It’s FALL! Summer Funk Begone!

Seriously. Fall. Am totally in love ūüôā I have missed you Fall. A lot.

So yes, I neglected my blog…biking…and running for all of August and part of July. ¬†You know how people get all sad and blue in winter? ¬†That is me in summer. ¬†I never realized until this year, how much I dislike summer. ¬†I’m sure an event this spring didn’t help the situation much, but let me tell you this – once I turned off my AC, I was beaming again and back on the saddle.

Fall. My favorite season. My one true love. ¬†The last time I enjoyed a stateside fall was in 2008, and then I only got about a month, if that. ¬†Thankfully I did get to head up to Duluth MN with the family and romp around the forests before I had to leave American fall for Afghan fall…followed by Iraqi fall….they just aren’t the same let me tell you.

Yes, I am STOKED about fall. ¬†Yes, I am one of the last humans remaining who still feels “stoked” is an appropriate and relevant word to describe one’s emotional status. ¬†Since this lovely fall has started I’ve not missed a bike ride into work, in fact I get sad that my commute is only 7 miles! ¬†I will soon need to take an even longer way home to just enjoy this weather more.

Another way I know I am over this summer funk, I’ve started baking. ¬†I found an AMAZING gluten free chocolate cake recipe, which I made entirely in my blender. ¬†I made it once with splenda, which was alright, and a 2nd time half sugar half splenda and in cupcake form…ah-mazing. and my gluten eating coworkers agreed! ¬†I bought yeast, so I can try making bread and other such things.

I feel alive again.

I feel happy.

I love life.

More posts to follow and I apologize for those who were/are following for my absence! ¬†It’s fall and Caribou is back!


New Tire – Hearting REI

I wasn’t expecting my new tire until Monday, but REI in true awesome form got the order in early! ¬†Got a new (well two…) new tubes for my 25 x 700 puncture resistant tire….we shall see how it holds up! ¬†LBS recommended against tire liners here, as we don’t have those nasty goathead thorns. ¬†They also recommended a normal tube, which is nice since my rear wheel is slightly heavier with the new tire. ¬†Front tire and tube is still going strong!

Hopefully I’ll get a good ride in this weekend, in spite of the heat – sadly I’m working next weekend when the temperatures are supposed to be a balmy 80! ¬†Here’s to a break in the heat wave, maybe turning off my AC, and a flat free summer, fall, winter…… ūüėČ

Stay cool.

Caribou out.

Seriously Bike?!

Guess what happened going to work last night…you’ll never guess…I got a flat. Rear tire. >sigh< ¬†Cannot wait for my new tire to get here! ¬†My rear tire is seriously cursed. ¬†I’m too annoyed to even investigate the flat at this point, another slow leaker…these pin prick flats are killing me!!!! ¬†Tomorrow I’ll fill it up, go to my local bike store…invest in more tubes and see if they have any more thoughts on what to do. ¬†I’m contemplating tire liners, although they worry me, since they can actually cause pinch flats if not put in correctly. ¬†With my luck, even with good installation they would cause me flats!

Oh bike, why do you hate me so much??

On a positive note, I have started cooking again and playing my harp. ¬†Slowly but surely I’m coming out of my shell and back to life. ¬†Its hard to get started, but once you get going you just need to have faith in gravity and give yourself little reminders and pushes. ¬†A great visit with the family really helped to get me going again!

On the cooking side, nothing too crazy, just some good old quinoa pasta with cheese pasta sauce and a little bit of broccoli.  Keeping it simple and getting the training wheels back on.

For the harp, I replaced the two strings that popped,¬†courtesy¬†of the humidity, re-tuned, and started playing songs I knew so many years ago…rather than look at where I should be if I didn’t take breaks, I’m focusing on the skill I still have and where I want to go in the future! ¬†It may not be a stage, but its never too late… ūüôā

Here’s to dreaming, no more flats, and finding the strength and inspiration to live life to the fullest!

Caribou out.

Its too hot to hike.

After chatting with my mom, I’ve realized part of why I’ve not been so active in posting is…well…I was a little bummed out with some things in life. ¬†But the good news is, recognizing the bummer and then doing something about it. ¬†In addition to my biking, sad attempts at running, and swimming, I enjoy – no – LOVE hiking. ¬†Hiking is simply awesome.

So what do you do when its 95 degrees, sunny, humid, and really really really unpleasant outside? ¬†Treadmill hike. ¬†It is something I learned to do in my Baghdad days. ¬† In the summer temperatures would sore to the 120s and would reach a “chilly” 100 in the evening with lots of crap in the air. ¬†Temperature aside, it was Baghdad. ¬†We lived in a concrete campus and even if there was a place to hike you probably wouldn’t want to go there. ¬†(Maybe Kurdistan, but I never made it out there…) ¬†Anyway, the gist of it is, walk at a reasonable pace and then jack up the incline of the treadmill, change it up throughout the workout and do it for at least an hour but preferably two. ¬†For added “fun” throw on a backpack with weights or weight vest.

In Baghdad, I would put on my weight vest and watch the Biggest Loser for two hours. ¬†I would aim for a 16 minute pace – but varied it so I wouldn’t get bored or burned out – and aimed to stay above a “6” grade incline on the treadmill. ¬†The hardest part was hitting the highest incline and not holding onto the sides! ¬†Dang that brings back some pain ūüôā

The last two nights I’ve enjoyed some quality TLC, Bravo, and OWN programming whilst cranking up the ‘mill and donning my weight vest. ¬†Even though I’m a bit tired and my legs are saying, whaaaat? ¬†it is really quite excellent. ¬†Tonight I threw in a little challenge and did .25 mile “sprints” 4 times. ¬†My mom also reminded me that when dad trained for his marathon he found the intervals and speed work to be really helpful. ¬†Thanks mom for the good advice and good reminders ūüôā

One day at time getting myself back on track.  But its feeling good.

I also ordered a new tire – hoping to alleviate my curse of the flats. ¬†I’ll be trying out the¬†Serfas Seca Survivor Tire in a 25 x 700 variety. ¬†Fingers crossed the extra 3mm and “puncture resistant” tire will work. ¬†I’ll give updates to let everyone know. ¬†In the mean time, I’ll be using the time tested dollar bill tire patch and a new inner tube, anxiously awaiting my new tire!!

Stay safe on the trails!

Caribou out.

Is it really July?

Wow. I’ve kinda fallen off the earth for a little bit there, huh? ¬†Well… my plague of flats continues…I think it has been 4 or 5 flats in the same tire (ahem *tyre*) now (rear tire)…the good news is I’m getting to be quite proficient in finding leaks and fixing flats. ¬†The bad news is, I keep getting flats! ¬†I thought I was done with flats after I relented and went to the bike shop and had them fix the last one, they replaced my rim tape, although they didn’t think that was the problem, but just in case, gave me a thicker tube, and triple checked my tire. ¬†Tire was fine. ¬†Well, as least I knew it wasn’t something I didn’t spot or did wrong! ¬†1 week after the tire change, bam! another slow leaker. ¬†I likely ran over some glass. ¬†I checked and checked my tire and tube, and only after 2 water submersions did I find the leak in the tube. ¬†Tire still looks great but by comparing the leak in the tube to the tire I found a point of weakness that makes a very teeny part of tire vulnerable to anything rough. ¬†So I’m going to get something to patch my tire and then get some new ones.

For those who are not familiar with the Sheldon Brown bike website, it is amazing. ¬†Seriously. Upon investigating and reading about the pros and cons, I’m considering replacing just my back tire with a slightly wider tire, so it will be a little *hopefully* less vulnerable to flats. ¬†My front tire has been flat free since 2009. ¬†I use a Fuji road bike and have 23 x 700 tires with 120 psi. ¬†I try to get as close to the 120 before each ride/commute to avoid the ever hated pinch or snake-bite flats. ¬†Riding over train tracks doesn’t help my cause too much, which is why I’m thinking of getting a 25 or 26 x 700 tire to give a little added protection to my caboose.

Once I fix my tire and then ultimately replace the tire I’m hopeful my days of flats will be over! ¬†I promise to keep you all more updated and not be so lax in my blogging. ¬†Onwards and upwards!

Stay safe and happy trails.

Caribou out.

Bike to Work Day

Did you all bike to work yesterday?! I hope so! ¬†For those DC-ites, we enjoyed fabulous weather, and I won’t lie – I was happy to be biking in the pitch black of 4am. ¬†At 57 degrees and minimal humidity, what more could you (realistically) ask for in mid-May? ¬†Apparently for the later crowd of 9-5ers there were stands set-up and biker commrodery all around.

What did you do for bike to work day?  If you missed, are you going to have your own bike to work day? It is never too late to start!!

Enjoy the spring!

Caribou out.

Dreaming of Mountains

I came across a fantastic blog the other day – fantastic mainly because the photos capture the stark beauty of high peaks and the posts remind me of the importance to dream – dream of the journey. ¬†We hear it all the time, ‘life is a journey’ but far too often we focus and get sucked into either an end goal or a task that we forget to enjoy this grand experience filled with love, fun, hardship, tears, and everything else. ¬†I catch myself every so often getting caught up in the task that I forget to smile and enjoy.

Prime example, I was biking home this morning (on nights again…blah) and five minutes in, rain. ¬†There was a 20% chance of rain, so I was totally unprepared. ¬†At first I started to just bike faster, hoping to make it out before I was soaked, then it turned into a downpour – so I was soaked no matter what. ¬†As I kept peddling a little annoyed by the rain worrying if my stuff was getting wet, something clicked in my head. ¬†“This is awesome.” ¬†and then I smiled and enjoyed my soaked ride home. ¬†Why is this awesome? ¬†Its raining on a nice spring day and I get to play in the rain for my commute. ¬†I don’t have to worry about another driver doing something crazy, I get to, sorta, jump in puddles with awesome galoshes. ¬†

It just clicked and although it was nice to get dry back inside, I was happy that I was soaked riding through the rain. ¬†(it was also nice because there were no pedestrians out ūüôā )

Hope you enjoy this site – if for no other reason than the photographs.

Stay safe, happy trails.