Thursday, May 29, 2008

Green Day

The sun came out a bit today and so did life. So cool. While on my ride I saw a baby fox that couldn't figure out was I was doing, a brown hawk that was waiting for me to crash and burn, tons of very pregnant robins that could barley get off the ground, saw a cute snake that didn't give a rats that I was there

saw chickens wandering around and walking funny and even saw the Thomas the Tank chu chu train in action on the tracks. Good stuff I tell you. Good stuff.

I like it when I am not the only thing alive on the roads.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Glove Engineer

Well not really. It was merely an attempt at a very quick fix until the nice weather rolls around one of these years.

This last weekend was sure kah kah kah cold out! With highs in low 40's I had to do what I didn't want to do - cut up a glove for my little fingers that are sticking out of my cast. They could handle the 50's + in Santa Barbara without a glove, but 40 ish weather was asking way too much. Luckily I for some reason kept all the gloves over the years that I didn't have matches to for one explanation or another. I knew they'd come in handy one day! And they did.

I had a lefty glove calling out my name asking me to put it to work again instead of collecting dust. I granted its wish and cut it up (which probably wasn't part of ITS plan), then taped er up and off I went. It worked pretty well too; my fingers were happy. And my thumb even got a little thumb cap that kept it happy.

What was not too happy this weekend was the Jordanelle Reservoir that is usually inundated with water skiers, boaters, jet skiers and all the rest over Memorial Day Weekend. Instead there was a whole lotta no one out there.

Usually we have killer hot weather right now but instead we have this (note the snow capped mountains in the background):

So it's like training in Scotland right now if I had to compare it to anything because it's so beautiful, so massively green, so very rainy and so stinking WET!! Fenders in May anyone?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fully Loaded

We are back home now after being gone over a month for racing. We weren't particularly excited about going from 90 degree heat in CA to a high of 46 here in Heber City, UT, but we made the decision to do so in order to start acclimating to the elevation for some upcoming races that I hope to be participating in once this cast is off.

When we first started packing to come home we weren't sure we could fit all the stuff that we acquired in our car. At one point our buddies, Kristin and Eric were talking about having us leave stuff there for the next time around. But somehow Chris was able to pack it all in including 5 full bikes and 2 extra wheelsets.

Side window of the car

Chris the master mind Tetris goo-roo took 3 whole hours to pack it all.

Looking back from the front seats

Once home Wed. night we had even more to conquer with the unpacking of the car then the opening of all the chair full of mail that had been acquired over the month.

Chris took on the daunting task of "mail opener".....maybe not so happily...

But someone had to do it! Plus secretly I think he enjoys the mail.
And now we are both (not so) enjoying the fabulous overcast, rainy, cold weather (aka our second winter in the middle of Spring). Sweet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hill Repeat

Holy moly. I am actually sore right now from all the climbing I have been doing around here in the Santa Barbara area this last weekend. Do you know just how long its been since I got sore from a bike ride? I mean really.......its been YEARS. YEARS!!!!! Yesterday I went on the same 4000 plus elevation gain route that I did on Saturday and it was just as great the second time around.

I started cruising on the flats as a warm up near the ocean.

And then made my way up and over the hills again in the searing hot weather.

These huge rocks sit randomly on the side of the road and appear out of know where as you are climbing up on the two way road (that looks more like a dang bike path to me)! People are making good use of the the rocks too practicing their rock climbing on them.

Some foliage on the way up that sticks out like a sore thumb in this area.

It is going to be hard to leave this place and head back home although it will be nice to get back for sure! But Eric and Kristin have been awesome hosts especially considering all the drama I have brought into the house.......broken body parts, food poisoning. Plus how nice is it that I can roll right out their front door and head straight up for 3000 plus feet of climbing or just hit a flat bike path next to the ocean for recovery if I want? Wow. This has been the life - broken thumb and all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

NMBS #3 Cross Country - Santa Ynez, CA

Psyche!! No I didn't race. I was a good girl and stayed home which was hard but I knew it was coming.

So while everyone was feeling the effects of the heat during the NMBS race today I got out for a killer ride with about 4000 feet of climbing. The temperatures were still searing but not nearly as bad as where the race was being held.

I was in heaven on my bike and just could not get enough today! I could have gone all day it seemed but finally had to make myself stop after hours in the saddle. I was having SO much fun hammering all by my lonesome! It sucked that I felt SO good today too. SO good. But I did put it to good use and got some serious intensity in.

Sometimes I think my body just knows its Saturday and that it has to pull it together to make things run the best that it can. Because there is really no reason I should be feeling stellar right now other than the fact that I don't have food poisoning anymore. That will make one feel good I guess!

Overlooking the ocean on the way up to the 95 degree heat that was up and over the mountains.

The Painted Cave State Historic Park was on the way up. Kind of cool!

Thank god this chair appeared outta nowhere. It was fun heckling other cyclists as I enjoyed a local brew with my feet up in the middle of my ride.

Then it was off to the beach with Kristin to watch the boys surf.

Eric and Chris.

Chris heading on out to surf it up on the tiniest waves known to man kind (1 foot). They are supposed to be at 7 feet this Wednesday though!

Kristin, the sun goddess.

Friday, May 16, 2008

10th Anniversary

Wow. How did we already hit 10 years of marriage? Crazy. We were lucky enough to be in Santa Barbara together and hit the beach for some r and r then out to dinner with some friends. Good times and more to come!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To Race or Not to Race?

I figured the best way to figure out whether I could race or not this weekend was to see what the thumb could handle so I headed to the Santa Ynez race course and jumped on. And it was so bumpy and jarring that I almost ducked out on half a lap. It was so bad. Check out the course conditions here:

Some of those cracks were so cracked that they created tire traps which just added another element that I am not up for this time around. I have got enough to worry about as it is without adding that into the equation!

It was so jack hammery though that I feared that I undid any progress I made on my thumb just from pre-riding!! I was getting rattled, the bike was getting rattled and most importantly, my hand was getting rattled. I mean, you expect mtbing to be bumpy and stuff but this was outrageous and quite honestly it flat out sucked.

As I was heading around the course I would hit one little piece of smooth singletrack and would make a decision that "I can do this on Saturday!!!" and get all excited . But then I would be thrown back into jack hammer hell and take it all back very quickly. The course was about %80 jack hammer and %20 smooth I'd say which isn't good for a healing hand. I felt so great on the climbs too!! But then I felt like a little wuss on the downhill sections, especially when I tried to lean the bike over around a corner. Bummer!!!!

After a full lap on the course I realized that I just simply wasn't opening up on the downhill like I normally do. I was hesitant and not very aggressive which is a bad combo and can get you into more trouble. My cast wasn't giving me much room to budge and I am finding that you need that extra room to budge to be safe! Plus.....I am not really even holding on to the bike as you can see in this photo:

Bottom line is that it is just not a safe scenario for me to race with a broken thumb that is all casted up. I tried at least. Plus, racing is hard enough when you are going into it a %100 well and ready and I am just NOT well and really not ready either after coming off of food poisoning for a week. I am still feeling the effects of the massive depletion as my body makes its way back to fully normal. Did I just call myself normal? Hmmmm. Not sure that is very accurate. :)

More bumpy singletrack on the NMBS course.

So the decision has been made or just really finalized here today. I am not racing in this NMBS race on Saturday. It is the first one I have missed since 2003 but I am making the right decision.

Here is one of the first singletrack climbs up the NMBS course.

Good luck to all those who are racing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dr. Appt

I went to another hand doctor here in Santa Barbara today, got an x-ray and was told that everything was healing up just fine and dandy so far. I was also given strong words of advice not to go mess up the progress of bone filling in that 1mm space, or risk prolonged time in the cast. Grrrrrr. But I waaaaaant to race on Saturday!! Whaaaah!!!!

As it is right now, I can have the cast off in 3 weeks making this a 5 week ordeal. But if I go and jar the heck out of the joint and bone I risk undoing what has been done by my body to heal itself. I know what the correct answer is but I don't want to accept it yet dang it. I have had time to mill this all over up to this point, going over all the various scenarios in my head but I have a big choice to make right now and I pretty much know what the right answer is. Ugh.

So I walked out of the office, cast still on which was a big decision right there because all along I wanted to splint it at this point. But I have been so happy with the cast and its stability and the lack of pain and all. I have absolutely no pain right now so why mess with something good? My bone is safe and that is the best thing for it. Hmmmm. I think I know where I am going with these thoughts which is a good thing in the end....

Then everything was just hit right to home when I ran into a guy today that said he had a walking cast and still played soccer, then went in to see the doctor for an x-ray to monitor progress and the next thing he knew he was having a pin put in. Then he told me all about the annoyances of a pin which he really didn't have to do because I really don't want one!! No - thank - you. I am not into that unless it has to be done and from what it sounds like......I am clear at this point.

But now, my future is in my hands - Oh man I am funny.......that was a good one wasn't it??? :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Santa Monica Riding

Chris and I got an invite to head south to Newbury Park and meet up with some Giant Bicycle employees among some others for some good ole fashioned dirt hammering session. It was the first time since I got sick with food poisoning last week that I had done much intensity but things turned out ok and were as good as they could be.

Chris on the other hand had gotten up at 5am to go surf until 10am this morning and was pretty shot before we even turned one pedal over. Despite that though he did well during his hammer session with the boys.

And, I was surprisingly able to hold my own riding on the dirt for the first time since getting my cast on 2 weeks ago. It was a good test and I felt pretty stable although breaking with my left hand (the one with the broken thumb) was a tad interesting and shifting was annoying (and pretty much not existant too). Not an ideal situation to be riding in a cast on singletrack but I made the best of it and had lots of fun!

Chris mixing it up.

There was even another nut job out there who was riding on a compound leg fracture (see the soft cast on this guys leg below?). His doctor who was at first opposed to him riding at all is now considering different methods for future patients based on just how well and fast this guys fracture is healing. Wow!! Every ones body is different - that is for sure! So 2 of the 11 of us tonight were riding with broken body parts. What is wrong with people like us? :)

After that the group rode to the top of the Santa Monica Mountains just in time for the sunset.

Andrew J., our fearless leader who promised he wouldn't leave me up on the mountain to die alone because I couldn't keep up with my thumb holding me back a bit, with Chris hanging at the top.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here is Some Free Advice

as you are looking for a wireless network......


When I stopped to take this pic of a lemon tree and the lemon grove while on my ride today all I could here was an all over buzzing sound in the air. After putting 2 and 2 together (bee sightings everytime I ride and the fact that I was surrounded by yummy bright fruit) I was gone!!!!!

The heat wave is trying its darned-est to get here. And I wish it would already cuz it has been overly chilly willy for CA!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Riding in the Park

Chris, Brooke, Kristin, Eric and I all headed to Solvang, CA area where it is sunny and about 10 degrees warmer than Santa Barbara. It is weird because you drive up from foggy, yuck-o, "Gorilla's in the Mist"weather about 10 minutes up and over the mountains and wham, you get sunny blue sky and a heck of a lot warmer than SB. I guess it is always like that when it's "May Gray" in the Barb with the mountains trapping it in.

Kristin, Chris, Eric, Brooke ready to ride

We parked at a school off of Figueroa Road which is just across the entrance to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. You can't see anything except the entrance to the the ranch from the road. It is well guarded too. Want to buy it? I guess you are too late.

But I wasn't sure they were going to let me onto Figueroa road in the first place.....

Not sure what peak that is in the distance? Perhaps Figueroa?

After tackling that road and a bit of the climb we headed over and up to Foxen Road which parallels the Firestone Vineyard where the next NMBS race is this weekend.

Chris and Brooke taking a break.

Kristin making a face at me!

Here are some pics looking down at the NMBS course. In years past we have parked near that tiny lake and the single track goes through the vineyard behind it and then comes up to where I am standing taking the picture at one of its higher points on the course. From there it's just lots of rollers.

The singletrack is looking dusty and crusty and word is that it is supposed to be 95 degrees plus here this weekend. Heat wave!

Seriously? A gov't sign for Tarantula crossing?