Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dog Grooming 101

Who needs a high dollar groomer?

Start with this:

Use the $25 clippers from Target to remove this from the neck, chest, belly and back legs:

You end up with this:

Not a drastic summer cut, but since he's outside as much as in I wanted to remove the belly hair and the long hair on the back legs. I hope this will help through the summer and also help keep him cool during morning walk/runs.

On a totally different note, how many water bottles do you really need?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alls well that ends well.

The TMBRA 2009 State Championship Series is now in the record books. The last race was at X-Bar Ranch in west Texas. This was also the last TMBRA race to be held at the ranch. We have been traveling to race at the ranch since 2000; but apparently not enough racers have been willing to make the trek or face the rocky terrain.
(photo by pappatop68)

Low racer turn-out has taken it's toll and the promoters have thrown in the towel.

Those that know me, know that I am not a fan of the rocky trail. My friends are always amazed when I line up at X-Bar. Truthfully, I forget every year how much that course beats me up. I pre-ride the course on Saturday and think to myself "that wasn't so bad", but after 2 laps on race day I swear that I will never do that again!

This year I was keeping that promise to myself, with one exception. If Tanya (who was ahead of me in the overalls) did not show, and if I started and finished 3rd or better (which means there could only be 3 on the line) I would move up one place in the overalls and finish 2nd.

The AJ & I drove down on Friday and we arrived at the ranch early enough to get a lap in. I would be riding by myself as The AJ was still recovering from his surgery. I changed, got on the bike and had a nice ride around the ranch. Even though I was thinking to myself "it's not that bad", I still was not going to race if Tanya was there.

The area was hit with rain storms overnight and ranch received it's fair share of rain. I was glad that I had been able to ride the day before as that was looking to be the only riding I would be getting for the weekend.

Racers were rolling in, but no one was attempting the course. Finally a few brave souls went out, but they were soon to return as the course was just too muddy to ride. We started hearing rumors that the course was to be shortened to cut out the low areas and the worst of the mud. Finally the course was set and ready for riding by 5:00. Since we had not seen Tanya, I decided I needed to ride the course and I rode with Jen (who had never ridden at the ranch before). During the ride I had the epiphany that even if Tanya was there I still needed to ride the race, because if for some reason she DNFd and I still finished 3rd or better I could still move up on her in the overalls... DANG IT! Looks like I needed to line up whether I wanted to or not.

Sunday morning brought good news... no rain overnight, so the course would be in better condition than it was on Saturday. We got to the ranch and had better news, the start order had been changed. Where the original start had all of the Cat1 and Cat2 racers on the course at the same time, which with the reduced lap distance would have made for a royal mess, the officials split up the starts and that was a good thing! Bad news - not long after we got there Tanya drove in... DANG IT!

Long story shortened:
I rode some rocks

(photo by pappatop68)

others I walked

(photo by WTBikeGuy)

Tanya finished even though she had a mechanical. Good for her, she raced better than I did and deserved to finish 2nd in the overalls. I was happy with my third.

In closing, scenes from the road




I stopped by Walgreen's to get the AJ some allergy medicine. The lady in front of me at the register was buying a couple of packs of cigarettes.

I really didn't think much of it.

Then I noticed that she was wearing scrubs - you know the type of clothing that people in the medical industry wear. Then she turned so I could see the embroidered logo of an oncologist office - you know the doctors that treat cancer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Has anyone seen...


The last month or so I've lost all desire to really get out there and train. Riding is OK, but I just can't seem to push myself to train. Maybe it's just because we're at the end of race season and the Ouachita has come and gone. Usually at the end of the season I'm down on myself for what I think to be my pitiful race performance and the guys do a good job of tolerating me during this. At least I'm not beating myself up for being a sub-par racer, like I normally do this time of year.

On a brighter note... AJ and I are considering one of two, if not both, races in early June.

One is the Bump & Grind in Alabama, which is on the national circuit this year. The course is a 17 mile loop (our race is 2 loops or 34ish mile) of some really sweet single-track trails, with about 2.5 miles of climbing up the backside of Oak Mountain on a fire road in the middle. Our first trip out was two years ago. I didn't race that year and the guy's racing was cut short by Kyle taking an unfortunate sudden stop on the course that ended up with a not-so-free trip to the hospital. Last year was Kyle's revenge year, and he and I made the trip (Alan was in Tahoe with TNT). I lined up for the race (no age breaks for Expert Women), but after 1 lap I decided I was done. If we make a return trip I'm seriously considering racing with the Sport Cat 2 men which only do 1 lap.

The other race is in Louisiana on a trail we've never ridden before. LOCOfest seems to be a low key, let's get together and race type event that was recommended by a friend. Since this race is closer to home and would give AJ an extra week to heal/train, it's looking to be the one we're going to hit.

A definite on the list is the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championship in July. This is the event I need to try to get in shape for. I have 9 weeks to prepare for the race. I have never ridden, let alone raced, in the mountains or at altitude.

So, if anyone sees my motivation please send it back. I really, really miss it and need to have it back - soon.

Who knows, I may even give a reward for it's return.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Well, the hubby is sick and we're watching the mostest awesome award winning Sci-Fi movie
I think most of the money went into the alien costumes.

Seems like a good time to reflect and remember last weekend's race at the Double Lake Recreation area in bustling Coldspring, Texas. Actually - between the road race on Saturday and the mountain bike race on Sunday, the town's population was probably doubled over the weekend.

It was typical Houston area hot & humid on Saturday. After the pre-ride was done and the race clinic completed it was time for the boys to play. Kyle challenged Alan for the sacred title of King of the Track Stand. Only one problem - since Alan was recovering from some minor day surgery, he didn't bring a mountain bike and the road bike and his helmet were back in our room. The appropriate pressure was applied and Alan commandeered the next best thing... mine.
Two hands, no problems. One hand and the competition started falling like flys. No hands, well that's a little different. First Kyle, then Shaun and the man on the too small bike wearing a white & pink helmet was the last man balancing.

After all the bike play was done, we got cleaned up and met with the in-laws (who just happen to live in Coldspring) for dinner and a visit.

Sunday morning rolls around early and awfully dark. It wasn't that we were up before the sun, it was the dark ominous looking clouds that were overhead. We grab some breakfast and head into the park, about time we get everything unloaded and under the canopy the rain starts coming down. Not a hard, pounding rain - but rain on race morning. The Cat 2 racers are milling around, not really wanting to warm up in the rain and hoping that it stops before they have to stop. Lucky for them, it does. We watch the starts and then it's time start getting ready.

Some races are finished earlier than planned

Towards the end of the Cat 2 race and not long before it's time to start our warm up the rains come again. Once again, racers are milling around instead of riding. This round of rain doesn't last very long and once again there's nothing falling from the sky when it's time to get staged for the start.
Last row off, the youngest and the oldest (of which I'm the oldest of the old).

Jurgen gives us the countdown then Start! and off we go. We're together to the first turn but I'm at the back. Since I'm at the end of my season and "participating" more than racing, I'm not surprised. The course is pretty sandy, so the rain didn't make the course that bad. At least until getting to the slickery slippery sections. It was even more fun when the back wheel would slide around and it felt like you were riding sideways.

Keeping up a steady pace, I closed in on and passed a couple of the 60+ men. Going into the 3rd (last) lap I was getting encouragement from the feed zone (pic here)that there was another racer in front of me. Thinking it was one of the 30-39 women I wasn't too worried. Not long into the lap I came up on another rider and surprise, it was Steffi from my class. Uh, how about that? She said she was feeling bad, so I went on around and picked up the pace... just in case.

Final result: Not last and in the money (again!)
plus the last race winnings
I'm rich!

But, then again the bike needs a new chain.

In other news, our attic is no longer quite the fire hazard. We're getting more insulation installed, so everything needed to come out of the attic. Since we are now empty-nesters (or at least for about 9 months of the year), we made use of the local nephews and hired them to do the work.
The "it's not going back up there" pile just kept growing.

Hmmm, seems that pictures need to be resized. That will have to happen later. Fixed.