October 19, 2009

Amazing hikes done this morning: 1 (Camelback Mountain)
Great massages had this morning: 1 (At the Intercontinental Montelucia)
Hours it took the day to go to shit (post massage): .60

So there’s one good thing about the van having been broken into this morning. I no longer have to worry about unpacking any luggage when I get home. No green satin Prada evening bag to put away on the top shelf of my closet. No uber-funky, balloon-y Skunkfunk skirt (found in an awesome little boutique in Barcelona) to hang up in the closet. Same for a green cordouroy skirt bedazzled with sequins and beads. And the world’s best jean jacket? Whoever picks it up off the side of the road or buys it at some thrift shop or consignment store is one lucky woman. I wonder if my homeowner’s insurnace will pay for me to go back to Nepal to replace two necklaces I no longer have? Thankfully the 14k, made-in-Morocco hoop earrings with embroidery inside the hoops weren’t purchased in Morocco but five blocks from my house. Worst of all? No bike to haul upstairs into the office and put on the trainer so I can ride while watching Tivo-ed episodes of House. Rat Bastards. Paradise Valley, Arizona was anything but paradise this morning. How can someone punch out a lock in a busy parking lot in broad daylight and offload a bike and sundry pieces of luggage out of the driver’s door without anyone noticing? I miss Wyoming.

October 15, 2009

Courses eaten at dinner tonight: 4
The course that took the longest to read (and eat): the “pistachio icebox cheesecake tempest” dessert. Really. I wish I was making the “tempest” part up. And that wasn’t even the most pretentious part of the description. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what was as it took pretty much an entire paragraph to describe the concoction. I do remember the last line talked of a champagne infused fizz bubble. I’ll post a photo and complete description (and translation) as soon as I track down a copy of the menu.

Two nights ago I “showered” in the bathroom of a Chevron station. Although perhaps “shower” is too strong a word. Redistribute? I brought a lot of Grand Canyon dust and sand back up from Suapi with me. And only a few pounds of it were in my sneakers. But I digress. The Chevron shower was followed by a night spent in the van in the back parking lot of the Best Western Prescott. It was a great night. Really. I love van camping.

Last night? I spent 90 minutes having caviar – caviar! — massaged into my face before wrestling with an armada of down pillows in a king size bed. Better than the fireplace next to the bed? The bathroom – complete with a flushing toilet – at the foot. Just a little different from van camping.

October 14, 2009
Miles driven in the last three days: 1,000+
Highway engineering feats marveled at: 1 (Hoover Dam bypass outside Vegas)
Pounds of sand emptied from shoes: 7
Cute cafes discovered in Prescott, AZ: 2 (Raven Cafe and Wild Iris Coffee)
Websites relaunched: 1

I swear I didn’t plan this at all, but it would seem that in the span of five days I made my way to two of the country’s most remote towns: Stehekin, Washington and Supai, Arizona.

To get to Stehekin, at the upper end of the 51-mile long Lake Chelan in the North Cascades, you can either take a four-hour ferry ride (one-way), or a 25-minute flight on a float plane. Since I was there for work, I got to do the latter.

Bike rental in Stehekin.

Bike rental in Stehekin.

The town is home to around 100 people year-round and #3 on my favorite bakeries/cafes in the world, Stehekin Pastry Company. And although I didn’t have time to do do any hiking, the town abuts North Cascades National Park, so there’s plenty to do. I will be back. And I’ll stay at Stehekin Valley Ranch, 9 miles up river from “town” and with cruiser bikes available for rent on an honor system.

Supai is the only permanent village in the Grand Canyon. Sixty miles down a patchwork of asphalt outside of Peach Springs, Arizona, Supai is the capital of the Havasupai Reservation. To get there? It’s foot, mule, or helicopter. It’s the only place in the U.S. where mail is still delivered by mules.

And I thought mail delivery to Jackson Hole was slow!

And I thought mail delivery to Jackson Hole was slow!

Seeing mule mailmen isn’t the only — or even main — reason to make the eight-mile hike down to Supai from Hualapai Hilltop. You go to Supai to see some of the coolest waterfalls in the world.

Havasu Falls, two miles past the town of Supai in the Grand Canyon.

Havasu Falls, two miles past the town of Supai in the Grand Canyon.

And maybe to say you paid over $10 for a box of Wheaties.
There aren't any Bonus Buys at the Supai Grocery store.

There aren't any Bonus Buys at the Supai Grocery store.

October 4, 2009

Power hungry flight attendants encountered: 2
Miles flown: 1,300-some
Beginning destination: Jackson
End destination: Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle
TiVo-ed episodes of Ruby watched while riding the indoor bike trainer in the wee hours of this morning: 3

I’m back after a long, long hiatus. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about – sitting Lotoja out; turning my attention to hiking rather than biking; carrying on a five-minute conversation with a friend and calling her the wrong name (even introducing her to someone else with the wrong name) the entire time (is my amazingly crappy memory a result of MS or of Avonex?; starting to lift weights and strength train again only to find out I can no longer do push-ups (unless on my knees) and can only do two pull ups (down from a high of 16); finding way, way too many cute clothes on outnet.com; filming my first episodes of Wyoming Chronicle. It’s that WordPress is sometimes smarter than I am and I can’t figure out how to put in links and insert photos. And then I get all annoyed and stay away. Because a blog totally lacking in links and photos can be boring, even if the text is as titillating as the stuff I write.

Anyway, expect some tales of good food and wine and bike touring in central Washington this week. If I don’t first get arrested for kicking a power hungry flight attendant – over the intercom: “the seatback pockets are not approved storage spaces; any books or water bottles in them must be put underneath the seat in front of you.” I’ve got something to put underneath the seat in front of her … a can of whoop ass.

August 13, 2009

I’ve got plenty of adventures to report. And I really, really want to share this most awesome dress I’m in love with and would buy if I won the lottery, but I can’t seem to upload any photos. WordPress is sucking right now. Here’s a link to the awesome (and awesomely expensive … but on sale) dress:

http://www.theoutnet.com/product/51388

I think any guests I’m interviewing on Wyoming Chronicle would take me seriously in it. Yes? (BTW, outnet.com has totally replaced Bluefly in my heart.)

August 2, 2009

Sport legs pills swallowed: 20
Bottles of Heed melon-flavored drink drank: 5
Bottles of water drank: 5
Cans of Sprite consumed: 0
Different post-race meals I had in my hands at Whole Foods but then didn’t buy (b/c I couldn’t decide on any one or two): 5
Dinner idea I finally came up with: LaBarge’s Moonlight Diner: Mojo burger with fries and a vanilla shake. (We’ll see if the burger gives my legs any of their mojo back.)

Trying ot get my mojo back via a burger.

Trying to get my mojo back via a burger.

A mighty ass kicking was meted out today. To me. By the Tour de Park City.

Going into this 170 mile race that climbs nearly 10,000 feet coming off of only three weeks of riding outside and a food poisoning-induced fast this past Tuesday, I knew it would kick my ass. But I didn’t think it would really kick my ass. After all, the first year I did the 206-miles-in-a-day Lotoja, my longest training ride had been 110 miles. So was it really a big deal if my longest training ride for a 170-mile race was 90-some miles?

Well, Lotoja is wuss-y compared to this race. I don’t know how race organizers do it, but the race isn’t only full of climbing, but also has riders battling a headwind no matter which direction they’re heading. Magnificent. There really is no easy stretch. You look ahead and think it’s flat, but it’s 30 miles of false flats (with a headwind). You’re on the rivet trying to keep a pace of 14mph. And then, after you pass the 100-mile mark somewhere along here, you’re watching every .1 of a mile tick by on your cycling computer; teasing yourself onward only with promises of a rest every two miles. Yup, I stopped my bike, unclipped both feet, got off my bike and just stood in the grass by the side of the road three times in the last seven miles I rode. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I had my ass kicked.

While I’m bummed I didn’t finish – I’ve never DNF’d anything before – I have to say I’m a little proud of myself for proving that I’m not the most stubborn person on the face of the planet. My legs felt like total shit: the slightest rise had me off the back of the pack from the very beginning. And I started getting chills around mile 80. I don’t know what to blame the former on (other than not enough preparation), but the latter I’m going to blame on dehydration. Even though I thought I was drinking plenty, I’m guessing I wasn’t. When I stopped at the feed zone at mile 107, about 15 miles from the top of Bald Mountain Pass, I thought I had somehow managed to blow snot all over my chin. It was so crusty. Upon further investigation, my entire face was that crusty. Reminded me of the days I could afford to get microderm-abrasion facials (ahhh, I miss those … and spas in general). My neck, arms and shoulders (including all around my new, big collarbone scar) were that crusty too. Impressive. I thought I had sweat before, but evidently not. This is a whole new level. I bet I had seven pounds of crystals all told. Or maybe not. But it sure felt and sounded like seven pounds as I was scraping and scrunching them all off.

Anyway, so I’m a bit proud of myself for quitting. (Quick aside: I wasn’t so proud of myself when I was still at the 107-mile feed zone and there was some chumbawunba dude hopping about on one leg with bags of ice pressed against his other knee while wondering aloud whether he should 1) push on or 2) suffer permanent bodily harm. All because of a tight IT band. “My IT band is serious,” he kept telling his riding buddies. What was really serious? His attention grabbing and excuse-making. Especially as 10 minutes later he got on his bike and went pedaling away just fine. IT band my ass. Setting down excuses for a DNF is more like it. I’ll bet an all-you-can-eat pizza night at Betty Rock that he didn’t cross the finish line, or, he’d be the type to sag in, but have the sag car drop him a mile from the finish so he could still ride in. My sag driver offered to do that. Really, if you do that do you tell people you rode the whole race?)

But enough of the IT band choad. While it’s going to hurt my pride to tell everyone I didn’t finish, if I had kept going, I’d probably still be out there right now (12 hours after having started). Which would hurt my body much more. Of course I now have a goal for next year: Top 3. If I ever get my legs back, the climbing on this course is actually my kind of climbing – power rollers and then long and gentle.

I’m totally in awe of anyone who finishes this race though. (Anna – you rock! Thanks for keeping me going on those false flats.) It really is incredibly burly. In the last 15 miles there are two highway climbs, each between 1,000 and 1,500 vertical feet. And – of course – they had riders climbing straight into a headwind. Pushing up them in the sag car? I was still getting tired. Even the downhill off Bald Mtn. Pass wasn’t easy. You guessed it, into a headwind.

Lotoja really is child’s play next to this.

All right. Time to go to bed. I’ve got a great van-camping spot along the banks of some river just south of LaBarge. It’s only 9:30, but I was too tired to drive anymore.

I had to “wash” all the crystals off me – no shower yet – with a little Stridex zit pad. Reminds me of the “showers” I used to take in Nepal. Except I evidently didn’t really sweat there as I never had stalactite-like crystals growing anywhere on my person. Despite trekking through an equatorial forest. (In case you didn’t know – as I didn’t the first time I went – that Nepal is pretty dang close to the equator.)

July 29, 2009

Articles written: 4
Articles still to write that are due today: 1
Hours slept last night: 12

So I might have been moaning a bit and my stomach might have been grumbling a bit on this evening’s bike ride — last night at this time I was still deep in the clutches of a bout of food poisoning — but there were worse noises eminating from my bike. I passed three people on total clunkers that were quieter than my $5,000 (approx.) ride.

I am embarassed by my bike.

There. I’ve said it. Hi, I’m Dina Mishev and I’m embarassed by my carbon race fiber, Dura-ace component-ed, SRAM crank-ed, creaking, clicking Cervelo S2. Maybe now that I’ve admitted it, it will start to get better. After all, it has been fixing itself off and on since the noise first appeared this spring. (It hasn’t been fixing itself for the past two weeks though.)

Judged on performance alone, the bike rules. Going downhill at fast speeds? It’s actually fun versus terrifying. Super fun.

Tonight though, noodling out to Teton Village, my calorically-deprived legs protesting every other rotation, was not super fun. It was creaky. I fear I’m going to DNF at the Tour de Park City this Saturday not becuase I can’t ride 170 miles, but because I’ll get so unbelievably annoyed at the creaking I’ll throw my bike off a cliff four hours into it.

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