Sunday, September 12, 2010


Once again it's an "Oh yeah - I have a blog" moment. It helps that it's football season again, so as Double A watches the game I'll do some typing and reviewing what's been happening in my oh so exciting life.

Earlier in the summer I commented that we had no big travel plans besides maybe Arkansas for a race. Well, we did go to Arkansas at the end of June for the 3 Legged Dawg race. The guys DNFd - Double A flatting in the 1st lap and The Klye just having one of those bad race days, both deciding that it just wasn't worth fighting the heat & humidity for a "just for fun race".

While I wasn't having the best time out there myself, I was in TSTS (Too Stoopid/Stubborn To Stop) mode and just couldn't find a good reason to stop. It didn't help that Double A dumped a shockingly refreshing bottle of ice cold water on my head when I came through the feed zone and told me to keep going. Maybe next year we'll remember how humid & miserable this race can be.

There was one upside to the Arkansas race, while we were there we watched some friends compete in an off-road triathlon. Well apparently the idea of doing an open water swim followed by riding/running off-road appealed to the boys and the next thing I knew they decided they wanted to do an off-road tri.

It didn't take long for them to find a local race and they had a little over a month to train for an event the includes a 400 meter swim and 5 kilometer run. Our pool is not designed for lap swimming and they were soon looking for a new place to swim. Luckily the pool at SMU is open during the summer and the boys started putting in laps there followed by a bike ride around White Rock Lake. A little bit a running around the neighborhood and they were ready.


I suggested practicing transitioning between each sport. One Sunday afternoon was spent with the boys doing a couple laps in the pool, running to the driveway to put on cycling shoes and helmets, jumping on the bike for a quick spin around the block, then returning to the driveway to take off the cycling gear and change into running shoes. A few repeats of this and they felt comfortable with going from swim to ride to run. The only thing left was to do the event itself.

August 15th rolled around on the calendar and with a 7am start, we were up oh so early and on our way to Loyd Park at Joe Pool Lake, the site of the event. The guys found their spots in the transition area and set up in the dark. Others we knew showed up and before long the sun was starting to rise and the guys got in the water to warm up for the swim. Check out the sexy swim caps - the different colors designate which wave the racers start in.

The sunrise was not much more than a colorful morning sky when Double A lined up with the first group to hit the water.

A few minutes later The Klye's wave was ready to go

Open water swim is a whole new game

and very physical as there is "kicking" and "punching" as every one tries to out swim each other.

Before too long the guys were out of the water

... and on the bikes

(Hmmm - do you think he can take her?)

Now is this is the part the guys should excel in. What placing they lost in the swim should easily be made up in the bike leg and this will also give them some time "to lose" in the run. While not a challenging mountain bike course - it was a mowed/flagged patch through the trees and fields - it was not without it's perils: thorns. When the guys rode the trail earlier The Klye pulled five thorns from one of his tires.

I really expected to see The Klye come out of the bike leg either ahead of or right on Double A's back wheel. Double A came in first and was off for his final leg

It wasn't too long before I saw The Klye coming in with a full head of steam, then he was off

Now I had a bit to sit and wait for the run to finish. 5k is a little over 3 miles, figuring the guys would run a 9 minute/mile at best I had 25 - 30 minutes for them to come in.

First in was Double A

and not far behind The Klye

Now before you go congratulating the old man for putting it to the punk kid... Double A's wave started 4 minutes before The Klye's, so the finish time difference was 1min7sec. Not quite a stomping. Oh yeah - The Klye also had a flat, which he stopped once to air up and then again to put in a new tube.

Final results had The Klye finishing 24th overall and 2nd in his age group. Double A finished 22nd overall and 2nd in his age group. As a bonus Double A also won the Overall Grand Masters Male (the guy that won his age group had the fastest overall time, so he won the Overall Male).

Next up - what I did on my summer trip...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Free Garmin?

Keeping my fingers crossed!

I started following the blog of DC Rainmaker when I was contemplating replacing my Polar computer/HRM for a Garmin. His product reviews are pretty darn in-depth and answered a lot of questions that I had.

Thanks to his reviews/comments I used my refunded deductible (thanks to the Arbitration Forum that decided the other guy was 100% responsible) to purchase the Garmin Edge 500.

Now that I have this new toy, I'm thinking that I want one for cough, cough running. Step 1 was looking at the Garmin site to see which model I might be interested in. Step 2 was to go back to DC Rainmaker's blog to see what he had to say. Lo and behold... he's holding a giveaway contest for a Garmin Forerunner 110 (which just so happens to be the one I'm considering).

Someone has to win... right?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm back!

Quick synopsis of the last couple months:

Bikes, Work & Sleep (more sleep please!)

We just finished up the 2010 TMBRA State Championship Series. While no one race was outstanding, my best race was at Double Lake in the Sam Houston National Forest. Unfortunately no new State Champions in the family this year, BUT I did earn this
2010 Spring Series
Consistency in the "old lady" class does have it's merits.

No big travel plans for the summer. Maybe going to the 3 Legged Dog race in Arkansas.

In other news, I took Shimano to the groomer for a real summer cut. He went from this

to this

which is better than what I did to him last year.

Well, that's about all for now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


needs to go here.

I know that and there are things that I want to put here.


I just haven't found the time or put forth the effort.

Busy/Lazy Syndrome?


this weekend.

Just don't hold me to it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sometimes you just have to run through the woods like a crazy person.

My next big adventure included a new twist... running!

A lot of people run for exercise. They run long distances and get a "runner's high" where they can keep going through the pain even to the point of hurting themselves. I can honestly say that I am not one of those people (although some may say that describes my cycling addiction). Two or three days a week I attempt to "run" a couple of miles in the mornings with the dog, but it is more of jog with a lot of walking. So far, I haven't been able to run non-stop for a mile.

So why, oh why, would I sign up for an event that includes running? Well, maybe it's because I've never been known to step away from a bad idea? (Within reason, that is.)

Last February year a friend of mine, Jen, did an off-road duathlon (run, ride, run) at Tyler State Park. It stayed in my mind as something a little different to do. As this February started to roll around I thought about doing the du with Jen. Since we still had been getting a lot of rain and the local trails have been closed, I was looking for a chance to hopefully ride a dry trail and maybe even see if I could run a little, ride my bike and then run a little more. Unlike the Super Six, I wasn't going to do this rain or shine, so I was keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. As the registration cut-off was getting closer Jen and I kept debating whether or not to sign up. We finally decided that the rain was going to hold off long enough and registered for the event.

So with a running resume of "maybe a mile" I signed up to run 2.5 miles off-road, ride my mountain bike 11 miles, and then run another 2.5 miles off-road. 1 out of 3 is good... right?

The race didn't start too early, but since Tyler is 100 miles away and Jen lives along the way I stayed the night at her place. Saturday morning under cloudy skies we drove to the park. The closer we got to Tyler, the lighter the sky was looking and there was even a hope of some real sunshine for our day.

We get to the park and not surprisingly I see several people that I know, including the event photographer Jere Arnold. We sign releases, get our numbers and then start getting ready. The air is a little cool and crisp so it is decision time as to what to wear. Long sleeves or short sleeves? Base layer? Leg warmers? Whatever I choose I would have to stay with throughout the event. I decided to start off a little chilled, knowing that the run would warm me up.

Knowing that running was not our strength, although Jen can run further that I can, we staged at the back of the group. No point in getting run over. The back of the pack was a good place to be as others took off at a run, while I was shuffling along using Alan's race strategy of "start slow, then taper off". Before long I was asking the sweep runner to please come around me. Concentrating on forward movement, I ran when I could and walked when I couldn't. Towards the end of the run section I was actually closing in on two other women (also passed by the sweep runner). Having a rabbit that I might actually be able to catch, I picked up the pace a bit and passed one lady and caught up to the other. We walked together for a bit, then I picked it up to impress everyone by running off the trail and to the transition area (69th finisher of the 1st run).

A change of shoes and donning of the helmet then it was time to get on the bike. My sweet, sweet bike. Riding trail is much more enjoyable than running and I was soon passing other riders. The majority of the trail was dry and I was relishing riding dry dirt and passing others. I finished the cycling portion (35th in the bike leg). It was a little disheartening to see people finishing their 2nd run, and the event, while I was just coming in on the bike - one of those being a 13 year old.

Once again, back to the transition area and time trade the bike shoes for running shoes. This time around there was a lot of walking and very little running. I'm sure you'll be surprised to find that I was re-passed by some other runners, I know I was surprised that I wasn't passed by almost everyone else that had not already finished. Although I was slower on the 2nd run, I finished that leg 59th... faster than 10 others, some that were just finishing their bike leg as I was finsihing the event - I know that feeling! My overall finish was 50th.

While the run was painful, I think this is something that I might just have to try again. There is another duathlon in November, don't know if I'm up for that one - we'll have to see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Super Six

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with Kyle late on a Friday afternoon and whining about another weekend of riding the mountain bike on the road. He was signed up to do the Dirty Dozen on a 4-person team the next day and I was jealous that he was going to ride dirt - even if it was going to be muddy. Being the person that he is I got "Come down and do the 6 hour!" as a response. We went back and forth with "I can't - not enough notice"; "Do it!"; "Dad will get mad if I get my bike dirty"; "Do it on the SS!"; I can't....; Yes, you can...

A little bit later I was talking to Alan and told him that Kyle was trying to talk me into coming down and doing the race. Expecting support in my decision to be a responsible adult, instead I heard "Why not - go ahead". o.O "Really?" "Really!" "I shouldn't." "If you didn't want to do it, you wouldn't of said anything, so go." With that final comment I finished up what I was working on, straightened my desk and bid the ladies at work a good weekend, then hauled butt home to load up and head back down to the ATX. When I got home I found Alan getting things together for me, so no question about him being OK with this.

With the late start I got the pleasure of sitting in rush hour traffic and adding an extra hour to the drive. It was a bit late when I got to the apartment, quite late by time we called it a night and ridiculously early when the alarm went off 4-1/2 hours later. Before the sun was up we had made it to the ranch, found Kyle's teammates and scored a sweet parking spot close to the transition area.

The race has a Le Mans start where all the racers have to run to their bikes. One of Kyle's teammates was holding my bike for me, which was nice. The only problem was that I didn't know where she was in the group of other holders. I finally found Kim and tried to jump on the bike and forgot that it's a 29er and didn't throw my leg up high enough. I finally got on the bike without falling over, barely, and just hoped that this wasn't an indication of how the day was going to be. I only had one other "oops - wrong bike" moment when I went to shift gears that the single-speed didn't have.

The first lap was pretty uneventful, just riding the course and getting the hang of a bike that didn't have gears. The trail condition wasn't too bad; water in the low spots and some sections that were definitely mushy. I went straight into the second lap getting comfortable with the bike and knowing what I could and could not ride and where I needed to save up some energy to get up and over. I was feeling pretty good and planning on a little break after finishing the lap. I was coming up on a little rooty down, less than a mile from the finish, when next thing I know I'm off the bike, going over the bars and then hitting the ground - hard. I catch my breath, do a quick assessment (good thing the ground was soft!) and get going again.

Time to take a little break, get some food, change out of my now muddy jersey, put on dry socks and head out on lap three. While some sections of the trail were developing some deep muddy sections that you had to keep your momentum up or you were going to get bogged down, other sections where actually drying out and looking quite nice. The third lap was pretty uneventful, when I got to me previous crash site I got off the bike to walk down and about that time another racer passed me and next thing I see is his feet in the air. OK, so walking that wasn't such a bad idea. I finish the lap and take another little break for food and fresh drink.

Back on the bike for lap four, the mud pits are getting deeper and longer and I'm starting to feel riding a bigger bike without gears. I'm getting a little tired and am riding a little more cautiously... which is not always a good thing. If you look at this picture of me you'll see a tree on the side of the trail. Well on the 4th lap, I hit a root or something because suddenly I'm traveling in a direction not of my choosing. I see the tree approaching my face quickly, I get my hand up to take the brunt of the impact (better than my face!) and then the bike and I tumble off to the side and land in a tangled heap. I guess it was dramatic enough looking of a crash that several people stopped to make sure I was OK. Once I find out that no one had a camera running I assure everyone that I'm alright and get free of my bike and back on the trail. I finish that lap (once again walking the 1st crash site... and seeing someone else crash there) and head for the pit.

I vacillate over whether or not to go out for another lap, finally I decide that going out will only lead to another crash and I call the race done after four laps. I finished 5th out of 7 solo women for the 6 hour race and I was 3rd of the three of us that did the event on single-speeds. If I had continued for a 5th lap I probably would of finished 4th overall and I may have been able to move into 3rd if I could have done a 6th lap... but shoulda, woulda, coulda - I didn't, so it doesn't matter. As Alan said - I can always redeem myself next year.

Assorted race pictures
Kyle's race report

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting closer...

Fast forward a week.

We made a road trip to the ATX with plans for some bike riding and to take Kyle out to dinner to celebrate his 21st birthday.

Oh, wait... let's back up a bit. While we were eating our post-TueNightCX/ST dinner with Amber and Mack, Amber mentioned that the Big D Stair Climb was coming up and since the guys have been doing stairs for training they should enter the event. Of course it soon turned into a I'll do it if you do it challenge. Within a few minutes both of the guys had agreed to do the event that next Saturday morning. (Prior to this Alan had done 50+ flights of stairs, but it was 16 flights up/down at a time. Neither of the guys had done a straight run of 52 flights or 1020 steps).

Come Saturday morning we were up early and head downtown to meet up with Mack and Amber and then it was on to the Fountain Place building. The guys registered, put on their numbers and timing chips, then lined up for their turn at the stairs. Not knowing how long this would take - Alan was shooting for a time in the 8 - 13 minute range - Amber and I found a place to people watch and wait for the guys to race up and then come back down.

After a bit the guys showed up and then we were off to breakfast. Official times would not be posted until later and we needed to eat before driving to Austin. Alan and Mack did tell us that they were not passed by anyone and that they made steady progress through the "climbers" that started ahead of them. Alan sprinted the final four floors, through the door and then took a well earned break before coming back down.

OK - back in the ATX. We met Kyle at his place, changed into riding clothes and head out for a road ride that started in downtown Austin

and meandered to the west to Bee Caves Road and finally to the Cuernavaca neighborhood loop. A nice 40ish mile ride which Kyle says is flat for Austin. Well, flat in the ATX does not equal flat in the BigD. It was a good workout ride for me and although Alan was hurting the first part of the ride (go figure), he got his cycling legs going and we had a good ride back finishing up with a ride through campus.

While enjoying some post-ride/birthday BBQ for dinner, Alan got a call from Mack with the results from the stair climb. Alan's time was 8:52 (yes, that's 8 minutes and 52 seconds!), which placed him in 20th overall of 600+ climbers and 1st in his age group.

I'm getting closer to a bit more current events. Hopefully, I'll be writing about February events in February!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moving forward

Fast forward a couple weeks and we are now well into January.

We had been hearing about a new event - The Red River Riot:

The course will be a unique combination of singletrack, dirt roads, gravel roads, Jeep roads and as little actual pavement as we need to tie it all together for well over 100 miles of off road greatness for the strongest of the strong.

Staging, mid point and finish will all take place at the historic Breaks at Bar H mountain bike ranch. From there we will ride approximately 50 miles of dirt roads, etc through the toughest terrain we can find. Riders will return to Bar H as the mid point for a lap of singletrack and then proceed out for another adventurous 50 miles throughout the Red River Valley. Only the toughest will be able to make the cutoff times and return for final lap of singletrack (probably at night) at Bar H.

We kept hoping for some dry trails, but decided that if there wasn't any rain in the forecast we would drive up for this. Alan would do the full 100+ and I just wanted to beat the 1/2-way point cut-off with plenty of time to contemplate doing the full distance.

The forecast for Saturday was a chance of rain, with the rain to hit later in the day. We made the drive up Friday night. If it was raining in the morning, we would head back home, if not we would drive out to the ranch. Saturday morning was overcast, but no rain - so off to the ranch we went. A few sprinkle drops on the way out, but not enough to turn around. The dirt road into the ranch was in good shape and it wasn't raining so we changed clothes and put on our race numbers.

Everyone gathers for the pre-ride instructions. Since there had been rain recently, the ranch singletrack trails were too wet to ride, so the event would be on the road only.

The recap of the event was best said by the promoter:
122 riders set out at 8am on a gorgeous Saturday morning for the First Annual Red River Riot. By 8:01 am the rains came down and didn’t let up until the middle of that afternoon. After all was said and done only 10% of the starters completed the full 105 mile course mostly made up of dirt roads through the scenic Red River Valley.

For the most part, the roads weren't that bad. It was messy, but with the exception of a couple sections it was still very rideable. Although my goal of reaching the mid-point cut off with plenty of time to decide to not do the full distance, turned into just get back to the ranch... it would be a bonus if I finished before the cut off.

I made it back to the ranch, with plenty of time to debate going back out...

I was surprised to see Alan at the car, already cleaned up and changed. Ends up that the mud was playing havoc on his drive train. His bike was shifting gears all on it's own, so to avoid further damage he called it a day.

More pictures of the event can be found at Ric Ceron's website.

All for now, it's time for bed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Wow - it's already February! I keep meaning to write stuff then I get sidetracked/lazy/distracted and nothing gets done. I'm going to try to get things caught up, from our White Christmas to now. It may come in bits and pieces, but lets see what I can do.

White Christmas, 2009

This picture was taken on Christmas Eve and if you look you will notice something that is very peculiar for Christmas Eve in the Big D. See that white stuff on the ground? Yeah, that. It's called snow.

From the news of the day:
According to the Weather Service, it has snowed on Christmas Eve only a couple of times, but not enough to officially measure. Here are the highlights:
• 1943: Flurries fell for about a half-hour.
• 1955: The high was 88 degrees, a record.
• 1975: After continuous cold rain most of the day, there was a trace of flurries.
• 1983: The low hit 7 degrees, a record.
• 2002: There were flurries but no accumulation.

The snow on Christmas Eve led to an even more eventful White Christmas, which the area hasn't seen since 1926. (History: A prolonged snow event began on December 23 when 4-6 inches of snow fell from Brownwood to Comanche. On Christmas Day, 6 inches of snow fell across Dallas and Collin County. The official climate site at Fort Worth recorded 2 inches of snow, but the Weather Bureau office in Dallas measured 6.4 inches December 24-25, 6.3 inches of which fell on Christmas Day. Much of the snow was gone by the afternoon of Christmas Day.) Unlike the snow of 1926, this snow lingered for several days.


And what would a White Christmas be without a special gift from Santa Claus...
and what better on a White Christmas than a new white bike?

I know, I know... you're thinking that last thing she really needs is a new bike. That was also my thought, I have my mountain bike and a road bike. I'm not interested in track racing, so what else could I possible need? Apparently Santa thought that my "stable" was missing a single speed bike with 29" wheels and Santa being Santa, well - he fixed that problem.

Well, that's all for now... more later. I promise.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Last year I had the brilliant idea of trading in the gifts under the Christmas tree for a family trip and the guys seemed to like the idea. When I started looking around at trip options and cost I found that I did not have enough time to put the trip together within the small window of time that we had to take a trip. So that idea was put on the back burner.

This year I was a little more organized and started pitching the idea of a Christmas trip in the fall. I was looking for locale suggestions and threw out San Francisco, New York City and Seattle as a starting point. Well, Kyle jumped all over the idea of going to Seattle with "go-go architourism!"... so Seattle it is.

Between work, end of semester exams and coaching responsibilities I found some "free" time that fit within every one's schedule, then I scoured the Internet to put together a package deal. Before too long I had three round trip tickets, hotel room on the water, even a rental car... just no plans beyond whatever Kyle wanted to see.

We stayed in a hotel that was literally on the water...

We saw the things Kyle wanted to see...
Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum

The Seattle Central Public Library

Wandered about the Olympic Sculpture Park

Split, 2003

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X


Eye Benches

Schubert Sonata

Father and Son

We walked around and saw what there was to see...

Some sections of Seattle are quite hilly

... and we did the touristy stuff...

The Space Needle

Locks Cruise

The cruise left from Elliott , through Pugett Sound to Shilshole Bay, through the Hiram Chittenden Locks, into the Lake Washington Ship Canal and ended in Lake Union. We were the only passengers booked, so we had a private tour and the run of the boat.


The Locks!

Boeing 787 Dreamliner's maiden flight

one of the Jacques Cousteau Society boats in for work

...and we ate.

We had a good time relaxing, goofing around and having fun together.

Oh yeah, and drinking a lot of coffee!

What's in store for next year?

I dunno, maybe...