Saturday, January 31, 2009

Winter Riding...and Commentary on the Aussie Open.

Ok I am hardly the hardcore winter rider. If anything i am the fair weather "Oh it is 20 and may get warmer, maybe i will see how the roads are" rider. My rule is that if it is going to get colder during the ride I skip it. Warmer, I go. Temps can be deceiving. Yesterday it was 12 degrees, sun shining. The kind of day your cat thinks they want to go outside. Then you walk outside and the wind is there and you find out the windchill is -2. Ok 'nuf said. I dont ride fast in the winter, but if I am feeling that west wind while walking down the street, I just may feel it even if i am only riding 10-12mph. Plus my toes feel it and that is my weakest link.

So I was thinking it would be fun to post about WHAT YOU ( I NEED) FOR A WINTER RIDE.

Obviously first of all, I need it to be above 18 degrees. Random number but it is what it is. I also need to know that there isnt a nasty windchill. No go. And ideally sun. Lots of it. But as we know, sometimes sun= deceptive ( think cat wanting to go outside after heating in the window) so dont go running out just bc the sun is out.

Fenders : pretty obvious why. I have one on my front wheel as well. Your friends will thank you. and your rooster tail will be non existent.
Boots/Winter shoes if possible:
Kinda spendy back when i got them but I am SOO glad i got them. Even if i dont use them too much.

Egg Beater pedals: no picture but they are super easy to get in and out of bc the water and ice doesnt stick IN the cleat/pedal.

Miscellaneous where's waldo stuff:

Wind socks ( Castelli, super sweet, but you can use bread bags or rice cake bags..heavier plastic ones work best) And yes I love rice cakes, loaded with nut butter and agave nectar.

Toe and hand warmers


A light in case the sun isnt out. Cars dont Heart you when you are taking up what they perceive to be their right to ride on the white line.

Nutrition: Shot blox, open the bag before you go, no fun trying to tear into that when riding and your hands are cold. A metre of licorice helps too. Black. Australian.

Phone: just dont answer it mid ride. Nothing bugs me more than having to stop to answer a social call. Unless you are a Doctor and you are on call (yes this is a good time for me to exercise patience) then your phone is a safety tool. You use it when you have a flat and you cant change it bc your fenders are in the way and you really have no idea how long it has been since you took the tire off your way too dirty cross bike. Today honey got paged. Had to go to the hospital. One reason we didnt head all the way to Rosemount.

Hand/Face/Legs/Clothing: ( no you dont need an aquajogger, that just snuck in the picture)

Ok honey is wearing head/face gear for much colder temps but i have on glasses and a balaklava hat deal that can come over my face need be. The ski goggles werent needed but somedays they are.

In the above pic those are lobster gloves and windproof pants. Wind proof. not just some old nylon things. Get the more $ ones and you will be thankful. You need those windproof panels.
Even today in the sun it was warm But as soon as i hit a stretch on the Big River Trail i was descending and it was shaded. Repeat I am not going 25 mph, likely 18-20 mph and it gets chilly. Because of that shade these icicles are there till at least late April or May.

Going up Ohio to head back down the High Bridge I was thinking how good this was for me, to be riding 40 psi with full fenders. What a strength wko that was. Here is the view just before I headed back down the high bridge ( I came up this in the beginning of the ride):

So there you have it.
Sometimes it is easier to just ride the trainer:) But when you do get out it is so wonderful to be moving. And plus, today's trainer ride would have been to a total blowout by Serena.
As my FB said. BORING. I am really bored by her. Not her fault, and nothing personal. I just wish someone could match her. Justine is retired, Maria is injured and the -Ova's arent consistent enough. Serena is one tough cookie, she deserves it. As i said just my opinion.

Tune in later and everyone give a rouse for the FED. Should be a great final versus Nadal.
But does anyone agree that Rafa isnt quite himself without his man pants? This is hilarious:
Note he has been wearing bermuda shorts not his capri pants. Maybe this comment and many like it made him think about his wardrobe.

Why wear the Capri pants that you have to constantly pull out of your rear? Why not shorts?Sara Norm, Chicago
[Laughs.] It's not the fault of the clothes. It's a habit that I picked up when I was competing when I was young. I am trying to break the habit, but it's not easy.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I am sick of posting about being cold and how cold it is and how cold it will be in a few weeks and how much I want to get away ( ahem, was I not just in Mexico?) It is Winter Carnival week here in MN. The Celebration of Winter.

Today I am celebrating that the sun is out, yes it is cold, but whatever. And you locals reading I do know and admit it isnt NEARLY as cold as it WAS when i was in Mexico. So my need to HTFU isnt maxxed out. Really.

Roger won. He lost the first 2 sets. He was NOT playing well. He had more unforced errors in the first two sets than Rafa did in his entire match yesterday against Tommy Haas.
A true champion figures out how to win even when he is having a bad day and his opponent is "treeing." ( If you dont know that term, means you are the trees...I dont know, it means you are playing out of your head)

A true champion figures out how to be ok with playing like crap and gets past the "this is not about me looking bad, this is about me getting thru this match..." clawing his way. So I think i will make it thru winter. Just get thru it. A wise coach told me that champions are made in the winter. I just wish i could do my "champion" training... then put on shorts and sandals...and I still have my down jacket on. Inside.

So as to not turn this into a total WHINE post....tonight i get to go to a neat place for an early dinner and WINE tasting. Sunday night so we will have to behave. But getting through winter is alot easier with this guy at my side.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who Brings an Umbrella To Mexico?

Although my fellow Minnesotans ( who endured temps of - 20 or more) have little if any sympathy for my drizzley tales of Mexico, I do laugh. Melanoma recovered it was easy to see the grey lining to the darkness and mist, but I had hoped to NOT have to take vitamin D while on vacation. I allow myself 20 min of no sunscreen to get some Vit D, and sometimes more as long as it is before 10 am and after 3pm. High noon sun is something I do my best to avoid. Needless to say I only had to worry about this 2 of the 7 days I was in Mexico.

So we had 2 nice days. As you can see I wasnt suffering. Rich was in goal for a good 2 hours for the Water Polo game. Now you would think it might be "shirts Vs skins." Nope...goes like this "Who speaks Spanish?" Ok there you have it. Espanol Vs the others. Mom and I sat in the shade listening to the recruiting calls for "Aqua Aerobics..." phonetically pronounced "AAA-Qua-A-ROBE-EEKS." Now roll your tongue when you say it. Even tho I was promised a booty like J-Lo's I decided to pass. ( I like my non J Lo booty, thank you very much) And when the song came on "Wanna be a Sex-Bomb" I cracked up and took some video as well.

These pics speak for themselves. This pool was AWESOME. I wish i had one in my backyard.
I guesstimated that from where i started ( where this pic was taken) past the POOL BAR
and down under the Volleyball net, and thru the pool to the big balls and back was about 225 yards. I made some 25 yard guesses as well.
Rich wanted me to take this photo when it was packed with people but we also agreed that people drinking sitting on the pool stools and water equalled one thing. Yup. So i really didnt swim during happy hour. Which by the way was from 11am-1pm. We saw alot of people still in the pool at 7pm ( Even tho the bar had closed ) and each morning i was in the pool i usually cleaned up a few cans. Now granted the staff at this resort are amazing. People cleaning EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. The pool had nothing in it ( tho i did hope the guys who walked along the pool side each morning noon and night scrubbing) werent using something so toxic that their unprotected lungs would be toast in a year. Or mine for that matter.

But I do think the above picture is a sure way for anyone to increase attendance at Masters Swim in the winter months. Can you say "Workout from 6-7pm, Bar opens at 7:15 for cool down?"

This is pretty fun. There was this area on the upper most pool ( there were 3 pools, of varying depths some with hidden walls so you could "Walk on Water" once you got up on that wall ( think sand bar but no sand) that i ran into..oops..but i was keeping my head down like a good swimmer....) that had an endless pool like current. This video makes my stroke look like crap, but Rich told me to slow down and stop beating "it." So i did my best to do that...Pretty fun anyways and made me rethink my thoughts that we would NOT get an endless pool insert for our 3mos pool in MN that is about 12 yards long.

Here is a new sponsor our VERVE team just acquired. Just a plug for WADE and his ART.
If you have nagging stuff, he is great.
Ok this ends my PSA. Back to the long winded blog.....


Brand new cool shoes stayed inside so that the old beater running shoes could get soaked on the golf course and cart path. Flip flops took a beating. So did socks. ( granted no complaints, I love love love running in warm rain )

Dad and Rich taught us how to play poker. Mom and I learned that you arent supposed to say "Oh Crap" and throw your cards down after you are dealt your hand. Something about a Poker Face? Limes and Bananas filled the Kitty.
I resorted to being entertained by towel sculptures and trying to mix a good margarita without the Cointraeu and without my fave Don Julio. Yup things were looking grim for me at this low point in the vacation.

Pretty flowers and plants....
We headed into town for some shopping and non resort foods. Yummy. We found it at Fusion where there were no drink specials but we were treated to a live band playing Bob Marley-ish music. Sorry I am not really music head. Lets just say it was really good, and my parents were still able to hear themselves think. The rain continued so we sat inside. Fabulous Grouper meals were had by all and I finally got my Don Julio Margarita. Not too sweet, no HFCS! Yippee!

Last day the rains finally had stopped, and I had my final swim at the all inclusive pool:)
I was disappointed that the day was cooler ( ahem, 70, windy) and the humidity had fallen back into the 80's. I didnt mention yet that I had lane mates....the lifeguards...each morning would swim. I would start at my end, they would sit at the other end near the big white sculptures and hang out. Swim a 225-250 or whatever it was, then rest and do it again. I was impressed that they were religiously there, even days i didnt swim and ran by, they were there. We would wave, try to not knock heads and i tried to tell them to circle swim but i dont think they got it.
Last day one guy was there, in a WET SUIT! HA!
No pictures of my lifeguard friends.
Rich commented that they werent too fast but they looked a bit stronger than in "they had some shoulders." Yes, I could swim out to get you, but i couldnt likely drag you back into shore!

Instead I found these guys:

And in case you didnt know: Dont Mess With Them! Of course I nearly dropped my camera into the Croc den upon reading this.

So all in all it was a great vacay, rain or not. I got thru some great reads, slept alot, swam and ran alot and enjoyed some really nice time with my parents and Rich. And no i didnt get tan, but really, that is ok. I think I have been outside for about a total of 30 minutes since my return after being outside for about 5+ hours a day, even if it was under a canape reading in the drizzle or mist. And of course was greeted by a nice LONG trainer ride about 10 hours after i got in and realized I hadnt been on my bike in about 10 days. Horrors. HA! I felt it, tho, that is for sure.

So thanks for reading and remember, 8 weeks till Spring!

PS: the answer to the title is this: My 82 yo dad brings an umbrella. Smart man. Smart man!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Random Post on new computer: TEST DRIVE!

This is where i will be in about 48 hours. Dont get too excited. The pool is about 65 degrees!
Good for Ice Baths and frigid morning swims. It works. The swims will be to stretch out and I time myself to see how long i can stand it.
New Year's Day Ski with my sister. She skis ALOT. Having lived in Denver she got up to real snow and real mountains quite a bit. Sorry sideways. I havent figured out Iphoto yet.

This shirt should say "shut up and swim," bc I dont really have any issues with running.
I do wish it said "shut up and stop snowing so that sidewalks werent so icy," but then the snow for the ski picture wouldnt be so good. Gotta take what you get and run or ski on it, right?

Just a few things for the trip. Draft 1. There will be cuts as not everyone can make the travelling team.

The Sunscreen will not be cut. I may have to pay an extra $15 for my sunscreen, my pool toys, and my rackets. Heck that is $45. I may as well give NWA another $55 and pack it all in my bike box. Or why even buy a ticket?I can put myself in the bike box for that matter. No bike needed in Mexico.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy Days.....

This is going to be one of the rare posts without pictures. Things have slowed down a bit since the holiday frenzy of parties, events, more holiday time, family time, more Wild Games, more family time, etc..."rewind, repeat." Thanks to everyone in blogland, FB land, and realworld for your well wishes in a speedy recovery. I have to say that thou i was never flat on my back i sure was tired and had the annual sinus "deal" going strong. I hate missing work but I also feel a responsibility to my seniors and to others to not "share the wealth" of germs if I can help it.

As for 2008 and 2009 and all that resolution talk...
 I am not much for resolutions. To each his or her own, but I do like to look at how I could change things, add to things, be more accepting, less judgmental, more loving in the new year. 2008 was good to me. I rode my first full year in the "big girls" category ( 1 2 3...that would be me, the 3..riding with the big girls!) and most importantly did so without injury. One incident in the State Fair Crit made me realize how much i value my limbs and need them to work and so very likely there will be no more crits in my race plans. 43 years young is too old to deal with a busted clavicle and I see no badge of honor in passing thru this rite of bike racing. 

More importantly Honey and I got engaged. Although we are taking our time making final plans, the engagement time is like a mini honeymoon. We are enjoying every minute of it.
Other than when the WILD cant seem to score in a shootout and when the red squirrel decides to nest up in the attic when the temps get too cold. We have hopes for a fall wedding, but that could change. First is a trip to Mexico, then a trip to Arizona, then some trips to the local cabins and a cruise to Alaska late July for Honey's Mom's 80th birthday! What a summer we have planned. And some racing on either side of all this excitement. If we time it right we will get back to MN from Vancouver the monday before the Firehouse 50 weekend. What better place for me to get in a good 50 mile TT than on the most gorgeous and hilly TT you can find in Wisconsin! Honey's team has some contacts out with Lance and you never know. He goes to Ragbrai, why not FH 50. ( Dont hold your breathe, but still kinda fun)

So as you can see there is alot to be thankful for and alot to look forward to. Right now i am most looking forward to a trip to Mexico. Jen promises I can play all the tennis I want!( oh yea after i attempt to figure out my Max HR running my tail off on the golf course)  After this weekend's workout, riding the trainer in my 60 degree condo and then stepping outside to run in 2 degrees with -16 windchill, I may be mighty tempted to do a bit more, just because it wont take me 15 minutes to go from tropic to arctic attire! Mexico is weird, you never know what you may get when they promise tennis courts and a workout area. But all i know is that there isnt much chance of me working out indoors...I have enough of that here! 

Good books, napping, walking and spending quality time with Honey and my parents ( ok it may sound weird but it parents are pretty darn cool) is what i have in mind. 
And some Don Julio for Doris, some iguana's in the bathtub, and hopefully some good weather!

Make it a great year everyone!