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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Adios, Blooby...


Back in October 2006, Chris bought me my very first "new to me" mountain bike.  We had searched and searched for a WSD Fuel and found one at Veloswap that seemed perfect.  Going from a hand-me-down Cannondale from my brother to my very own girl bike was awesome.  I learned to really "ride" on that bike.  I bashed into stuff, dropped it on the ground, and slowly learned to let go of the brakes on downhills.  I raced my first cross country races, my first downhill race, rode the Kokopelli unsupported in three days, and rode the White Rim for the first time in 1.5 days (which was, in the end, its farewell ride).  The bike rode countless times in Colorado, Utah, and Missouri.  It really was a great bike.  However, over time, I came to realize that it was slightly too small.  I also came to realize that it was slightly too heavy.  When introduced to the world of 29ers, I also realized that its wheels were just too small.  

After posting it up for sale this winter, then again this spring, Blooby was finally sold to a new owner a few weeks ago.  By the time it was sold, it hardly looked like my bike anymore, with its long stem, skinny handlebars, aero-bunny, and blue SLR stripped off.  I didn't meet its new owner, and I'm glad I don't know what the new rider looks like.  I know, I know, it's a bike.  But still.  It was MY bike.  

As a good replacement, Chris had been looking at several different 29er hardtail options. Today we went to pick up a "surprise" and look what I got!! 

Oooh lah lah!!!!

I had no idea he had ordered me a frame (or even narrowed down the options), so it was an awesome surprise.  Chris, knowing me quite well, added to the excitement and fun of getting a new bike by eliminating the necessity of me actually choosing which bike to get.  I hate decisions.  I especially hate BIG decisions.  

I absolutely love the frame he chose... a VooDoo Aizan in Silver.  Our friend Jeny has one in gold and she seems to love it!  

Currently, Chris is stripping the headset out of my first Cannondale, my new Reba from the singlespeed, the brakes from the Monocog, my handlebars from my Fuel pile, the derailleur from Chris's old Fuel, the SLR from my road bike, and an old seatpost from something so old we can't remember :) (oh yeah, it will also be borrowing wheels from the singlespeed and getting a "new" wheel made from the parts from Chris's JabberWocky blown wheel and parts from a Monocog wheel!)  It has some good love in its parts, which to me, makes it even better.  Eventually some of these parts will be upgraded, but I like knowing it is a bit of a Frankenstein. 

Can't wait to take Frankendoo out on its maiden voyage!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I suck at blogging lately.

School is just far too crazy and stressful to get anything else done when I'm home.


Even fun things.

In the meantime, here is an interesting contrast between last Saturday and this past Saturday.

Saturday night in Utah:
Saturday night in Alton, Illinois:
From Saturday to Saturday we spent the week in five different states, including working here in Colorado for three of the seven days.  We drove nearly 2500 miles.  

No wonder I am sleepy and cranky.

One day my White Rim write-up will get finished...

(EDIT:  okay, I'm not crazy, my new White Rim post posted after this one for some reason...)

Friday, May 15, 2009

White Rim in a Day

(So, I just posted that "one day" I'd finish my White Rim report.  Turns out, if you leave me alone with the computer, hungry, smelling brats soaking in beer waiting for the hubby to return, I can actually get a lot done!)

I officially survived (and enjoyed!) my first White Rim in a Day.

While Chris has ridden the White Rim around a dozen times in the last few years, as a couple the White Rim has been a bit of an illusive and tricky place.  

The White Rim has found us stranded on a snowy cliff, swerving around a giant tan cow at 70 mph, and pedaling around in a day and a half with knee pain that was out of this world.  When Chris suggested that we try it in a day this month, our first planned trip was thwarted by high winds and rain.  Last weekend we finally made it there.  Safely.  With nice weather.

On Saturday, Chris, Brett, Erik, Jeremy, and I headed out in the wee morning hours for my first white rim in a day attempt.  It was also Jeremy's first time, as well as Brett's first time on a single speed.  
As we shivered in the morning cold, Chris and I decided to head out a few minutes early while the other guys finished getting ready.  We cruised down the dirt road, enjoying riding this road in the morning instead of at the end of the loop as we did last time.  

The sunrise was beautiful, as it always is in the desert.
Yes, the knee-warmer/tall wool sock combo is a super sexy one.  Desert mornings are cold, and that's all I had, okay?  Lay off.  

After making our way down the (far too long) dirt road, we hit the pavement for another solid section of easy, but monotonous, riding.  With the wind at our backs and the legs fresh and happy, this part was almost giggle-worthy.  I remembered, in 08, just churning down this "mostly downhill" road, crying to Chris every time it would pitch upwards.  
After turning off the pavement, we cruised down the Shaffer Road, enjoying the cool breeze and I, in particular, was really enjoying my new Reba!  At the bottom, we regrouped to shed more layers.

The many many miles between Shaffer and Murphy's seem to blur in my mind.  

These miles included me taking a nap in the parking area for Musselman's Arch (apparently while Chris did a kickass handstand on the arch):
a regroup at the lookout where I broke down crying last year -- this year feeling fresh and optimistic: and the icky hot hike up Murphy's Hogback: At the top of Murphy's, we found an itsy bit of shade to eat lunch beneath. 
It was freaking hot.  No, not just hot.  Hot hot.  

The rest of the miles that passed between lunch and dinner were mostly consumed with this thought:  It's hot.  

At one point I even hallucinated that a bunch of white rocks were the river.  I got really excited. Then realized I was wrong.  They were just rocks.  Here's where the iPod came in handy.  Chris was lucky enough to get second-hand iPod from me rockin' out-loud.  Good thing the boys were ahead of us at this point -- we do make a good duet, but we prefer to stay undiscovered.

Did I mention that it was hot?  

At one point we stopped and Jeremy pulled out his little thermometer.  The "low 80s" forecast had reached 90 degrees.  With no shade, and dwindling water supplies.


I didn't freak out though.  I must pat myself on the back for that one.

Hiking up Hardscrabble (yes, referred to in my '08 post as "not-fun-or-easy-scrabble"), was as un-fun as I remember it being.  As Erik, Chris, and Brett zoomed up the hill, Jeremy and I soaked up every inch of shade that we could find.  

I knew that Hardscrabble to the end was not too far, and the rolling top was not as painful and irritating as it was last time.  Some encouragement and pushing from Erik was helpful in keeping me moving forward.  I stopped at some point and asked some campers for a water refill.  Jeremy had been out for many miles and was, undoubtedly, not feeling great because of it.  At first I resisted asking, but then I realized that torturing myself further was simply stupid. I was down to a half of a bottle and knew I'd need more to make it up the final climb.  The campers looked like they were having a great time and were happy to spare a bit of water.

Eventually we got back down to the river and made it to our Canyonlands sign.  I'm pretty sure I was much perkier at this sign last year... granted last year this sign was a few short miles into our second day and this year it was 96ish miles into our day.
At the climb up out of the canyon to the car, Chris and I parted ways.  He had suffered in a HUGE gear the whole way with my slow butt, and it was his time to blast the climb and leave me to suffer through on my own.  I watched him start to climb, intended to get a picture of him, and then I didn't even see him again.  He must've flown.

I, on the other hand, pedaled in my easiest gear (which, granted, was no granny) now and then, and walked the majority.  My front wheel had a really annoying squeal, so I drown it out with my iPod.  As I rocked out in my own little world, I looked around and admired the sunset and my new accomplishment.  

Doing the White Rim in a day is a hard challenge, no matter who you are.  Sure, Chris can hammer it out in less than 8 hours, while it took me something like 14, but either way, you've got to pedal yourself in and out of a pretty remote feeling canyon.

When I got to the top, the boys were waiting, Chris was juice and dinner in hand.   

Before I knew it, I was contentedly passed out in the tent.

My favorite picture of the entire trip?

Thanks for the trip boys.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Say hello to my little friend...


Wait, something's not right on THIS singlespeed...
Are those gears?
That's right, Rhonda is temporarily a 1 x 9.

Somehow I thought doing my first "White Rim In A Day" would be foolish on a rigid single speed.

I do want to stay married afterall. Chris is patient, but 100 miles of bitching may have pushed him over the edge... thus, he showed up with my new little friend Reba last night as a surprise.

Will I make it?

Oh, let's hope so.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Lookout Mountain Hill Climb

Yesterday was the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb.

Lots of people rag on this race because it's relatively expensive for a 4.5 mile race. I, however, like the race atmosphere and it's worth the $30 to me to not have to deal with cars going up and down the road when I'm trying to set my fastest time.

The forecast called for rain and snow showers.

I went to bed fully expecting to wake up to pouring rain, which would certainly have me crawling back into my nice warm bed.

When I got up at 6:15 am, I was surprised to see that, while it was cloudy, it wasn't raining and it certainly wasn't snowing. I rallied Chris out of bed and before I knew it we were in Golden registering for the race.

Girls went off at 8:40, Chris got to wait until 10:15. It was nice to warm up and have my own personal crew there taking care of my every need, including stashing a bag of warm gear in a car heading to the top. As I sat on the trainer, I thought about all of the times I've ridden up Lookout...

The first time took me around 45 minutes and I thought I was going to die. I froze on the way down.

The second time took me around 40 minutes and I thought I was going to die. I froze, again, on the way down.

The third time was in the race last year. I was gunning for the 30 minute mark, but I missed it and came in at 31:31. I froze on the way down.

The fourth time I rode it wasn't timed, but was part of a big day of riding from our house down to Golden, up Lookout, and back. I think I was actually warm that time.

The fifth time was last week when I met Chris after work for a quick spin up. I made it up in 31:50 and wasn't even breathing hard.

This year's race would be the sixth time up (at least that I remember).

I warmed up on the trainer, tapping into my new-found appreciation of a hard warmup, and then lined up with the cat 4 girls to start.

I started towards the back. I still feel like I'm not good enough to start toward the front of race packs. Perhaps one day.

The race was pretty routine. I hopped from wheel to wheel, drafting when possible, and passing girls left and right. I found one girl on a pink bike, going a pretty reasonable pace, so I settled in behind her and we cruised up the first 2/3rds of the hill.

When I rode with Chris last week, he pointed out that the big turn off parking area is around 10 minutes to the top for me. If I wanted to hit that sub-30 minute mark, I'd need to be at that point in the course around 20 minutes in. I had tried not to pay too much attention to my bike computer on the way up, since I really don't know a good pace for this route yet. However, when I hit the turn off I allowed myself to look down to see if I was near the 20 minute mark. I was fully prepared to see myself slightly over. I looked down and saw 17 minutes. I'm pretty sure a "Oh s**t" came out. I was pretty surprised to see myself going that fast.

Shortly after that part of the course I was getting major side splitting cramp things. You know, the ones you would get when you were a kid and you run too far too fast? Yeah, that didn't feel great. My legs felt good, I wasn't breathing too hard, but the side aches were really making me mad. My pace dropped a bit and I tried to follow a few different girls. Eventually I found myself in a spot between groups and I ended up riding the last sprint finish by myself.

As I crossed the line I looked down and saw the bike computer at 27 minutes.


I couldn't believe I had not only beat my 30 minute goal, but I had taken over FOUR MINUTES off my race time from last year. I hung around the top for a few minutes, putting on my many many layers of clothes for the 4.5 mile descent, and quickly bombed down to tell Chris the good news. (And no, I didn't freeze this time. The four tops, winter tights, and two pairs of gloves really helped)

I piled into Chris's big puffy belay jacket and took care of his pre-race needs, still surprised at myself. It was fun getting to watch the boys take off, Chris looking like he was shot out of a rocket immediately. He and Shawn both had good races, not far off their own best times.

The great part about a 8:30 am race in town? By noon we were home, relaxing, and settling in for a nap. After the nap we went and ate A LOT in Boulder and hung out at the bookstore while it rained.

It was a great day.