Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homey Fall Fun Fest 2012

On Monday morning, still tired and ragged from the weekend, I was at a loss for words when asked what I did over the weekend.  How do you describe Homey to the lay person?

Where do I begin?

Saturday was a gorgeous fall morning, all sunshine and cool temps with the fall leaves littering the yards.  We layered up on clothing, threw some PBR's in our bags, and mounted up on the single speeds, headed out for the meeting spot to begin our 7th Homey together.  Our first Homey together, back in 2006, was an eye-opening experience... as if someone lifted the veil to a entirely different existance... and I felt instantly at home.  step through the looking glass, Alice

Fall colors and coolness that heighten the thrill in the air, sounds of bikes on the trail, laughter, beers and debauchery .... friends amongst strangers and a smile for both all the same... "I knew who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then"... it was my first time on a mountain bike, first time really hanging out with Jay's friends, and I knew in my heart I was utterly falling for this man.  It was the night of our first kiss and the new beginnings that would change the path of my life indefinitely.  It was, by far, the best Homey ever.  This year though, was definitely second!

We started off at a very Northwoods-feel dive bar where you were lucky to get a beer in under 20 minutes.  I had just enough time to polish off a Bud with Tyson before the Mad Hatter arrived to begin the journey.  We headed off towards Hidden Falls and stopped off once for a derby which I was content to watch from the sidelines... something about a tightening circle around park benches makes me worry about crashing... or maybe it was the lack of bevies in my blood..

Once at the falls, we lounged casually in the leaves, laughing with friends and watching the climbing and coasting feats of strength that played out in front of us.  Ahh, THIS is what relaxing is... the fresh air, bikes, and good company.

After some beers and good fun, we headed down the creek a bit for the next derby and this time I didn't hesitate to join in.  People stood around aimlessly, so I joined Geno and Hollywood in buzzing them as we widened the circle, coaxing them to join us.  The circle filled up quickly and the rubbing began.  Round and round we pedaled and the pack began to thin.  Jubilant laughter mixed with rubbing tires and tangled handle bars as we all tried not to dab a foot.  

In a trance, I circled again and again, watching my opponents through my peripheral, utilizing everything from bump-n-run to stalling out to keep myself in the game.  All of a sudden, we were down to me and three dudes as the crowd began moving in on us, tightening our circle.  All three of them were battling it out on the opposite side of the tree we circled so I matched their pace, hoping they'd start taking each other out.  

In one hard move, Thor took out them both, emerging from the mangled fun as I rounded the tree and made a hard charge at me.  Hoping to catch him off balance, I pedaled straight for him, ramming him hard and bracing as our tangled bikes began to tip his way.  Tipping ever so slowly, I got my feet up and shouts filled the air as he put his foot down to catch us.  In pure excitement, I tumbled backwards off my bike, hands in the air, with the biggest shit-eating grin stretched across my face.

Last year was the first time I'd even made it 1/2 way through the derby, and here I was the winner!  I guess the pigtails probably didn't hurt my cause, but I didn't care... I rode the high for the rest of the night.

We continued on, deeper into the rabbit hole, farther from a 'normal' existence, riding our bikes along trails covered in leaves on our way to the river for the next contest.. Rock Skipping across the river!  I, unfortunately, have absolutely no skill in that category, so I sat and watched happily like the Cheshire Cat.  It was great fun to watch my friends line the river's edge for a simultaneous stone throw.
Once to our final destination, the riff raff jumped their bikes off the base of a tall oak as we stood below, watching and wondering from conversation to conversation.  The beers continued to flow and the stunts never ceased as the afternoon stretched on.  

We stayed until the sun began to melt into the horizon and our hunger took over.  Making our break for it, we got back on our bikes to try and make it home before dark, stopping only once to grab some pizza to fill our bellies with.  Satiated and warm at home, we dozed off to sleep for an early evening nap to recover from the festivities.  It was definitely one of the most fun times I've had with the crue and  a smile tugged at the side of my lips as night grew and we laughed about the fun we'd had.

I think Alice said it best... "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy.  My reality is just different than yours."

Kristy Kreme in Wonderland...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I was just riding my bike when....

I rode my bike into the shop today and got some great relief from some painfully stiff muscles.  Lucky for me, when I got in, my super duper awesome boss Hollywood sent me on my way to get another good hour in before the rain came.

Me and Hansen took off down W River Road towards Ft Snelling, enjoying the mild temps and cool mist in the air.  The path was littered with crimson and buttercup leaves and we awed at a huge bald eagle that passed over us on his fishing trip along the river.

At Ft Snelling, Hansen kept on his way and I turned back to get to the shop before the light drizzle got any heavier.  I pedaled along the bike path, basking in the peace of my ride and my ability to even get out mid morning for a ride.

Suddenly, to my utter horror, I saw a squirrel bolt at me last moment, headed straight for the small space  between my wheels and there was no way for me to stop.  I felt a small impact and a weight on my left foot as I screamed bloody murder on the peaceful trail.

..oh my, I killed it... just an innocent animal... stop the bike!....ehhh, it's wrapped around my foot....kick it off!  kick it off!....

Trying to grab my brakes and slow myself down was hard to do as I tried to unclip my left foot and kick it off as small "eeekks" came from the trauma below me.  It finally gave and I pulled off the trail, looking back at the still figure on the path.

A jogger was next to the animal, looking from it to me as I approached, and fear began to drown me in my place.

...what if it's not dead.... I don't know how to kill it.... there's no way I could... would they hate me if I just left it....

But then, suddenly, it sprang to its feet and ran off into the trees.  WHAT THE F&%#????  The jogger looked back at me asking if I was okay... he must have seen the confusion in my eyes... I guess I never hit it..

As I neared the squirrel, he jumped on to my foot at the last second when he must have seen he wasn't gonna make it.  I didn't notice because I was too afraid to look down, envisioning blood and gore all over my bike.  His squeaks were probably shouts of fear or maybe saying "weeeeee" on the new carnival ride he'd found.  Then, when I kicked off what I thought was dead meat, he slammed onto the ground and took a few seconds to steady himself before making his brake.

Thank God he didn't bite me, but there was definitely a little scratch from his little claws as he enjoyed the ride... something to tell me it really happened when I got back to the shop.  With eyes blazing and my heart rate through the roof, I retold the tale to Jay and Crossmax, absolutely in disbelief of what had just gone on.

I'm still in shock...Darn squirrels.

Happily in one piece,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, October 22, 2012

A 'Bombastic' Friday Night

This Friday, we hooked up with Timmer & Stevi to celebrate ROCKtober by heading out to the klassy ole Medina Ballroom for a 'bombastic' night.  Yep, you guessed it... HAIRBALL!

In perfect Jay-time, we piled out of the car just as our fave ladies (Teri, Barb, and Leah) were passing by and were able to hang before entering the massive sea of people that took over the venue.  The lines for the beer were insanely long, so we thought we'd dupe them all and head to the basement bowling alley's bar instead.  Sure, we could belly up to the bar the second we got there, but we waited some 20 min. before one of the 4 bartenders even acknowledged us.  So, what did we do?  Order 2 each!

With drinks in hand, we got upstairs just as the show was starting and made an aggressive mood to get as far up to the front as we could to ensure sweet, petite Stevi could have an unobstructed view!  Heck, who am I kidding... I don't buy tickets to stare at the back of someone's head - get us to the front!   As the show played on, people's glasses emptied and forced them to go back to the bar and we never hesitated to take over their spot.

We finally settled in one spot back from the stage and the guys soon joined us.  We rocked and sang and danced and swayed along with the crowd song after song, losing ourselves in the night.  Jay stood behind me and danced along with me for what seemed like ours.  It was a blast!

Of course, in true Kristy Kreme fashion, I found a way to embarrass myself in the middle of the malay...  rockin' out to some monster ballad, I reached my hands behind me to find my sweet hubby's hands, but it wasn't what my lil paws discovered.  I whipped around immediately, to find that I'd inappropriately touched a young lady... WTF?!  The utter horror must have been tattooed all over my face, because she was smiling and laughing right back at me.  Over her head, I watched as the moment sank in to Jay's mind and he shockingly mouthed "I'm Sorry!".  I apologized profusely to the gal and spun back around to ignore my embarrassment by jumping right back into the music.

Turns out, the gal's boyfriend had asked Jay if her and her friend could stand in front of them since they were shorter than him.  Kind, polite gentleman that he is, Jay said "sure".... not knowing that his wife was a pervert, I guess.  Ha!

Lucky for me, it all disappeared as the next song started and Jay reacquired his spot by my side.   But it sure has made for some fun shop talk around here today... sheeesh.  Fifty Shades of Jay gone wrong.

After the show, sober-cab Jay got us all home safely, and it was awesome to hit the pillow and fall fast asleep after all the fun.  The music, the friends, and the fabulous laughs were a fabulous end to another great week.

Happily laughing at myself,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Celebrating 4 Years of Wedded Bliss

This past Thursday marked my 4th wedding anniversary to my night in shining armor, Jay, and the first day of a LOT of partying and having fun.
To begin, we took part in Spyeglass/SED's Grand Opening party & art auction.  It was fun to meet a ton of new people, and a joy to see Teri's piece in the auction!  Unfortunately, I got outbid. :(
But that didn't mean we couldn't keep partyin!  Randy & Teri treated us to dinner at the Longfellow Grill to fill our bellies before the 'afterparty' began.  It was all so delicious and our time together was perfect!  

DNF rocked our asses to close out the night and it was awesome!  We headed home to rest up and start again the next day.  Friday, we spent a short bit cleaning the shop up and putting away all the gear, warmly basking in the fun we'd had the night before.  Then, Jay swept me off my feet after work for a special date night with just him.  We headed out to Wok in the Park for some tantalizing fresh Asian cuisine.

We ate more food than we should have, but didn't dare resist their homemade Key Lime Pie... oh my... it was DELIGHTFUL!  So light and fluffy, sweet, with fresh cut kiwis on top.  It was gone in seconds.
We retired home completely satisfied and spent the evening in each other's arms and the puppy by our side.  
Come Saturday morning, we were up and ready to take on the world at the 'Cross at the Y' cyclocross race.  The cool, drizzly air was exactly what a CX race should be, and we were happy to toe the line and get moving.  I was racing out of my mind, hanging on to the leaders on my single speed for the first two laps!  Yowza!  Although they gapped me in the sand-pit on the second lap, I was able to retain my position throughout the rest of the race, staying away from the chasers to finish 4th in the women, 2nd in my category!  Bitch, please!

Jay rode awesome in the single speed race as well, so we were happy to return home for a well-deserved afternoon nap at home.  

Last stop for the weekend, the 4th round of Theo Wirth CX race!  The gloomy grey skies opened up as we arrived and we cheered as the sun lit up the beautiful fall colors in the open field as we prepped to race.  Unfortunately for me, the course got the best of me and my back proved to be my undoing on the stairs.  I dropped out 1/2 way through to ease the pain, but Jay hung in there for 2 races back to back, taking 5th in the single speed race, then 2nd in the 35+!  I was so proud of him!

We headed home to hang with the puppy and soaked in our contentment as the sun began to set on our week's adventures.  Enveloped in my husband's arms, the cool fall air crept in on us and twilight came, but I was warmed inside and out by the pure splendor of living my life... married to my best friend... and every year just keeps getting better.

Still madly in love,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back in the Saddle

The cyclocross race at Baker Orchard was our big kick-off to the season...finally!  Yes, we did a couple of the FarmDog Time Trials and the Pre-Fat, but this was the first real UCI race this year with the peeps we're so used to racin' against, and it was awesome!

Not only is that one of my favorite courses on the calendar, but we made a weekend of it, too.  To start, we closed up the shop early on Friday afternoon and headed to Greg & Jodie's house for dinner and a Friday night high school football game under the lights.  We only made it through 2nd & 3rd Qtrs and half-time before the evening chill lead us back to the car and back to the warmth of G&J's home.  We closed out the evening with wine and good company, before falling asleep in the warm grasp of my husband.

Come morning, the usual race jitters met me at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee and nervous stomach eyeing up Greg's blueberry pancakes.  We downed our food and loaded up the car for our first race of the year.  Unfortunately, it was friggin' cold and our absence from the previous races kept the Belgian-Hard-Man strength in hibernation as we donned arm warmers and leg warmers to keep warm.

The size of the women's field was impressive with 15+ strong ladies towing the line.  I was on my sexy new single speed in a desperate attempt to accelerate my 'spring' training, and we were ready for the challenge.  As the whistle blew and we took our first charge for the front, I saw a handful of colors tangle as they approached the ground, so I averted my eyes and rode harder.

We got onto the trail and through the start-finish line to 'begin' our race and I found myself on the wheels of my SHEroes with no panic in my lungs.  Begin positive affirmations.... Damn, I feel great!  Heart rate is low, legs feel fine, breathing is relaxed... stay with them....  I turned over the pedals in time with my competition and held on for a while.  Then, the group started to splinter a bit, but I still felt great and kept up my speed.  Somewhere around 4 laps to go, I was caught by Abby, a super strong athlete, so I felt no shame as she rode away from me.  But I was far from done.

With thre laps to go, I still felt strong, so I pushed myself harder, and began pacing myself with some of the men, using them in the head winds, and trying to push hard into the trails.  Then I came up on Abby, and planned out my attack.  I used the tail-wind straight-away to help drive me onto her wheel and used the head-wind for recovery, setting up to attack as we got back onto the trail section.  I pushed hard into every turn, hoping to create the gap and disappear into the trees and it worked.  I felt amazing so I forced myself not to let up.  she's coming for you... she won't let you get away

I stayed hard on the gas, surprised to find that I'd hunted down another rabbit in my field in blue..  perfectly timed on the course, so I could repeat my same attack.  Charge - recover - attack - run scared.  there are half a dozen women chasing you... they can see you... but you can't see them... faster.... master says faster...

With one lap to go, I knew I had to ride hard, but I had to ride smart, only taking risks as I needed to, listening to my breaths and turning off my brain.  your legs don't hurt... you are NOT tired... you are NOT done... if you go faster, you can get onto the podium.... pain is temporary

Crossing the line with dirt in my teeth and air struggling it's way down my throat, I kiss my ring to salute my husband waiting on the other side.  Thanks for the support, the beautiful bike so reliable and light, for believing in me....  I did it - I rode my way onto the 3's podium at my season debut - bitch, puh-leeze!!  Third freakin' place!  Jay wrapped his exhausted arms around me and I chewed through each dusty breath and our faces ached with stretched smiles as we relished in our dueling 3rd place finishes... wow..

It was such an amazing finish, but it was the race itself that I loved most, not the podium photo at the end.  The entire race was full of enjoyment - it was the pure ecstasy of my favorite bike racing all over again, after a long year off the bike full of no sleep, illness, injury and work... it was like another addition to this chapter of life, and a reminder of the joys in my life.  Man, I wish my family could have been there to see me, but I know there's many more to come.

Happy to be back in the saddle... again
Kristy Kreme