more than just another bike blog

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


So, I've had this "condition" for the past week. Not sure if it's really a condition yet, but it's definitely a coincidence.

Descending Mt. Hamilton on Thanksgiving was the first instance. I felt stoned and my eyes seemed to have a delayed reaction when I moved my head. I thought it might be attributed to the cold or the caloric deficits. A bit scary descending, but I survived. The next day I experienced the same thing on my descents in Marin.

I seemed to forget about it this week, but this morning it happened again. As I was spinning in the chair at the beauty salon (getting beautiful, if you must know, and I like to spin in circles), I didn't get the normal dizzy rush but rather a disturbing sense that the room was moving from side to side in slow motion.

Then, tonight, I did a silly little swaying dance move for a friend (showing off my long beautiful locks) and I almost fell over.

Hmmmm. Something's off.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

looking the bear in the eyes

True confession time.

I'm afraid of mtn biking in the dark. Seriously. It's pretty debilitating. I didn't even know I was afraid of mtn biking in the dark until last year. I ride road in the dark all the time. I love road riding in the dark. Mtn biking is another story.

So, last year I registered to do 24 Hours of Adrenaline at Laguna Seca with some of my nutty Velo Girls friends. We had a little "training" session one night that consisted of riding about 15 minutes in the dark at Redwood Park near Lauren's house. I think it took us longer to dress, load the car, and drive there than we rode. But I was ready!

Fast forward to the race. We're jamming. I did a double lap to start us out and then another lap in the early evening. At 3:00am or something crazy like that, I get up for my first night lap. I had a great headlight and a super-powerful bar lamp, too. And I'm basically paralyzed. I'm so scared that I'm riding super-slow which is just dangerous on the berms and single-track at Laguna Seca. Crap! I start crying about a mile or so into my lap so I turn around and walk back to camp and wake up my teammate so she can go in my place. I'm so depressed and angry with myself that I go to sleep and basically pout all morning, refusing to go out for a final lap in the morning. I suck.

So, one of my goals for this year is to become confident riding at night on the mtn bike. Part of my fear is the fact that I get all tunnel-visiony and part of it is that I feel out of control. I have some control issues when I mtn bike during the day too -- typical roadie trying to avoid obstacles instead of trusting that her bike can just roll over them. Of course, my daytime issues are just magnified at night. I also think I need a beta-blocker or something, because I'm so damn jumpy and reactive that it's a bit dangerous. My secret to avoiding all this mental chaos is to ride slower and in control.

So, my buddies at Cyclepath have a night mtn bike ride every Tuesday night at Lake Chabot, led by the owner, Joel. I decided I'd start going. Talk about confronting my fears -- showing up to a new group (co-ed) where I know no one to do something that scares the shit out of me. I'm really shy, so just showing up is a big accomplishment, never mind riding.

I got stuck in traffic on the drive over and my nerves just escalated. Then, I couldn't find the meeting point in the dark. I almost went home, but Joel knew I was coming so I felt commited. Of course, Joel was late and as I stood in the parking lot with no one talking to me I almost left. But something made me stay.

Long story short, I showed up, I got scared, I dealt with it. Luckily, Joel hung with me on the first long descent while everyone else rode away. My saving grace was that I could climb faster than most of the other riders so they didn't think I was a total loser. At one point, I had built up some confidence and was flying down a hill. I hit some deep mud and got scared when I slid around and slowed way down. I got dropped, and had to ride by myself for a while. I kinda yelled out to the group to wait for me, but they were too far ahead to hear me, so I had to plug on alone. Yup, I was scared. Really scared. But I caught up and made sure they didn't drop me again.

The ride was about 90 minutes long (14 miles) and the group was pretty large (15 people). I beat everyone up the last big climb so that felt good. And I thanked everyone for helping me with my fear while they drank beer and I drank a chocolate milk. Everyone was cool and welcoming and I'll be back to confront that bear again.

Oh, coolest part of the ride was when we saw owls flying over the trail. Wow!

when clients are coaches

I have a lovely client who always shares little nuggets of wisdom with me. She's an older woman who will be riding across the US next year. She's had a full and wonderful life with many interesting experiences. As we were chatting today, she shared something with me that was so lucid and clear and obvious, and yet I'd never thought of it for myself.

Thank you!

Monday, November 27, 2006

quick vent

Just need to get this off my chest.

There's a women who is always asking me coaching questions. She's not a client. She's not club member. She's not even a friend. She's just a woman. She sends me very complex emails which take a long answer from me in return. Whenever I answer her questions, she disagrees with my answers. I have to wonder why she even asks my opinion when she already apparently knows the answers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


sometimes I just don't want to....anything

Friday, November 24, 2006

burn the turkey

Well, I didn't have turkey, but I did a big, long turkey-burner ride today -- five hours and a decent bit of climbing. Three of my teammates and I planned to ride the Nicasio Loop from SF. Two of them had sudden, convenient excuses this morning (like who really goes to Best Buy at 4:30am to get a laptop). So Jen Jordan and I had an incredible ride together.

I'm having cold issues. I know, all summer I had heat issues but now I'm having cold issues. The reality of it is that I'm having sweating issues. I've never had this problem in the past, so I'm puzzled. I'm sweating so much that my hair is dripping and my clothes are soaked within the first 30 minutes of a ride, no matter how hard I ride, even if it's fricking-freezing out (like it was this morning).

We stopped at the new bike shop in Ross called Breaking Away Bicycles. Cool shop, owned by a woman named Donna Doran (she's cool, too). I needed more clothes, or so I thought, and Donna's got a HUGE selection of women's clothing. I finally settled on a Sheila Moon cap and that seemed to do the trick. Kills me to pay retail, but I'm happy to support a new little locally-owned shop.

Still cold, we decided to stop again in Fairfax at the Coffee Roastery for a little hot toddy. There was a singer/guitarist performing so we drank our coffee, Jen ate a muffin, and generally warmed up. It worked, because when we got back on the bikes we were both comfy and warm. I know, two stops in 20 miles, but it was cold and we made up for it in the next 30 miles without any stops.

We headed out to Nicasio and then to Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road. Jen had never ridden this far into Marin, so it was cool to show her how to get to various places. We headed south through Samuel P. Taylor Park and hooked up with a group of six racer-guys in blue (Squadra Ovest and Metromint). We sat on until they turned to go to the restroom. I could tell it's fall. First, they were all chatting like a group of girls. Second, they stopped to pee. Mellow, fall miles, right?

The guys caught back up with us on Sir Francis Drake and we sat on again until White's Hill, where I knew I'd blow if I tried to hang -- too many hilly miles in my legs the past two days. So Jen and I rolled back to Fairfax to refill our bottles and use the restroom.

As we were leaving Fairfax, we hooked up with Josh Snead who happens to work at the bike shop we visited this morning. Josh and I had never talked, but I recognized him and said hello. We chatted about cross and Barb and the crazy blog community -- funny how blogs expand our circle of friends, eh?

Back up over Camino Alto, through the maze of touists and crazy drivers we call Sausalito, up that stinker climb out of Sausalito, and then through the obstacle course of tourists on the bridge and we rolled back to Sports Basement where we'd begun our epic ride -- 5 hours and 70-some miles in the bag.

Long live long rides!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

cold thanksgiving ham

Because I don't have any family, I tend to avoid holidays like the plague. Instead, I do epic rides. Or fun rides. Or any kinda of ride. I always get invitations to spend the holidays with friends and their families, but I'd much rather ride my bike and gloat than over-indulge and feel guilty.

When my friend Kim told me she wanted to ride Mt. Hamilton for Thanksgiving, I was thrilled. I've only climbed it once -- in April of this year. It's the perfect climb for me. Not too steep (I like to spin when I climb) and perfect to really get your climbing rhythm. For those of you not familiar with Mt. Hamilton, it's a 19 mile climb in San Jose with an average grade of maybe 5% -- a little steeper in a few places and about two miles of descending during the climb.

We decided to do the short version -- climb up 20 miles and then descend 20 miles. Kim's husband, Jeff, would be joining us. Since neither of us like riding in the cold, we decided to start at the very civil hour of 10:00am. Unlike my ascent in April which was warm, foggy, and drizzly, today's ride was clear and crisp!

Kim is a great climber. She usually blows me away within minutes but today her legs were heavy. Jeff took off and Kim and I rode at a pretty mellow pace. After about 30 minutes, her legs woke up and we picked up the pace just a bit. As we climbed, we saw some of the low-key hill-climb folks, including Flandria and her hunny and Marie B and Laura and Ben and a bunch of other folks I don't remember.

I guess none of us are ready for winter riding yet. We only wore base layers, short-sleeve jerseys, and vests. I wore my gore-tex gloves (thinking as we left that it would be overkill) and put a pair of chemical toe-warmers in my shoes. As an afterthought, I threw a thermal headband in my jersey for the descent.

Well, it was cold. I just checked the weather and it was only 41 degrees with about 20mph winds when we arrived at the top. Of course, I sweat like nobody's business, so all of my clothes were soaked by the time I got to the top, even though it was pretty cold climbing. Luckily, I knew the secret back-door to the bathrooms and that glorious heater, so we took a leisurely break at the top (25 minutes) and dried our clothes. We were all dreading the descent because it was so cold. We contemplated asking one of the tourists in their SUV to drive us down but decided that would be wimpy.

Kim is a great descender on the twisty switchbacks, but she couldn't get her rhythm today and fell quite a bit behind me. I was dizzy and my vision was doing something strange like a delayed reaction everytime I moved my head. I tried to ignore it, but I found myself drifting too wide on many of the switchbacks -- oops! But even so, my descending was pretty darn good. My left-hand switchbacks are pretty weak, but I've been working on my hip flexibility and it seems to have worked!

We stopped a couple of times on the way down to get warm. Jeff could tell that Kim wasn't feeling well and even offered to go get the car, but we plugged on. As we continued our descent, the chill seemed to leave the air a bit. Arriving back at the car, we were all pink and freezing. After a quick change into warm woolies, we stopped at Starbuck's for cocoa and gingerbread latte -- aaahhhh!

Back home, a hot bath, a yummy dinner, and a snuggle with my puppy and life is complete.

I can't think of a better way to spend my Thanksgiving than doing an epic ride like Mt. Ham with my good friends.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the way we were

I found another photo today. It scared me. As I write this, I still haven't decided if I'll post it -- it may come back to haunt me.

Dateline: May 22nd, 2005 -- almost five weeks after my second surgery, which was complicated by a terrible infection. Scarier still, almost five months off the bike (since my first surgery) except very short rides and some skills coaching. Needless to say, I was not at the top of my game. I wasn't on my game at all. It took every ounce of courage to ride all the way to Woodside (a whopping 15 miles). I think I stopped four times. If it wasn't for a random club member who rode with me, I wouldn't have made it. I knew I couldn't make it home again, so I headed down the hill to RWC and took the train.

But, it was one of the best rides of my life. I knew I'd be back. I knew I had a long road ahead of me. And I knew it would be hard, and frustrating, and that no one could truly understand what I was going through. But I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel (I just couldn't see it yet).

I'm not sure why I let someone take a photo of me that day. I think I wanted a photo of my pretty new white & pink Trek. Since I've been fat, I hate seeing photos of me, so I don't usually let folks take them.

Of course, that wasn't always true. I used to be a real flirt with the lens. Here's another shot I just found on a disk from 2002. I wanted to find something to compare since I can't seem to find many photos from me that year. Bet you have to look twice or maybe even three times to pick me out.

I know everyone thinks I'm obsessed with my weight -- I am. In less than three years, I ballooned from 144 to almost 190 pounds. I rode my bike 15-20 hours a week. I ate right. No one knew what was wrong with me. I thought I was crazy.

Dateline: November 21st, 2006 -- I'm obsessed with losing that last 15 pounds. I want to climb hills like a climber. I'm sick of getting dropped in road races. I want to have goals and know that I've got a chance in hell at achieving them. I want to like myself again.

So, back to the food journal and the caloric deficits. It's working. I'm down 1/2 a pound a day (good, safe weightloss) for a total of three pounds last week. I can see my hip bones for the first time in four years. My goal is 140 by the end of February. I think it's realistic. I believe it will happen. I will climb hills with the skinny little girls again!

Monday, November 20, 2006

did you ever wonder?

So, I fell on my ass during Sunday's race. That doesn't happen very often (like never). For whatever reason, I couldn't get my left foot unclipped on the rooty-tooty run-up. Boom, down I went with the bike on top of me (and poor Jen Day right behind me wondering if I'm going to roll backwards and squash her). Somehow, I jumped to my feet and got running and she didn't get by me -- impressive, no?

Now, let me repeat this, because here's my puzzlement.

I fell on my ass. I'm starting to see some bruises on my leg, arm.....everywhere but my ass.

Go figure.

I love cross....I hate cross

Another woulda-shoulda-coulda race for me. This pretty much sums up my race.

Friday, November 17, 2006

safeway stalking
(last night I met a random crazy-person)

So, I have several big Velo Girls logos on my car. It sometimes draws attention to me.

Last night I presented a clinic at Ocean Cyclery in San Francisco. Although the group was small, the questions were abundant and before we knew it, it was quite late. Assuming a sixty-minute clinic, I had planned to stop at Simpson's, go grocery shopping, and go to the gym before turning in for the night. Well, by the time I got back to San Mateo, it was after 11:00! So, the grocery was my only option.

I live next door to Safeway. It's one of the older, smaller Safeways that doesn't carry more than the essentials, but the senior citizens in the condo complex where I live have influenced the corporation to keep it open for them. That's not a bad idea, since they can walk to the store rather than get in the car they probably shouldn't still be driving at their ages....but I digress.

Late-night grocery shopping is typically pretty uneventful. The store echos with emptiness and the muzak rings like an elevator nightmare. The produce clerk has her own boom box playing her personal tunes to inspire high-quality produce-stocking. The store is otherwise quiet except the over-caffeinated employees, the zombie-like working stiffs on the way home from a late night at the office, and the random crazy-person. Last night, I met a random crazy-person.

I'm almost finished shopping, just trying to find one more package of reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, shuffling through the roasted red pepper feta, the spinach artichoke feta, the full-fat feta, and the awol babybels that don't belong with the feta. Suddenly, I feel a rush of motion and a tug at my left coat-sleeve. Before I even turn to look, the sticky-sweet stench of alcoholic breath is overwhelming to me. And then I hear "you're THE VELO GIRL" in a blathery, slurry voice. I turn to see some dude in a bike helmet, complete with visor and teletubby stickers standing not 3" from my face. I take a step back, quickly size up the threat, read the embroidery on his jacket, and realize he's a bike shop employee at a shop in the city.

"Yes, I'm a Velo Girl," I reply, but before the words completely escape my mouth, he continues, saying he saw the car in the parking lot and just had to find me. He'd been searching all the aisles looking for THE VELO GIRL and when he saw the Clif Bar logo on my jacket he just knew it was me. Well, since I already admited it was me, I had no quick escape. I started breathing through my mouth so I wouldn't ralph from the stench of his breath.

He continued, telling me how he was the manager of this store and how this store was such a great store for women and how this store sponsored a women's tri team and how he worked in the bike biz for 15 years and how this store was the best store for women he'd ever worked at. Of course, I know the owner of this store (he had offered me a job about a year ago)* so I got sucked into the conversation. Bike Shop Employee proceeded to show me his purchases -- a big bottle and a big can of beer (Mickey's and something else), telling me several times that one was for his roommate (he assumed I cared).

At this point, my feet start moving toward the register. I'm hoping for salvation there, but Bike Shop Employee decides he needs to give me his email address so I can present some clinics at this bike shop.

I wonder if he'll remember this today.


*About a year ago I was driving on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. In the lane next to me was a van which appeared to be a team van, a bike tour company van, or a bike shop van. There weren't any logos, but there had to be 15-20 bike racks positioned on the top of the vehicle. At each intersection, the van would be stopped next to me at the red light. I looked at the driver but he wasn't anyone I knew. Finally, after about five lights, the man driving the van rolled down his passenger window and began waving wildly at me. He explained that he was the owner of a certain bike shop in SF and that he just had to meet THE VELO GIRL. What followed was a month-long email dialogue where the man tried really hard to pursuade me to go manage the women's section at this bike shop. Maybe accosting strangers (or at least THE VELO GIRL) is part of employee training at this bike shop.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

before there was pink

I just stumbled upon this photo -- Cinderella 2002. Velo Girls had been in existence about one month. We didn't have jerseys yet so we wrote on our legs in black magic marker tri-style. Many of the women in the club first heard about Velo Girls by reading our legs. Oh, and we also labeled about 2,000 tootsie pops with little stickers with the URL and an invitation to come ride with us. We gave them out after the ride and put them on the windsheilds of cars. Those were the days.....guerilla marketing at it's finest.

Oh, and for those of you who think pink must be my favorite color....W-R-O-N-G-O!!! I didn't own any pink pre-Velo Girls. There was nothing pink in my house, nothing pink in my closet, and nothing pink in my vocabulary. I'll admit I had a pretty orange and yellow flowery shimmel and glitter sunscreen on under my black top in that photo, but no pink. I just picked pink because I wanted to establish an identity that was so far removed from all the traditionally male-oriented cycling clubs with their blue, green, red, black, grey veneers.

my favorite riding partner

Today was a perfect day. I've been working way too much and riding way too little. I crave the long, epic rides that leave you feeling fresh and alive.

Wednesday has always been my long ride day, but it's been tough to get in a good 4-5 hour ride when I run and lift on Mondays -- I'm still a bit sore and fatigued. Today, I just ignored the pain and rode, and rode, and rode. First I rode with one of Brenna-Bella's friends for a bit, then met up with Kim in Woodside. We meandered through Portola Valley, Los Altos, and made our way down to Steven's Canyon. On the return trip, Kim peeled off at Sand Hill while I continued north, returning to Woodside, rolling through the maze, and back to Canada/92. Ahhhhhh....I just feel incredible right now.

On the trip north on Canada, the sun was low to my left and I was able to ride with my shadow the entire trip. I love winter riding because you can see an almost perfect riding partner next to you, especially on roads like Canada where there are walls on the side of the road. It's one of the few times you can watch yourself ride from the profile view for an extended period of time. I just rode and admired the beauty of my partner's perfect spin, high cadence, tight riding position, and fast bike all in perfect proportions. For just a moment, I felt strong and beautiful and perfect, too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

where are all the road races?

So, I'm working with the NCNCA calendar trying to put together the schedule for all my coaching programs next season. The Tri-Flow program is our development racing program and this past season we raced road races. Not that I don't like crits. I personally love crits. But for a very-first race, I think a road race is a bit less intimidating and a bit more safe.

But, the NCNCA calendar is just bursting with crits for next season. The only road race in the entire month of July is Diamond Valley. Huh?

Good thing I've got a new crit program starting next season, too.

who needs goals?!?

Well, shoot! My brain's all a-tizzy tonight and I didn't want to go there yet. I realize I have no goals!

I was at my favorite neighborhood bike shop this afternoon. Now that I don't work at a bike shop, I have to get my fix, so I stop by to chat once in a while. Today was actually supposed to be a meeting, but the owner was busy-busy with customers so I found myself chatting with one of the staff members. He's a racer and we had an interesting conversation about coaching, fitness, racing, and goals.

Well, it's abundantly clear that I don't have any goals for myself right now. And it didn't bother me until today.

I guess I've been floating on the post-illness excuse for a while now. After my second surgery in 2005, I decided not to put pressure on myself. No formal training plan, no coach (for the first time in my cycling career) and no goals. I rationalized that it was impossible to set goals because I had no idea what the body could do anymore. So, I made my coaching business my priority and just got out there and raced whatever I felt like racing. I think I've done 35 or 40 races so far this year, including cross, mountain bike, road, and crits. But still no goals.

I had structure in my training. There were intervals, and threshold efforts, and tempo rides, and sprint training. There were weights and running and skills. And there was fun, too. But I never wrote it down as a training plan. I knew what I needed to do and I did it. Most of the time.

I guess if I don't have goals I can't fail, right? If it's all about fun, how can I go wrong? But if I decide I want to be competitive there's a HUGE chance I'll fail. Do I want to go there? Am I mentally strong enough to survive the let-down of failure? I couldn't handle it in 2004 when I was so sick. What makes me think I could handle it better now?

So, now I have to decide if I want to be coached. Do I want to be serious about this again? Can I make myself a priority? Do I have the emotional bandwidth to really train and keep my nutrition in check (ie no beer, no ice cream, no pizza, no cheating). Do I want to be accountable to a coach? And myself?

And who the heck would I hire to coach me anyways? Because I know my stuff, I'm picky as hell. There are two coaches I might consider based on their repuations. But I don't really know either of them well enough to know if our personalities will jive. Can I be the supplicant again?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

who knew?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

reason #64 -- why being single sucks!

Men just know things. Like how to fix stuff. It's in their DNA. I think I'm pretty handy. I've even got a ladder and some power tools. But sometimes you still need a man. So, when you're single, you beg a friend or a neighbor, or just give in and hire a handyman.

Today's situation is just stupid. I've got flourescent bulbs under my kitchen cabinets. I've lived in my condo since 1998, and never blown a blub. But suddenly, two of them go. Kinda suspicious that two bulbs in the same fixture go at the same time, but whatever.

So, first I have to figure out how to get them out of the fixture. Off to OSH and I get the bulbs. Home again, get the bulbs into the fixtures, flip the switch, and nothing. NOTHING!

I vaguely recall flourescent lights having a starter from when I was a kid. I examine my fixtures (not easy since they're under the cabinets) and don't see any starter or anything.

So, I'm going to have to pay some handyman $80 to come screw in the proverbial light bulb.

Maybe he'll be single.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

roll your own -- Matisse & Jack's

One of the cool things about my job is I get to do a lot of product testing. I've tested bikes, clothing, nutrition products, supplements, you name it. Well, not an oxygen tent yet, but maybe someday. Part of the arrangement is typically that I write a review of the product which may or may not ever be seen by anyone outside the product company. Sometimes the product is cool, sometimes it's silly, sometimes I like it, sometimes I would never consider endorsing it.

Well, a few weeks ago I was contacted by a San Francisco company called Matisse & Jack's. They have a product called Trail Blaze -- Bake-At-Home Oatmeal Energy Bars.

Those who really know me probably think this product would be as good a match for me as a down-hill mountain bike. Yeah, I cook a little (if you count salads). But, I'm so busy that taking the time to plan and bake energy bars just doesn't fit into my hectic lifestyle. But, I said I'd try them just the same.

The recipe is super-simple. In addition to the dry ingredients included in the box, you need to add some wet ingredients too. I chose the original option which uses 2/3 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt. There are also vegan and less sweet options listed on the package and a whole bunch of alternate recipes (for cookies and muffins, etc) on their website. Oh, and you need some shortening to grease the pan.

There are two flavors. The first night I baked the Chocolate Chip bars (made with genuine chocolate chips). You just pour the contents of the box into a bowl, add the applesauce and yogurt, and then stir it up. Oh, and for those of you who love to eat cookie dough, you can eat the mix raw because there are no eggs! And it's yummy. Grease an 8" pan, pour the mix into the pan, pop it into the oven at 350 degrees, and 30 minutes later you're done. The bars cut best if you cool them so you have to wait another 15 minutes before diving in.

When I read the label, I was pretty impressed -- no multi-syllabic scientific words, no refined flours, no preservatives, and no hydrogenated or fractionated oils. Just good old fashioned ingredients, including organic whole grain rolled oats, organic flax seeds (omega 3's baby!), and real natural flavors like vanilla! This is good stuff. The company says the nutritional breakdown is similar to a Clif Bar. At 160 calories per bar, I think it's a bit light on calories, but that's actually good for smaller riders (like women).

Once the pan cools, you cut it into 9 bars. I put them in a rubbermaid container in the fridge so they would last longer. Okay, I ate two of them first, but then I put them in the fridge. The next day I put a couple of them in snack-size zip locks for my ride (and my riding partner was pleasantly surprised that I brought one for her too).

I'm not a big energy bar fan. For long, lower-intensity rides, they're fine, although I'd rather eat real food when possible. For shorter, high-intensity rides and races I get all my calories from my drink and gels. I'm also bar challenged because of my wheat allergy and my lack of a salivary gland (eewwww!). There is gluten in the Trail Blaze bars, but it doesn't seem to cause an allergic reaction with me. And the folks at Matisse & Jack's are working on a gluten-free recipe! My bigger concern was that I typically have a hard time eating dry food because I don't produce as much saliva as most folks. After my surgery, Clif Bars were out and Power Bars were in (they melt in your mouth). So, I had no idea how I'd like the Trail Blaze bars.

All I can say is "yum!" These bars are delicious. The consistency is almost bread-like -- very moist but not too solid. A bit fluffy, a bit cakey, and they definitely won't remind you of typical energy bars. The flavors are excellent and they taste healthy. And they retained their flavor and consistency for just about a week.

The disadvantage is that these bars could easily become snack food for me. I'm not tempted to snack on a Power Bar, but these are so yummy and taste like real food. Having nine bars without individual packaging to deter me could be dangerous.

The following week I made the other flavor -- cranberry walnut. Also yummalicious, also healthy, and also easy to bake. Not sure which I liked better. I guess I'd better order some so I can test them again!

Sound interesting to you? Don't trust me. Order some for yourself. The good folks at Matisse & Jack's have provided us with a discount coupon -- MJVELOGIRLS06 -- enter it when you order and you receive 20% off your order. Good stuff!

Click here ---> Trail Blaze Bake-At-Home-Energy Bars

two animals

Yes, I still haven't opened the box. I'm funny like that. I got a new computer a few years ago and it took me almost a month to take it out of the box. I've been known to wait and wait and wait. Buyer's remorse? Don't know.

Here are my two animals. I tried to get Julie to sit right next to the box so you could see how big it is (the box, not Julie). Alas, she was being aloof as usual. Or maybe she's scared of the box. It's big. Really big. So big that I wasn't sure it would fit in my little condo. Probably the biggest box I've ever seen. Ever.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I really need a new computer.....

but instead, I got one of these tonight.

Isn't she purty? Of course, I haven't dared take her out of the box yet -- maybe tomorrow.

I've lived alone for almost 25 years. In all that time, I've bought two vacuum cleaners. I think the first one cost about $49 from Sears. I think the second probably cost about $79. So, if I divide the cost of the Dyson + the two Sears vacuums by the number of days since I've lived alone, they're only costing me about seven cents a day. Oh, but even better, I had a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so I saved about a penny a day!

Hey, what ever happened to the "cents" key on our keyboards? Did you ever think about that? Has life gotten so expensive that cents are disposable?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

oh, the irony!

Today was round 3 of the Bay Area Super Prestige Series at McLaren Park in San Francisco. This was by far the toughest course I've ever raced. For me, there was just no flow. Half the course was long climbs and pretty fast descents. I nailed the descents but the climbs were brutal. The other half was flat, but with crazy chicanes that prevented you from getting any speed. I'm a power girl, so this course just didn't suit me at all. And I think it was one of my worst races ever. I rode way too hard leading the Singles Ride yesterday. And I stood on my feet too much as EMT at the race this morning.

But somehow, I ended up on the podium. How funny is that!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

can I have just one more day?

It's Wednesday. I'm exhausted. I need a weekend. Thank goodness I didn't race on Saturday.

Sunday was the best race ever, put on by the fabulous Velo Bellas. I love the Bellas. Actually, if I weren't a Velo Girl, I'd be a Bella. Which reminds me of a funny story. One of the first times I met X-bunny was in a crit this spring. I'd been reading her blog so I felt as if I knew her. We were in the crit and I ride up to her and introduce myself and say something about the flair and how I love the bellas. She tells me I'm on the wrong team (not really knowing who I am, of course). But I'm drifting.....

Back to the race. Andi Mackie invited me to be part of her group for the costume race, which included Amy Abele and Betty Jordan (one of my heroes). We were the go-go girls and did the costume race in mini-dresses, wigs, and 4-inch heels (I kid you not). It was great fun and I couldn't believe we didn't kill ourselves in the heels.

Then, the other reason I was there, the woman's race. Long story short, I loved the course (except the run-up from hell) and raced well. I was in a little pack of five for the race, made some really good tactical moves, made a couple of stupid mistakes, and we all finished together within about a minute (and only a minute down on the 2nd place racer -- 1st place was way ahead and should be racing As). Probably one of my better races and I left it all laying out there on the course.

Monday I took a dirt jumping clinic with Chris Duncan. Not sure what my expectations were, but we didn't do a lot. The instructor was funny though. I did a couple of things that scared me and learned a couple of new things, but all in all I was a bit disappointed.

Monday evening, I had a cool house guest. His name is Dom Gill and he's a 26 year old from Great Britian who's riding from the top to the bottom of the world (Prudoe Bay, Alaska to South America). What's so interesting about him is that he's doing this trip solo on a tandem and picking up riders along the way. And he's filming everything for a documentary.

Tuesday I rode the tandem with Dom to Moss Beach. I'd left my road bike there with Tom & Jenny Feix on Sunday night. The tandem ride was excellent and erased the bad memories I had from my one and only tandem ride a million years ago (long story, 2nd date with someone I wasn't interested in). We rode great together and the descent on 92 was killer (we topped out over 50mph and could've passed a ton of cars). I'm amazed I was able to relinquish control as the stoker, but I guess after 4,000 miles I realized I could trust my captain not to kill me.

From Moss Beach, we rode together (Dom on the tandem, me on my road bike) to San Gregorio where we stopped at the SG Store for a late lunch/snack. I then rode back to San Mateo via the 14-mile climb/grind on 84. I was freezing my ass off descending 84 and made it home just in time for sunset, logging almost 80 miles for the day.

So, today I'm tired. I have a ton of email and other work to catch up on and I don't have a lot of mental energy. But the weekend sure was fun!

ps -- once again I can't upload images to blogger. does anyone have any hints? the only work-around I've found is to load the images first (before I write any text). bizarre.