Friday, November 25, 2011

they scattered...

We had a blast on Thanksgiving. First it was breakfast with the kids and their friends. We spent the afternoon at my brother's house. We all chipped in preparing. Everyone made it,  even Justin and Anna. We ate. We drank. We enjoyed each other's company. My niece and nephew challenged my husband to a variety of sports on the X-Box and he managed to get his but kicked pretty good.

Then, they all scattered, Midnight shopping, 4 AM shopping,  8 AM work, 9AM work, LI, NYC, CT, Parts unknown…

I spent my morning working on my Etsy shop. I met Jessica for coffee to catch up and to talk about my upcoming installation project on the pier in Seattle. March will come quick I am sure. This is going to be quite the winter.

I eventually came home and while I was working the last slice of cranberry apple pie was staring me in the face so I went for a run. I came home and ate that slice of pie. My dinner consisted of pie, chili, and salad in that order.

Now? I am off to have tea with my mom and Anna…at this rate, Monday I will need a break from my break.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Its been awhile

I have run, I have lost (6 lbs since I started) and I have signed up (to receive the notification for the NY ING Marathon lottery announcement). I have tracked my food, my exercise, my stress level, my pain and I am progressing nicely, though I have this nagging pain in my lower calf that seems to be attached to my knee which is attached to my gracillis, which is attached to my piriformis …wait a minute those 18 repeat ascents up Devils Kill Road in Roscoe in 2003 that tore that muscle are still haunting me? Thankfully an old college friend and team mate is coming to the rescue, thanks Rich.

Today I have been dealing with two emotions, one of sheer joy, an exhibition proposal for NCECA was accepted.  With that elation was the sudden PANIC of having to pull something that I thought there was NO chance of happening together by Feb 2 and install it in Seattle (mind you 4200 miles away) during the last week of March. I have never felt total elation with punched in the gut mixed together before, its really interesting. (OK, still trying to resist the urge to hurl and pinch myself at the same time)

Reducing life to one step at a time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Off the couch and running

Its been a really LONG month, not sure why, but it seems that my life has been on an automatic scheduling pilot that will not let me out of the 14 hour day scenario. I have been so busy lately but at the same time if you asked me I would be at a loss to tell you why. 

My studio work has been a whirlwind with some great idea threads and some new learning happening, though my recent firing was a disappointment: great colors, great pieces but stupid scattered carelessness left me with several raw pieces meant to be glazed and several cracked pieces making it into the kiln. I should have just said I am too busy for this and opted out. I was too rushed and though I like the direction of the work I produced it would have been better had I just slowed down and took care to get things done properly. 

In the classroom I have been trying to re-invent myself. I think I am at a place where I have been doing this dog and pony show so long that its feeling like it needs to be dusted off and renovated. This may be the source of my latest time suck… 

I had come back from Utah lighter, more fit and excited about staying that way. My biking, or any exercise for that matter has taken a back seat to this recent time suck however and this morning I decided enough was enough and went out and did day 1 of the C25K workout series then walked another 30 minutes on top of that. I am trying to take the 1 hour of moderate exercise and portion control approach (500 cal deficit plus 500 cal deficit). Part of this new approach came from listening to NPR about the new findings about weight loss. I basically have to be willing to put in that kind of effort to combat the hormone rebound they are talking about. Twenty more days of this approach will make it a habit. 

My friend Kelly was instrumental getting me out there today and kudos to her for pushing me out the door. It wasn't if you decide to go out, it was more like this is where you go to find the app (C25K) and then you go…"the first 2 miles are going to hurt but then you will find your rhythm". That was that, I did it! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

screeching into home plate...

Summer's end came screeching to a hault in a very interesting way this year. It all started the day Kenny and I returned from Burlington two weeks ago. I arrived at school to find out one of my former students (of last year) suffered a traumatic brian injury. I am still having a hard time dealing with it. Then our well started to give us trouble and we spent the better part of that week without water. We finally get the well up and running on Friday just in time for storm prep. I spent the next two days filling containers with water and cleaning in prep for what would be the week from double hockey sticks.
On the storm prep front, there was not a D battery to be found ANYWHERE within a 75 mile radius three days prior to Irene's arrival. On the night before the storm Kenny cooked a few things that would be able to be eaten without prep, bbq chicken, and Pizza. We had a hurricane party of sorts, eating home made Lingucia  pizza,  drank bronx cocktails and shoju and then we waited. We made sure we showered before turning in so when the power went out we would not feel yukky right away and we filled the tub so that we would have water for flushing for a few days. By 10:30 that night we were filling a bit stood up, it wasn't even raining. Our thought in the morning was that wasn't that bad until we realized that trees, big huge trees were blocking roads all over the place. Kenny and I decided to explore the damage with mtn bikes only to find that my bike had an issue with the rear brake, I was now in a funk. We went for a 2hr walk, but it wasn't the same.
In the afternoon we gathered at Dan and Mary's with Chris and Kaoru for a communal dinner. These types of gatherings are always a joy, and despite not having power, we ate and drank well. This sustenance would prove an essential for surviving the week as our power would not be restored until Wednesday night. In that time we would have to find a means to keeping food cold (not many places had ice and dry-ice that the power company promised became a phantom cause), find gas (we had to travel miles because at one point 95% of our town and 95% of three of the neighboring towns had no power, procure a generator to buy or borrow (thanks Jon and Samantha), and figure out how to resupply our dwindling water, not to mention wash dishes, do laundry and other daily tasks. Not to mention there was the thought that school would be starting under these conditions, thankfully that did not come to fruition. However, we have now used 4 snow days of six possible and we have yet to get the year going. In all of this we realized we dodged the bullet big time. A house that we had wanted to buy in Keene slid down the mountain side, the Guy Park Mansion lost most of its historic collection because walls blew out and whole towns in VT and the Catskills were washed off the planet. Our little hovel was a bit water-logged but nothing that serious (thought it was still a really expensive two weeks to say the least).
In the past few days I have met some incredible people via twitter as we tweeted a war with NYSEG, then there was this couple from the Blazer who shared war stories and baseball (all important Yankee/Red Sox battle) of course there was libations and food too. I even got a guy who never eats salad, to start because the salad I ordered looked SO good after a week of being forced to eat junk. He ordered one too. I have reconnected with old friends, checked in on dear friends who fared far worse than us, and started to do a bit of fall cleaning and gathered stuff to donate to a town in VT (canned goods, gently used shoes, clothes, blankets, jackets, tools). I have managed to finally come to grips with fall being upon us, I am now ready to get back into some kind of routine.
Kenny and I spent the weekend doing what the governor asked, we traveled, though gas, a sandwich and the occasional pint was really the only money we invested. We went upstate and mountain biked with Rich and Alison (of course it was right down the street from my mom's house, giving us new options for things to do while there), and after a pint and a sandwich headed to Dan and Mary's cabin in Lake Luzerne. They live on the Hudson and I was so sure that things would be trashed there only to find that that area weathered the storm quite well and high water and a swift current seemed to be the only remnants. I find this interesting because not to far to the east (15 miles) was devastated, and not too far to the west (15 miles) was trashed as well.
We were on the road and home by 1PM yesterday. We did a bit of yard work, took care of some laundry, rested a bit, syphoned the gas out of the generator, and made plans to meet Jon to return the generator which of course involved mountain biking and beer. We spent an hour in Stewart Bufferzone (state forest preserve) being eaten alive (forgot bug spray) and tooling in and out of single track and double track. This was a fascinating place and I cannot wait to visit again. It was land that was condemned in 1971 by the government, NOT because there was anything wrong with it but because the government wanted it for a super sonic easement for Stewart Airforce base. 1200 people and 375 farms were dislocated. The preserve is a mish-mash of old farm roads, old paved roads, and single track trails in the woods. It was a really pretty place that beckons to be explored more thoroughly. Kenny managed on his third ride off road to do some breathtaking tricks, steep rock drop offs, wall traverses, and river crossings. One trick of note was this wall traverse (more of a rock garden) where the bike got hung up in the rocks and tossed him over the handlebars, he landed on his feet the bike went crashing to the ground. The cat couldn't have done this better. We would have like to have spent more time, but the bugs were really making things miserable because there was so much standing water in places. The slow pace of some of the technical riding seemed to make us a reunion dinner. We hit up the Golden Rail Ale House for some pints afterwards. They had cheap GOOD beer on tap but dressed the way we were in our biking clothing we stuck out like sore thumbs (akin to yuppies in a redneck bar). After a bit we stopped just down the street at Alexis where we split a Greek Salad with chicken on it.
Today included an early morning airport run to get Chris and some cleaning. There was this thought of getting out again on the bikes. Lets see what the weather is doing when we get back from shopping. More rain this week, severe weather even. Hopefully our power will hold out.

School tomorrow (finally).

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Off the grid?

We LOVE camping, go often, and don’t mind living according to the candle. I love making coffee on the camp stove, cooking that way too and even think that there is some merit to having to slow down. I don’t mind the slower pace, the darker nights, the increased need to be more involved in living. I don’t however like when I am thrust into darkness (even with warning) and then not being able to find out when/where I will be able to access basic life services such as dry ice and water, a means to pumping ground water and septic away from my house, a means to not worrying about what is happening to my investment when I am out taking care of basic essentials. If I chose to live off the grid, I would manage life differently. I would have a composting toilet, a means to potable water, and some food storage system to prevent spoilage. I realize that what I am going through is a FAR cry from what others are going through, but it is trying just the same. Maybe someday, soon, we will rejoin the grid and stop having to bail water every 3 hrs at night (we don’t want to run a generator why we are sleeping) or having to worry about where to get cleaned up, iron work clothes, etc.

Today, our electric company pulled something that encourages investigation. Several of my neighbors had their power restored 36 hours ago, and the electric company removed the rest of us from the need to restore list. Thanks to the diligence of several we managed to convince them of the need to re-open the tickets. Then this morning, what was once fixed blew up. A transformer gave out plunging the restored houses back into darkness. The power company refused to believe the reports. They even told a neighbor they would be put back in line. When they did show up a few hours later to fix things, it was only for what had been fixed 36 hours ago not for the “whole thing”. In the end however, there was only a DRIVE-BY and no new work done.

I write this from the comforts of my brother’s house where I stopped to charge a battery or two, get some water, take a shower and so on. I have seen my niece and nephew more this week than I have all summer. For that much I am grateful.

I return to work tomorrow. This will be a challenge with the resources I have but I will manage. Hopefully, as we were told would be so, our life off the grid will be a thing of the past. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#...#...#... (UGHHHHHHHHH)

On Saturday night, as we sat having a hurricane party and drinking Bronx cocktails, I very foolishly felt like I had been stood up by Irene but by Sunday morning, as she apparently stormed into our neighborhood late (3AM) and with all the vengeance of a belligerent  drunk and has so overstayed her welcome now. We have been without power since about 4AM Sunday morning.

In that time:
* no water, no toilet...and despite heeding the call to fill my bathtub and flushing very sparingly without wasting potable water we had a septic problem - ground water was filling out tank and with no way to pump it...
* I have chased dry ice from location to location. It seems that despite only having a small amount of ice, the providers continue to publicize where it will be available. Long drives, long lines, long waits, police on edge, no show trucks, police dispersing crowds, senators advising calling the governors office...and NO ice in the end...I have seen it all
* I have fought with the power company, not because I am impatient but because they have not been seen or provided us with any sort of updates. Actually it wasn't until I wasted 40. in gas and 10 hours of  trying to get ahold of dry ice yesterday did I get upset with them. They claimed it was first come first served and that I must not have been there early enough- well when you arrive at a site 2 hours before it officially opens and you are number 234 on a list and the truck never shows up and the police have to break up a crowd of people...or when you arrive at a site 30 minutes before and you are the second one to arrive and the police tell you you cannot wait...things get testy.
*school hasn't even had its first day, and we already have two days to make up in June...

All in all, its not so bad, Jon an Samantha lent us their generator. We drove to Highland to pick it up at 9PM last night. We had a great break at Alexis Diner on the way back (chicken, salad, grape leaves, fries, ice tea). We managed to get our septic pump working, our fridge going, our freezer hooked up before it was too late, and our sump pump running too. The thing is loud but... hey its an improvement.

Our friends and family have offered us showers, laundry, lunch, dinner (generous) and liquor.

# NYSEG? Well despite them telling the town 65% will be restored by 7PM tonight they told me next week would be more like it... so? not sure what to believe. Just exhausted, but hey, its not the 'dacks, the 'cats, or VT right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

park and ride....

This morning dawned early. The first day of school always does. I got my gear together, grabbed some coffee and a peanut butter sandwich and headed out the door. My destination, the park and ride 10 miles down the road, ten miles closer to work. I didn't want to deal with lights, my blinkys were on the blink, and I honestly did not want to give up the 30 minutes of sleep to add that extra distance. SO, I parked and rode, I guess you could say I followed the directions dictated by the sign, literally. 

It was COLD this morning, too cold to be riding in shorts and jersey with no jacket. I think I didn't even warm up when I got to school. I was cold all day, even sitting outside at lunch, even riding the 15 miles back to my car. I even put on a sweatshirt when I got home. I wonder if the same thing will happen tomorrow? Thats if I ride in again. Ia m planning on it, but a bit nervous as I have a later day tomorrow and Chris has a flight to catch. I may just abandon that thought, but we will see. I am packing my bag as if I am pedaling in. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The End recap

I just watched my son pull off a killer workout. First the explanation, Chris did a hill workout today, with a weight vest on (its like carrying a 5yr old piggyback) and he headed up Keehler, a 1.4 mile climb that is considered a Cat 4 doing a low walk the whole way. The focus was intense, he had to remember certain things: 1. to actually push off rather than letting gravity take him, generating the push rather than falling up the hill 2. to keep his back parallel to the pitch of the road rather than staying really compressed for the whole walk 3. to keep his cadence calculated and not rushed so that each step was intentional not rushed.
Here is the profile: 

He reached the top 25 minutes after he started out and then strolled back down (with the vest on- there was nowhere to ditch it). As if that was not enough, he spent another 30 minutes doing abs. You see, unless you have ever experienced Keeler you don't understand. There are A+ cyclists here that HATE that hill more than any other hill around and often avoid it. They cry, cringe, carry on like 2 year olds...Yes it is only a cat 4 climb and the canyons in Utah were HC in places, but this climb does not allow one to gain a rhythm going up, its unpredictably hard each and every time. I think that IS the only predictable thing about it. BUT Chris walked you say? Yes, technically, but a low walk is different. Squat down like you are sitting on the edge of a chair (knees forward), now keep your back parallel to the ground (but relaxed) and walk making sure only to have one foot on the ground at any given time and MAKE SURE your hips stay at that same height (remember the chair seat) the whole time, no coming up. Now, walk up hill for over a mile, oh wait, don't forget the kindergartner on your back that you are giving a ride to...hurting yet? Most people have difficulty walking this way on flat ground, without a vest for more than 3 minutes, he endured this for 25min up this isn't so bad, this sucks farts, wtF, I am going to shoot myself, OS I am going to puke, you have to be kidding me, its not over yet, Keeler Lane. Thank God it wasn't HOT!!!

Who was the mastermind of this ingenious idea? Bud. I joined them on this escapade, walking along side them, trying not to puke. Thinking about how Bud and I used to ride repeats on that hill occasionally and how I used to be on the verge of puking or passing out each and every time, usually in the same place, where I would start to think that it was NEVER going to end. Looking back, that summer was the summer before my first year at New Canaan. I was training for a very long cross state ride that would require me to put in about 100 miles a day for 6 days straight, one of those days was actually 150 miles. Bud helped me train and I managed that ride, all 650 miles of it, at 18.5 mph. I felt like that summer was too short. I started school the day after I finished that ride. 

Tomorrow I start school. Its the end of a dream like summer that seemed to rush by so quickly. I managed to dance at a concert with the headliner (and some really good friends), cross the country (both north and central), see things I have always wanted to see, spend some time learning about physiology, spend a good deal of time on my bike (and even more time on my other bike in the woods), try golf, I got to camp, swim in COLD lakes, climb on massive sand dunes, complete a workout I hadn't done since college and even though I didn't make it to the beach once I felt like my summer was complete (almost). Its hard to go back to that 5AM- 9PM time frame. I am so much more of an 11-7 person. Hey, at least I have next summer to look forward to. (I am applying for a residency SOMEWHERE). I also want to try to put a team together for the Salt to Saint. Anyone who thinks they are interested, has a local connection to get us both an RV and a van...let me know. PS Riding in the dark ROCKS! Trust me on that one.

So on the schedule for tomorrow? I am driving to the park and ride in Bedford and riding my bike from there to school. Why drive at all? I don't want to start with 50 milers back to back even in this kind of shape, school is tiring, and I want to ride more than one day this week. Its my way of squeezing out every last drop of summer. 

Curtis's BBQ, then onto Burlington, finally!

Kenny and I have been meaning to get to Burlington, VT for ages, probably as long as we have been known each other, which is just about 27 years.  It was interesting how this weekend's plans came about, all I wanted to do was go to Saratoga to visit my mom, watch Susie and Larry's horse run, go gallery hoping with Susie, and mountain biking with Kenny (and maybe Alison and Rich too).  I could see in Kenny's face, that while he would be happy to oblige, we needed to have time for ourselves.  (I think his head spins sometimes at my dizzying pace and the above plans were packed full of stuff). So I started to think about how to do all of the above, and still have our OWN time and asked him if camping in Moreau State Park would be help?

Somehow, in all the thoughts of my plans, Kenny decided that we should go camping for the weekend, but not in Saratoga but someplace that we had not been, like Burlington. So we made plans. We found a place to camp in Shelburne, VT, four miles south of Burlington. We found something to do during the day, mountain biking at Catamount Outdoor Center,  and we found farmers market to peruse and a bunch of places to "try", etc...

We headed out on Friday, stopping along the way at Curtis's BBQ, in Putney VT. Kenny and I read about Curtis's school bus BBQ  in the New York Times Food and Dining section shortly after we got married and have wanted to get by there at some point. Honestly, we tried several times but something always got in the way. When Kenny and I got married, we used to clip recipes and destinations from the NYT and the Daily News and put them in a photo book. We are talking 1987, pre-tech. I have spent my morning looking through that book to see if there is anything else I should remember. Why we both remembered that place without looking it up is beyond me, maybe it was all the missed chances at stops. IT WAS WELL WORTH THE STOP!  In other words GO HERE!!! (Often!)

In some senses the whole weekend seemed like a date. Despite both of us going to VT prior to getting married, we came to the conclusion that we have spent some of our best "times" away from home in Vermont since and it didn't matter where it was. I think we just like to pace of the place. I saw a sticker this weekend "keep VT weird" which upon further investigation is an organization that is interested in keeping Vermont sustainable so that it continues to embody what Vermont is to everyone that lives there and wants to live there. I think Kenny and I are in that "want to" category.

So we arrive in Shelburne, set up camp, go out and get the things we forgot (pillows, a pot to boil water in) as well as some basics, like ice and beer and we head back to the campsite and cook dinner, make a fire and just hang out. In that time Kenny witnesses a guy shaving his forearms, which can only mean one thing, there is a triathlon he is getting ready for. Its the only way to get a wet suit on and off quickly without it PULLING at the hair. A quick check on the internet finds that USA Tri is having their age group nationals in Burlington...heck that wasn't even on Burlington's chamber was somewhere buried deep... HMMMM this is why I love this place (a very LARGE event in a very SMALL city and the TOWN didn't stop giving to the rest of the tourist trade to host it? we are talking zero impact to us other people not participating).

When I make the comment zero impact I do so because Saturday morning we awoke at 8AM after a long night of thinking we had a bear in camp. I mean Kenny even woke up thinking that at 2AM, so it wasn't just my fear getting the better of me. We realized that we took care of cleaning all of our camp up except...the most important task...the garbage. CRAP!!! Were we the cause of this critter in camp? So we got up, we both had to pee now (nerves) and we decided we would take care of our trash bag on the way. What we discovered it the guy in the pop-up across the way snores the way a BEAR SNORTS. You may be laughing, go ahead, but the next night we had new neighbors, and at about 3 AM the guy got up because he realized he too left STUFF out and started cleaning his campsite woke me up and guess what? The guy in the pop- up sounded even more convincing the second night.

Back to Saturday morning. After dining on linguica and eggs for breakfast we headed to the farmer's market for several reasons, we like checking out what other markets look like and I needed to stop by and talk to Christine at BIKERECYCLEDESIGNS, which is an organization that recycles bikes for low-income people who need transportation. They also sell jewelry and other artwork created from bike parts to help fund the project. I had planned on volunteering for an hour in the morning at the shop, but they were closed because it was market day. I had promised Christine that I would come by to see what their ware looked like and to meet her and Ron. It was an incredible meeting. I left there hoping a few of my former students, who go to school in Burlington, would consider volunteering for them. (HINT, HINT, HINT!!!!) Now, how to get something like that started here in a place where most of the low income in need of transportation people are immigrants and seen as a blight. (no judgement and no comment, I will just leave it hanging out there)

After the market we headed on to our next adventure, shredding up the trails at Catamount. It was Kenny's first off road experience so I picked a place that had a good mix of single and double track so that there would be something to ride, always. Well, after about 20 minutes of easy double track we were in the woods on a tight single track and spent the next 3 hours going back and forth between tight, moderately technical riding and double track of varying difficulty. We lunched in a meadow with lots of wildflowers and rode along a ravine with drop offs and banked turns. We left there feeling like we rode hard and had fun but stayed within our ability to keep it enjoyable. I think we impressed the kid at the front desk who was sure we would only last an hour, especially since it was Kenny's first time out. (thanks Jon for letting us borrow the bike)

We added to our day's adventure by heading to North Beach and swam for a bit before heading back to shower and get ready for dinner. We had an apertif at the Farmhouse which consisted of VT beer. Hey we are in VT and I am with my husband who is a BEER ...ok, lets just say he doesn't drink yellow piss in a can unless its the occasional  PBR and bottles are always LOCAL FARE never corporate conglomerates. So our cocktail hour followed suit. We then took a long walk along the Church Street Mall and found two really cool things, one was this great LOCAL bookstore (Crow Books) that was across the mall from a mega store going out of business (Borders) and YES they hung on and seemed to be busier than the chain's going out of business sale was (YAY- hang in there, its almost over) and the Outdoor Gear Exchange which is dedicated to promoting the outdoors and all it holds by selling both new and used outdoor gear. After our walk we were famished and headed to American Flatbread for dinner and of course some more local beer. (think wine tasting not redneck party hound)

We finally headed back for our last night in camp and burned the rest of our wood, cleaned up, had another restless night of sleep thanks to bear man across the way and got up to another fabulous breakfast before catching the ferry back to NY. This ferry experience was not a bad one, thank God. We stopped quickly in 'Toga to see my mom had lunch, did some back to school shopping and headed home. We arrived home to an intact house and Chris making us some curry for dinner. Our weekend was fantastic! The perfect end to a summer of adventure that seemed to go all too quickly. Tonight is a school night for me, which does not seem possible, not yet.

Mikey headed back to school on Friday for his final semester. Chris heads back to SLC for two weeks on Wednesday because his break is that much longer. When he gets back, and we finally settle into fall (and his last season as a HS athlete) he will be applying to several colleges (Utah, Wisconsin, Marquette, MN as he attempts to follow the ice). Changes are on the way. Anna moves to Philadelphia as a post-graduate choice next week. Funny, I think of a question my friend Jon asked me last week when Chris and I were in New Paltz riding..."you and Kenny went to school here, you love this town, when you moving back?" Something we have always had thoughts of...maybe in seven years time? Who knows?





Thursday, August 18, 2011

A friendly competition? (more like a battle with myself)

Its the end of the summer. There is a ritual to this time of year. This year is no different, only the stakes for the upcoming year are a bit different. On the school front, The administrative staff I will be working with has changed, one of my colleagues has retired and a few of the students I learned so much from have graduated. There is still that drive to be at the top of my game as a teacher, and that is exhausting. To think I haven't even started yet. Why is it so important to continue to better myself? What you expect to hear is that its for the students sake but I will tell you that it is a bit more of a selfish reason, it keeps my job fresh, keeps me wanting to come to work. Then there is THAT bit of ego THAT creeps in and I am afraid not to reach. Someone else might show me up. (oh the stress of this- hold that thought)

As for coaching, my son doesn't like listening to me anymore (teenagers!). I have come to the conclusion that coaching him is a HUGE challenge that I cannot take personally so I have been trying to ignore... Then there is this other thought, I have taken on a new position at a local speedskating club. I am really excited about this venture but sad that the former coach has retired. I learned more from him about teaching than I ever had in any class. I wonder if I can fill his shoes. Yet I know, as a different person, with a different teaching style, that this expectation of myself is not realistic. Then there is the ego. There are many who have these expectations of me, who will undoubtedly be very critical and waiting for me to fail (and they aren't even from the club). What do I do with those feelings? There is this pressure to out-preform. (this too is stressful- and hold that thought too).

Then there is my studio life, something I have neglected lately, or have I? Just because I haven't touched clay in about 7 weeks does not mean that I am out of the game? Whats typical over the summer is that I do a great deal of studio work, almost as if I am making up for lost time with the relaxed pace. Well this summer I have traveled extensively, crossed the country 2x and put almost 12,000 miles on a brand new car. I have gained a great deal of inspiration from what I have seen. There is this reality, however, I have a wood-firing in a month's time, and I need to get a great deal of work done, make up for lost time. (this thought is stressful- hold that thought)

OK, financial wows, trying not to buy into the Jones's perspective on material acquisitions and yet knowing that there are certain things that need attention. The kitchen... finding 3 sponsors for Chris to help cover the 15K season (you'll get logo space on his USA skinsuit - shameless plug) skate boots for Chris...finding a way to raise another 2.2k for Dana Farber (giant pit in the stomach stressfull)...and everything else that needs attention (CALGON won't even touch this stress- hold that thought)

The there is taking care of myself. Making the time to exercise, to eat right, to sleep enough, to challenge myself to want to do more for me. Do I even have the time for this? How do I keep the above stress from strangling me, robbing me of my me time? (stressful - hold that thought)

SO what to do with all this stress? If I hold it in it just becomes bricks and mortar on my waistline. If I let it out, I run the risk of loosing some of my drive...(oye, the stress of it)

I started this post because I read the Healthy Living Blog in today's NY Times and it got me thinking about the people I know who need to WIN at all costs. They think less (alot) of the people around them that don't share this mentality even to the point of balking at something as gracious as a volunteer effort. Immediately I felt my stress level (and anger) rising, and I found myself wondering why I care so much about what these types think? Why the competition? Who is that (un)friendly contest with anyway? There will always be those that believe only those capable of winning should enter the race. That will NEVER change. I say to the rest of you something I learned from a very wise 24 year old top of the heap skater who is focused enough on what is important that he has the time to give back. "Buying into that win at all costs mentality will actually hold you in contempt of your own life. You'll eventually get in your own way and find you have no one around to help you out, so live positively, give, and the world will give back ten fold."

Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I am reading this book called the Talent Code (Daniel Coyle). You can find his book and blog at this link. I am fascinated by this book because it discusses all the tenants one knows to be true as an observant teacher, that talent is something that is taught, not innate. What one does with that developed talent depends on the type of practice that is engaged in. Reading has let me affirm some of my practices as a teacher. It has also led me to understand that I know why I stress at all those things that I need to feel more comfortable with. Its all part of the process, call it practice, of becoming whole. As I try to figure out how to let go of the unnecessary (stresses) and continue on with the purposeful,  I try to remember that the more I give, the more I will get back, and notoriety has nothing to do with it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

AwA (adventures with Alison)

I look at visual contour of the acronym AwA and it basically describes the past couple of days. It started Thursday morning, a 2 hour ride that was supposed to be off road in Clifton Park turned out to be a trail ride because the single track available did not afford us fairly new technical riders any warm-up problem solving time, you know a bit of double track or even wide single track with a few technical problems thrown in. The trails were also un-marked and without any kind of map, topo or otherwise, it made for some nerve-wracking moments. We bailed after 15 minutes and rode the bikeway instead for the next 2 hours. Upon leaving the park we met up with this guy who was very involved with SMBA, something I just joined last week on my travels east from Utah. He told us that this area had a nice double track loop with lots of easy and intermediate single track that were off shoots, as well as plenty of black diamond terrain. He also offered to show us where to ride with him in the park we were just leaving. We declined, but thanked him whole heartedly for the info and the time. Alison was under a time constraint and quite honestly, even though there were two of us, the thought of AX MURDERER crossed my mind (nervous LOL) which was a switch from my usual worry about breaking an appendage or ending up like Aaron Ralston, pinned and forced to amputate.
After departing I found myself perusing the farmers mkt in Balston Spa for dinner. It was interesting to buy for only one person. I had no clue what I wanted, or needed so I decided to go with what looked good. For a total of $15. I could have fed 4-6 people. I bought a pound of heritage pork sausages, some california peppers, 6 rolls, a bunch of candy striped beets, a bunch of tuscan kale, a cucumber, some romaine and a box of cherry tomatoes. Dinner was a romaine and kale salad (cucumber, radishes, carrot and tomatoes too), steamed beets (of course I saved the greens) and sausage and peppers on fresh rolls.
Friday morning we had planned a road ride but with the disappointment of Thursday's ride, we decided to head off road again, this time in Saratoga. This was an exhilarating change! The guy we spoke to (Ax M) was correct in his description of the place and armed with a trail map (its surprising at how much confidence that creates) we headed hit those trails hard, even venturing off onto a few black diamonds after warming up. We crossed a great wooden bridge, needed bug spray, different lenses in the glasses and nerves of steel in a few places (the hornets nest hanging in the middle of the line of travel at chest to face height yet hiding in a shadow- man that had the potential to ruin a day!!!) , balls in others (the rock decent that was short, stepped, steep and had an abrupt t-turn at the very end). After a solid hour of pedaling and 30 minutes of sight seeing we emerged super-charged, dripping with sweat and HUNGRY!!! This was nothing that the Fortunate Cup couldn't fix. After some quality time with Mom's I met Alison again for a round of golf (hahahaha, my first). This was an experience. I survived even though I was FORCED to play right handed (lol). It was one adventure beer fixed. I was so stoked afterwards that I sent my dear CUZ a note about how I played my first round of golf and feel like a part of the family now (my parents were avid golfers until I came along. They decided I was better suited to tennis or softball). His response: only if you are a BAD golfer!!! Thanks Noah (LOL)

This morning, a ride around the lake, no not Saratoga, but Round. I was in search of this elusive village that EVERYONE tells me exists and that I would LOVE (HAH) after 15 miles at 17 MPH (2 of them on a brindle path and all without water) I decided I give up, I couldn't find it!

Next weekend? Camping in Shelbourne, VT with Kenny (Mtn biking and pub crawling)

Now? 127 hours (read the book already - in it for the scenery and NETFLICKS usage)

Monday, August 8, 2011

From BAD to GOOD

My last post was about our camping adventure just outside Badlands NP in South Dakota. Its a week since that day and we have made our way home in a round about way, but we are here. I woke up in my own bed with my cat following me around like I might leave her again and swatting me in the head every so often as if she is saying "how could you have left me for 5 weeks?"

After leaving the Badlands and spending a wonderful night with the Hartman's in MN and seeing my friend Chris who now lives in Roseville of all places we headed to Chicago to surprise our die-hard White Sox fan of a son with Yankee tickets at Cellular field (notice I am still taking lessons from Switzerland and staying neutral though a B/W pinstripe sticker did end up on my car). We had a blast at the game. This park was smaller than the NY counterpart, and much more accessible with LOTS of interactive stuff to do. My only beef is that 5th tier seating does not allow you to access any of it. We slept in that night after the game and left Chicago at 11AM. We arrived in Saratoga at 1:30AM but we did stop a number of times. Dinner was in Mentor, OH just outside of Cleveland in a little place called Lakeshore Eatery. The pot roast and breaded pork chops were wonderful. I had perch, which was good, but fried fish is fried fish. In any case if you find yourself between NY and Cleveland on route 90 its worth the short 3 mile trip out of the way. Its not on the lake though, despite what the name implies.

Friday morning came early. We were up at 9 repacking and out the door by 11 to get me to Sturbridge to check in for the PMC by 1 and Chris to the Martha's Vineyard ferry by 4:30. Everything worked out well. I met up with my team and a the surprise of a former student and aspiring photo journalist/environmental scientist at dinner. It was such a joy to see Leslie and a few current students from NCHS that came along to cheer on her dad who was riding as well. Although, at the time, in my head I was thinking that despite training for this, I wasn't sure that ending a cross country rode trip with a 192 mile bike ride was sensible. Then I saw Deklan at the opening ceremonies and I knew I had to figure it out.

PMC 2011 Opening Ceremonies at Sturbridge from David Hellman on Vimeo.

Deklan in a pedal partner with Team Kermit. He was diagnosed with a very rare form of brain cancer when he was 15 months old. He is alive today because the Jimmy Fund at Dana Farber did not think that diagnosing 32 children per year with his type of brian tumor was too little to research and treat.

On Saturday morning (before dawn was even a thought) I made my way to breakfast, ready to join Lance Armstrong, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Brown, the Bruins, the wives of the BosSox, 55 team Kermit members, and about 5,000 other people in a 192 mile journey across the state of MA.

I began my journey of 111 miles with a very large vintage Kermit perched upon my head. At first I couldn't figure out why my helmet adjustment was off, then I hit the first down hill and thought this is never going to work. Then it started to get really, really heavy! I remember this guy going buy saying to me thats a really big frog on your head, your neck is going to hurt by the end of the day. As much as I hated the guy for that comment I knew he was right, but I wanted to be a team player. At the first rest stop I used a bit of ingenuity and strapped him to my handlebars, where he sat perfectly as if he were meant to be there. I left that pitstop with Ellen, and rode the whole way with her taking pictures when we wanted, taking our time, enjoying the ride. The 111 mile day went fast despite all of that. My back did act up at around 80 miles, probably from sitting all week in the car? Tylenol and delegating one water bottle to ice which I stuck in the center back pocket did the trick. I was amazed at how much spectator support there was. There seemed to be as many as the TdF at times, three/four deep, lots of cow bell and horns. It was enlightening. I was so glad I was wearing glasses because it allowed me to get choked up without people knowing it. I was riding with Ellen, a friend who lost her son to cancer. I have learned so much from her. She helped me so much last spring when my mom was sick. I know that the PMC must be hard for her as they used to volunteer as a family when her son was sick, now they ride it as an annual memorial. "One day the PMC will be a party rejoicing in a cure for this horrible disease"

We arrived at MMA to Steve and Adam waiting to fetch our bikes for us, help us get our gear situated and get some food. We sat there with the rest of team Kermit who despite eating already joined us at the table to keep us company. We washed down dinner with some Harpoon, went off to take our team picture, grab a shower, listen to music, drink another IPA and head to bed.

MMA is situated on the Cape Cod canal. It reminds me of Jamestown and Newport Harbor. The wind picked up that night and with the windows in the dorm open it completed the memory of the CYC in Jamestown and the days when we used to get together up there. On my way into MMA there was a support sign that said go Skip Gorman, you got this. Was it possible that my friend Chris's brother was one of the 5,000 riders? I have had my friend Chris in my prayers for a bit as he waits to find out his prognosis. The experience at MMA made me wonder if he felt my prayers, or maybe it was just Helen was listening from Heaven?

I woke up at 3:45 AM to howling winds and heavy rain. It was ominous. We had another 82 miles in front of us. After a great breakfast I went to fetch my bike and panicked, it was gone, moved... apparently the rack of bikes had collapsed and Steve had moved my bike to a very obvious spot, but I completely missed it until he gave me a hint on where to find it. With that solved we headed out at 5:45 over the Bourne Bridge and onto the Canal Path. It was funny being in that park under the bridge. I used to hang out there with my friend Tim and his brother Kevin. We would sit, listen to music and watch the boats and the cars crossing the bridge. There was this one time I remember vividly, Annette was there. We blasted "The Who". As I rode all I could think about was "Behind Blue Eyes".

The route on the cape was similar to what I am used to riding here, big rollers. Lots of up and down. It was much less taxing then the fairly flat second half of the century yesterday. It was wet and with wet clothing comes friction. By mile 46 I had had it. I bailed on my efforts. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand on my pedals. Hurt it not a good description, excruciating is more like it. The 50/50 mix of bag balm and 2.5% cortisone was doing nothing for me. It was the wet shorts that kept the issue compounded. I had a keen reminder of what acute diaper rash must feel like to a baby! I wanted to cry despite my high tolerance for pain. It sucked in a way because my legs were fine. I could have ridden another 100 on them but at what cost? Not to worry my adventure did not end here just my ride.

In the sag wagon I sat with three other people, a woman with the flu (Roberta I hope you feel better), Brescia a newbee cyclist who got behind THE CURVE from the lack of experience and guidance. Hats off to her, she managed 156 miles after training on her own with no one to teach her what was important. And then there was a man, I forgot his name, who had crashed on the vinyl striping on the side of the road. He was pretty banged up but refused care because he wanted to go to Brigham and Women's instead. (great hospital) He was quite an interesting guy, 75 years old, his 17 time doing this ride, and had raised a ton of funds each and every one of those years. He did not look a day over 60. I only hope I have another 30 years of this sport! Later on the trip another cyclist joined us, he wanted to get a lift to a spot 5 miles from the finish. He was too exhausted to finish the last 20. Then there was Steve, the driver and volunteer. He was incredibly nice and very encouraging, not to mention funny. All of the volunteers were extremely helpful except the old woman who was at the medical tent in Nickerson. She was cute but clueless but she meant well. I just went away for a few minutes and came back to talk to someone else.

After arriving in Province Town and rescuing my bike from a near shipping error (quite the ordeal) I got a shower, shared some food with one of my team mates and his family, and headed to the ferry dock in torrential rain, wind and chilly temps. The seas were so rough that our ferry was 50 minutes late and there was no shelter of any speakable significance to wait at. Waiting on line we even lost a rider to hypothermia, sad they got him into an ambulance just as we were boarding the ferry. As we boarded the boat the cabin was transformed immediately into a changing room. The heat was cranked up and then just as the cabin became stuffy and warm we were warned about the extremely rough seas. A comment was made about the barf bags being placed on the counter. At that point my eyes were closed, my head was down, I was meditating and knew I could really use one to have one of those bags on hand but also knew I would be doomed if I got up to get it so I worked within my abilities to cope. Then things started to unravel, first someone started blasting some music, which made focusing on my breath really difficult, then one of my team mates gave rise to the mantra, "its not easy being green" by tossing his lunch onto my foot, then it was ALL over for me. I tried to contain myself but it just wasn't going to happen. We cleared our side of the boat, I was surprised it wasn't listing afterwards. After a very rough 2 hours we finally landed in Boston Harbor, where Kenny fetched me shivering, crying, incredibly wet and cold. I changed into the only dry clothes I had right in the middle of the street (my newly issued PMC jersey was still in its plastic bag and a pair of gym shorts that was at the bottom of a bag of laundry), got into the car and headed home. Poor Kenny, he had to pull over for several more episodes of hurling in the course of the 3 hour trip. We even stopped to get me a warm biscuit and some coke. It helped enough to let me sleep the rest of the ride home. Though I was up a few times during the night too. I slept most of the day today, or at the very least didn't move much from the couch. The cat who was so happy to see me last night, gave me the cold shoulder this morning, eventually spent the rest of the day blobbing with me on the couch.

As I look back on this incredible weekend, between the support of the spectators, the diligence of the volunteers, the courage of the riders, the diversity of the riders, and overall comradery of the group I find it hard not to have a smile come to my face. It was that incredible. Now, I just have to finish raising the funds I promised to raise. If you have already made a donation, thank you. If you can find it in your hearts to contribute now thank you. Just know that you will be a part of a Cancer Center that is going to no end to find a cure. The weekend's mantra, "commit and you'll figure it out" says it all. Cancer touches everyone. Lets strive to make that a historical statement rather than a present reality. Let's commit to figure it out. You can donate online or send me a check made out to the PMC/Jimmy fund (48 Entrance Way, Purdys NY 10578) or you can even text a donation PMC LF0085 to 20222. Thanks so much for all of your support!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We weren't in Kansas but...

We hauled across Wyoming trying to get to Mt Rushmore and the Badlands before dark. It was a beautiful day, a bit hot but still gorgeous. We took some time through the Bighorn, which boasts 9.5K elevations with open range for sheep and cattle. We were making good time until we got to the two mtn ranges we had to cross, then we were slowed down significantly by RV traffic. We arrived at Mt. Rushmore at 5PM and after a VACATION view and a photo op of Chris picking Lincoln's nose we hopped back in the car with the intention of getting to Badlands before dark. With no firm plans on where to stay we decided to make a reservation that was at a KOA 30 miles east of Badlands and headed out so that we would have an easy morning getting on the road.
We arrived at Badlands just before sunset, pronghorn grazing along the road and a lightening show from a storm raging somewhere in the distance. The light show was amazing.  As we traveled the loop road at dusk, it was eerie but cool. We left towards our night's accommodation's just as that storm reached Cedar Pass. I kept a firm eye on both it and NOAA. There was a no notice of concern other than a scattered thunderstorm warning. The storm at Cedar Pass was picking up and it was following us.
We arrived at the KOA just before 10 and before the storm hit and set up camp. We had figured that as long as we set up, even if we had to wait it out in the car we wouldn't have to deal with setting up when it was wet (mistake number 1). We through all our gear in the tent too. (mistake number 2). Then the storm hit with lightening that was close enough to raise the hair and wind that was attempting to toss the car. As we waited out the storm inside the Subaru, we watched as our tent broke loose of its footing on one side and toppled over. When it was all said and done, our tent poles were snapped, the fabric was ripped, the tarp and rain fly was in a field a half mile away, and our gear was in a puddle. The MUD was another factor. We bagged up all the wet stuff in garbage bags, dragged the tent to the dumpster, loaded the bikes and sat for a minute in the drizzling aftermath trying to figure out our next step. The campground manager came by and asked us if we were ok. We told him we were going to try to find accommodations with 4 walls. Somehow, as if I was on automatic pilot I asked the guy if there were any cabins available. I was that tired. I didn't want to drive another mile let alone 60. The campground offered us a cabin for nothing. I think they felt bad because they had not been able to warn us about the storm. NOAA didn't post the HAZARDOUS weather warning until it was right on top of us. We took advantage of the dryers in the laundry room and got the sleeping bags dried in 20 minutes. We finally get to bed just past midnight, which all things considered, was no big deal though it made traveling yesterday difficult.
After another 8 hour driving day, we ended up in Roseville, MN at our friends house. What a treat, good company, great fun and relaxing. Today? We will be off to Chicago momentarily.

Monday, August 1, 2011


We left Salt Lake City two days ago and headed for Yellowstone. We took the scenic byway (route 89) through Bear Lake, Logan, and the Cache ( a few trucks as well as granny and her RV did too). What should have taken just over 6 hours according to my GPS took forever. We got into Jackson, WY around dinner and decided, since it was a bit wet to stay put. Despite this being a setback, we enjoyed ourselves.  We hit Snake River brewing for dinner and walked around town. Kenny and I then dropped Chris back at the hotel and went out on a date to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

When I was 8 my mom took my brother and I too see a horror flick (quite accidentally) called Grizzly. I think she thought it was a documentary and we were so into the series Grizzly Adams. I am guessing that that was a formative experience because since I have been old enough to do things on my own I have had a heart stopping petrifying fear of Grizzlies. I had planned on camping in Yellowstone to get over that a bit and was nervous all day. I was incredibly relieved yet quite disappointed just the same when we decided to hotel it.

Yesterday morning I hit the road on my bike at 6AM which was probably a stupid idea, but I just had to get my legs moving. Believe me if a mouse made a noise on that ride I would have jumped out of my skin. I rode up to Teton NP and turned around. It was only a 12 mile ride. I was on the road at first and then realized there was this path that followed the road and hopped on there to avoid the RV traffic. After a few minutes I was too nervous about surprising an animal that I hoped back on the road. My one incredible moment was cresting this hill to have an incredible view of the Tetons. By the way, it was cold enough in the mountains to NEED a jacket. Morning riding temp? 38 degrees.

After an incredible breakfast we were off to Grand Teton then Yellowstone. In Teton my fear got the better of me but by the time we were in Yellowstone I had relaxed a bit and was able to enjoy myself and the interesting diversity the park had to offer. Our trip through the park took all day. We walked about 5 miles to see numerous thermal features. We actually didn't see ANY wildlife until after 5PM. at 8PM we finally headed toward Cody, WY through the Sylvan Pass which was still very snow covered. We arrived in Cody, found a motel, and went off to have dinner at this Saloon. Kenny and I ordered a plate of Rocky Mtn oysters for the table and a Red Lodge IPA (a Montana brewery).

This morning? We are SD bound! Pictures coming soon (FB has quite a few!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

what can I say other than I had NOTHING LEFT

I have been waking up the past two days feeling like I could have used another 2 hours of sleep. I have been soooo tired and my asthma has been acting up since Monday. Today however, I knew I was behind the curve before I even got to the oval and by afternoon I was battling myself about going for a ride. Chris even told me to bag it (I should have listened). I went anyway and an hour into the 2 hour ride I was tailing a good handful of miles behind and calling Matt to fetch me. I should have had a clue when that this was a bad idea when I told him I felt like I was on the verge of hurling before I even hit the road. SO tomorrow? I am taking off. (LOUNGING BY THE POOL)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"May I ask you, what is one of your favorite workouts?"

A few days ago Joey and I went for a casual spin, nothing more than just a 15 mile ride with lots of good conversation. At one point I was asked the question about favorite workouts. I was stumped. I have been coaching for a really long time and I have a ton of workouts but all I could come up with was this crazy 8 ladder that I came up with for Chris, Andrew, Nick and Matt. It goes something like this: 8 lap warm up 8 j's, 8 laps hard, 8 laps easy, 8 laps medium, 8 laps easy, 8 laps easy, 8 minute break, 8 laps easy, 8 reverse j's, 8 laps easy, 8 laps medium, 8 laps easy, 8 laps hard, 8 laps easy, 8 lap cool down. Intensity is based on RPE more than HR. I used this workout as something for them to focus on in the evening session on the ice in Lake Placid.

The question has been bothering me since Joey asked. I tell you this because today I found myself in the Kearns long course pool swimming in a lane next to the swim team and they were doing one of my favorite long course workouts, 50 x 50 on 50sec. I found myself keeping pace with them and they were just as happy to do it as I remember being in college at the pool in Ft. Lauderdale during winter break. Its a challenging and fun workout and the key is to come in on time and not swim though (fall behind).  I managed 43 today before I got dropped and I have to say I am completely FRIED, done, legs left in the canyons and arms left in the pool. Lungs? Hmm, I am really not sure where they are but they are definitely not here. I left the oval this afternoon feeling like the only thing holding me up was endorphins coursing through my veins.

My time in the water today got me thinking about some of the other workouts and how Peri used to get pissed off if we pushed the beginning of a set of 10x 100 with 30 sec rest. I started to think about how I could apply similar workouts to the ice. Yes Joey, you got me thinking about making things both fun and challenging,  so for you, your challenge might look like 40 x 400 on 40.  See you on the ice!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I seem to have this limit to my ability to climb at altitude

Somewhere between 7,200 and 8,000 feet my body seems to have an issue with with altitude when it comes to climbing on a bike.Today I dropped Chris off at the rink and headed out on my bike 15 minutes later. Today's route was an out and back up Big Cottonwood Canyon. From the mouth of the canyon its 12 miles to Solitude. Its actually a pretty comfortable ride, the grade is far shallower than that of Little Cottonwood, however, I seem to get to a point between 7200 and 8000 feet where my body has other ideas about progress.Steep pitches at this elevation seem to cause me to get light headed, shaky, and cause headaches when I attempt to climb them on my bike. I marvel at this because when hiking or skiing above this point it takes a bit longer for this to manifest. It must be a direct correlation to the level of exertion? Here are the stats;

Its Pioneer Day today in Utah, a state holiday that rivals the 4th of July in festivities.  The canyons were a bit busy with family picnics. This made traffic a bit of an issue at times and with each picnic area having its own fire ring, the burning of pinon, which I am so allergic to, made the air quality a bit hard to deal with today I returned home a bit exhausted!  

Hopefully tonight we will catch the BIG fireworks at Liberty Park with Andrew and his family. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why would a place like that have LITTLE in its name? There is nothing little about it.

Seven-thirty felt early but never the less we were off on our canyon adventure. We warmed up on Wassatch Blvd and by the time we hit the canyon we were ready to get down to business. Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd is about 12 miles long and climbs at a steady 9% with several steeper pitches. We rode eight of them.

The climb up the canyon itself was rather rhythmic, almost predicable in a sense and while I found it difficult at times, it was never extremely uncomfortable for long. I did however have a great deal of trouble with my heart rate at the last pitch before our turnaround point. I couldn't get it to come down enough to be comfortable pedaling (dizzy, lightheaded, pounding in the ears), so sadly, with the end in sight I made the turn for home. Coming down the canyon was almost more difficult than the climb. At one point I was afraid that I would have no break pads left at the bottom despite using the grab and release method of slowing my speed.One of the best moments was when one of the young skaters said it was awesome to see me that high up on the mountain and that she only made it half as far her first time. I thought about this for a bit, by the end of the day yesterday I had the desire to try it again. I know that part of my biological stress yesterday was due to not knowing what to expect as far as physical demands. Now that I know that climb is predictable enough to squeak out that last little bit.

I plan on riding big cottonwood tomorrow while Chris is at practice. I hear that this canyon is not quite as steep though its considerably longer. Of course you will hear how it goes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


As I rode yesterday with the group I was with I saw Chris pass me in the other direction with his team. Chris had borrowed last years Kermit jersey and at one point before we rode I had fixed his collar in true motherly fashion and caught a glimpse of the JMB memorial on it. I wondered if Jared had ever ridden in Utah and was sure he knew full well how much mental strength it was taking Chris to get out there and ride after a 3 hour workout just a few hours before. As he waved hi I found myself thinking about the PMC and then Adam, and then other siblings, like Jimmy's seven sisters and brother and Hanna's brother and sister and what it must be like for them to suddenly be without one their closest friends and playmates there. My heart wrenched.

When I was at the plateau waiting for my heart rate to come down, it was so hot and I made the comment that I wish the team had considered tank jerseys. With that Ryan asked me about the team and I found myself talking about Jared and his family and how biking was a big part of life from racing to touring. I realized later that story this resonated well as I was talking to accomplished athletes.

As I left to ride up the canyon I could not loose my train of thought about the PMC. I am still a bit nervous about raising the funds but for some reason I have faith about this too. At the end of my day's ride Chris joined me for the ride back to the car and I had this thought about a recent e-mail about spotting a Kermit member on the cape. I wondered if anyone riding by us at rush hour was wondering who we were as they passed?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three Little ...

Today was a fantastic day! I learned more about rockering blades this morning which until now the only one I ever felt comfortable asking was John Dimon which leaves me a long way off that 10,000 hour goal that is needed to be considered knowledgeable. I am not saying that I any closer to reaching that goal, only that I now have a bit more confidence about asking questions. Thanks Ryan! 

This afternoon I dropped Chris off near the Holger Zoo to meet Matt and his group for a 2 hour ride. They were riding over to the mouth of Little Cottonwood before turning back so Chris planned to meet me somewhere along Wassatch or even up Mill Creek Canyon as that was where I was headed. It took Ryan's group longer to drop me this week. It was just a few minutes before we made the turn up the canyon. When I arrived they had just started their interval set. Last week they were well into it. I sat for about 15 minutes to let my HR come down a bit (not to mention cool off- it was HOT out there). Then I took off up the canyon- riding just before Heather started her 4th trip up. My plan was to ride until the last one in the bunch reached their 4 minute turn around, but the excitement of being able to breath this time got the better of me and I headed further up the road.  I was giddy, the air was considerably cooler, the road flattened out a bit, there seemed to be some cool trails to explore sometime in the next week and then just as I had the end in sight I see what I thought was a LARGE black dog scamper across the road followed by two smaller large black dogs then it hit me these were not LARGE BLACK NEFEE's. Momma and her babies were granted a VERY large berth, meaning I chickened out, turned around, and high-tailed it down the canyon a bit before my goal. I arrived at the meeting point to another surprise, Chris was sitting in the shade waiting for the NT workout to be finished and me to return. On the way back to the car Chris and I got stuck at a light and the team waited for us at the next one, which was so touching. Thanks GUYS!  Another ride that makes it hard to think about leaving this place. The mountains offer so many great challenges AND this is one of the most bike friendly cities I have ever spent time in. The car dealer even has loaner bikes! 

Tomorrow we have a day off, or at the very least an easy day. Chris and I are off to see the U (again) and check in with admissions about what financial aid might be available to him. Then we are headed to the pool with the girls. I may head out on my own for a ride but if not laps in the pool might be a welcome thought instead. 

I leave you with this:

Love the Thunder

When I left the Subaru dealer it was pouring sheets. The sky was charged. The clouds felt like they were sitting at shoulder height. The world should have stopped but it didn't. There was this woman running to dodge the drops as she crossed in front of me on State Street, her 2 toddlers in tow, a girl about 2 and a boy about 4. The boy turned and flashed me an incredible grin as if he was trying to tell me that he thought this was great (but don't tell his mom). She gave up half way down 1300S, and slowed to a walk despite the increase in the volume of water. On 1300S at that same intersection there was a man sitting on his Harley, tank top, shorts, no helmet and despite the intense conditions no evident body language either. He sat there at the light stoic as if it were a bright and sunny day. Then there was the man in a wheel chair exiting the TRAX station with a companion, he was dancing a happy dance as if he was being baptized while his companion appeared embarrassed and annoyed at being wet.

Storms here are different than they are at home. At home they seem to come to a steady boil before erupting, exploding, destroying...You know they will be bad. Here they come out of nowhere and are like a dry flash in a pan catching whatever energy they can from that initial burst, the clouds dumping their contents at once.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jordanelle and Ramp Camp

We had a lazy crazy day today. Chris, the girls and I went to Jordanelle Reservoir to swim, then we headed to the Park Silly Sunday Market once again. After indulging in some shave ice, looking at some crafts and fetching some bread from Megan's killer lasagna we headed to the Olympic Jumping complex to take in some ramp camp. Mac took the video. It was a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I admit when I woke up this morning at 6AM heading for an epic 2.5 hour ride with the speedskaters I left the house a bit pissed off. Chris managed to get severely sunburned on his legs yesterday and couldn't muster putting on a pair of bike shorts.  His group was working out on their own today and was assigned a 2 hour hike or ride. The plan was for Chris to ride with the group I was with, and then head to the farmers market. When I arrived at the ride start I texted him telling him to get up and go skate a 40K. He didn't get up in time to do that either. Blowing off a workout this morning meant that we would have to figure something else out for later in the day. I stopped worrying about it and went out for my ride. We spent 2.5 hours riding some pretty interesting countryside, by farms, the airport, through typical suburban neighborhoods. Riding by the airport reminded me of Korea, not because of the way things looked, but because of the way they smelled, briney and salty. The HOT air smelled like KIMCHI!

After the ride Rebecca, Eric and I went to the farmers market for lunch and to buy produce. I had the best chicken tacos made with a blue corn tortilla and a green salsa. I also enjoyed some horchata, something I haven't had in ages. A great recovery drink, not too sweet, high in protein, cold...The market idea was perfect, though I did manage to loose 50. out of my jersey pocket. I just hope someone who REALLY needed it found it. Salt Lake City's farmers market reminds me of the one in Park Slope Brooklyn. Its quite large! 

I arrived back at the house with lots of stuff, raspberries, lavender, chard, chinese broccoli, kale, turnips, oregano, apricots, garlic, string beans, the best pumpernickel bread I have had in a long time and to Chris asking me if we could go for a hike. So while he made himself a salad for lunch I figured out where to go for a hike. We headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta. We were planning on heading up to Catherine's pass for starters, but the access road to the campground where the trail started was still not open so we decided to hoof it up to the trail head and decided on the way to alter our plans a bit and we climbed beyond the ski area boundary on a primitive trail. We covered some serious snow pack in places  as well as some fast moving run-off crossings. Of course we had a snowball fight, which Chris won with a cheap shot which hit me in the eye (I hope I don't have a shiner in the morning). As we were descending the trail we saw a coyote cut across the trail and through the meadow that was up ahead of us. It was an absolutely gorgeous 2.5 hour solution to Chris's workout predicament. Back at the house we dined on ribs, potatoes, sauteed greens, and pumpernickel served outside on the porch. A perfect ending to a tiring day! 

Tomorrow? Jordanelle State Park for a swim with the girls and a search for new tent poles!  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A soak in the crater

So today was a day off for Chris and nothing could be better than a soak in a hot spring. The one we chose was called the crater located at the Homestead resort in Midway. We were originally going to go for a hike up to Diamond Fork  but there was some recent postings on Facebook that talked about trail washouts and rattlesnakes and because I didn't know the trail to begin with we decided it would be best to leave it for another time.
After our 40 minute soak we headed into Midway for lunch then came back down to Salt Lake using back roads. We drove around Deer Creek reservior and down through Provo Canyon where we stopped at Bridal Veil falls and dipped our toes in at the base of the falls.
We were back in town by 4:30 or so. Chris decided to take advantage of relaxing for the rest of his day. I however, went out for an hour long ride. Aside from rush hour traffic that was annoying in certain areas, my ride was pleasant. At one point I hoped on the Jordan Parkway and headed toward town. I went about 10 miles before heading back for dinner.

Tomorrow is an early day, 7:30 at Sugar House park (I may ride the 16 miles over there).