Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sweet Dirt Tan

Yeah, hi. I've gotten in several decent rides since my last entry but they tend to blur together because we ride the same trails pretty often. Last night (and last Thursday night) Kenny and I went to Powhite and spent a happy hour and a half riding familiar but still challenging trails. The really nice thing about Powhite: it's soft. When you crash at Powhite you sort of bounce off the dirt. Kenny and I have both had spills in the last week with barely a scratch between us. See, roadies, dirt is good! Pavement, that's what'll mess you up.

I did get crazy f'ed up last night, however, by some kind of prehistorically thorny bramble frond that was oh-so-innocently waving itself across the trail. I hit it and then Kenny hit it and we both shrieked like little girls. DANG ALMIGHTY that shit hurt. It dragged itself across my upper arm and I have freaking SEVEN big scratches. What the hell kind of devil weed was that? It started to swell up and when I complained Kenny told me I should be happy, as now I would have superpowers much like Spider-man. I asked him what kind of powers, exactly, was I going to get from a bunch of thorn scratches and he said I'd be KILLER on the turn tables. And then made DJ scratchy noises. Two turn tables and a microphone...

I mean, damn, if that's not incentive I don't know what is.

As part of our holiday weekend we went on a big group ride which started out really great when I loudly accused the organizer of giving us crap directions to his house when in fact my husband read the directions wrong. Sorry Jay! I just hate being late - it makes me cranky. As a group we did big loop but in the opposite direction from what we usually do. It's really hard the normal way but much, much more challenging backwards. Oy. I think it was about 2 1/2 hours, all told.

It was a good ride, tiring, but good. I felt like I'd accomplished something by finishing it and, as a bonus, I actually rode across the concrete bridge which scares the living hell out of me. Yay for that. I hate that thing but I didn't want to walk when everyone else was riding. I just stared really hard at the other end and chanted, "don't fall don't fall don't fall" quitely under my breath.

One more bonus: I got a sweet, sweet dirt tan. For the uninitiated, a dirt tan is what happens when the trails are dry and you are not. Let me demonstrate in pictures:

Dirt tan:

The true contrast:

Okay, hands up, who wants to make out with me?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Ride for Jonny Z.

I had a crummy day yesterday and wasn't in the mood to do much of anything but doing nothing always makes me feel worse, so Kenny and I did a big-loop ride after work. I felt okay starting out but then we hit the bridge and, damn. I hadn't ridden across that bridge since an acquaintance of mine tragically (and somewhat mysteriously) fell off it while riding his bike home a few weeks ago. The guard rail is a solid five feet high. I don't understand. I've been messed up over it and having weird dreams about it and was dreading being back on it.

The spot where he fell was covered in flowers and pictures and it made me cry. We stopped for a few minutes afterwards so I could pull myself together and I looked up at the sky and around at the beautiful afternoon and made the firm decision to just ride and enjoy the day as the gift that it is. Sometimes that's the best you can do, you know?

And it worked. It wasn't the fastest I've ever gone and I didn't overcome any new obstacles, but I fully enjoyed being outside, feeling the setting sun on my skin, wreathed in the smell of blooming honeysuckle and marvelling at how green everything is this time of year. Oh, and we saw a beaver! It hauled ass to get away from us and, I have to tell you, there's nothing funnier than a beaver hauling ass.

On the way home we took the winding uphill route via Riverside Drive and I was just plodding along (which is what I do on paved uphill surfaces) when I heard a strange whirring noise coming up fast on my left. Before I could even process it two road cyclists had passed me like I was standing still. I yelled to Kenny,

"Dang! I was wondering what that noise was. I guess that's what fast sounds like, huh."

The road cyclists got to the top of the hill and dammit it if they didn't turn right back around and go back down the hill.

"Heeey...did they do that whole climb just to pass us?"

"Yes. Yes they did."


Anyway, it was what I needed. I don't know that I'll ever cross that bridge again without thinking about Jonny, but that's what keeps someone's memory alive, is it not?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Yesterday Was Excellent...

So why do my legs feel like ass? I did my usual overzealous gym workout on Saturday and when I woke up Sunday my hamstrings were all, HERE WE ARE. Ouch. This did not stop me from driving with Kenny out to Pocahontas State Park to join a group ride. Whee! This is one of my favorite places to ride, hands down. It's loopy and technical and doesn't have a whole shit ton of climbing. Perfecto.

The first 20 minutes of the ride were pretty typical - painful and making me wonder for the 800th time why on earth I was doing this to myself. Then my lungs adjusted and my hamstrings unstrung a bit and I was good to go.

We did a lap of the green (easy) trail and then rode the whole Lakeview/Lakeview Too trail. I think we probably did 12-14 miles total (which sounds so ridiculous in road biking terms but mountain biking is quality over quantity, people! Plus, the pace is much slower.)

I rode pretty much everything except a couple of sketchy looking creek crossings. I was sort of trying to explain myself to someone in the group, saying the rocks looked really slippery and she was all,

"They really aren't. Actually, these crossings are the easiest of any I've ever done."

Oh...kay. I feel better now? Thanks for the boost! I did ride this funky little drop-off that I deliberately skipped the last time I was out there. Kenny missed me riding it so I did it again just to prove I could. Hmph.

The star of the day was the weather - it was in the high 70s and sunny with none of the suffocating humidity that I know is coming. When we got home from the ride we were both completely useless but it was still so pretty out! We both spent some quality time lolling around in the back yard with the cats just to get some extra nice-dayness in. I took pictures of cats because they were all being extra cute but I forgot to upload them. I'll try and add them in tonight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Evil Ivy.

The biking season has officially begun and I know this for serious because lo, I have my first tiny dots of poison ivy. I used to be one of those jerks who was all, "I don't get poison ivy!" like my skin was super-special and resistant to the lowly poison weed. Not so. Last year I noticed an itchy patch on my arm and it took me days, DAYS, to figure it out because I am dumb. Duh. Now I have several tiny patches on my legs and one tiny dot of it on my arm. It's going to be a long itchy summer, my friends.

So last night I got a ride in! I wasn't going to because I was really exhausted and jetlagged, but Kenny told me he was going to join the weekly "Mellow Monday" ride at Powhite park and I decided to tag along, even though I doubted the "Mellow" part. I'm like Charlie Brown with the football when it comes to so-called easy rides. They lie, people. Almost always, they lie.

But I was pleasantly surprised. A bunch of guys showed up (Lisa? Why has thou forsaken me?) and it was truly a nice easy pace. Not snail-slow, just a nice noncompetitive ride with a bit of chatting and some stopping to try various obstacles. I made it over one of the bigger logs I'd been leery of, which was a nice confidence booster. I really enjoyed myself and was SO GLAD to get out in the fresh air. Twelve hours in airports and airplanes will do that to a girl (travel hell details can be found at

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hey, I suck!

I haven't been updating because of something you said.

Actually, that's not true. I haven't been updating because I haven't been riding and it's hurting me greatly. I have had one thing after another preventing me from having a little bike fun, but I hope to be back in the saddle next week. I do have one ride from a few weeks ago that I haven't documented, but you know, it goes like this:

Big Loop, ow, pain! Fun! Ow! So slow! Yay for dinner!

More soon, kids. I promise.