Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Most awesomest person.

My most favoritest person in the whole world and my dearest friend is also an amazing writer, and she just had a story published! Love it.


She also has a blog that makes me feel dumb.


Where does the time go . . . ?

And what the hell happened to my cyclocross season? I guess I grossly underestimated the tole that moving 3000 miles and trying to build a life takes, at least on myself. Trying to find a new level of normal ends up precluding the kind of focus required for racing and training, again, at least for me it did. Perhaps heartier types than myself can do both, but as October wound down I found myself without the energy (and the funding) to get out and race. Much to my dismay as you can imagine, given my enthusiasm for New England cyclocross prior to the move. But ultimately being balanced is more important than bike racing.

That said, I think I'm starting to find a new balance. I'm working (yay income!), and I'm starting to get adjusted to getting up at 4:30 AM 3 days a week. The upside of my rather extreme early morning work schedule (I start at 5:30) is that I'm done at two, and have time to ride before it gets dark at the disheartening hour of 4:30 PM. After spending 2-4 weeks not really riding much, a few rides here and there, and a bunch of running, I'm happy to feel ready to get back at it, even if that comes a little too late to recapture my cyclocross season, which I'm OK with.

I've started planning 2011 and looking at the NEBRA schedule (that's New England Bicycle Racing Association, yo). Maybe it's a dire warning as to the length and severity of the winters around here, but there aren't any road races until the end of April! Lots of crits, and a couple of wimpy little circuit races that are billed as road races, but nothing to get excited about. Okay, for real, this year I'll become a good crit racer. Gotta, 'cause I don't have a team to help make it happen. I've gotta admit, I really miss the NCNCA. Sigh . . . that's OK, too.

(Dude, what's up with the crazies in the coffee shop this morning? Between Pony-Tail wandering around smiling benevolently at everyone and Talking-To-Himself over there it's difficult to focus. Oh good, they just both left. It's a crazy exodus.)

In other, slightly more pleasant news, Cody's an uncle! He's a pretty cute little thing, at least at this age, when he can't walk or form opinions. I still like my dog more, though. But don't tell my mom. Haha! Okay, the subject matter seems to be deteriorating, so I'm going to go finish my business downtown and go for a ride!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Cross and Turkeys

Here are the promised turkeys. They live at our house. They're not mine, and I'm not going to have any part in the murder of consumption of them. They're the ugliest creatures I've ever seen, and they have large talons.
Yeah, this is what I look like when I'm doing really well.

And this is what I look like when I'm stuck in suck. "Why is that girl running around me? I'm hella fast. She'll be sorry when I go around her again." (She wasn't, because I didn't.)

I was doing so well getting caught up here, and then suddenly two weeks have gone by and I’m off the back again (in oh-so-many ways).

Truth is, nothing very interesting has been going on. I’ve been looking for work, and at this point can say that the search has been a success. I am now employed at Masconomet Health Center, which is an assisted living facility in Topsfield, MA, as a diet aide. It’s an OK job, pay’s not so great and I had to get stabbed with numerous needles to get hired on there, but if I ever make the leap back into higher education to finish my dietetics degree and do my internship it will be really helpful to have a little more work experience. If/when, whatever. I also have a few applications out to jobs that could be both more lucrative and more interesting (and not quite as long as a commute – it’s about ½ hr to Topsfield) but those positions don’t close for a little while yet, so it’s good to know that I’ll have a little income coming in one way or another.

Last weekend I raced the third and fourth races in the Verge New England series – Downeast Cyclocross at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, ME. It’s pretty cool having a regional series that’s UCI, really. Day one was probably the best race I’ve had at any UCI race I’ve done. My start was typically pathetic, even though I’ve been working on them pretty intensively lately. But once I got rolling I had a great race – slowly working myself up into the money. Both my fitness and the bike handling felt totally dialed, and it was a wicked fun course. I had one of those magical moments when I saw 4 laps to go and I thought, “I’ve totally got 4 laps left in my legs, and I need all four of them to pass more people.” Although I was still a few points away from that UCI point I need for a second row start, I finished feeling totally stoked. My goal for the next day was clear – have a good start, so I didn’t have to spend so much time and energy getting around people.

I got to crash at the lovely house of friends in Portland, ME, just 20 minutes away from the race. We cooked a lovely dinner with farm-fresh veggies and I got to sleep nice and early. There’s nothing better than staying with friends at a bike race.

The sky was looking threatening at the start of my race on Sunday, and one girl told me that, “the cows are all laying down, so it’s going to rain.” Luckily for us, it held off for our race. As for the race itself, I had a great start! I got into my pedal nice and quick and made some passes on the pavement, then kamikazi-ed my way around a couple girls as we funneled into the dirt. And then . . . it all kind of fell apart. People started passing me and I thought, “Why are they doing that? I’m going fast, aren’t I? Oh, I’m not? Crap…” Anyway, it was a rough day, but I congratulated myself on my awesome start and for actually finishing the race, even though I was getting a lot of pity-cheering as I limped along MINUTES behind girls I’d smoked the day before. You know, they two people clapping half-heartedly, saying in a tone of voice normally reserved for the terminally ill, “Good effort, keep going.” I mean, I know they mean well, but I still feel like throwing rocks at them because we both know that it is NOT a good effort, and the only reason I’m still keeping going is that I paid my stupid $40 to be there and it would be even stupider to quit.

So, the goal for next time is to combine Sunday’s start with Saturday’s awesome riding. Totally do-able, right? Totally.

Long Overdue, no doubt.

I was just working on a really fun post about what I've been up to the last couple weeks - travel, friends, bike racing, mystery, intrigue . . . well, maybe not the last two. But someone brought it to my attention that my blog has thus far neglected to give notice to a very important supporter of the life of this unemployed bike racer, my mom.

Just so you know, Mom, you brought this upon yourself.

This is the email I received:

Dear Marian Jamison,
I was surprised on reading a bunch of entries in your blog tonight to find no mention of your mother ANYwhere, whereas there are dozens of stories of your wonderful father encouraging you, buying you bikes, riding with you, etc. You are lucky to have him, as the man is obviously a saint. It is apparent your mother must've died giving birth to you. How very sad! My sincere condolences.
Yours truly,
A Fan

Clearly, this is an oversight on my part of criminal proportions, and I seek to remedy it immediately with this, an Ode to my Mother.

Ode to my Mother

Oh mother, with your hair of ever changing hue
How I miss your daily entreaties to pick up the dog poo
Tho I am sure his absence causes you great remorse
even as you assure me with forked tongue that mine is worse
Through discount clothing stores in solitude I wander
wishing you were here to join me in my frugal quest
(You above all should forgive my abandonment of rhyme
as clearly you did not bestow upon me your poetic gift)

Perhaps the hitherto lack of biography of you
is because our moments transcend retelling, too
Surely no one can appreciate the laughter that brings tears
when I tell you to "put on your big girl pants" and abandon fears
If even he closest to me cannot understand our delight
in the ridiculous nature of our furry friend's plight
The stories would surely be wasted on the world at large
be it no reflection on the times that we spend.

And that's all I've got. Yeah, I should stick to non-poetic forms of writing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where'd I go? Part 3

More boring bike race photos . . . there are no pictures of you on cycling news when you come in 30th.

East Coast Cyclocross, yo.

On our first day back, first thing I did was swing by the shop, and title sponsor of my new cyclocross team, Seaside Cycle! We’re also sponsored by Antero Resources, which is an oil drilling company, so I’m told, and a very generous sponsor. The new kits are pretty cool looking.

Anyway, I tried to get the 5 day car ride out of my legs over the course of the week, because just 5 days after arriving here I got to race the New England Nationals – Gloucester Grand Prix. Racing in my hometown is awesome. Seriously, there’s nothing better than sleeping in my own bed the night before a bike race. Plus, there’s a lot more people in the crowd cheering for me! Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how the race goes.

Over the course of the week I went on a couple of rides with the guys on the team. One was a relaxed spin, with a little technical skills riding, and checking out of the weekends course in Stage Fort Park. The second day they were heading out for some “threshold intervals”. I figured, oh, I’ll probably get dropped, but whatever. Right before we started I was informed, “340-350 watts for 15 minutes.” Hahahahahahahaha! Even sucking wheel, that was too much for my yet-unrecovered legs. I did my own thing, and spent the rest of the week trying to get my legs reattached.

Anyway, the race ended up being super fun. I had done only one ‘cross race prior to this one, at Folsom Cyclebration, which was several weeks ago. Day 1 of Gloucester was, as a result, incredibly rough. In addition to being LAST after the start and crawling my way through the tight turns, I totally died about halfway through and lost 5-6 places. The good news was that I seemed to work the rest of the yuckiness out of my legs in that solid 45 minutes of pain, and I didn’t get lapped or pulled. Sunday’s race was much, much better. I was solid throughout, and beat one girl who’d tried to ride me into some park benches when I passed her the day before (bitch). Seriously, she did. And then when I cracked she passed me again, so I was pretty determined to not let her beat me again. Hooray! The bad news is I sucked on all things running, despite actually training the run this fall. The good news? Um, I sucked less than the day before at everything else! Hallelujah.

This weekend was the Providence, RI UCI race, which I bailed on at the last minute because I’m unemployed, still, and broke. And really tired, which makes me thing I might be fighting a cold or something. Next weekend I’m heading to a regional race up in Maine, and the following weekend is the second in the Verge series. I’m having a bit of a slow start to the season, but I think things will improve a bit by December.

And now . . . I’m going to go ride my mountain bike.

Where'd I go? Part 2

Riley was pretty excited that we didn't leave him behind.
Oh, the humanity.
The orange flames made us faster . . .

The Drive

In the space of 10 days I spent about 60 hours staring through a windshield. Sure, that’s nothing by long-distance trucker standards, but I ain’t no trucker.

First was the drive to Grass Valley to meet up with my dad, then I got to ride shotgun while he did all the driving to and from Ferndale, then I had to get myself home. That was about 12 hours total. Then I got home to a flurry of packing and cleaning. Monday we packed, Tuesday we cleaned. Wednesday we left Reno. Mapquest says it’s about 48 hours to drive from Reno, NV to Gloucester, MA, and about 2900 miles. It’s not quite all the way across the country, but pretty damn close. We have two cars, 2 cats, 1 dog, and 5 bikes (which is well down from what it was just a month ago). As such, we each drove solo, accompanied only by our furry friends and the sound of eachother’s wisecracks through the walkie-talkies we brought. And, in my case anyway, several audiobooks. It probably took us a little longer than Mapquest predicted because we were towing a trailer with the Jetta and we put all the heavy stuff in the back of my ol’ Hombre. What I mean is, we rarely could go faster than 60, except for those stretches of Nebraska where we had a killer tailwind and we could kick it up to 65.

We started with the kitties in a crate in the Jetta and Riley with me. This was my idea, as I thought the kitties would overheat if they were crammed in a crate in my non-air-conditioned truck. Unfortunately, Cody and the cats have a relationship of mutual dislike but forced tolerance (forced by yours truly, of course). What can I say – Cody is not a cat person and they’re perceptive little buggers. After a day and a half of listening to the cats yelling at him, and repeated attempts to drown it out with music and ear plugs, Cody couldn’t take anymore and we swapped furry friends. Riley thought it was great that he was finally allowed to ride shotgun in the Jetta, and the cats were so thrilled to either get out of the crate or get away from Cody that they stopped hollering and found cozy places to sleep.

Anyway, most of the trip is kind of a blur of staring at the back of the trailer (I just followed Cody the whole time). We stayed in Motel 6s, which, along with the food, got progressively worse as we entered the Midwest and improved again as we approached the East Coast. When we finally crossed out of Ohio and into Pennsylvania I privately to never, ever, ever live in the Midwest. As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania Motel 6 on our last night was the nicest of the trip (although the Wyoming one wasn’t half bad either).

Saturday was our shortest day and when we got to our nice Motel 6 we had time to go for a walk and go out to dinner. We walked to a little diner really close to our hotel and were thrilled to be eating non-fast food. We even got ice cream (because there’s nothing you need more after spending 10 hours a day in a car than a bunch of empty calories!). I got a Frownie, which I found hilarious and also worthy of mention. The other funny thing was our waiter, who, whenever I would say thank you, which was quite frequent because I’m so fucking polite, would respond with . . . wanna guess? No, it wasn’t “you’re welcome”, or “no problem” or anything like that. He would say “Yes.” Just like that. Totally deadpan and serious. I loved it, and kept saying thank you to elicit more Yes’s. It was awesome. I think I love Pennsylvania. Or, I loved it until the next day, when we got a flat tire on the trailer. This was actually kind of scary, since we were going 60+ on the freeway and one of the tires totally blew out, and started smoking as it ground down. I expected the trailer to flip over off of the road and drag Cody to a horrible firey death, but it maintained its vertical integrity and we were able to safely stop to fix the flat. But I’m getting to the part about not liking PA anymore. As we were stopped we noticed that there were HUGE MILLIPEDES EVERYWHERE! Yes, HUGE FUCKING MILLIPEDES! Okay, I only saw a couple, but come on, ONE is too many. Anyway, we had a spare tire and got the trailer up and rolling again and proceeded on our way. That day was the day of crazy drivers too, further affirming my suspicion that east coast drivers suck. No offense or anything, crazy East coast people, but you’re crazy.

We left on Wednesday and arrived in Gloucester on Sunday evening, just in time for dinner. It was a surreal feeling to finally be here, with my cats and dog and all my earthly belongings. To tell myself, “We’re home.” Still getting used to it – well, duh, we’ve only been here a week and a half. But we’re mostly unpacked now and I think I have a job, which I’ll tell you all about if I actually get it. Now I should probably go do something productive with my day, like ride my bike or find some internet access so I can actually publish this post.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Where'd I go? Part 1

Yeah, long time, I know. Lots of changes, as you undoubtedly know. Let me back way up.

Tour of the Unknown Coast

The problem with waiting 3 weeks to write about something is I forget all the neat little details I’d wanted to include. For those who are unfamiliar with it, this ride is up in Humboldt County, a 2 day 100 miler, with about 10K feet of climbing. The first day is the longer of the two, about 70 miles. You ride down Avenue of the Giants, through the Rockefeller Grove (which is amazing) and finally climb up Panther Gap, which is probably 6 miles with 2500 feet of elevation gain (just a wild guess on that one). You then descend to Honeydew, which sounds sweet but in actuality bears a striking resemblance to scenes from Deliverance. Both the scenery and the people. But they’re used to the spandex crowd, since this ride takes place twice a year and the little shop there sells lots of cokes and snickers to the participants. So it’s not as sketchy as one might imagine. Anyway, you then proceed about 10 miles, following the Mattole River down to a little campground. They feed you dinner, and the next morning the Grange Hall down the road hosts a pancake breakfast with lots of Bisquick, ham, and Folgers. That begins the second day, which starts with a nasty little climb that isn’t really that little. There follow a number of these things until you descend to Cape Mendocino, and ride along the coast for 10 miles or so. This section is notorious for having a soul-crushing headwind. You round a bend and you see it – The Wall. I’m pretty sure every ride in Norcal has something called “The Wall”, and each probably deserve the name. This one is probably 24% for about ¼ mile, then drops to probably 20% for another ¼ mile. It’s not all that bad, but it’s definitely an epic ¼ mile, and if one were to go all crazy at the beginning and try to hammer up it they would soon find themselves walking. It’s long enough that you need to measure your effort a bit. Anyway, you then have a nice fast little descent and then hit “The Shadow of the Wall” which is probably 5-6 miles, starts out quite steep, and then levels out to a nice tempo climb. I like this one. It starts to seem interminable, but then you’re at the top and you have a fast descent back into the town of Ferndale, where you started the day before. An epic two days.

Anyway, I love this ride, me and my dad try to do it every year, although I haven’t made it up there the last two. This year the weather was a bit . . . wet. The first day ended up being pretty nice, cloudy but dry. Dry, that is, until we got to the top of Panther Gap. Then it decided to get really cold and wet for the descent. It’s not a very fast descent, and has a number of 10 mph hairpin turns. So it takes a long time to get down and by then I was pretty much freezing. Rather than loading up on cold cokes at Honeydew I contemplated the rather murky looking coffee and decided I’d rather just get on with it and get to camp and get dry and warm. As anyone who’s done much camping will tell you, setting up a tent in the rain sucks ass. But then I was dry and warm, although it seriously limited the afternoon activities. Usually we go for a swim in the Mattole River and relax in the sun with books and, in my dad’s case, his guitar. This time around we were confined to our tents with books. C’est la vie. We walked through the rain to dinner. I think I must have walked through some Poison Oak, as my ankles exploded in it four days later as we were driving across Wyoming (I’ll get to that part, maybe not today). Anyway, after stuffing myself with cheese ravioli and listening to my dad try to explain to a group of people why reality TV isn’t real, we walked back to our tents in the rain and called it an early night.

You know the sound of rain on a tent fly? I think it’s a great sound, you know, when I’m in the desert or something. When you’re in the desert and it’s raining at night you know you’ll be greeted the next day by clear skies and dust-free trails. Now, Humboldt County is not the desert. If I had to classify it I’d probably call it rain forest, but that’s a gross exaggeration of course. Anyway, all night long I heard the rain falling steadily on my tent. I slept surprisingly well, and woke up to . . . rain still falling on my tent. I’d talked myself up about riding in the rain before falling asleep, and I was determined to have a good day riding, regardless of rain or wind. It seemed to be letting up as we walked over to the Grange for our pancakes and bad coffee. We packed up wet tents, put on wet shoes, and jumped on wet bikes. The clouds must have dumped all their rain during the night, because it was surprisingly dry! A pleasant surprise, indeed. Not only that, but the stretch along the ocean was calm and gorgeous. The Wall felt easier than in years past (although my 58 year old father dropped me on the way up – curses!). We kept a good pace up the Shadow and passed lots of people who’d set out earlier than us that morning. Mostly-dry roads made the descent back into Ferndale fun and fast.

And then . . . it was over. It’s one of those things where you feel both victorious and a little sad that it’s time to pack up and go home. It was my last ride in California and with my dad before packing up all my crap and moving out to New England. It was fun, but also a little sad. The entire plan for our move out here was built around me getting to do that ride, and I’m so glad I did. Anyway, as my dad said, those mountains will still be there the next time we do it.

The Wall!

Ahh . . . the ocean. No headwind is a big plus!
Cold, wet descent into Honeydew.
Rockefeller Grove = big trees and bad pavement.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Awesomeness? Um, no.

Ever since we moved into this house there has been this huge white envelope pushed behind the pipes that stick out in the closet. Today, whilst cleaning said closet, I decided to open it. Ohmgod why didn't I do this sooner? I don't even have words. Ready???

I've included my feet to give some sense of the scale of the card. It's freaking huge. Now, call me a cynic, but my guess is that Ian took one look at this thing and ran away as fast as his legs could carry him.


So totally pumped right now . . . and possibly over-caffeinated. 1000 things to do but having a hard time pointing myself in any one direction. Much rather just look at cyclocross pictures and freak out. No, no, must be productive, must pack. We're pulling out in 6 days, and I'll be gone for the better part of 3 of those, riding Tour of the Unknown Coast with my dad, which is going to be great. And tonight I'm going to race a little informal short track, which will also be awesome. And when I get to Gloucester we get to move into a BIGGER HOUSE (erm, barn). Space!!! Acres and acres of livable space! So pumped. I really need to come up with better descriptors than "pumped" and "stoked". I should probably start working on my Boston accent, too, in which case I'd say "Bahsten", not Boston. Cody makes fun of me when I try to do the accent, but his is just as ridiculous, and he grew up there.

Okay, must channel all this excited energy towards some sort of productivity, even if at this point it means just eating breakfast.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The first one always hurts the most.

The last REAL race I did was the 4th of July Crit in Davis - since then all I've done is a Geiger Hill Climb and the Cascade prologue. Sure, those things hurt, but not the same. In fact, since the Davis crit sucked so damn much for me, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the last time I really RACED my bike was Nevada City. Pathetic, huh? That was in June and here we are in September. I get the feeling some people think I'm a flake for bailing on the end of road season, and they may be right. However, in light of the impending Big Move, I think my reasons (read: justifications) are sound: 1: Road racing season doesn't really get going until April in New England, therefore if I took a break in the fall I wouldn't be racing my bike for 7-8 months. Ridiculous. B: The next couple months are going to be pretty tough, I think, and there are a lot of new things to adjust to and a lot of missing people. What better way to keep my mind off the things that I'm leaving behind than to do something that I love? And lastly, New England cyclocross is off the hook and I weaseled my way onto a good team, so how could I really say no?

But that wasn't the point of my post, and now I just sound whiney and defensive.

I raced 'cross on Saturday! And it went . . . okay. Maybe it's just not having a coach anymore, but I feel rather compelled to give a detailed race report to SOMEONE, so why not the internets at large?

My starts suck. I'm going to be working on that. Today. I was, if not quite last, almost last after the start. It was women's A's and 35+ A's, and a pretty good turn-out. Oh, did I mention the presence of multiple current national champions? Like, Barb Howe and Gina Hall? Plus some other nationals podium finishers, like Sarah Maile. Owwee. Anyway, the course was a slight uphill pavement start that funneled into a singletrack that got a little technical pretty quick, with a tight left hand turn into a dusty, loose drop in. I was so far away from the hole shot that I was stuck behind the only 2 girls who put there feet down making that tight left. Damn. Made some quick passes when it opened up, but by then the race was so far away from me that I'd never make it up. Sure, I never expected to hold Barb's wheel or anything, but there were a few girls in there who I think I could be competitive with. I think I have the fitness to duke it out with people, but not to close huge gaps and THEN duke it out, know what I mean? I mean, I'm no Katie Compton, and I can't start last row and win nationals. Nope. No way. So starts are going to be critical to me if I want to have a good season. Anyway, it was blazing hot down in Folsom and I suffered heartily in the last two laps and just kind of limped through the last one, content in the knowledge that I would not be getting lapped.

The bad:

1. Starts - must improve dramatically or be stuck in suck.
2. Barriers - OK for the first couple laps, but when I got really cooked I started running like a . . . I dunno, something that sucks at running.
3. Heat tolerance - whatever, I'm moving to New England. ;) Next time I have to race in 90 degree heat I'm putting a waterbottle cage on my bike. F' it.

The good:

1. Technical skills - I was rocking the loose drop-in and the following section of single track that had a loose, sketchy ditch to ride through. Super happy that I've been getting out on my mountain bike lately and feeling good about shredding some mini-gnar.
2. Fitness - good power until the heat sapped my strength through my brain, which it then sucked through my eye balls.
3. I had a ton of fun! Even when I was suffering I was like, "Yeah, cross! This is f'in awesome!!!" And that, really, is the most important part.

On tap for today is a brutal training ride, and more packing. Yeah, the house is starting to look like we're leaving. Sad . . . excited . . . overwhelmed. But that's what brutal training rides are for, they take the edge off all those emotions and replace it with pain and fatigue. I like that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 'Cross Season Goals

Well, with the first 'cross race of the season only two days away (weeee!!!) I think it's time to set a couple of goals for this fall. Goals provide me with a measure of how successful my season was, and give me something specific to work towards. Let me preface these by saying that I think I'm a much better cyclocross racer than road racer (that's not boasting, since I'm not a very good road racer). See, on the road I'm not really a climber (too big) and I'm not a sprinter (too wimpy). I'm a decent time trialist, but had kind of rough year for that in 2010. Now, 'cross? That's more my style. Climbing ability isn't a huge deal, you just need to be strong, and rarely does it come down to a sprint. It requires good bike handling skills in the dirt, which I have (decent, anyway), and crashing ain't such a big deal since you're rarely going super fast (no 45 mph descents in a 100+ person pack). I'm okay with crashing in the mud or the sand, no big deal. Plus, it's a short race, and I can always convince myself to suffer for 45 minutes. No prob.

(That said, I love road racing and I think I make a good teammate to the sprinters and the climbers. I'm there to work when I can, and then I get to show what I've got in the time trial. Love stage racing. Love it, and have lots of plans brewing for 2011 road season.)

So anyway, I had to preface it with that, since I think my goals sound a little overly ambitious. Whatever, if I don't succeed, try try again.

1. Top 20 at a UCI race. Hell, if 19 women show up and I come in 18th, that still counts.
2. Don't get lapped, ever. (barring, of course, major mechanicals that force me to run 1/2 a lap).
3. Win a regional race. Doesn't matter what, but I'd like to have a W to show for my season.

Okay, that's it. Oh yeah, ride fast and have a metric shit-ton of fun. Hells yeah.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lost in the woods

Made the most of my 3 day weekend and got two days of great riding in. On Sunday Cody and I climbed up the Tahoe Rim Trail to Marlette Peak lookout (see photo evidence above). It was a totally gorgeous day, as you can see. We then dropped down Dirty Harry's, which has some pretty gnar-gnar sections. Gnar trail + roadie + hardtail with a fork that hardly works = dirty socks. But there were some really fun sections that I rode. We then proceeded to get lost for 2 hours and spend waaay too much time riding fire roads. Uck. Anyway, 5 hours later we got back to the car and went to Blue Coyote for burgers. Life is good.

Yesterday I rode up at Donner with my dad. Lovely day except for all the lousy traffic! Gotta take in all the alpine granite I can, because where I'm going we don't have big mountains.

On our Sunday MTB ride we were on a trail that was almost grown in with manzanita bushes for a while. Manzanita has such a distinct smell, and it's one you don't get everywhere you go. I find it terribly familiar, and it evokes hikes up to the Quincy "Q" when I was a kid. Then there's the Tahoe smell, with that particular hint of DG and pine forests. Of course Peavine riding is a smell all its own, too, with sage and rabbit brush. I guess what I'm getting at is that everywhere I go, almost, I ride my bike. And when I ride my bike, I tend to breath pretty heavily and really internalize the particular scent of the place. Don't olfactory senses trigger memories with greater poignancy than either sight or sound? I'm pretty sure they do. When I smell wood smoke from someone's chimney I think of being a kid in Meadow Valley in the wintertime,with 4 feet of snow piling up outside our house and a fire going. Some places totally evoke "home" to me. My new home doesn't smell like home to me yet (well, I'm not there yet, but I've been there in the past, and it doesn't) but it's familiar nonetheless. I can't wait to come back for a visit and be struck by the smell of sagebrush and manzanita.

Blah blah blah.

I was reading the blog of an acquaintance and she said something that really struck me, and I'm going to quote her - "It seemed an ugly injustice to lose someone with plans and hope, until I accepted that our lives are present and vital while we're here and that death doesn't diminish the importance of the love and lessons we leave behind." I'm not trying to be dark and depressing, but I just thought that was so eloquently put that I had to share it with the world.

Anyway, on more frivolous news, I bought a full suspension frame and it's on its way to Gloucester as we speak! Something fun to come "home" to, because I can't possibly ride those east coast roots and rocks on my hardtail. Hells no.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday blahblahblahs

So, totally nothing new or interesting going on. Just getting ready for the move, day by day, alternately feeling excited and anxious (mostly excited). Feeling super excited to go race 'cross (first race is in 1.5 weeks!), but really much too boring to blog. Until I saw this today, on the BikePure FB page:

Who got you into cycling?
Who did you look up to when you first joined a club?
Who kept you going in cycling when it seemed too hard?
Who patted you on the back when you did well?

It was concluded with something like, "What would these people thing if you doped?" Which is a good, thought-provoking question, but not the point of this post. (Doping sucks). Mostly it made me think of the people who got me into this sport and the people who keep me going in it day after day.

Who got me into cycling?

Well, the obvious answer is my dad, right? He never pushed me to ride, but when I started expressing an interest he was there with a bike for me to ride and a few helpful suggestions. When I was "too cool" to wear a helmet during my first couple of rides, he never hassled me, just let me be and rode with me. I know that sounds negligent, but if he'd pressured me I would have balked, and it could all have ended before it started. I know, I'm a thick-headed idiot, but whaddya gonna do? When I rode up Mt. Rose in 1:15 in my first time trial, he bought me a nice new bike. When that bike was stolen, he helped me get another one. He's always been there, enabling this awful(ly wonderful) habit of mine. And . . . it has brought us closer than anything else could have.

That said, it's not entirely fair to give him all the credit. My co-workers at REI, Hung, Tony and Nick, also drug me out on rides, gave me endless moral support as I tackled the Death Ride during my first year on the bike and on my 21st birthday, and made the sport fun for me. Taking that a step further, Nick dragged me to my first mountain bike race, didn't let me race beginner (conceding that I could race sport if i insisted, but should really be an expert), took me to Sea Otter, Auburn, Downieville, nationals, etc, and got me involved with the UNR cycling team, through which I met Cody. Nick and I went to 12 hr races together and he accompanied me on long road rides to help get ready for them. We won enormous trophies and ate lots of Swedish Fish and listened to Death Cab for Cutie. He lured me away from the stupidness of 21 and showed me a life of being healthy and happy and on 2 wheels. We kind of lost track of our friendship over the years, but more than anyone else I am more grateful to Nick than he can possibly know for helping me find this life I love.

Who did I look up to when I first joined a club?

Oh, UNR Cycling Team, how I love you. My first year on the team was amazing. There wasn't a person I rode with who didn't make me laugh and inspire me to ride faster. I found myself in this totally new situation of opening up to people and going with the flow of things. Some people I've lost touch with and some who I kept a connection - what an amazing couple of months that was.

One person in particular who comes to mind as being a total inspiration is Amber Monforte, who's gone on to be a crazy ultra-man record setter. She was a triathlete even then, and I think is the reason why I enjoy time trialing so much. Without fail she would be my 30 second girl up Geiger, and she'd always tell me "good job" when she rode by me, so totally effortlessly. Out at Cold Springs I would compare my time with hers and want so badly to be that fast. We never hung out or said much to each other, and I don't know if we ever would have had much in common, but I had a ton of respect for her as a cyclist and it inspired me to work hard and aspire to be faster.

Who keeps me going in cycling when it gets too hard?

It's cheesy and obvious, but Cody keeps me going. When I'm overtired and feeling fat and slow and having a meltdown about how much I suck and I should just give up, he's the person who points out all the improvement I've made, and reminds me of how much I love it. When I get sick of 4 hour road rides, he's the one who rides Hole in the Ground trail with me and keeps me challenging myself. He's the one cheering for me at crits and cyclocross - cheering so loud that he can be heard on the other side of the course - and standing in the feedzone to hand me a bottle and for a 5 second glimpse of a 4 hour race. He's the person who made it possible for me to race all this spring while I worked 15 hrs/week, who bought me a time trial bike, and who has been scouring Ebay to find me a full suspension mtb so I'll have fun riding the trails in Massachusetts. Can you say wow? Wow.

And, as any road racer will tell you, my team. I'm super sad to be leaving them, but having a great team this year was so inspirational. When I crashed at Cascade, struggled at Sea Otter, and sucked at the district time trial, having a support group who can all tell you that they've been there, done that, and things will get better is unbeatable. What totally amazing people - so happy to have gotten to race with them!

Who pats me on the back when I do well?

All of the above. Like I said, I haven't stayed in good touch with everyone, but those I have, even just on Facebook, are always ready with a pat on the back and a kudos, and it always feels so good.

I'm so totally grateful to everyone. Really, I know that sounds like a big stretch, but really, everyone who's ever offered a kind word or a hand up, thanks. In addition to teammates and close friends, there are plenty of other people I've raced with, formerly been teammates with, or been supported by. But I think starting a comprehensive list will be stupid and overly time consuming. Needless to say, those who I'm leaving when we start our eastward adventure - I'll miss you! And thanks for the awesome memories.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


And it's official! September 22nd. No, I'm not getting married, but it feels like just as big a plunge. We're moving to New England! Probably Gloucester, although if Cody gets a job between now and then in Portland (Maine, people) or Burlington, we'll probably go there instead. For all the nay-sayers who tell me, with the best of intentions, no doubt, that, "you don't want to move to the east coast!" Well, I think . . . I might. Here's the plan:
  • I'm gonna race the f*#& out of some cyclocross this fall. New team, more support, less travel. But more on that as the info rolls in. Cross. Hells yeah.
  • We'll be keeping our insanely low cost of living, and perhaps lowering it a bit more.
  • Cody can work as much as he wants for his old tree company and make bank, and I can, presumably, get a job . . . somewhere. Point is, make money, pay off student loans, and be free to go where we please a year or so from now, free of debt.
  • Massachusetts has socialized medicine. Weeee! I haven't been to the doctor for a non-injury visit in . . . um, a long time. Yes, that is a legitimate reason for moving.
Cody's been in Reno for 5 years, I've been here for almost 9 (!!!) and it's time for a change. Gloucester's the only place we can go and not have to find an apartment (long story short, we're living in a barn . . . but it's quite nice) and be guaranteed jobs. I'd love to move to Santa Cruz, but how the hell could we do that and still have surplus income to pay off those loans? Yeah, not gonna happen. New England it is! I've had some issues with that place in the past, but I'm ready to give it a go. Certainly cyclocross will keep me occupied for the fall, then I can take a little break in the winter because road racing doesn't really start up over there until April, which means I won't be all hella burned out in July! See???? It's a perfect plan.

Seriously, though, I'm also a little terrified of moving 3000 miles away from my friends and family and the races and rides that I know and love. Plus, there aren't really hills there. I'll be doing like, 30 intervals to equal half a trip up Geiger. But people in Davis regularly kick my ass on the climbs, so I'm sure there's some trick to it.

But mostly I'll miss my friends and fam . . . who really ought to all start looking into the cost of tickets to Boston and come out for a visit!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I really need to keep my big mouth shut . . .

I'm a flake, I admit it. I try not to be a flake, but it's hard. I just change my mind a lot, that's all. I have too many good options, and I have a hard time committing to any one because it would mean closing the door on others, and I hate limiting my options that way. What brings this up, you might ask? Ahhh . . . . cyclocross.

I'm back on the 'cross bandwagon for now. I started polishing up the bike yesterday to sell it (I know, I know) and decided that was a horrible idea and I ought to race it instead. Plus, with this whole possibility of moving to New England . . . you get the picture. So now the only question that remains is what to do with the rest of my road racing season. I have 5 on the calendar, including the Mt. Rose Hill Climb this weekend. Now that I'm thinking 'cross I'm thinking that I should go for a run, which really does nothing for my hill climbing legs, but what the hell. That climb hurts no matter what I do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is it too early for reflection?

But first, some pictures.

Day 1 after my crash. Ew.

One week post-crash. It almost hurts more now then it did a week ago. Of course, I was pretty heavily medicated that day . . .

So, here we are! It's almost August (!!!) and I only have 5 more races in 2010. Wow, how time flies. I started reflecting on my season when I wrote down that, no, I didn't achieve YET another goal of the 2010 season. But . . . it was outside of my control. Also, for financial reasons I let my coach go, and planned the next month all by my lonesome. And I got to thinking . . . 3 more weeks of heavy training (I'm a little detuned right now after tapering for Cascade and then NOT RACING), 5 days of racing, and it'll be time to hang up my skinny tires for the year. Time for a fall of mountain biking and hiking and, gasp! maybe even some running and swimming. All the things I don't do enough from November thru September because I'm riding my road bike. Damn roadie.

So, now that the season's coming to a close, how do I feel about it? Well, surprisingly, pretty good! So I fell short of a couple of goals - the district TT because I was cooked from Hood, and Cascade because, well, you know. All that can be done is be happy for the goals I did achieve and refocus on 2011 with new, loftier goals. Not sure what those will be yet, since I'm not sure exactly where we'll land, but I'm confident I can find a place wherever that is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What a wild month

Sooo . . . wow. July's almost over, August's almost here. July is usually my favorite month - my birthday's on the 10th, it's beautiful and warm outside and I log lots of time at the river, mountain bike trails start opening up . . .

I think my cosmic order was off this time around, though. Things just didn't go quite as planned. Where to start?

  • Davis 4th of July Crit - umm . . . wtf happened? Went into it excited to attack and race hard for our sprinters, and ended up trailing off the back the whole damn time. I suffered in the heat, and I later realized, struggled in the corners. Subconsciously I was freaking myself out and letting myself get punked going into every last one of them. Undoubtedly fall-out from my TdN crash. Lame. Anyway, pulled out with 5 to go, tried to explain it, just sounded like lame ass excuses . . . moving on.
  • Geiger Grade HCTT - I averaged 14 watts lower than my last time trial up Geiger, yet I was 1:20 faster. Umm . . . another WTF moment. Still failed to break 40:00, still managed to get 2nd, still holding the lead in the SNHCTT series. At least until the Mt. Rose TT . . . that one's gonna hurt.
  • And finally . . . . drumroll please? Cascade! Holy shit, what just happened?! Oh yeah, I crashed out on the 1st stage (not counting the prologue, which isn't really a stage, just a whole day of sitting around, 1 hr of warm up, and 4 minutes of racing). Yeah, 1st stage. 18 miles in. We were on a descent, going pretty damn fast. It hurt. I tried to keep going, but my body said no. Now that I'm healing up I fine myself berating myself for not finishing. But I listened to my body and made a decision. In retrospect it's easy to say, "oh, I'm such a wimp, I should have kept going", but the truth is that my left leg was nearly useless and I had 54 miles and 6000 feet of climbing to go. I'm pissed, I want vengeance, I got lucky. Instead of being out for the rest of the season, I was just out for the week. And I even got in a couple hours of ripping up some sick Bend singletrack. Hells yeah. Make the best of a bad situation. Anyway, my totally radical teammate got 9th in the GC. So it was a good week, even though it was a crummy week.
So what now? Despite my lousy week, I find myself mentally recommitted to road racing, at least for another year. I'm going to go race Winters, Vacaville, Challenge and the Giro de SF. As much as the thought of racing a full season of cyclocross makes me all weak in the knees, I'm going to take a break this fall. If only to come back to Cascade next year for personal vindication. I honestly have NO IDEA where we'll be living next summer, or even 6 weeks from now, but I'll make it back to Bend for that damn race one way or another.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seriously thinking about moving to Gloucester, MA for the fall (maybe longer) and racing 'cross. A dozen UCI races within 4 hours of me? Weeeeee! Buuuuut . . . who knows. By the way, I am not talking about moving 3000 miles away solely for cyclocross racing - Cody can make good money there, too, and we can live for free. So I haven't totally lost it. Yet.

Isn't it amazing how you can go from crazy-motivated to wicked burned out seemingly overnight? And what amazing timing, too - just a few days away from the biggest, gnarliest stage race I've done yet! Oi. Taking a few days to try to recharge and improve my attitude about this whole mess before making the trek northward to Bend. I don't think we can call it the land of cowbells in July, maybe I'll make it up there again in December . . . .

mmm . . . . 'cross . . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm thinking of ending my road season after Cascade and racing cyclocross. Am I utterly insane? All season long I've been thinking, "I need an off season, I'm not going to race 'cross." But now? Ugh, I need help.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Photo Credit to Allan Crawford.

I don't really look like I'm suffering that bad (I was). What I like about this picture is that you can see the reflection of my hands and bars in my sunglasses if you look carefully.

Woot! I finally won one. Okay, so there were only a handful of us, and it was a local race, but damnit, I won. I've been dreading this hill climb since I first decided to do it. Not because I dread hill climb TTs (well, maybe a little) but because this particular climb - starting by Incline Village, up Country Club Dr., then onto Mt. Rose Hwy to the summit - has never quite agreed with me. I think it might be those brutally steep sections on Country Club, or maybe the loooooong straight aways on the highway. Either way, I've always felt fairly miserable while climbing up it.

In all honesty, I was fairly miserable whilst climbing up it today.

But in the end I prevailed, beating an incredibly skinny girl by ONE second. One. Do you know what I was thinking about for the last mile? I was thinking about how ever second counts, and how I missed the podium at the district time trial by six. One second. And she was damn skinny, too. And I had some Hostess Chocolate Donettes yesterday. Okay, I should probably lay off the snack cakes, but seriously, this is cool. And since this course has never been run before I "technically" set a women's course record. I'm going to say it again - I set a course record, in a hill climb. Ahhhh . . . that's nice. Gotta savor it because I don't hesitate to think that it's the last time I'll be able to make that claim.

So . . . things are coming together! I ended last weekend on a high note, after NOT GETTING LAPPED!!! at Nevada City. First time I've done that race that I've finished on the lead lap. Boooya. Anyway, that was followed by a kind of rough week, with lots of owies from my crash, and just feeling generally kind of bummed. But right now I'm feeling pretty good about things. I have a two day mini-break from bikes starting tomorrow, then some hard stuff coming up to tune up before what will undoubtedly be the hardest 6 days of my life, so far. Dun dun dun . . . . Cascade! Stoked.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Right now I'm so totally stoked on life and what's to come that it's difficult to contain. Or maybe I've just had too much caffeine? A definitely possibility.

Three weekends of racing coming up - hill climb followed by crit followed by hill climb - then my folks bought me tickets for my birthday to go see Neil Young here in Reno the weekend after that, and then Cascade! Sooooooo stoked! And Cody will be home somewhere in the middle of all that.

All this is helping me ignore the lingering ouchiness of my crash last Friday. While I emerged road rash-less, I got a nasty tire burn on the back of my leg from the girl who hit me (my bad, my bad entirely). And while I've never had road rash as big as what's on my leg, I'd venture to say that the tire burn hurts significantly worse than the road rash I have had. I mean, it's a burn, right? it hurts like a burn. And it's all scabby and nasty and it hurts when I sit down because it's on the back of my upper thigh. Ick. And I landed on my head in such a way that my neck is all spasmed.

But the point of this post wasn't to bitch about my owwies, but to talk about how freaking stoked I am. Yay bike racing and travel and great music and awesome company! Sorry, I'm just being annoying now. Over and out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TdN and NC Pics

I've got a good suffer face going on here. In fact, in all of the NC pics I look like I'm about to die., while a lot of the girls around me look super chill. I don't think I was necessarily suffering MORE than them, I just have a pretty intense suffer face.

I like TTs again . . . I think. Anyway, can't pack up the TT bike for the year yet, gotta race it at Cascade!

Game on!

At some point I'll write a report about Tour de Nez and Nevada City, or maybe I'll just post some photos or something, but not today. The news for today is that I have been convinced to try my luck at Cascade after all. All it took was a little flattery, and a little begging for time off. Cascade is a go.

At some point during the Reno criterium on Friday I had a funny thought that I can't remember now. It triggered a Seinfeld reference in my head, which I also can't remember. What I CAN remember is thinking - this is during a really tough crit, mind you - that every event in my life can be related to either an episode of the Simpsons, Seinfeld, or Mystery Science Theater 3000. Some of you may think that is incredibly lame, but I think it's incredibly awesome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not the first time . . .

. . . and it won't be the last. That I fail to achieve a season goal, that is. Last year I failed to get enough points to get my upgrade, and this year I failed to break an hour at the district time trial. I don't have a lot to say about it, really. I didn't have a good race, my power was really inconsistent, and I need to work out some issues with my TT bike fit. Issues that I didn't notice until after 30 kilometers of hard pedaling. It happens. Move on. I'm frustrated by my inability to put together a good time trial in the past couple months, but I'm happy that I was, at the very least, faster than last year. And my legs are totally fried right now so I guess I went hard. After this post I'm done talking about it.

Looking forward to next year - if I'm still around these here parts and I figure the district TT into my schedule, my goal will NOT be to break an hour. I had my chance on that one, and I didn't do it, moving on. My goal next year will be to break 59 minutes. The self-lecture goes thus, "Oh yeah? You can't pull your s#*t together to go under an hour? Try 59 minutes, see how you like that." Yeah, I talk to myself a lot. 'Specially during time trials.

Moving on.

Oh yeah, how about the barn board backdrop? I think it appealed to me because Cody is in Gloucester until July 6 and I wish I were there too so I could just ride and swim and race Fitchburg and not have to worry about work and bills and stuff. Oh yeah, and the house has barn board walls in one of the rooms. I think it was a poor choice of interior decor (the house was only built 3 years ago) but the motif still reminds me of Gloucester. I know, sometimes I don't make a lot of sense. Until next time . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mt. Minty

The Team!

Warming up for the TT. My bike is sexy.

Start of the TT - it was so windy they discontinued use of the starting ramp.

The support crew relaxing after the queen stage. Cody won the beer drinking GC.

Before the start of a very wet crit that lasted about 9 minutes for me!

Ahh . . . a day off. After arriving home at 3 AM on Monday morning after 6 days away from home, then working on Monday and Tuesday, it's awfully nice to just be able to sit on my ass, drink coffee, and write a race report. Oh yeah, and I guess I'll do laundry or something at some point today. Maybe.

I survived Mt. Hood! Hells yeah. Okay, so I was 2nd to last in GC, that's OK! You know why? Because my teammate-for-the-weekend won! And I don't think I'm being inappropriate when I say that I sacrificed a number of places during the Queen Stage of the race so that my teammates could arrive at the final long-ass climb with rockstar legs. I mean, I really hate that coulda-woulda-shoulda stuff, but I'm confident in my assertion nonetheless. Whatever.

So, where's to begin?

Last tuesday Cody and I loaded up the Jetta and drove North. We arrived at our intial destination in Bend, Oregon, and found the house of our friend, Lizzy F'in English. Just so happens that her S.O. is Adam F'in Craig, so crashing at their house is an experience worth its own blogpost at some point. Let's just say that their garage is Off-The-F'in-Hook. Anyway, long story short, Lizzy took us out for a spin on the mountain bike (I borrowed one of her bikes) on some totally ripping Bend singletrack, followed by dinner. Good times.

Next day we loaded back up to rain, reloaded the car, and drove further North, arriving at our Motel 6 in The Dalles around lunch. People keep asking me why we stayed in The Dalles instead of Hood River, since The Dalles is kind of ghetto and is about 17 miles from Hood. Let me just say this - good luck finding a cheap hotel in Hood River. I prerode much of the time trial course (in the rain) and then drove to Hood River for our pre-race team meeting, and for the distribution of Metromint kits.
The next day was stage 1 - a 52 mile road race with about 3600 feet of climbing. Doesn't sound too bad, right? The plan for the day was to keep everything together and preserve all of our GC options, since we had 3 girls that could take it. Unfortunately I was dropped after about 8 miles. To be fair, the climbing started on mile 1. And it was fast. And there were attacks. I was doing fine, moving up, responding. And then I was spit out the back. D'oh! We rallied a group of 5 of us and pulled fast for the rest of the race, finishing only 9 minutes down on the main pack, which finished in a field sprint. I felt decent for most of it, but didn't eat enough and bonked on the 2nd climb of the day with about 1 K to the top. I hung on, but just barely. Our group was 7 by the finish and I won the sprint for 39th. Wow. The day had been pretty nice, but about 1 minute after I finished the rain started. Oh, Oregon. This is why I live in the desert. Good timing, anyway.

Stage 2 was a 18.9 mile time trial on probably the most difficult course I've tackled. The climbs, the wind, the descents, the kamikaze squirrel that almost took me out . . . it was tough. And to top it off I didn't have a very good day. It started out OK, and then I was passed by my 30 second girl and my moral took a digger. Then on the climb I was passed by my 1 minute girl. Then the rest of the race was a struggle to keep my power above 200 watts. Seriously suck. Plus I just wasn't digging that Metromint chamois, so to top off my suckiness I was seriously uncomfortable. I finished the race and went back to the hotel where I proceeded to feel sorry for myself for the rest of the day. At least until I learned that my teammate Molly had WON and taken over the GC lead! That boosted my moral significantly. Heather finished 5th and Jane 7th. We had the GC lead and some serious contenders in the top 10, so who cares about my lousy race?

Stage 3 was the queen stage - a monstrous road race with 8600 feet of climbing over 72 miles. And we had GC to protect. The plan was for myself and another girl to patrol the front before the first climb of the day, which came about 20 miles into the race. I had my job. I could do my job, and then when I got dropped I could be content in the fact that I'd helped the team. As it turned out, I lasted quite a bit longer than 20 miles. So, the race started with a long, not particularly steep descent. I worked my way towards the front and sat on teammate Amanda's wheel while she made sure nothing went off the front. Then we had a pee break, which I was actually pretty happy about. Some Hagens Berman girls were like "what's a pee break?" and didn't want to stop. Seriously? You've never heard of a pee break? Anyway, Molly pulled rank on them and told them that if the race leader called for a pee break it was customary to accomodate them. Radical. Anyway, after that I found myself at the back again. I was trying to edge up the road without much luck. Then the attacks started. I saw Amanda at the front chasing and thought "crap! That should be me up there, Amanda has to cover the 2nd part of the race!" So I gunned it to the front and helped chase. Mission accomplished. Then we hit the climb, and I found myself on the front, again with Amanda. What's the best way to make sure you don't get dropped on the climb? I say set the pace. So we set the pace up the 5 mile climb to discourage attacks and keep things moving at a pace that I could just sustain. It felt great to lead a climb at a race like Mt. Hood. There were no QOM points for the women, but the signs were still there from the Pro men's race. Myself and Sue Butler "sprinted" for it, and I "beat" her - just for fun. People laughed, it was good times. This was followed by a fast descent, and then we hit some kickers before the real climbing began. At that point I was on the back, hoping for the best. I got gapped off a few times but chased back on. Finally I cracked, about 40 miles into the race. I knew that I'd done my job well and I trusted my teammates to finish it off. So for the next 30 miles I rode through some beautiful Oregon forest, up some long ass climbs, and was perfectly content knowing that the time cut was 30%. As it turned out, Molly held onto the lead. Yay!

The next day it was raining. A lot. And we had a crit to race. The organizers decided that the crit would not be counted for GC, as the conditions could be considered unsafe. A number of girls opted out of racing. Metromint took the line, however, out of respect to the yellow jersey. It was really wet for our race. From what I hear, ours was the wettest of the day. Great. Without getting into a whole lot of unnecessary and demoralizing detail, only one of us finished, but none of us crashed. Molly won the overall. Life was good.

Me and Cody drove home after the awards ceremony. I should say, actually, that I drove to Bend, then slept almost all the way from Bend to Reno, while Cody stayed awake driving until 3 AM. Whatta guy!

One last thing - if in Hood River I totally recommend Dirty Fingers Bike Shop - the guys there were awesome in helping Cody find places to ride, and it seemed like a great bike shop. I do not, however, recommend Salmon Cyclery in The Dalles - that guy was utterly unhelpful, a jerk, and a total tool.