Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When Siblings Attack

Monday night dinner saw all the sibs together with the newest additions to the family. Check out the rest of the pictures at my Flickr Gallery.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

At the HHH100 2008

I'm back from Wichita Falls after an exciting weekend. The WAACOs hit the road for the annual pilgrimage to the Hotter N Hell 100. We took over the downstairs of one wing of a motel and had a festive cookout in the parking lot the night before, and a nice breakfast early the morning of the ride.

Apparently this year there were about 12,000 riders in the endurance ride. I don't know how many participated in the criterion or the off road event. Sharon Jean and Joyce bagged their first century. Diane B also completed the 100 miles. Nez and Helen each rode their personal longest distance, in spite of Helen's unhappy knee and Nez's painful sunburn. Susi rode her planned 25 miles, and everyone else had signed up to do the 100K, which they were able to complete. What a good thing it was that Susi was back at the hotel early because it turned out I needed a ride back from the finish line rather early in the day.

After a fun visit to the wild west themed second rest stop which included a photo opportunity with a live longhorn, Shana and I proceeded down the road. We were going downhill at a little over 20 mph when disaster struck (insert ominous music here). I was close to Shana's wheel and breaking a bit to get a little distance off of her when either I lost my mind or my chain locked up. The next thing I knew I was bouncing along the road on my head. Once I skidded to a stop, to the sounds of "rider down" I took a quick tally of body parts and decided I had (probably) not broken anything, and could risk getting up and getting off the middle of the road. Shock and adrenaline made me feel like I might be sick so I sat down off the verge of the road in the grass, until another rider passing be suggested I watch out for chiggers. I quickly moved onto the road surface. We had a phone with us and were able to get help fairly quickly. Every rider who passed asked if I was OK. Diane W and Melissa stopped to see if they could help (thank you so much), and the County Sheriff picked me up and took me to the next intersection to meet up with the First Responders. This year since I did not plan to ride 100 mile I was disappointed to think I'd miss the Electra stop - but that is where I first went to get medical care! They started in cleaning up my leg injuries, but my elbow wound looked like it might need stitches, so it was off to Main Medical in Wichita Falls for me. The laundry list of injuries includes acres of road rash of various intensities from the middle of my left calf up to my left shoulder, a steri-stripped elbow wound which will likely scar (my days as an elbow model are over), big old bruises on all of my fingers, my inside right thigh and my left hip, a sore neck and left shoulder, and a painful and probably sprained thumb with a gash across it and a nail that might end up falling off. I have bruises on my jaw from my helmet straps & some slightly skinned knuckles. In short, I am dinged up in a big way, but I have no serious injuries and no broken bones. My helmet is bashed up and ruined, and what a good thing I was wearing it, because I would not have ended up with the minor injuries I did had I not been wearing it (and well secured to my head, too). It never slipped around at all even though my head I hit the road several times. The funny thing is, although I have ugly bloody scrapes all the way up to my hip on the left side, my shorts did not tear. I didn't tear my brand new jersey or my camelback either, although my carbon handlebars will probably be a total loss. Shana did make me throw away my bandanna, just because it was all bloody from being used as a washrag and cold compress. Turns out the bandanna is a very useful part of my riding kit. The care I got from the volunteers was excellent, including taking Shana and her bike in with me rather than leave her out on the course wondering what happened to me. Once back at WAACO Central (formerly known as Motel 6) I had the full benefit of traveling with nurses. Susi travels with a very good first aid kit, and Sharon B bandaged me up Sunday morning. They all had lots of useful advice and I felt very well taken care of. Shana was calm and helpful, even when I asked her to take pictures of me on the side of the road in my sorry condition. I was able to enjoy our second cookout of the trip from my brand new chaise lounge (thank you Shana) while being waited on hand and foot.
We already have our reservations for the same rooms next year!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Quiet Weekend (now with Oreos)

Just in case you were wondering where the Oreos came in: Logan managed to convince Daddy that little guys should have Oreos too. And of course he was absolutely right!

The weekend here has been quiet (mostly, sort of). Saturday I had volunteered to take my ex's pack for the afternoon so his Open House could proceed doglessly. We had his three, my own Evil Wild Dog, and Rita's Skippy. Plus Samantha's cat, who does not really count because I took advantage of the relatively cool day to leave him in the garage. I thought that adding a cat to the roiling mass of dogs might be just the last straw. I opened Jammer's crate and he slunk around the garage for a while, returning to his crate long before it was time to leave. After a half hour of pushing and shoving the dogs settled down and were all friendly and quiet.

I took advantage of the quiet weekend to do some knitting. I've started in on a baby blanket for one of Alex's friends who has a baby boy due at the end of October. I also wound up 1500 yards of dark teal blue laceweight that's been in my stash along with the pattern for the Peacock Feathers Shawl for a couple of years. I've read through the pattern once and looked at every possible permutation that other knitters have done, so maybe tomorrow will see it cast on. I think I have indulged my Fear of Shawl on this project long enough, and I'd like to have it finished to wear to two weddings in November, one of them my own.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spin Your Wheels Weekend

This weekend saw one of the most popular events in Oklahoma City cycling. Spin Your Wheels is a yearly event benefiting The Children's Center in Bethany, Oklahoma. The Children's Center is a non-profit pediatric hospital. The turnout is always great. One reason is because the schedule always puts it about two weeks before the Hotter N' Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, which makes it the perfect tune up for that ride. It starts right on the west side of the metro area, so it's easy to get to without staying overnight or driving out before dawn. Spin your Wheels is also generally agreed to offer the best food of any event. Before the ride there are muffins in addition to the usual fruit and cookies. Often Starbucks supplies coffee. Every stop has a great selection of snacks and the volunteers for this ride are always great. Lunch is served after the ride - this year it was from Swadley's Barbecue. Most years the ride goes south through Tuttle, OK. This year they tried something different and took the ride out Historic Route 66, through Yukon and El Reno. We were fortunate in the weather, having a cool and overcast morning. It was really windy, with a stiff south wind during the nearly whole ride. Because we went out and back across a route that went almost directly west from the city, we "enjoyed" the same wind for the whole ride instead of having a portion where the wind was at our backs. I'm not sure how I feel about the route compared to the former route. I think there was less traffic overall, but going back through downtown Yukon around noon the traffic was a little hairy. I do think that the number of riders that participate (over 1,000 this year) makes this a more viable route than the one used in prior years, even though I found it to be less scenic. The longest segments were on either a four lane or two lanes with wide paved shoulders, which made it much easier for a large group of cyclists and motorists share the road comfortably. I rode the 50 mile course with Shana, and we had a great time. She's having a lot of fun with her new bike, and Ruby was finally able to cure Blue's ongoing derailleur problems so I had a good ride too. Additional pictures over at the Flickr gallery, as always. Link on the sidebar.

Shana and I hosted a brunch for our cycling group today. Brunch seems to be the only thing that fits into everyone's schedule this year. We've all been riding, but it seems that we can all get together for a ride only rarely. Shana is a terrific cook, but baking has been the weak link in her repertoire. Saturday Dianne came over for a cake lesson, followed by a 7 minute frosting lesson Sunday morning. For her first scratch cake Shana chose my fave - coconut! She picked a rather old-school recipe that seemed rather labor intensive to me, but it let her try out several important techniques with Dianne's expert supervision, It turned out to be beautiful, delicious, and well worth the effort of cracking and grating fresh coconuts.

In crafty news, I have completed the prototype for the ring bearer's pillow. Because I had never done filet crochet before I needed to make a practice piece to get used to using the finer hook and crochet thread. Crochet for me is a low-stress activity, even when it involves a new stitch or technique. It's so easy to tear out a mistake and do it again that I don't get nervous about it. Also, since the piece is only 8"x8" it didn't bother me much to tear out a row or two to catch a mistake. I didn't go with a wedding theme for my practice piece because I thought it might be more fun to make something I'd like to keep for myself. I think it came out quite pretty. We'll see if the Mother of the Bride likes it, and what changes she'd like to make for the real thing. I did this one with a simple picot border, thinking that the bride's taste for most things seems to be streamlined and modern, but for this one item she might like a more elaborate border. I'll have to reserve time for that project before November, and I do have a baby blanket in production for the end of October, but I think I'll skein up some yarn and cast on for Icarus this week. Because what's crafty time without a little pressure? If I can finish it in time Icarus would be nice to wear for the November wedding, and it's said to be the best practice run for the Peacock Feather shawl which I want for next summer.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I Saw it on the Way to El Reno

We took one of our favorite long rides today - 40 miles or so from Lake Overholser to El Reno and back. It's pretty flat, but a good training ride for wind and heat with good roads and very little traffic. That was enough distance for me today, given that I'm not real strong this year and my bike sounds like something I found in my grandmother's garage (adjustments are in order, and fast). It may be a flat route, but it's not boring. In addition to the usual pleasant pastoral scenery we had a couple of animal encounters this time.

Diane spotted a couple of donkeys who were very interested in her. One was even willing to attempt to share a drink from her camelback. Diane is almost ready almost ready to pack a camera along with her like I do to add to her enjoyment of the road now that she's conquered speed and distance.

Everyone knows of my unwholesome obsession with goats and willingness to stop anywhere along the road at any time to look at them and photograph them. This time we were attacked by a pygmy goat and three chihuahuas. Twice. On the way out I had wanted to check out the goat but the dogs were running out into the street and I didn't want to encourage their ferocity. On the way back the dogs were hanging back a bit and the goat was running toward the street to get a closer look We stopped so I could get a good picture of her. I thought she was tethered. This was not entirely true. She did have a chain around her neck, but it was not secured to anything. When we got ready to leave we had to hustle on down the road to get away from her, as she was prepared to run along with us. What a cutie she was, and very friendly. We can confirm that bicycles are faster than goats. Just.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Visit of the Busy Bee

Miss Vivian came to spend the afternoon with me yesterday. I picked her up after work at 12:30 and took her home at nine pm. I think the only time she ever slowed down even a little was when she (finally) took a little nap. She trotted around the house, peeking and shrieking from around corners, toddled around behind the furniture looking for surprises, and drove the dogs mad. She pushed Roxy out of her face right up to the point where she decided it would be nice to give Roxy an open mouthed kiss on the lips. This was very appealing to Roxy. Not so much for me.