Amgen Tour of California


On Friday I happened to stumble upon the fact that stage 5 of the Amgen tour would be finishing in Santa Barbara THAT AFTERNOON.

I am not a huge cycling buff, but during my time working at the SBR shop in Kentucky I was exposed to my fair share of Tour de France and Beyond the Peloton DVDs.  And I thought it would be awesome to see.

So after Memaw graciously agreed to watch HH for the afternoon, I was out the door and downtown in the hot, hot heat.


My friend Rika, who doesn’t particularly like cycling, just happened to be in town and agreed to stand with me to watch.

Around 3:45 the barricades were all up, nobody was allowed to cross the street, officials were yelling at pedestrians to STAY OFF THE ROAD, you could see the blinking lights of the escort in the distance…when suddenly a homeless dude on his cruiser with two large bags full of cans slung over one shoulder came cruising down the middle of the course.

He seemed somewhat tuned into the fact that something was…different, but completely oblivious that he was in the middle of it all.

Cue: mass hysteria.

Every official nearby was yelling and chasing after him, flags in the air.  Caught completely off guard by the uproar, Can Man started swerving all over the road to avoid the various people trying to tackle him, almost colliding with one official in the process.  There was a collective gasp as everyone envisioned cans strewn across the road as the peloton descended.

Surprisingly dexterous in steering his bike with one hand and carrying an unwieldy load in the other, Can Man managed to avoid crashing into anyone or anything, finally rolling off the road and into a nearby park yelling over his shoulder about how EVERYONE was being ASSHOLES.  Crisis averted.

And then Taylor Phinney came flying by.

IMG_20140517_105453Crushing it.

Then came the peloton.


It all happened in bouts of about 3 seconds.  I thought it was very exciting.  At the end Rika was like, “That was it?  That’s what we stood here so long for?”  But ultimately agreed the homeless dude fiasco made the event worthwhile.

Nice little article on how brutal that leg was here.


urlphoto via

I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately.  I like it for a few reasons:

  • Most of my exercise routine is cardio (running, swimming, (kind of) biking), so the change of pace is nice.
  • Trainers and PTs have consistently told me since breaking my back that hamstring flexibility and core strength are particularly important for me to maintain.
  • Since breaking my elbow I’ve been wary of weights, so I find this and TRX to be a nice alternatives for strength.
  • It makes my arms look good.

There is only one class I really find challenging and worthwhile.  I love it.  And not just because the teacher, who is most definitely stoned all the time, plays music during class and every time a Grateful Dead song comes on walks by me and goes, “Hey, California!”

There is one drawback: his favorite pose is this thing called peacock.

peacock yoga

That is peacock.  And, like most yoga poses, no, I have no idea how that resembles a peacock. At all.  And yes, it’s as ridiculous as it looks.   But he makes us try it every. single. day.

I’ve been attending this class regularly for about a year and a half.  That’s a lot of unsuccessful peacock.

The first year or so I mostly just worked on getting my fingers pointing towards my feet with my elbows and forearms touching under my belly, with my legs still on the ground (hard to do with my gimp elbow.)  That took a while.

Once I mastered just getting my hands in that position, next was me putting any weight at all on my hands.  This usually lasted about .0003 seconds before I face planted into the floor.  Over and over.  Until I gave up and just laid there, face down, defeated.

Last week I was doing my usual flopping around, doing my best to look like I was actually trying so the teacher wouldn’t come over and pay attention to me, and suddenly…my legs were off the floor.  Like magic.  Not up high in the air, like the dude up there, but OFF THE FLOOR.  I WAS FLYING.

…and then I promptly did something weird to my shoulder and had to take the week off.

And that, my friends, is my February Fitness success story.

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.

NASA Satellite image, April 2004

Just a month and a half after her first attempt, 62-year-old Diana Nyad tried again to complete a cage-less swim from Havana to Florida, only to be stopped 40 hours and 92 miles in (just 11 miles short of the 103 mile goal) by Man ‘o War and Box Jellyfish stings.   She says she’s learned to respect the ocean and won’t try again.  I have trouble believing her.

A few pics here.  Pretty gnarly.

Time to be Fearless…or insane

Photo via CNN

If you’re bored today, check out Diana Nyad‘s progress as she attempts the 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage (they have a kind of electrical shark-guarding field that surrounds her during the swim, but apparently it doesn’t work for certain types of shark, so she also has a team of “shark divers” to distract any sharks that go after her.  Uhh…)  She jumped in at 7:45pm ET yesterday, the swim is expected to take about 60 hours.  She’s 61.

Track her progress on the swim here.

Update:  She didn’t make it.  After 29 hours she voluntarily quit, and exited the water vomiting (uhh…good call on calling it quits).  Props to her for going for it.

This Is Where I Play With Fire

Books, books, books…

This Is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper
GREAT BOOK.  Really entertaining, parts of it are hilarious (though the subject matter is anything but…death, infidelity, being stuck in a house with your family for 7 days…)  I haven’t read any of his stuff before, but will check out some other novels.  Definitely worth a read.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson
I know, everyone and their mother has already read this.  Good airplane book.  Plot driven, exciting, much better than the first (which I thought was kind of slow in the beginning), though it did get kind of…ridiculous?…toward the end.  (Like…SPOILER ALERT: A giant man with superhuman strength and exceptionally strong bones that are impossible to break who also has a strange disorder where he feels no pain.  Really?)  But still a fun read.  Have been told I should read the third one soon, so it’s on my list.


There is a big tree in the corner of our yard.

Last night Spike was going ballistic under the tree and wouldn’t come out, so we guessed he had cornered some animal under there.  I started to freak out because possums and raccoons are rabid.  And because Paul was in his boxers, I was sent outside with the head lamp to deal.

I stood next to the tree yelling Spikes name, but that did nothing.  At first glance I couldn’t see anything.  So I got down on my knees and shone the light between the branches and saw…this:

Its face was too short to be a possum, but it was almost the size of Spike (the above illustration is drawn to scale).  It was like a gigantic, hideous, deformed rat.   It was…So. Ugly.

I let out some noise between a gag and a shriek and jumped up to find a big stick/yell at Paul that he’d better get out there.  As I ran towards the corner of the yard to get a stick, Spike stopped barking and that creature started making these god awful, other-wordly screeching noises.  I started screaming “OH MY GOD HE’S EATING IT!  SPIKE IS EATING THAT THING!”

About 30 seconds later, as Paul emerged from the house shirtless in jeans with a broom, Spike came trotting out from behind the tree, like nothing had happened.  We searched him for bite marks or blood or saliva, but didn’t find anything and promptly threw him in the bathtub.  So.  Gross.  God knows what our neighbors thought was going on.

We still don’t know what that was (Paul’s mom said it had to be a possum, maybe a baby one), and this morning we went and looked outside and there was no carcass there, which means it is still roaming free.  Now every time I hear a bump in the night I think it’s that thing.  That rat on roids.  Or more likey…meth.