Friday, November 8, 2013

From "Audit" to "Awesome"

Wednesday marked the first audit we've ever had for the bike shop which meant three weeks of shitty sleep, worry lines, and trying to piece everything together for a nine-hour day of high blood pressure and anxiety.  Lucky for us, we got a very nice auditor who helped show us the proper way to do things as he identified our mistakes, but it didn't do much to lessen the stress of the whole day.

Since my hubby is not so tech savvy, I was the primary contact for the auditor, only leaving to get a breath of fresh air or cup of coffee and quickly return with answers and explanations for the last 3 years. By 5:00pm, I was utterly drained and exhausted, but happy to hear that the hard part was over.  We'd done all we could do and now all we do is wait for the verdict.  

To say thanks for all I did, Jay took me out for dinner and drinks at Burger Jones before some surprise outing he had up his sleeve.  The food was delicious as always and company exactly what I needed at the end of the day, but I was digging as deep as I could to find energy and enthusiasm for the mystery fun that lay in wait for us.

We got back in the car and took the backroads into downtown, killing a little time since my sluggishness was selfishly rushing through things.  It wasn't til we pulled onto First Ave did I figure out that we were going to see a band, but I couldn't figure out who it could be.  I'd been scouring through the City Pages trying to find a good show lately, just for a much-needed, cathartic release, lost in a bass line somewhere...

After finding a great parking spot, we walking as the fall air bit at our cheeks.  To my surprise, one look at the poster at the door outside The Entry instantly brought a smile to my face and began recharging me... Eddie Spaghetti solo show!!!!  "One quarter of the world's greatest rock band" was in town to rock our asses for a night, and Jay found it!

We got inside as one of the opening bands was starting, grabbed a couple tall boys and settled in to listen. Although the sound was great, it was a little on the mellow side for what I needed, but it was still fun.  The bassist on an upright electric bass finally came to life in the last couple songs and we got more into it.  Timmer & Stevi surprised me when they showed up to join us and we headed next door to sit down and enjoy drinks before Eddie came on.

Once the stage cleared and Eddie began setting up, we headed back and Hwood and I headed right up front for the action.  Eddie was fun as always, mixing in some new tunes and allowing us to call out our requests.  Every song got my blood flowing faster as we sang along to all our favorites.  It was super awesome when Eddie took one of my requests and the whole crowd joined in to sing :)

It was the perfect end to a crazy stressful day and another awesome reminder that my hubby is the best one out there!  Yeah, a little biased, but it's comforting to know he was there through the good and the bad and we still went home hand in hand.  He definitely turned the day from audit to AWESOME!!!

Rocked into Recovery, 
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Baloney Pony & My Homies

This weekend market my eighth year at Homie Fall Fest, and one of the best ones yet.  Although defining HFF to the layperson alludes most of us, I think you can start with... single speed mtn bikes, personal style (or costume), beer, flasks, feats of strength, derby, more beer, ride, beer, final stop with more feats of strength, bonfire, and more beer....

With my MUSS, "The Baloney Pony", and my hubby, it was set to become another awesome day.  And along the way, we had some fun and make some memories... some of which we only remember once we turn the camera back on and we find out what we did.
Riding along hidden trains in the Minneapolis, challenging ourselves to do something stupid (or let the rest of the Homies tell you not to), we congregate with our friends we see often in our community, plus the ones that come from caves far far away to enjoy yet another year of drunked debauchery.
 This year took us along the river for miles, exploring areas I'd never seen before, hanging out under bridges drinking beer as the warm October sun tried to keep the chill at bay.

Somewhere under a bridge, down by the river, someone came up with a peculiar way to drink beer with a stocking over our heads.  Though the creep-factor was awesomely bad, Stevil proved the difficulties of drinking through the (hopefully clean) stocking.

So we improved and ripped mouth holes into them!  And then we drank some more..

The turn out was incredible and we took a moment for a very sweet and innocent family picture...

With one more stop to go, we got back on our bikes and followed the leader down the trail.  Hwood, me and a handful of others missed the final turn into the woods and didn't catch it till we'd made it some 20 yds down the path.  

When we decided to turn around and go back, I was caught completely off-guard when I saw a black figure barreling down on me mid-turn at a speed I couldn't beat.  The impact was fierce as we collided and slammed onto the ground.  Hwood and the guys rushed to my side to make sure I was okay.  I got up and took inventory, I couldn't find any injuries, even after the extra check to compensate for the booziness that may mask something.  He, on the other hand, had a bloody lip and this handlebars wedge within my front wheel.  It had bent one of my spokes and threw my wheel out of true, but it still got me to where I needed to go.

Once we got to the final camp, we settled in, cracked another beer and enjoyed the ride.  I got in on the relay with Hwood and Murph from Swobo, raging round and round the fire as we laughed and tried to take it to Geno and his dream team. I don't even remember who won... but I do remember that it was even harder to pull off the 2-person race with Jay on the pedals and me on the handlebars.  The booze definitely made the falls easier to take.

When darkness fell and we realized that the lights I intelligently grabbed for our ride home were dead, we decided to hit the trail and head home.  Leaving from Eagan with a cold headwind, we started to think of better ways to get back fast... When we got to Bloomington, we decided to hop on the light rail at the airport and get as close as we could to home.  The ride was slick, smooth, and we were soon back at the house and chowin' on some hot food.

After eight years, it's still awesome, and I love the tradition Jay and I have of bailing for pizza and laughing about the antics before we fell asleep (aka passed out).  My first Homie Fall Fest lead to my first kiss with my future hubby, my first mountain bike and a healthy bike new addiction.  I look forward to what more is yet to come...

Bruised, Boozed, and Smilin',
Kristy Kreme

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bike Therapy

Last week I got my ass kicked by the latest strain of flu bug.  Luckily, I'm married to the boss man, so it didn't take much to convince him that I needed to go home when the body aches and chills started to set in.  Straight to the couch in my jammies and robe, I waited for him to get done with work as my fever climbed.

By the time he got home, I was frozen solid, curled up in my comforter on the couch with the puppy and a strong fever of 101.  Food made me nauseous, so I survived the next couple days and a fever that maxed out at 102.4 by sipping ginger ale and sleeping with a copious hours of the day.  In an effort to keep my hubby healthy, I slept on the couch so not to breathe my germs on him all night... but something in that quarantine was just so lonely.

I felt like hell.. and all I wanted was to be held..  Yeah, I'm a baby when I'm sick, so what!  But I didn't want my hubby sick, and neither did he, so the puppy had to play the part of nurse & cuddler.  But somewhere in the lack of food, isolation, and body aches, I just got depressed.  Although the fever broke after 2 days, I was still weak and fatigued by my flu-hangover and lack of nutrition.

The cold air set in my bones when I went outside, and all I wanted to do was get back into bed.  With Green Acres CX taking up the weekend, I tried with all my might to rest and eat and get back on the bike, but I battled between motivation and healing constantly, going back and forth with myself on whether or not I was ready to ride.

Mother Nature decided for me, keeping the races cold and rainy.  So I stayed bundled up and had to watch it all from the sidelines.  Lucky for me, though, I had a few Girl Fiends to cheer on and help lighten my glum mood.  It was awesome cheering for Dana & Sarah as they took on the mud and the rain!  And Morgan came out just to cheer and drink beer which is always great for good belly laughs and silliness.... though I'm always leery the next morning about what I may have agreed to do...hmmm.

Finally this Monday, I got back on my bike.  It was only for a 2 mile jaunt to work and I was probably wearing more layers than I needed, but it felt fabulous!  My mind wandered about as I pedaled down the bike path and the fall colors were stunning.  It was so awesome, I did it again on Tuesday and joyfully, with all the same side effects.

Jay and Chucker took me out on mtn bikes last night to get in a longer and little more interesting ride.  We started by Lake Calhoun and hit up some barely traveled singletrack all the way to the new Theo Wirth flow trails.  There were some wrong turns, a creepy "Blair Witch" moment, some nefarious goings-on by nude men in the woods, but most of all it was lots and lots of singletrack on a beautiful fall night.  It was quiet and beautiful as we stopped at the top of one of the trails and enjoyed how pretty Minneapolis looks at night.

With happy legs beneath us, we returned to the lake to fill our bellies with some tasty Burger Jones treats.  Bikes, laughter, high-fives, and friends... it was a perfect night.  And it was a great week of coming back from darkness...

Sometimes it's can get heavy under the load of bills, family hardships, car troubles, whatever... then knock yourself out with illness and loneliness...  it's not something I like to write about.  But in the end, its my puppy, Jay, my friends and loved ones and my lil 2-wheeled contraption that makes it all go away.  And I'm grateful for every last one of 'em!  You know who you are - I love you!

Enjoying the sunlight,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, September 26, 2013

...A different kind of buzz...

Back in Winona last month, something in me changed.  I've loved riding my mountain bike since Jay started teaching me, but it never really clicked 100%... like there were barriers I couldn't figure out that kept me from taking my riding further.  But somewhere along the trails and bluffs of Holzinger & Cherrybomb, I think I found it.

Single Speed USA still courses through my veins and fuels my desire to hit the single track whenever we can.  The best part, though, was the amazing skills I found in myself while taking it all on.  I rode as if I never questioned myself.  I BELIEVED in myself, and that's something, admittedly, I rarely do.  I even keep a fortune cookie fortune on my bathroom mirror that says "Believe in yourself and others will believe in you too"... I'm starting to wonder if there's something to it.

To keep the flames roaring, we took that energy into 4 weeks of events, travel, racing and fun.  The week after SSUSA was my sister's wedding down in Reno, NV.  It was a whirlwind 4 days/3 nights of traveling & celebrating and everything turned out perfect, including meeting my new bro-in-law for the very first time.  I've never seen my sister so comfortable and at ease, like she truly found her other half.. I'm so happy for them and feel so blessed to have been part of the celebration!

Then, the next weekend we were off to Maplelag Resort for yet ANOTHER bitchin' year at the best Mtn bike stage race around!  I missed the racing last year due to injury, but was so happy to have some of my best finishes ever at the races - so much fun.  And, ss always, the races were awesome, the dinners were savory and every day was full of great time spent with friends... I love coming up here each year :)  And to spend our time with our THC/Girl Fiend family all weekend was perfect!  I'm so happy to have taken the leap with these teams - it's been endless fun all year.
To keep the momentum going, Hwood and I went up to Hayward, WI to watch the Cheq 40 race.  We'd both ridden it multiple times, and we discovered last year that heckling and giving soda hand-ups atop Fire Tower Hill was WAY MORE FUN than the pain of racing it.  And this year, we were extra lucky to have Teresa, Rusty, Barry, and Mitch join us for the antics!  With backpacks full of beer, scotch, lemonade, Red Bull, and dixie cups, we were prepped to cheer & support our teammates and friends as they crested the hill.

It was a friggin' blast and I think this 'bout sums it all up...
 Take a break?  Nah... This last weekend we took on the final Mtn Bike Race of the MN Series, the St. Cloud Jail Trail.  After all the fun-riding lately, the tight, twisty single-track with rocks and roots was exactly what this girl was craving.  I was so excited to see that my Girl Fiends Alye and Pip were there and we knew exactly what we needed to do - get Pip the win and fill the podium with Girl Fiends.

When the race began, we quickly took position at the front with me and Alye pulling for Pip to get her into the single track first and effortlessly.  We gapped Pip just a bit, so I pulled Alye into the single track first, jumping on her wheel as we began to weave between the trees.  Pip got back on fast, so I let her by to take a lead position.  Much to my surprise, rather than dropping me, the three of us rode together for the entire pro-lap and into Lap1.  Pip rode away from Alye and I in a rocky section of the lap, but I was able to keep on Alye into Lap2... something I've NEVER done... Alye usually puts 10-20+ min. into me during a race, but not today.

I was riding out of my mind, scrubbing speed in the corners and never thinking twice about an obstacle as I cleared it.  The light-switch was definitely on!  With half a lap to go, our competition was nowhere in sight and we were lined up to sweep the podium, Girl Fiend style!  Alye had begun to pull away from me and I was riding hard to close the gap when my left grip clipped a tree, turning my bars completely to the left, cartwheeling me over the bars and onto my back.  My feet were still clipped in as I laid upside down, trying to figure out how to get out of my pedals and back on the bike before I lost too much time.  Heck, I never even looked for injuries as I put my bike back onto the trail and hopped on.

But it was over... my crash had broken the seal on my tubeless front wheels, spilling the Stan's No Tubes all over the trail.  I tried riding it for a moment, but the protests from my brand new HED. Belgium+ were excruciating to listen to.  It's what, 3 miles to the finish?  I can do this.  I HAD to do this... last time I'd raced St Cloud, I was sitting in third when I head-butted my handlebars in the rock garden, breaking my nose and ending my race.  This was payback... I wasn't going to quit.

So, my mtn bike race turning into a duathlon.  I ran the final three miles of tight single track to the finish.. and as I did, one-by-one, my competition caught me and left me in the dust.  Third to sixth in the final miles, but I wasn't going to quit.  I had my fist raised high in the air as I ran my bike across the finish line.  Thank heavens for my Northwave Vega's - they were so comfortable to run in and the heel support kept me from rolling my ankles in the rocks & off camber sections.

It had been one of my best races and I wavered back n' forth all night between happy and pissed.  But when the dust finally settled, I was so proud of myself.  Maybe it's the new LaMere 29'er... either way, the light switch is on and I can see things in a much different light.  And I love it and now can't seem to get enough.

Maybe that's why every time I hear "Royals" by Lorde, I think of raging on my bike... it's my kind of buzz..

And we'll never be royals
It don't run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain't for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler,
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Single Speed USA 2013: Taking Winona by Storm!

Reflecting back on this weekend, I still can't believe it's all real... like some fantastically vivid dream that was indescribably detailed and blurred all at the same time.

We headed down to Winona early on Friday to get a spin in before the fun began on Saturday morning.  It was my first ever attempt at Single Speed USA (SSUSA), hosted by 29nSngl, and the anxiety was settling in early.  Jay had worked like crazy all week singling-out my LaMere 29'er with an eccentric BB30 that our pal The Mayor fabricated with the help of Hwood's coaching on dimensions.... time to test it out!

The bike rode awesome and, although some of the sections of Holzinger wore me out on cold legs, the terrain I was sailing over and through was exhilarating and fun!  After an hour of spinning, we returned to the lodge and I was bouncing off the walls over the awesome, rocky decent leading to the finish.  If you would have asked me to do that a year ago, and I would have given ya a dirty look and walked my chicken-butt down the hill slowly.  Oh what a difference a great bike and awesome coach (hubby) can make!

After the ride, we headed over to Gabby's to pick up our race packets and throw back some beers with our buds.  Damn it's cheap to drink in Winona!  $2 for pints of Surly Furious... yes, please!  We tied a few on and I squirmed in my seat as H&K and I talked about the next day's party strategy.  It was a left brain / right brain struggle as part of me wanted to screw around and take it easy... but the racer in me had wanted to win, since the moment I registered.  I never let myself set goals like that - I always try to focus on just having fun... but this was something I couldn't deny that I wanted BAD!

Come morning, my anxiety was thru the roof and I was struggling to choke down some eggs before heading over to Holzinger Lodge.  We fell into rhythm with the crowd as we walked our bikes to an open field for the le mons start (running 1/4 mile on foot to your bike to begin the race
).  Lucky for me and H&K, the trail fairies left our bikes alone and they were right where we left them.  We got into the trail with lil fuss and started heading up the bluff to tackle the 4,000+ feet of climbing that was to come.  H&K had to wait for me a couple times, but then my legs woke up and it was hard to think about partyin'... I just wanted to go FAST!  As ladies passed us, it started to bug me and I just wanted to chase them down.  When we climbed into the Cherrybomb part of the coarse, I'd gapped H&K and had to wait a bit before we went into the woods.  My legs complained and lactic acid started gathering.  Once back on the bike, though, the pain subsided.  We were riding with a few others and I got into a smooth rhythm, watching only the 2 riders in front of me.  Before I knew it, H&K was gone.  I stopped and waited, but my legs screamed and I had to get moving again before I fell totally apart.

I was in time trial mode, now, and picking off the girls who'd passed me before and never looked back.  I caught 5 in Cherrybomb and overtook another as we entered our last Holizinger loop to the finish.  Atop Holzinger with 3 miles to go, I found another.  Once the pass was made, I tried to get outta sight and outta mind fast, pedaling to my limit as I tried to make it to the finish.  Crossing the line, I was blown away when I found my name as 3rd woman on the list!  (although technically I think I was 4th since one gal didn't sign in).  Only 1 minute behind the gal who finished 3rd!  Astonished and boiling over with joy, I threw back some brews with my hubby and pals, waiting for the final battle... please, oh please, let it be a derby!

Sov got on the mic and gave trophies to the 1st place male & female of the race.  Then, it was time to announce the final challenge for the title.. DERBY!  Ladies first!  Lucky for me, Chuck had used my Bianchi MUSS for the race so I was able to use the bike I'd learned how to derby on in the final event.

Walking thru crowd to the derby was calm and slow.  All I could think about was Homey Fest...with my MUSS in hand, we were zen, and it was like I was finally arriving at the moment I'd been dreaming of for months.  Kerry, the defending champ, and the Drunkcyclist gal were my competitors, and we pedaled 'round and 'round inside the wall of onlookers.  Everything seemed to move in slow mo and I played it from a defensive stance, slowing my speed and forcing them to come to me.   Since my smaller size gives me much less momentum than the boys I learned from, using my balance at slow speeds was my most effective weapon.

Drunkcyclist was the first to go, dabbing after losing balance with our impact.  Just me and the defending champ.  We circled twice, setting up our strategies... I brought my speed almost to a hault, slowly pedaled forward, watching Kerry close the gap, waiting patiently for her to come to me.  She attacked me from behind and, once she'd committed to her balance against my wheel, I surged forward to eliminate the support, forcing her off balance and out of the game.  The crowd roared and I let out a 'warrior' scream with everything I had.

It took everything in me not to cry - I did it... I actually did it!  The moment I'd been dreaming of came true, and all of the energy in the circle sparked and amplified in the excitement of it all.

With belt tightly secured around my waist, I watched as the men entered the ring.  With more participants, the derby went longer and got more intense.  Down to the final two, Spinner won it with the same strategy I'd employed, making the other rider come to him.  It worked and we threw up our fists in celebration as the new champion was crowned.  
Next up were heats of Bucketball to help determine the finalists for the next host city.  The excitement was high as the riders rode for their town's honor.  It came down to Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Michigan, with the final feat of strength to take place at the after-party just hours later...

We hit the after-party at Market Street Tap hard with DNF rockin' out tunes as we celebrated and sang along.  "Super Drunk Guy" was quite entertaining as well, rolling around on the floor in a stupor as the crowd rocked out and the guys jammed out awesome tune after awesome tune.  

Fireworks littered the floor as the racers danced to the music and Geno parted the crowds by riding and sliding his single speed on the beer-soaked floor.  The final Host City representatives gathered at Hammerschlagen in the back, taking their turns at driving a nail into a log with the sharp end of the hammer... tough!  In the end, Michigan took it!  Next year, Copper Harbor here we come!

 Spinner and Me - SSUSA 2013 Champs partyin' hard!
The drinks were cheap, the entertainment was awesome, and everything was PERFECT!  As we loaded the cars up with the gear and filtered out into the streets, another derby began.  Hollywood and G-Money found two bikes hooked to a sign via cable lock and snapped the sign to get at 'em, riding the bikes side by side in the derby as H&K watched on with her key in hand.   The crowd thinned and we headed back to camp with Chucker, G-Money, Chris, Wheels, Hollywood, Metal Mike, and Fastway Freddie.  Exhausted and well-embibed, it wasn't a surprise to see everyone quickly retreat to their tents. 

 Packing up the next morning was bitter sweet... so much fun I didn't want to leave, but we had a puppy to get home to.  We said goodbye to the crue, loaded up the Scamp, and pointed the truck north.

I can't thank the sponsors, volunteers, or participants enough for making that weekend so amazing and memorable.  Thanks to 29nSngl for putting on a killer weekend & race, Hollywood Cycles for singling out my bike and making sure I was ready to rock, Podiumwear for the comfortable and durable cycling apparel and letting me do what I wanted with the design (hottest kit there!), LaMere Cycles for the killer bike that flew thru the trails, and the Minneapolis Mafia for teaching me to derby!  And if it weren't for my husband Jay, I never would have experienced all this awesomeness.. I love you to the moon & back!

365 days to wear the belt.... Copper Harbor 2014, here we come!

Ridin' high,
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Twelve Hours of WAU-Some!

Sitting here sore, bruised and exhausted, it's hard not to think about what an awesome time we had this weekend at our first Wausau 24 mountain bike race.  As enduro-virgins, Jay and I both opted to do the 2 person-12 hour races.  Thank heavens we did... the couple night laps I did were enough to show me I didn't want to go all night... on the bike, that is.

My friend and fellow Girl Fiend, Amanda "H&K", asked me to join her as a women's 2-person 12 hour team and Jay jumped in with 29nSngl dynamo Pete "Peaches" to tackle the men's 2 person 12 hr challenge on single speeds.  We were regaled with stories of camping and partyin' and ridin' for hours and just couldn't say No.

We arrived early on Friday to inspect the course and set up base camp at the park.  With the whole 29nSngl crew en route, we worked with Lindsay to find the biggest and best spot in the lot.  We circled all the wagons, parked the cars, set up our pop-up tents, tables, chairs, and fire pit and settled in for the fun and schenanigans.

With the race starting early on Saturday, we kept the party low-key on Friday night, enjoying some tasty vittles by the fire, tossing back a few beers, and spending a few minutes planning for the race in between great stories and belly laughs.  

Jay and I were both on board to kick off the first lap of each of our races, prepping for a 300 yd sprint at the start to where our bikes laid in the field in a LeMond start.  As the race began, we were immediately enveloped in a sea of racers and swinging arms.  Within the first 100 yds, my quads were screaming at me "what are you doing?!  we don't run!"  Ha!  But, I had strategically placed my new LaMere 29'er hardtail (aka the "Sparkle Pony") at the farthest point I could so, once I mounted the Sparkle Pony, I was already clear of the bikes littering the field.  

 My first lap was tough, getting caught early in a massive bottle neck as we entered the single track.  Although the slow pace early helped me recover from the run, it hindered my balance and momentum and the first 4 miles got the best of me... throwing me from my bike and onto the rocks 3 times and badly bruising my confidence and body alike.  When I returned to the transition area to switch with H&K an hour later, I was seriously questioning my ability to continue for 11 more hours.  H&K headed out and Jay and fellow Girl Fiend Janna got me to calm down and led me off to the camper to recover.  I ate, discovered zero broken bones, and tried to psych myself up for the next round.

Back in the transition area, H&K came in a few minutes faster than me and high-5'd me for good luck.  My lap was much smoother with reduced congestion on the trail and I took 3 min. off my time.  H&K went out again, throwing down awesome laps on her single speed, and returned to send me off for a 2 lap / 2 hour stint so she could eat, sleep and recover.  My laps stayed consistent, although my brain and body wondered on me occassionally.  Feeling clumsy in the challenging rock gardens, I had to remind myself that I was doing something I couldn't have remotely done a year ago.  And when my back screamed profanities at me, I used the single track to relax and focus on my technical skills, and then attacked the jeep trail as if it were a time trial.

When my 2 hour break came, I took time to get some more protein in my system and enjoyed a quick siesta in the Scamp.  As I headed back to the transition area I found out that we were sitting in a solid 2nd place, now with 8 laps done in 8 hours, and only 2 laps each left to complete.  It was all that I needed to gather up a second win and forget all the second-guessing just hours before.  It was 6:00pm and getting dark in the thick tree cover, so I had my headlamp on for the whole lap.  I played it smart in the rock gardens and was happy when I had gotten to my favorite flow section unscathed.

The trail was tight and rooted and winded around young trees and saplings.  With only a split-second's realization of what was about to happen, the right side of my bars nailed a tree and stopped me cold, throwing me hard onto the ground on the opposite side of the trail.  Pinned beneath my bike with my left foot still stuck in my pedal, I struggled to release myself and catch my breath.  It must've looked gnarly, cuz the man riding behind me gasped and stopped to ensure I was okay..  I was...  my leg warmer was torn at the knee and slowly darkening with blood and mud... it didn't want to bend when I got back on my bike, but luckily I had some time before the next climb.

I fought through the pain and the darkness for the rest of the lap and limped in a few minutes slower than my previous laps.  I must have looked rough because H&K just looked at me and said "Hard lap?" as she ventured off into the twilight.  On time as usual, she arrived to send me off for my last lap as darkness settled in for the night.  I went WAY easy in the rock gardens this time, even choosing to walk through the darkest one as my light illuminated the white painted boulders.

The silence then overwhelmed me as I realized I was all alone... in the dark woods... far from home.   As the fear of being mauled by a bear overtook me, I started singing Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" in a breathy, slightly panicked voice as loud as I could muster as I rode solo for the next 20 minutes.  For the last 2 miles, I began seeing headlights on the trail behind me and began to relax.  Two miles to go... leave it out on the course!  I clicked it into a harder gear and forced myself to ride faster and get H&K out on the course for her last lap.

Fatigue was settling in, by H&K was in high spirits as she headed out, demanding I be "half in the bag" when she crossed the line.  I headed back to camp and got out of my chamois for the first time in 12 hours and bundled up against the cold air that surrounded us.  Just after 10pm, H&K crossed the line grinning ear to ear, sealing up our second place finish with 12 laps under our belts!

Jay crossed the finish line with lights off and his single speed held high above his head as they won the 12 hour OVERALL with 15 laps!  He was exhausted and quickly retreated to the camper to hide under the covers and rest before joining us by the fire.  With all the work over and glory to bask in, we sat by the fire and had a blast as guitars, stories, and farts filled the air and beer, moonshine, and Rumchata-cha filled our bellies.  By 3:00am I was toast, so I headed off to bed to catch some zzz's before returning to the course to cheer on the 24-hour challengers and wait for the awards ceremony.

H&K and Me taking home the glory

Looking back on it, I am more and more proud of our accomplishment.  We didn't 'train' for it, we didn't obsess over each detail, we just did it... and we ROCKED IT!  Add in camping and great friends and you have a perfect weekend!

H&K, Me, and Janna showing off our bling and banged up knees

Huge thanks to 29nSngl for inviting us along for the party - it was awesome!  Thanks to Podiumwear for making some durable cycling apparel that can withstand my multiple impacts with the earth, rocks, and trees.  Thanks to Wausau for putting on an awesome event!  Thanks to Buzzy at LaMere Cycles for letting me rip it up on the 29'er!  And more than anything and always, a huge thank you to my hubby Jay and Hollywood Cycles for getting me geared up and ready for the ride, and being there to support me as a person as I took on a big challenge.

Bruised and feeling Bad A$$, 
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Third Time's the Dirtiest! ...Adventures in Gravel Racing

This past weekend, I tackled the Westside Dirty Benjamin for my third time after missing last year when I threw out my lower back.  I hadn't done a century in 2 years... not since I won it for the second time back in 2011... and somehow Jay had faith in me for a strong finish.  Me and my fistful of ibuprofren weren't so sure, but you know I had to saddle up anyways... 107.5 miles of gravel roads... what's the problem?

At the start of the race, the nerves were firing on all circuits as my stomach couldn't decide how to act.  Jay was trying to pump me full of encouragement and the drive to win and some barrier within myself was trying not to buckle under the pressure.  But, as tactically-minded as I am, I still strolled to the front of the pack to prep for the start of the race.

It was an awesome roll-out with Stukel driving the pack on his bike on a route I'd not yet seen.  I was sitting top 5 through the bulk of the rollout, but quickly found me in the midst of chaos as we entered a squishy single-track, saturated with the frequent spring rainfall we've had.  We popped back out onto the road and I moved quickly back into the top 20 to try to keep with the lead pack as we were released from the lead-out.  The pace maintained a strong but steady speed, and I settled into the pack and allowed my heart rate to come back down.

We hit the gravel roads with pure drive and loads of passion, ignoring our bikes as the rear wheels swayed this way and that, spit gravel from our lips as we gasped for air, and made split-decision bee lines when the gravel got soft and control dwindled.  Rocks pinged of our faces, chest, wheels, and frames and made a meal out of my shins... I felt them tear into my flesh and watched as the dust melded with the blood to make a fun paste out of my flesh.

But the dust and blood were the farthest thing from my mind as various teams and riders kept upping the pace.  I was able to see the "Tell" of the Revolution team and kept myself out of harms way pretty well.... all of a sudden, there we were, 40 miles into the race and I was still with the breakaway group of some 30-40+ riders.. WTF?!  As the pace kept increasing, I found myself shelled off the back twice - once I was able to bridge myself back on solo, and the second time I was able to jump back on with Megan B. & a teammate from BB's.

I road out of my mind and my comfort zone for longer than I'd ever done before, hanging on to the breakaway group til mile 60.  Unfortunately, just before the check-point, we took a turn into the cross-wind and I found myself as the caboose.. but as they came out of the turn, the attack happened and I was sling-shotted off the back.  I tried to bridge my way back on w/ my teammate Ron Ron, but I couldn't even hold his wheel as I watched the field (which now cradled the 1st place woman) ride away from me.

Panic set in - I'd ridden 60 miles with no cue sheets, having them safely tucked in my jersey.  I was quick to take them out, but found the heat and sweat had stuck them together and the ink was starting to run.  I tried desperately to pry them apart with one hand and my mouth to try to find the next turn before I got to it.  I found Ron Ron at the next intersection just as I'd found the right page and we took the left turn to the check point where we refueled, fed the mosquitos, and remounted our bikes as soon as we could.

We spent the next few miles getting ourselves back into the action, fighting off increasing back pain on my side, and Ron Ron's leg cramp that stopped us for 5 min. until the mosquitos got too unbearable.  We pedaled easy for a few miles and set into a steady pace until mile 80 or so when a group of 7 came up on us and let us jump on.  Megan B. was in the pack and looking strong, forcing me to spend the next 15 miles in my head, fighting the urge to throw in the towel as my right side continued to cramp and the pedal strokes got more uneven.  I tried pedaling only with my left leg to relieve the pain, but little relief was found.  At mile 100, we ascended our final and brutal gravel climb.  At the top, rather than throwing in the towel, the adrenaline kicked in and I was suddenly unaware of the pain and focused only on strategy to get myself a second place finish.

Megan pulled to the front with 7 miles to go to "help take a pull" and I jumped on her wheel as the Angel and the Devil on my shoulders battled it out as to whether or not to inform her of her tactical error.   The Devil won... I sat on as we flew across the paved road at 22 mph, never letting more than a few inches separate our wheels, watching as the miles ticked off.  With less than a mile to the final turn, she called over her shoulder "Where do we turn?"... "Danger, Will Robins" is what I replied... first mistake about cue-sheet races:  not having your cue sheets.  Lucky for her, one of the men in our pack came to the front with a 1/2 mile to go, calling "I'll do some work - you ladies just yell at me when you want me to get the hell outta your way!"

We took the final turn into the descent to the finish.  Though the day had been warm and cloud-covered, the rain finally decided to make an appearance for our final 2 miles.  The pace was fast and I was quickly running out of gears w/ my 1x10, noticing that Megan had 3 more to go.  A couple men attacked and I went with, trying to get a gap, but Megan and the rest closed the gap instantly.  Another attack went, but I marked her instead, making sure I knew where she was at all times, knowing she wasn't sure where the finish was.

Once the bridge was in my sights, I grabbed my shifters and gave it hell, ramping it up and taking the finish line by storm.  We came into the parking lot as they registered our finish, wet, grimmy, and covered in dust, dirt, and gravel... we were tired, but yet so energized by such an awesome race!  Although it was my slowest times of the 3 (at 6hrs 14min), I still finished in 2nd place and more proud of myself than ever!  Typically, I have Jay by my side, pushing me to go hard and helping me through emotional bouts of doubt... but this year he was at the front, battling it out all the way to the finish and took 2nd himself in a seriously tough battle!  So proud of my hubby, and so happy for all that he has taught me!
Better yet, when we threw our FILTHY kits into the wash, seeing as how all the white areas had turned an ishy brown... we honestly didn't know if they'd ever come clean.  But, our super kits by Podiumwear look brand new after a lil soap and water!  Not to mention the comfort - I've never done a century ride w/o some "monkey butt" (aka skin issues)... but NOTHING!   Even my teammate Janna, who's hubby/wife team won the Tandem race said it was the best chamios yet!  Thank you Podiumwear!

Wasted tired, sore, and completely elated, we enjoyed some great food and brews post-race and watched as the riders came in as well as a pretty tough thunderstorm.  Turns out we'd finished just in time, as the storm that welcomed us to the finished turned all the gravel roads behind us into peanut butter, freezing up chains and drive trains for many riders.

All in all, it was an amazing day!  We happily followed it up with some well-needed time with the puppy, horizontal, on the couch. :)  Now, if only my appetite would subside.... ever since my 5200 calorie burn, I can't seem to stop eating!

Happy & Hungry,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another day in Print-adise

The last couple weeks have lead me and Teri back to the workshop to prep for 2 big Girl Fiend Designs orders.  The greatest part about it was spending some quality time with our homemade screenprinting press... getting to know her a little better and figuring out what SHE wants to do.

Yep, the press is a She.  And, when we figured out that she helps us make cooler shirts when we're blasting zef beats by Die Antwoord, it was a no-brainer to name her after front woman and our fave badass chic, Yo-landi.

With many hours in the shop, doing full order runs of our Girl Fiend, Hell on Wheels, and our latest and greatest design, we started to see the subtle quirks and shifts that Yo-landi's wooden frame had.  Best of all, we figured out how to crank up the music louder and use them to our advantage.

 The result:  two awesome days of printing and a wicked awesome new design that neither of us has stopped wearing!

The Lioness of Flanders!  Girl Fiend-style.

The official Lion of Flanders is a Belgian flag with red toenails.  The more popular version has black toenails, representing the outcasts or separatists who want to emancipate the Flanders region from Belgium to preserve the Dutch language and Flemish culture in history.

As Girl Fiends, we took our love for cycling, Belgium, and the iconic Lion of Flanders and gave it a purple nurple...   Hot pink toenails stand up for bad ass chicks, the flowing mane sharpened into points to emphasize the dark and dangerous.... and the mischievous horns have replaced the softer ears.  It has quickly become both of our new favorite shirts!

And, once we showed them off to Hollywood, he placed an order on the spot to fill up his shelves with The Lioness of Flanders, Girl Fiend, and Hell on Wheels!  Now available at Hollywood Cycles!

With three more designs yet to complete for summer, we still have a lot of hours yet to put in, but I'm so excited to watch each one come to life.  As a kid, I used to cut stencils out of thin plastic, tape them down on a blank shirt, and slowly paint between the lines.  It's so cool to have now grown into bigger and better methods & designs.

Printing in Print-adise!
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live, Sleep, Eat, Breathe, Bike

With spring FINALLY here, I feel like I've been on the go 25 hours a day!  The best part, though, is having my bikes with me for all of it...

We kicked off the first really nice day of the year by taking our retro Schwinn Hollywood & Silver King to the Bulldog in Uptown to help support Evanator's fight against cancer.  The fundraiser was a great success and it was awesome to see so many wonderful people come out to support such a wonderful young man!

Tuesday night we headed to the TNW crits at the State Fairgrounds.  It was so much fun!  I got to rock my new Podiumwear skinsuit for the first time - SO HOT!  Plus, CB, Pritz, and Alye all showed up for the race and we had an awesome time riding together.  Then, true Girl Fiend style, we had a fabulous time hanging out with some beers after the race while we cheered on the men and joked about this and that.  

It has been WAY TO LONG since I've had a handful of teammates to race with and I'm so happy to have that opportunity again.  We have such an awesome group of women on our team - I feel so blessed!
 During the rest of the week, I had fun getting out for a ride to and from work and dusting off my time trial bike for Saturday's Farm Dog.  It was a cold and extremely windy morning and I hemmed and hawed as I tried to 'warm' up on the trainer.  With a new position to try out thanks to my fit with my super coach, Hollywood, I knew I just had to try to be small and hold on for dear life.  The winds were 25-30 mph w/ 40mph gusts and the temps were maybe in the 40's (sans windchill).

The first 3 miles were straight into the head/cross wind and I kept as tucked as I could.  Luckily, there were some tailwind sections to get the speed up, helping me finish at a blazingly fast speed.  As I approached the final 100m of the race, I was doing 31mph and battling a few crosswind gusts that battled my front wheel.  I was too afraid to let go of my bars to grab onto my bullhorns, so I just leaned into the wind and held on tight.

Much to my surprise, the results were posted and I found out that I won the women's Open race!  I was 24 sec. slower than the same time last year, but that was fine with me, considering the conditions.  What blew me away even more though, was beating two of the fastest gals on TT bikes that I know, Bonnie and Julia... I think I've got to thank my fat bike for that... it truly kept my strength up over the winter.

Ridin' high after the big win, Hwood and I ate, took a quick nap, and then geared up again to hit the trails at Theodore Wirth with the Chucker.  It was nice to get out of the wind in the woods and have fun with the boys.  I'd been riding so much this week, though, that I was out of clean cycling kits so I just re-wore my kit from earlier... I love the new Girl Fiend kits so much, I wear them everywhere!  I think I'm gonna have to buy more (or do the laundry more often... whichever's easier)  :o)

And, in the middle of all that riding and racing, I took a day to print our latest t-shirt from Girl Fiend Designs with my fave Girl Fiend, Teri.  Officially available for purchase now... "The Lioness of Flanders"!

Handmade in Minneapolis, women's tees by Bella.. super soft, long torso, women's cut, with water-based inks that are soft to the touch.  On sale exclusively at Hollywood Cycles!  It's definitely my new favorite!

Now we just have to get our work done and ramp up for another handful of races on the horizon.  Hopefully we'll have sunny skies, dry trails, clear roads, safe rides, and great stories!

Lovin' life,
Kristy Kreme

Sunday, April 14, 2013

License to Ride, Not Limit My Life

Over the last couple months, I've read many articles written by pro cyclists and cycling media about the UCI's rule 1.02.019 that forbids UCI license holders from racing events that do not fall under their umbrella.  I will admit that I've paid little attention to it until lately, thinking it didn't apply to me so why add more stress and frustration to my day... but I can't stop thinking about the injustice of it all.

Yes, according to, the UCI has post-poned the rule for the 2013 race season, holding off on fines and disciplinary actions, but threats still loom over the 2014 season and full enforcement of the rule.  Per their articleRule 1.2.019 states, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI."  Related rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 provide additional details, including specifying punishment via fine or suspension for all UCI licence holders who violate the rule.

I don't race pro, and I'm not interested in a UCI license any time soon.. but I find this passion deep inside me to stand against it, and join the fight.  Especially having started a new team and trying to coach my teammates on the rule and what limitations we face, my decision to be Pro-Choice about my racing should not have fines looming over it.

By definition a LICENSE is "a: permission to act, b. freedom of action; c. a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity".  It seems quite peculiar that the antonyms of LICENSE include "prohibition" according to Webster's Dictionary.  Where is the "freedom" in the UCI's rule?  Last I knew, a license PERMITTED you to participate in something, not LIMIT you from something else.  I have a driver's license that allows me to drive a car.. doesn't mean I can't ride a bike or boat or skateboard.  My library card can't fine me for BUYING a book rather than renting it.

I've heard that in many European countries, most if not all cycling events are UCI events, but it's just not the case in the US.  We have grassroots races, fund raising race/rides, and even simple tours about town to encourage more people to ride bikes.  Who is the UCI to tell any license holder that they can't participate in something like the MS150 or Tour de Cure because they support a family member's struggle?  Or that they can't do the local mountain bike race near their cabin on a warm summer day?
Why should someone be fined or worse because they want to participate in their favorite event of the year?  The answer, sadly, resides with an entity so far from reach, I can't just shake the stupid out of them.

Lucky for me, I'm sure I'm low enough on the totem pole to avoid any fines (other than the threatened ones from a kit we've worn for years)...  but it pains me to know that some of the men and women I love to race with and watch racing could be affected.  And the fear it instills in others causes my jaw to ache as I clench and grind my teeth at just the thought.  Sadly, USAC doesn't seem to have any power of their own to stand against it.. and I can only foresee large drops in license renewals next year to accentuate it.  It's still 8 months away, but I can honestly say that renewing my license is gonna take some thought...

I ride to be free.  To feel the wind on my face.  To feel my heart in my chest.  To see the world around me so many take for granted.  I race because I love to push myself harder.  I race because I love to be on the trails and roads with others.  I race and ride because it has brought so many wonderful people and experiences to my life.  I don't care if an event is this or that or licensed by some national institution or not.. I do it because I love to be on my bike. Period.

And I live in a country outlined by "land of the free, home of the brave"... I will not let anyone dictate what I can or cannot do on my bike.  We are different.  We are unique.  Not every rule can apply to all situations.   What possible reason is there to keep such limitations active in such a diverse world?  All it does is drive people away, not encourage more to try their hand at the greatest thing that ever happened to my life.

Even still, in this rant that maybe a handful will read, I'm sad to say it lies on the UCI to abolish such a limitation on cyclists... but I will honestly wait, on baited breath, for them to pull their heads out of their asses and do the right thing.

I vow to ride when I want, where I want, and for whatever reason I want to.  I love my bikes and I love my life.  No license will limit me.

Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dear Spring... I'm breaking up with you

I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely out of patience for this thing called "Spring".  I'm tired of a runny nose, cold fingers and toes, and bundling up for bike rides. I want my dog to stop shivering. I'm sick of drinking endless mugs of coffee, cocoa, and tea to stay warm...

I just want to be WARM!

I want to sweat and gluttonously stand in front of a fan...
I want tank tops and shorts...
Sun on skin...
Flip Flops...
Warm sunsets while sipping beers on the patio...
Sleeping with the windows open...
Chilling out in lawn chairs after a bitchin ride or race..
Riding bikes without having to wear a neck gator...
Walks to the lake with my boys...
Grilling and relaxing and riding and racing and laughing and splashing and swimming and not watching tv and not riding the trainer and roasting marshmellows and making breakfast over an open fire and crackin' beers and the KOA and packing up the cars and making checklists for camping and filling propane tanks and Scamping!

Please Spring.. You are NOT Winter, so quit trying to act like it.  And, if you're not going to take an active part in this relationship, just go.  Summer is sure to pick up where you left off.

That is all.

Bundled up and Grumbly,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fat Bike Dreams Really Do Come True!

On Friday night, Jay and I closed up the shop and headed for our favorite place in the Northwoods... Cable, WI.  We were 2 of the lucky 300 who got into the first ever Fat Bike Birkie race, and we were jazzed and ready to ride!

For my first time ever, we stayed the night at Telemark Resort to ensure we'd be close and ready to go for the 8:00AM start.  We gorged ourselves on food then turned in early, laying low and enjoying the super comfy bed and linens.
By 5:00AM, Jay was already up and moving, heading out to the trail to check on the conditions after this week's warmth and snowfall.. it was either gonna be a super fast ride or a death march...  Luckily, the temps cooled enough overnight to keep the ski trail packed tight and we raised up the air pressure in the tires to adapt to the firm snow.

We got to the start line early, with the excitement buzzing through our veins like electricity barely contained.  There was a cold wind at our backs, but we barely noticed as the start chute filled with friends and familiar faces.  A light snow filled the air with a threat of rain we all hoped wouldn't come... if only the temps could hold firm, the trails would remain fast and we could stay relatively dry.  
Photo by Kelly Randolph
Hollywood, as usual, was clipped into his pedals and attacking the moment the shotgun fired, taking the hole shot as 150+ men and women chased.  He was going strong and pulling away from the fast guys until overcooking a turn as he entered the World Cup course, taking himself down. The leaders soon came around the turn and took over the race, but Jay was quick to return to his bike and jump on the back of the pack.
Photo by Kelly Randolph
I settled into a chase group in hot pursuit, riding outta my mind and loving it!  I knew there had to be a couple of the super fast gals in front of my, but I was pretty proud of my position and kept at it.  Around the 4th mile, I blew hard trying to get up a pretty unforgiving hill and was forced to run the last 10 feet of it.  I stopped for a moment to catch my breath as one of the ladies rode away from me and thought to myself that there were more back there and I needed to get back on my bike.

I tried to bridge back up to the group I'd been with, but the pace was too hot, so I dialed it back a bit and settled into a good rhythm.  What had been a pack of 20-some riders slowly broke into groups of 4 or more bikers that we bounced around from one to the other.  About seven miles in, I tweeked my left groin on a climb and had to sit and spin my brains out to get to the top.  To keep the momentum going, I tried to use the climbs for recovery by taking it slow, but attacking every downhill like a challenge to myself...  Dear Snow, just you try and slow me down!

Almost to the half way mark, I came through a section with a volunteer who shouted out "Third place Woman, I think!"... There was no way that could be true, I had to have been in last place for sure... I smiled and said thanks, but was sure it was a mistake, so I tucked it away and focused on the trail once again.  By the time I got to the turnaround at OO, it was only me and one other rider left in our pack, with no one else in site.  He stopped to take a hand-up and I just kept going.  If I was riding as tail-gunner, stopping was gonna do me no good.  Fastest way to end the ride was to get to the finish, so I just kept going as fast as I could.

My legs started screaming up the climbs as I rode alone with nothing but my thoughts and the sound of my tires crunching on the packed snow.  I really didn't care where I was in the pack any more... I was just having SO MUCH FUN railing down the hills, cruising through the turns, and enjoying the beautiful day.  I caught the noise of sleet hitting my shoulders and thought to myself "I wonder how long it's been doing that?"... it was so very Zen.  

Random skiers appeared on the trail, cheering and ringing bells, prompting me to increase my speeds as I got closer to the finish.  With less than five miles to go and sleet blurring my vision through my goggles, I kicked it into a sprint with everything I had left, determined to give it everything I had.  I wanted to get it done in under three hours, but I was too chicken to check the time on my Garmin.. just watched the miles tick away instead.  

With maybe 2K to go, I looked up the trail and saw Hollywood riding at me.  "You're flying!" he shouted as I passed him and he turned around to follow me.  "You're in third place, keep it up!".... "No I'm not... but you really think I'm flying?"  Sweet!   He rode behind me, cheering me on until the final couple turns where he left me to finish solo.  I heard a volunteer say "third place woman, number 232" into a walkie talkie as I passed by and almost lost it in

I crossed the finish with a HUGE smile on my face as I heard the announcer call out my name.  I did it... I actually finished in third place!  And I did it in 2:38!  Beat my goal by 22 minutes!   
Photo by Kelly Randolph
Once results were posted, I found out that I not only took 3rd in the Women's race, but 86th out of 154 riders!  I had honestly thought I had been at the back of the ENTIRE pack the whole time.  And there were so many fast women there, I don't know how it happened.... 
Jay finished strong, too, in 11th aside from his early crash and a late-race leg cramp that separated him from the group near the end of the race.  I know he really wanted to be top 10, but he rode AWESOME and took on some ridiculously fast dudes.   Great job, babe!  And thank you tons for cheering me to the finish.  :D

I'm so absolutely proud that I got to be a part of the first ever Fat Bike Birkie!  It was one of the most epic and most fun races I've ever done.  I will definitely be back next year!  2013 is definitely starting off awesome, and I can't wait to see all the fun yet to come.. Girl Fiend Cycling Team 2013! Thanks to my sweet hubby Jay who made this whole weekend possible.. I loved every moment of it!

Floating on fat bike dreams, 
Kristy Kreme

Monday, March 4, 2013

DNF Rules the Night

Friday night was the latest installment of DNF shows and, by far, the best one yet!  Woodshop opened with a great set and it was fun to rock out to them as Club Underground at Spring Street steadily filled up with all our favorite bikers and rockers.
 The crowd that turned out was the largest I'd ever seen take over the Spring Street before... it was awesome!  And DNF was on fire.  As Hollywood put it, they're "the sloppiest band in the Midwest", but all the late night practicing proved to be paying off.  They put on the tightest show to date and had the crowd jammin' and singing along.

Jay kept losing his glasses and the crowd got to see his metal-crazed eyes for the first time at any show. Crossmax loved it!  As the songs came and went, more beverages were doled out and the "action" portion of the show increased as Hollywood moved around the stage and attempted to take a non-wireless mic into the crowd. By the end, the whole crowd was having a blast, the carpet on the stage was soaked, and there were mics and mic-stands strewn all about.
4130 followed them up, and Brauer put it best when he started with "Thanks to DNF for making the stage all sticky for us!".  They kept the show going til the end of the night and had a blast.  To top off the already awesome night, we took G-Money & Bill home with us to crash out with pizza and Hangover 2.  Jay woke us the next morning with hot coffee, corn beef hash, and eggs before enticing us with a late day fat bike ride at the River Bottoms.
 The air was cool and the trail a little slushy and icy in spots, but it was an awesome follow up to the previous night's rockin'.  Chucker, G-Money, KK, Hollywood, and I were flying along the trail in the beautiful sunlight, laughing at one another when we fell (without injury), and taking breaks along the trail to just chill out and enjoy the afternoon.
 After a good two hours on the trail, we loaded the bikes back up and returned home for hot food and showers, having successfully enjoyed the day.  I have never ridden my bike so much in the winter before, but the 9Zero7 from my loving hubby has made winter more fun than ever!  Thank you babe!
 It's days like these that make it hard to hope for an early spring... cuz I'm just having WAY too much fun.  Today's snow is gonna be fun!

Thanks to DNF for rocking my ass, thanks to the boys for letting me ride along, and to my hubby who makes it all happen.. I love you, JJ!

Itchin' to Ride,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'Candle-lit' dinner alfresco

One of my favorite times while on a recent vacation in Chattanooga was enjoying all of our meals alfresco on the picnic table next to the Scamp.  Each evening as the sun began to set, me, Jay, and Rosco would take our fresh-cooked meals outside and dine in the cool evening air, not wanting the warm temps to fade.

Tonight, Jay surprised me with an awesome re-creation I can't wait to repeat.

After work tonight, we buzzed home quickly to prep for a great night ride on our 9Zero7's at the MN River Bottoms.  As I gathered up all my layers and thermal gear, Jay prepared dinner... my favorite fajita burritos with DL Jardines marinade.. YUM!  As the smell filled our quaint home, I wanted more and more to bag the ride and just dive into dinner but, instead, he wrapped each burrito in tinfoil and threw them into our bags of riding gear.

We loaded up the bikes and headed out to the River Bottoms.  Once there, we headed East on some super-packed trails.  Skinnies could have definitely railed tonight, but once you went off-trail, you found yourself in snowcone material for sure.

We hauled a$$ for a good 20-30 minutes, guided by our lights and the full moon's light.  The only sound within the darkness was our own breathing and the tires ripping through the snow.  Jay led the way and set a fast pace as I held on his wheel as best I could to keep my training going.

Off in the distance we saw the glow of a fire back in the woods and heard voices calling out to us.  We found their foot tracks off to the side and followed them back into the woods, happy to find our friends manning an awesome bonfire.
We pulled out our burritos and warmed them back up via the fire, ready to feast after the sweet ride, in the company of a handful of friends. We sat for a good hour, telling dirty jokes and crazy stories... my favorite was Pete Schow's recount of his first & last VO2 Max test... it will forever influence my racing!
Warmed by the fire, we had a blast enjoying the night's breeze and the snow that melted at our feet.  There was noone for miles and our laughter filled the air as we sat on fresh cut logs and turned the branches in the coals.

We headed out some time before 9:00 to get a little more riding in before returning home to the puppy.  The full moon was a beautiful gold as it hung on the far side of the river so we had to stop for a picture.

Once back to the lot, we loaded up the car quickly and headed home for a warm shower and puppy kisses.  Jay and I have had a lot of fun impromptu dinners over the years, but this one easily became one of the best ones yet.  Simple, delicious, and full of fun..

JJ, Thank you for filling my heart and my belly after all these years!
Love & frosty kisses,
Kristy Kreme