Thursday, March 31, 2005

bike report

Mileage when I got to work: 1037.2

Today's bike commute was thankfully uneventful. Passed another bike commuter - probably headed to the nearby university. He was riding a Fuji hybrid.

Was wearing too many clothes, again. Wore bike jersey, sweatshirt, light jacket and tights. The jacket is practically nothing, but is bright orange with reflective stripes on the arms, so it's more about visibility than anything. Started overheating about a mile from home, but kept pedaling on in an effort to save time, since I left a little late.

The "Pedal On" song (Luka Bloom - thanks for the suggestion, Velo Diablo) was running through my head (didn't bring the iPod today) during most of the ride. I think it was a subconscious celebration that I'm actually getting stronger. I hate losing ground when I take my hiatus (when the weather is below 30 F!) but since I've been riding again these past few weeks, it feels great to improve again.

The traffic lights were working in my favor today. That's always good.

Yesterday, there were plenty of bikes on my commute. More folks than I'm used to for sure. That was nice!

A word on the weather:
The combination of warm weather and earlier sunrises has been just delightful. I am leaving for work earlier, and not employing bizzare warming tactics (like sucking on my fingers to keep them from going numb) on my way to work.

I know that soon enough, I'll be annoyed that it's too HOT on my commute back home, but hopefully those days will arrive later, rather than sooner. Plus, as the days get longer, that means I can take weekday evening rides with my honey, perhaps even on the bike trail up north of the city!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

share the road license plates

this is a good idea, but i'm sorry, i'm not a car decorator.

this includes:

personalized license plates
bumper stickers
anything around rear-view mirrors
loud mufflers

i think i'll give my $ to the organization instead.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

philly wrap-up

better than a fortune cookie
we had a hard time staying away from KC's Pastries in Chinatown. i think we went four times during the weekend. my addiction to their many flavored yeasty, sweet buns was not curbed by our hotel location, just a few blocks away.

i wasn't too wowed with it the first time, though it was very fresh, but now that i'm back home, i'm really hankering for some jim's. i had mine with fried onions and provelone. that was one big sandwich. i couldn't finish, but erik helped out. the line was long and full o tourists, but hey, that's half the fun!

water ice
now this is just crazytalk. water that's frozen is ice. everyone knows that. apparently philadelphians have come up with a hawaiian ice concept that's a bit thicker, so they call it water ice. it was good, but what made it better was the custard on top and mixing the two together. mmm. could water ice be the next bubble tea?

authentic taqueria
it was a cab ride away and we had a hard time finding a cab on the way back, but it was worth it. even the cab driver on the way back knew of the place and was raving.

we walked off at least some of the calories and had a great time doing it.

we enjoyed just a handful of the museums we had planned to visit. the mutter was fun and gross. the philly museum of art was just so extensive and diverse. the constitutional law center was cheesy but fun too.

the people were so, so nice. this wouldn't ordinarily stand out, but they weren't just nice, but very helpful, with good suggestions.

like any good big city, they had their fare share of bikes. made us kind of jealous that we weren't pedaling, too. the purple "phlash" bus was great and very cheap.

next time
the rest of the museums, we'll try out a few more byob restaurants (the ones we found were very hip and intimate with reasonably-priced but very cool food), try out some yoga studios, bring the bikes if we can, hit Little Italy, which i'm sad we missed. apparently Sarconne's in South Philly has "the best" hoagies, according to a friend. i was avoiding Monk's Café because i thought it might be too touristy, but apparently that's not the case. also, i'd like to hit Jones downtown so i can observe the hipsters.

more philly recap

better than a fortune cookie
we had a hard time staying away from KC's Pastries in Chinatown. i think we went four times during the weekend. my addiction to their many flavored yeasty, sweet buns was not curbed by our hotel location, just a few blocks away.

i wasn't too wowed with it the first time, though it was very fresh, but now that i'm back home, i'm really hankering for some jim's. i had mine with fried onions and provelone. that was one big sandwich. i couldn't finish, but erik helped out. the line was long and full o tourists, but hey, that's half the fun!

water ice
now this is just crazytalk. water that's frozen is ice. everyone knows that. apparently philadelphians have come up with a hawaiian ice concept that's a bit thicker, so they call it water ice. it was good, but what made it better was the custard on top and mixing the two together. mmm. could water ice be the next bubble tea?

authentic taqueria
it was a cab ride away and we had a hard time finding a cab on the way back, but it was worth it. even the cab driver on the way back knew of the place and was raving.

we walked off at least some of the calories and had a great time doing it.

we enjoyed just a handful of the museums we had planned to visit. the mutter was fun and gross. the philly museum of art was just so extensive and diverse. the constitutional law center was cheesy but fun too.

the people were so, so nice. this wouldn't ordinarily stand out, but they weren't just nice, but very helpful, with good suggestions.

like any good big city, they had their fare share of bikes. made us kind of jealous that we weren't pedaling, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


certainly yummy and the best flourless chocolate cake we've ever had.

it's now 11 p.m. and we just cabbed it back to the hotel from azafran in philly.

had an exquisite experience.

arrived and found 2 open 2-tops. we snagged one (they don't take reservations.)

the feel of the place is very comfy yet formal enough to give a preview of the upcoming sophistication of the meal. the walls are a soothing mustard yellow and the lights are down low.

as for the wait staff, i hope anne's (pronounced anna) is working there when you arrive, because she's a pleasure and we were lucky to have her assistance.

we told anne we were just checking in because we had to go down the street and find some wine. (they're a byob.)

she said no prob, "are you wine snobs?"

we started laughing, "no."

she called the guy from the wine store down the street and showed us a listing of what they offered. he walked right over with our selections (two bottles of okay pennsylvania table wine but we were grateful for the service and after a glass or two, who cares anyway?).

first, bread accompanied by a ramekin of yum olive oil and some roasted garlic cloves (we fished those out). good fresh french bread. plain but nice.

the first course was a salad with grilled squid (NOT RUBBERY OH MY GOD I DIDN'T KNOW IT COULD TASTE LIKE THAT) and delicious greens and fried plantains and other stuff. so yum.

then the main course: he got grouper (he knows his fish!) on lentils and beans oh so good in a sunflower cream sauce. i got seared tuna on top of a mashed potato thing (there's a technical term) with a crispy plantain.

it sounds dumb and pretentious, but it was good, rather down-to-earth, well-thought-out meal that was very fresh.

erik finished with a flourless choc. cake with choc. gelato. the cake was to die for. the gelato? okay.

then, since this is the city of brotherly love, we have to include the incredible hospitality. the table to the right of us (a 2 sibling bunch) engaged us in a rather long, interesting conversation that we enjoyed. they offered suggestions for activities and food during our stay. our waitress, anne, also sat down and wrote out food ideas for us. so nice, these people in philly. really, so nice.

it was such a perfect dinner experience, we chose not to spoil things and go out afterwards. yes, truly!

bloggin' philly

day: 1 out of 3
bikes: everywhere (in the center city, where we are hanging out (we left ours at home)
weather: overcast, coat weather (pleasant!)
walking or driving? walking

so far, we've been to the constitutional law center. very nice. we spent rest of the way walking all around the city, window shopping.

so far, we've been happy with the prices. not too expensive! had breakfast (crepes) at yumifferous reading market and, we had some YUMMY pastries in chinatown. we plan to bring some back home with us as gifts.

tonight, we're going to try a byob restaurant (these are few and far between and not very popular in my city). two bottles of wine and some yummy food and we're set.

perhaps we'll catch a movie later at one of the ritz theatres (art movie houses).

tomorrow, we're going museuming! it's also husband's birthday. :)

still want to experience: philly cheesesteak, water ice (if any of the places are open - this is completely new to me!), monk's (unless it's a tourist trap and in that case we'll leave), The Mutter Museum, Manayunk, South Street, and more, if we have time...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bike commuting chic: Which bike commuter are you?

In my ongoing effort to investigate bike commuting, I've learned there are different styles of bike commuter:

1) Rusty old bike, hardcore -- Strong as hell rider, usually carries heavier as hell backpack and happily grunts it out on the old, crappy bike. Wears street clothes that are smelly. May work in a factory. May not have helmet, or, better yet, has old-school crash helmet stashed on bike. Usually holding bagel in one hand. Riding while eating.

2) The rigidly upright -- We have one of these in my neighborhood, so I have had ample opportunity to observe. Rigidly upright wears basically the same outfit every day: khakis and buttondown. Wears old school crash helmet (pre-vents). Sports a strap so pants legs don't get caught in bicycle. Rides a cruiser/hybrid that is shiny bright clean. Goes about 5 miles an hour and has timing like clockwork.

3) The I'm a bike commuter, hear me roar -- This type is just anal as rigidly upright, but they're out to make a statement that bike commuting is good, you are BAD. Yes, they will ride in -30 F and will blabber about it all day at work. They have the complete outfit, from head to toe. They have a bike that was listed as a "commuter bike" at the bike shop, so they thought it would work well. They have all the necessary safety bells and whistles, and then some. They might commute just a mile every day, but damnit, they're bike commuting and you're not!

4) The punk rock girl -- You see this girl riding around town, but you're not quite sure where she works. Then, one day, you go to your local coffeehouse (the fair trade one, not Starbucks, you nazi!) and there she is. You actually put it together before you go into the shop - you just go into the shop to confirm your hunches - as the pink bike with the Hello Kitty horn and handlebar streamers and spoke clips is sitting outside, chained up with a purple sparkley lock. She may wear leggings and cutoff jeans one day. Her hair might be in pigtails, but she usually wears a helmet.

5) The golden oldie -- He's a superstar. Everyone knows him or knows of him. He could have retired long ago, but he's still fit and smart as a whip, so he heads to the company that bears his name at least a few days a week. He wears a helmet (his wife would be quite upset if he didn't!) and cycling garb and just enjoys the experience. He does happen to have a rear view mirror attached to his helmet, but that's not a sign of dorkyness in this case, it's just endearing. His bike is newish and nice. He has clipless pedals. May show up to some Critical Mass rides for support.

6) I work on bikes. Can you tell? -- This person is probably the mechanic at your local bike shop. He (yes, it's probably a he) wears street clothes and an older helmet (unless he had to get a new one because he crashed in a race recently). His bike is quite fancy (I work there for the discount, man) with high-quality componentry. He zips through traffic like a messenger, but he claims he's a slacker and would rather be fixing bikes all day than "risking his life." Coulda fooled me by the way you negotiate the cars and trucks.

7) Art director -- His commute isn't too long, so why not clear the head and ride the BMX bike? The bike is at least a decade and a half old and not half bad. It's in fairly good working order. He wears street clothes - no need to wear something else on the short trip to work.

8) Because I need to -- This varies from the DUI offender riding the Wal Mart special (dude will hopefully gain some respect for roadway safety by riding a bike in traffic) to the Mexican line cook. I TOTALLY respect the Mexican line cooks on many levels, but of all the bike commuters listed here, they get the most props because they have to ride. They're often not legal citizens, but they've kicked so much ass just by working hard to get here. Then, that's not to mention that you see one of these folks pedaling away from their job at Dan Pablos or whatever generic restaurant you choose and riding on the very narrow sidewalk next to the busy road that even brave riders wouldn't negotiate because that's what they have to do to get home.

9) The nondescript bike commuter -- Like me. Not too hardcore (when it gets too cold or snowy, that's it). Not there to prove any point. Not especially fast unless chased by a dog. Not especially interesting looking. Middle of the road bike. Basic safety stuff on bike. Probably wearing newish helmet. Knows how to change a tire, but don't ask them to true a wheel. Does the bike commute just because. Not to make a statement, but just because.

10) The tragically hip -- Similar to "Rusty old bike" (#1), but different in a few key ways. Found their bike at Goodwill or garage sale and bought it because it would look nice in the living room of the apartment with character. The bike is perhaps a 1970's touring bike. Some stuff on the bike needs attention but this person wouldn't know it. In fact, when bikesmart friends suggest a tune up "for safety's sake", the tragically hip just throws head back and orders another round of imported beer. Seen riding on spring days.

11) The activist -- Posts fliers about local Critical Mass ride and may even have a website dedicated to local cycling information. Enjoys making a scene, but has incredibly good intentions and is well-loved because of that and the positive results of their activism.

12) The granny -- Has gigantic baskets on her bike, perfect for holding errand items. Mostly seen commuting to the grocery, as she's retired. She may have an adult-sized tricycle.

can't overwrite the file

we use the real server at work and i'm wondering if anyone knows how to fix this ANNOYING problem...

if someone's viewing a file on the realserver, we cannot delete the file or overwrite the file.

this really sucks because we'd prefer to just overwrite the same file so that we don't have to update our links.

any thoughts or suggestions, reader(s)? (i don't want comments that are obvious, like stop using real!)

cubicle slave ---> courier

this gal went from cube slave to bike courier. RAWK!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

seriously thinking about vacation destinations

it's a grey sundayday; the blinds are drawn and i suspect it's a damp chilly outside. i'm wearing a fleece pullover on top of my flannel nightgown and i've tucked my frozen feet underneath my body.

in other words, this is the perfect scenario for surfing for vacation destinations. while the laptop quietly purrs, warming my lap (hello, automatic cat without the allergies!) i have found several possibilities for august:

Fyn, Denmark
Copenhagen would be nice for a home base and Fyn is just a short trip away.

Something odd
Like this place, for example. (Okay, who am I kidding. That's way too expensive.) Bali also sounds spectacular but depressing in that dressed-up tourist kinda way. Buenos Aires sounds excellent.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


We're watching some crappy female impersonator dance crappily to "I'm Every Woman" on cable channel 4. It is very, very crappy.

When the website doppler shows a RED line of showers coming, it seems like a good idea to shelve the bike idea until the afternoon.

Must get up and get ready for yoga.

signs of spring in nyc of the signs, according to the NYT:

Friday night Critical Mass bicycle protests get crowded. "Attendance definitely drops in the winter because it's so cold, and it's harder to bike in the snow," said Leah Rorvig, a participant. A typical winter ride comprises 100 to 150 people. "It peaks in the summer, with 1,000 to 2,000."

Friday, March 18, 2005

the importance of new material

we saw a well-known comedian tonight. while i did enjoy his jokes and his pacing and reaction to the audience was tip top, i was hoping for, well, a fresher show.

i realize that a well-known comedian doing his or her touring bit is apt to keep it consistent with the crowd in an effort to keep their popularity up, especially so the commoners buy their DVDs, but i felt a bit let down, like i was watching a jaded broadway performer who'd rather sleep in instead of prancing across the stage.

i know just like not every day is a 100% day at work, the same goes for stage performers. i get my period. guys get, well, grumpy. sometimes it's just easier to spew out the formatted show, not improv one.

still, i feel a bit let down. (not that we really paid enough to be let down. i think the tickets should have cost more.) where were the current events jokes? i'm sure i'm not the only person who wants:

  • michael jackson jokes - yes, well-known comedian, i'd like to see how your jokes stack up against leno's/leno's writers
  • more improv based on audience interaction -- i know, this can slow the pacing if you have an idiot audience member, but it also shows off your skills

    tonight, the comedian did play with one audience member, but their rebuttal was based on a punchline that was obviously learned already.

    speaking of comedy, we're currently cuddling on the loveseat (aw), watching comedy central when up comes one of those VERY HAPPY genital herpes ads.

    you know, the guy says genital herpes isn't so bad! i'm damn sexy and i'm going to take this medicine and not tell the girl i'm dating that i have genital herpes. i'll just tell her i, um, burned my crotch while baking. that should impress her that i am sort of handy in the kitchen, right?

    Best joke of the night: Opening act - I was checking out some Internet porn and my computer caught a virus. It burns every time I hit 'P'.
  • Back in the saddle

    No, not horses, but the bike. (Hopefully, I'll resume riding this summer. My custom chaps and expensive saddle keep staring at me.)

    Rode to work a few times this week and am really feeling back in the groove.

    A friend said she's going to sell names on her wheel for the MS150. I'm conflicted if I'm even going to go. I'm on a board that has a big black tie thingee on that Saturday night - out of town. Damn. I'd prefer to ride my heart out but I think the right thing to do is to go to the black tie thingee.

    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    ye olde college town

    we are headed to ye olde college town in an hour. activities at ye olde college town will include comped room at nice inn (in exchange for speaking engagement), eating at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, visiting/taking photos of old haunts, listening to friend's band, some sex, i hope, and perhaps a bit of drinking though i've sworn off all sugars (yes, dopey, alcohol is sugar too). besides, the last time in went to ye olde college town, i had to quickly exit the nasty college bars that were beloved in the past. last time around, i couldn't take the smoke, the wet, sticky, humid air where the smoke hung and clung to my hair, my eyeballs, my jeans, the inside of my nose. how i endured it before, i will never figure it out.

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Courthouse shooting

    As my husband says, it's just a phase. Idiots shooting judges because they've seen it on TV. On the other hand, it's chilling and makes me kinda hope my husband doesn't get a federal clerkship next year. I know, that's dumb. There are many jobs where you put your life at risk. Even the post office can be dangerous. (Going postal, remember that?) Hell, your life is at risk even if you sit in your house all day! It could blow up or something. Yes, now I feel a bit better.

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Dreams and stuff

    Last night's dream: I was visiting the in-laws, who had moved to a luxury Upper West Side apartment (in NYC).

    In her usual decorating style, MIL had nailed some stuff to the wall. She's a very tactful lady and tactful decorator, but in her past two houses (in real life) she's nailed a group of antique kitchen tools to the wall.

    In the dream, I had a nice breakfast in their formal dining room. They had a large, mammy-like maid who sitting across the table from me. The sunlight was warm and streaming through the lovely, old window.

    The maid kept holding large pieces of beautiful paper to the light, commenting that it was her father's trademark style. Apparently, he was famous for his handmade paper.

    The sunlight inspired a bike ride, so I abruptly ended the conversation and scooted my chair to get up to leave. I got up quickly, awkwardly, and ran into the MIL's antique pocketwatch collection that was hanging by little nails. Quite a flimsy application.

    Quickly, I smooshed against the wall in an attempt to brace the watches between my body and the wall and keep them from falling. MIL rushed in the room to assist in the rescue effort. She assured me that it happened all the time and she needs to figure out a new location for the watches.

    Following that debacle, I left their lovely building and started walking around NYC. The only problem was that I didn't have my bike and I really wanted to ride my bike.

    Eventually, I ended up at this lovely outdoor patio of a ritzy yet laid back restaurant/bar. It was a magical place where people were wearing gauzy outfits and there was even a sfumato that wasn't due to foggy glasses.

    I saw my buddy Sarah, who called last week and I haven't called back. She was happy to see me and we chilled out at the pristine bar where everyone looked beautiful and there were stepping stones surrounded by the greenest moss.

    Other Randome Thoughtees of the Dayyy: Tis fun to find a "secret" blog of someone you know. Tis much fun. Amazingly, this person bitches about their work. Big time. Like they could be so fired if someone found out. What's even stranger is that a quick Google search (yes, I blogged this person's name - so shoot me) revealed this person's blog. Doh.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Jogging, baby

    This post really proves that I write this blog for myself. It's both cheaper and easier than keeping a paper diary. The only difference is that I would spill my guts a lot more if this was a paper diary.

    Now, on to the mundane... Read at your own risk.

    I took my first honest to goodness jog tonight. Husband was going for a jog and for some unknown reason, I decided to join.

    It was 32 degrees - freezing - outside, but we bundled up and it didn't seem cold at all. I'd say wearing a cashmere sweater was a bit unconventional, but it worked!

    Thank god for my Pearl Izumi tights. I felt like Peter Pan, floating down the street. Plus, now they're multisport tights: cycling and jogging. Wowee.

    We jogged about a mile up the street and then turned around. When we reached our house, we walked to the store to purchase peanut butter, cereal and soy milk. We ended up purchasing peanut butter, cereal, soy milk and cantaloupe. Go figure.

    Have you ever purchased exactly what was on your grocery list? Okay, I'm sure there are some times. How 'bout, do you usually purchase exactly what's on your grocery list? Heck, do you even have a paper grocery list? Shoot, I'm writing this for myself. I guess I need to comment now that I asked so many questions here.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Up the hill

    I am 100% determined to get back into shape. It's hard to do this while being a grownup with a sit-down job. I want a stand-up job, damnit. A career options test should start with "Do you like the inside or the outside?"

    I like the outside, or at least a better mix than my present 80/20. There are many times I have walked out of work and been pleasantly surprised by the nice weather. Yes, not a clue of how nice the weather is until the bird yells and I slide down the dinasaur tail.

    Yesterday, the weather was nearly 60 F. I rode to work even though storms were in the forecast. Luckily I missed the rain altogether.

    Back to getting back to fighting weight (High school flashback: I vividly remember getting home from the barn after riding five or so horses and then eating many - like 5 or 6 --slices of toast before dinner because I was that hungry) here's my plan so far:

    • No more eating robin's eggs with the malted milk centers and the chocolate inner layer and the crunchy candy shell that sit outside the boss's office in that white porcelain bowl
    • No more eating the food that seems to be out on that big table at work every day. Yes, I know I have a reputation for being the first at the food table. Now, I do make sure to take a look but only to know what I'm missing. For example, today I missed some Krispy Kremes. Not like I would have eaten those anyway. I can eat sugary crap all day long, but have some sort of internal resistance to doughnuts because they're bad for you.
    • Eat a green veggie with dinner every night. Corn is not a green veggie.
    • Bring food for lunch. It shall consist of one raw food, like celery and carrots, and one non-raw food that's not bread.
    • Eat decent dinner cooked at home during weeknights. If eating out, eat the healthiest thing on the menu, and include green veggie!
    • No alcohol. Not even 1 beer or gin and tonic until my tummy is completely flat again.
    • Eliminate as many non-raw foods as possible
    • Wake up every morning to do Yoga. Attend as much Yoga class as possible, too, which I already do.
    • Ride the bike to work as much as possible. It's okay to whimp out if the day's high temp is below 40 degrees.
    • Start training on the bike. Don't just ride places at a ho-hum pace, but start trying to beat traffic lights. (My traditional exercise is to slow down if I know, based on the flashing crosswalk lights, that the yellow is coming very soon.)
    • Join a group ride or two!

    Yes, the title of this post. What does that mean? Well, I have a pretty hilly 4-mile commute. Usually, I cruise down a long hill going to work, but ride the bike back up another way that has steeper yet shorter hills. Yesterday, I rode back up the mile-long hill, as husband suggested. Actually it wasn't that bad, which means I wasn't pushing myself nearly as much as I should have.

    Sunday, March 06, 2005


    My first DNF. And my first bike race ever.

    If you're interested in a report from a wimpy rider, please read on. Shoot, go ahead and laugh at me. I don't mind. It'd probably enourage me to try harder next time.


    I have done some yoga over the winter, but nearly no cycling. I have been eating poorly and I have fat hips and a little tummy going. This is not (or I don't want it to become the norm.) I have looked much, much better than I look now. But while I know I'm out of shape, but I'm going to do this race anyway, to show myself that I have a long way to go towards becoming fit again.

    I considered waiting to race until I had some training and better eating habits under my belt but figured that while that makes more sense, I'm going to just go for it.


    Stopped at the grocery and loaded up on PowerBars. Proceeded to Starbucks to acquire high-octane caffeine drink. Seeing that I'm not a regular coffee drinker, this was my way of doping.

    The drive to the race was fun. We are on the highway, about 15 miles away from the race, when two cars whip by us in the fast lane. The guy in the SAAB has a fancy custom bike, with carbon bottle cages - the whole getup. He was led by a silver truck with another fancy bike on top. They were totally egging us on, playing the mind games.

    So, we were already racing, were we?


    Got to the park, pulled the car onto the grassy field like everyone else, and immediately got in line for a race number. Observed several interesting conversations while in line. Noted that the guys in front of me were from two states away. Guys in back were complaining they were out of shape (they looked pretty fit to me.) Saw very few females. Actually, with hats on and full cycling kits, husband had to point out a few of them to me!

    Got my race number, got my UCSF day pass but didn't get a transponder. They weren't giving them to the girls. Fair enough. It wasn't like I was going to need one anyway.


    Pinned the number to my shirt and immediately started warming up on the road, as others were doing. Husband came with me on the warmup. He was wearing street clothes and said that he was having a hard time with his asthma, so I should drop him and keep warming up. Well I did so, but with all the excitement, I think I warmed up a little too much (or too little, I'm not sure.)


    When I finally lined up to go - there was a rolling start out of the park driveway onto the country road where the race was taking place - I found out that there were quite a few women. About 25, actually, and they were from all over the place.

    Here I am, totally out of shape - even for me - and here were women on teams, women who had been training all winter and had driven from hours away just to race today.

    Luckily, contrary to expectation, the women were quite talkative (I don't think some had seen each other in quite awhile) and friendly. The girl who was closest to my abilities was a marathoner (great, I don't even run!) wearing a pink t-shirt over her jersey. I think a total of three women were sans-team kits.

    Because the team girls were lined up together, I ended up in the back with marathon girl. The dead back of the pack.


    As we rolled off, down the macadam (glad no one slipped!) driveway, I was acutely aware that I was totally stuck in the back. For the first quarter mile were were in a tight pack and the pace was extremely slow. This, I told the girl next to me, I can deal with!

    Then we reached the first hill nearly immediately and I realized I was going way too slowly. What, get out of the saddle already?

    I stuck with the group as they sped up on the hill, but though I thought I was being a good girl and pedaling completely over the crest of the hill, suddenly everyone was drag racing down the other side.

    I fell back a little but I told myself I can catch up.

    Then they were really gone.


    I rolled over the next hill and the incredible headwind hit me. Pushed me to the side of the road a bit. I was looking for everyone else and I did spot the marathon girl. Perhaps I should catch up to her.


    I don't know what happened, but I definitely did the opposite of what I thought I was going to do. In my pre-race daydreams, I saw myself pushing my little heart out and surprising everyone. Instead, I was pedaling like I was out for a Sunday stroll.

    My heart rate was barely up, I wasn't breathing hard, I wasn't even sweating, but as the girls rolled away, I did keep riding. How long could this loop be, anyway?

    UP, UP, UP

    The rolling hills were definitely more up than down. While still out for my Sunday stroll, I kept asking myself, why aren't I pushing hard? I just don't get it. Finally, I hit some flat-ish terrain and started stroking a bit harder, though nowhere near my capacity.

    As I rounded a corner, a race official yelled out encouraging words I wasn't expecting:

    "You're doing great! The girl in pink is not far ahead of you!"

    In other words, she was saying hang in there and I could get back in the game if I wanted.

    But that didn't register. All I thought was wow, you've really done it, totally wimping out. What a lack of effort. Well it's too late. You're the last turtle in the race. Soon, the men (who started about two minutes ahead of us) would be lapping me, so I should just quit after the first loop.


    One super-fast guy on a slick bike and an equally slick team kit (he was Cat 1) passes me, and I kinda pick up the pace, thinking it'd be just terrible to be hobbling along and have ALL the guys pass me. Who knows what kind of rude remarks I'd get!

    Well it turns out this guy lapped everyone, and no other guys were on my heels at all.

    So I am finally plugging along at a good pace, really striding where I should have all along when the big downhill hits. I decide to push it since this is my first and final lap.

    I sail down the hill, in the biggest of my big gears and I'm just loving it. I think I'm making up some time, too, when I just decide, well since I haven't seen any of the other women in miles, I'll quit while I'm not too far behind.


    I pull to the side of the road (a cemetery, fittingly!) and tell husband that I have quit this race.

    All the while, I'm recalling Lance Armstrong's story of one of his first European pro race (I think) where he was doing horribly (didn't expect such tough competition). He didn't quit. It was dark when he finished, but he didn't quit. Immediately following the race, he called his mentor and said he just isn't cut out for racing, but instead of agreeing or brow-beating him, the mentor just said he will race again and how proud he is that he finished the race anyway.

    Spent about an hour watching the rest of the race. Learned that this isn't as recreational as I would have imagined. I'm pretty sure everyone except me had done some sort of training.

    Watched about 1/3 of the field drop out of the race early. Folks with fancy, shmancy bikes too.

    Actually had a nice time post-race. Enjoyed talking with a girfriend of one of the racers.

    Got a pep talk from some of the female racers who finished in top placing. She said not to worry. She had a horrible first race. It was raining and she was crying but she figured no one would notice she was crying because it was raining so hard. She said I'd be awesome next time. Not sure if I believe the awesome thing, but it did give me some hope.

    WHY? WHY?

    I couldn't get over my pathetic non performance. I should have pushed myself till I threw up or passed out of something. Instead, I barely broke a sweat. I just don't get it.

    This is the part where I am reminded I have the best husband in the world...

    Here I am bitching, being annoying in front of world's best husband, and husband said (in a proud way, not a 'you idiot' kind of way), "Well I'm proud of you. You tried racing even though you didn't know what to expect."

    He was proud that I raced while knowing that I might be the worst out there, raced while I was out of shape... just did it.

    I, on the other hand, am still mystified that I put no effort into it whatsoever.


    Despite finding out that I severely lack competitive spirit - something most bike racers have built in from birth - I am determined to change that, and learn to push myself past my limit.

    I am at the age where I'm pretty comfortable in my life. I don't have anything to prove but this race was all about showing me that I am resting on my laurels, that I do need to go out there and fight, not just in cycling but in life.


    The next race is next weekend. Will I be ready? Hell no? Will I try? I'll work like hell all week to prepare. Will I finish? YES.

    Saturday, March 05, 2005

    road racing tips

    here's an excellent collection of important tips for the novice cyclist headed for their first race.

    one of my favorites:

    Leave your bike in the car until just before the race. This keeps
    it warm, especially on hot days, and if you need to warm up, so does your
    bike. Forget about the fact that it softens your rim glue, rolling tires
    in a race is just about as common as crashing.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Speaking of tattoos

    I Googled Tasmanian Devil Tattoo just to see what would happen.

    I came up with this funny site, which included the "I am a fancy-shmancy tattoo artist and don't want to see your shitty butterfly tattoo or Tasmanian Devil tattoo on your ankle."

    Whether you agree with this person or not, they do quite a good job at presenting their anger humorously (at least I think it's intended that way.)

    Bad dream

    I dreamed I had tatooee's remorse. (What is the correct term for someone who's been tatooed, anyway?)

    I was in some kind of hippie town in California with my husband and my mom and we decided to attend an art opening at a gallery owned by my mom's friend.

    Well, it just so happened that there was a tattoo artist at the art opening, sitting in a corner. It was very similiar to a face painter's booth at a street fair.

    Without fear or much thought, I go over and get a design inked onto my back. The artist was skilled, and I think I picked something out of a book of really nice original designs. (No, it wasn't a Tazmanian Devil!)

    Later on that day, I felt like an idiot for getting my ink without even thinking about my design.