Thursday, December 27, 2007

I now have headcold #7 for calendar year 2007. Its my PR. I hope never to break it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I wish that I could project my thoughts into other people's minds letting them know exactly how much I hate them. I don't even need to tell them why --- nine times out of ten its because they are IN MY WAY. And the other time its because I'm in their way and the honking/shouting/gesturing isn't going to make me move, its only going to make me hate them more.


Rode the lakefront path for a couple hours today. First time I've been on the path in . . . six weeks? It remains exactly how it ever was. It was warm and sunny and I saw a handful of other cyclists --- including my coach --- getting in their winter miles. I wonder if I could convince my boss to let me ride for a couple hours in the middle of the day through January and February. Its so dark and cold in the mornings.

Oh, and the two weeks off the bike have made me SLOW. Arg.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday it was in the 40's --- WARM! So I went on my team ride and had a blast. It was my first day back on my bike after my 2 weeks off, and it felt so great to be riding again! It was damp and dirty out, so I had to hose down my bike when I got home. Then I had to hose down my face. hee.

I was looking forward to riding on Sunday, but the temperature had plummeted and there were high, cold winds. So I tried out my new rollers for the first time. I did 10 minutes and didn't fall or have any sort of mishap -- although it took me a while to figure out how to get off the damn thing. When I'm on my bike, my feet don't touch the ground, so I sorta sat there in limbo until I found some toeholds. Heh. I'll use the rollers for increasingly longer periods every time I'm stuck training indoors. It breaks up the soul-sucking monotony of the trainer, which I rode for the other hour and 50 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Driving to work this morning, I shared the road with a gangly guy on a fixed gear. I was keeping an eye on my side mirror to make sure I wasn't crowding him or anything, when I realize he's grabbed onto the wheel well of my car. Long arms --- I guess if you CAN some people WILL. I tried to maintain a steady speed and straight line, but the responsibility of having an external passenger made me nervous.

I slowed for a light and he zipped ahead and grabbed onto the car ahead of me. That's when I knew for sure he was on a fixed gear and not a single speed --- he didn't grab on and coast, he grabbed on and kept pedalling madly. He never quit pedalling. He let go of the car when he couldn't pedal as fast as the car was going.

Later, stopped at the intersection of Milwaukee and Ashland, he came around me and did that thing where you turn right along with traffic and sorta work your way through the intersection dodging the cars. Except I've never seen anyone do it at such a fast rate of speed and in such a busy intersection. While this guy is skillful and fearless, I can't say I admire him. He's going to die like a dog in traffic one day, and that's never good.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My women's racing team had our monthly social last night. It was fun -- we met at a great ethiopian place and chatted about training and next seasons goals and training camp and holiday plans and etc. Nine of us were able to be there, 5 or so others were previously committed. Our team is getting bigger and stronger. That's cool.

First Sunday in January we're having our annual open house for women interested in racing to come and check us out. I went to one two years ago, and last year it was at my house. I met women there that I raced with all season. I'm excited to see who will turn up this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today my workplace held our annual "Say it with Sweets" extravaganza. Basically, all the parents bring in a couple dozen cookies or brownies or cupcakes or some sort of holiday baked good and they arrange it all on buffet tables [LOTS of buffet tables], give each employee a large pastry box and beg us to fill them up.

Considering that my relationship with food in general and baked goods in particular is complicated, this is not a good thing for me. Last year I called in sick on "Say it with Sweets" day simply to avoid getting anywhere near that much sugar. This year . . . calling in sick wasn't an option. Would that it had been. Or that I were the sort of person who could just ignore the event. But I'm not. I filled a pastry box and it sat on my desk smelling delightful.

Long story short, after indulging more than I should have, I taped the damn box shut and gave it to my coworker [to add to her overflowing box]. Then I went and worked out.

Where I though about how lucky I am. I remembered how in my early 20's I would get completely winded walking from Ashland to Damen. How it felt like it was SO far. My daily companions were sugar wafers and Mountain Dew. Now I get cranky that I've lost my top-end speed so on my 50 -80 mile Saturday morning ride its way harder to keep up with the fast racers. My life is GREAT.

Thank god I got rid of that box -o- evil.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm back from my fabulous trip to London, Brussels and Amsterdam. It was so much fun, and great to spend an entire week with Jackie.

I fell in LOVE with Amsterdam immediately. There are bikes EVERYWHERE. Thousands and thousands of cyclists. Everyone bikes pretty much everywhere they go. If they didn't put mayonaise on everything, Amsterdam would be perfect.

Still on my 2 weeks off my bike . . . not loving it. Although its so snowy out that I'd be riding indoors on the trainer anyway. I will be soon enough. Ugh. On my trip, we walked everywhere. Its so great being on my feet and active all day --- maybe I should quit my desk job and become a waitress. ha. Now I'm just doing weights and core strength stuff with a little eliptical thrown in. I'd love to get to a cardio kickboxing class, but I've been so busy.

Tomorrow evening is the free pilates class here at work -- I really enjoy it. The instuctor, one of our dance teachers, makes it challenging for everyone, giving harder options to the more advanced. We do my new favorite exercise: get in plank position with your feet on a ball [one of those big balls], then lift your hips and bend so you roll the ball forward until it touches your arms and you are balancing with your hands on the floor and feet flat on the ball, bent in half basically with arms and legs straight up and down. Five or six reps will pretty much do you in.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I did the team ride this morning. It was COLD. There were only 6 of us -- and we lost one to metra on the way up [she's new and didn't have warm enough gear for her feet. Actually, she was wearing sneakers and had cages on her pedals]. Did I mention that it was COLD? It was cold. Temperature was about 19 degrees when I left the house, and I could have used another layer. But once we got going, I was fine.

My fitness has declined. I know its supposed to in the off-season, but I hate it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Woo hoo! Jackie and I are flying to London manana! I'm so excited. We'll spend a week abroad in London, Brussels and Amsterdam. Wheee.

Training-wise, this is great --- I'm supposed to take 2 weeks off the bike around now anyway, so spending one of them walking around Europe will be a complete pleasure.

Our flight leaves Saturday early evening . . . so I *could* do the team ride in the morning. Which isn't exactly "completely off the bike," but I would really enjoy stretching my legs. Especially as I'll be spending 8 hours in and airplane seat. Hmmmm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I bought my plane ticket for training camp in March. Eight days in gorgous San Luis Obispo, riding most of the day and then eating, sleeping and riding again. Its wonderful. I've gone the past two years — the first year, they taught me to draft on the second day [after getting dropped on the moderately paced 30 mile ride on day one]. I knew nothing going in, and learned a ton. The second year, I was a very different rider. I was able to keep up with the fast group for WAY longer than I expected. And discovered that I was a pretty fast descender despite being lighter than the guys.

Can't wait to see how much I've improved this year!


I've spent 5 hours this week on the trainer. ugh. The tendon under my left kneecap is a bit inflamed now. Riding outdoors doesn't do it, just the unending monotony of the trainer. I'll be on vacation [and off the bike] next week, but after that I'll have to put together my rollers and learn to use them. It'll be interesting at least. Hopefully not TOO interesting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Last night was my cycling team's end of year banquet. I was shocked and very honored to have been voted "Women's Road MVP" by my teammates. I can't help feeling like several of my teammates deserved it more . . . but I'm trying to simply enjoy this. I was presented with the adorable trophy pictured above. Jackie thinks it would make a great centerpiece on our dining room table. Ha!

Our team coach also presents several awards, and he chose me as "Most Improved Racer" [or as the certificate says "Best Most Improved Racer"]. Despite the great strides forward many of my teammates have made, he said my improvment has been especially dramatic. I was SO very bad at racing when I started, but by sticking with it, I've become competent — proving that you don't need talent or aptitude if you're willing to work like a dog. And seriously, not many people stick with something they aren't immediately good at, so I'm proud of that.

I'm a bit overwhelmed by all this. And very happy.

Yesterday was also my 40th birthday. I celebrated by getting caught in a downpour on my morning training ride. It was so warm — 48! — and I couldn't stand the thought of two hours on the trainer. Happily, it didn't start raining until an hour and a half into my ride, so I was headed home. And as long as you keep moving, you stay warm. Saturday I went on the team ride in the 26 degree weather. I was pleasantly surprised at how doable that temperature is. I had the right gear and didn't suffer from the cold at all. So no more wimping out because of the weather!

But when it IS too cold and wet out, I now have rollers for indoor riding — thanks, Dad & Jill! Hopefully I can learn to use them without crashing.

OK, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I was voted MVP! It was an excellent and wonderful birthday . . . maybe being 40 isn't going to be so bad.