Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This blog needs Smell-O-Vision

Ah, the sweet earthy smell of fine roasted coffee.

Our care package of Bella Blend coffee from De La Paz arrived today.

Brent and I have been hovering over it. Sticking our noses into the bag and just inhaling. I don't think I have ever smelled coffee that was only roasted yesterday. Its a little late to make a cup of it, but I am going to get up early tomorrow and make a pot of goodness.

So if I actually manage to get up early (its so easy to say right now and tomorrow morning is another story) and make a cup, I'll give the full review.

Bella Blend - This medium roasted blend has hints of berry and spice with a smooth aftertaste. The Bella Blend is excellent for espresso or drip and always has a rich crema. This blend will keep you pedaling forever. crema. I am all about the rich crema.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Being Hardcore gives me an ice cream headache

We ventured out in the rain yet again today at lunch.

I know I shouldn't complain. What with others riding in snow in sandals and stuff.

But I am only hardcore on the outside. I swear, there was a point in our ride today, where the cold rain pelted my forehead and gave me brain freeze.

Thats just stupid.


On Sunday the entire contents of the Dukes Hotet suited up for a ride.

There is Jen who survived Montana winters without water and slogged through snow to use the outhouse and just smiles wider as the conditions get uglier.

There is Brent, the Bonny Doon bigfoot. And I mean that in the nicest, burliest, hairiest legged way.

There is Laura who says her suffering days are behind her, but she lies. I have seen her win races while she was still drunk.

And there is Michael, who believes in intervals regardless of rain, snow, sleet or hail. Draconian I think was the word.

And then there is me. Who was quite comfy eating banana pancakes and sitting in the warm rocking chair and listening to Retro-Active on the goofy tv music channel and teasing the kitties with the laser pointer and watching the rain outside the window.

The rain.

Jen wanted to do a 4 hour hill ride with 2 twenty minute intervals. Everyone else just nodded a "thats fine" as if there was anything sane about what Jen was saying. I just stared in disbelief. Why do I know these people? They are sadists. I am not a sadist. I am a content banana pancake eater.

So I faked like it was fine with me too. Faked it real good.

And we all put on underlayers, wool socks, booties, rainjackets and skullcaps. Just as I was trying to decide between either two layers of long fingered gloves, or the one layered but cozy warm Gore ski glove, I noticed that Jen had fingerless gloves on.


Off we finally went. Up the mountain. Right into the rain clouds. We did not see any other cyclists, no mountain bikers at Demo as we passed, hell...not even any cars. Even driving in this shit was crazy. (Post edit note - we did see Dan Martin riding up Soquel San Jose. But anyone who knows Dan, knows that he is the king of the sadists and so I think a Dan sighting is just proof of our sadisticness)

We did see raging river waterfalls, rockslides, mudslides and road slides. And my 4 sadist friends. And my wet ass.

As we neared the summit and I felt the pain from Saturday's race in my legs and the pain of the rain in my face, my motivation started to slump. My mind scrambled for an excuse. Surely I left the oven on or the garage door open. Or maybe I could just plead sanity?

And then, the sweetest sound I had heard all day....someone said "Let's turn down Soquel San Jose". I kept my mouth shut...not wanting my wimpyness to be revealed. I was afraid the sadists would punish the weakling in our midst. But instead, they all nodded a "thats fine". I nodded a "well, if we have to". And I did a happy dance in my head.

Brent led us safely and quickly down Soquel San Jose. The rain came a pouring in Corralitos, my hands and my mind started going numb. My friends just pedaled and smiled. At about the lowest point of my motivation, when water was pouring from my helmet and feet and I was choosing the spot where I could wait for Sputnik to come pick me up, Michael asked me to do a few intervals.

"Just a few" he said all cute like.

It was a request that was so far into the realm of the ridiculous, so unfathomable...that I was powerless to call it for the craziness that it was. Numbed with cold and fatigue, I did the silly intervals. I think we only did 3 or maybe it was 15. I have no idea. I only have soggy memories of roostered road water splashing into my mouth and grossing me out.

We finally made it home. I had to walk up my driveway. I had to peel drippy wet lycra from my skin. I had to pluck gravel from my hair and eyes. I had to encourage the blood to flow into my feet again.

"That was fun guys!", I lied.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Eye of the Liger

Went out to Snelling this weekend for the races.

Our Cat 3 team has been having a blast so far, so I was looking forward to this event.

We of course, had all kinds of plans for the race. Who was going to do what and when. We think we're so smart.

We had about 30 something women in our race. I like that. The wind started picking up. I like that even better. And no hills had suddenly popped up on the course. I like that the best.

Lots of team represented, including Alto Velo, Davis, Mako, EMC, Mintys, Bellas and others. It was all the usual slow and go for the first lap.

About midway through the second lap, my wing man Laura flatted. I was devastated. I looked around to see where the other bellas, Nancy and Heidi, were, and they were gone too. And so was about a quarter of the field. (Turned out that someone threw tacks across the road)

So now I was all alone. All of our planning....suddenly meant nothing. My usual job in the irrelevant. I had a small moment of panic. But then, as I took stock of the situation, I felt a little liberated.

Although I will completely slay myself for my teammates, and they are my inspiration for training so hard and the reason I am still trying and training, I would be lying if I didn't say that once in a while, just once every once in a while, it would be nice to ride a little ... ummm .... selfishly ... just to see.

You know?

So I changed game plans. Being a solitary rider amongst teams, I could not chase everything down (Or so I thought but have since been told that thats what a solo rider has to do - blech). I decided to let other teams chase, but to watch for breaks that contained the major teams.

At the beginning of lap 3, a break sort of slid off the front in the cross wind. It was lovely in its subtlety. I saw it happening but noted that it contained none of the teams in the pack, so I was not worried.

Then I waited just a wee bit too long for those teams to react. And when they didnt, or couldn't, I tried to get across. And I failed pretty miserably. The pack caught me before I caught them.

My move, the cross winds, and our frantic chase splintered the peloton. Now we were only about 8 chasing 4.

I was hoping to catch my breath and then get the group organized to chase. With 2 mintys, 2 davis and 3 emc, I figured organizing shouldn't be a problem. Except one super strong minty kept surging super hard and then going to the back to rest, then rushing to the front to surge super hard. Her efforts were valiant, but all they did was disrupt our chase. Her surges meant that we had to jump on her wheel, and then recover.

At one point it looked like we were going to organize, Alexis from Tibco and Amanda from Davis were great at trying to get our little chase to calm down and to organize. We finally got the rotation going and were ready to pick up steam. We inched closer to the group...when Minty surged again. Sigh.

I watched the group of four ahead crab crawl up the road.

There comes a point when you need to flee the sinking ship.

Unfortunately it was Carrie Potter, not me that fled. And I second guessed my ability to make it to her.

And she made it across.

I was so mad at myself. What was I afraid of? Failing and getting dropped? Yes.

I was taking my turn at the front on the bumpy section while i was ruminating all of this. I was way over on the wind side of the road so that I could give my chase mates plenty of room in the cross wind. When Minty surged hard on the complete other side of the road, leaving me to scramble yet again from my spot at front to get on her wheel.

Now I was pissed at me and pissed at minty (only race pissed, not for real pissed). And mad that I kept being so damn afraid. I mean maaaaaad. And I don't get mad.

I vowed to shred the pack apart if I had to and to get across to that break. And if I didn't then I was going to lay it all out in the field sprint even though it was for the last of the tshirt spots.

At that moment I didn't care if I got dropped. I didn't care if I pissed off minty. I didn't care if my legs couldn't handle what my heart wanted. For the first time in a long time I wanted a chance to win. I mean really wanted....a visceral want.

And then I flatted.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

We Heart....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You can be Aldag

Michael and I watched Hell on Wheels the other night.

It was really good. Especially for a visual person like me. It was chock full of visual delights ranging from vintage race footage to behind the scenes oddness to panoramic vistas.

But the part that stood out the best, was the subdued friendship between Rolf Aldag and Eric Zabel. Here were two guys who not only genuinely enjoyed racing, but even more so, enjoyed racing together. A couple of old racing dogs, tied by love of the game and of each other's friendship.


I worked my ass off at Cantua. And I got the data to prove it. I spent the entire second lap in zone 8. I was a salty pot of drool after the race.

And I loved every minute of it.

I have not had that much fun in a race since I don't know how long.

Maybe ever.

Much of the fun can be attibuted to having so many teammates at the race working together, selflessly. Putting into play the many things we practiced. And not settling for second. Going for the win and executing it perfectly. All with smiles.

Thats a big part of it anyway.

But the heart of it is that I got to race with Laura again. And it was just like old times. Except better because now we're older and wiser and we brought flaired out friends.

You ever race with someone...that you know so well, that you can speak sentences to each other with just a look? Thats how it was for us. I don't think we said more than a few words to each other during the race, but we knew exactly what the other was thinking, how the other felt, and what and how we were gonna do what we did.

And then we did it.

It hardly gets better than that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Velo Bella Press Pass

What do the girls want?

More Thor

Friday, February 16, 2007

Days of Wine and Roses

Is there really such a thing as a healthy addiction?


I am excited about going to Coalinga tomorrow. Not even Coalinga but "near Coalinga". A road that parallels Highway 5 near Coalinga to be even more exact. A place known for dairy farms and highway stop gas stations and one of the scariest Chinese restaurants I have ever seen. Nevertheless I've been looking forward to it all week.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I sure can't tell you much about the best boutique hotel in Montreal, or the best shoe store in Paris, or the best spa in Aspen. But I can give you the hookup on post race dining in Copperopolis, Near Coalinga, Bakersfield, and Minden.


I took the shot at the top during an interval this week. Outright stopped mid-interval to pull out the camera phone. Now that I look at it up there I am not so sure it was worth it. At the time it seemed so lovely and romantic that passing without acknowledging seemed sacriligous somehow...but now I am thinking that maybe I was just ovulating.
or pmsing.
Which is the one that makes your boobies hurt?


Hero Worship.

When the NBA All Stars come to Vegas, front row seats are brokered for $28,000.

When NBA players listen to certain music, or drive certain cars, or party in certain cities, those things become over the top popular.

When NBA players put their names on shoes, kids practically kill each other for them.

When a former top ranked and admired NBA star announces that he hates gays and that they shouldn't be in the world.....?


I should go to Target and see what new frizzle frazzle they have.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I wish you people would post something already

Because work is boring me something fierce right now.

I can't talk too much about work and the various weird characters here (including someone who reminds me of Snappy the turtle from the Art School ads), because people here ride, so people here might read.

I should change the posting time on this to noon.


I forgot my Garmin at home today. Serious bummer. I love that lil thing.


The Chappys are movin in for a spell. Then they are taking off for Bend. The righteous part of me wishes them the best of everything on their new adventure and their new home. The real part of me that doesn't pretend to be righteous wants to kidnap them and make them stay right here. With me.

While the Chapppys are at the Dukes Hotet, we will have two Emmas in one house. Look for the videos is all I can say about that.


Whats better, a job you can ride to, or a job where you have flexibility during the day to ride?


Yesterday, a somewhat dimwitted auditor talked down to me and wouldn't listen to what we had to say. This morning, our president did the same.

Today's manipulative terminology:

Political Breathing Space


I wonder what Ann is doing?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Good to be bad

I stunk up the joint real bad at the races this weekend.

Which was good.

Because this weekend was about facing my fears.

And for all my hardcore talk, one of my biggest fears is not the treacherous rain slicked corners with mean tire tossing manhole covers, or Cherry Pic'ing teams set to crush the locals...

but the fear of failure.

Especially in public. As these crits so often are.

And I faced my fears, and failed superbly. And survived. Just fine.

I think the 40s are going to be good.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bell wringing

I just took a shower.

Which means that my hair has been wet for a solid twelve hours now.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Being Hardcore is Awesome!

I'm so hardcore.

I'm so hardcore that I went riding in the pouring rain today for my lunchride.

I'm so hardcore, that I went even though I forgot my chamois (I wish I was making that up).

I'm so hardcore that I had a headwind in both directions (wish I was making that up too)

I'm so hardcore that I kept riding even though my glasses were full of rain and muck and I couldn't see where I was going (they are RX so I need them and thats not so hardcore so shouldn't mention it)

I'm so hardcore that I came straight into work afterwards and handed the auditors papers while water was still dripping from my hair. ("Bam! Here's your stupid spreadsheet!" Except I said that in my head, not like, out loud or anything)

I'm so hardcore that I could still taste crunchy little tidbits of road grime in my teeth while I was eating my post ride non fat yogurt (Is yogurt hard core? Live bacteria is sort of hardcore isn't it?)

I'm so hardcore.

And umm honey? My bike got kind of dirty and icky today. Could you whatever it is you do and um...clean it and make it all better and shiny for me?

Empty blog bag

Actually, thats not entirely true. I just haven't had time. And these auditors are sapping my creativity and my cherished internet perusing

Ann and I have decided to ride today, regardless of rain. Of course, we said that at 9:00 this morning right after coffee and before the dumping began. Let's see where we are an hour from now, after the day has worn on us a bit and the streets are soaked.

I only have a few more moments of brain dead time to waste here before some auditor finds me, better get this blog typed and posted.

Was I this lame as an auditor? All young and bright but completely lacking in common sense?

Maybe its not common sense I gained. Maybe I am just jaded.

I need some of those altoids. Stupid garlic bagel.

Our cat doesn't meow.

If I ride in the rain today, I should practice cornering at speed. Just to see.

Why does blogger now put in a bunch of spaces when you add a picture, but takes out the spaces I put in?

Am I doing this just so I can have a "new scribblins" by my name?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Courageous geek

I am so giddy that my new Garmin is working now, that I want to tempt the rain gods and go out at lunch.

I hate getting wet on lunch rides, but I hate spending my lunch with auditors even more.

Oops, Ann's calling. We're going. Wish us luck.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Vegetarian warning ahead

We had an awesome weekend of bikes, and sun, and vineyards, and racing, and teammates, and laughing, and no pea soup, and showing off, and king sized bed, and short sleeves, and canadian fans, and goofin around.

But all I can think about was that damn tasty kobe burger.

Friday, February 02, 2007


For best results, do not use your microwave's preset popcorn timer

Someone cut that out of a popcorn box and taped it to my computer monitor.

Well, if this afternoon is any indication, its going to be a fantastic weekend.

My ride today was supposed to be a just for fun ride to test out the new Garmin. I was all giddy and excited to ride. I turned on the Garmin and let it do its satellite lock in thingie. About a minute or so later I looked and it was still doing its searching for satellite thingie. A few minutes more, a few power ups and downs and it was still doing the search.

So I took it off and turned it over and sort of yelled at it a little. A Garmin spanking. That didn't work either.

My ride time was slipping away and there was nothing left to do but pedal off and hope it started working.

I stopped a few more times and tried...but nothing worked except for the hr function. What fun is that? No fun.

And now I had no reason for the ride. Today was a freebie day, which at first I was excited about, but without the Garmin as the reason to ride, and without a structured workout, I had no idea what to do. How sad is that? When did I lose the ability to just go ride just because?

I made way towards the reservoir roads. I was feeling kind of sluggish. And since my hr was all I had to fixate on, I fixated on it.

"is that it? 99?"

"Oh, okay, there's 120"

"crap, I'm back down to 105...come on...get spinning"

"Only 130, what the hell is wrong with me? Maybe I need a hill to knock the stuffing out"

"This hill is hard...oh...look at the baby cows! Ack, there's a couple of fresh ones with the roughed up fur and the knockkneed legs...get the camera phone"
"This hill is hard"

"Only 160? Come ON"

"160, 165....167...maybe I will stand....168, 168, 168"

"why can't I go hard? Maybe I am getting sick? I have been feeling a little stuffed up lately....and ack that a tickle in my throat?"

"I'm definitely getting sick"

"I should turn around and take it easy before I get myself even sicker"

Defeated and standing at the edge of some kind of heartrate reducing illness, I was ready to cut the ride short.

But then I saw them. Three riders in the distance coming towards me. Even from far away, even before i could make out the jerseys, I knew who they were.

You can tell seasoned riders from far away by the casual elegance with which they ride their bikes. These three, although riding relatively slowly, were riding very close together. And their knees popped up in a quick rhythm close to the top tube. They rode, like most people stroll.

And when they got closer, I saw the familiar white and red CSC jersey. All three of them smiled sweetly so I gave them a bella style "Ciao". (I have no idea which three they were, Flandria or Ippoc would have known) And the whole thing perked me up enough that I decided to at least finish off my ride and not cut it short.

I was still certain I was sick and pondering if that would impact my weekend...when suddenly a cyclist in a Fox jersey made a right onto the road about a half a block in front of me.

I recognized him as one of my coworkers. I don't really know him that well, and had never ridden with him. I see him leave for rides sometimes on his mtb, in his jeans and tshirt. And sometimes on his road bike in his Fox jersey. He almost always rides alone. He's a bit older (I have no idea how much, just that sense that he's older because he has gray hair) and a bit overweight. Not much, but enough to have the kind of belly that makes a rider sit a little more upright. And, frankly....enough for me to umm....underestimate him.

Still feeling sick, and looking for motivation to at least finish off the ride, I made the choice to speed up just a little so that I could catch up to him.

I sped up. But I wasn't getting any closer. In fact...he was pulling away. Hmmm.

I put it in the big ring...he was still pulling away.

"Oh no you don't. Not Mr older guy who who works at my work and rides in his jeans!"

I put the goddamn hammer down. Now I am looking at this like a bridging effort. Trying to judge how fast he's moving (effin fast), how fast I'm moving (effin fast +1) and how long it will take to touch up without blowing up.

I was down in the drops, hunkered against the wind, powering over the rough roads and making slow progress, and just happened to glance at my hr monitor.


185, 186, 184, 186....

And I finally touch up.

He knows I am there without a hint of looking back.


Thats when I notice.

The legs may be hairy, but this is a familiar routine for them. Very familiar. Cadence was swift, at least 110, without a whisper of movement on top. And then there was the telltale sign of cycling shoes, but no socks.

I recovered in his draft..or at least tried to (177), while he pedaled without missing a beat and while pointing out all of the potholes and cobbly things.

We made the turn to the little hill. This would be the second (and last) time I underestimated him.

I figured that since he was at least 220 pounds (gosh I hope he doesn't know about this blog) I would get a little reprieve on the hill.

Foolish me.

He just kept the same damn cadence, same posture and what looked like the same effin fast speed right up the hill. No change. As if the road were still flat. Which it very much was not and if my stupid Garmin was working i could tell you exactly how flat it was not.

And I fell off.

He peeped a look back, without breaking pace of course, and continued on his way.

"Did he peep back and speed up just a little?"

"I think he did."

"Oh no you don't. Mr Older guy who is kicking my ass and then peeping back."

By the time I crested the hill, he was even further than the first bridge effort I made. But I was feeling feisty so decided to go for it again.

185, 184, 184, 185

I finally touched up just before the turn up, yes up, Willow. I knew my time with him would not be long, and I stammered out a silly but necessary "god damn you are strong".

Without looking back, he simply said "lots of practice".

And I held on as the road turned up

185, 186, 186, 187, 187, 188, 188.....


And then threw in the towel. Exhausted, I finished the climb as best I could and hammered a nice cool down back to work. And noticed how the tickle in my throat was gone.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Mid-afternoon hunger has set in, I'm all out of apples and there are girl scout cookies on the lunch counter. Thin mints.

Getting my geek on

I love maps, and orienteering, and stuff like Google Earth thrills me to no end. In fact, its taken me until this afternoon to write this quick little bloggie because I spent my time this morning playing with Google earth when all I really meant to do was grab a quick screenshot for this post. (Oh and Lauren, I found some of Morgan's routes in Motion Based. me = geek)

And you should see what I do to the poor maps in the car. Heather would be proud.

So when I went looking for a simple basic heart rate monitor, I somehow ended up with one of these instead: It arrived last night and I came right home and barely kissed Michael hello before tearing it open and pushing all the little buttons. Weeeeee! And I think it even has a heart rate monitor thingie somewhere on it too.

I really really really wanted to play with it on my lunch ride today. But Michael is doing a semi epic SC Mountains road ride today and so I let him use it instead. I hope he remembered to push the "start" button.