Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Snacks- a Gu and a Lunabar typically
And here are the Betty type things:
This has come in handy more than once. It's not just a late season thing for me. It's a just in case we take a wrong turn on a Tuesday night kind of thing.
Pen with duct tape wrapped around it
I wanted something to wrap duct tape around like you typically see on water bottles but it needed to be lightweight and something I already had. I've actually also used the pen before too.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Finally got my panniers and rack set up. Liken' it.
Also, I've been thinking about what I should cook for six people on a camp stove. I normally cook for only two people while camping so this is a new adventure for me. I need something super easy, minimal pots (can you say like one or two?), and light weight to carry. To tell you the truth, I sort of wish it wasn't one person cooking per night sort of deal, but I guess roll with the punches right?
I was thinking burritos before and think this recipe might rock. I like the smoky tomato deal. Let me know if anyone has any suggestions!
1. Hammock, 2. Hammock Train, 3. Summer Breeze, 4. Hammock sleeping is great!
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
We had a pal from Minnesota that would say the word hammock so weird. We had to ask him again and again what he said. Then we made him write it down and we nearly peed our pants when we discovered he was saying hammock.
In the mean time, I finally have slap straps for my Eno pink hammock. Now I just need me two trees...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Day 17 of rain, rain, rain. I thought I lived in New England not Washington. So I strapped up in jeans and tall Smartwool socks. I was at my parents all week so I didn't have all my fancy wicking polyester gear.
And you know what? It felt so much better to ride like this- sort of like a kid again. When it didn't matter if your front wheel made a clicking sound and your chain needed to be greased.
As part of orientation for my freshman year in a small liberal arts college in Vermont we spent a week on an outdoor trip. While others choose Habitat for Humanity trips or maybe an easy backpacking trek, I decided to be the first girl ever to do the mountain bike trip. I love it when I accidently become the first girl to do things. It’s never quite intentional- I just sort of keep finding myself in those situations.
On our second morning, I was convinced to go for a short ride before breakfast. You should know- I am particularly dangerous before I eat- especially before breakfast. I am capable of turning green and ripping off my shirt like the Incredible Hulk or going insane trying to boil water- things like that.
Two hours into that morning ride it became clear that we weren’t getting breakfast and maybe not lunch as we continued our ride. In short my bonk involved these facts:
- I was walking far more than riding and they were starting to not wait for me at trail intersections.
- I had tunnel vision, was shaking violently, and throwing up.
- I was considering punching the guy in charge who kept answering my questions with “just 20 more minutes.”
- I cried a little.
- I laughed hysterically a little.
- I contemplated sitting and waiting for a helicopter.
I somehow made it out of those woods despite the worst bonk ever. And somehow I still like turning my wheels through the forest. It’s strange that no matter how hard you bonk, you always go back to that abusive relationship. We’re sick I tell you.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Buy her cute biking clothes and equipment
Yep, I started with the cheap and easy route. Sometimes when I was pretty sure I should just chuck my bike in the woods or out the window I would look at my super cool terry bike skort/pink water bottle holder/ and/or smart looking silver helmet and say “maybe one more ride…”
Ride with us
See how we’re progressively getting harder here? Start with the buying and then go to the actual doing of something? It sounds pretty easy right? Well it is actually pretty hard to do for some guys when their girlfriends are just starting out. It seems like a lot more fun to bust out and ride with your friends up ahead, but that then leaves your newbie girlfriend to consider all the suck factors that all beginning bikers start with.
Why are there so many rocks? Why won’t my stupid helmet/camelback/pedal stay in place? If you are actually riding with her not only can rescue the day by fixing stuff but you can actually talk. Even when we say it’s okay to go ahead- stay. We want riding to be just as much a social thing as a physical thing. Go figure.
Stop giving so many tips
Sure it’s nice to get a few basic tips the first five minutes, but after that give it a rest. When we go to crank up a steep hill and don’t make it we really don’t want to hear “you need to push down more on your handle bars.” Make it just about riding and not so much about Yoda imparting words of wisdom on Luke Skywalker.
Feel free to give compliments
Examples: “you look snappy in that red helmet.” “I like how you look with mud on your face.” “You looked spectacular flying over your handlebars like that.” “That hill was way too steep huh?”
Find groups rides where she won’t always be the last person
Why? Because it sucks to be last all the time.
Get her a bike of her own
I know- you’re not sure if she’ll be into. You’re not sure if she’ll ride it. In the end though, she’ll have a much better time and will be more likely to actually like riding if she has her own bike. So many beginning riders I meet are riding their beau’s old bike which is either way too big or way too heavy to even make a feeble attempt to keep up on.
Help her find a comfortable saddle
This might be your biggest challenge of all. Having a comfortable place to sit your tush is crucial to enjoying the ride. Shop around. Remember it's as much about the shape of the saddle as it is the cushion.
Do other stuff
Not every night needs to be a ride. Especially when it’s 100 degrees out and it just rained.
Include ice cream with every ride
It’s just more fun that way.
Monday, June 22, 2009
This is my old favorite bike. Before I raced her in a race through what consisted of mainly a two hour slug through mud.
Before her front suspension drank the sickly dark muddy drink.
Before I had to retire her from the racing world.
She was a sweet young thing with bright pink accents.
Oh, yes see the roots and rocks? I meant it when I said I like it rooty.
We’ve been stuck in a really consistent rain pattern here in the northeast the past two or three weeks. I heard this morning that our current pattern is a summer Nor’easter*. Hmm fabulous biking weather really.
It’s not that I don’t like rain, in fact I could really care less about the soggy bike shorts and wet glasses type thing. My favorite trails are more like long technical rocky and rooty trails. The kind of trails that when you fall- it’s only at a snail’s pace- so the bodily damage is pretty minimal. When you throw a little wetness down on some roots it becomes a little crazy and the falls get a bit more spectacular so I’ve been mainly hitting the road.
I’ve been racking up the mileage for my upcoming bike trip. I hit 44 miles this past Saturday- even though we were watching our two-year old nephew. Thank goodness for naps and boyfriends that play guitar all afternoon. I also got some excellent cartwheel and handstand practice in. Pictures to come...
*For those not from this neck of the woods, a Nor’easter is a sort of New England specific circular weather pattern that takes a long time to move out due to our geographic location. Typically we get these in the winter and it means a couple feet of snow. Anyway, that is my very unscientific explanation. A summer Nor’easter is a little less common, and with the most recent really long winter and kind of blah spring I am sooooo ready for some nice weather.
Friday, June 19, 2009
1. Underwater Camera Fun, 2. Swimming Sarah, 3. Happy Pepe, 4. Georgia I, 5. Dog Swimming, 6. Oh, hey...., 7. surf dog, 8. Swimming dog!
You know, truth be told I sort of like the wet dog smell. Click above to visit each dog and photographer's photostream.
I am binging big time for a bike ride. We’ve been getting nailed (really all summer so far) with a consistent pattern of heavy rain. Normally I would drag myself out for at least a road ride, but we’ve also been baby-sitting a two-year-old nephew. So for the moment- I’ll be staring out the window and spelling bike ride out with blocks.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Hey ya'll got some things to tell ya. Yeah, I've got a southern drawl, what's it to ya honey? So, biking this weekend right?
For one it was very hot. And I'm from the south so you'd think I can take it, but I can't really. I had to dig a lot of holes when we stopped and rest in them. And the bugs!? The bugs ya'll intense and of course we're always stoppin' so you know who can snap shots.
But really, I was glad to be out running even if it was muggy, buggy, and the roots were killer wet. It's been raining so much lately I almost couldn't stand it. I started doing things like running around in circles and eating out the kitty litter box again and ya know that is sooooo unlike me.
So, just happy to be along.
P.S. I've been doing a lot of work chasing down chipmunks, but I think they are still outnumbering us. So get out there and scare em off okay?
1. Urban slacklining?, 2. slacklining at miguels, 3. Slacklining #1, 4. Slacklining
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
I was totally smitten by this article on Gear Junkie. Loving all the slacklining pics on flickr (click above for photo creds). All I'm sayin' is I've gotta a birthday soon and this package looks pretty sweet.
Monday, June 15, 2009
When attacking overwhelming trips or problems I can only think in bullet points. So don't mind me while I list.
- The furthest I've ridden my bike to- date is 36 miles and I did that this past Friday.
- My bike goal this year is to go further.
- I have less than a month to prep.
- I've had my road bike for about two months now. I've ridden it maybe 6 times.
- I should mention I am that type of person that plans my route around the big hill at the end, cuts rides short to hit the ice cream stand on the way back, and gotten by mountain bike racing by doing the most minimal training (if you can call it that!) possible. Sorry to come out like that folks.
- I'm considering adding some interval training from this plan.
- I just bought these Ortlieb Rear Panniers in bright yellow. I'm hoping they fit.
- I'm considering getting front panniers, but I'm afraid I'll just do what I always do with extra space. That would be- fill it with stuff.
- We've decided to have each person cook one dinner for the whole group. I'm not much of a cook and I'm concerned that not feeding the fine folks I'm traveling with adequately, may be warrant for them to ditch me on the side of the road. Camp cooking for six will be new for me! I'm thinking something with rice, beans, and salsa.
P.S. That is not the bike I'll be using, I just thought I would try to remind myself how much I like biking while I add on the grueling miles.
Friday, June 12, 2009
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/13488581@N07/1415359611/, 2. A corner...., 3. teepee, 4. her new teepee
For some reason, a homemade tent is looking more and more the way to go. I love these creations and remembering being a kid dreaming inside of my tent for hours
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Mainly though, I think being a tired rider has helped me improve my mountain biking the most. Here is what a typical ride is like for me, particularly in the beginning of the season or when I was just starting out biking.
Start: Yeah!! I’m going for a bike ride. Damn my bike looks cool.
15 minutes in: Ummm this sucks. Maybe I should cut this loop short.
35 minutes in: f%47, F$^*, F^%$, stupid rock, stupid bike, stupid bugs
Yeah, there was a lot of this sucks when I first started biking and really the start of this season was this same exact swear fest. But somehow, something happens midway, especially when I am too far away from my car for a quick getaway.
1:05: Damn another hill. Screw it. I’m not getting off my bike.
1:08: What? I made it up that hill. Sweet
1:19: Oh, man here comes that rock garden that I always get off for. Screw it, I’m too tired to clip out. I’ll go till I fall down.
1:20: Sweet. I rode that rock garden?! Nice
Yeah, when I get too tired to let my mind take control and take the easy way out I start to just do it. I stop thinking and start riding. And luckily, as the season progresses and the years in the saddle increase, there is more of the sweet and less of the suck.
Here’s to more of the sweet my friends. Cheers.
You can't here it in this tape because of the bad audio quality, but I am literally shouting careful- don't break your ankle!
And then he continued the attacks with the dog hunt.
1. DSC01467, 2. zrakvise2006 179, 3. Lakejumpin_2006-35, 4. Lakejumpin_2006-21, 5. Lakejumpin_2006-20, 6. DSC01704, 7. Not His Bike, 8. Jumping..., 9. Bike Flugtage 2, 10. Bike Flugtage 3
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
Have you ever done this before? Oh gosh- I have and almost knocked out my teeth too. The trick is letting go of the bike before you hit the water. The water has a surprising amount of force at that speed.
I'd love to find some jumping contests like this. They look super fun.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I forgot to mention in my last dog post that while Misty will now walk over bridges carefree, she still hasn’t grasped the “right of way” type thing with other cyclists.
We were walking her out on the same trails we ride frequently. Bridges are really what make up the bulk of these trails too. So we were walking along and came head on with some mountain bikers riding towards us on the bridge.
She stopped and waited. We said our hellos- this always seems to help dogs when they hear people chatting. The second biker was almost across the bridge which was about three feet above the muddy swamp below and Misty decided now would be a good time to trot across.
Up she goes- decides it should just be a fake out- and then down she goes, hip deep into the mud below. Sweet, guess it’s going to be bath night tonight I think. Still it’s better than when she rolls around in deer and horse scat.
The biker passes and Misty tries to remount the bridge. She underestimates the slipperiness of the swamp mud and her newly covered legs and misses the bridge, falling backwards into the mud. She’s pretty sure this is the best it has ever been as she shakes off.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
1. Pink Beach Cruiser Bicycle - MakaiBikes.com, 2. Pink bike, 3. bicycles, pink, 4. Pink Bicycle, 5. Pink Bicycle, 6. Pink bicycle, 7. Bicycle (sign in pink), 8. Cute vintage pink bicycle in Verona, 9. Pink Bicycle in Vancouver, 10. pink bicycle, 11. pink bicycle, 12. pink bicycle
Mountain biking with Misty is probably some of the best riding I’ve ever done. We’ve had her for about two years and it never occurred to me to bring her mountain biking until this past spring.
But Misty was game in April to give this biking thing a try. When we go hiking she is great off leash. She stays close and doesn’t bother other people too much. (Although she does have a particular fondness of finding the oldest, white-haired man around and jumping all over him- crazy kid)
So for the first ride, I pack up my mountain bike things and stuffed a bag of doggy bones in my pocket. I knew that Misty wouldn’t be running right in front of the bike. I was more concerned that she would be too afraid to come up to the bike when I called.
When we first got her, she was terrified of everything. She shook at the thought of getting into the truck, she turned around when confronted with foot bridges, and loud noises – oh doggy- she didn’t go for those. With a few dog treats and easy going confrontation of things like bridges and trucks she has warmed right up to her old fears and has become down-right fearless.
How did she do mountain biking? Let me tell you- she didn’t just do good (yeah, good not well- I can’t stand proper English) she excelled. She was made for this.
I’ve had a few pets in my life and each I’ve loved, but Misty is a special dog. You know how you read those stories about amazing dogs that scare off bears, rescue children, and are down-right hilarious in their spare time? Well that’s Misty- she just hasn’t had a chance to prove her stuff quite yet.
In the mean time, she’s pretty happy running alongside me and chasing down villainous chipmunks and small game.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Adam inadvertently was panning when he shot these mountain biking photos. Panning basically involves moving the camera while the subject is moving past you. Here is what I know about panning:
Use a slow shutter speed. This allows some of the image to blur. Don't worry, your subject will be mostly in focus if you move the camera basically at the same speed they go past you. Slow in this photo was 1/40 with an aperture of 5.6. It was pretty dark out that day. I think anything really under 1/60 with a moving subject should be fine.
Move at the same speed (roughly!) as your subject. Basically, follow them through the lens.
Try different angles, up high, to the side, etc.
I haven't really worked out a good way to take photos while biking since it involves so much stop and go. It basically has turned into when we take photos we don't get much of a ride in, but it is still pretty darned fun.
Adam climbed up some rocks to take these shots.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
And a lot of biking too. Throw in a good yard sale and things went pretty well, I have to say. How did yours go?
Friday, June 5, 2009
Photo by So Sylvie
Are you ready to take off this weekend? I sure am. Here's the plan:
Long road bike ride (I need to do at least 30 miles- a big trip is coming up soon)
Trying this recipe
Doing a fun how to for night time camping photography
Before Misty I had a very wild and fun loving Dalmatian Mollie. She would have loved this springer for dogs that I found on Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley's photostream. I love this video. Also, check out her flickr stream here for other fun dog and biking pics.
P.S. Misty mountain bikes without a leash. This looks like a fun option for some dogs to go biking though.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
1. Old Camper, 2. jacob' s camper, 3. 1979 Fisher Price Jeep and Pop-Up Camper- Vintage Toy, 4. DSC00485, 5. caravan series (two), 6. These vintage campers and cars are great, 7. Limekiln boat rental camper, 8. Set up, 9. Vintage FP camper, 10. Key Lime Cowgirl!, 11. Vintage FP camper, 12. turqoise and yellow vintage camper
Paddling around the other morning I ran into even more friends on the river. You may remember my recent post about the freshwater eel. Well the other morning I was cruising along, psyched up for another morning of paddling when I saw a gaggle of geese up ahead.
A gaggle, really. I mean like 40 or 50 of them, all hanging out making merry, squawking away.
So I thought, no biggy, I'll just paddle right around them. The river is about 35 feet across at this particular point. I'm getting close and all 50 eyes are now turned and watching me. Very self conscious moment. Umm do I have something on my face?
A few of them start fake charging me, sort of hopping out of the water, wings flapping, beaks jabbering. I scream of course. I'm one of those people. Plus, I get pooped on by birds all the time and the situation was smelling like I would soon be covered.
So now the entire gaggle starts to get worked up and all crazy flapping their way out of the water right next to my head. Luckily I managed to hold onto my paddle and keep my green pickle kayak upright. But, really- this little river is getting a bit too crowded lately.
Speaking of a gaggle of geese have you heard of any of these groups before?
A turn of turtles
A murder of crows
A bike of wasps
A drift of quail
A glaring of cats
more fun groups of critters here.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Cutting through the still, early morning waters of a nearby slow moving river I've managed to come across some tiny scary things lately. Just scary enough to keep my ambitious two and three hour kayak trips down to an hour.
I know, you might be thinking, I thought you were a brave, adventurous kind of chick right? Well, I'll be the first to admit that while I tolerate insects and poison ivy, I'm not about to go rolling in it.
So anyway, I'm paddling along and the river is quite dark since the sun is just barely up in the sky and the tree cover alongside the river lets in just a few slants of sunlight. Up ahead, I see something in the water. At first, I thought- maybe a stick, but then I realized that in fact it was coming towards me at too fast of a rate to be a harmless stick. No, this thing was definitely moving.
Alright, I'd spent a few summers working as a lifeguard at a local lake- snake. No biggy, while snakes move pretty quick on the water and are slimy and all- I'm still good. There is really nothing too poisonous around these parts anyways.
Except there is more to that thing coming towards me. It's fast and it has a fin that is above the water. Yup, a friggin fin. Quick scan of prior knowledge leads me back to the summer my two brothers sought to catch the elusive freshwater eel in a nearby river. Oh crap- an eel.
Oh yes, an eel and I didn't hang out to find out exactly how long this puppy was either- I hightailed it. My kayak is pretty low to the water and I usually don't wear a kayak skirt, so there is a lot of easy crawl space for a fun loving eel to make home. I was reading up on these small finned creatures and discovered that they actually can walk on land. Fun, fun, fun.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I've been thinking a lot about my last post about being a better biker this summer.
And I think I've been bitten by the summer optimism bug. Yup, I'm geared up for a better summer and having more fun than ever. So you know what that means right? Another list baby.
Tubing down a river
Take more photos
Be a better juggler (I am currently a traditional three tennis ball juggler- maybe four?)
Get better at doing handstands
Sleep overnight in a hammock
Paint my toenails
"No matter what kind of rider we were last year, we'll be better this year. Come to think of it, was there ever a year when you didn't think you could be a better rider?" (Georgina, Terry cycling catalog)
Let's be realistic here, I have had one of the slowest, least active winters to date. I've sat on trains way to long, visited the gym not very often, and ridden on my bike trainer- twice, maybe three times. Yikes, by all means it may take me a whole season to even be in shape, least of all be better.
But still that bike optimism, shall we call it, has bitten me too. I think I'll be better this year, because the trails look good, my bike beacons me with it's attractive colors and my legs are dieing to be covered in mud.
So here is my Bike Better List:
Ride more group rides
Try some endurance races (Vermont 50, Hampshire 100?)
Make sport this season
Ride new trails
Sounds like a fun season. How is yours shaping up? Looking to find the sweetest cruiser? Want to try mountain biking? Give it a whirl.
This year- you'll be better.
Monday, June 1, 2009
My bike odometer reads 3.71 miles, but I’ve already passed the halfway point and this course is supposed to be 14 miles long. Fourteen miles is pretty far for me, especially this early in the season. My goal has been to make it to category two, or the sport class this season, but the thought of having to race 28 miles confirms to me that I should stay novice- at least a little while longer.
I know—pathetic-- you may think. But I’ll tell you what- I just love mountain biking. I love it. I love it. I love it. And turns out I think racing mountain bikes is pretty darned fun too.
Fun enough that I am suffering through 14 miles of—way more hills than I remember. Fun enough that I’ve smeared gu across my face and then kept the empty, chocolatey wrapper in my pocket all in an attempt to keep from bonking.
So here is some video of the finish. I’m scooting through pretty fast because I have the next girl in my category hot on my tail—the video doesn’t show this—but I think she came in like 10 seconds behind me.
At the end of this race, heck through the entire race, I kept wondering why the heck do I do this to myself? Let me tell you--- it is not the prettiest this mountain bike racing thing.
Now as I write this though, I’m counting down the days to the next race.