Thursday, August 30, 2007

points racing and quadie measurements!

no wednesday night racing anymore. boo hoo. i really miss my weekly miss 'n out fun, but the points race is a blast too!

the "c" group tonight was fast. lots of dudes who ride road a lot. i could tell they ride road a lot cause they had on spiffy team kits and their calves were cut. i have neither of those things. anyway, i had a different thing i was going to work on this week. last week i wanted to be really aggressive and make attacks, which i did. but it also got me real tired and i wasn't putting it together for the sprint laps as well as i could have. so this time, i thought i'd work on preserving my energy better and catching wheels. that was one thing i was pretty happy about. i was pretty observant of attacks and if i was in good position, i'd be on them. if i wasn't in good position, i was really good at bridging up to cover them. i did a lot of bridging and covering attacks today. that was cool. as for the actual sprint laps, i didn't do that awesome. i kept getting 3rd and 4th, or 5th. alicia led me out on one and i had a good gap, but got passed at the line by julie and tracy, so that sucked and i still got third. i was timing my sprints okay to get 3rd or 4th, but need to work more on putting it down to get 1st or 2nd. it is hard racing with some fast guys, cause it means i need to make my jump earlier, which i didn't do. well, this week i wasn't so aggressive- but that is okay, cause that wasn't what i was working on. i only scored 5 points total-- not too bad. i needed one good lap where i made a break and took a win, but didn't try that this time; that was my big mistake. i think i came in 6th or 7th, so that is okay. to be honest, i wasn't as tired as i could have been, but i wasn't sure how much i had in me because the pace was faster than in past weeks. now i know and next time i can go harder in the sprints for sure, cause i was recovering pretty well. i am happy i had some left for the last lap sprint. the whole race was a blur-- i don't really know what happened it was over very fast. so, i am hoping sabine will write my race report and tell me what happened.

now, what everyone really wants to know about.... QUADS. sabine had a present for us-- IKEA tape measures! sweet. we got a couple of people to report measurements today. Thank you PROMAN for humoring my patheticism.
  • Alicia Arnold: 51cm (she is very short and wanted me to say that there needs to be some proportion cause she is only 4'9". no worries alicia, you got a killer jump, so those quads are doing something right)
  • Julie Granshaw (group C winner!): 58cm (Julie said she got smaller. Me too! What gives?)
  • Nicola Cramner: 61cm (oh yeah! that is why she is so fast!!! nicky was saying, though, that the location she was measuring included some of her butt, but hey, whatever! You totally schooled us this week.....except we don't have Sabine's measurement this week yet.)
  • Tracey Ford: 54cm (but that is 54cm of all power! she was convinced her quads were bigger than Nicky's and there was some comparing-- but the tape measure doesn't lie!)
  • Sabine Dukes: 62cm! (the winner reports in. but down .5 cm from last week. better get on that pie eating.)
  • Me (Beth Newell): 59.5cm. (Mine gets to be a bigger font because it is my blog. Yes, that is a decrease, a big decrease cause I was over 61 last week. Perhaps I measured poorly last week, but regardless there has been some shrinkage. Good? Bad? I don't know. Am I getting faster? Slower? I don't know. This measurement exercise is all about weekly mapping and observing the cycle of quads. We will see!)
Unfortunately, we didn't get Shelley Olds (group B winner- congrats!) or Mary Maroon's quad measurments. Shelley was cooling down and Mary was racing the As. Dude, Mary's quads have got to be pushing 70. I can't wait to get the measurement on those. This will be the underground competition at State's next weekend -- followed by a leg wrestling tournament on the in-field. (i wish. leg wrestling is so cool!)

this would look so much cooler on the infield grass and in spandex, no? who would you put your money on?

Monday, August 27, 2007

cross training

on days when you aren't kicking your ass biking, i hear you are supposed to do easy rides to "spin it out." i never do this; i'm not much for half-assing shit.

instead, i discovered a new cross training activity available just a few blocks from my house at the lovely Lake Merritt --

lawn bowling!

the other week, i made it to the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club's FREE lessons. (for real, be sure to check out the website.) [History and rules of lawn bowling are plagiarized from "the game of lawn bowls" flyer we were given.]

me, my roommate lily, and my friend linden who was visiting from philly went to Lake Merritt for the free lesson. Free lessons are Tuesday/Thursday 10-12 and Sunday 12-3. we got there and this guy Ricardo got us some bowls. [Bowls come in sets of four and, for the purpose of identification, each set has its' own unique graphic emblem engraved on each side of each bowl. Bowls are perfectly round in one direction but slightly flattened in the other, and if rolled the wrong way will look like a potato bouncing along the green. One side of the flattened direction is also tapered causing the bowl to curve in that direction and is called the bias. bowls come in different sizes, weights colors, and bias's]

Because they are bowls (and not balls), they are difficult to throw because they arch the way the bowl is weighted. It requires a lot of skill to aim the bowl. This makes lawn bowling MUCH more difficult than Bocce Ball, which uses a ball that is quite predictable.

Ricardo tried to teach us what to do and explain us rules, but there was quite a language barrier and Lily did her best translating for us, but her Spanish vocabulary wasn't sharp on lawn bowling terms. However, we got the jist. Ricardo used other mean of telling us we were doing bad when we would aim poorly. He'd take off his belt and slap it against his hand like he was going to whip us. He would also yell and wave his hands. The other lawn bowlers were unamused by our poor skills and annoyed at the ruckus we were making.

ricardo talking with lily, after he took off his belt, before he slapped lily for making a bad throw, but also before he kissed us all good bye and wanted to buy us lunch.

look how cool those men are. we were too loud for them, though.

We started our game and it was very difficult. The real lawn bowlers next to us didn't like us so much cause we kept rolling our bowls on their court and i guess we were making too much noise. One lady in particular kept giving us "pointers."

"You should really take off your coat so you improve your throw." I took off my coat.

"You need to wear flat soled shoes so the groves in your tennis shoes don't bring weeds into our court."

Or, my favorite, after Lily had a very good throw, I had the obvious reaction and proceeded to do the "WOOF WOOF WOOF" dog bark cheer pumping the fist in a circular motion near my shoulder blade. (I'm from Cleveland, that is what you do when someone kicks butt, Cleveland Browns style.) Anyway, the lady informed me that "Lawn bowling was a quiet game." Oops. I didn't know; I was just very excited.

me, getting all jammed up with my coat on.

me doing much better than my coat is off. better "range of motion."

lily with a very good throw.

proof of the good throw. i got yelled at shortly thereafter cause I cheered too loud.
We were having fun figuring out the rules on our own. But then Jerry, the president, arrived and gave us a proper tutorial on the rules. It was quite helpful. (Jerry was wearing cowboy boots, that didn't have flat soles, by the way.) He told us the rule book for lawn bowling is 69 pages! The green is 120 ft squared and are at least 14 feet wide. People throw the ball from a mat that is 6'6" out from the edge of the court. The objective of the game is for you to roll your bowls closer than your opponents to the jack (the small white ball). Points are awarded to the team with the bowls closest to the jack. Typically a game has 16 rounds. (that is the short version.)

Jerry was pretty awesome giving us a bunch of pointers and history of the game. He ran a good practice. They are trying to recruit more young people into the lawn bowling league. It is only $15 a year and you get a name plaque with your name on it that says "Oakland Lawn Bowling Club". Typically during matches lawn bowlers wear all white. We asked if there were ever any Rogue leagues, but it seems like the answer is no.

Jerry warned us-- take it easy. Some people's legs can hurt after doing this for the first time. There is lots of bending and squatting. I scoffed. Dude, he must not know my quads are 60.75 inches (they were smaller back then). I bowled with gusto and didn't heed his warnings. Karma would getting at me for this. When we got home an hour later I had really bad lower back pain and was walking like those old men all hunched over for the next 5 days. It took a long time to stand up and I had to use my hand to hoist myself straight. So, I learned my lesson. Just cause you can bike really fast doesn't mean you can lawn bowl. (Also, Peter is right, I have no back.)

After we were done with our lesson, Jerry handed us some flyers. I will type it out for everyone. However, he said he did not like the title of the flyer and made sure to know that he did not make it. "Why be negative? I like to focus on the positive of the sport." Wise man. Never trash talk.
(flyer below)

Try lawn bowling!! It is a healthy outdoor sport played on grass that provides sunshine, fresh air, and a social atmosphere. It is a challenging and fun game. Check it out.

Oakland Lawn Bowling Club, at Lake Merritt, 660 Bellvue Ave, across from Fairyland. Free Lessons Sunday 12-3, T/Th 10-11.
Here is Lily, me, Jerry (the president), this random high school girl walking through the park who we talked into joining us, and linden

Lawn bowling is very challenging and requires great skill (and a good back) to boot. Perhaps I will go out for a few more practices this winter And if I quit my job, I will definitely be out there every Tuesday and Thursday. Here are some of the people who are out there-- they look like a lot of fun! I can't wait to retire!!!!

team unattached strikes again!

yesterday was university road race. because team unattached is way into team work, michiko rode solo. the only hills that i go up now-a-days are the bankings on the track, thus i serve more good yelling and handing out water.

michiko was really into not carrying around any extra weight. that is why she rides a steel bike. that is also why she only filled her water bottle 1/4 full and i had to feed her bottles 1/4 full. (but she only took one bottle the whole race-- which means she drank 1/2 bottle that whole time. she is so tough!)

michiko, always thinking: steel bike....weight of water bottle...

anyway, the race was quite exciting for me. on lap three there was a big pick-up in pace in the women's 4 pack. michiko was not in the lead group-- there were 3 of them plugging away with well over a minute lead on her. on lap 5 or 6 i noticed she was making up quite a bit of space, so i started getting her splits, and each lap more time would be coming off. it went from a minute to 48 seconds, to 35 seconds, to 28 seconds, to 18 seconds. i was getting excited cause at this point there were three laps left and this meant she'd be right up with the lead group on the last lap. guess how surprised i was when she made up 18 seconds on the next lap and i saw her coming around in the lead group! i never thought this was possible -- she looked calm and collected and was just kickin' ass and takin' names. i was screaming like a mad woman and was getting lots of weird looks from everyone around me jumping around and hollering down that hill. on two to go, one woman from the lead group (a CRC-Hill rider) had broken away up the hill with a sizable gap. Then it was Michiko, a webcor rider, and another unattached rider battling it out for 2nd-4th. I know Michiko can descend like its her job, and on the bell lap it was just her and Webcor rider with a small gap on the other unattached woman. Final sprint to the finish and Michiko was cooking it and I thought she had her, but not quite. An impressive third place--- battling it back from well over a one minute gap and then still having juice to sprint to the finish! What grit!!

this is michiko and strawberry shortcake going up a hill at an earlier date, not yesterday.

After the race Michiko took team unattached moto: "cool down, schmool down." Instead we had a little picnic on the parking lot concrete. (Peaches and fig newtons.) She is very intelligent and contemplative and waited a long time to get her "prize", for she knew that if they ran out of small t-shirts, Velo Promo would give her $10 instead. Yes, yes. She got her $10, we got lunch, then watched surfers, and then drove home planning our strategy for taking over the world.....errrr, women's 4 peleton. An impressive and exciting race to say the least!

Friday, August 24, 2007

honk honk thursday night quads

well i had loads of energy for today cause i didn't expend too much energy wednesday night. nole drove me down and got me all pumped up with his sweet dj-ing. blah blah blah the race started...and suddenly i realized i made an attack at lap 67 or 68 and was riding solo. usually you think about these things...but i didn't really think much-- suddenly i just found myself making moves and realizing what i did after. it was like a higher state of consciousness....except my higher state is kind of moronic. anyway, obviously a breakaway on lap 67 or 68 ain't gonna hold...but, i was all pumped up from that music and was so ready to r-a-c-e (unlike yesterday where i was more of a race observant!). anyway, first several points laps (60, 50, 40) i didn't go for too hard, and got 4th or 3rd. then i knew i needed to work, so lap 30 i got 3rd...lap 20 didn't do so hot but got 4th cause we were chasing a break that we caught at the line to steel the points. i knew i needed some big points, cause i was just getting 1 or 2 points. so with 12 to go i made a break and held it to get first on lap 10. that was sweet. i think at that point i was in 2nd place...but i needed to score well in the final sprint for sure. with 3.5 to go a fast guy pulled off the front of our pace line. i figured if i attacked there, i could get a gap. well, actually, i didn't think too much, it just kinda happened...but that is my reflection on the matter. anna was behind me and i was hoping she'd let me go. i had a pretty good gap, but a little more than 1.5 laps later they bridged up to me. i pulled up to get a draft for the final lap. then some guy cut in kinda close at the banking on the beginning of the last lap. things were a little sketch and larry yelled at us to be safe. so i eased back so not to hit someone, thus missing the break away to the finish, so no points on the final lap where i needed points, but also no broken bones!!! i ended up with 4th - so that was cool. 2nd place only had 1 point more. amanda got second-- she had a sweet race and did a really great job at positioning. kudos!! i need to position myself like her cause i know i was taking some big pulls and bridging lots of the gaps for the field. but, i was pretty happy with how quick i reacted to breaks that were coming from up track- i felt pretty good seeing them beforehand. i was also happy with how i was pulling off and getting back in the paceline. our group stayed together for the most part, so i figured out how to steel wheels and get back in position 4 or 5, instead of drifting back to 10 or 11. all in all, sweet day of racing and i'm not too pooped, so that is great!

here are some photos from last week.

this is me hurting lots, last week.

me wondering how big those LGBRC guy's quads are.

this is sabine and her 62.5cm quads!!!

(thanks mike for letting me steal these picutres of last week from your blog so mine isn't so boring with just text.)

before i get to my quads, i want to say something peter bohl said to me last night. (awesome guy who rides the moto for us!)
you got good legs, good heart, but no back. you need a back to sprint.
there we have it. my back sucks.

now for the quads. very sorry i dropped the ball yesterday. i am quite surprised HOW MANY PEOPLE are asking me about my weekly measurements. i am glad you all care. of course you do, you have all seen me in my underwear. here we go-- 61.5cm
whooooooo! (i was 60.75 for the last two weeks.) this is still 1cm less than Sabine's impressive 62.5cm!!! What were you today?! Bigger?!?!?!

A note on quad measurement. It is sometimes deceptive. For instance, Julie Grenshaw measured and she was a solid 58cm. then she measured right after her race on friday night, thinking that she would be bigger after her muscles swelled...but in fact, she was at 56cm.
Several things could account for this:

1. human error in measuring.
2. unexpected growth/shrinking of muscles during different times of day, or after different workouts.

to address point 1-- i think it is important to measure 3 times and keep measuring to be for sure if you have big discrepancies. so, for example. tonight i measured and got 58cm, was a bit confused. then i measured again and got 64cm. then i got serious and measured 4 more times, all within the 61-62 centimeter range. so, please measure several times to ensure accuracy.

as to point 2-- that is why WEEKLY measurements are important. it does no good for someone to be all macho and measure 68cm some random day in july and then never measure again. consistent measuring on a weekly basis is key. just as consistency in a training program are valuable, so to is consistency in quad measurements. i suggest measuring at the same time of day. from now on (because wednesday nights are over), i will be measuring on thursday nights after the points races-- which is several hours after i race. perhaps my quads are bigger/smaller at different times of the week. however, this is my baseline. your number compared to others isn't as important as the changes found over time.... although, we all love to shit-talk about quad sizes...which, i feel is way more classy than shit-talking about placement in racing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

wednesday night - out with a bang!

and by that i mean i got the bang. poopy. that is okay, fun was had by all and that means i won't feel like ass-wipe tomorrow like i did last week. i was pumped cause fred came out to the track to watch! that was sweet cause he hasn't seen me since when he took me out for beginner session. i was hoping to do great for him, but oh well. i did have one great race, so that was good at least!

Chariot Race- Round one was poopy. Fred gave me a puny push. He may be 64, but he takes Geritol, so I know he can push better. (Yeah, yeah, excuses excuses... I should have accelerated more). Oh well. For the consolation, I was ready. I got Peter to be my pusher. While he may be older than Fred (?), Peter was giving some mighty good pushes. He was also growling at me when he was holding me. Yeah, that is what I like- some growls! Boy, I was ready to kick that consolation round in the ass. Except that didn't happen cause someone cut in on me right when we started before the white line and I had to back pedal to ease up. Bummer. I know that is not allowed, but I don't think she knew. That is okay. No accidents, that is what is important! So I was way back, but I did make up some good ground on the backstretch. Oh well, next race.

Win 'n Out- Well this was a bit poopy too cause I got a little nervous when some weird stuff was happening around me. On the ups me and Karla bumpty bumped and all was good! On the downs, I picked bad wheels and didn't place. Next race. (Didn't I say that last time? Ooops!)

Tempo- I like this race. Everyone thinks I am crazy for liking it. What isn't to like-- lots of sprints and fastness the whole f-ing time! Well, it started waaay fast when those MV dudes kicked it like it was their job on lap one. Gareth flew around and I knew I wouldn't be close to getting points. Patience, patience. It is 8 laps and I was hoping they coudln't hold it. Lap 3 the pack split up and people were dropping, including those hard pushers from the gun. Lap 4 (i think?) I went for points cause I realized I could. I think I got 2nd, so 1 point. (I am hazy on the points, though). Then I made a break and got first on the next lap. Then the lap after that I was holding that break like a champion. I either got 1st or 2nd on that lap. I may have done good on the lap after that, but then I was toast and cruised in on lap 8. This was sweet race for me. I don't know how many points I got or what place I came in, but I rode smart and strong, so that was excellent!

Miss 'n Out- Cause I always blow myself at the back, i thought i'd try my hand at the front. I did that for the first half of the race. Then I found myself at the back again. I nipped some people, got down to 7 or so, then I totally didn't time my kick well and didn't get it. That was dumb of me cause usually when I get out in this race it is cause i am tired and can't sprint anymore...but i had lots more in me for sure, I just didn't time myself properly. Oh well. As Courtney says, "everyone is a winner in the miss 'n out!" But I am happy to report that Alicia totally rocked the house on this race. I am also happy to report that Alicia and I are going to do the team sprint together, so hopefully we'll rock at that too!

Well, one great race, one okay race, 2 poopy races. I am feeling not so exhausted...not exhausted like last Wedneday - my god i thought i was going to die i was tired last week from those kierins! So, I think I will be in better form for the looong points race tomorrow. Well, I hope I will be in better form!

me on the fence with julie, from last week. she wasn't there to kick my ass this week, but i bet she will be there tomorrow at the points race to kick my ass. can't wait!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

pictures from last wednesday

thanks jason for the pictures of the kierin from last wednesday!

heat 1 moto

heat 1 finish

heat 2 after moto pulled off- real sweet picture!

heat 2 finish

Sunday, August 19, 2007

riding with an old friend literally.

i was very excited today cause i got to ride with fred! it was just like old times. i hadn't ridden with fred in many, many months cause of my schedule with my races, and because he usually pulls one of two excuses: 1) arthritis, 2) fish tanks. (even if he says #1, i know it is really because he is tinkering around with his fish.)

for some background for my new readership....i met fred a year ago in april/may. he found me riding an old 10-speed clunker up redwood road. at that moment he decided i was going to race bikes, because of my impeccable biking form swerving all over the road and my great ability to shift gears.
fred: you might want to shift gears
beth: okay (proceed to move tube shift lever all the way down 5 gears)
fred noticed my natural ability right away; who wouldn't?! anyway, long story short is fred is the best-- period! he has helped me so much--talking me into buying a real road bike....helping me buy the bike....and then when i couldn't figure out how to use those clipless pedals, he took me to a parking lot and helped me learn to clip in and out, etc....and last summer and fall fred helped me lots and lots teaching me how to balance, ride straight, turn...ya know all those simple things you were supposed to learn as a little kid riding a bike...(but, alas, i had a very sad childhood in ohio, living on a state route w/ no biking). in addition to teaching me to ride a bike, helping me train, and providing endless mechanical support-- he also told me you can race bikes on a track!!! who knew?!?! i was very excited cause i use to run track. he took me down for my first beginner session in november and i was hooked!

anyway, fred recently said he'd help me out the next couple of sundays to get ready for the district/state track meet, as i have no clue what i am doing. training with fred is always fun and amusing, as i often get some funny stories about bike racing in belgium and wrestling on the cobbles after races. his advice is always great, as he tries to explain what to do with analogies--which are priceless, yet sometimes confusing and contradictory:
"Ride big, like a German. Rrrrr"
"Float through the pack with grace like Patty Kline. She rides like a gazelle"
"Leap like a leapord!"
"Like a praying mantice, ride like that up a hill."
"Like a cat walking through tall grass."
etc., etc.
Gazelle....German....Praying Mantice....?

Anyway, today we rode to the port of Oakland and he had a very good time yelling at me and telling me how he can't wait until I am done with track so he can kick my ass going up hills, as i haven't gone up any hill other than the banking at Hellyer in a couple of weeks. The last time we went up hills together, was on that tandem...and we all know how much i loved that.

Friday, August 17, 2007


that about sums up the thursday night points "race." for me, it was more like the thursday night points "workout." in that sense, i had an awesome workout-- not so awesome of a race-- but awesome workout! perhaps i was a bit tired from yesterday, but really i was just out of my league. period. that lead group was faaast! wooo!!!

i didn't go for points on the first bell lap, cause larry said don't go for points on the first lap. but i think when he told me that, he meant to add in that i should also stay really, really close to the people who did go for points so they don't get too far ahead. well, they got ahead. but don't worry, i saw them again & again when they'd lap. i have no clue how many times i got lapped. 3? each time i'd try to get on their wheels, hang for a little while, then it'd be my "turn" to pull (...which i probably should have passed on...) and then i'd get dropped trying to get back on after my crappy pull. then i'd suck some wind for a really long time or try to mitigate misery with sabine and jonathan...and then we'd get lapped again-- repeat. the downs on getting lapped is you got lapped... the ups, though, are that you get to do one less lap! when you are suffering like we were, that is great news! getting lapped actually kinda rocks. that means a 70 lap points race was really a 67 lap race (or 66 or 52....okay, not that few!) . So, while I felt demoralized for 1/2 second when I got lapped, mostly I thought of the positives, that being one less lap and a draft for a little while til I get dropped again.

Well, that is about all there is to say - a great workout for sure and I know if I keep doing that every week I'll definitely have much better endurance! better endurance for.... off season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

weird coffee house, wednesday night race, and wednesday quad update

at 2:45 today the power went out at work. some people were annoyed cause they had "really important things to do"- but for real, c'mon, i work in academia- pushing paper isn't exactly urgent. the power outage was fun - people actually talked to each other. they said the power wouldn't come back on until 4:30! i left -- it felt like a snow day! i drove to san jose early to beat traffic and found a coffee shop by driving around near hellyer park-- it was on tully & senter. it was the weirdest coffee shop ever. a description really won't do-- so i urge you if you are in the area, stop by dolce espresso 2078 tully rd. you won't regret it.

i walked in what i thought was a coffee shop, but seemed more like some electro-techno dance club. the dance mix was blaring. i ordered iced coffee, and it was a viatnamese iced coffee-- so i got really wired because i am pretty caffeine sensitive to begin with. anyway, there were about 20 or so "computers" in the place...i soon found out they were those games like you find in dive bars, some that had gambling on them. i put a dollar in and played a few rounds of some game called mega fish. anyway, i spent 2 hours in this empty place over stimulated from the electro-mix and coffee. it was weird, man. you gotta check this place out. anyway, onto the races...

Kierin- I like this race a lot. Mostly because I did well. I have a pretty long sprint and shitty ass jump, so this seems perfect for me. I was in the pole both times-- so that meant I took the motor. This is sometimes a hard spot to be when the bike pulls off...but i think much better than being at the back- at least for my strength. anyway, the first round i decided i would jump really hard after the motor pulled up, hopefully making a gap so the people behind me wouldn't suck my wheel and come around me. this worked...a little too well, as i won by several bike lengths and got myself more tired than i needed to. i didn't need to win by so much, cause it was a qualifier-- but i didn't know how close people were too me. i didn't want to look behind my shoulder while going so fast, especially if someone was right there. Anyway, this qualified me for the finals....In the finals, i again got the pole! I figured I'd try my same technique, although i knew it would be harder cause there were faster people in my heat, as it was the finals... anyway, i was pretty surprised that when i was starting the turn before the finish no one was coming around... i was just drilling as hard as I could...but woe is me, julie came around me on the last straight away to take the win. happy i held it off for so long, though. i think i need to work on that thing called "the second kick", which i don't have.

this is me behind peter. he told me i have puny arms.

Scratch- 6 laps. I was pretty tired after those kierins. i totally sucked balls on this race. i decided i was going to stay on Julie's wheel cause she knows how to move around well and I wanted to see what she was doing. This worked well for most of the race, then she attacked way up track. I should have been on it, as I was on her wheel at that point - but sucked. Anyway, I made up my goof and was in okay position, but then my last 1.5 laps stunk -- not being aggressive enough in my position and getting pushed back. I didn't place- maybe i came in 7th. I was unhappy with this race--mostly cause i was pretty weak sauce moving around in the pack and claiming position. I definitely need to work on my comfort moving around in close quarters.

Miss 'n Out- I nearly missed this race cause I was an idiot. I also nearly got out on lap 1 and 2, cause I was trying to catch up from taking the last position on the wall. Luckily, I got my shit together. Anyway, I was doing the usual, coming up from the back....which is perhaps because I didn't want to get boxed in, and perhaps because I need work on my maneuvering.... Anyway, at 5 people left, they were going to race for places-- but I was the 6th person out. No points. I was not happy with myself, because I let this happen last week, as I was the 4th person out when we raced for 3. I wasn't accelerating well in this race and didn't put it down where it mattered.

20 lap points. This was pretty quick, I scored no points, hung in the pack, but made no moves, and subsequently didn't score shit. I wasn't even in point contention. I wasn't maneuvering well and wasn't in good position. The last lap, I still had stuff in me so I bridged up, but could only get that was no points.

The night started very well with a 2nd place, but I didn't do well enough to score points in the following races. I doubt I scored in the omnium. I think the big thing I took away from tonight is that I have pretty good speed and endurance, but my skills in the pack are lacking which is holding me back from making smart moves and claiming position in close quarters (also known as weak sauce). But that stuff comes with time I know- and at least I have youth on my side!

Anyway- thanks to all my friends for coming out and cheering! Lily, Miriam, Suzie, Tev, Mary, Michael, Alex, and Karin -- you are all the best! I am so happy y'all got to see me in action!

(The pictures are from last weeks race or the week before that...courtesy of Jason & Wendy's flickr! Thanks!)

Alicia, lookin' like a bad ass.

Angela, tearing it up her first wednesday night.

Anna and spinny Isabelle (get a bigger gear, girl!)

jenny madly sprinting it in for the chariot race win!


me again.

chariot races last week

....and some really old pictures from fremont crit.....thanks for these paul!

thank you sponsors.

As for the quad update--- I am at a plateau... 60.75-- no change to report. People who are measuring, please post your weekly measurements on Thursday in the comments! Michiko is keeping a running tally of our quads by week. (You should also include you helmet size and make, if you haven't done so already.) In many months, her and I will prepare some fancy graphs and bullshit time-series statistical analysis.

On other measuring news, Peter today told me my legs were strong, but my arms were wimpy for a sprinter. Yes, I do have wimpy arms. They are, though, stronger than they have ever been since I started this bike riding business. (That is pathetic I know). I am sad 28cm when my bicep is flexed. I am going to track this too.

Well, sorry for the disappointment of this long, dry, not-funny post. I deliberately tried to be boring so I can lose some readership....people, it isn't fun in my underwear everyday. Shit it is 1-am.... that stupid coffee with evaporated milk...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Q&A: quads

While I was in salt lake city, Michiko informed me that i was missing quad measuring hot topic on thursday/friday. 53 comments on Angela's blog?!?! Many questions surfaced, and i think a Q&A is in order.

Q: How do you measure your quads?
A: This is very easy. Most simply, take a tape measure and wrap around the thickest part of your leg. (See question below for further detail.) In the absence of a clothing tape measure, use a piece of string and then a hardware tape measure. This is what I do.

Step 1: Wrap a string (or cloth tape measure) around the biggest part of your quad. Pull tight. Make sure the string isn't crooked. A mirror or roommate is a good resource for this part.

Step 2: Align the end of the string on a tape measure.

Step 3: Pull string taught to see how big your quads are. Wow! 60.75cm. (I prefer to use metric because it is more exact.)

Q: What part of your quads do you measure?
A: Ahh, the question of much dispute. I don't understand why there is so much dispute! Obviously, you measure the biggest portion of your quad, so you have a bigger number! When women measure their cup size, they do so from the largest part of the breast. So too should you when measuring your quadies. Go for girth.

See the biggest part of the quad that is unexposed to the sun? That is where you measure.

Don't measure way down here! Do you want unimpressive numbers?! You will just get laughed at if you say your quads are 35cm.

Don't loosen the string to get a bigger number. You are only cheating yourself. Everyone will know if you have puny climber quads anyway.

Q: But the biggest part of my quad has fat on it; isn't that cheating?
A: No! That is dumb question. Of course there is fat in your thigh. There is also tissue, blood, and bone in your thigh. The important part is finding the biggest part of your quad and measuring it on a regular basis. You can then track how your muscle changes.

Q: Help! I don't have a tape measure. What can I do?
A: Well. Not much. I suggest borrowing one from a neighbor or friend. If that won't work, find a large cylinder object in your house that you can compare your quad next to on a weekly basis.

I won this energy drink at the timpani crit. I have not used energy drink yet, but it does serve as a good comparison of my quad size. This container is 40cm. My quads are 60.75 cm.

Q: Wait, I'm lost. Why exactly do you measure your quads again?
A: It is a good way to track your progress, week by week. You can see your muscles grow and shrink during the season. Also, if you measure each season, you can see what adjustments in your training program did to your muscle growth. Not that I have a training program, but if I did, I am sure this would be cool to know....

Mostly, though, it is great to brag about your strong quadies. I love nothing more than talking about my strong legs. Your friends love to hear about your muscles. They like it when you pull down your pants to show them your strong quads and new muscle definition. Or when you make them grab your legs in public to feel your strong muscles. Friends and strangers love touching your strong legs. You bike a lot- let them touch! We can all be winners here.
Random Friend: Beth, I haven't seen you in months! What's been going on?
Beth: Well, I've been biking a lot.
Random Friend: Really? Cool. How are you doing?
Beth: Great! Want to feel my quads? They are really strong! [Beth flexes her quads and makes random friend do the two handed leg grasp. Sometimes this is awkward]
Random Friend: Whoa. Those are really muscular.
Beth: Yeah. Want to see all the lines separating the different muscles in the quad? [Beth pulls down pants to show random friend the muscles.]
Random Friend: uhh, cool. I gotta go ...
This is what your friends get to see when you pull down your pants for them to show them your strong muscles. It's a big hit at dinner parties.

Q: Beth, help! My quads are getting so big my jeans don't fit! Should I change my training to get more "normal quads"?
A: First, congratulations on your quad growth! Second, HELL NO! Huge quads are awesome! So what if your pants are a little tight. In fact, my pants have gotten so tight since I started biking, I think I should go back to junior high school. What you should do if you have tight jeans is the following:

Squat. Do lots of squats in your jeans. This loosens them up.

Q: But don't squats make my quads bigger, and thus, my jeans tighter?
A: Touche.... But that is the genius of the squat. It makes your jeans looser in the time-being and your quads actually get bigger in the long run. Squat away, baby.

Q: A lot of cyclists are on strict diets...especially those climbers. What is your nutritional program to make your quads so friggin' big?

A: I am so glad you asked! In my short experience as a biker, I've discovered cyclists can be a little whaaaaaack-ooooo about their weight. In this wise words of Mike Fox-Boyd, my track & field captain when I was a freshmen in college:
You gotta eat to compete!
That really says it all. Quad growth requires calories. Lots of them. I eat all the time. I finish all my roommates food that they can't finish; I eat all their leftovers; I eat everything in the house. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night to eat. My friends say I get a crazy look in my eyes like I don't know when I am going to eat again. It is good to live with people who aren't cyclists because you can eat all of their food. For those people who are in two-cyclist households...well, I bet you are both too skinny and have relationship issues over someone eating more than their fair share of food. In short, I suggest finding roommates or a partner who doesn't have a big appetite.

Q: Okay. But what about your diet? What foods make your quads grow?
A: As you might have guessed, protein is key. As is calories, like I discussed above. I can't bother myself with diets or good foods or bad foods. When you eat as much as I do, you will definitely be getting 10 times your daily recommended whatever in every category. In this case, quantity really out does quality. Calories calories calories. Here are some thing, though, that can help quad growth.

Protein powder. To be honest, this shit isn't mine. I think it is nasty; I don't really use it. But I hear it is high in protein. The only time I really used it was when i fucked up my teeth so bad I couldn't eat solid foods for two weeks. But, protein powder is a quick way to get lots of protein. They also have stupid names like: "Whey to go!" or "Show me the Whey!" Gag me. Just drink it fast to pound back that protein.

Peanut butter. Yeah. This is what I'm talking about. I am a vegetarian, so I like to eat lots of peanut butter. It is good in all forms, especially spoon in the jar. Your roommates might get mad at you for eating all the peanut butter in two days...but don't let that make you stop eating. Blame it on your quads. They need it.

Maybe quad girth is genetic. I am half Hungarian. That means I eat paprika, sour cream, and dumplings a lot. I suggest trying this diet to make your quads big like mine.

As I discussed above, caloric intake is key to quad growth. Sometimes your jaw gets tired from eating so much. In those circumstances, try to drink your calories. Beer is a good option. Steel Reserve is by far one of the worst cheap beers. Don't use this. (Personally, of the cheap beers, I like Shaeffer. But I am from Ohio, and they don't have it out here). There are many fine microbrews in California. Dark beers are very good for you because, in addition to lots of calories for quad growth, they also have lots of vitamins and minerals. I suggest Boont Amber Ale if you are trying to make your quadies biggers.

This is healthy food. This is good for digestion. It is also good for rabbits. But you need more than vegetables to get big quads!

Chocolate. In all forms. In fact, the Austrialian sprinting coach makes his sprinters get big quads by giving them chocolate cake between intervals. If it works for the Aussie's, it works for me!

Nutella. Better known as, the breakfast of champions. Before I go on long rides, I like to eat nutella and toast as a dessert to my breakfast. Dessert is always good cause it give you more calories. Just because it is breakfast doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have dessert. I am all about eating ice cream, cake, pie, and/or cookies for breakfast.
Q: Oh, but I just can't eat that kind of stuff before I go on bike ride.
A: Bullshit. If you are so friggin' tough you can go ride 120 miles and climb up mount diablo twice, i think you can eat two stupid pieces of cherry pie and ice cream for breakfast. Your body can be trained to eat things like this for breakfast, just like you can train it to peddle for hours on end.
Well, I hope that Q&A helped with information on how to measure quads, why we measure, what we can do to get bigger quads. If anyone has any further questions, please ask and I will happy to provide further assistance.