Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Got my Dipy-loma!

Got my official piece o' paper in the mail last night, which is as close to a graduation as I'm gonna get. Why, you ask? Well, the inconsiderate University had the gall to schedule graduation the same weekend as Kern. Can you believe that?

Did anyone else notice that the Steinbeck crit is now missing from the schedule? Am I just seeing things? That will be a major bummer if that race doesn't happen this year. I was really looking forward to the all-left-turn crit. Oh well, guess I'll have to go to the Sausalito or Apricot race that weekend instead....

Sunday, February 24, 2008


One of the great things about bicycle racing in Northern California is that I get to travel and see lots of exotic places I might otherwise pass by - places like Ripon, Atwater, Turlock, Merced, Madera and Bakersfield. And, some even more exotic places like Snelling and Dinuba. These place have lots to offer - easy freeway access from highway 99, a view of the Sierras, meals served in diners with lumberjack portions, and best of all lightly traveled roadways perfect for a bike race! Now, some of these roads haven't been repaved since the advent of the automobile, but that just adds some technical 'features' for the excitement of the bike racers!

This race was a chance for me to get out, stretch my legs, check my fitness, and reacquaint myself with sizzling pack riding. It was also a chance to bond with and break in some new team mates :)
We ponied up to the table in Merced at a Southern Italian eatery on Main St. We ordered up our lumberjack portions all smothered in cheesy goodness. I think there was more cheese on my plate than I ate in 2007. Yep, it was a good pre-race meal. We overnighted at the Travelodge on Yosemite Parkway with the High Road chicas as our hotel mates. After a good meal and some requisite harassment and camaraderie, we had a super-secret strategy meeting and went to bed.

The race itself was fast and furious. Some got a quick lesson in pack placement as the group split in two almost immediately. I looked over my shoulder after the first roller only to see a big expanse between me and the next chunk of pack. One of my teammies, Lala realized she was being caught out and came flying across the gap - I was happy to see her move and yelled "Go Lala!". I decided I better move myself up a couple rows, knowing the first 'real' hill was coming marking the feed zone. I powered myself over that climb and was thrilled to see that I was still in contact with the pack. I moved up a bit around the descending chicane (good terrain for me). About this time, I felt the green monster in my lungs starting to stir, which was making it hard to get the precious oxygen to the legs. I made it up and over the next stair step, but was really starting to wheeze and was having trouble holding wheels.

I tried to work with Lorri a little, but had to back off to cough up a hariball. As I headed into the brutally windy part of the course, I sat up and looked for help. I saw two team mates and a 3rd person coming about 3/4 of a mile behind. So, I soft-pedaled and waited for them. The 3rd person was a new racer named Kathleen. Kim, Dana, Kathleen and I worked together and picked up Lorri eventually. I wanted to make sure Dana finished her first race, so we kept the group working together as best we could. As we continued, it got more and more windy. On the tailwind section, I thought I could ride for days. Then, when I turned on to Figmond into the wind with the terribly bumpiness each time, I thought I would die. But, having a couple folks to pass the time with made it go faster, and overall, it was a good day out there. It never got started raining, so that was great!

Lala and Tanya survived to be in the mix at the end. Tanya had some unfortunate equipment issues as her seat clamp came loose and she ended up making love to the nose of her saddle the rest of the race! She did great, and kept good position. I can tell she is going to have a great season once she fixes her seat! :)

Cyclist Rick also got to experience his first real pack race yesterday. He went out with the 45+ open category. He said it was a suffer-fest from the moment the moto pulled off signaling the end of the neutralization. He made most of the first lap in the pack and then circled for two more before throwing in the towel. Apparently, the 45+ boys aren't into 'working together' off the back to finish a race. It must be a girl thang...so rather than circle 11 more miles in the rain, he came back to snuggle with me in the Toaster. Good call!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm back!....well sort of....

if you count 30 minutes on the rollers at 100w. But, I only coughed up 1/4 a lung, so not too bad....

It's forward progress, so I'll take it. Maybe by some miracle, I will be able to race at Snelling. We shall see....Meanwhile I'm going to hunker down and try not to infect my co-workers and friends with the evil disease. And, I'll be trying to inspire myself by watching the ToC action online.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You can run, you can hide, but there's no escaping...the flu!

Well, I was starting to feel all high and mighty. I'd survived several rounds of the flu at work, 2 rounds at home, and the illness of most of my teammates. I thought it was due to my superior nutrition, fitness and sleep. I was a pillar of productivity at work.

And then....

Yesterday, after doing my roller workout and having my 2nd breakfast, I was sitting at work, and my throat started to itch way, way down. All I could think about was grabbing a back scratcher and sticking it down my throat. I was hoping it was allergies. But, alas, today I am achy and run-over feeling and the throat is now tender rather than itchy. I'm doubling up on my naps in the hope that I will be well for Snelling next weekend.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

CheFlandria Sighting!

Cyclistrick and I were out for a nice, brutal 3 hour ride with 3x20 intervals today. We had ridden down to Los Gatos and climbed up Kennedy and had just come down when we spotted a girl with QuickStep shorts and a skinny guy in SJBC gear on the other side of the road. We were like "Hey it's CheFlandria and Hunny!" So, we turned around and jumped on the vegan train for a pull back to Saratoga. We did a nice, hard paceline, which got me through my last interval, whether I wanted it or not. They eventually pulled off and headed for Steven's Canyon. We'd already been through there on the way out, so we stayed in the flats for an easy 30 minutes back home.

Thanks, guys! That was fun!

Friday, February 8, 2008

TGIF Randoms

Roller Girl Improves!

Well, I've been steadily improving my skills on the rollers. First, I learned to shift around without getting squirrelly. Then, I was able to do intervals on them without wandering off when I was gassed out in zone 4+. Earlier this week, I perfected the art of drinking from the water bottle while rolling. Today, I rode my TT bike on the rollers and was able to stay aero for 50 minutes straight! It was a little iffy transitioning between the cowhorns and aero extensions, but I didn't fall off, so it's all good!

You're invited

Our 'satellite church' project is kicking off this Sunday. It's basically a casual community with live music and a video sermon pumped live from the mother ship (Menlo Park Presbyterian Church). On the invitation it says "no dress code - come as you are". We'll see how they feel when we roll up on bikes in full spandex kit ;) (seriously) Anyhoo, services at 9 and 10:30 on Sundays in Fellowship Hall of First Pres Mt. View (Cuesta & Miramonte) if you're in the area and into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I need to get off my laurels for sure!

Did you vote yet? If not, close your browser and go help pick our government. Then, come back and read the rest of this post....

So, I only posted four times in January. How sad is that? It's not that I don't have anything to talk about - mostly that my mind is consumed with too many things to set aside time to mull over a post or two. Next month, I will start to kill off a few brain cells with the oxygen deprivation that comes in racing season. So, I will probably have more to talk about on the blog.

If you've seen the headlines, then you know my work life has been adventurous. Currently, I'm involved in a debate over front-end language/framework choice, and it makes my head hurt. Higher ups will supposedly make a decision by the end of this week based on our feedback, and then we can move on with our project. I'm definitely not religious about my programming tools - just pick something and figure out how to make it work! So, I will just be happy to have a decision, I suppose. Maybe I'll get a chance to learn some more new stuff.

We went to the last Early Bird crit + Meet the Teams Day on Sunday. It was cold, and wet. My PowerTap had finally dried out from the prior Sunday and was working. But, then it died again in the middle of Sunday's session and is currently recuperating in the living room. I took the clinic and mingled with team mates, racers I knew, and prospective racers. We were supposed to do a team ride after the event, but we were all cold, wet, tired and hungry and got Indian food instead. Then, I still had 2 more hours of riding to do, which happened in the evening in front of the Super Bowl. At least it was a good game and kept my mind from numbing too much (can't say as much for the crotch).

Yesterday, I got all teary at work when I heard Sheldon Brown had died. For those of you who don't know him, he is the undisputed king of bicycle tech. His site is a reference point for people around the globe - check it out (www.sheldonbrown.com)! He gave generously of his time publishing information on his site and answering 500-1000 questions a day by email (and even one of mine about French bike parts several years ago). The only thing I can say is that I'm happy he was spared a long battle with MS, which he was diagnosed with last year. Happy trails, Sheldon!

I guess that's all the ramblings I've got in me for now. Hopefully, I'll get on the ball again with my postings.