Wednesday, July 30, 2008

alicia's bout of confidence

alicia sent this to me wednesday afternoon. yeah, that pretty much sums up the wednesday night races.

i will write more tomorrow, promise.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

finish line

for those of you who like math, romance, and thanks joe!

Monday, July 28, 2008

keirin bribery!

from michiko: "my people have paved the way for me to go to london and its greater region of fancy euro cities in 4 years."

and all i have to say is: that was the best spent $3mil in cycling promotion to date! now let's throw in another $3mil and get the women's keirin next!

also pretty ironic that BBC "uncovered" this issue...considering it is a brit that is a favorite in this event....

from cyclingnews:

Did keirin bribe its way into the Olympics?

Keirin has been part of the Olympic Games since 1996. Documents given to the BBC suggest that $3m (£1.5m) was paid by organisers of a Japanese cycling event to the Cycliste Internationale (UCI) - the world cycling body.

According to the BBC then-president Hein Verbruggen denied any wrong doing.

The payments were allegedly made in the 1990s. The event was supported for inclusion into the Games by the UCI, and admitted in 1996.

Keirin is a big event in Japan and also involved a lot of money. Fans can bet on the riders like in horse racing.

In the 1980s keirin was added to the world track championships organised by the UCI. Set to be dropped from the Worlds after the 1992, keirin celebrated a remarkable turnaround. Four years later it was part of the Olympics.

With Japan having a lot of money from the money making keirin events, there is some question about how much influence Japanese officials took on the UCI.

Cyclingnews will have more on the story as it unfolds.

BBC Article

Velonews Article
UCI Press Release

Sunday, July 27, 2008

alicia returns and god-awful sf film festival review

alicia is back! she has returned from her month long bike tour in italy! highlights included riding on the interstate and nearly getting stuck in croatia with border control.

as i haven't seem my homegirl in a long time, we had plans to have dinner and then go to the sf bike film festival on saturday night.

i hadn't been on my around town bike in a long time. i mean really long time. i probably should have checked it out before riding on it. upon getting to the bart station to meet alicia, i had discovered three interesting things about my bike: 1) my tires definitely hadn't been inflated in probably five months. (i just pumped them up today, realizing i was rockin' out at 30psi). 2) my seat was about 2 inches too low, which made pedaling kind of interesting. 3) my rear brake definitely didn't work. my front brake essentially didn't work. i could kinda slow and skid to a stop with my feet.

other things that i knew previously included: i can't shift into my big ring, cause i removed a link or two on the chain awhile back...and have neglected to get a new chain. and definitely my derailleur needs adjusting cause there is a pleasant scraping sound when i shift into my big cog. and, that bike just makes a lot of noise. it really amazes me that two short years ago i could ride that bike 40 miles in the hills. i was totally a tough chick back then!

anyway, alicia has a friend who works at a restaurant in the marina, so we bike along the embarcadero over there. we got a huge feast with lots of free dessert and beer. then we realize time is getting pressed, so we need to leave for the mission.... except, neither of us really know san franicsco bike routes too well... and there is the question of how to get from the marina to the mission.

clearly the most direct path is straight up steiner. however, there are some crazy pac heights looming hills in front of us. but if we can get over them, we can head into the haight and then to the mission easy peasy. sure, perhaps a more bike friendly route would be to go ALL THE WAY back downtown--- but jeez, it is only a few steep hills. i was of the opinion that i'd rather walk a couple blocks, than have to go 3 miles out of our way. so that is what we did.

we biked up steiner. me and my 30psi, shit-ass bike did really good up steiner for quite awhile. i was quite impressed with her. then i about had a heart attack as i was approaching broadway-- but i made it to broadway. but there was one more crazy-steep block, and it just wasn't worth it. so we walked a block-- then hopped back on our bikes to cruise down the scary hills. i don't know what was worse, the up or the down. as i said, my brakes didn't exactly work. but, praise jesus, we made it to the film festival. only for me to realize i neglected to pre-buy my ticket like alicia. so, long story short, i barely squeezed my way in.

now, this is where the night got funny. thank god for alicia. cause if she wasn't there, i would have picked up a dirty razor blade from the street gutter, and begun slicing away. the shorts really were that painful. thank god for alicia's ongoing commentary. here is the recap:

  • MC- this was not a film. but there was an obnoxious MC who made up chant like we were in a junior high pep rally. this guy was such an obnoxious dude on stage i wanted to drop kick him.
  • king of skitch- hardcore nyc messenger does tricks and holds onto cars. wow. i am totally impressed. but then he tries to jump off stairs and he totals his hot yellow aerospokes and crowd cheers.
  • standing start- shitty video about uk olympic team sprint team, that shows them more on warming up on their rollers than anything else. also some pretty cheesy scenes of the main character doing the deadlift. they could have buttered him up with oil a little more. for the culmination of the "standing start" - they had it all with freeze frames in the moments leading up, so you couldn't really see anything. this video totally sucked. alicia was at her best during this one, and kept saying: "who gives the f*#@ about this guy? it's not like he is theo bos! why are they just showing them on rollers?!"
  • the tookbox- a little anime of a bicycle chain and stem moving around the floor. it was only 2 minutes long, so i won't complain much.
  • raven and the bicycle angel- i think this was supposed to be a comedy about this dude pursing this girl. except it wasn't funny. and it just went on and on and on and on.
  • wolfpack hustle: the midnight dragrace- so, this would be like if someone came to the port to video tape our street sprints. a bunch of poor form, slow sprints, that just go on and on and on, one after another, for minutes on end, with some shitty song in the background. [not that i don't love sprints at the port, but it isn't exactly film-worthy, unless someone actually decides to edit it-- not just video tape every single sprint from the same angle.]
  • fumikiri- spend a long time watching some bike tricks. except this time, the scene is japan, not nyc or la or sf. but, it all looks the same and the editing is mediocre at best.
  • mystik mood- this must have been so good i can't even recall watching it. another 4 minutes of my life gone.
  • belle epoch- finally. a good video. but that was just because this was all compiled archived films. it follows this italian cyclist from the 80s go up the alps -- whilst playing 4 musical instruments... or go up alp without handlebars! and then DOWN without handlebars or brakes! it was pretty amusing and amazing! 3 minutes in length.
  • balorda- this was some cultural piece, which must have been so good, i can't even explain to you what the point of the cultural activity was.
  • the making of the bootleg sessions v2- i guess there was a version 1. except i can't remember v1 or v2, it was so good. it was probably some pictures of dudes doing wheelies.
  • waffle bike- some dude makes a bike with sound system and then goes around sf with it and raps with little kids. maybe a cool idea, but not a cool film.
  • keirin- i wanted to like this one, but it wasn't very informative or interesting. i think i even fell asleep during it.
  • what's a girl to do- some terrible music video that made me want to cry.
  • macaframa- more tricks on bikes. this time it wasn't as terrible to watch, because the editing of the film was actually good and inventive. and i knew some of the people in it. but, about half the videos in this series of shorts showed the exact same thing, which is pretty ridiculous for a compilation.
  • lucas brunelle worldwide adventure- this was the beginning of a series of alley cat clips, that looked terrible. praise jesus alicia leaned over to me and said: "i've had enough of this cock stroking, let's get out of here." so we walked out.
that was a terrible film festival. over the course of the weekend, the bicycle film festival had 7 programs, each 2 hours in length. now, i doubt there are that many films produced each year about bikes that can create a quality independent film festival. my suggestion would be to have 1 or 2 programs, and have the quality of shorts be more than some you-tube clip. they must have just accepted everything! i cannot attest to the quality of films on friday night or saturday day time... but shit, saturday night was terrible. but alicia was pretty funny mocking it all night, so that made it all better.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

quads, scabs, and some alpenrose pictures

so michiko noted i forgot to post my quads last week. yes, i did. i also neglected to call and email her updates about the weekend, as well. last week my quads were 62.75cm on friday. i measured them at the track, and also suckered jen tripplett into measuring hers, which i cannot recall the data; however, no offense, but not so impressive. who was impressive, however, was tela crane, vanderkitten rider. she rocked out at 63-something. whoa. this week, my measurement is the same, at 62.75cm.

onto another matter...scabs. i must admit, i love picking scabs. yesterday i sat in a really pointless and awful workshop all day and spent a lot of time picking the scab on my arm, much to the disgust of the women behind me, most likely. now my arm is that pink flesh color with rippled skin. i don't know what it is about picking scabs that is so satisfying. but, i think it is that little surprise: is blood going to start shooting out? or will there be a new layer of skin? a kind of risky endeavor, as a picked scab that results in bleeding just delays the healing process...but somehow that fact doesn't matter, and i still want to peak under the scab, even if it results in me having to use my workbook page 4 to stop the bleeding. well, now everyone thinks i am officially gross. c'est la vie.

and now for some more alpenrose pictures.....

thank you rob for snapping all weekend!

yeah, the orange arm warmers did come out. unfortunately, they clash a little bit. saturday morning was COLD. thank god i brought my arm/knee warmers. i thought just like marzio did when packing: "you told me to pack light!" so he left his knee warmers at home. i thought the same thing, but thankfully tossed them in at the last minute.

me and cece. in the miss 'n out, maybe?

this is me checking out all those people behind me...over my left shoulder. interesting....

and this is me sometime on sunday. i know it was sunday because i wore those socks on sunday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

alpenrose challenge...a long, dry, play-by-play of my weeeknd

how can i possibly sum up my weekend at alpenrose?


(for those of you who have ridden there, you know what i mean. for those of you who haven't, i have a hard time explaining. not really a rubbing/saddle sore pain-- but more of a pressure pain.)

the proman ladies asked me to be a guest rider for them over the weekend. it was a real big honor and i was pretty excited to feel all official in a real team kit. i was also really excited to see what it was like to ride with teammates, and was hoping to be helpful in the races... actually, i was a bit confused of how i could actually be helpful to shelley olds, considering i can't even suck her wheel for half a lap... but the whole idea of having her as teammate for a couple of races was kinda reminiscent of my favorite cheap trick song: "i want you to want me."

i went up to portland a couple of days early to hang out with my adorable nieces and to get field for the track, as i heard it was kind of funky.

wednesday afternoon i went to the track. alpenrose is open all the time, so you can hop on it whenever. except that can be a bit eerie by yourself. the track is scary to look at when you are all alone. i had a minor heart palpitation. then i got on and rolled around on the pole for five minutes. then i got some guts and went to the stayers line for 5 minutes. no problem. then i started the "ribbon drill"-- where you sweep up and down the whole bank on the track in a zig-zag. well, on the second swoop up i was suddenly sliding down. my rear wheel must have given out. got scraped up. ripped my new proman shorts. and shredded my bar tape. i guess i was under the minimum speed. i later got reprimanded from all the masters guys: "why on earth did you do the ribbon drill! you don't do that on this track!"

anyway, the point it is freaked me out. i had a minor breakdown and freak out session. i allotted myself five minutes for this. then i got back on and rode around the pole lane for awhile longer. some other women showed up about fifteen minutes later and i pace lined with them for a bit. luckily i was wearing sunglasses so they couldn't see my bloodshot eyes. i rolled around some more and i couldn't make it higher than the stayers line, though. i was planning on doing a bunch of fast efforts to get used to the track, but i just couldn't get above 60-70 percent. i stood up once for a second and my bike started making all sorts of noises i had never heard before, so i sat right back down. finally, i left. i think i spent about an hour out there.

i was pretty upset at that point. crashing by yourself on the track cannot bode well for a weekend full of mass start races. especially a field full of some of the best riders in the country. i was really freaked about crashing everyone out and losing control.

matt martinez met me the next morning at 9 at the track. he was really kind and offered to help me out and get used to it. he made me feel better and told me a bunch of stories of other people falling their first time on the track because of the minimum speed. we spent the next three hours there- first getting comfortable riding at different parts of the track. then practicing being at speed sprinting around the corner. working on the 200m line. and then some standing starts. it was so helpful and i felt a lot better on the track. i was pretty pooped after it. ideally, wouldn't want such a hard workout the day before three days of racing, but it was really necessary so i could get a feel for things and gain back an ounce of confidence.

friday i just had the 500m. my warm-up for this was okay, but not great. i had a hard time getting my jumps in. the track was really busy, and anytime i'd get up on the rail and out of turn three, where i was going to start my jump, it was crazy below me, and i got nervous about maneuvering through it all. i got a couple in, but never at a good effort, as i was really nervous passing people in the turns, as i was uncertain about how things handled on the track. people said not to compare times for the TTs, as the track was weird. had a 41.6, which i really wasn't happy with, but other people seemed to think that was okay. the TT starts out of turn 2. i wasn't comfortable staying standed through the turn, as they were so sharp, so i sat down. i probably should have tried to stay up longer to get more on my gear, or stood up again out of the turn in the straight away... but i didn't know until i watched other people who went after me. i was happy that i kept it in control in the turn...and never swung up really high or anything.

that day i also found out there were so many women registered, they were separating the 1/2 women from the 3s for the mass start events (scratch, miss n out, points). the sprints & keirin would all be together. so that meant i wouldn't be racing with shelley and kelly. i was a bit bummed, just cause i was excited to see what team stuff was like. but i was also a bit relieved, as i was so anxious about riding on the track already, and things would be a bit more maneuverable and manageable with smaller field sizes.

200m TT was first. it was cold. really really cold. it took awhile to warm-up. i was pleasantly surprised that i felt more comfortable riding on the track than i did the day before. and i got some good jumps in, and was less tentative and chicken-shit in my warmup efforts. this seemed to make a big difference in my effort. i had a good windup and rode my 200 line well. time was super slow, 14.2 again, people seemed to think this was good...but shit, it was more than a second slower than my last 200. i guess everyone's times were slow. there were 26 people in the tournament. i was nervous i wasn't going to make it in the tournament, as only 12 were going in. but, i had the 8th fastest time! the thing is, 8 through 15 were only separated by .12 i was really, really lucky!

round one of the sprints was a three up. i was seeded against monique sullivan, canadian national champ, who had a 12.9 200m. of course i knew i'd get smoked, which i did. but it was pretty cool. it is one thing to watch someone super fast and be amazed. it is a totally new level of appreciation, having someone super fast jump around me with absolutely no effort and instantaneously have a 15m gap, while i was going as fast as i could. as i said, a whole new appreciation that i could never have by just watching her.

next i had the round 1 rep round. it was a 4-up. i can't remember who all was in this heat other than kelly murdin. i ended up leading out the sprint. in the final straight away i was holding it off still! right at the line though, kelly murdin nipped me be a couple inches. i was a bit bummed, because it would have been cool to be in the top 6...but, i rode that race as hard as i could have and just got beat by a tiny bit. it felt pretty good knowing i was as close as i was to making it to round 2.

then we had a little break.

warmed up more to get ready for the afternoon session. this warmup, i felt even better and wasn't getting queezy riding at the rail, like i was the previous couple of times.

first race was the 7-10 final, 4-up. it was 5 lap race. this was by far my worst race of the day. for a couple laps i was riding on the stayers line and everyone else lined up the pole. the pace slowed down and i got nervous that my speed was going to be too slow. it is never good to be preoccupied thinking about minimum speed during a race, but that was it. i ended up leading out the sprint and not fast enough of a clip...and got passed by all in the end. i rode stupid and i knew it. anyway, i ended up 10th in the sprints.

next race was a 5 mile scratch race. it was a pretty fun race. i made a good attack at the beginning and got a big gap, got sucked back in. then, as i was recovering in the back, another attack went off with a group of three. a waited a bit to see if the pack was going to suck it back, but they were getting further away, so i attacked from the back and bridged up to the breakaway. the four of us worked pretty well together. we were shortly joined by a fifth, and we ended up lapping the field. so glad i bridged up! i wasn't in the best position with two to go, and had to move around a bunch, and with one to go was further back than i wanted, so i had to go real wide around turn 3/4, but the straight away is pretty long, so i was able to sprint up to second place. that was pretty sweet.

matt martinez found me a partner for the team sprint. a woman lynn with an awesome start. i think awesome was an understatement. unfortunately, i was not so awesome in my start. i don't know exactly what happened, but for some dumb reason i got out of my saddle at "3" instead of "2" and this threw my center of gravity way when the "go" beep went, my weight was all in the wrong place, and i basically didn't move at all. and lynn just launched forwarded like a bullet. i really tried to catch back on, but after turn 2, she had about 20m on me (AMAZING I KNOW!) and i ended up doing 2 full laps solo. OUCHIE! but, i think even if i had the best start of my entire life, i would have been gapped by a ton...but maybe i would have at least been able to catch back on. really, really need to work on my start more.

wow. what a day. the host family we were staying with were awesome and had a huge potluck for us. it was so so nice. they had a bunch of their neighbors over, so i got to meet a bunch of people from beaverton and learn all about stuff in their community. it was really fun chatting with some of the neighbors.

damn. i can't believe it was another day. i was tired! warmed up okay and got ready for the keirin.

my first heat i got bumped out of second wheel cause i was a big sissy, so i moved into spot three. here, because the track is smaller, the moto pulls off before 2 to go. with the last lap of the moto, someone moved up next to spot two and moved the girl in front of me out. i got on the new girl's wheel, which was better because the other girl was fading. this is where i made my mistake, because with one to go i was sitting third wheel and new i needed to make my move, so i started to try and come around two people. but i should have been patient, because second wheel was going to move around, and i should have just followed her, so i didn't have to swing so wide. on the backstretch, the two girls were in front of my side by side and the one came down on the other pretty hard. i jerked right a bit, not knowing if there was going to be a crash in front of me and skipped my rear wheel mid-sprint. that never happened to before, so it through me a bit off, and that split second had me miss my jump to come around. i was right behind 1 & 2, but only 1 went i knew i'd be repping anyway.

next was the miss 'n out. this race i get really anxious on. i think this was my best miss n out. for the first part i rode second wheel or so, and maneuvered in the middle of the pack. i was in danger one lap, and had to pop out the back and come around, which i did easily and then sat in the front and drilled it....riding on the red line and holding the pack high as i protected the pole lane. at one point i got a bit tired on the front, so moved to the middle for a few laps to recover. when i was in danger again, i popped around the back took a wide turn and then sprinted back to first wheel. the end of the race was a bit of disappointment for me... i was just stupid. i thought there were 3 of us and we were on our neutral lap. i knew better and should have looked over my shoulder. suddenly a few inches before the line i saw cece next to me and thought: "what? i thought there were three of us!" and then my name was called. oh well. won't make that mistake again! so i got 4th. but, i rode well up until being dumb.

the keirin rep round was my best race of the weekend hands down. i pulled position 6, and matt gave me an awesome push and i sprinted to get the moto. i wanted to start up front. the moto pulled off and i accelerated a tiny bit so no one came over. on the back stretch i was checking over my should and saw that heather vanvalkenburg was trying to jump over me. no one was on her wheel, though, so i figured i'd let her take the lead, so i could recover for a little bit and hopefully have a second jump- so long as i made sure i didn't get boxed in. on the front stretch i was still in the clear. around turn 1/2, i rode wide so the two women behind me had further to go. and in the back stretch, i made my move and put in a hard jump to come around her, which i did. i could have maybe passed a bit closer, but i was being cautious and sprinted as hard as i could around the turn and into the straight away. i didn't see anyone down the whole straight and just heard people yelling really loud and i went as fast as i could. as i passed the line, cristin walker was right next to me and i heard the announcer say it was too close and was a photo finish. i was wiped and i rolled around the warmup circle waiting for the judgment. only 1 person from the rep made it to the final of 7. i was really hoping to make it to the keirin final, but no dice. i lost by a centimeter. the man whose house we were staying with was an official and got me a copy of the official photo finish picture-- here it is. pretty cool!

i was a tiny, tiny bit disappointed i didn't make it to the finals-- cause that would have been fun. but i was really happy with my ride and don't think i would have done anything differently. i talked to some people for suggestions after the ride, and it was good to learn more about tactics, but ultimately i don't think i would have done it differently. some thought i shouldn't have given heather the lead with 1.5 to go. but i knew i was tired and if i had a draft for a tiny bit i could jump again; i knew two fast girls were behind me, and knew i couldn't lead them all out again, as i did in the 4-up the day before. (it was the same 4 of us in the sprint 7-10 race, as it was in this keirin rep). my razor was disastrous the day before because i don't think i had as much speed endurance as the other three, so when the opportunity presented itself so i could draft and then jump again, i thought that was good. heather wasn't pulling the pack with her, so i was safe in keeping second wheel. well, that was what was going through my mind in the race. however, it was good to hear a couple of people's different thoughts and i learned a lot through these conversations.

then we had our afternoon break.

i only had one race in the late afternoon session- point race. i was SO wiped at that point. my warmup, my legs felt like crap and i had nothing left. i tried to stay loose on the rollers, but i was not so optimistic. brian peterson adamentanly gave me a "go get 'em!" speech, so i had to listen because who doesn't want to be a fast and smart racer like brian peterson. our race was 30 laps with sprints every 5. the first sprint, rachel canning jumped and i tried to get on her, but legs just wouldn't move. i gapped big time, and nearly got 2nd in that first sprint, but got inched out for third. In the second sprint, rachel jumped again, and i rolled in right after her for 2nd. the third sprint was worth double, and i was a dumb-butt here in bad position and didn't even sprint. i just wasn't a dumb-butt, i was just wiped. i didn't have much left in me. but at this point i recalled brian peterson's pep talk, and decided i was going to own the next sprints on lap 10 and 5. i pretty much screwed myself over for first, but thought i could maybe second still. so on lap 12 i rode high as then pack was in the middle of the track. it was tiring staying at the rail and matching position. from the back of the pack at the rail i attacked out of turn two and got a huge gap and rode it out for two laps for 5 points then stayed away for two more laps. the pack caught me and i pulled up and was real tired, but was determined to get the win again for the next sprint, but i was going to be conservative and try to come around at the end. i rode some wheels and sprinted past rachel at the end of the straight away. at that point, i was pretty toast. i was counting my points and had 15, rachel was in the 20s. i needed to win the last sprint (and i might have had a chance to win, depending on rachel's scoring there), as it was worth double. i can't really remember much about the last two laps, but i didn't do what i needed to, and got trapped down low, so by the time i came out i didn't even score. i was kinda pissed i was stupid on both double point laps...but, i should have planned better... but, at least i had a good ten laps. i ended up with second in that race too.

all in all, a great weekend. i learned so so much through the racing and by chatting with people between racing. it was like a track racing crash course. it was cool that my mom was there and my nieces got to watch...who we super cute and kept saying: "shelley is super super super fast!!" it was awesome! i had a great time hanging out with kelly and shelley and all of the other hellyer folks who were down there! it was a real treat to be on their team for the weekend, and i really appreciated all of kelly and shelley's help and advice. also, major major major thanks to matt martinez who was my saving grace the whole weekend-- by getting me comfortable on the track and giving me advice and help before, during, and after every race. it really made me ride a lot better and helped a ton. i met a lot of really nice people and had such a fun time. i think it was a great learning experience, and even though i was still pretty nervous riding on the track at the end of the weekend, i think it did get better.

well, if you made it through, congratulations. this was pretty dry, i realize...but i had a lot wanted to process, so this was therapeutic for me, albeit not so entertaining.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

super karla kingsley

word on the street -- from one midwestern text messager [ali] to another midwesterner [me] -- is that our midwestern homegirl, karla kingsley just won race #2 at superweek. (!!!!)

dare you ask, who is karla kingsley? pshaw! (dear cyclingnews: your interview won't be nearly as excellent as mine)

everyone celebrate tonight with some pie a la mode (and pronounce that with as much nasal as possible) whoop! whoop! yay karla!

p.s. she is still awaiting that free bike and pimp wheels, from all of her fans in the silicon valley!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Powder and You: When It's Right, When It's Fright(ening)

beth: i am sitting here with my dear friend from 7th grade drinking electrolyte drinks. say hi amy.

amy: hi fans of my main squeeze, beth. isn't she great? who else would allow someone to waste lots of their sports powder on drinks when I'm just going to sit on the couch all night? That's the kinda midwestern hospitality you get when you hang out with Ms. Newell....I could go on and on, but, back to the reason for this post. A warning, really.

beth: oh amy. you are so swell! anyway, little amy had a headache, so i found this to be a good to do a blind taste test of some electrolyte drinks, for an incredibly scientific study. the variable: three electrolyte sports powders; the measurable outcome: amy's face after having a sip. two of these i had just bought, and one i had from a long time ago last year that was sitting in my room because it was too nasty to drink. [on another note, people like to ask me why i am unattached. some products are just too gross to ever product number 2]. so onto #1.

amy: like spandex to a biker, product number 1 drew me in close. i wanted more than a sip. in fact, my level of physical activity is slim to none these days (don't judge me, biking community) but this drink made me remember what it meant to be sporty. it not only fueled my muscles, but it fueled my memory.

beth: wow. that is quite an endorsement from a lard-ass like yourself. let us see about product number 2.

amy: i was helping myself to my first dose of electrolytes, when beth shoved another glass into my hand. i had to forgo glass number one of lemon-lime deliciousness for glass number two of necco nastiness. you may remember this "original" candy because it is so originally awful. imagine if you had tossed two of those wafers in a cup of water. the filmy aftertaste...well, all i can say about that least it's fat free. THAT is what my supposed friend, now principal investigator, subjected me to...where is the IRB when you need them? Milgam's subjects thought they had it bad!

beth: amy was about to bail on the experiment, but instead i mixed up another cup of lemon-lime goodness and yelled at her in a very authoritarian voice: "you may find this SHOCKING, but THE EXPERIMENT MUST GO ON, AMY." of course, she complied.

amy: Product 3 was kinda vanilla, not to be confused with the real flavor which was lemon-lime. I almost felt bad for Product 3, as if Product 1 had stolen some its impact. Yeah, Product 3 was Product 1 lite. In the world of politics or beer, that might be an insult, but in this instance, maybe you want this sort of mild sneaky water substitute.

beth: well, it probably tasted like "product 1 lite" cause i didn't mix it very strong. as i said, amy is kind of a lard-ass and she didn't need any more empty calories.

alright, so products revealed:
product 1:

product 2:

product 3:
beth: so amy, is there anything else you would like to say?

amy: to the guy in the stands on friday night who we (me and honda betsy) caught talking about this blog, i respect you and your taste in web writers. it's nice to connect with other beth newell fans. also nice? product number 1. drink on, bikers, drink on...

yay mel!

just got word my girl mel won the w4 lafayette crit! so happy!!!

i don't have a picture of her in the race, so instead i will post my favorite mel pictures, as i am part of the mel fan club.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

friday night re-cap

friday night was really and quick healing to sabina, donna, and dorit. so so sorry.

after such a bad crash, i pretty much lost motivation to race.... i spent the night practicing some things i wanted to work on and get a good workout i jumped in almost every race.
-points race...tried working on passing in turn 3/4, but realized i started passing too late. so that was a good lesson. also got some good 500m practice by doing a two lap sprint. ouch. legs felt like shit after that, and couldn't work out the kinks in the warmup, i jumped in the--
-3/4 snowball. i just sat on wheels to get some tempo work in. my legs were still crampy from that long sprint for the first half the race, but loosened up by the end, so that was good.
-reverse win 'n out- this race just got my pissed, as we only had 5 people, so it was just a long track stand session. i got out first and won a free beer. thanks jen!
-1/2/3 reverse win 'n out- jumped in this one, considering our race was not a race...rode wheels the best i could, and prayed to jesus i didn't do anything to piss off the big boys. having an 84" gear is probably not adequate when riding with this group! yowee!!
-3/4 scratch race- only 5 laps. only four of us in the race. jumped one lap to go to lead out sprint and got passed by everyone in turn 3/4...but a good workout, nonetheless.
-1/2/3 miss 'n out- rode the neutral lap and then was the first one out, obviously.

well, no good results and lots of mistakes made...but some good stuff learned and got some good training in before portland. eeeeeek! so nervous!

here is my suicide move in the points race, with two to go. at least it made for a sweet picture! and i would like to point out to all how close i am to the black line. thank you mnorri for snapping this at during this time.

thank you jen for the beer! it was definitely worth it to lose!

Friday, July 11, 2008

quad measuring all around

it has been brought to my attention that courtenay is now measuring her quads. and now her many triathlete blogger friends are also looking into this great past-time.

nothing makes me happier than a spreading fad; however, i believe the whole point has been lost. huge quads are awesome!!! nothing makes me sadder than seeing numbers in the 40s..... quad shrinkage should never be the goal. courtenay, for you & your readerships' review-- please refer to this old post on how/why we measure our quads. i believe the esprit de corps of the competition is expressed quite well.

this week, i am rocking out at 62.75cm.

but, really, what do i know? apparently garret lau thinks i'm fat.

on other note, friday night racing is tonight. i need to be sure to drink lots of water today, cause crying loads last night doesn't do loads for the hydration!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Repentance....a story of an international (i.e. calvanist) omnium

the international omnium is perfect for those who thrive on negativity. that is, negative incentives and punishment. me, i am not only a protestant, but i am midwestern, and i went to a liberal arts college. all of these things mean i thrive on negative feedback.

you see, in a typical omnium you are scored based on doing well. positive incentives. 5 points for first, 3 for second, etc. etc. if you totally suck at one race, it doesn't really matter for your overall placing. being 6th versus 26th virtually makes no difference in the overall scoring. you are rewarded for doing well, solely.

in an international omnium -- which i believe we should refer to as the calvanist omnium -- you are punished for sucking. 6th versus 26th means a 20-point dock. so, maybe you are in the scratch race and get boxed in. you know what happens for cruising in with the pack? instead of just getting forgotten with the masses [and in larry nolan's list of "Also"'s -- those people who didn't score, but still showed up on Tuesday night] you get royally docked and screwed over in your point total. the only atonement being this: win every other race to make up for your mistakes. that is, if your mistake wasn't too big, otherwise you will burn in hell!

yeah, calvinist onmium, i can dig this. i got enough midwestern guilt built up to fill lake erie-- so i was totally ready to meet the challenge of "being on" for every race...or else succumb myself to excessive flagellation for the next two weeks. (of course martin luther gave that up when i guess he technically became a protestant, but the essence lives on, my friends!)

so we started off with a flying 200m and i will spare readers the technical talk, but i had a personal best, so i was pretty stoked. being new is always fun, cause i just keep getting faster and faster each time i do it...and that of course won't last i am just going to enjoy it while it does. hurrah! i got first in this, with 13.08.

the scratch race rolled along pretty slow, but i was not so into attacking a bunch because i was nervous about that pursuit coming up and knew i'd need to save it for that. so, if it came down to a field sprint, all the power to me, because i was feeling pretty good about my sprinting, especially after that 200m. the jumped happened really late, and i had to drop back and get around the pack as i was not in a great spot. but i chased down annabelle and got first again, just at the line, so that was cool. also good i didn't waste a lot of energy in this race.

then we had the pursuit. ahhhhhhhhhhh. i was a bit nervous about this. mostly cause i am fat sprinter, so that means i can't pursuit. so i did what any person in my predicament would do. let air out of all my competition's tires when they weren't looking. just kidding. not classy.... but i did ask BJM how the hell you do these things and he gave me some advice about "floating" or something like that. now, after having finished the 2k, let me tell you, there is no "floating" involved. floating occurs on a raft or inter-tube while drinking beer. not pursuits.

so, anyway, i asked hernando to yell me my splits, and shit man, they just kept getting slower and slower and slower. i finished feeling pretty defeated. then hernando tells me, "i was just fuckin' with you, with those splits." i guess i was actually kinda even. but, that was a good thing, cause it made me think about trying to speed up every lap, and otherwise i bet i would have slowed down. i love the mental games! 4 us were within 1.5 seconds-- which is crazy close! i was lucky to be second, but that could have easily went to any of us. but i will take good luck, of course!

after the pursuit, i sat down next to tim b. and told him how stupid i think pursuits are and how they are really boring. then i realized BJM was sitting right across from me in the middle of my tirade. so what can you do in a moment like that? just own up: "yeah, i'm totally just put my foot in my mouth." good thing BJM has a good sense of humor. i told him he can borrow my wheel next race. he seemed pretty stoked about that prospect.

so the points race was next. i was actually kind of getting a second wind. you know why? high fructose corn syrup. some people may have poo-pooed on me eating fruit roll-ups. yeah, they are kind of nasty. but all i have to say is i can buy 100 fruit roll ups for the price of 10 GUs or cliff shots or whatever. plus they come with some lick on tattoos. (and it seems cycling is all about temporary tattoos these days!) i put one on my arm before the points race, and i think this really gave me some extra mojo.

so, at this point i was in the lead and just needed to stay there, so i kinda was just going to go for points when i needed them. i happened to be in pretty good position for all the points with bell lap, so when i jumped for my sprint, i could get a big gap on the field and cruise in. i ended up winning this race.

last, FINALLY, was the 500m. whoa. i really needed to talk myself up for this one... so i started. "well, it is only 1.5 laps." then, "and the first .5 lap doesn't count, really, cause it isn't at speed." "and the last .25 lap you are almost done, so that doesn't really count either." "so really, it is only three-quarters of a lap...a problem" i think the people sitting around during this revelation gave me the: "you are weird" look... but, hey...i was trying to be optimistic.

always good to save one for the gipper, and that i did. fred always tells me to save one for the, this 500m was for you fred-o! i think i PRed in this event too... by like a hundreth of a second. 40.96. actually, this was kinda funny. so i was expecting the 5-4-3-2-1 start. leo goes: "rider ready" which is usually what they say before they count down. then he blows a whistle. i turn my head and look at him and go: "what was that for?" i was really confused. and he says: "you were supposed to go." me: "oh! no count down?" him: "nope." oops. me: "can i start again, or is the clock going right now?" i didn't know the start procedure, which is a good lesson to listen to the couple of people before you! anyway, the officials were nice, and let me go again, as it was obvious i was completely clueless. this time, i was ready to go, although not having a countdown is a bit harder to get your start right. anyway, i think i was most pleased with this event.... considering i pulled that time out of my ass after being so tired....

well, i must say i was happy to leave the track. it was a long, hard day for sure. yikes. thanks too all the people who put on this crazy event. it looked like officiating and scoring was even more difficult than the racing!

and i am happy to report i rode my rollers a lot at the track. before and after each event, and sometimes in between.... my get on/get off improved a lot throughout the day. i did put my rollers in the corner so no one saw me. and i did hold onto the pole for the most part of the day because i was nervous about people seeing me...but then by the end of the day, i was warming up normally. so that was good news. but more roller practice is certainly in order before portland. yipes!


when i can actually communicate in complete sentences, with a subject and verb, and perhaps a few flowery adjectives or adverbs thrown in for good measure, i will try to write about the proman international omnium. until then, i just say this: "uncle."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

sorry about the serifs, back to quads

so i guess people didn't like my serif analysis. i will try to stick to what i do best. stupid research about stupid things, i will reserve for those lucky people who i interact with in person.

so, the quads are tired right now, but they are large. 62.5cm that is pretty good. i feel great about this season with a number like that... so even if i don't improve/grow any more, i'm okay with it and will mark '08 as successful.

so, i am kind of the weak link in my team. what team? you ask. team #5. [i think now they say we are going by the name "happy feet", which is pretty lame. i was pushing for "footloose" so i could make kevin bacon buttons, but i guess the middle-aged ladies didn't like that so much.] well, at work the boss boss is trying to make everyone healthier, so they started this pedometer challenge. and we have to walk around all day at work with these pedometers. and we are in teams and we clock our steps or mileage or whatever. and i am totally the weak link. you know what? i don't want to go for a walk at lunch! i don't want to walk the long way to the bathroom. i bike 15 miles here and 15 miles home and then more after sometimes. and i don't want to walk. so i look like that fat, lazy person on the team -- cause everyone else has two times as many steps as me. i hope no one actually cares on my team, cause i am begrudgingly a participant, because they are making us......... however, in all honesty, it is nice the bossman cares about people's health and is trying to make people exercise. i just don't want to exercise anymore.

speaking of work, so this week i found out one of my co-workers has the U.S 200m DASH RECORD for youth! she set it in 1984, when she was 14. and you know how fast she went? 23.10! HOLY CRAP! 23.10?! at 14?!?! i was totally blown away. i asked her if she ran in college, but she said she no. she said she was going to the olympic training center and stuff at that age, but she pulled her hamstring shortly thereafter and hung it up. for a little bit i was sad that she hung it up, cause, damn, with a time like that at 14, she could've been like marion jones or something....but i won't be cheesey and quote some prefontaine quote. she has a cool job and runs a track club out of castlemont high school in oakland for kids. pretty awesome. but, shit, 23.1. 14. whoa. makes me think (bike) track sprinting is pretty if the US ever really wanted to get some crazy fast sprinters, they should just start recruiting some track & field superstars from inner city high schools. i was always a mediocre (running) sprinter at best. if i have improved so much in a year, it is crazy to think how fast someone who is actually a real sprinter could do....whoa. someone development program should start recruiting elsewhere!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

to serif or not to serif

[warning: non-biking material below]

background: last week i had a fascinating conversation with some friends on muir beach about serifs. some may snooze at an hour long conversation about serifs, however, i was quite intrigued.

for those of you who don't know.... serifs are the little tails at the end of letters. for example:
Serif Font (e.g. Times)

Sans-serif Font (e.g. Arial)

during this conversation, me and my friend vince (amongst others) agreed about the superiority of Garamond font. This was always my favorite font, especially when in school. And I was convinced that papers written in Garamond, as opposed to Times New Roman (the MS Word default), sounded more intelligent. Plus, the character spacing of Garamond was slightly less, which meant I could be slightly more prolific and still stay within the page limit.

as i learned during our long conversation, serifed fonts are often considered superior to sans-serifed fonts because of readability issues, i.e. serifed fonts (at least on paper) are easier for the eye to read.

however, why are internet fonts typical sans-serif?

[the remainder of this post is an email cut/paste sent early this week with some edits of not-so-pertinent information. I decided to include this in my blog because i think it is a matter of much importance, and one that many readers might find interesting...that is assuming all my readers are not dumb jocks.]

serif email: so after our fascinating conversation on serifs, i did a tiny bit of research, as i was curious: why if serifs are supposed to promote readability, why default fonts online are typically sans-serif?

upon first review, i looked at Wikipedia. "Sans-serif fonts have become the de facto standard for body text on-screen, especially online. It has been suggested that this is because the small size of the font causes serif fonts to appear excessively cluttered on the screen. This is also true of typography on mobile screens, though it is less commonly used in television screens (the United Kingdom uses a Serif font by default on television)."

i, however, was not satisfied with this, so i did a bit more of a web search. sans-serifs fonts are preferred on the computer screen. "For electronic media, serif fonts should be avoided for small text sizes. Computer screens do not have the resolution to cleanly render serifs bellow 7-8 point font size. The result is badly rendered text that can be very difficult to read." please consider this when choosing your default text and size for your blog.

apart from computer screens-- vince, i believe there are some revisionists who are countering the superiority of serifs in print reading material: "in many places in Europe school primers are more often set in sans- serif fonts, and that studies have shown faster reading rates with sans serif fonts in Europe while serif fonts score better in North America where our schoolbooks are more often set in serifed fonts (Century Schoolbook was specifically mentioned as having scored among the highest)." oddly enough, i read this on a website thats font was a serifed font. new courier at that. but of other interest, i will give some links.

I believe this summed up my findings: "Is it the case that more than one hundred years of research has been marred by repeated methodological flaws, or are serifs simply a typographical "red herring"?"

enjoy friends!

or perhaps i should say:

enjoy friends!