Joy to the World or Something Like That

Merry Christmas. It doesn’t feel like Christmas; it’s in the 70s outside, I didn’t decorate the house, I’m moving west on Monday morning. What makes it Christmas for you? Cold weather? The promise that you might get an Apple watch? Eggnog and fruitcake?

For me, I don’t know anymore. There are no gifts that I want and my only wishes this holiday are intangible. I want Andrew to be happy. I want my parents to enjoy their lives. I want Kobe to know that I love him more than anything even though he’s staying behind when I go. I want Tanner to trust me enough to be calm as we head out into the world together. I want people to not ask questions I’m unprepared to answer in the coming weeks. I want everything to be okay.

Most of all, I want the handful of people around me today to know that I would be nothing without them. My family and friends are the best. The assortment of people that have made it to this point in my life are wonderful and funny and kind and awesome. I already have everything a person could want in them.

Whatever Christmas means to you and whatever you’ve wished for, I hope it all works out.

L

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An Update With No Actual News

Hello there! I haven’t written anything of substance here in a long time because I have been busy not giving a crap about maintaining a blog. Funny, that. I typically wait until there is something meaningful to say before breaking long periods of silence here but at this juncture, I don’t have anything I’m ready to share just yet. There IS news, it’s just not fit for public consumption at the moment.

There was this one thing I was going to write a full post about, but never made it past the first paragraph so this will have to suffice: Andrew accidentally lost the dog in the middle of the night last week and I got to spend an hour running through the woods in the darkness wearing pajamas and fuzzy slippers screaming “TANNNNNNNER!” (Weird how that hysteria didn’t entice him to come closer.) The slippers came to a soggy death right around the time they sloshed through the third ice cold, sludgy stream. Tanner nearly came to his death when I finally tearfully herded him back into the house and contemplated strangling his perky little self with my freezing bare hands.

Then last Friday I had him neutered. WHO’S PERKY NOW, BITCH?

I also read this interesting column about “Keeping on track during the festive season” on Ella CyclingTips. Festive season! Doesn’t that sound positively lovely? I feel festive just thinking about it. Unfortunately, there was nothing remotely festive about this advice, unless your idea of joy is discipline and deprivation capped off by forcing your loved ones to bend their plans to your training needs. Here is my advice for the festive season, carefully cultivated over several years of racing professionally and obsessively: GET DRUNK. EAT ALL OF THE COOKIES. Alcohol is a carb, chunky riders get down hills faster, and life is way too short to miss out on festivities because of cycling. Balance is worth pursuing.

(All of my exes are laughing laughing laughing at the irony of me saying that.)

On the subject of cycling, I have big news that will be shared in the coming days. There will be bike racing, that much I can say now, and there will be travel and laughter and tears and sweat and probably some more tears because crying is how I cope with being alive. Winter training has been hard because it’s long and isolating and the weather often feels like it’s sent here to make me reconsider just how badly I really want any of this. Sometimes I think about quitting. I had a leg workout yesterday that I put off for hours, dawdling and dreading everything as the morning slithered into afternoon and the excuses stacked up like the reps I refused to initiate. At one point, it occurred to me that I could just not do it. Nobody would have to know. In the grand scheme of training or life, it wouldn’t actually matter. But I got it done, banged it out and threw in some extra reps as punishment for the theatrics, and then today’s ride was lovely. The crisp air, early morning sunshine, decent legs, intervals that felt challenging but successful. The winter makes you tougher and hungrier and forces you to realize that you’re choosing all of this and it’s a privilege to have that choice and love something enough to keep making it over and over.

I’m relocating to the west coast for a few months right after Christmas because my hair looks better in low-humidity climates and I need a break from my flatiron.

The end for now. But as we will soon see, also the beginning.
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#blessed

Here is what I do not understand about Thanksgiving: People moan about having to spend all day in the kitchen preparing so many dishes for a dinner they all agree is excessive and guilt-inducing that will be shared with family they complain about having to see. Then when it’s all done, people frantically shop for the same family members they didn’t want to deal with and kick off a month-long holiday season focused around repeating this same ritual several more times.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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FAQ for that photo.

Have you seen this photo? Of course you have. Everybody has. It keeps making the rounds and that’s fine – it’s a great photo – but I’d like to address a few things once and for all.

2015 Gastown Grand Prix

Photo by Stefan.

Wow, what an amazing photo!

Yes.

Do you want to see the 76 photos I took of that same moment because I too had a camera and was there?

No.

Hope he’s okay!

Women crash too.

You should probably work on your cornering.

Thank you. Here is some math: I raced 26 crits this year. Assuming 4 corners per course and an average of 30 laps per race, that means I raced through 3,120 corners in 2015, not counting more technical courses, road races, TTs, and training. I ate shit in one of those corners. I feel okay with that ratio.

But since you are perfect, please tell me more about your riding.

That’s badass!

Yes, the photo is fantastic. The crash was ordinary; I took the sharp turn too tight while accelerating into that crosswalk and the bike slid out. I was a bit banged up but got back in the race and finished. This happens to men AND women in races regularly. While I would love to take credit for being hardcore for getting back on the bike, that’s my job. I wasn’t seriously hurt and I wanted to be in the race. I waited until after to cry.

Did you see the photo appeared on [Cycling Tips, Facebook, a billboard on the moon]?

Probably. Is it the same photo as it was in the previous hundred appearances? Yes? Okay. Let me know when somebody starts printing tee shirts.

Will you autograph it for me?

I can be bought.

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Once more unto the breach, dear friends

And just like that, my off season has ended and preparation for the 2016 season has begun. I had to take a moment when getting ready to ride today to remember the routine – hmm, heartrate strap, oh yeah, shoes – and the first 50 meters on the bike were wobbly and awkward. But an hour later, it was as if there hadn’t been a break at all. I rode too hard, bonked a little, flipped the bird a time or four (a pedestrian clapped one of the times), and made a whole lot of promises to myself that I don’t intend to keep. More kale! Less scotch! Strict adherence to base mile pacing!

October is the season for optimism. (Mid-December is the season for the trainer and soul-sucking misery.)

It’s going to be a great year. #fyb2016 #supermintracing

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