Sunday, September 27, 2009


In Washington, Indiana, 8 enthusiastic riders embarked on the first annual Daviess County Slow Spokes Pizza and Ice Cream ride. From near and afar (including Chicago & Jeffersonville), these individuals pedaled the backroads of southern Daviess County. It's probably a good time to point out that half the riders were Thurstons. Needless to say, we all said a little prayer before just never know with this crowd.

The organizer and great provider, Mike T, chose a superb 40-mile route and was up at o'dark thirty marking the roads. Additionally, he parked his car in BFE to ensure we had a full sag stop.

Google Earth Map of our route. Love the GPS!

During the preceding week, we were all anxious about the rain-laden forecast. Thankfully, Saturday brought sunny skies and all smiles. We had won against mother nature--or so we thought.

We started the ride in the afternoon with promises of pizza, ice cream, and music to follow.

Some neighborhood kids insisted on being in the picture. Too cute.

We were all smiles chatting it up in the warmth of the afternoon sun. As promised, we came upon the first Dan Henry.

SS = Slow Spokes; Left Turn!

We continued past the Pet Cemetery. I laughed again as I rode by. What is the exact protocol for getting your beloved pet into an establishment like this? I'll likely never know.

All smiles at the start of the ride!

On my favorite concrete section of road Mike P pointed out a snake trying to cross the road. I turned around to get a pic; unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to click as the little guy attacked Mike; he was pretty upset at his attempt to block progress so I could preserve his existence through digital media.


Just a few miles down the road we came to the SAG stop. Mike had filled his car with cold Gatorade, cookies, brownies, and bananas. Awesome!

Jim T & The Good-Looking Thurston, Jeremy.

Finding some shade.

Continuing after a LONG rest stop, a few of us rode ahead when I had to stop, again, to take another picture as we rode through this little village.

This one is worth double sign sprint points. *Snicker*

Completed in 1965, Dogwood Lake in the Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area was our next stop. While it looks like a decent sized lake, the state parks website says the average depth is 8 feet. Nevertheless, it made for some beautiful scenery on our bike ride. Josh & I hammered on this section to the lake; I was comfortable in his draft, but there was no way I could come in to the headwind and maintain his pace. Borrowing my neighbor's word, he's a "manimal."

Dogwood Lake

While taking another short break, I swear I heard thunder. Was the sky a little darker? Nah. We dismissed the noise as people messing with their boats or something else less daunting. As a group, we left the state park area where we came upon my favorite Dan Henry on the ride.

And that way we went.

At this point, we are questioning whether or not we will get wet. The skies were looking more and more ominous. However, wasn't the storm moving away from us? Why, yes, there's a chance we won't get hit by lightening or drowned like a rat. I don't know which would have been worse, getting wet or huddling together under a 4x4 awning of some church.

That was the last picture I took since a guy stopped us to tell us the radar looked bad. Duh. He also explained that by bad, he meant lots of RED. Because he was a in a big Ford truck with a full-size bed, I asked which way he was going. He pointed at the nearby church and said, "I'm going over there to wait out the storm." What now?

We all decided to try to ride the remaining 5-6 miles and beat the storm.

We didn't make it. The rain came softly at first. Mike P predicted the squall line that would soon hit us. Do you know the sound of corn rustling in the wind just before a storm approaches? We heard that a couple miles back and smiled sheepishly knowing our fate would be grim. What fools to think we had tricked mother nature.

The sheets of rain stung our arms, faces, and legs as it lashed out at us for being so naive. The sunscreen I had bathed in before the ride was now running in to my eyes. Blowing from the side, the wind made pedaling forward nearly impossible as we were trying to maintain balance and not get pushed to the ditch or into each other. Our line of sight was short, which means it was short for cars who were not expecting cyclists on the road. Indeed, just after Mike P & Mom crossed the old highway, they witnessed two cars crashing; oddly both drivers took off running. Weird.

We made it back--dripping wet. After quick showers we headed to the local favorite restaurant, Bobe's Pizza and then to a coffee bar, Cherry Ghost, for some great entertainment. Let it be known, Devin Kessler is an awesome musician. When he plays in Bloomington, I'm encouraging everyone to see him. Here's a YouTube link I found while Googling him.

Sadly, we didn't have ice cream, but the entertainment made up for the lack of dessert. Perhaps next year it will be called the DCSSP&M ride (Music instead of Ice Cream). I sincerely hope not.

Here are a few more pics from the ride. Thanks Mike T for a great ride and thanks to Josh for supper!

Dark skies.

Picture in the Cherry Ghost restroom.

Mo & Mike - the inspiration for the ride.

Is that Mario Cipollini? No, it's the manimal and the good-looking Thurston.

Mario Cipollini (he did not come to the DCSSP&IC ride).

Mom & Ange

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coming to an end?

As the nights get cooler and the days shorter, the feeling of something ending is ever present. Racing season is officially over for me as I have no more races on the calendar. But the feeling of Summer turning to Autumn always makes me sad. I love Fall; I love the cool nights and rich colors. I hate Winter. And it's that anticipation that has me dreading the end of Summer. For the moment, though, I will enjoy the Fall weather we're having and sleep comfortably.

I rode home from work again last week and took it super slow snapping crappy pics with my phone. When I first learned the route, I was heartbroken every time I came around a corner or topped a hill to find ANOTHER hill--not only one but several undulations. Now I know it makes me strong. In my 42-mile ride home, I have approx 2700 feet of climbing.

One of many views of incessant hills. The downhills are never enough to make it up the other side.

What I would like to see coming to an end is our construction projects. Progressing very well, the building and house are still not finished. I have learned patience with such things. The major tasks at hand include wiring in the building and siding on the house. But for today.....RAIN. Perhaps I'll find a good book and curl up on the couch.

View from the side. Yes, that's an RV, Clark, in the background. It's for sale! No, it's not ours. It showed up while I was in KY last weekend.

The metal is on! I think it looks fantastic.

Back of the house with the new awning and some siding done.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My body warned me to stop

And I listened...for the most part. On a whim this week I decided to fulfill my quest to check out Land Between the Lakes (LBL). While perusing the bike sites, I learned of a 12-hour race and that Heather was going. Sweet! After very little deliberation, I decided the 6-hour race was a smarter choice for me as it was my first long race; I could pre-ride on Friday, race on Saturday, and make it home Saturday night at a reasonable time instead of giving up my entire weekend. Heather graciously offered to share a hotel room which provided less headache for me in tent camping. It also spared me an entire night of some RV's noisy generator at the camp site. Seriously, people!

Entitled "12 Hours of the Canal Loop", the race is a loop of 11.3 miles and 95% singletrack. As the website says, "The loop is situated...smack dab in between Kentucky Lake and lake Barkley. It's a very beautiful place with the nature and scenery. Try not to look too hard while you are riding. We don't want any accidents." Indeed the trail would follow the shore lines occasionally giving spectacular glimpses into the serene lake, at least Friday it was calm. I saw only 2 sailboats and the water was like glass in some places. With a breeze on Saturday, white sails were hoisted and glided all over the place.

I snagged this map from the Woodnwave site. Unfortunately, I have no other pics as I was too busy racing. We raced counter-clockwise.

So, I took Big Wheel with the Thudbuster. I must say the 29er was a PERFECT choice for me as the trails are very rooty with rocks in numerous places. The first 5 miles reminded me of Nebo Ridge only with longer hills and rocky. It was up and down & down and up with roots everywhere. A couple of rocky sections, some loose, made for some grueling pedaling. well not as grueling since I opted for the granny gear on several occasions. Nevertheless, the big wheels seemed to float over the roots and washed out sections; I could fly on the downhills when I wasn't too busy being a chicken sh*t grabbing the brakes.

The next 6 miles was an undulating single track with very nice, smooth flow. Many points in the trail had technical sections with big logs or a board across a small ditch with options to go around. If I were a good technical rider, I could have gained a few seconds; most of the time I took the alternate, slightly longer routes.

During my first lap, Heather and I rode together; she was instrumental in helping me pace myself. During the second lap, I went around her on the hilly part and continued on my way. At one point I dropped my Nutter Butters--package and all--on the ground. I vowed to pick up my litter in the next lap. Heather met me at the car as I was refueling with gatorade and water; I had run out of both by not stopping between laps 1 & 2, but I was plenty hydrated.

Lap 3 was slower than the first 2, which were running about 1 hr. 15 minutes. Since I had picked it up a little on the second lap, I thought I should be conservative again. Like a good girl, I saw my Nutter Butter package and picked it up. The 4th lap would be my final; not because of time but because I wanted it to be. During this lap my body was giving me all kinds of warnings like, "Hey...this hurts and that hurts. You might want to reconsider this effort. Don't we still have to drive 4.5 hours home? Aren't we planning to run a 1/2 marathon?" I agreed. YES, YES, YES. No matter what, this would be my final lap. Sure, it's an easy way out to quit when it hurts, but the race wasn't a high priority for me. So, I picked up the pace. I started flying--as much as I could anyway.

About 15 minutes from the finish I heard a familiar sound, "pppppppppffffffffffffffffffffffffffff." No, it wasn't gas; my rear tire had gone flat. ARGH! Where was Heather? How far behind was she? Not far, I know. Checking first for poison ivy, I threw my stuff to the ground and started the repair. Let it be known I am the world's slowest bike mechanic. Luckily, I didn't have too much trouble, and I was able to keep the tears at bay while calmly finishing my task. As I neared the finish, Heather was in the truck. She explained she was having a bad day when her body said no more and didn't complete a 4th lap. I went through the finish line opting to forego my opportunity for a 5th lap that would have put me in a 6.5 hour race or longer. I was cooked and truly didn't want to climb the hills again in the first 5 miles. And, it didn't matter since Heather and I were the only ones in our category, 6-hour solo women.

My first stop was for the port-a-pot. I have NEVER been so thankful for one of these. While racing, I actually considered peeing in my shorts as I didn't want to take the time to stop. With a quivering voice, I let out an audible gasp of relief; the guy next door managed a smile when we both exited at the same time. Similarly, on the way home I had another funny bathroom experience. For some reason, I waited 2.5 hours to eat and found my choices were very little along SR 57 in Indiana. I came upon a McDonald's in Petersburg. Shuffling to the restroom as quickly as I could, a lady was outside waiting. My exasperated look was met with her own.

"I have to go really bad," she said.

When the gentleman left his restroom, I gave her first opportunity. She declined. It was mine!!!! Unfortunately, the port-a-pot at the race was cleaner than this one. YUCK! Again, it was almost worth it.

Knock, knock, knock! Someone's rapping at the door.

I exited and smiled to the elderly gentleman waiting outside. Standing in line at the counter, I saw him enter the restroom, come out, look at the sign on the door (that said MEN), walk down the hall to the door that said WOMEN, then walk back in to the appropriate room. Two patrons watched me watched him. When I met their gaze they quickly looked at the floor.

Come on, people! As if you've never used the wrong restroom on purpose!

Too funny. Tired but wired, I made it home by 8:30 Saturday evening. What fun trails and beautiful scenery. It's a must-do on the trip list.

Monday, September 7, 2009

TRTP race

Because hubby and I didn't quite get siding up on the back of the house, I decided to forego the last DINO race and help him with the projects at home. My race results have been dismal at best this year anyway, so I wasn't too upset about missing it. However, Meredith and I did a pre-ride a couple of weeks ago, and I really liked the course. The 7-mile loop that is Town Run Trail Park in Indy's far north side is a fast, curvy single-track with little elevation gain.

By Saturday evening, Mr. Wonderful exclaimed he would probably not need my help as the job was a single-man task. As always, I was free to do as I pleased. Impending rain shadowed the anticipation for Sunday's race. If anyone was around last year, here is what we raced in:

Rain on this course sucks! Wet trails suck! With thousands of tires smoothing the surface, rain turns it into conditions similar to an ice rink. In some places, it actually looked like asphalt before water started settling on top.

Anyway, Sunday morning I quickly gathered my gear and set out for Indianapolis. I wanted to pre-ride the whole lap again to warm up and try not using my brakes. While changing I realized I had Jason's shorts and last year's jersey; also, I forgot the pesky heart rate monitor. Seeing everyone on the start line, I decided to start slow so I wouldn't max out in the first 2 minutes. It worked! But now everyone was 7 seconds in front of me, and I couldn't bridge the gap. It only got worse.

Oddly, I was relaxed and focused for the first two, dry laps. I kept thinking--the faster I go now, the less I'll have to ride in the rain when it starts. I felt like I was doing a lot of things right: looking through the corners, using less brakes, pedaling continuously, shifting appropriately. I just needed a bit more power. Perhaps I was too conservative as I was worried about my legs giving out. I tend to be in a harder gear than I should be on that course and blow up eventually. Should have risked it all! The rain came just before my 3rd lap, and I had to slow way down. Drat! I was having so much fun; now it was survival.

So, I finished last again, but I had fun doing it. I hope to get to TRTP again to master cornering; what a perfect place for drills of that kind. The Brown County Breakdown is coming up as is the Hilly Hundred--my two favorite events of the year!

Thanks to Matt L. for the pics.

I didn't get nearly as much air as Coach in the pic below.

Someone is having fun!

Can't tell if I'm braking or not. But I am certainly focused!

Ahhhh! Before the mud and rain.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's still summer

This week proved to be a little hectic with some late nights at work; I've missed riding my bicycle but managed to get in the last Tuesday night Time Trial. While my time was slower than the first time I rode, I still had a lot of fun. I answered my lingering question about how much to warm up before a race--a lot! It's good to have a base line time to compare to next year; I definitely want to get better. Everyone is so friendly and encouraging; plus, it's a tremendous workout.

With the last DINO race on Sunday, I've committed the rest of my time to helping Mr. Wonderful put siding on the back of our house. We had put in new windows and a different door that will open up to our limestone patio. It's all very exciting, but the work is SO slow. It troubles me to spend hours and not see much progress even through the prep work and details are the foundation for the repetitive, more speedy work. Also, I didn't realize "putting siding up" would encompass tuck pointing. After finding some cracks and gaps in the foundation, the foreman tasked me to mix mud and fill them in. I had a crash course during my undergraduate program when I went to a job site and found Jason's boss miffed that he had gone home extremely sick while the $60/hour crane was sitting in the parking lot of a school. The boss taught me the basics in a few minutes and I was mixing and tucking. It took me a while to get the hang of it again today. Nevertheless, I set out with my task and came out with some decent and not-so-decent marks. (Note that only 2 of mine are in the pic below; the not-so-pretty ones that are already dried were there before. My quality would never be that bad!)

Now it's the middle of the afternoon and we haven't even started the fun part. But I learned what J-channel is, how to install it, and why it's needed. The wood blocks are the basis for a small awning to go over the windows where lights and speakers will be installed. He has some good ideas sometimes.

So, I'm still getting to play with all kinds of man-tools, power tools, etc. I even wore a tool belt for a little while! I learned about a speed square and why it won't help me racing. No wonder guys want tools all the time! My new electric screwdriver was awesome for installing the new hinges on our cabinets, which was last weekend's task.

Thankfully, Mr. Wonderful doesn't read this site, so I don't have to worry too much about advocating expenditures on cool stuff, although, he has already mentioned his need to go to Lowe's today. Guess my overtime from this past week was a good thing. At least we're helping the economy.