Trek Women
January 31, 2008

What's in a name...

Valentines_day C'mon people, don't be shy. We need a name for our anti-Valentine's Day indoor spin-a-thon!!! Tap in to your inner snarkiness and send your ideas my way by tomorrow. You can either post them as a comment or feel free to e-mail them to me at laura_maclean@trekwomenwhoride.com.

I'll even sweeten the pot and the winner will get a cool Trek something-or-other.

January 29, 2008

This idea's got legs...

Trek_luv Trek Fit for Women Demo chick, Tori, is a genius! Last Thursday, she posted a comment on my blog that her Valentine’s Day plan is to bike an indoor century, which should take about 6 hours. If you haven’t checked out the thread yet, here’s why it’s so perfect for everyone like me who HATES Feb 14 with a passion. Says Tori, “Just think Friday morning when people snidely ask ‘so, what did you do for V-Day? You can say ‘rode my bike 100 miles...you?’ ”

Don’t you love it? Then, Jen Polo added in the married perspective –- you mean you aren’t all swooning over each other? And, Trek Demo chick, Ross, is in to it. (There’s also an interesting sideline about Project Runway if you’re interested.) Then, commenter Sue talked about a 400-mile by V-Day fudge goal she’s got going with her friends called “Shoot Cupid.”

I think we’re on to something! So, I propose that we initiate a First Annual anti V-Day indoor cycling challenge. First off, we need a sweet name for the challenge that snark-ily captures the essence of our ride. Post your suggestions as a comment by noon on Friday, Feb. 1. Then, we’ll vote.

Second, instead of measuring our soon-to-be-named ride in miles, let’s do something different. Regular century rides usually offer different distances: half-metric = 35 miles; metric century = 62 miles; and English century = 100 miles. I thought we could measure in time. Maybe for the soon-to-be-named Indoor Cycling Challenge, our distances could be:

> 1 episode of Sex and the City or guy-equivalent TV show
> 1 John Cusack movie or guy equivalent where things blow up
> Pride & Prejudice – the 5-hour BBC/A&E miniseries with Colin Firth – or guy equivalent miniseries
> Project Runway marathon (!) or guy-equivalent such as Ultimate Fighting Championship
> ______ your own guilty pleasure show or movie

Are you in?

January 24, 2008

Lackadaisical love life…

Nada_cookies Some heartless creature brought iced, heart-shaped cookies to work this morning and anonymously left them in the kitchen for all to “enjoy.”  Not only is it bad enough to be tortured by such sugary goodness, it’s also a nauseating reminder that the worst day of the year is only three weeks away. I LOATHE VALENTINE’S DAY! 

People always blame Hallmark for the V-Day hype. I disagree. I think it’s an evil consortium between Blockbuster, Pizza Hut and Ben & Jerry’s to make single women without dates—who are sitting at home; watching movies where Matthew McConaghy takes his shirt off (all of them); and ordering take-out because good luck getting in to a restaurant and who would want to watch all those lovey-doveys anyway—feel even worse. Someone give me a pint and a spoon. My love life is lacking and e-Harmony ads give me the creeps.

The problem is, I haven’t really been trying to remedy the situation lately. Before the holidays, I had traded emails with a guy “J.” He seemed nice enough, said he was in to fitness and running. We decided to chat on the phone. I asked him if he ran for fun or if he was training for something. “J” confessed that he hadn’t ran in close to a year; but, if we went out for a run together, he’d still have to beat me to the finish. Nice talking to you macho man. Though part of me wanted to challenge him to see who was hacking up vital internal organs at mile 5. His woo-ing needs work. Who am I to talk though? My half-hearted efforts haven’t gotten me too far either. At least I didn’t eat a cookie.

January 22, 2008

Wander _____ (fill in the blank)…

Greece_112Athens, hmmm.  What to write? I guess I could call this story “Wander-blah” or “Wander-dud.” I hate to say it, this trip was kind of boring. My apologies people of Greece -– it’s not your fault that you shut down for the holiday. You deserve a break too.

In addition to consuming our daily dose of ouzo and seeing the Acropolis from every angle, Jen and I did our best to fill time. We explored the streets and sights of Athens and took two day trips. First, to the island of Aegina, which was an hour trip away by hydrofoil (fast boat). We wandered around the port town, window shopped (cause they were closed), and dropped by an open waterfront café for lunch.  Oddly, the town blared American Christmas carols on giant loudspeakers -– kind of like M*A*S*H. Jen and I got the heck back on the hydrofoil after hearing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” for the fourth time.

From the mainland dock, our plan was to take the Metro back to Athens. We were stopped at a station and saw tons of people going in to a stadium. On the spur of the moment, we hopped off and bought two tickets to watch an Olympiakos futbol team home game. You hear all these crazy things about European soccer and they’re true. It’s rowdy and wild and mostly men. Our seats were in the home team section and the crowd did these chants the whole time. Whenever, they thought the ref made a bad call, there’d be a huge outcry and much hand gesturing.

Our second trip was out into the Peloponnese countryside on New Year’s Eve day. Based on the recommendation of the woman who owned the apartment we were renting, and thinking it would be about 120 Euros, we hired a driver by the name of Yannis. Sure, it seemed expensive; but, it was close enough to what a bus tour would cost and we needed out. Yannis took us to see the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Then, we visited the site of Ancient Corinth, first inhabited in the Neolithic age (5000-3000 BC). Next up, Mycenae and a refresher on Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Helen and Paris (should have brushed up on the Iliad). We ended the day at the theatre of Epidaurus, where from the center you can hear someone crumple a piece of paper perfectly 55 tiers back at the top.

When we got back to Athens, Yannis charged us 250 Euros!! Can you say stupid Americans. Jen and I were bitter, party of two. We rallied though and headed off the Syntagma Square, where we were told we'd find the NY Eve festivities. Turns out there weren’t any, just a few fireworks over the Acropolis. After that, we called it a day. Litres of ouzo and a couple of days later, we called it a trip and flew home. Sorry to report, no plate breaking or “opa”s. I think it’s one of those places you need to visit in the Spring or Summer, when you can go to the beach.

Here are some trip photos. Where you see "Notes" below the image, roll your mouse over it to read the backstory.

January 18, 2008

Better by the dozen...

SchwinnIt was a sold-out spin class this morning. Yep, it was me and a dozen, 20-something-year-old guys psycho-cycling away at 6 am. I had a blast and I've heard from a couple people they thought it was a killer work out too. That's what I like to hear. I don't want to be the only one with burning hamstrings right now. I did a climb to the song "Gold Digger" and the Marines were singing along. Then, I made them turn up their resistance. Ha ha ha. I love being a beast.

I promise y'all, I'll write the Greece blog this weekend!

January 16, 2008

Very beastly indeed…

Trek_rider2_023It’s 5:20 am and I’m tossing my bedroom in search of my bike shoes with the SPD clips, as usual. Found ‘em, under the suitcase I have yet to put away. Make mental note to not be such a slob in 2008. Chug a mug of instant espresso and head on over to the Marine Barracks to teach my very first 60-min indoor cycling class!

Boy, was I nervous. It took me about two hours to plan my ride with the music. As you all know from previous whinings, there’s nothing that I hate more than sucky music when I take a class. #1 goal: don’t suck. Then, I was worried no one would show up. But -- hooray -- I had five people come and for three of them, it was their first time spinning. They hung in there like, uhh, troopers. #2 goal: make it challenging and safe for everyone. Last, but certainly not least, after traveling for the past month, I’m feeling really out of shape. #3 goal: don’t suck wind and fall off the bike.

The good news is that I didn’t pass out and I think everyone had a fun work out. Though, we’ll see if anyone’s calling me a beast when we do it all again on Friday morning. (Mental note: set out bike shoes with the SPD clips on Thursday night.)

Spin junkies, if you’ve got a drill or tunes you love for climbing or intervals, post a comment with your favorites!!

January 14, 2008

I'll be dipped...

BobkeSomewhere under all that hair resides Bob Roll… the Bob Roll… the object of my not-quite-though-potential-stalker’ish affection. Bobke is sitting across the table from me drinking a Pilsner Urqull. I try not to stare. Is my mouth hanging open?

If you’ve never watched him on the Versus cable network dishing the best cycling commentary around or read his book Bobke II, you know not of whom I crush. Bob Roll's writing reminds me of Tom Robbins after a 4-day green chili bender. He eats words and spews them out in gut-busting convolutions. He'll stick with you, whether you like it or not.

I just made an idiotic joke and the Bob Roll laughed. I’ll be “dipped” as the man slugging the cold one across from me would say. His eyes crinkle at the corners, his chuckle is up to no good. I want to make him laugh again. Who let me in here?

I love Trek, I really do, because they flew me out to Denver to be a part of “Pro Night” this past Saturday at Wheat Ridge Cyclery, Colorado’s largest single bike shop. The shop is owned and operated by former 7-Eleven pro, Ron Kiefel, a 7-time Tour de France competitor and the first American to ever win a stage in the Giro. He’s a big, friendly, bear of a guy. The 500-strong crowd in attendance clearly adores him.

Ron has invited a host of current and former pros to be part of the evening including Tom Danielson of Team Slipstream, formerly with Team Discovery; Alison Dunlap, MTB goddess and World Champion (check out on the article on her in this month’s Outside magazine); Danny Summerhill, the 18-year-old Junior Worlds Cyclo-cross champ -- that's his cute self in the photo above too; MTB pioneer, Tom Ritchey; and Ned Overend, 6-time NORBA MTB Champion/2-time EXTERRA World Champion. Bob Roll and Michael Aisner, Coors Classic promoter, served as emcees. I have a feeling Bob may be holding back, there's tons of kids here too, all proudly wearing their cycling jerseys.

I’m hanging with the Trek crew: Larry Young, the awesomely cool regional rep for Wheat Ridge; “Fit for Women” demo girls, Chris and Tori; “Ride the Best” demo dude, Josh; Chris Grande, also a rep and crazily enough, we know each other from college; and Al Clark, who reps Bontrager components.

Al introduces me to his old friend, Ned Overend (!), as one of the Trek Women Who Ride. Ned tells me that his wife is now training for her first bike race. Welcome to the club, Ms. O!!! Ned and Al also give me advice on competing in EXTERRA triathlons. Guess what I’ll be training for this summer.

At the Trek display, we’ve got one of the new Team Astana Madones and a team uniform. The bike weighs 14.6 ounces or so, which I bet is less than a breakfast burrito. We get a steady stream of folks coming over to run a hand over the top tube. I know how they feel. It’s wild to even get the chance to touch a small part of the pro cycling world, let alone be lucky enough to down a beer with Bobke afterwards. I may be a newbie who can’t quite pull off saying the word “gnarley,” but being a Trek chick rocks.

*Sorry, my photos are a little blurry. My camera isn’t so good in low light.

January 10, 2008

America’s front yard needs help…

National_mall Today, I intended to tell you some stories about Athens; but I received an e-mail alert from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), our local bike advocacy organization, that the National Park Service (NPS) is seeking comments on proposed alternatives for the future of the National Mall and we need to make sure that it will be one that is more bike and pedestrian friendly. Heck, Greece isn’t going anywhere, right.

The Mall aka “America’s Front Yard” stretches from the Capitol along the Smithsonian Museums, past the Washington to the Lincoln Memorial. Having come close many a time to being clothes-lined by car doors riding down the Mall, input from local cyclists and bikers everywhere can help ensure safe roads for everyone. It’s your front yard too!

Recently, the NPS conducted a study for the Mall that pretty much ignored the needs of cyclists including bike commuters and leisure riders. NPS has proposed three alternatives and we’re rooting for Alternative C, which offers the best improvements including:

1) Creating separated routes for cyclists and pedestrians

2) Upgrading the surfaces of the existing paths along the Mall

3) Improving connections between the Mall and Rock Creek and East Potomac Parks, and the southwest waterfront (YEAH!!!)

WABA also wants NPS to make the following additions to the plan:
1) Add more bike parking
2) Stripe bike lanes on Madison and Jefferson Drives, which front many of the museums on the Mall
3) Mandate valet bike parking at all major Mall events
4) Install bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave (Dangerous, Russ got sideswiped riding here)

Read more about the alternatives at http://www.nps.gov/nationalmallplan/Newsletters.html#news3
Log your comments at http://www.nps.gov/nationalmallplan/Public%20Comment.html
Thanks for your help!!!

January 9, 2008

Priceless...

Coloring_with_paddy Pea-soup-thick fog shuts down Madison, WI airport: 3 days

Canceled: 5 flights

Communications with Northwest Airlines: 8 calls, 3 counter reps

Car rental, Madison airport: 3 days

Time it took for Northwest to agree to fly me out of Chicago instead of foggy Madison: 3 days

Alamo quoted charge to do a non-authorized car return in Chicago: 600 dollars (no way!)

Bus ride to Chicago after returning rental car and missing 10 am flight home from O’Hare airport: 3 hours

Approximately how much more a Venti Starbucks costs at O’Hare: 40 cents

Lost then found: 1 suitcase

Gummy bears consumed: many

Getting waylaid in Wisconsin: priceless

I’ve been away for 14 days -- 3 more than I planned to thanks to some global warming-induced Wisconsin weather. And except for running out of clean socks, I sincerely apologize for the smell, it was worth it in the end.

When I learned that I wasn’t getting out as scheduled, I rented a car and drove South to stay with Becky, Steve and the Paddy-monster. The next day, I had a lovely lunch with my Mom. Then, drove back to Madison and spent the night with Steve’s parents, Pat and Phil, who didn’t mind that I conked out at 9 pm after devouring a big bowl of Pat’s delicious homemade potato and corn chowder.

As cranky as I can get when things go wrong, I never forget how lucky I am to have the health, the means and the time to travel. A few days delay was a small price to pay for having that unexpected time with family. I think it’s a priceless gift.

My thanks also to Russ and Wayne for doing a late night run to pick me up at BWI. I arrived home safe and sound at midnight. Currently, I am wearing clean socks.

January 7, 2008

Imagine that...

AcropolisHappy 2008 everybody!!

Well, I'm not quite home yet from New Year's in Athens, Greece, but I was missing you all (awwww) and itching to write. My sis, Jen, can attest to it, we must have come up with a hundred different titles for blogs to describe our trip.  So I thought I'd start with an entry called "Imagine that..." for two reasons. (1) I won't be able to share photos until I get home tomorrow and upload them; and (2) visiting Greece requires a lot of imagination.

Here's the thing about Europe that's different than the US -- places actually close on holidays. What I hadn't anticipated in Greece was that everything would pretty much be closed the entire time we were there. The historical sites were open for short windows of time during the day, and that was about it. 

Thank goodness we were able to visit the Acropolis. How awful would it have been to get all the way there and not see the Parthenon. I shudder at the thought because it is truly breathtaking to stand on top of Athens' "Sacred Rock" surrounded by great marble temples built in the 5th century BC. I have a new appreciation for the word "ancient." Even looking at the ruins, you have to wonder how they built something so majestic and magnificent more than 2,500 years ago.

Besides visiting archeological sites, Jen and I had to use our imagination to dream up ways to fill the rest of our time. Ouzo in the afternoon featured heavily as well as a delicious little Pita shop on the corner near our apartment that was mostly open. I'll tell you more in another blog when I can show pictures. We had some interesting moments. Stay tuned, there's more to come...

P.S. If you've been reading my fellow Trek chicks' blogs, you know that we got together this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin at Trek HQ. Unfortunately my flight out got canceled last night due to weather, so I'm here until tomorrow morning. After wearing the same clothes since Dec. 26th I'm really looking forward to putting on some clean duds. But ladies, it was great to see you!!!