Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For some reason all I can think about today is that one day I woke up in January to snow on the ground and had the walk into the gym. I suppose you could say we paid our dues. Now it's nearing 100 degrees and supposed to stay there a few days in a row. I've got a paddle board reserved for mid-day and am smoking the 15.5 pound salmon I caught in the sound the other night. Life is good....

But in the midst of our heat wave - I am hoping and praying our forests don't explode into an epic fire. Lightening strikes have started several fires in the Baker/Snoqualmie forests.... check out this link for aerial photos on the area in question.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's 67 degrees in my basement and I'm loving it. Time to work on the office for a change...

Mind over matter

It's interesting how sometimes you can learn and relearn the same lessons time and time again and sometimes in the matter of days.

My last post I mentioned being able to shut out a cracked fork and then come back and place 2nd in the miss and out. Well this year - things didn't go according to plan either. I lined up in a large field of women for the miss and out - typically my favorite race. This year the field would be whittled down to 5 ladies before one neutral lap and then a sprint to the finish. I circulated myself to the front and then got circulated back - a normal position to be in. But then with 20 people left, I got pulled! I had a sinking feeling when I knew I had crossed the line that it might be all she wrote... and into the infield I went. A little upset but also reminded that I shouldn't have been where I was and that you have to always think about position until it becomes second nature.

The great thing about track racing? You get another opportunity to race. Mastering the ability to brush things off is essential.

Up next - a 8x5 points race. Since I qualified for nationals earlier in the day in the pursuit (getting beat by Shelley Olds by .7 seconds! With NO pursuit training!), the pressure was off and I could go for it in the points race. And go for it I did! The pace was super high - the race was super aggressive and I had this monster sprint that shocked even me! At one point I was tied with Shelley for 2nd place - and unfortunately had poor positioning for the last two sprints. If I had just shadowed their wheels during the race, I may have been able to out sprint her and place 2nd instead of 3rd. All in all it was an amazing race - one of my top 3 all time races.

As I pulled over afterward on the back straight to get a congratulatory hug from Jennie, we realized that instead of being in a 51x15 I had on a 51x14! HOLY SHIT. A 98"? Seriously? Talk about mind over matter. At the time I thought nothing of it - just that I had more gear to sprint on. But thinking back - that's why the miss and out was so lame. I couldn't accelerate fast enough! I nearly fell over laughing. 98". Wow. That's a new record. And just goes to illustrate how much track racing is mind over matter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whoa, 2008 was f*&^ed up!

So today I was recalling what happened last year at FSA and realized things didn't go so smoothly. During the team pursuit, our team caught and tried to pass another team on the track and they did an exchange just as we tried coming around them after yelling at them to stick. Not a big deal except it was our last lap and it caused big confusion for all of us and I gaped off the other two riders for the finish and they rolled in a couple of seconds behind..... if it wasn't an event I feel passionate about I wouldn't have cared. But since we were going against some top talent and I wanted to see how we would stack up - I was a little upset.

No big deal, shrug it off, right? It's just a silly bike race.

Then as I was changing my bars, I had a friend help me put them on. I struggle with putting the bars back on the right way - so as I watched him crank the stem clamp onto the fork and then crack the fork - I panicked. I may not have shown it on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming! It's just a bike race, just a bike race. I proceeded to race the Miss and Out on a cracked fork regardless and got 2nd.

It just goes to show that sometimes don't go as planned. And sure it would be easy to play the victim and get down, letting those hick ups disrupt your concentration and efforts. But shit happens in this world far too much and if you can't laugh at the stupid things then you'd be stressed out all the time.

So I hope and pray that I ironed out all the kinks before the competition tomorrow. But if not - then oh well! You've got to be able to roll with the punches and have faith that some day the planets will align and everything will be okay.

If you're looking for something to do this weekend - come check out the races at Marymoor both Friday and Saturday nights. The pony show starts at 7.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Upcoming show September 4, 2009

Larch, 4′x6′ oil by Trish Harding


I want to thank my “friends in painting” for all the support that you have given me since Sept 7th 2008; the day my world came to a halt and I was cast into a strange and different one. My saddness has been lessened by all of your incredible concern and kindness. Thank you, I mean that with all of my heart.

As some of you know, I am working on an extremely important show (for me) that is called Altitude which will appropriately open in September at the Blue Horse Gallery. Appropriate because Ryan’s accident was in September 2008.

This show has been very difficult to work on for a couple of reasons. For one it was really hard to see. Since I wear glasses, whenever I would be overcome with grief while painting, my glasses would get tears all over them and I would have to take them off, clean them, wipe my eyes, blink alot and try to focus my eyes again before I could but the darn glasses back on and get back to work. Wearing glasses, you see, has become more of an inconvienience than I ever thought possible. Second, it has been an intellectual struggle of mammoth proportions to try to understand why I was allowed such a short time with my son. Is it because he was an old soul, a brilliant star or was it just the way it is? It has been an emotional yet cathartic experience trying to learn, through it all to revere Ryan’s world. It has, on the other hand, been cathartic because I think that I have come close to understanding how he felt sitting way up there after the climb…incredible! And I am happy that he got to feel this, something that many people never experience in their lifetime!

Come with me to Mazama, Washington! Come with me on this visual trip and see the places that Ryan loved! I not only want to share it with you but I want you to experience, just one more time, the spirit of our beautiful son, Ryan, the only way I know how to express it as I come to some sort of closure and I move on with my life without him.

My promise to you is that it will be a celebration and not a sad affair! Eventhough I feel life has cheated me somehow, I still hold on to how lucky I am to have had him as long as I did. I truly believe that he is a star in my night sky.

I now focus on the great luck that I continue to have. The brilliance that flashes at me when I look into our daughter Molly’s eyes. How very much she means to me and what a miracle that she is. And our daughter-in-law, Jennifer. I believe that Jennifer was the missing piece to the complex puzzle that was Ryan. She made him complete before he had to leave. How lucky was he?

Now, as I take off these darn glasses again and wipe my eyes I am posting my artist statement and remember, “you are expected”.

Altitude is a show that is inspired by a road trip to Mazama in the Fall of 2008 as we drove from Bellingham which is sea level and traveled steadily up and over highway 20 to end up at over 6000 feet at Hart’s Pass, literally, sittin’ on top o’ the world!

Through the use of light and value my aim was to capture the feeling of an other-worldliness that sitting on a mountaintop brings. I carefully constructed the compositions to give a sensation of vertigo that I experience when I am at high altitudes. I used circular under-paintings that would influence the direction of bold, colorful brush strokes to create a feeling of motion, completeness and connection, all adjectives, which have often been used to describe our son, Ryan.

With these paintings I am taking the viewer on that road trip with me during a magic autumn day of excited anticipation to see Ryan & Jenny’s new cabin at the base of Goat Mountain and to experience with me the feeling that I had that day which was…”The world around me is incredible and my children are amazing. My husband is by my side and I do not require one more single thing or circumstance that will make me any happier or more fulfilled than I am right now!”

That feeling was to change. By the next autumn we were traveling to Mazama again but this time heading East on Highway 90 and for a very somber reason. The second part of the show depicts the emotional journey back from retrieving our beloved Ryan’s ashes.

I am convinced that Ryan’s belief that he was and remains a critical piece in the larger scheme of Mother Nature is what enabled him to experience life with no fear and no greed. But the feeling that he experienced when he had climbed to the top of a 1500-foot face of granite under his own physical prowess was the ultimate.

The artistic journey that I have taken to put this show together was extremely difficult and cathartic at the same time. I now revere the places that Ryan loved, I understand that risk was a huge component of Ryan’s rock climbing experience and this risk was indeed the biggest component of Ryan’s prelude to the mystery!

More about Ryan

Our beloved Ryan Alan Murray Triplett was born in Bellingham, Washington on June 5, 1977. He died September 7, 2008 on Goat Mountain, near Mazama, Washington long before we were ready to let him go. Ryan was an accomplished athlete in hockey, canoeing, backcountry & downhill skiing, and is well respected in the cycling and rock climbing communities. He was a hard-working software developer with many ideas for the future, but his true passions were his wife and rock climbing. He was an adventuresome soul devoted to his beloved Jennifer, with whom he shared the fairy-tale love. Ryan had many passions: friends, traveling, family, his wonder-dog Makiah, and the outdoors. Ryan could often be found on Turn 2 at the Marymoor Velodrome cheering on Jennifer, a national track champion. Ryan and Jennifer met as college students at Western Washington University, where he graduated in 2001; the couple was married in Bellingham on September 2, 2001.

Ryan is survived by his loving wife, Jennifer Ann Sutton Triplett and dog Makiah Blue Triplett; mother & stepfather Trish and Tom Harding of Bellingham; sister Molly Harding of Bellingham; sister and brothers Tammy, Garrett and Wyatt Harding of California; father and stepmother Gary and Anita Triplett of California; grandmother, Annamae Murray and aunts Donna Erickson and Judy Walston of Bellingham; aunt Barbara Chevalier of Arizona; uncles Bill Murray of Bellingham and Darrell, Wayne and Jim Triplett; several cousins; in-laws Caprice Magoon, and George, Jaimie, Coleman and Laurel Sutton; Marcy Sutton; and friends too numerous to mention.

Ryan died pursuing his passion for rocks and heights in Mazama, Washington, a special place for him. We shall all miss him, but he will live on in the hearts of all those he touched and we will always remember his words, “Live Your Passion”.

For more information go to

More info about Ryan: Rock and Ice, issue 179 / July 2009, Cliff Notes

Monday, July 20, 2009

Alpenrose is like an ancient wooden roller coaster. Sure there are newer, safer models out there but it's still fun as hell and contending with the G-forces in the corners puts a smile on your face afterward. Maybe it's the feeling of skating fate from the rough corner transitions or the bumpy track - or maybe it's because you're surrounded by people who love this sport equally as much - but regardless come Monday morning after the AVC, nothing can move me from the couch and put me back on the bike.

We, being Tela, Kendi, Christine and I had a very successful weekend. Each of us brought home a little cash and had a great time. Highlights include winning the women madison (with Christine!), Kendi winning the points race, me third and Christine 4th, Tela and I getting 2nd in the team sprint, Tela placing 3rd in the sprints, 6th in the Kierin, having Jennie Reed around to tell me to attack in the scratch race and nearly holding off the hard charging field for the win and 3rd in the Miss and Out.

And of course reconnecting with friends you haven't seen since the previous year and creating new memories is always a blast. Seeing some track records get broken and watch everyone's hard work and dedication pay off. I can't wait for the event again next year!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This weekend is the annual Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge. Racing starts Friday and continues all the way through Sunday. I'm headed down with a great group of ladies - Tela, Kendi, Mary, Christine and Jennie. Should be a blast!

And after yesterday's training session, I think it's safe to say I'm prepared. We did a point simulation effort behind the motor - winding up speeds close to 31 and then sprinting around the motor. At one point I got popped from the motor and it took me a while to recover - only to get back on and have to sprint again. I felt like my head was going to explode on the final effort - and shortly after it was over went to sit down in the shade not to get back up for a 1/2 hour. I was hurtin' for certain.

And afterward Jennie said, "that was UCI pace." For the record - that pace is not easy AT ALL.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mad plug for Amara at Wheels in focus for taking the following shot. This photo captures the intensity the Friday Night racing saw out at Marymoor last weekend. Everyone is watching everyone else - waiting for the first move to be made and the match of accelerations. Good times, good times. :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Can't sleep tonight. Or is it this morning?

Yesterday's residual emotions still weigh heavy on my mind - waking me up and keeping my brain spinning with thoughts of Ryan. I suppose it didn't help that yesterday I contacted the sheriff's office to see if they could tell me the exact location of where they found him. For some reason that made sense to me before - but after finding out, it stirred up so many emotions that here I am, up at 4am after going to bed at midnight.

It penetrated everything last night. Even my track sanctuary was disrupted. I could feel it during the warm up, bubbling up like an unwanted guest. But this time it wouldn't be ignored. This time after my first race and attempt to shut it out, it came crashing in sending me to the infield in a puddle of tears and despair. Christine came up and sat next to me, putting her arm around me and just let me cry. I started to feel a little better. And then I went to the stands where Trish (Ry's mom) and Molly (his sister) were watching and just started baling. They thought it was because they were there - but no, I told them about speaking with the deputy and how I couldn't shut it out anymore. I was so thankful to have them there - putting their arms around me, missing Bubba so much.

A lump is forming in my throat already.

Some how I was able to pull it together and get back to the racing. But afterward, I still lay awake in the wee hours only to feel the hole in my heart is still raw and needs a lot more healing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I want to do some sort of memorial in Mazama on September 7. If you are interested and would like to go, please contact me.

Dirty Old Men, Estrogen and Good Samaritans

Yesterday was a good day and carried into today.

I went for a recovery ride with Tela and Kendi through Magnolia and then downtown. The sun was shining and there was minimal traffic to contend with. While riding the scenic route around Magnolia we were chatting, having a good time, enjoying the scenery and then accosted by a dirty old man. He was walking on the side walk, lifting up his shorts to display the upper portion of this thigh, whistling at us and holding a teddy bear. The response he got was three girls cracking up and cackling down the hill - and an image burned into my head that I'll never forget.

Then later that afternoon, I had a Tour date with Jennifer, Mary, Kendi, Julie and two other ladies at the Reading Gaol in Ballard. As we watched, more like glanced, at the TV as the riders strut their stuff on Versus, we also determined which Tour riders could be "my babies daddy." Cancellera was definitely in the running for the lion king. Just goes to show evolution still weaves its way into ordinary life and women pick the male who struts his bizness the most. Ha!

Quote of the night... as the one lone male dared to enter the room full of estrogen cackling ladies, Kendi said to me, "whoa. I haven't seen hairy legs in a while."

This morning I woke up a little later than anticipated but still made it into the gym. I skipped my morning coffee but planned on stopping at Pete's for some java and ended up buying a pound of coffee. As I walked with my steaming cup of joe in my hand across Fremont bridge, a passing cyclist asked, "is the bike okay?" To which I smiled, yes. Thanks for asking! Then I wondered why people don't ask, "is the human okay?" I suppose bike mechanics are easier to fix then people problems.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I watched the saddest movie I've seen in a long time. Revolutionary Road. It made me miss Ryan with a big lump in my throat, accompanied by deep, snotty sobs. The promise of going through life with my soul mate, a person who would always adventure with me, bring out the best in one another, to laugh with, cry with, have children with - gone.

Funny, I had just gotten into a sort of routine and started adapting to working really hard on the track bike. A diversion from grief. And then I watched that movie and it came crashing back in. I sat awake in bed last night, transported to 10 months ago. And then the news of John Bachar? I suppose the crying today was inevitable.

Ooff. Both blows below the belt.

Just goes to show - life has so many ups and downs, often back to back. I suppose you just get used to the roller coaster life.... and never take anything for granted.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Giving in

Gave into the ridiculous idea of not drinking coffee this morning. Boy, that was stupid! Especially after an early morning of pumping weights and then a solid-kill-your-legs-and-fall-over-afterward 500m standing start efforts. I'm back on the java - so look out!!!

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Yesterday was a hard training day. Hard in the fact that my strengths and weaknesses were displayed in full view, right before my very eyes.

With a huge workout on tap, it's tempting to think about the workout in its entirety. But if you do the beginning may be too discouraging. If you dissect each portion of the workout, break it down effort by effort - it suddenly becomes more manageable. The reason? You have to give each pedal stroke, each revolution 100% of your ability in order to get better.

Yet my mind wanders.

Why is it I battle concentration the most during my training? I'm able to easily flip the switch when I'm racing and tune out any external forces - but when I'm training, I listen to the million of voices begging for my attention, trying to divert me from the task at hand.

For example, here's what went through my head yesterday on the first of three sets of 3x300m full out rolling efforts. I should be going full gas for 20 seconds, only concentrating on pushing...

"Man this hurts. Why are my forearms rubbing on my bars? I wonder if Ryan is watching me. I wonder how Mary's efforts are going? I should smile more when I race. Those wheelsinfocus photos were not flattering - maybe I should have a surgeon fix my lips into a permanent smile. This gear is huge. Point your elbows! Flex that core! Push, push, push!!! Oh thank god that's over!"

And you know, as well as Jennie, that I didn't give that first effort my full intensity. It also didn't happen for the next one, or the one after that..... but by the last effort, the one I put my heart and soul into, the one where I got fed up I wasn't pushing - that one counted.

Afterward I felt exhausted, unable to talk. Ready to lie down in the grass and recollect my energy. My mental and physical exertion stretched to the max.

So why is it I can't give every single effort that maximum go? I strive for it every time I come out to the track. Yet I can only achieve it on my superwoman days. Time to start working the concentration aspect, I suppose.... time to push more.

I've heard meditation practice where you silence the mind for 20 seconds would help. It's hard not to let a thought interrupt you in the first 3 seconds of meditation... but with a little practice, I should be able to get up to 5 seconds.

The mind is such a powerful thing. You'd think I'd be sinking in as much energy into it as I do my physical training... time to dust off those mental training books.
I am attempting to go without coffee today. Attempting being the key objective.

After yesterday's monster track workout I could use a little boost. Especially since I already made it into the gym this morning to lift weights and am still blurry eyed.

We'll see how it goes....

It's 9:18 am and I'm already drooling for some java. RESIST!!!