Monday, December 31, 2007

THE TOP TEN (or twenty), ....THINGS I LOVED ABOUT 2007!


Anita Bear-Steadfast in Friendship, Life, and Parenting

Is there really a duck to shoot?

Children are worthy of every speck of loving attention we have for them.

Not necessarily in this order, but these were the TOPS.

1) Racing in Wisconsin.
2) My best bud, Anita Bear.
3) Coaching, Coaching, Coaching, and more Coaching.
4) Racing for Team Mack Paper Company. Thanks Gary, Sharmin, and Fleck! You are the best!
5) Living the good life with my twin brother.
6) Hanging out with young people on bikes!
7) Dancing in Vegas with two of the best people on the planet!
8) Hanging out and traveling with Sweet John.
9) Frank and 2 Wheel Racing Team
10) Riding with Dolce Divas
11) Winning $400 in a bike race.
12) Adam
13) D.J. Wright
14) The people I met at Shawn's Cycling clinic.
15) Playing Foot Fish with Max and Grant
16) Hanging out with Ryan
17) Shooting the duck at Martina's birthday party
18) Rick B.

YOU JUST LET ME KNOW, if there's something I am missing here!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

SUNSHINE makes the world go round......and my pedals, and my wheels, and my legs......

I could have stayed inside to cuddle.

But.............I didn't.

This time of year, when the sun is out in Way West County, and it's 53 degrees,.....and it's been raining, and the ground is cold, and the trees are wet, and the shade is's not really all that warm. When the air is moving along, up your nose, through your helmet, and in all the little spaces in your kit, it's not 53 degrees. Is this rocket science?

The air is moist.... As the body gets more moist, and the clothing being worn gets moist, that moisture starts to match the temperature of the air which is breezing at you, a pretty good clip, even on a low key ride. So, the moral of the story: Base, Base, Base, Baby. The base layer is what you build on to make the intensity more handle-able (sounds like a talk on periodization) ....of course I am referring to the intensity of the cold moist clothing you are wearing as you roll along. Isn't this obvious to most? Of course, but hey, some folks aren't most. I recently had to make just these points to someone who I know. This particular person lives and rides near SNOW!! That's why it's good to make these points! What a glorious sunshiny day it was today.

What did you do today?

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Well, if you have the right gear, anyway. Hands are tricky to keep warm. I notice that my friends who don't wear the right gloves get grumpy really fast, and start fantasizing about their warm showers really early in the ride. Yes, you know who you are. long as you keep moving, hypothermia stays in check very well. And, yea, there's the bike cleaning, and the removal of wet clothes to a pile, that you better do something with very soon, or else. But, all in all, a rainy calm day can be super cool, and enjoyable......Have fun out there!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Right here on the homefront........West County Cruisers

The Divas have come to Sonoma County a couple of times now, they rock. Funny, relaxed, serious, (about the important things), but generally living as genuine Dolce Divas.

And about the season, since it 'tis the season:

What a wonderful winter so far! Dodging raindrops, getting caught in the fog, then in the clear, when the ocean is near, then in the trees, where the road may be wet, but dry are my knees.

So many updates......For now, the update will be today. Christmas was sunny and relaxing. My twin brother is the best. He's named after Basil Rathbone, the British actor who used to play Sherlock Holmes, pronounced: Bazzle...

Basil: "I got the yams, the turkey, and the cranberry stuff, what do you have?"
Laurel: "I've got the salad, the dressing, and the pesto."
Basil: "Pesto? That sounds yummy....NOT."
Laurel: "Well, I think it's good on the turkey!"
Basil: "I'm sure
you will love it."
Laurel: "Well, I think mom will like it too."
Basil: "Yea, let me whip up some angel hair for us."

So, yea, pesto on the turkey...mmm tasty.

He's one of my bestest buds in the world. I can talk to him about anything, and he'll say, "Well, Laurel, it's gonna happen this way, or it's not.....Either way, you'll know in good time." Wise old soul.

I'll be checking in more often, I promise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Sweet Life Continues-Dolce Vita RAH!

After taking two years to fly solo, and take care of some miscellaneous details like a broken shoulder, and missing racing legs, I have found a place to be for the next phase of my bike racing scene. They are the Dolce Vita Racing Team. Based in Marin county, they have phenomenal leadership, and fun, down to earth folks who love to ride and race. The Men's side is super supportive of the women's side, and vice versa...the way a great team should be. Onward, ho, more later, but here's a shot of last year's squad and a shot of myself with one of the packages of potential on the team, Sarah Miller.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Cross Training Season and My Friend Ryan

Whoa, where did the off season go? Well, my friend Ryan can tell you, a small chunk of it was with him!!! It went to playing flag football, hand ball, buns-up (a throwing game with a tennis ball) , basketball, and Mr. Beanbag! What? Let me explain: You see, in the process of trying to come up with fun stuff to do that was unrelated to cycling, I had an opportunity to hang out with my friend Ryan for 4 days! Geesh, if you ever want to really get some good cross training in, hang out with a 9 year old for 4 days, and play whatever sport he wants you to play. Wow.

I know, all of you parents may be snickering, "she has no clue." or maybe you're saying, "I wish she'd come do that with my kid". But, there I was, in charge of Ryan, his 13 year old brother, and his 15 year old sister for 4 days, while Mom and Dad were out of town. One day, I was completely tuckered from the outdoor activities that we had been doing, we watched a movie (thank goodness, I got to sit down), then we played some cards. While we were playing cards, Ryan pulled this huge beanbag over to where we were sitting, so he could sit on it. The rest is history.

We had been talking about Halloween, and this is how it unfolded:

Ryan: "I want to be a beanbag for Halloween!"
Me: "Well, if you're gonna do that, you should practice first!"
Ryan: "O.K.!"

And the next thing you know, he was inside the beanbag, dragging it around, and jumping in it and on it, and with it, and ............after awhile, I think the whole idea of being a beanbag wore off. He was all out wrestling the thing! It was hilarious! These shots barely touch the fun that was had, but I had to share a bit of it. 9 year olds ROCK!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Round and Round They Go!!!

Today was a great day for a little bike clinic for 4th and 5th graders. Sometimes, even if you spell it out in big letters for them, they still just want to go as fast as they can on their bikes. They are so funny. One of the drills was with pairs, and they were to ride side-by-side, then switch to riding single file, then side-by-side, then single file with the other rider taking the lead. But, they simply could not help riding really fast AWAY from their buddy. It was pure humor. Close the gap!!

The real fun started when I had the front rider come upon an imaginary "huge rock" in the road, and do a quick-stop! The rider behind had to be at the top of their game, so they would not ram into their friend. Not even a casualty here. They did great (must have been all of that skidding I let them do beforehand).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mandalay Bay Super Crit in Las Vegas-Sunlight, Twilight, Bright Lights

The course was flat and fast. There were about 60 women on the line. Big guns from all over. Cheerwine ruled the day, no surprise there. Aaron's had some riders on the line, some other strong solo riders. It was warm, and oh so dry. It was hard to move forward in the field, but with about 10 laps to go, I finally started edging forward. With two to go, I had made it to the top third of the field, and was moving forward when a rider on my right, tipped into a metal barricade. I did not go down, but I was gapped with several other riders, and we chased for the last lap and a half. I ended up 29th out of about 54 finishers, and I was upright. More next season. Look for updates on my new team, and other cool things I am up to.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Personal Record on Mount Tamalpais-Stinson Beach, CA

The weather was great. The competition was inspiring. The mountain, of course, is awesome with 12 miles of terrain and 2000 feet of climbing. My legs felt a little tired from previous days training, but there I was, settling into a rhythm up the mountain, that felt like it was going to help me reach my goal of sub 52 minutes at the finish. I looked at my watch twice: Once at 30 minutes, when I thought to myself: 'I have 22 minutes to get to the finish.' Then, I looked again at 50 minutes, and kicked my bootie into high gear to finish in 51:51!! I was elated. What a great ride. I visualized it this way, then, during the race, I stayed true to believing I could make the goal, and there it was... I was officially 9th place out of 20 riders, because two people tied for 8th place. A great ride. Way better than that broken shoulder I had last year. Whew.....
Thanks for reading. Infineon races on Tuesday night...and Super Crit on September 27th.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Benicia with Wind and Rollers

Another criterium! Wahoo! Fixed distance, multiple laps, as per crit usual, 45 minutes, 18 women on the line. Windy on the backstretch over the rollers, and on the final stretch, and on the other stretches. Yup, simply windy. The field was pretty stacked with our local, darn near Pro, ValuAct gals, Cheerwine rep, Sarah Bamberger, Metromint, and a few others. The little digger and rollers on the back stretch reminded me of a Midwestern criterium. I loved the course! A few sketchy moments here and there, like any crit, and a few attempts to get away from the field...but the last lap was the best: I jumped pretty early and pretty hard over the second roller, and found myself uncomfortably at the front. I hesitated a bit, and folks came by me....'o.k., o.k.' I thought...get your bootie up there. There was still two turns before the finish and a good downhill stretch to the line. I finished 7th, .....close enough for government work. I held off a few riders. On to the Infineon raceway on Tuesday night, again.

My Buddy Sierra-She's 4, and Sharp as a Tack!!

I was so excited to get a call from Sierra's mom, asking me to hang out with Sierra last Friday night. I was welcomed with squealing and hiding, so I was on.
The first game we played was "hot lava". The carpet was lava, then it wasn't, then it was, then it wasn't. Once she was laughing hysterically at my confused "fearful of hot lava" frenzy, 'we' decided that the downstairs was lava, and the upstairs was not (I was working toward getting her into bed, you see). So, finally in the bedroom, getting jammies on, and getting ready....making the bed, just this way, and not that, according to Sierra. Then, bedtime stories. One story, then another, then, lights out, and we are getting very close to sleepy bye. Well, it all appeared that way.... I was lying on the floor, in the dark, next to her bed, chatting with her, as she fell asleep. I was about to enter dozeville, when the real dialogue began:
Sierra: "Are you awake?"
Me: "un-huh...." (I think I am, anyway).
Sierra: "Can you hear the crickets?"
Me: "Oh yea, they're loud."
Sierra: "They sound like baby birds."
Me: "Yea, you're right."
Sierra: "Did you know that baby birds walk sooner and talk sooner than people do?"
Me: "Wow, I guess I never knew that."
Sierra: "My mom and dad told me that."
Me: "Wow."
So, more tossing and turning in her little bed, and more, very near what appeared to be slumberland for her, I think,.....and for me too.......even though I was on the floor.
Then, out of the darkness, and the sound of crickets:
Sierra: "Does c-o-y spell sausage?"
Me: "I don't think so."
Sierra: "What does it spell?"
Me: "It spells coy".
Sierra: "Well, then how do you spell boy?"
Me: "b-o-y."
Sierra: "Oh"
And the next thing you know, she was fast asleep.
To all of the wonderful 4 year olds out there figuring out their world through play, and discussing it along the way! My best to you always.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Giro de San Francisco-Big Girls, Big Bumps, Big Field

The weather was beautiful, although very windy. There were, I think maybe 35-40 women on the line. A very strong group of Elite Amateur women who pretty much run the show when it comes to Northern California racing. There were potholes galore, and some uneven patches of pavement, forcing all of us to really handle our bikes. For the most part, I think we all did. The finish was about position, position, position. In order to be a contender, you have to get yourself forward before the last turn. I was not as far forward as I should have been, so I had to rely on my "sprint?" to get me by a few riders on the final stretch after the last turn. I ended up 12th place. I was pleased with this because I have not raced the Nor Cal Regional circuit in 2 years! It was great to be back. I feel lucky to be a part of such a talented female cycling community!
This week: Infineon raceway, for a little steep hill, and sweeping wide turns.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bye Bye Wisconsin and Illinois-Back to Cali!!

As much as I love my birthplace, Wisconsin, and consider it a second home in many ways, my current home is California. So, with that said, thank you to everyone in the Midwest who backed me this summer with racing and coaching. I will always come back to visit.

Thanks to the City of Elk Grove, Illinois for naming the streets so kindly. I'll be back for sure.

I am back in Cali now, finishing up the season with some criterium racing, and great Northern California training.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Few Pros at Elk Grove, and a Drug Test.


Elk Grove, Illinois: 1.7 mile, flat neighborhood loop with 2 pretty wide 180 degree turns, for 1 hour and 33 minutes. The weather was hot. 37 women on the line. The purse was something big. The flyer, and the website said $15,000. The official at the starting line said $11,000. It paid 20 deep, onward ho. Cheerwine, Express Copy, ValueAct Capital, Target Training, Kenda Tire, Hub Racing, and a bunch of solo acts.

ruled the day. A crash on the last lap left the field less top heavy (mainly from people getting caught behind it) while coming down the final stretch. We were missing a few good contenders like Leigh Valletti of Target Training, Lara Kroepsch of Team Lipton, and some of the Kenda Tire Team. I managed 19th place, just inside the money, but it felt weird to have the field all mixed up, and not really racing with leadouts all over the place. Cheerwine was the main team doing a leadout. ValueAct Capital had lost Taitt Soto to a mechanical at 5 laps to go (at which point there were no more free laps from the wheel pit), which was ridiculous, since there was still so much time, and distance (5 x 1.7 miles) left in the bike race. They really should have had free laps until 3 to go, with such long laps. Anyway, the eventful part of the day was the drug test afterwards. I was chosen as a random rider to get tested. The only other reason they test you, is if you WON. It was so hot that I could not give the doping agents enough of a sample. So I got to wait around, drink some water, and keep trying, and trying....finally they had what they needed. Whew. What fun.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Back to the Children-My friend Grant

Have you ever been absolutely charmed by an interaction with a child? I encourage you to chat with a child, if you haven't lately. My best bud, and teammate, Anita, has a son named Grant. Grant and I have known each other since 2003. He's 8 years old now. Yesterday I was able to chat with him on the phone in the wee hours of the morning between Wisconsin and California. He has also shared some of his cool computer art with me too!!

Laurel: "Grant, what are you doing right now?"
Grant: "Playing with leggos. I just got up about 10 minutes ago."
Laurel: "Wow, you slept in today!"
Grant: "No, I usually get up around 6:00 every day."
Laurel: "I heard you got a new kitty cat! How is she?"
Grant: "She's great. Right now, she's waiting to play with me. Every time I pick something up, to put it away, she wants to come and play with it."
Laurel: "What are you up to today?"
Grant: "Swimming lessons, and I'm not sure what else."
Laurel: "How's swimming going? What strokes are you learning?"
Grant: "The back stroke, and the crawl, then we use the kick boards to go from one end of the pool to the other. You know what? I am in the big pool now, and I can swim all the way to the other end and back! All of the other kids start out ahead of me, and then I catch them, and can beat them all! They are stronger than me in the beginning, then I pass them."
Laurel: "Is that because you're in better shape than they are?"
Grant: "No, it's because I have more endurance, and when they get tired, I just keep going, and going."
Laurel: "Oh yea, that's right, you have all of that endurance. How did that run go, that you did a couple of weeks ago?"
Grant: "Oh yea, that was a fundraiser. I ran 12 laps, which was about 3 miles and I raised $115.00. But, I have not been doing much running since then. Just soccer tournaments. We have one this weekend. We are going up against a really good team though, so we may not win it."
Laurel: "You never know, your team might play better than they ever have and surprise the other team with a really good game!"
Grant: "Well, maybe, but the other team is really good."
Laurel: "How many games will you play this weekend?"
Grant: "Four. Two on Saturday, and two on Sunday."
Laurel: "Whew! You have a big weekend ahead of you!"
Grant: "Yea, well there's my brother, and he wants to play, so I better go. Do you want to talk to my mom? She is still in bed...."
Laurel: "Oh no, don't wake her up!"
Grant: "It's o.k, she's awake, she's just lying there, and I am sure she would love to talk to you!"
Laurel: "Aww...thanks buddy!"

Monday, August 6, 2007

Midwestern School of Bike Racing.....Homework Journal Entry

Hey All,
Racing in the Midwest is a little different than racing in Northern California. In Nor Cal, the biggest jackpot we get in most bike races, is on the starting line with the incredible talented field of riders from all over the region (which, by the way, is why I love Nor Cal Cycling so much!!). In the Midwest, we have a small pool of strong riders, and interestingly large purses.

Saturday August 4th- Lessons in Basic Bike Racing at Grayslake, Wisconsin:

Ten women on the line. 40 minutes plus 3 laps of a flat criterium. $650 purse paying 7 places deep. There were several attacks that we reeled in by the ISCORP girls from Milwaukee (there were 3 of them). Another strong rider from Athletes by Design (ABD) in Chicago area helped with the work, a brand new, strong young rider from "Get a Grip" Cycling Team and a local sprinter from Mercy Cycling team in Iowa City were there to cover things. There were cash primes (race within a race prizes for winner of the next lap), so those fast laps would string out the field a bit. With 3 laps to go, the officials rang the bell for a prime. I went with the lead riders, but was not interested in the prize. However, they went pretty hard, so it was a good effort to stay with them. Right after the prime was won, the ABD rider launched a beautiful attack from the back of the group of about 8 of us, and got a huge gap. We all hesitated, and missed her. There she went. We all chased (well I DID, with the field in tow) very hard, to no avail, then there it was 1 lap to go, still chasing, and not reeling her in. Geesh, good job ABD! I did what I could on the last lap, but it only got me 6th in the field sprint, and 7th overall. Optimal frustration, and humbling were a wonderful piece of this re-learned lesson. But, I was "in the money", I had stayed upright, and the workout was good. So, onward ho.

Sunday, August 5th-Going back to School in Elgin, Illinois:

Eleven women on the line. $2000 purse, paying 20 deep (hmm, with 11 racers, what does that mean? Yup, we would all get paid). Same crew as yesterday. My goal was to apply lessons re-learned yesterday today at school. 40 min plus 3 laps, technical criterium with a 1 block decent, followed by two flat corners and up into a 1 block climb that took about 15-20 seconds to get up in the big chain ring. Then the course kept ascending very gradually as a false flat around 2 more corners to the finish line. The ISCORP women were attacking and getting primes, as well as the "Get a Grip" rider. I decided to just watch everything happen today. I actually have never ridden a small race as conservatively as I did today. With 3 laps to go a prime was won by an ISCORP rider, and she, and another rider got away with a pretty good gap. Then two riders followed them with another good gap. I was gapped behind these four riders. I was not too worried as I knew I could make up ground in the corners and on the descent. I heard some yelling behind me about closing the gap, but I was not concerned. On the last lap, I let myself float back a bit, to see what was going to happen. The pace picked up, but it did not pick up over the digger, so I dug in, and stomped on the pedals hard passing the whole group by the top of the climb. I had a little gap after the climb, and just pressed as hard as I could over the long stretch to the finish. I was nipped at the line by ISCORP's sprinter, so I got 2nd place, but I was very pleased....I won $400, and a cool medal!!!
I know this is not nearly what racing with the Pros is like, but hey, it's fun, and lucrative, so what the heck. It's what I am doing right now. More school next weekend with the Pros.

Monday, July 30, 2007

One of the Guys for a Few Days

These races were 35 mile criteriums (about an hour and 15 minutes of racing..)

Day 1 (Sheboygan, WI): Racing with the 40+ Master's Men at Superweek started with a small Midwestern monsoon, that soaked the field. The race started with a sprinkle, then, more and more...what seemed like puddles fell from the sky. I ended up using some good 'ol homegrown common sense after 15 minutes of racing in the rain with the guys. It was wet while I lasted, but I was glad I was not in there when some of those big guys started going down on the wet course. Whew!

Day 2 (Kenosha, WI): A little over 50 guys on the line, 2 women, sunny, breezy, great day for racing. I held my own, and finished in the field in 33rd place. Average speed was about 27 mph...not as fast as the Pro Women, but hey, I'm gettin' there.

Day 3 (Whitefish Bay, WI): 41 guys on the line, 2 women, sunny, breezy, perfect day for racing. Somewhat technical course with a couple of tight corners (which I love!). The group was smaller, and harder to hide in. I worked pretty hard when the group strung out in a single file line. But there I was in 28th place when the day was done. Great race, fast and hard, just like I remember!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Final Four Women's Races of Superweek

I took a few days to recover (coach's orders) from the first weekend of Superweek racing. I was feeling my bum a bit from crashing on Saturday, so it turned out to be a good thing. All of these races had 40-50 women in them, and they were 30-35 mile criteriums.

THURSDAY (July 19)- I was back to the mix in Shorewood with some other fresh legs. I did not feel that great, so I mostly sat in the bike race. The course was super bumpy, and there were several attacks here and there. The back stretch was wide and safe, but it was not quite enough for me to move far enough forward on the last lap to be in the money, or in contention. Race over, stayed upright, kept half the pack at my back.

FRIDAY (July 20)-was a great course in Green Lake, Wisconsin (the deepest lake in Wisconsin). I loved the course. It had a little (big ring) digger hill on it, that took about 15 seconds to get up and over. There were some fast laps, and I burned a few more matches than I would have liked, in order to get a good finish, so, no stellar finish today either. But, one more race in my legs. I can feel them coming along. YES!!!

SATURDAY (July 21)- Carl Zach Memorial in Waukesha (in Memorial of a great Midwestern bike racer, and wonderful guy). First day racing without the Pros. It was still relatively fast, but for shorter stints than the pros can put out. I felt better today. I really liked the course. It was fast, and fun. Some good attacks, and a TON of prime laps (race within a race for one lap to get CASH). I got myself farther forward at the end of the race, and was able to get myself in the money for 16th place. I was happy....Still am...

SUNDAY (July 22)- New Superweek course in Evanston, Illinois. Great racing, great corners!! The race was fast, there were some fresh Chicago legs there. I felt better today than I have felt ALL season! I was in heaven racing today. I avoided a crash pretty early on, and was able to close the gap in front of me to stay in the bike race. I moved forward on the last lap, the sprint was LONG, so I just kept holding wheels in front of me, and going around them. A few riders went by me in the long sprint, I was nipped at the line by 11th place, and got 12th in the race. Felt great, look forward to more!

Now, more rest, and I will race with the guys later this week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bensenville-Ahhh Much Better Bike Racing

Sunday was Bensenville (near Chicago). Again, about 40 women on the line. 40 laps. A few fresh legs that I did not see on Saturday. Course was somewhat technical with 6 corners instead of 4. The pace was much faster, and more steady (huge sigh of relief). I stayed farther forward (duh). But the course was also more conducive to a steady rhythm of racing. There were plenty of attacks. I brought one back to the field, which had gone up the road about 15 seconds or so. As a solo rider, it's a bit risky to do that. But I only did it once, then took my place back in the field as far forward as possible, but not at the keep myself in the fast part of the race. There are quite a few solo riders here this week! A few attempts to get away got reeled back in by the aggressive field. The South Bay Wheelmen's Women's Squad from Southern California has a good strong group of 4 women. With 4 laps to go, the pace increased. Whew. With 2 to go, we slowed up a Then, the Cheerwine Team formed as much of a train as they could with 2 riders, to bring up the pace for Kelly Benjamin, sprinter extraordinaire. Thank goodness! I stayed as far forward as I could. I stayed intact, and came around a few riders in the final sprint for 16th place. I was pleased. Thanks for reading.

Blue Island-Blue Bottom First Race at Superweek

Hey All,
Saturday was the first race of Superweek (7 days of NRC racing with Pro 1/2 women, and 2 additional days of NON-NRC racing with Pro 1/2/3 women). Followed by another week of men's racing and Cat. 3/4 women's racing.
At Blue Island, Illinois (near Chicago) the course was about 1 mile, very non-technical, 40 laps. There were about 40 women who started. A few select Pros from Cheerwine and Aaron's, but mostly Elite Amateurs from around the USA. The race was not all that fast, which sometimes makes for sketchy fact there were a couple of dangerous slow-ups on the straightaways that caused havoc in the field. I was right in front of the first one, and missed it. With about 15 laps to go, I was right behind the second crash, and was merging left, merging left, applying the brakes, still rolling slowly right before the pile of bikes, that had gone down....and WHAM &@#^%&^!!! someone T-boned me from the side, and while rolling along slowly, I went down on my left B--- Cheek, and skidded on it. I got up, walked around a bit, to make sure nothing was too "off". I went to the wheel pit, got back in the race. The race sped up a bit after that, and I hovered about mid pack. I felt a little banged up, so was a bit hesitant to change my position too much. When it came down to the last lap, I just followed suit, and sat in the line. I was 22nd overall, and really glad I was o.k.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wisconsin State Criterium Championships

Racing in the Midwest is always a treat, whether it's with the men, or the women. Although the women's race was brief and to the point, there were 20 women on the line, including a couple of local stars good at sprinting. We formed a break of 5 of us pretty quickly, representing 3 teams back in the field, and two solo riders like myself. The break stayed away, and boiled down to 4 of us coming through the second to last corner side by side (we were all from different teams, and no one wanted to lead anyone else out). Two riders jumped, then I jumped, and the winning rider was on my wheel. She came around me, and the other two riders to win. Good Girl! I got 4th. Now I know which riders can sprint. I won some cash, and had fun! I cooled down, got some food in me, and a couple of hours later, did the Master's 30+ Men's race (60 min). The course was a little technical with corners, so I was loving it. I love corners!!! I finished with the field, and called it a great day of training at the races. Next week, racing with the big girls again......

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Racing back to Racing

In the world of bike racing, there is a flow to things. When you train for racing, you are basically preparing for a physiological and mental experience that is tough to match anywhere but in an actual race. This may also be true for other sports, but it's especially true for bike racing. My season started off very slowly. Over the past few weeks, I have been re-entering the racing scene, after a couple of good training blocks. Ideally, I would have been racing since February or March, but this season was a little different, and I am here now, in the Midwest, growing where I am planted, where the racing is hot, and fast....with Midwestern women and men in some regional events.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tiny moments that bring laughter.....

So, I was JRA (just riding along) the bike path yesterday, and came upon a family. The parents were walking arm-in-arm, and the roughly 13-year-old was tooling along at walking speed on his BMX bike, helmet straps flying in the breeze. I approached them from behind, saying, "On your left." The boy looks directly at me, in the eyes, and says, "Pop a Wheelie!!" I laughed out loud, and actually considered trying it. But, since I have never done one, I thought twice...but it sure made me laugh. And, you know the cool thing about young people, even if they are smarting off, is that they do expect more of adults than they are displaying in any moment. Just reflect on any button you have ever had pushed by a young one. Have a great day.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

See what needs doing, and have fun doing it!

Today, here in Santa Rosa, we had a work party to build road closure barricades for our weekly practice races. What fun! Lars, foreman in charge, was flexible, fun, easy to be around, and did a GREAT job directing all of us. His wife Danielle directed the paint party once the boards were all prepped. She also offered us beverages. Thank you Danielle! I also got to meet Eternity, (is that a great name, or what?) a wonderful 1 or 2? year old who said, what sounded like, "De, te, dee" when I asked her name. Danielle helped me out with her language. Then when Eternity was leaving, she said, "Thanks for the juice." to Lars. It actually sounded like, "anks foo ooose." Lars said, "What did she say?" and she said it again...very clearly in her own mind. Her father heard it the first time, and knew what she said. He gave Lars a hard time for not understanding 2-year old girl language. After all, Lars has a 2 year old BOY! How would he know that language?? And, you know what's great about Lars? If there were a class in that language, he'd probably take it.

When I got back home, to Great Graton, I noticed Erica (2nd grade) and Clint (3rd grade), buzzing around the streets on their little bikes....except, they were really pumping their legs around, bouncing up and down. Neither one of them had more than 10 pounds of pressure in their 35 psi tires. I called Erika over first, as I pulled my floor pump out of the back of my car. She was so excited. I told her she was gonna go so much faster with more air in her tires. Pretty soon, her brother picked up on what I was doing, and came to stand in line at the pump. Two satisfied, excited customers! On the way out of my driveway, Erica says, "It's a good thing you had a pump!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


When school is almost out, the days seem like weeks, and the weeks seem like months. But the minute that bell rings on the last day of school, it feels as though it all started just yesterday. I love my job as a teacher. I also love bike racing. Next year, I will take a leave of absence from my teaching job to raise money, train, and race full time. One of my students said to me today, after I told them about my dreams to pursue my potential as a bike racer, "Miss Green, can't you ride your bike after school?" I said, "Yes, I can, and I do! But I want to ride my bike before school, during school, and after school!"

I will be coaching, doing cycling clinics, and substitute teaching in order to make a few ends meet.

If you are interested in holding a cycling clinic for your neighborhood children, or know someone who needs a coach, let me know, and, please send them my way!

Off to do more grading!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Just Break the Ice

So there I was on standby at the airport to catch a flight home from San Diego last weekend. I got the spot on the earlier flight, then moved slowly onto the already loaded plane. I see the one seat left on the plane. It's in the center of a row of three. The guy in the window seat has already lifted up the armrest to claim the space he needs. I'll call him, Big Guy. He's got one of those basketball jersey type tank tops on, with some Dickies shorts......that are, you know, the baggy, cool kind. He's probably 35. He's about 6' 4" and easily 300+ lbs. The guy on the aisle, white t-shirt, plaid shorts, baseball cap, and barely takes up half of his seat. I'll call him Cool Kid. I can tell Big might be nervous about who will sit in the center seat. Cool is just hoping whoever sits there won't rub up against him. I put my stuff up in the overhead bin, and scoot into the center seat. I notice that Big stops breathing, as to not take up any more space. As I sit down, and reach for my seatbelt, I tap Big on the leg, and say, "Could you scoot over please? Just kidding!" He laughed. Turns out, he's a foreman for an ashphalt company, has a couple of kids, likes Jack and Coke, couldn't believe he barely fit in the lavatory, and has big concerns about how you just can't let your kids run around in the neighborhood anymore, like we did when we were growing up.