Called Off!

4:57 A.M Sunday morning: The phone rang. I don't remember much but the words "You are called off today". I didn't request to be called off. No ask = No Guilt. "Awesome" I replied with sleep in my voice. I returned to sleep with sweet dreams. Dreaming off good things to come.

Mt. Laguna Fun

Saturday was an all day affair. 103 miles of fun. The Great Western plus Mt. Laguna loop. Although termed by some as the "Loop of Doom." I love it more than any other ride on pavement. This was the first time I got to share the entire loop with Tim.

Throughout the day we answered a few questions:
Question: Do you always dress the same?
Answer:  No, Tim draws the line at wearing an I drop boys kit.
Question: What is this Fat Cyclists thing about? Is it a team
Answer: Ummmm.....It's a long story. Then again it's a long ride burning off those Cheetos so let's roll :)

Laguna Girls
Biker Babes
Call us what you like. We got our ride on and life is grand.

In case you are wondering this ride was the idea of the German girl in the middle. The one wearing the pink jersey and smiling from ear to ear. Gee, I wonder why?

Club Race. Girls Gabbing. Birthday Bash. Epic Ending. Wonderful Weekend

This weekend was my birthday. 33 candles seemed to daunting to blow out so I had to think of some other ways to celebrate. In about 33 hours I managed to celebrate with a club race, a girl ride, dinner with Stacy, and a mountain bike adventure that had more excitement than even I dreamed of. Just think of how I will celebrate my 40th.

The club race was first on the agenda. Usually I treat it as a social event followed by breakfast. The race just being a venue to burn some calories and eat breakfast free from guilt. Typically I spend the time prior to "club races" chatting and reconnecting with people I haven't seen in a while. Then when the race starts I am not warmed up at all and my body feels like it is going into shock. This time I mixed business and pleasure and warmed up with Julie and Beth. We were fashionably late getting done with our warm up jog but that meant we were still warm when we hit the water. I would have had a slower swim had Julie not keyed me into the best line to the first buoy. It's good to have friends in high places. I lined up a couple rows behind her. She is a fish and I knew I couldn't hold her draft. I decided to be positive and attempt to hold I her draft 3 time removed. I soon found myself on top of the body in front of me as if I was attempting to get a piggy back ride. After that it was a kick to the left side of my goggles which made me think they might fall off. This was followed by a kick square in the  right eye which suction cupped my goggles on very tight. So tight, I wondered if I may have to wear my swim goggle on the bike.  By the third buoy things had thinned out.  I was my only enemy, zig zagging back and forth.

I'm pretty positive about sport and racing in general I love it. I'm not going to lie. That 800M swim felt long. I felt spent and I was sputtering. I wanted to walk to my bike, catch my breath, then ride at a leisurely pace, building my speed over the next hour. However, the bike ride was too short. There was no time for that so off I went. 5X 2.5 mile laps around the island didn't leave any place to hide. If I didn't get moving I might get lapped by one or more of those damn boys. They might post it on facebook saying something like "I lap girls on pink bikes". It was windy and my legs burned for the first few laps. I tried to hold the burn knowing that for a 13 mile ride feeling the burn is not sufficient. Sufficient in a sprint is managing feeling the urge to hurl. A really good job is actually puking. One guy lapped me. His name was on his butt. I think if my name was on my butt I would swim, bike,and run faster. Social pressure. After that it was time to run. I tried to step it up a bit. Everything felt fine but I needed to make it hurt. After the first lap my friend Brian yelled to me. "Jenny, your 30 seconds back from Beth and closing in". I about fell over with laughter as that would have meant I was running sub 6 minute miles. I know you can't achieve what you don't believe but the thought of me running sub 6, yeah right. I smiled and gave the peace sign and a  thumbs up sign. For about 10 seconds I entertained the thought that it was true.  I had no idea how fast I was running because my watch did this again.

Shout out to Garmin....Garmin, Garmin Company .
Can you hear me? Anybody listening?
My watch keeps breaking just when I need it the most.

Anyway I kept running. Trying to push up my pace a bit. I used magic Harry Potter powers to beam myself up a few places. I would just lock my gaze on the runners stride in front of me and soon I would be ahead. A few guys passed me. I managed to finish in third behind Tati and Beth. I'm happy with that. I know I will always want to be faster than I am  but I know I don't always make the choices in training or life to become faster than I currently am. ( Cookies, beer, and burgers my friends) After that we had the famous Tri Club breakfast and hit the road for a 3 hour ish ride. So basically it was a hammer fest followed by a yammer fest.

We met Julie's husband John on the coast. As always, Jon managed to maintain chivalry while riding circles around us.

Beth and Tatiana always look cute. The type of girls who just get fashion, whether it be racing or at Starbucks in Del Mar. Beth uses the point of her aero helmet to show us her favorite type of tea. She only knocked over a couple of dispalys. Tatiana uses her sleek one piece tri suit and retro Oakley blades to reduce the drag coefficiency while waiting in line.

After that it was some post ride recovery food and catch up time with Stacy.

 Sunday morning after Tim got off work, we boarded the Idyllwild Express.

To my surprise and delight "The Idyllwild Express" was even decorated for the party.

There were "Weekenders" at Idyllwild.

This may or may not be "The Weekender"

It was cold and windy when we left San Diego but down right frigid and actually snowing upon arrival to Idyllwild. I was accused of ordering up the snow special for my birthday. I didn't actually think of ordering up the snow, I'm too blond to think that far ahead.  However, riding in the snow with dark ominous clouds in the distance was very eerie and cool. A whole new experience.

By the end of the day I was tired. Usually after mountain biking I ride around in the grass and practice "my skills"  bunny hopping, track stands, and the infamous wheelie. I don't know if calling them my skills is a true statement but I could write a whole blog on the wheelie. This time after the ride there was only one thing I wanted to do. Collapse. Somebody stuck a fork in me.
The End. (Literally)

Pizza Port and Beyond

Once upon a time, there was a girl who liked to ride her bike. Once,while riding her bike she lost track of the time. The roads were endless and inviting. The day was not. Late in the afternoon her husband texted to say he was done with work for the day. She knew a good wife would high tail it home and make some dinner. After all her spouse worked hard all day.

She exited the rolling roads of Rancho Santa Fe and entered Solana Beach. The good wife would have headed south. She turned right and went north. Dinner and dishes would have to wait. She got a whiff of something very good. She texted her husband and told him to hop on his bike as quick as he could. After riding north she headed south to meet the husband. Once again she got a whiff of something good. Very good. In Del Mar, she met her husband. Together they rode north. Together they passed something that smelled good. Very good. After riding for a bit longer, they turned around. They were hungry and it was dinner time. There was nothing to eat at home. Oh Dear!

Happy Husband!

Wait a minute. Remember, something smelled awfully good. It was time for dinner. Pizza Port to the rescue. I will argue Pizza Port has the best pizza EVER. Or at least they did on that day. In lieu of dessert there was a leisurely ride up Torrey Pines en route to home. 

Dinner Time!

The next day, the very same girl ran and she ran. She ran to the pool. No stops for pizza, but she did stop for swim practice. It was test set day. She PR'd her 100M free. (Meters not yards, Meters) Then she ran and she ran and she ran. She just kept running. Not because she had to, because she wanted to.  She realized she really didn't want to stop. Finally she stopped because she didn't want to get injured and not be able to run. 

She once read "Keep Going. Because You Want To"
She thinks being able to "keep going because you want to" is the best feeling on earth.
Testing mobile blogging:)

Things you see.

If you know Sunday will be all work, the preceding Saturday must be all play. Saturday's road ride started at 6:30 a.m. It wasn't my idea to ride so early but I am so thankful we rolled early. It left me with plenty of time for lunch, laundry and an afternoon ride on the trails.

Turns out it wasn't just me and my gang enjoying the trail on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We had company.

Hello there Mr. Snake.

One sees a lot while out riding a bike. That's for sure.

At the end of the day.....

I was too tired to cook, but a member of the clean plate club.

Flower Power

If you are going to San Francisco
be sure to have flowers in your hair. If you are riding east of San Diego
be sure to have flowers everywhere.

More Fun

Criminals may not return to the scene of a crime but mtn bikers return the the scene of serious fun. After racing at Idyllwild I knew I had to return with cameras and a crew of friends.

May the fun never End!

Welcome Flossie

Flossie is the name of my mountain bike.
Flossie is for short.
Her real name is Fat Tire Flossie.

Flossie makes me love everything more. Biking on the road, running, yoga, and even swimming. Don't know why. It's just how it is. Like Flossie Bobbsey getting her homework done on time, I cruised happily through my long run day dreaming of another ride at Idyllwild. The miles of swim, run, and riding the skinny tires are in for the week. My reward after one more shift of work is some serious Flossie Fun.
Flossie is all good but my other two bikes are jealous. Sweet Thunder, the time trial bike and Princess, the road bike, are a bit bent out of shape. They started conveniently omitting "Tire" and addressing her as "Fat Flossie." Flossie maintains that she is not "Fat." She's just big boned and her supsension weighs her down. Then they started in on Flossie's hygeine calling her dirty. They also called Flossie slow. They couldn't beleive Flossie would be racing already and asked just who did she think she was. When they heard Flossie collected a few medals they hissed Flossie hadn't paid her dues and that the field must not have been deep. Flossie seems to be taking it alright except I did hear her scoff that the other bikes were Pavement Princesses. I overheard her tell another mtn bike that the bikes she lived with were fast but not all that fun or exiciting. She said they required no talent or skills. Flossie claims to have "madd skills" if only her rider knew how to use them.
Uh -oh. The battle of the bikes might heat up. I've got my eyes on those bikes.

Fat Tire Love

Somebody made a movie from the mtn bike race two weekends ago.

It's awesome. A star was born.

Good thing I claimed Tim for my husband before he reached celebrity status.

Not bad for a very non sponsored athlete who works the hours of 2.5 FTE's.

Look for Tim to enter stage left at 1:04. Cameo appearances at 4:30 and 8:40

Idyllwild Spring Challenge

Wildflowers are in full bloom. Tis the season for Wildflower and Spring racing.

Sadly Tim and I could not make it to Wildflower. We desperately wanted celebrate and have a mini reunion with the rest of Team Neuschwander. It was not be. Wildflower has a special place in our hearts and..... maybe even a special place on one's fence.

A heartfelt thanks to my San Diego pals who offered Tim and I help in anyway to get to Wildflower. That's why I love sport. It makes the world a smaller and friendlier place.

Call me pompous but I knew in my heart of hearts by skipping Wildflower I could help scheme up a whole barrel of fun (physical inebriation) for Tim and I. Now I know you are all reading this thinking "She's worried he'll have fun without her?"

Maybe ;)

Lucky for me I don't just have a plan B. I have an alphabet of options for when things don't go as planned. I had a little time to come up with plan B. If only we could do something as fun as last Sunday's mountain bike race. If only!!!

And maybe something a little wild.

Actually maybe we could. Well Tim certainly could. There was a race at Idyllwild we heard about. It was a 2 hour drive with a start time of 9 a.m. Perfect, Tim could round on his patients first. I knew Tim would love it. However, I wasn't sure I was ready. I heard it was "technical and hard" but I couldn't look an opportunity in the face and stay home.

I googled the course and it had the best course descriptions "down the exfoliator up the demoralizer past rage in the sage." A course people love enough to name each sections. It doesn't get any better.

We got to Idyllwild. It felt like a million miles from San Diego. It was really georgous and a tad cold since we were at 6,000ft. Neither of us knew much about the race. I had to get a licence. Apparently this was a "real mountain bike race with Cats." Silly me, I thought cats were the mountain lions who would eat me if I went too slow. Tim and I both raced Category 2 as that was the highest cat/longest distance we could ride without racing in a prior Cat race.

There was a good energy about the race area and a great deal of promotion for women's racing. In fact they were offering the women's novice race for me. I mean for free. That was a slip. Probably the division I should be racing. They were having a little course talk for women put on by a former pro, Dorothy Wong. She took Tim and I through the start and the first part of the single track. She was absolutely lovely and gave some sound advice. We were riding it slow. It seemed really hard. I didn't know how I would manage to manuver the course with people around.
I thought I might get sick. I thought I might cry. This could be a long day. Oh Boy! I didn't want to ruin the day for Tim, who is soooooo happy to race no matter how painful the course. Time to put on my big girl pants.

Tim mentioned the course was sandy and that I liked sand. We met another San Diegan we recognized from the last race. He was smiling. Grinning from ear to ear with this overflowing enthusiasm. He asked us if we had ridden the course before. When we said no he responded "Well you are in for a real treat then." Then he said they had added more single track then prior years. Hold on a minute. In four years of triathloning I have never heard anybody say "You are in for a real treat. "
With that we headed to the start and I lined up with the other Cat 2 women. The field is pretty small. I recognized one of the girls and we started chatting and soon we were rolling. We whipped through the first section of the course and at race pace it was so much easier. In fact it was soooo much fun! Soon I was smiling and having fun. Not long after we entered a muddy section I did not anticipate. Wrong gear, wrong line and I was off the bike and pushing. Mile two and heart rate max. It was going to be a long hard fought day. I also got to hear the phrase "on your left" several times. After that there was some climbing and then a single track that rolled like a roller coaster. I was behind a woman, not in my age, who knew the course well. She didn't brake at all, so neither did I. It was probably the most fun I have ever had on a bike. I would like to ride that section a 100 times over. Later she got a flat and I was sorry. It was so much more fun to follow her line.
All to soon there was a sign for the "KOM". It was a long climb up with these little steps I proudly cleared. A the top we went right and kept climbing. I thought we were done climbing but it the hard part was just starting. Just like Wildflower there were big men walking in front of us gals. As if the trail is not hard enough to navigate ;) It was rocky and I could no longer ride all the sections. I was on the bike, off the bike, on the bike, off the bike. Probably should have just stayed off the bike and ran.
Some racers are so cool they can even run over rubble looking good. I ain't so good running in my bike shoes. I resorted to leaning on my bike while doing some sort of run shuffle bobble. I actually used my bike similar to the way an old lady would use a walker for support.
I think that was the hardest mile of my life. Really. Honestly. 100% the truth, the hardest mile. I was struggling. STRUGGLING!!!!!!! I figured so was everybody else so onward.
Finally after a whole lot of klutzy struggling I was back on awesome single track. Zigging and zagging, I found my self smiling and blogging in my head. Bad girl, go harder. No blogging, facebooking, or texting while racing. Problem was I couldn't really go harder. The trail was turning this way and that, going up and down, over and under and in between two large rocks like some kind of joke. Seriously. I thought I lost the trail for a minute. I didn't know where I was going so I ended up braking to be on the safe side. It's a tough call scrub speed braking or literally eat dirt? Like I said it's a tough call.
There were a bunch of obstacles I didn't forsee or have the skill set for, such as log piles. I had to jump off the bike so many times. It was so tiring I found myself riding sections I never would have if not racing because I was done walking that bike! This made me so excited I was in 7th heaven.
With about 4 miles there was a long tortuous uphill. I was out of gas, I tired to take a gel and it seemed like it forced me to breathe out my eyeballs. Getting to the next down hill was like dying and going to heaven. Heaven until my arms about gave out. Going down the long bumpy decent my arms up and went on strike. Seriously, they denied me opportunity to ride the brakes. I figured that would at least get me to the finish faster.
At mile 17, we hit the pavement and a gravel/sandy road. I wanted to kiss the the gravel and sand with relief! I could see the finish. I thought the course was short or my Garmin was wrong. I started sprinting as hard as I could and then we made a right hand turn. We headed back on a trail and headed up a section of the course called the demoralizer. Get it....the demoralizer. Hah, Hah. Hardy, har, har. I fell for that one. At least, I knew there was only one mile left. I refused to let the "big strong men" walking up the hill in front of me influence me. I had made it this far I'm not going to be a course carcass now I thought.
After the climb we were rewarded with a fast undulating decent and then headed towards the finish. I was so happy to be done. That was an effort worth celebrating.
I soon found Tim. I swear there were tears coming out of my eyes. Not an emotional cry, a wierd breathe out my eyeballs cry. Tim claimed to dry heave across the finish line. We were so happy. In fact we were thrilled. Guess we are a bit off. Just a smidge.
We figured out that Tim and I both won our divisions. Tim raced on his single speed. Woo Hoo to that! I didn't win over all beat by some girls on single speeds.-Studettes. Yikes. However, they were really nice and told me I had "27 wrong gears to be in." I was tickled with my effort because I think I rode well for my ability and experience. I couldn't myself for anymore than what I gave.
I asked Tim if he wanted to stay for the awards. He said "Hell yeah. That was the hardest thing I ever did. I'm climbing up on that stump"

I love how moutain bikers have so much enthusiasm for their events. It is mandantory to do the "V" with your hands on top of the podium. After watching the awards I say it's a great practice. Then it was my turn to climb on top of the stump. I actually found the stump climb quite challenging. This sport is not for the weak of heart.
That might have been the best Saturday afternoon I ever had.