Thursday, August 28, 2008

The 8th Wonder

Introducing the final bike (at least for a few days, anyhow) of my collection:

As you can see, it's a Chili Con Crosso with some nice components that I've been squirreling away since winter. I just got the wheels and glued them last night- Russell did a bang-up job on them, and I've got to give myself a little pat on the back for going with green nipples:

I was tempted to go with black, because then the wheels would go with anything and not be so specific to green bikes. But I took a chance and went with green. How daring- Nay! heroic I am. It's also got a matching green headset and a custom painted Alpha Q fork (that came with it).

Alpha Q

Last but not least, we gutted the front Red shifter, because it's a 1x9 build. When I want to switch it to a road bike, I'll put the shifter back together. It comes in at 17lbs exactly right now. The whole shifter would have put it over. Think about that.

Another thing I never got to blog about (How terrible! I know.) due to a busy work schedule was the 12 hour race at Crystal Ridge. I wasn't really looking forward to it, because I didn't remember the course fondly, but I really enjoyed it. It was a nice day, and I was feeling really good. I remembered parts of the course and conquered a lot of things this year that I hadn't last year. I was only a wee beginner, of course, and this go-round threw into contrast how much better I've gotten, and even how much endurance I've collected over the summer, since New Fane.

But it was an awesome day. Looking up at the ski hill from the bottom, you could see people racing their way down the switchbacks, the vultures hovering overhead for any missteps, and the very nice meadow flowers and grasses covering the reclaimed land. It was cool and a little damp in the morning, but it turned out to be a lovely early fall day. I think it might have been that day, or maybe one or two before, when you could first smell or sense that summer's coming to a close. It was nice to see everyone again- it seemed like we hadn't seen the mtb crowd for months. In fact, 24-9 was the last time Cale or I were on a mtb. For shame.

But I digress. I'll see some of you this weekend at the CX clinic in Madison :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm in the Olympics!

Kind of. But like all good news sources, I'll save that for last.

So what have I been up to lately? Working like mad to get some stuff done for Eurobike, mostly. Cale and I have started running as part of our training plan, and we're about three runs in. I'm enjoying it more than I ever did when I was in Cross Country, and we're making it hurt in places it didn't before. I'm wrapping my ankle to stave off ankle pains, and it's going well so far.

We've also started looking for apartments in earnest. We wanted to move in at the end of this month, but we started looking a little late. Oh well. Now we just have to plan moving around weekends stacked with weddings (Cale's going to be the best man) and races and, oh yeah, that week we go to Las Vegas. I think we'll have one main day to pack and move after getting back from that and before two races that weekend.

I didn't mention, we did find a place! It's actually the place we wanted above all others, a loft space that we thought had been taken because our calls weren't being returned. Luckily, it had been turned down. We were suspicious because a couple of people had passed on it, but it turned out to be utterly livable. It's small and strangely shaped, and won't fit all of our (15) bikes and dozens of wheelsets. But it was cheap and we negotiated an additional large heated storage area (very secure) that's about 5 yards from our door, and right next to the heated unloading area with a hose (for washing bikes!). Per.fect. And we can get put on a list right away for the next larger space available.

So we're excited to move. We got a new couch that we've been looking at- on sale, too! The best part about getting new couch is that the old one finally went away. It was an ugly dark plaid thing that a roommate left when she moved out. She tried to spin it like it was a gift, but the real gift would have been moving it out with her, or even just moving it to the nearest bonfire. In any case, it went out with a bang- literally. We tossed it off of the balcony into the driveway, then set it lovingly on the curb, where it has since been picked up by someone, or perhaps confiscated by the fashion police.

Behold the new couch!

I went for a bike fitting yesterday at Ben's Cycle and Fitness. Now, I know those guys to be terrible goofballs. Whenever Cale drives to Ben's, he usually finds lewd, crudely drawn smut tucked beneath his windshield wiper when he goes back out to his car. Before walking in, I try to get into a 'sexual innuendo' mode, so I'm not caught flat footed. (If you were really good at it, you could even spin that to be sexual, I'm sure).

But I digress. Basically what I'm wanting to say is that they're a little... goofy. But my fitting was amazingly good and very thorough. Maybe it was the butterfly shaped cookie I bribed Alan with, but he did a really nice job. I had never been fitted before, so it was cool to figure out why I had been going numb certain places getting sore in my knees. And did you know my sit bones are about 155mm apart? Hopefully not. They're kinda wide, and I could try a different saddle. I found out that shims will help me out with numbness and that my right thigh is probably about half an inch longer than my left (usually if one is longer, it's the left). Anyhow, I fully endorse going to Ben's for a very thorough fitting. Problems will be addressed.

So now the exciting stuff, the Olympic stuff. I designed this little beauty a while back at SRAM:

It was ridden to victory by Levi in the Tour of California, and now he's ridden it to a podium finish (bronze). Kinda cool. I just found out, too, that SRAM is going to produce it in a 42 tooth (or so the rumor goes) and that would mean I could put it on my cross bike!

The other thing that is even more exciting- Nay! you say, What could be more exciting than that?- is the Olympic edition Rock Shox fork.

It's hard to find a good photo of it online, but it's a fork with a dragon on the right leg that I drew. I can't take full credit for it, because it was finished after I left, but the original drawing was mine. It's being talked about because there were only about 13.5 produced and the general public won't ever get close enough to admire it IRL (in real life). So I'll take the little bit of credit that I can, because dang, does it ever look nice.

An inside scoop on it: I did a bunch of sketches for the dragon and chose the final because it worked well and also made a sort of capitol "E" and "J". The body was the E and the tip of the tail the J- the tail was eventually modified to wrap around the D of SID. So why EJ? Well, it was already practically spelling it out, and I have a friend named Emily Joy. I thought it would be neat and it didn't take anything away from the design, so why not? Heh, I think her husband was even more excited than she was, because he's big into mountain biking.

Well, with that, all of my bragging is done and you're caught up.

I would like to mention that there was a bad accident at the track this past Tuesday (I wasn't there) and that a young girl is slowly pulling herself out of a coma. If you're the praying type, it wouldn't hurt to mention her.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I guess not...

In my last post, I implied that there must be something in the West coast water: now I learned there have been THREE DEATHS in the Racine/Kenosha Area (within an hour of Milwaukee). Below is a link to an article about a very recent one involving two experienced tourers this weekend. The most terrible thing is that Cale figured out that we may have crossed paths with these guys that day. On our way to the East side, we passed two tourers going the other way (South) on the Third Ward Bridge. One of them saw us looking over at them (checking out their gear) and grinned and waved. Maybe it wasn't them, but it's just the fact that they probably were that friendly and all...

I think I'm going to write a letter to the editor of the Bayview Compass, or maybe JS Online, begging drivers to be safer/nicer. It is just absolutely terrible that these things are happening.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Tonight while riding down North Ave with the Immaculate Heart messenger bag, a woman in the back seat of a car said "That's a good looking bag" to someone else in the car as they went past.

Not only is that cool, it's so much better than "Get off the road!"

I've gotta say, with all the stories in the news, biking is getting just a little scary for me. Maybe not scary... but I'm definitely much more wary of cars now. The stories in the news I'm referring to are the ones where drivers get mad at bikers and decide to 'give them a bump', or gun it ahead and then step on the brakes right in front of them. This is like speeding up to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk- we're just as vulnerable and are obeying the law by riding on the road. It shocks me how few people know that its illegal for adults to ride on the sidewalk!

For the non bikers that read this blog, I've got to explain that when a biker gets hit, it doesn't just knock them over. It rips noses off (as was a case in CA), breaks bones, twists fingers, ruins bikes and gives the victims some serious emotional scars if they survive. Even if a biker is 'just' knocked over, they could fall into the road in front of traffic.

I haven't heard any very bad incidents in the Midwest, but I'm definitely a little on edge. When I hear a car gunning it, it occurs to me that they could be trying to scare me, or side swipe me. Do I quake with fear? No. I know it's very unlikely that this scenario would actually happen. But the fact is that a few months ago I would hear a gunning engine and think someone was in a hurry, not that they could have malicious intentions. It's a shame that everyone's suspect.

There are a lot more new bikers out there on the road and I just don't think biker/driver relations are the best right now. To all the non-cyclists, please know that most bikers are just trying to get home, run errands, meet up with friends, etc. Just like you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Stripper

Now that I've got your attention, enjoy this photo blog of the past week or so. Cale took apart his cross bikes (the cream colored one was doubling as my road bike) and stripped them, getting 'em ready for a Team Pegasus paint job.

Thursday night we went out on Gunnar's dad's Boston Whaler, turning the whole lake green with envy. The waves were a little choppy, but it was fun riding on the bow and being bounced around. At one point, I think we got the whole boat out of the water, which is a mean feat. After we tired of near death experiences, we cruised up and down the river through downtown.

And last Saturday, I went home for my high school reunion and hung out with two good old friends at my parent's house. We went swimming in Ludden Lake, just like in the old days, and played fetch with the family dog, Carmel, who is a fetching fiend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Midnight Oil

Up late, can't sleep. Too many things on my mind, like whether or not I need 300 count sheets (probably not) and workout regimens (going to be good). Rather than stare at the ceiling, I've been working some design magic for Interbike and Eurobike.

In some other work related news, I recently acquired a new (used) laptop that'll run a little faster than Ol' Trusty here (a little 4 yr old iBook). I just got a newer Powerbook G4 off of a friend for a good price, and once I beef it up with a few more gigs, the larger files I've been working on will be easier to work with: faster to save and not as slow to modify.

Speaking of files (check out that seamless lead-in), apparently the designs I made for t-shirts are starting to come out. Hm, maybe I shouldn't post them here. My massive readership will surely want multiple t-shirts in each style, and I don't know if supply could keep up with demand. The t-shirt companies will have to overwork their employees just to produce enough t-shirts, and that'll result in discontent and, inevitably, uprisings and well, it would only get worse from there. Not to mention, further back, the demand for cotton! But I guess I'll risk it: check out the t-shirts here. There are things I'd change, but for the most part I'd say it was a good first effort.

A little behind-the-scenes for you-all: The t-shirt below was proposed as a total joke, and I never actually thought it would get produced. I was getting frustrated with the Hayes shirt, because I didn't have any particularly good ideas. I was cruising along with the Manitou designs, but was just hitting a block when it came to disc brakes. Just for fun, and to fill out a sampler platter of sketches I was sending to my boss, I made a 'bling' sketch and a 'sexy lady' sketch. Unfortunately, the sexy lady sketch, which contained silhouettes of sexy ladies and text proclaiming "hayes disc brakes are sooo great!!1!" did not make the cut. But lucky for all of us, the cheesy bling idea squeaked through:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flight or Fight

"The fight-or-flight response, also called the fright, fight or flight response, hyperarousal or the acute stress response, was first described by Walter Cannon in 1915.[1][2] His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. This response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms."

(photo taken from Roehampton University's site)

Why the interest in flight or fight? Lately races have really been stressing me out, and Cale sent me an article about how time off during the winter is key to de-stressing from cyclocross the fall previous to the racing year: read it here. Here's a quote from it that grabbed me:

"How could cross lead to burnout? Every time you go to a race or do an anaerobic workout there is a certain amount of physical and psychological stress created. This stress causes the body’s many systems to work overtime, especially the endocrine and sympathetic nervous systems which prepare the body for fight or flight.

Together they get the body ready to face an artificial “crisis” such as a race or hard workout. These systems can handle only so many crises in a short period of time before they are exhausted. Some liken this to having just a few “matches” to burn in a season. Once they are all used up with races and very hard workouts extensive rest is needed to create more matches."

So enough quotes. How does this pertain to me? (And more importantly, what excuses can I derive for myself from it?) I've been getting really stressed out for races, even when I know it doesn't matter how I do or what happens in them. It seems to happen no matter what I do, and leave me feeling pretty helpless to control my emotions. There are two instances that come to mind, which are races I have not blogged about. They're not my most shining moments.

A) For the Whitnal Park race (a few weeks ago), I couldn't eat much the night before, and the morning of, I couldn't eat anything. My mouth was SUPER dry, but when I tried drinking some Accelerade it nearly made me toss my cookies. I ate one Gu packet over the course of about a minute, feeling nauseous the entire time. I dragged my sorry self to the race, wanting nothing more than to go home and forget about it. Right before the race, I went in the bathrooms and cried (What is this, senior prom?), so badly did I not want to be there. Long story short, I picked myself up and got to the start line. During the race I was having trouble with my shifting, which was making me furious. I wasn't feeling good and was angry about that, too. With only five more laps to go (over half way through) I quit. I was toward the front of the pack, not feeling it, and decided to just quit. I held up my hand, let the pack go around me, picked up my race gear where I had left it and left the race without staying to watch who won it. It felt so good to have quit, and so good to be able to cut the stress and just leave.

So for this story, we see me miserable and wanting to flee, or furiously mad and cussing loudly (oh yes) at things that make me angry.

On another note, I had planned to do five Superweek races. This was the second. I was a bit of a mess for the first one at Cedarburg (it wasn't as bad as Whitnal Park, though) but I was planning on just barreling through them all. I thought that if I did a bunch of them, they would have to get easier and less stressful. Racers who have been at it for years get over it, right? I thought I just needed some practice. Whitnal convinced me to just leave it be, though. I didn't want to see what a third race would bring.)

B) Two weeks ago, there was a Keirin at the track. A Keirin race is one led by a... pace scooter, would you say? Kenosha's got a beautiful one, and these races are few and far between, so it's exciting when they come around. That and this was the first women's Keirin all year. It's very rare that anyone but the Cat 1-2-3 men get a crack at it. Add to that a big purse, and I was excited for it.

I drew the 5th position and we all lined up. I had a really good holder that was ready to give me a good push at the start. At the start, however, the woman in sixth position, shall we call her Imelda March, cut down in front of everyone for the spot she wanted. Everyone teetered and tried not to crash into her and each other, because we had all been catapulted by our holders right into her path. (You can tell this made me angry, because two weeks later I'm still calling her out rather than being a bigger person). So I was stuck between two people until the girl on top started drifting down, forcing me to fall back. I wound up in the last position, which is a terrible position, obviously. Two laps to go, I tried to get up and around people, but everyone had that idea and soon I had about six people wide that I had to try to get around on the corners. I wound up getting second to last, and on the cool down lap I was seething. As I was slowing, I was literally snarling. My teeth were barred. I wanted to throw and kick things, but managed to contain it to a pouty helmet throw on a chair.

This race I would definitely chalk up to a 'fight' reaction. I'm not trying to excuse my behavior, because it certainly was bad. And I could have acted better. But usually I'm not so aggressive, and it's troubling. It's like PMS (sorry fellas). The feelings feel real, but the reasons for the reaction just aren't there.

So now it's time to look up stress busters. I feel strange doing so, because my life is going pretty darn smoothly. I don't have many worries outside of races, so it seems like I should be able to recover from those stresses. The other puzzling thing is that I used to do every sport when I was a kid (up through high school)- swimming, flag football, volleyball, track, softball, basketball, cross country. That's a lot of races and meets right there. Sure I would get nervous, but it never bothered me this much.

For whatever reason, though, the race stress seems to be building up. Each race is worse than the last. Not being able to eat, an incredibly dry mouth, wanting to cry (?!). I've talked about it to a few people, and they say "Relax, it's not a big race anyway. It doesn't matter." It's frustrating because I know it doesn't matter how I do, and I'm ok with however I finish. There's an excuse for everything, right? ;) But I can't 'just relax'. Trust me, I would if I could.

The plan for now is to not race until cyclocross season. I'll keep doing the 12 hr races, because they don't turn me into a nervous wreck, but everything else is out. No more track (Thank goodness. I never liked you (the racing, not the people) anyway!) or even fun races. The team is going to try to put on some unofficial CX races for training this fall on Wednesdays, and I'm going to abstain. I'll go to them and practice barriers (a goal this season) on the side, but I won't race.

It feels good to have that much of a plan, but I need to work on a plan for de-stressing, lest I wind up snapping and streaking around screaming on some hapless CX course. It could happen. In fact, it's so likely, I think I'll start worrying about it now. *stress*stress*stress*

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Immaculate Messenger Bag

Here's an update on the painting on my messenger bag. I've put her Immaculate Heart in, and the next step is a gold frame around the whole works and maybe some scripty or traditional (like a chiseled in stone look) text on the rest of the bag. I've got to figure out something fitting to write, though. Something to really 'put the fear of God into tailgaters,' as one friend said.

An update on my aches and pains from 24-9: the bottoms of my feet are still numb (likely a pinched nerve- it's happened before in my hands) and I've had a few small fits of coughing from the dust. The ol' knees are doing alright. My left one (which is much weaker than the right) was fussy today on a short road ride. Not too bad, though: my top speed during a sprint was 36.2 mph. I'm glad/lucky I didn't get injured, and it seems like I got off easy on the nagging maladies department.

Monday, August 4, 2008

24-9 and Plenty of Whine

The Start Line:

Dirt Eyeliner:

Filthy Gloves:

How do I tell you all about a 24 hour race? I can hardly remember how many laps I did, let alone what happened during them. That's pretty lucky for the four readers of this blog- you don't have to sit through it all.

To get it rolling, I'll pick up where I left off- prep work. Cale got home from work and we packed everything up (the car was pretty full, and had four bikes on top) and got rolling around 6:00. We stopped for dinner on the way up, and got in after dark to a reserved parking spot and camp fire blazing away. We set up and got to bed sometime before midnight.

The next morning Cale and I got up at 7:30, even though I was in favor of sleeping until about 9:45 and then moseying on over for the 10:00 start time. They did a pre-race talk that went on for at least three days (or so it seemed) and then we were finally ready to start, about 7 minutes late. Part of the delay was trouble with the timing system. This year, instead of little devices on your ankle, everyone had a card that they had to swipe themselves. People were a little unhappy, because it was hard to tell if it had indeed scanned or not. And if you accidentally scanned twice, you would cancel yourself out. It was really funny watching people scan for the first few times. It was a lot like watching an older person use a cell phone or send an email for the first time. Speculation and trepidation abounded. Did it work? Or did I just cancel out my first lap?

Cale took the first lap, and I got ready to go out. With about 15 minutes to spare, I got on my bike and rode up to the start finish. When I squeezed on my brake levers to roll to stop, I discovered a bit of a problem. My rear brake (Juicy Ultimates) was not really working. I'd had trouble with it before, but we'd re-bled it and thought it had been taken care of. Apparently not. I took it to the SRAM support tent, where I recognized a few of the guys that I used to work with. In case it would take a while, I grabbed my backup bike, the Pecan. Cale came in as Tony was bleeding the rear brake, so I abandoned the Zion and took the rigid singlespeed out.

It was a really nice course for a singlespeed, but I was wishing for front suspension the whole way. There were very few intense hills, which was excellent for SS, but there were tons of little roots and rocks, along with the rock gardens. I already have a bit of trouble with my wrists, so I was looking forward to getting my Rock Shox back. I took it really easy on the first lap- maybe too easy. I just started to warm up about halfway through the lap. However, my goal was to finish the whole race, and to stave off the suffering for as long as I could.

When I got back, Tony of SRAM had my brakes working like new again- thanks Tony and the rest of the SRAM support guys. It was good to see everyone again. For the rest of my laps I used the Zion and didn't have any problems with it.


As noted, no problems with the Zion after a short trip to the hydraulic brakes doctor. The cassette was pretty decent for the course, too. It's a road cassette, which has harder gearing than MTB cassettes, but since there weren't any long, sharp hills, it worked out well. I was using the top three exclusively toward the end, but that would have been the case no matter what. No problems with the shifting (XO rear derailleur), and I loved the Reba on the front with the lockout feature. I used it on the fire road climbs, but kept it open most of the time on the trails. (I sound like a SRAM ad right now :) )


Yeah, it's pretty much awesome to be a woman biker. There are all sorts of good looking guys to ogle, these guys are usually polite on the trail (they can be a little short with other guys) and there are other perks, too. For instance, when the race was winding down on Sunday Morning there was a pretty big line for the men's shower. The women's, none at all.

Sometimes the women are the ones being ogled though. Case in point: The whole race I was getting passed quite a bit by other racers. I was getting pretty good at it: I would pull off when I could, or ask people to let me know when they wanted to pass. Sometimes they liked to take it easy and wait, before passing me on a fire road. Anyhow, I heard someone coming up behind me pretty quickly, so I made a verbal offer to get the hell out of the way. The guy said "No, that's fine. [pause] You have beautiful legs." I weighed whether or not this was creepy, then said "Thank You". Vanity, thy name is Katy. I suppose I should have followed that up with "um, PIG!" or something, but I preferred to think it was a respectable man simply overwhelmed by my stunning gams.

Team Pegasus

I had a lot of people cheering for me (thank you!) and for Team Pegasus in general. There were a lot of people I recognized, and quite a few I didn't. I think they just knew someone from Pegasus, or fell in love with our jerseys right then and there. I'm proud that our team is viewed so positively. The cheering sections were awesome, even at 3:00 AM. It had to be pretty taxing to keep up the energy and positive comments all night long. I was really grateful for all the cheering, even though I could only show my appreciation by kind of grimacing. On one of my night laps, I did kind of a moving handshake with a guy running along side me. He was wearing cargo shorts, flip flops and a winter hat with ear flaps. But crazy or not, human contact felt pretty good after an hour of biking in the woods at night. In the dark.

The Dark

I had a lap that started about 8:00, just as it was getting a little dark in the woods. Good thing I was out there already when I remembered that dark woods are scary. It was dark except for my lights, and the cheering/water stations seemed few and far between. It was in one of the long, dark stretches that I was reminded of the 24 hour race in Canada where a girl was nearly killed by a bear. No joke. On a later lap, my brakes started squeaking a little bit. Not a big deal, but then you start to think that mountain lions can live around Wausau, and that a squeaking brake sounds a lot like a small animal in distress...

Halfway through the first lap I had to put on lights, which were infuriating. My handlebar mounted lights were a weak yellow that died within 30 mins, and my helmet mounted LED light was pointed right down in front of my wheel (when it should have been about 10 yards up the path). I tried tilting my head up, but that wasn't working. I tried twice to adjust it, but it just wasn't pointing where I wanted it to. The helmet also had to be so tight that it made my somewhat squarish forehead ache. Nuts. Things weren't going too smoothly, and then I misjudged a turn and wound up on the ground in the weeds. In the dark. So alone. I broke down and started crying and hyperventilating for a few seconds before picking myself up and soldiering on. Good times, huh?

My second lap in the dark, I had the helmet light fixed but the handlebar mounted lights died again, despite a huge honking battery I was lugging along for it. It was a little hard to bike with a single light, but I started to get better at it. When wearing a helmet mounted light, you have to move your head instead of just your eyes. It's obvious and sounds easy, but I challenge you to try it. Turns in the trail involved much head twisting and a sense of adventure- it was hard to see ahead.

The third and final lap was much better. I had an LED light on the handlebars that helped a lot. I was also getting better with the helmet light, and I knew it was my last night lap. I was slowing down considerably, but at least I was more comfortable.


Did I just say comfortable? Hardly! The first lap with the Pecan's harsh saddle caused a bit of discomfort early on. After that, I magically healed and the rest of the race was like riding on air. Hah! Gotcha. It got worse, and by the last lap I was pretty chafed and unhappy. I would have used some Buttr, but it tends to make things worse. I won't go into details, but things get too slippery and don't sit right.

Early on, my hands got sore from gripping the bars so tightly. My fingers got stiff and I stretched them out when I could during the rolling fire roads. Today I'm stiff pretty much all over. Whenever I rolled over during the night, the stiff/soreness woke me up. The weirdest malady is that the soles of my feet are numb.

The End

Cale and I finished up at about 8:30 in the morning. I did out last lap in the morning- it was hard to get out of bed and get out into the chilly morning. I was slower than ever, and getting really sloppy. A woman asked me if I wanted someone to ride with, because she was worried that I wasn't doing alright. Mentally I was good, but due to grogginess, steering was getting difficult. I thanked her but didn't want to slow her down. (It was really nice of her to offer, though :) )

We could have done one more, but we were solidly ahead of 5th place, who had quit halfway through the night, and quite solidly behind 1-3 places. From what I could tell, they were sponsored pros who were not messing around. I was proud that I kept going through the night, despite really wanting to quit and getting scared/discouraged/angry with everything and everyone (I shoved Cale aside around 3AM when he gave me some words of encouragement).

We stuck around to watch the solo riders finish a little after 10AM, and then packed up and headed for home. Please note that packing up was less fun than ever. Arms and legs were worn out, and unpacking was a daunting task. While driving home, we stopped about four times to switch drivers, gas up or just stretch a little. We had only had an hour nap the previous night, so we made sure that whoever was driving was as sharp as could be.

When we got home around 3:30, we took the bikes off of the roof, left everything in the car and fell right into bed. I don't even remember falling asleep. Around 3 I woke up and unpacked some of the car (I couldn't fall asleep) and then went back for round two of sleeping after a few hours.

Enough? Enough.

Friday, August 1, 2008

24-9 Preparation

24-9 preparation, aka running around trying to scrape things together.

We've been driving all over to pick up food, clif bars, shot bloks and energy drinks, along with last minute bike parts, etc. My aunt gave me some Shaklee drink mix that she swears by (she's a Shaklee dealer) and promised me that it would keep me hydrated and full of energy. When asked if it would keep me motivated, she changed the subject ;) I am worried about keeping positive, or even just sane. Racing has been stressing me out lately, and I hope 24-9 doesn't end with me sobbing in the fetal position at 4:00 AM in a rock garden. It could happen.

The other part of this week has been Cross Vegas troubles. Yesterday was my birthday, and after the birthday dinner wine, I quite forgot to stay up and register at midnight for the 'Wheelers and Dealers' race. Being as its limited to 100 people, I'd say I'm shit out of luck. The website got so many hits, it's still down and registration is suspended.

But that's not all! I had a flight and hotel room booked for the four days we're going to be there. The whole thing was about $350 a person- awesome deal. Then Midwest had to go and cancel their service to Las Vegas, which leaves us high and dry for getting home. Sure, we could fly out and then just live out the rest of our days in Nevada, but that seems a little rash to me. Travelocity informed me that they could set me up with a different return flight for only $700 more, which is more than the original trip, both ways with hotel room. No thanks. So the flight was canceled and we're back to square one.

It's been frustrating and I've been having kind of a bad week. I'm also going through handsome pro racer withdrawal since our Superweek dudes have left us. I've been frustrated and moping about my 'first world problems'. Meaning, I'm healthy and have a comfortable life, but complain about things like scheduling flights and getting what I want. Have I mentioned my cousin is traveling in Ghana and recently got Malaria and possibly Typhoid? Clearly I don't have it too badly. I'm happy to be healthy and mobile, and I hope I can shake my bad mood to enjoy it.

In fun stuff news, I finally decided what I wanted to paint on my messenger bag. I've always liked how pretty and serene a certain prayer card from my Grandfather's funeral has looked, and kinda wanted to paint it on my bag. Only recently did I get up the courage to do so, because it's a bit of an undertaking. Here's what it looks like so far:

She needs the glowing 'Immaculate Heart' in the center of her, then a gold halo, accents and frame, and she should be done. I'd say I'm about half way in my plan for the whole bag.