Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence

Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence
Sock on the Great Wall

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Low Can I Go?

I am hypoglycemic. I have been my whole life. Those who know me know enough to have small amounts of food on hand to shove into my mouth when my blood sugar takes a dive. Those who don't know me - well, they pretty much don't want to know me after I've hit my glycemic low. I have no control over my reactions - it just happens. I know somewhere in the recesses of my mind that I am behaving irrationally but my present self doesn't give a crap and just wants caloric intake immediately.

This morning I had a scheduled OSHA physical. For my line of work it is required that I get poked, prodded and punctured annually. So not only do I get to partake in the joys of a 'girly' annual each year, I get to have this additional defiling of my body as well. Good times. Anyway, for the blood analysis it is a requirement that one fasts for a minimum of 10 hours prior to the appointment. That's right - a 10 hour abstinence of food. To be blatantly clear, that's 10 hours of no calories going into my body. None. You see where this is going?

Arriving to the facility where my physical was to commence, I was already hungry (translation - I was f--in' starving and ready to gnaw off my own arm). To reiterate, the reason for my lack of caloric intake was to fulfil the requirements of the blood work panel. So I figured, as any smart person with a low blood sugar level would, that they would take blood first so as to allow the (victim) patient to eat a small snack to recover prior to getting the rest of the three hour exam completed. No, that would make way too much sense. Instead they decided to (torture) run a battery of other tests and examine me first. By the time I was done with the actual physical I was pail, freezing, shaking and ready to kill and/or dismember someone.

Just to paint a more vivid picture into the minds of all (2) of you who are reading this. Some of the symptoms resulting from one having a drop in their blood sugar include, but are not limited to: negativism, irritability, belligerence, combativeness, rage. All of those where bestowed upon the staff at Strong Occupational Health facility this morning. It was not pretty and I am not proud. I am certain it will take them quite some time to forget me. Perhaps by my next annual exam the events of this morning will be brushed under the rug...or perhaps they will remember me well enough to know that my blood needs to be drawn first thing upon my arrival. God help them if they forget the latter.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I know, I know - I haven't been writing as much lately. I can attribute my lack of documentation for my daily life to being super busy at work, riding too much, spending too much time with T (not that I'm complaining), dealing with my neurotic animals...but in all reality I think it really comes down to not having a whole lot to say.

Well, that has changed as my search for new carbon mountain bike shoes is my dilemma:

I need new bike shoes*. Yes, need - "a condition requiring relief; anything that is necessary but lacking; to require; the quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite; inevitableness; indispensableness."

[*I am a woman - when I say I 'need' new shoes it usually means I only want them because they are pretty, shiny, this case, however, it is a true case of necessity as my old shoes are pretty much shot.]

Knowing that my foot can only fit comfortably into Specialized shoes, that is the brand I chose to research. I would love a pair of Sidi's, however they are made for slender European feet - I have the most unfortunate genetic make up as to have wide, sturdy, Russian feet. I know, too much information. This prelude is, however, necessary for the latter part of my ramblings.

So I have been researching and to only find that women's shoes have no options for width (if they did, I would buy the Sidi's) and usually only one color option - which is seems to always be a light color (baby blue, silver, white). For mountain bike shoes?!?!?! White? Silver? Baby F--in Blue?!?!?! This for some reason is making my blood boil. When I went to the men's section - they had width options and color options to make a girl green with envy. So unfair! We are women! We need color options! It is in our genetic code! Most men don't care about f--in color - give them standard black and they're happy as long as it's a good quality shoe. Aargh!

My only option now is a silver shoe...sigh, the sacrifices we must make. Well, I suppose they will look nice for perhaps the first 10 minutes of their inaugural ride. So, be on the look out for the girl on the trails with mud encrusted everything but her shiny silver slippers...if I drop one in the woods, will prince charming show up at my door step on his two wheeled (Soma) steed?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Race Recap

I survived the Harcore 24 with minor cuts and bruises as well as a second place finish for our team. Good work to all the members that contributed to the epic run through the torrential storm that tore through the first half of the race - making for a slippery, muddy and a very rutted out course!

I had no idea what to expect from this as it was my first time in a 24 hour mountain bike race, but I do know that I had the time of my life! I never imagined in the midst of such a physical beating that it was possible to have such an incredible time! Even my lap during the heaviest part of the rain storm on Saturday, while Boris and I were slipping and sliding (and falling), I couldn't get rid of the huge smile on my face. I kept trying not to smile as the mud and dirt kept getting lodged in my teeth, to no avail - even today I can feel the grit in my mouth.

We arrived late Friday evening during a most intense thunder storm. On the drive down blinding lightning bolts struck in the surrounding valley. The rain came down with such force we had to pull over for minute due to lack of visibility. I have never experienced a storm so formidable yet exhilarating.

We ate dinner with T$'s team (The Night Crawlers - they came in second in their group as well - good work guys!), they strategised for a bit, then it was off to bed. Roughly eight, much needed hours later we got up to pre-ride the course. I felt as if I could have slept longer but the race started at noon and we needed to get out to the course asap. We ran through the first part of the course which didn't seem too bad - except for all the f--in climbing. Without my first cup of coffee it was rough, but at least I knew what to expect in terms of where I could get some speed without having to come to screeching halt before making a 90 degree turn uphill - of which there were plenty. We got back, showered (yes, I know I would just be dirty again later - and how! But for a brief moment I needed to feel clean), ate some of the most delicious frittata this side of the Rio Grande, then got the bikes* and ourselves ready.

*Boris looked so tough with his number tag on...and even more tough after our first lap caked in mud.

The race set off at noon. T was the first rider on his team out of the gate and as expected he did an amazing job hanging with the big boys - he is wicked fast and getting faster each time out! After he completed his first lap my anxiety was somewhat quelled by the huge, muddy smile on his face.

I was the third rider for the fifth lap (our leader and second each did two laps) and got caught in the heaviest part of the rainfall that day. Good times. It was actually very good, except for the fact that I had to ride a bit slower than I wanted to due to my bike and I sliding around each turn and wheels spinning out on the climbs. Even with lowering my tire pressure it was so hard to get any kind of traction. Through one of the double track sections I was hauling in my highest gear coming around a turn when Boris and I slid out - not any old fall and slide, oh no - this was like a slip and slide on my right side at high velocity. The high grass at the edge of the track stopped us, we popped right up and back on track we went. I couldn't help but laugh for a good minute after that. My shorts, jersey, helmet, every inch of me and my bike were caked with mud and completely drenched throughout.

Towards the end of the lap, Boris wasn't even shifting properly anymore due the extensive amount of grit that gunked up in gears. For a brief moment I though a single speed would have been nice - that moment was very brief, indeed. I only need to get my thighs meatier (and much, much stronger) for that!

The entire race I slept for roughly two hours - and did I sleep. I don't remember a thing except HF waking me up at 2a.m. to get ready for my next lap. I popped right up and immediately threw on my riding clothes, grabbed Boris and my gear and headed down to the area where the riders came through before the mile long climb into the last section of single track. (Once you saw a rider come through there you pretty much knew that you had on average 20 minutes before your lap). So I sat at an inviting campfire, drank some cowboy coffee (the best I've ever had!) and waited to see if my team member would tell me whether or not he was riding two laps or done after that one. He finally came through and screamed that he was done after that lap. Ok then, I was ready - full of caffeine and two hours of sleep.

I got my handlebar light ready and my helmet light on - in case I needed to communicate with martians - that thing was so f--in bright! Got tagged in and off I went.

Now, just so it is known, I have never ridden trails at night before. Never! Everyone kept telling me how much more difficult it is, how much scarier it is, how you need to focus more. I fell in love that night. I am buying a NiteRider TriNewt and I am going to ride every night that I physically can. I found that lap to be the best trail ride I have ever experienced - EVER! I focused just fine, in fact all I could focus on was the line ahead of me - the periphery disappeared and it didn't matter. I felt so comfortable cruising through there, that I was certain my lap time would be faster than during the rainstorm...and it would have been until I came upon a rider in distress.

I was a race, but I couldn't leave the poor guy, that's just bad karma. I ended up (wasting) adding over 30 minutes to my lap because the guy jammed his chain in between his cassette and hub - that's right - into it, I mean embedded. Not sure how he managed to do it, but it was in there, and it wasn't coming out. After about 20 minutes of removing the back tire and trying to pull it out (to no avail) we ended up breaking his chain and he was forced to coast out. Lucky for him the majority of the that trail out was downhill. So I tried to make up for lost time, but there was no use. So I just figured on having a fun ride out as fast as I could go without dying.

That was my last lap, so the rest of the race I spent cheering on my team, T and the rest of his team, as well as all the other riders. I must mention one rider in particular that deserves it - I don't know her name, but she was the only female solo rider and I truly commend her on her drive and ambition. At the end of it she completed 11 laps, or roughtly 88 miles (granted the male solo winner completed 19 laps and 154 miles - but he was built like a brick shithouse. So as impressive as that is in itself, I feel she deserved some props of her own). Good work, Sister!

The day ended with awards, food, sun (at long last it stopped raining!) and finally much needed sleep. I can honestly say, I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend and I can't wait until the next race!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary Stephie and Kelly!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Hey it's Friday! That's the best news I have heard all day...well except that it's Friday the 13th, which really means absolutely nothing to me other than the fact that people are paranoid. To me it's just another day but more importantly IT'S FRIDAY!

Later today I get to load up two mountain bikes, piles of gear and food into my Kia rental then drive out to Naples for the 24 hour race this weekend. Aside from the fact that El Fuego won't be making this trip (to the Kia's street cred - it can actually hold at minimum two bikes when the seats are folded down) I am super psyched to be a part of this race.

This will be my first (and hopefully not last) 24 hour mountain bike race. My original team was disbanded as the members are all proud parents and realised that the race was on Father's day weekend. That put the kibosh on team 'Old and Slow'. I was kind of disappointed but seeing as how I now have a new found network of bikers, I was then chosen as backup for one of our shop teams. To boot our shop decided to have a corporate team, so I will now be riding with them provided no one gets hurt on the first team. Ah to be desired by the biking community...I only wish my skills were on par with that - but no, I am a handicap, a requirement for the one girl per team rule. That's ok, I know I have what it takes...especially after fueling up race day with T's amazing Universally Renowned Buckwheat, flax seed, honey, pb pancakes! (Update: the breakfast menu, I have just been informed, has been changed. We will now be fueling up on Cutler's World Famous Fritatta's). You'll see Boris and I crushing the course!

Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Just wanted to throw a shout out to my friends Rivka and Dan who have taken a 6 month (?) sabbatical to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. To any and all interested their exploits, they can be lived through vicariously here. I wish them well on their journey and a safe return home!

They give me inspiration for my 'Someday-soon-bike-trip-through-Europe-with-T-$-and-our-Surly-Travelers-Checks'...and I can scam some good ideas off their supply list :)

Happy trails, Guys - we miss you here at the ROC!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cataclysm and Lights

The last few weeks have been more than eventful, to say the least, and as a result my blogging activities have been neglected. Since, well...since my life began, I have been running around with my head cut off and there seems to be no end in sight. I say this repetitively that most days I wouldn't have it any other way, but once in a while a girls gotta have a day off. Be careful what you wish for...yikes!

I was granted an involuntary day off last Friday as a result of a most unfortunate occurrence that morning. I wanted to write about it as well as the events which resulted in my declining mood throughout the entire day just to clear out my mind/conscience/etc. however, I chose to keep them all private as I felt (and still do) that best. No worries to those who are concerned - all is well in my realm. On the upside I did use the day to attend to some much needed housework and spend some quality time with my doggers as they have been completely abandoned now that it's biking season.

I sometimes think that I was some sort of horrible person in my past life. Why in the midst of such great times do most unfortunate events occur? Is it a test of one's mental stability or toughness? Are these just a random one time occurrences that have no purpose what so ever? Is this perhaps just how life is? Friday was a definite test of my emotional strength as I felt the entire day was collapsing slowly around me. I am not sure of how to put it other than that, but I kept forcing myself to realise that the next day would be better. It had to be.

Poor T had to deal with my cathartic release that night - not sure how, but he made me divert my thoughts to other things. Good, bad or other wise, it was much needed. Saturday was most assuredly a new day and I awoke feeling 100% better. I knew I would, but I think sometimes it is so hard to get past the severity of present events to actually believe that there is a point beyond them.

The public market was in order for the improvement upon my weekend as well as the replenishment of fresh food in my pantry (which had been as neglected as my poor animals lately). I find the market to be like a Saturday morning vacation. Usually I abhor crowds but the market is one of my few exceptions. I actually look forward to waiting in the coffee line at Boulder. Each weekend I crave to be amongst all of Rochester's denizens struggling through the crowds to get that perfect bunch of bananas or those sweet, fresh grapes. To wait for my egg and bagel sandwich to be cooked while I absorb all of the wonderful smells in the cheese shop (that in itself is a beautiful torture as I can't actually eat the cheeses). Of course, the best part of this weekly adventure, are the people I experience it with (you know who you are!).

After the market it was off to work at the bike shop - always a good time to be surrounded by beautiful two wheeled eye candy. The day ended with an amazing dinner and a roof deck chair 'party' in the warm summer breeze. There is always a light at the end of each tunnel, it's just that some tunnels seem to go on forever into endless darkness...but each time, without fail the impending light appears. I think sometimes in the midst of my personal misery it's easy to forget that and even easier to fall into the dismal spiral downward. As time goes by I just try and remember that those feelings are temporary. Sometimes it is easier to convince myself of that than others...and sometimes I need the help of friends and family to remind me. I am so thankful for the latter.

Thursday, June 5, 2008