Saturday, May 31, 2008

Race Anticipation

We opted not to leave to go up North last night because I was too tired. Instead, I took a nap and then we went downtown to Kelly's for a while to hang out and show off some of our wedding photos. I'm just waiting around now for Chris to get up and get ready so we can head to the cabin.

Our next mountain bike race is tomorrow at Hanson Hills. I'm really looking forward to it. I want to test my theory that I will actually be less cautious (scared) on my mountain bike now that the wedding is over. I'm also feeling pretty confident after pre-riding the course that I can give it everything I have without having it completely kick my butt. I also have a time in mind that I'm shooting for that no one knows but Chris. It may be a little ambitious for me, too. We'll see how it goes. I hope I am not setting myself up for disappointment.

I know I haven't been riding much because of the whole wedding/trip to Key West thing, but I'm hoping I have enough conditioning and determination to pull off a decent race. I'd like to make up some points in the CPS on those who won't be doing this race.

I'm also extremely stressed out because of work right now. I have some crap hanging over my head that I haven't been able to stop thinking about much and I'm looking forward to being able to put my energy into something else for a while.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back in the Saddle

We had a great weekend up at our cabin. I was a little concerned about how it would look after being gone all winter, but everything was just the way we left it. Some friends camped out on our property and my mom brought her camper. There were a couple of long walks for the puppies. Mom and Maizey met some horses down the road from us.
Gretchen and Maddy enjoyed spending some quality time with us.

A little bird has taken up residence on the front porch of our cabin.

On Saturday, we headed to Rifle River State Park, which is only about a half hour from our cabin, to try out the mountain bike trail there.

My mom usually sticks to her road bike, but she was a trouper and went mountain biking. We ended up being out for almost three hours.

The trail was not technical at all, but there were several big climbs at the beginning and the end. It was fun riding and very scenic.

I felt pretty good for not having been on my mountain bike for a long time although I was really dragging by the end. Of course, I need to start going on longer rides if I'm going to do that six-hour race at the end of the season.

There were a couple of interesting obstacles, such as this bridge that they clearly didn't want people to ride over.

There was also an unexpected river crossing.
There was no rest for the wicked, though. Sunday we headed to Grayling to preride the Hanson Hills course. For some reason, I didn't actually get any photos there, but I was pretty happy with the ride. Even though I was very tired from riding so long the day before, I was able to finish and didn't have to walk any of the course. I should be able to do it a lot faster next week when I am rested. I was also glad to find out that there was nothing even remotely sketchy except one downhill at the very end. It looks like Hanson Hills is going to be the easiest course in the whole race series, so I'm looking forward to pushing myself next week to try for a decent time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Okay, enough about weddings and trips to Key West. It's time for this blog to go back to its original intent. It's also time for me to get my butt back on my bike. This weekend we head up North to our cabin. We haven't been there since October. Our next race is next weekend at Hanson Hills. It's in Grayling, about 40 miles or so from our cabin. I've never ridden the course and neither has Chris, so we're planning to preride this weekend. Since it's a holiday and we have an extra day, we're hoping to get in at least two separate rides, probably Hanson Hills and Rifle River.

I'm also third place in the Championship Point Series at this juncture. That's third out of seven. Of course, all the people who are behind me either only did one race or haven't done any. I am 13 points behind second and 22 points behind first. I'm hoping to close the gap a little next weekend.

I know I still never posted a race report for Fort Custer, and I really don't feel too much like doing it at this point. However, here is a short recap in bullet point form.
  • I didn't crash at all.
  • I finished with a time of 1:16:53. That was less time than I thought it would take me, but not good.
  • Five people in the beginner class (which only did one lap) had slower times than me. Every one of them was under the age of 14.
  • I was hanging in there early, but started to lose time when I started being way too cautious. I walked far too many things I ought to have ridden.
  • I lost even more time when I stopped to help a little girl who couldn't have been more than 10 and had dropped her chain. For some reason, I couldn't help her get it back on. After wasting a bunch of time not helping, I ended up flagging down a guy who wasn't racing to help her. After her chain was back on, she passed me and beat me.
  • I blame my overcautiousness on not wanting to injure or disfigure myself so close to the wedding. I'll figure out at Hanson Hills if that is really a legitimate excuse or if I actually haven't made any progress at all toward growing a pair.
  • I still had fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Davis

We're married! Here are some random photos of the big day from our personal cameras. It was perfect. I'm so glad we did it exactly the way we did.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Family Day

Yesterday was another action packed day. I am starting to realize I am not taking nearly enough photos and of the photos I did take, every other one was Sebastian. I started the day by walking down Duval Street to the place my parents are renting. No one was awake but my mom, so I gave her a Mother's Day present and we went for a walk.

My dad was still sleeping when we returned, but Jeff (my bro) and Sebastian (my nephew) were awake, so we took Mom out for breakfast. Of course, I didn't take any pictures at breakfast except this one of Sebastian, so I guess that was kind of silly. Breakfast was one of the best meals I've had since I've been here. We went to Croissants de France. We ordered two different kinds of quiche and crepes and all shared with each other. After the meal, they brought us complimentary petit fors for Mother's Day. They mistakenly thought I was Sebastian's mom, but I didn't correct them. They brought one for Sebastian, too, even though he's not a mother because they didn't want him to feel left out. I think that's the first time I've ever eaten dessert with breakfast.

This photo didn't turn out very good, but it's one of the few photos I have that my dad is in, because he never, I mean never, goes anywhere. (It looks like Sebastian is sucking his thumb, but he just has his hand in front of his face.)

My first bright idea of the day was to walk to the Key West Eco Discovery Center with the family. It was a long walk and was in the mid-90s, broiling hot. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the hours, and it was closed on Sunday. (This photo was taken in front of a ship we passed on the way there.) Our backup plan was the aquarium and we walked through Truman Annex and played in the fountain on the way to cool off.

Sebastian seemed to enjoy the aquarium, even though it was a little small. We were able to get out of the heat and the sun a little. They had a touch tank with sea cucumbers, sea anemones starfish and hermit and horshoe crabs.
Sebastian even got to "pet" this guy.

The Symons (my aunt and uncle and cousin) and Kamchatov (my cousin and her husband and baby) families finally made an appearance after arriving late on Saturday. Little Ethan slept through most of Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Honestly, I was getting a little frazzled trying to hang out with all the new people who were arriving and spend time with everyone. I didn't do a very good job, but hopefully I'll be able to spend more time with Chris' family today.

Chris and I barely saw each other yesterday. We spent most of our time entertaining other people and hanging out with our respective families.
We ended the evening on the balcony at the Bull Whistle, looking down on Duval Street and people watching. Here's Chris' mom and stepdad.

Daniel and Jolie, friends of Chris' parents (and us!)

Kelli (Chris' sister) and her husband Johnny (In the background in the blue is my dad! I think he was actually starting to have a good time!)

Our friends Kryne and Jeremy

The rehearsal is this afternoon. I can't believe tomorrow is my wedding day. It's almost here!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Action Packed

We got up early this morning since we had to be at Sunset Marina for our fishing trip at 7:45. We chartered a boat with our friends Kryne and Jeremy. Jamie was our captain. It was a blistering hot day and we were all glad we booked for the morning rather than the afternoon.
I was the first to catch a fish. I got this grouper fairly early in the trip. It was almost big enough to keep, but not quite, so I threw him back.
Chris did some serious fishing.
A big surprise of the day was this bonnethead shark that grabbed onto his shrimp bait.
It hung on for a while and Chris had to be really careful with him because the line wasn't really made for reeling in something that big.
He finally got him in the boat for long enough to get a photo before throwing him back.
Kryne fought with a Spanish mackerel for a while before making him dinner.
Chris also caught a nice yellowfin snapper. Good eatin'.
In the early evening the Greens (Chris' mom and stepdad) and friends Jolie and Daniel arrived. We hung out with them and Chris' sister Kelli and her husband at Conch Republic Seafood Company. We had some tasty Key West shrimp dishes.

We closed out the evening listening to Ben play at Guy Harvey's, which was a place we'd never been before. The bonus was they had televisions there and we got to watch the Wings beat up on the Stars and we didn't have to miss Ben's show to do it. My uncle and cousin (both Gregs) arrived in town later and joined us for a couple cocktails. More Key West fun tomorrow.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good Times

It's been a busy couple of days here in the Conch Republic. Yesterday evening, our friends Kryne and Jeremy arrived. They didn't decide they were coming until a couple of weeks ago and we were really glad they came. We hung out with them last night at Conch Republic Seafood Company for happy hour. We watched the Red Wings game at the Lazy Gecko and then hit Big 'Uns for a little of Matt Avery's show. Ben had the night off, so we didn't see him.
This morning, I spent some time putting the finishing touches on the out of town bags we're going to be giving our guests as they arrive.
Then Chris and I went to the Mason County Clerk to apply for our marriage license. We ended up filling out our paperwork next to a couple who is also from Lansing.
At 12:30, I went for my hairdo trial. Marie-Pierre is doing my hair and she is awesome. She made it to Key West from France after living in New York and San Francisco for a while. She's very interesting to talk to. She's coming to my mom's hotel room the day of the wedding to do my hair and airbrush makeup.
I'm really happy with how my hair turned out. I love the curls and how soft it looks.

After stopping by the salon for a wax and a wonderful, hour-long pedicure with all kinds of minty scrubs and foot masks and such, I stopped by Captain Tony's to catch the end of Ben's act. This is Ben's dog, Renny. Who knew Ben had a dog? I asked him why he didn't feed her.
We ended the evening with dinner at Turtle Kraal's. We even watched the turtle races. Now we're chillin' in our room since we have to leave early in the a.m. for our backcountry fishing trip.

Blog Interrupted

Yes, I know I haven't put up a race report from Fort Custer yet. I also know that this is supposed to be a blog about riding my bike. However, I am currently in Key West, getting ready to get married, so for the time being, this blog is being commandeered by wedding/Key West stuff, because it's the perfect way to stay connected with the poor souls who had to stay home. I know the three other people who read my blog will probably be bored, but it's only temporary.

Chris updated his blog yesterday, and he used all the photos I was going to use, so you might as well just look at

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Race Day—Waxing Philosophical

It's race day again and I'm spending a few minutes this morning reading blogs and trying to relax. There has been so much going on lately in preparation for Key West and the wedding that I haven't had much time to be nervous or worried, though I have been completely stressed out in general, swearing a lot and getting frustrated by things that are not worth it. In the months leading up to my starting this blog, I became obsessed with reading other people's blogs. I have a few favorites in my rotation, and out of those, there are only a couple who I've met or even have a chance of meeting. Even so, I feel a connection with all of them. I only know the name of one of my neighbors, but I know the day-to-day happenings of a bunch of people scattered across the country who I have never met. In this modern age, on blogs is where I find my community. So it may seem kind of silly that I have been spending my race morning crying in front of Fat Cyclist's blog, which is normally pretty funny. He has just received news in his wife's ongoing battle with cancer that has devastated his family.

When you hear news like this from someone, you think about them and wish them the best, but I think inevitably your thoughts turn to making connections with your own life or finding disconnects. My disconnect comes when I put my life in perspective with his news. How can I be so upset about losing my keys, Chris not liking a song I picked out for the wedding, any of the little things every day that make me scream, cry and swear? Of course, none of us really knows what will happen to us tomorrow, but from my current vantage point, it looks like I have a bright future full of opportunity stretching out before me. I am getting married in nine days to someone I love who (conveniently) loves me back and our life is good.

That being said, I'm going to race today because I can and because, in the overall scheme of things I have nothing to worry about. And like everyone else who reads Fat Cyclist religiously, I will be hoping and praying for a miracle.

Of course, I may be able to influence my thoughts, but my stomach clearly has a mind of its own.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Interesting Choice

This Sunday is my second mountain bike race. It's at Fort Custer. I'm actually really excited for it, and have been studying the times from last year for my age group and doing some math (yes, math) to figure out what kind of a time would be feasible. For the last race, I just wanted to survive and finish without hurting myself. Those two things are obviously still important, but now that I have one race under my belt I'm feeling a little more confident about goal setting. And though I had an idea of what I thought my finishing time would be for that first race, it wasn't really a goal, it was more of a prediction, and it left a lot of room for error and general slowness.

This course is about 2.5 miles shorter than the course for the last race. It's also supposed to be an easier, faster trail. The hills are significantly smaller and there's not that whole sand issue. That being said, I should feel at the same disadvantage, if not more of one, as I did before the last race. That's because:

  • I haven't pre-ridden the course. I have ridden parts of it, but not for a couple of years.
  • this trail really intimidates me. I had one of my worst crashes on it.
  • it's a cross country race, which is a little different than the time trial I did at Yankee. It means that several people will be starting at the same time as me, as opposed to me starting on my own. Riding on a trail with a crowd of people is out of my comfort zone, since I'm always worried about being in someone else's way.
  • I haven't ridden all week.

Oh, and here's the biggest reason I might be at a disadvantage.

I am racing in my second mountain bike race ever, three days before I leave for Key West to get married and a mere 9 days before my wedding.

I have so much left to do before we leave and believe it or not, I'm a little preoccupied. So, you would think I wouldn't have very high hopes. Instead, I have a pretty ambitious goal for my finishing time. I'm not going to reveal what this time is on my blog until after the race. The only one who knows at this point is Chris, and it's going to stay that way. After the race, I'll reveal my pre-race goal and indicate whether I made it or not.

At this point, there are four women (including me) in my age group. Online registration closes tonight, and there will no doubt be some onsite registrations, so it'll probably be about the same size group as the Yankee Springs race.

Random photo at the top is Chris and I in Key West (where else?). I thought I had too many rambling posts with no photos lately, so I decided to do a rambling post with a photo.