Trek Women
January 31, 2009

Good gravy...

I’m back from Little Rock and I did good up until Day 4, then I broke. The gravy made me do it. Our conference (which was a smashing success BTW) was at the CA Vines 4H Center, which is actually in the country outside of Little Rock – meaning, you couldn’t go anywhere. An ice storm, kept us inside – meaning jumping jacks in your room for exercise. The Center is really nice; but rustic – meaning you make your own bed. The meals were served elementary-school-cafeteria-style – meaning, you ate what they were cooking or you didn’t eat. Also, everything featured some form of pork/ham/bacon with gravy on top. It was interesting if not slightly frightening.


I was doing my best to hang in there – I ate my oatmeal, my Fiber 1 bars, huge plates of salad from the tiny salad bar and granny smith apples that I stuffed in my bag from the “Break” snacks (found next to the M&M cookies). But by Day 4, my buzz was getting drowned out by my inner devil voice saying “I'M NOT SATISIFED! FEED ME SOMETHING GOOD!!”


That night, after the conference ended, we drove to a restaurant and that’s when I broke and ordered a gin and tonic with a side of mashed potatoes. And they were good. It’s best not to talk about Day 5 (yesterday) and my arrival home.


BUT – I got up this morning, went to the gym and I’m putting myself back on track and into gravy detox. Well, at least I lasted longer than day 2 – that’s a positive.


January 25, 2009

What's the buzz...

You know when you eat a lot of garbage, you just feel like crap. And then you just want to eat more because you figure, what the heck, I’ve already blown it, might as well go for broke and a Chipotle burrito with guac and sour cream.


I’m more than 2 weeks back on the Weight Watchers wagon and I don’t feel like crap. In fact, I’m feeling pretty fine and the weight is starting to come off. I’m bike commuting to work every day (even in the frigid temps), teaching spin, taking classes at the gym, and cooking up a fresh, non-processed-food storm. Between eating better and exercising, I’ve got a healthy little buzz going on. How did I forget that part? I literally have an internal energy hum happening.


Next week will be a big challenge though – I’m going to a conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s going to be tough, but I’m ready. I’ve packed some instant regular oatmeal packets to have for breakfast and Fiber 1 bars to have as a treat every night instead of indulging in dessert. The conference center is rustic and doesn’t have a gym – so I’m bringing sneakers and sweats for daily power walks.  On past biz trips, I usually cave by day 2; but this time, I’m gonna make it. I don’t want to lose my buzz. I’ll let you know how I fare!

January 23, 2009

Troubleshooting your WWR contest entry...

Hi ladies,
Trek is aware that some of you might be experiencing problems uploading your essay or images. Here are 2 things that might be happening:
1. Your image size too large. When this happens, you should get an error message letting you know. Check that it's a JPEG or GIF file under 350K.
2. You have more than 500 characters in your essay.  Note, if you are writing the essay in Word, the character count will include spaces etc. 
You'll know that your entry worked because you'll receive a thank you confirmation. Keep trying!
As a very, very last resort, email your essay and photo only to No bribing or begging :) She wants to make sure everyone has a chance to enter. However, it really should be if you've exhausted all the other options because she'll have to upload your entry to the system and that could be pretty overwhelming for one person and possibly delay the search for the next 5.
Hope this helps!
January 22, 2009

Procrastinators, get a move on...

If you're like me by nature, you've probably waited until the last minute to write your entry for the Women Who Ride Contest. If you're like me, you're probable inspired by looming deadlines. I didn't earn the title, "Queen of the All Nighters" for nothing. (I would have liked Queen of Soul, but Aretha beat me to it.)

So to my fellow procrastinators, who may be writing their essays at 3 a.m., a few thoughts...

1) Don't do this for the loot. You will put more time, effort and thought into this than is the equivalent of a free bike and a couple of jerseys. You would ride anyway because that's what makes you happy.

2) Think about your journey. You might have one really good bike moment. That's great. What happens next? Think about how your potential readers would be able to follow you along as you try new things, grow, overcome challenges, celebrate and generally kick butt.

3) It's not about riding your bike, it's about your life. If you decide to commit to this, don't try to be "perfect" you - be real you. When I started, I made a promise to myself that I would be open and honest, fat rolls and all. And those non-biking stories were the hardest to write, but also the most rewarding. Those are the ones that you'll get a note from someone saying, "I know exactly how you feel."

4) I'm a Miranda*, who are you? You could call WWR, "Spin in the City" because we're very different characters with very different lifelines. When I wrote my essay, I tried to convey all the stories I could tell - urban, professional, single, late 30s, traveler, lost a lot of weight and trying to keep it off, bike commuter, century rider, training for my fisrt triathlon, spins with Marines... I'm still all of those things nearly two years later. What makes you unique?

5) Make sure you have the time. I mentioned time earlier and I'll say it again. I spend anywhere between 4 and 15 hours a week writing my blog, answering comments, doing activities to write about (like events and visiting Trek dealers) and more. However cool it is to be a WWR, I do take it seriously and treat it like a job with responsibilities to Trek and everyone out there reading my stuff.

6) It is quite a ride. As I approach the end of my time in the WWR saddle, I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I got to know some of you through your comments and to help build this community of riders just a little bit. I'm sure for months to come, I'll still have that automatic thought, "oooh, this would be a super idea for the blog." But, I'm looking forward to reading new stories. Maybe it'll be yours???

You've got until Jan. 24 (this Saturday) to enter. The entry form doesn't give a time, but to be on the safe side, I wouldn't push it to midnight if I were you.

*Reference to Miranda from Sex in the City - red-headed, career-driven, occasionally testy, extremely loyal. Sound familiar?


UPDATE: Hi everyone - I received a few comments that you all are having difficulty uploading your photos for the contest. I let the WSD manager at Trek know - if I hear anything, I'll post an update. Sorry you're having so much trouble - I know it's frustrating. Hang in there and GOOD LUCK!

January 21, 2009

Inaugural home address...

For a year and a half now, I've been sharing stories about what my life is like on Capitol Hill. Yesterday, I was so very proud that my neighborhood was home to the inauguration of President Obama. It's hard to put into words or images, how incredible it felt to be a part of it.

I walked down to the Washington Monument to watch the swearing in and Obama's speech. The rumble of noise of 2 million people chanting O-ba-ma, brought tears to my eyes. It was the pure definition of a joyful noise.

I decided not to go to an Inaugural Ball (saving money for my birthday trip in April). The guys got out of dodge and went skiing, so it wouldn't have been much fun on my own anyway. But, my sis Jen went to one last night. I'll have to get the scoop from her. I told her if she saw John Cusack, she was to put in a good word for me. :)

I wish my photos were better, and frozen hands didn't help; but scroll over the "notes" icon to read a little story about each one.

January 12, 2009

Je t'aime Paris...

P1010215 I love me Paris (a rough translation of the title of this post). Our trip was fantastique despite being one of our coldest so far. It also earns top awards for most cheese consumed, most red wine consumed and cheapest (good) red wine consumed. We rented a four-bedroom apartment in the Marais neighborhood of Paris on the right bank about 3 blocks from the Centre Georges Pompidou and a 10-minute walk to Notre Dame in one direction and about a 15-minute walk to the Louvre in a slightly different direction.

I’m completely convinced that apartment-rental is the way to go from now on. Upside. it’s wonderful having a place to hang out with friends. Part of the fun of each day for each person was to stop at a market and pick up an interesting-looking cheese/sausage/loaf of bread/bottle of red wine that costs under 5 Euros (roughly $7). Only downside, you have to share bathrooms.


Anyway, every night after sightseeing all day, we’d have some nosh and vino, then head out in search of dinner. Our favorite place was a little café called the Station Rambuteau, named after the nearby metro stop. It was tiny with probably 10 tables inside. I think between all of us we tried everything on the menu with our favorites – Beef Bourguignon and Duck Confit – getting multiple orders. After dinner, more vino at the apartment and, well, there was the night of the 2 a.m. crepes with Nutella-run. We went in our pajamas. They were that GOOD!


In the pictures, you’ll see some of the places we visited. Scroll over the “icon” to read commentary. I included lots of photos of the Eiffel Tower because (a) you don’t feel like you’ve arrived in Paris until you’ve seen it, and (b) I literally took 54 pictures of it from all angles at all times of the day. In the meantime, here’s a list of my Paris “shoulds”…

1)       You should go up in the Eiffel Tower at night and stay up there for when it flashes for five minutes on the hour. The top level was closed the night we went; but the second level is high enough.

2)       You should take a boat ride on the Seine and even if it’s freezing, sit outside. It’s pricey for an hour ride; but the best way to admire Paris’ many bridges and get some history. As Wayne said, “it’s very romantical.”

3)       You should eat a crepe every day. My preference is actually the savory crepes over the sweet. Go for the ham and cheese! Nutella and banana is my runner-up. Bonus points for being super-cheap, filling eats.


4)       You should find a small neighborhood café. We do this on every trip. You kind of become a quasi-local when you drop by for a coffee, drink or meal every day.


5)       You should buy yourself something pretty. I treated myself to a purse from a shop off the Rue de Rivoli, it’s very funky. I also bought a refrigerator magnet and a small watercolor from a street artist. No shoes purchased this trip (and for those keeping count, I didn’t wear my red heels either.)


6)       You should promise yourself that you will come back to Paris again, so there is no need to run around like a crazed tourist trying to see everything. I aim for seeing one “thing” per day (museum, castle, etc.) and spending the rest of the day wandering.

7)       You should travel with good people. Thanks Jen, Russ, Wayne, Steve and Bill for a great time!!!




January 9, 2009

Resolve ain’t just for cleaning carpets…

I did something last night that I didn’t want to do; but knew I had to. I went back to Weight Watchers. As single-minded as I am in every other aspect of my life – I can’t control my weight on my own. I failed (and failed and failed…) and I got fat again. And I can’t stand it. So my choice is either keep doing what I have been doing and gain every last pound back that I had fought to lose in the first place and feel even worse than I do already OR go back to WW.


All day yesterday, I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to step on the scale. I didn’t want to see anyone I knew from before. I didn’t want to be that statistic of the person who doesn’t keep her weight off after a year. But I did and I am. During the meeting, I was on the verge of tears – sad and well, not quite happy, but tears of determination. I wasn’t alone in that room. Truth be told, there were 5 other women there who were picking themselves up again too. Today, I feel different, like I can do this again, like I can commit to it. I am resolved.

January 5, 2009

Crêpe withdrawal already...

Eiffel Tower1 Bonjour everybody! We got in last night from Paris. Our trip was tres magnifique and we had a wonderful time exploring the city for the best bowl of onion soup, drinking red wine and celebrating the new year with friends.

While I get my photos together, I though I'd share this one of the Eiffel Tower all lit up at midnight. We were at the base drinking champagne with thousands of other revelers. No fireworks; but the Tower lit up in beautiful flashing lights.

More to come...