Monday, February 17, 2014

Cristin Cooper, NBC and Bode Miller

Dear NBC Sports,

I'm one of the fortunate ones who didn't have to witness the interview of Bode Miller by Cristin Cooper last night.  Thankfully.  I could, of course, find it on YouTube, but I won't bother giving your news "item" any more internet hits.  Enough of my friends DID see it, their opinions mesh with all that I've read about it, and from all of that - I've been able to formulate an opinion: one which I'm sure you won't care much for.

I don't totally blame the reporter.  She showed pure thoughtlessness, and horrible reporting skills by pushing and pushing and pushing, and not recognizing a *human* moment.  All in the name of trying to force an "emotional moment" out of a clearly distressed athlete.  

I DO blame NBC for not editing this train wreck of an interview, shortening it, and conveying SOME emotion, while protecting the athlete, just a bit.  Is that really too much to ask?

Is this the direction "reporting" is headed?  NBC is not FoxNews, or the National Enquirer.  Or is it?  I used to think NBC was a hallowed name, a legend.  An organization which could rise above the "rag mags" in the checkout line of the grocery store.  Clearly, I was wrong.  How sad for news organizations the world over.  Or at least in the U.S.

Shame on YOU, NBC.  Shame on you.  You could learn a great deal of dignity, grace and professionalism from the athletes you're exploiting.  Instead of trying for an emotional moment, how about trying for a HUMAN MOMENT?  Be the news organization with a heart and a pulse, not just a bunch of robots sniffing for blood and headlines.
Holly R

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I apologize. Sort of...

To every motorist who's nearly run me down, sideswiped me, cut me off, or called me a bad name on my bike: I offer this half-*ssed apology for flipping you off, or yelling at you.

I promise to extend a full, sincere apology when you start fully paying attention behind the wheel, instead of half-*ssing it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend warriors

I have a raging head cold.  R A G I N G.  But since it's still just above my shoulders, I figured that I should get out and ride both days over the weekend.  Especially since the weather was so nice and who knows how long that'll last...

Wow, what a bunch of boorish riders out.  BOTH days.  Many have a pet peeve of wheel suckers.  I say, if you can hold my wheel and dodge the snot rockets (allergies + cold = messy), my wheel is yours.  What annoys me more than anything is when people take themselves so seriously that they can't bother to call out "on your left", "great day, isn't it?" or just plain "hi" when passing.  When did every other cyclist become "the enemy"?  I found this was exclusive to men.  ALL weekend.  WTF?

Now, with a head cold, I'm doing the good old, Z1/Z2 ride.  Trying to keep my heart rate at a reasonable level, trying to get outside, and trying to get some fresh air and exercise.  I expect to be passed, a lot.  And I was.  But I swear to you, not a single person said a thing to me on Saturday (only one person did on Sunday).  Both days had interesting surprises, so let's just start with Saturday.

On my way home, on Foothill (home of the Foothill Olympics), I catch a gaggle of men at a traffic light.  I wasn't sure if they were all together, or what, but most of them were dressed in street clothes:  shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes.  One guy had clip-in shoes.  Frankly, I don't care, I just noticed.  A few were wobbly, so I tried to roll up by them and get closer to the front, so I didn't get entangled once everyone started wobbling forward.  I got through and was happily in Z2 when one of those guys buzzed me.  He never said a word.  But I could tell by his body language that he was turning himself INSIDE OUT.  Hey buddy, good for you, but I'm in Z2...  He got further up the road, but Foothill being Foothill, he got stopped at a light.  I got closer.  I got stopped at a light.  Then he hit another red that I caught green, and the next thing you know, I'm on top of him.  Why do people ride the white line?  I never, ever assume I'm fastest, and stay over to the right to get out of the way (esp for distracted motorists who sometimes drive the white line because I guess the car lane isn't wide enough for their bad driving or something).  I digress.  Dude is flailing and as Phil would say, "He's all over his machine", and with that, he's kind of all over the bike lane too.  I check the car lane:  clear.  So I pass him, making sure to squeak out (my voice is going in and out with this cold):  "On your left".  I roll on.  Shoot, out of zone!  So I slow up a bit. Well, the guy is flailing along behind me, trying to catch and pass me.  Seriously?  I check and wait till he's about 1/2 a bike length back, then I just dropped the hammer on him.  Didn't sprint.  Didn't attack.  Just drilled it and rode away from him.  "Pass me now, b*tch".  :o)  Z5 does not equal Z2, sorry coach, but that boy needed to be schooled.  I hit the turn lane and rode home, gently.  Shortly afterwards, I dropped my cough drop, grabbed a handful of front brake and nearly ate it.  Oops.  It's a cough drop for crying out loud!

Sunday was more of the same, but I forced myself to not be so damned competitive.  I ran into two other guys at Woodside when I was getting water that afternoon, and all 3 of us commiserated about the same thing:  rude riders.  I even heard/watched the one compliment a guy on his bike.  Dude just ignored him and rode away.  ???  There's a chance he didn't hear him, or a chance he was just an unpleasant person.  But I don't understand that mentality.  If someone waves, you wave back.  If someone nods, you nod back.  You let a rider know you're passing and it doesn't have to be mean or sarcastic.  A simple "hi" is sufficient.

When did bike riders become the enemy to OTHER BIKE RIDERS?

Heck with 'em all.  I still had an enjoyable weekend on the bike.  But I also still have this cold.  Big bummer!

Monday, August 20, 2012


I have the most difficult roommate in Silicon Valley.  He continually messes with my stuff, much to my dismay.  I just went to turn my, MY stereo on.  He had unplugged it.  Sometime between last week and today, he unplugged it.  To save power, I assume.  Every time that happens I have to re-program the damned thing and it annoys the sh*t out of me.  He's re-programmed my coffee pot before too.  And he's unplugged my stereo before.  Despite my repeatedly asking him to STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF, he does it just to be a prick, I swear.

I think I should unplug the stove.  And the microwave.  And the garage door opener.  He has no TV any longer or I'd unplug it too.  


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Team 7-Eleven Book Talk on 2/23/2012

Bicycle Outfitter, Los Altos, CA, 2/23/2012 @ 7 p.m. I'd been looking forward to this talk/book signing for weeks. Ever since my friend from church invited me. A chance to hear Davis Phinney talk about the good old days. I'd heard he was funny, poignant. I couldn't wait!

Then work got busy. Out-of-control busy. The night fast approached, and my workload increased. I freaked. In the back of my mind, I hoped I could make it, but reality told me that it wasn't going to happen. Just too much to do, with impending deadlines, and running out of time.

Fortunately, Gary sent me an email Thursday afternoon. Was I still coming? Oh man. "Things aren't looking good. I will try to make it, but probably not.". Fortunately, he wouldn't take "no" for an answer.

I grabbed everything on my desk, packed it up, stopped at the pharmacy on the way home, ate dinner, took the dog out and went to the event for awhile. I figured I could leave early and work from home when I was done.

Once there, I didn't want to leave! There was a short video about the team. Racing. Commentary. Video of Jim Ochowicz with a mustache. Phil Liggett with hair!!! (I know!) Stories of how 7-11 made it to Europe. How they were blamed for the crashes. How they would arrive minutes before the start of the race (oh, how I know how that feels... ugh!). Davis was apparently in rare form and was so damned funny! The entire room was cracking up and the laughter was contagious. Davis told us a story (one of MANY) about an Italian race where he got dropped with another few guys. He was left with a backpack of his stuff and had to find a way to the finish. He was with a Belgian, who opted to ride to the finish (as annunciated by Davis in a Belgian accent, "I'll ride to the feenish"), but he tried to find another way with the few stragglers left with him. They found a "freeway", but weren't allowed on it due to the toll road. So Davis asked permission to look at the traffic coming the other way (after waiting for quite some time), and to his horror, after all the time it took to arrive at the road, the team cars were screaming back to the town they were all staying in! They were stranded. Luckily, someone saw him, or the toll booth operator reported a crazy American at the toll booth, and a team car came back to retrieve him. One guy left with him, begged for a ride back to the town they were staying in!

Of course, Davis told the story about a thousand times funnier than I can relate, and the room was in tears from all of the laughter. Quite the amusing story.

He also told a really great story about Bob Roll, who has always gotten on my last good nerve. The story changed my perception of Mr. Roll, 100%. Bob had learned perfect Italian much faster than the rest of the team, and in a cafe, some Italians were fascinated with the Americans. They kept asking Bob who was the leader of the team, or the captain. Bob's response: "We're all the team leaders." I rescind most every disparaging thing I've thought about Bob. Except the hand gestures. Those still get on my nerves. :)

I hated so much to leave. But I had to work at home. HAD TO. I bought a book, and left it with my friend to get signed. And then I went home and worked till 10:30.

This was a night I wont' soon forget. Very, very entertaining. Thankfully, I stepped away from the work and deadline madness to attend this talk. Totally worth it. If they come to your town to sell the book and do this talk? GO. Don't hesitate. You won't regret it. You'll laugh yourself silly and walk away with a renewed passion for the sport, and a massive appreciation for what those guys went through all those years ago. Paving the way for the newer Americans in the Grand Tours.


Update on the Weight Loss Challenge

Wow, I sort of let this slide. Made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, without going apesh*t with food. The weight was coming off so well that I had to re-shuffle the goals and stretch goals. By the end of the year, I'd eclipsed my original goal and was approaching my stretch goal.

I did something unheard of. On New Year's Day, with my new, lighter butt, I opted to race the San Bruno Hill Climb. I know. I'm not a climber. But the forecast was unbelievable. Chilly, but dry and sunny. On New Years? That race has been held in rain, fog, freezing temps... I got shelled at the start, but I had to climb on my own terms. I'd never even climbed San Bruno, so I had no clue what lay ahead. I let the group go, and climbed alone. I ended up with some pretty stellar power numbers, which felt really good! Of course, climbing isn't magically easier with less poundage - I just go faster.

So unfair.

Here it is the end of February. And I keep dropping weight, which is now kind of freaking me out. I haven't weighed what I do right now in 12 years. Since my last bodybuilding contest. My old skinny jeans are so effing big, it's just not even funny. I bought a new pair of jeans in late October, and they're even kind of big. I have 3 more pair of skinny jeans that still fit, but dammit. Now my underwear are getting big. This is getting expensive.

In any case, it's been a really great experience. I've learned that food is a crutch. A crutch that a lot of people struggle with. I've been one of those people for most of my life. I pray that I can maintain that switch I have in my head: that switch where I can just view food as sustenance. Really, that's all it is. We attach a lot of significance to food, meals, eating. And a lot of people have health issues, weight problems, eating disorders. At the end of the day, we need calories to survive. Food, in its simplest form is just calories. I like my calories to taste good, but I've learned to listen to my body these past 5 months. I eat when I'm hungry. I try to stop when I'm full. I stopped eating crap. No junk. I have an occasional cookie. Today I ate 3 Girl Scout Thin Mints. But they didn't taste as good as they used to. A side-effect of stopping the junk intake. But I feel great. Really great. My body feels clean, healthy, and light. :) For the first time in 12 years...

I think I'll stay here for awhile. A LONG while.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The weight loss challenge is ON!

Every year for the past 4 or 5 years, my friend MaryEllen and I embark on a weight-loss program. Always begins at the official end of road season, the glorious "off season". Last year, we started it a bit early, as I had surgery and wanted to start the week of the surgery, due to the sheer volume of snack food that was available to me at work. I needed 2 weeks away from all of that crap before I could really resist it. That worked. It only took 1 week of longing, sideways glances before I was able to steer clear, and continue down the road to a lighter body.

Well, the challenge takes us into the holidays (accck), and into the new year, when racing begins all over again. Both of us reached reasonable losses, but neither achieved the lauded: GOAL WEIGHT.

Here we are in October. Both of us are at the same weight as January. Yeah, generally good not to gain it all back again, but this is the dreaded plateau. Ugh. For nearly 10 months, maintaining has been pretty easy. The first 3 weeks were fine. But I didn't drop a single pound. ME fluctuated a bit, but was generally heading in the right direction. My body is stubborn. Really stubborn. I actually gained a pound one week (sh*t), but quickly got rid of it again... What to do now? I had to employ serious tactics in order to start dropping weight:
  • Restrict ANY and ALL junk (stopped eating any candy,chocolate and/or chips)
  • Learn how to go hungry without getting into that weird "I'm so hungry I could eat my shoe" place... That's a fine line - trust me.
  • Employ drastic measures: my brain
Back when I was bodybuilding, the diet was the worst part for me. The WORST. I could lift weights, run, do whatever for however long, but when it came to dropping the necessary body fat needed to compete? Just shoot me. I remember being at shows, and someone would step out into the harsh lights, and the first thing that came to mind: "Damn. He/she should have dieted for another 8 weeks...". I never wanted anyone to say that about me! You're standing on stage, wearing 4 teensey triangles of fabric, under the harshest lights EVER (makes dressing rooms look weak, in comparison), and the last thing you want is for someone to see that Snickers bar you scarfed down a few weeks ago, planted firmly on your butt cheek. Sounds harsh, but it was a tough sport. Nobody cared what you looked like 6 months ago, how far you'd progressed, it only mattered what you looked like, for those 5 minutes (or so) you were standing on stage in a bikini. Nothing else mattered. You had to have a really thick skin... Totally unhealthy, for sure, and I blame that lifestyle for making it so darned hard for me to drop any weight now that I have a normal, healthy diet, but it was necessary to be that way for the sport. Of course, I had no butt back then, and was utterly unable to sit at the bus stop the last month or so before a contest, because any fat stores were just gone. Pfft. Just like that. But my brain was the most effective tool in my arsenal for dropping weight back then.

I'm using it once again. Much like the fear of being seen naked, the fear of "if I put this in my mouth, where will it end up on my body?" and "do I really NEED that? Or am I just wanting to eat something?"... Hey, it works for me. The weight is coming off now, FINALLY! All it takes for me is that first pound to be lost, then I'm on a roll... I won't eat the roll, but I'm on one. :o) And this time, I'm going for that elusive: super-stretch goal. I'm just 2 pounds from my goal as I write this, and it will be 4 to that weight which I've not weighed in over 10 years. When I get there, the first thing I want to go do is climb some big hill on my bike. Then I'll probably have to buy some new jeans, because even the skinny jeans are starting to be less and less snug...

Even using a scale, jeans are the better indicator of weight loss. They either fit, or they don't. No getting around it! I may have to go buy a new pair or two sooner than the holidays... Now that's an awesome dilemma!