Monday, March 30, 2009

Last Roll Session

Yesterday was the last of the indoor kayak roll sessions in the comfort of warmth and cleanliness. Tomorrow starts the outdoor season in coldness and muck. Well, for me its the start of the season -- Rick's been kayaking outside for about a month now with his other die-hard friends. I, on the other hand, am a wimp and prefer a bit warmer temps. But 60 degrees is warm enough so tomorrow it all starts. It would have started this past Saturday at the Red Mo, but the Creek was WAY too low this year, so we didn't go. Every week, all summer, Rick and I will bring the boats and gear along to work one day and spend an evening after work in the Dauphin Narrows. We'll attain, surf, eddy in and out, and generally just practice paddling technique in prep for the "bigger" stuff. Well, maybe Rick will do the bigger stuff. I prefer the Lehigh at the 750 cfs level (I did it at 1250 last year, and swam twice -- UGH!) Some of our friends hit the Gunpowder this weekend and Rick was showing me pictures. No way.... Again, I'm a wimp and will stick to class 2 with a touch of 3. (the Gunpowder is a solid 3). Rick keeps thinking I'm gonna get "better" and can do the bigger stuff. Maybe I don't WANT to do bigger stuff. I had to remind him of my love of endurance flatwater paddling. Seems he's forgotten about my beauty of a flatwater boat I'm just dying to get in the water.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Summer Marathon Riding -- Here I Come

Today was the test run -- 3 hrs on the singlespeed in Weiser. The little guy in my head was giving me a run for my money: "What makes you think you can ride 3 hours with one gear when you haven't even been out on the bike but 3 times all winter? Why do you think you can do what you did when you were in better shape? What about that 9 mile climb -- you used to be able to do it... but that was then, this is now."

ENUF! That rat bastard. I proved him wrong. First up was the 9 mile climb. Its really an easy, gradual, slow climb from the East End parking lot, via Doc smith, Rattling Creek, Dry Run, Schreffler, Ironmine, and ending with Wolf Pond fire road to the tippy top of Weiser state forest -- 9 glorious miles. No issues. I circled around Rim snowmobile, Lukes and Grimm, then back on some singletrack to finish the ride -- Shale Run, Preserve line and ending up Fawn Kill.

Piece of cake. 19.5 miles, 11.4 in singletrack. All with one 20-tooth cog. Love it. Love it. Love it. Happy. Happy. Happy. I feel good the summer marathons will be just fine -- maybe even with one gear. Its ok to go slow isn't it? Teehee.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can't Wait to Finally RIDE!!!

The enthusiasm is finally back -- it could be the warmer temps, it could be reading about the Michaux Mash and cyring over not being there with my buds, it could be that hubby and I have finally agreed that we just ain't gonna be doing the same things all summer, or it could be that I started registering for events. What got the ball rolling was Kuhn's announcement of the Dirt Rag World Tour stopping at the Farm in Marysville on June 27-28, and he's changing up the XC race to a 12-Hour Team Relay Race this time around. I LOVE 12-HOUR RACES! Ole Bull was always a fav (I think I did it 5 times), and I really enjoyed the 12 hours of LODI, but both aren't exactly in our backyards (6 hour trek to Lodi, 3+ for Ole Bull). Kuhn's IS in our backyard. I'm psyched. Singlespeed Donna and I are doing a duo. It would be nice if Kuhn had a duo category for the girls, but somehow I get the feeling that just ain't gonna happen given Kuhn was always against categories with only a handful of people in them (mainly the women's categories -- although I'd argue that with some of the men's masters categories that could be combined). Sooo... I have a schedule for the summer! DW also formed a Tour de Cure Team and added a 17-mile mountain challenge this year in Michaux. Of course I was all over that -- mainly 'cause I SO support raising $$ for diabetes given my mama is a Type 1 Diabetic (So JOIN DONNA'S TEAM -- SUPPORT MY MAMA!) But I also like the idea of a mountain ride for a change. I find road riding B.O.R.I.N.G. And then there's the Rattling 50 Marathon -- how could I NOT do a Weiser race - even more in my backyard than Kuhn's Farm. Then our own RCST BASH -- oh what fun it is. And last, but not least, what I'm calling my 50th Birthday present, is the IRONCROSS. Yup, I'm going for number 5 this year ( maybe on the singlespeed??), one week before my 50th Birthday -which by the way, I'm sharing the year and the 50th celebration with BARBIE. Yup, me and Barbie are the big 50. I think Madonna hits 50 too this year. Did you know 50 is actualy 18 with 32 years of experience. Oh yeh. So tomorrow starts the long rides getting ready for the summer events. I'm going about the "training" a bit differently and only riding no more than 3 times a week this time around. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Happenings

Saturday was a trip to the Tohickon near Delaware Water Gap for the annual spring Water release from the Nockamixon Dam. Rick did the run last fall, but he thought maybe the water would be too cold in the spring (it is!), so he opted out of the run. We hiked about 5 or 6 miles along the creek, scaling the rocks (my ass hurts today). I think he'd really like me to do this run with him this fall and after studying (scouting) the creek carefully (and watching a girl flip, get out of her boat and get pushed against a rock), I'm not so sure I'm ready. We'll see how this summer goes with my eddy and rolling practicing. The creek is a class 3 and requires constant eddying in and out to scout each move you make. There are many, many rocks and holes and you need to be on the lookout for and ready to move in an instant all the time. It looks fun, but definitely for a skilled paddler. We could see a handful of not-quite-ready paddlers and they obviously looked nervous and were wobbling in their boats, running into rocks, and of course flipping over.

And I like this bike. Its a singlespeed cyclocross bike called "Breed". Mountainside Ski and Sports carries the FELT brand. Hmmmm. I need to sell some bikes first. Maybe I need RIDE them too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wear Your Helmet - No Matter What!

Isn't that sad about Natasha Richardson? If you've been a cave somewhere, she died from a fall while skiing on a beginners slope. She bumped her head, got up, laughed it off and sent the ambulance away. An hour later, she got a severe headache and a day later she was dead. Brain bleeds -- even seemingly small concusions -- are nothing to ignore. I see helmets being required for ANY sport with ANY kind of speed. Bring 'em on!

Metal Mouth - Part Two

While most of you are enjoying riding and gorgeous weather, I'm enjoying the ZIRA face again. Yup, FINALLY phase 2 of the dental implants happened on Tuesday. For those that need a refresher, last year I knocked out two of my front teeth in a stupid (really stupid) bike crash and it was decided dental implants would be best. Its a long process with a lot of healing and waiting in between. Last August, I had the tooth extraction and the bone grafting which healed very nicely over the past 7 months. This week was Part 2 - the insertion of the implants. I'm so grateful for the psychoactive drugs 'cause when I heard the mini jack-hammer, if it wouldn't have been for the Lorazepem, I probably would have ran for the door. Yup... imagine a tiny, mini jack hammer hammer in your jaw making way for the titanium. Hey -- I'll match my singlespeed! The other not-quite-pleasant part was the sewing on of the gum tissue. There was a lot of "shrinkage" and the Doc had to graft on some extra gum tissue. I have a little difficulty looking into my butchered mouth -- there's stitches, blood, swollen tissue, and of course, metal amongst it all. What a joy -- but one step closer to the finished product some time in August or September - that's when my dentist builds me two lovely new caps for the titanium posts. That'll be a day of celebration.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soooo Saddddd

Damn I'm missing racing after reading about ALL the fun ALL my friends had at the Michaux Mash. I read Miss Donna's wondrous report/results, and said to hubby, "Rick, I'm really missing racing." And do you know what he says to me? "I think you're missing some teeth, not racing." I love him so much. And then he says, "Do you think you could have done 3 laps on your singlespeed? Probably not -- not even on your good days." I REALLY love him SO much.


So here's some good write-ups -- the first by the one and only Brettster, a.k.a Chief Chef. And a HUGE congrats to my bud, Miss Donna for placing 9th out of 21 girls! Speaking of 21 girls, when will race organizers FINALLY realize the girls have come out... now give them a fair shake and divide up the categories! There were at least half of them that were Masters (that I know of). And about 5 of them between 45 and 50 and even over 50! Love those master women riders -- go get 'em girls!

I miss racing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Still a Sucker - After all These Years

Now that I ride much less and spend much more time at home, it appears I've fallen back into the same routines I had years ago, although years ago they came on VHS tapes, nowadays its strictly DVD. Yup, tapes work wonders. I like them because they are focused, in the comfort of my own home, and I need a "leader". Lord knows I can't do this stuff on my own AND living in Timbuktu doesn't give me a lot of opportunities to go to Yoga class. Sretching, core work, and yoga are all very focused (in my opinion), so I've been adding these type of videos to my collection of Jane Fonda and 20-minute workout from the 80's. (teehee). The other thing I really like about them is I can do them when I get up at 4:00ish, and then I'm done for the day, or can go bike riding or kayaking if I feel like it. Nice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's the Michaux Mash Weekend!

If you want some last minute fun on your mountain bike, check out Zach's Michaux Mash -- a 4 hour race on a 9-mile loop in Michaux State forest. Good Luck Donna!! Holy hell the women are coming out for this. Nice to see! Girl power!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Twenty Teeth

They've been telling me for years that I should be riding more teeth than 16 or 17 on my singlespeed; so I broke down and got a 20 tooth cog and holy crap its nnnniiiiccceeee. Thanks to all of you that finally cracked the thick skull and got me to buy an easier gear -- I love it! We rode Weiser today -- just a short ride 'cause Rick was feeling tired (he hasn't rode all winter -- not even the trainer but maybe two times). I like twenty teeth!

Retired Running Shoes

Rob the mortician, one of our local mountain bikers, asked me years ago why I took up running -- did I know the health "hazards" of running? I laughed him off and went running down the trail. While I never experienced the exploding heart he was referring to (that's what he says!), or even bad knees that I hear many folks complain about, I have experienced an annoyance older female runners sometimes are plagued with. So the last couple weeks I hung up the running shoes and by George I believe I'm out of that habit too now (20 days really does break a habit). I no longer get home and immediately say "I gotta go for a run" or at lunch get all weird about "gotta get out for my run" (my cube neighbor gets mad if she misses a day!). So what do I do with my 20 pairs of running shoes? I guess I have enough to last long into retirement, huh! Just another change in the evolution of exercise. Bye-bye running, hello retirement.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Water Release Coming up!

From DCNR:

Water release Planned from Lake Nockamixon into the Tohickon Creek March 21-22

March 5, 2009

White-water boating enthusiasts from the Northeast will have a chance to test their paddling skills in some tricky rapids March 21-22 when the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources releases water from Lake Nockamixon into the Tohickon Creek in Bucks County.Annually scheduled the third weekend in March, the release is planned as a recreational event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.DCNR officials remind boaters this is technical white water with Class 3 and 4 rapids requiring boating skills. Boaters should be aware of and heed the safety code of the American Whitewater Affiliation, and wear appropriate personal flotation devices.For more information, contact Nockamixon State Park at 215-529-7300, or Delaware Canal State Park at 610-982-5560.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The "New" Northern Dauphin County YMCA

Cut a little kid loose in a candy store and what do you get? A sick kid. Cut little Ricky Brown and toothless Chili loose in a newly expanded YMCA and what do you get? Two hicks staring at contraptions saying, "wat duz that wun do huny? Looky...these here channels go real high -- and there not fuzzy and jiggly either!" We are WAY too countrified. Well, I guess I'm the countried one cause Rick had to show ME what some of the machines did. And how 'bout those monitors on the equipment? And suspended running machines (its called an AMT, or adaptive motion Technology machine and it adapts to your motion of stepping, running, striding -- its cool! I can run and not pee my pants!). Assisted dip and chin-up equipment? Incline benches (yup...the old Y didn't even have an incline bench), A back extension machine! The Smith Squat! Leg presses! Shit I'm in heaven. The Smith and the presses were in another room before this new room was built, but Rick and I never went down there -- it was mostly the hardcore hanging out and we simply felt uncomfortable. So we have all this crazy equipment, all these choices and what was the one piece of equipment I'm looking all over the place for? Yup -- where's the bike. I saw three recumbents and paid no attention -- where are the spin bikes? No... no spin bikes, but it IS a fairly nice, new upright bike with tension (the old one didn't have any tension - ARGH!!) There's only one - but it has my name on it and everyone knows it and stays off of it. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weekend Trips? Not This Year!

I asked Rick this morning if he wanted to do any “trips” this year like we’ve been doing for the past 7-8 years: Ole Bull Midnight Madness, 12 Hours of Lodi, Xterra Regional Championship in Richmond (Worlds in Maui????!?!), Ohiopyle over-the-falls weekend, etc. And his answer was, “no.” We haven’t really done any trips since that fateful trip to Richmond last year and we’ve both gotten out of the groove of long weekend trips. We’ve been running around for so many years, that this is the year we’re gonna stay close-to-home. Even last weekend was what I now consider a “long drive” compared to other years – its was a two-hour drive to Caledonia State Park to ride bike. I guess I won’t be doing that one too often. So here’s the outlook for the summer:

Paddling the Red Mo (two-hr drive, but it’s an all-day fun time once a year), Dauphin Narrows, Lehigh River, maybe the Nescopeck if it comes up, and maybe the Tohickin (Rick).
Mountain Biking in Weiser State Forest, Swatara, and maybe a trip or two to Michaux to ride with our friends who ALL seem to live next to Michaux (even our kayaking friends!). RB Winter is only an hour away, so maybe I’ll think about heading up there for a ride or two – just a thought at this point.

So the summer is set – staying close to home - Doing what we want, when we feel like it. Oh… and I think I’ll stay out of the mud too for a change. Isn’t it a novel idea NOT to ride in the mud and not have a need to scrub your bike?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

You Gotta Get Up Close and Personal With Your Bike

Rick and I aren't super friendly with our bikes like some folks we know. We ride, we lube the chain, and change a flat when it needs it. Every now and then we'll jiggle things to see if they are still intact or might need a little tightening. Rick's not to keen on squeeks, so he'll jiggle a little more than me. But other than that, there's no bike porn going on at our place. Even dirt sometimes cakes up a little more than it should. Yesterday though, after getting home from ride in Meeshow, I noticed the sidewalls on my tires were sorta scraped and I told Rick I think I'm going to put those new tires on I had sitting in a box for about 3 years. He says "what for?... you should run these until you have a problem with them Mrs. I-wanna-be-green. How green is it to get rid of a perfectly good pair of tires?" He's probably right. So off I went to get my bucket of warm, soapy water to clean off some Michaux mud. Well, I was doing the cleaning mainly so I didn't have to hear Rick bitch when we went to change the cog that should be here on Monday, and he's faced with a muddy bike. When I got up-close-and-personal with my tires as I was cleaning off the mud (I can't see anymore 'cause I'm old, so I HAVE to get up close and personal), low and behold there's a bulge on one of those sidewalls. Shit... there's one on the front too! So NOW I have a real reason to change the tires -- both front and rear sidewalls are torn through. Yeh! Rick didn't win this one. So Mr. Dean now has new tread to go with his new cog, and soon to get new grips. I'm like Donna, I love my singlespeed! This will be the bike of choice this summer -- no matter the turf we're on.