Thursday, December 13, 2007

Leaf Peeping...

Sometimes...when the conditions are just right...we get some fall color here in Berkeley.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jackass Justice

First, on an unrelated topic, I apologize for my lack of blogyness over the last...well since school started back before Labor Day weekend. I have been sucked into teacher-world and haven't posted on our blog or commented on your blogs since. But I'm back!

This afternoon, while riding San Pablo 'Dammit there's a lot of crazy traffic' Road, I almost had an encounter with one of those jackass drivers. This road has plenty of them as the map to your right is entitled, "I-80 alternative route" and displays my biking road in bright yellow.
I was making a U turn to begin an interval and as I turned, the car coming towards me revved it's engine and came flying by...basically being a total prick.

Moments later, a cop flew past me and pulled him over for speeding. I waved as I rode by.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I can ride for miles and miles...

and the last one on a Clif Bar wrapper.

While the Teach was rubbin elbows with other passionate mathies I got out for a long ride on Saturday. Started off through the rarefied neighborhoods of 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and Carmel. I've flogged a few golf balls in my day and while I can think of a better way to spend five hours, riding between a hand manicured fairway and the crashing surf has to be pretty close to the perfect ride. After that little slice of paradise I turned inland and rode a few clicks into the Carmel Valley. When the shoulder started to shrink and the traffic began to surge I turned up and hopped over to the Salinas Valley. An hour or so through the lettuce fields and back along the beach path and I'd put in a sweet 70.

Sunday we met with two other bike bloggers and did a 55 mile spin around Gilroy. Despite some threatening weather and a couple of crazy drivers we had a wonderful ride.

After 125 miles I was dreaming of chips and beer. While we made our plan to head to some 'Fresh Mex' I managed to find a gargantuan piece of glass that sliced my rear tired to the bone (no easy feat considering I was riding tough winter tires). We managed to reinforce the tire with my empty Clif Bar wrapper and make it back for some much needed Suds and Salsa.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maybe this is it...

Something seems really stale around here. I thought it was the piles of laundry we keep stepping over but that wasn't it. Then I found a bag of persimmons I'd left in the car but that wasn't it. The garden needs some work but that'll have to wait for another day. Then I noticed our last post date...maybe a new post will do the trick.
So, if you haven't figured it out by now we're still here. In addition to logging big miles on the bike we've been hosting TurkeyDay and trying to stay on top of the nuptual party planning. All's going well but blogging has slid to the bottom of the priority list.

We've been riding...a bunch. It's that time of year when we log long miles on short days, in the dark, in the rain, in the cold. Can't let a little weather stop you, just get out and ride.

We did sneak in a session at the track. We spent a Sunday gettin schooled on the ins and outs of the intermediate training sessions. A patient group of folks tolerated our rookie maneuvers. Hopefully we won't be quite as spazzy next time.

We hosted our first Thanksgiving. I've read that some of you out there don't like to cook. That's not the case around this house. We did all the usual stuff but each with a little twist. Given it was Ms. A's first Thanksgiving away from the Windy City clan (ever) we had to do it up right. I think we got a big thumbs up.

For this coming weekend it turns out there's a gathering of math geeks in Asilomar...and, while I'm qualified to attend (on the geek front anyway) I'm going to tag along but spend my days riding and taking pictures. So, if you see a guy in dots riding hard while doing his darndest to make it look effortless be sure to wave and I'll wave back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just a little distracted...

We're already working on the grand puzzle of next summer's calendar. When you've got a lot of pieces to fit together you gotta start early.

A couple of weeks ago Ali went to the track. She hasn't told you about it but she NARROWLY missed a unfortunate pile up at the end of the session. She managed to keep it together (yay!) but lost a spoke in the process. That's a tad too close for comfort.

We're hoping to spend some time at the track the next few weekends so I've got to get working on some wheels.

(and keep you eyes peeled cuz the fem-dots might be mixin it up at the track next season...ya baby!).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I wonder...

if Lance's Blackberry is burning up?

This is some funny stuff.

Monday, November 05, 2007

OTB at the OTC

The Gman and I took a little road trip this weekend. Our road trips typically go search of battles of brains and brawn on the bicycle but this time we went in search of (wait for it) ... knowledge. We drove (and drove and drove) to Chula Vista for a weekend book leanin' session on bicycles, sarcoplasmic reticuli, periodization and assorted thresholds. I haven't spent that much time in a classroom in almost twenty years. We learned some good stuff but it's going to take some time (and review) for it all to stick.

We brought the bikes with hopes of getting some saddle time. Unfortunately, the saddle time was just sad...daylight hours were spent mostly indoors relegating ride time to the early dawn and at dusk. Oh well, live and learn.

The highlight was getting to stay at the Olympic Training Center. We received temporary credentials and got the run of the place. We used the athlete entrance, ate with the Olympic hopefuls and even got out for a few laps on the OTC Crit Course. We learned there are many rattlesnakes on the grounds and the local rabbit population loves the grass soccer fields (maybe that has something to do with the snake population). We also learned that some humans can do box jumps onto a 4 foot tall box...that's some Olympic size plyo.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

New steed for the stable arrived today. It's generated quite a buzz around here. Just in time for some weekend horseplay. Rumor has it the jockey's taking this beast out for a double session tomorrow. Savvy steed spotters know where to look.

Another steed in the stable means it's time to cull the heard. Watch for some local horse trading coming soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Family's All Ok..

So far everyone is ok and it looks like conditions are calming. Found out today that pop's house is ok. Hopefully the men and women in yellow will get the fires out soon.

The map to the left shows how close some were to all the action and how lucky we were.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Witch Way?

I've got more than a few family members with cars loaded, ready to flee the SD infernos at a moments notice. So far everyone seems safe but we don't know about Pop's house yet...may not know for a while.

I'll be keepin my ear to the phone and eye on the interwebs, hoping the 60 mph winds decide to give the fire fighters and family a break.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Taint ready yet?

Got back on the bike today. Discovered I've still got some healing to do. It's going to take some time for my perineum and my saddle to rekindle their friendship. It's not that they won't hang out but for a while it's going to be a love/hate riding/hate the bumps in the road. Maybe the smooth pavement of the track is the right Rx.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All Systems....

are go!!!

Saw the doc today for the post surgical exam. I didn't have much to report, seems like things are healing pretty well, pretty quick. Doc said the surgery was routine, did a quick exam, removed the tape and said I was done.

Here's what I learned:

  • Reinforcing mesh is a polypropelene material

  • Surgical staples are titanium corkscrews, about 1/8" long. I have 8.

  • I had hernias on both sides and both were repaired

  • Bellybuttons get glued by accident, "it's not a cult thing"

I asked specifically if I could ride my bike because at one point he said wait two weeks. Doc S responds

You can ride your bike but I wouldn't do anything CRAZY and climb Mt. Tam for your first ride.

I smiled and said 'Great, thanks doc'.

If he only knew.

Looks like the off season is about to end.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Somehow, during this whole surgery ordeal, I lost my belly button. The other day I was checking out my incission sites (they're still covered with transparent tape) and couldn't find my belly button. I got a little worried because this isn't usually a difficult task. Then, I noticed it had been glued shut! WTF?!!

At first I thought it was just splash over from the tape but it seems like too much glue. I'm pretty sure my surgeon must have some God complex and tries to make his patients Adam (or Eve). Man did he make a bad choice.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Randoms from Recovery

I've had some extra time to read, surf the web and watch the boob tube lately. Watched Monday Night Football last night for the first time in forever. Crazy game, I picked a good day to tune in.

Saw this add on CNBC yesterday...check it out if you haven't seen it yet. Made me pause.

Just finished reading Floyd's book. It was an entertaining quick read. If you've followed the case you won't learn much. There are some funny stories about Floyd's early career and some glimpses of the behind the scenes culture of pro cycling (not all flattering). The book probably won't change any minds but I found it entertaining.

This gem just came in the mail yesterday (Finally used that gift certificate...thanks Mom). It's a perfect addition to our growing bike nerd library. Chock full of great photos, stories and bios that put the the race and its history in perspective. It'll be fun to pick up and thumb through over and over.

Finally, I found this little snippet on Pez yesterday. Maybe old news for many of you but interesting anyway.

Modest American Pro team, Rock & Republic have really upped their game for 2008 by announcing a couple of big name signings in Unibet’s Victor Hugo Peña and fast Freddie Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto). By signing the ex Lance Armsatrong domestique in Pena, the team now have someone capable of doing well in stage races, whereas Rodriguez is capable of winning anything from one day races, to short stage races and even bunch sprints and

Don't forget the debates to learn about the opposition.

Ok, back to the grind.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What else can we remove?

We're home and happy. All went as planned except that they had to give him a drug to RAISE his resting HR because at 45 bpm, it was too low for their liking. We laughed, cause 45 bpm is actually higher than normal for Mike, but cause he was nervous and all, he had a bit more pitter patter than his usual self. The hospital staff got a kick out of how low his resting HR and BP were and made several comments warning him NOT to go home and bike this afternoon.

Within 1 hour of 'coming to' Mike was requesting to get up and go pee. Apparently, once you can walk to the bathroom and pee, they let you outta da medical facilities cause all systems are a-go. I thought ya'll would appreciate these little known facts of general anesthesia.

Within 2 hours of his surgery we were sitting outdoors at Cole Coffee, sipping lattes and having scones.

And within 3 hours of the surgery we were out on a walk with the dog, with him hoping he could walk off the awful drugged feeling.

Tonight we'll be selling his Vicotin on the West Oakland streets at market rate if anyone's interested...
In the meantime, we're home, eating ice cream, watching movies, making popcorn, and thinking about what kind of pizza to order for dinner. Surgery is fun! We're thinking what 'we' could do next. Bunions? Ingrown toenails? Moles? Sign 'us' up cause we like the recovery.

The joke is that I would have to volunteer Mike for the actual surgery part. Little known Ali-fact is that I faint at practically every medical procedure and wouldn't have had Mike's 'cool-as-a-cucumber' attitude about anyof this. But I'm loving vegging around the house playing Nurse Ali.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Under the knife...

Tomorrow, about the time most of you will be sipping your morning coffee, I'll be doing this.

At least I won't be doing this!

I'm a little nervous (I had one Braveheart execution nightmare), first surgery and all but I'll be glad when it's done and I've recovered. I've been told my hernia is 'very small' but it still finds a way to make me uncomfortable on occassion. So, Doc's going in to put things back where they belong and do a little seismic retrofit. Looking forward to having the GI back on track.

Change of Seasons...

Tomorrow is officially the last day of 'this season' for me. I'll take a couple of weeks off and then it will be time for 'next season'. I tried some new things this season, made some progress in my fitness, had a few ok results (never as many as I would like) and, most importantly, had fun racing this year. For those data junkies out there here is this season in a nutshell.

Next season will see some changes for me. I'll be riding in a different kit. (Nobody told me the spots were contagious.)

Working with a different trainer (can I really trust this guy?)

Setting some new goals but still keeping an eye on the fun.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Great Balls of Fire...

I like to go fast on my bike but this is a little crazy.


We've all been there. The toaster pops but the bread is barely warm enough to melt the butter. We pause for a second and then plunge the bread back in the toaster for round 2. We tell ourselves we'll monitor the progress and catch it before it's overdone. Sometimes we actually stop the toaster before the bread is burnt.

Last night I went to Hellyer Velodrome for my first track race. It was the last race of the season but I didn't want to wait for next spring to check out a 'real race'. I carpooled down with BikerBeth and we arrived with enough time to get a decent warm up. As this was my first real race at the track I lined up with the C group. Beth had warned me that the speed in the C race wasn't much different than the B's and the group waiting at the rail looked fast.
Off we went and I wasn't disappointed it was race on. The format was a 60 lap race with sprint points every 5 laps. The first few sprints were manageable and I think I was in the points each time. Then as we surged for the fourth sprint I was bumped onto the blue line. As I came back on the track I heard the rhythmic ping of an unhealthy rear wheel. My first thought was a broken spoke but after I made my way to the infield I found I had a safety pin in my rear tire.

I was bummed. I hadn't brought any spare anything and was bummed to have driven down for a ten minute race...warm bread. Our host, Larry, recommended finding a spare wheel and jumping in the B race. Luckily Maurice, our local pedal dancer, offered his extra rear wheel(thanks Maurice). After a scramble to change rear cogs I had a working bike race right as the B's were lining up.

After we were on the rail the A group decided they were going to join in. The plan was they would trail the pack for our 60 laps and then continue on for 60 more on their own. I wasn't sure how they would impact the race but told myself I would monitor my progress and swing off if things got too heated.
The biggest difference I noticed was in tactics. It took a few laps but I found some kind of rhythm and was able to hang in and participate in most of the race. I think I was in the points for a couple of the sprints. If I drifted to the back I could sit on the wheels of local pros BJM and RK (which in and of itself was pretty fun), who were waiting for their race, catch my breath for a few pedal turns and then get back in the mix. I'm sure I made more mistakes than I realize but I got caught up in the fun and finished the race making it an 80 lap night with 16 sprints and a few bridge attempts.

After we finished we all enjoyed the food and drink Larry provided while watching the A group mix it up (which mostly consisted of BJM toying with the rest of the field.) When I finally crawled in bed with a blood sugar headache and tired legs I realized I'd let the toast burn again!

Can't wait 'til next season!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Birthday Wrap..

We had a great time in Colorado and (believe it or not) there weren't any bikes involved. Ali's mom found this great B&B that had spectacular views of the Devil's Thumb area. The food was yummy, the house was peaceful and the beds were comfy. What more could you ask for?

The boys got in a little fishing and actually landed a few. Our guide Jeff was fantastic. I don't fish as much as I used to but I've done a enough float trips to know a great guide when one's paddling. Jeff was awesome.

While the boys were fishing the girls did a little riding...horseback riding that is. Sounds like the ranch hands needed a few lessons in customer service BUT they all enjoyed the scenery.

After the fishing and riding there was a little dual birthday celebration. The small gathering of friends and family was a great way to finish off a phenomenal day.

The next day we met my bro and sis-in-law for a little hike around Monarch Lake. Rumor has it there are Moose in them thar willows. They must have been napping when walked by but the lake was beautiful.

This was my first trip to Winter Park. It reminded me a little of Truckee but the town was much smaller. I would love to go back in the winter and check out the skating at Devil's Thumb. It looked like great terrain.

While we didn't bike there was a lot of bike talk. Turns out one of our hosts, John, worked in professional cycling for many years. One evening our conversation turned to Italy and we mentioned our great trip earlier this summer. Turns out John used to coach our Italy host Pat. Small world!

Now we're back home and happily staying put for the rest of the year.

Did someone say there's still one more points race at Hellyer?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wildlife hunting

We spent our day in search of a moose.

But, after roaming the Rockies to no avail, we finally found one right in our living room!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad and Little M

We are in Winter Park, Colorado with loads of family to celebrate my dad's 65th birthday and little M's 10th birthday. Crazy, endless, mountain fun. My dad can't get enough of his "Old as Mud" hat he's proudly wearing here. And the box of flies were hand-tied by Mike, which I have to say, is the coolest present ever (and I'm not biased at all).

Monday, September 17, 2007

OTB Day 7

Le ouch.

Tonight was a little bit of this.

And a whole lot of that.

But luckily none of this.

And not yet any of that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Relishing in being OTB

I learned today that Coach Lisa has hired an East Bay spy to make sure that I'm off the bike, all honest-to-goodness-like. It's great. She's a really fun spy to hang out with and being around her might make me 1/10 of the sprinter that she is. Her man Roman's track bike ended up at our house so she came over with him tonight to retrieve it. Honestly, I think it was all part of the spying ploy to see if the jeans I had on while out to coffee in the AM had stayed on me til the PM. Something about keeping my pants on. And she sounded so genuine when she asked me all sorts of questions about where I had hiked today. That was good, Martina, very sly about the spying.

But ANYhoo, YES, I am OTB (that's off the bike, to you yahoos). Mike headed off to the track on Saturday while I headed off to yoga class. I'm lovin it!

The week has provided all sort of OTB opportunities:

* Pilates class begins tomorrow night to get my abs all ripped in case we decide to elope in Hawaii.

* I am RUNNING. Unlike this budding triathlete, I'm not gonna strap the aerobars back on. But, I love the trails at dawn and look forward to a few more weeks of it. But, man oh man, do my ankles and shins get sore.

*And my friend Sarah and I got all girlie on Friday afternoon while trying on wedding dresses which was loads of fun.

* The Spanish Sherry and cheese tasting class on Thursday night was quite educational, but Mike and I decided that we prefer red wine to sherry. I mean, we knew that already, but now that we've been educated, we're sure of it. But yes those are 3 wine classes surrounding my plate of cheese, quince, and figs. A good night, eh?

I could get used to this!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Last Piece

Thingie came.

Bike's done.

I'm goin.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Second Piece of the Puzzle

Wheels are done. Just need the little crank thingie and we'll be good to go.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Star Studded...Kitchen?

Got a call from the other day. They were looking for a 'Green' house to use in a video spot and wondered if we'd let them use ours. Turns out our major remodel from a couple of years ago has put us on the list of Commie Greeno Sympathizers. I try to do my part for the Greenos so I said sure.

The crew shows up right on time, I give them the low down on the 'green' parts of our kitchen and then get out of the way. The scene is a realtor walking a client (realtor's girlfriend) through a 'Green Home' discussing the benefits of green building.

I thought they would be interested in the tankless water heater, denim insulation or low-e windows. Who knew low flow toilets and Energy Star appliances were the real draw. (Although they did spend a lot of time in the front yard talking about the Solar Panels.)
We'll let you know if we make it to broad band.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh Mr. Postman...

Look what came in the mail today.


Ya Baby!