the redecorating is almost complete. i still have a little wallpaper to hang and some woodwork to paint, but its' a nice refreshing change. i was getting bored of looking at my own blog. and i'm telling you, that was telling - something had to be done. i love my blog. i read it often. but i just wasn't feeling inspired. so i trolled the internet and googled blogger templates more times than i can count - i found some great minimalist skins, but the one i was leaving was fairly minimal; so i thought i'd shake it up a bit and go a little girly for a while.
that whole xml error that was driving me to disctraction? yeah. um. total user error. do not cut and paste the code into html space. you have to browse out to where you saved it and upload it from there. i'm pretty sure all the instructions said to do that too. we still have to hack the code here and there to get things to work; so all in good time. welcome to my new place.
i had a great half finished post about volunteering at ironman last weekend. our team manned a water stop on the bike portion of the course. we were the first stop at 12 miles, then when the last rider went through (bless her doctors-told-her-she'd-never-walk-again heart), we packed up and moved across the street to get them all at mile 100. i finally got to see the sippy cups with foot long straws in action. real action. not just 25 mile club ride stuff. i was amazed to see what some of them accomplish while riding the bike, at a faster average speed than i ever ride. they're tossing bottles, grabbing bottles, putting things in pockets and on the bike - and then, like a benihana chef on the roll, they're concocting things in that sippy cup. pouring in powders, gatorade and water. some sort of magic ironman nectar of the gods that gets them through 112 miles. mixing things in my kitchen is sometimes messy enough and i usually need to follow a recipe book. doing it into a little bottle on the front of your bike, while you are riding it, embarking on 112 miles - only to be followed by the insanity of a marathon and having just swum 2.5 miles? highly impressive.
my heart ached for the few people who pulled off to the side, got off their bikes and practically fell to the ground. i thought they were out for good. not sure why i thought this, i know first hand you can pull off to the side of a race, even be put in an ambulance and not be out for good - just an hour. they complained about the heat and nutrition and gi issues, and i could feel their pain. my stomach tied up in knots just thinking about how many gels and powerbars they had consumed, or hadn't consumed seeing as most of them said they could't keep anything down. we got them towels soaked in ice & any real food we could get our hands on. (note to ironman organizers - every other athlete that rolled through asked for a banana). a little ice, rest, food and time and they all slowly but surely got back on the bikes and rolled off - cheered on by a bunch of us happy to see them upright and soldiering on. 102.5 miles behind them and 38.2 ahead of them. it boggles the mind. amazing.
my favorite temporary casualty was the belgium man who races 'cross and was thrilled (i think as thrilled you can be 100 miles into a race on a 93 degree day) to find himself at an aid station manned by a cycling team - the majority of whom are currently gearing up to race 'cross. we got an invite to visit should we ever go to belgium.
and now while we're on the subject of 'cross, the first race is next weekend and i'm nowhere near ready. i hear you're never really ready for your first race, so i suspect that this next biking adventure will be much like my first road season - every race is training and experience. the skills and drills have been an enormous help and i was overjoyed to get a huge kudos on my progress from my husband at tuesday nights' pratice. i can also tell that some of the handling skills i am slowly picking up at 'cross are eeking their way onto my road bike. which is excatly what i had hoped would happen, since my handling skills on the road leave so much to be desired.
and while we're on the subject of road riding, my first season comes to an end after my last race this saturday. a very hilly 40 mile race. that race i am ready for, and i can't wait.