26 August 2007

Indian Summer

In order to escape the insanity of the cramped hotel we took a day trip to the beach this weekend. It feels like we really quite never got into summer in the Northwest, it was never really hot. The fall looks promising, if this weekend was any indication. We took Lander to the Seaside Aquarium where he got to feed seals and touch sea urchins and starfish. We then went down to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park and went hiking on the Clatsop trail. This trail has some awsome views of the ocean and Haystack rock. Indian Beach is also one the hotspots for surfing and I vowed after this trip that next summer I am going to take up surfing and ride the bike a little less.

Lander taking it easy on our hike

Lander checking out the camping shelter

The big stump

Waiting for the waves

Checking out starfish

And just because I am a nerd, I took this video of a fern that was releasing spores. It was really cool (I truly am a geek!).

24 August 2007

Slummin' It in the 'Couve

We are still homeless and have been living in the same small, cramped room at the hotel for almost 2 weeks now. Needless to say it is getting old and this week I was almost in tears at the thought of being here for another week. Okay, I wasn't really that close to crying, but it is getting really old.

Because I am cheap and refuse to throw even more money down the drain on a nicer hotel (um, that money would be better spent on new bikes) I decided to find the cheapest extended stay hotel I could. My sacrifice for the sake of finances resulted in the Bihlmaier family slummin' it for a few weeks. The best part about the whole situation is being in this lovely part of Vancouver (I-205 and Mill Plain, sob). It is noisy, smelly and congested. Everyday that I ride out of here on my bike to commute to work I wonder if I will actually make it across Mill Plain without getting creamed, or if I will actually make to Mill Plain without getting hit by some crazy person that is intoxicated from eating at Muchas Gracias all night. What is crazy is that if you go two blocks North or South of Mill Plain, it's a completely different town, as in one that is not noisy, smelly and congested! My second most favorite thing about the area are the people. I got home from the track late one night and decided to grab some dinner at a fast-food place close to here. I was not in there 5 minutes before some drunk guy from the bar across the street wandered in and started harassing customers. Wonderful. I sat in the corner and inhaled my food faster than usual and secretly hoped that he didn't come anywhere near me. A few days later I was leaving the hotel and there were some guys hanging out in the hallway that happened to be guests here. As I walked out one of them said "Hey, what's going on sweetie?". What the? Seriously, I object. That was definitely the low point for me.

As far as our actual room goes, our dilemma has been space. We have two adults, Lander, all of Lander's Legos, two bikes, gear to accompany two bikes, a computer, and a bunch of food crammed into a 30x20 room. The hardest part is trying to get Lander to go to bed at night. We want to stay up and read or watch TV (free Showtime), but Lander won't go to sleep if we do that. This has resulted in Bryan and I fighting over the bathroom. The toilet has become prime real estate at 9:00 at night for reading or working on my laptop. I tried to convince Bryan that sitting in the bathtub would be a good idea so we could both be in there, he didn't go for it. So, we trade off. My life is pathetic and I seriously need a vacation from my family after this. So, this is home sweet home for another week. Here's some memorable pics of our humble abode.
Lander reading my book in his underwear, what a life!

All of our crap crammed into one corner

15 August 2007

House Fiasco

We are officially homeless. We moved out of our old house last weekend and are now living in a hotel until we can move into our new house on Sept. 1st. Moving was super-fun, can we do it again? NOT! I am glad that is over with. A huge thanks to Bryan's dad for coming up to help us. The weekend was crazy with me getting sick for 5 days, Lander almost needing stitches (thanks to our new neighbor in Washougal who is a paramedic and patched him up), having to give talks in church and Bryan having food poisoning on Monday. Nothing feels normal to me right now since we are in the hotel and I haven't ridden my bike in a week since I have been sick. As soon as I can ride, I will feel so much better. Here are some pictures of the house so far:

Exterior Color


Master bedroom

Shower in master bath

Kitchen cabinets

11 August 2007

What Not to Do....

I am a total newbie to track racing and last Thursday I learned a very important lesson about gearing. My rental bike (yeah, I don't have a real bike yet, but this is what I am getting for next year) had on an 88 inch gear instead of the 82 inch gear that I was used to riding. For those of you that are not remotely interested in bikes that basically means that an 88 inch gear is harder and an 82 inch gear is easier. So, I thought to myself, I should try an 88 and see what it's like, I might be able to go faster. WRONG. First of all, I totally wore myself out in the 15 minute Madison trying to stay on top of the 88. During the omnium races I couldn't stay on top of it either. The women's field would slow down before the sprints and then it would take all the leg power I had to get on top of my gear when someone attacked. By the time I got going, the attack was gone and I was feeling like I was pedaling through sand. It was a painful, demoralizing night for me. I will definitely be going back to the 82 next week.

I will say that the Madison was a lot of fun. I taught (with my limited knowledge) Ryan Weaver how to Madison race before the racing started and we did the Madison race together. He did awesome for his first time, I was impressed. It's so cool to race with someone that is taller than me (hard for an amazon girl like myself), I had great acceleration when he would throw me in. I look forward to next week.

06 August 2007

Love Me, Love Me Not

My bike loves me, my bike loves me not. That was pretty much my racing story last week. In all fairness, is wasn't my bikes fault, just me having my usual problems and feeling icky. I did 4 races and they went good, bad, good, bad, exactly in that order.

Monday night I raced the short track MTB at PIR (good race #1) and had my best short track races this season (no flats) and the course was awesome. Okay, I actually only did 3 of the short track races, and I flatted on one and felt terrible on the other so I was really excited that everything came together for the final race. I did manage to crash on the first lap coming off the gravel pile and had to make up places, it was good motivation.

Wednesday night I raced the CMG crit (bad, bad race #1). My tactic the week before was to go hard from the start to string things out. Well, I did this again and it backfired on me. I actually wore myself out so much that when an attack went off 1/2 way through the race I got dropped from our lead group. I managed to come in off the back of the lead group, by myself, and totally disappointed in the fact that I totally sucked!

Thursday was velodrome night (good race #2) and I was excited to again try my hand at the Madison and then we were going to do a points race. I got paired with a more experienced rider for the Madison and after botching the first two exchanges managed to not completely suck for the rest of the 15 minute race. It was a lot of fun, but I was so tired that I really didn't know how I was going to do a points race. Luckily the points race was only 20 laps. At the first sprint I took some points and kept going and got a good gap on the field. I was really excited when Andrea (my fearless 6 Day diva) bridged up to me and we proceeded to work together and LAPPED THE FIELD. Lapping the field was a goal of mine at some point this season, so it was great to do it with Andrea. She beat me in the sprint, she is sprinting really well. We finished 1st and 2nd, it was great.

My bad, bad race #2 just happened to be the State Championship Time Trial. The thing that really sucked was that physically my body was toast, which meant that mentally I couldn't push myself. I tried. I pretty much realized in the first 10k of 40k that I was not going to have a good race, or even be able to race, and decided to roll it and just finish. The problem is that a) I still had 30k to ride and b) the last 20k is into a nasty headwind. I really wanted to cry and stop, but that was not an option since there was no where to go but back to the start/finish where the car was parked. I felt terrible, my time was 4 minutes slower than last year, and I was DFL.

I think I am going to go back to knitting as a past-time. Of course, I would probably find some way to screw that up as well.