more than just another bike blog

Thursday, September 28, 2006


iTunes forced me to update my software so I could purchase some music. Not sure why it was necessary for this one album but I did it anyways. I hate updates. Anytime I update anything I have nothing but problems.

Now my iTunes won't play and I'm trying to download a bunch of music for this weekend's trip. Argh!

Not to mention that my video iPod has never played the videos.

Did I mention I hate apple?

every girl needs a day of beauty

Nope, not me! Julie got her very first hair-cut in three years. I hated to do it because she's so cute and fluffy, but with her active lifestyle -- hiking, biking, chasing squirrels -- she almost always had knots and clumps and briars and weeds and straw in her coat.

She apparently looks hot because Fuzzy, the fluffy white Japanese Spitz we met at Washington Park, couldn't keep his paws off her.

Before -- one big messy mass of fur (or is it hair?):

After -- no more fringes, frills, or feathers:

I attempted to go shopping today.....

.....Notice the operative -- "attempted."

I hate shopping. I always have. I'm a terrible decision-maker, so I either make stupid purchases, buy things I don't need and won't use, or I get paralyzed and don't buy anything at all.

I need clothes. Not that I don't have any -- I have lots of clothes. But all my clothes are the type of clothes you could wear when you work at a bike shop....or in a gym...which is just fine if you work in a bike shop or a gym, but I don't work in a bike shop or a gym anymore so I need clothes you can wear if you don't work in a bike shop or a gym. Pretty clothes. Flirty clothes. Clothes that make me look attractive. Clothes that make me look like a girl, not a teenaged boy. Clothes I could go on a date in. Clothes don't stretch, aren't black, and aren't screenprinted with something cycling-related. Girl clothes.

So, I ride over to Burlingame and hit all the cute, one-off shops (not GAP, not Banana Republic, not Old Navy). After wandering around half a dozen shops, I finally try something on in Therapy. Actually, I try on three things -- two dresses and a top that could be a dress too! None of this made me happy and none of this inspired me to pull out my wallet. Frick!

But, instead of clothes, I bought some of this:

And some of these:

And one of these (just kidding):

And was tempted with one of these:

Maybe I can get my friends to take me shopping this weekend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

throwing off the security blanket

I've been coaching since late 2001 -- almost five years now. During that time, I've always held a part-time job. For a couple of years, I taught a bazillion spinning classes a week (14 to be precise). I worked at Lucy for a very short time. And in September 2002, I started working at a bike shop.

Working at the shop was cool. It gave me some structure, some contacts, some benefits, some additional income, and someplace to go. If I needed more cash, I just worked more hours. Since I wasn't working on the floor, my hours were flexible and I could fit them around my coaching business and my own riding time. My boss was a friend and my co-workers kept me young. And of course, industry discounts are great.

But the down-side is that I had created a security blanket for myself that stunted my growth as a coach. I didn't need to be creative with new programs, market myself, or worry about income because I always had the bike shop to fall back on.

So, after four years of working at the shop, it's time to stand on my own two coaching feet. If I'm a cycling coach, I need to dedicate my time to being a cycling coach. Security blanket gone!

It's only been a few days, but I've already created some good habits, great structure, and been able to focus on some projects I've been dreaming about for years but didn't have the motivation to get going. Scared? Sure. But more than anything, I'm excited and happy.

just 3 months late

Every year I promise myself I'll start running and lifting in July as preparation for cyclocross season. And every summer, something gets in the way. This year, I kept waiting -- until after the Death Ride, then after Livermore Hills, then after San Ardo, then after my coastal trip. Well, here it is almost September and I'm just getting started.

Yesterday I ran and focused on my core and upper body in the weight room. And I did my latin dance video (great for core work, especially since cycling has no lateral movement and latin dance is all lateral). This morning I ran again and focused on my legs in the weight room. A bit later I'm heading out to work skills on the cross bike. Next week I'll head back to Bikram a couple of times a week.

It feels so good to have that slightly achy feeling.

I'm smart enough to start slowly. Most folks make the mistake of doing too much too soon and end up sore for a week and/or with shin splints. I err on the side of doing too little and find that it's actually just right.

Running isn't my favorite sport, but my cardio is actually really good right now. I start very slowly -- yesterday I did 5 minutes brisk walking, 5 minutes running, 5 minutes brisk walking. Lungs felt great and I was able to run a pretty quick pace. Legs felt it a little but weren't sore at all today. This morning I did 5/5/5/5/5 for a total of 10 minutes running. Yup, it's super-gradual, but that's the way to ramp-up without injury. Once I get up to 30 minutes sustained running I'll be able to add some plyometrics into the program.

I also start out slowly with the weights -- one or two sets with light weights and 12-15 repetitions this week. Gotta ease the body into the stress before adding more weight. I've always loved lifting and it's been too many years since I've been able to have a full season (periodized, of course) of strength training. This could be the year.

I've also been focusing on weight loss. Running and strength training both fit into that program perfectly. I've modified my nutrition -- lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables (with an emphasis on low glycemic). I've lost 6 pounds in the past three weeks -- nice, slow, safe weight loss. It's much easier to eat lean and green when I'm not riding 15-20 hours a week.

So, at this pace, I should be in peak form for December!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

life-defining moments

Someone handed me an opportunity I wasn't expecting and I really didn't want.

I've got no choice in the matter.

I'm staying grounded this week and will do some soul-searching and re-evaluation.

Might just be able to turn this around into the opportunity of a lifetime.

All the bestest things in my life have happened in a very serendipitous fashion, so I'm guessing this might just be the next best bestest.

Maybe I really wanted it afterall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

he's coming up and then I'm going down

I totally forgot that I registered with the Warm Showers list a couple of years ago. This is a resource for bike tourists to hook up with hosts while they're travelling. I was contacted once about six months ago and set someone up with a friend in Oakland. He was young and cute -- why didn't I have him stay here? Oh yeah, he wanted to be in the east bay.

Well, I was contacted last week by Didi, a Swiss gentleman who's touring the world. He's now in north america and travelling north through California. He asked if he could spend a night at my place, and like the kind-hearted soul I am, I offered up my spacious 850 sq ft condo! Well, I also forgot that he's coming tomorrow. And I think he actually plans to spend two nights!

No stress here! I'm not even home tomorrow -- I'm off volunteering with Dennis' kids on a mtn bike ride and then visiting my new friend, Melissa. And I'm coaching the two-day clinic this weekend. And leaving on my own tour heading south on Monday. No stress at all.

Where am I going to put him? Ack! I hope he doesn't expect me to cook for him because there's no food in my house! Ah, but it'll be a fascinating adventure, chatting with a world tourist. Okay, back into perspective now.

Need a Good Book for Vacation

I figure the West Coast Literati could help me out here. I need a good vacation book (and I'm not into Harlequin Romances). Somthing captivating, interesting, perhaps entertaining, thought-provoking without being a downer, something I can lose myself in.

Any recommendations?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

vacation planning

While I'd love to be completely spontaneous, having a set time with a limit to ride a given distance requires a bit of planning. So, here are my thoughts. I hope all my lovely friends who live and/or travel the coast will share their feedback.

Limiters: Monday through Friday next week. Must be in SLO by Friday.

Wants: Coastal Route -- I've ridden south three times inland and this time I really want to ride the coast.

Budget: Not a concern.

Bike & gear: Rivendell Atlantis (loaded, baby!) -- will carry clothing, camping equipment, and minimal cooking gear if needed.

Desires: I'd prefer to hostel or camp because it's a great way to meet fellow travellers.

Day 1 (Mon) -- San Mateo to Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel (Pescadero) -- 40-50 miles

Day 2 (Tue) -- Pescadero to Monterey Hostel -- 70 miles

Day 3 (Wed) -- Monterey to Limekiln State Park (Big Sur) -- 50 miles

Day 4 (Thu) -- Big Sur to San Simeon State Park (Cambria) -- 55 miles

Day 5 (Fri) -- Cambria to Petit Soleil B& B San Luis Obispo -- 40 miles

Day 6 -- ride hilly century with friends (will appreciate the short day on Friday)

Day 7 -- drive back to San Mateo

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lessons in Motherhood

I've never wanted to be a mother. Even as a little girl, I never played with dolls. During my 20s I didn't have those clock-ticking urges that many of my friends did. And since my ability to bear children was taken away from me at the ripe old age of 31, I've never given motherhood a second thought. Don't get me wrong, I like kids, especially when they're someone else's.

But a couple of years ago I decided I wanted a little love in my life. After the death of my mother, I felt the need to extend my family. Since men are so much work, I decided I'd get a puppy. I adopted Julie in January 2004.

Julie's a pretty low maintenance dog, really. Yeah, she's a bit clingy, but that's because she's with me all the time. I work at home -- she's here. I work at the bike shop -- she goes with me. She loves being with me and I love being with her (most of the time). But she can stay at home alone for hours at a time, with the run of the house and the patio. She misses me, but she does just fine.

This afternoon as we were getting ready to go into the shop, I noticed she was making a funny chewing kinda sound. I assumed she got into something she shouldn't, so I tried to take it away from her, sweeping my finger in her mouth. Nothing there. Hmmm... Upon closer inspection, I noticed that she looked a little puffy around the muzzle (or is that nuzzle?). Not sure if she really looked swollen, I looked at some photos. Looking closer at her again, I realized she was all pink around the mouth. About that time, panic set in. A quick call to the vet and we're off to the clinic!

During the drive to the vet, Julie's making a funny noise, kinda grunting and snorting at me as she breathes. And her muzzle is getting bigger by the minute, until it's puffed up almost to the full size of her head! I'm worried that she might pass out or stop breathing on the drive to the vet. I try to keep it together emotionally (since I'm driving on 101), but started crying a little bit.

Once we arrive at the vet, Dani (our vet) tells me it's a bee sting and Julie is apparently allergic to bees. Several shots, a couple of prescriptions, and almost $200 later, we're on our way home.

I can't imagine being a mother and seeing your baby in pain. I'm not sure why I thought I'd be a good pet owner. I joke that I can't even keep a houseplant alive! But somehow, Julie and I have made it together for almost three years. Thank goodness she's okay -- I don't know what I'd do without her!

ps -- the pics are from January 16th, 2004 -- the day I brought her home (because puppy pics are so cute and I'm jealous of vb's new kitty and j/a's new puppy).

Lotsa Cross

Friday I had a private coaching session to work on my skills. I figure my fitness is just about what it's going to be right now but I can still improve my skills. My skills aren't terrible, but they could be better. So, I learned how to do things a lot differently than I've been doing them for the last three years. And new ways to think about things, too. We worked on mounts, dismounts, manuals and wheelies, sand, and riding on the tops (which I don't typically do).

Saturday, we had our annual Velo Girls cyclocross clinic, this year coached by Andi Mackie. For a couple of hours we worked on our skills and then had a race simulation.

And Sunday, I raced at Folsom Rodeo with Kim and Erin. I had debated whether to race in the Bs or Cs, but once I rode the course I got chicken and raced Cs. Of course, it didn't help that I screwed up the schedule, we got there later than planned, didn't get enough warm-up and had several mechanical issues to solve pre-race. I guess that's why we pick a throw-away for our first race, right?

Well let me tell you, if I'm not completely confused after this weekend then I'm just plain losing my mind. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be decisive with my skills during the race. Part of me instinctively tried to do things the "old" way and my mind was trying to tell me to do them the "new" way. The result was confusion (and one stupid crash). Since my goal for the race was just to get back out there, assess my fitness and skills, and taste some blood, I was successful.

But the race was fun and I'm looking forward to this season. The course was pretty good for me (no real hills and the run-ups didn't allow anyone to get a lot of speed). There was only one good power section (which is good for me).

We started Le Mans style, with a short run on a field and then up and over a 20' pile of woodchips to grab our bikes and go. I false-started on the run and then missed the true start as I was getting back to the line so I was near the back of our field of 11 when I got on the bike. I spent the first lap moving up, but there was too much time spent behind the log jam of other racers at the beginning, and we never saw the first three racers. This is disappointing for me, because my start is usually really good (I almost always get the hole shot), and it's frustrating to have to work through slower racers. Oh well!

Pic from Brian Joder of the three dorky looking Velo Girls.

I worked my way up into 4th position (1-3 were long gone), with my teammates Erin and Kim behind me in 5th and 6th. I was sloppy with my skills and not used to my new race wheels (which I think had too much air but I couldn't tell with the valve stem extenders I put on there), so I was sliding around a bit and couldn't lay it down in the corners. Bummer.

On the 3rd lap, I completely blew it on one of my dismounts. The bike went one way, I went the other, and landed on the ground. My teammate, Erin, was behind me, but I was able to get up and maintain position up the run-up. But I was a bit befuzzled to remount and noticed my chain had sucked, so I had to fix that. Erin stopped to help (silly girl) and I told her to go and chase the leaders! The last lap and a half I'd lost my fight and was able to maintain position for 5th, but never caught Erin again.

Excellent race photos by Brian Joder are here --

I Love my bike! With my race wheels, she's 17.2 pounds -- perfect for me, especially during climbs and run-ups! Still need to fix the front brake and figure out a solution for the new wheels, but she'll be good to me this season, I can tell.

I'm supposed to do a cross ride at Arastradero tonight, but after three days of cross, my body is screaming for a recovery ride. It's good to listen to your body.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

No time to blog...'s been a crazy few weeks. Today, I had two clients on the bike, a bike fit, worked on my cyclocross skills, had a phone meeting about our cross clinic on Saturday, worked at the shop, attended the Burlingame BAC meeting, mounted my new Tufo Flexus' on my Bontrager carbon rims (glue tomorrow), built one wheel (pink velocity rim with silver chris king hub and silver dt swiss spokes), shipped a bunch of eBay stuff, played with my dog. That's just today!

Yesterday, I planted my garden for 2006. Yeah, I know, it's a little late. Since I have a patio, I've got a container garden (about 60 pots and several trees and lucious morning glories). Well, I never planted new plants in the spring -- just kept watering the old ones and the weeds. So yesterday I planted a lovely fall garden of reds and yellows and oranges.

It's been a good week. On Tuesday I did an awesome mtn bike ride with a co-ed group. Yup, I showed up to a group ride when I didn't know anybody. We rode up Alpine to Page Mill to Skyline over to Russian Ridge viewed the sunset over the Pacific descended Coal Creek and Alpine. Wow! Long, dusty, fun boys, and riding in the dark (yikes).

I've got a week before I head out on my trip down the coast. Haven't really thought about my route or anything, but it's all good.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"whatever position you're in.....

....BodyMint's always on top of it, freshening both your breath and your body at the same time. So whether you are shaking hands, locking lips, or nibbling toes, life is fun. Stop thinking dirty, start feeling clean day and night. Live it up, let loose, and love free!"

You find the craziest stuff at the Long's in my neighborhood. And sometimes I just can't help myself.

My latest find is BodyMint, which appears to be chlorophyll tablets (no mint) that you injest twice a day. Taken regularly, the creators claim that it makes your breath (and other bodily functions) sweet-smelling.

I had a boyfriend who swore he could tell you the dietary habits of others just by "tasting" them -- you know, who eats meat, who smokes, who drinks alcohol, who eats asparagus, who takes drugs. I'd have to agree. In my experience, some folks just taste sweeter than others. And some taste down-right bitter.

Hey, Lauren! Maybe this is the solution for your no-deodorant lifestyle.....apparently BodyMint was developed in Hawaii as an alternative to deodorant in the summer heat.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

addicted to pain

After the crit in San Rafael, another Velo Girl and I met at Summit Bicycles to ride over to China Camp on our cross bikes for some sweet singletrack. China camp is good for my mental training, because there are lots of the 3 Rs (rocks, roots, and ruts) and I'm trying to be fearless on my bike this year. My buddy Skot and his friend Scott tagged along with us on their mountain bikes (and were very respectful, stayed in their middle rings and made for an enjoyable ride).

There's a bit of a small world story here. Skot and I worked together at Schwab. His buddy, Scott, also worked at Schwab, although I don't think we knew each other. And Scott's girlfriend, Jeanne, also worked at Schwab. Jeanne now leads beginner mtn bike rides for REI, and she was also out at China Camp with a group of riders yesterday. When Scott told me her name, somehow I remembered that she and I were on Team Schwab together for one of the AIDS Rides. Whew! If you can follow all that, good on ya!

Anyways, post-ride Skot, Scott, and I went to the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur. There's also a small-world story about MBC but I'll skip it here.

As we were eating and chatting, Scott described how he wished Jeanne would push herself and be more fearless on the bike. I can tell it's an area of frustration for him, and he suggested Jeanne and I ride together. I mentioned that lots of riders (men and women) don't know how to push or don't like it.

Skot's a racer. Scott has also been involved in competition of various sorts througout his life. I was never an athlete until my adulthood, but I was competitive in other areas like music and scholarship. Jeanne, on the other hand, has never really competed in anything.

You can teach someone skills and improve their fitness, but I firmly believe that the one thing you can't teach someone is to be competitive.

Why do we race? Competition is only part of it. There's a social aspect and of course, the one underlying reason.....we're addicted to pain. We like the way it makes us feel -- alive, vital, and hungry.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

doin' the right thing

Wow! What an interesting turn of events. So, remember that team that was doing some gorilla recruiting in order to win the club challenge? Well, they didn't win (we did, they got second). However, many of the team members were opposed to what had happened. The best woman on the team quit yesterday, embarassed to race in her team kit today at San Rafael. And my friend decided not to race today either.

Well, it turns out that the team captain knew nothing about what had happened. One woman on the team (who doesn't even really race) decided single-handedly that the team could win the challenge if everyone on the team got one new racer to sign up.

So, this team withdrew from the competition and didn't accept their 2nd place winnings. I'd say that's the honorable thing to do, wouldn't you?

Friday, September 08, 2006

speed-dating for dogs

Julie is very well socialized. However, she thinks she's a human. She's with me 24/7 except when I'm riding. I work from home and she meets lots of nice visitors/clients. When I work at the bike shop, she comes with me and meets even more people. She loves people.

Now dogs are a different story. She's friendly for about 30 seconds -- long enough to sniff and be sniffed -- and then she's off to new and exciting adventures. She does well with one dog, okay with two, but cowers in fear when she's approached by three or more.

Our travels yesterday led us to Foster City, where there's a big new dog park right on the bay. It's not even a nice dog park with grass and trees, but it does have these silly little fire hydrants. There's a section for little dogs and big dogs. And lots of dust and dry weeds. We've been twice in the past three years. Julie doesn't like it. As soon as she enters the gate, 10 little dogs try to hump her (gang bang).

Well, I decided it was time to try again. Same result. So, we went walking along the bay, chased the sea gulls, smelled the tide, and had fun together -- just the two of us.

I think dogs really acquire the personalities of their owners. I'm dreadfully shy (really). Last night, I had signed up to go to a speed-dating event in Palo Alto. I knew in the back of my mind I'd never go. I conventiently busied myself yesterday so I had an excuse to back out. Of course, this probably left the male-female ratio a little out of whack -- sorry guys!

Come to think of it, the dog park is kinda like speed-dating for dogs. Sniff a whole bunch of butts and then hang out with the one you like the best!

ps -- j/a the photos are for you and all my other animal-luvin' friends!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

boyfriends please apply (to USAC)

Our local racing district, the NCNCA, announced an incentive program last fall. It's called the 2006 Club Challenge, and the program is designed to reward clubs for developing new racers. Recruiting and developing new racers is a lot of work and uses lots of resources, and it's great that the NCNCA is providing recognition for those efforts.

Velo Girls is all about developing new racers. In 2003, almost 100% of our 36 racers were new. In 2004 and 2005, about 50% of our 40 or so racers were new. We're a tiny bit below that this season, but we made some changes to our race team which resulted in lower recruitment numbers.

It looks like we'll win the NCNCA Club Challenge this season.

But that's not the point of this post. You see, there's a certain club that decided to work the system. USAC licenses dropped in price on September 1st. And since then, this certain club has added 9 new racers (almost all women). One can only assume they're the girlfriends of team members and have no intention at all of ever racing. A buddy of mine on the team confirmed that there had been emails about the "contest" encouraging folks to register their SOs.

The leader of this team has been posting excitedly about the club challenge on the NCNCA forum, realizing that his team will move way up in the rankings (from 7th to 2nd). Although he's really clever, somehow, he seems to have missed the intention of this incentive program. If I'm not mistaken, the point is to recruit and develop new racers, not just add names to a team's roster.

I know, who cares? I hate people who cheat. I have no respect for others who find loopholes and kinks in the system. I just don't get it! In this case, it's like the girl scout who tries to get every single merit badge but doesn't learn anything in the process. What honor is that?

And how about the teams that will be displaced because of this -- teams who actually focus on new racer development? How is it fair to them? Or the larger teams who focus on development but have such large rosters that they don't have a high percentage of new racers? This type of behavior cheapens the recognition for all the clubs who actually worked hard at developing new racers.

And, assuming the NCNCA is smart enough to know what's happening, how will this affect their decision to have an incentive program like this again in 2007? Casey says there will be some modifications in the rules to discourage ballot stuffing in the future.

Sheesh! Why do some people have to be so clever? And why do I even care?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Quote of the Day

"You can fake an orgasm; you can't fake a crit." -- me in response to the question about why I chose not to race the Giro. I just didn't have the fight/hunger in my today.

I'm already crossing.....crits are so last season.