Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quick MN Update

Its getting too late to write much, but we made it safe through some pretty big thuderstoms to Minnesota. We had a bit of chance to visit with family.

Brief races results to date:
Friday TT - Amber got 1st in the Cat 4's by about a minute and was 5th fastest woman. I stupidly followed the guy in front of me off course. After realizing my mistake, U-turned back and ended up passing the guy that started 3 minutes behind me so i probably lost 3:30 or so. I ended up 10th.

Sat Road Race - Windy course without real oppurtunites to break up the group. Amber finished in the pack for 5th and moved down to second in the overall. I finished 10th again and moved down to 12th overall. I was able to break up the pack on the one major hill so it wouldn't end up a sprint finish.

Sun Road Race - Hillier course with finish on main hill. Amber finished third after giving a big push to move up from fifth on the steepest part of the hill. Unfortunately the winner didn't do any work the whole race so just pissed off the other girls. Amber moved back into the overall lead but is only 3 points ahead of second place, 9 points ahead of 3rd, and 14 points ahead of 4th (the girl who won today, but if her bike handling skills are as bad as they sound, well...) In any case, she needs to finish ahead of the 2nd place girl tomorrow to win the overall or not be more than 1 place behind the 3rd place girl (who has teammates). I finished fourth after causing our finish group to whittle down to only eight on the previous laps. I think i'm seventh or so overall now.

Tomorrow is a crit, should be fun.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

...forgot Strawberry Rhubarb

May is also the month of Strawberry-Rhubarb. Sorry to forget that, it is one of my favorite parts of May! We had 2 from-scratch pies this month and a crisp turned up at Saturday's BBQ, mmmmm. Someday I'll have my own rhubarb plant, but at least this year we found it in the market fresh and sorta cheap ($1/lb).

Eric packed the car this morning while I got in a quick run with the dog. Two bikes, three sets of wheels, a dog crate, clothes, much can 1 couple take? This is why we never fly anywhere. And just wait for the day when we have kids! I guess that's when we will rent-a-car for trips, since I refuse to buy anything big enough for a trip when our day-to-day use will be so much less. We are "small car" people. Or at least "car that sips gas" people. Ultimately, we are "ride our bikes or scooter people" whenever possible. Maybe we'll get a diesel Jetta wagon and run it on bio-diesel when the time comes.....if VW is selling them again by then.

The trip car got left at home while we carpooled to work. Hopefully it wasn't dinged by any of today's hail. Same for the tomatoes.

Then tonight, we add dog and 2 people and hit the road. This will be the Subaru's umpteenth trip to MN. We bought it the May before OUR wedding, drove to MN and back for many Christmases, Erica and Ryan's wedding, family reunions, I-finally-turned-in-my- thesis-to-the-graduate-school-and-am-done-with- all-things-PhD trips, etc. This time it is loaded up with books-on-CD and tape, yummy (mostly health) snacks, peanut-butter M&Ms, and lots of stuff for the wedding/training/visiting times ahead.

I am excited to see everyone. I'm excited to be back in MN. I'm excited for a mini-break form work and a chance to relax. And to train, with quality efforts, when we can.

This next week is "life first," though, and family is such a big part of that. It is the hardest part about being so far away. This will probably be our only time "home" this year.

Bring it on!



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

End of May musings....

Things have been busy, busy, busy here, and I love it! Work has been busy. Training is starting up again after Ironman and Lasik recoveries have gone away. House and yard projects have cropped up. Summer is nearly here, and I'm guessing the TV will be off for most of the next 3+ months (last year I think we turned it on once, maybe twice all summer).

First, a quick weekend recap. As Eric wrote, we had a beautiful, super, wonderful, ride last Thursday night. We rode up Sunshine Canyon (which really ends up being more of a ridgeline than a canyon, in my mind) to the start of the dirt. The light was just right and the evening seemed almost magical. It is my favorite time of day. The climb was hard, but a good effort, and a tool we will use for further growth and development. The descent was fast and fun (and clean, so it was OK to let it go), the best kind! Friday training was short and sweet. Nice ride at lunch (another first) and then another quick ride home. Saturday we had some time-trial pacing work on tap, which we did solo, on the new bikes. My ride felt great, and I think I may have come up with a name for the bike, though I'm still trying it out to see how it "fits" before making it public. While one of us rode, the other tended the grill (Turkey) and preped a few other food stuffs for our afternoon BBQ. Less folks showed up than we had hoped for, but we still had a very fun day/evening and got in many good chats. Sunday had us back at Flatirons Athletic Club for a lifting/swimming/running session. Both of us ended up burnt (Kerrie, you aren't the only one), tired, but satisfied that workouts were successfully executed. It was an eventful day at FAC as we swam hard (thanks, but no thanks, Glenn) and rubbed elbows with some of the who's who in triathlon (brief, nice chat with Michael Lavato and saw Matt Reed chasing down kiddo #1, oh and of course, Kerrie, Glenn, Rain, and Lucy). At home, following lunch, we set out to plant the garden (tomatoes, flowers) and tidy the yard some. Eric did a super job getting the irrigation system installed so that our vegetables should thrive this summer, but only sip water. A good, long weekend, but that kind that leaves a smile on your face.

Now, for some May musings.....

It seems like the end of May is here. We leave Thursday after work to start the drive to MN and when we return, it will be June. My youngest sister is getting married (to a wonderful man) on the last day of the month, and with Memorial Day being the 24th, and with a 4-day stage race (bike) in my home town, we decided to make a full-trip out of it and will be gone for just over a week.

This has been a trip we have been slowly planning all spring, and now it is here. And there is still much to do....aaahhhh! I have it pretty easy, though, compared to the Bride! She'll do great and be fine, but Beth is starting to feel the time crunch, I think. At least according to my Mom who has been there most of this month to help. I can't even talk to Beth, she has been too busy. Soon enough, we will be there and can help (or help add to the madness!).

In honor of May, here are some more musings:

May is....
...the start of the wedding season (yeah Beth and Brian!). graduation month (yeah Beth!).

...the start of Summer (can you say 80 + degrees F! We went from down comforter on the bed to just the sheets and sleeping with the windows open)

...yet still Spring (the cherry tree went from blossoms to fruit this month. The fruit is still small, hard, and green, but it will be pie season before long)

...time to start riding with POWER (just got our first powertaps last night!)

...time to start climbing hills and canyons on the bike (Raymond! Sunshine Canyon!)

...and time to start riding with your mouth shut (gnats anyone?)

...the month of Mother's Day (yeah Mom, yeah Erica!)

...scooter-time ('nuf said)

...time to look back and time to look forward. We aren't really racing much this year, just training and focusing on IM Canada in August. Looking back, it has been a full year already of racing and training, but looking forward, I'm excited for the summer. I am excited by the process of challenge, growth, enhancement, development. I am ready to suffer, and ready to soar on to the next great thing.

So, the end of May is (nearly) here....happy Summer!


Oh, here's a photo of our scooter:


Monday, May 19, 2008

short, but sweet....

Eric said I have to go home and ride my bike, it is more important than blogging. He is right. So that is what I'll do now.

At the same time, I just wanted to say that last week ended well for me after a rough start. I decided at the beginning that I really didn't want to bog angry or to just whine in this forum unless truly necessary. As a result, I didn't have much to say last week until Thursday, and then have been too busy to write.

I'll have to update soon with some of my thoughts and a few more details.

Until, then...rubber side down, happy trails, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A bit of everthing

Yesterday was one of those days where you do a bit of everything.

The day started like all swim days at 4:45 or at least that is when the alarm first went off. As we had an easy 20 minute run planned, Amber and I did that first thing to replace the normal dog walk she does (while i make lunches).

Easy run done (made easier that there weren't any dogs for Izzy to bark at), we did a quick transition to get to swimming. Wolfgang was the coach instead of Curt, who took over the 6 o'clock swims a while ago. We had just swum under the guidance of Wolfgang the day before since we had moved our Tuesday swim to Wednesday (see 12 hr post by Amber). I got worried that it would be the same workout (they do that) when he gave us the exact same warm up, but then it switched up after that. Unfortunately, I had the combination of no one else in my lane and feelling tired from the workout the day before. The solo swim isn't that unusual and I am pretty good at self-motivation to hit the assigned splits, but when I'm already tired, being solo sucks. Made it through my 3000 yards.

After swimming was our weekly stop at Joe's Espresso. Hmmm, 20 oz mocha. Very, very nice.

On to work. Maria had issued a challenge between two groups at work to a running (or walking) relay. As it was up at our Longmont site, I drove up there from Boulder shortly before it was to take place through some rain. It stopped raining by the time I got there and so i went to change. As we met up in the gym, it started to rain heavily again and even hail for a few seconds. Fortunately it was very short lived and we got through the run without another downpour. It was way too complicated of a race to explain what went on, but in the end I cheated just to make it a sprint finish between Maria and myself. It was a photo finish, but no one had a camera.

Okay, two runs and a swim done. More work. Leave work, head home, feed the pets, meet up with Amber, leave on the road bike to climb Sunshine Canyon (to the dirt). We cut through Boulder on some roads we had never been on (always fun to find new places). The climb is pretty tough (just this past weekend there was a road race up it), but tried to keep the effort moderate for the first half. Was a bit cautious on the way down as it is an unfamiliar road (only biked it once before), but still spent a fair amount of time over 40 mph. Made our way back home shortly after 8. Just 15 hours since we started our training day. Lucikly we had leftovers waiting for us.

Peace Out,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A break (from work)

"A" here. I am going into my 12th hour at work today, so I'm taking a short break to blog.

At least I had a little bit of a choice, though: come in last night at 11 pm, or come in today at 5am. I am an early bird, so I took the second option. Still meant no swim today (meant to go at lunch, but Eric forgot his suit....I know, I know, like that should really stop him, but work has been busy for me, too, so I didn't press the issue).

Oh, well, we'll get to see Wolfgang tomorrow morning at 7am instead. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Oh, bother...... I must apologize in advance, this may be a boring post. It seems like I haven't had much to say recently.

I go to work. I train. It is windy, etc. etc. etc.

Nothing nearly as inspirational nor thought-provoking as my goggle-post last week....

That was a joke, in case you didn't get it......


Get excited.


Something must have gotten the blood flowing lately.

Well...we have had some exciting news lately: We are going to be Auntie Amber and Uncle Eric before the end of the year! My li'l sis just announced that she is pregnant. I guess I maybe should ask her permission before announcing that to the blogging world, but I'm pretty excited and don't want to wait that long to share my joy!

This will be a first for us. I'm still not sure the reality of it has sunk in. And I guess I always thought that my li'lest sis would be the first of us to have kids. Or that all three of us would time it to be pregnant at about the same time so that our kids would have cousins their age.

I grew up with the Worlds Most-Awesomest (if my mom is reading this, I might have just given her a heart attack with my word choice, oops) cousins, all three of us did. There was always someone around to play with on Grandma and Grandpa's Farm (having 17 cousins helped, as did the family with 7 kids....). In the summer we'd be out ALL day swimming in the lake, helping with chores, playing Ultimate Hike-and-Seek or Superior Tag, or catching fire flies.

In the winter it was sledding and bon fires out in the Second Hay Field. Mmmmmmm roasted sausage, orange slices, and chunks of cheese over the open fire. Memories! That, and the one of falling out of the tree by the lake into snow that was so deep I got stuck. Or ice skating and hockey on the lake until dark. Or singing carols in the living room for Christmas, and the basement games of Sardines that we'd play afterwards.

Anyways, Erica's Big News made me stop and think for a minute. And, at least as of now, I know that I want kids of my own. I am not ready yet. Not this year. But soon.

And I need some practice at being an aunt. Any suggestions or advice?


Bike details per requests

So, some details. Javelin Lugano frames (both 54cm) with mixed components including Blackwell Time Bandit fork, Dura Ace cranks, DA derailers, Ultegra cassette and chain, Tektro brakes (cheaper than DA and who really brakes during triathlons, hehe), vision tech areobars (basebar and clip on's), cane creek brake levers (CoMuSport favorites), zero components 050 race wheels, and zero component skewers (i mention them since you can unscrew the quick release lever for that 0.002 watts savings) .

Amber is going to Look Keo pedals (so i can have her old school ones). We got her some pretty blue ones that might match her bar tape and cages (elle's) and some cool black ones, so i'm not sure which ones she'll but on the bike (others will go on the trusty old Dean and Cadex).

My first impressions on the new bike are that 1) it much stiffer than my previous ride due to the pretty massive bottom bracket and DuraAce cranks 2) front derailer boss needed some "adjustment", so it is back at CoMuSpo to trim the bottom of it so the derailer can sit higher (I've got a dremel, but the thought of cutting there freaked me out) 3) the blackwell fork isn't very still laterally, so you can rub brakes by putting much weight on one side while climbing out of the saddle 4) I want to ride it more


Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Recap

Um, so its Monday and I'm (Eric) not sure were the weekend went. Let's see...

Friday - biked to work and back, did dishes, made dinner, hurried dinner to get done before the Keil's got there to buy my 650 race wheels (new bike are 700's). Its a bit ironic that we rushed dinner since Jenni wrote about how she missed her bike workout in part to make it to our place on time.

Sat - We survived the craziness that is Sutherland's plant sale (always the day before Mother's day) before heading for a ride with GS Boulder. Amber and I ride a lot together, sometime solo and occasionally with someone else, but rarely in a group (at least since our CU Tri team days), so it was a good chance to mix things up a bit and get comfortable in a group again for the Duluth Classic road races. The group didn't have strong feelings on where to go so we made it up as we went along and ended up going up St. Vrain Canyon towards Raymond. Right into the start of the climb, Amber realized she was going flat in the back. She has had two flats this spring, both have been on the two group rides that she has been on. Something had happened to her slidewall to crack it and put a tear in the tube that didn't go all the way through the rubber but was enough to make it lose pressure. We booted the tire with a bar wrapper and headed after the group. We got most of the way to Raymond before we saw the rest of the group, but turned around to descend with them. Amber and I had to stop to put on jackets and Alan waited for us and pulled for us down the hill. We rode back to Gunbarrell with the group with a huge tailwind most of the way (group shrank from ten at the start in Boulder, to nine by Lyons, to five by Gunbarrel, to one headed back to Boulder). Watched Gone Baby Gone that night, we both liked it.

Sunday - Went for a 1.5 hr run and 1.25 hr bike (on new bikes). Checked out the Sunflower Market in Boulder, good prices on produce and nice selection, but their parking is even worse than Whole Paycheck's. Watched No Country For Old Men, I liked it but Amber really didn't.

Monday - No training. Unfortunately the to do list at home is very long.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lane One

In honor of the first track workout of the year later today, I (Eric) present "the lane of one" to be sung to the tune of "the sound of silence". Verses 1 and 2 by me, v3 by Sunny.

Hello track, my old friend,
I’ve come to run on you again,
Because of my coach’s planning,
I need to do some fast running,
And the workout that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the lane of one.

Through the workout I ran alone
Narrow lane that feels like stone,
Neath that brutal summer heat,
I still remember my first meet,
When my legs were stabbed by the flash
Of searing pain
But not in vain
Within the lane of one.

Back to the workplace I have gone.
My awesome week-end has passed along.
But the riding was excellent.
Can't complain about the descent.
And the sunshine
was out from behind the clouds
shining down.
Sunday please come back to me.


I am breaking one of Elizabeth's (aka ELF) blogging rules and writing at might be different if I ever got home this week! Work has been loooooong the last few days, but progress is being made on our project, so I guess it is all good.

Anyways, by musing on irony as seen through my goggles.

Today was my first day back in the pool since Lasik, and all went well. As the sun was rising (yes, Kerrie, we swim at 6 am, but it seems to be the only time we can fit it into our schedules and still carpool) over the outdoor pool at Flatirons Athletic Club (FAC), I was reminded of my last swim.

The 6 am swim the day of my 12 noon Lasik surgery.

Oh, what an odd swim discovery I had that day. You see, the week before Lasik, you have to wear glasses, not contacts. So for 2 swims, I had to rely on my lane mates for our send offs since I was without my contacts and could not even see the clock, let alone read what it said.

Also, the days are getting longer and by 7:15 it was getting really bright when I would breathe to the East.

So, on Thursday, April 24, 2008, I made the serendipitous decision to swap my light blue, sweedish-style, socket rocket goggles for my near-black, gel-socket, Nike, bargain bin sweedish-style goggles. The goggles I paid less than $3 or $4 for at a High Point Swim expo tent at one of the local triathlons a few years back. The ones that I really bought for the strap, not the goggles, at least that is what I said after the first time I used them and realized why they had been so cheap.

They don't look cheap. The fit is pretty comfortable (at least once adjusted correctly). But the first time I wore them in the pool........woah Nellie! Everything looked fine above water, but below water it was all blurry.

Until 6:08 am April 24, 2008.

For more than 2 years I swam along looking at a blurry line on the bottom of the pool, blurry hands, etc. It was OK since I could see everything above water fine, including the pace clock. But it was weird. Even a tad annoying. But the morning before my Lasik surgery, because I couldn't wear my contacts, I discovered that my bargain-bin goggles were a near-perfect fit for my horrendously near-sighted eyes.

I could see all the way to the other end of the 25 m pool. I could see every chink and crack in my faded, chipping toe nail polish. I could see the ........ physical flaws in my lane mates physiques.

Who would have thought that Nike's design flaw would be a perfect fit for my near-blind eyes. What an odd thing to discover!

And, today, back to being blurry below the water's surface. But that's OK. I can see well above the water....yeah! I can watch the drops drip off my finger tips on my sun-side arm during recovery. I can read the clock. And all with no contacts.

As my vision continues to improve daily, I am thankful, oh so thankful. And training is resuming, when work schedules allow. I told them I HAVE to leave this afternoon/evening for my track workout (first one of the year!) even if it means coming back in afterwards. We'll have to see.

Happy travels to my Family as they all leave their respective time zones to converge on Duluth MN for Beth's graduation. Way to go Sis! Wish we could be there! Happy driving Erica (and critters) and Mom and Dad.

And Happy Mother's Day!

We love you all, miss you so much, but look forward to seeing you soon when we are home for the wedding.

One final thing: a small correction. Our brother-in-law, Ryan, deployed last Saturday, but he is currently assigned to Baghdad, not Afghanistan. The Army changed his assignment (no real surprise) and Erica forgot to update me. Our thoughts and prayers are with them both.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bonk Mountain

So with Amber's eyes getting better, we went for a hike/run on Sunday that turned bad, very bad for your's truly.

The plan was simple, head up Green Mountain at a good clip and back down. Unfortunately that's where the planning stopped as all we grabbed on the way out the door for nourishment was 1 water bottle for the two of us. Of said water bottle, some leaked out by the time we got to the trailhead, so we started even a bit low.

Upon leaving the car, I felt a bit hungry since breakfast had been three hours before and I realized that we hadn't brought any food. Oh well, I thought, it's only an hour to the top and then its all downhill.

Up we go and I'm feeling pretty good. Amber on the other hand is having leg cramps, but plugging along.

At about 40 minutes in, we get to an intersection that will lead us to the top or back to the car. Feeling more hungry and worried about Amber's legs, I suggest we head down, but she won't consider it.

Up to the top. Had one bad spot where I needed to stop for a few seconds, but otherwise get to the top without incident. At the top, Amber wants to take a picture, while I want to immediately head to the car. She gets the picture, we finish the water, and we start back down the hill while i start to consider whether to go for ice cream at Glacier or a smoothie bowl at Rush.

I go full bonk mode. Not good. Get angry at myself for forgetting food, get angry at Amber for pushing to the top, get angry at the mountain for being a mountain, get angry ... well you get the idea.

I've bonked before, but something new happened this time, my arms and hands got very tingly. At one point, my face even got tingly. Very, very weird. Send Amber and Izzy back to the car since she had one Justin's peanut butter packet there and I plod down the hill.

The steep stuff was the worst as I found my self as the inverse Mt Everest climber in that I had to work at each step forward but it was downhill. Was able to jog/plod my way through the flatter areas. Eventually, made it down most of the way, my hands got less tingly, met Amber, consumed peanut butter, and made it to the car. We ended up going to Rush where I had a Hanna's chocolate covered strawberry bowl.

At some point up the hill, I promised Amber that we could do Green Mtn, Bear Peak, and South Boulder Peak in one trip this summer. If she keeps me to that promise, I'm bringing a whole picnic basket (and making her carry it).

Friday, May 2, 2008


I am so proud of E for figuring out how to post pics on blogspot. I could probably do that too, but haven't tried yet. Good job with the bike pics, hun!

Another trip to the eye dr this morning, another sign of small progress (! yeah !) and another request to come back in a week for them to take another peek (grrr).

Otherwise, work has kept be busy since the training has been on hold for the eye healing. That is really what inspired this

We got a new client in who is on a tight timeline to get a food additive purified (turns out their entire supply tastes like hay....). Due to confidentiality, I can't say who they are or what their additive is....but I will venture out there and tell ya'll (that was for you, Erica) that it is a common, natural ingredient, found in java and other hot beverages, that many American's (and bloggers!) can't do without. I am working like a mad woman to get ready for a super-accelerated 3-batch manufacturing run we want to get done next week.

...and I sure could use some of their product!


I'll be spending some time on this at home this weekend, and some java might just be what I need to help me speed through it so I can get on with the rest of my weekend. Considering where we were on this project last Friday (they were visiting us for the first time for an audit) to where we are now, the project defiantly is a speedy one!

Good luck to ALL racers at Wildflower (Sunny!) and St. Croix (Amanda and all the others who we don't "know" but do follow through their blogs.) May speed be on your side!

...and to Erica and Ryan...we love you both and hope that this weekend is special, lovely, and peaceful. Godspeed Ryan, you are in our thoughts and prayers. We hope that your tour in Afghanistan will be quick and painless. We promise to take good care of Erica. We will miss you. See you soon, my friend, fifteen months is not that long, really!!


Thursday, May 1, 2008


So, here are our new rides thanks to the sponsorship of Javelin of the GS Boulder cycling team. Amber's bike has the light blue tape and bottle cages, mine has the dark blue cages. Only other differences are the seat, stem and pedals.

Inch by inch, row by row...

Well, Eric and I took another trip to Denver yesterday to the eye doctor's. Good news! Little by little my vision is getting better. So much so that they decided to not re-float the flap and I get to back down on some of the drops. Both eyes are still inflamed, but on the mend and expected to be fully recovered in due time.

Of course, my first desire is to resume training (or even some semblance of my normal schedule) as soon as I can. I am eager. I am hungry. Again, in due time.

And that time is not now. Maybe next week. The eyes need to heal more, first. We'll see....literally!

At least I am feeling much less frustrated and scared.

The funny thing is that the doctor said that even though it is very unusual to see this kind of inflammation, especially to the extent I have it in my "bad" eye, they did have a number of patients with similar problems a few years back. At that time, the didn't really figure out what was causing the problem, but they did observe that it was affecting people with fair skin, hair and eyes (i.e. those of Nordic or Scandinavian descent). Additionally, they found that those affected often had unusually large swelling responses to bees and even mosquitoes.

That's me!

Issues with mosquitoes have not really been a problem since age 5, but we have pictures at the Farm with Grandma and Grandpa (and great grandma!) where my face is so swollen from mosquito bites that my eyes look barely open. And I still have "issues" with bee and wasp stings....I swell up like a blimp.

In the end, I asked lots of questions, found out lots of useful info, and discovered that I get to go BACK down again on Friday morning for another check up.

At least Eric will not have to take time out of his schedule to come with this time (they said I needed a driver yesterday if they were to re-float, in the end, he was mostly there for moral support since that was not needed). On the bright side, we BOTH got to enjoy the Sauna-like conditions in our car. The heat control is currently stuck on hot, and it was near 80 yesterday! Good Ironman AZ prep, just a little late!

And today, rain/snow pellets and a high around 45 F. Should be good for the garden!