Monthly Archives: July 2011

Chain Grease Kiss

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I am notorious for having the perfect (and sometimes  not-so perfect) chain grease marks on my legs.  My special “kiss” as I call it, is always on my lower calf in a beautiful almost “stencil-like” work of art.

I never TRY to get chain grease on my legs, I actually make attempts to AVOID the little kisses. Some people cycle daily, and never manage to get marks… I just seem to have the gift of messiness.  The unfortunate reality associated with chain grease, is that however tough it may look.. it is a bugger to scrub off in the shower.  I have actually kept a nice exfoliating scrub in my shower throughout the years specifically for chain grease marks.  Sometimes mid way through a long ride I will stop in a convenience store to get a Vitamin Water and will be asked “What happened to you???, Did you fall?? You are covered in chain grease?”. I just smile.

When I am “Gearing up” for a ride, I get enthusiastic.. almost child-like.  The little things like chain grease, or the silliness of my pig tails under my ten year old former rental helmet tend to go by the way-side. I lack the spiffy and intense cycling “outfit” that others sport, with matching jerseys and hundred-dollar cycling shorts.. rather, I tend to be the “meh” rider with the clearance rack Pearl Izumi shorts, and top.

I ride because I love it. I ride because I can. A common misconception is often present among my friends that they could never keep up with me because I am far too fast. Nonsense.  Although I love speed, I am a slower and more consistent rider.  I tend to hover around 16-18 mph on rolling terrain, can happily ride up to 22 on flats, and drop to 8-10 mph on hill climbs.

Let’s say that anyone that competes in competitions would go crazy riding with me…

Tonight, I sit in Starbucks after an incredible day of meetings, and await my husband.  We are heading to Sandy Beach in Morris, CT to practice a triathlon route for an event next Friday night (MY 36TH BIRTHDAY!).  Out of all three events in a tri, the cycling is my favorite. I honestly hate running.  I love swimming, but I am not very fast.   When I ride, I feel like my bike is giggling with me..  I often curse big hill climbs, but then rejoice in the down-hills.  As I sit cross legged with cute little pumps, a snazzy work dress, and a green ice tea beside me- I look down at my crossed legs and see my chain grease kiss 🙂 Somehow, just loading my bike caused me to get “the kiss”.

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We can never have peace when our climate is in crisis.

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BREATHE IN…. BREATHE OUT……

“cough, cough”.

When I sit in traffic on a work trip, my eyes become a burning mess.. and my lungs feel toxic.  I am only 35, imagine if I was 90… or worse yet, an infant with fragile and developing lungs.

We hear about climate changes, natural disasters, heating waters, melting ice caps, and disappearing species almost daily.   With an ever increasing global population comes a lack of natural environment.. and an increase in consumption and waste.

We all try to do our part. Some of us simply choose to throw our plastic bottle in the recycling bin rather than the garbage.. while others may opt to mow their lawns with electric mowers, ride their bikes to work,  use veg oil powered vehicles, and only eat organic.

One thing we all know for sure, is that the more cars we have on the roads- the more our atmosphere is becoming sick.  We have higher levels of Carbon in our air than ever.  Asthma rates are sky high, and our planet is suffering.   So how does violence feed off of our global/environmental crisis?

Think about poor crop production, sickness, polluted drinking sources from oil spills.. and on and on.  As humans, we depend on this planet to sustain us.  Which is why I have joined a partnership with http://www.350.org/ .    350.org has done an incredible job organizing volunteers across the globe to raise awareness about our fuel consumption and move towards cleaner forms of transportation.. (i.e cycling, car pooling, public transportation, and working from home when available).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5kg1oOq9tY&feature=relmfu

PeaceJam Northeast will be joining local folks working on 350 initiatives in the various states along the way to host public talks on the courage it takes to stand for Global change towards education and awareness.

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The sister of the Century.. ride.. that is…

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This past weekend my brother and sister-in-law visited us from Pennsylvania.   When I first mentioned I wanted to do this fundraiser for PeaceJam Northeast two months ago, my dear sister sent me an email on Facebook and said she was interested in joining me.

First, I must let you know that she had never been on a road bike.  Kaori is an athlete, and an incredible woman.  She excels in everything she does.  As a mother, she has brought up two phenomenal boys.  Her sons are intelligent, and full of loving kindness and energy.   As an athlete, she is an avid runner and trains in the gym regularly. She is a baker and chef.  She has won cooking competitions, makes wedding cakes, and can knock your socks off with anything she  creates.

Her field of work is even one to be admired, as she works full time with mentally and physically challenged adults.  When Kaori said she was interested in doing this ride with me, I was doubtful. The idea of having her by my side for 600+ miles sounded phenomenal, however knowing she had never cycled made me reluctant. Kaori and I also never really had the opportunity to get to know each other.   We have always lived very far apart, and our busy lives never allowed us much time to know one another.  Those circumstances did not deter her.  Within two weeks, she bought a used bike off Craigs List, and began riding solo.

Within a month, she was riding 20-50 miles… and this past weekend, she arrived with a 15 year old Schwinn strapped to the back of her car… and rode 100 miles with me… and then another 22 on Sunday…. After both rides, her only symptoms were minor fatigue.. I on the other hand, walked like I was severely beat up.  My sister came to the United States from Japan to attend college.   She met my brother, and they fell in love and were married in South Carolina.  She has remained in the states ever since. On Saturday, we not only did the century ride.. We did it together and we worked incredibly well as a team. We finished strong, and with enthusiasm to do a “recovery ride” the following day.   We can do this! Two and a half months ago my sweet sister had never been on a road bike, this past weekend she cycled 123 miles in two days.  She also cycled on a 15 year old bike that weighs three times as much as my road bike.  Talk about inspiration moving into action..  That is what PeaceJam is all about… Finding your inspiration to help you take action towards change.. and that is precisely what Kaori Kelly did. Thank you sister. I am honored to have you in my life.   On September 18th, we will depart together.. and we will finish together eight days later in Thorndike, ME.

We also got our first clothing sponsor! ISIS for woman! An incredible clothing company founded by woman, for woman!! Based out of my loving Green Mountain state! Thank you Isis! We will represent you well!

http://www.isisforwomen.com/

Ahhhh… Vermont….

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This past weekend I had the joy of returning to the Green Mountain State.  My reason for the trip was to meet with a new advisor for the Deerfield valley area and to conduct a training for four new PeaceJam Ambassador Programs.  The Ambassadors curriculum is written for 9th-12th grade youth.

I love PeaceJam. I love Vermont. Allow me to go back to Vermont and teach PeaceJam, and I almost spontaneously combust with enthusiasm.

Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Vermont is a small town called Brattleboro. On Thursday I had the joy of meeting Ms. Patricia Mehlhop. Patricia will be working with elementary school students to implement the Juniors Curriculum. When I first talked to her on the phone, I was impressed by her desire to create a culture of change with the students at Deerfield. She spoke with clarity, love, and the desire to empower her students in a way that would help foster them into adolescence.   We met for lunch and I happily listened to her plan for rolling out the program in the fall.   I am excited to see what amazing things the youth from Southern Vermont will be doing as they enter into their school year!!

Next, I was able to have a meeting with SIT Graduate Institute http://www.sit.edu/.  Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams attended the institute back in the 1970’s.  SIT has a focus on International learning, and transforming lives.  I met with an incredible man named Tony Drapelick who is the Director of Campus Life. This incredible man biked from VA to ME! (and I think I talked him into cycling from Brattleboro to Merrimack with us.. time to dust off that bike!!).   Our stop in Brattleboro on September 22nd will be at SIT, and I am absolutely honored to do a public talk at the institute and have our new PeaceJammers from Deerfield join me!

On Friday I drove into Bristol, VT which is home to the Bristol Hub and Skate Park.   The Bristol Hub is part of Big Heavy World, which is an incredible organization dedicated to VT musicians of all ages. http://bristolskatepark.com/.

Four new PeaceJam groups met at the Hub in Bristol for a day-long training.   Montpelier, St. Albans, Burlington, and Bristol will all be starting PeaceJam!!!   I was honored to have Erin Christiansen who was a former PeaceJammer join me to co-facilitate. Erin is a student at UVM, and embodies much wisdom and passion in everything she does.

After a wonderful two days of work, I was able to join some old friends for cycling, good food, lots of hugs, and even some berry picking before returning home to CT.