Monday, February 17, 2014
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
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
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
Wednesday, February 29, 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.
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.
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
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
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!