Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hands Free

I need to clarify a few things because it seems people are a  little confused. I see it everyday and I have decided to define a few things, not that anyone reading this needs to have these things explained to them, but I need to start somewhere.
Foremost, it seems that the term 'hands free' has many people bewildered. There are times when it is good to take things literally and this is one of those times. Hands free phone means that you  are not using your hands. In case this isn't crystal clear here are a few examples of what it doesn't mean. Ears free, yes, I have seen you, you are talking on your phone, holding it your hand but not using your ears. Do I need to show the difference between an ear and a hand?

This is an ear, it can be used for listening

These are hands, many uses, like holding things. The opposing thumbs are quite convenient

Also, hands free phone use does not mean hands free driving. Driving down the freeway holding your phone in your hand and your coffee in the other hand and no hands on the wheel. That is not what the law means.

 While I am on the subject of phones, no texting while driving. I am surprised that people even need to be told these things. I mean did you ever see someone driving down the road with a typewriter or keyboard on their steering wheel. Do you need to be told not to read a book while driving (I guess some people do)? No texting means no texting, not just in this case. Or OMG, I just have to tell my friend this it's an emergency. If you aren't careful you will have a REAL emergency on your hands. Pay attention to what you are doing, you are operating heavy machinery and you should focus on the job at hand. I'm pretty sure that whatever you are texting about can wait - sorry, you are not that important!

I have also noticed that another part of our language that lots of people, mostly overweight men with big bellies have trouble interpreting is the word under. It is called Under Armour people, not over armour. That means that it goes under, or below, under lower than something,  preferably a loose fitting shirt PLEASE! Underwear is also meant to be worn under something, not as an outfit - Lady Gaga excluded of course cause she can do whatever she wants, until she is a fat middle aged man and then I will also implore her to wear her under garments under something!

What is it about STOP that puzzles you? That sign does not mean look both ways and roll through. It doesn't mean, stop only if you have to because someone is coming. It means to put an end to movement. There are signs for roll through, those are yellow and called Yield.

Finally, when there are signs that say NO.... That is not open to interpretation. They really mean, no dogs, or no drinking, or no talking on cell phones, or no trespassing. They don't mean, except for you because the world revolves around you, and you are so important that nothing pertains to you. Yes, the world does revolve but last I heard it revolved around this thing called the sun. I am sure you are very hot, but you are not the sun!

I am sure you my readers have many more things that you feel need clarifying, let me know, I'll see what I can do. Until then, I will be working on my hands free riding, cause one day I may win a race and it seems that it is a requirement for the finishing photo!

Monday, July 25, 2011


The Vineman half ironman is one of my favorite race courses of all time. I love the scenery, it is spectacular. So when several friends said they were going to do it this year it didn't take much arm twisting for me to jump on board. We started out the year with a pretty good sized training group which slowly dwindled, race day there were only 3 left:( The big party out on the course was now a small intimate gathering - except for the thousands of other people at the celebration!
This was my third race in a month. I had a cluster of races, and I was ripe and ready to crush. I ended up with a glass full of whine. My glass was not empty once and here are some highlights of my day.

I started on the front line of the swim. I went hard at the gun, too bad a couple of girls uncorked early and got a good jump on the field. I settled in and followed the trail of bubbly in front of me. At times I felt like I could go around but she was doing such a good job navigating through the earlier waves and I was conserving some energy. It was a champagne swim, never before have I had a draft for the whole swim!

Out on the bike course I was making some noise. They were going to notice me, that was for sure. My bike was rattling so much, not once did I have to yell on your left. I would have preferred a nice subtle white on the ride but instead I was a robust, bold red.

I have been working on my running. I have been running harder than I have in years. Therefore I was expecting the run to be a simple variety, just a nice crisp jaunt through the rolling hills and vineyards. Instead it turned out to be a rather complex and at times flaccid bottle. I was able to turn it around just past the 7 mile mark. Not sure if this was over or under aged! 

La Crema of the day would be transition 2. Here I tied for 1st in my division. There was a really long run from the bike dismount line to the bike racks. Luckily for me I had recently spent a considerable amount of time practicing running with a bike. This time I didn't have to get the bike up over logs, or down drops and the ground was flat. Pretty easy drinking here!

It was a bottle half full kind of day, meaning I left my nutrition bottles half full. Woops, wasn't quite as hot as I like it and I didn't take in nearly enough calories. I also handed my flask of blueberry pie gel to me hearty at the start of the run, cause it was heavy in my pocket. Upside, my stomach wasn't rounded and there was no sulpherization out on the course. Next time I will pair my whine with a little more food.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Summer Vacation

I went Running on the Sacramento River Trail

I camped and spent time in the woods watching a mountain bike race

I hung out in Whistler and checked out the Olympic stuff, lots of people told me I was pretty.

Olympic Rings

I went to the official blessing of this totem pole but I left early because strangers kept touching me!

I took a nap on the couch, my friend Alison taught me years ago that dogs are allowed on couches in Whistler!

I saw this bear in the woods.

For some reason I wasn't allowed to swim in this waterfall, but I tried. My people let me go for a nice swim at the beach in Vancouver instead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Into the Valley

After much time spent riding on the mountains in the trees it was nice to go for a ride up a valley. Not only was it flat and a great way to spin out the legs after my mountain bike race, but there was some stunning scenery. It was not the first time I had ridden up Pemberton Valley, but it was the furthest I had ridden. You see, the last time I had ridden my bike here was in 1980 and I was going to visit my horse. Her field was two miles up this valley from where I lived. Seemed like a pretty long bike ride when I was a kid, everything seems so much bigger and further when you are a kid. Still a great place to ride a bike, minimal traffic and amazing views in both directions.

lots of snow still on the mountains

super green fields

the wild roses smelt amazing!

wide open roads

'Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring  and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?'- Khalil Gibran

Monday, July 11, 2011

Active Cougars

Bikes Ready to Roll

Coming off the hardest part of a race course with a fun hour long section left in front of me I wasn't thrilled to see a sign that said 'Active Cougar in area, proceed at your own risk'. A BIG sign, with lots of people waving to it and yelling cougar spotted in area. My first thought was, do you have to make such a big deal about me coming through here? Oh, not that type of cougar. My second thought was, if I choose not to enter at my own risk, does that mean I can take a short cut to the end, or does it mean that I did all the miles up until now for naught?

Riding the Roller Coaster
Needless to say, I entered at my own risk, along with everyone around me, but not before taking the whistle that they were handing out. By now I had been on the bike for a while, long enough to play a round of golf and I still had more time to go. That is if I made it through active cougar territory safely. Now instead of having a strategy for getting to the finish line faster, I was making up strategies for getting to the finish line period. I was wondering if the purpose of the whistle was to blow it continuously to warn the cougar of my approach, or was I to blow the whistle once I saw the cougar? How come no one blew their whistle when they saw me? I wasn't really sure what the purpose of the whistle was except that it was hanging around my neck and banging around on the bumps. I was trying to remember all I knew about cougars and their hunting methods. I knew they like to attack their prey from behind and they will prey on the smallest and weakest looking. SHIT! I kept passing big guys going up the hills and then I would be on my own. New plan, go slow until someone catches me and then stay in front of them holding them up. (this was not a plan others were playing into for me, and the ones who were stuck behind me didn't really appreciate my logic). Due to the lack of air I had from the heavy breathing I was doing, I wasn't sure I would be able to blow into the whistle if the need arose. In order to let the cougar know I was coming, I decided to screech as I rode across every bridge that I came across. For some reason, this wasn't too popular of a tactic with the fellas behind me either. But, I should point out it worked. We did not see a cougar! But really, people, of course there are active cougars in that area, there are diamonds, and lots of them, the black variety!

Out of the Woods!

PS- any young men heading out to a wine bar in the near future contact me, I have a whistle you may need:)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Diamonds, a girls best friend?

It was brought to my attention by a reader that I have not posted in close to a month. I tried, I just had sketchy internet connections and each time I would click publish post, after having spent hours writing such witty, insightful prose, the connection would disappear and my words would be forever lost to the outside world. So here we go again, I will try to catch up but mostly it will be old news and it won't be nearly as well written as the originals were.

I was up in Squamish British Columbia to do a mountain bike race. This race was 67km with over 50% of it being on single track. Luckily, none of the trails were named Thirsty Beaver! I had arrived a few days before the race so that I could preride some of the course. Mostly, so that I could see how much trouble I had gotten myself into when I signed up for this race back in January. There is a section of the course that is considered somewhat technical so that is where I headed.

I was really enjoying the ride as I headed to my intersection with the course. It was quite pretty and the trails were lots of fun. I even rode over a bridge, which is huge because a few years ago I could barely drive across a bridge and I was in a cold sweat the whole time!

The Bridge

Now that I had ridden a bridge, albeit it a rather tame one, I was feeling some confidence emerging. These trails weren't too bad. Of course, I was on a green circle trail at the time, which is why there were handrails on the bridge! When I moved onto a blue square trail I started to feel a little more challenged but was rolling along and cleaning everything. It was actually quite fun. Then I turned a corner and the black diamond trail appeared. I had been told that this trail is a cross country trail and totally ride able. I had also been told to drop my saddle and go for it. I have seen people ski off cliffs, that are totally doable, doesn't mean it is doable for me! Keeping this in mind, and the fact that the last time I rode BC single track was not exactly a dream experience, I knew that anything that required dropping ones saddle, required me to dismount. I know my limitations and if it was sketchy for me to ride when I was on my own and the trail was wide open, it would be impassable for me during a race with other riders all around. So, I naturally did what any triathlete would do and I got in my transition run, with my bike.

I still had trouble navigating through some of the sections on foot, and I definitely had trouble seeing the ride able roll out sections that my experienced friends had told me about.

Totally ride able, right?!

After 20 minutes of pre-riding/running this section of the course, I knew that I had better climb well on race day because the descending was going to be a lesson in humility. Diamonds may be toted as a girls best friend, but this girl decided that she is more partial to squares, Blue ones!