Thursday, February 26, 2009

Utah gets mentioned on BikesnobNYC!

I had a pang of pride as I noticed that Utah was mentioned on my tied for first favorite blog. Unfortunately it was in connection with the theft of Dave Zabriskie's home while he was at Tour of California. While one of his (passenger) vehicles was recovered, the items that have the real value are still missing--including the 12 bikes. One of the stolen bikes was DZ's Olympic time trial bike. WTF?
Let this be a call to arms to all Utah cyclists, be you fixters, roadies, dirtbag mountain bikers or commuters--NOW IS THE TIME FOR VIGILANTE JUSTICE!

I personally have a few places I will start policing (and vigilante strategies I plan to use).

#1 Liberty Park
I'm almost certain I'll see one of DZ's bikes pulling some hot laps in Liberty Park. The 1.5 mile paved road is a favorite "race course" for most local non-racer racers. When you see someone speedwobbling around Libs, don't call the police, see if you can recruit some kids from the playground to pull that surefire Team Cinzano move that worked so well in Breaking Away. Once the perp has been removed from the speed machine, have the kids do a massive, continual steamroller on the offender until reinforcements arrive.

#2 City Creek Canyon
This is where I think we'll find the TT bike. The guy I see hammering on his hard rock equivalent with the seat at BMX seat height wearing crack showing jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and no helmet is a likely candidate. He doesn't seem like the thieving type, he's more likely to have traded some NASCAR paraphernalia for it at a local pawnshop. I'm not totally sure what my strategy would be since I might be partially to blame. Specifically, this TT diamond in the rough HAMMERED by the hubs and I at the bottom of City Creek when we were stopped at the bathrooms last Saturday. When we started pedaling a few minutes later, we expected to pass him pretty quick. We didn't pass him till we were pretty close to the top and I told him he was an animal and if he had a better bike he would be off the hook fast. So maybe he took my words to heart. So I don't think the Liberty Park strategy is the most sound way to go. I might try to reason with him--or--if he was under 23 I'd tell him to demand a contract from one of the pro teams.

#3 State Liquor Store on 4th South (the one near Pioneer Park)
The bike would probably be locked up outside, retrofitted with a milk crate to carry the rider's purchases. This would probably be the easiest to recover. You would try to convince some of the off-duty exotic dancers or ladies of the night that sometimes shop here to create a distraction while you absconded with the bike. Suggested reward to your assistants: podium girl job at next year's ToC.

#4 Locked outside Coffee Garden
This one will be tougher to spot because you'll have to look for it in between all the parked doggies and it will have been converted to a fixed gear. As with the City Creek TT specialist, the poor soul is likely to have been duped in an illegal sale. Suggested reward: Some Carrera team circa 1996 shorts-converted to full length tights. The look of tight jeans WITH a shammy!

In any case, keep your eyes peeled and your vigilante skills honed. Theft is lame, bike theft is unforgivable.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I've got a new ab workout

Its called hanging out with the men's bikini club aka the Johnson-Gammons and their associated peoples. Last night the J-G's came over and brought their good buddies the lego maniac and Damiano. Richie and Renee came over as well. OMG my stomach is still sore from laughing. Any muscular benefits I might have received were undoubtedly cancelled by the amount of vino we consumed--but these kids are GD funny--especially when they are all together.
Damiano and the l.m. informed of their company penfifteentees. Its t-shirts but really its oh so much more. Their company name involves some secret code--which code I haven't used since the days of all girls catholic school (a total breeding ground for naughty code development). Personally I'm considering purchasing his and hers f-bomb t-shirts. Though I'm quite taken with the "stop staring at my chess" ones as well.

In addition to being hilarical, these are just such a great group of squeezable peeps. The hubs and I are the old farts of the group--so it keeps us young I guess.

Since both my road bikes are at the doctor's right now, I did my workout on my cross bike today. The cross bike does NOT dig riding on the road and I don't blame it. Riding the cross bike on dirt is fun. When I ride the cross bike on pavement, I feel like I have 2 flat tires, my brakes are rubbing, and the handlebars are too narrow. Who knows. Despite the less than ideal riding vehicle, it was nothing less than Gore-Juice here in the 801 today. Yesterday's ride was in the rain so it was great to stay dry today. Not that you can tell the difference from looking at your bike. With all the snowmelt, sand, salt and general gnar on the road--your bike looks like you just rode through hurrican katrina whether it was actually precipitating or not. I'm not complaining--I'm just sayin (as coach says).

Some atmospheric disturbances are on tap for the next few days. But its supposed to be nice by the weekend. People have inquired as to whether I still ski these days. Yeahhh, well Redlands is coming up pretty fast---but I'm not likely to miss out on an epic pow day.

Either way, the weekend should be sweet either for skinny tires or skiing the bc--whichever mode of outdoor enjoyment you prefer here along the Wasatch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You know you are a serious tool when....

Ah so many ways to fill in that blank. It probably depends upon which genre of life you're talking about. Like on easy group rides you know you're a serious tool when you do nothing but half-wheel everyone and pontificate about your training ad nauseum to whoever will listen. Or when the downhill mountain biker doesn't yield to the uphill rider. Or in skiing when you take Woody's line....Or in surfing when you drop in (actually I really don't know--but I think that's what I've heard Erin say).

Every facet of life has different ways in which one can join the ranks of the uber annoying. That canon, that when violated, results in a transgression easily recognizable to the reasonable people that work, compete, recreate or just generally circulate in that particular universe. We can call that the objective standard. Of course, everyone has their own canon--the violation of which relegates to the violator to a complete tool in the eyes of the offended. But that is much more variable--a subjective standard if you will.

So I put it to the readers to judge the following: declining to do something with one friend, then doing something with another friend, then blogging about the fun thing you did with the other friend.

Even under an objective standard, most will agree that squarely places you in the tool category. A true Makita. And unfortunately, I have to place myself in that category.

Now here's the part where I can lay out the various defenses, like JUSTIFICATION. How I say that we had already made plans with friend #2 so declining the offer of friend #1 was justified under the circumstances. Or how it would've involved driving to Park City and we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint. Or how...I'll stop myself right there. Once you're a power tool, you can dig yourself into the hole pretty quick. With a Johnson motor you're unstoppable.

Anyway, lesson learned!

On another note, its nice weather here. The roads are still pretty gnar though with salt, sand and water....So I have about 2 gears that work on my bike from last year (still sorting out my Cannondale warranty issue). On the group ride on Sunday, one person remarked that if I had gotten a snack at the gas station with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil--I could've lubed my chain with it. While bike cleaning isn't my strong suit--apparently railing against the evils of the partially hydrogge and the high fructose corn crack definitely are something I do quite well. Even to people I've just met or don't know at all. But look where it can get you if you're not careful. A spot right next to your friend the nail gun.

In any case, some of the fun kiddos are coming over tonight. Hopefully they'll leave the mankinis and banana hammocks at home. Otherwise the hubs better charge up his camera because such fashion statements will NOT go unpublished.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Now I really need to see Slumdog Millionaire

We've had a spate of nice weather here in the 801 so I've been able to get in some nice miles. Last year at this time I was a stress basket and fully harshed out....I was working full time and studying for the Utah Bar. Last year I had about a 2 week base and then started racing which was PAINFUL. This year I've been able to get in about 6 weeks of mellow miles so I'm stoked. Who knows if it will make a difference--but mentally its nice to know that I have a strong platform upon which to start doing intensity. Even after about 20 hours on the bike in CA the previous week, I was feeling psyched to ride this past week after 2 days totally off the bike (see traveling hell nightmare entry infra).
So by Thursday, the precip abated, the air was clear, the sun was warm, and the beer was flowing like wine (fill in the blank: and the salmon _____ ___ __ ____ __ ___). I had a great ride up Emigration at lunch. On Friday, the weather was decent again so I headed out on another nice ride. At about the 2.5 hour mark, the horse was pointed to home. I made a bargain with myself: make it to the sev on 6200 south and the divine nectar of the reeses pb cup would be mine! I knew that would give me about another 1.5 hours. I ambled down Wasatch, negotiated the snow and rocks on the bike path bridge and then began dreaming of my reward. I was mentally unwrapping my 1st cup when I ran into SUPERFIT right before 7-11. She was in her sweet Kenda kit and she was riding with a speedskating buddy. I was so psyched to see her that I turned around and rode with her and started chatting. 7-11 receded into the distance and so did my reeses peanut butter goal. Running into Superfit was great and the laughs propelled me most of the way home.

On Friday night I made some baked penne (secret sort of healthy recipe with low-fat rigot' and skim milk) and Richie and Renee came over. In California, my mom stocked us with a bunch of yummy salami and prosciutt' so we had a little anitpast', and vino before dinner. It was great to see those kids--we hadn't seen them in a long time. Afterwards we headed up to the batchelor of house of Caldo Michele and Damiano. These kids (and they are kids--the hubs and I out-age everyone by at least 5 years) are a lot of fun. They are all ripping skiers and super smarty very successful professionals. But give some of them a little alcohol (seriously, not even that much, maybe none at all) and the costumes come out. I think all the boys own banana hammocks. The hubs remarked that they are all amazingly comfortable hanging out at a party in their mankinis. None of them are triathletes or swimmers either. Damiano got into the festive swing of things and donned what I can only describe as an outfit that was playboy bunny meets heehaw. Photos were taken. It was good stuff.

Saturday the hubs and I did a little canyon checking. We rode up City Creek (dry to the water treatment plant) and then Emigration. We rode over to Mountain Dell and then back home. It was a ridankulously gorgeous day and we had a great time.

Saturday night was Indian with great friends the Woodies and DBs (who we hadn't seen in a long time). Even though we had a long wait for a table, Woody kept us entertained with stories of tools, poor backcountry ethics and near road rage. In other words--backcountry skiing in the Wasatch (author's note: I personally do not feel this way as all my agro-ness and road rage exists solely while on my bike--not skis).

On Sunday Rick and Steve headed up to Alta and I did the 9th and 9th group ride. We rode to American Fork on a route I would NEVER be able to duplicate on my own. It was a lot of fun and a great ride. And I finally got my reeses at a gas station (maybe it was Draper, I have no idea). Tailwind the whole way home. I'd like for the record to reflect that reeses peanut butter cups do not have partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or high fructose corn syrup. YEAH!

The hubs had a good ski day and hooked up with Caterina and Woody for some groomer shredding. Later that evening we tuned into some pop culture and watched the Oscars over at Joanna and Clem's. It was depressing and boring for the most part. They had us guess at who would win each of the categories and then tallied up the responses at the end. The only movie I'd seen was the Dark Knight but I knew Slumdog Millionaire would win everything. Even so I still want to see it. The Oscars were lame but because Joanna and Clem have crazy DVR or whatever it is, we watched an episode of Flight of the Conchords so that RULED! Plus Joanna made the yummies cupcakes ever with strawberry frosting. If things don't work out with law, she could definitely get a job in the whole foods bakery.

And in other news, Tour of the Gila looks likes it on which is great news for our team. Before I start stressing about that suffer-fest, there's Redlands to contend with in a mere 5 weeks. Even though training has just recently ramped up for me--I'm starting to get those little race hunger pangs...The anticipation and excitement are definitely there (along with a little fear and nervousness of course)!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I can blow out the match now

While it was the 7th circle of hell to drive in, the recent low pressure and precip made for some nice weather here in the 801 today. We got a nice blanket of the neve and then the clouds parted for some good air quality along the Wasatch. My ride home from work last night was under an astonishingly gorgeous sky. Clear shot to the Oquirrhs and some sweet clouds. The ride in this morning was chilly but then I snuck out for a long 2 hour lunch wherein nothing was consumed but the clean air in emigration canyon. I hit Cucina in the Aves and carried yummy chicken salad and grande scone back to the office.

I'm back on the Specialized for now as there is a small warranty issue with my new Cannondale. But I can't wait to get that ride fired back up because I am loving it! It's a Six-1 and its Knight Rider black. Freaking sweet. I talk into my watch and it comes to pick me up.

In other good news, the nightmare sick/mucous/coughing issues were scrutinized by my new favorite person--a pulmonologist up at the U. They did some crazy test where they made me breath in some chemical to simulate contraction of the lung tissue or who knows what. Point was to see if my lungs harsh out more than the average schmoe. Anyway, after only a little bit of that chemical, I was severely HARSHED out--as in asking for help. It totally mimicked the symptoms I've been having when I'm at my worst; tight chest, wheezing, coughing and mucous mucous always with the mucous. Because my pulmonogist has a sub-SUB speciality in kickass-ology--he helped me with all the documentation I needed to submit to USADA so I can go on the proper medication.

I'm happy to report that after a week of being on the right stuff--I feel like a small fraction of a banker's bonus (that should be about a million bucks)! All the symptoms haven't cleared up...but I'm a million times better. For all those years I just thought I had a cough that would sometimes get really bad. Turns out its asthma which somehow got really bad these past few months. I guess I'm a walking recessive gene (Glennbro- that's for you). While my doctor was the shit--the real badass who totally spent a ton of time on my work-up was the awesome P.A. You never know when you walk into a doctor's office whether they're going to *get* the fact that you are (or at least try to be) an athlete. The P.A. listened to what I had to say and she seemed to get it. Yeah turns out she runs a 4:58 mile so who's the big deal now. That's faster than I RIDE a mile a lot of the time. Anyway, she was rad and I know she also made sure that all the stuff happened velocemente with the testing and analysis, etc. I feel like the asthma commercial where the person can blow out the match held out at arm's length. Is there any emotion--good OR bad--that can't be perfectly encapsulated by an 80s commercial? Think about it.

We find out tomorrow whether Tour of the Gila is cancelled. Now the problems with the economy are really becoming reality. Ok that's a pretty shitty joke. But for me--being the shithead that I am--its a little true. I have a job, my house, my car, etc...well for now. Sure I've made some cutbacks--but to have RACES being cancelled?! I mean that's a dire situation. Gila isn't exactly a race made for me...but I've arranged my life, the hubs will be on a trip that week and I took the time off from work. I've been mentally preparing myself for the gruelerrific nature of this event. I was even starting to kind of look forward to it. Then this. Hopefully they'll be able to pull it together. Hopefully its not a sign of other things to come. This potential silver lining is that same week is Speedweek which consists of maybe 7 crits in the Southeast. I really hope Gila happens--but if not--that might be the backup. In other good news it looks like Vegas is back on the schedule along with the other races that are part of the USA Crits Series.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its amazing the hubs and I are still speaking...

After the absolute nightmare drive home, I'm happy to report the hubs and I are still speaking to each other.

The California trip was stupendous. Tons of riding, tons of good hangs with good peeps and tons of fun. Last Thursday, I left the desert to go meet up with the hubs and good friends Johnny G and Jen over in the O.C. disorder. After one more mountain bike ride with the best riding buds every: Ironwoman Laurie, Twila and Glen; I hit the road for the 2 hour drive over to Rancho Santa Margarita. Made it in time to do another few hours with the hubs on road bikes.

If you're like me, when you think of the O.C. you think traffic and strip malls. And you'd be correct to think that. However, there is GREAT riding there too! Our friends Johnny G and Jen live real close to the '84 Olympic road course and tons of rides. The O.C. disorder is very hilly too. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the riding. Friday was raining (thank god--I was psyched for a break) so the hubs and I checked out some cool botanical gardens in Encinitas. Definitely jonesing to be digging in my own dirt (its currently a blizzard outside here).

Friday night we met up with my 'rents in Newport Beach for an AWESOME dinner and some quality hang time and viewage of the crazy SCENE that is so cal. When the hubs, Johnny G, Jen and I walked into the fancy hotel---it was like we were aliens. Its like you need to wear a sign around your neck that says "I'm also human, you just don't recognize me without all the silicone, collagen, botox and hair product".

The next day was another beautiful day in the neighborhood. The hubs and I got on our bikes and rode about 15 miles to meet up with Johnny G and Jen who were just finishing up a 2 hour run and eating some bagels. We also procured the carbohydrate goodness from the establisment Johnny G called "Another Orange County Korean bagel shop."

They had their road bikes in their car and they totally RALLIED and rode the rest of the way to Newport Beach with us. Prior to getting on his bike, Johnny G may have been overheard stating "I'm only doing this because we get a meal every hour."

Well he wasn't too far off the mark. We rode a little over an hour and met up with my parents at the super trendy Beachcomber Cafe right on the water next to a state park. Since you have to wait 5 hours to get a table, my 'rents put our name in along with a major form of i.d. (no joke) and they hung out at the beach and waited for us.

Once we had menus in our hands again, the hubs (bless him) zoomed right in on the menu item containing kobe beef. It was a burger. And he ordered it. And he ate it. And then we rode Johnny G and Jen back to their car in Irvine before the hubs and I finished off the rest of the ride to J&J's house. It was definitely a calories consumed>calories burned day. But another long ride nonetheless so I was happy.

Johnny G and Jen are some GD good friends too. They recently acquired road bikes but they are runners, climbers and skiers (probably in that order). They've been doing a little road riding--but really their time is spent running (probably explains why they are both fast). Johnny G is super athletic and is good to go riding in traffic, hammering on the flats and being close to other riders. He is Randypants part 2 (another sick runner who can ride a bike). Jen is also awesome, she looks fearsome on her bike--a lean, mean climbing machine. But she thinks that she doesn't know what she's doing and she says she feels weird on her bike. I think the question was "When you guys get on your bikes do you feel like you're missing something? Like you need to put on your seatbelt?"
I LOL just writing her query because coming from the super badass likes of an athlete like Jen, it is funny. My favorite people are the the chargers who think they are just joe schmoe recreational weekend warrior---but in reality they crush it. And I love those of you who fall into this category will read that and wonder who I'm talking about. I say cheers to your clueless badass-fulness.

That night we cheffed up my favorite trader joe's chicken apple salsice and tons of veggies and salad. My parents drove over to J&J's for the yumminess and also brought over some good vino. My new fave is the Coppola Claret--compliments to Clank for the great recommend. At $15 its at the high-end for me (Drewster I hope you're reading this)---but I think it is well worth it :))

On Sunday the hubs and I took our shit show (we had SO MUCH CRAP) back over to the desert for one more little mtb ride and dinner with Twila, Glen, Ironwoman Laurie and few of her Ironfriends. We dined at El Mirasol and it was bueno. That means good in Spanish. The next morning the hubs and I reluctantly departed and had one of the worst travel days EVER. I can't even write about it without convulsing. Let's just say a 10 hour drive took about 19 hours and California has retarded rules about chains. I can say three positive things about the experience: 1. The San Bernadino Mountains are pretty cool
2. The hubs has mad skills behind the wheel in super gnarly conditions
3. Trader Joe's in Vegas

It was a poopy way to end and otherwise spectacular trip---but that's what going back to work was going to be anyway. Oh and its dumping here. Full on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alive and Gone to Heaven

This is one of those posts where a picture really would be worth 1000 words. But I don't have a visual which properly encapsulates the bliss of my existence these past 5 days. I will, however try to keep the post under a thousand words.

I arrived here in Palm Desert last Friday night. The weather was unseasonably cool but still at least 20 degrees warmer than what we've had in the 801. I woke up Saturday morning to a little drizzle. In what at first seemed a paradox to me, my good buddy Twila told me to come meet some locals at the AWESOME Velo Bum bike Shop for a mountain bike ride. While the rest of the world does not ride the 1x when it rains, here in the desert it is the prime time to enjoy the goods. I rode to the trail head with Twila, uber mechanic and bike genius Glenn, and Ironwoman Laurie. We had a fantastico ride on a trail near Cathedral City and finished off the 1x goodness right before the downpour began in earnest.

To make a good day even better, I came across a trader joe's on my way back to the hotel. Hello tuna on pretzel bread. Stoked. I had an awesome afternoon maxin and relaxin and was able to get out on another road spin before meeting my parents and their friends Clank and Terry for dinner.

Day 2 of my renewed and quite bearable lightness of being involved a great 5 hours with Twila. Since we had about 5 years of life to catch up on, the ride felt like 2 hours. Did a little spa time with the madre, Terry and long long time family friend Deborah. Jumped in (what ended up being) a senior citizen yoga class. The instructor-a woman who probably experienced the early cretaceous-kicked the shit out of me. Luckily she couldn't hear my groaning because I don't think her hearing aid was on.

That is not an exaggeration.

Monday was a yoga/shopping/family hang time day as it was precipitating heavily.

Tuesday and today were both big days (for me) on the bike. I have been riding with people the whole time and haven't used my shuffle once! I'm not sure why I seem to have no problem finding people to ride with in every city but the one in which I reside.

A lesser person might take it personally. A person like me may just choose to spend as little time riding in her city of residence as possible.

Tonight is my last night in the desert. Tomorrow I have another mountain bike ride with my favoritest people here before charting my course to the OC, don't call it that.

The hubs has landed in the OC and is being minded by our good buds johnny g and jen. I can't wait to meet up with them tomorrow for a little riding and a lot of hangin.

For now, I am seriously *hearting* my existence and I'm telegraphing that bliss to all those readers who are facing weather/schedule/life challenges to being able to do what they love doing most. In a mere few days I will be back to that world but for now I'm basking in the fantastic fabulousity of this trip!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Vacuumed My Fridge

Good buddy/ former teammate Anne (aka the Viking) used to talk about coming home from big rides or races and shoveling in a ton of food. According to this superstud of a rider, the only thing that could stop the human vacuum was sleep---which she usually fell into in the middle of her living room floor. She also claimed to be the only rider she knew that could actually gain weight at a stage race. After a stellar performance at Tour de Toona one year (many years ago), she claimed to have gained 5 lbs after the week long, very hard race.

I thought about her today because I found myself essentially vaccuming out my fridge after a 3.5 hour ride (thus ending the 3rd week since my return to riding). I wasn't even civilized enough to take a shower (in between about the 2nd and 3rd course I managed to at least de-sham). I totally did an Anne because the vaccum didn't shut off until I fell asleep over the book I was reading (and cookies I was eating). After waking up from a weird dream with a stiff neck I dragged myself into the shower and now I'm full and tired (and clean).

I've been really enjoying my new Cannondale Six. Its a little heavier than my Specialized Roubaix Pro (which is for sale--52 cm)--but I think that's the wheels. It handles great and is definitely stiffer than the Specialized. After a little ride in Moab on Friday after work, I headed back to the 801. I had contemplated staying down in paradise for the weekend--but it had been a long week with work--and I was experiencing hubs withdrawal. Plus I was starting to get addicted to TV (stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Moab if you want ALL the channels). On my last night in Moab--I was doing some serious channel flipping. This is what I've learned from my week of TV--Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow rule, Drumline (the movie) made being in the band cool, Pretty in Pink is a timeless film and reality TV signifies the decline of civilization as we know it (though the Biggest Loser DID make me a little emotional).

Anyway, made it back in time on Friday night to show the hubs all the goodies I had received from my first team meeting, and to fit in an episode of Sopranos. Saturday the hubs and I had a GREAT ride out to supertrippy landscape Saltair out by Great Salt Lake. Since the 801 got some precipitation recently, the air quality was ok. However, you could see brown haziness starting to ooze around the base of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains. The Papa de hubs arrived last night for a week of skiing with a bunch of age 60+ rippers. We had a real nice dinner at Trio with George and one of his ski/hiking buddies and then came home for a little more Sopranos.

While the hubs was shredding at Alta with his dad today, I went on the group ride from 9th and 9th (I say group but it was like 10 people). It was great to connect with a few of the peeps. However, since the funk-u-lous air has definitely infiltrated the valley these lungs will be indoors until I leave for California on Friday (counting down the days).

I will get to see my parents in Palm Desert then the hubs is going to meet me in the OC while we stay with Johnny G and Jen. It will be good to get in some miles--it will be even better to do it in SHORTS. If you can't tone it, tan it. I cannot WAIT!

The Yogurt on My Pretzels

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