Monday, January 25, 2010

Photo Essay

Cozad, NE - located on the 100th Meridian (whatever the hell that means). On the way across the country we stopped here so I could ride. Typical small town - we'd been parked for 2 minutes while I got dressed and a cop came up to ask us what we were doing. "Reno? Well now that's a big city. What're you doin' 'round these parts?" He was pretty cool when we explained, though. And I had a really nice ride in the sun.

When the brutal cold and snow of Northeastern Massachusetts finally broke my will to ride (fortunately only 2 days before we left) we did some skiing instead.

I finally got to Salem (actually I'd been there once, earlier on this trip, but only because I got lost on my bike, crossed a huge bridge, and found myself there)! We went to the Essex-Peabody museum, which is HUGE (especially considering it's only 20 minutes from Boston) and awesome. Next time I'm totally going to the witch dungeons (hahahaha, take that, kids who were mean to me in high school!).

Yes, the sunset was lovely. Cold, but lovely.

The way the sunset was shining on the trees it made them look like they were on fire. Just lovely.

Went to Cody's brother and sister-in-law's house in NH and built a sweet bouldering wall in their basement. Now I've got a serious itch to do some rock climbing (an itch that will be scratched in a major way this Friday at Touchstone Climbing in Sacrameno!).

This was my New Year's Eve ride. It was snowing (umm, duh, really Mare?). Weee.

Last day of the drive across the country. Serious boredom has commenced.

I saw this guy when I was riding in Maine! New do-before-I-die goal - ride my bike in every state. Even Arkansas. This trip I added 2 states to my list: Nebraska and Maine. Let's see, so I'm at: 1. Nevada, 2. California, 3. Oregon, 4. Utah, 5. Washington, 6. Colorado, 7. Massachusetts, 8. New Hampshire, 9. Vermont, 10. Montana, 11. Nebraska, 12. Maine. Okay, only 38 to go.

Proof positive I was in Maine. On an island, no less!

More scenic Maine.
That pretty much chronicals my 3 weeks "vacation". In fact we did a lot more than that, I just don't have photo evidence of it. I'm still unemployed (a fact that will hopefully change soon), finally logging some good training, and looking forward to Touchstone Climbing team camp this weekend! I'm sure there's more to add, but I'm totally fried from my ride yesterday (Cool thing #67 about unemployment: Rest days really are quite restful!) and can't think of anything interesting to say.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eatin' chowda and hanging at the ba' (that's bar, to you non-New England types)

It’s snowing. Again. It wasn’t supposed to start until noon today – I guess it came a couple of hours early. I know I’m going to go ride, but I’m putting it off, putting it off. Struggling to find the motivation to spend 30 minutes getting dressed, bundling on every layer I can, then searching for a hill that takes more than a minute to climb up. Those are scarce around these parts. “These parts” being North-eastern Massachusetts. If you head west you can find “big” climbs (it really puts things in perspective when the definition of a big climb means anything lasting 10 minutes), but I’m without transportation. I’d considered taking the train, but that would end up being something like 3 hours each way, as you have to go south into Boston and then get on another line and head west. So I know I’ll do my intervals here, on a rolling little bit of a climb that might top out at 3 minutes if I pace myself. It’s just this week that my hill intervals will be so difficult (another cyclist perspective – when the difficulty associated with training is not the work-load, but finding a route that is long and hard enough) because on Monday we’ll be heading home.
And home, what awaits? Well, I guess I totally dropped the ball on the goings-on of late report, but to sum up, my return to Reno will involve selling of anything not necessary to life (my bike IS necessary to life) to pay next month’s bills, and a whole lot of job hunting. What will I do? I don’t know – serve coffee, go work at a gym, cocktail waitressing? All options are on the table provided they give me race weekends off and time to train, of course. But more importantly, home brings with it normal patterns and food, huge climbs to ride my bike up, my own pillow, and my dog. Even, heaven forbid I mention this as a positive, but my rollers, and resistance trainer. I know, I know, truly pathetic. But it’s days like today, when it’s just so hard to face the cold winter roads, that you sometimes just need to pop in a DVD and sweat on the living room floor.
I made this trip to the Eastern seaboard to see if I could stand to live here in the winter. I’ve been here in the summer, and if one can get past the poison ivy, mosquitoes, midges, greenheads, ticks, and god awful humidity, it’s actually pretty nice. Winters? Truth be told, they’re a lot like Reno winters, just much wetter. Not Portland wet, but not sunny Reno dry, either. They salt the roads heavily here, and that combined with the dampness has every bit of steel on my bike thoroughly rusted, despite liberal applications of WD-40, which I hate using on bikes to begin with. People don’t seem to ride outside here much during the winter – each day I’ve been out I haven’t seen more than one other person, if any at all. There’s very little shoulder to ride on, as it’s mounded with snow, and drivers don’t seem too concerned about my well being. The cross training possibilities are decent, but no better than in Reno (we have Tahoe for christ’s sake!). And the hills, oh, what hills? Seriously, I know that sounds stupid, but I always feel that, even with the lousy weather and limited ride options, living in Reno affords me the benefit of altitude (our house is at 4500’) and endless long climbs to suffer up. I feel, truly, that living at sea level (since I can hardly afford an oxygen tent) with nothing but flat to rolling terrain to work with will be a huge disadvantage. There are wonderful things here, too. The cyclocross! Oh, the cyclocross! It’s almost worth all the other crap to have a UCI race within 6 hours of you EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND in the fall. Almost.
Well, time will tell what happens. Mostly I want to live in Santa Barbara, but I think that may be a little out of my price range.