Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taking time

It's important to take time. Time to relax, to regroup, to recenter and just to be. Time to take a deep breath, to soak it all in, and be comfortable in your own skin.

This past week has been perfect. No training schedules, no pressing dinner plans, no agendas or places to be. I had no reason to get up each day other than feeding my belly and listening to music. Talk about a complete recharge of my mental and physical batteries.

It also helped me come to the realization that I am tired. Tired from pushing my body, tired from the constant travel, tired from the season that started in march and threatened to go year round if I didn't do something about it. The looming idea of trying to hold onto peak fitness for another two months weighed heavy on my heart so I made the decision to take some time now.

And a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

It was the right decision. So now, I get to take some time, get back into the gym, start the winter training on the flip side of the solstice (yahoo!!!) and have some serious motivation for the big things to come in 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shake it.

Surprisingly, a lot of my friends have not heard of the Shake Weight. I was first introduced to it via Facebook over the summer. I immediately stormed into my mom's office, made her watch the YouTube video and we laughed hysterically for a half hour.

If you haven't seen it - check it out. Shake Weight.

Too funny, right?

I had completely forgotten about the 2010 invention of the year. Move over snuggie! There's a new gift in town.

Then last night, unsuspecting, I opened a gift from my mom. It was heavier then most - I commented it must be a CD or something. Low and behold, I received my very own Shake Weight.

I must have been a very good kid this year. Thanks Santa!

Let the summer countdown begin!

Know what's cool? The winter solstice is today. Which means the days are going to start getting longer in the slow, steady march toward summer. Yessssss!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Airplane amusement

My eyes are itchy and groggy from the lack of sleep from last night. We said our goodbyes late last night to the U.S. squad while sitting around the dinner table, enjoying some racing stories and jennie's childhood rhinestone tales, till just past midnight. Thankfully the bikes were packed, whisked away earlier by Carlos Lopez, my columbian freight friend, and all we had to do was be in the lobby for a 4am walk up call. That gave Emy and I three hours to catch some sleep. Ouch.

My eyes were shut before my head hit the pillow.

This trip, as the last one to Melbourne, hold so many fantastic memories. Countless laughs, nervous energy, hilarious encounters, third world blunders, dancing dogs, lost in translation miscommunications, etc. And not a single regret.

A lesson we learned at track trade camp: the importance of having staff. Showing up with just our bikes isn't enough, unless you have teammates with the Amazing Race traits; navigation, multi-lingual, problem-solving, detail oriented, and adventurous soles, and another set of legs. Thankfully the U.S. staff stepped up to help us, despite having a full plate with eight of their own athletes to take care of. Benjamin Sharp, Viggo, Andrew Hawkes, James Stanfill,
Jamie Staff - thank you. They kept us informed with daily itineraries changing bus schedules to the velodrome, late night massages, split times, general moral boosting and confidence that yes, we do belong here.

I'm on my last flight home, a four hour bender from Dallas Fort Worth. I can't complain though as my teammate Emy has the same amount of travel west, capped with a fourteen hour flight to melbourne. Double ouch. Good thing the next world cup isn't until February. A quick flight down to la for training here and there seems like a walk down the block now.

I've always enjoyed traveling and to be able to do it with my bike for a 3:30" ride is nothing short of amazing. Megan and I half-heartedly joked about opening up our wallets and just dumping our money out. It's true, these trips are self supported and expensive but you only live once and these memories will last a lifetime.

Personally, I'm a little disappointed with my own performance. It's not that I didn't give our ride 100%, it's just that my 100% that day wasn't close to my potential. Outside factors - being a woman, having asthma, wind, etc are things i can't control entirely. But what I can control is giving everything I do have at that particular moment and learning from it, moving on and chalking it up to valuable experience. Some days you just have bad days. We rode the same as Melbourne, a 3:38, and again, i could barely walk down the ramp. My legs buckled, my lungs gasping for air, my heart crushed that we weren't on schedule. It makes those perfect rides that much more valuable. And that much more inspiring when you see another team execute it to perfection.

Later that night, the Ouch Pro Cycling team would face off against the New Zealanders for the gold. Watching the girls in person, go through their warm up protocol and then take to the boards, is priceless motivation. Seeing how they can physically push through pain and then keep going through the tunnel of pain - Dotsie has hands down the best pain face - Sarah with her massive lap and a half to two lap pulls - and Lauren getting right on that wheel and giving it everything to remain in their slipstream. Despite their best efforts, the Kiwis pulled ahead and put two seconds into the girls. Afterward, during the medal ceremony, you could see the pain still lingered, this time from being so close to winning. They graciously accepted their medals, respectfully listened to the New Zealand national anthem, but I noticed the fierce competitor in Sarah - she was far from satisfied. Being second is bittersweet, we all know that.

Earlier on this trip, I connected with my uncle who lives in Corona Del Mar. We have had limited interaction over the years, so it was nice to get to know him a little bit and share with him a little bit of my world. Our conversation made me realize that what I do is unique and what makes me strive toward the ultimate performance a far cry from the norms of society. But I can't imagine having it any other way. The instant attraction to any sport i've ever tried is based upon if a) they are an olympic sport and b) how quickly i can get to the world cup level. Take dodge ball and kick ball in elementary school.  I wasn't hanging out with the girls playing hopscotch, I was out there throwing balls at boys heads and usually the last person standing. I got used to being picked first for teams, and when I wasn't it motivated me to try harder and never give up. I threw myself into boxing, tele-mark skiing, rock climbing, basketball, track and field, volleyball and now cycling. My favorite subject in school? You guessed it: recess and p.e.. Moving my body made me feel so alive and when i couldn't due to injury, depression set in. But as soon as i was healed, I was back at it. As i've grown older and wiser, those forced down times were used to strengthen the mental aspect of sports psych, a field that really interests me.

I had an interesting lunch conversation this past week with Sarah. I asked her if she thought about life after the world wind travel and what that would entail. Her answer was to remain connected to cycling in some shape or form - a testament to her and Andy's love for sport. And as hurl through space and time now, aboard this plane, i think of all of the opportunities i had to express myself by moving my body and how the coaches over the years, the faithful supporters, cheering squads, etc played an instrumental role in me becoming the elite athlete i am today. And what better way, once that selfish pursuit is satisfied, to give back? To help others pursue their passions?

Now for a little rest and recovery back at home, in my own bed for the first time in a month! I can't tell you how excited I am for tonights slumber. I have no idea what time zone my body will think it's in. But I really don't care. A week off the bike entirely, healthy eating, connecting with family and friends should pass in no time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not just a number

Not just a number

At an early point in our relationship, ryan and I developed a code number for saying i love you. We had adopted it from my mom and her ex-husband John as a term of endearment. We'd use this term often - pretty much in every correspondence and exchange. It held the same meaning as saying i love you and we'd use it frequently.

Throughout this whole world cup adventure, I've sensed ryan's presence at various points - often when I least expect it and at times when i need him most. He'll pop up in random, funny ways and sometimes in hard, sad ways. That's life in the grieving roller coaster game.

Yesterday on the shuttle bus back to the hotel, Megan let us know our numbers. Emy and i both hoped for a good number - and immediately our term of endearment came to my mind. As she read the series of numbers 141, 142 and 143 - i couldn't believe my ears. And as I told them about how ryan and i would use 143 to signify i love you, we found out that was my number. Out of the hundreds of athletes and hundreds of race bib numbers, it's impossible to think that's just a coincidence. 

As i line up later today, ready to take the boards and propel forward through space and time, i take comfort in that number and am armed with the knowledge that ryan's here with me now, cheering me on and helping me strive toward my goals.

Race day

The jitters are there. And it's not from the columbian coffee. Time to embrace it, accept those nerves and put the energy into my legs. It's time to execute, make the most of the preparation we've had, the dozens of standing starts, the pacing, the exchanges, etc in one singular focus: GO FAST!

The city noises outside - the honks, car alarms, traffic, etc - remind me that it's important to go to a quiet space, somewhere within myself to center, ignore distractions, and get ready for the task at hand.

Focusing on the here now is amplified times ten. Relax, breath, embrace, enjoy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Roughly five or so of the national teams are staying at the same hotel: the Four Points Sheraton. The other teams are spread throughout the city of Cali at various hotels and the uci has provided bus shuttles to transport athletes, coaches and staff between here and the velodrome. A daily training schedule as well as bus timetable are posted in the lobby so it's not difficult to navigate between the hotel and the track.

Yesterday, Andrew (the logistics manager for usa cycling) arranged for Megan, emy and I to have a shuttle swing by the sheraton and take us to the track earlier then the late late shuttle. We boarded a large greyhound sized bus, complete with disco interior and blaring air conditioning only to travel two blocks, wait for ten minutes and then be told we were switching to another much smaller bus that would whisk us away to the track. Little did we know this smaller bus would be filled to the gills - with the denmark national team, some of the kiwis and all of their bikes. Quite a different experience then Melbourne, where we stayed with emy and weren't as integrated into the international scene except when at the track. We giggled and laughed when one of passangers couldn't take his eyes off emy. And when even snuck in a game of UNO while we waited an additional fifteen minutes for the pick up.

As the bus approaches the velodrome, hordes of locals surrounded the area and my first thought was, whoa, track cycling is happening in Columbia! But a few tight turns later, and our bus turned off the crowded street to the back entrance of the velodrome. We found out later that crowds were there for a bull fight. Silly me, like anyone is into track racing!

The cali track is pretty amazing. It is has an open air cover, composed of Abarco wood (form the columbian pacific coast) and bugs the size of small children. The open air roof provides amazing natural light to filter through and i snapped a few photos yesterday of the riders passing through rays of sunlight, it was amazing. The track is somewhat smooth except for a large dip in corners three and four in the pull lane. The transitions between the straights and the corners is similar to la, except the banking in the straights is a hair or two shallower.

We did a roller warm up as the uci designates certain track times to the different countries and teams at different times, so the track is manageable with the number of athletes wanting some track time. You want to make the most out of your time on the track and emphasize feeling the track, dancing with its nuances and discovering its subtleties. Later in the session, which we had the last one of the night starting at 6:30 pm, the wind picked up quite a bit, creating a massive head wind on the back straight. Thank goodness marymoor's frequent headwinds prepare you for the unexpected. What marymoor doesn't prepare you for though is doing a team pursuit effort and having malaysia's team sprint guys nearly take a rider out in the middle of an exchange. Holy smokes Megan almost went down!

We finished our efforts, got a quick ten minute cool down on the rollers before hustling onto a shuttle bus and being whisked back to the sheraton. Our return trip to the hotel had a quicker route - the driver decided to go up and over the hillside, through switch back ascents and harrowing descents. I was thankful to be in the back of the bus, except if we did hit something, i would be ejected to the front of the bus in no time.

Aye aye aye!

The hillside was covered in blinking Christmas lights - a nice reminder that christmas is coming and people still celebrate it.  I was still buzzing from the effort, or maybe it was the gu? by the time we got back to the hotel and took a quick shower before i got notified of an evening massage from Viggo. 

Today we have an early morning roller session followed by lunch, our final track time before racing tomorrow. Should be fun! Wish us fast legs....


This whole experience is surreal. I mean, who would have thought I'd be traveling the world, armed with bikes, rollers, spandex and other cycling centric things and seeing the world by the speed of my legs? 

Yes, I still have that pinch me, i must be dreaming, sensation.

As I sat upon a set of rollers spinning on my road bike on the fourth floor of our hotel, overlooking the street scene of Cali, a huge smile spread across my face. I am here. A street parade walked down the sidewalk, filling the street full of navidad music that tickled the ears.

We head to the track after a leisure morning of breakfast, late lunch and running across the street to the convenience store. I can't wait to see what the track looks like as it's only been described to me. Bugs, technical transitions, natural light, good atmosphere in the infield, it shouldn't disappoint.

Excess baggage

(I'm playing catch up...)

Excess baggage....

Well today's check in was an experience. Traveling with a double bike box is always challenging, and today was no exception. Also included in the circus act was the added performance of traveling with 4" drum steel rollers, which took up the majority of the weight. The rest of the enormous suitcase i borrowed from Gary is pretty much empty. At check in, I even put ten pounds of clothing and cycling shoes in my carry on, last minute, since it weighed in over 52 pounds.  Oh the glamorous and exotic lifestyle of a cyclist, you should be jealous.

Dear TSA, please be careful with my oversized, over weight, pain in the butt bike box. I know that's a lot to ask, but if you could just avoid throwing it around like a gorilla when I'm watching, I'd appreciate it. Oh, and by the way, you might not want to open that beast as it is a puzzle piece to put back together. 


Next stop: Miami! Next, next stop: Cali, Columbia.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second breakfast

On a morning ride this morning with Kim, food became the topic of discussion. Big surprise, right? We both admitted that the biggest reason we do this sport, get up and pedal our bikes when most people are sleeping in and relaxing is so that we can eat not just one breakfast, but two.

Oh second breakfast, how I look forward to you each morning. With the biggest decision of the day concerning what I should have - another breakfast or lunch type of item - I get to run through possible scenarios and yummy foods on my ride home.

I know, weird. Right? But those of you how pedal a lot know exactly how exciting the second meal of the day means. Yum!

A little down time this afternoon and then we're headed to the track for an evening session. I'm excited for the final track workout before heading out on the next adventure to Columbia on Monday!

Mmmmmm..... French toast.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


I'm sitting in my hotel room, with ShoBox fighting on the tele, affirming my decision to hold off on pursuing boxing for cycling. It's funny how things work out in life. Six months ago I entertained the idea of picking up the gloves again, getting back into the groove of things as a pugalist. At the time, I didn't know if cycling was going to continue filling that niche I have for sport. Thankfully I stuck things out, as was always the game plan leading up to nationals. But I did for a second consider getting back into the ring to follow my olympic bid by using my fists and avoiding blows to the head.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the better option of the two.

I am blessed with the ability to reach such a high level in both sports. And now that I'm competing at my ultimate dream goal of world cup action - well, I could call it a day. But the competitor in me has issued new goals and I will continue striving toward them until i reach them. Curious what that is? World champion. Yep, you heard it here first.

Today was a solid day at the track. I found my breaking point, again. As hard as it is to fail an attempt, it's also rewarding knowing that i pushed myself as hard as I could and each effort was with 100% intensity.

The day started with a two hour road ride from the hotel down to long beach at 9:30. From there we headed directly at the track and didn't leave until 4:30 that early evening. Phew, it was a doosey.

And now I'm in a sushi coma. My mom called and checked in, reminding me that I haven't been updating her, or my blog for that matter. In all honesty, I have been pretty pooped each night. With each additional brain cell focused on recovering and giving each effort as much energy as possible. Things are looking good for Cali, Columbia. Our team has done some solid efforts together and in exactly a week from today we'll be taking to the boards in south America.

The weather has been ideal - mid sixties during the day and high fifty at night. Hearing weather reports from friends makes me wonder why I want to return home? Yet, i miss it all the same. Spending christmas in a warm climate is way different - no trees strapped to people's suvs, no obnoxious house lights, etc. The tinsel that hangs in the reception office at the hotel is the only reminder around here. Strange, very strange.

A well deserved rest day tomorrow.... Just in time.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Yo yo!

Wow, that travel and racing took more out of me then I thought it would. Since friday, i've been readjusting to the pacific coast time zone and getting my body recovered and ready for the next big hit in a little over a week. My evenings in comfy Carson are spent with very little activity - both mentally and physically. It is still amazing to me how much training and racing takes it out of you and now that I'm even more singulary focused, i have become an expert at doing nothing, which thankfully translates to going faster on the bike when it counts.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

On sunday evening i went to my uncle's house in corona del mar. I hadn't spent much time with him since I was a kid and we were one big happy family, so it was nice to reconnect with him and my cousins, who are 8 and 10 years old. His house is incredible - something that would out cribs to shame. And he started asking questions about why i do what I do. Why do I push my body? And we came to the conclusion that I am wired differently then most people I know. Yet somehow i've been able to surround myself with others of a similar interest in cycling.

I digress.

The weather down in la has been amazing, mid seventies during the day and about mid fifties at night. This is making what is typically a hard time of year for me a lot a easier to take. If only they had more trees and greens down here....

Last night I had a wacky dream, a testament that I am living and breathing cycling. I dreamt i lined up for a team pursuit with Sarah and Kim. Sarah was in the starting position, kim second, myself third. The countdown was on and that's when i realized instead of a bike, I was starting on a black bar stool on wheels. As the countdown continued, i panicked and thought how lame it would be to try and keep up with those two on a rolling stool. So i false started, and i looked down to see Sarah false starting as well by getting off her bike while it was in the starting gates. She and Kim continued the effort though, as i headed to the infield to sulk about my stool and i looked up to see sarah lapping Kim for the second time. Strange.

Too funny.

This week we have some efforts, though not a ton since we're balancing tapering and recovery with getting ready for columbia. I leave next Monday on another amazing adventure!

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Mind blowing. That's what I'll use to first describe my experience at the Melbourne world cup. I hope to capture every single aspect of it, but it's also something that you will have to experience on your own.

I have surrounded myself with the world's greatest. Or rather, they have surrounded me. It was intimadating at first. Walking through the concrete belly of the velodrome, entering the infield for the first time amongst a whirl of high end carbon fiber, mavic wheels, matching track suites, 35 or so countries represented, international coaches, UCI officials, current world champions, fit, fit, FIT cyclists, some with legs bigger than anaconda snakes (Beth- wait till you see Megan's photo of the German). Yet when I took to the boards for the first time, spun my first revolution, I felt like I had arrived. That I belonged there along side of them all. What an indescribable feeling, this kinship linked via the machine we use to transport ourselves as quickly as possible through space and time. No matter the cultural origin, the shape of your body, the color of your spandex - we are all here to do one thing and one thing only: go as fast as humanly possible.

Despite traveling the 16 or so hours via air, car and foot travel, my excitement grew to such heights that nothing could wipe the smirk off my face. We met Emy, our Ausie teammate at the airport and she whisked megan to the velodrome as my dear friend Monique picked me up curbside. Monique is a month away from having a baby and looks fabulous. She took me to a local cafe, helped me unpack my bike, attended to my every need and then we headed to the velodrome. I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide; as she showed me the city's highlights, I fell in love with Melbourne. On our return trip to her house, we stopped at a local park and went kangaroo spotting. They are the funniest creatures - they use their tail as a tripod balance point with their massive rear legs, their front arms resembling t-Rex appendages with little practicality other then scratching themselves. I must have sounded like a elementary kid as I ooed and awed over their quirky movements. Monique giggled as i took delight in their colloquial sayings such as flaming galah and other unmentionables. My biggest regret on this trip would be how little time I got to spend in Melbourne, let alone Australia. Let it be known here and now, I plan to return. Perhaps the christmas carnivals next year?

Okay, so second biggest regret: I didn't travel with a camera. Dope! I'm picking one up this week.

The next morning, Monique and I headed into the city early to grab a crepe and flat white in one of the lanes (alley ways) in the heart of the city. Much to my delight, the little sidewalk cafe we ate at had a nutella and banana crepe, which i had to order in honor of my friend cam. One word: YUM! And I'm happy to report, the ausies know how to do coffee. I arrived to the velodrome a little early that morning and walked down to the yarra riverside to absorb in my surroundings and soak it all in.

We had a training session, more to familiarize ourselves with the track and with our new teammate Emy. Since this was our first efforts as a team, we looked at melbourne as a race/training opportunity. This mentality placed no expectations or additional pressure on us - other than staying together as a team an not do anything embarrassing. Mission accomplished.

Afterward, we headed to the AIS, a state funded athlete facility that contained multiple ice plunge baths, warm pools, weights, etc. Emy referred to it as "recovery" and as she and Megan plunged between the warm and ice cold pools, while I decided to try and freeze my extremities off by plunging for a solid fifteen minutes. A couple of famous football players drifted in and out of the facility, as the three of us hooted and hollered our way through recovery. Afterward, we opted to stash my road bike in emy's old rowing house along the yarra as we grabbed a bite to eat and decided our next move. I switched lodging to emy's house but there was one problem: not enough room in her car for three of us and three bikes. So i headed to massage with the national team swanie and was going to adventure back to emy's in the Kew neighborhood via bike, mass transit or taxi, depending on the weather. The only problem? It was pouring rain when i headed out to the hotel headquarters. Never one to shy from adventure, i was armed with a hand drawn map, multiple instructions on how to get to her house and my bike. Lucky for me the rain stopped after my hour long luxurious rub down. The life of an elite athlete can be rough sometimes, let me tell you.

Perhaps a little dazed from the rub, or still seriously jet lagged, i got all turned around and had to ask directions several times from other cyclists. Lucky for me just about everyone rides their bike in Melbourne and i soon found my way back to the house. A quick introduction to emy's father Peter and her brother and we headed out to dinner at a local establishment. Get a little food in my belly, relaxed muscles and I was a live wire in dinner conversation. Not so much. It reminded me of a little dinner party we had with the blatchfords last february. I think I fell asleep before my head had hit the pillow.

The next morning was race day..... And nerves were running high. Emy arranged for her friends stewart and Matilda to help us track side and attend to our every need. They did a fantastic job, calming our nerves, weighing our bikes, setting up rollers, bikes, pumping tires, etc. Before we knew it, we were sitting in the hot seat as the French team encircled us. Benjamin helped with our split times and walked the line, adding a sense of familiarity for Megan and I. I lined up in the start gate with complete focus and determination to demonstrate 100% of my ability. The 10 second beep sounded, i grabbed my bars, ready and anticipating the start. Beep, five, beep, four, beep, three, beep two - ready to pounce, weight shifted back into the gate for max propulsion forward, beep one, beep GO! Out like a rocket, adrenaline pumping, I
was into corner three, getting into my aero bars and accelerating through the first lap of our twelve lap effort. My first exchange was solid and Megan did a good job of setting pace. The effort went by in a blur. As soon as i hit the front, my thought was, my turn! My turn! My turn! Pull, pull, pull. Exchange, relax, recover. Up, up, up. Here we go, reel it in. Let's go, let's go! And with three laps to go, my cottonmouth caught up, mouth wide open trying to suck in as much air possible; wishing i were in a 98". Tunnel vision closing down my senses and Emy did the final pull, clocking us in at a 3:38. Not bad for our first go. And a fantastic start for the season.

I took two laps to get off the track, and could barely walk down the stairs to the infield. A steadying hand on my back nearly knocked me off my feet. My body went into shock, lungs spasming for air, pale as a ghost, legs pumping full of lactate, knees close to buckling. The other girls could move and talk. The deep satisfaction of going as hard as i could coming to me like a tidal wave. The world ceased to spin for two minutes, and if it did, I had no recollection of it. Turning your body inside out like that is not natural, yet necessary for optimal performance. Somehow, some way, you are able disconnect your mind and body by diving into the pain, going beyond what's comfortable. Or as Jennie puts it, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. This feeling, this please stop feeling, and then pushing through it is why I do sport, why i push my body. It makes me feel alive. And as painful as it is to be temporarily in that state of discomfort, i seek it like a rare gem hidden in the depths of a mountain.

Need i say more?

The rest of the evening was magical too. I got to watch the world's best track cyclists do their thing in the flesh. From the men's team sprint, woman's team sprint, the team pursuit final where the ausie women nearly upset the world record held by the american women, the omnium elimination race and my favorite: the Madison. Wow. WOW. WOW!!!

Sadly we left the next morning. I spend the next ten days in l.a. Training and prepping for Columbia, the next stop on the world cup tour. I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Reel it in.

I only have a few short minutes before we head to the track for our first assault on the international scene. I have a good mix of feelings - from excitement to relaxation. This is go time. I am fueled properly, rested, soaking in the experience and ready to show the world my ability.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And so it begins...

And so my adventure begins.

Whisked amongst the clouds hovering above a cold seattle afternoon, a huge smile spreads across my face. My happiness radiates outwardly as I begin my first international travel to race my bike abroad. The pinch me i must be dreaming feeling still surrounds me and the reality hits me cold when the united ticket agent charges me $400 in bike travel fees. $200 for a bike, $200 for overweight. My box weighs in at exactly 70 pounds and not a hair over. I try to argue and plead my way out but the agent is a play it by the books kind of gal.

No matter, my bike will arrive in Melbourne. I take that back, my bikes. It's quite an ordeal to travel with such equipment. Gone are the days when united used to hand out bike ticket coupons - that hay day stopped five years ago. Now to save on fuel costs and get travelers to lighten the load they impose high fees. The mention of going to international competition and my aspirations does nothing for a person having a bad day. 

The past week has given me ample time to do some reflection. To ponder the how I got here and why. To remember those golden moments along the way and know that this journey was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. The planets aligned, the path set forth in front of me and all i had to do was continue the steps one after another. Life had it's ups and serious downs and yet spun madly on.

I've been thinking about Ryan a lot lately. I turned on pandora yesterday and one song after another, after another transported me to a couple of years ago. The music didn't bring a specific memory to me but rather a feeling; a connection; a sensation. Sometimes there are ghosts that hide out in melodies, that come to surface and remind you that you are not alone. You are never alone. I like to think my ghosts are the non-threatening kind. They are they to help you along your journey and path into what feels like the unknown. But I also think that those ghosts know something more... That they can sense what is to come in some cosmic sense.

A memory has come to my consciousness time and time again this week. I recall going to post alley with Ryan, Ryan miller, Johnny shehan and a few others. We met at an Irish pub and were celebrating a birthday. I had only been cycling for a year and had developed a great coach/athlete relationship with miller. Over beers and loud music, both Ryan's told me that they were convinced I had what it took to get be a world champion. They recognized my dedication, passion and talent would get me there. I remember at thinking at the time, wow, I can do this. If they, two guys who were both life long athletes and people whose opinions I highly value, believe it, well then it must be true. And so the confidence building began. They weren't afraid to voice their musings and now, six years later I am on the path they called out several years ago.

A pilar of my motivational foundation started that night. I thank my lucky stars that those two, perhaps a little belligerent, spoke up. If you know someone in your life who is trying to do something new - regardless of the complexity of what they are attempting - the best thing you can do for them is to support them. Speak up. Let them know that what they are doing is important and worthwhile. For me that little bit of confidence has carried me all these years. 

And as an athlete and someone who is trying to do what few have the ability or gumption to do, it's important to me to let those who have touched me know that they do too. That their little part, or big part for that matter, is appreciated. I know Ryan knew and knows how much his love and support meant to me. 

When i line up in a few days in melbourne, with a lot of unknowns and firsts to be experienced, I will do so with the confidence of the army of supporters behind me back at home. Thank you to all of you who have played a part in getting me where I am today. And thank you to those who will continue to support me in my quest to follow my dreams.   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

High roller

This one deserves its own post.

Kids: try this at home.

Rollers and winter training go hand in hand. Rollers are a mechanism that allows cyclists to balance on their bike and pedal without having a stationary front wheel. It mimics riding outdoors far more then a trainer but you have to pay attention to what you are doing a little bit more.

In the past six years I've been racing and riding rollers, I have never once fallen off. As friends would show me bruises from their ill fated roller rides, I just never understood how that could happen. Until wednesday.

Picture this: I'm in my living room, tv tuned to universal sports, perched up on my rollers between a coffee table and fireplace with a yoga mat beneath me to catch the sweat. I'm cruising along at a steady clip and 110 rpm. I'm about eight minutes from finishing my hour long session and I've been watching figure skating. A few minutes ago, the men's competition started and I was noticing how different their movements are to the grace and beauty of the women. The guys are more powerful, more springy and violent in their jumps. I'm mesmerized by the flash of sequins this guy has on as he jumps up to attempt a triple lutz and doesn't land it, all hell breaks loose. My bike flies off the rollers to the right, I fly left into the fireplace, piercing the palm of my hand like Jesus. I shake myself off, thankful I didn't break anything. And that's when i discover my bike Is spewing out water. My first thought was oh no, I cracked my carbon frame. Great! But then I discover two holes near the rear dropouts that were designed there. Before I got back on the bike I posted a note on facebook, owning up to my blunder. And noting that i scared the piss out of my bike.

This sport is dangerous I tell you!

Rested scatterbrain.

I got home from Los angeles on Sunday night and have been in taper mode since. The first three days were completely off the bike, which was well timed with the first snow storm of the season. I didn't feel guilty at all about not hopping on the rollers or trainer but instead focused on getting to some house projects and relaxing. My mind and body soaked up the down time and my first harder effort was on thanksgiving morning.

My friend Liz helps run seattle multisport located in the fermont area. Tim Becker has a studio adorned with eight computrainers, a million videos, and all of the indoor training equipment you could think of. The walls are covered in cycling and triathlete posters from the past three or more decades. Six years ago when I first started training, I would go to his old studio located by university village and hammer out the intervals. I remember how encouraging he was then and looking at power charts and comparing my raw numbers to see how I stacked up. Even then my raw power put me in the elite ranks, fueling my fire. See Tim? You were right! It makes me thankful for all the people who spoted that talent in me early on and nurtured my spirit to follow my dreams.

Liz thought I was nuts. I was in the best mood. Being back in tim's studio after six years and heading to my first world cup coupled with watching "Breaking Away" made those four by ten minute threshold efforts fly by.

I had decided two weeks ago to stay in Seattle for thanksgiving because the daunting thought of doing a 12 hour roundtrip ride in the car right before I take off for Melbourne was stressing me out. My family was supportive of my decision and I got an invite to Ben and Danielle's house for Tanksgittin' 2010. Danielle is an amazing chef - for those of you that made it to my birthday party this year she did all the food. The girl has mad talent in the kitchen. There were thirteen orphans, two smoked turkeys, four canines scurrying about, brussel sprouts, persimmion spinach salad, fermont brewery ipa on tap from the keg, four pies for desert (two pumpkin ones were my contribution) and a million laughs. I finally got full after two generous servings of numnum food.

If the day after is any indication of how good of a time makiah had, she didn't move at all. It was great. Seeing her smile like that around people and good food? Priceless.

Tomorrow afternoon I take off for twenty plus days. I am excited for the opportunity to race my bike overseas and do what I love. What a gift. It just goes to show you can do anything you put your mind to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake.

the "Butt" Chocolate cake (so termed because of the buttermilk in it).

3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup veggie oil
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two - three 9 inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. (I use three cake pans so I don't have to split layers later.)

Place flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed to combine (don't mix on high or you will be wearing the ingredients.) Add the oil and buttermilk and mix on medium speed until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Add the hot coffee and vanilla extract and mix on low speed (so the batter won't splash) until smooth.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when touched lightly in the center, 30-35 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes then remove from pans and let cool completely.

Frosting: I usually use a 1/2 batch of cream cheese frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temp.
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Place ingredients in bowl and beat on low at first (or you'll be wearing the sugar!) and blend until light, fluffy and smooth - about 7 minutes.

This cake gets even better after a night in the fridge. Chocolate lovers beware!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pow pow

Um, looking at Beaver Creek ski footage videos has put a HUGE smile on my face. All I want for Christmas is a big powder face shot. Ha!

Click on either Talons Challenge, Royal Elk Glade or Stone Creek Chutes...

And just imagine a tele maven doing it in style.

It's chilly.

For those that have met Makiah, you know she's a bundle full of fur. She rarely, if ever, gets cold. I've tried snuggling with her on the bed from time to time and she always gets too warm and bolts about five minutes later.

Last night was an exception. She slept with me the entire night. The heater even turned on in the middle of the night.

On my walk into work today, Makiah and I strolled through Gasworks park and watched school children sled down the sun dial hill. One dad and his kid flew down the steepest section, hit a lip and flew off their garbage lid. It reminded me of National Lampoons Vacation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

100% Belief. Focus. Confidence.

Chocolate coated...

The lazy afternoon and evening from the last time I wrote was down time well spent. I only left my hotel room on a late night triple chocolate chip cookie and chocolate mochi ice cream run at Trader Joes. I am all about setting personal bests this trip - as I gobbled up three cookies in under 6 minutes on the drive back to the hotel. Did I feel guilty about laying on my duff and then eating two mochi chocolate ice cream bonbons before passing out with chocolate smeared on my face? Not at all.

The next day the recovery time proved invaluable. As did the chocolate calories. We had three sets of kilos, one from a standing start, a couple of laps of recovery on the apron, then a flying kilo, a few more recovery laps and then one more flying effort to complete a set. We upped the gear to a 51 x 14 (98") and I can honestly say, this it felt amazing. I like pushing big gears. I like the burn it produces in my legs and the muscular fatigue I feel versus taping into my limited lung capacity. My legs synced up with my mind and after our first set, Benjamin paired me into the group with Jennie and Kim. Turns out our little trio hit the most consistent and steady mark for a flying kilo. I was floating on cloud nine.

I am pretty excited to end this huge block of training on such a high note. Time spent down in LA was time well spent. And now after a few days of recovery and rest, I'll get back on my pony and do some efforts in prep for Melbourne that I leave for in six days!

Wow. I still have that pinch me, I must be dreaming feeling. And if you happen to see chocolate smeared on my face, ignore it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This mornings wake up call was a rude awakening that I can use every last minute of sleep and propping the legs up to recharge and recover between efforts. It's hard to believe that last week during the devo camp we were up and at the track by 7:30 every morning and this is the first time this week we've had the early bird special.

My life today consists of sleeping, waking up, eating, drinking coffee, going to the track and turning myself inside out for quality efforts and then eating, sleeping for two more hours, waking up and then eating again. And we're not talking little meals here. We're talking gigantic, stuff your face, my belly kind of hurts food. Only to have the cycle repeat itself in two hours. Ten days of straight track time will certainly boost the metabolism and leave a sister hungry for days. Just as long as I don't break out the kitchen aide when I get home, it'll be all good.

As I happily eat my last couple of bites of turkey enchiladas courtesy of Gary and Anita (they are to die for!) I'm already contemplating my second nap of the day. The beauty of being down here solely for training is that you can maximize your recovery. Those little house chores don't nag at you and you can easily ignore the dishes in the sink. This whole experience has certainly opened my eyes to how elite athletes do it. And for as hard as I put my body in the hurt box, I certainly maximize the laziness factor.

Nap time. Round two.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Everybody needs it, right? Regardless of the task you are trying to accomplish - the promoption at work, cleaning your house, getting out of bed, doing your homework or tackling a workout - we all need a reason to complete what we set out to do.

Sometimes this motivation comes easy. Say you want to earn more money, then you'll put in more hours at work, go the extra mile, try to impress the boss. Say you have house guests coming over or a dinner party. Suddenly those piles of clothing, paper, clutter on the counter, etc get whisked away in no time at all. Or say you've got a big test coming up that will determine how you do overall in a class. You'll sit out a friday night party or sacrifice some other social outing to do well, right? Or say you've got a athletic goal in mind. Sure you might be able to get away with skipping a workout here or there but the cumulative gains made from sticking to your prescribed workouts get you up on the trainer or out the door in adverse weather.

Historically november is a hard month for me. But i think that stretches beyond my small scope. I'm willing to say all northwesterners feel the blues this time of year, when the sun sets near 4pm, and rarely shines. The transition between fall and winter leaves the ground a damp and cold and is seriously unmotivating. But this is where the gains are made. This is where that cumulative effect will kick in and shine in the spring and summer months.

Funny, I am in california right now for the first time during the hardest month of the year and can still feel what awaits me when i return home come sunday. But I am ready because this year I am motivated by thoughts of international competition. Of pushing myself to new levels. Of the challenges it will bring and the eagerness to be as prepared as possible for the next chapter in my life.

So if you're contemplating getting out there in the nasty weather, picking up for guests, studying hard for an exam, getting that promotion - just do it. You'll be thankful you did.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stepping it up.

Wow. I sound like a two pack a day smoker. Super hot.

Today's effort left me gasping for air. The 94" gear is taking more of a toll on my card system then it should so for the second effort, I upped my gearing to a 96". I started both efforts, nailing the split time on the second go around but was also hammered by the fact that coryn is 5'1" and provides little to no draft, what so ever. Every time she was on the front, I would hunker down and try to get as small as possible to elicit some sort of draft. But realistically only my bike saw the benefit of that.

That which doesn't kill you can only make you stronger, right? Or some such thing.

And another blunder that irrates me to no end is that I bonked today. I miscalculated my food intake so that for the second set I was hosed. It seems like I revisit this lesson every six months and it bites me in the arse each time. Apparently my metabolism is in overdrive from the past week or so. I cannot wait to return home and eat and eat and eat. For once I'm envious of those holiday winter pounds....

More hard core workouts tomorrow. The elite girls show up with game faces on and are somber at the track. The atmosphere is different, for sure. It's motivating to be around but will take some adaptation. It is all business with these ladies.
It's early and i woke up both excited and nervous. Today we are doing race simulations and are trying to recreate the stress that racing creates by pairing up against the other teams. We have enough ladies here to fill out three complete teams, each with their own target goals. This is what I've been training for as of late so it's time to demonstrate 100% of my ability.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Single minded chance.

In a way, this week has been about single minded focus. I'm realizing that now as I sit quietly in my hotel room, eating dinner, reading and not feeling guilty about turning down a dinner invitation. The steady hum of the cooking fan ten feet away in the kitchen grounds me as I think about how much devotion and selfishness it takes to be a world class athlete. How listening to your own rhythms and taking time for yourself becomes the number one priority and separates a mediocre athlete from a great one. How for as hard as I work in practice, I also take my rest seriously and balance it with letting those I love know it.

A song comes to mind, "one chance" by modest mouse. Look it up and live by it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Well, in case you're wondering, I'm still alive. Just barely. You know as fun and exciting as track camp sounded, the truth of the matter is that these camps leave you pretty exhausted by the end of the day. The end of the day being 3pm. After relaxing for a little while, getting soe dinner into the belly and trying your best to recover, it really doesn't give you much energy to do anything else. Even going to the grocery store can seem like a huge chore and something put off for as long as possible.

It couldn't be that hard, right? Wrong. Every day I fantasize about taking advantage of sunny southern California and every day all I want to do when i get back to my little home away from home at the extended stay is curl up in a ball and pray my legs stop throbbing. Just kidding, it's not that bad - I only sucked my thumb and cried for mommy one night. :)

So, our days, or excuse me, our mornings begin with a 7:30 track side discussion where we cover the video taken the day before and break down our individual strengths and weaknesses. After we watch our exchanges and standing starts, Benjamin then relays our objective of the day and we begin our track time around 9am. It's super important to fuel right so you have enough in the tank to do a full out effort but not too much so it revisits you later. I am made fun of for having a two pound bag of smarties at track side, but you won't catch me unnecessarily bonking. Those little candies have saved me on more than one occasion.

I might have mentioned this before but our group has doubled in size compared to the last camp. We are now thirteen, which often has us split into four groups. Megan and I are often paired together in preparation for our upcoming world cup extravaganza and either kristin macgrath or Hanan rotate into our group. Our goal is to hit a 3:35 schedule and we're training each effort with 100% intensity. It's actually pretty exhausting, both mentally and physically to be on for each and every effort but absolutely necessary if we want to accomplish our lofty goals.

Tomorrow is the last day if the development camp and all of the elite riders fly in to start their camp on Tuesday. Megan and I will get to take tuesday as a rest day and I'm looking forward to a little down time to recharge my batteries and get ready for another big block of training prior to my taper.

One other thing i thought I would mention since I keep updating my Facebook with nice warm, so-cal pictures is that yes, the weather is that nice, but we're also working hard down here and other then the 2.5 hour ride in the mid-afternoon we really don't get out much. Ha! I know, salt in the wound.

I hope to give you more details during my rest day coming up. Till then, stay warm and dry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day one

It's the morning of day one at track camp, installment 2.0. Everyone gathered yesterday afternoon at the velodrome to go for a spin down to the beach in preparation for the week's efforts. Our camp ballooned to twelve girls, nearly double what we had last month. I'm surrounded by a lot of talent and their jerseys show it - peanut butter & co/2012 and tibco are almost even in numbers. Which means this week should be good and hard.

I'm feeling good - rested and possibly more fit than before. To be able to continue training this hard this late into the season is pretty remarkable. And I could easily get used to putting in the serious base miles in the warmer spring and summer months in preparation for a winter spent on indoor velodromes.

Installment 2.0 stepped it up a little two with the support we have - a bona Fide care taker (I'm avoiding any attempts to try and spell the word associated with that role!), mechanic and coach. We are set up for success.

One note I will mention is that this first week is the development camp and next week, Megan and I are staying on to get some experience in the elite camp. We should have a solid block of training prior to melbourne.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


It's the eve before my first of three departures that begins my world cup adventure. I'm trying to get my track bike tucked away in its cardboard travel box as quickly as possible, but keep getting distracted. Between doing laundry, running last minute errands, selling a car, setting up auto bill pay, getting gym memberships put on hold, picking up gifts, attending some last minute details and figuring out I could use about three of myself right now - it's no wonder it's taken me three hours to pack. Couple all of that with a huge dose of excitement - and well here I am.

For the record my bike is almost in its box...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The power of three.

It's a good thing I didn't read the fine print on my training schedule until after I had started my first interval set of 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off, 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off, and 3 minutes on. My goal is to maintain a rpm of 115 cadence and power output of 350 watts. Translation for normal folk: F&*$#ing hard.

So you can imagine my surprise when I glanced down after my first interval while on my 10 minute active rest and saw that this week had a 3 x three minute burners instead of the accustomed two. Luckily Universal Sports had some high power action volleyball on the telly and I could zone out, try to imagine the energy it takes to bump, set, spike instead of the throb that consumes your entire body. But there was no denying - this was going to hurt.

To digest those efforts, I process them mentally one minute at a time. Sometimes even 30 seconds, 15 seconds and down to 10 seconds at a time. It helps to have a goal in mind when you do them - because no one is around to see if you're cheating or not. No one would know if you just quit or never even did the efforts. And maybe this is what sets me apart from a lot of people - but I've never struggled with that motivation. If I know something will make me stronger, both mentally and physically, especially when it comes to competing on a world level, well I need no additional motivation to pump out those intense efforts.

That extra little set this morning put me in the hurt box, for sure. My floor mat was soaked in sweat and my clothing absolutely drenched. Yet despite the utter exhaustion that still ravishes my body - even after 5 hours! - it left a huge smile on my face.

Oh those big goals I speak of? I'm chasing them in every way possible.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I remember when I first started racing and training over six years ago, I logged some serious solo winter training miles. At the time, Ryan Miller was coaching me and at the peak of the winter I put in 22 hours a week on the bike, an unheard of amount for a category 4 racer. I found those solo efforts therapeutic and a little neurotic - especially when it would pour rain and no one else was on the trail.

I remember one ride in particular; a cold wet December day. I had a five hour ride on tap and it was absolutely miserable out. But I had a giddy smirk on my face, knowing with every fiber in my body that I was a world class athlete. And now, six or so years later, with life's ups and downs - I am realizing my dreams.

So here's to dreaming big and never giving up. The sacrifices, the injuries, the determination and discipline - was all worth it. I choose to live life to the fullest and surround myself with people who do the same. You are the master of your own destiny.

Monday, November 01, 2010

How to fatten up after race season is over...


But for now I get to remain a slim buck fifty and dream about cookies, ice cream, donuts and cake... This is the first time I've ever been this fit this time of year and damn it feels good! But you can bet your bottom dollar once this "world cup" action is over - I'm making those peanut butter chocolate dipped bombs immediately.

Mmmmm.... peanut butter. Chocolate. Chocolate peanut butter. My mouth is watering.

Oh the sacrifices!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Whoa, Slacking!

Despite having a lot more time on my hands, I've managed to spend it doing a million other things. Tackling that honey-do list is time consuming but each day I get to check off one more thing from the list.

The most recent and exciting thing I did though was purchase my ticket to Melbourne! And come to the realization that in order for me to follow my dreams, several people have to be on board. One of which is my mom - who has been very instrumental in my success. Without her unwavering support and encouragement, shoulder to cry on, ear to vent to, spirits to uplift - my lofty goals would probably have faded long ago. I can't thank her enough for helping me gather up the courage to strive for my dreams. I am a lucky and fortunate daughter. And who can forget some key slogans she's relayed to me over the years: "Don't strain your milk!" and "Grow some balls, Jennifer."

Mothers are special people and I hit the jackpot with mine.

Other items on that honey do? My house has been seeing some improvements. More from a decorating perspective than anything. I've framed some prints that have been hanging around and worked on their zen like placement. The ghosts in my house are being kept at bay in doing so and I feel like I'm reclaiming my space. Some things have been put away - not forgotten, just stored for another time.

Meanwhile, things are coming along with the HB team. Wheeler recently announcing her signing with Tibco for the 2011 season, which is pretty kick ass! We have a couple of ladies who are new and attracted to our team filled with strong athletes and we've started planning how to nurture them for the upcoming season. It's pretty cool being surrounded by such a great group of people - again, I am fortunate in so many ways.

Makiah is doing good - though I can tell she senses I am on a traveling spree in the near future. She keeps me on my toes though and has been getting more and more walks to Gasworks park. The smile that spreads across her face and bounce in her step is priceless.

Well training calls - back to the bike. Happy pedaling and have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Middle of the night...

I wish I could explain why I'm waking up in the middle of the night lately. Something is leaving me anxious and tonight I have a pretty good idea why. I finally took the plunge this week and bought a new car. I've been talking about it for years now and went so far as to test drive a Prius but just couldn't pull the trigger. Although they are nie cars, it just didn't suite me and I am so glad i held out.

A week ago i did a random google search on fuel efficient new cars and an Audi a3 popped up in a tdi that gets 42 mpg.... So later that week i went and test drove one and feel immediately in love. The dealer in the u-district wasn't game to wheel and deal so i walked out of their showroom after four hours of solid time put in to find the right car. They also looked at my golf as a trade in and offered $5,000 trade in value on it and I knew i would have much better luck selling it myself.

I made an appointment to have the interior and exterior detailed on monday with intention of listing it in craig's list and asking $8,000. I also went to another dealership Sunday and found my dream car in dark blue with light gray interior. Since i shopped around and knew financially what kind of burden I was getting myself into, committing and signing my name as the new owner didn't come as a complete surprise.

But what was a pleasant surprise was how quickly I was able to sell my old ar. Detailing it was money well spent and the first guy who came last night to view it bought it outright. I felt good selling it to him as he and his wife remind me of how ryan and i must have been when we first bought it.

I know it's just a car and that I had been thinking about selling it for years, even before ryan had passed. So i was kind if surprise when I started bawling my eyes out last night thinking about the memories we shared in the golf cart. How I would stare at the nape of his neck while he drove. How he was used to me looking at him, memorizing his profile and loving him with every inch of my body. I awake this morning thinking of Ryan and also take comfort in being able to remember him with such detail.

Now, if I could just fall asleep...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Biting the bullet

Oh man, am I looking forward to three hours of bike riding in the first winter storm of the season! Stoked to be dodging fallen leaves, branches, big potholes and indeterminable rain clouds. Who's with me!?! Come on, a champion is made a day at a time...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winning the lottery

If winning the lottery requires buying a lotto ticket, then winning the world championships requires going to the world cups.

BIG HUGE things are happening - and every day I wake up I feel like I'm in a dream. I'm not going to lie, it's pretty rad. :)

And there's nothing like having those big aspirations serve as motivation to pound out those intervals. Like I said before, I am so enjoying this journey.

On a side note - blogger removed the ability to upload photos. How lame is that?!?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Social blunder

My new found sleeping patterns are borderline ridiculous. Before last week, I was able to sleep a solid eight hours, no problem. After last week, I'm lucky if I can get four hours straight in a row. This morning the heavy rains woke me up and my groggy internal clock decided at 5:30 am it was time to rise and shine.

So maybe it's from the lack of sleep or fatigue or something that contributed to a super awkward yet kind if funny oh-damn-you-have-got-to-be-joking-me moments...

The setup: Makiah's trusty and amazing dog sitters and good friends, Kyle and Laura had their wedding reception last night. The knot had been tied a few weeks earlier in a family exclusive ceremony so Laura's parents threw them a party and invited friends and family to party down at the Seattle Tennis Club. The party was cocktail themed so after our meet the team ride, I went shopping to find something fun to wear and pick them up a gift.

As I was walking around University Village, I ran into my dear friends Dale and Laura, visiting firm Bellingham. Some days I can't believe what a small world it is.

I spoke to my friend Jonah as I was out and about and he offered to give me a ride with him, Annie and their two kids Sophia and Max. The only problem being that their Prius was not designed to hold two car seats and three adults, so Annie volunteered to sit in the back. Jonah pulls up in front of the house to pick me up, and I see the two kids in the back seat, the front seat open and wondered where Annie was. Once I in the car, Annie pops up from the hatchback and says, "drunk monkey in the back!" I laughed for a solid five minutes straight.

At the party were a lot of Laura's parents friends and we mingle and greet the newlyweds and start toasting in celebration. Kyle and Laura are rock climbers and knew Ryan fairly well so it has been wonderful to stay in touch with them over the past couple of years. They also have a piece of property in the same community over in the Methow Valley so we're practically neighbors.

Also at the party are some of Ryan's dear climbing friends, some of whom I haven't seen in ages largely because our paths don't cross much. But it was super great to see them all, raise a glass or two in celebration for all if the good stuff going on - career moves, new babies, and life spinning madly on.

Since Jonah and family had a short fuse (as Max is only two and a half) I arranged to ride home with Ben and Danielle. The night continued on and the open bar had a line throughout the night. At one point, I hadn't seen Ben or Danielle in some time, so worried I sent Ben a text saying, "you still here?"

Two seconds later, Ben comes flying into the room with a look of panic and disbelief. Immediately I knew what I had done.

Earlier in the week, after two plus years of keeping Ryan's cell phone number, I decided to take it up as my own. New technology prompted the move along with some personal growth so I have been working on transferring all of my contacts over. And despite Ben's upgrade to new technology, he still kept Ryan's contact information. And when I sent a text to Ben it popped up from Ryan Triplett and he nearly shit his pants. Dope! He came busting into the room to share it with me..... talk about a social blunder.

Luckily Ben has a good sense of humor so we laughed long and hard about it... but still. And in classic form, Ryan certainly got the last laugh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fat Vermons

My life feels so busy lately. Similar to how the squirrels (whose bellies drag on the ground they're so fat!) in my neighborhood are frantically scrounging up food for the cold winter ahead, I feel an urgency to get things done before winter settles in. My own honey-do list is long.

This morning I cleaned the gutters, which always reminds me of a few autumns ago when I woke up to a house nearly flooded thanks to some full gutters. Ryan and I hadn't cleaned them - ever.

He was off at work and it was 50 degrees and raining so hard that day. I got to wrestle my collapsible 25 foot ladder up the side of my house. My next door neighbor Jo came over and we saved the homestead together, laughing at how deferred maintenance always kicks you in the ass. Every time I mention the gutters we both giggle.

It has been absolutely gorgeous out lately. Very chilly in the mornings but by the afternoon the sun's warmth wakens me and I can't help but notice the brilliant fall colors pop against a light blue sky.

Lately I've been really appreciating living in the moment with complete clarity. I feel more myself then I have in a long, long time. And I feel like sharing it with everyone I know with the urgency of a belly dragging squirrel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Has the suspense built enough yet? Are you wondering what the big news is? Are you checking this everyday? Good.

I'm still not going to tell you yet. Just kidding!

So track camp went super good. One of the riders, Megan Hottman from golden, Colorado asked if i would like to ride the team pursuit with her at the upcoming world cups on her track trade team. Gulp! Um, absolutely! So come december we're headed to Melbourne, australia shortly followed by Cali, Colombia and lastly to manchester, uk.

There you have it. That's my big news. So the last few days have been filled with making that travel and dream a reality. Know anyone in Colombia or the uk?

Monday, October 18, 2010

I just had my first home cooked meal on my pots and pans, with my little dog begging for some scraps beneath my feet. It feels amazing to be home.

Ah, the simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Despite going to bed close to midnight, my internal clock has been reset apparently to 6am. Ouch. I'm still laying in bed but my mind won't shut off and I already miss the routine of getting up and heading out to the track.

So what's next on the agenda? A little bit of down time when i return home. Some snuggle time with the pooch, good cooking, great coffee, reconnection with friends and hopefully some more mushroom picking. Oh, and I can't forget - more dream chasing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And, I'm spent.

It's nearly five o'clock and a nap at this time would be disastrous. But my body is pretty tired from the fifth early morning start in a row with progressively harder efforts. Yesterday's billion standing starts and timing drills took a little more out of the system then I thought even though we were under geared. (ha! If you consider a 94" under geared...)

On tap for today was three 3k efforts, two standing and one flying. Translation: two from a stand still, which in turn puts a lot of load on the legs, and another with using the banking to ease the acceleration and in theory go 5 seconds faster then the standing efforts since you eliminate the start. I got to lead all three efforts and one thing i noticed was that the flying effort seemed to take more out of me then the standing starts. Maybe that's because the wind up taxes you a little bit more? Or maybe because we were on a 18.5 schedule and shooting for a 3:43. We managed to hit a 3:42, which is not bad at all! We were all pretty pleased with the effort, that's for sure.

After the track workout we headed out to paolos verdes to get some endurance training in. And there, on the climb behind k-Mac, I hit my limit. That girl is a born climber yo! She dances on those pedals and just floats up the hill, chatting away and loving every minute if it. It's amazing to surround yourself with such great talent.

All in all the week has been great. I have learned a lot, and really value the time and energy USA cycling has put into the development camps.

Some big news is developing, and i will share more when it's appropriate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I took an ice bath tonight if that gives you any indication of how hard today was. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm starting to seriously consider getting an ice maker for my house. I know I'd only use it primarily in the summer months, I think. But it sure would save me the time and hassle of running to the corner market and dropping $10 a hit. Come to think of it though, that's a lot of runs to the store to combat the $300 plus price tags those puppies have. Nah, I think i'll just continue making a dash to darn good.

I highly recommend wading in wool socks and under-roos. That little extra clothing makes a world of difference! Don't question the logic, just do it. :)

Seriously though today was filled with lots of team pursuit drills and figuring out timing. I was sandwiched between what felt like two extremes, a fast person and a not so fast person. My job was to reign it in and funny how my lap times showed me being the slowest as a result. It's amazing how the times are somewhat of a lag time and that you're effort on the track is directly related to the teams. When things sync up and exchanges are dialed in then it's a perfect graceful feeling. Anything short of that leaves you gasping for air, legs screaming, heart pounding, arggh feeling. It's pretty rad, this pursuit of excellence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day one - track camp

The 6:15 wake up call this morning came a little earlier then wanted, as they always do. But I eagerly jumped out of bed, put the water on for some via coffee and got ready to go. I packed my to go bag the night before so the morning agenda included waking up, drinking some java and catching up on some blogs. There's something about reading about other people's lives and experiences that is truly inspiring. Speaking of which, if you know of any blogs out there that you hit regularly and would like to share, please do!

I digress...

We arrived at the track at 7:30 for our first early morning meeting before the serious work starts at 9am. Benjamin Sharp does a great job of covering the basics (sprinters line, being predictable, communication, no mans land, where warm up starts and ends, etc) and it was nice to get a refresher and make sure we're all on the same page.

On tap for today was three flying efforts - a 1500, 1000m, and 500m. They were all done individually and are used as a baseline test to find out what tools we have to begin with and where to take things. It's also a great indicator of what your strengths are... Such as do you go out hot and then fade? Or are you a steady sister who can just churn away even splits all day long? The nice thing about the track is that you get instant feedback. Go too fast and you pay dearly for it. Go too slow and you have something left in the tank. And the timer never lies.

So what did the timer say? Good things, all very good things. When I spoke with Jennie later that night and relayed my times she said that I shouldn't act so surprised. But I still have this pinch me, I must be dreaming residue left over from nationals. I guess the moral of the story is get used to being fast because I am fast!

After our track session we headed out for a road ride around p.v.. Unfortunately the LA area is not known for its road there is only one ride. And the locals in the area seriously hate cyclists. Riding single file in some areas is absolutely necessary if you want to get home in one piece. But having a big group of 11 meant we could ride two abreast the entire way back to the velodrome and take an entire lane to ourselves. I must say, that recovery drink has never tasted so good. And getting out of the chamois after six hours felt great. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tomorrow we do a little early morning spin followed by some team drills, which should be good I look forward to figuring out some pacing methods, that's for sure!

Friday, October 08, 2010

NW Harvest

So what does one do between Nationals and team pursuit camp? Go mushroom foraging, of course!

Chanterelle mushrooms are amazing. And right now they litter the forest floor in the Pacific Northwest. Foraging for them is like treasure hunting in the forest. The flavor and texture of them is amazing. The ones Chris and I have been finding right by his house are about 6 inches long and big old 'shrooms.

A little research on the fungi reveals they love to pop up near Douglas Firs and in just the right temperate zones. You pull them out of their holes by the root as cutting them can lead to disease and damage future re-growth. They are super fun to find and taste unreal. Later today I'm making some chanterelle mushroom corn chowder. Yum!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Race Report

As written for my team:

I have been quietly sitting in my house for nearly the entire day,
soaking up the fantastic memories and good times had down in LA this
past week. And it's no wonder I can no longer get off my duff as
according to my calculations I logged in well over 675 laps on the
steep bankings of the ADT Event Center velodrome. That's just shy of
175 kilometers of fixed gear action.

The international omnium started things off. This year USA cycling
opted to mimic the UCI international omnium, which meant the races
were a lot longer. At the world cup level all of the events are held
in one long session, with a minimum of 30 minutes for recovery between
races. At elite nationals, however, they split the event into a total
of three sessions, with the flying lap and 80 lap points race in the
first session, an elimination (miss and out) and 3k pursuit in the
second session, followed the next morning by a 40 lap scratch race and
500 meter time trial. The overall winner is determined by whoever has
the lowest cumulative points, with first place receiving one point,
second two points, and so on. I had decided early this season to make
the omnium my focus for nationals, as I seem to do well at several
events. That meant working long and hard at getting my overall speed
up since my aeorbic engine is fairly large. Gone were the multiple
pursuit style efforts and instead were replaced with sprint workouts
with maximum power output and maximum recovery. This new approach was
some what foreign to me as only doing four 200 meter efforts for the
day compared to six two to three kilometers in training was the
previous norm. If I lost you in that description then the best analogy
I can come up with is like being used to drinking a double big gulp
and then switching to a Dixie cup.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous going into the racing with a
different set of tools this year but after my first effort of doing a
flying lap and placing third, well nobody could steal my new found
confidence. The points race could have gone better... But with the
likes of world champion Sarah Hammer in the field who easily lapped
the field after the first sprint, well I did the best I could and
placed 7th. Thankfully my competitors who placed well in the points
race were further down the totem pole from the flying Lap and I
managed to hold onto fourh place.

Between sessions I went back to the hotel and had an ice bath. It was
113 that day in LA and the velodrome, although temperature controlled,
was still blazing hot. Next up was the elimlnation race and I was
struggling for position the entire time. Fifth place in the omnium
standings luckily was called out the time before and sixth place was
called out just after me. That left me narrowly in fourth place, with
only a point separating me from my nearby competitors. With placement
at each event critical to overall placement, it's super important to
brush off less then desired results and go into the next race with a
can do attitude. Luckily the pursuit was up next and although I didn't
work specifically on that event this year, I was able to rely on my
previous year's devotion to it to carry me through. I was paired
against Colleen, who was in third, and also provided a nice carrot for
me to chase. I rolled at four minute even pursuit - certainly not my
fastest time but good enough to put me into fifth, still holding onto
fourth in the overall.

That night I envisioned the scratch race and putting in a perfect
finish. I played the race out over and over in my head, knowing that
my new found speed would be useful the following day. And guess what?
It played out exactly as I envisioned. Sarah Hammer lapped the field,
leaving the other placements up to a field sprint. With two laps to
go, I had perfect positioning near the front and sensed Cari Higgins's
attack from the outside coming. We flew to the finish line and my
closest competitors in the omnium were much further back. This move
proved to be the move that put me into third. We still had one more
event to go, the 500m time trial, again I felt confident and ready.
Sitting down in a chair near bike check, i could feel my entire body
shake from nerves. There I was, getting ready for the final event with
a podium position well within my reach. I had a fantastic start out of
the starting block, was still getting on top of my gear going into
corners three and four before realizing i should be in my aero bars.
Tela commented later that it looked like I was going to crash myself
out and i'm sure that wiggle cost me a valuable fraction of a second
but I ended up getting fifth in that event and placed third overall!
Oh man, what a feeling.

The podium presentation was surreal. I had done it. I made the
elevated USA cycling podium with some serious competition. During the
ceremony Cari said how proud she was of me for earning my spot, as did
Sarah. Wow. And the medals this year are pretty big! So was my smile.

And that was just the end of day two of five for the week! I still had
three more events to race in.

Friday morning after warming up, some of the fastest ladies of the
U.S. lined up for the 40 lap scratch race. Sarah Hammer had left the
previous day to train in Colorado and Higgins decided to sit the
scratch race out to race the individual pursuit. Jennie Reed, however,
decided to line up and have a gander at her first appearance at an
elite nationals endurance title. The race was animated in the
beginning and I was attentive in not letting any dangerous combination
of riders go up the track. The field was not going to let anything go
either so when Heather Alberts attacked with ten laps to go, and no
one really chased at first, it was time to get things moving. Chasing
her back within reach was perfectly timed, as I found myself in the
front of the group with 2.5 laps to go and Jennie on my outside hip.
It was time to ramp up the speed and prevent anyone from coming up and
over. With a lap to go, Jennie razored my outside, with Colleen glued
to her wheel and charging around me. I dug super deep and pushed as
hard as possible to come across the line for third. Another podium!
Are you kidding me? Somebody pinch me please!

Saturday's marathon session started for me in the afternoon with a 40
lap points race qualifier. With 10 spots up for grabs out of a 13
person field, the goal was to sit in after obtaining some points in
the first two sprints. Then we had a four hour wait before the 100 lap
final. Not realizing how long of a wait we'd have, I didn't fuel
myself properly. And we all know what that means - BONK! Midway
through the race, a huge crash happened directly in front of me
tangling five girls up and neutralizing the race. One of the girls was
hauled away in a stretcher and we had about a twenty minute delay
before resuming the race. I contested another sprint but just didn't
have the fight left in me. I ended up 7th.

That night I was kicking myself for sabotaging my performance by
something so important and basic. I was more then eager to go back the
following day and represent in the Madison. There was just one major
problem - my madison partner had gone down in the points race and was
nursing a mild concussion. But she was ready to go the next day,
determined and ready to get a jersey and title. In one of our first
exchanges, all hell broke loose and we collided, sending Val down the
to the apron and me chasing on to the back of the field. Val certainly
gets the toughest cookie award because she was back up and ready to go
two laps later. We then contested every 20 lap sprint out of 100 laps
and placed second in each one. The strong duo of Higgins and Reed
proved impossible to beat though and try as we did to make something
happen - they were not going to go down without a fight. We ended up
second and happy to be a part of history in the making with the first
ever USA cycling elite woman's Madison. It was a great way to round
out the week.

After logging a few hours on my couch this week, I'm headed back down
to LA to participate in a team pursuit camp. I'm very excited for the
opportunity and look forward to sharing my knowledge with others upon
my return. Thanks for all of the encouraging words and here's to
making the training count this winter toward winning a jersey next

Monday, October 04, 2010

Wow. A successful assault at USA elite track nationals this year. Jonesy's group was wildly successful thanks to her amazing coaching, careful preparation and attention to detail. Her timing was to a tee for each one of us girls and between the group we collected the following hardware:

Liz - two national titles. The 500m and team sprint. Along with a third place in the sprint tournament and kieirin.
Tela- fifth place in the sprint tournament, second in team sprint and 6th in the kierin. 
Jennie- two national titles, one in the scratch race and the other in the women Madison.
Myself- a silver in the Madison, and two thirds in the international omnium and scratch race. 

Not only did we represent marymoor in style, but we probably brought home more medals then on record. I'll have to look into that one. 

Oh and i also get to mention dan harm was on the winning team pursuit team. His Ouch team is definitely on track for the upcoming world cup season starting this winter. 

There were so many highlights, and a few blunders. But all in all the highlights far outweighed any shortcomings. To be part of history, especially in the first women national championship madison was truly an honor. 

So what's up next? Well, I'm glad you asked. In a week and a half i head back down to LA for a team pursuit development camp and am really looking forward to the opportunity it will provide. But in the next few days, i get to enjoy some much deserved and needed time off. 

A quick calculation of racing laps.... 100 Madison, 140 points race (heat and final)' 40 scratch race, 80 points race in omnium, 40 scratch race in omnium, 3 laps for 500m tt and flying lap, and 12 laps for the 3k pursuit. Not to mention five days of 40 lap warmups let's say 200 laps. That's 655 laps. Not to mention about three hours logged on the rollers. I am ever so thankful for those hardcore double days and hard efforts, as much as i may have resented them at the time. What a difference it made!

Boy i am sure thankful for the wonderful support network I ha built up around me. I feel like my success was due to so many people pulling for me in so many ways. From training partners, to borrowed equipment, to time off from work (thanks mom!), to my California car (thanks pops and Anita!), dog sitters, encouraging teammates, friends and family members, my fantastic and best coach in the business, ms. Jennie reed. And as corny as it may sound, my facebook fan club. Thanks for the comments everyone, it means a lot that you care!

A part of history...

This year marked the first year for the USA to hold an elite women's madison national championship. Last year's jaunt was an "exhibition" race and this year, thanks to 10 woman's teams signing up we had a real legit title to chase after. And try as Val and I did to beat team incredible (consisting of Jennie Reed and Cari Higgins), we just couldn't do it. But we did try and made it an aggressive and hard race!

More details and a race report to come...

Friday, October 01, 2010

Two for two

Little to my surprise, I did it again with the bronze this morning with a solid ride in a 40 lap scratch race. Jennie won it with colleen stuck fast to her hip. It was Strange race at times with lots of people trying to make something happen off the front of the race, to no avail. The most serious threat came with about six laps to go when heather albert launched solo off the front. Jennie and i timed the chase to perfection with me leading with a lap and a half to go. She stayed on my hip with Colleen stuck to her wheel and then we charged down the lane. She had such speed coming in front of me that it was all I could do to spin my legs off. Thank goodness for that big gear I was in!

The best part about going into the scratch race after that fantastic race and finish yesterday was that there was no pressure. No pressure to preform - just the ability to race my bike and see what i could do. Crazy as it may sound too, being on the podium after such a short race felt strange. I didn't have the long hard battle I had before getting up there... The long hard fought battle of the day before. It still felt wonderful, don't get me wrong. But it felt different. Maybe that's fatigue talking!

Probably one of the great highlights, though there have been many, was having ryan's dad and step mom up in the stands watching me. They saw my effort, they know how much I've been working and how more then anything i would have loved to have Ryan here to witness it. I know he was watching and cheering louder then anyone. That was for you Bubba.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cloud nine

Well, I did it. Third in the 2010 elite track nationals woman's omnium. It was a battle from start to finish but in the end i prevailed and am now basking in the glory. Sure it may not be a title, but it's my first legit solo podium and I am seriously just a wee bit excited.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Race day no. One

I am shivering as we speak from getting a twenty pound bag of ice and plunging in for fifteen minutes. BURRR!
But if it gives me some additional recovery the it's worth every agonizing shivering moment of it. Maybe next time I'll pick up two bags.

Oh this sport!

Now to the racing... It was a long day. We started with a flying lap and i placed 3rd with a 15.71, which in many ways has saved my butt in the overall. Next up this morning was a points race an 8 x 10 which was brutal. I placed 7th and that landed me into fourth. The second session had an elimination race and I just couldn't get in good position. Again i placed 7th. Then we had a 3k pursuit and try as i did for a 3:50 schedule, i just couldn't make it. But i tried my hardest and for not doing any any pursuit work - I'll take it! By the skin of my teeth I'm still sitting fourth with two events left. The scratch race first in the morning and then the 500m.

Wish me luck tomorrow morning! The work will be done in the early morning.

Peace out!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good Omens

I had an easy rest day today before the shenanigans begins tomorrow. The morning had a recovery ride in it and then a trip to the track to drop Tela off for her workout. I then headed to Casa de Tripez (Ryan's Dad and step mom's house in Torrance) to do a rental car switch-a-roo. They were so kind to lend me their Passat Wagon this week while I'm in town and scolded me for even renting a car at all! They are so good to me.

Upon returning to the track to pick Tela up, I picked up my registration packet for tomorrow and low and behold - my bib number for the week? Number one. Oh yeah! Pretty stoked about that one. Good omen? You bet.

I found Jennie on the infield who also arranged a massage with her go to guy Doug - and got a fantastic pre race rub. His magic fingers did wonders and I've been floating on a cloud ever since. I'm feeling good and ready for tomorrow's battle!

And you can be certain - that bib number will be framed. :) I'm number one! I'm number one!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I'm resting between efforts at the track. This is my second time on the boards and I'm still hesitant on the top part of the track near the rail as the drop down to the apron seems miles away. I know that as the week progresses those insecurities will deminish but for now I take comfort in hauling ass up there. 

The constant hum of tires on wood fill my ears as the likes of Sarah hammer, the dr. Kay men's pursuit squad, Canadian national team and Kevin mansker pedal in revolutions, just to name a few. (for those of you who don't know who I'm talking about these people are world class cyclists and hopefully their prowess will rub off while I sit here.)

Monique Sullivan (can) grinds a 103" gear while being paced by an electric motor at Mach speeds as they prep for the pan am games in india which. They leave for on thursday. Friends are starting to assemble on the infield in what I deem the pressure cooker and while remained camped there for the week.

My second effort calls... And gear changing. Just thought I would give you a quick glimpse of what goes on inside the velodrome. More to come.

Ps la just hit records temps... 113. It's hotter than balls here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mummer musings

Last night at morton's steakhouse in Portland, a long table filled with family and a few friends sat around and each shared a highlight of their relationship with myo grandmother. Dinner took four hours as no one wanted the evening to end. My niece and nephew were passed out on their parent's laps as the adults continued telling story after story of the amazing memories they had with both of my grandparents. I am really glad I stuck around for this unforgetable and memorable time.

Some of those memories include:
She always had lipstick on her hamburger...
Truly a lady with long fingernails that are jewels, not tools.
Always laughing and had a great time where ever she went.
Kept up amazing correspondence with over 40 letters a month sent out for birthdays, holidays, etc.
Always dressed to the nine's.
Had a thing about fingernails apparently. She told me when I was little that if I didn't stop biting my nails I wouldn't have any friends. Turns out she canceled my aunts first party when she didn't stop biting hers.

Those are just a few....

Friday, September 24, 2010

And we're off!

Day one of my mini-adventure...

It took me a little over three hours to pack last night for the next 10 days. In one bag were all of my skin suits, cycling paraphenila etc. In another was a bag full of things for the short but sweet trip down to Portland for my grandmother's memorial service. In a third bag I packed other clothing and grabbed four photo albums worth of memories to share with the family. And I can't forget the syran wrapped track bike in a cardboard box. At this point if I forgot anything I can certainly live without it.

I put in another solid two hour ride this morning from Tacoma to gig harbor and definitely felt yesterday's roller workout. The leaves are slowly changing to brilliant shades of red and yellows and I nearly have to pinch myself while cruising down a super smooth country road paralleling the Puget sound. I don't mind the little sputter of rain as I spin through what many would consider a rain forest. The pacific nw is an amazing place.

Now I wait on my little sister to pick me up and we head south to meet up with family we haven't seen in quite some time. It's too bad the only time we can find time these days to get together are only at life's major events. But at least we recongnize those and I'm looking forward to it and meet some of the newest family members for the first time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


When I woke up this morning and carefully listened for a pitter-pat of rain and didn't hear it, then glanced outside on my way to fill the kettle with water for coffee and saw a gray, dry sky I couldn't help but get my hopes up. I placed a couple of phone calls to schedule a much needed motor pace session and then called the coach to find out exactly what kind of workout I should do since my original plan changed and it might stay dry.

I also looked on the radar and grimaced at a dark green/orange/yellow blob that was moving up from the south. Denial is a wonderful thing. Maybe it will blow by? Maybe it'll just stop right there and not hit the area and douse the track with precipitation? Maybe that orange means sunshine?

I was only 1/4 of the way to Seward on my morning ride when the first sheet of rain hit, spitting at first and then becoming a constant drizzle. By the time I got home, my butt was soaked, shoes wet, rain coat donned and I came to terms that today would hold an insane roller workout.

It's hard not to panic when things don't go according to plan. Especially right before an event that you've waited all year to have a crack at again. Am I doing enough? Am I losing my fitness?

But tapering does just that. It creates a little voice in your head that is hard to ignore. Suddenly you have more time on your hands since somehow you had adapted to the insane double day workouts and 98" gear efforts. And now that workload is cut in half and race gear feels like a warm up gear. What were precious moments of down time become huge blocks of boredom and all your body wants to do is move. I have tackled those pesky chores since I've had more time - mow the lawn, wash the car, organize a closet, knock out a list of self-prescribed honey do's.

This is the time when you place the biggest trust in your coach and training plan. All of the hard work, the hours spent pedaling, the dedication to solid nutrition, the weight training, etc - your homework essentially - comes into play. You couldn't cram fitness in right before a major event - it has to be accumulated over time. And you have to trust that all of your hard work will come into play next week.

And now for that 3x10 minute high cadence workout.... my roller mat will look like I left it outside. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The original plan of heading down to LA today for a week of track familiarization changed as of 8am yesterday. Instead, I'm sticking around till Sunday to celebrate my grandmother's life with my family and training around here. Hopefully the weather holds!

It's hard to believe that this is the first day of fall. Yet there's a nip in the air that wasn't there last week, despite the rain and the leaves are changing to vibrant shades of yellows and reds.

Since there's change in the air - I've decided that it's time to paint the interior of my house. Time to spruce it up a little. Ryan and I painted the entire inside when we first moved in close to 10 years ago (whoa!) and it's time to get rid of the dark dark colors. I need more light in my life (especially with the dark months coming ahead).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life often has other plans...

I got the call this morning at 8am. My grandmother on my dad's side passed away at 7:30 this morning.

The tears didn't immediately start flowing. I ate my breakfast like normal, drove up from Tacoma and sort of listened to NPR. I got home, started looking into changing my flights and then just started bawling. The reality of losing immediate family came crashing in.

I know this is part of the process. This is the part of life that happens to everyone, no one is immune. Yet I can't deny the sense of loss and the sadness that comes with it, not to mention the big fat alligator tears. (Thank goodness I held onto those hankies from Melinda when Ryan passed.)

Death stirs up all sorts of grief - the reminder that life is too short. The reminder that loving someone is such a risk and absolutely worth it. And that you should be enjoying every single little waking moment of it.

And that family is so important to hold near and dear to your heart. We've only got one shot at this life.