Friday, May 14, 2010

weekend of team kits...from trash to class.

so this is a very special weekend for me.... not just because i get to race against all sorts of famous people, but because i get to wear my very own team kit! check me out--

saturday, scotts valley grand prix

very much anticipated, team bell lap's kits are in! designed my mattBB himself, they are pretty rad.

and tight.

and see through.

and our sweet flying bell logo sits on me like a push up bra.

i kinda look like a hoe.

don't tease me. i'm already self conscious about it.

sunday, sacramento grand prix

i'm sportin' cody's chamois in the super classy wells fargo kits. i say they are classy because they have gold lines on them, so that means class.

anyway, can't wait to get some pictures this weekend!

...and do the races.

(that was hopefully a given)

this post is special for garrett

in my comments, garrett said that the bag sizes in the picture all looked the same. that was true. i found that picture on the internet, so it shouldn't be trusted.

took some of my own pictures of some bike to work day bags. for some reason i tossed out 2005...and my 2010 bag is at work & it is even larger. so here we go:

2006: far left. my preferred size.

so if you put them side by side in this picture, they don't look terribly larger, but they are. i think the difference is really that the bag on the left has no depth to it, and the one on the right does.

anyway, nobody really cares about this, except garrett and me. that is why this post title is "this post is special for garrett." so apologies to those of you who were bored by this bag analysis. i'll write some real blog posts after the weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

bike to work day-- musettes and maps

in the bay area there is this day every year called "bike to work day"-- cities and organizations all work together to have a day to promoting bicycling as a form of transportation and health. part of bike to work day is visiting an "energizer station" on your way to work, where you can get some goodies, sign petitions relating to bicycle advocacy, and pick up a really cool bag with goodies in it. there are lots of other bicycling related activities that center around this day. all in all, it is an excellent program that has been going on for 17 years and keeps getting bigger each year.

i like bike to work day cause you can get some pastries and a fun grab bag just for riding your bike! i wish every day included free pastries and grab bags.

that is, for people who get up early. or, on time.

i was kind of procrastinating this morning, so by the time i got to the closest "energizer" station, all i just got a pastry and coffee, no bag.

this made me sad, but it was my own fault.

i had a master plan for bike to work day. i was going to get up EARLY so i could hit 5 (yeah, 5) stations on my way to work. that was, 5 stations on my *normal* route. that would have meant 5 pastries. and, if i went a few blocks out of my way, i probably could have hit 9 stations total. but 9 pastries is too much, so i figured the 5 would do.

but then i procrastinated this morning.

so 5 pastries was really 1.

after hitting the first station, i went to BART... cause i was too late to bike all the way in...and i saw another energizer station, so i stopped by cause i saw he had one bag left! so i got the last bag- yay! (but he had no pastries)

when he gave me the bag, it was a BIG canvass grocery bag. i asked him why they don't give out the small musette bags any longer, and i got all nostalgic about them. and he said to me: "you mean the one's real bike racers use." and i thought: i don't use a musette bag bike racing, so i must not be a real bike racer. oh well. regardless, he didn't know why they switched to the big canvas bags.

so now comes the point of my post that hopefully some higher ups will read.......


so three years ago the bike to work bags were awesome! they were small musette bags. now, i realize people probably think: what the hell are commuters carrying around musette bags for-- they aren't giving any feeds or anything...

but on the contrary, the musette bag is perfect for the commuter that doesn't want to carry around a big backpack or messenger bag, and just want something tiny that can fit the lock. musette bags are perfect size for a u-lock. they sit nicely on your backside and don't get all tangled with your handle bars, unlike big canvas bags.

the last musette bag i got was 2006-- the orange/red one in the middle. that one in 2007, i was given a full size canvas bag. as i was in 2008, 2009, and [sigh] in 2010. now, i'm not knockin' free canvas bags. i love my BTWD bags- it is such a fun day! but big canvas bags are great for when you drive to the grocery store to get groceries. but they are not a very handy thing to bike with. so, BTWD folks-- please bring back the musette bag! mine is really, really nasty. i wash it, but it is just permanently stained and i am fearful my boyfriend is going to throw it away when i am not paying attention one day cause he thinks it is so gross. anyway, love the bags, but i love the small ones the best!

included in the bag was a new oakland bike map. i was a bit confused, as there are lots of oakland bike maps... but i did a bit of research and learned some things, so i will share what i learned and my thoughts on it.

[begin public service announcement]

the bike map included in the bag was one from this is public works department from the city of oakland. i was glad to heard the city of oakland has put out a bike map (west and east).

in my opinion, it is good that the city is taking responsibility for publishing bike maps and not relying solely on non-profit organizations in the city & county. this is good for overall city-planning and inclusion of bicycling in city planning.

other organizations that have created some excellent bike maps in the city:

  1. walk oakland bike oakland -- they make (in my opinion) the best bike map of oakland. it has detailed information on the grade of every single street. it is an excellent city map, not just for biking or walking, but just navigating the city in general. you can get one in print by joining WOBO here. they are a pretty cool new organization, that has done a lot in the city regarding increasing bike lanes. there new project is getting a bike line all the way down broadway blvd. the WOBO map was funded by the State of California Office of Traffic Safety, total costs came to $48,000 including staff time, street grade surveys, map design, and map printing. The project took 6 months from concept to printing.
  2. the east bay bicycle coalition maps are the old standard for bicycle maps. they have two maps: east of the hills (not available online) & west of hills.
  • east of the hills covers covers central and eastern Contra Costa County, including Concord, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Antioch; plus eastern Alameda County's Tri-Valley (Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton areas).
  • west of the hills covers western Alameda and Contra Costa counties, including the Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont areas.
These maps are huge in scope and great because they aren't city specific and can really provide cyclists who are going on very long rides ideas for routes. They also include trails in the east bay regional parks.

But they are not cheap to make. Apparently in the last revision of the West of the Bay map, the EBBC spent $59,000 to update it. This is a huge chunk of change for a primarily advocacy organization to spending on making a map service for residents...which is why I was very glad to see the City of Oakland take on that responsibility, with a smaller map that was created city-wide. Would be great for the counties to contract with EBBC to do the map project, as this is a citizen's resource.

But, what the hell am I hoping for in these budget pressed times of county governance?

Anyway, if you don't live in the east bay here, here is a list of lots of maps in the bay area on thanks 511.

[end public service announcement]

what can i say? I LOVE MAPS!

alright, well, happy bike to work day! hope you all had a grand time biking home!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

tour of california prep

the tour of california is coming up-- so you know what the means?

me harassing michael ball and rock racing?!

no. that was so 2009. that company is bankrupt, so it looks like they aren't going to making my keirin cut jeans. i tried to tell them it was a great business opportunity and that quad growth is eminent in hard economic times, as skinny girl cocaine is more expensive, but they didn't listen to me.

but, yes, 2009 ToC was very dear to my heart. i put in a really good effort to lobby michael ball to make my jeans. unfortunately, it did not work. if you'd like to get all nostalgic about when my blog was good, see below. it was a great campaign. unsuccessful, but great nonetheless:total bummer that never worked out. but i guess it doesn't matter so much anymore..... i am a total roadie now and my quads are smaller and i am not accepted in the cool fringe track rider circle anymore....... i know that cause every time i go down there all those trackies do is tell me i am skinny or call me roadie......this hurts my feelings, so i just call them fat and attack. (want to join our happy family?-- go to to start racing at hellyer park velodrome!)

anyway, 2010 ToC is very different than 2009 and 2008. you know why!?! cause i get to ride the sacramento grand prix with the wells fargo team! i am so excited!

the past two years, i have gone to santa rosa to watch the women's criterium, as part of the tour of california. i watched from the sidelines as a lowly cat 4 and admiring how cool the pro 1/2 women look in there matching kits and going so fast. it was so exciting!

when i started doing more road racing this year, i thought to myself: next year (in 2011) it'd be really cool to do that tour of california criterium.... never did i think i would do it this year! i am so excited to be racing with emily kachorek and cody graf for the race. i never thought i'd race this kind of race this year, so i am a bit star struck about the whole thing. eeek!

so, that's right-- i get to look all pro for the race and wear matching jersey and shorts! can you believe it? i can't! it is just so official! matching! i'm so excited!

now, i thought about my race goals a lot....and i decided i am going to take the junior's taylor's suggestion, that she told me at the apple pie criterium. that is: get on someone's wheel who is destined to get a photograph taken of her. in this case, that means get behind one of the famous pro riders. that would be a sweet picture. a pro rider, and me in a matching kit right behind her. what would be even cooler is if that picture got on cycling news. so long as i don't have a dopey looking face in it.

anyway, i am super excited to race the sacto grand prix and thanks a MILLION to the awesome wells fargo team for letting me tag along. i hope i don't suck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

life in review: volume 5--april showers

yes, as suspected, i am still behind. thus, this is going to be a flury-wrap up of the entire month.

week 1: copperopolis.

actually, i already wrote about this. ha! one down!

week 2: 4 criteriums, 2 days-- whee!

okay, so it went like this....

saturday-- apple pie criterium.
the pie i won was kind of un-noteworthy. probably because i only ate one piece of it, and my roommates ate the rest. grrr. but, what i will forever remember this day for was my excellent luck with water bottles.

yes, that's right. water bottles.

in the morning, while leaving for the race, i filled up 7 water bottles for me and michael for the day... i had two races, he had one...i figured that would cover it. upon arriving to the race, i realized i had left them on the kitchen table. typical.

but the cycling community is really wonderful. 3 acts of generosity saved me.
  1. anthony eng pretty much is clutch, and gave me a bottle right off the bat when i got there.
  2. then there was this company called Skweet handing out their product, a water bottle cleaner. the guy was really nice and gave me a couple of bottles! (he really ate up my sad story of leaving my bottles at home.) i initially was drawn to them not only because i needed a bottle, but also because the monkey was cute and i like orange. little did i know how cool the product was! i found that out days later.
so, i occasionally might have a problem with forgetting to wash out my bottles.... ya know, leaving leftover lean1 in them for a couple of days. lean1 is yummy when you drink it, but it is not so appetizing when you leave the residue on the bottom of your water bottle for 3 days....or a week....and little chunks of chocolate turn black colored..... not that i do that or anything.... anyway, mixing crap in my water bottles at times leave the risk of water tasting a bit...uh, funky? i was interested to try out this skweet stuff, as it claimed to clean that residue out. so, i mixed the powder in, it made it all fizzy noise (which at least gave the impression that it was doing something) and then i let is sit over night. the next day the couple of my "problem bottles" were usable again. this made me happy and feel less bad about my (occasionally) bad cleaning habits.

anyway, thanks skweet for the water bottles and the free sample powders. i appreciated your help at the race, so i hope someone buys some of your product who reads this, cause it is A+ and it works!
3. last, and perhaps most exciting-- janelle kellman was parked next to me in the parking lot, and on the way out she gave me a ROCK RACING WATER BOTTLE!!! it was definitely the best thing i won that day! it is now my favorite and most coveted water bottle. so, hands off, bitches.
alright- the racing....all in all, i was pretty happy with my day racing in the corporate park.

race 1 --3/4 race. there were a lot of us, so i stayed at the front and kept it fast for a lot of the race. i wasn't planning on winning a bunch of primes, but i just kept on being near the front and no one was really going for them, so i figured i'd get them. i like free stuff! i think i won 3 out of 5 primes. the bad part was the 2 i didn't win, were the really cool things, like bars. so be it. (i have lots of individual packets of muscle cream if you want any). as for the finish, i ended up leading out the sprint from turn 3/chicane things. it was about to balloon and slow down, so i figured i'd just jump 600m early to keep it strung out. i figured i'd was giving someone a sweet leadout who was on my wheel, but she didn't come off it, so i won! yay! pie!

there were lots of people taking pictures, so i have even more cool pictures of me with my dopey race face. apparently it never changes, whether the pace is slow or fast, if i am sprinting or sitting in. what can i say, i am consistently dopey looking.

leading, looking dopey

sitting in, dopey

doing something, dopey

sprinting, also dopey.

after the race, i cooled down with this cool junior, taylor, from the track. she told me: "beth i kept trying to be on your wheel during the race." and i said: "good taylor, i was probably a good person to be on." and then she said: "yeah, cause i knew michael would get a picture of you, and i wanted to get in a picture." i thought that was pretty much the best race strategy ever. and, in fact, i am using it for my race strategy for the upcoming weekend of the tour of california race.

race 2 --1/2/3 race. this was a pretty fast and fun race! i actually did a mediocre-to-not-bad job at staying at the front. it is much harder to do this in the 1/2/3 races, than the 3/4 race. unfortunately, i pretty much sucked the last 2 laps, as i realized you can't exactly move from the back to the front, so i placed poorly and didn't sprint. that was a bummer, cause sprinting is the fun, but all in all a good day. (especially given that rock racing water bottle score after that race!)
sunday- menlo park grand prix
the velo girls always put on a fun race, and my boyfriend was on the microphone, so i figured this was the perfect time to steal his white skinsuit and wear it for the race. my kits still hadn't come in, so, i thought i'd style it up a bit.

it was cold, but i couldn't wear black knee warmers with a white skinsuit, so i just sucked it up.

i learned one important thing after the race about wearing a white skinsuit. that is, my boyfriend looks better in it.


i even chose a grainy picture, because the blurry picture makes me look better.... but, 'nuf said.

alright, let's talk about the race.

first race- cat3. i was pretty non-motivated for the first race. honestly, i had one goal for the race: win the GU prime. last year, the velo girls had sweet primes, one of them being A WHOLE BOX OF GU! i really wanted this prime, again, so i was going to win it. i didn't care about anything else. i listened attentively at the beginning and it was going to be prime #5. this is where things got a bit messed up. cause the first prime was a single prime. the second prime was a 2 place prime. and the third prime, was a 2 place prime. than meant i needed to get 2nd in the prime to get my GU. this was much more complicated, but i figured it was like a reverse win 'n out, and i am a track rider, so it should be fine. i went early, leading out at a good clip, so someone would pass me at the line and i would get 2nd. my plan was working perfectly, emily mattheu from 3rd pillar came around very strong just before the line, and i was so stoked until i realized to late someone else was also coming around me too and took that GU! i could't believe i buffed up my master plan for the GU. it was a total fail. anyway, that crappiness just got crappier for the finish. i didn't move up on the last lap and missed the jump on the sprint, coming out the corner last and the emily was way up the road. super long and fast sprint- props. i got 2nd still, which sucks, but not as much as not winning the GU. that was really the big loss of the race.

race 2-- 1/2/3 race. somewhere between the 3s finish and the 1/2/3 start it started pouring. yes, i did realize i had on the white skinsuit. but i had already committed at that point. go for broke. or go for the gold. or whatever that phrase is.... anyway, i had never raced in the rain, so i was a bit nervous....

the race started and in the 2nd turn of the race, someone slid out next to me. the people in front of me (about 15 or so) were hauling, and then there were lots of people stuck behind the crash. it was a crappy way to start the race, but i chased to get on the front of the pack. it seemed right when i got there, there was an attack, and off goes the group of 5 who won the race. our chase group was about 10 or so, and it was pretty fast and it was nerve racking riding fast like that in the rain.

this is me in the rain in the white skinsuit next to someone famous!

it was a bummer our group didn't work more smoothly together, because the rest of the pack caught us with a couple of laps to go. i say it was a bummer, mostly, because i was a bit sissy as it was, and felt better with less people, and got even more nervous riding with a bigger pack in the rain. as suspected, i had a hard time positioning myself for the sprint, and came around the last corner poorly placed. then i was a big sissy and couldn't figure out how to wiggle through people. ya know, in my mind there was no way to wiggle through all the traffic in front of me...however, the actual photo shows a pretty clear shot. funny how i remember things....

sissy-- see straight ahead.

anyway, it was pretty bad day on the bike for me, and it was cold and i was wet, and was happy to go home....many hours later, as michael was announcing.

week 3-- track is back

some time the third week in april, i went back to the track. my first night back was a tuesday night points race. EEEEK. let me just say i have become a roadie.....

i was so scared for the first race, i went off the front with someone at the whistle cause i didn't want to ride in a 30 person pack. uh huh. i know, i am lame.

but what was more lame, was how i couldn't stand up on my track bike. i tried a couple of time... for about 2 pedal strokes, then i was all fumbly and had to sit down. i am teaching a women's track clinic in a month, so i better figure out how to ride this thing again.

here is proof of me being a sissy on a saturday omnium, leaving a ridiculously huge amount of space between me and hunter. i better learn to htfu out there soon!

anyway, i did tuesday night race with the B men, and a saturday omnium with the B men. let me just say: B men are B men for a reason. now my first night back shelley evans was out there killin' it in A's... and let me say, she's got some cronies in the A's. me? no cronies. those B men are mean. they chase me down immediately and shove me around. i couldn't beleive how much i was bumping elbows.

last week, i did my first A's race the other week, and suddenly had some cronies in the field. mostly, that was eric balfus, who made sure i didn't get dropped and closed gaps for me. but everyone was nice to me and there was no shoving me around. so, i determined that A men are better than B men.

anyway, i've gotten to the track a few times. a tuesday night race. a saturday race. a tuesday practice. a sunday practice. a wednesday night race. i am happy to report i can now stand up on my bike. it only took 5 sessions back. yikes.

week 4-- wente weekend

so sometime between week 3 and 4 of april, i upgraded a category. i really didn't want to, cause i think cat3 is the best category, as you can race wherever you want and can race twice a day..... but people kept giving me shit, and i am a pushover. plus, i needed to turn in my upgrade so i could race the sacto grand prix with the wells fargo team. so i guess that was legitimate reason.

wente rr
so saturday i did the wente rr in livermore. not much noteworthy here. i put myself in bad position on the second time up the hill, then when it exploded there was no way i could catch up to the front group. so, i was in a loser group the rest of the day for a very long time. we worked okay together, but it is hard to get excited about racing for 14th place. so, yeah, that stunk. i felt really good that day, so i was bummed i was a nitwit where i should have known better and bummed i just wasn't good enough to catch up.

wente crit
so m was announcing, and my race wasn't until the afternoon...and i didn't really want to sit around all day, so i was going to BART to dublin, then bike to the race. i used the trustworthy google bike maps.

all was great grand, until a road ended and i had to jump a barrier. this was fine and i got back on the road i needed to be one. but a few miles later, i hit another snafu-- there was a big sign that said: "no through traffic", but i ignored it because i was a bike, and we ignore things like that.

when i got to the big fence, i figured no problem, i can jump that, and proceeded to go over to it... until i saw the *very big* security guard. he wasn't having any of it. i tried to tell him i needed to get over to stanley rd, which was only 2 miles through...but he didn't care, and said that there was no alternate route, and this was private property, and blah blah blah. and i tried to tell him i had a bike race to win, but he didn't seem to care.

so i back tracked on my bicycle, and went down some dead-end type of streets...and, well, didn't really know what to do. i called a few friends who i thought might be by a computer, but no dice.

then i had a couple minute cry session.

and then i gathered myself to think of the next step and come up with a logical solution.

yes, that is right. i text messaged facebook.

what has the world come to?

i was hoping someone would call me with directions. and, wow, within a few minutes susannah breen called me and was to my rescue. she tried to give me directions, but the roads were not looking good, so she said she & mark would pick me up and take me to the race! it was so wonderfully nice! they are just so amazing!

i rolled around for an hour, half-assing some warmup efforts and getting sunburnt, cause, of course, my lotion was in the car, which was at the race.

by the time i made it to the race, i had about 30 minutes. i was pretty much toasted and exhausted. i ate 2 GUs and tried to compile myself.

race started, and it was pretty slow. i felt really out of it and was having a hard time focusing. there were lots of crashes. i got caught behind 2 of them, and that last one resulted in a restart. when we restarted, it was 5 to go, and i did a better job staying near the front. had an okay sprint, but it wasn't good enough, and i photo finished, but was still the loser.

loser shot, see top. doesn't even look close.

bah. you can watch this cool video of the finish and me attempting to roadie sprint.

so, there we have it. that is about it for april. now i am all caught up, because i didn't race for the first 2 weeks of may!