more than just another bike blog

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I'm not a climber. really, I'm not!

I used to be a pretty good climber. then I got sick, gained 50+ pounds and struggled with anything but the shallowest grades. I still loved to climb, but I was slower than slow. I converted from a race double to a compact and eventually added a 29t cog! and still, I couldn't keep my cadence snappy on the steeper climbs. many of you witnessed my pathetic fat ass slogging up various courses in northern california -- wente, sea otter, berkeley hills, kern, you name it! if it was hilly, I probably raced it (although "raced" is a bt of an interesting verb in my case).

as I've regained fitness (and lost 55 pounds) one of my goals was to improve my climbing. yeah, I'll never be a true climber. I'll never be able to keep up with the skinny little girls who weigh less than my bike. but I want to climb well enough that I'm not the first to pop in hilly road races.

so I've been climbing a lot in the last year or so. and slowly but surely, I've gotten faster than many of my friends who always dropped me. but that still isn't fast enough for road racing.

mountain bike racing seems to be another story. somehow, I'm gaining time on the climbs. it seems to be one of my strengths now.

anyways, I decided to join a group today to ride mt. hamilton. it was a co-ed group of friends of friends and I knew a handful of the folks. I thought it might be fun and who knows, maybe there would be some cute single guys in the group!

we met at the ride organizer's house in San Jose and warmed up with a five mile ride to the base of the climb. the group was well-behaved but my legs were feeling a bit heavy from yesterday's climb up mt. diablo and I was worried that I'd get dropped by everyone as soon as we started climbing. I got gapped by the first three riders on the little 5% grade leading up to the climb and got even more worried.

we stopped at the base of the climb and waited for the stragglers to re-group. Stacy (one of my coaching clients) decided to get a head start along with Jolie from Velo Bella. I had hoped to pace with Stacy since she's a great climber, but I was busy taking a photo of a couple of lizards as she rode away. me = dork. I quickly packed up the camera and chased. I caught and passed Jolie but Stacy remained just out of reach. three of the guys caught and passed me and then caught Stacy, so I had four rabbits to chase up the mountain.

so I chased and chased. I kept waiting for others from the group to catch me, but they never did. I lost visual contact with Stacy, but I could see one of the guys just ahead. I had thought we had another group of riders meeting us at Grant Ranch, but in the distance it looked like the group continued on without stopping so I did as well.

I felt pretty good. I pegged my watts at 200 and hoped to maintain that for the entire ride. I haven't done a power test this season so I thought I could get my FTP today (or a close estimation). unfortunately, I was sweating like crazy (as usual) and even though I drank two full bottles I got a bit dehydrated and my power dropped a bit for the second part of the ride.

there were a bunch of organized rides on mt. hamilton today (the challenge, the ascent, and the devil mountain double), along with various and sundry teams and groups out for a ride. I passed a bunch of riders and a handful of men from Monte Vista Velo and a hot guy on a cross bike passed me. but I kept pushing. I couldn't remember my stats from the other two times I'd climbed mt. hamilton, so I wasn't sure where I was pace-wise, but I knew I was fast!

running on empty (with two empty bottles), I reached the top and rode over to the post office (where all the MVV studs were gathered). I couldn't find any of my friends, so I emptied and filled and then rolled around. I found Stacy, only to learn that she had stopped at Grant Ranch so I wasn't really chasing her at all and apparently the guy I saw pass Grant Ranch wasn't with our group -- doh!

we waited at the top for the rest of the group to finish, then got to enjoy that sweet, sweet descent!

looking at my training files, I'm excited that I beat my last time up Mt. Hamilton (thanksgiving 2006) by 32 minutes! 32 fricking minutes! and my FTP is almost as high as last year (when I weighed 25 pounds more than I do now) which means my power-to-weight ratio is looking good! happy days are here again!

I got a garmin a few weeks ago. I decided if I was going to focus on climbing I wanted to know my elevations. but I haven't figured out how to use the motionbased web agent on my mac yet (so if there are any garmin mac-users out there with tips, ping me).

oh, no scenic photos today as I was racing myself up the mountain, but these are a few random shots of some of the group.

click for more pix!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

the devil made me do it

In all the years I've been riding, I've only ridden Mt. Diablo once -- Thanksgiving Day 2005. That was the year I was recovering and returning to health and fitness. It was a very challenging ride for me.

Today I rode Mt. Diablo again, this time with one of my clients who is training for the Death Ride.

We had a fabulous ride!

The weather was perfect -- hot and sunny (but not too hot). The sky was very clear -- we could see San Francisco, the pacific ocean, my little condo in San Mateo (just kidding about that). We saw squirrels and bunnies and turkey vultures and a garter snake (the last photo's for you, Panda). You could hear the buzzing of the bees in the air (it reminded me of a really bad 70s movie I recall watching as a child). And we were swarmed by gnats for a few miles of our descent (they were crawling in my shimmel -- yuck).

As we neared the summit, I was really excited to climb the last digger. I had to walk the 19% grade last time. Today, I was out of the saddle, pumping, pushing, and not looking to the top. And I made it!

At the top, we met a bunch of tourists -- all who had driven up the mountain and were amazed that we could ride our bikes. We also met Karl, the Park Aide. He rides a motorcycle (he says it's like yoga) and gave me a snickers bar to celebrate my accomplishment (note to self: don't put half-eaten snickers bar in jersey pocket).

More photos here -- Lorri's Mt. D. Photos

Tomorrow I'm climbing Mt. Hamilton with a group of friends.

Life is good.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

do all girls have buttons?

I have a little sewing cabinet. It belonged to my grandmother. It's one of the few possessions of hers I took when she died. I used to sew and knit and do needlepoint and cross-stitch. I was kinda crafty at one point in my life.

I no longer have a sewing machine (and every once in a while I miss it).

My little sewing cabinet has four nifty drawers. The top three are quite shallow -- intended, I'm certain, for bobbins and spools of thread and thimbles and other sewing notions. The bottom cabinet is a bit larger.

I remember playing with my mothers buttons as a child. My mother had one tupperware-type container of black and white buttons and one tupperware-type container of colored buttons. I'd play all types of games with these buttons: they could be soldiers or dancers or chess pieces. I could make mosaics. And I really liked the way they felt in my hands. My favorites were the shiny brass ones (real brass, not plastic) and the sparkly crystal ones.

Over the years, I've accumulated quite the collection of buttons. Some of them were my grandmother's -- cards of plain and fancy buttons, six or eight to a card. Some of them came with clothing I purchased. And some of them probably fell off clothing I wore (and I never sewed them back on).

Also in this little sewing cabinet, I've amassed quite the collection of ribbons and glitter and glue and thread and lace and rick-rack and blanket binding (I have a fetish for satin binding) and computer cables and needles and bobby pins and what-not. Yeah, the little sewing cabinet has become a catch-all for junk. I've often thought I should organize and purge and put the cabinet to good use.

So, tonight, when I needed to store some ribbon (used to make streamers for my new mtn bike), I dug in and cleaned out the little sewing cabinet. And even though I know I will never use any of the buttons, I couldn't bring myself to dispose of them. There's just something, some little glimmer of my childhood, that I'm not ready to let go of. So I organized the drawers -- thimbles and bobbins and tape measures and bee's wax and scissors in the top drawer, thread and glitter in the second drawer, buttons in the third drawer, and ribbon and hot glue gun and glue sticks and sparkly pipe cleaners and felt in the bottom space. Yeah, I could store more useful stuff in my little sewing cabinet, but I'm happy with the way it is right now.

Okay, what do you have that you really don't need but you just can't get rid of it?


Saturday, April 21, 2007

no, I'm not selling any oakleys

but someone hacked into my ebay account and posted 54 pair of oakleys for sale. they also changed my financial information and relocated me to Texas. can I just tell you what a pain in the ass it's been to delete each listing? and then I have to wait for ebay to decide to reimburse $113 in fees for these false listings.

I almost ignored the 54 emails I got about the postings but there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that said something was up, so I logged into my account and there they were. WFT!!!

okay, IT types, how did someone hack into my account?


bike tragedy 101

driving south on 101 from SF, I saw a sight that made me cringe. there was a crumpled white road bike sitting against the median barrier. I have to imagine it flew off someone's car and was crushed almost beyond identification.

but why did they leave it there?

maybe they don't know it's gone.

could you even imagine how you'd feel if you arrived at your destination and when going to remove your bike from the was gone!?!

the thought makes me shudder!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

blame it on "the man"

no one's blogging today. is it a sea otter hangover or has everyone procrastinated on their taxes?