Trek Women
July 29, 2008

I MAY BECOME A VENTRILOQUIST

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So far this has been a fantastic summer for riding.  For a mother of 4 that works part-time and is with her kids the other 75% of the time, I get out pretty often.  I am very fortunate to have a supportive Loveman and friends that allow me the time to get out and ride.

Even though I have been riding quite a bit I am still packing on the pounds.  Since the beginning of the summer I have gained eight pounds.  Yep, that's a pound a week.  At least I'm consistent, right?  Bottom line, I am really enjoying my summer and I have lost my ability to just say no.  "Susan, would you like a few cookies?"  "Sure"  "Susan, would you like a second helping?"  "Sure"  "Susan, would you like dog liver on a cracker?"  "Sure"  It doesn't matter what it is, I just never pass up an opportunity to eat.  I love it way to much.

Lately I've been thinking about having my jaws wired shut.  I'm sure I would figure out ways to get food through the wire but I bet it would slow me down.  It would just be temporary, you know, maybe a month or two.  Hell, it might even help correct my overbite.  Whatever the case, I bet I could shed a few pounds. 

I just read a report published by researchers at UCLA that ninety percent of people who have their jaws wired shut for more than 30 days eventually pursue ventriloquism as a hobby or career.   Dr. Phillip Meyers, lead researcher on the UCLA study, reported that people from every walk of life and ethnic descent, when forced to try to communicate with their jaws wired shut, inevitably tend to develop both an aptitude for and interest in ventriloquism.  Basically, for every broken jaw that's out there, there's a person whose inner ventriloquist is about to come out.

Though known little for his skills as a ventriloquist, entertainer Don Rickles learned to speak without moving his lips after having his mouth wired shut for a broken jaw given to him by a heckler.  Hmmmm...this might be the boost in my career that I really needed.

July 27, 2008

THE FINAL STAGE

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Hard work, determination and a body of pure muscle...but the best part is, he's a family man.  That really raises my level of respect for the guy.

Carlos Sastre became the seventh Spaniard to win the Tour de France yellow jersey when he wrapped up overall victory in Paris yesterday, taking his country’s total to 11 wins.  Its all very impressive. 

Over the last 3 weeks the tour has inspired me to get out and ride more.  I think it has that effect on a lot of people.  No, I'll never be a professional rider but I can keep the dream alive can't I? 


July 24, 2008

A TOTAL TOOL

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Sometimes life is unfreakinbelievable.  Two days ago I was sitting in a meeting at a hotel in Orlando, FL.  Our staff was doing normal introductions and then one of my co-workers pointed out that I was a cyclist.  I looked across the table and saw Chris, our convention services manager, smirk.  That was his first mistake.  I couldn't help but wonder why he thought our conversation was humorous.  I decided to dig a little deeper and have a chat with him.   

Our conversation went a Iittle like this. 

Susan:  Do you own a bike?
Chris:  Yes
Susan:  Do you wear a helmet?
Chris:  (smiling) No
Susan:  Do you have children?
Chris:  Yes, three
Susan:  Do they were helmets?
Chris:  No. Why should I make them if I don't wear one?
Susan:  (pissed off) Are you an idiot?
Chris:  (still smiling) I just don't believe in wearing a helmet?
Susan:  (really pissed) I can't believe how stupid you are!
Chris: Its no big deal.  I never wore a helmet when I was kid.

Ok, so you get the idea and you know where this conversation is going.  You also know what my personality is like and I have been unable to let it go.  Every day I continue to mercilessly harass this guy.  I find it unbelievable that he truly believes that NOT wearing a helmet is a good idea. 

He has actually tried to argue the pros and cons of wearing a helmet with me (big mistake) and his points are weak at best.  Here's what I told him. The pros are this: it can save your life...and the cons: brain damage.  I am beginning to think that he has already had an accident while not wearing his helmet and the brain damage is a starting to set in.

Moral of the story - DON'T BE A TOOL AND WEAR YOUR HELMET!

July 22, 2008

A FAB NEW BIKE SHOP

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What makes a great bike shop?  The people, the atmosphere, the products and the biking opportunities it presents to the local riders.  It should be a place that people want to go to not only make a purchase but  to hang out and chat about being a cyclist.  It should promote healthy living through cycling.

My good friend and cycling buddy Chris Kennedy opened a brand new bike shop, Conte’s Bikes, in Bel Air, MD.  Chris has had a vision behind opening a bike shop for some time and finally his dream came to fruition.

Last week Chris had a VIP grand opening party and I was included on the guest list.  He had incredible food, beer, wine, giveaways and lots of fun new product to show off. 

His shop was gorgeous.  It was laid out beautifully with plenty of space, flat screen TV’s, spinning room in back and 3 women on his sales team!  It was everything you would want a bike shop to be and then some.   

No, the shop doesn’t sell Trek  but does that matter?  Remember One World, Two Wheels?  A key goal of One World, Two Wheels is to increase US trips taken by bicycle to 5% from the current 1% by 2017.  With nearly 40% of car trips taken being under two miles, it's an achievable goal.  The more people that ride the better off we'll all be.   

Just because I'm a Trek Women Who Rides it doesn't mean that I can't support my friends that are out there trying to make the world a better place.  Let's all do our part!  Go by bike!

July 20, 2008

FEAR OF WHAT?

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My friend Marc (see Show Some Enthusiasm blog) recently got a bike that the Loveman picked out for him.  He was pretty darn excited about it and "couldn't wait to get out and do some riding."  As we drooled over his bike we discussed all the club rides he could join in on as well as rides he could do on his own.  From the way he was talking he was ready to start training for the Tour de France.

He received the bike in the middle of June.  He didn't go out the first week he had the bike, nor the second, third or the fourth.  The Loveman and I as well as a couple others friends tried to get him out on several occasions but he just couldn't make it happen.  Was it fear?  Who knows.  All I know is that it motivated me to make a date with him, reconfirm it several times and then show up at his house on my bike and make him ride. 

He had gone out that afternoon to buy clipless pedals (uh-oh) and when I showed up he was ready to ride. Why was he ready when I got there?  Because if he wasn't he knew I was gonna kick his butt. 

We met up with a few friends, rode 22 miles and he held his own.  He didn't fall in his new shoes, he didn't get hit by a car and he had enough oxygen to last the whole ride.  As we shared a beer (or two) after we finished he started talking about his next ride.  Yes, his NEXT ride.  I could barely believe my ears.  Hmmm... Looks like we may have a convert on our hands. 

July 19, 2008

I COULD BE LOADED

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Last week I ran into a friend in a parking lot (not with my car).  Our children were in preschool together and I hadn't seen her in a couple of months.  She ran right up to me and enthusiastically told me that my name had popped up several times in her life over the past few weeks.   

She had just purchased a Trek WSD and she was stoked.  As we spoke she recalled everything I had told her about biking.  She mentioned my Women Who Ride poster, my Trek blog, my passion for riding and the fact that everyone she had met in the local biking community seemed to know me.  I had clearly made an impression on her and I had no idea.

She had just purchased her Trek WSD from Matt at The Bicycle Connection (who also asked if she knew me) and she was definitely feeling a buyer's high.  After we talked about her bike she said "Oh my gosh, you must make so much money off of all the Trek bikes you're selling!"   I replied, "Not a penny, swear to god."

It's true, I have sold a lot of Trek bikes since I started this gig BUT I don't make any money off of them.  Trek sends me my bikes and clothes for free and they take great care of me but I don't make any commission off the bikes I sell.  I just like sharing my love of biking with others. 

I consider myself a women's bike advocate and I am happiest when I see the excitement on someone else's face after they feel the freedom of riding a bike.  That's it, pure and simple. 

July 17, 2008

A SIMPLE MISTAKE

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I try and be as safety conscience as possible on the bike.  I am a stickler about wearing a helmet and I usually don't have a problem saying something to people that I see without one.  I'm constantly debating the pros and cons with people and  I am very proud to say that I have gotten several people to start wearing helmets that never did.

A few weeks ago while I was in Miami my friend Christy shared some sad news that she had just received.  Her best friend was riding to dinner which was only a few blocks from her house and she had an accident on her bike.  There was something in the road so he hit her brakes a little too hard and went right over the handlebars and hit her head.

Though she was able to walk home and looked like she had only suffered a relatively minor scrape on her cheek, she quickly developed a severe headache and knew that she needed to go to the hospital. Once she arrived at the emergency room the doctors discovered bleeding on her brain and swelling which prompted them to take her into surgery.   

Currently she is still in the hospital and her recovery is slow but steady.  She is responding to her doctors and has started physically therapy.  She has a long road ahead of her but the good news is that she is moving in the right direction.  She is a strong women with the support of many family and friends so I know this story will have a happy ending.

What can we learn from this?  Wear your helmet no matter how far you are going.  Wear it on your driveway, your sidewalk and in your neighborhood.  Set an example for your friends and family.   Wear you helmet, you are way too important.

July 14, 2008

BLOW ME AWAY

Jonathan There were so many great things about the people I met on the ride last weekend but one person in particular blew me away.

When I arrived at the Friday night party I met a bunch of new people.  Most of them were couples but it was hard to tell as everyone was hanging in a big group.  I met what I thought was a quiet, unassuming guy named Jonathan.  We ended up sitting at a table together and started having a nice chat.  He was funny, charming, handsome and had beautiful eyes.  I immediately assumed he was married and asked if his wife was also riding.  He told me that his wife had passed away 8 months earlier.  A voice in my head screamed "INSERT FOOT INTO MOUTH YOU IDIOT!"

Two of his best friends thought he needed to get out a little and had talked him into doing the ride.  Nice friends, huh?  They probably could have picked a better ride for his first ride (or maybe even a basketball game or a jog instead). Jonathan1_2 What they neglected to tell him was that he had to wear tight spandex shorts and climb hills that would induce vomiting.  But he showed up, with a smile on his face and ready to ride.  While we sat at dinner he ordered everyone creamy white unfiltered sake (disgusting) along with some gross mushy sushi (fish organs) that he tried to feed us.  I believe he was trying to get his fellow riders sick so he could get an edge on us during the ride. 

He wasn't really a rider per say but once he showed up in his gear he sure looked like one.  He had a fabulous brand new Trek carbon fiber bike along with some fancy shorts, a jersey, helmet and saddle bag.  He had it going on.  He made it through day 1 and rode the 60 mile route which ended up being 72 due to a discrepancy in the arrows.  Personally I think his buddies were playing a bad joke on him. 

On Day 2 he worked his butt off and did some very tough climbs and rode every bit of the ride.  He kept a positive attitude and everything that came out of his mouth made me laugh.  Here's a guy that is making the difficult choice to move on with his life and trying to make the best of it.  What he accomplished by doing the Catoctin Challenge was much greater than what any other rider did and I'm sure his wife would be proud of him.  He's a total rockstar in my eyes.  Go Jonathan!

July 13, 2008

I MADE IT!

Challenge3_3 120 of the luckiest riders in Maryland got to participate in the Catoctin Challenge this past weekend.  It was a ride for Habitat for Humanity and a total hoot.  My friend Rick had been telling me about the ride for months but nothing he said actually compared to doing the ride. 

Day 1 was 100 miles and a good portion was climbing up a mountain.  It was about 95 degrees, humid as hell and I felt a bit delirious from the slight dehydration I was experiencing, but the company was great. I rode with a group of riders that were all there to enjoy the ride.  I'm not saying we road like wimps but no one felt like they had to prove themselves.  We rode hard but we stayed together. 

I really only knew one of the riders pretty well and everyone else I got to know along the way.  I heard about people's lives, spouses, jobs, why they ride, what they like to eat and how often they take a dump.  Yeppers, for some reason when people know they are going to be together for an extended period of time poop becomes a regular topic, not to mention activity.  Men poop a lot and they really don't care where they do it...kind of like dogs I guess.

The women I rode with were super solid riders, beautiful women, hard bodies (minus my gut) and all around strong women.  I was honored to be riding with them.  We kept the men on their toes both and off the bike.  Nothing like strong female personalities to get you up a mountain when all you want to do is collapse in the middle of the road and take a nap.  Yes, I cursed a lot but that also helped me get where I needed to be.

Challenge1 When we finally made it to the top there was cold beer, warm showers, massages, steak, incredible panoramic views and 6 hours of musical entertainment.  It was such a perfect evening to cap off a perfect day.  I stayed awake until the last note was played then crawled into my friend's camper with 5 other people.  Instead of music I had the pleasure of listening to everyone fart and them go in and out all night for their periodic bathroom breaks.  Hell, I was on a foam mattress, off the ground.   They could have started up an all-night poker game and it wouldn't have mattered to me.   

The next morning we headed back down the mountain and it was bittersweet.  I could have spent a lot of time on that mountain just hanging out.  I guess it was a good thing that I left because I probably would have grown a beard, gained 50 pounds, started sleeping with Slick (my Trek Madone 6.5 WSD) and speaking my own language.  It would have gotten really bad really fast.  Good thing I went home. 

"Back to life, back to reality."

July 11, 2008

A VISIT WITH OLD FRIENDS

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There's something really cool about long lasting relationships.  Last week I had a visit from two old friends, Beata and Carrie.  I hadn't seen them both in almost 2 years so it was a very special visit.

I have known Beata for 25 years.  We both the attended The Academy for Performing Arts in Chicago.  We have been through quite a bit together and have always remained great friends.  We've shared many great theatrical moments, trips abroad and tons of laughs.  She is the artistic director of Trap Door Theatre in Chicago and is one of the most passionate artists I have ever worked with.  Beata uses her bike to ride to the theatre, the store, the gym, etc.  It is her ONLY form of transportation.

Girls1_3 Then there's Carrie who I've known for about 15 years.  I met her through a friend while performing in Chicago.  She is a writer and a film producer and is near and dear to my heart.  She is one of the hardest working girls I know and I always enjoy the time we share together. 

When the girls came to visit me I suggested a group ride.  Yes, I was at an advantage with the Madone but our ride wasn't about who won but about the "ride".  We talked about where we are in our lives, where we want to be and how we have influenced each other in a positive way.  We talked about changing the world through what each of us does every day.  After we finished our ride I felt like I had just had a good visit with my thearpist and I was ready to take on just about anything.  There's nothing like a good ride with old friends.  Try it sometime, its cheaper than therapy.