Trek Women
August 30, 2007

BIKE GAL PALS

Galpals There is nothing like a woman who rides.  Nothing.  When the Loveman and I moved to Maryland 8 years ago I didn't know a single woman who rode.  Whenever I rode my bike I had the choice of riding with the Loveman, the Loveman and other guys that he had met at a bike shop or by myself.  I love riding with the Loveman and I love riding with other men as well but its just different than riding with a woman.  Guys tend to talk bike tech stuff. They talk about frames, paint jobs, wheels, how their seat feels, technical problems, professional race stats, their average speed, interval training, what kind of pedals they use, etc. etc.  After a full ride of bike talk I want to drive my bike into an oncoming car.   Don't get me wrong I too like to talk about these things but only for about 5 to 10 minutes then after that I am done.  Come on, I am a woman and I want to talk about real life stuff...but when it’s the only game in town, its the only game in town.

The Loveman joined the Harford Velo Cycling Club when I was pregnant with our first son.  After the birth I was fat, shocked out of my skin and couldn't imagine ever getting off the couch again.  The Loveman continually encouraged me to go on small rides but at that point I didn't care about the ride I just wanted to get the hell out of the house.  I did a few miles here and there but not too much.  Occasionally I would let him join me but inevitably I would end up hating him by the end of the ride because he had no idea what my hormonal body was experiencing.  He would fly up hills and I would want to vomit. He was the happy rider and I was the angry one that could barely breathe in my lycra shorts.  I would get so pissed off that I would accuse him of taking me out riding just so he could make fun of me.  Can you say psycho bitch?  Yes, we all know that person.  She lives within each and every one of us.  One day he looked at me and said, "I think you are ready to ride with the club.  You are doing great".  I wanted to say "Screw you, I'll ride with the club if want to you idiot!".  Instead I said thank you and the next week I went out riding with the group.

There's always the fear and apprehension of meeting new people no matter what you're doing but I kept reminding myself that everyone goes through it.  I started doing some rides and meeting lots of cool chiclets.  Granted there were about 7 men for every 1 woman but it didn't matter to me because I was meeting women who rode. 
Kirstinmoving
Eventually I met one of the coolest chiclets ever. Her name was Kirsten and she was about half my size, cute and really sweet.  You know, the kind of chiclet that some girls want to punch in the face.  I tried not to hate her because she was 50 pounds less than me...I was just happy to have her to ride with me.  We spent a few years riding together and I grew to love her and everything about her life.  I always looked forward to rides with her.  We never cared about what route we were doing, how long we were riding or what our average speed was, we just cared about catching up on the recent events in our separate worlds.  Our entire relationship took place on the bike but I knew that if I every needed anything at all I could call Kirstin in a heartbeat.  She was a good friend.  A few months ago her husband got a job in New Hampshire and she just moved last week.  We were able to squeeze one last ride in while the movers were packing up her house.  I'm definitely going to miss her.  There's nothing like a woman who rides.  Nothing.

August 28, 2007

COVERED BRIDGES IN THE POURING RAIN

Covered_bridge_crew_694 Last weekend the Loveman and I did the Covered Bridge Ride sponsored by the Lancaster Bike Club .  It was the first time I had ever done this ride.  I had been riding in Lancaster, PA before but I had never crossed six covered bridges while completing a metric century.  I was thrilled about doing the ride until my friend Offie called two days before the ride and said he wanted to leave at 6am. That pretty much set me off.  What?  6AM!!!!  This supposed to be fun!  By no means am I a princess but I am definitely not a morning person.  People often ask me how I deal with my kids in the morning and my response is "As best I can". 

Coverebridge We met a few friends at 6am and we all drove up together.  Once we had arrived, registered and started riding I finally started waking up.  The sky was really cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain but I wasn't going to let that bother me.  I was alone with the Loveman for 6 hours minus the 4 monkies.  It was a bonus day.  When I mounted Sweetness at the start of the ride I started running my finger along the crevices to see if I could find any dirt.  My hand slid easily across the top tube.  Loveman the Tech flashed me a dirty look and said "Don't worry, I washed, waxed and lubed your bike for the ride".  Sweetness was looking hot.  We hooked up with a few friends from our cycling club and snapped some shots of the group.  Sweetness loves the camera.

The ride was quite beautiful and a bit hilly.  I really enjoy riding in Lancaster County but the one thing that works my nerves about the area is all of the horse poop on the roads from the horse drawn carriages.  Sweetness clearly had a bit of an odor to him by the end of the ride.  Now I must add that Can_you_say_new_tire_dude_698_2 Sweetness is incredible on long distance rides.  He is very comfortable and easy to ride.  At certain times during the ride I felt like I was on cruise control.  At one point I was in the middle of a steep climb and I was shooting up the hill past some people.  Suddenly my friend Offie shouted, "Not everyone has a 2007 WSD Madone!".  I told him that Sweetness was in a groove and that I was just getting him back for making me get up at the crack of dawn.  We were happily cruising along and had about 20 miles to go when it started pouring rain and then a friend of mine got 4 flats in a row, yes, 4 flats.  This was after he already had 3 in the first 40 miles…that makes 7 flats total.  By flat number 4 I was ready to kill him, push his bike in a ditch and throw his body over my bike.  4 flats!!!  Come on!  Offie and I were stopping with him for moral support (and extra tubes and cartridges) but by the end I was getting a little goofy not to mention antsy.  Big surprise.  I started taking pictures and doing a one woman show for the other riders as they passed.  In the meantime, our friend was changing his flats.  Here's some advice from the non-professional…if you have that many flats (Dave) I think you need to get some new tires. Changing_room_700_4

Ahhhhh…a strip mall on a Sunday afternoon that doubles as a changing room.  There’s nothing like a day on the bike with some good friends...no matter how wet, poopy or frustrated you become.  It’s all about the ride and god knows there’s no better ride than Sweetness.



August 27, 2007

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU COULDN'T

I have always been the type of person that keeps a list of goals.  I think it is important for everyone.  It keeps us from becoming stagnant.  Each year I begin with several and I try my hardest to accomplish all of them.  After talking to several women I felt the need to share this story.  So many women have told me they don't have the confidence they need to ride.  Well I say it's just mind over matter.

One of my recent goals was to complete the Nightmare Tour in Lancaster, PA.  The ride was 177 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing.  I had never had a problem with long distance rides.  I could do 100 miles pretty easily so I thought an extra 77 wouldn't be too bad.  I must have been having an out of body experience when the thought crossed my mind. Jason_2 My good friend Jason registered with me and assured me that we would be fine.  He had done the ride twice before and clearly he was a glutton for punishment.  Me?  I just wanted to be able to brag to my friends and cross it off my list of goals.  Jason and I did a couple of 100 mile rides to train but mostly we did 30 mile rides with our cycling club. The training was needed but I realized that if I was gonna finish this ride it was going to have to be a mental push not a physical push.  We showed up at 4:00 am and we were both a bit groggy.  I hadn't slept much the night before because I was nervous about the big ride.  We took our positions at the starting line in the dark and took off promptly at 4:30 am.  It was amazing how so many riders just took off like rabbits.  Talk about blowing your wad in the first 2 hours!  Jason and I took it slow and worked ourselves into a nice pace.  We chatted along the way but the ride got very spread out and often times there was no one around you.  As the day got later, it got hotter and hotter.  It was a 103 degrees and terribly humid.  Riders were dropping like flies.  Many riders were getting dehydrated and taking the SAG vehicles back to the finish line.  As the SAG vehicles passed I counted the bikes on the racks to see if there would be room for mine. 

Then I would snap out of my delirious state and remind myself that there was no way I was getting in the SAG minivan...not to mention that I would never be seen in a minivan.  I kept downing the gatorade, spinning up the hills and riding at my own pace.  Jason and I split up a couple of times but regrouped every couple of rest stops.  I had almost made it 120 miles and I honestly did not know how in god's name I was going to ride 57 more.  At this point I was soaking wet with sweat, I was ready to quit and I hated everything about riding a bike.  Then I rode by a cemetery and I saw a rider sitting there (who had passed me at the beginning of the ride) and he was speaking in tongues.  I could barely understand him.  He said he felt like he was about to die from the heat and that a SAG vehicle was coming to get him.  I offered him some water, wished him luck and then kept going.  I knew I did not want to look like that on the side of the road.  I would rather be buried in the cemetery.  That moment was all the inspiration I needed.Nightmare   I dug down deep to my tootsies and kept peddling Goldie.  I hooked up with Jason at the next rest stop and we did the last stretch together.  Jason had broken a spoke and his back tire was wobbling all over the place.  All I could do was laugh at him.  Every time he tried to talk to me...I laughed.  Everything about the ride was hysterical to me.  We sang songs, told stories, fantasized about the delicious food we were going to eat when we were done and peddled our hearts out.  When we got to the last rest stop there were three gallons of water and a can of gatorade sitting on the side of the road.  We just about wet our pants laughing.  When we crossed the finish line I couldn't have been happier...and there were still several people behind us!  It had taken us about 16 hours and I was thrilled to be done.  Yes my body was killing me but I had finished the Nightmare Tour and that was all that mattered.  We found out later that more than half of the riders were unable to finish the ride.  Who knows, maybe they could have finished if they had a better mental attitude.  The mind can play some crazy tricks but if you can outsmart it - you can do anything.      

August 24, 2007

TRAINING TIPS FROM THE NON-PROFESSIONAL

Bitch 1. Get off the couch, away from your computer and turn the TV off.  Take the left over bowls of mac and cheese to the garbage can and put the powdered donuts away.  Think about the possibility of having your jaws wired shut.
2. Walk into the garage and find your bike.  Do you even remember what it looks like?  Did you sell it in a garage sale?  Hopefully you didn't.  Just  try to focus on finding something with 2 wheels.
3. Clear the cobwebs off your bike and make sure it belongs to you.  There's no way you could fit on your child's bike...I've tried...it doesn't work unless you are a circus freak
4. Borrow a pump from your neighbor and put air in your tires.  If you don't know what a pump is just flashback to the days of nursing...it makes almost the same noise as a breast pump except it doesn't hurt.
5. Find a pair of gym shorts that suck your fat in.  If you don't have any just get an old pair of control top pantyhose and cut the legs off.  You will suddenly go from a mom that hasn't been out the house in weeks to a sexpot. 
6. Wear a shirt.  You don't want to scare the neighbors again. Don't they already think you are a weirdo ?
7. Put your helmet on - tightly.  So you don't have a helmet?  How about an aluminum bowl?  Everyone has a set of those from their wedding.  Time to use them.  Take one from your cabinet and strap a belt around it. We'll call it a fashion statement.
8. Congratulations! You are finally ready to ride out of your driveway.  I know this seems a bit scary but imagine yourself on a first date ...yes, you will have butterflies and everything...you just won't look as good.
9. Stay on a flat road and whatever you do don't touch the gears.  That will be included in the next lesson...but if you like to play with buttons, don't fight the feeling, switch it up and roll with it.
10. Deep breath...ahhhh. Take time to enjoy the moment that you have created just for YOU!  Yes you!  I don't care if you ride around the block once or if you ride 30 miles.  You got out of the house and rode your bike AND it felt good...I hope :)

Side Note - Oh ya...those kids...don't be a cheap ass, get a babysitter for 2 hours...I guarantee it will be worth every penny.  If not, you contact me and I will personally reimburse you for your sitter.  I'm not kidding.   

August 22, 2007

SCANDALOUS PHOTOS WITH MY LOVER

Sweetness1_2 During my stay in DC I accomplished many things ie. work, rehearsals for my new show, riding Sweetness and a photo shoot.  I have been an actress my whole life and it is part of who I am. It's what I do.  Period.  End of story...more on this later.  Sweetness2_2 In preparation for my upcoming one-woman show, Woman on the Rag, I needed to take some promotional and press photos.  While in DC I scheduled a photo shoot with one of the most incredible photographers in the DC/Baltimore area, Jerry D.   I about wet my pants when he told me he had an opening in his calendar that week.  I was extremely lucky to book him because he was photographing the Police that Sweetness3_2weekend at the Virgin Fest and barely had any free time.  Jerry has photographed me in the past so he knows what he's in for when we get together.  He is always ready to have fun, improvise and follow my crazy train of thought.  As always, the photo shoot was a blast and he got some great shots.  We were just about ready to call it a wrap.  As I went to change out of my clothes I saw Sweetness sitting in the corner of my suite looking a little left out.  Then it hit me!   A photo shoot with Sweetess!  Jerry was up for it so we rolled Sweetness out onto the backdrop and the fun began!  Sweetness was born to be in front of the camera.  He loved every minute of it...and so did I!

August 20, 2007

THE REAL LOVEMAN

Not many woman can boast of having their own bike tech.  I am a pretty lucky gal.  Without Loveman the Tech I feel like my bike would have fallen apart or I would have been stranded on several occasions.  Loveman2 I would love to share a little bit about my favorite person and where he got the name "Loveman the Tech".  Loveman and I have been married almost 17 years and we clearly enjoy each others company on and off the bike.  He thinks I am a little crazy (because I am an artist) and I think he is a little bit of a mad scientist (because he is a biochemist).  All in all we balance each other quite nicely...BUT when it comes to bikes he is a complete and total lunatic.  He lives, eats, sleeps and breathes bicycles.  Our garage has been transformed into a bike shop.  We own 9 bikes, not including the kids bikes, and at any given time we can have an additional couple of bikes in our garage.  Anytime he is talking bikes with friends (which is all the time) he always makes of point of telling them to bring their bikes over any time for maintenance.  He loves fixing bikes, building bikes, cleaning bikes, racing bikes, talking about bikes and most importantly buying bikes.  He knows more about bikes, bike parts and bike rags than I know about giving birth and I have four monkies!  I am not sure if it is an illness that needs to  treated or just something that I will have to live with for the rest of my life.  About two years ago I realized that maybe there was no turning back for Loveman the Tech.  Seamuscarney_2 We were at a bike race in Pennsylvania  with our 3 monkies.  I had been begging him for 2 months for a fourth monkey.  His answer was always the same, "There is no way that we can afford 4 monkies".  I had pretty much given up on him until I saw his eyes pop out of his head as he watched one of the riders speed by.  He turned to me and said "That's my next bike".  Of course I told him that there was no way in hell we could afford the bike and he wasn't getting it.  I also pointed out that he already had 6 bikes.  He then used his super nice persuasive voice and said "But this will be my midlife crisis bike".  Now mind you he was no where near a mid-life crisis as he had just turned 39.  Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head.  I immediately turned to him and said "If you want that bike than I want a baby".  Without skipping a beat he happily agreed.  Two days later we sealed the deal, 3 days later Loveman ordered his new bike and 9 months later Seamus Henry arrived. To this day Loveman believes that he got screwed in the deal.  He thinks he should have asked for a new bike every year.  Oh well, its too late now!

August 19, 2007

SWEETNESS TAKES A TRIP TO THE WHITE HOUSE

I was working in DC for a few days this week staying at the historic Mayflower Hotel.  When I pulled up to the hotel the doorman opened my door and asked if he could help with my luggage.  I handed him my suitcase and then I pulled Sweetness out of the hatch.  Next thing I know there are 4 valet attendants and the doorman standing there watching me put the front wheel on Sweetness.  One of them asked me if I was going to France to ride in the tour.  I smiled politely and then his buddy said "She could if she wanted to because she has Lance's bike".  I was shocked that he had heard of the Madone.  We started chatting and then everyone wanted to lift the bike just to say they touched Lance's bike.  I didn't have the heart to tell the hotel staff that is wasn't Lance's actual bike.
White
The next afternoon I decided to take a ride by the White House, the mall and then to the bike path  along the Potomac.  I was thrilled to be done working while the sun was still shining.  I stopped by the White House so Sweetness could take it all in.  After all, it was his first time in DC so I wanted to make it memorable for him.  After battling the traffic through DC (and it was quite a battle) I finally made it to the path.  I was truly ecstatic to have gotten there without getting hit by a car.  The path was smooth, perfectly paved and the scenery was outstanding.  I was high on life!  I rode as fast as I could and I started singing outloud.  As I approached people I enthusiastically said hello.  After about the 10th hello without a response I started getting a little ticked off.  What is up with all these snobby riders?  Did they think they were better than me?  I was the one with the nice bike and cute gear!  If anyone should be a bike snob it should be me!  I wasn't going to give up.  I continued on my friendly bike crusade for another hour and had maybe 2 people smile back at me.  Those odds stink!  Why the heck can't people say hello, wave or acknowledge another human being while riding their bike!  After all I wasn't standing on the side of the path selling lemonade - I was just saying hello!  So what is it about bikers and why aren't they friendly?  I understand that there are a lot of stuffy people in DC but come on!  That holier than thou attitude has got to go!  Unfriendly bikers work every nerve in my body!  I continued to ride that path in DC for the next week and unfortunately nothing changed.  Now I've got a bug in my behind as to why riders (road bikers in particular) are so freaking serious and unfriendly!  I am going to get to the bottom of this!


   
August 18, 2007

ENOUGH FAT FOR EVERYONE

Fat3_2 I have been kind of avoiding the topic of "fat".  I feel like I am opening a can of worms and I may never get it shut again.  Time to lay it all out on the table.  Here goes...I have a lot of fat on my body.  The lycra that I get to wear while I ride sucks up quite a bit of it but inside those shorts is a lot of jiggly fat.  Sports bras are helpful as well but then there's all the fat that oozes out on the sides.  I have thought about wearing spanx (a full bodysuit with tights) under my cycling clothes but it would probably look a little weird.  Fat is like the enemy in my world...or isn't it in everyone's?  Yes, I know I have been through 4 pregnancies and lost a lot of weight each time but I need to take it to the next level.  What the hell am I waiting for?!?!  No, not to the level of Mary-Kate Olsen or Angelina Jolie but to a place where I'm a little more toned and not so flabby.  I have made a promise to myself (and my public - that's you) that I am going to get rid of about 25 pounds of the extra fat I have hanging around my body.  Now I know you're saying to yourself, "Wow, she doesn't look a pound over 120!"...wink wink.  Here comes the shocker.  I am going to be brutally honest.  I have great legs BUT I have enough love handles for the loveman, the monkies and all my friends to hang on at the same time.  Hell, Cirque de Sole could probably choreograph a full length show with their entire ensemble swinging from my love handles.  I clearly have a problem there, not to mention that my stomach is like a bowl of spaghetti.  I've been thinking I would like it to resemble more of a six pack.  Of course my public will probably never see my stomach again after 4 monkies but I must aspire to something, right?  Just think of how much faster I'll be able to move on Sweetness.  The Madone is my friend - my fat is my foe.  Let the games begin!

August 16, 2007

IT FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME

Christ on a bike!  3759092_9d2598782c_2 There is nothing on this earth that is more beautiful than Sweetness, my 2007 WSD Madone.  I had met him briefly in Madison and we instantly fell in love. I knew he was being shipped to MD and every day I waited patiently for his arrival.  Finally he showed up.  It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I came home after my spinning class with 4 screaming hungry monkies that needed lunch.  I was feeling a little on edge myself.  I didn't care how loud they were screaming, all I could think about was if Sweetness would be waiting for me.  I ran to the side door and there was a big UPS box.  I couldn't believe how light the box was!  I was a little unsure as to if there was even a bike inside.  The minute the Loveman walked in the door I told him to go immediately into the garage.  Of course he asked if I was meeting him in there and I said, "No, you've got to get in there and put my bike together!".  He called me to the garage as soon as he was done and I could not believe how gorgeous Sweetness looked.  I noticed that the color had about six different shades of blue in it.  I immediately wanted to ride it.  The next night I went out for the virgin ride.  It was a Thursday night club ride with the Harford Velo Cycling Club . I have been riding with the club for about 6 years and have many good friends in the group.  When Virgin3_2 I showed up I felt like I was introducing them to my new baby.  I allowed them to hold him, touch him, pet him and ride him.  I was like a proud mama.  The ride leader Bob picked a pretty hilly ride and for some strange reason decided to do the biggest climb twice.  I thought that maybe he had a blood transfusion that morning but after knowing Bob for a couple of years I knew that couldn't possibly be true.  Deep down I think he was a little envious of Sweetness and he was really trying to make me work extra hard.  As we rode out of the parking lot I felt like I was flying.  Sweetness was like driving a brand new Cadillac.  Every bump, crack, railroad track and rock felt similar to rolling over a cotton ball.  It was unbelievable.  I was high as a kite.  Throughout the ride I talked a mile a minute to everyone.  I could barely contain my excitement.  Virgin1_2 I told them all about my light OCLV frame and super comfortable Bontrager seat.  It was a lot bigger than what I had been riding but I loved it!  I was in a state of complete bliss.  I never had any idea of what people meant when they said "The bike just gets away from me!" but for the first time I knew what they meant!  Sweetness had such energy and momentum and I had to keep up with it!  It was a whole different type of riding for me...smooth, sweet and in many ways effortless.  We did 35 miles and averaged 17.8 mph (I honestly don't care about stats but I find that men live for them).  I loved every minute of my virgin voyage and I look forward to more time with Sweetness...I just hope the Loveman doesn't get too jealous.         

August 13, 2007

THE BEAST WITHIN

I have never had any real separation anxiety. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  One day I snapped and learned something new about myself.  After I had finished the California Aids Ride the Loveman presented me with a gift...a brand new carbon fiber gold Trek 5000.   He figured that after I hadPrego completed a 580 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that I deserved something really special.  I am completely embarrassed to admit this but I was really upset with him when he gave me my new bike.  In my defense, I was really attached to my Trek 2100 aluminum bike, it was the nicest bike I had ever owned.  He tried to tell me that my new Trek had better components, was several pounds lighter and much faster than my old Trek.  I didn't care.  I didn't ask for a new bike and I didn't want a new bike. I was acting like a spoiled brat.  To be perfectly honest, I couldn't get past the fact that I loved the midnight blue color of my old bike as well as the fact that my helmet and shoes matched perfectly.  These are the things women think about.  I wouldn't have cared if the new bike had rockets that shot out of the back or if it massaged my thighs while I was riding, I wanted my old bike back.  How dare he screw up my perfect color scheme that I worked so hard to create?  I had built an entire wardrobe around this bike and he was basically asking me to look like a color blind non-fashionable bike idiot.  I was pissed off.  Yes, I was acting like a total diva and really had no right to be.  He kept trying to explain to me that I wasn't comparing apples to apples.  Like a typical woman (never happy no matter what) I was ready to take the loveman's life.  Poor guy...he was just trying to do something nice for me.  Yes, I eventually started feeling guilty.  I figured I would appease him and take it for a spin.  He was right!  The bike was really great and I felt like I had lost weight without ever losing any!  A major selling point for a woman.  A week later we had a garage sale and someone bought my bike rather quickly.  I was sad but I swore I would never let go of Goldie...until I was tempted by the fruit of another, the Madone.