If you’ve been reading this blog, or know me, you know I compete in triathlons. This year will be dedicated to the ultra-distance: the half-Ironman, marathon and full distance Ironman. Sometimes I think I am a bit loopy. But it’s what keeps me sane. With three children to keep track of, two of which are not in school full days yet, I can go insane at times. So training for these monster races is my solace.
Part of the triathlon requires a bicycle. And I want to tell you up front I love Trek. I guess you could call me a Trek-snob? I’ve had other bikes, so I know when I like something. I have never been let down with Trek. But like all things, choosing a bike is based on preference. So if are looking for a bike, be well prepared for what you are going for. Or, you might be coerced into something not suited for you.
I race on a road bike. A Trek 2500 Alpha SL. It has super components and is the lightest bike. I’ve had it for 10 years and I love it. While I would love a tri-bike, preferably the one pictured, I will wait until January of next year to judge if this is really something I am going to be serious about in the future. January is one of the best times to buy a super-duper bike. Your bike dealer can get parts and components at seriously low prices. The reason: it’s time to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I am not kidding. Something like the tri-bike pictured, which retails in the $2500 range, can be found for at least half that in January. This is the same for all bikes, whether your preference is trail, mountain or road.
While most of my training will be on the roads, I do like to ride on a rail trail near us. It’s flat and gravel-filled, which for a road/racing bike, is dangerous (well for me, it could be, I am a klutz). So I use my mountain bike. Now I have a mountain bike from 1994. It is a Specialized Rockhopper and I’ve never really liked it. I always felt I was over-reaching and it was somewhat uncomfortable. But last night something happened. While we were shopping for a new bike for my oldest, Mommy found a bike just perfect for her! Isn’t that nice of me! Well, after I asked my husband if he could bring my mountain bike in for a tune-up for the second time in a year, he stated it was time to get rid of it. How could I refuse? And it came in green! Dear me, I love green! His agenda was for me to get another mountain bike so we could go mountain biking together. ( P.S. – I am not a mountain biker) We live around some really great single-track trails. But most likely I will swap the nubby tires for some higher pressure ones so I can use the rail trail on those days when I am tired of hills and cars who don’t like bikes on the road.
Isn’t she pretty?
Next month we are hopping on an airplane to visit my parents in California. I am from there, well I am from a couple of places, but spent my formative years in the Bay Area. In San Jose. My friends and I would drive 30 minutes on the worst highway ever made ( Highway 17 ) to get to the beach. The ocean was always too cold, but perfect to watch and run through. I loved watching the surfers in the winter at the Lighthouse Point Park. I think my heart would skip beats watching them in their element. We frequented Mr. Toots Coffee Shop in Capitola. Mr. Toots was a cat. But the coffee shop was the raddest coffee shop of all time. Huge couches, paper and books everywhere. I am sure it still looks the same, untouched by modern hands.
I miss it terribly at times. I miss the redwoods and the sound of the pounding waves into the rocky coast line. I miss the smell of the ocean and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The abundance of independently owned coffee shops. After college, my parents moved closer to Santa Cruz, to a little town called Scotts Valley, and I was in heaven when my husband and I would visit from Iowa. (Yes, I wound up in Iowa of all places, it’s a long story) But then things changed and my parents moved from the Bay Area to the desert. To PGA West. Did I mention I don’t play golf? And that the desert doesn’t do anything for me? But oh well, we are off to visit for the first time in over 5 years. And we will be going to Disneyland. Can I tell you I am excited? I am not a theme person, but Disneyland, through my children’s eyes, will be the most awesome experience.
So I have to decide what cameras to bring. And film. I’ve come up with a list:
Yashica Mat, Electro, Digital (really thinking about not bringing it) and SX-70.
I just bought some 600 film from The Impossible Project – they are having a sale! $19 for a pack of 600 film…limited to 5 per customer. And I was going to load up on some Kodak Portra 400NC for both 120 and 35mm. I might throw some b+w film in the mix. I am almost tempted to not bring my digital for a change. There is always a bit of nervousness trusting my film cameras for those once-in-a-lifetime memories…but the same goes for digital, right? Now the dilemma will be how I get all these things into a bag that comes on the plane with me. And occupy time with three restless children.
I have been a mess the last few weeks. The thing about being a parent is you will always be consumed with your children…thoughts, worries, fears, happiness. It just happens. Long story short, our son has had problems with his ear. Since October he’s had an ear infection. Beyond any ear infection he’s had in the past. After being fed up with our normal pediatrician’s office, I decided in January to take him to an ENT. Today was surgery. I was not OK with the thought of my child being put under, but I knew it was necessary and I am happy it’s over. And as he was recovering, screaming at the top of his lungs, “take the tube out”, I knew he was OK.
So today, I finally feel relief. And it feels good.
So I decided to take the bike out on the open road today. Funny thing is I always check the radar before I go. An even funnier thing was it started to rain. I thought this was hilarious because I am on a racing bike with no tread on my tires. That is how these things go. So as the cold water was hitting me, I kept thinking how great it is I am out while it’s raining. And my toes are numb. But I also thought when you race, you have no choice what the weather is going to be that day. You just get out there and do it. I remember one triathlon I competed in, started off with a huge thunderstorm. Now grated they postponed the start, but it happened to be my first half-Ironman. I was nervous enough and then there was lightning to worry about. I am hopeful my races will be full of beautiful weather, but one never knows when competing in May and June. It’s tricky.
I also tried Twitter out for a few months. And today I deleted my account. I just didn’t think it was for me. I wasn’t sure how to approach things, whether it be all about photography, or more personal. I felt like I was babbling and putting too much emphasis on the wrong things. I began to care about who was following me and how many followers I had and why someone would unfollow me. So enough. I have flickr, this spot and my americana site (which has been terribly neglected). I feel like if I have enough to say I should probably write a blog post.
I have to remind myself, it doesn’t matter who or what likes my work, although I thank all of you who do. Or, how many people follow me or leave comments, although I appreciate all of you who do. I need to remember I have to be proud of what I show you, what I shoot from my camera. It has to fill me with such raw emotion…I either want to cry or bust at the seams with excitement when I post something. So for me, I need to work on my work. And focus on why I have this space in the first place. And continue to shoot with passion. Seems silly for some, but for me it’s important.
I am sitting outside as I write this, under an umbrella on our deck. I am staring at the ranunculus I just bought. It’s yellow and bright, the sun is glowing as it hits the foliage and petals. But I feel kind of blah. Like I shouldn’t, but I haven’t felt like my normal self. Granted, there has been much going on and I am still training for my races for this upcoming season. But every year, during the transition from winter to spring, I think I feel the same. Some years it’s stronger than others. This year is definitely the case. While some parts of the country already have traces of spring, I am staring at the very tops of my daffodils and tulips that will take another month to bloom. From now until then I will pace my gardens, my trees, waiting for some sort of life to pop out.
This morning I found this quote and it seems very fitting for this transition:
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! “
Seriously. Until then.