Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dirty Hundy 2010 Awards

After much consideration Dirty Hundy has compiled an extremely biased list of awards from this years races. Since no bribes were offered prior to publishing please note that it is not too late, this list can be revised. It is a rather prestigious honor to just be mentioned on this list so I will understand the cut throat behaviour amongst race directors in the future in an attempt to get recognized. (please note, that a new time trial bike would go a long way in getting you esteemed status!) Otherwise, take your chances.

Coldest Race with the Worst Weather conditions- When I enter a race in La Quinta California (which is the desert) I expect to be comfortable, warm and dry. This was not even close to reality at the Desert International Triathlon in 2010. It was so cold that I didn't think had feet until the last mile of the run and I had to grunt at a volunteer to open my GU packet cause my fingers were frost bitten and immobilized. You think I am exaggerating but the blue lips on my fellow competitors post race confirms this! Of course, I have no photographic evidence, my camera is not made for sub Arctic use!

Best After party- This category was hotly contested between two events. One race, MOMAR Cumberland included an after party that went until 2am for all its athletes and family to attend. This was awesome, and the fact that we had all bonded in life harrowing near death experiences out on the race course made it seem like we were partying with all of our closest friends. Another race, Sedona Marathon had a beer garden at the awards but that was nothing compared to the after party that my friends and I threw for ourselves. Thus Sedona takes this category. I warn you though, in order for you to experience this awesome after party, you need to have this group with you. Drop me a line, I am sure we can be bought for the right price! (although, I warn you, we don't come cheap, buying us a round of shots will not get you an invite to our party!)

Yes, we ran a marathon today!

Best Starting Time-Hands down this goes to the Tuesday night mountain bike series in Irvine, Over the Hump. I ask you, how can you beat a 6pm start time. Perfect summer evening event! Crushed it's competition, especially those that had 6 am start times! The only other races even close to having a shot were the cyclocross races with their mid morning, early afternoon times but those times were just too close to lunch so they lost out.

Most Life Threatening- Do you really need me to tell you who won this award? Did you not read my account of the Thirsty Beaver? Of course, you need to take into account that I was severely under prepared to take on this event and was on the most mismatched team in the whole race. I was dead weight around my team mates neck! This race left me visibly scared but like any good harrowing adventure I came out stronger, even though I now have a rather inconvenient Beaver phobia.

Best Scenery- Throughout the year I raced in some spectacular places. Running a marathon amongst the red rocks of Sedona, adventure racing in the pristine forests of British Columbia, mountain biking amidst the Colorado mountains and cyclocross racing throughout parks in Seattle. However, all scenery paled in comparison to what the island of St. Croix offered up when I race the Half Ironman there in May. From the moment I entered the water until I crossed the finish line I was astounded by the beauty of nature surrounding me.

We started on that beach!

Most Painful-Nope, this doesn't go to that 100 mile mountain bike race at over 10,000ft. If I could award it to more than one race I would give it to each and every cyclocross race that I did. However, rules state that the awards must not be shared so I have given the honor to the first cyclocross race I undertook. Simply, because I had no idea how much it would hurt to go that hard for 45 minutes. After the first one, I knew I would feel like I was going to bleed out of my lungs while simultaneously, puking. Starcrossed was a great initiation into the sport of cyclocross and I am now hooked. Reading this back, it sounds like I have a problem and should seek some help:)

Best Schwag- No contest, Leadville 100,  how much cooler than a belt buckle does it get? Plus, a duffel bag, t-shirt, water bottle, sweatshirt with my name and finishing time printed on it and a necklace. Come on other races, pick it up, that t-shirt with all the sponsors logo plastered all over it is a good bike rag and that's about it. Note, MOMAR did have the coolest t-shirt design but lost out by not offering bling!

Not to mention the hug from the race director!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh the Places I Have Been!

I love to travel and this year I got to go on so many exciting trips. Here is a photo collage of my year.

January we were camping and I ran up here, so fun!

February, spring arrived early.

My friend Humu and me hunting in Palm Springs in March

April I went to camp for a week!

Swimming after a long hike, the cold water helps recovery!

I slept at the top of a mountain pass to watch some fast bikes go by in May.

In June, I hung out at home and I got the fleas. Not FUN! Too many baths:(

In July, I got to walk at the beach for sunsets, or as I think of it, squirrel hunting!

This canyon is in Utah on my way to Colorado in August, there were rabbits here.

Can  you believe it, I got to ride a ferry to Canada in September, and they didn't make me stay in the car! I saw birds and jelly fish in the water, I wasn't allowed to go swimming though.

In October I went on lots of hikes all over California, but I wish I could ride a bike!

In November, I went to watch my friend Alison do Ironman, not my first time at this rodeo!

Every December 25th I love to walk the beach.

I can't wait for 2011 to see what fun I can have. I still have 3 days left to pack activities into 2010 and I have grand plans. It is raining heavily and I plan to go for a run and play in the puddles later today!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Playing in the Mud

Yesterday the rain ceased, the skies cleared and we got to go out and play on two wheels. After heavy rainfalls the trails are all closed to bikes but the roads resemble trails with all the debri, potholes and mud. There is an old chinese proverb that says 'don't pray for rain if you're going to complain about the mud'. Not, that I ever pray for rain, I know that we need it so I try not to whine too much, but complain about the mud. NEVER. It is way too much fun to get mucky and since I may be a little too old to make mud pies, I take my mud anyway I can get it.

I'll get her on a mountain bike yet!

Once again Pinny does all the work with none of the glory

'Mud pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure'.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Living on the Left

I have spent my entire life on the left and I need to let my readers know that this is a right sided world. I am not talking politically, I am referring the being a person who is left sided dominant. A 'nice' term that is used to describe us is southpaws. In years past, and by that I mean way past like in the olden days when my mom was a child, you weren't allowed to be left handed. That's right, the teachers made sure you did all your writing with your right hand. You righties are thinking, simple enough, you just learn to do everything on the right. But you righties are not faced with daily challenges and adventures and I challenge you to just spend one day doing everything with your left hand. Luckily for me, I was allowed to be left handed at school, which is similar to saying I was allowed to be a girl, but all instruction was done showing how to do everything on the right and I was told to just reverse it. So, when the teacher said pick it up with your right, I picked it up with my left and when the teacher said left, I went right. That's easy peasy except when you are driving and your husband says go left and you go right. Years of doing the opposite required years of deprogramming. I realize that many people have far more challenges than this but I need to point out a few things in this world that Righties take for granted.

Door knobs, yup look at what hand opens a door with a knob. Not a big deal, and a few doors might open to the left, but most open to the right. No wonder lefties walk into doors so often!
Scissors, especially scissors in prepackaged suture kits. All those years that I spent removing sutures by cutting with my right hand, lucky for the patient that meant I used my left to remove the actual suture and I didn't have to put the scissors down first. They got much faster service that way!
Vegetable peelers. As a southpaw, you have to search far and wide to find a peeler that has dual sharp sides or the sharp side set up for left handed use. No wonder lefties have more accidents, you try doing everything with the wrong hand and see how clumsy you become.
Three ring binders. Remember these and how we had to write on the front page, not the back page. Reaching over the rings left for some interesting writing habits!

Those are just a few of the things that I have encountered in my life and I am usually silent about it. Until now! Yesterday, I was faced with an almost disastrous challenge that reminded me how easy it must be to be sitting there all high and mighty on the right. You see, I was buying bulk baking supplies in the bulk bins and the scoops were all set up on the right side of the barrels. I had to scoop with my right hand into flimsy plastic bags. I tried to maneuver myself into a position that allowed me to scoop with the left but it was logistically impossible. It was like it was snowing so much flour ended up on the ground! I tried my best to keep it contained but my fine and gross motor skills on the right under pressure are not spectacular. Imagine the horror on the faces around me as I left the aisle resembling a mad pastry chef with flour all over the front of me. I will leave what the floor looked like to the imagination of my readers. I would have taken a photo, but that would have raised me from crazy lady to lunatic and I needed to retain some dignity for standing in the checkout line. Speaking of checkout, guess where the pens are located? They sure the heck aren't positioned for the convenience of those of us living on the left!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whether or Not?

It is December and for those of us in the northern hemisphere that means it is winter.(oh, how I wish I could float between two hemispheres and live in eternal spring and summer!).  Inclement weather is just a regular part of this season. Nothing tests motivation more than facing the harsh elements to venture out for a bike ride or run. The worst part always seems to be getting out the door and leaving the cozy warm confines of my home. I often end up with an internal dialogue debating the merits of getting my workout done or finishing a good book. Whether I should curl up on the couch with a hot cup of tea or brave old man winter. Whether I should go to the gym to run on the treadmill or whether I should put on another layer and head outdoors. Whether it would keep me warmer to ride my mountain bike on the trails or whether I should put on some good music and rack the bike on the indoor trainer. In the process of making my decisions I check the forecast as well as the current outside temperature, which I then compare to the inside temperature for choosing my clothing options. I also look out the window and ask me hearty what he thinks it is like outside. Being that he works outside all day he is a reliable source, more reliable than many a meteorologist seems to be. Finally, I look at the dog for clues. This morning she is curled up in a ball with her tail over her nose, that means it is cold! (except she just had a bath so maybe it means something else today). Over the weekend we had a massive winter storm move through but that didn't stop me donning my shorts and short sleeve jersey and facing the unseasonable temperature of 80 degrees. I know my dedication is amazing and I can only hope that my readers can take inspiration from my suffering in the dead of winter. It is rough but I will get it done weather or not!

Mom and her Friends at the Jingle 5km (note the snow in the background!)
PS. My mom is not the pregnant lady!

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Own World

I might need an exorcist. You see, during the night my body keeps getting taken over. For about a year now, when I am asleep a twelve year old boy seems to possess me. I know this because I keep having these reoccurring dreams where I am riding my bike and effortlessly popping wheelies all over. I have even ridden some of my favorite training loops on one wheel, with one hand. I know this is not me, because I still celebrate when I am able to get my front wheel up and over a curb. This boy, my alter ego, seems to do things while riding a bike with no concern for injury. Crazy, I know, but he flies downhills and off jumps with no fear of consequence. He even took me back for a ride over a few bridges on the Thirsty Beaver. Yes, returned to the trail from my nightmares to have fun! Now do you believe me that I am being possessed during the midnight hours? Luckily, this devil inside of me is only concerned about having fun while riding a bike. I am not in a huge hurry for the intervention because to be honest, I rather enjoy the mad skills we have on our night rides. I think that like me he fantasizes of one day growing up and being a rider like Robbie McEwan. For now, I will hold on to my dreams and enjoy living in a world where I am fearless.

Robbie McEwan

'In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own'

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Avoiding the Holiday Bulge

I keep getting emails regarding ways to avoid the inevitable holiday bulge and weight gain. Tips have even appeared on my facebook page. 'Ladies, follow these five simple tips and you will sail through the holidays without adding five pounds to your figure'. Of course I have been intrigued and I have read all the tips that have come my way. NONE of them seem that simple. Here are a few of the nuggets of wisdom I have seen.

1)In order to avoid overeating and indulging in high calorie foods at a party eat before you go. Great idea, until you have to tell your hostess that you ate before you came. She just heard you say that she is a horrible cook and hostess and you would do anything to avoid having to eat at her party.

2)Don't drink you calories. Liquid calories are empty calories. Fantastic, except further down the list you recommend starting the day with a nice protein shake. Am I suppose to eat that with a fork and knife?

3)Make time to exercise. This is a good tip, except for when you have cracked ribs and can't exercise. It also doesn't help much during the so called off season when we all do less exercise than normal.

The experts have other tips but dear readers I have done some extensive research on this subject and can tell you what the true secrets are. First off, if you have gotten into December with no weight gain, congratulations, that's fantastic! (what I really mean is- you bitch!). I made it into the month of September before the so called 'holiday weight' started creeping onto me. I worked hard in an attempt to see what I could do to bring on the extra pounds, and now I know what to do to avoid them.

1) Don't eat 1kg bags of jujubes. And don't eat several bags, even if it is awesome post Leadville recover food!

2) Don't eat chocolate for breakfast. Yes, almonds are a good protein source, you can eat them without the chocolate coating! I know what you are thinking, but Kiki, you just told me that chocolate is a miracle cure. You are right, I still believe in its medicinal qualities, but like lots of medications one of the side effects is weight gain.

3) Old Dutch Dill Pickle chips do not cause a fat burning thermogenic reaction to our metabolism. Luckily, they are not available where I live. Unluckily, I made a trip to Canada this fall and did extensive research on this fat burning product. It took some work to get conclusive evidence and unfortunately, it was not the end result I had hoped for. Perhaps, in a few years I will be able to be in a class action law suit ala Fen-phen. Until then, this particular delicacy is saved for post 100 mile bike rides. Guess it will be a long time before we meet again Dill Pickle chips. I will miss you!

There you have it. My dangerous experiment has been concluded and like all good scientists I have suffered for my work. I will continue to suffer to reverse the consequences of the grand undertaking. Now that the holidays are upon us I will do everything I can to avoid the holiday five.(like 5 is a big deal!).  What I really want to know is where were my emails and little facebooks ads when I needed them. I should have been inundated with topics like 'Keeping the body without doing the mileage' and 'Avoiding the post Leadville 15'.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Breaking the Ice

I have submerged myself back into the world of chlorine and lane lines. In my dreams I dove right back in and didn't miss a stroke, but reality has a way of smacking you across the face! I am now into my second week of chasing the black line back and forth. Sounds like a rather solitary way to spend time but I have noticed that swimmers are very interested in talking to each other. The most common dialogue is between the person who is or has already swam and the person about to swim. The person about to swim has all kinds of questions for the person who is already immersed in the water. The questions usually refer to the water temperature. I am assuming that they are referring to water temperature when they say 'how's the water?', cause the answer 'wet' just seems too obvious. Women start asking the questions of you in the locker room and showers as they head out to the pool deck. I often wonder if the men do the same thing or if it is just wrong to ask a guy who's in the shower if the pool water was cold?

the water was cold, its shrinkage!

After I tell the person asking how I find the pool temperature they often go on to ask me more details. 'Well, is it warmer or colder than yesterday? Because yesterday it was about 0.00075 degrees too cold for me'. Okay, I might have exaggerated a little on that, but swimmers are very sensitive about the temperature of their water. Just imagine the chaos that results from the pool heater breaking! The other day a fella asked me an unsual question as he was getting into the lane next to the one I was swimming in. Actually, I was resting on the wall because if I was swimming he wouldn't have been able to start a conversation with me. He asked me if I had warmed it up for him? What exactly was he implying? There is only one way I know how to warm up water when you are in it. Which explains why in a deep water start at a triathlon the water at the start is so much warmer than the rest of the lake. Anyways, back to this gentlemans question, how do you respond to that. Well, no sir I did not pee in the pool. Nice to meet you, enjoy your swim and  thanks for breaking the ice!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get on the Sidewalk

I don't know how many times I have heard 'get on the sidewalk' from someone in a car when I am riding my bike. It has happened more than once and probably less than 100 times. Enough times that it doesn't surprise me to hear this gem of advice, but infrequently enough that it still baffles me. When I hear it,I think, really, what part of the walk in sidewalk do you not get. If they wanted me to ride my bike there wouldn't it be called side ride, or even better, bike lane? If you have had your training wheels removed from your bike, you should probably not be on the sidewalk any longer. Except, if your mommy or daddy is walking next to you, then you can have a pass for being on the sidewalk riding your bike. Since the brilliant people who scream their splendid ideas at me as they drive by never stop to hear my opinion, I feel compelled to share with my 2 dedicated readers. (you know who you are!)

This summer while out on a rather lovely ride in the local country I was told to find somewhere else to ride. Now, this wouldn't have been nearly as amusing if I had not just passed one of these signs...

Could it be that the driver was enraged at being told what to do? I don't know, but I do know that said driver did not have to move at all to pass me. I was not riding down the middle of the road, I was not riding 3 abreast (well, I might have been, but in the past I have been the only one who could see my bike riding bear and his buddy), and I was holding a straight line. So what was the issue? On those quiet country roads do they yell at the farmer driving his tractor along the road from one field to the next, or do they sit behind him until they can pass and enjoy the scenery and the peaceful life away from the interstates? If he had just stopped, I would have told him that if he didn't want to share the road he should stick to the freeways to get places!

Generally, when I am riding I like to stick to roads that known for having bicyclists on them. These roads often have signs labelling them as a bike route. Like this sign..

What remains a complete mystery to me is what I am suppose to do when the bike route abruptly ends and starts again in half a mile. I mean, is it unreasonable for me to ask, 'how does one get between the two spots?'. I know that cyclists are usually clad in Lycra, as are superheros but so far my ability to fly has failed me. (except for the times that I have super manned over my handlebars, but I can't muster that up at whim).  Call me unreasonable, but until I come up with a better option, like an invisible wonder woman jet, I will continue to ride between the two. Maybe, I should start riding on roads that aren't known for cyclists. If I am the only person on a bike that a driver encounters all day, maybe they will not feel inclined to yell pleasantries out their window at me?

Not only do things that drivers say and do give me hours of intellectual stimulation, I can ponder other cyclists behaviours endlessly.

The most prominent action that lends to speculation is why people choose to ride the wrong direction in a bike lane. Apparently, these people are not comfortable riding their bikes on the road and therefore think that it is a good idea to ride facing traffic. Well, I am here to tell you that is an insane idea. I know lots of people who are not comfortable driving on the freeway due to the speed and volume of traffic. I would never suggest to them, that to feel safer that maybe they should drive the wrong way and face traffic. How asinine would that be, and it is the same thing going the wrong way in a bike lane. If you are not comfortable riding on the road there are options for you. Go and ride on a separated bike path, get a mountain bike and ride off road, or ride a stationary bike, but DO NOT think it is a good idea to ride the wrong way. Cars are not looking for you coming the wrong way when they are entering the street. You are forcing bicyclists that are travelling with the traffic to go out of the bike lane into the traffic to get around you. And, you might not be aware but if you read the beginning of this post, drivers don't like bikes on the road!

I could make a whole post about the various way that people carry their helmets while riding, that don't involve wearing it on their head. All it leaves me to believe is that they mustn't have anything in their head worth protecting, and many riders value their bike stem more than their brain. I know helmets make you hair look funny and aren't super sexy but neither are brains splattered on the roadside. Helmets, save lives. Just ask Big Mike. Oh, and parents, who is going to look after your children who are wearing their helmets, when your brains are mush?

Why do some cyclists think that the rules of the road do not apply to them? I am referring to the guy who can't stop for the red light. I know it is a pain, I get a red light at every intersection I go through, but just because you are in the middle of your 2 minute interval doesn't mean you can't stop at a light. If you want an uninterrupted interval, you should pick a route that doesn't have a stoplight every quarter mile! I should pay more attention next time, cause maybe these idiots are the same ones who aren't wearing a helmet, in which case I understand the lack of interest in protecting their grey matter. Anyways, if we want cars to share the road with us, and respect us, we need to follow the rules of the road. That means all of us, all the time. The driver that you Mr or Ms aggro cut off today, won't be able to differentiate me tomorrow. In case you aren't sure, red means stop and green means go and that red octagon sign on the side of the road is telling you to stop. Think of the time stopped as your chance to impress the drivers who are also stopped with your amazing abilities to balance while you track stand. Your own personal built in audience, just make sure you can laugh at yourself  in case you get a sudden case of vertigo and topple over.

Until cars are driving on sidewalks, cars that aren't pink and have barbie pictures all over them, I will not be riding on the sidewalk, unless I get a set of training wheels and my mommy comes with me. (and since she didn't let me have training wheels when I was four this isn't likely to happen now!).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Miracle Healer

In the process of dealing with my cracked rib injury, I employed a magic potion to mend myself. Everyday, without failure, I started my day with a dose of medicine known for centuries for its healing properties. What is this miraculous potion you might be asking. I will tell you, but you have to promise that you will not let the secret out to too many people. It is one of the most nutrient rich and complex foods known to man. It has mood elevating, antidepressant and antioxidant qualities. Raw Cacao. Yup, you heard it here, chocolate cured me. After four weeks, I am now as good as new.

Vegan pumpkin brownie

Of course, being that I had some extra spare time on my hands I was able to experiment with various ways to medicate myself. Sometimes, I strayed from the raw form and took in some cooked versions. I still took my daily raw dose though, cause I didn't want my serum levels to drop too much. I did run the risk of overdosing, but I followed the theory that the more I took the faster I would heal. What would be the signs of an overdose anyways? Too relaxed and stress free? Too much blood flow to the brain? Too strong of immune system, liver, pancreas and skin? Can there be too much of any of those things? I tried, for your sake dear readers to find out and tested the human limits of dark chocolate and raw cacoa consumption. The end result of my research is it is near impossible to take in too much of this good thing! I can also tell you that I am now fully healed and cured by this miraculous cure. All it took is four weeks of dedicated consumption on my part. Four weeks and I am back at it, as good as new thanks to my miracle healer. Could my cracked ribs have healed in four weeks without this intervention? All research states that they would have, but I know that Chocolate cured me!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

Right now I am overflowing with pride. You see this weekend I had the honor of being on the sidelines as a coach at an Ironman. I have been working with my good friend, super crew Alison to prepare her to tackle Ironman Arizona. Throughout this entire process she has been inspirational in her commitment to doing the work and preparing herself both mentally and physically to have a successful day out there. No matter what the weather conditions threw at her in the race, I knew she had seen far worse in training. How many others came in from their long ride and had to dump out several cups of water from their bike frame? This happened more than once! Yup, she was ready, more than ready and it was time to execute the plan.

As proud of her as I was during the race, the real source of delight came from watching her transform herself on this journey into a dedicated Ironman athlete. No matter what happened on race day, I was thrilled to have been part of the journey and the process. Weekly I was shown how to work hard and push through physical and mental barriers to reach higher levels. No matter how hideous of workouts her coach threw at her she got 'er done, and I gave her some doozies. For example, the day after crewing for me at the Leadville Trail 100, she got to run in a 10km race. At 10,000ft. After being on the go looking after her diva coach the whole day before. How is that for dedication?!

Alison finishing the Leadville Trail 10km

She also got to go for a 2 hour bike ride the day before crewing and a swim workout the day before. All at over 10,000 ft after coming from sea level. Did she complain or whine, NO! Well, maybe just a little whining but she did it. Once we were down to 8,000 ft she did a four hour ride that was all climbing, on her mountain bike on the road. Being that I am a considerate coach, I met her at the halfway point with some food and beverage. I also didn't talk too much about the nap I had while waiting, that would have been vicious, and I am just mean.

Midpoint of the ride, she's still smiling!

The day that I wrestled with the Thirsty Beaver she was out on her tri bike for a 6 hour ride alone in the gusting winds and torrential downpours. When she got back to the car she headed out for her transition run, despite being encouraged by friends to blow it off. That dedication is what got her to the finish line on Sunday at Ironman Arizona. Alison showed that it isn't about what you do on race day, it is about what you do to prepare for race day that determines success. As I watched her execute perfectly the plan that we had laid out, I was overwhelmed with happiness that she allowed me to share in her journey. I can't wait to continue working towards her future goals but for now I have given her some much deserved time off. It may be a prejudice on my part, but she is the greatest athlete anyone has ever coached and I am so proud of her!

About to Cross the finish line

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sincerest Apologies

Dear Readers,

Blogger has brought it to my attention that I owe you all an apology. Ever so subtly they have made their point clear. You see, they have been tracking what words are being searched that lead people to read my rather frivolous drivel. Well, it turns out from the word searches that have led you here that most of you are rather 'let down' shall we say. I am pretty sure that you are here to read about a girl riding, just not about a girl riding her bicycle! I am sorry for any misunderstandings that  have brought you to my blog. Let me clear up a few things for you.

Dirty Hundy - This is the name I chose for my blog because it started out being about my journey to complete 100 miles (hundy) on a mountain bike, in the dirt (dirty). I don't have enough of an imagination to fathom what this can mean to some people. I am pretty sure though, that they aren't putting this in their particular search engine because they have heard of my blog and want their daily dose of exquisite prose. Note, I said I am pretty sure, not positive, maybe my words are Pulitzer award winning material to the fellow in Slovania who keeps checking in.

Skinny Dip Friday- Okay, I know I have a blog post titled this exact thing but who is that specific in their search. Is there someone out there looking for a group to join. Might I suggest looking on Meet Up and seeing if there is a group with your particular interest. Obviously, this person is only available to swim naked on Fridays. Perhaps, as a service to my readership I can start a community message board, cause it seems that there is more than one of you with this interest.

The Girl Who Lost- Yes, I have written in a few of my posts that I lost a race or two, but remember I also have written about winning - rather recently actually.Of course, in that same post I wrote about losing, but its all semantics.  Anyways, back to the point at hand, I am hoping that they are searching for girl who lost her puppy so that they can return it. Or maybe, they found an ipod and it is pink so they want to give it back to the girl who lost it. Otherwise, get off of my blog you perv! (off of, not off on!)

Thirsty Beaver-Yup my encounter with this evil creature continues to haunt me. Either people are looking for a review on the malt beverage or they too have had an run in with this animal. If you are just looking for a trail review, it really was a lovely trail. I just didn't really enjoy it on that particular day. Would I recommend riding it again, well, I can recommend running it again:) As for the beer, I can't say, I had had my full of beaver by that point in the day.

Once again, I am deeply sorry if you were brought to my blog under misleading circumstances. For those of you that are reading because of duty (IE- you gave birth to me) thank you for being a reader who wants to read about a girl who rode her bike 100 miles in the dirt. Please accept this apology if the hobby that leads you here doesn't involve bicycles, but may I suggest that riding a bike is a good way to relieve shall we say stress? I would be very happy if just one person gets turned on by my blog to bike riding.

As a symbol of my humble sincere apology and because you are going away empty handed please enjoy this lovely picture of the sun going down yesterday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poppy Day

Today is November 11th. Here in the United States it is known as Veterans day. Having grown up in Canada it will always be Remembrance day to me. The day that we remember the sacrifices of armed servicemen and women as well as civilians in times of war. I remember participating in the towns festivities on this day growing up. We had a parade where the veterans of WW1 and WW2 were honoured and there was a wreath placing ceremony by the members of the Legion. A minute of silence was observed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. To this day that silence is more penetrating than any words. The silence was broken by the resonating playing of the Last Post on a trumpet. Even though this day occurred when we usually already had snow on the ground there were red blossoms everywhere. All coats were adorned with a red poppy as a symbol of Canadian Soldiers lost in battle. This simple custom with profound meaning is what I miss most.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trip on de Nile

For the last week I have been taking a cruise on the river of denial. Instead of accepting the reality that ramming my bicycle into my chest wall had indeed caused a rib or two to crack I put my head up my butt and tried all kinds of activities. What is a good cruise without the plethora of available events to keep one busy. Here is a report of what I tried and the results I got.

1) Going for a run- just kidding, even I couldn't convince myself that would work. Walking was challenging enough. I had to slow my pace so that I wasn't breathing too hard. The only one that benefited from the slow walks was the dog. Lots more sniffing and peeing than usual.

2) Riding the trainer. Okay, this one isn't too bad. I can spin, not get my breathing too rapid and there is no impact or vibration. Good chance to work on getting a better cadence going for next year.

3) Core work. Whoever is stabbing my voodoo doll with a knife between the ribs, you can stop now. My plan for that off season six pack has just changed to another kind of six pack!

4) Yoga. About the only pose that didn't hurt was savasana and during that I still felt the dull burn of pain in my side.

5) Strength work. Pushing the vacuum around counts right? It took a few days before I would even do that.

6) Swimming. Always a good fall back on workout session, that is until you get searing red hot pain any time you move your rib cage. 50 yards in and I knew it was not to be. Another month out of the water won't really make that much difference after having been out since May. -right? Maybe I have been spending so much time travelling denial that I should be the cruise director.

To be honest the only real cruise activity that I am able to take part in comfortably is the endless buffet eating. I am planning to eat my way through the next 4 weeks. That should give me plenty of strength work when I am able to get back at it cause I will be carrying a wee bit more weight up all the hills.

pretty sure I won't be loving the hills in January!

My trip is now over and reality has crashed the party. Until I can get out of bed without bracing myself and splinting my side I will be on the injured reserve list. I can only hope that when I have the green light to get back that I am fully recharged and that I haven't chosen to stay in the buffet line!

'Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest'
Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, November 5, 2010

One and Done

Last night was the premier of the 2010 edition of the Race Across the Sky movie. It was a great way to relive an amazing day. Much like any great event in my life, the images that are stored in my brain through my own camera lens were much more spectacular.When I got married someone made a video (yup, I got married a long time ago) of the event. They told me that it was to record the day so that I could watch it and relive it whenever I wanted. I have never watched the video. I recorded the day in my head down to every detail but all from my perspective. I didn't want to see what the guests and others saw, it was my wedding and I wanted to remember it as the bride looking out. Weird maybe, but last night I was reminded there is nothing quite the same as seeing something like the Powerline climb at mile 80 from ones own perspective. So, while many were enjoying the movie on the screen at face value, I had another movie running at the same time. My movie came with a little bit of muscle memory and feelings of fatigue. In the film there were shots of the massive crowding of the first climb up St Kevins. From the camera angle above it looked crowded but to get a true feeling of how it was one had to be in the masses, attempting to stay upright while getting jostled around going uphill with no room to maneuver. The one criticism I have for the movie makers, is that they omitted the most talked about part of the race. Just like any good party it is not complete without the food and drink portion and we had five star service on the Columbine climb. Hey, at 12,000 + feet PBR and Hotdogs are 5 star! So, just to prove I was not hallucinating when I was in oxygen debt here is the photographic evidence.
 Seems this guy had other plans for his raceday fuel

For the price of the entry fee we could also have a mountain top picnic

Line for hot dogs and beer

From this racers point of view, these guys provided much needed comic relief. They even offered to get a veggie dog ready for my trip back down when I informed them as much as I appreciated their offer, I did not eat meat.

Did the movie make me want to throw my name in the hat for next year? No. You see, I had the perfect day this year and I loved every minute of it from the training to the racing. The Race Across the Sky and I will forever remain in the honeymoon phase and whenever I want to do it again, I will replay the day in my head and glow from the fond memories. Just like that wedding day I had years ago, I am ONE AND DONE!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scars and Stories

This year I pushed my body to do things that it had never done. I tried to go past my previous limits and challenge myself. I feel that I was successful. I can look at my body and relive the story. Long after the gained fitness vanishes and the muscles atrophy, I will still have the scars. I managed to accumulate quite a few of them and they all are now woven into my history. Of course, my leg modelling career is now officially over but when I am old and frail my body will tell a story of a life worth reliving.They say that scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. I am embracing each of my new marks of adventure as symbols of outer and inner strength.

My left knee now appears to be completely healed from its brush with the evil branches and I have a nice raised purple scar. Purple is one of my favorite colors and it is much cheaper to get it on my body this way than a tattoo! In my last cross race I finally wasn't having any twinges in that knee and all was going well, as you may know I won. Anyways, I was racing so hard that going over the barriers on one of the laps I managed to ram my bike stem into my right chest wall. This is good in that I was actually moving quickly and had momentum rather than gingerly slow stepping, but bad in that I took a pretty hard hit. Let's just say, I don't have much chest padding and it hurt. However, the stem in question had an ever constant reminder on it that made this buttercup suck it up and keep racing.

Are you a Pussy?

Post race, my chest hurt pretty bad and by that night it was awful. I figured it was badly bruised and would go away. That night was kinda rough and taking a deep breath was out of the question. The final nail in the pain coffin was when I sneezed! Take the knife out of my ribs now!! The weekend double header of racing was not to be. At least I went out with a win, right? Sundays race had other women in my category so maybe just maybe I was faking. You know you are only as good as your last race and right now I won my last race;) I am optimistic that I just have rib bruising and that in a week all will be back to normal. Until I am able to sniff without bracing myself for a shot of pain I will just spend my hours reminiscing on all the fun I had this year. I don't need medals and awards to remember all this year has been (although, I am not giving back the buckle), I have memories permanently marked onto my body. I get to take these scars and the stories that made them with me and one day if I am no longer able to tell the stories my body be a canvas marked by adventures. Or, people will look at all the purple marks I have accumulated and learn the true story, I am a klutz!

Here I am racing where I first saw Cyclocross

'The human body is the best picture of the human soul'- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Summer Vacation

This week the 2010 version of the Race Across the Sky hits theatres. It will be a movie premier event like no other. I am super excited that I get to share with everyone the amazing scenery of Leadville Colorado and surrounding areas. I remember watching the movie last November and being awestruck by the stunning beauty, especially at the top of Columbine Mine. The movie really doesn't do it justice. It is more spectacular in person, which could be attributed to the lack of oxygen in the air and the amazing technicolor that your brain then experiences. I am looking forward to reliving the day, even though it will be a 2 hour movie not an 11 hour movie. From experience, I suggest all movie goers come stocked with some super salty snacks because by the time you get back to the Powerline climb you are going to need them. Luckily for you, the movie theatre popcorn will do the trick. Here's hoping I don't get transported back in time and think I am racing again. If you see a girl pulling down her pants yelling lube me, you know you're in the same theatre as I am!

Here are some teaser images from around Leadville this summer.

View from Town

Top of Columbine

Bridge at bottom of Powerline
View from Sugarloaf climb

Twin Lakes aid station

 Luxury lodging, very friendly owners!

Half way turn around point!

Victorian house, love the paint colors!

Creek on way back to St Kevins

Finishing, yes I am crying!

For all of you who are attending the movie, know that we can all do more than we think we can. A year ago when I was watching the 2009 version of the race, I was petrified about the race course and how I would ever get myself through it. With grit, determination, lots of luck and the amazing support of friends and family I became a member of the Leadville Trail 100 family.

'You are better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can - but you gotta DIG DEEP!'.