Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am not a Multisport Athlete

Last weekend I went to Ashland! Uh, Ashland, MA. Oregon would have been way radder. Although it was raining! . . . .


I went to race a duathlon. I'd been practicing at the shooting range, but then I remembered that it's only in a biathlon that you get to pack heat.

That's a joke, by the way.

So this race was pretty short - 2 mile trail run, 6.5 mile MTB, 2 mile trail run. Let's just get this out of the way and say that while I enjoy running very much, I'm not very fast. For the first two miles I did about 7:45 minute miles. For the second two miles, after the bike, I think I did 10 minute miles. It was a pretty cool event, and I won some Hammer Heed and got a pretty cool shirt. I remember thinking, during the second run, that, "oh, okay, now I've got all this running out of my system and I can just ride my bike until it starts snowing again."

Anyway, I've finally made a friend outside of Cody's circle of childhood friends and their girlfriends/wives. She's a runner and triathlete (I know, I know, and she's SUCH a triathlete, too, but whaddya gonna do?). Anyway, I'm helping her with her bike and she's helping me run faster. I think it'll help a lot in cyclocross, since I always look like a small retarded child during the runs struggle with the runs.

I know, that was extremely offensive to small retarded children who probably run much faster than me. (not politically correct)

Moving on. I don't really want to end my post with such an insensitive comment, but to be honest I don't really have anything to add.

Okay, I thought of something.

We took The Boat out night before last. Cody's brother has a little boat with a filthy smoking two stroke on it that I always feel really bad about participating in the running of (not gramatically correct). But being able to go out on the ocean is one of the few things that make not living in the mountains acceptable. We need a sailboat. I can't wait to go sailing this summer. Did I mention how warm it was yesterday? It was warm enough to get muggy. Ah, the humidity. Oh East Coast, you're so messed up.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In other news . . .

I'm taking down my road race schedule.

I'll be doing some road racing, but I don't really have a plan. I still want to do Green Mt. Stage Race, definitely still planning for a killer CX season, so my season goals remain unchanged. I guess I'm just having fun riding and running and having a life. I'm still figuring this place, and my life here, out. It's hard to be single minded when there's so much new stuff to learn every day. I'll get back to it, I'm just having fun right now. And - I firmly believe that as long as I keep riding and running and being generally active, my cycling-specific fitness will never be far away. Call me naive, but I'm feeling pretty good about my choices, even if it makes me sound a little flaky.

Springtime in Massachusetts

I know, it hasn't been quite a month since I last posted something. But I feel like I've been collecting these little kernels of interest and haven't had a chance to share them yet.

It's finally spring. Like, really, truly, spring. Last Wednesday it poured rain all day. When I looked out the window the next morning everything had turned green. Later that day on my ride I saw tulips just starting to blossom. When I rode home from work that evening they were in full bloom. It's amazing what can happen in the space of a day.

I know I've mentioned this before, but the way a place smells is more evocative to me than the sights or sounds. Reno smelled like sage and rabbit brush (which, as a result of my 9 years there, smells like home), riding in the SF bay area smells like eucalyptus trees, Chico smells like oaks, driving down the central valley for a bike race smells like, erm, kind of gross, but evokes so many memories of traveling to Madera and Kern, and all those other central valley events. When there are forest fires and the air is smokey it always brings me back to growing up in Quincy - one particular fall where there were lots of fires and the valley filled with smoke, and I hung out with friends on a railroad bridge out Hwy 70.

I haven't yet determined what Massachusetts smells like. I guess I'm not familiar enough yet with the plant species, and there are probably too many different ones to pick out just one that screams at me. In the fall it smelled like decomposing leaves. Mostly it smells like wet dirt and growing things. It's always wet here. You know, classic east coast humidity. Even when it's dry it's wet. In the summer it smells like mosquitos and midges - there's so many bugs that when you go to take a deep breath you suck them up your nose. I know, pleasant. There's the smell of the marsh, which is pretty quintessentially New England - it smells like ocean, and marsh grass, and mud. It's full of life, though, and not just biting insects.

But winter was devoid of anything but the smell of cold. That smell where everything is frozen, and the air hurts your nose because it's so cold, and everything smells like diesel exhaust from the plows, and the exhaust mingles with the sand and salt in the snow piles on the sides of the road. When you're riding your bike and cars drive by you taste the salt they lay on the roads, and you taste it on your water bottle from the spray of your tires. The snow and ice take so long to melt that you can't remember the last time you saw dirt. Just dirt. Something other than pavement or ice. And then that first patch thaws, and there's this moment of incredible disbelief that you've survived winter. There had been days when you had ceased to believe spring would ever come. Day by day you see more brown earth until you can finally smell it. Wet dirt and decomposing leaves smell so good after a long winter of darkness and cold. And then you wake up one morning and it is really, truly springtime after all. You smell grass and growing things again, and it's amazing.

And now we've made it. Sure it's a little chilly and rainy, but I don't have to disconnect my water every night so it won't freeze, and there isn't a single patch of snow left. The trails are open for business, the roads are, well, still sandy and full of pot holes. But the trails are perfect, and we've been taking full advantage.

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon. Every time I watch a marathon (on TV - the Athens Olympics and now this one) I want to run one. I'm sure it would take me 5 hours. How can anyone not be inspired by that kind of athleticism and determination? How on earth can a human being run 26 miles in 2 hours? It's beautiful. And while they didn't throw down any 4 minute miles, my friends that went out there and put in blazing times totally inspire me, too. Anyway, next year I'm taking work of and going in to watch - something like that just has to be seen.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Is a Blogpost

Ahh, Saturday. Ever since I rearranged my work schedule and don't have to work on Saturday mornings, the day has gotten a lot lazier. Two weeks ago I worked from 6 AM to 10 AM, then came home and did an 80 mile solo bike ride. It was rad. I felt good about life. Today I'm sitting around writing a blog post that no one will read and drinking coffee. Later I will ride for 3-4 hours. Tomorrow I have a 95 mile ride planned, but it snowed here yesterday so I'm giving the northern roads that I plan on venturing to a day to melt and dry off. It should be lovely today, as well as tomorrow - high of 45ยบ! I know, heat wave in California right now, 80 in Reno, 45 feels pretty good to me after wading through 4" of slush yesterday. Blech.

Cody's away for work for another week in Philadelphia - doesn't even get to come home for the weekend! Bunk. So I'm left to my socially reclusive self. Sweet. Me and the dog, cats, and my bikes of course. Bikes are good company.

I went to the dentist yesterday for the first time in 10.5 years. Yes, 10 and a half years. The last time I went was December of 2000. Before I graduated high school. Yes, I said 10.5 years. Sorry, everyone always does a double take when I say that, but I want you to know that it's no typo. In spite of my relaxed approach to oral hygiene and my infrequent (haha, understatement) dental check ups, my mouth is in pretty rad shape. I went in because I lost a filling in August 2009 and it has hurt ever since. Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot to have waited so long to check it out, but my state of employment has been spotty in the interim. Anyway, that one needs a root canal (I know, I'm totally terrified, too) but otherwise I must be doing something right. I know, no one gives a shit about my visit to the dentist, but I'm pretty psyched that I don't need 10K worth of work so I'm sharing it with the world. yay me!

And if you've made it this far then you deserve to be rewarded by my mediocre photography. Enjoy.

This is my back yard. Literally. Pretty freaking gorgeous, no? Now maybe some understanding of why the HELL I live in this tick-infested, ice covered, 3rd-world-country-quality-roads region of New England.

Since Cody is gone for another week we downloaded Skype and got to have a video conversation. It's weird being able to see a little picture of myself while I talk, and I honestly found it so distracting looking at my doofy facial expressions that I spent more time looking at myself than him. I know, I know . . .

And finally! The first photo I've ever taken of my food that looks even remotely appetizing, even though I set my food on the floor amongst the varmints to do so (yes, my floor consists of mostly-painted plywood - I live in a barn, what do you want from me?). Or, so I think, but maybe that's because I got to eat it and it was AWESOME! It was my first attempt at Vietnamese food - brown rice vermicelli over farm-fresh New England lettuce (grown in a green house - it's nice having a not-brother-in-law who is running a CSA this year) with cucumbers that are probably from Mexico. Anyway, that one has baked tofu and a dressing with rice wine vinegar, carrots, and some other stuff. And then topped with copious amounts of Sriracha, of course.

Continuing my attempt to cook food that isn't Italian/Mexican/American I purchased some Bob's Red Mill teff flour at the store yesterday and tried to make some Ethiopian food. Erm, I don't think I did the injera right (you know, the pancake that you scoop everything up with) because it didn't ever really set and just turned into a gross teff flour pudding. Uck. No. But I cooked some lentils and made a salad with the most bomb-tastic (wasn't life better when we could say that things were 'da bomb' without ridicule? Yes, yes it was) dressing that was just as good as the stuff that I got at the Ethiopian place in Reno (which is GREAT and you should go there and try it - Zagol, on 4th St.). Anyway, I must figure out how to make proper injera, and then I'll try to take another appetizing floor-photo.