Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Xterra World Championships--The Arrival

Xterra Worlds

I don’t know what I expected when I boarded the plane to Maui with my coachancé on Friday to get to the Xterra World Championships. To be honest, I really wasn’t thinking much about the race—my thoughts were more on the “I want to go snorkeling!”, vacationey side of things. I was just getting over the worst saddle sore in the history of female kind, and the fever and sickness that came with the toxic antibiotic I had to down for a week. If anything, I was praying my crotch was up for the bike ride and didn’t give the rest of me much thought.

We left LA at a very reasonable 9am and touched down in Maui around 11am. I love getting time back. The warm breeze that swept through the open airport made me instantly happy (I love hot weather!) as did the lei the Pleasant Holidays people gave us on our way to baggage claim. I only checked my liquid stuff (sunscreen…chamois butt’r) and kept my helmet and all other tri-related stuff with me on the plane. I could make due wearing the same thing for 4 days, but could not race without my lucky flower to mark my transition area or mountain bike shoes.

Coachancé upgraded the car to a minivan so we could shove the bikes we were going to rent in the back without much effort. Turns out everyone else rented a minivan, too. I’ve never seen so many Dodge minivans in my life as there were driving around Maui.

First, we picked up coachancé’s rental bike. A full-suspension Kona something. I laughed at the granny seat they put on it. “Last full-suspension on the island, I’ll bet!” said the owner. I didn’t tell him we were about to drive to Haiku to get mine.

Renting a bike didn’t bother me one bit, as:

1. It cost just as much to fly with a bike and

2. I don’t own a mountain bike anyway! I’d have been borrowing somebody’s foreign-to-me bike no matter what.

The bike emerged from the back of the shop: a Gary Fischer. It must’ve weighed 35 lbs. It had a bald spot on the back tire, and looked like it had never ever been washed. It was a beast. Also adorned with a cushy seat, this bike looked like it had been thrown down the mountain, or seen some gnarly crashes. This bike had seen so much more of the island’s trails than I ever would in one weekend. It would show me how it’s done. The Beast and I clicked.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Mother of All Saddle Sores (Not for the faint of heart!)

After a 2 hour and 30 minute ride in the cold rain Wednesday morning, I felt like a rockstar. I hate being cold and wet, but I did it anyway, and felt pretty cool about it. Nothing will stop me and my training, darn it! I put my soaking clothes out to dry and congratulated myself for my accomplishment—one that anyone in, say, Seattle, would find truly unimpressive—with chocolate cake.

The next morning in spinning, I found sitting on the right side of my crotch felt a little uncomfortable, so I shifted and ignored it. Later on in the day, however, I discovered something truly horrifying: my crotch was swollen on the right side. The mythical creation one of my college comedy troupe costars wrote into a sketch—the vag-ball—truly existed and I was one of the infected! Oh my GOD! Then came the pain. Then came the revelation that I couldn’t ride my bike if I didn’t have someone kill this unwanted growth. Saturday is a big training day, I need my crotch in top form for some good hours on the bike! But no! I will not go to an ER with a doctor who only has general knowledge about all body parts. I want someone who is expressly trained in female parts and specifically female parts that have morphed overnight into hideous golf ball like shapes.

Coachance told me this had, unfortunately, happened to him before (only not in the vag-ball fashion). The remedy? A visit to the ER a, a big needle, a knife, and some antibiotics. OH MY GOODNESS! WHAT!?

I arrived at my female doctor’s office early this morning and told them I had a very personal emergency and needed to see the doctor. After an hour of torture in front of a TV playing Kelly Ripa and then “The View” I was ready to face any and all surgical implements. Good thing, because I had to.

“Get me the biggest needle we have,” I heard my doctor say to someone just outside the door. Hey! I heard that! Oh God.

One giant needle injection of numbing stuff, one nice incision, lots of sanitary towely things and some “blood clotting” ointment later, I was “fixed”. I suppose this is what it’s like when a dog goes in to be neutered. I waddled out of the office to be slammed with the price of ridding myself of the painful and unsightly vag-ball: the Louboutains I wanted to wear to my wedding.

Good thing I thought it was ludicrous to spend so much money on a beautiful pair of red-soled, silver shoes. I certainly didn’t ever think, however, that all that cash would be spent on my crotch instead.

I was about an hour late for work, and of course when I waddled in, people were wondering what happened. How to explain? Um, “bike-related injury”. (Thanks, coachance.)

So learn from my mistake. (Even though I can’t exactly pinpoint what caused this, what is technically called a “labial cyst”.) Change out of your bike shorts RIGHT when you’re done. Keep it dry and clean down there. If you bike to work, bring a change of underwear, and make sure to lube up with Chamois Butt’r or something similar before any and all rides to avoid the chaffing that could lead to your very own, very expensive vag-ball. (And a mandatory few days off of the bike and an antibiotic prescription.)

Happy Saddle-Sore Free Friday!

VagBallRunFound this on the internet. Thought it was pretty funny. Extra points if you can figure out what it's actually for!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Mental State of A Sprint Champion

This race is so short and

So close to my home

I should not have to get up

Very early

I shouldn’t eat

The same amount

As I do when I’m riding

A century

But I like peanut butter

And banana sandwiches

And they’re called a

“Skinny Elvis”

So I eat

And get on my feet

Then roll down to transition

On a dark Sunday morning

My town is bustling

People are everywhere

But this time it’s not

To get drunk

(At least not yet)

No stumbling drunkards

Allowed in transition

I rack my bike

Then go out for a stealth loop

of the course

When I get back

Girls are crowding my rack

Even though I stuck a fake flower

And my wetsuit to hold my space

This not gonna work! I say

So they move their bikes an inch

The other way

Now I’ll have to beat them

To get my space back

Out of transition!

The race director yells

So much for a warm up run

I didn’t want to do it anyway

So I’m not too upset.

My plan: drink a Red Bull

To get my heart rate up without moving

I wander over to the beach

My wave doesn’t leave

For almost an hour after the

First one

Coachancé will be done

Before I get in

So I’ll have a sweet cheer squad

Yeah for me!

I spot a friend

And we chat

I cheer for coachancé as he tears up the water

I watch for my coworker

Whom I trained

Smiles and waves

On his way up the sand

I guess I should get in

So the water’s not a shock

And when the gun goes off

I don’t go bezerk

A 30 second warm up swim

And I’m ready to go

I line up with the other girls

They are sweet

And excited to be there

This is fun, I think to myself

Community events are cool

its fun to see

the town come out

for a tri

Off the gun goes

I’m on my toes

Diving through wave after wave

A few girls are ahead of me

But nobody can handle my

Trusty steed, Pinky

So I’m not to worried at all

Out of transition, I’m first on the bike

I begin to fly

Lots of people on the road

It’s quite overloaded

“Coming up on your left”

becomes the phrase of the day

I took my shoes off while on the bike

And was quite proud of this feat

No more clankety clank through transition

I’m all quiet on my socked feet

I take off on the run

This is so much fun!

I’ve run here several times before

It kind of hurts

But I have hurt worse

And I want to win

So I try

Through the finish line I go

No big fanfare

There were too many waves to know

Who’d be the female winner there

So home I go to shower

Grabbing my flower

Off of my transition

I have a lot of space now

The other girls are nowhere to be seen

I shouldn’t have been so mean!

Oh well, now I’m clean

Coachancé kicked butt

So it’s time to collect his reward

But what’s this I see

The female winner is me!?

Freaking sweet!

I am filled with ecstasy!

There is no reward

For the overall winners

Which is a little sad

But my 10 seconds on the podium

Is quite enough

For a moment of personal glory

No formal coaching

No nutritionists

No fancy bike fits

No heart rate training

Just guts


A positive attitude

A lot of chocolate cake

Magazine reading

And a desire to have fun

And now I’m a triathlon champion!

Woo hoo!

Happy Training!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Xterra USA Nationals Redux


The promise of the beautiful lake Tahoe scenery made the 2 hours in LA traffic, during which my fiancé and I drove all of maybe 15 miles, bearable. The plan was to leave around 2pm on Friday to make it up to Lake Tahoe and get a good night’s sleep before basking in the gorgeous mountain sunshine during an easy pre-ride of the bike course.

Coachancé decided we should take the 395 instead of the 5 in order to exchange the enduring smell of cow and fertilizer for a more scenic route. By the time we got to the scenic route, it was dark.

No matter! We were going to Lake Tahoe, baby! To race at Nationals! Awesome!

Once we turned to take the 50 toward Lake Tahoe, we thought we’d be on the home stretch. Too bad the home stretch decided to become engulfed in a white-out blizzard. WTF! (I believe cussing is allowed only in situations related to when the weather is not sunny and warm. That’s what happens when you grow up in Phoenix. And this was not sunny and warm.) WTF! I’m supposed to swim in a lake—and it’s snowing! OK, I’m hardcore. I can do this. Let’s sleep first.

I truly feel for all of the people who did the Xterra Nevada race. They went to sleep with snow flurries in their heads and woke up with it all over the ground before they had to go break the ice to begin their race.

Coachancé and I bundled up all nice and cozy to preride the course—right when other people were bombing down it. I believe he might have forgotten that the course is like a lollipop, and the part we’d share with Saturday’s racers included us riding straight up for 3 miles, and them bombing down at us. It was quite nice to finally begin down the Flume Trail—probably the coolest mountain biking trail in the world. Just sayin’. Non-technical single track with a mountain’s jagged edge on one side and a cliff overlooking all of Lake Tahoe to the right. Pre-riding allowed me to stop and enjoy the scenery—because you know, you’ll ride the way you look and if you’re going to try to take it all in on race day, a helicopter is going to be removing you from the mountain.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cycling and the Middle Finger

Have you ever been riding only to be honked at for no reason? Then suddenly you feel your fist rise and before you know it your middle finger perks up and you’ve just successfully pulled a move equally a-hole like as the guy who honked in the first place? What is it about raising that finger that just becomes automatic when you’re cycling in a big city? Is it because the action has become so ubiquitous on the road that it has lost all meaning but somehow remains ephemerally satisfying for the finger-flipper? Can I try to cram any more big words into one sentence!?

If I could talk to the drivers that honk because I’m not riding as far to the right as possible, I’d say, “Have you ever been hit by a car door?” to which I’d imagine the typical response would be “No.” to which I’d reply “Then you wouldn’t understand why I won’t ride any further to the right.”

Even though the man in a hurry who feels like my presence in his lane is going to somehow make him late for his very important life (importance emphasized by the white ’89 Camry) ends up right beside me at a stoplight, this conversation never happens. Hence the immediate satisfaction of the finger flip.

But you know what’s an even better solution that I’ve been working on? The ginormous smile. That’s right. This baby will piss off that very important man more than any middle finger. Why? Because mean people don’t know how to deal with smiles…even if they’re not completely genuine. And you’ll feel better, too, because smiling releases serotonin and makes you happy. The finger? Probably makes you feel a little poopy inside.

So smile cyclists! Smile away at all of those evil drivers! (Unless they hurt you. Then finger flip away!)

Happy Cycling!