Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WCCTC Regionals in San Louis Obispo: Bodily War

When going through your mental checklist of how you've prepared for an olympic-distance race and are ready to kick butt, you probably don't want the following items to cross your mind:
1. I haven't run 6 miles in the past 4 months.
2. My hamstring might rip back out of my bum if I try to run fast.
3. My bike seat is way lower than it should be to accommodate the demanding hamstring.

Some of the things you do want to think:
1. I have over 30 teammates racing with me.
2. This course is freaking gorgeous.
3. If you make it out alive, you can chill at Avila or Pismo Beach with sweet teammates.

My brain was divided going into the West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference (what a mouthful) regional championship race, put on by Cal Poly in beautiful San Louis Obispo.

I ditched coachubby to drive up the 101 from LA at the end of spring break to race my first collegiate triathlon. Coachubby drove south to race Oceanside so he could burn 2x the calories that I did then fly up to meet me and proceed to eat the largest frozen yogurt concoction mankind has ever seen.

My hammie decided it no longer wanted to be fully attached to my bum early last November, so I spent November arguing with her, then almost 4 months trying to coax her back into position. Because of lefthammie, I had missed nearly the entire collegiate racing season--my one and only collegiate racing season--and that, I told lefthammie, was totally unacceptable. We were going to run on Saturday whether she liked it or not.

Turns out hammie had quite the masterful battle plan.

About a month earlier, she consulted with a physical therapist who believed lowering Pinkie's (tri bike) saddle would help alleviate what was then diagnosed as sciatic nerve pain. The move angered my quads, a consequence of which I was aware. But I never imagined just how badly the change could demolish them.

Until the race in SLO.

Saturday at Lake Lopez was gorgeous. And so were all of the fit undergrads crowding the transition area.

The swim went off in one giant counterclockwise circle that led us out of the mountain shadows and into the sun (yes!) then straight back toward the sun, into the shadows (no!). A quick run up sand and steps led to T1.

The rubber band holding a shoe up on my bike broke before I started riding. I jumped on Pinky only to come to a dead stop in front of tons of cheering trifans. One shoe whacked the ground because my foot wasn't on or in it. D'oh. So much for the shoe-on-the-bike start being faster.

A quick hill revealed the first crash of the day--and it looked bad. Very bad. The short, steep downhill knocked off a male racer whom EMTs were already tending to.

The rest of the bike was brutally beautiful: gorgeous scenery of the lake, and green hills. A nasty headwind. And lots of...hills. And a wooden bridge that claimed my bike bag as one of its victims for the day. Doubtless it caused a flat or two. At least my extra tube and co2 and tire levers were out there to help if it did.

Coming back up that nasty hill to drop into T2, my quads seized up. Total crampage. Racing hard on a seat that low destroyed my quads. I busted out of T2 to run about 100 yards before I couldn't move. I stopped to stretch, then ran the rest of the race with the most ridiculous amount of inner quad pain I have ever experienced. Quads seized up at even the sight of an up or downhill slope.

And the race ended with a nice little hill.

But I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

Evil quad crampage took my mind off of evil lefthammie, who, until that day, had not let me run 6 miles, or run any faster than a 10 minute mile for more than 30 seconds at a time.

And being on a college team--having dinner the night before, sharing a hotel room, having 30+ other people out there doing the race with me--that was super cool.

And so it's (hopefully) off to Texas in 3 weeks to finally see what collegiate nationals is all about. And to (definitely) get my bum kicked by wicked fast students.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stanford Degree + RAAM + Outside = Best Year Ever

Two phone conversations:

Wed, the 10th.
RAAM Media Guy: Erin?
Me: Woah, I just picked up my phone to turn it off of silent and realized I was getting a call.
RMG: Um, ok.
Me: Sorry. Hi!
RMG: Hi, this is the RAAM Media Guy.
Me: It's great to hear from you!
RMG: So I want to get an idea of what kind of equipment you have.
Me: I have a Canon mini-DV camera that I got for my 16th birthday. It's cool.
RMG: Um, ok.
Me: And I have a sweet Canon DSLR.
RMG: Ok, so let me go over this. I think you would make a great writer for our team.
Me: Ok!

Moral of the story: Old camcorders do not impress real videographers. And I'm going to be covering RAAM as a writer in June. Woo hoo! (Unfortunately, I will have to miss my graduation to do so. Uber bummer.)

Conversation #2:
Today, 3:15 pm
I dial Outside Magazine for the 9th time in one day, trying to return a call before I go into a 3-hour class. Finally, someone answers. I have already left 2 messages on Outside Guy's machine, and surely his modern phone told him I'd called the other 7 times. I should probably be more embarrassed about that than I am.
Me: Outside Guy! It's Erin!
OG: Hi!
Me: So I thought I'd try to catch you before going to class.
OG: So, are you still interested in the internship?
Me: Hell yes.
OG: We'd like to have you.
Me: AHHHHHHHHH! WOO HOO!!!!!! You just made my month. I have to go to class now. Bye.
OG: Bye.

And so, after becoming a sleep-deprived non-racing RAAM participant, I will move to Santa Fe for 6 months--hopefully the warm, pretty months--to do whatever it is Outside interns do. And sleep outside. Because that is the only place I can afford. My dad and coachubby are super thrilled that I will be an intern...again...5 years after I finished being an undergrad.

Woo hoo!!!!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chris O’Riordan’s Triple Play

College baseball. Minor leagues. Then what?

Click here to read the latest sports story from yours truly.

And a video, too!

Dang it's Dangerous to be a Wife

So I'm going through crime stats on the FBI's website for a story, and I come upon this little graph:

In 2008, ladies were the biggest losers.

When it comes to being offed by someone you know, it appears wives and girlfriends are in the greatest peril.

So to all of the husbands and boyfriends out there with uxoricidal and girlfriendicidal tendencies, here's some advice: Don't do it.

Let's make 2010 the year women are our friends.

Ladyfriends in 2010!

Monday, March 1, 2010

RIP Baked in Telluride

Telluride is my happy place.

So says a sticker I bought there last year. And it's true. There's something about Telluride that makes me supremely happy.

But what?

I thought about it for a while, and came up with this: Telluride doesn't change.
OK, let me restate that: many things about Telluride haven't changed over my lifetime. And there's a certain sense of peace that comes with returning to a place where my childhood memories were formed--and it's always just how I remembered it.

Baked in Telluride, the quintessential hippie bakery with delicious everything, was an important part of the Telluride time capsule. It had been there my entire life and then some.

When I was probably 6 years old, Baked in Telluride gave me my first taste of freedom. My parents would give me a buck to buy a few bagels in the morning--all alone. It was a huge responsibility. I got to run to the store by myself, pick the flavors, and pay.

I always slipped on the carpeted incline into the store--every year of my life--but never thought that the entrance should be changed. Sure, it took some technical skill to enter, but once I was in, I'd be greeted with cases of beautiful baked goods, like ginormous macaroons. And pizza. It always smelled like pizza. Delicious.

So imagine my grief when madre called to announce that Baked in Telluride burned to the ground on Feb. 10.
(Image from the Durango Herald.)

This is what's left:

(Photo from Telluride Daily Photo.)

Conspiracy theories already abound in the tiny box canyon town. According to madre and padre, self-proclaimed professional sleuths, one such theory is:
The owner of the grocery store next door owned the BIT building. He's wanted to expand his store to compete with the store in Lulu City for some time, and now he can collect the insurance money to help expand into the lot that was once Baked in Telluride.

Nice theory. But I'm rooting for BIT to come back. Big time.
The Telluride Daily Planet reports that the fire was sparked by BIT's giant oven. The last line of the article says owner Jerry Greene "hopes to build a new bakery in the space as soon as possible."

You can do it, Jerry!

In other news, apparently the rice crispies and other baked goods on the ski mountain are not nearly as homemadeishly delicious as they were before BIT burned. Which leads madre and padre to believe BIT supplied the mountain with the delicious baked goods that fueled my multiple Gold Hill escapades.

All of Telluride suffers.

Bring BIT back soon!