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!).