Sunday, July 29, 2012


So I've been working on this Mad Anthony River Rally thing, right?

The VitaGuru forgot about it, and has to work on the 4th.

Well, Bubbazander and I have decided that we are going to suck it the hell up and do it anyway.

This will require getting up at OMGSTUPID and taking a total of 3 busses to Perrysburg (our busses have bike racks on the front!) BUT BUT BUT! I want my flying pancakes, my ride to Grand Rapids, and ice cream after the ride! Plus, I want to wear my Oberon jersey for the event I bought it for.

So, we're doing it. Yeah, I know, I haven't said much about training for it, but who's really interested in me riding around the neighborhood? The only wildlife I ever see is Granny Cheeseburger, and she's MEAN!

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Things I Wanted To Show You

I had quite forgotten to show you my route from the Ride!

The Green line on the map is where the GPS lost me for a bit - it's not supposed to be a straight line, it's supposed to follow River Road! So it's showing a bit short.

But that's where I went!

A Short Ride Kind Of Morning

Good morning!!

Today, a very short ride, compared to what I've been doing, just 6.63 miles. But it was a great ride, and was short only because I'M FAMISHED AND WANT TO EAT ALL THE THINGS. Also, I had Samuel, my French exchange student with me, and I didn't want to kill him. And he wants pancakes, too, so.

I added a bit to the neighborhood route, crossing Lewis and toodling down the streets over there. That may well be a permanent addition, we'll see what happens when I do a multiple circuit tomorrow afternoon-ish.

I really dislike long rides first thing in the morning, y'all. Aside from needing the Stupid to wear off from my medication, I am also incapable of eating right away. But if I go out on an empty stomach? Ugh, all hell breaks loose.

Still, a good, quick ride. Now for a shower and a walk up to the corner for pancakes, fruit, and a couple pots of coffee!

Happy Sunday!

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Yup, I'm Back On The Bike

After Bike to the Bay, I got it into my head that I wanted to do another event. In spite of being a bit wrecked afterwards, I had a lot of fun, and I really need the exercise anyway! Fortunately, an opportunity presented itself right away - all the cars at the Rec Center had been spammed by the Toledo Area Bicyclists club with a flyer for the Mad Anthony River Rally.

We've chosen the 62 mile route from Perrysburg to Grand Rapids, which will feature a Flying Pancake breakfast at 18 miles, and lunch in historic Grand Rapids! It sounds like a great time to me!

And! VG and I have new "uniforms":

Aren't they great? Super comfy, too! We got a few grins when we wore them out on the Wabash Cannonball Trail on Thursday!

It's been super hot here in Toledo of late, so we didn't get to see much in the way of wildlife, except for the HERD of chickens that we always pass. Yes, a herd. There are just too many of them to call a flock. I really want backyard chicken, but VG tells me they won't fit in my backpack. Har, har. Seriously, though, I want chickens. Fresh eggs for breakfast is my idea of pure heaven, and when the old broads retire, I can turn them into Coq au Vin! Doesn't that sound so good?

No riding today. Instead, I'm off to Toledo's Polish Festival with Younger Monster and Sam, my adorable French exchange student. We're going to stuff Sam full of pierogies and I'm going to drink beer until I bust. We have glorious weather today, and I'm very excited to show our Extra Kid one of the best things about Summer in Toledo - Street Festivals!

-- Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Forgot To Show You!!

The MS Society is so wonderful to the people who ride.

Even though I didn't finish the 100 miles, the peeps at the MS Society gave me a certificate of completion! They told me that it doesn't matter if you make the whole route or not, they appreciate everyone who gets out of bed that morning and gets on the bike at all!

Super sweet. So here's my certificate, my bib number, and my first event patch!

Where should I iron my patch??

-- Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Which Our Heroine Returns From The Dead

OK, maybe not quite dead, but it's been ridiculous Chez Fat Bottom of late. Anyway, I owe you all an update!

FIRST: A gigantic THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU to everyone who donated! We raised $450 for the National MS Society! You are all made of Win and Awesomsauce, and you have helped make things just a bit brighter for people living with MS. Every penny raised goes to help fund research to fight this awful disease, and help MS patients in need get medical care and equipment. I met some folks on the Ride who are just so grateful and excited that people are interested in helping in whatever way they can. Meeting them and knowing the good the MS Society does for them made all the training pain worth it.

If you wanted to donate prior to the Ride, but couldn't, you still can until August 31st.

So, about the Ride...

If you know me IRL, you know that I did not succeed in the planned 100 miles. I did, however, make the full 50 on the first day, and I think for my first distance event, that's pretty damned good!

(That's me on one cup of coffee.)

We got to the Lucas County Fairgrounds bright and early to check in, have a little breakfast, and get started. The place was jammed with veteran riders and n00bs alike, and the atmosphere was one of party and fun. Everyone was so excited and ready to roll, and when our group was ready, we took off like shots!

A few miles in, VG blew a flat, so we had to SAG it over to a bike mechanic to get him sorted. To our delight, the mechanic at that station was VG's regular dude from The Bike Route here in Toledo. He had VG re-tubed and re-tired in no time flat, and we were off again.

Right into a hill. OMG. Now, if I had still be riding Red, it would have been all over for me right there, since Red's gears didn't shift any more. But I had my shiny new bike, so all I had to do was downshift, right? Well, in theory, that's how it works. But my bike decided not to get into gear, so I really struggled in third until everything finally clicked over. If you ever want to feel like you're getting nowhere fast, try pedaling uphill in third gear. OW!

From there, though, it was smooth sailing, and we had fun at the rest stops!

(There was a group of women with these T-shirts. Each had a word on the front that, when they lined up, spelled out "We are on our cycles", and one had a giant period on her shirt. Because they were. On their periods, I mean. I was vastly amused by this novel way to build a cycling team.)

I can't decide if my favorite stop was Tontogany, where we got to go into the Firehouse and have HOMEMADE BROWNIES OMGSOGOOD!, or the final stop in Gibsonburg, where I swear it was an Angel handing out Dreamsicles as we rolled in on an 85 degree day.

There's something delightful about somebody's Grampy handing you a pair of Dreamsicles after 50 miles of riding, really. I hopped off my bike and gave him a hug and a kiss and told him he was an Angel, and he just BEAMED! But he really was an Angel! What else do you call the guy waiting for you with something cold and sweet?

With the appearance of the Dreamsicles, we were done for the day, and we were loaded up and taken to Port Clinton High School to store our bikes for the night, pick up our Jet Express passes, and get our transportation into town. We had the option to camp at the high school, but the fact is, I don't camp. Ever. For any one or any reason. It's never been fun for me, and it's just too hard on my joints besides. So, VG and I booked a room in town at the Super 8, which is just across the street from the Frisch's Big Boy my Opa and I used to spend a lot of time in every summer. I hadn't realized that's where it was - the Super 8 wasn't there when I was a teenager spending summers in Port Clinton - but I was tickled when I spotted it.

We got checked in, and trundled upstairs for a shower and a nap. I howled when I spotted this:

You know you're in a Summer Town when... Hee!

After I had an hour to recover, we hopped on the Jet Express to South Bass Island and Put-in-Bay. Now, Put-in-Bay was rather important venue during the War of 1812, and if you get me started about War of 1812 history here in my area, I won't shut up, so just go read about The Battle of Lake Erie.

We wandered around the Island and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, had some dinner, and headed back to the hotel to crash.

When I awoke on Sunday, my legs looked like this:

When getting ready for the Ride, we had put zip ties on my water bottle holder to stabilize it and make sure I didn't lose my nice Camelbak bottle. By the time I noticed that I was getting scratched up, the damage was done. I did fix the issue, but by then, I had mangled myself pretty good. It didn't really hurt until Sunday, though.

We packed up to head out and get the day going. The first transport shuttle skipped us. The second one picked us up, but we got there mere minutes from being able to get on the first bus over to the start point. We were put on the bus for the second wave...and waited for 45 minutes to get on the road. While on the road, the bike truck kept getting lost. A 20 minute ride took more than an hour, so we spent 2 hours crammed into a bus. Ugh.

At the Gibsonburg start point, I realized I could not get on my bike. Try as I might to stretch, I couldn't. I was a Walking Cramp, and was in a lot of pain. I tried a double dose of ibuprofen and a lot of walking and attempting to stretch, but my calves and thighs were having none of it, and after about 45 minutes of trying to work it all out, I called it off. I had to decide whether I wanted to try and end up injuring myself badly, or be happy with what I had already accomplished. I chose the latter, and I don't regret it!

I will probably do this again next year!

In the in-between, I've decided to do a 62 mile road rally in Perrysburg next month. It's not a fundraiser ride, it's just a bunch of people riding for the fun of it, in honor of General Mad Anthony Wayne and the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

(Yes, I know a lot about the Battle of Fallen Timbers, too. I'LL SHUT UP NOW!)

Stay tuned for more cycling adventures! And, you guys? For all of your support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Friday, June 22, 2012

Almost Here!


Tomorrow, after all of the training, the owies, the bitching about the pain, the discovery that I can actually ride a lot further in one go than I ever thought I could...tomorrow I start the first leg of a journey of 100 miles.

We're leaving our cozy house at 5:45AM to head for the Lucas County Rec Center to turn in our paperwork, saddle up, and start the first leg!

I don't expect to have wireless access, or not much, anyway, so I'm going quiet til Sunday night. When I come back, there will be pictures and yabbling and probably some crabbing about saddlesores.

In the meantime, I'm still looking for sponsors! I'm only $25 shy of my minimum! Got a buck to spare? Flip it to the MS Society through the Sponsor Me link in the right sidebar! Know anyone else with a spare buck? Send 'em to me!

Off to bed, 5AM comes awfully early!

-- Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Now With Better Suspension

No, I didn't buy a new bra. I probably should, though.

Nope, today I retired Red. He's served me well, but the fact of the matter is that he's not really road worthy any more - at least, not for the distance I'm going this weekend - and I was both starting to feel unsafe and really getting tired of the saddle induced injuries. I was just going to give Red a new saddle, but that would only have solved part of the problem.

Mind, a new bike was not in the plan, but things came together such that it was feasible, and now I've got a new pair of wheels:

The brakes on this are AWESOME, and now I have full use of the gears - all 21 of them. Suspension is terrific, the saddle is big enough that it's not all up in my bidniz, and the addition of the gel cover has made it just heavenly. Bubbazander and I made seat adjustments, I think the handlebars might still need a tweaking, but that will be easy enough to sort out.

Really, my only complaint with this bike is that it's not purple. But that's why Krylon gave us spray paint, so this is easily fixable. Not til after the Ride, though, because there's still some tweaking to be done.

This close to the Ride, I really ought not be doing distance rides, I don't want to wear myself out before I WEAR MYSELF OUT, but VG and I are going to load up the bikes and head out to Oak Openings on Thursday afternoon for one last 18 miler, so we can do whatever other tweaking needs to be done.

You guys, the ride is on SATURDAY!

Have you thrown a dollar at the MS Society through my sponsor link yet?

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Monday, June 18, 2012

MS: Mean, Nasty, and Possessed of Crappy Timing

Big news across the blogosphere today, and relevant to my interests: Jack Osbourne, 26 year-old son of Ozzy, has been diagnosed with MS. Aw, hell. He and his fiancee just had a shiny new daughter, too. Parenting a newborn is already hard enough, but parenting a newborn and learning to deal with your freshly diagnosed auto-immune disorder at the same time? REALLY SUCKS.

MS, of course, doesn't care who it's slapping around. Here's a whole list of famous people who have struggled with MS. William Hartnell, the First Doctor? Geez!

And then there are people like Wendy Booker, who manage to give MS the finger and do what they want to do anyway. Wendy has scaled six of the Seven Summits, runs marathons, skydives, and intends to mush in the 2014 Iditarod!

[I am going to point out here that if I catch any of y'all using Wendy as a cudgel on other people with disabilities, I will walk to your house and whup your ass mydamnedself. Just because one person with a chronic illness can successfully pretend she's not really sick doesn't mean that everyone can, and no one has any business expecting them to, in any case. Don't make me come over there.]

Anyway, my point here is that MS can strike literally ANYONE. There's no way to predict who will be plucked up and smacked around. It's a mean, crappy illness that exacts a significant physical, mental, and financial toll on those it decides to invade. Tomorrow, it might be you. Or me. Or the cute young Mom down the street with the infant and the ridiculous dog. Or your own Mom. That's why I'm saddling up on Saturday to start a 100 mile tour. Every little improvement - from better therapies to better medications, tests that help pin down a diagnosis earlier, community support groups and educational outreach - makes a huge difference in the lives of people struggling with the day to day reality of living with MS.

The hard training is done. For the rest of the week, it's just 5 and 10 mile rides to keep my ass from getting too comfy in a state of rest. There's other work to do, though - I'm seeking sponsors through August 31st! I'm just $25 from my fundraising minimum of $250, but I'd love to get closer to my goal of $1000.

Please share the fundraising link far and wide, and if you've got just a dollar to spare, please consider throwing it at the MS Society. They do good, important work to help people who need every bit of help they can get.

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Someone Stole Thor's Pants

I stole the title from my friend Amy, proprietor and Chief Saponifier at Foam on the Range. It's an apt description of a thunderstorm, which is what part of today's ride ended up being in.

So, 35.75 miles today. Our goal was 50 miles, but Thor realized his britches were missing at around mile 22-ish, and it all went to Hell from there! And, in spite of the Vita Guru's intermittent fussing that I was going too slow, I'm quite pleased with my 9.5mph pace.

We got a later start than VG had planned, which didn't bother me in the slightest, since I haven't any care for some training "schedule" to adhere to. I'm supposed to plop my fat can in the saddle and go, not worry about what time it is! We parked at the Lakeside development and started on the South Fork of the Wabash Cannonball Trail. The weather was cool and delightful, and except for the cloud of tiny little bugs that endeavored to fly up my nose ALL AT ONCE, it was a great start to the ride. The South Fork is kind of "middle of nowhere" territory, so any bit of wind whistling across the fields reaches you unbroken. I had to pop an earbud out so I could hear VG, elsewise all I heard with my tunes was "WHOOOOOOOOOOSH".

You see some neat things on the South Fork:

Wildlife what I saw on the South Fork:

Wabbits: I lost count after 20. My darlings, it was well and truly wabbit o'clock!
Chipmunks: 2
Cardinals: Flocks and herds! They were really cheerful this morning.
Horsies: 6
Field mice: 3
Butterflies: 16, no Karner Blues, though. They aren't morning people.
Chefs: 1


Well, I dunno, Chef Michael DuShane could probably be considered wildlife! He not only does triathalons and marathons, he's also just out of his mind enough to teach the Culinary Arts to high school students, and somehow manages not to kill them. Chef is, as far as I'm concerned, a Rock Star - he's the ONLY instructor Alexander has ever taken seriously, the only instructor whose opinion Alex has ever really valued. That's...pretty damned special, if you ask me, which you didn't, but it's my blog and I can opine if I want to.

It was a delightful surprise to find Chef and his adorable family out near the trail on the first ride back to the car. He, his gorgeous wife Jodi, and their two ANGELIC little Monsters, Raleigh and Zeke, were playing in the sprinklers. Turns out, they're just a few houses off the trail. Chef had already been out running, and had been thinking about a ride as well, but it seemed his Monsters had other plans for him. It was nice to stop and chat with him for a bit, and I got my Mike Hug(TM), which I've been sorely deprived of for months! I tried to convince Zeke to come over for a snuggle, but he was too busy pretending to be shy. Oh well. Eventually he'll be my friend, this I foretell!

We continued on to the car to grab bananas, a bit more Amino Vital, and a stretch/rest break. While there, we met a cute-as-hell Boykin Spaniel named Rudy. His person apologized for Rudy's lack of manners about 4 seconds before Rudy leapt up to lick my face off. PUPPY KISSES, YAY! He was very sweet, and I always appreciate a Puppy Break!

After about 10 minutes, we hit the North Fork. While there, we met Bruce Kulik, and his daughter, Katherine. Seventeen days ago, they lit out from Boston on a cross-country trip to San Francisco! How cool is that?? Their gear setup was pretty impressive, and so was their pace, and they were super sweet. Of course, now I'll be watching their blog obsessively to make sure that they make it to the City OK. I'm sure they will be fine, they seem to be old pros at this sort of thing. Also, it's really adorable that Katherine and her Dad are so tight that they'll spend 70 days cycling together.

I noted that it looked like we had a little weather moving in, and tried to keep a decent pace. The new seat is incredibly helpful, but I still had some residual pain from the other day's injuries, so I wasn't pushing too hard. It started to sprinkle, VG asked how I was doing, and I grumbled that my ass hurt. He suggested turning around, but by then, we were further from the car than we were from the restrooms, and I had to PEE. I said as much, noted that we were only about 3.5 miles from a real toilet, and kept going.

Then Thor noticed that he was wandering about with no pants on, and with an impressive crack of thunder, set about summoning a torrential downpour. We were drenched in mere seconds, and eventually, I had to take my sunglasses off so I could see through all the water dumping down. We made it to the restrooms safely and took shelter in the alcove of the building. I was grateful for the chance to pee, wring out my gloves, and make an effort to dry off a little. For a while, it looked like this: we waited until the rain died down enough that we could at least see decently, and headed back to the car. All told, we ended up riding a bit over 11 miles in the rain, and 3.5 of those were in rain so heavy, visibility could be measured in inches. VG says this officially makes me hardcore.

I'm pretty sure all it made me was cold, wet, and surly.

Wildlife what I saw on the way back:

Deer: 1
Chipmunks: about a dozen
Wabbits: It was STILL wabbit o'clock!
OWL!!!: 1 Pretty sure it was a Barn Owl. It was way too huge to be a Screech.

We briefly considered waiting to see if the sun would show up, and decided that even if it did, it wouldn't be a good idea to continue. The pavement was wet, our handlebar wraps were soaked, and our brakes were pretty well useless, what with everything being wet. And we were cold, which is a BAD idea for me, cold being the major trigger for my RA. So we took stock of our energy levels, determined that if it were still dry, the final 15-ish miles would be no issue, and called it done. We loaded Shuri up, and cranked the heat.

I have never been so grateful for a hot shower, I'll tell ya. Hot hot hot, just to get the chill out of my bones, then just a smidge cooler than boiling so I could enjoy Amy's lovely soap. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating - I am grateful for Foam on the Range soaps, because they soothe the chafed bits instead of stinging and making me cry from the pain. Sweet relief!

VG promptly scarfed down a cheeseburger after we got warmed up and got our disgusting and soggy gear tended to. Me, I crawled into bed and died for a couple hours with Bailey-cat, who was a perfectly serviceable ass-warmer.

Since it's Father's Day, Alex and I cooked VG a nice steak dinner, complete with wine, grilled zucchini, twice baked potatoes, and a salate caprese. And we've been making cocktails with rum, lavender soda, and rose essence, which cure all manner of ills:

*2 shots rum
*1/4 teaspoon rose essence
*1/3 bottle lavender soda

Pour over ice, stir.

This will probably be delicious with vodka, too.

I am now on the verge of drifting off to sleep the sleep of the just. Or perhaps of the dead. Or the drunk. Or the just dead drunk. Whichever, all I know is I pedaled my ass off today, deserved my rum, and now I want to sleep!

Tell me about your favorite booze!

--Missy, the Fat Bottomed Girl