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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homeward Bound: The Oakley Adventure

On our recent adventure in Louisville for Cyclocross Worlds, I was the unfortunate soul who lost her new sunglasses when I fell down a slick and muddy hill.  We returned the next day to see if we could find them, but when we arrived, we found that the river had begun swallowing up the race course... no glasses to be found.
Bummed out, we returned to our campsite to spend a day doing laundry and preparing for the next week of our adventure down in Chattanooga.  We snuggled in the camper and watched the Super Bowl, then turned in early to prepare for the next day's drive.

To break up the 5 hour drive, we pit-stopped in Nashville to check out the Willie Nelson Museum.  We were surprised and elated when we pulled into the lot to find the Dukes of Hazzard Museum was right next door!  We had to get some fun pics with Rosco since the Dukes favorite sheriff was the inspiration for his name.
 Jay and Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane

Rosco was hanging out with Willie..

We had a great time, but were super excited to get moving towards our final destination... Chattanooga!  We arrived around 5:00, just in time to set up camp in our lil' treehouse style campsite, and get in 20 minutes on the bikes to roll out the legs after all the time in the car.  The 1-mile climb up to the campground at the end of our ride hurt like a biscuit, but it was fun to chill in the evening air and let out a uber relaxed breath as we soaked in the realization that our vacation was truly beginning.

As we relaxed in the camper that evening, I logged onto Ebay to see if I could find a similar pair of my missing Oakleys, rather than purchase them again at full price.  Much to my surprise, I found a new auction posted, starting at $0.99!  I added it to my Watch List, and told Jay to remind me in a couple days to check on them again.  "Where are they shipping from?" he asked.  "Cincinnati, OH".  "That's 2 hours from Louisville.  Ask if they're yours" Jay urged.  

Nah... there was no way they were mine.  And what if me asking will make them that much hotter of a commodity that it will drive up the price?  Nah.

A couple days went by and I kept checking on them, no bids... used... no case.  "Ask if they're yours" Jay pushed harder.  Hmmm... they were posted at 2:00AM the day after I lost them... couldn't hurt to ask, right?  So, I sent the seller a message:  "Random question... is there anyway these were found at CX Worlds in Louisville, KY?".

I was shocked when I received a message back asking me to send a picture of myself and to describe how and where I lost them, and then the seller would let me know if they were mine.  NO WAY!  I sent him a shot of my with the glasses on my head (my FAVORITE one from the race, by J. Corcoran) and described the muddy slide down the hill.  

Not 12 hours later, I checked ebay again to find the auction had been closed.. and there was a message in my inbox!  "You fell right in front of me.  I bent down to pick up your glasses, but when I looked up again, you were gone."

WTF!?  I sent the seller my address and was elated when I got a text from my hubby to let me know they'd arrived!  How the... what the.... oh my!  I can't believe I actually got my sunglasses back.  What are the odds?  I probably should have bought a lottery ticket that day, but I was just so very excited.  

Thank you NorwalkOH!!!!  You're the best!  You made a MN girl extremely happy!  

Reunited and it feels so good, 
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cyclocross Worlds 2013 - "Hangover" Style

Ok, so no one pulled out their own tooth, got a face tattoo, or married a stripper...
But it was sure one hell of a party to kick 2013 off with!

Hwood and I left on a cold Wednesday night to drive down to Louisville for CX Worlds and hopefully, if the traveling cooperated, race in the SSCX Derby Thursday night.  Unfortunately, the roads in mid-Iowa were super icy, so we had to call it a night in Cedar Falls and wait for the conditions to improve.  Come morning, we were back on schedule and headed south for the festivities.

The majority of the drive was a breeze, but we hit white out conditions in Indiana that slowed our pace, but we made it thru safe n' sound, arriving in Louisville in just enough time to drop of the camper at the KOA before heading to our race.  Much to our surprise, when we looked 4 spaces over, none other than the Flecks had set up camp.  I knew we were in for a good time when Jeanne greeted me with a smile and  "We're gonna get arrested!"...

We got to the race just in time to register with 30 minutes to spare before race time.  The race started at 7pm, and the course was awesome... fully decked out CX style with a huge stair case, mud, a fallen tree to discount for, trails lined with tiki torches, and even a short barrier with propane flames that forced you to dismount and jump thru the flames!  Oh yeah, and the fog-filled, lazer lit, Belgo tent!

They lined the ladies up front so I went for the hole shot as best I could.  I was sitting as women's leader and comfortably in the top 15 of 80+ riders out to take on the challenge for "Most Fun".  Hwood  took the lead as we got onto the pavement, heading for a helluva stair case.  Luckily, we both donned headlamps last minute because we found a slick, dark, rocky downhill at the top of the staircase, allowing Hwood to ride away for a bit.  He stayed on the gas and was able to finish in the top 10 (I'm thinking 7th, but there was no results at the end).

 I stayed steady-Eddie for the race, battling my own night-blindness lap after lap, enjoying the awesome features and shouts from  Jeanne, Greg, and Patrick!  Such a great time and what a fiery way to kick off the weekend's festivities!  I pulled off a 3rd place finish and we quickly jumped back in the cars at the end as a snow storm began and returned to the KOA.  We put down some beers and laughed our asses off when the pizza delivery companies refused to deliver in the 1-2" snow storm we had... so Greg grilled us up some burgers and we plotted Day 2:  Masters Worlds.

The day was perfect and we had a blast cruising around and cheering on our friends.  We must have had a little too much fun or major boozy breath, cuz when we hit up the bar after the races, they sent us to the second floor cuz that was 'where the action was at'... when we looked around, we were the only ones there!  WTF?  The beer and the bourbon was delicious, and we enjoyed some great food as slowly we noticed more and more cyclist filling the tables.  Sport-profiling?  Or did we all have a little too much mud on our boots?
We returned to the KOA for more beers and a little sleep before heading to the Big Big Show on Saturday... CX WORLDS, BITCHES!  When we got there, there was no parking for miles, so we paid the Marine Shop owner across the street from the venue $60 for a spot in his lot.  SWEET!  Then, we marched off among the drones of people headed to the races, arriving with enough time to grab a beer and catch the women's start.  

Jay was having a blast getting the Hollywood Cycles sign on the live feeds and we kept getting texts from people back home seeing us on tv! 

 It was a riot.  Luckily, we all had matching Louisville 13 tshirts so we could find each other easily... we were all over the place and enjoying the bevies big time.

 As the races went on, our drunken alter egos came out and the antics began... 

'Boozie the Clown' and 'Becky' assaulting a chicken.

The racing was phenomenal, and the see of screaming people and ringing cowbells from all over the world was amazing to be a part of.  As the Ohio River rose along side the course and the warm temps melted the snow, the ground became muddier by the hour and moving around got sloppy.

As the men's race ended, I attempted to descend a muddy hill to the exit, only to slip and plummet to the bottom.. the only thing I was missing was a sled to make it more fun.  Unfortunately, Hollywood found me at the bottom, leaned up against the levy, covered in mud, and sans my brand new Oakleys..  
Drunk and covered in mud, Hwood helped strip off my outermost layers so they could toss me back in the truck.  Lucky for my ego, I wasn't the only one wasted beyond control so some of the laughs were directed at the rest of the wolf pack too.  We headed back to the KOA to clean up and sleep off a little of the bourbon before hitting up the Foam Party downtown.

As we neared the venue, we were warned by another MN CX'er that the bar was at capacity and the line was looping about the block... just forget it.  Nah.... ala Hollywood style, we walked straight up to the bouncer, waved at the promoters, and got ushered right in.  Heck, they could've queued up some theme music at that moment it was so awesome.
 The place was packed and terribly hard to move through, but we didn't hesitate to raise a lil hell.  Jeanne and I were laughing our asses off as we tried 'photo-bumming' our favorite pros... here with Tim Johnson's ass...
 But we got busted and he returned the laughs...
Got my picture taken with Sven Nys, World Champ,.. but I gotta find it.   Had fun congratulating the pros and then bailed to check out another bar down the street thanks to a recommendation based on an AC/DC cover band... which was a lil disappointing when they didn't play any AC/DC...  Stressie is now fired as music advisor, but we still had a couple beers and laughs before turning in that night.

 Yep, I LOVE my friends!  It was a blast!  Why can't we have this much fun ALL THE TIME?!  I don't know what we could have added to have made it any more fun... especially once we pieced all the foggy memories together the next morning at breakfast, finally completing the full puzzle.  We poured through the cameras and pics on phones and laughed as things came back to us like the last scene in "The Hangover"... it was definitely Epic!  And we didn't even get arrested!  (Lucky for me, peeing on a sidewalk in front of hundreds of people is not a punishable offense - 'nuff said).

Still reeling with laughter over the memories,
Kristy Kreme