Wednesday, December 31, 2008

R2D2 Loves Pablo

This note is for my friend Pablo. Pablo, you are one solid kid! I like the stories that your dad told me when we hung out for coffee. He raves about you. We know you're dealing with some silly something that's bugging you all inside. Well, I'm here to remind you, that you're beating it!!!

You're doing it! R2D2 is here to help too! He can project images of people through his special eyes, and he's projecting an image of you, Pablo... all BIG AND STRONG AND HEALTHY!!!

YUP! That's right! I can see it now!!

That's the picture I'm seeing:


Happy New Year Pablo! I look forward to seeing you!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Cool Way to Make a Kid's Day!!!

Hey Laurel,

I am working on a project called the Wheels Can Take Me Places Project. I am training a class of twenty two 7th grade youth from a local charter school to participate in the 2009 Katy Trail Ride- 225 miles in one week. Fourteen of those 7th graders are girls. We presently have some used donated clothing for boys, but nothing for the girls. We are hoping that we can get some help from people wanting to support this project, and ask that if you have it, to donate some used clothing (or equipment) for the girls.

Please send clothing to:

Urban KC Community of Cycling
3008 Drury Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64128
(816) 326-7924

Thank you for your support.

Best Regards,
Kenneth Walker
Community Cycling Representative for Urban Kansas City Community of Cycling

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Winter Solstice

A time of more light. A time of renewal. The season shifts to Winter for real, according to the seasonal calendar. While we go about our busy lives, let's remember to wear the rain coat, hug the ones we love, have compassion for the ones we can't tell we love, and have a real life. Make it real. You know, shift it up, make a difference. For you, for them, for anyone.

I was hanging with some friends in a restaurant tonight. Their family had three children in it. The youngest was 6. All she wanted to do was put the leaves at the end of the table UP and DOWN, all night. She thought it was fascinating how she could lift the leaf up, then prop it up , then hold it up with these little sliders that pulled out from under the table. Putting those table leaves up and down was all she wanted to think about. So, when she was at the end of the table where I was....she got to put those leaves UP and DOWN. She would tell me exactly where to hold it with my finger, while she pulled the little sliders out. It was so fun. Her parents were getting a little worried that she was having too much fun, but we handled them... the sweet ones that they are.

Parents are some of the most incredible people on the planet. Bless them deeply. They were children once, and are back for more by having some. I love it.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Ride was Cool, Fresh, Crisp, Packed with Climbing, and Then.... The Road Side Find was Awesome Too!

I know, I know, one person's trash is another's treasure, and maybe that's the case here, but I think I scored....right there on the side of the road.

Yup, a fresh roll of RED:

12.5 mil Premium grade cloth duct tape used for protection of window and door frames during stucco application, and high performance motorsports applications.

Heavy duty bundling, holding, and splicing.

What am I going to do with this tape? I can think of some awesome things to do with this tape. I'll start by repairing some cracked jump rope handles at school, then get to the badminton racquet handles, then, then, then..... I'll keep you posted, and I will accept suggestions that are within reason.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Checking in with Jack

Whoa. It's been awhile.

But, thought you'd all like to know: Jack and me, we're on a first name basis now.

I remember his name, and he calls me Laurel. So, I think that's o.k.

Today's dialogue, after running around for awhile doing P.E.:

Jack: "I'm tired Ms. Green, my tummy hurts."
Me: "Jack, did you have too many nails for breakfast?"
Jack (long pause): ", I had tacks."
Me: "Tacks? Oh geesh, Jack, no wonder your tummy hurts!"
Jack: "I know................ tacks hurt."

Some teachers are lucky. I consider myself one of them.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to be more consistent.. xo

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's Your Favorite Food?

In order to learn 540 names, I come up with strategies. Today, I asked them to tell me about their favorite food. The top responses were pizza, enchiladas, tacos, and corn dogs. But, not surprisingly, and, as amazing as young people are, many of them love salad, fruit, chicken, broccoli (o.k. only one student so far), fish, lobster, squid, and a variety of other awesome healthy foods.

And the student whose name I will most certainly remember: Jack.

Jack's favorite food is nails. Yup. Plain nails.

He was very matter of fact about it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cooperative Games

O.k. this week, it's a game called The River. They have to get all of their teammates across the river without anyone touching the 'water'. Even a shoelace, in the 'drink', forces the whole team back for a do-over. It's sort of like a bike race, you want everyone to cross the finish line in one piece. So, they put their heads together, to figure out how they will use their sticks, their rope, and their scooter to try to get each person on their team across the River (which is actually only about 8 feet across). It's sort of like a video game, they have to get across the river AND BACK in order to progress from Level 1 to Level 2. Level 2, they don't get to use their sticks anymore to 'paddle' with. Level 3, no rope. Level 4, 2 people at a time on the scooter, with the rope. Level 5, 2 people at a time on the scooter, no rope. Most students make it past Level 5, then Level 6 is 3 people at a time, with the sticks and the rope. This Level has the most laughs and people piles involved, but some teams figure out how to pass it. Children are Amazing, Amazing, Amazing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This week vs Last Week

Last week, I explained to the 4th and 5th graders in my Physical Education classes, that I simply don't support the concept of throwing an object at someone IN ORDER TO HIT THEM, such as you might find in the game of Dodgeball. ...and that such a concept doesn't foster valuing lifelong physical fitness ideas....blah, blah.... So, we play other super sonic fun dodging games that help them forget that Dodgeball even exists...

Then, this week, students were a little unruly in one class, and the steam was starting to seep out of my ears. Being in tune, as many 4th and 5th graders are, I had one come up to me, and say:

"Ms. Green, this class really just needs some Dodgeball."

I chuckled, and somehow everything was better after that.

4th Graders Putting Things Together......

Today as I was sitting in my office working, a student poked his head in the door:

Student: "Ms. Green, do you have husband?"
Me: "Uhhh, no, why do you ask?"
Student: "Well, because my friend, who used to go to Mary Hill School had a P.E. Teacher there named Mr. Green."
Me: "Really? hmmm, well, I guess he could be my husband....good question!"

And off he went, having put it all together.....and his friend hasn', he'll be on the upside of the Ms. Green/Mr. Green sleuthing effort.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Carrera De San Rafael-Finally a 1 hour Crit in Nor Cal!

There were about 40 women on the line. Some big local guns like Shelley Olds, and Sarah Bamberger. The course, a breakaway course. Gradual hill all the way up the start/finish stretch, down, down, down gradually, on the backside of the course, to the technical last corner. Excellent course. It was strung out single file for awhile, attack, attack, attack, until the winning break separated with none other than my super star teammate, Starla! I worked on blocking for her with the other teammates of riders represented in the break. Pro Man squeezed a couple more riders out of the field to bridge across to the break...Grrr...but, nice work Helene Drumm. Starla ended up 7th and I was 18th. Way to go Starla!! I was very happy with our efforts!

Onward ho!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Frank-ly, here's what I think:

I wrote this as I was sitting in Carbondale, Colorado on my aunt's cattle ranch, in awe of the land, the wilderness, the 6000 feet of altitude, the lightning storms, and most of all, the amazing life I am so grateful for. What has come of the last few weeks of racing? Some missed marks, some lessons, some near misses, and some so-so results. Overall, some victories that may go un-articulated, but I will take a risk here, and share some of my thoughts, because now's as good a time as any, to do it. To those of you who read this. Thank you.

I am on my way to my potential as a bike racer. Only I will know when that day, year, month, race, comes. I imagine it will be in the next few years.

A bit about my big picture: Why do I do what I do? Why press on? In a sport so brutally competitive, and full of suffering, where the chances of winning are slim for most of the competitiors?

"Never more than 30% of the peleton is a major factor in a bike race. As a matter of fact, there are never more than 5 or 6 riders in a field of 100 who are strong contenders for any race, including the Tour de France." (Carl Cantrell)

So why settle for being pack fill? What's the point? Is it settling, or is it being a true competitor?

I do it, because I respect myself and my competitors more every time I race.

If I wasn't doing it, and the rest of the 70% of the peleton wasn't doing it, we wouldn't have bike races.

I have a dream that all women can look one another in the eyes and recognize how powerful each other are. Can we all just stop talking smack for a minute? Why do we love Elis Bradshaw, Karla Kingsley, Kim Anderson, Carrie Cash, Starla Teddergreen, Morgan Kapp, Dawn Neisser, Sabine Dukes, so much? They are models of women in sport, of mutual respect between female competitors, that we all can look to. Kudos to all of you!

I have a dream that all adults will reclaim their sense of play, and remember that playing is the way to learn more about themselves. Michael Hernandez is a great example of this. He has brought a sense of play and fun to the sport that no one else ever has. Thank you Michael.

I have a dream that all young people are treated with complete respect. I will continue to hold out that young people are models of wonderful human beings, and that their brilliance and power is our present, not just our future...(as if the future even existed).

I have a dream that all athletes discover along their path, that real competition means to have our competitors at their best, and that winning isn't just winning, no matter what. Crossing the finish line first, too often reinforces an ego that fosters the inability to look across to those you have "beaten". If it weren't for those of us who come to the starting line, to play, to race, to compete, the "winners" would be riding by themselves.

A true victory is one that combines the crossing of the finish line with a genuine advancement in the inner world of the athlete.

Lance said: ...."winning only measures how hard you've worked and how physically talented you are; it doesn't particularly define you beyond those characteristics....If you're willing to examine failure, and to look not just at your outward physical performance, but your internal workings, too, losing can be valuable."

Do I want to WIN an actual bike race? Of course!

I want to win, now, more than ever.

As I chase my dreams, I invite you to re-examine your own dreams, and walk the path that leads you in the direction of those dreams, no matter how small your steps.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to Cali from Colorado!

If it weren't for Auntie Emma, lots of things would be different in my world. She is a friend, a mentor, and runs me more than I run my kids in P.E. Class! The first day of my visit to one of my family homes, Ty Bar Ranch, in Carbondale, Colorado I was making 120 breakfast burritos for a Tour of the Mississippi Cattlemen's Association coming through. Tables were set up in the barn, and we served 55 retired ranchers and their wives breakfast in the barn...That was cool. They were so smittin' with the whole thing, they wanted to take Aunt Emma home with them, but I would not let them!!

The next day we were off to the Rodeo, where I got to see something I never would do in P.E. class, called Mutton Bustin'! Imagine a big 'ol wooly sheep, running around in a pen with a 5 year old person attached to its back! Yup, you have to be only 5 or 6 years old. After that, you must retire from Mutton Bustin', 'cuz then, you're just too darn big. They do have helmets on, thank goodness, but geesh, it looks really hard to do!! Those sheep just run and look like they are super bumpy to ride! Please do not try this at home...and just because I write about it here, does not mean I think it's a cool idea. It was simply the first time I saw it, and was a little taken aback!!! Folks will do what they do, and sometimes we all are witness to it. How we respond, is up to us!

Mutton busting at a rodeo in Denver, Colorado

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Superweek 2008-Wrap Up

First big highlight of Superweek was local Nor Cal phenom, Karla Kingsley (pictured above) winning on her first day racing!

Second big highlight of Superweek was Dolce Vita's awesome sprinter Starla getting 4th place on the last day of the series in Evanston!

I raced the last 5 of the 7 days of criterium racing for Pro 1/2/3 women. $1000 purse each day paying 20 deep. Dolce Vita teammate and sprinter, Starla, along for the Superweek experience. 50-60 women on the line each day. Teams to contend with were Verducci Breakaway Racing, Team Revolution, Kenda Tire, Hub Racing, Mesa Cycles, America's Dairyland, and a few strong independent riders such as Skylee Armstrong of Bicycle John's. 50K crits, that were taking about 90 minutes to do. Some days were hot, others were not. The racing was fast and strong, but also swarmy and sketchy too. So, not a whole lot of strung out fast racing, but certainly enough talent to be challenging.

Day 1: Bensenville Crit in a Park-on-a-bike-path-, up and down driveway aprons on two parts of the course, yukko.....Hot and humid, like breathing thick warm soup compared to 3ooo feet of high desert air in Bend, Oregon. Teammate Starla out due to pinched nerve causing her left arm to NOT WORK. I had not eaten enough in the morning, nor on my 3 hour drive to the race, and went into some debt about two thirds of the way into the race. Basically a bad day at the races for Miss Laurel. Hammer Gel was not cutting it. I dropped out with 7 laps to go. Hmmm, impressive, huh? Tomorrow's another day. I actually love long criteriums, so looking forward to it.

Day 2: Shorewood Criterium, finally a real crit course. Fast and somewhat technical. Very good course with a long sprint. Although they shortened our race significantly, which always sucks. Starla racing with me. We worked together well. The race was neutralized once, due to a horrible crash. Starla and I found each other with a few laps to go, worked together most of the last lap, then she found another wheel two thirds of the way through the last lap, to get 7th place. Sweet racing Starla. I was 30th, but pleased with our efforts together.

Day 3: Ripon criterium. Hot and windy. Starting on time, and keeping our race the normal distance, YES! Great, great, great course with 3 little power climbs in it. I was very much looking forward to it, as I love these kind of courses! It was mostly a race of attrition. Starla was in with me for awhile, then needed to bail due to her arm not working right...geesh, brave girl to get out there in the first place with a bum arm. I stayed in, sitting in about 15th with 2 laps to was strung out pretty well, a few folks went down with a lap and a half to go, and I chased the main field for 12th place. I was very pleased.

Day 4: Waukesha Criterium-No Starla today, she was taking care of her back and her arm. A great fast course. I was sitting in about the top 15 with 11 laps to go, it was nice and fast, and strung out. Then, a Revolution rider attacked off the front to chase a small break, and crashed herself in a corner, breaking her hip in two places. The race was neutralized for about 40 minutes or so. We sat on the line passing the microphone around introducing ourselves, and telling jokes, because they would not let us ride around the course. Finally, they started us again. I have to admit, when they told us 8 laps to go, I had lost a little punch with the neutralization, and with the fact that I knew the crashed rider had really hurt herself. I finished mid field, 32nd place. A lesson in re-collecting focus when stuff like that happens.

Day 5: Evanston Criterium, great course, great weather, no crashes!! YES!! Starla racing with me again, YAY! We raced well. With 3 to go, Star and I were at the front, 2 to go, at the front, last lap swarmed a bit, we lost one another, but she stayed forward to get 4th place, and I was 19th place, just in the money. Overall, a good race.

Great Superweek, looking forward to next year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Victories of the Inner World at the Cascade Cycling Classic

Well, I didn't finish Stage 5 of Cascade today.....and I ended up having a great ride in the high desert of Bend, Oregon instead. I feel satisfied with what I came here to do. I believe the demons I came to slay with this event went down in Stage 2. The slow TT on Day 3 represented that, and I was lucky to get to dance around in my specialty at the criterium Friday night. What a great feeling to actually hold my head high (not higher, mind you) amidst a bunch of folks who can't even look me in the eye because I'm not kicking their ass. Due respect and compassion to every one of my competitors. If my write ups were about them, their names would be here. This sport is amazing. The strong get stronger, whether it's those left on the bike or off the bike. I love cycling for that reason, and will continue to do it as long as there's more to build in my inner world with it. Another victorious adventure with bike racing.

My SouthBay Wheelmen Teammates did a really good job finishing the entire stage race. They are such an incredibly sound bunch. I absolutely loved supporting them, and getting to work for them when I could.

Morgan Kapp was an awesome 22nd overall in the General Classification of 61 finishers, Kelli Jones was 58th overall, and Jennifer Reither was 45th overall. STUDS!!!

I am looking forward to getting to some plain 'ol criterium racing in the Midwest.. with my AWESOME teammate Starla!

More later....

Thanks for checking in.

Oh geesh, by the stickers on my bike......Still in the bike race- Cascade Cycling Classic Stage 3 and 4

This will be brief: A VERY slow day on the TT bike. 83rd out of 84 riders. First
I was time cut, then I was not. Raced the crit: 49th in the crit of 82
finishers. Overall GC placement: 75th of 82 riders.

The results for the morning time trial were posted at the sign-in spot for the
criterium. It looked as though 6 of us were time cut. (greater than 25% back
from the winning time for the TT). BUT, the officials rescinded the time cut.

I was literally back in my civilian clothes after having warmed up with my
teammates, thinking I was not going to race the crit, when they rescinded the
time cut. Our team director comes running over to the warm-up area, and yells,
"Laurel, get dressed, you're racing!!! They rescinded the time cut!!" I know who
argued with the officials, for the 6 of us who were cut in the TT. Go figure.
Some of the officials are soft that way. Who knows why they decided to let us
race. This is America, not Europe. We all know that. We live here, not there.

So, we all got to race the crit, tonight 20 minutes into the race,
I was caught inside of a 12 person pile up in one turn..meaning: I was upright
after having t-boned someone who had gone down in front of me, and about
to get smoked by people ripping through the turn from behind us.....
and everybody around me was on the ground.
One of my teammates went down super hard.... we all went to the pit,
officials put 12 of us back
in BEHIND the pack, my teammate who went down hard needed more attention, so she
sat out two laps, and was put into the middle of the pack again...Anyway, my
pack chased very hard for awhile, then got pulled at the 33 minute
mark.....within the time cut (which was 20 minutes of the crit), which means
those of us who chased our asses off will race tomorrow.

The crit was fun and fast, and awesome, very technical. My other three teammates
finished with the main field of about 50. Overall, a good, but weird, up and
down day. Whether it's an up thing or a down's all bike racing. The
main lesson: Let it go. Whatever it's bike racing.
There's another bike race tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or next lifetime.

Bringin' up the rear loud and clear....Great day on the bike...Stage 2 Cascade Cycling Classic

Hot, but not all day, because we climbed and climbed to cooler land.  86
starters. 78 miles. Oh my body was sore from the tip-over, bike pile-up
yesterday. I was grateful for the medical tent at the finish though yesterday,
because one of the guys gave me a big bear hug, and my back went pop, pop,
poppity pop, and I felt much better.

O.k. more about today. It was SUPER DUPER fast for the first 30 miles or so with
a few rollers that split things up a bit, until a couple of breaks got away with
Webcor, Tibco, and Aaron's represented, then it was chase, attack, chase, attack
for a little while, then the pace simmered down until we got past the first feed
zone at about 40 miles, then there was all of this crazy wind, and it was fast,
and close to the edge of the road for awhile, where there were rocks flying, and
people tapping their brakes, blech.

I must say there were some times in the first 60 miles that I fought harder than
I think I have fought in a long time to get good position, and not get
caught in the wind, and hang INSIDE the pack, not just on the back
.....although I was there too...

I was a bit behind on the the first QOM, but there were several of us, including
my teammate Kelli, who is GREAT to work with! So we chased back on to the main
field. Then we plowed through a little town called Sisters, which meant the
final climb was in reach.

The guys at the bike shop told me that if I can make it to the base of the climb
with the field, I'll be good to go, and will not get time cut. So, when I got
to the base of the climb with the main field, I wanted to climb more than ever.
It was my kind of climb...about 10 miles of gradual 3-6% grade. I would pull
some people in, then they would get ahead, then it got a little steeper toward
the end, and a few really pulled away from me...(like Emily Zell, and a few
others..she might have been having bad day, but whatever.).

Overall, I felt great about the work I did today. I placed 73rd out of 84
finishers. I am sitting 71st of 84 in the GC going into the TT tomorrow. My
teammate Morgan got 26th today, and is sitting in 23rd overall! My teammate
Jenn cramped really severely today, and it was a slow go up the climb, but I am
sure she will be back in the game tomorrow. She's very strong. Kelli and I
worked together some on the final climb. Great team!

It was great for me to feel like myself in a road race.

Tales from the Back of the Female Peloton-Cascade Cycling Classic Stage 1

Hey Gang,
It was a hard, hot day. 80 miles. 88 starters. Lots of strong women.
SouthBay Wheelmen ( leader, Jennifer, also very strong rider,
Kelli at her first stage race, and doing GREAT, and myself). At about 40 miles in, my
teammate Jennifer Reither got a front flat, so I waited to get her back to the
group...ouch. Back in the group, hammering toward the QOM which sits at about
mile 47 or , dropped on the QOM climb only to see them waiting as a group at the
top....WTF? They're waiting for me! Cool! Maybe NOT. A rider from the Pro men's
field had gone down up the road, and had to get airlifted out. He rode through
the center of a cattleguard, which you are NOT SUPPOSED to do, because
they are not joined in the center, they just have one 2 inch wide
crack for you to ride right into, and it was not covered...
although supposedly there was a cone there...hmmmm...

Anyway, we stopped for what felt like 4 years....but was only actually about 30
minutes. Then, there were all kind of breaks of 4 and 6 riders that they had
to re-form before they let us go. Fortunately, I was not separated by the
minute I was down from the group, nor were the women behind lucky today on that part of the race.

Then, there's the last 30 miles, much gradual downhill, lots of wind, some very
fast racing going on.....with 12 k to go, #@&%^)@*&#%^*&#% 15 or so riders go
down when a rider (who will have to go unnamed) responded to someone's sketch by
literally jumping laterally!!! So, I was riding with Jennifer, and we were
sitting pretty in the pack, and whammo....dominoes, I managed to come almost to
a stop before getting smacked from behind, knocked down, and stuck at the bottom
of a pile of three riders on top of me, including Jennifer. We get up, untangle
our bikes, get back to chasing, and I bring her up to Kelli, right as we are
going over a little roller....and I can't hang on their wheel? WHAT? I almost
cave. I could not believe it. I just keep going, and some riders whiz by me, and
I can't get their wheel either.....WHAT? Am I blowing up? I guess so?
It was frustrating. But, very, very motivating. I just couldn't believe it.

Anyway, I keep hammering. At the 10k to go mark, I look at my front brake, and
it's slammed up against the rim! OHHHHHH sugar. I open it up, and am relieved,
to keep hammering on my own. ......well, I am out of the rolling caravan,
so....yup, a STOPLIGHT, that I can't run because it's a super busy one....

I finally make it to the finishing hill, which is about 1 mile long, ..and sort
of as steep as that one coming out of Sausalito back to the's
all kinds of fun, and then, I make it to the top eventually for 77th place out
of 86 finishers. Two women were not able to finish that crashed. Anyway, a rough
day, tomorrow's course looks harder... Yay. Will let you know how it goes..

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Little Birdie Told Me..

That bike racing in hot weather is fun! Go do it! So I did. In the Napa Grand Prix, last weekend. Geesh, it was hot. A few women even melted into the pavement. The course was technical, short, and fast in some spots. I am not sure it was a favorite course of mine, but it met the needs of most of us on the day. I attacked a few times and was off the front a bit, but really it made no sense to overheat my little engine to get chased down. The field still had a few good riders in it when I made my moves, so nothing stuck. Overall, a good race. I started with 2 teammates and about 15 competitors. I ended with 8 competitors, and a 5th place. Sprint? I'll get right on that. My sprinter, Starla, was one of the women who melted, unfortunately. Before she melted she got herself a couple of primes. My superstar (soon to be Pro) teammate Alison, made a gutsy move into a very technical turn, and oooops....went down, not hard, but took some skin off of her incredible leg...poor girl. No more free laps. She got back in to help me at the finish, which was much appreciated. We won some cash, and prizes, and went away hungry for cooler weather. On to Cascade Cycling Classic, then to Superweek, followed by a visit to Auntie Emma in Colorado, then finally back to Cali. to get ready to take on the 4th and 5th graders again in the gym, as well as more California racing!! WAHOO! Please keep me posted about what you're up to. I love to hear about whatever all of you all are doing!!

Love, Laurel

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Velocitation-Does This Happen In Bike Races?

Velocitation is caused by long periods of high speed travel. The eyes become fatigued in the horizontal plane due to images streaming through the windshield. Velocitation can be noticed when entering slower traffic after long periods of country driving. A sudden drop in speed gives the illusion that you are traveling much slower than you actually are. When you experience velocitation, stop for several minutes and allow the eyes to rest.

I'll be doing some racing here soon that will allow me to experiment with this.....I'll get back to you on it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh to Be in 6th Grade Again.......

I am subbing this year during my year away from the full gig as teacher. The other day, I subbed at the middle school where all of my 5th graders from last year, are now big 6th graders. When I was there, I received the usual: "Miss Green!!! Are you coming back to teach us again?" The questions are usually combined with hugs and tackles of some sort. There's something about being a P.E. teacher that brings out the 'tackle' in young people. So, anyway, I see a student who I know from last year, now a big 6th grader, and he's pretty excited to see me. But before I really get to greet him, he holds his hands up.......and shows me a little embarrassed, proud smirk.

J: "You know, I've got a girlfriend."
Miss Green: "Wow! Really?" Do you think she'll be mad at you for talking to your P.E. teacher from last year?
J: "Na...I can talk to you."
Miss Green: "Well where is she, can I meet her?"
J: "Na, not right now. We've been going out for a few weeks now, she's in class."
Miss Green: "So what kinds of stuff do you do together?"
J: "Aw nothing."
Miss Green: "Nothing?" Wow, it sounds pretty cool to have a girlfriend. Does everyone who's going out with someone do nothing with them?"
J: "C'mon Miss Green, you know what I mean?"
Miss Green: "No really, I'm curious, do you hang out, ride bikes together, go to the park? What kinds of stuff do you do?"
J: "Miss Green, you know all of this, you have a boyfriend!"
Miss Green: "Oh yea, you're right, I do know all of this...I'm sorry, I just thought it might be different for a 6th grader, but I guess not!!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Redlands Dream Team-Devon 23rd, Denise 36th, Karla 57th of 66 finishers!! Enjoy the show...

Mary-Ellen finishing Prologue

Denise motoring at the Sunset Road Race

Denise finishing the Prologue

Laurel finishing Prologue

Elis finishing Prologue

Kristen motoring in the Beaumont Circuit Race

Devon in the Criterium

Devon and Denise (far left of photo) at the front in the Beaumont Circuit Race

Kristen motoring in the criterium

Karla on Colavita's wheel in the criterium

Elis in the Beaumont Circuit Race

Elis and Mary-Ellen in the Beaumont Circuit Race

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What about all that Bike Racing?

Bike racing has been a blast. The Merco weekend (March 1st and 2nd) was fun, fun, fun. Although Merco was a solo adventure for me, I had huge support from my teammates and director from the sidelines, which is always a bonus. I was pleased with an assertive performance on my part, and a field placement on both days of racing. A great weekend for me. The Cat. 3 Divas did a spectacular job cleaning up top ten placements in both the Merco Crit and the Merco Road Race.

The Berkeley Team Time Trial on March 9th was almost too much fun to be had on bikes. I did it with my teammate Alison, who also happens to be bionic. What does that word mean anyway? ..."having particular physiological functions augmented or replaced by electronic or electromechanical components." O.k., so she's not really bionic, but it sort of seems like it, because she goes so fast, so hard, and makes it all look so easy. Cheers to developing riders in this sport!! We need 'em, we want 'em,.... even if it makes us cringe when they ride so well.

What's next? Redlands. Redlands is a 4 day stage race April 3-6, in Redlands, CA. It's brutal, it's super competitive, and we have a composite team of 8 riders sporting Dolce Vita colors entered in this classic. We have a stellar host housing situation, and look to be well thought about well before we are even in Southern California. We all look very forward to whatever the event brings us in terms of challenge, racing, team-work, and overall experience on the bike!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson Memorial Ride

What an incredible experience. Many thanks to all who had to push the depths of grief aside to make such a moving event happen with the Memorial Ride. I am not really a crowd counter, but I would say there were at least 800 people in attendance. Third Pillar and Roaring Mouse, great gratitude in your direction for the way the ride was handled and organized. Webcor, beautiful support of the entire ride. Thank you.

Many thanks to the families of Kristy and Matt for helping make such wonderful people out of Kristy and Matt. Much love to you during this time.

And to every person in attendance out there, thanks for showing up, and blessing the rich lives of Matt and Kristy. It all makes a difference. Every ounce of affection in their direction and in the direction of their close ones, makes a big difference.

I hope we can all look to one another as time moves forward, the same way we all looked at each other on this ride.... With respect that we all feel the same things.

My best to all who were deeply touched by Matt and Kristy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Children Really do Have the Final Word

My land-mate has a preschool (3-4 year olds) in her home. Every day, I can hear the children playing out in the back yard on the big play structure. Today, a boy fell in the dirt, and was crying. He seemed most upset about how dirty his hands were from falling on them, and of course the long way he had fallen to the ground from his 2.5 foot stature likely shook his little world too. But, the real kicker was, the girl who came to help him. She was so little! Yet, so powerful. She looked right in his eyes, and said, "Sometimes your hands get dirty when you're having a lot of fun!"

What a blessing to experience these small moments in life.

I love children! Please bless the young ones in your life today with some gesture of grand respect.

Kristy and Matt Memorial Ride

Team Roaring Mouse Cycles and Third Pillar Racing Team are holding a joint memorial ride this Saturday March 15th, to honor the lives of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson, our two teammates killed on Steven’s Creek Canyon last Sunday while on a training ride. We welcome friends, family, fellow cyclists and all those whose lives have been touched by Matt and Kristy. Our ride will include a visit to the site of the crash site for those to share their memories.
Saturday, March 15th
Leaving from Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Google map to location:
**We kindly request you do NOT drive out to the crash site during this time, as we need to keep cars to a minimum in the area, given the road conditions.
Meet at 2:30pm, ride by 3pm
30-45 minutes to the crash site. Base pace (ie, mellow). No drop.
Start @ Foothill College (Parking Lot #1, near the football stadium)
– Left on El Monte
– Right on Foothill Expressway
– Continue on Steven’s Creek Canyon
– Return
Route directions via Google:
*Press are welcome to attend, however we request respect during our ride. It would mean the most to us if press were to accompany us on their bikes, as we are all cyclists this week.
e Kristy Gough & Matt Peterson f Memorial Ride

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kristy and Matt-Incredible Champions

Of course words cannot describe what we are all feeling about the tragic accident on March 9th, that took the rich lives of two incredible individuals, Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson.

Roaring Mouse, Third Pillar, the Cat.3/4, Master's 35+ women who raced with Kristy, the men who raced with Matt, everyone who is closely connected to both of them....My best to you right now. What an unbelievable happening. The tears are overwhelming.

Be near everyone you care about.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fast February!!!

Hey There!
Well, there's been some racin' goin' on. It's fast, and these women in Cali are smokin'! I feel honored to get on the line with them. Highlight #1 from the Amgen Women's criterium happened on the starting line, when Amber Rais tossed a look over, and threw her big 'ol smile at me with a "Hi Laurel!" Highlight #2 was staying upright, and finishing the race. Highlight #3 was seeing my solo sisters out there, Kristen Meshberg from Flatlandia in Chicago, and Trish Bell from Morgan Stanley. The Los Gatos Girls....the Nor Cal women..., everyone was represented. Vanderkitten raced well, Cheerwine was all that and a bag 'o chips. Tibco did it... anyway, no matter what happened anywhere before the finish. Team High Road, great work with Emila. Aaron's, Colavita (Kori and Nikki RAH!!!), ValuAct were all solid, Proman...whoa. Very good bunch we have here! I think we are in for a great season. Thanks to my awesome teammates for coming out to cheer!

Onward ho, next stop, Merco. March 1 and 2.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fourteen Fabulous Women, and Three Fabulous Men......


On one cycling adventure in Discovery Bay, and the hills of Morgan Territory. Training camp it was, with women from all kinds of brilliant backgrounds on the Dolce Vita Women's Racing team. Who're the men, you ask? The one and only Chad Fischer, of course. The soon to be dad, with his bike in tow, drove hours and miles to show up, and lead, reprimand (in all good ways of course), laugh, and generally kick ass in the director department. The other two men are Jamaine and Bret from Flight of the Conchords. I'm pretty sure this was the hardest I have laughed in a long time.

One of my highlights of the weekend was getting to witness all of my teammates go to new levels with their riding. Whether it was on the bike, or off the bike, development happened. I'm proud to be a Diva!!

Thanks To ALL OF YOU, for a great weekend!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Let the New Year Get Under Way!!

Whew! It was my birthday, my friend John from Wisco rode a Test Mountain Bike in the Early Birds, and hung in there, a bunch of Cat. 4 women raced really well at the Early Birds, some of my DV teammates worked their arses off, and raced very well! Thanks to Roman for the help, holy smokes that was great. Thanks to Larry? Or who was it? I am sure the excitement will continue, but this last weekend was a good one.

Thanks to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me! Thanks to those of you who sent their wishes from elsewhere around the globe!

May everyone who has started racing recover well, from such bouts of intensity, and race smart.

Onward HO~!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

TRAIN, RACE, TRAIN, RACE, Practice the Emergency Stop.

Which will it be this weekend? Hmmm, somewhat of a no-brainer, right? First 'racing' weekend of the season, with stories of last year's broken collarbones, and femurs, and yea, the Early Birds.

Here's the mantra in positive semantics: "I always have my rubber side down," "I remain upright at all times." "I can bunny hop large piles of cyclists".

But, when the mantras don't cut it:

I'll say this: getting out there in the mentoring clinics, before you race, will certainly be useful in the area of reminding the nervous system about the whole going fast and turning right and left thing.

In the event of a mishap in front of you, choose to hold your line...Easier said than done. But, hold my line when I'm about to go down? What? Why is that? Well, when you decide to swerve to avoid someone, or a group of someones flailing in a pile in front of you, you force the rider behind you to T-bone you, or swerve as well. If there's a curb where you swerve, or another rider, then guess what? More people are in danger of going down than might be, if you held your line.

Stopping Your Bike in an Emergency. Remember your front brake has more stopping power than your rear brake. If you apply them evenly, you can stop the bike effectively, very quickly.

Practice slowing down fast, to a strategically applying even pressure to the brakes, pushing your weight back over the center of the bike, hunker down toward the top tube. You can stay upright, while holding your line, track stand for a millisecond before putting your foot down, or before rolling to safety while still upright. Avoiding the whole pile-up by simply braking strategically. The pile-up simply won't be as severe.

So, what about getting hit from behind? Well, take the width of your body from behind: It's roughly between 12-18 inches, no? Maybe a little more for some folks. Then, take the width of your body looking at say, the show-side of your bike, if you swerve to the right: It's probably 4-6 FEET, based on the length of your wheel base. Which 'area' is more likely to get hit by a moving object from any direction? I think the wider one.

So, practice using those brakes strategically....NOT in corners or in response to someone yelling some goofy thing in the pack, or anything, but in the event that you have to save your BOOTIE, and the ones behind you. Say yes to SAFE BRAKING, before knee-jerking to swerve in an emergency. Practice, Practice, practice!

And, I repeat: This is not to be done while the pack is moving forward in the regular cycling direction in response to some 'fear' of something happening. I only recommend this strategy for response to an impending position on top of, or into the center of a pile of downed cyclists, or those in the process of becoming a pile.

Battle Scar from doing in Wrong: Final sprint, slightly downhill, very wide road, 39 miles an hour, tried to go around, go around, go around the carnage, and whammo, front end hits a curb, and there I go...onto the local bike path neighboring the race course in a Superwoman Swan Dive: Stitches in chin from nice friend who was a Physician's Assistant, DNF, no racing for a few days, had to get skull bones reorganized.

Battle Scar from doing it Right: Final sprint, 30+ miles per hour, flat, very wide road, burned a hole in my sew-up, rolled around the pile, finished 25th (and they paid 26 deep...kidding). But, you see, I had my sense of humor intact, simply from the pleasant memory.

Keep The Rubber Side Down.