November 26, 2007

October 08, 2007

under construction

I wasn't sure how to fix the formatting issues on my old blog design (which I really liked), so I decided just to start over. So the blog may be under construction for a few weeks.

Questions & marathon

Questions
I have a few questions for Wordpress users:

1. Is there an easy way to turn comments off in Wordpress?
2. Is there a way to password protect a Wordpress blog - without having to pay extra for customizing CSS?
3. Have recommendations/websites for good code for password protection if paying for the CSS customization is the only option?

Marathon
Props to all the marathoners yesterday who ran in crazy humidity/heat. The cyclists were out there representing....Margot, Angie, JT, and I even spotted a Cat6er. Even the newlywed Moses was there taking photos. I thought it was hot riding my bike around the course, so I have a lot of respect for those of you who ran.

September 30, 2007

Hudson CX Race

It's been a few years since I've done a cross race, so I figured I'd give the Hudson CX race a shot since Margot recently taught me some new dismounting skills. I thought the Hudson course was tough and I struggled, especially with the sand. I even had a half-ass crash on some easy part of the course, but I don't even remember what happened. I'm super bruised and sore today. I liked the part of the course that ran along/on the St. Croix river even though I didn't really have time to enjoy the scenery. After the race, everyone asked me if I had fun, and I wanted to answer "yes" (because those CX racers all love CX so much), but I just couldn't lie. I'm sure if I were better at CX I'd like it more, but for now, I just don't get excited about getting off of my bike during a race. In fact, I found myself thinking "I wish this were a crit" on multiple occasions. Props to my teammate AmyC who won the women's C division. I think I ended up 8th out of 10, but I'm not sure. Here's some video of my sub-par cross skills:



I shouldered my bike through the sand pit on the first lap, but I was too lazy/tired to do it on my second lap (see video) - then everybody was yelling "shoulder it", so I didn't make that mistake again:


p.s. Check out Lieselot's results from Worlds!!

September 27, 2007

the longest red light ever

So I was riding along the Minnehaha Creek bike path last night and as I stopped for a red light, this dude, who had been riding my ass for the past few blocks, rolls up behind me and starts talking to me:

Dude: wow, that's pretty nice...
Me (realizing he's checking out my bike, not me): yeah, I like it.
Dude: you must have a rich boyfriend....
Me (giving him the WTF look): huh?
Dude: ....to have a nice bike like that.
Me (giving him the I-want-to-punch-you-in-the-face look): actually, I bought this one myself.

He then went on to tell me how he wanted to get some "rims" like mine, and then asked me how many miles I've ridden this year. Luckily, I have no clue how many miles I've ridden, and I knew he didn't care anyway...guys like that only ask that question so you ask them how many miles they've ridden so that they're given the opportunity to one-up you. As expected, when the light turned green, he took off like a bat-outta-hell to show me how fast he was. His yellow neon jacket was a blur....I was so impressed.

September 26, 2007

neglected blog rebels

Apparently my blog was feeling so neglected that it decided to spice things up by reformatting itself. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to fix it. So I think I should take this as a sign.

September 21, 2007

lunch time

Lunch time for the roofers working on our house yesterday - they brought their own microwave:

September 17, 2007

fine...

This is for all of you out there that keep pestering me to post something new. I'm telling you, my life just isn't that interesting lately. We've been doing a lot of house projects - we're hoping to finally move into our master bedroom within the next few weeks which is exciting for us, but not all that exciting to read about. But I will have some before and after pictures, so I know you will all be on the edge of your seats until then. We're also getting some roof work done this week, and some new carpet soon. And I'm still hoping to plant some perennials yet this month...exciting stuff. The for-real excitement we've had is the news that Mikey and Renee got engaged!

I did my first cross ride of the season a few weeks ago with Casey, Pete and Donimator...and I took at least one photo. Donimator tried to get me to drive the Hummer, but I refused, so he decided he should drive something a little less obnoxious. While Pete and Don were having their annual date at Chequamegon last weekend, I spent the morning drinking coffees with the kids then went on an "easy spin" (not my words) ride with Dale, PattyCakes, and Casey. It was 35 degrees when I got up, so I had to dig out some winter riding gear which was no fun for a ride in September. Dale took us on roads that I have never even been on...I was so lost, and it was so hilly. In fact, it may have been the hilliest ride I've done all year. We had a quick stop at 318 in Excelsior which has the best and most bike-friendly staff in the Twin Cities, along with some great coffee and food. I was also using this ride to try out a new pedal system and new shoes and insoles, so I spent a lot of time trying to clip in and catch up after every stop sign/stoplight. It ended up being a 3-hr ride, which was fine, but my little Cat 4 legs were hurting. And instead of taking a nap, I had to hit up the recovery drink, shower up, and throw on a dress and high heels for a big fancy fun party that night. We had a great time (and I had my share of gnt's), but we didn't end up getting to bed until about 3 am...not good for people our age. I'm still sleepy. But Margot convinced me to meet her for some cross practice tonight which was really good because my mounts and dismounts are a bit rusty. I haven't done any cross races in a few years, but since I'm not burned out on bike races just yet, I figure I'll do a handful of cross races...preferably the less difficult ones because I'm lazy like that. I've always sucked at cross, but I'm hoping to do a bit better this year, especially after the sweet skillz Margot taught me tonight.

I'm looking forward to a few non-eventful weekends at home, watching the marathon in a few weeks, getting the nephews for a full weekend, and spending a week in October as my company's site supervisor for our annual Habitat for Humanity work week - I finally got a good excuse to order up the lined Carhartt bib overalls (which they now make for women too) that I've always wanted. Now I just need a tool belt.

August 29, 2007

new stuff

Two new things showed up at my house this week - wanna guess what they are? I'll even give a hint for each of them:


August 28, 2007

crabby

I'm crabby. Want to make something of it? For the past few weeks, strange/random things have been happening to me. Not life-altering or horrible things, just strange and frustrating things. But it's been extremely stressful. And it seemed to all come to a head last night while I was shopping at Target. As I was trying to find the best laundry-sorting equipment/option and was struggling to make a decision, I suddenly felt like I was going to either (a) have a total meltdown amongst all the "back-to-school" shoppers, or (b) vomit. I began to panic a bit because I'm not a fan of loss of control in any form, but then I realized that the past few weeks have been so shitty that I didn't even care if "a" or "b" happened. In fact, "a" and "b" would just add to the long list of strange occurrences of late. Once I made that simple realization, I was no longer worried about "a" and "b" - instead, I felt tears starting to well-up. But even that passed quickly. I decided I needed to get out of Target quickly as the crowds and their mega-carts were driving me nuts. So I quickly grabbed the remaining items on my list, and headed for the check-out. And in that short time between near-meltdown and check-out, I passed about 10 women shopping with their newborns, and I swear every single kid under the age of one was smiling at me (or perhaps just looking at me funny). It felt like the Twilight Zone. I think I'm losing it.

Strats

p.s. if you're looking for the Downer's Grove race report, here it is - rain, shortest Cat 3/4 race ever, more rain, lots of crashes, ended up 13th (out of about 30). MN racers did well - Cam (BW), Tracy (BW), and Paula B (Flanders) were all top 10. GP/Pete's race - not so good. Pouring rain, crash fest, Marcotte went down with about 5 laps to go, Pete was the only GP guy left with one to go, and crashed hard in the last 750 meters.

August 16, 2007

nothing to see here folks...move along

Gotthebonk - drama free and boring it's readers since the inception of LGR.

August 06, 2007

the strangest race ever

My cycling team put on a bike race on the campus of the U of M yesterday. The timing of this event was unfortunate since this particular part of the U of M is near the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River- click here for a map (the race course is highlighted in blue/purple).

So the race course turned out to be gawker central and volunteering for our race turned out to be a stressful exercise in crowd control. Gilby (a teammate of mine) has a good blog entry about trying to keep gawkers off the race course.

East River Road, the back stretch of the race course, is also one of 2 -3 access points on the east side of the river for "official vehicles" to get to the collapsed bridge site. Since the roads were blocked off for our race, it was weird to see the "Special Investigative Unit" and the "Dive Team" vehicles having to turn around - it felt a bit disrespectful, but they all seemed understanding and cooperative which was much appreciated.

The most surreal part of my day was when I actually did my race - (a) there were helicopters hovering overhead which made it difficult to hear and concentrate on anything but the collapsed bridge, (b) there were more spectators than usual but all of them were facing the river rather than the race course so I was constantly watching for oblivious people that were about to step in front of me as we traveled anywhere between 20 - 25 mph, (c) during my race, thoughts of disrespect floated through my head since there are still people trapped in their cars, and here I am racing my bike in full view of the collapsed bridge, and (d) I couldn't help but wonder why so many parents had brought their young children to view the collapsed bridge. I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure how I would handle that situation and I'm guessing it depends on the age of the child, but I can't help but think there will be plenty of 5 - 8 yr olds who will be scared to cross bridges in a car during the formative years of their lives. I'd love to hear from those of you who are parents - what age is appropriate for viewing the collapsed bridge and what explanation goes along with it?

There wasn't a shortage of photographers at this race, although most of them were not there for cycling photos. But the local cycling photographers were there as well, so if you go to the Skinnyski website and look for the headline "Campus Criterium Coverage", you can find photos of my race under the heading "Women's Open" - it will give you a feel for what the day was like (if you want to know).

I've always found that when tragic events occur, it feels like time should stand still - it always feels strange to just move on with your life as if nothing happened. But yesterday was just a reminder that "normal" life goes on, whether it feels like it should or not.

After the race, I was pulling down all of the caution tape we had used to try to keep people off the course. Three college-aged gawker guys were walking by and one of them asked me if he could have the caution tape. I pictured him using the caution tape for some frat party purpose, and I asked him if he was serious. He said "yes", so I gave it to him. As he was walking away I heard him say that he was going to try to Ebay it. It took me a few seconds to realize what he meant. I felt sick for giving it to him.

I think I understand people's need to see the bridge - after seeing it with my own eyes yesterday, it definitely makes the situation seem much more real. So I don't necessarily have a problem with the fact that there were so many people there to see the bridge yesterday - I'm sure everyone has their reason. But for every story the media has told about the community pulling together in this time of tragedy, I now have a conflicting story about the selfish assholes in our community who get pissed off at something as simple as asking them to stay on the sidewalk for their own safety. It was a bit disheartening.

I'd like to thank everyone who volunteered their time yesterday to help our team keep everyone (gawkers, respectful viewers, photographers, bike racers, assholes, etc.) safe. We were able to hold races from 8 am to 5 pm without a single incident which was no small task.

On a much lighter note, for my high school friends, I'd like to direct your attention to photo #48 in that set of Skinnyski photos - nevermind my ass, but note that I've finally grown some calf muscles (and you thought it wasn't possible). And no, I'm not doping.

Respectfully,
Strats

August 01, 2007

speechless

Pete and I met for a bike ride on the Greenway at 6 pm and decided to head west instead of east towards the River Road - the River Road goes under the I-35W bridge and is a popular route for cyclists. We were still riding when we got word of the bridge collapse. I'm speechless and hopeful that the number of fatalities stops at six. I cannot even fathom what victims, witnesses, and rescuers have gone through tonight.

July 30, 2007

Superweek: Whitefish Bay

There's not much to say about my last Superweek Crit in Whitefish Bay, another 25-mile (1+ hr) crit. I just couldn't get into the rhythm of this race. This course is more technical than the others with a few tough turns and no one seemed to be able to get off the front, so the whole field was coming into the turns together which resulted in more braking in this crit than any other I've ever done. Even with all the braking, the pace stayed surprisingly high - I think we averaged around 22 mph, so we dropped some people pretty quick. But I was hanging out at the back for the whole race, so it was like interval training - brake, sprint, brake, sprint, etc. Obviously if I had gone to the front I probably wouldn't have had to brake so much, so I have no one to blame but myself, but I just wasn't feeling good enough to be up there. And it was a bit sketchy, so it just seemed safer in the back (as opposed to sitting in the middle of the field). Even the overall leaders did a lot of just sitting in, and I don't blame them since a lot of them had done six straight days of racing. With about 12 laps to go, I was just logging laps at the back and I had lost my interest in this race, so I just wanted to be done. With about 5 laps to go, GW Sara attacked (because she's aggressive like that!), and it took the field almost a full lap to reel her back in, and then she fell off the back a bit. With 3 laps to go, some women tried to crash coming into the first turn, and at that point, I decided that I was happy with my three Superweek races and I was very happy to still have all of my skin intact, so I slowly just drifted off the back. GW Sara caught up and said "we can still get back in and try to help out" - bless her optimistic heart. But I had no desire to get back in, so I rode the last few laps by myself, and those few laps were the most enjoyable of the race because I didn't have to use my brakes. I ended up finishing 24th in the race, and 26th overall for the series.

One thing I realized this past weekend is that I'm really glad I wasn't doing early season races - because if I had, I'd be burned out by now. Instead, I'm really enjoying all of my favorite crit races and really look forward to racing in August.

Strats out

July 28, 2007

Superweek: Kenosha

Here are the quick stats from Friday's Kenosha race:
  • 30-mile, 1+ hour crit with about 40 women lining up.
  • This was the fattest, hardest crit I've ever done. I think we averaged something b/t 22 - 24 mph which is fast for Cat 3/4 women.
  • I felt good early in the race, so when a woman attacked about 3 laps into the race, I decided to chase her down. When I reached her, she just sat up, so the field caught up, and I sat in and recovered. But luckily I was near the front on the next lap because some more women decided to lay on the pavement. The race was pretty sketchy for the first 10 laps or so, but then people seemed to settle down (and we dropped a bunch of riders too, so that helped wittle the field down).
  • At some point, 5 women got off the front, and the field just could not get organized enough to bring it back. But since there was a break up the road, the pace stayed high for the entire race.
  • During the middle of the race, there were a few laps where I was really hurting. But I somehow managed to hang in there and not get dropped.
  • With about 10 laps to go, I decided to go to the front again just to see if I could - I made it up there, regretted my decision, but decided to deal with it - so I tried to keep the pace up for half a lap, then returned to the field for some recovery. In the end, I was glad I had done it just to test myself.
  • Coming into the last lap I moved towards the front again and tried to position myself for the big field sprint. I didn't do a very good job and got caught behind some women who were bumping into each other, and had to hit my brakes.
  • I ended up coming across the line in 20th place and feeling really good about my race. I was just happy to be able to hang on in a tough race. Last year, I got dropped in all four Superweek crits that I did, so I'm feeling much better about my performance this year.
  • And somehow I ended up in 23rd in the GC (overall) after only doing two races.
  • The hard race effort and my lack of proper drinking and eating during the race left me feeling nauseous for the rest of the night, and my stomach still wasn't feeling well this morning, so I opted to skip today's race to let myself recover. It was a good decision and I'm feeling much better and ready for the last race in Whitefish Bay tomorrow.
That's all I got.

July 26, 2007

Superweek: Sheboygan

Here are the highlights from today's 25-mile (1+ hr) Women's Cat 3/4 crit in Sheboygan:

  1. GW Sara deserves the most aggressive rider award for today! Damn, did she attack a lot...she definitely helped keep the pace high and kept the race interesting and she reeled in some primes while she was at it.
  2. Speaking of primes, there must have been at least 10 throughout the race...5 of which where in the last 7 laps of the race (I was starting to get pissed every time they rang that bell).
  3. Flanders Paula had a great race too - she threw in a few nice attacks and was riding strong!
  4. My goal was just to sit in, see how my legs felt, and not get dropped.
  5. With two laps to go, it started to pour - the field was actually being pretty careful in the oily corners, so it wasn't too sketchy.
  6. The pace ramped up with one to go and the field was totally strung out - I just tried to hang on and stay towards the front. I was trying to stay on Paula's wheel coming through the last turn, and a few women in front of us decided to lay down on the pavement (and one of them didn't look good as she was laying on her neck), so we had to hit our brakes, but everyone else was far enough behind us that we were still able to roll in 8th and 9th (out of about 25). They pay 12 deep, so I actually got money today! Woohoo!
  7. Everyone was cleaned up off the pavement by the time we came through again on our cool-down lap, so I'm assuming everyone was okay which was a huge relief.
  8. So I was happy with today's race, to say the least, and I'm hoping tomorrow I'm feeling even better for my favorite Superweek crit in Kenosha.
Side note -apparently there's been some trickle-down from Le Tour. The report from the men's 1/2 race is that they finally decided to do some drug testing after tonight's race. And apparently a few guys are suddenly no where to be found.

July 25, 2007

remember your first bonk?

Do you remember your first bonk?

My first bonk took place in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, back in 2003. It was around June 1st, so it was hot in Moab. Pete and I were technically still "just friends", but had decided to take a two-week trip out west together. I was not in good shape. I was still recovering from leg surgery and was about 10 lbs under my normal weight (due to some serious muscle atrophy and a few months of taking painkillers). We were camping in the "Devil's Garden" campground which is about 18 miles in from the park's entrance. We decided one day to ride from the campground to the park entrance and back. We had eaten a big breakfast in the morning to prep for our ride, but decided to wait to ride because of the heat. But as I recall, we ended up riding later in the morning/early afternoon when it was still hot anyway. I don't recall why we didn't wait until the evening hours to do this ride, but in hindsight, that would have been much smarter. So we were biking in Arches when most people were viewing the Arches from their air-conditioned RVs (for good reason). The roads through Arches are quite hilly, and it didn't take me long to realize that there was no way I'd be able to ride to the park entrance and back. So early in our ride, we turned around. Unfortunately, the bonk came before I could make it back to the campground. I recall pulling over on the side of the road and forcing down a GU, but it was too late. I had bonked too hard to recover without a full meal and a nap. We decided that Pete was going to have to ride back to the campground to get the car and then come and pick me up. Pete helped push me up a hill so that I could make it to one of the parking lots (accurately named the "Fiery Furnance" parking area) near one of the trailheads so that I wasn't just hanging out in the sun on the side of the heavily-traveled roads. But there is no shade in Moab. As I sat, cross-eyed and crabby, in the parking lot trying to get shade from parked cars, numerous people stepped from their air-conditioned vehicles and commented "wow, I can't believe you're biking in this heat...that's impressive!" I could barely muster a smile and I remember feeling like a total poser. I felt so small. So weak. So bonked.

Goals for Superweek

1. Stay upright.
2. Avoid heat stroke.
3. Do not get dropped.

The forecast for Sheboygan on Thursday is for rain/storms, so goal number one may be more difficult to achieve than I originally thought. To reach goal number two, my first line of defense will be to start hydrating; however, spending the day in the car makes that difficult as I'd like to avoid having to stop for potty breaks every half an hour. If I learned anything from racing at Superweek last year, it was that the key to reaching goal number three is positioning; therefore, I will do my best to make at least half of the women's 3/4 field stare at my see-through gray shorts instead of dangling off the back where no one has the opportunity to view my ass-crack.

We'll see how it goes.

July 23, 2007

Track Racing & Tour of Granite County

Track Racing Last Thursday Night
It was awesome to have Special K back in town and racing at the track. It was also notable that it was probably the only time that the entire Grumpy's/LGR track racing contingent will be at the track for a night of racing. Karla and Gwen did awesome in the women's races (I had a typical night of track racing), and the highlight for the Grumpy's team was T-Hag's second place finish in the State Keirin Championship.

Tour of Granite County
Loon State hosted a great weekend of racing last weekend - it was the 3-stage Tour of Granite County. Honestly, I don't know how Skibby and Delaney do it - promoting races is so draining, yet these guys just keep doing it - so big thanks to Skibby, Delaney, and the rest of the Loon State Cyclists for a great, organized weekend of racing.
  • Bell Tower Road Race (45 miles): This was the first road race I've done this year, and it turned out to be the strangest road race I've ever done. The Category 1/2/3 and Category 4 women raced together, and it turned out to be more of a training ride than an actual race. Don't get me wrong - there were some times during the race where it got hard, but there were also times when we were literally going 12 mph. But given the breakdown of the teams represented (i.e. there was a lot of blue in the field), it seemed like everyone did what they had to, but it made for a boring race. I felt pretty good and I chased down a few attacks, but in the end, it came down to a field sprint for the Cat 4 women, and while I did my best not to get boxed-in by the sea of blue, my hamstrings weren't up for a sprint, and I rolled in second to last in the field. Such is road racing. We had dropped some Cat 4's earlier in the race, so I ended up 9th out of 16.
  • Albany to Avon Time Trial (5 miles): I've never been a fan of TT's - I do not find them fun and I suck at them, so I usually try to avoid them. But since I signed up for the omnium, I was stuck doing my one TT for the year. 5 miles doesn't sound like much, but after doing the road race and being out in the sun all day, 5 miles into a strong headwind totally sucked. I ended up 7th and I was pretty happy with that. After the TT, Pete and I packed up and headed to St. Cloud in search of much-needed sustenance. We found a Godfather's pizza place and proceeded to replenish all the calories we had burned. Yum.
  • St. Cloud Crit: The women's Cat 4 crit was at 9:10 am, and having to get up at 6 am just to eat really sucked after a full day of bike racing. When I got up, my legs felt okay, but my stomach was not happy with the previous day's diet which consisted mostly of energy drink, GU, coke, and pizza. But I love crit racing, so I was excited for this race. There were only 11 or 12 women in our field, 4 of which were Birchwood women, so I fully expected to be on the defensive the whole race. But when the race started, I suddenly felt really good. I loved the course - it was a 6-corner crit and more technical than any other local crit yet this year. I tried to stay really active in this race by attacking 3 or 4 times, and I was impressed that the other non-Birchwood riders were willing to be active too - Julia from GP, Kristy from Silver, Dano from MnJRC, and even an unattached rider all took their turns attacking and working at the front. It was a super fun race, and in the end, I knew that I would have trouble out-sprinting a few of the women, so I attacked on the last lap so I could be at the front coming into the last turn - I was going so fast (for me anyway) on the last few turns that I took them super wide (sorry ladies!), but I managed to come through the last turn first and tried to get my legs to sprint. Two women passed me before the finish line, but I was super happy with my race and my 3rd place finish. The race was great practice and a confidence-builder for my upcoming races this week at Superweek where I'll be happy just to finish the hour-long crits.
It was fun to stick around and watch the rest of the races. The LGR guys did great, and Pete and his teammates had a great race as well with Marcotte taking first and Pete taking second.

Thanks again to Loon State for some great races!

July 20, 2007

velodrome becomes "salon" for local male cyclists

Attention local male cyclists!! Want to chat about which guys are getting fat and who's the biggest drama queen besides SickBoy? Want to know who's in a fight with who? Want to check out all of the latest cyclist fashions?











Then velodrome racing is for you! Thursday nights, 7 p.m., walk-ins welcome.

July 18, 2007

4-yr old futbol

Last night I watched 4- and 5-yr olds play soccer. My dad had suggested that it would probably be like watching the tail of a kite. Aside from the whining ("I'm too hot"), the bored goalie sticking his head through the net and laying down on the ground once in a while, kids taking their own timeouts to run to the side of the field to get a drink of water or say hi to mom, some tears (only from my nephew), and a lot of yelling "you're going the wrong way!", I was actually quite impressed with their skills. They were kicking, dribbling, running, scoring, knocking each other over and getting right back up...not bad. But my nephew had a rough game (note that the game was about 15-minutes long). After playing goalie during last week's game, my nephew had apparently forgotten that when you're not the goalie, you can't use your hands. So early in the game, he decided to pick up the ball while he was playing defense. The ref blew the whistle and the coach (his dad, my brother-in-law) reminded him that he can't use his hands...the tears started flowing and his game was pretty much over. He came to the sideline and informed me and his uncle that he didn't want to play soccer anymore. I then found out just how difficult it is to give a pep talk to a sensitive 4-yr old. He eventually went back out on the field, but mostly just to lean against the goal post for the remainder of the game. A few teammates even tried to cheer him up, but he wasn't having any of it. After the game, I asked him what it was going to take to get him to play soccer without crying (he's 2 for 2 now)- his pouty response was simply "I want to play goalie". I then tried to explain that him and his teammates all need to play different positions, and that didn't go over so well. He cheered up a bit when he got refueled with his post-game snacks (Teddy Grahams and Gatorade), so before I left, I figured I'd give it another shot and we had the following conversation:

Me: So are you going to be playing soccer again next week?
Him: I don't know.
Me: You really don't want to play?
Him (in a very sassy voice): I said 'I don't know'...but I didn't say 'no'.
Me: Alright then, I best be going now. How about we have this conversation again in 14 yrs or so?

Kids these days.

July 13, 2007

track night

I made the trek to the track last night for the first time in a month or so. As I was sizing up the competition, I realized I really hadn't raced with a lot of the women who were there - there are a bunch of new women racing at the track this year, most of whom don't race on the road. It was a pretty strong women's field, including TargetTraining's Mandy Lozano. While it was a strong field, it also seemed pretty sketchy, but everyone managed to keep their skin and bikes intact.

I didn't have a good night of racing, which isn't that surprising. But it was a weird night for women's racing. For starters, every time the official told us to "roll out" for our neutral lap at the beginning of each of our three races, nobody "rolled". What's up with that? Twice I had to start the "rolling", and the 3rd time I think Amber did. I guess people were concerned about their positioning, but I thought it was kind of lame. And what's up with riding too slow on the neutral lap? I actually clipped my Speedplay pedal during one rollout...that's messed up. And then there was the crazy dad who stands in the infield and yells at his two daughters during the races, then proceeds to publicly bitch them out after each race. I felt so bad for them. And I was so happy when Sister #1 finally broke and yelled back after the last race - she ended with "I don't want you coming here anymore!". Amen sister. As one of my teammates commented, "they must still live at home because there is no other reason why anyone would put up with that shit". It was disturbing. Sometimes I wish only racers were allowed on the infield - it would help keep the crazies (like Angry Dad) from standing next to the track. Make him go yell from the stands amidst parents and children and see how that goes over.

Anyway, the first race was a 15-lap scratch race, and Mandy ramped up the pace right away. I think I attacked once, and then blew up (this was a common theme for me last night). The second race was a Bavarian Win & Out. My goal was to go for the first sprint which would have given me 4th place, and then my race would have been done. However, I didn't position myself well - but S. Brokaw did, so I watched her execute my plan perfectly, and I was stuck riding the rest of the race. Actually, I think I may have quit the race...I don't even remember. The last race was a 30-lap points race. I don't like women's point races - I think they're too predictable. We ride in a paceline, then sprint, then get back in a paceline, then sprint, and so forth. So I think I attacked on the first lap. Why not? No one really chased me down (probably because they knew I was not a threat). Eventually another women caught up, and the two of us got points on the first sprint, but then the pack came flying by me like I was standing still. I got back in, and eventually attacked again a lap or two before a sprint lap. In the end, I quit that race too - my legs hurt and "track lung" was in full force, so the infield seemed like a more safe place for me to be. I don't know, maybe I'm missing something....maybe I'd do better if I just sat in more, and sprinted when everyone else sprints. But it just seems boring. And as I've said before, patience is not my forte. So maybe I'll never be a good track racer or win any races or the omnium, but I'll really enjoy the racing a lot more if things are happening.

Strats

July 11, 2007

"Are you considering retiring from bike racing? Seriously?"

From the comments section of my last post:

Are you considering retiring from bike racing? Seriously?

First, let me clarify something - I use the term "retirement" tongue-in-cheek. Lets be honest here - I'm a bike racer that has been racing at the Cat 4 level for a few years now and my goal for every bike race still remains the same...do not get dropped (and I've only been successful a handful of times). What would I really be retiring from?

To get to your question, am I considering it? Yes. But I started considering "retirement" the moment I finished my very first humiliating road race. However, for the past few months, I have started to seriously consider it. I recently told a friend that I feel like I either need to start really training and try to upgrade, or I just need to stop racing and stick to riding just for fun. My reasoning is just that it's difficult to do this sport half-ass. And I'm sure there are a few people who are thinking "then quit already and shut the hell up". My problem is that I just wouldn't be happy doing either of those things (training hard or quitting bike racing altogether) - which is why I just need to learn to be happy with where I'm at (i.e. Cat 4) and stop my whining.

Don't get me wrong, I've been enjoying cycling in general a lot more this year. But it's because I've made a concerted effort to (1) not burn myself out by racing too much, (2) only do the bike races I really enjoy (which is why I've skipped the road races), (3) do fun rides with friends, and (4) avoid weeknight cycling stresses (e.g. Opus, Black Dog, track, etc.) when I have too many other things going on . Which reminds me - I really miss racing at the track. And I've gotten a lot of shit for not racing there lately....trackies really take it personally (I know because I've been begging others to race there for years). Bob Williams likes to tell me that I work too hard (at my day job). But the reality is that I don't work any harder than any other racer who works full-time, and I like my job, and it pays for all things cycling. And when you're required to bill every six minutes of your time, it gets a little difficult to work less than 50 hrs just to bill 40 hrs. So leaving work early a few times every week for weeknight races all spring and summer really starts to dig in to my comp/vacation time. In the past (when I had a ton of comp time), I was okay with that. This year I'm not okay with it.

So, to summarize, I'm not "retiring" just yet. In fact, I'm suddenly excited about bike racing again - maybe it's because I recently spent a night drinking wine with a very inspirational group of women cyclists or maybe it's because I finally did well at a race or maybe I just needed a good break and now I'm ready again - I don't know. But I'm not going to worry about it (for real this time). Of course, chances are good that I'll return from Superweek ready to "retire" again.

All I know is that when next Tuesday night rolls around and I'd love to leave work early so that I can be at Dakota Tech and ready to race by 5:30, I'll be heading to my nephew's soccer game instead...and the smile on his face when he sees me will remind me that there are much more important things in life than a bike race.

Strats

p.s. Julia, this long post was for you!

July 09, 2007

Hopkins Crit

Last week I told Pete that the Hopkins Crit might be my last race...ever. The Hopkins Crit is my favorite local race, so I figured it would be a good one to end on. Here's why I like it so much:

  1. I can ride there from my house and be warmed-up by the time I get there.
  2. It's flat.
  3. It has corners (unlike that other crit nearby).
  4. It's in a downtown area where there is plenty of food available after the race.
  5. They offer both a Women's Cat 4 and a Women's Open race so I can do more than one race if I choose.
  6. Cash payouts for the Cat 4 Women!
And since I love the Hopkins Crit so much, I've always wanted to do well there, so I was pretty excited when it finally happened yesterday. I got 3rd and I was pretty stoked about it. So I finally do well at a race, and I can't even provide an interesting race report. Basically it came down to the one thing I've never been good at in bike racing and life in general...patience.

And now I have a wild hair that's making me think I should do some Superweek races. It's crazy how this damn sport just keeps sucking me back in.

July 05, 2007

more lessons learned

  1. Painter's tape is the key to a good caulk job for first-time caulkers like myself.
  2. Attacking (or more accurately, attempting to attack) on lap 2 of one's first real crit of the year is NOT the key to success for once-a-month bike racers like myself.
  3. Wearing boxers under shorts on a hot day really makes your butt sweat...I don't know how guys do it.
  4. Junior bike racers (18 and under) are not allowed to use big-boy/big-girl gears for any road race, even if it's a Pro/1/2 race. Am I the only one that didn't know this? The reason behind the gear restrictions is actually quite interesting. And it's quite entertaining and impressive to watch the Cat 1/2 juniors spin their 52x14's while the big kids are pushing huge gears.
  5. The neighborhood rabbits are foiling my plans to impress the master gardener next door with my novice green thumb - apparently their weekly diet corresponds with whatever plant in my garden is about to flower.
  6. I'm told that strange sensations in the leg can be caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, even if you don't feel any discomfort in your back where the nerve is supposedly pinched. I'm skeptical that this can be true, but I'm no doctor.

July 02, 2007

PCakes gives us a scare

Patty Cakes was riding to work today and got hit by an SUV. He's fine for the most part...just really banged up and sore. He's damn lucky it wasn't worse. It was Pat's fault...he rolled through a stop sign (instead of stopping) about a block from his house and the next thing he knows he's on the hood of a Jeep. The driver of the Jeep didn't see him in time to react, so it wasn't until after impact that the driver hit the brakes and Pat went tumbling off the hood. The shaken-up driver and a bunch of people from the neighborhood instantly tended to a stunned Patty Cakes and the driver called an ambulance. The EMTs checked Pat out and gave him the go-ahead to go home instead of to the hospital (he had someone help him get home). Since he took a bump to the head (and learned a valuable lesson about wearing a helmet) and Pete and I have the day off from work, we made him come over to the house so we can keep an eye on him. He's got some nasty bruises on his face, head, shin, and shoulder...he's going to be hurting in the morning, but he knows he's lucky that it wasn't worse. His mom said I had to fill in for her and do what she would do...snuggle with Pat all day. And his dad talked to Pete and made him give Pat a big bear hug for him. He gave us all a hell of a scare today.

Please wear your helmet.

June 28, 2007

random stuff

A few things that have recently led to some life changes:

  1. Buying/having a house. Turns out I find gardening more relaxing than blogging and sitting in traffic on Thursday nights trying to get to Blaine, doing 3 short races, and getting home at 10 and eating dinner at 10:30. I'll be back at the track sometime...when I'm tired of gardening. So while Skibby's comment to me at the NVGP Mpls Crit ("this must be the closest you've been to a bike in a while") made me feel guilty (even though it was not accurate), I got over it about two beer sips later.
  2. Smithers' post about side view mirrors. Ironically, just before reading his post, I almost broke off one of my side mirrors. But seriously, you should give this side mirror setup a try. I'm still getting used to it, but it's pretty cool.
  3. Riding my bike just to ride. It's a change in mindsight to not feel like I need to be training for anything and I love it. And the strange thing is that I think I'm actually riding harder than I ever did while "training". And doing social rides with friends is much more fun.

Some favorite quotes from the past week:
  • "This race just keeps getting faster every year and I just keep getting slower" - Pete, talking about the NVGP Mpls Crit.
  • "The truck is still big, but he's super nice, so I initiated a good night kiss." - a friend who shall remain nameless, referencing a second date with a cool guy who drives a big truck that scared her on the first date.
  • "Do you think that giving a 'thank you' card to a guy from a guy, when the card in question features purple as the dominant color, has homosexual overtones?" - a local female cyclist who shall also remain nameless, referencing a "thank you" card she bought for her boyfriend to send to another man.
  • "Graffitti is not just an eye-sore, it's a public safety problem" - a recording I heard while on hold with the City of Mpls when I was ordering a second recycling bin (I have to do double duty to make up for Donimator).
On a side note, 40 years is a long time to be married to someone...my parents should know. This weekend we're celebrating my parents 40th wedding anniversary. Congrats mom and dad!

Strats

May 17, 2007

First night of track racing

Highlights:
  1. Having the whole LGR track racing contingent (and Swiggie) cheering us on.
  2. My teammate Gwen and I going 1-2 in the Chariot race!
  3. Nine women showing up for the first night of track racing.
  4. Bumming a non-expired Clif Shot from DonimatOR- see #4 below .
  5. Not crashing - see #5 below.
  6. Not puking - see #6 below.
  7. Not having to do a Miss-n-Out.
  8. My teammate DW getting #20 for the season.
  9. Gwen winning the very first race of the track season.
  10. Drawing #1 in the starting line-up for both of my Chariot races.
Lowlights:
  1. The longest drive ever to the track...bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to 694.
  2. Track lung - this is common for the first night of track racing and it involves coughing up your lungs (it's 11:30 pm and I'm still coughing). Those of you who race the track know what I'm talking about.
  3. Realizing that one of my Speedplay pedals was missing one of it's two screws after the first race of the night (and not having a replacement screw to use).
  4. Starting to eat a GU that tasted sour - I looked at the expiration date and it said 12/05.
  5. Watching someone pull out splinters with a tweezer from a racer's back.
  6. Almost puking during the last lap of the last race - those of you who know me well know that I have a fear of vomiting, which is why I don't usually let myself get to the point of almost puking from exercise (this is not a good fear to have if you want to be a decent bike racer).
  7. Eating dinner at 10:30 pm which consisted of a blueberry waffle, a banana, oriental rice crackers, and cranberry juice.
  8. Being too wound up to sleep and blogging instead.
  9. Thinking about the track hangover I'll have tomorrow.
  10. Worrying that my legs won't recover for racing on Saturday night.
Strats out

May 15, 2007

In case you care...

I'm just barely keeping my head above water these days. I apologize to those of you whom I've failed to return calls and e-mails...give me two weeks and I'll get back to you.

I finally did my first bike race of the season last week. I lined up for Opus, rode a few laps amidst the sketchiness, and got my ass dropped after the first sprint on lap three. I sat up and was surprised to see a handful of people behind me - they all came by, a few yelling at me to get on their wheel. Feel free to disagree with me, but I am of the opinion that Opus is not for time trialing (either by yourself, or with one other person) in circles. I really think that unless you really have a chance of catching back up to the group, that you should sit up and wait for the field to come around - then jump back in and practice your group riding skills, positioning, helping out teammates, etc. It's a training race....you can ride circles by yourself any day of the week at Opus...Tuesday night races are for group riding practice. I don't care if I come in last because of it (or if I don't even show up as DFL in the results).

And so began another year of bike racing in the same fashion as the previous few years.

The Opus races are actually going on right now as I type. My race starts in just under 1.5 hrs. If I don't leave work in the next half hour, I won't make it. The model I'm running at work says it has over half an hour left to run...and after it's done running I have to compile the results...you do the math. I don't like to write about work on my blog, but I find it a bit ironic that the stormwater model that I'm running actually includes the whole Opus area. And the building I work in is also owned by Opus. I can't get away from Opus. It's a good thing I like saying (and typing) "Opus".

So it looks like my second race of the year will be at the track this Thursday! I'm actually really looking forward to it. Then there's another track race this weekend - I'm also excited for a weekend track event....they're even serving beer. There's apparently been a lot of drama at the track lately, so it should be an interesting week of racing.

The rest of this week and weekend will be spent packing. I close on my condo next week, and that same day we close on our new house...we're pretty excited, but we've got a lot to do before we move.

I'm guessing that this summer I'll be doing about half of the bike races that I did last year, maybe even less. I just don't have the time or energy to keep up the bike training/racing schedule that I did last year, and having a house certainly isn't going to help matters.

Model's done running...gotta check to see if Opus is flooding.

Opus.

April 25, 2007

SOLD

After 17 days on the market, we have a buyer for the condo! I'm so surprised and relieved that it happened so fast that I'm not even stressing over the fact that we close on May 24th and we do not have a house to move into yet. No big deal, we just have to find a house in the next 30 days or we'll be crashing in a Pod with our stuff. We actually found a house we like and might make an offer on, but someone told me it's in Smithers' neighborhood, so we'll have to reevaluate.

I got more good news last week - Chuck called to tell me that my new bike is supposed to show up at the shop this week. Holla!













Once I get my new bike all dialed-in and we get this home selling/buying/moving business all taken care of, I may not have any more excuses for not racing. So from now on, I only have one excuse - "I just didn't feel like racing". But it was fun to ride out to Opus last night to watch the races. Unfortunately, I missed the first few races, so I didn't get to see some of my LGR teammates. But Gilby got some points in the women's race, Dis got cross-eyed in the 1/2/3's race and dropped out, Fil may have gotten cross-eyed but stayed in the race, and SR and the Little Guy hung in with the rest of the pack. So LGR was representin'. The Little Guy's looking really aero now that he's sporting the summer look - and he must be stealth because I didn't see him once throughout the whole 1/2/3's race. Then there was Patty Cakes - I know first-hand that he's been training his ass off all winter/spring, and it shows. I don't know anyone who trains harder or wants it more than PCakes. The kid's not lying when he says he's finally riding like a man. And the whole GP team is riding well - Pete and Marcotte are going to be fun to watch this year.

That's all I got.

April 04, 2007

blog bonk

I have to apologize to my five loyal blog readers about my blog having the bonk lately. As many of you know, we've been busy getting the condo ready to sell, which turned out to be about ten times more work that we had originally planned on. My parents were the true heroes of our condo prep - they did a lot of the hard work, and we couldn't have done it without them - so big props to the parents! While we've been working on the condo, we've also been looking for houses, and researching mortgages and brokers, and all that other fun stuff that goes along with selling and buying a home. One thing we haven't been doing is riding our bikes. But Pete started stressing out a few weeks ago (which happens when he's not riding much), and that motivated him to get riding again and he even went to Iowa last weekend to race. The good news is that our place is officially on the market - so if you know of anyone looking for a sweet cycling-friendly 2-bedroom/2-bath condo near the bike paths, let me know and I'll send you the details.

March 20, 2007

The Bonk Counter

As Sickboy, and others, have recently pointed out:

"Strats, the bonk counter has been at "1" for a damn long time... have you developed the cure for the common bonk?"




I'm glad people have been asking, because while I haven't developed the cure for the common bonk, I have discovered a preventative measure - it turns out that if you don't ride your bike for a long period of time (or involve yourself in any sort of exerting activity) you will not bonk. However, I must forewarn you that there are many side effects to not participating in activities that can make you bonk - the worst of which include fat-ass syndrome, extreme bitchiness, and depression.

But no worries, I predict the bonk counter will start climbing within the next week...and it's not going to be pretty.

March 15, 2007

That's hot















Check out the new LGR website if you haven't already!

February 26, 2007

Rocky mtn high

No bikes.

Just backpacks, snowshoes, bad headaches, gasping for breath, beautiful scenery, a sweet log cabin, good friends, and good times.

Four days at 9,000 to 12,000 feet totally kicked my ass...and I loved it.













































































How do you know when you need new hiking boots? When your heels still look like this 4 days after hiking, it's a pretty good sign that new boots would be a good idea:

February 15, 2007

Doping in NASCAR?

Fuel Doping that is.

NASCAR actually has quite the inspection process to bust cheaters...and unlike cycling, it's not a "random" test, or a test just for those who are getting good results...every car is tested before and after every race.

February 14, 2007

Is this the future of competitive cycling?

Would you be willing to go through this to help the fight against doping in cycling?

February 12, 2007

GTB Product Props #1

This cold weather is making me stir crazy. Yet I just can't motivate myself to leave the house and go to the gym, so I've opted to stay in, watch tv or dvds, drink wine, and blog a little more. Last weekend Pete and I headed to the family cabin for some R & R, and I decided to pack only my most comfortable, warm, cozy clothes. So I started thinking about all of my favorite clothes, shoes, and chick products. And so begins my first installment of "Got the Bonk Product Props"...giving props to all of those products that have generally made my life more comfortable. In most cases, these will be products I've come across after trying similar products that I didn't like.

Since most of the people reading this blog are cyclists, it only seems appropriate for my first props to go to a cycling product...and that product is Craft clothing. I don't know what I ever did before I discovered Craft base layers. I had heard about Craft clothing, but when I looked into buying some, I realized it was pretty expensive, so I put it off. Then one day a few years ago, I went to Hoigaard's only to discover they were having a big sale, including a sale on Craft base layers. So I bought a Pro Zero Zip Mock base layer, and my cycling life has never been the same. Once I tried my zip mock, I wanted more - I did some Internet research, and found discounted Craft clothing online at Sierra Trading Post, so I loaded up. Craft base layers keep you warm when it's cold and cool when it's warm...they're amazing. And, I love my Craft winter wind tights too...Pete gave them to me for my birthday a few years ago, and that was the first winter that I was able to ride outside...my legs never get cold with those things on!

Here's a quick bonus product prop: after trying a plethora of saddle bags, I finally found the perfect one for my needs - the Pedro's Micro Blowout Bag - it only holds the bare essentials, and stays out of the way...I love it.

Possible future product props:
  • Cycling: shoes, sunglasses, chamois cream, sunscreen, helmet, shaving cream & razor, etc
  • Chick stuff: moisturizers, makeup, shampoo, clothes, shoes, undergarments, etc
  • Home: kitchen utensils/appliances, vacuum cleaners, coffee, alcohol, etc
It's getting to be a long winter and I'm bored, so if you have a favorite product you think I should try out, send me an e-mail: gotthebonk@gmail.com. But be prepared for me to blog about it whether I like it or not.

I hope it warms up soon...before this blog goes to complete shit.

Strats

February 10, 2007

From the comments section

Lynne posted a comment on my last post (which was about waif-like models) that I think is worth following-up on, because I agree, it is a serious issue. She says:

Serious issue here. Come on, you can't tell me that you didn't grow up with the pressure to be so thin that your bones protrude? All the fashion magazines I remember as a teenager emphasized this image. That has an impact. There must be other women out there who were exposed to that (80's and early 90's) and have a hard time accepting it's not a good look? How many of us have checked to see if our hipbones stick out further than our stomachs? How many of us have felt better about ourselves if we looked in the mirror and saw our clavicles without shoving our shoulders forward? How many of us permanently now stand with shoulders hunched forward from practicing that as a teenager to get "The Look"? If you can say that you weren't and aren't influenced by that, I think you are in the minority. Really, would you look at a realistic nude photo of a woman which shows her real cottage cheese thighs and/or cottage cheese butt and think it looks better than the woman who's so thin that doesn't happen? I'm just being honest here; I think people right now want to jump on the righteous bandwagon, but it's not necessarily the look they would prize for themselves (I'm not saying you are one, I'm speaking more of the fashion industry right now).

I understand that Lynne isn't referring solely to my opinions, but I thought I'd share my experiences on this topic. First, let me clarify a few things about my teenage years. I can only speak for myself here, but I wasn't really exposed to many fashion magazines as a teenager, and we didn't even have cable t.v so I wasn't exposed to any of those fashion shows on MTV and the like. Don't get me wrong, I knew that being thin was much more fashionable than being a "healthy" midwesterner...I wasn't that naive, but generally speaking, fashion was not something I knew much about. Plus, as a pre-teen, I was one of those sporty, lanky, skinny kids - so while I may have been teased for wearing my Lee jeans from Fleet Farm instead of the much more cool/fashionable Guess or Esprit jeans from the store formerly known as Dayton's, I was never teased about my weight (which I know can be traumatic and life-changing for some kids). But once I hit puberty, I started getting all kinds of curves that I wasn't comfortable with, and I added quite a bit of poundage. But I can honestly say that I've never looked in a mirror to see if my hip bones stuck out further than my stomach (although now I will!) - again, don't get me wrong, I was certainly self-conscious about my new curves, my new ponch and my new weight as a teenager (and as an adult), but I guess I never knew about the hip bone/stomach relationship. Nor did I ever once pay attention to my clavicles. I recognize that teenagers are much different now - it's clear they have much more pressure on them to be thin and fashionable. And perhaps I was in the minority as a teenager - if so, I give all the credit to my parents and my friends during those years. My parents never pressured me to be thin, but my family was very active and there wasn't any time of the year that I wasn't heavily involved in sports. And all of my friends were the same way. We didn't spend much time (if any?) looking at fashion magazines or shopping for tube tops, mostly because we never had time - we went to school, went to volleyball/basketball/soccer/softball/etc practice, traveled for games and tournaments, and a lot of us had jobs (I started working when I was 16). And for the record, when I was in high school, I weighed 20 - 25 pounds more than I do now...same goes for a lot of my friends from junior high/high school. In fact, the nights we had away-games during basketball season, we'd go to Subway before we got on the bus to travel, and we'd each buy a "meal deal" - foot-long sub, chips, cookie and a soda - dinner #1. Then we'd play our game, and go out to eat at a fast-food joint on our way home, so we'd eat dinner #2...and ice cream. So long-story short, no, I did not grow up with the pressure to be so thin that my bones protruded. And I'm extremely thankful for that. That kind of pressure came later in life for me...the college years...although I still don't recall ever wanting my bones to protrude. I lost a lot of weight during those years, but those were the unhealthiest years of my life.

And yes, while I hate to admit it, it's true that I'd rather see a nude photo of a thin, non-cottage-cheesy woman than an average/normal woman with some hail damage. It sucks that I feel that way, and it sucks that woman expect men to think differently as well, but it's the truth. But here's the thing - I'd much rather see a nude photo of a fit, muscular female cyclist (or other athlete) than of any thin model with zero muscle-tone. And I'm going to guess that even most of the men reading this blog would agree. (e.g. Do you see the photos that Skibby posts on his blog? He's always posting pictures of hot women, but rarely are they uber-thin and waif-like.)

It's true that there is a lot of pressure for women to be thin - I don't think anyone, male or female, would argue that. And yes, that pressure can sometimes be devastating for women, especially teenagers. But I think there's a huge difference between being healthy-thin, and model-thin. My point for posting that article was that the women in those pictures looked sickly-thin/emaciated, and it's hard for me to fathom that some clothing designers and fashion magazines actually find that attractive and desireable. So I give props to anyone in the fashion industry, a la the aforementioned Spaniards, that are trying to take relatively small steps to make that industry more healthy (e.g. requiring a BMI higher than 18).

I'm curious what kind of "pressures-to-be-thin" other women have experienced. Anyone care to share?

And then there's the obesity epidemic in our country...an even bigger problem...but I'll save that for another day.

Strats

February 09, 2007

Bring it

I'm sure all of my loyal blog readers are relieved that NASCAR season is finally upon us. Yes, that's right, this weekend is the Bud Shootout, a pre-season race for all of last year's pole winners (plus previous Bud Shootout champions), and guess who's on the pole? DJ in his Prius, er, Camry. So it's time to see how the controversial Toyotas will fare in their NASCAR debut. Not sure how I feel about DJ's paint scheme for this race - although it is kind of LGResque with the crazy bright-colored numbers. There are only 21 drivers in the Shootout (as opposed to 43 drivers in a normal race), and both of "my guys" are in it. So are Dis's guy, SR's guy, Kongsley's guy, and Petey Pablo's guy. And I think it's safe to say we'll all be rooting for the Little Guy, the man with the best hair in NASCAR, Boris Said. (Note: I knew Dis was a Said-Head, but I didn't know he had taken it this far last year.)

Shake and Bake.

On a different note (which couldn't be any more different than NASCAR), I read an interesting article today titled "Why Skinny Models Could Be Making Us Fat" - as you can probably guess, the article is about all of those waifs you see on runways and in fashion magazines. There were also some photos associated with this article (click on the link to "Photos: Dangerously Thin Models") - if you don't have the time or interest to read the article, just look at the pictures because they say more than the article. I've never seen so many protruding clavicles - and I've seen my fair share of broken ones after bike crashes (including my own). The article says that models weigh about 23% less than the average woman. I did some follow-up research after reading this article, and read that many models are about 5'10" tall, and weigh about 110 lbs. Holy shit, that's crazy. I also read that when they want to lose weight fast, they go on Diet Coke and lettuce diets. Are you kidding me? The Spaniards were on to something last fall when they decided to ban models with BMI's of less than 18 (i.e. if a model is 5'9", she must weigh more than 123 lbs).

I wonder what Pat's BMI is? He was just telling me last night that he's getting fat. Maybe he meant "phat".

I gotta go eat...three heads of lettuce and 3 diet cokes may start to fill me up. Sounds like a good recipe for a big 'ol bonk.

January 31, 2007

I'm bonking

I'm bonking and I'm not even on my bike.

I had a hard workout week last week that ended with a 3-day workout bender - hard night at the gym on Thursday, my first spinning class ever (taught by a friend) on Friday night, and a 3-hour ride outside on Saturday morning when it was crazy windy and the windchill was biting. I followed that up with too much alcohol over an extremely fun dinner with friends on Saturday night and then I hit the wall on Sunday. And I've spent this last week fighting a looming scratchy throat and headaches while working long hours at work trying to meet a deadline. I've been drinking the EmerGen-C's and tea, and sucking down Halls Defense like nobody's business, but I keep waking up feeling the same. I'm starting to think it's stress induced.

The one thing I really dislike about bike racing is that I always feel guilty when I'm not training in some way, shape, or form. It pisses me off. I shouldn't feel guilty about that, but I totally do. Unfortunately, the nature of my work requires that I occasionally have to work some long hours to meet deadlines. I like my job, so that doesn't bother me, except for the fact that long hours at work is not conducive to training. So I find myself stressing out that I'm trying to meet a deadline, and then stressing out that I'm not working out, and then stressing out that I'm stressed out about bike races that aren't until April! I'm just not good at this whole "balance" thing - I honestly don't know how people can balance a full-time job, families, and training/bike racing all at once. And I even live with someone who seems to do a much better job with it than me, and even gets some good race results come racing season. I just get tired of not having a life outside of work or cycling. I miss my old life sometimes. And I'm just a Cat 4 - is it really worth all the time and stress just to be able to keep up with the other Cat 4's?

There are times when I go without riding or training for a few days, and I enjoy the things I get to do in lieu of sweating my ass off, and those are the times that I tell myself that I need to be done with this whole bike racing thing soon. Then I'll go for a ride that weekend, and I'll remember why I'm not ready to give it up just yet. But damn, I feel like I'm too old to be trying to squeeze so many things into one day, one week, one year.

But today Dis was the savior because he sent out the final design for our sweet new LGR kits! So this morning I may have been ready to give up bike racing, but then I saw the kits, and I realized that I'm really excited about this season, even if it could be my last.

January 20, 2007

Morning

They say you need 8 hrs of sleep...I need at least 9.
I'm definitely not a morning person, but I'm not really a night owl either.
I don't wake up to an alarm unless absolutely necessary...
Instead, I just sleep until I'm ready to get up, which is usually between 8 and 8:30.
When I do need to set the alarm, I wake up many times during the night in panic that I've overslept.

I always maximize my sleep time - I sleep as late as necessary, then get up and get ready to go to work in record female time.
During the work week, I don't mess around in the morning - while I want to ease into my day mentally, I physically just want to get up and out of the house as quickly as possible.

So when I finally get up in the morning, I want to be left alone for that mental ease.
I don't like sharing the bathroom or the closet - stay out of my way or deal with the consequences.
I don't like morning chit-chat (at home or at work) until the coffee's had a chance to kick in.
I purposely wait until my roommate is gone in the morning before getting out of bed...it's better for both of us that way.

I'm lucky to have a job with flexible hours.
They seem to understand that letting their employees work the hours that suit them best is much more efficient, and the company benefits from that.
But I still have to bill my 40 hrs every week, so that means that I normally work later at night.
Which is fine and dandy until race season rolls around, and I have to be at Opus by 5:30.

I actually worry about being a bad mother because mornings are so painful, and kids don't care what time it is.
People with kids say your schedule will change, but I'm skeptical.

One recent morning, I decided to go to the gym before work because I had something going on that night.
It was a good idea in theory.
At one point during my workout (at 6:30 am), I thought how nice it would be to do morning workouts on a regular basis.
By the time I was done, I thoroughly regretted my poor decision.
I could hardly function all day, and that two hours of missed sleep affected me for two days after.

I'm sure there are plenty of non-morning people out there who embrace their anti-morning-ness, and just deal with it.
But I've always wanted to be a morning person, so I can't seem to let it go.
Yet I'm apparently not willing to do anything about it.
So perhaps it's time to embrace.
I'll think about it over coffee.

January 05, 2007

What the?

In the past few months, I've had four friends get their car stolen - 3 Honda Civics stolen from Minneapolis, and one Honda Accord stolen just today in St. Paul. And a few weeks ago, a co-worker was car-jacked (at gunpoint) in Uptown. And a friend of a friend was also car-jacked recently in Hopkins (the guy opened his jacket to show that he had a gun). What the hell? And then there's all the bike theft...including one of mine a while back. And every night the news stations report that there was another murder. I've heard that crime in Minneapolis is significantly up, although I'm not finding any really good valid statistics through Google. Smithers must know. Maybe Tuffy? Someone please provide me with the statistics that I'll regret having asked for. Is it really getting as bad as it seems or am I just being paranoid (I've been known to do that)? I realize crime in Mpls isn't half as bad as some other large cities, so don't give me that whole lecture on growing up too sheltered. I'm just saying that it seems to have gotten noticeably worse in the past year, and I'm just wondering how much worse.