Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh my Oh-Nine!

As this year plows to an end, it is hard not to look back on the last few months and feel like it was a bad year. However, as I look back on all of the pictures and stories of 2009's trips, adventures, purchases, and laughs, it is clear that 2009 was 10.5/12ths absolutely wonderful!

The last few years I have set some goals for the year and then looked back at the end to see if I followed through. Always entertaining to look back on, so here it goes:

Looking forward to 2009? Well, I'm sure it'll hold many surprises just like this year. The word "surprises" is an understatement. I hope to continue to build my climbing skills, as I've really enjoyed climbing both inside and outside this winter. At this point, it's still a Just For Fun hobby with an added bonus of a bit of cross-training for bike season. With no major climbing goals in mind, I simply hope to continue to enjoy it -- safely. I would say we achieved this. We climbed a lot in the Flatirons and Eldo. We even set up a "first ascent" in La Veta (Mind Over Bat Poo). I'm sure Chris and I will continue to work toward our 14ers goals together, hopefully including some multi-mountain-multi-day trips in this summer. Almost every 14er trip this year involved overnight camping partway up the mountain. Time and lack of responsibilities allowed this and it was a blast. We never fit in the super multi-peak challenge we hoped for, but we did get Belford and Oxford done in one day. I will climb Longs Peak this year, perhaps by the traditional Keyhole route, perhaps by a different one. Yeah different one! Go me! Either way, I will do it... even though it scares me. Quite the experience and glad I met this goal! Chris and I have our sights set on a tour of the Colorado Trail this summer -- probably by bikes, but we'll have to see. This was the plan, but honestly, I wussed out. I'm not sure what our summer will look like, with Chris planning more big adventures, and me taking at least one masters class, but somehow we'll fit at least a few fun things in when we can. We did fit in many fun things and I ended up pounding out three masters classes this year. My biking goals for '09? Pretty similar to last year. I'd like to crush the 30 minute mark at Cherry Creek, in addition to trying to make the top 10 at one of the races. The 30 minute mark will be easy, top 10 probably not so easy. But I'll try. I beat the 30 minute mark. It was magical. Top ten, not so much. I want to survive Expert at Winter Park and if I can get top 3 on any race, I'll be super excited. I didn't do many of the Winter Park races this year. The desire and drive wasn't there. Sad. I've kicked around the idea of the Leadville 100. I need to decide soon, as applications need to be in ASAP. It's so expensive though, and hard to commit that much money to 8 months out when I'm trying to get pregnant, but maybe. I feel like I can do it with some good training, and I'd like to do it, so who knows. Well, our group didn't get in and now they are being greedy and jacking up the price even more, so we're priced out of this race for quite a while. Maybe one day. Or maybe one day we'll just ride the course on our own and enjoy the ride for free! That could be fun...

And so we have it. I met some of my big goals, wussed out on one, and surpassed my wildest expectations in a lot of ways. Not too bad.

Tomorrow I will post a wrap-up with pics. Tonight blogger does not want to upload any.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Pleskos!

If you haven't already answered my poll on facebook, answer it here so I can beat Chris in a bet!

When you sing "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," how do you finish this part: "he'll go down in history (like ________)!" Apparently there are two answers, total news to me! I'm firmly in one camp and Chris is firmly in the other. Help me win.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Look

I was getting tired of my blog's look, so it got a quick makeover. Hopefully the colors aren't too painful to read.

In other news, I am officially on Christmas break and couldn't be happier about it. I have a great group of kids, but I think we all needed a little break from each other. I know that two weeks without tattling or crying because "she won't be my friennnnnd" is going to be wonderful. I am going to try to make the most of this break and do my best to relax. This weekend is being used to catch up on much needed sleep and hopefully next week I will get caught up on some much needed ride time. I also plan to eat A LOT. That's what the holidays are for!

I am also happy to be done with grad school for the semester. Taking two classes was hard, but I made it through and I'm glad I am two classes closer to being finished. One of the bigger laughs of the semester came when I wrote my 11 page final paper on one computer, only to try to post it online a few days later. When I went to post it up, I realized that only half of the paper had saved. I had a huge breakdown only to rally myself a few minutes later. I made a goal to try to type the remaining six pages of the paper in one hour. I put my mind to it, finished it, and submitted it knowing that it was total crap. The first paper was good. This was crap. A few days ago I logged back on to see if it had been graded only to find a comment from the professor saying that it was the best paper submitted! Ha! I love my ability to crank out some quality BS! I am signed up for two more classes in the Spring, which will be no easy task, but I'll be happy to get done with this masters sometime in the next year or year and a half. I'm over homework and looking forward to being able to read for fun again!

I am really excited for Christmas this year. Whether it is having a tree, listening to Christmas tunes on XM on the way home from work, or just being excited for 2009 to end and bring on a better year, I'll take it. Chris already got his big Christmas present from Santa and he's off using it this weekend. I'm sure pictures will turn up on his blog as soon as he gets back!

Hopefully in a few days I will get some year-in-review blogs up, because I love having a good excuse to relive all of the fun adventures of the past year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Giving it a good shot

I don't put a lot of stock into what my fortune cookies tell me...

unless they say what I want them to!

Then I keep them and put them on display.

The next day, hubby mixed up the goodies...

While Pup watched with great interest...

And I, and my butt, got nervous...

But all went well.

Today we got the job done at the dr's office and now we wait.

I predict my fingers will eventually freeze into the crossed position.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Tomorrow is thanksgiving, which means the usual explosion of "what I'm thankful for" blogs.

Since I could use a little reminder of all that is truly good in life rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I'm going to give in and make one too.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for...

the most amazing husband in the whole world. He just gets me. Right now he's making me dinner and we are both singing at the top of our lungs. I'm sure it doesn't sound good, but I love that we can do it. How many people can you do that in front of?

a great family and a nephew #2 to be born any day now! My family and Chris's family are all amazing people and great supporters.

amazing friends. I don't know what I'd do without them. Besides meeting Chris, they are the best thing that came from college! They make everything okay. It is hard to leave an evening with them without your cheeks and abs hurting from the laughter.

Turbo! Having grown up without pets, I never knew you could get so attached to a dog. He is the greatest dog in the whole world.

my health. So my body doesn't cooperate how I'd like it to, but I'm grateful things aren't worse.

Chris's health. Again, things aren't working as he'd like either, but things could be worse.

my warm house and a perfectly good car. A lot of my students' families are deciding between heat and food this season, and on snowy days there are always a few absent because their cars won't start (despite the fact that they live a block from school, but don't get me started on that one...).

a job and an amazing class. I am still in shock that I only have twenty students this year. This time last year I had 28. 20 is perfect. They are an amazing group and I am thankful for each one of them. They deal with so much crap and they are still about as sweet as humanly possible. If you ever need a barrage of hugs, come to my class. That and they'll most likely sneeze on you -- but we're working on that.

flannel sheets, warm blankets, slippers, synchilla pants, and my new Sheila Moon hoody from Mr. Nice. I like comfy things. A lot.

delicious food and delicious wine. I mentioned hubby is making me dinner. It smells GOOOOOOD (as I typed that, he simultaneously asked me if I was writing that I am thankful for the food he's making, because "it looks gooooood" -- haha, yes I was hubby!).

Amazon Video on Demand. When Chris got hurt, we started watching all episodes of The Office that were available on online Netflix. Season 6 is in progress so is obviously not available on Netflix and NBC deletes the new episodes after a few weeks (and we are far too spotty of TV watchers to see it when it's actually on). We went into The Office withdrawl. We were sad. Then last night I discovered Amazon Video on Demand. The $2.00 an episode is well-worth the happiness of being able to catch up on the new season. We were giddy and dancing with excitement when we discovered it. Yes, we're giant nerds.

grad school. I know, it's not fun, but I guess I should be thankful for it, right? One day it will make me more money, afterall. More money = more comfy things.

Okay, I think that's all I can come up with at the moment. I hope everyone out in bloggerland has a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Spy...

Today the weather and lack of imminent homework lead me to a wonderful SS ride outside for a few hours.

The best part? On my ride I found an endangered species!

This is the most unusual species, pretty common around these parts not too long ago, but unseen lately. It is known to fly south in the summer and rumors have it that it is flying north in the winter. It primarily resides in Colorado, although its roots can be traced back to the midwest and even back to New York. It is also suuuuuuper cute!

It is complete with gray claws...

...a blue butt...

...a blue and white head...

...and speedy paws.

It even follows the path of the whale!

I'm happy it is back!

But shhhhhh, don't tell the doctors :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back in the SSaddle again

Today I rode my single speed again after many many months.
Hubby took many many hours yesterday to put it back together for me (some parts, including the wheels, are shared with my Frankendoo bike which was my primary summer ride). So many hours in fact, that he managed to forget to eat all day. I got home yesterday to a spiffed up, shiny bike ready for me to ride. Unfortunately it was also snowing really hard at the moment, so I had to wait until today to try it out.

I've ridden the trainer ONCE in the last six weeks.

And before that I'd ridden my bike ONCE since Chequamegon.



So today's ride was ultra painful but supremely fun.

After I got over the guilty feeling of being able to go ride outside while hubby is stuck to ride the trainer, I put on a lot of clothes and my new lobster gloves and headed out into the 35 degree weather. Today's destination: the good old dogpark loop by our house. The back area has been closed since June because of the plague (!) but now it is finally open again. I missed it.

We found my lobsters on super sale at Bicycle Village a few months ago. They are awesome. I can safely say, for one of the few times in my life, that my hands were hot. I'm in love.

The single speed was great. I only tried to shift a few times :)

I'm sure I'll get used to it again soon.

The best part about today's ride? For a few minutes there, I actually felt like everything is going to be alright. That's a good feeling.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving forward...

is easier said than done.

Well, we're officially at the "trying game" again. Doing what worked last time plus an added shot in the butt the other night = a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride.

One second I feel hopeful and positive, the next I am in tears. It's ridiculous and I have to blame the hormones. Otherwise I'd have to blame myself and that's not nearly as much fun.

We did make the best of the shot-giving though. Chris had to learn to mix up the drugs, assemble the needle, and then shoot me up. It was pretty hilarious trying to figure it all out, complete with a target on my butt and everything. This time we took pictures. If we have to do it again next month, there will most certainly be video. It's that funny. I've never seen Chris so nervous! Luckily for me, I hardly felt a thing -- until the next few days of course, when I feel as if I've grown an extra sore cheek to sit on.

Yes, too much information.

I know.

But that's my life right now.

And I'm okay with that.

In other news, I managed to force myself onto the trainer the other night for a half hour. I've had six weeks off the bike completely, despite the beautiful fall weather and a serious need to burn off some pent up emotion. Between work, two grad classes, a gimpy husband, and hundreds of other things on my to-do list, I've hardly had time to even think about the bike. Plus, it's hard to motivate yourself to exercise and stay healthy when you know that no matter what you do, your body won't cooperate to do the one thing it should be able to do. All of those factors combined equals a few dusty bikes around the house. I know I need to ride though. I know I need to get back to my normal routine. It will help SO much. So I'm working my way back into it. A ride on Monday and hopefully a few more easy spins as the week progresses and hopefully I'll be back to doing what I enjoy and feeling slightly more normal. I am even getting excited to hopefully start up my bike/bus commuting again next week.

Chris is excited to do his first short trainer session tonight after breaking his ankle. I'm excited for him to be able to get back to his own routine and building up some of those lost muscles in the process. He's doing great hobbling around on one crutch after Monday's appointment. He's putting weight on the foot in the boot and I can tell he is starting to feel a little more like himself. He joined me on our Kinder field trip to the zoo yesterday and he did an awesome job hobbling after me and three of my students all morning.

We were both so tired last night that we ate dinner, sat down to watch TV, and were both fast asleep on the couch within an hour. Around 7:30 we decided to move up to bed. Pretty pathetic for a couple who is used to climbing 14ers on the weekend and riding bikes almost every week night.

Oh how things change.

We'll get back though. We're both moving forward toward getting out from what is holding each of us down. We are both hiking up snowy slopes, taking two steps forward and then sliding back another before willing ourselves to move on and do it again.

Thank you hubby, for joining me on our slippery journey, wherever it happens to take us. And thanks to whoever actually reads this blog for putting up with my whine fests while we get through this crappy time. I can't wait to start having more fun adventures to blog about again!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Since I can't stand to have bad news constantly taking up my blog space (as I recover from my first lovely bought of strep... that ruined my fall break...).

I bring you...

A dog with a buffalo on his head!


A very Plesko Picnic!

(yes, our bed now serves as a bed, a table, a couch, and the perfect spot for catching up on all episodes of The Office in instant-Netflix)


The inventor of the snowball!

(discovered when one cute dog took his ball into the snow, rolled it around, then pranced proudly as he showed off his new invention)


The token "awwwwwwww" shot!

This weekend is supposed to be beautiful. I hope to be healthy and reunite with my pretty pretty singlespeed. I have not touched my bike in almost 6 weeks. That's not good. Not good at all.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Roller coaster

I'm usually not an "oh, poor me" kind of person, but seriously, enough is enough.

There are two ways to look at every situation and I am trying my hardest to look on the bright side.

My new typical response for "how are things?" is: Life has been better but it could be a lot worse.

I'm grateful for what I have. I may have lost something a few Mondays ago, but this last Monday I nearly lost the person that means more to me than anything in the whole world.

I have been thankful every second since that I didn't.

Heal up my sweet love...

"No matter the size of the mountain you and me will be side by side, ain't life and love one big roller coaster ride..."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

High highs and low lows

So, I have to preface this blog by saying it will be sappy, emotional, and probably far more personal than any of you care to read.

But I have to write it.

As I find myself trying to pull out of a very dark hole, Chris encouraged me to write a blog about it. Writing seems to be a way for me to put my thoughts down and release the burden of holding on to them and... you know what?... that can't be a bad thing.

I've eluded to our fertility struggles on the blog before, but to make a long story short: we've been trying to get pregnant for a little over two and a half years. We've gone through plenty of stuff -- none too interesting or new to most people. This past month was a little more intense, requiring daily blood draws that made me end up feeling like some sort of weird human pin cushion most of the time. In the end though, it all seemed worth it when Chris and I saw a VERY faint positive on the pregnancy test last week. We both were cautiously optimistic as I headed off for yet another blood draw and then a whole day of waiting for the results. As I checked my email at the REI Starbucks between a school conference and grad class, I got the news we've waited so long to hear. Not only was I pregnant, but my numbers were labeled as "excellent". While I've always hoped to give Chris the good news in some creative fashion, I found myself mis-dialing our home phone number on the cell phone (and then mumbling something unintelligible to Chris once I finally got it right) outside the Denver REI store. Not so creative, but exciting nonetheless.

Everything was great. I immediately found myself worried that somehow this wonderful news would turn bad -- but that's my personality. Somehow along the road of my life, I found it "easier" to temper excitement with a little pessimism. That way I can't get too disappointed in the end. However, after a celebratory Starbucks date in the morning with Chris, I was driving to work and saw a church sign that said "worry is the thief of joy". It seemed oddly appropriate and I decided right then and there to not let worry ruin all the fun of the news that we had waited so long for. For the next few days, both of us were about as happy as two people can get. I, at least, felt like I was walking on a cloud. Suddenly 2.5 years of worry and pressure lifted and everything seemed worth any struggles we had gone through.

It's amazing how quickly everything can come crashing down.

After another blood draw and waiting for the news that everything was on track and good, Chris met me at work (rather than meeting me at the climbing gym as planned) with some terrible news. My "numbers" had plummeted and we lost the baby.

Now, as I have come to realize in the last few days, this is very common. In fact, everyone you talk to has either been through it or knows someone that's been through it -- and we know several people that have been through even worse.

Somehow, though, that doesn't make it any easier.

I have never felt so incredibly empty and horrible.

Instead of calling our family with good news, we had to call with "well, we had good news, BUT..."

That's not fun.

That night the horrible cramps and bleeding started.

That's also not fun.

At all.

There's nothing like that lovely physical pain to constantly remind you of what's going on.

It was a horrible night for both me and Chris. A night I get nauseous at just thinking about. I can now officially pinpoint THE worst day of my life.

As the days have gone on, things have started to look up. I can make it through the day without any major meltdowns. We even got out to the climbing gym last night to burn off a little frustration and pent up energy. The overwhelming feeling of trying to make it through the day isn't quite as bad.

I feel like I've been pretty strong through the whole fertility process. I've tried to see the good aspects -- for example, it completely challenges me in a way that nothing ever has. I can do everything right and still fail... but through that I've learned a lot about myself, a lot about Chris, and a lot about us as a couple. I appreciate those lessons.

While this is one lesson I could have, and wish I would have, lived without, I am starting to accept that things will get better. I still wonder if letting go of the worry allowed me to have at least a few days of total bliss, or if a little worrying could have ultimately tempered the shock and sadness. I think, though, that it was better to feel those few days of unexplainable joy than never to have felt it at all (I always thought that saying was cheesy and stupid, but now I get it). I can't believe the enormous support that our friends and family have shown us... and I can't imagine anyone going through this without it. I have the greatest husband in the whole world -- one who can put aside his own grief to focus on making sure I am okay in my darkest moments... I only hope I can do the same.

We are both still, undeniably crushed over what this week has handed us. Food doesn't quite taste as good, the sunrise is a little less pretty, and rather than walking on a cloud I feel like I am dragging an elephant around.

But we'll make it through this.

And one day soon, I hope to make a more happy blog...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This weekend Brett, Scott, Chris and I went to Wisconsin for the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40.

The fun was nearly never-ending.

We left Denver on Wednesday night after work, packed into Brett's new E.

We drove WAY further into the night than planned because of some sort of interesting farm convention happening in Nebraska, causing all of the hotels to be booked up. Once we finally got settled into a dive of a hotel in Seward, we slept for a few hours before getting out of there as quickly as possible in the morning.
(The apples Scott brought us from his parents' apple trees in Iowa were by far the best I've ever had)

In the early evening we made it to Eau Claire, Wisconsin where we met up with one of Brett's friends and got to cruise around on some awesome single track. The riding in Wisconsin looked to be just my kind of riding -- no hills, no rocks, just smooth swoopy funness. I hoped this is what the course would be like on Saturday. Unfortunately we were racing the setting sun and the vicious peloton of mosquitos so we didn't get very many pictures of the ride.

We had some good burgers in Eau Claire, stayed in a decent hotel, and got back on the road for a few hours on Friday. Soon we found ourselves in Hayward, Wisconsin -- our home for the next whoppin' day and a half. We were treated to standing in the world's largest Muskee (yes, I'm sure there's a big market for those, making the competition stiff).

After many too many minutes of trying to find somewhere out in the woods, we settled into the cottage on the lake and headed back to the car to drive to race registration a half hour away.

I forgot the camera, but registration was quite the sight. Chris has me used to these underground races where "registration" consists of a few beers and a two-minute prerace meeting. Cheq's race registration had 2800 people piled into some sort of hotel or ski lodge -- one line for getting your race packet, one for getting your ankle bracelet, one for your shwag bag, and one for testing your ankle bracelet. I have to hand it to the race organization though -- the registration was streamlined and quick moving. Everyone seemed really nice and happy to be there. After I went through the first line behind Scott, the lady at the table made the comment "Wow! There's two of you from Colorado in a row! What are the odds?" Ha, I had to laugh at that one. Shocking!

Brett, being the race veteran, was grilled by me and Scott throughout the night. We wanted to know EVERYTHING about the course. Scott and I had never ridden in Wisconsin (other than our hour jaunt in Eau Claire the day before) and we were both quite concerned that we might die. Chris, also having never ridden in Wisconsin, was cool as a cucumber. Getting over a nasty sickness and feeling pretty terrible, but cool as a cucumber.

We spent the evening scraping off the hoards of dead bugs from the front of our bikes, eating a tasty meal cooked by the chef of the house, and organizing race food and clothes for the next morning. There was a general air of stressfulness over where people would start, how early they should get their bikes to the start to get a good position, etc. Lucky for Chris and Brett, they had preferred start and didn't have to worry about getting there early to be in the front, and luckily for them, Scott and I didn't care AT ALL where we started in the group. That meant no one in our group had to get up at the butt crack of dawn to place bikes upside down in the middle of the main street.

The next morning found Chris up early making Brett, Scott, and I some pancakes and eggs. Worried about that northern Wisconsin weather, I was fully prepared to freeze at the start of the race. When I stepped outside to load my bag into the car, I was pleasantly surprised to find downright WARM weather! Who knew that existed up north in the fall (says the Colorado native)? We did our prerace activities, placing Scott and I's bikes in the middle/back of the quickly growing field of upside down bikes. We finalized clothes, food, water, and nervous chit chat about how a mountain bike course in Wisconsin could not possibly have 4,000 ft of climbing in it... even if it is 40 miles.

Before we knew it the race was about to start and Scott and I found our bikes. We chatted it up with the others around us -- most of them laughing when they heard we were from Colorado and actually concerned about the course. I guess being from Colorado means we're hardcore. Scott and I threw each other "haha, little do they know" glances and were soon off with the crowd. The sound of 2700 riders clipping into clipless pedals can never be replecated. I love that sound. The click, click, click, click sound is strangely comforting. The sound of 2700 wheels spinning down the road was like sitting in the middle of a vicious pack of swarming bees. Despite the start being the part I was most worried about (I know our group can stay on a line for 3 miles on a road, but you can't control the things 2696 other people will do). Turns out the start was pretty tame. No screaming crashes like I was warned about. There were stops and starts along the way, but overall it was fine.

Since 40 miles is a long way, and frankly would make from a long, fairly boring race report, here are a few memories, insights, and observations about the course:

1) The rolling grassy hills of the Berky were painful. I'm not used to miles and miles of rolling hills. I felt totally and completely retarded trying to ride them. I was constantly in the wrong gear. I do have to say that I quickly learned the benefits of not touching your brakes on the downhills. Why give up all that precious free speed?

2) Despite my previous statement, I learned in this race that I can climb. Really. Amazing actually how this suddenly came to me. I would climb past people walking up the hills ALL THE TIME. It was almost funny. On the one *big* climb of the course, I rode over half of it while strings of people hiked up the side. I rode everything else. And I wasn't even out of breath. At all.

3) Connecting to number two (I'm all about transitions today), breathing at sea level is significantly easier. People would be huffing and puffing and I was able to carry on complete (although often one-sided) conversations with those around me. I'm not sure my breathing ever reached beyond a pretty normal level. My legs, on the other hand, were hurting pretty good almost immediately! Strange.

4) Even though I've never actually done it before, I was really good at taking the water hand up on the fly. Must be all that 24 Hours of Moab practice being on the other side of the hand up.

5) Chris, despite being sick, feeling generally crappy, and being largely untrained, still beat me by an hour and a half. Humbling.

6) I only beat Scott by 8 minutes. Neither of us knew the other was that close. Otherwise it would've been a lot of fun to ride together.

7) Thank goodness fellow cyclo-blogger Vito warned me of the last 8 miles. "Relentless hills" is an understatement. It wasn't just hills, it was rollers. And we all know I hate the rollers.

8) Fighting a cold for the first 3 weeks of school, then doing a hard 40 mile race, gives the cold a considerable edge. My head and sinuses felt absolutely horrible the night after the race and I ended up sleeping a full 12 hours, starting at 7:45 pm, through the drunken banter upstairs. the sleep helped a lot though and I felt a lot better the next day.

9) I'm glad I took time now and then to look around. The leaves were spectacular in Wisconsin and they were especially pretty on a few parts of the course. Back at the cabin I picked 20 big red leaves to bring home to my students. For once I can teach them about the colors of fall without them looking at me with skepticism as all they see in Denver is green, brown, and yellow.

I think that's it. We took Sunday and Monday to drive home and Tuesday was back to work. It was hard returning to the real-world after a blissful 5 1/2 days of friends, fun, eating, laughing, and riding.

Thanks to Brett for all of the driving. Chris and I got to hang in the back and relax the whole trip. I'm not sure that has ever happened and it was lovely.

(P.S I finished the race in a relatively slow 3 hours and 51 minutes... although this was as good as I could do given my current fitness, so I'm pleased. Next year it'd be fun to go back and gun for the 3-3.5 hour mark -- easily do-able with a little work. At least I'll show good improvement!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chequamegon or bust!

On Wednesday after work, Scott, Brett, Chris and I leave for Wisconsin for the Chequamegon 40.

Since I will most likely run out of time, motivation, and energy to make a pre-race post between now and Wednesday, here it is.

I'm ill prepared, under trained, and super excited.

I originally planned to make this the "focus" of my biking season, really training and preparing for it.

Unfortunately, work, grad school, and throwing a lot of mental energy into the fertility issues have managed to change those plans. (I know, excuses excuses -- but what good are excuses if you don't use them when you need them?)

I still think I'll do alright though, and here's why:

1) My bike is awesome. The squeaky ladybug should strike fear in those around me and they will simply move out of the way and let me past.
2) While the race is UP in Wisconsin, it is also WAY DOWN in Wisconsin. There will be so much oxygen in the air that I'm sure my body will sprout an extra lung. That can only help.
3) Our new team kits are sewn together with magical threads and there is a hidden rocket in the back pocket.
4) It's 40 miles. Only 40 miles. That's nothing. That's what I tell myself at least.

So, in all, piece of cake.

No problem.

I can't wait!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am a...



Welcome to Pinky, my cute little Toshiba mini-notebook:
An investment in the next few years of grad school from my wonderful hubby.

I am a Mac person, always have and always will be (and going back to Windows is not easy).

But this is a pretty cool little computer.

And yes, as a mini "notebook" it is already lighter than my actual school notebook that houses gazillions of articles about language, literacy, and culture.

It's really cute too.

Thanks for the wonderful surprise hubby.

Doing homework just got a bit more fun!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dirty house

I clean when I'm stressed.

I think I get that trait from my mom, who would always break out the dusting and vacuuming when the Broncos would be blowing a game.

My house has been dirty.

Now that's a good sign in my house!

School has been going great. I have 17 well-behaved, sweet, and generally knowledgeable kids. I've certainly paid my dues with difficult kids in the last few years and it is a whole different world having a class without any major issues. I am starting to remember why I love teaching. (I'm really not just a fair-weather teacher, it just takes a lot of energy and tolerance that wears thin to have the challenging ones -- and yes it is often more rewarding to teach them than the 'easy' kids).

I finished the climbing part of my cute mountain bulletin board:

Now I just need some clouds. The kids love it and it looks really cute!

I am taking a full-time load of graduate classes this semester -- one online and one weekly class downtown. The classes so far have their ups and downs, and it is a lot of work. I'm getting through it though and I'm sure the semester will be over before I know it. I wouldn't call the classes stressful, just time consuming.

Even though work and class haven't been too bad so far, it sure was nice to have this three day weekend.

Friday night after work, Chris and I caravanned down to the Tabaguach/Shavano trailhead to park the Es and get a nice night's sleep before our big ride on Saturday. The views in the morning were spectacular!
E camping is the best kind of camping at the end of a long week.
Beautiful 14ers views!

Saturday, Brett, Chris, and I met Erik and Michelle at the Poncho Springs Visitor Center to organize our shuttle vehicles to go up to the top (the trail starts up at the top of Monarch Pass at 11,700 ft then climbs and drops back down to Poncho Springs about 34 miles later).

Our self-shuttle was a good idea until the keys for the finish car ended up in one of the start cars. Luckily bikers are nice and someone gave Chris and Brett a ride up the pass to get the cars.
Four bikes. Two 29ers. Two with front wheels on. Lots more room. Elements rock.
I was glad I had my camera!
Getting ready to roll.

The trail is a classic and I can see why. The rolling and varied terrain keeps the trail exciting. There is plenty of climbing for a shuttle route and since you are riding at 12,000 ft, the burning lungs add an interesting challenge. The down hills were great fun -- until we hit the sloppy mud and wet roots at least.
Our new team kits made a glowing debut. We got a lot of compliments on the trail.
All smiles today!
We spent much of our first few hours stopping to take pictures. Amazing views!
We spent a decent amount of time riding above tree line.
"Look fast!"
Chris, Brett, and Erik were speedy!
Chris might be getting his bike-smile back!!!!!!!!
The peanut-butter mud made things interesting!
Frankendoo takes a rest on the Rainbow Trail while I wait to the boys' pictures.
One of the best shots of the day.
The Rainbow trail had a lot of steep ups and more loose ickiness than the rest of the trail. Chris, as usual, rocked everything on his rigid single speed. People would watch him from the side of the trail with their jaws open as he made it up some of the steep climbs. I had a hard time walking them and he would give it one good grunt and be dancing up. He hasn't really ridden his bike in a while and it seems like he never put it down.
The end of the ride consists of a 35-40 mph coast down highway 285. Without a big ring on my bike I joined Chris in the "really spun out" category and we enjoyed the ride. I did wonder a few times if MTB tires are rated to go 35 mph for 10 minutes on hot pavement. They survived though!
What an absolutely spectacular ride. I felt good all day up until the last five miles or so on the trail. By that point I was getting pretty tired -- having been out on the trail for 6 hours so far. After the cruise down the highway we regrouped in the parking lot and there may have been some napping happening while Brett and Chris got the cars from the top.

To see the rest of the pictures from the wonderful ride, go here: http://picasaweb.google.com/marniplesko/MonarchCrestTrail?feat=directlink

The delightful weekend got cut a bit shorter than I would've preferred because I had to be back for a blood draw at 7 am Sunday morning. We all ended up driving home Saturday night instead of having one more night of camping.

On Sunday while Chris was climbing with Brett, I caught up on some homework and... yes ... cleaned the house. But thankfully not out of stress, just out of necessity.

It was a beautiful weekend.