Tuesday, January 27

MMmmmmm, Mammoth

I was trying to remember the last time i drove in snow. Maybe some ill-fated winter day up in Forest Falls. but what i do know is that my high level of loathing for the white stuff has vanished. Maybe its because while living up there the house was 44 degrees and i would find myself defreezing the pipes outside with a blow torch more mornings than should be legal.

Mammoth, was a blast.

Yes, they (like my MOM - rude) used to call me Butter Ball - i used to eat butter, plain. Yummmmmm....

Getting meal number one on the table...

The Table: Brian, me, Jesse and Shelli (their an item...), Steve, Staci - Shelli's sis and Dave

The view out the window. Since i am obsessed with hardship, i ventured out on a run once everyone had left. Since I DO NOT OWN PANTS....i only had running knickers. awesome. But i wore the tallest socks i own and lathered my legs with Hot Stuff, so it wasn't that bad.
I will probably never again have the option for this shot. 56 minutes of straight running while it was snowing. I loved it! Once i got back Condo-side, i set up the trainer, watched Ride for 24, and had some high quality saddle time.
But at one point my clear lense in my Haber glasses straight up POPPED OUT into the middle of the snowy road. I looked left and right. Trucks coming both ways. I spotted the lense by a glint of light from the sun and darted out into traffic and snagged it up before it could get crushed or lost in the snow. Phew...

Staci doing her thang'. This is about all i could have done myself...
The crew getting ready to play. You can tell by my tshirt i was playing House Wife - i stayed in sunday to clean the condo and take care of all the food.

I suppose i could have put some boots on and gone outside to help Brian. Nah...
BTW - although that LOOKS like my car, it's Shelli's. I know, i know. We both have Subaru's, race bikes and hang out all the time. We get made fun of all the time.

They said they got pretty cold out there...

Upon my return, i hit up Smiley for three trips of top secret training. This place ain't that bad after all!!

Friday, January 23

Rumor Patrol

True and False. Its a really fun game.

In the near past, i have had a plethora of "odd" questions, remarks or statements regarding me and my "personal" life. Although some are not suited for this forum, others are! So here is the most recent rundown:

  • Joy never works: FALSE i have 196 contract days some of which last well over 12 hours, 180 teacher-student days. I punch the time clock alright. And if i am not, i am not getting paid. do the math. its not my fault you chose children and a high paying job...

  • Joy stopped racing: FALSE. far from it!! I just may be racing different bikes, different venues, and different countries, its no big thing.

  • Joy resurrected her social life: TRUE. i wrote on my "TO DO LIST" "hang out with people" and i do everything on my list.

  • Joy is European: FALSE. Although my ancestors are, I claim the US of A as my turf.

  • Joy is going to Mammoth to Snowboard this weekend: True and False. Yes - going to Mammoth. False on the activity. I am riding my MTB (either inside or out) and being the Chef for the weekend. Dont knock it until you try my food...and then you will be hooked.
  • Joy was married at one time: TRUE. Come on, do some research.
  • If not a cyclist, Joy would be into body building/figure competitions: Probably True
  • Joy lives out of her car: FALSE. I live out of my host home ; )
  • Fun has been known to follow Joy: TRUE
  • Joy will always ride a Specialized: FALSE!!!!! Cleaning out the inventory!!

If there is anything else that actually "matters" that you would like me to clear up for you, please let me know! Otherwise, have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, January 22

I don't even think she walks yet...

But i am pretty sure little Gwen would groove to TLC with me as we cruise around town on our bikes. Good work sista'! Now get that kid some shoes and a helmet! At least the priority of the bike is there...
While Gwenny plays, Griffyn works on his Kung Fu Panda skills...don't mess!

Monday, January 19


The following is copied from a recent stream on Facebook with Matt Hickman, who at one point played basketball at the same college i did. I got added to some mailing list that included this "event" TdA (which i still don't know what it stands for) ANYWAYS...they were tossing the gauntlet around, and mind you, i have no idea who the rest of "THEY" are. But i just pipped in and asked for time and place...here is the response...

"The TdA is a little event that we have done for two years. It is a race but not a race. Think of it like a club championship. We are talking about two days and 4 rides. There are locations where you can earn sprint or mountain points as well as points at the finish line. The ride is recreational in nature and we wait for people at some areas but where the points are is where the competition kicks in. Most points at the end of the weekend wins the title. There are rules like all CAT 1/PRO riders have to ride a Huffy mtn bike w/ a rusty chain and no tires. Do you still think you can win? Oh and it is in Hagerstown, MD."

Tuesday, January 13

It's been a long haul...

It started about 5 years ago at Snow Summit (back when we could actually race there...) It was a 12 hour race and someone from the shop knew a team that needed another chick. Me. But then they needed another one. I had heard that Shelli knew how to ride a bike, so i called her and asked her to be my wing-man. Now, lucky or not, she is my BFF!

While resting between laps, a conversation ensued that lead to the creation of Team Jose Ole, my sponsor and my mother ship for the past 4 years of racing. I have been completely supported, supplied for, cared for, looked after and loved by this team. I have had more backing at an expert level than many pros will ever see. And i am extremely and forever greatful!!!

The bright yellow took me many places. It made me a target with a huge X on my back too! I have had racers come up to me after races and say "i was watching your jersey the whole time and trying to get to you!" And i have had them say the same thing as they pass me..
Here in Vermont I made fast friends with Jackson and Anna as they began their quests on the bike.

At any given point, you could find me sporting my team Sworks Carbon Hardtail (hmmm, this years is pretty), Habervision glasses, and maybe even sipping on some RAD. COLE WHEELS took over as out title sponsor this past year, getting me ready and amped for my first season as a professional. Extended Stay America put me up many a night. I LOVE their kitchens!!!

The blue and white made me less of a target, allowing me to blend into the peleton, or become "pack-fill" as we fondly like to call it. The upgrade was exhilerating yet completely demoralizing. The pain mentally and physically was light years beyond what i had experienced as an expert. Yet completely wonderful!!

I made it through the season injury free - minus my "free brand" on my calf! I finished every race i entered and had only ONE flat! i must have started in over 20 some races, so i feel pretty good about that!!

As i close the chapter on 2008 bike racing and my first year as a professional, i can only look back and smile! it has been a blast! Painful, embarrasing, sad, exciting, fulfilling, perfect, the worst, fun, no fun to be found...but that's bike racing, and that's why i love it!

I could only find one photo that would be appropriate to sign off with for the last time as a racer for Team Jose Ole....

The Joy Trifecta! This was actually made into a POSTER for the team to take to interbike! this was right after I won the California State Series and the National MTB Series...and before i cut my hair again. Oh how times have changed...
Maybe tomorrow I will let you know what 2009 holds...

Monday, January 12

Out with the old, in with the new

Chile is so last week...

But to sign off on the magical quest, here are some parting shots of Mom and I at the Huife Hot Springs near Pucon. Ice cold river in the background that we would go sit in before jumping back into one of the hot pools! It was also about 80 degrees out so finally got some sun on the belly!!

Everyone bought these hats down there, it made my head sweat.

Laura, what do you think now? I used to think i was a child from anotha' motha'...but i am pretty sure that this one is mine...

This week, its all about the bike... and lifting weights, and yoga, and working, and trying to sleep, and facebooking, and eating and eating and eating...

Sunday brought clear skies and 80 degree weather...

Pretty cool when these trails are 1.11 miles from the garage door. And they are in really good shape...today!

Hook it up! SoCal MTB league starts with the first race March 8th, Temecula. here we have the Redlands Adventist Academy Varsity Team!! What-what!!! So far i have 7 riders and Krista Park was cool enough to come out and do a clinic for us on Sunday! The kids loved it! Adam and Shelli were on hand to lend some mad skills and comic relief, of course....

more to come on these topics later..

Tuesday, January 6

Ain't nothin' to it...

Lounging on top of the Villarica Volcano, Pucon Chile...

Climbing a Volcano that is. Pfff.

The brilliant thing about being an endurance athlete is that i can do anything - keep it one thing - continuously, for quite some time. Examples would be laying block, painting the roof, pouring grout, riding in a bus, and hiking 4 hours to the top of a volcano. Switch me onto auto-pilot and i can get it done.

this shot was taken on the way up: Looking out over the valley filled with lakes, mountains, and other volcanos. Here's a secret for you. I had no desire to go on this trip. I am addicted to my routine, my structure, my control. I am also addicted to cycling and my bike and the community it gives me. I had no idea how to cope without it.
The ONE thing i was completely looking forward to was trekking up the volcano. I researched it, opted out of the ever-fun white water rafting that day, and planned my outfit. I knew it would take all day and i would virtually be by myself. Things that i am used to.

Only 4 other people from our group of 71 joined me on the trek. The Sims family from Canada. Through a long process, we got outfitted along with 22 other "tourists" with crampons, ice picks, gaiters, snow clothes and a back pack.
It was a 15 minute drive to the base in a rickety mini-bus over packed with foreigners and gear. I heard German, Portuegues and Spanish. About 7 minutes into the ride it hit me like a flash. I am meant to be a teacher. All plans of hopping back on the education wagon flew out the window with the dust that had come in. I lost all desire to go to physical therapy school. I just KNEW I must teach. This, was a turning point in my mind frame, thought process and basic existance. Borderline creepy, but all too real.
We had 4 guides with us and through the process of natural selection, our group split in two within the first 20 minutes. I found myself with the front group of 8. A German couple, some Brazilians, Chileans, and Danny - a tenth grader from Canada, who became my Charge.
This is Guillermo, one of our guides. Classic...completely classic.

We began at 4,565 ft in elevation. OVer the course of the next four hours we Slowly trudged upwards beyond on the clouds and towards the sulfur steam of the volcano to a max of 9,305 ft.
Now i have raced at 11,000ft and not had much of a problem. But at those events, we were on flat ground. Here, we were pasted to the side of an extremely steep cliff. Each step was buffetted with a stamp of the ice ax into the snow. We stopped at one point and the swirling of the clouds around us had a dizzying effect that left me nauseated and stairing at the snow.
This was so much more than a ride in the woods....
Rumor has it the volcano erupted last January. Here you can see where the lava went....the white on the left side is the cliff...
Resting on a lava flow....looking down into the valley
Danny and I 30 minutes from the top. You can see the steam rising out of the crater...
Once on the top, we had to go see for ourselves...
And this is what we saw. 200 meters across, and you can find lava 50-100 meters down. The sulfur smell wasn't too bad, probably because of the gail-force winds. The volcano sounded like a giant hungry belly, growling and spewing.
We walked as far as we dared around the crater. We had come up there the light snow is...
YOu have to take at least one tourist shot...

Being summer, it was extremely warm. The backs of my hands got super sun burned. i Never even thought to put the gloves on.

Getting down was amazing.

We looked like snow Kayakers!!

With ice axe held between both hands, waterproof suite on, and helmets locked on, we literally jumped into snow slides and flew down the mountain. I felt like i was a human bobsled, you could catch air and a wave of snow started to follow us. There was snow spray behind us and you could use your ax as a paddle to get going faster.

I laughed so hard my eyes teared up and my abs hurt so bad!! Plus, your entire rear become completley numb. i still have bruises on my hips from hitting frozen spots or small rocks!! Amazing...

Watching 10th grader Danny get to the top and back down was another high light of my trip. If i was that overwhelmed with the experience, the sights, and the landscape, how did he feel? The sense of accomplishment and fulfillment is one that rivals when i won the expert MTB National Championships.....

Monday, January 5

Stranger things have happened...

Weddings. Ugh....

DO NOT WORRY. IT WAS NOT MY WEDDING. Sorry to yell, but i just had to put that out there.

Those of you who know me well are probably laughing pretty hard right now. i am pretty much the last person you would want to be your "assistant" on wedding day. Well, i am always good for laughs and good cheer, but that's about it.

There were make up requests, and i offered my high-end stash of Burts Bees products!

Here's the short of it. Andre and JoAnna came down from Canada to build the church. They love each other, wanted to get married and realized that we had created this awesome little building out of love, so why not start their lives there? Plus they had free access to like 8 flower girls, reception hall, horse and buggy to take them back, and a delicious meal of beans and rice with all the fixings.

How did i get involved? Slim pickings? or maybe because i am such a hot comodity...or not. But JoAnna asked me if i would stand up for her. She said she didn't know if i was jaded against marriage, i said no way, just against mean men!!!

So, i had to find some clothes!!!

My friend Christina who actually sang in the wedding, did all the flowers, and coordinated it, also loaned me her little black dress. we are quite different in size and shape, but it fit like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (sorry, i watched it on the plane)

I also had to hunt down a "normal" bra, sports bras just don't cut it. But my Keen flops sure did!!
JoAnna and I in the "dressing room"

The happy couple with their homemade wedding cake

I have been in a handful of weddings. Art is HANDSDOWN....the BEST best man or groomsman for that matter, that i have had the pleasure of walking out with....He was incharge of the building project!

This last one is strickly for comic relief. We had to walk back to our "compound" carrying various things from the wedding. On the left is Miguel, our foreman from the job. I believe he is from Nicaragua and definately does not speak English.
On the jobsite i well, did not fix my hair and did not wear nice clothes. So he told me in Spanish, which i understood, that i looked very pretty. I told him in Spanish "Your Welcome" you can see by the hand on his face what he thought of that.
I meant to say THANK YOU!!! So simple, yet so complex these language barriers!!!

It was a complete honor to be involved though, they are wonderful people and will always be great friends.
Who knows, i may have to plan a trip to BC in the near future....

Sunday, January 4

Ziplines and small children

After we finished the church build in Freire, Chile, we headed two hours south to the tourist town of Pucon. Amazing!!! every outdoor excursion from mountain biking (tear) to cliff jumping, white water rafting to ziplining was at your beckon call!

A huge group of us opted for the Canopy, or zipline on Tuesday! Fun fun fun!!!
I rode the first one with super-buddy Azriele tandem. we decided to scream and yell the WHOLE time to NOT use the break. it was fantastic!

Julie is from NorCal via Georgia and a high school junior. She and I worked side by side laying blocks for the church walls. And i must say, we look fantastic in those harnesses. I feel like i wore a helmet the WHOLE time. between a hard hat, climbing helmet, and then another one on the volcano, my hair looked fantastic. 
The crew getting ready! Jenoa D, Christina, Dean, Adam D, and Azriele D

The trip to the top of the canopy was nuts. they put 15 of us in a small mini van without seat belts. it was filled with dust as they did burn outs up a tiny mountain road peppered with switch backs. half of my seat was NOT attached to the floor either. I think that was what the helps were really for...

There were four ziplines linked together, so it took about 40 minutes to get it all in. 
So, i had some issues. kids drive me nuts. sometimes. this trip was FULL of kids. the exact age of kids that i teach. completely rude. 

They followed me. 
They sang "Joy to the world" to me
They asked me to fix their hair, to comb it, to braid it. you know, the basics. 
They asked me to console their sisters when they were crying...

Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?! So many HUGS, hanging ons, following... UGH>!>!>! they Did not know me at all! i have the hugest bubble ever, i don't let kids get within 2 feet of me. serious. my moto is "no touchy-touchy" no lie. Kids dare each other to try and get me to hug them. 

But then i started to look for THEM... eat lunch with THEM...it wasn't that bad after all. It was actually nice. And i was pretty good at it. There were a lot of borderline epiphanies on this trip, and that was one of them. 

I like kids. and they like me. 

I will TRY to keep it simple

After a 12 hour bus ride from Pucon to Santiago, 12 hour nap at the Holiday Inn, 12 hour wait in the airport, flights to Atlanta, Salt Lake and finally Ontario, i am home. And shockingly, can not sleep. Also, the VAST amount of food i have eaten since i returned is shocking. Completely shocking. 

Topics in the next few days (or hours, depending on my resistance to sleep) will include but not be confined to: building a church; being maid of honor in a wedding of people i had met 6 days prior; trekking to the top of an active volcano; riding a zipline, and finding purpose. Pretty straight forward stuff.

Oh, some people have asked me how the riding was. I wouldn't know. I haven't touched a bike since December 17th...

This is Jorge, or Josh. He and his sidekicks came and knocked on the door and challenged us to a game of pick up basketball on the asphalt courts. It was on!! And they DESTROYED us!! They were all matchy-matchy with their team uniforms and whatnot, we didn't stand a chance!

But on day one, they picked me up as a Free Agent, I got to play for Chile. So that day, I won too. 

So I gave him my college basketball sweatshirt. I have been holding onto this thing since 2001. Nuts. It is huge on me now and just holds a lot of really good memories, and warmth. Josh and Fernando came over a few times to kick it with us, so i thought the best thing to do was give it to him. He was SOOOO stoked!! He even (don't laugh) had me autograph it!! They are from a really small town and were SHOCKED that American's had paid to come and build something in their town!!

Josh ran to his house and came back a few minutes later with two things: an And1 sweatband for me, and his team hat with name on the back for Adam. I know both of us will treasure these forever!!
Me, Josh, Adam (Tahoe), Fernando from Chile, Dean (Mendicino) and Zack (TX) stayed up way too late with the help of Danny the Translator...and a TON of laughs
Balla's! These guys are serious about their photo taking! When i askesd them to take a picture, my Spanish is WAY suspect and they thought i said i wanted a picture with my MAN, but i said my MEN...either way, it makes me look pretty bad. 

I wore ALL old race tshirts to work all day, then sweated the cement out of them!

Playing with the locals, surrounded with kids playing soccer on the side, Americans and crazy Canadians with flags, and the Chillean locals, was the FIRST highlight of my trip. This is why i teach PE. you don't need to know a language to play sports. 

You just play!