Sunday, December 28, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Then, Sunday was the Big Ride. I'm sad to admit this was my first. About 100 Cal, Stanford and random cyclists gathered in Sproul Plaza early Sunday morning. After ascending Tunnel Road in one big mass groups split off in about 5 different directions for rides of varying intensity and length. I chose to stick with these cross dressing collegiate guys on the long-medium paced ride. We probably averaged a medium pace but most of the time it was either Hammer or wait.
Finally, today I extended the fun a little and journeyed out to the Tri-Valley area for a flat land spin with the 'G' man. I also brought him his new duds. Damn sexy if you ask me.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It would have been more fun if we were just there for the pictures but Ali had amnio as well. Not a procedure for someone who does not like needles. It was touch and go for a few minutes but she recovered nicely in true Ali fashion. I was amazed at how much fluid they drew. She's taking it as easy as possible for a few days and we're keeping our fingers crossed until the results return.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
This would be good, not just for the guys who enjoy drafting off of my engarlged booty, but those to want to push the pace to see if they can drop me.
The answer to the second inquiry is a resounding YES.
Which gets me back to Beth and the title of this blog. Beth was kind enough to ride the 3-Bears with me this afternoon. And when I say "with" I mean she actually tolerated my ever slowing pace, for all 3+ hours. I was quite happy when I looked down at my powermeter on Mama Bear and it proudly displayed 4.8 mph. Did I mention that I'm almost 4 months pregnant? We may not have broken the sound barrier while climbing, but I didn't cough up a lung either.
When I invited her to ride with me this afternon, she was worried that she was encrouching on date time between Mike and me. Mike always corrects me when I say that 'we' are pregnant. He reminds me that it's really just me. There's no better reminder that 'we' are not pregnant than when I go for a long ride with Mike. He managed to drop me before we even got across town to Spruce. But he's always circling back and would have stayed with us the entire ride were it not for a ticking clock reminding us that Lil M had to be picked up from her friend's at a specific time.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Ali was a little nervous about riding 64 miles in her condition but we were assured the route was pancake flat and it was. Ali also tried to temper the pace by being the wine pusher for the day. She isn't drinking but wanted to make sure the rest of us didn't miss a stop or a sip.
All in all it was a great day! Nice weather, an easy route, good wine and great company. What more could you ask for?
Here are a few photos we took along the way.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Well, I think we've created a monster. We were barely out of the exit when she asked if we could do it again. We waited a few minutes for the cobwebs to clear and then strapped ourselves in for another whip around the lake. I should have guessed things had changed when she asked for this temporary tatoo.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
My Berkeley middle school is still looking to hire a few hearty souls for this upcoming school year. Applicants must be willing to endure a rigorous job-training program during the month of July:
First, mix one part of this:
for summer book group reading.
Then, blend 5 parts of this
with 2 parts of that
Top it off with a lot of this,
and you've got yourself a job!
Job description can change without prior notice and there's no guarantee that October's work will resemble July's. Apply now for full summer benefits.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
- Did you know you can absorb up to five lbs. of chemicals every year from make-up and other "beauty" products?
- You swallow about one quart of snot every day.
- About ten billion tiny scales of skin rub off your body every day. In a lifetime, you could fill eight five-pound flour bags with dead skin.
- Most people nearly have 5 pounds of dead skin, normally. If they can shed these 5 pounds within a short duration, then it would really be good. But most of them are trapped with their busy schedules and are unable to spare any time for the workout sessions. Hence a new device has been introduced that assists in removing the dead skin from the body using a vacuum system.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Mike enjoyed a rare small field of in a masters’ race. Intolerant of the predominance of negative racing, he spent well over 50% of the race on the front of the field, singlehandedly chased down the break, rode the last 5 laps as the exclusive man on the front, and still was able to unleash his sprint for 3rd. That was the first $60 for the coffers. Then, in some crazy stroke of Midwestern kindness, the guy (pictured in the photo)who won came up to Mike and insisted that he keep his $90 of winnings. Huh? He was so thankful for Mike keeping the pace high for the last few laps and said that he had done no work the entire race and Mike deserved his winnings. Damn, that’s some generous Midwestern guilt.
I went home with a huge slice of humble pie. This was my first non-local P-1-2 race and the first where the P category was represented in good standing. It hurt. I got dropped. All I can say is that is WAS NOT fun to hurt that much and eventually (after less minutes than there are ounces in a Venti Starbucks coffee), I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Elis gave me some very sound advice this evening and I promise to not be such a pain-wuss tomorrow. I have been practicing my suffer-face in front of the mirror all evening. Actually, I think the suffer was induced by the gargantuan chocolate chip cookie which I had after dinner, but I’m not so sure.
Starla and Ali. Here’s basically how the race went for us both. Wanna guess which of us kicked ass today?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Other than having me drink a lot more margaritas, no one was quite sure what to do with me. Mike (and my mother) have been privy to more than one post-doctor visit phone call when I am seeing spots, tolerating ringing in my ears, drenched in sweat, and on the verge of fainting from some minor procedure which has freaked me out.
As I pondered my finger’s fate, Mike ran across the street to a Walgreens and bought tweezers and nail clippers.
Step 1: Clip the nail super-short for better access to the splinter.
Step 2: Carefully grab the splinter. Confidently yank it out so as to not break it and leave it inaccessible under my nail.
Monique’s swift hand, a mouthful of cerviche, and a bit of pre-chugging of the margarita made the procedure quite swift. It hurt like hell, but…mom will be proud…I didn’t end up with my head between my legs, warding off the dreaded faint.
Mike was the highly-paid photographer. At the end of the tweezers, you’ll see the splinter. Remember, this whole thing was under my fingernail! Yes, it was at least 1 foot long… I'm sure of it!!!
Cancel your health insurance. Dr. Monique is your woman.
After our spectacular trip in France we packed up the car and drove 4 hours from Provence to the Costa Brava of Spain. The first two nights we stayed in a small Renaissance town east of Girona called Paratallada. The hotel and the town were run as a historic tourist attraction within a state park. The surrounding area was mostly agricultural land nestled between Girona and the Mediterranean. The riding was nice but not nearly as spectacular as France. We spent one day doing the well known Els Angels loop which includes Hincapie Hill. It was a nice ride but we had a hard time figuring out where else one would ride out of Girona.
The next two nights we moved out to the coast (about 20K away) and stayed at El Far Hotel in Llafranc. For those of you who aren't well versed in Spanish, El Far is The Lighthouse. The Costa Brava is hilly. Beaches are tucked into rocky coves surrounded by steep cliffs. El Far was at the top of one of those cliffs. The views were spectacular. Walking or riding to the hotel was a good workout. For our last day of riding we decided to hug the coast and check out some of the beach towns. As you can imagine, this involved a great deal of climbing or descending. The roads up and down the hills seemed to range between 10% and 20% grades. Wrong turns resulted in some serious grinding climbs to backtrack but the scenery was spectacular.
As we headed up to El Far on the final climb of the day (and the final climb of the trip) Ali threw down the gauntlet and set a fast tempo up the hill. For the next 8-10 minutes we had a nice little duel on the hills of Llafranc. Nothing like a little competition on some STEEP hills to help you set some new PR's for power output.
So, if you haven't figured it out yet, we like to eat. Our travel enjoyment is directly related to our enjoyment of the food. Some people like to see art, cathedrals, natural wonders...we like quite beautiful roads for riding and tasty food at the end of the day. The food in Provence was incredible...every day. In Spain we weren't having the same luck. Most meals were OK, some not so good. So after our little duel we decided to make the long trek back to Girona and try a little restaurant that looked promising on our previous visit. Ali had stopped in to ask for directions and was impressed by the owner. He seemed very detail oriented and we hoped his attention to detail would carry over to his food. We weren't disappointed. We decided to try the pre fixe menu: a 9 course meal with wine pairings. By the time we were done we were pretty sure it was one of the best meals we have eaten. So, if you're in Girona check out Mimolet.
Our next stop was Barcelona...but that's going to have to be another entry.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Today we drove (too far) from Menerbes to Gorges du Verdon, the 'Grand Canyon' of France. I was feeling a bit sluggish when we started so we didn't really have an agenda. After an hour of climbing the East rim of the canyon we reached a lookout spot. We had a snack and took some pictures and then decided to continue on a bit further. Warning: you know you've been in the mountains when you say 'It's only another 1000 feet up'.
The Gorges were great but it was nice to get back to our hotel for our final honeymoon dinner in France. The meal was great and we had a little surprise when we got back to our room after dinner.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
One more day in Provence and then…vamos a España!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
It’s still bike racing season. While it may seem like we’re over here in the old country working on our tans and wishing we had a few more notches in our belts we haven’t forgotten that Superweek is just around the corner. So, with that in mind we planned a little training ride to prepare us for the racing to come.
Many of you may think of the Midwest as pancake flat but it isn’t. There are a few hills, Allison learned to ski on suburban Chicago’s Mt. Trashmore; as a child growing up in Iowa, I lived in fear of riding up Benton Street on my bike. So, we thought a little climbing might be a good addition to the training plan. Also, the races at Superweek tend to be a bit longer than many of your local crits often ranging from 60-90 minutes, so we wanted to ensure that we don’t arrive ill prepared.
Some rides become epic purely by accident; mechanical problems, weather changes or unfettered pets wreak havoc on what should be a leisurely ride. Other rides have mild potential due to distance and or elevation gain. And then there are rides that are epic from the first moment the idea is uttered into the ethos. Yesterday was one of those days.
As we mentioned, Mt. Ventoux is visible from the road outside our hotel. By visible, we mean its peak can be distinguished from the distant clouds on the horizon with the just the right level of squint of the eyes. At some point one of us proposed riding from our hotel to the mountain, up the mountain and back…an epic ride was conceived.
We figured that we wouldn’t stop for lunch, so we did our best to gorge ourselves on the gourmet breakfast at our hotel. The staff at the hotel thought we were insane, “Maud, you are maud” they said as they pointed out the sheer distance we’d have to ride, coupled with the 90+ degree weather and gusty winds. We replied that the Tour de France does similar distances up these same roads. They countered “Ze are paid to ride up zee mountain.”
We smiled, grabbed a few more chocolate croissants for the road, donned our Minty suits, and headed north. Each road was as car-free and breathtaking as the next. Our route took us through lavender fields, a pack of German cyclists, goat cheese producers, farm stands of fresh honey, castles atop red cliffs, steep gorges , endless rows of grape vines, and so much more.
Have you endured the 14 mile climb to the treeless, exposed peak of Mt. Ventoux? If not, you’d never guess what you’ll find there: sugar, as far as the eye can see. We spent almost $20 and it still wasn’t enough to fuel as home without a bit of bonking.
Ninety-four miles and not nearly enough water or calories later, we were ‘home’. Dinner included gazpacho accompanied with tomato sorbet and roasted sweet pepper ‘foam’, roasted duck in a lavender honey glaze, and rhubarb crisp with coconut sorbet. Twist my arm and maybe we can do it again tomorrow.
Superweek here we come ;).
Action photos here and here.