Monday, February 24, 2014

You Guess It...

Another rad weekend of bikes and house work! But this time there was a healthy does of good girlfriends, delish dinner and hot tub time!
Davey even got an extra dose of love! I think he likes Meryl more than me as well!

Friday evening Figgie (AKA Diya) arrived in all her glory with amazing home made Indian food in tow. We devoured every last bite of the lamb and Daal before pictures could even be considered. It was just like College when she would come back from break with tupperware full of Saag smuggled from her mother's freezer. 
To celebrate Figgie's visit the next morning we ate eggs from our chickens for the first time in... I couldn't tell you how long, I can't think back that far. 
Breakfast of champions!

Then we did some bike building, because the real reason for Diya's visit was to pick up a new mountain bike we scored for her!
Figgie kicking booty on a climb in Whiting Ranch. I may have lied a few times about how many climbs there were.

Next we took off in separate directions to ride bikes. I had some work to do, so I rode up Maple Springs, rocked some intervals and nearly killed about a dozen hikers descending Holy Jim. They I hurried over to Whiting to end the ride the girls were on, which was a blast and a half! 
A few hours later and we were all cooking in our tiny kitchen.
Notice Meryl's idea of cooking is eating cheese :)

I think Brendan likes having 4 women cook for him over just one! Figgie made us Saag Panneer (which I am still eating as leftovers!), Allie made amazing chicken, and Meryl and I threw together a salad.
It felt like thanksgiving!

Stuffing ourselves silly and laughing hysterically at terrible puns and college memories was followed by some steamy hot tub time, and then 5 very tired kids. We don't have the stamina for staying up like we used to :)

Sunday was spent riding bikes with Carl, and starting a new house project. The bike ride was awesome (SJT to Pinos in 3 hours, Bam!), and the house project is exciting, but I will save that for another time. In closing, here is a picture of Carl spending 20 minutes fixing a flat. 
The f-word was said more than 20 times :) Needless to say, I don't think Carl likes changing flats when Stan's is involved!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

On Hard Work

This week I am really appreciating how much hard work it is to be a semi pro athlete. Monday I got a head cold, and Tuesday/Wednesday I was scheduled to do some pretty tough workouts. Knowing the season opener is a little over a week away, I didn't want to miss any of the workouts, plus work and taking care of the dog/boy/house, it's all pretty exhausting. Fast forward to Thursday night though, all that pain and work is behind me, and the cold is almost gone! I wouldn't trade this work for anything in the world, but boy am I glad for a mandatory no bike riding day tomorrow. 
Right now I am super grateful for an awesome coach who sends me encouraging emails in the thick of a hard week like this. Thanks CTS for making that happen!
Something else I have really appreciated this week, chard from my own garden. I can't get over the colors!

Here's another one to file under the list of stuff I am thankful for: donations to the Tustin High Mountain Bike team. You may not know it, but lack of equipment for eager high schoolers is our biggest setback. We need all the love and donations we can get our paws on. Thanks to Keith for this rad bike. I know just the kid to tear it up on this beast this season! 

Our cars had some sexy time with their hoods up! Because the dang Prius wouldn't start. Put figuring out a finicky Prius at the end of a long day with a cold, not the most fun Thursday afternoon.

Looking forward to hanging out with this lovely lady this weekend!

And I am missing riding bikes with this kid!

Monday, February 17, 2014

What, No Race This Weekend?

That's right, I didn't even race my bike once this weekend! But that doesn't mean there wasn't some serious shredding on Sunday to make up for it!
You can't tell how steep this trail is, so use your imagination. Also, apparently I stick my tongue out when concentrating.

More on Sunday's ride later, because Saturday was a crazy hard, fun, long day, with many exciting happenings. First I had to do a field test for the new coach. That was the hard part. Lets just say after that ride I wanted to lie on the ground for many many hours. Instead, Brendan and I had a day after Valentine's day day date, and hit up our fave store Home Depot! Then we needed to kill a bit of time so we ran around about a million model homes, our second fave activity, and saw lots of cool decorating ideas/awesome community amenities.
The center of one development was right up our ally, and Brendan helped design that bike!

This map was posted outside a neighborhood bike mechanic shop!

As was this bike stuff vending machine. I've wanted to put one of these in Silverado FOREVER! Also, bike tube recycling? Great idea for people who don't patch old tubes!

Thought this was also a nice added touch :)

Saw this rad table made of bike tires.

There was a community green house!

Want to make one of these for our house.

And one of the model houses had TONS of "reclaimed" wood, which we thought was super pretty. I like pretending I live in the model homes. This one was my favorite.

Then I took Brendan on our real V-Day (a day late) date to go see a movie at Cinepolis. We saw The Wolf Of Wall Street, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend to anyone, ever, but the luxury movie theater experience was a trip.
Love this kid :) And I think he loved sitting in a recliner at the theater.
You can order food and beverages while you watch the movie. We ate until our tummies hurt.

That all seems like enough for one weekend, but then Sunday Carl and I shredded Laguna and Aliso Woods. We rode 32 miles, including 6 major ups and downs. I busted out the trail bike for this one, because, well, it is Laguna, and was surprised to discover that rocking the hardtail all this time has made me a better descender on my trail bike.
Lots of good views, and some stupid long hike-a-bikes!

Of course afterwards there was MORE garage organizing and manual labor, but thats par for the course on a Sunday afternoon.
And that wraps up yet another great weekend of bikes, manual labor, and a bit of lovie Brendan time!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Assorted Random Thoughts

This week has been pretty crazy with a few highs and lows to really make it as exciting as possible. 
The highs included Tuesday night's mtb ride in which we had incredible dirt, and a breath taking sunset. 

Not the best pic, but it was out of control pretty.

I was also able to clean an insanely steep uphill portion of Thieves trail which I have never been able to ride before (thanks to Luke's idea of riding slowly enough that we could try to clean the whole climb). On top of all that, I think riding Harriet so much is paying off because I felt super good on the descents, and went lots faster than normal!

Back up to Monday, when I had time to relax, drink some delish coffee snacks and read because NO SCHOOL!
Whipped cream, prob my favorite non bike related activity.

Then, on Wednesday there was a ridiculous long staff meeting that kept me at school until 5pm! As a result I didn't start my workout until 5, which meant doing intervals in the dark. I choose to do them on Maple Springs road past the gate, but was pretty spooked out by various noises, a car full of teenagers, and possible mountain lions (some have been sighted in the area), which meant relocating to lower down on Silverado Canyon road. It doesn't sound terrible, but there were tears at one point. I was also bummed because all I wanted to do that night was roast a chicken, which didn't happen. 
Thursday night though, BAM, chicken!
Aint she perty?

In other fabulous news, I am now a Carmichael Training Systems athlete! So excited for this race season, and for getting fast on mountain bikes!!!

I will leave you with this glorious picture of my regal dog. He is always so proud and well composed. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

More Shreddin the Santa Ana's

It's a little blurry, but this is what most of my Sunday looked like! 

Yep, that's right, I took Harriet out again on Sunday to shred in the Santa Ana Mountains! Who would have guessed that I would pick the hardtail over my trail bike every Sunday? We picked a longish route this time, up Trabuco, down Yeager Mesa, up Holy Jim and then down all three Joplins. It turned out to be the perfect ride with the perfect dirt. Serious hero dirt all day. 
You can't tell by this picture, but Yeager is one of the steepest trails around.

Highlights from this ride included sliding down Yeager with my butt on my rear tire, riding all of the top half of Joplin without dabbing (this doesn't happen often for me), screaming down Rose Canyon trail as fast as possible, being amazed once again at what a good bike the CXR is, and hitting two peaks in one day like old times. Also, perfect dirt, I cannot emphasize how good the dirt was. When it doesn't rain in Orange County for the whole month of January, you really appreciate wet dirt!
View from Pinos Peak looking out towards Santiago Peak.

View from Santiago Peak looking back at Pinos Peak. The clouds were rad all day.

Tearing down Upper Rose Canyon, trying as hard as possible to keep up with Carl. 

Lower Rose Canyon. Swoopy fast goodness.

Many more pictures than normal thanks to Carl, who says they are a fringe benefit of me being slower at descending than him. Also, Carl makes me stop during the ride to do things like eat and stuff when I am itching to keep shredding.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fun-Tucky Take 2!

Went back to Fontana today for some more KMC winter series fun. This time I was flying solo as Brendan wanted to stay home and help the electrician get more electricity in our house (At least that's what I heard when he explained the procedure to me! It's like he was speaking French or something). 
I did come home to this again though. Seriously. 

The other difference between this race and the one two weeks ago was the sweet, tacky dirt! I guess the .25 inches of rain we got this week was the perfect amount, because boy was it hero-rific! There were four women in my race this time too, so a little more competition than last time. 
I promptly made a fool out of myself by crashing myself out on the starting line during staging! Super embarrassing, but humbling too I guess :) Then we were off. I was out front from the start and never really saw any of the other women, but I did get passed by a teenage boy, chased by a dog, and almost crashed out by a DHer on the course. It was pretty exciting to say the least. Lap 1 was the fastest, then I settled in to a comfortable hard pace, and had fun rocking the downhills (remember I had no suspension last time). 
Highlights of the race include launching the CXR off a few water bars and rubbing my butt on the rear tire mid air, being surprised once again at how awesome 29" wheels are and how capable Harriet is, and also winning. 
A little more rounded out podium. 
Proof that there were four of us.

Well, that about sums it up. Next on the calender is the real season opener in Dripping Springs Texas (still a few weeks away). I have a lot of work to do between now and March 1, and an exciting change on the horizon! But for now, off to do house work/clean the garage!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bits and Pieces

This is my view right now (minus the hot chocolate "recovery" drink I am holding).

That's right, it's finally raining here in SoCal. We may only get a sprinkling tonight, but it is more than nothing, so we will take it! 
Besides the rain, the death of an Orange County cyclist last Sunday has been on my mind constantly. 
That is the memorial for a 21 year old boy, Joe, who loves the same thing I do, bikes.

Joe was struck by a car from behind on a road I ride literally every day on my way home from work. I cried the first two times I rode past his 'ghost bike'. I cried because he was someone's son, and some girl's boyfriend. I cried because I cannot imagine how devastated Brendan would be if something like this happened to me, or how sad I would be if this was my sister, and I cried because he was so young, and just out doing something so innocent and beautiful. 

On a less sad note, although I don't really stop thinking about Joe and the accident, our weekends aren't entirely filled with bikes. Here are a few non-bike related pictures from our time in San Diego last weekend. 

Brendan in front of a post it note mural of Michael Jackson.

Kristine and I approve of the interior decor in the Modern Times tasting room (and the beer too!)

We also got to spend quality time with our fave room mates Allie and Meryl, but unfortunately we sucked at taking pictures (maybe because our night of board games turned into a night of watching Clueless, ha!). Regardless, thanks for showing us a good time in SD Kristine, Meryl and Allie! We can't wait to come back.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Harriet the Hardtail Conquers Bell Ridge

Contemplating my love for Harriet.

This past Sunday I made some more questionable judgment calls, and took Harriet out for some fun little Trabuco trail to Bell Ridge action. I wasn't sure how a 29er hardtail would handle the steeps and rockies of these trails, but I did know that the wicked light bike would be so fun to shoulder for the hikes and might be a blast on the rocky climby sections.
You can't see the trail here, but this climb is pretty steep and techy, and boy was it fun with Harriet! Plus, look at those trees, REAL trees!

Carl and I set off nice and late in the morning up Trabuco wash, and then Trabuco trail. Just as I imagined Harriet was a beast on the rocks and made child's play out of technical sections I normally have to work hard to clean. On the steep middle section of Trabuco she was a champ in the loose shale, leaving me smiling and barely breathing hard. I was impressed. Then we were rudely passed by motos (not legal on this trail), which made Carl and I both a bit grumpy. 2 stroke fumes in the forest are not my fave. 
We soon arrived at Pinos Peak though, Carl's favorite place, maybe in the whole world.
Another shot of the sexy Harriet in her natural habitat.

This is where the real fun, and test of the 29er's capability began. The initial descent on Bell is super steep and winds through the trees. It was out of this world. I never thought I would enjoy this section of trail more than on my trail bike, but somehow Harriet was more fun, and just as fast! Something about rubbing my butt on my rear tire too...
Next is a few steep as heck hike a bikes, which were no biggie with a 20 lb bike on my back! 
Lastly a technical, rocky, twisty, brushy mess of trail winds down along the ridge, and this too Harriet conquered like a pro! After riding the "linear accelerator", a section of trail that forces you to increase your speed as you fly down a rock garden, I had to let out a holler because the smile on my face wasn't enough to express my joy.  
At the flag above Ding Dong Trail

We ended the ride with Ding Dong, a very technical and steep trail that spit us out on the wash where we 
had started the day. 
It was just one of those days when you are smiling from ear to ear because the bike and trail come together for the perfect ride. Have you ever smiled the whole way down a trail before?

Brendan and I spent the rest of the weekend working on the house, wrapping up another great weekend of bikes, bikes and manual labor!
The floor is SO close to being done!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Unfortunately I have no 'Brendan is Davey's favorite' pictures, but did those two ham it up this weekend! They slept with their heads right next to each on the drive down to Boulevard, CA for, wait for it, a road race! Yes, that's right, I left Harriet the hard trail in the stable on Saturday and tried my hand at racing road bikes for the first time in 4 years.
That's poor Harriet hanging around, feeling sad  and neglected.

I've had the itch to do a road race since training camp, so off to Boulevard we went. I choose to go the stealth route, dressing as much like a fred as possible (although these days that is the only way I am capable of dressing!). I was very nervous at the start, and spent the first lap acting like a fred, breaking in the pack, moving all around as sketchy as possible, and trying to get a feel for which of these roadies I needed to watch out for. When we got to the climb I quickly found out because a girl from the Spy/liv giant team threw down the gauntlet and off we went. At the top there were only 4 of us and then the real suffering began as we worked to establish the break. 2 laps later we were on the final climb, the two girls who were on the same team pulled some nasty roadie tactics on me, and i crossed the line in 3rd. I guess i am pretty happy with this result considering I dont road race anymore, but I have to be honest, I did have a few day dreams of out climbing everyone and winning. Those girls were wicked strong though, and had the tactics to boot!
Proof that I can still hold my own in a road race!

More about my love affair with Harriet coming tomorrow, but for now I need to hit the sac!
A preview of the love ride Harriet and I pulled off today. It was dreamy.