Wisdom from the Snob:

One of my favorite things about cycling is that it can reward suffering with joy. Another thing I love about it is that it often rejects those who don't understand this. Cycling teaches you that there's such a thing as necessary suffering and such a thing as unnecessary suffering, and that sometimes a short cut is a dead end.

There's a guy who knows his way around a sentence.



Somedays when I go out on bike rides, I see odd things. One day, it was shoes. Not pairs, just single shoes. An old athletic shoe at mile 10, a white strappy high-heel at mile 15. Another day, I saw a T-square in the road. Who carries a T-square in their car? And leaves it on the road?

Today's oddity had a Christmas theme. Fitting, since last I checked it's almost Christmas. Anyway, I was rolling along the road that runs along the beach, wishing that the beach would suddenly transmogrify itself into the North Shore, and along came a guy with a convertable. It was one of those wee little fast cars, a BMW or an Audi. He was on the other side of the street, and well, I really don't do cars. Anyway, sitting in the passenger seat next to him, was a giant, life-sized nutcracker. It was red with a white beard and a black hat. And it was sticking straight up out of the car on the right hand side. Since his wooden knees didn't bend, he sat at an odd angle, tilted backward as if the speed of the car were sweeping him backwards. Woosh.

And there he was, a nutcracker, riding along in an expensive convertible along the beach, which wasn't the North Shore.

The world is a very strange place sometimes.


Dumbass-ery of the Day

The Independent reports that Platform A has leaked 1,134 gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara Channel, as of early this morning. An oil slick 1.5 miles long and 2,000 feet wide is drifting toward Ventura County. As the Independent points out, Platform A was the site of the massive 1969 spill that galvanized the environmental movement of the time, including the first celebration of Earth Day.



La Jolla, Cali.

I don't generally go for the sepia look, but this one worked for me. So I stole it from my big bro. I'm sure he won't mind. Erm, right?

And while I'm stealing, how about another one?

Gettin' Shacked in La Jolla. Same spot, same day.

See more here. Photos copyright Christopher See, used with permission.


Flipper Feet

I went to the pool yesterday, and as I strolled along the pool deck contemplating the bizarre combination of tan lines I currently sport, an older gentleman walked up to me. Nice guy with a big smile.

"Size ten?"

I look at him confused.

"Your feet," he says.

And then, he looks at me more closely, and realizes that I'm not who he thought I was. He explains: There's a woman who swims here, and she kicks really fast. She said it was because she has size ten feet.

He thought I was the woman with the size ten feet who kicks really fast.

Well, I'm not The Woman. But I do have size ten feet. And sometimes, I kick pretty fast.

Silly swimmers.


Four Whole Days

Of Surf.
Thursday, it was my birthday. And there was surf.
Friday, it wasn't my birthday anymore. But there was still surf.
Saturday, it definitely wasn't my birthday anymore. But there was surf.
Sunday, yes, you guessed it, there was surf.
Four whole days.

It looked something like this:

I had a camera in my bag. You know, the bag that has all the stuff that goes to the beach in it: Bikinis (several, because it's so hard to decide), ear plugs, Sun Screen (Much), a balance bar or three, a banana, gloves, orange gu (friends don't let friends surf hungry), fuzzy-wuzzy warm rash guard for extra-cold days, surf wax, flip-flops, sand, and all the other assorted odds and ends that end up living there.

But about the camera. I put the camera in the bag, so that I could take a picture of two. Every day, I walked down to the beach to check the surf, and every day I forgot to bring the camera. Maybe I'll take a couple pictures after I surf. But every day, someone patiently waited for our parking spot. And I felt bad saying, well no, you can't have the spot, because I want to take a picture. That, and I was far too lazy to walk back down the trail from the parking lot to the beach.

So I have no pictures. The one up there? It's from last year. Recycling is good.

Since the weather bordered on epic, lots of people showed up to play. Some of them clearly had not surfed in months. How else to explain the girls in cutey cut-off spring suits when the water hovered around the 58 degree mark? I especially like the bikini and rash guard look. Girls, let me remind you once again: Board shorts are good. Also, bend at the knees, not at the waist. And do please remember not to run over me with your ten foot long board, mmkay? You're really not cute when you do that. Promise.

Because it was our birthday - Yes, John and I have the same birthday - we stopped at the bakery on the way home and ate cupcakes. So heart me some post-surf cupcake.

There was a brush fire, too. Good thing we had more cupcakes for dinner. Otherwise, it would have been very disappointing, what with the power outage and all. But mix-n-match pasta and cupcakes by candle light is pretty good times.

But mostly, there was surf. And it was good.

The End.


Election Night Drama

So, I'm not usually much for politics. But I dig me some election night Drama.

I'm trying to get some writing done, but I can't stop flipping among the bazillion tabs I have open on election coverage. So much fun this internet thingy.

I especially like the maps, like the one over at NY Times.

Looks like the networks have all called Vermont to Obama and Kentucky to McCain.

Let's see what happens next...


Tuesday Truth

Riding the trainer is to bike racing as swimming the pool is to paddling out in a good swell.

Substitutions, while sometimes necessary, are never as good as the real thing.

Where's my Northwest swell? It's almost November already.

{taps foot impatiently}

How about another picture, while we wait?

Photo copyright Chris. Used with permission.


Fall Colors

Photo copyright Chris. Used without permission. Hopefully he'll let it slide this time.


Long Time, No Blog

My mom said I needed to blog more. I always do what my mom says. Um, well, most of the time. Well, okay, some of the time. Not very often?

Well, anyway, here I am, and I'm going to blog now.

. . .

New Look. The Lint Trap now has RSS feeds. And a real blog roll with updates and excerpts. Crazy stuff. I know, I know, welcome to two years ago. Laggage. It's what I do best of all things.

This New Look should not be confused with Eisenhower's New Look, which is a different thing altogether, involving large quantities of nuclear weapons and alliances with countries whose names you can't pronounce. Do make a note of it.

. . .

Restoration. The VeeDub, which is older than I am, just got new floor boards. Because the old ones, they were rusting. If you looked real closelike, you could see the road pass beneath the car. I mean, I'm all about energy conservation and stuff, but going the Flintstones route seemed a step too far. VoilĂ , new floorboards, no more holes.

While we were crawling around under there — or, more accurately, while our crazy German mechanic was crawling around under there — we also put new shocks in the front end. The old ones were very old. Like, original, just rolled out of the factory, never replaced old. Now, the car's all springy like. Boing. The rear shocks are still original, because they still work. Brilliant.

Last fall, the VeeDub got a brand spanking new transmission. Now, all it needs is a paint job. That'll have to wait for Spring, because we wouldn't want to miss any of the winter swells and stuff. We recently put old-skool roof racks on. Yes, it needs a picture. Forthcoming. Now, we look suitably retro when we roll up to the local spot. Except for the shortboards, that is. Ah, well, consistency makes for small minds anyway. At least, that's what Emerson always said, and who am I to doubt him?

You want to know my very favoritist thing about driving the VeeDub around? We get to hear everyone's stories. People stop by, they want to tell about the time they drove their brothers '66 to Baja or how they used to have a blue one, back in the day, how sweet that car was. Always the stories.

. . .

We laden onze woody. Speaking of winter swell, apparently it's time for them to show up. And apparently, it's time for like a gazillion people to show up to surf them. Who knew so many people owned surfboards?

Laten we eens gaan surfen nu
Iedereen is te leren hoe
Kom met me mee op een safari
Kom met me mee op een safari

Vroeg in de ochtend
We zullen beginnen
Sommige honingsoorten komen langs
We laden onze Woody
Met onze borden binnen
En leidt ons liedje zingen

I so heart me some Dutch.

Now, Doods, the first head-high swell of the winter is not the day to bring your girlfriend for her first ever day of surfing. It's not going to be fun. For her. Or for us. If you insist on bringing her, do please give her a few tips. Like, for example, letting go of your ten foot longboard in the line-up is not nice. Sitting like a buoy in the impact zone, while the rest of us dodge and weave around her, is not so nice either. Just trying to help out.

And Girls, please try to remember, bend at the knees, not at the waist. If you can't remember this very simple lesson, we recommend board shorts. Do your really want your ass sticking up in the air like that? No, I didn't think so. Fortunately, it will soon be too cold - really, it was never warm enough - for such transgressions. Phew.

. . .

Bike rides are fun. Fall has to be one of my favorite times of the year for bike rides. I love the dry, desert heat of the Fall, the weird winds that whorl up through the canyons, the clear air. Lovely, really.

Dear Angry Car People — I'm sorry if...

your girlfriend left you, your wife is ugly, your wife is beautiful, but sleeping with someone else, your job sucks, you got fired from your job, which still sucks, you're late for a meeting, you're late to sleep with someone else's beautiful wife, your kid's a fucking twit, your kid beat up a the neighbor's fucking twit and now there's hell to pay, you're late to the twit's soccer game, you're pissed because you had to work during the swell last week, you took off work, but there was no swell, you hate bikes, you love bikes, but you're still late, you're late for class, the dog ate your homework, you failed the exam, because you didn't study, you studied for the exam, but you still failed, fucking professors anyway, your girlfriend's cat threw up on your shoes, gas costs too much, your car isn't as cool as your neighbor's car, your boyfriend's sleeping with your neighbor, because her car is cooler, or your stock portfolio just took a beating...

Don't take your fucking problems out on me. I'm just riding my bike. Thank you.

Anyway, it's fun going for bike rides in the Fall.

. . .

Pro Cycling Shenanigans. The bike racing news lately, it just gets weirder and weirder, doesn't it?

Lance Armstrong, again? Where's my DeLorean, I need to get back to the future.

And this week's scandals and speculations. Could they just get it over with already? The suspense is so totally killing me right now. Eh, I've written my share and then some about that elsewhere. I wouldn't want to be redundant or something.

But Lombardia is coming soon, which is one of my favorite races of the year. They do know how to throw them some bike races there in Italy. Could Worlds have been any more fun? Well, yes, if I'd actually been there. But we endure.

. . .

And that just about exhausts my blogability for this Wednesday afternoon. The word supply is running low, the gauge says E.

So I stop now.


From the Rule Book

Rule No. 523: Always apply sunscreen before putting on your bikini.
Contents may shift in transit.


Still Life

Still Life with Fruit Bowl, #5.

The Virga, she is smiling. We just might need to re-stock the fruit bowl soon.

* *

A friend of mine is a digital artist. Lovely stuff. She recently went to a big conference thingy with other digital artists. One of the best pieces? RealSnailMail.

Real snails will collect your message and carry it to the drop off point, at which time it will be delivered. Average time from pick-up to delivery? 8-16 days, depending on how speedy your snail happens to be.

Oh, and there are currently 7000 messages cued for delivery, so it might take a little while. Speed, so totally over-rated.

Want to meet the artists? Head over to NPR and hear an interview.

Brilliant, really.


For Sale!

Because three wetsuits is too many!

Triathlon Wet suit by 2XU. Designed for swimming fast.

Model: C:1, clicky to see tech specs and size info.

Size: Mens Small/Tall. Fits 5'9" to 6'0", 141-159 lbs, according to size chart.

Brand new, tags still on, never been wet.

Asking $200.00

Shoot me a maily, twobluebikes@gmail.com if interested.


Name That Spot?

What's not to like about the beach on a summer day?

Especially when there's a little surfy surf.

And we score parking right up front.



Dear Supermarket Bagger People,

Thank you for bagging my groceries. Because really, I couldn't possibly do it myself. But please, when I give you MORE THAN ONE cloth bag for my groceries, do NOT stuff all my groceries into ONE BAG. There's a reason I have MORE THAN ONE. If I wanted my avocade squished under my bottle of Chianti, I would only give you ONE BAG. But I don't. And I don't want my fancy-shmancy organic lettuce crunched under the olive oil bottle or the soup cans. Really, I don't. When the time comes to crunch the lettuce, I'll be the one doing the crunching. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Love and kisses,

Oh, and that race in France, pretty fun, eh?


¿donde esta?

Calling all locals! I need me a new taco stand in the neighborhood of downtown. Like, east side would be super convenient like. I want to eat decent Mexican food, drink a beer, for not too much money. Help a girl out! I so heart the kids at Los Arroyos. Good food, nice people. But ack, they just went up with the prices again, and really, I just can't be throwing down quite so much every time I want a taco. They'll have to be my special occasion taco joint. Eh, I remember back in the day, eating fish tacos and caronas on the sidewalk outside their old wee hold in the wall. So good.

Why does progress have to cost so much money?

Gracias for any and all suggestions!


Where do they go?

While I was on my bike ride today, I wrote a great post for this blog. It was all about how we went to the hardware store on Sunday morning to buy an umbrella so we could sit on the beach under an umbrella during the heat wave.

* *

There was a man there who was also buying an umbrella. He said he wanted one that he could stick in the sand. We said, we want one of those too! Where did you find yours? So he led us over to the umbrellas, which were stashed in a corner and not so easily found. The umbrella was almost as big as he was, and he dragged it along behind him. Then, he wanted to know which umbrella was the best umbrella. Should he get the one with the white metal post and the striped design? Or the one with the wood post and the solid design? Decisions, decisions.

We got the blue one.

Then, we put our umbrella in our VeeDub with the beach chairs and the beach towels and the beach bag with the sunscreen bottle in it. We drove around the corner and across the traintracks and around another corner. We found a VeeDub sized parking spot under a tree. Even the bug needs a little shade, and it's too big to fit under our umbrella. We walked along the trail, under the bouganvilla bushes (really, those flowers need a simpler name), across the little bridge and out to the sand.

And we sat under our umbrella. The blue one, that we bought at the hardware store.

* *

I think there were a few other things that went into this post, too. Maybe something more about the man. Maybe something about going to the hardware store on a Sunday, because it feels like such a cliché. Maybe something about the beach, and how it has two different names. But I can't remember them.

I don't know where the words go. Sometimes they're there, sometimes they're not.


Sunday Morning Cartoons

John, Rincon Sunday morning.

Glassy, low-tide.

So perfect.

Photo, courtesy Jon Shafer, Rincon Surf Blog


Time Suckage Maximus

See Ricco.

See Ricco Ride.

Ride Ricco Ride.

See Ricco Crash.


For best results, make sure the sound effects are on. You'll never work again. Promise.

And if you don't like Ricco, try this one. It has cows.


Yay for Giro!

Really, the scenery is just so lovely there in Italy this time of year, isn't it?

With two mountain stages and a time trial left, Contador hold 1.21 over il Vecchio and .44 over Ricco. Savoldelli seems to think that there is room for attacking off the Vivione on Friday. He'll no doubt go stage-chasing in his native Bergamo, and could well take a GC fave along for the ride. Then, there is the Gavia-Mortirolo. Last time the Giro climbed the Mortirolo, Basso and Simoni rode away from the field, leaving them all far, far, behind. This is Simoni territory for sure. But he'll need time in hand to survive the final crono in Milano. This is what I love best about the Giro: Most years, it comes down to the final few days. That, and the scenery of course...

Oh, and have a look here for some cool photos from the Plan de Corones.


Potato Chip

This is my new toy. It goes, very, very, very fast.

So I took it out to play.

If surfing all day during a heat wave is wrong, I don't want to be right.


Meanwhile in Oregon...

While I'm drooling all over lovely viddy of Italy, the Mt. Hood Stage race is going off. Lyne Lamoureaux is on the story with her usual detailed race reports.

Head over to Roadbikereview or Podium Cafe to read on all about it!

In Italy? The bunch got all lazy today, despite the shortened stage and let the break go 12 minutes up the road. Visconti, the Italian national champion, is the new Maglia Rosa, replacing Cutey Curls. Nothing much notable happened, though I suppose for the Levi fans, there were signs of impending doom in his 23 second time loss. Me, not such a Levi fan, so WhatEVAH. Tomorrow, they do some climby climbing. Never a dull moment there in Italy.


Animal Kingdom

Friday evening as we pedalled our way through Hope Ranch, we saw a family of skunks crossing the road. They stopped, looked both ways, and crossed in a tidy single-file line, just like a childrens' book. My precious meter pinged off the scale.

And no, I didn't stop for a pic. This blog would be so much better if, among other things, I actually carried a camera with me when setting out for adventures. Alas.

Today's ride was all about the critters. First, the dog. Bark, bark. Oh, look, there's a dog barking at us as we pass. Good thing he's behind that fence. Bark, bark. Oh, look, there's a hole in that fence. Here comes the dog. Bark, bark. How do they know that they should aim for the front wheel? Secret doggy senses. Bark, bark, sprint, ears flapping all wild like. Since I'm not adventurous enough to broadside the dog, I locked up the brakes all tightlike and stopped. Doggy looked up with a doggy sort of grin, turned around, and trotted off, tail wagging. That was fun. Woof.

Then, the squirrel. Look, a squirrel. Good thing he's by the side of the road. Oh, look, he's going to run into the road. Oh, look, there's the front wheel. Then, the squirrel changed his mind. Then, he changed it again. And again. By the side of the road, little dude spun his little self in circles. Am I going to run out into the bikey riders' wheels or am I going to stay out of the way? Ooooh, I can't decide. Spin, spin. Maybe I should go this way. Spin, spin. Which way should I go? Spin, spin. Good thing he couldn't make up his little squirrely mind. Dizzy squirrel.

The first Italian word I learned watching the Giro? Caduta, meaning crash. If there's a caduta generale? The whole field crashes. (There, now you can say you learned something reading blogs today. I'm so on your team right now.) Since the first stage of the race is always all nervylike, you'll hear Caduta over and over. The Italian cameras linger lovingly over the carnage, and the always excitable Bulba (yes, it's a national stereotype, but in this case, so totally true), gets all jiggy with the Caaaduuuutaaa! Uh, huh. Anyway, too bad for Z today, leaving the Giro on a caduta. Hopefully, all will be well for him soon.

Which reminds me of one of my fave things about the Italian commentators, Bulba and Cassani. Though they clearly love dearly their Italian stars, they comment generously about the non-Italian riders. Want to know the major results of the neo-pro from Ukraine in the break? They'll give it to you, along with some colorful story of another. So pro. They all but swooned over Z's time trial position last year. The kids over at OLN could learn a thing or two. Just sayin'

Pellizotti in Pink? Such a cutey.



Surfing small waves is hard.

But watching dolphins frolick and the sun set behind the trees turning the water to molten orange is a lovely way to spend the evening.

That is all for now. Blogging here at the Lint Trap may be a tad sparse (or, sparser than usual) for the next three weeks. GIRO!!



After our bikey ride on Sunday, we went down to the beach and sat on the point in the shade of the cliffs. As the sun disappeared behind us, the sand cooled beneath our feets, the water went splish splash, and the hint of an on-shore breeze cooled the air. Air Conditioning.

We brought the longboard along, because it's nice to get wet on a hot day, not because there were really any waves.

We call it the USS Ronald Reagan.

It's very,






very long.


Thursday Morning Ride: Live Report

Wednesday, 8.00 pm: Yeah, sure, the 8.00 am RoCo ride. I'll so be there. See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, 7.56 am: Jen, sitting on the couch, sipping an espresso. Because 8.00 am is far, far, too early. Uncivilized.

9.15 am: Roll out the door. 10.00 am is too late, 8.00 is too early, but 9.00? 9.00 am is just about right.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Stoplight. Pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal.

9.35 am: Look, there's Meh-wee-uhn!


Pedal, pedal. Suweet, now I'm not a total loser friend for slacking on the 8.00 am. And I don't have to ride all by my silly self. I can ride with my silly self and Meh-wee-uhn's silly self. Two silly selves are definitely better than one.

Life is good.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Good thing I didn't want to go surfing today. NeverBetter is bring your rubber ducky splish splash in the bathtub flat. Pedal, pedal, pedal.

9.45 am: KABAM! Spontaneous tubey combustion. At least it wasn't a slime tubey. (There's a story for another day...)

This event caused much headscratching. Like um, how the heck did that happen? Several offers of assistance from passersby were made. We thanked them nicely, because we're always nice.

Meh-wee-uhn goes to work with the tire levers and such.

9.48 am: Problem. Short stem tube, deep-dish wheel.

What to do.

Jen: I think I have a long-stem tubey. Jen digs in seat pack, spewing contents all over. Oh, crap, it's actually a short stem. But look, there's a long stem on my rear wheel.


Tube swappage commences. My long stem for her short stem. Then we pumped both our tires back up. Actually, I used a CO2. Cuz I'm lazy that way.

Pedal, pedal, pedal.

10.15 am: A few small hills appear. We climb them.

Meh-wee-uhn tries to eat and climb with mixed success. We compare Gu to any number of nasty, unmentionable substances. I think I may never eat it again, actually. I tell a lame story about eating Japanese food at an interview in British Columbia. I behaved. The interviewing committee? Not so much.

10.45 am: Gosling crossing. A pair of leetle yellow goslings crosses the bike path. Mama Goose sticks out her pink tongue at us. And hisses. Nice goosey goose, very nice goosey goose, we're like so out of here right now.

11.00 am: Meh-wee-uhn looks for the downhill lines on the UCSB bike path. No skin was lost in this adventure.
Jen makes a dicey pass by a stu rocking the cruiser no hands stylie. Do not try this at home.

11.05 am: Detailed discussion of favorite donuts ensues, a sure sign that someone is bonking. Powdered sugar scores high. So does frosted with sprinkles. Mmmm, dooonuts. What's sugar made out of?

11.20 am: Safe and sound on Cannon Green. What the hell is a Cannon Green anyway?

Meh-wee-uhn waxes philosophical: You see, I think you need to have a fluid ego construction to survive bike racing. I mean, fluid, like an amoeba. My ego is an amoeba.

Meh-wee-uhn stops to think, looking perplexed: An amoeba. So what's my psuedopod?

Jen laughs too hard to steer bike. Really, I think she should come with a warning label. Maybe we could plaster it across the back of her helmet? Think of the children.

11.30 am: Meh-wee-uhn goes in search of lunch. Jen continues pedaling. Things become less funny.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. TAILWIND! Wheeee! Pedal, pedal, pedal.

12.00 pm: Weather's getting warmer. Jen looks for more pockets. Where do they go? Stuffs vest up jersey. Does best camel imitation.

Avoids eating Gu packet. So totally ruined. ForEVAH.

Swoops down descent, checks surf at Burrito. Not even an itty-bitty bit of windswell. Sigh.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Why'd they put this climb here? Sigh, again. Pedal, pedal, pedal.

12.30 pm: Jen arrives home, dumps pockets on floor. Searches kitchen for donuts.

Finds blueberry poptarts instead. Frosted. With sprinkles.

Life is good.


Poo' Talk

Dude: How many meters did you do?

Me, thinking: Uh... are you hitting on me?

True confessions? I really wasn't counting. I did some swimmy swim, then some kicky kick, then some sprinty sprint. It was fun and splashy and sunshiney. Maybe I got a little tan.

How many? Some.

B'sides, I already got a hot date tonight for some bikey riding.

And um, yes, I'm like married and stuff.


April Flowers

Just a leetle Monday project.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the trip home is all uphill.

So, um, like do I get credit for training and stuff? Ruling? Sigh, I didn't think so.

For added entertainment the Green Beast - which is a 5 speed Schwinn - pulls to the right, thanks to a bendy in the framey. The basket could fit a small child and weighs about as much. Cornering is muy, muy, interesting, to say the least.

Mmmkay, now I gotta go plant 'em.


Not an Angry Girl

Clicky the piccy to make it go. (The embed thingy is brokey.)

Ani D played at the very stodgy theater downtown where Cultural Events take place.

Oddly, they once booked X at this very same venue.

Damage occurred. Uproar roared up.

Who books a punk band to a theater with velvet seats and chandeliers? And columns. The place has columns. Like some sort of Greek mausoleum. Fuck the Patriarchy.
I think I saw the columns shudder.

Ani rocked it hard. So it was all good. And since St. Babs is a small town, the theater for Culture is very very small. You can't have the plebes getting too much Culture or anything. We had like sixth row seats. Ani said she was scared of farting. Cuz we were really, really close.

Final score: One tranny got (almost) naked. No velvet seats torn.

And no, I haven't seen Flanders yet. Cuz I just got the download. So can't wait!


Training Wheelz

I gots me a bit of work to do on my turning and pivotting skillz. This is some very serious training equipment right here.


Last time I had a skate, it was pink and I was like ten. Um, this one's like way cooler and stuff.

And yes, I've already totally stacked it.

Today's lesson, boyz and girlz: Pavement is harder than water.


Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle

More warm sunshiney roads in the hills.
More spring.
More flowers.
More sneezes.
More is good.

Saturday night, we went to see these guys in Ventura.

Crazy fun punk rock mayhem.

Lots of songs from the early 90s. Even, gasp, some old skool '80-'85 bits. The kids in the pit weren't even born for some of those songs. But they knew every fucking lyric to every fucking song.

So cool.

The boys on stage have a little less hair and a little more grey, these days. Never too old to be a punk.

On the subject of badass, this finish has to be the coolest EVAH. (And Italian commentators so bring the passion.)

When was the last time someone won San Remo off a solo move? I mean, I know Coppi did. But that was sorta different. This one certainly ranks up there with the 1992 edition where Kelly went all crazy like on the Poggio and bridged to Argentin. Che bello finale!


Pool Nazi

Wednesday, I went down to da poo' for a splashy-splash. It's been pretty much like forEVAH since I last went to the pool for anything more strenuous than a casual dippy dip and a little sunbathing. But I thought maybe I'd swim back and forth. Chase the black line, make sure it was still there.

I put on my little suity and stuffed my hairs into the cap, which always feels like putting a balloon over my head, and tied on my newly assembled goggles. On swim team, all the cool kids get Swedes. (As a side note, it's nice that wiki gives assembly instructions. Because, um, it's like hard and stuff.) The really cool kids mix and match. Blue on the right, green on the left, and whathaveyou. Just avoid the yellow ones. There, now you can't say you never learned anything useful here at the Lint Trap. No yellow swedes. (Unless you have to race in a really really dark indoor poo' Then, you'll be rocking the yellows and desperately trying to ignore the unfortunate effect they have on your surroundings. Better that than wacking into the wall.) Anyway, since I'm not cool, my Swedes are blue on both sides.

I tippy toed across the deck, found myself some swim toys - no, no, pull your mind out of the gutter, toys are the little bouy for the leggies and the little kick board for the kicking - and headed over to a lane. Helpful descriptions labelled each lane: Slow, Medium, Fast, Very Fast, and Kick. Choose your own Adventure. I headed toward the slow lane. Because I was feeling slow and maybe not quite totally committed.

I hopped in the water, and splashed around. This poo' is set up 50 meter. Long course stylie. It has always felt like a very very long way from one end to the other in a 50 meter pool. Short course? Way mo' easier, because there's walls to bounce off. I'm all about bouncing off the walls. 50 meters? Not so many walls. Anywho, I cruised back and forth a little, getting a feel for the joint.

On about my second trip back to the start where all the little lane signs were, I looked up to find the Pool Nazi staring me down. I'm thinking, what di' do? Has some new etiquette rule been enacted since I last jumped in a poo'? I'm just splashing around here, watching the sun make those little patterns on the bottom.

"Do you know you're in the SLOW lane?" she asked, in the tone of voice that seemed to imply that I was in fact very slow indeed.

"Um, yes?"

"Well, you're in the wrong lane. You need to move to the Fast Lane. Or better yet, the Very Fast Lane."

"But, I mean, I haven't been in the pool in years," I argue.

But the Pool Nazi was not swayed. She fixed me with her Pool Nazi Stare.

"You need to move."

"Uh, ok," I mumble.

No Slow lane for you.

So, under her watchful eye, I gathered up my toys and shuffled over to the Fast Lane. No way, no how was I getting in the Very Fast Lane. Shit, I can't remember the last time I felt Very Fast in a pool. I can't even remember Sorta Fast, Maybe a Little Fast, or Not Quite Fast. I'm long retired from Fast.

Fast means pace clocks and qualifying times and more intervals than any human being should ever endure. Fast means stroke drills that make you sink, turn practice that makes you dizzy, breathing exercises that make the world go dim around the edges. Fast means chasing the black line hour after hour, doomed never to catch it. Fast means layering on three ugly swimsuits faded and torn. Fast means really bad hair.

I'm not looking for fast. I just want to splash around in the water, get a little exercise, and maybe work on my tan.

In the end, just as I suspected, the Pool Nazi was wrong. I definitely wasn't Very Fast.

How do I know?

My bikini stayed on.


Much More Better

I found it. The creak, I mean. Stupid pedal washers.

Now, my bikey is all quiet, which means I have no excuse but to sally forth and train much. Uhhh....

Speaking of finding things, I found a new road today. I mean, I didn't really find it. It's been there all along, I just never got around to paying it a visit. It went under some trees up to an empty grassy flowery field with a perfect view all the way to the islands. Then, a twisty little quicky descent to finish things off right. Fun times. File under, new favorite.

And yes, I have a bunch of these flower pics, so I'm going to bore you with them repeatedly. The words just look so lonely without a little piccy to keep them company.

Someday, I might write about bikey racing. But I'd have to go to one first. See above about the training part. I hear riding around off the back of a mountain bike race is pretty fun. But, um, I think I'd rather show up at least a leetle mo' fitter. I know, I know, no sense of adventure.



So I'm trying to find my fitness. It's around here somewhere. Has anyone seen it?

It's always cracks my morale a little to have that not-so-fit feeling. Since having the flu that kept on giving, I've been talking myself into riding my way back toward something resembling form. I mean, we're not talking world beating here or anything, just enough to ride an actual race all the way to the actual finish line. And maybe before sometime next year.

This is always a tricky business, since the less fit I am, the less I want to ride. So I play little games. I pick a few of my favorite roads and string them together. If I ride an hour in that direction, I can go down a fun descent. If I turn up this road and do a little climby climb, I can see a nice view. Come here little girl, I'll give you some candy. Today, I rode along the coast and looked at the water. Tomorrow, I'll climb up somewhere and look at the view. All these little games. No numbers, no graphs, just bikey rides around the 'hood.

Fortunately, spring has decided to show up for a few days. (It's supposed to rain this weekend, so enjoy it while it lasts.) Riding the bikey in the sun is such a joyous thing. The sun is all sunshiney, the hills are green and grassy, and the flowers all flowery and polleny.

Jen's tip of the day: Do not attempt to sneeze and corner simultaneously. It may cause disequilibrium.
(Is this a word? It is now.)

Now, if I could just find and silence the nasty creak my bike seems to have acquired recently, it will all be so perfect.

I do not like a creaky bike
A creaky bike, I do not like

I do not like it in the light
I do not like it in my sight
My creaky bike, it is a blight
Oh, tool of Park please make it right

Dr. Suess, I'm surely not
For now my brain is in a knot
With these rhymes I fought and fought
Perhaps I should erase the lot

I do not like a creaky bike
A creaky bike, I do not like


Lag Time

Who were the dumbasses who put ugly paper stuff all over my pier pilings? I'm just trying to get all artsy here, and you had to go and ruin the entire effect. I like the light and shadow. We're just all going to pretend that instead of the piling condoms, we see old, nurled, splintery wood, smelling faintly of tar and sea spray.

Got it? Good.

Now that we have that out of the way, I feel certain you all thought I'd forgotten all about you. Fear not, gentle reader, I have not forgotten, simply lagged. Why is it that the reader is always gentle, anyway? Wishful thinking, no doubt. I even had content to post. You missed out on my Presidents' day celebration, a lovely day at the beach.

But I have an excuse. Surely, you will understand once I explain. See, I'm getting over the flu like pretty much everyone else on the planet. This is some fun times right here. Would you care for some snot with your snot?

And let's talk about fevers for a minute. I am as lazy as the next person, but really, two full days staring at the wall is a little excessive, don't you think? Couldn't we streamline this process, somehow, get it all done more quicklike? I have things to do, you know.

Like bike racing, for example. I was really thinking March. March sounded really really good. I always dream that I'm going to race in February. But really, who am I fooling? It's freakin' cold out in February. Who wants to do climbing repeats in February? 1-2-3... Not it! And all those clothes. How the fuck am I supposed to feel fast in ten layers of clothing? Adding weight, right there. Besides, February is a long way from June. And I really like to race in June. Sun. I think I remember what that looks like.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here in the endless coughing stage. I'll see you all on the road. Sometime next year.

Fortunately, fate smiled upon me and I could play interwebs all week. Yay for the Tour of Cali! So kind of all those bike racers to show up and entertain me while I was lying on the couch. There are several blog posts worth of material right there. But really, I've posted more than my share around the interwebs. During the season, I tend to hang with the kids at the Cafe. Pretty much all my pro bikey racing chatter goes there, rather than here. Uh, I dunno, I guess because I was there before I was here? Something like that, at least. Fun race to watch for sure, though I was hoping for a new winner. Variety, spice of life, and stuff. Most excellent to see two Slippies on the final podium. Could they have ridden a better race? They could have won, you say. The gentle reader grows demanding. I say, Vandevelde looked happier than the winner, and I thought they were going to spray paint the walls when they won the teams competition. Did you see the shot of Millar's face inside the last K of the time trial? He wanted that one real badlike. I can't wait to see what happens next with those kids.

I did manage to miss the grand finale yesterday, though. I was sitting on the couch, well, really, I think I'm permanently attached to my couch. So until further notice, you can assume I'm sitting on my couch. Maybe I should post a picture.

But anyhow.

I was sitting on my couch watching the race do its thing over the big hills in the hard rain. I was also rather idly flipping over to the bouy readings, which were going up remarkably quickly. The break hit the closing circuits with 2.30 in hand, rain coming down in the sheets in Pasadena. All the ingredients for an epic showdown.

Right about then, the bouys inside the Santa Barbara Channel read 20 feet with 19 second periods. Uh, this bike race looks great, but I gotta go.

It looked like Hawaii. Except the part about the water being the wrong color. Hawaii water is all blue and light and happy. Central Cali water is dark, grey. Very serious water. A banker in a tailored suit sipping a vodka martini at lunch water. Not a little paper parasol to be seen.

It was fucking HUGE.

Big Wednesday? Not-so-big. Access to the sandbar was closed as was the pier, so I didn't score much with the cam cam. We watched from the beach by the pier as a few guys got crazy.

Then we drove down the coast a little, sat on the wall, and watched the huge sets roll in one after another until the sun set.



Bikes. Waves. Sunshine.

Too much fun.

In the immortal words of the Dead Kennedys, too fried to type.

As usual, the picture above has nothing to do with this post. So sue me.
It also needs re-cropping. Cuz it's just a wee bit off-camber. Oopsy.


Short and Lazy

The Coastal Commission voted 6-2 against the toll road thingy last night. A report by a CC expert concluded that the road, if built, would do "irreparable" damage to the surf at Trestles. Some of the pro-road peeps claimed that this was just localism, that the Trestles clique just wanted to keep the inlanders out. Localism? At Trestles? Oh, puleeze. We're not talking secret spot here, kids. B'sides with all that internet prediction out there, just about anyone with a car and an internet thingy can find some surf. What's the point of getting there faster on the toll road, if there's nothing left to surf, hmm? Next up, the appeal. More words and some pics of the craziness over at surfline. (As a side note, I wish one of the cycling sites would take lessons from these guys. Pictures are good.)

I had a lovely long bike ride in the sun today. So lovely, that I am far too stupid to write anything more.

While you're waiting for me to come up with something, have a look at these lovely images:


Save Trestles!

The Coastal Commission meets next week to decide the fate of San Onofre State Park and the Trestles point break. Some developer people have submitted a plan to build a toll road, passing behind San Clemente and directly through San Onofre State Park, the fifth most visited State Park in Cali. If approved, the highway would cut off 60 percent of Park. Clicky the pic at left to see the before and after shots of the project posted by the good people at Surfline. The "after" images were created as part of the official proposal, and are designed to be as accurate as possible.

So nice to take a walk in the woods. Along side a freeway.

What's a freeway got to do with a surf break? Trestles is a point, created and nourished by San Mateo Creek, a creek that the new chunk of concrete would largely cover. A point break needs its river to survive. Orphaned from the creek, the point stops working, because the silty rocky bits that keep the waves breaking all the way down the point are no longer replenished by the flow of the creek.

Build the highway, lose the break. Simple.

Governor Arnie has signalled his support for the project, but the Coastal Commission has still to approve it. The company building the freeway likely bought Arnie's support with their offer of a one-time $100 million offset payment, intended to compensate for the lost State Park lands. Surfrider is rocking it hard to convince the Commissioner guys that this is the wrong freeway in the wrong place. See what they have to say to the notion of selling off the State Park in this recent interview.

Surfrider has also posted an online petition thingy.

Me? I think SoCali already has far too many freeways. Far, far too many.



A Long Story for a Rainy Day

It's definitely not sunny out anymore, so I suppose I'd better be updatin'.

Happiness is a clean bike on a rainy day on the trainer? Not quite doing it for me, I have to say. I think I need a few more surf videos.

While, I'm waiting for my pod to charge, how 'bout a story from the way back machine? I was chatting with a good friend over email yesterday, and we got to reminiscing about the time we drove across country. A bit of a cliche, the best friends drive across country story. I think someone once wrote a book about it, but I might be mistaken.

I'd been living in Washington DC at the time, doing graduate work at Georgetown University. She drove out with a soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. Tall and skinny, he looked like he'd just walked out of one of those early '90s films set in Seattle, complete with flannel shirt and ripped jeans. He even played drums in a local band. He had the nickname, green bean. But he isn't altogether relevent to our story, since he flew home almost as soon as he appeared. Exit stage left.

After closing out a bar in the District, which for those of you who know anything about DC is quite a feat, because there's no last call, we piled into her Nissan. I'm forgetting exactly what sort of Nissan it was, but she'd had it since high school. It was tiny, and made tinier still once we stuffed all my odds and ends in the back and our tall, gangly selves in the front.

We passed over the mountains into West Virginia, surrounded by the deep green of early summer in the south, and headed toward our first stop in Dayton, Ohio. We had a friend in Dayton, where we planned to stay the night. Alissa had met him in a chat room on AOL. He inhabited a very white, very plain condo in a tidy, carefully mowed lawns sort of suburb of Dayton. We pried into his cd collection. So not punk rock. We went out for drinks in old town Dayton. We didn't close the bar.

Fuled by the bottomless coffee cups of a Waffle House - do they have Waffle House in Ohio? Maybe it was a Denny's - we hit the road toward Chicago. Our goal? The Art Institute of Chicago. A parking meter offered the only space to leave the car. We stuffed the meter as full as it would allow, and headed off to the museum. Time flies when looking at fabulous paintings, and in a panic, we ran through the museum to make it back to the car, imagining ourselves stranded in Chicago with our car in some impound lot. A blur of Kandinsky canvases flew by, the colors streaming together in a way not even Kandinsky could have imagined. Our meter had expired, but apparently it was our lucky day. Not only had the museum admitted us for free, but the parking police had ignored us.

The traffic did not smile upon us, and we sat for hours on a gridlocked highway leading out of the city. We found a bed outside Iowa City late that night, and ate a country breakfast with the local farmers, like a pair of politicians canvassing for votes. Another bottomless cup of coffee - we were still far from the land of espresso - and we set out for Nebraska.

On the highway across Nebraska, our story slowed to a crawl. Crossing Nebraska longways requires commitment. Unlike the gridlock of Chicago, the cow pastures of Nebraska had no radio stations. Eventually we even strayed beyond the reach of NPR, whose consideration of all things wacky and random had kept us entertained when the cows could not. Road stops stood few and far between and we finally braved a truck stop cafe just off the highway. Picture a movie set diner, and you'll know the place. I opted for the always safe, grilled cheese. I forget what exactly Alissa ordered, but it came with this white, glazelike gravy that looked like the product of some alien life form. Alien spoo, over easy.

At last putting Nebraska behind us, we reached a rainy Cheyenne late that evening.

Hmm, nice thunderstorm out there. Internet connection dies, in 3-2...?

Back to Cheyenne. We slept in a motel with pseudo-rustic wood panelling. Like so totally western. At least it was cheap. Determined to make Utah by the end of the next day, we didn't devote much time to Cheyenne. Somewhere along the 80 in Wyoming, the emergency broadcast system started squawking. Naturally, we changed the station. Like, as if we wanted to hear the standard, this is only a test message. Meanwhile, the sky turned black and chunks of asteroidsized hail pelted the car. A rest stop appeared through the murk. We pulled off, and joined a parking lot full of truckers and assorted extras staring at the horizon, watching a not-too distant tornado. I guess sometimes those emergency broadcasts have something useful to say. A trucker helpfully informed us that getting struck by lightening is a bad idea, and driving through a tornado even worse. Thanks, we were a little unclear on that, because like, we've never seen Wizard of Oz or anything.

The tornado headed off on its merry way, and we hit the road to Utah, arriving early that evening. We saw many mountains with much snow. We stopped in Park City and got drunk on 3/2 beer at 7000 feet. Good thing about that altittude. We paused for a few days to sip espressos on Main Street. We slept in a half-dilapidated Victorian, on its way to restoration. But nothing much funny happened. It's hard to be funny on 3/2 beer.

I've done the drive from Utah to San Diego a few times. It's like Nebraska without the cows. At least we had air conditioning, unlike the time I drove it in my veedub one summer. That trip, I wore a bikini, because it was hot and stuff. We stopped at the Barstow McDonalds in the train car and drank milk shakes, because that's what one does in Barstow. We descended Tejon at sunset, the valley already in shadow, a thousand points of light just blinking on. We reached San Diego late that night, never really wanting to see the inside of the Nissan again.

Holy Crap, this is some kind of rain.
And this post definitely needs a picture. Far, far too many words for no pictures. Back later...


Happiness Is...

...A clean bike and a sunny day!



I like a rainy day at the beach. I have no idea who this dude is, but he made me a nice swirly design.

The rest of this post has nothing to do with the picture. Just one of those things.

Saturday, I went out for a little bikey riding. John was out surfing a rockin' west swell that the stork brought in from the Pacific. I'm pedalling along enjoying the sunshiny day, when I see some guy riding along ahead of me. He's going kinda slowlike, so soon enough I roll on up and pass him. I said hi and gave him the requisite roady wave, because I didn't want him to dash home to his computer and get all ranty on some forum or another about how roadies are a bunch of stuck-up assholes who never wave. (True topic, actually seen in forumland.) B'sides, he's in my 'hood, and I wouldn't want to give the wrong impression. The natives are quite friendly here. Really.

So I said hi, and continued on my merry way. Since there's some flowery things blooming (they're obviously confused, like, um, newsflash, it's January), I had some extra snot that needed removing. Duly removed. Oopsy, looks like slow guy sped up and jumped on my wheel. Who knew he was back there? I didn't. So now, he's going to go home and tell all his friends virtual or otherwise about how this mean bitch blew snot on him.

He said he was from the East Coast or some sort of cold place like that. And I'm thinking, you spent all this cash to come out here to ride, and you're going to spend it staring at my ass? Not like you're going to get fit sucking my wheel all day, you know.

And he wanted to chat. With my ass. If he'd actually wanted to talk to me, maybe, just maybe he'd have moved on up next to me and we could have had a chat. Not that I really wanted to or anything, but really, it's odd having someone sitting back there babbling on and on about nothing I can really understand since I can only hear about one word out of ten over the wind.

After a while, I decided I really didn't want to listen to him back there any more. And more importantly, I had some more snot to dispose of. Usually I just head for the hills under such circumstances. Or turn off somewhere completely random. But there weren't any random spots for turning and I wasn't near any hills for heading. So I turned the screws until he blew.

I guess I'm a mean bitch after all.

At least I waved.




This blog is under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations.
Apparently, the good people at Google think that us Bellas are a bunch of good for nothing spammers. We're innocent, I tell ya. I mean, I haven't written about Viagra once on the Race Blog. Promise. Silly Google People. FREE THE BABBLE!

Orographically Enhanced. Weather report or porn star? You decide.

I had this idea that I was going to lift more this winter. Usually, I crack and give it up. Really, I'm no fan of the gym place, and counting to 15 over and over is not exactly my idea of a good time. But the weather decided to help me out. It's fucking pouring. That, and I discovered the rolly ball balance thingy. Fun times. I did nearly land on my ass, but since there was no one around to see, it didn't actually happen.

Someone at the Red Lobster corporate mothership decided that the gym was a good place to advertise. Nothing like seeing pictures of fried fish bits being dipped into vats of butter while you're doing crunches. Sea cockroaches, yum.

CNN sent some poor schmuck to stand by the side of the road in Truckee. Yep, it's snowing, yes indeed. Sillier still, there were people sitting in their cars on the Eighty, in the belief that they were actually going to get somewhere. Um, like, hello? Any y'all ever looked at a weather report? Let's go drive over Donner Pass during the biggest storm of the year. Brilliant.

A Janet Jackson video came on. My pod was playing System of a Down. It was confusing.

Then, I rode the trainer. Some surfers shredded it on my laptop. That was good of them to show up and help me out like that. And, better still, I finally found a use for that copy of War and Peace I got for Christmas. Because it's not like I'm going to read the thing.

Apparently, Obama won in Iowa. That's nice. I'm glad the good people of Iowa have something to do with their time during the dark days of winter. All those caucuses and town meetings, diners and high school gymnasiums: it makes a lovely advertisement for participatory democracy. Can you give me a little more sepia? Maybe soften the focus up a smidge? Perfect.

Keep your eye on my finger and listen to the sound of my voice. Spectatory Democracy. (And no, that is not a word. I made it up. Sue me. Actually, on second thought, that would be a really bad idea. The suing part, I mean. How 'bout I promise not to make up any more words instead? Because there's a promise I can keep.) Gather around the glowing box and gaze upon the empty pageantry of presidential politicking. Red, white, and blue bunting. So hot this year.

I hit 50 on Free Rice. I'm not sure this is a good thing.

Yikes, there's a whole lotta water out there right now. Um, I think I'm over it. How about skipping the orographically enhanced part? Un-enhanced is perfectly fine with me.