Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Peaks and Valleys

On Sunday my dad shared with me a touching story. He has been a car salesman all his life and when he used to work for Dunham's, a Cadillac dealer in Eugene, he had a coworker and friend named Ernie (or was his name Arnie, or Bernie?). Ernie had been married for 30+ years and unexpectedly and tragically lost his wife. Yet Ernie's ability to remain optimistic and carry on despite his loss was inspiring. During a managerial meeting one morning, the salesmen were writing down goals and sharing how they stay grounded in what can be uncertain times, especially in the car business. Ernie shared the following:

Life is like a mountain. The trick to survival is knowing that for every summit you stand on top of, there's a valley down below. And for every valley you are in, there's a summit up above. When you stand in those peaks or valleys, just reminder that times will get better and only a step up or down in either direction can help a lot.

Thanks dad, I needed that. And thanks Ernie for having such a good impact on people that it inspires them to share it 20 years after you said it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Connected this past weekend with family I haven't seen in a while. It was refreshing and fun and a hilarious reminder of how many traits we share being from the same blood. We enjoyed one anothers company and are planning on additional reunions in the future.... but next time I vow to take the train down.

Here's to the last few days of warm summer temps and riding out to the track....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I've been looking at the calendar for ten minutes now - trying to figure out the very last day I saw Ryan. It was Friday, August 29th. He was driving out to Mazama for a week of relaxation, and I was headed out to the track for the last Friday night before heading down to San Jose for Master track nationals. He called me later that night to wish me luck before he went out of cell service range and we talked several more times during the week. We were planning a big extravaganza out to the San Juan islands upon our return to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.

The grief still comes in waves, with anniversaries, holidays and birthdays bringing it up a notch. I miss him, and always will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I've been coveting the TK1 Felt dream machine for months. Ever since I first saw one a couple of years ago, I've had fantasy of owning one. First Kenny showed up with one at the track, nearly two years ago. Then Jo showed up with hers, and I drooled. Then Bret. Then Val, my Madison partner. And then Jason at FSA Grand prix.

I tried to find a bike that would fit me like a glove. I've really tried. From Bianchi, to Naked, to Tiemeyer to Blue. The Tiemeyer came the closest to fitting me but yet something just wasn't quite right....

And when a friend of a friend said I could get my hands on the hottest machine on the market right now? I finally pulled the trigger. It came last Monday. It was missing a part but I was able to ride and race it on Friday and I am in love.

And there's no comparison. It is the ultimate machine. It accelerates like nothing else. It tracks like nothing else. I love it, I love it, I love it. It gives me that giddy child like feeling on the bike again. And in a few hours I get to happily punish myself on it again. I can't wait.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Skate King

Let me take you back. Way back. Back to the shag carpet era. Back to skating around in circles with eight wheels beneath you. To the carpeted walls, disco balls, florescent lights and pop music. To glow sticks, burnt pop corn, questionable corn dogs and over priced sodas. To sweat filled rental skates and big toe blisters from going around only in left hand turns....

To a place that hasn't changed its interior design in 25-30+ years... a place called SKATE KING. It still smells the same- sweaty feet inside leather skates. Who knows what funk grows inside of those old shoes.

Oh yeah. And as an adult it's quite a scene, let me tell you. Trannies, mobsters, old guys with mullets, tank tops and mad hustle.... pig tails, black lights. Backward skates, break dancing on the floor. It was like taking a trip through time. Suddenly I felt 8 again.

Thursday nights. Bellevue. 18 and over only.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last night I had a wacky dream about doing an all men's Keirin out at Marymoor. The race played out in my head - from start to finish. I was 5th on the line, thrown in but the guys jockeyed for better position in front of me so I ended up being the very last person in a line of 6. The motor took off too - and only two guys were able to stay with it. Then with a lap to go, the motor slowed way down, crashing out the guys in the lead and allowing the rest of us to catch up. The two other guys in front of me were confused by what was going on with the motor, so I buried myself and came around them all for the win. It then played in replay in my own mind - and was a reminder, never give up. You never know what's going to happen.

Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This morning while getting a massage from Genevieve, I felt like Ryan was with me. I could feel his touch and I was hugging him back with thoughts of being in Yosemite and hanging out in the High Sierra's. Our nine year anniversary is coming up too - and memories of our epic honeymoon and getting stuck over night on the Middle Cathedral Rock seem like it was just yesterday. Ryan was an amazing man and I can't believe it's been nearly two years since he left this planet. Two years goes by quick....

Friday, August 13, 2010

"If you watch water flowing down a river or stream, you will see that it always finds a path. It finds its own path, even if there are big rocks, branches, or logs along the way. Without stopping to worry, the water flows around rocks and other obstacles. It keeps flowing toward its destination. You can flow around obstacles, barriers, worries, or setbacks in your day or life, just like a river. There are ways around or through almost all obstacles if you relax and let yourself flow. So if you are ever discouraged or upset about something, imagine that you are a little stream or powerful river. You are like the water flowing gently down that river. Allow yourself to relax and flow. Let your relaxation and calmness flow you around the obstacles and through the worries toward your destination.

Continue to believe in yourself along the way.
Continue to believe in what you are doing.
Continue to believe in your own value.
Continue to flow along even if there are obstacles.
Follow your own path."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is one of those weeks where I have to remember - you will feel weaker in order to get stronger. And boy, do I feel weak. The body is being pushed to new limits and I'm holding on for dear life.

I found my true breaking point earlier this week. On the fourth set of pursuit efforts, just after my second 1/2 lap pull, the body and mind decided that enough was enough. And as soon as it did - not a single ounce of remorse, or woulda coulda shoulda's clouded my brain - instead, the extreme desire to pull over, get off my bike and get into the fetal position over whelmed me. It's truly amazing what you can put the human body through in order to make gains.

Here's to working hard and pushing through something that you might not necessarily do otherwise unless you had such big goals....

Monday, August 09, 2010

I am tired as it was an exhausting weekend. Yet a deep satisfied smile spreads across my face as I am either delirious or just found the key to the puzzle. For now I'll run with finding the key...

Lots of things happened this weekend and the outcome is fantastic. In my over analytical thought pattern, which has been keeping me up at night, I finally let it go. Let the ego, the emotional turmoil, the stress, the pent up anxiety - all of it - just released. And it feels good. Really, really good.

Like suddenly the smog lifted, the clouds parted, the beauty emerged and I smile realizing it was always there. It was always within myself, the gift of eternal happiness. The sunny side up feeling - living each moment we have to the fullest. It's intoxicating to really feel this way.

Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do.

PS - I think a little of this feeling had to do with attending Van Morrison's concert last night at the Gorge... thanks Van. That show rocked.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Gym time.

I love my gym. It has lots of open space, it's quiet in the mornings, people are friendly and courteous, and the personal trainers love what they do. They usually play decent music over the intercom (unless they get on the DMB channel) and it's easy to focus on the task at hand: getting stronger.

My morning routine looks silly to most as the dynamic warm up raises a few eyebrows. But I'm generally ignored, which is helpful because often I feel like a complete dork when doing ankle taps, hydrants, and side lunges. And one, and two, and three and four. Watch the following video to see what I'm talking about.

Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. But I think you get the idea.

I love running into this personal trainer named Mike Seilo. He specializes in strength and conditioning for high level athletics. He loves what he does and it reflects in the people he attracts to his program. This morning he had a new female client who he was putting through the ringer with back squats, morning glories, etc. As he was instructing her I overheard him say, "getting stronger is a bitch." Amen, brother. Amen.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My little sis and I got into an interesting conversation last night over dinner. I was telling her about the intensity required out at the track and the training efforts that require 100% presence of the mind, body and soul to do one simple thing - go faster. Sure you can condition the body day in and day out, but the mind is often one of the overlooked aspects that needs conditioning too. Some people, um, like a certain Olympian I know, have this mental trait naturally. They are able to tap into a complete harmony of the mind and body - and demonstrate their ability through amazing accomplishments. Besides being physically strong, they also go into that pain cave regularly, without a second thought and push harder. This sets them apart from 99.9% of the population. I feel very fortunate to have such a mentor and coach who can demonstrate this and count my blessings everyday.

I had to sort of laugh at myself as my kitchen table was covered with books with self-help titles such, "Embracing Your Potential," and "In the Pursuit of Excellence," among others. Yet if these books, if read in the right frame of mind, at the right time, can be applied to competition and training, and help me push harder - why not? If opening your eyes to different tools on how to mentally tackle an obstacle, such as pushing harder and ignoring your body when it's screaming to stop, can help me reach my potential, what have I got to lose?

Marcy relayed her own recent discovery - hopefully she won't mind if I share it. She came across some book titled, "The Power of No." Through it she discovered that even if you don't want to do something and want to respond no to something, maybe it's a better idea to say, yes, no, yes. It can be applied to all aspects of life. Someone asks you to do something at work that you know can't be done. Instead of starting out with a no, respond with something like, "I really like your idea on the approach to that problem. Unfortunately it won't work with the way we're doing it now, but let's figure out how to make it work."

Yes, no, yes.

Yes I can do 18,000,000 intervals. But I can't do them all in one day. How about we spread them out over a lifetime? I think you get the idea...

Ramble, ramble, ramble.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


every pedal stroke counts. Every waking moment, every effort, every attempt, every up and every down, every ounce of energy put forth into my dreams, goals and aspirations. I do it because I love it, because I am passionate for it, because I have a dream.

There's nothing to lose - and everything to gain. Chase those dreams and embrace the pursuit.

Got to test ride some bad-ass carbon wheels made by Mad Fiber. If you're looking for a super stiff, lightweight, sweet pair of race wheels for climbing and accelerating, look no further. These wheels, hand built in Seattle, are all you'll need to make the competition quake in their boots.

Monday, August 02, 2010

This is just way too weird not to share. Maggie better behave or else I'm going to subject her to river crossings, sand dunes and baja travel.