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Saturday, January 21, 2012


It feels pretty weird to be sitting in front of the computer again for the purpose of blasting my life out onto the internet.  And scary.  And cathartic.
Why such a long break?  Maybe because I ran out of things to say about heartache, cancer and bike racing.

Or maybe it was the uncharacteristic lack of major drama in my life over the last 8-9 months.  I went to work (which I enjoy), spent time with my friends (whom I enjoy) and rode my bike (what I enjoy).   I drank too much, discovered yoga (which has changed my life-more on that later) and had approximately a relationship and a half.   I survived my first three trials (actually, I killed it) and learned to do a tripod headstand.    2011 was a good year for just keeping the boat afloat and on the river.

I hit a year of remission on October 17, 2011.  I cried a lot that day.

Somehow I feel like I quietly became a different person over the last year, and I'm struggling to describe it in writing (having sat here for 45 minutes now, writing and rewriting and erasing).  I think the best way to put it is that I'm finally learning to get out of my own way.

I'm the most consistently peaceful and stress free that I can remember being, ever.  I still have my moments of excruciating loneliness and road rage, but those are fewer and far between.

So, this blog.   I think the best way for me to work through the new way of being that I am experiencing is to write and to share the things that my damaged self has a hard time expressing in words.

So bear with me for a while as I hash this out and incoherently wax and wane poetic about whatever yoga book I am reading.  But rest assured, I do plan on racing my bike this year and no mountain bike ride is complete without Lindsay crashing into something.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Badger is Back

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I haven't blogged in four months.  I don't want to hear it.  The Badger don't care.  She had a lot of shit going on.

Before I go much further, you should probably know where this Badger nickname originated.  Readers, the reason why the interwebs were invented:

How I was introduced to this video in the first place is a fairly amusing story.  I have a bartender friend that had been trying to convince me for weeks that a 15 minute Cross Fit workout, performed maybe three times per week, was a sufficient workout regime.

"A workout regime for what?"  You ask.  This was my exact question.

His theory was that you only need to be fit enough to escape from something or chase down something that you needed to fill your basic needs.  In my mind, this theory was flawed for at least two reasons.  First, set aside the fact that very few modern human beings are ever placed in situations where performing twelve burpees and ten rapid repeat dead lifts are useful escape strategies.  What is the point of making the escape, then dying of a heart attack immediately afterward because your aerobic conditioning taps out after 8 minutes?  Second, the latter rationale is bullshit.  Under that rationale, we'd all just need to be fit enough to operate a motorized cart around Wal-Mart. 

That video is what he sent me to prove his point.  Discuss amongst yourselves.  I think he wins the argument only because he has decided to disregard the basic rules of rational discourse.


Back to the nickname.  I got to spend the weekend in the Dalles a few weeks back with some of the lovely ladies of Sorella Forte.  We watched this video approximately 80 times and somehow the ladies started calling me the Badger.  Probably because I really just don't give a shit.  And because I eat cobras for breakfast

I like this nickname.  Its ridiculous, fits right in with my notoriously cantankerous nature and gives me an opening to do something I always thought would be cool....glue a pelt to the top of my bike helmet.


So yeah, the Badger is back...blogging, at least.  Racing bikes is a different story.  I want to want to race bikes, but it just hasn't been happening for me yet.  Which is too bad, because I now own a carbon fiber Ferrari:

I love this bike.  It corners like a dream and would climb like a Contador but for the fact that the ass on top of it hasn't really been bothered to get into climbing shape.

I've started one race this year:  Piece of Cake.  I flatted twice in the first four-mile gravel section and hitched a ride back to the start.  I was signed up for Cherry Blossom, but got the flu three days before the start and spent the weekend catching up on Top Model (i.e., watching the Jade/Joanie/Danielle season for the sixth time), shotgunning kombucha and reading Stephen King novels.

Here's the catch with Cherry Blossom.  I was actually relieved when I got sick.  This is not the thought process of someone that should be racing bikes.

So, for now, I'm just training.  The mojo will come back in its own sweet time.  I've started a consistent yoga practice and am a regular at a weekly strength class that is so rough that I only need to do one class per week.  

And....drum roll...I've got a new gig imposing my demonic will over an indoor cycling class offered by my friend Julie's coaching business.  I love it.  Nothing like being despised for a good, healthy reason. 


And finally, the cancer update.  I hit my one year cancer-versary on February 24.  My first six-month mammogram came back clear and I just have to keep popping pills and showing up for periodic gropings by my oncologist. 

For now, cancer is just about managing the side effects from the meds (honey badger like hormone fluctuations) and figuring out some of the lifestyle issues that go along with my last 4.5 years of treatment.  The oncology physician's assistant more or less bullied me into seeing a oncology social worker about fertility issues.  I was hoping to remain in denial about all of this until it became relevant (I know, mature strategy), but apparently having cancer does not remove me from having to make post-cancer adult life-planning decisions.  Sheeeeee-it.

Life is good and, for those of you that cared,  I'm sorry for being absent from this blog for so long.  So much of the winter was wrapped around searching for a new job (which I got) and dealing with personal issues that were not-safe-for-internet.

But the Badger is back, and thanks for coming back as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Post In Which It is Obvious That I've Already Checked Out, Although Vacation Isn't for Four More Days.

Most important news up front.  My October 1 MRI was clean.  I am officially in remission.

Now onto less important items of note. 

(Correction from the last entry:  I got third at Alpenrose, not second.  Yes, I am a terrible liar and will suffer in the afterlife as a result.)

So yeah, my vacation in the B's lasted about a week.  I thought briefly about trying to pull the cancer card and weasel my way out of the upgrade.  Then remembered that, six months ago, I didn't even think I'd be racing at all this year.  So I took that upgrade with a smile and a side of "get ready to get your ass handed to you."

But rather than put my big girl pants on after Alpenrose, I raced my singlespeed with the men and did one Cat 3 Race in Washington.   

In mid-October I did back to back races at Heiser Farms and Rainier.  Those of us who finished both mud fests should get the insanity version of the Hardman Award. 

Heiser was 90% mud.  Pea soup mud that was at least an inch deep and up to six inches deep.  And smelled suspiciously similar to livestock feet.   I tried to keep up with the guys on the first lap, but after three spectacular fishtailing crashes, modified my goal to "Keep Moving in a Forward Direction."  I never really got my heart rate up from pedaling, as 50% of the race involved fishtailing downhill, 35% entailed pushing my bike (and 15 pounds of mud) uphill and I was laughing too hard to get up to speed for the last 15%.  

Want to feel like a little kid again?  Go mud wrestle with your bike for 45 minutes.  Pure joy. 

Rainier was just stupid hard on the singlespeed, even after I swapped out the 42 front chainring for a 38.   Lots of mud, lots of "running" and that huge $)*%ing climb in the middle.  It was a big reminder that, as much as I want to fool myself into thinking otherwise, my body is a long way from completely rebounding from the cancer treatment.  I am pretty comfortable keeping my heart rate around 85%, but any spikes over that drain my tank pretty quickly.  And I don't have the power that I used to.  (Patience, grasshopper, patience.)

I didn't race the third weekend in October because I HAD MY PORT REMOVED.  Doctor's orders were to take 4-5 days off of exercise to let the incision heal, so I went to San Fransisco to watch my sister-in-law run the Nike Women's Marathon.  The fact that (1) she ran an awesome race and (2) it was inspiring to see 20,000 women of all shapes and sizes complete the event (3) does not change the fact that running is stupid.

My final "real" weekend of racing was SSCXWC weekend.  I qualified for the Sunday race, but after having a great race in my Category in the morning, decided to call it a day and drive home.

More of what I do best:  Running.

I didn't race an A race until Hillsboro last weekend.  By then I cared so little about the whole cyclocross scene that I dropped out after two laps.  Apathy and a two-day old hangover trumps 60 minutes of racing any day of the week.

And like that, my abbreviated 2010 racing season comes to a close.  I lost interest in Nationals after I remembered how much it would cost and that I'd be off the bike for two weeks leading up to the race because of my New Zealand trip. But I will be heading over to Bend for Nationals weekend to heckle and party. 

Other than that, life has been full of things that aren't exactly blog-appropriate or I was too chicken shit to sit down and write about honestly.  There was the aftermath of break-ups, hook-ups and festering personality conflicts.  Then there was the "no-duh" realization that I have spent the last four years using bikes and boys as a distraction from dealing with all of the heavier stuff in my life. 

So I made some big decisions.  First on the agenda is selling my condo.  I like where I live, but its a  place in which I didn't intend to live for as long as I have.  Its also space where I've been through four breakups and cancer house arrest.  I need a fresh start, and if I don't do it in small doses, I have a feeling I'll implode and  move myself and the furballs to Iceland.

Gratuitous Cat Photo. 

Iceland, the home of Bjork's "music."  This is scary barometer of the intensity of restlessness I've been dealing with and the lengths to which I will go to get that worked out. 


This rushed post will be the last one for awhile.  As I said above, Amanda and I are getting the hell off this piece of rock and heading to New Zealand for two weeks.  We have tickets to see U2 in Auckland, plans to do a 100K bike event (we're going to wear our State Champion jerseys in order to demand the global respect that rightfully comes with OBRA dominance), will drink a ton of wine and, I shit you not, I have been bullied into going to a Jack Johnson concert.  Granted, I told Amanda that I'd only go if I could get drunk and belligerent and yell "Free Bird" after every song.  This is a risk that she seems willing to take. In turn, I am willing to accept the risk of letting her drive a car on the wrong side of the road.

We'll try to post pictures on Facebook, but look for an epic blog post once we get back on American soil on December 4.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Revenge of the Skinsuit, And Other Stuff.

Wow....someone got a little bit behind on blogging again.  Lots of big things have happened in the last five weeks, the biggest of which was I FINISHED TREATMENT.  It still seems really weird to write that in all caps because that last radiation appointment was very anticlimactic.  I sat under the microwave for 60 seconds, the clinicians gave me a guardian angel pin and then I cried in the car for about 15 minutes.  

And now, here I am, floating in a sea of "Now What?"  

Here's "what," the bullet point version.  Some adventures, some bike races and a lot of alone time.
  • I raced Kruger's Kermesse at the end of August.  I'm thinking of it as my first real post-cancer race, even though short track was really my first time lining back up.  I had expected to finish in the back of the 15 person group.  Instead I got second and might have won if we had another lap.  Kermesse races are awesome...all the fun of dirt, but without that running nonsense.  I wore my new short sleeved skinsuit as I was still too chubby to fit into my kit.  Made some new friends, drank some beer and slept like a baby.
  • The day after treatment ended, I drove to Bend to spend the weekend with my teammates.  My original plan had been to do Cycle Oregon, but I made the (wise) decision to postpone that for another year.  Me + tent + putting up said tent by myself after riding for 80 miles = probable catastrophic nuclear event.  The girls and I climbed South Sister on Sunday:

 South Sister is much more of a trek than I had anticipated.  Straight up for 7 miles.  But the view at the top was totally worth it:

The reason that I have made this picture extra large is to point out that I am wearing the completely wrong footwear for the occasion.  I sprained my ankle on the descent and then got horrendous shin splints from wearing borrowed boots and limping 6 miles out of the wilderness.

But for that view?  I'd do it all over again.

Saturday night Amanda hosted a "intimate accessories" party at her house.  Between the hike and the ankle and three glasses of wine, I got pretty tanked and almost died when the very masculine, 50-something year old friend of the consultant slammed a suction-cupped glow-in-the-dark dildo onto Amanda's fireplace. And just let it sit there bobbing for the next 15 minutes.  Thank god I was dehydrated or I would have peed myself. 
  • The next weekend, Amanda and I went yurting on the coast near Newport.  Yurts are rad.  It's all the fun of camping (nature, peeing outside, listening to RV generators hum all night long), but without tents.  We basically ate our faces off in Newport (Local Ocean=best meal I have ever had on the coast), drank a few bottles of wine, read books and slept a lot.     

  • Two weekends ago I rode in the Echelon Gran Fondo out in the Columbia Gorge.  100 miles with one very long 20 mile ascent that started at mile 45.  I rode in the Chris Horner peloton for about 30 miles, but didn't actually get to meet him because each time I got close to the front, some middle age wingnut in a Primal Wear jersey porkchopped me for the spot next to Chris.  I wanted to get some face time in and all, but it wasn't worth being injured by a guy in a Grover jersey.  
Part of the event was an OBRA sanction hill climb "race."  You could start whenever you wanted since the event was chip-timed. A big group of testosterone left together, but I waited for Julie and Rich and we headed up the hill about 20 minutes later.  I had no intentions of racing, but settled into a good pace as soon as we started gaining elevation. I climbed most of the way alone and felt great until running out of water about 2 miles from the summit.

I forgot about the whole "race" aspect until there was a photo posted on facebook that night.

Because the event awards time bonuses for fund-raising (I raised over $3500 for Livestrong and the OHSU  Knight Cancer Institute!), I had 20 minutes chopped off of my already respectable time and finished in ninth place....overall. Three minutes behind Chris Horner. Hilarious.  Even more hilarious is that I must have also been the fastest female with an OBRA license that completed the whole 100 mile ride, because I also "won" the hill climb with my non-bonus time.
  • Finally, I started racing cross last week.  I'm operating under the theory this month that racing is a lot more fun than training, so why train?  I did three races in five days and was very pleasantly surprised with how my body is rebounding from treatment.  
First up was Blind Date at the Dairy on Wednesday night.
Photo:  Stephen Fitzgerald
 I rode my singlespeed and had a great race (other than looking like I was doing the truffle shuffle over the barriers) until the last half lap.  I was on a choppy, rocky section--a point on the course that was the physically furthest from the finish line--and felt my back tire go flat.  I rode on it for another minute or so until it rolled and I was forced to hoof it back to the finish line.  This involved running when people were watching and walking when no one was looking. Man, I hate running. However, I hadn't had a race flat in the last three years, so I suppose it was my turn. 

Saturday was the David Douglas CCX race in Vancouver.  I am really getting into this Saturday race stuff...new courses, small fields and no bathroom lines.  The course had a lot of great, fast flat sections and swoopy singletrack.  The "highlight," however, was the run-up that you couldn't see the top of until you were almost there.  That makes for about 60-90 seconds of run-up.  Man, I HATE running.  I finished a respectable fourth place after crashing in the first lap and sort of dinking around on the third lap. 

Sunday was the shitshow know as the Cross Crusade Series opener:  Alpenrose.  I love Alpenrose and have done really well on that course for the last two years.  With over 200 women in the race, and over 60 in my category, I just wanted to get a few points to reserve a call-up for the 2 or 3 crusade races that were on my schedule for the rest of the fall.

Photo:  Jose Brujo Sandoval (I am easy to spot in photos--just look for the Euro-trash neon yellow sunglasses.)
This is what the women's field looked like.  Insane.

The wonderful thing about cross racing this year is that I am not wasting a whole lot of energy being nervous before the race.  I ate a big waffle and shot the shit with friends I hadn't seen on months.  Only pre-rode 1/4 of the course and my warm-up consisted of rolling around the parking lot for 10 minutes and standing in the bathroom line. 
Photo:  Brujo. (Look at how much hair I have now!!)

I got a little anxious once we lined up, but mostly because I thought I was going to wet my skinsuit. Which,  after I lost about 10 pounds in the last month, now fits considerably better than it did at the Kermesse.

Here was my race strategy:  get in a fast first quarter of a lap to get out of the riff-raff, then settle into a pace that I could keep for 40 minutes.  

Photo:  Tim Schalberger. The entry into a two-barrier truffle shuffle.
Since we began catching Master A riders in the first lap and lapping beginners almost immediately upon starting the second lap, it became hard to tell who was chasing and who was being chased.  I knew Elise and Sarah were right behind me and that Anna Christiansen was probably making us all look like amateurs up front, but had no idea who else was in the game. 

Photo:  Rich Rosko
I was pretty sure I was in the top 7-8 riders after the first lap, and top 5 after the second lap, but then my math got a little fuzzy.
Photo:  Dave Roth.
I'd pass some people, then I would get passed, then pass back.  Then oxygen deprivation kicked in and math became impossible and irrelevant.

Credit:  Stephen Fitzgerald.  The skinsuit...how to look fast without actually being fast.
I rode the race completely clean and rolled in right in front of Elise.  

Then, as with all races where there are dozens and dozens of riders, there are hugs and high fives and the speculation begins.  Where did we finish?  Who beat whom? 

Turns out that the only person that beat me was Anna Christiansen.  That's right, this cancer patient on a single speed got second place at a Cross Crusade race. What was the best about the day, however, was racing with my friends and rejoining the collective suffering that is bike racing. Suck on that, cancer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Accidental Semi-Fame.

When I was in high school, it was always my dream to have my face on the front page of the local paper's sports section.  I was a decent all-around small school athlete.   We didn't have soccer or cross country programs at my high school.  In the fall, your choice was volleyball or cheerleading.  Notwithstanding my height (5'6" in sneakers), I was a decent volleyball player, mostly because I was fast and strong and willing to dive headfirst into chairs. But never a standout. 

Basketball was my thing in high school.  I was just another short, insecure and awkward girl in braids until I hit my freshman year.  I spent the previous summer at one of my uncle's camps playing with boys and generally getting my ass handed to me.  But when I started playing with girls again, I had grown three inches and figured out that I was the fastest person on the court and threw the meanest screen in three counties.   It was a revelation.  I was never tall enough to play the position that suited my love of banging around in the paint, but I was quick and fit and fearless.  Won some all-state and all-league honors, but never made the front page.

My high school basketball career ended on a sour note when we lost by one point in a playoff game because I had fouled someone who made both free throws as time was running out.  I came back to basketball in law school and played on three straight intramural championship teams.  I still obsessively follow college basketball, but haven't played since I broke my wrist in 2004. 

I started running track in junior high school.  Softball was the other option and it was pretty obvious from my short lived little league career that I couldn't throw a ball for shit.  My dad and his sisters were all runners in high school and I know he was pretty pleased when I decided to run track.  At first, I just wanted to keep in shape for basketball.  But then I started winning races and was hooked. I won almost every 200 meter race I ran in junior high and became one of the best high school quarter milers in the area by the time I was a senior.  The best, though, was a phenomenal talent....and my teammate.   

My track coach (one of the best human beings on this planet) suggested during my senior year that I try training for the 800 meters.  He justified this by claiming that most small school 800 meter runners were 1500 meter runners that were stepping down and that my 400 meter speed would be an advantage.  But I also think he wanted to give me a chance to step out of Andrea's shadow. 

My big moment in local high school sports history finally happened during my last race at the state track meet.  I had finished fourth in the 400 meter race after I ran a crappy final corner.  And I was not a happy camper.  I had easily qualified for the 800 meter final, but didn't want to run it.  I was 17, hot and stubborn and pissed off.  I don't remember what my coach said to me other than to just run in third or fourth place until the last 200 meters, then take off like by butt was on fire. 

Somewhere in my parent's closet at home is a videotape of that race.  Starts with a closeup of a nervous girl in double french braids and striped knee socks, digging at the track with her spikes.  Then we are running.  I do what I was told and hold my position in third or fourth place until the last 200 meters.  The great thing about the video is listening to my coach's commentary throughout.  When we hit the 150 meter mark he's positioned somewhere behind the camera, screaming at me to go.  There is no possible way that I would have heard him, but in the instant that he starts hollering, I pull out into the second lane and put on the afterburners.  I held on and won by about 3-4 meters.  

My dad was working the track meet that year and got to be the person that got to hand me a small slip of paper with the number 1 on it as I passed through the finish line.  I still have that slip of paper.  One of the best moments of my life. 

My front page article came during week that I graduated from High School.  It was a good article chronicling my high school track career, which culminated in winning that state championship and later setting a school record in the 800 meters.


Last Saturday I rode the Crater Lake Metric Century with my friend Jennifer.  The even organizer is a friends of my parents and when he got notice that I was going to be riding, the information was passed along to the local paper. 

So here it is:  my second appearance on the Herald and News Sports Section front page.  The full article can be found here.  Not exactly the way I had pictured things turning out when I was 14, when I wanted fame for being good, not just for showing up.  It is funny how life changes.  

Finally, another fundraising plug. On September 26, I am going to be riding in the Portland Columbia River Gorge Echelon Gran Fondo.  The event raises money for the OHSH/Knight Cancer Institute and Livestrong. 

My plan is to continue to celebrate the end of my cancer treatment by finishing the 100 mile ride.  My goal is to raise at least $2500 dollars.  I also think I get to meet Chris Horner (for all of you uninitiated in the world of pro cycling, Horner is from Bend and was the highest placed American at the Tour de France this year),

I am halfway to my goal and need help from my friends and family.  If you would like to donate to help stomp cancer , you can do so online at this link.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ask, and Ye Shall Recieve.

There is an enormous amount of release and relief that can be found simply by saying, "I am not OK.  I need some help.  I cannot live like this anymore."

Break-ups suck.  Cancer sucks.  The hormonal fluctuations caused by chemo-induced menopause suck.  Chronic fatigue sucks.  Put them all together and you've got yourself a perfect storm for going completely fruit loops.   

The fact that I'm anxious and depressed right now is probably not surprising to anyone that has been within 15 feet of me in the last month  My schedule is pretty chaotic with trying to fit exercise, eating right, working and getting to treatment in the 8-9 hours a day that I'm not completely wiped out.  I've gained about ten pounds in weird places that make my body feel unbalanced and awkward.  And I'm not sure what is more emotionally overwhelming:  coping with being single again or wrapping my head around the idea of intimacy with a new person in a post-cancer world. 

It took ten days of spontaneous, uncontrollable weeping and the return of the terrifying "pubic hair growing on my head" dreams before I decided to take the advice that I had so freely doled out to others.

"Go get some help.  Talk to someone.  You don't have to live like this."  

Lucky for me, it only took one phone call and six hours of waiting before I was sitting in a counseling office in the hospital's cancer center.   Admitting that I was having a problem getting a grip, and hearing back that that grip-lessness was not at all unusual for someone in my set of circumstances, was sweet relief. 

Lucky for me, there is something that can be done about all of my grief and frustration.  Some medication to help me cope for few months and a lot of talking to people who deal with people like me all of the time.  Learn how to deal with the stress of scans and tests, the tedium of five years of hormone therapy and the awkwardness of talking about my disease with strangers that may someday want to see me naked.  Ride my bike.


As of today, I am halfway done with radiation.  My left boob is abnormally tan and the breast tissue is starting to harden, but my skin is still in pretty good condition.  I'm using aloe vera on the area throughout the day and some emu oil at night.  And I like that I have a medical excuse not to wear a bra.  

I really like the ride to the hospital, now that I've got the logistics and timing dialed in.  The ride is 16.8 miles round trip.  Four miles of climbing each way.  The climb through Washington Park and the Zoo in the way out is steeper, but beautiful.  The climb along Hwy 26 coming back is exposed to the sun but the elevation gain is more gradual and gives me a chance to feel a sense of superiority over the afternoon traffic that is moving along more slowly than I am. 

Finally, I am getting my hair back.  Last weekend it was a mere five o'clock shadow under my scalp, but five days later my head is covered with a thick mix of both peach fuzz and real hair starters.  I also have a bit of peach fuzz along my lash line and in my armpits.  I'm four weeks out from chemo, so I expected to see something by now, but I've been surprised about how quickly it re-appeared.    

As my physical self starts to regenerate, looks like its time to re-focus on my mental self.