Wednesday, April 16, 2014

singlespeedapalooza: a race report (of sorts)

We signed up for this race on a whim, in the thick of Polar Vortex number three (I don't know, I lost count).
Never mind that we spent little to no time on our bikes all. winter. long.
Every now and then, Max would remind us, "You guys aren't practicing for that race you signed up for," or, "Shouldn't you guys be practicing a lot more for that race coming up soon?"
Or if Singlespeedapalooza came up in casual conversation, Max would chime in, "Oh, you mean that race that neither of you are practicing for?"
Thanks, Max.
*also, I like how he's replaced "training" with "practicing"...
Conversations about Singlespeedapalooza covered all the important pre-race minutiae; what snacks are we packing for the road? What are we making for dinner the night before? Where can we score some really good chocolate covered almonds? Should I pack flip-flops and shorts for post-race hangout? 
Never mind what gear are you running? Is my bike in decent shape? I wonder what conditions are like...
As we packed and organized our supplies (most notably, those very important road trip snacks), Bill had the best idea I've heard in perhaps forever (only slight exaggeration).
"Let's just ride it together."

Ultimately, that's exactly what we did...
Somewhere around the three mile mark, I found my man waiting patiently and from there, we took turns leading each other through the twisty, rolling trails of Stewart State Forest.
It's a rare treat to ride together at all these days, let alone on unfamiliar trails far from home for hours at a time.
It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up.
And it really was a perfect day on the bike in the woods with my husband.

Now we can think about getting in shape for some racing...
The days are longer, I am finally off all the meds (all. the. meds), and we are both itching to get back into it.

(calm down; Bill didn't "pace me" or interfere with the women's race; by the time I "caught" him, I was already in the back of the pack and held that same position til the end, not advancing past any women. We didn't race; we rode...and the results clearly reflect that. ) 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

the hay is in the barn ....and my barn has maybe, like, one bale right now

After a winter of lackluster efforts on the bike (like, do two trainer "rides" count? and maybe a few jaunts on the flat path? errrrr...), I'm a little less than excited to wear my lungs on the outside of my body this coming weekend at Singlespeed A Palooza  .
(what does that even mean? I fully expect be puking up various vital organs along the way, maybe I can tuck my lungs into my jersey pockets somewhere along mile thirteen?)
Sadly (okay, laughably), I can literally count on ONE hand how many times I've been on a real bike outdoors since February.
Why I signed up for this race is beyond me (okay, not entirely...I love the trails at Stewart State Forest, I love the opportunity to escape for a night with my husband, I love the idea of a little road trip to NY with our friends and teammates...oh, and there's got to be a first race of the season, so why wait?).
Why not?

So, "why not?" is going to have to suffice and see me through those miles and miles and miles and miles...and then, it's going to have to see me through those further miles and miles and miles when my hips start to ache and I'm cursing myself for being such a baby about riding in the cold this year.
I'm sure for the first forty-five minutes, I'll feel like a goddamn rock star; if I'm smart, I'll temper that a little bit so I'm not in tears if when I cross the finish line.
Why not?
I miss riding, I miss racing.
It might not be pretty, but I know I can do this and hopefully even have a little bit of fun along the way.


Friday, April 4, 2014


So, it's April. Some days have even felt like spring. Here are a few snaps to prove it:

Yesterday I took my little girl to the orchard. We spent an hour waving to the goats, eating cider donuts, and exploring the (falling apart) playground. 
We're spending more time outside lately and she is so happy about that.
Happy to point at every bird, wave at any and every passerby, smile and laugh just because the breeze is blowing...
I mean, I just get such a kick out of her.
And when the two kids are together, playing outside? Even better.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

one of those days

It's probably PMS or the fact that we were up in the middle of the night on baby (toddler?) puke patrol, but I'm watching the season finale of Girls and bawling my eyes out after a brief conversation with my brother.


(the baby/toddler is napping and seems better and I should probably nap, too)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

phone visit

Thursdays are phone visits at Chester County Prison.
This is what happens:

Check in with the Corrections Officer at the front desk with your picture ID, hand over your keys and receive a plastic numbered chip much like a coat check (I end up with 58 pretty often, maybe I should play that number?) , walk through the metal detector (BEEP!- just my belt), grab a Lysol wipe from the container bolted to the wall, walk through another steel door, and find an open phone bank.
Situate yourself at the phone (much like you may expect, there is bulletproof glass in front of you and Formica partitions on either side).
To the left, is an archaic payphone...take your Lysol wipe and dutifully wipe down the phone and every surface in your small area, including the small stainless steel stool that you may sit on.
Have a seat, stare straight ahead and wait for your loved one to come through the door on the other side of the glass.
(I always end up at phone #13...I sit and stare and try to catch a glimpse whenever an inmate comes through the door of what is on the other side. All I can see is more concrete block wall, painted pale yellow)
As you wait, sometimes a visitor next to you makes small talk. Maybe you chat about the endless winter or the weather today...maybe you just fiddle with your plastic chip or license, as you have nothing else on your person.
When your loved one comes through the door, they must check in with the CO and then find their visitor among the banks of phones.
Your loved one has a seat, you pick up the phones and are told to press one for English and dos for Espanol; you hear a message about calls being monitored and your visit commences.
For thirty minutes, you talk with your loved first, you feel weird and awkward talking on the phone face-to-face, maybe you avert your eyes and glance at the sign behind them about calls being recorded except for those to their attorney.
You hear snippets of the conversations on either side of you, as visitors begin their calls with their loved ones.
You watch other inmates file in and try not to stare, but curiosity makes you observe their haircut, tattoos, whether or not they are wearing plastic rosary beads, if they are fit or pale or smiling or stern...
And, because it's prison, you can't help but wonder why they are there. For how long?
Soon, the din around you fades and so does that initial pang of awkwardness.
As you talk to your loved one, you completely forget all the things that other family members trusted you to relay or pass on (crap! I was supposed to tell you so-and-so said blah blah blah)...
Instead, you forget about the grimy old payphone and the glass partition and you fall into a totally natural, comfortable normal conversation.
At the twenty-seven minute mark, you are given a three minute warning...your head spins a little, trying to remember if there is anything really important you're supposed to say.
You continue to chat, but that's halted again with a two minute warning.
Fastidiously, you remember a piece of information that you promised so-and-so you'd share with your loved one (phew!).
With the one minute warning, all the other inmates and theirs visitors come back into focus a little bit...the buzz and drone of fifteen other simultaneous conversations becomes suddenly apparent.
You say goodbye, talk to you soon.
As you hang up your phone, your loved one also gets up from their both walk in the same direction.
You reach for the door, to exit, while your loved one signs off on their visit with the CO on the other side of the glass.
As you step out the door, you throw your hand up for one more hasty wave goodbye, but you don't look back.

You hand your plastic chip to the CO at the visitor desk and retrieve your car keys.
There is nothing else to do, except say, "Thanks, have a nice day," and leave the prison.
The visit is over.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

hey, what's up?

What's up? Not much in the blogging department, that's for sure.
I've sat down to write so many times and freeze up, so I close the window and walk away.
If you've stuck around or have checked in despite the fact that this space hasn't grown or evolved in a long time, I thank you.
Time is moving too fast lately.
Our daughter turns fifteen months this week and our son is nearly as tall as me.
My brother has served almost six months of his sentence (a sentence which was reduced by eighteen months last week)...I have a lot on mind, a lot to say about that and I don't have the energy to delve into that right now.
What else?
I got a job.
A small gig that earns little more than what amounts to pocket money, but I'm getting paid to motivate a room full of people on stationary Spinning bikes. I did this a long time ago and really enjoyed the challenge and the interaction, so it's kind of exciting to me. And, free gym membership...HOLLA.
I'm tired.
I think about my brother and his situation all the time.
My son is having some struggles at school and I'm having a hard time navigating that process (another post for another day, but long story short, it involves forms and data and vague references to ADD and...yeah).
It's been a brutal winter and I just need it to be over.
A long day of warmth and sunshine is all I want.