This past Sunday was Opening Day in STL. No, it wasn’t the Cardinals returning to play baseball; that happened on Monday. On Sunday was the GO! St. Louis Marathon/Half Marathon. Which means that it was opening day of racing season! Hooray for summer time!
Posted by C. Esch on April 1, 2013
It’s no secret that I like to experience the world from the back of the bike. It’s a unique perspective that helps me to be in touch with and experience the world around me.
Being on a bike requires you to be hyperaware of surroundings. A pothole in the road that could be easily rolled over by a car tire or a crack in the sidewalk that could easily be stepped over can wreak havoc for a 23mm bike tire. On the back of a bike you are constantly on the lookout for things that could cause a flat: potholes, cracks, glass, nails. You must be aware of where your body is in relation to the terrain you are riding. Curbs, stumps, and rocks can all come out and bite your feet if you aren’t aware of pedal positions. When riding it’s all about where you are and how you interact with your surroundings to get where you want to go.
On a bike we aren’t able to hind from our own limitations. Lungs ache; muscles burn as you push to climb a hill. Eyes water and heads bow as a headwind tries to deny forward progress. Some hills are climbable now, some will be someday. Some moves are rideable, sometimes we have to get off and hike a bike. Everything that you accomplish though is from your own power, and the more you ride, the more powerful you become.
Most importantly, there is only one direction to go while on a bike: forward. If you are looking behind at what you just rode, then you are likely to crash. But it’s important to recognize that what has happened before affects what we will go through and how we react to in the future. But as long as we keep our legs going round and round, we’ll keep moving forward, and that’s the way it should be.
So here’s to a summer full of bike rides, with new perspectives being gained all the time.
Posted by C. Esch on October 5, 2012
The pool at SLU had been closed for quite a while. It reopened on the first of this month. I decided that a swim would be great after work today. Free swim hours are listed as 6-8:30am and 11:30am-10pm. The swim team has practice from 2-4:30 and the pool is not available during that time.
I headed up to the rec center at 4:30 and was in a lane paddling along b 4:45pm. Soon enough another body is in the lane with me. That’s ok, we each kept to our own side and did our own thing. Then someone else joined in. We all started circle swimming. And as we were going I noticed that the water was getting choppier and more like a whirlpool and the pace was increasing.
On the next lap two more people joined the lane and a man with a whistle was standing at the edge of the pool yelling out times. Apparently my blue swim cap had confused some people and the swimmers that weren’t able to make it to the regularly scheduled practice had joined my lane. And as the coach sternly yelled my time it was clear I wasn’t keeping pace.
I didn’t last long, I’m fairly certain the people in the lane with me were part dolphin. But I’m expecting to see my name on the roster list for SLU swimming and diving any day now.
Posted by C. Esch on August 2, 2012
This September I’m planning on riding my bike 200 miles in 2 days as part of the MS150. Here’s why:
This past year the husband of one of my coworkers started having some health problems. He went to the doctor after experiencing numbness in his extremities and dizziness. Some blood tests and an MRI later he left with a diagnosis of MS.
I’ve watched as my coworker and her husband have restructured their lives after getting this news: new routines, new medications, new doctors, new finances. Everything changed with that diagnosis.
This year I’m riding in his honor. I’m riding to help find a cure.
If you’re able, consider helping me by making a donation here.
Posted by C. Esch on June 5, 2012
Friday June 1st: A-bomb, Scott and I all went for a nice little 30 mile ride down Clayton road. Finished the night with some Ted Drewes frozen Custard.
Saturday June 2nd: Kate and I had to work the packet pick-up for the Urban Assault Ride. A-bomb and Scott had to come pick up their packets so A-bomb brought us sandwiches that she made using her dad’s homemade bread. It was delicious.
After Kate and I had fulfilled our volunteering duties we went home and loaded up the mountain bikes to meet up with Scott, Gabe, and A-bomb out at Castlewood. A-bomb had never been mountain biking before and had a spectacular crash initiating her into the sport perfectly.
Sunday June 3rd: Urban Assault Ride!!! The first race/event I ever did, it has evolved into one of the events that I look forward to most every year. A mechanical issue dogged us this year. Scott and A-bomb finished 21st out of 127 coed teams and 56/266 overall. Kate and I finished 13th out of 44 women’s teams and 100th overall. Not to shabby for stopping to fix a spoke mid race.
Monday June 4th: A few laps around the figure eight “race course” in Forest Park to get ready for
Tuesday June 5th: Tuesday Night Worlds. I got my butt handed to me two weeks ago when I tried this for the first time. I’ll probably get it handed to me again tonight.
Posted by C. Esch on May 15, 2012
Once again Chain Reaction suited up for a day of riding this past weekend. Well those of who own mountain bikes suited up. The other one came along to dog sit. We headed out to Greensfelder (behind Six Flags) for the Greensfelder Challenge mountain bike race.
It was a nice day and the trail was great. Once I comfortably settled to the back of the pack, where I belong, the riding was great.
Posted by C. Esch on May 7, 2012
A while ago I found a bike ride online that I thought sounded like fun. 128 miles, 11,000 feet of elevation gain. Luckily, I have friends who have the same idea of fun so four of us signed up. We even decided to create a team and get jerseys made. How cool is that? (Answer: very). But when we showed up at the CSC on Saturday morning at 5:00am the thermometer was already reading 77°F.
We drove out to Augusta and signed in, ate breakfast, changed and got ready to ride. The temperature kept rising. We also found out at the race start that the routes were all longer than had been advertised because of road construction. The 128 mile route was now 136 and the 85 mile route was now 96. No big deal.
We started riding and within 6 miles of the start I was already off of my bike and walking it up a hill. I had apparently severely underestimated what 11,000 feet of climbing was going to be. Thankfully I wasn’t the only person who was having to hike a bike. After that first initial hill the route turned into a bunch of fun rolling hills for a while and I was actually able to keep up with my friends for parts of it.
After the first rest stop I had fallen behind my friends and was getting ready to try and catch up when a friendly man named Paul pulled up beside me and told me to grab his wheel and he would pull me up to the rest of them. Just as I fell into place I got a flat. Go figure. Paul did catch the group to tell them that one of their teammates had a flat though. The BigShark van came by and fixed my flat for me and I was under way in no time. My friends had stopped to wait for me and when I road up they were very excited that someone had called us a team and said that a teammate had a flat. (They weren’t excited about the flat, just the use of the word teammate.)
After having rided for 2 hours the heat was reaching an unbearable point. We decided to opt out of the Mondo Fondo route (136) and do the Midi Fondo (96). That was potentially the best decision we made all day.
Around mile 40 Scott’s rear derailleur broke leaving him with only 2 gears for the rest of the ride. He finished and was still faster than me for most things. What a champ.
Anna started getting some cramps toward the end and we would have stretch breaks.
Even though Anna was the one with the cramping legs, I was the one calling for most of the stops. The heat was terrible and I was having a terrible time dealing with it. So we stopped for water/shade breaks a lot. We drank so much that we actually had to pee the whole day, that means no one was terribly dehydrated. Yay us.
We finished together and my wonderful parents were waiting for us. They had driven up to help us drive back to St. Louis. They had also brought beer.
The next morning I got an email from Anna saying she was already ready to go for another ride. I think we all felt the same way.
Posted by C. Esch on May 1, 2012
Two weekends ago Scott and I decided to ride a century (aka 100 miles on bikes) to prepare for the Vino Fondo. It was a windy day, but the sun was shining and it wasn’t too hot, so I really can’t complain all that much. Here’re some pictures from the day.
Just this past weekend I went to a friend’s wedding in Indianapolis. There was a wonderful gathering of people there and the wedding was beautiful and the reception was hopping.
The wedding was a blast but unfortunately all good things must come to an end. There were some pretty bad storms rolling through STL when I got back. One of them dumped baseball sized hail down. Gerald, my trust car, didn’t fare so well.
Posted by C. Esch on April 17, 2012
I had my first knee surgery when I was 15. Another one on the opposite leg a year and a month later. The next year I was told I had to stop playing sports for my school. During college, when I wasn’t playing anything, I had four more knee surgeries. All total six surgeries by the time I turned 22. I’ve tried physical therapy, medicine, resting, being stronger, nothing seems to help my knees get better. So I knew it was kind of a long shot when I decided that I wanted to run the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. But I knew I wanted to try.
I didn’t tell many people, mainly because I kept getting responses like, “You’re doing what??” or “Dumbass”. I can’t really argue with those responses. I figured I’d give it a go anyway. I knew pain management would be key, and I made a promise to myself and a few of my very concerned friends that if I started doing damage to my knees I would stop.
Sunday April 15th 2012 was the Marathon/Half Marathon. And lo and behold I was able to do it. I knew I wasn’t going to win, even in my days as an athlete I was never fast. I had no real goal except to finish. So I took my camera along with me so I could capture the race for you through my eyes. You’re welcome.
Posted by C. Esch on April 13, 2012
I ride the elevator at work a lot. I know, I should probably take the stairs. It would help sculpt my already well defined calves and I wouldn’t have to deal with all the people that have absolutely no elevator etiquette. Therefore, alleviating a lot of my daily stress. Too bad I’m too lazy. Instead of swearing off the elevator I have decided to diagram the proper elevator filling order. It’s kind of like an electron filling order, but for elevators not atoms. Same difference.
The main rule governing the filling of elevators is this:
All occupants must fill in such a way as to maximize personal space to all other occupants.
Really it’s very simple. But it is a concept that is rarely executed correctly.
This is easy, where there is only one person you can really stand wherever the heck you want. You can even push all the other buttons on the elevator and make it light up like a Christmas tree. Granted, if someone else gets on then you are pretty much screwed because they’ll know it was you. So use good judgement.
When there are two occupants on the elevator it is customary for the first person to migrate from the center to one corner/side. To totally maximize space the second occupant then simultaneously moves to the opposite corner/side. No one is quite sure what the mechanism is for choosing a side. Both occupants tend to act simultaneously so there must be some form of understood communication. Granted this communication often breaks down and both occupants are left on the same side of the elevator. With only two occupants in the elevator the occupants are free to roam their respective sides without encroaching on the personal space of the other occupant.
When you start getting 3 or more occupants things can get a little tricky. Ideally, 2 occupants will fill 2 corners on the same side leaving the third occupant to roam the opposite side where the majority of time is spent in the middle of the side.
This one’s easy, each occupant should slide into his own corner. And this point, the degrees of freedom of each occupant are much more limited than they have been previously and each individual must remain in his designated spot until it is either time to exit the elevator or someone else exits the elevator and the stress on the system is relieved.
With the limited degrees of freedom the filling order becomes much more rigid. The only acceptable spot for the fifth person to be is in the middle of the elevator.
Most likely some occupants will be traveling together and will therefore congregate in their respective spots acting as one occupant. However, if there are more than 5 people on the elevator it is time to take the stairs, that cable is probably about to snap.