August 26, 2008

By Kristy
Minneapolis, Minnesota

An analogy of a Triathlon to Life Changes…Moving to Sweden, Getting Married, Loving Life –

kristy runningI did another race Saturday and it gave me some time to reflect on life and where it is for me right now. The race was smaller – 1 mile swim, 21 miles bike, 5 miles run…Times: 32 min, 1:01, 42 min. Overall a successful race – placed 17/57 in AG, 380/795 total and cut off time from last years race in all 3 events…enough about that!

As I was swimming, I find that to be one of the most inward reflecting times because it’s you, the water, (in this case – the seaweed), and the sound of my own motion of breath, I began to reflect on where I’m at in life, and all that is about to happen.

Work created a position for me so I can go to Sweden…the real reason I’m going is to play bandy with AIK in Stockholm; a dream of mine for the past 4 years. AIK is the best team in Sweden, and I’ve been invited to play with them this season! I asked work if I could continue to be employed and maintain pay while over there – it’s going to be expensive. So, they are! I also found out the project might go back there next year at about this same time…I’ve already volunteered to be the one to go back over.

So now – Each stroke I paddle makes me think of each different thing that we have to do! We need to figure out what to do with the current place – we’d like to rent it out (stroke), we need to find a place there (stroke), we need to figure out what to take with us and what to leave behind (stroke….you get the idea), we will have to figure out a lot of different ways to get around since we won’t have a car, I’ll have to adjust to skating 1.5 hours daily, plus whatever other work outs will be going on, Thom will want to figure out what he’s going to transition his career into. I’m going to be wearing a new hat at work, and learning a new role. I’m going to want to try to learn a new language…bottom line..a lot is going to happen. Another change – we’re getting married! We are thinking of doing a beach wedding in Miami, FL, followed by a cruise. I’ve always wanted to go to Belize, so I think this will be our chance. I have a lot to do to get ready for that. First things first – get our engagement photos taken (stroke) I’m going to change my hair (again). I’ve been growing it out for a few months so I could donate it. It is finally long enough to donate (or just about – in a couple of weeks, it will be!) and I’ll be going to a super short hair style (like that of AJ on ANTM, Cycle 7)

So much going on…and like the water that is going by me as I paddled through to the finish line, it’s all going to go by so fast. I change out of the wetsuit – that item that has been my comfort, protection, and aid through this first stage and I have to get into a new means of movement…a new way to roll – my bike will be like that of us transitioning to public transportation instead of the access to a car 24/7. I will need a new way to protect myself – new environments pose new challenges – as I put on my cycling helmet, I’m going to need to be aware of new surroundings. I’m going to take on a new outlook – things are different in Sweden than they are in the US, it’s going to be different – like looking through my goggles on a horizontal plane, versus putting on my sunglasses in an upright position. I’m going to use my body in different ways – as I go from bare feet into my cycling shoes, I’m going to go from my comforts on home ice (an hour or two a week) to skating 6 days a week. I take in a gu for nutrition and that reminds me of the different things we will be eating and the way my body will need more fuel than it has in past winters with so much activity.

I’m going to have a new environment to learn – as I move from the lake to the road – Stockholm is a different city than Minneapolis. I have more time to reflect as I ride my bike through the streets of the race….everything moves by me so quickly. I realize that my time in Sweden will probably come and go before we realize it is happening. yet at the same time, I’m sure that there will be times that are so painfully slow – like when I realized I was only at mile 10, and had 11 to go and I was pushing myself too hard on the bike – I’m sure there will be a time when we have some home sickness and wish we were back with our friends and family. We’ll have so much to look at – new people to meet – like that cyclist I just passed and we shared pleasant conversations about the weather, the ride, and enjoying every pedal stroke of it.

We’ll get to another phase where we’ll be on the down side of the time left to share there…as I roll into the transition area again, I am changing my helmet for a hat, my cycling shoes for running shoes, my motion less fluid and more chopped. My buddy Paul and his wife Jodie shout out to me – a familiar face in a crowd of strangers – I like that! I start out on the course to run the next 5 miles and meet more new people and push myself to another level of physical exertion. I reflect less on life at this point and push myself to see how fast and how far I can go. I do take a few moments to watch all of the fans I see pass by me in a blur, and I realize, the 1 fan in my life is Thom – the man I will spend the rest of my life with. As I run by his sister, she shouts “One Hot A$$ Bride to Be!” I giggle – I have a wedding to plan, I have a whole new exciting life to look forward to when we get back from Sweden.

I keep putting one foot in front of the other until I see the finish line ahead of me. A bit of bittersweet emotion takes over me. I’m glad to be done with the race – only because my body is telling me that it needs more fuel and I’m hot from the summer sun. I’m saddened to be done with the experience. Just like I’m sure Sweden will be for us – it will be exhausting, trying to cram so much into a short amount of time, but the end will come, and it will be time to push myself hard again – like I did as I crossed the finish line today – my head held high, my goal in site, my passion fueled. Life – reflected upon and compared to a race…The goal of both is the journey!

A few quotes that crossed my mind in all of this:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours. —Henry David Thoreau

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.

So, as I embark these changes, it’s important for me to remember, life isn’t a track meet, it’s a marathon…and here I am doing triathlons!



April 28, 2008

Some claim the charms and the namesake of the Ironman Bike Ride the last Sunday in April in Minnesota, is due to the fact that it’s in Minnesota. 2007’s Ironman was a glorious spring day. 2008… let’s just say I’m stoked I finished before the big fat snowflakes. ugh.

Anyhoo, Brooke, Kate, Danielle, Becca, Rebecca, Barb, and me did the 62 mile ride, with hella bad headwind the whole time. It made grandpa’s walk to school (uphill both ways), look like a walk to school in the sunshine, with rainbows in the sky.

In retrospect, at least it was snow in the air… and NOT rain. Because if it snows when you are on bike, you stay more dry than if it rains.

Cold Sunday Ride

April 14, 2008

On what I hope is the last sub-40-degree Sunday for awhile, Brook, Laura and I met up at Lake Calhoun to view the still-frozen lake before we headed north past Cedar Lake and Wirth Park. The Parkways were quiet on this chilly morning, and we had the roads to ourselves. Aside from the debris waiting to be streetcleaned from the gutters, we had a perfect ride. The route that Brook created even had some surprise hills to challenge us. We managed to get in 30 miles and a coffee break before noon, all without ever being more than a few miles from downtown Minneapolis.

rainy sunday

April 7, 2008

Brooke blogs coherently about our rainy Sunday morning ride…

Well, here’s tribute to the good souls who said to heck with the forecast and joined Kate and I for the Inaugural Sunday Bella Rides. The ride start was at Dunn Bros. Coffee on Lake Street and River Road at 9 a.m. Kate and I were joined by Barb and Bruce for the ride over to the Greenway to pick up others enroute. We met Manda just off of the Chicago/Greenway intersection and then went on to pick up Becca and Rebecca at the dog park meeting spot at Lake Calhoun. Here Barb and Bruce left us to complete some scheduled interval training. Our group headed west on the pre-decided route. We were not blessed with sunny skies and warm weather as was the day before but we were a hardy crew and pedaled on. The route took us to the end of the paved Greenway and then south a bit to connect with the Smetana hill and onto Shady Oak Road. We discovered that our ride time at that point coincided with services at Wooddale Church. We may need to alter the course or time a little in the future to allow those seeking redemption full rights to the road and us an exception for an early exit to heaven.
As we headed back through Edina the first few sprinkles started to fall. Being the optimistic bunch we are, we initially figured it was road spray from those in the front. Unfortunately, Manda and Kate confirmed that they too, were getting dripped on with no one in front of them and alas, the weather forecaster was going to have an accurate forecast come to pass. The sprinkling stayed light until we crested Vernon and crossed Hwy 100. The skies then decided that it was time to rain and rain it did. By the time we reached Lake Harriet, we were all pretty darn wet and ready for the ride to be over. Becca and I left Manda and Kate at 40th and Bryant as they headed towards the Greenway and off their separate ways to continue home.
Although not as pleasant of ending as wished, it was a good ride. Our distance was about 32 miles as planned (if you started at Dunn Bros) and the time approximately 2 hours 20 minutes. I think everyone enjoyed themselves until the rain came in so all-in-all a successful outing. After wiping down my chain and drying my bike, I was able to get out of the wet clothes and into a hot shower. A cup of hot cocoa, a slice of peanut butter toast and I’m ready to think about next Sunday.
Next week, we’ll try the Northeast route. Watch for time and start location to be announced. Till then, roll on…….

REALLY. it is better than a huffy.

April 5, 2008

Ok. Picture the scene…. the high of the day is a mere 10 degrees F. It’s the 4th or 5th cold spell of similiar temperatures this winter. The cats are all sitting on the other human in the house, who happens to be warmer and less squirmy than you, so you’ve got the laptop warming your lap, and you’re dreaming of spring. while shopping on eBay. You see a shiney bike that seems to be an incredible deal, and a teammate’s husband has introduced you to sniping. So.. you bid. 2 weeks later, you get a bike for a sweet deal… that will hopefully… oh please oh please fit well enough.

This seems to be the way I end up with most my rides. Having obtained my first real road bike (Bridgestone RB-2) from a drunken grad student who was storing his bike in my basement… there is no other way. So… after doing my first group ride of the year, i wander off to get the bike running… shorter stem, wheel trued, minor rear derailleur adjustment…. easy… right? HA HA HA. no. turns out my handlebars, which were measured at 31.8mm are a little smaller than 31.8, and only fit well on the too long for me space age looking carbon stem… after having 3 people say… WTF? and searching the Q’s knowledge base on this… we found the one stem that was short enough for me, and tightened down enough on the handlebars… so that it worked.

As the home mechanic, who is frequently seen in skulking around mpls bike shops near closing time with a botched home repair… having the mechanic say… ‘seriously. dude. what did you do to this?’… i’m relatively grateful, i witnessed several mechanics, saying.. ‘HUH. that’s weird.’ for a seemingly simple matter.

at the same time, as an owner for a spendy ass new road bike, from a spanish bike maker with a decent reputation, the weird sized part thing… makes me think i bought a flippin’ huffy/magna/wal-mart bike. and that’s annoying. Here’s to hoping that it stays nice, so I can take the new bike out. and new bike… prove me wrong. until then. your name is Huffy.

it’s finally spring!

April 5, 2008

Manda, Laura and I with serveral other NOW/Synergy folk (and Lori Jug
from Kenda Tire who kicked butt at Superweek a couple of years a go-
gotta keep an eye on her) gathered at NOW/Snelling on this lovely
Saturday morning.

NOW gal Miriah led the group on a very civilized tour of St. Paul. One
group splintered for a longer ride to Afton, but some held back for

News: Lori was on her new shiney bike, Manda is planning on when she
will have her open house, her BF has a new bike too, and I have a new
TT bike.

Man it was nice out! But I’m still wearing booties.

I hope the weather holds out for the Sunday ride!!! ( roll out 9am east lake st. and river road Dunn Brothers…. passing the Lake of the Isles dog park at 9:20ish…)

— Barb

March 6, 2008


It’s been a wonderful winter for skiing! The best part about all the snow is the fact that I got to spend quality time with my fellow Bellas (that’s fun to say) while racking up the km’s in preparation for the Birkie.

Here’s proof that the hours on the trail paid off– check out the picture of me putting the hurt on this old guy at the halfway point.

But seriously, it’s been great fun hanging out with Becca, Brook, Barb, Marjie and a few other special guests this winter. I’ve never had so much fun training during ski season. And I probably would have never bothered to drive all the way out to Carver by myself, and may have never known what awesome trails they have.

I’ll ski as long as the snow lasts, so if anyone is itching to get out, there’s still some winter left!

Thanks everyone, for the great company on the trail. It was fun to be first up the hills for a change, but I’m looking forward to you all kicking my a** on the bike come spring.

Kate :)

p.s. to see some pics of the skiing Bellas, check out the pictures on the VBTC Yahoo group.

fast snowy fun?

February 27, 2008

A lot of the Bellas here like snow. I’ll have to get someone to blog about the cross country skiing that goes on here… ’cause I don’t. do. that.

Anyhoo, Maria has been ski racing this winter… and here’s one of her Birkie exploit.

Spring Kickoff Meeting– Come on down!!!

February 21, 2008

When: Sunday March 16th, 3-5pm
Where: Bella Barb’s house at 3039 36th Ave S in Minneapolis
Who: All you Bellas, friends and acquaintances interested in Velo Bella
Why: To talk about the great things Velo Bella will be doing this year, sign up for the Ironman bike ride, and put names to faces and meet our wonderful local sponsors

back from not blogging

December 18, 2007

Something about racing makes me not blog. Which is totally counter to why this blog exists, I guess. But. really…. this author’s race blog is ALL the same. 1. Got there. 2. Mostly on time. 3. (this happens only most of the time) pre-ride. hey that wasn’t so bad. 4. race. ouch. that hurt. Didn’t DNF.

But… when you rock at racing.. you have kick ass stories to tell and pictures to show. And that is just one of the reasons why Maria rules.

Check out her adventures in her first season racing with the CX big girls…

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