Wednesday, July 26, 2006

2 wheel drive bike for the Iditabike. ONLY $5000. No thanks. Posted by Picasa

My fumblings and bumblings but I get it in the end or how I got unstuck from my bike

I recently was given clipless road pedals for my road bike. I bought some shoes a while back, $225 Sidi shoes on clearance at REI for $80. The only pair, women's and just my size. It was fate, it was meant to be, I could not pass up that bargain, I had to buy them.

I have been riding the 2 sided Shimano SPD "campus" style pedals, one side clips in, the other is like a reg pedal and Shimano shoes that look like normal, albeit ugly, shoes. Worked great but I am ready to move to the tinkerbell looking road shoes. So Sunday I swap the pedals. I mount the cleats on the shoes and clip in. I didn't tighten the cleats fully so I could center them. That's when the trouble began. I tried to clip out, the cleats slid because they weren't tighten enough to the shoe. I twist and twist both feet, no luck. Next I reach down to unbuckle the shoes. Nothing happens. I try the other shoe, nothing again.

These shoes have a ratchet mechanicism with a red lever on the sides of the ratchet to release it. The instructions say to "push" the red lever. I push and push, this way and that, nothing happens. I'm totally stuck to my bike and stuck in my shoes. I'm leaning against my couch and between the couch and the wall. I don't want my husband to come in and find me cuz then he will know....yeah, that's right, it doesn't make sense but that's the way it is. So I'm in a situtation. I'm comtemplating how to ride backwards as I can't go forwards, to get to my tools on the floor behind me and cut off my shoes or remove the pedals without breaking a bone or something. This goes on for a few minutes. I decided to slid off on to the back of the couch, a mistake, because my legs aren't as multi-jointed as that requires. I get back on the bike. I cuss.. I decided to work on the red lever again and this time I press DOWN and just like that, I'm released from my shoe!!!! I couldn't BELIEVE it, how could I miss that?? I get the instructions that came with the shoe, it just says to press to release. No directions on WHICH WAY to press. It didn't look like it could be pressed DOWN, but yes, that is how it works and it works great.....needless to say, it was not one of my brightest moments. I started laughing so hard at myself, it still makes me chuckle. I was ready to dismantle these shoes or take apart my bike while I was still on it...yeah, that's right, it doesn't make sense but that's the way it is.

So I'm feeling alright now. I take the bike out for a ride and it's still difficult to clip out of, the pedals are soo tight. I loosen the tension until I'm afraid they may fall apart and even grease them up where the cleats clip in. I go for a ride, I can clip out but it still requires a concentrated effort and much harder than my SPD's.

I seek out advice on the bike forums. Some people think these Look-style pedals require you to twist your foot IN towards the bike, SPD twists OUT away from the bike. I have been twisting OUT. Got the directions again, it just says to twist, no directions on which way to twist. Tried it out and yes, it comes right out easily. Yeah, that's right! Now EVERYTHING is right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dinner on the grill after the Talkeetna mudbath ride...everything tastes better after a ride :) Posted by Picasa

My latest Beer and Bike picture...Alaskan Amber, needed it badly after the Talkeetna ride Posted by Picasa

Trails EXCEPTIONALLY BAD from 4-wheelers tearing it up, those ruts are really deep and the mud super slick. Wasn't a fun ride, the trail got progressively worse. Talk about trail descruction Posted by Picasa

This is from a few weekends ago up at Talkeetna, the Bartlett Earth Station, where they used to talk to little green men living on the red planet  Posted by Picasa

Johnson Pass Posted by Picasa

Messed up legs from my crash on the Gold Mint Trail  Posted by Picasa

More Johnson Pass Pictures Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

Yeah, I know about the blood doping charges, but this is personal and I'm glad he's fighting for me... Posted by Picasa

Great ride! Planning on doing an overnighter sometime in August Posted by Picasa

Lots of mountain streams and waterfalls Posted by Picasa

Lots of avalances. The area is so beautiful, we would just stop riding may times and look at the scenary around us. It was different around each corner. Posted by Picasa

Captain Balance  Posted by Picasa

Johnson Pass trail ride 07/15/06. Really a beautiful ride. Spur of the monent decision to ride it a few hours on our way to weekend at Hope Alaska Posted by Picasa

My yearly reflection

I've started running again. My shoulder can finally handle the bouncing (most of the time) doesn't feel like it will dislocate. I am thinking of running a 5K in Anchorage next weekend. So as I sweat and gasp on my treadmill, my mind wanders. It wanders to back to what I used to be. I used to really be something, compared to what I am now and I miss that part of me, damn it. My birthday always stirs up musty memories that I only allow myself to think about 1 time a year, commenting about it out loud only 1 time (this is the time) and then sweep it back under the rug.

I used to rock climb. It was hard for me because I have always been afraid of heights and would get the vertigo thing happening, and because is was hard for me is why I started climbing in the 1st place. I had plans to learn to sky dive. I hiked Ressurection Pass with a pack that was almost half my body weight. I ran fast, worked hard, took care of my family and was living a strong life.

Then my body started failing. Slowly, slowly at 1st. Weird things, like my hearing started to fail. Then vertigo would hit at the most awful time, like driving down the road at 65 miles per hr. I got my ears check, turned out I had a condition called Otosclerosis which fuses the middle ear bones together so no sound is passed on to the inner ear. I started wearing hearing aids, which sucked. If I had been anywhere else but Alaska, I probably would have immediately been evaluated for surgery which replaces the stapes bone with a titanium piston and been good to go. But no, I spent 10 years going profoundly deaf without hearing aids, getting stronger and stronger aids every year until finally my audiologist, going against professional ethics or something silly, told me that there WAS help for me and told me about the House Ear Clinic in L.A. The doctors here in Alaska NEVER told me there was a fix, NEVER A WORD. They told me my only option was hearing aids. I did research then asked my Dr. about the surgery, he said he knew about it and has even participated in the surgery a "few dozen times". So why was I never told about it?? It's just not a common procedure here in Alaska was the answer. But he could do it and so we started talking about it. It would mean putting me under, take about 6 hrs, recovery time about 6 weeks, blah blah blah. At the House Ear Clinic, they pioneered this surgery, total time is about 40 minutes with laser and you can jump on a plane 48 hrs later. I elected to go to LA. When I told my Dr. he was mad and told me he will refuse me as a patient if I go down there. I told him that is no loss for me as he let me go deaf for 10 fucking years when it was not necessary and I don't have confidence in his surgical skills or that he is concerned about providing the best care for his patients. Dr. E is more ego than physican. I went to LA 3 years ago, had both ears done (not at the same time) and I can hear again, not totally normal but I'm damn happy with the results.

The other thing I think about is the day I ended up in the emergency room (07/04/95) thinking I may be having a stroke or something. I had been feeling REALLY bad, sick, dizzy, head hurting, limbs not working, weak, weak, weak. Something was not right, hadn't been for awhile but this was worse than ever. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on 07/07/95, my birthday. Turned into a semi-vegetable. Took a long time to recover. Lost myself physically, didn't even look the same, medications made me look like the Stay-Puff marshmallow guy. Husband split, couldn't handle the new, sick me. Dr's said I was weak and frail and do NOT excercise or do ANYTHING stressfull and wrote perscriptions for everything from sleeping pills, anti-depressants to pain meds to stumulants. I refused them all except for the actual medication for MS itself. Last thing I needed to be was a junkie. Started on MS med which was a low-dose cancer chemotherapy drug, made me sick EVERY DAY, hair loss, liver out of whack.

Quit that med, quit the doctors, quit the ms self help groups, quit the social security disability process, started working again, went back to school, gathered my kids close to me, reached for a little of who I used to be. Became weak and frail phycially, but strong in spirit. A different, more mature strength than I had before.

Met a guy, told him the 1st time he took me to lunch about me, laid it all out, I wasn't going to let anyone get close to me without knowing EXACTLY what I was. I will never forget the look on his face, the color drained totally out of his face, I have never seen anything like that. I said thank you for his time and lunch and walked away. But it was good, because I'm not much for bullshit and didn't have any interest in games or relationships. I had myself and my kids to take care of. I had no time for anyone else. He called me a few days later and kept on calling. I found a dr that was ok with not making me into a junkie and a MS drug that didn't make me sick. Started living again.

So my life has come in a circle, not a full circle, more of a spiral. I remember how phyically strong I used to be and I miss it. I know what I was and what I now am. I know running and biking would be a much different experience for me if I still had that physical strength. But part of the old me still remains. Like the rock climbing I used to do and the running and biking I do now, I have returned to doing things because they are hard to do...and Life Is Good.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I SUCK at mountain biking

Crashed yesterday, sore today. I'm slow, I hold everyone up, my balance and strength are non-existant. Big gash into my shin as well as bruises and aches in other spots. No damage to the BIKE though. I don't know how I ended up on my back facing the uphill after the crash when I was riding downhill, happened fast, I'm not even sure what went wrong. Got up and started riding again, what else could I do, cry? maybe I wanted to..because I suck.

I sold my Cannondale yesterday, 750 smackers.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

the BIGGEST dork here! (Go down "I'm such a dork" and read from the bottom up) Posted by Picasa

I'm Not... Posted by Picasa

Maybe.... Posted by Picasa

Hmmm.... Posted by Picasa

I'm such a dork.... Posted by Picasa

Birthday Beer Posted by Picasa

39 years old, do I have to grow up?? Posted by Picasa

39 Years - Beer and Birthday

My birthday 07/07, Hiked in to a Yurt in Eagle River. No bikes allows, had to hike in. Lots of bears, lots of beer. Since no bikes allowed, it's a Beer and Birthday shot instead. This is one of my favorite beers, Octoberfest Spaten.