Tuesday, February 27, 2007

California kids

Kids these days. If you've spent time, in any capacity, with urban kids in California, you know that very few of them have ever experienced snow, thunder, lightning, or any meteorological wonders other than the occasional minor earthquake (at least in their lifetime...so far...).

So when the hail started pounding down around 2pm this afternoon, it was no surprise to me that screams erupted from each of the classrooms which surround mine. Cries of, "Ice!!" "Snow!!" "There's a snowstorm!" could be heard echoing from the walls beside mine. The pounding of hundreds of sets of feet could be heard as classrooms full of kids rushed to the windows, with little self control, to experience this unknown "ice."

What happened in my classroom, you ask? Heads turned towards the windows, but no one went wildly out to see. A boy raised an eager hand and asked, "Ms. Krasnow, do you think we could go outside for a minute and play in the hail?"

I swear, given the chaos I clearly heard erupting next door, I was impressed with how well my students knew me.

They know that I'm reasonable.
They know that I listen to their needs.
They know that if they're disrespectful, they lose all sorts of privileges.
And they know that it ain't a lot of fun when they've made me mad.
But they also know that my class is about a lot more
than y=mx + b.

Did they get to open all 8 of our windows and stick their hands and heads outside for a few minutes to experience the hail?


And when a few screamed at the thunder which followed the hail, around 2:30pm, I reminded them that thunder was a lot cooler if you could actually hear it and challenged them to work silently until the next crack of thunder so that they could get the full experience.
They did. Until the skies grumbled again, and they couldn't contain their wonder.

After school, teachers were grumbling about how chaotic their classrooms became when the hail broke out. I just smiled.

Monday, February 26, 2007

We've all got heroes

Some have got the hots for Boonen.
Others like the man in pink.

And I'm not alone in longing for a view of these dreamy eyes.

But as I sit here in front of the tube, eyes glazed over, at the end of an inspiring day of teaching, she's still keeping a spot in the top 20.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Twas the night before Snelling...

and all through the inn, not a creature was sleeping over the traffic din.

Trains, rains and highway 99 traffic. Oh yea, it's racing season.

A late arrival in Snelling meant no warm up for me. It might not have been a problem, except that I dropped my chain within the first 20 minutes of the race. It fell over the big ring and got tangled up around the pedal spindle. I stopped to put it back on, but the untangling took a solid minute. Our follow motorcycle literally laughed out loud at me when I looked back and said, "You're gonna pull me back to the pack, right?" After he zoomed off, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I dug deep for an Ironman TT, but never caught the pack (despite some solid interval work).

I did, though, catch at least 15 OTB riders along the way. Each time, I yelled for them to get on my wheel, promising them that I would pull them back into the pack as long as they could take short pulls after my long pulls. No one lasted on my wheel for more than 30sec. Argh! Each time I approached another OTB rider, my 2 theme songs for the day gained a thunderous pulse...Mike and the Mechanics: "All I need is a miracle, all I need it you..." and Arthea's: "You need me; and I need you; without each other there ain't nothing we can't do..."

Apparently they were listening to another channel. Alas. It was a lovely TT. I sat in with the men's 3s for a brief bit and did the same with the masters 1-2-3s. I was bored, but got a damn good workout.
Julie took a phenomenal 2nd place and I'm so sad to have missed it! Post-race I spent the pm watching the big girls and the masters 35+ 4/5s have a go at it. Despite the excitement of the races (Mike's EMCers took 1-2 in the 35+ race), the real party was back at our car:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If stranded on a desert island...

I would go stir crazy.


If while stranded in my car, with my bike, I could only have 1 book, it'd be this one. If you don't own this book, BUY NOW! The theme of the book is rides across California where you are likely to see no cars. Every ride I've ever done in it has lived up to its name. From Santa Barbara, we hopped in the car, drove towards Paso Robles, literally pulled off at the designated exit from 101, and within 10min. of riding were on rolling hills which rival Tuscany in their vineyard-y beauty. Hot diggity dog!

The course at Snelling won't be found in this book. So sometimes you have to leave the dream cycling behind for a day of fun, flair, and fierce racing! See ya'll there.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Road Trip Wrap..

Home again, unpacked and cleaned up, it's time for a little post road trip reflection.

Santa Barbara is a nice city. Fresh air, great mountains and good people. The eatery options are pretty darn good too. But, I think we've done the riding down there that we can and now we're looking for new roads to ride. Maybe a trip to Paso Robles next time (see below).

So after our epic hangover ride day we did a little 40 mile spin up to UCSB (or is it UC Goleta) and up into the foothills. It was good weather and a nice route for a recovery ride. When we were done the map didn't show any significant bike friendly roads left to ride.

Our last two meals were great! For dinner we drove the wet rainy roads up into the mountains to an old stage coach stop turned .Cold Spring Tavern. The food was hearty, flavorful, 'mountain' food. We highly recommend checking it out if you're in the neighborhood. Before we started our long drive home, we had breakfast at the Tupelo Junction Cafe. The pumpkin waffels were killer!

We squeezed in one last ride on the way home and it was incredible. We stopped in Paso Robles and headed out on a ride our guide book called the Peachy Canyon loop. Amazing quiet roads, oak lined canyons and small family vineyards lined the entire route. It was a great way to end a fun weekend.

Next weekend...Snelling.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pomegranate Margarita

While it seems that the rest of you bloggers are searching for an In and Out in Coalinga, we are doing our share of heavy drinking. Last night it was many glasses of sangria, followed by a ginger mojito and a capirina. Tonight we stuck with the pomegranate margaritas.

Or was it a recover-ita?

Yesterday Mike's chain ring dedcided that it had seen its last miles so he had it replaced at a local shop. They recommended that we join them on their Saturday morning group ride. We balked at the 7am start time, but somehow, after all those drinks, we went to bed convinced that this was the ride for us.

We got a few confused looks as this was a small ride of locals, but after an hour of taking our share of pulls and keeping a steady line, the guys seemed to warm up to us. They turned back home after two hours, but not before describing the remainder of a beautiful 70 mile loop. My prescribed workout included some long climbing intervals, so we tuned the 70 mile loop into a 85 mile ride by heading up and down this one climb 4 times. Good lord, can you say epic?

BUT, I had a new toy to keep me occupied. Mike gave it to me yesterday for my birthday. He apologized for not giving me a romantic gift, but considering that he built the wheel himself, it's pretty darn romantic for this biker. Shazam!

And no, those watts aren't from my hill intervals. But I wish they were.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Santa Barbarians...

Getting oriented today...

Lots of espresso got the hearts pumping this morning...too many cars on the local circuit kept it pumping this afternoon.

We visited a few bike shops. This is by far the best in town. They made all the necessary bike adjustments and kept us laughing the whole time. (If we can get up at 7:00 man-ya-na we'll do the local group ride with them.)

Sangria and Tapas were just what the doctor ordered for dinner.

We'll have better pictures to-mor-ow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Kickoff...

Last night we had an early Valentines/anniversary dinner at Doña Tomás. The Mojito's were as good as ever but the pumpkin Chile Rellenos were amazing. The the Mexican chocolate desserts...whoa!

It was also the unofficial kickoff to our annual Road Trip Spring Fling. This event always involves biking, eating good food and drinking good wine...a Triathlon of sorts.

Last year we drove to Big Sur and watched the Tour of California. On the way down we stopped by the ITT. The next day we rode part of Stage 4 and watched the parade zip through the feed zone.

Two years ago we spent a few days in Solvang riding the back roads and a few days in Santa Barbara riding around town.

Tomorrow, we're heading back to SB. Stay tuned ...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Profound pre-dawn thoughts

It's been pouring all night. I woke up several times wondering why my committment to a teammate is overriding my sanity. Why am I waking up at dawn to race in the endless rain?

So here I sit at 6:45am, sipping a latte, munching on steel cut oats (cut with quinoa and bran flakes...god we're so berkeley!), and reading the Saturday Chronicle. The Datebook section has an article on a course being taught in San Jose this weekend.

Considering that in addition to crits, men are being hung by their skin this weekend, I guess our hobbies really aren't that bad. Even in the rain... Good lord!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mile stone...

One of my preseason goals this year was to loose some weight. Initially, I had hoped to loose around 15 lbs. As the weight came off I revised my target to 20 and then 25. As of yesterday I'm done. If you had told me 23 weeks ago that I could loose 25 pounds I would have been pretty skeptical but I did it. Hopefully it will make a difference.

And I'm done just in time for Thin Mints!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm not here to start no trouble...

I wasn't alive last time the Bears LOST the Superbowl. But I know exactly where I was last time they won. And man oh man, was this all the rage among us 13-year olds:


Holy aphid eaters Batman!

I took Little M and the bear for a hike in the Redwoods this morning. We happened upon a couple of Ladybug Parties. I hadn't seen one since I was a kid. Even Ladybugs are a bit creepy in HUGE numbers.

I think my orange backpack was mistaken for the mother ship because we had more than a few hitchhikers for the next few miles.

Friday, February 02, 2007

This one goes out to my east bay-ers

I think I'm becoming a wuss. A few months ago, my coach told me not to do intervals when the temperature is below 40. During the week, I exclusively work out between the hours of 5:45 and 7:30am. Days where the temps have been above 40 at o'dark:30 have been few and far between.

Somehow, I mustered up the will power to resign myself to a few moons of trainervals. Excitement filled my lungs when, for the last 3 days, the temps have been in the high 40s at 5:40am. So, today I ventured outside for the first time in weeks.

I've become a morning wuss.

First of all, it was damn cold.
More significantly, though, I was scared!

Tired of my regular climbs (Spruce, Tunnel, and an occasional Claremont), I thought I'd head to the back roads, through Lake Temescal, and up Butters.

Good lord was it dark! And scary! And filled with nocturnal animals out to get me. I had a narrow miss with a skunk, planted in the middle of the road. But then, after leaving Lake Temescal, heading through the dark, dark tunnel, and briefly passing through Montclaire, I saw a plastic bag atop a parking meter and swore it was an owl.

Oh, and it has been so long since I've been out in the dark that I assumed it would be light by 6:15 and didn't bring a front light.

Did I mention it was dark? And scary? And that from now on I'm sticking to Spruce where there are streetlights? And that I missed my trainer?

Don't ever try to talk me into one of those 24 hours of adrenaline thingies. I'd be scared silly.