Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Second Race

Last Saturday (the 14th) I participated in my second cross country mountain bike race! Yay! and all that fun stuff:)

The course was 4.5 miles up, then 4.5 miles down. I think the longest I've ever climbed at once is just over a mile. Needless to say, it was a very long climb for me. As I was pedaling (and walking when I had to) up that climb I was thinking, "Why is this fun?" Not in an "Oh my gosh, WHY am I doing this?" way, but in a truly curious way. How can something so painful be something you want do again. And again. And again...

I did enjoy it, truly. Around the moments I was thinking it would be really good if I could stop now. Fortunately those moments were very few :)

I mentioned last time my disgruntlement with standing on a podium and accepting congratulations I didn't feel I had earned. I was feeling that way again. I sat down next to Natalie (one of the ladies on team Pistis) and we were chatting. She helped me change my mind about that podium. (Me=second of two this time) She said who cares if there are only two or three ladies. You earned it because you came out here and finished a race and no one else did. And I thought, well you have a point there...

And so I felt quite a bit better about getting up there. I was still nervous in front of the crowd though and didn't carry myself very well, but...Oh well. :) (Ok--I stayed on the podium the least possible amount of time and hopped down, forgetting to look to see if the first place gal was on her way up or not. DUH!! A number of people had left already and there were a few empty podiums, and it was a little walk for most of the crowd to the stage...somehow I had it in my head that she was not coming. Whatever.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

My First XC Race :)

Last weekend it was off to Bend for a mountain bike race. We drove up on Saturday and set up camp in a team members yard. In spite of the fact that it was supposed to get down around 33 degrees that night. One can only afford so many hotel rooms.

After meeting our gracious host and setting up our tent we changed clothes and headed up to the course for a practice run. My mom had come along to watch the boys for us (Thanks Mom!!! On Mother's day even:) After a series of small mishaps, including a missing nut off my front tire, we finally set off.

We began on "the steepest climb" of the course (as I was repeatedly reassured by several kind folks) and wound our way around a couple miles of track. Part way up the longest climb Nate and I decided to turn around for my sake. So I wouldn't be too tired the next day. Because I'm still pretty puny at this active stuff. But, hey, I'm out there doing it!

I kept thinking, "I could wait until I'm less overweight, more in shape, less clumsy, more confident. Or, I could just get out there and do what I keep saying I want to do." I've opted for the latter. With much encouragement ;-)

Soooo, we turned around to take a short-cut over to the start loop so I could check out some of the more technical stuff and see what I could ride and what I would have to walk. Only...we took a little wrong turn. One little wrong turn. In the opposite direction we were supposed to go. Fortunately we didn't end up too far out of the way. Only a few miles down the road and then back up to the cars. *Sigh* Oh well. I didn't really want to conserve any energy for tomorrow, did I?

We had a lovely potluck/hang out time all evening as all the team members who were there for this race were staying at the same place. Our hostess was very gracious coming home to a house Full of strangers and near-strangers. Then we slept (um...Tried to sleep) out in the freezing cold. The boys woke up at 5:30 am. Of course. :-}

I had been so nervous all week, but I woke up Sunday morning feeling more excited than nervous. If you know me very well you know that I like to know what's going on. How things work and exactly what I should be doing. So, I did get a little anxiety here and there through the beginning of the morning, but not near as bad as the rest of the week. My worst moment was when it was time to line up for the start of the race, but it passed quickly as the other ladies in my group were very friendly and chatty.

I fully expected to be the very last person right out of the gate. But it was still disheartening to watch everyone in my group pull away immediately. Everyone. At one point not far into the first road climb I heard huffing and puffing behind me. I thought, "Oh good. I'm not the very slowest." Then...a little, slightly chubby fellow who couldn't have been more than eleven or twelve, chugged right on by me. Oh yes. I felt grand right about then.

Anyway, I managed all fifteen bumpy, up-and-down miles of the course. I rode a lot. I walked some. I enjoyed most of it. I was a little lonely at times (mostly on a long, levelish part of the course while nearly blinded by snow. Oh, yes. It snowed on us. Then a little sun. Then...wait for it...hail. Haha! Strange weather for that race I'm told) and a little discouraged at times (trudging up a particularly steep hill, or having to stop entirely and rest, or waiting and waiting for the fast guys to zoom by so I could get back on the trail--only there were more coming just near enough I didn't have time to get anywhere, but far enough I had to stand there a moment and wait, then, here come more of them! [we were doing laps, see, and so the fast guys lap the beginners--well Some of the beginners *ahem*--before the beginners finish their single little {15 mile} lap], slightly embarrassed (chatting with the sweep rider as he follows the last person-me- around the track), More than slightly embarrassed (Not getting out of somebodies way who was trying to get around me in time and him tagging my back tire. Soooo thankful he did not wreck, that would have been the worst). But, over all, I had fun. I enjoyed being out there. I finished! And I am very proud of myself in the best way:)

And my dear Mommy took some pictures for me:) (I missed taking pictures! I like to take pictures...)


Page (Janis' son)
Look closely...You will see my boys perched in a tree:)

Zach (Bear's oldest son)

Janis (smiling as always)


Me, again

Kid's race! The boys were so excited:) Then we found out they were doing a big, long technical loop of the track. Around 3/4 mile, with logs and rocks and other difficulties. But all the kids said they wanted to do it...

Chatting with a new acquaintance


Hmm, Joshua looks rather distracted here

Joshua navigating a technical spot:)

Whoa!!! Scary drop!

Brannon, sadly, wrecked pretty spectacularly part way through and decided he was DONE. I was really proud of him for trying though. He is often rather timid on his bike and I was impressed by his effort.

Joshua's getting a little help from Papa up a too steep hill (it's perfectly legal in the kids race for the adults to give a helping hand:)

Me and my default third place. I wasn't too thrilled to have to stand up there and be congratulated just because there were only three ladies in my age group. Everyone else seemed to think that was silly though.

All tuckered out...

Monday, May 9, 2011


Big news! I participated in my very first cross-country mountain bike race on Mother's Day!!! :D I was going to write a post today with pictures and everything, but... it hasn't happened yet. Maybe tomorrow ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Read this today and wanted to share it. I have not been up on the news and have not watched any of these "celebrations" but it saddens me deeply to hear it. I agree with Jessica--Why are we acting toward our enemies in a way that horrified us when they did the same?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Today's Pictures...

Today we missed church and a birthday party because Joshua was feeling a bit under the weather. We didn't know if it was a cold or allergies so we decided to play it safe and not expose anyone else. Turns out it was/is a cold as Mama is coming down with it as well.

But, on the bright side, no one is terribly ill and the boys and I had a Lovely day together. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for the first day of May:-)

I had a fun surprise first thing this morning! We have a pair of ravens that calls this area home. I love them and think they are fascinating, and would Love the get their pictures! But, they are also wary of humans and Very smart. I've been relatively close to the juveniles when they start exploring, they are not as skittish as the adults and evidently think humans are rather fascinating themselves. They still don't get very close, although I've had one circle me before, possibly trying to figure out what sort of creature was walking in his woods. Another time I sat and listened to one practicing his various noises in a tree above our chicken coop.

The adults, however do not let me even as close as that. If they are outside they fly off as soon as the front door cracks and don't come back! So, this morning when Joshua mentioned a large bird landing in the compost bin I grabbed my camera without much hope. I shot two quick shots out the window...

And one through the open door!!! First time ever:) I don't know if you can tell here, but he's a big one. (When we visited Momma Bug last July I woke up the first morning hearing ravens outside. I looked the window to see three of them perched on Nate's bike, pecking at the shiny parts. They took off the moment they saw movement at the window though, so no pictures of them either)
I tip-toed outside and crouched in the driveway with my camera ready. Eventually I spotted him again... And of course, he had his eye on me and no intention of getting anywhere near :-)

This little guy was more obliging though. I don't know what he's eating off the antlers. Bugs? Or the antler itself?

Two very handsome fellows

I love the green-gold light through the maple leaves

Wood hyacinths (or bluebells... Are they two names for the same thing?)

I've been slacking on the blog lately so I haven't told you about the additions to my rose garden. Remember my Valentine's day present? A fenced area to plant roses in so the deer can't (hopefully) get at them. Well, for our anniversary my honey went to buy me another rose bush. The store he went to was having a clearance sale on their roses and he brought home 15 bushes for about the price of 1!! How fun is that!!! :-D He sent me a text message on his way home (I still thought he was bringing me ONE rose...or maybe two) "I love you and lavish you with roses) I laughed. Then when I expressed my continued amazement over the never-ending flow of bushes out of the back of the car, my dear said "Don't you think I know the meaning of the word lavish?"

I am still giddy:) And, I've got this lovely clematis (snow queen) keeping my "Don Juan" company in one corner now... I can't wait until she opens all the way:)

(We were getting some ground-cover plants and some seeds at the same time. When Nate went back to grab the clematis for me it took him a bit. I went back to make sure he remembered which one as there were three different white ones. Of course, the boys ratted me out! "Mom was coming to check on you because she thought you wouldn't remember which one was the right one" And he was very smug, because he had remembered the right one, lol!)

Ornamental strawberry! There's a house on one of our regular "walking" streets that has these. I always moon over them but never thought I'd actually have an excuse to get some;-) (They look rather sad just now, recently transplanted and covered in dirt)

Dandelions--sunshine on the ground



Come now ladies, there's plenty of room for all ("Cora" and "Coraline")

We had marvelous success hatching chicken eggs this year. After last year's disastrous attempts I almost didn't try again. But I got the "bug" and went for it. Happily almost all the eggs we set hatched! Unhappily most are roosters:( I was SO looking forward to all those hens and fun different colored eggs...



Silly chicks hiding. They did eventually come outside today (this pile is probably 2/3 roosters)

Papa and his buddy BJ took down the old broken rope and put up a new swing for the boys a couple weeks ago and they've really been enjoying it

Another mohawk rooster. The white one in back we are not sure of yet, but suspicious

"Big Chicken" and his girl "Penny"

"Gimpy" and "Lily" (Gimpy is sadly nicknamed for a permanent limp, he's our favorite roo and he really deserves a better name, but there you have it)

Brannon always takes such good care of any injured or ill chicks. Here he's adding some extra "boyness" to the job. Surely she'll enjoy sitting up in a tree as much as I do!

Big Chicken again, in a huff about something or other... (he's named for his disposition as much as his size by the way:)

Another of many roosters (and two of the chicks that passed away recently were hens *sigh* At least the roosters are pretty:) But, we have to figure out what to do with the excess. The freezer seems the easiest solution to me, but we have a Loudly protesting seven-year-old in the mix. Hmmm. Need wisdom on this one for sure. I love his tender heart, and he has some spectacularly gut-wrenching arguments. But, he still likes meat, intends to keep eating it. Including chicken. As long as it's birds he has never met and doesn't know who killed them)

It was a lovely day (did I say that already?) in spite of some discomfort for Joshua and I. Since we didn't get to go to the potluck/birthday pary today we decided to have a family potluck. I had black bean sweet potato chili in the crockpot already. Joshua made dessert, a chocolate peanut-butter concoction to dip pretzels in. Brannon made a great salad with lettuce, spinach, parsley, brussels sprouts and lime juice. Joshua declared that his brother should be a salad chef at a fancy restaurant (high praise coming from the aspiring chef). Brannon, after tasting his salad agreed with his brother. :P

We spent most of the rest of the day outside playing, reading, drawing and watching chickens. I am really grateful for it all:) Now the boys are in bed and I'm trying to talk myself into bed (No, waiting up til midnight for hubby to get home is Not a good plan!:)