Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hotter than Hell, 2008

Over the holidays, we meet with the cycling group named “The Cyclones” for some holiday cheer when the topic of Robert's first organized bike ride came up.

The summer of 2008, Robert had only been riding for about six months when I drug him over to Wichita Falls, Texas for the Hotter than hell one hundred. I decided to let him off easy and we opted for the sixty five mile route versus the hundred miler, after all, he had only been riding for six months.

We showed up with the other ten thousand riders wearing our matching Italian jerseys. We were amazed with the fly over jets and the canon ball that started the race.

As a new rider, Robert wasn’t aware of rider etiquette and began swerving in and out of the packs, speeding up fast and then slowing down. This was after our recent European trip and he began yelling “bonjourno” to everyone. He thought people would love his diverse language. This time, there was a little fellow who though Robert cursed him out and wanted to start of fight on the side of the road.

Robert likes to taunt riders and will say to me, “Come on baby, let's go catch em”. Then he will proceed to ride as fast as he can and then bask in the glory of having a girl (that would be me) pass a bunch of guys in a pack.

It is at this time that he starts to learn a valuable lesson in conserving energy. It is difficult to save some in the fuel tank if you speed up, slow down, speed up again.

Mile fifty approaches and we have averaged 21 MPH. YES!

Mile 58, Robert starts complaining about leg cramps. We ride through the air force field. The museum planes and the hundreds of boot campers are enough to distract us for a few more miles. On or about mile 60, Robert has to get off his bike.

Cynthia, a fellow cyclone, asked me what I said and what I did next.

What could I do? What could I say? His legs would not move. I had to just sit on my bike and wait while my overall average slipped away. I did not say a word but I was pissed. My average was slipping away.

In the end, it was not that bad. We finished 65 miles with an 18.9 average. I got my miles and Robert finished his first organized bike ride.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Here at USAA, the largest employer in San Antonio, they train us to be diverse and respect others beliefs. “Happy Holiday’s” is the big phrase around here. That phrase is so generic. It seems like people dance around wishing others a Merry Christmas as to not offend.

This year I have taken a bold step and started saying to my co-workers, “Merry Christmas”. I have received surprised looks but everyone always says, “Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too.”

Last year I purchased a car magnet that reads, “Keep Christ is Christmas” and proudly display my magnet each year. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season.

To you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, with many blessings into the New Year, for you and your families. May you have much health and happiness, for this year, and many more to come. And to my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukah.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Middle America 2010 Itinerary

Any one want to meet me for a visit or a ride during my tour? Here are the dates:

Thurs May 20
Arrive in Albuquerque, NM

Fri May 21
Santa Fe, NM 66 miles to: Historic mining town of Madrid, Santa Fe Plaza

Sat May 22
Santa Fe, NM 0 Second Rest Day, Old Town Santa Fe

Sun May 23
Las Vegas, NM 72 miles to: Highest point on tour: Glorieta Pass at 7570’ above sea level, Pecos Indian Ruins

Mon May 24
Tucumcari, NM 109 miles to: Rt. 66 Blue Swallow Motel, NM Desert

Tues May 25
Dalhart, TX 96 miles to: Texas Feed Lots

Wed May 26
Guymon, OK 72 miles to: Fourth State Line Crossing, Oklahoma Panhandle

Thurs May 27
Liberal, KS 39 miles to: Fifth State Line Crossing, Land of Oz, Yellow Brick Road

Fri May 28
Dodge City, KS 83 miles to: Dalton Gang Hideout, Boot Hill Museum, Can Can Show and Gun Fight

Sat May 29
Great Bend, KS 86 miles to: Santa Fe Trail’s historic Pawnee Rock, Offerle CafĂ© Cinnamon Rolls

Sun May 30
McPherson, KS 63 miles to: Historic Opera House

Mon May 31
Abilene, KS 62 miles to: Eisenhower Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame

Tues June 1
Abilene, KS Rest Day, Old Town Abilene, Victorian Mansions

Wed June 2
Topeka, KS 106 miles to: Half Way Point: 1,698 Miles! Fourth Century, Capitol of Kansas

Thurs June 3
St. Josephs, MO 85 miles to: Sixth State Line Crossing, Pony Express Museum, Lewis and Clark Trail

Fri June 4
Chillicothe, MO 86 miles to: Special SAG Stop at Maysville Historical Society – Home of Long Distance Cycling, Dinner Picnic

Sat June 5
Kirksville, MO 76 miles to: Thousand Hills State Park, 148 “Roller Coaster” hills, Picnic Lunch

Sun June 6
Quincy, IL 74 miles to: Seventh State Line Crossing, Mississippi River, Historic Mansions, Walking Tours

Mon June 7
Springfield, IL 107 miles to: Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home

Tues June 8
Champaign, IL 87 miles to: Home of Speed Skater Bonnie Blair,

Wed June 9
Depart Champaign, IL

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deposit

The check is in the mail and I have sent in my deposit for the second leg of the bike across America trip. Once the holidays are over, I will get serious about riding again. No more parties. No more celebrating. And I will probably slow down on the bud light intake. Well, let’s not go that far.

I am always serious about riding but I hope to actually sit on my bike and not just the stationary bike in the gym. If I can’t bear the cold, I will take to the trainer in my garage. How boring is that?! Yes, I realize that Texas cold is not really cold compared to Colorado cold or Michigan cold, but it is cold for this Texan used to 100 degree weather.

This time I feel more prepared for the multi-day tour. Mentally, I know what to expect. I am all geared up. I know how to pack and what I will need. I surprised myself when I didn’t pack my CHI hair straighter or my big sexy hair spray for twelve days. And make-up? Not necessary. It’s always fun to figure out the true necessities in life and all the extra stuff is either junk or a luxury.

What I can’t seem to get my mind around is the fact that I will be gone for twenty one days. TWENTY-ONE DAYS! How will my world survive without me?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monterrey, Mexico: Trip 2


Robert and I took a trip over the weekend to Monterrey. Trip number two, went better than trip number one. While on trip number one, Monterrey received the name, “F*$king Monterrey” because there were five adults squeezed in a pickup truck with an extended cab. The problem was I rode bitch for the six hours up and the eight hours back. Not exactly the most comfortable ride.

For the most part, I enjoy going to the place Robert loves. Robert spent his summers growing up Mexico. It is where he learned how to kiss. You have to respect that.

This particular weekend we went to visit his family and celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe day.

My big hang- up is the food. The meals consist of mostly meat, tortillas, hot sauce and avocado. The meat is usually always full of grease and sometimes fried. Not that I am the healthiest person in the world, but I need some greens every once in a while.

Since February of this year, I started eating meat again after fourteen years. I knew with my increased biking miles I would need the protein and had to recover my muscles. The powder protein was just not enough. Eating meat is still a little strange for me but I have learned how to listen to my body and give it what it needs.

Sunday morning, after two days of Mexican food, we drive up to grandmother’s house for a breakfast of barbacoa (meat from the head of a goat), menudo (the stomach of a cow), and lengua (cows tounge). Not exactly the menu a used to be vegetarian was expecting. Could I just get some oatmeal and fruit, please?

I politely gathered pears, oranges, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and a banana. I cut them up on a plate and sat at the table making usual broken spinach/English conversation. When I was about three-fourth done with my fruit plate, I found a worm wiggling on the table. I could bet that I felt a worm wiggling in my mouth and forced a swallow.

I am not sure why I was so upset but I felt like I wanted to cry. No food. A new country where I can’t speak the language and a worm in my food. All I could do was walk out and leave the plate where it was. Robert got the worm and I never saw where he put it.

It took me a while to calm down and Robert took me to McDonalds for my traditional egg and cheese biscuit. Upon returning, I have vowed to not eat another tortilla until the New Year and never eat fruit from Mexico again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mom Update

Today, my mom is cancer free. It is worth repeating- Mom is cancer free! If you look at her, it would appear at first glance, that she is not sick. I know she is feeling back to her old self because my parents are back to bickering with each other. Her phone calls every other day have increased to four times a day. Her prosthesis has come in and she is proud to walk around town without the fear of socks falling out of her shirt.

Mom still lives with severe liver disease. This will never go away until she gets a transplant. Her liver issues leave her tired and worn out. It’s her body’s way of healing itself. She is getting better with planning her days out and she gives herself enough rest to get all her shopping in.

At the end of last week, my family received some exciting and unexpected news. My mother is back to “active” on the transplant list. Originally, we were told that she has to be free from cancer for five years before being placed back on the list. We are not sure how she is back on the list but she is and we are going to take it.

It is the hope that my family needs. Mom does not have a number, not like last time. She was number seventeen, then down to number eleven, and then to “inactive”. Now we know that when she gets sick again the doctors will be able to actually do something instead of telling us there is nothing they can do.

The doctors tell us that a liver transplant patient will get really, really sick before they receive their transplant and to expect two to three hospital stays before she is moved up on the transplant list. Mom has already had one hospital visit this year in March. Right now she is watching her diet. As long as she takes care of herself the longer she will stay out of the hospital.

This time last year we thought it would be the last Christmas we would have with Mom. Here we are, one year later and she is back to her old self. This is so awesome and the best Christmas gift my family could receive.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Loyalty

Governor Mark Sanford had an on going affair for some time. He did not tell his wife he was leaving town. If he told his staff, he told them he was out on political business, or at least that is what the staff told his wife when she called looking for him.

According to MSNBC.com, they state, “the events surrounding Sanford's extramarital affair involving an Argentine woman did not rise to a high enough level to warrant his removal from office prior to the end of his second and final term in January 2011.”

Let me get this straight. The former president can stick a cigar in Monica’s ho ha and not have sexual relations with “that women”, yet the former President has to go through an impeachment trial and does not get impeached.

Our society is so used to these public figures having affairs that it is accepted and the norm to permit these behaviors.

Now there is Tiger. He does not have an office seat to defend but he definitely has to rebuild his character and honor.

Where has our society gone? What happened to being loyal and loving to your spouse? It seems the norm for people, not just people in the popular eye, but my friends and those close to me, to have affairs. This subject hits too close to home. My Christmas wish is to honor the love we have for each other especially our loved ones.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Elephant



This past weekend, Del had her annual white elephant gift exchange. As with all gift exchanges you bring a gift and leave with a gift but you never know what you are going to take home. Her parties are always a time of fun but mostly a time to see friends that you don’t see often.

The year after my divorce I connected with three ladies also going through a divorce. All I can say is that when three single ladies hit the town it can get a little crazy. If you have ever been through a divorce you know that the last thing you want to do is go home to an empty house. The next best thing is going out and drinking a lot. It helps to drink the pain away.

That year is when we got closer then before. The roots of our friendship grew deep because we had a commonality that brought us together. Del, Dee Dee, Kristine, and I have the “Big D” behind us. And I don’t mean Dallas. These are the girls that I go to the bathroom.

Six years later, the winds have brought many changes in our lives. Del still has the picture of us on her refrigerator. I keep the picture close as a reminder of the friends that helped me deal with my divorce.

Robert and I walked away with a folding patio umbrella that everyone seemed to want. The most precious gift was visiting with my BFF. My friends forgive me of my shortcomings and love me just the way I am.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gotta Love Her!

Roxy is one of those things where you have to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.



Roxy is a long hair jack Russell. You know, like the Frasier dog. While I was shopping around for a dog, I decided that I wanted an active dog to go with my active personality. I could never imagine a lap dog. I needed a dog that I could run and hike with. Even one that I could ride my bike and could run along side me. A companion always ready for the beach.

Her favorite toy seems to be the ball with feet at the bottom. She chews off the feet and has taken the squeaky maker out of the orange ball. The red ball is hidden on Saturday mornings because at 7AM sharp, she jumps on my chest and starts squeaking the ball in my face.

She tickles my nose and licks my toes. She wakes me to play and greets me at the door. Why doesn't everyone wag their tail like that when they see me?



Did you notice the corner of the quilt? She chews on my sheets and my cycling socks. It is the norm to have muddy prints on the couch and comforter.



When I leave water bottle tops on the end table, she sneaks them in the back yard to be forever lost. I caught her on the sofa arm sniffing at the nativity scene. I hope baby Jesus doesn’t end up nibbled on in the back yard. Even as I type this, I found Baby Jesus on His side and the two lambs upside down. A little muddy and always ready to play, she is my girl, beard and all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eve of Thanksgiving Ride

Wednesday evening Grant and I rode after work and were trying to beat the sunset. A few miles on the bike equals guilt free eating on Thanksgiving. Once the sun starts setting, it starts getting pretty nippy. I thought I over dressed with bike pants and flannel jersey but it seemed perfect for the ride home. My gears need a slight adjustment and were slipping into gear too easily. Hopefully, Ride Away will be opened on Friday for a quick fix.

Calories: 1477 (I think this will only cover half my turkey lunch.)
Miles: 28.71
Average: 11.2
Time: 2 hours 33 minutes
Total Accent: 1489

Fun factoid: My house is 659 feet above sea level.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Happy thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching. This year I started early and have my Christmas boxes down from the attic. It took some time but I am slowly getting the spirit back.

It has been almost six years since my divorce and I remember the days of franticly cleaning the house, baking, cooking, and then cleaning again once everyone left. Nervous about my first turkey, I did the inevitable. Yes, I left the gizzards in. Thankfully, no one noticed and I pulled the bag out before serving.

The first year after my divorce, it was super hard. My house was empty. There was no rush of family, no one to bake for and no one to see my house decorated. Easily enough, I didn’t decorate. Having to bake for dinner at my parent house, I started at eight thirty in the morning with the pies along with a glass a wine. One of my girls, also recently divorced, joined me for a steak lunch. Anything to get our mind off the holiday. We drank another bottle of wine.

A month ago, my first Santa clause made its way up on the buffet. My Santa clause collection is growing exponentially from year to year and its fun finding new places for each one of them. The garland that I used to delicately wrap around the banister will be pulled from its box of a home and place around my living room, bed room and office.

The holiday spirit has come over me. I am engulfed with joy as I celebrate another year with my mom. Everyone should know that you don’t need a tragedy to live your life with the greatest gratitude.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rich


Of the many things that I have gained from my trip is a bunch of wonderful friends. They live all over the world but we still chat via email, facebook, or blogs. This past week, Rich’s wife was in SA for a conference and Rich made it in for the weekend. It was like there was no time that had lapsed from the last time I had seen him in ABQ and we picked right back up.

Hilary, Rich’s wife, continues to get Rich encouraged about the next leg of the trip. I hope he can make it so I have a familiar person to ride with.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MONDAY

Hopefully, your Monday was better than mine. For the past 10 years, my car has been nicely tucked in the garage every night. I can count the days that my car has been outside the garage. The time I moved and the time my kitchen was tiled. Both times, my garage was too crowded with stuff to park my car.

Except Sunday night. I am trying to get out of my mundane habits and not worry about little things and this was an attempt. After unloaded boxes of Christmas things and loading up my bike, I didn’t want to mess with moving Roberts’s car, moving my car, then moving Roberts’s car back. Robert is sick (hopefully not with the flu). I was exhausted. It was late, so I left the cars.

During the night, I remember it raining. The news said we had .10 inches of rain. When leaving for work I noticed my cup holder was filled with an inch of water. There was that moment when I was thinking, “What the heck, how did this water get in here. How did I spill this water and why didn’t I clean it up.”

Yup, I left my sunroof open all night. Normally, I don’t worry about the windows or the sunroof because my car is ALWAYS in the garage.

My seat is still wet, my carpet is soaked, and the tire pressure indicator light is flashing on the dash. At least the engine still turns over. Things like this happen and it makes me revert to the habitual person that I am.

Answers to comments:
Bob: The second leg is only to Champaign. Wish I could go all the way, but 21 days away from my home is pushing it.
Jim: No, Robert will not be joining me on my second leg. He still can not wrap his head around my desire to ride my bike across America much less do the ride himself.
You guys are the best! I love that you’re still out there following me and keeping in touch. Rich from ABQ will be here on Friday. Can not wait to visit and catch up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Payday

Saturday’s ride brought out the usual Sunday ride crowd. Most rode the 55 miles out to New Braunfels but four of us cut the ride short. Robert is doing much better with the rides and seems to be enjoying the rides more. Or it could be that I don’t give him must rest time and keep him moving to prevent any time for complaining.

Oatmeal is my normal fuel before the ride. For low miles, I normally don’t need additional fuel, but I always carry a back up, just in case. Today, it was a Payday candy bar. Maybe I should give them up so I could loose the layer of fat over my belly, but yummy, they are so good. Peanuts, that nutritious, right?

Distance: 28
Calories: 1304
Time: 1:47
Average: 13.7
Total ascent: 1174

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

To my father and to all those who have served in the military, thank you for your service and for all you do for America. Like my Uncle Albert, some have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I am so grateful for the freedom we have and the opportunities that are available- only in America.

My father was eighteen years old when he was in the Army. During this time, he traveled to Korea and had some devastating experiences. As a newlywed, my mom traveled with him to Hawaii and then moved to Pennsylvania.

When I was in high school, Dad re-enlisted with the Air Force and was a weekend warrior. During my junior year, he went off to Desert Storm. He may have been gone for six weeks or six months, it is all a blur. My memory tries to protect me from that time without my father.

It has been some time, but my father is now retired military. At first, he struggled with having too much time on his hands but now he loves his free time and exploring local estate sales. Dad, I love you and proud of the dedication you have displayed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When I was in elementary school, I remember my family driving to Mexico and during the long drive; my sister and I had to go to the bathroom. My parents where not quite sure where a bathroom was much less a safe and clean bathroom. So, we improvised. My mother had us go to the bathroom in a cup while we were in the family van.

There was a time when I would hang out on the boat all day either on the lake skiing or in the middle of the gulf fishing. I learned that if I wanted to go out on the boat, I had to figure out how to pee in the water or the closest sand pile. Let’s just say I was a quick study.

My friends and I go to the bathroom in pairs. You would think that we could separate in the stall and finish our story after we take care of business, but no. We just keep on talking and pee at the same time.

My mom had a hard time believing this. Earlier this year mom was too weak to sit up and down and I had to escort her to the bathroom. Mom was so embarrassed. I tried to comfort her and tell her I do this all the time with my friends and not to worry, it is like a party that continues in the bathroom.

It is my fault, I started it. I am just doing what I know. On bike rides, I go to the bathroom behind a car or on the side of the road. Strategically, I will make sure there are no eyes in sight. It seems like Robert has become so used to seeing me squat on the side of the road that he has begun to go to the bathroom with the door open. This is taking it a little too far but I can not seem to break a habit that I have started.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OMGUAD!


OMGUAD! OMGUAD! OMGUAD! I am so super excited! My manager approved my 21 day vacation. One barrier is down and all is lining up for the next leg of my across America trip. All I am waiting for is the clear from my Mom. Even now, I still get permission from my mom to go on vacation. It is not just permission, but it is to ensure her health is holding.

This is crazy. The trip is 7 months away but I feel like the ride starts tomorrow. To add to my excitement, Tom Dunn sent me this picture of George and me climbing the first big hill out of Indio on the way to Blythe.

Though my miles taper off during the winter months, there are a few organized rides left this year. I have all the cold weather gear to keep me warm but I can not stand to ride in the cold. Below 70 degrees and it is hard for me to get on my bike. I know my friends will try to get me out on a cold weather ride and I hope to actually ride.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

TdG






The Tour de Gruene ride was a chilly 45 degrees this morning. My fingers were numb and too hard to change gears. I should have put my shoe covers on but thought it would warm up, it never did.

Tom Ryan used this format to post his rides. I like it so much I think I am going to use it too.

Total miles: 31.05
Total ascent: 1129
Total calories: 1678
Average speed: 13.5
Total ride time: 2 hours and 18 minutes

As we are gearing up, Robert says to me, “Babe, slow down. You always leave me behind. Don’t race off.” It was then that I promised to stay with him for the whole entire ride. What else can I do? I feel lucky to have a riding partner that wakes up with me at 5:45 AM on a Saturday to ride is really cold weather. At the end of the ride I found myself at 38 MPH to catch him on a down hill.

There were many people who wore a type of Halloween costumes. Against my better judgment, I took a few pictures while I was riding my bike. Some more pictures will be posted on my facebook.

Tonight, we are going to Austin to parade our costumes on 6th street, along with about 100,000 other people. I am going to dress up as a flapper with a frilly red dress. I think I am going to be sore tomorrow from all the shimming I plan on doing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tour de Gruene


This coming weekend is the Tour de Gruene bike ride, in Gruene Texas. Gruene is about a 45 minute drive from San Antonio with bike routes of 15 miles, 30 miles and 50 miles. Robert and I plan to ride the recreational 30 miler. This ride holds a special place in my heart because this is the first organized bike ride I ever did, nine years ago. It is an easy and beautiful ride along River Road.

The past two years this ride has been capped because of its popularity. Oh, did I mention that Lance Armstrong raced last year and won? I suspect he will race again this year because both the TTT and the ITT has been closed. The pictures is from the TdG from last year.

Update...A friend at work said that his friend from work is married to a guy that works at Mellow Johnny’s. And that guy said that Lance is in NY and NOT going to ride in the TdG.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Genetic Testing

It is mind boggling to think how much modern medicine and technology has advanced and how much knowledge is available. Do I really want to know if I carry the gene for cancer? How will it change my life? Will it determine if I have children? Since mom had pancreatic cancer and now breast cancer it seemed only plausible that mom carried the gene for cancer and passed it on to me.

I already had it planned out. If I got breast cancer, I was going to have a double mastectomy then get a new set of knockers. I got the idea from another lady whose daughter was having this exact surgery. Ya know you have to make things work for you in the positive even in a negative situation.

Mom had a follow-up appointment with the cancer specialist. Today, mom is cancer free. Her prognosis is good. The tumor was removed successfully with no other signs of cancer found. She had stage one cancer and will not be receiving chemo or radiation.

Part of determining the best treatment for my mom, the doctors did genetic testing to identify if she has the cancer gene and if so, if this gene was pasted down to my sister and me. If the test is positive, then there is a 50/50 chance that my sister and I will get cancer. This test came back negative. What a relief. Angela and I both signed a huge sigh of relief. A weight has been lifted.

There was good news in that doctor’s office. Mom is in good spirits. Minus a boob, mom is happy to show off her new chest. She asked me if I wanted to see and even before I could answer; her shirt was up to her chin. It is like an episode of Girls Gone Wild, Mama Style.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Booty Shaking

There is something about closing down a bar and going to bed while others are waking up that puts a hop back in my step.

As I excused myself this guy growled at me and said, “Sure baby girl I will move out of your way.” And then, while Robert stepped away, six different guys asked me to dance. Yessssss…. I still got it. This normally doesn’t happen to me but I had it goin’ on Saturday night and loved every minute of it!

Robert and I drove around all weekend running errands and enjoying the weather on the scooter. If you ever watched “The Cosby Show”, Bill Cosby would dance with his wife while sitting down. There was an episode where Bill had a cast on his foot so they danced sitting down, on the couch, cheek to cheek. This is what Robert and I do. We dance with each other when we are in the car or on the scooter. Since we are in our own seats, we don’t to the cheek to cheek thing and just freestyle some salsa moves. Sometimes a good song comes on and a dance breaks out.

Mama always tells me that I am the happiest when I am out dancing. She is right. It is the music and shaking my tail feathers that makes my heart smile.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stress

Mom’s surgery was without any complications; mom is recovering and healing well. A miracle graced our family once before and I believe it will happen again. Yes, I may be reaching but it is what keeps my spirits lifted. I believe only good will come out of all situations.

My curiosity has spiked with Eastern medicine, pressure points, healers, “The Secret”, and Reiki. Oddly enough, my mom is open to any and all of my suggestions. So, off I go to my first Reiki class. It will be in November and I am excited with something new to look forward to.

It has been a few months since I have been regularly riding and I have noticed that I have extra time on my hands. This is the trouble. There is too much time to think about things and it is stressing me out. I have started to over analyze everything. Yes, everything. Everything thing from Mom’s health, not riding, yard work, genetic testing, picking up a new hobby over the winter months, Roxy, and relationships.

Seriously, even in my sleep I can not seem to relax. How crazy is that? When I am asleep, I started doing this weird thing with my tongue and rubbing it against my teeth. The rubbing caused my taste buds to start pealing off. The dentist said that eventually I will figure out that I am hurting myself and stop. This is what happens to me when I stop cycling. I stress myself out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rolling Along

Among all the turmoil that surrounds me, I seem to have a tremendous amount of faith and happiness that has fill me. I have returned back to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and it is so comforting to be surrounded by the word and so many wonderful ladies.

Rich’s work has brought him real close to my neck of the woods and I expect to visit this weekend or sometime soon over the next two months. He sends out “hellos” to the crossroads gang.

Mom’s surgery was rescheduled until Tuesday due to operating room time limitations. For now, things are happening just the way they need to be and rolling along quite smoothly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What if?

Today, the post is short. Too much going on and too much to prepare for.

There are so many questions going through my mind. Why my family? Why Mom? Why does this have to happen again? What if she isn’t strong enough?

Surgery is scheduled for Thursday, 10AM. If you are the praying kind, please pray for my mom. Pray for a successful surgery, quick recovery, strength to continue fighting her liver disease, and comfort for our family.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surgery

While Mom waits for an appointment with the surgeon, I can not even to begin to know what she must be feeling or going through. Her right breast will be cut away from her and she will loose her femininity, a part of her that defines who she is. She is scared, frightened, and worried.

On top of that, she was officially removed from the liver transplant list on Thursday. The doctors gently select their words and say that no one knows the life expectancy of someone in renal failure, but they believe it to be around two to five years. Those last four words are the only words that Mom hears. Her eyes start to water and she stares hard at the floor. Dad holds her shoulder and he rubs circles on her back. That is why I go to the doctor’s appointments, so I can hear all words that Mom does not.

The surgeon looks young. He is upbeat and positive. This is what we need. I feed off his energy and tell mom that we need to expect the best possible outcome. Not all me believes the words but my tears are convincing.

It is flattering to know that she values my opinion and wants me with her. I am grateful that the doctors welcome the three of us in the crowded examining room where normally they only permit one family member. Mom is an exception and they understand the circumstances of her case.

All my friends and family have instilled a faith and peace in me that I do not believe I would have other wise known. I know that this is where I am supposed to be.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hip Shaking


Maybe it was the dancing that caused my knee pain. All that hip shaking involved in salsa dancing must have caused my hip to roll out, making my left leg shorter, adding an imbalance on my legs, thus the knee problem. The bud lights must have numbed the pain so I never noticed the hurt until I was riding my bike.

Mom always tells me that I am my happiest when I am dancing. I started dancing when I was five years old and never thought dancing on the weekends would continue past the high school dance team. These days there are no dance competitions just drinkin’, dancin’, and lots of fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Playing Chase

While sitting on my back porch, eating my dinner, the entertainment was watching Roxy chase birds. Every time I want the birds the win because I do not want another bird carcass and bird feathers in my kitchen. The birds taunt her by flying back and forth on the fence line, sometimes landing low enough for Roxy to attempt a running leap at them.

Playing chase is fun to watch and fun to participate in. Watching Roxy chase birds reminds me of when I play chase on my bike. There is a stretch of Evans Road that once you cross the tracks, everyone rides as hard as they can until we reach Nacogdoches Road. No one ever says, “Race you” or “Tag you’re it”, but it is an exhilarating feeling to start pedaling as fast as you can to chase the person in front of you.

There is a simple innocence in the chase that brings back memories of my childhood. Running around the neighborhood and looking for fireflies are some of my fondest memories. To know now that fireflies are dwindling in numbers makes me feel bad for smearing the glow in the dark gel over my cloths.

We chase successfully career. We chase love. We chase health and happiness. Isn’t that what life is about, the chase.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not So Much

Harder than expected, the sadness wore on me. I want to be strong for Mom, but this week, not so much. It is like insanity hit me and I could not figure out why. Sleep deprived, exhausted, and pensive, I realized what was wrong.

One day at the doctor’s office, I asked my mom what she wanted to do. She could not think past the office and waiting for a call back from the doctor. What I meant was did she have a bucket list. Like I have my list and she is supportive in my efforts, I want to help her complete her list. She did not get it and I do not know how to bring it up again. It is a sensitive subject and I do not know how to approach it.

Luckily, it was easier than I thought. Her doctor told her to just live her life. Travel and do things that she normally does and go places she wants to go. We may even do another cruise sometime soon. I am more relieved to have gotten that conversation out of the way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tease

As my third week of physical therapy approaches, my bike sits on the trainer teasing me. It is torture. It screams at me when I pass, “Come take me out for a ride, push my pedals and get me out of this dark room!”

It has been two straight weeks of not riding. The easy push of a stationary bike is dull compared to the hard push of a commute. The screams from my bike tempt me. I avoid the living room to avoid the whispers and screams. Yes, I know I need to give my knee ample time to heal so I stay away.

To not dwell on it, I have started going to the public library. Checking out five books at a time, somehow reading three books at once, and listening to a book CD in my car, it keeps my mind busy. These days any distraction is a welcomed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Mama Wants, Mama Gets!


One of the fun things about my mom’s illness is that my father is lavishing her with everything and anything she wants. We all know that we have limited time with my Mom and it has been awesome to live in the moment and live for the day.

The newest gift is Lucy, a Yorkshire terrier. Mom has been wanting this breed for as long as I can remember. She is a light feather weight, weighing in at almost two pounds and expected to grow up to four pounds. In a playful way, Roxy pounces on her so I have to watch them closely so that Lucy does not end up smooched.

Thank you for the overflow of kind gestures. More than anything, I need normalcy. Keep doing the things you did before and keep me busy. On the days that I look tired, it is because I probably am. If my eyes glaze over when you are talking to me, just keep talking, I will snap out of it. Please do not whisper the word “cancer” or be afraid to say the wrong thing, just be normal.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Selfishness

That delicate curved pink ribbon has turn into a symbol of destruction that has begun to deteriorate my mother’s body. You can do one of two things: let the power of the caner over take you or take control of the cancer and have power over it. I have chosen the later.

The initial shock of the diagnosis has worn off but the sadness lingers from time to time. There was a time when I thought people should be in pain just because I was in pain. Now, I know that people’s lives continue even when my world seems to have collapsed. I try to remain positive and hopeful but worry creeps in. Under the circumstances, I do not want to be down and want to continue as normal a life as possible.

I am being selfish I know, but I want my mom to fight as much as she can so she can be around when I have my children. There is something about my mother’s love that gives me comfort. Even in my thirties, Mom still comes to see me when I am sick and brings me soup. We are all accepting that mom does not have much fight left in her and fear the worst. If any, treatment will be determined tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Knee Pain

At a time when riding would heal me the most, I have to cut my training miles back (although I am not actually training). Constant knee pain for the past two to three months with consistent Advil and icing drove me to the doctor. It turns out that the tendon that connects my hamstring and knee is inflamed from over use. Really? Have could that be? Eight to hundred mile weeks with multiple adjustments to my seat and seat height have finally caused my body to halt.

This week has been dragging as I realize how much time I actually spend riding or preparing to ride. All I have is time. The minutes feel like hours, as we wait for word from the doctors. And, the waiting continues. We do not expect any news for another week.

Physical therapy starts on Monday, for one month, three times a week. They will poke and massage my knee. I expect that it will only cause further irritation. Luckily, I can still walk, run, and dance with no pain. My house is getting extra attention. The pile of books to be read is steadily decreasing. Not patiently waiting, I am trying to patiently wait.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Day At The Beach

The day started like any other. At the sound of the alarm, Roxy does a quick stretch then shakes her ears. She immediately beginnings to lick my face and wag her tail. It amazes me that she gets so excited to see me in the mornings even when she sleeps at my side all night.

For a Sunday morning, it is early. I like to get to the beach before the crowds get there. Corpus Christi is a two and a half hour drive. If I were riding my bike, it would be one-hundred and fifty mile route. Minus the wind, a perfect MS-150 route.

There is nothing like a day at the beach that cleanses the spirit. Something about the rhythmic sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun that is so calming. I have mastered the perfect setup. An umbrella stand that doubles as a tie down for Roxy, an umbrella, two chairs, an ice chest, and a towel.

It is against the rules to let a dog run without a leash but Roxy barks up a storm at the sea gulls. Only when there are not many people around, I let her run loose. An on looker says, “Wow, she runs like a jaguar.” It is like her ears turn to wings and she flys off the sand as her legs reach to a full spread. The most fun of the day was watching her chase birds. My fear was that she would actually catch one and bring it to me.

Sand ends up in places you really do not want sand. Neither Roxy nor I mind. Roxy even rolls her body in the sand and every strand of her coat must have sand on it. It is rare that she is too tired to hold her head up. This evening is one of those nights where she does not drop her ball in front of me or pace the hall until I grab her leash. She has exhausted herself. When we arrive home, she goes straight to sleep.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Two More Days

She did it purposefully. After the doctors did not call, Mom did not call the doctors for a follow-up. It is her way of stalling for the truth. I do not blame her. I probably would have done the same. It is two more days of believing she is cancer free and a relief not sitting by the phone waiting for “the call”.

It has been nineteen years since she had pancreatic cancer. She is a walking miracle to have survived. Now, on the national liver transplant list and waiting another prognosis, she is quite the fighter. Trying to be positive is difficult. Yesterday morning, over the phone, I heard tears in her voice but she never lead on that she was crying. All we can do is live and be in the moment. That is how we are getting by.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hope

There is a peace and a calmness that covers her face. As my world seems to stop, all she says is, “I hope it is not cancer”. She gives no reaction. She sheds no tears. It occurs to me that maybe the repeated bad news about her health has made her numb. The doctor’s initial response is that it does not look good. The tumor is tagged in case surgery is needed. We have three days of hope. The doctors are expected to call on Thursday but if not, we call them on Friday.

Words turn to echoes and the noise around me is faint in the background. I am aware of the traffic and the sounds of the wind from the open sun roof but it is hard to focus on anything more than the wheels turning in front of me. There are so many questions and thoughts racing in my head. I do not want to say them out loud or even dare to speak about them for fear that they turn to reality.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Wish

Today, Mom is having a biopsy to test for cancer. It is scary to think of the possible ramification of this. It is still way too early to speculate. The reality is that if it is positive, she will be removed from the transplant list.

Earlier this year, maybe March sometime, my mom vagaled on a routine visit to her doctors office. To us non- medial people, this means her blood pressure dropped, she turned pail and then fainted. When my father called me, all he said was, “Something happened to your mom. You need to get over here right now.”

My work is close to her doctor’s office. The normal 5 minute drive seemed to take hours. All I could think was, what if last night, in front of my sisters house, was the last time was going to say, “I love you” to my mom. Do I really have peace with my mom? It was on that drive when I realized I had to tell my mom all the things in my heart that I dearly wanted to say to her.

When I arrived, my mom was fine overall, dehydrated, tired and shaken up. She said she felt like she had taking her last breath. Since she lost her color, my father thought that life was leaving her. That routine office visit turned into an eye opening event for my familty. Life can be taken away so quickly. You never know the day or the time.

My mom sat me down and in great detail shared every secret she held close to her heart. It was also at that time I told her what a wonderful mom she is, how I would not have changed anything she did in rearing me and my sister. I love the fighter in her, how positive she is, and how she made me believe that I could accomplish anything I set my mind out to do. My wish to each of you is that you get a moment like this.

This was also the day that my mom told me to go on my bike trip. No matter her health, as long as she was not having the actual transplant, I was free to ride my bike across America. She understood the goal I set for myself. She knows that we all face challenges but we have to believe in ourselves and remain positive.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Car Or Bike


The moon is our light during the morning darkness. What a view for the ride into work. Being on my bike, I see so many things that I normally would overlook. Like an hour old fawn. She was so young she still had fluid on her and she was being attacked by ants.

The luxury of a car is a pleasure. Air conditioning, leather seats, and music make it quick and easy to run errands around town. There are days that I miss my rag top but I do not complain about the larger trunk space my cross over vehicle provides.

Each week, there is a game I play. It is to see how long I can get the gas in my car to last. The longest it has lasted is two weeks. The benefits of commuting to work are many. I get to see God’s country, I save the environment, I get to clear my mind of stress, and I get my work out in. I choose my bike over a car any day and would not have it any other way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reality TV

For the past 23 days, I have managed to watch hours of cycling. Some days I even watched the replays up to three times. Now that the Tour de France is over, is there really anything good on television any more?

Jillian chose Ed in the Bachelorette. Daisy’s rock star is London. Risky is the winner of $100,000 on Charm School. Did you know that Brooke found a dog on the beach? It was big enough news that an entire episode of Brooke Knows Best was dedicated to the topic. Why have I become addicted?

It turns out that since I have started commuting to work; my evenings have turned into time to sit on the couch for ice and leg recovery. The easy thing has been to turn on the television. I have become sucked into reality television. Even as I sit there, I think this is ridiculous. Why do these people put their entire lives for millions of views? And why do I even care?

TIVO has made it tremendous easy to catch up on missed episodes and speeded up the time spent in front of the TV. Over the summer months, my usual shows are on break. I have convinced myself that CSI has to be more intellectual that strippers, rose ceremonies, and cat fights.

For the next week, I don’t want to turn on the TV. There has to be better things to do with my time. Roxy needs walks. I have a pile of books to read. There are family, friends and neighbors to visit. I doubt that I can make it through the weekend, but it’s worth a try.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kris


July 25th we celebrated my youngest nieces 6th birthday. It was a perfect location, at a pool. The kids were able to play in the pool and Aunt Barbie was able to work on getting rid of her biker short tan.

Kristiana Isabella Gallegos is my god daughter, and as with each of my nieces and nephews I hold a special bond with each of them. Kris is like my shadow. Most of the time when we eat, she is either in my same chair or in the chair next to me, as close as she can get the chair. She would be glued to me if she could. Monday, she sat on my foot and wrapped her body around my leg so she could walk when I walked.

It’s the innocence and playfulness of children that always brings me a smile. Happy birthday Kris!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friends

This week has been an overwhelming week of messages from Crossroad friends. It’s been a time of celebration, happiness, and for my friend Rich, some true sadness.

On my doorstep, I had a package. Come on now. Who does not like gifts? There was no return name just a packaging center address. After carefully cutting the package, it was hard to not recognize the yellow color. Willie had thoughtfully sent me a rain coat with the Crossroad logo, date, and places from the trip. I remember mentioning how much I loved his jacket but never expecting him to have one made just for me.

My Crossroads journey was for twelve days. Others road on for fifty days or joined for different tours and various durations. One rider was lost along the way. We remembered Charlie with stories and pictures. He took my picture because he wanted to send home a picture of the good looking lady on the trip. I can only smile as I remember him.

With deep sadness, my heart cries for Rich and his family for the loss of his father. While on the trip, he and I often spoke about our parents illnesses. I know the struggles and hurt. I can never say enough to give him comfort.

Crossroads was an adventure I wanted and never expected to meet such wonderful longtime friends along the way. Daily challenges and conversations, with a range of emotions, we will always remain in connected.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dam ‘09

There is a local triathlon in Alamo Heights that I was considering named Heights Dam ‘09. It’s an 800 meter swim, 2.5 mile run, and a 16 mile bike ride. Today, I found out that it is cancelled. Really, I am happy that it is cancelled. My body was not happy with the additional running and swimming miles added to my commutes and yoga sessions.

Earlier this week, I over heated on the way home. You would think that I have acclimated by now, but the 106 degree heat index had me feeling like I was going to end up falling over on the side of the bike. My ridding buddy, Bill, even made fun of me saying that I was so slow, my legs would not even move on the down hill.

While watching the tour, I noticed that in the lunch bags, there was a bag of ice in addition to the other nutrients. A rider placed a bag of ice under his jersey, on his neck. I tried it and it really helped with keeping me cool. Although it melted five miles into the ride, I made it home feeling like I had a great ride.

I am still on a high and find myself happy again. I have the day confirmed for the next leg of the cross America trip and I am already gathering a reunion ride. May 20, 2010 I will start in ABQ and ride to Champaign, Illinois. Its ten months away, yet it feels like I have something to look forward to.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rainbows

While driving home from the gym, the rainbow in the sky was hard to miss. It seemed like an obvious reminder that God gives us beautiful things after such darkness. Something so simple, but it is what I needed to see after a hard and emotional week in court.

I can not tell you how many days since it has last rained in San Antonio, but it has been so long that we are in Stage 2 water restrictions and we have hit over 100 degree temperatures for the past 7 days. Yesterday, we broke the previous record of 100 degrees and we hit 104 degrees.

By the time I ate and digested my dinner, I had the crazy notion to start running. It was as the same time the down pour started. After half a mile, I headed home only to notice that Roxy wanted to keep on running. We were both soaked, having fun, and with the energy to keep moving. We finished with over a mile under us. Not bad for someone who has taken two years off from running.

Hidden inside of me, I found a burst of energy that lead me to swim three fourths of a mile. Depending on how I feel tomorrow and after my twenty mile commute to work, I may even consider do that triathlon I keep thinking about.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Le Tour

The Tour de France started yesterday. Roxy and I have been busy watching the hours of daily racing. Thank God for Tivo! The four to six hours of television is easily cut in half with a DVR. I enjoy watching the pros ride, their gears, the bike setup, and learning for the commentators. Not to mention the view. These riders get to see the best of so many different places.

This past week has held heavy on me. Though I am proud of the responsibility of my civil duty the burden has weighed me down. Monday should be the final day of court and Tuesday I hope to back to work and back to commuting. Out of respect to the court and all those involved in the trial, I have opted to not blog about the details of the case. Once the case is closed, I will be glad to answer any questions.

It has been a lazy Fourth of July weekend. There has been nothing too rowdy going on and no bikes miles that I have put in. The first in a few months, we did not even go dancing for First Friday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Challenges

Upon returning from my twelve day adventure, I have found my life to be somewhat mundane and lacking challenge. To add some spice to my world, I have decided to try new things and force myself to break old habits.

For those who do not know me well, I am organized, timely, neat, and tidy. Both at home and at my desk at work, every thing is in order and has a place. One day I woke up and decided not to make my bed. It was a good feeling. The sheets were messy and the pillows not fluffed but ya know, I was going to lie in the bed that night and the sheets were going to mess up again. A month later, I have progress to only making the bed sometimes and once in while just straitening the sheets only to make sure Roxy did not leave me any bugs.

Something else I have tried to do is to not wear a watch. My watch is a kinetic watch and stops when I am not wearing it. Since I commute to work, I do not wear my watch as often and when I do wear the watch it usually has the wrong day and time on it. I have found that the time on my computer, cell phone, or blackberry will tell me what I need to know.

When being called to jury duty, I had mixed feelings. My first thought was that I would break my routine and give me a new challenge to hurdle along with break up the boring going on in my life. The day started an hour later than usual. Because I did not want to deal with traffic and parking, my parents drove me downtown. I felt like a kid going to school for the first day. For lunch, I sat by myself and read a magazine. With an hour to spare, I read in front of the cathedral while listening to a jazz band. It was nice to break up my day.

Staying quite as the lawyers asked their questions, I was surprised but not shocked when my name was called to be on the panel. I will be in court all week. (That is fun to say.) This week I will not commute and may not get all my bike miles in. Today, I am okay with that. Rain is in the forecast. Hopefully, the days will not be so hot. I feel so important and I am breaking my habits. Change has started in my life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Riding In The Rain

There is something about commuting to work that makes me excited about going to work. Today I rode on to campus, grinning from ear to ear thinking, “This is why I love coming to work”. Sure, I wake up at 5AM and go to bed early to aid in my recovery, but the 20 miles two to three times a week add up. I have said this before, but its worth repeating. I really love riding my bike.

The ride home brought double pleasure. I was able to play in the rain AND ride my bike. What could be better? The rain was alligator drops not just a few sprinkles. Two days of riding in the rain, on my trip, brought me confidence so when Brian asked if I wanted to pull over to let the rain pass, I said, “Heck no! What are you crazy? Let’s keep going.” It was only about 3 miles of rain but so welcomed. The rain and cloud cover gave us some relief from the usual 100 degree temperatures. Once we hit 1604 we had a nice tail wind that helped carry us over the small hills and safely home.

For some reason, I failed to tighten my bike rack and it was shaking a little too much for the drive home. I stopped into my parent’s house, to borrow my father’s socket, only to be greeted with hugs and kisses from my nieces. They never care how stinky or sweaty I am.

My mother informed me that her MLD rating has improved from a 13% to a 17%. This means that her health is improving and it pushes her further down the transplant list. This is good news. Sort of. We still have to wait, unfortunately, until she gets sicker. I wish we did not have this cloud handing around. We all just want her back to full health and soon. Recently I read that there is something like 16,000 people on the liver transplant list. There is still a long way to go.

The friends that I rode with from El Segundo to Albuquerque are now in Massachusetts. They are 18 miles from Boston. WOW! Way to go! Tomorrow, they will do the final miles to the beach and will have completed 3,400 miles across America! I am so proud of their accomplishment and happy to know each of those people that I have ridden with.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Questions

After eight year of cycling I still feel as if I have a lot to learn. Is cycling shorts and a jersey considered an outfit? Do I sit more toward the front of my saddle or the back? Will these darn farmer tan lines ever go away?

She said, “What a cute outfit” as I was walking out of the locker room, “You look super cute in your cycling cloths.” When did cycling cloths become outfits? How cool can padded shorts and spandex really be? It wasn’t until my recent long distance trip that I became more comfortable in my cycling cloths. There is something about spending up to 8 hours plus for 12 days straight, in cycling cloths that make them start becoming part of your body. Using the word “outfit” implies that I look stylish or cool. Far from the truth, it is impossible to mix fashion and cycling cloths. It is rude to not take a compliment so I said, “Thanks” as I hobbled out with my bike cleats on.

A few weeks before I left for my trip and when I returned, I have been struggling with knee pain. Both on the right and left knee, on the inside and outside of the knee. It appears like I am moving around quite a bit on the saddle when I ride, which makes it difficult to setup the correct height of my seat. Not sure why, but I had NO pain on the 852 miles I just rode. Maybe my body hurt all over and the pain made me numb so that I did not feel any knee pain? Whatever the case, my other option will be to change the saddle. I am not looking forward to getting used to a new seat, but its all part of the climb.

It is an exaggeration yes, but the tan lines seem to be everywhere! On my arms, on my legs and on my hands. To rid the glove lines, I stopped wearing cycling gloves. No issues- yet. Covering my arms with sun screen help slightly but the fight seems to be endless. The biker short line, well, I have given up on erasing them.

No matter the personal struggles, no matter the body pains, and no matter how simple these issues may seem, I find that being on my bike, on the open road; I am in my happy place. Cloths may be cool or un-cool, tan lines or not, you will always find me smiling when I am on my bike.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday

It’s Saturday morning, six thirty in the morning. The numbness of my right arm wakes me. When I turn over, I realize Roxy had fallen asleep on my arm. I have thirty more minutes to sleep and to move as little as possible for I know that if I move around Roxy will immediately start licking me face. The alarm clock is set to go off at seven. It’s rare that I have to work on Saturday mornings but it happens occasionally. Normally, I would be awake already preparing for a morning bike ride but it’s off to work.

The hustle and bustle of work is forcing itself upon me. I keep trying to push it off by remember the relaxing feel of those two weeks of vacation. But it’s those memories that make me dread the daily routine. My body is tired from the bike miles from the week, work, chores, and family. It is sleep that I need. I get grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. Roxy has been kind to me and even gave me uninterrupted nap time when I returned home.

Like any other June month, it’s always a busy time for my family. Last weekend was high school graduation for my nephew Michael. The 1st is my parent’s anniversary, the 8th is my father’s birthday, the 21st is father’s day, and the 22nd is my sister’s birthday. Closely following, July 1st is my mothers birthday and July 5th is Michael’s birthday. I am lucky to have my family and to be so close to them.

My youngest niece, Kristiana, started cheerleading and gymnastics this past week. Wednesday afternoon my sister called to ask if I wanted to go watch her first gymnastics practice. Seriously, how could I pass up the opportunity? Kris is five years old with a small build and seemed to pickup the techniques easily. It will be fun to watch her progression.

My parents have taken on the responsibility of watching the girls, Alexis and Kris, for the summer. I believe this is helping my mom. She gets up and has things to do. It keeps her busy. For now, her health is good. Alexis of thirteen, plays well with the neighborhood kids and Kris keeps busy by bossing my father and grandfather around.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dancing Shoes

It’s finally Friday arrived and I turned my biking cleats in for my dancing shoes. Dancing always means drinking. Drinking means staying up too late to go bike riding the next day. It’s just as well and so worth the fun.

First Friday was unusually crowded with the early round of the Pub Runners then the later crowd of dancers. Last night, it was too crowded to dance. But we still did, nothing an elbow or heal can’t fix to get people to give you more dancing room. The band, Tropicante, let me have the little piece of the corner stage to dance on. It even gave me a closer view to enjoy watching them play their instruments.

After the second set, we were walking out when one of the band members asked us if we wanted to see his car. Under the hood that is. His supped up mustang with over 500 horse powers was a nice site. Before our good byes, he gave us each a CD from previous night’s performances. How cool is that? Now I can enjoy salsa music all week long in my car or at my desk at work. Love it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spining

The phrases, “spinning” or “out riding” are some of the common phrases I use. While at spin class, a co-worker cropped this picture for me. Barbie is always out “spinning” or at least it’s Brisson’s interpretation. The picture makes me laugh and thought it is worth posting.

At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t quite sure if I would continue riding once I returned from my trip. After 852 miles plus the 1200 training miles for the year, I thought I would get burned out. Upon returning, it is pretty clear to me that I want to keep riding and I don’t want to loose the fitness level that I have reached. This weekend I put in 90 miles and starting commuting to work on Tuesday.

Commuting to work takes a little bit of coordination, but to me, it is worth the weekly miles. From my house, I drive 7 miles to my parent’s house or to Bill’s house which is in my parent’s neighborhood. The ride in is at 6AM with a distance of 9 miles. We get to work with enough time to shower, clean up, and be at our desks at 7AM. The ride home is 11 miles. We have to change the route home because of traffic.

Usually, I always ride with at least one other person or more for the simple fact that there is safety in numbers. There is a stretch of Huebner Road that gets busy and makes it difficult to cross 3 lanes of traffic to turn left. Today, I was bummed that it rained over night so my fellow commuters cancelled the ride. It’s also forecasted to rain this afternoon. Hopefully things will clear up for tomorrow.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On the road again…


My bike arrived at the bike shop on Thursday. Turns out I wore the bracket down with all the mileage and it needed replacing, not just from the trip but the training and commuting miles did its toll. A good once over and clean-up and I was back on the rode.

I went for a 40 mile ride Saturday morning on my familiar streets. I started to yell, “GRAVEL” but then remembered that I was alone. There was no need. Took a bite of my favorite energy food, Cliff Bar Banana Nut flavor, chewed twice then spit it out. Turns out after two weeks of eating Cliff Bars, I don’t like then any more. Noticed that the back roads I ride on are now becoming more popular with cars and more houses are being built. We bikers are being pushed away, off the roads.

Hit 471 and became aware of the lack of shoulder. Where did the shoulder go? How come it took me this long to notice the middle lane chocked the shoulder down to nothing? Didn’t feel comfortable alone on a road with no shoulder, turned around, and lost 4 miles.

Since I didn’t have any food on me, I stopped in a corner store. The couple asked me if I needed ice. How nice is that? They even motioned to a table in the back of the store where I could eat. “No thanks, I like the air out side” I replied. By that time, the Texas heat had not quite kicked in but this Texas girl knows that the smart thing to do is eat quickly and get back in the saddle.

Surprisingly, my bottom was like a glove back in the saddle and my legs moved smooth. Fast in some places, slower in others, and yes still fighting the hills. I am working up the courage to start my commutes to work. It’s the ride home on Huebner Road that scares me. Yikes, crossing 3 lanes of 5 o’clock traffic is not fun. Maybe some conversations and a new route will get me back in gear.

Mom update: Today, Mom is well and even out visiting estate sales. Most days she naps a lot. Still waiting for the call. God is good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keep Smiling

As I walk on campus, I look around and feel a great sense of accomplishment. I have a sheepish smile on my face thinking that I know something that you don’t know. Some may never know this feeling. It seems like normal activities bore me. Nothing is as challenging any more. I do know that I can push myself to a new limit that I have never known before. I only hope that others can experience this same kind of pleasure.

The first day of my trip, I remember asking Nancy, “What would possible posses someone to ride across America more than once”? Her response was, “You will find out. Once you get the bug you won’t want to stop.” It’s true. She is right. I don’t want to stop.

During spin class my legs just pedaled. Not knowing a speed or grade, I just keep moving my legs. I looked around and noticed that I may have been the only one getting a good work out. My legs now know what it is like to climb mountains. You just keep pedaling. Breath. Pedal. Get your rhythm. Repeat.

The muscle pump class brought me back to a familiar squat exercise that I would practice while using the bathroom on the side of the road. Bend your knees and stick your bottom out. On the road, I would add, watch your shoes and make sure your shoes don’t get wet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back to Work

All I think about is being back on my bike and being back on the road. The first two days back home were really hard to adjust to. Now at work, the rush of phones ringing was about to push me over the edge. I think I forgot how to answer the phone.

I still haven’t started to wear any makeup. It’s nice going back to the basics. Over the weekend, I slept a lot and spent some time at the beach. The beach always gives me some quite time and it was a nice way to ease the transition.

There was a scare of mom becoming sick and another hospital visit. More of the same, fever and nausea. The doctors changed her meds and hopefully it’s enough to keep her out of the hospital. As much as I want to be riding, it’s good to be home to spend some time with Mom.

Some folks want to do an organized bike ride this Saturday. A 50 miler with beer at the end. NICE! I just need to make sure my bike will be ready to roll by then. Kind of hoping for more miles, but 50 will do.

Before I left I weighed 127 pound. Today, on the official scale here at work, I weigh 128 pounds. Those day of eating 3 Payday candy bars will be a diet of the past, but it was good while it lasted.

As the excitement of riding across America as come to an end my blogs are becoming less frequent. As my life fills with topics, I will post them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sad day

Its raining here in SA. Maybe it is God crying and telling me to go back to the road. No one could prepare me for the emptiness that I would feel when getting back home. Being on my bike was so freeing. There were no decisions to be made just riding my bike all day long. Even the simplest choices of what to eat have become difficult.

My world has become slow. I found myself driving in the slow lane on the high way. Do I still remember how to drive a car? Before the ride I was always busy. Doing what, I do not know.

Crossroads made everything so easy. You either walk or ride your bike were you want to go. You go to one place to eat, you get to your room and your things are there. I did appreciate being able to use my washer and dryer at any time I choose to versus just using the wash and laying my cloths out to dry in my hotel room.

Roxy will not leave my side. Its nice to have my partner back, my shadow. A short trip to the doggie park and a bath and we are back in business. Can't wait until I get my bike back and get back on the road.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Back At Home

Made it back home to the luxury of an indoor bathroom. The trip as taken me to the simplicities of the basics in life. I started the trip with 21 pounds of luggage and went home with 24 pounds. Not too bad.

The last ride was a hard one for me, the entire day I was fighting back tears. Here, Harry was trying to get a laugh and had to be pushed into the SAG.

Gang, I hope you had a GREAT ride today. Take my flag to Boston. Know that I will be following you on your blogs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 11

If you have noticed, I have not mentioned flat tires. That is because I have NOT had one! 852 miles, do you believe it? It really worked out to replace my tires before the trip. As a trick, some of the riders (those in this pic) decided to air out my front tire while I was checking in. No worries, the tires have to be deflated for the trip home.

It has been hard day, my last riding day. The day started with rain and we had about an hour of rain and wet roads. I was grumpy and sad. We were still riding I40 with horrible road conditions. We had to get SAG 16 miles due to construction. I am sure I will make up the miles when I get home.

All is well, happy, and in one piece. I will post more later or when I get home with picutes too. Rubber on the road.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 10

Today, we crossed the continental divide and rode mostly on route 66. It was a remarkable day. As the tour is coming to an end, I find myself riding slower so that I can take all the miles and memories in. Have I really ridden this far? I have pushed my body to a new limit where I can't imagine looking back. Yes, I will continue to ride my bike when I return home.

I noticed that I like to ride in the front of the group. Sometimes I get pushed up but I actually prefer it. (Why am I posting this for others to later use against me?) But I can see better, set the pace, and maneuver around the debris on the road. It was a good ride its always a good ride when your on the road. Caught some rain the last 5 miles in. Stopped for Dairy Queen for lunch. Dreading my last tour ride tomorrow.
As much as I love to ride, I miss being a girl. So much so that I already have a hair appointment for Saturday. If you were to notice my feet, my toes are still polished.

My bike will get mailed back to me and don't expect to get back out on the road until the shop ensures all working parts, guessing that will be 5-10 days out. Until we meet back on the road in SA...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 9


For the most part, I felt strong today. My legs were heavy and they wouldn't get me going. Rode most of the way at my own pace but then the last 20 miles rode in with a group. I call it the "Hottie" group. The leader is always Harry, but with his thick British accent it sounds like he is saying Hottie when he introduces himself.

Still riding on the highway. Its like playing dodge ball on the bike to avoid all the debris. It keeps me alert. Who knew that car tires would be so destructive to a bike tire? They have wires that really stick out and cause lots of holes. Crossed into New Mexico. Yea, another state down. Ridin' on!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 8

Today was a century ride by most standards. 96 miles and I felt strong. It has taken a week to get used to what my body needs. My secret is: eat when I don't want to eat and gulp not sip.

The first 45 miles went by in 2:15. The last miles were with headwinds. My guess is the gusts hit 30-35 MPH winds. The trip took about 6 hours. Rode with Mark, Chris and Willie. Lost my riding partner Darryl. Happy Monday to you as you return back to work.

Yesterday was a rest day. It was nice to lay around, eat, watch TV, nap and read a book. I don't even do that back at home. I had some catching up to do with those reality shows on VH1.

While eating with two other riders it hit me. We are all here to find an answer, a resolve, or even healing. Mile by mile we get what we need. With each pedal stroke we clear our minds and each of us get closer to whatever it is we search for. The miles roll by and I look into my sole. For me, it was "cool" to say, " I want to ride my bike across America". It never occurred to me the pressure I would endure or the pain I would put my body through.

Looks like I only have three days left. 626 miles down with 226 miles left and one more state line to cross. I don't want to leave. This group is amazing. We are all strong or we wouldn't be here. You can't train for this, you train while you are here. I don' want to loose the strenght that I have gained. I want to keep riding.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 7

Today has been a week of riding. Yes, I rode my bike up the rode in this picture. It was a hard day of climbing, again. My body didn't want to move this AM, but still kept riding. Up the hills in Sedona only 49 miles, but its all up hill. Tomorrow is a rest day. All is well and becoming more fit. Got a massage and feeling better, even wore my earrings to dinner. Gained two pounds.

Check out my facebook account for more pictures.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 6

Slept in until 7AM. Rode 43 miles today most up a mountain up to 7000 feet elevation. 20 miles down hill. Ate a burger on my way into town and my tummy doesn't like it. Don't feel good. Have route rap in 15 minutes then dinner. Really have to recover tonight. Tomorrow is another day of climbing. I am really tired of climbing. Looking forward to Sunday, our off day. I may even have a beer on Saturday night. My body is still vibrating from the road. All I hear is the tick of tire wheels in my head.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Love My Bike and I Love to Ride

My bike is holding strong and steady! New tires did me right. Back home, with my new cassette, I had too many gears. Here, I am using them ALL and even wishing I had more gears! Thanks Ride Away!

Food And Recovery

It's all in a days worth of energy. This is what I ate yesterday. Eggs, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, two bananas, cliff bar, payday, nuts, corn nuts, chocolate milk, spaghetti and meat balls, salad, bread, and a protein shake. Drank three Camel backs of Gatorade plus countless bottles of water.

Today I ate eggs, three pieces of bacon, three pieces of bread, hash browns, banana, jelly beans, energy squares, Chinese meal dinner, ham sandwich and will eat again after route rap.

Discovered that the hot tub is great for sore muscles. Minimum of 10 minutes every night after second dinner. This picture is atop the moutain we climbed. Notice the switch back?

Tomorrow is a late start of 9AM, 11 o'clock SA time. Only 49 miles, another mountain pass. 37 miles for the week. Miss 2 o'clock coffee breaks with the gang, but don't miss it enough to go home. I try to send messages, but in the middle of the dessert and mountains, I don't get reception. Hope you ECT guys have a good route for Saturday. Nothing less than at least 70 miles!

Day 4 and Day 5: Living The Dream

Day 4: Finished the day covered with snot, bug guts, and sweat in my eyes. I counted 20 bugs that hit me. I felt GREAT and even lead the guys up a 7 mile climb. Finished the day strong. Crossed into Arizona. Climbed 3900 feet. Rode 115 miles.

But all things come to an end. After two days of riding back to back centuries, my body was hurting. My dirty socks were stinking up my room so I had to do laundry and lost some valuable recovery time. No time to blog. By bed time I was doubting myself and visited with a fellow rider. This is pretty common since we are really putting a toll on our bodies. Got through the night.

Day 5: Breakfast motivates me. When I question myself, I look at the others riding with me. A total of 25 people including the three of us girls. They can ride through the pains and so can I! Every morning I ask God to give me what I need to make it through the day. He always does.

Climbed up to 6100 feet elevation. Only 59 miles but through a mountain pass. There is lots of "bootie talk". Turns out that after all the miles, the saddle really starts to hurt. All the guys are really complaining. The ladies don't have those kinds of pains.

Thank you for reading my blog and following me. All of your messages keep me pedaling. One pedal stroke at a time. Don't worry we stay together and have lots of support.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 3

Forgot to mention the 1.6 mile stretch from yesterday when we were on the highway. We also had to cross a section where 18 wheelers were crossing us to weigh in. I looked down and we were riding at 28 MPH. When we exited, we all had to stop and take a moment. That was crazy. Maurice, you would have loved the excitment. 10 times more exciting than crossing Huebner on the way home.

Today, it was hot. The desert for 100 miles. How does that quote go? There is a fine line between hobbie and insanity. Today, we crossed the line. The day started with a 11 mile climb. Hogue knows that I don't stand on the hills back home but today I was standing. It was more of a "bootie break". Rode with Bob and Tom up the climb (I am a follower of their blog). To pass the time, we were seeing how many honks we could get from the 18 wheelers. Seems silly, but it worked.

Not shy anymore. When you gotta go, you gatta go. The guys have been polite about turning the other way (ya know there are mirrors on their helments). But in the desert there is not many places to go behind. The car door worked once, but the onlookers probably got a peak. Today, I let the guys pass and went on the side of the road behind the rail.

260 miles of riding and my body is really starting to hurt. Any part of my body that is not covered, has a tan. The top part of my fingers, the area from my socks to the bottom of my leg warmers, and the 1 inch area of my glove area to the bottom of my arm warmers.

Tomorrow is 115 miles. Yikes! Off to rest, recover, and hydrate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 2


Let's go back to yesterday for a bit... There were a group of 6 of us and we had a green light heading straight. The car stopped but then proceeded to take a right. Jack swerved then I got the side mirror in my knuckles. Since I stayed on my bike, I kept riding. No crying on the bike just keep riding!

Today was the most adventurous ride I have ever been on! We started with a 3 mile climb. Straight up. Then a 5 mile climb. Straight up. No hill in SA would prepare me for this. All I did was pace myself up then catch the others at the rest stop.

After the climb, we hit a windmill factory. 11 miles of favorable winds on our back. Didn't even have to pedal and we hit 33 MPH. The last 10 miles to the hotel where wearing on me. I was getting hot. There wasn't much shade. I noticed a mobile home park with their sprinkler running. There were 3 palm trees with just enough shade for me so I sat on the side of the road for about 5 minutes to cool off. By that time, 2 rides noticed I had slowed and came back for me. Thanks Chris and Mark. My God send for the day. The cool off was just what I needed to get home.

The strong rides are noticeable. They lead us out and offer a wheel when we fall off. There are about 6 to 12 rides that stick together which makes the miles go by. I have stopped looking at my miles. I just have to ride and keep the pace.

Tomorrow is the desert. 100 miles. We just had route rap and I am worried. Keep you posted on that tomorrow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 1


Today was a 78 mile day and finished at 1:45PM. We started strong riding out of town at 22 MPH. What was I thinking? Needless to say at mile 50 I slowed down a bit.

Today was the first time I have had a run in with a car. Luckily, I stayed on my bike and I only have a bruised and bleeding knuckle and a few bruises on my knees from hugging the bike frame.

For all you Mom's and especially my Mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finally Here

It was a sad goodbye with a few tears. My parents drove me to the airport where it was early Happy Mothers day for my Mom and lots of hugs. My Father, for the first time ever, had a greeting card for me. It was from him, in his hand writing. It's such a comfort to know that he is there taking good care of my mom.

The thought of seeing my bike again brought me much joy! Yea, I am going to see my bike again. Minus the loss of a screw, my bike is back together and fully loaded with gear along with an orange flag. My luggage of two bags together total 21 pounds. I must say, I am very proud of myself for packing under the 30 pound weight limit.

Off to eat and hydrate...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Untitled

Thanks for the prayer Goose! It was too nice to not post and also I can view it while I am out on the road versus printing it and adding weight to my ride.

now i lay me
down to sleep
i pray for Barbie
from my heart very deep

she rides across
simply because she can
may she inspire others
and return better than she began

she takes this challenge
because it is there
please protect her
i ask with this prayer

may the flats be few
the roads be smooth and dry
the winds be mostly at her back
and her spirits remain high

let her see only opportunity
in each and every climb
she accomplishes so much
one pedal at a time

as she floats the descents
let her feel You there
as the wind
blows through her hair

may there be more tough times than not
for it is they
which will make her ever stronger
come what may

as she rides
please keep her safe
as she follows her bliss
please, please keep her safe

amen

Freak Out Control

Can someone please give me some freak out control? All this technology has made me more anxious. I know my bike is at the hotel waiting for me. It was signed by Luis and arrived at 10:15 yesterday morning. I have my boarding passed printed out and will line up in section “A”. Now all I have to do it start riding my bike. Enough already! I am ready to start riding and stop blogging about it!

And right when I was going to type that I have a scene of relief thinking that my mom’s health is holding steady I have been reminded of the fact that she is still waiting a transplant. She is retaining water and has gained a few extra pounds over night. My dad is taking her to the doctor today. My hope is that this is nothing to be alarmed about and nothing to serious will transpire while I am away.