Tuesday, December 21

Maybe just maybe, its a sign.

This rain is putting the halt on everyones exercise and moods. But lets take a step back, pay attention to the news or google homepage and come back to reality and realize it is December in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain happens. It's our job as athletes to adapt to the situation and over come. Or eat Snowballs.

Many of us SoCal Cyclists train and race year- round. This is not normal and probably not the best idea. But we can't stop. The sky is clear and the temps above 70. Why would we NOT ride?! So perhaps we should take this opening of the sky as a little nudge to tone it down a notch, stop it with the extra credit bike riding and stick to the plan. Sure the trainer is mind-numbing and saddle sore inducing, but the anger many harbor towards the rain is just as destructive. And our Northwestern Friends, well they have been on the trainers in the basements for a month now. It builds character and mental toughness. This I do believe.

Sure we can train outside to a point in the wet stuff. I have had my fair share the last few weeks. But there is a fine-line between being hardcore and doing out workouts in the rain and being completely stupid. Have you seen the standing water? It comes to my bottom bracket. The horrible holiday drivers who only care about the Tickle-Me Elmo for sale at Toys R Us are making an even worse name for SoCal drivers. Seriously I have been buzzed by more drivers while riding in the rain than I have during the entire summer!!

2/3 of my weekend rides found me in the rain. The first one was great because all my gear did its job keeping me mostly dry. My workout went awesome and riding through the construction zones just made me feel tough, like I was riding for Roubaix. And then I shattered a front spoke, filled my gloves with water, and realized while standing on the side of the road in the downpour fixing my bike covered in mud, road cyclists are way out-sized by dump trucks and minivans. And that I was freezing.

Saturday we gathered the troops and headed to Sunny Sky's in Palm Springs. Well worth the efforts and notched another fantastic, long, hard ride.

Sunday posed another threat: Mud and the wrong MTB tires. On this ride I came to the conclusion that yes I am tough enough to race BLVD in the rain and snow and yes I can make it through 4 hours of bone-numbing rain riding, soaked through looking like a Pinky Mouse again. But sometimes, its just smarter to pull the plug, and not lose limb, ego, or life. A ride completed that results in a week of illness just ain't worth it. Plus, I have some Sunny Extra Credit riding to tap into, nothing lost here.

I have gathered some great DVDs to watch on the trainer this week and enjoying the cover of a roof without feeling like a loser for not throwing myself into the downpour day after day. There's a time a place to do that, and I am more than ready to embrace it when it comes.

But now, its time to enjoy the holidays and a recovery week. :)

Tuesday, November 23

50 and freezing. Weak Sauce!

Winter has landed here in the land of sun and sand, and its slightly on the cold side. I'm not sure at what juncture between last November and today I became so soft, but come on! I have truly adapted to this Mediterranean climate. I even wore leg warmers and a long sleeve jersey on two rides! Gotta be a record!

Since I have a riveting day job molding the future as a teacher, the bulk of our fun rides take place at night or on the weekends. Lucky for me, Saturday and Sunday brought an onslaught of rain. Steady, windy, icy rain.

The largest hitch was finding everything I needed, which resulted in only a level 3 meltdown. Rain jacket, gloves, embrocation hot stuff, sweet Euro hat for under the helmet, clear lenses, and shoe covers. And probably 10 other things. I am pumped that I got all my flats out of the way last weekend, or those would have been some tough fixes with frozen fingers and sand and debris all over my wheels. Brian and I got fenders for Christmas last year and they came in super handy! Pretty fashionable too.

The heat embrocation was a huge win. Lots of lotion on the legs, heat embrocation, vaseline. Together, making my legs warm and toasty, super shiny like I was about to go for my next body builder photo shoot, and well, they also collected massive amounts of junk.

Now we had a few issues. First off, the kits for the year are quite white. With all the TSA craze, well lets just see you could probably see more watching us ride by than walk through the scanner. Poor Brian looked like one of those Pinky Mice, ready to be eaten. Secondly, we have the habit of drinking quite a bit on the bike. But with the cold and rain, seemed like I had to find 5 pit stops along the way. We stopped at the soccer complex, in the downpour, and man the looks we got. Not sure why, it would be way worse to stand under an umbrella in jeans for hours cheering for offspring.

Not to sound weird or anything, but once I got warm hands, my whole torso was toasty and dry, eyes protected, I had a lot of fun. Once I resigned myself to being cold and rained on, all was good. Just relax and ride. I need to learn what the tires feel like on wet asphalt, how to get nutrition out of pockets when my hands are numb, and how much the breaks actually don't work in the rain. I really did miss the whine of a wet mountain bike rotor though.

Sunday was even better! I opted to ride the mountain bike with some homies. I railed out in another downpour, through massive standing water and alluvial soil deposits. Rad. I slogged into Stells to meet not 2 but 7 of my classmates. From 1998. That's right. Boarding School in Virginia has produced some pretty cool grads, and we like to get together on occasion and ooh and ahhh over everyone's babies and hair cuts.

Quick coffee refill and an apple fritter, joined forces with Lisa and Cynthia and Andrea and headed to the hills and single track. Over the next three hours I was able to link the two major trail systems in town, rip awesome trails, spot a bobcat, and make it home unscathed. Perfect day on the bike.

That's it. Another weekend of Big Girl bike riding camp. With a ton of great people.

Wednesday, November 17

Just another normal weekend.

We rode to Idyllwild again. I told you we would. This "winter" we are already logging a few hours and miles, so one should expect that hitting another 90 mile day without a hitch, well that would just be too lucky. Last week I felt good, the weather was brilliant, I was completely amazing on the bike (yawn), and the bikes worked like a charm. I will remember that day fondly.

This week we were joined by Teenage Heart Throb Andrew Sjorgren and Craig Turner (we don't have a nickname for him. Yet) After riding the Lynn Pletcher Memorial ride (which was AWESOME) we headed to the hills. I unhitched on the climb as usual, and promptly flatted. Three times. we run slime tubes (I have never weighed my bike) and the slime sprayed all over my bike and I. 2nd tube in, boom. Put slime tube back in, held 10 psi. Dilemna? Uh, no. I'm a bike racer, I wanna do a stage race, so I got on the bike and rode up the mountain 50-60 minutes on a rear flat. I am so pumped I had my carbon race wheels. I never really knew the white line had such a drastic curve to the right...

Nearing the Y, Brian came back to get me, leaving Heart Throb and Craig soaking up the sun and talking about kittens and unicorns. Another really awesome thing about my race wheels is that they are deep-dish. Not only do they catch like a yacht sale in the wind, you gotta have long stemmed tubes. But I just put a hole in the last one. So we used Brian's short stemmed tube. That was comedy. we could tell it was losing air so Brian told me to hurry and get as far as I could (1.2 corners to be exact) before it went flat again. And rode it the 5 miles into town. Somewhere in there we switched rear wheels. And yes, the wedding is still on.

Once we got everything sorted, I wasn't about to be alone. I rode those rollers harder than Sisquoc to stay with the boys. On the descent I got relegated between Turner leading me through the descent and Brian coaching me through, as Heart Throb rode Blindside...I could have killed him. These boys do not stop pedalling, and they don't brake. By the time we bottomed out in Banning i was silent, eyes completely bloodshot from being pasted open in the howling wind, face covered with sweat, snot, and eye non-tears. Big Girl training has begun.

Once back to base camp, we just ate and ate.

Sunday, was so much harder. It was about 3,000ft less of climbing, way less on the wattage, but oh so hard to get up and out. Papa Breyer was my riding partner and I could not have asked for better! "Big Wheel, what's the plan today?" "Um, I gotta just stay on the bike for 3 hours...." We made it 3:09. So. Hard. My right eye really hurt, come to find out i was having some nasty reaction to something, making it ache and track poorly and look horrendous. I thought of going home a lot, I thought about what I was going to eat, a lot. But Breyer and I talked like school girls about everything from racing to the stuff school girls talk about. He eeked me to 1:35 and I started to feel like at least a recreational cyclist again, and by the end, a shadow of a racer came out of the haze, just in time to duck in the doorway.

Riding these long days I have a lot on my mind. The future, the past, Lynn Pletcher, the amazing Robert Bender, my lifes path. None of it makes sense and I am not sure it should, but I know I am extremely blessed to be able to share such days with these people, even if silently suffering wheel-to-wheel, this is the road that was meant for me.

Farewell Robert Bender

Robert, where to start! This photo sums him up perfectly. Happy, content, kind. I met Robert in 2005 up at the 12 Hours at the Summit in Big Bear. I can't remember if he raced solo or on a team, but from then on he became one of "The Guys" that I would see at the races, in the bike shop, and out on our local trails. Always offering a smile and some good convo.

I read somewhere on facebook a friend commented: "Robert thank you for giving Hulda Crooks cool corners." Ain't that the truth! He always had a shovel hidden out in the canyon I think so he could tidy up the burms and jumps. I loved that he had some of the most rad experiences, but to him, they were nothing to blog about. Just another day spent with good people. One to never boast, gloat, or make another racer or rider feel insufficient. I like his style.

I have been so impressed with the outpouring of love from his core friends and family. From organizing massive mountain bike rides, raffles at DH races, monster garage sales, and frequent beverage and pizza nights at Jersey's all in his support. This past Saturday, the 12 Hours of Temecula held a category just for Robert, Bike for Bender. I am so glad he was able to experience these selfless actions over the past few months.

Ride on my friend, and let's go hit some sweet jumps!


Tuesday, November 9

To Idyllwild and beyond!

I poached this picture of Tahquitz so you would be enticed and want to read more. Continue.

Ok, so how do am I supposed to take pictures while i ride? My hands are freezing, pockets are filled with bottles, arm warmers, chapstick, delicious snacks, and deep down inside, my phone in a ziplock. We can't stop for such things, we only stop for approximately one pit stop. I mean I took phenominal pictures in my mind! Riding through Hemet I saw an Ostrich, Beaumont a Hot Air Balloon in the back of a truck, Banning a couch. Which I in fact wanted to sit down on and take a nap.

Sometimes we set lofty goals. Most of the time we fall short. Sunday was not one of those days. Creating roughly 90.48 miles of riding, from Yucaipa-Hemet-Idyllwild-Banning-Yucaipa, we saw the world.

Riding up through the mountains was much more exciting than fearing for my life like I did last week on the back side of Oak Glen, dodging Apple Bobbers and Civil War Reinactments. Heading up the 79 or whatever it was, is super peaceful in comparision. The grade is not as drastic and the ample passing lanes make my life seem slightly more secure. Once you crest into Idyllwild, your stupid if you think you are done climbing. Enter the rollers near the tree line and subarctic climate (I had to put my arm warmers on, THIS is a big deal...) and giant Christmas trees ready for the taking. Lake Perris even looked inviting, from THERE.

When looking back, the most horrific terrible uncomfortable awful part of the ride was descending into Banning. For one reason. I could see Cabazon. And the windmills. And the Casino. It was already past 4 hours on the Garmin, and I know how far those dang windmills are. And why they are there, holy wind. My life was nearly lost 17 times due to massive gusts, leaving my hands literally numb at the bottom. Thankfully, the road wound west, away from Palm Springs. But it still dropped us straight onto the hot desert floor.
This ride was unique in that it was also un-chaperoned. Brian and I are usually flanked with good friends and teammates, but Sunday it panned out be just him and I. worked perfect for a date, we didn't have drive anywhere, spend money, get dressed up, or feel stuffy in any way. We also only spent about 75% of the time together, perfect for a date. I joke, I joke! But seriously, a much needed respite from the chaos that follows us. Riding in silence up huge mountains.

This ride is now my favorite. I hope winter stays away at least one more weekend, so we can go tackle it again.

Wednesday, November 3

What a Crock.

I'm busy. So busy that my food prep has gone out the window. Or so I thought. I came across a super nifty Crock Pot, for which I will always be grateful. I was at first quite nervous to leave it stewing and unattended, but i do the same thing with the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and refridgerator, how is this different?

I am vegetarian for the most part, and just feel weird about putting meat in the pot, so I have not crossed that bridge yet. However, I decided to make a breakfast option and a lunch option, brewing up enough for at least a week!

I found this website super helpful. This chick went all Julie and Julia on us and cooked in the Crock for 365 days! Yikes! http://www.crockpot365.blogspot.com/ and there a bunch of gluten free options, for those of you in the market!

My favorite bfast: Steel Cut Oats! But I can't find the recipe...fail!

My second favorite bfast: Oat's With Apples! Cut the sugar, and I don't use milk, maybe some almond milk, unsweetened original. When I heat it up in the microwave, gets the apples cooked all the way through!

Before...and 5 hours later...

My first lunch attempt was Moroccan Lentils - pretty great. I ate them with Kasha grain or Quinoa, awesome for lunch on the run at work!

But todays, is completely legit. I made a bunch of brown rice in the rice cooker and added this black bean concoction to it. AWESOME! Not bad with a bunch of fresh veggies, avocado, lime juice, tomatoes, cilantro and scallions!

And 6 hours later and a trip through the blender:

Thursday, October 7

I started a coaching company!

THE COACH: Joy Duerksen

Physical Education and Health Teacher; Pro Mountain Bike Racer; Cat 2 Road Cyclist; ACE certified Personal Trainer; USAC Level 3 Cycling Coach

THE MISSION: Whether you would like to improve your fitness, complete a century, walk a 5k or become more competitive in your racing category, Big Wheel Coaching can meet your needs. Serving mountain bike, cyclocross, and road cycling enthusiasts and racers, as well as those wanting more structure in their fitness programs to obtain their specific health and fitness goals. All athletes are welcome, cycling, fitness, and/or personal training!

COACHING PACKAGES: Single Track $100/month; Open Road $150/month; Double Track $150/month for TWO clients (on same Single Track Program).

· Initial consultation with goal setting.
· Includes trainingpeaks.com account to log and track workouts.
· Daily training plans based on lifestyle, goals, and training zones uploaded to trainingpeaks.com weekly by your coach.
· Field testing (where necessary) to determine power and heart rate training zones.
· Weekly to daily contact with your coach regarding training, goals, schedules (see individual packages for greater detail).
· Weekly to daily review of power and/or heart rate files by your coach (see individual package for greater detail).

909.499.1353 joyonbike@gmail.com

Friday, September 17

I specifically blame YOU.

I blame these little germ carriers for my new-found illness. They may look cute and innocent, but alas they are not. Head cold, drippy eyes and coughing like kennel cough which releases crazy stuff from my lungs, I had to call in sick, for real, this morning.

Of course, right when the racing season comes to a screeching stop, the colds set in. I don't know if its the heat, stress, kids, lack of exercise and structure that lets the little guys creep in and take over. I think its because I had fun rides planned and good foods to eat and maybe a cool hike or two to accomplish. So, postponed they will be.

Hopefully I will be back on form by Monday, when the germ-carriers have their second volleyball game. It's a pretty big deal. As is my rat-tail in the picture.

Wednesday, September 15


Let's call this more of a Celebrity Appearance than a race. :)

I think I have raced at Bonelli for about 5 years...always different course, conditions, and competition. My favorite course was one that took us by one of the Ragging Waters slides, and you could almost feel the splash of the water and you could definately see the whites of the eyes of the kids as the screamed down the tube! That year my cranks fell off, so I ran two laps. I'm pretty stubborn, I don't quit easy. Probably pretty stupid if you think about it.

I headed to Bonelli Park to race the State XC champs this past weekend for a few reasons. I like to ride my bike, I like to see my friends, and I like to punish myself. Ok, i didn't mean to punish myself, it just happened. It seems that the season took it's toll on my about 3 days prior to the race, rendering me done and done. But I knew the course was going to be a fun one a lots of people to catch up with. I was bummed to not join Brian and the juniors and other teammates at the CBR State Crit Champs, where he won the elite 1/2/3 overall, but knew it was the right decision.

The energy was electric and high fives and hugs from so many great friends well-worth the entry fee! To see Patty, all the registration staff, Sharon, get a massive bear-hug from the newly-healed Justin and to catch up with Heather and Jason, and Allison both off amazing exeriences at Breck Epic and World's was totally rad! Along with Vanessa and the whole Backbone crew, running into Alexis and Essense, all was good. A huge thank you to all the racers and friends that were so gracious to me, it made me really happy to have such a warm welcome back to the dirt, although Roger kept yelling "roadie" at me. Awkward.

I was pumped to start on pavement, my new friend, and hammer for all I had for a few pedal strokes. Allison wrote in her blog something to the effect of the first 7 minutes were the best. Good stuff because that's the only time we were together, and I crashed hard with a fantastic Endo at 6:37....nice wake up call Roadie....

I spent the rest of the race talking to friends (literally), giving water to a dehydrated racer, getting another racer to sit on my wheel so I could pull them out to the finish because they were bonking, pretty much anything that could keep me from actually racing. Because if I revved it up and smashed it, I probably wouldn't have made it home from Smelly, let alone work to on Monday. Oh when I did rev it up, the pace didn't change much at all.

I loved the switchy single track through the woods where I saw Tonya Bray taking photos and other friends cheering and heckling us along with Lisa Crowe who made the wiser decision of the two of us and just came to cheer. I just threw a fist pump, hit some jumps and kept having a blast on the fun course.

My favorite part was getting a neutral feed from Elle Williams, a little lady I had the privilage to ride with in July when I did a ladies clinic up at a Rim Nordic race. She is all but 11 years old I think and was so excited to hand me off a cup of water! Now THATS what its all about!

Funny things happened out there too. Too many to recount, but i did set up a very ghetto feed for myself on a concrete can for bbq coals. It was just out of arms reach so I had to stop each lap to get the feed. I would ride by all the kids, talk to them about their race, then clip out and switch bottles all while the same lady sat about a foot away and just stared at me. For 5 laps. So odd.

I never have my own photos, so I steal them from facebook:

Heidi Bowen is super rad, I have traveled and raced with her for probably 5 years now! And yes that is dirt on my head and no I am not going bald. Thanks.

Dean Swank, one classy guy! Always positive, happy and helpful! And an amazing athlete! His lady Laura took these pictures for us!

When in doubt, I bust out some cool socks. thanks for the pics Laura!

Wednesday, September 8

Wait, did I forget to tell you!?

It was my birthday.

I ate a whole cake.

It was delicious.

If you closely, there is a slight amount of bling near my sick Baby-G watch...

Brian actually kept a secret from me! He is a total jabber-jaw, and I am "into everything" which means I am way too much in the Know. But, alas, we planned a party for his Brother Nich fresh back from Afghanistan. I looked around at the group and thought wow, these are some great people here, and also though oh man, what a killer vibe tonight! DUH!!!!

In a rambling that only a video could capture, Brian asked me to marry him, and I said "what are you doing" and then I said "Yes." :) Pretty awesome stuff.

And no, there is no date yet, and no that does not mean we are engaged to be engaged. That's what 16 year olds do...please. It means we are busy and maybe this weekend over a large salad we will discuss those plans. Or just book a trip to the Giro and celebrate in style...

Monday, August 16

It's Time to Play Teacher Again

Being a school teacher and all, I catch a lot of flack. Last year on President's Day, I asked a friend if they had to go to work, or if like myself, they had a holiday. They politely told me "No, us in the real world have to work on Monday." Oh, my bad. While the nations schools take a break from raising your children, to honor the founders of our country, you still have to trudge through the 9-5. FYI my job is in the real world. well, sort of. I do teach PE.

People also think that teachers are lazy. Mid February, while being at school up to 16 hours a day, training in the dark, I just keep my eye on the prize of June 10th and the slight chance of sleeping in so I can potentially recharge and get ready to raise your kids again for you in the fall.

This summer, however, there was little down time. It seemed as if we were heading to races one to two days a weekend from San Diego to Lodi in search of competition, learning, and punishment. In the car and through the short weeks I studied stacks of books about training, heart rate versus power training, biomechanics and kinesiology. When it was all said and done, I walked away with a USA Cycling Level 3 Coaching Certification and an ACE Personal Training Certification. And promptly reported back to my day job. So yes, I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to study during the day for such things. Not to mention train mid-day, work on team the team website, send emails, surf through Trainingpeaks.com and help my fellow teammates develop as riders and athletes.

Read between the lines, I had a stellar summer.

Thursday, July 29

I thought this up on a solo training ride, which in fact I won.

There have been a lot of really great group ride wins lately. Lucky. No race fees, no pinning of numbers, no course marshals, just open roads, blown stop signs and intra-category flogging. Good stuff.

Recently I have heard many a tall tale about "winning" the Tuesday ride or Saturday ride, and how said "racer" stuck it to all the other competitors. As much as I would like to brag about being in a break with 2 of the 4 horse-men for 5.78 minutes 3 Saturdays ago, its not really that big of deal, and as soon as I grenaded off the break, it was just as soon forgotten because I almost crashed Abel out into the curb. PS Thanks again for wheel...And if you won on Saturday, the guy who won the race on Sunday, where fees are paid and points received, sat on your wheel and watched you flog yourself in the wind endlessly, just to pass the random fire hydrant or hibiscus plant 3/4 of a tire ahead of that other weekend warrior.

Not to downplay your improved fitness, stamina and gumption for sure. But take into consideration that some group ride participants are following a prescribed plan that does not entail beating up on non-like-category enthusiasts. Sometimes they may be told to "sit in" or complete 3 specific 5 minute efforts or to just ride for fun. Because in fact, they may just be training for something in the form of an organized race or event. These are pretty fun too because you get grouped with people of like-abilities and talent where you can really shine, or in fact, be quite dull.

Anyways, on to more interesting things. I have been winning a lot of rides myself, because I ride alone. But I keep getting stung by bee's. 30 minutes into a 3.5 hour ride is not the best situation to get stung in. And I seem to keep having quite adverse reactions to their nasty venom. Sting #1 selected one of my only skinny spots: my cheek bone. Wham, swelling all around my eye, lids closed and eye oozing, reminiscent of those 14 episodes of pink eye in grade school. (Just kidding, I went to home school and had no friends that I could contract such a lethal virus from) But really, it looked like i took a left hook to my eye hole. Ironic fact: Brian received a bee sting on his temple, resulting in the exact same fat-face situation, although he more resembled Chunk from the Goonies.

Bee sting #2, after a quite lengthy "character development" training ride in the heat of the day, while descending HWY 38 at 79 MPH, bee landed smack on my medial right tibia, another fat-free location. The forth-coming swelling, itching, aching, and misery well, was just that. The next days ride found my calf hitting my bottle cage due to massive edema, which led to spending the rest of the weekend between training and racing in a benedryl induced coma.

Good times, and welcome to summer in beautiful San Bernardino County. Next time I may have pictures, but probably not. Im just too sweaty and smashed out on the rides to fumble with my phone in my "purse" (ziplock bag) to take any worthwhile shots. And yet again, they would probably be just of sweat and the bag if they do get taken.

So there's that. Best of luck in all your upcoming races and congrats again to all your wins.

Tuesday, July 20

So, what your saying is I am supposed to update this thing?

My bad!
Since this blog is stale, for a myriad of reasons that don't even interest myself, you should go read these blogs in your spare time, since you have so much of it:

Allison Mann - racing with the big girl MTB'ers

And I can't really think of any other things that are interesting, besides the Tour, races all over the map, and soaring temperatures that are completely out of control. I have maxed out on 7 bottles during a ride, tomorrows may call for 8. This requires a great skill in knowing the NICE parks to get water and use the facilities at, and starting with at least one completely frozen bottle in my jersey pocket.

I also saw a lady, while I was refilling a water bottle at a park, running. She ran by my with this weird crunchy sound. At closer look, below her hooded (with hood donned on top of a beannie) sweatshirt, the draw strings of a kitchen trash bag were flowing behind her. REALLY?!? Do you want to die now? Or when you go sit in the sauna wrapped in seran-wrap later on. She had no water with her, and looked as if maybe this was her 3rd jog in say, 20 months. I got out of there ASAP, i mean I know CPR and first aid, just didn't want to put a wrench in my workout.

I know that's rude. But I was shocked. I want to see what Google Search spits out this lame information that leads people astray! FYI Fluid lost to sweat and evaporation during exercise must be REPLACED.

Tuesday, June 29

I need a new Banner Picture...but haven't found one cool enough

Most people just think I race, or stand around. Although I do race a lot, that only takes up about 2 hours of 2 days a weekend, that equals 4 hours. As per the standing around, I usually can not stay in one spot for longer than 64 seconds, so I suppose you could call it pacing. But I only do that roughly 4 hours two days a weekend, bringing my accounted-for time to a whopping 12 hours a week. So there.

While not standing or racing, I created a team website.

In an attempt to keep the community, our sponsors, our teammates, and myself up to speed on our non-stop racing and philanthropic action, the website was a must. And it took me roughly 45 hours to create.

I also spent about 4 hours making an apple pie for the Gnomes 28th birthday. That was a pretty big deal and it took one weekend of racing to balance the calories out.
Speaking of, I won a race.
Oh my bad, that's the Over The Hump race and I was the only Pro female....
Wait a second, I won another race! I headed up to Big Bear to race one of my favorite courses. Probably has something to do with all the extended fire-road climbs, but I also had a blast in the technical single track and even got to do some mud riding! Man, it seems like forever since that has happened. From the altititude, to the dust, to the fun, it was an awesome day. There were 4 pro women out, but Allison Mann, assuming the fields would be as small as usual, jumped in to race with the cat 1 men! Good for her because she stuck it them! Super cool! That allowed myself, Dorothy Wong and Deirdre York to ride for the pro podium. I've gotta say though, it was so awesome to get high-fives and hugs from ao many old friends! Quite the recharge I needed!

I remember riding UP Fern trail 2005 12 Hours at the Summit! Where I first met Tinker! Thanks for the cheers and pictures from Justin Mann! Pumped here to be riding down it and on Uncle Greg's loaner Superfly 29er 2x10!! FUN FUN FUN!!

This Podium is really cool because it spans three generations of pro mountain biking women!
Back in 2007, racing the NORBA Final in Aspen, Deirdre won the jr expert womens overall title, and I won the overall national title 19-29 yr old women expert. Its always fun to catch back up with these gals and see where life has taken them! And we haven't changed a bit, have we. ;)

Being that our team is lacking a high number of female racers, sometimes my best option is to race with the masters or cat 3 men. Here I had the pleasure of racing with Papa Breyer and Rick in a cat 3 race. It is always fun to get to ride with more of my teammembers and to learn from them. Men's fields are a weird "animal" though, I will have to delve into that topic later on.
Climbing at Sisquoc, my favorite picture I think, channeling Jens...
Sisquoc Road Race. I was so excited to be able to stretch my legs in an event longer than a 40-50 minute crit. To get to ride hard, climb hills, and work with my teammate Cynthia. This race was hot and windy and tough. I was super pumped that I was able to finishe 7th, close behing the lead group. Then I got DQ'ed. No, not a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, DISQUALIFIED. I pretty much blame Brian for this.
There was about 300 meters to go. I had attacked and broken away from a group of 5 and heading in solo for my 7th place finish. Then the pro/1/2/ men's break passed me. That means I get neutralized. But then they sat up and slowed down, blocking me in and pushing me towards the gravel. Brian was in the group of 6 and was right beside me, so I told him to go away. Hahah. He tried to get the guys to let me by, then just motivated me to finish. But to the officials, it looked like I finished with the men. Even though they had like 60 more miles to go and I was riding hard with 8th place in hot pursuit and not sure if I should sit up and wait, pass them on the left or what. But the finish was right there! So I protested, extremely politely and pled my case. They hand wrote me in the results and said I was good to go after a 20 minute discussion, only to see on the official results online, I did not finish. High-Fives all around guys! Thanks a billion for the great work out and the ability to hit my PowerMeter High Score.
I will be back next time.

Thursday, June 10

The woes of summer...

About 22 hours and counting, I will be "free" for a few weeks. Free from snotty kids, free from acceptable pay (jk), free from my watch and free from my sneakers. So the good news is I will always be late and my feet will be dirty and swollen because I am barefoot. Sweet.

The other great news is the heat. We have ramped up our "overheating prevention" in some very key ways. Last Sunday on my high-noon mountain bike ride (YES I still have one and I swear, if someone else asks me if I still do, or if I ever ride it, I will kick them in the shin and run away) I put a bag of ice in my jersey up between my shoulder blades. Although it soiled my outfit leaving sweat/water/dirt lines like Dr. Seuss bathtub rings, it whittled my core down to about 101 degrees. Thank goodness.

With the shipment of our new kits, I also have an improved tan-line. My previous jersey (yes singular - I wore 1 kit, since last June. No bueno.) was a hand-me-down that the owner had cut the sleeves Bam-Bam style. Now I actually boast cuffs on my sleeves, thus tattooing those ever coveted tan lines. Genius.

In the theme of Giving Back, which seems to be rampant in the cycling community this season, I took a few newbie Junior Boys out to a mountain bike race. On a Tuesday (while Brian had his Junior Ducklings - i hope they don't know we call them that - here in Redlands for some skills training). Here's the cool thing. Unlike our local Tuesday Night Championships, you actually pay an entry fee, get cool stuff, have a closed course, course marshalls, droves of fans, and free food afterwards (if you count Clifbars and cookies) All in just under 1:30 minutes. Not bad, not bad at all.

The boys were pumped! Locked them in the team car and headed to the OC where the temps are 15 degrees lower and the middle school chicks 15 degrees hotter (so the young lads said). The course suited us all well in that it was a figure 8 with fast laps, crossing through start-finish 2 times per lap so I could see the whites of their eyes each time we crossed. The venue had a slight cyclo-cross feeling, with tight turns, sponsor pits and BBQ on the grill while the music pumped. Pretty much one of the most well put together and run Mountain Bike events I have been to in quite some time. Oh wait, I haven't raced my mountain bike since August....anyways, lets just say it was Super Sick!

Check it out if you get a chance! Over the Hump Series

They even had a photog out and pictures are online if you want to check them out and see the course a bit better. Some hills

And a way cool bridge!

Does anyone know how to get a sponsorship from Oxyclean? My white kit...dirt...sweat...I wonder what its gonna look like after my first crash....that's gonna be hot.

Friday, May 21

More Light Than Tunnel, at least right now...

Women's Clinic Update: 101 happy participants! Sunday 75+ gals went on a supported 15 or 40 mile ride loop here in town with sag vehicles and ride guides! 20 went to the Ontario Crit, putting 40 girls in the cat 4 womens field! That is so awesome for this region!

I was pretty bummed to be so tired the whole time. With minimal sleep, pre-5am wake up calls day after day, I was off my A-game! All good though! Here is my little intermediate group! We worked on shifting, pacelines, double pace lines, eating and drinking on the bike and hill climbing! So much fun! And they all had a blast! And that was just the beginning of their fun day!

Big Bear Update: Dan Rendler saved my day Friday by delivering these to me at Women's Clinic Signin! They phonetics is hilarious and the notes so funny and kind! Kids writing thank you notes are the best! I sure hope they can get over to the finish of the ToC stage today and get even more excited about riding bikes!
Saturday night, i had to skip an important bday party to spend 2 hours at the grocery store finalizing my foods for the trip! I realized I would be driving the Uhaul truck to Morro Bay with all the kids junk in it, so why not throw the Mountain Bike in?!?! PERFECT!!!!!

Sometimes I act out of character. and the kids LOVE it! I wanted to make shortcake from scratch but come on, its a bunch of 10th graders, really. So I fillet Twinkies for Strawberry-Twinkie-Cakes!!!
I also got the kids to eat Family Style, like on HOOK!
Monterey! I loved the aquarium! Sea Horses were rad, with their Male-giving-birth way of life, the Otters were out in full force, and the fact that I was NOT racing the Sea Otter Classic...made all ok. Just kidding. But the fact that I have raced all over the Left Coast, made my navigation skills come in quite handy. Who would have thought!
Mountain Bike Trails! I totally picked the CORRECT bike to bring with me! The trails could be seen from camp, and as soon as I had breakfast cleared and packed and lunch prepped, I was able to head out, two different days, to check out the goods! An intricate system of trails between the State Park and Montana de Oro welcomed me. With no maps, no computers, no info, I just had to follow the trails. Somewhat like Blue Diamond by Vegas, I could see where the trails met and intersected. Smooth switchbacks, nice rock drops, techy ascents with flowers on all sides made for an excellent experience! And it was reassuring to know I can still ride the MTB :)

Kayaking! Justin Mace, great pal since high school, taught me how to kayak in 1998. And I haven't really done it since. It is interesting to learn, however, that those long ago learned skills, come back with a snap of the finger...
This outing turned out to be the most exciting of the week. With a Small Craft Advisory in effect, gale force winds, huge swell and strong current, the kids were sent two by two to their deaths. I mean, on a kayaking voyage to the sand spit. Well at least some of them made it.
Here's the quick and dirty. Sometimes, you should pick your kayaking partners based on skill and strength, not based on whether or not they are in your top five. A few of the kayaks got stuck, pushed out towards open water and were getting stranded. So I jumped in the single kayak to go and tether them and paddle them to shore. The two girls I got to looked as if they had been under a whales blow-hole, they were drenched with sea water. Extremely fatigued and frustrated, they were sitting ducks. I tethered them and in a move I have not pulled in 7 years of teaching, I yelled. I had to. I had to get them to understand that we in fact, will need to suffer. That pain was the only option and that working together would lessen my pain, ever so slightly. I started to paddle and seriously, it was like i was moored to a dock. No progress. I was working at above full capacity and the girls were trying there best.
Whenever something is hard, I think about Boulevard and freezing rain, pain and suffering, and slog on know that this pales in comparison. The poor girls however, do not have that frame of reference, and I was afraid I was freaking them out, so made sure to just keep talking to them and keep them calm.
Enter, harbor police. Yelling, gesturing and other antics ended with the girls and kayak being loaded, along with another kayak with a parent and male student. I had to get back to the other shore to corral and guide the 25 other kids back to the dock, so the police opted for me to hold onto the side of their boat, while they towed me to the sand spit.
Well in a small single kayak, going 15 mph, my grip on the rope to my right really sucked. The waves were big and I was getting pummelled. The nose of my boat kept getting pulled hard left, and I was about to let go, and someone grabbed my arm. And that was that. Full barrel roll in the fridged open ocean. Here is where Justin's lessons came in. Flip boat. Empty water. Rest on the bottom of it. I kept telling the police I was fine, because I was and they were yelling "GET IN TE BOAT NOW> GET OUT OF THE WATER!" Calm down alright! All is good, just gotta get in!
They wanted to take me to the dock but I was like um hello, I have other kids to save! Just kidding. But that was that. Pretty exciting I guess. Got the kids corralled (in a very odd Babel-like trudge through sand barefoot searching for them across the dunes) and back, just in time to make dinner.
Always remembering to keep things light and carefree! NEON day at school...

And Dez and I showing how to be friends on the bike at the clinic. I am very grateful to my solid, great friends right now that have really helped keep me on my toes, see things in logical perspective, and teach me how to race my bike, and be a good influence on others!

Friday, May 14

Keepin' calm and Ridin' on!

May is a total double-edged sword. The weather is amazing, even for SoCal, but the work and race calendars are insane. Just keeping an eye on June 11th! Last year I was in a complete frenzy by this time, so I am pretty stoked that I have remained calm. Well calm for at least me. This has however, allowed a few things to fall through the cracks. Its all good though! I will get to them when I get to them.

I suppose I should write about some epic racing, but a 17 and 15th place this weekend, doesn't really warrant blogging. However, Saturday marked the first crit I have not been yelled at during, so I thought that was pretty bloggable.

Thankfully, Sunday the yelling resumed. Once again, not much to report about.

I thought this picture was reportable simply because I was in the drops, not on the brakes, and away from people. All quite weird and foreign feelings.
After this race, in the LBC, the Gnome and I got to spend some quality time with Carson Miller in the ER. Good job Miller! Just kidding. But we were quite impressed at the cleanliness of the facility and rapid attention he received. Snoops home town is cooler than I thought. Thankfully, all his wounds were superficial and everything checked out.

Come Monday, it was Give Back time! The Tour of California is about to start! Big Bear has a stage finish, and the guys up there wanted a little help! Redlands Bicycle Classic Race Director Dan Rendler, wheelchair athlete Kyle Massey and myself headed to the mountains to spread the word of PossAbilities, Cycling, helping others, and going after your dreams!!
In all, we saw over 800 kids at 4 different elementary and junior high schools. It was amazing! I got totally recharged for what was stacking up to be an extremely taxing and overwhelming week.
The students were so kind, gracious, appreciative and interested in bikes, Lance, funny super hero outfits and why in the world a ton of cyclists would ride all the way to Big Bear.
Outside Big Bear Middle School! These kids were hilarious!

In the gym with my Gary Fisher Pro Caliber, Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate, and Kyle with his tricked out chairs! A HUGE thank you to bike Sponsor Gary Fisher! They have gone above and beyond with our sponsorship this year. Complete WOW!

SNOW! SNow Summit still has snow! Enough so that Cal State MTB race for this coming weekend had to be cancelled! Oh, and whether you noticed it or not, SUBARU has arrived in town! PossAbilities Gary Fisher Subaru cycling team is the regional team for companies, stepping up our game big time! The new team car arrived Sunday, just in time for the awesome trip to Big Bear!

Kyle and Dan chatting with the kids! it was COLD up there!
And lastly, today was Class Challenge at School. Being the Sophmore sponsor, we got to perform a 10 minute skit for the Justice League! I think we did a pretty good job and really hope the HOURS!!!! of work pays off in the end!
Today and tomorrow: Womens Cycling Clinic! 100 ladies registered, fun-packed days and lots of learning and networking!
Sunday: for the clinic, they head to the races or long rides. For me....Morro Bay for the week with 10th grade for the Biology trip. I get to drive the Uhaul and cook. Great idea to take the week off the bike. In the middle of racing season. I sure hope the kids like Quinoa and Spinach and Tofu. And LOTS of coffee.

Friday, May 7

Foist, this one is for YOU!!

Mark, I am not cool enough to put the video straight on my page. Maybe i will learn for next time. Also, thanks for the Gnome promo back at the classic!

So are you an ELITE bike racer?

thanks for the link Allison!

Monday, April 26

Differing Views On Success

"I WON MY RACE, AND NOBODY I KNOW WAS HERE TO SEE ME. I'M SO MAD!" Although this quote from a category racer at Saturdays Devil's Punchbowl Road Race almost had me in stitches laughing so hard, it also struck a deep-rooted cord with me. I can not race simply to win.

Maybe it is because of my mountain bike background, where battles were fought and won deep within the cover of the forest while I raced against the clock and against myself and my will to overcome. Or because while playing college basketball, Coach Jesse Clark instilled in us the belief and the understanding to not only be gracious in victory, but also in defeat. The occasions of success, for me at least number-wise, do not come about all that frequently. But it left me thinking none the less, that if I summed my success up in my printable results, I would fail. To every win there is a tale to tell, to every 20th place there is an equal and just as important story to be told. And no, I am not thinking this because of, or going to tell you the sad tale of my Out The Back 15th place finish on Saturday. ; )

To bring this complain-fest full-circle, which of course is the point here, I am going to high light what we as a cycling team does in our "free time". We volunteer. And not because we get anything for it (because technically that of course would NOT be volunteering) but because we love it, and it is part of our innate nature.

8th Annual PossAbilities Triathlon

5:05ish AM helping a handcyclist with his BRIGHT GREEN racing chair! Yes, I fixed my hair and drank half a pot of coffee before 4am. I had to start the day off RIGHT!

Once I woke up and got going, I had a complete blast! I saw old school-mates, students of my own, former and present teammates and people I used to teach Spin Class to as well as locals I ride with on the group rides. I was so stoked to get stationed in the transition zone where I could throw Hi-Fives to everyone and help them out when need-be!
In the pink, Julie Furber, one of our original Team Jose Ole sponsors along with Autumn who did the very first 12 hour Mountain bike race with Shelli and I as a team and Laura! They came out on a whim and finished together! At this event, success was measured by Being There! Ladies were elated to have NOT WALKED the 5k! To have made it though their leg of the relay, to have come out done a task which to them, seemed unattainable!
Being coupled with PossAbilities means that this event caters to challenged and disabled athletes! Hearing the stories of success in their former lives, working through immense hardship, to now completing and being competitive in athletic events was completely inspiring. David Bailey and Mike Young, pictured here in the chairs, are Motor Cross legends which both Jamie and Brian knew from their racing years.

Fermin and Beth! Rolled in with a smile and left with even larger smiles! Brian got to ride his scooter next to Beth because he was lead moto for the run course, where he chatted her up and got some info! She told him of her injury and how just last Monday, she completed the Boston Marathon. Fermin suffered a stroke in 2003 and his right side is now paralyzed. His movements reminded a lot of how my sister now walks due to her illness so I instantly had a soft spot for him in my heart. I helped them move some of their goods and instantly got Sherpa Status. Now THATS an honor.
Who says old guys can't race?!?! The gentleman on the right talked my ear off in the transition zone! He commented on how i looked "fit and healthy" hahahahha and we were fast friends from there on! He was cheering on his buddies heading out on Huffy mountain bikes for the bike portion.

I just put this one in here because I really like food and haven't blogged about it for a long time.

I didn't get this gentleman's name, but watching him complete all three portions of the event was amazing.
What cool event! The kids were careening down the slides and chomping on snow cones as soon as they crossed the line!

And the future! Liam and his brother did the complete tri and were completely SUCCESSFUL. Because they finished. Because they had fun. Because they are learning to push the limits and find a healthy balance to life. Because they are athletes.

I found Fermins website and this is what I learned:

Thursday, April 22

Attempting Real Wold Assimilation

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to have the wardrobe and style assistance of Paige and Darla whenever duty called for a little clean-up. Paige has since gone off to College, taking half the wardrobe with her, and Darla is probably about ready for me to figure out how to tie my shoes.

While in New Zealand I took matters into my own hands and purchased some pretty rad dresses, for dirt cheap. I had my trusty Sister there to lie to me "no, your butt does not look big in that" so that I ended up buying three.

I then realized my 5th grade girls class has some killer day-glow earrings. Further inquiry led me to the Mall and a Claires store, where for under $12.00, i walked out with 10 pairs of 1980's best representation of neon.

Then enter the Shoes. Joy, stop wearing Dansko clogs. Joy, no flip-flops allowed. Your gonna wear that? I did the best shopping i could, online, and found some hot pink and hot green pumps. Perfect. and for $11.59 and pair, plus shipping, bring it! My students also suggested the cheapest yet more durable fluorescent nail polish to complete my "look."

So to all my happy-fashion-helpers, and big thank you for helping me assimilate into the 30-something crowd. Well sort of. For some reason, I am always "brighter and bigger" than any and everyone around me. I stick out like a sore thumb no matter what...

Fellow teachers at the Spring Formal. Sporting dress from NZ, bright Green themed accessories. And a slight tan line.
Bachelorette party. Yeeeaaahhhh....(I could have been getting Poison Oak at Sea Otter, instead, i was getting toe blisters and belly fat in Vegas). This dress got the "Joy we can see your slip. Wait, I think that's your tan line comment." Sidenote: what is a slip and should I have one? puhlees....
Thanks to Paige, I now have my very own pair of "fashion jeans" from a thrift store, they are 7's. I hear they are a big deal, and for $30, fine by me. Here we opted for the PINK theme. One of my favs.

But alas, some things just can not be undone. The tan lines will forever be worn as a badge of courage and pride. Yes, my thighs are horribly white. Yes, i have countless scars and blindingly white abs. But alas, it proves a point that my passion and hobbies are more than just that. Cycling and fitness and taking care of myself are a way of life and I love it. If that means that the pool deck stares aghast at my whiteness, so be it. Shun the cyclist and welcome the Muffin Tops. To each their own. For me, these tan lines are just going to get darker. Along with Day-Glow and Mohawks. I guess its just my personality!