Saturday, November 29, 2008


In the past week and half or whatever it's been, I've:
  1. Got a tatoo
  2. Moved into a new house
  3. Found and started a new job
  4. Learned to thoroughly enjoy my new job
  5. Make friends with my new co-workers who have finally found that its ok for them to make fun of me, thus more firmly solidifying the otherwise awkward friend/co-worker relationship
  6. Got my road bike stolen
  7. Hated all of humanity
  8. Built up a new road bike with old parts donated to me by Tavis and Alex
  9. Learned that some of humanity is so friggen awesome
  10. Learned to like my new road bike well enough even though its not my old road bike, which I loved through-and-through
  11. Some other stuff and stuff
Anyway, it's been tumultuous, I guess. But a smooth, fun little tumult. My new job gives me time to run in the morning and ride in the afternoon, which is the jam, but I'm still feeling like I'm not getting enough hours on the bike, especially not off-road. My riding was terrible for a few days, which led me to feel sorry for myself and express this sorriness ot Jamie of Weaverville BMX and ProBikes, and he told me I need rest. I listened to what he had to say, and I very much trust his advice, but being one who always trusts, but never takes other's advice, I decided to just get rid of my geared bike for the time being. So I did that. No more stupid gears off-road. Singlespeeds are so much more reinvigorating than any rest could ever be, and it doesn't make you miss these stupendous fall days.

Or something.

Don't tell Jamie I didn't take his advice. He'll be pissed. He said that's why my road bike got stolen--so I couldn't ride it. Knowing him, he's probably got it stashed at home, or he sold it to some kid at the BMX track for $125. Dang.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

USARA Nationals and another minor competition

This past weekend was USARA Adventure Racing Nationals, held in a little town in the Blue Ridge mountains called, creatively enough, Blue Ridge, Georgia. This was to be my swan-song of adventure racing, so I could move on to bigger and better things, by which I mean shorter and more fun races. Once upon a time I used to run marathons, and with those, I would run the first 20 miles feeling great, then the real race started after that, and I'd just try to hold myself together for the last 10k, and that was fun. The weight is in favor of fun, and even the hurting part is bearable because its taking you toward the finish line. But for some reason with adventure racing, I spend the first 20 hours hating it and wondering why I'm doing it and wanting to cry and go home, and then for the last 4-10 hours, I feel great and I love it, and I have a blast. But that doesn't even out enough for me, and so I don't really like the sport. Add to that a sea of gear-headed dorks, stupid route planning (80 miles of gravel road when you're surrounded by an area raped with awesome singletrack! WTF?!) erroneous logistics for what would otherwise be a dandy romp in the woods, and the feeling that all I am is the little girl trying to keep up with my two male teammates...and the result is me hating the sport.

But this time wasn't so bad, honestly. Of course, as usual, I hated the first 20 hours of it, and at one point around midnight, I told my teammates I was dropping out. Thankfully , they ignored me, and we eventually got a gap where a guy gave us his Subway sandwich, and the vegetarian-since-age-seven in my went "Salami! Yum, give me two!!" And five minutes later, we got to a checkpoint where a bunch of men listening to Rod Stewart ("this isn't weird, is it?" they asked) offered us a quick warm-up by the fire and some Michalob Ultra (of course...this was an adventure race afterall.) This came right before the bike-to-trek transition, so I think the mixture of fire, beer, and change of tasks helped reinvigorate me, and finally gave me the second wind I had been waiting 19 hours for.

The rest of the race, which lasted until about 9:30 the next morning (our finishing time was 26:20:21 or know, like a day and some change.) And for the rest of the way, at least during the dark time, I kept falling asleep on my bike, which was crazy and rediculous. This was my 5th of so 24 hour race, and I've never had that problem before, but there's a first for everything, so whatever. I crashed into a few ditches, and eventually, right before dawn, crashed pretty good, and that, mixed with the pending daylight, helped wake me up for good (or at least until around 2 pm, when I fell into a post-race, drool-puddle, rock-hard nap while trying to read "Sometimes a Great Notion.") About an hour before the end, the 2nd to last checkpoint provided us with some whisky after we whined about them not having coffee ("I have something else that'll keep you warm" the guy said, and the rest is history.) It ended with a 3 mile jaunt down a railroad, ala La Ruta, which everyone tries to be like. Posers.

Anyway, we ended pretty strong, and I ended not hating adventure racing that much, which is a good way to go into retirement, I think. Unfortunately, I did miss one heck of a camp-out, cook-out with Alex and Pals up in Madison and the Swank, two things I am very sorry to have missed. But no regrets. 24 hours of woods-romping, even if half of it is taken up whining to myself, is ok by me.

And last night was the inaugural Inter-Asheville Bike Shop Bowling Tournament held at Sky Lanes. There was a good showing from Industry Nine, Pisgah Works, Suspension Experts, and then me and Alex for ProBikes (stupid Jed had to work...he would have pulled us through, being the God that he is) until we suckered I-9's best players onto our team. I think we still lost all over. I don't even know if anyone really won. But overall, a good time was had, I think. So you know, that was cool and stuff.

I'm about to go get a tattoo from old pal Galen. I'm not saying what it's going to be, except to saythat's its going to be awesome. Like the Pisgah boys' bowling skills/fashion senses awesome:

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gameplan

Turns out I'm going to be racing for Independent Fabrications next season, which I'm thoroughly excited about. There are some awesome folks racing for them, and I whole-heartedly agree with the unstated mission statement of the company, so I'm thrilled to be representing them as I ride around in circles and then spread goodwill post-race. But with this newfound direction and motivation for next year's race season, I've come to the realization that I really would like to step up my game. That is, get friggen faster, and get better all-around on a bike. And I want to do it without the smile-draining, fun-sucking drag of current, conventional training, which I don't really think will be a problem.

Today BikeSnobNYC, who consistantly is like music to my ears, said it perfectly:
"Personally, I'm against training. In fact, I feel that if you're against doping in cycling, then you should be against training too. Some riders have access to more and better training, which in turn forces their competitors to attempt to match that training in order to level the field. In turn, the former riders seek out increasingly esoteric training methods to reclaim their advantage. The result is a cycle as vicious as it is dorky, and as anybody who's spent any time around bike racers knows, training (like drugs) can take a horrible toll on a person. Sure, training is much less likely to kill you than drugs are, but in large doses, it is almost guarenteed to make you incredibly boring and unpleasant to be around. If I want to have fun, I'll ride my bike. But if I want to spend a lot of time around people who constantly monitor their bodies with electronics, can't drink alcohol, and go to bed early, I'll volunteer my time at a hospital."

I love it! This paragraph is a masterpiece. My oft-used line is "fast by default" which I use to describe riders for whom I have a lot of respect, and the type of rider I'd like to become. That is, a rider who is fast because all they do is ride, and all they do is ride is because that's all they want to do. I'm so against power-taps, but I'm all about working on my gate-starts at the BMX track, trying to keep up with Alex's sprints through yellow-to-red-lights, and running a 2:1 in Pisgah just because it hurts and its fun that way--that's power training by default, I can feel the benefit, and nothing's beeping at me. And I want my handling skills to get better, which I'm planning on doing by building skinnies in my back yard with Lexy's slag wood, riding my bike through the house, challanging everyone to games of Foot-Down until I can hold my own, and of course, just from zipping through town trying not to get hit or doored or beer-canned.

In some interview awhile back, Jill Kintner said something along the lines that where she wants to be as a rider is to be able to do whatever she wants on a bike. I love that. I, too, want to be able to do whatever I want on a bike. And on all sorts of bikes. I want to ride my bike through the house, trackstand to turn a light off, fakie my way out of it to fit through the doorway, then park my bike nicely in the corner. (I was trying this the other day, but couldn't get the fakie part right, and kept cheating by touching the wall...I'll keep trying.) I want to be able to do on a bike whatever I can do on my feet, only better and more impressively. I want to develop the handling skills to do whatever I can picture in my head.

I'm so far off that. I can't even bunny-hop without clipless. Whoops. But hey, I'm still young.