Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whitney F!@#$%G Houston

My new (old) bike has finally been assembled. So, without further adieu, introducing for the first time the newest member of my fleet, Whitney Houston.

Yes, that's right, her name is Whitney Houston, but the officiomundo name is Whitney Houston, the Fresh Prince of 'merica, to appease the Wannabe. She thinks I'm lame for not just going with the Fresh Prince. I think she's lame because she crashed her bike and got a concussion. WEARING A HELMET. I'll stop though, she wrecked her bike, Rhonda, so I will have some compassion.

My adventure thoughts lately lie within another long bike tour. I've been reliving the epic adventure through my homedoggie Whitney's blog, and she was just featured on Crazyguyonabike for her insanity. Well, she was a featured journal on there because it's absolutely hilarious an extremely well written. I am flashing back to the stuuuuuupid Ozarks, and trying so hard to pedal uphill, which was a bitch to begin with in that mountain range, but having SO. MUCH. TROUBLE. because I was laughing so hard at her crazy antics. Like, so hard that I was crying. Those are the best kind of laughs. It's a shame it took McK and I from Idaho to Missouri to catch those Creepdick's (Whitney's word, not mine), but I'm so thankful we did. She always called me her Meta, as in Metamucil, because she would be all blocked up until I came around. And then BAM, she'd have no trouble dropping the kids off at the pool. Whit still calls me Meta.

I'm regressing here.

My next long bike trip will be on the Northern Tier. I don't know when, but I know I will make it happen. My momma said I was a stubborn toughass from the time I was a baby, and was even stronger than her as a toddler, so when I say I'm doing something, I do it. Maybe it's because I am a Taurus and possess those qualities, through and through. But yes, across America. By bicycle. Again. Now if I could only convince McK to pencil that into her calendar one summer.

Meta helping Whitney get ready in Sebree, Kentucky

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Other Things I've Been Doing

I've adapted to something new, a modified triathalon training plan. Modified because I'm not training for a tri, I don't have access to a pool, and don't particularly feel like swimming. But enough is enough already, the excuse of a long distance bike tour, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas is long gone, time to end the crap eating. As Susan Powter would say, "STOP THE INSANITY!!!" I want to get faster and stronger on the bike, build more muscle, put better food in my body, and get leaner. Thanks to my homedog, Kelly The Wannabe, I have a plan that I'm sticking to and working hard at (thanks, buddy). When things are on my calendar, I do them, so I have my daily plan all written out on my AT calendar to keep me in line. It's all about keeping appointments with yourself, a very wise professor once taught me.

Next, I need to find an event to actually train for to set a tangible goal. My current thoughts are: train, ride hard, learn skills for racing, buy a race-worthy bike, and enter my first race next summer. Or, attempt a race this summer on my new (old) road bike. Stay tuned for a post about this new gem of mine. I've always said, "Meh, I'm not competitive, I would never race," but my thoughts on racing now are, "I'd love to go so fast in a group of people, and see how I stack up against women my age." Not so much for the competition, but for the excitement of it all. I never had the opportunity to join a team in college since I stopped after a year or 2, and transferred to a teeny tiny art school that focused only on art, not academics, no sports, no frills, JUST art. By the way, I'm currently working on finishing that damn degree in education. Sometimes I wish I did more as a young 20 something, but I'm so thankful I have all of these newer healthy addictions in my life.


A delightful little treat I've been addicted to lately is dark chocolate covered espresso beans, and a small handful goes a long way, yum! Plus, a few of those babies before a run and ZIP! Also, who knew the Green Monster Smoothie could be so delicious? I decided to see what all the rage was about. One sip and I was totally sold. It's like a green-colored liquid banana dream! Now, there's a few of you out there who know about my banana obsession, and I've even been called the Banana Nazi. Don't throw out a banana I was just about to eat, ok?

Well, here's to the next week of training, where I will run harder, bike stronger, and do longer circuits. Lately, it's been in the 20's or colder with the wind chill, so running and biking outside isn't allllll that enticing. I'm keeping the indoor trainer rides to a minimum though, since it's boring, but I've been watching fun Youtube videos while spinning to pass the time.

The beginning stages of soup

Barley, white beans, carrots, onions, kale, spinach, and mushrooms. MMM!

The plan (and images of the AT to keep me motivated, thanks Donna W!)

Unhappy about running in 20 degrees and high wind (the run turned out to be awesome!)

Banana heaven in my favorite bicycle cup!

Post-ride food: chick peas, snap peas, and tofu—aka the instant fart-inducer

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Every Shoe Tells a Story

This is a throwback to '09.

I was recently digging through my closet and came across a few old banged up pairs of shoes that I'll never get rid of: the lime green Solomon's I started the AT in, my Keen Voyager boots I summited Katahdin in, and my camp shoes, a black pair of Crocs.

My Solomons served me (semi) well for 747 miles—I hiked from Springer Mountain to Jennings Creek, Virginia in them. They saw me through the wicked snow storm going into Erwin, Tennessee, when I woke up to find them snow-filled and frozen. They saw the sunset on Max Patch, which was a particularly hard day for me, and Rockets birthday party in the Smokies. They saw the hellacious descent into the NOC, and a little swinging on the Keffer Oak tree. They were on my feet when I climbed on the roof of the abandoned school bus in a large, grassy field. And, my favorite hitch ever in a red 90's convertible Mustang, driven by Annette, the angry man-hater.

And then there were a few other pairs in between that made their way to the garbage, and were likely considered toxic waste (the smell was unreal). One was the affectionately named Blue-Light Specials from K-Mart. They only lasted a few hundred miles.

After my first pair of Keens fell victim to Pennsylvania's rocks, they were in dire need of replacing, but not before I put a few hundred more miles on those beaters. My final pair saw 647 miles from Massachusetts to Maine. I wore them through massive, stagnant-watery mud pits, having to outrun mosquitoes by the masses. I outran a zillion storms, nearly getting stuck by lightening a few of times (Ok, that could potentially be a slight exaggeration, but lightening was often striking dangerously close, and more than once we just so happened to be crossing under power lines). They saw the most astounding sunrise on Jo-Mary Lake, and scaled the rock slabs of the White Mountains. They tore up my feet going up Killington Mountain, but ran me down the other side towards cheese burgers and beer. They were on my feet when I befriended Alice the pig, after eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream, and then later juggled apples at the local country store. And then saw me through the proudest moment of my life, reaching the summit of Mount Katahdin.

But wait, what about the horrifically hideous Crocs that provided my feet with sweet, sweet relief at the end of each day? The front of them were melted to a crisp from the countless campfires I burned them on, trying to warm my feet on frigid nights. These gems hung on the outside of my pack for all 2,178.3 miles, so they've seen it all, even a few miles of trail when my feet were falling apart in Virginia. My Crocs still accompany me on each of my backpacking adventures. 

Every shoe tells a story. What do yours tell?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snow + Beer = Happiness

A lovely, snowy hike with Jonathan and Joan, and beers at The Gem and the Keystone—a new (old) favorite place. Snow makes everything better. So does beer. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Silence Please

Today didn't provide an adventure per se, but it provided me with something I don't often get but always crave: pure, unadulterated silence. For 30 luxurious minutes, I threw my feet up, cuddled the dog, and read the newest issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine. Which provided me with 30 minutes of adventure dreams.

Silence is therapeutic, and if you've never treated yourself to it, then give it a whirl. Life is entirely too loud, so even just a short time in silence can be healing. I'm still extremely sensitive to noise nearly 4 years after my thru hike, and often drive with the radio off. And when I'm in the woods alone, I take time to stand in place, just listening to the absolute peace that surrounds me.

In other news, I must have stepped in crap, because a little luck came my way today. A friend that works in a local bike shop asked me if I was still looking for a road bike. Hell yes! So I managed to score a 90's model Trek for $20 and a case of Coca Cola. The only downside is that it's not a compete bike, so it needs to be built up. I have a little project ahead of me.

If you've learned nothing at all from this post, at least go sit in silence for 5 minutes to attempt to reclaim the time you spent here.