Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cereal Eating Contest

So my house has been extra full all week with an additional 5 guests staying to the already 7 people that live here.  Christian, Christine (his girlfriend), Dalheim, Gonzo, and Benji stayed the week after Pace Bend to do some training in Austin with Peter.  Dalheim had the bright idea of challenging Peter to a Cinnamon Toast Crunch eating challenge.  Now, if you know Peter, he has aspirations of becoming obese post-cycling career, so he was happy to take Dalheim up on the challenge for some practice.  The rules were that they had to eat a whole bag of the cereal in an hour and the first to eat it all wins.  Each bag had 2400 calories of cereal and well over 120 grams of sugar.  What started out for both of them as full enjoyment, quickly become disgust and dread the further they got into the challenge.  Peter started out at a much quicker rate, but overexerted himself by including other foods to "mix it up" but ultimately fill up his stomach- apple, trail mix, yogurt,... Dalheim's steady rate and perseverance won the competition and he is now the reining Cinnamon Toast Crunch champion of Metro VW.  Any takers?

Going at it.

Unhappy boys with empty cereal bags

Dalheim's Cinnamon Toast Crunch Baby

The facts

Well everyone went home today.  Peter, Gonzo and I rode out to Lago Vista to watch the rest of the guys race.  The winds were pretty much torrential, but I got in a good four and a half hours and it was nice to see everyone.  Tomorrow I have exciting plans in the evening for my 21st birthday!  More to come later :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bike Barn Custom Fit Studio

Monday I took a quick trip to Houston to visit Tad Hughes at the Bike Barn Custom Fit Studio.  He helped me out with my fit on both my TT and road bike.  He's actually one of the few in Texas able to give Retul fits and that's just what I had done.  We found out that my left femur bone is a centimeter longer than my right which explains the odd pedaling stroke I've taken up with my left leg.  After moving a bunch of stuff on my road bike and making a couple adjustments on my TT bike, I feel a lot more comfortable (and stronger) than before.  I guess we'll see how it holds up at the next race ;-)

Thanks, Tad!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pace Bend Road Race

This past Sunday was Pace Bend Road Race in Austin, Texas. The course is different from the typical road race course, instead being on a quick 7-mile short-and-steeply rolling course. We did seven laps. After struggling to find a parking spot for the infinitely long trailer up where we would actually be able to get out of, we had to drive deep into the chaos that is Pace Bend Parking (a whole other animal in itself). It ended with six boys physically picking up a car and moving it over a foot so the trailer could fit instead of blocking two dozen cars in a dead end.

The race itself went fantastic. We set out to make the race as hard as possible and pretty much ended up attacking one after the other after the other... We worked really well together. Casey was able to make a wonderful punchy attack up the feed zone hill and took two girls, Christina and Rhe, with her. Christina and Casey stayed away for the rest of the race. The rest of us kept up the attacks for most of the rest of the race and the pack dwindled down to 14. When it came down to the last few miles, Ashley went to the front and kept the pace at 25mph, I pulled through just before the base of the climb to the finish, Shannon went for it and won the field sprint. Casey won her sprint as well, for a rocking 1st and 3rd for Metro!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valley of the Sun

The trailer is full, it must be time to race!

Pheonix, Arizona

So this past weekend was the first race of the season- Valley of the Sun, in Pheonix, Arizona.  I wasn't too sure what to expect after riding by myself 95% of the time for the past 4 months and was pretty anxious (and apprehensive) to find out.  It was great seeing everyone Thursday evening.  I'm pretty sure Shannon, Ashley and I had too much fun making worms, or in Ashley's case, spiders, out of straw wrappers.  Don't worry we cleaned up our mess :-)

Friday was a 13.9 mile time trial on the world's most straight road.  It was slightly downhill/tailwind-ish on the way out and slightly uphill/headwind-ish on the way back if you were to average it all out.  I had never ridden the TT bike on the road before- just a little on the trainer once (it didn't have brakes then), but I was happy with the position Nathan figured out.  Nathan gave us all pretty freaking fast time goals for the TT.  The BH TT bike was awesome and the Selle Italia Ladies saddle was perfect.  I was a little bummed when I came across the line with a time 5 minutes more than the goal but happy with the average speed, an improvement from last year by far.  Well, I ended up in 12th out of 60- better than I expected (I was actually confused/surprised) and a minute and a half off the leader.  Shannon, Ashley and I were all within two mintues of the leader.  

Saturday was the 57 mile road race.  The course was odd in my option.  There was a 3k climb gradual enough you could kinda big-ring it, about 8 miles of very gradual downhill, and then another 6 miles of flat cross or headwind.  We did 3.5 laps, finishing 200m from the top of the climb on a flat/downhill section.  I'm not quite sure what the deal was but girls were crazy sketchy and we had probably 5 crashes.  I guess maybe it was because it was the first race of the season and everyone has been riding by themselves all winter.  Andrea and Casey did a great job controlling the beginning of the race, trading off attacking and keeping the pace high.  A bunch of girls fell off the back because of them.  Those two not only did their job the first two laps, but they did a great job in the latter half of the race with anything and everything.  Huge kudos to them.  Ashley was the guardian angel and worked to bring back breaks once Casey and Andrea's work was done.  She also kept an eye out for Shannon and I and made sure we were positioned well.  Unfortunately she was in a crash during the second lap, but being the total beast she is, she caught back on almost 10 miles later after working her butt off and got right back to her job- no problemo.  Shannon had me attack in the crosswind with a lap and a half to go.  I had maybe a minute or two on the pack at some point and stayed away for half a lap but they caught me by the top of the feed zone.  Shannon countered, but the rest of the pack wasn't interested in letting that happen.  The rest of the race we kept the pace high and got ready for the leadout.  Things fell apart a little (plus there was another crash, imagine that) but Shannon finished 7th and thanks to Ashley, I finished at the end of the pack which was by then 24 people.  Ashley almost crashed herself trying to give me a little shove right at the finish line- she's probably the best guardian angel out there :-)  Overall, it was a great first race together.  Nathan picked out one key thing from that race for us to concentrate on for the next race.   We got compliments from a few of the other teams, which was nice.  

Sunday's crit was a whopping 40 minutes around a 6-corner 0.8 mile course.  4 of the corners were downhill while only two were uphill (these Pheonix folks seem to like courses like this).  Unfortunately, we ended up starting at almost the back of the pack and with the massive number of sketchy girls (think of all the crashes yesterady), it took almost 15 minutes to move from the back to the front, especially since there were so many turns.  Nathan redevised the plan and Ashley, who was at the front early, was able to launch a great attack for a lap and Shannon countered and bridged up to a girl up the road.  Those two never came back.  The rest of the us were supposed to get up to the front and keep control of the race.  Ashley, Casey, and Andrea did great keeping control when they were up there.  I died during that race- I woke up sick that morning with gunk in my chest, throat and nasal passages and during the race my throat closed up so much I sounded like a walrus while trying to breathe.  I made it up to the front like a whopping 2-3 times to help, but other than that I was on the tail end of the pack dying.  I felt bad not being able to do more.  Shannon won the race which was fabulous!

Shannon moved up to 7th in the GC.  I ended up in 11th in the GC.  We definitely have a strong team and we're only getting stronger and better as we continue to train and continue to ride and race with each other.  Thanks to Tammy for dropping me off and picking me up from the airport (in the middle of the night!).  Thanks Nathan for taking care of us all and taking care of all the details. 

Thanks to freaking Andrea Gonzales for being Mister Bike Mechanic and cracking jokes all weekend.  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cooks in the Kitchen

Last night, Peter and I decided to put our combined culinary skills together to create stuffed pasta shells. Luckily, we work pretty well together in the kitchen. These big ol' shells were stuffed full of spinach, ricotta, cottage cheese, Parmesan, and mozzarella. We covered them with tomato sauce and chicken sausage and topped the whole deal with more mozzarella on top! They turned out great! The recipe made 10 servings but somehow Peter has already managed to eat about 7 of those servings. :-\
The ingredients:

Finished product:

We also made a quick day trip up to Dallas on Friday. We visited Michelle and Betty at Living Well for some acupuncture and nutritional advice, respectively. They were awesome as always. Check them out at if you haven't already. From there we went to Weinburgers in Grapevine for amazing Reuben sandwiches and then to drop off bikes for Valley of the Sun. Brad at Metro VW, being awesome as always, sent us some sweet track jackets, long sleeve shirts, and sweat-wicking tees. Thanks Brad! Selle Italia also sent us some nice saddles with big cutouts which will be great! I'm looking forward to using it this season for sure. Thanks Nathan, too, for organizing all of this and making sure each and every one of us is good to go for the race.

I'll be flying out Thursday to meet the team in Pheonix, Arizona for Valley of the Sun. I'm really, really, really looking forward to it. We'll do really well there.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Ah the timeless classic joke with countless variations! Well, as most of you know, I live in a city, just minutes from the heart of downtown...apparently one of the houses in my neighborhood that backs up to a major street has some chickens and roosters. Very random. When I was coming back from my ride the other day, the stupid things were kinda trying to cross the road! They weren't really committing to crossing or chilling on the side of the road. I was on my bike and quite nearly hit them as they took a few steps across and then nearly got hit myself by the women on a cell phone behind me. The birds didn't even flinch! So my dear, feathered friends, please commit next time to cross the road or stay on the other side.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last Week Before the Fun Begins

Not much has gone on since my last post. With a recovery week, I've found myself with more time than I'm used to which is both good and bad- good because I've been able to sleep at least 8.5 hours a night and because I've been able to get done more things on my to-do list than normal, but bad because not riding makes me anxious and not being completely pressed for time makes me anxious as well. It's enjoyable for a day or two, but now I just want to ride, ride, ride (race, race, race!). Our first race is next week! So close!

In other news, I'm really enjoying my class on Human Use of the Earth (a.k.a. a brief overview of environmental science). I've looked at the environment from a social-profit perspective in one of my marketing classes, but now it's much more meaningful looking at it from a geographical and basic-scientific view. Eventually, I'd like to turn my career into something based on improving both mankind and the environment whether that is through a social profit company or a non-profit or maybe even starting my own. I've always grown up a bit of a hippie (although a middle class hippie) from my California childhood and I would be very happy to be able to give back to the environment that I've surely had a large impact on, unfortunately, in my 20 years.