Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Graduated!

This last Friday was my official last day of Hand Therapy. My PT visits ran out but I am pretty good to go overall so its ok. I could keep going but I should save my new set of PT visits for any challenges that may occur in 09 (lets hope this is not the case right?).

So the hand is pretty good. It is still swollen some and any issues are with my middle finger now. It was dislocated in the wreck in July and sat nestled in between the 2 hand bones that I blew out. So it got the brunt of everything that happened on either side of it.

I can pretty much make a fist now but its still stiff. As for range of motion, its golden too except for that darn middle finger. Before the wreck I was able to stretch that whole finger back 90 degrees and now I can only get it 30. Not a big deal with what I am doing now with my life but hopefully I won't need the other 60 for anything in the future I guess. I am still working on it myself though because it bugs me to all hell to have it like it is. I want it back to normal dang it! It is that soft tissue thing vs. just blowing everything out thing. Blowing it out can be a lot easier and better which was the case in my particular scenario.

So, yeah... yoga, Pilate's, some specific weights for my arm and shoulder are all helping a ton with everything. It is helping get the strength and flexibility back but I am having some residual effects from the wreck in my shoulder for sure. Got some weird pain there that is more annoying than anything. And its because that side is weaker now but I am using it like normal.

The broken wrist is good too. I keep forgetting about it until I try to do an arm balance for too long in Yoga and it starts getting weak on me and sends twinges. Annoying but that will change with time.

Other than that, I have been working at Deer Valley, hanging with buddies from out of town (Kristin and Eric from Santa Barbara!!) and training for the mtb season.

Life in the fast lane. HA!

Oh and its always cool to make the "Best of 2008" pictures when you need some motivation while plugging away on your trainer! Those scratches on my leg are just a reminder of the wicked crazy season I had. They were from randomly careening into the trees during the Deer Valley Cross Country race the day before, totalling my bike and thankfully not me. That was a week later in NY........

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We got some good snow today!

Well perhaps more of you had merrier Christmas's than I - at least I hope so. I stayed home alone all day watching the snow pile up and cleaned the house. That is ok - I actually wanted to clean. Being on the road all year long doesn't allow for all but a light clean here and there and I like things spic and span!! So I took this day to enjoy my own company (Chris was working) and to clean like crazy. It was actually very pleasant believe it or not.

Then it was finally time to enjoy life a little because it was Christmas party time! Too bad it was up in Park City and the highways were covered completely in snow with whiteout and windy conditions.

But we braved the storm anyway with another couple from Heber and had a nice, enjoyable and SAFE evening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I worked today at Deer Valley selling all the cute-see-pah-toot-see stuff to those that needed last minute gifts.....of which there were quite a few actually!

Me and the rest of the staff doing our best to sell lots of picture frames, sweaters and tee - shirts.

Afterwards we had a treat of going over to our buddies, Brooke and Jons house for there annual Christmas Eve bash.

Brooke always has a Christmas pop quiz for us but, man, she needs to throw us a bone every once in a while. The questions are hard and get harder every year!!!!! Either that or I am getting dumber from putting myself in an anaerobic state all year long on the bike.

Heinrich and Julie deciding if they are just going to give in and circle all A or all B answers.

And of course there is Chris who would not be allowed in Brooke and Jons without the famous latch hook Christmas vest which has lighted lights built in on the trees.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bike Tunes

This has been around for a while but for those of you that haven't heard The Nutcracker Suite performed all on bike parts then check it out here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Moving Up in the World

No not me! Heber City.

We now have a NICE yoga studio here that opened recently. I finally got a chance to check it out today (I know, I am a heathen) and it was absolutely incredible. Much different that gym yoga only in that you can actually concentrate on your breathing and your body position much easier without hearing the clanging of barbells in the distance. I still dig gym yoga but this was pretty incredible experience.

And their teas they have at this studio!! Scrumptious loose leaf. Oh ya.

As for my car incident that occurred on Friday....I had been waiting for my car to give a great and massive snow birth in my garage but it never happened. So now the incident has cost me $5 for a serious car wash today. The snow was so jammed packed in the springs, on the axles, in the wheels and all under the car that it was making for a wicked wobbly and shuttery driving on an unevenly loaded washing machine at 60 mph. Enough to make you sick!

So we are all good now, unless there is something else that I don't know about. Great.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Post Office

Yep, me and all the other tools from here waited until today right before the Post Office closed to send all our packages off just in time for x-mas.

40 minutes later it was a done deal.

Later on we got to head over to Theresa's par-tey. Tons of people from both ends of her world - skiers and cyclists. It was fun to mix everyone up and get to know a more few great people!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Car Incident

What is wrong with this picture?

You were right if you said, "you aren't on the highway"

I feel pretty lucky right now to be sitting here writing this. On my way up to Park City today for my Hand Therapy Appt. I hit ice at 70 mph. After doing several 360's I went careening off of the not so snowy highway into the middle of the highways where I ended up in a ditch. I was stuck right side up thankfully (others were not so lucky).

The snow had just started to stick after I had just taken the car out of 4 wheel drive to save gas.....last time I do that although even if it had been in 4 wheel, nothing is great on ICE .

I was so dizzy when I stopped spinning and felt like I was going to throw up. Thankfully no one else was involved, my car is ok and so am I - our family doesn't need any more incidents or drama!!

Right before it happened I had just passed someone else getting pulled from the ditch and thought to myself "ooh that sucks, better let off the gas" and before I did I was out of control.

I was out of control long enough while still on the road that I thought I got the car under control 3 separate times before I started pinwheeling into the ditch between the 2 highways.

Then once I stopped, the cop who was already there getting others out let me try and get out on my own. So I put er in 4 wheel low and got some momentum going which was working pretty well with some good driving techniques but every time I almost got out I had to let off the gas because of the down hill traffic blasting past me. I certainly couldn't pull out on a highway in 4 low going 20mph!! So I had to give up and wave the cop back down to call a tow truck for me. I think its kind of funny actually that the cop initially let me try and get out because here I was bombing down the middle of the highway 4 x 4 ing the snow hoping I could just continue on up to PC.

Oh and the kind of lame part of this was that the cop stuck his face in my passenger window and asked me if I had been drinking (it was noon). I had no idea where he was going with that at first and responded yes, water. He probably thought I was being sassy but I really wasn't! So after that response he stuck his nose obnoxiously into the car and made all these completely ridiculous high pitched whiffing sounds as he was sniffing my car for alcohol. Too bad I hadn't had that beer, bbq, coleslaw and beans last night!

But I would have to say that the worst part of it really was waiting for the tow truck because I was sitting target watching all the other cars sliding everywhere. I even watched a semi jackknife on the highway and go into the same ditch I was in only a couple hundred feet down from me. It is the blob in front of the left stake.

That part of it was so stressful. I just wanted out of there before someone hit me from either side of the highway!!!!!! People were hauling ass like I was because the road was fine with little snow on it but little did they know or I know that there was ice silently lurking. Here were my exact thoughts as I sat there.

Ahhh, rescue is here!

Life isn't without crazy things happening to me, that is for sure. But I have at least learned now that if you see people off the side of the road, there is a reason and ice is likely the case.

BE CAREFUL out there everyone. Leave early!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Worked Over

I got home safe and sound and once I did I didn't come out of the house until today and even then it was brief. I am completely worked over. I am not sick but my body has completely and totally hit a massive wall.

I think I knew in my head that I just had to suck things up until the final cross race on Sunday. Then once I got home my body had had it.

I even started getting sick on Saturday while in Kansas and I just told myself that it wasn't an option, I was there, I had to compete, I made it that far and I woke up race day that next day completely fine. But now my body is DONE with a capital D. On Tuesday, I was on the couch for 8 hours and even venturing upstairs was a huge effort.

Like I said, I am not sick just worked over and I am listening to my body every step of the way because this has been one crazy a$# year for it breaking my thumb first, then my hand and wrist then having all this stuff with the family go down these past 3 weeks. I need rest and I am taking it and it feels marvelous!

I wouldn't want to build on this wobbly platform for the mtb season right now so rest is the main ingredient for the moment.

Gotta love this - a simple set of batteries

Turn them over.

Really, I shouldn't swallow them? Is that a bad idea? Shouldn't people and kids who can read and comprehend that already know that?

But maybe that is the ticket for me and it would make my body feel better though?

Monday, December 15, 2008

KS to UT

This was my last chance to beat my record of around 45 minutes to disassemble my two fully built cross bikes and pack them up snugly in my double bike case for my trip home today.

Plus it was a good reason to get myself to hurry the heck up since I was doing this in a 5 degree garage!

Basically everything is a race to me.

And......drum roll please....................35 minutes start to finish (bag zipped closed). And yes, I am giving myself a pat on the back for that one because when I first got that bag it took me 3 hours to configure everything.

Kansas City is not small.

But there does seem to be a lot of this which makes me feel at home.

Ahhhhh. The great sound of the word HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

US Cyclocross Nationals - Kansas City, MO

On the start line: The calm before the storm.

As many reports have read, today started out balmy and turned into a freezing wind by the time the women's race started. The temp went from 60 to 30 in only an hour and a half. That is why I always pack everything and anything that I own cycling wise. Yeah its annoying to schlep that stuff around everywhere but it always pays off at least once, especially in cross season.

Despite the freezing wind at everyones faces, the crowds still remained for the race. I think they all about blew out my ear drums too. I couldn't hear myself think it was so loud in spots. But that is assuming I was actually thinking at that very moment in time during the race too.

At least I wasn't gonna miss my pit guy, Ross, in the crowds. Easily found. Easily. It is always good to have a "no brainer" because sometimes you role into the pits (which I did NOT have to today at all) and you can't even mutter what your name let alone find someone. In fact I could have spotted him from the moon I bet.

Heading out for a lap to check out the course conditions prior to the race:

And this is what I found. Tacky and dry. Fun!!! Ok, I also found some run ups and one barrier section too.

The race started and I had a great position right off the bat. That'd be a position near the front. But the front position didn't last spectacularly long as we made our way up the mini NORBA course. The wind forced many of us into small groups right away. I luckily found myself with plenty of energy despite what I have been going through with my family these last few weeks and I was pleased that I was able to attack and counter attack too throughout the race. Today was really nuts in that way. Almost like a World Cup race in that if you slowed for a second, the girls were on you like flys on....well you know what. So you HAD to attack and you had to maintain or increase your speed with each lap.

And "That Emmett!!!" I love saying that. Well, I could see That Emmett (that'd be Kelli) creeping up on me each lap. Slowly getting bike lengths closer and closer to me. I tried to ward her off and once she made contact with me I tried to wear her down by attacking. No such luck with that though. She was able to sneak past me just enough to round out the Top 10. That Emmett!! : )

At one point during the race, think it was the second lap I remember thinking that I couldn't feel my lips. That is a weird thought in a middle of a race but it goes to show how cold it was too because my lips for whatever reason are always fine even in the most severe weather. I also couldn't feel my hands at that point but I guess all that changed later in the race because nothing has fallen off yet.

In addition, my left hand did AWESOME with the cold. I was pretty happy with that because I was told that it may be an issue with all the hardware in there now. Guess it wasn't an issue although I still do have circulation problems, but to be expected for a while until it fully heals I guess.

And I have to give a big shout out to all the spectators who yelled for me out there. I swear I was hearing my name on every corner of that race which is so nice because you forget about your pain for just that eensee teensey bit of time and instead find yourself asking "who in the sam hell do I know in Kansas!!!" Or Missouri or whatever.

Overall, given what I have been through emotionally with my parents since the day I got off the plane from the Southampton's race I am pleased with my result (not ecstatic). And maybe I am even more pleased with how I felt out there because I didn't feel like junk. I felt good and I gave it a solid effort every step of the way during that race and that is all you can do when life wears on you as it has done to me. You don't know what you are going to be able to bring to the table in a situation like that. And, while I am very capable of placing higher I have to give myself some credit and realize that for me just to make it to this race was a victory in and of itself.

Some well dressed sharks showed up to watch the races today.

And so did the couch potatoes

"Go "guys with no clothes on in 20 degree weather. Can you say RED bellies.


And my own personal cheering squad, Andrea, Elise and Mike

Easy now....

Ali giving it all he has in the Elite men's race after a solid 2nd place finish yesterday!

More of Ali duking it out today

And Bart throwing down. No, not throwing up.

And after the race I did something that I meant to do last year. My mom grew up in Kansas City and I really really wanted to go see the house she grew up in. Last year with all the snow on the road it just wasn't a smart idea to go do that so I regretfully didn't. I was hoping this whole time that I would be given another chance to make up for not going and I was given that chance. So after the race I made darn sure to go by where my mom, grandma and aunt(s) lived.

What a cute little house and I will emphasize little. Four people in that home is beyond me and quite impressive I might add. Maybe that is where I get my affinity towards smaller homes (I live in one) and don't really have a desire for otherwise. Or maybe that is because I probably don't even make enough money for the government to know I exist.

After getting back safe and sound from seeing my moms house Mike and Beth, my INCREDIBLE hosts, were kind enough to treat me again this year to some good ole fine Kansas City BBQ from Jack Stack Barbeque. Beer, BBQ, Onion Rings (yes, I had ONE), Cole Slaw and Beans. Luckily I was sleeping alone tonight!

Afterwards I was convinced to start my off season workouts with some Dance Dance Revolution. You heard of this thing? Yeah, me neither.

Ok, so I don't do too much dancing but after a few yummy dark beers I will!

Step 1: Learning is fun. I am all smiles and so is Elise as she does everything she can to teach me well.

Step 2: Getting serious because I suck and I don't like that ONE bit

Step 3: Yell at the TV because I am sure it made a mistake, not me!

Step 4: Take pulse and realize that you are really only good for cycling as you are completely worked over.

We were in there so long that the windows fogged.

Oh and I forgot to mention that Mike got to chum up with Katie C (winner of today's race) while she was warming down. She told us that her grandma got to watch her race for the first time ever. Luckily gram had ring side seats in a car that was parked right on the edge of the course! That is truly special!

And I will sign off with a very huge THANK YOU to Mike, Beth, Elise and James for being so great to host me again this year in their wonderful home. Thank you thank you thank you!
I just barely looked up the Kansas City weather. It is 59 degrees right now.

But what are ice pellets? Hmmmm.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

KS Pre-Ride

As promised, the KS course is right next to the airport.

Wow, I saw a large amount of people from Utah today. That is pretty cool. And I might add that they have all been extremely successful!! Ali came in 2nd today, Kris W won, Jon G came in 17th after having an icky crash in Portland, Art O 22nd. Pretty cool to see everyone kicking some serious A. And of course Dr. X and Dirk were there to hand over the loving numbers that I get to go home and pin on for 25 minutes. I am 211.....mucho better than last years last row call up # of 274 or something like that. This is exactly WHY I have been doing all the UCI races around the country since September.

Today was warm and windy and the course was tacky. A pretty straight forward course really. Not too technical at all. Call it a dirt crit. It has some elevation gain and is kind of mountain bikey in that sense since you zig zag your way to the top and then you zig zag your way back down. There are 2 sets of spaced out steps. Nothing horrendous and one set of ripping fast approach barriers. Again pretty straight forward.

Some course pix

Looking from the bottom of the course to the top way there in the back ground.

Even though you can't read this sign because I am lame at taking pictures sometimes, it reads Wyandotte County Park.

It only reminded me of my own personal hell that I went through last year at this very time. I was making my way on snowy highways over to the course to pre-ride last year and the dang Mapquest sent me to the wrong flipping park (there were TWO Wyandotte County Parks) and it was this one it sent me to!!!

I found myself driving on the craziest snowiest roads ever in my 2 wheel drive car feeling like something was way wrong. And it was. I was at the wrong park!!! I wasn't the only one that did that either after talking to a bunch of others about it. That day set me up for a crazy pre race day because I missed my window of time to pre ride the course, then missed picking my bikes up from Sly after the poor guy hung around and waited for me forever. I ended up having to go back to my host families home that night and do a workout on the trainer instead! So sucky.

That whole entire day leading up to the Nats last year was a complete bust. Got lost, got stressed, driving around in the snow, cell phone died on me, bike transfer was less than smooth because of me, running around the venue in 20 degree temps for a LONG time - everything just went wrong that day.

But it all worked out in the end. I remember telling my host family last year that "if you have it, you have it and none of my chaotic day will matter much" And I had it the next day! God, that was the best feeling ever, and then to get my balloon busted on the last lap.....what a pity.

So today I was determined to get to the correct park WAY before the only window of time to pre-ride was. My cell phone was all juiced up and I had 2 fully built bikes in the back of my rig. Ahhhhhh. Life was good and I did have a successful pre-ride today compared to last year.

Now, lets hope that I can kill it tomorrow using all the stuff that has happened in my life in the last 2 weeks as ammo vs it getting the better of me! I am 2 for 2 getting through rough times this year (thumb break comeback and hand surgery comeback) and I hope I have enough left in the tank to make it 3 for 3! It is up to me.