Friday, December 31, 2010

2010

As I look over the year, I ponder on what I have accomplished and what taken place in my life. There is nothing that I would take back and nothing I would change.

2010 will be the most memorable for me because it is the year that I lost my mother. She showed me love and left an impression on me of what a mother should be. I only hope that I could be half the mom she was.

In February, I skied my first black.



In June, I rode more than half way across America on my bicycle.



In August, I competed in my first triathlon.



October, I lost a love. I learned to listen to my heart and make decisions for ME.

My resolutions/goals for the year are:
1. To continue trying things, going places, and doing things that I have never done before.
2. Race in a team time trial or individual time trial.
3. Ride my bike to Boston.
4. Progress in my profession/career.

So it is written, so it will be. I want to look back next year and see how far along I have come.

May you have a wonderful and prosperous New Year filled with many blessings!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Year of Firsts

The holidays have me at a loss for words and on an emotional roller coaster. They say that the first year after losing a loved one is a year of firsts.

We made it. (We meaning Dad and I.) Dad and I spent most of Christmas Eve and Christmas day together, either at his house, friends of the family, or at my god-parents house. It is nice having my new best friend to run around town with. He’s an ol’ guy, but I still love ‘em!

The house was quiet. Popo went back to his house for the weekend and we missed hearing the sliding of his house slippers gliding over the tile floor. The only noises came from Rambo, the parrot, saying “Oh my guad” and from the three dogs growling and barking at each other. Thankfully nothing was chewed and I am lucky to still have my replacement phone intact.

Mom’s presence was with us in spirit and will always be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Baby

Christmas is approaching and my ring tone for this time of year is Santa Baby. I hear Madonna singing the song with her sexy voice.

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Boo doo bee doo



Really, I am not a materialist person but the song always brightens my day. Truthfully, I am sad without Mom. The phone ringing is a small reminder every time someone calls me, to cheer up. Each day it gets better. Little by little. Step by step.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Guy

I started looking for a new guy in my life. Maybe I am rushing things but I REALLY want to get on with my life, as I see it in my dreams. Then something happened.

I stopped and looked around.

This is was I saw.



My nephew Michael, my great-grandfather, and my father. Without even looking far, my life is surrounded my men. Nothing could make me happier!

Let me introduce you to my new best friend. He is my father.



Since Mom pasted away I lost my best friend but I have a new best friend in my father. I talk to him like he is Mom and surprisingly, he listens. He gets me and is more open to share his feelings. We talk everyday and visit at least once a week. I find myself at the house staying for hours.

This is what Mom wanted and I am elated with the bond my family has started to form.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pop Dancing

There is no way I would let you down and not share my story from the weekend. This picture says it all with the look on my face. D gave me permission to publish his picture. At least that is what I heard. Hopefully, he could hear me over the ear busting music. I believe I am a little more deaf today.



After drinking a couple of margaritas we headed over to a local club in town. The story goes that this club plays 80’s music. It turns out they play a mix of 80’s music and the latest hits are broadcasted on a local radio station. We hear that we should fit into the crowd easily since it’s supposedly an older crowd. But, not so much. The crowd ended up being a VERY young group and a little rough around the edges. The dancing is hip hop.

Two boys pop dancing brought me a smile. It was SO cool! There was a circle around them and they were sliding and popping all over the place. D grabbed me and started to teach me. We danced song, after song, after song. I had a blast trying to pick up the moves. Though it didn’t really work for me, it was fun trying.

I have three more weeks of dancing then seriously, I am going to get serious about training.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wanna Play Ball?

Are you going to throw me the ball or are you going to just stand there?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weight Loss

It finally happened. I lost 270 pounds. It took me three and a half years but I lost the extra weight. Robert and I broke up.

This blog is not going to smash him. In fact, he is a really great guy and I am a really great gal but we are not great together.

So hence the beginning of the being single stories.

I was out drinking in a bar (isn’t that how all good stories start?) and I scope out the good dancer in the place. It is a talent of mine. I can always find the best dancer in the joint.

This particular night, the best dancer happens to be a young college guy that has had way too much to drink and is slapping his guy friends a$$. I think this guy is gay and when I ask him, he declares his name to be …. Well, I couldn’t really hear his name but I heard his last name as Faggot. (I’m serious. These are his words, not mine.)

Since he is gay, I quickly answered, “Yes” when he asked if he could lift me. Two beats later, he grabs my hips and picks me up. It felt pretty natural to wrap my legs around his waist. He begins to dip my head and I feel like I am riding a rodeo bull.

This is where the fun begins. In between drinking and dancing, I may squeeze in a ride or two. But for now, jumping around on the dance floor sounds like more fun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do Over

Yes, I may have disappeared for a couple weeks. I have been figuring out a way to change the tone from the loss of Mom to something a little more uplifting. Adjusting has been hard, especially with the holidays quickly approaching. I do not want to be Debbie Downer any more.

Soooooo……..

Can I get a big drum roll please?

I have mailed in my deposit to complete the bike ride to Boston! Boston, here I come!!! June 8th I will start pedaling and will arrive on June 24.

My bike is on rest for November and December. January I will pick up my training again. Late night salsa dancing is order while my legs rest. Shaking, twirling, and drinking too much are on my agenda until then. Cheers!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tribute to Mom

These past few months have been difficult, to say the least. Vaguely, I remember friends preparing me for the hard times ahead. Not sure what they meant, I quickly figured it out.

Had it not been for Dad, I would have not known how to care for Mom those three months at their home. With his guidance, we were able to get her up a few times. Eventually, it was more than we could handle and we moved her to a hospice in-patient facility.

This was a grueling 12 day stay. Day in and day out, I watched her every breath. Her chest would rise and fall. I found myself holding my breath waiting for her next breath. This is where I learned that patients will not let go until their family has accepted their loved one will no longer be around. In my case, it was Aunt Daisy that was holding on to her sister.

Some days she would speak but those days were few and far between. After spending some time combing her hair and washing her face, Mom wiggled herself up and was lying on her elbow.

Me: You don’t look comfortable and you may hurt yourself. Why don’t you lie down?

Mom: Because, I don’t want to. (And this is where she sticks her tongue out at me.)

I am thankful for all the days that I was able to spend with Mom. I cherish every single memory I have with her and of her, even if my last memory is of her sticking her tongue out at me.

My grieving has been minimal since I have been grieving for the past two years. Adjusting to a life of not going to Mom’s or not visiting Mom has been the most difficult. Relief has taken the place of sadness. There is relief in knowing that Mom is not suffering and is no longer in pain.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Favorite Mom Pictures

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. After placing Mom in her final resting place, I am at a loss of words. Today’s post is a few of my favorite pictures of my mom in celebrations of her life.

Mom as a baby:


Mom in Junior High:


Mom as a high school cheerleader:


Mom as a young adult and dating Dad:


Mom as a Mom (I'm the baby):

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Mommy

It was a hard decision, but I came back to work this week. Mom’s status is the same and we could be in hospice for weeks. It’s been ten days and her heart continues to beat strong. The doctor explained it best saying that health people have good and bad days. Sick people experience the same good and bad days.

No riding. No working out. Being back in my routine should help me get back to myself.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Simple



Sorry to keep my blogger readers hanging for so long without a post. I hope you understand that my time is consumed with Mom. This post will be simple and just enough to let you know that I am still here.

I try to keep my humor and my spirits up. I believe that is what Mom would want. Tour de Grueue is not in my future this year. Sadly, I will be unable to race in the TTT that I was hoping for but there was no time to train.

Mom's care became too much for us so we have transferred her to a hospice unit that can provide 24 hour care. Her pulse is still strong but is unable to hold conversations. It will be emanate soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Moments That Make Memories

She says she is tired. Tired of fighting, yet she continues to battle the day. There are days that I fear she will not make it through the day, and then a week goes by, and she does.

I sit at on the end of her bed and she tells me she is afraid. I asked her why. All she can verbalize is that she is scared.

My father’s love for my mother has grown more intense these past two years. Mom does not want to leave Dad alone. She is afraid of what his life will be like without her. I assure her that my sister and I will make sure he is taken care of. My words, I fear, don’t give her much comfort.

These past few days, Mom tells me her dreams and she makes jokes. Some days she sleeps and others, she forces herself to stay awake while friends and family visit. Either way, I am glad I can be with her to share these moments and squeeze out any last memory she wants to make.

Dad has been going through old family albums. They seem as much in love today as they did the day of their honeymoon in Hawaii.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Conquer the Coast, 2010



Over the weekend, Robert, Grant, and I headed over to Corpus Christi bay front area for a bike ride. Rob has ridden three times this year and to my surprise, Rob decided to ride the 65 mile route. He hung on to my jersey pocket for a few miles going through Mustang Island and I even got off my bike to rub his legs when he started cramping. There was a nice cardiologist to SAG him in to the hotel which allowed Grant and me to work on our TTT (Team Time Trial) skills for the last 20 miles.

This ride often gets rained out and the wind is horrific. This year, the weather was perfect. Not too hot, no wind to complain of, and a nice ferry ride over to Rock Port. This ride has just made the top three lists of best rides.

Below is a picture of a group of riders crossing the ferry over to Rock Port.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Confession

This may come as a surprise to you but it is true. I have been following this cute young boy here at work. Of course I have not gone totally crazy but he is enough to make this girl blush.

Let’s just say I may have adjusted my work out times slightly to end up in the gym at the same time. Yes, I may have opted to use the treadmill next to him and I had a really good workout that day.

Not to mention he wears muscle shirts instead of the t-shirts us other folk wear. I think I have caught myself staring at his biceps. Maybe not staring but looking for too long.

Maybe I looked up his profile to see where he sits and what his background is. It turns out we went to both the same universities for undergrad and graduate studies. How about that?

I might have looked him up on Facebook. And this is where I insert; he looks really good without a shirt on. Did I really just blog that? I think I even said that out loud. Now I really feel like Mrs. Jones.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reflections of Quince



The Quince ended up being a smashing success. It took lots of arguing with the military police, lots of planning, and a half a bottle of crown royal. By the time the lights dimmed, I was having a blast. Everyone we invited showed up and Alexis got her big party.

The best part of the day was that Mom attended AND that she stayed for the entire evening. At times, I would turn around and there would be friends gathered around Mom taking pictures to capture the moment.

Today, I looked up and realized I have not been on my bike since the triathlon. I went from competing, to the hospital, to the quince all without any riding in between. An organized ride Saturday should get me back to Barbie and back to her bike.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One More Day

It was only a few days ago that my family gathered in an intensive care room surrounding my mom bed. I remember feeling defeated as we heard the news. Emotionally, we had to face the truth and accept Mom’s illness. The hollow in my sole started forming, an empty space where Mom connects to me started to hurt. The pain of losing my mom was becoming real.

Sunday, I arrived at the hospital to I find Mom sitting watching TV and eating her lunch. She asks what all the fuss was about. She doesn’t remember the past week. It’s like nothing. She looks like nothing happened to her.

Part of me thinks that she is fighting to get through this weekend and it will only be a matter of time. No one knows. It could be a week or it could be months. All I know is that today, I am grateful I get to talk to Mom for another day. My sole rejoices, that today, I have this much more time with her.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Washed Away

Slowly, my make-up is being washed away. It has been almost a week since Mom has been in the hospital and I have given up on putting mascara on. My tears wash it away.

For the past two years, Mom has lived with severe liver disease. Only 5% of her liver has been working. Her body is shutting down. We take her to the hospital only to find out that cancer has returned. It has spread to stage 4 and it’s all over her body.

My family has decided to place her in hospice care. For today, the doctors want to keep her in the hospital another few days so that an antibiotic IV drip can run its course.

She and I have special moments. I feed her while I eat my dinner and we talk. There are no regrets on my end. Every day, every moment has been to the fullest.

This morning at breakfast, there was a man wearing a "Topeka Kansas" t-shirt. I couldn't help but ask him if that is where he was from. He answered saying a friend bought it for him. I told him about my XC trip and riding through Kansas. We shared a conversation. As he left, he was thanking me for making his day.

It’s the small things that make people happy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mom IS Strong

Mom gave us quite a scare this week. Her blood pressure dropped scary low (60/20) on Wednesday and some how, being the strong woman that she is, Mom has pulled through once again.

The doctor instructed the family to gather and decide on her care. It was a hard converstation to have but the truth had to be talked about. For now, I am going to leave most of the details out until the results of her test come back. Mom is sick but we hope to make her comportable and get her out of the hospital by next weekend for the party.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thoughts About The Race

Official time of 2010 Dam ‘09: 1:09:33
Class position: 8
400 meter swim: 9:18
Transition 1: 1:42
10 meter bike: 30:31, pace 19.7 MPH.
Transition2: 2:12 (I left my bike helmet on and had to go back to take it off.)
4K run: 25:48

My age marks my calf with a permanent black marker and my bib number remains marked on my arm. Never before have I proudly worn my age. I purposefully wear a skirt so that someone would ask what the number is. I want to tell them I did my first TRI. Sadly, no one asks. Still, I tell everyone who listens.

After riding 2220 miles across America, there is something inside me that thinks I can do anything I set my mind to. There are no limits and the possibilities are endless no matter the obstacles in front of me.

The days before the TRI, there were lots of reason to not participate. I could even make some up. My knee hurts. I’m not a strong runner. I’m gonna choke and swallow the pool during my swim. The list goes on.

There are all these “what if” questions that are barriers that block me from finishing. All I can do is step over them and keeping doing what I know how to do. I stick by what I learned on my ride. Your body will do anything you train it to do. Your body is really that amazing of a machine.

Aside from all the bickering between the ladies in my family regarding the quinceanera taking place in 2 weeks, a rather large obstacle popped up the day before the race. My mom is sick, yet again. A doctor’s appointment advised her to go straight to the hospital. She doesn’t want to go and I don’t blame her. She hates being poked, pricked, and tested.

I begged her. I cried. I told her she was important to me and that I wanted her to get better- soon. It didn’t work. She didn’t go to the hospital until last Sunday night.

One day at a time. One race at a time, I try to keep my sanity. The craziness of life is a whirlwind around me and the peace I find is on the road.

Next on my list is to train for time trials. Tour de Gruene is on my list and if I’m lucky, Lance will show up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

2010 Dam '09

This being my first triathlon, I am totally pleased with my performance. Many organized rides under my belt kept my nerves in check and I was surprisingly calm before I entered the pool. My unofficial time, thanks to Robert's stop watch on his blackberry, has me at 1:09.



The swim was easier then I expected and I kept a steady pace. Without sucking in a bunch of water, I passed a few swimmers. Thankfully, there was a nice man to lend me a hand out of the pool because it was hard to find the step, remove my cap and gargles, and then head to the transition spot. I don’t have my offical time, as of yet, on my swim. I am guessing it is around 10 minutes or so with a distance of 400 meters.



The bike, now that’s my sport. I expected to get my breath and slow my heart rate down on the decants, but that never happened. I was having fun and wanted to keep pedaling. There is a climb that is 4-7% grade but I used my gears to get my over the bumps. Pedal on the turns and breathe, that’s what I kept telling myself. Time: 30:21 with an average speed of 17.1 for a 10 mile loop of about 3 miles for each loop.



Running is not my sport and thought that with my slow pace, I would catch my breath. Here again, that never happened. But, I kept running, smiling and having a good time. Time: 25:52 for a 2.5 mile run.



The adrenaline kept me moving and all the training paid off. Crossing the finish line felt GREAT! I was too excited that I didn't notice my heart pounding out of my chest, I felt dizzy, and quickly sat on the ground. It took me about 30 minutes to fully recover and get my heart rate back to normal. Don't let the beer and banana fool you, I felt like crap in this picture.

Thanks to Kim who took awesome pictures for me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trying and TRI



The flags that waved proudly on my bike are now are magnetized to my refrigerator. They are a daily reminder to me that I can do anything. I have these moments where I say to myself, “Self, you rode 2220 miles across America. You’re pretty freakin’ awesome."

With endless possibilities in front of me, this Saturday I will be participating in my very first triathlon. Something deep inside me is yelling to me that this will also be my last. Though it has been fun taking on this new challenge, my body does not like the running part.

After this TRI, there is an individual time trial and/or a team time trial at the end of October. This will be the next training goal that I shoot for.

Just going down the list and checking things off. Things are good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mini Me

It's kinda a big deal right now with my family. We are planning my niece’s quinceanera. For you non Mexicans out there, she is turning fifteen and we are throwing a BIG birthday party for her.

Alexis is fair skinned with reddish brown hair. Our personalities are similar but never saw a physical resemblance until this past weekend when she was photographed in her quinceanera dress.

Check out our pictures. Its like a mini-me is running around out there.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brick Training

Recently, my blogs have been limited and short. There is not much to blog about other than training. Something tells me that not too many readers are sucked into my training routine.

My days consist of waking up at 5AM to swim, run, or ride my bike. Monday through Thursday I have been doing brick training. Brick training is back to back workouts of a run and bike ride to get your leg muscles used to the transition between the two sports.

Once this TRI is finished on August 28, I will never run again. Mark my words. I have taken a vow to never ever, never ever, ever, ever, ever again run another day in my life. My knees and feet hurt way too much. I have gotten this running stuff out of my system and it will be back to more dedicated time on my bike.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Ride In

Yes, I know that you are sitting on the edge of your seats with your face so close to your monitor that you many injure your eye sight long term, all in anticipation of reading about my commutes to work.

The things I love the most about riding to work are 1.) Getting miles in 2.) Two work outs a day 3.) The company 4.) My fan club along the way that consists of: nice honks, waves, and yells of “hello” by friends (as opposed to the mean honks and flips of the middle finger). 5.) Riding my bike.

After multiple tries of forgetting my Garmin or forgetting to turn it on I have finally accumulated the stats from the commute. Drum roll please….

Commute to work:
Miles- 8.98
Calories- 492
Average- 14.3
Total accent- 397
Time: 35 minutes. Plus or minus 5 minutes depending on the traffic and lights.

Hills include:
2- 2-4% climbs on Hueber Road
3% climb up the parking garage ramp
A few other bumps in the road that range from 2-3%, but nothing really note worthy.

Commute home:
Miles- 10.81
Calories- 510
Average- ummmm… Why didn’t I write this down???
Total accent- 413
Time: 45 minutes. Plus or minus 5 minutes depending on the traffic and lights.

Hills include:
2- 2-4% climbs up Vance Jackson
3-2-4% climbs on 1604 access road.
5-7% climb up to Blanco

Total commute:
Miles- 19.79
Calories- 1002
Average- 13.8
Total accent- 810
Total time: about 80 minutes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Three Best Friends

As Bill, Brian and I rode in to work today I couldn’t help but sing the “Three Best Friends” song that Stu sings in the movie “The Hangover”.

We're the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
We're the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have

We're the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
And We'll Never ever ever ever
Leave Eachother

We're the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
We're the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have

The three of us take the right lane. We ride in a triangle formation, rotating around. Bill does most of the talking. I am thankful for Bill being as alert as he is because at the ungodly hour of 5:45 in the morning, I am barley awake.

What topped off the ride is when Bill said, “I was drinking when I saw “The Hangover”. Maybe I need to watch it again.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

Badge

If I haven’t already said so, now is a good time to say that I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE!

Commuting to work gets me really excited going to work. It leaves me happy ALL day and excited to ride my bike for the ride home.

Yes, I still forget my bike socks and I have stopped getting upset about it and figured its one less thing to take on and off while getting ready for the ride. I should just stop wearing them all together just like my gloves.

In my sleepiness, I rode off without my helmet. Luckily, we had only ridden a block away before Bill noticed and brought it to my attention. No harm no foul.

The worst is forgetting the work badge. All USAA employees are required to show a badge to get on campus and get through the door. Without it, you get an escort in from your manager and you must pay $50 to have the badge replaced.

There was a time that I got all the way to work and had to ride back to my car to retrieve my badge. At that point, I drove back into work.

Or, there was the time when I dropped my badge on the road, in a high traffic spot. Luckily, my brave friend Maurice weaved back into traffic and saved my badge. Now my badge sits in the “Twin Peaks Bank” or otherwise known as my cleavage, for the duration of the commute, until I flash my badge to the security guard as we pass through the gate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TRI Training

Mom says that I should slow down. Guys stay back because most can’t keep up with me. Maybe that is why the line at the door has dwindled to nothing. Between work and training I do not time for much else. I often think about going to a bar but then I remind myself that I am going to wake up at 5AM to ride. Riding sounds like more fun than dancing in a sloppy sweaty smoke filled room.

I did not believe Mom until I decided to start training for a TRI (scheduled for August 28). It is hard to have a life outside of riding, running, and swimming. Not to mention the training and the preparation involved with each.

The first week of training is always the hardest. Waking up so early and getting my body used to the routine takes a toll by day 3. If I make it to day 4, then it’s all downhill from there. Today is a red bull AND coffee kind of day. By this afternoon, I may need some toothpicks to keep my eye lids open.

It was very recently that I thought I was sacrificing “my life” to train. These days training is so much my life that I am not giving anything up. This is me and this is my life. This is where I want to be. I would love it for someone to join me on the journey but until then, I am enjoying my training time. Even more, I love the recovery time resting with Roxy.

Thanks Jim for your offer. On a beach somewhere at sunset, I may take you up on that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Next Wedding

The topic of a spouse and a wedding has been high in conversation only because I realize how ill my mother is. I want her to see me at this monumental moment in my life. At times it can be annoying to have the consent questions but I am getting wittier with my responses.

While at my parents house one of those prescription commercials came on and it showed a daughter trying on wedding dresses while the Mom was nearby watching.

Mom says: You know what Barbie; I never got to pick out your wedding dress with you. You picked it out and didn’t even let me see it.

Barbie says nothing and rolls her eyes.

Mom says: And then I didn’t have a ride to the church. Your Dad drove everyone around and I was stuck at the house.

Barbie says nothing as steam begins to boil, all the while trying to keep her composure.

Mom says: I see you wearing a suite for your next wedding.

Barbie says in a nice but firm tone: Mom, first I have to find a guy that wants to get married. Then I can wear a fitted floor length dress. I do NOT want another big wedding. The last wedding was ALL for you and I do NOT want to do that again.

(Slight pause to wait for reaction.) In the silence Barbie continues, I want to be married on the beach.

This was a much easier conversation than expected. She seems more willing to step back and let me live my life. After all, it will be MY wedding and there isn’t even a groom yet.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Single Ladies

Maybe you have heard Beyonce’s song, “Single Ladies”. It is my current work ring tone and I loooovvvveeee it. When everyone at work is in serious mode, my phone will ring and break the mood.

I had a spontaneous weekend of craziness, one day after another. Friday was First Friday in downtown San Antonio. Saturday, a gay pride parade (not that there is anything wrong with that) and drinking like a twenty year old. Monday, I took my mother gambling after she cancelled her doctor’s appointment.

Friday night was dancing at the Friday hot spot Azuka’s. It was the usual; bartenders come over the bar with hugs, the band throwing waves, and the regular hard core salsa dancers. We danced for hours at a time.

First Friday brings out the Pub Runners. They run 4.5 miles and stop at 5 bars in between. They write their name on their appendages and mark lines, boxes, or circles, with permanent markers, to indicate how many beverages they had for the night.

This is where the song popped into my head again. Specifically, this part:

If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don't be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it

I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips
Got me tighter in my Dereon jeans
Acting up, drink in my cup
I can care less what you think

And this is where the fun began…

A runner proceeded to mark up my arm with three squares to represent my drink consumption. Once the three squares were drawn on my arm, he wrote him number on my hand- in green permanent marker. Even with a “man on my hip”, this did not stop an inebriated, over the top PA student from the UTHSC.

Sure, I am in the school of thought that says, dance with the one that brought you, but hey, “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it”. Until then, a little wink and shake never hurt anyone.

And just in case you were wondering, I scrubbed his number off shortly after. I somehow think he would have no recollection of me or giving me his number.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Commute of the Year

Bike, lights, water bottle.
Check.
Gear.
Check.
Cloths for the day, and socks. (I always forget socks.)
Check.
Bike loaded.
Check.
Thunder and lightning. Check.

Note to self: Don't forget to check the weather the night before a ride and for the week in this case.

Between my fathers being in the hospital the past week and taking Mom to her doctor’s appointments I seem to have NOT noticed that Alex is brewing in the gulf and storms are forecasted for the entire week here in San Antonio. Riding will be inside for the week.

Commuting will be on hold until next week and my commuter friends will be back in town to guard me on the ride home for that half mile stretch on Huebner Road. This is a good thing to wait for my poesy.

I miss my XC09 friends. I am gonna look up you and call you soon. XC10 rides, welcome back home. How are you adjusting to being back? Isn't it everything you dreamed it would be and more?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boston XC10

The XC10 group is fast approaching Boston. I am elated at their success. Each of you is spectacular in my book. We are among the few that ever attempt the challenge of riding across America. XC09 and XC10, remember me this time next year. I will be standing where you stand.

Last year I remember being miserably sad to not be on my bike. This year I am happy that I was able to ride 1300 miles across America and now more than ever, I want to send Tracy my deposit for next year because there is no doubt in my mind that I will be on my way to Boston next year, June 8th. My family is already making plans to meet in Boston next year.

My life has once again caught me off guard. Riding hundreds of miles, with lots of time to meditate, helped prepare me for the change in life cycle and taking care of my parents. Between my sister and me, we are tag teaming each other to spend the days with my folks. I am thankful that their home is in a location that makes it easy to hop on my bike to get miles in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Mark


The cruelest joke my sister would tell me is that I was adopted.
Frantically I would search through the family photo album look
for a picture, looking for proof of baby pictures with my parents.

It is the mark behind his left knee and the curve of his pinkie
toes. I have his nose. It is a boxer nose. When we stand side
by side, there is no mistake that I am my father’s daughter.

He is quiet and shy. He does not talk much. When he does
speak, I know it is important.

Dad has worked most of his life and did not have the luxuries
that some are offered. His pride kept him strong and
courageous so that he could provide the best for his family.
He often tells me how proud he is of me but it is the other
way around. I am proud to call him my father.

The military has taken him to two wars. I remember the second,
desert storm. It’s hard to forget a time when your family is not
whole.

These days he moves a little slower but he character remains the
same. He is a hard worker with pride, honesty, and loyalty. I love
you Dad, Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reunion

It is a reunion of sorts. It is like seeing a friend that I have not seen in awhile. Though it has only been a week, I missed seeing my bike and riding.

As I drove to the shop, I started crying with excitement. It was an overwhelming feeling to realize the magnitude of what I have just accomplished and I am jumping out of my skin to get on the road again. My bike has some mud on the frame, from the last ride, that I was too lazy to wash off. It seems so bare without a flag waving in the back.

Luckily, Jason from the shop is able to order the rubber part of my sunglasses that I lost 3 days before I left. Shoes are good but stinky. Nothing is falling apart so I guess I will keep them and store them in the garage when I am not wearing them.

The first few days back were rough but I am slowly feeling back to my old self, just more laid back. My legs want to get some good dancin’ in followed by a 70 mile ride with my faithful ride partner. Because of Father's Day, it may end up being a 40 or 50 miler.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Change

Mom said I seem different. She says that I have changed. She knows me best.

I feel lost and do not feel like I fit into the world that I once belonged. I walk around in a cloud with no specific purpose.

Being on the road is so blissful. It is magical to be living a dream and getting through the wet roads and steep hills that make the challenge a reality.

This is where the confusion and the questions start.

How do I bring that magic into my every day? I have everything at my disposal and I now know that anything is possible. There is nothing holding me back but my own responsibilities.

My bike has yet to arrive. I anticipate it being delivered and ready to ride on Wednesday. I want it back now! My brain is already working on a new commuter route so I can get back to pedaling soon. I am even asking around at the local races. Really, I just rode 1300 miles and I cannot wait to ride more.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 21: Travel day and going home

It was an early morning out. Earlier than even waking up for ride days. The roads are wet with a slight wind. Who am I fooling? I am flying not riding.

I hate good byes. They always make me cry. Two days before I left, I started to say farewell and down played how much I would miss the community meals, the good mornings, icescream after dinner and the SAG stops. Sorry if I did not stay in the lobby long enough to get to each of you but know that I was thinking about you.

Over the past 21 days, I feel like I have changed and I do want to be different. I do not want to stress or be anxious. When Tracy hugged me good-bye she said, “Your so cool and layed back”. It was good hear. That is exactly what I want.

There is something about XC riders. I may have said it already but it is worth repeating. Everyone takes care of each other and genuinely cares about the other. Each XC tour is different and takes on the personality of the riders in the group. I am lucky I get this exeperince three times over.

As of today, the total miles complete across America is 2224. This time next year, I plan to complete the journey and ride to Boston. XC11 all the way. EFI!

Please be patient with me as I adjust to the real world. All my body knows is to ride. Eat to fuel and pedal. I seem to have forgotten how to use the restroom and flush a toilet. It is slowly coming back to me.

Last but not least… Mister Italian waiter from a few towns ago, if I were 13 years younger I would have accepted your date and introduced you to the hotel you have never been in. Thank you for making me feel young and desirable again.

I have had the best time of my life and truly believe that XC is the best thing I have ever been a part of and the best thing that I have ever done for myself. My wish is that you have a dream and that you are able to make your dreams your reality.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 20: 87 miles to Champaign, IL



Distance: 71.87
Total elevation: 924
Calories: 3179
Average speed: 12.5
Time on bike: 5:45

About half way through the ride, we got rain. It has been hard for me this year because my rides have been solo. It is a different group of riders this year and most enjoy riding on their own. I have always had a ride partner so this was a difficult change for me.

It is a bitter sweet day for me. It is my last ride day and I am sad to leave but excited to get back home. I am glad that it rained because the rain blended away my tears.

Mentally, I couldn’t stay focused and the rain made it hard for me to want to keep riding. I have ridden this whole way any way, what is a few miles in the van. I believe I played it smart. 3 riders went down on the railroad tracks so I am thankful to be all in one piece with a bike with all its parts.

My bike is already boxed up and in route to be mailed back home. Lil’ Lady, I will see you in about 5-7 days. I hope to keep on riding and commuting real soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 19: 107 miles to Springfield, IL

Day 19: 107 miles to Springfield, IL. Harrold and Roy must have made a secret pact and decided to slow down and ride me into Springfield starting at mile 40. One was in front of me and the other in the back the entire time. It was nice not having to pull and be pushed in for most of the miles.

Distance: 108.5
Total elevation: Ops, deleted it before I wrote it down. I believe it was about 3000 feet in the first 30 miles of the day.
Calories: 5125
Average speed: 13.0
Time on bike: 7:31

Thanks Tom for snapping this photo right before crossing the bridge.






As I ride through all these towns, I realize that it’s the weather and the people that make the trip. I have to search my heart and find the will inside me so that I can accomplish what I have set out to do.

This was an easy century ride for me. I had a pull and great company to guide me in. Not only that, a guest in the lobby who came by to say hi. It was a highlight of the trip for me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 18: 74 miles to Quincy, IL



Today marks 2000 miles and the seventh State Line Crossing along with riding a bridge over the mighty Mississippi River.

Distance: 75.53
Total elevation: 2040
Calories: 4039
Average speed: 14.2
Time on bike: 5:18

The television almost never has anything worth watching. I started listening to the radio to get the music back in my life. Last night, I went to bed with thunderstorms and tornado watches. The radio test signal came on every 30 minutes or so.

This morning I asked The Big Guy Upstairs to dry the road and cool the wind. While He was at it, He turned the fan slightly at my back. I’m telling you, He always gives me what I need. It may not always be what I ask but He gives me what I need. At times, it could be someone to converse with or something that makes me smile. Today, it was a serenade.

The morning was cool. It was so peaceful watching a mare nurse her colt as I rode out of town. I have to pinch myself to make sure this is really happening. I am awe struck contemplating the miles I have accumulated.

It has not always been easy and not always pretty. This morning was the first time that I did NOT wake up before my alarm. It’s so easy to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. We choose to eat our way across America and bike in between.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 17: 76 miles to Kirksville, MO

148 “Roller Coaster” hills in the rain. I didn’t think I could stand the wet roads but I did- and I made it through. The cloudy skies made the temps cooler and made the ride more bearable. According to a bike thermostat, it was 107 degrees yesterday and 83 today.



Distance: 75
Total elevation: 3838
Calories: 3794
Average speed: 10.5
Time on bike: 7:06

Today marks a first…

After getting on my bike after the first stop, there it was.

My first flat.

The monkey is off my back and I am happier now that I can blog about it. It’s a relief to not have to worry about it. It was not that bad. Pat was there to help find the glass and help with the back tire gears and breaks.

Here is Missouri, there is not much to see but green fields that go on for miles. There are cute farm houses but no cattle. There are just hills. Lots of them. Up and down. Down and up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 16: 86 miles to Chillicothe, MO



Distance: 86.54
Total elevation: 3800
Calories: 4227
Average speed: 12
Time on bike: 7:11

Usually, a special SAG Stop at Maysville Historical Society is prepared for the CrossRoad group, however, the days were mixed up and the town did not greet us today.

The further I ride the more I feel like a rock star. While stopped at a stop light, two cowboys in a pickup truck asked if I was REALLY going to Boston. Their yaws dropped when I answered.

Maybe it was the look of desperation in my face but a nice man at the corner store bought my chocolate milk and ham sandwich. My legs were shaking and I thought that I might fall over. I started to cry at the counter. He made my day.

It was hot, hilly, and hard. 10 miles from the hotel I was looking for the SAG. He finally showed up 2 miles from the hotel and by then, I had to ride in.

Rest and recovery are key. Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 15: 85 miles to St. Josephs, MO

Growing up, my father would wake me on the weekends saying, “Don’t waste sunshine”. Those words have stuck with me, even now. The morning sun is so still and calm. It reminds me that we have a new day to write whatever we want on that day.

As we rode out of town, we crossed Kansas Street over a bridge. This was taken at about 7:15 this morning.



Distance: 86.45
Total elevation: 2218
Calories: 4061
Average speed: 11.7
Time on bike: 7:07

Today we crossed our sixth State Line Crossing. It was nice to be able to blink and not have stars floating around my head. Sleep and food did me good and I felt back to my old self.



Riding into town, I saw a water moccasin crossing a small pond. Shortly after that, there was another sitting on the side of the road. I pedaled my little heart out until the creepy feeling went away and the hairs on my neck went down.

Lesson for the day: keep your mouth shut or spit will fly out and bugs will fly in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 14: 106 miles to Topeka, KS.

Today marked the half Way Point across America 1,698 Miles! Topeka is the capitol of Kansas.

Distance: 71.2
Total elevation: 1909
Calories: 2795
Average speed: 12
Time on bike: 5:15

This feeling never goes away. I always get nervous the night before a ride, especially a century ride. My body knows the routine but there was something in my head.

I wasn’t eating and wasn’t drinking enough. At the second SAG, I sat on the ground and tried my hardest to re-hydrate but I still felt funny.

It was decision time.

Fight the wind and the rollers for the next 38 miles in or take a ride. It was hard but I didn’t have it in me today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 13: Abilene, KS Rest Day



A group of us visited the Eisenhower’s museum and boyhood home. This museum has a large collection of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal items and accomplishments from his entire life.

No miles. It has been nine days of riding and we all could use the break. Massage is top on the list. Next is napping.

A luxury on the trip is finding a restroom with an actual door and walls. Most of the time is works like this. I see a clear spot on the horixon and I stop my bike. Let's just say that I left my modesty at home.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 12: 62 miles to Abilene, KS

62 miles to Abilene, KS to: Eisenhower Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame. Todays picture is of Jan, Me, and Janice. The lovely lady's representing CrossRoads.



Distance: 62.90
Total elevation: 844
Calories: 2936
Average speed: 11.4
Time on bike: 5:31

There is a place close to heaven. Its name is Braum’s Ice Cream. It’s better than DQ. I know, it’s hard to believe. But, it’s true. They have the best yogurt with Butterfinger crumbs mixed in. Yummy! It also makes a great recovery snack.

One of the staffers, Mack, had to return home due to an ill family member. Mack is amazing and SAGs the group every mile. I will truly miss him. Rick is one of the mechanics on the trip. He and I are both Texas proud. He has also left the tour for a few days due to work obligations. (He will return the day I leave.)

Some topics I purposefully do not blog about. Call me superstious, but there is one topic I will not address until after the trip. More to come on this…

Roy has once again worked his magic and has arranged for complimentary ice cream at the Applebee restaurants- for the group, two nights in a row. He also has the massage therapist picking us up at the hotel, driving us to her studio then returning us back after our massages. Who knows what else will be in store for our much needed rest day. All you have to do is ask. Anything this possible.

As we travel further from LA, we seem to be reaching rock star status. The manager of Applebee’s had us all sign a menu and took our picture. He will frame the menu and the picture is to hang in the restaurant.

Yea, and right now... starts the rest day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 11: 63 miles to McPherson, KS

Appropriately for Memorial Day weekend, the flag is flown at half mast. We had overcast and wind for the first 30 miles out of town and to the first SAG. The wind let up and the overcast provided some nice shade and cool temps.



Distance: 64.21
Total elevation: 795
Calories: 3097
Average speed: 12.8
Time on bike: 5:00

Depending on the town we stay the night at, there is not much to do or see when we get to town. On the road, we ride the back country roads with not many stores and most places are out of service range for 20 miles at a time.

In Kansas, there are fields of wheat and mostly flat roads. The winds can be gentle or change direction along with the curve of the roads. I don’t check the weather, winds, or temperatures because we ride no matter the weather. Minus lightning and tornados.

I have seen smashed turtles, and turtles walking across the road. Plump snakes, baby snakes, and flat snakes. An injured raccoon and a stranded deer. A rabbit ran in my path. The road kill include a skunk and a possible pregnant fox.

There is an abundance of meadow lark. As I ride, I work on my whistle and had the pleasure of conversing with one. Our chirps went back and forth 4 or 5 times.

I have lost track of time. It seems like forever ago that I was at work and in Albuquerque. I find it most difficult to be in a different room every night and not being in my bed. Thank you for the comments and posts. It’s wonderful knowing that you following me and keeping me close to your heart.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 10: 86 miles to Great Bend, KS



86 miles to the Santa Fe Trail’s historic Pawnee Rock, Offerle CafĂ© Cinnamon Rolls

Distance: 84.95
Total elevation: 1231
Calories: 4388
Average speed: 11.6
Time on bike: 7:21

Today I felt a little sluggish and I maybe fighting a sinus infection. I was slow today but still enjoyed the ride.

We passed by the half way point between San Francisco and New York. Attached is the engine that marks the spot.

Roy slowed the guys down for a few miles and I was able to enjoy the company. The weather has been good, nothing to complain about. Me and my bike are both holding up and looking forward to the rest day on Tuesday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 9: 83 miles to Dodge City, KS



83 miles to the Dalton Gang Hideout, Boot Hill Museum, Can Can Show and Gun Fight.

Distance: 84.01
Total elevation: 1070
Calories: 4429
Average speed: 13.9
Time on bike: 6:01

He did it again. I don’t know why it still surprises me, but it my sleepiness I got on the bike and started pedaling yet again this morning. It was an awesome day with a breeze to push me to the hotel at 12:30. That was with a stop at the Dalton Museum at the half way point. My legs are not fast enough to keep up with the first ones in and with any cycling group I am in; I end up right in the middle.

The birds chirp me a love song.
The wheat fields wave to me as I pass.
The gravel winks at me.
Lil’ Lady purrs softly with each pedal stroke.
The cows and horses stop and stare.

Roy and I have become friends since day 1. He walks around like he owns the world and charms all in his path. He flashes a smile and before we have blinked, a car from the owner or relative of the hotel shows up to give us a ride. His philosophy is: just ask. You never know if you don’t ask.

That is so true with anything we want out of life.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 8: 39 miles to Liberal, KS 39 miles



The fifth State Line Crossing, Land of Oz, Yellow Brick Road

Distance: 39.36
Total elevation: 414
Calories: 2254
Average speed: 14.7
Time on bike: 2:40

Every morning I ask Him to give me what I need to make it through the day. He does.

The evening can be hard as far as recovery goes. There isn’t a night that goes by where I don’t think I can ride the next day. My body is still vibrating from the road, my legs hurt, and my shoulders are sore. But, I do as I am told and drink chocolate milk and eat my fill of food.

Something miraculous happens through the night. I wake up ready to pedal. When I get on my bike, I feel great. My body seems to be adjusting to the routine and the miles become more bearable.

My legs are in the grove and I am able to see get ride time with the others.

Compared to the previous days, today was a short 40 mile ride. It is nice to be in the hotel room early to catch up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 7: 72 miles to Guymon, OK


The Fourth State Line Crossing, Oklahoma Panhandle. Two states in two days, it feels like we are making progress.

Distance: 71.9
Total elevation: 619
Calories: 3335
Average speed: 12.8
Time on bike: 5:36

Before going to bed last night, I looked in the mirror and saw a different person. True, physically I may become more fit but I am changing into a new person. I am going to be a new Barbie when I get to the end.

I am not sure how many miles to date I have pedaled and I am not really counting. I guess I could go back and count from the blog, but it’s easier on my brain to not know.

I miss home. Not the things that I thought I would miss but the people. The friends, family, and companions that make up my day. Reading all the comments make me so happy. They are inspiration and keep me motivated. I want to speak to each of you personally and thank you! You are so encouraging.

The game I play to keep my mind occupied is to think of a music artist that starts with each letter of the alphabet starting with the letter A. A: ABBA, B: Boy George, C: The Cars. Get it? I am stuck on letter X. Any suggestions?

Any one up for XC11? Next year, the plan is to ride from Champagne to Boston. I need some company out here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 6: 96 miles to Dalhart, TX 96 and Feed Lots



Distance: 96
Total elevation: 1747
Calories: 4308
Average speed: 11.7
Time on bike: 7:03

Woo hoo, back in Texas- babe! Today was Texas jersey day and I was sportin’ my colors.

At about mile 55 through 67 I was having a hard time but I kept pedaling. One pedal stroke at a time. At the Texas sign, I laid on the ground to rest. Some time after the SAG, I started feeling better and muscled up the strength to continue riding.

There wasn’t much to see but a large cow farm. Yesterday I had the wind to keep me alert, today there was nothing. It was just me and the thoughts in my head.

I am hoping that two back to back centuries will get me over the hump and into the grove of riding, eating, and recovery. Repeat.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 5: 109 miles to Tucumcari, NM 109



I thought the desert was over with and left my camel back at home. Yikes, what I have I gotten myself into?!

Distance: 108
Total elevation: 3829
Calories: 4395
Average speed: 13.7
Time on bike: 7:03

My numbers are for 97.7 miles. I turned off my Garmin to save some battery. I knew it would be a long day.

It was a windy day! 20 mph winds with guts of 30 mph, or more. I rode solo; there wasn’t much to listen to but the wind. The winds took me all over the place and had me gripping the handle bars for dear life. There is no ride or any wind in San Antonio that could compare to the magnitude of the wind.

There were breathtaking views but I didn’t look long for fear of falling over. The first 50 miles went fast, in about 3 hours.

I am certainly not the fastest one here on tour. As a matter of fact, I am the last one in. In all fairness, they are two riders that started early. I am ok with this. I am enjoying my ride and the time on the bike.

Accumulatively from last year and this year, I have ridden 1000 miles across America. Today was a milestone ride.



Ben, Glad your following! Would you ask Ed if he packed my flag? My flag didn't make it over with the bike. It started with me and was hoping to keeping it going. If its still at the shop, that would be really cool too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 4: 72 miles to Las Vegas


The highest point on tour: Glorieta Pass at 7570’ above sea level, Pecos Indian Ruins.

Distance: 72.70
Total elevation: 3637
Calories: 3605
Average speed: 11.8
Time on bike: 6:08

The thing about starting after the group has already been riding for 12 days is that most already have their friends to ride with. I rode 44 miles on my own. It wasn’t so bad but I kept thinking of every thing I could do to get me some music and regretted leaving my blackberry at home.

Thankfully, Greg rode up next to me and kept me company up the slow climb to the hotel.

My booty is kinda sore. Ya know like how it feels when you start the new riding season. The saddle is breaking me in where I should be breaking in the saddle.

My bike is doing me right. The handlebars and adjustments after the crash are good! (Thanks Ben and Ed!) It’s my left knee and toes that tingle once in a while. I changed out the specialized insert (only in my left shoe) and placed the standard insert in. At mile 20, I took the sole out and rode without a sole. My foot moved around too much so tomorrow, the insert will go back in.

I loved finishing at 1:30 because I had plenty of time to stop at Dairy Queen and already had my lunch. Ops, and there is my distraction…. Buckies Break!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 3: Rest Day in Old Town Santa Fe



No rest only sight seeing with da fam. Getting excited about the next 9 riding days. I am only awake because I am waiting for my laundry.

The day started with breakfast at an organic joint followed by a stop at The Chapel Lorentto. The stair way has no mark of nails.

Then off to Chimayo, 35 miles from Santa Fe, to get holy dirt. We left some money in a casino and I am exhausted! Rest over visiting with my parents. If you ask me tomorrow if I regret this, I may say yes. In 15 days, I will say I miss my folks and don’t regret the time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 2: ABQ to Santa Fe, NM



Distance: 66.21
Total elevation: 3968
Calories: 3440
Average speed: 10.9
Time on bike: 6:03



My apologies up front if my stories are short or cut off abruptly. A blinking light may catch my attention or like yesterday, the riders coming into the hotel grabbed my time.

Mom, Dad, and Robert are here with me until Sunday. I have to get some good luvin’ while they are here because after that I have to get my own water and carry my own bags after that.

Rich, from XC09 (the local in ABQ) came to the hotel, stayed for route rap, and took a group of us for dinner.

Darrell and I spent some time riding together but his 6 days of riding proved to me that I have some catching up to do. Overall, I feel strong. My knee is grumpy from fighting the hills but at least I can still walk.

I spent the first 20 miles catching my breath. In San Antonio, I am at 323 feet elevation. Starting in ABQ, it was 5000 feet elevation.

Tomorrow is a rest day and we plan to take Mom around Old Santa Fe for some shopping and sight seeing. For now, I must hydrate, stretch and rest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 1: Travel Day ABQ


My last night in San Antonio left me tired and dehydrated. Margarita was calling my name. After meeting with her, I meet with jack later on that night.

Today is a travel day so I will try to catch up with sleep on the plain. Or, maybe my excitement will supersede and keep me awake.

My total luggage is 19 pounds. Not bad for this girl. Once I get settled into my routine, I will figure out what I left out. One purchase I will like to get is the t-shirt in the town of Hooker that reads, “All my friends are hookers.” I have to find a cleaver way to roll in and stuff it in my jersey pocket for that days ride.

I am excited to meet my new riding friends and hope to be the welcoming committee at the hotel as they start arriving.

The map shows the distance that has been traveled and if you look close, the pink line shows the route we will be riding.