Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014– (Part 5)

 
In case you want to read the previous parts of this saga you will find them here:

Part 1  --  Part 2  --  Part 3  and Part 4

 
I rode off into the dark chilly night, a bit on the slow side because last year this is where I passed the turn for Boulder Mountain and had to retrace my route. I did not want to repeat that mistake this year.

I successfully navigated the turn on the first try and began my trek up the mountain side comforted by the sight of other team vehicles passing reassuring me that I was going the right direction.  I was pleased that there was no wind. . . actually there usually isn’t much wind at night, one reason I enjoy my night rides. . . I was feeling good, but the real climbing hadn’t started yet but felt the anticipation mounting as I kept an eye on my GPS showing the grade% as I proceeded upward and forward.

The terrain was slowly going up and I quickly discovered that I was over dressed and getting warm . . . VERY warm indeed and stopped to shed some clothing.

  entering Capitol Reef - 2013 Rockwell file photo

Over dressing causes a person to overheat, impacts performance on multiple levels.  One being if you get too warm on the ascent the descent is that much colder and I didn’t want to freeze which was inevitable with the chill already in the air.
 
So the wise thing to do was to take 1.5 minutes and shed a layer of clothing to hand off when my team came by.  With this done I instantly felt better and began riding stronger as I cooled down.

As my team came by I handed off the leggins and jacket that I had tied around my waist while waiting for them to arrive, and again instantly felt the freedom and cool air give me an added boost of energy.

becoming more confident that I was stronger than last year was a definite component, it was somewhat disillusioning as I was being passed by cyclists that went by like I was stopped. . . was disheartening and a little deflating which caused me to question myself and whether I would be able to pull this off, especially when I wasn’t passing ANYONE . . .  I WAS THE ONE BEING PASSED!  I rationalized that they were all men, until I was passed by a woman.  I Then reminded myself that last year I had to stop multiple times on this mountain because mentally I was freaking out, this year I was in perfect control. . . except for thoughts of Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. . . and . . . SUPERMAN


. . . other than that I was doing okay!


I reached the 14% grade and kept right on pedaling. This boosted my confidence and ultimately the success of this specific leg, I KNEW I was riding stronger, faster. . . more confident than I was last year. Still slower than I wanted, but I was getting it done and was VERY happy about that.

My team stopped periodically along the route and made sure my needs were met.

It’s always great to see people you care about on the route

DSC_2778

As I approached the tree line of the forest, for some obnoxious reason I couldn’t seem to get the prattling volunteer’s warnings going through my head and didn’t realize how wigged out she caused me to become and I expected at any moment sounds of “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. . . oh my!” to come jumping out on me. . .
 
Then I began to question whether or not I would be able to discern between the real McCoy and Superman, who had been plotting to hide in the forest and pretend to be some wild animal. --- Something you need to know about Superman, is he can mimic most any animal sound with realistic accuracy--- and I was fully aware of his uncanny ability


. . . Honestly, the whole idea was creeping me out! 

 
. . . now that I think about it, without the hazards of the Wizard of Oz taunting me, I think, just maybe, I would have been faster. . . for some reason when I become uncertain, or all my senses are in high awareness mode, I seem to loose pedaling focus and I slow down. . .


On the other hand it was Fear and trepidation
that told me DO NOT STOP! 
and it gave me the drive to get this leg over with!
 
Because it was cool and dark I didn’t need much in the form of nutrition or water, there was one point at one of the steeper sections I was only going about 4. something mph which was slow enough that to attempt a moving hand-off that I would have probably over that I did stop for a brief moment but only about 10 seconds worth.

  DSC_3903

to say I was greatly relieved when I arrived at the summit I made it without stopping! or without interference of wild beasts that may have been lurking in the forest is an understatement. . . even better I didn’t have to ban Superman to sleeping in the barn with the chickens for an indefinite determined amount of time either. . . he should be glad that he didn’t follow through with his plot Smile



what a thrill it was to have conquered this mountain. . .
it is my hope to do even better next year!
 
 
. . . yes, it seems I’m always looking forward to improving next year.   I wasn’t even done with this leg yet and I was already calculating what I needed to do for next year to make it even better.

I know, it’s pathetic, 
but it’s how my psyche works
 and I love it 
. . . it keeps me motivated
it’s what makes me, ME!

At the summit I chose to put on I put on gloves, leggins and a jacket. It was chilly but it didn't feel too cold. 
   elevation boulder mtn

 
Confident I was adequately dressed down the mountain I ventured.  As you can see from the elevation profile this was a short stint of only 12 miles and and it was ALL DOWNHILL so it would be fast and my team went on ahead to get Superman ready to go.

As it turns out I was 

severely UNDER DRESSED for the descent! 


I was FREEZEING!!! . . .
Literally.

I was so cold that I found it almost impossible to spin my pedals which didn’t keep the warm blood flowing into my limbs and appendages.  As I continued down the steep, fast descent it became increasingly difficult to move my fingers to apply the brakes as I watched for deer around or on the road, which the probability of  seeing one was a very real.

I was no longer fearing wild beasts. . . or some silly prank from Superman lurking in the bushes to come jumping out at me. . .

Deer are a natural hazard of riding at night, the same as in a car in mountainous terrain and deer as a species are not very bright, they spook easily and then they do stupid things like just stand there staring at you

(ever heard of the “deer in the headlights” cliché?)

  . . . then for no apparent reason, they seem to run the wrong direction

. . . as in straight for the on-coming object. 

This is rarely a good thing for cars
and especially true for cyclists!

The total descent should take less than 30 minutes.  Fortunately the full bright moon helped illuminate my surroundings. . . in fact, it helped considerably.

Becoming colder as the miles crawled by, I was continually doing the calculations in my head. . .

9 miles to go. . . 

seriously, I’d ONLY GONE A MEASLY 3 MILES? 

Which meant I had roughly 20 minutes of ride time to the bottom.  The problem was the colder I became the longer it was seeming to take and this section that should have been super fast. . . and fun. . . was not being either!

I kept waiting for the warm pockets of air that typically naturally occur as elevation is decreased

. . . it wasn’t happening.  

I attempted to put a hand under my arm to warm my fingers, but needed both hands to control my bike as I was cold enough that my shoulders were not fluid enough to steer in control. 

As I became more and more concerned about what if I DID NEED TO STOP for something. . . I honestly didn’t know If I would be able to make that happen and if I did would I be able to move my frozen limbs to un-clip and dismount my bike??? 

2013 791

As these questions and concerns presented themselves, I tried standing on the pedals to test the legs, both my hips and legs were definitely sluggish and certainly did not want to move.  My face was frozen and with all my heart I wished I had put on a few extra layers of clothing for this.  But there was nothing I could do except somehow get down off this mountain.  I thought of the pioneers stranded in Martins Cove and counted my blessings that I knew without doubt this ordeal would be over in a few minutes

. . . not several days 
as they had endured and the thought gave me courage to keep going.


As the time and miles ticked on and the more frozen I became the more hesitant and sluggish I rode.  As a natural result it took 40 minutes to get to the exchange


. . . about 10 minutes longer than I was expecting

As I arrived in Boulder at 1:58 am I didn’t see Superman


. . . and How I NEEDED him right at that moment!   


I was frozen to the point of barely being able to talk 
and moving was slow and cumbersome.


Doug and Linda were there and literally had to hold my bike so I could get off


Superman evidently just in front of me, was ready to go, and didn't realize what condition I was in.  I don’t recall Linda taking the "baton slap on bracelet thingy" off of my bike handing it off to Superman so he could be on his way, and there is a vague recollection of other people standing there concerned as my team helped me get out of the path of other cyclists. . . I was not in good shape.

Linda and Doug took good care of me as I wrapped up in a blanket and simply sat there in the front seat with the heater going full blast, as I slowly regained my senses and feeling to my appendages as the shivering cold slowly melted away to fatigue. . . But it was my turn to support, and the ride continued.



Next year:  I will take the time to dress more appropriately and have hot cocoa after the descent. . . even if I don’t use the cocoa it will be worth having it there


. . . . yup there is a LOT of stuff required to ride a bicycle!


It’s fascinating how the temperatures will vary so dramatically from day to night in the desert.
Granted we were in the mountains, but going from 100+°f down to somewhere in the mid 30’s is a pretty big spread.


In the end I trimmed 34 minutes off of last years time which is quite a lot considering this section is only 39 miles long and most of it is climbing over a mountain. . .  In the end I was a happy camper :)

but now, as the saga continues. . .  it’s time to see where Superman is!  He had been riding for over 30 minutes, which is quite a long time. . .




That's enough for today. . . I'll be back again next week with more of the story to tell!


I hope you are enjoying you own journey through life as I am :)


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014 (Part 4)


if you are needing or wanting a refresher of this exciting tale you can read part 1 here,
part 2 here and then  part 3 here.

This is part 4 of what will probably be a 6 part report.

As we compared conditions from 2013 the wind definitely seemed more prevalent this year, but the temps while plenty warm were actually about 5° -10° cooler than last year and when the temps are somewhere between 95°f-105°f that 5°f-8°f seems to make a difference. but I was also becoming concerned about Boulder Mountain. . . that section had the potential of getting flat out cold. I brushed the thoughts aside knowing that. . .

first: there wasn’t much I could do about it anyway. . . what if it was windy or raining, or worse. . . snowing???


. . . so what if it was?


the ride would go on, and that was what I signed up for. . . to ride. Knowing that regardless of what the weather was going to be I would ride my bike. . . period.

second: if the weather was sour and awful, I had gear. I had leggings, gloves, headbands, booties, toe-warmers, weatherproof helmet cover, arm warmers . . . and an awesome team that would pull me through.  So in reality it wasn’t worth the energy to worry about what was to come. I was reminded of Elder Wirthlin’s conference talk (Oct 2011) . . . “Come What May, and Love it” . . .

Life is a journey, a wonderful adventure and this ride. . . without challenges, such as inclement weather, was just that; a journey, an adventure, an experience that will leave it’s participants with lasting impressions and memories that will be ours forever.

By focusing on what MIGHT happen in the future, I was missing out on the journey and adventure of what was happening in the present.

okay, that’s probably enough mushy sentimental thought processes for today, 
 I will get back to what was happening in the moment. . .


DSC_3881

With Superman on his first leg, it was time to get moving again.  
This leg, at least in my mind, is the most difficult leg. . .  it is a


   hot


                       dry


                                               long


                                                                        barren


                                                                                                  windy


                                                                                                            stretch of road.

and so it was important that we didn’t leave Superman and the bumblebee to get too far ahead. . .  Superman drinks LOTS of water and needs frequent replenishment with electrolytes so he can keep pedaling.

the set up we had in the car was great.

It allowed the “resting” person to actually lay down and stretch out a bit so tall peeps could actually fully stretch out. . .

last year, no one really fit in to lay flat. . . This was Superman attempting to rest.

this was a HUGE improvement over last year when we had the Jeep even the shorties couldn't do that!  Also new this year we were all taking turns driving, where last year Superman and Doug literally did ALL the driving for the entire two days. so this arrangement was MUCH, MUCH better.

However, even though it was better it still had it’s quirks. 


first off every time we pulled over it was necessary to get COMPLETELY off the road, which is fine, there was no shortage of being able to meet this guideline, but for a sleeping body meant that they were now slanted, making it difficult to sleep, as a body naturally tends to roll downhill.  Keep in mind we were stopping every 2 ½ to 5 miles so this was a consistent challenge for the “resting” rider . . .

Jokingly Doug requested that we level out the car just a tad

yeah, that might be one of those you just had to be there to fully understand :)


secondly we are in the desert in the middle of the day so it is plenty bright and warm . . . this presented the next problem . . . which was, when we turned the car off it became hot and stuffy back there almost instantly . . . which is an understatement, it was sweltering!  to off-set this condition we opened the windows and the back hatch which helped, but still, it wasn’t the greatest conditions for sleeping and resting, being that about every 15-20 minutes we were repeating this scenario. . .

it’s fair to say that there wasn’t a whole lot of resting going on.

but it was what we had, We signed up for this, paid for this, and yup, we were excited for this!   It was part of the adventure, part of the story, part of the memories we will cherish for a very long time!

Superman was doing well even with the hot wind. He truly is a perfect fit for this section he is so stinkin strong that he just plows right through these conditions and he was doing absolutely amazing.


Dirty Devil Bridge - 2013 Rockwell file photo

This is Devils Gate Bridge, and where Superman almost died of heat stroke last year.  This year he was doing amazing and shot up this section of road as though he was riding on a beautiful, cool spring morning and we didn’t need to worry about him much as he rolled into the exchange.

As he arrived in Capitol Reef the results were in . . . He managed to trim 42 minutes off his time on this same section from last year!

The training was paying off BIG TIME for Superman! 

DSC_3871

It was now 4:02 pm and we were 1 hour and 45 minutes ahead of the clock from last year. This was motivating and encouraging to us and the group was grateful that we bumped our start time to 6:00 am.

Linda took off and we loaded up Superman, gave him food and were off to check on Linda.

The arrangement and rotation was brilliant


While Superman Drove, Doug supported Linda, Linda supported Doug while I drove and Superman rested. Then Doug would be driver while Superman Supported me and Linda Took over Driver while I supported Superman. . .


This was great as we discovered that when our spouse was the one pedaling down the road, there wasn’t much R&R taking place, we found ourselves antsy and anxious of how they were doing. . . so the arrangement was brilliant in the end.

DSC_3896

Linda had a good solid leg shortening her time by 44 minutes, and I began to wonder if we did make the right decision to bump our start time. I know it sounds crazy but I was still being bugged by that detail and there was no real reason or rationalization for this obsession.

We were there, we were riding, we were having a great time. . . 

 
so what did it matter???
  It didn’t . . . 

 
but I was making it matter in my head, I had this vain quest to be competitive, which in the end, it was me who was the weak link in the team


. . . in short: I was not the one being competitive
so this silly notion I had going on in my head was making no sense at all.

DSC_3907

Doug was on the road again at 7:03 pm. . . roughly 2 ½ hours ahead of last year as the clock ticks. he was riding strong and I knew my turn was coming up.
 
I’m glad I was driving because I was getting pretty anxious about my ride coming up. . .

The leg I had been fretting about all spring, the section that owned me in 2012, the climb that provided motivation to train harder since November --

. . . Boulder Mountain

DSC_2843
 
The problem about this leg is that as night settled in with the darkness and a chill in the air I began to question whether I wanted to ride.
 
Seriously, it was a bit nippy out there AND I should be snuggling into my bed . . . at least that’s what normal peeps do, or should I say, that’s what I do!  For me, on any given day it’s lights out by 10:30.

We arrived in Torrey; and while Superman prepared my bike, I braved the dark chilly night and got myself ready.
 
7181947751_3316028824_z (1)
(Photo, compliments of Rockwell Relay archives)
 
Part of the challenge of this leg in particular is that I needed to be ready to go, but I didn’t want to stand around and get chilled, there isn’t much of a place to warm-up. 
 
. . . I know, I'm a wimp! 
I accept that fact about myself

Therefore, not knowing how long I had until Doug was to arrive, complicated this whole business of getting ready. It’s dark, as in 10:30 at night

. . . remember, it’s bedtime on any regular day 

but as the obvious would point out. . . 
 this certainly is not an ordinary night!
 
We had clear skies and a full moon, which meant it would likely be cold, but no rain or other moisture forms falling from the sky. . . I was relieved for that!


Once I wrap my mind around and accept the fact that I am riding at night, I like it. 
Especially in the dead quiet of the night, it’s a super awesome, cool experience. . one that I recommend trying out. . . In fact night rides are actually some of my favorite rides.  There is something surreal about riding at night, in the dark.  I find them relaxing and peaceful. . .
 
Unless you have a well intending volunteer that won’t put a cork in the pipe as she prattles on and on about how cyclists need to be cautious about deer and wild animals in the forest because you might hit them like a cyclist did two years earlier. . . I found her annoying and I desperately tried to not listen to her go on and on as I waited with a few other cyclists at the exchange with few options of relocation while the volunteer wouldn’t put a clamp on it, I intently watched the headlights as they approached the exchange station.

 
Finally it’s my turn. . . Doug had arrived 



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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014–Part 3


Rather than write each part as I post I’ve decided to try writing the entire thing up so I don’t have to find the time to fit in a write up each week, hopefully this will help with timing and consistency.  This report is a little dry because so much time has lapsed some of the animation is lacking, and we are lacking in pictures, which takes away from the post.  As a result I am putting random pics that we DID take to help keep it interesting.

But because this blog is a journal of sorts for me I have decided to finish it out anyway, then LOTOJA is next. 

Thanks for stopping in and sharing my adventures with me. .

Life is good. . . VERY good, 

just busy and I think for real I’m getting somewhat of a routine settled.  My house has officially sold which has taken loads off my mind and out of my schedule!  What a relief it is to no longer have the stress of a double mortgage and the concerns of fixing repairing, appointments to show the home, the never ending  of hope and disappointments to tangle with.

Rockwell Relay Continued. . .  Finally

striped rock - 2013 Rockwell file photo

You can read Part 1 here

 . . . and review part 2 here


Now here is part 3. . .

The race was going well enough.  Battling the headwinds was getting old and it was plenty warm as we progressed through the Utah Dessert. 

I enjoyed the short descent down which I knew would go up again and continue up until the end of my leg.  Because I knew my team wouldn’t be too far up the road I didn’t reserve or hold back on drinking through the climb and as I approached the top the line of cars waiting for riders was there and there were tons of support but then as I approached the top it became increasingly evident that my team

WAS NOT THERE!  


DSC_3883 

why would they do that, 


at what point did we change the rules of our game plan??? 


my water was not only close to gone, but it was warm too. . . drinking warm to hot water is almost useless and I was not happy, not happy at all.  I reached the top of the hill anxiously wanting a fresh water bottle, and needing it I complained aloud. . . as it was obvious that they were not there

Where are my people ???

I still had 14 miles of hot windy dessert to go and honestly didn’t know if I would be able to do that. 

This is where the tactical part of me takes over in the midst of chewing my team out and rehearsing all kinds of conversations to that end. . .

slow down.  Yes it will take longer but if I don’t have water I don’t want nor could I afford full exertion it makes me need it even more.

Survival was my key objective. I knew that once I made it to the exchange there would be cold water and plenty of it, I would then be able to help myself, but of course, my team would feel bad they had deserted me and would be all over helping me, as they felt guilt and remorse for abandoning me in the middle of the dessert.

While still annoyed, I was going to make it work.

all the while watching the odometer slowly counting down the distance between where I was at and the exchange station . . . 15 miles

                            14.8 miles


                                                      14.3 miles


                                                                                13.9 miles . . .


this was going to take a while, and I was not in a happy place. . . not happy at all!


DSC_3842

Then to my absolute relief another team drove by, they must have heard my dismay of “Where are my People!!!, and offered to share one of their water bottles. . . my guardian angels were driving a beautiful cherry red car. . .

 it was like Santa Clause came to my urgent aid.  

at this point I didn’t think about who had been sucking on said water-bottle, only that it had cool refreshing water in it and it would keep me alive. . . . . . and I graciously accepted their offer and we traded one of my favorite bottles for one of unknown origin. 

 I remembered from last year we did a similar thing for someone else, and I fully understood his gratitude as he took our bottle. . .

A few seconds later a second support came to my rescue, offering my thanks I sent them on their way as my immediate needs were met and I continued to pedal down the road rehearsing several greetings, and feelings of appreciation in my mind as the odometer slowly crawled forward.

It is difficult to express my growing annoydness (is that a word? . . . ) that I had been abandoned by my team as I desperately clung to how the Lord was looking out after me despite what my so called friends were doing. . . mingled with the anger and frustration of what happened to the plan. . . it worked for Doug.  Mentally and emotionally I was not in a healthy place, and despite my "I am going to make this happen attitude, was taking it's toll.

Then as I came to the top of the next roller there they were!

All thoughts of abandonment and frustration instantly melted away as I was given a bottle of ice water and rattled off a description of the cherry red car with Santa's Elf who had my water bottle. . .

because we had determined not to stop while riding all bottles were exchanged in a toss and hand off method or a drive-by approach so time to communicate was limited and brief.

They then took off to get Superman ready for his leg. I was content and happy to pedal my way to the exchange point somewhere in Mule Canyon.

I'm quite certain Mule canyon was named what it is for a reason. . . this is a dry hot windy place on the globe, that is well, mostly uphill. . . which makes this 44 mile section kind of a grind.

the whole duration of this leg was windy and I found myself wondering what the conditions were going to be like for the 9:00 starters and then the 12:00 noon starts. . .

I was grateful for the wisdom of our team in changing our start time to 6:00 am.


2014-06-13 07.55.58

In the end I was VERY disappointed in my performance. 

yeah, sure I tried to tell myself that the wind slowed me down, which was true, but in the end it took me 37 minutes longer than last year.

That was the end of being competitive . . . yeah I was disappointed.

I knew I was fat and slow and slow was largely do to being fat. somehow I MUST fix this problem!

. . . why does ice-cream and hamburgers have to taste so good? 

When I arrived at the exchange station Superman was ready to ride. we exchanged the baton of sorts. . .

a flexible wrist band that you “slap” on to the next rider and off he went.

He too battled the wind.

For him it came in all directions.

literally 

it would be blowing as a tail wind then change to a head wind without reason or warning then to a cross wind. It was the strangest thing ever.



 I will look forward to being back next week :)


. . . but until then, I hope life is treating you well!



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Monday, June 23, 2014

Rockwell Relay–2014 Part 2


Attempting to stay true to my quest of shorter posts this is a continuation of my Rockwell Relay report the first part it here.

I apologize for not having more pictures to entertain you, my friends and readers, but I was
  1. having a pity party
  2. secondly, I just wasn’t thinking “blog” like I have in the past, I think mainly because I was having a pity party
  3. third, we were in race mode, we were doing this to improve and NOT come in last place like we did last year
  4. fourth, at least for me, I didn’t want to be passed by the noon group, which meant my focus was somewhere else other than pictures.
  5. I KNEW Superman was going to be awesome and I wanted to be awesome too, but with this first leg it wasn’t happening. . . stupid wind! 


Yeah, I was having a pity party

So the photographer in me. . . well, wasn’t

Continuing with my obsession with pizza! 


Our pizza from Paradox Pizza was on its way to our hotel we determined that we should probably head that direction and fortunately we did just that. . . as we were crossing the street to our destination, up came the pizza delivery car!


paradox pizza logo

We ordered a tomato basil with white sauce concoction, but after eating my bratwurst I wasn’t much into the hungry thing any longer, which created a unique problem. . .

Superman just ordered ME a pizza, that I ASKED for and WANTED and now I felt the NEED to consume at least one piece. . .  I didn’t want to be rude or appear unappreciative or something like that. . .  so I ate a piece and. . .

it was some of the MOST DELICIOUS pizza I have ever had. . .

Period

and all of a sudden, I could have eaten another slice! 



It was so tasty that I could have eaten TWO more slices . . .

so now I had an entirely new problem. . .

I didn’t want to appear as a glutinous pig. . .



so I restrained myself to one piece saving the remainder for the ride that would last over the next two days.




it was a good decision. . . and pizza is now on the list of “we are going to get pizza next year too"!




Fast forward to Friday morning. . .

we were in bed by about 11:00 and slept very peacefully then the alarms went off at 5:00 am time to get up and moving. . . the race was about to begin, with Doug being our first rider he was feeling the stress of the day first.



picture from 2013 Rockwell files - taken by Rockwell photographer

As a group we decided not to all ride the first mile together like we did last year.  As we reflected on last year it was decided that starting as a group was more of a distraction to the first rider, we ended up falling behind and had to regroup anyway, so we skipped that part.

We went to Swanny Park, got Doug on his way then back to the hotel for a waffle for breakfast. . . YUM!  a happy thing for beginning my day. . . I got breakfast, even with the early start!

Isn't it great how sometimes life just works out.

2014-06-13 07.58.08

Now it was time to get down to business.  Doug was 35 minutes down the road and we needed to get to him and make sure he had what he needed to keep going. . . it was early, not to hot and he was the first rider so we weren't too concerned but the wind, as predicted was going to be a problem. . . that was obvious.

Doug appeared to be doing well, exceptionally well.

It was obvious the wind was blowing as the weatherman said it would be, both Rod and Linda made note of that fact and was glad we changed our time slot. . .


I still wasn’t sure. . .
I silently agreed basically remaining quiet on the subject

Rockwell File Photo from 2013

As we arrived at the first exchange,

I was ready,

                                                                 ready to ride

and began to warm up just a bit.  Around the block I went,


                                                                      around the block again

. . . and again

. . . from my perspective, the wind didn’t seem too bad and I was still questioning whether or not 6:00 was a good idea, as I finished my 4th lap around the block, Doug still hadn't arrived and now it was after 9:00. . . I was getting grumpy within my mind. . . mix that with the anxiousness that sets in as your leg is coming up is not always a good thing.  I couldn't find Superman or Linda and decided it was just as well and so I waited at the top of the street for Doug.

He arrived with a slower time than we were hoping for on this first leg, it was evident the wind was taking it's toll. . .  he handed off the bracelet thingy (the baton of sorts)


                                                       it was my turn.

and I was off. . .

DSC_3853


Happy to be on my way I began my first leg of 44 miles, this was one of my favorite legs last year, so I was excited.

As I crested my first intsty wincy hill the wind started to hit me but all was good, I was riding and it felt good.  starting out riding alone. . . I was passed by a couple of guys, but I was not strong enough to hang on so I remained solo for the majority of the first half, this appeared to be a good sign, if people aren't passing then you aren't going too slow. . . it all figures into the equation.

One of the guys who passed me was wearing a black jersey with a big pink stripe down the middle. . . very identifiable. . . as we began the next climb I started to gain on him and my confidence was boosted. . .

. . . he became my carrot

and I spent the next hour trying to close the gap between us.  I soon realized it would be on the climbs because that is where I made progress in my quest.

The wind had begun to pick-up and was RELENTLESS and I wondered in my mind if it would be this way the whole way, ultimately deciding that this was the way it would be. . .

ALL DAY. . . 

I continually wondered if it would be like this for the 9:00 starters, would it be
worse?
better?
there was no way to know . . . what I did know is that they were only about 45 minutes into their ride and then I wondered how long it would take for the faster riders to catch us.

This question would plague me for the rest of the day

The question I thought about and haunted me the most was. . . 


Would I have to battle these winds up Boulder Mountain???
the possibility scared me just a little.

As I came to one of my favorite sections of the ride the wind was blowing so hard that even though I was going downhill on a 5% grade was still only able to muster up 19-20 mph. . .

not good


I was also watching the clock. . . it was my goal was to do this leg in 2:30 and at this rate it WAS NOT going to happen and I began to be frustrated and doubt myself.

STUPID WIND!!!

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As I arrived at this amazingly cool part of the road where the road is literally carved between two cliffs of red rock.  I looked ahead and saw superman standing at the mouth waving his arms.  The wind had subsided slightly and I was picking up speed which I was finding enjoyable.

Then I noticed the motion he was using to wave me down. . .

SEVERE CROSSWINDS HERE!!!

as I came out from behind the wall of rock.  I slowed down to nearly a stop and was about blown off the road!

How grateful I was that they were there to warn me.  The wind hit with such gusting force that it would have blown me off the road.

Shortly after this the road dipped down into a ravine, then up again to a long steep 8% uphill pull.  My “carrot” was about half way up talking to his team.  They got him going again and shortly after they drove off he got off his bike and was walking up the hill.  I smiled to myself and gloated with one of those internal conversations about how I was actually out climbing him which made me AWESOME. . . .

Shame on me. . .

I later found out that the guy that I had deemed as my carrot WAS blown off the road into an oncoming car, which had to swerve into the opposite lane to avoid hitting him because he was in their lane at the mercy of the wind blowing him into a rock on the opposite side of the road due to that viscous, nasty crosswind. . .

which is what alerted my team to stop and warn me of, saving me from the same fate! 

Now you see why I felt bad!  Shame on me!!!

at the summit of this last big hill, I was stocked up with water and fizz tab bottle and my team was on their way to approx 5 miles up the road, still uphill but not sporting nearly the grades of steepness of the previous one.

That was the arrangement.   We would go 2 1/2 – 5 miles find a place to pull over and wait to see what the rider needed, and it was working perfectly until now. . .

Which is where I will pick up on my next post. . .
As this is already getting kind of long. . .




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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rockwell Relay–2014 part 1


Holding to my promise that I would try to keep posts shorter this race report will come out in several installments. . .

This is the first part of . . . 

Well, I’m not quite sure,
but more than one for sure

2014-06-12 18.46.00

It was finally here, The Rockwell Relay. . . the event we have been talking about, planning, and training for, for the past 362 days!

Preparing the trailer for this event began over a two months ago when we went to Frog Hollow, but it wasn’t until the week of the event that it truly began to take shape specifically for the Rockwell Relay.

At last it was Wednesday evening when the loading and organizing took place that everything began to feel so real. . . Our new favorite event was finally here!

We finally left our home approx 1 hour behind schedule on Thursday morning headed for Moab, UT where we begin our journey of riding our bikes 527 miles across the barren, desolate, dessert of Southern Utah.

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Seriously, this is what the landscape consists of for 75% of the route

As we drove to Moab where the event begins, the topic of Rockwell dominated the conversation . . . we talked about our dreams, anticipation, and strategy,  we discussed our game plan, how we wanted to improve on our performance as a team, personally and at exchanges, and what we had been doing in our training to make that happen

. . .  we were full of high expectations for the outcome of this years race

One of the biggest debates we had was what time to start this crazy adventure.  We had three options
  • 6:00 AM
  • 9:00 AM
  • 12:00 Noon
When we registered we choose to go with the 6:00 AM time slot, but when looking at last years data, considering our improvements in performance and the penalty associated with getting to exchanges early we seriously reconsidered. . .


ultimately deciding on Wednesday, June 4, to switch to a 9:00 AM start time


Then on Thursday afternoon, we looked at the weather reports as we settled into our hotel

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As a group of cyclists, this report is NOT a good thing, causing deep concern about what would present itself in the miles and miles of road ahead.

As we contemplated the potential effects of this news that followed the same report across the desert for Panguitch, Cedar City, AND St. George


we again reconsidered our options


and as a team determined that a 6:00 am start time was best and we changed our status as we picked up our packet at check in.

I was bummed!  I was looking forward to waking up, taking my time, having a waffle for breakfast and taking a leisurely approach to beginning my weekend living in a car and riding a bicycle.

Oh, Yes, this was a difficult decision for me to accept and it affected my attitude as I began my first leg.  I was bummed that we were not sticking to our original plan.

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New for this year was the Rockwell Stamp. . . kind of a cool addition and having it made us truly feel part of the crowd as we sported around for the next two days.
 
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UGH, I hate it when I forget to take off my glasses!

Thanks to Superman who met up with Fatty on the 6 hours in Frog Hollow race, struck up a simple conversation and we ended up with a photo shoot.. .  Cool Stuff!

Team Fatty is a class act team and are top notch riders. . . they are a tough competitive team, COMPLETELY out of our league, but to say we associate with them is an awesome thing!


The second disappointment came as for two weeks I had made up my mind that we wanted Pizza for dinner, saving the leftovers for the ride in the following hours as we finished each leg.  I LOVE pizza and it just sounded like it would hit that special yummy spot in my tummy. . . that little thing to look forward. . . it was going to be my reward, as I finished a hard ride.

But it became very apparent as we were wandering about at packet pick-up/check-in that Superman was not excited about driving ANYWHERE else that evening and the only pizza place I could find was several blocks away and none of us wanted to walk that far for pizza so I resigned my desire and want of pizza and was desperately trying to not let it affect my attitude.

As we wandered around and I decided to go ahead and get a free bratwurst from Team Fatty as my only option for food that night . . . then

Then, I spotted it!



a whole stack of PIZZA BOXES!!!


As you can see (in the yellow circle with the arrow pointing), even though it’s VERY out of focus, the pizza boxes are right there in fatty’s little tent where they were cooking up the brats!

my eyes became riveted on those precious little boxes full of assumingly delicious mouthwatering pizza. . . I almost asked if Fatty would SELL me a sliver of pizza instead of giving me a free brat!  The only problem was I had already eaten my hot dog. . . dang

secondly, it would be just a little awkward to ask for a piece of pizza that wasn’t being offered from well, basically, a total stranger . . . even though Fatty is in celebrity status for me . . . I just couldn’t bring myself to ask for such things as pizza, and my brain was in overdrive trying to figure out how to do such a thing . . ..

I choose instead to ask where they got pizza from. . . to discover that the pizza was delivered right there to the park!


. . . this news made my whole day better


. . . I mean there was hope in the air-
and suddenly this day was looking more positive with each passing moment!!!
 
Superman observed the phone number was on the box, in big bold colorful letters. . .

Superman, my hero, dialed the number and a few minutes later we had a pizza on its way!!!


I LOVE Superman. . . he takes such good care of me!

And that is enough for today. . .
There will be more about our race in the next couple of days

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

6 hours in Frog Hollow

                            . . . a Mountain Bike Race!



there are a couple of things I need to clarify
1.   I hate rocks
2.  I dislike narrow roads with random obstacles in my path
                      . . . I’m more of a predictable type of girl
3.  I am terrified of cliffs
so now you understand these points you will know that . . .

                            this race is NOT about me!!!


for all of the above reasons.


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But Superman and the Hobo LOVE mountain biking and this was their first Mountain Bike race and they were both pretty stoked about it.

Superman is trying to convert me to the "dirt" and I have agreed to ride my mountain bike at least once a week, but I am here to announce that my first love will always be on the Road. . . NOT in the dirt on the trails. . .


. . . refer to the above list if you have further questions


Actually the Hobo was pretty nervous.
 he had allowed himself to get pretty soft over the winter and didn’t feel very prepared. 

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Frog Hollow is a circuit race, meaning that you ride a 12.88 mile loop as many times, as fast as you can in 6 hours.

We had done a lot of looking on-line prior to Frog Hollow so we had a rough idea of what to expect, but until you have actually done a specific event it seems there are always dozens of unanswered questions that you just sort of figure out along the way.

but we figured it out pretty quick and overall had a great time!


Because Superman was involved we came VERY prepared for anything to happen, my job was to keep everyone fed, hydrated, and assist with any other oddity that came up to help get it taken care of. . .  such as oiling chains that were so dusty/dirty that they were squeaking, thus no longer shifting smoothly.


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The weather was sunshine warm and absolutely PERFECT for a race in the dessert with plenty of dust and NO trees.  We came prepared and were expecting such conditions, so our tent cover was a wonderful addition to all the stuff that is required for a bike ride.

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Despite our research and reading blogs about Frog Hollow, we were still a little uncertain of how it worked exactly 


The start was one of those.


Riders park their bikes somewhere along the way about
1/4 mile up the road from the actual starting line

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then go back with everyone else and 

wait . . .


                           wait . . .


                                                            wait . . .


                                                                                                               . . . BANG

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and everyone takes off running for their bike 

this is referred to as a LaManns start


Or as Superman dubbed it . . .
“the Spandex, buffalo stampede!”


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It was interesting as a spectator

if you have never seen approx 200 adults running full tilt wearing
 cycling shoes, spandex, and cycling helmets


Not only does it look sort of odd, but it sounds sort of like a herd of. . .

well . . .


I’m not sure how to describe it, 


I’m pretty sure a herd of horses sound more graceful


but I think cows would be louder


these guys just sounded like running in cycling shoes was awkward and cumbersome


perhaps Superman pegged it correctly. . . Buffalo

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When the Hobo arrived at the support tent after his first lap, he was LOVING this race and became very excited and quite animated about the event. . . sort  like his dad, but he fully understood that this WAS a race and got out of there pretty quick.
(This is quite possibly my favorite picture. . . 

the hair tells all. . .

awesome!

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Superman came in on his first lap, he was happy and loving life!


He started up a friendly chat with our “tent” neighbors and I had to remind him he was in a race and that he had better get a move on it. . .


yeah, that’s my Superman.

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And so it was around and around for six hours, 
both riders averaged just over an hour per lap. 

It’s easy to observe the support peeps were highly entertained and VERY Supportive. ..


honestly, we had a good time and it was a Wonderful day


Superman was hoping for 5 laps, but fell short of that by about 20 minutes. . . 


The Hobo did better than he thought he would, but was pretty sore the week after, but said he would rather do this again than have his wisdom teeth out. . . now, that’s saying something  


. . . I would be tempted to opt for the teeth.


And as is true to form for most races, Superman is already planning what he would do differently next year to get his 5 laps in. . . The Hobo is anxiously waiting to get home from his mission to do this again. . . Yes, I think it’s safe to say they had a grand ol time.


As for me, I sort of caught the fever from the fun and energy that is generated at an event, and thought to myself, maybe I should try this race, it seems fun,

and everyone looked like they were having a good time. . .


                                                  But it ended right there. . . 

with my thoughts!


As I heard the stories, and saw some of the event pictures of the real terrain and thought better than to verbalize my thoughts. . . I will be perfectly content being support crew.


As for life in general, trust me, life is plenty busy and with me experiencing some interesting health challenges it has been difficult for me as it has impacted my training and those euphoric  moments of success, as I’m just not having them, despite my diligent training all winter and spring.  There is nothing serious going on, but it has dramatically slowed me down, which is extremely frustrating!

It has been discouraging and we are desperately trying to figure out what exactly is going on, Right now I yo-yo between hopeful and positive thinking that all will be well and go the way I think it will which is also the way I want, which would be optimal . . .


to the exact opposite of thinking that I’ll be broken forever!  


Time will tell, but in the mean time life is definitely busy and moving forward, and that my friends is always a good thing!

As always, thanks for stopping in and sharing our adventure with us. . .  Friends are always welcome!

Have a great weekend . . . 
and find the joy in your journey!


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gender Revealing Party


What is a gender revealing party????


I’ve never heard of one of those before. . . .


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When I was a kid, we knew a baby was coming, and we anxiously and patiently waited until said baby was here to KNOW whether it was a boy or a girl. . .


we had fun in the process, hence all the theories, wives tales, and silly things we came up with to pre-determine what a baby was going to be. . . but alas, Technology has taken all of the fun suspense away and the daughter and her husband decided to “find out” what they are having, and then they had a Gender Revealing Party to inform the rest of us. . .


technology has made life so complicated!



. . . But it also created an excuse for me to make a cake!


And that was fun

So I got to work, the limited creative juices began to trickle in and I came up with an idea!
It turned out to be a brand new adventure and a path of exploration but in the end I had a marvelous time.

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Building a cake is always a process that creates a mess, but this particular venture was EXTRA MESSY one that completely dominated the kitchen for like an entire week as I ventured for the first time ever with creating figures with gum-paste. . .


I have never been remotely gifted in the artistic arena but couldn’t figure out a better way to pull this off. . . so here’s how it all went together:


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The flowers were first, and overall pretty easy and SUPER fun to do!  I think they turned out pretty good in the end. . . but I like flowers so that helped.

My second challenge was that I decided in the very beginning that this baby was a girl.  

As hard as I tried, it was difficult to make the cake non-gender specific, it just wanted to look “girly” . . . similar to when I did the non-gender specific cupcakes for the Oreo’s baby shower a couple of years ago, It just wanted to say “boy” and I could not get it to change, no matter how hard I tried. . . period.

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I ended up with a little red wagon with a stuffed bear, some leaves, (I forgot the sticks), and a basket ball. . . seemed boyish enough, oh, and the little worm in the grass and a bug sitting on the wagon, actually it was a dragon fly. . . super cute.  the modeling and painting job needs some help, but it served it’s purpose.


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One thing I discovered is the need to invest in a few more supplies if I am going to do this more, and after some research and education, next time I will try using modeling chocolate instead of gumpaste. . . it seems a little more forgiving and appears to be much easier to work with.

Regardless of the medium, it's much better than play dough, as it allows much smaller and more detail, it hardens, as in rock hard, you can paint it, or pre-color the dough and then just have fun, sort of like playing with play-dough. . . what could be better than that???



. . . um, more artistic talent, that would help a great deal!



This experience brought back vivid memories of being in 4th grade art class playing with clay, I wanted to make a piano, and it was a mess, my teacher finally recruited a class mate to help me


. . . who, by the way, had made the most awesome dragon I have ever seen. . . 



. . . yes, that would be my fate: no artistic ability what-so-ever


. . . sometimes life just isn't fair.


okay, I will quit sulking now and move onward.

 

for the “girl” I determined to create a stroller with a doll and stuffed bear. . . It


turned out cute, minus the lack of artistic ability, but we will keep it anyway.


In the end I had fun and learned a lot and even though I will never be on the same elevated level as some of the pros where their work is absolutely incredible, next time will be even better. . . 


Besides, it’s the effort, the thought, and the labor of love that counts. . . right???

                                     


. . . and, I’ve seen worse Smile


in my world, that’s a redeeming factor anyway


I'll take handicap points where ever I can


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I elected for a soft yellow icing with a pink and blue sidewalk for the outside



and on the inside. . .

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As a fun surprise, the actual cake was a pink/blue torte cake

the Oreo was eyeing dessert and we caught him at the perfect moment

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sorry little Oreo, not just yet

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The daughter and the business man went to great lengths to give their little party a fun flair

pink and blue popcorn, cotton candy and punch.

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We as the guests were to wear the color that we thought the baby would wear. .  . 

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The parents tried to throw us all off by wearing opposite colors!


nice try guys. . . 


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naturally we all wore pink. . . 

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They had several wives tales posted on the wall that we as guests answered as a fun little starter game, in addition to a scrabble where they put letters on the bottom of each plate and those sitting at the table were to unscramble the letters into a potential name. . . with six tables they had 3 girl names and 3 boy names for us to solve.


In the end, the little party event turned out very nice and we had a wonderful time


we found out that the once again the cake told the true story . . .



we are having a. . .


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girl



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