Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bye Bye Blogger!

A long time ago, I registered my own domain...
From here on, that's where you'll find my ramblings.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Cool Stuff Report - Man's Best Friend

In an effort to kick start my blogging habit (for the 10th time...), I'm going to do a weekly "Cool Stuff" Report. This report will come on Thursdays each week and will feature ultra sweet cycling related items (or technology!) that I think are deserving of a nod or public mention. I hope you enjoy my picks for this week - Our theme this week focuses on Man's Best Friend - Fido!

1) Cycle Dog Collars - MSRP $26.99 (price ranges depending on buckle style and size)
It's made in the USA (Portland, Oregon), cute as crap and is made from recycled bicycle tubes! This collar has an old school "seat belt" style clasp and an attached "pup top" bottle opener for your adult beverage. Sweet! I've ordered three already although I'm a little worried that even the size small will be a little too large for my 9 and 11 pound weiner dogs. There is no extra small...

2) Snoozer Dog Basket - MSRP $89.99
For dogs and pets up to 15 pounds (weiner dog friendly!). This basket comes complete with a rain cover for your little friend's head (in the event you are on a leisurely ride with your small dog in the rain...) and a handy dandy water bottle holder along the side. I have not ordered one of these...

and last but not least...

3) Bikerdog Jogging Attachment - MSRP $70.00
For those who need to walk the dog but can't give up their precious cycling time - the Bikerdog attachment comes with or without a harness so that your best friend can run along side your morning ride with a full harness or by simply attaching the leash to he/her collar. I have not ordered one of these since my less-than-brilliant weiner dogs would undoubtedly dart in front of my bike causing mucho painful road rash.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Stress, fear, sadness and confusion overwhelm me to the extent that I often cannot remember why I started feeling bad initially. Am I mad because someone upset me or am I upset because I'm mad? Sometimes I remember the details that I bottle inside while other times I'm just overwhelmed, and I cannot pin point the moment when it all began.

If I had a therapist, he would probably tell me that I should just spill it - to let it all pour from my mouth like the water rushing down the sides of the tub when you forget to turn off the faucet. And he would tell me that rushing water is okay - it almost always plays out to a larger body of calm water. But I don't have a therapist. And despite being one of the most loquacious of all humans; the more I think about it, the less I have to say.

One of my closest friends describes this as my intellectual drama. I believe "cliff-hangers" was the exact term. My decision [I get angry even thinking about it] not to talk when all I need to do IS talk. If only it were a decision...a blockage may be a better description. A hindrance, disability, or ineptitude. A flaw in my emotional competence. I appreciate the perception that I have control and can make those kinds of choices. Really, I do. I'm surprised that I seem so black and white...

There are others in my life who understand the need to shut down when all of the outside noises become a little more than you can process. When the pieces become so overwhelming that you can no longer see the puzzle. They get it. They put on their PJs and take a nap. Perhaps I just need a nap.

Will I be okay? Of course I will! Could I use a friend - absolutely! Would I spill my guts about all that's wrong with the world? I doubt it. Not even for a couple of beers. I am a fixer and a giver; I like to enjoy moments of happiness. I do not want to lurk in the shadows and corners. I've not yet mastered the art of rushing water.

Sometimes, all you need is a shoulder to cry on - even when you never tell what causes the tears.

It's hard to talk about things that are foreign to everyone around you. You cannot explain your own fears when you don't understand them yourself. Its hard to speak Japanese to a group of friends who only speak French.

So I ask what's more important when your friend is hurting - the emotion or the circumstances that elicit it's existence? Are you more affected by their wound or the bullet that pierced the skin? I think the emotional reaction is far more important and far more telling...

Your unlikely to extract the bullet, but you can probably bandage the wound.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


On Tuesday nights, my real husband and I have started taking a pottery class. I figured it would be a good way to do something together that leans towards our interest in art. I am a huge fan of all things artistic but I've never successfully found my artistic side (unless you count my husband) - I don't expect that I'll be a potter of note anytime in the next several decades - but this should prove to be a lot of fun.

Day 1 of our class: I giggled at the gooey feel of the clay beneath my hands - you'd be SHOCKED how much strength it takes to center a piece of clay. Who needs P90X - just wedge and center a 2-4lb ball of clay each day!

We are taking our class at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta. Our instructor is named Jennie and she and her husband are both potters. We are the only "couple" in class and guess who is the only man in class...yep, poor Clint. But as usual, he's a natural. In no time at all as you can see above, he had pulled up his very first pot!

My first attempt at pulling up a pot yielded a not-so-appetizing clay doughnut...

As the night went on I got a little better although not before I had thrown my clay (and I don't mean on the wheel like I was supposed to), shed a few tears and ruined several pounds of clay. Jennie came over to assess my skills and was able to talk me off the ledge by the window and encourage me to try a few variations of the techniques she had taught. It wasn't easy, but in the last few minutes of our two and a half hour class, I finally birthed a bowl that was worthy of making it's way to the firing shelf! I'm not sure it's centered but it should make a perfectly fine paper clip receptacle!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's Not About the Ride! (or...the best way to spend your day)

Note to my regular readers (ha!) I'm just no good at this whole blogging thing...

As you have undoubtedly noticed, I STILL have not posted the rest of my Tour of California photos. I have a ton - but tagging them all takes forever and the TT photos take a lot of time since the riders on each team all look quite similar. And they should look similar - since they are wearing the exact same outfit and ride the same bikes. Anywho - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I will one day post the photos, I promise.

Enough about what I haven't been doing..

What I have been doing, which is arguably more important, is riding my bike. I got into a riding rut for a little while there - the desire never left but the schedule wouldn't allow for anything other than my Sunday ride. This is problematic for a few reasons:

1) I like riding my bike. Being a cyclist would really stink if I didn't, wouldn't it?
2) When I don't ride, I get fat. Being fat stinks.

and most importantly...

3) I miss out on therapy. Riding is my therapy. I learn more about myself on a 3 hour ride than I can possibly explain to my readers (all two of you). If you're a cyclist, you get it. If your not - you should become a cyclist to save me the agony of trying to explain something for which there are no words to describe. And so that you can experience free therapy that is WAY better than the kind you pay for.

I took part in therapy with these folks today. Only because I ride have I been blessed with the opportunity to get to know them. So I guess riding is a blessing in addition to being therapeutic.

We headed out for a 55 miler this morning. By we, I mean myself, the FCA endurance team, Lynn, Barry, William (who is kicking some bicycle butt this year after having a kidney removed!!), Jason, my bicycle husband (not to be confused with my real husband who never updates his blog anymore) and myself. Somehow, I let bike hubby convince me that we needed an extra 15 miles. This means that we agreed to meet at the farm at 7:15 and commute to our 8:00 ride (note: "the farm" is my house. I still haven't figured out why we call it "the farm"). As usual, we were running late so the warm-up/commute/extra mileage over I like fast - it's another one of those reasons that I like cycling and refuse to buy a motorcycle. Unfortunately, fast requires effort. a lot of effort. the time my 55 mile ride began, I had already ridden 8.....ahem...."quickly paced" miles.

And I had a mini bagel with two tablespoons of peanut butter for breakfast. Yummy but not smart. I had a banana in my pocket but warm bananas are not so yummy.

The ride itself was great. We took a new route from McDonough through Locust Grove and Jackson. We crossed over Lake Jackson and zig zagged our way back to our starting point.

The not-so-fantastic part was my climbing skills (and the 92 degree temperature w/ killer humidity). I should point out that I don't dislike climbing but it certainly isn't my strength. I guess I could be good at it but I'd have to actually do some interval work which I do dislike! But I digress - the point of my not-so-fantastic climbing rant is that I was never left to climb alone.

The best part of the ride today was the group. They are not just committed to their training but also to their teammates. This is something people don't typically attribute to triathletes. (Note: I am not knocking people who cannot decide on one sport - I'm simply pointing out that they typically don't have teammates to think about as part of their multi-sport habit). While I'm not a teammate in the sense that I wear their jersey at races, I feel like I'm their teammate every time I join them for their rides. Over the course of today's ride, I was checked on, pushed along, pulled to the group, encouraged, given a wheel and waited on more times than I like to admit. I was even offered a ride home. I have tons of respect for anyone who will abandon their training efforts to ensure that their teammate is safe/happy/supported. And for them, it's all about commitment. They are committed to something bigger than showing others how strong they are or how fast they can ride. They train, they teach, they repeat.

After the ride and a few minutes of sucking up the awesome AC at the Trek Store, bike hubby and I headed back. We laughed, cut up and poked fun at each other. We hung out and had an adult beverage (or three) while we watched USA play in the World Cup at my favorite local pizza place.

I can't imagine a better way to spend my day. I am so blessed to be obsessed with the best sport in the world.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stage 6, Palmdale to Big Bear Lake

I enjoyed a beautiful day in Sunny California today - I'm back in the LA area to see stages 6-8 of the 2010 tour of California. Once again, I watched from the KOM point at Millcreek Summit in the Angeles National Forest. I was surprised at the lack of participation this year! Last year I braved the cold with several inches of snow still on the ground along the side
of the road - this year I joined a small crowd of about 20-30 people who lined the sides of the road along the route. The Angeles National Forest has lost its beauty since last year due to the recent wildfires that charred the natural vegetation but it still has it's vantage points when watching the race!

Here's a view of the action:

An eight man break developed early in the race as the group climbed Millcreek Summit. At the front you can see Andy Schleck and Thomas Rabou.

A two man chase by Darren Lill and Ben Day of VAustralia followed shortly behind the breakaway.

HTC-Columbia led the peloton as they approached the top of Millcreek Summit. As they rolled through, I noticed that Chris Horner was enjoying a conversation with one of his teammates. I couldn't help but remember the photo I took last year as Lance climbed the same peak. If only I could climb while carrying on a conversation...

Being here makes me miss my bike. I'm looking forward to the time trial later today - I can't wait to see Levi pull off a win and take control of this race!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Year, New Challenges

I have the bicycle blues. I wouldn't say that I don't want to ride - but I can't quite drag my butt outside, either. I think about riding several times each day but I can't get motivated to swing my leg over the top tube and clip my feet into those pedals.

I've blamed it on the weather but it's beginning to warm up, technically - the days are already getting longer. I say I'm not riding b/c it's supposed to rain, because it's too cold, because I need to take the tree down, because I can't hang on to the tail of that ride, because my bike needs some work, because my shoes are too small and my feet hurt, because I need to focus more on my family (my husband, my job, my knitting, my cleaning, getting some name it).... but it's all just another excuse.

What happened? Where did my urgency go? I miss my bike but I seem to have the most amazing lack of energy...

I need some motivation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Most bloggers post an entry on January 1st to "warm up" for the coming year. For me, I'm a little more literal. I thought when they told me to write a "New Year's" post, they meant that I should write a post in the "New Year". And since it's still the "New Year", I'm not exactly "late" with this post....

I've had writers block - the kind that comes in the form of two jobs, a demanding hobby, a husband, and most notably: children. That being said - I want to reflect on a moment of brilliance. They come rarely and I do like to savor them...

On New Year's Eve I had a spark. I remembered how fortunate I've been for the last decade and how much I have to look forward to over the course of the next. I posted a status update to my facebook page that is a pretty good summary of how fortunate I am; I wish I had hashed it out a little more for some deeper reflection steps. Unfortunately, FB doesn't allow enough characters for me to credit to all of the individuals who were important to me over the past 10 years. This being said...I figure if you're really that probably like me and therefore will forgive me for having only enough spark to post on FB and not enough to elaborate in a long sappy post on my blog. Anyway...that spark went as quickly as it came but before it completely extinguished, I posted the following status message on my Facebook page:

"The Last Decade: Got married, bought a house, earned a degree, had a brilliant baby girl, divorced a drunk, got a great job, found a great man, earned another degree, married a great man, bought a house with a great man, had a beautiful baby boy, got another great job, earned a third degree, took up the best sport in the world, and learned that life isn't always what you thought it'd be...sometimes it's even better!"

What better way can I say Happy New Year!! Here's to making another decade of memories and remembering to find the silver lining no matter what challenges come my way. Thank you to each of you who have been a part of my life until now (even if you weren't mentioned in my fb post!) and I hold even more gratitude to those who will be from here forward.

With Love,