Monday, March 24, 2008


So how was YOUR Monday?

Mine started off innocent enough. But then I took the dog for a walk. I have some new neighbors. They moved in about 3 weeks ago. They have a dog. A yellow lab. A normally docile creature. Not this one... 2 weeks ago, he was off-leash in the courtyard and he came after Bette. Luckily, I just reached down, picked her up and held her overhead. The owner was yelling for the dog to come. He totally ignored his master and the guy had to come and drag him away. Nice. I said, "WTF? Where's his leash?" "Oh, he's a nice dog." "My ass. Where's his leash?".

This morning... no owner. Just some girl who lives here and insists on trying to be everyone's new best friend. She's now been hanging with the new neighbors and taking the yellow lab for short, windy walks. Except this morning, he was off-leash again. And I didn't see him. And I had an arm-load of mail and magazines from my over-stuffed mailbox. He ran around me, in front of me (effectively cutting me off) and got into Bette's face. I kicked at him to nudge him away whilst trying to pull her back, but he came at her again. Now she's cornered in the bushes and defensive, and I don't blame her. So she jumps at him to push him and he comes unhinged and attacked her. I threw down all my mail, lost my slippers and was screaming and crying and making noises I've never heard come out of my mouth. He had her neck in his mouth and wouldn't let go. I yanked his collar: nothing. I broke and bent fingernails back, yanking at the scruff of his neck: nothing. By this time, the neighbor girls was there, doing something, although I couldn't tell you what. He doesn't listen to his owner, why would he listen to anyone else?

Somehow, Bette got loose and they ended up behind me. I'm on my hands and knees, on the concrete, scrambling to get my dog loose. Around I go, and I wanted to kick him in the
head, or punch him in the head, but with her neck in his jaw... All I could think of was to pry his mouth open. This wasn't working, so I stuck my left index finger into his eye. And I kept pushing, while using my left thumb to pry his upper jaw open, and my right hand to pry his lower jaw open. I got bit, a couple of times, but he let loose and I was able to scoop her up while jumping up and got both of us in the house. I collapsed, sobbing and checking her over. Amazingly, she only has a bit of road rash on her chin. I have road rash on both knees, lacerations on my right index finger, broke half the nails on both hands, and broke off the ring finger nail on my right hand about 2 mm into the quick. I almost passed out when I cleaned it and put hydrogen peroxide on it.

I was so angry that I called the apt office and filed a complaint. I was then urged to go to the urgent care, where they filed a report with the SPCA. If this was the first time, I'd still be pissed, but this dog has come after mine TWICE. In three weeks. Both times, he's been off-leash. No excuse for that. I hope to God this never happens again, but I think if it did, I'd have to choke the attacking dog. Maybe if it didn't have oxygen, it would let go sooner. Christ, I don't know. It was scary as hell and happened SO fast...

The dog is sleeping away. I'm typing like a 3rd grader with the bandaids on my fingers. But here's the damage. It's black and blue around the knuckle and sore as all get-out! The photo is blurry, but it really feels much worse than it looks...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


My new bike... I've been toying with a name for him for a few days. He arrived on St. Patrick's Day, so I was kind of thinking of an Irish theme. Finn MacCool was suggested. Cool name, kind of long. Then I found Niul, which is old Irish for "champion". Aidan was kind of cool, and I think it means "fire". But after riding this bike, damn. Zeus is totally appropriate. This bike is almost a God... I was told that with the white bar tape, I need to be winning some races. Sign me up!

Lots of things on my mind though. Still sad over the deaths of Matt and Kristy. Went by the site where they were killed yesterday, with two teammates. It was overwhelming. I've been off the bike all week, suffering from a bit of depression, horrible allergies, and lethargy. I've not had a training program since January. I've had a few workouts sprinkled in here and there, but I've basically been winging it. My coach has been "out of touch". I know he's busy, but I'm not getting what I need, and it shows in my racing and my riding. It's correctable, but it needs to be corrected sooner, rather than later.

I was so excited to ride Zeus yesterday, that I rode WAY too hard. When I went out to ride today, I was pretty sore. I then ran into three former teammates and rode too hard with them too. By the time the last two of us were headed back up Woodside Road, my legs had been twinging with cramps for about 20 minutes. Well, that was it. My right hamstring seized up, as did my right inner quad. Argh. Curses!!! They cleared pretty quickly (after drinking a ton), but dang. I know better. I rode hard yesterday and didn't hydrate enough. Then I rode hard AGAIN today and didn't hydrate enough. I should have expected as much.

At least I have a cool bike to ride... and I had a better day today shifting with the new SRAM Red stuff. Next time, I should be golden. And I had a really nice ride with Yvonne, Kim and Norma today. It was good to catch up with them. When I got back to the car, who was parked by me? Another former teammate who had moved to CO a few years ago! Another Kim! I was soooo glad to see her! And yesterday's ride with my current teammates, Erin and Angela was stellar. I learned a lot about Angela, and laughed so much that my sides hurt! What's Spanish for "Kitty Killer"? My spirits are improving, and I have my friends to thank!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Trying to make sense of the senseless

After the horrible weekend of cycling tragedies in the Bay Area, I was having trouble being motivated and staying focused yesterday (turn head to view pic till I figure out how the hell to rotate it - sorry!).

To summarize: Sean Smith (Team Oakland) was hit and left for dead Friday morning while commuting to work in Oakland. Thankfully, he's alive. Then the tragedy with Kristi Gough and Matt Peterson on Sunday morning. Then I heard that three Alto Velo riders were descending Skyline near Alice's when a car turned directly in front of them, and this was Sunday afternoon! Thankfully, after a trip to the ER, the three of them are all alive too. The only bright spot was that the man who ran over MaryAnn Levenson was sentenced last Friday and taken into custody directly in front of her. Thank God for that. I don't think the sentence was stiff enough, but at least something was done, and the Levenson's can finally heave a small sigh of relief and get on with their lives.

After reading and re-reading the stupid bit of "journalism" in the Mercury News regarding Sunday's horrible accident, it seemed to me that they glossed over what the cop DID and without actually saying IT, lay blame on the cyclists. I was seething. What the hell happened to reporting the FACTS? I don't care what your opinion is, as a reporter, it's your JOB to report the facts. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but damn. I sat down and wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the Merc News, cc'ing the ass-clown reporter that originally penned the piece. I chewed them out for exactly the above: slanting the story to make it sound like it was the cyclists' fault, and irresponsible journalism. What's happened to innocent until proven guilty? We've become a society of guilty until proven innocent, which is so back-ass-wards, and I blame the media. I threatened to pull my subscription (which I've held for six years) if they didn't accurately report the story.

Now I'm not saying that my letter has even been READ yet, as I'm sure the cycling community (and hopefully the community at large) railed on them for that piece of garbage they printed in the paper yesterday. But today, they printed (front page again, mind you) a completely re-written piece. They even added two reporters to the story, which I'm assuming helped the original journalist, since it was clear that the person couldn't write their way out of a paper bag.

I left work early yesterday because I just was so profoundly sad. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be home. And I certainly didn't want to be on my bike. So I drove to the ocean. The long way. Of course, from Mountain View, the ocean IS the long way. But I needed to clear my head and get some perspective. As I stood and took in the view and wonderful smells, I hoped that this tragedy would be treated delicately, and an investigation would be swift and impartial. And that justice will be served. I decided to go back to something I used to do working in an AIDS Hospice in Seattle. I'm going to plant some things in honor of Kristi and Matt. I'm going to look for a plant or flowering plant which will return year after year. Something beautiful to look at, and that won't fade away at the end of the fall. I'm also going to plant something that will keep on giving. A tomato plant (or 3). I've been wanting to do this for awhile, and now I have the impetus to make it happen.

Call someone you love, and tell them so. Life is short.