Thursday, November 29, 2007

Teammates--or, cross training

Thursday, 29 November

I have some amazingly strong teammates. One of 'em suggests stand-up paddle surfing for your next core workout! I guess it can't be much colder or wetter than riding a bike in 38 degrees and rain....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tuesday, 27 November

You gotta read this:

LFG Adrian is in Nice, training to race at Mason Lake, in shorts, in the sleety rain/snow mix. Well, that's one way to read it, anyway. The pictures hurt, but the prose is great.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Accidental bike fit

Sunday, 25 November

For about 2 months, the saddle on my rain bike has made annoying, squeaking, creaking sounds. Not-so-subtle hints to my live-in mechanic brought no results, so finally last night I took matters into my own hands. I had realized that I was beginning to dread long rides because after 40-50 miles, sitting on the saddle and pedaling was agony. It occurred to me that maybe the saddle was done and needed to be retired, although there wasn't all that much deflection when I pushed down on it. My plan was to borrow my saddle off the tandem (since I need my race bike intact for CycleU TTs) and replace the hand-me-down on the rain bike.

Turns out the squeaking was for good reason: one of the two bolts holding the saddle on the seatpost clamp was gone. Said mechanic said no, we don't have any of those bolts, but here's another saddle and a new seatpost (I can't find a zip tie on his workbench, but he can locate a saddle and a seatpost--go figure!). So with a new hand-me-down saddle and a brand new seatpost, I was good to go for today's ride.

Genius here remembered to measure saddle height before the new installation, and she got out the spirit level to make sure it wasn't cock-eyed, but she forgot about the distance from saddle to bars. 20 feet down the driveway and I knew my position was different. But it didn't seem bad, and I was late, so I kept going. And after 60 miles today, my back and other body parts were so much happier than yesterday.

No, it didn't help me overcome the lethargy of the 28mm armadillo rear tire, but sometimes you just know things aren't right when it hurts to ride your bike, even at the risk of sounding like a princess with a pea. And this one was even a pretty quick fix. Now I've got to go straighten out my stem and see if that takes out the kink I've had in my neck since I started riding the rain bike back in September....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Another day of thanks

Friday, 23 November

Ever have one of those great rides where you're just happy to be out on your (heavy, slow) bike, looking at snow-capped mountains all around, blue sky and sunshine, pastures full of cows, empty roads, and a pastry case in the bakery that has too many choices? So much to be thankful for....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tuesday, 20 November

19 hours door to door today from Dublin to home. Here are some of the photos I couldn't post while I was away.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw this shirt (and a sweatshirt with a big purple W) in a sports shop in Co Wicklow. This is Adidas clothing, and last time I checked Nike was the Huskies' official clothing company. The only other U.S. team on any clothing in this shop was the Yankees, so I am still puzzling about how the Dawgs got there.

I think this "morning coffee" set us back about $18.

I found a great running loop on this trip in one of Dublin's nicer suburbs (near a horse race track, past a golf course, past the Egyptian ambassador's house, and past a HUGE park). Most of it had some sort of sidewalk (sometimes all of 18 inches wide)--this was the only dodgy bit.

Compulsory visit to Grafton Street, the famous pedestrian-only shopping street at the center of Dublin. All decked out for Christmas, of course. The shop windows at Brown Thomas had amazing holiday scenes!

This is Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport in London. I decided today that globalization is just a big word for same-ization. Even the furniture and the milk pitchers were exactly the same as they are in the Starbucks that's 1/4 mile from my house. But hey, in London they gave me 55 cents off for using my own mug (instead of the 10 cents I save here).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Emerald isle

Monday, 19 November

Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. It stays green because it rains so much (less than it does in Seattle, actually, but nobody here believes that). They have a lovely phrase for gentle mist: "soft rain." It soaks you in about 15 minutes on the bike, but otherwise it's not so bad. However, what we've been in for here this time is "lashing rain." The kind that soaks you in a 30-second walk from the car to the door, the kind that beats on the skylights at 1:53 a.m. and keeps me awake and forces me to blog. Here are some other observations about things and how they happen here.

Fat. We took O.A.D.'s mother to lunch on Sunday. The man at the table next to us had a whole plate of pate for his first course, then proceeded to a main course of steak plus at least a litre by volume of chips (french fries) and an equal amount of onion rings. We left before he got dessert. In the supermarket yesterday morning, I was trying to find some low-fat yogurt and I always read yogurt labels anyway to make sure I'm not getting any gelatin (mad cow). The first stuff I picked up had not only whole milk, but whipping cream! I'm sure it was yummy....

Being green. We saw an ad on TV that reminded us that one recycled aluminum can saves enough electricity to keep your TV running for 3 hours. We are reminded to conserve water, although I'm not sure why (see first paragraph above). To recycle glass, you have to take it to a special bottle bank (usually in public car parks), but most everything else is picked up kerbside. An English brand of smoothies available in Ireland, Innocent, comes in a bottle that looks like plastic but the label proudly states that it's made from corn and completely compostable.

Prices. Muffins in bakeries are usually $3-4--and muffins have a short tradition here, so I'm not sure they're anything like worth that much. Bananas work out to about the same price as at home. The organic low-fat yogurt I bought yesterday was only slightly more expensive (and tastier, and localer) than what I get at home. Chocolate in good Euro brands (Lindt, Green and Black) is less expensive but so far I have resisted. Nutella is lots cheaper and, as Nathan pointed out, has no trans fats, unlike the same brand sold in the U.S. But taking the cake so far was a pair of pajamas I bought for 4.50 euro, or about $6.75. They were probably made by child slave labor in Asia (or eastern Europe). The fabric alone would easily cost $20 in Seattle. That allows nothing for labor, transport, or middle-man mark-up. Boggled my mind, so I had to buy a pair.

Yarn and coffee are on the agenda for today (after it stops raining enough to sleep). The Irish yarn shop that's first on everyone's list is on a famous (but tiny) street in the heart of Dublin; I can't imagine there are any bargains there, but I hope there's some nice Irish wool that will keep Dwan's head warm in his battle with cancer. Also on the agenda may be coffee at Bewley's, which has been a coffee shop in Dublin for probably a century longer than Starbucks has been around. Of course, if we stumble upon a Starbucks, we might have to go in and inspect the premises for Zana. To get into town, we'll ride the Luas, Dublin's second commuter rail system.

Hope to see you on O.A.D.'s Thanksgiving ride to benefit Northwest Harvest (scroll down this page in the News & Distractions sidebar for more info).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Your personal postcard

Saturday, 17 November

Greetings from Dublin, and I don't mean Ohio or California! I've been taking pictures to post here, but I'm a "guest" on this computer and it won't open or upload anything off the camera. Weather's been great so far...well, dry anyway. No bikes this trip, so I've been running each morning to offset the substantial amount of eating that happens during the rest of the day. This morning I found the residence of the Egyptian ambassador. You can be sure there were a lot of cameras and lights and locks on the gates on that driveway!

The highlight planned for yesterday's agenda was visiting one of the best yarn shops in Ireland (there aren't very many). Sadly, the business had closed (so much for Google searches). But we did get in a wonderful walk on the beach (did anybody ever tell you that Ireland has some of the best beaches in the world?). One of the pictures I took yesterday was of the tray with our morning coffee/lunch. 18 euro/$27 for 2 cups of coffee and sweet stuff.

In all the shopping I did yesterday, the most interesting thing was finding a bargain on peanut butter. I have yet to meet anyone here who likes the stuff (O.A.D. has been converted by living with me), yet there in the health food store was a one-kilo tub of pure ground peanuts (no added oil or salt or sugar) for about $9. While there's lots of organic food available here, being a "locavore" or considering the carbon impact of your food purchases hasn't caught on. That same health food store sold a lot of honey--from New Zealand. Thanks to greenhouses, though, you can buy fresh Irish strawberries in the supermarket right now.

The big excitement is that Bill's in town for a fundraiser for Hillary. Due to U.S. campaign laws, only U.S. citizens are allowed to pay for the tickets (because they amount to a campaign contribution). We haven't quite figured out who's going--a bunch of U.S. expats? Not us; we're headed down to Wexford this afternoon to visit family who live next door to the John F. Kennedy Arboretum.

Happy riding this weekend. For all of you who think I never take rest weeks or time off the bike, this is my second consecutive weekend sans bicycle. At least here (unlike CO Springs) there's enough oxygen to breathe to making running a viable alternative! Gotta run--I need a refill on my Christmas Blend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Word play

Tuesday, 13 November


They derive from rhyming roots: numb, dumb, and crumb.

So how come the B is silent in numbly and dumbly, but not in crumbly?

Monday, November 12, 2007

New in the Gin Optics line

Veterans Day

PruDOG was being CATTY and wouldn't tell me for sure what colors are and aren't in the 2008 Axley/Gin Optics kit. So I had to wing it when I started making hats for the newbies on the team. I hope the color scheme didn't switch to purple and green!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Springs

Saturday, 10 November

This is one place that's probably more glamorous in your dreams than it is in person.

I wonder how many of these "go missing" every year....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WTF is up?

Tuesday, 6 November

Alright already, we should've moved past the fireworks of the 5th of November by now. Yahoo and Comcast have been dysfunctional all day, and Topica hasn't delivered a message I sent 11 hours ago (sorry, TiCycles!) (can I say yet that the WSBA will soon launch its own listserv off Topica?). What's up? Are secret internet forces conspiring to make me actually do work at work? Am I supposed to be happy that my Armadillo didn't flat in 20 whopping miles today and just let go on the email thing? If you think I'm ignoring an important email message, well, I'm not...really...I just don't know it's there. Argh.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Saturday, 3 November

120. That's how miles I got in on my super tough, super slow, solid-rubber-with-tread armadillo tires before I got a flat. Tiny piece of glass sliced right through. Of course, since the tire was so stiff, it took me 20 minutes to get it off, replace the tube, and get the tire back on again. Ironically enough, I was on my way to a team ride, and my teammates waited for me--longer than they would've waited if I'd flatted my friendly old tire that slipped on and off. Just whose bright idea was this?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Random thoughts

Friday, 2 November

I love this view from the stairwell next to my office. The colors just keep getting better (although the camera phone doesn't do them justice).

One-time, end-of-season race reimbursements make for a nice chunk of change. The team never shared its magic formula for making such calculations, but it turns out I was the most frequent racer (out of 200+ team members) and the check is generous. Thanks, JCV!

I second the suggestion by Anonymous that NWBuckeye should write a web page for promoters on how to professionally put on a bike race. It's some advice that could use sharing. I think the WSBA could make a home for such guidance.

Alastair, who crashed on a shoe last Saturday, is in great spirits. He's in a neck brace for 6 weeks, so no driving, no riding, and (in his words) no driving Formula One for a while. He had a humdinger of a black eye when I saw him earlier in the week and was due to have his cheekbone screwed and pinned back together yesterday. He carries on with his other hobby, though, and will have a showing of his photography at the U-Frame It on Broadway from November 14 through December 31. The title of the exhibit is "Fully Exposed," and let's just say that the photos are probably mostly of women. I was going to post a picture of the photo from the announcement, but that's probably a violation of his artistic property rights and Coach Curly would get on my case for violating his sense of family values.

Tomorrow is the WSBA calendar meeting when we get fodder for planning next year's race season. OBRA has been at this for two months, so it will be interesting to see what major conflicts develop. Most interesting so far is that the women's race at Mt. Hood (and not the men's race) is on the UCI calendar and the event has moved to mid-May. So now I'd need a UCI license to do one of the stage races closest to home?