Thursday, April 30, 2009

the story of the cyclometer

I can finally tell this story, because I'm now fully on my way to a happy ending.
so, here we go . . .

once upon a time there was a fancy Blackburn cyclometer that lived in a spiffy red and black box. once it had been fully formed and packaged, it was shipped to a warehouse where it sat in its pretty box on a shelf for weeks and weeks, until one day a young man came along and plucked it from its resting spot.
it was wrapped and nestled gently in a corrugated shipping box, and sent to an address far, far away, in that strange and wonderful land called utah.
when it arrived, the pretty box was taken from its nest and admired, then wrapped up as a Christmas gift. a mother had purchased it: it was a gift of great love to her daughter who loved riding her bike.
the fancy cyclometer waited patiently for the big day of celebration, when it was unwrapped, admired, and set aside. the gifter was greatly thanked by the giftee, but the cyclometer still sat in its pretty box, all alone.
then the pretty box moved from one location to another over the next few weeks, its seal unbroken. its owner would occasionally pick up the box, read some of the words printed on it, and then replace the box on the counter.
the cyclometer in its pretty box became sad. would it ever be allowed to work? to do what it was meant to do? to fulfill its destiny? it remained faithful, believing that yes, one day it would be released and it would find its glory.
days passed, snow fell, and more days passed.
then came the day when the box was moved, picked up, and actually opened: the cyclometer was free! someone actually released it from its snug hold, took all the other pieces out of the box, and started pressing buttons. oh, that felt so good!
next thing the cyclometer knew, it was perched in a little holder way up high, on the handlebar of a shiny, beautiful bicycle. it reigned! what a thrill! it's destiny was being fulfilled! soon it would flash numbers across its face, it would track miles and feet of elevation and heart rates and minutes . . . it would show the world everything it was capable of being!
the little cyclometer's heart almost burst with pride and joy, and the excitement of being asked to perform the functions it was designed to perform. because it knew there is nothing better on earth than being given the opportunity to do what you do best.

ah, but as in every story, darkness came to the little cyclometer's life.
its owner could not get the cyclometer to communicate with its sensors.
the little cyclometer tried and tried, but it couldn't access the information. it fell into sleep mode.
where it slept, and slept.
its owner would occasionally try to waken it, but within minutes it returned to sleep mode, as there was just no information available to keep it awake.
the cyclometer occasionally heard a voice suggesting that the owner take it back and get a different kind of bike computer; each time the little cyclometer decided it was just a bad dream, and would return to sleep mode.

the little cyclometer slept on and on, until one bright and shining spring day its owner took her bike to jared, the wonder bike-shop boy.
please help me, the owner said. my cyclometer wants to work, I know, but I just can't seem to help it. please, can you help?

jared pushed the cyclometer's buttons, then moved the sensors, then adjusted the magnets. he spun the bike's wheels, then moved the magnets a little more. all of a sudden, the cyclometer sprang to life!
numbers flashed across its screen!
miles per hour!
minutes and hours!
all danced with excitement across the cyclometer's eager face!

that afternoon the owner climbed on her bike and pushed the link button and the numbers came back to life as the happy little cyclometer did its job.

oh, happy day.

and the cyclometer and its owner lived happily ever after.

well, almost.

there's always more to the story, isn't there?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I hit the big 300 yesterday, and I was so discombobulated last evening when I wrote my posting that I didn't even realize I'd hit that milestone.
300 posts, um-hm.
seems significant somehow, yet it's actually just one more posting on one more day in a long string of postings and days.

that's all.

okay, that's not all, that barely qualifies as a posting. therefore, I will list a few "300" facts:

1. last year, the tour of utah professional cycling race opened up a special, non-professional ride that involved a hell of a lot of climbing in about 100 miles, starting in park city and cruising up (and down) through the alpine loop and finishing up at snowbird. they allowed 300 citizen fools to sign up for this ride, which was known as the "300 warriors." this year, they increased the field size to 1000, which includes 500 licensed racers and 500 citizens (that's people like me). so far, about 150 citizen fools have signed up for this ride. hmmm. yep, I'm one of them.

2. 300, the movie, has been labeled by some as the best display of male eye candy ever. ever. think I need to rent this one.

3. 300, the number, is the sum of 10 consecutive prime numbers: 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47. I have always loved math, because, as I told my daughter the other night, it always works. once you learn the formula, you can always reach the right answer. no subjectivity, like in writing or those other artsy subjects.

4. 300 ft/s, in paintball, is the maximum legal velocity of a shot paintball. my son probably knows this, and I hope to never experience the impact of such a shot paintball. or any paintball, for that matter.

5. 300 is the score of a perfect game of bowling. I'm laughing, because I'm pretty sure I'll never get there.

and there you have 5 fun-filled facts about the number 300, which I have now surpassed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

biking and driving

I spent 90 minutes biking today,
and about 175 minutes in my car driving.

which do you think was more fun?

some days wear me out. I try to place blame on the yoga and spin classes and outdoor rides, but I think the real culprit is drive time. the here-and-back, there-and-back, here-and-there-and-back running around that I have somehow created in my life.
I know I did this to myself, and it's primarily about the experiences I want my kids to have, so I'm trying quite hard not to complain about it.

but I'd rather be riding.
or yoga-ing.
or, come to think of it, sleeping.

as for today's ride, I didn't think it was going to happen.
I went to yoga at 6, then did the run-the-carpool-to-school thing and the take-the-car-in-for-an-oil change-thing, then came home and was exhausted. I was mostly worthless until late morning (okay, and I did take a nap), and then decided a ride was more than my body could take.

an hour later I started putting my cycling clothes on.

because the sun was out and it was 60+ degrees and it was supposed to rain later.
I couldn't stop myself.

and it was another great ride, full of those joys of being out in a world that is waking up from its winter slumber.
I wish those joys were as accessible while driving a car.
from here to there, and there to here, and back again. and again.

my new goal is to average more miles on my bike each week than on my car.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the race

a few months ago, bill lent me a book to read. it was a novel about cycling called the race. its cover shows a picture of a man on a bike, his muscles tensed and rippling, and has the following teaser: a novel of grit, tactics, and the Tour de France. the book is written by dave shields, a utahn, and bill thought it was a pretty good read.

a few months ago, I started reading the race. it begins with our protagonist, ben, cycling up a steep climb in south central utah at 14 years old. the writing is good but not in the literary or award-winning categories, and I followed along until ben crashed his bike, cascading down a rocky hillside. I even read a little further, until the author described ben's injury in much too graphic of terms, and I shuddered at the thought of flapping skin and exposed muscle and bone and had to put the darn book down.

where it sat.
until it moved to a different stack of books on another piece of furniture, where it sat.
for another month or two.

bill eventually mentioned he'd like to get the book back, as it was an autographed copy that he'd given his son a few years back . . .

so a week or two ago I picked up the book again. I'd almost forgotten the vivid pictures my brain had created for me, really not remembering why I'd put the book down. so I started at the beginning again, and was once again barely able to make it through the description of the carnage.
but this time I kept going.
and going.
and found my heart thumping away and my eyes glued to the pages that I raced through and turned as quickly as possible, almost begging for resting points so I could calm myself back down.
this book was good.
and it all --- well, almost all --- made sense to me.
I could relate to it all, from fueling to strategy to exhaustion to that victorious feeling that keeps you doing it again and again.
I even learned a little about the tour de france.

a few years back a friend of mine gave me a copy of the tour de france for dummies book.
which intimidated me.

but now, thanks to dave shields, I think I'll be able to dig that book out, look through it, and maybe even learn a few more things about the greatest cycling event on earth. dave wrote a great book that really gets to the heart of racing, which even I --- notable non-racer I am --- found thrilling and absorbing.

and the lesson it reinforced is that sometimes (okay, almost always) you have to plow through some muck before you get to the good stuff.
read and repeat, because that's darn good advice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

cyclists in clothes

I love it when friends are brave enough to throw a party, and then invite me to come.
in my opinion, there are not enough parties being thrown these days.
or maybe they're being thrown and I'm just not getting invited . . . hmm, food for thought.

last night I attended a soiree that was heavily populated by cyclists. the couple that hosted the event --- a wine tasting, no less --- are cyclists (and runners and kayakers and general outdoor action enthusiasts), and relatively new to the city. the core of their social system seems to be the Power Camp/JCC connection, and thus, most of us there were the type of humans who find pleasure and comfort sitting on a relatively flat, hard, triangular wedge of leather-wrapped metal.

this is my favorite thing about gathering like this with people I know from cycling/spin class/ Power Camp: we look really different sans sweat, helmets, and lycra.
more human.
more attractive.
less obsessive.
possibly even more complete and whole.

I learned that some people raised bees or chickens or horses. and that others rode their bikes to grandchildren's t-ball games. that spouses rode with them on tandems. that some golfed, and that one hard-core rider actually curled her hair and wore make-up when not teaching spin class.
it was grand fun.
for as great as it is to have a support system through your athletic club and people to ride with out on the road, it's even better to be able to embrace their whole person. we appear quite one-dimensional when we only see each other in bike shorts and helmets, and it's easy to forget how deep and beautiful and complex human beings really are.
and this is the discussion I had with my date last night: initial conversations with people you don't know are usually quite effortless, as there are myriad questions you can ask to learn basic information about someone new to you. and then once you know someone fairly well, it's easy to get into deep discussions about issues that matter to one or both of you. but it's that in-between stage that causes me ---and likely, others --- to experience a touch of social anxiety.
let's see, we have this and that in common, and I know what she does for a living, and I've asked about kids and pets and vacations, but I don't know her well enough to get into a conversation about feelings and beliefs, so I have to keep it fairly light, and I'm running out of ideas . . .
I need a few parlor tricks, you know, those questions you've prepared ahead of time that will elicit deeper thoughts and richer conversations without offending or touching on those (forbidden) areas of politics or religion . . .
so, what would you be doing if you didn't have to work for a living?
where would you live if you could be anywhere you chose?
if you could produce a movie, what would it be about or who would be in it?
what's your fantasy job?

our hosts last night had prepared nametags for us that had our first name, and then a short phrase that began with "ask me about . . ." and ended with something personal about each of us. my friend andy's said "ask me how to wreck a bike frame," and someone else's said "ask me about my naughty school girl outfit," and they were all great conversation starters.

last night I found that I enjoyed conversing with whole people, and that I can use a little practice doing so. which I will now work on.
ah, here's a good starter question for my crowd:

if you could never ride a bike again, what would you do with all of those hours?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I spent this morning inspecting pavement.
these were my observations:

wet, wet, wet, starting to dry in patches, looking more dry, wet, wet, beginning to dry in spots, possibly getting dry, maybe even rideable, wet, wet, wetter, way wet, wow, look at the rain bouncing off the pavement, really wet, wet, still wet.

had I been observing the sky, it would have been this:

gray, cloudy and gray, very gray above the foothills, clouds moving down, gray and cloudy, foothills disappeared, cloudy, gray, dark, clouds moving up, oh: snow on foothills, clouds moving back down, gray, gray, gray, gray.

I had hopes, for a while this morning, of being able to get on my bike for a short ride. I knew my chances were slim, but I was scouting out that pavement, waiting for just a bit more dryness, and it never happened. yes, I can ride on wet pavement, but it can be a pretty miserable thing. the rooster tail up the back is bad enough, but when it's also kicking up off the front wheel and getting you in the face, it's just no fun. add a temperature of 45 degrees to that, and just about anything will rank higher on my list of want-to-do's.
yes, even laundry.
even cleaning my house.
even working.
even sitting in that same rain watching my daughter's back-to-back lacrosse games.
from which I am still trying to thaw.

there is hope for tomorrow, as the chance of precipitation is only 40 percent.
some might say I have a 60 percent chance of dry pavement.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I may not have been out there riding yesterday, in that beautiful weather, with everyone else and their pet alligator, but I made up for it this morning.
I owned the bike lanes this morning.
from 5:30 until 6:50, not a single cyclist did I see. and the one I did see at 6:50 was the only other cyclist on my path during my entire 96 minute ride.

I had an awesome ride.
in the fullest meaning of that word.

I love these early morning spring rides, as the sky lightens so early that you are a full participant in the break of day. birds are already communicating in the pre-dawn dark, and the man-made world is silent and full of promise.
this morning the air was heavy with moisture, the kind that coaxes you to reach out and grab hold of it. precipitation is promised, but the hanging humidity has yet to reach the tipping point.

I planned my early morning ride yesterday, when the prediction was for isolated thunderstorms during the night and a darn good chance of rain today. before bed last night I set out 2 sets of clothes: outdoor riding clothes for a 50 degree morning, and spin class clothes just in case. I would look out the window upon arising and, if the pavement was wet, would choose the latter clothing selection.
dry pavement greeted me, and on went the leggings.

riding in full sunshine is a glorious thing, but the world is different at that point.

to begin my day before sunrise, to watch the morning slowly break across the sky, and to participate in the day's inauguration settles my soul and reaffirms my knowingness of just how awesome our world truly is.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

on being a bad ass

this evening was the season kick-off barbeque for the cycling team I've joined. no, this is not a racing team: you know I don't race.
this is a fund-raising team, pulled together to support two events: the MS 150 ride and the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure.
this team has a number of sponsors---as they all do---but the main sponsor, who donates their name to the team, is bad ass coffee company.

to completely understand the little kick I get out of this, you need to know that I was one of those "good girls" growing up. I was the (almost) perfect student, got excellent grades, never made fun of other people, did the right thing (usually), and even earned the nickname suzie creamcheese from my friend who thought I removed my halo only to sleep.
so to be able to slap the words bad ass on my front and back and but is almost more than my little psyche can accept. it giggles and squirms, and probably blushes as well, to think that I have such strong and inaccurately descriptive words on my clothing.

I smile.

of course it's really just about meeting new people, finding some new cyclists to ride with, raising some money for a good cause, and ultimately enjoying a new experience.

will I dare wear those jersey and shorts in public?
the day of the event, yes.

will I ever wear them again?
I guess we'll have to see.

I'm not sure how my little ego and psyche will jostle away at each other when I'm actually wearing those clothes . . . but I know that the lighthearted, humor-seeking part of me will be one great big smile the entire time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

even better

how can it be?
how could today's ride have been even better than yesterday's?
I didn't think it possible, but once again, life has shown me that I am not in charge, and my predictions of future events are far smaller than what the universe knows is possible.

today I celebrated earth day.
and what a celebration.
I drank in sunshine, I touched snow. I felt the intensity of the sun's rays on my skin, and I listened to birds chatter and call and sing. deer crossed the road in front of me and I watched two of them jump through and across the creek, bounding up the hillside with motley coats.
I squished creepy crawlies beneath my tires.
I was pushed and pulled by the warm, gentle breeze.
a butterfly crashed into my left shoulder with the roughest kiss ever, while others floated by with graceful swoops of their monarch orange wings.

as I crested the summit, heart pounding from a brief sprint, my eyes widened with delight as I caught sight of the reservoir, which was a smooth and still reflection of an emerald world. just as the richest emeralds vary in depth and intensity, the water moved from deepest to paler emerald, the hillside surrounding it admiring itself in the steady reflection of the mysterious green depths.
two hawks circled high above my head, playing catch-me-if-you-can with the wind thermals, as I descended from little mountain down to the reservoir, which slowly changed its color to a caribbean blue around the shallower edges as I neared.
I breathed in familiar spring fragrances, from russian olive trees to the dusky scent of mud, to whiffs of nameless plants sending their spring-fresh aromas up into the atmosphere.
emigration creek crashed through its fragile bed, the water thick and fat with earth, stretching its boundaries and seeping through in places. it coursed down hill noisily and with enthusiasm, the brown water jostling and playing as it dashed against rocks and berms and ultimately, itself.
dead tree limbs and feisty green shoots shared space along the edge of the road, and open fields and hillsides are turning greener with each new day of sunshine and warmth. shaded nooks still hang on to miniature glaciers, and water continues to seep out through the north-facing clay slopes.
red rock and brown dirt and umber clay all coexist: what a message.
thank you, earth, for another glorious showing, and thanks for letting me be part of it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

best yet

possible reasons for my best-of-the-season-so-far ride today:

the 70+ degree weather and clear blue skies
my yoga class this morning
the fact that I had yesterday off the bike
the ibuprofen I took right before I left
all the food I ate yesterday
the great tailwind most of the way up
that kale

unlikely reason:

the chocolate bridge mix I ate at 9 pm last night

whichever of these events are responsible, I am exceedingly grateful to them. today's ride was great. I felt good the entire time, my heartrate stayed below the crazy zone, and I felt strong and capable.
I am mentally crossing my fingers that this is a sign of things to come, not just a fluke.

most gratifying was the heartrate: my average heartrate was a good 5-7 points below what it has been on other rides. I still pushed it to the top a time or two, but it easily sank back down and stayed at a better place. and my recoveries were strong as well: quickly dropping down 30 points or so.
how do I keep this going?
do I have to duplicate everything I did yesterday??
I know better.
but wouldn't it be nice if you could always connect your performance with what led up to it? what if you always knew the circumstances that result in your best outcome? what if, say, I knew that it was last night's chicken dinner plus this morning's yoga that worked together to foster my great ride? I'd replicate those activities, wouldn't I? how much simpler would life be if there were always direct correlations between our actions and the outcome?

I think it's likely that the day off the bike helped, as did the kale. and the tailwind, and the warm and thrilling weather. and probably the chicken and the tortillas.
but probably most of all, it was the

baked kale chips

I promised to let you know, so here it is:

baked kale chips are 5 million times better than kale/carrot/apple sludge.

wash and dry kale. tear into bite sized pieces.
toss with a drizzle of olive oil and some seasoned salt.
bake in a 350 degree oven on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, approximately 10-15 minutes, catching them before they get brown.

feel good eating them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

up versus down

up and down are two radically different realities.
your body feels the difference between take-off and landing in an airplane, as it does on the up and down in a roller coaster car. we don't feel it quite as much in an automobile, but we often experience the difference greatly while in trams and gondolas and funiculars.
in all of those things, however, you are relatively passive, and thus miss out on experiencing the prodigious difference between up and down on a bike.

it is most noticeable during the days of lower range temperatures, say 40 to 55 degrees (since I am now a spoiled cyclist who rarely ventures out when it's under 40): going up the hill is a completely different experience, temperature wise, than coming down that same hill.

I know this is obvious to any thinking human, but unless you're a pretty serious cyclist, (and one who is willing to go quite fast on the descents) you cannot understand just how significant the difference is.

climbing up emigration on a 50 degree day I can be sweating like crazy, beads rolling down my back and slipping down my forehead. I can wear a short sleeved jersey and shorts, fingerless gloves and nothing under my helmet. I will be toasty and grateful for the cool air.
but before I descend I add armwarmers and perhaps a wind jacket, possibly even full gloves, and maybe even my headband. and I might be cold on the way down.

I rode yesterday and carried a light wind jacket --- just in case --- and wore armwarmers with my short sleeved jersey. a quarter of the way up the canyon I peeled the armwarmers down to my wrists, and when I reached the summit I pulled them back up for the next descent. when I reached bottom and began the next climb, I rolled those things back down to my wrists.
those armwarmers went up and down 3 or 4 times throughout my ride, and I was grateful to have them.

I smile on my way down the canyon when I am bundled up and pass those heading uphill in short sleeves:
they are experiencing a completely different reality from mine.

which is what I need to keep in mind when I pass people everywhere else: chances are, they are all experiencing realities that are entirely different from mine.

I'll smile at them, too.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

kale and carrots

bill has reminded me, a number of times, about my "goal" for this year of fueling my body more efficiently, and inquired about my progress.
each time the subject arises, I squiggle a little bit inside and admit that I haven't made much. progress, that is.
I have made a lot of things, however: cookies, brownies, more cookies . . .
and I've bought a lot of things: a pie, a cake, cookies, the occasional bag of candy . . .

truthfully, I still eat too many cookies. but I haven't been eating as much candy. Yea! one point for me! (I was tempted to give myself a brownie point for that, but had second thoughts.)
and I make pretty healthy, nutritional meals each evening that my kids are here. another point!

but I lose points for all of the dark leafy and yellow vegetables I don't eat. I asked my friend lori, who is in nursing school, if I can just do a so-so job on the fruits and veggies and then take a multi-vitamin, and this was her response:
if you eat properly, you don't need a multi vitamin.
she obviously didn't understand my question.

then we went on to discuss dark leafy vegetables. I asked if romaine lettuce counted, because it's green and leafy. lori suggested kale.
I pretended I knew what kale was.
(I thought it was possibly like bok choy, but didn't want to appear as ignorant as I was, so just nodded and acted well acquainted with kale.)
what do you do with kale? I asked.
I juice it, with carrots, she replied. when I drink it for a few days, I can see a huge difference in my skin: it looks healthier, and it just glows.
that sounds like a good outcome.
however, I don't have a juicer, and really don't want one, so I asked if maybe I could just use my blender, and process it really well.
sure, she answered.
and then she suggested adding some apple, and that a friend of hers added this really air-y ice that she gets at wild oats.
oh my gosh, I can't just use the ice from my own freezer?? just how far does one have to go to eat healthily??

today I took my kale and my carrots and half an apple and some common refrigerator ice, threw them in the blender, and made a, um, shake.
which I then tried to drink.
after a few small sips, which tasted remarkably like kale slush, I decided perhaps a spoon would work more efficiently.
it still tasted like kale slush.

I got half a (small) glass down, and then let it rest while I tackled some project around the house. I came back and had another few sips.
I left again, and then next time I came back I dumped the rest of the glass and everything left in the blender down the drain.

since I still have half a bundle of kale in my fridge, I decided to search the internet for some kale recipes, thinking there must be a way to prepare this oh-so-good-for-you vegetable in a more palatable way.
and I found one.
tomorrow, I'm going to just eat a darn carrot, and take the rest of my kale and make baked kale chips. (just like potato chips, you can't eat just one . . . )

I'll let you know.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


today was the salt lake marathon, which means it was also the 5th annual salt lake bike tour.
this one incredibly special day each year the city and county close the path of the marathon completely to cars, and allow bicyclists to ride the route early in the morning before the runners begin.
what a rush!
1500 or so of us rode the course, and were able to sail through umpteen red lights, a handful of yellow and green ones, and stop sign after stop sign . . . all under the willing and gracious eyes of sheriffs and policemen galore.
the great thing about it all is that you never have to stop!

the difficult thing about it all is that you never have to stop!

there were a lot of fast riders out there this morning. they call this a "bike tour," meaning that it is not a race: everyone wins. so I tend to think that calls to less enthusiastic (read: obsessed) riders than people like, hmmm, well, me.
but there were hundreds of riders out there in their team kits (jerseys, shorts, etc, for those of you unfamiliar with that term), pushing their legs around like mad.
and passing me.

I hate getting passed.
okay, I should qualify that.
I don't like getting passed. mainly because it reinforces the fact that I'm just not that fast of a rider. and I hate that.
okay, let me qualify that.
I sure wish I were a faster rider, and my silly little self-concept and (ugh) ego get a little dented every time I think about it.

now to be completely honest, I did notice that at the very end of the course, with 2 miles or so to go, I was still riding pretty strong. and I acknowledge it's not that long of a course, but I plowed up the last little hill and held my own at the end, which I will take as confirmation that I am just better at endurance than speed.
I have to remember this.

we are all created differently.
I was not created for speed, and this is OK. my little feathers get ruffled when this is pointed out to me time and time again, and I am just taking this as one more exercise in humility and reality for yours truly. I don't have to be great at everything; it's okay to be great at quirky things. I can be an endurance cyclist, I can be creative, I can be organized and quick-witted and kind and generous.
I don't have to be fast.

along with FAITH tattooed on my knuckles, I'm going to have to have I don't have to be fast tattooed on my right quadricep.
perhaps then I can more easily keep that in mind when cyclist after cyclist passes me, time and time again.

ah, humility.
ah, reality.

Friday, April 17, 2009

support from the benevolent universe

this morning in spin class we rode a 40 minute hill.
and it was great.
it was right in line with my current philosophy of work hard but not too hard.
see, the universe is conspiring to help me with my goal.

so this is how we rode our 40 minute hill. we set our cadence to about 80 revolutions per minute, and then turned the resistance on until it was doable, but just barely.
doable means sweat rolls off my forehead and drips into my eyes, and my shoulders glisten, and every once in a while I feel a sweat bead roll down my upper arm and drop off my elbow.
this was an endurance ride, which means that I watch the clock the entire time. almost. once I glanced up and noticed that 3 minutes had passed without my acknowledging them, so apparently I dozed or was otherwise preoccupied. but I am definitely a clock watcher on these indoor rides.
I mentioned this to bill, and he said, you are? with surprise in his voice.
yes, I am.
I count down those minutes and watch the clock like crazy, because I am NOT having the time of my life during these classes.
I am efforting and sweating and working during these classes, which, in the end, are gratifying, but in the midst of are not much fun at all.

so this morning I climbed my hill, I kept my heartrate in check, and I ticked off the minutes as I worked them off.
it was right up my alley, exactly what the doctor ordered, and obviously (thank you, universe) precisely what I was supposed to do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I would like to be profound today.
to be filled with wisdom and depth, and to be able to convey that here.
I would love for everyone who reads this today to be touched and strengthened, to gain empowerment and renewed courage to continue walking their path.
I want to be able to gift the world with wisdom and fortitude and resilience, and to watch us all move a little bit closer to spiritual understanding and connection.

it seems to me, however, that everything that needs to be said has already been said. it's out there: there are no more secrets to be shared.

so perhaps my role is just to live out that old advertising adage: what works is repetition, repetition, repetition.

each time I search for words of encouragement, themes to hang my hat on, or new ways to gain perspective, I find something that moves me along my path. however, they are not always new thoughts. they might be just rephrased, reworked, or reworded, but they always come down to the same basic roots. yet I still seek them out. I, too, learn through repetition.

this morning was a yoga morning. I have come to love thursday yoga, after being repelled by it the first time I experienced it. there's no music: that was my first shocking turn-off. and there are many sun salutations, another piece I don't love as much as I wish I did. and there's that emphasis on breathing---oh, what a challenge.
but this is what I discovered this morning: I was breathing more consistently, more steadily, more thoughtlessly. thought-less, consistent, in and out, generous breathing. me! in the middle of a sun salutation I discovered that I was doing this, and again, I realized that I have made progress.
it is small.
but it is forward movement.
and it has occurred because I have repeated this process numerous times, and made a commitment to become better at it.

remember the movie What About Bob? I love this movie for its quirkiness and silliness and ultimately, its underlying themes that resolve themselves quite nicely.
in it, richard dreyfuss' character teaches that we make progress through baby steps. little pieces of movement, small actions, little motions, but forward progress nonetheless.
it can take a great many baby steps before we can become aware of and acknowledge the fact that we are eventually in a different place, but what a high it is when we recognize that progress.

so, my desire to be profound worked its way into these 2 themes: repetition, and baby steps.
nothing new, nothing hugely significant, but both things that enable us to keep moving forward into becoming the best us we are meant to be.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

goal reduction

I have decided that I'm working too hard.
I am going to cut back, be less of an overachiever, tame down my workouts.
possibly even assess my level of obsession.

okay, that last one might be going too far.

but the universe has been sending me a few messages, and I am heeding them.
it's easy to get caught up in the excitement, the energy, the stimulation that comes with a good workout. this is not a bad thing, but I think I have been consistently working in a zone that's higher than is good for me to consistently work in.
got it?
someone said to me today that their understanding is that athletes must learn the discipline of working at lower levels than they might want to at any given moment. to reign in their abilities, to hover in zones where they are holding back.
I've heard this before from spin instructors, urging us to have the discipline to lengthen our warm-up period.
when I ride outside, my usual warm-up period lasts about twenty seconds, before my street rises to the north or I turn east and confront a different rise. rarely do I start to the south or west, which gives me gentle decreases in grade. I blame my lack of warm-up on the fact that I live where I do and choose to ride that canyon I love. it would be different if I lived on a perfectly flat road . . .

this morning in spin class I controlled myself fairly well. I didn't hit my top zone, and I barely reached the one below that. I rode for most of the time in a good, aerobic work zone, and was proud of myself.
transferring that experience to my outdoor rides is the challenge.
it's like practicing for a crucial conversation with your therapist: it's much easier in their office than it is when facing the actual person.
when I ride my real bike in the real world I don't like to hold back.
but I am now determined to discipline myself in this way, and you know what that means. I will accomplish this goal.

the discipline to hold back, to not give my all: wow. what an intriguing goal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

out of sight . . . out of mind

I have this issue with things I buy. it's as if I think the mattress tag police are going to come get me: am I really allowed/supposed to/not going to ruin anything if I rip that tag off the new item I just purchased?
will I destroy the integrity of the product if I trim a piece back, cut the legs off, add to or take away from what's already there?
apparently a part of me believes so.

and that is a key reason I haven't fixed the too-long, ill-fitting, ends-flapping strap on my bike helmet.
every time I wear that helmet my right ear hurts.
every time.
and each time I get off my bike and remove my helmet, I promptly forget all about it.
which is the other reason I haven't fixed the strap on my bike helmet.

between fear of the secret product police and my "out of sight, out of mind" method of operation, I have this terribly uncomfortable strap on the right side of my helmet that causes me no end of grief, and I can't seem to do anything about it.

bike helmets, you see, come with the incredibly complicated system of straps that my little brain can't (won't) completely make sense of. you would think it would be fairly simple: straps come from front and rear of helmet, meet under the ear, then move down and snap together with the straps from the opposite side.
however, something happens when those flat woven straps bend and slide through the little adjusting gripper thingees (yes, I know they have a real name but I will not deign to do that research) and for the life of me I can't get the right side to fit correctly and leave my ear alone.

the question one should ask now is: just how much effort has susan given to this project?

the answer: very little.

because (1) I have a congenital fear of those product police and (2) out of sight, out of mind.

I laughed while telling the story of my helmet and ear on sunday as I rode, was bothered by it monday when I rode, and only rubbed it once or twice this morning when I rode.
and have I fixed it yet?


because it's sitting on the other side of the wall, two rooms away.
and besides, it has that special protection to keep it safe from consumers like me who may, one day, be tempted to take scissors to it and violate its very nature.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the big 5-0

I hit the big 5-0 yesterday; first one of the season, and it felt a lot like I think it's supposed to feel . . .
a milestone
a little tiring
something to celebrate
more draining than I wanted it to be

yep, my first 50-mile ride of the season is now under my belt. (I would say it's on my cyclometer, but it's not, as I still can't get that darn thing to track my miles. but that's a whole different posting, and I'm waiting until I'm really fed up with it before I unleash all my frustrations here.)
easter sunday, a perfect day to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather by going for a ride around summit county.
we rode from pinebrook---a few miles east of Kimble Junction---west and then south, heading toward jordanelle dam, and then down into kamas. from there we rode to oakley and on to peoa, coming back through brown's canyon and winding through what used to be the northwest part of snyderville and then back to pinebrook. a couple decent climbs, and a few great descents, and an absolute gift of a tailwind for the first third of the ride. what more could I ask for?

well, a little more strength.
I still want to be better.
this is what happens when you spend most of your time riding with people who are better than you: you feel that push-desire-frustration that urges you to work harder, get better, be stronger, ride faster . . .
since this is a boring conversation, though, I am going to flip over to the glories of yesterday's ride.

the ski resorts still have snow bases of 100 inches or more, so you can picture the mountains that surrounded us as we rode. dark pines and sketchy, bare aspen line the ridges that are still densely white. the sky was robin egg blue, with thick white and light gray clouds clumping and splitting apart, giving us warm shots of sunshine interspersed with moments of cool. wind frolicked around us constantly, moving the clean, crisp air around the hills and valleys and alternately pushing or pulling us along.
it was the penultimate spring day, with air so fresh and fragrant that you can actually sense buds and shoots and roots growing as you ride along. we rode past a lumber mill---oh, what a fragrance---and then a pig farm. this is knowing you are fully alive.

I could have ridden a hundred miles.
but I was glad it was only fifty.

there are plenty more rides to come.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

out-guessing the weather man

during spring and fall I am always trying to outsmart the weather.
I don't know who I think I am.

I went to bed friday night thinking that saturday was going to be a wet and rainy day, forcing me to be ride-free.
when I got up saturday morning, it was clear and dry, though a bit windy. by 8:30 the sun was shining and there was a wide expanse of cloud-free sky, and I started thinking that I had been wrong to write the day off.
I wasn't quite ready to hop on my bike, though, as I was still sipping coffee and adjusting to the weekend. but my internal gears were starting to slowly spin.
by 9 I decided I would be getting on my bike, as I watched the skies darken to the southeast. my desktop weather channel predicted raindrops by 10, but I felt certain I could get at least a small ride in before the rain got serious. the sky to the west was still blue, lightly streaked with clouds.

by 9:25 I was on the road, headed up toward emigration.
about 3.5 miles into my ride the first raindrop landed lightly on my helmet. a few more joined it, and then a few more. it was sprinkling, though, not really raining.
that's what I told myself.
it kept sprinkling, and I was only a quarter mile past ruth's. I set my sights (through the drops on my glasses) on the fire station: I wanted to at least make it to the fire station before I turned around and gave in to the rain.
which remained in the "sprinkling" category.
so I kept riding.
past the fire station, and after another half mile or so the sprinkles dwindled to occasional drops, and then even to a bare mist.
so I kept riding.

at the summit I could see the faint outline of my shadow, as the sun forced itself through the clouds that hovered and kept their moisture within.
so I rode down to the reservoir, knowing that I was pushing it, that the skies could very well unleash at any moment on my way down, drenching my human form and its metal steed.

but they didn't, and as I reached the lower mile or two of the canyon I was riding on water-stained asphalt: the rain must have hit hard while I was further up the road, then stopped.

weathermen on television, the weather channel on my computer, and my own eyes are all partially effective in predicting future realities. I use them all, and then push the limits of what I will tolerate because there are times when I just

Saturday, April 11, 2009

if not now, when?


after I warm up
after I cool off
after I've had a nap
after I get this work done
after I earn enough money
after I lose some weight
when I'm ready
after it gets warmer
after it cools down
when you stop asking me
after I get things cleaned up
when I feel better
after I've saved enough money
when I'm stronger
when I have the right gear
when I feel secure enough
after I put my makeup on
when I'm better at it
when it's nicer outside
when I'm by myself
when I have some people to do it with
after I've eaten
when I'm not so full
when I find the right person to do it with me
after I've had more instruction
when it feels right
maybe tomorrow
maybe next week
maybe next month
maybe right now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

why I don't procrastinate

a long, long time ago someone introduced me to the following phrase, and it is a darn good piece of guidance:

don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today,
because if you enjoy it today
you can do it again tomorrow.

if only I could sell my kids on this one, I'd have it made.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I'm not a huge baseball fan. in fact, I'm not a huge fan of any organized sport. I'm one of those who would rather be doing than just watching others do. I have tremendous respect and admiration for athletes and the skills they hone, but I am not one to follow a team or an individual and track their progress or memorize their stats.
but I know a lot of people do.
and a lot of people follow baseball.
and most all of us have at least some knowledge of one of baseball's all time greats, babe ruth.
today, I'm writing about one of his sayings, because it's a pretty powerful statement that I need to continually pull up and chew on:

never let the fear of striking out get in your way.

one of my favorite movies of all time uses this line, though they tweak it a little, and every time I see or hear it I am reminded just how crucial this statement is to those of us humans who walk the earth with just a titch of fear within.
I love baseball hitting stats, because no one gets a hit every time they step up to bat.
in fact, they fail more than they succeed.
how encouraging!

I've heard that there are really only 2 ways to proceed through this world: to approach everything from a position of fear, or to approach everything from a position of love. I try to focus on the latter: a position full of forgiveness, acceptance, faith, and patience.
but occasionally I find myself operating from a place of fear. that's when the doubts creep in, the negative thinking, the pity party. what a debilitating place to hover; what a terrifying place to actually live.

babe ruth wouldn't let fear mess with his exuberance for the game he loved, and his advice is worth heeding in all aspects of life.
if babe hadn't gotten over his fears, he would never have made the 2873 hits he did.
if I hadn't gotten over the fear of buying my cannondale, I wouldn't have experienced the thousands of pleasures I have since that fated day.

never let the fear of striking out get in your way, nor let it keep you from playing the game.
there's too much to be gained each time you find the strength to swing that bat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

gauntlets and character flaws

it is the rare gauntlet thrown at my feet that I ignore.

good old wikipedia tells us that to "throw down the gauntlet" is to issue a challenge. back in the olden days, a gauntlet-wearing knight would challenge a fellow knight or enemy to a duel by throwing one of his gauntlets on the ground; the opponent would then pick up the gauntlet to accept the challenge.

I have this thing about gauntlets: I have to pick them up. and I'm beginning to think this is a manifestation of a character flaw.
thus, I delve into my psyche . . . ooh . . . and try to figure this out.

I tend to think of myself as noncompetitive. I would rather lose a game than win one, especially when it comes to activities like cards and backgammon and bowling. I am so empathetic that if I win, I feel sadness that the one who lost wasn't able to feel the thrill of winning. (because I do assume that most people are not like me: that they actually enjoy winning.)
I don't like to compete on my bike: I refuse to sign up for those timed hill-climbs and races. (and of course there is an exception: Lotoja is timed, and I am officially "racing" when I ride it. but I know better---I am racing nothing but the sun---so that one doesn't count.)
I don't need to be the best at anything; I am more concerned with being the best me I can be.
and in that way, I am competitive. I compare myself to others, and see my opportunities. part of the reason I don't like the timed races is that I am so critical of myself, I compare my times to those of women my age and am devastated when I fall short of decent times. but I don't want to beat them, I want to better myself. I want to be the very best cyclist I can possibly be, and if there are other women my age out there doing better, then I'd just better be working a little harder.

back to gauntlets, though.
I have come a long way in the past 2 1/2 years, and I have learned that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. each new ride is a challenge, and as I've said before, I always make it. I have yet to quit any ride I've begun and committed myself to (I will exclude the time I turned around because I knew I was pushing myself too hard one day: see, I am less obsessed than you think).
therefore, when those gauntlets come flying, this non-competitive but driven-to-better-herself me jumps at the opportunity. I can do that. why not?
and perhaps most importantly, if not now, when?
because that's the next part of it: why think about it, why talk myself out of it, why not just do it?

then again, I could just be living a giant illusion that conceals and obscures my real issue: that I don't know how to say no.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


as I type, a crew is finishing the new roof on ruth's diner.
the new roof is covered with dark green shingles, and just looking at it today made me incredibly happy. I love ruth's, and am eagerly awaiting it's reopening after the structural revisions are complete.

how is it that our favorite places come to be our favorite places?

it must be due to past events and the memories they bring, or the remembrance of sensual pleasures experienced. or . . . is there some other secret formula that imbeds these feelings into our hearts and minds?

I have loved ruth's for as long as I can remember, and these are possible reasons why:

  • the outdoor patio.
  • the classmate of mine in college who worked there, an always cheerful, engaging person.
  • the relaxed feeling of having sunday brunch with few cares, as some one was taking care of me and I was far away from any possible work that needed to be done.
  • bloody marys on the back patio.
  • the cozy cable car feeling of the front room.
  • the best biscuits on earth, served with indescribably yummy raspberry jam.
  • killer enchiladas.
  • amazing huevos rancheros.
  • the outdoor patio.
  • the live music, always offered by laid-back musicians who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
  • a sense of relaxation that just hovers over the environment, whether or not there is an hour wait for a table.
  • the best biscuits on earth.
  • a lack of pretentiousness.
  • did I mention the outdoor patio? especially in the spring when it's still a little cool, and those cool tall heat lamps warm the air just enough to make you appreciate them, yet you revel in the tingle of the cool air.

I don't go to ruth's that often, and could probably even tick entire years off my life-calendar when I didn't go to ruth's. but it is a part of my history (and I think the biscuits most likely are a forever part of my thighs), and if I have my way, it will forever be a part of my future.

I'll let you know when it reopens, and maybe we'll bump into each other there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

six things

I have a list of things to write about, but the subjects are all fairly deep and of the thought-provoking variety, and all I can focus on at the moment is my ride today. therefore . . .
contemplation is out the door, and I'm just going to write about my experience.

first, the air. it was 50 or so degrees when I set out, and sunshine was pouring everywhere, not a single cloud to block its rays. warmth just sat in each molecule surrounding me, and every breath swirled through my system agreeably, no chilled air attacking nostrils and delicate membranes. it's as if the cleaning fairies worked throughout the night last night, scrubbing the sky and leaving a delicate scent of fresh and clean to float down over us all.

second, the view. snow still covers much of the canyon surfaces, while the city continues to green itself with each new storm's moisture. snow-covered mountains surround my favorite canyon's summit, and although the lower trees are leafless and stick-like, the conifers up high still wear a dusting of white.

then there's the reservoir. you know I love this special spot of earth. from up high, the reservoir was a mirror, smooth and so perfectly reflective that it almost disappeared. as I rode down to it, it gave up the images and settled into its many varied colors: bright green along the northwestern dips and swirls, and a deep indigo in the gently rippling interior. it was full of peace today.

fourth, the cyclists. 28 of them. 2 females, the rest male. 1 very friendly, the rest either moderately or less so. one of them followed me past the gate, and turned back at about the same point I did, when it became clear that a mountain bike would be necessary for further safe travel. I got passed by 4 fast guys today, and I didn't enjoy a single one of those passings. sigh.

fifth, the muscles and lungs and heart. well, they all work. and they all worked hard there for a while. some days are easier than others, and today wasn't one of those: my average heartrate for the ride was about as high as it's ever been. my goal is to have a nice, slightly lower average heartrate. I could blame the high numbers on those guys who kept passing me, stirring up my little competitive genes . . .

finally, the soul. it just thrills to these rides. there is little else on earth that is so gratifying, so fulfilling, so enriching, so liberating.

and there's really nothing more to say.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

she did it!

ms. sun came out in her fullest glory today, and gave herself completely over to warming our little section of the world, for which I give great thanks.
so you know what I did this morning . . .
rode my bike.
got it all dirty again, mucked it up with snowmelt and red mud and brown mud and dust.
and you must realize just how far I've come in the 6 weeks that I've owned that beautiful new bike.
remember when I wouldn't let it leave my family room?

I have come a long way, baby.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


how to prepare for a bike ride:
determine route and timing
check weather, make sure to wear appropriate clothing
apply sunscreen if necessary
make sure chain is lubed
check air in tires, fill
check bag: spare tube, cartridge, pump, money, tire levers
find helmet, sunglasses, gloves
stuff pockets with arm warmers, phone, a treat, whatever else may be needed
apply chamois cream (if you don't know, don't ask)
fill and place water bottle(s)
reset cyclometer (that is, if you've figured out how to use it yet)
go forth

no, I didn't ride today, as the skies kept dumping snow, like mother nature was up there with a box of Downy Flakes, shaking them lightly and regularly over the entire city.
thus, I didn't have to prepare for a ride, and none of the above steps were on my list of to-do's today.

instead, I worked on another aspect of preparedness: readying myself for what life is sending my way.
at certain times in life we just cruise along, living each moment and each day, doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. at other times we're running behind, constantly accomplishing life's tasks only at the last conceivable minute. or later.
and then there are those miraculous days when we actually seem to pull ahead. when we catch up, clean up, think ahead, and prepare for what's coming.
today was one of the latter type of day for me.
some of my work was with tangible items, and some was with the intangible. but enough of it was about forward-moving events that it put me in a remarkable frame of mind: that of feeling prepared for what might be up ahead.

I love setting out for a ride knowing that I can tackle whatever might come along. I pick routes that I know I can ride, having ridden just about everything at least once before. I know I'm capable. 95% of the time I'm riding, I am dressed as perfectly (for the weather, not for the fashion pages) as possible. what a great feeling that is. when I leave my house on my bike I know that I have a phone, funds, and fix-it supplies for just about anything that may happen. I feel secure and safe.
all of that preparation pays off in a sense of well-being, comfort, and capability.

it works the same way in real life, life off the bike. when I'm on top of things, when I have knowledge about where I stand, when the ugly "to-do" list is full of simple, painless things: these are the times when I look forward with excitement and a sense of security. there are no dark and scary things pulling at me, telling me to deal with them, and no piles of repulsive to-do's shouting for my time.
I often avoid things when I'm uncertain of what to do with them, or when I fear that the knowledge and full awareness of the situation is too much for my psyche to deal with. the irony is that when I finally confront these things, they shrink in size and intensity immediately, and I swell with the sense of accomplishment and competence for having dealt with them.

today was about preparing for the future by successfully scouring away some of the stuff and junk from the past.

so now it's time to go clean my bike, so that I'm ready the next time the sun pokes its friendly face out from behind the clouds.

Friday, April 3, 2009

the warrior

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance. ~bruce barton

therefore, my answer is yes.

okay, in all truth, the quote above has nothing to do with my decision to (gulp) become a warrior.

this morning, walking down the hall to spin class, I noticed a poster in the jcc that shouted KEEP GOING. of course I would keep going, as the poster was on a column in the middle of a space where I would never choose to just stop: there were no chairs, no spin room, not much of a cause to pause except for the words that followed.
for underneath the headline was this quote: nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.
and yes, I know I've made you read it twice now, but I believe it's worth the repetition.

it speaks of confidence, of a belief in self regardless of what others might think, say, or project.
it speaks of that powerfulness that can only come from within.
it speaks of participating wholeheartedly.

the other morning cloris leachman was doing the talk-show circuit.
I just caught a few minutes of one of her conversations on good morning america, but I was fortunate to hear the message I was supposed to hear. cloris said she doesn't do anything without completely giving herself to it. why do something if you're not going to do it wholeheartedly?
that little lightbulb in my brain clicked when I heard that.
why, indeed?

there are hundreds of things I do each week that I can't say I'm thrilled about doing. but each thing I do, I do for a reason. I do laundry because I love myself and my kids, and want us to wear fresh smelling, clean clothes. I prepare meals because I want to take care of our bodies. I clean because the end result makes me happy. I work not only to pay bills, but because the work I do spreads gratitude and impacts people's lives.
in all of these things are deeply important messages about me and my life. I can participate with more enthusiasm and more wholeheartedly when I acknowledge those reasons the underlie the activities.
this ties in, also, to the guidance matthew kelly provides when he tells us that we cannot judge an activity by how we feel about it beforehand; we must wait until we've completed it. what if I could learn to garner more enthusiasm about these things before I begin?

thank you bruce, and thank you cloris, and I intend to move forward keeping both your thoughts firmly planted in my heart and mind.

on, warrior.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


today's thought-provoking question:
why do we do what we do?

and the related question, which comes before the above question:
what is it that tempts us, calls us, and draws us to things/events/people?

you ask where is this coming from?

from the 1000 warriors bicycle race.

from my biking buddy ivy, who issued the challenge to a group of us the other day in the form of an email with a link to info for this race, and the following words:
Tour of Utah Stage from Park City, over Alpine, Suncrest, and up LCC
to Snowbird...looks bad ass

that was a gauntlet, thrown at my quivering feet.
and so far, everyone the email went to has responded with a, sure let's do it!

thus I find myself swimming around in this soul-searching quandary.
do I want to do this race?
and, if so, why?

I try to separate the "do I want to" from the "why," and find that they're inextricably linked, ne'er to be torn asunder. therefore, I resort to the age old tool of considering pros and cons.

pros: it will be an excellent training ride for lotoja, which follows this race by a few weeks; it will be quite an accomplishment to have ridden; good group energy will exist if my friends do it; I will be able to eat a lot that night. possibly even the next day, as well. and the day before, can't forget that.
cons: it will be hard; I will at many points along the way question my sanity for having chosen to ride; it will be long and exhausting and hard; and it will be hard.

don't you hate it when people tell you to weigh the pros and cons? what does that really mean?? I can't assign point values to "it will be hard" and "get to eat more" and come to some mathematical solution.

it all comes down to motive.
what motivates me, what calls me, what presents as a perfect balance of challenge/likely success/bearable pain and causes me to say, yes?
is what I get to determine.
and this is what I know so far:
I like to work hard
I love a reasonable challenge
I'm not a complete fool
I am enough of a competitor to get caught up in "if they can, I can" thinking
I will feel some sense of loss if I am not a part of it

which leads me to the ultimate resolution of this issue:

I'll sleep on it, and let you know tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I gave myself a reality check this morning, and guess what? things could be worse.
yes, I want to get out there and ride, and yes, it keeps snowing and preventing me from doing that. yes, I'd like some more of those 60 and 70 degree days so I don't return from a ride frozen, and yes, the temps have been hovering in the 30s and 40s.
things could be worse.
I could be a high school lacrosse player.

my 16 year old plays lacrosse on his high school team. he's been playing for about 8 years now, and has a passion for the sport. I think it has something to do with the fact that you get to hit people.
lacrosse season is in the spring, and league rules allow them to begin practice on president's day in february. for these past 2 years that he's been in high school, he's worked with his teammates to shovel the snow off the field so that they can begin practice that day. (the varsity team played a game in the blizzard 3 days ago, where people had to run shovel snow off the lines on the field during the game so that the refs could do their job, but that's someone else's story for another time.)
so far the team has had 2 games postponed due to snowstorms, and I'm waiting for tonight's game to suffer the same fate, as I watch the snow pour down and pile up outside my window.

snow makes practice difficult, as well.

when the weather is abhorrent (which is one giant step worse than inclement) I have the ability to go sit on a spin bike indoors, and continue to work on my fitness level and skills. the lacrosse team doesn't have the same option, as they can barely find fields to practice on, let alone a large, field-sized indoor space.
although the guys might (secretly) welcome a day off, they also know the season is short, and it will all end soon. I think they'd rather be practicing than not.
(especially since the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman/sophomore teams are all undefeated so far this year: that's my little "I'm a proud mom" plug.)

therefore, my reality check got me out of my woe is me it's snowing again pity party, and back into that place of gratitude.
which always shows up when I realize things could be worse.

I could play lacrosse.