Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Women 35+ 2007
(Velo Bella Team: Sabine, Soni, Laura, Sue, Linda)


In general I consistently suck at TTs. Madera with camelback over the skinsuit -- case in point. I usually have not set my clock, or have forgotten my HR monitor, or have a loose bolt on my tt bars, or i ride off the road into a ditch, or go all out and fry up in the first ten minutes. i have tried listening to my breathing but it's not the best gauge, I find, because usually it tells me to pull over and get off the bike. i like the idea of having someone up ahead of me by thirty seconds. i think that this rabbit might make me go faster. but the rabbit just gets smaller and smaller until a new rabbit appears ahead of me which in turn gets smaller and smaller. but i got me this new light bike this year and glitterboy slapped on some TT bars and tipped them so my back was flattish. and for some unknown reason i managed not to completely suck. i'll take it.

Walker Basin:

i wanted to puke on the drive over to the course. nothing too magnificent. just a few diced carrots, perhaps. it was going to be such a long day, with two stages, requiring much intensity and focus, two things i try avoiding whenever possible. i figured the firestone girls were going to be feisty and aggressive, try something and get away. "uh-uh," Sabine had said the night before, "they're not getting away, uh-uh"
She was so right. in fact it was quite the opposite. they were reacting to our moves all race long. While I sat on Sonia's wheel and did my best dingleberry interpretation, the Bellas attacked and attacked. Soni, followed by Laura, Linda. I never once was in the wind, unless Sonia cut some. I was relieved of all responsibility, all pressure and free to focus on one thing only, preserving the 10 seconds between us and perhaps getting a few more in the sprints. Andrea from Left Coast (soon to be a Bella) would let me in to follow Sonia. Or move to the right of me to protect me from the wind. Linda would ride up next to me and remind me to move up. I'm not great at seeing the big picture in races. At one point, Soni was up the road with Laura Perdew on her wheel. I was riding along, eyes focused on Sonia's ass, when i noticed Janet from MVV was to my left sort of stuck between the center line and me. I thought she wanted Sonia's wheel. "Let her out," Sabine said, and so I let a gap open and sure enough Janet attacked which allowed Sabine to get pulled up to the Soni and Laura. It was so perfect. So every lap while the Bellas attacked and chased, I got pulled along and was set up fresh as a daisy (not ours) to do my bit.

On the last time up the hill, Sabine put in a massive attack and Sonia's ass slipped out of my vision just a bit. I saw an opening up the middle that seemed to be my only chance. Things got a little dicey at this point and I remember thinking, "wow, this is sort of like the last lap diciness." not realizing until I crossed the line that the race was over. I thought we had one more to go! (See above about the big picture). So a splendid team effort.

Hill Climb:

I loved this hill climb. The temp was beautiful, and we were many miles from a dump. The plan was to stay with Sonia, stay at her pace and then when the time was right to have me or Sue get away. I could tell from Sonia's heavy breathing that she was having a hard climb. Still her teammates were setting a steady pace and I just sat in. I looked to my right and there was Triki and looked behind and there was Chechu. What a very nice sight. All around was heavy breathing from the Firestone girls. I listened when Sue came alongside me and not a sound. Oooh, it was going to be a good day. A very good day. And when the road pitched up a bit, Sue smoothly came to the front. She was riding so effortlessly. I said, I'm here. And so she picked it up a little. And then a little more. It was so beautiful. It was like one of Linda's Tour videos (except for the icky Lance part). Unfortunately when I looked back Chechu was gone. Only Janet (MVV) was left. Triki bumped it up a little more and POP she too was gone. I was so delighted. This was Sue's stage and we were going to drill it to the finish. But then she told me to ride on, get time. And that Sue can be VERY persuasive. So I went on. There was Bob blowing his clarinet. Lovely. And then there was the "1 to go" sign. One 'what?' to go I thought and soon discovered it was 1 hundred fucking miles to go -- or so it seemed. I came in first, followed shortly by Triki! So much fun.


Excellent riding by all. I had 3mins 45 seconds going into the stage over Sonia Ross in 2nd so I felt a little bit of the pressure was off. I just needed to get through it without any mishaps.

It was so good seeing Linda get over those climbs and be there to help slow the descents. Soni and Sabine did some great pacing up the climb, hard enough to get the Firestone girls to breathing deep but still keeping the group together. On the second lap before the dirt right turn, we were all chit-chatting and being nicey-nicey. I was looking forward to finishing, having one of Miss Mary's boiled eggs and maybe some totellini when WAM! Julie Kaplan blazed to the front. My first thought was no! don't make it hard! Then, WAM Sabine was gone with her. All the Firestone girls were at the front and the nicey-nicey went out the window. I folded up my napkin and put my head down to make sure I wasn't dropped. Poor Janet had her work cut out for her and strung it out. I didn't know about her seeing Ryan and Tracie up ahead, but the pace slowed as Janet was surrounded by Firestone. On the rollers to the finish I was happy to see Sue get a gap and keep it going. And Janet too. I watched Sonia put in a super hard effort to close the gap on Janet but it wasn't to be. (There's some Karma in Janet getting back those 11 seconds, I believe.) When I crossed the line I rolled down the hill to find out that Sabine had won the stage and Sue took second place (and moved to fourth overall). Aaah, a perfect ending.

Monday, May 21, 2007

i have no photos but a gazillion images in my head.

Jeff out by the car changing my casette, slapping on time-trial bars, and riding on my small 49cm frame by the La Quinta parking lot lights. Miss Mary outside by the truck unloading something heavy in the wee hours of the morning while i slowly made my way to room 326 to consume breakfast foods she'd prepared and laid out for all of us to eat by 5:30 a.m. Tyler with a purple spritzer before the hill climb spritzing whichever body part we offered to him, pinning numbers, setting up trainers, loading bikes back into the truck. Michael massaging rider's legs, running through the parking lot for spare wheels, offering race tactics, taking photos of results with his camera, cruising by in Sputnik and telling the team to bring back a dangerous break in the last lap.

you gave us the winning edge. THANK YOU.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

yeah, well...Linda's gonna do Kern for the 11th year in a row!

Friday, May 11, 2007

that garzelli sure is pretty...

but does anyone else see a certain similarity...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lauren got me thinking....

sunnyvale 1973. meryl and i would practice the art of stealing. i'd go over to her house on Ticonderoga. her dad was usually outside leaning against the car having a smoke while Meryl's mother , Bobby Bernstein, was somewhere in the house screeching "Meryl have you picked up the dogshit in the yard yet?" Seemed like everytime i visited Meryl, she was out back picking up dogshit as her mother, tethered by the phone cord, wandered up and down the halls with a drink in her hand watching Meryl as she picked up the dogshit. They had this big black dog with long fluffy hair that produced an awful lot of the stuff, it seemed.

Meryl liked to point out the really disgusting turds with the worms. "Meryl stop playing with the dogshit and pick it up for Christ's sake!" her mother would screech from the kitchen.

after picking up dogshit we'd go in her bedroom and lay out things on her bed and practice stealing. she'd play the shopkeeper and pretend to be ringing up items at the cash register by her tv at the end of the bed. i'd wander around the edge of the bed and when Meryl pretended to be helping a customer, i'd grab a pen, or her hairbrush and try to shove it in my pocket or up under my sweater before meryl looked back.

if she caught me she'd holler "thief! call the cops! she's stealing!" so loud her mother would hang up the phone and come pound on Meryl's locked bedroom door,

"Meryl Bernstein open this door at once!" her mother shouted while i ran around her room putting things back in place. and man everything had a place. "not there, stupid!" Meryl would mouth and i'd scramble to place her hairbrush next to the mirror on her nighttable.

"Come on in Bobby," Meryl would say finally when we were both seated on the edge of the bed.
"You want me to call your father?" her mother would ask, hands on her hips. her hair big, so big. ice tinkling in her tumbler.
"No bobby, i don't want you to call my father," Meryl would say and then turn to me and ask. "Do you want Bobby to call my father?"

on my way out the front door, her dad would still be there smoking, leaning against his car. "see ya," i'd say. he'd just nodd, not saying anything, blowing smoky air from his lungs like an exhaust pipe.

i got fed up with meryl and her mom. i didn't see how our practice sessions were helping. in the real world people didn't pretend to be looking away then suddenly screech their heads off for the cops if they suspected you were stealing.

no, in the real world, like at the pharmacy on the corner of Mary and Washington if they thought you were stealing they'd come over to you and say, "Can i help you find something, miss?" or "Are you ready to pay for that keychain i miss." a whole lot kinder than meryl and her mother. and a lot less noisy.

my brother, fraser, really perfected the art though. he was in advanced placement classes and i wasn't, even though we were only eleven months apart in age.

"Look right over there," he told me one day, as we were standing in Safeway by the checkers. "Tell me what do you see?"
i wished i was in advanced placement right then. I could feel my face burning with not knowing the right answer.
"Look!" he said and yanked my head to the right toward the produce section. I looked.
"I dunno, cabbages?"
"No dummy. Can you see the candy rack from here? Can you see the kid in front of the candy rack?"
"No, just cabbage."
"Exactly!" he said. "It's all free for the taking,"
"But I don't want any cabbage, " I said.
I really didn't. But that's exactly why i wasn't in advanced placement and he was.

Out of view of the checkers we loaded up: Abba Zabas, Big Hunks, Charleston Chews, Red Hots, Pixy Stix, Lemonheads, Snickers, Chunkys. we stole and ate it all.

ah, advanced placement.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a quick race report about Madera.

the drive down was good. no barf, just a few spit bubbles and strings of saliva swinging off minnie's chin, no inappropriate peeing in the truck. And i didn't leave my wallet or glasses at a gas station. all very good signs.

The Crit: We didn't have much talky-talk besides the good stuff Michael posted on the forum. Before the race, Monica said she, Stella, Heidi, Tracie and Kim had gotten together and decided they'd attack in pairs. "And since you weren't there, you're the floater." Hmm, I thought, my role is to be a turd. Okay.

During the crit Tracie attacked and attacked. Stella shot off in a stellar syle and Monica got a gap with another rider. I thought I'd try and bridge but as soon as I stuck my turdiness into the wind I could tell I wasn't going anywhere. It was going to come down to a sprint finish. So, I made a point to pay attention to Trish Bell as she usually sits around and balances her checkbook in a crit until one lap to go. i stuck on her wheel and decided to go if she goes and not to bother if she doesn't bother. she's a smart rider and usually gets it right in the end. I was feeling all smart and cagey staking her out when i looked up and LO there was Trish -- to my left. who the hell had I been following all this time? with two laps to go, i finally found her near the back blowing her nail polish dry and tried again to stay with her. Cindy M wanted Trish's wheel too and just plain ol took it. Right turn, sprint, sprint, sprint.

TT: i wore a frickin camelback OVER my skinsuit -- a gazzillion straps flapping in the breeze, little birdies latched on for a free ride. a picture of not-aeroness. with five minutes before my start, i moseyed on up to the start and saw #856 waiting in line and thought, well, I'll just move in front of her because I was #853. TT starts are like the only place where it's totally okay to cut in front of someone. i love it. so i was cut, cut, cutting my way to the start of the line when the official calls out "853? where's 853" why that's me, I thought and his clock is way off. I was about to suggest he double-check his time, when he said "10 seconds" and someone grabbed hold of my bike. well, no time for an argument, off i go. not much else to add really, except an "unnamed" sports drink when poured over the head will cool you down immediately AND is a pretty darn good hair gel for the manwig.

RR: It was like the longest Sunday afternoon ride EVER. La-La-La, speedy downhill. Right turn. everyone CHARGE! Bump. Bump. Bump. Roller, roller, roller. Water, water, water. Linda what are you doing on the ground? Right Turn.

Repeat 3 times until complete exhaustion.

Not much to add. Stella and I got in a break for about 4 mins. Then it was back to business...bump, bump, bump. It's too bad Monica took a spill. We'd just been mentioning the sketchiness of some of the riding. There was a lot of jerky pedalling, looking back and swerving, and that ridiculous "this is my wheel and i don't care if i take the whole field out, i'm not letting you have it." Oy fricking Oy. I mean maybe in the last lap, but we're talking 40-50 miles from the finish. There was also a lot of pointing. You know like when you ride with your friends and there's a truck back and you point to your very good friend that you'd like to move into the small opening in front of them so the semi doesn't roll over you. Everytime I see someone point in a race I think of Judy Senzer in the Light House crit when I pointed for her to let me in when the field was strung out. "Uh-uh, Honey, this is a race." Okay, so I thought she was my friend. Whatever.

after it was all over, sitting by the pool with Linda and the breeze blowing and the sun setting and the buzz from the beer...well, that was just a fabulous, fabulous feeling.