Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Crit (I mean Yard Sale) race report...

Warm up:
Mike and I arrived at my apartment just before 7am and decided to do our warm up 'on the road.' After a few brief intervals up and down the stairs to my apartment, I decided I was ready to race: sale on!

Mike, on the other hand, needed a longer warm up and chose to continue carrying down boxes for the next hour or so.

Since port-o-potties were not on hand, Mike had thankfully left a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and I had purposefully not packed the bathroom window shade which overlooks College Ave. and the front yard.

Pre race meal included Cole (aka Royal) coffee and a blueberry smoothie.

Pre-Race meeting:
Mike and I had several goals for the day, but our priority was to get the shit off the lawn by the end of the day with as little packing as possible. Winning a few primes by selling some of the furniture or the TV would be great for beer money, but ultimately the prize money wasn't our main focus of this day. We knew it would be a long hard day and pacing ourselves with proper hydration (aka Oatmeal Stout and Sierra Nevada) would be our key to success.

The Race:
After two weeks of packing boxes, I was feeling surprisingly strong and attacked from the whistle. Within 10 minutes I had sold some kitchen odds and ends and pocketed $17. Reliving the retail training of years and years (and years) of working at my mom's gift store in Chicago, I made sure that every item had a story..."That casserole dish belonged to my parents...it screams 1970s orange and brown...a true classic only found at a yard sale..."

Mike made sure to cover any breaks with his solid, steady negotiating..."Oh you like those glasses? Just one moment, there are several more just like it over here."

Mid-way through the day, the attacks and counter-attacks were coming from all sides of the yard (and all sides of Berkeley):

"Do you have a FREE box?"**

"This sale is great, but I'm trying to raise money to pay the rent of my
pirated radio station and am selling bootleg Dave Brubeck CDs for $4. Are
you interested?"

"I'd like to buy this backpack, but I think you left something in the front
pocket." (which is when to my utter dismay I pull out a pair of underwear from
the pocket)

"I have this Adidas bag in my car. Could I trade you this bag for
some things from your yard sale?"**

"Would you sell me these mugs, this hairband, these tupperwares, and this
blanket for a quarter?"

"I'm an artist and need extra tupperwares to wash my brushes. Could
you donate some tupperwares?"**

"It's 2:00. Are you sure there's not a free

**All requested by the same woman who returned 4 times to our sale.

Luckily we had a teammate supporting us, first arriving disguised as a shopper and later looking Minty fresh.

One final attack came at 4:00 as a U-Haul truck pulled up with friends who had bought my couch. Mike bridged and sacrificed himself for the team by lugigng the couch down the stairs and onto the truck while I attacked with only 10 minutes to go. In those final minutes I managed to sell the "talking" photo album, the 15 year old "wet tunes" shower radio, a used container of rubber cement and floor wax.

The cash payout was huge...$1090 (nearly all in singles) for a race which never left my front yard.

Cooldown: Somehow, our income increased at a much higher rate than my crap decreased in volume. We spent the next 2 hours packing all the leftovers into boxes to donate to someone else's "Free Box."

Post-Race Meeting:
*We learned that my crap is quite appealing to Berkeley folks.
*Books sell.
*10-year old bike tubes sell.
*anything bike related sells.
*There's no rule requiring a free box.
*Beer is essential.

3 things I did for my honey:
*Bought the Oatmeal Stout
*Paid the electricity bill...kept the beer cold
*Sold the last remaining items belonging to his ex-wife.

3 things my honey did for me:
*Remembered to keep an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.
*Bought me lunch and reminded me to eat it.
*Purged the 6-year-old Carbo Pro and Sustained Energy (among many other well-aged exercise products).

And tonight we celebrated with Guiness and Shepard's Pie.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fun in the sun ride!

Today Alicat and I took a break from our weekend Sherpa duties and went for a little fun in the sun ride. We were joined by the minty fresh S Lightning for our jaunt through the east bay hills. While Ms. Lightning kept a strong steady pace, Alicat and I practiced our jumps, sprints and general goofing on the bike. It was a nice remedy to yesterdays JAC but it ended all to soon.

Back to the Sherpa duties for another day or two.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

JAC... with a twist

Maybe it's me but today in Livermore seemed like Just Another Crit (JAC). Round and round we went. A few on the front tried to make the race interesting. I bridged to a break but we couldn't stay away. At times there were glimmers of hope as the pace inched high enough to split the pack but then motivation was lost and everyone regrouped. With 2.5 laps to go (or 3.5 depending on whose counting) the pace dropped to 21 mph to give everyone a chance to catch their breath and we paraded around the final laps 3 wide 10 deep and finished with a 200 m drag race. Maybe it's time to go flyfishing.

Oh, there was a twist. Four donne of the Minty Mafia joined the Newbie Geezers race. They raced well and their clean look and agressive style was a refreshing change to the standard newbie geezer fare...although I don't think their socks were standard issue.

The Data:
Teammates:Adam, Richard, Paul, Larry
Distance: 17.9 miles
Time: 42 min
Ave Speed: 25.8 mph
Max Speed: 35.6 mph
Ave HR: 181 bpm
Max HR: 201 bpm
Place: 20

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I know it's nice out but....

are you nuts?!!

In the last few days, while riding in the hills around the People's Repulic of Bezerkely, I've seen many riders without helmets. I'm not talkin about the bone-head campus commuter, I'm talkin about some of our local rising stars. Some seem to think their stem is more valueable than their head. Others, I assume, have confidence in their handling skills or perhaps they're having a dispute with their helmet sponsor. Having recently cracked my first helment, I'm sure it doesn't take much of a fall to turn a Strawberry into a Drooling Lemon Head See for yourself.


Humps in the ride elevation profile,
Humps in the heart rate profile,
Humps in the market (well, half a hump).

No wonder they call it Hump Day.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lessons from Little M...

One of the great things about being a parent is I'm always learning. Over the last 8 years I've learned a lot about myself, about communication and sometimes less practical things.

Saturday is Soccer Day. Today, it took the girls a while to get into the game. Between Q1 and Q2 Little M and I had a conversation about the difference between playing soccer and watching. It was positive and focused on having fun (that's why we all do this stuff right?). When the girls did get warmed up and into the game they had some success and seemed to enjoy themselves more.

Later that day (while wearing my chauffer hat) I realized that I could have easily had the same playing/watching conversation with myself. You see, earlier this year I had a little success in a field sprint. Since then I've been convinced I should wait for the sprint but (surprise! surprise!) have not been able to duplicate my success. In hindsight, waiting for a sprint could easily be mistaken for watching everybody else race...from a front row seat.

From now on - More Racing, Less Watching.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Eagle Has Landed...

Alicat's new ride is in the works!

I don't often get to hold a blank frame but I was amazed at how light this thing is. I think the box it came in weighed more.

I'm also using this opportunity to convert AC to Campy!

She's going to fall in love with cycling all over again! (Although, I don't think she ever fell out of love with it)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Motivational Crisis...

I checked my workout again this morning. I don't know what I thought I would see...maybe I was hoping the Couch Potato Fairies might have visited during the night and changed my workout to:

Watch the Giro and sip cappuccini.

No such luck. There it was 5 x 7 min Z4 climbing ...Hillervals (or perhaps Hellervals) followed by another half hour of Z2 climbing. With remnants of Monday and Tuesday still floating around in my legs I knew it wouldn't be fun....it wasn't.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Forced Free Range...

Alicat is reading the book Omnivore's Dilemma and it kindled a desire for 'grass fed beef'. On the way home today I stopped at Whole Paycheck in search of happy cow meat and overheard the following conversation...

Customer: Those are the best chickens right?

Butcher: Well, they aren't fed antibiotics or hormones but they are indoor chickens. Those over there are Free Range, they're indoor/outdoor chickens.

Customer: Hmmmm....

Butcher: To tell the truth, given the choice between indoors or outdoors most chickens will choose indoors. Outdoors can be kind of scary, things can get you if you're a chicken.

Makes me wonder if those Free Range Chickens are really all that happy (can chickens be happy?).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Way Back Machine

When little M was born a friend said 'When you have kids, you often relive your childhood'. The friend didn't say whether this is good or bad, it just is.

No racing for me yesterday, so little M and I took grandpa to the Bay Trail for a ride. A few minutes of watching Little M and the Wayback Machine kicked in gear and here is where I went!!

Every summer morning from the age of 10 to 16 I would get on my green Schwinn Varsity and ride half way across town to swim practice. The Midwestern mornings were cool and humid. Most people were still sleeping so the streets were quiet and clear. Some mornings I would pick up friends and we would have little races on our way. Other mornings I would ride on my own, often trying to ride 3 miles no-handed the whole way. In any case, those morning rides were simple, blissful moments on the bike.

A sunny day on the bike path, the ocean breeze, Little M's joy and freedom...sometimes reliving our childhood is all good.

Friday, May 12, 2006


is thick in the air around here these days. Alicat has been waiting for one of these for a while now and the projected arrival date is just around the corner.

Look out birdies, that cat's going to fly!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another Try

The season started, all those months gone by,
in hot pursuit of some Apple Pie.

Sunday I gave it another try,
but only managed Road Raspberry Thigh!!

It looks a 1000 times worse that it feels

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Fine Art of Corner Diving...

Over the last few months I've had the opportunity to observe a fair amount of corner diving in my bike races (yesterday more closely than I cared for). I've learned that corner diving is a skill that must be perfected. Here is a list of techniques that I've observed that lead to the ideal corner dive:

1. The Approach: Accelerate along the inside of the pack as close to the curb as possible. This will assure you properly execute two essential components of the CD: Late start to your turn and a larger turning radius. These two components guarantee that you swing wide once you are able to start you turn.

2. The Turn: As you approach the turn make sure that your saddle is in line with the handle bars or front wheel of the rider to your outside. Proper alignment will assure that the riders to your outside will be forced to follow your wide turn even if they were on a good line to begin start. Also, if you happen to bump another rider you are unlikely to crash as the outside rider will be behind you.

3. The Follow Through: As soon as possible after the turn yell 'Hold your line!' as indignantly as you can to deflect attention/blame from yourself.

These techniques are most effective in a dense pack within five laps of the finish. Before you try these skills in a race be sure to practice them on your local team group ride, they are sure to make you as popular with your teammates as they will with your competitors.

Please note these instructions are based solely on observations and should be undertaken at the riders own risk.

Dot Racing...

Dot Racing
is Hot Racing
These gals have a plan they trust

With their feet on the gas
They're kicking some ass
and leaving others in the dust.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What's in your water bottle?

I've been having trouble with leg cramps during races lately. Especially when I try and race more than once in a day. Perhaps I should take a closer look at my race day nutrition.

Rule Junkies...

It seems to me that those in our society who are the most obsessed with rules seem to have the most trouble following them. From the bedroom to the boardroom to the confessional, you show me a rule and I'll find you a rule book thumper who couldn't follow their own rules.

For example, this guy

seems to think he can rewrite or sidestep some of the basic rules upon which our country was founded. This guy,

on the other hand, just likes to break as many rules as he can.

So why do I mention this now? Well, there has been a great deal of discussion about immigration lately (did you notice?) and many Americans seem to be quite concerned with how the current population of undocumented immigrants arrived here. The response from the Rule Book Thumpers (RBT) is to suggest more rules (don't ask me how they will enforce them when they can't enforce the current rules in the book). But I'm willing to bet that most of the RBT's have participated in or benefited from the informal economy and so this all sounds like more hypocritical rhetoric.

Monday, May 01, 2006

First Post

I'll throw some pebbles in the pond...maybe the ripples will result in something good!