While our summer of perpetual Saturdays is now, sadly, over, the Fall has brought a multitude of smiles (yeah, I know, it's not Fall yet, but tomorrow's high is 54 degrees, so I proclaim that it's now Fall).
A not-so-quick rundown of recent events:
1) I LOVE my new 29er!
Chris and I had looked at this bike a year or so ago at Salvagetti in Denver when they started sponsoring our team. It wasn't a good time to buy it, but I wanted to try a single speed, and they happened to have it in my size.
A few months ago, our teammate Nicolette bought that exact bike and my jealous bones flared. Lately, with fall and winter quickly approaching (and a potential duo 12 hour in the works) Chris and I ramped up our search for a MarniSingleSpeed. We searched for the better part of a weekend and didn't find anything in stock, in my size. Then we heard about a killer sale at Salvagetti happening -- with all '08 mountain bikes on sale. Including the single speed I'd originally looked at. Chris called down, they had another one in my size, and we ended up in downtown Denver, during the DNC, picking up my new bike (and getting it minutes before some other guy planned to purchase it).
So... Rhonda the 29er single speed joined our stable last week. We took it for a spin around Marshal Mesa and it felt like I was flying. The 29er rode as smooth as butter even as a rigid bike. Chris was amazed at how fast I could cruise down trails that would usually slow me down. Last night we rode it around Green Mountain, and the single speed pretty much kicked my butt. I walked... a lot. But coming down in the 29er was suuuuuuper sweet. And I got a lot of funny comments from shocked guys seeing little me ride a rigid 29er single speed. That's always fun. In all, I need a lot more work and conditioning to pull of the single speed. But I enjoy it. The bike overall makes me feel like a little kid again. I can't help but smile riding it.
2) My true racing season is now over. It started back in April with the Cherry Creek Time Trials and continued with the Winter Park cross country series which ended last weekend. Last year I did pretty well in Beginner, so I earned myself an upgrade to Sport this year.
I truly did not believe I belonged in Sport.
I hadn't trained as I'd planned, and the Sport girls are generally pretty fast. After the first race, I'm pretty sure I cried to Chris about how I didn't belong in Sport. He got me through it though, taught me how actually *riding* could help me, and told me I belonged there. Each race felt more natural, I quickly got into better shape, and I learned more racing tactics from Chris during our post-race-rundown-drives-home.
Last Saturday, I actually won my class in the King of the Rockies race. I gunned from the start for the girl who got 2nd place last race, and then I held her off for the following 26 miles to beat her for the win. The race itself was really fun. In the end, I took off more than 10 minutes off my time from last year -- and last year I got to do the short course since I was in beginner. This year, there was a last killer, never ending climb and technical descent. (I've had lots of questions about whether or not I rode my new speeeeedy bike for this race -- I didn't. I would've died on a single speed. No doubt in my mind.)
I not only won my race, but also got 2nd overall for the series in my class. Earning me an upgrade next year to Expert.
I already feel a bit inadequate, but Chris assures me I will survive.
He is the greatest husband (and impromptu coach) anyone could ever ask for. Somehow he's believed in me through everything we've tried over the past 7.5 years, and now he has finally convinced me to believe in myself.
3) Waaaaaay back in the day -- 2001, the summer after Chris and I first met, he took me rock climbing at the amphitheater in Boulder. Just the little hike to the rock alone almost killed me, then climbing was very scary. I was too nervous to even try to belay Chris. I think I climbed up once, then repelled down and went home.
Since our Longs Peak trip got sicked out over the Labor Day weekend (I got sick immediately following King of the Rockies on Saturday and remained that way for a few days), we took it easy on our Monday off and instead decided to give rock climbing a try. We practiced in the garage, then went back up to Boulder to the amphitheater. This time, the hike up took 10 minutes and hardly any hard breaths. Chris set us up and we climbed again. I was still scared -- yelling out "do you reeeeeally have me?" every five seconds. This time I belayed Chris and it was really fun and surprisingly easy. I climbed again and we soon got tired and headed back home. The only incident on the day was a slip on the path walking back causing a gigantic lump and bruise on my arm. Fortunately though, I survived the climbing part just fine, and look forward to going again soon.
4) My students are pretty good. I think, as they get settled and used to the whole school thing, I will have an awesome class. They are unbelievably cute, and a never ending source of good stories. My best quote lately? "My grandma's belly is really big because she drinks so much beer. I don't know why she drinks beer, orange juice is better. I thought she was having a baby, but it's just the beer." And this was just walking out to recess.
Even though Fall is just now beginning, I already feel it is going to be a great season.