Sunday, November 30, 2008

The 19s

10am - club ride.

Our four-point-three-eight mile warm up to the ride start left me gasping and a bit nauseous. I sat on the tailgate of jRod's truck and recovered before making the rounds. I know we pushed too hard on the way in, but as they say, what's done is done. I grabbed a map, and decided I'd rather roll out with the 19s than drop to a lower speed group just because of that start. Besides, if I fell off the back, I could always latch on to the 17s instead.

Our group formed up, and it was fabulous. My husband and many friends made up this group. The 19 tempo was maintainable, steady, a relief after the earlier push. The weather was bizarre - roads remained wet without any falling precipitation. Low clouds held the weather at 60 degrees, no wind to battle thru.

A third of the way into our ride and the experienced riders hear that someone is flat. Fingers are pointed, wheels checked, but none are found. A few more miles down the road and suddenly I'm bouncing with every pedal stroke. My squishy and too large saddle are not usually this bizarre, and I confirm that yes, I do have a flat. My first. I pull over, and half the group stays with me. I hold my bike up as the men fix the flat, discuss the merits of patching and reusing tubes vs. carrying new ones, and we're off again.

Only now, the speed is en fuego. We can see the 17 group on the horizon behind us, and will not let them catch. We're doubtful that we can regain the other half of our group, but we take off as if it is valid to try. Starting hard after a break leaves me with a side stitch, and my legs are starting to feel heavy. I'm in the drops, hammering away at the big ring as we fly down the road. My computer does not function appropriately - it spits out speeds of 0.0, 3.4, then 24.1, 6.3... all I know is I can not maintain this pace, so I glance over my shoulder, signal and swoop out. The majority of the group wheels past, I see a gap and jump out of the saddle to sprint back into the pack. So tired.. and the small slope ahead is one that always drains my energy. I'm last man up, sucking wind, and we're off again.

Down Kansas City, always a fast road. 20+ we're cranking away. I keep to the rear of a bizarrely fluctuating speed line, attempting to hold the wheel in front of me while not riding into it when the line slows. It takes all of my focus. Soon we're in the rolling hills, Matt and I off the back, climbing slowly, pushing ourselves. On any normal day he'd be flying ahead of me, but his injury plus my fatigue nearly level our abilities. Around the corner, and the race team is huddled waiting for the two fixing a flat to catch up. We roll past, I nod and push harder.

In the next 5 minutes they swarm over us, swallowing us into their group. We regain the other 5 in our earlier split, now making up an intimidating squadron rolling thru Forest Grove. I'm cooked. I'm sure that there is a little red button in my leg that has popped up, so like the Turkey from two days ago. Friends from the race team roll past, making easy chatter. I respond to comments and questions with a nod. Head down, gasping, pushing to maintain speed and longing for a rest at our only stop..

Our stop that isn't. Maggie's is closed, and the herd rolls on past. So much for the break, now I need to hang on. A few turns down the road and we're a double pace line 25 strong. My legs are lead. I have finished the last of my water, the last of the snack, and I reach that point where I can go no more. Every push is pain, and a gap forms ahead of me. Then comes the advice, to bury myself to get back on the end of that train, because once it goes I'm dropped. I give a small push, but I have nothing. The tank is empty. The husband and a friend roll with me the final 8 miles in, I ride chariot behind them and my every thought is getting to the source of food.

Water - icy and refreshing. A Hemp Mint Mocha battles the chill that settled into my limbs. I feel weak, a few comments validate that I look exhausted as well. Soon the food arrives, eggs and ham and bagel and orange and bacon. I am slowly recovering, only to cramp a hamstring, then the opposite hip as I attempt to stand.

After our return trip home, I shower and relax. A quick pie crust and leftovers make for turkey pot pie. I stay up late finishing a book, and finally get to bed. My mind is awake until after 1. In the next hour Matt gets up (low blood sugar?) and by 3 I join him downstairs, and mix up some chocolate milk. My legs are sore, my stomach empty, and finally we get back to bed. At 6 my brain and alarm wake up, and for the first time since the ride my legs no longer feel like stone. I snooze until the dogs demand to get up.

This morning I check my email - and find my coaching sessions begin Monday. Here comes training, in earnest. Planned, intelligent, purposeful work. Here begins that which will make me stronger.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

'ello Holidays!

Pumpkin pie is in the oven. Cranberries have been simmered to maximum deliciousness. George Winston piano a la Pandora. The holidays have started. I am content.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls, inspired

I know Christmas is over a month away. I know this because my birthday is the two week countdown to Christmas, and that I'm not allowed to decorate the house or include my husband in "planning" until At Least after Thanksgiving.

But I have cinnamon rolls on my mind. And, I think I need to have home made cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. The kind of cinnamon rolls that say "Bam!" because I am going to Emeril the heck out of them.

The Base: a bread machine version of the "just like" Cinnabon recipe

The filling: Marzipan, Dark Cocoa, Cinnamon. I'm still considering the orange zest - haven't decided yet.

The icing: Marscapone instead of cream cheese.

Assembly will likely take place in a cast iron pan. I intend to wrap the entire batch in one strip of dough, so that can be removed and then Every roll will be soft, and you don't have to dig thru the crunchy layer or fight over the middle baked rolls to get there.

Is there anything else that belongs here? A different ingredient that would enhance the Italian-ness? Definitely need to pair this with a sausage-egg dish, to help counter all the sweet.

Monday, November 17, 2008

CC#8 - Hillsboro, Finale

Hillsboro Fairgrounds. Elevation: +/- 5 feet. Over two miles of spider webbed, gopher holed, grassy, lumpy, flat, dirt/gravel roads. Fog and moisture covered everything for most of the morning. Stubborn November dandelions were covered in pre-frost. I walked the course, looking for any hint of elevation, aside from the mound of dirty sawdust... two jumbo piles of soft, dirty fluff to ride over. I'm searching for Any climb, descent, hairy off camber.. there was nothing. Just field after field, barns, paths, grass, dirt, and the occasional puddle. We set up our tent just beyond the start line, where we could watch and cheer the first few loops in the course.

I watch others preride thru the fog. I eat oatmeal, drink coffee, chat with friends. It's the final race of the Cross Crusades series, and points count double. Not that it matters, I don't expect to earn any points. But I am hopeful, there is nothing scary to intimidate me about this race. Oh wait, did I mention the Arena? The pit of despair? (Thanks, Linda!) I missed that part when I toured the course... an equestrian arena of sloppy mud and a huge puddle of brown soup. At first I think the course goes over the barriers, but finally realize that it slolems around the first two, and then forces you thru the muck. Maybe it'll dry out by noon? Maybe it won't be so bad..

The races start. We cheer, we yell for our friends, friends of friends, the BMX dude, anyone that attacks the sawdust and either falters or thrives ~ it's a party. The pommes frites tent is frying up the last of the hash brown patties, and I walk away with 6 for $4. These are shared out, and the day brightens up. The tent city grows, friends and family all come out to see this craziness that is cyclocross.There are very few spills.. one spectacular crash just after the start as the mass sprint tore down the road behind our tent. All riders got back up and rode, to wild cheers. There were only moments between the start and the sawdust in front of our tent, and already the riders were Slow, and looking exhausted. Something was happening out on that field - and with 10 or 11 minute lap times, it would be a long and brutal race. By lap two, everyone was covered in varying degrees of mud. You could clearly see those who fell, and to what side. Messy. Sloppy. No way to avoid it. I wander over and watch the bog - watching the few who braved riding, and the very muddy ones who chose to run. Britt and I compare notes - we'll try to ride, as far as we can.

By 12:30 I've changed into my gear, and re-layered the warm clothes over top. No warm up, no trainer, just a few more bites to eat and a bottle of electrolyte water. It's time to get the rest of my gear, and encourage Linda as she's decided to race her first race. We huddle over at the staging area, waiting for the call ups. My pre-race nerves hit full force, and I try to distract myself and stay chatty. I get a decent line up.. well, I was only two rows behind the 40 some women in my field that Have points, and were called up by name. Each wave that is released increases my nerves - finally, we go.

I push hard, I was stuck in the middle but quickly move outside and start overtaking riders too polite to pass each other. I come in to the first turn too hot, and go a little off course. Quickly corrected, and we're in the knobby grass. Speed turns to slow - there is No Gear or Cadence that makes this pass quickly. The doubts have started.. the mind telling my body to just get to the tent and give up. The tent full of friends and team mates? No way - I have to keep going. Thru the now compact sawdust, and the crush of cheers is overwhelming. I'm thru, and the grass feels even slower. Off the field, across the drive, and onto new fields.. smoother, faster, ooh, faster! I push, and find I'm gaining. I push harder - this is flat, there is nothing but flat and a quick turn and more flat. My legs are burning. It's mile 0.6 and they feel like they did at the end of yesterday's ride. Not a good start, but I keep pushing, and searching for a quicker step or larger gear. There's a puddle - I sploosh thru. Woah that's wet! Almost refreshing! This is the first puddle splash of my CX career, and it's exhilarating.

Suddenly it's pavement, and I leap ahead of others using it to recover. Back onto grass, and I hop, lift, and run over 6 barriers and force myself to keep going into the remount. It works, I've passed a few more, and am going strong. The twisty section is mostly paved, Fiona passes me, the cutest little Junior on a borrowed 6k bike. She's ahead - she always passes me. I cheer for her, and wonder why I'm so comfortable coaching from the saddle. As I come around thru the corner to the next barn she's on the ground. "Get up! Get up! Get up!" I shout - I want her back in the race.

I keep going, and it looms. The bog. Russ is there, "Stay to the right!" Is it rideable? "Yes, just keep right!" I go. I ride it. I'm riding it! The mud is a half foot deep and chewy, everyone in front of me is on foot and I'm still going. Around the first barrier - I'm riding. Around the second - I can do this! If I can just make the puddle.. schloork. Dead stop. I'm staring at my front wheel half burried in mud, and it's get off or fall off. I don't even realize how luck I am to have not gone over the handlebars into this shitmuck. I jump off, and my feet are ankle deep. I pull lightly on the handlebars, ready to run - but they don't budge. I yank, and nothing. Once more, because certainly that'll work. Nada. I laugh, squat down, and grab low on the bike - one power thrust up, one mighty Incredible Hulk of a lift and it's out. Now my feet are even deeper, and with three giant schlooping noises I'm moving forward again. No clue how many runners passed me, and more do as I "quickly" walk thru the mud, into the nasty liquid mud puddle and out of the paddock. I hate this mud. It finally relents, I remount and that's lap one.

The first grassy field is still slow. I have a side stitch, I'm breathing rapidly, wheezing a dissonant chord. But I keep going, marking targets and catching a few. Halfway thru the second lap, and the first of the elite are passing me. Wow, it's never taken that long before. Ahead is a woman in a dress, cute, but I must pass her - and do. The twisting course shows me where Britt and Sherry are behind me, I mark their location and watch the space grow. I'm making progress! Thru the barriers, don't slow down! My remount is a bit ugly, team mates shouting for me to Get on the Gas! and I ride. My mind plays out a few witty retorts, but I'm too tired, too winded to get them out. Back thru the mud, slowly run walking thru the muck, back over the bumpy fields that have my triceps screaming, and jiggles every ounce of fat within the lycra. Still tired, still pushing. I see my nemisis, two riders in front of me, and I fail to catch her thru the barriers. Heidi is resting against her bike at the entrance to the muck. "Last time!" and I know I can do this. Again to the mud, and like the lap before I'm off fairly quickly. One girl in front, none close enough behind to contend. I keep going.. and realize this is it. And SHE is NOT going to beat me. I hit the puddle, and start to Run. I'm splashing everything, knee deep in brown water, toes hurting, gasping, shoulder throbbing and out. The finish is just ahead - it will be faster if I just run it. The announcer agrees.

I'm done. I survived, and put forth my best effort to date. My new tradition is to get off the course, lean over with one fist on the ground and gasp until my heart rate and breathing slow to a manageable rate. I pick up the bike, wheel it back to the tent, and see My Beer waiting for me on the table.

Uncorked, and the first sip turns into a geyser of foam out my nose. Ouch. Eventually it stops foaming, and I down the rest far too quickly. Eventually my ability to speak full sentences returns, and we congratulate each other and share the brutality of the mud. I find the hoses, and exfoliate with the mud until I'm clean enough to change.

Seven races, countless bruises, incredible memories. See you next year, cyclocross!

Friday, November 14, 2008

If I had a zillion dollars

Are you ever struck by a thought that leaves you pondering "Someone should Do that!"

I am drawn to Nordicware decorative cake pans. They are darling! Flowers, vegetables, trains, holiday motifs, children's motifs, on and on. I love these! I imagine making the mini bundt flora for bridal showers or mother's day teas. A full train for a little boy's birthday. A turkey and pumpkins, or Christmas trees and snowflakes, or roses and hearts - you name the holiday, there is a shaped cake pan or five to honor it. But how many of these things can/should one person buy? How many times will you use that race car set? A gingerbread house pan can be an heirloom tradition, but the carousel horses? Once, maybe twice in a lifetime.

But what if you could Rent them?
Go to a local location, or via mail, and Borrow that beehive cake pan for your girlfriend's birthday, because she is Totally into bumble bees.
Wouldn't that be the Best?!
Is it possible? Could this be a functional business plan? Could that Someone, Somehow, be Me?

But - if I had a million dollars (bonus points if Bare Naked Ladies just started in your head, and now you want mac & cheese for lunch....)

Within my 5 mile radius there is a new, empty retail space. It has a round bay window wall facing a busy intersection, a half round, castle like roof, on the corner of a fairly high traffic shopping and travel area. When I look at this building, it NEEDS to be a cupcake & desserts bakery. If I won the lottery (well, if I ever bought a ticket to enable that) I'd run that shop with a mix of healthy and naughty treats. There would be a signature maple bar - the best damn maple bar you can get in Washington County, because I have yet to find one that lives up to childhood memory. I'd offer monthly cake decorating classes, fancy cupcake papers & boxes, cake stands (buy & rent), and pretty table decor to make your party Gorgeous. And I'd definitely include cake pan rentals. Just the pan, the pan and a box of mix, the pan and the box and pre-made frosting and decorative candies, or the cake, baked and/or decorated and ready to go. So many options!

The practical half of me knows that all my free time would be gone, that I'd gain 45 lbs and dream about the time I could ride for hours after work or on the weekends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Wednesday and it's Raining

It's pouring outside. Our trees are nekkid.

A big pot of pumpkin tortilla soup, one smashing beer (seriously, that's all it took) and I couldn't be happier. This is autumn - this is the onslaught of dark and gray and miserably wonderful that will last until April. Bring on the sweaters, jeans, scarves, and wool hats! Bring on the down comforter, hot tea, and one-button fireplace!

I've exercised precisely once a week for the past month or so, and I can see myself getting soft. Well guess what? It's about time to crank up the heat and find out what I'm made of - because a full year of coaching is about to start. I better get moving so I'm not a complete embarrassment to myself when it's time to attack those kettle balls and cardio sessions! What better way to pass the season than by working on improving fit and function before the good weather arrives? After all, exercising is precicely Not just thinking about it.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This cold has lingered long and hard to get the better of me. We spent the better part of Friday night and all day Saturday being lazy, getting lots of rest and fluids in order to be ready for Sunday. I actually woke up feeling pretty good, so game on.

But after that fall, my left hip, quad, hamstring and anything else attached is sore. My neck muscles are tender. I could probably use another trip to the chiro or three. Add to that a cough and congestion that piled on as soon as the race ended, and my voice is trying to disappear. Matt is suffering this too - on top of his bum knee.

I'm waiting for my tea to cool enough to drink, and for the PS3 to recognize the movies uploaded on our new storage behemoth. My 'sick' mug is in the dishwasher, so I'm making due with my favorite jumbo winter mug. Gypsy Cold Care tea to the rescue!

I wanna feel better now, mkay?

CC#7 - PIR

A very long post...

We arrived after the tent setup. As Matt wasn't racing, we didn't need to rush. But I did want to get there in time to pre-ride before the first race. Two trips from the car to the tent and all of my gear and our beer is available. I change my jacket, put on the shoes & helmet, and head out with Lindsey. I'm still in a funk from last week. Still intimidated. Still playing a very negative loop in my head.. why am I here? Why am I doing this? I'm a hazard, I don't have the skills, I suck I suck I suck.

There are long stretches of road. Pavement with varying degrees of gravel and potholes, leading to a dirt-gravel road to a hairpin. Make that a tiny downhill to a hairpin. I freeze, I forget how to turn, I'm afraid of washing out and instead go off course, over a grassy bump and roll my eyes at myself and my complete void of skills. Sweet Lindsey is still encouragement. We continue up thru mud, I can climb this little hill but I know that lap one of the race will be so full of bodies that running will be a better option. Down, across a road, and up again, in mud. For now, this is rideable - in six hours it will be soup. We bypass the drop into the puddle - no sense getting soaked this early, eh? Across a flat field - I stop and pull a substantial stick out of the path. Another hairpin around trees, a bunch of turns thru the field until a climb. There are barriers all the way up, and one more once you pass under the windmill. We ride up the hill around these, just looking at the course. I walk down the next hill, onto pavement into the back field. Another small climb, very rideable, and there we are at the top of the hill. A giant U cuts the side, the bottom is defined by a chain link fence. I've skipped the past few descents, I need to try this, to know that I can do it. I ride down - weight back, wieght back, and I'm at the bottom. Where my bike skips out from under me and I fall Hard onto my hip. I feel my body bounce, my hip and head the only contact points with the ground. I jump up, grab the bike, and get the hell away from that spot. "Are you okay?!" I grunt, I nod, I keep moving. I want to cry. I ask myself again why I'm doing this, what makes me think I have any right to be here? I'm in pain. I jump back on, and soft pedal my way back to the tent.

If I was withdrawn and focused before, it's worse now. Matt tries to break thru. Yeah, yeah, I'm okay. I put my bike on the stand, change into warm clothes and inspect the wound. Thanks to falling on mud there is no broken skin, but my left hip, an area the size of a saucer, is tender to the touch. Rivercity is next to our tent, so I roll the bike over and they fix the hoods which have both slipped in the fall.

Race one is underway, and we walk over to the oatmeal tent. Two bites and my stomach starts to revolt. I'm jittery, and little waves of nausea and dizziness kick in. My neck cramps, and I grab Matt and force him to massage it before the tears start. I search for the HPChiro tent, but it isn't around. I finally find the free chiro tent where students are earning their practice hours, and everything is free. Eric is a godsend, he spends significant time helping realign my back, working on my neck, and by the time the second race has finished I'm no longer the stiff, jittery ball of nerves that I was.

More of the team has arrived. I'm in better spirits. "Are you going to race?" Sure, why not, I reply with a shrug. I'll race. I'm Fally McPreride, and I need to get out there and just finish this damn race, then one more at Hillsboro. Two races. I need to finish. I skip my warmup, end up at the back of the lineup and attempt a half-assed pep talk. "We do this because it's fun, right?" You betcha!


Go! I scooter step and get pinched off behind Britt. She's 2 places in front of me on the left. Down the road, I avoid all the potholes. The first swooping off camber and everyone is slowing to take the high line. The low is grassy, no one has cut a path so I take it low and pass the crowd, catching back up to Britt. We connect, make it thru the gravel hairpin (yay!) and encourage each other. I see the first hill, piles of bodies slowly tipping as they lose momentum. I dismount and run up it. I run down, and up the next - I'm panting as I run, passing those who've attempted to ride it. Over the mudway, until it firms enough to remount. I am on just in time for the drop into the puddle. The outside edge is a half wall of concrete, topped with chain link fence. You don't want to crash here. "Take the outside! Take the outside line!" Matt is there, cheering and yelling advice. I am on the inside of the turn, but put my faith in the advice and drive outward as I dive into the puddle. It's paved! It is smooth, the water washes off the wheels and my feet stay dry. I wobble, nearly slip, and my right hand catches and pushes off the chainlink 3 or 4 times before my momentum regains a forward motion. They cheer, I climb out of the pit with Darrel shouting for me all the way up.

Into the slop. The mud is deep, my wheels cut in and I have the perfect gear. Keep moving the pedals forward, and the wheels keep grabbing and I stay upright. To the left is a patch that is smooth and glossy mud. I catch it, and find it is hard and provides much better traction. This saves time and effort, enough for me to notice how much I'm wheezing - I'm sucking wind, grateful that I'm not aspirating the flying mud and goose poop.

Next up is the climb thru the barriers. The drumline has started, a cadence too slow for my feet as I hop up the hill, over barriers, and decide to just run down the other side. I'm gasping, my heart is beating frantically. Onto the road and I finally remount. I make it up the next hill, dismount, and run down it. No need to fall there again, as I watch the pile of bodies hit the mud before they too decide to just run it. No one can ride this, and if they make it down, they're running out. A steep climb out, I find the footholds on the inside, pushing my bike up to a flying remount and down, one more turn and to the straight away of the finish.

Laps two and three I'm able to ride the early little climbs, run walk thru the muck. I see Britt with a fallen rider, checking out the knee. She's doing triage mid race! They're okay, the medic has been notified, and I continue on. I try one remount, tip over and dismount to the wrong side. As my foot flies back I kick the rider or her bike behind me ~ she's okay and we press forward to the puddle.

Britt has caught me, but a fallen chain stops me. It takes 3 tries to figure it out and get it back on, spectators trying to help and shouting encouragement. I see the second wave of As and Bs pass me by, and I know this is my last lap. I haven't totally slacked off, I'm winded, I'm hurting, but I haven't fallen and I'm still in the pack. I jump back on and go go go.

Thru the slop, around the trees, twists and turns and up the hill to the barrier climbs. I'm running up, running down, remount and climb the last climb. I run the U one last time, and on the climb out I start to slip. I'm half way up, trying to hit the footholds but my feet slide. I freeze. If I move I'll slide back down on my stomach or face. 5 of the guys on the team are shouting for me - I step up and slide. Step again, slide a little. It takes a few more tries and finally I'm at the top. "The pack is right be hind you! Go!" I push forward and jump back on the saddle and push hard. Jump on the brakes for the very last downhill turn, thru the pylons and onto the road. The long road that leads to the finish.

I crank it hard. I'm flying forward, sprinting for 39th place. I cross the line, I've made it! I roll off to the side, drop the bike and lean over, searching for oxygen. Five minutes later I can move, and slowly make my way back to the tent. Eric the chiro nods, I finished and I'm in one piece. Matt congratulates me, Lindsey hugs me. That was Awesome.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oatmeal Caramel Apple... Cake?

My go to oatmeal cookie recipe is inside the lid of Quaker's tube of quick oats. But this time, I was craving caramel apples. So, I shredded two apples on my hand held microplane, then chopped up a heavy dozen caramels, and mixed them in at the end. Spread out in the pan, the entire house smelled of cinnamon, apples, and sweet caramel. They took slightly longer to bake, due to the added moisture from apples. The result - they aren't cookie bars, more like cake, but very tasty. Sweet enough that icing need not apply.

Earlier this week I was searching for my Korean BBQ Beef recipe - a fairly simple marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, tons of garlic, and crushed red pepper. I didn't find it, but I DID finally find the chocolate harvest cake recipe that I thought I'd lost, and was unable to find online. I'm so relieved that I think I need an excuse to bust this one out again. It is currently on the refrigerator with a couple other recipes that I've been wanting to try. I guess I really do need to sort thru all those hand written and clipped out recipes that are piling up.

Question: Are any squash seeds roastable and edible, in the same way as pumpkin? I was pondering this just after I gutted an acorn squash that was roasted along side a bulb of garlic.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Happy Halloween Weekend

We were treated to a fun, mellow, happy evening of celebration and splurging on a *few* too many sweets. G - I continue to be amazed at your consistency and ability to be such an amazing friend, mother, baker, cook, hostess, and woman. Your little dino is adorable, and you're doing a Fantastic job! Thanks for having us over for the treat-v-tricks!

Saturday morning called for french toast. I had some sliced sourdough and a bit of left over canned pumpkin, so I mixed up some pumpkin pie-ish custard, soaked the bread, then turned it all over to the griddle. 4 slices: 2 eggs, 1/4 c pumpkin (tinned), splash of vanilla, scoop of pumpkin butter, and enough buttermilk to incorporate. Topped with cinnamon sugar or maple syrup - yummy.

The rest of the afternoon we hung out with our dear friends in their gorgeous new home (yes, totally jealous!) Watched a little football, some Bond, ate a chocolate or two, then back home to pack and prep for race day.

Sunday. Race day. It was a nervous hour long drive. I was ready - I was going to crush it! My motto is Go Hard! At any moment, if I wasn't giving it my all, I'd remember Go Hard. I was excited, and anticipated a fun race, better results, and reaching my limits by the end. 4 or 5 laps? Each one, Go Hard. The stomach was flipping a bit, but I was hungry. I was ready. Then came the pre-ride.. then came the injury reports, and seeing first hand a face busted open. Read on.

CC#6 - Barton Park

In November rainfall threatens
On the Second, gravel beckons
Flocks of bikes descend on Barton Park

Tents erected bright and early
Coffee poured and downed as quickly
Pre-rides take flight thru muddy gravel lot

Over dirt and under trees
Riding gently as the breeze
The trails are filled with bikes and cheerful hearts

On I ride, thru mud and pine
Cross the gravel, bridge and puddle
Gears and wheels spin onward toward the start

Down the road, swiftly speeding
Round the corner mud is nearing
Endo o'r the wheel on to my face

Bramble covered rocks and gravel
I survived, except the handle
bar where hood is grassy, twisted in

Onward, onward, course is calling
Twice onto mounds of gravel falling
Flailing, scratching, bruising, pile of rocks

Racers start and on they ride
We ring the cowbells, shout with pride
Wet course claims riders skin and face and bone

If only, if only, my mind cries
If only - excuses, fear and lies
I shake with dread and pain for giving up

Thus the pre-ride I'll remember
Was the one and only ever
Lap I'll ride this year at Barton Park.

---To all those who braved a wicked fast and gloriously dangerous course
My Husband - who without falling managed to mangle a knee
Sir Faceplant - I wish you rapid healing and minimal scars
Kenji - a healthy and quick collar bone recovery
Sierra - relief from pain and hopefully no harm done
And all the others that left the race worse for the attempt
---Heal stronger, heal quickly