Sunday, December 5, 2010


As I mentioned earlier, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our family in Connecticut. We had so much fun. And we really have so much to be grateful for this year!

Elliot really enjoyed all the food. Yum. My MIL is a wonderful cook.

I took family photos. Here's one of all of us:

My MIL put up her Christmas lights early. They looked wonderful.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy birthday, Elliot!

I can't believe it's already been a year. We celebrated with Ed's family after Thanksgiving dinner and again with local friends yesterday.

Grandma (Ed's mom) made Elliot a bear cake using the same mold she used for birthdays when Ed and his sisters were kids. So cool!

Elliot got many lovely, thoughful gifts. Here is a tricycle from Aunt Paige and Uncle Kevin that he's already taken outside several times.

Yesterday we had high tea, which was so fun that we might have to do it for other birthdays as well. (Probably mine or Ed's -- I assume by next year, Elliot will have other ideas of what constitutes a fun party.)

Elliot loved his cake! He ate a little and threw a lot of it all over the place.

We got him a recycling truck for his birthday, since his favorite toys are the wheels on the stroller and articles in our recycling bin.

The year has been a blur -- sleep deprivation will do that to you -- but it has been amazing. Ed and I have had so much fun and can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visit from Popo and Grandpa Roy

Mom (Popo) and Grandpa Roy came to visit last week. Elliot loved all the attention!

Popo entertained Elliot while I did some work, but he occasionally came to check on me.

We ate a lot...

Mom and Roy helped Ed rake up all the leaves in the yard.

On our last day, we took some photos in a local park. We had a great time!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Canton and Orchard CX

I raced twice last weekend, in Canton MA and Hampton Falls NH. The races were somewhat similar and a very busy week has passed since then, so they get one entry.

Both races had super long courses that provided extensive tours of the grounds of the Massachusetts Hospital School and Applecrest Farm Orchards, respectively. This helped me to not get lapped in the 1/2/3 field on either day, but made it difficult for spectators to watch anything. In both, my points had me seeded second from last and I indeed finished second from last on both days.

Differences: I underinflated my new tires (Vittoria XG tubies) for Canton, which led to some sliding out in the turns, but with Ed's help, got the pressure dialed in for Orchard. I have a long way to go, but my turning is improving. I went to Canton solo and brought Ed and Elliot along for Orchard, since there was a fall farm festival going on. Also, I got surprised at Orchard by $20 prize money for finishing 9th -- they were paying 10 deep even though there were only 10 starters. Woohoo!

Some pics from Canton, both of which I showed at my photography class last Tuesday:

The Boston 'Cross barriers are still in service! Aperture priority is my friend.

Jonny Bold just after the previously pictured barrier. I played around with the aperture and ISO a bit and was pleased to get this to come out just the way I planned.

Orchard CX:

Here, Elliot meets his first sheep at the petting zoo at Applecrest Farms.

These pics of me are by Brent Doscher. Nice use of a wide-angle lens.

Pumpkin by Ed, photo by Michele

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Concord mini-meet

I decided to take a rest week last week, but wasn't really successful. I was short on sleep after three days of going to a conference in Cambridge, plus I went to a few swim practices. Then I fell down and entered a swim meet, where I proceeded to miss most of my seed times. But it was good to get an idea of what I need to work toward for the big meet at BU in December. There were just a few mixed heats of each event, so handing off Elliot got to be pretty exciting. Ed and I were each in 5 events and two of them were the same. The meet organizer was very nice and put us in different heats but the same lane, which meant that I leapt out of the pool at the end of the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM and grabbed Elliot so Ed could get on the starting block. Good times.

MRC 'Cross

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I'm finally getting around to blogging MRC 'Cross.

Gorgeous fall day, excellent venue at the Bolton Fair Grounds. Ed's mom came to hang out with us (and Elliot, of course), which was very fun. Check out this gorgeous color!

Here are my teammates Mark and Robert riding strong in the masters' race.

First off, I accidentally rode on the course during one of the races on my way to registration, since it wasn't taped off. Oops! I did a couple of warmup laps. I liked the course except for the flyover, which was way beyond my skill/confidence level. I determined pretty quickly that it wasn't going to happen, so I ran down and decided to stick with that strategy.

Here's what it looked like. Way too steep for me. Because I am old and I type professionally. (This is Mike R. on his way to winning the masters' race.)

We were staged by points, which meant I was at the back, but there were only 15 of us. So there was really nothing holding me back from a strong start, which I sort of got, but then everyone passed me in the first turn. The turns were definitely challenging and there were a lot of them, but I kept pushing and finished ahead of two real people and two phantom people (apparently there were 2 DNFs, but I don't know who they were). I kept running the flyover. I met my goal of not getting lapped. The Cat 4s were 1 minute behind us and 5 of them passed me. It was a little bit demoralizing. But it spurred me to buy some new tires, which I'm totally sure will compensate for my lack of cornering skills. < /sarcasm > My handsome mechanic glued them on tonight so I'll be ready for the races this weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We now interrupt cyclocross season to present a few pictures of Elliot

I can't believe this kid is already 10.5 months old.

Elliot dressed up to meet our friends' new baby, Margot.

The curls were getting mullety, so Elliot got a haircut a few weeks ago. Ed has a real future as a barber. (Scroll to the end to see a good pic of the haircut.)

Elliot is a great napper as long as he's being snuggled.

Elliot loves ice cream, and I'm sure it's partially responsible for the baby chub he's put on in the past month. I think our pediatrician will be pleased.

I can't wait until he can tell us what he's thinking. (My friend Whitney says that he's clearly plotting his escape.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When nationals came to Providence several years ago, I wasn't old enough to do the masters' race (the first year) and too out of shape to attempt it the second year. Ed was old enough the first year and did try to race, but his race was postponed due to extreme weather conditions, and we didn't return after it took us 5+ hours to drive home after which he spent 2 hours clearing knee-deep snow from our driveway so we could park. So I was quite excited to get a chance to race on the former nationals course this past Sunday.

I woke up at 4 to feed Elliot, then started getting ready so I could be on the road at 6. Ouch. I made it out in time to pre-ride before the first race. The course was pretty tough and long. The hardest section (for me) was right by registration and was the first part I saw. Very intimidating! But I managed to get things figured out during the pre-ride and was ready to go for the race. Il Bruce brought me some Fall River-style malasadas, which I saved for post-race nutrition.

I got a good start and then slowly lost places throughout the race. I felt okay though and was riding pretty cleanly, but I got tired the last time leading into the stairs and didn't clip out in time and botched the dismount, which allowed one rider to pass me right away and another to outsprint me at the line. I was still happy with my result (18th out of 67), and was so knackered that I had to sit down right after the finish so I could catch my breath and not boot.

I did a cool-down ride with my friend Aimee V., who is borrowing my old Redline and giving 'cross a try this season. Then I enjoyed my abolutely divine malasada. I was afraid it would be like the one I had many years ago in P-town, which was thin, oily, and a little crispy -- itwas more like fried dough than the malasadas I grew up with. The Fall River-style malasada was very similar to Hawaii-style, but around three times bigger. Amazing. Then I enjoyed a pizza made by my friend Jennyoooo's company, La Strada Wood-Fired Pizza.

I got to see Brad, who was in New England with his family for the weekend. I've known Brad since we were 16, and he accompanied me to the first time trial I ever did, in Mokuleia in 1997. I think I got about 100 pictures of him racing (seriously -- I had 430 pics total at the end of the day) in the 3 race. Here are a couple of my favorites:

The course was pretty solid when I raced -- it was in the 40s and I was having trouble clipping in because it was so cold (numb feet). By the time Brad raced, it was warm and sunny and the course was dusty. Also, do you see what I'm talking about with the size of that malasada? Amazing.

I saved the last two malasadas for Ed and I to enjoy at home. Elliot got a taste too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Night Weasels

This video, by David Deitch, pretty much says it all. You can just watch this and not read my post.

Night Weasels Cometh from David Deitch on Vimeo.

The team, led by Colin and Linnea, put on a really great race, the Night Weasels Cometh, last Wednesday. Hup was helping out, so I worked registration. The course was set up on the side of a shallow ski slope (Ski Ward) in Shrewsbury.

When I arrived, it didn't look too scary, despite the previous days' torrential rains.

Here's Chip hanging out at the Pedro's love van.

Here's a teammate I haven't met yet, spectating. As you can see, darkness is descending.

By the time I made it out to pre-ride, the course was muddy and the grass was super slippery. Everything was off-camber and the course was twisty. Also, it was dark. So this course was designed to exploit all my weaknesses. I made Meg give me a pep talk. I consulted Matty B on tire choice. (I have Tufo Elite tubies that I bought used from Mark A and Ritchey Speedmax clinchers, one bought used from CXM publisher/editor Andy Yee and one I bought new. So 3 of my tires are around 10 years old and all are more all-terrain than mud-oriented, but this is normally not an issue.) (Matty said to use the Tufos.) Then I made Cathy give me a pep talk.

I dropped out after one lap of sliding around, walking sections I should have been able to ride, and never really getting my heart rate up because I was riding so slowly. So, next year I think I will just volunteer. :) (Watching the video made me realize that my biggest problem is that I don't want to crash. Even gently onto muddy grass.)

But -- Night Weasels is what 'cross is all about. It was a great event. It was very well executed and everyone was out having a great time. The venue was great (nice comfy lodge for hanging out and registration) and the course was very spectator-friendly. I was proud that Hup was part of it.

Photo taken near the end of the women's race:

Monday, October 11, 2010


If you are here, you already know about the wonder of the Gloucester CX races and don't need me to say much about them. Or, you are a blood or calabash relation, in which case, the picture of Elliot is at the end.

I made it out for both days, with Ed and Elliot spectating for the first. The first day featured a downhill start, which made me nervous since I was in the 5th row, but I stayed on Cathy's wheel and made it to the sandpit in the top 20. This made it possible for me to ride all the technical parts without getting stuck in traffic. Woohoo! A longer-than-usual course meant that we only did 3 laps, although we were on the edge of being able to squeeze in a 4th. But the shorter duration was good for me, as I didn't run out of gas, and held on for 18th out of 99 starters.

Pre-race hoto by Chip. My super-tall teammate Joy is on the left and my other super-tall teammate Jen is on the right.

MegA and I were together for much of the race. This photo is by Todd Prekaski.

Ed took the next two photos.

I think you can get an idea here of how much I was suffering. I was about 30 seconds away from finishing and trying to hold off a rider or two.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the Hup tent. Hup is the best team ever and I am having soooo much fun doing 'cross this year because of my super fun, supportive, classy teammates.

Elliot didn't quite get the hang of cowbell-ringing, but I have high hopes for next year. This year, he chose to concentrate on cowbell-dropping.

The second day was a lot harder for me. We had the traditional uphill start, which I thought would work more in my favor (and again I was on Cathy's wheel), but we got stuck behind a big group of slower starters. We both tried to move up after that; Cathy was more successful than I was. My arms were pretty tired from racing and baby-carrying the day before, and my bike-handling really suffered as a result, so I wasn't going as fast through the turns as I should have been. 26th out of 88 on the day. But, there is no such thing as a bad day at Gloucester!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sucker Brook

Sunday was Sucker Brook, a super fun race in NH. I had a cold all week (thanks a lot, Elliot!) so my only "training" consisted of practicing turns on a mini-'cross course in our backyard.

Despite all the time in the world, I was of course running late. My two guys thoughtfully loaded my bike on the car.

Guys in the sand pit. I don't remember which field this was. But there's my teammate Mark.

Eric M. was showing Kerry the lines during the pre-ride, so I tagged along to see if I could learn something. (Yes.) Then, the race. It was super fun, with a swoopy turny section before the barriers, then some woods, then a sand pit, then pavement up to the start/finish. I felt like I was handling my bike much better than at Quad 'Cross. In fact, I think I did all right on all parts of the course -- no particular issues turning or shouldering my bike or "running," but I just did everything very, very slowly.

With two to go I alternately worried that I would, or wouldn't, get lapped. But then I did about 2/3 of the way through. DFL. Next time. :)

I rode around afterward to cool down with MegA and Solobreak, who is staying strong in his protest against the new BOB kit. Solo showed us a nice gravel road behind the course, which linked up with some of the awesome trails I rode during the Big Ring Rumpus. I could have ridden around back there for hours, which I guess means my "fitness" is entirely aerobic right now. Dammit.

Fall is here:

I got to try one of the famous Sucker Brook cupcakes. Tasty, but too much with the muchness. This was more of a two-person cupcake.

Ed and Elliot stayed home, as I encouraged them to save their 'cross-spectating energy for Gloucester. There are seriously going to be 100 women in my race on Saturday and almost as many on Sunday. My team is all set with tents and grills. I can't wait! Can sheer excitement make me fast? I rode the trainer twice this week just in case it doesn't.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quad 'Cross

It is almost fall. Time for cyclocross. I did my first real 'cross race in 2 years last weekend. Ed was in RI doing a half-Ironman, so I dropped off Elliot with Uncle Brad and Auntie Kris before riding over the venue (only 7 miles or so). I could have driven, but was loathe to uninstall the car seat to fit my bike in the car. :)

Anyway, it was great to be there and catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while, including Solobreak, who entertained me with complaints about his team's new kit. And I saw my former teammate Pauline, which was so great. And of course I got to hang with my new teammates from Hup, who were all so fun and cheered so hard for me.

I had signed up for the 1/2/3, for numerous reasons: 1) I wanted to sleep in, and so did my babysitters, 2) the race was 10 minutes longer than the 3/4 and cost the same, 3) I like smaller fields so I can have lots of personal space. But I could tell I was going to be in trouble when I saw Adam M., who gave me a big hug and asked if I'd already raced (the 3/4 was at 9 am and the 1/2/3 was at 2 pm). And when I said I was about to race, he said, very kindly, "Oh."

I was a little nervous on the line. I helped another woman get her number pinned on right side up and listened to people chatting. The woman next to me, who was tiny, mentioned her 3 kids, the youngest of whom was 8 months -- one month younger than Elliot. There goes my excuse for sucking! (She trounced me.)

So anyway, long story short, I purposely soft-pedaled the start and tried to get into my own rhythm at the back. The race was much harder than I expected -- yes, I don't have 'cross fitness, which I expected, but the I was really shocked at how crappy my bike-handling skills are. The course was really twisty and required finesse, and I was riding like I was on a 58cm bike with broken brakes. (Thank goodness for Mike and Cathy, who ran a small clinic a couple of days after the race and helped me figure out what I need to work on, and how to work on it.)

Here's a pic that my friend Bob R. took. I don't think he'd mind if I included it:

I never really got to the point where I felt like I was using the little fitness I had, as there were so few spots where I could build up speed because of my bike-handling issues. But I did try to turn it on just a bit at the end, and managed to finish third from last, ahead of a friend who was racing for the second time that day and someone else who got a flat in the first half-lap and didn't have a spare wheel in the pit.

My plan was to ride back to my sister's, but a handsome man showed up (Brad described Ed later as a "knight in a shiney Subaru") and drove me home.