Monday, April 24

In Case You Didn't Know...

THIS IS THE CRANK...The hole down on the right is where the little pedal goes (The explanation is especially for you, Julene)

Me, holding the crank that wouldn't stick, right after the race.

PS: I KNOW I DO NOT MATCH!! PLEASE DO NOT MOCK ME!! i actually think it is funny. Jose Ole hasn't received their Mtn Bike Kits yet, i guess they are a compilation of yellow, purple, and black, so i must pimp the other sponsor HAMMER NUTRITION which only comes in Red. Gotta Love it! They are very comfortable, and thats what it is all about!

Sunday, April 23

Character Building 101

Being in grad schol means i have taken DOZENS of classes. However, none of them have truly prepped me for the battles on the race course. I feel like a freshman whose hazing just wont let up. Like i am the total loser that gets picked on the ENTIRE school year. But, as they say, this too, shall pass.

FIRST OFF: The weekend painted teh backdrop for success. Nice cool weather with a hint of mist in the air. A delighful Saturday, and i even made homemade apple pie. I was on time to everything Sunday with more than enough food and beverages. JOSE OLE THOM was at BONELLI with an EZ-Up, food, water, Gu, trainers, and support. Christie and I calmly and methodically prepared for all the fun.

For those of you who dont know, as an expert 19-29 we start with pro women and expert 30-39. In my position, you would like to fend off as many of the experts as possible, and stay with at least the tail end of the pro field. The race started FAST, but that was fine! I was chasing the pros, with only one expert ahead of me for quite some time! I ended up ahead of one pro and Teri for a moment, but i knew that wouldn't last. She was pushin' the big ring up a hill climb! ACtually, it was pushing her and they were duken it out! In a few minutes she was right back out in front to lead me through the water crossing, and the mud.

At the start of the second lap, i felt excelent! I had left the heart rate monitor at home and my computer wasnt even working, so i was just in a groove.

I was climbing up by Raging Waters when i thought my left pedal was loose. No, that wasn't the pedal that was THE ENTIRE CRANK!!!!!!! I looked down in utter dismay. Foot and shoe still stuck in the pedal standing ON THE CRANK on THE GROUND! I have these SUPER COOL cranks that connect through the bottom bracket so the right crank promptly took a dive into the dirt. I started to freak out. Fortunately, this all happend RIGHT NEXT Chris Sharp from Backbone Racing! I owe this guy big time! He "showed" me how to put it back together and pushed me up the hill. I knew this wouldnt last. Most of the women had passed me by (flashbacks of chainsuck at Sagebrush) so i knew i was done. However, the only other girl in my category hadn't passed me in the 5 minutes i was hanging out, there was hope to hang onto first place.

Joking! What a joke! The cranks promplty fell off. Fortunately, it was right by the hike-a-bike where everyone was running/pushing/walking, so i kept my pace. Here is where i encountered a young man walking down the trail with a broken chain. He was done he said. I looked at him and laughed, "are you serious? I dont have any pedals man! I can NOT DNF! I see no blood and not a single BONE STICKING OUT! You are fine, got on the donkey and move it!" It worked! In about 4 minutes, we were pushing bikes side by side. Aw. During this time, i moved into 2nd place. Oh well.

This was a shockingly enjoyable adventure. The amount of comments and possitive discussion (instead of volitile banter) I shared with the men will always be remembered. I could kick my right crank in with my heel, put my left food on my frame, and pedal with my right leg up some stuff, down everything, and on the flats. This was neither glamorous nor fun, yet very effective.

As i was leaning into emotional turmoil, i thought about an excerp from a book i was reading Friday that is about to come out. Remember that movie ALIVE about the Rugby team that got stuck in the Andes? Well, the guy who walked out to get them rescued after they had eaten most of the dead, has written a recount of his experience. One line stuck out in particular: "Do not cry. Tears waste salt. You will need salt to survive." Once again, my non-huge issues put into perspective and a great rational put to use. Do not waste your energy or your reserves! You have to focuse so you can solve your problem, not wallow in it.

At the bottom of the big climb, i encountered some of my favorites. Of course i do not know their names, but i see them everywhere and we are all pals! They are the crazy Single Speed Guys so when they saw with no cranks attached, they just laughed and laughed and told me to "get 'er done!"

I kept it together until i saw the finish line through the trees. I came out onto the road and there were Christie and Teri waited with worried looks and understanding eyes. I knew i could have done it, been right in there, but it was not meant to be. As i got closer to the line, pedaling my one little leg as hard as i could, i heard Longo say "Does anyone have a crank?" This pulled those saltless tears out and they started streaming down my face, oh what might have been. Then i got over it. When you think about it, it is funny. Just all those emotions and endorphines piled in there, i just couldn't take it!

SLight reality check however. Remember back at Sea Otter when i flatted and found perspective while sitting in the dirt 100 yards up from an ambulance picking up some guys? Well as i was one-legging the last 300 yards with my right leg, a guy with a prosthetic left leg rode by me. What a coincidence, eye opener, and life lesson in such a short moment!

THE GOOD: Teri, Christie, and Meggan truly showed their "upperclassman" support and understanding. I know they have all been there, more than they would like to think about.

Also, CHRISTIE opened it up for a 3rd place finish!!!! Now thats HUGE!!!!

All in all, it was a great day. i was where i needed to be, i broke something, i had a good time, and i finished! From now on, don't forget to tighten YO BOLTS!!!!! (Thank you, mechanic, for the eloquence!)

Tuesday, April 18

Aw, MAN!

MY BIKE IS DIRTY and broken!! The details of which i am not at the liberty to share. They are both the result of some race preriding on a specific course that, as of sunday, sucks. But if i were to state the ins and outs of said course, people may find out what is really wrong with it which in turn could benefit them on the actual race, thus acting against me. I will divulge my secrets after the fact.

In the meantime, i have to go get a tooth on my chainring bent back to where it should be. Little monster.

SUPER BUSY DAY: Kidding! Here at school we are adminstering the CAT6 tests. Since i have no classroom, i am *stuck* not proctoring any tests. Today, i walked from class to class taking hot lunch count. We are having spaghetti today. Too many carbs for me....Then i had to help in a classroom where the sub could not figure out how to select a specific scene on Romeo and Juliet. good thing he didnt play #13 instead of #14, the 9th graders would have been subjected to a bare butt....

Then i put some jerseys in the dryer and now i am about to fail some girls on yesterdays mile. It took them 19:38 minutes!!! I cant WALK it that slow.

I may actually go for a little road ride today. I will choose to fly solo while trying to avoid the Tuesday Nigh National Championships where racers/riders/tuesday night warriors from all over the world, no, Inland Empire, come to throw down. Ok, so i cant talk any smack because i have only seen them once, heard of them a billion times though, usually with some funny story or quarter second wins on a Sunset hill climb.

Tuesday, April 11

Picture Show


I have no control over these boys! They were like this when i met them!
This is what Dozer was doing when I left, and came back. Plus, he was pimping his new Collar. The spikes actually hurt and they keep gauging out my leg wounds.
Washing mtn style: Since my house is LITERALLY smaller than a hotel room, there is no washer or dryer. Thus, if it really needs to be cleaned, pull out the bucket. Teri - I bought OxiClean, a lot of it. The socks shockingly came out white, but there are mud splatters stuck to Jose's face on my jersey!!!

SHORT TRACK: This is what i missed out on Saturday, and the truth is, this was a nice spot.

Monday, April 10

The Joy (UN)Luck Club

What a bunch of craziness!!! First off, there were a ton of high points. I was so excited, and borderline emotional, to see all the local girls lined up for the pro XC race sunday. There they were, all in a little gaggle. Carolyn, Christie, Mandy, Meggan, Teri, Chrissy it has been and i know will be exciting to see what these girls are capable of! I also saw Matt heading off into the drizzle with the pro men!

The Trip: Went smoothly! Spent the night in SLO with the HAMRICKS and the Grandparents were there too! I was actually driving the JEEP it is red incase you forgot. Come to find out it needed over a QUART of oil! YOu would think that when those loosers were "tinkering" with the engine for eight weeks and a day they would have put some oil in it. But they didnt.

Jason and Uriah hit up the Aquarium in search of the Octopus as i scrambled in normal form to find Christie, Teri, Mandy and Heather for a little XC preride. It was good un-clean fun due to the mud etc. For the most part, a normal day.

To start the off nicely, i forgot my helmet at the hotel. Of course!! While driving into the hotel driveway, there was a BMW infront of the Jeep. They proceeded to back straight out of the driveway and into the front of the JEEP. NO WAY! I was livid. I think i was a bit mean to the poor fellow. His tail light was shattered and the sturdy jeep bumper just scratched. Not a good way to start a race day though.

This would have been my first short track race. It was not to be. This is my first, ever, DNS this one actually made me cry. I was so frustrated and upset. I got there when they were about 3/4 way through their first lap. I went up to Longo and asked if those were truly my girls, and yes indeed they were. After much self discussion i realized it would be ok. It was super, out of control muddy, and i was over it. So i took Jason and Uriah Sea Kayaking. While they went to play in the sun, i went to jump on my trainer. This was not to be either. I misplaced an intregal portion of the trainer, and had to resort to a road ride in a town i have never been in. Fantastic. Almost every main road ended up in a tunnel or on HWY 1 or 68. Very awkward indeed.

SUNDAY: The big day. You see, i have been prepping for this season. I have been thinking of the looming 40 mile race at Sea Otter and what a challenge it will be, and how great it would be. This was, infact, not to be. As i was heading towards the start line, *someone* said, as they stood with a group of people: "So Joy, are you going to start this race today?" It was all I could do to restrain myself from the well over-due verbal assault that should have answered that question. Do they really think i CHOSE not to start stxc? Instead, i resorted to my snottiest 8th grade catfight voice and just yelled "NO, im not gonna start." Theory 854: Stupid questions deserve stupid answers, or worse.

Since i am starting a season of first, as before stated, i decided to have my first ever flat in a race. Ever. I think i was protected by some schroud last year that worded off all ill-fate as i raced. This year, that shroud has been tossed to the wind. Or as Meggan says, were all just getting so strong, we keep breaking things.

I was in the perfect spot. I was with key people who have handed it to me in the past, i felt good, and i knew i had a LONG ways to go. Then "poof" there it went. I HAD to look at this flat in perspective. About 100 yards behind me there was an ambulance taking some semi-pro or expert men out. This was just a flat and i can totally deal. Although about 9 girls passed me, i knew i could catch a good chunk of them, assuming that i was going to get stronger as the race went on.

Thus began the Monty Python movie that was never, and will never, be released. I was flying solo now, except for the phantom tandem. These guys were crazy. Riding through the boggy forest into thick trenches of mud and quagmire, reminding me of Pilgrims Progress, then python these guys kept me optimistic. They were dressed totally in black and riding a single speed. They would just appear through a thicket in the fog, then promptly fall in the mud. Rumor has it that they were wearing dresses earlier that day. I could hear them yelling, laughing, runny, and lugging behind me. We played cat and mouse for the better part of the race. They kept telling me how i would catch up... LIARS!!!! THey should be hung....

While riding the road climb, next to the tandem weirdos, we were split, swarmed and engulfed by pro men. Oh, what a feeling. I told them that it was the highlight of my day and they could stay a bit longer if they needed anything, at all. I actually got a few to laugh. Point for me. FRom then on, i played a little game Christie would call 'name that tune' but i played 'name that jersey.' Since i do my fair share or stalking, ok, i do enough for a small town, i know who these guys are. Wells grunted really weird when he went by, that Bishop guys bike needed some serious lube, and the Fisher boys ALL talked to me. Also, Leslie Tomlison talked to me from the side of a climb. If you dont know who she is, try, duh. you way even find youself there!!

So the lap is almost over. Much longer than anticipated, but great things happened. I actually PASSED girls who were riding and normal (usually it is people with broken bikes or bodies) on the descents. I passed Jason and Uriah and yelled at them because they wouldnt give me my water bottle, then i realized, it was all about to hit the fan.

I GOT PULLED. Alot of things crossed my mind. Why didnt i just DNF like an hour ago? WHy didnt anyone tell us there was a time cut? What happens to my time? Am i that worthless? Joking on the last one, totally. A lot of girls got pulled, and were not stoked. I went out to race 42 miles, so you kinda ride conservatively on the first lap.It was just a huge let down. So much money spent to get there and i am not even on any sort of results list. I went there to race a super long, hard race, and didnt.

But you know, next week theres some race type thing in Bonelli so maybe that will be a better day. I will use my super duper flat fixer skills to the full, i will remember to use the good lines while riding through mud, and most of the time there are no good lines, so RUN. I will also remember that it is just a race, we have good ones and bad ones. And sometimes, other people just have more control and power than i do. i hate that the most, really. If i threw my race, so be it. But to have other people tell im out, thats a tough one.

Truth of the matter, everyone had trials this weekend. Check out Meggan's Blog with fantastic photos and daily updates. Also check Christie out although i am not sure there is a Sea Otter update there yet. One day i will learn how to put links on my site so you guys can check out ALL the bikers on a regular basis!

Wednesday, April 5

Some Photos


RACE FLASHBACK: MAMMOTH NATIONALS - SEPTEMBER This was an awesome day on the bike and a great weekend, the perfect thing to focus on before going up to Sea the rain.
REDLANDS CLASSIC...CHECK OUT THE NEW COLORS my actual kit should be here in about a month, hopefully!!! But the helmet matches, and that is very important


One of our high school boys went to Costa Rica for spring break. He got stung by a Sting Ray. He also already got stung by a one in Laguna at our school picnic day. Coincidence. I guess some local Costarican put a banana on his foot. THis banana came STRAIGHT out of a piping hot FRYING PAN. the spot on his foot from the Ray is very small. The 2nd Degree burn on his foot is huge.


I go to grad school. Enough said there, but sometimes the people you end up with really arent conducive to what you want to be getting done. Nobody wants to drive to Riverside after a long day with children to sit in a class of teachers-to-be that lament about Shakespeare and tuition costs, literally. I got stuck next to the only other PE guy who kept talking about my shoes. Yes i wear these Sauconys to work, no my feet do not get hot, yes they cost a bit of cash. Duh, they are shoes, you should not teach PE in anything else. He also wanted me to give him $70 for the book that he would buy sometime for me, although i needed it right then, not at class today, but he really wanted me to give him the money. Like i walk around with that kind of cash.

The jeep is SUPPOSED to be done today, on its 8 week anniversary of being GONE. we will see how that ends up, and the ulcer it has created for me...

Sea you all at Sea Otter!

Monday, April 3


Anatomy was one of my favorite college courses. My favorite bone in the body is the left lateral maleolus you know that knot on the outside of your ankle. My second favorite, however, is the PATELLA. I used to take great enjoyment mocking my students health papers and where they "thought" this bone was located.

The following is a tale of my left patella, with of course many tangents.

Things were crazy. Christie took a wild burm and stomped out in a way in which she thought she could have created a hair-line fracture. But since there was no bone sticking out or blood gushing, i said she was fine. But it actually really did hurt a lot and became a big worry.

I, on the other hand, was out of control. I had a pretty placid season last year, with the main issue being me running into a post at the Fall Classic. I made up for it big time.

The Mechanic pimped my ride so well, i endo'ed 4 times. Really. Those brakes work really well. I guess that is what i was missing out on last year. But one of those adventures was on a huge rock and the only thing that hit it was my left patella I created a hole in my leg warmers, which when i finally took them off, were glued to my leg with blood. There was also fragments of my flesh stuck to the warmers. Cool.

Second incident of pain, actually emotional pain. Teri, Jay, Christie and I all stopped to do something. I came up next to Teri and needed to stop. Out of the corner of my little little eye, I spied a post. But in actuality, it was one of those brown forest service posts that bends ALL the way to the ground. So of course me and the Sugar followed in rare form. Which landed me on my left side, thus engaging my CO2 cartridge, dispelling a lot of gas. It was bad, very bad.

When i thought things couldnt go any farther south, we came to a spot that needed practice. Everyone was watching, good clue to hike it. I got to the middle and promptly fell to the right....on....rusty barbwire fence and post i sustained 3 puncture wounds which quickly changed the orange of my shorts to brownish red. The bruise is quite fantastic. I then began to wail and ask if any one had a booster or knew exactly WHAT tetnous would look like, as i was dying. but today, my dentist (yes, dentist) said i would be ok. If i had lock-jaw, it would have already hit....

THE RACE: i know so much more to go over...The debate started saturday afternoon, whether or not the experts would do the long course. By the time we got to the line with the pro women, Spiegle was yelling at us to never complain to him or say a word about choosing the long course. And we didnt. But then, as i was plodding back at the end of the race, i contemplated my horrid time, what if Tom looked at it and said thats it, from now on, those lazy experts will race the medium. It would be all my fault.

I started super strong on the hill climb. I was in there, where i needed to be, middle of the pack. But once i hit the single track, my luck turned or my karma came to visit. I dropped my chain 8 times, no joke. Those cables stretched out sooooo fast and the multiple wrecks the day before left there mark. Every time i dropped the chain, some girl passed me. This all happened on the single track where time and possition was paramount. This is also where all the grid-lock occurred. The sport men always do catch me, the leaders are great. Quick and to the point and polite. I despise the middle of the pack sport men. They are the bain of my racing existance. I had altercations with at least 15 of them. We shared words, they cut me off, i dropped my chain infront of them and they cursed. I want to ask them, "so are racing for 15th or 16th place? Neat, im racing for 2nd.!"They made me so excessively angry, added to the severe mechanicals, i was a head case. I kept it up though and made it to Los Pinos Climb. I love to climb. I enjoyed this horrid part of the race. I passed an expert guy!! But then i looked back and he was WALKING HIS BIKE UP THE ROAD. I also passed a semi-pro who was riding out on a flat. Hey, whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

At about the halfway point, i totally realized i was in last place. I havent really been there before, and i was not comfortable with it at all. All the experts passed me and the girl who beat me had me by 24 minutes. However, she is a Royal Sandbagger she would have come in 3rd out of all the pro's. She pushed Christie and wouldn't even look at me or go on the podium. Drama queen.

It ends up i was not last! There was another girl in my category who came in 30 minutes after me!! I sure hope she is ok. I dont even know what you could do out there for that long, build a wigwam or something...

The Jose Ole stuff has way too much white on it. I am supposed to wear these socks, totally white. They are mostly brown now. I think i will just allow them to assume that color for the rest of the season, to remind of the pain of sunday. I would also like to secure a sponsorship with OxyClean

This was hands-down the hardest race i have ever done. I have never had mechanicals before. I have never been tested this much. I told you this would be the season of firsts. All the races i did last year pale in comparisson to what i am up against this season.

But it will be good. I have a lot of support and a lot of mentors that have all been there before and know the pain and the yo-yo of emotions and performance.

Just another week and another race to get ready for. And to get that bike working right again. And, perhaps, some clean socks.

Saturday, April 1

Off to the Races

The day has finally come - the season shall begin. With much anticipation, i pack my gear and spit-shine my Sugar. My OCD behavior returns as I pack Tupperware after Tupperware with cottage cheese and veggies; plain yogurt and spices; an omlette; some pre-cooked oatmeal. You see, we are headed to the Boonies, bring your-own-everything race, Sagebrush Safari it sounds so romantic, so adventerous. I have never been to this venue, thus starting off the Season of Firsts the first Cal State race, the series that runs all the way through October. This race will also act as a warm-up and jitter-buster for the Ominous Sea Otter next weekend.

To start things off with confidence, i PIMPED-MY-RIDE!! I got an assortment of upgrades from SRAM X.O shifters to a new bottle cage. I am sure this will allow me at least 30 seconds of an edge. Then it will all be up to me. Thanx to the mechanic...

With a new season also comes new KITS. Since i was late to re-join Team Jose Ole, my kit will also be late. ETA is Fontana Nationals, but you never really know with these things. Until then, i will sport the old Orange or a loaner-mens Medium jersey and stellar black shorts!! I just spent too much time trying to upload some photos from the Redlands Classic, but photoblogger is rebelling against time.

I was also going to post some photos of Dozer, of course!! He has finally grown large enough to fit into a LEATHER STUDDED collar! You will love it, and be afraid!