Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dark Mountain

Dark Mountain - More photos in gallery More Dark Mountain - More photos in gallery Since today was my long ride day, we decided to head up to Dark Mountain for a day trip. Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club - who were there again today working on the trail as they do regularly - this is one of the most beautiful and sustainable trails in the region. Although I had not ridden here since the Burn 24 Hour race last spring, it surprised me how some of the most innocuous appearing features of a trail can spark very vivid memories. On turning certain corners, I found that I remembered particular root and rock configurations like I had just ridden them yesterday, and could "see" in my mind's eye the twists and turns of the trail that followed these particular sections as clearly as the back of my own hand. With no suspension and no gears, this time I was truly fully able to experience all the undulations and rollercoaster ride feel of the trail. Rather than finding those sensations disconcerting, however, I actually felt more "connected" with my bike and the trail and seemed better able to get into a definitive rhythm with it. Riding these trails was like visiting an old friend and I cherished every lung-busting climb as well as each breathtaking descent. Brushy Mountain Cyclists- More photos in gallery Many thanks to the Brushy Mountain Cyclists. Your efforts are more appreciated than you will ever know!

Dance Video

Dance Videotaping Session This evening I received my copy of the instructional dance DVD in which I was a student participant, entitled "Bellydance Moves and Combinations Anyone Can Do". The video is available for purchase through Belly Revelations. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in the filming of this video alongside some very lovely and wonderfully gifted dancers, and hope other dance students will enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.
Dance Joyfully Dancing with a sword You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Running Total Trail Work Hours Since July 2004 -- 36 Hours

Sunday -- 3/19/06 -- Beaverdam -- 1.5 hours
Saturday -- 12/17/05 -- Beaverdam -- 3 hours
Sunday -- 4/24/05 -- Legend Park -- 2 Hours
Saturday -- 4/16/05 -- Beaverdam -- 5 Hours
Sunday -- 4/10/05 -- Beaverdam -- 1 Hour
Saturday -- 3/12/05 -- Crabtree -- 2.5 Hours
Saturday -- 1/8/05 -- Beaverdam -- 3 Hours
Saturday -- 12/11/04 -- Beaverdam -- 4 Hours
Sunday -- 11/21/04 -- New Light -- 4 Hours
Saturday -- 9/4/04 -- Beaverdam -- 4 Hours
Sunday -- 8/8/04 -- New Light -- 5 Hours
Sunday -- 7/25/04 -- New Light -- 1 Hour

Friday, April 22, 2005

Giving Back

Putting up signs Building a bridge
There is something very rewarding about being able to ride on a trail that you helped build and maintain with your own hands. Last weekend one of the trail advocacy groups to which I belong held another of the many workdays we have each year, this time to build a bridge and do some rerouting at Beaverdam, one of our local park trails which just happens to be one of my personal favorites and my "home trail". It was a tough 5 hours and I was exhausted by the time we were finished working, but the reward of being able to ride through this beautiful trail and know that I had a hand in its being there made it all worthwhile. Every few weeks when we have these workdays, I wake up on those mornings wishing I could just sleep in. But I go ahead and get up, get dressed and head out anyway because I know trails don't just appear out of nowhere. It takes a lot of work from a lot of people to build even a short stretch of singletrack, and an equal amount of work to maintain it. Over the past 10 years, I've had the opportunity to work side by side with some folks whom I consider to be among the best bike trail builders in this area, and it's my privilege to give back to the bike community that means so much to me. I hope these trails which contain the sweat of my and many other's backs will be here for generations to come, to enjoy and cherish as we do now. Ride happy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Get Serious

Turning pedals I talked with Charlie again today as I had some questions about the next two weeks of my training program which arrived via e-mail today. He informed me that my training is now "getting more serious" since my race season will be starting late next month. This means I will be riding at odd hours, for long sessions, and actually putting increased focus on those intervening recovery days to allow my muscles to restore and fully realize the strengthening obtained from the increased intensity and duration of work. I know I exasperated him with my initial resistance to these new recommendations and my repeated questions, but he retained his usual good sense of humor, telling me it was "okay if you curse me as you do these workouts; you'll be thanking me later", and I could almost see him smiling on the other end of the telephone as he told me that.

And of course, despite all my whining and complaining, I know (and I hope Charlie does too) that I'll get out there and follow the training plan to the letter anyway, no matter how difficult, or inconvenient, or exhausting, or whatever, because I know that anything worth having is worth working for, and I haven't come this far not to follow through and reach for those stars.

Embrace Life

I first had the privilege of meeting Dara Marks-Marino in 2001 at the NORBA Nationals mountain bike race at Snowshoe, West Virginia. At that time she was already racing as a Pro, and my first memory of her was the way she made everyone around her feel like they were the most important person in the world. She had a sincere friendliness about her that just drew people to her. We were both preriding the cross country race course, and she very kindly let me follow her line down a sketchy descent, showing me where the best route was, and took time out of her busy schedule even to chat for a few moments. Over the ensuing years, we have run into each other again several times at Nationals at both Snowshoe and Vermont, and I was amazed that each time she remembered me, even though I was, and at my age will always remain, just an amateur. She even went so far as to stick around for the very end of the awards ceremony at the Vermont Nationals just to cheer for me, offered to provide support for me during the Snowshoe Marathon last summer, and called me on the phone from all the way across the country last fall to inform me that I had won the overall Marathon Series for my age group and congratulate me on that, as I was unable to attend due to the death of my stepfather. Every time I've ever seen Dara, she always has time not only for me, but for anyone and everyone, graciously answering questions, being willing to pose for photographs with fans, signing autographs, etc., and still exudes that same sincere kindness and genuine interest and concern for others.

Today I happened across an article she had written which touched me so deeply, I wanted to share it. I hope the world knows what a precious gift this young woman is and appreciates her for the truly wonderful person she is.

The full article Dara wrote may be found Here . However, if I may, I would like to quote some of the lines from it, where she talks about a memorium she had attended for a rider killed by a drunk driver, and states "And we stood there knowing that we'll all still continue to ride, everyday, taking the risk because the alternative is holing up inside the house and not really living life just to make sure we don't have life taken from us... So what can we do? Embrace life. Be grateful you are alive. Do today those things you want to do someday. Love with abandon. Make sure the people you love know you love them. Ride your bike. "

Thank you Dara, for reminding me to embrace life, and for the precious gift of your beautiful words. You are a treasure to to me, and I thank you for that.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Ten Years

More Pictures From Today in Gallery Ten years ago today I rode a bicycle for the very first time in my life. It seems like only yesterday - I can still remember the anxiety, the nervousness, the fear of being an adult and riding a bike for the first time. But I also remember the exhilaration and the sheer unadulterated joy of gliding down the sidewalk on that very first ride. I remember not wanting it to end, and the accompanying realization that I was hopelessly, eternally hooked on bicycling, even from the very first moment I wrapped my fingers around the handlebar. It's hard for me to believe that ten years have passed, and how much things change and yet stay the same. I've gone from getting out of breath and feeling like I was going to collapse after merely riding on a flat driveway for less than 100 yards to racing mountain bikes for 24 hours at a time. And yet, one thing remains constant - I still love to ride my bike. So today, to celebrate that first ride, Steve and I headed out on our bikes. Since all the area trails were wet from yesterday's rain, we rode the fireroads at Umstead. For three and a half hours we rode and reminisced, and just enjoyed being outside in the woods on our bikes. We breathed in the fresh air and laughed as the sun stroked our cheeks, methodically made our way up the climbs and then squealed with the joy of delighted children as we flew back down. When I'm on my bike, I feel like I am 43 going on 7 and I can't imagine a happier way to "age".

Friday, April 1, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Our Wedding in Sedona, Arizona Pre-Wedding Ride in Phoenix, Arizona
Today is mine and Steve's 5th wedding anniversary! We were married April 1, 2000 in Sedona, Arizona, on the red rocks where two rivers converged, with the spectacular Cathedral Rock as our backdrop. It was truly a fairytale wedding, and I must admit these past five years being married to my best friend and soulmate have been nothing short of a continuing wondrous fairytale marriage and life for me as well. I can't imagine my life without him and look forward to growing old with him as our life together just keeps getting better and better. Happy Anniversary Honey - I Love You!