Nephew Loves his Bike

Yesterday I was hanging out with my family for brunch and the best thing happened, my 2 yo nephew asked me to go ride bikes with him. It went something like “Chrissy outside bike”, I of course said yes. His reaction? A really loud yeah. Love that kid. As a side note the BF an I gave him the bike for his birthday. Best gift ever? I think so.

Here is a little video of us on bikes his mother was smart enough to get.

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2 years

It is hard to believe that it had been two years since I got back on a bike from a 18 year break. Not really sure I even know why I took the break, life as a teenager, or maybe it was the rollerblading stage (don’t act like you did not own a pair). I loved my bike as a kid. It was the thing that my parents took away from me when I got into trouble (I know what you are thing, you got in trouble?).

My first bike was pink with a white seat, some sweet training wheels and streamers. I think I got it at age 5 and my dad was the one to teach me to ride it. According to dad I was a fast learner and the training wheels came off not long after I got the bike. I remember riding up and down the street on that bike having no fear. For my 10th birthday I got a brand new blue/green 13 speed Schwinn that was my friend for the 3 years. I remember taking some really nasty falls on it, of course with no helmet. I loved that bike. It is the bike I learned how to ride with no hands, the bike that took me to the gas station for Nitro Soda and Now and Laters. Both of my childhood bikes are still around and were well loved.

I am pretty sure I did not touch a bike for 18 years after that. Not even sure how much I thought about riding a bike in those years. Wish I had, it would have made going to class in college a lot faster and saved me parking ticket money. So what sparked my interest again? Not even sure about that. One day while working at the kayak shop I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to ride a bike again and was looking into buying one. He told me he had one I could borrow for a while to make sure I still like it. I got it from him right before Labor Day and played around a bit but nothing major. Until the Mayors Hike and Bike on Labor Day (the paddle part was not around till the next year). Another friend asked if I wanted to ride with him for fun. Um, sure? Little did I know that it was going to be an 18 mile ride. Boy was I not prepared. No water, no chamois, platform peddles, and cotton. I did however have a helmet and discover I still loved being on a bike.

I eventually gave the borrowed bike back and got my own (new to me) bike in February of 2011 and have since obtained two more, raced in 12 bike races, joined a team, run a team, run a bike race, announced a bike race, ridden over 1000 miles, lost weight, driven all over to ride/race my bike, and made friends that I am not sure how I lived without.

Over all I am so happy I found something that makes me happy and keeps me healthy. I get sad when I cannot ride. Recently the doctor told me I had to take almost 3 weeks off the bike because of breathing issues. It was so hard. I almost had my sister hide the bikes from me so I would not sit and look at them with longing. I know understand the euphoric felling people talk about when working out, I feel it when I am on my bike, every time. And that is why I leave you with this……

Thanks for Cheering, it Helps

This is something that a friend said to me after her race. She is a super speedy kick ass girl on a bike. When she rides by me I always tell her I want to be her when I grow up and that she is my hero. She is not the only person I yell for. If I know your name I am going to cheer for you and/or heckle you. It is part of the fun of cyclocross racing. You can see so much of the course so it is perfect for spectators.

I saddled up for race number 4 on Sunday morning at John Bryan Park in Yellow Springs, OH. It was about a 2.5 her drive and we (my totally awesome teammate, Kelly G and her hubs) left at 6am. We got to the course in time to change, check in and do a pre-ride of most of the course. After that I hopped on the trainer for a good 15 mins to keep the legs spinning and to help me stay warm. It was about 40 degrees when we were called up to the line. I was ready for this race. This was my kind of course, or so I had been told by a few people. No major elevation change or major hills, some fun fast short tack, and a few other fun things put in to make the course just right.

This was by far the longest course I have ridden. In 30 mins we did 2.5 laps. Yes .5 is strange but hey it is cross, why not? The start was a long long straight away that was a false flat and when the cat 4 women rode it, it was still wet. That was my least favorite part of the course and my slowest, I think many people felt that same way about it. There were lots of 180’s and some single track thrown in just to keep us on our toes, a rideable sand pit, barriers, and some logs that a 10 your old could bunny hop, but not me.

Overall my legs felt great, I mean really great. I did all my workouts for the week given to me by my coach and could tell how much they helped me. What was not great was breathing. My lungs suck. A lot of it is fitness but some of it is the fact that I just have crappy lungs. I was told once by a doc that I have the breathing of a couch potato even though I was/am super active and maybe spend 5 hours a week on the couch. This slowed me down. It is really hard to keep up with someone when you cannot get full breath. My lower back would cramp ever time I would try to take a deep breath (people with lung issues will understand this). In my mind I knew that I still needed to do the best that I could and not stop. I kept going and did not get last. That was  my overall goal, not to get last. I am still unsure of how many people finished behind me but I know there was one or two (or maybe more depending on who you ask).

In all of the OVCX races this year riders are chip timed. I am not sure why as I was told, by officials, that the chip times does not matter. I was told this because sometime during the race I lost mine. I went to look at the results and they said -1 lap. WTF? -1 lap, chip must have gotten lost some time during the last lap, maybe when I crashed. I asked them to give me that lap back and they said it did not matter, what mattered was my placement being right. I have no idea if it was correct or not, I was trying not to collapse as I crossed the finish line. After determining they were right about my placement from what was hand recorded I asked them to changed the lap results on paper to reflect that I did all the laps and again was told it did not matter, I looked at the lovely, very understanding official (can you read the sarcasm in that) and said it does matter, to me at least, I worked my butt off for that last lap and I would like it to show that I finished without being lapped (I wanted to add, all’s you did all day was sit in a chair and write down numbers, but I did not). They still did not change it. Oh well, I know so I guess that will have to do for now.

I finished, and I finished as strong as I could, I did not give up and I am happy with myself. I crashed, but not hard and I got right back up and kept riding. I thought at one point I was going to puke (maybe when my heart rate was at 192?) and said so out loud. Some kids heard this and told me to keep going, I would be fine, just keep riding. So I did until I crossed the finish line.

Getting back to the title of this post Cheering does help. I reflected on that as my friend said it to me. To hear your name being yelled, for someone to tell you keep going, you are doing great is AMAZING. Thanks to everyone that comes out to race, to watch, to cheer and support. It means the world to me to hear your cheers and to be able to cheer for you.

3 races in 2 days?

Yes that is right, 3 races in 2 day was someone’s bright idea. I think it might have been mine. What the hell was I thinking? Ugg!

First sorry for the delay in the post on the race report. Typing is not really the easiest task for me, well anything that requires the use of my left hand really. If you read this post and this post you would know that I have crashed a few times in the last few weeks, well in one of those crashes I messed up my thumb and finally went to the best hand doctor in town (he is also a Louisville bike racer and husband to an awesome team-mate) and he told my I tore a ligament in my thumb and have to wear a silly looking brace (see pic below) for up to 12 weeks. YES 12 WEEKS and it is my left hand. Yes I am left-handed. The good news is he understands the world of being on a bike and did not put too many restrictions on me. Thanks Doc.

Okay back to the races. Starting on Friday night I had signed up for CX clinic with a pro CX’er Ryan Trebon. Ryan came to Louisville to teach the clinic and race. Super nice guy and he was great at the clinic. Then I headed over to On Your Left Cycles for there grand re-opening in a new location. Did not stick around too long as I still had to get ready for the big day on Saturday.  I got all my stuff together and headed over to Civil Racers. My bike got a bath and was all pretty with the help of CR, he says you feel faster with a clean bike. Most of the time I just go along with what he says in the smile and nod kind of way when it comes to bike stuff so I washed my bike. He also helped me put some spiffy new PINK bar tape on my bike earlier in the week. That is what really made me feel faster. I know I am such a girl.

In the cyclocross world CR is also known as Little Cesars because he eats it the night before almost ever race. Why mess with what works? So we had some Little Cesars’s pizza for dinner and called it a night.

6:30 Saturday morning came way, way early. I had all my stuff together so that was a plus. I get in the car and CR tells me I better eat. So I do. Not sure I even tasted it. The whole drive is a little blurry to me. I just remember telling myself over and over again it is just a bike race, it is just a bike race. Why the heck are you so uptight about this calm down, you are crazy, calm down, stop being so nervous. Yes that was what was going on in my head.

We got to the course super early so the CR could help with last-minute stuff. I see people I know and try not too look too crazy or scared. A friend somehow helped without even knowing it by saying all the right things to me and making me sound like I knew what I was doing (Thanks Barb). I found a place to change, got my number, and warmed up a bit and pre-rode the course for my first ever CX race that was going off at 9:30. It was only to last 20 mins. We figured that to be about 2 laps. Well it got started a little late and since nothing but pride was on the line we were told we got to do one lap. So one lap as hard as you can go.

Call to line up. Oh boy here we go. The official gave us directions and said on my whistle go. I had one goal at this point, Hole Shot. I looked down, waiting for the whistle. Tweet, we were off and I got the Hole Shot! And that was about all I can brag about in that race. There were 2 other ladies in that race with me and for the most part we stuck together. At one point so close that as W dismounted I ran right into her (she had the tire marks on her back leg to prove it). Good thing she is a good sport about it and just laughed. I came in last but that was okay. I tried hard and got my first taste of racing. Nerves settled. Or so I thought.

I still had another race to go at 11. I cooled off a bit and said hi to a few people. CR parents arrived and I went to say hi, and like a true momma she took one look at me and said,” honey you do not look so good”. Damn them mothers for always knowing something is not right. I told her I did not feel so well but was okay for the moment. I then walked away for a bit to just breathe, then I tossed my cookies and it was not pretty. Damn it, time to race again. By this time my family had arrived to cheer me on. A big step for my mom who is not 100% behind the me racing bikes thing. She is getting there.

Puking helped a little. I was on the front line again and there were lots of great teammate in this race with me and my good friend Rachel.  Goal again was the hole shot. I did the same thing in this race as the last. The whistle went off and I went for it. There is a little debate whether I got it or not but if not I was damn close, like less than an inch. I already knew the course and felt good. A few people passed me but still some riders behind me. In total we did 3 laps. I felt okay on all of them but think I can do better. The last lap was one of the more fun but I think that was due to the hecklers, a common staple at any CX race. I was promised a beer by a few of them when I finished.

I came to the finish line and gave it my all just to see if at the end of a race I could. I did okay on that as well. I crossed and thought I got third. I will take it for my first race. I got off the bike and just about felt like I was going to pass out. I cooled down and it was time for podium.

I walked over waiting to hear my name. They call up the number one person (she is an awesome Cat 3) and then my name. Yep my name, not 3 like I thought but #2. Wow woohoo go me. I was so excited. I won some great socks, chain lube, and confidants. Overall I liked the race and was ready for more and to take on tomorrow.

Now time to sit back and watch the other races and cheer/heckle the rest of the day.

Day 2 was not as exciting as day 1. I knew what the course looked like with the changes and was not all the excited about it. For some reason I let it get in my head that I did not like it and was not going to do as well as the day before. I was tired and a little stressed and just not in it. I raced at the same time as the day before, 11am. I tried to take a little nap in the car before I had to start getting ready but it really did not work, so I got up changed and got on the bike. I ride the course super slow and still do not like it. After a little more warming up it was race time. I was again on the front line but there were a few more of us and it felt very tight. The whistle went off and well I just did not have it to get the hole shot. I guess I just need to be a little more aggressive, something I will have to work on. But I just did not feel comfortable knocking someone to get to the front. From that point on it was down hill. I stayed with the group for about half a lap and then was in the back. On lap 2 I found out we were doing 4 and was hating life on a bike at the point. CR was yelling at me to go and all’s I could get out was “I can’t breathe”. This is how I know my fitness sucks or well it is not where it needs to be. I should have been able to hold on a little more, I should have done better. My bike handling skills are decent for my first year but I get beat every time in fitness. Learning more and more about myself and what I need to work on.

I finished dead last in the race. Ugg I was not happy with the finish and deep down felt I could have done better. Maybe not the brightest idea to do 3 races in 2 days but it was over all fun. I learned a lot and know what I need to work on. I know that I do enjoy the sport and the good changes biking is having on my body and mind. I am excited about my next race, not really sure what the race will be but it will be soon.

Bruised and Battered

That is what I said on Monday as I left work. I told my co-worker that I was going to get bruised and battered while practicing for cyclocross. Well next time I will be more careful what I say.

As you can see from the photos I had a fun night on the bike.

I recently started up a Monday night ladies CX practice due to the fact I had heard of several fabulous women wanting to race CX this year but need to know how. I somehow convinced Civil Racer to coach us (there was promises of beer after races) and got 10 ladies to come out and get dirty rollin on some dirt, grass, sand, and a little pavement.

Pavement got me first. I was trying to carry something in my left hand, hit a pot hole and lost control. I went down hard on my right side. Bike crash #2 in now in the history books. No time to wallow in my wounds it was time to work on dismounting, lifting the bike, going over a barrier and then remounting without breaking stride. I have been working on this for a few days now and had success with it. I did it about 50 gazillion times and on the 51st missed the bike and went down again. This time it was grass so not as bad. I got back up dusted myself off and got back on the bike.

After working on some more skills it was time for hot laps. This is where you go at “race speed” around the full course. Now I was a little tired and the right leg was starting to hurt from the first fall so I was not going to hit it as hard as I should be but still did not want to slack too much. As all of us took off I felt okay but still hung in the back. I stayed pretty much within site of the group until the last part of the course but still had someone with me and then it happened crash #3 for the day. This one was much worse for me then than first two. I was still on the grass but this time I hit hard on my left side and hit my head (thanks goodness for my helmet) and was going faster than I had been on any other crash. This one I did not get up and get back on the bike. I lay on the ground wondering what the hell happened. I tried to stand but thought better of it and went right back to laying down. When I got around to opening my eyes again I was surrounded by people. Crap, I really hate to worry people so I let one of the ladies (studying to be a kick butt nurse) check me out and then got up. I was a little shaky and hurt but nothing serious. But I was DONE. Not for life just for the night. I was beat up and tired. I did get back on my bike and ride to the car but that was about it. I am happy to report that I got on the bike and did it all over again the next day.

One important thing to remember about the River Road Country Club course is that it has an enclosed dog park and many good dog owners take their dogs to the park and let them run free inside the gate. Many BAD dog owners let their dogs run free outside the gate. This is bad bad bad. I am a dog lover and have two of my own but would never let them off leash when there are other people in the park enjoying something other than dogs. So far this season I have been chased and barked at by dogs, rolled through and stepped in crap, with little regard from their owners. A warning to dog owners I will kick your dog in self defense. If one tries to bite me or chase me I will react. Please Please Please keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them.

The girls after Monday night Cyclocross training. Margret, Misty, Me, Stephanie, Jordan, and Kaylene

 

I finally saddled up on the MTB and other things I did this weekend

The great Mountain Bike Race of 2011 did not happen today due to Mother Nature dumping a fair amount of rain on Louisville starting at 4am. Funny thing my first thought as the thunder and my scared big dog woke me up this morning was oh crap there goes all the spray paint we marked the course with then it was you better not keep this up MN or I am not going to be a happy camper. Well she did not listen to me and it rain until about 9am. Uggggg all that work down the drain (really down the storm drain). So no race today, BUT we are going to have it next week on Sunday August 14 same place and race time.

Now the good that did come out of this weekend is I got on my MTB that I have had for over a month. I was not really planning on riding it much as I did but hey we had a race course to mark and well I just kind of started to help and ended up on the bike, on trials, for about 2.5 miles. I did have to walk some of the sections but I had some really cool and super experienced people with me that helped me through some sections and taught me a few tricks. I was pretty proud of myself and pretty tired as well. Also I did not have padded shorts on so I was getting pretty sore on my bum. Over all it was fun. I hope to be back on the MTB again soon after a few adjustments.

That was all on Saturday and I was not really expecting to get a ride in on Sunday with the race but the race did not happen so I was thinking about a road ride. I have been a big ol lazy slacker in the last few weeks and needed to show some love to my bike. Well that did not happen BUT CivilRacer called me in the AM saying let try some Cyclocross. Not the plan B that I had made for the day but why not move to plan C? So we set a time and I invited along a teammate, Marge. Part so I would not lose it on CivilRace (I love him, I really do, I promise 😉 ) but mostly so I had someone else learning with me. I do much better in a team then by myself. I will not go into the details of my having to change the tires over on my cross bike from the road ones and how the bike pump I bought did not work, lets just say when we were done riding I hit up the bike shop for a new pump that will be in the car with me at all times. Once I, I mean him, got the tires on and ready to go and Marge shows up we are ready to roll. We roll the course and then it was time to do the scary part of cross, dismounting and mounting your bike while it is still in motion. I let Marge go first, yes she still loves me and she did not fall on her face, well not the first time. I went and did not really get it but still did not fall. CivilRacer watched a few times makes some changes and we are getting better and better. Then we have to work getting off, picking up the bike and carrying it over a barrier and then getting bake on, all while not breaking stride. OH BOY. We start with a small barrier and them move to a bit bigger one. I think I mush have done it 50 times. I will not say it was pretty but it was much better at the end and Marge and I looked pretty hot while trying. I also got to see CivilRacer miss a few times so I felt about 100 times better. I can say it was a blast and I am sooo ready for more. So tomorrow I will be at it again making bruises on top of bruises and more cuts added but I am okay with that as long as I am still having fun.

After we were all done with the mini clinic Marge and I took a little field trip across the river to Clarksville Schwinn so I could get a new bike pump and she wanted to check it out. I also got myself a little present, some PINK bar tape. I will be posted pics when I get it on the bike.

For a day the started with some bad news and weather it ended pretty good. I got to hangout with cool people doing something I love and ended the day with some good ice cream with the family. Not a bad Sunday if you ask me.

Mountain Bike Race Aug 7

I am helping my wonderful cycling team put on a MTB race on Aug 7th. If you are a mountain biker of any skill level in the Louisville area you should really come and check it out. First time racers are free and there will be a kids race. It is a great way to come and see the totally awesome trails that we have in Louisville and meet some pretty cool people. See the flier (that I created, yes I am tooting my own horn) below for all the info as well as directions and a map. Hope to see you all on Aug 7 starting at 9am in Cherokee Park.

Cherokee MTB Race 2011

10…15…21…25

That would be the milestones of mileage that I have been spinning lately on the road. I am trying to do a little more each time I go out and as time will allow. Todays ride was the longest but also the most hilly that I have done to date. I am trying very hard to hold on and celebrate these milestones. I hope they get bigger and bigger but I still remember what it is like to enjoy a 15 mile ride through the park.

At about 12:30 Mother’s Day Civil Racer and I set out to meet up with Red Headed Gym Rat (formally Photographer) and ChefJLewellyn about 6 miles up the road. It was the first time meet up with ChefJLewellyn for all of us and the first time Civil Racer and RHGR had gone out together.

As the trend lately, RHGR and I did not really have a plan we just wanted to do some miles and enjoy the pretty day. We have been using the term “wing it ride” and like it. It is amazing to see the city that I have lived in most of my life in a new way. This time we did the east end of Louisville and oh boy was I not ready for the hills. They are good for me right? Tell that to my knees. Still I know I am getting stronger on them so I will keep doing them.

I had fun overall and it was great getting to know a new person on the road. After a nice break and some good chatting Civil Racer and I headed back and I was informed that I was going to get my butt worked on the ride home, after all we had a tail wind and it was mostly down hill. Oh hell, never a break for me. It felt good though and it helps me to know I am stronger and able to hold on for longer then I think.

Legs are a little sore but in a good way. They feel like they got worked from all the peddling but want more tomorrow. So another ride tomorrow but probably not a new milestone. Think I might have to save that one for next weekend.

Pretty sure I am in love

With my new BIKE! On Sunday I got a new bike (well new to me). It is a Scott CX Comp 2009 that was never raced and in great condition, and I could not be more excited.

I know she is pretty, right?. We are still getting to know each other but I know it’s a match made in heaven. What is not is me and clipless pedals, well at least not yet. I was very nervous to try this out but I am in this to win it (okay win is a big word but ya know what I mean). With a little instruction from civil racer I go for it on the hard pavement. Not so bad, I clip in okay, ride around a bit and then it is time to stop and unclip. I do it perfectly, and I know you are all jealous of my skills, time to go home now, ttyl.

Okay not really but that would make a cooler story than me falling flat on my side with the bike on top of me and civil racer soon after as he is trying to help me up. Did I mention that I was on the hard pavement? Damn it, try #1 FAIL. I have not had this bad of a skinned knee in a long time. No worries I got back on the bike. I will do it better this time. Haha, not so much. time #2 FAIL with a few more scrapes and bruises cause I am still on the hard pavement, but no extra person falling on me this time. Maybe this is not for me, any one want a pretty new bike?

Okay not really, with a little encouragement and the cliché saying from civil racer, “Ya need to get back on the horse, darlin”, I did but this time we move to the grass (just in case try #3 is not the charm).  Try #3= WIN, I unclipped successfully this time and the next and the next and did it ever fell good, well until I hit my newly skinned knee on the pedal.

So in just a few days I have had my first bike wreck as an adult, found out lots of new bike things, and fallen in love with a bike. I promise there will be more to come as I learn more, like how to shift, change a tire, what it means to “drop my chain”, and many more new and exciting things as I try not to break a bone and race in my first ever cycling race.

What about you? What is your first time story?