Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Coming Back

Valley of the Sun was not the best experience. When I got back the Monday after traveling, I found out I had bronchitis, which I had expected given my lack of lung capacity & incessant cough. Anyway, I was stubborn enough to go down there & met some great teammates in the Phoenix area. We stayed with Jacqui & Jeff Lockwood who have the best bike spread ever! 29 bikes in their garage, massage tables & foam rollers inside, great food all the time - it was awesome.

While we were there, the weather was not great & Jacqui kept apologizing for the weather & calling the race Valley of the Cloud. On Saturday, it was drizzling & chilly for the 20K TT (perfect for bronchitis). I managed to have a decent first 20 min of my TT, but then my lungs caught up with me. The next day I did not fare so well in 60 mile RR. It was pretty miserable. I was coughing on the bike & loosing my mind from fatigue since I was not sleeping at night due to incessant coughing. I finished the race, but they missed me in the results. I really did not care & did not start the stage the next day. I did get an earlier flight back to Seattle. Southwest airlines decided they did not like my new bike, so they broke the fork while in transit. I've been waiting for my new fork to come in to replace it & fix so I can ride the BLUE sponsor bike again.

Back in Seattle, I got some antibiotics from a Dr. & started on the healing process. I was able to ride both days last week & get away with doing some 12 min sub-threshold intervals yesterday. I have to remind myself to take it easy, but I really want to follow my plan to get back on track for Redlands. I am planning on doing the Ice Breaker TT this weekend. Hopefully, that will be a good test.

Last weekend, Erica visited from SF. It was so nice to spend time with her! She brought some sample paper for ideas of invitations she is going to make for Josh & I for the wedding. We went dress shopping on Saturday with Liz & Josh's mom, Sue. They were a terrific crowd to take dress shopping. I was a little uncomfortable at first, but we got the ball rolling & ripped through so many dresses in 1 hour narrowing it down as we went. By the end, I had my dress.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cough, Cough, Hack, Hack

I'm leaving for Phoenix tomorrow. ITB is feeling much better after following good advice from R miller to spend quality time with foam roller & alternate heat & ice to loosen things up. I have turned a corner & starting to get over my sickness, but still coughing. Probably not a great idea to travel & race, but it's all set up, I feel I must. Here I go.

New Bike, New Bling

The team bike for Team Kenda Tire - Blue NX7 with SRAM force, Thomson Masterpiece seatpost & stem, Zipp 404 wheels & Terry Saddle. :) Only 2 rides so far & already this is my little pocket rocket. And yes, I will get the steerer tube cleaned up.

Custom made white gold ring with diamond & fire diamond accents by Lezlie Jane in Seattle, WA. Already, I had to go 4.5 days without it to get it resized & my little finger felt naked. But we're good to go now. Ain't she purrr-ty?


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Biker Down

This past week, I have been injured & sick - not a good combination for me, but I know I'll get through it. At least, I've had wedding planning & spending time with Josh before he left to go to Boston for work (he left this AM) to keep my mind off of it. But being sick just kind of wrecks everything. You run out of energy so quick & when you think you're doing better & try to push it, you get knocked right down again. Sometimes I can "train through it", but not this time.

Luckily, after 3 days of straight taking it easy & lots of soup, water, tea, and emergen-C, I think I am starting to turn the corner. Now, if I can take it easy for another 48 hours, I should be golden...right before I leave for Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix.

I've had plenty of time to get the TT bike set up & my new Blue bike (but I still need to have the right seat post overnighted to me - oops). It's better than freaking out the night before while trying to pack & not having things set up the way I want. It's just that after I've mounted a cradle for my power tap on the TT bike, then I have to go lie down for 20 minutes before I can do anything else. Oh man...doing a stage race in 4 days should be interesting - at least it's early in the season - just a little warm up race, right?

The good thing about being sick is that it forced me to lighten up on the training which has allowed my ITB to loosen up. It got pretty tight at training camp from having saddle adjusted a little off. Totally my fault for not checking the measurements exactly. mom helped Josh & I find a location for our wedding. We are all set at CenterPlace in the Spokane Valley on September 28th. It's kind of fun checking out caterers & cakes & florists - I've been doing it online and over the phone, but it's still fun. I am kind of dreading going dress shopping. It just kind of seems like a big deal for a dress. My mom & dad are bringing my Grandma Helen's wedding dress over in a couple weeks. I really want it to fit. Then I would not have to go dress shopping! :) More importantly, it has a lot of sentimental value. It was worn by Grandma & my Aunt Suzie. I was the flower girl in Aunt Suzie's wedding, so I think it would just be a cool thing to wear the dress.

It just dawned on me a few days ago that Sept. 28th will be the 18th anniversary of my Grandpa Tom's death. Since he cannot be there in living person, I hope our wedding will be a way of honoring him. It's really hard to think that it has been so long since the night he left to coach another man on flight search & rescue & he did not come home. I guess some wounds never heal. At least, I know we will both be very thankful to be surrounded by our family & friends on that day.

Anyway - whew - all this typing has really taken it out of me...nap time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Latest

Finally, time to post again. :) After some heavy weeks of training & work & getting ready for training camp, there was very little time the past few weeks to post - but had to make time now, since I have big news to share: Josh & I are engaged! Yah!

I left for San Diego on Saturday, Jan 26th, 2008 for the Team Kenda Tire team camp. We stayed in an awesome house with mission style decor & garden area with an extra guest house on the property. It was a great week of riding. The first day, we met up with Deanna, a former Kenda Tire rider from DC who is now living in San Diego with her husband & 2 young sons. She is so incredibly warm & friendly. She showed us an awesome route through Rancho Santa Fe, the 2nd richest 'hood in the world. After that ride, some of us went longer up the 101 HWY to Oceanside. I somehow got separated from the group at what I thought was a bathroom stop & had to find my own way home, which took a little longer than I had expected.

On Monday, we packed the bikes & drove about an hour inland to a small town to climb Palomar Mtn (about 7% for 15 miles or so). I thought I was having a crappy day on the bike since I couldn't hang onto the wheels of "non-climbers." Turns out my brakes were rubbing the whole way up - not good! Anyway, we ran into un-passable snow at 5000ft & had to descent through freezing rain. A few of us were very near hypothermia & we had to stop & warm up a few times while coming down the Mtn. Eventually, we called the team director, Paul, back at the vans to come & round us up - it wasn't worth it with all the riding we had yet to do the rest of the week.

Tuesday was an awesome 85 mile ride inland through lots of rolling hills. On our way back into town though we had some people not so happy with our presence & had lots of buzzes & a red bull flung at us. Paul followed us most of the day in the mini-van, but we all forgot to put extra bottles in, so it was a rehydrate fest when we got home. Paul treated us to Sushi this night. A few of us were brave enough to try "monkey balls" (tempera mushrooms stuffed with shrimp & salmon with rice noodles on them), but were surprised when they came to the table with wispy noodles waving in the wind - they move!

Wednesday was supposed to be an "easy" day, but it ended up being a group ride for 40 miles over rolling terrain. No one was prepared for the 3 hour ride time, so we were famished when we got home. This is the day we discovered Pannikan coffee house. Amazing coffee and baked goods. I devoured my blue berry banana nut muffin.

Thursday was another climbing day. A few of us drove out to Ramona, CA & climbed 22 miles Julian, which also had snow at 4200 ft. The climbing this day was more gradual most of the time with shorter steep sections, but we had a great tail wind going up the mountain. It was raining, hailing & sleeting on us as we climbed. Paul had extra clothes in the van behind us, so when it came time to come down, we had some warm dry stuff to put on for the way down. I had an awesome day climbing this day - redeemed myself from Monday. I got frigging cold on the way down & opted to climb in the van. By this time, many of the girls were starting to get sick & I didn't want to take any chances by getting too cold.

Friday was a total easy day. 1 hour 12 mph avg ride & a 3 hour nap - nice. Great afternoon for a little walk on the beach.

Saturday was a CRAZY group ride with the Swami's team. There were over 100 people screaming through town on arterials & backroads, flying up hills & screaming down twisty descents..It was like being in a men's race- except no rolling enclosure. Most of the other girls were not too keen on this group ride, but I figured it was safer up front & less risk of getting nipped by a passing car in the middle - so I had a blast mixing it up. I was 1 or 2 women in the whole group to make it into the lead pack at the end of the ride. Such a killer ride! I was on a total high when I got home...and tired. I took a shower & laid down for a nap.

After slipping into a deep sleep & starting to dream - I had been having vivid dreams all week - someone poked me on the arm. I flipped off my eye-mask & removed the pillow that I sleep with over my head to see...Josh standing over me. I couldn't believe it & thought I was still dreaming. I jumped up & gave him a big hug & asked him what he was doing there. He said he had missed me & came to see me & would I like to go for a walk on the beach? I couldn't figure out how he knew where we were staying & how he found it. He finally let me know that he had contacted Paul from the team & he referred him to Kristen, the team captain, who secretly helped him find me & the perfect time to come by.

We went down to the beach on a gorgeous sunny day & walked for awhile. Finally, Josh handed me a pretty ring - designed for my "active" life - & proposed. sweet. I said yes.

Josh had a hotel & dinner reservations already booked in La Jolla, so we went home & packed up. On the way back to the house I called my parents in a total daze to fill them in. They were exuberant. :)

La Jolla was wonderful. Josh's mom & cousin had helped him pick out clothes, shoes & jewelry for him to take with him for me to wear to dinner. Oh man - I couldn't believe everything that went into this proposal. He did a great job of sweeping me off my feet.
In La Jolla, we had a little snack on some rocks over looking the beach & then a nap at the hotel before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was fantastic with yummy wine & desert & COFFEE. After dinner at George's, we changed clothes & walked around town in pouring rain (CA was having crazy stormy wet weather) going into art galleries & being cute together.

Sunday we both flew home. It was so nice to be home after an amazing & fulfilling week of training & the whole proposal thing. :) Sky was freaked out when we got home. She was sooo happy to see us that she could not decide if she wanted to be inside or outside or in or out the back or front door & she meowed incessantly. That is either her way of punishing us or showing excitement. She also did her typical Sky maneuvers of drooling while being pet & sitting with her left paw raised up like a little Sky statue while drooling.