Sunday, December 24, 2006

I almost made it...

to the end of the year without a crash! I met up with a few guys this morning for what was supposed to be a quick ride down to Laguna Beach and back before I had to take care of some last minute Christmas duties. I was excited to get out. Marcellus had been sick all week and I had not been on the bike since Monday, so it was a treat to slip this last minute ride in.

Right before our turnaround point I told the rider in front of me to "turn up there" and not realizing that there was an "up there" before the "up there" that I was referring to, he started braking to make a quick turn and I couldn't slow fast enough and caught his rear wheel. I saw it coming and hit the road pretty hard, my left elbow and thigh taking the brunt of the fall. My first reaction of course was..."is my bike okay?" Ahhh...I'm so proud of myself...I'm becoming a true roadie. ;) The bike was fine, save for the saddle being askew and slightly scuffed and one of the brifters being jarred. Once I was sure that my bike was okay, we moved off of the road and assessed the damage. Jacket ripped and removed, same with the arm warmers...peeled them off and there it first true road rash! My elbow was already swelling so we headed across the road to Diedrich's so I could clean up.

As I walked into Diedrich's I realized for the first time, that the large picture windows provided the patrons with quite a show. Heads turned and it clicked that all of these people had seen me go down. I felt like slinking out of there as quickly as possible, I thought I might die of embarrassment at the thought of having such a large audience. While I waited to use the restroom, the guy making coffee drinks told me that he "heard" me go down and offered me some ice and a bandage. We sat around outside drinking coffee for a bit before one of the homeless men outside offered to give me mouth to mouth to help me out. Such a kind gesture...thanks, but no thanks buddy. ;)

We set off north on PCH again and I was able to make it back without any trouble, so I'm pretty sure that all I'm dealing with is some serious bruising...both the body and the ego. I'm glad that I was able to laugh it off right badly as it hurt, I wasn't about to cry in front of the boys!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Such a blog slacker...

I know that I said that I wouldn't be and really, there isn't any excuse for my lack of bloggage, other than...well, I excuse! I could get all New Years Resolution-esque and promise to blog daily, but we all know that's not going to happen, so I won't bother. I will say that with an increase in training, I do hope to blog about my progress more often, especially once I get my new toy into my hot little hands...


...because we all know that GPS, speed, cadence, elevation, graphs and charts will make me a better cyclist! ;) So ummm...Merry Christmas to me! :)

Speaking of Christmas, this is the year for me. The year that I fought off the urge to buy heaps of useless toys for the kids that will be carelessly tossed aside in the days following Christmas, or even worse...not used at all. This year the gifts were purposeful...for the older two at least.

Gavin is getting his road bike, which when I paid for it, was a '05 Trek 1000 KDR. I went to pick it up yesterday morning and found out that it had been sold to another customer. I had worried about this happening when I paid for the bike back in September, considering that they store them on the floor with just a tag indicating that they have been sold, and then again on my way there yesterday, the thought crossed my mind again. Sure enough, the bike had another name on it and they went scrambling to try to find out what happened and how they could fix it. I sat and waited while they tracked down another bike for me and promised to have it delivered to the closer location that afternoon. Much to my delight, they hooked me up with a '06 version of the bike, and I'm much happier with the color scheme...


When I picked the bike up this morning, I couldn't stop smiling. Little does Gavin know that I have visions of molding him into a future pro cyclist. Poor kid just thinks he's getting a road bike for Christmas. ;)

Avery is getting a nice digital camera for Christmas as the girl can't keep her hands off of my camera and I just don't like to share. After some research I settled on the Canon A530 and some scrapbooking supplies.


Marcellus is harder to shop for...he has so much and wants so little. I ended up getting him a video game that he'd asked for and some cars from the Cars movie.

All three of the kids are also getting iPod Shuffles...which reminds me that I wanted to fill them with some music before I wrap them up. They enjoy music so much, and I think that these will be a big hit with them.

Overall, quality won out over quantity of presents this year and I am ecstatic about that. Happy Holidays to all of you!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Change in plans...

I'm back in for Butterfield Double Century on February 17th. This means that I need to get serious about training...NOW! I should have a couple of weeks when the kids are home from school and I'm free from drop-off duty where I am able to get in some extra rides to jump start the increase in mileage.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday party...

the night before a century ride...I'm such a dumb ass. Someone really should have cut me off last ;) Here I am, at 5:17 a.m. leaving my house in less than thirty minutes to go ride a hundred miles and I'd bet money that there's still Malibu Rum flowing through my system. Nice.




Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reflecting and looking ahead...

As the year comes quickly to a close, I've been spending some time thinking about my first year of road cycling...what I've accomplished and where I will go with my riding in 2007. When I started in May, my goals were small...a 50 mile organized ride in September, a metric century (65 miles) in March of 2007 and then finally...I would train all year for a century in September 2007. All of that flew out the window when I met a new friend (lovingly referred to as "the instigator") who encouraged me to aim higher and had me signed up for a century ride within a week of having my bike. I was able to complete the 102 mile Cool Breeze in August 2006, before having to take a two month break from the bike. Upon my return, I did the challenging OCW Fall Metric, which was my most difficult ride to date. Shorter than Cool Breeze, it was the climbing that had me pushing my limits and nearly giving up. Pride and a stubborn streak kept me climbing and I was able to complete the ride.

My original goals reached a full year early, I needed to decide what my goals would be for 2007. Riding centuries didn't seem like much of a goal for me, since I was able to do that within my first three months on the bike. So, what's the next logical step if you've completed a century? A double century, of course. Or to be more precise...three double centuries in a year, which will earn me the honor of wearing a California Triple Crown jersey, or as I like to refer to it...the essence of badassness. Logical might not be the right word to describe my desire to do double centuries, in fact, I am safe in saying that you need to be slightly insane to want to ride 200 miles in one day, but what the hell...I'm going for it.

I have decided to choose some of the easier rides...easier being relative because really...200 miles is 200 miles and there's not going to be anything easy about that...but in regards to climbing, I am choosing to ride some of the double centuries that have the least gain in elevation. My original plan was to start with Butterfield, which is in mid-February, but after contemplating my training schedule over the last couple of days, I have decided to give myself some extra training time and I will be riding my first one on March 31st, The Solvang Double. This will give me a full four and a half months to build up my base mileage slowly and I'm confident that I will have time to train properly for this event. I'm excited and nervous all at once, but having challenging goals this year is going to motivate me into improving as a cyclist.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday night musings...

Glitter sucks. There's really not much to say about it, I can yield some fancy art projects, but I'm now dealing with a shitload of it in my kitchen and smaller, yet still significant amounts of it trailing into the living room and up the stairs. It's on my face, on my clothes, in the cat food, it's even in the fish bowl. least it's red and green, so when I can't clean all of it up, I can pass it off as Christmas cheer...or something like that.

I think I've secured myself a spot in the crappy mom corner. I stole Marcel's Christmas present. Really...does a four year old need an iPod Shuffle anyway? I couldn't help myself...after riding alone for 72 miles yesterday, I decided that if I'm off of the road and on the river trail, that I can ride with music and that Shuffle is the perfect size. Guess I need to buy another one...or not. ;)

So...what am I going to put on the pilfered iPod? All of the music I just downloaded on my downloading spree, of course. Regina Spektor, Beth Orton, Rachael Yamagata, KT Tunstall, Joshua Radin and the one Schuyler Fisk song I could find...Paperweight. It's really too bad that she doesn't have an album out yet. For now I'll have to get my fill of her songs from her website and her myspace page.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's good to be...



After an early morning Spinning class, I got the kids ready for school, dropped them off and then headed for Tiff's. I had to drop Marcellus off so Tiff could take him to preschool while I went in for my post-op appointment with the plastic surgeon. After feeling me up, he said that they're coming along nicely and that's when I asked him the question...can I ride my bike??? Please? Pretty please? Please say yes because I'm going fucking mental sitting here on my ass and I can't take one more day of this...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Thankfully he said that he didn't see and problem with it and let me tell you, I couldn't have raced out of that office and home more quickly. Okay...I lied. I could have been home more quickly if I didn't see a stray dog in the road. I wrestled with the dilemma in my the dog, ride my bike, save the dog, ride my bike, save the...ugh...the animal lover in me wouldn't let me pass on by, so I attempted for several minutes to coax the rottweiller into my truck, but he was scared, skittish and wanted nothing to do with me. :( I didn't have my cell phone with me so the best I could do after my failed attempt to save him was drive the short block home and call animal control. I'm hoping that they found him.

After calling animal control, I called Tiff and left her a message to tell her that I wanted to join in on the ride she had planned with Paul. I gathered my gear, slipped the sugar shorts on (they missed me too) and ran out the door. I pulled up at Tiff's honked the horn and out she runs...wearing the same thing that I was! Typical for us, we do this more often than not and today it was just what I needed. A matchy matchy riding partner! I don't know who was more excited, me or her, but we had Paul snap a couple of pictures and off we went.


The ride was short but sweet since we had to get back to pick up the littles and I can tell that I have some work to do to get back to where I was before. Little bumps in the road felt like mountains and I'm afraid I've lost my climbing legs...for now. I'm sure they'll be back soon.

18.5 miles
16.8 mph average

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Merry Christmas...

to my oldest son, Gavin. I know that I'm a few months early, but I kicked off my holiday shopping in a big way this week. I was talking to a dad on Bike Forums who rides with his young son and found out that he had received a killer deal on a Trek 1000 KDR at a local bike shop. I called around and was able find that a shop nearby had last year's model and it was just my luck that it was on closeout! After baiting Gavin with pictures and some creative questions, I determined that yes, he did indeed still want a road bike.


The new bike is going to live at the local bike shop until the holidays, when it will come home and find it's place in our house under the care of my eight year old. It makes me so happy that he's taking interest in something that I love and I can't wait to begin riding with him.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My first century was a Cool Breeze!

The alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. Do you know how early that is? It's early and clearly a time that is more suited for going to bed, than for getting out of bed. James was just getting home from work, so I talked with him as I got ready and double, triple and quadruple checked that I actually had two cycling shoes packed in my bag. I'm not sure why I focused on that one thing, but it certainly would have sucked to arrive at the start and realize that I had only one shoe, so I went with it. I ate my typical pre-ride meal of oatmeal, strawberry-banana whey protein powder and frozen strawberries and had a quick cup of coffee before packing the car and pulling out of here around 3:20 a.m. I made my way to the house of one of my riding friends (also named James, but not to be confused with my and shortly after I arrived, another riding friend Voltaire arrived. James loaded our bikes up and we were on our way by 4:00 a.m.

This was a first century for both Voltaire and myself, so I'd be lying if I said that we weren't nervous at all. The ride to Ventura went by quickly and we arrived before the registration tables were ready for us. As I wandered around the room nervous and excited, I saw a guy that looked familiar. Not like the *I know you personally* familiar, more like the *'re famous but I have no clue who you are* familiar. I finally asked Voltaire and he immediately told me that it was David James Elliot, the star of JAG. After the celebrity sighting the registration tables opened up and I was given my number. I think that this is the first time that I've ever had a number. My very own exciting and official! < doesn't take much to amuse me!


After saying hello to several friends in the parking lot, we made our way to the start line and we were on our way. The course started out on a bike path and we were soon riding along with the Pacific Ocean on our left and the trains on our right. We made our way to the other side of the highway and before we knew it we were on Highway 101, riding just feet away from semi-trucks and speeding traffic. Heavy, fast traffic tends to get my adrenaline pumping and my one goal quickly becomes...ride fast and get the fuck off of the highway! After the stretch of highway riding, we found ourselves at rest stop one. We hit the porta-potties then we made our way to the snack tables. I was starving by this point, my last meal was just before 3:00 a.m. and I had been too nervous to eat just before the start of the ride, so I enjoyed bagels, bananas and a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie at this rest stop. We took a few pictures, including one of the guys stripping their clothes off despite the sign...

Please keep your clothes on!

After the first rest stop the climbing began and I found myself falling to the back of our group. I was having some gearing/shifting issues and my chain was rubbing in all but two gears. This is incredibly annoying when you're climbing and all you can hear is the sound of your heavy breathing with a side of chain rub. James came back down to pace my up the final stretch of the hill and I mentioned to him that I was having issues back there. He offered to check it out but oddly enough...they didn't happen when I stuck with him. bike only cooperates when my ride partners stay with me!


We arrived at a very busy rest stop two and stood in line for a few minutes to use the bathroom. I was thrilled to find lemonade at this rest stop and I filled one of my bottles up with it before we left. I grabbed another bagel...this one was a delicious cheese bagel and this time a chocolate chip cookie found it's way into my mouth...oops! At this point we were unsure of what was ahead of us because it seemed like we did a good deal of climbing between rest stops one and two. I vaguely remembered someone telling me that most of the climbing was between rest stops two and three and it just didn't seem to be adding up that this ride would only be 3500 feet of climbing if that was the case. We took off and soon found ourselves climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing. Everytime we would come up onto another turn, I would have bet my life that we would start descending but I was wrong...just more climbing! At one point during this leg, we heard sirens off in the distance that seemed to be growing closer and closer and eventually an ambulanced passed us and the sirens stopped shortly thereafter. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it looked as if one of the riders went down on one of the turns...he was on my mind for the rest of the day and I'm hoping that he is okay. When we finally started descending, I realized that I need to work on my skills. I love the fast, straight downhills, but descending curvy mountain roads requires more skill than I posess at this point, so I rejoined the WKDC...that's the White Knuckle Descending Club. I made it down in one piece and then it was on to the next rest stop which would put us at the halfway point!

My bike resting at the lunch stop

We found spots among the trees for our bikes to rest and off to the lunch spread we went. Sandwich fixins were on the menu and everything looked so tasty. I debated putting the yummy looking red onions on my sandwich and then for the sake of my group, decided to pass on them...another chocolate chip cookie did hop onto my plate though! We sat down at the picnic tables and it was really neat to look around and see all of the cyclists there. I spent some time lusting over pretty bikes, mainly impressed with their color schemes more than their components. I'm such a girl! I made one more potty stop...this time in a REAL bathroom, and then filled my bottles up with lemonade again and we were on our way.

For some reason, when I looked at the elevation profile for this ride, my eyes saw the big bumps before the lunch stop and neglected to register all of the little bumps after that stop. Caught off guard, I may or may not have started whining just a little. all know my better than that. I think it went something like "FUCK THIS SHIT!" The only comfort was that we were now riding along the coast and the weather and views were both unbelievable. As we approached Shoreline Park in Santa Barbara I asked the group to pull off for a minute. As we were approaching the very cypress tree that James and I were married under almost nine years ago, Matt rides up and says "Hey...that's where Melissa and I had our first kiss!" Kind of cool and I had to take a picture there, of course.

Me at the spot where I got married!

Riding on, we made it to rest stop number four and gobbled down some more food. At this point I just wanted to be done and I knew that we still had 25+ miles ahead, so the best thing to do was to get out of there as soon as possible. My toughest leg of the ride was between rest stops four and five, I think that being so close, but just not there yet was draining on me. I passed the time by talking to every cyclist that looked as though they were hurting as much or more than I was and it motivated me to keep going. As we got closer to rest stop five I looked at Voltaire and said "I'm going to be pissed if they serve us Otter Pops...I want something a Big Stick!" Sure enough, we arrived at the final rest stop and the century known for it's popsicles delivered...BIG STICKS! We sat and enjoyed them in the shade and got ready for the home stretch.


Popsicle powered and ready to roll, James looked at his cycle computer and told me that we could make it back in under 6:55 ride time. I asked how fast we'd have to ride and Matt replied somewhere around 18 mph. I told him I didn't think that would happen, but that I'd give it a shot so let's go! The last leg of the ride starts off on Highway 101 and somehow riding on busy fast freeways gives me an adrenaline rush and makes me want to go FAST so I can just get off ASAP. I looked down and we were holding steady at 18-20 mph...he kept looking back and I was right there on his wheel the whole time. I took a turn pulling and my burst of energy took us up to 22 mph and I thought at that point that we might actually make it. After getting off of the freeway we hit a bike path, so obviously our speeds slowed, but we were able to maintain 16-17 mph the rest of the way back. I was so happy to see our time!!!!


After changing clothes we headed in for the post ride meal. Several of our Bike Forums friends were arriving, so it was nice to sit together for dinner and swap ride stories. I went up to get my Cool Breeze patch and they rang a bell for me since it was my first century, which was really cool! It was nice to do this century with a group of fun and supportive riders...I can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The boy looks like his mama...

Today someone requested a mama picture thread at a forum that I frequent, so I posted the most recent picture of myself. It happened to be a sweaty self-portrait shot in my bathroom after a particularly grueling Spinning class. My signature at this site has a picture of Gavin taken a few weeks ago at Wild Rivers and when looking at our pictures side by side, or rather...on top of one another, it becomes apparent. The boy looks like his mama. He even does the funky *not sure where to put my tongue when I'm smiling for a picture, so I'll press it against my teeth* thing like his mama does. That's my boy.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Well crap...

Blogger ate my post about Sunday's ride on the Santa Ana River Trail! Okay, maybe it was cold medicine induced stupidity that poofed it into cyberspace, I'll admit it could be my fault. It was another great ride with the Bike Forums group but since I'm not coherent enough to rewrite it, I'll leave you with the following...

~early start
~two flats
~way too many three's company references
~longing for burritos
~someone not to be named but featured in a crown jersey in the picture below eating a burrito the size of a small child

flat numero uno



underpass mural


As always...check out the rest of the pics on flickr.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Four days later...

she finally gets around to blogging about the Tour de Sugar Shorts. It's true...I'm a lazy blogger and if I don't do it right away, well...chances are that it will never get done.

What started as a hilly training ride at Team Estrogen, ended up as a group twenty six riders strong, with a mix of people from Bike Forums and TE. Having ridden with the Bike Forums folks the week before and now feeling fairly confident that none of them were super freaky axe murderers or stalkers, ( of them might be a stalker, but I can't talk about that here) I invited them to join us for our ride on Sunday. I had no idea that the turnout would be so impressive and I was thrilled that so many came, especially those who traveled quite a distance to ride with us!


We met at Bonita Creek Park in Newport Beach and our route traveled up the San Diego Creek Trail to Harvard, where we left the trail and took on the surface streets. We had some great photographers on board and I continue to be amazed by their on the bike skills. Me, I'm good at still shots while people are stuffing their faces at the rest stops. People don't tend to appreciate that, though I can't figure out exactly why?!?!?! Our first stop to regroup came at the top of Jamboree at the Chevron station and it was there that we realized that Extort came through on his promise of bringing a tow rope to help some of the ladies up the hills. We all got quite a laugh out of it, but in the end, no one needed any towing.


From Chevron we set of for our ride on Santiago Canyon Road, with a goal of regrouping at our food stop. Some flats off the bat kept some riders behind, but thinking that I might need the extra time, I took off with another group of riders. Prior to the ride, I had every intention of taking Santiago Canyon Road in my granny gear, as I had when I rode it before. I dropped my chain trying to shift into it when we were coming up Jamboree and not wanting to deal with that through the rolling hills, I decided to just stay in my middle ring throughout that stretch. The weather through the canyon was absolutely amazing. Having come off of a hellish heat wave that seemed like it would never end, we were all overjoyed to find wet pavement and the misty, cool air of the canyon. The twelve mile stretch went by too quickly this time and sooner than expected, I was hitting the final descent and we were on our way to the next regrouping point.


Not terribly hungry, I decided to grab a snack instead of lunch. I headed to Starbucks for the reduced-fat banana chocolate chip coffee cake and a venti coffee light frappucino/no whip. Yum. I love the food stops on rides because it's a great chance for you to talk to people, particularly those who are faster than you and often appear as no more than a blue speck up in the distance while you're riding.


Refueled and finished with our rest stop we took off for the second half of the ride, which took us through virtually traffic free streets of Irvine and to the Shady Ridge bike path. One last climb was ahead of us and as we turned onto Newport Coast Drive and I was ready to get going, I shifted into my granny gear and wouldn't you know chain dropped, yet again. After some help (yes, I know how to get my chain back on, but I didn't want to get my pretty little hands all from the guys, I was on my way and climbing, climbing, climbing. Reaching the top, we turned onto San Joaquin Hills Drive and the view was absolutely amazing! This was my favorite stretch of the ride, between the fun descent and the views of the ocean, it was perfect! After a short stop at Gelson's to use the ladies room (did you all see that? I do use restrooms when they're available and I don't always pee in public parking lots...only sometimes) and grab some water, we were on our way to the final loop of the ride, Back Bay.


We met up with some of the other riders at the entrance to the Back Bay bike path and set off for the home stretch. I felt amazingly energized at this point, maybe it was the promise of In-N-Out at the end of the ride that was motivating me. I could practically taste the Double Double as I pedaled along. The last loop went by quickly and before we knew it, we were back in the parking lot at Bonita Creek Park, where some of the faster riders were waiting for us. We said our goodbye's to those who were not joining us for the post-ride pig out and then made our way to In-N-Out. Food never tasted so good. I think that is one of my favorite parts of longer rides, the chance to indulge in the post-ride meal. Yum! It was nice to sit and chat with the other riders and it looks like we're all looking forward to the next time. I'll leave you with a little ditty written by one of our riders CJBruin...

There was a ride
On a summer's day
With a start
Around the Newport Bay
Lots of riders
Pedalled the miles away
And ate at In-N-Out

There's a girl
Known as Sugar Shorts
Though sometimes
She wears those goofy skorts
The riders
Say she's a real good sport
She planned a real fun ride

The riders say "Bran-day...
You're a fine girl
We all owe you a beer
Aren't you proud you didn't need your
Granny Gear?" (Dodododododododo)

As always, I've borrowed, stolen, eh...whatever...I helped myself to pictures posted at Bike Forums and they can be found here.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Oh...I know Mom!!!

So we're at the grand opening celebration for the new local bike shop in town, Surf City Cyclery and while we were waiting for the raffle to begin, we started browsing their selection of bikes. The tiny bikes caught Marcel's eye, but in an effort to keep him from hopping on and plowing into the titanium Litespeed bike, I encouraged the kids to keep walking and looking at all of the pretty new bikes.

That's when it happened. Two junior sized road bikes caught the eye of my eight year old, Gavin. Now the boy has been asking for a road bike since the day that I brought mine home and up until today, has been satisfied with my reply that they just didn't come in his size and that he would have to wait until he was oh...ten...yeah ten...that's how old he'll be when he'll fit onto a road bike. We round the corner and his eyes fix immediately on two bikes sandwiched between cruisers and mountain bikes.



There was no denying it at that point. He's tall enough for a junior road bike and he knew it. His eyes lit up as we checked out the Bianchi and the Specialized Allez Junior and he turned to me and said, "if I had one of these road bikes, I could ride with you mom." My heart melted and then I turned over the price tag...yikes. $570 for the Specialized Allez Junior and that was on sale. Luckily, Gavin had the perfect solution.

"Oh...I know Mom!!!! I can ask Santa for this bike for Christmas and then no one will have to pay for it!" Ahhh...if he only knew. Looks like it's time to start saving for Christmas presents from Santa.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I might have melted...

just a little bit. Yesterday I met up with a group of posters from Bike Forums for a ride from Irvine to Oceanside. When I saw the weather forecast a few days prior to the ride, I started my whining right then and there. They were calling for 94 degrees in Irvine and needless to say, that's entirely out of my comfort zone for sedentary activities...I couldn't fathom what it would be like cycling in it. Not wanting to be a wuss and back out, I decided to give the ride a shot and I'm glad that I did.

We met at 9:45 a.m. at the Irvine Amtrak Station and quickly started introductions. I knew that I would never be able to keep all of the usernames and real names straight, but I tried my best. I was thrilled to see that one of the forum members had brought his wife along and that another poster had brought another female friend. Nothing against the guys, but it somehow made me more comfortable to know I wasn't the only girl out there on the ride.


At 10:00 a.m. we were off and I soon realized that this ride was not going to be like any other ride I've done. It was fucking hot and only getting hotter. You have to understand that I'm a total wimp and that I normally avoid the heat entirely by riding at 5:15 a.m. More than once, the thought that I bit off more than I could chew crossed my mind. Of course, my ego was able to quiet those thoughts and I kept on pedaling, downing more water than I thought was humanly possible. At the time, had I known that it was hovering somewhere around 104 degrees while we were riding through Camp Pendelton, it probably would have killed the ride for me. I'm glad that I didn't have that confirmation until the ride was long over!


The promise of ocean breezes and cooler temperatures carried me through to Oceanside where we stopped for lunch and contemplated our next move. Some of the guys were planning to turn around after lunch and ride back to Irvine and two of the guys who rode up from Oceanside to meet us in Irvine were calling it a day. My original plan was to take the Amtrak or Metrolink back from Oceanside, but it seemed as though most of the group was going to continue on to Solana Beach. It was so much cooler in Oceanside and the rest of the ride promised oceanfront views and breezes, so I decided to keep on going after lunch. Our food choices in Oceanside were pretty limited, as not many places had outdoor seating that could accomodate all of our bikes. We finally settled on Dairy Queen, but not being able to stomach the thought of consuming actual food (if you can call it that) from there, I snuck off to the Mexican restaurant next door to grab some good food. One other rider had the same idea and we were thrilled to grab some yummy carne asada burritos, which we brought back to eat at DQ with the rest of the group.


After refilling our waterbottles for the second time, we were on our way to Solana Beach. The ride was gorgeous, though sketchy and unnerving at times with all of the cars parked alongside the road. I was feeling good up until the very last stretch when I thought to myself "I'm DONE!!!" Fortunately, the Amtrak station was a mere block ahead, so we really were done...with riding that is. We arrived at the station and had logged just over 62 miles for the day. It was my second longest ride so far, but with the rolling hills and the heat, it was by far my most challenging. By the end of the ride, I was a human salt lick.


Amtrak was having "issues" with a train and they were running behind schedule by several hours. When they finally got the train up and running they told us that no bikes would be allowed because the cars were full and that another train would be along shortly...of course, that didn't happen and we were finally allowed to board the third train. It was after 10:00 p.m. when I finally arrived home, exhausted and glad to see my kids who thought I had abandoned them.

Thanks to The Fixer who was our official photographer on wheels. I swiped some of his shots to add to my flickr site.

A big thanks to all of the riders yesterday who kept me going with their encouraging comments. It was more than a little intimidating to know that I would be riding with all of these experienced riders, but they made me feel very welcome.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes...


Why hello Mr. Armstrong. This my friends, is proof that women do indeed ogle men. This picture was mentioned on a thread entitled "Lance eye candy" on a women's cycling forum and damn...did I mention that it's getting hot in here? One of the posters said that she had a framed Annie Leibowitz print of Lance Armstrong naked on a bike in the rain and I had to see this myself. Feeling confident that Google Images would not fail me in my quest, I set off on my search...

Annie Leibowitz Lance Armstrong-nope
Annie Leibowitz bike-nope
Annie Leibowitz Lance-nope
Lance Armstrong nude- little tiny picture...but getting closer
Lance Armstrong naked- nope
Lance Armstrong Vanity Fair- ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

Damn! Can I say damn anymore in this blog? I probably could and will, but look at him. Damn! Now that's some nice eye candy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Unexpected Metric

4:05 a.m. That's the time that my alarm went off this morning. I got out of bed, threw on my shorts and jersey and started making breakfast and coffee. Oatmeal with protein powder and frozen strawberries...YUM! After eating and gathering my gear, I set out to meet Tiff and Clark at a park near the Santa Ana River Trail in Huntington Beach. Clark is a Spinning instructor at our gym and has had to endure our neverending road cycling questions for the last couple of months, so we thought it was only fair to invite him along on a ride with us.

Clark and Tiff getting an early start

In case it looks like Clark is bordering on giant status, he is. The man is ginormously tall...six foot eight to be exact. We figured that we'd be safe riding through the darkness with him in tow. We set off across the wooden bridge where I'm never sure if I'll actually make it to the other side, or if today might be the day that I plunge to my death into the Santa Ana River bed below. It seems like every fourth plank is loose and riding across it makes an awful racket. I'm still trying to decide whether the *ride it as fast as you can and get the fuck off* or *take it slow and steady so if the bridge collapses you have a chance to grab on* approach is best. I pretty much alternate between the two and I've survived. So far.

Since the Santa Ana River Trail is flat with the exception of the underpasses, the ride was less challenging mentally than the hilly ride that we did last week. The biggest challenge was sitting in the saddle for an extended period of time. It was nice to do a steady ride to gauge our endurance for the upcoming century. I was able to get the hang of eating on the bike and not having to stop to refuel and I felt much better over the course of this ride than I did last week. It's amazing what a difference eating just a few hundred more calories over the ride make. Well...that and no hills ;)

Clark and Tiff riding the SART along the 91 fwy

Yours truly

If you look closely in the upper right corner of my picture above, you can see the sign that says "Orange County Line." I say it on almost every ride that I take, but it still amazes me how cycling makes the county seem so much smaller to me. Maybe it's because I don't really enjoy driving and sitting in traffic, but I'm finding that I totally enjoy riding to someplace that is 30 miles away.

Clark and Tiff crossing the bridge in HB

Our timing on the ride back was great, the headwinds hadn't picked up too much yet and we were able to keep a good pace. Clark had a lunch meeting to be at, so after we crossed the bridge we said goodbye and he headed back down to LeBard Park, while Tiff and I continued down to the beach, determined to finish the entire Santa Ana River Trail. As we approached PCH I asked Tiffanie where we were mileage wise and she said that we were at 58 miles. I looked at her and know...if we ride up the beach trail for just a little bit before turning around, we'll bag a metric century. She started talking about having to go get her TB test read at the doctor and I turned the pleading up a notch and she quickly changed her mind. Honestly, it didn't take much to sway her. As soon as we hit the beach path the headwinds hit us and it felt like someone turned the air conditioning on. Relief from the soaring felt so nice! We turned around before we got to Newland and started the ride back. Damn. There went our nice air conditioning and now it felt like the oven was on. No worries though, we were almost done. The ride back was quick and when we pulled into the parking lot we realized that we had gone over 63 miles! It was a great ride and we exceeded our mileage goal for the day by six miles. Can't wait for the next one. :)

Riding Time: 4:28
Total Time: 4:49
Distance: 64 miles
Avg Speed: 14.2

Saturday, July 08, 2006

On the road to Los Angeles's not far, but I did have to drive on two different freeways to get there. Our trip today is brought to you by the manufacturers of NoAd sunscreen. Thanks to their crappy product, my kids are one burn closer to skin cancer (insert mommy guilt here) and our weekend plans to lounge around the pool and be lazy were thwarted. Being stuck in the house with three children arguing and whining didn't sound like a ton of fun, so I needed an alternative that didn't involve large amounts of sunshine. When James announced that he was carpooling to work today, I jumped at the opportunity to snag his little 38 mpg car and drive the kids up to use our museum passes in LA. I've been promising them a trip, but I'm boycotting longer trips thanks to my gas guzzling truck and my propensity for being a cheap ass.

Normally we head up to Exposition Park and visit the Natural History Museum and California Science Center, but today our destination was a new one. They've resumed their summer excavation of Pit 91 so we headed up to the George C. Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. The minute that we got out of the car the kids found a fenced off tar pit in the parking lot and they immediately bombarded me with non-stop questions. Why is it bubbling? Where is it coming from? Is it hot? Are there dinosaurs in there? Why is there trash in there? Why would an animal go in there? Why couldn't they get out? Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Stop shouting at me and wait until we get into the museum young ones, and all of your questions will be answered.

We wandered around inside of the museum for a few minutes before deciding to heading outside to Pit 91 to check out the excavation before it closed for the day. We carefully studied the chart that listed the Ice Age fossils that have been found this season...sabertooth cat, ground sloth and coyote among others and we matched up the colored flags to the bones down in the excavation pit. Moving on, we took some time to look at some of the other pits around the park and enjoyed watching some big bubbles form in one of the larger pits.


Starting to melt from the heat and realizing that we were supposed to be inside and out of the sun today, we walked back toward the museum. Perfect timing, we walked in right as the educational movie was starting so all of the questions that the kids had were answered, and then some. After the movie we wandered over to the paleontology lab and then onto a great display of over 400 Dire Wolf skulls, which represent just a small portion of the number that they have discovered at Rancho La Brea.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Brandy on Santiago Canyon Road

Brandy on Santiago Canyon Road
Originally uploaded by cyclemama.

Tiffanie on Santiago Canyon Road

View from Santiago Canyon Road

View from Santiago Canyon Road
Originally uploaded by cyclemama.

Tiffanie choking down a Clif Shot gel...she almost puked after I took this picture!

Originally uploaded by cyclemama.

We did it!!!

The clock is ticking and the Cool Breeze Century is just six weeks away. Tiffanie and I decided that we needed to step up our mileage this week, so we've been rising before the sun and getting out for some early morning riding before it gets too hot. Monday and Wednesday we did just over 25 miles each day and the plan for Thursday was to do a long and hilly ride.

I mapped our route and came up with a plan to leave the Back Bay area in Newport Beach and ride through Irvine and up to Santiago Canyon Road looping back around through south county and back to our starting point. As I planned the route, I noticed that it had a little more climbing than we were accustomed to. Okay really. It had a shitload of climbing in comparison to the very flat routes that we normally take along the coast here in west Orange County. Feeling great about our rides earlier in the week, we felt ready to take this one on.

3:45 a.m. and my alarm is going off. As I walk down the stairs I hear little couldn't be...yes. 2/3 of my kids are awake and sitting at the kitchen table drawing. What the hell?!?!? James tells me that they woke up when he got in from work a little after 1:00 a.m. and they were just so cute that he couldn't send them back to bed. Ummm...okay. They're your problem now buddy, I'm going riding! I ate breakfast gathered my things and drove off into the darkness.

I arrived at our starting point and noticed that today was street sweeping day where I had planned to park. Okay...plan B. Off to the Ralph's parking lot up the road. Some employees were arriving and I asked one of them if they had a bathroom inside that I could use and the guy tells me that the store is closed. Fine. I'll just pee in a bush in your parking lot then. Thanks.

After the illegal public urination, we set off into the early morning and quickly hit the San Diego Creek Trail. It was a beautiful ride with baby bunnies hopping on and off of the trail every so often. Once we hit Harvard we hopped off of the trail and onto the road. We worked our way through Irvine and up to Portola, finally hitting Jamboree and facing our first climb of the day. Ho-leeeeeeeeeeeeee shit. As a climbing novice, I actually thought I could take this in my middle ring and gave it a damn :::huff::: good :::puff::: try :::huff::: before :::puff::: figuring out that NOW would be a good time to drop into my granny gear. Whew! That's better! Spin, spin, spinning up the hill, we reached Chapman and our turn onto Santiago Canyon Road.

One small hill out of the way and we decide it's a good time to stop and try out some gel for the first time. I had the PowerBar gel in Strawberry Banana and Tiff had the Clif Shot Razz flavor. It was our first experience with gels, and with great reluctance and uncertainty, we ripped open our tiny packages. First taste...not too bad,'s sweet and thick...too sweet...ewwww...need water pronto! I look over at Tiff as she's sucking hers down and snap a picture. Right after I took it she was seriously on the verge of hurling...wish I would have captured that moment!

Setting off from our gel experience, we enjoyed the rolling hills of Santiago Canyon and come up on our first downhill. I keep hearing cyclists talk about how the fun descents make the climbing worth it, but as a new cyclist I was terrified of the thought of going downhill...until today. What a rush! I didn't even think once about braking and once I was down that first hill I was thirsty for more and couldn't wait for the next one. I turned around and could tell right away that Tiff was feeling the exact same way. The cool cloud cover, the smells, the beautiful scenery, it was all perfect!

The rest of the ride on Santiago Canyon went by too quickly and before we knew it, we were passing Cook's Corner and the Aliso Creek Trail entrance. Oops! Luckily Tiffanie noticed right away, so we turned our bikes around and hit the trail. We had planned to take the trail down to Muirlands but we were stopped by a detour sign and another cyclist turning around mentioned something about a large tractor on the trail and he told us to cut over to Los Alisos and then hop back on the trail down the road. After a detour through Mission Viejo we finally hopped back on our planned route in Irvine and made our way back to the San Diego Creek Trail. I was feeling a little bit hungry at this point, but we decided to keep pushing and eat after the ride. As we came up on Back Bay and the turn onto Eastbluff I hit a wall. I don't know if it was the smells of fresh asphalt and smoke as the workers re-paved that section of Jamboree or the fact that mentally I knew that I was a mere 1/4 mile away from the car, but my body just didn't feel like going any more. I slowed way down up the last little section of Eastbluff, but I made it to the truck and by that time I was starving! Tiff mentioned that stretching would probably be a good idea and I agreed. It's a little hard to hold stretches when you're greasy and grimey from sweat and sunscreen, but I did my best and then we were outta there.

We drove over to Starbucks on PCH and Bayside and made a beeline for the bathroom where I splashed my face off with water. Feeling slightly more presentable, I went to join Tiff in line and placed my order. Venti Coffee Light Frappucino, chicken caesar salad sandwich and reduced fat banana chocolate chip cake. Food never tasted so good! As we scarfed our food we both felt our mental alertness coming back to us...we had both been feeling a little fuzzyheaded after the ride. We realized that we should have stopped after we got off of the Aliso Creek Trail and grabbed some food to refuel at that point. 50 miles on one energy gel and one Luna Bar just wasn't enough. It was a good lesson learned though and we'll know better for next time.

Riding Time: 3:58
Total Time: 4:38
Distance: 51.9 miles
Avg Speed: 13
Max Speed: 30.7

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Photographic evidence...

that bringing a flat iron camping with you is a good thing. Look at that hair. Does that look like the hair of someone who had already been camping for five days? Good of the important things in life, even when you're camping.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The trip

Well we've been back for oh...11 days now and I'm just getting around to blogging. To spare you all of the details, I'll try to sum it up quickly.

July 8th. Left HB. Arrived in Goleta. Saw the Aids Life Cycle riders. Hiked (walked really) to Nojoqui Falls. Played at Refugio State Beach. Watched the aftermath of a tree falling on a tent. Packed up. Stopped in San Simeon to see the Elephant Seals. Arrived in Big Sur. Ranger led hike around on the Big Sur River. Met some cool people from OC. Enjoyed a day at Pfeiffer Beach. Hiked to Pfeiffer Falls. Drove to Point Lobos State Reserve. Hike the Sea Lion Point Trail. Packed up and said goodbye to Ticia and family. Drove to San Jose. Invaded Maribel's showers with three funky children. Lots of wine. Met some MD friends at the park. Build a Bear, Mexican food and cake for Avery's birthday. More wine. Made homemade tortillas. Packed up. Drove the 5 fwy home. Almost died from boredom. Met James at IHOP near LAX for dinner. Arrived home safely. Spent a whole day uploading and labeling pictures on flickr.

There you have it...the 10 day trip in a nutshell. After 11 days home, I've got nothing else. Moral of the story. Blog when it's fresh in your mind. I need a laptop!

For your viewing pleasure, I present...

El Capitan State Beach

Elephant Seals in San Simeon

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

and last but not least...

The invasion on Maribel's house

Thursday, June 08, 2006

On the Road...Really

Mummy bags...check
Flat Iron...check

Yes...I'm bringing my flat iron camping with me. We're not really roughing it, I have three kids with me and half of the belongings that we own are packed in the truck, so I figure, why not? The bathroom at the campground has an outlet and my hair might as well look nice while I'm sitting around the campfire, right? I'll be back in a little over a week, ready to bore you to tears with the 487 pictures that I have taken.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Let the procrastination begin...

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I'm a procrastinator. I'll try to play it off by telling you that I work better under pressure, but that's bullshit. I'm a procrastinator plain and simple and at no time does the procrastinator in me rear it's ugly head more fiercly than when I have a camping trip coming up. You would think that packing for camping trips would be a fairly simple task for someone who took six trips last season, but it's the same feeling of panic over what clothes to pack, what food to bring, shopping, cooking the food, etc. that sends me into a mode of bitchiness, irritability and ultimately procrastination in the days leading up to a trip. We leave Thursday and if I was smart, I would spend the day today getting some stuff done. This blog however, serves as evidence that I'll find anything...and I mean anything to do besides pack when I'm supposed to. Off to brush my dog's teeth.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Marcellus: gimme summa that candy Aveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Avery: no
Marcellus: gimme some!
Avery: No!
Marcellus: she won't gimme any of that candy
Me: maybe you could ask in a nicer voice
Avery: no

Can you feel it? Sibling love at it's finest.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The 2.9 Mile Ride

Today was the day. I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. to get in my very first early morning ride. After one push of the snooze button, I dragged myself out of bed, put on my long sleeve jersey and knickers and wandered downstairs to eat half of a bagel. By the time I was ready to roll the sun was up, so I took off from home instead of driving down to the beach path. My goal was to ride the same route that I did yesterday...Magnolia to the end of the Newport beach path, turn around and ride north to the end of Bolsa Chica State Beach, then back to Magnolia. With six extra miles added in going to and from the beach from home, I was looking at getting a 32 mile ride before the crowds hit the paths.

Of course, the best laid plans...blah, blah, blah. You get the picture. Shit happens and my shit just happened to go down right in front of Huntington Beach Fire Station Number Four. I'm riding down Magnolia feeling great and enjoying the cool morning air when my smooth ride starts to feel not so smooth anymore. Damn...I've flatted in the front. So I hop off of my bike, fairly confident...okay, truth be told, I wasn't confident at all because I'd only changed one flat and it was in my living room and it took me an hour. I figure that I don't have any choice but to change the thing, so I flip the bike over and get to work. Just as I'm getting started, the fire engine pulls into the station. One of the guys pops his head out and asks if I'm okay. I tell him that I think that I can handle it and he says "Okay, well if you need anything we're all awake and there are four of us that can come over, stand around and watch you." After struggling for several minutes I finally get the tire off of the rim and start checking for a leak. I found the hole in the tube pretty easily, but can't find anything in the tire that might have caused it, despite checking for a good five minutes. I put in the one spare tube that I had and put the tire back on the bike, wave goodbye to the fireman and I'm on my way. For a minute. Something isn't feeling or sounding right and let's face it...I'm a total newbie and I was just pretending that I knew what I was doing back there. I turn into the park behind the fire station and after riding there for a couple of minutes, the little voice inside of me tells me to call it a day and bag the ride. I decide to swallow my pride and go make friends with the firemen.

I explain the situation to the fireman who had been checking up on me while I was changing my tire and he asks me if I'd like a ride home. I accept and ask if one of them has a truck. He tells me that they can't break the crew up and that I'd have to ride home on the fire truck. Now who would turn down a ride like that? They load my bike into the hose bed on top of the truck, open the door and ask me to take a seat. We chatted about kids, their schedules, my husband's job and the fact that if this had happened yesterday instead of today, that one of their firemen is a roadie and would have been able to fix it in five minutes flat. Before I knew it we were pulling up in front of my house. As they're unloading my bike I hear them shouting across the road to the firemen at Fire Station Number Three which is about 300 feet from my front door. Good natured ribbing at 6:40 a.m. which I'm sure that my neighbors appreciated. What do I care though? I got to ride home in a firetruck. Yeehaw!

Friday, June 02, 2006


doesn't feel like spring, but technically it's not summer...yet. The weather has been amazing this week and the countdown is on. This morning while riding, it dawned on me that in approximately three weeks, every public school in the Huntington Beach area will be on summer break. You do know what that means, don't you? It means that the number of days that I can ride on the beach bike path are limited. Gone will be the days that I ignore the sign telling me that the speed limit is 10 m.p.h., speeding down the path encountering pedestrians every half mile or so. In their place will be the masses. The masses that flock to our local beaches to enjoy the sand, surf and sun. The masses that walk out onto the bike path without looking first. The masses that send their tiny tots walking out into the bike path alone. The masses that decide that they forgot something in the car and leave their coolers and beach chair sitting in the middle of the path while they go and retrieve it. The masses that let their dogs wrestle with one another on a long leash smack dab in the middle of the path. The masses that are just that...massive numbers of people in one spot. Sprummer is leading the way to summer and the masses are slowly starting to make their appearance. So here you go masses...I'm gifting the beach path to you. I'll probably be safer riding on the streets this summer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tiff's maiden voyage

So my good friend Tiff IM's me first thing this morning and tells me that she'll be kid-free for a couple of hours and that she is going to take her new road bike out for a spin in the park. Not wanting to miss her first ride, I immediately called Grandma and begged her to watch the boys for a couple of hours so I could join her. As I pulled up to her house she was standing outside eating breakfast and she actually jumped up and down with excitement, it was so adorable. Ready to go, we headed for the park by her house and she soon realized that she was not going to be satisfied riding in circles for an hour. We left the park and headed down to the beach where we rode down to the end of Bolsa Chica. Periodically during the ride she would get an ear to ear grin on her face and shout out "this is so much fun!" It's exciting to see my good friend with the same enthusiasm that I have for cycling. Today our total mileage was 17.3 miles and that was only because I was pressed for time and needed to get back to pick up the boys and fetch Avery from school. I know that she could have kept going and going. We're going to have many, many wonderful rides ahead of us. Now I just have to convince her that she should take the plunge and sign up for the Cool Breeze Century. I know that she's stronger and more ready than she thinks she is.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tour de Orange County Bike Paths

You know that the cycling bug has hit when it starts affecting your life in the subtle ways. You're more worried about finding the perfect jersey than the perfect street clothes, the guys at the local bike shop start remembering your name and you stop at one drink while you're out a bar the night before a group ride.

I set the alarm for 6:10 a.m. and I was up, eager to start my day and get ready for my first group ride. I was meeting some members of the Team Estrogen forum and our fearless leader Pam had put together a great ride for us. Our meeting point was in Tustin Ranch at Cedar Grove Park. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was greeted by the smiling faces and waves of Pam, Tracy and Cathy. I knew right away that I was going to like this group of enthusiastic women. As we were getting ready to ride we snapped a few pictures and talked our heads off.

More riders trickled in as time went on and Pam's friend Wayne kindly changed my rear tube which had a slow leak that we noticed as Pam was inflating my tire with her floor pump. As we were all getting ready, the guys from Paramount Racing were getting ready for their ride as well. I thought about joining them on their ride, but I didn't want to embarass any of them with my lightning fast speed, so I opted to stay with the Team Estrogen group ;)

Before long we were off on our journey which Pam had dubbed "Tour de Orange County Bike Paths." We jumped from path to path, starting off on the Mountains to the Sea Trail and then hitting Hick's Haul, Walnut Creek, Quail Hill, Shady Ridge and San Diego Creek Trails before reaching the Dover side of Back Bay.

After a white knuckle descent on the trail running parallel to Dover, we pushed on to Balboa Island with the intention of taking the ferry across to Balboa Peninsula. Plans changed as we got a glimpse of the holiday traffic and the line of cars, pedestrians and people on bikes waiting to cross on this Memorial Day. We backtracked off of the island and headed for the shopping center across the road for some lunch at Java City. I don't frequent Java City very often, but when I do I have to order the Vegetarian Sandwich with three cheeses on wheat. This is quite possibly the yummiest sandwich ever. Yum.

Our bellies full from lunch and feeling much more energetic, we headed across Pacific Coast Highway and through Newport Dunes RV park where we crossed a bridge that was so bumpy that I'm pretty sure that I'm now a victim of something similar to shaken baby syndrome. Leaving the "Ritz of RV parks" we found ourselves in Back Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous out and the views were amazing. One short but tough climb at the very end and we were back on the San Diego Creek Trail heading back to Tustin. The ride back was almost entirely bike path and went by really quickly. About two miles before the end of our ride our fearless leader Pam flatted, but was quickly back on the road with Wayne playing the part of mechanic and changing out her tube.

As we rode back in to Cedar Grove Park I was informed that our ride was 42.5 longest ride yet! My first group ride was a success. Saying goodbye to new friends, we were already plotting our next ride. I am so thankful that I landed with such a nice and friendly group of cyclists. Walking away, I felt like I was a better cyclist after this group ride and I learned so much today. Can't wait for next time!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just me and the bicyclette...

the kind in the bottle, not to be confused with the one that I ride. The visiting best friend dropped off a bottle of syrah along with her daughter this evening. I believe her words were "you might need to drink this if my daughter is spending the night." I'd like to say that the children are driving me to drink, but alas...all is calm and they are upstairs watching a movie. I really have no excuse for sitting here drinking red wine by myself. I guess I could go out on a limb and say that I'm being proactive...just in case they get all wild and crazy later. I have a head start.