Friday, December 29, 2006

A Skinny Day

After a leisurely morning, we made our way to Skinny Skis to guessed it...skinny skies. In the shadow of the big steeps we stuck to the flats and rollers trying to get our skate legs back.

After hearing about all the snow in Denver, I was surprised to see how little snow there is on the ground here in Jackson. The 'snow snakes' were out in abundance, sunning themselves, on some of the wooded trails but we managed to avoid most of them.

Like XBunny, I felt that my cycling training has transferred well to my skating....which was nice. When we get back to Cali I need to make time to get up to the snow again for more cross training.

Lastly, we learned that Jackson isn't really the place to come for skinny skiing if you want to ski on groomed tracks. Our best option here has 17 Km of groomed trail (we skied every trail at least once in about 2 hours). In comparison, in the north lake our favorite areas have 115 Km or 330 Km of trails.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Getting down to business

We got out on the slopes today. After the normal rental rigmarole, we got out for many great many as our little legs would tolerate. We even did a little hiking OB for some short powder runs. Here's a lucky shot of BK killin' the pow-pow.

Half the Fun

Jackson Hole, is a small town, if you've ever been to here you know what I'm talking about. It does have an airport but it closes frequently for weather and Vice Presidential visits. Small airports are also frequently serviced by small planes. In our recent Tag entry we didn't mention our feelings about small airplanes...but we easily could have.

Our trip was relatively uneventful. Despite very high winds in SF and storms ravaging most of the Northwest, we only had to deal with a 4 hour delay. Ali's parents, on the other hand, took 40 hours to get from Chicago to Jackson Hole, and no, they didn't drive (at least not all the way). On their round about trip here they encountered airplane mechanical problems, bad weather and ill timed Vice Presidential visits.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You're it...

OK, we were tagged many days ago, but haven't found the time to conspire on a post.

We're adding our own twist. Here are 10 things which we don't think you know about us, but we aren't telling which of us they apply to. That's the job of your inquiring minds:

1) "I" have lived all but 4 years of my life within 5 miles of interstate 80.

2) "I" once killed a guinea pig which was later served to me for dinner.

3) "I" was high school math student of the year.

4) In middle school "I" was bussed to the high school for math classes with 4 other students. We regularly we able to bribe the school bus driver to take us out for breakfast at a local diner, causing us to miss English class back at middle school.

5) On several occasions "I" went to my high school English class having put back a few.

6) "I" hate, truly hate being on the ocean. It's pretty and all, but I have had far too many sea-sick moments. Once, on a trip to the Galapagos, I threw up over 20 times in one evening.

7) One of "my" favorite memories is encountering a hammerhead shark on a night dive in Belize. Having read #7, I apparently won't be bringing my partner to join me next time.

8) Once, while riding my bike, "I" noticed that the quick release looked open. Lifting up on the handle bars, watching the front wheel fall off, I realized that I was right.

9) Of the 2000+ starters in Ironman Utah, "I" was one of less than 50 racers to finish the swim. Six foot swells caused race organizers to pull everyone out of the water about 5 min. after the race had begun. I was close enough to the lead group at the time that I had no idea. By mid-race, all the buoys had uprooted from the bottom of the lake and drifted away. Our small pack stayed together, did the turn around (it was an out and back 2.4 mile swim), and landed back at some distant shore. It was a 20min. drive from where we landed to get us back to the race start. The swim was officially cancelled and hours later the course was re-opened as a duathalon. This was the one and only year of Ironman Utah.

10) We're always willing to try new foods. Between us we've eaten grasshopper, ants, alligator, guinea pig, the lining of a pig's stomach, sweet breads, raw sea snails, and snails cooked up from our California garden.

You're it...Panda, Ms. Frost, Chico Cyclist, Little Pedals, Dr. X

And we're back to Jackson Hole for a week of skiing with "my" family. Those of you who followed our blogs of our trip there this summer won't be disappointed.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Update on MaryAnn

From what I hear, MaryAnn is making an amazing recovery, despite some incredibly horrific details about what happened to her. Since I'm not sure of the extent of the audience of this blog, please email me offline if you'd like a more specific account of her injuries. My email is my first name dot my last name at And if you're not sure of my first or last name, you can do some detective work on the blue dots racing site. After that, you're on your own.

In the meantime, if you want to do something, many of us are attending the arraignment of the drunk driver, which is scheduled for Tuesday the 26th at 1:30PM at the Court House in Redwood City (400 County Center). I will be there along with some teammates and I say, let's fill the house.

I have heard from MaryAnn's coach that he is a 70-year-old man who was driving a beat-up pickup truck and swerved from the left lane to the right lane. He attempted to leave the scene, but other cyclists and drivers who witnessed the accident prevented him from doing so.

I want this man to know that he is being watching by an entire community of friends, family, and cyclists. There's a hell of a lot more than that which I need to tell him, but I might just have to keep that to myself while inside the court house...

Sunday, December 24, 2006


A horrible accident happened this weekend. Damn the reckless holiday drivers!

MaryAnn Levensen, our new Cat.2 teammate, whom many of you know, I'm sure, was hit by a drunk driver while on her bike on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto. Her coach emailed some of our team last night, but as of now, we know only a few details. I heard this morning that she underwent over 9 hours of surgery and is recovering in the ICU. Scott, her husband, has requested that people send cards to their home address, 21 Politzer Dr., Menlo Park, CA 94025, and he will deliver these to her at the hospital. MaryAnn will be in the ICU at Stanford for a few days and is unfortunately unable to see visitors. Her coach has requested that we all give Scott a little space right now and please avoid calling the house or emailing him.

I've only just met MaryAnn a few weeks ago, but she's one of those women who you know, right away, is a fierce, strong-willed fighter in addition to an incredibly positive woman. Send all your good thoughts, prayers, and positive energy her way this week, both for her, and her family.

Friday, December 15, 2006


this is the first story I've read about Tyler that makes me wonder...about the whole process. How accurate is it? How objective is it? How political is it? Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the article.
"The way the test was designed and implemented would never pass muster in any other regulatory situation."

"Lausanne was keen to rush through the test, perhaps prematurely," he said. "But it was only a matter of days before they started to get the results we wanted to see."

I'm sorry but I thought the tests were supposed to be done anonymously and objectively. If you're potentially going to destroy some one's life you better conduct yourself in a manner that is beyond reproach! Otherwise the UCI should just pick the winner of each race and we can all go watch Cirque du Soleil.

There are more parts of the story here and here.

What a difference

a day makes!!

If you have to get the flu, make sure you order up the 24 hour variety.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kiss of the Flu Fairy...

Yesterday I felt GREAT on my bike. Climbing was pretty effortless, power output was good!

Last night the Flu Fairy came to visit. Guess it's time for some extra sleep.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trainer Day

Today was a day for the indoor trainer...unfortunately I didn't realize it until I'd been on my bike, in the rain, for 30 minutes.

Ok, so some mornings I'm a little slow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Weights and Measures

Weights and measures
mute gastronome pleasures
as we approach this season of cheer

Progress we plot
with a kilo and watt
while abstaining from Malt Balls and Beer.

A foodies true test:
Abstain when noshing's the best
and just watch with a grin and a tear.

Is it worth it? Who knows?
Surely the races will show!
But for now know there's less of us here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mind Kaegels

or something like that.

Many of us spend a lot of time training our bodies for cycling but do we do enough training of our minds. This weekend I did a little of both...sort of.

It started while I was sitting on my trainer, grinding away and my mind began to wander. I started thinking about the upcoming season, places to attack and visualizing some finishing sprints. At some point I stopped and realized my adrenaline was pumping! I looked down to see my heart rate had jumped up 15 bpm but my power output hadn't changed. I took and deep breath and as the adrenaline dissipated my heart rate dropped back to the 'right' value.

So then I tried an experiment. I tried to think of the most peaceful thing I could, for me this was waves gently rolling onto a beach. Sure enough I looked down and my heart rate had dropped 5 bpm but my power output was the same.

Throughout the rest of my workout I continued to try to manipulate my heart rate by changing the images in my head. It was an interesting experiment.

Who knows, maybe with a little practice I will be able do something useful like bend a spoon.

It's official...

A bike dork to be specific. Many of you are saying to yourselves 'Duh M, we've known that for a long time'. Well, today I was convinced too.

This morning I'm walking the dog on my typical Monday loop. We walk to the local Peet's/Bakery combo for the morning transfusion. As I step into the Bakery I see two guys standing at the counter and think 'Cool, short line today'. Then I notice that these guys are none other than Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Hincapie. Holy Shyte!

Now I've had quite a few close encounters with public figures (I'll spare you the name dropping) and have always been able to keep my cool. Today I was a dork! I froze, I blushed and was clearly awe-struck. I wanted to say something but felt stupid at the same time. I'm pretty sure I looked like one of those old news clips of Beatles Fans...without the screaming. When George turned and looked at me I managed to ask how his Sunday Ride went. I think he said it was a 'Good Turnout'.

After they left I'm sure the woman behind the counter was trying to figure out what I was on. I was going to explain but decided she wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about.

Fred and George were in Peet's too but by then I regained my composure.

What a dork!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sporty politics

I'm not a football fan.
At all.
But I have a long U. Michigan legacy in my family.
This is crap.
I'm sorry, but total crappy politics.
Just cause Ohio State already played Michigan, doesn't mean the #4 team can mysteriously become #2 overnight.
Who paid off the damn coaches? That's what I want to know.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This morning wasn't like every other morning.
On every other morning, I get up at 5:40am to bike.
This morning I got up at 5:40am.

But, this morning wasn't like every other morning.
On every other morning, I put on every damn windproof garment I've got.
This morning I put on every damn windproof garment.

But this morning wasn't like every other morning.
This morning it was 36 degrees when I left the house at 5:55am and still 36 degrees when I returned at 7:35am.
This morning I wore ski clothes.
This morning it magically seemed to stay dark, damn dark, much longer than usual.

As I left the house I wondered why I had moved to California from Chicago, since it felt just as cold as a Chicago morning.

But then, while biking past the Richmond Marina, I realized one of the many differences between a November morning in Chicago and a November morning in California:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Top Ten


10) USC's football team isn't as good as everyone thinks.
9) Getting into college is really hard nowadays as 30,000 people are applying for 1000 spots because of the common application.
8) Berkeley is just like Evanston, IL, minus the lake.
7) Career choices are often made in middle school.
6) You can't use Cello sheet music to play the viola.
5) Although it's known for its blues, Chicago has great Jazz.
4) It's possible to hear Jazz Sitar and Jazz Accordion in the same show.
3) Gianni is everywhere!
2) Sweet potatoes aren't nearly as healthy as 2 bikers might think when you learn that they were blended with one part sweet potato to one part vanilla Hagen Daz ice cream.
1) Thanksgiving ALWAYS makes for great stories!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Have Fun, Eat Joyfully, Share Your Gratitude!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Losing our Cross Virginity

We came. We saw. We didn't sign up.
Well, we didn't intend to, not today at least. Yesterday's 5 hour epic ride of too, too many intervals on Diablo left us craving a spandex-free breakfast. We rolled out of bed, headed to Home Plate in SF for eggs benedict, bacon frittata, and scones and then scooted over to GG Park to catch the start of the masters Bs.

We had a fantastic time and walked away eager for RR season to begin. In the midst of it, we heard some of the Bs complaining about how the juniors shouldn't be racing with them since, "They're not really racing and they just get in our way and make it dangerous."

Ok, if it's dangerous to have them in your field, then let's talk about a separate start time. I can understand that. say that they're not really racing (and to say it loud enough that a group of juniors 1ft. away from you can clearly hear you as you're POINTING to them) is so damn rude. There were plenty of juniors who kept their heart in the race far, far longer than a lot of the masters.

Speaking of which, my student, the 7th grader, raced his second cross race and was a star. Any thoughts on which juniors team he should join? I know nothing.

Onto the entertainment: This kid was mezmorized with Clover. I mean, most folks are mesmerized with our 'little bear,' but this kid took the cake. Clover, on the other hand, was mesmerized with the race, enough-so that a few times her tail almost took some riders out.
The action:

See Gianni Jump!

See Jeff Run!

See Ali and Mike having a lazy afternoon napping, building wheels, eating ice cream, and reading the Sunday paper after a hard morning of cross (imaginations required).

Phew...what a rough day!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Coach M

So I tried my hand at coaching this fall and learned a few things along the way. I've played many sports in my life and had dozens of coaches along the way. Their personalities and styles ran the gamut from goofy new college grad to brow beating drill sergeant (complete with bulging forehead veins). Each of them, good and bad, has had a hand in shaping my feelings about sports, competition and life.

Maybe it sounds a bit dramatic but for many of these kids I would be their first coach and I wanted it to be a fun and constructive experience. So each week before practice I thought a lot about my 'weekly message'. What was the best way to spend my 90 minutes with twelve 9 year olds? What skills should we practice? What drills would be most effective? And, perhaps most importantly, what should we talk about. As the season progressed I found that I repeatedly wanted/needed to talk about responsibility, respect, fun and fair play. In a word: Sportsmanship.

Most of you who read this blog have a great understanding and appreciation of sportsmanship, but do you remember where you learned it? Where did you learn the value of hard work and practice, how to handle disappointment, accepting what is and playing on and appreciating the skills of your competitors (at the same time he is kicking your butt)? I learned it from the basketball coach who ran us ragged, the track judge who took exception to foul language and the swim coach who could throw a kickboard more accurately than most ultimate players throw Frisbees. While the basic values that underlie sportsmanship are taught at home, I now believe that a true appreciation only comes from regular participation in sports.

Today I felt a tinge of satisfaction as I watched twelve 9 year olds play their hearts out for 50 minutes. I saw them suffer, struggle and scrap. They cheered for their teammates, appreciated their competitors and persisted even when they thought they couldn’t play any longer. In the end they knew they had played hard and were proud. So, even if next week we return to gazing at jet contrails, I know that it’s getting through…a little at a time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Ok, so I haven't made time for CX (yet), but I have big news. Two of my students are going to try CX racing for the first time this weekend at McClaren Park.

If you see two 12 year olds, one short and one tall, both with scraggly hair, ask them if they go to Willard (in Berkeley) and have Ms. Krasnow as their math teacher. They will feel famous if one of you CX folks discovers them!

So very cool! And they are both star pre-algebra students. I love it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It Happened One Day...

It happened one day
on Bend-your-view Street.
I was walking along and
who should I meet

But the Mathmagician
just wisking along
reciting some proof
in the form of a song.

She was headed
off to New Digitopolis
(I assure you it's nothing
like the Old Megalopolis).

To dispense to her subjects
some super magic math knowledge
in hopes that some day
they all make it to college.

(PS I see the Mathmagician every day and often in Superhero Spandex but this is the first time I've seen her in her official robe!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weekend with the 'rents

For many weeks Mike and I have been working on our climbing skills, not by ridding hills, but by counting calories. So it's been a while since we've really indulged ourselves in rich desserts. Wine, yes. We've managed to keep it on the 'good' list, but desserts, those where you want to lick the bowl for more, have been scarce.

My parents were in town from Chicago this weekend and we headed to Mezze, a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Lake Merrit which had good food, and AMAZING desserts. In addition to the moulten chocolate cake with carmel milkshake, and warm bread pudding, we had this butterscotch pot d'crem which was to die for. Mike and I fought over the last bite. Wow.

On Sunday, after dodging rush hour traffic, we headed to Alcatraz. I was struck by the guard to prisoner ratio 1:3. So interesting when compare to my teacher to student ratio 1:150. Yes, though there are only 30 of them in the room at a time, I have 150 students who I see each day. Damn the prison system for coming up with the money to have a 1:3 ratio. Can you imagine how our schools would look if we priotitized our budget in the same way?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Guicoustical Gymnastics

Went to see these guys last night...Awesome Show! Their furious fingers wring some incredible sounds from their guitars. If you get a chance to see them live - DO IT! If not, check out their music anyway.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Going Pro

That's it. I'm going pro.
This morning on Kfog they interviewed a "pro" blogger. She gets enough hits each day (5,000+) that advertisers pay her to have ads on her site. It generates enough business for the companies that they pay her a commission and she can make a living off of blogging. Actually, I'm not the one who should go pro, but some of you...and you know who you are...could quit your day jobs and cat. up.
And on an unrelated note, there are 2 enormous spider webs across the roof rack of my car. A car gathering dust and spider webs in the driveway is a fine sign of my new commute. Walking to work every day is a beautiful thing!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rain getting you down?

I thought I had lost my desire to ride. Actually, for the last few days I had pretty much lost my desire to do anything after work besides sit on the couch and stare at the ceiling. Yesterday afternoon, I scooted home from work to go for a run, and was nabbed by the couch, which wouldn't release her grip. Finally, Mike set me free by suggesting that I go into the bedroom, close the door, do some yoga, and not come back out until I was my old happy self. It worked, temporarily, but I still went to bed at 8:20pm, a groggy, lethargic mess.

Yes, I know, it's that change of seasons where the days get shorter, the darkness creeps into both our workouts and our working hours, and it's just damn cold and wet. I know I'm not alone in feeling a bit of the rainy season blues .

Often, my meetings with colleagues to discuss some of our more troubled students make me realize that my blues ain't nothing compared to some of my students. I guess my rainy day blues don't compare to that crazy teen-age drama.

After school today, I went for a long ride. Ah yes, it's good to be back.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Under the Sofa...

is what we're thinking of renaming this site.

Hopefully we'll find time to post once in a while

...and when we do it will be like finding a rare coin

...not some hairy grape from last year's Super Bowl party.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Two weeks off the bike...

is 'good for you' they say. Ya, like Brussels Sprouts.

After running every few days for the last week and a half, today finally felt OK. I've never been a big fan of running. It was my least favorite part of a Triathlon. Even though my running has improved over the last few years it never feels effortless like swimming or cycling can.

This post made me wish there was snow in the mountains during my 'bike vacation'. Skating on the snow is a lot more fun than pounding the pavement.

Oh well, only four more days and I'm back in the saddle.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another Pile O'...

Neighbors had this delivered today...copycats.

Keeping up with the Jones...Berkeley Style!

Hittin' the road...

No, we're not doing another road trip. I went running for the first time in at least a year...I think. It's off season, off the bike, but I still need the endorphin fix so I strapped on the running shoes. It felt ok but I'm sure I'll pay for it tomorrow. A little running should be good for me right? And it'll come in handy when I need to herd the cats at soccer practice.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Choices we make

So, I've been absent from the blog-world for the last two weeks as I started a new job. After 6 years of teaching 4th and 5th grade, I decided that I needed a new challenge: teaching 7th grade math. This new job comes after a year hiatus from teaching where I 'went to the other side,' doing math reform work for UC Berkeley. After 3 days back in the classroom last week, I realized that I was a wee-bit rusty.

The funny part is that as much as I am quite excited to be teaching again, I have to continuously remind myself that returning to the classroom was a choice. I mean, if I chose to do this, why in the world am I so damn nervous every night before I go to bed.

So, in the hopes of easing these Monday night jitters, Mike and I are home with two movies and a load of take out from the Italian joint up the street.

Oh yea, and there was a bike race today. SUCH fun! We grabbed not one, but two $100 primes in the W4 race, among many other things. We 4s have never laid eyes on such cash in a race before! You Bag Boys made it clear that you don't just have the legs, but infinite race wisdom and mo-jo backing you up. Congrats on a great race. Mike and I saved you all from many furious cab drivers who tried to mow you (and us, the marshals) down on corner 4. Good lord were they feisty! But consequently, we weren't there at the finish so we missed all the finesse of the final 1/2 lap. We'd love details.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Who knows...

what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

I've been working on this for a while and finally made the time this weekend to finish it off. I took it down to the port last night for a hammer session. Didn't develop any squeeks or rattles...I guess that's a good sign.

I also decided to try my hand at building a wheel. I'll reserve judgement until after the first ride. ;)

Just when...

you think you've got it all under control (everyone is ready for the first day of school, soccer is on track, you've found your off season rhythm for training) and you turn around and the garden has gone Crazy. You can't turn your back on those things for a minute! Today we harvested: beans, chard, beets, rutabaga, squash, onions, a carrot and apples. Don't leave your car windows open in our neighborhood this week ;).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And then there were eight..

Nine little planets
Spinnin round the sun
Just hangin out in space
Not hurtin anyone.

But at a gathering of the astros
they put it to a vote
and poor little Pluto
they decided to demote.

And just like that
Pluto's just a floating rock.
The astros made is so
with some measuring and some talk.

I'm sure Pluto doesn't care
what the lofty astros say.
It'll simply do the same old thing,
go on its merry way.

But what about the astros
now that the Pluto debate is done?
Maybe they'll put their minds to work
on the renaming of the Sun.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Worked over by the G-Man

Yesterday the G-Man dragged my sorry butt over Sierra Rd.

I'd never heard of Sierra Rd. before the Tour of California this year. After climbing Teton Pass a few weeks ago I thought I would be ok. (I checked today, they have almost the same grade and elevation gain. The Teton Pass climb is 0.5 miles longer)

Well, I made it but it wasn't pretty. I'll add another thing to the long 'needs work' list for the off season.

Thanks to Ms. C and Little C for hanging out with Little M while G and I rode. I owe you guys!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Crazy Runners...

I can't say running has every been my favorite sport. Sure, I logged plenty of miles in my Triathlon days. Without a doubt, it's one of the most convenient ways to get in a workout. In my looming 'off' season I'm sure I'll pull on the running shoes and someday it would feel good to complete a marathon. But I've never experienced a 'runner's high' and I would much rather ride my bike or swim than run. So when I see suff like this it seems like some crazy shyte!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Morning Ride...

Cold quiet rain storms
squeezed from early fog wind
by redwood fingers