Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's your 20?

From SLC, to Rochester, to Binghamton, Altoona, a stop in State College and now back in the Roch.

It has been a fabulous time here on the east coast.  I arrived in the 585 on Thursday morning.  My visit overlapped with the Glennbro's which was great.  Excellent dinners and good Pezz Famiglia hang time.

Teammate Kat came into town Thursday night to join in the racing whirlwind over the weekend.  With my Aunt Meme (or soigneur Meme as we now call her) taking care of EVERYTHING for us, we headed to Binghamton for the Chris Thater Memorial on Saturday afternoon.  It was a few hours from my parents and a totally easy drive.  The weather was beautiful and not too hot like in previous years.  I got a call-up for being 2nd in the USA Crits series.  The race was super active and HARD.  I didn't notice any of my previous week's crash owies at ALL during the race.  However, my knee and hip are still pretty pissed off.

Tibco's Sam Schneider and Colavita's Cath Cheatley got of the front later in the race.  Sam ended up winning and Jo Kiesanowski won the field sprint.  Things got a little jumbly on the last lap (need to work on that) and I was 11th in the field sprint for 13th overall.  I maintained 2nd in the USA Crits overall.

After the race, we grabbed some dinner at a basement Italian joint close to our hotel.  Kat's parents made the trek from Boston and it was really fun to get to spend some time with them. 

The next morning we packed swanny Meme's brand new Honda Fit (just like the Jowegawa's!!! except with a rear hitch rack!) and drove 4 hours to Altoona, PA.  Altoona used to have a huge stage race.  It was my first ever NRC race waaaaaaay back in the day.  The crit was technical and looooong (41 miles!).  And it was super hot and humid too.  Fun. times.  Our field wasn't as big as the day before but most riders were there along with many that hadn't raced the day before.  Colavita was seriously active the whole race.  Cath Cheatley got off the front solo and lapped the field.  While she was off, I got into a sort of chase group of 11 containing most of the sprinters.  I finished 8th in the sprint for 9th in the race with Erica Allar (who won the USA Crits overall) winning our bunch sprint.  With about 6 laps to go, I was completely out of water.  In a crit, there is no feeding...So I just had to deal, which was not ideal. 

Kat went down in a crash but still finished.  She is pretty much a mirror-image of my road rash from last week.  Solidarity!  So all the 1st aid stuff I brought definitely came in handy (though I was out of tegaderm--the best stuff EVER!! Thanks medical friends!)  After the podium (which was a Monster podium for the top 10) we put skid marks down out of Altoona to begin the 5 hour drive back to Rochester.  Talk about a long day at the office.  We stopped to see Meme's friend in State College who let us shower at her place (Thanks Becky!!!).  She is the executive pastry chef and Indulge, a fancy cupcake joint in town--so we made sure to stop there too!  That Realli Vanilli cupcake was a definite highlight of the weekend. 

The drive wasn't actually too bad, we were pretty wired from racing and cupcakes.  Plus Kat is just the best teammate ever and stayed awake and chatty the whole time which made it fun.  It was interesting to note some of the features of rural gas stations in New York and PA: live bait vending machines and 30 packs of Busch. 

Now I'm back at my parents in Rochester having a great time.  I've gotten to spend some funtimes with my nieces Izzy, Sophia and Frankie (or as Izzy says, "this is my sister Frankie, but we call her Francesca").  They are wild childs and super hilarious and cute.

I've got a few more days in Rochester before heading to Saint Louis, MO for the Gateway Cup.  This has just been an AWESOME trip!  Hope everyone is enjoying these last days of summer and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The adrenaline has worn off..

And I'm feeling like a million pesos.  Did a ride on Sunday that felt horrible, nothing yesterday and today I couldn't even get off the couch.  I know healing is a process but I was expecting it to be a bit more linear towards the feeling better direction. 

To inspire me to get a little mojo back, the hubs and I watched La Femme Nikita.  The French version not the stupid Bridget Fonda one (which I haven't seen but feel more than qualified to judge).  The movie was AWESOME.  I'm usually super anti-violence in movies--but there's something about adding 80s music, "fashion" and the French-ness of it all that somehow made it ok.  Nikita was hard core.  We've kind of been on a foreign flicks with crazy "don'teventhinkaboutmessingwithme" chicks kick lately.  We saw a German film called Vier Minuten (4 minutes) which was pretty intense but still good.  La Femme Nikita is definitely winning the movies I've seen as of late. 

Send me some healing vibes and enjoy the fruits of August harvest (get to your local farmer's market if you haven't yet--they are all going off!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tour of Utah Lite

A lot of goings on here in the 801.  We had a lot of fun at the Tour of Utah prologue on Monday.  Got a bunch of the peeps to rally: The Yohnson-Gammons, JemClems (and little ones) and Richie and Renee.  Everyone walked or rode bikes to spectate the 4 k display of speed.  It was really fun watching Levi, Burke, Taylor Phinney (prologue winner) and the like do some serious throwing down!

I am also happy to report the hubs is having hisself some fun in the local races.  It is so awesome to see him tearing it up!  We had a flat-fest out at the DMV last Wednesday.  We had the whole thing covered between the hubs, Rick and me.  Rick flatted on the way out (and way home).  I flatted at the start line, and the hubs flatted with 3 laps to go. 

Thursday the hubs and I aimed northward for the Simply Mac crit series in Kaysville.  The hubs did his first men's B race (same group I was racing with) and did AWESOME!!!  He was nervous about getting dropped but he was 8th.  I won a prime and took 5th.  It was really fun to race with him.  He is getting so good.  We had a fun time...those northerners are our secret favorites. 

Friday we had dinner with uberbadassLaura and Rodney.  Rock stars Ed and Linda came by and brought some fantastico vino.  Fun convos about country club wives (it would only be 10 minutes out of your day!)  We had a splendid evening on their awesome patio (on which they never hang out). 

Saturday the hubs and I went to Park City for the Tour of Utah Amateur crit aka Tour of Utah lite.  The "crit" was held downtown with about 100 ft of climbing for lap as it went up Main Street.  Not exactly a course that is made for me.  The hubs did his FIRST cat 4-5 race.  I was so psyched for him.  He rode really strong and ended up finishing 21st.  The race (in all the categories) totally exploded into little groups.  It was really hard.

I crashed on the 1st lap of my race but got a free lap and jumped back in (Thanks to Matt--teammate Kat's boyfriend--for hooking me up with a wheel).  I ended up in a group with CoachK, Laura H and rockstar mountain biker Kelsey Bingham.  Kelsey went for a prime and I followed her and then it was just the two of us.  I won a few primes and ended up winning too.  I was nervous she would attack me on the last time up the hill...but she didn't, so I attacked at the top of the hill and got a little gap going down the descent and had JUST enough of a gap to hold her off in the uphill sprint.  I had the full on sprint face going--it wasn't pretty.  I was psyched to win with the hubs and tons of people cheering.  I really loved hearing my name around the course.  It was huge and it really helped!  Afterward, the hubs, Matt Nicky W, Jenna and I got yummy El Chubasco--which was my whole motivation for doing the race.


Tour of Utah is a huge race for the men.  I hope that the women will get something to go along with it.  Like Tour of California or Tour of Missouri---just even ONE race during the men's race that is a national level race for the women would be so great.  Maybe 2011?

We watched the men's crit which was a total suffer fest.  Utah native Jeff Louder rocked the house and broke away and left the carnage behind.  It was a great race to watch.  We ran into awesome Jono, Wherry and tons of peeps out for some best in the nation spectation.  As soon as it was over the hubs and I busted a move back to the 801 for Scott's b-day party.  Scott lived with us back in the day and was teammates with us when we dominated the U intramural co-ed soccer league.  Now he is all growns up and has finished doctor college and is doing his residency back here in the 801.  Its great to have him back.

Got some good burn down time with Lizzie in addition to other fun peeps at the party.  Once the ice I'd hygrated from the beer cooler was melted--my owies were screaming and I needed to get home.

The past 2 nights have been pretty uncomfortable.  I had a lot of adrenaline after my crash and then tons of distractions on Saturday.  Now the discomfort has set in.  I'm pretty much ok, just very stiff and a little road rash-y.  I think I'll be back together in time for the weekend when I'll be racing the USA Crits finals and the Tour de Toona!

Thanks for reading and hope everyone is getting their late summer fixes!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bocce!

The hubs and I had a nice ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon yesterday.  I had a root beer at the Brighton store and then we descended back into the oven that is the valley.  Holy hotness.

That evening, the hubs and I met up with Jowegawas, Susan and her beau Ron at Liberty Park for a little picnic and some bocce ball!  Mrs. Jowegawa had cheffed up delish pasta and pesto and a lovely caprese (gotta love this time of year for tomatoes!).  Susan made the most ridiculously good desserts--oat fudge bars--shut up they were awesome I don't even care.  I brought sausage because that's what I do.

Though Liberty Park is a half mile from our house, I have NEVER picnicked there or even really ever hung out in the bowels of the park (I've run the track around the park a million times--but there's a lot to the inner areas).  I don't know why we haven't really ever hung out there.  Maybe its the drum circles, maybe because we don't own a picnic basket...Whatever the reason, it was great to finally make it happen.  Thanks Jowegawas!  All 6 of us rode bikes to the park which was pretty sweet too.  Suck it vehicles.

So I ALSO learned that Libs has a bunch of bocce courts.  I figured the Jowegawas probably knew how to play since they were bringing the balls...but I went ahead and looked up the rules because I haven't played since childhood (though bocce figures quite prominently in my childhood) and I knew that everyone would look to the Italian if no one really knew the rules.

Lucky for me, some drunk weirdos were playing on the court next to us.  OK I didn't actually see them drinking?  So maybe they were just, you know, a little different.  They had a boom box and brought lawn furniture.  This was not their 1st time to the bocce rodeo.  One of the guys came over to offer some advice.  Everything he said was consistent with what I had read (and what I remembered).  He even let us use his pallino since it was bigger and easier to see.  Then the tips really started to become unsolicited but that goes with the territory of doing activities in urban parks. 

We came home and the hubs continued his winning streak of movie selection on netflix.  We watched "You Kill Me"--or I watched half and then fell asleep.  It had Tea Leoni (so its likely to be good) and was about a hitman for the Polish mafia in Buffalo, NY that has to go to AA.  Goes well with the book I'm reading right now--"Lit" by Mary Karr (definitely a recommend).  The previous night we watched "Timer" with no one you've heard of but it was really good.  If you've seen it, let me know if you think the Timer stores are supposed to be mocking Verizon stores?

So the hubs is 2 for 3 with movies.  He picked Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Too gnarly for me.  I couldn't deal.  He definitely redeemed himself with "Timer" and "You Kill Me."

In other entertainment news, I also finished "Last Night in Twisted River" by John Irving.  Definitely recommend that one if you haven't read a John Irving novel in a while.  I read "The World According to Garp" a while ago and I think you need to space out your John Iriving reads.  "Three Cups of Tea" was AMAZING as well, and I'm not normally into nonfiction.

Tour of Utah starts tomorrow.  For those not in the know, its a huge pro men's race here in the 801.  No, they do not have a women's race.  There is an amateur crit on Saturday but it is nothing on par with the Tour of Utah.  Its cool to have a big pro race here in the 801...if they had a women's race--even just a crit?? Let's just say "You'd be a whole lot cooler if you did." 

But I'll definitely be out there cheering on the local guys competing, starting with tomorrow night's prologue!

Friday, August 13, 2010

All good in the hood

Starting to feel like myself again!  Welcome back to the states, self!

Training race on Tuesday was an abomination.  Dropped on the 1st lap, trying to hurdle myself back in at every corner with no luck.  Cross winds can suck it.  Watched the hubs race (which is so fun that he's doing some of these races now) and tear it up in the Cs.  The grasshopper is learning and he knows he gets yelled at when he just sits at the front (that is NOT attacking!).

Pulled it together a little more for the DMV on Wednesday and got a good workout with the B dudes and then went to Kaysville for the training crit last night.  While I suck for driving to a local race (it violates my rules), it was so great!  What is it about those northerners?  There were a few familiar faces but for the most part it seemed like a pretty different scene.  Everyone was really cool and friendly.  There were trees and shade which was awesome--tents and an announcer...but the course was awful.  Traffic-ated and a HUGE lip in the last corner that I got out of the saddle for every time.  Oy to the vey (thanks katiegirlblue--that's one of my faves).

I raced with the B dudes and they were strong, good bike handlers and all very cool and nice!  What a nice change!  No d-bag moments which was awesome.  Rallied to 3rd wheel with the plan of attacking on the final downhill before the last corner.  Instead it was super fast and the last corner gnarliness resulted in catching some air on the lip and swinging about 8 million feet to the left and then just burying my head to finish 4th.  Of course they had cool shwag for the top 3.  Oh well.  It was a super great experience.  I love everything except I'm kind of terrified by the course.

Met some really cool people afterward...Toby, a ripper tri-girl turning to the bike racing dark side and her 2 super cute kids.  It was her husband's 1st race in the A's...When he got dropped his (7 year old?) kid said "I knew that was going to happen, he was just staying at the back!"

I *heart* the northside racing scene and peeps!

Dinner tonight with the Woodies and the Kimo-leChefskis (?!?!).  Psyched to try out a sage-mozz-chicken recipe from our new sacred grilling text.  Anyone have tips on how to butterfly chicken?  That was a little challenging last time.  Of course we'll do some pesto from the basil crop too.  Kimo is bringing a dessert.  She axe'ed  me "Do you like chocolate and heavy cream?"  to which the only response involves that certainty with which bears defecate in densely tree'd areas...

Its good to be in the hood and re-connecting with the peeps.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dreams

Dear Subconscious:

Thank you for calming down from the chaos of last week where you had to interrupt my sleep every night with nightmares of house break-ins and various apocalyptic scenarios.  While it was good to be able to accomplish things at 3 am, I appreciate the full night of sleep I've finally gotten the past few nights.

However, what is up with the craziness?  The slitheredee?  The UPenn library?  The hubs upending a rowboat then jumping in the "draft" of a tanker I happen to be riding on, and swimming in the wake of a tanker (he hates to swim and let's just say he's not such a "strong swimmer")

If there's something I need to know, just come out and tell me instead of giving me these vague nocturnal nudgings.  I'm not complaining--its kind of fun to see what LSD might be like without the 12 hour commitment.

And on the waking side of things...I have been in a fog these past few weeks.  Can I still throw the Cascade card to explain that one?  I guess there have been some other pretty cataclysmic life changes that may account for my being slightly off.

I had a pretty piss poor race in Charlotte (which is, incidentally, a very cool town!).  Note to self: when you're warming up in the 39x25--and it feels hard--maybe you should grab a $3 Kamikaze and enjoy the race from the sidelines...OK not really--it was a super cool race--very hard and very fast.  But like bandmate Ange once said, all I could think was "what's the number for 911?"

I had a fun time catching up with Nicky W and a few others which was great.  It was a whirlwind trip--with the highlight being my excellent experience on CATS, Charlotte's public transit system.  Because I fancy myself a low impact bike racer (yeah right--about that plane flight...), I *heart* the low cost, enviro oriented public transit a big city offers.  Yes, I am also slightly intimidated, and my heart palpitates at dealing with my bike bag in such scenarios.  However, I never got into a car the whole weekend thanks to the Sprinter bus (and staying right on the course).  It got me to and from the airport beautifully, if you don't count the 10 lbs of water weight I sweated out while waiting at the bus stop.

In other gnus--my garden is rocking. Why? One word: TOMATOES!  God bless you bellissimi pomodori! 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Breakthroughs

A few pics from Cascade and then I need not ever discuss it again.






Not crashing on the start ramp of the prologue
















Secret strategy for my stem








 


Post road race group hug to celebrate MH's 7th place and my joy at not being time cut!












Our fearless leader: TOM JOW! After the paces he was put through that week, the shirt should probably read "I NEED A SUPPORT GROUP, FAST"












  

MH and me in the crit

















Circuit race brutality--just punching tickets at this point....














Getting ready for "Stage 6", the drive-thru the night...The team that harshes out together...











Nils thinks my shirt is ironic...He didn't see me at 3 am on the drive home though...








It pretty much took me a full week to recover... Bend is a sweet town, our hosts were the best ever...teammates were excellent, including kookumunga guest rider Ange, my newest favorita Aussie (you can never have too many favorite Aussies)..."Did you not see me attack on the 1st climb?"  Ahh buddy you rolled me!


More of Nils' excellent photos here

An fabulous weekend here in the 801.  Good times with Couch Potato, the Woodies and a fiesta at the Yohnson-Gammons.  AND FINALLY, I had a breakthrough, sacked up and COOKED SOMETHING on the grill.  Thanks to Couch Potato for giving me the guts and the Woodies for giving me the sacred text.  Was it a masterpiece? No. Was it edible? Yes! Bring on the open flame!

The Yogurt on My Pretzels

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