You don’t change horses in midstream…unless the horse dies. Then you can either sit atop a stinky horse or get a new shiny horse to remove you from the stink and hopefully find you a good saloon… I digress…

I was riding the ol’ Cannondale along the Sammamish River trail Friday morning when I stopped about ten miles in. I had been doing awesome, pacing in the rain at 15mph (hey, for me that is good!) and not minding (well, not much) the puddle of water in my clippy shoes (note to self, get shoe covers). I got water, took off, heard a “wsh-chunk!”, and then a “scrape scrape scrape scrape”.

“Scrape scrape scrape scrape” is not what you want to hear on your bike, in the rain, 10 miles from your car, on a relatively deserted path. “Scrape scrape scrape scrape” kinda sucks. An untrained investigation showed that my rear wheel was out of true, it was scraping against the brake. With no prospect of rescue I rode the thing with a scraping brake in 10mph headwinds in the rain (not uphill but you get the idea) back. My pace slowed to 11mph.

At the earliest opportunity I deposited it with much angst at Mr. Crampy’s.

I am awaiting guidance via phone from Kyle “Mr. Crampy” of Mr. Crampy’s Multisport in Redmond. He called and left note that my bike, my lovely fourth-hand Cannondale, has died. It has died of a dead spoke, a need of wheels, messed up shifters, and the only good thing on it is its frame. I am going to need to purchase a new bike, because it is not safe.

When a man who does Ironmans each year for FUN and is ex-special forces is telling you not to do something because it is not safe, you listen.

I’m a bit nervous though: my old bike was a road bike with mountain bike tires (because skinny tires scare fat girls like me) and there’s this whole budget thing. Also, I have only ONE more long ride in training before the Big Day, and that is this Saturday. Ergo, I need to purchase, fit, and ride this bad boy within the next week.

It’s not as though I had a lot of other things on my plate — my brother got married this weekend, bought that new car, shifting jobs, school and PTA is wrapping up, and all of the myriad of normal life-things that waft in and out of my responsibility cloud. I’m actually quite glad I finally took the bike to someone who alerted me to all of this: I went to the local bike shop (we will not print their name, but they are VERY close to my house) and TOLD them I’d be on this thing for 2 days straight and they charged me 20 bucks and said good enough.

I won’t be going back there. I’m going to ride into the very orange sunset with something from Mr. Crampy’s.

Weighty Issues

Getting a body fat scale may not have been a morale-engendering idea.

I will not publicly post my body fat percentage, but I even ran it by my doctor and my personal trainer and both flatly refuse to believe it. Both of these ladies are no-nonsense, non BS types (hm… now who do they remind me of?) so I’m going to assume that for some reason, it’s not working correctly.

I have lost body fat according to it. But 1% off of a bajillion percent is a small bps change, you know?

I was chatting with a coworker the other day (he finished an Olympic in 2:22, which is pretty damned good) and he teased me about how he wasn’t quite at the level such that he could “charge” for events. Well, technically I’m not charging, I’m raising money for cancer research, and I doubt that I could finish an Olympic in 2:22.  I’m half tempted to see how the Danskin turns out and then sign up for the Black Diamond Olympic, because then I’d have a challenge (only on the swim and run side — somehow, biking 24 miles is just so not really challenging anymore).

I have guilt. I have guilt that I’m somehow projecting athleticism or fitness that is not verified by my scale (or my figure, no matter what you say Jeff). I work out just enough to train for what I’ve signed on for, and to be able to eat whatever/whenever/however. The only reason I don’t weigh 120 pounds and am not rocking a size two is that I enjoy food and am not so good at the pushing the plate away thing. I do not match the visual standard of someone who does the things I have signed on to do (or even have done — If I told you I have run 3 half-marathons, and a triathlon, in the last two years, you would call bullsh!t on me). It is discomforting.

But as Sophia Loren said, everything you see I owe to pasta.  And I loooooooooove to carboload.

PS — by Saturday I will have spent 112 miles on a bike this week. I chafe. That is all.

Home Stretch

Considering that I’ve only been in training 4 and a half months, I can call the next five weeks the home stretch. I’m following the training guidelines, and am on a first-name basis with my local bike fixer dude, as my derailer isn’t quite sure if it wants to derail my chain appropriately or derail my ride inappropriately. I blame poor nomenclature for its inadequacies and overcompensation.

I have, as of last week, made the minimum amount of money raised ($2,500) and am aiming to get my goal of $3,000 in. At this point, my goal is to stay on the bike for the two days of riding and hope my rear end doesn’t fall off.

Or maybe I hope it will. Since starting training in January I have gained — wait for it, wait for it — seven pounds. SEVEN. POUNDS. This is insane.

Ok, let’s put this into perspective: I weigh X.

At my lowest weight at this height, I weighed X-19.  At my highest weight at this height, unpregnant, I weighed X+40ish. (Yeah, I’m putting the “ish” there. I wasn’t proud of it, and it was a long long time ago). I am on the slighter end of this sliding scale but it doesn’t make me happy.

I have ordered a body fat scale (hello, whole new heights of things to obsess about!) and I’ve downloaded an app for that, and an app for this. I would really like to get back to at least X-7, which is where I was in the New Year and fine with that. I’d like even more to get back to X-19, or even perhaps X-25; but let’s not get too carried away.

That said, I have a new job 🙂 Perhaps that will help burn some excess calories?


Ok, so, first, I just have to get this off my chest: something I really really really really really really wanted, I got. I can’t talk about it just yet, but I got it, and I’m really happy about it, and no it’s not a pony.

Wow, I feel so much better. Don’t you? Ok now on to the real post:

You know when you are at the copy machine and you put your little papers in the feeder and you press the little green button and it goes “whrr…whrr..whrr” just fine and then it goes “splllllllltchunk”? You know that’s bad, right? This is when the copier has managed to take originals 2, 5, and 7 and accordion them quite neatly into some recess you didn’t know existed. You spend literally hours, HOURS, looking through all of the nooks and crannies of the machine, patiently following the screen’s unhelpful, generic tips.

“Lift flap A, remove paper”

(There is no paper under flap “A”).

“Lift partition “B”, remove paper”.

(There is no paper under flap “B”).

“Return all documents to the document feeder”

(You do that, but you ain’t buying it”)


And you’re back to fiddling with flap “A”, again, aren’t you?

This is much like my back. I inherited my back from my father, along with my unibrow, an acerbic sense of humor, and an intolerance for bad italian food. My back does not do well with ordinary things.

Yesterday I threw my back out, for instance, whilst removing items from the clothes dryer. My clothes dryer is actually on a six-inch platform so this was even less strain than the average person has to subject themselves to. And I was only removing a load of sheets, not a load of lead weights. It is never when I am moving 50-pound pots of roses or helping move sofabeds that I throw my back out. No, I throw it out doing laundry.

This morning I woke up twice as stiff and in need of something to make it go away, so naturally I went to the gym and got on the bike. I usually see a chiropractor and a massage therapist for the back, but they are both out of town, and I am left wishing that I had even the crappy guidelines most copy machines give you in order to fix my back.


Man is a creature who, having given up on an efficient way of dealing with daily traffic, aspires to go to the Moon — and then Mars. On a shoestring.

People are generally goal driven. The nobility and value of those goals are generally subjective; if your goal is to spend the rest of your life as a couch potato far be it from me to dissuade you. Just leave some of the Cheet0s for me.

Of late I find myself searching for, and adding to, my goals. In doing so I find I do *better* if I pick ones that, while not completely unattainable, are quite difficult. E.g., signing up for a 160 mile, 2-day bike ride after having successfully ridden 12 miles.  I find that if I set myself up for a challenge– a not-impossible one, but one that I can’t really flake on, either — I will rise to meet it. This strokes my ego in some sort of way I’m not going to be able to articulate clearly, but that’s ok: I still get the oxytocin release.

I find that this tendency to set challenge and then meet (or get close) breaks down into smaller pieces of the overall goal: to wit, mileage. Each week now we are to be riding about 55-65 miles in addition to our long ride, and our long ride has to fall within a given Min and Max. Being paranoid that I will not make my goal I have been advocating the Max (so, last weeks was 47 on top of 60 miles which would put us at 7miles over goal for weekly mileage– and we made 41. Go ahead and do the math, I’ll wait).

What I’m getting to is, much like the person who “games” their watch by setting it 5 minutes fast, if we set the weekly goal to X+Y where X is the minimum required effort and Y is WWLD (What Would Lance Do), we are typically achieving X and sometimes achieving Xb (you know, halfway between X and Y). This is not bad on the whole, but I wonder at the psychology of it. If I was just “honest” with myself and said “ok, we’re doing 47 because that’s the minimum required this week (and it is)”, would I do the 47? Or would I suddenly cramp, or hit a wall, or fling myself over bicycle tracks?

There is a certain amount of fear in setting goals that may be just beyond your reach. But we got to the Moon on analog technology that is less sophisticated than items you use everyday. Stretching is good.