Monday, September 27, 2010

Wicked sweet

Checkin' in from my sister's laptop in rainy Albany, NY.  How did I get here?  I will 'splain accordingly...

Thursday night the hubs and I took the redeye from the 801 to the home of the Red Sox, Pats and Celtics...We arrived on Friday morning pretty worked over.  The most awesome-est race organizer offered to let us use her car so we could transportate ourselves the first part of our trip which was totally huge.  We took a cab to her place in Jamaica Plain and loaded up her 1990 Honda Civic with BOTH BIKES and all our crap.  Those are such bike racer cars--I can see why teammate Lins and others *heart* them so much.

We made our way to Acton, where one of my best high school buds lives--TEEJ.  The hubs and I rode bikes to a local bagel shop and the collapsed on Teej's couch in her awesome house...We eventually regained consciousness to go for a little pre-dinner spin in beautiful Acton.  We rode past some farms and around a cool lake...all basically in Teej's backyard.  Friday evening we had a lovely dinner with Teej, her husband Chris and their 2 awesome kids Thomas and Maura.  We kept making Thomas say dump truck (as he loves all trucks... This awesome kiddo unfortunately pronouces "tr" like "f"--so we were snickering at the unintended profanity out of this super cute 2 year-old's mouth. 

Saturday morning we had another lovely ride to Concord and around the neighbs.  You gotta love the northeast.  Good luck planning a route.  Better to just ride around with a general idea of where you want to go and you'll probably end up there somehow.  Those roads are ridic. 

Teej's parents drove up from the Cape that day.  It was so great to see Pat and Gar (which Teej called her parents in high school)--they are such great people--an awesome family.  We had a lot of laughs and more fun times with the kiddos before heading back to Beantown to meet up with the rest of the fam.

We made our way to the Marriott on Fisherman's Wharf where my parents were staying and were Randypants was waiting for us.  Let's just say the 1990 Honda Civic--which has been ridden hard and put up wet--was SLIGHTLY out of place in front of the Marriott.  As my 'rents rolled up in their Mercedes my mom was dad commanded "don't park that thing anywhere near me."

Pretty soon we were joined by Steve's bro Dave and our non blood bro Aussie Drew. The hubs 'rents George and Kathy also detoured from their vacation in the northeast to come join in the fun.  We strolled along the water and then reconvened for dinner.  Teej and Chris came in from Acton and my sister Mary also eventually rolled in after her rugby game in Albany.  Her partner Rachel also appeared after HER rugby game in Boston.  After dinner we walked to the North End for some dessert treats.  I don't know if anyone was aware that I *heart* cannolli?

It was a fabulous night with some of my favorite people in the whole world.

After a great night's sleep at the Marriott (thanks mom and dad), the hubs and I grabbed a bagel on Quincy Market and I got ready for the race--the Boston Mayor's Cup.  I rolled over in time to meet up with teammate Kat--bruised and battered from a crash the previous weekend--but ready to roll nonetheless. 

Yeah urban bike race!

The race was held at City Hall circling a total downtown block.  Olympian and former pro Nicole Freedman works for the city and puts on the race--so there are equal purses for men and women--so awesome.  While rolling around the course, I flatted about 15 minutes before the start.  Luckily the superstuds at Sram hooked me up with a wheel and I made my way to staging.

There was a good field.  Tibco and VBF had teams with Colavita and Peanut Butter also represented.  Many of the best sprinters were there like Laura VanGilder and Jen McRae along with the large number of strong riders that live in the northeast...

The race was pretty active and a lot of fun.  There was a midrace crash that neutralized our race for 5 laps.  That was a slight bummer because it would've been cool to see if a break might've happened.  It was a major bummer because a girl was taken off the course on a backboard--yikes.  Really hope she's ok. There were a ton of $$ primes with a sprint line on the front and backside.  I snagged a $300 prime (yippee).  VBF definitely did some serious cleanup in the primes department.  They just kept sending people.  In the final laps, things got a little hairy.  The course was definitely technical with some sketch pavement and tight corners.  On the last lap I made my way into position and then got caught up in the shuffle--I re-made  my way into ok position on the backside...Lauren Tamayo, Jen McRae and LVG jumped right at the corner before the slight bend to the finish.  We were still in a group, I jumped to the left and was in my full on sprint but had to slam on the brakes when a leadout person satup right in the middle.  It was like a brick wall shooting up in the final 200 m when you are in your full on sprint.  Several people passed me but I still managed to get 9th (which is an improvement from last year's 10th).  Lauren Tamayo held off Jen McRae and Laura for the win with the other 2 finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

It was an AWESOME RACE.  Great crowds and it was really special to have family and friends there to cheer me on.  It was a really fabulous way to end my road season--and what a season its been!!!

Bella cena in Northampton.

But don't sit back just yet...After the race, I headed back to the Marriott and spread out all my crap (again) to repack for the upcoming week--which will see the hubs, Dave, Drew and I riding our bikes to my parents house in Rochester (about 450 miles).  I had to switch my brakes and wheels and pack the little pack I'll be carrying with everything I'd be needing for the week.  We said goodbye to Randypants and my parents and then my rad sister drove us (5 people and 4 bikes in a Pontiac Vibe--hell to the yes) to Northampton.  We had an awesome dinner at Viva Fresh Pasta and the left the boys to stay in Northampton while my sister and I made our way to Albany where she lives. 

The boys are riding from Northampton to Albany a rainstorm.  Awesome.  I'm kicking it at my sister's apartment that smells like my Italy...or at least my cousin's apartment in Bari.  Combination of cleaning products and coffee?  I don't know, its awesome.  Mary has lawyer college today and she is currently on the 5th hit of her snooze button.  I so remember that from law school days.  Well all days realy.  She has cases she has to read next to her bed and she is trying to ward of the day that awaits her.  It is awesome.  Our dad went to law school here (which is across the street from my sister's Italy smelling apartment) so we are going to try to honor a few select spots including the Elbo Room (right around the cornet) and the Italian restaurant across the street from my parents old apartment (where I spent the 1st year of my life!)

I am also going to try to buy a rain jacket today as I'll be joining the pan-NY ride tomorrow.  We'll be riding through the Catskills and then through Ithaca and up to Rochester over the next 4 days.  Aside from the rain, it should be awesome.  Ask me again halfway through tomorrow's ride though.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The hubs and 'cross do not mix

The hubs and I did the local 'cross race here in the 801 on Saturday.  I remember reading that last week's race at the same venue had hardly any flats (a little foreshadowing).

The race was held at This is the Place state park.  Its like the Genessee Country Museum (for those that hail from the upstate NY) but with Mormon pioneers.  I've never actually seen the monument itself and I do have to say it was cool seeing some of the super old cabins they had there as we rode through on our way to the race.

In any case, the hubs and I rode to the race from our house.  You really can't beat that.  I carried an extra set of wheels in a super packed messenger bag and nearly asphyxiated on the way there (its all uphill).  But it was worth it.  Especially since the hubs wasn't carrying anything.  He was riding his single speed so its all about low profile for him.

I got there about 40 minutes before me race.  I had time to take a few laps on the course which was good as that warm up accounted for the sum total of minutes spent on my 'cross bike this year.  The course had a very loose run-up and then some techie turn-y parts with a few climbs.  Emphasis on the technical.  The race started and the mountain bikers took off, along with the rest of our field.  Kelsey, Erika and Sarah quickly distanced themselves from the field.  I COMPLETELY flailed on the run-up and ensuing techie sections.  I was really not impressed with myself.  Its like the quote from Bicycling magazine said about the great things about 'cross "Watching pro roadies go nowhere fast."  So TRUE.  Awesome Laura Patten just laughed when I almost took myself out on a rock. Oy to the vey.  At least she didn't swear at me--because I wouldn't have blamed her.  I basically got to where I had Erika in striking distance.  I was feeling good--albeit still riding like a supertool in the turn-y sections when I almost ate slid out in a corner.  Thank god for tubular tires.  The tire stayed on but was totally flat.  I made my way around the lap and was fortunate to get a front wheel from a karmically owed individual on the sidelines (as the hubs had hygrated the tube from one of the wheels I almost choked on carrying up to the race).  Fortunately no one passed me with the flat but it definitely took away the chance to try to move up.  Sarah Kauffman took the win with a big lead.  Kelsey also flatted way early in the race which was really unfortunate as she had pulled into the lead prior to flatting.  It was really great to see the 'cross ladies and I had a lot of fun clucking after the race.

The hubs lined up right after me for the single speed race.  He flatted once while warming up and then twice in his race.  He crashed 3x.  I figured that was the end of the hubs and 'cross.  We had to borrow a tube from Laura (she is awesome) so I could ride home and get the car to come back and get him.  He was not that psyched about 'cross...but later in the day he mentioned he would probably get some stan's no tubes, *IF* he was going to do any more races.  HA!  I love it.  The hubs has turned into a bike racer. 

And now we have matching war wounds on our left sides.  Mine have mostly healed.  Lucky for us J9 hooked us up with the tegaderm healing magic.  What would we do without our friends. 

Saturday night we hit up dine around with Richie, Renee, Grant and Brittney.  We went to the Wild Grape.  It tasted good but then I felt like I had aliens in my stomach later.  Its officially off the list now.  The company was fabulous and we capped off the evening watching The Town at the Gateway.  It was on ok movie--but well timed as we will be in the vicinity of that hood (Boston) in a few short days!

On Sunday I rode Big Mountain as I'm swearing off riding the canyons on the weekend.  The traffic causes too much tightness in the buttcheek-ular regions for me.  It was SO BEAUTIFUL and a very nice ride.  The hubs and I headed to the Woodies for dinner (I feel sorry for anyone that doesn't have friends like this).  Woody cheffed up steamers (which I didn't eat on account of they're invertebrates) and turkey and bison burgers, homemade pita chips and the BEST cannellini bean dip!!  Caterina made a chocolate cake with amaretti.  Oh my delish.  Best part was getting to meet Woody's long time friend Rick and his girlfriend Kim from New Hamshah.  Got to hear some more good Woody stories from back in the day.  Those will never get old.  It was a fabulous night with awesome peeps and buonissimo nourishment.  An excellent weekend for sure.

Let the fray of logistics and organizing begin...T minus 3 days till we leave for the east coast.  Packing for a race and then a 4 day bike tour.  I can't even talk about it.  It will all work out.  Whatever, I'm excited!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Its fun having a teammate in town

Teammate Kat has moved (temporarily/permanently) to the 801.  It is fun to have a teammate in the hood.  We downward dogged at Centered City on Monday.  Turns out I'm a big fan of the Express class.  Its easy on my mind (45 minutes, sometimes I can't handle the hour+ classes) and the wallet ($8).  It was definitely more the Erin-named-drop-and-give-me-20 styles of yoga---but it was still GREAT!

Last night we rolled out to the RMR together which was also excellent.  I have to admit that I loved getting the "uh oh you brought a teammate" and "Hey, cool bikes" lines that got thrown out.  Thanks guys for playing along with the idea that my having a teammate might actually mean I could be a factor in a men's A race :))

We met up at 9th and 9th so I could introduce Kat to some of the peeps.  Luckily-there were some good ones for her to meet (PB and A-ron, KK and young Julian).  Unfortunately, I forgot how annyoing the ride out to RMR can be (i.e. the race before the race--with a bazillion railroad crossings).  It was hammer fest and then it started raining.  How much more awesome could it be.  After the 1st sprint out of the 1st red light to the next red light--Kat looks over at me and I just say "yes this is how it is, sorry,"  and she just replied "I'm not even looking down at the numbers."  Ah yes, everything about Tuesday night worlds is awesome: from the annoying ride out there to the fights that happened after.  Welcome to the 801 Kat.

But I AM super grateful that we have such awesome training options here.  Getting to race with the men is so helpful.  Last night was gnarly crosswinds and the boys put the hammer down (for real, not like on the ride out) FROM THE GUN. Ouch.  I hung for 35 minutes, got dropped, then jumped back for about the last 7 laps or so.  Great workout and not too sketchy.

I hung around to watch the hubs tear it up in the C flite.  Lucky for me, the cycling powerhouse Putt family was hanging out to watch their youngest hang touch in the D's.  Papa Putt had done the B race with one of the boys who normally terrorizes the C's.  It was a lot of fun to hang out with such a nice family--Mama Putt is awesome--4 boys and she is team support extraordinaire.  Its just a nice thing to see!

The hubs jumped a little early in the final sprint and was part of a massive drag race about 10 guys across on the line.  He puts out crazy ridiculous numbers in his races and he needs to start racing with the B's so he can not have to deal with the tea party that happens in the C's.  He has requested his upgrade from 5-4 so hopefully he gets it in time to do the last B race of the season!!!  I am REALLY enjoying seeing him get into the racing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Love conquers all, including common sense

A selection of our favorite peeps were shuttling the Crest trail yesterday, so the hubs declared that we would meet up with our friends by riding backwards on the trail...starting from our house.  Now if you are a Wild Rose head, this is no big deal, if you are me, i.e. someone who is only training for riding in circles at 40-50k for an hour, it is as big a deal as the Louisiana Purchase.  But sometimes love--or the guilt of recently leaving the hubs for 10 days to race my bike--just happens to cloud my better judgment. 

We left the house at 10 am and rode to the top of Millcreek Canyon.  This is not that big of a deal...when you do it on a road bike.  On a mountain bike it is slow and dumb.  On a mountain bike with a horrendous seat it is hateful.  The hubs constant queries having to do with whether I was bonking or whether I was too hot were not helping the situation either--especially when I had a huge breakfast and it wasn't even 80 degrees.  Sometimes slowness has no rhyme or reason, it just is.  And that was my essence yesterday.  Moooooolasses.

We hit the top of Millcreek about the time our friends (the Yohnson-Gammons and Jem) were starting the ride from the opposite direction.  I tried to stall as much as I could at the top of Millcreek--the more trail our friends covered meant the less I'd have to ride.  But then I felt guilty that I had ridden my mountain bike on so much pavement so I sacked up and we started up the trail.

You think you're in pain...
It was gorgeous in Millcreek.  Not too hot, super vibrant colors--just another gorgeous day in the Wasatch.  I was feeling slightly poopy about the octogenarian pace...until we ran into a cacophonous mess on the trail...A woman crashed on one of the bridges and sustained a compound fracture to the ankle.  Perspective.  There were a ton of people around her and it just looked gnarly.  We continued on up the trail and it didn't take but 5 minutes for me to transition right back to being in a bad mood about how slow and tired I was.

Luckily, it wasn't too long before we ran into our crew which actually did wonders for the M.O.  We stood talking on the side of the trail and watched the parade of a-holes (those that mach downhill without yielding to uphill traffic) and freds (texas jerseys, tube socks, helmet bonnets and basketball shorts).  The Crest is a scene on the weekends. 

Our group of 5 headed back down the trail.  Jem was ripping it up on her 29er full suspension--it was awesome!  As we hit the trailhead, I declared my intent to forego the Pipeline (dirt option) for the road.  Subtext- I'm done pedalling, I want nothing but downhill, and I'd actually take a ride in a car if someone offered.  The Yohnson-Gammons both jumped on the road option with me while the hubs and Jem went for addition dirt delights.  Mrs. Yohnson-Gammon hit up the gas station for some adult beverages for a mini parking lot celebration for Dr. Yohnson-Gammon's birthday...We spread out in the park and ride and had a lovely time awaiting the return of the hardcores. Upon their arrival, the hubs and I headed home en bici.  I was totally over being on my bike at that time.  Nonetheless, we made it home and vaccummed the fridge of the previous night's pizza.  We mustered our strength to make it over to the Yohnson-Gammons where several WGH (World's Greatest Human) competitors were in attendance.  It was super fun to see Damiano and hilarious Lexie and Brock and 2 year old Kahrs.  The little people ranks are swelling amongst our friends as 4 month Piccola Z and 11 month Nocciolina were rocking the party as well.

The hubs and I were plum tuckered out by 9:30 and came home and collapsed into bed.  Mountain bike rides that are 75% pavement?  You only do that for love (with maybe a little guilt thrown in for good measure).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

These night crits are making me soft

Cyclocross #1 was today...the only problem was the race started at 9:30 am.  That is totally cool they are having more 'cross but the 9:30 am start time for the women?  And yes I sound like a jerk because I should be happy we even have women's races since everyone hates to deal...but I know I'm not alone with probably hating on the earlier than normal start time (ahem Kathy S--who may have once said "One of the main reasons I upgraded to Pro was to avoid the ridiculously early start times from the expert women!")  Ok and she was winning every expert race like it was going out of style I'm sure. 

In any case, I can't remember the last time I've done a race in the am? I have converted to a strict, body doesn't race before late afternoon program.  The 1st day of the Gateway Cup had a bedtime start time.  So the hubs has also indicated he will do some 'cross this year but his bike wasn't ready.  So in addition to being a lazy ass I wanted to spend QT with my better half.

BestmechaniceverTomJow got my bike ready so now I can maybe actually ride it before I race it.  And I'll still probably race it like I own it (instead of like I stole it--that's faster I guess).  CoachK was also a little concerned about the double runups on each lap and my octogenarian knee probably agrees with that.  I have to save wrecking my knee for winter.

The hubs and I still had a good interval workout to Saltair.  Saltair on a Saturday.  You'll see everything from tube socks on a ten speed to motorpacing.  Can someone PLEASE do something about the crevasse-like railroad tracks on the way out there?  Don't get me started about the broken glass.  Ah the west side of the 801.  Best part?  I cleaned the path on the way back--no unclipping and I got through all the gates.  And we wonder why I flail so much in 'cross when I talk about "cleaning" something that is entirely paved?  Whatever it was still the best part of the ride.  I did hurt my hand when I let go with both hands to prevent myself from jackknifing into one of the gates, but I'm ok.  The hubs thinks I need help.

And I'm getting into making bread.  I don't know how anyone with a real job could ever do that.  I realized that we had a kitchen aid mixer in our basement.  Dusted that badboy off and I'm ready for a celebrity death match with Donna Reed.  Though I still prefer wifebeaters and soccer shorts to shirtwaists with aprons...I'm definitely feelin' a connection to the '50s housewife scene.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Feels like a million years ago

Some photos from Binghamton and Altoona, (which feels like the early cretaceous)...Thanks swanny Meme!


 Call up from the shadows

Why are we in such a hurry? When do I get to sit up for a drink of water?


Monster podium--everyone's a winner!

Taking the long way home

May have forgotten to mention I'm BACK in the 801!  I changed Monday's flight so that instead of connecting through Denver, I ended my trip there.  That way I was able to octuple the length of my trip home but more importantly it allowed me to have a night in Boulder with the hubs, Dave and Diane.  It was a random, surprise visit--but fortunately Dave and Diane are no stranger to the random visitor.  It was awesome to see the hubs after 10 days too.  We had a lovely night on their patio around a chimnea fire (or bush telly if you're Drewster).  While I always love visiting Boulder, this time was somewhat bittersweet as there is a raging fire in Fourmile Canyon.  Normally beautiful Boulder was like the 801 during a disgusting inversion.  Extremely sad, especially for the people living up in those gorgeous areas.

Nonetheless, time spent in Boulder is always good, especially when it involves a little time at the Bookend Cafe (which we hit up before we put down the skidmarks the next morning).  The hubs and I got to have some quality time together in the limosienna along lovely I-80.

 We jammed home so we could make dinner at the Woodies aka The Big Night.  I feel bad for people that don't have friends like these guys.  Aside from being the best peeps in the world, Woody is chef extraordinaire.  J9's parents, Lois and Peter, were also in town visiting so it was a lovely opportunity to get to meet the 'rents of some very dear friends.  It was also funny to see how J9 IS her mom (or vice versa).

Woody made homemade pasta (this mungiacake making the Italian look bad once again), THREE different types of pesto (arugula, spinach and shroom) and some pollo rolled with some greens and prosciut'.  Let's not forget the homemade pita chips for the cannellini bean dip.  Lizzie brought a ridiculous salad and Caterina made a bellissima torta di almonde (almond cake).  Ms. Mini G was also in attendance and kept remarking how everything was "TO DIE FOR."  You have to know her...

We ate, drank and were merry and I felt a huge surge of Ren and Stimpy JOY over how lucky I am: I had a fabulous trip to Rochester, great racing on the east coast, awesome times meeting new people and spending time with teammates, and then being back in the 801 safe and sound with my favoritas...makes me realize that in spite of my problems or stresses--life is pretty sweet right now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hybrid people

In my travels, I come across lots of terrific people.  I also seem to come across people that are hybrid combinations of other people I know.  Our host Dana, was just such a hybrid (cross between Fritz and Mrs. Johnny G).  Teammate Gwen, her husband Mike and I were treated to some serious Show Me state hospitality by Dana and Jerry.  I rode the metrolink to a stop near Dana and Jerry's house.  Jerry picked me up and brought me to a super cute house in a trendy urban neighborhood.  Dana had the table set and we sat down to a delish dinner complete with yummies from her garden.  I instantly liked her.  As I got to hang out with her more over the weekend, it occurred to me that she was a total hybrid of 2 awesome people in my life.  Take the love of cooking and gardening of Fritz, throw in the uber motivated professionalism of Mrs. JohnnyG, the total generosity and hospitality, and the skinny-brown hair-edness of both--and it was a hybrid.

Day 2 racing was just comme ci comme ca.  Who knows how to add the curly things?  I wasn't so jazzed about the course and the jumble of the finish was ridiculous and I totally dorked it.  MOVING ON, the next day was the Giro della Montagna--a large rectangle with a hill and it was held in the Italiano neighborhood!  No salami primes unfortunately.  The race was aggressive and a break with Laura VanGilder, Colavita, Vanderkitten and Team Type 1 got off the front.  Argh.  Gwen snagged a $100 prime--taking a page out of her husband Michael's book.  On the last lap there was some serious bumping and grinding.  There were words between several riders, but ultimately everyone stayed upright and I took 5th in the field spring (for 9th overall). The last day was held around Benton Park.  This was a new race for 2010.  Differing somewhat from the other courses, it was a figure eight with lots of corners and challenging pavement.  It was pretty windy and the smell of the Anheuser brewery was also something to contend with as we rode right by it.  The course was also LONG--at about 1.6 miles.  There were many attacks but ultimately it came down to a field sprint with Gwen and I finishing 10th and 11th, with Sam Schneider winning.

No race is ever complete without some extra added adrenaline.  After the race I rushed back to the house to pack my bike and get to the airport.  While I was planning to catch a ride with Gwen and the CO peeps she came out with--their car was super tight.  Awesome host Jerry totally stepped up and hooked me up with a ride to the airport.  Super fun to hear his take on everything from public transportation to local politics to world travel.

To be continued...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friendly folks in the Gateway City

Day 2.5 in St. Louis.  The weather has been AMAZING, the racing excellent, and the people are really friendly.  Teammate Gwen, her husband Mike and I are staying with Dana and Jerry.  Our hosts are really cool and nice and they have BEES!!!! I have been spending a lot of time in the backyard of their super trendy home in their hip neighborhood.  Dana is an art appraiser and community organizer, Jerry is an engineer/guitar player/jack of all trades.  They have a constant flow of people coming through and it has been a lot of fun.

I went for a spin with 2 of my favorites in the women's peloton: Carrie Cash and Lauren Hall.  Chris met up with us to preview Monday's course.  It was a lot of fun doing a chill leg spin out with those girls and interesting to see new parts of the city.

Last night's race was around Lafayette Park.  The race started at 8:30 pm.  It was pretty trippy.  Though there were lights, the shadows did weird things to the brain.  Everyone stayed safe with Modesta from Colavita winning a big field sprint.  I finished 7th and Gwen was about 20th I think.

I could've gone for a spin this morning but instead I did free yoga in the park by our host's house this morning and then went to the farmer's market.  Racing in a few hours.  Should be fun.

Its awesome to be here but I'm definitely missing the hubs, home and 801 friends!

The Yogurt on My Pretzels

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