Trek Women
November 30, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

It’s the holiday season and you’re probably as stumped as I am right now for gift ideas. So, I thought I’d share a list of my favorite bike things that your favorite biker might like.

Here's how it works, click through the slideshow and on each image roll your mouse over the "Notes" to read why I like it. At the bottom of this entry, I provided links for more info about each item.

Got great gift ideas? Post a comment for the rest of us sorry shoppers or feel free to email me at TrekLaura@gmail.com and I'll compile a list.

Bell
Cool Cycling T-shirts
Trek Store in Downers Grove, IL
Timbuk2 Messenger Bag
Water Bottles
TIMEX Heart Rate Monitor
New Trek Bike
Cycling Socks
Hooded Long-sleeve Jersey
Book of Local Rides
Stuff Made out of Recycled Bicycle Bits
International Mountain Biking Association
League of American Bicyclists
USA Triathlon
Washington Area Bicycling Association
Trek Travel Trip
Trek Travel newsletter

Happy Shopping!

*¢ = under $10
$ = $10-$30
$$ = $30-$100
$$$ = $100-$1,000
$$$$ = $1,000+

November 28, 2007

Return of the beast...

The_beast It’s 5 am and I’m tossing my bedroom in search of my bike shoes with the SPD clips, not the ones with the Speedplays that I keep tripping over. Found ‘em, under the laundry pile in the corner. Make mental note to buy soap. Chug a cup of instant espresso, down a gel (blech, orange, all I can find).  It’s 5:12 am and I’m sprinting to the Marine Barracks.

The beast! The beast! The beast! You may remember me mentioning Rob, the “Beast”, from one of my early blogs. He used to teach fitness classes at the Barracks before he got stationed to Quantico this summer. He also did the Ironman Wisconsin in September and helped me out a lot with my triathlon training.

No one does spin like Rob. He’s brutal as in “I’m seeing a white light” but fun as all get out with awesome music. I would laugh the whole time, except when panting or whimpering. Back in the day, you could walk into his class and there would be no seats on the bikes. We’d do the whole class standing. Then, you’d spend the rest of the day sitting because your quads and hammies would be burning.

A couple of weeks ago, I endured a particularly awful spin class at my gym –- sorry, Grateful Dead, Flight of the Bumblebee and the 4 Tops don’t do it for me. I emailed Rob and asked him if he was still teaching, I was willing to drive anywhere for his class. He spoke with Jaime Morris, who is the Semper Fit Director at the Barracks and also a fellow devotee. They worked it out so that Rob could come up and do a class for us once a month. Today, he brought the beast back –- 5:15 am start, 75 minutes of spin, and no faking the resistance. Said Rob, “That means you, Trek girl.”

Side by side, Jaime and I sprinted, climbed, jumped, tempo’d, hovered, you name it, as the beast barked orders. We loved it! At one point, Jaime said that she felt like she was in the movie Chariots of Fire. I said our chariots were going to be on fire by the end. Then Rob said, “If you two can talk, you’re not working hard enough.” Dang, got me.

After class and our sweaty photo op, I asked Rob if he had a quote for the blog about his triumphant return. He responded with his signature cocky grin, “I’m disappointed no one puked.”

Next time, my friend. There’s always next time.

November 27, 2007

Squashed like a bug...

Trek_rider2_134 The Sign claims another victim this morning. An out-of-towner feels its wrath.

November 26, 2007

Back in time...

Trek_rider2_110 There’s something I need to tell you about my trip to Plymouth, Mass (home of THE rock) to spend Thanksgiving with my Aunt Beth. It’s nerdy; but, it’s tradition. I dress up as a Pilgrim on Thanksgiving morning. There, I said it.

This past Thursday, was the fourth time I’ve participated in the town’s annual Pilgrim’s Progress, where approximately 40 people representing the men, women and children who survived the first harsh winters in the New World colony walk from the Mayflower Society House, past THE rock, and up to Burial Hill to give thanks.

Pilgrim_crop I stood as Gilbert Winslow, age 21, who lived for a few years in the colony, then packed it in and went back to England. My first parade, I was John Billington, the first murderer in the colony who got hanged. Usually, my sisters and bro-in-law, Steve, and now my nephew Paddy join the Progress too; unfortunately, they weren’t able to make the trip this year. As a Mayflower descendent, I like being part of this Thanksgiving tradition. For me, it’s a moment to reflect on history, on freedom and on my place in time.

And, there’s always the hope that next year, I’ll get to be a woman.

November 22, 2007

Stick a fork in me...

Thanksgiving20turkeyI'm done. Tooooo... stuffed... to blog. I'm here outside Plymouth, MA in my Aunt Beth's home office using her computer. I would like to lay on the floor and rest the keyboard on my six-pack abs -- cause horizontal sounds kinda good right now -- but I don't have any abs, not even a one-pack, at the moment. I have a belly full of turkey, mashed potatoes, squash... and dressing, oh lordy, the dressing. Must take nap now.

I wonder if I have room for pie?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

November 19, 2007

The ups and downs...

Rollercoaster_seated_3 Five years ago, the company that I was working for held its annual summer employee outing at a local theme park. I was pretty plus-sized, almost at my heaviest, though I didn’t feel that way inside and I didn’t think I looked that way either. At the park, I met up with several of my co-workers and their significant others. We got in line for our first rollercoaster of the day, an old-fashioned wooden one. I stepped in to the car and sat down. I kind of squeezed in there. We went to the next one and I wedged in. Ride after ride, I managed to fit in until we got through a 90-minute wait to experience the park’s newest amusement – a loopy, in the dark, swervy coaster.

I stepped in to the car, sat down and couldn’t get the safety bar to lock. A couple of the ride operators came over and tried to push it down. It didn’t matter, I was too big. In front of all those strangers and my co-workers, I had to walk away from the ride. I have never felt so embarrassed in my entire life. Somehow, I was able to hold it together while I waited for the others at the exit. I wish I could say that was THE moment that set me on the path to improving my health; but, it would take another three years before I finally did it.

Losing weight is a lot like a rollercoaster ride. At turns, it’s scary and exhilarating. Sometimes my weight is down; sometimes it’s up then down again. Sometimes my focus is on track and other times it feels like I’m going around the bend. It’s all part of this thrill ride and the only thing I can do is throw my hands in the air, scream at the top of my lungs and enjoy it.

P.S. After I lost weight, I went back to that theme park and rode that rollercoaster. I fit.

November 15, 2007

Road rage...

Trek_rider2_098 Why is this sign bent? Hmmm, maybe because it "accidentally" fell on top of my car. I hate this stupid sign and I think it hates me back. It used to live on the sidewalk in front of our house until it fell over and stayed that way for 4 months, taunting me. Many times, I called and e-mailed the DC government to rat it out and get it vanquished to some other unsuspecting neighborhood.

Then one day, I came home from work and it had moved roadside. The sign had upped its ante. It went from being a pedestrian hazard and obnoxious eyesore to taking up one of the precious few, non-metered parking spaces on our block. Many nights, I’ve come home late and had to park at a meter. Inevitably, I forget that I’ve parked at said meter and end up with a $25 parking ticket. You've hit me in my The_signpocketbook, sign, and now you’ve taken it to another vile level.

Last night, I had to choose –- parking meter or the only free spot on the street. I thought we could let bygones be bygones. Obviously, I was mistaken. You may have won this battle –- sign -- but, you haven’t won the war.

November 14, 2007

Ride your Trek, live long and prosper...

Trek_rider2_081 One of the great things about being a Woman Who Rides is hanging out with really cool Trekkies -– not the kind who say things like “Beam me up, Scotty” –- though if they do, I don’t judge. I mean the people who work for Trek, own Trek shops, demo Trek bikes and ride Treks. When I was home, I met Greg Neyspor who owns the Trek Bicycle Store in Downers Grove, IL, a few miles from my Mom’s house.

Greg kindly lent me a road bike to use while I was in town, in fact, the very same model I ride in DC (a sweet Trek WSD 5000). I asked him if he knew of any local cycling groups that I could ride with over the weekend. Greg joked that if I was able to get up early after partying the night away at my 20th reunion, there was a big biking event happening on Sunday called “Roll the Tollway” to kick off the grand opening of a new 12.5-mile extension of I-355.

Hosted by the Illinois Tollway and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Roll offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ride a 20-mile loop on an interstate toll road before it opened to traffic with event proceeds to help fund a trail connecting Chicago’s Southland communities. The slogan for the ride… “Go where no bicycle has gone before.”*

Trek_rider2_080 The Roll was sold out; but, Greg gave me the hook-up since his shop was providing bicycle repair at the event. Chicago is not called the Windy City for nothing and a strong, cold headwind made resistance futile. But, I rode at my warp-ist speed with the 5,000 other bikers, spotting Greg and his son as they were getting ready to leave. We chatted for a bit, and then I went in search of something hot to drink.

While waiting in line, this guy points my bike out to his girlfriend and asks me if I like my ride. Do I ever! I listed all the features that I love like the carbon fiber frame, the WSD design, and I happened to mention that this was a loaner bike. They were ready to buy it off me on the spot. Hopefully, they’ll stop by Greg’s store soon.

Ride your Trek, live long and prosper.

*Seriously, I did not make this up to tie in with today's Trekkie theme.

# of Star Trek references in this blog = 8

November 12, 2007

Weren't you the homecoming queen...

Hinsdale_south For some people, high school was THE highlight of their lives. For others (e.g., me) we were glad to move on to bigger and better things. But this weekend, I went home again for my 20th reunion. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I walked the sweat sock-smelling halls of Hinsdale South High School and left behind trying to “fit in” to being a fabulously independent woman. I decided to go to the reunion because I was curious about what happened to everybody –- and frankly -- because so far my life has turned out pretty darn good.

It was a two-night event starting with a casual get-together on Friday at a local bar. I put on the skinny jeans that make my butt look good, fluffed my newly dark-red colored hair and went to face the past. Hardly anyone recognized me. When I’d tell them my name, people couldn’t believe it was me. “You look so good!” They’d say and actually mean it. One girl even said to me, “Weren’t you the homecoming queen?”

Shut up!!! I nearly fell on the floor. I never went to Homecoming or really any of the other school dances because I never got asked. I was chunky, shy and definitely not in the “in” crowd. I probably wasn’t even considered a “maybe” back then. But times change and thankfully we grow up. And for late bloomers like me, we come in to our own.

HshsOn Saturday, I had another great time at the official reunion party. I was surprised by how many of my classmates had moved back to the area to raise their families, which is kind of cool. I was one of only a handful of “singles” and it was fun to talk about life on Capitol Hill and Trek stuff. Confession time: there was a certain sweet revenge talking to the mean girls who were rather cruel back in the day and now they have weight issues. You know what they say about karma… I spent most of the night catching up with the kids I’ve known since grade school –- check out the big group picture, I’m in the middle.

All in all, it was well worth the trip. I learned that you can go home again… that the people who were nice in high school are still nice and successful and happy… and that there’s a homecoming queen in all of us. Now where did I put my tiara?

November 7, 2007

Overstock rocks...

Jen_and_i That’s what my sister Jen says. She’s an Overstock.com junkie. The site is based on economics 101 –- what do you do when the supply is greater than the original demand? Send it to Overstock. A few nights ago, Jen and I were trying to think of other things with greater supply than demand. Blemishes and bellyaches were on her list. I went with movies starring Keanu Reeves.

When you think about it, Overstock turns an “oops” (too much product) into an “oh yeah” (more stuff for Jen at low, low prices). I guess my story is like that -– I turned an oversupply of weight into an “oh yeah” opportunity as a Trek Woman. Economics rocks.

P.S. Sorry Keanu if you’re reading this, you’re cute, but you lost me after Speed… though you get credit for the first Matrix.