Sunday, December 30, 2007

too much data...

Well, I put the ibike back on the bike this weekend. I had been in a "no data" mood since my injury this fall. I didn't want to be depressed by the numbers, and so I just took all computers and monitors off the bike and rode because I like to ride my bike. But the data bug bit me again when the iBike wireless HR/Cadence upgrade came out, and this weekend I finally decided to put the thing back on the bike. My fitness is still on the upward trend, and the weight training is still tiring out my legs, but I decided to start tracking things again in the hopes that I'll see significant gains as it gets closer to the race season...

The good news is that they have really upgraded their software for Mac! I was pleasantly surprised that the interface has improved so much, and that you can do a lot more with the program. It still has limitations, and if I had a little more $$ I would just buy Cyclingpeaks and use that, but for now, this is ok. For example, here is my ride today. It was a spin from my house in Goleta down to "worlds" and then home again, on a slightly different route. As you can see, the final stretch coming back to the polo fields today was pretty brisk (a little past 2 hours on my ride...you can see where my heart rate was maximized...)!



I think I need a nap!
Ciao!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Memories

Christmas is one of those nostalgic times. I was back up North a couple weeks ago, visiting my parents who still live in the great white north, and my mom shared some old photos with me, and I got a bit nostalgic. Although I am totally a California girl, seemingly switched at birth and forced to live for the first 17 years in the Midwest...I did have a pretty fun childhood...and here are some of those memories. These are the early years...note the presence of snow and winter in so many of them.

Christmas time, 1978
First winter in Upper Michigan (1978)
Yes, that really is a snowbank! This is the front porch of my folks' house! Yes, the snowbank is taller than I! (that year, it snowed 380 inches, or something insane like that). After the roof was shoveled a couple of times, the snowbank on the ground met the one from the roof, and you sometimes couldn't see out the windows anymore!
1979, fall. (Quincy Copper Mine Hoist in the background)
1979...my first dog...my English Setter, Louie (oh, and my grandma, little sis, and dad, too)


Anyway, I was up there to get an alumni award at Michigan Tech, so here's some more recent photos, too!

Getting my 1.5 minutes of fame at MTU commencement.

My dad and I while out snowshoeing.
And my mom and I. This was a silly sign I saw on the ski trail I had to pass by while snowshoeing. Check out all the icons! And I was happy to see that this was a "dog trail!" I found out later what that meant...when someone came by on XC skis, with a dog harnessed up! Skijoring is quite popular now, I suppose! Looks fun.

Yes, this is an industrial-strength snowblower cutting back the banks, and a dumptruck following along to 'catch' the snow!

Now, hence anyone get the wrong idea....it was fun to visit 'winter' for a few days...but it sure was nice to have the last 6 days on the bike, outside in the beautiful crisp Santa Barbara air...sun, no snow, (a little frost a couple of mornings) and the company of friends.

It is a Merry Christmas.

Ciao!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

more weight-y thoughts.

how skinny do you have to be to be a cyclist?
I was at a party last night where we were eating desserts and talking about weight loss..
Someone said to me,"5 pounds would make a big difference in your racing next year...now's the time to start making that happen".
I almost said "gaining 5, or losing 5?" because I discovered on Friday that i had gained 2-3 pounds since my weight training kicked into high gear...and of course I hope that training will eventually make a difference in my racing.

I bought a pumpkin scone at the Starbucks this morning when I was out with the red dog. I brought it home, took one bite, and then couldn't eat it. All I was thinking about was that stupid comment about weight loss, and how bad it was of me to eat something with little to no nutritional value and lots of calories.

I went out for my bike ride, which happened to be 'sunday worlds.' I didn't eat enough this morning, just sucking down a banana on my way out the door. I put trader joe's pop tarts in my jersey pocket.

I rode for 3 hours. I didn't eat the pop tarts. I ate one goo. I felt ill. I thought about being skinnier from burning many thousands of calories yesterday (did a really really long training ride), and then I thought about how stupid it was to not eat enough before going on a hard ride today.

And then I ate the scone.
And it was good.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Last day!

Today is my last day of class for the Fall quarter! My class has a test today, and then it will pretty much be all over. Being in academia, I never really got over the concept of "christmas break" and "spring break" and I look forward to those times just like a kid in elementary school! I am looking forward to joining in the morning rides again, getting caught up on things that I have let fall by the wayside during busy times, etc. etc.

I am sure my reddog will enjoy the little break, too, as he has been in a bit of withdrawal since I've been back on my bike. When I was riding the trainer inside, he would lie on the couch beside me, often upside down, enjoying the company. But now that I am training normally again, he is really not happy with the extra alone time. He sees me in my kit, and he goes and pouts in his kennel. Poor guy. So I plan to make up for that with some long runs for him, too.

Now I just have to start my christmas shopping! Better late than never...

Ciao!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

9 Lives? (or at least 2 or 3...)

My team had a loooong training ride yesterday. I wasn't actually sure I was up for it, but I thought I'd take a stab at it, as I knew I could limp home. I needed the climbing, and this ride consisted of over 7000 ft. climbing over 95 miles or so.

I didn't end up doing more than 50 or 60...but I can think of easier ways to get out of it than the way I attempted it! For those of you who can't stand the suspense, I sustained a high speed (~40mph) downhill crash and lived to talk about it! And better yet, I'm getting ready to go ride this morning!

The ride started well enough. I was having a nice time, and feeling good. I knew I was going to get dropped on the climbs, as my month off of outside riding really took it out of my climbing. But my endurance is still ok, so I can plug along, just putting out seriously less power than the guys. So I did finally make it to the top of the first 2 big climbs, and was looking forward to bombing down the descent on the back side going towards lake Casitas. Its a fun descent, and I enjoy it. I did it once last weekend, but don't get out there during the week. So I was looking forward to it. However, the road is kind of rutted. Also, previously I had gotten a flat front tire, and it wasn't inflated to quite full pressure. I was on someone's wheel, and having a fun time when my tire got into one of those ruts. It caused enough bobble that I couldn't rebalance, lost the front of the bike and slid out. The guy right behind me said he saw a small bobble and then the crash. In a split second, I found myself sliding and sliding and sliding, for what seemed like a long time but probably wasn't. I did slide a LONG way, however. I was pretty sure I was ok, but quite scared to look at the potential road rash..I got up right away so that people wouldn't freak out any more than seeing something like that happen does to you anyway. By that time, the people behind me had all stopped. Everyone was really good...asking me questions, making sure my head was working properly (it was). And surprisingly enough, I wasn't really hurt at all! I mean, my bike clothes were pretty much a complete loss, but everything else was just fine! There really is something to be said for the sliding crash vs. the impact crash... I actually considered continuing on the ride, but was talked out of that pretty quickly. However, someone had planned to turn around near that point anyway, so he offered to ride back to town with me (about 30 miles). I was feeling fine, so on the bike I hopped and rode home. It was a nice day, and aside from the fact that I was a bit indecent, with a good portion of my shorts missing...it wasn't even that bad.

Anyway...I do have some road rash, but even that is minimized due to the fact it was 39 degrees when I left home this morning! That meant I was wearing many layers of clothing. The leg/hip took it the worst since there was only one layer there, but on top, a vest and 2 jerseys were pretty much shredded, but my wool base layer is fully intact and there is not a mark (not even a bruise..) on my upper body! It is rather amazing (considering right after the wreck someone who saw the wreck said to me "wow, I was sure you were a goner" and someone else said "I was sure that was a 911 crash."

Needless to say, I won't be complaining about cold weather riding for awhile now...
And it was a freak thing, and I'm still not scared of going downhill...I enjoyed all my descents on the way home :-). And nearly 24 hours later, I'm not really stiff or sore, and getting ready to go out for a ride this morning.

So I'm beginning to think I"m a cat with multiple lives. I'm going to try not to test that theory any time soon, though! Wheel side down...wheel side down....wheel side down...

Ciao!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Confirmed

that there is no Conquer the Canyons stage race this year.

Bummer...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm thankful...

for lots of things: special friends, silly dogs, being back on my bike after 4.5 weeks, long weekends, blah blah blah...

However, today I'm also thankful for NOT getting a ticket on my bike! I've had 3 sublime days of group rides, and its been fun (and painful..). Thanksgiving day's lake ride is usually a ride I enjoy very much, but going for a long ride after being off the bike for so long, well, maybe not the best idea! It became all about survival mode about 50 miles in, when there was still 1 climb to go :-). However, thanks to my great riding buddies, they waited for me to drag my slow arse up that hill :) (thanks, guys...). It had been a LONG time since I had felt that slow. But I made it, and 2 days (and a bunch of miles) later, I'm feeling much more like myself. My legs still aren't quite dancing on the pedals yet...but it's coming back. And I can still descend with reckless abandon :-). At least no one has to wait for me at the BOTTOM of a hill! Nothing like jumping back in with both feet.

Oh..back to the ticket story! On the way out today, we stopped at the first few stop signs. After Marco's post about stop signs...there has been a little movement underway to do our part and obey the road signs on the big group rides. And in one small town, where we ALWAYS get followed by our friendly local lawenforcement, we also stopped at the stop sign. There is, however, another sign in that town, that many folk have been told that if they go on the far right of the stop sign, it is ok not to stop... but today it seemed to be not the case. Soon thereafter, we were all pulled over. It was a HUGE group, maybe 50+ of us! Anyway, they made us wait awhile while they decided what to do, and after a lecture (and determining that there was a bit of confusion about whether it was OK or not to go around the stop sign on the right...), they let us go with a stern warning. Needless to say we were pretty careful from there on out...

Anyway, it is GREAT to be back on the bike! Hopefully all my riding buddies will bear with me while I get "back up to speed" so to speak... So far, so good!

Ciao!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yipppeeeeee!

MRI REPORT

Procedure: MRI OF THE LEFT SHOULDER WITHOUT INTRAVENOUS CONTRAST

COMPARISON: None
INDICATIONS: Not provided
TECHNIQUE: A variety of imaging planes and parameters were utilized for visualization of suspected pathology. Images performed without contrast.

FINDINGS:
ROTATOR CUFF: The rotator cuff tendons are intact without strain or tear. No evidence of a full thickness rotator cuff tear.

MUSCLES: Normal
LIGAMENTS: Normal

LABRUM: The glenoid labrum is intact circumferentially

AC JOINT: There is a mild sprain of the acromioclavicular joint without diastasis or elevation of the distal clavicle

ACROMION: Mild downsloping of the anterolateral acromion (Type II configuration)

OTHER: There is a healing fracture involving greater tuberosity of the humeral head without displacement or distraction. There is a trace subacromial subdeltoid bursitis.

CONCLUSIONS: No evidence of rotator cuff tear. Healing fracture involving the greater tuberosity of the humeral head without displacement or distraction. Mild sprain of the A/C joint without diastasis.

11/16/2007, 15:51

What this really means is:

I NO LONGER HAVE TO RIDE INSIDE!!!! YEAH. No golf or swimming until January, but for now, riding is OK!!!

Dr. Ryu said my range of motion is excellent, and that it is safe to run/bike, but no weightlifting quite yet. And no crashing! I think I can handle that..

And just in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend!!!!!!!!

See you out there on the roads....

I guess I have to get a new helmet.

Ciao!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

53 minutes...



...would be the time that it takes me to run a 10k when I have only run 3 times in the past year (2 of those in the past week), and re-convince myself that indeed, I have really NO natural talent for running :-).

My graduate student, Kari, and I did the UCSB 10K Turkey Trot yesterday. My goal was to run the whole thing, and to not get last place. I managed to meet both of those goals :-). I ran a couple of times last week as cross-training exercise, and so when Kari mentioned getting a bunch of us together to do it, it sounded fun enough. However, by the morning of the race, that 'bunch' had dwindled to just me and Kari! Oh well...and considering Kari just raced a half marathon, I knew it was going to be painful :-).

Anyway, it was a good, condensed workout, and it just reminded me how much I love cycling :-).

The UCSB Rowing team put on a great race, however, with lots of support. Hopefully they made some $$ on the event. The weather certainly could have been nicer...but you take what you get!

Ciao!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Knowing Secrets

Sometimes I sneak up on my dog, Aidan, when I get home...just to see what he's up to when he thinks I'm not looking (a good friend of mine gave me the idea--and it's just so much fun!). It's very comical, and maybe a topic for a future blog. However, I already feel like I'm being sneaky this week, without even trying! I happen to be on the UCSB Cycling Team Google Group. This is because I was going to go on some of their training rides, as they leave extra early in the morning, and I was planning on getting some big base miles in that way, riding with all the young whippersnappers (I don't believe I've ever used THAT word before...). However, this week it became more entertaining. Let me elaborate:

Yesterday there was a post on the listserv describing the training ride for Thursday. An excerpt of this email follows:

"...
Thursday ride leaves from Storke at 6:30 AM. This ride will involve
some climbing. We will head up .... and take ... back into
town. Climbing will be very controlled (please control yourself!),
and we will be back around 9 for people that need to goto class. I
will be riding longer for anyone that does not have class and can get
in the whole 3.5 - 4 hour ride."


This would be fine and all...but this said poster "who will be riding longer for anyone who does not have class"...happens to have MY CLASS at 9:30!!!

HMPH!!! How torn I am...I like cycling as much as the next bike geek...but it becomes slightly personal when people start blowing off MY CLASS (which you don't see ME blowing off to ride my bike...) to go on a 4 hour pre-season training ride! I feel a Thursday morning pop quiz coming on...

Inside information is funny sometimes...

Ciao!

girls and the art of bike maintenance...



I'm a girl. I'm also an engineer (well, I have a Ph.D. in engineering, but I'm not sure academics count as actual engineers....that is a debatable one), and I sometimes pretend to be a bike racer. I like the fact that when random people meet me for the first time, I am not easily stereotyped. That makes things somehow more fun! Although I didn't know a thing about bike maintenance just a couple years ago (I could change the tires on my mountain bike but that was as far as things went), I have eventually managed to figure out the way most things work on a bike (at least the simple stuff...). And this seems to have made me the go-to-girl for simple bike issues. This weekend, I was called from inactive duty to install a garmin for my friend. This was a pretty simple thing to do, install one cadence/speed sensor and mount the thing on the bike...and make sure it worked...but she felt the need to document it with photos, and so I feel obligated to post one on the old blog... Maybe if my day job falls through, I can (in her words) "get a job with Dave (my 'real' bike mechanic) doing housecalls for the needy and incompetent?"

Maybe I'm just nervous about the discussion scheduled for later today (sans me...) having to do with my possible promotion...and am pondering other career options. Just kidding, of course, as I have a pretty good gig going here, and I'm one of those people who actually likes what I do at least some of the time...so I shouldn't complain.

:-)

Ciao!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

an Excuse for Everything!

Happy Halloween, fellow bloggers and blog-lurkers!

CRASH UPDATE: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that my first followup xray, 12 days post crash, showed complete healing of the broken bone. The fracture line was not visible on the xray, and things look exactly like they're supposed to! Yippeee!!! However, the bad news is I'm still looking at a LONG rehab, as all I'm supposed to be doing now is the simplest of ROM exercises, and still nothing coming even CLOSE to riding outside! However, my cross training plan seems to be working, and a combination of walking/hiking, riding the TT bike on the trainer, and going to the gym seems to be tiring me out at least as much as riding outside used to...so hopefully I won't be too behind the game! I'm getting really sick of the sling, though. I'm such a bad patient!

However, life goes on, and there are still things happening to keep me entertained. Especially last night...when sometime between the time I went to sleep (11pm) and woke up (5am), I got some interesting emails. You see, in my Design course, homework is due on Thursday. Last week, I gave them a bit of a break, and gave them an extra 5 days to do the homework. However, being undergraduates, this didn't mean a thing..many of them waited until yesterday to begin it, at which time they realized it was a tad time consuming! So I got these emails "excerpts only":

"..There is a lot going on this week: with a couple of midterms in other ME classes, Halloween, and the fires. Even for the people that do not go out for Halloween, they still suffer from a lack of sleep from the loud people partying in the apartment next door. I know that other people have also been affected by the fires, as one of my family's properties in Ramona burnt down last week. For me specifically, I am sending in my applications for medical school this week, and I am really swamped. An extension would be infinitely helpful. Please let me know if you could do this. Thank you for your time, ..."


"...Most of us have at least three homework assignments due at the end of this week and we all have a midterm on Friday. Is there any possible way you can maybe cut the assignment down a bit and have some of it due on monday? Also the h.w. is still not posted on the web so a bunch of students that don't have the notes are in even hotter water than me. Also, this is not a plee to make halloween night less hectic. I don't care about that I just need to focus on my midterm and getting my resume ready...."

and

"..Me and a few of my fellow engineering friends strongly feel that this homework assignment should be due at a later time due to the fact that we also have hw and a midterm in ME 155A Controls Design on thursay. I know that you had already given us a couple more days to finish the assignment, but halloween weekend didnt really help that much..."

So, am I being unreasonable? Halloween is a big party scene down here in SB, but last weekend was the 'halloween party weekend', too (as i heard from my windows every night), which is why i gave them an extra weekend on the front end to work on the assignment! :-) I was thinking ahead...but alas they were not. I don't understand why they complain about homework in MY class (where HW is always due on thursdays--it is not like this is new to them), vs. on of the other ones mentioned in the emails. A no win situation. However, I have to hold a hard line. I've decided to devote part of class tomorrow to homework time, and the rest to exam review (they have a midterm next Tuesday). I feel that's pretty nice of me, and about all I can do to appease them and still 'hold a hard line.' Wow...

I guess I'm just in a complainy mood...there are, of course, many students in the class who began the homework last week, and are finished by this point. I don't want to penalize them for being on top of things!

It is a fine line--that line between friendly and helpful, and them walking all over you! The game is on...

Ciao!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Innovate or Die :-)

So I finally came up with a good design project for my mechanical design class! Actually, Specialized did! Check out their "Innovate or Die" Contest! I've decided to have my class participate in this, or at least propose designs for it. Last year we did a human powered water distillation system, and most of the solutions were pedal-powered...so this is along the same vein!

Some of these are REALLY funny! For example:


or with this one...I could just happily ride away on my trainer while blogging, googling, or, egads, WORKING!



We'll see what these kids come up with! Seems like it will be fun, anyway!

On another note, it seems like just about everyone around here is stuck riding indoors for the time being. The air quality is so bad that going outside is unpleasant most of the time. My poor dogs don't know why their runs are getting cut short! Let's hope for cooler temperatures, less wind, and more rain! And help to those who have lost their home. At least one person who was at the dog show last weekend now has no home, and a few others are evacuated. One of my friends has not been located or accounted for, and cell phone signals are not getting through. Hopefully they're just out of phone range. Scary.

Ciao!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Seeking Trainer workouts...

Anything to make a month of trainer riding palatable....
I think I need to look back at those Movie lists people were posting a month or 2 ago! The trainer/bike now has become a permanent fixture in my TV room...so much for redecorating! The bikes just can't seem to stay out of the living space...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Performance Enhanced Lecturing?

So this is a funny one...at least it seemed funny to me!
I woke up this morning, post crash, feeling not so hot. Although I managed to sleep well, things had started to tighten up, swell up, etc., and so by this morning I was not feeling so hot! Plus, I had to teach my class this morning! Not one to want to disappoint 110 eager mechanical engineering seniors (read small bit of sarcasm here), I wanted to make it to class. But considering how hard it was to just get dressed, it was not looking up, and I decided that it was time to break open the 'more advanced' drugs I had gotten yesterday. Knowing full well that they might affect my ability to give a coherent lecture, I decided the pain management was worth it.

So I took the medication...and I went to class, and taught my lecture. I had fun with it, got the class to engage a bit, even got a few people to come up and participate, and did a few examples for them that will be useful later on. I was happy to have survived...as I did feel the "brain fog" set in on a few moments. However, after the lecture, someone came up to me to ask a question, and said,

"Professor Turner, that was a really great lecture today!"

I'm not sure whether to be happy or unhappy knowing that I lecture better when 'impaired,' or to just be happy I managed to engage a significant fraction of these students and get them all to learn something!

After that, I promptly dropped my bike off at the shop for some rehab of it's own, and then went home for 4 hours of sleep on the couch.

Healing is hard work.

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Broken spirit (or the start of a true "off-season")

Today started out pretty normal..a morning of work, and I decided to do the Wednesday noon climb of Old San Marcos. I managed to sneak in a good 2.5 hour workout, with climbing, and I made the mistake of riding through campus. It was right when the classes were changing, meaning there were TONS of people on the bike path. I kept thinking to myself "you should have taken the long way around campus and avoided the bike path," and "this is just insane" trying to weave my way around the potato-chip wheel cruisers with rusty chains and cell phone equipped riders who use them freely... but alas I was already there and tried to just tough it out. I had actually made it through campus, and was just at the outskirts of IV (Isla Vista) when it happened... a girl on one of those aforementioned cruiser bikes tries to avoid someone else, and rides RIGHT into me, with enough force that I was completely knocked off balance, and immediately there is no forward pedaling to be done, and I crash. I hit my shoulder, hip, and head. I hadn't been going fast....I suppose thats a good thing. I was more angry than anything. My bike is completely banged up. The girl who hit me is fine...she stops and says "are you ok?" and I said "I don't know, as I'm sitting on the ground feeling like a moron still clipped into the one pedal! I look at my poor bike and see the shifter sitting off at a bad angle...all banged up and scratched. The chain is caught in the spokes of my wheel, the derailleur looks a little 'off.' Wow, what a mess! And that was before I realized something was wrong with my arm.

I managed to bend things back together and make the bike rideable, with the help of someone else who stopped and happeend to know enough about bikes to help me do all this one-handed. And then I rode home. (about another 1.5 miles).

By the time I got home I decided that my shoulder was really not feeling so hot, and so i went to the doctor. Two hours of waiting later, and a few more of those xrays I love so much, and the prognosis (don't have copies of the pictures yet) is: a compression fracture of the humerus! Sigh. The pictures were interesting..looks like the bone just got smashed hard enough that the end just kind of got compressed, and there is a little vertical crack inside. Well, that, and a good case of road rash on my elbow. More time off the bike for me. I got the orthopedic referral, although I don't think they do much for these things. I hope that my freakish healing capability can kick in right away so that I can ride again soon...

What kind of luck is this? I was planning a road trip this weekend to show some Irish setters. BEing as this injury is on my leash-holding hand, that means the dog show is out (although I could go just for the socializing), and if I stayed home, I couldnt go on any rides! I have to admit my normally positive outlook is waning a bit...im just bummed.

Time for a glass of wine I suppose.

-over and out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

on being famous...

Something really funny happened yesterday, which I decided after some thought was bloggable...

The weekend for me consisted of a lot of cycling, a little work, a little shopping, and a lot of sleep. On Sunday, my bike ride consisted of going out with a few friends of mine, namely to catch up with one of my friends who has moved up the coast to finish her MS at Cal Poly. She was back for the weekend, and so a few of us decided to go for a spin. Because I wanted to get more miles in, I rode from my house, which added an extra 30 miles to my ride. The ride was rather uneventful...I enjoyed the nice break from the craziness of "Sunday Worlds," which is my usual ride-of-choice on Sunday mornings, mostly for the coffee time afterwards! So, our "girls ride" happened to end up at the coffee house as well (as many good long weekend rides do). My friend Olivia happened to see a postdoc she knew (she's also at UCSB) in the coffeeshop, and introduced me and Ginger to him. As with many introductions, often the names go flying by without much mention, i.e. in one ear, out the other. I think this is mostly what happened in this case. So a couple of minutes into the conversation, this guy turns to me and says, "so you're at UCSB, too? What department are you in?" I answer, "Mechanical Engineering." He says, (assuming I am a graduate student...that always makes me feel young), "with whom do you work?" I answer, "I work with lots of folks, I'm a professor there." And then he gives me this quizzical look, and then it looks like a light goes off in his head...and he says, "are you THE Kimberly_Turner?" and I say, "I am A Kimberly_Turner, I'm not sure I'm THE Kimberly_Turner, are there many?" (I'm having fun with it at this point)...

So it turns out that someone that this postdoc knew back at Illinois where he had studied was someone who thought quite highly of my work, and had told him about me and my work before he came here. And thus the world gets smaller and smaller.

So now I am THE DrKim, I suppose...that's kind of scary! I kind of liked being incognito, especially on the bike! I guess I'll have to come up with a disguise...I do have a new team for next year....

Ciao!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Top 10 lists.

(had some blog trouble this week....but back in business now...)

Since I'm back into the school/work mode...it's time to bring out the top 10 lists! Here are some funny ones while I'm working on collecting the top 10 excuses for missing class/turning in homework late/etc.

So this one is poking fun at myself a bit...and I am being honest here, sometimes brutally so:

So....for all those of you who were college students once, you must remember the "end of course evaluations". That one day where you could get back at your professor for being too hard, too lazy, too smart, too... Turns out, people actually READ what you wrote on those sheets, and those comments come back to haunt those of us who are being written about! So, here is my top 7 (ok, so it was going to be top 10, but I could only think of 7 good ones and don't have time to actually look them up--I have real work to do) comments ever received on teaching evaluations...the good and the bad.

7. (gotta start with the good...) ...is the best professor at UCSB. I will take all of her classes from now on.

6. (on my VERY first teaching experience). Good professor, a bit nervous, but I'm sure she'll get better with practice.

5. Professor Turner really knows her stuff.

4. Too nice...you should be meaner to the obnoxious dude in the back row. (who I did kick out of class at least once)

3. Makes me feel stupid (I still feel bad about this one...but the poor guy asked the same question EVERY lecture and EVERY office hour, and after awhile, I risked jeopardizing the whole class' experience by answering that question every day...).

2. Fun professor. Everyone should go to office hours and talk about cycling. (you can see how i liven up the office hours which are light on people)

and the number 1 funny comment received on a teaching evaluation: Professor Turner is a really good dresser. (**side note: no, i've never worn spandex to teach class :-))

Sigh. :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bragging rights...

So school is getting into the swing of things...and I already have students making excuses for missing class/missing quizzes/etc. Some of them are funny, some are lame, and some are are real. So on the very first day of class, when one particular student said he was going to be missing class this week, my ears were perked. He went on to say he would be missing class in order to compete at Elite Track Nationals...so of course I said I was jealous, wished him luck, and offered extra office hours to help him make up the work :-).

Today, I replied to his latest email with a request for a meeting time...and I discover not only did he just "race" in Elite Track Nationals, but he happened to become the new U23 Kilometer TT National Champion! So I just had to say Congrats to Matt Post, who also happens to be in my senior ME design class, and races for UCSB Cycling!

Monday, September 24, 2007

School starts again...

...on Thursday. I have to get motivated to teach a class again, after a big 9 month break! I am teaching a senior mechanical design class, and of course I am dreaming about more ways to bring cycling and microtechnology, two things I am quite passionate about, into the class. So...after nearly a month of not blogging...I bring you blog-readers a challenge. I usually assign a small design project to my class, to enhance what they are learning. They are already doing large year-long capstone design projects, so this small project is usually something concept-only, and most of the groups do not build anything. Can anyone think of a cycling-related project? I have a few in mind already....but I thought I'd throw the question out there just to see what people might come up with! Last year they did pedal-powered water distillation systems. The top 2 teams actually built their designs and competed in a regional ASME competition.

Come to think of it, maybe some of my students-to-be will find this blog, as they have been known to do so in the past. There are at least a couple of the mechanical engineering undergrads who show up on Group Rides in SB, as it's just not a huge community, us spandex-wearing cyclists. Hmmmmmm.

Anyway...thats about all from DrKim's blogland! Back to the grind...

Ciao!

ps. Oh...I tried cyclocross last week!! I must say it was entertaining. In an hour I learned how to mount/dismount while moving, and ride my not-supposed-to-be-but-had-a-broken-shifter single-speed loaner 'cross bike. I also attempted to do run-ups, but my shoulder did not cooperate. The bike frame was hitting it in a rather tender spot (it has been nearly a year since I broke it/separated it) and it just did NOT feel good at all, and still didn't the next couple days either! So I'm not sure..it is looking like my 'cross career might be over and I'll stick to the activities where you stay ON the bike. :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A FLAT way to end the season?

Well, I completed my first 3's road race! The good news is that I felt like I belonged in my new category. The bad news is, I have no good results to show for my nearly 70 mile effort today! I can't even report on exciting sprint finishes, or how anyone else did, because I don't know! So before I go into this, I'll report on what I do know about the race.

I believe there were 19 starters...300-319 they said at the start. This was a 3's only race, a rarity in the so-cal scene. However, this race seemed to be mostly nor-cal racers, as I recognized some of them from Kern, and met some from the blogosphere!
Metromint had at least 2, as did VeloBella, and EMC2 had 3 or 4! There were also a few other teams with at least 2 each. I felt mighty lonely all by myself. Right from the start one rider kept playing around at the front. We tried rotating a bit, and as luck would have it (I'm screaming at myself for this one...both times it happened--making newbie mistakes...like getting stuck out in front), the rotating paceline would miraculously end when I pulled through and started to softpedal, no one would pull through. Then I was left out in front. I think I must have had a sign on me that said 'first time cat 3,' and maybe people thought they could make me work without me realizing it? Anyway, I wasn't sure I even had the gas for a 70 mile race, so i did NOT want to be up front, especially when I wasn't even warmed up! So I started to ease up on the pace. I pulled off and slowed, and slowed, and still no one would go around me. Someone actually SAID to me "You have to make this a race!" and I was like "if you want a race then go around me...I'm not pulling this whole peoloton for very long...this is lap 1!" I was rather irate about the whole matter. There were lots of comments like that going back and forth, which is different from the 4s. Anyway, finally someone attacked, and we all sped up and got back into some form of organization. No one seemed to want to organize for very long. There were a lot of half-hearted attacks at the front, but nothing stuck. I mostly sat in, and rotated through as necessary. I was warmed up by the end of lap 1 and settling in. My lower back was feeling a bit sore going into lap 2, but other than that, I felt pretty fresh. The hammer gel flask was awesome...I'll definitely keep that in mind for future long races!

On lap 3 (I THINK it was lap 3...they all ran together at some point), speedy girl attacked right before the feed zone. I'm not sure if she considered it an attack or not, it could be as we were slowing down and preparing for the feed she just kept going...but she got a gap. It got to be pretty large at one point, and we discussed what to do about it. We didn't really do a great job of organizing through the rollers on the backside, and gained some ground but didn't catch. Finally someone went and attacked to try and bridge. I felt strong so I followed. I caught that girl, and the two of us brought speedy girl back. The three of us worked pretty good together for awhile, and we were caught by one other, so the 4 of us kept rotating through and worked hard. However, we started to tire, and again (need to ride smarter, I tell myself) I got stuck out in the front doing too much work. Eventually we slowed and were caught by the chasers. Then we were all together again...at this point about 15 miles to go. Actually some people had been dropped off by this point. I'm guessing we were 12 strong or so. All was going well....on the one little hill on the flat part of the course I felt really strong. I spun up in the big ring and never had to stand. My legs were hanging in there. I powered over the climb strong, and then settled back in. The course was pretty flat in this section, and I was feeling like i was going to be in it at the finish!

When....I hear that familiar sound of a flat tire. Bummer!!!! I kept riding, as the leak was a sort of slow one...as if I was going to will it away or something, but it was not to be. Pretty soon it was fully flat. "Flat" I call out, as I pull off and watch the lead group ride away. Bummer, says the metromint girl next to me. I'm sure I said a few choice words I probably should have kept to myself at that point. Thankfully I had put my CO2 and spare tube in my jersey, so I quickly changed the flat and chased. However, chasing in the last 10 miles of a long RR when you are 1 and they are 10 is just not really very fun or productive. I rode in strong, but very frustrated. I have no idea how I did...I was not realy in the mood to stay for results. I congratulated the girls around that I saw, and told them I had fun riding with them, but that was as much as I know about how the race ended. I don't even know who won!

So...another day, another bike race. I feel good about my race today, even though I'm sure I don't have a good finish to show for it. I rode strong, my fitness felt good, I learned some valuable lessons, I didn't crash or crash anyone else (although I think I did scare someone in the feed zone when someone cut me off and I subsequently did NOT hold my line--sorry!!!!).

Anyway, I think that was my last RR of the year...so I have to wait till next year to redeem myself. But I'll be there, ready to go as always!

It was really great to meet fellow bloggers today! Cyclistrick and Ms. Chatterbox...you were awesome when I was nervous getting ready. Alicat, it was fun to race with you--maybe you know how things ended up because if I recall you were right in the thick of it all. Aufderbach...hope your race went well..was good to meet you in the port-a-potty line... Hope you all had a good time today!!

Till next time!
Ciao!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

BeepBeep!



So...I dont think these two photos look very similar at ALL, but it seems the Wile-E-Coyote I saw this morning would beg to differ!

I'm up early, and out for my morning spin. My plan was to do some warm up riding on Mountain Drive, and then meet up with the 8am group ride. I am up on Mountain Drive, when I see what I think is a medium sized dog in the road. There was some morning traffic, so I was happy to see it scurry off to the side of the road when a car came. As I got closer to it, I realized it was a coyote.

I like to see wildlife, so I thought I'd ride slowly past it. I was climbing a little hill, so I wasn't going fast to begin with, and I didn't want to scare it away. I got kind of close to it...it was near a fire hydrant on the opposite side of the road. I was just about directly across from it, when it kind of crouched down and was giving me the evil eye, like it thought I was breakfast or something....when my brain was like, hmmm, dogs and cats do that when they're stalking something. I looked around and there was nothing to stalk except ME! And right about then the thing pounced! It was actually chasing me! I was pretty surprised by this, as usually coyotes are pretty scared of humans... I am embarassed to say I was actually pretty freaked out by this, and even more so by the fact that I was going uphill and could only go so fast! Let's just say I got my hard effort in for the morning! It kept up with me pretty good...was right at my wheel! It finally gave up and trotted back down the road. I rode a little further and then let up. I could still see it staring at me.... The funny part was that I had to then go back down that road, because I didn't have time to go the long way around, and had to get back to town for the group ride! So a couple minutes later I turned around and went back, but because I was now descending, I was going much faster, and didn't even see the thing.

So, do I look like a roadrunner? Hmmm. Not so sure now!

Ciao!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

the SLO photos!!

Thanks to Steve Weixel (see link on this site), there are now PHOTOS of my race! There are actually HUNDREDS, although I'm only going to post a few here. I'm sure Steve's site will have many more excellent ones from ALL the races!



Going up the 'hill' (not really sure I can call that grade a 'hill' but it was slightly not flat).



I clearly look faster than I am here....



more bike racing...



And more bike racing...from another angle.



My teammate, Ginger, looking fast!



My turn at the front, 2 laps from the finish.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fast in SLO

Today was the downtown San Luis Obispo criterium. A fast, 4 corner, mostly flat course in downtown SLO. 0.8 mile laps, which meant a LOT of laps in 40 minutes! I was a bit distracted this morning, and I did wonder about my ability to focus for the race. I forgot to eat before leaving, which meant that it was going to have to be a bagel in the car (thanks to my teammate, Ginger) and a latte.

Warmup was uneventful, and I did appreciate the nice decent start time of 10:20, meaning I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night! Although I had been toying with upgrade, this week was too crazy, and I just never got around to it! So alas it was my last race as a 4. The race was a 3/4 race, and my goal was to just ride up near the front where it was fast and safe, and to keep on top of everything as long as I could. I was also doing an experiment and was not planning on wearing any HR monitor or computer of any sort. I just wanted to ride my bike...

We did our warmup lap and lined up at the line. I had 2 teammates in the race. It was a HUGE field (for women, that is). It seemed like there were more than 40 women lined up! Awesome. This was the final race in the Womens Cycling Challenge, and it had drawn a crowd! I had a decent starting position, but needed to use the first couple of laps to gain position. The turns were fast, and I really wanted to be out of traffic so i could take them at speed. There were a couple of teams with more than a few riders (paramount and metromint), and that was interesting, too. Having teammates sure does give an advantage!

The race started fast from lap 1. I settled in, and thankfully my legs were right underneath me, not upset at all at what I was asking. Responding to the attacks was, dare I say, easy! I figured out the wind, and surveyed the riders to find the good wheels to sit on. I nearly got taken out on a corner when someone in front of me started to slide, but I did save my own line with just a small correction and everyone behind me was thankful. I got the "wow that was quite a save" comment by a couple people. The scary moments keep me engaged, and keep me focused. I just wanted to ride harder. The paramount team was just attacking and attacking at the front....the benefit of a whole team! I was keeping things in check and sitting pretty. I could tell it was going to come down to a field sprint, as the field let up a little on the backside, and people started bunching up. I hit the final turn a teeny bit too far back, and thus my sprint was not quite good enough and I came in 7th or 8th overall. The good news was that I WON the cat 4s!

The win was nice, and now that puts me over the 30 points for required upgrade. I guess I will be a 3 for San Ardo. I feel so good about my ability to channel my energy, ride aggressively and safely, corner fast, and am finally fit enough to play around in these races! I love it! Crits are really so much fun!!!!

So thus ends my stint in the newbie racer Cat 4's. 3 victories (1 road race, 2 crits), stage race placements, time trial placements, and tons of new friends. Can't wait for the next installment.

Hopefully Steve Weixel got some good photos...and I'll add them! He and his wife were taking lots of photos, and I'm sure there will be some good ones!

Another fun day at the races. SLO is a great town for a bike race. The race was well-run, results were posted quickly, and everything ran efficiently!

See you at San Ardo...time to apply for my upgrade!

Ciao!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sisquoc ramblings

After a couple weeks with no real bike racing to report on, there was finally a race! I kind of think my legs thought the season was over, though, and decided not to show up! At least that's what it felt like....

So I did the women's 4's. I was hoping it would be my last race in the 4's, and I was hoping for a good result. Unfortuantely life sometimes throws punches we don't expect....and the week ended up involving a lot more stress, and a lot more driving (and a lot less riding) than I would have hoped for. I had not ridden MOnday, did a brisk group ride (40ish miles) Tuesday, and then didn't get on the bike at all Wednesday or Thursday, and Friday was so smoky/ashy that all I did was 40 minutes easy, with a couple of sprints in there to remind the old legs what to do.

So Saturday comes around, and off I go to the bike race. It was a womens 1/2/3/4 race, witht he 4s scored separately. I have been riding strong lately, so my goal was to hang with the lead pack as long as I could, and try to get in a break with some other 3's if there were any. That plan was derailed though, when I realized that the numbers were not different for the 3s or 4s or 1/2's, so there was no way of knowing who was who (and since I'm still a 4, I don't know that many of the 3's racers yet)... So the race starts and I sit in and ride. And that lasts for about 1 lap! Ack. The second time around, I just did a stupid move on the first descent into a corner. I was too far back, and I got caught behind one of the many many girls who wants to slow down to turn corners. I was mentally kicking myself, as descending and cornering is one of my favorite things, and I'm pretty confident in my ability to push the envelope with out violating CL rules... Anyway, someone attacked out of the turn, going into the windy flat section, and I was dropped. Sigh. I kept on motoring, and caught on with 2 other girls of a similar fate. They wanted to work together, so we rotated through, and rode hard, and ended up catching back on the leaders when going through the feed zone. That was nice. However, the next time around, I again get shelled. My brain was just not with me today--i was thinking about other things, and was just not riding aggressivly. I had poor positioning and it showed, and I was pretty mad at myself. This lap, there were then 5 of us in our little group. We got organized, and did a pretty good job of working together. On this lap, I finally was feeling strong, and I pulled the whole group up the long climb. My climbing legs finally showed up ( a little late!)... Then it was the final lap. We were all 4s in my group, and I didn't think there were more than 2-3 4s up the road, so this was going to be a race! We pacelined through the windy backside, and then we climbed. I held someone's wheel up the climb this time..time to start chilling and recovering for whatever sprint was going to happen in this little chase group. I was starting to cramp at this point (I think it was from not drinking enough--I didn't have a feeder so I was stuck with the water I could carry), and was really worried, as I've never cramped before in a race!

So...we start to come up to the finish and of course no one wants to be in front. I was nicely tucked in on a good wheel, and I thought she would make a move, I could take her wheel, and then pop around at the finish. But when it got to 150m to go, she wasn't going! Now I know I've got a pretty good sprint, so I decide its now or never, and make the move and go for broke. I jump and get around her easy, and pull away. Looks like I pulled it off. I stand up out of the saddle to crank, and my calf completely cramps up! The bike bobbles, and I feel the intense pain, but I was like, I"m not losing this sprint after all that work! So i will my leg to keep working and I push it over the line, about 6 inches in front of the next girl. Whew! So although I had a completely crappy race, at least I got to work with some nice girls, and get a good workout! I ended up getting 4th (I think...the results took so long that I gave up and went home!). Not the result I was after, but oh well. Some days are like that.

Today, I woke up and went down to Sunday Worlds (our local brisk sunday ride) and rode strong. My legs had come back! And I was able to hang with the guys, and do work, and push, and do just fine! So who knows what was up yesterday....

On a good note, my friend Carissa (who is super strong and almost never races) won the 4s race, and hung with the 1/2/3's the whole race yesterday! So all was not lost. And my teammate Susie also had a great first race as a 3, and finished top 10.

Maybe next weekend in San Luis my legs will show up....we can see!

Ciao!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Puppies!!!!!







As I'm completely swamped with work, and there's not much new cycling to report on (i.e. all the other bloggers are covering such interesting topics that anything I can think to write about seems lame and boring...) I am diverting to puppies!

These are my dog Natalie's new babies! I co-own Natalie with a good friend of mine (she lives with my friend right now), and these are her adorable new babies the day they were born earlier this week!

Ciao!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Introducing iPhone! and other DC musings...


So today I'm in our Nation's capital. I'm here for a few days for an A_F_O_S_R program review (for the errant non-geek who manages to find this blog..that is AirForceOfficeofScientificResearch). Tomorrow I give a talk on the wonderful world of building synthetic reversible adhesives that work the same way Gecko's run on walls/ceilings/trees. I actually should be working on that said talk right now...but instead I'm blogging away, and catching up on everyone else's blogs! Addiction, anyone??

Anyway...I got an iphone last week. It's really cool. It's kind of changed how I do things. The web browser is actually functional, unlike the one on my treo which was so small and so slow and annoying, that i NEVER used it. This little thing worked great! Yesterday, while on the bus between the airport and the Metro (I always use public transportation when in DC--one of the few american cities where it really works), I was able to log in and see how the locals were doing in the Cascade stage race (still a bit annoyed that there was no women's race there this year...lame). They were doing well, and today when I checked again, I see Lindsay Blount won the masters 45+ and David Larsen won the 4s! The locals are doing us proud! Way to go!!!!!! I was also able to look up the Metro map on the fly, reply to tons of emails while browsing in the Smithsonian...and keep caught up in the meeting which happened to have NO free (or paid) wireless (the audacity of that is another thing altogether)! Plus, I was able to take a few snapshots while walking around as well. I can even blog (although this blog is coming from my mac...since I did open it to finish working on my talk) from it, complete with photos.

Anyway, i've gotta say that after almost 2 weeks of iphone, I'm really liking the little gadget. The only thing I don't like so far is the battery life, and it's not awful. I have found that if you turn off the wireless, it's just fine. It's very easy to turn on the wireless when you want to look for a hotspot or are in a known network, and having it off saves significant power. I've just trained myself to charge it at night, and I don't have to worry.

Oh well, i'll add the photos later...I must finish that talk and stop procrastinating already!

Ciao!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On Missed Anniversaries

So I'm wholly expecting my bike to do something evil to me one of these days...because I missed it's anniversary! It was July 5, 2006, which was my introduction into this great sport of road cycling! Prior to July 5, I didn't even OWN a road bike (unless you count the sporty 10 speed Trek I got when i was 12, and promptly grew out of by age 15 or so--and YES, that was a LONG time ago).

It was actually July 3 when I decided to look into buying a road bike. I had been running a lot, and I was a little worried about my running volume and what it would do to my knees/ankles in later life. A few of my friends had been talking about riding up into the hills surrounding SB, and I was in decent shape, so I thought that sounded like fun. I went into Dave Lettieri's shop to "look at bikes." I had a price range in mind, and Dave was cool about it...he let me ride lots of bikes around for as long as I wanted. I had no aspirations of racing, nor did I really even know what racing was all about! I just wanted a bike that could climb those hills...I bought a racing bike. I will admit that I bought the one I bought because of the way it accelerated out of corners...maybe my subconsious liked going fast even then.

So on July 5, my bike and I got together. And now, one year later, and maybe 8000 miles later, we're having a superb relationship. The bike has had some changes, like a new crank, a new bottom bracket, 2 sets of new cables, a new cassette (just HAD to have that 11-26), and new pedals. I now own backup wheels, training wheels, race wheels, aero wheels, a TT bike (ok, so i made a good deal for that one). If someone had told me a year ago that I'd have 4 wheelsets and 2 bikes, I would have told them they were crazy! Just goes to show you how much I know! The bike has gotten me through a bunch of races, 2 victories, many nice placements, an impending upgrade to Cat 3, and cherished new friends associated with this amazing sport! I can't believe I haven't given him (or even a gender...until right this moment) a name! Maybe I should take a poll...

So, happy anniversary! My sweet bike, you have brought me so much joy, brought my fitness up to a level never previously achieved and given me back the fighting competitive spirit that challenges me to climb the next peak, chase down attacks, beat someone to the line, and just enjoy a fine Saturday morning playing with friends. You can't really ask for more than that.

Ciao!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TT v4.0

Last night I did the local Echelon Goleta Time Trial. I didn't really want to do it, as TT's are really the hardest races for me. I even went so far last Friday as to tell a friend that if I won my race on Saturday, I wouldn't force myself to do the TT...but when it came right down to it, my coach's words were echoing in my brain (you'll get faster at TT's if you just DO them...), and also the realization that I needed to do this one if I was going to have any chance of completing the required 4 to get in the running for the end-of-series awards, so i decided to do it. It was to be my third high-intensity ride in as many days, so the old legs didn't quite have their 'snap,' and I was also running later than I wished I was, so I didn't have my full warmup.

Lately I have been able to push harder than in previous months, so I decided to push the heart rate up a notch today and try to work harder. As it is just a local TT, if I blew up, I'd learn a valuable lesson about how hard I can push myself... As it turned out, it was a really useful experiment! I started the same as always, but I ramped up a little quicker, and my goal was to be about 5bpm higher than last time for the entire time. I felt slow the whole way out...it was windier than last time, and the speed was just not what I was hoping for. Thankfully I settled in and the legs got their normal tired but not dead feeling, and I held steady. Passing 2 people on this stretch did help the ego, as well. Going up the hill by DP I was finally feeling good. I was able to hold my speed up the hill, even though it was really hard, and get around the turnaround. However, I had to STOP for the light at the top of the hill! I did my best rendition of a trackstand, and when that was no longer an option, I kind of turned down the street to keep from having to get off the bike. Ack. The time was just clicking away. AFter that, I screamed down the hill and then again had to STOP at the next turnaround. There was so much traffic! Here i am thinking my time is shot....while fostering an increased motivation to really push it on the final leg in. The tailwind didn't hurt, either! I really got into a good rhythm, but felt super slow when Gary and Pops passed by me. Oh well...you have what you have! I did get the increased motivation to pass a 4th person, and push the heart rate up to 200 to cross the line. My time, once I got it all calculated out was 26:44, a good 40 seconds faster than my first effort on this course. In addition, it was good enough to win the women's division. Maybe next month there won't be cars in the way! Maybe all these hard efforts are paying off and I'm finally able to push a little more power. Maybe it was just luck, or the lucky water bottle i had borrowed. I haven't yet looked at my average HR, but I'm guessing it was 185/187ish, which is a good 7 beats higher than my last TT effort.

Oh well...I sure hope these are making me stronger!

Ciao!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

V is for Victory! (or Very happy I didn't crash)




Finally, i have an actual race to report on! It seems like ages since I raced, as my last few efforts were all TT's or TTT's, which just aren't that interesting to report on! However, today, me and my teammate took the trek down to La Mirada for a circuit race. I would always prefer a road race...but at this time in the season, it seems that crits are where its at, so it was were I had to be!

I had to get up at 3:30am for this one! Considering that I went to sleep at 11, this was just not enough sleep! However, I can catch up tonight! The circuit was 2 miles long. There was a steady climb between turns 2 and 3, and then flat/easy descent to turn 4, with an uphill finish. It was a good course. The field was pretty big. They ran the 3/4 fields together, but they were scored separately. There were 30-40 starters...not sure exactly how many, but I definitely thought it was one of the larger women's 3/4 fields. I hadn't pre-ridden the course, so lap one was the learning lap for me. Thankfully no one went crazy from the gun so I had some time. I determined the hill could be big ringed (thanks to my compact setup), and learned about the turns. The field was a bit touchy, so there was more braking than I prefer. Someone even tried to give me the constructive feedback to use my brakes less....but alas there is not much you can do when someone in front of you over-corrects and the accordion affect helps. I am all for using your body to slow down...but in extreme cases sometimes a small tap of the brakes is just necessary... At one point I nearly was pushed into a traffic cone, but managed to casually avoid it....

So the hammer went down at the start of 2 laps to go. A couple folks at the front started drilling the hill. Later (i.e. after the race) I learned that someone was worried about the mens55+ race lapping us and thought that they might neutralize the main field but let the break go if one were to be created, and was trying to create a breakaway, which didn't stick. I did, however, keep that break in check, and felt pretty good going into the final lap. On the final lap, things were calm until the backside of the course, when you could feel some intensity building. I knew I had to get up towards the front if I was going to have any chance in the field sprint. I moved up to the front, and made the conscious decision to take the final turn from the outside. THe final turn back to the start/finish was a downhill turn, to an uphill finish. The course also significanly widened to 4 lanes following the turn. I decided that if I was outside, I could take the turn fast, and go outside, creating a bit of a longer line, but I would avoid any mayhem and could hopefully go up the side and grab a wheel. And that's exactly what I did! I took the turn flat out, and had tons of momentum for the hill. I saw people attack and got out of the saddle to respond. I pushed hard and accelerated quickly out of turn 4 up the hill, but at the same time as I was going hard, I heard that dreadful crash sound off to my right. My peripheral vision saw a person flip up. I was so far away from it on the outside that I just kept going. I was able to grab a wheel of someone (blue and white kit....don't know who you are), and she took me right into the final sprint finish. I popped out and around her and sprinted in.

I didn't know how I did, and soon the 3/4 combined results were posted and I had gotten 7th in the combined field. I was happy with that, as I felt good about my ride. My sprint was slightly tempered by the worry about hearing that big crash...but overall I felt good. That feeling turned to GREAT when I found out that I won the cat 4 race! Yeah!!! My teammate got 3rd in the cat 4's as well.

The girls involved in the crash did not fare so well. When I rode back to bring them some water, they were all coherent and ok, but it looked like there was at least one or 2 shoulder issues, a concussion or 2, and a lot of road rash. It kind of shook me. Cycling is not for the faint of heart, and it IS dangerous!

Anyway, it was a good return to racing for me. I hope the folks who crashed are all ok and heal up quickly. There were also a couple of crashes in the Mens 5s as well as at least one of the masters categories (and I left for the long slog through the LA traffic before any of the other groups had finished). An interesting quote from Steve Weixel, who was racing in the Mens 5s.

Me: Did you get caught behind the crash?
Him: Yeah
Me: What happened?
Him: Not completely sure....but at one point i saw a WHEEL rolling across the course, with half a FORK still attached!

Let's hope the other fields had safer races.

Cheers!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

On Riding with the Guys...

I'm tired.
and I've been delinquent on blogging...had a busy week and was pretty much preoccupied. No real excuses.

Tonight, there looks to be a fire nearby. The smoke is coming in, and the sky that was so clear and beautiful today is now hazy and smoky. Good thing I got a ride in this morning!

Speaking of the ride this morning, I have had a hard training week. I did hill repeats on Lladera following a group ride on Tuesday, a recovery 2 hour ride on Wednesday, did Gibraltar, etc., on Thursday, short spin Friday, and somehow decided I needed to work hard today. So today I went on the 8am ride which goes around Lake Casitas. When I get there this morning, I happen to be the only girl going around the lake. This is always a bit worrisome to me. Things go through my mind like "hmmm...I wonder if I know the way," "I wonder if they'll wait for me somewhere if I get dropped," "I wonder if I'll get yelled at this week for doing something lame," etc... Then the confidence attempts to take over, and I tell myself "I'm a decent rider, I am a good bike handler, I love to climb, this will be fun, etc."

The ride started out fine...not as fast as some of these rides can be, and my legs were feeling ok, especially considering what I had done to them earlier in the week. The first part of the ride was fine, but then when turning onto hwy 150, a big truck ended up splitting the group, so I was a chasing! I knew that this would not be a good thing, as I worked hard before the climbing even started! Oh well...I climbed at my own pace and was holding a pretty steady power, so i was pleased. I have what I have, and if it's not quite enough to hand with all the guys, so be it! I'm still working at it! Thankfully there was a regroup at the top of the 2nd climb, and I am happy to say that there were plenty of people behind me too...somehow not being last does a good bit for the old ego!

Going down around Lake Casitas was fun. I am still feeling the fact that I'm not quite aggressive enough, but I"m working at it. The right thoughts definitely go through my head...I just hesitate a tad too long before acting on them! I guess that is just inexperience. I do think that all these fast group rides have made me much better in that regard. But I still get in a bad spot when I get stuck behing a bad wheel and don't jump around before everyone passes me...and then I have to work twice as hard to get back in a decent position. Live and learn!

Anyway, I hung in there back around the lake and all the way to Ventura, where we then have to ride back to SB. Part of this ride goes on an access road, and then pops on the freeway for a bit. Now, by this point, about 50 miles in or so, I'm feeling pretty tired. We're pacelining and I am doing fine, holding my own, able to do what i'm supposed to, when we have to pass through this little barrier..and before i was even through it someone attacked! Oh well...as I see the rest of them all go up and onto the freeway and there was no way I could hang on...way to attack in a good spot, guys... Anyway, thankfully a couple of nice guys hung back and towed me back :-). For the most part, the folks around here are pretty nice. However, I HATED being the GIRL that people had to wait for! The motivation to not suck makes me dig pretty darn deep.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful...I got a flat when we got back to town. Just more motivation to change the tires I've had on my bike since february. I'm pretty excited I probably got 3500 miles on them at least! They are pretty toast though, so I'm changing them tonight.

Ride Summary: 68 miles, 3 hours, probably 3-4K climbing (but didn't look at the computer file yet), max speed 47mph, some tired legs tonight.
Cost Summary: New Tube $6, New Tires: $100. CO2 cartridge: $3. Getting stronger: Priceless.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

40K of H*ll

Ok...to quote xbunny,

"and the real reason to do a 40k time trial
is to make you so happy to do 10 mile time trials"

oh how right you are xbunny! At least I hope that's why I did it! Because at the time, I sure didn't care for it!

So today I did the CBR State TT Championships. Another trip out to Lancaster/Palmdale, another chance to leave the temperate climate of Santa Barbara for the heat of the desert, another opportunity to suffer for an hour.

And in my case, that 40K of suffering was 1 hour, 8 minutes and 14 seconds. Wow.

Not much of a race report to be had in a TT report...it is what it is. There were only 3 of us in the Cat 4 women's division. I started 2nd. I passed the girl in front of me near the turnaround (it was an out and back...so about 12 miles out and 12 back). There was a tailwind all the way out, and the headwind on the way back made the pain oh so much worse. About 7 miles in, the first of the mens 4s started to pass me. Thankfully I had been warned that this would happen, so it didn't freak me out and stayed steady. I actually felt ok through the turnaround as well for the next few miles. It was at about mile 14 when I started to be unable to ignore the pain which was manifesting itself in regions you just don't want that much pain! I tried to shift around a bit...but it was just making it worse, and I found myself sliding further and further back on my saddle, and could almost feel the power loss in the legs, which were feeling fine. The seat was just killing me!

About 2 miles from the finish, the girl who started behind me passes me, but she's not going that much faster. I hold steady and ride near her. I passed her back, and she passed me back. It made it more interesting...because even though my brain knew she had beaten me by 30 seconds...at least there was SOME Motivation to ignore the pain and race my darn bike!

When I got close to being done, I got my normal "wow i actually made it lets get this d*mn thing over with" second burst of energy, and push in, leaving that girl a few seconds back. And it was over.

I was feeling so slow. I mean, 1 hour and 8 minutes for a 40k???? Sad....however, when they finally gave out the awards, there were actually a lot of times slower than that, which sadly enough, renewed my quest to continue to improve. I got 2nd place, by 24 seconds. At least I put 6 seconds into that girl at the finish...

Anyway, it was my first 40K solo effort. And hard it was! And I sure hope xbunny is right, and the next stage race TT seems like a piece of cake!

On another good note, here are some other local results:

Gary Douville got 1st in the 3s, and I think his time was over a minute faster than 2nd place! Yeah Gary.

David Larsen was 5th in the 4s, and I think Tom Anhalt was 6th in the 4s as well.

Congrats everyone!

Off to find dinner...and try and recover for Worlds tomorrow....

Ciao!!

Latest Update: Here are the official results

Friday, June 22, 2007

On reminiscing...

...about Life/Work/Cycling

Ok, so some could argue that cycling is part of life, but in my little microcosm it seems to take on a life of its own! I decided to not teach this summer, to enjoy the benefits of that academic job I worked so hard for, and to have a flexible summer. (I will pay for this next Winter when I DO have to teach...as summer is usually a trade-out for me for some other quarter) So after all the commencement festivities of last weekend (mostly I suffered through in a jet lag fog), it is officially summer. And I have a few moments this morning, to reflect on summers past, and look forward to what this one may bring.

Last summer was a summer of new things for me. In this period last year, I bought my bike and got to spend much of the summer getting to know it. It was fun. We had a good courtship, culminating in me entering a race after just 3 weeks of riding. Honestly, before that I had a crappy mountain bike that I commuted to work on, and pretty much nothing else. Nothing like jumping in with both feet! In that first race, Sisquoc, I got creamed...actually I got 6th place in the 4s, but becuase it was a 1/2/3/4 start with all of us racing together, I felt like I got creamed since I got dropped after the first 15 or so miles. I think I was the only racer there without a kit, or a team, or a club! I was such a fred. The woman who is now my coach was there, as her team was putting on the race. She saw me afterwards, nearly puking, feeling really slow after having ridden a good 30 mile hilly TT after getting dropped after the first 1.5 laps of the race. I was so naive, our conversation kind of went like this:

Her: "You should go on a cool-down ride"
Me: "you mean I have to ride my bike MORE?????"
Her: "yeah, go for a spin"
Me: "im not sure I ever want to ride my bike again!"
Her: "you did really well"
Me: "you're talking to the wrong person...didn't you see? I'm the one who finished by herself..at the back! I only passed one person the entire time! I got dropped on the second lap! I ...
Her: "you should have seen MY first race on this course"
Me: "you DO remember talking to me as you were PASSING me in the follow car? I was dropped like a rock"
Her: "really, do you KNOW who you were riding with?"
Me: "some people a lot more talented than myself?"
Her: "Give it up, and go check and see how you placed"
Me: "at least I didn't get last, as I know I passed someone"
Her: "i think its really great you gutted it out and finished. You have a lot of drive"
Me: "you mean you can drop out early?" (I had no idea people just stopped when they were dropped ...)
Her: "forget you heard that. and GO on your cooldown ride"
(i just rode back to the car and went home...)

Anyway, so as I reflect on that first race experience, I have NO idea what compelled me to start this season! That first race just wasn't really a fun experience! Hmmmm. But yet I managed to start this season amped up and ready for whatever was there! And this year, races have been a blast. Sure, there have been moments (like the races when my bike was broken and I couldn't figure out what was wrong), but overall I think of the races as things I look forward to (well, with the small exception of time trials....). I have had a victory, and many defeats, and some good races and some really bad ones. And now I can't imagine my life without racing.

So I guess in the grand scheme of things, last summer was an influential one in my life. I wonder what this one will bring! Bring it on!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jet Lag Sucks

...it really does. I just had no idea how much! So today, I got up on time and went down to the 8am group ride. I do this group ride all the time, and it is fun for me. My plan was to stick with the group ride, and then climb some hills afterwards to get my climbing workout in.

On the warmup I felt fine. The legs felt reasonably fresh (remember, I'd been in France until Saturday morning, 9 days off the bike), and all was well until someone decided that it was time to hammer. I geared down and went, and stayed on, but wow, it was harder than it had to be! It was a strange feeling. My legs weren't burning like they usually do when I'm about ready to blow up, but it was definitely not the crisp reaction I was expecting. Hmmm. After a couple of well timed "kim, STAY ON HIS WHEEL!" "don't let a gap form," comments from other (faster) folk, I managed to hang on. The ego was quickly dissispating, though, and for me, the ego and the fact that I'm one of only 1-2 girls that makes it on these rides is about the only thing that keeps me hanging! So when the ride split, and I made the possibly bad decision to take the longer, hill route up Gubernador canyon, I was dropped like a rock. Oh well...good day for a ride by myself, I try to tell myself, as I keep wondering why I'm feeling so very slow. I did manage to thrash myself and get up the hill, and enjoyed the descent, and caught the stragglers on the final climb up to the re-group spot at Bates... After that, I skipped contesting for the final sprints back into town, and did manage to punish myself with extra climbs up Toro, Lladera, and Mountain Dr. I did skip gibraltar, though....that 12noon meeting saved me!

AFter feeling lame and slow all afternoon, I've decided to chalk it up to jet lag. Someone once told me that you have to give yourself ~1 day per hour of time change to fully adapt. And since i was 9 hours off..this could take awhile! Plus, I didn't ride for a week on top of that, so I guess I can't claim to be in top form, either!

I guess I'll just have to go back on thursday to redeem myself?

Happy I havent' sent in for an upgrade yet. Completely NOT feeling like a sandbagger today!

Ciao!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Velodrome!


So today, as I was walking between the conference and my hotel, I decided to detour through this beautiful park that is nearby. And low and behold, I look at the park map to see where to go, and I see a VELODROME on the map! So of course I go to check it out! It was cool, and there just happened to be some people training on it, so I stopped to watch for a bit. It was pretty fun, seeing as how I've never even BEEN to a track let alone ride on one. It was fun, but it made me miss my bike even more...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bonjour from Lyon!

Well, I've been in France for a few days now. I have not ridden my bike in 6 days, which is the longest dry spell i've had since crashing on my shoulder last fall (and that only led to 7 days off the bike, although my orthopedic dr. has no idea). I'm in France, and I have no bike! There are these cute little rental cruiser bikes...but you need a 'smart' credit card to rent them. Everywhere I go there are these cute little bikes in stations. If you have the magic credit card, you can put it in a machine, and then it allows you to unlock a bike and take it. Then you drop it off at your destination. It is really quite impressive. I am very bummed that the US has not gone 'smart card' yet, so I am stuck looking at all these bikes mocking me, as I continue the long slog from my hotel to the conference.

What makes it even worse, is that I am on a 'team bike challenge' team this month! We get points for utilitarian bike trips...and these 8 days in france are really going to bring down my team's average!

Anyway..aside from the fact that I'm in France in June instead of July, it is really quite lovely. I had 3 days in Paris, and am now in Lyon. It is beautiful, green, lush, and there are lots of wonderful dogs everywhere. I'm quite taken with the place, not to mention the food.

On another note...my coach and her team are racing RAAM starting today! Here is the website for updates. Wish them well...what an endeavor!!! Go Pink!!!!

Au revoir!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Au Revoir...


So tomorrow I am off to the fine french cities of Paris and Lyon for 8 days! The weekend in Paris is a little mini-vacation for me, and the week in Lyon is to attend Transducers 2007, a major conference in my field. I'm still hoping I'll be able to blog while in Europe, but the frequency will probably be somewhat less!

For all those of you racing this weekend, in Bakersfield or elsewhere, best of luck, ride hard, ride fast, and keep the rubber side down!

Back from my little foray off the bike in about a week...hopefully full of stories to tell about adventures in another land.

Au Revoir... (I don't know more than two words of french...ack!)

Monday, June 4, 2007

The things people say...

A couple weeks ago, Meh-wee-uhn posted a funny quote on her blog. This led to me telling her some funny quotes that were recently said to me. Although potentially creating serious trouble for myself in the interest of entertaining the couple of people who read my blog...I will repeat some of the funny quotes I have heard lately. Names have been withheld to protect the innocent (well, except for mine, because I'm usually not innocent!).

These quotes however, have all actually been uttered...and the integrity of context is also maintained.

The top 10 funniest things I've heard lately (or at least those I can think of tonight):

10. "They shouldn't be in our division. They look OLD," Overheard by a club member at the team time trial last weekend, when noticing some fast-looking people warming up nearby (whom our coach had said were in our age division (140+)).

9. "It must have been the wheels," To me, on why I beat someone in the Kern Time trial, even after dropping my chain in the middle and having to get off my bike and untangle it from my derailleur.

8. "Ya think ya could point out that there's a f*ing TREE in the road!!" to me on my very first co-ed group ride last fall when I missed pointing out a small stick in the road. Ooops.

7. "YOU have, like, a doctorate?" heard on a group ride when someone asked me what I did for a living. I think it's good that I don't appear geeky enough to be a nerd!!

6. "Why is it that we take a perfectly good Saturday to drive out into the middle of the desert to race our bikes in 100 degree heat? Oh yeah, because it's supposed to be fun!" remarked on the way to yet another bike race in the desert.

5. "Does your helmet even fit you anymore?" on the big head that has resulted from an overgrown ego after telling my teammates about a recent good result. Really, I didn't make THAT big a deal of it! Another friend confirmed today that I do *not* have an uncontrollably big ego.

4. "Let's all stare at Kim's chest now," on my teammates who were all looking at the gold Irish Setter necklace I was wearing at the TTT last weekend, since my lucky necklace broke last Tuesday!

3. "Chamois' have come a long time since the 80's," remarking on a friends 'retro bike shorts' that she had had since the 80's! Needless to say, we brought her up to date with some new shorts that actually had a padded chamois! Ahhhhh. What she had been missing...

2. "Hey, Kim, you're looking pretty hot today," a friend of mine is ALWAYS saying this to me, after seeing *this* video online last year!

AND
the number one funny quote I've heard lately (and to she who uttered this comment...I love ya dearly...and just think it was funny, and still is):

1. "I thought your butt was bigger than that!" said to ME at the regroup spot on a morning group ride. She went on to say how she was chasing me up the hill, and thought it was me, but then decided it wasn't because not only was I fast, my butt was definitely bigger than that! I still don't know if it was a compliment or not! Hmmmmmmmmm.

Now...I'd like to hear your funny quotes! Comment away all! This week's contest (sorry for last week's winner--I have not figured out what the prizes are, other than a nice mention on the blog...) is "What's the funniest thing said to you lately?"

Ciao!

Weekend Post-Bike-Racing Work?


These two photos were taken the same day..about 7 hours apart. If you look closely, I *am* in both!

So on Saturday Evening, after the long drive back from the TTT (where I still don't know how my team placed, or our official time), I had to go to a retirement party. All the people there were members of the Control, Computation and Dynamical Systems Center at UCSB, and their significant others. The food was great, a middle-eastern theme, and so was the wine! I was still feeling a bit sun-baked from the racing in the desert...but nothing a glass of wine (or 2 or 3) won't fix! This strangely organized spur-of-the-moment photo was taken...as you can all see, I'm the only female (again). I also might actually be the youngest as well, although I have been at UCSB for *8* years...so I don't feel like a youngster! I just thought it was funny...to go from one extreme (bike racing with my women's team) to the other (geeky work) in a few short hours.

I go to France for a conference (in Lyon, but spending the weekend in Paris) on Thursday....so I will be riding hard over the next few days in anticipation of my big 8 day break, which I'm hoping will consist of great food, great wine, some sightseeing, visiting with colleagues/friends from all over the world, and some much needed R&R. (strange when R&R has to come in the form of a conference....but alas that is my life). I'm hoping to keep up the blogging while I'm gone..but who knows...

Ciao! or is it Au Revoir...