Monday, February 27, 2012

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Somehow it's only Monday.  Not sure how that could be. 

Anyway, I've been super boring lately.  Like, really, really boring. 

I tried to buy Kraftwerk tickets (playing at MOMA in April) but failed, despite signing on to buy them 30 seconds after they went on sale.  No big surprise there, I guess.

Seriously, how mindblowingly awesome would that show have been?

I lost the only key we have for Cody's Jetta.  I was walking the dog at Stage Fort Park and thought it would be fun to scramble around on the slimy rocks (low tide).  I fell straight onto my ass and I think the key fell out of my pocket and into the ocean.  W.  T.  F.  No one but the VW dealership could code a new key for me (damn you, German engineering) so I had to have it towed to Danvers and get new keys ordered.  You know the little flippy, remote lock/unlock keys?  Yeah, don't lose those, they're $260 bucks.  Your typical coded Jetta key?  $70. 

We won't be remotely unlocking the Jetta anymore. 

Cody himself is still in Philly working a glamourous 58 hour night-shift work week.  If he doesn't come home this weekend I'll be taking Amtrak down there for a visit.  For his sake I hope he gets to come home (chances are slim, however) but I'm getting pretty amped at the idea of taking a little weekend vacation to some place I've never been.  I get sort of bummed if I go too long without a good road (rail?) trip, and I'm overdue.

Otherwise it's just business as usual, fitting my rides in around work and life and wishing it could be the other way around.  A friend poked me in the bicep on Friday and told me I was getting soft (I tried to start a fight with him for that comment, but he merely went on calmy with his conversation) so I'm prioritizing doing some upper-body and core work at the gym.  Or I did, yesterday, and today I think my triceps and deltoids are going to detach from their respective insertion points.  It's good.  When I start riding lots I get lazy about doing anything other the biking, a little core, and a few pushups.  It's bad news when my middle-aged detrained PT clients can bench press more than me.  No one will be poking me in the arm and calling me soft.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Some of you may remember last April when Cody was sent to Philadelphia to work on the Philly Museum of Art - I guess they're expanding it or something.  (This is usually where people ask, "what does he do?" to which I can only answered with a confused headshake "he's a hydrogeologist."  What does that have to do with an art museum in Philly?  You'll have to ask him.)  Well, yesterday he got word that he's headed back there for a couple weeks as the project comes to a close.  Oh yeah, and he's leaving today. 

At any rate, I'm flying solo for a couple weeks.  I'm not particularly prone to loneliness or boredom when I'm by myself, and my productivity tends to go way up when I'm not trying to accomodate another human being in my life.  Don't get me wrong - I'll miss Cody a ton, but that's different than being lonely because you're alone.  Here's what I'll have going on for the next couple weeks:
  • Work.  Yeah, some of that.  Getting a new project up and running. 
  • Riding bikes.  Week 2 of 2012 training and my legs are already feeling a bit ouchy.  That's rad.  Also rad is that I work in a place that I can foam roller myself when ever I want.  Yes.
  • All that off-the-bike training and recovery crap.  I'm not particularly good at that.  I'm working on getting better, but it's easier with fewer distractions.
  • Not cooking meat.  Several times a week I end up cooking 2 dinners - one veg for me, one with some kind of animal protein for Cody. 
  • Watching stupid movies.  Look, Cody thought that Bridesmaids was too much of a chick flick, how do you think he'd take to watching the new Twilight movie?  (Oh crap, did I just admit to watching Twilight?  Can I take it back?  Please?  F*%#.  Look, we all have things we're not proud of, quit acting all superior.)
  • Being social.  Last time Cody was gone I was a total hermit.  This time I'm going to get out, see people, be a normal person, lest he come home to something like this:

    Or maybe this:
Ugh.  Sorry about that. 

Anyway, in other, more savory news, Cody picked up take-out from the Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly last night.  I told him that all I wanted for Valentine's Day was dinner from a vegetarian restaurant, because there is hardly a restaurant in Gloucester that serves anything without meat in it.  The Squash Nutbutter Ravioli were amazing.  Cody picked up some of their kale chips, too, but I've gotta say, with no undo immodesty, that my own kale chips are superior.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


At the persuading of a friend, and because I like to work out, I went to CrossFit for the very first time last night.  I'd been meaning to check it out during my off-season, so I was running out of time to do so as I'm reincorporating intervals into my time on the bike.  It was FUN!  But it's definitely possible that I enjoyed it because it was running and deadlifts (core, lower body and cardio), and the upper body stuff (my weakest area, duh) was kept to a minimum.  But the fitness of many of the attendants was really impressive and the atmosphere was really fun and supportive.  I can see why people enjoy it, fo' shizzle.

I was talking to Cody about it last night and he was all, "duh, Marian, most people don't like doing 6 hour bike rides by themselves." so I guess it's good for my cycling fitness that I hold such misanthropic tendencies.   Anyway, I'm happy I checked it out and I plan on going back when the next off-season rolls around, or my racing/bike workload go down.

And in the CrossFit spirit, I was introduced to Go Kaleo yesterday.  This lady is incredibly healthy and fit on a vegan, plant based diet.  She incorporates some grains and legumes and soy, and tons of fruit, into her diet.  It's a great model of how I try to eat, and I find it really inspiring that she can maintain that level of fitness without meat or dairy.

But now it's time to go do intervals on my bike, and I'm glad for the sake of my legs that we didn't do a ton of squats last night.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


So yesterday I had to do a power test.  You know, baseline for the start of the season and all that.  8 minutes as hard as you can go, on the trainer.  Everything about it is pretty unpleasant. 

The process, for me, began with getting my road bike up and running.  I needed my big ring, otherwise I end up spun out on my trainer pretty fast.  An hour of work got it to the patented Marian "good enough" stage.  Bike set upon the trainer, big fan pointed right at my face, get-pumped playlist on, and I even ate a Gu shot.  Yeah, a Gu shot, not for a bike race.  For an hour on the trainer.  Blech.  Started warming up.  Heart rate isn't getting picked up by my computer.  Hmm...  needs a new battery?  I opened it up and, lo and behold, it had no battery in it.  Poached for some other bike-related computer electronic device?  Undoubtedly.  Cool, easy fix.  For once in my life I actually had a 2032 battery sitting around and didn't have to run out to buy one.  Okay, back on the bike, I started my warm-up.  After approximately 4 minutes of easy spinning there was a clunk noise followed by a whole lot of nasty metal-on-metal grinding.  My trainer, that has been slowly disintegrating for the past several years but I've put off replacing because riding-the-trainer-sucks-and-who-wants-to-drop-$200-on-that-shit-anyways, died.  RIP.  It's probably for the best.  But I still had a ride to do. 

So I loaded up the bike and drove to the shop to use the trainer sitting in the fit studio.  Their super nice fluid trainer is a lot nicer than my erstwhile Blackburn mag, and the resistance is high enough that I probably could have put off my morning of bike maintenance for another month.  C'est la vie.  At this point it had been 40 minutes since I'd eaten my Gu shot so I ate another Gu shot.  Yes.  2 in one non-race day.  What is wrong with me?!  Anyway, I've been off the coffee for a couple days now and both Gus had caffeine in them so my heart rate was instantly through the roof.  Long story short, I finished warm-up, buried myself in 8 minutes in hell, cooled down and went home to look at my power file. 

You know what's worse than all that stupid time-wasting crap that I went through to get those numbers?  Going through it all and having those numbers suck.  But that's bike racing.  Or training.  Or trainer power testing, at any rate. 

Sorry, that was 5 minutes of your life you'll probably never get back. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Totally (mostly) Super Sunday

Every couple months I decide that my coffee addiction is getting a little out of hand and I decide to phase it out of my routine for a week or so.  I tried last week, but things kind of got away from me.  So this morning I'm having black tea.  Tomorrow it'll be green tea.  Then, erm, maybe more green tea.  I mean, let's not go totally crazy here.  But it's tough.  All the black tea does is stave off the detox headache.  Seriously.

We kicked the weekend off getting drinks with friends (apparently it was everybody's birthday this weekend).  I have a fairly regular drinking schedule of 2 beers/month, so when I do drink I usually get something special.  I ended up with a 6 year aged Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock.  It was $12.00.  Seriously?  A $12.00 beer?  Yes.  Seriously.

Anyway, it was pretty good, but the wheat kind of messed up my stomach the next day.  I guess it also didn't help that I had whole wheat pasta for dinner, but still.  I guess the longer you go sans gluten the more you notice it when you have some. 

On Saturday, not to be deterred by wheaty stomach upset, we started the day off right with gluten free, vegan Chunky Monkey pancakes.  Oat and almond flour, chocolate chips, walnuts, and bananas.  It was amazing.  This was followed by a couple hours on the mountain bike.  I haven't been out on the trails much lately but my bike handling was dialed, which is a nice feeling.

On Saturday night there was yet another birthday related social gathering, but this one involved the burning of christmas trees and the roasting of meat.  If you've never been privy to such an event, let me offer some advice.  If in the event your flame-retardent treated Christmas tree does ignate (as it can and will, if given the right combination of fire and drunk people), I highly advise not breathing in the toxic blackened smoke that will almost certainly rise from it.  Anyway, I made it an early night because I had big plans for Sunday.

Anyone who races bike in California knows about Paskenta.  It's an unsupported century ride every Super Bowl Sunday that becomes a race for people going fast in February.  It's pretty flat.  I've done it a couple times with my dad.  Sometimes we hang with a group for a while, but mostly we just do it to log miles and enjoy the (usually) sunny weather.  Plus, the roads are usually pretty free from traffic as people get their pre-game on.  In the spirit of Paskenta I set out to do 100 miles before the Super Bowl (go Pats!).  I only got in 86, due to a late start, a couple wrong turns that cut off a few miles, and the fact that the high for the day was 39 degrees farenheit.  But it was sunny and virtually wind-free, and I had a great ride. 

This was my route:

FYI - Dunkin Donuts will make you a double expresso (ed. note:  I wrote this early in the morning on nothing but black tea - this is my excuse for spelling espresso eXpresso.  The reality is that I'm always correcting people when the say expresso, in the same way I correct them when they say nucular.  Now I've done it, in print no less, and I look like a jerk).  It's nothing special, but it gets the job done.  And it's a lot better than the drip coffee.  Pictured below in Haverhill.  I chased mine with a chocolate frosted donut and a croissant.  Not on the GF/Vegan/Bike Racer diet, but they got me all the way from Haverhill to West Gloucester, which was about 2.5 hours.  Also pictured, my Sierra Nevada Brewery water bottle, which is kind of like carrying a little piece of Paskenta with me.  Not pictured is my sweet Patriots sweat/snot absorbing wristband that Cody bought me when we saw the game in Foxboro.  It would seem that wiping my runny nose on it for 6 hours didn't actually help them win, despite all indications to the contrary.

A little bit of dirt.

Anyway, I got home, showered, shovelled food, and watched the game.  The second and third quarters were fantastic!  Uhh, probably the less said about the first and last the better.  Fortunately, as much as I enjoy cheering for the Patriots, my happiness does not depend upon their success.  Oddly enough, I had dreams all night about the game.  I find that odd, because I spent 6 hours on my bike before the game, so it semes like that would make a bigger impression upon my subconscious, but I guess not.

And now to proceed through the rest of this coffee-free morning.