Friday, June 29, 2007

Birthdays and Bikes

The big 2-7 has come and gone, but not without some fab fun to commemorate it by. Jay let me open my birthday present Monday night since we were going to be riding on my actual birthday (Tuesday) and didn't want to cram too much excitement into just one day.

Jay usually wraps my presents up in bike part boxes. It always makes it really interesting to find out what's really in the crank set or pedal box. Needless to say, I had no clue what was to come when I started to dig into a crank set box wrapped fascinatingly in covers of Velo News....and what do you think was in there?? A sexy new FSA Team Issue Carbon Crank set, that's what! Yowza x 2!!!! I never would have guessed (but that seems to be becoming a trend with Jay).

He put it on Casper the next morning for our ride so I got to get the full effect. We got up early to hit the shop and soup up the bike before driving down to Lake City for an EPIC birthday ride. Yes, that's right - we played hookie and rode bikes. We had planned on this ride for weeks, so didn't even consider calling it quits with the high 90's temps. We got there around 11:00, gearing up and filling water bottles while breaking a sweat. This was another one of those silent moments where, somewhere in the back of our minds, something was saying "this might not be such a great idea".....but it was a ride, so you're damn right we ignored those thoughts.
Jay and I kept a great pace going (sometimes I was riding a little harder than I should have been, but it was hot and any little breeze was a treat). The hills were more than I imagined, especially right at the beginning, leaving Red Wing into Wisconsin - we had a 3-4 mile climb that seemed to never end. Jay and I were also fighting for city sprint signs at every town....I actually crushed him on 2!!! We stopped in Maiden Rock for some cold sodas and sat in the shade for a few minutes, only to see that, at 1:30 pm it was already 98 degrees in the shade. I'm convinced it got well over 100, especially in the wide open roads, newly paved with fresh blacktop. We rode those for miles trying to keep it together on the way to Nelson, WI for lunch. The heat was almost too much for me, getting the chills just miles away from our stop. I trudged through with the air conditioned carrot that dangled in front of me. Lunch was tasty and the perfect respice before taking on the last 20 miles and the increasing heat.

My handsome man
Jay and I rolled back out, headed for Wabasha and then onto Lake City. While Jay was reaching Nirvanna 10+ miles out, I started to fall apart. My body started to show signs of heat exhaustion lack of experience. While Jay's body knew what 70 miles was like and could turn over the pedals without force, my body began shutting down. I struggled to stay on his wheel time and time again, almost reaching the point of full melt-down for the very first time, but was able to struggle through and turn it over to the finish. We got to the car exhausted, wet, and,more than likely,5 pounds lighter. No matter how hard it was or how much my body hurt, it was a fabulous time, and a great way to spend my birthday!
Later that night, we went to Timmer and Angie's for some BBQ'in and a sweet birthday dessert and singing. Thanks for the fun and hospitality - you guys rule!

My best friend once told me that my golden birthday year would be the greatest of my life. This birthday marked the end of that Golden year. She was right, though. Not only did I get a new bike and really fall for cycling....but I met Jay, who has brought me nothing but happiness and joy. It's wonderful being able to share the things you love with someone you love so deeply.
Livin' a life I love,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, June 25, 2007

Kettle Moraine

On our way home from Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee, Jay and I stopped off and rode a dozen miles of the Kettle Moraine trails. Of course, I'm still so new, that the first 3 or 4 miles were slow and skiddish. A good mile from the end of the trail, Jay and I were talking food and itchin to get home and shower....and then it happend....the lightbulb turned back on and I remembered what I had already learned.

With the fire lit, Jay and I turned back onto the course and attacked the trail for a second time. The ride was fun and rolling, dodging chipmunks and getting muddy. Not only was it fun and exciting attacking the climbs and rolling the logs, but I got to learn a great number of lessons from my own personal World Champ.

I truly love this part - being so new at something that all the little things blow your mind and excite you beyond belief. Sure, I got burnt, bloody, and blistered this weekend....but I learned to lay a fat skid, rode my mountain bike with no hands, and laughed my ass off. How could anyone pass up a life like this?

Lovin and laughin,

Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee

Jay and I hammered through a red-eye drive to Milwaukee after midnight on Friday, trying to make it straight through. We had to stop an hour or so into the trip, sleeping for 30 minutes at a closed gas station before getting back on our way. Jay trudged through the 1st 3 hours, before I took over, letting my sweet man sleep soundly after a long week.

I got us 20 miles from Milwaukee before sleep and a killer headache started wearing me thin. The sun was up and a complete trip to my eyes and mind. Jay got on the phone with Zito, who directed us to the Casa de Michelle&Todd. We walked gingerly into the house, as Zito greeted us with a smile and the reason he was up doing laundry before 6 AM....sweet Trevor, your bladder can only hold so much! Jay and I crawled into bed for a short 2 hours of sleep before the festivities were to begin.

When we woke, we were quik to jump on the bikes, headed for Barnacle Bud's and some 10:00AM beers. Jay was charming, of course, in his cowboy hat...wrangling up the riders along the way, keepin the herd on track for the next pub. I couldn't resist wearing my Cipollini'esque Castelli's and a rockin' Got Wood tank....

With a dozen or so stops and even more beers, pickin the right stories to tell is hard. I did get to see Lake Michigan for the first time! And, I learned to lay down some wicked skid marks as we cruised around the parkways and alleys of Milwaukee from bar to bar to polish fest to bar ....

PeeWee, the man respnsible for all of the debauchery

Z-tox and T-man rode the fatest tires of 'em all, 2 Pugsleys that took over the town and almost turned more heads than my shorts. Jay destroyed the competition in a skid contest, almost taking the front end out on a family sedan....we stopped traffic for the second run. At Wolski's the fun was unleashed as we watched the newb's attempt to beat the smurf at gutter chugs of beer. I think Trevor was the only true winner, finishing off a pitcher like it was a source of life. The next event was riding the fat tires up into the bar - up 4 stairs and then the threshold....people had some sick moves, trying to get up the stairs. Jay to a downhill start on one of the Pugsleys, doing great, until the rear wheel flatted on the threshold. He started to roll back, but pulled himself in with ease.
Z-ray vision

The police stopped by to get us off the swings, so we headed to the Barnacle for some grub and door prizes. The food was great finale and finish to a rockin' ride, only to prep us for a mellow bonfire, and our first full night's sleep in days.

Roadworn, weary, and having fun,
Kristy Kreme

Nature Valley Grand Prix - Day Three

Jay and I jumped on bike fast after work on Friday and hit the streets of downtown for the Nature Valley Crit. We arrived just in time to watch the ladies roll out for a viscious ride. The weather was beautiful and the racing was fun. Nancy, Ronnie, Timmer, Jay and I roamed the streets with a couple of beers and endless friends. Honestly, there were times that I forgot a race was going on.

A lap or two into the men's race, we headed upstairs at Brits Pub to catch the sky view of the goings on. The entire crew was there! Wheels, Crossmax, Hurl, Kelly Mac, Sov.....the list, and the fun, goes on and on! We hung out there for the duration of the race, screaming loud and obnoxiously, drinking beers, and sharing a ton of laughs!

not-so-fat guy in a little coat...

KellyMac, Sov, and I on top of Britts Pub

Jay and I couldn't stick around too long, though, since we had to drive out to Milwaukee after the race. We cut out and headed home to pack up the bikes and drive East. Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee, here we come!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nature Valley Grand Prix - Day One (pics to come)

Jay and I hit the gravel fast last night after work, trying hard to catch the women's crit in St. Paul for Day One of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The ride there was a little adventurous, but the real thrill was the racing. The whole crew was there....Timmer, Ronnie, Tracy, Dana, Vegas, CX Peter, Super Todd, Krusinator,, they were all there! Even the Dynamic Duo, Rick n Dennis, swam through the crowds that lined the St. Paul streets.

The women rode hard n fast, making for a great race. Teresa Moriarty represented the home team fabulously, finishing 3rd!!!! Great job, Teresa!!!

The men's race was furious. We hung out at the corner of 4Th and somethin'r'nuther so we could see the race around 3 turns, catching a great number of the riders eating pavement right near us. We cheered hard for Doug Swanson as he raced 1/2 blind for almost 58 minutes of the 1 hour crit. None of us could figure out why he rode off the back the entire time, until he told us later how he lost one of his contacts 2 laps in. Looks like you'd better get some rec-specs for Friday Night! The race was won by one of the guys Jay took out for a ride that morning, so I got a great pic of him congratulating him....

Afterward, Jay, Timmer, Ronnie, Tracy, and Dana and I hit Sweeney's for some burgers and beers. The company was great, but a storm threatened our ride home, so Jay and I had to bolt the minute the food arrived. We took the motorcycle to the race last night to save time and $$ parking, but felt the ramifications riding the parkways home in the rain. Luckily the rain wasn't coming down too hard, so we made it home safe and sound.

Monday, June 18, 2007

East Bound n Down!

Come late Friday night, Hollywood and I are East Bound N Down....Milwaukee bound that is! Saturday, June 23rd is the Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee!

Feats of Strength
and did I say Beer?

Get your bikes loaded up and come enjoy a Fat Tire Tour of the greatest pubs and breweries of Milwaukee with the most unbelievably great crowd! Check it out!

Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mood Swings CD Release Party

Last night Hollywood, Timmer, Wheels, Dana and I all hit the Hexagon for some rock n roll. The Mood Swings were having a CD release party for their new album "No Limit" and gave us a call asking us to come and make some noise.

Ashley and Sally were on FIRE last night!! They've put us on the list for a couple shows, and we've always had a great time....but this was their greatest show yet that I have seen!

The Hex was full of the entire gambit of people....which helped Dana blend in better in his holey shirt. The crowd was young and energized in the evening heat. The gals were up on stage and having a fabulous time. Dan was jammin' on the base, his hole body hitting the notes with his wicked riffs. The drummer was even twirlin his sticks, kickin out some rad solos, and just lovin it.

The energy was high, watching Ashley's small, delicate hands kick out some hard, raging, fast-moving riffs. I've only been listening to them for 6 months or so, but I've seen so much progression in her. Every show we see, she gets a little more animated and pulls you in a little further. Tonight, too, was the first time I think I've seen her whip out a wicked-crazy guitar solo....and I was right up front to scream for it!

Sally was on as well. She was up on stage, looking like it was her favorite jam session. My favorite is "Want Need Love" and they brought it hard. Her "yeah's" and "wah's" were killer, full of electricity, and coming across perfectly. She worked that Rickerbacher like a Belgian making lace - precision, passion, and finesse!
It was a fabulous show! I definitely urge you to check 'em out if you like Rock N Roll or even just the live and local music scene. They will not disappoint. I'll try to throw out a heads up next time I hear where they're playing. Until then, Party On!

This goes out to you, Booms

When it comes to this blog, I purposefully stray away from frequent rants - I just don't want all that negativo infecting my page. Life is good, and there is absolutely no denying it, so this is primarily focused on the adventures I have. Don't get me wrong....I love reading other blogs filled with sarcasm, complaints, ranting, and setting the dumb people of the world straight. That's my same sense of humor, and I'm not a fan of stupid people.

There are, however, going to be times when I have something to rant about. Maybe it will be to blow off steam, or to get the blogosphere to hear my point of view on an issue.....maybe to reach for a sense of Right, when I've been wronged. Hence the blog entry "I like to ride my bike..." just a couple of days/a week ago. I will never feel bad about posting something like that, because I doubt my views will ever change on the matter.

However, I feel like I just want to clear up one point - I was insulted by one person's actions alone. I felt like I had friends on my side, or at least supporting my decision - friends like OC and Booms. The way I had originally wrote it (I say originally, b/c I'm going to go back and edit it) I said "stinky, warm crap flying everywhere, me greatly insulted by the public insulting, teammates choosing sides or cracking jokes". I am sorry, especially to Booms, if it reads like your jokes were insulting. I actually LOVED them! They were just more fire in the belly. You are definitely one of my first friends in cycling, and I'd like to keep it that way. Please, don't feel bad about what you said at all- I thought it was great, and right on - even the "girl, you are in so much trouble". ;OP You're funny, and you lighten things up when they get all mucked up w/ bull-shyte. Thanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hot Dog

Last night at the Dog was a scorcher, and June has only just begun! Man, come July I'll be pulling my skin suit out of a deep freeze on the start just to keep from blowing a gasket.

This night at Black Dog was a little extra nerve racking - with Jordan and Ray eye'in me up the moment we pulled in. The blogosphere was peppered with challenges at the Dog - Jordan vs. Me vs. Lunatic Biker. I get anxious enough before a race but, when you throw in a challenge like that, my ego and my stomach just can't make wants to use the competition for more fuel, the other gets freaked out and wants to hurl. Either way, I had no idea of how this was all going to unfold.

Showing up with Hollywood, I was 10 from the end, so I had a good chunk of time to try and chill out. (I should have been drinking more water - lesson learned) By the time my start came I was sweating like crazy in the 80's temps and dry air. Jay was coaching me on not sprinting from the start, so I rolled out smooth, ramping up to a solid 21mph before the first turn. The first couple minutes were a struggle with my legs, but that's pretty typical. My legs just felt heavy and thick, so I thought I hadn't spun enough on the trainer pre-race. Once I hit the turn around with my legs still aching, I knew I wasn't doing good.

I struggled to keep the bike over 21mph (so I could try and beat my best BDTT time) and I just never got the thermometer to pop. I was riding like a freak, near rabid, drooling as I gasped for another lung full of dry air. Coming into the last 1/2 mile, I was about ready to fall apart - my throat felt as if it was coated in sand, my quads burned, and I just wanted to cross that finish. Hollywood cheered me on as I rounded the final turn, putting it all on my cranks with the last ounce of effort I could muster. I rolled the line and jumped off my bike - dry heaving on the side of the road. I asked Jay what it could have been that made me feel so terrible, and the only thing that I could think of that changed was a major decrease in fluids. More than obvious, he pointed out how hard I pushed myself....he was right. I beat my best time at the Dog! I did it in 19:13.0, 17 seconds off my time 4 weeks ago. I finished 1st of 5 in the Women's Stock Category, and loved it....aside from the pain. Jordan whooped up on Ray and I BIG TIME, finishing sub-19, and Ray was just over 20. The great thing was that all three of us got our own personal bests - so I guess we all win!!! Nice job, Guys!

As for the rest of the crew - Timmer kicked some butt with a 14:24, finishing 2nd to Doug Swanson who got the 2nd fastest time ever at the Dog. Hollywood was having a bad night - air bags didn't want to cooperate - so he sat up during the second 1/2. The rest of the results aren't up yet, so I mean no offense to leave anyone out. If only I had some gonads, then I'd just remember that shyte, and wouldn't have to wait for the MCF board to be updated.

And, to top of the night, Domino's delivers to parking lots!!! We sat around until dusk, destroying half a dozen greezy pizzas. Yum. All in all, Black Dog was a riot again. Not only has it opened the door to a hole new level of riding for me, but I've had so much fun making new friends.

Monday, June 11, 2007

You asked for it!

For those of you who wanted to see Hollywood on bended knee, here it is. I had to edit it a bit to fit it online. I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I did. Pay close attention to the large white swan that swims over from the bottom of the screen. Also, once I say yes, Jay stands and a tour boat coasts by - too bad there's no audio, you could have heard the applause!

The Proposal

Relay for Life - a new family is born

Jay and I went back to Iowa again this weekend. This time it was to support and experience the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. To top it even more - Jay's bro John and his beautiful wife, Abby were coming down as well, and I got to meet them for the very first time.

Jay and I got down there late Friday night. John and Abby's flight was cancelled on Friday, so they were flying in on Saturday instead. Jay and I went to pick them up in the unbelievably clean, vacuumed, scrubbed, spot-checked Trooper. Yes, racers, that's right, the Trooper took a bath and even scrubbed behind her ears!
The anticipation was fun as we hung out in front of the little airport. There was no doubt as John excited the airport on the far end of the line....a man of great stature and presence not to deny. Abby impressed me with her beautiful smile and a very sweet side. We rode over and jumped out for instant hugs - forget the handshakes, we're family, eh? Abby and John were finally real - not just their wedding photos in Jay's keepsakes any longer. We met up with their parents at the Steak n Shake for a quick bite before the Relay. It all felt quite energized, people reuniting after a year, and meeting for the first time. John and Abby were so much fun! And Bob and Dorothy looked so happy and excited - it made every moment just memorable.

We all parted ways quickly, having lots to get done before the relay began. John and Abby returned to their hotel to get settled and ready, Dorothy and Bob went to the track to set up, and Jay and I hit the road on the bikes to get a solid work out in before we let yet another gorgeous day sneak away. The sun was high and clear, keeping the air in the mid 80's as we did a loop to the Sugar Bottoms and back on the Javelins. I will probably never have a steak burger before a long, hot ride again but once I got past the heavy legs and nausea for the first 20 minutes or so, the world opened up to a great ride. Jay and I worked hard up rollers and leg-stretchers in the warm summer sun. We kept a hard pace, knowing we only had just under 2 hours to do our ride before we had to be back and ready to go. We did the 30 mile ride in about 1 1/2 hours, getting back to the hotel just in time to get in wash-rag-n-smelly-lotion shower and change clothes before jumping back on the bikes to get to the track.

Jay & John's dad, Bob, is a three-time cancer survivor. Bob and Dorothy are long time volunteers at the Relay for Life - a fundraiser and homage to those who fight the disease today, or lost the battle. The entire evening was full of emotions - thinking back at those who had passed in our lives, quivering smiles for those who we're so proud of that beat it, tears for those that still struggle.

John lead the opening lap, playing a meloncholly, yet strengthening ballad on the bagpipes. We marched behind him as a family, supporting him, and supporting those around us. The walking went on all night as people came and went. I got to meet so much of Jay's family that came out - siblings of both parents, his cousins, their kids..... And, of course, we had to get a family picture! [the photo is on Jay's camera, so check back later tonight or tomorrow since I don't have it to load at this time - it's so cute, you know you'll want to!] The greatest part was watching Bob do the Survivor's lap, then come grab Dorothy, John, Abby, Jay and I to walk by his side for the Family/Friends/Support lap. It was an honor to walk with them that night, even if I wasn't in those hospital rooms over the years. Dorothy and Bob held each other's hands tightly...long time love. It took a deep breath here and there not to cry, though I'm certain no one would have thought any less of me for doing it, but none the less, I tried to stay cheery.John played again after the sunset, and him, Abby, Jay and I cut out soon after for Pizza n Beer. We had a great time - Jay and I telling them about how we met and got engaged, them sharing with us how they had fallen in love. Having grown up in a single parent home, I was not without love and caring between family, but I did miss out on witnessing the love of man and woman. Now, still to this day, true love is one of the most beautiful things I love to enjoy, and I got to see it there in well as feel it everyday with Jay.

I couldn't have asked for a greater weekend. I got to truly become part of the family, sharing deep, emotional, joyful times with all of them. I feel very welcome, and I hope that is a direct reflextion of the way they feel for me, too. Because I couldn't be happier.

Lovin' and livin'

Kristy Kreme

I like to ride my bike, end of story

Nine months ago I thought to myself "I like to ride bikes". And, seeing my only bike at the time was a rusted old, hand-me-down, sumthin' or nuther, I decided to by myself a nice new bike. That, and I had some dream about doing a triathlon some day (this was before I realized I didn't really like to run, but I loved to ride). Yadda Yadda, through the OC's super rad recommendation, I wound up at Hollywood Cycles. Fast forward --- bike purchased, fell in love with riding and all of our favorite bike shop owner, discovered racing, joined PCR's, got engaged, ----arrive: Today's date.

So, over the course of last week, my super-wicked, natural high of finishing 2nd in the State TT Championship became awash due to politico Bull-Shyte. On my team website, which we use to post practice rides and hunt for car pools to far away races, results are posted on Monday/Tuesday mornings by our team "Captain". Last week, however, he happened to omit my finish. Jacki, the OC, posted my results and a big congrats which was super sweet! She also included a question to our fearless leader about why my scores had not been listed (when two of the other PCR's on the team's had) Our "captain" replied with a nice "I only post PCR scores. What were you wearing?". [for those of you who haven't made it down my blog to the State TT entry - I was wearing Jay's kit. Not only do I not have a PCR skin suit, but it was chilly and Jay had a long-sleeve Black N White one I could wear. Not to mention, he's definitely my best sponsor!]

Anyways, the entire outhouse hit the fan - stinky, warm crap flying everywhere, me greatly insulted by the public belittling by el capitan. My teammates choosing sides or cracking jokes to lighten the situation.....the glory of riding so hard and finishing great - flushed down the tube within hours.

I'm sorry, but I did not join a "team" to be made to feel bad for things I'm doing - Frick, if I wanted to feel that way, I'd join a cult. I joined this group so I'd be able to find more people passionate about the sport and recreation of cycling that I could learn from. There went that idea. Not to mention, it's not as if I'm making a living this way. I joined a club and began racing Cat 4 and beginners races - let's not take it all so seriously. Either way, it was extremely unfortunate to find out that people can be so uptight and cruel about something so magnificent.

I anticipate most of those out there that read this ride because they love it. Let's keep it that way. Wear what you want to wear, ride what you want to ride, and love every minute of it.
Don't let people take that away from you.

Rant over

State TT Championships

So, needless to say if you look at the date this is getting posted, I'm a little late in publishing these internet signals for brownies and cinnamon rolls with the neighbors doesn't always equate to a reliable signal.

Last weekend was the State TT Championships in St. Peter, MN. Jay and I were up at the butt-crack of dawn to make the 7:30 registration time. By the time we got there, we were amongst the last dozen or so to register and start. In front of me on the line were nothing but 1's and 2's, so I had no realistic "rabbit" to chase. And, behind me, were people like Hollywood and Doug Swanson, who were, no doubt, going to blow by me within the first 5 minutes of the course. Sure enough - they did.

The course was mostly flat with the only a$$-kicker right away, other than that it was soft rollers and large turns. Traffic was slim and none, but the wicked wind made you doubt yourself when you tried to figure out if the head wind was for the finish or the start. Truth be told, it was mostly just a moderate cross wind that was enough to challenge your momentum, and rarely toss you sideways.

This was my first 40K time trial (24 miles for my American friends - and family like Bob) - my longest prior to this was only 15 miles. The morning air was chilly so Jay let me wear one of his extra long-sleeve skin suits - Yep, that's right, the Black n' White! Little did I know it would cause a butt load of controversy down the line - but that's an entire separate blog entry in itself. I digress..... I rode the course hard and fast - wanting to push myself to another level, yet keeping a good sense of how it all felt and was. I was so intense at times, I would put my left arm to sleep - try being aero with one arm playing your rib cage like piano keys, while the other one is trying to keep you in that great tucked position in your drops! Quite the feat, I must say. And yes, you heard it right, I rode a stock bike. My sweet little Casper. On the 2nd half, I started to struggle, having had EVERYONE PASS ME, except one, that had started after me. I couldn't tell if I rode harder just to be done, or if I fought myself to finish though I wanted to give up. Either way, I had my head down, not to be aero, when Jay started riding back out to find me after his finish.

I don't see how I could ever be unhappy with a man like him supporting me. Jay rode up ahead of me by 20 yards, encouraging me to keep fighting in the last mile or two. I wanted so bad to give up at that point but, when he confirmed where the finish line was, I found my last reserves and rode away. Off in the distance I saw 1/2 a dozen Silver looking back at me, and the finish tent just in front of them. I dropped it into my toughest gear, powering down the last down-hill, and sprinting for the finish with everything I had. Exhausted, I got it up to 25mph over the finish line with a swarm of Black n' White cheering behind me. I felt amazing! I don't know if it's just my relationship with Hwood, but those Silver riders are so supportive and kind to me. I'm pretty sure they're just great people who appreciate other racers, and I am so grateful to have people like that cheering for me! Thanks guys! You know who you are. : )

When the results were tallied, I wound up getting SECOND PLACE in the W Cat 4! I finished in 1:09:30, just under 2 minutes behind the winner who was riding a TT bike! I couldn't believe it, and to see Jay so proud was even more wonderful. Jay did great, too, finishing 5th in the 35+ Master's. It still isn't the finish he's looking for, but we had a late start to the season. Timmer got 3rd in the Pro/1/2's. My medal sits here next to my computer for me to look at and reminiss with.....What an amazing day - an amazing LIFE that I have found. A world I once didn't know existed is now one I love to frollic in.