Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Nine Degree Weekend

Rumor has it Fit Chick was riding Michaux this weekend prepping for the Michaux Mash. I hope she blogs about it. But holy hell how do those people ride bikes in temps like that!? Fitty wrote about riding in sub-zero temps and wind. She called it character building. Well folks, my character can't be built in temps below 32 unless there's a foot or so of fluffy powder to shoosh in. But on the bike outside in less than 32 degrees? No can do. But I CAN build character on a trainer in the warmth of basement. I learned it from Laub a couple years ago when I wanted to get better and faster on the bike (but found out the faster didn't happen, but I COULD go longer). So this wonderful nine-degree weekend was perfect to sit my arse on a bike seat that never moved for 3.50 hrs. Yup... that's my character being built. It gave my pre-frontal cortex some exercise too. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

A New Muscle to Exercise

Did you know the brain has muscles and if you wanna lose weight, exercise more, or whatever, you have to exercise your prefrontal cortex. And just how do you exercise your brain? No, it’s not by using it – it’s by NOT using it as much. What a revelation. I’ve been having issues the past month or so with eating. I can’t stop! The bottomless pit opens and no amount of food will fill it. I have zilch willpower and just keep shoveling it in. Luckily, the scale has been holding its own because I try to workout to compensate for the extra calories. But this is NOT what I wanted – the scale is supposed to be going down. So I google “willpower” this morning and I find this very interesting article on brain overload and how it affects willpower. Here’s a quote from the article.

The brain area largely responsible for willpower, the prefrontal cortex, is located just behind the forehead. While this bit of tissue has greatly expanded during human evolution, it probably hasn't expanded enough. That's because the prefrontal cortex has many other things to worry about besides New Year's resolutions. For instance, scientists have discovered that this chunk of cortex is also in charge of keeping us focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract problems. Asking it to lose weight is often asking it to do one thing too many.

Ironically, I’ve been super-busy at work and have taken on several new responsibilities that keep me hopping and require me to remember and gather a ton of information. Some days, I leave work mentally exhausted. After reading this article, I believe there’s some truth to the saying “working too hard.” My brain is working too hard and its overloaded and under-exercised! So the next time your boss sees you sitting and staring at a blank wall, tell them, “I’m exercising boss.” What a great excuse to sit and stare.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brainy Ideas

My mind LOVES to wonder. Sometimes I swear there are little elves in there running around building more cells just to make me use them and mess up my head even more than it is normally. My wheels hardly ever stop turning... should I do this, should I do that, why can't I lose weight, what if I eat this way and not that, what about this food, what will dropping 5 pounds do for my climbing, why are races too expensive, will they give me a discount since I don't drink beer (and hubby doesn't either so I can't get it and give it to him), when is my new biking gear coming, should I take my bike in for a tune-up, should I take a couple bikes in for a couple tune-ups, hubby will balk at the price of a tune-up, how many days should I take off work to ride/work in the garden, can I balance it all, I wanna be the most fit 50-year old I possibly can be, that means riding like a crazy woman, I wanna race, I don't wanna race, yes I do. When will this stop!?!??!? Will drinking cure this all? Here's yet another crazy thought... I'm bitching about prices of races and go to check out the River town Race Series prices and find them affordable (and they have category in EVERY race for a 50 year old woman!) but ALSO find even more races I want to do! What the hell is up with that? I enjoy doing the adventure tris (paddling instead of swimming), hubby approves of them (because I use the boat!) and I find one only 45 minutes from home! It's in another part of Weiser State Forest - the Roaring Creek tract - that is northeast of me near Mount Carmel. Just a leisurely ride in the car on a couple back roads and I'm there. Of course I'm doing it! Click on SACH Roaring Creek Tri for info. It's Oct 24. And I'd like to do the Chili Challenge on Oct 16 too. Very fun. Oh, and while I'm at it, why not the Humdinger on March 7? It's only 7 miles of mountain running. Ha! There go those crazy little guys in my head futzing things up! Oh the torture.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Venting About Cost of Races

I'll apologize up front if I offend any race promoters... but what gives with the cost of the races? The Michaux Endurance Series just posted their race dates for 2010 along with the costs... $60 bucks for a 40 mile race? Even PAValleys isn't charging that much (Rattling 50 is $54 for early registration... and $60 up to 1 week before the race AND you get 10 miles more than Michaux in that cost. ) But that too is salty. One of the things I liked about racing the River Town Race Series in the Danville/Lewisburg area, is the low cost. And when I complimented the race organizer about how nice his entry fees were, he said that was one of their goals -- to keep the races afforable so anyone could race - he even gets kids to his races. All the proceeds at Rivertown go back into the community. So the costs are lower AND the community gets it back. Possibly Michaux and other high-priced races could talk to the Rivertown organizer and see how he does it? I guess I'm turning into a tight wad - I'm turning into my hubby! Hmmm... let's see, what can I sell to pay for races?

First Ride of the Year

Central Pennsylvania's winters are typically warm, snowless, and riding can go on all winter many years. Yesterday was just like a typical PA January winter day. It was 40 (maybe 32-36 in the woods), the little snow we had melted, and it was a generally a nice day for the first ride of the season. Hubby wanted to cut some more trees on trails and I wanted to ride. So off to the woods we went, chainsaw, bikes, and gear in tow. I got dropped at the snowmobile parking lot in Weiser State forest. It ain't a ride unless you get a good 1/2 hour climb in. (Funny, it used to take me about 20 minutes to climb it. Wonder what happened? ) Once I hit the top of the mountain, I got in a groove and just rode. It was SO nice to be out in the woods. It was peaceful, calm, not a soul in site, and it helped calm the nerves and de-stress. Even my blood pressure dropped as a result. I ended up playing for 2:37 and burning 1,895 calories. And the ride helped me make a couple decisions - I came home and signed up for the Rattling 50. The trails are awesome, it's close to home, and by signing up, it'll force me to get my ass on the bike rather than in the garden all the time. Just last week I said I wasn't going to do anything 'cause I wasn't sure if I could commit the time to train with all the work in the backyard AND getting out kayaking with hubby. But I managed 3 years ago, so why can't I now? I can... I was just looking for excuses to whine. I'll just cut back on planting too many green beans. So no more whining and the training has offically started. I'm hoping to do Big Bear, maybe the 8-hours of the Farm (not sure on that one yet with Big Bear just two weeks earlier), Rattling 50, Cap City, the BASH, and Ironcross. But we'll see how the season goes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cap City is Sept 25!

You can't imagine the disappointment when I heard that Sheena discovered the Cap City Adventure Challenge was going to be the same day as the BASH this year. She was bumming too because she was going to miss both the BASH and the Adventure Challenge to spend a weekend with her dad and grandpa (although that's a worthwhile miss). Well... there is a god. The Cap City Challenge date just came out via e-mail and its the week AFTER the BASH - September 25. I'm hoping the girlies I raced with last year will want to do it again. We had SOOO much fun last year and finished 2nd in the process. And Donna - when we train, can we practice screaming cuss words on river front?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Expanding Muscial Horizons

My musical tastes haven't varied much through the years since the good ole days of KISS, Nazareth, Ozzy, and Alice Cooper. I simply just wasn't much into music unless it was loud, thumpy, screamy and obscene. But one genre caught my attention of late -- bluegrass! Holy hell that's some fun music. Thanks to Whitegrass and the Purple Fiddle a couple weeks ago, the Whiskey Rebellion started a new musical horizon. Rick always gets a kick out of Chip at Whitegrass singing bluegrass. Today, I get an e-mail for the PA Asso for Sustainable Agriculture about their upcoming conference and the band that's playing, Hoots and Hellmouth. Listen to them here... they are awesome! Fun, energetic, lively and their songs of their current album have deep meaning -- radical localism. They spread the gospel on eating local and keeping our roots close to home. I'm not one for collecting CDs, but this one just got ordered. Very fun band. Can't wait to stomp and slap.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Second Trip to Whitegrass

Two weekends in a row of a 9+ hour round trip drive HAS to be something worth driving to. Yup... it is. Whitegrass once again delivered exceptional snow and cross country skiing this past weekend - even with temps well above freezing and hovering in the 40s. The Weisers and Larry Camp must feel the same way 'cause they too made the 2nd weekend in a row trip. I was leary the snow would be crap, but hubby assured me it'll be fine and it was. Although it was a bit slow at spots, everything was still well-covered (2 feet yet in most areas except in these pics at Bald knob which is wind blown most of the time) and no ice. Whitegrass was grooming like crazy people and had all the trails wide enough for the skate skiiers and we saw more of them than normal. We met the Weisers in West Virginia and spent the majority of the day making the trek to Bald Knob - twice 'cause the first time was too foggy for a view. The 2nd time we ran into Al Greene from YBR. It was a YBR meeting in West Virginia! I must admit, the temps were much more tolerable than single digits! No frozen fingertips or camelbak hoses. It was nice to relax in a shelter (eating Panda licorice) and not freezing our tushies. And to think two posts ago I was saying how Mr. Brown wanted to keep the activities within a two hour drive. Ha -- I'm eating those words! It was another stellar weekend - maybe the last for skiing based on weather forecasts of a warming trend. Could spring be arriving early already? Quick, get me my bike!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adoring Whitegrass

The annual trek to Whitegrass in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, was memorable in many ways to say the least. Here are all the pictures. First were the conditions which were the best we've ever seen with light, fluffy powder everywhere - one of the perfect ingredients for off-trail, backcountry skiing. There was about 27 inches on the ground and it snowed about 6 more overnight Friday night. The temps were single digits on Friday which is the 2nd ingredient to make the conditions stellar for skiing. And the best part, the company kept -- there's nothing like enjoying something you love with good friends and Donna and Brett were the partners in crime for the weekend. It was Donna's birthday weekend; one she'll remember. But it's not just us -- it's the group of other like-minded individuals that also love Whitegrass and the area. Larry Camp and his son Oliver were there, Keith Wickard (and another gentleman I didn't catch his name), Tomi McMillar, and we heard Jenn and Judd Kulas may have made an appearance on Sunday. Its the mountain bike crowd on sticks! Sue Haywood, a professional mountain biker works at Whitegrass, and I'll just bet the other groupies that were there are fellow mountain bikers. And of course, the area itself -- totally down-to-earth and not subjected to the modern commercialization of many tourist traps. We stayed at the Fiddler's Roost in Thomas which is like Whitegrass atmosphere and appearance-wise, without skiing attached to it. Shabby-chic is the best way to describe it all. Recycle, reuse, recondition anything and everything - why buy new when you can make do? Certainly a trait we should all practice more than we do. And then the food. Whitegrass is also known for the cafe food and they didn't let us down for dinner on Saturday evening. Luscious. The entire weekend was incredible. Rick is still talking about it and making notes for the next time. Renting different skis is top of the list for the next trip. He really wants to try telemarking. Donna would likely enjoy it too with her downhill experience. Brett liked the idea a guy had of walking to the top with snowshoes, then snowboard down. Groomed trail is for woosies -- we wanna get into the woods and truly off trail. There's nothing like it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 2010 Year - What to Do?

Ricky and me are creatures of habit and not much is changing for the new year for us other than we plan to keep it closer to home this year to save a little more money for retirement in a year or three (haven’t firmed up any dates now that the economy fagged out on us this past year and dropped interest rates to none-existent). We had a nice discussion on biking and kayaking events/destinations we plan to go to in 2010. Rick felt pretty strongly about keeping it within an hour or two of home (and two is pushing the limit) because of the cost to go further and me moaning and groaning about gas/oil consumption. So the main events for the year will be all Lehigh River releases since the Lehigh is just over an hour from our home, biking events within 1.5 hours which will include Michaux stuff, RCST Marathon (if I can get in shape for it), and a couple other things yet to be decided if I can budget it in (yes, I'm on a race budget big time. that's what happens when you want to quit working in a year or two). But beyond that? Probably just Big Bear in West Virginia. Rick will go to that one, but more than likely Big Bear will be the ONLY long-distance we’ll drive all summer (besides our Whitegrass trip in a couple days). A couple weeks ago he talked about wanting to go to the Ohiopyle again, but I believe he’s having second thoughts on that too. Hey Ricky… since Big Bear is near Ohiopyle, maybe we should kill two birds with one stone and take vacation that week and do it all?!? Someone commented to Rick one time, “if you have it all in your backyard, why travel anywhere?” They have a point. We have the Rattling Creek trails and the Lehigh River… what more could we ask for other than maybe some friends to enjoy it all with?!