Monday, March 31, 2008


Exeter Time Trial, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Its Monday and I have a neuroma.

And I hope this won't be a whine post, but it just might.

The neuroma is killin me. I thought I was a tough chick, but this little bundle of nerves has brought me to my knees.

Michael says my Danskos are probably to blame and that I shouldn't wear them anymore!

Excuse me?

Have you seen my shoe collection? If I don't wear Dansko's I am left with only a pair of flip flops, an old pair of running shoes (as if), some cheap ass Target garden clogs, my go-go boots (that I can only wear for about 7 minutes), and lots and lots of Sidis.

So I went online to look for neuroma friendly shoes. I don't suggest that anyone under the age of 80 ever ever do this. Ever. Not even to just look. Its that scary.

So, now I am walking around the office in my socks and hoping for the best.


Everyone's racing but me. I'm not really sure how I feel about that yet.


Sulpher Springs is every bit a tough climb as I remembered. Are climbs ever easier than you remembered? And, I'm sorry Beth!


Doesn't Michael look like a little misplaced cloud in that photo above?


So, I've been too busy to blog. And too busy to do bella stuff...but not too busy to work on Michael's new site or my pictures. I have had a great time working on Michael's blog and tinkering with it, and getting community interaction going on it and almost breaking the interwebs and stuff. I think it means that I needed something new to fiddle with. So, there you go.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wild Flower

The wildflower display going on right now at Coe is unbelievable (I almost typed "off the hook", but then remembered that I am 41 years old)

I didn't have a camera, and even the cellphone pooped out on me, so I borrowed a pic from Michael.

And although I didn't have a camera, I think, all this recent photo action I have been doing, has really heightened by visual awareness. I was almost overwhelmed by the scenery during our ride. Several times.

What a perfect way to celebrate the equinox and a birthday and the bunny holiday.


SO, while climbing one of the descents at Coe (you'll understand that in a few seconds...) , I came up with the following:

Guide to Trail Riding at Coe with Natasha:

Descent = Rolling hills
Rolling hills = Climb
Climb = get off your bike and walk

I am not even exagerrating. I've never climbed so much on a descent. It was all totally worth it of course, I am just putting this up as a public service.


And just because its the funniest thing in a while:

Friday, March 21, 2008


Camphone 25, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I have turned into a mountain bikeaholic

The Bucolic bikeaholic.

I seriously can't get enough of it. My days are spent either mountain bike riding, or planning my next mountain bike ride.

Even riding sploosh splash right through a giant wet pile of cow poop can't undermine my enthusiasm. (although it does make me wonder what in the world those Harvey bear cows are eating thats given them all the runs)

So, yeah...I won't be at Copperopolis this year.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Camphone 22, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

My laptop is dead...long live my laptop.

Well, less than 24 hours after learning that my laptop would be an expensive fix (i've been wanting a new one anyway because all the photo editing has been stretching it the hilt) I bought a new laptop.

I researched, read reviews, comparison shopped, and plunked down the cash within 24 hours!

Thats a new record for me. I don't make these decisions easily. I usually have to ferret out every piece of information on the subject possible and twist and turn the data and do various scenario analysis and then change my mind 37 times.

But, not having a laptop was a serious hitch in my life. I was motivated. The computer on my desk has spider webs. Thats because sitting at a desk longer than absolutely necessary sucks ass.

I do all my surfing, emailing and photo-ing in 4 places: bed, couch, patio, hotel room.

So I got all impulsive and bought a new one.

And now I am questioning my hasty decision.

Because I did not buy a laptop. Not unless you count Andre the Giant's lap in the assessment. Its more like a suitcase computer. This thing is HUUUUGE. Michael warned me not to pick it up by the monitor (which probably led to the early demise of my old computer) and my new computer weighs so much that it would give me a hernia to even try.

And I hate Windows Vista.

And stupid controls that don't let you see hidden files.

And moving the backspace and delete key to new places.

But I LOVE that big ol mackdaddy 17" widescreen monitor. Not as much as I love chocolate, or Michael, or beer (not necessarily in that order), but its up there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back from the Valley

Slice of the Valley, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I did have some pics from the NRC action in Visalia this weekend, but my Dell just died. I managed to get this one up before it happened. So, you will just have to use your imagination for the race action.

This was the first time in a bit, that I have traveled to a race where I was neither racing, nor had bellas who were racing. I must admit, that I felt a bit out of place, not really belonging. And the race director for Visalia did not make things any better when she gave me one of those passively aggressive "And you ARE....?" questions when I lined up at their free pasta feed thingie.

No, seriously, she did that. As if I came to mooch on her food. And the thing is, I really didn't know how to answer her question. In either a philosophical sense or literal sense. So I told her I was with Velo Bella, (who had no one racing this event), and she sort of reluctantly let the matter slide. And I helped myself to an extra portion of garlic bread.

However, what going to the event unencumbered did for me, was allow me to step back and be an observor. And I saw some cool stuff. I saw some ugly stuff, but I mostly saw some cool stuff.

The ugly stuff, I am going to ignore for now...but I if I find a soapbox around later, I might have to step up on it for a bit.

Now, on to the good stuff.

*Watching Ben J-M win the tt. Ben is dictionary efficiency on his bike. Nothing, nothing moves except those two hugely calved pistons. The same thing happens on the track when he gets in a groove. Its worth coming out to the track just to watch. Of course, I am a little biased because Ben is my neighbor and his wife is a bella, who also happened to help straighten Michael out a little.

*Watching Laura Van Gilder KILL IT in the time trial. She is not a tt specialist, especially for a long one like at Visalia. And she had a good shot at winning the next day at the crit, so you could easily forgive her for slacking a bit on the tt. But she does the opposite. She was attacking that TT and just forcing herself up those climbs. Damn..wish I had my photos for this cuz I have this great shot of her stomping up the final climb. And she's like two years older than me! She's just an awesomely strong woman who loves racing her bike.

*Brooke Miller's sprint smile. I always knew she smiled when she won a sprint. But she also smiles when she's second. She was trying so hard to overtake Ina. (Yes, I said overtake Ina, as if) And you could see that moment when she realized it was just not going to happen, and she broke out in a huge smile that seemed to note and respect just how awesome Ina is.

*Ina is awesome.

*The TIBCO leadout train. Wow. Its early in the season and this team is already turning heads with one of the most amazing lead out trains I have seen in a while in women's cycling. In fact, I don't think I have seen something that impressive since the Saturn days. That speaks volumes about the strength and chemistry of this team. They owned the last two laps of that race even though they were down a few riders. Lauren in particular used her sprinter's timing to deliver Brooke (if you get a chance, check out the last two laps in the video on IBN sports)

*Seeing Vanderkitten at the races. Yes, I have a bias towards kitties and Dave, but I could not help but notice how the Vanderkitten kits turned the heads of the young girls in the crowds.

*Knowing that Aarons and VAC both did school visits. I know exactly how difficult it is for an NRC team to race, travel and then still find time to do these kinds of local community activities. And I am super glad that Velonews covered it.

*Spending travel time with Michael. I have missed our road trips and silly times together. It was a good refresh and reminder of why I want to spend the rest of my life with him.

There was more awesomeness, but I need to go home now and try to fix my laptop situation.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Approaching, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

For some reason this photo makes me hungry. Maybe because it reminds me of a jolly rancher candy.

But there is no time to sit back and enjoy a long lunch hour. No instead, I rush to the bathroom to change, rush to the car, pull out my bike, throw on my shoes, roll off to ride, forget my gloves, roll back to the car, grab the gloves and the cell phone just in case, then roll off again. Then figure out where I want to ride, then change my mind about 8 times, then ride, then ride some more, then realize I am late, then frantically pedal back to work, then throw the bike in the car, run to the bathroom, wash the stinky parts (french bath), fluff my helmet hair, walk through the hallway as if I have been there all afternoon, throw something in the microwave and sit back down to work.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Waiting Room

Morning Stretch, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I took this photo while I was waiting for my mom to come out of a small operation.

Yeah, I snuck out of the hospital waiting room.

Like she would know.

Actually, I practically fled from the room as soon as they wheeled her into the pre-op. And I hopped on my bike and headed for Carmel.

And I rode around in the sunshine and walked on the beach in my bike shoes. And I took pictures of waves and surfers and golden retrievers. And I made cockamamie daydreaming plans of how to retire at age 50.

And five minutes past the last minute I should have left, I hurried back to the hospital.

I am a total believer that every moment of life must be savored. Even if it means leaving the waiting room.

Today I learned of yet another tragedy in our cycling community. Each one seems to hit me harder than the last. I can't imagine how those close to the victims feel. My thoughts go out to the friends and family involved.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Summertime and the livins easy

Evening Stretch, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

It totally feels like summer time right now. It might just be a tease, but I'll take it.


I am soooooo not a winter person. If I could do that endless summer thing, I would totally do it.

Winter depresses me. And this past winter has been one of the toughest. And we don't even have harsh winters here. I'm certain that if I lived someplace like Canada or Alaska (lord have mercy) that I would be a raving maniac loon by January.

So, I'm riding more these days. And that means more unknown bruises. I've got a whopper of a bruise above my knee. One of those bruises thats got like six layers of colors that change daily and a little hard nugget inside. And its pretty horrific looking (which is why there is a pretty picture of the hill instead of my knee)

And I have no idea how I got i. (The bruise, not the picture). I might have gotten it when I did the touchdown almost crash into the puddle at campus this weekend.

But I was too concerned about keeping myself upright to worry about bruising at the time. Literally, my face was inches away from nasty week old puddle mud. The only thing saving me from complete ruin were my two fingertips that were propping me and my dawg up. And when you come that close to malaria/giardia/dysentary mud water, you don't think about the bruises.

Damn I love this sport.