the hardest time of the year

I should be embracing rest. I do not ever embrace it well. Truth is, I’d fire this plan right now and do my own thing if I didn’t know that according to everything I read, rest is correct.

But, I hate it. In fact, it goes against everything I want to do. Sitting down and just typing this out is a struggle because I have things to DO. Action. Verbs. Sitting here is not an action verb.

I am supposed to sit down and think about 2018 goals with the bike. Sometimes publishing them publically is hard because what if I don’t meet my goals? The older I get, the less care I give about not meeting the goal because even getting close is still progress. Maybe the goal was too lofty? Maybe there was a hindrance that kept me from achieving the goal? And so, here are my goals of 2018 keeping in mind I am starting a new career on Monday.

  1. I want to do the state time trial championship in less than one hour. Last year, I finished in 1:03:19. Is it possible to take 3 minutes and 20 seconds off this time? I think so.
  2. Race weight. I figure I can lose about 10 to 15 pounds before it would negatively affect me. I plan to do that by March.
  3. Work on strength and stretching. I have a small anterior superior hip labral tear that I could have had since I was a runner, I don’t know, but definitely having some hamstring and posterior hip issues that don’t fit in the profile with the labrum issue. Physical therapy and strengthening/stretching already started and will continue. May check out pilates.
  4. Masters National Road Championship which means I have to work on my road racing and crit as well.
  5. Black Bear Rampage – I’d like to do a 3:30. That’s a bit of a lofty goal, but I think possibly doable.

Other than that, individual road races I’ll do as a team member helping whoever to win for the team. I hope the new career isn’t so much of a time commitment that I cannot have the exercise on the side. I need it for sanity’s sake and it’s the best prescription for anything that ails you… except overtraining issues.

I have one “race” left this weekend for 2017. I put it in quotes because I’m not doing the distance I had initially wanted to do due to the hip but the 25 miler. However, I plan to attack it with the same tenacity as all races and try to crush it without setting myself back further. Speaking of which, I had a bit of a (small) crash involving the head at the easiest trail around last weekend. Helmets really work well!

Keep in mind while I put all this in words, the other half of myself just wants to race my bike and beat people regardless of all the other “stuff.”

So far the sane one is winning.

Taco Mamacita Group Ride on Wednesdays

The group ride

We have a beginner ride that meets on Wednesdays (every other, I believe) in downtown Chattanooga. Members of the Taco Mamacita race team and members of the Scenic City Velo club gather for a chill ride through what is called the “poop loop.” I brought my camera along and joined them this time to also celebrate Amy and Deb back from surgery!

Showing off this year’s kits

And my favorite favorite favorite one:

And to make you laugh, what in the world was I doing here? Practicing polka? Twerking? Wondering where my bike is?

@tacomamachatt @villagevolkswagen @audichattanooga @hincapiesports @tifosioptics @sword @honeystinger @swiftwicksocks @rockymounts @revive_val #dowhatmovesyou #beswift #chaseadventure #drinksword #ridefast #womencycling #sceniccityvelo #villagevolkswagen #susongdermatology #rockymounts #sterchiconstruction #revivemetherapy #womenscycling #likeagirl #ridelikeagirl #stingorbeestung #honeyStinger #HSHive #tacomamacita #echeloncyclingandperformance

The Trek Superfly FS 8 is For Sale

2014 Superfly FS 8 is for sale! $1350

Selling my XC race bike: Alpha Platinum Aluminum, ABP Convert, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, press fit BB, Flow Mold carbon swing link, post mount brake, G2 Geometry, 100mm travel. Wheels: Bontrager sealed cartridge bearing center lock hubs, 15mm alloy axle front, 142×12 alloy axle rear w/Bontrager Mustang 28-hole Tubeless Ready rims. Leaving as a 1×10 with new drivetrain last month. New fork upgraded to a Rock Shox Reba a few months ago. Bontrager XR3 and XR4 tires. Praxis 32T in the front w/ 11-42 cassette in the back. I actually rode a different set of wheels on this bike and so the stock wheels have seen a lot fewer miles. Has a carbon stem upgrade, but most everything else stock on the bike. Rear derailleur original Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus, Shimano SLX Cranks

Size 17.5″ medium

The original bike from Trek Archives Link


Bontrager sealed cartridge bearing center lock hubs, 15mm alloy axle front, 142×12 alloy axle rear w/Bontrager Mustang 28-hole Tubeless Ready rims

Bontrager XR3 back tire and XR4 in the front

Rode a different set of wheels on this bike for the past 2 years


Shimano SLX, 10 speed

Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus

Crank: Shimano SLX, 38/24

Cassette: 11-42, 10-speed


Saddle: Bontrager

Seatpost: Bontrager Race Lite, 31.6mm, 5mm offset

Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite Low Riser, 31.8mm, 5mm rise

Stem: Niner carbon

Headset: FSA IS-2, E2, sealed cartridge bearing

Brakeset: Shimano SLX hydraulic disc


Trek Black/Team Green

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We Lost Jake

dsc_3130webSaturday, October 22nd turned out to be a crappy day. My husband departed on a cycling ride with his buddies, and I loaded the kids up to soccer in the van. Here I am, the stereotypical mother in a white van hauling kids to a soccer field in October.

Our dog, Jake, had been diagnosed with pneumonia on the day before, Friday morning. The vet started him on azithromycin and a steroid. Had I been at the appointment myself, I would have asked more questions. Instead, I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait and see what happened and give the antibiotic time to work. His chest x-ray had been clear, Jeff said.

Friday night was restless. Jake cried out which he hadn’t done Thursday night. I asked later if he was OK and Jeff said he was. He said the vet told him to give it time for the medicine to work. We caught this pneumonia early. Jake was drinking a lot of water too. We alternated holding him to our chests as he coughed and slept. I left a couple of messages at the vet’s office Saturday morning because my husband said the vet told him to call over the weekend to keep up-to-date if we needed to. We didn’t get a callback, but I figured out quickly he wasn’t working the weekend.

I am such a fool. I have all this experience in hospital pharmacy and can tell you how to treat nosocomial pneumonia and here my dog is struggling to breathe on Saturday morning, and I didn’t even notice the struggle until around 2:35pm when I recognized agonal breathing. I grabbed a towel and headed out the door back to the vet with him in my lap struggling to breathe.

I cried aloud as I made the 20-minute drive and phoned the vet’s office to let them know I was coming with Jake who wasn’t breathing well. They said to come on in. When I got there, they had no idea who I was and acted lost on expecting me. Rather than helping me with my distressed dog, I was told to wait in the lobby. I held him and cried silently and praying to God to help him breathe. His breathing was labored and audible. This was not good. I should have just left right then for the animal hospital 20-minutes away. I regret that only for Jake’s comfort. I don’t expect the outcome to be any different, but I believe he wouldn’t have suffered as long as he did.

I was ushered into a room, and a young male veterinary medical technician entered with a pen and paper and asked me “What brings you here today?” Still no help on Jake’s breathing, just a condescending attitude, and no sympathy toward our pet. It was obvious why I was there. Was he unable to recognize a dog in respiratory distress? He offered no sympathy and no grace at all. I felt as though he was trying to act important. It was odd and disturbing to me because of the moment needing something more than a cold question and questions that didn’t fit the moment at all.

He weighed him and said, “He’s lost weight. Only 3 lbs.” I shook my head, “Your scale is wrong. He’s about 7 lbs right now.” He took his temperature rather roughly. Jake tried to breathe and fidgeted about. He weighed him again, “Scale was wrong.” He never once said, “I’m sorry, little guy.” There was no sympathy there for this animal who was clearly hurting. I have never seen anything like it in animal medicine. This is my 4th pet to lose and never have I encountered someone who wasn’t at all bothered by what he was seeing and hearing.

And yes, medical professionals can get this way. They can lose sympathy and forget how it is to be a patient or to be the one directly affected by an illness or death. They can speak flippantly about someone going hospice with no real concern about someone’s life. Even Jake’s life was important that day.

Hey, guess what, vet tech? He needed OXYGEN. Could you have thought to make him comfortable for a moment?

So the whole time I was standing in tears, not once was he offered anything to help him. In fact, when the vet came in I could tell by her words and my words we both knew that this little guy had decompensated in 24-hours, still no oxygen to help him. Just the feeling that I was a bit of an inconvenience.

Why is it with humans in a clinic, they would have been immediately made more comfortable?

“I need to call or text my husband. This is his dog.” He is our dog, but was his first. Jake was a gift from his mom 3 years before she passed away from cancer. It was 3:39 PM.

I started fumbling with my phone texting, and they both made a beeline for the door to other clients to give me privacy. I never asked for privacy and was surprised Jake was left with me.

I texted him that Jake was likely dying. That I was angry at the way the tech had treated me. He had no sympathy and was condescending. The vet, I believe, knew it was time. She knew it was an all or none situation. But, the words hadn’t really been said about euthanasia or anything. They just had walked out of the room. She had mentioned that an upper respiratory infection was going around in the office among the dogs in the past couple of weeks. We had boarded both our dogs there the week before during Fall Break. Jake had likely caught it there.

I can still hear Jake breathing loudly and uncomfortable. And tired.

I sat and glanced up. The tech was peering at me through the glass window. He looked like he was “caught” by my eyes and moved away. This happened three times and another young lady did the same thing to me. I was livid. Just a weird vibe and unprofessional. What were they doing? What was taking so long?

He returned to the room. Maybe he was waiting on me to stop texting? I had. I was just hugging on Jake praying. Kissing his head.

He said rather mechanically, “What have you decided.” Flat affect. Flat tone. It spoke I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR DOG. THIS IS A JOB.

Excuse me, what? What have I decided? I didn’t know you guys had given me any choices?

“I need to speak with the vet, ” I said. I certainly didn’t want to speak to him any longer than I had to, Mr. Peek-through-the-door-at-me-no-sympathy-or-compassion.

He looked at me with disdain and more condescending attitude, “She is with other clients right now and will get back to you when she can.” It’s all about tone. His tone said that she had no time for me and that she would work me in when she could, and I believe he wasn’t bothered by it at all.

Jake wasn’t here for a routine vaccine. He couldn’t breathe.

He walked out, and I walked out of the room to the front desk to let them know that I didn’t appreciate the way he talked to me. I told the lady he had no compassion and that he had no sympathy. She just listened and apologized. I was torn on what to do. I needed help for my dog. No one was helping me.

And then Mr. Vet Tech peeks out from behind the back hallway to gawk at me again at the front desk. Twice. As soon as my eyes met his, he’d duck back into hiding. What was WRONG with this guy????

I allowed the vet to speak to me one more time in the room, and I agreed to go to the animal hospital because it was obvious it was either that or whatever other option hadn’t been said yet. How about something to help him breathe?

Keep in mind this whole time, Jake is dying. He can’t breathe.

And when I arrived at RIVER at 4:30pm, they worked immediately to make him comfortable with oxygen. There was no delay. There was no condescending attitude. They met me at the door and took him from me and helped him. A small poor little pneumonia filled Maltese that had had an almost 15-year life with us through dating one another and getting married and having kids was on his last few hours with us.  This little dog who had stolen my heart without me knowing it until he was almost gone and had slept beside me most nights with the wrong end in my face. The little guy who used to chew on cotton and click his teeth and I just wasn’t ready for him to go. Finally someone cared. The tech cared, the vet cared, the front desk receptionist cared. Not a single person was treating me as though he was there for a haircut or vaccine. They recognized the situation and acted with compassion.

The vet at RIVER was amazing. Compassion is still alive out there. Helping an animal breathe when you have oxygen in the back is still an option. I would have paid. Sending in your most noncompassionate tech who never once said he was sorry or can I help you was probably the second worst thing that happened on the 22nd.

The worst thing was losing Jake at around 8:30pm. Jeff was able to hold him as he slipped away and the whole time their tech wasn’t condescending or unfeeling. He held the O2 to Jake’s mouth as we said goodbye to him, even keeping him comfortable though he was leaving soon as his favorite person (Jeff) held him.

I’ve never had a problem at Animal Clinic East in Chattanooga, TN before, but I have noticed less and less professionalism up front with the staff. I notice I stand there a lot more often than before while the staff ignores clients. It’s not that we expect immediate attention. It’s just professionalism to acknowledge someone and say you’ll be right with them. It is professionalism to notice a dog owner crying and a dog struggling to breathe and offering help rather than pushing her to the waiting room while singing the latest Justin Bieber song overhead. I was falling apart, but apparently, the staff has grown cold to how much we love our family members and how painful these moments can be as a pet owner. What happened to compassion? What happened to, “is there anything I could do to help you with him? Your dog looks to be struggling.” “I see why you are here.” “I’m sorry.”

Is that so hard Animal Clinic East? Please don’t lose your sense of compassion in the middle of someone’s last moments with their beloved pet. Please train your staff on how to be sensitive when they notice something is wrong. Please follow-up with complaints and let them know you care and that you are sorry for coming across crass.

If anyone out there knows of a compassionate vet office, I’d love to find one. Compassion in words and action and in care if a pet is in distress.


RIP Jake 11/01 – 10/16


Sorta Camping

I am the first to admit camping doesn’t appeal to me. I think that if I gave it another chance, I might like it. The last time I went camping it was around 1993. I had my dog Pate and met two other classmates in pharmacy school at Fall Creek Falls. One of my friends brought her dog, too. I ended up waking up in the middle of the night and sleeping in the front seat of my car and woke up with blisters all over my neck. I am so allergic to everything outdoors. We “pretended” to camp. Left when it got dark. Now, that’s my way of camping!

































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