Monday, July 19, 2010

More Days Like This One Please

This weekend was a very rare treat for us - we had nothing scheduled.  Well, that's not exactly true.  We planned to go to a party Friday night and planned to see some friends Sunday evening.  We didn't have long workouts with running or cycling teams, neither of us had a race, we didn't have travel plans.

Saturday we did mostly nothing other than take care of some long overdue errands such as buying bookshelves.  Oh the excitement!  How long have we been looking for bookcases for the bedroom and kitchen?  Too long.  The king and queen of clutter must have bookshelves.

Sunday we went to the beach.  One of my great disappointments is that I live 10 minutes from the beach and don't swim in the ocean often enough.  I dutifully keep my swimsuit, beach towel and blanket in the car, but I rarely have time to swim.  Stevie and I were out of beach-going practice, so hauling stuff to the beach wasn't a fully efficient process.  As we were finding our spot on the sand, Steve looked at someone's beach umbrella and said "We need one of those."  I replied, "Steve, that's what you're carrying."  What can I say, he's like a Sherpa.  He's willing to haul whatever I hand him and he doesn't ask questions.

It was awesome.  The water was chilly and perfect and the waves were strong enough to knock your suit off. Swam, read, napped.  Perfect!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Little Knowledge Is a Good Thing

Tuesday night I went to a 90 minute seminar about basic bike maintenance.  When I've ridden before, I've always had Steve to deal with flat tires.  He's sort of my bicycle AAA.  At the triathlon, no one else can touch your bike.  If a tire pops, you've got to fix it yourself.  That meant I needed to get some knowledge.

The class was offered at REI for the low, low price of free.  Cheap is neat, but free is for me.  Of course, I live with someone who knows gobs about bikes and he'd have given me free advice too.  Sometimes it's easier to learn from someone neutral.

I'd have considered the night a success if I learned to change a tire.  The class was far better than I could have hoped.  In an hour and a half I learned to adjust my brakes, my shifting and my dérailleur.  I also learned the correct way to clean and oil a chain and what to do if one pops off while I'm riding. Oh, and I did learn how to change a tire.

The bonus is I'm so much more confident about the bike.  Looking back, I should have taken a class ages ago.  I don't mind figuring things out on my own, but I appreciate having a head start on finding my way out of cluelessness.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Side Trips Are the Best Part of the Journey

I adore the long drive home from the Sierras.  When people think about California they think of beaches and LA and San Francisco.  Most of California is lovely, undeveloped space.  As we started the drive, I saw a beautiful river and pulled off the road so we could dip our feet in it.  Where I managed to pull off the highway, we had a climb down to the river.  As we started the descent we noticed someone quickly pulling on his pants from a skinny dip. He was a nice guy from Argentina and he mentioned that he'd spent the last few days visiting some nearby hot springs.

Hot Springs?  That would be perfect since Steve was recovering from his big ride. We had a cooler full of munchies, swimsuits and beach towels - we were perfectly prepared for this serendipitous side trip.  Our new Argentinian friend gave us some directions and we were off to find Buckeye Hot Springs.

After a few minutes lost on an unpaved fire road, we found the trail head.  I use the term "trail" loosely.  Mostly it's down a steep hill of granite and loose gravel.  Steve and I made the climb to the Springs and they were awesome.  The hot springs are tucked into a crevasse of rock. and they are hot at about 110 degrees.  The springs are right next to the Buckeye Creek which is icy cold with run off from the snow caps. You see the white rushing water in the photos? Cold creek.  The small calm circles? Hot, hot springs.

We spent a lovely afternoon soaking, relaxing and listening to the rushing water. It was a perfect gem of an afternoon. This photo is Stevie lounging in deliciousness of the hot side.

Monday, July 12, 2010

So Proud

We're home from Northern California and the Death Ride.  The Death Ride is over 100 miles and 15,000 feet of climbing (and descending!) the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  On a bicycle.

Of course I didn't ride that race, but Steve did.  After that horrible crash descending Mount Soledad on his bicycle 2 weeks ago, Steve decided he still wanted to ride the "California Alps" with the Team in Training ACE team.

Race morning we left our hotel at 3AM, the team started the ride by 4.  I spent the day handing out Cytomax to riders, directing traffic and cheering the cyclists.  Our team rode over 12 hours with every TNT cyclist completing the ride safely.  Not every rider in the race was so fortunate; there were lots of ambulances and Care Flights.  There were moments of heart stopping worry, but I'm so grateful that I got to have a tiny part in their day.

By the end of the day, Steve and 16 of his teammates completed all 5 mountain passes.  On bicycles. Wow.  I'm in awe of the team, the coaches and their mentor.  I'm just so proud of all of them.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

My New Bathing Costume

In my ceaseless internet searching about triathlon preparation, I did a bit of shopping for triathlon suits.  I decided that if I could find one for about $35 bucks, I'd buy it.  Since the tri-suits are usually about $100-$150, there was little danger that I'd find one in my size for an 80% discount. Then I ran across this one for the low, low price of thirty bucks..

Let's not kid each other.  I've purchased a hot pink full-body triathlon girdle.  It doesn't hold in the jiggly bits like a girdle, but it looks like a girdle.

Steve, in a fit of wisdom, kindness or self-preservation, told me it looked good.  I'm pretty sure I look ridiculous, but at least my fans will be able to spot me on the course.

Friday, July 02, 2010

No One Will Believe Us Now

Steve's bike crash left him with a nasty black eye and stitches.  I've taken a bit of teasing and so has he.  "What happened, did he forget to take out the trash?"  Domestic violence is no joke, but at some point you just go with it.  Now I say, "Yeah.  And that was just my left hand"

Today I stopped in to see my doctor for the routine prescription refills and asked her to look at this weird bump I have on my lip.  My dentist has been watching it for a few years, but at the last visit he said it had to be removed.  Nothing serious, but it's getting bigger and I bite on it occasionally.  Pack your bags, lip bump. Today my doctor it was just a mucocele (which is a scarred salivary gland).  She said she'd lance it and it would be gone.   She grabbed the lance, or more realistically a spear, and jammed it on in there.  Hmmm.  That thing did not budge so she referred me to surgeon who'll grab an even bigger spear and hopefully some local anesthesia.

When I got to the car, I caught my reflection in the rear view mirror.  The doctor's spear chucking left me with one huge fat lip.

Steve has a black eye.  I've got a fat lip.  No one is going to believe that there wasn't a brawl at our house.  Given the comparative bruises on the two of us - I totally dropped a beat down on him.  He'd better take out that trash.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Last Saturday, I went for a run followed by my first long bike ride - long as in 12 miles.  Of course, it was 12 miles along the Coronado Bike path which isn't exactly challenging terrain. Other than crossing a few intersections, there were no cars.  I did have to contend with other cyclists some of whom rudely insisted on getting within 50 feet of me.  The other riders still make me panic.  And don't even get me started on roller bladers and dogs off their leash.  I'm positive that I will hit one or all of them.  Mostly, a bike ride is me saying to myself, "They see you. They see you. They don't want to crash into you."  I got better and by the end of the ride I could ride near people without completely losing my mind.

Instead of doing the normal triathlon order of ride then run, I decided to run first.  I got off to a bit of a late start and I decided that I'd rather run in what little remained of the cold morning air.  Plus, I figured if the ride was a wash out at least I'd have gotten a run.

Ran for 5 miles and then headed back to my car to get my bike.  That's when I looked down at my feet.
I ran for 5 miles in two different shoes. Completely different: different brands, different heel heights. One of those shoes didn't even have an insole in it. For years, I've been finicky about my running shoes and my precious custom orthotics. The threat of one little bike ride completely distracted me from my precious tootsies.