025 Wedgies

I don’t know how it happened. Geler Votre Cul Cross, freeze your ass off, my skinsuit shorts started riding up. I was wearing leg warmers and thick gloves. The gloves were a bit much and came off with a lap and a half to go. I was concerned thin gloves would leave my hands frozen at the start and I would be unable to shift confidently during a crazy start.

Wedge in Profile
Point being, there I was with thick gloves trying to yank down my shorts while cornering, avoiding a barn and trying not to slow down.

My thought process during this moment; crap my shorts, what is going on, I have a skinsuit wedgie, wait is my ass hanging out, no, okay, try to pull them down, crap corner, try to pull them down, crap gloves, crap barn, eff it I’ll just have to deal with this wedgie.

I had a good race, in the mix, felt strong.

Bad Andy in Orange
Wedge in Full Effect
Proud of my Bad Andy, 2011 MAC Cyclocross Series Overall Winner.


024 3 - 0

The jokes we make can turn into the goals that we secretly hold onto. We let them brew in our hearts, and pull them out when the training gets tough. We set the little goals in the hope that one day all those little ones will add up to the big one.

Being married to an elite cyclocross racer may have given me a different perspective than some. It was always the joke, the gentle teaser for the beginner racer, “so when are you gonna move up”?

So if we want we can; sleep in a little, go out to breakfast, enjoy the scenery outside of the race venue. It was turning into wait what state are we in, oh right every race looks the same because we’ve been at the race venue for over 8 hours a day.

We put in our time. BA is nothing but supportive of my racing, even when it was at the crack of dawn and hourd from his race, or when I wanted to get there even earlier so I could pre ride more than one lap.

“Maybe by the time I’m thirty,” I blurted out one day. I think I was 27 at the time. I wasn’t sure if I was serious or not but I kept a hold of that goal I had just set for myself. I had three years right.

The years went on, every year I got a little faster, fitter and smarter. Every year I put in a little more time and hard work. Every year I learned a little more and paid a little more attention to both my strengths and weaknesses.

The 2010 cross season was both fun and frustrating. Perhaps I was putting to much pressure on myself. I thought I should be somewhere and wasn’t getting there. Sure I had improved, but not as much as I wanted. Really who did I think I was comparing myself to? For the most part I focused on the improvement I had made and not the improvements of others.

I changed as a racer last season.  I always showed up to race and tried my best, but I finally realized what that meant for me. It meant I wasn’t going to do my best on pure fitness, it meant I wasn’t going to ride away from everyone, it meant I would need to study the course, it meant I needed to know what gear to be in at transitions, it meant I needed to know which corners could be railed and which couldn’t, it meant I needed to know alternate lines if the one I was planning on taking was blocked, and of course it meant I needed to throw all that planning out the window if the race demanded it and just react.

The season ended and I was completely done. Not with riding, but I had nothing left for racing, suffering and fighting. I just wanted to pedal without intensity or purpose. I wanted to leave for a ride and get lost on the road.

The winter came and I found CrossFit and gained confidence in a sport where I had some natural strength. Then Mountain and Road season began in the spring. I had some really good races, even made the podium a few times, all the while thinking, “Maybe by the time I’m thirty”.

I was in a position where the decision was mine. I decided what was right for me was to move on. It was time, I wasn’t giving up but I was letting go. I realized if I stayed where I was it would probably be my last season as a cross racer. Yes strong words, but I really needed a big push a new outlook on racing.

I went for it and never looked back.


023 Easy Killer

Easy killer is pretty much what BA told me last night. Sometimes I'm extremely stubborn. That stubbornness and fight can be to a fault at times. That's why I have BA to pull me back to reality.

I want to race the next MASS Race, French Creek. I've already spent the money. Right now it's not that I need the money, but I just don't want it to go to waste.

I was actually trying to rationalize it to myself. Just this race and then I'll recover through the rest of the antibiotics. Alas, I won't be there.

This isn't something to eff with he says. The words ring true. While I may come back with a negative Lyme's diagnosis, I may also come back with a positive.

Right now, I need to let the antibiotics and my body do the work, and not stress my body more by racing around the woods for two hours on Saturday.

I'm drawing some inspiration from these tulip photographs. I heart "real" abstracts. It's an aerial photograph of tulip fields, but appears to be a painters abstract creation.


022 Lemons and Lyme's

The Mid Atlantic Super Series presented the Granogue Mountain Bike Race this weekend. Andrew Mein's Excellent Adventure held on the Dupont's estate just outside Wilmington Delaware. I came home with a nice plaque for 2nd U40 Sport Woman, a nice travel mug, and a tick attached to my belly. The little sucker was feeding on me just like a little vampire, that's disgusting. First misquitoes now ticks, who knew this blog would turn into my personal trials and tribulations with blood sucking critters. Yes it looked like a deer tick, no it didn't appear to have a full belly of my blood, yes unfortunatly I crushed the little sucker trying to remove it, yes part of it is still in me, yes that's disgusting.

I didn't notice it until Monday evening. Cross your fingers that it crawled on me Monday when I was sorting through the clothes I wore to the race on Sunday to wash and wasn't feeding on me since Sunday, yes that's disgusting.

Yesterday I developed a stiffness in my upper back and a small bulls eye around the bite. Doctor time. The prescription is for antibiotics now and a blood test after I'm done with the antibiotics. If I don't have the lyme antibodies then either I didn't have it or the antibiotics worked. Sounds better to me than waiting a couple weeks to see if my blood tests for lyme and then proceeding with antibiotics.

My goal for Granogue was small. Just finish.

The start was good. The first section of single track gave me some trouble and the second section some more. I continued on, tried to relax, and told myself yes this may start to suck a whole lot but do not stop pedaling.

Then I got in a good rhythm, started riding better and even letting it rip a little. In the end it was a ton of fun.

Unlike the Bakers Dozen I was nervous for this race. I have no idea why. You could say this race is my nemesis, I've never finished until this year. Yeah, goal accomplished and I managed to pull 2nd U40 sport woman.

I'm not letting this little blood sucker hold me back. French Creek is this weekend and I'm registered.
Last weeks royal wedding in England got me intrigued on the subject of royalty. I studied the family trees, followed the lineages and read the dramas. How strange to see your family tree mapped out for the entire world to see. As I read about the dramas and scandals of this prince or that queen I thought, they are so real. These things happen in every family not even with the exception of royalty.

I wish the best for the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge. I think they may have got it right. I hope so anyway. They seem genuine, balanced and real. Sure there will probably be scandals, dramas, and lies that I may or may not read about. But for this moment on this day, I felt like I could connect with them.


021 Mosquitoes

They're back, I got bit by a mosquito on the upper portion of my ear. Where this person got a rad tattoo, my ear is red and swollen and looks like that cauliflower ear wrestlers get. It itches bitches.

I received the bite on Sunday while trying to pull the most gigantic spring onion out of the ivy patch. I used a proper dead lift technique but it wouldn't budge. Ripped the top off without getting any of the goods. Total onion fail.

I worked on my hamstrings while picking up the millions of sticks and branches that littered our yard after Saturday's storm. My kind neighbor saw me out there picking up sticks and stopped by to return some that belonged to the trees located on my property. We both have the same species of trees. I guess when your a weakling these things matter. I thanked them and continued on my dead lifting spring onion workout.


020 Punk Rock Rescue

The free punk rock show at the American Bar and Grill was just what BA and I needed. When I wonder what is happening to this world, are policy makers following a good path, am I loosing too much hope in humanity or did I have too much faith to begin with.

Punk Rock was there to the rescue. When a show is free, well you never know what to expect. The bands were good, and I was refreshed by the community spirit. It was simply put a pretty rad show.

And just what we needed. A night out, some loud music, and a few two dollar beers.

019 Weener

Wins come few and far between for most cyclists and athletes in general. I'm not the type of athlete that gauges their sucess on wins. I would have been out of the cycling game a long time ago if that was the case.

Taking my first legitimate win ever at the Leesburg Baker's Dozen, three female catagory, was just the reassurace I needed that I am making some fitness progress. There was something really rewarding that it was a team effort. Team Estrojets. We had a solid team and we just rode. That simple.

I brought my A game, I knew we had a chance to do well. The funny thing is though I wasn't nervous. I was excited to race my bike. Bring it mud, bring it slick roots, bring it rocks.

I'm seriously loving my new hardtail 29er. It's changed by whole outlook on mountain biking. I feel just as powerful as when I'm on my cross or road bike, which was not the case before.

Since January BA and I have been working out at the Crossfit Collective. Crossfit is a serious butt kicker, but so rewarding. I'm feeling so much stronger on the bike. The combination of weight training and gymnastics was just what I needed to add to my training recipe.


018 Fast

I haven't felt fast for awhile. Since the Sterling Ma. NACT Finals Cross Races, Thanksgiving weekend. I keep reminding myself that it's okay not to feel fast in January and I probably shouldn't be fast in January. I had an entire Fall Cross season where I felt fast. On the long winter rides it's easy to forget.

On Saturday I decided to ride out to the fields. The roads where the traffic is sparse and the farm fields are plentiful. I avoided these roads last week due to the threat of snow drifting and blowing. The cross winds are strong on these flat roads that traverse barren fields. I feel at home, they remind me of growing up on the farm. Long walks around the fields. I didn't move far from home, but some days I miss being right there surrounded by them.

As a child I loved the wind. When a storm was approaching or just blowing across the barren fields. It lended a sense of excitement to the outside. I would run outside into the wind and let it whip my hair around as I leaned into it letting the force hold me up.

As a cyclist I loathe the wind. I stay in during wind advisories, I curse the cross wind that pushes my bike into the gutter, and I fight the head wind that makes turning the easiest gear incredibly hard. On Saturday as I rode through the fields, I accepted the wind. It's winter and I'm feeling slow. I will not fight the wind but instead ride my pace. There will be plenty of windy spring days to slice through the wind with speed and determination, but for now I've accepted the wind. As I turned the corner onto the Brownstown Road Race course the head wind pushed me back. I accepted it and kept pedaling. Up the hill, across the finishing straight and off course I continued on my long winter ride.

I passed an amish teen in Rumspringa. He was scooting along in a sweatshirt, beanie, jeans and sneakers. His scooter basket was full of packages. He was not fighting the wind. He was simply moving.

I allowed myself to enjoy the scenery. I had no intervals to do or recover from. The length of Stumptown Road there was a line of toilet paper strung for miles disappearing into the white snow, as if someone had held a roll out of the car window and let the wind take it a will. I pressed on into the winter wind.


017 Chasing Old Trails

Yes this is a little old. I'm getting back into the groove....

The holidays means spending time with family and returning to old hometown haunts. For BA and I it means packing up the car with mountain bikes and presents. We try to squeeze in as much riding time as possible. I hang onto BA's wheel as he whips around the trails of his high school days. The days of night ride poaching with flash lights and ski gloves. I'm told of story's long past. Of winter rides in waffle thermals, hooded sweatshirts, and corduroy shorts.

The trails are rough, one giant rut, fallen trees, and frozen mud. The hills are tiresome, but we attempt to ride them all. As I dismount my bike and begin the trek uphill BA says, "yeah this isn't even rideable in the dry, in case you were wondering".

Then there's the moments where the trails flow, through the pine forest, down the descents. I'm permitted to lead the chase every once in awhile. I scream all the way downhill. Entertainment for the more confident BA.
I sweat like a fiend, we remove rain coats. It rains a lot, the trails are always muddy. If you want to ride around here you get used to the mud I'm told. BA reminisces of the "dry" summer, when they rode everyday. There's talk of changes to the trail, better drainage through a nasty mud pit, and the hill that he's only made up once without dabbing.

We return to the car. I'm exhausted. I never tire of hearing the old mountain biking stories. Races in corduroy shorts and waffle thermals. I'm reminded, I may never be that hard, no matter how good I get. We can only strive with all our technical gear and carbon bikes to retain the passion of corduroy shorts and waffle thermals.

It's the feeling in our guts, the highs and lows, the goals we achieve and the ones we don't. On these winter rides I'm reminded of why I pedal.