Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not recommended

So today I headed out to the track with Tela to meet up with Jennie Reed for a workout. We snuck out to Redmond before the eventual deluge hit the area.

On tap for today - some standing starts, jumps and accelerations.

I did a new effort - and one I'll never forget - a two lap puker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as Jennie calmly and expertly explained the drill to me. Basically you accelerate coming into corner 1 and 3 - sprinting out of the saddle until you have to sit then apply a little pressure on the pedals to the next corner and repeat. Two laps - how hard can it be? I thought to myself.

That was before when I could think. I found out quickly, very quickly, at approximately half way through the effort quickly, how much of a full out and blinding effort it would be. The cool down laps went by in a blur as I tried to regain a little composure before going in and saying "what's next?"

Our final, which turned out to be fateful, effort of the night was a standing start effort from a rolling position. This one's a little harder to explain and it took Tela and I three attempts to nail the timing and effort right. We swapped leads, with Tela doing the first and last effort. Thankfully I was following her because on the last go, I swung down track, got ready to sprint out of the saddle and promptly pulled my foot out of my right pedal. My reaction sent me flying on the concrete, landing and skidding on my knees and elbows. I shaved some skin off of my left knee and now its ballooned like an non-organic Jonagold apple. Tela's blue knee warmers, which Ian recently dawned as the "lucky crit winners" were the causality of the night. Bummer.

I felt like a douche. Hopefully you can learn from my example. This ALL could have been avoided had I checked my cleats and pedals and updated some old faulty equipment. Assuming the pedals off your rain bike will work wonders on your track bike where you travel at mass velocity is a NO NO. I do not recommend it.

Actually I feel pretty fortunate despite crashing. It was at the end of my workout. I was behind Tela - if she was behind me she would have most certainly gone down or landed on top of me. And I was wearing tons of clothing which prevented some serious track rash. And just as soon as I crashed, the sky opened up and it poured cats and dogs.

Am I deterred from getting back out on the track as soon as possible? Heck no! I had a blast.

And the kicker - I called my mom to report what happened and her immediate response:

"Good! Now you can stay home and have some babies."

Thanks mom. Just what I needed to hear. :)
"Be concerned with what you must do; Not what the people think."

- Anonymous

Monday, April 27, 2009

On Friday, April 24, Highway 20 opened to traffic. Meaning the gateway to the North Cascades is officially open and the shortcut to Mazama is available!

Anyone want to travel East?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Almost knocked the F*$# out!

Yesterday Chris and I took a jog through Point Defiance. Conveniently located directly behind his house, you can access it by walking through the parking lot of SBN (Salmon Beach North) and head into the Old Growth forests. The trails are blanketed in pine needles, soft mud, occasional puddles. The views are amazing - you catch glimpses of the rhododendron garden, Puget Sound, ferries, and listen to eagle chirp.

We have a 4 mile loop we've been frequenting lately and we took it extra slow - 10 minutes slower than our previous jaunts. I still got that runners high - or maybe it was the second hand smoke from all the Tacomans puffing on indo during Earth Day.

As we exited the park, like I've done a handful of times, we skirted beneath some fallen logs. I was thinking to myself how funny Chris looked by barely bending his back to clear a large log. I did a quick dodge and as I came up I smacked my noggin on a second hidden log. It knocked me down on the ground and I started laughing/crying hysterically. Chris said it sounded like a coconut was split in two. I was rolling around in the mud, laughing, crying, spasming, not sure what happened and then cracking up. I so wish someone would have caught that on video!

Another reset button physically pushed this time. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pressing the reset button

Yesterday I hit a major reset button. Major.

I took my track bike down from the wall where it's been sitting and collecting dust since last September. I pumped up the tires and put on pedals. I located my heavy track sack - laden with chain rings and sprockets. I dug out my Broadmark jersey and headed east to Marymoor for the first time in months. One of my skin suits still has the USA Master Nationals jersey numbers pinned onto it.

I was a little apprehensive about getting on the bike - with the instant reminder that something is missing from corner two. But it only took me 100m before I realized what a huge smile pedaling around in perfect circles on an oval track does for me. I had a grin on my face from ear to ear. It's different than road. You don't have as much time to think. The purity, the gracefulness, the harmony of body and machine.

Riding my Tiemeyer is like putting on a perfect fitting baseball glove. I know every contour - how to control the bike, how it feels at speed, how to look through the corners and how much blood, sweat and tears go into pushing your body beyond the limit on such a simple machine. I found myself getting excited for the season - the racing and the people. Feeling the love and the amazing bonding experience the track scene has given me. I hadn't realized how much a part of my life it has become until yesterday.

Doing jumps off of corner two came naturally. My body remembers. My heart knows that it feels so right. It felt like I had reconnected with a lover that had been on leave for months.

I was starting to worry. I found myself dreading road racing. Looking for other sports to fill my heart and mind with. Finding excuses to avoid certain races. Feeling lost and uncertain that something that had once given me so much meaning and purpose now felt like a burden. (You know it's serious when you start running on a knee that doesn't have a meniscus!) It really scared me actually, to the point where I stopped writing, stopped communicating and started worrying. I would lay in bed at night, eyes wide open, wondering what would come next. What on earth was destined for me and hoping that it would come soon so I could stop the uncertainty.

And then yesterday things clicked. Honestly, I can't recall a single time in the past 5 years when I felt like quitting track. Where I wanted to hang up the bike, sell all of my gear. I had completely forgotten that. In contrast, I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit road racing. (Basically on every hill!) So to feel that passion again on the banking - to know I hadn't completely lost all of my identity and still have that piece of me left, in tact and whole - wow, what a relief. And I slept like a baby last night with a smile on my face thinking about the pain and suffering I'm going to cause my competitors.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I have some friends who recently sold everything they owned, invested their cash into a pickup truck and trailer and left everything behind to travel to the Nation's national parks. Their goal isn't quite clear - other than they're hoping to stumble upon something great by stepping outside of their comfort zone. Following their story is interesting - and reminds me of all of the road trips I've done in the past. Funny, they're about 8 years older than me, yet I learned some of the lessons of living on the road about a decade ago.

Now I find myself yearning to go on long road trips - to visit the same national parks and live out of a car. Where your expenses revolve around gassing up, eating, and entrance fees. But the experiences you have are priceless. Like getting stuck on the top of the East Buttress of the Middle Cathedral Rock or seeing thousands of dragon flies feed in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Or seeing fire dancers throw flames in Skaha. Or stopping at Castle Rock... or poaching KOA camping in Oregon... or camping on private land on the Methow River... or....

May life be filled with frequent adventures and amazing memories.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A list of honey dos clutter my mind. Yet procrastination settles in like a long term illness. Piles of things start to tower and my motivation to organize them wanes.

I often ask myself, "why do we have so much shit?" We can't take it with us. It doesn't change me as a person.

Am I just a product of our society? A low grade consumer that has become so ingrained into the scheme that my questioning leaves me more clueless?

I can't tell you how many times this past winter I've thought about leaving it all behind, down grading everything I own to travel the world in hopes that I find myself again. My house is representative of my empty heart - cluttered with memories of things, yet empty. The structure remains as it was but the person who lives here isn't the same. No where even close.

The crying hasn't stopped. The hurt hasn't stopped.

It is harder when I spend a weekend home. I can get through the week okay - but weekends are the toughest. And Mondays - ooooohhhh mondays. Sigh.

Thinking of Ryan and Brad.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What gives?

Two crashes in two weekends, both on the final corner of the last lap. As soon as I saw the carnage happen, I sat up and gave up. Same thing happened last week. Both resulting in two people heading to the hospital for serious injuries. It makes me wonder why do I race my bike?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Sun,

I know you just visited, but please come back as soon as you can! The flowers, trees, birds and bees all need you. And dry pavement is good for racing.


Soggy Wet Seattlite.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I couldn't tell you how many times I've logged into my bank online in the past three years. But it's a lot. And today, I went to log in to my account like any other day and my pin number is completely gone from my memory banks. Poof. It's as though I finally had one too many random numbers floating around in my head and my memory was full. Early onset of memory loss?

And I hate to admit it -but this isn't the first time it's happened to me. I forgot my debit pin number a few years ago when checking out of a grocery store. Talk about feeling like a moron.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Yesterday I took advantage of the weather and headed down to Chris's house at Salmon Beach in Tacoma. We hopped in his boat, cruised across the narrows and hit up happy hour at the Tides in Gig Harbor. Makiah joined us - and her entire body shook the whole time we were afloat. We picked up some new bbq parts for his 12 year old grill, grabbed some items to throw on it and then boated back. Rainer was out in full effect - along with the Olympics. I got to wear flip flops for the first time in MONTHS. And then I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Galen aka Gatron. Truly a one in 6 billion people - this guy was off the charts. Check out this clip on youtube from him being a dare devil and flying through 90,000 volts of neon on a wet Saturday afternoon in January....

His 30th birthday is on Sunday and to celebrate he's shooting his recently passed away cat's ashes out of a cannon. Oh and eating ice cream cake too. He's got it all figured out. :)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Weekend Warrior

Headed south to the Dalles - the wind surfing capital of the NW and this weekend the Cherry Blossom Stage Race. Was going to take Maggie until I took her for a standard oil change and my new mechanic said I probably should drop about $1,500 into her before making the venture. Did I spend the money? Nope. So now we're onto Plan B - borrowing Julie's honey's Pathfinder with lots of room for all of our stuff.

Hopefully the weekend goes smoothly and we actually see the sun for a change! It's been raining in Seattle since November and my pasty white skin is itching for some Vitamin D. Hard to believe spring has sprung in parts of the states already... I'm thinking road trip....