Thursday, May 29, 2008

Is it Tahoe time yet....

So close to Tahoe time! I will be getting on a plane tomorrow morning and heading out to the mountains! :) And we're flying American....I better not tell anyone at work! I've had a busy few days getting ready for it though. Tuesday night was reserved for mowing the lawn....that's always a super exciting time! Yesterday I spent all day at the airport for work. I made a stop at the bike shop on the way home to make sure I had everything I need for Tahoe. Turns out that buying a few bars and packs of luna moons took me about an hour. I love my bike shop. :) Last night was yoga night which was oh so good.

Yesterday was also good because I got my brand new Rocket Science Sports Elite Bag! :) Yes, it's a triathlon transition bag, and no I'm not a triathlete, but I still love it! I can't wait to get it packed up for Tahoe tonight! :) Could this be my first step towards a triathlon??? Maybe I should worry more about the running and swimming than the gear though.....

Last night I finally got around to making door signs for my TNT mentees. I worked on them while watching So You Think You Can Dance (my absolute favorite summer show!) so unfortunately it took me about 2 hours to get them done. I miss having Debbie make them for us! Hers were much better anyway!

Today is another day of work at the airport. I am really putting my engineering skills to good use by counting carry-on bags. Yes, that's right, counting. Could this job get any better? I'm so excited that when I show up to the airport tomorrow it will actually be to get on a flight. Tahoe here I come!

Not sure if I'm taking a computer to Tahoe...and even if I do there usually isn't a lot of downtime in the room. So don't hold your breath for the next post. I wouldn't expect to see it until Monday or Tuesday. Sorry! Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bye Bye warm weather....

Well so much for the warm and sunny idea. Illinois weather will never cease to amaze me. After a sunny weekend with temps near 80, today's weather consists of cloudy and windy, with a high of 52 degrees. Yep, that's right, the high dropped nearly 30 degrees in 1 day! Brrr....

Current weather in Tahoe shows cold and rain, but that is expected to move out by the time we get there. Should be sunny and in the 60's for the ride. I'm hoping for a few degrees higher, but we'll see...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Let the sun shine....

So the weather finally got nice in the state of Illinois! Besides a few scattered rain showers on sunday, and a huge storm sunday night that woke me up, it was mostly sunny and warm, around 80! I managed to fill the weekend with plenty of things to keep my busy. Saturday I went for a ride on my own. The sun was shining and my legs were feeling good. So I set out, for a while I followed a course I had mapped out, but at one point I saw a road called Meadow Hill and decided it looked like fun. So I took a detour! :) I followed that out for a while and then realized I had no idea where I was, so I turned around and headed back for the planned route. By the end of it, I finished with 45 miles at a pretty good pace. So I was happy with that. But then it was time to head home and get the bike ready to be shipped out. I drove the bike down to Glen Ellyn, and said my good-byes and left it at the shop to be packed for Tahoe! I then spent the rest of Saturday hanging out with Josh, a friend from high school who was passing through Chicago.

Sunday was like any other, working at the bike shop. It wasn't as busy as we expected but I still managed to sell a few bikes. The easiest sale of the day was the lady who came in at the end of the day, sat on one bike and said "I'll take it". Nice, a bike sale in about 5 minutes. Awesome.

Monday was another day of work. This time it was at the airport. I got to observe some flights and count some carry on bags. Yes it is as exciting as it sounds. The rest of the day was spent battling a headache unfortunately. I did manage to get out and take the dog for a walk, and also pull out the single speed for a trip up to the grocery store. I finished up the evening by heading over to help my sister with a project.

I also get news of yet another engagement this weekend. I wouldn't describe my reaction as a "Yea, I'm so happy for them" but more of a "How the heck did he pull that off??" So yeah, great. These engagements really need to stop. Please.

Tomorrow it's back to work, and then Tahoe on Friday! Can't wait!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday interval ride...

So Vince over at the shop has been encouraging me for a while to show up for the Thursday evening interval rides. So last night I finally made it out there. I knew it was going to be a tough ride, but as I watched the people showing up in the parking lot, I got an idea of just how tough it would be. First there was the guy who showed up in his race team kit, then there was the group of guys with their triathlon bikes, then there were the guys from my computrainer classes that I knew could push more watts that I could. Did you notice a trend? Yes that's right....a bunch of really strong guys! I contemplated for a minute about just heading across the street for a few loops on the forest preserve....but decided quickly that this would be much better for me. The good thing about the interval ride is that you really can't get dropped from the group. We head out to a section of road about 1 mile long and ride up 1 side of it then do an interval (aka sprint) coming back on the other side. Unfortunately we were doing the interval direction into the wind! About halfway through Bart (a guy I work with at the shop) rolled up along side the group and started yelling "Double!" apparently that meant we got to do interval pace for both directions. It was incredibly painful. But it meant that we switched the direction! So we got to do the last few intervals with the wind at our backs. That definitely felt a little better.

All in all, it was a great workout. After the first few I had no hopes of staying with the guys so luckily there was another girl there that was close to my pace. She was a tiny bit slower than me which actually worked out because if I heard her getting close to me I knew I needed to pick the pace back up. Unfortunately my computer had a dead battery so I have no idea how fast or far I went, and I lost count somewhere in the middle. But I'm pretty sure I did somewhere around 10 laps, and they were all as fast as I could push it. Fast enough that at the end of each interval my legs would shake a bit. Awesome. I plan to keep this up throughout the summer and hopefully get faster each time! The goal is to be able to hang with the guys for at least a few at some point!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quote of the day

Here is a quote from one of my co-workers that came up randomly during conversation today....

"Never get into a car with a stranger......unless they are incredibly attractive.....then do whatever they want."

Way to go Chris.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I want to be a Gazelle....

So last night I finally finished reading Gilbert Tuhabonye's book, This Voice in My Heart. Wow, it's such an amazing story. While reading it I had to keep reminding myself that it was a true story, and he actually endured everything he described in the book. For those that don't know, Gilbert is from a small country in Africa, Burundi. In 1993, the tension between the Hutus and the Tutsis finally erupted and the Headmaster at Gilbert's school (a Hutu) mastered a plan to kill all of the Tutsis at the school. Gilbert was the only one to survive the attack, and since that day he has been able to heal and resume his running career. He now lives in Austin, TX (see I knew all of the cool people were in Austin) and coaches a running program called Gilbert's Gazelles. This book tells a great story of someone who has been able to endure so much hatred but come out of it so positively. Gilbert has a very descriptive writing style and tells everything exactly as it happened. He does not try to paint himself as someone who deserved to be saved, or was better than those around him. Instead he points out the flaws in his life, and discusses how terrible he felt about the things he had to do to save himself. He describes in the book that he did not take a "Why me?" attitude after the attack, but rather saw it as a sign that there were other plans for him and he made changes in his life to make sure he lived up to those plans. If you are looking for some inspiration, or just want a good read, be sure to pick up this book. It's even on sale at for $7!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I heart Fresh Korn

And by Fresh Korn, I of course mean Will Frischkorn, a rider on the Slipstream-Chipotle team. He has his own blog and often writes for Velonews as well. His most recent offering in Velonews had me giggling at my desk today.

"What goes through the head of a pro cyclist in a five-hour race?"

I was going to include a few excerpts, but then I decided you really should just read the whole thing. Trust me, it's short and worth a few minutes of your time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back to Reality....

Yes, that's right, I'm back from Austin. The trip was great as usual, so here is the recap:

Arrived on Thursday afternoon after a fairly uneventful flight. Went to get my rental car, and of course they didn't have the car I had requested, so after much discussion, I got upgraded to a full size SUV. So I was driving around a brand new (seriously the car had 50 miles on it when I got it!) Ford Explorer. The thing was huge! Even had a 3rd row seat. So from there I drove up to the Domain to get my hair cut. I haven't found anyone I like here in Chicago yet, so I went to see Heather. Of course she did a great job.

Sporting my new look, I headed over to the LLS office to say hi to a few people. Even got put to work stuffing some race bags. From there I stopped by Carrie's house to drop off my stuff and get changed, then it was up to Bicycle Sport Shop to pick up The Spook (Kristi's bike) and get it ready for me to ride it. Kristi and I then had a nice ride on Parmer (that unfortunately included me having to change a flat on her crazy carbon wheels!) and then some beer-ritas and yummy food at Waterloo.

Friday I took advantage of the opportunity and slept in, it felt really nice to not wake up to an alarm! I then headed downtown for lunch with Colleen, hooray for Homeslice! Mmmm eggplant pizza. :) Colleen still amazes me with her strength and her ability to handle everything that is thrown at her, even when it seems that everything is thrown at once. Congrats Colleen, you are super strong and I'm so excited for you and starting the new job today! Knock their yellow socks off! After lunch, Colleen and I ventured over to Mellow Johnny's (Lance's new bike shop)

The store was amazing of course. Lance knows how to do it right. It's a huge warehouse, so it has a much more open feel than most bike shops. The bikes looked like they were on display rather than just put into any open space that could be found. Of course they had plenty of Treks, but also some Pinarellos. Wow those are good looking bikes! Checked out the Eddy Merckx line as well. I'm a little jealous that Colleen will soon be getting a discount there. She informed that at some point I must buy myself a pair of Dude Girl cycling shorts (which are being carried at Mellow Johnny's) .
Saturday was the day of the big Blanco ride! Carrie and I loaded up the Explorer and headed out there. Unfortunately I had incorrect information on the roll-out time, so we were late. Instead of taking the option of being SAGed forward we decided we were there to ride, and we would catch up with everyone eventually. (did I mentioned we rolled out 35 minutes after everyone else) We had a few mechanical issues in the beginning of the ride, since we were both riding bikes that had just been put back together after being shipped back from CA. But we still managed to catch everyone. Felt great to have a nice fast ride. The last 15 miles of the ride really flatten out, so we were flying! Final ride stats, 68 miles (with tons of hills!) in 5 hours, and that included stopping time for mechanical issues and the 2 rest stops.

Saturday evening ended up being low-key, and then I took a very early flight home Sunday morning. Once I got home I went and had some sushi with my sister and her friend, and then settled in for a quick nap before heading over to the bike shop for a fit clinic. Well unfortunately my alarm didn't work so what was supposed to be a 1.5 hour nap turned into a 4 hour nap and I missed the fit clinic. Hopefully they will be able to go over the info with me sometime this week.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed that post, which ended up being way too long. Nothing big on the schedule this week, but I will try to come up with something to post about to keep you entertained. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane....

Finally, I'm leaving for Austin tomorrow! Unfortunately before I can do that there is a ton of stuff to do around here. So what am I doing about that? Watching tv and updating the blog! :) Ok, well I am doing laundry....that has to count for something! But unlike some others I only plan to wash my clothes once! :)

I'm very ready for the next few days of fun. Had an eventful week this week that involved the HD on the work computer crashing. True to pure Alida form, I definitely didn't have anything backed up. So all of my work is gone. Awesome.

The plan for the weekend involves some good ways to forget about that though. Riding and dinner with Kristi on Thursday, Homeslice/Fireman's/Tons of fun with Colleen on Friday, hanging out at my 2nd home with my favorite part-time roommate, and the big Blanco ride on Saturday! And of course we will be out celebrating Saturday night. Good times will definitely be had by all! :)

So yes, tomorrow I'm "leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...." Ok so maybe I do know, back to reality on Sunday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Busy weekend!

This weekend was definitely a very busy one, I don't feel like I got a chance to sit and relax at all! Isn't that what weekends are supposed to be for? Anyway, here's the rundown of how things went.

Saturday morning: Woke up and headed out to Naperville for a ride with the team. The weather finally cooperated! No rain, no freezing temperatures, and no howling winds! It felt good to finally get to ride without being all bundled up. The outfit of the day consisted of shorts, knee warmers (my knees had been feeling funny lately so I wanted to make sure to keep them warm), jersey and I started off the day with arm warmers, but they came off at the first rest stop! Total mileage for the day was 70, I rode at a slower pace than I would have liked because I stuck with some participants. The joys of being a TNT mentor, you can't leave participants on their own, and since all of the other mentors apparently forgot about that rule, it was up to me. Oh well, I made up for the slower pace by doing all of the pulling. You didn't think we would get a day in Illinois with no wind did you??

Saturday evening: Got home from the ride, ate some Jimmy John's and jumped in the shower. Then my sister showed up and we headed downtown. First stop was the western store! I got a new pair of boots and she got a great hat. Then we headed over to Joe's for the Roger Creager/ Reckless Kelly show! It was a great show and definitely made me miss Austin. I have to say, I did get a little defensive watching all of the Chicagoans trying to be Texans. They just don't get it. The biggest disappointment though was that there was no 2-steppin'. Chicago boys that pretend to be cowboys probably couldn't figure out how to 2-step anyway.

Sunday: It was an early wake-up call to get myself ready for work at the shop. The weather did a 180 flip so it was pretty cold and rainy in the morning. Which meant we had very few customers. Jason, who is the manager on Sundays, decided that we should relish the slowness (Sundays are usually really busy) and just hang out instead of doing work (restocking, organizing, etc...) So that's what we did. Even had some yummy Chicago deep dish delivered for lunch! We did eventually get really busy at the end of the day. But the boys did still find time during the day to make some new modification to their Trek Mods (big wheels!). Recent changes involve some new handle bars, the addition of a wireless computer (yes Jason really did put a wireless computer on his big wheel!), drilling holes in order to move the seat back, and a grip that makes motorcycle sounds. These are going to be the coolest Mods on the block! The wireless computer did actually come in handy as the boys were testing who could go the fastest. The current record is 12.7mph! Pretty funny watching the guys move their legs that quickly to try and keep their feet on the pedals!

Sunday evening: After work I headed over to my mom's house to celebrate Mother's Day. And by celebrate I mean my mom cooked dinner and we all ate together. My sister and I did clear the table and wash the dishes though! Dinner was great, cheeseburgers, corn and french fries! Then we discovered that Forrest Gump was on tv, so I stayed for a while to watch that.

Now it's Monday morning and I'm back at work. Oh joy. I'm getting close to Austin time though! I'll be there Thursday afternoon. Can't wait!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mucho H2O

Random observation of the day:

The good thing about sitting in a long boring meeting is that it forces you to drink water because you have nothing better to do. Case in point, I was just in a 1.5 hour meeting and consumed 1L of water.... Lets just say, it's a good thing the meeting ended when it did! :)

Here comes the comes my mom????

Yep that's right, we are quickly approaching the time of my mom's wedding. It's still such a weird idea to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset about it, Gary is a great guy and he makes my mom very happy, so I'm happy about that, but still, my mom is getting married, and it's a little weird to me. So anyway, last night a few of her friends threw her a surprise wedding shower, and they invited me over as well. I couldn't really say no, so I went. And it was as boring as I expected it to be. Hanging out with a bunch of 50+ year old women who are all talking about my mom's upcoming wedding is not exactly my idea of a good time. So I put in my time, and left when I could, which unfortunately wasn't until 9:30pm. I will admit however, that I am terrible at leaving a party/function/etc... early.

I'm still feeling the effects of yesterday morning's workout with my trainer. He definitely decided to push me! The workout involved leg presses, and then jumps on the leg press machine (yeah that's right, jumping while weighed down!) And of course plenty of lunges, and arm exercises, and pull-ups and push-ups, etc... He likes to hurt me. But it's awesome.

Tomorrow is another 70-miler with the Team in Naperville. So far the weather is reporting 64 degrees and partly cloudy! Yea no rain! I have faith that it will actually be nice tomorrow. The Team could use a good day out on the bike without cold, rain, wind, etc... So keep your fingers crossed for me! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Another power test...

So last night was the last session down at Vision Quest, which meant it was Power Test time!!! I was both excited and a little nervous about it. Even though it's painful, I kind of enjoy testing myself. The worry came from the fact that the previous tests I had done were 30 minute flat courses, this one however was a 40 minute hill course. Luckily I was feeling good though, and I killed it! :) I came out in 4th place (I'm going to count it as 3rd place though because Coach Dan is a machine and is in a completely different league - he came in 2nd even though he got off the bike twice!) with an average power output of 205W. I'm still feeling pretty good about it! I actually think the hardest part of the test was the downhills though. It was tough to get into a gear where I could keep the watts up so I wouldn't bring the average down. But I did it!

Today was another long day spent at the airport. Now that I'm home, I'm just taking it easy, since I have a super early morning tomorrow. I need to meet with my trainer this week, and unfortunately the only opening he had was tomorrow at 5am. So I'm in. 4:30am is going to be super early though! Luckily Jamba Juice opens early so I can head over there after the gym for one of the breakfast smoothies with lots of yummy fruit and granola! I'm already excited!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Go Team Go!

A big shout-out to all of the amazing Austin TNT'ers that raced Wildflower over the weekend! :) Way to go Carrie, Kristi, Chad and Matt! All of you are amazing.

Happy Bevrijdingsdag!

While most of you will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, I'm here to tell you that there is another important reason to celebrate today! May 5 is Dutch Liberation Day! (Bevrijdingsdag) May 5, 1945 marked the end of German occupation in Holland during WWII. My grandparents were there during this time, and we have pictures of my Oma (my grandma) riding on the trucks with the American troops to celebrate! So somewhere in between the margaritas and Coronas, drink a Heineken today to celebrate the Dutch! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ride report in pictures....

So here it is, a report of Saturday's ride in pictures....

As I was driving out to the ride, the weather looked something like this:
Then as we were getting ready to ride, some of these started to roll in:
And this started to pick up:
And then of course as we started the ride, this started:
Somewhere around the middle of the ride, I got to demonstrate the "Stop, Drop and Roll" technique for those that I was riding with. Someone in front of me stopped, so I dropped and then rolled into a ditch. And of course the person that caused this demonstration was able to keep on riding, don't you love how that works out?

So it was a long tough ride of 70 miles. 70 miles when it's nice and sunny is a good ride, 70 miles when it's rainy and windy equals a long hard day. But then to make it all a little better, on the way home I saw one of these:

Today was the typical Sunday at the bike shop. We had 2 fewer sales people than usual, so it was a busy day. Some of the boys brought out their new Trek Mods though and raced them around the parking lot. I'm starting to think I may need one as well!

I also got to ride one of the guy's bikes, an Orbea Orca. Interestingly enough, I wasn't that impressed. (He's not that impressed either and is thinking of selling it) At least I can scratch that off the list of possible new bikes. It is now narrowed down to the Cervelo Soloist or a Blue (either the RC8 or RC6)

Ok so that post was full of a lot of pictures (I felt that I needed to make up for the last few posts without pictures!) I hope you enjoyed it. I'm off to bed.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Counting, XL purses and hot pilots!

So I spent the day at the airport today. The morning was filled with counting, yes that's right, I said counting. I love it when I get the chance to really put that engineering degree to good use! I was tasked with doing 2nd bag analysis. Sounds interesting but really it just involved me standing on the jet bridge and tallying all of the carry-on bags brought on board. I have to say the hardest part of the job was figuring out how to categorize some of the bags the women were carrying. I mean seriously, is that a purse or a dufflebag?? The day was actually fairly enjoyable as I got to interact with lots of the passengers getting on board. Oh yeah, and then there was the hot pilot. :) There were definitely some glances exchanged. :) Too bad I have no idea who he is. Oh well.....

Oh yeah, and I took my bike up to the shop in town today and got it all cleaned up finally. Too bad it's supposed to rain again this weekend. Which was my main reason for wanting to get out of town this weekend, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Too much to organize in too short a time, and taking a red-eye flight home, arriving in Chicago at 5:30am, and then working at the shop on Sunday didn't sound like a lot of fun. And plus, the only rental bike the bike shop had left for me was a Trek 1500, and that's not quite exciting enough for me. So I'll save that trip for another time....

Good night everyone! :)