October 30, 2006

Brick Tamland would be proud

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I recently bought a "Wireless Forecast Projection Station" -i.e., an indoor/outdoor thermometer/weather forecasting dual alarm clock that projects the time and outdoor temperature on the ceiling. I've been wanting a projection alarm clock for a while now, and I found this one for half price at SierraTradingPost.com. So I finally set up my new clock yesterday, and I love this thing.

One of the reasons I wanted one of these fancy weather stations is because I'm terrible at dressing for those weekly weekend group rides - doesn't matter if it's spring, summer, fall, or winter - I never seem to dress appropriately. So now when I wake up in the morning, I'll know exactly what the temperature is and I'm hoping that will help me figure out how to dress for riding. Of course, the obvious major flaw in this plan is the fact that when it's less than 20 degrees outside in winter, I'll know before I even get out of bed...which will make it extra difficult to get out of bed and motivate myself to go ride. This leads me to my next issue - finding good winter cycling clothing. Over the past few winters, I've found a few pieces of winter cycling clothing that have significantly improved my winter riding experiences - Craft windstopper tights, Louis Garneau lobster gloves; and a super warm Velo Bella winter jacket. I have some Castelli booties (that I use with toe warmer packets), but I don't think they're that great - I'm looking for something that will keep my feet a little warmer. I'm also looking for some medium-weight bib tights - the kind of tights you can wear this time of year. My Craft tights are awesome, but they're too warm to wear in the 30 - 50 degree weather. Suggestions? Favorite booties and bib tights? Any other cold weather gear that a cyclist in MN can't be without? Bring it.

October 25, 2006

"this guy isn't competitive stripe"

Attention NASCAR fans/members of LGR:

Did you read "We Wonder" this week? Mark Spoor was wondering whether or not Denny Hamlin should remove the rookie stripe from his car, and he says:

Isn't it time the rookie stripe comes off?

It's not like the other drivers see the stripe on his car and think, "Oh boy, I better watch out. This guy might not know what he's doing."

Instead of a rookie stripe, there should be a "this guy isn't competitive stripe." We all know there are more than a few non-rookies out there that should have some sort of warning label on their car.

Talk amongst yourselves.

I like the idea of the "this guy isn't competitive stripe" (see Michael Waltrip) in NASCAR. So who do you think is most deserving of the "TGICS"? My favorite non-competitive guy is Hermie Sadler - family dinners at the holidays must be rough for that guy.

I also like the idea of bringing the rookie stripe to bike racing - first year racers should have a big yellow stripe on their helmets. Or maybe they should have a rookie flag for their bike.





October 24, 2006

19 going on 40

Head over to Patty Cakes's blog and wish the future of MN Cycling a Happy Birthday!




















Photos courtesy of www.skinnyski.com

October 23, 2006

For Skibby

Let me just preface this by saying "I got nothing"...i.e., I have nothing that interesting to be blogging about lately. However, since Skibby seems to think I'm slacking here at 'got the bonk', I'll post just for the sake of posting (see Super Rookie). I should also point out that there is just one of me - I do not have a list of "contributors" (see Skibbysez). Nor am I a football fan (see The Donimator). Nor am I a baseball fan (see Tuffy Town). I haven't gotten my car stolen just yet (see Karla!). I'm really not that good with a can of spraypaint (see (Dis)pencer). I didn't go to track nationals (see Ugly Bike). And let's face it - I just don't have half as much to say as some other bloggers (see Smithers). Although I apparently have way more to say than at least two local bloggers (see Pure Jenius and Ladyvelo).

But since Skibby wants to know what I've been up to for the past week, I'll go ahead and bore everyone with a few details.

I didn't really do much last week - I've been enjoying the last few weeks of my "rest month". I've been taking the time to cook good meals, drink some wine, and I've been trying to take it easy so my hip heals. My doc has ordered up a cortisone shot if/when I need/want it.

On a more serious note, my grandma who has been in the nursing home for several years has taken a turn for the worse after a series of strokes. My mom got the call last week that grandma wouldn't make it through the weekend (this is not the first time she's gotten that call). But grandma rallied once again, and assuming she makes it through this week, I'll have a chance to see her next weekend. It's difficult because she hasn't really been able to communicate well for a few years and I don't think she remembers me...it seems like the strokes have caused her memory to go back about 30 years. I remember the last "normal" conversation I had with her many years ago before she had her first stroke. My grandpa was in the hospital and I had gone to visit. That was around the time that I was considering having leg surgery and I remember my grandma asking me all about it. I am glad a have that memory.

On a much lighter note, I had a fun weekend to help take my mind off the more depressing part of my week. Saturday I did my first Little Guy Racing team ride. Apparently Super Rookie was feeling a bit nostalgic, so we did the Tour de Super Rookie's Childhood. It was actually pretty cool because I haven't done much riding on that side of the Twin Cities, so it was nice to mix it up a bit. Unfortunately, our team's namesake had a mechanical problem (i.e. broken spoke) during the ride, so we were Little Guyless for most of the ride. And so began Little Guy Racing...without the Little Guy.

After riding in the chilly weather all morning, I got home just in time to avoid the bonk. I felt it coming on, so I went straight to the shower to thaw out for about 40 minutes with my recovery drink in hand. I really wanted a nap after that, but I didn't have time - I was cooking a pre-cx-race dinner for eight that night (it felt like Thanksgiving), so I had to start dinner prep. I spent the afternoon and early evening prepping and primping until our dinner guests arrived. We ate a lot of food, drank a lot of wine, and told a lot of cycling stories (and there was one poor non-cycling soul that had to listen to it all!).

On Sunday, Pete and I had decided to forego watching NASCAR in favor of watching some local racing action over at Powderhorn Park. I made some hot-chocolate-to-go, we got bundled up and headed out on the Rollos. Powderhorn is a great race venue, and The Hub did a great job putting on the race - although the "mud pit" that had gotten a lot of attention on the MCF message board was a bit of a disappointment - if you're going to make a mud pit, make it a serious mud pit...not just a mushy little turn where even the C racers can all get through it upright. Apparently my pre-race dinner didn't have enough punch, because everyone who ate it struggled more than usual at Powderhorn...apologies from the chef. Anyway, it was fun to watch and I was so glad I wasn't racing...that course really looks hard. And the cold ride home on the singlespeed into the headwind was hard enough for me (it's my rest month after all!).

I wrapped up the weekend by visiting my other little guys who were excited to show me their Halloween costumes and to show me the toy section of the Fleet Farm flyer that contains what they want for Christmas. And I'm happy to report that one of my nephews wants a Lightning McQueen bike.

Wow, this got long...and it's all Skibby's fault.

October 15, 2006

Grumpy's Cycling/LGR

I recently made the difficult decision to leave the Velo Bella team and join a new team for 2007. It's truly been an honor to be involved with such an unique, all-female team these past few years. When I put on the Velo Bella kit for the first time a few years back, I had no idea how supportive everyone would be of a team that wears a pink and blue kit with a Schwin Slick Chik (with a flowered basket), a very feminine looking woman, a black cat, and an "Ooh La La" on it. Velo Bella has done great things for women cyclists both locally and nationally, and I'll definitely miss the "go Bella!" cheers I get from perfect strangers no matter where I'm racing. Thank you Bellas, Fellas, and Friends!

For 2007, I'm joining a brand new team here in the Twin Cities...Grumpy's Cycling/LGR. I'm really excited about having another team mixing it up in the local cycling scene and I'm especially excited to have yet another women's team representing in the women's fields.

I've had a lot of questions about Grumpy's Cycling/LGR, and while I don't have answers to all of them just yet, I can at least give them a shot:

  • Who's sponsoring your team? Well, I guess the most obvious sponsor is Grumpy's Bar. Moose and Sadie's coffee shop is also on board, amongst others that I'm not sure I'm supposed to mention just yet.
  • How many people are on your team? I'm not actually sure. I'd guess about 10-15 at this time, but you'd have to bug (dis)pencer or Super Rookie for a more accurate answer.
  • Are there other women on the team? Yep. One of them is Gilby.
  • From what I've heard, this new team is all trackies and/or bike messengers. That's not really a question, but it's true that pretty much everyone on the team races at the track, but I think everyone also races on the road. And yeah, there are some messengers...I'm not sure how many are actually practicing messengers these days, but they definitely have some messenger history.
  • I've heard that messengers are all tattooed and don't shower. Again, that's not really a question, but I know that a lot of my new teammates do in fact have tattoos. As far as not showering, I don't know the answer to that - but I hope that's true, because it could motivate me to ride fast enough to be at the front of group rides so that I'm not downwind. So I could be fast next year.
  • What does "LGR" stand for? Little Guy Racing.
  • Why Little Guy Racing? It's better than Team Awesome (in my opinion anyway, Super Rookie probably disagrees).
  • Yeah, but where does "Little Guy" come from? Um, I'm actually not sure where he's from. I actually don't know the Little Guy very well, but I'll be sure to get the details on a group ride soon...I wonder who his favorite NASCAR driver is?
  • Little Guy's an actual person? Oh yeah, he's a legend at the track, and he's got some of the coolest kits around...you can't miss him. I'm actually not sure if he'll be wearing the same kits as the rest of us next year...it might be against everything he stands for.
  • What's the deal with everyone on Grumpy's Cycling being NASCAR fans? Being a NASCAR fan is a prerequisite for being a team member...it was on the application I had to fill out. I think it said "Who is your favorite NASCAR driver and why?". More importantly, there was another question that said "Who is your least favorite NASCAR driver?", and I'm fairly certain if you answered the #19 or #48 that you won't be on Grumpy's Cycling/LGR next year (unless maybe you're the Little Guy).
  • So are you getting a tattoo? Probably. Since I'm not a messenger and have never actually ridden a fixed gear outside of the track, I might struggle to fit in, so a tattoo would definitely help me bond with my new team. I'm leaning towards a team motto...maybe something like "Little Guy Racing - where nobody dis's a rookie".
  • What's up with the talking monkey? Nothing says "Grumpy's Cycling/Little Guy Racing" like a talking monkey.
  • So is your pink Peacock Groove track bike going to clash with your new kit? No, I think our new pink, teal, peach, and bright green colored kits will match just fine (I think those are Little Guy's favorite colors, so the kit colors really do make sense).
  • Did the Donimator really offer his Hummer as the Grumpy's Cycling/LGR team car? Wow, I haven't heard about this offer. I suppose it's possible...what with the high gas prices and such...maybe he's looking for car-poolers.
I'll try to answer more questions about Grumpy's Cycling/LGR in later posts after I have some more accurate answers to all of the questions I've been getting.

I'm looking forward to '07!

Strats

What do weddings, NASCAR, and CX all have in common?

Alcohol.

My sister got married last Friday, the 13th. So my parents rolled into town last Thursday afternoon and helped me clean for the post-wedding brunch we'd be having at my place on Saturday morning. My parents don't mess around when they clean - my dad was taking screens off my windows and taking them outside and sweeping them off, and my mom was using every unique cleaner I have (stainless steel cleaner for the stainless steel appliances, ceramic cleaner for the ceramic oven top, Resolve for all of the grease spots from our bikes on my white carpet, etc.). It was amazing...I totally appreciated their help. After my place was sparkling clean, we headed to Cafe Lurcat for the groom's dinner. We met everyone in the wedding party, had an excellent meal, and started the drinking.

Friday was the big day...coffee, hair (and a bottle of hairspray), make-up, nails, lunch at Yum!, and pictures...7 hrs of prep time for a 10-minute ceremony...now that's a short and sweet wedding! Then it was time to celebrate with my sister and my new brother-in-law, Jazz (also a big NASCAR fan)...eating, dancing, drinking, catching up with relatives, drinking...it was a great time. I decided that weddings are a lot more fun when you know both the bride and groom. So now both of my siblings are married...and it became very obvious on Friday night that I could no longer avoid the inevitable "so when are you getting married?" comments. Ugh.

My sister and Jazz then swung by Saturday morning to say goodbye and head off on their honeymoon somewhere in the middle of some ocean on some island that I had to Google to figure out where it was. Then the relatives came over for coffee, brunch and mimosas. More drinking. After everyone left, my mom helped me clean once again, then my parents headed home...that was probably around 1 pm, and I was exhausted.

I then proceeded to the lay on the couch all afternoon napping off and on, watching cheesy movies on TBS when I was awake, and counting the hours until the NASCAR race started. When the race started, the drinking began again (although it wasn't very NASCAR-like, because we were drinking wine instead of Budweiser). It was a great race - I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with DJ after Sorenson took him out, and I particularly enjoyed that he mentioned how his engine just happened to stall in front of Sorenson's pit box when Sorenson was trying to pit...I believe his comment was "Imagine that". But, the highlight of the night was definitely Kasey's big win. It was particularly exciting because earlier in the morning, I had given my nephew the #9 car (matchbox size) to add to his collection of DJ cars - I figured it might be a good idea to get him excited about a driver who might actually still be driving when he's old enough to drink a Bud while he's watching a race (he's 3.5 yrs old now, so he's got a while). Although I think the blue paint scheme on Kasey's car probably threw him off if he was actually watching the race.

I wrapped up the awesome weekend with a short ride with Gilby before heading to Boom Island to watch the CX races and drink more free beer! It was exciting to see so many people racing. And it was fun to watch the women's B race come down to the final sprint, with Margot just barely nipping Linda S at the line.

Good times, good times.

October 09, 2006

More photos from France

I've uploaded a few more photos from our trip to France...Flickr limits the number I can upload in one month, so I'm trying to be patient.

I apologize that got-the-bonk has actually had the bonk lately. I'm not racing cross this year, so there's not much to report on the cycling front...except that Pete and I did some nice longish rides last weekend and enjoyed the fall colors. And I'm officially sad that it's getting cold.

The big news for the family is that my little sis is getting married this week...on Friday the 13th. And my mom's having Saturday brunch for a bunch of my relatives at my two-bedroom condo...should be...cozy. I'm really happy for my sister and her soon-to-be-husband, so I'm looking forward to this weekend. The wedding/reception/dance will definitely be a good time and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of my relatives.

Speaking of weddings, congrats to my Bella teammate and her Fella on their recent engagement (they're finally making it "official")!!

Strats

p.s. for those of you who enjoyed my guest blogger Chadley, rumor has it, he was inspired to start his own blog...I'll link to it as soon as he actually posts something (hint-hint).

October 01, 2006

Bonjour!

I thought that when I returned from my trip to France that I'd pull out my journal from the trip and blog about anything and everything. But now that I'm home, I'm tired, and there's so much to say that I realize this is a situation where less is more. So I'll just skip right to the highlight of the trip...the day I did my first century ride that included climbing Mt. Ventoux. When I woke up that morning, my goal was just to ride to Mt. Ventoux, climb it, and ride home. The catch is that I had no idea it would involve 100 miles of riding (which also included a Cat 2 climb in addition to Mt. Ventoux). Just as a side note, it turns out there is no such thing as a "flat road" in Provence...you're either climbing or descending...there's nothing in between - and oftentimes, those climbs are many miles long. Riding to Ventoux and climbing it was amazing. Riding home sucked. And while that day was definitely the highlight of my riding career so far, I paid the price for it for the remainder of the trip.

There are 3 routes up Mt. Ventoux - I rode the "easiest" one (up the east side of the mountain from the City of Sault). It's a 26 km climb that rises about 1220 meters. Pete rode with me and photographed my ascent and then he later climbed Mt. Ventoux via the most difficult route - the Tour de France route. The last 6 km of the route I did is the same as the Tour route...and it's steep.

Instead of giving all of the grueling details, I'll just provide some stats from the big day and the link to the pictures for anyone who's interested in seeing them.

  • Number of Category 2 climbs: 1
  • Number of Hors cat├ęgorie climbs: 1
  • Miles ridden on the way to Ventoux before starting the ascent: approximately 40
  • Number of other cyclists climbing Ventoux on mountain bikes: a lot (most)
  • Number of men climbing Ventoux: a lot
  • Number of women climbing Ventoux: about 3 (including me)
  • Number of cyclists I passed on the way up Ventoux: 11 (10 men, 1 woman)
  • Number of cyclists that passed me: 0 (unless you include Pete)
  • Best guess at my average speed during the ascent: 7 mph
  • Lowest speed I saw on my computer during the ascent: 4.9 mph
  • Total miles ridden: 100
  • Total time in the saddle: 7 hrs, 54 minutes (ouch)
  • Total food intake along the way: 5 GUs, 1 bottle of GU2O, 3 bottles of water, 1 almond pastry, 1 espresso, 1 coke, 1 piece of bread
Photos of the big day are located here.

When Pete climbed the Tour route later in the week, I think he climbed it in around 1 hr and 15 minutes (I believe the record was set by Iban Mayo and is somewhere around 55 minutes). That was the other highlight of the trip...watching Pete get to do something he's wanted to do since he was a kid.

It was a really fun trip filled with beautiful scenery, delicious food, wonderful wine, and great riding.

And now it's time for my rest month.

Special thanks to Chadley for updating my blog while I was gone!