Friday, December 29, 2006

The Great 2007 New Years Stage Race

The only bummer about bringing all that christmas chocolate and cookies to work is that I am at work too.


Germans love them some buttery chocolately food at Christmas time. Speaking of which, I need to find some marzipan pigs for Amy's party. Jeez, you think there's any stores in the Cruz that sell these silly things? Marizpan pigs. How the hell do these traditions get started anyway? Thats what I like about being second generation. I can pick and choose whatever the hell customs from my culture I want. (Fascism? Nah...but I'll keep the whole almond pink pig thing going. Thanks) So better way to work off the marzipan or mexican cheese than a good ol fashioned stage race.

Bet you didn't know a stage race was going on right now, did you? Well it is. Except I think Lilly and I are the only ones racing it. Everyone else is our props. We might get Bunny to race it with us too. Or JJ.

Its a grueling, demanding 5 stage event that will test the hearts and lungs of someone, but probably not us. Here are the stages:

Today's prologue was held today in Morgan Hill. It was a 40 minute loop around the reservoir and it was a little bit hard. And I only had like 50 psi in my tires. And Lilly missed it. So I might have won the stage race already. The judges are still out on it. If Lilly did something equally grueling tonight, she might be allowed to start tomorrow's stage.
Advantage - me

Stage 1, Saturday:
The Coffee-Coughing-Cocoa loop - Santa Cruz

Don't let the lack of climbs on this stage fool you. This is a stage for the real strong men of the peloton. Which is why you will find us sipping cocoa and hiding behind our husbands. This stage will be won by the rider who knows how to unashamedly hide in the draft the best. Both Lilly and I are equally unashamed about making someone else do all the work. Lilly's husband provides a bigger draft than my svelte but luscious boy, but Steven isn't scheduled to show. JJ has the clear advantage on this stage, but I think we will disqualify her on a technicality if she shows.
Advantage - me.

Stage 2, Saturday Night
The Nutcracker - Flint Center

Lord have mercy I have to take my mom to the ballet tomorrow night. I should get a generous time bonus. At least there will be men in tights.
Advantage - me

Stage 3, Sunday
Thar She Blows Loop - Monterey Peninsula

My old stomping grounds. They are calling me. Its gray whale season too. We need one of those profile thingies for this stage so you can see the big climbs and gasp at what we will attempt. She may call herself the skinniest fat girl, and she may think that the Cacique hampered her physique, but Lilly is lithe and should scramble away from me when the going gets steep.
Advantage - Lilly

Stage 4, Sunday Night
Cheese and Chocolate Fondling Party - San Francisco
I can handle the chocolate, and Lilly can handle the cheese. And lord knows we can take the tickle. But what about the booze? I think I've got wine and champagne covered, but Lilly....she just came off of seven days of visiting with her family from Mexico. And they brought the real stuff with them. Lilly's been doing tequila intervals with the real shit that gets confiscated at the border. I bow to her with my wimpy wine glass.
Advantage - Lilly

Stage 5, Monday Morning
Are you fricken kidding me? - San Bruno
This final stage will decide the winner. Laura has proven that she can party all night and win a race the next day. Who cares that it wasn't on a bicycle? And I will be riding on sheer lust because lord knows thats the only reason I would drag my hungover ass out of bed for a stupid hillclimb.
Advantage - ?

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yesterday afternoon's dilemnas

Start with a wicked fast tailwind, or end with a wicked fast tailwind?

32" or 37"?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This morning's race

I need to hurry to beat this

but I can't move because I am still too full of this

On the way to work this morning, I saw a kid zooming down the sidewalk on a toy motorcycle. He had a smile on his face that will pretty much carry me through this day.

Over the weekend, ants attacked all the cookies and candies that were left on the lunch counter at work. We had to throw them all away.

Thank god.

Been feeling the twinge lately on training rides.

I did not give or get anything bike related for christmas.

Our gift to my mom almost brought tears to her eyes. It will be a long day. But if she smiles, like that kid on the motorcycle, it will be worth it.

Has anyone seen Jeni?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Post ride lethargy

I had just enough energy when I came home from my ride today to grab all of the unwrapped gifts and wrapping paper, and to dump it all in the middle of the living room.

And thats exactly where they all still are, 3 hours later.

Maybe, after I rest up a bit longer, I'll go in search of some tape and scissors.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blame Lauren

I was all done with the man meat stuff.

Really, I was.

And more than ready to move on to something less superficial, like my long awaited post on the men of cross.

But then Lauren had to go and find this. He's the track hunky from the picture below.

This is going on my Christmas Cards this year. Well, if I actually ever wrote and sent any it would.

Solstice and men in skirts

Nothing like knowing that this is as bad as it gets.

I should be doing work right now.
And if not doing work, I should at least be christmas shopping for someone other than myself.
And if not working or christmas shopping, I should be finalizing the 07 clothing order.
And if not working or christmas shopping or order finalizing, I should go out and do these 30 seconds sprints because he's so cute and asked so sweetly.

But I really don't feel like doing anything. Some people go out and celebrate solstice with a night ride, or some merry making. I think it needs to be celebrated by curling up at home, in jammies, with cocoa and a kitty and a trashy novel or movie.

If I could go home right now and properly celebrate, the movie I would watch is Troy.

Although the movie is based on one of Homer's epics, you really don't have to think or anything when you watch it. You just watch it.

Its chock full of yumminess.

Brad Pitt (Achilles) - I don't care how cliche it is to think he's hot. He's friggen hot. Although I do prefer the leaner Brad, a la Snatch or Fight Club, the buffed out Troy Brad is a nice change of pace. If you can make swords, sandals and a mullet look good, you're good. This is a much more physical role for Brad. I'm not sure if he even has lines in this movie. I'm sure he does, I just don't recall them.

Eric Bana (Hector) - Where did this guy come from? Bring him to me.

Orlando Bloom (Paris) - I like him better without the elfen ears. His pretty boy looks are a nice balance to Pitt's glistening muscles and Bana's sexy brooding. The only problem is that Bloom is prettier than Helen in this movie. As if it could have been his face that launched those thousand ships.

Peter O'Toole (King Something or another I think) - Yes, Peter is sexy in this. In that confident distinguished manner that english trained stage actors are. He outacts everyone with just a lift of the eyebrow. Thats sexy.

Where's my cocoa?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

While we wait

This came across the wires on the bella email list (this is the type of important matter that we discuss)

lord have mercy

(except i shoulda cropped the photo right before the nike gym socks)

ice fishin

From the camera phone on yesterday's ride. brrrrr....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

While he stetches

The whole world of beauty pageants freaks me out. From the weirdness that was Jon Benet (and I'm not even talking about her horribly unfortunate death) to the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Miss Universe (how can women from all over the world look so much alike?)

The latest beauty pageant scandal thingie involves the newly crowned Miss USA. It seems as if sometime after winning the title, the Kentucky 20 year old did whatever 20 year olds from small towns do when they come to New York. She partied her ass off. I guess word of her party antics got out. And I guess there is something about winning a beauty contest that you can't go off and do stuff like that or something.

So she's busted and in danger of losing her crown. And the owner of the Miss USA franchise, Donald Trump, pardons her and doesnt strip her of the crown as long as she promises to go into rehab.


3 things strike me about this.

First, and I really could care less whether her crown was stripped or not...but when it was discovered that Vanessa Williams had once posed nude for some photos, she was forced to resign the crown.

But this Kentucky gal breaks the rules (and I suppose some laws) after winning the title and she is granted a reprieve of sorts. Just saying.

The other thing that really strikes me is...

Donald Trump owns the Miss USA franchise.

Thats just an odd thing to own. And now Donald Trump is making some 20 year old go into rehab for partying.

And the last thing is that there was a news conference to announce this all today and all of the media covered it. CNN covered it as a breaking story. In these times of war, this was a breaking story.

Odd. The whole seedy superficial smile too much world of it.

Apparently the new Miss USA has been competing in pageants since she was 4. FOUR. Imagine, if all you have ever known is to be judged on your appearance (and don't give me any of that talent and scholarship bullshit). Your entire worth is built around how beautiful others perceive you to be.

Since you were four years old. The age that kids are just learning to ride a bike, you are learning how to walk in a way that your curls bounce just so.

Who can blame the girl for drinking a bit.

Thank god I was one of those kids who learned to ride a bike.

Nothing makes me feel more beautiful than putting my own body to the limits and emerging tired, dirty, and satisfied. Sure, there are esthetic benefits to riding, but I am talking about the beauty of confidence and inner strength. Nurtured by the company of other beautiful strong women. Beauty that cannot be rated and judged and topped with a tiara and taken away.

Of course, I partied my ass off when I was under 21 too.
And I've been known to wear my share of tiaras.
Too bad tan lines don't go over well in the swimsuit competition.

Crap. I need to finish my post where I rate a bunch of sexy hot cyclocross men.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sign my ass up

I signed up for this.

A hill climb.

Race my bike (carrying my body) up a hill. Without a downhill.

Which in of itself is a thing that just is not on my all time greatest hits list.

But this particular hillclimb (italics are for the disdainful way it should be pronounced) is on New Year's Day...morning.

After an all night FunDo and Belly Dance party with my favorite people.

But he's so damn cute.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Morning stretches

Okay now. Where was I?

Oh of cross, my kitchen remodel, my training, photography, salsa dancing. I think I'm going to do some things for me for a little while. And the men of cross post is first on the list.

Right after my ride.

And some blurbs~

~Its Christmas, you're stressed and rushed, but its no reason to treat the retail folks like shit. Act with some grace.

~Our cat has pretty much taken over the house. I suppose it was bound to happen.

~Has anyone seen Jeni?

~I get so many hang up calls that I don't check my answering machine anymore. I just noticed that its blinking 32. If you called, and left a message, I will probably never hear it.

~We hired a housecleaner. She's getting a raise already. Holy moley that is a worthwhile decadence. I could kiss her. She even made those little triangle folds with the ends of the toilet paper. I started doing that at work out of boredom.

~I just took a Myers Briggs test. I'm an architect. I don't want to be an architect.

~I need a dictaphone. But it needs to be a very small dictaphone so that I can use it while riding. Thats when I have my most brilliant (if I don't say so myself) thoughts and blog ideas. Especially during those times of tranquil suffering. Oh how the mind opens up and freely associates. Goes places you would normally stop it from going. But, the thoughts are like a morning dream. As soon as you leave the suffering, the thoughts perch on the tip of your tongue, and then slowly fade. Plus, I would love to be able to say dictaphone a lot.

~Tranquil suffering is that place just below real suffering. Sort of like Alpha sleep. Its not really sleep, but it feels a little like it. In real thoughts happen there. And if they do, they are only of the most primitive sort. Grunts of survival. That wouldn't make a very good blog post.

~Of course, this is all just on the bike suffering. What do most of us know of real suffering?

~NonAlcoholic beer is straight up nasty.

~Tailwinds are made by the wings of angels. Corny but true. I'm telling you.

~Damn, we're out of eggs.

~I'm your huckleberry.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

While I wait for the rain to stop...

Michael and I are coming out of a party fog. A sort of year of decadence. We have enjoyed a good romp indulging together in some of the guilty pleasures of life.

And we're a bit sore from it all. And thinking, it might be time to tone it down a bit. Give our bodies a rest from the richness and neglect.

And so, I rub my eyes and with some clarity look around at the damage done.

It reminds me of the morning after a New Years party I threw at my house in 1999. It was one of those nights that will go down in infamy. I have a foggy memory of flashes of dancing, wine, gin, nudity, and things I still can't describe.

And that morning, I made my way downstairs, stepping carefully over a few bodies. And looked in utter astonishment at what was my pristine little home. The kitchen floor had about an inch of sticky martini goo that grabbed my socks as I tried to walk across it. Confetti was in every square inch of my vision. Bright pink dried silly string hung from plants and walls. Smooshed chocolate and cheese clung to the carpets.

I stepped back (avoiding still more bodies) and surveyed the mess.

And smiled.
Because it was worth it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What I learned at CCCCX #4

Beards and cross do not mix

Quick Pic

Today's lunch ride was calm, muted, and reflective.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

There's a fine line

between a grimace and a smile

A thousand words

maybe more

and easier to type

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Amy Hall is my wife

and we're weapon's dealers."

and that always got us good service.


Good wine, silly talk, laughter.
Surf City is hard work... but the rewards are

worth it.


My home town has been selected as a start city for the Tour of California, Stage 4. I guess Monterey couldn't be bothered. Passed it on instead to the red headed step child of the Monterey Peninsula.

Seaside was one of those towns on the other side of the tracks. People who didn't live there were afraid of it. Seaside is where the army boys bought their drugs and their women. There were housing projects, pawn shops, and gang members. You could rent a room by the hour at the Thunderbird Hotel, drink at 6:00am at the Oak Tree, or see porn at the Del Rey Theatre.

And minorities lived there.

As I got older I realized thats what some people were really hinting about when they wondered how "we" could live "there".

As I kid, I didn't know any different. As kids usually don't. Until they are taught.

I didn't know it was dangerous, even though Boo Del Rosario stole my halloween candy at knifepoint, and I was jumped at school because I was wearing red (I think I was 7). And even though I knew some of my classmates weren't white, I didn't think anything of that beyond that. I mean, as long as they could swing on the monkey bars, or ride bikes down to the foster's freeze, what does it matter to a kid?

Until you bring those friends home to meet your parents.

My dad had one of those talks with me. I don't remember the talk, but I remember very clearly how confused I was. I was confused because my dad had very close friends who were black and mexican and filipino. We visited with them all the time. In the wandering life that is the military, these friends were our surrogate families. My aunts, my uncles, my cousins. We loved them. He loved them. The men had literally risked their lives for each other.

So what was he telling me?

He was telling me the only thing he understood. He was the result of a family history of racists. And even though he had spent most of his adult life in the military side by side with other races and cultures, and even though some of his closest friends were minorities...he was still a racist from a long line of racists.

But the line was being broken. And it wasn't because I am some good creature of higher moral fiber. Or because my mom told me he was wrong. Its because deep down my father didn't want to be that way, his heart was too big, and he invited people into our lives that a racist who believed his own rhetoric wouldn't do. And by having those people in our lives, I was able to see the contradiction and irrationality of what he said, vs how he lived his life.

And of course, I always do whatever the hell I want, regardless of what people tell me. So my friends, the people I invited into my life, were there because they made me laugh and they loved the same adventures I did.

And my dad softened. As much as he could allow himself anyway.

And SeaSYDE grew up. The army left and with it went much of the criminal element. Seaside became not a place where "they" live, but embraced as a diverse community, in an otherwise homogenous peninsula.

The Thunderbird now welcomes Monterey tourists, the Oak Tree is a tacqueria, and the Del Rey Theater has been long since torn down.

But, its still kind of a funky place. Its still the stepchild of the peninsula. Its foggy, its sunny. Its poor, its wealthy. Its lovely, its ugly. It marches to its own beat.

So when the Tour of Ca hits on Stage 4, I just might have to go watch.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My ride, it was stinkee


Morgan Hill was earning its title of Mushroom Capital today.

I should have expected it. Yesterday, on my ride with Ann, we went by the farms and had to hold our breath. Which is hard to do during an 8 minute interval.

Today, as I slipped out into the country roads, I forgot all about the stinkee mushroom farms. My mind was on finding some roads to climb. And the Baker Report and Yvette at the fairgrounds. And then I got distracted by the silly turkey family that kept zigzagging across the road and the fat guy in the pickup who's dog was sitting on his lap (a big cattle rustler kind of dog, not like a poodle or anything). I tried to take pictures of the lap dog and the turkeys, but me and my camera phone are just too slow. So I took this instead.

Eventually I found myself back at the almost drained reservoir. I stopped to see how the huddled fish were doing (I'm rooting for them). And the smell almost knocked me off my feet. Stinky dead fish, dried guano and murky mossy mud smell.

The fish didn't look so good.

I left that scene real quick and headed back over the hill. As I descended the other side, the mushroom farm stench hit me. And hit me good. It was worse than yesterday. I don't know what kind of poop they are growing those mushrooms in, but I think I may have to join xBun on her mushroom boycott.



For the life of me I can't remember what the point of this post was even about. I mean, beyond the stinkyness.

I guess, if I remember, I'll come back and finish it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tune up

Am I training again?

Felt like it for the first time today.

I felt that little know...that surge of something that collects in the quad, coiling, waiting for, hoping to...pounce.

Maybe its the tempo work in the tailwind. Damn, thats like a massage for the legs and heart. Its the fine balance of speed and power, just below the level of ouch, that leaves you thirsty for more.

Ah but not yet....not just yet. I want to savor this feeling for a little while longer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Down at the Watering Hole

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit.

Thats rubbish.

It takes one.

The day you decide (and I mean really decide) that you want to change.


So...on my ride today, I noticed that the little catch pond down by the reservoir, is almost dry. Only last week it still had some water in it, it seemed. Intrigued, I pulled over to have a look.

The little spoon shaped valley was indeed bone dry....with the exception of some water, no bigger than 40 feet long and a few feet wide, that contained brown churning murky water. The water was churning because it was full of fish. Fish that before had a whole little valley to swim in, were now smooshed together and flopping all over each other.

The scene reminded me of that documentary...about some African watering hole during a drought. And all the crocodiles fight for the last bit of murk, and the fish burrow down in the mud, and lions and antelope are so overcome with thirst, that they drink side by side.

Desperate acts of survival.

There was a family there, taking advantage of the easy pluckings. They only had to dip their nets in the water, swirl them around a few times, and out would come a small handful of fish. The fish were plucked quickly and expertly from their nets and tossed into buckets on the shore.

I have no idea what kind of fish they were. They were big and finny and floppy.

And smart.

As far as fish go anyway. There was this one part of the mudhole that was thicksticky muddy, and the fishing family couldn't walk on it. The fish were all gathered in this area, practically on top of each other, so they could be out of reach of the nets.

Yet, waiting for the family to leave, in a safe viewing distance, was a small flock of seagulls and about a dozen egrets and herons. The muddy shore would not be a problem for them.

And so, with shrinking water, and predators literally lining the shore, waiting their turn...the little fish gathered and gulped. It all seemed so horribly hopeless.

And I found myself wishing for rain to come soon....

......Except not on Friday and Saturday and not during my lunch ride.