Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Retrospective (edited for the bloggysphere)

Well, another year come and gone. It seems the years just keep flying by more quickly.

Work has remained good for both of us. cyclistrick continues to work at the startup company he joined a year ago. Things seem to be progressing well there, but we're not planning an early retirement or anything. I left my position at a mid-sized company in Cupertino after nearly five years to take a position at a very large company. Things are going along well there. It should be an exciting 2008 as our team has already undergone a re-org, and I'm assigned now to a very challenging project. I will either sink or swim with this opportunity, so keep your fingers crossed.

Most of our year revolved around my newest avocation - bicycle racing. I joined a team called Velo Girls for 2007 and raced over 20 times. I mostly did road races, but also tried some track and cyclocross racing. cyclistrick came along for many of the adventures and kept the team well-fed and well-photographed during the races. It was a mentally and physically challenging season. I am looking forward to 2008, as I now have improved fitness and a better idea of the kind of races that I enjoy. I will be racing for Velo Girls again in 2008. cyclistrick will also be trying his hand at racing for the first time. It should be fun!

Two highlights of the year were our vacation to Canada and finishing my Master's degree. In June, we went up to the Canadian Rockies for a couple of weeks. We did a lot of hiking, which was a nice change of pace. The only downside was working my cycling fitness back up after our return. Even high-intensity hiking for several hours a day does not equate well to bicycle racing. Darn! In August, I started down the final straightaway with my Master's degree - the e-Portfolio, which is about 100 pages of scholarly writing with links to work products that support 14 different 'competencies' the degree holder should have attained. This work superseded cycling for most of the weekends in the fall. I finally got a sign off on it in early November. Hooray! Cyclistrick again facilitated all my work with lots of help around the house and lots of cooking meals for me. I don't know how I could have survived the year without him.

We managed to get in several visits with the family in Arroyo Grande this year. It is always great to go cycling with my mom and see my dad, aunt Phyllis and Grandma. Grandma moved in with my mom and dad over the summer. That has been a challenging transition for everyone. But, this way she gets adequate care without the need to spend a lot on outside help.

I continued to make my way up to SF most weeks to meet with my women's group. It has been 11 years now since I first connected with these ladies. I cannot measure how valuable it is to have women who know me to the core and who have been in my life for so long. They are a sounding board for every major decision in my life and I trust in their wisdom and counsel. Hopefully, I am able to provide the same for them. The trip is made more palatable by being able to carpool with my friend Ann who moved to Palo Alto this year. Also, we've recently gone to an every-other week schedule, which is more doable.

Well, my hope is that 2008 is a little slower-paced. I even got my library card in the hope that I will be able to read a little more this year. I'll again have a busy cycling season, but plan to keep it a bit more compacted in terms of calendar running time. I'll also be taking on a leadership role with our church to lead a 'communications' team. So, I'll still be pretty busy. But, here's hoping there will be plenty of time to relax with my honey and occasionally share a meal with good friends.

Wishing all of you good health, love and unexpected blessings for 2008,


Friday, December 21, 2007

Before Sunrise

Deep crimson from the east
Robes the last of the gingko queens
In rich, golden splendor
The drones approach their throne room
Fumbling through the darkness
With their offering of twinkling lights

Twenty brave soldiers pass by
Beholding the scene in reverence
As they huddle together for warmth
My eyes awaken to observe
This mysterious Beauty, profaned
When I try to capture it

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ride 'em Roller Girl!

I conquered yet another fear today. I learned to ride the rollers. Of course, I felt a little guilty, since those were supposed to be Rick's b-day gift, and he's only used them for about 15 minutes so far. But, then the feeling of terror overcame my feeling of guilt.

I started with one hand doing the death grip on the frame of the garage door. Then, I moved so that I could lean my left hip on the frame of the door slightly until I got rolling. Of course, I also got to practice not freaking out when I would 'bump' with the door frame. I had issues with shifting and getting all squirrely, but I was able to remove one hand from the bars briefly by the end of the hour. So, all in all, it was major progress. Hooray!

Friday, December 14, 2007

First Pass at the Races

Well, like a kid looking forward to Christmas, I anxiously awaited the NCNCA schedule coming out - mostly to see if Kern was on there. It was! I am so there this year!

OK, so here goes the first pass (DRAFT ONLY):

-March 8 - Menlo Park Gran Prix
-March 16 - Bariani RR
-April 11-13 - Madera Stage Race
-April 27 - Wente Crit
-May 11 - River Rd. TTT (Pretty stoked about this!)
-May 16-18 - Kern Stage Race
-May 26 - Memorial Day Crit
-May 31 - ICC Dash for Cash
-June 1 - Steinbeck Crit
-June 28 - Stockton Crit
-July 19 - Watsonville Crit
-July 27 - Foster City Crit
-Aug. 3 - Timpani
-Aug. 23 - San Ardo

I might throw in an MTB race somewhere for fun and probably some track, too. And, this schedule is still subject to family committments, etc. But, I think that overall it is better than last season's schedule. Note that other than whatever hill climb is in Kern, the schedule is FLAT. Flat as a pancake. I've learned that unless I suddenly start generating Brooke Miller's power numbers, this 5'10" gal with weight in the 160s ain't going to get over them hills with the little girls. So, this season will be about working my strengths. Last season was about learning, exploring, and apparently working my weaknesses. :) No Wente RR, no Pescadero, no Mt. Hamilton, and no 9 month season. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fraternization between the generations - cool!

Oh how I wish I had a picture! We had a team ride on Saturday and had 5 generations represented. We had one woman in her 20s, one in the 30s (me), three in the 40s, one in the 50s and one in the 60s. That was so cool! I really cherish what I can learn from women with a lot more riding and life experience. I think it's great for the generations to sharpen each other - in whatever the discipline is. The comingling of freshness, wisdom and experience can be magical, which is why I hate when I see companies that only have young workers - as if innovation shouldn't be informed by experience....But that is a whole different topic for another day!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advantages of riding a fred (utility) bike for midweek training

At the risk of sounding like I've taken a big swig of the Rivvy juice, I have to say there are some advantages to riding a utility bike during midweek commuting/training. There is beauty to having a wider tire with a bit more tread and high handlebars and fenders and canti brakes.

The bike I ride this time of year is a bit of a Frankenbike. It was originally a Soma Doublecross, which I built up for touring. It has a triple crank, bar end shifters and a Brooks leather saddle. The handlebars are WAY up to the sky, right where I like 'em. All fun and comfort (as opposed to my racing bike, which is tollerably comfortable, but I don't prefer to ride it). Since purchasing this bike, I've added S&S couplers (yay, free plane travel for the bike), fenders, dynamo hub with lights and a saddlebag for commuting. I switch to more substantial racks for touring. This bike is quickly approaching 20,000 miles and will probably hit it before daylight savings switches back. It's been through the Alps, the Pyrenees and many, many trips between home and training rides and work.

This morning, I hooked up with my friend Erika for a loop in the Los Altos Hills. She brought our friend Josh along. Admittedly, it was some work for me to lug my 40 lb. rig with luggage up the steeper part of the climb we did. But, as soon as the road turned down, I was seriously gapping the other two. Then, I left them to go back to work and continued on my ride. I added on another loop that went into Cupertino. As I was coming down the home stretch of that loop, I saw this nice piece of single track that I've always wondered where it went. So, I pulled off on to the trail, since I had a lot of time before my first meeting. This is not something you do on a rainy day on a racing bike. I whooped and hollered my way along the trail and ended up needing to do one runup in a steeper place. I can't practice my mounts with the saddle bag. So, I just threw my leg back over and continued. I wasn't sure where it would end up. I turned down through a horse farm, which dropped me off near the railroad tracks. I knew those paralleled Steven's Creek. So, I followed them along until I dropped of on to a road and eventually on to Steven's Creek. At that point, I had about an inch of mud on my tires and a bunch splattered on the bike in general.

Sweet single track in the green space below:

After a quick diversion home to use the hose, I headed into work with a nice 2.5 hour training ride and some 'dirty girl' training in the mix.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

seeing spots

Today, we met up with Alicat and Merkeley in Gilroy for what I've deemed the Gilroy double loop. We rode out from downtown Gilroy, across to the Gilroy Hot Springs Loop and then back across to the Uvas/Chesboro loop. It was beautiful and sunny when we started and threatening rain the last 20 miles. We even passed through some freshly rained on territory as we passed around the west side of Uvas Reservoir. It felt really fallish with the rain drenched air, yellow leaves and walnut smoke in the wind.

This pic was taken as we took a quick 'bio break' at the reservoir. Rick pointed out that I could have gotten a more scenic background in the picture. But, then I figure cycling racers feel at home next to the port-o-lets. It really wouldn't be a racers gathering without one, right? Of course, Rick isn't a racer yet. But, he will be. You can tell, because he was the only one without a PowerTap or nifty, logo-covered team kit. But, we decided to let him tag along anyway, so he could school the rest of us in proper hill-climbing technique.

It was a fun ride, and Ali gave me lots of great tips and advice on racing and training. According to my PowerTap, I spent 40% of the ride at threshold and 60% in recovery. AKA, "Junk Miles". But, it's the fall, so who cares, right? It was all about having fun and getting the know our fellow bloggers. Afterward, we satsified our hunger at the local Chevy's. Nothing like a big basket of chips (or 3), beers and good food all around.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Heaven help me...I think I'm becoming a dirty girl!

In college I had a mountain bike. I rode it all over San Francisco for transportation. On the weekends, sometimes I pretended to be a mountain biker and went to trails in Marin where I would walk most of the 'ride'. Then, a back injury took me almost completely off the bike for a few years. That's when I loved surfing and hiking.

Then, I discovered triathlon and road cycling. And, it's been a 6 or 7 year love affair with the road. All road all the time. My favorite non-training-specific activity is discovering a new gem of a road that I've never ridden before - or some new combination of familiar roads. But, the prospect of venturing on to the dirt on a road bike, or even touring bike freaked me out.

This year I went on a few mountain bike rides and did a CX clinic and race in the name of improving my handling skills. Now, I'm all confident and stuff. I know I can ride a fair bit of dirt on the road bike, and can ride just about anything I want on knobbies (not counting boulders, logs, and massive drop-offs).

Now, I find myself daydreaming about quiet roads that end in a bit of dirt or single track and connect up to other interesting roads. I practice my mounts here and there. The possibilites are expanding. I like singletrack. I never thought I would say that. Heaven help me, I think I'm becoming a dirty girl.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Outsmarting Ourselves

On the LOOONG drive home yesterday, we pulled over in lovely King City to grab some lunch. We spotted a Sinolonese Mexican restaurant that seemed to be pretty popular, which we took as a sign of the edibility of their food.

We both pondered the menus for a moment or two and discussed what we were going to order. We discovered that we both were going to order the mole chicken. Normally our litmus tests for Mexican restaurants are mole and carnitas. The carnitas were advertised as being deep fried and served with french fries. So, we opted out of that dish. I said "I can order the chile verde, and then we can share." We agreed on this plan.

When the waitress came, I ordered the chile verde and pointed at the menu to make sure she was clear on what I wanted. Then, Rick ordered as I was distracted by the burley, Harley man slurping away on a giant bowl of menudo at the table across from us.

About 10 minutes later, the waitress came with TWO plates of chile verde. Apparently, in our eagerness to avoid ordering two plates of mole, we ordered two plates of chile verde - the consolation dish. Sigh. The good news is that it was pretty darn tasty. We'll have to stop there again and try the mole another time!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm Thankful For Today

I'm thankful for my sweet husband, who is the best companion a girl could ask for. And, I'm thankful he was born (insert ultra-geezer status here) years ago today!

I'm thankful for parents who are happy and healthy and a big part of my life.

I'm thankful for the other friends, acquaintances, family members and the community of faith that create a beautiful tapestry of interactions that inspires me.

I'm thankful for work that I enjoy.

I'm thankful for the health to be able to enjoy cycling and travel and all the other adventures in this life.

And, I'm thankful that I can eat a big meal today and ride my bike for 4 hours tomorrow so that it doesn't settle permanently on my hips!

Monday, November 19, 2007

If it's too hot in the kitchen, go for a long ride!

The first part of the weekend had a kitchen theme. cyclistrick's surprise gift arrived, and I forced him to open it, because I knew we needed it for the weekend. Saturday morning, he opened the new pizza stone and got it all prepped to use on Saturday night.

Later that morning, we headed out to do some volunteer work with people from our church. We knew we were going to be 'gardening' or 'deep cleaning'. When we arrived, we opted for the cleaning. We joined a team deep cleaning a kitchen built in the late 1950's or early 1960's. By the looks of it, it hasn't been deep cleaned since it was put into action. Yuck! We basically got assigned to deep clean and reorganize two sets of cabinets. I was regretting the weight training from the day before as I did deep knee bends several hundred times with stacks of dishes in my hands! By the time we did our 4 hours there and ate some lunch, ran a couple errands and did grocery shopping, it was time to forget about throwing in a bike ride, too.

I iced my back when we got home as Rick did some preps for our Provencal pizza. I'd seen the recipe in Cook's Illustrated and wanted to try it. It was a simple pizza with caramalized onion, olives and a tiny garnish of anchovies and thyme. Vegan types could easily remove the anchovies and still enjoy it. The pizza stone did it's job and it was yummmylicious! Of course, a smattering of goat cheese on the top might also be good :)

Sunday, we decided to remove ourselves from kitchen duty and go for a long, adverturous bike ride. It seems during training times, I get in a rut and do the same set of routes over and over, because I know the terrain and approximate time to complete them. Now that it's fall, it's time to try random things that are new again. So, today, we headed out to Los Gatos for a climb to Skyline we've never tried before.

We got in some CX practice, too! They had closed off the lovely, well-graded cement ramp up to the dam on the Los Gatos Creek trail. So, we had a nice run up on the very steep dirt trail to the right of the dam. Then, I got to practice my remount before diving into the single track along highway 17 up to the Bear Creek overpass. We crossed over the freeway and headed for Black Road, which looked like a fun climb.

It started off fast and furious. The first 1.5 miles were pretty steep and I was making ample use of the 24x34 gear on the touring bike. Then, it slacked off to a mellow climb until we passed Gist Rd. I thought "hey we must be close to the top", but we weren't. This was about 3 miles in. Then, it got steep and steady again. At one point, I had my sternum down, spinning my legs wildly, looked down and I was cranking out a vigorous 2.7 mph. Yee haw! It then seemed we were close to the top. We passed a big trail head. I thought we must be almost there, so picked up the pace. But no. It just kept on going. So, I had to tone it down again (in order to stay away from the anaerobic summer intensities). Finally, we reached the top and stopped for a snack and photo op and minor adjustment to Rick's seat. I think the climb totaled about 5 miles.

An older gentleman came up from the one-lane portion of Skyline just as we were stopping. He said "Oh, you came up Black, good for you". I said "Yes, it was a first time, and it was pretty." He asked "Pretty?" And I replied "Pretty steep?" He then laughed. We then slogged up the much more gentle grade of Skyline for another few miles before making the happy descent to Highway 9 - our first real descending in over 25 miles. Going down 9, the cars were pressing us, even though were were going 30-34 (speed limit of 30). We even passed an accident cleanup and they kept pressing. I haven't been that uncomfortable on a descent in a while. I think we finished the day with a blazing 12 mph average. But, it was a lot of fun and a perfect fall adventure.

Our next adventure will be to connect Montevina with Bohlman/On Orbit. Again, this will likely require the touring bikes as there is a good section of dirt between them.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

online shopping meltdown

It's the time of year when I need to think about spoiling the Boy. So, I popped online to do some shopping. I don't really do the other kind of shopping if I can avoid it.

First stop was a cycling retailer for some rollers (not a surprise) to help my trackie in training. Then, on to procure the surprise gift. I found one of what I was looking for, verified it had good ratings, made sure it was made in the USA (still no guarantee that slave labor didn't make it - but that's a whole 'nother topic), put it in my cart and set off to check out. I filled out their ridiculously long form for contact info, then the payment form, clicked 'submit' and then the web application threw a fatal error. Ugh! Hoping it was a transient problem, I tried again with the same result. The third time I decided to pay with PayPal and route around the whole problem, but it blew up again! Then, I got a payment confirmation from PayPal, which means I probably ordered the same thing 3 times! Double Ugh! So, I try to call customer service - busy. Phone orders - busy. Non-800 number - busy. Guess everyone else was having the same problem. Sigh. Maybe I will reconsider my shopping strategy....Or not.

Monday, November 5, 2007

fall riding and romantic memories. Yipppeee!

Well, finally having some time on my hands and no team commitments right now, I've been able to spend some time luxuriating in long fall rides with my honey.

Saturday - Los Altos Hills

Saturday, we got out early so we could make the memorial at 2 pm. We decided to do some meandering through the Los Altos Hills. We rode the flats up to Arastrdero, then left on Purissima, right on Elena, left on Robleda and right on Duval up to St. Luke's Chapel in the Hills - the site of our marriage 2.5 years ago. We did some kissing intervals and looked out at the view before heading back to Elena. We turned right on Moody and then left on Tepa for the steep, short climb to the quarry. We crossed over to Magdelena and descended to the flatlands again. Very nice!

Saturday afternoon, we attended Leone's memorial. It was nice. Leone and Bill had recorded themselves with him singing and her accompanying a few months back when she was dying. They played the songs with pictures of them on the screens. It teared me up really good. Fortunately, there were only two sets of folks I recognized (besides the family) and none that recognized me. So, we didn't have to do any of that awkward "I remember when you were this tall" bit.

Sunday - Conquering El Diablo

Each year in the fall we've made a tradition of returning to the top of Mt. Diablo on our bikes to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement. This was our 4th trip, so 3 years since our engagement. We've done 1 up north gate, down south gate and loop back in the flats; one up and back on north gate; one full loop including Morgan Territory after the summit (that one hurt); and yesterday up and back on south gate. We took our friend Erika for her first climb of the summit. We had lots of company, as we were climbing in the midst of a large Filipino cycling club (probably about 40 riders). It was fun, and we did it at a VERY leisurely pace, which was great.

We had some pizza and beer to replenish and returned home. It was a great day!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

bad news first, then good news

A very sweet lady named Leone, who was my first piano teacher in San Jose passed away this week. Her liver and kidneys have been failing for about 3 years, so it wasn't a surprise. Since moving back to the south bay, I've made an irregular habit of popping in and visiting her and her husband Bill. They've been pretty much housebound, so having visitors is a good thing. Bill likes to tell tales of racing at the Hellyer Velodrome 'back in the day'. Seeing as he is about 85, that was a long while ago. He's at peace and happy that she has 'gone home'. I'll be attending her 'gone home' celebration this Saturday at the church we attended when I was a wee tiker. There will probably be lots of "Wow, you're Sarah??!! I remember when you were this tall" (hand held at waist level). But, it will be good to go and give Bill hugs and love from the rest of my family.

In MUCH better news, I just got an email from my adviser that the last section of my thesis is signed off. Hooray! I'll be all graduated in time for racing season '08. Yeeehaw! Now I just got to work on making my spine happier....

Monday, October 29, 2007

No longer a CX virgin!

Yet again I got to try something new this weekend - cyclocross. I guess I had to see what all the hoopla is about. A while ago I thought I should do 1 CX race this year and decided I should do the Psycho Cross weekend. That way, I could get a clinic in and then race while it was still fresh in my head. Plus, if all else failed, I could enjoy the costume race!

Some of the girls I've met through Velo Girls decided to do a group costume of superheroines, so I joined in with them. They designated me Cat Woman, since I already had the vinyl and whip. I bought some vinyl cat ears for my helmet and a pin-on vinyl cat tail. It was quite the look. Janet was Bat Girl. Cindy was Robin. Cara and Jenny were Supergirls, and Lauren was Princess Leia. Rick threw on a hoochie tee, boa and tiarra and was a cute diva. All sorts of fun! If you want to see some other cool costume pics, check out Flandria's blog.

I used the costume race as a warmup, but cut the most technical part of the course. The vinyl jacket didn't allow me to stretch back enough for the steep downhills. Our group costume was one of the winners! Yay! Free beer!

Before going to the line for the real race, we bumped into one of my new co-workers, Paul, and his girlfriend. We did quick intros and then I had to get on the line.

The start was weird. They pulled the C's over to the side and let the A/B racers do a lap before starting us. But, I thought they were going to put us on the line and then start us. All of a sudden, the whistle blew, and I wasn't even straddling my bike. Ugh! So, I pretty much started in last, but that was OK, because I just was there for fun. The first series of obstacles was a log, runup, remount and a steep, off-camber little uphill. Two of the C's crashed on that off-camber uphill. After hearing they were OK, I dismounted and ran around them and remounted. At the beginning of the second lap, Beth handed me a water bottle, which was great. Thank you!!! Each lap I heard cheers from my costume buddies who weren't racing, Olaf, Ms. Vello Bella, and of course, my sweetie!

I continued on my own in no-man's land after that - not really passing anyone and not being passed by anyone in my field. I froze at the top of the big, steep downhill and ran down the first time. The next 3 laps I rode it, though. Occasionally As or Bs would ask to pass, so I slowed down and gave them room. At the end of the 3rd lap, I caught and passed a C racer on the big run-up. Yay! I held that to finish in front of her. However, I did get lapped by the top three C racers in the last lap.

I know that if I work on the technical aspects of CX, I could be MUCH faster. My dismounts and mounts were sloppy and I missed a lot of them, coming to a complete standstill over and over. However, it was a victory just to ride through what was described as a very technical course (some things I would have never attempted before this weekend). And, I did it without crashing! Yay!

Thanks to the Bellas for a great race with lots of great prizes and fun. And, thanks for the great clinic, too!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Finding New Muscles Every Day

I went to the Velo Bella CX clinic yesterday, which was a total blast after I got over being terrified of some of the technical aspects of the course. Linda Elgart was coaching our small group. She was great and coached us through each section - how she might approach it and various alternatives.

I finally learned how to do a moving mount, which is cool. It is slow, but I can do it. It's more of a walking mount than a flying mount. Of course, it took me a bit longer than the others in my group to pick it up. When they were moving on to barriers, I was getting "uh, you might want to work on mount and dismount a while longer". Translation: "You are going to hit the barrier and it's going to leave a mark".

Another fun part of the day was hearing Sheila Moon whooping and giggling her way around the course. She was clearly having a LOT of fun!

Then, I woke up this morning and discovered a couple dozen muscles that I didn't even know were there.

Today, Costume Cross! I need to go zip tie some stuff to my helmet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Josh's 40=40=40

Yesterday, we attended our friend Josh's 40th birthday. He called it the 40=40=40. He rented out the Stanford track to run 40 laps with his friends. But, more importantly, he was trying to rasie $40,000 for the American Cancer Society. Up to yesterday, he had raised $37,000. I walked a few laps with my gimpy back and otherwise joined in the festivities. cyclistrick took lots of pics.

It was a very festive event including a serenade by the Stanford band and cheerleaders. I think Josh will like this photo the best!

Shamless plug: If you feel passionate about the American Cancer Society and want to help Josh reach his goal, visit his fundraising page here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cycling in the deep south - south bay, that is

With no plans for the weekend and most of my thesis signed off, we decided to lolly gag today and go for a long ride. We drove down to Los Gatos to do a ride we haven't done in a long time. We rode down through the Coyote Valley (a little too quickly - WIND!). Then, we turned up in Morgan Hill and rode up to Chesboro reservoir. Then, we turned back in the wind and rode past Calero, through Almaden, up and over Kennedy and back to our car.

It was our first long, fallish ride, with a little crispness to the air. We went through the pumpkin patches on the way down. We saw a few red and orange trees (not enough) and smelled smoke in the air once. But, mostly we just got blown by the wind.

And, I got yet another reminder that I really need to eat more calories when doing these 'easy' rides. I'm defecting all the time, so I can't deficit so much on the bike. Today, the Powertap said I burned 1350 calories. I ate 350. Do'h. I was so bonksville at the end, it was all I could do to hold my head over the handlebars as we descended Kennedy. We piggied out at Willow Street after. Then, I came home and had a hot bath and promptly fell asleep in the tub. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've left the 60cm+ club :(

This week my quads dropped to 59.5 cm. It must be all the running. Oh well, I also lost a couple pounds. So, I'm not going to complain too much!

I'm all dressed and ready to hit the track today. Maybe that will beef them back up. I hope my back is OK. It's become very cranky during the two weeks off the bike. Thursday riding and yoga helped rehabilitate it a little, but it's definitely not 100%.

I just turned in section 15 of 16 for review on my thesis. 13 of 16 was signed off today, and 14 of 16 is in second round review. If all goes well, tomorrow all 16 sections will be in the review process! Yay! The end of the tunnel is near!

Sunday Update

The track was fun. I could tell my back was hurting my power, but I had fun, nevertheless. All the girls (Me, Dorit, Christine) got paired up, as we were the slowest 3. We had one pursuit in which we worked really well together. The second round, we blew apart a bit. My favorite was the chariot race. I need to get more confident in my starts. I don't start well from a hold. I know this from TT, but it is much more important in a 1 lap race! We started with scratch at the beginning - 8 laps handicapped. That hurt. I was tired from the 40 laps warmup, which was quite brisk. I forgot what it was to suffer since my last race in August. I felt a little queasy. I guess I'll really get a taste of pain at the Halloween CX in a couple weeks. Should be fun.

I sent off the last section of my thesis for review last night. And, I did prep work for the launch of the web site redesign for my former employer. And, I did laundry. It was quite the productive day! I wrapped up all the hard work by 8:00 pm and had time to watch "This film is not yet rated" documentary with the rickster.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Track this weekend and Halloween CX

OK, I'm putting a stake in the ground. I'm going to race low key track this weekend - if it's not raining, that is. To accomplish this, I will dust off my helmet and ride tomorrow and Friday so my legs can remember what it feels like to ride before I punish them.

As of today, I have 10 of 16 sections of my thesis signed off and turned in. Wooo hoo! 14 sections are in the review process. So, what does this mean? Cyclocross weeekend on the 27th and 28th! I'm going to join the Bella clinic on the 27th and then give the race a whirl on the 28th. I just have to decide if I'm going to be Sarah Mistress of the Web or Sarah the voodoo doctor. The mistress of the web thing would have to be modified, since I'm pretty sure I can't ride my bike in vinyl pants....hmmm.

Please vote for a costume.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Being a yahooligan and other general mischief

Well, I'm sitting here on lunch break at my new job hopped up on free espresso drinks trying to get acquainted with all things new. Oh, and I have a nice view of the bay from my cube, so that makes me happy! And, I can walk to work, which is swell (about 30 minutes each way of brisk walking). If I bike, I'll definitely have to add on, or it won't be worth donning ye old spandex.

Last week the boy and I engaged in general mischief before getting back to the grind. We started with an overnight in Carmel and a 20 miles-ish ride out and back on 17 Mile Drive. Some deer decided they wanted to play at Spanish Bay.

Thursday, we drove a little south of Lucia. I almost lost my cookies at one point and had to take over driving. We parked at the base of Nacimiento-Ferguson road to ride up and over to Mission San Antonio. It was wet and drippy at the start of the ride. But, by the time we got to about 800 feet, we were emerging from the fog. Like a dumbass, I decided to bring my standard double chainring bike. I had to hump it up a lot of spots in that brutal 7 miles climb. As we started descending the other side, I realized quickly I had underestimated food and water required for the ride. It was Hooooot over there. I didn't much enjoy the second half of this ride as I was perpetually hungry and dehydrated. But, I survived and enjoyed seeing the mission I had not seen before. It was also cool to check out a new route. 55 miles and 5,900+ feet for those of you climbing gluttons. This is an epic route with VERY little traffic - definitely not to be missed.

Thursday night we stayed over at Ragged Point. The view was minimal, but the hot shower and dinner were great! In the morning, the fog had lifted enough to see the coast, but it was still overcast. Friday morning, we headed down to Piedras Blancas to check out the elephant seals and then went to the new visitor center at Hearst Castle. The visitor center changes were just a bunch of new concessions - thumbs down!

We had a quick lunch in Cambria and then headed to my parents' home. We got to hang out with them, my grandma and uncle (mom's brother) out from Florida. Cyclistrick got busy doing bike maintenance for my mom while I visited.

Saturday morning was the big event. My mom has been training all summer to do her first metric century. She set her sights on the Lighthouse. We weren't really trained up for the 100 mile distance (no time for long rides), so we decided to join her on the 100K. It was basically an out and back on the coast with minimal climbing. And, the weather was perfect. Everything converged well to help her make her goal. I kept her on task with eating (but not too much) and drinking and ran a stop watch at the rest stops so she would not get too cold. We stayed on schedule and finished in 6 hours running time, 5 hours riding time. And, at that nice, mellow pace it was the first endurance ride I've ever done where I didn't get completely dehydrated. I was so proud of my mom for reaching her goal. And, she had a smile on her face all day - even at the end!

Sunday we headed home to a pile of laundry, shopping and some JavaScript homework. And, then the week of settling and orientation began in earnest.

I'm off the bike for two weeks and filling my days with walking, yoga and running. I already miss my bike!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm such a slacker! (but not enough of one)

Wow, this is only my 5th post in September and likely to be the last for this month! I haven't been living up to my Chatterbox handle.

Every time I start a new job, I promise myself I will try to take all my vacation every year. And, somehow I never seem to be able to live up to that. We were hoping to get on a cycle of a two week international trip each year and one week domestically. I just finished 4.5 years at my job last week and had 4.5 weeks of vacation cashed out. So, that means I wasn't making my goal. Oh well, I bought myself a nice watch to make myself feel better. And, I'm taking this week off before starting the new job.

So far with my week off I've done laundry, watched 2 movies with the boy, written 6 sections of my thesis, helped coach a cycling clinic, had dinner with a friend, did a JavaScript assignment and went on a MTB ride. Phew! Tomorrow I start slacking for real! We'll be hitting the Big Sur coast for a few rides we've been meaning to do. And, we'll be joining the mamma on her first metric century. How exciting!

Hopefully we'll have some great photos to show when we get back - either that, or we'll have some nice shots of the fog!

Monday, September 17, 2007

sorry for the silence - Track FUN!

So, I've been pretty much mired in masters' thesis work and wrapping up things for my last week at my current job. But, I did get 4 out of 14 sections signed off by my adviser on Friday. So, I was able to join in the fun at the track on Saturday!

We joined Olaf and Velo Bella, PAB, xbun, panda, & merkeleybike for the festivities. PAB headed off for a road ride to Morgan Hill. Olaf took pics and gave out tactical advice. We had a great session this time. In the warm up, the pacelines were tight and smooth. We followed with bumping drills and 2x and 3x pursuits. The day ended with a 5 lap scratch race. It was a happy day because I finally got a bike that fit me reasonably well and didn't have me longing for a shot of demarol in my sciatic nerve after the first 5 minutes! Cyclistrick had a bummer day because his chain broke (again) and he blew out a tire in the scratch race. But, he still had fun!

This photo is of me after attacking from the rails on lap 2, turn 2 of the scratch race. I would have had a nice gap and someone to work with....

If this guy behind me would have bridged instead of bringing the whole, darn pack up with him. But, the girl in green on his wheel appeared to be his lady friend, so he probably didn't want to ditch her to work with me....

I didn't really expect that this was a winning move, but wanted to see what it would take to get a gap on the track. It is a great deal harder than on the flat, open road.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WAAaY too busy!

Well, big change is afoot for me. Decisions have been made and balls are rolling. More updates forthcoming. Meanwhile, I'm waaay too busy to compose anything witty, or really anything much at all.

We rode through north and east San Jose to watch the Saturday morning festivities at the Hellyerdrome. That was pretty cool. Then, we got home in time for me to spend about 7 hours on my thesis project. I think I'm going to need to cut back the socialization in the near future for a while (but still hoping to play hookey long enough to get my 3rd beginner session this Saturday).

Sunday, I had breakfast with a couple neglected friends and then hit the thesis again for about 4 hours before going to the memorial for my friend Lou Sunday night.

Last night I hit it for about 3 more hours after work and finally got caught up to where I wanted to be by the end of the weekend. Now, it's a wait and see until the adviser returns the work with comments. I did get to see the fabulous end to the Niners' game! Mike Ditka was slurring his speech by the end. I think he must have been hitting a bit too much of the sponsor product or something.

Well, that's my unexciting life update. Later, ya'll!

Update 9/12/07:
My adviser just wrote that she is approving 2 sections! Wooo hoo!!!! I get to go to the track on Saturday. Yipppppeeee!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

school girl

Sitting at home on a Thursday night working on JavaScript assignments and reading the first round of feedback on a chunk of my thesis project. Sigh. I'm such a goodie-two-shoes nerdy one. Hopefully I'll survive to be a fun-party-girl come December!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Introverts' weekend of socialization

Despite the fact that I'm chatty on my blog, I'm a bit of an introvert. Cyclistrick is an utter and complete introvert. And, we spent pretty much the entire weekend socializing. I think we've done so much socializing, we're probably done for the year.

Saturday, we went out to the Hellyerdrome. I mostly went because I wanted to see all the other bloggers who were alleged to be coming (had yet to meet PABcid and Xbunny). But, I also needed to get one more high-intensity workout in, according to my coach. And, I want to finish up my 3 sessions so I can race next season if I want. We hung out with VeloBella, Ippoc, Marscat, Xbunny, PABcid, Olaf, Alicat & Merkeleybike, lil'ninja and Natasha. We all huddled together in a small patch of shade created by the Bella pop-up. It was HOT out there. The whole lot of us retreated hastily once the session was done to go have lunch at a salad bar. Mmmmm.

Later in the afternoon, cyclistrick and I met up with one of my teammates (also a blogger), kim. We played mini golf and melted ourselves in the sun. We then headed over to a little cantina for some refreshment.

Sunday, I spent most of the day working on my thesis project. But, we did get out for a couple hours on the bikes and ran an errand while we were out.

Yesterday, cyclistrick and I got up early :( to go spectate the Giro di San Francisco :) We cheered on kim and evan in the W4 race and then cheered for Anna and Alicat in the W3 race.

We headed home after the W3 race to make a brunch with my former roommate and a couple of her friends.

Phew! That was a lot of socialization. Time for a nap!

Friday, August 31, 2007

we take a break from this cycling blog for...puppy love!

My black lab, Corky is about 14 years old this year. That's beyond ancient in puppy years. He probably isn't much longer for this life. But, he's lived out his golden years in puppy heaven at my parent's home near Pismo Beach.

It's kind of a long story why he ended up living with them, but he's been very happy there. Here are some pics my parents snapped with him at the beach this week.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

San Ardo - out with a fizzle - yay for the teammies!

Well, we made the whole weekend of going to San Ardo to race with the Tri Flow development team girls. My head wasn't really in the race, but I was looking forward to working with them and helping however I could. Thursday night rolled around, and my throat was scratchy. Then, on Friday night it was more sore. And, I felt like I was run over by a truck (OK, a little Hyperbole). Anyway, I think all the work stress of late had put a chink in my armor.

When I woke up on Saturday, I knew I didn't have a 48 mile race in me. I just didn't. So, I opted to be number-pinner, feed zone volunteer, team cheerleader and all-around gopher.

It was a fun day. We finally met some of our blogger buddies - Dr. Kim, Doc Nitro, Marscat & Ippoc. We also chatted briefly with Alicat and agreed to give her feed on lap 2 as well. We chatted with Flandria and cheered on her hunny when he was in a break in the men's 4 race.
Photo: Lindsay Owns the W4 Final Sprint!

We dutifully did the feeding - took care of the teammies and Alicat and one of the husbands who was racing. Then, we headed up to the finish line to watch the action. First we got to see Marscat come in 5th of the W30+/M55+ combined race. What a stud! Then, the W4 women came in. Lindsay was looking strong and was 3rd wheel coming out of the corner. We were yelling hard for her, and were thrilled to see her take the win! Mason finished a strong 5th. The rest of the girls trickled in. We heard two of them and two others had been involved in a crash. I hope everyone is OK. Just road rash on our two girls. I didn't see Melissa from EMC finish, so she must have been in it. We saw a Dolce Vita with bandages on but looking OK, so she must have been the other.

I crashed on my mom's couch for 2 hours after getting there from the race. Then, I slept 10 hours last night. I'm starting to feel better now. Rest was definitely in order. My goal this week is to try to let stuff roll off my back more and stay relaxed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dunnigan Fun and what-nots

This was the first road race that I've done with 50 women in the peloton. That was pretty cool to see at at W4 race - especially at the end of the season.

I somehow screwed up my hydration and suffered through this race a little. I don't think it starting 1:10 behind schedule helped, either. When our race started, I thought I had mistakenly signed up for a crit. We were rolling 30 in the flats! Holee Cow. Of course, throw that effort on me and then add even the slightest undulation and POP! That's the sound of my lungs and legs exploding as the peloton leaves me behind on the second roller. It was a good day for coaching a few other women on how to work together off the back. We never got our machine well-oiled, but it was still a good learning experience for everyone.

Sunday, I took the current Tri Flow team out to the coast for a 3 hour ride from Half Moon Bay. It was beautiiiiiful on the coast - so clear and lovely. But, Oweeeee! My legs were hurting. Oh, and I forgot about that 2 mile climb in either direction just north of Tunitas Creek intersection with Highway 1. That thing put the hurt on me both directions. On the way out I dropped my chain and was playing catch up with the group. On the way back, I was just plain broken. But, I managed to stay with most of the girls - minus the 3 fairies that were floating up the hills and chattering off the front. Dang skinny girls! I'm pretty sure one of them hasn't even passed the century mark. I think her helmet and bike weigh more than her body.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

forgive me Coach, for I have sinned

Today was supposed to be a rest day. Well, I AM supposed to do yoga tonight....Anyway, I've been driving so much lately. I couldn't face the prospect of getting in the car again this morning, so I bicycle commuted. I know it might not have been the best thing, but I really wanted to. I went really easy and worked on just spinning fast in my 39x23. Sabine pointed out on Tuesday at the Twilight Crit that I was mashing (doh!). I know I have a tendency to mash. I did good breaking myself of it earlier in the season, but I've let myself slip back into the habit. I think I do it more when I am reaching for big power/speed. Hopefully some time on the track this fall will help me retrain the legs again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

thunder thighs and pea brain

Well, with some quality assurance from Rick, I was finally able to get an accurate measure of my quads.

At the tanline: 48cm
At the "Most muscular part": 60cm
Head: 56cm

Note: Rick's (puny climber boy) quads are smaller than my head.

Monday, August 13, 2007

slummin' in the east bay and marin

This weekend was all about mixin' it up, spending time with friends we've neglected since racing season began, and mileage overload.

Saturday, we rode with a teammate and her husband who are moving out of state. They live in Fremont. So, we rode from Fremont to Berkeley. There were lots of new cycling roads in there - Redwood, Pinehurst, Skyline and Tunnel. Lots o' fun. We even caught a glimpse of the rare blue and white Spotted Panda while descending Tunnel into Berkeley. We lunched at Top Dog and then headed back on the BART. This was our warm-up ride for Sunday. 45 miles and 3,900 feet or so.

Sunday, we got up WAY too early to arrive in SF at 7:30 at the Sports Basement. The ride was supposed to be a 70 mile jaunt to Nicasio with a few friends we used to ride with all the time and some of their friends. All in all, there were 13 of us to start the ride. Again, a lot of this route was new to us, except some pieces we've seen on a couple centuries. When we arrived, our friend Erika had forgotten her shoes. So, we had to wait for Sports Basement to open so she could buy a pair. At 8:20 or so, we finally rolled out. The route had been modified to include a loop out to Pt. Reyes. We had a very mixed level of fitness and skill from regular endurance riders and racers to a guy who rides 1 x per year. Therefore, there was a lot of stoppage and regrouppage. All-in-all, I think we had 6 hours of riding time and 9 hours out on the course. It was a really long day and I have a biking hangover for sure. Highlights were the descent between Mill Valley and Larkspur and the whole stretch from Pt. Reyes through Olema and back to Fairfax. Lowlights were losing two of our riders in a crash (no major injuries, thankfully), the whole line of riders getting buzzed and 1 hit by a pickup truck while descending into the town of Nicasio on Nicasio Valley Road (again, thankfully no major injuries), and the ride back through Sausalito and the throngs of tourists on foot, bike and in cars.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How long can an interval last before one crashes and burns?

Me crying like a little girl at the end of Peskydero

I find that often cycling is a good metaphor for life.

There are seasons. There are times to rest and rebuild and times to push harder and take it to the next level.

Lately, my life feels like the season that never ends. I feel like I've been pushing zone 4 for about 3 years and wondering how much longer I can sustain the effort before I crack.

Previously, my life had a season of rest and rebuilding. I had come through some really rugged times in 2001-2002 with big changes and a lot of adversity - much like coming off a big crash with a long recovery. Things finally settled into a rhythm. It was comfortable and restful. I was rebuilding for this next season. There was quiet, and long bike rides and a 40 hour work week. There was lots of time for joy, peace, love, meditation, prayer, contemplation and lots of other things that keep me recovered and strong.

Then, in 2005 I went into a hard training and racing block in my life. I got married, went through a home remodel and started a masters program all at the same time. Then, before finishing the masters program, I decided to add on actual racing (sanity of that decision is questionable). I can finally see a potential end to this season with the culmination of my masters degree in December. Or can I?

I'm contemplating some changes coming up. The question is, am I going to extend the hard effort - maybe ramp it up to an even higher intensity and head to the next category, or am I going to be purposeful about moving myself into a more restful season? Decisions, decisions.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A good race!

Well, my measure of success may be different than some of you who regularly step on the podium. However, I am happy that yesterday I had a successful race. Our team assembled yesterday morning for the Timpani criterium. I did not put any expectations on myself other than to have fun and be safe. Honestly, my head has not been in racing for the last few weeks - mostly due to several high stress situations going on in other areas of my life.

I started the race on the outside and in the back half. But, as the race went on, I moved to the inside more toward the front and actually found myself on the front a couple times for various reasons. About halfway through the race, a handlebar into my butt forced me to the outside coming into the start/finish stretch. That was actually a good thing, because on the inside, there was a nasty crash. I saw a bike flying high in the air. It looked like Tracy from Velo Bella was down the longest. A couple of our girls got caught in the mayhem, but they were unhurt and able to reintegrate. I hope everyone is OK.

Anyway, I was actually in this race enough to try to make a move to help the team with 2 to go. Unfortunately, the Mintie Mafia had a better move up their sleeves. But, for me, it was a success to even be able to try something tactical, even if the attempt failed. I pretty much blew my last gasket with that move, and limped across the finish a little behind the lead group. But, overall, I was happy with the experience. Yay!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Holey Moley what a week!

Today is my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!

I finally launched a huge project with my team last night. It's been a year in the making, and we're really proud of the work we did. And, I've been busy with email from all our regions at all hours answering questions, hand-holding on the new process, etc. I'm beat, and I hope to catch up on some rest over the weekend (ha! a girl can dream).

I missed the Twilight Crit last night due to the launch, but was able to squeeze away from my computer long enough to catch the Tri Flow team workout in Woodside. What a fun bunch of ladies! I'm sure they will do well in their first race. And, if all goes according to plan, I will get to race with them, since their race is also on my calendar.

This weekend is Timpani Crit, which will be a treat, since it's just a few miles from our home. Rick is going to pull my trainer over to the race with his Burley trailer. It should be fun. I am looking forward to this race, but also looking forward to some fall fun with long rides that have absolutely no purpose to them other than to watch the changing leaves and smell the smokiness in the air. My favorite time of year is just around the corner. Hooray!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Take me out to the vel-o-drome

Take me out with the crowds....

The rickster and I rolled for the beginner session at Hellyer this morning. There were 58 novices out there. Holey cow! They had to break us into a bunch of groups, and we had to be wary when moving laterally on the track to watch out for other groups.

I was a total noob with the fixie thing. The first time I tried to mount the bike, I stomped down on the pedal like I do with my road bike. The only problem was it was coming back over the top before my butt even started to lift. I bailed out of that mount and tried again. I spun around the track a few times and then tried the scary dismount. The mount was definitely worse. I started to get more confidence in the warm up. We did 30 laps in a 'paceline'. I was one of 3 ultra-noobs in a row, so we were definitely gappy. The elastic effect was great coming out of the corners and going into the corners. The first few laps I was doing lots of speeding and slowing. Rick was definitely more confident right off the bat. I did get a lot smoother once I figured out where the accelerations and decelerations were. I could account for them and keep my momentum.

We saw alicat, merkely, flandria and hunny. Alicat had a couple of the mintie mafia there with her. We also saw David P from LGBRC - one of my former coworkers. There were lots of roadies catching on the the newly-discovered coolness of being a trackie and also a good showing of the tattooed messenger set with cutoff jeans and itty bitty gears. They definitely had the stops, starts and handling down despite their lack of raw power.

It was a lot of fun, and I think it will be good conditioning for crits. I plan to go a couple more times in the fall to complete my beginner training. Then, who knows? Maybe I'll try the occasional Wednesday race. I think it will actually take some mind share to learn how all the exotic track races work. It might be fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Twilight Critters

I went out for my first dose of midweek pain at the San Jose Twilight crit last night. It was a blast, though I'm not sure I'd call it a crit. It is more of a really long circuit race/workout. We did 16 laps of about 2 miles each. I learned some good things, especially about how to conserve energy on the hill thanks to Irish Mike from the SJBC. I even threw down a fairly decent 'sprint' at the end, which was more of a seated drilling of the pedals (and I was off the back, so it didn't really mean anything). I still haven't figured out the best line threw the tight turn at the bottom of the hill. I seemed to find the right line about 1 out of every 3 laps.

I think I will definitely go again, because it was fun. Plus, I need to amortize my $40 SJBC club membership over a few more races (each racer has to be a club member for insurance reasons).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Post Harry-Potter Coma

Well, I didn't get completely stuck in Harry Potter land this weekend. We saw the new movie Friday night. We watched Le Tour on Saturday morning, did a couple hours ride and spent some time with the beginning of the Alto Velo B ride. I couldn't go to Big Basin with them due to my literary conquests planned. So, we hit the Saratoga Starbucks and came home.

I started the laundry. The book arrived at 1:00. It was wrapped in a box that said "Attention Muggles: Do not deliver until July 21 or later!". I started reading, but then a nap came over me. I spent the late afternoon and evening reading. I talked to my parents on the phone. By bed time I had devoured over 360 pages. The last load of laundry was rotated.

Sunday, we watched Le Tour again and got caught up in the excitement. I only got a couple chapters read before heading out on a 3 hours ride, which became like 3.5 due to a flat tire and a stop to buy cumin at the grocery store near home.

I read for a couple hours before dinner and a half hour after. Then, I had another break to attend to the spiritual life. We returned home at 9:00, and I finally finished at 11:00. Phew! Overall, I was happy with the resolution of the series. There were shades of Lord of the Rings in this one as the characters had to carry 'something evil' around their necks and it made them a little crazy. Oh well, the rest was pretty original and interesting.

Well, no more fantasy world for me. I am back to the grind today with my post-Harry-Potter coma.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Harry Potter weekend...and book reviews

This weekend other than eating and training, it will be all about Harry Potter. The movie will be seen tonight and the new book will be fully digested by Sunday evening. Rick is letting me slack and overindulge in Harry Potter as part of my birthday extravaganza (which will continue throughout next week). I intend to enjoy every minute of it! I won't post any book spoilers on here, though.

OK, so now for the other books I read this summer:

A Thousand Splendid Suns - I felt this book was stronger than Kite Runner in an objective, literary sense. It was less predictable and more believable. Subjectively, it had me crying relentlessly from the first chapter. The heartache and misery of the women in this story (and sadly what many real-life women experienced in that place and time), was almost unbearable. Even though there was some relief to the suffering at the end, it was still at great cost to one of the characters. This book left me with an insatiable desire for justice and equality. Sigh.

A Long Way Gone (memoirs of a child soldier) - this book was well written as a story and I found myself forgetting it was a memoir at times. It felt more like fiction (or maybe I wanted it to be fiction). There were tears of sadness and joy as I worked through Ishmael's story. I highly recommend this book. It shows that all sides of the conflict in Sierra Leone were evil. Ishmael was a soldier for the government, not the rebels (RUF). Not surprisingly, both sides employed the same tactics and human rights violations. A good reminder about the nature of war and how there are very few 'good guys' when the guns come out. Another book leaving a longing for more justice and peace in the world. Double sigh.

Locke, 1928 - this book takes place in the Chinese immigrant town of Locke in the early days after its founding. It is a fictional tale. The characters are interesting and well-developed. The central character is a white prostitute working in the town brothel as a result of some compounding back luck (or possibly bad decisions) that fell into her life. I liked this story, though a lot of the Chinese mythology woven into the story is outside my understanding and experience. There was a lot of good symbolism in the story - some of which I got and some I didn't due to my lack of exposure to the myths in question. This is a good, short read if you have a weekend away and want something different from the usual romance/mystery fare.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Today is a new day

I've been feeling a little less frisky than Linus Gerdeman this last few weeks. But, sometimes all you need is one good kick a** training session to get you back on track. I did the exact same route and interval sets that I did last Monday and shaved 13 minutes off last week's pace (over 17.25 miles!). Maybe the 12 minutes of hell on Sunday with its subsequent frustration and anger was needed to reset me a little bit. I feel my explosive power coming back. I felt like myself for the first time in a while today.

Now, I'm off to conquer a Partner Portal and several other impossible projects with their delicate diplomatic relations while I'm on a roll! Look out, because come December when all this along with my thesis is behind me, I'm going to be like a new woman!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A New Low

I got pulled from a race for the first time yesterday....the Lafayette Crit. I started popping and decided to slow down and reintegrate so I could help my team mates. However, when the peloton came back around, Bob pulled me. I didn't realize that would happen or I would have kept working like a maniac off the back.

Then, I beat myself up for the rest of the day when I realized the last race I finished in the pack was Menlo Park Grand Prix in March. And, the last race I finished in contention for the final sprint was Early Bird crit in February. Now I'm really starting to question my ability to make the whole thing work. I am seriously lacking confidence right now. Is it just because I've spent all season doing mixed-category crits and hilly road races? Is it just a mental problem? Or, is it a fitness problem? Or is it both? Will I ever be successful?

Have any of you struggled this bad in the beginning and then overcome it? Please inspire me if you have. I need to be pulled out of my funk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finally Some News on the Mt. View Crit!

Finally I can move on with my life...I think I'll go to the track that day :) I am bummed not to have a Mt. View crit, though. I was looking forward to doing 2 races in my own back yard!

**Image courtesy of the NCNCA web site.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

chatterbox fall down, go boom!

My head hurts. Probably because I tried to split it open on the myrtle wood coffee table this morning. Cyclistrick was getting all geared up to ride to the train and was asking for goodbye kisses. I plucked myself off the couch (had been firmly planted in front of Le Tour) and wrapped my arms around his neck. The last thing I remember was saying "oooh, I'm lightheaded". Next thing I know, I'm on the ground twitching as the blood makes its way back to my head and Cyclistrick is standing over me looking very scared. Apparently he tried to catch me, but due to my extra 'leverage', he was unable to keep me up. I whacked the coffee table and the arm of one of our chairs on the way down. Owie!

I told him that maybe he should have put the helmet on me before kissing goodbye....

It's been a good 10 years since I had a nice pass-out. Usually, I catch myself and bend over briefly when standing up. Today, I was preoccupied with nuzzling and failed to stop the inevitable. Bummer.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

So proud of the teammies....

Yesterday was the Coyote Creek circuit race in San Jose. 3 of our Cat 4 girls lined up in the open-category field. The Velo Bellas were there in force and clearly intended to win the race (which they did for the W1/2/3 portion).

I'm proud to say that our girls nearly swept the Cat 4 podium - Jen 1st, Karena 2nd, and Evan 4th. Go team! We celebrated at a pool partay afterwards.

I sort of wish I'd joined them. To be honest, I was afraid of the open category race after my last experience with that. And, I promised myself a good break from racing. However, the group ride my coach sent me on was so painful and so early that racing wouldn't have been any more painful or any more frustrating.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Last 1/3 of season plans

Well, I think I've finally nailed down what I'm doing the rest of the season. Here goes:

-Lafayette Crit
-Mountain View Crit (is this thing actually happening? anyone know what's up?)
-Timpani Crit
-Dunnigan Hills RR
-San Ardo RR
-commence off-season lounging about (and work on thesis project)
-Lighthouse Century for fun

So, if we haven't met in person and you are at one of these races or events, please be sure to say "hello".

Monday, July 2, 2007

getting back in the groove....

It was back to the bike this weekend. I had done sprintervals with Flandria on Tuesday and an endurance ride on Thursday, but not much else during the week.

Saturday we set out to climb Montebello. But, it seemed hot on the exposed section when we got up there, so we bailed out after Pachetti Winery and settled for an easier Mt. Eden loop. We stopped at Starbuck's in Cupertino on the way home. I was not highly motivated.

Saturday night, we went to our friend Erika's house for her almost-annual, almost-solstice BBQ. I managed to steer clear of the alcoholic beverages. I only had one cookie and the rest was all fruits and veggies and hummus and grilled fish and meats in small quantities - this all being part of my plan to slim down a bit during my off period from racing. Unfortunately due to the opening of the Albany crit 35+ to W1,2,3,4 (don't want to re-live the Santa Rosa corporate crit); I will be racing a week earlier than anticipated. So, I will need to stop starving myself next weekend so I am well fed for Lafayette on the 15th. I have managed to lose 3 of the 6 pounds I'd gained since the season started. Yay!

Sunday, we met up with Erika and her friend Steve for a 'leisurely' climb up Highway 9 and then we were going to decide what to do after that. As long as we were in the flats and slight grades, I was able to set a comfortable, but brisk pace for the group. I was even the lead climber through the first 3 or so miles of Highway 9 (to a little above the junction with Pierce). But, then Steve took over at a pace I could not maintain when the road kicked up to a more steady grade. He's a skinny little mofo. Probably 6'3" and less than 150. Erika followed. She's a svelte 130ish. So, I continued at my own pace which had me blowing from threshold to just above threshold for 45 minutes. I finally cracked about 3/4 mile below the top. I had to stop and take it back down to aerobic, which meant riding about 3.5 miles per hour the last 3/4 mile. Ugh! We had a few minutes to recover at the top. I realized my caloric defecit was killing me and shoved a whole Clif bar in my mouth. We decided to continue to Page Mill.

I started in the lead up the first grade with Rick on my heels. We gapped the other two on the first blistering descent. Then, we were still in the lead up the next grade and descent. Then, Steve came up and attacked. I got on his wheel. Then, Rick countered, and I got on Rick's wheel. Then, they both had me gapped by the top of that hill. On the next slight downhill, I maxed my HR sprinting to over 40 mph to pass both of them. Unfortunately, we were faced with yet another hill. I thought that was the last one. Dangit! The two boys left me in the dust on that last climb. Erika came up behind me just as we were about to reach Page Mill. We took a breather (thank goodness). Erika decided to continue north to 84 to descend. They boys and I decided to bee-line down Page Mill and Altamont for the Los Altos Rancho to refuel. I was HUNGRY!

I had a nice sandwich with turkey breast and veggies - no mayo or cheese. That pretty much took the edge off, but I was still hungry when we got home.

It seems I may have improved my anaerobic capacity with all those hikes in the mountains, but maybe lost some power. So, I will be working on the high end power the next couple weeks. Should be fun!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

back home, too much work to do, miss my honey

We got back around Midnight on Monday night after a harrowing ride in a sardine-can Cal Train with 1,200 Giants fans and 5 or 6 other weary travelers. Up at 6:00 am headed to work. Barely got through my email, attended 1 meeting and finished 1 help ticket before the end of the day. Then it was off to sprintervals in Fremont, which was great. It was a good way to whip my body (but not too hard) back into high-intensity after the long break.


This morning when I got up I realized how much I missed my honey. After 15 days of nearly 24x7, it's hard to go back to little snippets of him in the morning and evening. I tried to convince him we should call in sick and lay around in bed all day as we were getting ready to go. He seemed tempted, but the sense of duty eventually propelled us both to our respective offices.

I guess I have to look forward to Maui in the winter after I graduate.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

marmots, pikas and elk, OH MY!

Well, we're wrapping it up here in Canada. Yesterday we hiked the Cascade Amphitheatre - our longest hike to date. It was about 16km round trip. The first part was slightly downhill into a river bed. Then it started relentlessly up, then up even more with terrible footing. But, we made it in 2.5 hours. It was a beautiful cirque with a meadow.

We sat down on a flat rock in the middle of a couple talus slopes to eat our snacks. Looks like elk was on the menu here over the winter. Soon, we were joined by a couple marmots, 3 pikas and a host of ground squirrels. They made an interesting cacauphony of sounds.

After finishing our hike, we saw some baby big horn sheep on the road. And, we saw a mule deer while heading into town.

Today we went to Radium Hot Springs, because the weather was crappy. I also got a massage. Yay! We stopped on the way to view the paint pots. They were only marginally interesting - nothing like the ones in Yellowstone.

On the way back, we took the Bow Valley parkway to look for moose. We did find a lovely bull elk with a nice rack. Beautiful!

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Randomness from Canuckistan

Thursday we hiked up Sulphur Mountain to the top of the Banff gondola and weather station. We'd heard if you hike up you can ride down for free. So, we did the 5ish mile hike in 2 hours. We ran a pretty good pace the whole way.

However, it was no longer free to ride down but $12.50. Yikes! We once again bent over and gave it up to the tourist machine, because I didn't want to hike down for 2.5 hours (I am always slower down than up and it hurts my feet).

Today, we rented mountain bikes and did a 15km off road trail loop. Most of it was non-technical, but there were a couple challenging sections with whooptie-do river crossings. Then we did a mostly road but some trail loop around the Banff Springs golf course looking for elk. I did my first drop-off. It was about 5 feet and not completely vertical. I didn't really see it coming. I just came over a rise and realized I had to drop down a rock face. I didn't have time to chicken out. So, I just angled the bike and stuck my butt out and survived. Yay me!