30 January, 2010

Warsaw - part 2

This morning began with an early walk to the gym. It had snowed again overnight and a very few people were beginning to clean the sidwalks, spreading sand and salt mixture and sweeping. I started out about seven thirty. There are many dog lovers in Warsaw and one small dog that was not on a leash decided to run and bark at me. It reminded me of riding in JMF weekend before last, but I don't know how to say "good boy" in Polish. I'm glad he didn't nip, too. It is the same everywhere. Some people control their pets and others do not.

Alas, the gym didn't open until nine and I had to be back by nine thirty. The internet was getting corrected at the apartment. I've had wonderful hosts taking me out, helping me exchange money, and today touring Old Town.

Tonight I went back to Old Town by myself and had dinner in a very nice restaurant. Roast duck with apples and potatoes (and another dish I can't remember the name, but is the color of beets) as well as the Polish beer Zywiec (of couse says the waiter) and began with a nice salad of tomatoes and mozzarella. The pianist sat down and began playing songs familiar from my youth. Nat King Cole's Unforgettable. Then Beethoven and later My Funny Valentine.Two gentlemen sit at the table across from me. They order in English but converse in German. How cosmopolitan Warsaw has become. Full of expats. It still amazes me when I sit with colleagues that have varied native language and we all do business in English. I truly wish I had stuck with my French. Maybe I will get Rosetta and learn Polish seems it might be helpful

The walk down from Universitek was brisk but beautiful as Christmas lights are still bright along the streets.
Lots of time to think tonight. I have plenty on my mind with work, daughters, personal things like friendships, future, and reflecting on why homesickness got to me yesterday. Not sure why I have such a difficult time being solo. Maybe not so difficult but keep thinking how nice it would be to share this with someone special.

Tomorrow morning, the gym and then some work and then shopping for a few mementos and gifts.

28 January, 2010

Warsaw - part 1

Flight to Chicago, uneventful and ontime (except they rushed boarding as fog was threatening @ Chicago) - tram to International terminal - hour wait in line @ security - 20 minute wait in line to purchase water. Flight on LOT to Warsaw was nice enough. Most passengers around me didn't speak English. 10 hours on a plane get very old and I got very stiff after 6 hours.

Sally and Seamus picked me up, showed me the apt and took me shopping for food, had lunch and kept me busy all afternoon with many beers. Sleep for the first few nights was difficult. Time change is hard for me.

I fixed dinner in on Monday night. um, Celsius vs Farenheit on oven and I burned the butter and filled the kitchen with smoke. :-) ditz! microwave has interesting symbols, which I believe refer to warm vs cook vs defrost, but difficult to know for sure. reading food packaging in polish is also very trying exercise and just learning a few words makes me appreciate that all these colleagues have learned English.

The people are so warm and friendly. A few of us had dinner Wed night. A colleague has helped me to locate a gym and took me last night. He negotiated the clerk to allow me to workout and pay the next time I go. Which at this point will be Friday morning. The walk to the gym is about 15-20 minutes. The weather here is quite cold, but warmed enough over night for it to snow.

I'm a bit homesick. I don't have internet connection @ apartment yet. Being 6 hours different I'm always calculating what time it is at home to figure out what people might be doing. Right now they are sleeping.

Heather said that Socks isn't well, but then she hasn't been for some time. I hope she lasts til I get home.

22 January, 2010

Roller Races!

So, I think I wrote before about my one successful attempt riding the rollers after trying several times. It was in my apartment, in a hallway and I needed to return the rollers to their owner the next morning. I'd had them for a couple of weeks and had been intimidated by them. Mostly because I was afraid of falling and damaging my healed shoulder.

I attended the last race of the 2009 season end of January and was fascinated by the spectacle. I decided then that I intended to "race next year". Next year is here and I'd been told these roller races wouldn't be held in the same venue as last year. Finally rec'd news a couple of weeks ago that 2 racers have taken it over and found a new venue.

Now, I don't own rollers, YET. It's been a couple of months since my successful attempt (alone and next to a wall for support). Wednesday arrived and I packed my trainer and bike in the car, my gear in tow as well and drove to Chamberlain Lane.

I lined up my trainer with the others and started warming up. Some brought their rollers to warm up with and I was able to warm up for a few minutes on one set. That helped with my confidence!

11 showed up to compete. There are fixed and geared catergories. Depending upon your age/category you have to maintain a certain chain ring/gear ratio to keep it fair. Some racers even use their disk wheels.

1st everyone raced a 500 meter Time Trial to rank the racers into groups of 4. You race two at a time against those in your group and against the clock (see picture) and the stopwatch twice for 1,000 meters, the top 4 do 1,500 meters. It is a single elimination tournament. I had a spotter, who said I did very well for my first time. If memory serves, most of the 1,000 meter racers times were 1:02 - 1:08 and mine was 1:12. I'll take it! The last 250 meters are tough and the last 100 are HARD. I worked and worked but the cadence kept slowing. I have lots of work to do in that area.

I was the only woman. I have been trying to recruit more women. I will miss the next two and be off my bike for 2 weeks. I will be back for the last 3! My next race will hurt like crazy I'm sure.

I have no delusions of anything but fun and improvement. I used someones rollers last night at the trainer tour during warm up and was feeling good about it. Time to get more educated and then make another purchase. :-)
I leave tomorrow for Warsaw for 2 weeks. I'm going to miss my bike! They are trying to get me into a gym. I will need some form of exercise.

18 January, 2010

Hours, Miles, Dogs, Brakes

5 hours, 60 miles, 3 dogs may mean new brakes for the Felt.

I had no takers for this ride. I have been wanting to get back out there. It's been 6 months since I crashed. Several other attempts wound up getting cancelled.

I was slow as molasses. The weather people said due to fog there could be ice on roadways. I had planned to leave for this ride about 9:30, watched the club ride get cancelled and moved back my start time to 11:00. I'm glad I did. Pavement was wet many places once on Southern Pkwy and points south. They also said the temps would rise to high 40s. They got it wrong. It was 37F when I got home.

I dressed about as well I could based upon the forecast. My feet got cold, but I didn't think I'd need charcoal warmers. They got cold and stayed cold. I didn't wear the balaclava, but the new skull cap. The first 30 minutes I questioned that, because my face was stinging. But in the end I was glad I made this choice. My head didn't sweat anything like it does with the balaclava.

There were crosswinds and headwinds all but about an hour of the ride. I think I was protected in the hills for that. I couldn't get the computer to work. Then I realised I put on a different front wheel (not sure why I had previously used the black one instead of the silver that matches the rear). I forgot to put the magnet on it! computer won't work without it. ditz

Sander's Gate Rd is not marked at the turn, but at the next interseation so I have a little more distance than I recorded when I mapped the ride a few minutes ago. Traffic was good for the most part. Once you arrive south of Iroquois Park everything becomes very rural and increasingly so. There were 3 deer running along Old 3rd Street road and back Weisertown. Cars were stopping, I was trying to get out of the way of the deer. One lady was talking to me, "did you see that?..." Wish I had a camera, but probably wouldn't have time to capture them anyway.

There were lots of dogs. Most were either behind fences or chained. But 3 decided to chase/run alongside. I tried to remain composed, but my heart rate raced! I just started saying, "good dog, good boy" and after a little distance, "go home now". I'm lucky I know this. Too many fellow cyclists have some wounds and stories. I kept my water bottle handy, but I need a hand pump I think. Something I can use as a weapon if necessary.

Jefferson Hill was hard, I checked my time when I got to the top and decided to cut the ride short. I turned right onto Top Hill Rd instead of left on Mitchell Hill. Mitchell was the downward spiral to my broken bones last July. I rode the brakes so hard going down to Knob Creek I started to wonder how hot they were getting. And if I'd have enough later on! I should've stopped and eaten at the bottom, but the clock was worrying me so I kept going. I got to Hwy 44 and turned into Skyview and immediately pulled off the road. I'd been coming downhill and was in my big ring/12. Skyview goes up and as I found out, up and up and up. I downshifted and began my ascent. That didn't last nearly long enough. I walked way more than I rode. I got back on my bike and rode a short bit and then walked a bit more. Once at the top of Skyview, I made a quick call to the map author to see if there was a shorter route back. I was past 3 hours in and had plenty of road to go. I then ate half of my bagel and some trailmix and continued on.

The downhill @ Pendleton scared me just as much as getting to Knob Creek. The pavement was wet and there was loose gravel in places. My knuckles had to be white, my fingertips went numb from squeezing the brakes. I made a wrong turn off Blevins Gap and lost my handwritten cue sheet. Turned around, found Penile Rd. and made my way back to Iroquois. The only thing for the rest of my ride that stands out is when I was on 2nd just past YPAS. A very expensive car passes, very closely and the passenger rolls down the window and screams at me. WTF?

I got home @ 4, ate the rest of my bagel, sponged off and dressed and left for Baptist East. Had a CT scan today to check on the lymph node in my right lung. I'm thinking it's back to normal. I haven't wheezed since early Nov. I am so tired. I rode a little over 9 hours this weekend. Should've been more miles and a little more miles, but no regrets. My HR monitor says I burned 2246 calories. Guess the 2nd Negro Modelo is ok

17 January, 2010

somedays are good - plans change

plans change - hoped to ride a century on Saturday, but several racers were going to the Show and Go. I wasn't going to ride to Salem and get dropped and not know where I was. But I rode about 65 miles anyway. My computer started acting up at one point and the speed kept changing from all haphazardly and then went to 0. It missed 10 miles. I don't know if the magnet on the wheel moved or what.

The bike club banquet was last night. It was very well attended. Hugs were aplenty and conversation was lively. I'd hoped to sit with several friends, but tables were taken and seats scarce. The awards piece always seems long, but it's good to have this once a year event.

Brian had planned a ride to the forest today, but rain came in and temps being low 40s decided to cancel. Guess I'll get on the trainer. Was hoping the rain would stop and could at least get in a fw miles outside. There's still some time.

Puddle sent out a note for a show and go century tomorrow. I responded but haven't heard details. Only 6 or 7 more days to get to ride.

10 January, 2010

Riding trails now?

After yesterday I really wanted to get back out on my cross bike. I figured the park roads would be slushy and I was right. B2 told me about a team mates and couple of friends were going to ride Cherokee @ 2. So, I took off to see if I could run into them.

They were nice and let me tag along. Oh my what fun it was! The trails were frozen with packed snow. Will said that it's a good thing that my rear brake is a little loose. They were riding mtn bikes and I was on my cross bike. They were spinning like crazy and I'm trying to find the right gear.

Each time I got good momentum it's time to slow down and take some technical turns through trees. Over roots and rocks up and down steep sloping terrain. I woke up some muscles! I also took several spills. Most were cushioned and I laughed and laughed. It was so much fun! There was one very steep descent, Will cautioned me to sit back. What a rush that was! On the last trail I wound up walking one hill. My legs and ass were screaming at me.

One of these spills was and EndO. Front wheel locked body and rear wheel kept moving, right over top. My first! It was slow motion and I survived!

I even asked Will's dad for a ride home, which I probably should've ridden and spun out my legs. My thumb joints are aching a bit and my "good" shoulder is feeling interesting. I'm NOT complaining. It was a great workout, 2 days in a row. I have plenty to learn about all this stuff. And all these feelings of aches and pains just remind me that I'm alive and kicking and "loving every minute of it". Only a couple of nice bruises, we'll call those trophies.

ps this morning the only thing really bothering me are the knees, they are bruised but think I need to check pedal placement too

09 January, 2010

Snowy ride on my cross bike!

After feeling miserable from late Wed night, Thursday and Friday I finallly started feeling better Friday afternoon. I had an appt with Christiine and she always opens up some blocked areas. By late afternoon I was feeling human. Had a brief visit with a good friend, he picked up some riding gear he let me borrow. Then had dinner with Heather. That was nice.

The crew sent out an email about a trail run this morning. I thought seriously about doing it, but forgot to turn up the volume on the alarm clock and slept til 7:15. They were going to meet @ 8. I fixed myself a potful of oatmeal, enough for 3 days and read through email. Someone posted a 10 am ride on The Loop with mtn bikes, but cross bikes would be ok. I decided to do this and got my gear together, dressed, hot tea and hot water in bottles, etc...

My landlord hasn't done anythiing about the parking lot, so I got a first taste of the morning's ride right off the bat. Not bad as there was plenty of snow that wasn't packed to ice. As I rode to the ride start I started to talk myself out of this idea. It was cold (not that cold), they were going to be fast, and on and on. I pulled into the left-hand turning lane away from the start and was going to head to the parks. From somewhere my voice asked, "what are you doing? you want to ride outside and this is the only chance with others". I waited for traffic to clear and turned right.

4 guys in their 20s and 30s showed up, all on mtn bikes. I had only met one of them previously, though knew of or seen the rest before. We took Beargrass trail to Spring/Adam to the loop. Almost the entire route was snow covered. The pace was good for me and these guys were slipping and spinning at times. One started talking about who would crash first. I slid on the bridge on Beargrass trail and had to unclip briefly. Didn't really enjoy that. But for the most part I kept my legs spinning and wheels under me. I started losing ground somewhere before we got to Shawnee golf course, but kept the others in sight. I caught up to them at least once, but there was ice under the snow in places. This made it very sketchy for me. By the time I arrived at Shawnee Park I'd lost sight of them.

I could've continued on and spent some time thinking about doing just that. My toes had gotten wet from stepping in the snow and were starting to get uncomfortably cold. I decided to head back solo. As soon as I got onto Southwestern pkwy, one bottle cage came loose. I stopped to fix it and the screw fell, it took forever to find it. by the time I got back on the bike riding I had gotten cold and my right had was wet.

Maybe it was the fact that I stopped, but I swear I was warmer riding on the trails in the snow than on the pavement. We were protected from the wind in many sections, but once on the road the wind became a factor for me. My face started to sting at some point along Bank Street.

All in all, I had a very good ride. Interesting listening to the guys talk. They kept it fairly tame at first but loosened up and talked the way guys do when they're together. I got home and ran a hot bath. It was damned difficult to get out of the tub. I started shivering and wasn't sure I'd stop. Grabbed some lunch and took a nap. My legs are talking to me, what a workout that was. I'm hoping I can get back out tomorrow and ride, maybe just through the parks. It'll be the trainer on week days.

07 January, 2010

sore throat

woke up in middle of night with a scratchy throat and it was misery all morning then as it has subsided I've gottent his nice headache to replace the focus of pain.

I spend lots of time alone, too much time alone causes me to think. Then I go and do stupid stuff like send emails I should leave in draft form for a while.

So I fuck up way too much stuff that I really want to be good.

06 January, 2010

just all mixed up

and am a big goof - it was a great beginning to the day today.

I held a call with one of my peers in Warsaw. She and I have really connected over the last few years, teaming up when we could. She held a call with me and a new team leader that I'll be working closely with over the next year or longer. I've very excited about this new team, the team lead and the work we are tasked with for the next period of time.

Later this morning I had a call with my boss. She said to book my flights to Warsaw and I'll stay in her apartment. Two weeks is a long time to be gone. I can't ride my bike for two weeks, what am I gonna do? Fresh veggies will be impossible to get hold of, all starchy food.

I should be thrilled and am on one hand but anxious on the other

I need to stop second guessing myself.

03 January, 2010

Should've posted before now

I'll try to put something together that is more comprehensive, but:
I had 3 incredible days bringing in the New Year with a special friend. Dinner in, a movie, a bike ride - were all special. Moving forward slowly and easily, no need to rush.

Trying to get serious about training and put 4 hours on the trainer today. Had a two hour ride, took 30 minutes for lunch and then rode an hour, took a short 10 minute break and then another hour.

Weather has turned very cold. Just couldn't bring myself to ride outdoors today. Not sure when next time will come.

Back to work tomorrow and to bed now.

Hello 2010! I hope to make the best of you