Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Crashy Christmas Century

What better day than Christmas to ride 100 miles on Pacific Coast Highway? Everyone would be at home, leaving the often creepy road all to me and coachubby and our friend Aaron. I somehow talked them into riding with me.

Little did we know that this Christmas, the battle wouldn't be against cars, but against each other.

Coachubby and I rolled out from our tiny apartment (whose 1920s wiring got so upset the day before when coachubby put oatmeal in the microwave while I blow-dried my hair that it cut the power altogether) at 6:20am to meet up with Aaron at 6:30 by the Hermosa Beach pier.
The only other people awake were the under-10 crowd, who couldn't wait to rip open wrapping paper, and cops. Lots of cops.

To avoid going straight down Pier Avenue as usual, where the cops are most likely to be hiding, I suggested we take 8th street. We didn't want to ride with lights since the sun would be up in 20 minutes anyway, and twilight had already begun.

Coachubby and I turned left onto 8th street. Then, at the next stop sign, with no warning, coachubby turned straight into me and went down. We had been riding for all of 30 seconds.

The next 5 hours of the ride were a battle royale between me and my brain. I didn't sleep the night before because I was congested, but there was no way I was missing my own Christmas Century. I hadn't ridden 100 miles since RAO (Race Across Oregon--in early July) and I would never see such beautiful riding conditions for months to come--50s and perfectly sunny. Add that to the likeliness that very few people would be driving down PCH and I had to make it to Big Rock. (A big rock on PCH just past Point Mugu, exactly 50 miles from Hermosa Beach. See below.)

But my body was pissed. A return to Beefcake spinning on the 24th at Hermosa's 24 Hour Fitness left my legs feeling like jelly, and my sinuses infected. Gyms are gross like that.

It was all I could do to hold on to Aaron's or coachubby's wheel. Yes, I was that guy--I couldn't take a pull if I wanted to, unless the dudes felt like riding 12 mph. But Aaron had a family to get to in Orange County, and my parents were driving to Hermosa from Phoenix and would be at my place in the afternoon. Slow was not an option.

I was elated when we made it back to the strand in Santa Monica. This is where you know you've made it. You're off PCH, you haven't been squished, and most of the ride home is on a designated bike path where the only obstacles are rollerbladers and oblivious powerwalkers--not to be discounted, but still not as scary as 4,000 lbs of rolling metal.

Then it happened.

Coachubby and Aaron stopped at a stop sign in Venice Beach while I was daydreaming in my stuffy head.

I ran smack into coachubby.

It was my first crash ever. (If you don't count when I fell over going uphill.) And a lame one at that. And of course, I had an audience--a young couple on the corner stared in confusion. And yes, I was wearing a Stanford jersey. Way to represent.

I popped my right foot out of the pedal and stepped it down before rolling onto my right side. The Silver Bullet and I were unscathed. The F-Bomb (Coachubby's tri bike) was not. I bent his rear wheel, and his fancy-schmancy aero-positioned brakes wouldn't open up enough so he could ride home without major rubbage. But he still pulled me back to Hermosa. What a perfect husband!

We made it back in 5 hours and 45 minutes. Not too shabby. Aaron made it back without getting run into by coachubby or me. And I made it back just in time to eat all of the appetizers I had set out for my parents' arrival. D'oh!

But there were consequences to be paid for riding sick--even it it was Christmas. Even if it was the most beautiful day ever. Even if I had a fabulous little squad to ride with.

Come time for Christmas dinner, I felt like my brain was trying to pop my eyes out of my head. And so, I write this now from the slopes of Heavenly, while the rest of my family--and coachubby's--tears it up.

Of course, I'll be out there tomorrow. No matter what.

Coming up: The Origins of the Phrase "Pain in the Butt"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas! Holiday Speedo Run

Twas the Saturday before Christmas, when all through the mall
Hundreds of people were shopping, and taking phone calls
Gift receipts were printed with care
And that's when people started to stare.

'Cuz out on the Promenade there rose such a clatter
People sprung from J. Crew to see what was the matter
The children hid all snug behind moms
While Speedo-clad runners ran along

30 triathletes so lively and quick
Ran singing carols with bodies so sick
People whistled and shouted and whipped out their iPhones
To send pictures to friends and family at home

The triathletes jumped and they sang with glee
Shaking their booties and posing merrily
Their abs- how they twinkled! Their cheeks-how Merry!
(Maybe because they drank all that Sherry.)

Then away they all flew down Santa Monica Boulevard
To Ye Ol' King's Head Bar where this all start (ed)
But as they ran past, shoppers heard them all shout,
"Merry Christmas to all, now let's pour some more Stout!"

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Peril of Having Bangs

Total Injustice: Tiger Woods and Cops who Kill Christmas

Only in America could a man drive an SUV into a tree while being attacked by a golf-club wielding wife and get fined a measly $14 more than a cyclist who rolled through a stop sign alongside a car on a country road.
Tiger Woods was fined $164 for careless driving. Coachubby and I were charged $150--each--for rolling the stop sign at a T intersection (going from the left of the T top to the right) along with a car. Apparently we cyclists were more of a threat to the public than Tiger Woods was behind the wheel of a massive SUV. (In his case, he got 4 points vs. his driver's license, we got none.)

There are several conclusions we can draw from this:
1. I need to be a celebrity to keep my momentum without paying for it.
2. Cops in Orlando are nicer than cops in Woodside.
3. My Silver Bullet frankenbike is more intimidating than an Escalade.
4. Woodside cops discriminate against pink spandex.
5. Santa decided coachubby and I deserve coal for Xmas and has appeared in the uniform of a Woodside cop to tell us so because his suit was getting dry cleaned.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different- Day Laborers

I've been in school for a few months now, learning how to become a kick-ass journalist. In my (and my 15 classmates) quest to do so, I had to cover a "beat," old school.

What is a beat (n.) when it's not violence (v.) or a vegetable (beet)?

When reporters are assigned a beat, they cover a certain issue or organization over time. That way, they get to know a lot about it and write more in-depth about that thing. (They also get stuck never writing anything too negative about anything on the beat so they don't burn their sources. The beat-o-sphere is small.) Triathlon could be a beat, but not for school. (Darn.)

So, I was on the immigration beat in Mountain View this quarter. I spent a lot of time at the Day Worker Center getting to know people as best I could with a mashup of Fritalian (I learned French and Italian, but not Spanish. Not good for covering CA's immigration.) and English.

On Monday, I spent time with Isaias, one of a million immigrants trying to find work in CA.

Here is his story:

And for extra credit, here's a story on the Day Worker Center's Director, Maria Marroquin.

I haven't just been riding my bike in the Santa Cruz mountains, although I can see how a girl could make a quarter of doing only that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Anatomy of a Triathlete's Dorm Room

A short video because my computer can do that now.
And yes, Blogger chose an embarrassing thumbnail.