Thursday, August 30, 2007

My friend Matt sent this out and I enjoyed the read.
What are you gonna wish you did more of?
Poem: "Meadowbrook Nursing Home" by Alice N. Persons, from Don't Be A
Stranger. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

Meadowbrook Nursing Home

On our last visit, when Lucy was fifteen
And getting creaky herself,
One of the nurses said to me,
"Why don't you take the cat to Mrs. Harris' room
— poor thing lost her leg to diabetes last fall —
she's ninety, and blind, and no one comes to see her."

The door was open. I asked the tiny woman in the bed
if she would like me to bring Lucy in, and she turned her head
toward us. "Oh, yes, I want to touch her."

"I had a cat called Lily — she was so pretty, all white.
She was with me for twenty years, after my husband died too.
She slept with me every night — I loved her very much.
It's hard, in here, since I can't get around."

Lucy was settling in on the bed.
"You won't believe it, but I used to love to dance.
I was a fool for it! I even won contests.
I wish I had danced more.
It's funny, what you miss when gone."
This last was a murmur. She'd fallen asleep.

I lifted the cat
from the bed, tiptoed out, and drove home.
I tried to do some desk work
but couldn't focus.

I went downstairs, pulled the shades,
put on Tina Turner
and cranked it up loud
and I danced.
I danced.

Do the same things apply in women's cycling?

Many of the fastest women's cyclists in the U.S. are in their late 30s and early 40s. Perhaps it's due to some of the same factors attributed to the success of older women runners?

See Jane Run. See Her Run Faster and Faster. - New York Times

Men, as might be expected, get slower as they age. At a recent five-kilometer race in Pine Beach, N.J., which drew nearly 1,000 runners, the fastest man was 24 years old and the men’s ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My new favorite ride

My new favorite ride
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

Rob Pennell can build a bike, that's for sure. For a long time I thought no bike could possibly ride better than my custom waterford. WRONG. I have a new favorite and that's Rob's 'cross bike. His company, Badger Cycles, builds custom bikes and my mtb is another sweet representative of Rob's handiwork.

I tell you, though, I cannot wait to race this baby. The carbon fork and stays, the light quick action -- I better practice my dismounts and barriers so as to do this set o' wheels justice.

Check out the Velonews 'cross clinic series and get your game on!

Badger Cycles

Velonews TV

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's hiding in my garage?

Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

Just a glimpse of things to come. My friend Dennis ( built this and brought it to Lincoln Friday night. He says if speed's my thing, this'll give me a rush --- once I learn to ride it. I gave it a go Friday nite and couldn't balance for 10 ft. So I guess it's off to the insurance parking lot to learn to ride a bike for me. :) I did already buy some thick leather gloves, so when I put my hands down, I won' t tear 'em up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Cruise the Blues"

Rode down with Dennis and my mom. Dennis's TomTom navigational device worked like a charm. However, no matter how clever or accurate the device, the human must still attend. Case in point --- a gentle woman's voice came out the speaker, "Turn left point 5 miles." We near the turn. "Turn left," she says, and Dennis blows right by a nicely paved asphalt road.

"We'll take the next one, he says."

"Turn left," she says, and this time he does. Only this time, the road is not paved. Heck, it doesn't even have gravel. It's a dirt strip between farm fields. Dennis whips left with gusto, the Subaru sliding a bit in the greasy mud. He guns it and the mud chunks thump the car body. Discomforting memories of stuck trucks and anticipations of rushing race preparations come to mind, but I'm sitting in back and try to relax. After all, Subarus are all wheel drive and Dennis does a lot of driving, so it'll probably be OK. Eventually we come to the top of a hill and the TomTom sweetly says again, "Turn left." This time we do and although the road looks even narrower and less traveled, at least it's dryer and we head back to the missed asphalt.

We arrive at the venue almost to the estimated minute. Whew. (I'm all for adventure - during and after the race - that is.)

We all get our registrations, watch a slew of kids do the kid loop, and then at high noon, with Ozzy Osborn's Crazy Train blaring over the speakers, head out for our six hours of fun.

The first lap, the trail was pretty muddy, and I worred about Mom. After all, she'd not ridden a mtn bike before as far as I knew and riding one on a greasy trail with a bunch of other riders seemed like a recipe for disaster, but I also knew she was tough and adventurous, so figured she'd get it handled one way or another. Later I found out she fell twice on the second lap, learning that one must NEVER look at the trees, but was no worse for the wear.

The mud build up forced me to stop about 3 times to clear my bike, but I was in no big hurry. I tried to focus on having 6 hours, meaning I didn't have to blow it all up on the first couple of laps to secure my lead. I relaxed, rode with some care and tried to maintain a steady power output. Yeah, I say it like that, because I tried to take it easier on the uphills and a little harder on the downhills. Last weekend, Marc and I did some long road rides with the focus being to maintain steady power instead of spiking it up the hills and recovering on the downhills. The net result of a such a strategy was a higher normative power output over time and feeling as if I'd expended less energy, so I'd decided to apply that to this race.

Eventually, Dennis and I engaged in a friendly game of chase, with him trying not to get caught, which is why both of us quit at 5 laps instead of going for our 6th. When I came in after the 4th lap, my mom and another woman she was chatting with said Dennis didn't rest long and had about 5 minutes on me. They said he didn't want to get caught. That inspired me, so after a banana, bottle reloading, and a bathroom break, I decided to spend everything I had left and see if I could run him down before the end of the 13 mile lap. Two miles in I experienced my first major cramp. It was like a live snake had started twisting around in my right quad. I actually saw the coil move across. "Aiy Yi yi," I hollared and kept pedaling. It faded and altho I took it as a warning, but figured there was no reason to slow down. In fact, if anything, whip it up and get it over with.

Around every turn and at the top of every hill I scanned the trail for Dennis. Didn't see him. Didn't seem doubling back through the trees and I began to think that maybe I wasn't going to be able to do it. But then, the last open hill section about 2 miles from the finish I see him. I speed up to gain as much as I can before he spies me. I know that if he sees me, he'll speed up and my legs are cramping now with every extension. Sure enough, he looks up as he comes around the switchback. I grin and wave. His speed visibly increases. The race is on. I gain up the hill and get within about 30 feet, but he files down the decent. My legs are spinning but refuse to put out much power. He extends his lead and finishes 30-45 seconds ahead of me. As I slow to come through the finish and get off my bike, my legs completely seize up and I'm sure me and the bike are going to simply fall over into the dirt. Fortunately, Cam comes to my rescue, grabbing the bike and somehow I manage to get off and make my way over to the table with my number thing. Then mom comes over and we walk back to the tent, calling it good.

End results: Mom does two laps for a 2nd place finish in the women's 51+. Dennis finishes 5th in the solo men, I win the solo women, and Cam and Josh win the men's team competition. So, it was a great day for the Badger crew.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Interesting read

Scientists Induce Out-of-Body Sensation - New York Times

The research provides a physical explanation for phenomena usually ascribed to other-worldly influences, said Peter Brugger, a neurologist at University Hospital in Zurich,


It's late. Oughta be asleep. How am I gonna drive 3.5 hours then race for 6 if I don't get a good nights rest? Especially if the rain turns the trail into a sticky mess. Oh well, sleep soon. FWIW, family members have been getting some time off the bike and not in the way they planned. My little niece reported she had a few scrapes to show me and my dad has 7 stitches.

I guess he and my mom were traversing some large sharp rocks when they had to lock it up quick on account of a car. Both went down and Dad's hand took the hit. No worries. He's got lots of experience with boo boos. Heck, maybe he'll get those hands toughened up. Been getting a little soft and townie-like of late. ;)

Mom's OK and was giving the Karate Monkey a test today. She's gonna ride it at "Cruise the Blues" in the Joy division, but I think I told you that already. I'm just so excited she's gonna do it I had to repeat myself.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First day of school

First day of school
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
No more video gaming all-nighters and sleeping till noon for these suburban slackers. It's back to the grindstone for Kyle and Erik.

Bento bandwagon

bento - ing
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
I enjoy cooking and food prep a great deal and have found myself climbing on the bento bandwagon. Disappearing are the days of a separately wrapped sandwich and other containers of various sizes. Instead, I have one simple box in which everything is tucked. It's pretty, tasty, and when I open it mid-day, never fails to bring a little pleasure to my day.

Check out "Lunch in a Box" for more info.

Just busy ....

You're gonna see fewer updates here, maybe once a week. Just plain busy. In addition to supporting online graduate programs for UNL, I've taken the opportunity to teach an interactive technology course, so less blogging time for this biker. Here's the short list of what's up:
  • Boys are back in school and thrilled about it. (not)
  • Cruise the Blues 6 hour is this weekend, so I need to get my mtb all put together again
  • Getting amp'd for Gateway Cup at the end of the month. Rumor has it that Xplane is going to put several women in the field.
  • Training is going well, had a couple of strong rides this last week.
  • Thinking about hitting some UCI 'cross races in Colorado and Kentucky. It would be a lot of travel, but UCI points improve your start position for nationals and it would be a good measure of where I'm at right now and show me what I need to work on to be as ready as I can be for December.
  • My folks have stuck with their riding program and are getting faster. I expect this will increase rapidly now that Dad has switched up his equipment to some skinny tires. We'll see if Mom switches out her 'cross tires for some smoothies to drive the pace even harder.
That's all I got for now!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Dads push bulletproof backpacks in schools - Local & Regional - " Dads Mike Pelonzi, 43, and Joe Curran, 42, dreamed up the bullet-proof backpack, which also blunts knife attacks, to protect their own children after witnessing the Columbine massacre in 1999. "

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

XPLANE/St. Louis Revolution update

Carrie got her update to the team blog.... read what happened at the richest crit I know about.
St. Louis Revolution: "To work soooo hard and then, well accidents happen. Okay, the stakes were high. 5, well maybe six, $500 primes, a mid race $1000 prime, and a $4000 1st place prize, not to mention the remaining monies in the 19 spots left in payout. "

What you gotta do

"All you have to do
is just make your best effort,
being free from a label or judgement
that you are capable or not
or that you are good or not.
Forget it and just make an enormous effort."

-- Katagiri Roshi

Monday, August 13, 2007

A stout training schedule AND some daily fiction

Think you don't have time to read fiction? Guess again.
DailyLit: Read books by email and RSS.: "Why read books by email? Because if you are like us, you spend hours each day reading email but don't find the time to read books. DailyLit brings books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read. This works incredibly well not just on your computer but also on a Treo, Blackberry, Sidekick or whatever the PDA of your choice. In the words of Dr. Seuss: Try it, you might like it!"

Peter Walsh’s clever hanger trick | 43 Folders

Lotsa stuff worth a read at 43 folders.
Peter Walsh’s clever hanger trick | 43 Folders: "I’ve said before that, in my estimation, a life hack is any kind of trick that forces the Smartypants part of your brain and the Dumbass part of your brain to stay in proper communication."

Teamie Chris wins Elk Grove for $750

That's right! Chris rocked it for the cat 3/4 win Sunday. Congrats!

Tour of KC

Had a pretty good weekend. Was 2nd to Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine) in the Cliff Drive Class road race. Ended up 4th in the Grand Prix crit, but got two preems, so that made up for it -- kinda. ;) Ended up missing the critical break. Megan Hottman attacked after Catherine Walberg had been wore down by the repeated attacking from the Mercy team. Anne Felts from Mercy bridge up and I missed that ride. Oh well. Sometimes it happens.

Probably the coolest thing was that KC marked my first 12 mos. as a bike racer. These courses were the first two yet that I'd actually raced before and that's a bigger advantage than I thought it might be.

Up next .... 8/25 Cruise the Blues, 6hr marathon on a Kansas ranch; 8/31-9/3 GATEWAY CUP!!! Wooo!

Friday, August 10, 2007

racing updates #16

Gabcast! racing updates #16

The freedom of two wheels

She did it! Just as planned, my niece rode off on the first try. She then went on to ride around about 30 minutes while I stood and tried to get a good video of it with my phone.

Here's what I got: phone format video (66k)

It was such a privilege to get to have this moment with someone. Her excitement and newly acquired confidence just radiated. She even went on to use only one hand to steer because the other was needed to brush the curls off her cheeks. Of course, then she started showing off a bit and nearly got her first road rash.

A little later we made our way downtown to Ivanna Cone. Her blueberry treat was so tasty she said she wanted to go back there next time instead of trying a different place.

I also rode down shaded side streets and through alleys to get a bamboo sushi mat which I used later to roll some tuna sushi. Was a good day.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gloves for feet?

Hmm. I can't imagine how these would sell. Just take a look at how weird toes are and contemplate these types of shoes.
Vibram FiveFingers: Sprint: "This is our most versatile, secure fitting FiveFingers product to date. Hook and loop closures along the heel and instep provide a comfortable secure fit. A thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric fits low on the foot—for comfort and quick drying. A flexible, non-marking TC1 performance rubber sole is razor siped to enhance grip over a variety of terrain."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On Saddles & Misery

It's best to have many.
So when you wear through
a dermal layer in one spot
you can switch saddles
and work on another.

All healed up for now.
Rapture in Misery 6/12 hour
approaches. Not sure
if I'm going yet, but maybe.

PDF Flyer

How come only hands and feet
seem to get protective callouses?
Not that I'd want them down there.
Just wondering.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pencil removed from woman's head after 55 years | Oddly Enough |

Pencil removed from woman's head after 55 years | Oddly Enough | "A 59-year-old German woman has had most of a pencil removed from inside her head after suffering nearly her whole life with the headaches and nosebleeds it caused, Bild newspaper reported Monday."
I will ride not ride recklessly and too fast downtown. Must write 100 times. Lucky today.
Ooooohhhh it's coming....
Just thought I'd remind you 'Cross nationals are in Kansas City this year and registration opens at 12:01 am September 15th. Get it on your calendar. Oh, and here's a link to the schedule (PDF).

I'm already having 'cross dreams. Last week I awoke, tense and mad enough to beat the livin' snot outa somthing. I couldn't get to Jingle Cross in time for my race. Every time I'd go down a street with the 'Big Black' the street would turn into a median riddled parking garage obstructed labyrinth -- all the while, I could see racers on the hill. It was as bad a nightmare as the one where the insurance guy keeps trying to sell me convoluted policies. Nearly had to take the day off after that one.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Introducing the crew

These grinning goofs are why I like teens. I like their idealism, energy, impulsiveness and the general way they bring a smile to your face on most days and make you want to strangle them on others. Keeps things from getting dull. From left to right: Taylor (Nick's girlfriend), my sons Nick and Erik, and my cousin Kyle. We were out to "The Farm" for my niece's 6th birthday (picture of the princess another time, suffice it to say that pink ruffled swimwear and tiara's were the mode). Twas a lot of fun.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hangin' with the younger set

She rides in her own time
My niece and I had another riding session last night and she totally rode by herself. I had the rope on the seat post, but never did it pull tight, nor did I ever touch her seat. After telling her so, she said, "I know, Sydney, I can see your shadow."

"So, do you want me to take the rope off and let you ride by yourself?"

"No. Next time just your hand. Then after that I'll ride by myself and we'll go to the ice cream downtown."

She also says she wants to go to every ice cream shop in town one at a time.

OK, little bean. Whatever you want.

Overheard in my living room ....

boy 1: "Check this's the coolest car ---- ever."
boy 2: "It is not. There's porche, ferrari, jaguars, ... humina humina ..."
boy 1: "Yeah, but everyone thinks those are cool."
boy 2: "Duh. They're fast."
boy 1: "This isn't about speed. This is styyyyyyyle."
boy 2: "That is a cool car then."

The car in question ---- replica Gremlin.

Just goes to show you... if you're feeling a little wore down or a shade bitter about the world, let a kid give you a fresh perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

When hummers aren't enough

Tank Limousine Hire

Gettin' some sox

Saris had a special TdF package that was not only entertaining, but hugely instructive if you use a powertap as part of your training regime. During the tour, they collected power data, answered questions, and provided some short, but instructive videos.

I submitted a question they opted to put on the site and am now getting a pair of sox. How cool is that?

Check out all the Q&A

--------------- My Question --------------------
What kind of RPMs do the TdF competitors maintain for those many hours? I've been trying to improve mine. Currently the biggest slice of the pie is 80-100, instead of the 100-120. Should I be striving to get above that 100 number? Thx!


When pedaling, Floyd took about 450,000 pedal strokes during the Tour de France. This puts him at an overall cadence of 85 rpm if you include time not pedaling. When pedaling, Floyd averaged about 90 to 95 rpm with a range of about 60 at a low to 130 at a high. For the most part, cycling efficiency is a function of both power and cadence. We tend to be more efficient at higher power outputs at higher cadences and more efficient at lower power outputs at lower cadences. So unless you can hold over 300 watts for an hour at a time, I would say that you probably don’t need to worry about keeping things above 100 rpm unless you are just trying to get a more fluid stroke. For most riders, optimal efficiency can be found somewhere between 70 to 90 rpm. That said, learning how to spin fast, makes spinning slower a whole lot easier.