Monday, December 22, 2008

SRAM Time Trial Ring

This wonderful SRAM TT chainring (mentioned in an earlier post), which proclaims 'SRAM!!!' from hundreds of yards away, originated from this sketch:

I came across this sketch earlier today when scanning some other stuff from my sketch book. I've always enjoyed looking through design books and seeing important logos and things that originated from simple sketches, like Citi:

I've also been thinking about what people might find interesting from a graphic designer working in the bike industry. A graphic designer working in the bike industry, you think. Pretty specific.

I'm thinking about that specifically because soon I'll be 'tweeting' on Twitter about Hayes as "HayesGraphics". I'm not sure exactly what I can and will talk about, but there'll probably be some sneak-peeks and hints about decals, packaging and print materials that I work on. I'm pretty excited to do so, because it's something I'd be interested in hearing about as a bike-crazy individual.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Biking and a Holiday Party

Friday brought tons of snow and tons of fun. (Above photo is of Cale wading through a drift). It was pretty windy out but not too cold, so Cale and I snuck outside to go for a bike ride. We decided to go downtown and check out the scene, and see if we get interviewed for being so brave. Alas, no news crews were out, but we had a good time riding along the streets and seeing the sights. Below photo is of me (could you recognize my sweet face through the cold weather gear?) with Andy's Pugsley, which is a specialty bike- the monster truck of the cycling world. Most people get it for snow biking, I think.

A bus was stuck on 3rd and Wisconsin- it looked like it had been abandoned hours before.

Here's Cale on his snow bike, heading back home down 3rd Street. Pretty wintry conditions.

...and me in our parking lot before we went in.

Last night Cale and I went to Gunnar and Kelly's Christmas part, which is always a classy affair. I got to wear my fancy dress that I got in Vegas- did you know that Vegas and I are on a first-name basis? No 'Las' needed. We're tight. Anyhow, we got all dolled up and hung out in luxury. It was an 'intimate' party because of the weather, as a few of the husbands and boyfriends are snow plow drivers that were needed. Nonetheless, it was a good little gathering.

Cale and I got a classic 'In-front-of-the-tree' photo as well, fuzzy though it may be.

The night drew to a close with Nick the dog puttin' the moves on my man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Rampage Photos

Black Ops Santa's outfit was made out of black clothes and towels safety pinned to resemble trim. I was disappointed to see John didn't take my advice to buy a regular Santa suit and a 10-pack of black Sharpie markers, but I think it turned out anyway. Cale's outfit was pretty imaginative, too. The pickins were slim, so he wound up buying a few pieces from a costume shop and the green shirt from Target. The belt was one I had laying around.

Here's Russell, trying to convince me that all I'm getting is a lump of coal. Before arriving at the Santa Rampage, I had entertained the idea of getting a picture on every Santa's lap. But geez, do you even know how many Santas there were?! I adjusted my goal and brought it down to one Santa.

Here's a group photo at Lakefront Brewery. I'm the one... oh, nevermind.

At the end of the day, the helmets went back on the wall as usual. Yet something was different...

The rest of my photos here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Can I just say, I'm looking forward to Christmas? Every year the whole paternal side of my family gets together 'up north' in Tomahawk, WI. This year will be different, though- a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins, maybe even my parents, won't be coming. At first I was bummed that it wouldn't be like Christmas holidays past, but I'm looking at it a different way now. It will still be some great time in the outdoors, and Cale and I can rent some skis and ski in some really beautiful woods. I'll probably still have fun doing some artwork with my Aunt, too. So, less holiday party, more holiday retreat. Not a bad trade-off.

Now then, don't mind if I do a little reminiscing. I can't seem to bear to close a blog post without sprinkling it liberally with photos. This is the view from my Aunt and Uncle's sun room. You can see deer off in the field, and last year we spotted a porcupine in a tree.

My uncle Paul. He's got the northwoods accent, too :)

Caramel at the creek:

Who wouldn't look forward to this?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bike Swap - Milwaukee

Today's bike swap yielded unexpected booty. We went in planning to look around and support the bike fed, and of course we walked out with our 'pocket books' a little lighter. Cale found me a road bike frame, which was the last thing on the bike list that was needed. I wanted a fairly cheap road frame so that I didn't ruin my ever-so-nice Salsa CX bike in the salt this winter or in a crit.

We found a Blue Cycles RC6 team bike from last year. Apparently the MSRP on it is about $1,900, which is ridiculous. I mean, I'm sure it's worth it, but goddamn. I paid $200 for the frame, fork and headset. Our theory is that it was so cheap because the team got it for free from their bike sponsor (Blue) for last year's races and needed to just get rid of it to bring in the new bikes.

Whatever the case, phwew! I'm just glad I've got a road frame now, so my precious CX frame stays safe. Well, so we brought the frame home around 2:00 or so, and I didn't really see Cale in the apartment for the next three or four hours. He was out in the garage, working on taking the parts off of the Salsa and switching them over to the new frame.

Everything from the Salsa transferred to the Blue with no trouble. We picked up a pair of 105 brakes while at the swap, and those were the only thing we needed to complete the build. And by 'we' of course I mean Cale. Speaking of, Cale picked up a ridonculous Zipp wheel.

Don't ask either of us- we don't know what it's going on... or why it exists in the first place. Apparently it can be a front or a rear wheel, which is kinda cool. It could ruin the aesthetic of any bike as a front or rear wheel!

But back to the beauty: Hello Michelin Man!

I took it for a test spin down the hallway, and it feels great. Cale measured everything out from the Cross bike, so the seat height and everything was ready to go when I first set cheek on it. The stem was about all that was changed, and the new position feels pretty racy and fast.

The only other thing I bought was an old Tour de France shirt. The guy offered it to me at a lower price if I would wear it and love it a lot. Well, I've already got a start on it:

And there you have my account on the Milwaukee Bike Swap. Another long post on a short amount of information :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow and Santa

Last night a group of us went snow biking after attending a fish fry at Lakefront. At Lakefront, we were seated with a guy from Germany (I think) who sold cheese making machines to companies. He was in town for business (surprise) and was sitting alone, and our table of 7 was seated at his table (the smallest tables there are for 8 people). Well, that's about all the story there is with that, but cheese making machines? I think that's a pretty good story as-is.

After we were stuffed and toasty warm, we headed out into the bitter cold. I think it was about 13 or so- not terrible but pretty dang cold. I wore my fleece lined CX skinsuit, with lycra leggings (no fleece lining) and an elbow-length shirt that was vaguely spandex-y underneath it. One pair of light-weight knee-length wool socks and Lake boots for the ol' feetsies and leather driving gloves with lobster claw gloves over top for my hands. It was cold to begin with, but once we got moving I warmed up.

It's nice to know that I haven't lost my dressing skillz, even though I've been a sissy lately. This year since I haven't been commuting, I've started viewing the weather like normal people. Biking in the cold? When it's wet out, too? No way! However, rides like this remind me that it's not uncomfortable once you dress right.

In any case, conditions were a little chilly but very, very nice. The snow on the river trials is packed down and made for nice riding. Slippery, but nice enough. We're anticipating that they'll soon be no fun- the warmth today should have done a number on them, and there's some more weather coming up that'll change them, too, like fresh packy snow.

But enough word wandering about my outfits, dinners and bike rides. Well, more on bike rides. Today was the Santa Rampage, which is a big pub crawl on bikes. Oh yeah, and everyone dresses up as Santa. Heck yeah! This was the first Santa Rampage I've went on, and let me tell you, it's great. I've been on Critical Mass rides with a lot of bikers, but nothing compares to riding in a big group of Santas. Riding down the streets, reactions were pretty awesome. People honked, waved, yelled "Merry Christmas!" People rolled down their windows and shot photos as they passed, and pedestrians ran out into the median to take pictures with their phones. It was great fun until we got pulled over by a cop.

Yep, the fuzz. Since we were a large group, the tail end wound up running stop lights. The front would always stop for them and we waited up for those who got slowed down, so we were being quite good. We took up one of two lanes of traffic (legally that checks out), and were being as courteous as possible when the rear finished crossing on a red light. Drivers waited and didn't really get too upset. Could you get upset if you were forced to wait through one light for this?

(Image by Gary Lake)
Most people just waved, honked, and took the light to gawk at the 100+ Santas on bikes. but it's true, running lights is wrong and unsafe. So we stood around for a few minutes while the organizer talked to the cop. A supervisor or two got called to the scene of the crime and a few more minutes of talk ensued. After a while, the organizer stood and made an announcement: we were to ride two abreast and stop for all lights. While we were filing back onto the street, I passed by the supervisor, who offered to the Santas to throw the 'grinch' (the cop who pulled us over) in jail for pulling us over.

I pieced together later that the supervisor basically told the cop to chill out, and that the ride has been going on for years and it never hurt anyone. I think the cop is in for a pretty good teasing. I think he pulled us over to cover himself- if something were to happen and he had seen us and not done anything, he could get in trouble. All in all, nobody got beaten with a billy stick, so it wasn't too bad.

Luckily, the whole incident was easily forgotten. We pedaled on to the next bar, and the rest of the riding with incident-free (thought the cop did follow us to the next bar). After that we split up and rode in smaller groups and kept under the radar. Lakefront set us up with free beers (and let me trade it in for a free delicious Maple Root Beer!) and Concertina Bar in Southern Milwaukee had a live polka band and free chili and 'The Christmas Story' playing on the TV.

It was a great day, but we were all pretty bushed by the end (around 3PM). A small group of us went to Botanas for some tasty Mexican food after the last bar, which got a reaction from the wait staff. We had gotten to feeling normal amongst all of the other Santas, but striking out on our own reminded us that Santa suits aren't the normal 'out-n-about' attire.

Anyhow, with that, I'll sign off. What with riding around for 5 hours and getting pulled over by the cops while dressed in a Santa suit, it's been a full day. Tomorrow is the bike swap, and maybe I'll get a few Rampage photos of my own up on here.

Friday, December 12, 2008


First off, I'm working on the new Manitou decals, and if you'd like to have a look and go vote on which ones you like, go on ahead here:

Second, I missed writing a Thanksgiving post, and I am thankful for a lot of things. Well, I think you could say I'm thankful for just about my whole life. I realize I've got it pretty good. But lists are easier, so (in no particular order):

• My cat, Snips. I know it's pretty foolish to be thankful for a creature that poops in a box in your house, but he makes me laugh regularly and it's nice to have a buddy to hang out with during the day. He made the new apartment feel more like a home.

• My Weapon of Mass Affection, Cale. He puts up with me really well, and it's nice to have a partner in crime to race and hang out with.

• My health. This summer while over at a relative's house, I was complaining about getting lost on the way there and having to bike two or three extra miles. The thing is, this relative needs a walker to get around, and he said something to the effect of 'I wish I had that problem' without bitterness. It reminded me to not be such a twit, and to be very thankful that I can get around so damn well. So I'm thankful for my health, fitness, mobility, etc.

• My job as freelance graphic designer to Hayes. It may come to pass that the job becomes full-time, but either way, I'm glad to have work that interests me and that I enjoy. It's been great to have a job in the bike industry, and it's hard to envision working for an ad agency or, well, I don't even know what those other poor suckers have to do. But they don't work in the bike industry, and that's too bad for them.

• My parents. What can I say, they did their best and raised me right and supported my decision to go to art school, even though I think they had their doubts.

• My friends. I've got a few choice friends, and they're pretty good people. They really are. 'Nuf said.

I could go on, but those are the bones of my awesome life. I'm very thankful for what I have :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

End of the Season

First of all, to assure everyone that I am a competent pet owner, here's a picture of Snips happily sleeping (his No. 1 activity) and free of eye boogers. I guess it could also look like he died of negligence and I posed him for a picture, a lá Wisconsin Death Trip, but that's just not true.

I haven't been blogging a lot about racing lately because it hasn't been going great and I've been less enthused each time... my season ended last weekend at Jinglecross on day 1 (of 2 that I pre-registered for). Had I known that there would be such awesome conditions on Day 2 I would have kept myself registered, but oh well. I had a great time spectating.

What happened on Saturday was that I had a feeling of dread the entire morning. Maybe that's not quite the right word for it, but it wasn't a jittery feeling, it was a feeling like I was being forced to march the trail of tears (not to demean that). I really didn't want to do it, and it wasn't because of nerves. I got sulky and quiet and generally turd-like. After 'racing' and getting 6th when I could have gotten 3rd (women I have beaten before came in 3rd and 4th) I decided that I would beg for my money back for Day 2 and just spectate instead of throwing myself another pity parade.

When I'm not into it, I race terribly. Should I just cut those races or fight my way through it? Next year will probably force a closer look at that.

On a less angst-y topic, Cale and I are approaching a big milestone in our Relationship. That's right. First race together. We just realized that the Stupor Bowl is coming up, and that last year's race was the first we did as a team. I don't remember when our first date was, but since we're so about the bike, it makes sense to hang the first date and celebrate the first race.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Driving in Style

I don't know how anyone will be able to contain their jealousy, but I've got to share the news. This gorgeous, dented automobile is soon to be in my possession. The plan is to drive it for at least the winter, then we'll see. It won't be very good for driving friends to races with, but it'll do for commuting, and Cale and I can do rides and races just fine. Just a few fork mounts bolted to the bed and we're set.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trip to the Vet

Snips was a farm kitten, so he came to us with some.. shall we say.. extra friends. Deadbeat friends who didn't contribute anything to the relationship. You could actually call them parasitic, in that respect. He also has an eye infection that needed attending to. So off to the vet we went. I don't have a carrier, but hey, a cage is a cage and he was going to hate it no matter what it was. So I grabbed up a big box (so he didn't feel too claustrophobic), cut a hole and dropped him in before he knew of the betrayal. I then whisked him out into the car, through the light rain. Here he is, enjoying a ride in the auto:

On the way to the vet, he chewed the hole bigger in his de-luxe carrier and got his head through. And then it was stuck. When I got into the vet's office, I hesitated before walking in. Here I was, bringing in a cat that had its head stuck in a makeshift animal carrier, aka a box from some Target dishes. I thought for sure they would purse their lips, shake their heads and shed a tear for the sweet animal with such a crude owner. But when I looked at this cat, his head stuck (but not painfully) in the box, all I could do was laugh. The humor pushed aside the shame. When I walked in, sheepishly smiling and presenting the box-cat, the receptionists started laughing and called the rest of the staff up to have a look at him. It's now his 'profile pic' for the vet's. Throughout the whole thing he was just kind of silent and resigned to his new fate of having his head stuck through a Target box for dinnerware.

We waited for a while (I took him fully out of the box) and then were shown to a room. We waited there for a while, and Snips got to explore a little bit and got to feeling a little more secure. The vet came in, asked me some questions and then called up to the front desk to tell them to check on something. While she was on the phone, Snips walked across the table, over the scale and onto a slanted desk with his papers on it. I watched as he leaned over and sniffed the vet, right before he slid off the desk, taking all the papers with him. Rather than make a move to stop him, I thought I'd just enjoy the show.

After she got all of her papers picked up, the vet examined, cleaned and vaccinated my poor little animal. He bore it like a champ, just kind of crouching down while he had Q-tips pushed in his ears, and needles administered. Since I've been cleaning his eyes, I think he kind of understands that we're 'cleaning' him with all the unpleasant stuff. So like I said, no biting, scratching or even meowing. Heh, when I was a kid it took four people to hold me down in order to x-ray me, until they explained that it wouldn't hurt. My four month old cat's got me beat!

Anyway, Snips is on the road to good health now, and I've got some lovely photos to forever remember his first trip to the vet's :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A New Bane

I'm currently looking for an automobile these days. I'll probably be needing one for the winter (before the Christmas would be nice), and I've known this for a while. I went through the first, fun stage a few months/weeks ago. During long drives to races, I would have fun looking at cars passing by on the highway in order to figure out what I might want. This is what it's between:

A four door hatchback. Like a Yaris, a Dodge Caliber or a Honda Fit. The Caliber seems nice and roomy, and in the summer it would be nice to be able to carpool to places on the weekends. That would mean bikes on top, camping and race gear in the back, and four or five people in the car.

A Ford Mustang, around 2005/6 or so. Would that be a smart choice? No. But if I were presented with a fantastic deal for one, I would have trouble passing it up. I'd get it just for commuting and put a hitch on the back for bikes. Mmm, I've always liked the muscle-y looking Mustangs. I think I would be a Mustang if I were a car- kinda fast and powerful (looking, anyhow!) but nothing like a luxury sports car.

A small pickup truck, like a Ford Ranger. I had one in high school- what am I, going through my mid-life crisis? Anyhow, they get pretty good gas mileage, and I could fit lots of bikes and gear in the back. The downturn is that they'd really only fit Cale and I comfortably, even with the 'extended cab'. The good thing is, they're pretty super cheap, especially since I'm ok with going with a '98 with low mileage.

Car shopping is fun, right? So many options! Wrong. Car shopping is not fun, because you never know what you're going to get. Who can you trust? And it's not like a pair of jeans you can return. Uh-uh. And I know about jeans. I do not know about cars. I am pretty much the worst car buyer of all time. I don't know what I want, how much I'm willing to spend.... ugh. I go for days without caring, and then some days I just want to buy something and get it over with.

It's worse than deciding whether or not to train, or organizing the calendar. Do I get a very nice car (heheh, in my mind that just means 'newer used car') so that I don't have mechanical problems with it, or do I just get a stop-gap for the winter? What a pain in the arse. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to give up car shopping for today and dream of a Pegasus paint scheme on a 2006 Ford Mustang. Mmmmm, yeah. There it is.

Estabrook Photos

Djonnymac of BKB took these photos. His Flickr site is here. He always takes lots of photos, and I know a lot of us appreciate it. What's all the joy and suffering worth if you don't have photographic evidence of it to show your friends, or your mom?

From Estabrook, a few images of me running up the run-up (that's what you do on run-ups, you know)

I think this lady is going for the gummi hand-up that Cale was trying to hand out (gummi Halloween candy in the shapes of body parts)

And this guy is all about the 'traditional' PBR hand-ups.

Look at me go! It looks very much like I'm a double amputee with no legs below the knee.

The young man in the background appears to be performing a Jedi mind trick on someone. "This is not the racer you seek to beat."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Calendars = Bane

I've been working the past few days to finish up the calendar and get it out the door to the printer. It's been frustrating, because there have been a few companies that have been slow to get me logos. And getting people to hand in their photos has been like pulling teeth, for the most part. There were a few photographers that I will forever love for getting me the photos promised, but it's been tough to figure out the rest. I've had a few people cancel and others that held up the project calendar of the calendar project (heh heh). Now, I think I would be just as difficult to manage, and I understand that people are busy, but I can't help but play a sad song for myself.

Have I told you how tough it is to be me lately? Wooooeeee is meeeee.

Cale and I have been watching episodes of the Sopranos lately, and I can see now that I've set a bad precedent for next year's calendar. First, I do need to organize better and be clearer about deadlines and sales. But I've already shot my foot by not punishing those who ignored the deadlines that I served them. What would Tony do? The mob knows that you give an inch, they take a mile. Granted, I've already compromised myself, but next year I need to send muscle to peoples' homes, kidnap their dogs and threaten their mothers in order to get the calendar the respect it deserves. I bet if the mob were running the calendar, it would have been printed already, and not two days behind schedule. (Luckily I accounted for this when drawing up the original plans and it'll still be out when promised).

Anyhow, tonight was the last big push and I can stop working the late shift, trying to hustle sponsors (Minx helped me on that, though <3, and I did meet a bunch of cool people) design the months and put the squeeze on late photos and logos. Phwew. As much as I complain, though, I'm already planning to do it again. You know it can't be that bad :)


Startin' out right:
I was in the parking lot getting ready when they guy I threatened to chase the day before rode by and asked me if I was gong to chase him again. I told him I would and indeed threatened to chase him again when he was going over a set of barriers in his race. Cheering for this race was quite the experience. Jon Raleigh was cheering pretty wild, and then even started heckling a sandbagger in the Men's 3's race.

To give you the backstory, this guy has been racing in the 3's and has won every race but his first. By a huge margin. People grumbled after a while, and now are making themselves heard. I heard another racer chewing him out during their warm-ups. I feel pretty torn about it, because as much as I'd like to point the finger, I stayed in the 4's last year even though I won every race but my first. I stayed in the 4's because I was intimidated by the 3's (they seemed so much slicker than me, with nice bikes- not heavy SS 29ers- and kits with impressive sponsors) and I wanted to win the series and the State championship race. (I didn't manage the series, because there was a girl who raced more races than I did.) Sooo, I guess that's one little difference. This guy could Cat up and still win the series, even if his closest competitor won the remaining races in the series.

I hate to think that there were people grumbling about me, but there probably were a few, and I can't really fault them. I think I'm being punished now by languishing mid-to-back-pack in the 2's :) Anyhow, the question with this guy is: why isn't he catting up, and why isn't he being made to cat up? The new rule was supposed to be that after you won two races, you had to cat up, with a few exceptions of older people, I believe. Well, now I'm just rambling. I'll be interested to see what happens with this guy. It's too bad that he's making enemies, though, because cross can be a lot of fun when people aren't refusing to ring their cowbells for you.

I wasn't really feeling the race spirit, almost to the point of wanting to get my entry fee back and then slink away. It's a good course, but it doesn't hold a lot for me. I like a little more hills and not so much... non-hills. Corners, straightaways, zipping along. Not really for me. I lose the lead women so much sooner and then I'm in no-man's land. I was anticipating that I would have a decent time on the course, but that after just a bit I would be left behind. Sure enough, after not even a full lap, I fell behind. Wah-wah. I did have fun threatening to catch Reneé, though, as I came around to lap her. "I'm gonna get you, Reneé!" "Oh, Katy, no!" And there was the gummi hand-up on the run-up...

I think next year I might actually have to train if I want to stay in the 2's and have fun in the front. There's just nobody around me in a lot of my races. I can't count on a full array of ladies to show up for the 2's so that I have people to race against- I should be able to hang with the top... half or 2/3rds in the faster races. That's not asking a whole lot. But I know I need to train to get there. Not only do I need to work on physical things, I need to work on pushing myself to the limit, which is something I hate to do. First, because I don't enjoy the pain a whole lot, but second, because I'm afraid that the best I can do just won't be good enough. I hate to battle with another racer just to tire out in the end and watch them ride away on the last lap. It kills my competitive spirit a little bit each time that happens. But I'm never going to get better if I don't start pushing more. In most aspects of my life I set out a plan and want to do it right the first time, but I have to learn to accept that some things take multiple tries. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again? Losing a battle and falling back a position feels like failing to me, even though I know it's ridiculous. I would rather hang out in the back and ride than try to race and 'fail'.

Can I just say again, training. Ugh. A few nights ago I forced myself to go on a training ride with Cale just up North and back, probably between 20 and 30 miles. We kept a brisk pace, but it wasn't terrible and the weather was fantastic for fall. I was grouchy on the way out and finally happier on the way back. I realized it had been months- honestly, MONTHS, since I had done any sort of training. When we moved apartments, the running and the riding routine (that's kind of fun to say) went right out the window. I haven't done anything these past months except race on the weekends. I ran a few 3 mile errands, but there's been no practicing, no training, no nothing.

There's another thing to think of, besides training vs. not training. Do I care enough about doing well to devote my time and energy to it? If I hate one day of training, won't I REALLY hate weeks on end of it? Watching what I eat, setting aside hours per night to get on the bike and bear down? I started biking because I liked to ride around the city, to find a place to read my book until it got too dark to see. I like competition just fine, but how much do I like it?

Against that, though (MORE to think about!) is can I pass this up? I have some natural talent, and with training I could be pretty good. If I don't give this all a shot, will I regret it? I hate wasting things (food, paper, tinfoil, scraps of material- I'm a hoarder!) and wouldn't this be the same thing? I could just be throwing away my potential because I'm too chicken to find out where I'll top off.

Oh, life. I'll probably dance around training for a while before deciding to go for it, though it'll be like 'eating your greens' to me. Don't even get me started on vegetables! But you only live once, and I might as well try to make the most of it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kletzsch Park

So this past weekend was a lot of fun but very, very exhausting.

Friday afternoon Cale and I picked up these beauties:

When we picked them up they were hot off the presses, literally. They were very warm and smelled heavily like ink, but that didn't stop us from wearing then immediately and ever since. (You can buy one here, if you're so inclined.) We delivered them all weekend at the two cross races, and by Sunday you couldn't turn around without seeing the hot pink print. It was pretty cool.

Friday evening Jeff, Ben VC and Brandon came up from Chicago to spend the night in Milwaukee. After we all got suited up in our matching hoodies, Cale and I took them to one of the best fish frys (fries?/awkward) around- Lakefront Brewery's fish fry. They have some good fish, good beer and soda, quick service and a live Polka band. Cale and I got out there and danced with our four left feet for about half a song and then tucked into our recently arrived food. After Lakefront, we went across town to At Random in Bayview. It's a place trapped in the 50's. Pretty sure neither the wait staff nor the decor has changed since then. Anyway, they only serve mixed drinks and we all got some ice cream drinks- delicious! We then went back home and weighed our bikes for fun before getting tuckered out and hitting the hay.

We got to sleep in a good little bit on Saturday morning, since the race at Kletzsch Park is only a hop, skip and a jump across Milwaukee. Ben, Brandon and Jeff all had a good time, though it was a tough course! They had to leave shortly thereafter, but it was nice having them, and I'm glad they enjoyed their time here. I'll get the race part out of the way: I tried hanging up front with the pro ladies, but dropped back a bit and then got slowed down by someone I was trying to pass. Thus, in the first half of the first lap, I decided to just relax and have fun. I held my position (I think it was 5th) for the whole race and had fun muggin' for cameras and showboating up the huge run-up. I did such things as holding my handlebars in my teeth, smiling at cameras and finished it off with a beauty queen wave the whole way up on my last lap. If I'm not known for being fast anymore, I can at least carve a niche being a goofball. Here you can see me running up the hill, smiling and plotting how next to hog attention:

The fun part about the races, though, are the people that show up. On the very last lap, I accidentally hung up the second place dude that was trying to pass me. I didn't know which side he wanted to pass on, so we danced back and forth. I pretty seriously inconvenienced him, and I apologized after the race. To my sincere apology he replied "Oh, don't worry about it, that's racing!" with a smile on his face. What a guy.

Another guy kept joking with Pegasus members, "I was going to ask where there party's at, but here you guys are!" It's true, Pegasus brings the party. I had a lot of people ask about my crash in Washington Park, too. It must have looked pretty bad, because more than a few people asked how I was doing. (For the record, my hand was a little sore from taking my weight and starting the tuck and roll, but other than that I made it out unscathed) Cross is such a nice tight community, with a lot of caring and goofy individuals.

Before I wax poetic about my 'family', I'll get to the cheering. The last race of the day, when the host team, Polska, was done with their duties, got a little wild. We cheered like crazy for people we knew and even just people we know by sight. Favorites were people that rode the hill, people with pep in their step and the guy whose 29er seemed to get heavier each time he pushed it up the hill. There were some helpful pushes from the crowd for a lot of racers, and of course lots of cowbell for everyone. Jason rang his cowbell until it rubbed his skin raw!

Earlier in the day, I motivated some guy by chasing him up the hill during his race. It seemed to help, as he pulled away from the guy he was next to. When I turned around to go back downhill, I asked the other guy if he wanted me to chase him, too. He smiled but declined, as I recall.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

So, So Far Behind

Which describes the state of this blog and also a few races of late. Oh Snap!

I'm missing about five race reports on here. I'm going to really gloss over the earliest two. Cam-Rock was a lot of fun. I took a dollar hand-up from Jason's back pocket and just kind of rode to see how I would do in the 1/2's. (I think I got 8th out of about 14?) Gibbs Lake was the next day, and I rode with a different attitude. With Cale's prodding, I decided to try to get a good start. A few minutes in, however, I stopped because I thought one of my spokes had broken and was hitting the frame. It turned out to be just a stick or something (the noise was gone when I stopped) and that put be behind everyone. Everyone. I worked my way back up to about 7th and then started to... shall we say.. goof off? I had passed a girl and put her behind me, and during the last lap when I was taking a dollar hand-up with my teeth from Cale's back pocket, she passed me up. The rest of the lap there were few easy passing points, and she rolled in ahead of me. I was pretty disappointed that she had edged me out for 6th or 7th or whatever it was, but then I had made a dollar and gotten mad style points, and she had won nothing.

Last weekend was the Washington Park Halloween race. My parents came to town on Saturday and watched the race on Sunday. I'll have to admit, I was a pretty rotten hostess and didn't have anything super fun for them to do. Next time, I'll have to plan better. A highlight, though, is that my dad threatened to make "cat soup" out of Snips. But anyhow, the race. My parents were watching, as well as Cale's parents, and then my boss showed up to race. Which is not an incredibly big deal, but my costume for the race was kind of offensive.

What it was: I was a Red Hot Chili Pepper (the band) circa 1980's. Back when they used to perform in nothing but a sock covering their private bits. I had gotten a nude colored body suit and sewn a sock and some 'pubic hair' on it. In my head it was a funny idea, but in actuality, it was more than a little disturbing, since the body suit matched my skin color pretty well, and the fake pubes looked creepily real. Add to that (that being a costume with male attributes) a bosom, and you've got a really disturbing image. I think I gender confused quite a few young children.

Most of the reactions I got ranged from positive to disbelieving, but I think there were a few parents (of kids) there that were upset. (I'm sorry) To my parents' credit, they didn't hide when I introduced them to anyone, or mutter anything like "...should have sent her to a Military school..."

To get to the race, though, the costume worked fine. It was a little cold to start out with, but once I was racing I felt pretty warm. I wound up getting third, but then a lot of the top ladies were at various different/better/less enjoyable races. There was a 'Bunny Hop or Die' board again, and this year it was doused in white gas and lit up as people rode over it. There's a really great picture of one guy riding through flames that are licking through his wheels and as tall as his head. Apparently the officials were less than thrilled about it, but hey, this is Wisconsin 'cross. If we wanted rules against fun, we'd go down to Illinois.

In my race it was only smoking, though. About two laps from the finish, I was neck and neck with the girl who wound up getting first place. She was dismounting instead of bunny hopping, and I was making a tiny gap each lap. I was hopping really poorly, though. I'm so shamefully bad at bunny hopping. I would get my front wheel up and then slam the rear one against the board, just like last year. (Still no improvement!) Anyhow, on this lap my poor form landed me on the ground. There are some amazing photos of it at PelotonPics. I think I might have to buy them.

In the first photo, you can see me hitting the ground and tucking into a roll. In the second photo my legs are all akimbo, but my right mitt is already curled around the bars and I'm struggling to get up while still tumbling across the ground. I was so mad that I had fallen and messed up my thin lead that I was scrambing to go forward even while rolling on my back. What a champ. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to get up that I fell on my knees again before I could get on the bike and chase after her.

I eventually caught up, but I got a little tired from the effort. I stayed in 3rd place while she passed second to clinch the win. So it was a bit of a disappointing race, but I had a good time regardless.

Citizen Snips

Cale and I got a kitten a few weeks ago. It took a while to name him since he was at first scared of his new surroundings. You've gotta wait to name pets until they show a little of their true personality. After a few fun days of "We could name him..." we finally settled on a name. Not because it suits him so much as it's a pretty awesome name, and nothing else really rang true. One night while playing the naming game Cale said "How about Citizen Snips?" "Whassat?" I say. Cale then explains that it's a cartoon crab (from Futurama) with a bad attitude. A few days later I decide that that's what I've gotta go with. So we call him Snips for short.

At first he was really shy but now he's really affectionate. Most days while I work on the couch, he hangs out by me, napping on or around me. Above is a picture of him helping me work. Wouldn't want that hand to stray to the TV remote, right? Not a problem with a cat weighing it down.

When he's not hanging out with me during the day, he's holdin' it down in a plant.

This is his favorite plant, Monsieur Quigley (I got that name from a romance novel, where else?) We got some plants from Cale's mom and the kitten at first ate them, and then came to find out they could be used for napping and getting dirty, simultaneously.

All in all, he's a pretty good cat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shanks, Swobo!

Steve at Swobo sent me some long sleeved Merino wool jerseys- 12, to be exact! One for each of the ladies/photographers in the Team Pegasus calendar. I've been enjoying mine- very warm and not itchy at all!

That was awfully nice of him :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Team Pegasus Calendar Pre-Orders

Order your calendars now! For real, that's an order! David from Seattle has beaten all y'all suckers and ordered one already.

Nothing sells like nudity, and we've got that, too! Partial nudity for the sake of art and charity, no less.

Photo by the talented Kat Jacobs.
Read her blog here.

Order at