Saturday, December 29, 2007

the real ohio hero: maurice clarett. (and a short adendum about OJ Mayo)

Having just returned from Ohio, I thought it was time to reflect on an Ohio sports hero. No, not LeBron James. I am talking about Maurice Clarett.

I became obsessed with Maurice Clarett sometimes in the late summer of 2006, actually, right when I got my bike (this is when he re-entered the news). [when i had my first ER visit, in a state of morphine high, i was shit talking about maurice clarett to the orthopedist as he was sewing up my keee, and he said: 'i grew up by maurice clarett', and i said, 'me too!' and it turns out me and my ortho-resident were a town over from each other and we knew one of the same people. weird.]

Anyway, who is Maurice Clarett? It is a sad story, but here it is in brief.

  • So Maurice Clarett was this ass-kickin' Ohio Buckeye football player.....leading the team to a national championship in 2002.
  • Stole a car or something in '03, got released from OSU, and then tried to go pro...but you can't go pro until 3 years after high school graduation, so he tried to sue the NFL ... and lost.
  • Then he moved to LA and some rich guys had him living in a mansion, driving a BMW or a beamer, and apparently hooking him up with trainers and obscene amounts of grey goose. (There may or may not be ties to the Israeli mafia here....I kid you not)
  • Except, he wasn't really training, and instead was just drinking lots of grey goose. Apparently he fired his trainer cause he was embarrassed running on a high school track.
  • He was way out of shape at ran a really slow 40 yd dash for tryouts, but i guess the Denver Broncos still picked him up from the draft.
  • He showed up to training camp 20 lbs overweight and wouldn't go anywhere without his water bottle of grey goose and would say: "gotta get my goose on" in the weight room.
  • He got in arguments with the coaches and tried to get the general manager to fire the coaches, before he had a contract.
  • He was somehow signed a contract but released a month later for attitude reasons.
  • Then what? Back to Ohio! He almost signed with this indoor football arena team in Steubenville. Now, have you ever heard of Steubenville? I'm guessing not. I had a friend who lived in that town, and shit, its in the sticks. But I guess that indoor football arena team wouldn't even take him, so he signed to a minor league indoor arena football.
  • Then he was picked up by the police in august of '06 with 4 firearms, a hatchet, and grey goose near his new babies house. Apparently he (and his new child) was getting death threats...maybe from all the people in LA who were trying to collect...mainly the Israeli mafia? This is unclear
  • A very interesting version of Maurice Clarett's story is right here. I encourage all to read. He had a pretty good relationship with this ESPN writer, and this is a pretty crazy account.
According to a Youngstown, Ohio newsource:
[fyi: there is a big mafia in y-town.]
Maurice Clarett's choice to outsource his organized crime needs to an Israeli mobster has some in the local mafia concerned. In this story reported by ESPN, Clarett was apparently bankrolled by an Israeli mobster while waiting to enter the NFL draft. This alleged organized crime figure gave Clarett a place to stay on the beach in Malibu, CA; a car and picked up his expenses in return for 60% of his rookie salary once he was signed to an NFL team.

Local crime figure Joey "The Fish" Baccala, President of Goombas Local 317, said the local Youngstown mafia was hurt by Clarett's decision to seek services from the foreign crime organization. "You have good, hard working men right here in Youngstown that could have looked after the kid," the mobster stated. "But he chose to outsource that work to the Israelis. Why? The services our organization provides are just as good as those found overseas. Once again, a foreign competitor has been allowed to enter the American market and use cheap labor to undercut our wages. We need a level playing field if we are going to compete."

Baccala said the services the Israelis provided weren't enough to garner 60% of Clarett's rookie contract. "Are you kidding me?" Baccala asked. "We could have put the kid up at Northside Willie's two bedroom trailer on Mosquito Lake and offered him his choice of any Cadillac he wanted from Tommy Two Times used car lot in Campbell. And we could have gotten him a piece of the action on that eastside paving job. Our rate for setting him up that good would have been no more than 25%. What's so great about Malibu anyway?"

Asked if the local crime organization could do anything to help Clarett now, Baccala replied, "What are we? Second choice? The way things are going now the kid won't even end up playing indoor football. There's nothing on the table to deal with. Fuggedaboutit."

You know the economic situation is bad in Ohio when even crime is outsourced.....

Now, let's talk about OJ Mayo. [He is not from Ohio. He is from Huntington, WV. I had a boyfriend from Huntington, WV once. And I guess I kinda-sorta dated someone else also from Huntington, WV. I know what are the chances...two people, one tiny town. I also dated someone from Whitesburg, KY. So, when people ask me what my "type" is, I tell them, "Appalachian." (pronounced with a short 'a') But enough about my boring love life, we are talking about OJ Mayo, who is from Huntington, WV.]

So, who is OJ Mayo?
  • All-star basketball player who has been "known" since he was in 7th grade.
  • Apparently instead of going to the big-name basketball schools, where he could have easily gotten recruited, he decided he wanted to go to USC, so he could be in LA...where he could become famous. Of course, why not UCLA, as they actually have a good basketball team, you ask? Well, he wanted to *make* the team big.
  • He had a friend go talk to the USC coach, like just walk in his office. The coach thought it was a joke and when he tried to get OJ's number the guy said: "OJ doesn't give his number out. He'll call you."
  • It was not a joke and OJ called the coach the next day and gave him a verbal commitment to join the team. He also said: "don't worry about recruiting. I'll take care of it."
  • OJ wouldn't give his number to the coach, and would just call him every 6 weeks to check in. Then he came to USC to sign, and brought with him a documentary film crew. Awesome.
  • Here is a good article about OJ Mayo.
Well, I don't mean to clump OJ Mayo with Maurice Clarett, considering it doesn't seem like OJ Mayo goes to practice with grey goose or is tied up with the israeli mafia. [So I am sorry OJ. I bet you are a good guy, I seem to have a soft spot in my heart for people from Huntington, WV...and I bet you are totally reading my blog, cause I am pretty famous.]

I just bring them both up cause they are crazy stories.
This post has no point and I have no overall theme about the amount of money in football/basketball or comments of fame and fortune or a discussion about how Ohio rules. I just think those are two fucking crazy stories. People in Ohio really like their sports teams. My hometown, Barberton (MAJICS!) is crazy about high school football. Shit, on May Day people in Akron burn couches and flip over cars...

Friday, December 28, 2007

yes, quad update

yes, michiko was right
december 27: 58.75cm
biking in ohio has been lovely. i actually saw another biker the day! that was very exciting. i biked in the most high traffic bike area, in the cuyohoga county resevoir. it was nice; but i like my farmland better. anyway, it was a pretty humorous encounter cause i could tell he had a team kit on-- and, can someone please tell me what is up with cyclists doing that weird check-each-other-out-to-see-what-jersey-they-are-wearing thing? when i'd wear my normal clothes no one would look at me other than the obligatory wave. now that i have on that safeway jacket, all sorts of people give me funny looks and head turns trying to figure out who i am. answer: a poser.

well, i leave ohio tomorrow. it has been a wonderful stay. i love ohio. i don't care what the rest of the country says about it; it is pretty awesome and i can go on about the laurels of ohio for a long time, but i won't bore everyone. all i will say is that akron, ohio is home to the best bar in america.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


i forgot how cold ohio is. it is cold.

i thought bringing my bike home would be a good idea. reasons?

  1. separation anxiety. i sleep right next to my bike, i was afraid i might get dumped if i left for 10 days....gunnar has been a little angry at me lately, so i thought taking her on vacation might make things all better.
  2. my airline only charged $25 for bikes. skybus.
  3. good practice. not so much the biking part, but just the whole traveling with the bike. i figured at some point in the next couple years i will travel with my bike and need to ride it at my destination... like if i visit my friend amy en espagna next year.... so, it would be nice to know how to take it apart, pack it, and put it back together when it is actually important.
  4. riding in ohio would be cool.
here is my report:
  1. now when my family asks me if i am dating anyone, i can at least tell them i brought some(thing?) home with me for christmas.
  2. i didn't even get charged my $25 on my outway flight cause my debit card was being fussy and they just let me on. ha!
  3. disassembly and re-assembly went well. although, i did get kinda confused with how to put the derailleur back on, so i had to call michicko and ask her how to position it. she described things to me with very techincal terms: "rest that little screw on "the beak" on the dropout." i am happy to report i can shift, and even though you think ohio is flat i have used ALL my gears. (some things are not flat! and while some hills are short, a couple have been unusually oddly brutal. perhaps it is the wind and cold...)
  4. riding in ohio. it rules. very beautiful, pristine, no one on the roads-- all to myself. i've seen some cute towns, awesome countryside, pretty farms all covered with snow. it is awesome and beautiful, and i think riding out around rittman, ohio is probably some of the prettiest riding i've done (like black diamond road, which always makes me want to the sing the song black velvet) i have gone on three rides so far. here are the highlights:

ride #1

  • got chased by country dog and swerved into oncoming traffic
  • missed a turnoff cause the country roads do not have signs. asked lady with a really thick ohio accent for directions, and she tried to tell me to go on the freeway to get home...but then she directed me to some backroads.
  • got chased by two other dogs at the same time. the one nearly t-boned me. i again swerved into oncoming traffic. the fear of dogs on a bike is quite different than when running. when running, i am afraid i'll get bit. when i biking, i am afraid the dog will run into my moving path or me and knock me off the bike and then bite me. but i sped off. these two dogs got really close and i think i am going to avoid this road from now on.
  • dogs bring out the best in interval training, much better than county-line signs.
  • i tried to create a liquor store/church game, kinda like the cow game. (cow game = count cows on your side of the road. when you pass graveyard, all your cows die and you start again. this is good in cars and the right/left side of the car complete. it gets really hard when you are up to several hundred cows and then you pass a tiny graveyard. anyway, i thought there could be a funny church/liquor store game... but then i got hung up on whether the churches or liquor stores should nullify.)
  • it is too cold to drink water. i went 30 miles and didn't take a sip cause it was too cold.
  • my feet were very cold, despite 2 pairs of socks. they were all tingly and itchy when i came home. my feet have been worse walking in the snow, so i wasn't worried, but good to know if i go for a longer ride.
  • mountain bike gloves (thanks michiko!) are still warm enough in 36 degree weather

ride #2

  • in 33 degrees with 28 windchill, mountain bike gloves are NOT good enough. i put on my mom's gloves over my bike gloves and they were fine. i don't know what is cycling specific about gloves.
  • i put wool socks over my shoes and cut holes in the bottoms. my feet felt okay, so that was good. this is an okay substitute for booties. i don't know if they are as aero, though.
  • i biked to my best friend's house far away, and it was so much fun to show up on my bike. but then she had to give me underwear, clothes, food, and drive me home cause it got dark.
  • no dogs. a couple motorcycles though.
  • again, i road wasn't marked, so i missed my turn, but found my way.
  • no water again.

ride #3

  • my prettiest ride to date.
  • it seemed deceptively hilly, which got me confused.
  • i had it out with this crazy dog that kept running next to me for ever, so i got an awesome sprint interval in there.
  • it was warmer today, so i did drink some water.

today the rains came in the morning, then the 45mph gusty winds, so i opted not to go out. now it is snowing and the house is rattling from the wind.

i'm behind on my quad update:

december 13- 58.75

december 20- 58.75

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i do not want an aero helmet for christmas.

*curtains open*

beth rolls up to a stop light about 4 blocks from her house, all dorked out in spandex; another dorky spandex-clad man is also waiting at the stop light.

beth: hi, how's it going? [beth likes to be polite and say hi to everyone on a bike on the street]

man: hey, so how far did you go today? [said in a quite accusatory, competitive tone, with no pause between the "hey" and "so..."]

beth: uh, i dunno, i don't have a computer...i left at 7:30... [slightly shocked, cause she didn't know people actually said things like that to strangers. such questions seemed nearly as if someone would have asked: "how much money do you make?"]

man: well, i swum in the bay this morning and then went on this xxx hr bike ride.

beth: cool. it was nice weather out today.

man: yeah, a bit chilly. [man is wearing a sleeveless jersey, no gloves, and an aero helmet. ?!?!?!?!]
[side note: is there any need (or purpose) to wear an aero helmet when you aren't in a race? i have never worn one, but i thought they were uncomfortable and not extroidinarily $afe, not to mention expen$ive to boot. perhaps i am a just a newbie, but i have never heard of training in one, especially in december when there are obviously time trials or triathlons coming up. but if i am mistaken, please let me know]
light turns green. beth and the aero helmet man both clip in to go to the next block where the light is red. in this time, aero helmet dude gets in his aero bars- for no more than 5-10 seconds, as there was a stoplight ahead. light turns again and they make a left. he gets in his aero bars again and he rides next to beth because he wants to chat but keeps getting faster and faster which beth does not appreciate, as she is going home.

man: so do you go that far every weekend?

beth: uh, well, i guess i go on long rides if i don't have a race or something.

man: you r-a-c-e?!? [it was more his tone of voice that was obnoxious-- in this, how-is-that-possible-you're-definitely-not-hardcore-enough kind of way.]

beth: yeah; it's fun. well, i'm turning left here (beth moves into left lane.)

*scene end*

this was a very strange end to an otherwise awesome day! i totally whored around all day. in the morning i met "dave johnson and the alameda boys" for a ride. (that is what i call them cause it sounds like some shitty rock band....but they aren't shitty, they are rad!) i hadn't ridden with them since may, so i had a blast seeing them. these dudes rock cause they are super nice, encouraging, and helpful. they let me ride with them the very first time i rode with shoes that clip-in and didn't know how to ride in a straight line. i am much obliged to them for helping learn how to ride my bike. after awhile, they turned around, and i kept riding with narda and fred. narda is awesome! then in danville i met some other folks and sucked their wheels back over the hills. they took me on some new roads and i didn't know where the hell i was. then i found out i was on the sproul ride, and i felt totally awesome, but kinda terrified cause i felt big league. (good thing i had on that safeway jacket). some guys i met ride track so that was cool to meet them. coming home on wildcat, someone coming the other way yelled my name and hooped and hollared at me, potentially yelling something about my quads. but i couldn't see who it was or hear what the hell they yelled. but the men i was with - who i didn't know from adam - thought it was quite strange, but i just ignored the hooping & hollaring and went on my merry way with these strangers, because that would have been weird to explain. then on my way home i ran into a couple of dots for a couple blocks. then after all that excitement, i met aero helmet man. but i was fortunate to have met him very close to my house so i didn't have to talk to him for ten miles or something like that. the funny thing, is later that day i was hanging out with my friend and told him aero helmet story. he said he was biking down broadway (just about the time when i was heading home) and saw someone "going really fast on a red bike" and he thought it might be me, but then he saw "some weird helmet" and thought: "beth would never wear something so dumb."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LA or bust

Friday evening, 7pm

Alicia, Hanan, and I piled into Karla's beautiful little Toyota Echo. One bike in the trunk, three bikes on top-- with poor little Hanan's bike stuck in a loose rack. But Karla is ivy league, so she knows how to use old tubes as bungie cords and got things secure. The car ride started on a downer, as I blabbed on for about a half an hour about serving on jury duty this past year & my disgruntled opinions of the criminal justice system...but after I got that rant off my chest, we had a lovely time with truths, lies, discussion question, and rockin' out to Power Ballads.

Around 1am we arrived in LA. How shocked were we when we saw that Hanan's bike was totally crooked and being held up by resting on my bike's handlebars and the tubes we tied to the trunk. Nothing was broke, so we were really lucky. We hung our bikes on the coat rack, so we took this picture cause we thought it was pretty cool!

In the morning, we had the crappiest continental breakfast known to man. We had to figure out how we were going to fit 4 bikes in the Echo. We figured 2 on top and would see if we could fit two frames in the trunk... which we did, amazing! We went to a coffee house my friend suggested. It was pretty awesome and there even looked like there was a makeout room in the back of the coffee house. But, alas, it was 9am and there was no one there to make out with. Alicia picked up a celeb trash magazine from the trash can, and we had a glorious time sitting in LA sounding like LA girls talking about trashy fame. Apparently Lance Armstrong is dating someone else. Poor little Ashley. She should have known better; didn't anyone tell her that older men with kids could just be using her so his child will have someone cool to take to show 'n tell? But I digress.

We drove into the ADT center and it has all kinds of sports stuff (soccer, volleyball, etc). But cause we were going to the velodrome we got free parking cause no one cares about track racing. Little league soccer even has to pay $6. Ha! Jokes on you. (or was it on us?)

In the parking lot we saw Jen, Marc, and Dash! It was great seeing them before we got inside and I was really happy that someone as an experienced superstar like jen coler was there!

There were all these banners on the outside- it was pretty sweet.

when we walked into ADT i kinda felt like i was at a big basketball arena, with all the shiny wood and banners. it was pretty overwhelming and official.

if all that bling bling wasn't enough, you then you see that bank and wet your chamois.

word to the wise, if you don't want your pulse rate to be pushing 200 before you even change into your biking clothes, don't look down the banking. it is like standing on the roof of your house and thinking about jumping off for shits.

the session that they had for certification was for women only, (called LOTS, ladies only track something.) it wasn't much at all like our Saturday session at hellyer. here, we got a talk about track protocol, etc., and then it was pretty much open track. if you had questions, you could pull over and there were people to ask you stuff, or people to mentor you, but other than that, it was just pretty much rolling around.

the apron at ADT is big, and for good reason -- you really need to be up to speed. i guess you need to be at 18-20mph so you don't slip down. so, basically, you roll around the apron a couple times, and hope no one slow is getting in your way. then when you hit a straight, you just mash the shit out of your pedals and pray to god you got enough to get your around that first curve.

just getting on the track was a challenge and made me a bit nervous-- i just kept going so fuckin' fast cause i didn't want to slip. it was weird, you could sometimes hear the rubber on the wood. i just kept on the black line for a long time, until i braved it to go up to the blue stayer's line. shit. the stayer's line is usually where you go when you want to slow down and be a lazy shit. no way, jose! you had to go even faster on that line! so, there i was, killin' myself just trying to stay upright. well, i got tired after about 30-40 minutes of this, so i got off and chatted with this guy who is with ADT about some stuff. then i got back on, and let me say the second time around was much easier. i could go slower and felt much more comfortable. then i got in some pacelines and practiced going up and down, up and down. this was really different than hellyer cause the swoop down was so much faster! i'd time getting back on the wheel "right", only to find myself with a lot of speed, so i'd have to swoop back up again. this was just going to take some time to get the timing right.

this is the only picture i have of us riding the track; this is karla and jen. i think alicia has more pictures & i'll add those when i get them.

the women's session was done at 2. and the training races started at 3, so we had a bit of a break. they let us stay on the track, so it was great to have a bunch of time to practicing swooping up and down. i went up to the rail... and by up to the rail, i mean about 4 ft away from the rail... and then swooped down, and that was the coolest thing ever! it was like a roller coaster ride and i could feel my stomach drop. then i got into a paceline with some really fast men and sucked wheel and we were going so fast you could feel the g-force pulling you into the center of the track! it was rockin'!

At 3:00 our training races started. We met this guy Kelyn who used to live in the bay area, and is a sick track sprinter. We knew he was from the bay area cause he had on at los gatos jersey! Anyway, Howard from Momentum cycling was leading our session. We would start with a motopaced 40 lap warmup, that got progressively faster. It was probably one of the worst pacelines I was in, probably much to my own fault-- the yo-yo was incredible, probably a combination of the new people, lots of us (i.e. me!) not knowing how to pull off behind the moto properly, and I think just the tight curves really whip you around more than at hellyer, so it is much harder to be consistent with speed. anyway, the pace got bitchin' fast, and at 8 to go i didn't know if I'd be able to finish the warm-up. Then it got faster and I was just hanging on the wheel in front of me for dear life. Then it was my turn to be behind the derny with 4 to go...except i never really got behind the derny. I was right on the wheel in front of me when it pulled off, but then the moto picked up again, and there was a gap from the pull off, and i did everything i could to close that shit, but the moto was just going faster and faster, and i felt like such a douche bag for getting dropped behind the moto in a warmup. i felt real bad for the people behind me. i pulled off after my lap, only realize only 4 people were behind me. so i didn't feel so bad.... as apparently this warm-up was like a survival of the fittest.

anyway, the races started and we had about 9 or so in our group. 5 Hellyer ladies,Tara a Southbay Wheelman woman, Howard's daughter, Tara's son, and someone else who I can't recall. we started by putting these red helmet covers on w/ numbers (instead of race numbers). i thought they were kinda cool, but i guess some people thought they were dorky.

We started with a Miss 'n Out. I love this race, mostly cause I like to be the devil. But I always screw myself over with this, so I thought I would try a new role today. I got first wheel and set pace. This was great until the 4th sprint, when I let Karla swoop down from up track right after the sprint to take first wheel. This was dumb; don't ever let that happen cause 2nd wheel is trouble! And especially on a 250 track...the laps come quick. And especially on a track where you have to go 18-20mph to stay upright. There is no slowing down a ton and then popping around the back...(cause if you try, you'll slide down!) so, I just watched myself get boxed in and was annoyed for my dumbness. But, then I got to cheer and see Karla kick butt in that one and win.

Next was the scratch race. This was weird cause we did the races with a moto pacing on the stayer's line. This added an interesting element to the racing! You could take laps off the moto. Someone jumped off the motor early, but no one who I was worried I figured I'd let it go, but then Tara from SBW chased it, so I wanted to get on her for sure. Then we took a lap on the moto and the race was on. I had a great time in this race, and did a pretty good job picking wheels, especially in the last couple of laps, so I could contest the sprint and get 2nd. Jen Coler the mad women took first, and Karla third. So that was Hellyer sweep, baby.

Last race was a points race. It was only 24 laps-- and only sprints every 8 laps. That wasn't a lot of sprints. We stayed on the moto and took pulls for the first 8 laps. I wasn't in a great position on the moto when I was supposed to pull off, so I jumped really early for the sprint-- like 2.5 laps early. Whatever. I came out here to kick my ass, so may as well make some ballsy moves. I had a gap, but right at the line got taken and ended in 4th-- but at least that was one point. Normally I don't care about that first sprint, but with only 3 sprints- it was important. Then we had a break of 4 people and were moving around. Around lap 13 we were coming to take our lap on the moto/field.... but I wanted to wait so we could eat up points. I tried yelling at the pack, but I was in last position and no one heard me, so we lapped, but didn't get back on the moto. With 1.5 to go, things were getting a little chaotic with some people on the pole in a paceline and some on the moto- and they were kinda side by side at this time. The paceline on the bottom was passing someone ahead, and I was in a sweet position, cause, if I could attack and maneuver around this slower person getting lapped, I'd totally leave the paceline and moto kinda blocked in for a second. Anyway, I did this and easily held the sprint for 1.5 laps and got 5 points on that one. So that made up for my dumb effort for the first sprint. Then we rode more and more- and I was in bad position with 3 laps to go in the paceline, so with 2 to go, I was in front, but didn't want to pull off cause I'd be in bad position, so I thought I'd try to razor it. I was doing pretty good, except Tara was holding me close on the black line, half wheeling me back, and in a really good position to take the sprint win. If I had an ounce of comfort on this track, I would have flicked it a bit to the red line, to slow her down...but not a good thing to try when you have questionable control and familiarity with new banking. I got 2nd in the last sprint, and 2nd overall in the points i was pretty happy with that. especially cause i am out of shape.

the folks at ADT were great. Julia Cross was really accommodating. Bob, John, Ted, and Howard were so great too. Howard talked with us a bit after the race and told us Hellyer women we were "safe and smart" riders. He also gave us some feedback, but all in all, he thought we raced smart, so that was good. We talked a bit about AVC, and he remembered me from when I match sprinted Jennie Reed. He told us some funny match sprint stories of Jennie's at T-town. He also said his son is "very picky about velodromes" and like Hellyer!

After our training races, what to do? RIDE MORE! We couldn't get enough. Me and Karla practiced taking pulls up and down and up and down. But then, I think they wanted to close up, so we took some picture and hit the road....

me, hanan, alicia, karla, and jen with those sweet red hats on.

here is me measuring alicia's tiny 51cm quads. but she is short, so that is actually really good. but check out her sad MV skinsuit. that was when she slid down the track when she got on. ouch. but she is hardcore and got right back out there and tore it up in the races!

here is bob, one of the volunteers at the velodrome with dash!

we met kelyn who used to race at hellyer until he got all hotshot, and is now going to australia to train! he is a mad fast sprinter. his quads were 65cm. now that sounds big, and it is! but, kelyn's quads looked pretty puny compared to some guys out there.... which makes me wonder--- are people in the mid-70s?!?!?!?!

jen rolled it out at 62cm! daaaamn! it is december, i can't wait to measure those babies this summer!

1st and 2nd place quadies-- kelyn and jen.

and dash has a lot of promise-- he was rounding out at 28.5cm. and he isn't even in kindergarten!

at this point, we were kind of exhausted. i mean, really exhausted. we were at the track from 12-6. that is a long time, even with sitting around. so then we got a little silly.

here is me and karla. i guess i think i am spider man.

here is hanan and alicia, finally conquering turn 1 for real!

then we changed our clothes in this thing. pretty cool. but kinda sucky at the same time cause you don't get to see people with their shirts off while changing on the infield.

dash didn't have enough fun at the velodrome and wanted to stay there all night long, so he left the lights on the jen and marc's car. oops. we tried pushing the car and popping the clutch like in little miss sunshine..... but we were really tired from all that riding and couldn't run very well. so we found some guy to get us jumper cables.

here is the really nice man. he was there to watch his son in the volleyball tournament and he was fascinated by our track bikes.

We left ADT after that aventure and went to eat at some awesome restaurant we found. We ate a lot. Then we showered and tried to motivate to go out, but we are getting old.

we had one drink and the alicia fell asleep at the bar. so we left.


The next morning we ate at this awesome restaurant Hugo's. If you are ever near Encino, be sure to eat here! Here is what Karla ate. YUMMY! On the drive to Encino we blasted some AC/DC to pump us up. The race was going to awesome!

We arrived at Encino and quickly found Sabine and Michael. The night previous Alicia and I had spray painted stencils on some a-frame shirts we bought at the liquor store. That is multi-tasking. After much thought, we decided upon "hot for hernandez" above "go, mike, go" on a 3-1 vote.

i don't know what is funnier in this picture, michael's face or hanan sticking her chest out. she is a smart cookie, practicing both to be a bike racer and a podium girl, all in one weekend. when thinking about career options, hanan, don't put all your eggs in one basket for sure. good work.

how excited was i when michael gave me a swobo shirt cause i am a friday hero and all that jazz. he wanted to take a hardcore picture, so i did my best....but it is really hard to look tough when you don't have a camel back.

the race started like this. mike was KILLING IT for like 20 laps. I mean, killin' it. then, he popped. it was actually much more fun when he popped because then he came and sat with us and heckled, and he was mean and very funny.

these men were all bullies. there was this poor young boy who looked 15 who was a lap down, and he kept trying to regain his lap. and just when he started to get within a straight away they would speed up. poor boy.
michael creed didn't like it when michael yelled at him: "the ladies say you are only an 8.6 on give us something michael." and each lap it would continue... "michael, your helmet's crooked, 8.5" then michael started swooping up really high at us. he stuck his tounge out once. then he blew karla a kiss. it was hot. (but not really)

the race was a blast to watch. 400 laps of track riding isn't dull at all. but it ended much to spectators dismay and racers happiness.

then we drove back, which was just as fun as the drive down, although we didn't listen to power ballads. we got back around 10:45pm. that was 52 hour whirlwind for sure. congrats if you made it to the end of this post.

holy shit, that is hardcore!

The woman from ADT who was leading the women's session put me on her email list, and I got this email yesterday about Becky Quinn at the World Cup. Shit, that is crazy-- kicking ass like that when not being clipped in?! Crazy shit.

More from me later; I'll post about our ADT adventures this week I promise.

From Julia's email:

Becky Quinn placed 5th and 6th in the scratch races and 4th and 5th in the Points race. Placing top 10 in 4 mass start events is extremely hard and I believe she may be the only rider in the international women's field to do this so far this year. Even more impressive is Becky was involved in a massive crash at the 4th sprint in the Beijing points race. It was a serious crash and her bike was damaged, mostly both her pedal/cleat combos. Becky was able to get back into the race within the allotted five laps but was unable to clip into her pedals because her pedal system broke in the crash. Becky, holding third place through the 6th sprint, was determined not to quit despite her injuries and her equipment failures and continued to earn points against top riders such as USA counter-part Sarah Hammer, Australia's World Champion Kate Bates, and 21 other top riders. Becky rode an unbelievable 40 laps on broken pedals not clipped in, unable to stand or sprint out of the saddle and still placed 5th overall and was the best USA finisher of 4 riders. It was an incredible race to watch and see what she was able to do despite serious obstacles. Becky did all of this in SBW colors which was beyond great. Because of her determination and skill in both UCI races placing her 4th and 5th she earned the top World Cup points to date and thus earned the World Cup Leader’s jersey, the most coveted jersey next to a World Champion’s jersey. She was in medical under close supervision after the race due to her injuries and she was dragged out against our better judgment and then awarded the jersey which was a very humbling moment for her. It was a highlight to see her earn the jersey which was a complete surprise. She has spent a majority of her life devoted to cycling and this was a first ever for her. Becky earned the respect of the international cycling community as the greatest coaches in cycling paid great respect to her riding throughout the two events- it was incredible for Becky. SBW, and the USA.

Friday, December 07, 2007

being a pro cat-4 rules

it is pretty sweet to have an agent that gives me clothes and promotes me. who needs to actually perform when you get publicity for doing nothing?

it isn't every day you show up at work and realize you got initiated to the Friday Hero Club! (scroll down on the link)

[just for a point of clarification, that picture of me in the alley cat was with jenny who rides with montano velo, not michiko. (although some guys would like to think so, all asian chicks are not the same).]

well, back to me being a friday hero, do i get a free t-shirt or a hat or something that says "friday hero"? swobo, i would be very, very happy to pin a patch with your name to my jersey-- just like i sometimes pin geritol and aarp to my sleeves. but if you actually had a real patch, as opposed to me having to use an old t-shirt and sharpie to write your name, that would be totally rad. and, ya know, michiko and i are accepting sponsors. although, it is a really long list...but if you throw in custom titanium frames for us, hell, i'd tatoo swobo in a dirty spot.

but, back to realistic requests: a patch. well, i understand if you don't want to give me a patch for my jersey. my quads have shrunk since the summer days of 62cm. this thursday, they are holding course at 58.75cm. but i am confident they will grow again this spring.

as for other news (but what could top being a friday hero?), be excited cause i am heading to ADT this weekend with karla, hanan, and alicia! then sunday we will go watch michael win me a disc wheel. (i charge a high price for publicity.) but if that is too much to ask for, some chips from the gas station will do.

anyway, thanks for making me a friday hero. i am going to write that in my christmas card. right after i write about being a juror on murder trial. (it is always nice to end xmas cards on an upper.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

my first alley cat race

this saturday i did my first alley cat race! it was starting three blocks from my house, and it was an all-girl race, and word on the street that the boys working check points were going to be wearing hot, i was in for sure.

let's just say: hot pants + boys = attendance guaranteed.

there were 23 girls out for this! that was pretty sweet-- this is by fairyland before we began.

well, i knew next to nothing about how the hell these crazy races go. but luckily i found the totally awesome montano velo hellyer girls, alicia and jenny, down there who gave me instructions. basically it is like a scavenger hunt on a bike. you have to go certain places, get a peice of paper signed.

i started out paying $5. then i got a peice of paper with some locations in the east bay and one of those spoke cards that looked like the thing to the right. (i don't like to accessorize my bike, though, unless it matches my color schemes....that being red or orange)

Well, we had 8 places to go. Jenny, Alicia, and I started out together. But then Jenny and I lost Alicia at a light right at the beginning. Our first check off point was at the port of oakland. the boys there is hot pants were lookin' good and told us we had to do a skid before we get our papers signed. i can't do that shit, so i gave a wimpery look at they let us write a dirty word on the boys bathroom wall instead. i wrote: "cocksucker." that is a good dirty word for a bathroom wall, i think.

our second place was not too far away at some abandonned train station or something. there, the boys in hotpants were looking really good.

here we were asked some really hard simpson's trivia, neither of which jenny or myself knew, so they let us leave too.

then for number three we biked way up along the bay trail to the albany landfill. this was a pleasant and windy part of the ride. the boys up there were not in hot pants because they said it was too cold. that stunk. but they were funny and made us sing a song that they designated. i got cindy lauper's "girls just wanna have fun." well, i was having too much fun singing this song-- getting really into the bridge section where she goes: "they just wanna.uhh.. oh .... they just wanna.... ohhhh"-- and jenny had to cut me off: "BETH C'MON!" i stopped singing, picked up my bike, and raced off.

well, I was off, and we wiggled through traffic to spot number 4. some bar in north berkeley. now this is when i started to feel how bad ass alley cats are, as jenny is splitting lanes, going through lights, and in general just maneuvering through things so quickly. now, i didn't want to get dropped, so i was just wiggling through too. at spot 4 we had to spell out a word, like human boggle on a twister board. those boys had some nice hot pants too.

well, we started to head off to our next place, until we realized we needed to back track, cause we forgot about a place. we lost some time here, but quickly made it to 924 gillman, the punk club. there we had to take a shot of whiskey. cheap whiskey. that made me feel not good biking to spot number 6.

off we went to spot number 6, the edible school yard at king middle school. now, this stunk, cause while we found the school quickly, we couldn't find that garden....we wasted some time tooling around here. well, let me say, thank god for my cyclocross, cause i dismounted my track bike so fast, ran up stairs and through a garden to this checkpoint where we had to take a seductive picture with our bike. well, i couldn't think to well, so i just licked my top tube, quite uncreatively. again, i picked up my bike i ran through the garden and hopped back on our bikes, for our final stop before the finish.

this is joi. she tried a track race last year and will hopefully come out more this year!

going to check spot number 7 was fun, cause jenny was behind me and yelling at me to go through lights and between lanes, and then at one point we were going right into traffic down macarthur blvd. but, there were only like 5 cars or so and it was only for a block or two...but i am usually a sissy in traffic, so this was exciting for me.

checkpoint 7 was at mosswood park. we rolled up to this group of guys playing kickball. we asked them to sign our paper and they said we had to chug a beer and then play some kickball. jenny grabbed a beer, took some sips, and kicked a ball and started to run bases. i was admist chugging a beer, watching jenny run the bases as this guy says: "what are you guys doing, anyway?" this was NOT our checkpoint! these boys were bamboozling us! i threw down that keystone light so fast, grabbed my track bike, and made it through the park for who we were actually looking for. they were wearing jeans, but as they saw us roll up, they pulled off their pants and showed us their hotpants. very nice. we did some jump rope, then headed out to the end point, a couple blocks away.

jenny and i ended up coming in 2nd and 3rd. that was pretty sweet! i won a pair of armadillo tires, so that was even more sweet, cause i really needed tires. i've had the same pair for 1.5 years. that is too long, huh?

this is aftwards, where i was still very cold! i wore all red with a red sweatband, so i could match my beautiful red track bike!

all in all, the ally cat was a bunch of fun, and much thanks to jenny for showing me how it is done. the only dangerous part of the day, was when i was biking home that night with alicia, with these tires swung awkwardly over my neck and shoulder, and then almost got doored. yipe! but me and tires are okay!

Friday, November 30, 2007

finding good drafts

the one thing i am good at in cycling is finding good wheels. at the bike clinic i found m-coco's wheel out of a slew of people and look how good she is. at the track, i pride myself on being able to tuck in right behind the biggest older guy and get a sweet draft until the sprint laps. so the other night while biking home from my work, some dude with big panniers passed me somewhere in alameda and then i hopped on his wheel. and, man, panniers make for some sweet drafting. i don't know if that is really kosher behavior with bike commuters. the pace kept getting faster and faster, and then he dropped me on some corner as we were heading back into east oakland. i felt pretty lame. personally, i don't think it is very nice to try and drop a girl off your wheel when it is dark out going through east oakland. but i am from the midwest.

i realize i have been slacking on my blogging recently. very sorry. my life is just really boring these days. the above was the best story i had in two weeks. pathetic.

here are my quad measurements last week and this week.

Thursday, Nov. 22: 59cm (gobble gobble. .25cm increase!)
Thursday, Nove 29: 58.75 (oh well)

Friday, November 16, 2007

lesson learned: wearing a skirt always gets you farther in life.

i have always hated skirts. i only wore them when my mom made me on picture day. i also hate pink and purple. (i'm an orange & yellow type of girl)

since this summer i have worn more skirts than i have cummulatively my entire life. it all started because i started riding at the track, and it was easy to change my spandex on the infield if a put a skirt on. so i started wearing them to work on wednesday and thursday. then, my quads got really big....and my pants became teeny bopper-esque... so skirts truly were the best solution because they don't get tight when my quads were growing at lightning speed.

tonight i realized something new. skirts aren't only a matter of convience for changing & nice for expanding quads.... they also get you free stuff.

i headed into SF tonight for goldsprints roller racing. it isn't nearly as scary as i thought it would be, mostly because the bikes have the fork stand.... sprinting on rollers is a bit unnerving in my doorway at home... let alone after a couple of beers, with people yelling, and in an open room with someone right next to you. but, sigh of relief, the set up was pretty tame because of the forkstand. anyway. don't drink a beer before you do a sprint on the rollers. it made me ill and i thought i was going to crap my pants afterwards.

my first sprint was a bunch of fun... except i had my seat too low. but shit, i am friggin out of shape. it is weird when you can feel that your legs are moving slow slow slow...but you are getting more and more tired. it was a 500m sprint and i think i was 23 seconds or something like that. not so good. my feet are slooooow. anyway, the second sprint (for the girl final) i totally bit the big one and lost... i was pretty stupid and was 3 seconds slower that time. oops. better luck next time.

here is a picture of the last one i did.

anyway, back to my point, is wearing a skirt rules. i put on some spandex under my skirt for the races tonight.... mostly cause my jeans are a bit stiff and i thought it would be more comfortable. anyway, even though i totally lost-- the guy who was putting it on gave me a free hat for a prize. being a girl rules. i would have worn skirts a long time ago if i knew it got me free stuff.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

random ass shit

  • well, LA trip was just canceled and rescheduled for dec. 7-9. turns out ADT had a schedule change, so they aren't holding their 3-6pm training race class this week. working out logistical shit sucks, especially when after you figure it all out, you end up canceling because of late incoming information. oh well. it is cool we can still go in 4 weeks, but i am still bummed cause i was looking forward to a road trip as life is pretty much sucking these days, and i can't even blame it on PMS.....
  • fall funk.... what can you do?
  • get a new job. that sounded like a good, proactive idea. i start monday. i'll be working here. will be good to be back in community health. also, i will have a nice 10 mile bike each way to work. that will be way better than crossing the bay into SF and taking the 38L, the bus line that is the bane of existence and makes me want to slit my wrists on a daily basis. i hate that bus. i don't know what it is, but i am always the person that every random (crazy) person wants to talk to. i threw away my Labyrinth button that was pinned to my bag in a fit of rage one day because you wouldn't imagine the wide spectrum of people who just love that movie and want to talk to me about david bowie and muppets. god. i may look like a really nice person, but i promise when you get to know me i am a real bitch.
  • anyway, my couple year stay in academia has been educational for sure, but i am ready to say goodbye. although, my committment here won't wrap up for awhile, so the next couple of months i will now have the joy of having two jobs... as i am finishing writing the next best seller of health care policy books (look for publication in summer of 2008..... best seller/health care policy..... ha!)- oo la la. we just got our first outside review back. it was right on point. my favorite comment in the outside review was this: "There are no sentences that one wants to read and reread for their sheer beauty and turn of phrase." no friggin' shit. this is a book about health care financing, not chaucer.
  • other fun news is my roommate just bought a horse. she is an equestrian and jumps over stuff. she also wears spandex, but of a different variety. now that she has her own horse, i am hoping she will give me a pony ride.

look how happy i am. maybe i should take up horse riding.
  • as for my thursday measurment, here i am at 58.75cm still. i am not biking right now, so i expecting them to stay about the same or shrink shrink shrink.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

heed powder

so i finally tapped into that lemon-lime heed powder from timpani the other week. yeah, it took me awhile. what can i say, i'm a plain jane who drinks water.

it tasted...hmmmm...what can i say..... odd.... oddly familiar.....

i couldn't place that taste-- some weird sweet, chalky taste of my childhood i had forgotten. then i think i realized it: colored candy dots.

but in liquid form, still with the taste of paper residue.

i think that was it..... but i am still thinking about it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

mike hernandez does fall cleaning.

once upon a time,one day in late summer, mike hernandez must have noticed that i wear the same jersey and one of two black shorts.

at this time, he took this picture of me at the track district meet.

i don't look so good, huh? i wasn't doing well. why didn't anyone tell me i shouldn't wear the same shorts day after day?! for real, there needs to be some FAQ given to new cyclists about this shit. it is embarrassing to talk about some stuff. how was i supposed to know there is something called "chamois cream" or that you shouldn't wear your shorts two days in a row? why doesn't anyone tell you this?!

early september was no fun. i was in a catch 22: if i dehydrate myself, i won't have to go through the pain of peeing multiple times a day...but when i do pee is will hurt a hell-of-a-lot.... but if i hydrate myself, each time i pee will hurt less because the acidity will be less, but i will still have to pee many more times a day. you can see my conundrum. saddle sores were no fun.

well, i finally learned the hard way not to re-wear your shorts and to use that chamois cream stuff. the problem was the washing the shorts so often, and them drying in time to wear them again.

scene change: mike hernandez does fall cleaning.

too bad safeway pulled sponsorship, but that meant i inherited lots of old clothes. (now anonymous commenter, please don't be creepy and make some comment about me wearing mike hernandez's old chamois. that is a very classless comment and not very witty to boot.)

i was excited not just about the bib shorts, but also all the winter stuff...last year i wore my brother's old running spandez from 1991 straight up -- without any chamois -- and a cleveland brown's sweatshirt. now i am totally pimpin' with vests, jackets, and other cool stuff. here is my new wardrobe additions (thanks mike!):
  • 4 safeway bib shorts
  • 4 safeway jersies (3 black, 1 white)
  • 2 safeway wind vests
  • 1 safeway jacket
  • 1 safeway skinsuit
  • 1 pair of safeway arm warmers
  • 1 pair of velo bella shorts (thanks sabine!!)
  • 1 reno wheelman skinsuit
  • 3 other jersies
whoa! that is a lot. i just like quintupled my wardrobe. when i go out riding with this safeway garb, i feel like a real bike racer poser. i mean, nothing like all that garb to make me look official....that is until you watch me ride and realize i am not official. team kits really make people look like they know what they are doing. that is bad for someone like me who doesn't know what she is doing. that is why i only wear half a safeway kit. either the tops, with generic black shorts.... or the shorts, with another top. fully matching in a teamkit should be reserved for real bike racers. and i am happy being a poser....

my roommates really make fun of my recent spandex obsession. when i started biking june '06 i'd go in my running shorts & t-shirt. then, i wanted to fit in with the bikers so i wore my long, full leg running spandex, hoping i would fool them that i was in bike gear. finally i got a jersey & shorts. then my friend lauren got me 2 jersies (that black castelli one and that pegoretti one from the thrift store) and a long sleeve jersey. for my birthday this past march, my friend tev got me knee warmers. those things are cool. i got armwarmers for myself. so, by the time the spring came around, i was pretty well geared up, minus the shorts department....

anyway, back to my roommates and my spandex obsession. when i got home with a garbage bag of all these new clothes, my roommates seriously thought i went off the deep-end. skinsuits? i am guessing seeing someone get into a "bike relationship" over the last year-and-half, has got to be weird. you suddenly disappear for long periods of time, get in accidents without much concern, start talking about weird stuff like gear inches, eat all the food in the house, and just be wearing funny clothes that look like halloween everyday.

with all these new clothes, the roommates were kind enough to humor me in a little fashion show. thank you betsy for taking these pictures and telling me what to do for poses. i would have been quite clueless without your direction.

betsy told me to pick up my bike. this was good advice, especially because mike herandez once told me: "always show the bike". i chose my track bike because i am in an argument with gunnar at the moment. plus, it is lighter to pick up.

as shown in the picture, this is me pumpin' it. "it" being the tires, not me running up a hill, pumping my arms.

speaking of arms, these are some safeway arm warmers. i am also wearing one of those wind vests-- what a cool invention!

oo la la. these are my track wheels that are no longer on my track bike, because i have been riding my track bike on the road.

here is another picture of a different wind vest! i am also putting my hair in a pony tail. although, i like to braid my hair when i wear my bike helmet, because sometimes if i wear a ponytail, i get headache with the helmet pushing on the ponytail. if i do wear a ponytail, i have it really low, under my helmet. i don't know how people keep their ponytails high and have it stick out in that hole. that always gives me pressure pain in my head, but i digress.

this is me attempting to pop the collar on that really warm safeway jacket. but that is kinda hard, cause there isn't really a huge collar. it is really hard trying to look cool in is hard generally, but especially in spandex. this shot was intended to look more bad-ass. but i am from ohio and my people don't do badass very well.

betsy told me to gaze off into the distance in this picture and unzip my jersey some. eek. scandal. but, i don't have cleavage like m-coco, so it didn't really matter that i unzipped it. but i am wearing that $10 sheila moon sports bra under there that i got at surf city...and i like it very much, and would highly recommend it.

betsy told me to lie down on the couch, like i do when i come home. except now i am not sweaty like i normally am.

mike hernandez gave me a skinsuit he apparently crashed in. that is okay. i am a crasher too. i am not really mad or ungrateful about the hole, i just thought it would be funny if i tried to look mad.

this would be cool if my quads were so big they were ripping the jersey. but no, they are small at 58.75cm still. (see how nice i wove that in for the thursday post?)

this is the other skinsuit. dude, mike you must have a rack or something, cause it was a little loose for me in the chest.

here are those velo bella shorts, and i am holding some chamois cream for good measure.

this was one of the a random jersey mike gave me. this was very appropriate cause i like to ride with the AARP crowd. that is because i can keep up with them and they buy me coffee when we stop. and i am a gold digger.

mike, why on earth are you ridding yourself of a phonax jersey? but you certainly put it in the right hands.

the end.