more than just another bike blog

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why Golf is NOT Mountain Biking

I recently got some mtn biking books and also an instructional DVD. DVDs are good -- usually. I figured if nothing else, I'd learn a new trick or two.

This one is called Fundamentals, and it's a bunch of dudes saying stuff like "it's crucial to manual" blah, blah, blah and "cutties are the best" blah, blah, blah then showing you what that means. Of course, there's no step-by-step instruction; it's just one big demo. At least the dudes were hot.

Anyways, I was tired last night. Not only did I ride almost five hours yesterday morning/afternoon, but I taught a 90-minute interval class last night. Yeah, that would just about be a century. Too many hours on the bike to be watching some boring DVD.

At midnight, I awoke to golf on the television. I'm not a big fan of this anti-sport. But this wasn't just any golf, but some instructional show with a blonde chippy getting all teary-eyed talking about how something (love, illness, golf instruction?) had changed her life forever. Whatever!

In my daze of sleep, I was so confused. How did they negotiate adding this golf DVD to my mtb DVD? What a strange combination. Little did I know, Julie had hit the channel on the remote to the golf channel while I was asleep. Silly dog, I didn't know she was a golf fan.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Work Makes My Head Hurt

When I sit at my desk, my neck hurts. More than my neck, my upper back hurts, too.

I guess I shouldn't work, since sitting at my desk makes my head hurt.

Well, actually my spectacular endo last month when I landed smack dab on my frontal lobe (trying to attempt a dirt jump) makes my head hurt.

I guess I shouldn't land on my head.

If my mother were alive, she'd tell me I was too old for that shit.

Come to think of it, my mother used to make my head hurt, too.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Livin' the Car-Free Life

I lived car-free for two years. It was more an economic decision while I changed careers than a political statement. It's definitely challenging on the peninsula (especially during the period when CalTrain eliminated weekend service), but it was do-able.

During that period, I commuted by bike while I returned to college (50 miles round trip). But, my social life changed drastically. I no longer went dancing in the city. I rarely went to parties. I didn't do much of anything at night because it meant riding my bike and bringing clothes and where to part, etc. Come to think about it, that's about the time I stopped dating altogether -- hmmm. If I had a true commute bike at that point it might've been different. But, I still went to races, was able to coach, and somehow found a way to get everywhere I needed to be (although now I was dependent on others -- something I didn't like to feel).

Anyways, I've been driving way too much lately. I try to rationalize my car trips by combining errands. But there really isn't a reason for me to drive half as much as I do.

I've been trying to ride more for transportation. I get allery shots two days a week at a medical facility just a mile from my house. Well, they don't have a bike rack, but they'll let me bring my bike into the office -- works for me. I've been riding to work at the bike shop with Julie in tow (4 miles round trip) when I don't have to haul too much stuff. I've even started riding to my rides again (I know, it's silly to drive to a ride when it's only 8 miles from my house).

And riding my touring bike on Mondays is good recovery, even with Julie on the back!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Question of the Day

Ah, that little bike race in my neighborhood. I had considered not spectating today, however I realized that doesn't make any impact on the decision not to have a CAT4 women's race, so I decided to head over and check it out. This morning we had our Tri-Flow training nice & early and got back into Burlingame just in time to see the Pro men and Pro-Am Women (Simpson's title) race. Good solid 4.5 hours on the bike today so I had to grab a pseudo-burrito from La Salsa.

So, I'm rolling around the course and park myself at the end of the Chicane for a bit. The Course Marshall asks me why I'm not racing. I tell him it's because the men in his cycling club eliminated 50% of the women's races for this year. So, he says to me "you'll just have to upgrade." Men, always trying to solve our problems! I, of course, tell him he's missing the point, but then realize it will take less emotional effort if I just roll onto another part of the course.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Marla Streb is my idol!

Really. Now what do a downhiller and a roadie have in common? Well, Marla's an uncommon downhiller (and I'm a wanna-be mtn biker). All I have to say is she's smart, beautiful, and kicks some serious butt on the bike. Just six weeks after giving birth to her first child, she was out racing again -- earning a podium spot in the Super-D at Mt. Snow NORBA Nationals. Go Marla! When I grow up I want to be just like you.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I've had an overwhelming urge to just disappear lately. Nothing new. I've had this urge on & off throughout my life (even in childhood). It's one of the reasons I packed up lock, stock, and barrel and moved to California. But I'm getting restless again. The feeling comes and goes, but I find it coming more frequently of late.

I've been able to placate the urges by taking short trips and long adventures. I need a long adventure about now. My Rivendell sits by the livingroom window, longing to ride further than the bike shop, yearning for the day I load her up and we head out on the road again.....just her and me.

I've tossed around a few options but can't decide which to pursue. Come August, I'd like to just load the bike and ride south as far as I can for a couple of weeks. Mexico? Or maybe I should head north -- I've done south a handful of times. Or, there's a cross camp I want to do in MA in September. Maybe I should extend the trip, fly to NY and ride to MA. Or maybe I should just disappear.

Damn urges!

I got a new dog today!

No, I didn't get rid of Julie. But I finally learned how to communicate with her.

See, we dropped out of puppy school (two years ago) because she/I couldn't focus. So, she's had the rule of the roost every since. She's very sweet, but I've never been able to control her off leash (and she's got a few other negative behaviours too).

My friend Ya-Chen recommended Bark Busters. You pay one fee and they train your dog (and you) in your home in one visit. But, they have a life-time guarantee, so if your dog ever exhibits negative behaviours again, they'll come back as many times as you need.

Sounded good, but it was expensive. And if I couldn't teach Julie to sit & stay during four lessons and puppy school, how could we do it in one lesson?

Well, I finally got desparate. I didn't love my dog anymore because she was driving me crazy. So today, Peter Levy came and changed our lives. The premise of the program is that you need to learn three simple ways to communicate with your dog (praise, command, and reprimand) and establish yourself as the leader, relieving your dog of that responsibility.

Two hours later, I have a brand new, obedient, happy dog!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chaos Theory

Have you ever been part of a disfunctional group? A group that can't make a decision? A group without leadership, vision, or guidance?

The decision-making process in such a group is always fascinating to observe. Everyone knows what the outcome of the decision will be, but the process drags out just the same. Like a painful dance.....or a duel. And in the end, the group stresses and weakens, not because of the decision itself, but rather because of the process. And they move further and further from their original mission, caught up in the process, perhaps not even remembering why they exist as a group in the first place.

And all the while, as that fly on the wall, you just want to grow arms and shake everyone until they "get it."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Just One Mile

There's a fabulous little bike race on Sunday just a mile from my house. How lucky am I? No long commute to some far-off land at the butt-crack of dawn, no gas expense, no motels or bad food. One frigging mile from my house.

But I won't be racing on Sunday because the predominantly male club that promotes this race decided not to have a race for CAT4 women this year. Not that I'm bitter or anything, really. I mean if I really wanted to race it, I could race with the men, right?

As I rode home from the bike shop tonight, I stopped at the Post Office downtown, directly in the center of the course. I remembered the thrill of racing there in 2004 -- right in my neighborhood. It's a great course in a charming little downtown. All my neighbors and merchant friends were there cheering. Ah well......maybe I'll just go out and dive into those corners tonight after Starbuck's closes! Wanna come cheer for me?

Name That Blog

Some random bike boy says my blog title is misleading and just plain W-R-O-N-G! Well sheesh! Of course it is. It's the title of a blog I began writing in 2002, long before I became the rockstar bike racer I am today. Ba-ha-ha-haaaa! So, let's re-name this bad boy.

Rules of the game:

  1. All entires must be accompanied by an explanation (the more entertaining the better).
  2. Entries are limited to English, French, Italian, or Polish (translation required for all languages, including English).
  3. Titles must be six words long. Not five. Not seven. Six, got it? It's my game, I make the rules!
  4. Entries must be received by June 30th, 2006.
  5. Entries that are lewd, obscene, or sexual in nature will be disqualified, unless of course you're a cute single guy who rides a bike, shaves his legs, and is between the ages of 18 and 45 (send photos, okay?).
  6. The winner will be chosen by me, me, me! I might give prizes. I might not. I reserve the right to use your title for whatever purpose I find useful. I might not . I might give you credit for your work. I might not. Then again, I might forget the URL for my blog again and never even see your entry. Take a chance, baby!

Going to Hell on a Hardtail

I've always suspected I would go to Hell, but I think I sealed my fate on Sunday.

Sunday was the 6th in a series of 7 mountain bike races promoted by the guys at CCCX. I've been dabbling a bit with mtn biking for the past couple of years, primarily to improve my cyclocross skills. So, when I started formulating goals for 2006, I decided I'd do some mtn bike races. Not knowing where my health would be, I decided mtn biking would be a way to participate even if I couldn't be competitive. So, I picked out the CCCX series, Sea Otter, and Cougar Mountain as my races for the season.

My goal for the year was to podium in the series and to win one race. The fun thing about series is that by their very nature, they reward the consistent participants (not just the top racers), so if I just consistently showed up, I should be able to achieve my first goal. Now, the second goal is more of a "gee this would be nice, but don't count on it goal."

I haven't had stellar results this season, but I was never fresh for any of the races either. Before each of the races, I'd done a road race, crit, or hard training ride the day before. Two weeks prior, I was certain I was going to kick ass, raced hard, smart, and fearlessly, but still ended up toward the bottom of the results, 13 minutes down from the leaders. Of course, all the slow girls stayed home that day and there were a couple of new, fast girls who showed up. But, I was still improving and having fun, so it's all good.

Anyways, back to Sunday. It seemed my heart was only half into the race, probably because I was disappointed with the prior race. But, I went through all my pre-race rituals (even cleaned my bike) and drove down to Ft. Ord for my early-morning pre-ride. The course seemed to suit me -- flattish, fast, and lots of places for me to power through.

At the line, I was a bit more casual than usual, chatting with a friend from road racing and not getting the position to the far right that I usually like. Oh well, I had a good start and was second wheel on the leader up the climb (I've learned not to be first wheel). Two riders flew by just before the turn-off to the single track, so I started 4th wheel on the course. I let myself gap just a little bit, and Keith (the race promoter) yelled at me to get moving. This was just the wake-up call I needed (thanks, Keith) -- game on! I jump and get back in the wheels.

There was a big pile-up with the women in front of me on a short little steep, and I thought I'd be able to stay upright and get around them, but one of the women walked right into me so I had to dismount and chase. And chase I did, passing the two riders in front of me and sitting myself right on the wheel of the race leader on the short pavement climb. Hearing my heavy breathing, she looked at me and took off, and I chased and chased, never letting her get more than a few seconds away from me. This continued through the first lap, until we hit the one hard climb at the finish line. She took off, I climbed at my own pace, and the girl in 3rd passed me (I was able to pass her back in just a bit).

Then, destiny struck! I'm sitting second wheel again with 3rd about 45 seconds behind. We're swooping around the singletrack and I start wondering if I should just pass the leader at some point and go for it. Of course, she's this 20-something perky little blonde and I probably stood no chance of staying away for three more laps, so I just sat tight, never letting her out of my sight, drafting when it made sense, and just following when it didn't. I round a switchback and there's a teenage boy standing on the singletrack. Without time to think (we're riding about 24mph at this point), I just held my line, my left hand clipped his bar (ouch!), and I go flying, still mounted on the bike, into a bush on the side of the trail, swearing up a storm about how stupid it is to stand on the trail!!! But what made this my fatal flaw is the kid races for Cavalry Chapel (the church school). Crud, I'm going to hell for sure now!

By the time I untangle myself from the bush and assess the damage (hand/wrist/arm hurts like hell, and I've got a HUGE hematoma on my arm), the race leader has disappeared and I've been passed by #3. I can still see her, and know in my heart I'm a stronger, faster racer, but I just can't seem to catch her, so I end up chasing for the rest of the race. Knowing I'm in 3rd place, I'm motivated to stay away from the women behind me. On the final lap, I'm losing a little steam and getting sloppy, but I just keep chanting #2s name under my breath as motivation to catch her.

I cross the line in #3 and get a big shiny medal -- how cool is that? I know, medals are for geeks, but it's only the second medal I've ever gotten (and the first was in a race with no other competitors in my category). I wore it home and then went into the bike shop where I work to show it off to the guys.

p.s. I ran into the kid again (figuratively) post-race and said "are you the kid I hit?" He said yes, we made nice, and then he asked "did I affect the outcome of your race?" Well, yes, and even if you didn't we can say it did!

Back Into This World

As evidenced by the two-year gap in my blog, I've been hiding away for a while. I'd almost forgotten about my crazy life/health issues until I read through some of my journal entries from this blog. I was in such a different place then.

Anyways, I've got nothing of consequence to say this evening, but I wanted to archive my old journal and get it off the homepage. Now, a real fun project would be to consolidate all my blogs (do I have multiple personalities or something?). Nah, I've got better things to do.

So, enough of my lurking.....back to living.