

706 De Mun Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63105
(314) 863-7274

(Yes, Sasha’s again.  I am nothing if not consistent and it is a birthday tradition.)

If you can only make either the ride or the lunch, let me know in the comments so I know how to plan.  If you plan to do both, maybe bring a change of clothes so that you don’t grow ‘shrooms in your “situation”…

Love you guys!  See you there!

Now…Get off my lawn!

*giggle*

xoxo

Disclaimer:  This ride is not SAG supported.  (It is sad that I have to state that.) All riders ride at their own risk and ability.  If you believe that you can fly, I request demand that you do that at some other park as seeing this disproven will not only be a downer to the fun but:

  • Your broken body will no doubt block the trails and we will be forced to bunny-hop you or worse…stop riding;
  • The medics will be forced to cut away some beautiful wood just to get to you;
  • Any medical helicopters are sure to scare the fuck out of the wildlife and send the plethora of deer inhabiting the woods all over the trails and likely in across/in front of non-stupid riders.  
If I get hit by a [bleeping] deer on my birthday (which is ironically enough one of by bigger fears…every day), there will be hell to pay and you can expect a subscription to Cat Fancy and all the cute cat/kitten videos I can find on YouTube being posted semi-hourly on your FB and/or Twitter accounts.  I will also send hairy naked male midgets to your hospital room.  Believe this.  
My statement regarding the front of the park being “cx-friendly” only applies to people who are not terrified of their bikes.  If you have ever raced the following cx races and complained that it was “too technical”, then this is not the ride for you:
  • Any of them.
  • Yes, that one too.

If you are one of those people with some odd religion that requires you to dispense birthday gifts, who am I to trample on another’s beliefs?  My wish list is here.  Have fun.

OK, that should be it.

Peace, love, and dirt….until September 9th and then it’s BARRIERS AGAIN!!!

Mixing It Up a Little…

I have a few friends who are a bit “odd”.

They are also a little “contagious”.

These “weirdo” friends of mine like the tri thing.

They really dig it.

I mean…REALLY dig it.

Now that I have had the tiniest of nibbles from the tri pie…I get it.

By “get it” that does not mean I am signing up for that M-dot series or anything, but I get it.

Because I am awful at training but excellent at jumping in with both feet, I have set my sights on a few tri events this year…the XTERRA off-road tri series.

To be frank, jumping into a tri event with both feet isn’t exactly fun.  I did that exactly one time many moons ago and will never make that mistake again.

I was supposed to do a tri this upcoming weekend, but the events of the past 2 weeks sort of threw me for a loop and I didn’t train…other than running.

The “old Cory” would just do it anyway…

…but the semi-sane and semi-rational (and also more financially challenged and bigger assed) Cory is going to do the wise thing and skip it.

Instead, I will get back to my “training” and get excited about a really cool event happening here in St. Louis next month…

An Evening With Chrissie Wellington – 4-Time Ironman World Triathlon Champion.

Hmmmm…whaaaaat…?

You don’t know of her?

HOW is that possible?!?

I have never done an Ironman or a full tri and even I know who she is!

Chrissie is wicked cool, is a total badass, and likes cheese!

I love her!

Her smile is as big as the sun and her calves are as big as my head…and she still looks like a lady.

A badass lady.

I think regardless of whether or not you ever intend to do a tri event, Chrissie is a fascinating person from whom anyone could learn something.

Chrissie is going to discuss her book, A Life Without Limits, in which she intimates the story of her rise to the top, including all the incredible challenges she faced; from eating disorders, to the years spent traveling around the world as an aid worker in developing countries.

I am taking The Sass and you should take your kiddos (if you have them) too.

You may purchase an advance copy of the book for $25 online along with your $10 event ticket by clicking here.

A portion of all ticket and book sales will benefit St.Michael School of Clayton’s Tri-Art Summer Camp: Campers age 4-14 experience the thrill of being a three sport athlete, building personal endurance, and developing sportsmanship though triathlon training.

(How awesome is that?!?!)

I hope to see you there because it is going to be cool.  Very cool.

*Note: Many sweaty hugs to my tri-cray-cray friends Cristel, Christy, Brad, Teri, Kerrie, Donna, and Diane who always make me smile with their excitement and sometimes talk me into crazy shit too.   *smooches*  

Many thanks to Jennifer who is working her tookus off trying to make sure this event goes off without a hitch and that everyone knows about it and gets excited.

Thank you to the universe for creating a tri event that contains dirt and mud.

Peace.

The Bittersweet Run

As they arranged your hair, and powdered your face, I laced up my ugly running shoes and put my earphones in my ears.

I turned the music on as loud as it would go and started running with my face to the sun.

I slid my sunglasses off my head and over my eyes and the tears poured down.

When I ran in New York and NJ, I ran with the hope that I would see you again.

That you would pedal again.  Dance again.  Be a wise ass again.

Today’s run was by far the hardest run I have ever done…because it was without hope of seeing those mischievous blue eyes again.

I ran anyway.

Every step hurt more than the last.

Every step seemed farther and farther away from you.

Once the clock turned to 2, it would all begin.

People would see you.

The lie I have told myself for the past 2 days would be revealed…

You are actually gone.

Worse, is that I know you were not running with me…because running is stupid and in my mind you are riding a hot pink Townie while your dogs chase you into the sun.

I just flicked a Skittle at your photo for sticking me with this running nightmare.

Tomorrow, each of us will all say goodbye to you differently…

…but I will carry you (and some Skittles) with me for the rest of my days, just as you carried me through the beginning of them.

Clear as Mud – A Dirty Girl’s First Tri

I did this little thing weekend before last that has confused some people.

I entered a tri (triathlon).  I know; I had to look it up in 2004 too.  Don’t feel ashamed for not knowing.

*sigh*

I sort of felt that I should probably try one out if I am going to continue to poke fun at my tri friends…

…and most of you will be happy to know that I still intend to do so.

So long as there are events with aero bars and running and until the people running are doing so whilst carrying said aero’d bikes, I will poke fun at tris.

Why?

Because.

And there you have it.

That said, I am likely to do a few more tris (as I mentioned last year) because my littlest, sweet Sass, likes them and it is the only sport she has ever been even vaguely interested in so I am supporting her on this.

So that I do not develop a twitch about the whole “swim-bike-run” thing, I have decided that I will do mostly off-road tris, specifically XTERRA events.

Why?

Simple.  I have no interest in swimming far distances or running far distances and the likelihood of having some mud at an XTERRA is far greater than at an Ironman.

Don’t get me wrong, I am exactly the type of personality who will do an Ironman event at some point just so I can say “suck it” to that one former Ironboyfriend who told me I was “too slow to get a road bike” and who now has man-titties.

(HAHAHA-triple-HA!!)

…but for now, I still choose the dirt with a side of swim and jog.

So, for these reasons I did a little indoor tri the first weekend in March.

I won’t lie, I had stopped swimming the first week of February and had only run about once per week leading up to the event…because that is how I roll.  Slowly and in my comfort zone.

I stopped swimming because I am an ass.  As soon as I started making progress and relaxed, I let some stupid shit someone said to me wreck my head and I just stopped.

Once this happens, trying to get me to do something I do not want to do is like trying to walk a cat on a leash in a downpour.

(I would rather that you did not ask how I know this.)

I am one of the most stubborn people you will ever encounter when I want to be.  If I don’t want to be, you will feel as if the Universe has kissed your eyelids with a million sun-filled kisses.

So here we are on the morning of the event and because I was pretty smart and rode my bike the prior day with one of those Ironpeople in the cold and wind after staying out way too late the night before that, I of course had swollen glands and felt sickish.

I knew (KNEW) that regardless of said sick, I had to go do this tri thing because every one of the tri folk who know me knew I would find any (and every) excuse to skip this event.

I mean come on…Why would one ruin the zen that is a bike ride by RUNNING directly after it?!?!

I didn’t even run as a kid.

When I played softball that one year, I purposely/accidentally flung my bat after each hit so I would get thrown out of the game and not have to run with witness.

Once while running to first, I tripped and fell and was teased relentlessly and that was that with the running.  I was 11.

(Technically I did that very same thing when I was 16, but because I had boobies by then, the boys were all in a trance and no one noticed…sort of.)

So back to the tri…

While I am not a runner, I do not get freaked out by runs anymore and know I can do whatever distance.

Sure, I may not walk the next day, but I can and will do it.

Swimming was/is another animal entirely.

I could and did swim like a fish when I lived in Florida all those years and did not forget that when I moved here.  The problem is that fish swim under water….as they should.

(herrrr derrrrr!)

There are no free-styling, breast-stroking, butterflying fish.  They just effing swim.

I can do that.  I used to surf and snorkel.  I would spend HOURS in the water and never get tired.

However, it’s not “cool” to swim like that in a triathlon, so one has to learn a “structured swim”.

Yeah, I do REALLY well with structure…as long as I am the one dictating said structure.

The structured swim is like learning Flemish.  I just don’t see myself falling in love with it or doing it very well, yet I know it is important to the sport.

Swimming is to tris what beer hand-ups are to cx races.  I know that they are a big deal and yet I still believe I can get through the event without it.

For this reason, I watched the swim heat before mine.

Typically, I do not like to watch events before mine because I am frankly easy to mind fuck.

Watching the heat before mine was the wisest event decision I have made in a long time, which as someone who does not pre-ride courses, drink a lot of water the night before races, or get a lot of sleep, does not say a whole lot…but it was a good start for me.

I watched the 10 swimmers and felt a calmness wash over me and a smile expand across my face.

Some of those swimmers were doing things in that water that in normal circumstances might call for a rescue.

Some were beautiful; some were a mess.

Some were walking.  In the water.

I felt pretty good about things and knew that at a minimum, I would not drown and I would not walk, so I was good to go.

It was a 10 minute swim, so I had no idea how many laps I would get done, but was hoping for 10 and thinking based on my inability to breathe well that maybe I would get in 6.  I got in 13.  I am OK with this.

I did not die. I did not accidentally drown my lane partner, Crystal. I did not walk.

I had a plan to rotate between freestyle and backstroke every other lap, but after the 3rd lap, my “excitement” over doing an event where they write on your skin with a Sharpie took over and I flipped over to the backstroke and got my shit together.

When the whistle blew, I jumped out of the pool with a squeal and hugged Karl, the most patient swim mentor ever, and ran into the locker room (or T1 for the tri geeks out there).

I peeled off that swimsuit and hauled ass up to the super fast TT spin bikes.

I was the first one in my heat to the bikes.  SCORE!

It is another 3 minutes before the next person gets there and make no mistake, I was counting because that shit matters when you are in a suburban health club and need tri cred with the tri people.

Ask them; the transition is a big effing deal.

[Throws out “M dot” sign to the Ironpeople.]

That is why in real events I will be wearing one costume.  That is it.  I need all the time I can get.

(If you have met me or watched me race, you are nodding your head in agreement right now and I dig it; I like when you agree with me.  Doesn’t that feel nice?)

So, during the event, there are triathletes from Off the Front Racing who are there volunteering and being awesome and nice and Diane tells us that the bike computers are wonky.  That they “zero out” if you pedal over  55 “MPH”, which sounds fast in theory but in reality is not sweat-inducing…for almost anyone.

I mean, I may have felt wicked fast for a minute because it was effortless, but then I realized that everyone was as bored and sweatless as I was.

So with my hopes for anyone falling apart on the bike dashed, I decided to spin and Tweet my race updates until the run segment since the distance was maxed.

(I am an awful triathlete.)

Time to transition to the run and off I go…

I run into a friend and we hug and chat and I hit the treadmills.

First again!

DOUBLE SCORE!

I am nothing if not a great transitionalist.  (I just made that up.)  

In truth, it is easy to transition when you don’t have to grab actual equipment and don’t have to worry about getting to actual destinations other than other areas in the gym.

So the run starts and I am relaxed and just warm enough that I don’t cramp.

I don’t really want to talk about my run because I didn’t run it as I would in an actual event.  I did pyramid intervals to keep myself focused because treadmills suck and if I didn’t entertain myself, I would fall asleep and fall right off that damn thing.

(Don’t pretend that you don’t know in your head that this has already happened.  You know.)

Five minutes into the twenty minute run and all I am thinking is, “Seriously?  I poop like thrice a week and I have to go NOW?!?!”  

Yes; I really thought that because that is what my body felt like.  It is just not right to do this running nonesense to yourself.  You know why?  I did not actually have to poop.  In fact, I did not poop until Tuesday.  So any event that makes you feel like you have to poop when you do not, is just unnatural.

It is natural to run if you are being chased by that one girl from high school with the machete or if there is some other emergency during which a bicycle or helicopter will not do, but otherwise, no.

I have a friend who was with the frowny face this weekend because he only got in 15 miles of his planned 16 mile run.

[Shakes head.]

If you ever catch me saying this shit, consider this free license to smack the snot out of me.

I believe that any sport which makes you sad after it or makes your feet ugly should be avoided and from what I can tell, a bad day on the bike is still way better than the best run.  Perhaps that’s why runners only smile at the END of their events…and why so many switch to cycling after they grind their knees to nubs on the inside.

Anyway, when the event was over, I hugged some people, got in the velowagon and headed to the mtb trails to have some actual fun…because the type of athlete I am is as clear as mud….as it should be.

*Note: I would like to thank all my tri friends who let me poke fun in jest at their sport.  The dedication to your sport and training is awe-inspiring and I am fine to watch you do all that work.  You have all been ridiculously patient and kind to me and regardless of the jokes, I love watching you swim.  Watching the swim is one of the most relaxing things I like to do.  Thank you for all the tips, support, and cheers.  Eventually, I will do your “M Dot” thing and I will suck at it, but I look forward to it if not simply because you are all a super fun group of people and are not in fact “from another planet” as I oft state.   Much love and smooches.

Death By Hills: A Brief Recap and a Big Thank You

Well, it was that time of year again.

That time of year to kick off the road racing season with the Froze Toes RR.

That time of year also marks the dawn of the Team Seagal Death By Hills (DBH) Ride.  A day when those who would rather not pin numbers to their person and race the flats and wind in Columbia, MO choose to meet across from a coffee-house and embark on an adventure of hills and “Dodge the SUVs”.

The ride is organized by a bunch of Jerks who apparently just like to suffer for the sake of suffering.

[Wipes tear of pride for knowing such people]

This was my third DBH ride (though the first was done with a group of ladies riding the course backwards to meet the Jerks because a couple of us had to coordinate babysitting, so maybe we don’t count that one).

I have to admit, I was a little nervous yesterday morning as I geared up and rolled out of the house to ride over to Wolf Public House.

I have not been riding my bike for the past couple weeks, save a spin class here or a short ride there.

I had started doing yoga again last week, but was not sure how well that and the one spin class on Saturday was going to do me on the DBH ride.

Top that with making poor nutritional choices in the morning with only a cup of chai as I hurried to get out the door, I was sure I was going be toast.

I was wise enough to grab some Shot Bloks and a “pocket PBJ” just in case I felt a super-bonk come on.

I knew I would only be out there for part of the ride since I had to get home to The Sass, but still, I wanted to enjoy a few hours in the sun and saddle and getting to see some people I had not seen since early Fall, if not Summer.

I rolled out and met the group and was really excited to see all the Jerks who showed up.

It seemed (at least to me) to be a lot more than last year’s ride, but then again, I try not to count or do much thinking on weekends so who knows?

*shrugs*

We rolled out and it felt SOOOOO weird to be on the skinny tires in a group, so I made sure I hung way back…at least until after we passed the dead thing in the road that had been there for days.

(Even though you call those things out to folks, you just sort of know someone(s) is/are going to nail it and that can bring on the wrecky, so best to hang back is what I always say when chatting with myself in my head as I sometimes do whenever I start a group ride.)

The first climb, one I have done a zillion times, was a doozy as I was reminded that I have not ridden in a while other than that spin bike and the paths in Ft. Wayne, IN.

OOOF!

It was super cute how the wind did not go away on the climb as I had hoped.

Frankly, I have come to love climbing because I hate wind so much and that is how I typically avoid it.  Yesterday was a nice cocktail of both, so once we made the first turn, I sort of had to shut my mind down to the wind…or cry.

I chose not to cry.  (Go ME!)

Excellent!

By the time we dropped down into Woods Rd, I was relaxed and locked out of my own head, which is a good thing because for a hot minute it was touch and go.

I got to ride with Wendy and catch up a bit and that made the riding so much better/easier.

You know what else made the ride easier?

Knowing that Wendy’s husband, Jim was driving SAG in the Team Trail Monster mobile.

Somehow just knowing that Jim was there with bike racks ready in case anything happened to anyone took about a ton of stress off the situation.

Exactly at the moment I realized Jim would be there the whole ride, the whole thing got easier.

My heart rates were lower on every climb (and even lower on the climbs that I skipped!) knowing that if I had a bonk that could not be saved with a sammy or sugar, I could beg a brief ride/recovery from Jim until the route got closer to my house.

Luckily, that did not happen and I was able to ride and chit-chat.

I would like to take this time to thank Jim for being there for my friend, Brad who got a breaky on his bike, a super badass Specialized TT bike used in Ironman events.

I feel confident that Brad’s pretty TT bike simply had a meltdown after being made to climb repeatedly.  Poor little TT bike started to cry after The Seven Bitches and wasn’t having it and went all “no worky” and threw a fit tangling its chain up in its brakes as we approached the base of Allenton.

DBH Ride = Death to TT bike.  So sad.

[Ducks pouts and objects thrown at head by Sad Brad as he reads this.]

Also, Jim’s face as he looked at the carnage of chain and brakes was pretty priceless, so thank you for that as well.

As the eleven o’clock hour arrived, I knew it was time to modify the route to loop back to the pad and I was sort of bummed.

When I got home to The Sass, she was all in for me making a cheese, fruit, and meat tray.

We tied the dogs out in the front yard and I sat out there for a while watching Jerks roll back in from the ride while Sass worked on her art.

I had ridden significantly fewer miles than last year but had twice as much fun…and for that, I am grateful.

Thanks, Jerks!

The OTHER Sickness

Normally, when I talk about “The Sickness”, I am talking about Jens Boom, my 29’er boyfriend who lets me ride him as hard or easy as I want and lets me get a little wild.

Lately, I have been having to talk about some other sickness and I cannot lie, it has crawled right into my mind and given me the sads.

The first week of November, during the Cincy3 CX festival, I started to get sick.

At first I was just a little run down, then it grew bigger/worse.

Because I am me and not all that brilliant at times (and grossly selfish during cx season), I did not take a break and kept up with the traveling and racing and the all-around not resting of self and body.

I was at my old company and things were ugly and cx made me happy on weekends that my daughter was at her dad’s.

Well, I ended up with walking pneumonia.  I have written about this before.

I went to State CX Championships anyway, inhaler, antibiotics, and all.

I was on so many meds at the time that I would have been happy to stay in bed.  I didn’t.

On the day of the Championships, I realized I had made a truly awful mistake the day before…

I had left some items in the back of the velowagon after that day’s race and they were now still very wet…including shoes and gloves.

My skinsuit was fine because I had a spare, but ummm…so what?

I lined up freezing, wet, and miserable, and tossed the idea of taking my gloves off back and forth until I decided to just go with them.

Big mistake.  HUGE.

If you have ever seen the SAW films, you will know that there is one scene where people have to put their hands in a box and let the saw slice through until a certain amount of blood fills a container. Click here to see that scene if you have an iron stomach; ignore link if you do not.

(Nice image, huh?)

Yeah, well that is what my hands felt like after 2 laps in the freezing wet that was the Championship race.

What’s worse, I kept seeing that scene in my head as I was racing and that was not really a good thing.

I started crying from the pain in my hands and lungs and the gasps were strong enough to cause me to lose my breakfast, which was a pretty spectacular way to end a race, so that is all I am saying about that day.  I hated that day.  That day was the entire 2009 cx season in 30 minutes.  That day sucked.

I now have what is potentially permanent nerve damage to my right pinky, constant acute pain, and limited function of the digit.  Good stuff.  I’m pretty excited about it myself, because you know how much fun I have with my malfunctioning and/or rogue body parts.

*semi-dramatic sigh*

OK, so I took a break and forfeited some racing and mentally shredded myself while trying really hard not to.

I got back on the bike a few days before Christmas.

I got on The Sickness to kick the ass out of my sickness.

Now sure, I had gone to some spin classes and had been swimming and doing some funnish things at the gym, but to really ride….well, that was pure happiness.

I had to take it easy and went out with some good people who wouldn’t let me do anything stupid.

And while I maybe started with a more challenging ride than I should have, I was over the moon excited to have had my ass kicked and couldn’t wait to measure my health and wellness by returning to that final climb.

I felt the sparkle returning to my eyes and the mischievous smirk playing on my mouth.

We continued to go out…somewhere…anywhere…almost every day.  My addiction had returned.

Fast forward to the week of CX Nats.  A trip we had always planned and one that had never included me actually racing.

I spoke to Kirk just before the weekend and he said there was no point in me racing after how sick I have been and missing the races leading up to the event.

He was of course right and said that the only benefit I would receive from racing that race would be for novelty. He told me to take my bike and ride the course with Jim and get my workout that way.

I agreed that that was a great idea!  Originally, my travel partner-in-crime was also going on the trip and we were going to run while out there; no bikes.  Once a schedule glitch kept Suze from traveling with us, running didn’t seem all that fun.

So we went out to Madison and I decided I was absolutely without a doubt not racing and said it out loud to anyone whom would ask.

Nope, not racing.

At pretty much the 11th hour (because why would it not be?), I looked at Jim and told him I wanted to do the novelty race.

The novelty race being the Women’s Elite race.  My first Elite race and not at all intimidating, right?

No stress.  Just fun, heckling, and counting the minutes before Katie F’n Compton lapped me.

Jim looked at me in that way that Jim does because he knows I am like this.

(Yes, I routinely feel for my friends for having to deal with my spontaneous whims of doing things”just for fun”.)

So, I registered, looked oddly at my number fully absorbing how many women were in my race, (93) and then very oddly…I did all the right things!  I hydrated, didn’t party, took it easy, and went to bed early.

(Technically, right there should have been a sign that I was still sick.  Just saying.  I almost never do the right thing the night before a race.  I am very bad at the night before.  Mostly because I over-think it and I stress out, so I do stupid shit to keep me from doing the stressing/thinking thing.)

I bought that HotHands/Feet stuff so I could be a ginormous pussy with snuggly warm hands in the race (because we all know I would not be going fast enough to stay warm) and some red Swedish Fish for post-race and I was ready.

The shortest (and bestest) race report EVER from the 2012 CX Nats Women’s Elite Race is below:

Yep…Kirk was right…and in being right, he allowed me to get my spirit back.

I did my novelty race and was excited by all the new year held.

He put my plan together and man was I excited!

At the end of the plan he wrote, “Small steps – stay healthy.”

So that brings me to now.

Last week I jumped into my plan and rode mostly indoors.  On Thursday, I decided to do my intervals outside because I was going nuts in the house.  It was 37 degrees, but I layered up and wore super warm lobster gloves (because I am just that Pro!) and the HotHands/Feet thingies.

I even wore a hat.

Immediately upon getting off the bike, I went to the steam room and sat inside making sure to loosen up any gunk that may have crept in while I was outside.

I took a steamy hot shower, and felt pretty good about things.

I felt alive.

SOOOOOO alive and good and happy.

I almost did a naked podium stand in the locker room, but…you know, I get a little tired of those ladies judging me, so I didn’t.

*smirk*

Friday, I felt less alive…and each day since has been worse.

Now I am back on the inhaler and antibiotics and feel worse than I had during the worst of the walking pneumonia.

When I look back at the year, I have been some version of sick since the end of June when I kicked my own ass in Colorado.

I cannot seem to get it together with this whole breathing thing and every time I turn around I am sick.

I have taken breaks. I have rested. I have hydrated.

I have been off the bike for four (FOUR) effing days.  FOUR!

Now, I am crawling out of my bleeping skin because I want to ride my bike and while I know that technically I could do it, I wounder…should I?