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I had the weirdest dream last night. I don’t remember all of it, but I was on a supported ride, and I was riding alone. There was someone I was competing with, who was fairly evenly matched with me. We were racing along, taking turns at the front. At some point I lost him. Then I lost the ride itself. I ended up in sand. It was bright and sunny and I could see everyone up above, on a pathway that was paved and I was riding in sand along the bottom of a cliff.

I felt something go wonky with my bike, so I looked down. Suddenly parts of my bike were gone. The front wheel, my handlebars. I was left holding the stem. I didn’t crash, but I lost momentum and set her down gently. Suddenly I was in an urban area, climbing around an industrial building. I found a Mad Max style bike shop, thinking I could bring the parts of my bike there to get it fixed. I had to hurry though, I was loosing my nemesis.

no_handlebars_by_theacidreign

Then I woke up.

…bikes? Vacations? Gummy bears?

I know most of my bikey friends are all about the n+1, but after a round of “fix all the things!” and bike shopping and frustration, I decided to upgrade my Surly Pacer and sell Lucille, the Bike Friday Tikit.

Lucille went home with a very nice man from Tacoma, whom I hope will find her quite trustworthy, especially with all her new components. I know that my mechanic will be happy to know she’s moved far away. He always did a wonderful job repairing her, but she was a pain in the ass.

My Surly Pacer–I’m thinking about naming her Dark Star after the Fremont Brewing’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout, which is my favorite winter beer. “Dark Star crashes, pouring its light into ashes, so follow as the Lady of Velvet recedes in the nights of goodbye. This one is too smooth …”–is all fixed up with new wheels, cassette and chain, bar end shifters, brake levers, front deraileur, fairly new chainrings and got herself a nice tune up. The gearing is the major improvement with an 11/30 instead of a 12/25. I was able to ride the way it was, but now I’m not sure why I did for so long. It’s like having a whole new bike.

I also cleaned the frame up and used some rustoleum spray paint to protect it. She is so pretty.

We took a 2 week sail in early July. It was a lot of fun with stops in Victoria Canada, Sidney Island, Jones Island, Friday Harbor, Lopez Island, Sucia, and Port Townsend. Lopez was really great and flat, allowing us to bike all over with the kids, visiting the farmers market, the grocery, and the bird sanctuary with them. Click on the picture to see more sailing photos.

And this last weekend, Chris and I went bike camping. We rode out separately, since I was off on Thursday and he came out on Friday night. We rode back together on Sunday. The rest of my family, whom we met there, drove and I still kick myself for not taking a picture of my bike among all of those cars. Again, click on the photo for more pictures of that adventure.

Right now I’m procrastinating on the final packing for our cruise to Alaska. This is on an actual cruise ship, not on Raven. I’m going to miss our hobbit hole. It might be time for a nap.

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of VietnamCatfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew X. Pham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gritty bike journey through the US West coast, Japan and finally, Vietnam. An (Andrew) bikes through all these places in search of himself, even though he is often more lost on his introspective journey than when he began. Interspersed with the tale of his travels are flashes to the past when he was a child in Vietnam before, during, and after the war, and as an immigrant in the US, ending up in Los Angeles.

An has a lot of self hate, and he seems to be searching for a way to like himself: if he can only find a reason to like the Vietnamese, he might learn to like himself. I’m not certain that ever happens, but he has a grand adventure trying.

All in all, very entertaining. I always wanted to know what would happen next and I found his ability to keep going despite his setbacks inspiring. I would have liked a bit more of an ending, but this is a memoir, so I’ll have to live with reality.

View all my reviews

We had a lovely time in Florida and somehow I managed to put out of my mind that going to Florida would make it near impossible to do 30 Days of Biking in April. Oops.  Oh well, I’m back on the bike and now using MapMyRide to keep track of miles for the National Bike Challenge. I’ll also use it for the Cascade/Adobe Commute Challenge, but I don’t think it will do the auto upload thing for that–which it shouldn’t, only commute miles count for that.

So, Florida.  The Mister chartered us a sailboat and we sailed in the Keys for a few days. It was in the 80’s with good winds and plenty of room on the boat for the 5 of us. We had a wonderful time exploring the reef and Key West and then we went to Honeymoon Island outside of Tampa/Dunedin. Click on the picture below for the entire album.

People in Key West ride bikes, but I did not see one helmet.

 

Now that I’m back I’m in full swing planning bikey stuff. I have 3 major things going on. Sound Cycling biking info fairs at the library this weekend, the Commute Challenge–I’m a team captain for the Paperback Riders, and for Books on Bikes we’re hosting a Bike to Work day booth at the Green Lake library.  Our Seattle Public Library Teams will be challenging the King County Library System’s teams this year.  They have 5 teams and 25 riders. We have 2 teams and about 20 riders, so we’ll probably base the competition on percentages of commutes ridden. They also have a lot more ground to cover in a county than we do in a city, although that might not be a big deal.

As for reviews, I have two I plan to write today, although I’ll probably try to set them to publish a day or so down the road.  They are pre-releases anyhow, so you can’t get your hot little hands on them for another few weeks.  Still, good to place holds early and often!

Oh, as an FYI who know The Boy, he is moving to Spokane next week to try his hand at job seeking there. It seems that the Darrington/Marysville area is pretty barren and that Seattle is just too big for a small town kid.  Wish him luck!

It seems that I will be torturing you with bike posts until I finally finish a book. Sometimes there are luls in the reading enthusiasm, or books are just extra long, or I’m reading 3 at once so it takes FOREVER. Or at least it seems that way. Also, if a book is meh, or the second book in a series, I might not review it. Just star and tag in Goodreads and let that be that.

So, biking! My knee is getting better, although I can still feel a pull in there. I keep riding and it keeps getting better, so I figure I’m not hurting anything.

The first of April, the first day of #30daysofbiking, was my day off. I had plenty of errands to run though and ended up with 19.2 miles.  Here’s a quick picture tour:

 

 

Errand 1, FedEx pickup

Errand 2: Emergency Gardening Tool Delivery

Errand 3: Yeast retrieval from Cellar Homebrew

Errand 4: Met with Emily from Cascade and retrieved a growler of Balebreaker IPA from Bottle Works

Day 2 was fairly cool. I rode to work and and on the ride home I randomly met up with  a friend and we got a beer at Chucks Hop Shop. 10.6 Miles.

On day 3 I took the long way to work. I took a bunch of pictures with my Contour Roam 2, which you can see if you click on the picture below. 15 miles

Hello Crow!

Today was less exciting. I rode to work the regular way, then met my family at Northgate. 8.4 Miles. I took The Boy to dinner, then caught a ride home with The Mr. Now we’re all looking at our respective gadgets and relaxing. The Boy is taking in a movie with friends and will be back tomorrow.

I may go on a longer ride with my Woolbuddies on Sunday, but it depends on how planning for the Tour de Cure Fundraising Dinner goes. That’s Sunday evening and trumps everything else.

Recapping, This week from Tues-Friday: 53.2 Miles

Bikes Ridden: Surly the Pacer and Lucille the little green Bike Friday Tikit

Wheeee!  I feel so fortunate when I get to have an interaction with a favorite author on Twitter. It just makes me all glowy.

I read Justine Larbalestier’s post on her blog (which I found through a twitter post) about a cycling adventure. I was impressed because I didn’t know she biked and told her so and she tweeted back at me. I wanted to dance around it makes me so happy.

I’m missing my bike right now. I did a dumb thing and hurt my knee falling over a speed bump in a parking lot. I was looking for a car2go and it wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I was distracted. It didn’t hurt at all, although I had to ice it for some swelling. I rested for 2 days, then rode my bike for 2 days to work and it was still fine, so I went running on the fifth day and oops, not so good. The swelling came back and it started to hurt, too. The bruising came out then as well and I had a pretty purple pattern all over. That’s fading now and I’m feeling good again, but I’ve banned myself from the bike and running until April 1st. No fooling (I wish I was).

Why April 1st? Well, April is the 30 Days of Biking is a fun challenge because it gets me on my bike on my days off, when I’m tempted to take it easy or stay home cleaning. I’m also signing up for The National Bike Challenge that runs May – October and I’ll be doing Bike to Work month in May. I’m a team captain and love the idea of getting my coworkers to bike to work, however, I also love logging all of my bikey miles with the National Bike Challenge which doesn’t care where you are riding to or how often. It just gives a bit more of a sense of accomplishment.  And April 1st so that I don’t start too soon and hurt myself again and have another setback.

So, as you can see, I am a little bike obsessed, as well as YA author obsessed.

One week from now, this time, I should be at the end of my first day of STP.  I missed my last semi-long training ride yesterday.  I thought I had the day off, but was sadly informed that was not so by a coworker the day before.  I have my priorities straight though, I did get off a bit early yesterday to go to the International Beerfest at the Seattle Center with a couple of friends.

The new Mr. rode in STP in previous years but told me he’ll only ride next year if we do it in one day. I did ask for a boyfriend that would challenge me ;)  He’s not riding this year, although he is meeting me in Portland on Sunday and driving me back on Monday.  He’ll get to attend our celebratory dinner as well.  The first part of the weekend he’s moving his sailboat down from Anacortes to a much closer moorage.

I’m currently missing him since he and the girls are camping at Mount Rainier and I am stuck here working.  Crossword puzzle lady has called twice, which would be great to break up the time if she weren’t so annoying.  Soon I get to go home and partake of a bbq that my housemates are throwing.

Alexsis’ comment on my last post reminded me that I should update.  The Paperback Riders did come in first, both in miles (widely) and percentage (barely).  I’m really proud of my team and I have heard from other staff that observing us participate in Bike to Work month has motivated them to start riding to work as well.  Which is really the goal, right? ;)

I’ve finally done some real riding on the Surly, and she is a beautiful machine.  Really light and fast.  I went on a short ride with the new Mr. a week ago and I blasted up a big hill, leaving him in the dust.  Evidently he didn’t realize I had it in me and had settled in for a long slow climb.  Oops, I’ve got to stop complaining about hills. It gives the wrong impression.

I just got back from a Union convention in LA, where the only exercise I got was swimming in the salt water pool on the roof of our hotel and lots of walking. And breathing, that felt like exercise in LA.

Salt water pool on top of the Standard

Now it’s time to start training again.

That sounds like an admission of guilt or something.  In reality, I’ve just been living and not really had anything I wanted to write about.  Life keeps on moving.  The boy went back to his father’s house shortly after my last post, things got really busy at the library and my energy was needed for other things.

On to bigger and better things:

Image

May is bike to work month and I’ve been going full swing.  My plan is to ride 100% to work this month and I’ve done it so far, with only a few days left to go.  I’ve got 227 commuting miles under my belt and have actually ridden at least 20 more (I stopped keeping track) for side trips before or after work.  My team is amazing, having ridden 1130 miles this month so far.  We’re beating our rival team by over 200 miles.

The boy and I went to the University Street Fair on Saturday and we got him a bunch of art supplies for his birthday.  I let him pick what he wanted, but was happy that he asked my opinion.  I’m not terribly artistic, but I’ve used most mediums at some point or another and have had artists as friends, so I was able to steer him towards some nice brush and thin tip markers and we got him a calligraphy set inspired by an artist we saw at an all ages show last year.

On Sunday we went to my dad’s and I put the new bike together…well, mostly.  It turns out I was missing a headset, so I’ve ordered that and I don’t think that will be hard to put on.  Then I’ll need to practice because I’ve never spent much time on a road bike.  It’s really different from the upright of a mountain bike.  I am so excited to ride this bike during STP.

And finally, I’m seeing a new special someone.  It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’m optimistic (probably too much so).  I keep expecting someone to jump out at me and say “you’re not allowed to be this happy, give that back!”  He’s sweet and strong and fun and that’s all you get for now.

Ciao!

I’m going to take a time out to rave about a couple of things.  Not crazy rave, but enthusiastic rave–although I leave it up to you to determine whether I am crazy ;)

The first is La Bête, a sweet little restaurant on the West slope of Capitol Hill.  When I showed for our reservation on Sunday, I found myself hoping that the food would live up to the decor.  Whomever designed this place is a master.  The moss greens and browns blend nicely, the art is modern and provocative without overwhelming, and I simply love the grates covering the windows, New Orleans style.

It is a place of smaller, shared plates.  I know at least one of us were worried there wouldn’t be enough.  Not so!  We had oysters on the half-shell, pork rinds with pickled red onions and rabbit and chicken liver pate to start, then followed with the softshell crab, a spring vegetable salad, baked romanesco, the morel mushroom tart, house made merguez sausage, and one of the specials–rabbit wrapped in bacon.  I won’t describe each to you but I’ll give you a couple of bites.  The flavors were very complimentary. The crab was fried perfectly and was creamy and crunchy and yummy. The pate came with a date and apple jam and curly endive on walnut toast.  The oysters were fresh and were some of the best I’ve had, including those I ate in New Orleans. The spring vegetable salad had young garbanzo beans and a perfectly cooked poached egg.   The only thing I didn’t care for were the pork rinds, but I have a feeling that has more to do with me than them.  It was also a great place for a group dinner and the service was excellent.  (P.S. Thanks Dad!)

My second rave was for Gregg’s Geenlake Cycles.  I have window shopped there before and bought a couple of accessories, but the price of their bikes has always kept me a little at bay (I’m not saying they are over priced, just out of my range).  However, I had gotten a look over on my bike from another shop during the bike to work celebration, and I wanted to see what Gregg’s said.  I walked in at 8:20 (they close at 9) to ask if they had time to do an estimate.  The guy behind the counter was seriously friendly and instantly set me at ease.  He hoisted my bike up on the rack and looked it over.  His estimate was much less and less expansive than the other place, he lubed up my chain and break line and made a couple of adjustments.  My ride home was sweeter than any I’ve had on that bike, maybe on any bike.  I am definitely going back to get a new chain set, chain and cables.  Hopefully next week.  It’s amazing what a little excellent customer service and honesty can do.