Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why do you ride?

It's that time of year when the holidays settle in and the motivation to get out and ride start to wane. The sun makes a rare and welcomed appearance about once a week - but the other 6 out of 7 days include gray, dark rainy skies. The temps have started to dip - hovering just above freezing and regular bike commuters start to drop like flies from the busy Burke. Soon it will only be the hard core cyclists who take to the road and have a crazy grin (or is it a cringe?) pasted on their faces.

As a racer, you have to have a mind over matter attitude or possibly fall victim to short trainer rides (I mean come on, who can seriously ride on the trainer for over an hour?) and, heaven forbid, not ride at all. This will be my 4th winter of riding and I definitely have new found respect for racers who refused to ride in the winter anymore.

So what do you do to combat this overwhelming urge to sleep well past the designated team ride time on the weekends? How do you fight the quick-to-pass guilt of only doing 1 hour instead of 3? Why not skip the gym and go out for some winter beers with some buddies? We're naturally supposed to pack on the winter weight, right?

I'll tell you why you slog countless hours in 38 degree rain; because all of the blood, sweat and tears that you put in throughout the winter become readily apparent in the sweet warm summer months. And when everything comes together and your legs feel like they could churn out 400 watts for hours - you'll know deep down it all started with those cold winter mornings that you rousted yourself out of bed and took to the streets solo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old School

Jerry Baker graciously allowed me to borrow some old photos and memorabilia from his personal collection of Marymoor history. I came across some sweet old photos. There's even one from before the railing was installed around the banks!

And here's one of Rick Adams, our excellent host when we raced down at Hellyar this past summer. This photo was probably taken back in 1977 or so.

And the fabulous Rebecca Twigg, on track to win a national title, world championship and medal at the Olympics hailed from Marymoor. She's tearing it up with the fellas - in the sprinters lane. Her 1990 3000m pursuit time still stands as a track record at 3:52. That's super fast for such a slow outdoor track! She is such an inspiration.

Monday, November 26, 2007

From 19 down to 13

Wow what a week. My desk is covered with things I put off last week in prep for the Thanksgiving gorge and long weekend. I just filtered through my emails, sent off bill payments and am starting to get a handle on preparing for Spain in less than a month. Time is flying by - and yet, at the same time, I feel like I have more time on my hands than last year.

I have to admit, I'm a little panicked about not having the insane saddle hours built up already. I've been averaging 13 hours a week per month and that seems a little low. This time last year, I was putting in solid 19 hour ride weeks, with multiple intervals thrown in the mix. I figured the best way to get better at climbing was just to do as many climbs as possible. I really started to notice a difference - and felt amazing. I was climbing like a mad woman. So amazing in fact, I didn't feel it when my hammy popped and couldn't figure out why I couldn't walk the next day.

I guess I just calmed myself down - and am realizing I need to have more faith in my coach. It's scary to get out of your routine - and this is the first winter without being under Miller's coaching. It seems strange, but I'm sure I'll adapt and get used to the quality, not quantity I was putting in before.

It'll be interesting to see how my body handles less work and how this translates into racing.

Bottom line - make each pedal stroke count.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I love noodles

In case you get sick of eating Turkey tomorrow, you could always have some noodles.

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks to Ryan...

Make sure you have your volume turned up on this one....


Booked our tickets to Beaver Creek for Presidents weekend - STOKED!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


For once it didn't rain all weekend. But it didn't get sunny either - but I'll take a gray non-threatening sky any day over a drizzling wet one. I'm sure cyclists all over the Seattle area were stoked on todays break from the steady downpour that created many epic riding stories from yesterday.

We headed up North to Snohomish on a zone 2 ride - winding our way through the ever growing suburbs and quickly spreading sprawl. The once quiet back roads are now becoming main routes - and combining big diesel trucks and cyclists two abreast don't always mix. But the conversation was good and the bike handling better as we meandered up and down the valley floor.

The Pacific Northwest rules. Were else do you get solid 40 degree temps throughout the entire winter? We might have, say 2-3, sub frozen temp days, but that's it. It really makes for good riding year round - if you can handle the rain. And as Clay, Iona's hubby mentioned today, where else do you find the totally decked out "rain bike" with dual front and rear fenders with buddy flaps extending almost to the ground? It's definitely a Seattle cultural thing.

To celebrate my nearly three weeks on this diet thing I bought some Oysters today at the Ballard Farmers market. YUMMY. I can't wait to devour them.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It rained, it poured and luckily I wasn't hung over...

Phew, all that dancing made for some tired legs today! Just teasing - once the chocolate came out only the conversational volume got turned up and the voices became more animated, much to my dismay. And maybe it was the downer Radiohead I had playing that didn't put them in the mood. Oh well.

Our next ladies night is "Casino" night and we're planning on wearing either prom dresses or old wedding gowns for the festivities. Hopefully we'll go down to Tacoma and catch some boxing too! Feather boas are a must.

Anyways, we had a good time last night and experimented with a bunch of fondues - from French onion, pesto bree, traditional swiss to peanut butter chocolate. And of course there were bottles and bottles of wine - which people did good at polishing off! I think I dumped 10 bottles this morning. Nice work ladies!

Of course this morning came early and I'm a little tired from hosting and got to dodge hundreds of Husky supporters on the trail.

AND BIG NEWS!!!! The Sonics won last night in double overtime vs Atlanta 126-124. Their first win of the season. GO SONICS!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ladies night

I actually have non-cycling friends. And to prove it, we have a ladies night once a month at someone's house and ditch our hubbies to celebrate our estrogen.

Tonight it's at my house. Luckily Emily arranged all of the food items - thanks Em! So all I have to do is make sure the shitter's clean and strawberries are on the table. (No connection there, don't worry.)

No one is really a hard core drinker so what do we do to entertain ourselves you ask? Dance Party 2007! Yep, we have a dance off. Well, hopefully we'll have a dance off. The theme is fondue and after my last experience (New Year's Eve 2005) - as soon as the chocolate hits the pot we'll be ready to get our grove on. Time to break out the Yo! Bell Biv Devoe.

OR even better.... ah the 90's...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

3 down, 7 to go

It's been a week and a half and I'm already starting to see some results from calorie counting. It took a little time to detox from my steady diet of sweets, but now that it's been a little while, I'm not experiencing the cravings I used to. More than anything I'm learning about my personal nutritional choices and how to make my body perform better.

I've always been a strong proponent for exercising as means to lose and maintain weight. But sometimes you travel in circles when you put in a solid 3 hour ride and then come home to binge on cookies and beer. So exercise isn't the only way to do it- having an awareness of what you're eating helps too. Who knows - this may be the missing link for taking my pedaling to the next level?

Just call me Dr. lab rat. (This picture was just too fitting.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Doing something for yourself

When's the last time you decided to do something for yourself? Take an ordinary day, and spend say 10 minutes out of it doing something for you, and only you.

I cleaned out my bottom dresser drawer. Big deal - except in it were underwear from my freshman year of college. They're gone now. :) Elmo hit the trash can. Is it weird to good will your old undies?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's sunny!

The legs are starting to feel recovered from the weekend - but thankfully I don't have to push it this rest week. It's beautiful outside right now and I'm looking forward to an easy ride.

Hope you get to enjoy it too!
After signing into blogger, I noticed a new item posted on the "Blogger Buzz" board all about to do lists. Reading further, this woman created a book of the hundreds of to do lists she's collected over the past 7 years. She's put a connection between what people write on their lists and how it defines them.


It left me wondering if I should start keeping all of those lists - because maybe the keys to the universe can be mysteriously unlocked by looking at how much granola I've put on those lists over the years. Or maybe my answers to life's little dramas can be unfolded by weeks worth of scribbled to do lists.

I think it's time for a Freudian approach and pull out the old journals - I'm sure there's some revealing stuff in there.

And as promised, something from the depths of my journals. This blurp was written Sept 24, 2000 when I had first started focusing on boxing. (That bout lasted about 3 competitive years - I saw a Washington State Welterweight title and was an alternate on the first women's world championships.) It's pretty much transfers to cycling though - and I still believe a champion is made a day at a time.

"Stand up straight," is what my coach always tells me. "Fight 5'10", not 5'8" or 5'9. You're height is an advantage, use it." I have a bad tendency of hunching my shoulders. So I decided the only way to prevent it is to have good posture all the time. At least keep my spine straight when I'm sitting and standing. Everything practiced outside the ring transfers directly into it. Bad habits suddenly appear and good habits are easily forgotten. It is a constant struggle. But after months of practice, hours of grueling work and endless days of sweat, there will come a day when everything comes together like clockwork.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh the kitty!

(That title's for you, Zana.)

Just got home from a fun weekend up north in the land of maple leaves and hockey. But we weren't visiting to partake in either of Canada's finest offerings - we did some sweet track racing at the Burnaby Velodrome. Ryan came with and so did Makiah - although if you ask her, she spent the weekend golfing. Poor thing got sick in the car Saturday night and we discovered a nice little mess to clean up around 11pm when we got back to the car. GROSS!

I like Jamie's highlights/lowlights so here goes:

Highlight - Screaming through the corners and getting enough g force that you feel the boards creek and moan underneath you.
Lowlight - Hearing people moan from having face to face contact with the boards and pulling out the splinters. Our very own Annette Hanson had a rough go in the unknown distance race and had some nice road rash from crashing down the track. My thoughts are with you Annette and I hope you feel better soon! (Luckliy no bones were broken.)

Highlight - The hubby came and gave me encouraging words after each race and was given my well earned prime money ($25 Can, $28 American!) from Jeremy Storie. He got a little tanked in the beer garden, but who can blame him?
Lowlight - Cleaning up dog shit and vomit after racing my legs off. Gives me the chills even thinking about it. We're screwed when we have kids.

Highlight - Narrowly missing someone's head when he crashed right in front of me. I pulled an ab muscle trying to avoid him.
Lowlight - Putting in a monster attack during the 6x20 points race with 48 laps to go and getting caught, chewed up and spit out the back, eventually pulling myself wondering if I ate some thing wrong or what? No, Jen. You just didn't have the GRRRR and put in a fruitless attack. Damn!

Ah track racing - it was nice putting some time back in the saddle for the weekend. Kirk O'Bee is my new hero - that dude is fast, relentless and cagey. Super fun to watch him dominant race after race. Fast like a bunny!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Our sinking dollar

I've always written in a journal. When I was younger, I'd keep a diary with me at all times and misspell everything. It was pretty comical (thank goodness for spell check!). And then I have this habit of substituting words that you understand what I mean when I say them, but in all reality it's nothing close to the word I should be using. Ah the English language. I've kept all of my journals - and it's funny to go back and read them. I'll see if I can come up with a goody next time I pass through memory lane.

So onto stuff that matters! Um - right. I can't think of anything.

The Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar. As of today, our dollar equals 0.9420 of a Canadian dollar. Crazy yo! Border crossing into the US today at the Peace Arch as of 11 am is an hour and a half. Ouch.

T minus 26 hours before I have my lungs bleed out of my chest. ;)

Oh and this is for all you cat lovers out there - I love you tube.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just one of them days

Yesterday was rough. I had a hard time pushing the pedals around mentally for some reason. Maybe it's because I've done just shy of 6 hours in two days, solo - mid week and along the same tried and trued routes and I'm at the end of the build cycle - or maybe it was just one of those days.

They don't come that often - luckily. But when they do, I begin to wonder, why am I tormenting my body this way? Wouldn't it just be easier to pull over, whip out that cell phone and dial a ride home? Of course the thought crossed my mind but I've only acted on it once - two winters ago in the freezing ass cold Seattle drizzle in 38 degree temps. I figured yesterday wasn't that bad - so toughen up there and put that tool in your toolbox. Who knows? Maybe during a road race it will be the same conditions and you can push through it.

God, I love track. Long live banked velodromes and dry weather.

Going to go see Sarah Ellis the wonder massager to hopefully iron out the last kink in my armor. Since last time, my hammy hasn't acted up at all, knock on wood. My back is starting to loosen up and things are almost back to normal.

Ryan's joining me in the venture up North - YAY! We're stopping in the Ham on the way up to visit his folks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Wow there are a lot of bull shit boring blogs out there. I just got time warped in cycling nerd land.

May your blogs be spicy and juicy. And if all else fails, make some shit up!
Yesterday the sun set at 4:48pm. 4:48 PM?????!!!! Yep, 4:48, pm.

Only 4 more months of darkness.

Tonight I plan on doing a nice volume ride - 3.5 hours, and get to pack some extra weight for lighting once the sun goes down. I don't know how people do it who have a full time job and can't see the light of day. Talk about becoming a hermit.

I actually like riding in the dark - it's kind of like Star Wars on a bike. I remember this ride last winter where it was dark and I got three flats. One down in Renton, another in Bellevue and a third on Juanita hill. Good times. It POURED on me that day. The type of rain that cars were having a hard time keeping their windshield wipers fast enough, while stopped. I remember calling my mom and telling her I was going to be a little late to dinner. She offered to pick me up, but I didn't even consider it. Sometimes you have to be stubborn - I was warm, although wet - and another hour on the bike wasn't going to kill me. Actually, it's one of the rides I remember most from last winter. Funny how that works.

Headed to Burnaby for the weekend for some racing - should be a blast! Although going from zone 2 to zone 86 is going to hurt a little. ;)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Time to get serious

Got in some excellent ride time this weekend but came to the conclusion that it's time to get serious and start making each pedal stroke count. I'm focusing on climbing this road season and one of my goals is to drop 10 pounds. Don't worry - I have ample room to do it. Ideally I want to become a lean mean fighting machine that can hang on the hills.

It's going to be rough - but I've made up my mind. No more screwing around - I'm even going as far as employing a calorie counter (thanks Zana!). Good bye my sweets... I'll miss you.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Team Ride

Even though I told myself I would avoid the Burke at all costs, I rode the Burke today. It's hard putting in the miles and if you avoid it well then you forfeit 1.5 hours in the saddle. After all, it just means I'm building a bigger base, so what the hay.

We have some great new ladies joining the mix this year and they are super excited to learn. We did a big loop up Hollywood Hill and then through Woodinville. We descended my favorite steep pitch and while going down Linda got a front flat but managed to hold it up right! Turns out she had a huge chunk of tire shredded from her bike and it needed a boot. (Unfortunately two tires were wasted to figure out the problem.) Talk about an adrenaline rush, I'm sure! I think the team rides should be named after Linda since we continue to discover the wonders of bike mechanics. (Remember last time with the broken chain?)

Thankfully Kenny was there to do the obligatory man duties (fix the flat while the rest of us yacked away). And now my legs are a little lethargic since I definitely didn't drink enough liquids while riding. I came home and one bottle was 3/4 full. Bad Juice, bad!

I tried some chocolate milk for the recovery drink and although it made me feel better while chugging it, I'm not sure it did much. ;)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fantastic Friday

My new training schedule allows me to relax on Fridays and not do anything active. Ha! As if?! Does raking a back yard full of leaves and bagging it all count as activity? You bet.

The tree trimmers came today and cut down a dangling willow branch. It broke during the last wind storm we had. I had no idea how big it was until I watched them slowly lower it to the ground with a rope. I counted the rings later - 15. And to think, it was one of the smaller diameter branches. Left to its own demise, it definitely would have taken out the green house.

Ryan worked from home today so we walked Makiah to the Essential bakery aka "Crack House." Their pastries, breads and coffee are to die for. We ran into my neighbor Jo and she volunteered to help me with our out of control ivy hedge Sunday afternoon. Yowsa - that's going to be some messy lame work! I'm going to have to try and make room in my garage for all of the bags. Anybody want to help me with some yard work? I'll pay you in beer and food. :)

Should be a good weekend - headed out on a nice ride in the morning with the ladies and then potluck that night. Then on Sunday headed over to Vashon with Zana and Joanna for some hilly fun riding. Ryan's off to Cali to climb of course. We haven't spent a weekend together in about a month!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Apparently kids are into trick or treating at the mall more than at houses. I didn't have a single trick or treater last night! Bummer, I guess I'll have to eat those kit kats.