Monday, July 30

Trading Spaces

NMBS Sugar Mountain, North Carolina where to begin.

This trip i did everything solo, sans all the homies, but appropriately littered with people from the past, people on parallel paths, and people that are just down right cool. Oh, and the REALLY weird ones too!! I had a challenge ahead of me so intense, i actually failed quite quickly, realizing that i am in fact, addicted to people. Phone contact does not do the trick. I need to be in your space, in your sphere, in your area. Is that weird? Thus the challenge began as i stepped into the first leg of the diverse adventure.

First Stop: Shelli's Dads House:

As i staggered into their home at 3 am, this is what greated me! A note of welcome, snacks for the morning, and a can of easy cheese (i found that myself) to put on some crackers. Since i came way too late to SEE anyone, i slept way too late too see anyone on the flip side. 24 hours of non-contact with ANYONE i knew...oy...Shelli wasn't there. So we traded spaces.

I headed to Sugar Mountain, a two hour drive, which ended up being the lucky number of all things that i needed to get too. I quickly found the familiar faces of Larry Longo and Sharon and i think i actually touched Larry's arm, to make me feel more normal and what not, then i went out for my preride. KILLER!! There is a HUGE mountain to climb, excellent, just what i always wanted. (For those of you who don't know me, i am being serious.) The down hill was, well chaos. Tightly woven trails with cobble stones of roots and rocks. There was a thick layer of mud covering them and then random rock drops and ledges. Insane. Not as steep or as long as those found in VT, but harrowing none the less. Then, there was RAIN i wasn't sure WHAT to do about this stuff, but i kinda liked it!

Unfortunately, it DID NOT rain on race day. I hoped it would, to spice things up a bit, but that was a no go.

After an excellent preride, i headed back to Ashville two hours of course, to meet with Haley and CO

This is Haley. She lived across the hall from me in high school, next to me and with me in college, and i lived on her couch when i first arrived in the IE. we have a lot of history...what she is holding is actually a cupcake made in a ice cream cone. Genious. We were both guests at her sister HEather and her husband Jeremy;s house
Now i know what this "Host Houseing" is all about. Dang. This was my bedroom...
One could get used to that, i also took a bath, nice...

Speaking of Haley she did a bit of art work i thought you might enjoy. This is one of about 30, so perhaps more to come...Baking With Barbie, and Ken for that matter...

Ok, focus. I did go there to RACE in fact. I went to the venue saturday night to stay with Chrissy Bono and her family. they were awesome and right on the course! Super good idea!! (Thanx Cpop!!) I ended up only sleeping 3 hours the night before the race! Shout out to Paige for waking me up at midnight with a hangup call, then my over active head got infiltrated with my over active and overly stressed life, making me awake, forever.

Race day, yehaw! i was bugged and bothered for some reason or another. But in the end, the first place girl and i rode elbow to elbow for about 40 minutes until we came to the top of the climb (yes, it was that long) and she conducted a down hill clinic, just for me. I estimated that she weighed about 90 lbs, the size of my left leg. Super cool chick, was able to be only 6 minutes out, she beat me by 15 in VT. Whats up with that?! I was totally stoked for a 2nd place.

Next, i had to break down the bike and drive to Charlotte to catch a flight. To make the VERY long story super short, i had to get a hotel and eat at Cracker Barrell ALONE AGAIN because of weather issues in Dallas. Dang. More money, more time out of my LIFE!!! Good times were had for sure!!

Wednesday, July 25

Just For Kicks

I put Iced Coffee on my cereal because there was no milk.

I detailed the jeep, then left it by a curb that gets watered daily.

I bought a stack of magazines (not smutt ones)and two books in an attempt to broaden my mind on this trip. But then i just felt bad because they cost money.

I packed 1/3 as much as i do for most trips with the realization that i usually only wear cycling clothes and three other things: a surrong; sports bras; the occasionals tank top.

I quit watching the tour de france, partly because i wont be around a tv for about three weeks, but also i am creating a small protest. you are the only ones who know though.

I will take photos at this event...i really wish i had a camera on my cell phone...i would have had a fantastic update last time!

If you check my blog out from another country, please let us know. i can't tell on that teeny tiny map exactly where you hail from so i can;t figure out who you are and why you are on my blog. that stresses me out.

Monday, July 23

What is this thing, called Mud??

AS i fumbled through the sloppy mountains of Vermont, all i could do was laugh. THe MOutnain Biking National Championships were held this past weekend in West Dover Vermont. I traveled with the Usual Suspects: Matt, Christie, Greg and the extended Pleiss/Miller Family.

This weekend fell perfectly inline with my therapy outline and was by far, the most fun i have had at a traveling event. I didnt win, but i smiled the whole race - maybe just in my head, or i would have gotten a lot of mud in my mouth, then i could become ill - and once again i truly enjoyed the process of suffering. I have had my bike since April: I have not crashed it. I have not gotten mud on it. As of my latest bruise count - i crashed my bike 16 times. It was also covered and clogged with sticky mud for about three days. Now that is an initiation.

This One is For Maureen: To divert myself from the self-serving antics of a blog, i am giving a shout out to Maureen Kunz. She has been hittin up the nationals and doing an awesome job. i knew she would dominate on this course because she is an all round rider who can decend and climb and have fun. Well she did. She got THREE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JERSEYS. Cross Country; Super D; and Down Hill. Ladies, watch out. I also had a great time chattin it up with her and all the other girls in the race. Totally worth the 15 hours of travel and tribulation to get there.

As far as food goes, i eat a lot. Christies family threw down in style, home made friday dinner, brought TO us. Lunch at the campsite on saturday and a swim in the river. for once we actually SAW where we were racing, drove beyond the gates of the event into the real world that was even more fantastic than we imagined.

I am a total loser because i have not a single photo. But thats ok. maybe next week.

Tonight i rebuilt the bike, tomorrow i take it the shop. Wednesday i break it down again, heading off on my second to last voyage of the season. this time i have to fly solo, but as we all know, i can do a pretty good job of entertaining myself. maybe i will actually TAKE a book this time, so at least there is the potential for reading.

Wednesday, July 18

Steppin it up

I figured that i needed to update my blog before i head out on my adventures. from the little blurb on the right, i can see more people check out this blog than i assumed, or the multiple times a day i check it out myself have been adding up. none the less, i owe the masses, or myself, a bit of trivia.

Tomorrow Matt Freeman and i head to Albany NY where we will meet up with the Pleiss Family in Vermont for the Mountain Biking National Championships. No big deal or anything. After a weekend of fun an tomfoolery, we head back to the IE. With a quick respit and time to clean the bike and the kits, i will exit to the east again, flying solo to North Carolina to race yet another National event. The day i arrive "home" i don't even repack or clean anything, maybe my hair, before i head across the rockies to Boulder CO.

I will do my best, which is actually pretty good, to keep everyone posted with results and happenings and entertained with photos and anecdotes on how you too, can take over the world.

I have been laying low in Loma Linda for the past few weeks, opting not to race the Cal State Race at Rim Nordic this past weekend. Instead, i lay on the floor, droopy eyed, watching snippets of the Tour and THINKING about riding a bike, sorta fast. Lately, i prefer the simple three speeds of the Trek Lime it shifts for you and you just pedal back to slow it down!

I did branch out with some of the gals to get a pedicure. I asked Paige and Travis which color i should select, they said yellow in the spirit of the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France and my forth coming racing endeavours. i look dead now. so if you see my pale toes, don't mock them. they could, potentially, bring me an ounce of good luck, if not just some good cheer.

Wednesday, July 11

Funky Friends


I met Katie in the 6th grade. We were best pals all the way through high school and have done a moderately good job of keeping in touch ever since. Katie is crazy. In high school she was a cheerleader while her boyfriend, his best friend and myself all played on the basketball team. we publicly mocked her so much that she quit, never to cheer again. There were days that we were snowed in and we would take our snowboards off the roof, or go camping in her giant yard.

She has gone on to design school in Baltimore, MD, near where we grew up, where she became a Haberdasher. A maker of hats.

Check out her WEBSITE where you can buy a hat or have one custom made, just to your liking!!

On a bit of a darker note, you can check out her other work HERE!

I put it on this page because you can see an important element to our friendship. Back in probably 2000, we got the same tattoo on the top of our left foot. She designed and along with our friend Heidi, we were all maimed for life. But in the photo on the above link, you can see the tattoo in one of her portrayals of "Dead Girls"

Katie's art and talent is amazing and i am so excited that she is now hosting auctions, websites, and gallery shows!!

NEXT TO COME: BAKING WITH BARBIE by Haley Mann, like you don't even know!!

Sunday, July 8

Disaster Averted, again

Hot, hot, hot. This is Shelli and i on the Santa Ana River Trail! look at the smog way off in the valley, sick.

I have never taken a camera on a mountain bike ride, so i am not sure what got into me today. Maybe the excitement of rising early and pedaling above the smog line, or the anticipation of taking a buddy and student with Uncle Greg on single track they have never explored before! Well not Greg, he informed us he has been riding that trail since 1985. Good to know.

Check out Shelli's new ride! Favorite part are the pink grips! We have a Specialized club, it's ok though, because i do have a Gary Fisher and a Lemond...

These purdy flowers are up above the big creek crossing on the glass road part of SART, if your not lookin, you'll miss them! Greg had to yell at us!

So, We rode up for quite some time, Greg and Spencer flipped a U before Glass road, and Shelli and i just kept going all the way to south fork. She felt pretty ill, probably the altitude, so we just sat at the camp ground and looked at our bikes for about 40 minutes. She went and asked a camper lady for some meds to cut the brain pain, which seemed to work! Then we started on the voyage back down.

Here is where the disaster was averted. I ride this trail a lot, and the last three times "bad things" have happened: Lost brake pads; broken seat post; broken seat. So i was ecstatic to actually ride the dang thing properly! We had just passed a group of riders going up then "BANG" and i felt a shot of cold air on my ankle. you GOT to be kidding me!! These tires are suspect, the second one i have blown. Its like the side wall just pulls away from the bead! This one was big too! I put two GU wrappers in it and a new tube, but that didn't really do the trick. I gingerly rode down to Glass Road where we had another encounter with helpful Strangers (thus dispelling the "STRANGER DANGER" theory).

Three guys were resting on the rocks and became very interested in our dilemma. (Who wouldn't, two chicks, you know the drill) They totally pulled through! One guy had DUCT TAPE in strips. He helped me tape the wrappers to the bead and side wall then on the outside. This made the tire totally rideable the next hour back to the car! It was a bit squishy though and i felt like i should lift my feet, like when you drive over the rail road tracks!

Needing maintenance

During Maintenance

Getting ready to load up

We were pooped. I think we were outside for like 5 hours! We still can't seem to figure out how the time flew by so quickly and why it took us to long!

Fantastic Four

I totally stole this from EMMA's Blog! This was from way back in April, at the Phoenix national race after the Super D podium. It was more like a really hard pedally time trial. ON the left is Maureen, the Vanderkitten racers who won at DV, far right Renee who won at Phoenix, and next to me a legend, Tammy House, who could be my mom (And that is a REALLY COOL THING) who won this event and i was elated and honored to be right behind her!! We just look cool, i think. like we are on a mission or something.

Spencer, 11th grade boy, first time on true one track, in the car to Greg on the way home, half way passed out.

"Duerksen was in front of me, just talking and talking. I hit a rock which made me stop and get off. She didn't even know. she just kept riding and talking until i couldn't hear her any more."

Saturday, July 7


Things are not always as they appear.

The past few weeks have been tumultuous, at best. This past week i decided to part ways with Jason, the husband. i have landed in the flat lands of Loma Linda, with the mountains looming above, just a short drive away to some single track.

I am off track, being a PE teacher, so i don't have to go to work proper. So i may change some plane tickets and go to events early, or stay late. I will for sure head to Boulder early to see Jeremy and Suzanne before the Aspen national race in August, then its back to work.

My friends, travel buddies, sidekicks, and family are fantistic. if you ever wonder where you stand, have a crisis, and people really show you how they feel. i just hope that one day i can repay the kindess that has been shown to me. i have realized a lot, and i know i will definately continue to do that.

Sunday, July 1


What a day to have a "DAY"

This could become quite convoluted and disconnected, so please bear with me! I had a bit of a race in Big Bear today, about a 40 minute drive from the good old FF. I have raced there many times and neither the trails nor altitude affect me, which is a good thing.

If the local Community College offered a course called "Listen to your inner self you retard" i would take it, twice. I could save a lot of many things by mastering that art.


Yesterday i started losing my voice, then the unwanted boogies came and my belly hurt, real BAD!! I went to bed at 9, to sleep at 12, and that is just how it goes.

This morning i had full use of 1/4 of one nostril, and could only talk softly (HUGE dilemma for me, some would welcome it though). My head was all squirly and was everything else about me.

I took Timber as my sidekick, with the idea that i would just do feed's, or pull out and take the dog for a walk. Christie and Matt told me not to race, but DUH, it was paid for, must get points.

I had a 7 minute warm up riding to the start line. My front brake was rubbing, i told myself fix it at the line. I didn't. it rubbed all day. At the line i told myself, ok, you have 300 yards. If you yak then, pull out. if you black out, quit. But beyond that, you are on your own. This was not a lap course, so no 6 miles and back to base camp. This was probably 20 something and if you quit, you still ride out.

The line boasted 5 solid pro women, 3 experts in my class, and about 5 experts in the other classes. at the start i immediately turned off my HR monitor because it was beeping the FAST beep, like you are on the LINE. I pedaled up the hill and just kept passing people. I passed all the experts, then all the pros, and thought that was weird. then i just kept climbing. The wild card pro caught me after about 15 minutes and we rode together, which was awesome! She told me i was killing it, which i told it was because i was very angry and upset.

Now here's the deal. Anger only lasts for so long. This past week or so i have dropped about 6 L-B's, (I have been trying to shed some girth for 15 months. Now that it is gone, i want it back) leaving me completely void of any sort of glycogen store. I was left with NOTHING. I had led the entire group, way out there, for about 1 hour 6 minutes. Then i didn't.

POINT of the DAY: Hold onto those fleeting things. Those glances, kittens playing in the grass, smell of fresh baked cookies. I could have totally flipped out, but just knowing that i had been THERE for that LONG will be remembered for months, and give me fuel for my next task.

The really cool thing about leading a race and then popping off the back like a reverse rocket is that you get to talk to everyone. Although i was in survival mode and my language sounded like this "Blgoadhw", it was cool to see people. AS i WALKED my bike up the second hill (i can't remember when i walked my bike out of exhaustion the last time. At least it is carbon, so it is svelte) some guys asked if i was ok. I said i just hit the wall, first time this year. They just told me i was due. Pretty straight forward. Then my friend from Sho Air caught me walking again, and he said i still looked cute, and that was the ticket.

I knew my body would shut down today, that is why i don't care. I also was glad it was a local Cal State race and that i did get points. The girl i was riding with for the first hour or so got a 2:10, i got a 2:43. I am not ashamed! As Matt F says "Suffering Builds Character" and you are given a choice to accept that, or dwell on the GINORMOUS time gap. But it's ok, pride should fall quickly, and for a bit i was riding with Chrissy Bono, who usually places first in pro, and she was way off the back because her legs were very upset. We just looked at each other, commented on the difference of scenery back there, and kept pedalling.

I was chatting with the pro winner at the awards. She said she was just killing a road race a few weeks back, then she dropped and cramped and came in 40 minutes back and as she crossed the line, the workers pulled it up off the ground!! They were taking down the finish chute when i came through today.

Like i have said many times: I will DNF if there is excessive blood; bones protruding; or a puppy that needs to be saved.

I just hope i dont STAY ill, i have things to take care of!

As usual, the people i race with are fantastic. The community that is build around mountain biking is one that is hard to find elsewhere.