Trek Women
June 25, 2008

WHAT A DISASTER

My friend Kim has referred to me as her "favorite train wreck". Sometimes I truly feel this way. Once that downward spiral starts I often have a hard time coming up for air. I usually have to let it run its course and then I can work on recovering.

Here's the wreck....

1. About a month ago, my camera died. I lost a few pictures that I hadn't downloaded but it wasn't too many. I ended up getting a new camera. This was just the beginning of my electronic fun.

2. A couple of weeks later I was out on a ride with my crew. My lovely monkeys decided to use their water bottles to fill the bottom of the bike trailer. My phone was in the trailer and got soaked. Actually not only did it get soaked but it was ruined. I lost my 200 addresses and phone numbers. Exciting stuff.

3. Next I ordered a new phone but for the first time ever it wouldn't sync up with my address book or calendar on my computer. Yes, I little bit of a bummer but figured I would work it out.

4. Then I went to Miami for work this week and one morning I was leaving my hotel room when I heard a terrible moaning. I looked around the room for a dead animal only to realize that the computer in my bag was moaning. Yep, you got it...DEAD. My computer was dead as dead could be.

5. Now right before I went on my roadtrip I told the Loveman that I needed to back everything up. I asked him to do it but he was too busy. I wasn't really busy. I just had to pack for 5 people, set up some summer fun, watch the kids, pay bills, get sitters for when I worked, get the car serviced, finish all the laundry and deal with our house not to mention work, blogging or riding. I can't understand why I never got around to it.

6. Needless to say, I have had it to Mac stores and they can't even see my hard drive. Not so good. I'm still hoping to have someone try to find something with recovery software. It's still a remote possiblity.

In case you were wondering, I lost my address book, calendar, photos galoure, tons of writing and the list goes on. I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. Deep breath....

As I work through my electrical nightmare I may be a little slow getting blogs up, etc. etc. Wish me luck.

Time for a bike ride and hopefully I won't wreck.

June 22, 2008

NEXT STOP CHI-TOWN

Chicagoskyline1

After enduring a hail storm from hell, lightning and thunder that scared the crap out of the monkeys and several pee stops in the emergency pull off area on the shoulder of the highway, we finally made it to Chicago.  At times, the 7 hour trip from Ohio seemed like a 17 hour trip.  I am proud to say that overall the monkeys did very well.  They were rewarded with juice boxes and overpriced candy from the rest  stop. 

When I got to Chicago I was a little nervous about my bike.  It had just been pelted with golf ball size hail and I was sure Slick's (my Trek Madone 6.5 WSD) frame was going to be severely damaged.  I left the children in the car and I walked to the back of the vehicle.  I held my breath and looked at the frame.  Not one scratch or dent!  I lucked out big time.

The next morning I celebrated with a nice ride around my parents neighborhood.  As usual I was thrilled to be riding my bike but even happier that it was in one piece.  Next time, instead of giving myself a heart attack I may just have to bring Sweeteness...my "spare bike".  I'm such a bike snob aren't I?

June 19, 2008

LET'S SHOW SOME ENTHUSIASM!

Marc

Instead of spreading the word of religion or politics, I like to spread the word of the "BIKE" according to Susan. Biking is fun in its own right but you can certainly attach any activity to it.  You can bike to the store, the bar, the park, the farmer's market, a concert in your hood or wherever the spirit moves you.  You can bike with friends, family, fellow club riders or strangers that you meet on the road. 

When spreading the word my conversations with people are always filled with some tidbit about biking....and god forbid you don't have a bike.  Once I hear that I hop on my green biking soap box (that I keep in my saddle bag) and talk away.  All of my friends have seen this "bike advocate" side of my personality and and eventually they get sucked in.  But lets get real - biking freakin' rocks!

My friend Marc is a perfect example of a convert who is truly enthusiastic about biking.  Recently his wife bought him a bike, shorts, gloves and a helmet.  He's still working on getting a jersey but clearly he doesn't seem to care!  He looks great and he's ready to ride!  Hell, I would chase him on a bike!  Wouldn't you?  Now lets get riding people!

This has been the Word of the Bike according to Susan.

June 17, 2008

SUMMER VACATION

Lantmill1

At the beginning of the week we officially started our summer vacation.  In celebration I packed up the car and the monkies and off we went.  Everyone was really pumped about the trip.

On day one we stopped in Youngstown, Ohio.  The kids and I stayed with the Loveman's sister and her husband.  They have a swimming pool and the monkeys always enjoy swimming and hanging out with Aunt Jo and Uncle Ed.

The next morning when I woke up I had the itch to ride.  I asked Jo and Ed if they would watch the kids while a took a quick ride in Mill Creek Park which is right down the street from their house.  The park has 15 miles of foot trails and 20 miles of roads throughout.  The park is absolutely beautiful and I knew I needed a ride alone before I jumped back in the car again and drove to Chicago with my crew. 

I left for my ride and was having a good time until I realized I was totally lost.  I kept trying different roads and kept ending up in the wrong place.  I started to get a little nervous.  I also felt a little bad for Jo and Ed because I told them I was going on a "quick ride".   Nice sister-n-law, huh?  Dump four kids and then take off? 

Eventually I made it back to their house (after asking someone for directions) and all was well.  Seamus hadn't torn the house apart and the other three were still in their pajamas.  I showered, packed the car and the kids and I moved on to Chicago...and yes, I was much happier after getting a ride in.  Ahhhhhhhhh 

June 15, 2008

ARE YOU TOO GOOD FOR THIS?

Rash_2_6

The phone rang on Saturday morning and it was the Loveman.  I knew something was wrong because he was supposed to be on a club ride with the A/B group.  I knew if he was on the phone he couldn't possibly still be on the ride.  I also knew the ride wasn't over because he had only been out for a half an hour. 

He said he had been in a "little tangle" with another rider and needed me to pick him up.  Being the good wife I am, I packed up the car, the monkeys, the bike rack and off I went to pick he and Terry up.  When I got there I got the real story. 

He was passing Terry on the left during a big descent.  Terry was talking with someone on his right.  As the Loveman passed him Terry finished his chat and veered to his left (never seeing Jim) and clipped the back of the Loveman's back wheel as he passed him.  The Loveman never went down but Terry wasn't so lucky.  He went down and experienced a bit of road rash. 

I asked the Loveman if he called out (i.e. "On your left") as he passed Terry.  He said "No, you don't call out on A rides".  Maybe I'm a wuss but my response is, no one is too good NOT to call out.  I'm sure Lance and Levi don't call out but no matter what, if you're not a professional rider you should always call out.

June 12, 2008

GOODBYE MY DEAR FRIEND

Leahcool

Today my dear friend Leah Ryan lost a two year heroic battle against luekemia.   She was graceful, lovely, kind and humble every step of the way.  She is a women I will always admire and look up to.  She was so freaking cool and one of the greatest writers that ever lived.  I love her very much and I know she is in a better place right now.

A word is dead, when it is said, some say.
I say it just begins to live that day.
          -Emily Dickinson

June 11, 2008

CATOCTIN CHALLENGE

016_12a_2 In a month I'll be participating in the Catoctin Challenge.  It is a charity ride for Habitat for Humanity.  It is an "invite only ride" and somehow (after a lot of convincing) I was accepted as a rider.  The Catoctin Challenge is in PA and has about 6300 feet of climbing and a reputation as being one of the most fun charity rides around.  It involves lot of riding, eating, drinking and live bands.  It was started in 1996 by Phil Heffler and here's how it all began.....

"Prior to this wicked fun event I held a few charity golf tourneys and the last year I had one it rained all day and ruined the event..it's hard to golf in a down pour. Also that year (1995), I did my first century in Southern Md. for MS and  I started thinking about doing my own ride.  I thought how crazy it is for the rider to: 1) buy an expensive bike.  2) have to buy (and wear!) spandex pants. 3) train for long hours...and then 4)  have to go out and raise money for a charity!!!  After all that...I knew I would treat that person like a king or queen! 

I also thought...if we did do a ride that celebrated the riders MORE than the charity..that it would eventually result in MORE for the charity with LESS numbers because people would WANT to do more after the first year.  Spend more to make more was my theory.  But my initial problem was that we had No money to do this the first year, plus we did not want to advertise it, so we wound up with 24 riders and raised $700!!!  BUT... the food was excellent and we had a very funny musician who brought the house down...so, the foundation was set.  The next year, we added Lobster tails to our menu, plus more entertainment.  Each year we kept raising more and more and even though for most of the early years, we only had 50 riders we were still were raising @40-50K. 
 
A few years ago we added a 100 mile monster and a 50 mile easier course ( the original course was 65 very tough mils & climbs).  That is when we started getting over 100 riders.  This year, we are accepting a total of 150 riders and will raise over 100K.

 
EVERYTHING I had ever hoped for with this ride has been surpassed by 1000%.  We get the best, most fun riders around.  My dreams are to get to 1 million dollars raised each year and I hope to do that within the next 7 years.  Quite a jump, but if you would have told me after our first year when we raised $700, that we would have the site, entertainment, food, beers, lunches etc. plus raise over 100k like we do now, after only 12 years, I would have said you were crazy!  Anyway, if we get there, I can't even imagine the show we will put on! 

As you can imagine I am thrilled to be doing this ride...camping and all!  I let you know how it goes! 
 
June 9, 2008

MY GUT

Images
I'm so sick of having a gut.  It could singlehandedly be the most unattractive quality I have.  Its pretty disgusting but I have grown to live with it like one might live with a mole or buck teeth or some other random bothersome quality.  My tombstone will read "She was a nice girl, had great legs and arms but her gut was always a little large."

My gut has always been there.  It has always been large and it has always been a problem.  I must admit that genetics play a big part.  Just like some women are bipolar or have some mental illness or another, I have a big gut.  Large guts run in my family.  My father has a big gut and my brothers have big guts.  It's all part of being a Mele.

So now that I'm done complaining I'm going to let you know what I do about my big gut...other than over eating on a regular basis and drinking beer.  I work out, yes...but do I focus enough on my gut?  No.  Do I do a hundred sit-ups every day?  No  Have I been good with my diet over the last month?  No. 

So basically I have nothing to complain about because I have a bit of a gut slacker.  Did I ever really believe that I would wear a bikini?   Maybe I'll go eat something really cheesy and feel better.

June 6, 2008

PLEASE USE CAUTION

Trailer

Mom's can be total goobers at times.  We have our moments but sometimes they're not so good.   

Instead of going to the gym today I decided to take Seamus and Kiley out in the bike trailer.  I planned a nice route forgetting that I would be pulling an extra 65 pounds... but all in all it wasn't too bad.  We visited friends, dropped by the post office and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and donuts.   

We were almost done and about a mile from home.  We were going down a slight downhill and we started picking up speed.  The kids were laughing, I was loving it and we were flying high.  At the bottom of the downhill we took a left.  I was so in the moment that I neglected to slow down ENOUGH.  As we turned the corner the trailer went up on one wheel and the kids shrieked.   There was a slight sideways flip of the trailer.  Did the kids fall out?  No  Where they strapped in the double kid strap system?  Yes  Were they wearing their helmets?  Of course

I stopped immediately (instead of dragging them sideways the whole way home) and they were completely fine, just a little wigged about their bike ride that had suddenly turned into Mr. Toad's wild ride.   The worst part was that Kiley got herself so worked up coughing that she puked (see photo).  After about 2 minutes we continued down the road as I explained to them that what they had experienced was nothing compared mountain biking. 

Yes, I will REALLY slow down on the turns in the future.  For my kids sake.  Now I know how far I can go.   Bad mom!

June 4, 2008

PLEA FOR HELP

Tania
So there's this fabulous high end bike travel company called Trek Travel.  Yes, I have written about them and gone on and on about how wonderful their trips are.  Yes, I have met the Trek Travel president, Tania Worgull, and have heard about how I can be a part of a trip.  I have read their brochures that include trips from California to Italy, watched their presentations and talked to many people that have had the "experience of a lifetime" on their trips.  I tired of hearing about it...I want to go!

So here is my plea for help.  There is a women's only trip coming up November 7-10 in Santa Barbara Wine Country for 4 days.  It promises to be the ultimate getaway for any woman who needs a little time to ride, drink, chill and bond with other chiclets. 

Yep, you got it - I NEED TO BE THERE!  So this is the deal.  If I can get a bunch of girls to sign up, Trek Travel will take me there as their Women Who Rides rep AND their in-house comedienne.  I will perform each and every day on the bike as well as nightly shows and any other time you like.  I swear to God I am good fun!  It will be a guaranteed blast and I promise to write all about it in my blog.

Here's what you need to do.  Email me at susan_mele@trekwomenwhorides.com and let me know you're in.  There is a very limited about of space (12 gals - I think) so email me and we'll can get this party started!  Don't let me down!  I can't wait!   CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME!