Friday, June 30, 2006

Well, crap

I want the dopers out as much as the next guy...but dayamn. I can't help but feel sad for Jan. There is something about his persona that inspires sympathy. I think Michael hit on something here, Jan's human-ness. Even with his geneticically freaky heart and lungs.

While Lance competed machine like, Jan was more human. He had bad days, he crashed, he cracked. Machine like is ...well boring. But Jan added much needed drama to the tour and he had bad days, like us mortals.

Even after repeated defeat, his words about Lance and cycling were always humble, honorable and mature. He seldom lost his temper and he never engaged in that silly melodramatic Simoni-ish trash talk.

And on those days, when he didn't crack, when his form and his motivation aligned...he was the most powerful man on the bike. I loved watching him race when this happened. Gritted teeth, bellowing lungs, and femurs that could pull a train. Good stuff.

I've been rooting for him to win since the Bianchi year. How difficult it must have been for him to win the Tour at such a young age, and to not live up to all the expectations that were put on him at that time. No matter how many National, World or Olympic titles he won, he would not be fully redeemed until he won the tour again. And this was to be the year that finally happened.

I agree with Michael, that this is probably it for Jan. This is no drunken party night with Vino. This is real trubble and Jan is not in his twenties anymore.

How sad.

So be it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More fun with intervals

My interval workouts lately have been very confusing. Since thinking is a skill I turn off during intervals, I usually have to write the interval session down on a post it note so I can refer to it. And its usually in some kind of short hand that only I would understand.

Today's scrawled on post it note looked something like this: (I really need a xbunnycam for this one...)

1, rest, 1
1, rest, 1
2, rest, 1
3, rest, 2
4, rest, 2 ouuuuch
3, rest, 1
2, rest, 1
1, rest, 1
1, rest, 1 yaaaaaaay

So I head out on my lunchbreak, change, hop on my bike...and realize that I can't find my post it note. I look in the car, in my pockets...nope. Just going to have to do them from memory.

I do the intervals, cool down, change, head back to work. After a few hours of work its time for a potty break.

I am a creature of habit and so, of course, I always use the same stall. I open the door, get in, close the door, go about my business, and stare at the door in front of me.

When lo and behold...there is my post it note. Still stuck to the front door where I "stored" it before heading out at lunch.

I can only wonder what anyone using that stall today must have thought the post it note was all about.

Back to Basics

Alright, enough with the drug bust talk already. The Tour is about to start, and its time to honor tradition go back to what the Tour is all about for so many of us fans....

Spandex watching.

And since the tour starts with a prologue, we'll take at those who, while they can't go for long, are really good at the quickie.

The best at the quickie is Aussie, Brad McGee. Unfortunately he threw out his back (how many times have we heard that one before) and won't be able to perform. Shame.

But don't worry. The prologue won't be Brad-less. There is also Great Britian's Brad Wiggins. (Wiggins...what a great last name....but anyway). And I have a special little soft spot for any man self assured enough to proudly don an all white skinsuit.

And then there is David Millar. Hmm. I appreciate that he admitted his guilt and did his time. But still. I'm not sure what I think of a man who needed drugs just for a quickie. His punishment will be this photo. Although there were many flattering photos of him on the web...he gets this goofy mugshotish one instead.

I know, I know...this pic of Rik Vebrugghe is silly. But really, he left me no choice. Belgian men really shouldn't try and sport an Italian do. They just can't pull it off. Ask Museeuw.

I couldn't really think of anything to say about Fabian Cancellara. But I figure I better include him or Flandria would be all upset and stuff. So, here he is.

And, just in time for the 4th of July, there is good old all american boy next door, David Zabriskie. You could have your quickie, and still bring him home to meet your mother. I hope he wins just because I am an american and thats what we americans do, but also because he's good for fun post race quotes. Go David.

oh. Oops. How did that get in here?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


A tantalizing prize.
Pulling, pushing, not giving up.
Sacrificing, delaying, doing without.
So that I might have the strength to nibble.

I don't even like carrots.

Earthquake weather

Its cloudy, warm, muggy, eerily calm.

That could only mean one thing.


I know, I know, there is no such thing as earthquake weather.

But still....

Monday, June 26, 2006

Word to the 098

I'm turning into a mountain recluse. I had to go into San Jose today for errands...and damn, that place sucks. The whole thing was like an assault. People in a hurry and self involved, everyone on the phone, everything so crowded. I felt like a crotchedy old mountain hermit moving in slow motion while everyone whirled around me. How I ever lived or went to school there is beyond me.

Mountain recluse. Right, who am I kidding? I am way too weenie to be a mountain woman. I need to either mtb more or lift weights or something. All this road riding is turning my arms into useless limbs good for nothing more than holding up my hands over a keyboard. This weekend, I wanted to be all independent hear me roar woman, and so I found HIS weed whacker. And after about 20 minutes, figured out how to start it. And after about 10 minutes had to put that damn thing away as I thought my arm was going to fall off. It was so totally hard. The rest of the day my bicep would spasm whenever I held up my arm and today it hurts like someone punched me. From ten minutes. Oh, I broke the little string thing too. Honey, the whacker is all yours. Whack yourself out.

What a great weekend. Amazing how refreshing it is to just stay home and sleep in and drink too much wine and ride too much and other stuff. Not necessarily in that order. I haven't been to Skeggs in a while and it was a sweet treat. All the trails seem to have recovered from the weather (thank you trail builder people of which I should be one but someday I promise I will) and Manzanita was either just a touch more rocky and exposed or I need to re-learn how to ride rocky and exposed.
I think I am finally getting used to my new mountain bike. And I have to kick the retrogrouch in me. I love them damn disk brakes. Holy cow. I hopped on my old bike for a spell and almost fell off a cliff because I couldn't stop in time. Ok..not really. But it felt that way.

In the Skeggs parking lot,I met fellow bella, Piper. She was looking Pooper after her ride. Seems as if she overdid the wine tasting thing the day before. Best line "When you already have a hangover by 8:00p.m., you know you're going to be in trouble". She was also playing hooky on the 8 hours of Sonoma. Sorry Mike!! We missed you...really.

So at Pescadero, I am pinning on my number and wondering why they gave our group such a low range. My number was 098, and usually we are like 650 or something. But away I pin anyway. I get to the line and after getting heckled at by smarter riders than me, I realize that its supposed to be 860...duh. Like it mattered anyway.

And I was super disappointed to learn that the Flamingo House is no more. Its just a house with a couple of flamingos now. Sigh...nothing lasts forever I suppose. Not even a ridiculous amount of cheap lawn ornaments.

Pescadero race was nice and all, but the post Pescadero activities were the best. We excused ourselves from the usual post battle race talk and hit up Arcangeli for bread, cheese and beer. We rolled down the coast and found a perfect spot to sit, eat, schmoop, and stare at the horizon saying something, or nothing. We were in that zone of foggy sunshine...or sunshiney fog, was cool. The capper on a perfect Saturday was a stop at Bonny Doon for a bit of irreverent wine tasting and toasting. And then a late afternoon nap. A nap. Talk about decadent. Talk about lucky.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I used to be smart.
But not so much anymore

101 - 150 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups - Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit outdoor exertion.

South Santa Clara Valley = 130

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Heat Advisory

I'm far too freckly fair fogged skin for this kind of weather. Since I work where its hot, I've been trying to get out and ride in this stuff to get used to it.

Useless is more like it.

I need one of those ice vests.

Yesterday's lunch ride amongst heat wavylines, crick crick noises, and lizard hopping rocks wiped me out. And I was just plain useless today. I could barely turn over the pedals.

The roads were so hot I think I was the only cyclist I saw today. I didn't even see Lula.

I stopped at Chesbro reservoir because the water looked so twinkly cool and inviting. I was thinking I would put my feet in the water and take down the core temperature. I took off my shoes and walked to the end of a little pier thingie, but I just couldn't put my feet in that stuff. It was all fishy smelling and had various green slimy things floating about. I don't know how you triathlete types swim in these things. I remember swimming in Calero in my wilder days, but I was drunk then and didn't know better or something.

So I hopped (hopped is actually far too energetic a word) back on my bike and up and over Willow.

I was cruising down Willow, safely on my side of the road, when quite suddenly around the corner a large gravel truck was heading straight for me. He was half way across the line onto my side. Fortunately I usually descend rather cautiously and today was even more sluggish than normal. I had enough time and control to skirt to the side and out of his way.

Still, seeing that big grill suddenly appear in front of me was a little bit of a shock.

And I couldn't help but think of those Special Eds that almost hit me that day. If they almost hit me and I was a mere foot or two from the fog line, then someone surely would have been reduced to bug juice on that truck's grill. As nasty as one or some of those guys were in their cowardly comments, I would never wish that kind of demise on anyone. Maybe if I were 71% ee-vyl like someone else I know.....

So be safe and best to ride assuming that something is headed towards you on the other side. Thats all.

Safe and sound and heading back into town, I noticed that my temp monitor read 105. At just about the same time I saw the Starbucks. And I know I made fun of Doug when he talked about the Banana Caramel Frappacinos...but damn if that just did not sound like the best thing in the world at that time.

So, I confess, I not only patronized a Starbucks, but I bought one of the most ridiculous drinks ever.

And it was gooood.

And I'm afraid I might want another one tomorrow.

I wonder what Lula's doing right now?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MTB Tip of the Week

Do not put Crystal Geyser Sparkling Mineral Water in your water bottle when you plan on descending a bumpy rocky trail.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eye see you

Russ and Nancy spend most weekends balancing their love of photography with that of bike racing.

Two of the nicest people you could ever meet. And the kind of people, that when you see them, you are reminded of why you love this sport so much.

Funny...when I am at races, I am always drawn to taking pictures of them. While they are doing the same for many others....

I'm so bad

Don't mind me.
Just posting something I can gnaw on tomorrow.

Highway to hell

That little internet test thingie said I was only 32% evil. If thats the case then I suppose some days I am 0% and others I am full bore 100% eee-vyl.

I was getting gas this morning at a little country market on the corner of Highway 152 and some farm road in Watsonville. Highway 152 is closed this week for repair work and while its a hefty annoyance in my commute, its really no big deal to take one of the other routes to Morgan Hill.

Anyway, as I am getting gas, these two ladies in an Acura (or something) pull up. They are all flustered. The driver screams out of the car at me "I have to get to Highway 5! I have to get to Highway 5!"

"okay" I answer

"they closed 152, what are we supposed to do? We've been driving around these fields all morning"

"okay, you jus-"

"don't they understand that people have to get to highway 5? How are people supposed to get to highway 5??" (as if this part of the world exists soley for people to get to highway 5)

"Would you like me to tell you how to get to highway 5?"

"Yes, I have to get to highway 5!!!"

"Okay, you just follow this road on the left (I think I actually pointed instead of saying left) until you get to Highway 129. Go east on HIghway 129 and it will take you directly to Highway 101, where you will go north-"

"HIghway 101????!!!!! BUT I HAVE TO GET TO HIGHWAY 5!!!!!"

She screamed this at me. As if I were the reason that she was stuck driving around in fields this morning. (Which by the way seems far more preferable to me than driving on Highway 5, but who am I to judge?)

I explained that there was an exit from 101 to 152. By now I was done filling my tank and I offered to them that they follow me as I was going in the same direction except I would not be taking the exit to 152 East.

She breathed a sigh of relief as she was finally getting the service she was entitled to as a CaliForME driver.

We headed down the (very lovely if I dont say so myself) farm roads to 129. And she began tailgating me. You have got to be kidding me. It only happened intermittently and when I looked in the rear view mirror I noticed she was on the phone and not paying attention that she was coming so close to me.

Tailgating. Is there anything more annoying?

We come up on the turn to Highway 129. 129 is a busy little two lane road and making a left there can be tricky. An opening large enough for me, but not for my lost tailgater presented it self. It would be a long wait for the next opening.


I made the left.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The hills have eyes

I sort of live in the boonies.

Well, its not really the boonies, but its secluded enough to be one of those places that meth labs occasionally blow up around. And cars are left stranded on the roads for weeks (sometimes months) and only towed away after the local buzzards have stripped the carcass clean.

I am at home in the boonies. But only if its my boonies. And even then, quite frankly, sometimes my boonies creep me out. There are a few roads in my area that I am not all that comfortable riding alone on.

Such is how it is when you are a woman riding alone. Even though there might be nothing at all to fear...protective instinct is always in the back of your mind. I think its wise to be a little cautious and reasonably on guard. But then its hard to completely relax when out on rides by myself in areas that are a little secluded.

And yet, if you don't ride by yourself every now and then, you don't ride. And thats hardly an option.

And so it was, yesterday. My crazy man was racing Nevada City and I was not (crazy or racing). Instead I brought my mountain bike to take advantage of the great trails in the area. Because it was father's day, I had trouble finding any riding companions. But I was alerted to a fun little singletrack that paralleled Highway 20 into Nevada City.

Perfect. A singletrack next to the highway meant I could ride my little heart out, but not be too far into the boonies to worry much.

Of course, that would have meant actually staying on the right trail. Or finding the right trail to begin with.

The trail I was supposed to ride was Pioneer Trail. A well maintained singletrack that paralled Highway 20 for about 20 something miles.

I have no idea what trail I actually started on. It was the duffiest piece of trail I have ridden since the USGP cyclocross race at Golden Gate park. The trail had a giant rut in the middle and a foot of duff everywhere. I remember thinking that this was not fun at all and the guy in the parking lot who said it was rocky was a madman.

But I descended as happily as I could. And descended. And descended.

After much zigzagging on duffy stuff I eventually popped out onto a fire road. There were no signs of where to go. So I went left for a while and saw nothing but bland fireroad for days. I backtracked and went right. After a bit I came to an intersection of 3 fireroads and one singletrack. And no signs on any of them. And the singletrack appeared to go in the wrong direction.

And no sign of Highway 20 as far as I could see or hear.


I did what any self respecting mountain biker would do. I took the singletrack.

And then, in the woods and off on another fire road, just about in the middlest of the boonies that you could get, I spied 3 beat up pick up trucks. And heard the buzzing of chainsaws. Off in the distance were what appeared to be some local boys (with a presence that matched their pick ups if you know what I mean) poaching fire wood (or maybe they had a permit, but I was assuming the worst).

I needed to know where I was. And they were the only people I had seen in the last hour.

And yet, I needed not to be fed to the people under the stairs either.

I decided to go back to the intersection of the fire roads again just in case I missed something.

I didn't. It was as confusing as the first time I stared blankly at it. I decided nothing to do to do but buck up and ask the texas chainsaw massacre dudes for directions.

I caught one of them just as he turned off his saw (its safer that way I hear). "Umm....excuse me" I muttered as politely yet as confidently as I could muster. He turned to look at me and appeared for a moment to be a bit taken aback. I forgot that I was full bella'd out. And that seeing a pink and blue flaired out bella, on a kitty kat bike, with a giant flower in her helmet in the middle of the woods you are poaching (or not) might be a little.....odd.

And yet, after a pause for surprise, this man whom I had made so many scary generalizations about, was polite and kind. He told me that I was about 3-4 miles away from Highway 20, that I had probably gotten lost on the network of motorcycle trails and that I should backtrack on the singletrack to where I came from or follow the fireroad back to 20. He asked about my bike and told me of other great places in the area to ride. He was generally cheery and seemed to welcome the excuse to pause from his work.

Phew...I was relieved to have had my bearings readjusted (in more ways than one I suppose) I wished him a happy father's day spent oak "gathering". (Except I didn't say it with the quotes).

.........And took the singletrack back just in case.

Let the Monday begin


I just spilled coffee all over my crotch.

Now I have to sit here at my desk until it dries.

Its bad enough I don't dress cool enough for this place, I can't add to it by walking around looking like I wet myself.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just another racing casualty

Yesterday I had a rare and precious free lunch. No riding and no urgent tasks. So I took the Toaster in to get a very long overdue wash. Poor Toaster.

And this morning, I almost didn't recognize my car.

I wonder whats going to happen when I finally make time for that hair cut?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Swiss Miss

Someone looks to be on their way to winning this thing...

and the tour.

Tow Truckervals

Yesterday evening was my favorite ride of the week. But I think Karma came to quickly cash the check we wrote her on Tuesday.

I was climbing up Aptos Creek, pushing what I could to get a good tempo workout in. Michael was rattling on about something alongside me. I really have no idea what because I don't hear so good when I am huffing up a climb and I've told him so but that doesn't stop him.

So I'm huffing up the climb and about to settle in for the long second half of the ascent, when suddenly I can't pedal anymore. Not in a "oh I'm so tired I can't pedal anymore" sense that usually happens to me, but in a "shit, my cranks won't budge" sense.

I pull over to the side and get eaten alive by mosquitos while Michael tries to figure out what the problem is. Apparently the little doohickie pivot thingie was coming out and touching the chainring bolt thingie. Or something. Fixing it would have involved pulling off the crankarms, or something more involved than we could handle with a mini tool in the midst of a mosquito swarm.

We resigned to the fact that our ride was over. I was bummed that I wouldn't get to the swoopy luscious descent that is the treat of the ride. But...I was a little chipper over the fact that I wouldn't have to huff the last half of the climb with my personal drill seargeant barking "encouragement" next to me. Nothing left to do but coast, downhill, back to the car.


But he tricked me.

Michael offered to switch bikes. I was game because that meant that I could pedal downhill, which is fun too. I forgot about the long flat section at the end.

Once the road flattened out, I zipped past Michael, completely forgetting his circumstance. "Heeeeeey!" he yelped helplessly teetering, "honeeeeeeeeey!"


So I backed up. And he gleefully hitched up to me and said, "let's go".



The rest of the ride out involved me huffing, while I pulled a coasting giggling drill seargeant out of the woods.

He's so going to get it the next time he bonks on a ride with me.