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            

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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?

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