Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sports Bra Mitten

Is it a bra or is it a glove? You decide! After losing my glove today, I found that a sports bra can be used as an effective substitute.

Lunch Break

Cheap food and deep thoughts with Joel in Dupont.
I lost my glove, but found a friend.

Let me know if you see a right Pearl Izumi Inferno glove somwhere between Dupont and the White House!!!! I wouldn't keep it if I were you...I blow a lot of snot rockets.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gender in the Gym

Over the years, I have noticed an interesting dynamic between strong, athletic women and athletic men who are somewhere in their early to mid fifties. For example, today I was at the gym doing back extensions and a gentlemen (roughly in his mid 50s) said to me:

“Wow, that’s a lot of weight you’re lifting”

What do you say to that? It seems like a complement…but there is something else to it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in this situation. As he continued to gawk at me, I knew this was not the end of our exchange. It’s a back handed compliment. Just before he walked away he added:

“Yeah, well, you’ll be sore tomorrow”

There it is…I knew it. Men in this age bracket don’t know how to respond to strong women. I’m not sure if they feel that it is an attack on their manhood or if it is in some way related to the societal norms in which they were raised…but it is a common thread I have found both in the gym and on the bike. I’m sure every female cyclist has experienced the overzealous mid-fifties male bike commuter who is hell bent on beating you up that hill…and then promptly bonks at the summit.

The difficult thing is that it is disguised under a layer of congenial chivalry. Who would be irritated by a friendly complement?! So how do you respond? I am certainly not going to play the demure female role…but at the same time I’m not an angry, bra burning, feminist. On the contrary, I’m a happy person, I like my bra, and I enjoy classic femininity.

Sometimes I get the feeling that women think they have to denounce their femininity in order to be taken seriously. This only serves to further devalue the absolute beauty of feminine strength and grace. We don’t have to adopt men’s fashion in order to be heard in this world!!! For all the generations of women who have gone before and all that have yet to be born, wear that skirt, speak with a strong, clear voice and keep pumping that iron!

What does a feminist look like anyway?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Xtreme Banffing

The Banff Mountain Film Festival will soon make its annual visit to the National Geographic Museum here in D.C. where hundreds of cubicle bound young professionals will unite to live vicariously through the parade of outdoor adventure films that grace the screen.

The festival provides a cornucopia of outdoor films covering all varieties of ultimate, extreme, off-the-hook outdoor recreation including mountain biking (be sure to check out 24Solo on Wed night!), skiing, snow boarding, kayaking, ad infinitum. In effort to keep things in perspective, they also throw in what I like to call “mock-umentaries.” These films do a splendid job of cutting the mellow drama with a good dose of humor and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. Let us never forget how to laugh at ourselves.

This is perhaps one of my most favorite “mock-umentaries.”

Xtreme Tramping!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Langster: Patina Ersatz

(new version) I the only one that finds this bike irritating? Particularly the "New York" model? It's funny what happens when large corporations try to sell mass produced character. (click photo for detail)

- sorry to any body out there who might own this's nothing personal

It also comes in some other obnoxious flavours like the "Seattle" shown below. Pay special attention to the umbrellas on the top tube and Starbucks cup on the seat tube...

I think the Freeze Thaw guys should look into developing a Pennsylvania line. Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

The Scranton

The Lancaster

The Bellefonte

The State College

The Pittsburgh


The Philly

The Gettysburg

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Four Days Off

With inclement weather threatening the east coast, I was unsure what direction I should head for the upcoming four day weekend. The primary objective was to get in some nice long rides in the mountains with good friends. Things were looking a bit ominous down south, but at the last minute I decided to go for it. “Go big or go home” is what I always say! On a whim I also invited my good friend Mike, from the hinterlands of Maine, to join me on the journey south. From years of his father’s travels, he has been blessed with a wealth of frequent flyer miles with which he was able to get a last minute flight to D.C..

So, I picked Mike up on Thursday night from DCA and by Friday morning we were heading south to the mountains of southern Appalachia. All evidence of snow disappeared once we were in southern Virginia and we bee-bopped down highway 81 happily day dreaming of the endless miles of single track patiently waiting for us in the Pisgahs. So, you can imagine our shock when we arrived in Hendersonville, NC to find a nice thick layer of snow on the ground. In addition to the large supply of snow, it was also uncharacteristically cold for the south with lows in the single digits and highs reaching a balmy 22 degrees.

On Saturday morning we gave it the good college try. Heading up Black Mountain Trail, things didn’t seem so bad. The trail was littered with bits of snow and icy, slushy, mud puddles…but nothing we couldn’t handle. As we continued up the mountain the snow seemed to get deeper at an exponential rate until our ride became more of a hiking trip. So, we decided to turn around and give the gravel roads a try. The gravel roads proved to be more navigable (although the snow was equally as deep) and the climbing helped to warm our legs back up. My right foot was skating that fine line between being painfully cold and completely numb as the ice and snow slowly made their way through my intricate combination of booties, shoes, plastic bags and socks.

I knew the descent was going to be painful….and indeed it was. By the time we got back to the car frozen snot-sicles hung from my face, my feat had turned to numb blocks of ice, and there was just enough strength left in my hands to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the breaks. Once we were safely inside the cab of my truck (aka “Anna’s Sauna”) it wasn’t long before we had thawed out and were once again in good spirits.

That evening we decided to see what the Hendersonville night life had to offer. First we stopped at a local bar to play a little pool. By some crazy stroke of luck Mike ended up beating the town pool shark who was appropriately nicknamed “Redneck”. Upon being dethroned, Redneck made a point to repeatedly remind me that it was “just a game….not a big deal…doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things…it’s just a game.” So, the yankee beat the rebel on his own red clay soil, but it’s just a game….not a big deal…really doesn’t matter.

Heading back to the car our attention was drawn to a cacophony of music and cheers pouring out from the local pro wrestling venue known as the House of Pain. Peering in through the window we were quickly invited inside (cover charged waved) to watch the final fights of the evening. The doorman enthusiastically rattled off a roster of fighters such as Baby Face, Dusty Roads, and Freddy Valentine in hopes of convincing us to return for the next fight to take place on February 16th. Although I am not familiar with the likes of these men, I must say I am slightly tempted to return….and it does fall on another federal holiday….coincidence? (more photos to follow)

What a show! The wrestlers appeared from behind a curtain of smoke accompanied by theme songs and strobe lights. Some of them even came as far as Michigan and New York just to have their chance to throw down in the one-horse-town that is Hendersonville. The spectators were equally as entertaining as young and old were elbow to elbow yelling insults and obscenities at the fighters in the ring. Tomorrow they will most likely be shoulder to shoulder at church belting out praises to the Lord with the same raw emotion. This is the stuff that binds communities!

Due to trail and weather conditions, the following two days would be spent doing long trail runs. Although I was sad not to be on my bike, it’s never a bad idea to mix it up in the winter. Cross training in the winter gives your mind a break from the racing scene, and your body a chance to recover from another season of saddle sores.

So, all-in-all, it was a good trip. Mike and I got some riding and running in, I got to see my family, and the House of Pain just gained a new fan. Can’t wait for February 16th!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone. Though not a superstitious person, I prefer to cross the threshold from one year to the next in the company of good friends. Together we look ahead at the year to come with joyful hearts...expressed through interpretive dance: