Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Iowa City Old Capitol Road Race and Crit

Well, we survived the lung-searing affair that is the Iowa City Crit this weekend. My little family of two had about seventy schedule changes throughout the previous week that made it all seem like it might be a stretch to even get there in tact, but with a little help from some aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, we conquered and successfully made it three places at once. Or something like that.

Tyler is now proudly 1-0 in Padres Little League Play, and if I ever locate my new and now lost Flip, I will begin to post interviews with the little fart after each game. This Little League stuff is SERIOUS business, and there is nothing better than seeing my little man completely jacked about his team.

I can now also say that I have lived to tell about my first time trial (Elkhart), and today I will recount my first road race, and first crit.

My overall goal for the road race was to not get spit off the back and left to battle the wind and rain by my lonesome. Well, seconds before the thing started and I'd run back and forth to the restroom eighty times, I looked over to Maria and declared that perhaps my initial goal was a bit too lofty; that my NEW goal was to not shit my pants.

I think she shit hers laughing.

Mission accomplished; although I did find myself just completely out of gas in a way that I have never been out of gas on the bike, well, ever. I hung on with the fastest portion of this group for the first 22 miles or so. I was also able to do a few successful chases, hold a woman back from attacking Maria a few times, and then sat back and happily watched Maria kick some serious ass and come out second. I wound up eighth.

Not bad and yet not good. Room for improvement. Plenty of it.

And then there was the time trial. Given my Iowa City dwelling brother's account of this event which was:

"Holy shit, you're doing that?! We used to sit at the bottom of the hill drinking beer and watching all the crashes!"

My goal: don't crash.

And again, I am happy to report mission accomplished. This was no small feat given that the second they whistled the start, the rains came pelting down. The roads were slick and brick and yet, I did not crash. And after about the third climb I really settled into a good rhythm and several laps later I was actually somewhat floored when they whistled the bell lap...I wanted to keep going. I was beat on the final sprint by the woman who won the road race the day before, although I had beat her up the climb on three subsequent laps. Never a good way to finish, but a great way to learn a thing or twelve.

Cest la vie....I have room for improvement and much to learn. I came out a respectable fourth and won some beer money to boot (a shiny new fi'tty CENT piece...and yes, you had to be there).

Oh. And by the way, this racing's FUN....and aside from the thinking you're going to puke/shit yourself PRIOR to the race, and the thinking you might die DURING the race's REAL fun.

There will be a subsequent post about all this later; in addition to a few of the laughs, the jokes, and the mayhem that follows these races.

Until then, to steal a line from one of my teammates:

I really love my team.

pics here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Should Probably Mention....

(yes, this picture is indeed a joke)

...that I raced.
My bike.
Last week.

It was a time trial and the wind was blowing approximately 57 miles per hour. In my face. Both directions. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch. But it was freaking windy. Thankfully, the wind WAS on the way out and not on the way back, would would have meant a certain death for me.

The good (okay, freaking AMAZING, UNBELIEVABLE) news is that I won my division. I also dry heaved off the side of my bike, am fairly certain in that short 21 minutes that I paid dearly for all my youthful lung related sins but I will keep those details to myself.

Carry on.

T Says...

The kid woke up from a dead slumber last evening and yelled:

Mama! What is the opposite of a pinch?

Me: Ummmm

Him: Mama! Tell me. I NEED TO KNOW!

Me: Are you dreaming?

Him: It has to be something nice, you know, because a pinch hurts.

Me: Ummmmm, a hug?

Him: snort. zzzzzz. back to sleep.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Specialized Designs For Women Event: JOIN US!

Please join Punk Rock Cycling at Rassmussens this Tuesday (4/21) and Wednesday (4/22) to check out the new design 4 women bikes and gear! Tuesday we will be there from 6 - 8, and Wednesday all are invited to join us for our Papa Johns ride that leaves Rassy's at 5:30. You can test ride a D4W bike! Please pass along. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fear For Your Life Much?

Wow. There are really no words to express how scary, awful and just plain sad the commentary following this article are (if you can even call it that). Nor are there words to express that the reporter left out one very significant detail: the driver fled the scene.

To quote my teammate:

"Wow. It is unbelievable how much hate there is in this world. At what point did it become so difficult for people to co-exist?"

Good question.

Unfortunately, you will find no answers to it here.

**as a random sidenote, there is a slight bit of humor in some of these awfully constructed arguments. I would hope to sweet baby Jesus, that if I was so inclined to harbor such an opinion, that I at least might structure my argument.prose correctly or with some reasoning behind it.

Bike Rally: Please Come Support Doug Smith

On Saturday morning, April 11, fellow cyclist Doug Smith was recklessly run down by a motorist near Winterset Iowa . Doug suffered serious life threatening injuries and is recovering at Methodist hospital.

The cycling community of Iowa is outraged by incidents like this which unfortunately are occurring on a much more frequent basis. If your life has ever been touched by all the good that comes from riding a bike, we invite you to ride with us on the bike ride of your life!

We are riding to proclaim to fellow Iowans that bicyclists are living breathing human beings, just like your father, mother and sons and daughters, We want everyone to understand that riding a bike on shared public highways is not a privilege but a right that has been supported and endorsed by Iowa law for years.

Join us on this Silent Ride and encourage law enforcement officials across the state to fully enforce the current Iowa motor vehicle code and ask that our state legislatures pass Senate file 117, protecting the rights and safety of cyclists.

Come together, with a single voice, to encourage city and county attorneys to fully investigate bicycle/motor vehicle accidents and to hold those responsible accountable under the full extent of the law.

Please join us on Wednesday April 15 for the bike ride of your life to the Iowa State Capital departing promptly at 5:30 PM from 301 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA‎ (Rasmussen's Bike Shop).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Man Down, Road Raging Motorist Flees/Goes Home

***The following was written by my friend/teammate Heather Myer-Davis following a group ride Saturday. She posted it on her Facebook page after returning from the ride/accident/hospital.

Our friend and sponsor, Doug Smith was hit by a truck during this ride. Heather was riding with the group and witnessed this horrible event. Doug is still in ICU at Methodist and is expected to recover, but with a very long, painful journey ahead. Doug is pictured above at a a photoshoot he donated to our team earlier this year.

By Heather Meyer Davis

This note isn't going to be flowery or inspirational and there will probably be many typos and it might not make sense.

Here goes, tho.My friend Doug Smith was hit by a truck during our training ride this morning. A group of 8 of us had just left the turnaround point outside of Winterset and were headed back to DM. We were riding in a paceline on the Cumming Rd. We were in a no passing zone and were riding to the right. (The shoulder was gravel.)

Suddenly a driver came up behind us and began laying on his horn. He was driving a large truck and pulling what appeared to be anhydrous tanks. Before we knew what was happening, we were being buzzed by this guy. Then he pulled into us! NOT IN FRONT OF US-INTO US!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug got caught by the wheels of the trailer, was thrown up (his bike literally exploding) and was then run over by the rear wheels of the trailer. The driver kept going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot even begin to describe the horror of this. I truly thought that Doug was dead and even after I knew he was breathing, I feared he would die right there in the road.

Mark Hanrahan was an absolute hero, holding Doug's hand, monitoring his pulse and breathing and, once he regained consciousness, keeping him calm.There was no oncoming traffic so there was no legitimate reason for this driver to have done this.

Some good samaritans (fellow cyclists Shalee and Marc Hobbs) pulled up and, after being told what had happened, chased down the driver. He claimed he didn't know he'd hit anyone.


You didn't notice the guy flipping in the air and being shot into the middle of the road????
You didn't notice the other cyclists throwing down their bikes and running to him?????

Doug was severely injured. He suffered a skull fracture w/concussion, a severely broken pelvis and other internal injuries. There is no evidence of any brain damage- Thank God he was wearing a helmet. He was still being treated in the ER when we left the hospital around 1:30. He was still suffering from internal bleeding that the doctors hope will stop in the next few hours. If not, he will most likely face surgery.

Doug has no memory of what happened. His concussion/shock are so severe that he has virtually no short-term memory at all right now. He continues to ask what happened to him even after being told over and over again.

Please keep Doug and his family in your thoughts and prayers. This will be a long, painful journey for them.

A Madison Co. Sheriff's Deputy was on the scene of the accident relatively quickly. The driver returned to the scene- after heading home to drop off his tanks and, apparently pick up his son or a friend. The driver was allowed to leave the scene. I believe the Deputy issued some sort of citation but I am unsure at this point.

If you are a cyclist, if you love a cyclist, if you even know a cyclist- PLEASE contact your state legislators and tell them that this bloodshed has to end!!!!

A 5-ft passing rule (if obeyed) would have prevented this. Even if the driver chose not to obey such a law, there would at least be specific penalties. This type of thing is happening far too often and drivers have GOT to be held accountable for their actions.

It feels like it's open season on cyclists in Iowa. I fear that this driver will not be charged. Madison Co. is a rural county and he is a "good ol' boy" farmer who appeared to be in his late 60's/70's.

I'm sure he'll claim it was all just an accident. Guess what, asshole? When you swerve into a group of cyclists, someone's bound to get hurt! And get hurt badly.

God dammit- I'm a wife, stepmom, daughter, sister, friend, Polk Co. homeowner, and tax-paying Iowan. I (and all my friends and even people I DON'T like, for that matter) deserve to be able to enjoy my state from the saddle of my bike without fearing for my life!!!!!! I'm mad as hell.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Squirrel's Up...Action's in Back

I have this theory on Ragbrai and on group bike rides, that the action is in back. It is where the most beers are drank, the finest jokes are cracked, and the ride is typically a tad easier, as the pace is not so, um, rushed. And if you ride along with the right crew, you can embrace the suck, even enjoy a free ride from time to time.
Naturally, I agreed in approximately a millisecond when Keri asked if I was up for sharing team "Sweeper" duties for last night's ride. I didn't need to think twice, and it was probably my turn anyway.

And of course, almost as if it was scripted, we hadn't even left the parking lot and amazing things began happening.

MULTIPLE amazing things, to be exact:
1. I taught a woman how to change gears, as she could not get herself out of the parking lot. And yes, I hear you people who taught me how NOT to ride saying:
Ali, the grinder?
To you, I say:
Shut it.

2. Following my brilliant lesson, the woman above promptly dropped her chain, and was unable to "fix." So, I "fixed" all the while she bitched about our boys at the bike shop where they seemingly could not "fix." Take THAT Sterling. :)

Annnnnd, things finally in order, we were off.
Yes, these two issues were in the parking lot.

Keri and I being designated "ride sweepers" were joined in back by our buddy Mark who out of the blue showed up, bless him, and rode along with us. If you dig back in the blog archives far enough, you can find a story about Mark on last year's Ragbrai. We love him. He loves us. Kind of like Jesus, but not quite since it's a holiday weekend and I should probably be respectful.

3. I digress. It became immediately apparent that we were likely to catch the woman on the mountain bike traveling mock 10 mph tops. We did. Oh what to do then? Stay on said road going slooow, and therefore freeze? She would have nothing of it, claimed she new the route and would be turning around soon anyway, and sent us on our way.

4. And then I forgot the route, once. Okay twice. And this was even after Heather came along and spray painted it. She looks mighty fine with a can of green spraypaint hanging out her jersey, if I do say so myself.

4a. Shortly after forgetting and then remembering said route, we stopped to help change a tube. It was not my tire that flatted, but I did the honors. And yes, people, I got the last of that damned tire over that rim ALL BY MYSELF (the two year old in me was SO proud).

5. As we began a gradual descent about three quarters of the way into said ride; a squirrel scampered into our path (not to be confused with the MAN Squirrel). Riding three abreast on a little traveled road, I, being in the middle, was LEAST likely to hit this squirrel. Keri, who was on the outside and closest to the squirrel immediately began yelling/begging sweet cheers of hope to said squirrel that went something like this:

Oooh squirrel, don't stop now! Keep going buddy!
Don't turn back now.
Go buddy, go!

And then it happened. The crazy little bastard did a seizure like turn in the middle of the road and strategically dived/placed his neck straight under my wheel.

Koom. KOOM.
Up and over the squirrel I went.

Twice (because I was not riding a unicycle).

I am not very girly as many people can attest, but I immediately began screaming and flailing all girl-like and Mark, man that he is, immediately assessed the situation and noted quickly that if I continued said flailing I'd probably take the others out. So he immediately began consoling me:


Sweet. So I paralyzed the little varmit, that may be worse. I turn to look and he quickly blurts out:


I am not one to listen to instructions typically, but in this instance I didn't look. Or maybe I tried to look but couldn't see. I cannot really remember, I was all hopped up on these caffeinated Jelly Bellies that Greg slipped me before the ride and it is hard to think clearly when you've just murdered something and have sugar and caffeine running through your veins AND you're trying to balance on two wheels while freaking out.
From that point on, all I could see clearly was that little squirrel, his beady eyes looking up at me as he plunged beneath my wheel, emerging from those woods next week on a little squirrel parapelegic cart like this rabbit here:

We looked for that poor squirrel when we came back around that loop and saw nothing. We had many hypotheses about what happened to the little guy, mine of course being that he was out in the woods, getting his little cart fitted, but little did we know, the City of Des Moines probably already scooped him up, as they have a place designated right on their website for this sort of tragedy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bo and His Lady Friends

I've been mistakenly absent. For once, however, I have a good excuse. I have been hogging the babies.

First there is the eldest of the bunch, my niece Claire. She is the type of baby who could make a person keep having and having and having them (unless of course you are me, and know if you had another baby it would surely come out with devil horns to pay you back for all your sins). In all her time on earth, I have heard her cry exactly twice. And one time it was because I pinched her.

Kidding, kidding.

She is that perfect, I swear. Not a care in the world, she just sits around and smiles and giggles. Look at her, I think she needs to come live with her Aunt Ali, don't you?:

Next up, we have little Bo. In the event that you missed my press release, I was present for Bo's entrance into our crazy world. It has been fascinating to watch him change in such drastic ways in just a little over four weeks. His little fingers grab ahold of you like he's scared you're going to drop him on his head (he is wise beyond his years already), and he a little monkey; he scoots up your belly trying to nuzzle his way into his happy place. Here he is with his beautiful, strong and wonderful momma, who was pumping iron, SITTING ON A BIKE SEAT, and doing pilates, two weeks post-partum:

And then there is little Miss Vivi, who I only met for the first time last week. And who low and behold lives the closest to me of all these little cherubs. Her mommy had best be forewarned, I will be tromping over to her house just a few doors down again and again to get my fix for Vivi is nothing short of precious. She's full of expressions, likes to hold hands, flip off the camera, and bounce. Which of course about makes me melt. Check this beauty out:

This one is my favorite (my theory is she pooped and it smells):

My little man Bo is going to have a hard time deciding between all these beautiful women.

Kinda makes you want one, doesn't it? Or if you're like me you just surround yourself with these cuties and when they puke and shit and hand them back to their rightful owners, pack up your nearly self sufficient 9 year-old, drive home, pour yourself a glass of red, and sleep until 10 a.m. the next morning...just because you can.