Saturday, November 28, 2009

The day Murphy's Law applied

I have seen some crazy crap on my rides: a dead boar on the side of the road (yep, no joke...), a scooter that we were passing as we rode along Peachtree St. (!!), a gruesome car accident (still dream about that one), bike crashes (I know...BORING!!!), children throwing rocks at us as we pass, and more wildlife than I can remember (turkeys, deer, birds, turtles, frogs, lizards, cats (they're wild too...sometimes), horses, pigs, snakes, etc. etc).

Today I can add two things to my list: three deer attempting to run over a paceline of 8 cyclists (I swear they were aiming for us!) and the collision of three bikes - all of which managed to stay upright. Oh, and I should mention that one of those three cyclists in the collision somehow put his foot through the front wheel of the guy behind him, taking out two of the spokes on his Zipp 404s. After we changed wheels and rode the remaining 20 miles home - we realized that the guy who put his foot through the Zipps - he had two broken spokes on his rear wheel and rode all the way back!!!

What a crazy day man...the fun never stops!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For all of these things, I am Thankful.

On any given day, it's easy to forget that my beautiful daughter is the result of a marriage to a man I try frequently to forget. I often forget that my husband is the most supportive man I've ever known; I could never be who I am without his support. I have an almost three year old son who smiles more than any child I've ever known and loves his sister so fiercely that he I hear him tell her so at least 5 or 6 times each day. He brings each of us more joy than we've ever known. I am married to a man who is giddy when I'm near and makes me giggle more than anyone I've ever known; I love to giggle and feel happy. My husband is an amazing artist and I am lucky to be exposed to such talent; I could watch for hours on end as he creates beautiful drawings and paintings (each greater than the last). I am fortunate that I have a beautiful home in a friendly neighborhood where my daughter can ride her scooter safely without me having to worry. My parents are still a very big part of my life, along with my sister, my mother and father-in-law and my sister-in-law who is also my friend. I have a family and they love me for who I am - how awesome is that!?

On any given day, it's easy to forget that I have career that brings me a significant amount of joy; despite the stressful moments that I face each day. My boss is approachable and supportive and her boss is understanding and knowledgeable. I am blessed with co-workers who keep me sane, even though many of them may actually be less sane than myself! I am fortunate to work in schools where the teachers I work with love children and come to work because they want to. It's nice to have a job where I know I make a difference each day, even if I don't see that difference in my bank account each month.

On any given day, it's easy to forget that I have two best friends who support me, overlook my idiosyncrasies and insist that they love me - even when I'm not being lovable. One supports my obsession with life while the other supports my obsession with cycling which takes up a whole lot of my life! I am fortunate enough to have forged friendships with people who I suspect I will still talk to on the day that I draw my very last breath. Without them, I'd certainly occupy a lonely and uneventful existence!

On any given day, it's easy to forget that riding my bike is a privilege that isn't afforded to everyone. I am good at riding my bike - more importantly - it makes me feel free and at peace with every pedal stroke.

For all of these things, I am thankful. I pray that each day forward, I will remember to be thankful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rain Outs Suck!

Nothing stinks more than looking forward to a ride, driving at break-neck speeds to get there in time and then watching as the rain clouds roll in. Why does it only rain when I have time to ride?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A "Membership Drive" and other random thoughts

What a relaxing weekend! I spent Friday afternoon w/ my husband and my best friend, Saturday I went on a good 50 mile ride in perfect temperatures, followed by a party in the evening to celebrate my best friend's birthday. Today I cleaned house, shopped with the "most boring man" and cooked a delicious seafood paella for dinner. What more could a girl ask for?

Well, how about a buyer for my Jamis? I may have one...but I'm not as happy as I should be. You see, my dh and I have made a financial commitment to get out of debt as quickly as possible. So selling the Jamis makes this easier since I could apply what I make from the sale to what I still owe on my new bike, right? Well....sort of. You see, I don't want to sell the Jamis and I'm not being offered what I decided to ask for it (which I think is a very good price - a steal, as a matter of fact). The bike has sentimental value and although I don't ride it, I don't really want to get rid of it either. I posted it on Craigslist because I feel like it's unfair for me to have it sitting around when selling it would pretty much pay off my Ruby. I gotta keep thinking on this one...maybe I should try ebay?

And while I have your attention, could someone tell me what is the big deal with Vampires? Dh tells me that women love vampires and my recent survey of Borders tells me that he must be right since the teen section (which is geared towards girls b/c boys don't like to read apparently...) AND the romance section AND the sci-fi/fantasy section all seem to be oozing with books about vampires. Not to mention the number of vampire related T.V. shows on lately. I have to admit that I just finished watching season one of True Blood with dh and although I think most of the acting is really bad, I look forward to the next episode. I never realized vampires were such a big thing...?!?!

The birthday party that I attended on Saturday night really got me thinking about my blog's readership. While I was there, a girl named Amy introduced herself to me. When I explained that I was the best friend of the birthday girl, she immediately followed it with "Oh, are you the cyclist with the blog that Heather links to? I read your blog and I really want to become a cyclist". Besides almost peeing on myself because someone I had never previously met admitted to reading to my blog, I got to wondering exactly how many people actually read my blog. I've hinted on more than one occasion that I actually only have two readers but I know for a fact there are at least three...or maybe even four! So I've decided to have a "membership drive" (Hey Roby, get it? LOL!!!). I need for every person who reads my blog to "follow me" or comment to this post so that I get a general count of how many people actually read my blog. If you have a google account and you are logged in, you can click the "follow blog" button you see at the top of my page and I'll be able to easily track my followers. Because some of my readers aren't bloggers (or tweeters, facebook users, myspace aficionado's, or even regular email users), I'll track you guys through your comments. So what's in it for you? Check out all of these great perks:

1) You get a 10% discount on all items purchased at Cristy's bike shop*
2) Free advice
3) Excellent discounts at local restaurants and retailers**
4) The good feeling of knowing that you are amongst a group of people who breathe AND enjoy reading my nonsense.
*Availble for online orders only, excludes the following: bikes, maintenance, sports nutrition, lights, clothing, saddles, water bottles, bike fitting, pedals, shoes, lubricants, tools and all other items.
** Excluding those that maintain reasonable security for their customers who are credit card users

So whose in? :) Seriously.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love Is So Complicated

My first love was a Jamis Quest. Easily, the Jamis is the most comfortable, dependable, relaxed ride I've ever known. I like that it's there when I need it always feels like "home."

Then came the love affair with the Specialized Ruby Pro. Above all, the Ruby is a hot ride with it's all carbon fiber frame and Dura Ace components. It's fast, sexy and the one I always think about when riding crosses my mind.

Is it possible to love two bikes - each one in it's own way for it's own purpose?

I feel so unfaithful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Post-ride Nutrition

No hay nada como una cerveza bien fría con un buen amigo después de un viaje de 75 millas!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lemon Flavored Reflections

When the morning air becomes cooler and morning metro traffic becomes crowded with the sputtering, flashing start and stop of the big yellow school bus, rest assured that not only has school started, but that my life has become a chaotic series of events over which I feel like I have very little control. I do the job that I do because I'm passionate about improving education for children with disabilities, but there are days that the goals I'm trying to achieve become daunting and seemingly unreachable. Today was one of those days. My spirit is broken and instead of relishing the challenge I was given, I requested a meeting with the executive director, unloaded my concerns and ended up using half the box of tissues in his office and likely, all of his confidence in my ability to do my job.

As I drove home from the office 3 hours later than I had planned, I reflected upon the reasons why I became so upset. With each possibility that crossed my mind, I became keenly aware of the similarities between my passion for my job and my passion for cycling. Both activities bring me extensive joy and fatigue and engaging in both activities within the same day requires planning and strong organization. I am motivated by the growth potential I see in myself with regards to both activities, and despite the fact that I'm still working towards becoming "as good" as I want to be, I'm still successful enough at both that my self-confidence improves each time I engage in either activity.

But the problem lies in outpouring of emotion that I feel when I become stagnant and cannot produce the level of change that I equate with success. Today, I was upset that I had experienced only a 1% growth in Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) data at a school where I've worked hard to sustain a steady pace of improvement (despite the 13% growth I've experienced in two weeks at the school to which I'm newly assigned). Yesterday, I became upset that I was unable to sustain the pace needed to participate in one of my favorite training rides. In both activities, I've become stagnant and I feel ill prepared to produce the performance results I desire.

So when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Wrong. When life hands you lemons, you contemplate what you want to do with the lemons (make lemonade) and then you follow a methodical set of steps (a recipe) that ends with accomplishing your overall goal. As I thought about this saying, I realized that the importance is not the end result, but what you do to get there. Moving LRE is a lofty goal, just like winning bicycle races. If I am to accomplish either, I need to develop short-term goals and realize that performance is not only a measure of accomplishment but of the efficiency and reaction needed to fulfill a specified purpose. I need to go back to basics and make sure I'm using the right ingredients if my goal is to quench my thirst.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Win Susan

Touching and beautiful is the only way I know to describe Elden's words. Just by reading his blog, I feel as though he and his wife are a part of my life. Please keep Fatty and Susan in your prayers. When you aren't praying, please acquaint yourself with an incredibly strong man and gifted writer:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Injustice of Words

The hardest times for me to write come when I attempt to relay an experience for which I have little prior experience. As an educator, I understand that we link what we learn to what we've previously explored so that our knowledge begins to create a web of experience to define who we become as individuals. Once we are adults, we live our lives under the false pretense that we are knowledgeable and experienced. We forget that there are opportunities for growth in every experience and every event. We also forget the excitement of new experiences and the importance of absorbing the opportunities around us.

I visited "the gaps" today in search of confirmation of my strength as a cyclist. As silly as it sounds, I've always feared the gaps but felt like I would finally prove myself as a cyclist when I could ride them without finding myself in a heap of tears, pushing my bike up the likes of Neels or Hogpen. It's always seemed like a rite of passage - an experience that might seem excruciatingly difficult but would somehow make me "wiser" or "stronger." By my own definition, I proved myself as a cyclist today. I found the strength to ride the gaps and learned that the strength I was looking for was not in my legs buy in my personal desire to improve and succeed.

When I sat down to write this, I wanted to paint beautiful pictures with words so that anyone stumbling across my entry might "see" the beautiful trees that line the mountains or understand the way the millipedes scurry across the pavement. It almost seems as if there aren't words to justify the sensation that accompanies my memory of the beautiful scenery I experienced as I climbed Neels. I don't know how to describe the sensation of flying that I felt on the descent from the top of Woody's gap to the rock pile at the bottom of the mountain. I saw sunflowers and smelled gardenia flowers; I found myself soothed by the sound of cascading water that trickled around me as I pedaled my way to the top of each climb. The images swirl in my mind but the words to describe the feeling of exhilaration I experienced just doesn't exist. I am a richer person, regardless of my ability as a cyclist, because of today's experience.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The "Weehoo" and other cool things!

Nope, the "weehoo" is not what naked, wiggling men say when naked before their shower - it's a super cool new "mommy-must." This seems like the perfect tool for teaching my "super scared" daughter to ride a bike!!! She fits the weight/height parameters and could learn to pedal without being afraid of falling over! Dear old Dad could pull the Burley with my little dude inside. Before long, I suspect "little dude" will be racing me down the driveway! Just in case he isn't, he could use this once his sister is through with it.

Cool bike item #2 is my next cycling helmet - the one I have will make it until spring, right? Check out the press release for the specs - it's crazy light!!!

Last but not least...The Oryx TT bike - Oh. My. Goodness.

Measuring Up

I've had a good week on the bike and when I do, it never fails that I begin to get the "race itch". I have a hard time judging my capabilities because I've spent my entire season riding with men who are ironman triathletes, cat 2 racers, elite classification mountain bikers, and a woman who just kicks ass at all of it. If I am to judge myself by where I fall in with them, I fall short. However, when I remind myself of my classification - I realize I won't be racing against Mike, Max, Joey or Brenda but I WILL be racing against a bunch of people with abilities beyond my awareness. I am always so afraid of the unknown; riding with new riders is like riding a new course - until you know what lies ahead, behind and all around - it all seems difficult and scary.

I talked it over with my "coach" last night who told me to "try on the race like a new pair of shoes". I'm not sure if that means I should only attempt to do this with my right foot (if the shoe fits my right foot then its a "go" - my right foot is larger than the left), or if I should expect someone to bring the race to me while I sit in a comfy chair and dictate exactly which race I'd like to try. Either way, comparing it to shoes makes it seem very do-able so it was a good comparison even if I am still in the dark about the general meaning of his fluffy metaphor.

I really prefer a single category race for my first real race and this one is a 3/4 mix but that just means it'll be a greater character building experience (thanks Max!) because I'm more likely to be last across the line. So do I register? I have one week to make up my mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A letter from the editor...writer...biographer...

To my dearest readers (all two of you),
I haven't given up on blogging - I'm just out riding my bicycle. Check back daily - I think Big Ring Betty sparked an itch in me... You never know when a new post might appear.

I updated my mileage log although my Garmin was on the fritz for a few days so I suspect I missed a few in there. Several entries are missing "info" but that's what happens when you keep track numerically but you don't have the memory capacity to hang on to the details - the Garmin did the numerical work. I'll try to do better keeping up with this - it helps me see when I'm working hard/not working. The low average speeds you are seeing are probably days that I ride in the Buckhead area. I now lead the Peachtree Bikes Sunday morning ride in the Garden Hills area of Buckhead and the hills are really making me strong. On paper, the rides seem slow. These rides aren't about speed and 15 mph in those hills is not exactly slow! I have to match the pace to my riders. Typically it's the same riders but we get a newbie from time to time and it slows us down a little since the route is not marked and we all have to stay together.

Not much else to report - I've been working at Peachtree Bikes this summer and it's been a great learning experience. I'm the only chick so I get a lot of harassment - lucky for me, I'm pretty good at giving it back! :) I'm learning a lot about bikes - especially my own and it's been fun to sell bikes - particularly to women who would otherwise be sold whatever was on-hand just b/c it was a close enough fit. I've worked hard at disseminating knowledge and it appears that it pays off - I've had a few "noticeable" sales! :) I think consumers appreciate it when you take the time to educate them about what they are buying. Oh, and btw - PTB wouldn't sell a bike to a woman just b/c it fits - but I believe that many shops do. PTB is very woman-friendly and they are one of the wonderful Sorella Sponsors!!

Last but not least - I'll leave you with this: To race or not to race - that is the current pressing question. I gotta make up my mind quickly...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Centurion at last!

Today started early. 4:50a.m. to be exact. I'm an early bird but even 4:50 is pushing it a little for me!

I began my day w/ oatmeal, my favorite pre-ride meal - had a cliff bar just before getting to the ride and a diet coke (the coke was for after the ride but I forgot my coffee). I was pleased to see that it wasn't pouring down rain and that the forecast was now showing no rain until close to 11:00 or 12:00.

At the start I connected with Leslie - a fellow Sorella with a flair for endurance rides. Nina McKellar called to wish me good luck, Orinthia gave the centurians a hug for luck and another nearby Sorella pinned my number to my jersey. Leslie promised it wouldn't rain since she had actually remembered her raincoat and outfitted her Garmin with a plastic baggie. Before I knew it, we were on our way. The 50-75 centurians stayed together as a pack for the first 10 miles before the group began to string out into little clusters. Leslie and I stayed near the back - my only goal, I joked, was to make it home in time for dinner! Secretly, I was hoping to end up with a 17 average, little to no sunburn and enough energy to drive myself home!

The first 30 miles passed with little significance. We blew past the first stop which had a very cool Roswell bikes maintenance bus for those needing technical assistance. We weaved through Fayette County and made our way into Peachtree City for our first stop. The selection of Lara bars and fruit was a nice treat and all of the volunteers were nice and friendly. The stop was pretty good...until I pulled out of the parking lot to see a cyclist peeing on the porta john. Not in the porta john...ON the porta john. Go figure - I guess he couldn't wait?

The next 20 miles brought a sprinkle of rain, some nice rollers and a hilarious set of mailboxes - one down low marked "mail" and one way up high marked "bills". It gave me a giggle. I got a surprise at the 50 mile SAG stop - my blackberry was in by back pocket and it had chimed to indicate an email so while I was waiting for Lesley to use the porta john (I was so glad she decided not to pee on it!), I decided to check the time and saw that the email was an auto message indicating that Scott, my friend and cycling mentor (ha! that means I text him at random hours with stupid bike related questions...) had made a NICE donation to my campaign! w00t! Over $750.00 dollars raised!!! I grinned - and was happy to be riding, even in the rain.

Somewhere over the next 15 miles I passed Mark, Konnie and Beth completing the metric option. They all seemed happy and strong and we all cheered for each other like we hadn't seen each other in ages!

The next sag stop was manned by none other than McDonough's very own John Cheaves, manager of our local Trek store! Yay for John! I chatted with him for a moment and headed back to the road. Leslie and I only stayed together for another 5 miles or so - at mile 70, we got pretty far apart and the sky opened up and bathed us with rain. I finished the last 30 alone - but had a blast doing it. I didn't experience that "horrible feeling" everyone told me to expect at mile 80 and when I came in 5 hours and 50 minutes after I began, I felt great!

At the finish, I had a couple of adorable surprises waiting - Clint, Julia and Aaron were there to cheer me in. I've got pictures to post later - just imagine my son w/ pom poms and my daughter with those ridiculous hand clapper/noise makers. Clint assures me that not only did Aaron clap as I came in, he also clapped for every other passing cyclist, car and bird that went by!

I've gotta give a shout out to the Palmetto Police Department. Just before approaching Palmetto Elementary, there's a big ugly hill. It probably really isn't very big but at mile 90, it seemed pretty big! As I climbed my way up, I could sense a car behind me. I stuck my hand out and waived the car around. Seconds later a loud speaker came on and said "I know, I know. Just keep pumping - you're doing great!" When I topped the hill, Mr. Palmetto Police office said "Good job" and came around us give us 3 feet of space as he cruised by! I can't tell you how great it feels to be supported by the local law enforcement, especially after the Stone Mountain Park debacle.

Again, I owe a HUGE thank you to all of you who were so supportive of my fundraising and training efforts. I love riding more than I can express and this was a wonderful opportunity for me to support a great cause while taking part in something I am so passionate about. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me be part of something so wonderful!

It's time!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On the eve of my first century

I want to take a moment to say a huge thank you to a number of people who have provided monetary support to the American Diabetes Association by supporting me as I ride the Tour de Cure tomorrow morning in Tyrone, Georgia. In honor of my dad Ralph Sellers, an individual living with Diabetes, I will ride my bike 100 miles tomorrow and I have raised over $600.00 in donations. The following people have made a generous contribution to my campaign (in no specific order):

Ann Sellers, the best mom ever
Clint Smith, my husband
Lesley Tucker, the best boss ever
Sandi de St Aubin, sister to the best boss ever
Desiree Woods, my awesome co-worker and mentor
Ernestine Cooper, another awesome co-worker
Karen Baumann, the best administrative assistant in the whole world
Kymberly Travis (you'll always be "travis" to me...), a long time awesome co-worker and friend
Kymberly Clark, another awesome co-worker
Jacqueline Sparks, another awesome co-worker and friend
Brenda Herrington, awesome triathlete, cycling role model and friend
Ken Barbret, awesome cyclist and friend
Sorella Cycling (from our awesome fundraiser at Atlanta Brewing Company!!!)
American Transportation (Thanks Danny Eldridge!)
Nina Mackellar, an awesome Sorella member and Tour de Cure teammate
Dave Ruddell, co-worker of my mom at Pax Industries

From the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Tomorrow's forcast isn't looking so pretty but I'm committed to showing my support of the American Diabetes Association and all that they do for individuals with diabetes. Please keep me and all of Team Sorella in your thoughts as we ride in support of our loved ones.

Btw - if you just hadn't gotten around to making a donation, there's still time!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Max Futral

#3 & 4 Pics 108
Originally uploaded by GEORGIA CUP
Max, who kicks butt all of the time, managed to break a chain at the start, have it repaired, do his TT and still make the podium!

Mike Roby

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Originally uploaded by GEORGIA CUP
At the Georgia cup Time Trial (#4) in Juliette, GA, Mike takes off to search for Manatees!


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Originally uploaded by GEORGIA CUP
I look like a dork...but here I am, riding my Specialized for the very first time at the Georgia Cup Time Trial #4 in Juliette, Georgia. This photo was taken just after I took off from the starting point. IMHO - the only good thing about this photo is the muscle in my right arm.

Doug Delzell

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Originally uploaded by GEORGIA CUP
Doug's start at the Georgia Cup Time Trial (#4) in Juliette, Georgia. Doug was wearing a specially designed, cotton jersey - LOL!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speed Weaponry or Scare Tactic?

Anyone ever notice that a rider on a disc wheel sounds a little like the approach of the end of the world? I'm sure these things are fantastic and worth every penny of their insane cost but can't they figure out how to make them quieter??? I'm convinced their sole purpose is more scare tactic than aerodynamics.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Okay, Fine. I am Specialized!

If you know anything about me you know I've been endlessly bike shopping since late fall. I was only "shopping" until my friend Ann's husband, Danny, had to go be a hero and buy her a bike. Then, the fever got worse.

In January, I decided that I needed Aero Bars. That held me for a bit. In March I started riding w/ a faster group and the fever flared up again. Then came April when I (on a whim) decided to do my first Time Trial. I did quite well, I think. Looking at all of the pretty bikes around me got the itch going ONCE AGAIN. I couldn't help but notice that I was the only one out there racing on a STEEL BIKE (although, an awesome steel bike...)!

I think things happen for a reason. So I knew it was fate when I walked into Peachtree Bikes last Wednesday night and mentioned my interest in a Specialized Ruby Pro to find out that there just happen to be one - a NEW one - in a price range I could handle. If my memory serves me well (and it typically does) - it went down kind of like this:

Me (to Mike and Lori B.): Yea...There is a Specialized Designs for Women demo in town I think...I read it somewhere online. I know Epic Bikes did a demo ride tonight while Specialized was in the area.

Mike (Peachtree Bikes, shop owner): Hey - you mentioned you didn't want to drop to 650's (referring to a conversation about Orbea that we'd had earlier in the evening) - if you were to go with Specialized, you wouldn't have to - what size did you say you need?

Me: Yea, I saw that. I need a 48cm and I've been looking at the Ruby Pro for a while but I just hate to drop the cash. Trust me, I speak specialized as well as I do English.

Mike: Wait, did you say a 48? Hang on a sec...[Mike takes off to his curiosity and I followed...]

Mike: [he "hunt and pecks" out a web address] Look at this! I can get you a deal on a 2008 Ruby Pro w/ the Dura Ace package since the '09s have just come out. They seem to have just a few left in your size they are trying to move! The price is great [he grabs a "calculator" and starts crunching numbers] ..... and you get a better deal since you're a Sorella!

Me: No shit!? Look at that! [I practically dance a jig...]

Mike: I'm about to place an order...if you know you want wouldn't have to pay freight if you let me know in the next few days so I can order it with my shipment.

Me: Let me go home and sleep with my husb..I mean, sleep on it... that's a really big's a really good deal, too...

I bought the bike on Saturday morning. I just couldn't help it - I've tried not to like Specialized because it's just so dang popular but I'm impressed with their lifetime warranty and the beautiful geometry that is unmistakable - even when seen from a distance. If anything was going to be the buzz kill, it'd be "the fit". I'm picky about my geometry - I won't make another purchase unless it fits my body and my riding style. So I climbed on a 48cm Ruby Elite that was the shop and it fit my body like a glove. Fate, I tell you.

I'm so excited I'm having to try NOT to talk about it or think about it. It's being ordered from Specialized tomorrow so it should be in by Friday. Then we'll have to tweak and fiddle with it, I'm sure. The crankset needs changing - I think it's time to move on from the compact (the topic of another post, perhaps?). I can't wait to ride it. I can't wait to take it out on the Wednesday night Sorella ride (which starts at 6:30, btw...not 6:00) and race up Olympic hill.

So to all of you who have humored me as I rant about bikes over the last 6 months - God Bless you - thank you - now you only have to listen to me rant about the changes I plan to make to this one.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another Long Hiatus!

I haven't ridden to Mexico yet - my hiatus is purely related to the amount of things going on in my life over the last month or so... here's a REALLY quick recap:

* March was a good riding month for me. I made my FCA Endurance debut (formerly known as "A group") and I managed to keep up for the majority of the ride. Was dropped on the big hill but I regrouped cut off the pack by taking a detour and finished the ride with them. I felt the most amazing sense of accomplishment. It was the fastest average I've had to date - over 22mph average for over 20 miles.

** My birthday sort of crept up on me...I woke up on April 6th to realize that my 20's were gone. I'm not at all sad and I don't feel any different. My family showered me with bicycle related gifts which will be posted here soon for you all to gawk at.

*** I have spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about a friend/trying to provide support for a friend who in turn has had to spend an inordinate amount of time worry and trying to provide support for his daughter. Out of respect for their privacy, I'll leave it at that.

**** I am involved in a legal battle at work. Don't worry, I didn't do anything wrong but I'm having to spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME dealing with it/worry about it. I worry, that's what I do. It'll pass sooner or later. I haven't done anything wrong, I just have to continue to remind myself that I'm not on trial here and I don't need to worry about defending myself - despite the accusations that may be made.

***** I have spent a great deal of time focusing on the needs of my family - especially my daughter. 'Nuff said about that too.

****** I have been on a bicycle quite a bit...surprise surprise. I did okay in March with regards to mileage although still not nearly April, I'm off to an okay start but last week the weather was really cruddy and this week I'm taking it easy - I am most likely participating in my very first time trial this weekend. I'm so nervous that I can't talk about it any more than that. More to come, I'm sure... But all in all, the mileage is increasing nicely. And in case you've ever wondered...that sidebar on the right logs only my actual road miles - it doesn't include miles on the

******* I have accepted my addiction to cycling and all things related and I've decided that I don't need therapy. Therefore, I've decided to ride more than I write. :)

********I got my new Sorella kit? That's probably not big news to anyone but me.

So, as you see, I have had my plate I type it, it really doesn't seem like much but there is a lot "in-between the lines" that I really can't/won't discuss right now. I'm cool, riding is cool, the family is cool - that's all that matters.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Today's Totally Awesome Bike Item is...

the "SHIFT" bike which was created by an industrial design professor at Purdue and two of his students. Basically, the 16-inch-wheel bicycle looks like a tricycle, but as the child gains momentum and learns to balance, the two rear wheels shift inward to merge into one wheel. This causes the balance to gradually shift from the bicycle to the child. Talk about Genius! My daughter NEEDS one of these!

Monday, March 2, 2009

An attitude to live by:

"I haven't looked at the Dow in more than six months and still can't bring myself to open my end-of-year 401(k) statement. Yet there are numbers I am increasingly interested in, ones that I know I can directly influence: miles, hours, watts, heart rate at threshold. If these numbers improve, so will my life, regardless of whatever else is happening."

-Loren Mooney, editor, Bicycling Magazine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The best picture of me on a bike yet...hands down!!

Epic Bikes Has Moved!

Come on by and visit Tim and Mike at their new Epic Bikes location - 1993 Jonesboro Rd in the old Grand Harbor Imports store.

The new location is beautiful! Lots of great space for even more inventory, a bigger shop for the boys to play in and the coolest toilet you've ever seen (Thanks TOTO!).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stage 7, Santa Clarita to Pasadena - Photos from MillCreek Summit

Today I watched stage 7 from MillCreek Summit in Acton California. The Summit was the location of today's KOM and is located about 20 minutes from my sister's house where I'm staying:

A shot of the breakaway group as they climb to the top of MillCreek Summit. From Left to Right: Hayden Roulston of Cervelo Test Team, Chris Baldwin is in the front (Rock Racing), The yellow bar tape/glove off Chris Baldwin's right is George Hincapie, the RaboBank rider is Pieter Weening, and the SaxoBank rider is Frank Schleck.

George Hincapie and Pieter Weening as they top MillCreek Summit. They were among the top 5 over the summit who received KOM points.

Lance was at the front of the Peloton as he Climbs to the top of MillCreek Summit - I can't believe I got such a great shot! He was having a conversation (yes, a conversation) with the quickstep rider beside him. I'm not exactly sure who that Quickstep rider is (anyone recognize him?)

Francisco Mancebo (in the red TOC jersey) as he topped MillCreek Summit, just before his big crash.

A shot of the support cars coming through behind the riders.

I had an amazing time - It was awesome to just stand along the side of the road and see all of the crazy people running around w/ their bodies painted, roller bladers climbing the summit, people w/ tables set up eating wine and cheese....I even saw three dudes who threw out a sofa to watch the race:

I don't know that I'll attend tomorrow's stage - I want to spend some time with my sister and her kids since they've been kind enough to allow me to stay with them throughout my trip. Either way - I've had an amazing time - probably the best gift I could have ever given myself. I'll never forget such a fantastic trip!

Tour of California, Stage 6: Solvang Time Trial

No time to chat - here are some of the photos I got yesterday while watching the Time Trial at Solvang:

George Hincapie

Jens Voigt

Mr. Livestrong Himself!

Levi Leipheimer

Mark Cavendish

Christian Vandevelde

David Zabriskie

Francisco Mancebo

Frank Schleck

George Hincapie Cools Down after his TT

Bauke Mollema

Me and Carlos Sastre - 2008 Winner of the Tour de France!! I got
his autograph too!!!

I'm off to Millcreek Summit - the highest point of Stage 7 - Santa Clarita to Pasadena! Wish you were here....XOXOXOXO

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why I hate IE

Do you see the annoying blue line on my blog?

I only use IE on one computer - I forget that the line exists when I use the more superior browsers but then I log on from the laptop blood pressure goes up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Because it'd be an easy bike to pawn...

Someone thought it'd be a good idea to break into Lance Armstrong's van and steal his TT bike. What are the chances that this could be pawned without anyone knowing whose it is....??

It's one of a kind...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Hour of Power

How do you make riding at AMS more fun than ever? Ride when A group is there!

Tonight I rode w/ my semi-usual crew (Joey, Bentley, Kristen, and David) but "A group" was hosting the "hour of power". It was presented an an opportunity for aspiring A groupers and/or others who just wanted a hard workout to "jump on" and ride as many laps as possible. I figured this was as good a chance as any to see if I could "hang".

Unfortunately, on the way there - I became discouraged. The combination of taunting and self-doubt left me feeling anxious and down - I made up my mind that I would not attempt to ride with A group. I couldn't set myself up for the feeling of failure and humiliation I knew I'd feel if I wasn't able to hang on. I set out to ride with a fairly depressed state of mind but decided I'd focus on miles and having fun with my friends.

They really are an amazing site to see - the seven of them made 20-something-miles-per-hour look EASY. The magnificent seven - that's what they are to me. I rode mostly with Kristen - just having a good time.

But then we saw them coming up behind us...I was warmed up and I knew I had to try. I increased my speed and yelled back to Kristen that I was having second thoughts - hoping she'd give me an out....but before I could finish my sentence - the reassuring words of Mike came along beside me: "come on, here you go..." I looked over to see that Kristen had jumped in behind Mike and I fell in at the back behind her; we had just reached where the GRTA bus was unloading.

The first corner gave me the most amazing feeling of exhilaration and excitement! I screamed and giggled on the back - I had never taken a curve so fast and I was glad the others couldn't hear my giddiness through the wind. For a split second I worried that I migh fall but by the next I was out of the turn and standing to climb along with the pack. It felt amazing! Kristen jumped off to grab her light and I pushed hard and closed the gap...I had predicted that I'd make it no further than half a lap.

We flew past the stop sign and I could feel my "gummy" smile as I realized I was climbing the hills along with the group - it hurt and felt good all at the same time! I saw Mike glance behind him and wondered if he was shocked when he noticed I was still there. It felt good to know I had already made it to the "half way" mark.

As we topped the hill and started back down David was waiting to jump on. I made a space and told him to "jump in". We went down the hill and around the curve and as we moved along the flattest part of the route I started to understand why "the flats" could be challenging - no time for a breath, no break, just continuous work. I started to fall back and yelled to David to hang on that I was letting go but he followed my remark with "this is the easy part - don't let go - you can do it!!" and I didn't let go!

When we crossed the place where I first hopped on I could feel my legs beginning to burn and quiver but I was so excited to realize that I had managed to hang on for a whole lap!!! I stayed with the group through that exhilarating turn and let go once we reached the parking lot. Max had finished his pull and I made a gap for him but lost too much speed doing so - I was proud of myself and I had nothing to prove. I happily watched the group pull ahead as I let myself slow down. I'm sure I was glowing as pedaled along by myself.

There's a lot of negative influence in my life right now and I'm trying hard to let it go and not push it off on the others around me when I find myself feeling upset. In typical "Cristy fashion," on the drive home I felt a little disappointed in myself that I didn't try to jump on again later in the ride or that I didn't put forth the effort to hang on just a little longer. But I refuse to let the negativity take over - I'm proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to the next time I have the chance to push myself and see how strong I've become.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little more info - so you can choose from more than color...

The 2009 Trek Madone 5.5:

**Comes in my size (47cm - has a 49.4 ETT length)
**SRAM Force
**Bontrager Speed Limit breaks
**Wheels: Bontrager Race Lite
**Shown w/ stock color but is customizable for an additional charge. Other models come in different stock colors but have different components. The next step up comes w/ Dura Ace and is red and white. Components are also customizable for an additional charge and additional "build" time.
**no indications as to whether the frameset only is available
$4619.99 MSRP as built w/ SRAM Force

In my mind - this is actually the forerunner...TSD would die...

The 2009 Ruby Pro:

**Comes in my size (48cm - 50.6 cm ETT length)
**SRAM Red w/ SRAM Force front derailleur
**SRAM Force breaks
**Wheels: Roval Roubaix SL
**This is the only color option.
**Frameset only option is available in the expert line - color is gloss white/red, MSRP on frameset only is $1900.00
$5,000.00 MSRP as built w/ SRAM Red

The 2009 Orbea Diva (in a different color - for Vinny):

**Comes in my size (46cm - 50.2 ETT length) but I'd have to drop to 650c...Or I could go to a 48cm which would give me a 51 ETT length.
**Numerous component options from SRAM Rival to Campy Super Record
**Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SL on Dura Ace model, Zipp 202 on SRAM Red, Reynolds Solitude on SRAM Rival
**Color options include black/white, pink/black (shown above), pistaschio/black (which looks pretty lime-ish to me), blue/black.
**Frameset only available for $2499.00
$4204.00 MSRP for Ultegra SL, $5999.00 MSRP for Dura Ace, $7069.00 MSRP for SRAM Red

Here's the skinny on size and components: I currently ride a 51 cm WSD (51.5 ETT length). After my recent 3D fit, TSD and I are both pretty confident that this is too big for me. I'm looking for something w/ a 50ish ETT length so I am paying close attention to geometry as I look at bikes. I really believe these three are my top picks - I looked closely at a Tarmac but the 49cm (smallest size) is actually slightly larger than what I currently ride. ETT length can be compensated for in small increments with things like the length of your stem - my Jamis currently has a 60mm stem (yes, they come that small...). So I'm at the longest top tube I can have and am compensating w/ the shortest stem I can find. This works but with no room for adjustment. Regarding components - I REALLY think I want SRAM Red but I need a longer test ride on Dura Ace and SRAM Force and Red to be certain. Campy has it's followers but it's REALLY expensive and I don't know enough to have a clear opinion. I do know that finding a LBS to work on Campy can sometimes be difficult just b/c some of the tool requirements are different and there tends to be a lack of Campy expertise among most typical LBS. These bikes are pretty close to being what I want and, for the most part, fall in the same basic price range. I'd love to stay under $5,000.00 if possible when I make my next purchase but I'm not willing to sacrifice my happiness with the product just to save a couple of hundred dollars. I'm awfully tempted to go the frameset route and try to build my own over time. Right now..whole bike - I'd be going w/ Trek unless I could get a fantastic Specialized deal. Frameset only - Orbea or Specialized. For overall looks - Orbea and Trek get the award.

BTW - I inadvertedly deleted about 4 comments from my blog...sorry 'bout that.

If you hope to rekindle the passion with your husband...

Don't let him "customize" your bike. Apparently, Clint thought it'd warm my heart if he made a very special bike for me using Trek's "bike design" feature... Needless to say that if I ever buy a bike that needs a "special paint job," I'll handle it myself. This isn't exactly strong support for getting your design degree at Ga Tech...

Monday, January 19, 2009

On Looks Alone...

Which would you choose?

2009 Specialized Ruby Pro

2009 Orbea Diva (this one comes in several other colors: lime green, blue, hot pink)

2009 Trek Madone 5.5

Tomorrow we'll talk components, price and geometry.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Not What You Think.

The day comes when you awake to a refreshed state of mind, one where the past no longer haunts you and the future seems within reach. You forget where you've been and you look forward to new adventures. No longer do you morn the loss of the old or wish for what you simply can't have. There are no regrets, no plans, no apprehension, no frustration. You simply let go and realize there's nothing to fear - you can find a way to do this.

The intoxicated state has worn off and the feeling of excitement is gone. It's time to let go and move on to bigger and better things.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Elephant in the room

He sits in the corner and watches me. It's almost as if he smiles at me from time to time...but I know he only exists in our heads.

We move in circles around him and act as if he doesn't exist. We look through him and around him and in any direction that makes it appear as though we are unaware of his presence.

According to theory, ignoring the obvious will actually cause it to extinguish.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's Up: A few quickies...

1) Less Rides + More Work + bad weather = grumpiness and unhappiness. This sums up my current mental state.

2) It occurred to me recently that my birthday isn't really that far away... In honor, I created this:

3) I got a Garmin 305 and, so far, it has been the greatest and worst thing that's happened to me in a long time. Makes me want to ride...but also makes me analyze my performance. The end result? Cristy needs to ride more, work harder and get better.

4) On the home front: I got good news today. If you're in the loop then you know...if you don't know and want to - ask. Also - #1 seems to love her new school and things are going well!

5) I am bike crazy and want a new bike so bad that I have dreams about carbon fiber. I don't know whether to just fork it over and get over the cost or wait a year, train harder on the bike I have, and then get one. Of course, being the type of person who likes instant gratification, I, of course, want it now. The reasonable side of me (stop laughing) says to wait. The whole problem with me being barely over 5 foot tall complicates this whole situation quite a bit as well.

6) As of this morning, I have lost 17 pounds since November 22nd. This was much needed weight loss and it has helped my self-esteem considerably. Unfortunately, I still have lots of work to do and I'm a little sad because some of the damage of child bearing just can't be fixed in the gym.

7) Speaking of children, my beautiful son will be 2 on Monday. I can't believe it was that long ago (already!) that I gave birth to ginormous (I love this word but darn if I know how to spell it...) baby #2. You'd have thought I'd have called it quits after #1!! In case you are wondering, there will NEVER be a #3. And I'm very comfortable using the word "never".

More later...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ladies night out - and Ken and Fred

Last night the ladies of Southern Crescent Cycling met for dinner and drinks at La Parrilla Mexican restaurant. As with any "ladies event", the night isn't complete without a few of our favorite fellas so Ken and Fred joined in! Below are a few shots from the evening:

Belinda (Fionna's daughter) and Melanie (Ken's daughter): The youngest additions to our group!

Belinda stole my heart and we had a great time going through my purse, playing with balloons, eating teddy grahams and playing patty cake!

Ken and his beautiful wife Zuzana get close for a photo!

Awwwww....Fred and Ann huddle up for a great picture!

A group shot: (From left to right) Molly, Me, Marina, Heather (up a little), Belinda, Fionna and Ann

There was considerable discussion about what to name our ladies group since we've agreed to let "diva" die....

My Best Friend in the whole wide world, Heather. aka Vinny or 4get2remember...

Awesome guy #1 (Ken) who I was lucky enough to sit across from

Marina - who BETTER be back riding with us this summer...

Molly (who will undoubtedly be ticked that I managed to get a photo of her)

Ann - my faithful riding companion (except for today...LOL) and other "best friend".

Fionna - future winner of Ironman Kona!!

Last but not least, awesome guy #2: Fred - who looks after us all!