more than just another bike blog

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Riding on Bikes with Boys

I like boys. I miss riding with boys. Pre-Velo Girls, I never rode with girls at all. All my cycling friends were boys. Boys are different in a sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good kinda way.

I decided to head up to Golden Gate Park for John Funke's cyclocross ride/training race. I'd done the DFL races a couple of years ago and got a little frustrated riding with the boys (short course and getting lapped on lap two isn't fun). But tonight was fun. Silly thing is, I debated all morning about whether or not to go.

You see, I'm shy. Really, I am. I'm not one to go into a group on my own. When I first started riding, I had signed up to do the California AIDS Ride. Every week I'd RSVP to go on the training rides and then when the weekend came I'd chicken out. Sometimes I'd even show up at the meeting point but not go over to the group. That's how shy I am.

But, I want to do well in cross this season and I need the practice. So, I sucked it up, drove up to GGP, and smiled a fearless smile. I talked to strangers. And it was just fine. All the guys were cool and supportive and friendly.

There were about 25 guys there and 3 girls (me, a CAT1 road racer who's a former pro mtn biker, and a CAT3 road racer who's young and strong). And I did okay. And had fun. I'm strong right now but my skills need work. To put it all in perspective, I think my dirt skills are better this season since I've done so much mtn bike riding & racing this season, but my cross skills are a little dusty. And sand. Oh, I forgot about the sand at GGP. But did I mention I had fun?

So, if you're free next Wednesday, come out and ride some cross in GGP. And rumor has it the DFL races will start on September 13th.

Too much Shit!

No ref to XB or Nome or others......

I've got too much stuff sitting around collecting dust. My house is too fricking small to have so much bike stuff. I've given up on Craig's List and local forums -- tired of dealing with psychos who want the $50 bike. Posted a bunch of stuff on eBay and there's more to come in the coming weeks.

If you're looking for cross stuff, ping me. I've got new and used components (Dura Ace/XTR grouppo, Avid brakes, Salsa bars, lotsa stems, funky colored bar tape, etc) and even a couple of frames.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is cool

L - Art Store on Lankershim O Rr I

Try it yourself here:

S Blue parking E - Van Nuys Coin Laundry L L mosaic




Somehow missed this in my inbox last week. Here's to all my lovely friends who exhibit chickchismo everyday!

Urban Word of the Day

August 24, 2006: chickchismo

1) A strong sense of womanly pride: an exaggerated femininity; 2)
exaggerated or exhilarating sense of female cunning and womanly wiles.

The Season of my Discontent

I've always hated fall. Living in NY, fall meant it would soon be cold and dark and snowy. The days are way too short and my SAD made them feel even shorter.

Fall in CA still gives me the blues. August is one of the few months where I get fogged in during the morning hours at my house. And the sun rises later and sets earlier. Kinda like NY without the snow.

Of course, for the past four years fall has signaled the start of cyclocross, my favorite cycling season. I actually look forward to the rain!

Now, if we could just do something about the short days....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monty the Gay Corgi

One of our favorite spots to chase squirrels is Washington Park. Being Burlingame, there are always some interesting, eccentric characters, especially the dog owners. One of the women has this dog named Monty. He's not a corgi, but I can't remember the breed and he kinda looks like a tall corgi with a longer curled tail. Anyways, Saturday night I'm hanging with Monty's owner and this other woman (who feeds the squirrels) and Monty's owner says something about Monty being gay. What? "Yes, he's gay," she says. I just smile and Julie and I run to the other side of the park.

Can dogs be gay? Googling doesn't give me a solid answer (but it does yield some interesting sites about satanism and tampons -- go figure).

But that got me thinking. If dogs can be gay, can they also be transgendered? I wonder if Julie is really a boy-dog trapped in a girl-dog body. Examine, if you will, the evidence:

1. She sometimes lifts her leg to pee.
2. She always tries to bury her poop by covering it with grass (not very descriptive, but you know what I mean).
3. She humps things (usually me in a play for dominance).

Maybe I should get her a blue collar and start calling her Jerry.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Slipping Into Nothingness

My professional dance-card has been full since January. My weekends are the busiest time for me with clients, training, coaching, and races. I haven't had a day off since January.

So today I opted out of a single-track cyclocross ride and instead sat in my big comfy chair and read a book, and napped, and cuddled my pupster, and read some more.

Absolutely delicious.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mystery Man

I found a black sock in my closet tonight. It's not mine. I grabbed my running shoes to do a short run after our cyclocross ride tonight and out popped this strange sock.

It's a man's sock, mid-length black, Adidas, with a gray logo. Hmmm. I can't remember the last time there was a man in my condo (except the dog trainer and he didn't leave his sock).

Maybe it belongs to my house-sitter from last summer?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Who knew?

Our travels today took us to Central Park -- one of Julie's favorite places to chase the squirrels. Central Park's an urban gem -- tennis courts, a fabulous Japanese Garden, an arboretum, children's playground, baseball diamond, lots of big historic trees, a little train that operates for tots to ride, and a big, spacious open field. I'm always amazed at how many random people are at the park during the workday -- shouldn't they be chained to a desk in some high-rise office building?

Anyways, today was filled with as much randomness as always. But, there were two things a bit more unusual that most days we've been there.

First, at one end of the field there's a stage erected, complete with stage lighting. Apparently The San Francisco Shakespeare Company presents free Shakespeare in the Park each summer and The Tempest is playing at Central Park this weekend -- how fun!

Second, a group of what appears to be teenagers huddled together in teen silliness, is gathered at the other end of the field. Upon further inspection, I see that it's actually a group of middle-aged women (and two token men) performing what must be Hawaiian story-telling. Very comical. Again, who are these people on a Friday morning?

Trivia for the day. My cycling friends probably don't know that my first career was in theatre. I have a BFA in theatre management and managed professional theatres all over the country for 13 years. I haven't decided which are more challenging -- athletes or actors.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

why boys will be boys (and girls just aren't)

Little-known fact -- my MBA is in gender relations. Really, it is. You know, exploring how men and women are different and how we can still work together even though we communicate, learn, lead, blah, blah, blah differently. But, I learned a little something about boys tonight that I never learned in business school (get your filthy minds out of the gutter, all of you!).

Julie and I headed out for a walk/pull. We were going over to the high school playing field where she likes to run around off leash. Unfortunately, there were about 200 little boys in football gear practicing their manly sport. The boys were separated into teams of about 10 each, with 3 or 4 adult men working with each team. I hear a crazy-man voice, almost like someone with tourettes, and my attention is drawn to the pod of boys closest to me.

"You don't get it!"

"How can you be so stupid!"

"If you're not tough, you're not anything!"

"Don't be a bunch of losers!"

I was pretty disturbed by what I heard. If I'd been a little boy, I probably would've cried. How did I ever miss out on this ritual of boyhood? Although they didn't let me play football (I tried -- no girls), I spent hours sitting on the side of the field watching all my little boy friends train and compete. Did I hear things like this but block them from my memory? Or did it just not occur to me that it was wrong? Or maybe in upstate NY all the football coaches were nice?

I feel like I was given an insight into why men behave the way they do. If 8 year-olds are taught to be tough and be filled with anger/violence, I have to assume that this behavior is just magnified, rewarded, and reinforced throughout their adolescent and young adult years. It's not until adulthood that the rare few men realize this isn't the only way to win friends and influence people (and to get laid).

Tough = Winner

Weak = Loser

Anger = Power

Agression = Leadership

Contrast that with my experience this afternoon. I spent the entire day with a group of 20 inner-city girls from Oakland, riding mountain bikes at China Camp with Trips for Kids. Most of these girls had never been in the woods and most had never mountain biked either. These girls were tough, no doubt, but they weren't afraid to say they were scared of the downhills or that the uphills were hard. They were very honest with each other and with the adults in the group. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable and were able to empathize with each other about this new experience. At the end of the day, TFK has a "cookie circle," where each girl gets a cookie, shares something she really liked, something that was challenging for her, and is encouraged to show appreciation to others in the group.

Is it any wonder men and women have so many challenges in their relationships as adults?

I know, there is no black and white. It's unfair to say all men are x and all women are y. But when asked if nurture or nature influences our behavior, I can now honestly say that I feel nurture must play a significant role.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm a Manic/Depressive Blogger

Or would that be bi-polar? Either way, I'm pretty darn inconsistent these days. Somedays the creative energy just bubbles forth like a brook and I'll write a whole bunch of posts and others.....well, I have to supress the urge to crawl into a dark hole and not comunicate at all. Maybe I should save up the multiple posts I write on my creative days and just post them on other days.....or not.

Yes, I'm still alive.

And David Samson is indeed a funny guy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My Thoughts on Floyd

I like Floyd. I was able to meet, ride with, and dine with him and his wife Amber in January in Temeculah. I think he's cool, honest, cavalier, and off-the-cuff with his commentary about pro cycling life. I also think he's worked damn hard to achieve all he's done. He's put in the sweat and the hours. He's hired the best in the biz to help him focus. And he's been sticking with it for more than a decade.

I've been known to make the blanket statement that "all pro cyclists dope." Unfortunately, I believe it's part of the sport. If all pros have basically the same potential, and Cyclist A improves his performance by 30% through doping, then the rest of the peloton must follow suit to keep up, right? Well, except for those few genetic freaks. Yeah, there are varying levels of "medical" support available, but I think in general the pros will use what means are available to them to achieve peak performance capacity.

But I had hope for Floyd. His story is so gritty and real; so moving. And he made me want to believe he's clean. And with that hope, I also thought maybe I was wrong in my blanket statement.

Well, he's hanging tough. Given his honesty and his "no excuses" attitude, if he were guilty I'd imagine he'd fess up. He's not fighting it kicking & screaming, but he's being rational and calm and quietly collecting his defense.

And I hope when he's found innocent (now that's a backwards statement), he'll stick it to McQuaid, the UCI, and every other yahoo who's been slamming him. And I hope he sends Greg Lemond a nice care package of horse shit.

Floyd is Bloggin Too!

Keep the Faith

In the past week, I have gone from the “Top of the World” to the depths of scandal. I have been thrust into the international spotlight and am being asked to defend myself against something that I did not do, for reasons that I do not understand. Although this has been a hard time for my family and me, we are confident that I will be vindicated. I am innocent of any wrongdoing and want to take an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions that exist regarding the situation.

It is widely known that the test in question, given as a urine sample after my victorious ride on stage 17 of the Tour de France, returned an abnormal T/E ratio from the “A” sample. I want to be entirely clear about one point of the test that has not been fairly reported in the press or expressed in any statements made by international or national governing bodies; the T value returned has been determined to be in the normal range. The E value returned was LOW, thus causing the skewed ratio. This evidence supports my assertion that I did not use testosterone to improve my performance. I emphatically deny any claims that I used testosterone to improve my performance.

Much has been speculated about the presence of exogenous testosterone in the “A” sample. Together with some of the leading medical and scientific experts in the world, we are reviewing the documentation about the “carbon isotope ratio test.” All I can say at this time is that I did not take testosterone, so there must be another reason for the result, as leaked by the UCI.

Beyond the specifics of the testing, however, I am particularly troubled by the actions of the UCI. Information about an “adverse analytical finding” was prematurely released by the UCI in order “to avoid a known leak” within the lab. A direct statement followed from UCI President Pat McQuaid that left little to infer as to whose test was in question.

I was notified of the “A” sample results while attending post-Tour criteriums in Europe. As a result of these breeches in protocol, confidentiality and disregard for due process, I view this as a clear violation of my rights as a professional racer licensed by the UCI.

I became the center of media attention with little time to understand the nature of the “A” sample results, possible causes or explanations. As I tried to come to terms with the situation, my statement and attempts to understand the results were interpreted as “excuses” before I had time to fully grasp the facts of the case. The inappropriate actions of the UCI has caused undue, and potentially irreparable, harm to my reputation and character. I feel I am being prosecuted without regard to my basic rights.

It is now my goal to fight to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve. I am a fighter. I did not give up during the Tour and I won’t give up now, no matter what the results of the “B” sample are.

Keep the Faith,

This entry was posted on Friday, August 4th, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Why Shrinks Hate Blogs...

...or at least they should.

I have to imagine that counselors, social workers, priests, and psycho-docs of all sorts are losing income because we now explore our emotional side online. I'm not implying that we're solving any problems here, but then again, I'm not convinced that shrinks solve any problems either. The role of a shrink, in my opinion, is to help her patient explore her inner-self and come to peace with what she finds.

Blogger, myspace, xanga, livejournal, and the like are allowing every tom, dick, and jane of every age and demographic to have a voice in the world. And there are some scary voices out there. I happened upon one teen girl's site the other night that made me cry -- eating disorder, posting the calories she'd eaten and burned each day, and the blog was filled with photos of the skinniest, sickliest models I'd ever seen. I hope this young girl makes it.

I have to wonder if the teen suicide rate, the domestic murder rate, or the violent crime rate have increased, decreased, or maintained status quo because we're now all in cyber-therapy.

I've tried "talking to someone" twice in my life. The first time I was 30 years old, had just ended the relationship of my life, moved, and was going to have a hysterectomy -- just a little bit of stress. The relationship with my shrink lasted exactly two visits when I decided I was just too private a person to talk about myself with anyone. You see, in my family we were taught to solve our problems, not share them. My second experience was last year, a decade later, when I felt like I had so much anger in me I was going to explode! I'd been bottling up ten years of pain and finally had to address it. I never felt my therapist listened or helped in any way, but by making the committment to see someone, I also committed to exploring my psyche on my own and came to peace with that decade.

I've journalized throughout my entire life. As a kid, I had a little book with a tiny lock on it. In college I kept leather-bound notebooks. Sometimes what I wrote had substance -- sometimes it was simply a retelling of my life experiences. And sometimes it was pure fiction. But never did it occur to me to share these journals with anyone else.

So, here I am, sharing some pretty significant thoughts with my cyber-friends, who in reality are folks who I know and see. And I'm not embarassed or ashamed to admit that I'm not perfect. For years I thought the internet was pulling us further apart, isolating us, and helping us nest. Now I feel like the internet is helping us build relationships, learn more about others and ourselves, and enriching our personal lives.

It's nice to know that we're not in this alone -- that everyone has pain and hurt and anger and demons. I have to think that blogging has helped create peace in our lives. Or at least it gives us something to laugh at!

Change is Good.....Change Hurts Like Hell

It's been an interesting year. After taking a step back from certain aspects of my job last summer, I was able to see very clearly again. I've spent the better part of the past three months figuring out what to do -- examining, prioritizing, planning, developing. And now it's time to execute.

I had to make some very difficult decisions. I'm not a popular girl right now. But life isn't a popularity contest. In my heart, if I don't do the "right" thing, I'd rather not do anything. Sometimes a clean slate is the only way to restore equilibrium. So, the news has broken and there are some unhappy people right now. I hope they'll see that these decisions are not personal.

Someone asked me yesterday what process is involved in making decisions like this. Besides the obvious management-babble, I find deep meditation is frequently my most trusted guide. Spending lots of time on the bike alone is the best way for me to meditate. And at some point, the answer becomes clear -- it just pops into my head and is the only obvious solution.

Exciting changes are on the horizon. We're back on track and our mission is very clear. Change is good......but it hurts like hell.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Inner Beauty is for Fat People

I'll admit I have a not-totally-healthy obsession with my weight. For 31 years I was rail thin -- 5'10" and about 110 pounds. I liked being skinny. Man, if only I'd been a bike racer then!!! I'd be one of those skinny little climber girls that everyone hates.

And then I had my first major surgery in 1996, gained a few pounds and it never completely went away (but I still wasn't fat at 125 pounds). Weight went up & down but I was a very happy, healthy, muscluar, fast 130-pound cyclist in 1999. Beginning in 2002, I started gaining weight even though I rode my bike about 15-20 hours a week, ran, lifted and ate right. I was puzzled, but I also had a few periods of time off the bike (DVT, mother died, a couple of crashes), so I assumed it was weight from inactivity.

Well, the weight continued to pile on for three years, until I'd gained 50+ pounds. WTF! Little did I know that the little butterfly in my neck wasn't working, so no matter how much I trained and how little I ate, my metabolism had basically shut down. Can you imagine what it does to your self-esteem to work in the fitness (aka beautiful body) industry and feel fat and out of shape? Do you realize how much others judge you based on the way you look? Or how slowly you climb hills? Shambles, I tell you!

Happily, in late 2004 I finally found out what was wrong with me. Two surgeries later, in May 2005, I tipped the scales at almost 190 pounds. It sickens me just to type that. But, I got my literally-fat-ass back on the bike and once we got my thyroid meds levelled out, the scale began it's first descent in more than two years. It's been up & down in the past 14 months, but mostly down for a total loss of about 30 pounds. Let me tell you, it's been a hell of a lot of work. Since last May, I've logged about 600 hours on the bike and eaten more green things that I care to think about.

In February the weight-loss stopped. Not sure why but it's frustrating the hell out of me. I've detoxxed twice, considered all types of crazy weight-loss supplements, and even contemplated liposuction. The only positive thing that's kept me going is the fact that my watts are going up and up even if the scale isn't going down and down.

But now, for the third time since the Death Ride, I've had this crazy weight-gain. Today, since stepping on the scale this morning, I'm up 9 pounds! Criminy!!! I've been weighing myself daily for about six years and never in all those years have I seen anything as crazy as this. Why am I retaining water? Am I diabetic? Are my kidneys failing? Are my electrolytes totally out of balance? Why did I stop losing weight? What to do?

ps -- for anyone who's reading this thinking "she's a coach and she has such an unhealthy attitude about weight" my response is "the plumber has leaky pipes!" After all I've been though in the past decade, I have every right to be psycho about my weight. There's nothing worse than feeling lost in someone else's body and that's what I've felt like -- a skinny girl trapped in a fat chick's body. Could someone please let me out? I'm missing the best years of my life here!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Who's Your Shero?

Urban Word of the Day

August 02, 2006: Shero

a female hero; a heroine

That girl just saved my life! She's my shero!


So, who's your shero? Go ahead -- share. I need a little inspiration right now anyways.