October 24, 2011

I admit it

I may have gone a bit over the edge. But you know, I don't care. I like it.

Before I brought home my new bike this spring I already called her Racy Tracy, to distinguish her from Amelia, my mountain bike. And that's what I have been calling her ever since.

When we took our bikes in last week to get a personalized maintenance class at her home, Sabino Cycles, the owner, Mac, thought it was cool that both our bikes had names and he suggested we get decals or have a fancy paint job done. At home, Dan got on the web and guess what came today?

I think she looks very special. But then, to me, she is.

October 20, 2011

Tough ride

It was Long-Ride-Day today, and I was determined to add mileage to get closer to the El Tour challenge of (now changed to) 60 miles. Yesterday we were fortunate enough to get personalized bike maintenance training at our favorite bike shop, and both Racy Tracy and Fabulous Fabian were singing as we set out. What a difference a new chain makes.

We headed down the valley and made it to our planned turn around point at Hwy 186 at the end of Kansas Settlement Road. Mostly with a tail wind and we made great time. The wind headed back was not bad and we kept good, steady speed until Dan noticed a bump on my rear tire and he no sooner mentioned it or the tire went flat. How wonderful to have knight in shining armour along who can cheerfully change your tube! And, if it had not been for the puncture, we would have missed hearing the sandhill cranes call and seeing the redtailed hawk do circles right over our heads.

On we went until we had to head straight west and met with a 15 mph head wind. This is not what one wants at the end of a long ride! We huffed and puffed the last 10 miles, but we made it home where we felt better after a shower and some food. Just have to keep thinking about that great aerobic engine we are building in our body. But no wind on the long ride next time. Please.

October 13, 2011

Oh, misery!

There must be something about going out of town that sends signals around the WD that some measure must be taken to keep us home, and it is usually one, or more, of our animals that are happy to pull the trick. A hen that does not want to stay with her friends but decides she belongs in a horse barn, risking to be carried off by coyotes, a horse taking down his stall door while scratching his rear end, that kind of thing.

It's Emma this time. We were a day away from leaving for a reunion of Dan's family, when I noticed a bump on Em's rear end. Off to the vet. Diagnosis: a ruptured anal gland needing surgery to be cleaned and repaired. So, rather than being off to a party, I am staying home to nurse her back to health. It is pushing goodwill to ask neighbors to not only look after the place, feed animals, water plants, but also administer meds and wipe doggie butt. Besides, Emma is "suffering" and "needs" me: Princess Buttercup, The Drama Queen.

She really is doing fine, but having to wear that collar! It totally sucks! I do take it off while we go for walks because she would not get far. When she runs into any object outside, she stops and waits. Not in the house: Shawna runs from her and my legs will not be the same for weeks. But it does give her an angelic quality ...

October 11, 2011

Amelia, the adventuress

All the Buff Orpington chickens have started to lay. They are beautiful girls, and lay (so far) small, gorgeous, brown-tending-to-lavender eggs. It is difficult to tell the hens apart, but some personality is showing through.

Yesterday I found one of them outside the chicken yard. Undoubtedly flew over the fence. She let me catch her, and I put her back with her friends. This morning when I let the hens out of the coop, her ladyship was outside the yard again: she had spent the night quite comfortably behind the hen house on a plant cage.

We had business in Tucson today, so I hoped she would stay in and not become coyote bait or come to other harm while we were gone. When Dan went to clean stalls, my blond friend came strutting out of the horse barn, after proudly depositing her egg on one of the hay bales!

With a short trip out of state in the next couple of days, we had to do something to keep madam in her yard, and not be a constant worry for our ranch caretakers and us. So I caught her, and Dan clipped the tips of the flight feathers of one of her wings. This will affect her balance, and she will not be able to fly out. So the book says. As she continues to grow she will gain weight that will prevent her from flying the coop naturally. Life among the chickens!

October 9, 2011

The Classic

We did it yesterday, rode the Cochise County Cycling Classic. Finished at well under 3 hours for 45 miles, which I consider to be good for a couple of 60-somethings who have been riding for 5 months. And we had fun. It was a gorgeous day, though nippy originally at 40 degrees at start time. It was perfect cycling weather thereafter, and the route is beautiful. We were escorted along the way by police, fire department and because we rode for awhile with members of the Border Patrol team, got plenty of attention from their working colleagues.

After 20 miles and the first rest stop Dan and I set off on our own and had a quiet ride until we came to highway 191 where we encountered the already returning 92-miles who had started earlier. The final finish in Douglas was a blast as they led us down a long, protected, straight away which was great for a final sprint. We finished strong. I would like to do this ride again next year, perhaps 45 miles again, perhaps try for the 92 ...

The breakfast, if not of champions, at least of finishers. Gingerbread pancakes with pear sauce.

October 3, 2011


Because we are new to cycling races, we decided it might be a good idea to bike the route of the Cochise County Classic ahead of time. We could figure out our way through Douglas, a town virtually unknown to us, and see what we will be up against this coming Saturday.

Well, I think we will do just fine. Douglas is not very big and other than having to dodge the large amount of Border Patrol vehicles (Douglas is on the Mexican border), not difficult to navigate. As for the route, we did well for a couple of newbies. Not this well, however...

I don't know whether our cycle computers were caught by a radar gun or what happened, but both our max speeds were 65.9 mph. Not even the Tour de France cyclists go that fast, other than perhaps on a steep downhill. We generally top out at 25 mph. Nevertheless, I think we are ready for the CCC. It will be fun!