Monday, January 26, 2009

New Bike AND New Ink

First, the new ink. Courtesy of Traci at Infinity.

And the new ride:
Specialized Ruby Pro, SRAM Red component group. At 15.14 pounds, it weighs in at less than Jake. Total bike-gasm up in here right now.

Not Coincidence that the Chinese New Year Starts Today.

I can't say that this past weekend will be one that I will fondly look upon in the future. Other than brief window of time on Saturday night where I was at a party, pleasantly buzzed but not yet catastrophically drunk, the last 50 or so hours have been pretty awful.

It started pleasurably enough. The first workout for the TNT Spring 2009 Tri Team was 8am Saturday. Our participants looked excited (albeit a bit apprehensive, or maybe that was the cold) and that sense of excitement always makes me smile inside. Here is a group of strangers who have no idea that in three short months they will be a family of fit, disciplined triathletes. Its fun stuff. I'm smiling again just thinking about it. I officially start my own coaching duties on the pool deck bright and early Wednesday morning.

Next was the team ride. This is where everything went to shit. One word sums it up: demoralizing. It simply sucks to be working as hard as I can and still watch everyone crawl away from me within a minute of a regroup. Even with frequent "get some perspective" checks (these rides are meant to be hard, I can't really expect to keep up with the men, its my first time trying to train to road race), I was totally miserable and pissed off. I wanted to go home, sell all of my bikes and go back to being a pathetic gym rat. I had just expected so much more out of myself.

After the post-ride latte, I rode home and tried to take a disco nap. When sleep wouldn't come, I cleaned the shared space in the condo. My current roommate (a nurse what worked nights) moved back to Alaska on Friday and it was nice to bang and clank through the house with the TV blaring Top Model reruns at full volume. Made a playlist for the cocktail party and packed for the Sunday ride in the unlikely event that I would feel like an 8:30 ride after a cocktail party. At any rate, I didn't feel like riding my bike any further than I could throw it.

Turns out, I wasn't even conscious at 8:30 the next morning. Kristin's party was a blast. Correction-- it was a blast until I hit the point where I was retarded drunk and wanted more than anything to be home in my own bed. Two large manhattans plus a high level of physical and emotional exhaustion equals bad news. I fell asleep on a bedroom floor for an indeterminable period of time, then woke up and drove home in the snow. Passed out with contacts in and clothes on.

I woke up at some point to wash my face and feed the cats and then gain when my alarm went off to remind me that IT'S TIME TO RIDE. Right, ride, ha-I felt like a garbage dump. No, I felt like a bona fide superfund site. When I couldn't get back to sleep, I figured I'd at least make breakfast and switch venues to the living room couch. Then I realized that I didn't have any coffee in the house.

One of the total bitches about getting older is that not only are hangovers physically awful, they have become emotionally awful. Once I realized that I was, heaven forbid, going to have to leave the condo to get coffee, my system reacted like someone had died. And thus the downward spiral and waterworks began in earnest. I was looking at myself from outside and thinking, 'are you fucking kidding me,' but was just too tired to stop the onslaught.

Honestly, reader, I don't like the way I'm living my life a whole lot right now. I am feeling exceptionally uncomfortable in my own skin. I dread going into work and dread going home to an empty house. That leaves training. I love the cycling and the associated comraderie, but I'll admit that I've been using a manic training schedule as a means of ignoring the fact that I really do need to figure my shit out. Not tomorrow, not next month. Like RIGHT NOW.

No one can pull me out of this hole. I have to get out of it myself.

Feeling that it was best to start from the inside out, and because there was no way I was getting more than fifty paces from my couch or the nausea-reducing ginger ale in the fridge, I went to clean and organize my kitchen and assess my nutritional situation. This may seem like a small step to regaining order in one's life, until you consider that I've lived in that condo for almost four years and have never organized the kitchen. There is no sense of order to my kitchen cupboards. Various roommates and boyfriends have attempted to manage the chaos of pots, pans , coffee filters and assorted canned goods, but it all goes to hell when I am back to being left to my own devices.

Here is what I discovered yesterday afternoon. I own 9 bags of rice. Nine. If given sufficient water and power, I could live out the end of days in my condo by subsisting on rice. Rice and diced tomatoes and powdered iced tea. I am not joking about this.

Two hours later, I was finished both with the organizational project and a trip to the grocery store to purchase a few items that go well with, you guessed it, rice. And I felt a lot better about myself.

By nine last night, I was feeling almost human again. I cooked dinner (rice, anyone?), watched a movie and made a significant to-do list. Fifty percent of the items on that list are gimmes. Buy lighbulbs. Fix front fender. Schedule a haircut. Bring my own coffee to work.

The other half are things that are going to be very, very hard for me to do. Get started with the 3/4 time arrangement at the firm. Make real steps to start writing for money. Network. Lay off the sauce. Make efforts to meet new people. Ask for help when I need it.

The most daunting item of all: complete all items on this to-do list.

Friday, January 23, 2009

No Blood, But a little Foul

If you're not part of Facebook nation, you wouldn't know yet about the only exciting thing that has happened to me this year: I got hit by car on Wednesday night.

[Mom-don't pick of the phone and immediately call me...if you keep reading, you'll know why I even forgot to mention it this morning. Seriously, put down the phone.]

I read somewhere a few years ago that for every X number of miles traveled on a bike, a cyclist is statistically likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision. X decreases if you do a lot if urban riding. I can't find the article online, so you'll have to bear with the X.

What is irritating about the X is that it still exists no matter what precautions we take. Personally, I tend to be very conservative and cautious. when it comes to riding in traffic. I always wear a helmet, have no less than four lights on my bike and commute with a reflective jacket and a white backpack that you can see from 200 paces. I stay away from heavily traveled streets without bike lines or significant shoulders when I can. I signal.

But none of this really matters when motorists simply aren't paying attention.

Wednesday night I was riding from TAI to the Lloyd center to attend the Team in Training kickoff party. I hit the Rose Quarter just about at tip-off time of the Blazers-Cavaliers game and motor vehicle traffic was a nightmare. I had finally soft-pedaled my way past the worst of it and was heading east in the Broadway bike lane when I noticed a flash of white off to the left.

Although the whole incident must've taken one minute total, it seemed like a lifetime. The driver of the car must have been attempting to get all of the way across Broadway between the hordes of game-going pedestrians and clumps of cars all fighting for the same free parking spot. I saw the flash, heard the brakes and instinctively grabbed my own brakes as hard as I could.

Then closed my eyes and prepared for the worst. Something very bad was about to happen.

Luckily, she saw me in time and by the time she hit my front wheel, we both were more or less stopped. But I was clipped in and off balance and hit the deck to my right, my cheek scraping on the gravel still coating the bike lane.

The next thing I remember was being up again and banging on her hood three or four times in rapid succession, screaming "Fuck You!" each time my fist hit metal. I then hauled my bike up off the ground by the hoods and around to her driver's side window. She looked scared to death and only cracked the window a half inch.

"I was just trying to get across the street."

What followed from my own lips after that was a litany of swear words and insults that probably would have made a sailor blush. I don't remember hearing an apology, but its very likely that she wasn't able to get a word in edgewise.

At some point she realized that I was no longer blocking her path and she quickly put her car into drive and took off. In my haze of rage, I had neglected to get a license plate number and chasing her down would have been dangerous, if even possible.

With all of the adrenaline pumping through my system and all of the activity at the party, the magnitude of what happened didn't really hit me (no pun intended) until later that evening, as I was icing my sore achilles and watching the season premiere of Lost.


Cyclists get hit by cars all of the time in Portland. But until it happens to you, you don't' realize how few inches or factions of seconds are the difference between riding home safely and a trip to the hospital. And that, just maybe, not being able to clip in at the previous stoplight gave me the time I needed to avoid catastrophe.

I feel more mortal, and lucky, than I have in a long time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

21 + 10

The highlight my weekend in Seattle was spending some time with Joel, an friend of mine from college. He took me on a bike mini-tour (as distinguished from a mini-bike tour) of his quadrant of Seattle, complete with lots of steep grades and coffee shops.

Despite being a total dude as far as his ability to drink beer, remember details and talk about his own feelings, Joel is a joy to be around. Genuinely interested in what is going on in my life and a great listener and question-asker. And I'm very comfortable saying anything to him (including an ingenious off-the-cuff statement about my failure to keep up on the landscaping because no one has been visiting the garden)...after all, he's been watching me roll my eyes at everyone and everything for over ten years. Catching up with him was the type of verbal dump that has been very therapeutic for me. The more I talk about Breakupocalypse 2007-08 (all three chapters) out loud, the more at peace I become with it.


I remain in touch with only a handful of people that knew me in my college days, Lindsay Version 2.0. That version is somehow less me, yet more me, than I am now...say, Version 5.0. The me version of Windows Vista.

Some things are definitely the same: I still love me in red hair, drinking good beer and Sleater-Kinney at full volume. I remain awkward at small talk and hate public speaking, but can still hold court at a party like a seasoned socialite. I can't sit still or stay up late. And I still have no idea what the hell to do with my life.

But like all of us that are ten years past 21, I have changed. Snarky idealism has given way to cynicism. Revelry to responsibility. I can no longer do a keg stand without suffering for days afterward or pierce my face wherever and whenever I'd like. I'm getting laugh lines and slightly elastic underarms and witch's hairs on my chin. I own too many things to quickly move in the back of a 1991 Subaru station wagon.

Some things have changed for the better. I have a good haircut and have replaced most of my twenty-something beer weight with thigh muscle. I have a set of job skills that have allowed me to own my own home, buy nice bikes and enjoy non-boxed wine. I have family in the form of adult friendships that have transcended time, space and generation.

But still a part of me wishes there was a reclaim the restless, optimistic joy of being 21. That feeling like you have your whole life ahead of you to figure your shit out. Before debt and divorce and middle-aged stasis. And it is frequently discouraging and scary to think that my life could be more than halfway over and I still don't have any true idea of what I want to do with it.

But that's the part of me that ignores how terribly wonderful, and wonderfully terrible, the last ten years have been. I'm becoming a grown-up. I don't think I'll ever get there, all of the way, but all of the love and the loss and laughter is pushing me in that direction.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Anonymous Solace

One of my new favorite on-line ways to kill time is's "Dating Confessions." Works like this: readers anonymously submit narrative or experiential statements about relationships, and you can click on a button "I relate" or "I don't relate."

The site should really be called "Breakup Confessions" because 4 out of 5 of the statements are related more to the end of dating rather than the actual process of dating. Which in lies the reason I spend time there. It's a cathartic way to admit to feeling painful and embarrassing things to myself, without having to admit them to myfriends.

For example, if someone writes something like "I know everyone thinks I hate you, but I really wish you would call," or "Sometimes I wake up thinking you'll still be there and when you're not, I get up and drink whiskey in the kitchen while eating jam and saltines," sometimes I can relate. I keep a very similar list in my journal. And admitting such terrible things to myself, good. But I'm sure as hell not going to it that to anyone I know.

Its hokey and silly, but it makes me feel better to know that there are other people out there that are also walking that fine line between being OK and taking a field trip to crazytown. And that there are 40 people out there that relate to, "I wish I didn't swallow my tongue when startled by you."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

[The Sound of Air Leaking Out of a Balloon]

My short-lived experiment in on-line dating is officially over.

First, after posting a profile on Saturday, I have received exactly 0 interest. None. Zip. Nada. Maybe I'm too much of my no-bullshit self in the profile, maybe I have no idea how to write an effective profile, maybe I don't care enough, maybe my best pictures still aren't good enough. But my ego simply can't handle the wholesale on-line rejection of hundreds of local men. I get enough of that in real time.

Second, for reasons that will stay between me and my written journal, it is very apparent to me that I am nowhere near ready to date. Loneliness or no, I still am having too many moments of being a total mess.

Third, I already have a significant other that is taking up too much of my time. World, meet my boyfriend, Training. I've ridden over a 110 miles in the last 4 days, if I count the commuting and intervals on the trainer.

Yesterday alone, I did two strength workouts with Jeff and Beth, commuted six miles and did my weekly interval workout. Then went home to work until a bit after midnight. I slept three hours last night, woke up and drove to Wednesday class, walked in the gym, grabbed the helmet I'd left behind yesterday, turned around and went home and went back to bed. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted.

I'm expecting that there will be a tipping point where my body will acclimate to all of this, but right now I can't sleep enough and can't eat enough to keep up with the people that have been doing this for years. I'm leaving for Seattle in an hour or so for a work conference and a weekend with Sue and although I was initially dreading the time away from the bike, I now think the timing couldn't be better. I need to regroup, sleep in and spent some lazy time on a hotel elliptical trainer and lounging in coffee shops and bars.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pretty Much the Hardest Ride Ever.

Five point seven miles an hour. No amount of willpower and positive thinking could make that number creep any higher.

I was on the last climb of the day, a 400 meter cupcake on River Road. I've climbed this riser many times, at 10, 11 MPH. No sweat. But never at the tail end of a Pete's Mountain hammer-fest.

Not like anything that I had done that day resembled hammering.

Saturday mornings for Team Tedder/Circus/Hammer Velo are where the rubber meets the road. Long stretches at race pace, minimal recovery. I knew what I was getting into...pain, suffering and a lot of riding by my lonesome. I spent most of Friday evening and Saturday morning with my stomach churning with anxiety. I knew I would get shelled, I just didn't want take a wrong turn out in Clackamas County, run into "Deliverance" and never make it out again. And we were doing Pete's Mountain, emphasis on the word "mountain." To say that I'm a crappy climber would be to insult crap.

We rolled out Springwater Corridor and cut up to Terwilliger through the cemetery. Because this was uphill, it could've been more fun, but I've done the cemetery dozens of times and know where the top, and relief, is located.

Once we got through Lake Oswego, the boys (and Beth) put the pedal to the metal and I wouldn't see them again for 5 miles, even though I managed to keep over 20MPH for the entire stretch. The point of the ride is to ride hard, though, so I put my head down and kept on keeping on. Which was hard as I hit every stoplight in West Linn and every time my heart rate got over 80%, my lungs started filling up with the remains of my New Year's cold. There were a few times I though I would drown in my own snot.

At the first regroup, I was barely there long enough to farmer blow all over the road when we were off again. And again, it only took a few minutes before I was riding alone. The second regroup wasn't far down the road, and that time I had enough time wrestle out of my bibs, pee and take in a few calories.

Then we started climbing. The climbing gnomes promptly affixed an anchor to my rear hub and I drug that anchor along for miles and miles. We were riding in a thick fog and every time I thought I was close to the top, the fog would part and usually reveal an increase in the grade of the road. I hadn't seen anyone in 20 minutes and could only laugh each time the road got I had voluntarily showed up in order to subject myself to this nonsense.

Third regroup. Again, no time for anything other than a quick drink and a futile shaking out of the quads. Then more climbing. In the fog. By myself. In the middle of nowhere. As hard as I could go. I wanted to take a break after two miles at 7 MPH, but knew the group was waiting. My legs burned and I couldn't stand up in the saddle more than a few seconds before I thought my knees would buckle.

But, surprisingly, I never mentally gave in. I never wanted to quit. I knew I could make it. albeit way goddamn slower than everyone else. I made up a little song in my head that liberally used the phrases "fucking ridiculous" and "fat ass up the hill" and "get your fucking ridiculous fat ass up the hill." To the tune of a Britney Spears' song.

Fourth regroup wasn't even a regroup. The peloton started rolling again as soon as I was within 20 meters.

Fatigue, dehydration and caloric deficit caught up with me in a big way once we hit the home stretch on River Road. I hadn't had time to refuel at any of the regroups and had had a hard time getting anything down while on the bike due to the layer of snot that was blocking most of my windpipe.

The last ten miles were a exercise in frustrated futility. I would try to keep up, try to hold on, but my legs just weren't having it. It was like trying to convince two cranky toddlers to take a nap. I'd say, "come on, just a little bit faster." They'd say, "um, no." By the time we hit the Springwater corridor, it was taking all of my will and concentration to stay above 15MPH.

At the end of it all, we rode approximately 45 miles (my bike computer spontaneously reset itself three times on the ride, so I'm not exactly sure of the mileage), but my body felt like that it was closer to 85. My two wool baselayers, windstopper jacket and tights were soaked in sweat. I was so glad I'd driven to River City, as I don't think I could have made it back up Corbett, even with a pack of wild dogs chasing me.

Hardest ride ever, but not the worst. I knew what I was signing up for, and there will be many more rides where my only company is the climbing gnomes and the sound of Britney Spears in my head.

But I know it will make me a stronger rider. Either that or a homicidal maniac. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jammies...a Sign of the Times.

Pajamas. A sure thing that things are slowly returning to normal post-breakupocolypse.

There are certain things that are different about my day-to-day that are different when I'm flying solo. I take daily bubble baths, read in the kitchen while drinking beer out of tiny juice glasses painted with cartoon cats, indulge in mind-numbing reality shows ("Rock of Love: Tour Bus," anyone?) while painting my toenails, each in a different color of pink. Try on my skinny jeans while contemplating the state of my ass in a full length mirror. Pick my nose in the car. Wear pajamas.

I can't stand sleeping in any sort of clothing when I'm sharing a bed with a lover. I'm really sensitive to temperature when I'm sleeping and sleeping with a grown man is often like sharing space with a hair-covered space heater stuck on "high." And the feeling of skin on skin is one of my favorite sensations.

After the breakup, I had a really hard time getting back into pajamas, despite the deep freeze that descended upon Portland at the end of the year. It just didn't feel natural. And wearing pajamas would be akin to finally accepting the fact that I would be sleeping alone for the foreseeable future.

If I managed to fall asleep clothed, I would wake in the night two or three times to peel off each layer, piece by piece. By the end of the week, tank tops, underpants and boxers littered the floor around the foot of my bed.

I'm taking baby steps with the whole pajama thing. Starting with a absurdly soft brown and turquoise tie dyed tank top, origin unknown, and a pink plaid pair of boxers I bought for a quarter at the McMinnville Goodwill Store in 1997. The effect is aesthetically ridiculous, but unspeakably comfortable. I've slept through the night and woken fully, yet partially, clothed the last three nights.

I also haven't cried since Christmas Day. But somehow the fact that I can now wear jammies to bed is a more comforting sign that my black cloud won't be lingering too much longer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm Not Ignoring You, I Have Inflamed Sinuses and Am Too Busy Writing a Personals Ad.

I'm on Day 5 of the latest attack of the rhinovirus. Now at the stage where all noise is reaching my brain only after making it through the eight layers of cotton in my ears and sinuses. The neti pot is my best friend right now, although its only relieving about 1/2 the pressure in my head, 1/2 is valuable relief.

Looking at my calendar, I think this will by my first five-day work week in almost eight weeks. The oppression is stifling. I coped yesterday by taking frequent breaks to flush my sinuses and with several futile attempts to write a online dating profile.

I've decided to think about possibility of maybe doing some online dating. If nothing else, it'll give me some new material to write about.

The futility had several causes:

1. I am looking for two diametric relationship paradigms: (1) The Post Break-Up One Night Stand and (2) The Long Term Relationship That Finally Sticks. I suppose these require different strategies.

2. The picture requirement. I don't have a single picture of myself that I look at and don't immediately think "hey there, nose, how's it going, haven't seen you in at least three minutes...".

Either that or dressed in Lycra and covered in mud, blood or cowshit.

3. I have no idea what tone to take. Flirty, sexy, honest, witty? I surely can't BE MYSELF. Because if I write anything about how I have a bike addiction, don't cook and probably won't want to kiss you if use a lot of multi-syllable words wrong or profess to like Jack Johnson's music, probably not going to get anywhere with that.

So I made a list of my good traits: Employed. Monetarily self-sufficient. Fit. Mostly in control of various neuroses. Loves bikes and beer and running around in her underwear. Voted for both Obama and Sam Adams. Loyal friend. Laughs as frequently as possible. Has no tolerance for bullshit or dishonesty. Has a healthy spine. Won't pretend I've read a bunch of important books when I haven't.

Bad: Lacking interest in most domestic pursuits. Schedule and routine driven, crabbiness often results from deviations. Humor sometimes borders on sarcastic and judgemental. Must eat every three hours to avoid reactor meltdown. Seeking a methadone program for Facebook junkies. Talks to her cats. Watches Rock of Love on VH1. Doesn't feel the need to know anything about math. Will probably post something about the date/s in a public forum.

Maybe I'll just use the lists.

4. How specific should I be on what sort of XY I'm looking for? This is critical. I relaxed my back hair requirement ONCE, and look where that got me.

Reinforcements have been called in. Miss Ali insists that I move no further into this social experiment until she has debriefed me. The fact that she thinks that I require debriefing is disturbing. So we are going to do it Sunday, with several bottles of red wine.


I'm also venturing into more unknown territory than just online dating. Yesterday I bought three cookbooks. "Specialty" cookbooks for single people that can't cook. I own quite a few cookbooks already (gifts from well-meaning friends and relative who obviously know very little about my lifestyle), but most of them require some culinary competence and at least four mouths to feed. I hate leftovers and quartering recipes required the use of math (see above). I figured they made cookbooks for single idiots, and I was right. The books should be here tomorrow and use of the books should provide more interesting blog fodder. I should probably go buy a fire extinguisher tonight.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Who Needs a Benadryl?

Since the powers that be decided that I hadn't spent enough time cooped up in my condo in the last month, I woke up from my post-ride nap yesterday with scratchy throat and a leaky nose. The first signs of the inevitable on-coming head cold. I cancelled my happy hour plans and crawled back into bed, hoping that a tea/echinachea/vitamin overload might derail the virus.

Nope. Spent today in bed or on the couch, watching Law & Order SVU re-runs and consuming gallons of fluid. Pretty much feel like I got hit by a bus. I could blame Beth, or my mom, or the lady that sneezed in my face in Starbucks Wednesday morning. But I can't imagine that my body had a whole lot in it to fight a virus, not after 30 days of emotional meltdowns, binge drinking and sleep deprivation. I can only hope I feel better as quickly as it took me to get sick.

The USA network (home of of the SVU marathon) has sold a lot of evening commercial time to dating websites. This has got me thinking about dating. And how much I hate it. And how I'm eventually going to have to do it again. Damn it all to hell.

Dating has always been difficult for me. I've always been horrible at small talk and don't look like the gals that get picked up in coffee shops and bars.

Its not going to get any easier in the coming year. Many of the new people that I'll meet in the next six months will be Team in Training participants. I can't date any of them. I'm not a meet-people-in-bars-person. Not that I actually stay up late enough to get out bar-hopping. My schedule will be packed with things that requiring going to bed and getting up early...coaching, class, rides, work. I don't do online dating. I'm busy, no-nonsense and looking for a long-term relationship. And have developed some not insubstantial trust issues. It'll be an uphill battle, no doubt about that.

I know so many wonderful, beautiful single women. So many of them are looking for exactly what I'm looking for. And struggling. When you get to a certain age (say, early 30's) it feels like all of the good ones are spoken for and, for the ones that aren't--there is a usually a reason. Don't I know about that-so much so that I could probably teach a course on men that should be bagged and tagged before being sent back out into the wild.

So I will be walking a fine line between optimism and cynicism in the next few months. With an open mind, but not necessarily an open heart.

May the force be with me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

If This Is a Sign of Things to Come, Its Gonna Be A Helluva Year

How much would you pay to feel ten years younger?

Last night, I paid $20. And it was worth every penny.

I hadn't planned on going out for New Year's Eve this year. Rather, I had hoped to find someplace to drink beer and watch movies in my pajamas. No expectations, no pressure. Just some fun and maybe some unintentional hilarity.

I definitely got the unintentional hilarity, but in an unexpected venue. On Tuesday, Kristin posted on facebook that one of my new favorite acts, Ladytron, was supposed to be at a venue in North Portland for New Year's Eve. It sounded too good to be true, but it was only $20. Cheaper than alternative entertainment, more potential for awesome drunken melee than sitting home alone.

The first order of business yesterday was getting my hair cut and colored. I was long overdue for the haircut and nothing says "fresh start" like a new look. Here is result:

Still short, so not much change there. The bigger change was the color. I had already decided that I wanted to go darker and redder. My stylist has been waiting a while to do something fun and this is what we decided on:
Cell phone color leaves a bit to be desired, but its a dark reddish brown with black "highlights" to add depth. I absolutely love it.

With my saucy new look, I met Kristen and her boyfriend Alex at Henry's for pre-funk rounds 1 and 2. For me, two Ninkasi Believers. A Double Red. A little bit of beer heaven in a glass.

Round two: Mint. One Manhattan, two "816"s (citrus vodka, harlequin, lemon lime juice and passion fruit puree) and one maker's rocks. Feeling pretty sassy at this point.

Then we strolled over to the evening's main event and quickly realized that we were the likely victims of questionable marketing and a bait and switch. This was not going to be a Ladytron show. This was a rave.

I can spot a rave at fifty paces, as I spent a lot of weekend nights in my 20th year attending such events. Hello Kitty backbacks are an immediate giveaway, but there are subtler signs if one knows what to look for. Blow-pops, anime themed hoodies, empty bottles of Sunny D littering the sidewalk. And don't mistake those little clear tubes for honey or ball point pens. A glow stick is a glow stick is a glow stick.

The scene hasn't changed a whole lot in the last ten years. Lots of glitter, platform boots, costumes and creepy little men asking who is dealing.

And lots of bass. Pulsating, rocking, addictive bass. The type that you can feel radiate in through your hands and into your soul before you even hit the dance floor. I fucking love it. That hadn't changed, either.

What has changed is that I'm now ten years older. And not high. But for two and a half excellent hours, I was 20 again, a total sexy free dancing fool. I lasted until about 12:15 and knew it was time to put my sassy old ass to bed.

I woke up at 7:30 to a pounding skull and the sound of wind and pounding, pissing rain on my bedroom window. On a scale of 1 to 10, my desire to ride was about-3. But I got up and made coffee anyways. Once the coffee was brewing, I felt almost un-undead and decided to get ready to ride. Maybe I'd get lucky and we'd mutiny to spin indoors.

No such luck. 25 or so of us rolled out at about 9:45AM, not to return until almost 2. It was the most epic 45-mile ride of my life. The first ten miles were out Marine Drive. In a sideways monsoon. Dave and I, the drunks, brought up the rear.

Once we got into Camas, I was feeling a lot better. But then the chaos started. There were several flats and the group got split up as people would keep riding to stay warm and several wrong turns were made. By mile 35, every time we stopped at a light, I could squeeze water out of my gloves simply by making a fist. But thanks to bar mitts and neoprene booties, I managed to stay warm, if not a bit pruny in the hands. All in all, it pretty unmiserable until the last two miles, when I was out of gas and trying to find a spray-free wheel in the vicious headwind.

In the end, we all know what makes rides like this worth it: Beer and pizza and butt rock at Old Town Pizza with your teammates afterwards. There are six ladies on my new team and five of us made it out for the ride today. All really strong riders and, even better, awesome and funny as all hell. This is going to be a fun year.

Hell, it has already been a fun year. And we're only 18 hours in.