Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the eventuality of change

I struggle with days like today.
I am not riding today, and part of me is chomping to get out and ride, and the rest of me is soaring with joy that I don't have to go ride. chomp, soar, chomp: I think I have dissociative identity disorder and am in need of medication. who am I?
I'd like to just be a normal person, one who rides some days and doesn't ride on other days. maybe even one who cross trains, going for a run on non-riding days, or something healthy and energetic like that.
but no, I am me. me who wants to ride and is so terribly happy not to ride.
I'm not riding today because I'm tired. I am in my taper phase, and I have decided to treat that as a time not to push. yesterday I wore myself out ~ not with exercise, just with being a human doing ~ and since I'd ridden four days in a row I decided it would be okay to take today off.
on days like today I often think, I'll never ride again. I'm tired, I'm tired of riding, I could become a different person (i.e. a normal person) and give it all up.
however, this is unlikely to happen. no matter how tired I am, it eventually changes. in fact, no matter how joyous I am while on my bike, it eventually changes.
everything changes.
which is what keeps us interested in life.
but sometimes it's difficult to remember that things will change. perhaps I won't always feel like I have two different people living in my head, as I do today. in fact, many days that I can recall I appear to be (and even feel to be) a single, solitary, cohesive individual. this is thus proof that I am in a temporary state and things will change.

today I have a thousand things to do. or perhaps it just feels that way. I am behind in this and that and want to be further along in these things and those, and am desperately trying to increase my productivity in everything. and just like my directionally-challenged biking desires, I have directionally-challenged life desires: I want to write a thousand words on my book project today, I want to work diligently to get ahead on work production, and then . . . I want to take a nap.

and this is what I know to be true: just as everything will change, everything will work itself out. I will ship the orders that need to be shipped, I will accomplish the tasks that must be accomplished. I will work as much as I can, and rest when I need. I will get daughter one to the doctor and uniform store, and shop for my son's school supplies and get daughter two somehow home from school. I may even make it to the lacrosse store to get my son's stick fixed. I will write as much as will be written today, and tomorrow, yes, tomorrow,
I will ride my bike.
because today is today, and tomorrow is an entirely new day, and everything, as always, will work itself out.
even though I have dissociative identity disorder and need medication.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

three new experiences in one death-defying day

I did not die.
however, I did have to stop midway down a descent because the crosswinds had me absolutely terrified. I could feel them pushing me further and further out into the road (which would be the lane for cars) and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it: I was scared. so I braked more strongly, wavered over to the shoulder, and stopped, watching the tall grasses in the meadow to my right be whipped into a near horizontal position. after just a bit I decided the wind wasn't going to stop, and I needed to somehow get past this wind-whipped meadow and down the darn hill. so, I kept my left foot clipped in, my right foot unclipped, and rolled forward, using my right foot to tap the ground every five feet or so in an effort to keep me moving and upright simultaneously.
the road curved, the meadow was behind me, and I finally felt safe enough to clip back in and ride down the rest of the hill.
that was new experience number one.
I have never before had to completely stop my bike because the wind was so terrifyingly terrific. I've been close to that point, but not until yesterday did I actually reach that point.
new experience number two: climbing up north ogden pass. may I just say, ow. as in, that is one steep hill. short, yes, but ridiculously steep. especially when you hit it after you've got ninety or so miles up already.
new experience number three: riding the frontrunner train from ogden back to salt lake.
no, this was not part of the original plan, but hey, flexibility is the thing to possess.

all in all it wasn't really a death ride, but I hope it was another significant training piece. the countdown has begun, and two weeks from today it will be all over, one way or another.
I plan to enjoy the rest of my taper, my lotoja ride, and the rest of my season.
whatever that entails.

Friday, August 27, 2010

death ride

I'm not sure which cycling friend came up with this sweet little nickname, but in my mind it has stuck. tomorrow is the Death Ride.
this is the ride that three years ago Biking Buddy Bob said would confirm one's readiness for lotoja: if one could survive this ride, one could survive lotoja.
so this will be my fourth time riding this route, and as of this very moment, I have no stress about it at all.
I can do this, I will survive it, I am likely to hate parts of it, and I will be so greatly relieved when it's over that I will cruise forward to lotoja with a happy camper attitude.
it's really not that bad of a ride. it's just long, somewhere around 125 miles. this will actually be the shortest version of it I've done, as last year Biking Buddy Bill wanted to add another climb in there and we added a few miles, and the other two years it was longer due to my uncertainty about where exactly huntsville town proper was.
huntsville is the end point on the way out, the place we turn around and start the trek back home. huntsville is a beautiful place, but unfortunately, this Death Ride has colored, permanently, my perception of huntsville.
today I've been hydrating, and as I type I'm eating a bowl of pasta (ravioli, yum). I have a glass of water + electrolytes by my elbow, so that I don't flush my system by drinking too much water.
tomorrow I'll get up and eat oatmeal, drink a cup of coffee, and pack my pockets full of goodies for the road which will include at least one banana.
and then I am going to set off for my Darn Good Death Ride.
I plan to have a great day.
hope you do, too.
let me date myself by now saying,
catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


my most significant riding goal for 2010 was to ride less than I did in 2009.
I know, that seems a bit backwards for someone who's into improving her skills, but I'm also concerned with balancing my life. I decided six thousand miles in one year was more than necessary, and have made a conscious decision to aim lower this year.
the universe helped, by breaking my clavicle and forcing me to rest for just a bit.
and I frequently think about reining myself in, and sometimes, just sometimes, it even works.
and sometimes it doesn't.
part of the problem is that I'm never quite sure what the best training decision is. for me, that is, not for anyone else.
an example is this week. my plan is to do my annual final pre-lotoja Death Ride this saturday, after which my most-loved Tapering Phase begins. as such, I thought that this week should be fairly mellow, a sort of a pre-big ride taper on a mini scale.
and then a biking friend said they were going up big mountain this morning, and I started to think, ooh, maybe I should have one big hill day this week, maybe that would be good for me since I didn't climb much these past two weekends . . .
so I rode up big mountain, which isn't terribly aggressive but it's not part of a Mellow Week, either.
see, I really just don't know what to do sometimes.
this entire season has been a little different for me as far as lotoja training goes. the previous years I've been quite committed to a training schedule that specified how long rides should be in the 16 weeks leading up the the Big Event. I often went over the weekly mileage goals, but I rarely stayed under.
this year, I've rarely looked at the training guide.
I've rode the toughest ride of my life a few weeks ago, but then I've had a few weekends of not-so-tough-at-all. my total weekly miles have been plentiful, but then I worry I'm not doing enough long rides.
I've been riding well, I feel strong and capable, and although this weekend's Death Ride won't be fun, I'm looking forward to it being over. my mindset is that it will be difficult, but that it will end.
and I suppose the point of this whole essay is just to say that I often struggle with what the best thing is when it comes to training. and this is why, someday, it will be nice not to be training for lotoja. to just go ride where I want to, and not to stress over whether or not the ride is long enough. tough enough. hilly enough.
to just enjoy all of our beautiful scenery without tacking on one more canyon, one more stretch of wasatch, another dozen miles because I think I need to.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the hawk

I spent this past weekend in big sky, montana, where friends were getting married on saturday. these are biking friends, people I write about here every once in a while because they're pretty darn special. she is more than a dozen years younger than me, and she is my mentor. I want my girls to be her when they grown up. in her new-husband's words, she is a firecracker, full of energy and vibrancy and joyful life.
they rented an astounding chalet up the hill from the lodge at big sky, where they hosted us all for ribs and slaw and libations on friday evening, then had us back for more libations, tapas, and the ceremony itself on saturday evening. I could go on to describe everything in detail, the fifty or so guests to the food to the ambiance, but I think we'll let that stay with those who created and lived it. it's enough to say it was an honor and a joy to be part of it.
what I will share, however, is what I saw when I looked at the bride during the ceremony itself. the groom's back was to me, so I can't wax poetic about him, sorry, just about her. her face was so animated, so full of spirit and sparkle and yes, love. she was fully participative, completely engaged, absolutely engaging. it was pure delight simply to watch her.
which makes me reflect on just how beautiful we all are when we're engrossed in what we love. when we're with those we love, when we're participating in actions or events we love. when we're talking about what thrills and moves us, or when we're simply fully engaged in what we love to be doing. I love to see passion spark in people's eyes, to see joy color their aura, to watch vitality animate their features.

this morning I rode my favorite swooping stretch of road underneath a cool, clear sky and two circling hawks. on my way back up the hill, the hawks were still circling, and they were so low that I could see the detail of the feather patterns on their underbellies. the one I paid most attention to had beautiful gray, white and brown markings, almost in stripes, across its underside, and its light brown wings stretched almost four feet wide.
as I was riding beneath, looking up at this magnificent creature, the thought struck me that this beautiful bird has absolutely no idea how beautiful it is. it knows what it's meant to do, it lives by instinct and reaction, and it spends absolutely no time wondering if its feathers are pretty enough, or if its patterning is as glorious as everyone else's. it has no idea that it is a stunning work of art in my early morning sky.
just as the best of us, all of us really, have very little idea what stunning works of art we are, when we're engaged in events, activities, and moments that fill us with joy and pull out our passions.
this is one of those gentle and beautiful reminders sent by the universe via my amazing friend and a circling hawk, neither of whom had any inkling of what a priceless message they were delivering.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

number seven

it's possible that some of you think I am relentless, driven, overly focused, or perhaps even a little nuts in my biking plans and goals.

you're allowed to think whatever you'd like, of course, whether or not I agree with you.

but a certain topic arose in my mind today, and I wish to use it to prove that I could be worse.

the topic is this: States I've Ridden My Bike In.

because I added a new one today, and I'm excited about that. this brings my grand total to seven: utah, wyoming, idaho, colorado, nevada, arizona, and now montana. as I've mentioned before, seven isn't so terribly many when you consider the fact that our nation possesses fifty, but I'm still pleased that I'm up to seven.
now enters the thought I had earlier, the thought that will prove I'm not so over-the-top as one might think: I have no desire to ride my bike in all fifty of our states. this isn't a goal, not a "one day" wish, not even a tiny bit of a "wanna."
see? I'm closer to normal than one might think.

actually, after today's ride from west yellowstone to old faithful to the continental divide and back, I don't know that I ever want to ride my bike again. at least not if there's any wind involved. (wyoming holds the trophy, title, and crown of all wind-related subjects and experiences.)
but I'm excited to now tack montana onto my list of states. it doesn't matter to me if the list ever grows from here: I'm just excited, happy, and pleased to be where I am.
right where I am.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


this morning in yoga our instructor, jen, spoke about one of our tasks, that of expansion. some of our poses require contraction, and as yoga is ever about the flow of yin and yang and the universal desire for equilibrium, when one contracts, one must compensate by expanding.
she asked us to keep expansion in mind throughout our practice today, and I thought it was an excellent idea to keep in mind throughout my life.
like taking the bushel basket off of our little lights to let them shine, like mandela told us to not settle for less than the life we're capable of living, like daring to be who we are meant to be, we must all have the courage to take deep breaths and expand ourselves.
throw our shoulders back, take deep breaths, puff out our chests and dare to be everything we are.

circumstances this week caused me to tweak my riding schedule a bit: I had a choice of either riding this evening, or getting up at 4:45 to squish a ride in tomorrow morning. you know how I love my morning rides, but I must admit I wasn't eager to get up that early. and if I rode this evening, well, then I could sleep in a bit tomorrow, something I rarely get to do . . .
late this morning a storm whipped through the city, tearing branches from my ancient trees, sending sheets of rain horizontally into my west-facing windows, shoving wind into my house that slammed doors and rattled papers and magazines. it rained until rivers gushed down gutters and my flower beds turned a rich black with the moisture. by early afternoon the storm moved on, the clouds pulled back, and the temperature began to climb back from the under-sixty-degree-hole it had fallen into.
it started to look like it would be a great evening to ride.
I climbed on my bike at seven, knowing that the light of day began to quickly creep away by about eight-thirty, and I headed up my favorite canyon. seventy-something degrees, blue skies with the waxing half moon bright in the east, dry pavement, and the smell of wet earth everywhere: this was glorious.
up the canyon, down to the reservoir, back up and down the canyon . . . with a tailwind to push me out. by the time I reached the bottom the sun had set beyond the lake, sending hot pink low in the western sky, the moon glowed even more brightly, and the far mountains hung their silhouettes around the rim of the city.
it was an absolutely perfect ride, glorious, wonderful, exquisite.
you know I love my morning rides . . . but gee, this was a pretty amazing evening ride . . .
perhaps I'm expanding.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

eye twitching

have I before told you that my right eye twitches when I am stressed? it's often my first clue, and frequently my only clue. sometimes it will start twitching and I'll think, what? I'm fine! what's up with this?
well, it's been twitching the past few days. actually it began before my trip to jackson last weekend, then stopped during the weekend (of course) and has resumed today. today, when I have delivered children here and there and there and here, shopped for back to school necessities, ridden 29 miles, worked, tried to respond to emails, handled a few other school-related things, been to the store/post office/bank/gas station/other store . . .
one of my tasks today was to check out how my daughter will get to her new school, far away from both my house and my other childrens' school. the bus/trax route I found would pick her up at 6:43 in the morning, a block away from our house.
6:43 am.
first of all, wow for her. she might start going to bed as early as me.
second, wow for me, there go my early morning rides.
whatever shall I do?
for today, I am enjoying the fact that she doesn't start school until next wednesday, so I still have a week. one final week, and then I will have to figure out how to restructure my life.
I know, I know, worse things could happen to someone, and I'm really not trying to complain. it's all workable, I will just have to find new joys in new ways at new times.
they say that children are extremely resilient, and that this is how they survive all of the childhood traumas thrown at them by the world, their friends, their siblings, their parents.
I am being offered an opportunity to work on my resilience.
here comes another opportunity for me to stretch and grow, and who knows what the future holds. I may even learn to like riding in daylight on a consistent basis. or maybe I'll just give up biking: then my eye can twitch all the time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

the escape

I believe all of us are given a desire to do something, and that this something is a part of what we are meant to do here on earth. One of my favorite Native American quotes that I've shared here before is "when you are born, your work is placed in your heart."
My own work involves writing. It is as deeply a part of me as my gray green eyes and my size nine feet. I can wear contacts and squish my feet into too-tight boots and perform numerous other and different work activities, but I can change neither my physical realities of eye color and foot size nor my desire to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and create sense from a seemingly unending supply of raw words.
I leaned about a dozen years ago, though, that I write best when I go away. When I leave my normal environment and drink in new sights, sounds, experiences. I am not the first to discover this: I know that many writers have expressed their belief that they must leave a locale to truly be able to write about it. And others that when they shake up their world a bit by leaving their home base they are freed to create more vividly. Part of this can be about a new environment, and part may be about a break in routine.
I just broke my routine and changed my environment for a couple days, and I have no idea what will come of it, I just know that something will.
Last week I was faced with a miniature whirlwind of circumstance that spun me around and spit me out of town, leaving in its wake a lost Word file of 5,000 words, a computer virus, pre-back-to-school chaos, and a loss of internet connectivity in my main desktop computer.
I could use all of that as the excuse for why I neglected to post here on friday the 13th, two days ago, but the truth is simply this: I forgot.
enter the escape.
I spent this past weekend in a car, on a raft in the Snake River in Wyoming, on my bike riding at the foot of the Tetons, and sitting on a rock at the edge of Jenny Lake.
I escaped routine, I left my home environment. and now I reenter my world full of the smell of timber, the feel of cold mountain water and air, the image of rocks six feet below me in a stunningly clear river, the sight of a million stars in a deep indigo sky, a waxing crescent moon, and snow on Grand Teton.
I am ready to roll.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


one of my many thoughts this morning:
I am one of the luckiest people on earth.
this had to do with the fact that I had just had a great ride, and was sitting in my cool and comfortable house on my favorite aubergine couch, book in hand, coffee beside me, with my purple chenille blanket wrapped round my legs. and I had a little bit of time before I had to hit the ground running.
wow. blessed am I.
and here's one of my many blessings: I have so darn many great places to ride my bike that I can't keep on top of them all. things change, and I don't find out about it until the next time I ride there, at which point I ask myself, gosh, when's the last time I was here?

this happened to me monday, on wasatch drive. there have historically been two cross streets on wasatch that do not have stop signs while wasatch does. the stop signs on wasatch are clearly marked "Cross Street Does Not Stop." these intersections are bummers for us on bikes, as both the cross streets are of steep grades: while riding we must almost stop to get a clear view of whether or not a car is coming.
and now there is only one such intersection. sometime in the recent past they have changed one of these intersections to a 4-way stop. I didn't realize that monday until I was staring at the big vehicle coming down the hill, waiting for it to keep going down, trying to understand why it was stopping. then, light bulb, I saw the back of the octagonal sign on the corner where it was stopping. I wonder how many more times I will wait for cars on that street to keep going through the intersection before I finally learn that they must now stop. old habits die hard, don't they?
and this morning's bit of news-to-me (but not to the rest of the east canyon biking world) is that there is brand spanking new not-yet-striped asphalt on the road up big mountain! this is a big WOO HOO! it's not the entire road, but at least a couple long and a few short stretches, and they covered most every place where the road was breaking apart. and it is asphalt, not chip seal. alleluia! why is their budget bigger than emigration canyon's budget? no one even lives in east canyon, and all of those thousands of people live in emigration . . . hmm. don't understand that one.
but the point is, there has been new asphalt there for at least ten days and I wasn't on it until today. (I had seen the sign a few weeks back, road work july 27-30, so I knew something was up.)
and someone changed one of my intersections and I didn't even know it.
and this is all because I have too many options each day that I wake up.
what a lucky girl I am.

Monday, August 9, 2010

two versus fourteen

it was dark when I left home this morning, the sky hanging heavier and darker to the northeast, which was of course the direction I was headed. within half a block I felt the teeniest little drop of moisture on my cheek. no. dark skies, moisture, hmm, original plan not looking good.
ruby keeps heading toward emigration, which is what she's been trained to do.
the closer we came to the mouth of the canyon, the more moisture fell out of the air and onto us. when I started to hear it consistently ping on my helmet, I decided I was crazy to let her take me up that hill into the still-dark, threatening skies. I reined her in, turned her around, and headed south where the skies were lighter.
I don't like to do this.
I love my little morning ride up and down the canyon.
but I didn't feel like riding in a rainstorm, so I headed south toward the mouth of big cottonwood, a slightly up and down ride on wasatch that gives enough variety to keep my heart interested.
I had thoughts of turning up millcreek, but was prepared for neither the cold descent (always, even in early august), nor the longer tougher ride (not enough water or fuel), nor, as I approached the turn-off, was I prepared to ride that canyon in the rain. the pavement starting a mile or so before millcreek canyon road was wet enough to tick off my front wheel, so chances were the canyon itself was plain old wet.
so I kept heading south. south, south, south. when I hit the mouth of big cottonwood I decided I was feeling good enough to give myself one more challenge before turning around, so I climbed the big hill. right past the mouth, wasatch decides to head up the hill quickly and seriously, and I call this my Heave Ho hill. when I first began riding I lived nearby, and I would force myself up that thing, chanting heave, ho, heave, ho, to myself as I panted my way up. actually I think this was the chant:
heave, pant, ho, pant, heave, pant, ho, pant. and after a while it became heave, pant, hove, pant, heave, pant, hove, pant, just because it just seemed easier to make both words into 2-syllable words. (don't ask, just go try it sometime.)
so this morning at the top of the Heave Ho hill, I cruised another quarter mile then turned around to head home. and I stopped. at the first stoplight.
then I cruised for a while and then I stopped.
and went, then stopped.
rode some more, then stopped.
I'm sure you get the picture.
and this is one more reason I love my emigration canyon ride:
susan's house to little dell and back via emigration = 23 miles, two stoplights
susan's house to top of Heave Ho hill and back via wasatch = 23 miles, fourteen stoplights

pretty much a no-brainer, isn't it?
I think this is why ruby automatically heads that way each time I ride: she doesn't really like to stop, either. she'd much rather be flying.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

food choices on Excellent Training Rides

I like to eat.
I'm afraid to list everything I've eaten today, for fear I will scare you. so I will only list what I ate during my Excellent Training Ride today:

half a banana
3 tablespoons trail mix
a slice of orange
a good sized oatmeal raisin cookie
another half a banana
4 red vines okay, maybe 5
another slice of orange
a margarita Shot Blok
a quarter cup trail mix
another half a banana
a small plate of pasta with spaghetti/meat sauce
a tortilla chip
half a cinnamon raisin bagel

and these are the things I passed up:

rice krispie treats
more fruit
nutrition/protein bars
more really good looking cookies
salted pretzel/cracker mix
cream cheese for my bagel
breadstick to go with my spaghetti
and so many other things I couldn't believe it

it was the Ulcer ride today: Utah Lake Century Epic Ride, or, gosh, this thing gives me stomach pain. it's one of those "flat" rides full of wind and smelly places and "interesting" views and only 1300 feet of climbing spread out over 110 miles.
I must say that most of the time I had no idea where I was, but only part of the time did I wish I were somewhere else. it was an Excellent Training Ride, which is the name I give rides that are full of pain. in this case it was wind-induced pain, which was expected yet nonetheless Absolutely No Fun. except for those few miles when it was directly behind us, of course.
all in all, it gave me good practice enduring times of frustration, pulling others at a decent pace, and making nutrition choices at rest stops.
please note: I did not say "nutritious choices," I said nutrition choices.
time for a chocolate chip cookie.
catch you later!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

internal truth

my alarm went off at five-thirty this morning, set last night by the me who had decided to go to yoga this morning.
the me who woke, however, wasn't so sure she wanted to go to yoga.
it took five minutes of mental tug of war to come to my decision, which was that (roll of eyes, please) I would be glad I did it once I got up, got to class, and did it. oh, that part of me is so wise but so, so frustrating. I was tired, and sleep was feeling ever so wonderful.
I rose, I dressed, I drove to class.
and I was glad I did it.

the yoga message of the day is truth. finding, accepting, embracing the truth within your body.
this sends fingers of thought out in many directions: there's our emotional truth, which is acted out by our body, there's our physical truth, which we may or may not mentally accept, there's the truth of our body in time on this planet, and there is also our inner truth, that glowing inner light that we may or may not always be able to connect with.
I thought (or non-thought) about my body's physical truth during much of the morning's practice. we ask a great deal of our bodies over time, and most of us are probably not skilled in rewarding our bodies effectively or even kindly. slouching on a couch isn't really a reward, though at times it might feel as if it is. I fear that drinking water and eating kale are better rewards, darn it all.
as I reflect on what my body has tolerated throughout my adult life, I think as well about the messages it has sent me along the way. three pregnancies, periods of bed rest, damage to my lower spine, an AC joint injury, bouts of abdominal issues . . . and then a traumatic crash, and the resulting period of healing.
my present thinking about my accident is that it was the culmination of a long life cycle, an end to one part of my life and the beginning of the next. I have healed so beautifully (yes, I realize the healing phase is not yet over) and I feel as though I am living differently now. the accident created a space for me to slow down, to rest, to struggle a bit with my limitations, to discover some of my own internal truths, and to recommit to my path.
within weeks of my accident other changes took place in my life, and the one which has brought me closer than ever to reaching a life goal occurred just three days before the Big Event.
my truths have become more clear to me, as superfluousness has been stripped away. I have let go some stressors, or perhaps they have just let go of me. I have settled more deeply into the truth of who I am and what I am meant to do, and I feel so amazingly comfortable with it all that I am constantly astounded.

so truth, this morning, the truth of my body is this: it has been here on earth a fairly long time. it has served me incredibly well, especially as I have pushed it within millimeters of its limits time and again. it is capable of more than I realize. it responds well to being stretched. it is capable of becoming even stronger and more flexible. it deserves to be rewarded with water and kale and excellent nutrition, the occasional massage, and times of rest.
and the truth of my soul is this: everything I've written in the paragraph above, except perhaps the kale.

thanks to jen for a great yoga class this morning, and thanks to the universe for slamming me to the ground seven weeks ago.
all is well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


To be honest (and I'm always fairly honest) I do think that most male cyclists look pretty darn good in their team kits. (that's the matching jersey and shorts they wear that are plastered in the non-masonry sense with logos and verbage of their sponsors, in case you aren't familiar with the term.)
I prefer those that don't have too much white on the shorts, but the relief of some white from the rest of us black-bottom-clad people out there is nice.
it's nice as well when the bodies underneath the kits are muscular and fit, and nicest of all when the person inside the body underneath the kit is kind and friendly.
I see quite a few team kits while I'm out riding, and I'm always reading fronts as they come toward me on the opposite side of the road, and sides and backs as they pass me going my same direction. there are quite a few I recognize now, and though I don't personally know anyone who rides for a team and wears their kit each time they ride, it's a fun little hobby to keep tabs on which team names are flying past me.

but I really want to write about another kind of kit today.
yesterday morning on my way down to little dell reservoir (on my bike, silly, I would never drive my car there), a little fox face popped up at me from between the tall grasses on the right side of the road. it was the sweetest little face! and this was just two miles after a young fawn had hopped onto the road right in front of me and bounced along at almost my pace before hopping the guardrail and moving back down into the shrubs below.
the descent from little mountain (emigration) summit down to the reservoir has two stages, a nice first drop, with a pause as the road wraps around a jutting foothill and then a second drop that takes you down to the water.
this little fox was peeping out during the mid-section, and I had enough time to see him and be thrilled before rounding the corner and finishing the lovely down, all the way to the reservoir's edge. I performed my great swooping circle there (I call them joy spirals), and headed back up the first stretch, wondering if my little fox friend would still be there.
he was: he came out and took a joy spiral of his own, then went back into the grass so that only his face peered out, sat down, and looked expectantly forward. I stopped and stared at him, his cute little face, and his apparent adherence to his mother's admonition to "stay right here, I'll be back soon."
I soon left him and pedaled away, singing my silly fox song, absolutely thrilled to pieces with my non-cycling kit sighting.

then came today.
I saw a doe a mile up the canyon, misty in the early morning light, and as I climbed the canyon I debated whether or not I would go all the way to the water. sometimes it's nice to crest the summit, turn around, and head home, reaching said destination twelve minutes sooner, allowing a little more time for coffee and the appreciation of cool air coming in my windows. this morning I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I left the decision up to my mood at the top.
my mood at the top was pretty joyful, as no one had passed me and I hadn't seen another cyclist for over five miles ~ I like my solitude.
so I went over the top and began my initial swoop, the air a bit cooler on this side, filling me with peace. I reached the "pause" section and pedaled, looking out toward the south, and suddenly to my right I saw a little fox face, peering out at me from between the tall grasses. oh, oh! did mama never come back? was he still being obedient??
caught completely by surprise, I kept pedaling and descended the second stretch, with hurry, hurry, in my head, hurry and climb back up to see if he'll still be there!
the answer is yes, he was, and he even came out on the road a bit, this little but not-too-little kit, his back maybe twelve inches from the ground, his feet black and his tail ringed, his little face and ears shaded with black. but wait, there was another one, oh my gosh, there were two!
still approaching the peering-out spot, I was pedaling so slowly I was almost stopped, as I saw a third one dash across the road and playfully jump at one of the others.
okay, now I had to stop. they frolicked and jumped in and out of the grass, then two ran across the road and up the steep hillside until I could see one high above me, looking out over his reign.
three little kits, with just a dash of white upon them, and no logos or verbage at all.

I sighed deeply, and finally began pedaling away when I remembered the camera function of my phone in my back pocket. duh. I stopped, turned around, rode back a ways, then pulled the phone out and tried to remember how to find the camera button. I didn't dare get too close, not wanting to scare them, but I fear I didn't get close enough at all. alas, you will just have to take my word for the fact that I saw three of the best looking kits ever, early this morning, on a swooping hillside near little dell.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


thanks, universe, for the miracle.
(see posting on 7/11/10)

similia similibus curantur

I could get on my bike today.
I could.
I keep telling myself that, and then I shake my head, no, no, I donwanna.
but I could.
and some might say I should.
I shake my head, no, no, I donwanna.

way back in the day of hippocrates a belief existed that similia similibus curantur, or "like cures like." in shakespeare's day this was expressed as "hair of the dog," which comes quite literally to us from the belief that a few hairs from the dog that bit one, when placed directly into the wound, would help one to heal with no ill effects.
nowadays, this concept is most frequently used when dealing with the effects of a hangover, as people insist that imbibing some alcohol the following day will reduce one's hangover-related pain.
well, let's apply this to biking.
it's possible I have a biking hangover. (I'm sure there's a more apt term for this.) I biked for eight and a half hours yesterday, pushing my body past a few of its limits, and although I'm ambulatory and wince-free in my movements, I am not exactly full of piss and vinegar.
it has crossed my mind that a recovery ride might be good for me today.
it has also crossed my mind that no ride might be good for me today.
because although this "like cures like" theme has been floating around our existence for centuries, I'm not sure that I really believe it. or maybe it works, sometimes, sure, but I don't think it's a must.

so let me tell you a bit about yesterday's ride.
to begin with, we received an email late friday afternoon telling us that due to construction in Little Cottonwood canyon, that leg was being eliminated from the ride and replaced with City Creek canyon at the tail end of the ride. now for those of you who don't know, Little Cottonwood is the toughest canyon around here, steep and relentless and--my favorite word--unforgiving. and to remove this canyon is to lessen the challenge of the 4-canyon ride by about a third. I felt equally disappointment and relief.
later friday night the next missive told us that, upon reflection and feedback, the route would not add City Creek at the end, but would instead culminate with Big Mountain. ow. that would be a hard climb at the end, but, okay.
then on saturday morning at 6:30 as we are gathering to take off, it was announced that Little Cottonwood was safely rideable, and we were welcome to go back to the original plan if we wanted.
yes, no, yes, no, argh!
at that point I adopted an attitude of whatever will be will be, and I headed out with a small group of friends along wasatch boulevard, to the mouth of Little Cottonwood canyon.
and up.
to the top, no stopping at snowbird for this ride.
and then down.
then up Big Cottonwood and down. then I hobbled up Millcreek, having to stop twice for more than just a moment of recovery.
then down.
then over to Emigration, where I limped up and up until a cramp attacked my right leg about a mile and a half from the top. I kept pedaling, it wasn't that bad, and it lessened a bit and then I decided I needed to stop for another pause.
1.5 miles to the top.... how could I not finish this stretch, get myself to the end of the final canyon? I set off again, slowly, and by some miracle reached the top, which came absolutely not ten seconds too soon.
after a bit of rest, it was back down and over across wasatch and back to the starting point at skyline high school, where our car sat, it's five or six sole remaining friends lonely in the lot.

yesterday pushed my body more than anything I've ever done. during both of my "pauses" while ascending Millcreek, I questioned if what I was doing to it was more than I should be. it's not easy to tell, at times, if what you're experiencing is part of strengthening yourself by challenging your limits, or part of pushing too hard and far and possibly creating disrepair.
my surgeon tells me to "listen to my body," but he doesn't know the relationship my body and I have: it speaks, I cajole and tease, it talks back, I tell it to man up, it throws out its final words, and I say "we're almost there, hang on."
but I am listening to my body today.
it's saying no, no, I donwanna, and I think it's being wise.
no hair for me today.
no like curing like.
I think I'll save similia similibus curantur for the morrow.