Friday, April 28, 2006

We Killed Big Bird

Last night I had the pleasant suprise of unexpected company. My good friends had just returned from a long trip to New Zealand. And they had lots of stories to share.

I could write a whole seperate blog on these two and how they arrange their lives so they can take 3-4+ month vacations doing things the rest of us just dream about...but thats for another day.

What I want to talk about today is one of their stories, the death of Big Bird.

Apparently, Big Bird did exist. He roamed the plains and forests of New Zealand (and a few other islands). New Zealand had no indigenous mammals (except for a couple of pesky bats) and so, many of the birds did not develop elaborate survival skills, such as uh...flying.

When some big hungry mammals finally did arrive on the island, Big Bird was unprepared. Evolution was too slow a process to save him from the fast footed Maori. And by the late 17th century, the last Big Bird died.

Damn. We killed Big Bird.

So whats this all mean? I dunno. But I can't help but think about our species' impact on this little planet. Extinction is a natural occurance, as is the warming and icing trends of this planet. But, falling meteors aside, these events usually happen over epochs, not centuries or even decades.

We humans are seriously freaking mother nature out.

And I think about it and feel bad.

And yet I will get into my car for my daily 40+ mile commute. And I'll turn the heat up to 68, and I'll eat beef, and I'll chop down the redwood tree that was blocking the sun, and I'll drive to the trail head to ride, and I'll drive to Santa Maria to race, and I'll type this blog.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Act of Contrition

Forgive me coach, for I have sinned.

Its been 2 weeks since my last confession
(unless you count the one under the covers the other night)

But today I ...gulp....
did a ...
I rode in a....

At lunch today I ....

Well crap, I did a group ride.

and it was goooood.

Dragon breath

My second favorite part of our mountain bike ride last night was the beer and garlic fries we had afterwards.

I have since brushed my teeth about 3 times.

To no avail.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My important life

What I did tonight instead of blogging:

*Made a big kettle of pantry soup (vegetarian..sigh...of course)
*Drank 3 galsses of Big House Red
*Pregistered for Firestone MTB
*Made reservations for some hotel in Santa Maria because Buellton is sold out
*ttttttried in vain to fix the "t" on my keyboard
*posted some race reports, which I guess is blogging, but not really
*looked at a funny picture of Horner
*read some blogs over Michael's shoulder
*read some emails over Michael's shoulder but pretended I wasn't really reading them
*read emails, wrote emails, blah blah blah
*deleted emails in my in box, then undeleted them
*got pissed off at the new hotmail beta thingie
*wondered why I am listed in the Wente RR results
*hopped on Michael, got jiggy, but then came to my senses and did dishes and folded laundry instead
*came back to my real senses...

Whatchya gonna do?

I should be attending to all those personal tasks that have been piling up.

But instead I am posting this and catching up on everyone's blogging action.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Need a good head shaking

Trying to do too much, in too little time, without organization...means I am spending a lot of time accomplishing nothing.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Better than Ben's

So, is Floyd time trialing in my mom's glasses or what? You know, the ones she wears when she has to drive in the sun? Or go shopping at Stanford Mall?

He's killin me. Cycling's own little American Bad Ass. Except skinnier.

You have GOT to be kidding me

Was just about to get up and go do sprinteys and its started raining

I can't do it. I just can't go out there in it anymore.

I am just going to stay warm and dry and all spinach dipped out.

Spinach Dip

I swear, you could take grass cuttings and mix it in with a big ol bowl of sour cream and it would taste good too.

Damn potlucks...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I guess women with opinions are still considered bitchy? I thought we were over that.

Guess not.

Billable hours

Got some software consultants here today. That means anytime I spend blogging right now is reaaaallllll expensive.

So I gotta make these posts count

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Remember, when you were a kid, and you got to go someplace exciting, like an amusement park or something? And the night before you could hardly sleep because you were so excited? And it was all you could think about?

I get to go ride singletrack today after work. With Michael.
Its pretty much all I can think about right now.

Dusting off the Surf City graphics

You just can't beat Triffen on a surf board

maybe if he was in a spaceship or something...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Meanwhile, back at the office


think...what was I doing? think....think...look outside window...who's that?... Thirsty. Need wawa. coke. Need change. think...think....Walk to soda machine. woah, head rush!...put money in, take soda. Woah, head rush! Walk back to office. Hi Ann. Sit down. Whew. think...think...think.... oh......lunch is still in microwave.




I'm supposed to go out and do spintervals today at lunch.

But its so nice and happy outside. How can I do sprints when its so cheery out?

Sprints are for angry, windy, crappy weather. This weather is meant for happy riding like spinning or...singletrack.


Monday, April 17, 2006

The view from the rear

I raced Copper(takeyourpicoffunnynames)opolis this weekend.

I did as I have done every year of this race: Last as long as I can on the climb and then time trial the rest of the course.

Its good training. Thats what we say anyway as we are alone suffering in the wind, isn't it?

So one of the first times I ever did this race, I did it as a Cat 4 and we lined up with the Women 35+. I remember back then, hanging on for dear life on the climbs, getting dropped about 1/3 of the way up and crawling around for the last two laps by myself.

This time I signed up for the Women 35+. And wouldn't you know it, its the same women from that race back when. Perenniel hammerheads that just don't quit, like Linda Elgart, Lea Brooks and my own lovely teammate, Liz Benishin. And sure enough, so many years later, they dropped me on the climb about 1/3 of the way up.

Amazingly enough, near the top I saw two others riders (both from the same team) from my group. I was stoked that maybe this would be the year I would not have to ride alone.

But sometimes its just better to ride alone.

Because although we were fighting for DFL and the real race was waaaay up the road, and we had two laps of windy bumpy hell in front of us, these two ladies were intent on playing team games with me. At least I think they were. Either that or they were blissfully unaware. I was guttered, the pace picked up whenever I tried to eat, and one of the riders kept gapping us off when I was 3rd wheel, but it never seemed to happen to her when I was in front.

I couldn't believe it. Were they really playing such games back here in the survival zone?

I decided to call their bluff. When the gap opened, I did not rush around and fill it. When the teammate in front, looked back and saw the big gap that formed, sure enough, she attacked.

Oh no she didn't.

Ouch. Life is rough in the survival zone.

I felt the tailwind. And although I cannot go uphill so good. I can go flat pretty darn well if I don't say so myself. Especially with a pretty little tailwind to coax me. So I let that gap grow and grow and then jumped across alone.

Three who could have worked together very nicely, became two. One of whom who decided maybe it was nicer alone after all. If they were going to make a race of this, so be it. Good clean demented fun.

And so, lap two, I climbed as if I could climb.

and then at the top, I time trialed as if I could time trial.

And it was good training after all.

I so need a mountain bike race right now.

Congrats to Liz who got 3rd in the masters women race. And congrats to former bella Debbie on the win. Healing wishes go out to Debbie's teammate who crashed on the rough descent.

Picture is from Check out their beautiful shots of a hellish race.

Ice Age

Its Mid April
and there is snow on Mt Hamilton this morning

so freaky

Friday, April 14, 2006

Thoughts of dirt and beer

I tasted the dirt,

and it tasted like sheep poop.

But I think I want more anyway.

During my race at Sea Otter I saw a friendly face from the past. I haven't raced a season of mountain biking since 2002, and yet we chatted as if its only been months.

So that got me reminiscing about some fun times on the mtb race circuit. The road trips, seeing the same faces and friends at all the events, dying of heat, and freezing to death, racing alone with nothing but my thoughts and my breath, bonking on a climb, zipping down some singletrack, and lying in the sun and grass with a burger and a beer while waiting for awards.

I dig the road scene and all...but there's something about the suffering of a mountain bike race that gets me. Maybe because the suffering is interspersed with moments of bliss and fun.

Or maybe its the burgers and beer.

Whichever, I'm excited to try a few more mountain bike races this year. Who knows, maybe its just a phase and I'll grow out of it.

See you at Firestone!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lizard like


I want to find a big hunk of sun drenched granite to lie on and bask.

A little sun therapy is just what I am craving.

Might be a long lunch today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We are such delicate flowers

This email is from the head official for the sea otter mtb event:


I want you to know that I am not ignoring you. I have requested that Timberline Timing review the finish results and make sure that all riders that were pulled are given finish results. All riders will be listed on the results.

As for the race; this was not an easy decision. The staff and officials are also there and a part of the event and we want to see the riders satisfied with the event. However we must also look at the safety of the riders and even though the weather did not get really bad, at the time the decision to shorten the race was made the weather was starting to get bad and all reports from weather radar were that we were in for a deluge.

This race is early in the season and we did not want to possibly subject the riders to possible injury and/or illness due to a prolonged period in the rain. We knew the racers would take longer that 4 hours to finish the race but we did not think it was wise to have riders out on the course for 5 to 6+ hours, which we would have had.

Looking back you are right, the weather did not deluge, but it did get cold and the rain did come, and even with the shortened time we had riders coming to the finish with the beginning signs of hypothermia. We as officials try to do the best that we can for all riders, we did not intentionally try to target the women and our decision affected more than just the racers. I stand by the decision and I hope you will try to look at it from the standpoint of the staff and officials. I know the Sea Otter Classic appreciates your participation and I personally appreciate your concern and comments.

Please let me know how else I can help.

Dan Thomas

Awww. We might get cold. Funny. I remember being sent out into a snowstorm at NORBA Nationals at Big Bear. I'm certain if this were real coffee I was drinking right now I could think of plenty more examples where we were treated like mountain bikers with common sense. And there should be safety measures built in for those few who might lack that sense instead of penalizing the entire crowd.

I'm thinking someone had dinner reservations on Cannery Row that they did not want to miss.

Still no response from Sea Otter.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Just when you want to hate the otter

you go and see something like this

Reporting for duty

The bunny at the start of the arduous bella booth volunteer duty

Email of the day #7

Monika of Poland writes:

I collect free brand gadgets from several different brand devices. Would like to receive some triffle. Your firm which who enrich from very my collection.

Please consider sending free gadget of logo Your products to me, if You use to send them.

salutes as well thank you,



Customer Service, hold please.

So yesterday, I sent off a nasty-gram to the Sea Otter folks about the women's expert race fiasco.

I had to. Otherwise the angry thoughts would still be rolling around in my head and I had real work to get done here at the Fox den.

I was thinking about people like my teammate Lorena, who came all the way from Michigan to race the event. Or Ryan, for whom this was her first big expert race. Or 2/3s of the women's expert field. Or, heck, even for me.

Sometime during cross season I decided that the ol leg and lungs were feeling better and I wanted to try racing again. I designated Sea Otter as my first goal. So I worked hard. I even got on the stupid trainer at 6:00am for crying out loud. And although a podium placing felt out of reach, finishing those two difficult laps would have been an accomplishment that I would have been damn proud of.

I know I can feel proud and everything anyway. And I know its just racing and matters not when put into perspective. But those of you who know, know what is missing for me here. Besides, $50 is $50.


So anyway. I wrote my nasty gram. And usually I am courteous and diplomatic. But this time I was not so much. I copied some NORBA folks on it on a whim because Sea Otter is held under NORBA and its a qualifier for Mammoth Nationals.

Well, lo and behold, I got a response back from Dean Crandall at NORBA.


When I left the race course Sunday night, I was told by the timing company that the final results for the XC would show all women that were stopped after one lap to have a placing. I will use these placings as qualifying spots for the Mammoth Nationals.

I have forwarded your letter to Dan Thomas, one of the chief officials for the race. He will respond to your questions as he was involved in the decision and I was not.

Thank you for taking the time to explain the position of the women affected.

Dean Crandall
NORBA Western Region Manager
2308 Forest St
Denver CO 80207
T: 303-333-1059
F: 303-333-0522
Cell: 719-229-0338

So that was nice. Sometimes even just a response or ackowledgment can help the frustration.

Anyone want to take odds on whether someone from Sea Otter will respond?

Makes me want to go to Mammoth Nationals and kick some ass. Unless there's still snow there. Then I don't want to so much.

Okay...I'm officially done whining about it now. I think.

Monday, April 10, 2006

You know what I hate?

I hate finally finding the time to pour a nice glass of wine, settling in on a cozy spot on the couch, with the pillows properly placed and everything all comfy...and then realizing you left the wine on the kitchen counter.

I also hate that the usb connecting thingie on this laptop is busted.

Probably means no otter pops tonight.

No more pizza please

Its P.O.
Post Otter

We've come a long way since the days of watching the pizza bouncy houses.

I hope to have my pictures posted tonight.

That is, if I can find my camera.

I should take a picture of the back of Sputnik. Somehow, after all was said and done, we packed the last remnants of the booth into the Sput and were able to drop off the budget van empty and (sort of) clean. Thank you to all the tired crew who helped pack up last night.

Those things will probably remain in Sputnik for a few more days.

I would do one of those thank you list thingies...but I would probably leave someone out.

But if I did do one of those thank you list thingies, all the team members who came out and volunteered at the booth would be at the top of the list. We could not do this without you.

I hope everyone had a great time racing. I'm feeling a little pissed about what they did to the expert women, but I won't fill this blog with that pissed off energy right now. Maybe next post.

Vicodin kisses go out to downed bella, Julie. We're thinking about you. But please, don't send me anymore bashed in face pictures. Ewwwww.

I am hoping some race reports come in so we can plop them out here on the reports blog. I do gotta tell you one thing:
We were fucking awesome.

And I never thought I would get tired of pizza...but after three nights in a row of delivery...I am looking forward to some Indian food or something.

And some quiet time...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Too tired to do anything but post this

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Less words, more pictures

A gorgeous SUNNY day at the otter.

Bellas Racing

Bellas getting muddy

Bellas shopping

Bellas ?

More otter pops here

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

When Worlds Collide


What a long day at the Otter.

It started out bright and early and then went sort of like this:

1. Load bellaphanalia in my Honda
2. Get gas
3. Get coffee
4. Get bagel sandwiches in Sand City
5. Pick up (not so)Budget rental van in Sand City
6. Transfer stuff from Honda to (not so)Budget van
7. Drive to Laguna Seca and check in
8. Find spot and meet the nice Kona guys
9. Unload van at spot
10. Change mind and decide to leave van at spot
11. Ask about 4 people to move their vehicles so we can park (not so)Budget van
12. Reload van and blow some bubbles
13. Wait for guy with keys to Kona truck which held our 6 tents
14. Fiddle with stereo to get CD to play
15 Realize CD player is broken and put on radio instead
16. Eat bagel and check email, smile at the generousity of love
17. Say hello to Skip and Brenda!
18. Celebrate that key guy has arrived
19. Set up 4 tents and blow some bubbles
20. Change mind on position of tents several times
21. Lash tents to truck, water barrels, and whatever to keep tent from blowing into lake like that one year.
22. Take pictures of pro gals
23. Organize shit and write with the sharpie and make labels
24. Blow some bubbles
25. Eat other bagel
26. Figure out how to open Ultimate Stand bike rack thingie
27. Decide I am going to ride
28. Watch rain pour from sky and change mind
29. Eat Gummi bears and drink (non decaf) coffee
30. Organize more shit
31. Change for ride
32. Ride and determine that toe spike warning was waaaaaaay melodramatic
33. Get muddy
34. Come back
35. Notice Jed washing one of 8 dirty bikes
36. Cut in and wash mine
37. Put away 8 wet bikes and rest of camp
38. Get ride back to my Honda
40. Go to Target to buy new CD player and wonder why everyone is looking at me
41. Get in car, look in mirror,and see mud splattered ALL over my face.

These are the only pics I was able to take today. Hopefully tomorrow will be more but I doubt it. Big thank you to Jed today as I would have only gotten about 6 of the above 41 things done without him. I hope you made it to Carmel in time.

Nigh nigh.

Oh, and there's wireless at Sea Otter so maybe there will be a blog from there. But more than likely I will be go go dancing or blowing bubbles instead.

okay, now Nigh Nigh

Pre Otter Ramblins

I have a 45 minute commute but its mostly all on country roads so I enjoy if most days.

Last night's scenery was made extra exciting by that Aquarius lovin ma nature.

Its like the earth has just finally given up. Its had it. Enough. I passed about 20 (not even exaggerating all that much) landslides on the way home. Around just about every corner, part of the hillslide collapsed, taking with it the trees, rocks and whatnot and splattering it all over the road.

The little local creeks are now raging colorado muddy rivers.

And everything is soaking, dripping, wet.

And Sea Otter starts tomorrow.

And I have to go and set up this morning.

Somehow I am reminded of the year the monsoon hit cx nationals in Napa. And we bellas tried desperately to fly our flair regardless. By the last day of what can only be described as Chinese Water Torture Times Ten, we gave up too. We took down all the flair and packed it away. (Threw it away most likely)

I can't help but think about that as I pack assorted flair, and sidewalk chalk, and hula hoops, and bubbles, and margarita fixins in the car this morning.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What I learned last night

Boba is bubble tea which is tea and milk with little gummy bear balls in it that you suck up through a big straw.

Very little remains the same, but Hot Dog on a Stick lemon smashers still smash lemons in those jiffy popped pimp hats.

We can blame Greenland and Australia for this rain.

Freeze dried ice cream sticks to my teeth.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

No Race Weekend

Michael and I decided not to race this weekend. I wanted to preride Sea Otter and we both wanted to catch up on some chores.

The only thing about racing every weekend, is that you will never catch up on chores. No way were we gonna finish a few months worth of chores in a day.

But Michael did a great job of building my new Kona. I love it and schmooped about it over here .

And after the ride we did hit up Hula's and it was goooood. I love me some Pupus.

And on Sunday we both practiced for married life. I schlepped around in my very frumpy jammies and bedhead hair, while he tinkered in the garage. I think we spoke 8 words to each other all day.

Oh, and I finally cleaned the fridge.

I'm glad there's a race next weekend. And the weekend after that.