Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Well, my whiplash is mostly gone now. My shoulder is still sore but has full movement now. My shin and calf bruises are still swollen, but turning to a purply-yellow mix. I should be ready to play this afternoon at practice! The last one. :(
I can't believe cx is almost over...

...but Matt's blog cheers me up!

Tales of a Middle School Teacher

So today I decided it was time to show my fifth grade music classes a Charlie Brown cartoon about the history of American music. I love Charlie Brown, so it sure makes my day go easier! Kids astound me, though. I have to share a comment one student made this morning.

The video eventually tells the story of how so many immigrants came to America in the early 1900s. Irving Berlin, a Russian immigrant and musician, wrote such famous songs as "God Bless America" (yes, we have him to thank) and "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

One of my students who is usually quiet and happens to be a very patient and polite boy practically jumped out of his seat and shouted out angrily, "I just have to say one thing! I hate immigrants! Especially Mexican ones!"

Yikes. Okay, so after my stomach dropped, I tried to recognize this as a "teachable moment."
After catching my breath, I reasoned with him and the class that everyone here except the Native Americans came from somewhere else originally, right? So, his own ancestors were even immigrants, etc... We are a land of immigrants from around the world and their descendants.

Where does a nice little boy like this HEAR THESE THINGS?? It frightens me. I just hope I could make an impression on him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Num num num num num num!

Aah... the warm scent of a pumpkin pie in the oven! I'm in cooking mode!! Pie and raisin-walnut bars tonight! In the immortal words of my hero Cookie Monster, "Num num num num num num num!!"

Still waiting for my new (well new to me, bought used) Voodoo cx frame to arrive... I may need help building it! Who near me has a headset press and a tool to install a bottom bracket? I'll trade food for help!! =D

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fridge Poetry

(forgive the blurriness and poor exposure)
homage to Greg's fridge

Gearworks Race

More extremes in racing... from last weekend's 85-degree dry scorcher to yesterday's surf through several inches of snow... crazy stuff.

Kudos to Tom for putting together such a cool course!

I arrived at the race early after being chastised for not arriving early enough at races. It was pretty cold. I can't believe how much the course conditions changed over the course of 4 hours. When I rode it before 10, it rocked. Before 11, it still rocked. I was having so much fun feeling like a little kid again out on my Huffy in the winter snow. It began snowing, adding some fresh stuff to the mix. Then when I rode the course around 1, I got worried. It was packed down in spots and and SLIPPERY beyond my expectations. I ran a front Grifo and a rear Tufo LPS with such low pressure you could push down on the tire and hit the rim. Nothing saved me. After an uninspired start, I crashed several times and just couldn't make back the time. I couldn't ride hard enough on the course to even feel like I was working, but any harder and I bit it in the corners.

I had a couple of really dramatic moments, like at the left corner around the fence before hitting the pavement. It had become as slick as sheer ice, and I went down so hard for a brief instant I thought I rebroke my collarbone. My neck hurts badly today from the hard jolt, and I have a WIKKID deep muscle bruise and broken skin at the base of my right calf that rendered me unable to walk without limping after the race. I also have a huge bruise swelled up on the base of my right shin. I'm sure everyone got some lumps yesterday.

Oh, yeah, I need to mention the other dramatic moment. Actually, I found it pretty embarrassing! This was the complete race-killer for me. The little hill after the barriers... I rode it consistently without difficulty on every warm-up lap and the first few race laps. Then, in the second to last lap, while riding up it, my bike slid out from under me. And then I slid... down down the hill. Felt like slow motion. Kicking for a foothold was useless. I found none on the slick hill. I then tried to right myself and push my bike up it, but my feet kept slipping... so, you get the idea. I can't belive how much time I lost there. And of course, it was the spot where most of the crowd gathered watching. And I believe Fries had just been exclaiming some "Ringism" on the mic about what a smooth rider I am...

Thanks, Greg, for all your help. And thanks for cheering me on as always, Dad, even in the snowy cold. Sorry your slick little roadster got stuck in the parking lot. Your nuts to be driving that thing in the snow, anyways! I guess if I had one of those spiffy lil' James Bond-like mobiles I'd be driving it all the time, too.


I just want to show off my latest KNITTING project!!!
I made this neato little backpack. (I know, I know. Don't quit racing, the modeling career isn't looking so good...)

I'm wearing other various fun easy stuff:

So all of you with Christmas lists for me, you'll have to wait.
My next project is a hat for Diane F, who just underwent surgery for a brain tumor.
She's in my thoughts, and I'm hoping for the best for her and her family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What was that????

So, here I am...
in sunny HOT California. Yeah, thought I'd visit CA to race in a November heat wave. Today was the worst day I've ever had on a cross bike. (And yeah, I guess it was still better than my day job...) I should have dropped out. I went backwards after my miserable start. I was going to be DEAD last, but then, sadly, I saw Steph up ahead, running to the pit with a mechanical. I offered her my bike, but her mom was up ahead in the pit with her other bike. My back ached, I was probably dehydrated, I had NO POWER, just couldn't pedal, felt like I was breathing through a dirt-filled straw, and even cried during the race. It's not pretty when you get passed by all the local riders and then fear getting lapped. It was like an out-of-body experience. The whole day. I was so out-of-sorts. I was totally NOT "in it." I was as "out of it" as you can get. Pinch me!! Where am I??

Monday, November 14, 2005

Still Can't Get It All Together

This weekend's courses rocked, and the weather was awesome.

So I'm still not able to put it all together yet and come away with a top 5 at a N.E. Verge race. I really want to be consistently placing a couple of spots higher. Although I'm making improvements every weekend and learning and getting smoother, I still have yet to put it all together successfully.

Saturday I bombed the start. The twisty section of the road and the descent into the left-hand 180 into the dirt... it just wasn't my day. With my luck, my own teammate endo'ed right in front of me on that turn, and I had to come to a complete stop and unclip to get around her. (It was a helluva endo, too!!! Full-on over the bars and laying out on the dirt!) Well, I managed to fight my way back for 8th place, but that wasn't exactly the result I was hoping for. I rode the dirt "run-up" by the tennis courts and damn I love that sand pit!!! Straight and fast. I was kinda bummed I didn't finish better.

Sunday was also wikkid lots of fun. My boy did his FIRST cross race, still healing collarbone and all! He finished 12th! Here he is showin some style.

On my end of things...
I ended up 7th. 5th was SO in my sights.

Let's see...
Things I screwed up:
Although I could ride it reliably during warm-up, I decided to run the sand every lap in the race. That was fine, and probably faster than riding it, but the problem was coming out of the sand pit I was always overgeared because I had been hauling on the straightaway coming into it. {dope slap}
The slippery turn in the woods at the start. After getting a good jump up the road, I took the turn too wide and lost time. {dope slap}
After the steep, muddy run-up with slippery footing, I always had trouble clipping back in, and although I tried riding unclipped for awhile, I wanted to be clipped in for the upcoming rooty turns, and I inevitably lost time. {dope slap}
I went too damn slow through the rooty turns then around the gazebo and so I went into the drop-off descent too slow and lost time. {dope slap}
I didn't recover properly after Saturday's race. {dope slap}
When I was in the group of 4 riders, I rode in last spot, allowing little gaps to open and using my matches to close those gaps. {dope slap}
I was too careful [code for f'in SLOW] in the first gravely turns around the pine trees after the start. {dope slap}

Things I did right:
Good jump at the start.
Smooth dismounts into the run-ups.
Good running in the sand pit.
Good barriers/remounts.
Good power on flats.

I'm getting a bit anxious now, cuz I've only got a few weekends left to try and put it all together for this season....
I guess all this is practice for next year anyways.

Well, I am relaxing tonight, and I just got sushi delivered! Oh yummy yummy in my tummy!!!

I'm actually making the trip to California this weekend, and I'm all pumped for it. It will be crazy hard to get a top 10 result (money and UCI points only go 10 deep) but I hope to be up for the challenge. I'll have a great starting position cuz the UCI recalculated points, and I'm still doing pretty well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


What a weekend. This weekend's weather was hot and sunny down in Harrisburg, PA, drawing an amazing contrast to the wintry weather in Gloucester last weekend.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share, as I forgot to put the memory card back in my camera for the weekend, but there are great shots of the races on

Saturday's race under sunny 75-degree skies felt a little too warm for cyclocross. I wasn't particularly fond of the gravel start (not fine gravel, but little rocks) but managed to get a good jump up the road and onto the grass in 5th place. I slipped back from there. Christine V. went down in front of me in the first lap, allowing me to make a few seconds on her. We ended up trying to work together to catch the lead group until she dropped out for some reason. I was left alone, feeling really flat. I had no spunk in my legs, and my HR was pegged much higher than normal. I think I made a big mistake in eating a double caffinated GU 10 minutes before such a hot race. I definitely won't do that again. I slipped back one more spot and finished 6th. I am having trouble mentally pushing though when I feel like I'm cracking. I just say in my head, "Damn! It feels like I'm popping!" and perhaps it's even a self-fulfilling prophecy. I begin to drag and lose lots of time. I have to learn how to push through it - my HR graphs look like I don't actually crack. There's usually no distinct decline in HR. I guess it's in my head.

Sunday I wanted to be mentally stronger. The course was flat and there were few technical sections, only a muddy section and one run-up. I knew getting to the top of the first hill first would be so important. I have gotten sick of blowing starts and resolved to change that. So I actually got he hole shot on this one. Someone told me after the race that I even had a little gap on the field at the top of the first hill. After that came the barriers. I was still out front. We snaked around a baseball diamond, and I decided to let someone pass me. It ended up being two people, though, Barb and C.V. I stayed in the front group of 5 - we had a gap on the rest - staying out of the wind. Then I made my biggest mistake of the race. I guess I had a little adrenaline going, rendering my brain defunct. They slowed up a little, and I got worried that we would get caught. I wanted to keep the pressure on... I attacked on the back straightaway by the water... in the wind. Dumb move. Duh! Everyone sat on my wheel in the strong wind, and then on the muddy run-up section, put the hurt on me and opened up a small gap. This couple second gap grew since I went out so hard. Their wheels slipped away as they were drafting together on the long windy flat sections. Well, live and learn. I know that I can ride with these girls, it's just that I haven't put it all together yet. I'm happy with 5th place, but definitely not satisfied. I'll just keep learning every race and try not to repeat make the same mistakes.

Other than that, I rode cleanly and smooth. I had a really smooth dismounts in the run-up section when I was able to grab the downtube, thrust the bike onto my shoulder, and step forward in one swoop. Unfortunately, for some reason, my running was really slow. I'm getting there... improvements every weekend. I don't feel so run-down and exhausted as I did the past 2 or 3 weeks, either. I'm ready to go!! More more! More cyclocross!! =D

Oh! The perspective part...

I finished 29th at the Highland Pk race last year... TEN AND A HALF MINUTES BACK and almost DFL!!! I could beat myself up about making some dumb mistakes on Sunday, but when I compare my performance to last year, I have to be happy.
Happy, but not satisfied...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Aches and Pains

Hmm... maybe I shouldn't have run so hard Tuesday...
I was really feeling it during last night's cross practice...
But the worst part yesterday was that I hurt myself IN THE SHOWER.
How you ask?? I have no idea. Really.
Just went to stretch my left quad muscle while standing, and something snapped in my back. Ouch. I am really sore. Musta pulled/strained something. (I'm too young for this!!)
At least I have luck on my side - I had a massage already scheduled for this afternoon!

Oh!! And my new wheels came in! New Ksyriums with Tufo tires... thought I'd try a different tire than the Grifo Challenge I usually use (and like). Just want to compare them to something, and I know the Tufos are popular. Can't wait to race them down in PA/NJ this weekend.

And good news, Rock Star's making a comeback...
He's got a job now, he's healing, and his pad is getting cleaned up. Yay!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005