Friday, July 30, 2010

UNCLE

Its been an intense 2 weeks. Cascade was brutal (yet awesome) on a physical, mental and emotional level. Of course what race would ever be complete without a gnarly drive through the night (which we did on Sunday after the circuit race--at least I wasn't alone).

This week has been fraught with challenges...I ran into a pole with our limosienna, i.e. the hubs' baby. Not good. That would be the same pole I hit in the parking lot at work with my own car a year ago.  This happened on the heels of something bad and expensive going wrong with my own car (a belt or something). Thank god for triple A.  I have the anti-midas touch when it comes to cars.

There just comes a point where you say UNCLE and not get mad at yourself for finishing the pint of ice cream.  You do what you need to do to get through it.  And of COURSE these aren't even really problems.  Everyone is safe, everyone is fine.  Sometimes you just feel like you are pulling a C- in life, and that's been me this past week.

More to say about Cascade--which I'm thankful to have survived.

Back in the 801 for a week before heading to Charlotte, NC for race #4 of the USA Crits.  Need to pull it together by then!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cascade

I have been racing the Cascade Cycling Classic all week here in super cool Bend, OR. It has been a brutally hard week for me but hopefully the phoenix will rise out of the ashes for tonight's crit. I may have had my worst day ever on the bike on tuesday! More importantly, however, my teammates have raced really well with Megan finishing 7th yesterday!

Tom Jow is--of course--the best ever and we have been super fortunate to receive capable assistance from young Julian-a climber stud in training. We have great hosts too. Ellen provides the comic relief (along with Ange, our Aussie guest rider), Nils takes awesome photos, and Karen is just great to have around (and she will take your corn cob for her chickens).

Its a long time to be away from the hubs though. So 2 more days of good racing and then 801-bound!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thumbs up Jetblue

I had a nice surprise at the airport this morning when the lady at the check in for Jetblue said "no charge for bikes during July in honor of the Tour."

My jaw hit the floor. I wanted to give high fives to everyone behind the counter, but I just settled on a thanks and good on ya.

Finally, a non a-hole move by an airline.
The jerks at Delta should take a page...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

From chester to chester

Have bounced from West Chester to Ro-chester.  Thanks to the capable assistance of Paul and Soigneur Zia Meme, we arrived in Rochester at Casa Pezzulo early this evening...

Backing up however, I'm happy report that yesterday's torrential downpour abated just in time for the start of the women's race.  I knew it would do that. 

I raced the Iron Hill Twilight Crit last night with teammate Kat.  Since I WAS winning the series, I got to wear the leader's jersey for the race.  I seemed to suck at pinning numbers this year, so Kat had to provide some remedial pinning assistance.




The race was fairly active.  There were several Bike NZ women there and they kept the attacks going.  Lauren Ellis from Bike NZ (the New Zealand National team) eventually launched an attack that stuck and she soloed to victory.  Verducci Breakaway made a strong attempt to bring it back but it was not to be.  Erica Allar won the field sprint for 2nd and I ended up 7th and slid to 2nd in the overall behind Erica.  Sarah Caravella was 3rd. 




The race was in downtown West Chester--super cutey downtown neighborhood--people out in full force partying down.  Those are my favorite.  Having Aunt Meme, Melissa and Joe there was so great as well.  It was Melissa and Joe's first time checking out a crit and they totally dug it.  Melissa is my little sister's hilarious, fabulous friend.  After the race she told me that I was winning life.  Grabbed a bite at the Side Bar at 10 pm just in time for the music to be going full blast.  Luckily, they were playing 80s music and they let us order from the kitchen menu.  It was an excellent night.


Photo Credit(s): Todd Leister/leister.smugmug.com
The USA Crits put us up at the Sheraton in Frazer which was so great.  After a good night's rest, I got up and went for a spin while Aunt Meme did some work and went to pick up Paul.  Eastern PA is where I really cut my teeth road riding and there was some serious nostalgia riding the windy, tree-lined roads through the various small towns.  I made a stop back in West Chester so I could hit up Carlino's (my new favorite place, I almost ordered cannoli) for some espresso...







Joe, Melissa and Me







We drove back to Rochester and were welcomed at my parents house by my 2 sisters (Mary in town on her way back to Albania for lawyer school) and my 3 crazy nieces.  It was super fun to play with Izzy, Sofia and Baby Frankie...Izzy told some awesome knock knock jokes:
Izzy: Knock Knock
- Who's there
Izzy: Boo
- Boo who?
Izzy: Orange. Knock Knock?
- Who's there?
Izzy: Interrupting cow!

She is awesome.  We had an awesome dance party and I'm sore from running around the back yard with her.  They are cutest ever.

My sister's husband Jason cheffed up and AMAZING dinner: Melon soup, grilled pineapple, corn, watermelon salad, grilled swordfish, tuna and pork tenderloin.  He is an amazing chef.  Had some of my mom's cookies for dessert.  Good stuff.  As always, so good to be home.

I will get a good ride here in the Roch before heading back to the 801 on Tuesday.  A little downward dog with my sister in the morning too.  I wouldn't want to live on the east coast--but I SURE do love coming to visit!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Athens deja vu

Arrived in motown Philly last night and hooked up with my sister's good high school buddy Melissa.





Melissa in her super cute house with Petie(? or is it the other one- she has 2 cats)








It was really neat to be back in Philly.  I hadn't been here in forever.  I went to college here for 2 years so it was a real walk down that lane--what is it called again?  Melissa and her beau Joe live in the full on hood.  But their place is SO awesome.  We walked to Rittenhouse Square to Cichetteria 19--the trendy Venetian restaurant where Joe works.  We had a totally delish dinner (and got to hang out a little with Joe) before walking home.  It was humid to the bejesus.  I was melting but somehow made it.  I made the drive to West Chester where race #3 of the USA Crits is today.

Its pissing down rain.  Deja ve Athens.  At least it won't be hot.

Aunt Meme is en route for soigneur duties and Melissa and Joe are heading out for fan section and the neighborhood block party.  Melissa claims she is going to get her face painted--but I don't know if it will be the tiger or the dog.  Teammate Kat is also heading up from Boston so the confluence of awesome people will hopefully lend itself to awesome racing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Give me liberty...

Flying to Philadelphia this weekend to race the Iron Hill Twilight--race #3 of the USA Crits series--which I am leading for now!  Really looking forward to some east coast racing and some family hang time!  Teammate Kat will be joining me and Aunt Meme is driving up from Ro-cha-cha for soigneur duties.  Hoping to also see my sister's good bud Melissa too.

Got some excellent but brief hang time with good bud Mel yesterday.  Damn her for living in Maple Leaf land.  Hopefully she is moving back.  Good laughs amidst the chaos that always surrounds her.  While we were mistaken for sisters at the sweatshop pedicure place--it is only our inability to time manage that we share--rather than blood.

Our house looks like a bomb went off.  Perhaps the BP oil leak strategy of bombing the chaos may be useful, because I'm not sure it could get worse?
But its aaaaaaaalllll good.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quadfecta of awesomeness

What do you get when you take your favorite people + camping + sweet single track + a super cool downtown crit?  You get my weekend aka the quadfecta of awesomeness.

After a windy sprint workout on Friday morning, the hubs and I loaded up the limosienna for the strangely familiar trip north to the spud state (just came through Boise last week on the way home from nationals).  With the fray of traveling, we were a little off the back getting out of the 801.  And of course I needed to bring my fresh garden produce on the trip too!

Nonetheless, we eventually made it to Sun Valley where we found our campsite in Corral Creek.  The Woodies and my new favorite person Wade were hanging around the campfire drinking some adult beverages.  Good stuff. The hubs and I went for a new sleeping experience--we rolled out the tempurpedic memory foam in the back of the limosienna.  Air mattresses can suck it--memory foam is the true way.

After coffee and delicious breakfast at the most amazing campsite EVER, we headed into town to ride Adams Gulch.  Coach K was in town and we hooked up with her and badass Jamie on the trail.  Seems like most people don't get much face to face with their coaches--and I'm no exception.  Adams Gulch was the 1st time I had actually ever just ridden with Coach K and it was supersweet.  That night, Coach K, her daughter Landry, badass Jamie and her daughter Sydney traveled out to our campsite to hook us up with S'mores and Oh Boys (just chocolate and marshmallow).  The girls were total entertainment and it was an excellent night.






Wade, Woody and Steve celebrate the ride with mandatory post ride beverages







Coach K had told me about a 4th of July crit in Hailey--a town about 30k from our campsite.  I mentioned I was possibly interested and she instructed me to rideto the race from camp and then ride home.  Done!  On the morning of the 4th of July, the hubs, the woodies and Wade busted out of camp to ride in Stanley.  I drank coffee and then eventually started getting ready for the race.  It was totally trippy to be in race prep mode at a campsite--all grungy and campfire stinky...but it was kind of fun too.  Almost as fun as the 5k dirt road descent out the campground road on the skinny tires. 

The ride from camp to Hailey was awesome.  There is a bike path that goes all the way from Ketchum to Hailey so that was excellent.  As I rolled into Hailey, I entered a full on party-festival zone.  It was so awesome.  The pro 1-2 men were racing and EVERYONE was out in style.  So fun.

They ran the pro 1-2 women with the master's and cat 3 men.  There were only a handful of women so it was great to still have a big field with strong riders.  Racing with the men is always great--and HARD!  Chuck C was racing his 2nd race of the day so it was fun to know someone.  Coach K's husband Bob was also racing--so I felt like I had people lookin' out for me.  On the 1st lap, 2 guys rolled off the front.  Chuck made many valiant attempts to bring them back but to no avail.  About halfway through the race I won a pack prime.  I saw I had a big gap so I put my head down and tried to catch the break....It was awesome because the announcer and (what seemed like) the whole town were giving me awesome encouragement to try to catch the break!  Unfortunatley my efforts were also ultimately thwarted.

The field reeled me back in and I won another prime (this time it was a women's only prime).  As the laps ticked down I settled in for the field sprint.  On the last lap, a group of about 4 guys made a big acceleration on the back side.  I jumped on and  came around a few of them to take 2nd in the field sprint and 4th overall in the men's race (and 1st in the women's).  It was an AWESOME race and such a great atmosphere.  Coach K and co. were also in attendance which was really great.  I hung out for a bit in Hailey and then made my way back to Sun Valley.

My plan was to catch a quick shower at Coach K's condo before meeting up with the hubs and friends at the Cellar.  Coach K had given me directions but as I got closer to Sun Valley I really had no clue where I was going...In a total turn of excellent events, I saw a little girl in a purple tanktop and tutu barrelling down the bike path toward me--Sydney! Fabulous!  Coach K, Jamie, Landry and Jamie all headed out the bike path to ride me the last mile back into town...It was so great!





 Sydney busted out some of her sweet moves...while ringing her bike bell--YEAH!






After showering, I rode over to the Cellar to find the Woodies, Wade and the hubs playing some post-ride cribbage and consuming some recovery beverages.  After swapping the day's adventures, we grabbed dinner for Woody's birthday at the Pio.  Let's hear it for buffalo burgers!

The next day we rode Greenhorn-Imperial before grabbing a bite in Hailey and heading home.  It was a truly excellent weekend.  Hope everyone had a good 4th and thanks for reading!

The Yogurt on My Pretzels

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