Thursday, January 29, 2009

Taking Over the World

There's a picture of yours truly at the top of the article. But mostly the vid is pretty neat.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Early Bird RR

Alas, after my 2nd glass of wine last night I just didn't have the wherewithall to put together a race report. After struggling to eek out 3 hours on the bike today my report will undoubtedly be less colorful then it might have been yesterday, but perhaps slightly more to the point.

Me and CJ drove down to Modesto on Friday night to stay with a buddy of my buddy Jerome (that's Jeremy who works at Bananas, for the rest of you). The weather was kinda lousy over the pass and I did my very best to scare the hell out of CJ by almost side swiping a semi. Anyway, once we arrived in Modesto, we were entertained with amusing anecdotes concerning themselves, cycling, and their mysterious friend Givo (Geevo?) until well past my bed time, and were then awakened at 5:30 AM to the preparing of a rather weak pot of coffee. To make a long story short, we arrived in Patterson in time to admire the thankful dry weather, register for our races, and, in my case, drink a lot of espresso.

My particular race had the predictably small field size of 3 riders, fortunately we got to race with the 4s so things were a little more interesting. If you haven't ridden up Del Puerto Canyon Rd. in Patterson let me just tell you, it's gorgeous this time of year. Anyway, things rolled along pretty well in my race, with a couple of us taking pulls and moving things forward. The road twisted and rolled (more up than down) for about 19 miles. Then we hit the climb. It's not really such a bad climb, but it was a hell of a lot steeper then I remembered from three years ago. I think I told CJ that it was only steep for the first 100 meters or so until you cross a cattle guard, and then it levels out a little. Well, I lied. But I've been working on my climbing lots this year, so I was looking forward to the pain. I hit the gas as soon as we hit the base of it and before I'd crested the cattle guard I had opened up a pretty good gap over the rest of the field. I only felt ok, but kept the pressure on and opened my gap up to probably about 2 minutes before reaching the top of the climb (it's about 2 miles long) and the turn around. I started my descent, feeling pretty confident that I'd be able to ride alone to the finish and not get caught. Unfortunately, about half way down the descent I came upon an older guy who'd obviously just crashed pretty hard. He was just picking himself up, his bike in a ditch on the other side of the road, with a fair amount of blood coming out of his nose and a rather alarming cut on his forehead (in addition to lots of nasty road rash). I stopped, set down my bike, and tried to help him. He seemed a little dazed, undoubtedly had a concussion, but assured me that he was okay. I saw the first girl on the descent above me, not too far back, so I told him I'd tell the first official I could find, jumped on my bike and took off. I reached the bottom of the descent without incident and put my head down to try to TT it back to the finish. I could see the girl behind me from time to time, but I think I was putting more time on her than she was on me. With about 10 miles to go, however, another girl caught up to my chaser and they started working together to close the gap. I sat up, drank some water, ate some food, and let them catch me. If it was going to end in a sprint I figured I might as well get all the rest I could and be nice and fresh. They caught me and we worked together until 1 K to go. The finish line was on top of a little roller, and one of the girls started her sprint a little soon and blew up, while I jumped on the wheel of the other girl. Right as we started the last little up to the finish I jumped around that girl and won the sprint by a fairly large margin. A good start to the season.

I think CJ ended up top 10 in a huge field, and Jerome was 5th in the 35+ 1,2,3 field - both awesome results! So we stopped at Ikeda's in Auburn on the way home, because we earned it.

Uhhh, what else? Okay, this one I like - I was telling CJ that I was really happy with my result, even though the field size and time of year were kinda small potatoes (you know, so to speak). He said, well, even if they're small you can still make mashed potatoes out of them. Ha? Haha? I dunno, I thought it was good. Sooo, yeah, bike racing is awesome and I encourage everyone to go get some.

Anywho, Cody's talking on the phone in his distinctly non-indoor voice, so I'm having a hard time thinking of any other details to add. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Official

I'm buying a downhill bike. I don't know why I thought about buying a new group for my road bike instead. Honestly I think I can do both, since I can sell my old road group and pretty much pay for the new. But I spend so much time on the road (I just deleted the world "damn" in front of time) that I need a new outlet for fun in the dirt. And by need I mean, er, need. So I'm taking the plunge.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Almost Perfect Sunday

Last of the snow.
Happy doggie in doggie heaven (AKA The Dog Park)

Happy doggie in a scummy pond.

Learning how to ride in the back of the truck.


Getting some sun on my arms!

Espresso stop.

Sometimes the desert is so beautiful it hurts.

Listening to Steve Earle.

Group ride!

Well, I think the pictures say it all. It was gorgeous outside today. Kind of scary gorgeous, actually, since it really shouldn't be this warm in January, except for global warming, which is mind numbingly horrifying. But it's hard to complain about days like this, nonetheless.
Went out on a group ride, and had a surprisingly good turn out! Eventually everyone else seemed to want to put the hammer down, and I was trying to get a nice easy endurance and recovery ride in, since I did hella intervals yesterday. So I dropped off and finished my ride alone, which is almost just as pleasant, in a different way. With the group it's hard to really enjoy the scenery and take in how freaking beautiful the world is. And I stopped for a double espresso. Mmmm . . . espresso.
Anyway, then I took Riley to the dog park and let him cut loose for a while. He's napping now.
I have the window to my house open, letting in some air since it's still so warm out. It feels so much like spring that I'm feeling a little nostalgic, and a little lonely without Cody here. He'll be back next weekend, tho, so I just have to make it a few more days. I'm super duper excited about Bella camp next weekend, too, yay!
I guess that's all I've got to say for myself. I had a long list of things I wanted to get done this weekend, but didn't. All I really did is get in some killer rides and walk the dog. It's so hard getting stuff done during the week when I'm working and trying to get in my rides, but I'll figure it out. Hope everyone else's weekend was as nice as mine!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I decided to make yesterday my recovery day and do my hill intervals today. Yesterday it was gorgeous, sunny, and not at all windy outside. Today? I battled the winds and got caught in freezing rain. I got through most of my workout, but by the time I got back to work it took me a good hour to warm up again. I even have my leg warmers on under my jeans. Rad. I was seriously grumpy before my ride, tho, and even with the rain and cold and the GOD DAMN WIND I feel a little more chipper now.

I was having some serious trouble staying motivated last week. I got out on my long ride on Saturday and realized why: it had been 2 WEEKS since I'd been outside on my bike! I think that 2 weeks on the trainer is enough to kill anyone's motivation. So the motivation is much better this week, now that it's no longer snowing and I can ride OUTSIDE. I'm sure that anyone who's spent anytime at all on the trainer understands what I mean. It's not FUN. Sometimes I get so caught up in intervals and "training" and getting faster (snort, yeah, right) that I lose track of how much fun it is to ride my road bike (mountain bike is a given - always fun). I realized that I can't remember a time when my bike wasn't my favorite place to be. And I've only been riding for 5 years now. I've always considered myself to be pretty socially awkward and uncomfortable, and I'm always amazed at how comfortable I feel on my bike. Like something clicks and I'm suddenly the person I want to be, doing what I love to do. And I no longer feel awkward, or uncomfortable - I feel confident. And the longer I ride, days to weeks to years, the more that feeling spills over into all other aspects of my life. I truly think that riding my bike has made me a better person, a happier person.

And! I've been off the sweet stuff for almost two weeks now! The extent of my sugar consumption has been strawberry jam on my multi-grain toast* and a little brown sugar in my oatmeal. Oh yeah, and Cytomax in my waterbottle for the long rides. And I'm feeling really good about it! Getting a little leaner, too, I think.

And that's all good because I have a race in 2 weeks! Patterson Early Bird RR - I did this one 3 years ago (god, has it really been that long?) and did really well - 5th overall, 3rd Cat4. So I'm excited about it. I've been doing TONS of climbing the last 6 weeks or so, nothing too hard, just getting up those hills. So I'm looking forward to seeing how I handle the climb at Patterson. And next weekend is the Velo Bella camp! I'm stoked on the amazing ladies to ride with, the promise of some wine tasting, long rides in warm weather, and new roads! I love new roads (new to me, I mean, the road itself can be as old as it wants). And when I get home from SLO Cody will be here, so that's just the icing on the cake (or, in my sugar-free world of late, the grated Romano on the ravioli, or something like that. Haha, I just called Cody grated Romano. Dork.)

And. . . . I'm off!

*Cody's brother and sister-in-law sent me a PINK TOASTER for Xmas! I've been wanting a toaster for sooo long! In the past when I've needed to toast stuff I've stuck it in the oven on "broil" with the rack up near the top. It works . . . kinda okay. But I figure it uses waaaay less energy to power a little (pink) toaster than a whole oven. And it's a Cuisinart, so it's quality. And Pink.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, Nothing's Changed

Wow, 2009. It's gonna take a while to get used to writing that.

Okay, just a warning - this post is incredibly long and verbose, and doesn't really contain anything of interest, substance, or meaning. Cheers!

2008 was . . . ??? It was a good year. I got to do lots of awesome bike racing with my awesome team - new roads, new faces, fresh pain. Some wonderful mountain bike riding with Cody - Santa Cruz, Gloucester, Tahoe, always in Reno on Peavine and down by Galena. It was my first year with my dog, who is always happy to be my trailside companion when Cody is absent. Good road rides with my dad, and lots of support from him at my races.

I feel a lot older, but not in a bad way. I think this is the first year that I really assumed responsiblity for my actions, and for what my inaction might bring. I learned to keep my mouth shut when it would do no good to open it, and I learned that doing what I feel is right can mean putting myself out there where I might be uncomfortable, and I might face sometimes scornful disagreement, but if I don't do it I'll regret it. It's always worth the discomfort to do what I feel is right. And without those nagging regrets for not doing what I know I should have, I feel more like who I want to be, and that's never a bad thing.

I have so much to be happy for, and I'm so constantly overwhelmed by the wonder of being alive. And yet, in this last year, the delicate balance of life and happiness has also become more apparent to me than it ever was before. Bad things happen to wonderfully and brilliantly vital people for no reason at all. I guess what gets me is that nothing really bad has ever happened to me. Knock on wood, right? But I have a feeling that when something bad does happen, when I lose someone close to me, it's going to be big and bad, and I'm not going to be able to deal with it. I've had all these near misses - a friend of a friend dies, or gets cancer, or has a bad, bad accident, but it's never happened in the circle of people most dear to me. I know, I know - no matter how many times you flip a coin your chances of getting heads are still 50% (which is a convoluted way of saying that just because something hasn't happened does not increase the likelihood that it will). So I guess all we can do is keep living and dreaming and trying to get it right.

So what's in store for 2009? Riding my bike lots. Hopefully racing with a little more success than I did last year. Hopefully coming a little closer to having firm control over those things I say and do that make me kind of a jerk sometimes. I know, that's a pretty watered down version, but I think it's realistic. I'm not always a jerk, I don't think, just sometimes it gets away from me. I'm hoping for a happy happy year with lots of fun stuff.

I hope Cody doesn't take off for the summer again, 'cause I can't pick up and leave again. I don't want to leave my job, and I have to take summer classes so I really can't. Plus, I want to do all those bike races that I've missed the last two years that I've gone to Gloucester to be with him. And Tahoe in summertime is the best mountain biking ever - next to Moab, Santa Cruz, and allllll the other places that have epic riding that I haven't done. Haha. But it's really hard to beat looking down on that amazing big blue lake.

Okay, enough of the sentimental rambling. It's New Years Day, and I'm going for a bike ride. And then I'm going to clean my house. For real this time. ;)