Thursday, October 30, 2008

Floating along

Recently I've felt little motivation to get on my bike. A dull feeling of guilt occasionally nags at me, but I don't do much about it. I sit on my butt. I sometimes go running. Then last Sunday, Byron convinced me to go for a ride. I expected to be gone for 3 hours max, hoping for closer to 2. We were gone for about 5. I ran out of food and limped home. But at least it convinced me I could still pedal.

The weather has been gorgeous, so that definitely wasn't the issue with my motivation. But today was our first real taste of the winter to come, and it has me even less enthusiastic than I was. Plus I'm all partied out from last weekend's early Halloween party, and now that my house's party is tomorrow, I'm just not very psyched up about it. Can it just be Saturday morning already?

What I really need is to give my bikes some good TLC, get them all back in working order, and get my butt on them! So many excuses, though - homework, studying, getting ready for it's cold, my basement (where I keep the bikes and ideally where I'd work on them) isn't well-lit, and I'm tired!

Maybe this weekend will do me good. I plan to ride both days, get my butt kicked, and hopefully take my rain bike in for a good tune-up next week. If I'm lucky, that will all be enough to whip me back into gear (pun intended).

And my house is cold. Need more blankets. And sweaters. And rugs... hmmm... I think trips to Target and Ikea are in order...

I DO have an epic adventure to the Northeast (yes, again) planned for Christmas and New Year's to look forward to! I am quite excited about it: we'll fly into Boston, spend Christmas with my parents in Amherst, and then bounce around the MA/CT/NY area through the New Year. No real plans - just an itch for some excitement. Now THAT sounds fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Head of the Charles, Part I

yesterday we arrived on the red-eye, walked down to the information desk, and asked the woman sitting there he we should get to Harvard on the T. She opens her mouth and proceeds to tell us in a thick Bostonian accent, "Well, to git ta Havad squay, ya gotta take the Silva loine..." It was all I could do to keep from laughing! She then explained that we could use the automated T ticket machines that were "really confusing," or just take the bus to South Station where we could "tawk to a real pehson." We managed to figure out the rather self-explanatory machines to buy our passes.

This morning, we wandered down the main drag near Will's house in search of something resembling breakfast. We decided to try Ruggiero's Market, a true greasy spoon that more resembled a convenience store than a restaurant. While waiting for our food (and coffee), we eavesdropped on a guy talking on his cellphone, also waiting for his breakfast. "I just got out of jail at 3am last night," he told his friend. He then explained how the cops had eaten his sub sandwich, which Jamie agreed would make him pretty angry too. Then another guy walked in who told the cook that he only asked her to get him something so he could see her bend over. Classy. He then continued on to tell her about some tickets he'd been given to the Madonna concert in Boston last week, but ended up not going to. Jamie asked if I could imagine seeing this guy dancing to "Like a Virgin." In fact I could, and it made me laugh pretty hard. :p

Now we're on the T headed back to Hahvahd for today's races. More stories to come...

Oh, by the way, the coffee was awful. (:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nats Wrap-up

I guess I'll finish up the report and post on the final day of racing. Jamie and Dan raced the Madison (not with each other - Jamie with Kenny, Dan with Beardsley), and I did the Points race. I made it 35 laps before they pulled me. It was fast. I was slow. That's about all there is to it. As for Jamie and Kenny, they made 6th place, just one step short of the medals and the podium.

I've had some time now to reflect on things. Many things contributed to my poor performance at track nats, but I think the overarching issue was that I did not mentally prepare myself to race this long a season. When I started racing in February, I didn't plan to go to track nats in October. I planned to race my heart out until Friday Night Racing ended in September. I think I did that. And then I took a mental break. So I didn't continue to train hard, I got sick, and I had no real goals for nationals. I went to get the experience. Now I know I need to be faster, and I think that is more than possible for next year. I will begin the year knowing that I want to go to nats and surprise people who saw me this year. (:

Now it's time to focus on winter training...and time to stock up on toe warmers.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Unfortunately I didn't have the presence of mind to take a photo of any of this, but I just HAD to share the happenings of this afternoon.

So Dan, Jamie, and I took our time heading to the track, since they wouldn't need much warmup, and I just wanted get in some ride time. Little did we know, Sarah Palin was making an appearance at the Home Depot Center. Traffic was backed up, and they wouldn't let us in our normal entrance. They redirected us to another entry, then made us park in a remote lot. After we unloaded our stuff, we headed over to where a bunch of other racers and even some officials were waiting around. We asked if perhaps they were waiting for an escort inside or something, but no, the entire center was on "lock-down" for Sarah Palin! So as we stood there on the corner, waiting indefinitely, most of us cursing Palin for making us miss our warmups, all of the sudden down the road comes a caravan of black SUVs with flashing lights. As the caravan rounds the corner where all of the cyclists are by this point very disgruntled and all yelling, "Obama!" we see sweet little Sarah Palin smiling and waving at us through the window of one of the SUVs!! I simply cracked up. Hilarious!

I wish I'd had a video camera. The whole situation was just priceless.

Jamie and Sam also pointed out that even though we are fervent supporters of Obama, and have strong negative feelings towards Palin, we're still kind of star-struck with the incident...

I can't wait for election day - man, are we gonna have a kick-ass Obama supporters party!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Racing Day 1

Today Jamie and Dan had their team pursuit with Kenny and Roman. I had my scratch race heat. Then Jamie had his scratch race heat.

I managed to sleep in until 11am!! I don't think I've done that since college! It worked out perfectly, though, because I had time to eat breakfast, check some email, respond to some classmates for my online course, and pack up before we headed out the track at 1pm.

Once we arrived, I did some laps on the track, and then relaxed while lots of racing happened. One of the things I hate about the track is trying to time my warm-up, and waiting around while all the other racing goes on. I ended up getting in a longer warm-up than I'd planned, but that's not really a bad thing. We were finally up, and a kind guy was my holder (holders for a mass start?!). It was helpful to have someone who knew what was going on to calmly talk to me, tell me to sit up, and basically help me mentally at the beginning. It was a heat of 13, and the top 8 would advance. I tried to remember all the advice I'd been given - don't work too hard, don't pull at the front, don't chase things, but be sure to follow certain people if they tried to attack. I was doing great, making the stronger people chase things down, sticking with the pack when the pace picked up, and responding when I needed to. But with about 4 laps to go, the pace just picked up and I couldn't hang... it sucked. I feel like a few months ago, I could have made it to the final, but my fitness seems to have faded, unfortunately.

I now know what I need to work on for next year, and maybe that even involves taking a mid-season break in racing. When the road season starts at the end of February, it's hard to peak in October...

Now I don't race again till Sunday, the last day of racing, in the points race. We shall see how that pans out...

Here's Jamie's pursuit team on the podium claiming silver:

And here's a blurry view of his scratch heat, which he WON by lapping the field with 5 other guys! The final is tomorrow:

Oh! And you know what else I learned? I was reminded that I LOVE racing! It feels so good! Next year I'm coming back, and I'm going to rock this.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

ADT Event Center velodrome at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA

This afternoon we headed back to the track to get in a training session. Annette was kind enough to help me navigate the track by taking me on a few jumps. Jamie, Roman, Dan, and Kenny practiced their team pursuit pace. It was crowded. I also bumped [figuratively] into Leigh, which was a nice surprise! A bunch of people I met in Minnesota have come as well. It's fun to see people I know here. And after this week, I'll have ridden on 5 different velodromes! That's a lot of new people. (:

I'm still waiting to see if we'll be running heats tomorrow for the scratch race.

Here are our pretty Tiemeyer bikes; the view is from our little corral, facing the homestraight:

And this is the view as you walk through the tunnel, facing corners one and two:

Tomorrow I may try to get some good photos of the Jamie and Dan's team pursuit, though the shutter speed on this camera is somewhat slow.

Chillaxin' in LA

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Los Angeles for Elite Track Nationals (or, as many people call it, "Track Nats," which sounds kind of like a VD...heh). Anyways, it was apparently the hottest day of the year, and we were sweating as we loaded all of my, Jamie's, and Dan's gear into the Chevy Trailblazer (which the kind lady at the rental place upgraded us into for free).

We stopped at the track in Carson to get in a quick spin, and I got a feel for what my traction speed is -- my rear wheel slipped multiple times, but I managed to stay upright. Luckily I don't think it'll be a problem keeping my speed up during our races. : p

Then we headed to our host house in Cypress. It's a nice home, with a pool that takes up over half the back "yard":

I even went for a swim this morning. The thermometer now shows that today has bumped yesterday to the second-hottest day of the year...

Soon we're headed back to the track to get in a workout before today's session of racing begins. Vroom! : D Hopefully I'll remember to take some photos this time, and I'll post them when I get back.