more than just another bike blog

Friday, June 29, 2007

forgive me, father, for I have sinned

earlier this spring, the race director of one of the classic bicycle races in northern california eliminated the opportunity for CAT4 women to race at that event. women and men alike shared their displeasure with this decision in private emails and public forums. but alas, the CAT4 women weren't given the chance to experience this particular race this season.

this same club promotes a second race each year, a standard industrial park crit held in August. this race has been part of the bay area women's cycling series for many years, and there has traditionally been a combined W3/4 race (picked separately, of course). registration for this race just opened tonight, and I'm thrilled to see that for the first time in my memory (2002), Timpani Criterium is offering a separate CAT4 women's race.

the summer seems to have a dearth of W4 races. with the exception of the Fremont Crit this weekend, all the other crits currently posted are open women's fields (CATs 1 through 4) or combined W3/4. I've been pretty vocal in my opinion that combined fields aren't the best opportunity for many CAT4 women. so thank you to LGBRC for offering the CAT4 women a race of their own! perhaps this is their atonement for past sins.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

it's not over til the fat lady sings

so, the CCCX mtn bike series is winding down for 2007. the final race of the season is this Saturday. I can't say I'll miss it -- it's been a long, dramatic season and I'm ready to move onto something else for the summer. it's challenging to sustain a high level of performance for five months straight and I've had a number of personal health issues that screwed with my early-season fitness, so it's been a bit frustrating for me.

I had three personal goals this season:

#1 -- win a race -- I did that on March 3rd -- yay, me!!!

#2 -- win Sea Otter -- well, I blew that one, probably by switching to a new bike a few days before the race. I got 6th -- okay, but that wasn't my goal. oddly enough, I realized that my age group is filled with fast women! I would've been on the podium in any other age group except mine. I was very disappointed, but moved onto the next big event (Wildflower, for which I still haven't posted my race report).

#3 -- win the CCCX series overall -- I lead the series from race #2 through race #7 -- six races. but I blew it big-time on Saturday. I raced so poorly that women who I never see in the races, women who finish 20 minutes down from me, passed me in the first lap! I kept waiting to get lapped by the leaders. I felt like I was in a time warp -- racing at the level I raced last year. Combine this performance with a lost opportunity in the prior race, and I'm now 4 points down from the new series leader. 4 fricking points! only 4 points, but it will be challening for me to regain the series lead just the same. challenging, but not impossible. given what's going on with my health right now, I'm not holding my breath. but I'm happy to say that even 5 days off the spiro and I've got a bit of strength and spirit back. I guess we'll see on Saturday, won't we. at worst, I'll finish the series in 2nd place, which should make me happy. right.

I have great motivation to ride fast on Saturday. that afternoon I fly to Denver to join Hans for a week's vacation. he'll be working on his house so he can put it on the market. I plan to spend a week climbing Mt. Evans, Pike's Peak, and lots of other big climbs at altitude to try to salvage my fitness this summer. it's amazing that I went from being super-fit in early May to feeling slow and fat and tired. but, I digress. CO will be a blast, with dinners and parties planned almost every night with his family and friends. I can't wait, so if riding faster on Saturday will get me there sooner, I'll hammer my brains out!

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Monday, June 25, 2007

excuse me, but could someone help me find my testosterone?

a month ago, my dermatologist prescribed spironolactone for a skin condition. this is the drug that pre-op transgendered men take to reduce the amount of testosterone in their bodies during transition to becoming a woman. at the time my doc. recommended it, I asked her if the reduction in testosterone would affect my athletic performance. she replied that it wouldn't. well all I have to say is bullshit! in the past month, I've gotten soft, lost my edge, gained weight, lost muscle mass, and basically sucked on the bike -- at a time when my performance was critical. I'm sorry, but if someone doesn't really know the answer, they shouldn't lie about it. I've had two other docs and an exercise physiologist concur that the spiro should not be recommended for athletes, at least not if they don't want to lose performance.

does anyone know a dermatologist who understands athletes (preferably someone located on the peninsula)?

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Monday, June 18, 2007

voting with your dollar

This deserves a bump! C'mon ladies. Only 15 women registered for this race? It's a fabulous course and a CAT 4-only women's race. Pen Velo likely won't offer CAT4 women next year, so we won't get a chance again until 2009.

Pen Velo and Pilarcitos made good on their promise from last year -- they are running a women's CAT4 field at the Burlingame Crit in 2007. Registration is open, ladies! Let's show them how excited we are about this!

Many of the CAT4-only races have sold out this season. Maybe the promoters who insist on combining the CAT4 women with the CAT3s (or in open women's races) and then complain about low registration will figure this out. CAT4-only races are good for your bottom line. Combined races aren't. We'll show you some love if you show us some, too!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

doing it all night long

over a year ago, I raced my first 24-hour mountain bike race as part of a five-woman team. considering I'm a roadie through and through, this was a big accomplishment for me. my lap times were good and I had lots of fun.....until the night lap. I headed out for about a mile, scared myself to the point of being dangerous, turned around, woke up a teammate to take my place, and cried myself to sleep. after that weekend, I decided 24-hour racing just wasn't my thing. but since I love endurance events, I decided to do the 8-hour solo event this year.

best laid plans, I guess. somehow, I raised my hand and signed up to race a two-woman team with my teammie, Justine. Justine is an endurance racing guru -- that's pretty much all she does and she usually does it solo: 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours. what the hell -- it would be a good goal for me, right?

long story short (because I'm too busy these days to write a long story), we raced. it wasn't flawless. we were the only two-woman team in the 2-person category. we raced 14 laps (170 miles) and finished in 4th place (of 5 teams, so we "girled" one team of boys). of note, the 2nd and 3rd place teams finished only one lap up on us. I rode not one, but two night laps, the second lap missing one light (scary). I ate wrong and got a terrible belly ache in the middle of the night and missed my 4:30am lap but got back out there in the morning.

total for the weekend: 6 laps, 72.33 miles, 9+ hours on the mtn bike, 9,648' of climbing, aches and pains everywhere (even my eyeballs), oh, and that stupid le mans start run (blech!). considering my primary goals were to conquer the night riding and to complete as many laps as I could, I was pretty proud of myself.

my teammie is a total stud. she finished 8 laps (almost 100 miles). she and her boyfriend, John, make an incredible team. Justine really knows how to race endurance events and it was such a fabulous learning experience for me.

and we couldn't have done it without Hans and John, who took care of us, fed us, rubbed us, wrenched for us, dressed us, nudged us to keep going, and were just plain heros in my book. although these races are solo or team events, I truly believe you can't succeed without the support of your crew (especially if you race solo or two-person), and we had the best!

I learned a lot of good lessons this weekend (about racing endurance events and about life). if I ever do this again, I expect to put those lessons to good use and have that much more fun!

shyte! did I just say this was fun?

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Monday, June 04, 2007


I've got two HUGE golf balls in my throat. blech! yeah, technically they're called tonsils, but they feel like golf balls. and I can barely talk. I had to cancel clients and a speaking engagement and I can't really talk on the phone. double-blech!