Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 wrap up

it is december 31st and i am spending this day how i spent it two years ago: sick and miserable.  i went for a ride today and almost tipped over from going too slow.  now i am sitting in my bed with just enough energy to stay awake and look at the massive pile of shit on my dresser than i need to go through, but not quite enough energy to actually do anything productive.  i tried about 45 minutes ago and my temperature went up by .2 degrees fahrenheit, so i sat down back in bed, perused facebook, looked at forums i haven't looked at in years, read the new velonews magazine, which was quite un-entertaining.  i contemplated getting a new book to start, but the bookshelf is on the otherside of the house...and that seems like an effort.  so, then i figured i would blog.

i found a blog post i started in february-- so i figured that would be where i would begin my 2011 season wrap-up.  i actually have a lot to wrap-up.  i didn't really blog about any races in 2011 (except my drug test at nationals).  between all the stage race days and track days, i think i had almost 80 race days....  so, mostly as a way to waste time in my illness, i will open up my usa cycling profile and re-live some memories of 2011.  maybe i'll throw some pictures in if i really get bored tonight.... but that is asking a lot.

now, the usa cycling profile is used for a few important purposes:
  1. find out the age of that person that you might potentially be romantically interested in. this is, of course, the most important use of the page. of course, you can sometimes lie to yourself, as this displays "racing age," not "actual age" - but it is still fairly accurate. having a mechanism like this is extremely important in a sport where you: a) often see people in helmets, which can hide indications of age, such as baldness, and b) cyclists' skin wrinkle early because of sun exposure and lack of moisturizer. the is really an excellent service that USAC provides to cycling singles everywhere. (not that i am a cycling single, but at one time i was, and greatly appreciated this stalking service).
  2. sniff out the competition - it is quite helpful seeing how your competitors are doing. or if you are going to a race with no one you know, see what you have yourself matched up against. however, let's be honest on how i really use the results.... looking up races i didn't do, and saying: "oh, i totally beat that girl in a sprint once a few years ago at the early bird criterium when we were cat4s, so had i showed up, i totally would have won." you can really find anything you want, and thus, everything can be a morale booster.
  3. provide painful memories of missed opportunities in races - yes, it tracks all those bad results that you want to forget about... like that time i clipped my pedal as a cat4 and got 13th in crit... or that time where hanging out on the sidelines just looked more fun than riding in circles... yep, it is all there... forever...
i am so happy that on february 20, 2011 i took the opportunity to do a screenshot capture of my usacycling profile.  really, i should've considered retiring permanently so it would look awesome forever.

it really doesn't get better than that.

okay, onto the 2011 wrap-up

san bruno hill climb

for most people, january 1st typically starts with a hangover. except my boyfriend loves to register me for the san bruno hill climb on jan 1 every year. "merry christmas, beth!"  uh...thanks! guess we have no new years eve plans! well, i can't actually say i am bummed, because i never really do anything cool for new years eve...

the first race of the year is always a pain, because it is really hard to pack the race bag.

i was actually looking forward to the hill climb last january, because word on the street was that it was a big mass start. that meant i would be able to race my favorite competition: OLD MEN. nothing makes me go faster up a hill, than seeing some old guys in the distance. and given that there are a lot of masters men racers in cycling who sign up for timed events, i was looking forward to picking off the slow ones on the climb and saying "on your left" in the most girly voice i can muster.

however, my whole race plan imploded when they actually started us by category at 2 minute increments. bummer  although i didn't get to race along side any men, i at least still had my time. and, as such, i want to mention that i beat ralf medloff. he wasn't too happy about it, so i wanted to announce it to the internets. please note also: his bike was *way* pimped out. lastly, i would like to note that he failed to bring a pump to the race. what kind of professional mechanic is that!?

this here is a very bad picture. unfortunately the photographer missed the total rockstar shot of me holding the girl scout cookies in the air with the "WHOOO!" face, and unfortunately caught me mid motion with a stupid look. oh well, next time.

san jose time trial

not an official usac event, but i pinned on a number and filled out a waiver, so it counts. this is a cool series the san jose bike club puts on - a type of winter training series. the TT course was hard. 15 miles. but there were hills and really turny decents. given that this was my first time racing on a time trial bike, and that i hadn't ever used it on anything more than a 1-2% grade, this proved very tricky.

i was totally planning on beating my boyfriend. we talked shit about it forever. however, out he comes and takes me to a technical course with a decent, that of course i sucked on, and he put mad time into me.

no worries, though, SJBC had my back.

to make their TT series more fun, they give people handicaps. and cause i was a girl, i got a handicap, and my boyfriend didn't - resulting in my just beating him. HA! cheap win, maybe, but i don't care!

2011 - the rest of it

okay. that gets me through, like january 8th. and i am already petering out. i am never going to finish before the clock strikes midnight at this pace.  now i will resort to bullet points for the remainder of the 2011 bicycle racing year.
  • early bird road race - i somehow got dragged to this race, despite being told by my master's men track team there is a hill in it. i didn't really listen to them, because one has to be hesitant listening to trackies who talk about hills. a little bump suddenly becomes a hill. having officially turned roadie, i wasn't going to be scared away. plus, i had just won a hill climb, right?  this time, though, they weren't lying.   i was the only chick who showed, so instead of making me ride alone, they let me start with the 35+ 1/2/3. this was fun, because i got to race with my boyfriend. he won.  le sigh. but i kicked all of his teammates asses.  score!
  • snelling - the highlight of my snelling was being in a break with erinne willock & ali powers.  i thought this was pretty rad - as they were like, real professional.  and when i saw the photographer on top of a little bump - i made sure to go to the front so i had a cool picture with some PROs.  unfortunately our break did not stay away and i barely survived sucking wheels the rest of the race.  that is okay, i got a cool photo for life that i can tell people was at a big time race, and not .. snelling...
  • then there were some stage races: merco and madera.  i actually discovered i thought time trialing was fun.  unfortunately, i kinda stink at it.  (i think my fever is going up, because i am getting a bit delusional in my recollections of "likes").  merco was super fun and i really liked the first stage.  madera was okay.  the roads seem to get more and more crap each year.  and this year, i flatted about 2 miles from the finish, so that sucked.
  • redlands -  i guest rode at my first NRC race.  it was very hot and i was very overwhelmed and couldn't figure out how to get a bottle in the feed zone. (okay, now i am getting tired and not so fact, i can't even recall the stupid shit any longer.  but i am almost to april and i must push through)
  • chico stage race - another really fun race!  it was going awesome until the gravel section in the road race.  the crit was also going awesome until i crashed myself out being in a two person break off the front with 1.5 laps to go. how do i crash myself out when there is only one other person?  i don't think i have to answer that. it's my blog, afterall.  but i took it like a grownup and threw my bike in front of a little kid.
  • copperopolis, wente, berkeley hills:  it was the battle of breen/newell vs. werner.  the aussie superstar pretty much owned us...but luckily we at least got things right at wente.  and that race had the best prizes, so that is what matters.  that's the race sponsored by a vineyard, and werner isn't even old enough to drink.
  • crits: there were some dumb crits that i got roped into doing that i didn't do too well at.  (this line might be copy/pasted at several points throughout this bullet pointed list)
  • mutual of enumclaw - a super fun stage race i went to up in washington.  i was trying to win the nature valley grand prix qualifer spot...but didn't.  i had a great time racing regardless and at least had a stage win. if you are ever up there during this time of year - definitely do this race!  also, i finally got to have the beer "mac & jack's african amber" i had been dreaming about for three years when i had once in seattle...
  • mt hamilton - goonies never say die.   i went from off the front to off the back several times, but molly v-h and i never said die - and i ended up third.  i consider this race, perhaps, my biggest accomplishment for the whole year.   susannah and i were a bunch of crazies and biked back to the start in san jose... to put in a full 100 miles.  ouch.
  • testarosa velodrome challenge: pascale schnieder (swiss champion in everything) pretty much put on a track clinic for the rest of us.  but it was still a really fun race and i felt good sensations for the track season ahead.
  • mt hood: officially my favorite race of the year. the courses were awesome and painful and just finishing the last stage felt like an accomplishment.  had a fun time guest riding with metromint team.
  • taleo criterium: small but fun race where i won a prize of a palm reading (yet to be cashed in)
  • nature valley grand prix: had a super fun time guest riding with the vanderkitten team for my second nrc race.  i think that first criterium was the hardest race i had ever done.  holy mother.  i rode behind the world champion, which, in the words of nacho libre, was: pretty sweeeet.
  • lodi criterium - i was solo for about 35 minutes or so, but it all paid off because i won a bottle wine that i can't even bench press it is so big. it has yet to be cracked open, as we are too lame to have a party
  • alpenrose velodrome challenge - one of my favorite races of the year!  i came a few seconds off the track pursuit record (next year!), did a scratch race not so well...then the rest of the events got rained out.  super bummer.
  • cascade cycling classic - my third nrc race, and this was my favorite by far.  except the day where i got a little hypoxic from the elevation.  oddly enough my worst stage was the prologue - the stage that most resembles the pursuit....explain that one to me.
  • mt diablo hill climb - that was pretty stupid in retrospect
  • some more crits - see crit line above.
  • tuesday and friday night world track championships - they usually started off with a junior attacking really hard in the first lap of the race (who inevidably ended up pulling out about 20 laps later). i actually had a chance of placing with the men when the races were long enough.
  • LAVRA race - i went to a track race in LA and ended up riding with the men and getting third in the points race for lapping with a couple others.  that was cool, but i still hate LA.
  • track nationals - that went pretty good for me, but i already wrote about that.
okay, i kicked that out.  a few details are missing, the post got more and more boring as it went on... but, i don't sell adds on my blog (like some blogs) - so the quality is shit.  maybe i'll add in some pictures later, but i am still going to publish now, because - you read it here first - my new years resolution is i am going to blog at least once a week.  that's right.  once a week, bitches.  hopefully this post will set the bar low.

okay, i am out. michael is making me drink a glass of water...because he is still going to make me race san bruno tomorrow.  considering i get winded walking to the bathroom, let's just say i am not so thrilled about it.  at least my pathetic crawling up the hill will make for a good blog post.  hey, not every year can start off as awesome as it did last year... thank god i at least screen captured it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

on winning a national title & getting dope tested

as you can tell from the title of this blog post, yesterday i won a national title, and as a result got drug tested. it was in the heptathlon of track cycling, an event called the international omnium. (except, instead of 7 events, it is 6 events...and instead of getting points for doing well, you get points for doing bad....and, thus, you obviously want less points, not more.)

i will not give a play-by-play of the two days, as that is pretty boring probably. pretty much, kit karzen summed it up when he said something along the lines of: "my therapy bills for the last two days are off the charts. it's like: ihatemylife, ilovemylife, ihatemylife, ilovemylife." the event would really be about a hundred times easier if all six events were held in one day within an 8 hour time span, instead of spaced out so much.

so, what does it feel like to win a national title?

let me tell you, it went like this:

i came into the final race with a 3 point lead, so i had a bit of a buffer. the final race is a 500m time trial. when i first started track racing, i figured this was going to be *my* event, as i liked running the 400m. unfortunately i was approximately 100% wrong with my prognostication. i pretty much suck at the event. i mean, if they started timing about 50m after the start line, i think i'd be respectable at it. but unfortunately that is not how the race works.

now, it is no mystery to anyone that my start sucks. but last year, i remember reading a story about tara whitten (the reigning world champion in the event). i guess the year previous she was leading going into the 500m, and lost the title in the last event. the next year, she worked on starts every time she went to the track, and when the same situation occurred she nailed it and won.

this was very inspiring for me, so i followed suit... i did starts at the track for every workout session for the last 6-7 weeks when i was training at the track. and i got good at them. well, good is perhaps an overstatement. good enough. i mean, i at least wasn't embarrassing myself anymore.

and you know what? all that practice and all that visualization was a big, big waste of time. what did i do when it really counted? i got so nervous, i jumped early, false started, and unclipped. i tried to play it cool, as one more false start is a DQ, but i definitely was anything but cool. "just don't false start again, start clean, and you will be fine" i told myself as that clock ticking was going.

if i could describe my start visually, it would be like this: you know when a beginner comes to the track on a rental bike and you see them do their first start ever? weaving down track, then taking several seconds to move 5 meters forward? well, that is pretty much what it looked like. i was pretty much scared shitless at this point, seeing the whole race shatter before my eyes... i heard kevin masker screaming his balls out at me in turn one, and i tried to sprint as fast as i could for the next two laps, all but knowing in the back of my head that there is really no making up for that, and i lost it.

i crossed the finish line and the only emotion i felt was pure despair. i had blown it so incrediby bad. i rolled around for a lap completely devastated.

i came off the track, very sad, and then someone said i won, as lauren hall who was in 2nd place to me going into the event, was only one place ahead of me. i really couldn't believe it. i had just fucked up so royally there is no way i still could have won.

ya know, of all the times riding and training and day dreaming thinking about what it would feel like to win a national title, it never quite played out like that. i more pictured me having a fast ride, screaming, putting my arms in the air, jumping up and down... or something along those lines. ya know, the normal things you feel when you are on an adrenaline high. even after i heard i won, i was still upset about my 500m and in a bit of denial and disbelief that i had actually won.

sarah hammer said to me on the infield right after the race: "that's the omnium for you!"

and i guess that is the omnium for you. 6 races. 2 days. ilovelife, ihatelife.

on getting dope tested

so, like i said... it really didn't set in very quickly. i mean, after such a major f-up, it's hard to actually believe you won something. but i finally believed it when the USADA lady came over to me, and said she was going to be with me for the next hour. my first response?

"can i get a picture." i mean, this was cool shit - getting drug tested!

after the picture was taken, i said: "do i have to wait an hour? i can go now." i am not overly confident about a lot of things. but finishing my dinner plate and being able to pee-on-demand, are too thinks that i am quite confident about. she was surprised i was so ready to go, so she said okay and walked me through the track to the upstairs.

anyway, we walk inside and she has some paperwork, and i see on the top of the form it says: "Address, Zip, Phone."

now, to say i was still pretty rattled about the 500m is an understatement. as i was walking into the room, all i could think was: i can't remember my address. is it 4727 or 2742. now, in my defense, we had just moved about 4 weeks ago. but still, that is pretty stupid i am 29 years old and can't remember my address. address, phone number, and right/left is pretty much the first test one must pass in kindergarten. and here i am. when did i become such a dumb jock?

so getting drug tested goes like this. i take the cup and walk into a stall, and this lady starts following me in. i pretty much give her the WTF?!?! look, and then realize: a) oh, they probably do that so you don't do anything shady, and b) i had just walked into the little stall, as opposed to the big stall, and it is quite a bit cramped in here. as i try to close the door of the little stall, she suggests we move to the big stall, she is the professional here, so i comply.

"so how much do i need to pee?"

she points to the 90ml -- which is about half a cup.

at that point, i get a bit nervous. as, when i was all: "oh, i can pee now...i can pee anytime...look how awesome i am" to the USADA lady when she told me she'd be with me for an hour - i thought she just needed a little pee. i can always pee a little. but half a cup is kinda a lot.

but if there is one thing i learned this week, it is: don't underestimate yourself!

so, i gave it go, and figure i'd do what i can. i had a few tricks up my sleeve to generate more urine if necessary, and i thought i could make the half a cup.

so i started peeing...... and missed the cup. fuck i though. that was valuable milliliters! however, just like after the first day of the omnium, i recomposed, made a straight line in, and made it was up to 140ml no problem, without even using my extra-pee techniques such as leaning forward or pushing on my belly. i screwed on the lid, and then wanted to pee a little bit more. but then i felt kinda awkward about that lady was still standing there. i mean, it is one thing peeing in front of a lady when you are peeing in a cup...but it is a bit more weird to pee in front of a lady when you are just peeing in the toilet bowl. so, i decided i would hold it.

then came part two, transferring my pee into the different A and B sample glass containers. that was pretty uneventful. i was just happy i didn't spill any of my pee on the table.

then came part three: declaration of supplements.
USADA GUY:what supplements do you take?

bethbikes!: uhh, i take iron pills

USADA GUY: how often? when was the last time you took one?

bethbikes!: uhhh....when i remember.

:how often is that? when was the last time you remembered?
now, how does one honestly answer this question.? i think the most honest answer would be: i remember to take my iron about as often as i "remember" to do my core work. which would translate into: "three times a week on a good week, but once every 6 weeks is not uncommon."

then came the dreaded next address. i still couldn't remember. 4727 or 2742. 4727 was what first came to my mind, but i was having second thoughts. what the hell is wrong with me? i went with my initial instinct, as i remember someone giving me that advice once when deciding between answers on multiple choice tests. 4727 i tell him. then, i clumsily explained that i had just moved and was really anxious and overwhelmed at the moment and not thinking too great. he told me to come back if it was wrong and they would re-write my form.

i went down for the awards ceremony, found michael and asked him what our address was. "2742" he replied. of course, i thought. i pretty much had freakout number 17 of the day. anyway, we walk back up, and they easily correct it.

i am just thankful i don't have to walk down the street and knock on the door of a crackhead's house to track down my "U.S. Anti-Doping Drug-Free" letter.

and that is a wrap.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

you know you made it...

...when you get to tell people you are a cover girl [of the local weekly entertainment paper.]

so, there was definitely some creative licensing with some facts... but, hey, otherwise it would have been a pretty boring story for the reporter to write.

the best part? on tuesday i got to tell someone: "i can't make an appointment cause i have a photo shoot."

if you live local, pick up a hard copy of the East Bay Express. if there are actually people out there who still read my blog, despite not having updated since december, here is the internet version. maybe this is just the kick in the pants i need to start blogging again.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

wrapping up 2010

cause my boyfriend started blogging again, i figured it was about time to start again too. i realize that february 8th is pretty late to be wrapping up last year, but i don't care.

since we last spoke, what's been up? well, this required me to sift back to my blog and jog my memory about happenings...

1. keirin cut update

beth bikes! dropped the ball on that one. those guys even agreed to send over a few pants if i got sizes, but then i forgot cause i am lame. i bet i am too late now. foiled again.

2. bike riding

i have been doing a lot of it. last i wrote about bike riding.... was.... well, nationals in october. below are a few highlights since then.

highlight #1 - track camp

maybe a week after nationals, i headed back down to LA for a USA development team pursuiting track camp.

getting to the camp was a bit difficult, because: 1) motivation to train the week after nationals was a bit lacking, to be honest. thankfully, the boyfriend made me do some intervals in the between nationals and camp so i didn't suck balls too much, 2) i had to talk my work into letting me take another week off...even though i have more than used my vacation time. luckily my boss was really understanding, 3) i had to drive all the way by myself. considering michael usually chauffeurs me around, the drive to LA was very lonely, 4) i didn't have a bike to use for camp (as mine was broke bigtime after my sweet cyclingnews crash at nationals) ...but they let me go on a rental bike. now, these aren't the normal hellyer rental bikes. they put me on a sweet carbon teschner~ so i felt super cool.

i am having a hard time remember too much about track camp, which is probably why you shouldn't write blogs 4 months late... but let's just say, we did some team pursuiting, and i learned a lot about it!

i had a real fun time at camp. thanks to usa cycling for inviting me & for letting me borrow one of the team bikes, there was another camp in november, but i couldn't make it do to the real job...but maybe next time!

highlight #2 - off season

kingsburg criterium

off-season began with the kingsburg criterium. yep - you heard me right! the next weekend we went to the central valley for some good times at the kingsburg criterium. course was super fun~ we had a field size of four or five - but it was still a really fun race & course! i won bunches of primes (and the race!) - so after the race, it was like michael & i were on a shopping spree in fresno.... we went to 3 or 4 different bike shops/sporting good stores to spend gift cards we won, then had a luxurious 3-course meal the next day at some steak restaurant. (funny, as we are pretty much vegetarians). we stayed with some nice folks in fresno then crashed the steven's bicycles ride the next day, which was a blast! riding in fresno pretty much rules.


maybe two weeks after the fresno adventure, i had to be up in redding for work - so we stayed an extra day or two to do some riding. riding up in redding was awesome. it was maybe some of my favorite riding all year long. i have been a big fan of the mapmyride website for several years for this very reason... you can just type in any city and find some really cool rides. i've used both it in california and ohio - and it is great for finding cool bike routes when you are on vacation. here was day 1 and day 2 - check them out if you are ever in the area.

redding is full of pretty riding, as you can see!

this was our ride the first day... we didn't write down our directions quite well...after we figured out where we were, we found this map... sometimes road names are for locals-only... as in the road changes names or three roads have the same name....

the second day, we crashed a parade. unfortuantely the picture didn't come out of me next to the marching band... so you just have to visualize it.

this is the shasta dam - very beautiful area!

also, if you are in redding, be sure to check out the sundial bridge-- it is pretty cool!


the week after the redding adventure, we went to reno! [this must have been mid-november?] (that's right, that was 3 weekends of fresno, redding, reno traveling). i got to crash my boyfriend's team camp! the guys were super nice to let me tag along on their weekend of group rides ~~ thanks fellas! i had so much fun in reno-- it was great riding up geiger...and just all around... loved it!...

and i didn't even freeze my butt off too much because 1) it wasn't too cold yet, as it was only mid-november... and 2) my inner ohio blood came out & i toughed it out.

i sadly don't have any pictures of the reno adventure - but it was good times, to say the least!

my new team!

i am a part of a women's road team for 2011 -- fremont bank cycling. i am pretty excited to be racing with the ladies of this team, as they are all super nice. in december i got to do a few rides with some of my teammates on both the men & women's side. again, i don't have any photos. but our kits are supercute and baby blue- so there you have it!

new bikes!

fall was a time for new bikes.

road bike: my neuvation ... well, it was time to upgrade. i'll leave it at that. i was looking for a new-to-me (aka used) bike... and thank you to my most wonderful bike sponsor annabell. annabell sold me her beautiful old giant road bike - which was in pristine condition! i love it! that bike kicks so much ass... it is undefeated & has five wins under it already. don't let people tell you it isn't the bike. it is!

track bike: as you all know, my bike broke at the nationals... this too was annabell's old bike. (she is my bike sponsor!) i thought a lot about what bike to get, and then i talked to dave tiemeyer, and there was no more thinking needed!

my bike is getting painted as we speak!

here it is -- pre getting tempered and painted....

when you get a tiemeyer, you can get a custom paint job....and of course i wanted an orange bike! but full orange is a bit much, so I wanted something orange and white. mr. tiemeyer sent me a picture of cari higgins' bike and suggested i do something like that.... i didn't know how best to tell mr. tiemeyer what i wanted, so i figured i would use MSPaint to display my preferences...

my bike will look like cari's, except the blue will be orange & beth bikes! will be writting on the top tube! then i realized there was one major flaw with this picture.....

so i put my head on cari's and sent it back to mr. tiemeyer. i hope he liked it!

alright... i guess that is about it for 2010. it was a fun year. and i am ready for an even better one in 2011. ...and one where i blog more regularly.

peace out, bitches.