Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Favorite Rapha Pic

Elisabeth gets the Rapha pic of the year
Mom and Malcolm both made the "All Hail the Black Market" blog. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Now, it's official


So, my fondest win of 2010 was the local "Hustle World Championships."  Today, it was rendered completely official with a Christmas gift from my friend Ian.  Pretty cool, huh?

Ian Robertson: Artitectus

Podium at the bar.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Regarding Ph.D's

PhD like a tortoise. Unwavering persistence is needed.
I've been approached by a few folks in the last couple of weeks regarding whether or not they should pursue a Ph.D. Yeah. I know. Believe it or not.

I told them there are other hobbies out there. I don't mean to treat it lightly, but once you embark on the pursuit it becomes such a burden. Quit early if you begin to suspect it's not all you wanted. The last place you want to be is "ABD."  That stands for "All But Dissertation," and this is not something to be proud of or roll out at a job interview. Yeah, you might have had all the coursework, but when it came time to put it all together and demonstrate what you learned, you waffled.  That's hard to live with. Believe me, I tried it.

So, you need to know before you begin that you want it - maybe more than most anything else. A clear idea of what you want out of it is also important, critical even. That's the only way you can get matched with the right advisor and plan the experiences you'll need to reach your goal.  However, the market changes rapidly and there's no guarantee that the job you've got your eye on will be waiting for you.   If a Ph.D. is something you think you're interested in, I came across some good articles today via "The Daily Dish."

"The disposable academic" from The Economist. A rebuttal from Chris Blattman at Yale.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Aunt Debbie

Today is my Aunt Debbie's birthday. She and my cousins have the most complete James Bond movie collection that I know about and she's been quilt crazy for as long as I remember -- or at least since any earlier memories have her with hippy hair to her waist. :)   Anyway, this post is for her.


And...did you know there was a super villain named "Crazy Quilt?"
"Crazy Quilt", an obscure D.C comics villain who ran around in a patchwork patterned tunic and tights which he accesorized with a jaunty scarf. "Crazy Quilt" referred to himself as the "King of Color Crimes"and he could shoot light rays out of a special hat. Sadly, he didn't last long. Crazy Quilt may not have been too successful as a comic book character but given what we're seeing today with the works of Newport, Kijima and Claytor, perhaps he was just a bit ahead of his time. - http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/snippets/issue3/comic_quilt (do read this page)
And...for comics as quilts.....and the value of grandmas (which my aunt is getting the hang of).... take a look at  Ryan Clayton's Graduate Thesis Exhibition which he's graciously posted online.
http://www.elephanteater.com/news_pages/2007/113007p.html

http://www.elephanteater.com/news_pages/2007/113007q.html

Happy Birthday, Aunt Debbie.





Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Driven by Flavor"

Easy and incredible tasty.

Yesterday on "Being" with Krista Tippett, Dan Barber talked about food and the importance of flavor and how the pursuit of flavor can drive social reform in terms of food.  That's not the best description, but if you care about eating, it's worth a listen.

I certainly enjoyed it while preparing a batch of bagels. Recipe from "The Breadmaker's Apprentice," by Peter Reinhart.  They're getting good reviews from my menfolk.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pitas ready to come out



Pitas ready to come out

Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Kyle preps his pizza for the 500° oven. 
Pitas are one of the easiest breads to make. They can be used for sandwiches, dips, and mini pizzas. Just keep a containers of pizza sauce and toppings in the fridge. Quick and inexpensive kid food.  The oven was already hot, at 500°F, but you could also just use the broiler. That would be less energy use and quicker. Layer pizza like this: sauce, cheese, toppings.

- from my mobile

Friday, December 10, 2010

Worth $4 for sure

I read a lot of PDF-based journal articles and whatnot. This $4 app makes them completely coherent on my android phone. You can even copy and paste text from the PDF, so note-taking is possible. Be nice to have a highlighter and to be able to insert bookmarks, though.

================
RepliGo Reader for Android : Cerience Corporation: "RepliGo Reader for Android

RepliGo Reader for Android is the highest fidelity PDF viewing solution available. Use RepliGo Reader to view Gmail PDF attachments just like you would see them on your desktop. RepliGo Reader can also be used to view online PDF files. Use the device’s browser to navigate to a PDF online and RepliGo Reader will render the file for viewing."

I hope PhotoShop played a role in this pic

Thursday, December 09, 2010

What's cool about this screen capture?

That's right. Katie's name is biggest, second only to "2010."

One of my favorite aspects of cyclocross is the balance of mens and womens media coverage -- at least here in the states in Cyclocross Magazine.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It's not so bad... at least when you've got the right company

I needed a beard or a face mask. Photo by Cornbread.
NW 27th ST, I think. Photo by Cornbread

I can do a couple of hours on the trainer, but more than that, it's nice to get outdoors if I can, so last night, I laid out all my clothes and equipment and joined this brave crew at 8 am to ride the gravel north of Lincoln.  My bottles were nearly frozen solid in the first hour, so drinking had to wait for the midway stop in Ceresco. I need to get a neck gaiter thing and wear a camel back under my coat. That might keep the liquids liquid.  Rhino and I did bring Hwy 77 south to Lincoln instead of the more circuitous gravel route.

Temperature: 25 degrees, wind chill 15, I think it was.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Brain Rules: The #1 mistake parents make with praise (VIDEO)

Brain Rules: The #1 mistake parents make with praise (VIDEO): "Rather than praising him for being smart, they should have praised him for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, they should not have said, 'I'm so proud of you. You're so smart.' They should have said, 'I'm so proud of you. You must have really studied hard.' Big difference. This appeals to your child's controllable effort rather than to mysterious, unchangeable talent. It's called 'growth mindset' praise"

Daylight Saving Time - History and Cost from CBS

So what do you think of this?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Learning, Doing, Being: A New Science of Education [On Being]

Broadcast 10/21
Learning, Doing, Being: A New Science of Education [On Being]: "What Adele Diamond is learning about the brain challenges basic assumptions in modern education. Her work is scientifically illustrating the educational power of things like play, sports, music, memorization and reflection. What nourishes the human spirit, the whole person, it turns out, also hones our minds."

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Joules CX a good time

My friend Michelle's team, Women's Free State Cycling Team put on a race today. The course was a long one, and bumpy, but fun all the same. Pinky and I won the women's 1/2/3 and Sheclismo chicas Kat Shiffler and Sara Nispel took 2nd and 5th in the women's cat 4.  There was a good field of women 4 and masters women.  The women 1/2/3 was small, only 6 or 7 of us. Probably should have toughened up and did a masters race, but even though the course was only, how did Michelle put it, mildly technical, there were a few spots where errors and fatigue could you get you pretty well, and I just wasn't up to it.  The days and months of disciplined training and racing are on the horizon and I'm going to just enjoy this CX thing through Jingle CX.   My son, Nick, says its a good start towards learning how to just relax.  :D


Friday, November 05, 2010

Solving the candle problem

This is worth 18 minutes and 37 seconds of your time and it explains to a large degree why I like my job.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dr. Steel PSA, "The Singularity"

Ran across this while perusing "Accelerating Future"

In case you need some reading material, "The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis"

Monday, November 01, 2010

I am not a mobile keyboard nerd, but...

...this is cool and I hope it comes out for my phone asap. See, a proper keyboard nerd would already have some type of test version and I don't.



BlindType looks ok, too, but SwiftKey, which I'm currently using is my favorite so far.


Android Central has a round-up of keyboard apps if you're not thrilled about what you're currently using:
http://www.androidcentral.com/android-centrals-keyboard-roundup

Friday, October 29, 2010

A description of CX from Bill Strickland

Bill Strickland, editor at large for Bicycling Magazine and author of Tour de Lance had nice description of cyclocross at the end of this Podium Cafe interview:


Cross, I love. One part of the appeal, I think, is purely social. With just a few exceptions, my friends and I aren't very serious about cross at all. We try to race hard when we're out there, but before and after racing, cross is just a good old get-together in a way that road racing isn't. Someone drives down a trailer or an RV, or pitches a big revival tent at a good spectator spot right on the tape, and we gather there and drink beer (yes, often before racing) and goof around. We heckle the riders in the most dumb ways: We yell ‘beardy' at the guys with beards, and ... I know this sounds inane, but I think that's the point for us. There was one guy this year, an elite, who looked like David Lee Roth, and every lap, for minutes as he climbed toward us, went around a turn and rode away, we kept yelling the Roth whoop and screaming, ‘Might as well jump,' and doing rock-star kicks. We were ridiculing him mercilessly, just crucifying him. But somehow the good-natured, dumb fun of the whole thing rose to the top, and instead of feeling picked on he felt - I don't know what he felt, but he came over afterward and drank some with us. I guess everyone knows that we race too, poorly, so there might be an understanding that we know what it takes to go fast at a high level, and that we respect what the racers are doing.
Racing cross - it's just a mess. A glorious mess. Compared to the tension of road racing, when you're in the pack and one stupid thing can end not just someone's race but someone's season, or ripple out and ruin a lot of people's seasons, cross is like being twelve years old again. It's a very childish kind of thrill: dirty, out-of-control, laughing with your friends, some senseless heated rivalry you'll forget about in thirty minutes, and that sort of slapped-together feeling like when you were so bored in the long summer months that you and your friends combine several sports to make a new one: ‘Hey, what if we ran with our bikes?' At the same time, cross can be as intense as you want to make it - when you're out there racing, you can be flat-out racing. The few times I've happened to get to the front of a cross race, I've been amazed at how like a road race it feels - swapping pulls, working together to bust off the guy you don't want around at the finish, modulating the gap back to the pack. When you're in the middle or back of a race, when you're just learning, cross kind of feels like you just go as hard as you can the whole time and there's no strategy. Up front, you're going as hard as you can while trying to employ some strategy.
Still, for me, cross is almost not all about results and almost entirely about my friends, about goofing around, about loving bicycles.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Haunted Hustle is this Friday Night

I expect to see you there -- unless you're chicken.

That's right. October 29, 2010
The Haunted Hustle

Can you find all the checkpoints without freaking out in fear?

Friday, October 15, 2010

What are we going to do tonight?



from Velonews 
Velonews has been doing a series on CX bikes and featured the Specialized Crux Comp as a budget buy. I've had mine built up know for a couple weeks and I'm starting to love that thing. Weds nite CX was the first time I've been on it CXin' and not crashed it tho.  Takes a while to get the hang of new handling experience. I do know one thing though, if it feels unstable, the best cure is to just gun it, so we'll see how it goes tonight in Des Moines.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I think this is gonna be fun!

Hey y'all we've got invitations from the one and only Reverend Kim West to join the biggest, craziest event next to Jingle CX. Tomorrow night in Des Moines there will be CX racing under the lights, a band and a big party. I'm not gonna miss this. We've got host housing offers so we don't have to drive back till dawn. Come on! Second race is only $5. You know you want to go.
Then, pop me an email if you're interested. sydney.e.brown@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chris Cornetto of Rouse Bicycles in town

"If you see someone riding on the South Austin today that has a plume of diesel smoke coming out of his A$$ while going up hills at 5 mph, that would be me."


http://www.rousebicycles.com/
My friend, Chris Cornetto, will be in town today and tomorrow, so I'm hoping you'll all give him a welcome. I may have him ride the Crux so you can recognize him.  ;)

Chris is from Austin, TX, and fairly recently got into the bicycle biz with his company, Rouse Bicycles.

We'll be at Neighbor's Park at 6 p for Technique Tuesday (provided there's no rain), then Bread and Cup at 7:30 p.   He'll also join us for some CX action Wednesday.
Chris and his adorable boys.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventure Racing in the city

Last week, Lefler said adventure racing was "like something you might try in college, y'know, just try it out."  After the Warrior Challenge, I thought it was rather like binge drinking, something you managed to let yourself get caught up in, but of which you don't really want to make a habit. Nonetheless, yesterday found me chasing checkpoints with fellow Silly Roadie, Ian, once again.

From Racing
Seriously though, how could we resist? We were still stung from the beating we took a couple weeks ago. OK, maybe we heaped the suffering on ourselves, but all the same, we could've done better and we wanted to have another go. This was further inflamed when we saw "Road Rash" members show up. We spent the other adventure race passing them and then being passed when we made stupid decisions or couldn't find the flag thing. It was quite frustrating and we were determined to do better this time.
As we sat on the curb in the bike corral we overheard other racers talking about "just having fun."  Ian turned to me, stating, "Winning is fun, " before returning his gaze to the competition. Having been brought up on that sort of ethos, I gave my quads a bit of a rubdown and stretched the hammies while apologizing to them in advance.
Will there be a podium, do you think? Silly Roadies.

We were split at the start. Ian went to copy the checkpoints from the large map onto our small copy. I got the bikes. We determined our general route together and then set off. Zero to 60, time and time again. We got smoother. It worked best if Ian took care of the punch card and I studied the next destination. I do think the folks who use the large map holders are on to something though, because when you fold the maps, it's easy to miss marks you made.  That contributed to my failure to spy checkpoint 4, I think it was, that we missed. It was a 5-pointer and we were within a mile of it after trekking from the Jamaica up behind the the Cooper Y for the playground punch.

We finally made it back to the start/finish and completed the final team challenge - eat a twizzler no-handed out of a cup (Ian) and consume a slim jim (I got stuck with this).  Our time: 2 hours 51 minutes, if I remember correctly. 

It was a good time and thanks to Jim Craig and the Cycleworks/Moose's tooth crew who must have worked like the dickens to put this thing on. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

Worth a view, if you're not too distracted by your FB'ing

I enjoyed this presentation on SlowTV a great deal.

How the Internet is rewiring our brains
Nicholas Carr with Gideon Haigh

"Like lab rats pressing a lever," when referring to the way technology facilitates our craving for new information so much that we will disregard what we are currently concentrating (already procured) on to replace it with something new.

For those of you who can't focus on one thing for 24 minutes, here's a few points of interest -- not that you can jump to the points, b/c SlowTV insists on providing full context, so you have to watch from start to finish.

  • Throughout, Carr does a good job of basing the cases he attempts to make on how the brain functions. 
  • Video games: Part I at the  ~10 min mark.
  • 20:35 Adding links to text decreases comprehension b/c it activates decision making in the brain, reducing working memory that can be allocated to focusing on comprehending the text.
  • Pt. 2  Danger in our tendency to start thinking of the Web as a replacement to our long term memory (LTM) instead of a supplement. "I don't have to remember that because I can just remember the search string."
  • Pt. 2 a 3:10, claims Google (and other search engines) are dangerous because they serve up fragments and "return the most popular stuff instead of perhaps the best stuff" and everyone gets the same thing.  I disgree with problems on the fragments... for me, fragments are like hand-holds on a cliff, or clues. Oftentimes when doing research, especially in new areas where one doesn't have a developed understanding of the domain, one doesn't even have the language for asking questions, thus the fragments and having something like Google to help guess what I mean is of enormous help. The danger is stopping there, which I see many students do on campus. 
  • Pt. 2 at 8:40 - putting journals online has hurt scholarship. Mixed feelings about this. I am working on a lit review right now, and I am so very thankful for the electronic PDFs and ability to search databases, but Carr says having them online has narrowed the scope of research instead of broadening it as people thought it would.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Blood drawn at CX

Monsignor Tucker needs stitches, but he rode home photo: Bruce Thorson


Check out the album on Facebook. I've made it publicly accessible, I think, so let me know if you have problems checking it out.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=293411&id=729574523&l=7b7a593384

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This explains it all



Just browsing my collection of research articles as I put a paper together and came across this one. Now, if I were going to indulge in further procrastination, I would go find in which paper I cited this article.  --sydney


DUNNING, D., K. JOHNSON, et al. (2003). "Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence." Current Directions in Psychological Science Current Directions in Psychological Science 12(3): 83-87.


            Accession Number: 2003-06087-004. First Author & Affiliation: Dunning, David; Cornell U, Dept of Psychology, Ithaca, NY, US. Release Date: 20030623. Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal (270). Media Covered: Electronic. Media Available: Print; Electronic. Language: English. Major Descriptor(s): Competence; Insight; Self Concept; Self Confidence; Self Perception. Minor Descriptor(s): Knowledge Level; Metacognition. Classification: Personality Traits & Processes (3120). Population: Human (10). Content Type: Empirical Study (0800)Qualitative Study (0880). References Available: Y. Successful negotiation of everyday life would seem to require people to possess insight about deficiencies in their intellectual and social skills. However, people tend to be blissfully unaware of their incompetence. This lack of awareness arises because poor performers are doubly cursed: Their lack of skill deprives them not only of the ability to produce correct responses, but also of the expertise necessary to surmise that they are not producing them. People base their perceptions of performance, in part, on their preconceived notions about their skills. Because these notions often do not correlate with objective performance, they can lead people to make judgments about their performance that have little to do with actual accomplishment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yikes! That had to smart.

Image from Wisdom Quarterly's "Unknown Pain Facts"

So yesterday, I'm riding home from work, running a little late, but when you single-speed it, there's only so fast you can go. Thus, I got caught at the light at the 27th & J ST intersection.

As I sat there, I saw a once upon a time athletic, but now 30 pounds over, guy flying up the sidewalk on an old road bike. His sweaty t-shirt was sandwiched between a bag and his meaty back. His oversize basketball shorts flapped in the wind as he hovered over the saddle, accommodating the bumps and cracks in the walk.

He approached the intersection. Across from me a SUV sat in the turn lane. The driver and I watched. The man jumped off the curb and the entire front end of his bike crumpled. It was as if the landing impact sheered off the front skewer ends, allowing the fork to be driven down to the pavement. The momentum of his body carried him over the front end of the bike and laid him flat out on his belly, face down. The driver and I watched, horrified, hands over our mouths.  He didn't move. And then, a thick arm swung up from the prone figure and out popped a thumbs-up sign from the softball sized fist. A moment later, he drug his bike out of the street to examine the damage. The light changed. The driver and I made eye contact as if to confirm we'd both just really seen that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let CX begin

Will I make this turn & can that dude be caught?
So...we have a local CX training series going on for the first time since I've been riding and I'm digging it. There's something about pinning on a number that helps me care enough to drive my body on up to race pace.

I've been thinking I've become a little wimpy, opting for pretty high cadence instead of driving the pedals with more force, so I opted for some single-speed action last night. I know, I know, I've said, "You want one gear? Then just don't shift." But, I didn't want to give myself a chance to lose my resolve once I entered the pain cave.

Forty-five minutes later, feeling pukey, but satisfied, I'd got all the muscular workout at a threshold heart rate I could've stood. In fact, had to hit the anti-inflammatory pills when I got home. The right shoulder is still not quite ready for this kind of hammering, but it did OK. I still can't lift through the barriers, but I'm thinking a couple more weeks ought to cure that.

First CX Race 2006 Fall KS
Same bike 2010 NE

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Nearly two months, huh?

Masters Worlds Start/Finish
For pix from this trip, see Facebook and my Picassa collection.

Nearly two months without a post. The scoop:
  • 07/11/10 - Hit in a race = broken clavicle. 6 weeks to season's only "A" race. Morose doesn't quite cover it.
  • 07/16/10 - Yes. I can ride the trainer if I strap the arm in place.
  • 07/26/10 - You know, so long as I avoid the bumps and don't try to shift, I can go outside once in a while. Trainer is going better, but hating indoors.
  • 08/02/10 - Happy birthday to me
  • 08/04/10 - You know, there's hope! Power's picking up. Maybe I will be ok at Masters Worlds. I can even get in TT position. I have got to get out of this basement.
  • 08/08/10 - TT Intervals. Outside. Woo hoo! I'm flying. Numbers are OK. I can do this. BAM! WTF?! I can't move. I'm on Hwy 77 and I can't get up. Help. Dislocated ribs. Overnight at Bryan West. Two and a half weeks to Masters Worlds TT - the objective I had drawn a bead on November 2009. All shot to hell. Don't make me sneeze or cough. Off the bike for a week.
  • 08/15/10 -Mom crashes during the Senior Games 20 km road race. Her knee is swelling up - volleyball size - from what I can see. Yikes. Are both our MWorlds races shot?
  • 08/16/10 - Riding a little. I've already filled out the paperwork. Paid my money. I'm definitely going, but won't race. Can't even lift my bike, how will I get my stuff through the airport? Just give it a couple of days. Might be OK. 
  • 08/17/10 - Oh heck. I'll take both bikes. I'm already entered in everything. maybe I'll feel OK. Think of it as an extravagant pre-ride of the course. Encourage Mom to take her bike too. We'll feel better. It'll be beautiful. We're certainly not going to wan to walk everywhere. Who knows? Maybe we'll even feel like racing.
  • 08/19/10 - We're outta here. Dad helps mom and I get our bikes to the airport.
  • 08/22/10 - First ride in Austria. It's gorgeous. My legs actually feel pretty good. By golly, I think I will do that world cup race tomorrow.
  • 08/23/10 - So many butterflies in my belly. Haven't been this excited and nervous in a long time. Wow, they're taking it from the line. This is a terribly long climb. Will that german ever ease the pace? Whew, made it over the hill with the lead group. Climb two. The Russian attacks. I knew it! I knew she'd go. She was so antsy and I could see the power. Kept a clean line and stayed with her, but YIKES, what an expensive surge. Five of us are left.  We work together until nearly the last. They start to refuse to take pulls. The Russian is yelling. Confusion. It's earlier than I'd wanted, but maybe I could get away here. I attack and fly clear. O darn. They're not going to let me go. I've given them cause for unity. They catch, and the German fires the counter attack. They let her go. The Russian and I chase a little, but our heart's not in it. I get fifth. I guess I had 3 matches.
  • 08/25/10 - The TT. Day couldn't be more perfect, but legs are still a bit tired from Monday's RR. It's just a pre-ride. Don't get your hopes up. I race. Start goes OK, but just can't lift the power. Come on legs. Pleeaase? No? Argh. Seriously?! This is all you got? Oh well.  5th, really? Hmm. Those women must hate TT's more than me. Winner really smokes it though. I'll have to come back. Mom does great, knocking 4 minutes off her best 20 km time thus far.
  • 08/26/10 - Road Race. Lots of faces who weren't there Monday or for the TT. I make my watch list and tape it to my stem. My legs are tired. Got no fitness. Must make it over that first climb with the lead group. The Russian from Monday and a strong, lean woman in a full on Saxobank kit spend way too much time talking off by themselves before the race start. They're not smiling the way friends chit-chatting do either. I may not understand what their saying, but I know something's up. Maybe should have done a trainer warm-up.  Race starts, I slide up and secure Saxobank's wheel. A couple of women try to push me off it. I get in my drops and round my elbows out a little, bracing for contact. They back off. I hold the wheel. Within 4-5 minutes we're at the base of the first and largest climb. Yep, I was right. Saxo and the Russian intend to shatter this pack like eggs. Holy crap. Is the top near?  I'm sliding back. I can't hold this wheel. My legs are going dead. Dammit. Mom cheers. I love her. I dig. I look over my shoulder. The pack is gone. Wow. Hmm. Maybe they'll start fighting and I'll be able to catch them. I crest the climb. Another has been dropped. I'll work with her. I chase. I near, hoping she'll look back and wait. She doesn't. I even holler a couple of times. Finally, I get her wheel. We work. And work some more. We see them. They see us. They're gone. Climb three. She says the field is coming. I look back. Sure enough, the field nears. No freakin' way. I can't let them get me. I don't have anything over threshold. My legs are complaining already. I push as hard as I dare up the climb. Can't blow up. My chase partner drops off. I top alone and no one is in sight. Settle in. Keep it just under popping. I focus on catching rider after rider on the open course, hoping to see the back end of my race. I don't. Some Slovenian guys jump on my wheel. One comes around and offers to give me a pull. I wave him off. No. I pull around him. I've worked too hard to get disqualified. Finally, he understands and drops back. I persist and pick up my pace eventually coming across the line alone for 8th place. It's deeply satisfying.
  • 09/04/10 - First group ride with the Shiclismo women. Turns out to be the ride I've been waiting for since I started this sport. Unity. Focused effort to cheat the wind. Good company. This is awesome. What a great day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On broken clavicle



The way everyone talked about broken collar bones I thought they might be kind of like a bad cold or some nasty road rash. Annoying, but not that big of a deal. The reality, however, is they are EXTREMELY inconvenient and sporadically eyepoppingly painful. Empathy and sympathy meters have been recalibrated.

More later. Marc's on his way to help me get my bike set up in the basement.

I'm not ready to give up on a solid performance at masters worlds. That might be the voice of inexperience with these types of injuries.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Nerd out with HTC & Google

Seems as if the technophiles are going to have to embrace HTC-Columbia during the TdF.

"I'm thrilled about the opportunity to leverage Google's My Tracks application to deliver real-time racing information to fans watching the Tour de France," explained former pro cyclist Dylan Casey, who is now a Product Manager at Google. "This is a unique, engaging way to help cycling fans all around the world get a sense of what the riders go through during each stage of the race and follow the performance of the world-class riders on Team HTC-Columbia. We're fortunate to work with such great partners - High Road Sports, HTC, SRM, and ANT+ - to make this possible."


From VeloNation

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tulsa Tough 2010

Nothing says tough like surviving Tulsa Tough with most of your skin intact and a finish in all three races.  My write-up for 2010 is on the TREADS.COM/DFT blog: http://dftwomen.blogspot.com/2010/06/tulsa-tough.html

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Memorial Weekend Racing Report

Jenny Willhite & me  (front 2)
After filling out but not yet dropping the Iowa registrations in the post box, my friend IM'd me and said, "Hey, did you see the payouts at this race?"  I looked and holy moly... a first time race in Woodward, OK paid $400 to win the crit and the road race paid $700. After some more investigation to find more crits to fill out the weekend, we decided to drive south.

Surprisingly, there were only 10 of us on the line at the start of the crit and most of those were cat 4 women, but that did not ensure success, especially since Miranda Long showed up. She's pretty quick on the sprint. I didn't know that at the start, but my 2nd place finish testifies to her effort, especially since she had to come around a couple of us. In retrospect, I should have started my wind-up further out, but that's OK, I'm still working on that. Right after the women's race, I jumped in with a large group of masters men and finished 13th in that. With half the course restricted to a single lane of traffic, the battles for position were fierce. It was excellent prep for my season's crit racing. Thanks, guys!

The next morning's 100K road race went off at 7 am. That was a little brutal and I opted to eat before the race, instead of waking up at 4ish to start the nutrition. Thinking back, it might have been better to have stuck with my regular prep and gone w/o the sleep, but at the time, I really wanted to sleep.

There were only 4 of us in the W 1/2/3, and one woman asked me if I wanted to ride with the masters men. I said sure. That'd be great, even though I do dislike what mixed fields do to a race.

The break went at less than 10K into the race. I looked up the road and saw every strong men's team represented except one, which I'd overheard one guy say not to worry about, so I jumped and bridged. It was expensive, but worth it as the break held for the rest of the race. I took a share of pulls, though I did sit out a couple of rotations after hard surges. The guys might have let me sit on, but in the spirit of racing and for the benefits of training, I did my best to shoulder a fair load. The win felt earned.
On the warm-up circle while Ian races.

By that evening, we were in Frisco, TX where one of my traveling companions, wanted to do a track race at the Superdrome. He had also called ahead and arranged for me to get some time on the track.  I was going to back out because my legs were so fried from the road race, but opportunities for track time are rare, so Ian took me through some after the event concluded.

Sunday was hot hot hot. There were 20-25ish women in the race with two teams quite well represented. I attacked a few times and got off the front for while, but the field wasn't having it and in a few laps they reeled it in. More corners would have helped, but the other seemed quite determined to keep me in the fold. Tired, I acquiesced and at that point, of course, one of the teams put a girl off and nobody chased. Sigh. However, I'd decided my field sprint needed work and here was a chance to practice, so I continued to sit in even when another woman went off. It hurt to let them go, but I didn't think they'd let me jump clean and I wasn't going to drag the pack, so sit I did. The finish went perfectly. Followed two wheels, jumped hard accelerated up the hill all the way to the finish line for the field sprint. That felt pretty good.

Monday, we went to Ft. Worth for the Texas State Criterium championships. Lucky for me, the women's race was right after the cat 5 men at 8:55am. Normally, I'd be bummed to be so early, but even then the temp was 90ish by the time 30ish of us put our wheels on the line for the 60 minute race. My legs were feeling Ok, but not great. The heat had my HR elevated, but I liked the 10 corner course. They called it a chicane, but they were actual turns in a parking lot up a rise, so with 10 corners, a break could make time on a pack and I'd been given a heads up on who had legs.

Thus, when the first attack went on the 2nd lap, I impulsively countered and turned to find I was way clear, and that there were two women also separated from the field and coming my way. One of these, Jenny, had been identified as "having legs."  Perfect. I slowed it down, they joined me and two of us started 30 sec pulls. The heat beat down and the minutes crawled by. Periodically, I thought about harassing the 3rd woman about not pulling, but I didn't want to waste the energy. I figured so long as she didn't jump us for the primes, we could solve that problem later. Eventually, I looked back and she wasn't even there. The heat must've done her in.  Finally, because of Willhite's team and perhaps some disorganization on the part of the other teams, our success looked secure and I attacked before the last corner on the final lap to take the win.

It was a weekend of good racing and wonderful to meet so many nice people. The Oklahoma and Texas women ride their bikes well and race hard. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to returning.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You wouldn't let him do all the driving, would you?

So, why let him do all wrenching?

My grandmother used to tell the women in my family not to let their men do all the driving because driving was an important skill to maintain, not only for one's own independence, but also in order to be a more able and prepared partner.

How many of you let, or have let, other people do some or all of your wrenching? Don't worry, my hand's up, too.

When I started riding, I wouldn't have known where to start. I bought a book, but with no experience, it was simply too much to take in and I was too scared I'd mess something up, but over the last four years I've fumbled towards greater independence:

  • Changing my first road tire: I'd just got the Bridgestone RB1 and I was off to ride it to work. Three blocks from home, "pssssst."  Of course, it was the rear one, and yes, I'd bought tires I liked the look of without regard for the bead type and I simply couldn't get it off. More than an hour later, several web searches for tips, near tears, fingers skinned a bit and sore, I FINALLY had fixed that stupid flat and was back en route.  I rode off to work - with a spare and tools packed - feeling that "ok, freakin' bring it..." kind of feeling.
  • Gluing my tubulars. This was a job I was quite happy to outsource. It seemed a stinky and messy job where screwing up could yield disastrous outcomes. However, on the walk back to the pits during a cx race, after rolling a tire and getting pitched into the biggest sticker patch I'd ever seen, I resolved to do my own gluing. After all, it was my body that would pay the price. The first attempt was messy and didn't look at all like something to be proud of, but I was, and they were solid. Really solid. I'd used so much glue I was kicking my own butt post-season trying to get them off. My third attempt was beautifully done -- just the right amount of glue -- no mess -- perfect. For an instant, I was so very proud. Then, I looked at the tread and realized it was directional and I'd put it on wrong. ARGHHH. 
  • A couple of weeks ago, Turbo, with the apparent patience of Job himself, walked me through dismantling Swerks (my Specialized Amira), changing my cabling and tuning the shifting. Not only did we go through it, he explained how the mechanisms worked so I would be better able to apply my knowledge to other bikes and situations. The creak that got the ball rolling on this educational experience remains to some degree, but at least I am no longer hesitant to go looking for it.
In any case, if you've been letting others wrench for you w/out learning yourself, you're putting yourself at the mercy of events and other people's time. Make an effort to learn how to take care of the basic issues you're going to need addressed.

If you're a racer, you need to be able to tear down and build up your own bike such that it's ready and safe to race.  There's no guarantee you'll have a mechanic at hand to help you, and more importantly, there has been at least one instance I know of, where a woman missed a spot on a team because she would be too much work to take care of due to her lack of knowledge about her bike. Don't let it happen to you. Go get your hands dirty.



    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Riding across the USA

    I've enjoyed reading about this Australian woman's trip across the U.S. Yesterday was day 1 of the actual ride. She wrote all about her preparations for her trip as well. Quite entertaining and informative.

    Check out No Direction Known

    Oh, and she's riding a 2010 Specialized Tricross Comp by the name of "Precious."

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    Skins Compression Tights

    There's been some local talk about compression tights from Mod and here (Redemske). I can't say I've used them much post ride, but I'm going to get a pair for driving to the race. Up to now, I've used the industrial strength compression stockings in an attractive clinical white and regular support hose, but the time has come to upgrade to the real thing. Help support my team and get your Skins here.

    http://www.definedfitnesstraining.com/SKINS

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Tour de Omaha

    Since I'm having a bit of a staycation, I asked Redemske over at GamJamsMidwest for a route around Omaha. I wanted to try something new and something with a bit of climbing. He sent me this.  Later today, I'll decide if I still like him. I'll tell you one thing, though, I hate MapMyRide. I've never known such a site to pressure a visitor to become a premium member to such an annoying degree.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Albuquerque sourdough turns one year old

    Last year, Marc, Aaron and I headed to Tour of the Gila early and stayed a few days in Albuquerque. I was getting into bread making and had become interested in sourdough. While at our host house, I took a couple kumquats and mixed the juice with some whole wheat flour and let it sit out overnight. The subsequent days, I kept it covered and fed it each day with a little more flour and water. Sure enough, by the time we arrived in Silver City, I had wonderful bubbling and kicked off my first Tour of the Gila with a breakfast of sourdough pancakes. Yes, I know it might have been foolish to do a new food on such an important day, but I was confident and pancakes have always stood me well. I've not made pancakes any other way since. The flavor is just that much better.

    A year later, a container of sourdough continues to be cultivated in a container sitting on my counter. Each day I feed it an equal volume of water and flour, building it up for a recipe. When I travel, I feed it and put it in the fridge. Try that with your kids or pets.  :D  

    I use the sourdough for bread, pancakes, pizza dough, biscuits, muffins, pitas and tortillas.

    There are lots of ways to get starter going. I used citrus and flour. You can also soak raisins in water and flour. That whitish color you see on black raisins contains wild yeasts. You can also order cultivated strains like that from San Francisco, the "mother dough"  has been cultivated since 1849.

    My starter's flavor is mild in terms of sourness. I have considered making some with local wild yeasts to compare flavors, but haven't got around to it. I don't think it would be that different though. All the times of opening and closing the container have probably allowed enough local wild yeasts to take over the culture, but it might be a cool experiment.

    If you have kids in need of non-screen entertainment, get them into the kitchen.

    About sourdough from Wikipedia
    A history of sourdough

    Purported health benefits of wild yeasted over commercially yeasted breads:
    from Jacques de Langre
    http://www.ranprieur.com/readings/natleavbread.html

    Specialized sourdough tolerated by celiacs
    "A double blind test was then conducted in which 17 celiac disease patients were given 2 grams of gluten-containing bread started with bakers yeast or lactobacilli. Thirteen of them showed distinct, negative changes in their intestinal permeability after eating the bread, and 4 of them did not show any negative effects. The specially prepared sourdough bread was then given to all 17 patients and none of them had intestinal permeability reactions that differed from their normal baseline values.

    The researchers conclude: "These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.""
    http://www.celiac.com/articles/752/1/Study-Finds-Wheat-based-Sourdough-Bread-Started-with-Selected-Lactobacilli-is-Tolerated-by-Celiac-Disease-Patients/Page1.html

    Lower blood sugar levels
    "With the sourdough, the subjects' blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin," said Graham, whose findings are to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. "What was even more interesting was that this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted even hours after. This shows that what you have for breakfast influences how your body will respond to lunch."
    http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough_bread.html

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    How to make yogurt -- the illustrated guide

    We go through yogurt rapidly at our house, especially now that the boys have discovered thick, creamy yogurt with honey and fresh fruit is quite tasty. Yogurt is one of the easiest things to make at home that can save you lots of money. Case in point, I like the greek-style, which runs around $5/lb.  I can make 4 lbs. at home for the price of a gallon of milk (2.80-3.20) and a 50 cent container of plain Yoplait yogurt.

    You can use whole or 2% milk. The whole milk is a little richer, but since we'll be draining off the whey, creaminess is unaffected.





    Heat up the milk to 180 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, this is when it's hot enough to be frothy, but not boil.  If you use whole milk, you can bring it to a boil with no problem. 


    Cool the milk to 110 degrees. I put mine in a bowl like this with a little cold water. Doesn't take long. If no thermometer, test on the inside of your wrist like you would for a baby's bottle. It shouldn't feel ouch-your-mouth hot, but it should be pleasantly warm.



    Take about 2 cups of the warm milk and mix it with a container of plain yogurt in a separate bowl. I like the plain Dannon, but you can use any kind of yogurt so long as it says "live culture" on the label. Different yogurts have various bacterial cultures which affect the flavor. This is what I like and for consistency, I use a fresh container each time. Once mixed in the smaller bowl, add to the large container and gently stir. You don't want to mix a lot of air in. Just stir to distribute the culture throughout the milk.



    Cover the yogurt and let it sit and place with a consistent temperature from 5 to 12 hours, or until it firms up to a desired level. I heat my oven at 400 degrees F for 1 minute, turn it off, and set my covered yogurt in it overnight. This is convenient. Less time would probably be fine, but the trick to working "slow food" into a busy life is fitting it into the rhythm of your days.



    When checking how it's "set up," I tilt the pan and it will pull away from the edge. You can kind of see it in this picture, but the pan was too heavy to take the pic and tilt it as I normally do. You'll know if it's firm or not. Trust me.

    The next step is to strain off some of the whey. I line a colander with dampened coffee filters because that's something I have in abundance right now, having thought I was out and buying bulk. Others use cheesecloth, but I find that a pain to clean. The coffee filters work great and then go into the compost pile.


    Here you see the yogurts been poured into the colander and is set to chill for another 5-12 hours in the fridge. Since I let the culture go over night, I usually do this step in the morning.

    By the time I get home and finish my workout, the whey has drained out. You can see the yogurt is thick and pulling away from the sides of colander. Put the whey in a storage container to sue for soups. Then, flip the yogurt into the bowl and peel off the coffee filters. This is an easy job if you've flipped with confidence.

    To further develop the creaminess quotient, I vigorously mix the yogurt. Those of you who prefer the yoplait custard style yogurt --- I'm talking to you.

    Pour the yogurt into a storage container and put it in the fridge along with the whey.



    Yogurt: My teen boys like yogurt best with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. If you're craving chocolate, mix in a chocolate syrup to taste. I eat mine mixed with rolled oats and blueberries for lunches. I also use it in place of sour cream and add it to baked goods to enhance moistness and often reduce the amount of butter or oil. If you enjoy indian food, you'll love having a large quantity of high quality yogurt on hand.

    Whey: Add to soups and breads instead of water. Whey greatly improves the flavor of both.