Sunday, November 18, 2012

Livin' My Dream

I have posted about how I got into the biking scene, about the Biking Buddies, and the string of bikes I have had the last 8 months. The story continues...

In August or so, I did a Google search and found out about el Tour de Tucson, which the old guy I mentioned in my Biking Buddies post told us about. I told Rod that there was an 85 mile event there and that I thought we should do it. He said ok but we didn't do anything about it. We kept talking about it and the first part of September I got out the debit card and registered us for the ride. We just sat there shaking our heads our heads saying "I can't believe we are doing this."

Then we got serious about our training. We had ridden a lot during the summer, even in the very hot weather, so we were already in pretty good shape. We decided to ride 20 miles 4 nights a week, rest on Friday - date night - and then do a long ride (between 40-60 miles) every Saturday. This took just about all of our spare time. We also decided to be very careful with our diet and tried to eat very healthy foods. We continued with the green smoothies, home made bread, and a whole foods, plant based diet 99% of the time. It was so much fun to ride every night! And we ate ravenously after our rides. We would text each other during the day and say "only 1 more hour till we ride!" We eventually had to get lights for our bikes and kept saying we would have to cut back on our evening rides as the sun was going down earlier and earlier. Well, we never did cut back. We just got better and faster, and got better and faster bikes! It was very exciting to have this goal and work together toward this big ride.

When we did our last 60 mile ride last Saturday (11/10), I remember looking over at Rod and saying, "I am living my dream! You have helped me live my dream!" He just smiles in his quiet way. I cannot thank God enough for this wonderful friend and husband. He has blessed my life in unmeasurable ways. I cannot imagine any facet of my life without him being front stage and center. He is supportive beyond anything I have ever experienced and we have so much fun together!

As the date drew nearer, all we talked about was el Tour de Tucson. I am sure our friends and co-workers were SICK of us talking about it. Rod made a list of things we needed to take. I made sure our bike shorts and jerseys were washed and ready. We took the day of Friday - we packed up our stuff, put the bikes in the back of the truck, and headed out. We called our hotel ahead of time to see if we could check in early so we had a place to keep our bikes secure so we could go pick up our entry packets.
The Expo was at the Tucson Civic Center downtown, just a few blocks from the finish line. We went in to get our numbers. My heart was pounding! After we checked in, we went around to all the exhibitors and saw their wares. Then we went back to the hotel and took a 2 hour nap! Centennial High School played their final State playoff game in Tucson that night, so we went to the game. After we knew they were winning, we left at the start of the 4th quarter and went to the Olive Garden to eat up the carbs for energy.

My alarm went off at 6:00AM, which is sleeping in for me, and we got ready to go. We loaded up the bikes into the back of the truck and set the GPS for Pima College, where our start line was. Just a bit frustrating when you go to turn on the street you need and they have it closed off for the event you are going to participate in. Oh well, we made it anyway, with time to spare.

 I love having my own personal bike mechanic. I never have to worry about my equipment.

Rod immediately started working on our bikes, to get the chains all lubed up with white lightening.

I worked on getting on my leg warmers, which I then took off before the ride, and my arm warmers.

Rod posing at the start line.

And here I am at the start line.

Riders in the 111 mile event started at 7:00am and flew by our start line before our gun went off. They were so fast! You could hear them coming. It made this cool swishing sound I have never heard before. We watched 3 or 4 pack of riders like this pass by. It was amazing! They were strong, fast and furious. I got a little nervous about that time...
 A big smile to hide the butterflies in my tummy! And no, I did not wear any make up on this ride!

There were so many people there! And ESPN radio, with an announcer and much to my dismay, a Mariachi band blasting. People started lining up early. We were in the middle of the line up. They were talking and taking pictures. There were some really nice people there and they came from all over the country. One lady by us was from British Columbia.She and her husband flew in and rented bikes to be in the event. It was fun to see all the different bikes and the colorful jerseys.

We did a countdown 10, 9, 8, etc. and Bam! We were off. I just concentrated on not running in to anybody. We had plotted our strategy - don't start off too fast. Ha! That didn't go as planned. We actually made incredible time. Did our first 20 in 1 hr and 8 minutes - fastest time ever! And that included a stop at the 15 mile Aide Station and a mammoth hill.

We thought we would not be able to finish at that pace, but we really surprised ourselves. We had trained hard, and were able to perform physically and mentally. It was such a great experience! One thing that Tucson has that we don't have many of is HILLS. The first hill came and I was so glad we had ridden up 59th ave a few times for hill training. I knew I could do the hill because I had done 59th ave. I just didn't know there were so MANY hills on this ride. But we were able to climb them, and even passed people on every single hill climb! I couldn't believe it!

We actually had to carry our bikes through a dry river bed for about 500 yards. I made the comment that I had trained for a bike ride, not weight lifting. Thankfully our bikes don't weigh much. I passed one guy that was really struggling. I could see him limping and as we got closer, I could see that he had a badly twisted club foot. He couldn't carry his bike as he needed it for balance to walk. He was literally dragging his lame foot through the sand. I wanted to carry him and his bike! I had to fight back the tears and move on. I knew it was his battle and he knew what he was doing.

 There was even an aide station in the river bed. There were so many wonderful volunteers along the way. They would hold your bike and fill your water bottles while you waited in line for the port-a-potty. They had fruit, cookies, peanut butter sandwiches, water and lots of encouragement for us when we would stop in. They were an amazing support crew! There were also bike mechanics on the ride to help with flat tires and other equipment problems.There were 400 volunteer policemen that stopped traffic and made sure we were safe on the route. There were some pretty bad accidents and people were seriously hurt requiring paramedics and ambulances. Luckily we had no problems and were very blessed with stamina, strength and properly working equipment. 

All along the way, there were people there to shout "You can do it!" "Way to go!" And they would ring cow bells and yell encouragement. I looked over at Rod and said "as much as I appreciate the cheerleaders, and am so glad to be in the event instead of on the sidelines watching." Truly, I am so thankful for the marvelous experience this whole biking thing has been. One of the signs really struck a cord with me. It simply said "Exceed Your Expectations." Wow. We really did! We wanted to finish in under 7 hours and we actually finished in 5 hours and 44 minutes according to the official timing device they had attached to our rider numbers.

Something else that was special about this ride is that the weather was PERFECT. It was overcast the whole day, and we did not get sunburned. We did have a little wind for a while, but we had trained in the wind, so it was not a problem. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for the ride.

When we had about 17 miles left, I told Rod "I can't keep up this pace any more. I can't pass anyone else." Then we would catch up to a group and it would bug me that they were going so slow and I would jam around them. I did this time after time. Rod says we passed hundreds in that last stretch before the finish line. Again, the training really paid off and the body responded with strength and stamina I did not know I had. I couldn't believe I was passing people at the end! And they were younger than me, and lots of them were men! We are promised in the Word of Wisdom that if we live that amazing law of health we will "run and not be weary and walk and not faint." I experienced that blessing during this ride as I called upon hidden reserves of strength. I will always remember this and know that because I was obedient and took care of my body, I was blessed by the Lord and helped by angels to achieve this ride both physically and mentally.

 Rod after the finish. He looks quite relieved, don'tcha think?

 My finish line pose. We were absolutely thrilled that we did it!

Our dear friends, Sam, Trudy, and Jacque Grimes came all the way from Peoria to cheer for us as we crossed the finish line. Jacque made these posters for us. It was so fun to have them celebrate with us!

We are already planning our next big ride, so watch out world. Here come the LaMunyons to break another land speed record! HA!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Becca's Birthday - She is 19!

This adorable child turned 19 today!!! I can't believe my youngest child is off to college and no longer living at home. I knew it would happen some day, and thought I was ready for this. Well, I was not as ready as I thought I was. I miss her so much!!!

As a little girl, she stole many a cowboy's heart and struck up a good deal on getting a stick horse or two out of the deal. This is the horse show in Bend, OR, where she got the PWT tooth. We still laugh over that!

She loved this "princess dress" from her sister's wedding, and actually wore it to church many times. I normally had to manipulate her to get her to wear a girlie dress, and hide her cowboy boots on Sunday so she would not wear them to church.

Becca loves the ocean and we enjoyed some trips to the beach when we moved to AZ.

Becca always adds "sparkle" to any occasion. I love how her eyes have always smiled to accent the smile on her lips.

These two had a very special friendship. They were thrown together as step-siblings and made the best of it. I hope they have some happy memories of things we did as a family. We tried so hard to create good memories for them.

Becca's first year at Girl's Camp was at Lake Powell. I got to go with her as the 4th year certification leader. I will always treasure this experience with Becca.

She hiked up "Hole in the Rock." And we also got to see Rainbow Bridge. Such a beautiful place for girl's camp.

Becca has always been adored by her mom and sisters! 
When we get together, we laugh like nobody's business!

We had an incredible trip to Hawaii to celebrate Becca's graduation. We had planned this trip for years. It was a dream come true to spend this week with my daughters.

High School Graduation was and exciting, yet emotional event. I knew this day would come, too, and it is now just a memory.

 Life goes on at a very fast pace, and now Becca is making decision that will affect the rest of her life. I know she will choose wisely.  NAU is lucky to have this girl!

She is an amazing young woman. I am so privileged to be her mom, and I have so many precious memories with Becca and her sisters. Truly my cup runneth over.

Happy Birthday, Becca!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My New Bike

Last March, my family doctor sent me to a Podiatrist because I have  Plantar fasciitis.

This is not a fun condition. I could no longer enjoy hiking or walking. Every morning when I got up I felt like someone had stuck a hot poker up the bottom of my heel. Well, the podiatrist told me to ride a bike for exercise and that would not bother my foot. I told  Rod and we dusted off a couple of bikes in our garage and went for a ride. We thought we were really something as we went about 2 1/2 miles that day. The next day we did the same thing, and so forth for about a week.

I was riding Becca's bike as my mountain bike had been stolen out of our garage a few years before. I told Rod that her bike wasn't very good, the seat sucked and that I couldn't ride it any more. We immediately went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought a mountain bike. I wanted a bike that was designed for comfort. It was awesome! We started adding a few miles on to our ride and were soon riding 10 - 15 miles per day. I told Rod I wanted to go farther. He decided I needed a better bike if we were going to ride these distances, so we went back to Dick's and got a Hybrid. Wow. I noticed a HUGE difference in the ease of riding, and the ability to go farther faster. We went 25 miles. We went 30 miles. We went 40 miles. Each increase in distance was a milestone accomplishment. The first time we went 20 miles on a Saturday, we came home and went to bed for a couple of hours to recuperate. Same thing with 30, 40 and 50. Our record is now 62 miles and we ride 20 miles every night. We feel quite cheated and like we haven't gone very far if we don't get our 20 mile ride in.

While on a pit stop at the water fountain at Rio Vista park, we encountered a neat old guy that talked to us for a while. He was experienced and had on a competition jersey. We asked him about doing century rides. He told us about the Tour de Tucson. I went home and looked it up and told Rod I thought we should do this. We looked at it closely and saw that there is an 85 mile loop in that event. We signed up. We ordered our own competition jerseys which, by the way, have arrived.

A couple of weeks ago, Rod said he thought we should get some new road bikes before the big event. He said I am working too hard on the hybrid and that a road bike would make a big difference in going farther faster. We started shopping around. We ended up going to Landis, a bike shop down on Indian School and 7th Ave in Phoenix. We got some AWESOME Trek road bikes. I can't believe it. Rod was simply giddy over this. I have never seen him so excited about something. We have had so much fun with our riding and we look forward to being out every single day! Rod took this photo as we were riding on Thursday evening.

 I love my new bike!!

Sewing up a storm

So Saturday morning, before going to our Peoria Pride service project, I was frantically trying to get my Halloween costume made. I made such a big mess of my house!
Friday night, I tore up an old sheet into strips. It was kind of fun to shred that sucker up!

 I set up my machine on the kitchen table and started sewing away. I knew I would not have enough time to get this project done in one sitting. We had to leave to go to the ward Trunk or Treat activity.

So Saturday morning I was up bright and early. I love to open up the blinds and let the sun shine in when I am sewing. I was sewing away, and I hit my finger with the needle and broke my needle and drew blood. I was not too thrilled about this. I don't have many spare sewing machine needles, but did find ONE! After I stopped the bleeding, I put in the new needle and resumed work. I had to abandon the project once again to go to a church activity - Peoria Pride.

When we got home, I continued to sew. I had to put every thing away to hostess the Book Club at 1:00. When that was over, the machine came back out and I frantically worked some more. The good news is that I was able to finish the costume. Here it is!

 Usually I am a witch, but I wanted to be something different this year. This is quite out of character to me as I love to joke about riding around on a broom.

I also won OCNUB, the looser idol that goes home with the Bunco Looser of the night. Yeah, I had the most losses last night. Not the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last time!  But it was a blast. I love playing, and love the good friends that are there.

Whole Wheat for Whole Health

I sold my mountain bike. Yes, the one I got in March when I started riding bikes. After 6 weeks, I got an amazing hybrid to replace it and never sat on it again! We decided to get a Bosch mixer with the money from the sale of the bike. I have wanted one for 30 years. Here is a batch of the wonderful bread that can be made in this mixer.

We love eating our home made whole wheat bread. Rod grinds the wheat, I make the dough. Rod cleans the wheat grinder, I clean the mixer. We both enjoy the end result. It is a great team effort!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Biking Buddies - the Die Hards

As we have been enjoying our daily bike riding, we have become familiar with some of the people we pass going and coming on the trail. There are regulars that we encounter, and we have given them nicknames. As a group, we call them the "Die Hards" - they are out there all the time like we are. There is no disrespect associated with these names whatsoever – merely association by what we observe as we have our “passing” and brief encounter with each one. In fact, the names are given with a certain amount of affection to these people that have become part of the bike riding ritual.
Toothless – This was our first. There is an old guy that sits on a bench by a water fountain right before our last underpass and just before the “10 mile mark.” He has very weathered, sun-bronzed skin and is often shirtless. He has a beautiful shock of white hair. Often he can be seen eating a take-out meal and reading a book. He also rolls his own cigarettes. After several times of riding by him I said “hello.” He looked up and gave me huge grin, showing that he is, indeed, toothless.
Tonto – This guy wears a bandanna tied around his head and no helmet. He always has on a sleeveless shirt and we see him on every trail we ride. He is one awesome, strong rider!
Sweatshirt – When we first saw this guy we just could not believe it! It is 108 outside and he is walking in gray sweatpants, an orange sweatshirt and a black ski hat. Seriously! And we see him almost every day we are out. I decided to say hi, and now he always says “good evening” and smiles at us. He has been riding a bike lately, and yes, with the same outfit. He is very nice even though I don’t understand why he wears such hot clothing in the summer while working out!
Speed Demon – He is fast – the fastest one on the entire trail. He is so muscular. He is so strong! I marvel at how easy he makes it look when he zips past us as we are struggling along. Amazing guy!
Mario – This guy has a cool mustache. He always has a huge smile on his face and waves hello to us.
Chester – Yes, this gentleman loves to show off his chest hair by having the zipper on his riding jersey ALL the way down. I don’t understand it. He is pretty old, and all of his hair (on the head and chest) is iron gray.  Actually, there are more guys than this one that do the zipper thing with their jerseys. Hmmmmm, wonder if I should try it. NOT!!!
Henry and Henrietta – What a cute little couple. They wear white from head to toe, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and helmets, complete with camelbacks. The only skin exposed is the neck and face – well at least the parts not covered by the huge goggles and helmet straps. They stop about every mile, dismount, and drink from their camelbacks. I think Henry is just a little bossy and he always rides in front. I saw him setting the bikes out in their front yard on one of the trails we ride up north. They are cute, but it is kind of weird that they dress like that. Oh well, to each his own.
Wonder Woman – Oh my!  She has the most awesome body ever. When she rides past I tell Rod, “I want to look like her some day.” He just smiles at me. She has beautiful muscles, is tan, is slender, is so fast on her bike. And she is a whole lot younger than I am. Oh well… I can dream, can’t I(?
Captain America – Yes, he rides with Wonder Woman.. Wow. They are an amazing couple and I love to see the beauty of the human body that is so well defined and cared for. Rod says that the Captain is trying to look like him. I just smile.
Dynamic  Duo – Words can hardly describe how cool these two guys are. They ride a tandem bike.  We saw them for the first time at the drinking fountain at Rio Vista and heard the lead guy praising his buddy. The lead rider is amazing. His partner (the guy in the back) is blind. He says it is a privilege to ride with him because he is so strong and he always pulls more than his share. I got a big lump in my throat as I listened to them talk. They are FAST. They are STRONG. Then we saw them a few weeks later as they whizzed by us on our 50 mile ride. We caught up to them over by Sunny Slope High School as they were resting under a shade tree and asked them for some directions because we were in unknown territory. We took off and were riding pretty hard and they passed us like we were standing still. These guys are so inspiring!!
Energizer (as in the bunny – there are bunnies all over the trail) – This little gal is so darling! We see her all over the place. She always smiles and says hello to us. She is young, cute, strong and fast. She makes it look so easy and she just flies past us. We always watch for her and miss her when she is not out.
Tattoo – Not much explanation needed. Her arms are really tatted up and you simply can’t miss her.
Brutal – We see him almost every day. He is often on his phone while he rides. A few weeks ago there was a really strong wind. We had just turned around and were enjoying the wind at our backs. Here comes this guy just struggling into the wind. He calls out to us “This wind is BRUTAL!” We had a good laugh and we now we call him “Brutal.” He always waves to us.
Pac Man – This guy has such an unusual face – very round with a distinct mouth. I know if he turned sideways he would look just like Pac Man. Sometimes he wears a helmet and sometimes it is just him with his very round, bald head and distinct mouth. He is a powerhouse!
Tourist – Would you go for long rides with saddle bags on your bike, AND a backpack? Maybe he is practicing for a actual bike tour, who knows?
Jingle Bells – You can hear him coming up from behind. Yes, he has actual jingle bells on the bottom of his bicycle seat. I think it would drive me nuts to have that constant jingling the whole time I was riding. I like my ding, ding bell.
Shoes – as in fluorescent green. Need I say more about this runner?
Colonel Sanders – complete with the beard and moustache. Cute guy.  Always smiles at us.
Iron Man – we talked for a while with this guy one day. He has ridden all over the valley. He is a die-hard rider. He radiates confidence, but unlike the real Iron Man, he is friendly.
Tucson – this guy is old – probably 70. He is the first one that told us about el Tour de Tucson, the big event we are working toward. He has such strong, skinny little legs and a round little pot belly. He was very friendly and wears his colorful jersey when he rides. Today he was looking over the railing and called out to us “I just saw a road runner!” Nice man.
The Witch – I could not believe my eyes when I saw this phantom coming down the lane. HUGE hat – I bet the brim was at least 2 feet wide on each side, and then a helmet on top. The hat had holes cut on the sides for the helmet straps to go through and clip under the chin. This skinny, wrinkled, gray haired old lady was riding this big old fat tired bike like nobody’s business. She had on a long sleeved shirt to cover her arms from the sun and the shirt tail was flying all around and flapping in the wind.  Yes, there was a basket on the bike, but no Toto dog. I could hear the music – da ta da ta da da
Fossil – need I say more? Yes, old and wrinkled – but he is out there riding the trail. There are a couple of these guys out there that I really admire. I hope I can still ride when I am that old!

Just for the heck of it I am throwing in a picture of my marvelous biker tan! Ha! I haven't been this "brown" since I was a little girl.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I am back

Well, it has been quite some time since I posted a blog. It has been a difficult last several months, and I tend to ignore my feelings when times are tough. I talk a lot about it to those who care, but I find it difficult to post my hardest feelings on my Blog and it took more effort than I could muster to focus on anything positive. It was an eventful year and a lot of it was just plain hard. It wasn't all bad, so I will do my best to note some of my favorite times (if I can remember). I didn't even take many pictures, which is very unusual for me. I have reviewed my two blogs recently, and enjoyed remembering many things I had forgotten! It is so important to document our lives and I want to start up again, so here I go. This is probably the most recent photo I have of myself, taken just about 3 weeks ago on the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My beautiful girl...

I can't believe my beautiful little golden haired baby girl is turning 30 today! Yikes! Where did the time go? Words can never express the joy this beautiful woman has brought to my life. No one can make me laugh quite like Julie.

The most darling and chubby little toddler ever!

My little princess.
 People used to stop me in the store to look at her golden ringlets and say "she looks just like a little doll you would buy at Pennys."
Matching Easter dresses - quite a tradition.

What a darling first grader!
 Katie, the big sister, was always so proud of her little sister and wanted a sister more than anything!
Easter baskets were always so much fun!

Chillin' with her big sissie.

We all love Halloween!

Christmas pictures are so cute!

She'll kill me for this one.
My lovely girls...
Julie was also very happy when she got a little sister! She loved taking care of Becca when she was a baby. There is nothing a like a sister - big or little!

Julie was so excited to be an Auntie!

Julie was very excited to be a mother.

All babies are cute when they are asleep!

Julie's third birthday.

Julie and Ava

I love this picture of my beautiful daughter with my dear dad.
Jubilant, joyful
Unique, understanding
Lively, loving
Intelligent, incredible
Enthusiastic, extremely funny

Happy Birthday, Jewels! I love you more than my luggage!