Thursday, January 31, 2008


Ever wonder what's in your jersey pocket or recovery snack. Leave it to Wired to fill you in.

I guess it's not a surprise that training food does not equal health food.

58 pounds of high fructose corn syrup?!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I don't mind the actual riding in the rain. Sure you can get a little cold if you don't have the right gear. But as long as you can avoid the major flood waters or the occasional mud slide it isn't really that bad.

At least until you get home. Then comes the part I could do without. The extra bike cleaning, the grime and grit that finds it way into everything and the piles of wet clothes.

I'm sure there are some cross studs reading this and thinking 'you road weenie'. And while that may be true, in my mind there's a difference between racing in the dirt once a week and riding in the rain day in and day out. Riding in the mud once in a while actually sounds fun (although I have yet to make time to get out and try it) but dealing with the detritus of daily rides in the rain can grate on you.

Saw a few hard cores out there today. The ride back from Danville with the YellowBug made time pass a little faster.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ahhh, team camp...

As we drove toward Petaluma Friday night, I had some serious doubts camp was going to come together at all. Highway 101 was closed in Novato due to flooding. We found a back route only to find every creek in Petaluma had jumped it's banks. Main roads were closed, the KOA seemed cut off from town and the forecast called for rain all weekend. We had packed the trainers in case we were stuck inside but they wouldn't do us much good if we couldn't even get to Kamp. Thanks to the Google GPS/Maps we did another back roads tour requiring only three crossings of rushing water and got to our destination.

We arrived to find a few brave souls who had also found their way to camp. As the evening passed more and more teammates arrived but the rain didn't stop and the reports of flooding seemed to be getting worse. More than a few decided to try their luck the next morning...perhaps the wiser course of action.

Amazingly the weather prognosticators were wrong. Saturday morning we woke to grey but dry skies. The majortiy of our teammates had found their way to camp and we were ready to roll. Unfortuantely, not all the roads were ready for us. Many lakes stood where only a day before a hidden culvert carried an unnoticed stream. Luckily, one of our new teammates knows the area well and navigated us around most of the serious floods.

Saturday turned out to be an epic day for me on the bike. I decided to hang on the tails of some of the fast boys and girls for a long steady ride. By the end of the day 7 of us had clicked off 94 miles and never felt a drop of rain. The best part was we only rode a third of the time on roads wider than one lane (thanks Mitch). Lucky for me I didn't bonk until dinner time ;).

Today I opted to ride with the group that would tackle the scenic Coleman Valley Loop. The day started out sunny and beautiful. Most of the new lakes had vanished as quickly as they had appeard and it promised to be another epic day. The ride out to the base of Coleman Valley was beautiful. By the time we reached the summit the weather had started to turn. More importantly, some of the legs in the group were showing the effects of two long days pushing the pedals. When we regrouped in Occidental some tanks reached empty just as the rain started. In order to get everyone home as quickly as possible we formed a big train, put our heads down and ground out the ride home. I took some looooong pulls at the front of that train, trying to get us home quickly without unhitching everyone. I did my best to regulate the speed in order to minimize the (speed) 'up' and (slow) 'down' requests coming from those behind me. Perhaps my favorite memory of the day is the 'up' request as I pushed hard into a stiff headwind. After a quick glance at my power meter all I could muster was a little chuckle. Luckily Ali was right behind me to interpret for the rest of the group. I'm happy to say we all made it, cold, wet and hungry but we all made it.

So, at my first team camp I covered 170 miles during 10 hours in the saddle. More importantly, I learned that I have great teammates who work well together both on and off the bike and have fun in the process.

Friday, January 25, 2008


ROCK HILL, South Carolina (Reuters) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, in an about-face, said on Friday she wants the Democratic Party delegates in two states that were barred by the national party to be reinstated and counted in the race to determine the party's U.S. presidential nominee.
Because Michigan and Florida violated the rules, all the major Democratic candidates pledged not to campaign there before their primaries.

Clinton said she did not think she was violating that agreement.

You can read more here. I guess "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Billary needs to rethink this one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pedaling Square-waves...

Or trying anyway.

Nothing like a little crit practice in the garage to warm you up on a cold rainy day.

By this morning I'd had enough of the garage so I headed out on the road. The Mighty Fine HK and I did a little jaunt through the east bay burbs. Tried to dodge rain drops, soccer moms and a few older folks on their way to the store. Despite a few close calls we made it home safe and neither of us melted in the rain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I don't know what it's like in your neck of the woods but it's been cold here in Bezerkeley the last few days. I'm sure some of you out there are up to your chamois in snow but you won't get any sympathy from me. In your neck of the woods it comes with the territory (trust me I know). Over here in the East Bay we've grown accustomed to our short thermometer, the Bay normally does a great job of modulating our temperatures. But every once in a while the jet stream does a somersault and we get a cold blast from the north.

A little over a week ago we made a quick trip to the burbs of the Windy City. While walking around town we saw a few cyclists braving the elements. I remember noting that I couldn't ride in that cold. It was the kind of cold that just starts to give you that crackly sinus feeling and hurt your lungs when you breath hard. Little did I know that Mother Nature would send us our own little taste of the cold.

And yet I can't help notice that I've become a little 'soft' where the weather's concerned. Growing up in the Midwest you got used to cold winters with bitter, biting winds blowing across frozen ground. When the temperatures peeked above 40 we would shed our winter coats and play soccer in Willow Creek Park. Now 40 degree temps have me looking for another layer. I guess the bloods gotten thin.

So while we wait for these Northern lows to pass through I'll do my riding in the garage.

PS Thanks to big sis and the folks at Iowa City Bike Library for orchestrating the t-shirt's my new fave.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gone Postal

Over the holidays we received this notice in the mail. It took me a while to figure out what it was. At first I thought they were warning me I had a dangerous dog. The warning notes the dog is in the back yard and I wondered why the postman was in the back yard when the mail box is at the front door. Then I realized that it wasn't supposed to be delivered, it's a warning card for the mail carriers.

I wondered who could possibly think our dog is 'Dangerous'. Those of you who've met our dog know she's the biggest goof on the planet. Her only threat to humans is to their knees as she tries to get closer to them for a better back or belly rub. Sure she's big but if you know even rudimentary 'dog speak' you immediately see that 'threatening' isn't in her vocabulary.

Then I remembered our mail carrier from a couple of years ago. The poor guy was terrified of dogs (rumor had it he was bit once). He refused to deliver mail to our neighbors for a while because their dog barked at him through the fence. (Her distaste for the carrier may have had something to do with the fact that he maced her through the fence). Anyway, one day I was taking Goofball for a walk and let her out the door without a leash. Unfortunately it was the exact moment the carrier was walking up the driveway. Goofball bounded down the stairs with her normal 'lets play' air about her but the poor guy just about dropped a load on the spot. He started to reach for his mace and yelled at me. I apologized and told Goofball to lie down. I was a little worried about the repercussions but after a few days thought it must have blown over.

Little did I know he was keeping records on me. Makes me wonder what other mail carrier warning cards there are out there.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Where o' Where has our Vanderblog gone...

(another trip in the wayback machine...gotta get this out of my head before I forget)

Where o' Where has our Vanderblog gone...
Where o' Where can it be?

There's no need to fear! Vanderblog is here!

When cyclists from both far and near
search for prose true and sincere
their browsers to one place do steer
and at the words they cheer or jeer
it's Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog!

Always posting, make's me wonder
what kind of contract is he under?
Vanderblog. Vanderblog!

when in this world the headlines read
of those who break the sportsmen's creed
and dope or cheat to gain some speed
he'll call them out with blinding speed
it's Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog!

Always posting, make's me wonder
what kind of contract is he under?
Vanderblog. Vanderblog!

So if while racing you happen to hear
a heckle or cheer that's fueled by beer
be careful not to frown or sneer
cuz on that blog it will appear
it's Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog! Vanderblog!

Always posting, make's me wonder
what kind of contract is he under?
Vaderblog. Vanderblog!

Ok, he's not a Superhero but he's been known to dress like one!

(Now it's your turn...add another verse! Accoustically challenged...grab a bowl of Cheerios and listen to the original here! )

The Sky line is Falling!!!

Yesterday I did one of my standard rides that circumnavigates Redwood Park in the East Bay Hills. I couldn't help noticing all the enormous blue tarps covering the hills. It looked a bit like a Christo project gone horribly wrong (one might argue if any go right...but that's a subject for another post). While climbing Skyline Blvd. I passed a minimum of 5 slides in various states of repair. The most recent started this weekend and gets press because it is threatening the homes below and the new home of Attorney General Moonbeam. However, the largest slide has been sitting idle for several months and it's hard for me to imagine a reasonable method of repair.

This summer a massive section of hill slid, undercutting the road, pulling down the guard rail, fire hydrants and a large light pole. Many of these items still dangle over the new canyon floor. As the slide has reduced the road to one lane one can assume it must be fixed at some point it clearly isn't happening soon. Filling this slide would be a Herculean task. Cutting further into the hill might compromise the stability of the hill and homes above. Stuck between two equally distasteful options, the one lane road sits there, idle.

Other slides along Skyline get more attention due to their threat to homes and roads below but everywhere there are cracks hinting at Skylines inevitable movement 'down canyon'.

After turning off Skyline, I descended Pinehurst, passing several other slides that sit ignored. This particular section of road sits on the county line, the proverbial 'ugly step child' of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Several sections are reduced to one lane. Permanently installed stop signs indicate bureaucrats surrender to the forces of entropy.

While the road conditions along the ridge deteriorate, making me long for the smooth pavement of the Veneto in Italy, this is still a classic East Bay ride that I love. Once off the ridge the route takes you through the town of Canyon which consists of a Post Office and two room school house. As the name implies, you ride along the base of a redwood, fern and moss filled canyon that feels like a trip through Middle Earth. Canyon is always a few degrees cooler than the ridge. In the summer this can be a welcome relief from the heat. While dodging clouds of ladybugs, riders enjoy the shade of the giant redwoods. In the winter the ride is more like spelunking. At this time of year the sunlight doesn't quite reach the valley floor, everything remains damp, the green moss seems to glow and lichens extend their reach on the oak bark. And while you may occasionally see a Yellow Bug you will most surely see some yellow slugs. Looking up, you can see the sunlight grazing the tops of the trees and you long if it to reach down and warm your bones.

Soon enough you climb out of the canyon again, back to the buzz of 'civilization' and the constant struggle to keep Skyline Blvd. at the top of the hill.

Friday, January 04, 2008


a condition of the blog in which the subject matter is dry and terse and entries are difficult and infrequent.

Blogstipation can be caused by:

1. A chronic lack of creativity.
2. A lack of thought provoking substance in your intellectual diet.
3. An irregular or imbalanced schedule of life activities.

While some sites periodically suffer temporary blogstipation as a result of a temporary constriction of free time they can usually be remedied by a return to a healthy, normal lifestyle. Other sites seem to suffer from chronic blogstipation. While in some cases, chronic blogstipation is benign this condition can be an indication of a more serious problem known as 'blogger burnout'. While blogger burnout is rare, as we've seen recently, it can happen to even the most prolific of bloggers. So if you find posting increasingly difficult, seek immediate exptert advice.

Seasonal blogstipation is quite common. Many blogs suffer a temporary slowdown during the holiday season due the a change in diet. Cycling blogs in particular seem to suffer acute cases of blogstipation in the off season.

Around here we've found that Holidays, increased saddle time and event planning have led to some serious blogstipation. The Holidays are over and some of the other contributing factors should soon be alleviated, relieving this uncomfortable condition.

What are your remedies for blogstipation?