Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Senior Games

So the truth is out: I am racing this weekend. Besides Time Trials (TT)s, I haven't done a bike race for years. TTs count, but road races are much scarier.  This weekend, the Minnesota Senior Games are in Mankato. Yup, I'm old enough. They checked my I.D.

I wanted to get 1000 miles before the races, and I'm short by 46 miles...I could easily ride that tomorrow, but not when I need a rest day (you know, we older people need rest days). So, here I go. I think I'm ready. I'm feeling strong. I may get my A*# handed to me in a bag, but as long as I don't entirely embarrass myself, it's okay. I'm riding to have fun and go as fast as I can.
So this entails a TT and a road race Saturday a.m. and another of each Sunday a.m. I have to do it, right? The staging area is two miles from my house. Actually, I'm excited. And my buddy Skarpohl (I call him Skarpohli because he only rides Italian components...he and Mike Busch are instrumental in my riding Campy (Campagnolo...and the reason Mike started calling me Campychk at A-1 Bike) is loaning me some racing tires, aero bars, and maybe an aero helmet! I told him maybe I shouldn't. Then people would expect me to be fast. He said "It's my stuff. Nobody expects you to go fast as much as I expect you to go fast."
Wow. Pressure? Yeah, but talk about support. I love having great friends.

This morning, toward the end of a 40-mile ride, Lisa said that I was the strongest I'd been in the spring since she's been riding with me. Those were the boosts I needed.

Okay, I'm ready to go.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Allie, Sadie, and Morgan get around...

On vacation:
Two of my favorite English majors enjoying a couple of my favorite books (not that I'm prejudiced or anything. Gail's reading Kirstin Cronn-Mills'  The Sky Always Hears Me, and Teagan is reading my Chasing AllieCat.

I LOVE that those books get around!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gorgeous afternoon, after a rainy, drizzly, and howly wind morning. I got 40 miles in when the rain quit, but the wind continued. It's the story of riding in Minnesota: If you don't ride in wind, you don't ride in Minnesota.  I had thirty-nine miles pulling up to the driveway, so I went a bit farther into the wind. I got to finish with a tailwind that way!

I have now raised over $1000 for Aplastic Anemia and our ride for this cause at the Jackson Brevet, June 16, in Atlanta, Georgia. I am pretty stoked.

I just wanted to do the ride with my son-in-law (and my daughter and Alec will  be there cheering us on), and raise money for Aplastic Anemia. As it turns out, we get prizes at various money landmarks. I suppose sponsors are donating the incentives--but wow--$1000 gives me a new set of WHEELS. Holy smoke!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring. Summer. Only from the bike.

From the bike, I watch the seasons unfold. On the bike, I'm more acutely aware of the disappearance of the last snow, the first tree buds, the greening of the ditches. And this is one of my favorite parts of spring and early summer: smelling fresh earth overturned by plow and disk, and the baby corn and beans sprouting and growing. I had to stop this weekend and snap this photo. Just because I can.

I'm DONE WITH SCHOOL FOR THE YEAR! YAHOOOOO! I had great classes, wonderful students, a good time. But grading and reading everything takes hours and hours and hours, and now I'm done until August.
Writing. Writing. Writing.
Biking. Biking. Biking.

I have a novel in progress that I want to finish.
I am registered for the Senior Games bike races the first weekend in June.
On June 16, I'm riding the Jackson County Brevet, the largest fund-raiser in the country for Aplastic Anemia.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Plenty of fun

I have tons to say here, and no time to say it. I'm still grading and entering grades. My internet went down at home in the middle of the process, which threw a major glitch in the works.

Graduation last night was good. Rebecca Buege did a great job giving the student speech. I had no doubt that she would, but she kicked butt.
It was fun to celebrate with so many students I have enjoyed in the last few years.

In another vein, I just received an email with a link to an article about my reading/signing last Saturday. Stanhope Library visit

I also just saw an online ad for Hamline's University MFA program with an emphasis in writing for kids. It reads: "Give those vampires a run for their money."  HA!  Love it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finals Week

I still have a great deal of school work to tie up. I'd be almost done grading except for two shortish assignments, if it weren't for late papers. Have to enter and post grades, which will take awhile.

Lots has gone on in the last week, so I have a lot to write about, but can't do it until grades are done.

In the meantime, here is a delightful post from my writing and riding buddy Rachael Hanel about a book she's reading:

Dinty W. Moore, The Mindful Writer
It's written from a Buddhist perspective but already I've highlighted a lot of passages. Here are his four noble truths for the writer:

1. The writing life is difficult, full of disappointment and dissatisfaction.
2. Much of this dissatisfaction comes from the ego, from our insistence on controlling both the process of writing and how the world reacts to what we have written.
3. There is a way to lessen the disappointment and dissatisfaction and to live a more fruitful writing life.
4. The way to accomplish this is to make both the practice of writing and the work itself less about ourselves. To thrive, we must be mindful of our motives and our attachment to desired outcomes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebration and mixed bag at Writer's group

Last night at writers' group, we had much to celebrate:

Rachael's contract for her memoir, We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down, stories of growing up in a graveyard--as a gravedigger's daughter.

Kirstin received the ARCs for her new novel, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.

And we sat out a rather intense hailstorm. Crazy. Fun. Wonderful.

We were dealing with sad news at the same time from another mutual a gamut of emotions and experience, packed into two hours.