Dec 30, 2009


i’ve had lots going on in my life since i last blogged over a month ago about how i was the tool can that crashed out a friend and teammate. i’ve got a gnarly (ok. it’s not that gnarly. my husband just laughs at it) battle wound of a scar on my elbow to show for it and said friend has since had surgery and even thanked me for the whole incident cause it gave him time to slow down a bit and think. about a girl.

i’m all for crashing people out if it somehow in a round about sorta way helps set them up with someone that is just perfectly perfect for them.

i’ve had lots going on and lots of ideas for blog posts, but i’d always wonder, yea – but is it blog-worthy?  which would then always make me think of one of my favorite seinfeld episodes. you know the one.

anyhow. i was gonna write about how my first thought upon seeing my daughter in her nutcracker costume when i was spending nearly every waking moment volunteering in the children’s dressing room for a bunch of little angels (no pun there, they really were angels) was that she looked like foxy brown in her wig. they were supposed to look cherubic. i thought she looked like foxy brown.


i had all kinds of dressing room backstage stories to tell. one of which was the fact that i think i missed my calling as a stage manager. cause for the 3rd year volunteering for the ballet, i watch the stage manager and all that goes on backstage and am fascinated. and i think, shit – i missed my calling. it’s like being a fly on the wall back there, but the stage manager tells them all what to do. damn. i want that job.

one of my favorite fly on the wall scenes was when the little girls were all lined up waiting to go on stage, watching one of the principal dancers dip her shoes into some sandy grit that would prevent her pointe shoes from slipping. they asked her if dancing was fun. (these little girls have all been dancing for at least three years) she turned around with her big stage make-uppy smile and asked the girls what they thought. all the girls said that yes, it was fun. and the principal dancer agreed and said we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t fun, right? i laughed to myself and thought i’ve heard that same statement about bike racing and thought that could be arguable at times. then she turned away to wait for her cue. and the little girls secretly reached out to touch the tulle layers of her beautiful rose skirt.

heck, i wanted to reach out and touch it too, but i figured that would be weird.

let’s see. what else? the shit hit the fan at my husbands’ company a while back - the same one that he and his business partner have been busting their asses over for ten years, and they’re still mopping up the stinky mess. now that was some blog-worthy material. but i’m not here to air that sort of dirty laundry. although shit, it was like a soap opera. good stuff. or, not so good, really. more like the creepy lifetime movie kinda stuff.

the sort of stuff that makes you drink a lot and wonder how you’ll get through christmas. but you get through it just fine. somehow. putting your wine in a fancy decanter that you got as a wedding gift just like they do in soap operas and lifetime movies helps.

kids who don’t get bummed out at all about how they didn’t really get anything that was on their list and in fact say it was the best christmas ever also helps.

a week before christmas, my mom came to visit for the first time in nearly two years for what was originally just going to be a quick weekend visit, but thanks to the snowstorm back east that delayed travel and closed airports she was able to extend her stay through the holiday.

she brought a book that my dad’s sister and her husband wrote. my dad is one of nine kids and the book chronicled his parents’ lineage and was full of stories of their childhoods and how they met and what life was like with nine kids. i’ll say it again. they had nine kids. and twenty grandchildren and i believe they went to every one of our high school graduations.

it included stories and letters written to my grandparents over the years from their kids and grandkids – one line from a friend of my grandmother’s talked about how there was “a new tole every year”. 

i used to wonder how my grandparents did it. how did they hold it all together with nine kids?

reading the book just reiterated what i already knew. they held it together cause they laughed a lot, drank a bit, did what they loved- be it golfing or skiing (my grandfather still raced at age 73) or the weekly card game with the ladies. they had great friends, loved each other and had amazing kids. my grandmother also said the rosary every day of her life.

eh. i’ll take long hiatuses from writing because i feel like i don’t have anything “good” to write about or i’m just not feeling it – till i feel like i’m gonna explode if i don’t write about something. truth of the matter is; it might not always be blog worthy. it might not always be funny. it’s just life. all the good, bad and the lifetime movie shit-hitting-the-fan sorta shit. we just muddle through with each other, including the laughing a lot and drinking a lot and make the best of it.

some days i think i should look for those glow in the dark rosary beads my grandmother gave me all those years ago. they’re around here somewhere.

Nov 15, 2009

i was the tool can

until i started cycling, i had never heard of people being referred to as tool cans.  i don’t know if it’s part of a universal cycling lexicon, or if it’s just a regional thing or just a weird louisville thing. god knows there’s a bunch of weird louisville cycling things, so that could be the case.

i actually just did the google for cycling slang and came up with the roadie slang dictionary only to find that ‘tool can’ is not even on the list, so maybe it’s just a weird thing in our house. god knows there’s a lotta weird stuff in our house too.

my husband would come home from rides muttering about some tool can out there who didn’t know how to ride in a paceline and jacked everything up. he made up a joke about being at the start line of a race and looking around for the tool can – if you can’t find him, then its you.

so when i started riding two years ago, i really wanted to know all the cycling etiquette so i wasn’t a tool can. i didn’t want to be ‘that’ girl . the one riding out by the double yellow lines instead of in the paceline, the one who couldn’t hold her line.

but most of all, i didn’t want to be the girl who crashed out herself or  worse – a bunch of other folks all riding in a nice neat little paceline. 

being the tool can who crashed everyone out was probably my second worst fear after actually crashing.

today? today i killed two birds with one stone.

my first thought as i went over the weirdly awkward railroad tracks and i saw my wheel get caught in the groove and the next thing i know i was lying on the pavement was:

wow. that whole crashing on your bike thing happens fast. too fast to even be scared about crashing your bike.

my second thought as i lay on my right side in the road over those damn tracks was: that’s my teammate flying over me.

and my third thought was: shit. i think that was my fault which would mean that in addition to just having my first crash, i was also the tool can that took other people out.

two birds. one railroad track. truth be told, three birds went down.

it was a nice little winter team training ride of 6 folks. the ride and route were both my idea. we were all chatting. having a lovely ol’ time of getting in some leisurely base miles. there were a whole bunch of tracks on the route – all of which if you just kept going straight over them, you hit them just fine & pretty much perpendicularly dandy.

but this one set of tracks was a little odd, a little off camber-y, old and rutted up a bit. and in the nano-second between crossing the first track and the second, i thought i needed to adjust my perpendicular-ness and then in another nano-second i was lying on the pavement watching a teammate fly over me.

i saw my wheel get sucked up in the track. and my husband said “you were looking at your wheel?” yes. and of course i wonder if  maybe i wasn’t looking at my wheel and instead looking ahead at where i wanted to go – instead of where i didn’t - cause i sure as shit didn’t want to go down on that track; that maybe my teammate wouldn’t have taken a flyer over me & separated his shoulder and another wouldn’t have gone down and gotten a flat and i wouldn’t have had to get eight stitches and have my calf run over.

since i started riding, crashing has been my biggest fear. it’s done. and and on one hand, i am weirdly happy that i got it over with. i’m only sorry that there were others involved.

i have crasher’s guilt and wish i had gotten the worst injury, not my teammate.

here’s what i learned:

  • don’t change your mind in a nano-second. just look where you want to go, and assuming you don’t want to go down on railroad tracks, just keep going.
  • crashes really do happen way too fast to be scary. one minute you’re riding your bike and the next minute you’re not.
  • the adrenaline will ward off any crying fits that you imagine you’ll have when you first crash.
  • teammates & friends are the best thing to have around when you crash.
  • the G3 iphone google map thingy with the blinky “you are here” blue dot is an awesome feature for when you have to call folks to come get you when you don’t even know where you are.
  • wine helps.
  • so does ice.

Oct 27, 2009



another usgp has come and gone.

i’ve been trying to come up with the perfect post to describe the awesome-ness that is this weekend. there’s a pretty good account of the awesomeness here. but read this one first. then go there.

the usgp came into our lives – our city, our cycling community and very literally, our house three years ago when the “race people dudes” (as lulu used to call them – a.k.a the folks who ran the show) were our houseguests. it’s become a regular gig now and now she calls them by name. every october for a week, we’re sorta the official unofficial usgp louisville headquarters when the gang comes to stay (except for the one girl that would come to stay so often we just convinced her to move here). we really love having them and i think they really like staying with us even though sometimes the towels are holey, they’re sleeping in the driveway and we only have one bathroom.

i think it says a lot when your houseguests come into the kitchen to get some coffee in their underwear and nobody bats an eye. it’s important to me that my guests are comfortable and lets just say that we’ve really moved beyond “houseguests”.  total bonus if one of your houseguests has just come off of hiking the appalachian trail for months. even the holey towels and blow up bed are a luxury.

for us, the usgp is so much more than the event itself. it’s seven days of a whole lotta crazy, exciting chaos. it’s like the holidays. the kids get to eat whatever they want. they stay up way too late for their own good and i have to write notes to the teachers about why homework didn’t get done and i add that they should come down to the races and check ‘em out cause it’s super fun. and lulu has to explain to a friend that she couldn’t go to her birthday party “cause it was the usgp bike races”. and when the friend says “but its just a bike race”, lulu responds with “um. it’s the USGP. there’s a green monster and everything”.  sheesh.

it’s the one time each year that we get to see folks that have become good friends and i finally get my pumpkin seed oil stash replenished. we chat and catch up like it hasn’t been a year since we’ve seen each other. (and in bruce’s case, it hasn’t – the airstream is his home away from home). we talk about our hopes to win the lottery so the five of us websters’ can go over to austria to visit them.  we cook breakfast and dinner together and do dishes and laundry together. and god knows i need help with my laundry.

over the umpteenth pot of coffee that gets brewed every morning, we chat about the event and how the community here embraces it, lives for it, volunteers for it, counts down the days till it’s here, races in it, promotes it through sheer enthusiasm and pride in the fact that our city hosts an event of such awesomeness. and how invaluable all of that is.

i love this week. i love our guests, i love stapling numbers to registration forms and hanging snow fence with friends. i love seeing the course all set up. i love the watching the long train of racers in the men’s 4 race. the dollar bills thrown on top of the mud, the bourbon in the flasks, the kids in the blow up chairs, resting my eyes for just a minute in the back of the jeep cause there was too much bourbon in my post race 10 am coffee. love all the chatting with, cheering for and heckling friends. i love finally not even blinking an eye at the top of the green monster on the second day and just going down without a thought of how stupid steep it is.

it’s a good week.

it’s the sort of crazy, super cool kind of week where simon burney comes over for dinner, and another night we’re out to dinner with richard fries. and then when the racing is over, and the course is torn down and the  girls bring garbage bags of course tape home so they can set up a ‘cross course in the front yard and they throw sram and selle italia tape all over the tree and even put up a barrier - all for the impromptu celebration at which we all crowded around our dining room table to have dinner, drinks, laughs and stories with tim, jamey and jesse.

winner winner post usgp dinner.

in our house, the usgp is a weeklong, whirlwind affair that has brought more friends and fun into our lives than we could have ever imagined and after i sleep off some of this usgp hangover we’ll start counting down the days till everyone comes back and we do it all over again.

Oct 18, 2009

duct tape fixes (almost) everything

we raced another cross race last weekend. another morning getting up early to get the dounts that make getting up so early ok with the kids. plus, its sorta nice to come off a race and have a chocolate glazed donut and a beer. i’m just sayin’.


so were at the race. and we race. i went first. i just wasn’t feeling it. not sure exactly why although it could have something to do with the fact that the only time i seem to be actually riding my bike lately is when i have a number pinned to me and i have to ride it really fast. but then it was over and i had my husband take a picture of my awesomely muddy socks before he went to race and i went into the airstream to change.

IMG_2618i was changing and eating a chocolate covered donut and listening to the announcements and cowbells already clanging and i was worried that i was missing my husbands’ race but i couldn’t leave yet cause the helmet hair could not be salvaged and i was trying to decide if i should go with a hat or the faux hawk that the kids loved and actually didn’t look so bad.

i went with the hat but after seeing pictures of myself, wish i had gone with the faux hawk.


then i grabbed  beer and headed out to watch my husband race. i got a good cheer in for him as he went through the sandpit. he looked good. all nice and up front. then i cheered for other folks i knew and then went to chat with a friend while we waited for them all to come around again.

i started wondering where he was. cause he wasn’t coming around again. then i’d wonder how did so and so get in front of my husband? and this went on for four so and so’s before i realized something was wrong. i figured he had a mechanical.

i headed back to the airstream and was headed off by a friend who had to forewarn me that my husband had just been spotted walking his bike up a hill; something about being a certain shade of green and something about a collarbone.  what? again? i arrived to find him getting checked out by a doctor friend and finding out that not even one full lap into his second ‘cross race, that his season was over. and i felt super bad for him.

but then, my second thought was – who is driving the airstream home?  cause it sure as shit couldn’t be me. and i wondered if that made me a bad person.


we got him a camp chair, i cleaned up his legs and we taped him up with duct tape and gave him a beer. i was super happy to have folks there who knew how to tape a guy up with duct tape. 

IMG_2637we stayed to watch the pro-races and the kids had a picnic lunch before being chased away by the bees and running back to the airstream for cover.

we watched during the men’s race as the guy who was racing for 10th place went down and broke his collarbone. he and my husband were among 2 of the four broken collarbones all day. i bet my husband was the only one with the snazzy, duct tape sling.

IMG_2651the kids were tired and it was finally time to go home. so after talking to umpteen people in the lot on the way back to the airstream and organizing who was actually going to drive it home, we were all settled in our seats and finally pulling out of our double parked parking spot.

and then a teammate came up to our window and said there was a whole bunch of brown stuff leaking from underneath the rv; and cause he can be a bit of a joker, i thought he was maybe joking that the pooper was leaking or something.


but then i saw the look on the planet bike folks’ faces and realized that something was indeed leaking and i really just hoped it wasn’t the pooper.

IMG_2688so we stopped. and got out and it smelled really bad, but it didn’t smell like poop so i was happy. sorta. the other part of me was thinking i put the whammy on things by writing this other rv story. cause it had been a really long time since we had been stranded and had a need to get under the airstream.










the transmission hoses had blown and there was fluid all over the place. the planet bike folks gave us some towels and sympathy. friends and teammates stuck around to heckle and help. my husband, well prepared for such an event, had extra transmission fluid, hose clamps and all the other paraphernalia he needed to fix things. he even had a friend on hand with two good shoulders to do most of the fixin.

IMG_2696IMG_2695lulu held her nose and i took pictures to document the occasion. cause that’s what i like to do. tell stories. and it’s kinda fun when they just land in my lap. i’m just sorry this particular story involves the end to my husbands’ very short cross season.

Oct 9, 2009

i don’t want to be a hobo

we just got back from a weekend of bike racing followed by a bonus few- days-off-from-school camping trip. i think most folks that read this know we go camping & to races in our airstream motorhome.

i love our airstream. and i love my husband for being the driving force -both literally & figuratively behind it’s purchase and addition to our family. 

but it wasn’t always this way. in fact, when he first proposed the idea of it i was pretty convinced i had married the wrong guy. nice girls from darien, connecticut didn’t do rv’s. i wrote a fun little story about that a while back. read it. it’s a good one. i’ll wait.

that’s the thing about the airstream. it’s full of good stories.

just recently, i found a bunch of old pictures that reminded me of one of those good airstream stories. only, the thing about some of these stories is that they aren’t always ‘good’ while we are living them, cause many of them involve being broken down on the side of the road, and i usually have to drink a bottle of wine to make it through to the other side.

the airstream is old. way old. we’re just a few years away from historic vintage plates  seeing as its’ circa 1986 and 200K + miles.

we used to break down so often that we bought another car. a small, light car for the sole purpose of trailing behind the airstream. that 1971 car does have the dubious distinction of being officially ‘historic’  & as such needs a bunch of work. this is how we roll. old shit that needs a lotta work. like we have that kind of extra time on our hands. we call it the LEM. it has been our escape vehicle many times. the thing about the LEM though, is that it’s really only good for the emergency trip to the napa auto parts store for the 79 cent bolt that will save your vacation. it’s not good for going over 30 mph. 

i digress. but i’m trying to set the stage.

so we’re driving back east a few years ago – our oldest (now 13) may have been around 7 or 8 and we left kentucky the day after christmas to go visit family in connecticut.

all was well until we hit somewhere just outside youngstown, ohio that first night and around 11pm in the perfect twilight-zone-pitch-blackness, the water pump blew.

we coasted off an exit in east jesus and rolled into a gas station.kitten rings 136   kitten rings 135            

kitten rings 137

i’m sure i was well into the wine by now and my husband went in to the station to explain the situation to mom & pop who said it was fine for us to park the night there.

we had to let the cops know when they knocked on our door at 3 am that mom and pop said it was ok.

the next day my husband took the LEM to a napa auto parts store to get a new pump. we moved the airstream across the street to a lovely spot so he could fix it and while he was under the airstream, the kids scootered in the parking lot and made ritz & cheese whiz sandwiches. kitten rings 145

the fix took longer than expected & we had to stay another night in the parking lot of the ‘hot rod inn’. thank god for the LEM, the ruby tuesday a couple miles away and all that wine i packed.

the next day, my husband set about to finish the job he had started. i’ve blocked some bits out, but there’s a strong possibility i was being a nag about wanting to get the show on the road; and there was a lot of stress in the east jesus junkyard air and in a weak moment (and my husband never has weak moments) he accidentally poked a hole in the power steering and power brake pump with the tire iron he was using (and he has conceded this was stupid) to tighten the belts.

and we’re in for another night at the hot rod in parking lot.

kitten rings 140 the next morning, my husband drove the LEM back to napa auto parts to see a man about some new stuff, and naturally, it would have to be ordered and it was gonna take a while.

it was starting to look like we were gonna be in this parking lot for a while. and the kids were getting tired of card games in the airstream and scootering in the pot-holed parking lot and we were running out of cheez-whiz.

and my son was out in the pot-holed muddy parking lot in the same clothes he had been wearing for two days and all of a sudden he started to cry and he said “i don’t want to be a hobo”.

and i tried not to laugh and i explained that we still had a house back in kentucky and this stint at the junkyard was just temporary.

but i couldn’t help but wonder. and pour another glass of wine as we settled down for night number three after an afternoon and evening of trying to find a car rental place when we didn’t even know where we were. and this was way back in the day - before my snazzy 3G iphone and tomtoms and stuff.

on day three we found a car rental place not too far away – you might wonder why we had to rent a car what with that LEM we had with us; but this is where that previous reference to not being able to go over 30mph comes in. that, and the fact that it didn’t have the holding capacity for five homeless people, two dogs and all the stuff we were bringing back to connecticut for a belated family christmas.

so, we talk to the toothless manager of the junkyard hot rod parking lot and ask him how much he would charge us to leave the airstream in his lot for a week while we left to go celebrate a joyous holiday with our families. in their houses.

he said no charge. we wondered if it would still be there when we got back.kitten rings 133we got our rental car and on the evening of day three stranded in east jesus, but not before the dog threw up in the rental car and flung her regurgitated food all over the kids; we were finally on our way to what had become an extremely short, belated christmas celebration in connecticut. which was lovely and joyous. and then we packed up the kids, the dogs and the rental car and headed back to east jesus with hopes that the airstream hadn’t been dismantled & sold for parts.

the airstream was still there, the parts were in and steven fixed everything. but not before celebrating new years’ eve as hobos in the street rod motors junkyard lot in east jesus ohio over some bad take out chinese food. these things make for fun family stories.

hey kids - remember when we were hobos?

kitten rings 141

Sep 20, 2009

i have seen the cyclocross light

sweet little tiny infant baby jesus i have seen the light. i get it now. i totally get it. i don’t have to be afraid anymore. truly a day for rejoicing.

i raced the first ‘cross race of the season today in the pouring rain and the mud and the off camber shit and mud and the rain and the mud. and last year i would have cried or dropped the f-bomb all day, but this year i totally loved it and had a blast. today, the ‘cross manifesto worked.and this is huge people. huge.

i got to the course late and barely eeked out a pre-ride on the (dry at the time) course. then instead of warming up any more (it was already puring by that point anyway) i watched the men’s 4 race where 3 out of 5 dudes did all variations on a theme of skidding out, 180’s, 360’s, and sliding under the yellow caution tape wall of doom; you name it - many did not make it down a very slippery downhill.

and then i lined up. with judi, who was doing her first ‘cross race ever (and by the way, rocked it) and she was asking me what in the hell i had gotten her into. and i didn’t really know cause i didn’t even always know why i did it, but i just hoped to hell she liked it; cause i was gonna feel really bad if she felt like i sometimes did at races, especially rainy muddy ones - all scared and sometimes wanting to cry before, during or when it was over.

they had call ups according to order of registration and out of 26 girls, i was number 24.

and then it was all just bunch of turns and crazy hard off camber ups and slippery downs and mud and rain and more mud and rain. and i moved up a couple of spots from my call up position, but not many.

i didn’t crash into or under the yellow caution tape wall of doom, but i did get stung by a bee and was convinced for half a lap that he was just stuck in my happy face sock stinging me over and over.

the course felt like the wide open prairie after riding singletrack for weeks on end. those trails taught me a thing or two about a thing or two.

i didn’t rock it or kick any ass out there today nor do i really care cause for me, today’s race was epic. in more ways than one.

bit of a ‘cross baptism i suppose what with all that water all over the place and stuff.


Sep 3, 2009

a cross manifesto of sorts

i’ve been dithering around since road season ended. i just didn’t want it to end. i’d be happy riding in a circle forever if i never had to get off my bike or worse - figure out how to get back on it. and don’t even mention sand pits.

anyhow. a while back i got tired of my schedule. and then i actually got tired of my road bike and there was a window of opportunity where i actually couldn’t wait to get on my ‘cross bike. which was good timing since ‘cross season is around the corner.

i figured it was time to maybe, i don’t know. practice.

so i jumped on it. the opportunity and the bike. and the two of us took to the trails. at first it was scary as shit. but now, its just fun as shit. i figured if me & the ‘cross bike can ride some kentucky singletrack, then a three meter wide ‘cross course isn’t gonna be as scary to us as it was last season.

i’ll let you know if this theory holds water. or mud. or sand.

sure, i’ve still got to figure out the whole remount thing and those pesky sandpits. evidently, my husband gave the whole damn town a kick ass and highly enlightening sand pit clinic which i missed. he assures me a private lesson.

i’m not gonna get sucked into the whole “i’m just here for the points” thing, or the promise of a wheel raffle entry if i do every damn race of the season. i’ve picked my races and i’m sticking to them.

and so mostly what i am saying here is that my goals for this ‘cross season are merely to suck less than last year and to have more fun - at both the sucking less and the ‘cross. it’s my hope that simply deciding to have more fun will automagically translate into sucking less.

so that’s it. i’m not really ‘training for ‘cross’. in fact, according to coach if i want a good road season i’m supposed to just be dithering around right now and having fun - which works out well, cause i want a good road season and dithering around is all i’ve been doing.

so there you have it. and you heard it here. i thought if i announced my intentions for the upcoming ‘cross season right here, out in the open for all to see – that' y’all could just remind me when i come off a course dropping the f bomb in front of small children and lovely women who have baked muffins for me and my airstream; about the mud or the course or the this or that -that i’m just here to have fun and roll some sweet knee socks.

remind me. please.

Sep 1, 2009

if you build it

you know the rest. but still. i was worried that even if we built it, gave it a go, did something new and tried it out; that they wouldn’t come.

one fairly recent summer night, a friend of mine, well schooled in the ways of event planning and race putting on and all that it entails; suggested putting on a women’s weekend race clinic.

i think, yeah! sweet. awesome idea. lets do it.

she talks about flying in a pro, and says words like clinic, registration, rides, races, usac, insurance, park fees, officials and a bunch of other stuff that made my eyes glaze over and excited me at the same time.

gulp. really? you mean we’re really gonna do this?

we checked the regional race calendar and contacted the pro to coordinate schedules and within days a date was picked and it was done.

yep. we’re doing it.

thus began my immersion into the world of bicycle racy event planning. it was a whirlwind of securing parks and venues, figuring out how to set up registration, contacting some awesome sponsors, grass-roots marketing, nail-biting, sleep losing and please-dear-god-i-hope-people sign-up-for-this-cause-it-could-really-be-awesome thoughts running through my head on a daily basis.

people signed up and it was indeed awesome.

nicola cranmer came to the ‘ville in support of women’s cycling, bike racing and grassroots efforts and to teach us a thing or two about racing our bikes and encouraging other women to race theirs. there was a full day of clinic discussions, breakfast, lunch, skills work, a long ride, a gelato stop and race course review. and the next day, there was a how to warm up like the pros clinic and on-the-spot racing instruction, primes, prizes and podium etiquette and there may have even been a little talent scouting.

the bikeclicks racer chicks were a diverse group of women in age and cycling experience, but all wanted to learn more about training, racing, and how to encourage more women to conquer their fears and line up at a race.

it’s a scary thing. to put on an event like this. to fly someone in, to hope people sign up to participate and support something that you believe in. it was a team effort all around; one that could not have been done without the sorts of folks who have done this sort of thing; without the incredibly cool companies that jumped at the chance to support the event, without partners to document the event & do all the dirty work of set ups & tear downs, drive pace cars, and sag wagons(yeah. that’s how we roll. we had a pace car. and let the records show that i thought webguy was having way too much fun in the pace car), but mostly it couldn’t have been done without nicola and the awesome women who came to the event.

so i’m super happy to say that the ‘shake-down’ inaugural clinic was a success. sure, we forgot pins for the race numbers and the gatorade mix was a little strong and the timing of the weekend may not have been ideal – but next year it’s going to be even better. we took notes.

nicola is coming back and she’s hoping to bring some of her hit squad along with her. 

Aug 4, 2009

we got a new dog

nanipinarello ya know. cause we’re kinda crazy like that. we already have a dog. and three kids. and work and websites and racing and just the general craziness of our life.

so of course, getting another dog totally makes sense. it’s just how we roll.

sometimes we’d joke, when our lives would get particularly hectic – that we should get a puppy or get pregnant. just to take the whole crazy up a notch.

we had been wanting a little dog for a while, but never really went officially looking for one. i figured when the time was right, we’d just sort of find the dog, or it would find us. or something like that.

the dog actually found judi first, and that’s how i found him and read about how he showed up on their doorstoop one day, and that they loved him, but that he needed to be with another family.

i thought perhaps this is it. the cosmic karma cyberspace way we’d find a dog. through bloggy friends. so, after a bunch of texts and emails and phone calls with judi; on my way up to mason, ohio for what i swear is my last road race of the season (really. i’m done. that’s it) - i visited ‘nani’ (named after giovanni ‘nani’ pinarello) and took him for a little get-to-know-ya walk that sealed the deal.

i picked him up the following day after my races and we headed back to louisville. i had lost sleep the night before – worried about the transition, worried about our dog mabel and hoping a new addition wouldn’t make her feel displaced or sad.  nani settled right into the seat and fell right asleep – as soon as i pulled off the highway, he woke up and poked his head out the window, and wagged his stubby little tail like he knew he was home.

he’s been here for 3 days now and it feels almost as if he’s been here all along, like this was just meant to be. the transition has been weirdly seamless. i expected some bumps. some random poops. some marking. some dog fighting over who’s in charge.


IMG_0174i think he’s better behaved than our other dog. and i think our other dog, who is high energy and slightly crazy herself, has calmed down a bit. and her nose doesn’t appear bent out of shape at all. strangely enough, the introduction of a tiny little ten pound miniature pinscher has brought a certain calmness to the house. six walks a day and a big backyard for frolicking could have something to do with the doggie calmness too.  we don’t watch animal planet & the dog whisperer for the heck of it.

we’ve decided if he could talk it would be with an italian accent. he is  after all, named after an italian bike designer.

il benvenuto a casa, nani. 

Jul 20, 2009

jump start

we promised the kids we’d take a little break from bike races. even though the fridge in the airstream is plastered with pictures that the girls drew of mommy & daddy racing, and they write notes on the chalkboard in the house about how cool bike racing is and they have a blast with all the kids of all the other bike racing moms and dads we know - after masters’ nationals; they needed a break and so we promised them no more. until ‘cross season, of course.

and this actually worked out well. cause even though we think bike racing is cool and we like being with all our bike racy mom and dad friends, we were tired. we needed a break. until ‘cross season, of course.

i looked at my training calendar last week and saw that the coach had put us both down for races on saturday and sunday.  oops. the races were sorta far away and were going to require the packing up of the airstream and all that entailed. i wondered how we were gonna pull it off and how many krispy kreme donuts would it take to bribe the kids.

after thinking about packing the airstream, and stocking it with krispy kreme bribes, ‘camping’ in a walmart parking lot somewhere in ohio and trying to find parking for the rv at the race, i realized we weren’t gonna pull it off. nor did we really want to anyway. so that worked out.

but still. we each wanted to race, just once more before we rested up for ‘cross. so the plan was to split up and do the tag team thing. my husband would race on saturday, me on sunday. we could each race twice each day, the kids could stay home, and there was no need for donut bribes. it was all good.

well. it was all good until he crashed in his race on saturday and came home all crooked and pathetic - what with his left arm hanging all limp by his side, and all that wincing as his teammate was making the story of the crash into a strangely funny story and he was trying not to laugh. he has a grade 3 ac shoulder separation and needed a sling. and some bourbon. and an ice pack, ibuprofen and some other stuff for the road rash.

i needed to go to cvs for him, cause they sell all that stuff and the liquor too. and then i needed to go to krogers to buy some donuts so he wouldn’t have to try and cook breakfast for the kids while i was off racing. seems we can’t get away from the race morning donut thing for the kids.

by now it was my pre-race bedtime, but i got in the car to go to cvs, only to discover it wouldn’t start. so my husband had to drag himself and his sad, sorry limp arm out to help me jump start the car. while we waited for it to charge, i packed for my race and after we thought the car was juiced up enough, i left to go and buy him the sling, the bourbon and the donuts for the kids. while i was at it, i got juice boxes and lunchables and microwave popcorn. so if he passed out from pain or bourbon and the kids had to fend for themselves while i was racing, they could.

so i got in the car after my errands at 11 pm and what a surprise - it wouldn’t start. my husband was not too pleased about coming to rescue me and i didn’t blame him, but it was late and the folks in the parking lot didn’t look like the sort to whom i really wanted to say, hey, can you jump my car for me?

so my husband drove his car (a car so old it has vintage historic plates and shifting and steering that’s all slippery and loose so i never drive the damn thing) to come help me jump my car in the parking lot. he said he cried a little bit and almost passed out from pain trying to drive the damn thing.

we finally got home close to midnight and after we plugged the car into a charger thingy to juice it up overnight; i gave him his ice, his sling, his bourbon and some ibuprofen and i go to bed and wake up 4 hours and 45 minutes later. i woke up mad about waking up so early and nervous that i might crash in my race. like its’ contagious or something.

i didn’t crash and had a super day. the kind that reminds me that i do this bike racy thing because i like it and its fun. and when i got home to the family about 14 hours after leaving that morning, the kids looked like they fended quite well for themselves and my husband didn’t pass out from pain or bourbon. although i think the pain from putting his hair into a ponytail would make him pass out. so i do his hair now.

so we all got ready to go to a friend and teammates’ house for dinner - and by getting ready i mean i did my husbands’ hair. and miraculously, while i was in the shower, the kids emptied the car of all my race gear – bike & trainer included. having dad in a sling make a sweeping announcement to kids about helping to clean out the car works like a charm. apparently, even the kids see how pathetic and crooked he looks. clearly, he’s a man who needs help. both with his hair and emptying the car out.

and then we piled into the car (which did in fact start, go figure); and i buckled him in cause he needs help with that too.

we laughed all night about bike racing and crashes and broken bones (of which our host, the same one who drove my husband to and from the race and ran over his leg after he went down - had had many) and its’ good and lucky to have the kinds of crashes that can be laughed about later, once everyone is alright. and we laughed about kids and family stuff and the fact that i have to do my husbands’ hair and buckle him in. and then it was late and time to go home, so we said our goodbyes and i buckled my husband back into the car.

which of course, wouldn’t start. which at that point, was pretty funny.

Jul 2, 2009

40 laps

that’s how many laps we had to do today at the master’s national championship criterium at churchill downs. forty laps on the little half mile ‘track’ around the infield.

on advice of the coach, i got the upgrade to a 3 so i could get the experience of racing master’s. cause it was in my back yard. i was really missing that 4 next to my name and felt like a total fraud with a 3 there instead. but the deed is done.

the other thing coach advised was scrapping my plan of only doing the road race and doing the crit instead. if i was only going to do one of the 3 events (road race, time trial or crit), he thought the crit would provide a better overall experience; and since i was really only in this for the experience – crit it was.  i tried to ignore the voice in my head that was all wtf? you catted up to race a crit?


so i lined up today at masters nationals. and i’ll just say it again cause it’s so friggin cool. i lined up today at masters nationals. right in front of the twin spires. and i felt great. and was super excited – in a good way, not a jacked up anxiety-ridden way.

the race started and then the next 40 laps were a blur of: braking too much into first two turns, being off the back, chasing to catch back on, catching the group and getting back on and feeling so much better about things, and then falling off again and then chasing back on again. i got lapped by the leaders at one point, and later by entire field. i worked my ass off, lap after lap. i’m not sure i ever stopped spinning my legs. i’d make gains on backside, and lose ground on finish stretch with that damn headwind. i caught a girl and we worked together. i organized us and made sure i organized her onto the front for the headwind stretch. then i got lapped again but i got on that train and stayed there until i fell off that train. over the course of the 40 laps, i was in it and then not in it a whole bunch of times.

i could hear folks all over the place calling my name and cheering. sometimes i wouldn’t even know who was yelling, but i could hear it was for me and it was great. i could hear my husband shouting things like “get on that”. i heard coach yelling at me to roll through the turns. when i was on the train and in a group, i heard friends yelling “stay in it”! i always heard the kids with all that “go mom” and stuff. that’s the best.

it was a fast, exhilarating, shit hard race. and even though i didn’t do nearly as well as i had wanted or planned for – cause i had higher hopes for myself (even given the caliber of racers and racing. i still just thought i’d be ‘in it’ a little more and coach said i could have been had i just layed off those evil brakes). cause this morning on the trainer my legs and head had some good mojo going and all was well with the world that is me - i had a blast.

it was indeed worth catting up to line up at that start and experience that race.

evidently, next up on the schedule is getting out with coach on the tandem to feel what its like to go through turns fast. after i mulled that frightful vision over; i drove home with my girls, had a beer, baked a cake – cause its’ my youngest daughters’ 8th birthday – and took one of those drooling on the pillow naps.


hey. did i mention i raced in the masters’ national criterium today? that would be the famed twin spires right behind me in that shot.

photos: marcia seiler.

Jun 26, 2009

deep in the suffer locker

it was ninety two degrees at the start of saturday’s 50 mile race. and as we turned the first corner after the start, i realized we were in a nice hot headwind. hot + windy = doesn’t bode well for me.

we settled into a single paceline really quickly, which surprised me a bit – a lot of other races i’ve done, we seem to stay in a bit of an organized jumble. this was a long race and the single paceline, and speed at which we were going; made me just feel like it was game on from the get go.

everyone was taking turns at the front. long turns. now, i know me; and i can’t take long turns – especially into that kind of a headwind. so when it was my turn up front i did my best to contribute to the group effort, but in hindsight, my pulls were most likely too long.

it was one of those days where i knew from the first pedal stroke that something was just off. maybe it was the heat, the rollers, the lack of sleep the night before, or anxiety over that “last mother of a hill” at mile forty seven.

the women were the last group of the day to race, and since i was the last girl in the women’s race, the sweeper truck was right behind me -from the point at which i made a rookie mistake coming off of my 4th pull at mile 15, and for the next 35 miles. i was at the same time grateful, annoyed and mortified over this.

the course was nothing but rollers, out in the blazing sun. i’m not sure there was ever any sort of shady section. i had plenty of fluids, bars, gus and chews on me and took more water at the neutral feed zone.

what i had forgotten to bring with me was a psychologist. cause i was cracking, coming unglued, out on the proverbial ledge. i needed some sort of finish-this-damn-race hotline and desperately wanted to call my husband; i needed someone to talk me off the ledge. cause the voice inside my head just kept saying “jump”. put your bike in the truck behind you.

so i’d hang my head. sit up. give up.

but then, i would gather my wits and my collective shit and get back into the rhythm, settle in to the drops and start pedaling with a purpose again.

and then i’d start to unravel.

this back and forth of pedaling with a purpose and completely coming unglued went on for the miles. it’s so hard to get out of that bad place in your head once you’re there. that place of feeling that the heat is sucking every breath of life out of you. being mad you’re last. the desperately wanting to throw your bike and your tired body into the back of that truck right fucking behind you. and the knowing that the worst of the course is yet to come. i was, at times, sobbing. wanting off my bike, wanting the race to be over.

i was totally in the dark as to how long i had been out there, how many miles i had done and what i had ahead of me as my bike computer kept going on the fritz throughout the race. miles would pass by and there would be a big fat zero indicating speed, distance and time. i had no idea how much longer i had or how many miles were behind me.

every time i came upon a hill i wondered if that was the mofo hill that signaled i only had 3 miles left to go. i climbed them all and none seemed as bad as i had been told and i knew once i crested them that they weren’t the mofo hill i was looking for.

i finally did make it to that last hill. it was as bad as everyone had said and then some. once i realized i was at the bottom of it, i knew i had to stop crying – i needed every bit of everything i had. so i got my collective shit together once again and climbed the hill with purpose. slow, grinding, borderline pathetic  purpose. i could hear the drone of the sag wagon behind me. i felt a huge sigh of relief once at the top, which was totally premature – cause i looked up and saw there was more. just one more little fuck you of a climb. i did it. and i think it took every last once of anything i had out of me. but as i went down the descent so steep it was covered in spray painted ‘caution’ signs, i was holding back tears of joy at knowing the hell was nearly over.

and then i wondered if the finish line arch would still be up. i wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t there. i had no idea how long i had been out there. but i turned the corner and saw the 1 kilometer sign and saw the arch still up at the ghost town of a finish line; and willed myself not to cry as i crossed the line. i think two people were there. the announcer – who announced my finish, god love her - and the guy who left the arch up; after pretty much every other racer had packed up and gone home. there’s a special place in heaven for people who stick around this long.

i crossed the line and rolled into an empty parking lot sobbing from utter mental and physical exhaustion and just hoped nobody saw me. even after i thought i had gathered my collective shit and could face others – once i did, the tears started again. it was quite simply - the toughest day i have ever had on the bike.

i still had one more day of racing and was determined to make it a better one. once i finished crying.

Jun 23, 2009

tour of the red river gorge prologue

it’s been two days since i’ve been back from racing the three day stage race otherwise known as the tour of the red river gorge. i’ve been trying to gather my thoughts from the entire weekend and put them into some sort of cohesive report. i did this race last year and it was the race that sealed the deal on my love of bike racing. i vaguely recall kicking back in the airstream on the way home from last years’ race and texting my friend and running coach that i was pretty sure it was going to be a long time before i ever ran another marathon or even thought about boston.

i went back to race the gorge this year. the stages were a bit different – the prologue was shorter and the course way cooler, and they did away with the ridiculous crit. so it was a 6.6 mile prologue on friday, followed by 52 miles on saturday (a “kinder gentler” route) and then a shit harder, hillier 52 miles on sunday.

i was crazy nervous at the prologue. it was only my second time trial ever. the first one was at the same race last year. i hate that ramp start, and the feeling all crooked on my bike and having to hold my feet level when i really want my right leg locked and in the semi- upright position. anyway. its’ nice when you know the guy holding you and your bike up. at the top of that ramp at the top of a hill. cause i could just say i’m super nervous, and you’re holding me crooked. and he could say, suzanne, you’re fine, you’re not crooked, i’ll get you out of here straight. and then the other guy you know is counting down and says 5,4,3,2,1. and you go. and for a nano-second you think about how nice it is to know so many nice people. and then you just forget about all the nice people you know and haul ass and pedal.

i was the last girl to go. the last girl of the entire night. my start time was 7:18. it had been 90+ degrees that day, but by 7:18, i swear there was a whisper of a cool breeze. and i even got to race my flashy fast flashpoints for the first time ever since i won them a year ago. i had to wrestle them off my husbands’ bike, but i got them.

my thirty second girl (the girl who left the start house 30 seconds before me for those of you who have no idea what i’m talking about) was a national champion. i’m all for optimism, but there was no chance in hell i was gonna catch her. but i kept pedaling super hard. just in case.

it was hurting. a lot. i was nervous that maybe i had blown my wad too soon. so i dialed it back just a smidge. and then i saw my minute girl. that’s the girl who left the start house a full minute before me. (i’m here to help) and after the turn around point, i started to reel her in. i was close, and almost had her. but the finish line arch came up before i could get her.

and it was all good. i don’t know jack about time trials, but i know its’ good to start to catch folks in front. it was super fun and after dinner out with a bunch of nice people i know, i was ready for the next day.

so, like the race that was in stages – the bloggy race reports will be in stages as well. stage two is a doozy.

Jun 17, 2009

sometimes i’m stupid

sometimes i think the whole bike racing thing renders me completely stupid. i suppose it could be argued that i was stupid before the whole bike racing thing, but that’s not relevant right now.

the particular stupid to which i am referring is during a race. take last weekends’ race for example: i am feeling all iamwomanhearmeroar and actually get the break. i see it go. and i go too. and as i’m going, girls just seem to be falling backwards on the hill and i’m passing them and i am feeling great. not only about passing people and moving up, but very literally, feeling really good. and i am thrilled beyond belief to be what seems to me at the time, about the 4th girl in line with the break.

and then

the very next thing i know is i am no longer anywhere near a break, or even the pack, the girls i just passed are somehow ahead of me and i’m chasing a girl who has fallen off the pack.

wtf? what happened between A and B? one minute i am feeling like the king of the world and the next, i am clinging to a life raft. how did that happen? the whole fatal flaw of hitting the iceberg was spliced out and left on the cutting room floor and i’m just dumbfounded as to how i ended up on the life raft.

it’s not the first time i’ve experienced complete mental block during a race and whole segments of the race ended up on the cutting room floor. my husband will often ask me questions like, what did you do next? or who’s wheel were you on? or why were you out in the wind? gapping off? was it a bad shift? did i touch those damn brakes? the list of my mistakes is endless, but my response is usually a vapid stare and an i don’t know.

all that debilitating fear that always used to hold me back is gone. now if i can just lose the stupid, i should have this racing thing all figured out.

i might start wearing a helmet cam. that way, we can just replay the footage over and over again and see the precise moment i hit that iceberg. ah yes. see – right there – she went up and to the left. up and to the left.

May 31, 2009

short track first timer

so i drove down to the local haunt of a cross course on thursday evening to check out the new short track series in town. a five week, thursday night gig. i wore my kit under my clothes. just in case i felt like doing my first ever mountain bike race.

cause this race series in particular was being touted as a great way for a beginner to try out a mountain bike race for those of us who had never done one or were too intimidated to try. and i fell into that category. and since i’ve been on a mountain bike all of about 4 times and one of those times i was doing more hiking with my bike than actually riding it, i just saw it all as something to do for fun and figured it would be good ‘cross practice. mostly, i didn’t care and thought it all would just be a cake walk in the park.

so i wore my kit in case i wanted to do a cake walk in the park.

i stood around for a long time watching everyone do some warm up laps. i thought warmup shwarm up. i dont need no stinkin’ warm up. its just for silly fun. full disclosure though - i did ride one quick lap. it required dismounts and a hippity hop of a leap over a muddy creek.

i didn’t decide to race until about 2 minutes before the women went off. all two of us. i sized up the situation and the competition on the line and thought smugly; i got this.

but when race girl blows her mega-phone of a horn and my competition takes off, and i mean off. i think, uh-oh. and then its’ not long, maybe two more turns before i can’t even see her anymore. shit. are you kidding me? now i’m in trouble. add on the two ten year old girls breathing down my neck to pass me and it wasn’t long before i was potentially in a world of shame. now this race that was just supposed to be for fun and something i didn’t care about was something i cared about enough to start blocking the ten year olds from passing me. enough to make such a ruckus going over the logs that cute little ten year olds would be too scared to pass the crazy girl. does this make me a bad person?

it’s a lot of pressure to be in a race with just two people. you just don’t want to come in second. nor do you want the 10 year olds to pass you.

well. i never did let those 10 year olds pass me and i got away from them, pride intact. but this was no cake walk of a race. it was surprisingly hard and technical. according to some more seasoned mountain bike racers, it was not technically a short track race – in which case we would have been able to roll over everything. evidently, it was too technical.

but since i don’t know jack about what a short track race is supposed to be, i was blissfully ignorant and happily dismounted for all kinds of shit even when i was being heckled by the race girl with the mega phone for dismounting.

the ten year olds remained behind me where they belong, but there was still the matter of the woman in front of me and i could hear my teammates screaming you gotta go harder! so towards the end of the first lap, coming out of the crazy thicket of thickety stuff, the course opened up enough that i figured that’s where i could go harder & with a polite little on your right, i passed her. and, assuming i was in the clear and would not be coming in second in this two woman race, i breathed a (premature) sigh of relief.

cause then she just sat there right behind me for the entire second lap. the woman could not be shaken, and all i could think was shit. she is not going to hand me a win on a silver platter. this wasn’t gonna be like winning a raffle. i am going to have to work for it.

so. at the end of the second lap, in that big open spot after the thickety thicket; i put the proverbial hammer down once i actually had figured out the right way to gear the bike to do such a thing, and i got away and then stayed away. but still, there was that panic that at any moment she could just come back from the dead and appear at my back wheel.

she never did. and so the icing on the not-quite-the-cake-walk-of-a-race-i-thought-it-would-be was that i won.

the whole thing was a bunch of ‘cross-like fun on a summer day and makes me wonder if i should just go into every race with nary a care in the world.

May 20, 2009

zanne 1 – irrational fears 0

i had a whole ridiculously long post in which i yammered on and on about my debilitating fear of crits; how the mere mention of one would send my heartrate sky high, how i’d worry about the cornering, and the going fast on my bike stuff (which really, is an inherent problem if you want to be a bike racer), how if i didn’t ever have to do another crit that would be cool with me. about how crits used to scare the bejeezus out of me.

but all that stuff was before last weekend. the weekend of back to back crits – the finale to our spring training series. it was the weekend i finally figured a bunch of shit out that took me a year to figure out.

it started with saturday’s crit in frankfort. the same crit in which i fell off the pack early in the race. even after all my zen-like cornering practice, after coachs’ boot camp race clinics, after going in circles in any empty parking lot i could find, faster and faster each time till i got more comfortable. even after all that. i braked going into the first fast turn, fell off the group and got lapped.

but the second time the group came around, instead of relegating myself to getting lapped again, i got on that train. cause i needed a rest on a wheel after all that desperately trying to chase them in that headwind thing. i thought i’d ‘rest’ and hang on for dear life, but found out it wasn’t a hang on for dear life sort of situation. it was fast alright, but i was doing it. fast. corners. in a crit. with the group. i never touched my brakes and saw that i could corner at 20+ miles per hour. i had no reason to be falling off in the first place.

this was all i needed to know.

so the next day, armed with the knowledge that i was actually capable of riding my bike fast, through turns, with people and not touching the brakes - i lined up to race. and i raced. and stayed with the group. i wasn’t off the back and i wasn’t time trialing all alone to catch anyone; and when i saw that we had seven laps to go and i was still in it, i smiled and felt a huge wave of relief. that must have been the irrational fear leaving the building.

don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

May 6, 2009

round and round

sometimes all the racing and the packing for the racing is a lot. we pack up the airstream. we race for a few hours. we go home. we unpack it. we wash everything and start again the next weekend.

we took a little road trip this past weekend. we thought we’d combine the racing thing with some family time. we thought this might somehow be easier. and super fun. combining two things that each on their own require much planning and packing of stuff.

a little family campy combined with some racy at the fat & skinny tire fest in northern indiana. about 5 hours away. a little bit longer since we were towing a 1973 VW beetle behind an old airstream motorhome that doesn’t go so fast in the first place.

i always have a vision for these sorts of trips. usually they involve some sort of soundtrack playing in my head, stone skipping, ‘smore making, doing well at the races and having everything you need.

camping collage packing for five people to go camping in itself is always an endeavor. throw two races in and uncertain weather and it takes the whole affair and the ‘let’s-pack-this-just-in-case’ items up a notch. add camping at the fairgrounds at the same time as the civil war re-enactors with their cannons going off every hour really ratchets the whole thing up. and the half mile bike ride to the village where all the cool critical mass rides were starting and the bmx demonstrations were going on? not as kid friendly as reported.

add in a race on a perfect course on a perfect day in which you feel perfectly superstar perfect that doesn’t turn out quite as well as you imagined – well. it has all the makings of a melt-down. mine.

and forgetting the emergency stash of bourbon and the fixins’ for smores? can’t even really talk about it still.

so we’re at the campground watching the north and the south pitch their tents and build better fires than ours. and i try to shake it off that things aren’t turning out the way i planned.

but i am happy at least that our airstream is parked north of the mason dixon line.

we hang out with teammates. we talk about the races. and we watch the girls fly kites that they found on the bus. and we watch the dog run around with the baby quilt of a cape that lulu tied to her. we watch henry ride his bike and cross into enemy territory and try to spy on the confederate soldiers. and we cook dinner over the fire. and drink beer. and listen to good music. and it’s all good.

annabel is fascinated by the little civil war girls in their blue dresses and black boots, playing hoop games with sticks. and she asks me if we can do that. dress up and pitch tents and fire cannons. i tell her that’s not our tribe. our tribe wears brightly colored spandex.

i wonder what the north & south thought of us. in our spandex. with our bikes and green beer cans and charcoal on the fire. and big silver airstream with electricity.

we packed up early the next morning and drove right through the sleeping and peaceful north and south camps – the cannon fire wouldn’t start till 9 am - and head to the village for the next race.

which is another perfect day. on another perfect course and once again, i’m feeling perfectly perfect and ready to race only to get erroneously pulled from the race after just ten minutes. all parties involved in removing me & my group from the race apologized. but that’s too late. even if i came in dead last, they didn’t let me try. i loved the course, loved the race and wanted to finish. (around here, the women – all categories – race together. it’s fairly standard practice here at least, to not pull 4’s when they get lapped by the 1/2/3’s. i still had a shot at catching back onto the 4’s)

its’ hard. sometimes. to balance it all. all the stuff. all the tangible stuff that you need to bring and organize and clean.

and then the other stuff. the racy disappointments - real or imagined. the worrying about our 13 year old who is still sorta sleeping and thinking think he might have a fever and wishing he’d eat something but really needing to get on the trainer, and just telling him to have a pop-tart.

and then i get on the trainer and have to get off to get a splinter out of annabel’s leg. i ask how it got in her leg but then remember i really should get back on the trainer. and leaving the airstream i tell henry if he has to throw up, he should do it in the sink cause the generator is not on and the toilet can’t be flushed.

and then there’s no time to get back on the trainer so i just go line up.

and then i get pulled. and watch my teammates race from the sidelines only to see them and most of the women’s 4 field end in a heap of a crash on the bell lap.

and then i miss most of my husbands’ race while waiting in line to buy macaroni and cheese for annabel and by the time i made my way through the very awesome and three-deep crowd to go watch the last two laps, the girls say the macaroni is yucky.

and all of it made me want to cry.

but there’s no time for that.

orbit because really - all the confederate-cannon firing, kite flying, campfire chatting and cooking, bike racing, getting pulled, beer drinking, sun shining, bourbon forgetting, was just perfect.

and because i need to wait in line with lulu so she can ride the orbit thingy.

Apr 24, 2009

frolicking goat

so i am at a team meeting last night at a teammates’ house. and since team meetings always involve beer – i was offered one as soon as i sat down on a chair - one that, moments later, had me wondering if it was possibly the dog chair. but that’s really neither here nor there.

anyhow, no sooner than i am wondering if am indeed sitting in the dog chair, i am handed the cutest beer i have ever seen. and much like an ass-grab from a dane will instantly make me forget how much i suck at sandpits; while not entirely as fun or funny - a darling beer will take my mind off the fact that i may be sitting in the dog chair.

and i mean darling. beer.
in a cute green can with little retro yellow flowers and a frolicking goat.

i’m really not a beer girl. i’m more of a wine girl. specifically, any wine that has a cool label and costs under ten dollars. and ten dollars is really my high end wine. so what i am trying to say is i don’t really have any good credentials for properly reviewing a beer with frolicking goats, or any beer for that matter; cause i usually go for the cheap stuff anyway -but i do know what looks good and cute.

geneseeso. beer in a green can with flowers and a frolicking goat? that only costs $7.99 for all twelve cans? that’s a beer i can embrace. and stockpile. especially since it says ‘limited edition’ on it.

my grandmother lived through the depression and had nine kids. she had a veritable general store of her stockpiled non-perishables in her basement.

i only have three kids. and i don’t know if this is a depression or not, but times are tight and i’d like to think i learned a thing or two from my elders. i’ve got shelves in my basement too: full of beer with frolicking goats.

Apr 16, 2009

april 15

tax day. it marks two things for our family:

the first being the anniversary of the day - eleven years ago now, that i got on a little puddle jumper at the white plains airport in new york bound for the bluegrass of kentucky.

the other thing it marks is the wondrous thing called a tax refund.

in the eleven years that we’ve lived in louisville, we can count a ginormous refund. every year. like birthdays and christmas. its reliable. like clockwork. we count on it. we plan for it.

the other thing we’ve had since moving to louisville (other than 2 more kids), is our own company. well, i have nothing to do with it, its my husbands’ company. but we both paid our dues with all of that never seeing each other, working all hours while i stayed home and changed diapers and going without pay now and then thing. the ginormous tax refund? a nice reward for all that shit.

we always do our taxes ourselves and its’ wildly comforting to see that big fat number up in the corner of the screen indicating the refund we’re getting. and then, the sweet anticipation of logging into our bank account daily since filing to see when the ginormous amount has gone into our account – totally fun.

and so the other night, my husband plugs in some fancy I’m A Partner In The Company number into the tax thingy & just like that, the big fat number disappears and changes into a number that indicates not what we’re getting. but what we owe. on money we never actually got. because for the first time since starting the company, it actually made money. not the real green kind, that goes into the bank account, but the imaginary, “on paper kind”. evidently, uncle sam does not distinguish between the two.


and the wine cabinet is empty & the bourbon is gone which brings me to my next issue, which is the fact that in the past few weeks i haven’t even really wanted any wine. haven’t. even. wanted. wine.


which brings me to my next, next issue which is ever since i stopped marathoning and took my body back from the pre-pubescent 12 year old boy body that was holding it hostage i had become, shall we say; regular. like clockwork, for the first time in two years.

all was well with the world when i could finally count on the fact every month that i was indeed a woman. until several weeks ago when i wondered where that monthly reminder was and i took out the calendar and counted 10 weeks and realized oh shit, that’s supremely late. and then i thought oh fuck.

so now we owe a boatload of taxes on money we never had, we’re out of wine and bourbon, and i think i might be knocked up.

this can’t be.

we take precautions to avoid such an unplanned event from occurring. so i do the google. (there’s no google for why we have to pay taxes on money we never really made in the first place- i looked). but i googled the other thing, to find out how often it happens to those of us who take these precautions. 7 out of 1,000. so i start to hope that my same freakish luck with winning raffles wouldn’t apply to something like this.

and i wonder if i can enter a raffle for a tax refund.

there was a day 4 years ago when it wasn’t just a scare; it was true, for real and not just on paper. the little stick said yes. and we had taken precautions and not planned on such an occasion. although i’m pretty sure that year we still got our refund.

my husband came home that night to a big ‘ol glass of bourbon on the kitchen table. and he said what’s that for? and i said i’m pregnant. and he knocked that drink back like he was in the movies or a soap opera or something. and i poured him another one.

then i vaguely recall the story of a friend of a friend, or was it his sister? who emerged from the womb with said pre-caution clutched in her hand. did someone tell me that? or is that one of those urban myths?


so. back to the taxes. and the going to have a glass of wine that is not even in the house and the fact that i don’t even really want it. and then remembering that when pregnant our bodies will send signals to not eat or drink certain things that aren’t good for us. good god. if i dont want wine, what other explanation can there possibly be?

so i go to bed on tax night freaking out over the money we owe on money we never made. and i wonder if i can still race the rest of the spring series. and i count in my head over imaginary due dates and try to figure out if i could still do ‘cross in the fall. and i wonder if they’d make a chicks-who-are-40-years-old-and-knocked-up category and i think i could totally sweep the podium if they had that category.

and i lie there thinking i am too old for this. i am two weeks away from being the mom of a teenager. i like this new, bike racing, cycling, independent children chapter. i don’t want to flip the book back to the diaper changing, sleepless nights chapter. we had some tiny children for the weekend a few months ago. one tiny enough to remind us what those sleepless nights were once like and i told my husband the next morning he could go get that v-snip any day now. we are officially finished.

and then i wonder where the hell we’ll put the crib and how we’ll manage after paying all that money on money we never had.

i wake up the next day and drag my 40 year old presumably knocked up self to the pharmacy to buy the cheapest test they had, cause we still had to pay all that money for money we never had.

but i can’t just put a pregnancy test in the basket. what if someone sees me? there’s rules. i have to put other things in there. shampoo. a magazine with that crazy octo-mom and the ‘real interview’. a pepsi. and some stick on nails. and i think i should probably go get some bourbon for the soap opera moment we may have to have in the kitchen.

and i go home and pee on the stick and stare at it the whole time and its negative. and i mostly breathe a sigh of relief, even though there’s a weensy, ever so slight nano-second of a twinge of sadness. but i go out to lunch with a friend and we go shopping for fabric so i can make the dress i was planning on making and i’m so glad i don’t have to buy extra fabric for a huge belly.

and then i go home and put my stick on nails on. which i have never done; but find them surprisingly cute & chic - except for the fact that they don’t hold up so well through 5+ loads of hand washed dishes.

and i think, if we got that refund, we could have gotten a new dishwasher.

Mar 31, 2009

spring cleaning

i bought a new mop yesterday.

it had been a long time since i bought a new one – mostly because i thought i didn’t need a new one in that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it sorta way. but it was clearly long overdue. mostly because i was beginning to wonder; after mopping, why everything still looked like shit. and why my house suddenly started to take on the odor of a wet sponge or a small dead animal in the walls.

i blamed it on the old house and old floors that my husband partially blames me for ruining – something to do with the fact that dragging furniture all over the hardwood floors every time i want to rearrange the house - which is freakishly often, is not good for them.


but i had resigned myself to thinking that - through no fault of my own of course; our floors were beyond saving and that was just the way our floors look: like crap.

i finally figured out who the smelly culprits were and put the offending mop and bucket outside where they are currently stinking up the outside of my house. and i went out and bought a new mop and a new bucket.

evidently, this makes a big difference. clean things. to clean things.

and after i had mopped the entire first floor and gazed at the awesomeness that was really, really clean floors for the first time in like, forever – and lulu announced that our house didn’t smell like stinky cheese anymore, i remembered another mop(s) -

we had just moved to louisville and it was just my husband and i and our two year old, henry. we lived in a little apartment with wall to wall carpeting and a tiny kitchen with linoleum flooring.

having a two year just meant cereal, rice, noodles and all kinds of stuff was being hurled all over the floor of that little kitchen, all the time.

i needed to mop that tiny floor. a lot.

so i did.

and one day the mop broke. i can’t remember exactly what happened, but it was mid-mop and i have a weensy temper and so i got mad. and i may have let out a few choice expletives.

so i took my 2 year old to the market to buy a new mop.

and the following week, while using the new mop for maybe the 3rd time since its’ purchase, it broke. can’t recall the specifics again, maybe the scrubby thing on the end fell off, or the sponge would disintegrate cause i’d leave it in the bucket, or the squeegy thing lost its squeegy handle which rendered it useless.

i took my 2 year old to the market and bought another mop. a different brand this time.

and the following week, while using that new mop for maybe the 3rd time since it’s purchase, it broke. and so began a pattern of broken mops and a crazed expletive yelling stay home mom with a two year old that went on for, believe it or not, about 5 or 6 mops. each time i’d be in the kitchen screaming and yelling – fucking mop this, and fucking mop that. my husband would come home from work and i’d rant on and on about the fucking mops.

he’d say maybe i am getting what i am paying for. maybe i need to buy a better mop. spend a tiny bit more money.

so, after the next mop inevitably broke, as all my mops were wont to do; i packed my two year old up and brought him to the market, yet again, to buy another mop.

muttering the whole way about the fucking mops.

i stood in the aisle, surveying all the mops, trying desperately to see if there was a brand i had not yet purchased and i picked a mop out of the rack – the biggest, baddest mother of the most expensive mop in the bunch. it looked indestructible. it was a thing of moply beauty.

and i said to the two year old sitting in my cart:

henry, what do you think of this mop?

he replied simply-

that’s a big fucking mop, mom.

Mar 22, 2009

planets aligning

the planets aligned yesterday, my mojo was rockin’, my head was screwed on right and it all made for what will henceforth be known as:

and this distinction will stand until the day i have an even better race – which i now know is actually possible and will indeed come; cause i have finally figured out that it is not my lot in life to be that girl.

that girl meaning the one who is always off the back and time trialing to catch the group.

yeah, that girl. nu-huh. i don’t have to be her anymore. i know i’ll still have those days where i am that girl. when the planets don’t align. cause that’s bike racing. but yesterday? well -

the planets did align and road racy lightbulbs went off all over the place and i was the girl who stayed in the pack the entire race. i even led the pack now and then. i even worked with teammates and lent a wheel when they were tired. i rode smart and stayed protected. i even, get this – felt so good i wondered what would happen if i just took a flyer and did an attack. shut.up. i did that. i got in a break, and i closed gaps when i let them open up – and it wasn’t often - in a turn. i sometimes wondered who i was and what i was doing. and it felt good.

sure i felt a tiny bit of bile rise up in my throat on the start line. but it disappeared as soon as it arrived. and sure, i threw up a little bit in my mouth at one point. and yeah, i fell off a weensy bit in a turn, but i caught on real fast. that break i was in? we got caught. that flyer i took? some cat 2 girl chased me down. but mostly, the usual mojo-messing fear was totally m.i.a. even when i couldn’t clip in right off the line, and it took me forever. i didn’t get all jacked up and worried. i just kept pedaling. i wasn’t intimidated, by anyone or anything. and when i watched all the squirrely wheels and figured a crash was imminent?

no problem.

cause the mojo was rockin’. cells were firing. i was focused and relaxed. i never even knew what lap we were on, and i am usually acutely aware of what lap we are on - until yesterday. i was too focused. i couldn’t hear a single word that anyone on my team was yelling as we passed by.

and now i need to figure out exactly how to get the planets to align again. so i can recreate that whole i am so rockin’ it right now and i feel insanely good and strong feeling.

i’m wondering if it was the two margaritas two nights before the race, the ones that went down so easy they were like my old friend candy. was it the way i packed for the race? flasks full of bourbon first, then kit, helmet, shoes, bike? was it the enormously shitty and not easy ‘openers’ spin the night before? was it left shoe first? was it fatboy slim and ‘ya mama’ on the trainer as last song before hitting the line?

or. is it possible that it’s a new training schedule, a new coach and a new attitude about all of it? is it a year of road racing and training under my belt and learning a thing or two about a thing or two? or is it just going into a race with a clear head? is it realizing what i am capable of when i stop being scared?

i don’t know, but making the margarita’s a regular gig and packing the flasks first can’t hurt. i might just go with it.

and not being that girl for once?

but instead being the one who can actually race and rock it? and not be intimidated? well.

it’s a nice feeling.


photo by: Shari Parker