Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holy Diver

Okay, its official. These Portland folks are crazy.

Is this what overroasted coffee and lack of sunshine does to you?

The USGP heads to Portland this weekend. Of all the USGPs this was the one I wanted to attend. They may be whacked, but those Portlanders know how to have a good time in the mud. Katie Compton is back from her European stompfest and all the heavy hitters will be there. Velo Bella-Kona will have at least 10 women competing in the Elite Women's race:
Amy Dombroski, Shannon Gibson, Barb Howe, Shannon Holden, Marian Jamison, Anna Milkowski, Kathy Sherwin, Maria Stewart, Kari Studley and Jen Tilley.
(Keep and eye on Amy Dombroski, by the way. She is only 20 years old and was 7th in the last two USGP events and earned the SRAM Most Agressive Rider Award)

But we are not going. Michael and I will probably be celebrating a cross free weekend. Because too much of a good thing, is still too much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

like a hole in my head

I had a root canal today.

It really wasnt that bad. Well, except for all the drilling and banging around they do. But otherwise, it wasn't that bad.

But shhhh, its a lovely day out. And I think I can milk this one for a few precious hours of afternoon freedom.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My New Love Affair

He's brawny.
He's exciting.
He's dangerous.
He's got 6 inches of travel!

And he's swept me off my feet.

because sometimes you need something a little new to spice up the relationship.




Back in my racing days, I was never a skilled mountain biker. I was a power climber. I used to actually hope to make it to the tops of climbs with enough of a gap to not lose my position on the downhills.

I sharpened my riding teeth in the gentle hills of Ft Ord. There is not much in the way of challenges in Ft Ord, save the sand. And I can ride me some sand. But throw a rock, root or just about any obstacle in my path and I am as clumsy as a new born colt.

I remember my first out of town race. It was at Deer Park in Utah. There were roots, on an uphill and I was dumbfounded as to how to ride that shit. I walked my bike as rider after rider passed me while riding. It was unbelievable to me that anyone could ride up such nonsense.

Then I went to Master Worlds in Bromont. The course was riddled with huge boulders. The kind you clambor over to get to a nice swimming hole. Surely people didn't ride over these things. But they did. Lots of them. I flew across the continent for the event, and totally wimped out of actually racing it.

All of my rides were with cross country racing types. I was always in the back, trying to keep up. Trying not to be the one everyone waited for. So, when it came to technical bits, I would just dismount and run. Not much to be learned by that.

So it is now, that I am not racing, that I am finally learning how to ride. I am taking the time to ride just for riding's sake. I stop at obstacles and give them a few redos. I take the more difficult line. I lower my saddle to give me some courage. I take a little air out of the tires.

And the funny thing is, slowing down has made me faster.

Well, that and 6 inches of travel and a thru axle.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Funny Monday

Ewwwwwww.....I so don't want to be at work today. I want the fabulousness of the past few days to continue.

What a lot to be thankful for.

I had the pleasure of riding my Dawg on Wed, Thurs, Fri AND Sat. And I got to ride it on beautiful trails with beautiful friends.

It was a long hedonistic weekend spent eating, drinking, sleeping, savoring and sillying.

Sunday was my recovery day, but I spent that doing math without a ten key, and doing math is hardly ever recovery.

The video above is my buddy Kenny. Its a good cheer me up for those of us stuck inside doing responsible things after a long weekend of debauchery.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Maybe - though I do not bleed - I am wounded,
walking along one of the rays of your life.
In the middle of the jungle the water stops me,
the rain that falls with its sky.

Then I touch the heart that fell, raining:
there I know it was your eyes
that pierced me, into my grief's vast hinterlands.
And only a shadow's whisper appears,
Who is it? Who is it?, but it has no name,
the leaf of dark water that patters
in the middle of the jungle, deaf along the paths:

so, my love, I knew that I was wounded,
and no one spoke there except the shadows,
the wandering night, the kiss of the rain.

I didn't write that, of course, Neruda did. If I tried to write it, well, it would just come out all ridiculous and contrived. So I am stealing Neruda's.

I do need to create though. And not just a chocolate cake.

I have gone too long without creating, and its gnawing at me. Making me feel a little wooden and oppressed.

Speaking of which, have you shopped at Etsy? Its a kindler gentler Ebay for handmade items. Its a little hard to make your way through the millions of items, but I love the concept. And I love wandering through the creations of everyday folks.

I think I'll ride the Dawg today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Got a good one?

I'm looking for an awesome chocolate cake recipe.

You got one?

And none of this vegan crap. I want the full fledged decadence of eggs and butter!

And chocolate.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


La Ruta

I once had a roommate who had done the Ruta several times. I am all for jumping into an adventure, but his stories of the race just made the event seem a bit too crazy. Mud, local knowledge, barely hanging bridge crossings, cold, heat, bad course markings, bad food....

But, even with all the hardships, my roommate had finished the Ruta each time he started it. And it was really the only race he did. Mostly he just rode his bike alot. There was nothing externally about him that would give evidence to the fact that he could quietly complete what had to be the toughest little mountain bike event there is.

I am in complete awe of the people that decide they want to do this. Sure finishing is awesome too. But the strength to say "I want to try that", when failing is such a high possibility...thats brave.

La Ruta Website (which has been overloaded and usually unavailable)
Velonews on La Ruta
Not quite Full Results

Some Ruta Blogs:
Jason Sager
Mike Cushionbury
Bart Gillespie
Biking Bakke
Bend Elite
MTBR thread

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tube tops

I used to think, that if you wanted to kill someone, and not get caught, that a scuba diving accident would be the way to go. There'd be no witnesses and well, accidents happen.

But I think I found another good way. Make them ride tubulars but don't really glue the tubulars on.

Luckily, I didn't die. Well, except for a little piece of my pride that I left up on that sandy hill.

My race strategy for this weekend was simple. Take it easy up the hill, then have a good time coming down the hill. That had been the theme of the weekend and had worked well on our mtb ride the day before. I am not feeling the race vibes at this time, so it seemed a good idea.

For the first two laps this worked like a charm. But on the third trip down the hill, just as I was entering this bumpy little 180 downhill uphill thing, I suddenly splatted on the ground. One minute I was up and the next minute I was in the dirt. I was all dumb from the fall and stuck in my cleats like a turtle, smack dab in the middle of the trail.

People I had just passed on the downhill were negotiating past me, and asking me if I was okay. I felt like the car, that had been pulled over for speeding, that all the other drivers give a tsk tsk'd "serves her right" waggle as they pass.

When I finally unpuzzled myself from the cleat/bike combo and picked myself off the ground, I discovered that my front tire and rolled off the rim. I popped it back onto the rim, and it just floated there, like it was merely decorative.

There was no glue to be seen anywhere.

During my warm up, the rear tubular did the same thing, in almost the same spot, but I didn't go down.

Turns out that neither the rear nor the front had glue. Michael informed me that "oopsie!" he had put the glue tape thingie on backwards.



I'm thinking of inviting him out for a scuba dive trip.


This race had a tequila shortcut.

There was a shortcut in the course that saved, like 20 seconds, but if you took it, you had to also take a shot of tequila.


Also be sure to read how they did the starting line thingie.

I totally want to bring a waffle maker to the next cross race too.


Our summer just keeps on keeping on. Its been in the low 80's here in Morgan Hill the last two days. Not that I am complaining, because I could do summer all year long if given a choice.

Here's the latest reservoir shot. Its all mud in this section and yet, there is still some guy fishing. I have no idea what he's fishing for in the mud. He didn't catch anything while I was there. He just sort of sat there in the mud...waiting. Someone needs to show him the tequila shortcut.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Life in the Pumpkin Patch

I love all the pumpkin flavored stuff thats out this time of year. Pumpkin latte, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin empanadas, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.


I went to Target today. I hate shopping, but for some reason I love going to Target. They just opened up one of those super Targets by my work. It makes me happy. I like to mosy in that Target. Today I mosied in the pharmacy section. I have to say its a pretty weak pharmacy section. And I did the blood pressure thing. I always do the blood pressure thing when I see those machines even though my blood pressure is always the same and always low. I think I like to make it go real low, and leave the display there so other people can see it and go "whoah, thats really low". They should have a permanent display for the lowest readings, sort of like the high scores on Asteroids.

I almost bought the following items at Target:

Purple yoga mat with carrying straps
Snakes on a Plane DVD

But I came to my senses on both accounts.

I did break down and buy one of those 20 Question game thingies. I thought it would be a fun thing for the office here. But I think I got the retarded version. My first word was pillow and it guessed blanket. My second word was lemon and it guessed daisy. I am going to go give it to the guys in IT.

There is a giant preying mantis outside my window. Its been there all day. I totally want to take a cam phone pic of it, but I would have to crawl through bushes to do it. I would have to crawl through bushes in front of the people I supervise. I really shouldn't do it...but man, its so tempting.

Oh, fuck it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Short Bus to Namaste

I went to yoga last night.

I say "went to" rather than "did" because I am not sure I was actually doing yoga. I was doing something, just not sure you can call it yoga.

I live in Santa Cruz County, where people have yoga'd since birth. There are yoga studios in Santa Cruz like coffee shops in Seattle. Its second nature here. But I did not grow up here. I grew up on the other side of the bay, which is the other side of the cultural spectrum. And I was an army brat. Army kids don't do yoga. We do jumping jacks.

Not that I haven't ever done yoga before. I did it for a year, but that was more than 15 years ago. It was Kundalini yoga, a powerful and ancient yoga, taught by some american sikhs at a local Universalist Church. The whole thing was so foreign to me. The sikhs had long hair that they curled up on their heads and they wore these funny little hats and silver bracelets. Their kids could wrap their bodies up like pretzels. We said lots of "sat nams" and listened to an ancient gong and drank chai tea. This may have been no big deal in Santa Cruz, but in the conservative jumping jack county of Monterey, this was as exotic as it got.

And I was lured and lulled by the whole thing. I romanticized the sikhs, and put them on a spiritual high rung on the nirvana ladder. They could touch the backs of their heads with their feet, so they must have had answers to life's mysteries. And if I said my sat nams and drank their tea, maybe I would be spiritually enriched somehow as well.

And then, one day, I read in the newspaper how this particular family of sikhs were all busted for construction fraud in Seaside. Seaside is my people. The yoga sikhs were fuckin with my people.

And I never went back and I hadn't done yoga since.

Until last night. And it showed.

Last night was vinyasa yoga. A slower gentler yoga than kundalini and I figured I could handle that.

I couldn't.

I needed remedial help.

First I walked on the floor with my shoes on. Everyone sort of made the oh-oh face at me and I realized that shoes on the yoga floor is a big no-no. I tried to show that they were Danskos. Surely there was some sympathy for Danskos amongst the yoga set?

So I tiptoed back to the shoe taking off area and took off my shoes. Then I noticed that everyone had mats and things. I saw the mats and things spot on the other side of the room and grabbed one of everything that was there. This included a purple mat, a blanky, a purple styrofoam block and a strap that looked like it was used for something naughty.

When did yoga have so many accessories?

It started off innocently enough with Child's pose. I could do that pose all day long. I'll just lay there and drool. Except my mat smelled like cigarettes. I can think of no logical reason that my yoga mat smelled like cigarettes, but it did. We were supposed to take deep breaths, but each breath brought purple cigarette foam into my face.

I noticed everyone else brought their own mats.

They also all had their socks off. I still had my socks on. Again another big no no. They were an old pair of bella socks and one of my toes was sort of almost sticking through the end of one of them. It kept distracting me, but I was too busy with the inhaling and the exhaling to figure out how to covertly remove them.

We moved through a succession of poses that all had wonderfully descriptive names. It was a blur of dogs, snakes and warriers. Upward ones and downward ones and sideways ones. And breath.

Always with the inhale and exhale. You were supposed to move from one pose to another with one breath.

You try deciphering what the hell downward snake charmer with warrier wings means, while discreetly glancing at the instructor and the people around you to make certain you really are supposed to have your foot next to your ear, all while trying not to slip in your socks, in one breath.

I was always one or two poses behind and sometimes I would have to skip a pose to catch up. I reminded myself of my mom when she does the electric slide or the macarena or the chicken dance in a big group. She doesnt have a sense of rhythym and so she is always on some other step than the rest of the group and clapping between beats.

And just when I thought I had nailed a pose, the instructor would come over and gently "correct" me. Or she would "suggest" the use of the block, a remedial aid of sorts. That really stung. I tried not to be competitive and all, I mean its anti-yogi to be competitive, but none of the other people in our group needed the remedial block.

We finished with some relaxation and then the session was over and everyone quietly gathered up ther mats and made a solemn exit. I hung out a little to talk to the instructor (who was Sarah Kerlin by the way and I hope she doesn't read this and get the wrong idea because I loved her session). We talked about yoga and poses and flexibility and health and fitness blah blah and finally put on our shoes.

When I notice that Sarah was wearing a Vanderkitten jacket and big ass high heel shoes. Yoga teachers aren't supposed to wear big ass high heel shoes.

I'm coming back next week.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pumpkin Pie in the Sky

I should know better than to take my lunch ride at 3:00ish. 3:00ish is the most dangerous time on the roads. I think I almost got killed about 4 times within 15 minutes.

But I was determined to ride my bike no matter what. No more excuses. Not even a lunch meeting that runs until 2:30. So if I have to risk life and limb amongst giant stinky school buses that have no proprioception, then so be it.

I didn't take a cam phone pic today though. It was the same old loop so it would have been the same old picture of the same old empty reservoir.

I rode the Dawg at Demo this weekend and I don't have any pictures of that either. Holy moly it was a hoot. Michael and I rode from home and met up with Russell who was testing out some demo bikes.

There were a lot of people out there, but as is the way with Demo, we hardly encountered anyone. Except at the beginning of the descent. Some guys were about to make their way down the trail. I sort of "cut" in front of them to get to the trailhead first because I was feeling Dawg cocky. One guy got a bit offended and yelled "are you guys fast or slow?". But by the time he finished his sentence I was already shifting it into the big ring. We never saw them again.

Riding the Dawg was a blast. I was smiling so hard I thought I was going to explode. I rode so much that I was outright exhausted when I got home. I think I went to bed at 7:30 or something. And now, all I can think about is going out and doing it again.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A kitty kind of morning

Me and the cats are fighting for space on the keyboard. The computer could be out all day and the cats won't give it second notice, until you start typing on it. Then, suddenly, it becomes THE place to be.

So, in honor of kitty cat mornings, here is a little kitty butt present to the kitty people.

Michael gets his hardware taken out in a couple of hours and this is the kind of stuff we do with our valuable free time while we wait.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I'm not sure who keeps the official records of such things, but I think we set a record for costume cross participants.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Now then, where were we?

I rode the reservoir loop today at lunch. It was nice, even if it did take me about 10 minutes longer than normal.

Sometime this summer, I was getting bored of the reservoir loop. Its pretty and all, but there is only so many times you can ride around the same circle of land.

But I haven't ridden the loop in about 2 months, and it was refreshing and not at all boring. However, I think the hills have gotten steeper in the meantime. Maybe that earthquake pushed up the ground or something.

I almost didn't make it because I am out of practice. I almost forgot my clothes and then couldn't find my helmet and my gloves are all dirty and I forgot water. You can tell you aren't riding enough when you don't have those little organizing routines dialed.

I'll get there. I want to ride my bike now. And then maybe I'll want to train some. Might dust off the heartrate monitor. Might consider intervals at some point. But for now, I just want to remember my helmet and wash the gloves.