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12.29.2006

Expanding Horizons

I know what you have been thinking about Team Potter - it's a one trick team. But that is just not the case. While biking may have us in the grips of an obsession, we do have other interests too. I traveled to Peoria yesterday for the Team Potter Winter Meeting, sponsered by the Illinois Division. Since Capt. Bob and Baad Kitty are still in Iowa until Saturday, and Maximus was off to Chicago for a basketball game, Penutty and I went out on our own to have a little fun. We headed off to Bloomington to the Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym. It was awesome. It's located in an old grain silo, so there are a ton of different routes that will take you 65 feet up!

This was my first attempt at rock climbing and Penutty's second, so we took a class and then stuck with the easier climbs. I don't know what it would possibly be used for other than climbing, but let me just tell you that if you need a figure eight knot tied, I am your girl! I've got that baby down. Now the rest of the process, I don't know...

I've got a lot of weight to carry up a wall, and biking certainly hasn't done anything for my upper-body strength (ah, how I miss the days when I played lacrosse and had the most amazing arms...) so I was prepared to go nowhere fast. Actually, I think we did quite well. Penutty hit the top of two different climbs and I got really close a couple of times. We quit after two hours of climbing so that we wouldn't be too sore the next day. Even so, picking up a fork hurts a little.

I will definitely try to find a place in Dallas where I can try this again, especially since it seems like it would be a good upper body counterbalance to the lower body intensive cycling. Who knows, maybe after the holidays I'll even manage to lose enough weight that it won't seem like I'm carrying an extra person up the wall.

Thanks, Penutty, for explanding Team Potter's horizons. Now...climb on!!


If you want to check out Upper Limits, visit the website www.upperlimits.com

12.20.2006

Tour De Lights



ON December 9, 2006 , Nine brave souls headed out from Mr. Beans in Marion, Ia for the 11th annual Tour De Lights. The crew was led by none other the Capt Bob and the Baad Kitty. We did not have Rudolph to guide our way but we had Hokey Spokes in front and back, to help us find our way. We stopped by several houses and sang Christmas carols, we found all the greatest Christmas lights in town. The tour took us out to Hunters Ridge and back, approx 15 miles total. We finished back at Mr Beans for dinner, drinks and Cheer. We had a great time, and are looking forward to the 12th annual Tour De Lights. Come join us next time.

12.13.2006

Upcoming Holidays

Team Potter will be joining the Illinois Division for the holidays. Will we manage to brave the snow? There are serious doubts that I have the chops to cut it in the winter since I think anything below 60 is cold. Plus I don't have anything warmer than leggings and a windbreaker. You just don't need anything more in Dallas. Since we will all be together there is sure to be lots of laughs and lots of wine, but it just won't be the same without lots of riding too. Maybe I'll just have to suck it up and go for a short ride to say we did it. Bring on the snow and RIDE ON!!!

11.17.2006

Team Potter after nearly a year.


Just a quick review of Team Potters, increase in members and the website. It has been a really fun year for team potter,it started as two and has grown to five members. We have had quite a few rides togethers, which is impressive since we are in three different states. We have had several fun days and rides in Iowa, which four members present, Baad Kitty and Penutty have ridden in Illinois and then we all went to Dallas for the Denton Power Rally in Denton TX. We have had a lot of fun. Both the Capt and Baad Kitty are happy to have to the added members and memories of our rides together. We enjoy our group(team potter)rides. Thank you Gingerclip and Penutty and I know we will get Maximus for a few rides next year. Stay tuned everyone for more Team Potter fun!!

10.14.2006

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: the Denton Power Rally

October, 14, 2006
Denton, TX
Distance: 32 miles

(Riders: Baad Kitty, GingerClip, Marc, Penutty, and Capt Bob)

Blood on the Highway

Everyone remembers the lovely, precautionary tale Blood on the Highway that we were required to watch in Driver’s Ed? (Don’t pretend that you didn’t see it. They have been playing that some movie for 60 years now, so if you’re alive and you drive, then you’ve seen it.) Well, it was just like that but with fewer cars, more bikes, and less blood. (I see you rolling your eyes, thinking to yourself that this sounds nothing like Blood on the Highway. Well, remember that I have a film degree, so I can explain the multitude of similarities, but that might get a little boring unless you have movie snacks. Maybe some popcorn with butter and raisonettes thrown in for good measure? No? I can wait while you run to the kitchen. No takers? Okay, then. Back to the ride review.) The zombies knocked the cyclist down, ripped him off his bike, and then began chewing on the leg stump that was still clipped into the cleat, while the legless cyclist tried to drag himself to safety. (Oops. Sorry. You know, my main analytical paper in film school was about slasher films, so I think I got a little sidetracked. Sorry.) I guess I promised you blood, so I better get to it.

First there was attempted blood, then there was stranger blood, and finally (gasp) there was Potter blood!

Attempted Blood

Penutty, Capt Bob, and Marc had long since left me in the dust, leaving only Baad Kitty to keep me company (thanks, Baad Kitty). All of a sudden there was the long, loud sound of a car horn. I moved father over to the right and some jackass in a sedan comes pulling up beside me, only about 18 inches away despite the fact that there was no one on the other side of the road and he had plenty of room to go around me. So flicked him off and he reciprocated. It is the universal sign language after all. And then as he pulled in front of us, it became clear that he was purposely getting a close to all the riders as possible, all the while blasting away on his horn. Baad Kitty stood up on her pedal, ready to take action, blasted off, yelling “Somebody needs to get that bastard!!” All she needed was a cape. She was ready to take him on. As Marc later pointed out, the driver had committed assault with a deadly weapon, and even though I gave my contact info to the ride director to give to the cops (she already had his license plate number) I have not been contacted. I guess no one cares that he basically tried to run 100 people off the road.

Stranger Blood

As we pulled into the first rest stop there was a cyclist being loaded into an ambulance. Apparently, he was hit by a car as he was trying to get off the road and into the rest stop. I don’t have any gory details, but if you are into that sort of thing, just scroll back up and read about zombies.

Potter Blood

As we were approaching the second rest stop, the Potter clan was all riding together again (I guess maybe they all love me after all). The rest stop was on the opposite side of the road and there was oncoming traffic, so we all yelled out “slowing” then “stopping” and “turning” all the while also giving hand signals. Now I know you think that was overkill, but true be told it did me no good. Next thing I know I hear someone behind coming up fast and cursing, then I am flying and sliding across the pavement and into the ditch. Some idiot was riding with her iPod on and her head tucked, so she couldn’t see or hear anything, including me and all the rest of Team Potter. Luckily, my bike was fine and all I had was some very minor road rash and some bruises. So much for the blood, huh? It wasn’t much, but it was there.

(Capt Bob, Penutty, Baad Kitty, Marc, and the chick who ran me over)


Sweatin’ to the Oldies

I’ve got nothing for this topic. The weather was overcast and not hot at all. I mean even though it is Texas we do a have few days here and there that are less than 100 degrees. But since I wanted to talk about blood and tears, I couldn’t very well leave sweat out, now could I?

Tears on My Pillow

About 5 miles into the ride, I made a comment to Baad Kitty that I felt like I was going to cry. Now this has happened before, but I never actually cried. Well 20 miles later, the floodgates opened and I started bawling. We had just gone up an incline (I won’t call it a hill, b/c Capt Bob will no doubt correct me and tell me that there are no hills except the hills on RAGBRAI XXXIV), and I was breathing hard. At first I thought I was wheezing and then I realized I was sobbing. Yep sobbing like a little girl. Then I started crying my eyes out. Penutty checked on me and Capt Bob checked on me. I think Capt Bob might have been a little weirded out by the whole thing, but Penutty seemed to take it in stride. It was pretty funny actually, riding down the side of the road, bawling for no reason. Then 2 minutes later it stopped and then 10 minutes after that it started again. Odd, but there you have it.

Epilogue: Let the spinning wheel spin

Overall this was a good ride and I will be back next year, but there are some kinks that need to be worked out. The registration was easy, the goody bag was great, the rest stops were well stocked with food and friendly people, plus there was food before and after the ride. The route was fine except for one section of horrible road, but that was manageable and short. Mostly the 32 mile route was on country roads or was on larger roads with huge, smooth shoulders. The route was fairly flat. The rest stops need to be moved so that they are all on the right side of the road rather than the left. My accident wasn't the ride organizers' fault, but could have been prevented by better rest stop placement. Can't say that I enjoyed being thrown onto the pavement and sliding into the ditch, and that is why even when it is difficult to find space on the right side of the road it is worth the effort. If they get the rest stop placement worked out, it will be a little gem of a ride. Unfortunately, this year was a little dangerous.

(GingerClip, Baad Kitty, Capt Bob, Penutty, and Marc after the ride)

For the first time, the Iowa Division and the Illinois Division of Team Potter got to experience the wonders of a Texas Rally. Bad roads! Blazing heat (more on that in the sweat section of this review)! 500+ riders at a small rally! Free T-shirts! Free food! Free water bottles! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I like free!!! And I think that is common to all the Potters. Where will we strike again? No knows for certain, but I can guarantee that there will be bikes, booze, and raucousness!

Ride on!


See other reviews: http://www.bicycle-stuff.com/reviews/10_october/Denton_power_rally.htm

9.09.2006

It’s the Vibrating Rabbit: The Jackrabbit Stampede


September 9, 2006
Forney, TX
Riders: GingerClip Distance: 38 miles

Everything started out with such promise. Parking was a snap – with only about 200 or so riders there was plenty of space in the high school parking lot. There wasn’t a line for registration, and the T-shirt was cute, even if it was white. There were some little touches that really take a ride up a notch: there was great music being piped into the parking lot, a raffle for a free Cannondale, a Specialized truck offering tune ups, and prize money for the first rider in each distance. I was ready to be wowed. Unfortunately, that’s where it ended.


(Jen, Donna, Dawn, GingerClip)

The instant we hit the start line it was chip/seal, chip/seal, chip/seal. And not the old, worn-down, smooth chip/seal of Texas backroads long forgotten by TxDOT. Oh no, it was bone-jarring, check-all-the-screws-on-your-bike-after-the-ride, someone-in-the-city-had-extra-money-to-spend-so-they-redid-the-roads-every-six-months kind of chip/seal. Let’s just say that if you could position yourself on the seat just right you might be able to give yourself a little O. That’s one way to get the miles to fly by! If that had happened I might have been a little more forgiving for the awful roads. Instead I was left with itchy arms and legs from the vibration. Not nearly as pleasant a sensation.

Then there was the traffic. Roadkill really isn’t a good look for me, but the ride organizers seemed determined. We road on rural highways with cars zipping past us at 60 mph. At one time, a car passed me (thankfully not at 60 mph) with only about 8 inches to spare. That was a little tense. Just a little. After that we road on the access road. Oh joy.

The traffic and the roads were such and shame, because it was a great ride. The hills were perfect, the weather was perfect, the distance was perfect, and, honestly, the rest of the rally was perfect. We were greeted by the fabulous music when we returned 2 miles short of the promised 40 miles. Hey what a nice surprise to think you have 2 more miles to go, but instead there’s the finish line and people are trying to give you free hotdogs. What’s not to love about that?!?! I love finishing early! I love hotdogs!! And I definitely love FREE!!!!

While we were hanging out in the parking lot, drinking our post-ride beers, and eating our free hotdogs, we met Ginny, the Speedy Midget. Okay, maybe not really a midget, but I’m guessing she was less than 4’8”. (Baad Kitty would look like an Amazon next to her.) And she was hanging with the BIG BOYS. She flew past us on the ride and she was riding the 100k!! She was in the middle of a pack of men that were racing. Needless to say she won the prize for the first woman to finish the 100k. Apparently she’s a professional road and mountain bike racer. It was really quite fascinating.

(Jen, Donna, GingerClip, and Dawn)

Well there you have it. Not a very funny or exhilarating ride review. But them’s the facts, ma’am. Obviously I won’t be riding this again next year.

Next week: The Cotton Patch Classic http://www.omnisys-inc.com/cottonpatch.htm



7.15.2006

Tour de Paris Adventure

RIDERS: GingerClip and the rest of the Gay By Association Crew

DISTANCE: 25 miles

Captain's Log, Star Date 07-15-2006. hmmmm. wait a minute. Capt Bob the Captain, so this must not be the Captain's Log, but what is it then? If he's the Captain, that makes Baad Kitty the First Mate. And Penutty is the baby of the family, so she must be the Cabin Boy, but what am I? Whatever...it's The Log.

This was my first Tour de Paris and it was a wild ride! I sat bolt upright in the marginally comfortable bed in the very smoky room at the Comfort Inn at 6:45 am. That was a full 10 minutes before the alarm went off, and let me tell you I do not usually wake up that early voluntarily! CRISIS!!!!! I realized that I forgot to pack my sports bra, and that could be a dangerous thing. I could give myself a concussion from a smack in the head with a boob if I hit a pothole! So I shuffled a bewildered Marc out the door and into WalMart. Now I would never voluntarily buy clothing at WalMart, especially underwear, but as The Gay noticed, this is not the first time that he and I have been in an out-of-town WalMart shopping for underwear for me. The Gay has suffered much in the name of our friendship, but at least he isn't usually forced to see my boobs like he is our other friends'. (Laurie! Melissa!) But The Gay wasn't the only one subjected to the spectacle of my boobs that morning. Every one in the WalMart parking lot was treated to a free peek while I changed. What a great start to the day...and it gets better...

Marc and I head over to the school parking lot, say hello the Lesbians that we are riding with and gear up. I pull away and head towards the starting line when I hear a "Hold on a second" from behind. So I tapped my brake to slow down a little. Mistake. CRASH!!!! My road bike is only one month old, so I just took it in to have everything tightened up that might have stretched out in the first month of use. This included the brakes, on which I also had the reach adjusted. So silly GingerClip meant to tap the brakes, but instead I sent my bike to an immediate halt and myself sliding across the parking lot pavement. All the bikers around made a mental note to avoid me at all costs during the ride. At this time I would like to say thank you to the wonderful organizers of the Tour de Paris for including in my goody bad a little first aid kit. Unfortunately, I was sweating so much that the band aid fell off the bloody hamburger mess that used to be my left knee and I had little bloody rivers of sweat dripping down my knee for the entire ride.

The ride was good. We had a mass start which I don't think I like as well as a staggered start b/c we were stuck in agroup of slow people for longer than I would have liked and that's saying something b/c I am no speed demon. We finally passed the slow heard and started racing towards the front of the group in search of the rest of our group, which I have dubbed Gay By Association, since I am the only straight person and I think everyone will assume I am gay since I am hanging out with The Gay and the lesbians. Despite our best efforts we didn't have any luck catching them. At the 10 mile rest stop we found out why - they were behind us trying to catch up! There was a guy playing the banjo at the rest stop so I, of course, loved it.

After we pulled out and were headed down the road I spotted a little black kitten that couldn't have been more than 4 months old hiding in the weeds on the side of the road. ATTACK!!!! As each rider passed him, he would jump out and attack their rear tire, and then race back into the weeks to stalk the next rider coming down the road. I wish I could have taken a picture of that, b/c it was hysterical. Another rest stop, this time with Boy Scouts playing horseshoes. But their moms were very enthusiastic, they had tons of food, and cold Gatorade. BRAIN FREEZE!!!! I drank 1½ bottles of Gatorade while we were still there b/c I was so friggin' hot already. Stupid Texas weather.

Okay, back on the road, and I feel what I think is a leaf hit my helmet. I reach up to pull it out of one my vents, b/c it felt like it was stuck there, but I couldn't feel anything. But as my hand covered the vent that felt like it had the leaf in it, I feel a buzzing. FREAK OUT!!!! I swear there was the hugest bug ever stuck in my helmet! Now, in my mind it had to be a big bee that was going to sting me if I didn't get it out immediately. I pulled my bike over and frantically began trying to undue the buckle on my chinstrap, which of course meant that it took twice as long as normal. Now, I didn't get a look at whatever it was the flew out of my helmet after I removed it, b/c it took a sharp left, but out of my peripheral vision it looked like a pterodactyl with a stinger. Honest to God.

Okay, today I battled WalMart, the pavement, a kitten, and a mutant insect, but I had one battle left - the Texas heat. By the time that we pulled into the finish line at 10am it was 101 outside. I think I must have sweated outabout 15 pounds of water. But that's okay b/c I quicky replenished it with a couple of beers with the Gay ByAssociation crew. So by my count, that’s Team Potter 4, Tour de Paris 1 (clearly the pavement won that fight).

GO TEAM POTTER, TEXAS DIVISION!!!!