Friday, November 28, 2008

More thankfulness

I've been a bit behind on blogging lately. Reading others' blogs and writing my own. I'm in the process of writing another post but had to get this short one in!

Bree posted a fav song (one that I also LOVE!), then Kathleen followed suit and I realized I wanted to post a couple recent favs, too.

But I also just want to take a moment to say thank you to everybody in the blog world for all of the great support throughout the past year. It was so incredible to stumble into this community late last year and I feel like I've made a whole new circle of friends who really get this crazy sport and why we do it.

I appreciate all of you for who you are; for sharing your ups and downs, your challenges and successes, your mistakes and secrets, some of your personal struggles, and some of your daily sources of happiness.

It has become a great source of joy for me to look out into those sea of tri-blogs and read about the different adventures you all partake in. So many different personalities and interests with one common one that has brought us all here. I hope that 2009 affords me more opportunities to meet more of you in person. Until then, keep blogging with the best of them!

Now...onto the goodies:

**Mark your calendar for Dec 7 if you're in the area. It's my birthday and I'm planning on doing a ride followed by a bday lunch at my favorite place in the whole world, Rosso (pizza and wine bar...can life get better?). Route and timeframe to come.

-I watched a movie two nights ago that I think EVERYBODY NEEDS TO SEE. It's called Young at Heart. Seriously...go out and rent this move, THIS WEEKEND. Right now. Watch this trailer, then open a new tab in your browser and put this movie to the top of your Netflix queue. I promise you will be so inspired! I'm still thinking about this movie, two days later. I hope that I will grow old and be this cool. That's all I'm going to say about it.

Some recent tunes I've been hearing and loving:

Tracy Chapman - Sing for You
(Off her latest album. I am LOVING this song...I HEART HER!!!)

Tracy Chapman - The Promise
(Hadn't heard this in years...but fell in love with it all over again)

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

(This is my inspirational song of the moment...)

Nina Simone - Sinnerman (Felix da Housecat Heavenly Mix)
(GREAT video...unfortunately they won't let me embed, BOO!)

You and I Both - Jason Mraz (yes Bree, I love him too!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being thankful for tradition and change

I'm grateful we have a day where the whole point is to simply look around, acknowledge what we have, be thankful, and eat great food (the last part being conditional; I supposed it depends on where you end up on Thanksgiving).

Last year at this time I believe we were just kind of hanging one day my family (and extended family...29 of us to be exact) would descend on San Pedro to catch a 3-day cruise that took us down to Ensenada and back. That trip was so much fun, it's difficult to believe that was already one year ago. The family time was incredible and while I never thought I would see myself actually enjoy a cruise, I came back thinking "now THAT'S how to have a family reunion."

Nobody had to fight about what time to meet up, what restaurant we should go to, who was going to pay, or how we would all get there. And I could be doing one thing with my sister and my cousin, and all of a sudden we'd run into our other cousins and I'd drift away to go hang out with them for awhile. We managed to get about 20 of us together to fill up a bingo row so we could be the loudest and most obnoxious group in there. I laugh a little just thinking about it.

I wish every holiday could be that much fun.

This year is back to normal; feeling bad as I tell my dad that I'm headed to Napa to my mom's for dinner. "Well, I'll be around all weekend, so if you're in the area..." he trails off. "Dad," I say sternly, "I am NEVER just 'in Vacaville.'" Instantly I regret my condescending tone. Like one of his many casts of his fishing line, he's just trying to put it out there, hoping I might bite.

In that way, I'm thankful for traditions. It's so much easier when you don't even have to think or make decisions. Kind of like the triathlon season - you've got your training plan set so all you have to do is follow it. No decisions need to be made, you just go and enjoy the moment (or at least...suffer through it, knowing you had no choice).

But life goes on with its twists and turns and road splits, and traditions crumble and form into new ones. And some don't. Some traditions simply stay behind, lingering only in our memories as we reminisce about 'the good old days.'

I'm also grateful for change, though. I can remember so many traditional Thanksgivings where things weren't so great, whether it was because my parents were upset with each other, or my mom was upset with her sister, or I had grown tired of the same old carrot-jello salad and over-cooked Gołąbki (pronounced "Go-lump-ki": my mom's side is Polish and very ingrained with food traditions).

My parents first decided they would be the black sheep in 1997 and *gasp* do something OTHER than go to my grandparents' house. We rented a cabin with some close friends up near Tahoe and went skiing and made our own Thanksgiving dinner. I can recall thinking "wow...I like this idea of doing something different."

Ever since then Thanksgiving has been something different. In 1999 they got together with friends, took the trailer out to Dillon Beach and ate BBQ oysters and drank wine. I was in college then and brought along a friend who was from Argentina; she had a pretty nice impression of what Thanksgiving was.

I'm grateful both my parents have empowered me with the idea of breaking tradition and embracing change. But with that empowerment comes the responsibility of making a decision. That's where the tough part comes in.

As the holiday drew nearer this year, I still had my head in the sand, thinking if I kept it there I might be able to put off my decision-making for just a little bit longer. Before I knew it, though, Thanksgiving week was here!

I had friends asking "so, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?" As I replied "not sure," they blinked back incredulously, as if I was some sort of rogue human for NOT having my Thanksgiving plans set in stone weeks ahead of time.

Just as we must step back from our training plans every now and then to evaluate and make sure they're working, it's good to step back from the usual things we do and see if there's any changes we can make. Any enhancements we can add.

I am a creature of habit in the way I like to have coffee (little cream, no sugar) every morning, I can't go to sleep without putting chapstick on, and I must have classical music on at work in the background. But besides my little daily practices, I generally embrace change. I tire of routines. By the time Vineman rolled around in July I was so tired of the same old schedule. In that vein, I had briefly entertained the idea of getting away somewhere for Thanksgiving and being thankful elsewhere. But I realized that I don't visit my family as much as I used to last year; I'd like to be with them today.

I'm thankful for where I'm at. I often 'escaped' Berkeley each Sunday to go be with my family in Napa. As much as I enjoyed living there, it never quite felt like home. Having been in Sonoma County for almost a year, I feel like this is a place I can call home. I don't need to escape anywhere. It's a nice feeling.

So, as I get ready to embark on my traditional Thanksgiving Day activity (I would say bike ride, but I've changed that tradition this year; I'm going to be doing a day-after-Thanksgiving ride; probably a run today), I would like to say that I'm grateful for friends - new and old, internet and real-world; I'm grateful for traditions - ones that have fallen out of practice and deep into my memory and others that have yet to begin; I'm grateful for the unconditional love of my family; I'm grateful for my health; I'm grateful for the promise of a new year; and certainly not least, I'm grateful for the opportunity to eat a great meal and not go hungry today...or any day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Use your lights...please...

I can't say it enough: if you're riding in the dark, PLEASE use lights!! We as cyclists are difficult enough for drivers to see in the daylight; we need to do everything we can to ensure that motorists see us.

This is a very tragic story about a local man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver (disgusting) the other evening. He raced for the Wells Fargo team and was riding home. I know the roads out there - they are definitely pretty rural and dark. Clearly the person that hit him was a coward in every way and we won't know the real cause of the crash, but I have to wonder if lights may have helped him.

I just wanted to spread the word. Please be careful out there.

Martinez Cycling Team Member Killed in Hit-and-Run

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11-25) 13:27 PST PORT COSTA -- A bicyclist who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on a rural road in northern Contra Costa County was a longtime electrician for The Chronicle who had taken up riding to spend more time with his sons, relatives and colleagues said Tuesday.

Mark Pendleton, 49, of Martinez was struck around 5 p.m. Monday while riding south on McEwen Road near Highway 4 south of Port Costa. A northbound vehicle apparently crossed over the center line and hit him, said Officer Scott Yox of the California Highway Patrol.

Pendleton, an avid cyclist and a member of the Wells Fargo racing team, was returning home on the two-lane road from a training ride. Darkness had already fallen and Pendleton was not using lights or reflectors at the time of the accident. He died at the scene and his bicycle was destroyed.

From debris found at the scene, officers said the car that hit Pendleton may have been dark in color, and the crash apparently broke a headlight or turn signal. Anyone with information should call the CHP at (925) 646-4980.

From 1994 until 2007, Pendleton worked as an electrical foreman at the main Chronicle building at Fifth and Mission streets in San Francisco, as well as at outlying printing plants.

His friends remembered him as a dedicated craftsman who was an expert in the electronic devices throughout the newspaper building, particularly the microwave transmission system that connects the editorial offices to its printing plants.

"He could do anything, and he did it with gusto," recalled a friend and colleague, John Elliott. "He was good at everything around here."

Pendleton, his friend recalled, was a trim, athletic man who took his cycling seriously. He was always in training, and he ordered his morning bagel without butter or spreads and his club sandwiches without mayonnaise.

He was in the habit of drilling small holes into the chain rings of his carbon fiber bicycle to reduce their weight and lighten, even infinitesimally, his load.

Pendleton was a native of San Pablo and a graduate of Pinole Valley High School and of UC Berkeley. He was a longtime volunteer with Community Bible Church of Vallejo, leading camping trips and Bible study groups for young people.

He took up cycling to spend time with his younger son, John Mark, whose doctor recommended bicycling after a knee injury. With his older son, Paul, they competed in local amateur races.

Earlier this year, he began riding with his wife, Denise. She took a liking to the sport after picking out a heavy yellow beach cruiser - the opposite of her husband's sleek road bikes. But, she recalled, he didn't care what kind of bike she rode, or how fast she rode it.

"He'd pick out flat routes and stay right with me, the whole time," she said. "He'd never leave my side."

Pendleton is survived by his wife and his sons. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weekend post is postponed

I really wanted to get home from teaching spinning, stop by Lee's to pick up some persimmons from his tree, settle down to eat some dinner, and write all about my fantastic weekend, complete with cute pics from the Girls on the Run 5K.

But that isn't happening tonight.

I either ate something horribly wrong at lunchtime (I hope) or I'm getting the flu (I hope not).

The worst part is that as I began to feel progressively more nauseous as the afternoon went on, I began to think "hmm...this needs to get better...I'm the SUB for spin this would I find a sub for the SUB??" I decided I would HTFU and deal.

A few trips to the bathroom and some pepto bismol later, I was feeling acceptable. I warned the spin class that while I am normally quite a high energy person, I wasn't feeling all there this evening so I apologized for my more subdued nature.

First 30 minutes of class were okay. I would try to push it a little and then inevitably had to back off because I could tell my body wasn't having it. Felt a little faint 5 minutes later but was doing alright.

Time for sprints! Normally I like to sprint with my students but I know that wouldn't be smart this eve. So I hopped off the bike and got them ready for the first round.

Then it started.

That feeling in the pit of my stomach. No. Please, no.

One sprint down, next up! I took a deep breath. Really tried hard to push down whatever it was that was starting to come up.

Got through the third sprint and I knew I couldn't hold it off anymore.

Embarassingly, I said to the class "excuse me, I think I'm going to be ill now."

They shouted back "GO, GO, GO!!!"

As I began to run out of the room they yelled "don't take the mic with you!"

[Thanks, guys...I remembered to turn it off...]

After my little puke fest I felt much better, and I returned to lead them in one more sprint, with color back in my face and a genuine smile. Phew.

But that was SO embarrassing. And now, I'm going to take my contacts out, put on my fleece reindeer pants and tuck myself in for a long night of sleep and hope this is just something I ate.

The BP update is good: so far it's been in the 130/80 range for the past few days so I'm quite pleased. Woo!

Tomorrow's post: Weekend recap!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What to say?

I feel like my blog is SOOO BORING RIGHT NOW! Especially because all these other people are doing so many exciting things like going to the Wine Jar in SF or visiting Seattle or doing a FOODIE TOUR in SF or maybe visiting gorgeous Santa Barbara...

...and I'm...well, I am heading into a fun-packed weekend myself, now that I think about it.

- Girls on the Run 5K tomorrow morning and carpooling with Holly, yay!

- Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow afternoon/evening with friends in Oakland, yay!

- LAST XC RACE OF THE SEASON on Sunday morning, boo!!

- Birthday party out at Stinson Beach (inside a house...not on the beach, thank goodness, TOO COLD) Sunday afternoon, woo!
Stinson Beach on a nice day...

But I'm also just a little bummed right now. I really try to keep this blog about my activities in tri-land/bike-land/etc but I can't help but write about this because I am SO FRUSTRATED!

I went to the doc yesterday. Just wanted to get established with my new doc, and figured it's been about 2 years since I got labs done and since my family has this lovely history of great things like high BP, heart stuff, high cholesterol...well, these are things I need to stay on top of because in spite of my great exercise and healthy eating habits, genetics are what they are. And while I'm grateful that cancer doesn't run in my family, this other stuff does.

So the medical assistant takes my BP...I look away because I'm praying it will magically be the right numbers.


"Do you have high blood pressure?"

Gulp. "Um, well...a couple years ago when I was on cold meds we realized I had insanely high BP and monitored afterward but then it came back down to normal and it's been pretty stable since, so um...not really. I stay away from cold meds now."

So she said the doc would check again. Okay.

Go through my family history, what my concerns are (basically I just want to stay healthy and stay on top of my cholesterol and BP but I live a pretty darn healthy lifestyle and never had any health issues, so...that's ALL, DOC!), etc.

Then we get to the blood pressure thing. He checks it again. Ugh, STILL high. Basically was around 140/90 which is right at the Hypertension/High Blood Pressure line. Here's a chart in case you were interested.

In the past few months that I'd checked occasionally, I was in the 130/80 range, so still not the BEST, but not high either.

We discussed all the possible reasons, genetics being the probable main cause, but he's going to have my labs done so we can look at everything else that's going on with me. Then we talked about the dangers of having a borderline high blood pressure, which I basically knew. It's awful because it's living at that borderline for years and years that can really do the major damage and cause heart disease.

So the one cool thing about this guy was that he was very thoughtful in considering how we'll go forward. I've got a pump at home, so I'm going to monitor it a couple times a day for the next few weeks. And get my labs done. We'll meet up again in a couple weeks to see if we can determine the cause. Whether we can or not, the most important thing is to determine how to move forward. He said as an athlete, if I did end up going on meds, I wouldn't be a candidate for the most common ones due to the side effects they have - aka slowing you down.

I really appreciated that.

And I know I'm making this sound like such a big deal. But for someone who has never had any health problems in her life, IT IS!!! I hate that I work so hard to live such in such a healthful way and yet I'm looking at possibly going on meds for high blood pressure. Yes, it's common in the US but to me that doesn't mean it's okay. And I hate the thought of being on meds to control something, even if it's through no fault of my own. I still somehow feel guilty.

So all of a sudden this morning I started examining things...looking at salt content, wondering if I eat salty foods without realizing it? But so far, nothing crazy yet. Took my BP this morning, still 140/90. Ugh.

Anyway, on with the day, on with the adventure! Hope everybody has a great weekend.

AND, to all those doing IM Arizona, BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The spoiled under 25 crowd

The original title of this was "The Spoiled Under 30 Crowd." But I'm under 30 and I can actually relate to very much of this (esp the part about making mixed tapes!). So I'm changing it to 'under 25.' Enjoy!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up, what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning. Uphill... barefoot...BOTH ways...Yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today...

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia.

And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it.

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen. Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take a week to get there.

There were no MP3' s or Napsters. You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like call waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination. And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever. And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing. You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove...Imagine that!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980.

The over 30 25 Crowd


Paul from Kirkland posted this video link in his comment and I thought it was simply so fitting and hilarious I had to post it here. THANKS, PAUL!!!

Thank goodness for the Winter Weight Challenge

I've been having a problem. At work we have a little candy dish (for clients). And lately it's been getting filled up with Halloween candy.

Now, I'm not much of a sweets person so I generally don't have a problem avoiding candy when it's out.

But this is GOOD candy. Like, a mini Heath Bar. Or a mini butterfinger. Tootsie-roll pop. Milk Duds. ALMOND JOY. (my fav)

And they're all MINI so you think "oh, that's not as bad." Making things worse, it's all different - variety. So there's something new all the time.

My temptation has basically crumbled so that I might allow myself one of these delicious sweets after lunch.

Normally not a problem, but if you start doing it every day, that could amount to a problem.

BUT THANKS to the WINTER WEIGHT CHALLENGE, I've got enough of a reason to restore my willpower to its maximum level and simply walk past the candy dish with not so much of a glance.


(that and I think I've already eaten all the good stuff. All that's left are Crunch bars and Mini M&Ms. Sorry M&M lovers, but those M&M's just don't do it for me, THANK GOODNESS)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This and that

I feel so behind but it's only Tuesday! I guess that's a result of being a little ill. I hate being sick. You feel like you don't want to do ANYTHING and all I could focus on all day was wanting to just curl up in bed and sleep.

ANYWAY, starting to feel better, thanks for the well-wishes. I made it to the (dark) track workout tonight. We did 12x300 (with 100 recovery) after our warm up. I don't know if it's because I took a little running break (about 1.5 weeks) or that kick-butt bike ride from Sat, but my legs felt surprisingly spry. I managed to make every four sets faster, so started around 1:12 and steadily made it down to 1:08 and the last one pulled off 1:07. Nice!

It was challenging because the usual crowd wasn't in attendance - only 6 of us tonight. And it was cold. And dark. But I figured if I could get through things like this it will make Sunday's cross country race a piece of cake, right?

On a cool note: When I arrived there was this woman there I didn't recognize (and hello, it was dark). So Tori introduced us and she suddenly seemed familiar and she said "yes, we met at the Fleet Feet Run two weeks ago."

A big smile spread across my face. "Tori," I began, "do you realize that Lydia and I met two weeks ago and I told her about how great Empire Runners was and how she should join us on Tuesdays - and HERE SHE IS!" Turns out I made a good enough impression that she came out last week and even CAME BACK FOR MORE this week. Cool!

We've got our last XC race this weekend on Sunday. Boo! I'm kind of sad about that. But I think it'll be a blast and I'm curious to see how I do given that now I've done the course once (it's in Golden Gate Park).

Saturday I am ALSO running - I'm volunteering with this FABULOUS organization called Girls on the Run. Have you heard of it? "Girls on the Run© is a non-profit prevention program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. Our curricula address all aspects of girls' development - their physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being." (from the GOTR website)

So their fall training culminates in a 5K for the girls and since I can't volunteer during the year (usually the program starts right when they get out of school, so around 3 p.m.), I am volunteering during the GOTR Sonoma County 5K to be a 'running buddy.' Bonus: I get to be a running buddy for one of my spin student's daughters!!

I also have to write a ride report from Saturdays' Riviera Ride. It was just as awesome as the first but I'd venture to say even more so. It's quickly becoming one of my new favorite monthly events. I will save that for another post, I think. Trying to have shorter posts these days and I still have other things on my list to get to.

Speaking of bikes, I think I want to have a big bike ride on my birthday. So if you're in the area on December 7, come join. I think I may try to have the ride end at Rosso in Santa Rosa for lunch and have a bakery stop somewhere during the ride.

I'm saving the best for last. Lately folks (JP and Rainmaker) have been posting some insanely amazing-looking eats (Cassoulet and pumpkin recipes, respectively). They've left me SALIVATING!

And I promised to post something about food. The bad thing about this is I haven't yet made it (this year) - that is for this weekend but I really wanted to put this recipe out there so people can see it and make it/savor it/enjoy it themselves.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for:

Salad of Fall Greens with Persimmons and Hazlenuts Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (recipe here)

From via Bon Appetit, November 2001

**Note: I hate hazlenuts. So instead of hazlenut oil, I used walnut oil. And instead of toasted hazlenuts, I toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). And they work lovely.

  • 3/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated tangerine peel
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil or walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 head escarole (about 11 ounces), torn into 2-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
  • 1 large bunch watercress, stemmed (about 6 cups)
  • 1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
  • 2 Fuyu persimmon, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skin rubbed off

Boil tangerine juice and tangerine peel in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Whisk in next 5 ingredients. Season dressing with pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewhisk before using.)

Place all greens and half of persimmon slices in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates. Top each with remaining persimmon slices and hazelnuts and serve.

And, I think that's a wrap for tonight. Thanks to everybody who's going to play Maggs' and my Winter Weight Challenge. I'm looking forward to having even MORE of a reason not to put anymore weight on this winter!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 1 of the Winter Weight Challenge Begins!

It's been a crazy day and I also haven't been feeling well since Saturday afternoon so I won't be posting much here today, but I do have to say that Saturday's Riviera Ride ROCKED SO MUCH! I will hope to steal some pics from Steve and Dave and post them along with a ride report because it was a seriously glorious ride (and the ensuing lunch was also just as glorious).

Instead, I am posting to REMIND ANY PARTICIPANTS OF THE WINTER WEIGHT CHALLENGE to go to Maggs' blog today and post your weight!

Maggs did a great job reviewing the GOAL (not to see who can lose the most's to see who can remain STEADY) of the challenge and gave a few examples.

So go see Maggs and tell her what you weighed today and let's get the CHALLENGE STARTED, WOO!

(All you have to do to join this competition is go to Maggs' blog and say "I want in!" and state your weight! The more, the merrier, COME ON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2 IMPORTANT announcements

1) The Riviera Ride #2 is this Saturday (11/15). If you are local (or even sort of local, like EAST BAY OR SF, or Napa, or in that vicinity), you should come out for this.

It is a monthly group ride that occurs on the 3rd Saturday of the month. I wrote about it last month. Here's the deal:

It starts at 9 a.m. at West County Revolution in Sebastopol with coffee and pastries (get there before 9 for the goodies - ride starts at 9). It will be about a 50-60 mile ride depending on the group you choose to ride with. We all start out at a very easy pace, just chatting and riding and warming the legs up. We will split up about 10-15 miles in and there will be a super fast group (last month had cycling pro Scott Nydam show up and the other guys that rode with him were super fast too - they did about 60 miles and around 22-24 mph) and a moderate group that will do slightly less miles - 45-50 miles and around 18-20 mph.

We will all end up at a restaurant called Riviera in Santa Rosa. $30 buys you lunch (a 3 course lunch!) and covers tax and tip as well.

After lunch, folks will head back to Sebastopol (8 miles away) via the bike path at an easy pace.

Alternatlively, some of us will who live in Santa Rosa will meet at Riviera at 8 a.m. and head out to Sebastopol so that we can just go home after lunch.

If you're interesed, please RSVP to Steve at West County Revolution by emailing him here.

And let me know if you're coming along! We would love to have folks join in the fun!

2) ATTENTION ALL TRI-BLOGGERS (and any other blogger who wants to join in!)!!!

Join Maggs and Sarah for the Winter Weight Challenge! The more who play means the sweeter the prize!

The skinny:

A 10-week challenge beginning on 11/17/08 through 1/26/09 to see who can gain the least amount of weight.

The prize:

Each person who joins in will purchase a $5 gift card to any place of their choice (Starbucks, Jamba Juice, iTunes, Target, etc) and send it to Maggs (who promises to be honest and not spend them, duh). The winner gets the gift cards (or if there are multiple winners cards will be split).

The rules:

Maggs will post each Monday to have all participants report their weight that day via comment. Maggs and Sarah will keep a log of each participant week-by-week. If you LOSE weight and you have two consecutive weeks of being at a lower weight, that will be your new weight to maintain. At the end of 10 weeks, we will see who has gained the least pounds over the 10 week period. If there are ties, we'll split up the awards.

Why do this stupid competition?

Because some of us need a challenge to not gain any more weight in the off season. Some of us are THAT type-A that we need to make it into a competition. Some of us just want incentive. Some of us think it'll be fun.

If you plan on joining in, feel free to comment and let me know. I'll add you to the roster. 10-week blogger challenge, here we come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Another awesome Tuesday with yet another 'landslide' win at the polls: Tim Lincecum received 23 out of 32 first place votes to be named the 2008 Cy Young Award Winner.

If you're not a baseball fan, you should read this anyway.

Because it's about more than baseball.

It's about living and pursuing your dream. It's about believing. It's about hard work.

Now, I'm not a sportscaster like JT or a sportswriter so I don't really know how to sum all of this up, esp for people who don't really follow baseball.

Maybe JT can write this post instead of me? :)

So let's start with what the Cy Young Award is. According to Wikipedia, "The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American and National leagues. The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955."

Now, who is Tim Lincecum?

Tim Lincecum was, 29 months ago, pitching for the University of Washington. But for the past two years, he's been pitching with the Giants (he was called up May of 2007). And this past year, he was THE pitcher for the Giants.

He's 24 now but he still looks like he's 18. The crazy thing is to think that as a freshman in high school, he was still 4'11" and 85 lbs!!! And now he's nearly 6' tall and 170 lbs. He learned his mechanics from his dad in his backyard and now he's one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The story gets better. According to "The Freak" (one of his many nicknames), in an article in the SF Chronicle,
"People have been doubting me my whole life. Nothing new," Lincecum said. "I'm not going to hold it against them. If they doubt me, let them watch and see what the end result is. I don't let them bring me down like they used to."
Okay, so what's the big deal?

There's a few things here:

1) The Giants majorly SUCKED this season. But you know what? When you knew Lincecum was going to pitch, you knew it would be a great game to watch. He consistently threw close to 100 mph fastballs, 80 mph curveballs and so many strikeouts that he ended up winning the National League Strikeout Title (265 strikeouts by the end of the season!),

2) Tim brought a team mentality to the game. The other players respected him and he respected the other players. They played like a true TEAM. Not that they didn't when he wasn't pitching, but in 2007, with Barry Bonds' all-star presence, they never played like a team. It was all about Barry and his home runs. Even though Lincecum began to gain a lot of press and praise as the season went on, he never made it about HIM.

In fact, catcher Bengie Molina had this to say (from another SF Chronicle article):
"That's great, man. Wow," catcher Bengie Molina said when told of Lincecum's win. "He pitched so great. I'm so happy for him. I'm hoping he enjoys it. I know it's an individual award, but looking back and seeing the year we had as team, for him to come out with Cy Young is amazing. It's unbelievable."

3) Lincecum is a truly remarkable pitcher. His style is different. He's got an usual twisting windup which features a longer stride (The normal stride length for a pitcher is 77% to 87% of his height. Lincecum's stride is 129%, some 7 1/2 feet) and heavy torque. Here's some other stats that set him apart (again from the SF Chronicle):
Aside from his 18-5 record and 2.52 ERA, two statistics set Lincecum apart from other candidates: He became the first Giants pitcher, dating to the New York days, to lead the majors in strikeouts (265) and the fourth pitcher in history to finish at least 13 games above .500 for a team that finished at least 13 below (72-90).

I guess what's so inspiring is that Lincecum goes into every game believing, ready to win, ready to WORK FOR IT. JT had a post the other day about athletes who just 'give up'. These guys are paid millions of dollars a year and they just 'give up?' What a disgrace.

Here's an interesting stat:
Tim Lincecum's 2008 salary was $405,000. The other 5 pitchers' (whom he was up against for the award) average salary for 2008 was $9,433,510. Yes, you read that right.

I'm inspired because Lincecum brings a level of humility to the game and at the same time was always going out there to win, no matter what happened. His first response to finding out he won was "REALLY?"

I think he's a great role model as an athlete for all of us as athletes. He fully demonstrates how to never stop trying even in the face of so much success. How to always be expecting the best out of yourself but to never let it get to your head. How to keep working at it even when you get knocked down (kind of like what you were saying, E!)


Here's another great article from Sports Illustrated on "Tiny Tim": How Tiny Tim Became A Pitching Giant

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Goodbye Facebook (for now)

I came, I went, I saw, I status-updated with the best of them, and now I'm calling it quits.

For now, anyway.

On the one hand, I love Facebook.

On the other, I really don't.

It's nice to see old friends, for sure. It's nice to comment on friends' and family photos, absolutely. I've spoken more with my cousins on Facebook than I ever would have before.

But WTF is up with people from high school that I barely even remember 'friending' me and then not even sending any kind of 'hello' message? Somebody that I sort of remember who was more a friend of friends in JUNIOR HIGH friend requested me the other day.

HELLO!!! We haven't spoken in 15 years and NOW you want to be my 'friend?'

Except she didn't even say 'hi' or put a message with her request.

And when I press 'ignore' for friend requests from people that I barely remember, a month later they're requesting me AGAIN because i probably showed up on the "People You May Know" tool and they thought "oh, huh...there's Sarah, I should totally friend request her!" because they've already forgotten that they friend requested me a month ago.

It's like people are out there collecting pogs, or something. (remember pogs?)

It was a really hard decision because I also really enjoy seeing photos people post of this and that, and there are a few people from high school that I've really enjoyed re-interacting with, not to mention simply the enjoyment of seeing what folks are up to.

But then again, how much are we REALLY interacting? I comment on photos. They comment on mine. We smile and think that's so nice. But have we really reconnected our friendship? Have we actually gone out and taken photos together that we'll later share on Facebook?

Erm, no, we haven't.

Don't get me wrong, I think Facebook is tons of fun. But I just don't think I have the time right now to really spend much time getting everything out of it I would want to.

I feel like I have more work to do on the friendships I have outside of the online world, and between email and blogging, I do enough on the internet. I need to focus more on the relationships in my life and put more effort into maintaining them - both new and old.

I may go back to Facebook, but until then, I'll be holding down the blog front and of course, I'm always available on email. And in the real world I'll be attempting to get people together for rides, hikes, runs, drinks, laughs, and good stuff.

(oh and p.s. I am totally going to miss Wordscraper (the Scrabble game)!!!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

One fantastic ride

I wasn't around this weekend to ride in the mornings. So when I returned around noon on Sunday, I was itching to get out on the bike. I had considered running, but just really felt like riding. I checked the weather - no impending rain. Winds about 10-15 mph. Hm.

Still didn't matter. For weeks I've been dying to get out to the Wildflour Bakery in Freestone. For weeks I've been saying "I want to ride out and go to this sacred bakery." I just had it in my mind that I was going to DO THIS.

I headed out Guerneville Road and pedaled into the wind. It was cool, but there was enough sunshine warming my arms and back that I didn't need the arm warmers yet. Not too much traffic out, surprisingly. Left on Frei Road and up the first little grunt. Before I knew it I was zipping through Graton along Graton Road, mentally preparing for my first big climb. It was so quiet. The air was crisp and fresh and the only sounds that could be heard where my feet spinning away at the pedals.

After tackling Graton Road, I made it into Occidental. The other big treat of the day was getting to ride my most favorite road in the world - Bohemian
Hwy. I took my sunglasses off as I zoomed through the towering redwood trees which shaded and cooled the air, providing a fresh scent of damp redwood. Again, the road was silent and I really felt, in that moment, that I was in church: the majestic trees around me were my stained glass, and my bike was the pew in which I was praying. It was truly heavenly. All was silent and I simply smiled and thought "I am SO lucky."

Another 10 minutes and I pulled into the Wildfl
our Bakery. I could smell it before I even saw it! I sat down with some coffee and a walnut-apple-cinnamon scone and took my first bite.

Now, I've been telling everybody since I moved up here that one of the things I miss most about Berkeley is the Cheese Board. Their scones are a delectable treat and I've never had a scone even come CLOSE to comparing to the ones the Cheeseboard produced. But as of yesterday, the Cheeseboard has finally met its match. The scone I had at Wildflour bakery was so incredible, so fresh, so full of everything that is good and right with food, that I couldn't help but smile and know that I had done the right thing today.

After I left I turned right on Bodega Hwy and left on Petaluma-Valley Ford Road. The roads were still somewhat empty and peaceful. I didn't see one other cyclist out there. Made my way back via Bloomfield->Todd->Llano and back along the path.

The wind really died down once I was in Occidental, so I was glad I had made the decision to go. It really was a fantastic solitary ride and I just couldn't get over how peaceful it was. The hills are starting to turn green, the cows were out, and the air was so clear and so crisp, every breath invigorated my lungs.

49 miles, 1500 feet of climbing, and three glorious hours of just enjoying the ride.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday fun...or freaky...

I've been working on a more 'serious' post (not THAT serious, but some goal-setting type stuff) BUT since I have a ton to do right now that will have to wait and I'll post something, instead.

Why it's good to be scared of spiders:

Wow. Yes, this is seriously a spider preying on a a bird. Apparently it's a Golden Orb Weaver spider and this was taken in Cairns, Australia. (BE CAREFUL, VANESSA!!!!) I guess these spiders normally prey on large insects but this poor bird flew into the web and got caught. Ew.
Read it all here.

Next up: Why it's good to be scared of snakes

This is a python eating a cockatoo. Great. Apparently "the python took about two hours to complete his meal." Mmm. Read it here.

Finally, if you think THAT'S crazy, check THIS OUT:

Apparently, this article describes how the snake realized it was 'biting off more than it can chew' (no really...) and had to regurgitate the upper half of the body. Ew.

Anyway, in case you were thinking that spiders and snakes are actually fun pets, they probably aren't. And I know that all the small spiders I go out of my way to save (I just don't have it in my heart to kill them...I scoop them up and dump them outside where they belong) would probably try to eat me if they were big enough. But they're not, so I decided I don't need to 'defend' myself.

Actually I like looking at bugs. I think they are so cool and interesting and FASCINATING. And the bug world is VICIOUS! I guess it's kind of like a car don't want to look (b/c bugs are kind of creepy) but then you can't help it. So just in case anybody cares, there's a really neat website called What's That Bug? where you can look at all the different bugs around the world in action.

Just saying...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted!


And I am sooooooooooooooooooo glad that this day is finally here. Regardless of what happens, I'm just happy that the campaigning can stop, that I will be able to focus again instead of looking at every news site in the country to see what other people see, that I will know if I have to leave the country or not.

Anyway, that was my 80s aerobics costume from Halloween, just FYI.

I don't really have a lot to say. Life is hectic right now.

The XC race was good but I was clearly still recovering from last week and my quads reminded me of it several times during the race. It really hurt. And I kept repeating over, and over, AND OVER, "you can do it. Yes you can. You CAN. YOU CAN YOU CAN YOU CAN. YOU WILL AND YOU CAN AND YOU SOOOOO CAN YES YOU CAN!"

But then I really had to stop for about 2 seconds because I really just couldn't. It hurt so bad. And my HR was skyrocketing higher over the entire course of the race than I ever have, which I'm sure has to do with the fact that I did nothing but hobble around for 5 days.

Still, I loved running in the...mist. What the women's race had was definitely mist compared to what the Men's Open Race had two hours later, which was torrential DOWNPOUR. We had a few little puddles here and there and a bit of mud, but those guys had...well, they had true cross country conditions!

There's one more XC race on 11/23. I'm kind of sad because I've really enjoyed this. I really enjoyed having a reason to run other than just to keep up with it. And NO, I am not going to go find some 1/2 marathon or marathon to pursue now instead. That's next year!

I think maybe now I need to find a few swim meets in Dec and Jan to get me motivated to get back in the pool.

I'm just having such a difficult time fitting it all in without overdoing it because it IS the off-season. I decided to relax a little and it seems that swimming is taking the brunt of it.

In any case, I'm not too worried. I will get back in the pool. Tomorrow, in fact. I AM GETTING MY @$$ OUT OF BED AND MARCHING DOWN TO THE POOL WHETHER IT'S RAINING AND 40 DEGRES OR NOT!


I also really want to applaud Kathleen for coming out to the XC race last Saturday. It was her very first running race and I must say, Kathleen, if you can do an XC run, then you can do any other running race. Those people are HARD CORE! There are no walkers in XC, no joggers - no - it's all RUNNING. HARD. FAST. STRONG.

So you did it. And you were smiling at the end. WAY TO GO, I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!

That's all for now, and the next time I write on my blog...we will have a newly elected president.