Friday, September 25, 2009

First snow!

Yesssssssssssss! We had our first snow! (the first flurries were on the 22nd - just one day after average.) Not going to lie, I was a little torn about whether or not to want snow yet. On one side I was thinking about all the non-snow activities I might still be able to squeeze in once my knee recovers enough to play again, but on the other end, deep down inside, I was ok with the snow. I think that is a good sign to still get great joy out of the sight of the beautiful fluffy stuff whether in small flurries or in a horrendous snowstorm. Because hey, wherever you are living, you chose to live there. Why not rejoice in what you're given? I have never been around so many snow lovers and it makes it all the better.

Some flowers sport a couple of inches of snow in Delta.
Feels like summer never happened!
My friend Jenny gave me this plant on Easter of this past year and it finally produced a flower and opened on the first day of snow!
The only visitor we had was one of the flying kind...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chucking bike frames

A couple of weeks ago we had a "frame throwing contest" at Adam's bday party. A frame you say - a picture frame?? Nope.. old, rusty bike frames that are no longer usable. What a flashback to undergrad days! Haha. Thanks to Brandy for the photos!
I won 1st place in the women's division thanks to good luck and unknown frame throwing skills.. yesssssss! Adam and I show off our awards.
And why such a flashback to undergrad?? Oh, you know.. mini-bike races.. and misc other things... here is a buddy from undergrad, Rich, jumping into very cold water on a 35 degree day at a race in Massachusetts circa '06.. I remember this one so vividly! We got him to go in twice! And yes, that's me giggling like a goof in the background..
video

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keep Pushin'

Bike mileage: 18

13 mph...14 mph...15 mph...14 mph... ok, it looked like I was going to crawl along at 14 mph comfortably on flat road. On a road bike on flat road that is a pretty poor pace, but what mattered was that I was spinning, and my legs needed to adjust to what seemed so unnatural.

3 months and 1 day since I have been able to bike on real ground without having any pain. But on this day, 20 days after surgery, I did it and did it well. Today I was very hesitant to go on the LOL ride today after having a slightly "down" morning with the knee. But it seems that pain while walking around is not translating over to pain while biking. So on this, my first bike ride more than 5 miles in over 3 months, I was able to bike the full 18 miles of the LOL ride without a flinch of knee pain. Nothing was catching in there.. nothing hurt. It was then that I decided the knee surgery really was a success because I am able to do what makes me thrive. About a third of the way through the ride I was able to pick up the pace a couple of mphs, but nothing like I was able to do comfortably back in June. I'm not really used to going slow.. not even when commuting... I like to feel the wind in my face. It's more of a game to me than anything seeing how fast I can go down a hill. But today I was not worried about bringing in the rear because I was focused on not pushing too hard and enjoying the aroma of the falling leaves and what color is still left in the hills... not to mention being extremely thankful that I could bike and not hurt. The things we take for granted! Ballaine Hill gave me hell getting up it, but it didn't hurt. Slow and steady was the game. My butt hurt halfway through the ride for the first time in many many years. My muscles were asking me what the heck I was doing to them. But it all felt very good. I let 'er rip down Ballaine Hill and got to a max speed of 39 mph before thinking about the cracked helmet from June's bad bike crash (pre-injury) sitting in my house.. which prompted me to give the brakes a little bit of love.

Celine came along too and we respectively represented our alma maters.. whose teams are football enemies. :) Goooooooo Nittany Lions!
I spent the first half of the ride talking with Lindy, and we found we had a ton of similiarities. She wrote a very nice write up on her blog. The next two photos I've stolen from her. :)
The LOLs, Ladies of Leisure, are a group of women who ride every Thurs in town and are what their name suggests. Though, I think they are 5 times faster than they were in early June when I last rode with them! The best part about them other than their love of cycling is that their rides are focused around what food people bring for the end of the ride. :) Glad we have our priorities straight!
It's good to be back before the snow flies!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The smell of autumn

Autumn has come and is about to go! One windy night and the leaves will be all gone. We got some rain yesterday that wiped a lot of the leaves down, but there are still a few hanging on. The smell of dying plants and high bush cranberries is rather pungent this time of year, sending one into a sense of euphoria.. errr at least to someone who likes this time of year! Breathe in it, suckers! It won't be here for long. Soon it will be skis and fat tired bikes. Not such a bad thing...
Steve, Cameron and I took on the Upper Chena yesterday and barely made it back to shore before dark. The Upper Chena is much calmer than the Chatanika but still pretty and had a few sweepers and small waves. We got caught in two rain showers in the 18 mile float, but honestly being caught in a rain shower means I was getting out, and that is always a good thing. Despite the lack of sunshine we still had a nice time enjoying the fall colors and laughing about the stuff we could have used that was accidentally left in the car.
Winter is looming.. at work I checked out the weather models and our first chance for snow is either the 22nd or 23rd. Did I mention how much I love snow?!

I spy something silver in the trees! Could it be the Silver Bullet???? :)
Bike some, ice knee well, repeat!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chillin' on the Chatanika

Hoooooray! After feeling very down for a lot of this weekend because of perfect weather (70 and sunny, doesn't get better than that.) and inability to enjoy it fully AND knowing that last year on this weekend I had the most scenic bike trip ever, Erica and Steve invited me on a float trip up on the Chatanika. I was totally pumped about this, because I have been fighting with a semi-handicapped-ness in the sense that I am able to get around just fine and walk, but not for very long - so mentally I am in a go-go-go mood but my legs are like - "what the crap are you trying to do?! I still have stitches in me! You should be sitting down and wasting time away watching movies!" So, a less than 3 hour float on a new river was just up my ally. I sat there and barked orders at my paddling chauffeurs and provided commentary... and Twizzlers.

Colors are at their peak right now. But the good news is I get another (east coast!) autumn in October..... mmm speckled trees! Remembering that makes me not feel so bad about missing a few of my favorite weeks of the year here.
Erica was our guide. She used to be a canoeing guide down in Georgia so I trusted her with my life to not knock us in the water. So I guess this was a bit risky of a trip for me because it would blow chunks to have fallen out caught up in a sweeper without full swimming capabilities, but it was a risk I was very willing to take for this last beautiful weekend of the year. Everything worked out. But it sure was an exciting float trip. There were a lot of sweepers, tight turns, fast-moving water, and small rapids. A lot of stories didn't get finished because Erica and Steve would get distracted by more-intense-than-usual manuevers.
Cam tried so hard to nap on the trip but it was a bit too bumpy for him to pass out.. though it looks like he is below.
Thumbs up for floating something more exciting than the usual! I could get into this.

We made contact with a few trees... err.. maybe 4 or 5 total.. there were 3 in a row that we could not avoid. I was able to get my sunglasses on, sweatshirt hood up, and get down to canoe level but Cam shows some damage below from the sweeper contact. He was such a trooper!
I took a ton of pictures with Steve's fancy camera so once I get them from him I'll post more of the colors. In the meantime, my camera is at a near-death state.. moreso now because it got some water damage. It decided to turn on today (by itself), and let me grab these photos, so maybe it needs another day to dry out. Maybe it's just going to malfunction from now on. Meh, now's not the time to buy a new one so hopefully it will make it through another few months! This blog would suck without pictures!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Walk. Don't Run.

I got the nicest package in the mail today from some friends back in PA. The best part about it is that there were grilled stickies from The Diner in State College in it! Yummmmm. You know I am attracted to free food. In undergrad I was able to find a free lunch or dinner several times a week. Not so much here at the small university. Anyway.. too bad the package couldn't be retrieved on the 29th when it actually got here. Good thing is, the stickies are still absolutely delicious. :) Lots of other bum-around things in the package too!I've been taken care of really well by the friends I've been staying with. Anna has not only graciously invited me into her home (with running water!) but has been cooking for me as well. Here is one of my earlier meals when I was not able to keep much food down. The zucchini came out of my "garden". :) I can't tell you how miserable recovery would have been at the cabin for many reasons. I will spare you those details.
Here is a picture of Celine, Ashlee, Joel and Celine's parents visiting from the midwest, the day before surgery. Joel and Celine have been popping in and out of the place I'm stayinsg at. It has been nice getting random visitors.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Susitna registration is open!

Registration for the Susitna 100 and Lil' Su 50k is open.

....who's with me?!!!!!!!!!!!
(p.s. let's ignore the fact that I'm still using a crutch. It's 5 months away!)