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outside help

18 Oct

I’ve never been great at asking for help.

I’m not really sure where this personality trait came from.

I like to think that it is because I was raised as a strong, independent woman but in reality it is probably because I am stubborn and think that I can only rely on myself most of the time. Don’t get me wrong! I mean I love it when Kyle helps around the house. But lets just say that he hasn’t quite perfected the art of laundry. Like the time he left wet clothes in the washer for four days and the mildew smell just about made me loose my breakfast and want to run out of the apartment.

Regardless of the reason for my independence, this is a matter of fact. Normally I wouldn’t ask someone to go get me a napkin at a restaurant or for my husband to go get me a hot dog on his way home from work at 10 o’clock at night, but pregnancy has allowed me to break out of my self-sufficiency shell and start asking for some help. I don’t feel like it has gotten to the point of taking advantage of people, and I hope it never does, but I do feel like I have taken some pleasure in passing some responsibility to take some self-induced pressure off myself.

During my 14 weeks of pregnancy, I have felt guilty about one thing. I really have not eaten as clean and healthy as I was before we took our trip to California. For a while, nothing sounded good to me. And for a while, all I wanted was french fries and ranch dressing. And throughout this whole 14 weeks, I really have allowed myself to eat whatever sounded good to me at the time, and if that included pizza and candy corn, then so be it. For instance, my breakfast choices have been cereal or almost-plain oatmeal. My lunches and dinner: soup, pre-made salads, mashed potatoes, guacamole and chips, whatever. Nothing spectacular and certainly nothing blog-worthy.

On the other hand, there are a two things about this situation that has made me feel a bit less guilty than I thought I would. It has been nice to eat freely and not obsess about remaining gluten and dairy free. Also, I still have not gained much weight thus far, so this makes me feel that I haven’t over-indulged in potato chips and french fries to the point of insanity or danger.

But the guilt remains that I really have not been fueling my body or our baby very well and I most certainly have not been cooking much at all for my husband. Now that I am getting my appetite back and I am ready for some healthy food again I am sensing that it is time I need to start eating better and get back into the kitchen. The only problem with this is that I have NO culinary creativity currently (see list of meals above). Almost nightly I am texting Kyle to ask him what he thinks I should make for dinner.

Luckily, I’ve been contacted by the VeloPress company to help review their latest cookbook The Feeding Zone by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. This book is very much geared towards athletes. Since finding out our great news, I’ve taken back seat in this area, but my husband is still working hard on his cycling endeavors. Even so, this book is not only for athletes. While thumbing through the pages upon its arrival, I was drawn to the short ingredient lists, minimal prep and cook time and clean, fresh ingredients. Simplicity with a purpose. And truthfully the generous protein servings and nutrient dense ingredients will be perfect for a growing baby. This book makes me feel comfortable with the time and nutrition that it will provide my family.

Tonight we try out Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie.

This recipe was really easy. And I will be honest that when I was piling the meat in with the mashed potatoes on top, I thought there would be little flavor, merely because there were so few ingredients. But I was wrong! It was great and very comforting on a chilly fall evening.

This recipe perfectly embodies what I mentioned earlier about there being good, lean protein sources as well as vital nutrients for both a growing baby and a training athlete.

I’m looking forward to more help from this source. I’ve got not problem leaning on chef Biju and doctor Lim for meals because otherwise, we’re back to eating cereal and spaghetti with jar pasta for dinner.

Kaleigh

LIFE

11 May

I’m back.  I know it has been like 15 years since my last post, and honestly it is because I have been LAZY! If you know me, you know this isn’t a huge surprise. Unless I get myself super motivated to do something I probably let it drift on by, and lately that is what I have been doing in regards to this blog.  Plus Kaleigh is killing it with posts, so I figured I would fade into the background for a while.  But hopefully that is all going to change now, I have a few ideas in the hopper on what to share with you all and my creative juices are starting to flow again.  This may be in part because my left shifter has broken on my bike.  I think it is just old, but this creates a void in how I have been spending my time, since I haven’t been able to ride my bike (Being able to shift is important it turns out) I have been filling up this spare time with other activities.  By taking some time off the bike I feel like I have discovered that I really want to do A LOT of different things everyday.  Working 40 hours a week, I usually get two days off, so how I spent those two days turns into a constant debate, usually I would spend a good 5-6 hours on my bike, but since that isn’t happening right now I have started to look at other things.

I’ve decided that I really want to learn how to rock climb.  Living so close to the mountains, I feel like it would be stupid of me not to spend more time in them doing things.  I really would love to get good at climbing and take a trip to another country to climb (I think this inspiration comes from a friend of mine who was able to go to Patagonia and climb a few years ago).  More realistically though I feel like I want to climb all the fourteeners in CO.  My best friend and I have been talking about this all year and hopefully soon we will begin our quest.  Along these same lines, I want to do some backpacking this year.  I love being outside and being able to get away from everything even if it is just for a few hours is so therapeutic.  Kaleigh and I really want to get out there this year, take advantage of being young and healthy and see what we can find.

I also really want to become a photographer.  After we got our sweet Canon for Christmas this year it has opened my eyes to how much fun taking pictures can be.  Again this is an expensive hobby, and realistically I probably won’t ever become super skilled in the photographic arts but I would like to be able to take some great pictures for our house, family and friends.  I wonder if there are any good books to help me figure out what I am doing, because let’s be honest, I have no idea what all those buttons and dials do on my camera.  I’ll have to look into that.

I really want to read…a lot!  I am kind of have ADD when I read, and I am constantly in the middle of at least three books, while purchasing more.  Take my current situation as an example…I am currently in the middle of Traitor to His Class by H.W. Brands, about the life and presidency of FDR, Better Off by Eric Brende, about living life without modern technology, and Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, about Lewis and Clark.  I also have recently purchased and am eager to start Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik.  All of this doesn’t even take into account the numerous magazine articles that I am constantly reading from Mental Floss, Outside, Backpacker, and numerous cycling magazines.  It really is overwhelming when you think of it.  There is so much information out there and some many ways to get it, that even if you spent all day every day reading you would never get close to reading everything on your list.  Oh well one book at a time, or three in my case.

It seems like life is flying by.  Today is one of my days off and it is already half over! I don’t know what I have accomplished, pretty much nothing besides getting milk and watching stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia.  It’s a rainy day today and it seems like a good day to just sit down and read.  I have already had two cups of coffee but I feel like I want more.  Coffee really is addicting.  Kaleigh and I will be married for two years in July! That is crazy to me. On the one hand it seems like we have been married for much longer and on the other hand two years seems like a long time.  I wonder what year three will hold.

I am going to turn 25 this year.  I don’t quite know how I feel about that. 25 is halfway to 50, but it really doesn’t seem that old, I still feel like I am 21 or so though.  I have been thinking a lot about what I have done with my life so far, and what I still want to do which must mean I am getting more mature, although I wouldn’t bet on it.  It’s amazing how quickly life can end. You never know what is going to happen when you wake up, in fact you really don’t know what is going to happen when you go to sleep (I have been watching a lot of House with Kaleigh lately so I am well aware of various diseases and general medical weirdness). I guess the only way to live is in the moment, not to worry about tomorrow because who even knows what is going to happen in the next half hour, let alone tomorrow.  That’s how I try to live my life, in the moment. I guess it’s worked so far.

Anyway there you have it, a kind of random post about nothing really, but I am back to the blogging world and in fact there may be multiple posts in the works for today.  Thanks for reading.

Allez, Allez, Allez!!

1 Apr

This weekend the racing season gets going full-bore.  I am going to be racing the Louisville Criterium on Saturday and the Groove Subaru Spring Classic Criterium on Sunday.  Then next weekend I will be racing the daunting Mead-Roubaix road race.  These next two weekends should be a great test of how the rest of the season is going to go and what I am going to accomplish this year.  I feel like my form going into these races is better than in years past, and if how many races I have already won in my head is an indicator of how this season is going to go, it’s going to be a good one…I am on a new team this year, Sonic Boom Racing p/b Lucky Pie Pizza and this team is heads and shoulders above any other team I have been a part of, they have set me up to succeed and our team looks to be very strong.

Before every race I get nervous.  There are so many thoughts that go though your head from self-doubt to thoughts of riding away from the field to win solo.  And honestly ever race is different, there are so many different variables that come into play that are out of your control it is best to just sit back, relax and roll with the punches.  I am going to try to take that attitude into my racing this year.  I am still going to go as hard as I can and give every race everything I have, but I’m going to try to not worry too much about what could happen before the race even starts, and instead just RACE.  We’ll see how it goes.

This year the American Cycling Association (the ACA) has decided to implement a timing chip system for all ACA sanctioned races.  There has been a lot of negative response to this push from the ACA, but honestly I like the idea.  If all goes according to plan there should be greater accuracy in recording close finishes and disputes about results should be almost non-existent.  Plus having a sweet timing chip attached to your bike, makes you look a little more professional and a little less amateur, at least in my opinion.  The ACA requires that you place the chip on your head tube, and I placed my chip on my bike the other day, and while it does look a little strange I am hoping that it will make things easier for everyone this year.

 

Ready for Action

 

 

On a side note my legs are getting tan.  Cyclists have a lot of weird quirks and tan legs is one of them.  This is the thinking of most cyclists I know:

Tan legs = Great tan lines = A better rider

Now there really is no benefit other than psychological to having distinct tan lines, but mine are coming along great so hopefully this weekend my racing will reflect that.

 

Good Start...

 

 

Anyway look for some race reports about this weekend in the next few days on the Racing! page of the blog and feel free to send me a good luck prayer or positive thoughts, they always help!

Hair

17 Jan

“Why do you shave your legs?”

That is usually the response I get from friends, family and strangers alike when I tell them I am a cyclist.  Well here is the answer as I see it…

a)  It is for crashing.  If you race bikes you will crash.  When you crash you inevitably will get road rash and need lots of bandages to keep those wounds clean.  Now it is a lot easier and a lot less painful to replace a bandage on your leg when you don’t have any hair on it.

b) It feels sweet.  If you have never experienced freshly shaved legs in a bed of nice cool sheets you aren’t really living. Consider it.

c)  It makes your muscles look bigger and more impressive.  Seriously it does.

d) It’s an outward sign to others that you mean business.  Think of it like getting baptized.  Baptism isn’t something that is required by God for you to get into heaven.  Instead it is a proclamation to others that you believe in God.  Shaving your legs as a cyclist is the same thing.  It isn’t something required to make you a good cyclist, instead it is an outward sign of your commitment. (And committed you will need to be, considering the ridicule you will get from others)

SO I am committed and have been for a few years.  Over the winter though I do take a hiatus from shaving and let the hair grow since I will be doing no racing and any riding outside consists of covering every inch of your body from the cold.  But I am starting a new tradition this year.  The pro cycling season has officially started.  The Santos Tour Down Under is underway in Australia and since the pros are racing, I’ll be shaving.

With the first shave of the season I am reminded that I SUCK at shaving my legs.  I knew that a few months ago, but today I was reminded again.

Tools...

Given that I hadn’t shaved my legs for a few months, my legs were pretty hairy and the need to prep them with my electric clippers was a necessary part of the shave…

Hairy

After the clippers came the stars of the show.  A razor and some shaving cream.  And yes that I do use pink razors.  Shut up.

Workhorses

So despite using the electric clippers my manly leg hair clogged my pink razor about every three inches, so it was a long project.  But I was making headway.

Only 20 minutes in...

I soon had a few spectators...

About 30 minutes into my endeavour (Yes 30 minutes) and one leg down I proceeded to break my razor.  Kaleigh delivered a fresh razor with a little knowing smile and it was back to the grind.  I hate shaving with a new razor.  The blades are too sharp, there is no room for error, if you mess up THERE WILL BE BLOOD.  And today there was blood.  Honestly usually I nick one of my legs every time so it isn’t anything new.

Finally I was done, I had used all the hot water, broken one razor, the dogs were asleep and my hands looked like prunes.  But look at my results…

Boo Ya!

A few nicks...

Ladies I don’t know how you do it so successfully.  In fact any tips would be greatly appreciated since I still feel like I don’t know what I am doing.  But I am committed.  Bring on the new year!

Into the Wind

6 Jan

I love riding my bike.  I’m not entirely sure what it is about this simple act that gets my blood pumping but it does.  Maybe it is the fact that riding your bike is a solitary activity.  It is a great time to think about anything, and my thoughts have ranged from deep spiritual conversations with God to musings on why I love ketchup but hate tomatoes.  I have had a ton of great thoughts on the bike, but for some reason thinking while riding my bike is like a dream.  After I am done riding I can’t for the life of me remember any of the prophetic thoughts that I conjured up in my brain, just like trying to remember details of a dream you just woke up from.  It just can’t be done.  Sure I remember some things but the majority of thoughts get left out on the road.  Maybe that’s where they belong.  Maybe riding my bike is like an artistic outlet that lets my creativity flow.  Instead of painting pictures or making pots I ride my bike and think, creating ideas that are just for me.

I love riding my bike because of  the fact that you can’t talk your way into being a good cyclist.  It is the ultimate put up or shut up experience. When you are in a bike race you can talk the entire time about how good you feel and how much better prepared you are than everyone else.  You can have the Wilier Cento1 SL with $3000 Enve wheels (Both of which I wouldn’t mind owning), but ultimately its your legs not your bike or your mouth that are going to win you the race.  And the only way to get your legs into the shape they need to be in to succeed in any race is to work.  Pure and simple, you have to suffer on the bike to reap the benefits later.  You have no excuses either because it’s up to you.  The ball is in your court.  If you want to be a good cyclist you have to work for it.

I love riding my bike because there is always someone better than you.  This is true if you are a beginner cyclist swinging your leg over the top tube for the first time, all the way to the pro peloton.  Even the greatest cyclist ever Eddy Merckx, who won 333 races (Including 5 Tour’s, 5 Giro’s, 1 Vuelta, 3 World Championships, and 19 Monuments) in his career, lost.  There is always going to be someone better than you and that is humbling.

I love riding my bike because it is hard.  There are flat tires, headwinds, angry drivers, 17% grades, bonks, cramps, scary descents, crashes, rain, bees and traffic furniture to just name a few.  But the fact that it is hard is what makes it what it is.  One of my favorite parts of a ride is afterwards when I sit on my couch and think about what I just got through, what I just did and how it made me stronger, both mentally and physically.

I love riding my bike because it is slower than driving your car and faster than walking.  You can see so many amazing things when you are riding your bike.  It can take the form of an amazing sunrise, how clean and crisp everything looks after its rained, or a startled herd of deer on the next switch back.  Riding my bike allows me to enjoy this amazing world we live in.

I love riding my bike because it is beautiful.  Just look up anything that has to do with Rouler magazine or Elcyclista.  Look up photos done by VeloImages or The Blue and the Red.  True these are amazing photographers with a ton of skill taking pictures, but they are just capturing what makes riding your bike so great.  The beauty.

I leave you with an example of the beauty that riding your bike holds.  Below are a few pictures that I took after today’s ride.  It was windy, cold and wet but it was also amazing.  Even my meager photography skills can’t hold back the beauty of a training ride in Colorado.

 

A Wonderful Christmas = More Stuff

29 Dec

Alright so, have I shared with you that I am a borderline hoarder? With such a small space, this is not really productive. You really can’t tell walking into our house because thanks to years of working in tedious retail jobs, I am extremely good at organizing.

YES! It's color coded, and just in case you're wondering, so is my side of the closet.

But I mean, I am a proponent of “reduce, reuse and recycle”. I do admit I am mildly harkening back to elementary school platforms (or more recently, bureaucratic 60-year-old’s platforms) where the little green arrowed triangle is stamped on to our mushy little brains in hopes that we may some day throw that cream of mushroom soup can and our soon-to-be non-existent newspapers in the recycle bin and save the world!! (Cue Star Wars theme music)

But here’s the thing, I still have my Cabbage patch doll from my 1st birthday, Valentine’s Day cards from when I was 7, and I’ve taken up an ever-expanding collection of old clothes and various fabric in hopes that some day I will make something wonderful out of them.

Why do I still have these?!

And since some extremely lazy residents in our complex couldn’t walk another ten feet to dispose of their trash in the correct receptacle, we no longer have recycling in our apartments. So now I find it extremely hard to throw away beautiful glass jars (despite the fact I have not come up with ONE idea as how to repurpose them).

But wait, didn’t global warming get de-bunked? Shouldn’t all these ‘green’ practices that we have so happily adapted be making some sort of dent in this ‘horrible’ place we’ve created for ourselves? Who knows and really that’s an argument for another day.

Anyways, in our tiny little piece of the universe, it’s getting to be a bit much.The other day, as I was trying to pull out my gift-wrapping ephemera (i.e. re-used boxes, recycled tins and wrapping paper, ribbons, etc), I thought I was either going to be killed in an avalanche of stuff or have a panic attack complete with mental break down.

Watch out!

I even considered shelling out the extra dough each month so we can have a glorious chunk of real estate (comparatively speaking) for storage space, aka ‘a garage’. All of a sudden I had wholesome daydreams of a house (rented or bought is neither here nor there) with a lusciously green back yard for the dogs and multiple rooms complete with craft room for me and man cave for Kyle. Swoon!

Then… suddenly remembering our current balance in our checking and savings accounts… I dreamt of becoming a minimalist. Ravenously throwing things out left and right. Living off of dried beans and rice, no cable/internet, and the good Lord forbid, only two t-shirts and one pair of shoes, or shall I say sandals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO THANKFUL for the gifts we have received, but we are dealing with limited space here people! Luckily we received some things that are going to encourage organization. Yeah for bookshelves!

I believe the exact words I chanted upon opening were “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Is that blasphemous?

So needless to say the top of the list for resolutions and all that… CLEAN HOUSE!! But can I rid our place of things that I KNOW we will need at some point???

Ummmm…..

I think we need more storage.

From Helga to Heidi

24 Sep

So for those of you that have checked into this blog at some point since it’s inception  you may be aware that I like to ride my bike and that bike is named Helga.  I love Helga.  She is my constant companion through some very painful and physically straining hours every week and she has been with me on all of my crashes surviving to ride home.  That said I really want a new bike.  This is nothing against Helga, she is great and valuable to me but I am a guy after all and I always have my eye on things that are bigger and better…Some guys get excited about cars, some get excited about TV’s and electronics but I get excited about bikes!  Recently the annual trade show known as interbike has taken place in Las Vegas.  This event happens every year and is where all the cycling companies around the world come and reveal their new product for next year letting dealers and members of the media get a first look at their offerings (Next year I am going to try to go as a member of the media…this blog qualifies me as media right?).  Anyway if you want to check out some great reports on some of the new stuff for next year there are various media outlets to check out.  My favorites are:

Cyclingnews

Velonews

Elcyclista

As I was surfing through all the new stuff I was struck by one bike in particular from the Swiss company BMC.  The bike is called the Impec and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!

Beautiful!

The Impec literally took my breath away when I saw it…(Say what you will, make fun of me if you must but it totally did!).  The lines on it are amazing and the construction process is truely unique, check out the BMC link above to see a video describing it.

The joining of the tubes is accented by the red color. Amazing I say!

Anyway I love this bike and in the next 6 months or so, hopefully I will be getting a new bike to stand alongside Helga.  While I probably will not be able to afford the Impec, it is still a great fun to dream and fun to admire the amazing design and construction of bikes that is being presented at interbike this year.  If somehow I win the lottery or discover a collection of ancient gold coins in my parents attic then I will probably purchase the Impec but as that seems very close to impossible I am going to be looking for a few more budget minded bike in the next few months and hope to test ride all of them, so check back to see the reviews as I search for my new bike already dubbed Heidi!

A Few Random Thoughts…

19 Sep

First of all…

I officially HATE the HEAT!  Living in Colorado you have to get accustomed to the fact that on any given day you can have every type of weather there is excluding hurricanes.  You have to get used to the fact that you will have snow into late April and maybe even early May and that the month of August is going to be HOT with lots of rain.  Colorado is awesome in the fact that it has 4 distinct seasons and you have enough time each year to enjoy them.  That said it is September 19th and today’s temperature is 93 degrees!  At this point in the year I am looking forward to the coolness of fall, spending some time with Helga with a few more layers and just getting mentally prepped for the holidays, not sitting in the apartment sweating like a fiend while watching the Broncos beat the Seahawks on a field that is 120 degrees!  Don’t get me wrong I love summer, but please lets move on to FALL!

Next….

I was listening to some AM talk radio this morning on the way to work and heard about some important left-wing movie director (maybe the guy that directed Al Gore’s movie) talking about the fact that he was developing a movie about what is wrong with the American public education system (I guess it is called “Waiting for Superman“).  According to this guy, the reason that public schooling is so bad is that all public school teachers suck.  As a public school teacher I take extreme offense to this thought.  Granted there are some horrible public school teachers out there, but there are also some AMAZING public school teachers out there.  In my opinion without getting too involved into this debate the problem lies in funding and with testing…how do you expect teachers to succeed when the system they are confined to doesn’t work and in fact hasn’t changed for a couple hundred years?  Anyway it just continues to amaze me how many misinformed people there are out there and how easy it is for people to become instant experts on subjects they know nothing about.

Continuing…

Today is Sunday and I am happy to say that my family and I have done absolutely nothing all day (expect get some groceries).  Sam, Molly and even Kaleigh have already taken a nap today in the stifling heat of our apartment while I have been watching three professional sporting events at one time!   I have been splitting my television time between the Rockies vs. Dodgers and the Broncos vs. Seahawks.  At the same time I have been watching the U.S. Pro Road Race Championships which was won by a 21 year old named Ben King who soloed for 50 miles to win against the best American professional cyclists.  Amazing!  That is the way to win a bike race, alone after indescribable suffering…

Furthermore…

Kaleigh recently lost her job.  And while this was a very sudden, very surprising event I do think that nothing but good can come from this.  GOD has a plan for us and a plan for her and while this change of circumstances is going to change a lot of things in our lives I am really excited for her and the things that in store for her career and our lives.  So if you here of any good job openings in or around the CO area send them our way and we definitely take any of your prayers and thoughts as we transition to a new phase…

Lastly…

On a musical note there is one band that has been totally rocking my world lately.  A band that if you have not yet checked out you definitely need to check them out on your next iTunes surfing session (I’m not the only one that does this right?)  The band is Bon Iver and they are KILLER, ROCKIN, THE BEES KNEES (insert your favorite descriptive word)!  I don’t quite know what it is about them, but they have a very crisp, clean sound almost like you are listening to a jam session that is taking place in your living room that is soooo very addicting.  Skinny Love is a great song to start with as is Flume, but the new EP has some great songs on it as well.  Be sure to check out Blood Bank and Woods.  Below is the music video for The Wolves (Act I & II), another gem.

I hope everyone has a great week!  Remember to pray for us!

To Jam or Not to Jam? (And a few other tidbits)

25 Aug

A good time to think...

I always seem to think of the coolest most creative things when I am on my morning training rides.  And of course when I get home I forget all those great ideas that have accumulated in my head.  This morning was the exact same thing.  I know I thought of a great many things this morning in regards to what I wanted to do today, what I wanted to talk about, things I wanted to make, ways to make our apartment more stylish and the like, but when I got home did I remember any of it???  NO!  Kind of frustrating but oh well, maybe I need to rubber band a small notepad to my handlebars with an attached pen to jot down my musings.  Anyway just needed to get that out, the reason for this post is two-fold, first of all I want to see what everyone’s thoughts are in regards to listening to music while you exercise.  Especially cycling.  Personally whenever I ride by myself I usually bring Herbert II (My iPod) along but sometimes I love just listening to the sounds of nature and the wheels of the bike.  So what does everyone else think?  To Jam or Not to Jam?

Secondly what are some good work out songs?  Anything goes as long as it isn’t country, because lets be honest, country really isn’t music…

P.S.  This is how my ride ended today…..excellent!

Seriously!?!

That’s got to be a pretty lucky (or unlucky actually) shot.  How did I hit that nail at such an angle that it was propelled through the bottom of my tire and through the sidewall?  Somehow I think I should have bought a lottery ticket today!  By the way who leaves nails this big on the road?  Granted I didn’t see the offending nail until I saw it hanging out of my tire but why are nails this size on a busy street.  This could take out a tractor-trailer tire, let alone a 21mm bike tire.  Needless to say I rode home gingerly on a CO2 inflated spare tube with a giant hole in sidewall…not the kind of nervousness that I like.