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


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


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


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.