Monday, March 30, 2009


Monday, 30 March

Last Saturday was one of the best road races on the NW race calendar. And it snowed. All day. It didn't really stick to the roads, and hundreds of people paid their money and at least started the race. Not I. Riders who "finished early" came back to the community hall at race registration shivering uncontrollably and lacking their full mental capacities. They were so cold that their bodies were diverting energy to things other than their thinking processes. It was interesting--if not very motivating--to see. Racing and 36 degrees with heavy wet snow are just not compatible.

I had spent the last few days convincing myself I could race in the rain on this course. It poured here a couple years ago, and I survived. So I would overcome the blehs I had in the rain at Mason Lake and just do it. Visualization might work for some people, but you have to visualize the right thing. I did not dial in the snow part of the equation.

So here we are more than a month into the race season and I have completed a sum total of one road race. I never imagined that weather would be a consistently determining factor in getting to the finish line. Needless to say, I am more than a little worried about the prospect of a stage race this weekend. Maybe I should race the masters women's category after all....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour

Friday, 27 March

Tomorrow, 8:30 p.m. local time, turn off your lights!


NEWEST GLOBAL ICONS: The European Union Headquarters in Brussels, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing will all go dark for Earth Hour.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Helmetless horror

Wednesday, 18 March

I don't rant here very often, but some messages deserve endless repeating.

A woman who works where I do died last week after colliding with a car while riding her bike to work. Harborview staff actually came here to tell her husband (who was in a meeting and unreachable by phone) that his wife was brain dead. She was not wearing a helmet; neither she nor her husband ever did when they rode their bikes. Medical personnel told her family she would still be alive if she had been wearing a helmet.

No matter who you are, how invincible you are, how long you've been riding, how good your bike-handling skills, how quiet your street, how short your ride, how long you've ridden without ever falling down, if you get on your bike without a helmet on your head, you are not only an idiot but an idiot with no thought of those who love you (or even those who only like you) who might have to hear that you're brain dead in some hospital. If you don't care enough about yourself to think you need a helmet, at least care for those around you and reduce the potential for tragic news.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Sunday, 1 March

Today was the Icebreaker time trial near Black Diamond. Eleven years ago (less one week), I also raced on that course. My time on March 7, 1998, was exactly the same as my time for my second race on that course today: 25:04. If you had told me in 1998 that I'd be racing there in eleven years, I don't think I would have believed you. And if you had told me I would race TWICE, I am sure I wouldn't have believed you.

Race conditions today were just about perfect: a wet road for less rolling resistance, but no rain and virtually no wind. It was the first time I can ever remember being able to see the downhill on the course on the way out--it's so slight. And the way back is hard, but you know it's going to be and you just dig that little bit deeper. On my first ride, it took a while to settle into a gear after the start and after the turnaround, but both times it happened to be the 55x12 again. It is so much fun to roll out that course: it twists and turns with the only straightaways being before the turnaround and the finish. Since I failed to have much dialogue going on in my brain during last week's race, today I tried to remember to keep telling myself to ride harder.

After a 20-minute pause (spin, drink water), I started again. Ride number two was a bit interesting (and 29 seconds slower). I usually go out as hard as I can from a TT start and back down in bits until I find something I might be able to sustain. Well, there was no sense of going hard at the start of number two. It was just right back into the same rhythm. I guess that's good, but I missed the sense of "OMG I can't keep doing this!" But then it got really weird. I could not focus. Not my brain but my eyes. I was looking between the bottom of my helmet and the top of my glasses, and everything was all fuzzy. This was disconcerting and almost like not having a good sense of balance. If I tipped my head back and looked through the glasses (they're not prescription), I could see but my head was most unaero. I did this for about two miles, feeling like I was riding by instinct (which probably does not involve pushing oneself to one's limits) while trying to figure out the vision thing. I kept moving the glasses around, and I guess I finally found a better spot because the problem disappeared and then I felt like my brain was better focused on racing. Surprisingly, the way back seemed shorter the second time around--interminable, but shorter. :)

I rolled up and down and chatted with a few folks after ride number two. Only as I was walking the last 20 meters back to my car did I discover that the front brake was rubbing the tiniest little bit, just barely audible. Good for 5 seconds off my time, don't ya think?!

A couple of moments of levity. Annette started a minute behind me on ride number one. About halfway back from the turn, I heard a disc wheel coming by. I was really impressed for a split second--and then immensely relieved when I realized it had to be Flavio. And as I was rolling up and down the road between races, I kept seeing people in these new-fangled aero helmets with earflaps (to cut down on drag for anyone with ears like W's, I suppose). They looked like something out of the original Star Wars movie to cover up Princess Leia's cinnamon-roll hairdo.

So the prelude to the race season is over. I like easing into things with two time trials. I get into the routine of getting to races and getting ready to race, but the events themselves are short and I can still get home in time to....sit around, read Facebook, and cook some pretty tasty gluten-free muffins.