Shelby Madden

Exploring my limits with a bike and big (potentially dumb) ideas!

Wildflower and Other People Camping

Finally, a post about Wildflower! Actually, I have about 3 or 4 posts lined up so this could be the week of short-post blogging. It took me awhile to round up pictures from the event since I'm such a lemon when it comes to taking them and had to harass my friends for theirs. I originally signed up for this race because I thought it would be a fun one to do for my first olympic distance. There are always a lot of Tri Club people heading up to the Paso Robles area for this unique weekend of camping and racing; even the Spokane people head down so it just seemed like a race not to miss.

However, upon further consideration of my Million Dollar Challenge goals, this year just doesn't seem to be the year for me and triathlon- it's really the year of the bike. So, I canceled my entry and was on my merry way with bike training when Scout mentioned, a couple weeks before the race, that her relay team for Wildflower didn't have a rider. Knowing I would have a blast riding the long distance course (56 miles) for an all women's CAF relay team and knowing I would get to stay with some of my very favorite friends from Spokane, I knew it was meant to be. I was heading to Wildflower with a new plan-one that was definitely in line with the Year of the Bike!

I'm SO glad Scout encouraged me to join her for this one. We had an awesome race but more importantly, we got to connect with some CAF athletes, including those from the Northern California contingency, and had some great laughs hanging out together.

Here is Scout trying to convince Travis and I that she does in fact have some "junk" in her twirpy little "trunk." Even with GU packets packed in her pockets, we're not convinced.

Tracy and Creighton came down from the Bay area to represent CAF in the olympic distance race.

I waited all afternoon for the Spokanites to arrive! Here is Laura and Anne shortly after their landing. I'm pretty sure we killed the grass for the amount of time we spent sitting on it!

Scout, Sarah and I joining up for the finish. We had a ton of fun. Scout had a scary swim last year so she took the swim leg to conquer that beast at the longer distance (1.2 miles) and was really happy and confident coming out of the water. I, not really knowing the course, mistakenly told Sarah that I thought the ride would take me 5 hours but at the last minute told her to be ready in 4 1/2 'cuz I was really going to ride as hard as I could since that was all I had to do- I ended up coming in at about 4 hours which made for a comical end to a tough but fun ride. I found myself calling every CAF person I could think of while I was out on the course to try and let them know I was coming in early. I knew it would take time for Sarah to get ready and felt a little lame for messing up our time predictions. I did, however, get some useful advice from other riders as they passed me with the occasional, "Buy low and sell high!" while I rang but I was just hoping to get my friend from the upper camp into the transition area without losing an hour. In the end, we had a stellar T2 time of over 8 minutes thanks to me!

Torrie, Scout, Rebecca, Sarah, sassy Wildflower event coordinator and huge supporter of CAF whose name I am failing miserably at remembering but since she doesn't read this blog feeling pretty secure regardless, and comic-relief Jill. This crew from CAF made for a great weekend!

Scout and I getting our medals for first place in our division which included, well, us. I have no idea what we're laughing at and know this is a terribly unflattering picture but it makes me laugh and that's all that matters in my world!

And finally, more of my favorite humans from the 'kan: Troy, Annie, Haley and Sam. They're all exceptional people but more importantly, funny as all get out (that means hell) :)

So all in all, the weekend was a blast and I was pleasantly surprised with my own progress on the bike. I should add, one of the major draws to Wildflower and what most people spend weeks preparing for and talking about is the camping side of the experience. I, however, have decided that I am not a camper girl, preferring a hot shower and warm bed over a cold, windy, wet wake-up any day, regardless of how others try to sell me on the experience. I'm wiser now. I know what's really going on. I'll be crammed into a hotel room with ten others for years to come before I fall for that one!
Happy Riding!

P.S. My niece was born this week and she's awesome. Her name is Miss Delia Kay Madden and I'm pretty sure she's going to be fun once she gets past this newborn glow worm stage. Until then, she's sweet to hold and look at!

A World in a Word

Since I took almost no pictures of the happenings at Wildflower, I'm waiting to blog about it until CAF posts some of their pictures so I can rip them off, HA! Until then, I wanted to share my friend Liz's blog with you because I love it and she has inspired me. Liz chooses one word a day that inspires her to write and reflect. It's fun to watch her at work when a word is mentioned and I see a little "Scooby Doo" look come across her face, leaving me to wonder if that will be her word for the day. Liz is a great writer and her reflections are funny, humbling, candid, inquisitive and always honest.

In the process of developing her blog, Liz also came across another person's blog that encouraged the same type of awareness through the idea of a mental picture per day. I love this idea and find myself scanning the world constantly for the image that gives me pause (or makes me laugh) and that I want to remember. What's great is I find there is almost always more than one image that sticks with me. Originally, I wanted to record this with a photo each day but I'm finding that often times the image is a collection in a field of vision that my Blackberry just can't assume or one that disappears before I can capture it. So, I probably won't be sharing my image reflections as Liz is sharing her words but that's okay. The mere introduction of the idea has given me a heightened awareness of my surroundings and the desire to be constantly present; it's really amazing how much you see when you're looking.

I would encourage you to try one of these ideas on and notice how your interaction with the world shifts slightly. It's amusing if nothing else. AND, I would encourage you to bookmark Liz's blog, A World in a Word, so you can enjoy her relationship with words as much as I am!