Showing posts from 2011

post holidaze purge

Every year I go into a purge and organize mode, a day or two after the holiday is done. Where to put my cool new stuff? Or how to cram it into an "organized" space and remind me I have it? I have to much pack rat blood in me, on both sides. No matter how I try and deny it, mentally shouting "I'm a minimalist!", it's a lie. I own a ton of crap.
Before I tackled any placement of my awesome new books and my powder poof, I had to deal with the hideous state of the bike room.  I actually  attempt to work in this.
Loads of random parts, lights, lubes and empty packages consuming the work bench and bikes leaning precariously throughout the room. How does this happen, you ask? It's countless hours of laziness and an inability to pick up our shit. It's not easy. Two hours later... behold!
I can see the door that is my work bench and the beautiful stained carpet. Magical. Start off 2012 with  an ability to actually nurture my bicycles, that's pretty fanta…

Incapable blog.

I find it very challenging to set aside time to blog. When I do have time, it is the last thing on my mind.
Regardless of the New Year, I am going to try and get better at this. Not because I'm letting down all three of my followers who might read this, but to better my writing skills and just straight jibber jabber about crap.
Four months ago I was hired by the publications of Dirt Rag & Bicycle Times. One of the perks is having the opportunity to review/ test product, this comes with the catch of writing about the product. Sounds easy until I factored in that readers need to be able to understand my erratic way of thinking, talking and apparently writing. If only I was as eloquent as Hunter S.
I have also been suggested on more than one occasion to write a memoir of some of my younger years. I never thought much about my life being that interesting or that original. Either way, in 20 years I may not remember these tales of my youth.
I have a week off and it seems as a good t…

Biking for work.

Three work days in meetings and shenanigans.
The latter half of those days consisted of riding in one format or another. On Tues., a mountain bike adventure to North Park Dirt Rag style, which includes a few beers here and there. If you have read any of my other blog posts, I'm a proud single track beginner. I prefer stay toward the back of most rides. I like knowing no one is being held up at my leisure pace and periodical bike walking or run. To my relief, the trails were friendly, with bypasses on anything challenging.
I'm sure there are some newbies out there that agree with my irrational fears. Riding on a single track with a decent drop off two inches from the edge is one of them, steep drop ins, large logs/ trees and heavy rock forests. To name just a few. Maybe too many crashes in my younger more nimble days, I'm certain, I won't bounce back as quickly. Whatever the reason, I had one triumph on Tues. I made it through a double dip that was steeper than I would …

temper. temper.

I wag a mental finger at a friend today. Who has made the decision that he hates all cyclist. Well, this is a problem... I'm a cyclist... Are we friends? No, not super close friends. hmmm.. this makes me look at the source of this newly found information. Facebook.
Facebook is a place to spew nonsense about yourself, your family or what you love and hate. I know, I do it all the time. It's the drug of choice by millions.  We don't sit in bed and smoke anymore (well, referring to myself.) I sit and "check" my social networks. With my internet capable phone less than a foot away.
Did my husband just text me from downstairs? yup.
My friend is not a cyclist. I consistently spew tons of advocacy, cool gadgets and reviews, plus the occasional bash of the current town we live in, has no concept of the benefits to creating a bicycle infrastructure. Maybe my over love has pushed him from "not being into it (cycling)" to a "shit the fuck up about it" st…

To Kid or Not to Kid

I have a 9 yr. old daughter, a 4 yr. old son and a 16 yr old sister within my household. There was a time when I didn’t want children, being very open of how selfish I was and not willing to share my time, money and overall being responsible. Like, the “mine!” kid at the public park. Many cyclist I know want nothing to do with children, they instead have dogs and cats to love and nurture. Most of them are very well educated and great riders.  A combination to me, would equal smart mini cyclists. I often get eyes rolled at me when I can’t go to outings because my daughter has a music lesson, swim class or a sleepover that happens to be at the same time as the meet time for a ride. It’s true I do not ride as much as I use to, and have packed on a few unwanted pounds. It is an epic event when you compare grabbing your bag and going for a ride to prepping for yourself and 3 others.  A lot of times my own exhaustion takes over my motivation. When my day’s consist of : 1.Wake up, get dres…

Dim the Lights.

A long overdue wrap up of my Vegas trip.
The bicycle industry is full of people of all styles of life. Overall, 99% of them were amazing and good hearted. Full of niceties and understanding of me being a newb.  After working as many years as I have, forcing myself to smile and pretend that I believed in what I was doing... there is an overwhelming sense of relief, to know that I actual do believe in what I am doing. And shock that I'm getting paid to do it!
I look forward to seeing new found friends again, drink a beer and laugh at our own ridiculousness.
I must remember a wig next year...

One adventure of the week:

This is bat country!l

Flying to Vegas for Interbike. It's my first time attending and have nervous excitement boiling within me. I'm pretty sure it has minimal to do with the pharmaceutical cocktail I am currently prescribed. We take a puddle jumper from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. They request that we get on the now, so we can bypass a storm, this is said while flashes of lightning shine through large glass windows that show nothing more than a heard of metal birds expelling exhaust and chemicals into this thing we call air.
We make it through the black cloud and ascend to the billowy sky above.  Cleveland, never been and apparently will not have the chance today.
I get a taste of the camaraderie that envelopes this event, old friends meeting once again. Than board.
A plane is one of few places you can drool while you sleep and everyone seems to understand, it doesn't need to spoken of.
Pilot announcement: "we will be landing in 10 minutes... its a bit of a bumpy decent... we have a little w…

The Skirt Test

I occasionally ride in a skirt or dress. It is easy to just throw on a  pair of cycling shorts and hop on my bike. I never really paid attention to the response, focusing more on riding and having fun than drivers. With the current uproar on it being too distracting to drivers to cycle in a short skirt, I can't help but want to fully test this theory. On Sunday I cruised downtown in a summer dress to pick up the newspaper, I took a detour to add to the length of the ride, considering the nearest news stand is 3 blocks from my house. A few looks and 1 jaw drop, eh, not much of a response. I commuted yesterday in a blue skirt that is about an inch above my knee ( I can't bring myself to go shorter, slightly modest in that respect ). It's an 8 mile, 1 way commute. When you are in the saddle, there really is only a slight chance for drivers to notice the whole skirt thing. Typical ride there, cars going to fast, going out of their way to get as close as possible, the occasiona…

Tues. feels like Mon.

Started out our 4 day weekend with an hour drive, we had hope to ride our bikes to Ohiopyle it just didn't work out.  It was slightly unappealing with a 9 year old who just finished her last day of camp, a 4 year old with an inability to not fidget and a mom (me!) who was looking or any reason to not bike 50 miles that included a final approach that we would have had to push our bikes up with all the gear on a rocky terrain. I would have lost my patience and made the hubby push everything up the rocky hill, muttering profanities for the last leg. We reserved a "hike in" site. The approach was 20 feet up a rather steep hill, we chose one of the sites near the entry. Of course I made the kids hike up and down the hill with us and carry little things, put those kids to work!

Tent up, kids running rampant, camp chair out, campfire started, oh yeah.
Started off Sat. morning packing up the bikes and riding to a small town nearby, 22 mile round trip. Picnic, ice cream for the …

Its the 4th... almost.

I am fortunate enough to have Friday the 1st off, a last minute thank you from my employer.  So, I am spending the day prepping for a weekend of camping. This time we are off to Ohiopyle state park. We have done a decent amount of day hikes in a corner of this massive state forest. There are natural water slides, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, all the great amenities of a large state park.
Falling Water is literally right around the corner and we have yet to stop in, regardless of how many times we have said "we should stop in there one of these days." One day it will happen!
Too much stuff:
Tent, bed rolls, sleeping bags, clothes for 4 (and extra for lil' man), eating/ cooking utensils, camp stove, lantern, bikes, fishing gear, swimming gear, camp chairs, a few toys and us... if there is room in the van.
We have some food packed, but we are banking on the farmers market Sat. afternoon and m…


I managed to ride my bike to work and back a total of 3 times this week. Giving me 42 miles logged. Not too bad, considering I have not commuted on my bike consistently for (it's sad to say) quite a few years.
Along my journeys this week, I was reminded of all the uncreative names yelled at you when you ride in an area that thinks the roads were paved only for them. (Ahem. Know your history, paved roads were petitioned by cyclist) You get the typical one's: a-hole, jerk, fag (the most popular) wuss (you ride 8+ miles and see how much of a wuss it takes to ride a bike.) Today I got one that actually made me double take the young driver.... wait for it.... Geek! Oh yeah. That could have had something to do with my blindingly bright green, orange and yellow see me wear jersey or it could just be some sad attempt at an insult. Geek, definitely. That's not even slightly offensive.  Can I get a little creativity here?
After being pummeled with a bit of …

Sometimes I ride a Mountain Bike- You should too

Yesterday after work, I geared up with co-workers out to Strasburg to hit a few trails at Hartwood Acres. None of us had been there before and I being the least experienced rider was beyond a little nervous. We met up with some of the guys from Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times Magazine, unintentionally furthering my nerves of the experienced riders in comparison to myself. Oh well, I am going to have some fun and try and not worry about it!
 We ride a up a nice little hill, where I am already out of breath when we meet the top. Karl is leading the way and is doing an amazing job of describing what we are going to be riding and making sure we keep eyes on each other. Karl is a veteran of these trails and it just seems like this backyard when he describes it.
I am already white knuckling the handle bars of my borrowed bike. (and borrowed helmet, and water bottle, did I mention I was not prepared at all.) First step in, a few small rocks and sticks, the trail is a little more narrow than othe…


Day 2 4pm
On road home. It will be a 5 hr. drive minimum. Its a nice scenic drive home. Hope we come across a cafe soon, would love some good coffee and not gas station coffee.
Half way there and lil' yacks. Emergency, pull over comfort/ clean up super mom in action.
Back on the road. Note to self: No more slushies mixed with twisty roads.
Camping again in a few weeks!

Day 3

Day 3
Slept terribly. Sun burn, bad back (pain pills only do so much), and Odin kept invading D's space, so she was forced to invade mine. We have self inflating individual mattress. They are very nice, compact, and somewhat comfortable. (You can find them at REI.) They are built for one body only. Somehow Odin's head ended up on D's bed roll and his feet on his own, the rest on the ground. So i would attempt to pick him up and nicely toss him back on his bed. This happened 3 times.
I declared this morning to have a vote on going home this afternoon, in a half asleep, grumpy tone.
It's unanimous. We are going home today. The bugs are out in full effect. Mosquito's have eaten the tops of my feet. I need a shower and a gallon of aloe vera.
Steve and D caught fish this morning making it a better end to the trip. Packed up and pacing to go. Counting down the time to take a shower. You really appreciate how amazing showers and your own bed is after you camp. I am unbelievab…

Day 2- night

I had steak for dinner! It's been years. Yum.
Garlic, garlic, garlic. Take THAT bugs!
SPF 95  does not work as well as my pastey skin needs. I burnt the tops of my feet and my back. Good Gracious.
We started our own fire tonight. Odin is quite the fire wood collector.
After 4 trips up the hill to the "pot" toilet, lil' man will not step foot in it to poo, I don't blame him, there are some bugs in there. Instead he dropped trou in the woods and got it done. He than proceeded to say "I'm the man." He needs a new nickname, maybe grizzle. Will have to think on that.

Listening to fire, the sounds of the river, and a sky full of stars. D is determined to find some constellations.
FYI: definition of a pot toilet- its a port a john  building but nothing but a huge hole dug under it. Of course your mind races with "what the heck could be down there", after my third trip resisting the urge to look, I did it! I shined my head lamp down there, I thought I w…

Day 2

The rain has ceased for now, all hail the sun!
Breakfast burritos and then a quick run to the market for ice and live bait.
Attempted to try and find rain / muck boots for D and I. No luck. Oh well, we are tough girls. We can handle this mud business.
There is about 5 shops in the area. A Dollar General and a very small hardware / craft store seem to be the highlight. I love the lack of need for mass consumerism.
I am wearing a tank top and assume I will frighten the locals with all my tattoos. Instead, I get 3 compliments. Teach me to assume.
Uncle Bob brought his canoe to the pond and I thought, oh, that's nice. The kids get to fish off a boat.
What I did not realize I was required to get on the canoe as well. I am not afraid of water, nor am I afraid of boats or fish. I am afraid that the boat will tip and I will fall in, the hole in my ear filling with water and the danger behind that for me and my 33 year battle with my right ear. Odin has his "lifer-vest"…

Day 1- Nightfall

Day 1 night
We trek down in Bill's truck (Steve's Dad). Through mud and a small river patch that is higher than it should be, to a camp spot proclaimed Pot Springs. The possibility of more rain and not being able to cross back over sits in the back of my mind.
My shoes are saturated, within a few minutes my clean/dry socks already soaked through to my feet. There are a group of annual Memorial Day friends and family who all smile as we walk up. Odin won't go near the fire and D's shyness goes into full effect. She eventually decides to indulge in a smore. Lil' man goes for an apple, half asleep he sits in my lap and nibbles on his apple, occasionaly falling asleep between bites.
We head back down to camp and yes, we make it back with no problems.
Beer in our bellies and the kids asleep. Sigh of relief for a few minutes to ourselves.
I know, I must come to terms with a full bladder.
Bill had shown Steve where a hidden "Pot Toilet" is up the hi…

Camping weekend 2- Day 1

As we near our destination, Steve & I reflect on the previous weekend camping at a mountain bike festival, having running water, playground & surrounded by other campers, some we hope to never camp near again. I blurt a random statement, that sounded like an elderly lady, "I'm going to write about our adventures this summer on 'the blog' thing." Steve's response is a chuckle & "go for it."
We are headed to a private piece of land, that was once a boys camp in the 1950's. Its now an artist retreat for a few summer months a year & the owners have known Steve's family for a few generations and are nice enough to let his family continue to enjoy its beauty. We always pitch our tent close enough to the river to fish first thing in the morning & enjoy its soft flow at night (along with a frog and cricket lullaby).
I am a mildly experienced camper. I might be able to start a fire on my own, but there is no guarantee. …