Friday, September 30, 2011

Can A Mountain Biker Run??

Yeah, I can't believe I am going to say this...... I have found joy in running again.  It's hard for me to grasp, considering I did my first run on July 17th and it was anything but joyful.  I hated every step.  I suffered in heat and humidity through two miles which took me  21 minutes.   My mind wanted me to quit by the time I hit 1/4 mile. I was already out of breath.  But, I couldn't quit.  My son  wanted me to run the Cowbell 1/2 marathon with him on  Oct. 2nd.  I was not going to let him down.

The prize

As the weeks passed running did get easier.  I was starting to enjoy some of my runs. Not every one, just a few. I invested in some mid-level road running shoes since my trail shoes weren't cutting it on the pavement. I did not follow any specific plan.  I just went with how I felt.  I figured out mile markers around my neighborhood and just kept adding to them each week. I hit the trails up when I could. Twice I had company. Thanks Nicole.  I did not time 80% of my runs. Especially after seeing that it was taking me nearly 10:30 to complete a mile.

 Finding the balance between running and biking was not easy.  Some days were better than others.  I felt old and broken several times.  I took days off and just walked when I felt bad.  I did not quit. I could not quit. Trevor was depending on me.  It became real  after I signed up for the race.  Fifty-five dollars was the price-tag. Damn, I could have put that $$ into my bike.

The race is this coming Sunday.  I am excited to see how it goes.  I have run 150 miles to train for this. More than some, less than others. I am confident I will finish, but have no goal time in mind. This month I have run several 8:25 miles, but it's doubtful I can hold that pace for the entire 13 miles.  I did run a half marathon  in just under 2 hours once.  But, that was more than 10 years ago. Carrie Sona once said " I am just going to do my best"  So, that is what I am going to do.  Do my best.

What sucks is that I will be doing this run with 1500 strangers/runners.  Trevor has decided not to join me.  He wants his first race to be in California.   His focus has always been Cali.  He doesn't want this race to possibly affect him negatively. Plus, his race will be with other amputees.   I get that.  It is his choice.  I am disappointed, but I am not mad.  We all pick and choose the races we do, and sometimes we change our minds.

Pabst Blue Ribbon
The other prize

Another thing that sucks is that there probably will not be any Pabst hand-ups.  I am sure around mile 8 I would like one. So, if you are in the area.........


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Letter to Goliath 2011

I originally wrote this post back in April of 2010. I have a lot of friends racing this weekend and thought it was a perfect time to change a few words and throw it out there again.  Remember where you came from and keep moving forward.  Stay positive. Anything can happen.    I wish you all the best.

Dear Goliath,

Hi, how are you? I hope your training is going well. You don't really know me. I have been observing you for a few years now. I have watched  you grace the podium several times. I have seen the promoters hand you $$$, and some great schwag. This year you will not even recognize me. I have been working hard and cant wait to see what the end of the 2011 season has in store for me.

You see, I - WE- have:

trained ALL summer
suffered through the 100 degree weather, complete with humidity
completed looonnnnggg gravel rides
endured boring indoor rides on the trainer
worked on downhills
climbed a lot of hills, over and over
been doing P90X tapes, back to back
gained some speed
shed some weight
gotten more sleep
dropped my Clydsdale status
eaten healthy
skipped buffets
declined Happy Hours
upgraded my bike
started running
hired a trainer
tried yoga

I realize you are strong, fast, talented, and have worked hard to get where you are. However, just because you have won so far doesn't mean sh*t. Prepare yourself for some pain. It will be you who will be pushed  by me. You will feel me breathing down your back. Even if you don't see me, know that I am close. I will be watching for you to bobble, choke, have a flat/mechanical, or just run outta gas. When you least expect it... I will be there. Waiting to make my move.

I will be your competition these last few races. I foresee epic battles between us. Each one better than the last. I am looking forward to seeing you.


 *****  To all the Davids, you know who you are, keep up the hard work. It will pay off.  *****

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lizard Skins Review Continued

Cross season has just begun here in the Midwest.  Are you searching frantically for some bar tape because yours sucks?  Well, look no further.  Lizard Skins has you covered.  I wrote a review on their bar tape back in June. When I wrote that,  Mother Nature was still serving up tame weather.  I have reread it and I stand by everything I wrote. This post is a continuation.  I want you to see how the tape is holding up to MO weather and my abuse.

Living in MO comes with a lot of heat and humidity.  I rode my share this summer and sweated, like a man, all over this tape.  My hands, sans gloves, did not slide nor did the tape feel sticky. Not even on those 100 degree days.

  With approximately 1000 miles of getting to know this tape on my 2011 Kona cross bike, I still have not worn gloves.  Not once.  Even after a 75 mile gravel grinder my hands felt fine.  I like feeling "one" with my bike.  Lizard Skins tape allows me to feel connected/attached to it.  As an added bonus, my hands have a great tan.

 I expect to go the distance of the DK200 next year with this tape. The black compliments the bike beautifully, but I reserve the right to change it up.  The lime green, orange, or the pink are good options. Any opinions?

Aftermath of Dirty Kanza

After the mud I encountered at DK I thought I had ruined the tape.  I was surprised at how easily it wiped off.  Much easier than cleaning the bike, which explains why it is still a mess in the picture.

 Truth be told, the tape looks like it was just put on.  Greg, at the Hub Bicycle Co, did an awesome job for me.  

Picture taken on June 17th

Exactly the same 

 I know that there are many options when it comes to bar tape. So, do you homework.   Lizard Skins bar tape comes in seven colors and runs about $ 35 - $40 dollars.  You can definitely find cheaper.  I found some online for less than $10.  But remember,  you get what you pay for.   I suggest giving your bike some love and skipping dinner out once this month.  Priorities. After all, it is cyclocross season.

What's In My Bag

When I first started mountain biking I carried a plethora of gear.  I took "everything but the kitchen sink" for a seven mile ride. I didn't know what I should be carrying, so I just grabbed a lot of stuff.  I have pared  down my gear to just the essentials over the years.  Depending on the weather, or length of the ride, I don't even use a backpack.  Two years ago, my husband bought me a Mountain Feed Bag.  The bag velcros right onto the  handlebars and stem. There is also a third strap securing it to the fork crown.

Revelate Designs
Revelate Designs shows how to use two

 The bag doesn't move.  Trust me when I tell you " you won't even know it's there". It can be easily opened with one hand while riding. Yep, even I can do it. This bag has changed my life and has left my packs hanging in the garage waiting for the epic rides.

 I can fit almost everything  in it for an average ride to an endurance ride.  There is plenty of room  for food, tools, keys,etc.  What doesn't fit inside will fit in the dual sided mesh pockets.  Everything you see above fits in the bag.

List:    multi tool
           gel- used as emergency tire boot or emergency energy
            gum, lifesavers
           CO2 with head x2
            tire lever
            extra tube, in tube sock with extra lever and CO2
             $5 spot
             Road Id -  Never leave home without it

I keep my phone in this handy bag with fold over top and drawstring.  It has saved the IPhone from certain death by water, humidity and my sweat several times. Well worth the $5 I paid at Walmart.

I have a hand pump on my bike  in case of CO2 failure.  Duct tape is wrapped around the pump.  Duct tape has several uses, such as emergency band-aids, so I like to have some just in case.

A couple of Flight Crew members posted what they carry.  Jerry Hazard and Dan Lucas carry a lot of sh*t.  I thought myself, as the girl ,would carry more.  Didn't you?  What's in your bag?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My friend Nicole joined me for a run a couple weeks back.  We met at Lewis and Clark Trail-head, my favorite running trail.   The first words out of her mouth were " you look so skinny".  I said thanks, we chatted briefly and then began our run.  I would hear those words, over and over, while covering the miles.  She said skinny.  Did I really look skinny?  Was she just being nice?   Just yesterday, we met for a run, at the  same venue, and she said " you look even skinnier".  Seriously?  Damn, that's not the look I was shooting for.

Six years ago, I would have sold my soul  to hear that. I would have done anything to be skinny. So, why did those words irritate me so much today?  All girls like to hear they look skinny, don't they?  Well, this one doesn't.  Not anymore.  I don't want to be skinny. I don't even want to be thin.  However, I like the word  "lean".   Craig Siebert asked me once if I " was working on my lean".  Huh, that's one way to put it.

 I know she didn't say the word skinny to hurt me. As we ran, I voiced my problem with the word skinny.  I told her I wanted to give off  healthy and strong. Definitely not skinny.  We discussed how our perception of ourselves had changed over the last few years. It was totally different than in our 20's and 30's.  My perception had done a 180.   I did not have a weight problem until I was 30, sometime in 2000. It hit me really hard.    I thought that  I just needed to get skinny and skinny as quickly as possible. What I learned was, I really needed to be healthy. And, it wasn't going to happen quickly.   It is real funny how your mind changes when you let your mind change you.  Make sense?

  I changed my mind from being skinny to being healthy.  I recall dwelling on what the scale said.  The scale was not my friend. The scale informed me if I was having a skinny day or a fat day.The scale set my tone for the day. My attitude was set by the number glaring back at me.  However, the scale never told me how healthy I was.  I am not a quitter, but  I quit the scale. I began caring more about how I felt.  I was no longer going to chase skinny. No longer chasing a number.  I was going after something bigger.  My health. Changing my mind set me free.  Free of the nasty scale.  Free to discover and eat healthy foods. Free to reeducate myself.  And the freedom to concentrate on a healthy lifestyle.  Once I freed myself the weight dropped off.

Once I let the idea of skinny go, it opened me up to being happy.  Happy with myself. Happy with my body. Happy with my life. Happy with the positive direction I had taken.  Health and happiness go hand in hand. Don't you agree?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writing 101


My first writing class was last Wednesday, Aug 31st.  I found the school quickly and arrived  early enough to do some deep breathing.  I had no idea what to expect from the teacher and was nervous about meeting the other students.  I was out of my comfort zone.  Would there be any cyclists?

I took a seat at the front of the class. I don't want to miss anything.  I silently told my brain to check in and absorb everything. This class is important to me.  I will get out of it what I put into it.  That said, I plan to get my moneys worth.

There are nine of us in class.  How's that for a  student to teacher ratio?  Nicole, our teacher, asked us to introduce ourselves and explain why we were taking the class.   Out of the nine, seven work outside the home. A couple of the guys probably have to wear ties during the day.  After the introductions, we got down to business.

I attended Catholic School from the first grade until graduation.  We had to dissect sentences everyday in English class. I became a pro at finding the subject, verbs, adverbs, etc.  For our first class we were going to revisit and refresh what we learned in grade school.  What is an adverb?  What is a verb?  We pointed out the subject of the sentence and re-familiarized ourselves with nouns and pronouns, plural and singular. Are you still with me?   Does your brain hurt ?  Mine sure did.  I was surprised that I had remembered quite a bit after all these years.  Maybe I did learn something useful  in Catholic school.

Nicole gave us a handout that listed the " Rules of Writing".  Yes, there are rules.  If you want to take your writing to another level, another audience, or make money , you will need to follow them.  But, remember " rules are made to be broken" sometimes . The last fifteen minutes were spent in small groups  discussing the topics we had chosen.  Each student  would be responsible for writing one paper.  Can you guess what my topic is?

That statement really sums it up


The hour and a half flew by so fast.  Dammit, I wanted more.  Nicole gave us  homework and we were dismissed.  I drove home that night excited and eager for my next class.   I did not feel intimidated at all by the class, teacher, or students.  This is going to be a good thing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Take A Kid Mountain Biking

Mark your calendar Mom's and Dad's for Sat. Oct. 1st.  Gateway Off-road Cyclists- GORC , is putting on it's annual Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day at Brommelseik Park.  The event will begin at 10am and end at 2pm.  I have been out and about visiting your local bike shops gaining their support.  We are very pleased to have so many sponsors this year.  We will have several mechanic's on duty, along with demo bikes for kids to try. There will be a skills clinic and guided trail rides.  The event is FREE. All you need to do is call 636-949-7535 to pre-register.  

If you are in the first 100 registered, your child will receive a goody bag.  There is a lot of schwag to be won also.  I have picked up shirts, gloves, helmets, and other goodies from our generous sponsors.   What more could you want?   I will be there with my daughter, a niece and a nephew.  This is a great opportunity to expose a child to riding.  Let them see first hand why you do what you do.  All the cool kids will be there.

This event is sponsored by:  St. Charles County Parks, GORC, IMBA, The Hub, Granada Cyclery, Momentum Cycles, MESA Cycles, Alpine Shop, Big Shark West, Peloton Cyclery, REI, Backwoods, Airborne Bicycles and 2nd Street Bike Stop Cafe.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goblin Racing Pics

The proof has arrived.  I was there. Well, kind of.

IMG 1049
A picture says a thousand words. 
These pictures were taken by Andrew Welker.  A special thank you to one of my followers, Susan, for bringing them to my attention.  Enjoy

IMG 0701
Ready for the descent

IMG 0754
Grab my wheel fella

IMG 0756
Almost to the top, you still hangin' on?

IMG 0789
Sweet finish

IMG 1206
TTM was there too

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Can the Goblin teach an old dog new tricks?

**** This post has been sitting for too long waiting on photos. If they turn up I will put them out there ***

My husband bought me my first mountain bike in Oct. of 2007.   It had gears and weighed in at 35 lbs. I had a lot of difficulty learning how to ride and learning to shift gears at the same time. It was very overwhelming. He saw my frustration and within six months he handed down his Spesh single speed.  I only had to pedal and keep the rubber side down.

Fast forward to this year, getting the Airborne gig, and receiving a geared bike.  I was determined to give it another try.   I know how to ride a bike now, I know how to climb hills, I know how to jump stuff,  ride rocks and techy stuff.  I just need to learn what gear to be in when I do these things. How hard could it be?

Heading out 

This past Sunday, there was a 3hr race pretty close to home.  I  heard  this race was fun, well organized, and the course was fast and flowing.  I figured this to be a perfect race to see where I am at with the Goblin.  I did a practice lap and liked the course, but found it more ss friendly. There was a lot of little grunts and a small hill that would put me all over the gears.  My plan was to learn and hang in there for the full 3 hours.

Sitting at the start line I realized I forgot my gloves.  Very bad move .  It was only 92 but, very humid.  I almost crashed while trying to hold on to the bars with sweaty hands. Before starting lap 2 I got my gloves on and resumed chasing the 3 girls ahead of me.  Around Lap 3, Mother Nature gave me a present. You know me well enough to know I did not stop.  Thanks goodness for padded black bibs.

Like my bell?

I kept pedaling and getting frustrated with myself.  It seemed that I was in the wrong gear about 80% of the time.   I will spare you the details of wanting to quit.  About Lap 5 I started repeating " this is only a test" in hopes it would relax me a little.  I did not want to think of the 3 girls ahead of me making it look so easy. I completed 8 laps, which was good enough for me.  I thought I would have done better. But why?  It took me over 3 months to learn my cross bike's gears, and that was on the road.  Why did I think I could learn gears on a mountain bike in a couple of months?   I don't want to give up just yet. But, how long does it take?   Those nice folks at Airborne said I could make my Goblin a single speed if I wanted, so there is always that option.

There was a terrific partay on the hill, after the climb.  They were serving up Pabst, ice cold.  One  surely wouldn't hurt me.  Kellan, my bar tender on said hill, made sure to have a cup of swallows ready for  me. Thanks Kellan and Cyclewerks for a great time.

The Goblin and I pedaled our way to a 4th place finish.  I am proud to have hung in there nonetheless. I learned that I am not ready to race the gears just yet. And I see a lot of practice in my future.  Seriously tho, how long did it take you to learn gears?