Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scamp-venture 15: Rockin' Birthday in our lil Home away from Home

Hwood and I played hooky from work on Friday for a nice long weekend away to celebrate my birthday. We loaded up the Scamp with all our camping and mountain bike gear, grabbed the puppy, and headed south to the Bay City Campground for a great weekend of R&R with Devin, Anna, Pip & Rocket.

We arrived first to find our campsite to be right on the harbor (picture on their website was from the site we had!). We parked the car, opened the camper doors, unloaded the chairs and proceeded to lounge away as we waited for the fam to arrive on a beautiful Friday afternoon. Rosco was AWESOME - lounging lazily on his blanket and chewing on toys as we relaxed and let the weeks worries melt away.
Room with a view..
Once the full crew arrived, our camp was on! Devin & Anna set up a great bonfire and we chilled as we ate dinner and basked in the light of the tiki torches as the sun set on this midsummer night. Jay couldn't resist a lil "Roxanne" mock when a hot dog plunged onto the sandy beach before making it to the plate...

Come Saturday, we all lounged around with little to do (AWESOME!), slowly building up to an afternoon pre-ride of Sunday's mountain bike course in Red Wing just across the river. The course was awesome and we had a great time checking it out although the falling rain kept us from taking a 2nd lap.

We returned to our campsite for more relaxing, and even squeaked in some time with pending Scamp remodeling on our list - Jay finished the new flooring, black carpet as well as an awesomely zebra-striped step! I took some time to finish the white trim on the last window.
We had an awesome time chillin' out with our friends, playing frisbee, roasting 'mallows, and just enjoying the great outdoors. Thanks again for getting us out!!!!
Our lil home away from home
Grown boys racin cars on the beach
Cute lil Rosco P Coltrane relaxing in Scamp during his first Scamp-venture

Come Sunday morning, we were almost a lil too chill to race, but we saddled up anyways. The Pip rode awesome, finishing 3rd overall of the Expert/Pro women and winning her age group. I tried to hold up my end of the deal, taking 4th overall, 1st in my age group. Devin rode hard for 7th overall, 2nd Pro. Hollywood had a rough crash early in his race, so he hung out for a bit and waited for me to come around, and casually rode a Happy Birthday lap with me before finishing his race. It was super awesome when Jake, Alye, and Dana sang happy birthday to me as I ran up one of the hills on the course - thanks guys, you made my day!

Most of all, thanks to my super duper awesome hubby-extraordinare for another amazing birthday! I love you babe! And I love sharing in all of our camping and biking adventures with you and Rosco!

Happily Basking in my Birthday Memories,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle, Rosco!

Smokey made such an imprint on our hearts, I know we'll never forget him or get over missing him. Jay was so haunted by the silence in the shop, that it wasn't long before we started talking about finding another puppy to love. Luckily, my birthday is right around the corner, so it gave him the perfect 'in' to start looking.

On Saturday, we got up early, loaded up the bikes, and headed south to Cochrane, WI in search of a new lil man to care for. Randy Dienger of Dienger's Dachshunds was a wealth of knowledge of his puppies, telling us about their bloodlines and personalities as we bathed in the sunshine in the midday sun. After an hour +, and 1/2 dozen puppies playing in our laps, we fell in love with a sweet lil red brindle male (AKA tiger stripes!) and couldn't leave without him. At 9 1/2 weeks of age, this lil monster was definitely the lil Rosco we were looking for. We know Smokey can never be replaced, but we still have so much love to give and wanted to give another dog a happy life.

So, we did it! We loaded up the car with lil ole Rosco P. Coltrane and headed home, stopping at the Nelson cheese factory for lunch, then off to the Red Wing Memorial Park for some laps on the trail. Me, I was happy hanging with the new puppy, building his trust and snuggling his furry lil neck.
Extreme Close Up!!!
He's a natural with a mountain bike

So, in true Hwood form, we took him out to his first race some 24 hours after we adopted him, showing him the world of mountain biking at Sunday's Afton Alps. Since we had a dinner deadline to meet and an extremely cuddly new puppy, I held off on racing and just played with the pooch and gave Jay hand-ups instead. Hwood rode awesome and it was great to see him shine as me and the puppy got some sun and enjoyed the day outside. Lucky for me, all the sun and excitement left me with a sleepy puppy..
Check out those tiger stripes!
Hwood, of course, couldn't resist joining the trends and Tweeted his wiener..

Although my heart still aches for Lil Smokey, I'm happy to think that everything he taught us will help make this puppy's world that much better. I can't wait to find you on the Rainbow Bridge, Lil Smokey! Until then, your pappa and I will do our best to raise Rosco in your honor.

Happy to love again,
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We did it all for the Smokey

Just days after Smokey passed, Jay and I went out to Chaska to ride the Dirty Benjamin, a 107 mile gravel road race. If you'd have asked us a week prior, Jay would have said he was out for the win, and I was hoping to finish strong in the women's race (repeat champ if I could). But with the preceding day's events, 3 days without sleep, and no appetite and we changed our tune to 'riding with a number on' and doing it all for Smokey. He loved being outside and going to the races, so we knew he'd want us to enjoy the beautiful day.

We worked our way to the front of the 170+ riders for the start of the race, wanting to stay with some smooth riders as we began. The beginning f the race was chilly, and my mind was a blur, playing the songs I'd put on Nite, Nite Smokey on repeat. Before I knew what was going on, we were 20 miles into the race and Jay was ecstatic as he came over to me, raving about us being in the break. I looked around to find 20 of us together, and the rest of the riders nowhere in sight. Me, the only gal in the pack, riding with the TOP dudes! I can tell you honestly, I really don't know how it happened.

We stayed strong in the pack until the handful of Revolution Cycles guys went to the front and started amping up the pace. After 8 miles of holding a steady 24 mph in the gravel, I started to pop off the back. At mile 50, there were 10 of us shelled from the group so we formed a solid chase group and kept our speed high. At the checkpoint at mile 62, I took a quick nature break as Jay refilled our water and we choked down a 1/2 a PB&J each. With little delay, we were back on the trail in hot pursuit.

The group stayed tight, but I blew to bits around mile 90 with legs cramping and my emotions boiling over. Jay left the pack and came back to me, soothing me with sweet words about Smokey and encouraging me to stay on it in his honor. I gathered myself together and we turned up the speed again, knowing there were only a handful of miles remaining.

Once we hit the pavement for the final 5+ miles, relief began to wash over us and the pain in our bodies ebbed away. Although Hurl and the rest of the pack we popped off of at mile 90 were just up the road, Jay stayed by my side and was there to solute with me as we crossed the line.

We ended up finishing 12th & 13th in 6:01:33 hours, 13 minutes faster than last year! Repeat victory - whoohoo!!!! The 2nd place woman was 45+ min behind - it was crazy! Thanks for the inspiration, Lil Smokey! Momma did it for you!

Jay, I couldn't have ever done it without your support and love. Thank you so very much!

Still riding high,
Kristy Kreme

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Life with Lil Smokey

In the past couple weeks, I've really seen how many lives Smokey impacted by the huge outpouring of love we've received from family, friends, and even perfect strangers who'd been forwarded a video of Smokey, or shared memories of watching him in the shop window. It's been so heart-warming to feel everyone's love and to soak in the knowing of what amazing friends we have. Without each of you, these last couple weeks would have been so much darker. Thank you for sharing our memories and love of Lil Smokey.

I know I didn't do a good job of explaining what happened - it was just too hard to type it out. Smokey was playing in the front yard with Jay and wandered down to the side walk next to the road. He didn't listen when Jay called him back and, when the lady across the street came out with her dog, Smokey darted across the street to say hi. The driver never saw him jump out from between the parked cars. He was struck by the bumper, but missed each tire. Jay was by his side immediately, and laid over him as his last breath escaped his little body. He never felt any pain.

I heard the indecipherable screams from inside the house and immediately knew what happened. I ran outside to find them, and the sound of the earth shattering filled the air. The next few minutes were a blur of pain. A couple neighbors we'd never met had come out to help - one calming the young, distraught driver, and the other redirecting traffic as we laid in the street with our lil puppy. Without their caring and assistance, I really don't know how we would have gotten through the situation. Thank you so very, very much!

Even though that was one of the worst days of our lives, we both look back on those last few days with hearts overfilling with love and joy. We had an amazing camping trip with Lil Smokey down in Mankato just days before. It was so much fun watching him explore the fields, climb a huge dirt pile and rail down it like a downhiller, and the single track riding was awesome!!!

In the morning on the day Smokey passed, Jay said it was impossible to leave him. They snuggled and played all morning as Jay resisted going to work. He gave him kisses and told him he loved him and fought the clock for extra time until the last possible minute before reluctantly leaving to open the shop.

When I got home from work that day, Smokey was chillin' on the couch watching music videos. I was beat, so I laid down on the couch and he immediately went to my feet and slept with me. I only needed a catnap to reset my day and was joyfully surprised when Smokey licked my face after a 1/2 hour or so of napping, trying to wake me up. If you've seen me when I'm tired, I'm not the most pleasant person upon waking against my will, but this day was different. It was so sweet to be woken with kisses, and I turned it into a game... hiding my face playfully, and popping up out of the pillow for Smokey to steal a kiss and jump back. His tail waged as he bounced back and forth to give me kisses. It was wonderful.

After our game, we got up and went for a quiet walk around the neighborhood on the most beautiful evening in weeks.. just they day prior, it was 103 degrees and we weren't able to take Smokey outside until sunset because of the heat. But he still had a great time in the pool with the other puppies as we sat outside with all the neighbors and their dogs when the heat & AC overload blew the transformers in the area for a few hours that night.

After our walk, Smokey played on the bed as I folded laundry. He laid on my sweatpants that had just come out of the dryer and wrestled with the balled up socks. When they came unballed, I'll roll 'em up again and toss them into the air for him to play with.... it's those simple delights that mean the most to me, and I'm so glad I got to share each and every moment of those with him.

Life will never be the same thanks to Smokey. Luckily, I have had a wonderful family that has taught me the pleasure of truly unconditional love. When I met my husband, Jay, my heart learned an entirely new type of love, and he's never hesitated to share that love with me every day. And when Smokey entered our lives, we found out what Dr. Seuss meant when he wrote about the Grinch's heart growing '3 sizes that day'... both of us learned how to love a lil monster with every ounce of our being, and enjoy the way he highlighted our life.

Not only did he teach us how to love, but he showed us how much we loved taking care of him. I don't know many people who planned out vacations for their pet's pleasure, but it was so enjoyable planning out camping trips with entertainment we hoped he'd enjoy. In his last few months, we took him to 4 different states, camping and hiking and running around wherever our paws would take us. And all of those adventures, the whole reason we ever got the Scamp, it was all thanks to Smokey, and our love for spending time with him.

I love you lil buddy... I will hold you in my heart forever, and never forget the time we spent snuggling... the lil moans that escaped those lil black lips as you slept... your guy-liner... your cute lil butt... but most of all the way you looked at me. I love you, Lil Smokey! I hope you and Bob are having fun up in heaven. Save a place for me.

Proud to have been loved by Lil Smokey,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nite Nite Smokey

For those of you who knew him, count yourself blessed. He was one of the most amazing things in my life... Lil Smokey died suddenly last night, and left Jay and I with huge gaping holes in our hearts. He was our traveling partner, a snuggler, a kisser, a jester, an athlete, our baby. He died suddenly on June 8, 2011 well before his time. This is the puppy we remember and morn with every ounce of our beings. You will be missed more than you know! Until I can get my thoughts together, I will leave you with this and just say 'until next time'....

Kristy 'Mamma' Kreme

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Scamp-venture 14: Appetite for Bikes

Before hitting the road for another Scamp-venture, Jay took me out to Hell's Kitchen to catch Adler's Appetite, Steven Adler of GNR's new band playing the full Appetite for Destruction song list as well as some new tunes. After watching Steven's benders on my sinful "Celebrity Rehab" slumming I did one season, it was funny to watch him live. I don't know what the program was, but he was on some Happy pills for sure, smiling away like a church camp counselor behind the drums as the rest of the band tried to look 'cool'. None the less, it was a sweet venue and a fun show - thanks Randy & Kendra for gettin' us out!!!

Saturday morning came early, though, and we loaded up the car & Scamp in a sleepy fog, just hoping we hadn't forgotten something important for the latest weekend Scamp-venture. We headed out to St Peter for the State Time Trial Championships and, for the first time in years, it was HOT and sunny, with temps in the 80's and humidity on the rise.

A Houdini-ish wind played tricks on us by staying away from the parking lot we congregated in, yet appearing on the course as a headwind that you weren't sure was there. The wind was so deceivingly strong that my return was 5 min. faster than the way out! Top that off with getting stung in the ear by a bee (plus finding a way to get it out of my aero helmet w/o skipping a beat) plus a leg cramp 6 miles from the finish, and you can imagine how happy I was with my time. It was my 2nd fastest time there ever, but it still wasn't a PR... nuff said.

My lovely & talented husband, on the other hand, had one of his fastest times EVER, winning the 40+ State Champion title! He's riding so amazingly well this year, it's wonderful to watch. He did the full 25 mi (40K) TT in only 54:41!! I am so proud of you baby!!!
With Jay elated & me still licking my wounds, we loaded up the bikes and kept the train moving on to Mankato for some quality time with the Scamp and a Sunday mountain bike race. The heat was intense and we were exhausted so, when we arrived at Mt. Kato, Jay pulled the lil Scamp under a shady grove of trees and we lazily worked on some remodeling projects as the puppy wandered around and chased butterflies.
Three mountain bikes, two TT bikes, and a pair of trainers and spare race wheels....Nice pack job, Hollywood!!!
I had ripped out the 1960's yellow carpet a few nites prior, so Jay used it as a stencil as he installed our awesome new, black carpet. A little later in the day, we saddled up and took a loop of the course to prep for Sunday and try to spin out the legs a bit. Even Smokey joined in the action!!
The sun dipped low and the lightning bugs came out to greet us later that evening. We sat around a 'table' Jay built out of a bike box (for Sophie's bitchin' new TOMAC FLINT 29'er!!! -waaaahh!) and enjoyed dinner and beers with Caveman and his boys, and made new friends with Dana & Eric & their dog, McKinley. It was a perfect evening for camping with temps in the 60's, we left the windows open, and fell asleep to the sounds of crickets chirping away. We slept until the sun work us the next morning and lounged comfortably under our canopy of trees as the racers gathered and the heat climbed back into the 80's.

I pride myself on my 2nd-day racing legs, but this weekend just wasn't my weekend. Saturday's hard effort and leg cramps coupled with Sunday's heat and humidity turned out to be my kryptonite. From the get-go, my legs refused to cooperate and, as the sun beat down on the hillside, it became impossible to keep myself hydrated. During my 3rd lap, the goosebumps came out, the sweating stopped, and I started losing the ability to control my bike... so I reluctantly pulled myself out of the race. It was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make, but i knew my health and safety was more important than riding 4 more miles of trail.

Even though the weekend's high temps had their way with me on the bike, it was still one of the best ever. It was so absolutely wonderful camping with my family this weekend, that I cannot wait to do it again. How did we go this long without a Scamp before?!

Jay, I love how you love to go on adventures with me!

Road-worn and cheery,
Kristy Kreme

Scamp-venture 13: Another Memorable Memorial Wknd

Jay, Smokey and I loaded up the car & Scamp and headed to Iowa for the long Memorial Day weekend to spend some quality time with family, friends, and our bikes. Although Saturday was a bit gloomy, we filled our day with errands and shopping with Jay’s mom - it was a ton of fun and we finally found new carpet for the Scamp (technically, it was an area rug, but who’s counting?). Top that off with an early birthday present from Dorothy & Jay, and you have one happy Scamper.

After 9 hours on the go, we retreated to Dot’s place with tired legs and empty bellies, ready to relax and begin dinner. Jay’s homemade fajita burritos were just what this gal needed, and the temps were perfect for a comfortable night’s stay in the Scamp.

Sunday morning came early as we prepped to race the Melon City Criterium in Muscatine. As I warmed up for my race, the tornado sirens began to sound. The MC announced that our race would be delayed until the storm passed... luckily we brought the Scamp to the race, so we had a cozy home to ride out the storm in.

An hour later the MC called us to the line (cold legs, lightning, thunder, and all) with a 10 min. heads up on the race. As the lightning continued to light up the sky and the rain soaked us as we stood, the race began with a sprint off the line. It was only my second crit in the rain ever, and I was instantly nervous... 30 ft. off the back of the pack by the time we reached the speed bump at the bottom of the hill. Climbing back up the hill was a breeze, and I picked up riders each lap, getting faster and faster as I got more comfortable with the course. After six laps, however, they called the race due to the crashing thunder and lighting.

I retreated to the Scamp with Jay and the puppy, cold and soaked through and through, huddled on the floor in a towel so not to get the new cushions wet, and ready for a nap. I'd moved up in the race significantly, but highly doubted my desire to continue the race. After a 1/2 hour, we heard the MC call us back to the line to finish our race and I resisted the urge to skip it. I went out, finished the race in 15th of 32, and was happy as a clam to get out of my wet clothes some three hours after putting them on. That was by far the longest crit I've ever done.

Jay followed it up with a fast 6th place finish. Exhausted from the delays, racing, and rain, we headed back to town to prep for another installment of the local wine ride - my favorite! We brought the Scamp over to Ken & Lou's and gave tours to all our friends. Come Wine Ride time, Jay had me jump on the back of one of Ken & Lou's tandems and made our way out to the park for some tasty vittles and good times. It was another awesome night w/ the crue!

Then, on Memorial Day, Jay and I took his mom out to the cemetery to visit Bob and lay some roses at his headstone. The time we had with him was definitely not enough... but the weather was beautiful and Bob would have been happy to see us.

The drive home was crazy with a 20+ mph tail wind push all the way into the cities, saving us a 1/2 a tank of gas, even with the Scamp in tow! Yowza! Just another bit of icing on the cake after a wonderful weekend on the road!

Warm & Fuzzy,

Kristy Kreme