Friday, January 29, 2010


Busy busy these days.

I've been hittin' it hard at work and at home. The Pegasus kit designs are a bigger project than I remembered (isn't it always that way?) and most nights have been taken up with that. I've been catching a few minutes here and there to relax. I took this at work the other day.

Reading during lunch.

Oh, the other major thing that's been going on is that I've internet-diagnosed myself with SAD, because I've been a moody terror lately. No really, it's been very strange and terrible. So I've been spending as much time as I can in the sun (as shown above) or basking in the light from the fish tank, which is full spectrum. I think it's getting better. I'm sure it will get run off in California!

I don't think I've put it out there yet, but Cale and I are taking our 2nd annual trip to San Diego not this weekend but the next. We'll be staying at his aunt and uncle's house, which has a pool, sauna and hot tub. Mmm.

This weekend we'll be hosting a party in the Garage Mahal for CX worlds, complete with waffles and beer. We did it last year, and I'm sure this year'll be a fun time, too.

Last weekend we went out to Crystal Ridge for a race/winter event. We took the snow bikes and pedaled circles around those with skinny tires. It's really not even fair. It was really warm and foggy, and the snow was better suited for a snowball fight than biking.

Crystal Ridge Snow Biking

Crystal Ridge Snow Biking

In the evening we went to Gary's party at the lake house and ate all sorts of tasty foods and played Barrel of Monkeys and Jenga.

Gary's Party

Well! Now we're caught up. I'm going to use the rest of my lunch to buy a bikini for California and do a little reading.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend, cont.

Saturday night, Cale and I went down to Chicago for a gift exchange. Cale had worked hard at making a fake fashion axe (see below, it's a real thing) for his secret santa giftee and we were excited to unveil it. It's an inside joke with this group of friends. Cale sanded down an axe handle (because it came varnished) and I spent the night putting coats of paint on it.

And here's everyone looking jealously at Aaron's axe while I ruin the composition. Yeah, I'm kicking it while it's down.

Photo by Chris. Sorry about your composition.

I got a 'Healthy Tea Kettle' filled with candy from my Secret Santa, Michelle. Woo hoo! I've been wanting a bright red tea kettle for a long time. Thanks, Michelle!

Today we slept in and then ran a few errands. We went to the pet store because Cale wanted to replant the tank and replace the gravel with sand in the big fish tank. (Here he is doing just such.)

Planting the tank.

Cale had the hood off on its side, to light up the room, and Snips was taking advantage of the warmth the lights were throwing off.


While we were at the pet store, we bought Slugworth some fancy reptile dirt for his tank. Ten dollar dirt, and he's still hanging out on the bottom of the lid. When Cale found the dirt, I told him if Slugworth died we'd have to get a snake or something. He conceded so it went in the cart.

Slugworth's New Digs

I got distracted by the brightly colored betta fish and wound up coming home with a yellow betta and a little 2.5 gallon tank.

Snips and Patrice, my new fish.

And that's the pet news for the weekend.

Blood Feast

On Saturday I went in to the Blood Center for my yearly donation.

Givin' Blood

I get strangely excited about donating blood. Here are some of the reasons.

1) Even though I have a car now, I like riding my bike to go donate. Sure, it's not a great idea, but it's seriously mostly downhill from the Blood Center back home, so it's just a lot of coasting. Anyway, I like riding around the city and doing errands like I used to all the time. Plus, one time I biked in it was really cold and when they took my temperature it was a few degrees cooler. Neat, huh?

2) What's it going to be?! Sometimes, I don't have enough iron to give. So I go through the paperwork, then the finger prick and the test. Pins and needles! Heh, pretty literally.

3) Watching the needle go in. When they tell me 'Now's the time you should look away', that's when I perk up. I get a sick thrill from watching the needle. Hey, I admitted it's sick, alright?

4) How fast can I fill up the bag? Clearly, I want to be the best at donating, to do an exemplary job.

5) Blood snacks! Afterward, you get served juice, cookies and trail mix. Is there a better way to spend a Saturday morning?

6) It's a once-a-year thing because of cycling. It's still arguable that giving blood's not a good thing right now, but I'm only in the fitness stage of training and hey, I'm no pro.

7) Last but not least, I feel like a productive member of society after giving. No, really. Winner.

Anyway, I went and, joy of all joys, my hematocrit was high enough. No issues on the ride home, and I stopped half-way to see a friend working downtown. And all of this before noon! What a productive member of society I am.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Training

I'm about three or four gym visits into training this year. I'm going to start working out over lunch at the YMCA on Green Bay Road- probably just jogging for 45 min or so for basic fitness for now. A couple of guys from work are going to start coming to the Y with me, and a racquetball tournament might ensue. Tip for you: the family locker room up on Green Bay suuucks. It smells like a mix of hand-me-down nursery stuff and a thrift store. An unorganized thrift store.

Adult Female locker room = shiny and modern. Looks like a fitness ad. Family locker room = smells like a foot. Looks like everything you touch will be greasy or sticky.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Madison Swap Meet

Yesterday was the Madison swap meet. I had a few plans for it. Cale pulled the XO group off of my mountain bike, Noir cranks and Juicy Ultimates along with it. Everything was two years old and I wanted to sell it before it lost too much value. The plan was to sell that stuff off, then use my fly industry perks to pick up some new XO in gold, hopefully for about the same amount.

As luck would have it, very early on Cale spotted... an entire, brand new XO group in gold for $400. Gold Noir cranks, white and gold brakes- well, why type when I can show you a photo (bottom bracket not shown):

Green is for the money, gold is for the honeys, G.

I might sell off the Elixir CR brakes and a trigger shifter. I bet some white Grams would look good, and I run 1x9. On the other hand, I could keep them around so I can sell it in two years (or so) as a full group. Too, I could ride the Elixirs to get more experience with different types of brakes.

Other plans for this build include the same ol' steel Zion, matte black which I think will look decent (for what it is) in this build. I might paint some white and gold stripes on it, though. I've been dreaming of a GF Superfly, but my checking account is scowling and shaking its head at me, looking like it's disappointed in how I turned out. I've got some gold hydraulic hose and I'm planning on getting a SunRinglé Black Flag tubeless wheelset. In gold with my decals, of course. Sweet.

Black Flag with my graphics.

For a few years I've envied the black and gold look. Red's the dominant color in the industry, and gold parts are somewhat rare because manufacturers can't sell gobs of them. That's my view and understanding, anyhow. Same with a lot of colors, I guess.

But less daydreaming about this future build and more about the swap itself. It was packed, same as always it seemed. Maybe more than last year?

The thick of it.

I got a lot of other stuff besides my beloved gold XO, but I sold my old group, so I ended up about $130 down, which wasn't so bad. I was keeping an eye out for a road group, but nothing really caught my attention. Heh, my cranks were the last thing to go, and Joey and I jokingly tried a mystery shopper type of thing to help move them. A guy had picked them up and was looking at them, and Joey said "Oooooh, Noir cranks, huh? Those look pretty awesome." Unfortunately, the guy not only missed his joking tone but wasn't frightened into a sale. He handed the cranks right over to Joey. D'oh!

Around noon my parents came and picked up a roof rack I had gotten for them. I had planned on just dad coming in to pick it up and forking it over in the parking lot, so I told dad maybe he could just come in and get me without buying a wristband. (Why he owns a cell phone but doesn't use it in instances like this, I'll never know.) But both wound up coming, and Sue wanted to shop for a red helmet and gloves to match her bike (which we found w/o too much trouble), so it's only fair that they bought admission.

One weaselly thing I saw was a guy who had bought a Niner RIP-9 at the discount Niner offered the people whose bikes they recalled- I believe it was $900. This guy was selling his with handlebars and a rear shock for $1500. (I asked how much it was, and as I was leaving the table I heard him telling the person at the table with him that he had gotten it through the warranty issue.) Sure, maybe he got it, built it up and didn't like it, all within three or four months. Or maybe...

Flipper, get it?

At the beginning of the swap, I had passed out a few smut buttons to friends. Well, word got around and toward the end, I had random people coming up to me with a grin, asking to see the smuttons. I decided a good course of action would be to trade with people. I got a couple pairs of socks, two road tires, two road tubulars, two mountain bike tires, a bottle cage and a few other things. We didn't desperately need any of these things, but they're all good to have extras around. The best part hands down, though, was watching people look through the smuttons and pick out their favorites. You just don't see that kind of excitement, glee and delighted horror in grownups that often, you know?

All in all, this swap gets an A+. I never expected to find exactly what I had in mind, or spend so little overall, and it was great to see everyone again. It was a long day, though, and I was glad to finally sit down with my feet up in the car on the ride home. As they say, my dogs were barking. Every time I sat behind the tables Pegasus had, I'd remember something I wanted to check out, or see someone I wanted to talk to, etc. Exhausting. Great fun, though.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


A month or so ago, Cale and I went slug hunting around dusk, when slug hunting is best. Giant slugs had been spotted on the river trail, and I was intrigued. There was one spot in particular that had lots of little (normal) slugs and some giant ones. The internet tells us they're an invasive species from England. Anyway, Cale and I picked up four slugs and got out a fish tank to keep them in. One we gave away to a friend, one escaped the tank never to be seen again, and one got cannibalized by the remaining slug, Slugworth.


So that's the tale of our pet slug. Have I mentioned that these slugs are giant?!


As far as pets go, though, they rate pretty low. Cool to look at, but no good for petting (too slimy) and they're way dirty. Slug trails all over the sides of the tank, and their poo is gross. 3 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nocturnal Behavior

I'm impatiently waiting for a package to arrive. This is the latest track and confirm I've got, as of right now:

Processed through Sort Facility, January 04, 2010, 7:43 pm, ATLANTA, GA 30320
Shipment Accepted; January 04, 2010, 5:00 pm, TRENTON, SC 29847

It's annoying that it doesn't seem it's moved today. However, I kind of like that my package only travels under the cover of darkness. Perhaps it knows it's being tracked.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Polar Plunge 2010


On Friday morning Cale, Andy, Gary and I met up at the lake to watch the polar plungers. This was also the largest meeting of Milwaukee's fat bikes ever recorded. Three Pugsleys and the 1x1.


I chickened out again this year and merely watched the plunge into Lake Michigan. The people watching was some of the best stuff. There were a lot more people watching than riding or jumping in. Below are two of my favorite outfits.



Don't get me wrong, watching people ride in was pretty fun, too.



Shark attack!



Maybe next year will be the year I take the plunge...

Friday, January 1, 2010


I was caught flat footed this year. So much so that on Wednesday, when someone asked "What are you doing tomorrow?" I said "Umm.. Thursday? I dunno." Thursday, aka New Year's Eve. We had a couple of parties lined up- first my friend Pete's, then Callie and Aaron's to ring in the year. We had figured we wouldn't know too many people at Pete's, but it was a small party we got to talking bikes, so we wound up staying until around eleven.

Around the time we got to Callie's at 11:30, I had started thinking about thinking about resolutions. You know, where you set aside some time to nail a few down. Fast forward to now. It's 3AM; I've had a week off of work and have been sleeping in and having trouble getting to sleep, so here I am. When I first laid down and tried to get to sleep, I started ruminating on the important things in life, like what I would do in a zombie attack. Hole up, maybe get on the roof of the apartment building? Try to drive somewhere- but keep in mind it's a city and everyone's going to be trying to get out. Traffic Jams. A bike would be better, but you'd be more vulnerable. And what if you got a flat? Too, where to aim? The north woods where there's a lower population, or the lake?

After deciding that I'd really have to see the different conditions (fast or slow zombies, any warning or too late to get out?) to decide on a plan, I moved on to some cycling resolutions.

Resolution 1:
First off, easiest and most typical, lose some weight. I believe I was around 158lbs before the season. During the season I tended to go between 153 and 156. Not too bad (I'm 5'7" and well muscled), I felt decent and was happy with my body. I tipped the scales yesterday at 163- Athena weight, baby! Though I've been shedding a few lbs overall each year, I always pack on a few during the winter. I've noticed the gain, but it hasn't bothered me. (I'm ok with how I look and feel. In fact, I'm going to post a recent photo below of me for me to admire while I type. 163's never looked so fine!)

Cale, Kris and me


However, the extra weight isn't great for racing. I think with some training and hard riding, I can get down to the high 140s. If I could maintain my power- and why not- I'd be a force to be reckoned with. And I bet I would feel pretty good at that weight. On the other hand, I'd become even more narcissistic. Hm.

Resolution 2:
Curb narcissism.

Resolution 3:
Become 'ranked' in Wisconsin by finishing some WORS races. I've had some wins and some good races this year in mountain biking, but I didn't finish the one WORS race I entered (broken chain). I was in the (Elite) top ten, though, and I'm confident I can finish there. I will strive to barely hang with the truly fast ladies of WI! That would 'put me on the map' locally. I can do 12 hour WEMS and SS races until I'm blue in the face, but I know I've got to finish some WORS to see how I stack up.

I've actually been dreaming of Kettles for a few hours, now. On my last few rides, I was really getting to know my tires, how they grip and how to make them grip. I was descending with more confidence, carving the corners and generally shredding the gnar. It felt like something had clicked. I enjoy road, track and cross, but I'd take mountain biking on a good trail almost any day, I think.

But I digress. Here's resolution that'll be familiar to anyone who's read my blog thoroughly for a few years. Ha HA!

Resolution 4:
Master the bunny hop. Two years ago, I endo'd for the first time at speed after botching a bunny hop. I bruised my ribs and it took a gouge out of my confidence. Now I tend to keep both wheels stuck to the trail. I guess we could also call this resolution something like 'resolving not to be so painfully earth bound'.

My plan for learning to bunny hop these past few years has been to ride as normal and attract the skill. You know, like a timid deer, just sit back quietly and let it come to me. Shock of all shocks, this technique hasn't worked, even though I have it finely tuned. It's getting to the point where it's ridiculous that I can't hop the front wheel, and I feel it's holding me back. Everyone else in my category has got that shiznit down pat, right? Maybe this year I tackle the project and take Joey up on a hopping clinic. Hm, maybe this winter. I think doing this in the snow might be easier for me. Softer landing, less holding back.

So there's my cycling year. I'm looking forward to track somewhat, but I haven't got my eye on the prize like I do with mountain biking. I hope targeting WORS doesn't ruin the groove I've got with mountain biking. Right now I dig it because it feels like just me, besting my own time and skills (like in a 12 hour), and conquering big hills. Track I dislike because I tend to measure myself against other riders. Who's stronger, faster and smarter with race tactics? I get all wound up and insecure. Ah, but this is an old topic and I only end up going in circles, and it's getting late. We'll see how it all pans out in 2010!