Friday, September 30, 2011


Yeah, who knows what that time is supposed to mean.

I mean, last year's duathlon time seemed pretty meaningless because I didn't have much to compare it to and now that I do have another duathlon to compare it to, it still seems pretty useless.

The distances were slightly different and OH BY THE WAY the courses were like night and friggen THE MOON or something.

Um, Mermaid Series people - publish a fucking elevation chart, you asses.

Yeah - I could try to get below the fold before launching into my tirade, but that would be so unFinny of me, why bother - I say.

This is on the way out to the ride. I had no idea. Which is why I'm smiling and not flipping the bird.

People, there were some not-messing-around steeps on the bike course. Like - for most people, it was Get Off Your Bike And Hike time. Particularly since the race organizers were all, "Oh yeah, lots of people ride mountain bikes and cruisers for the bike course!" and everything.

Which - not nice.

Though, the super low gears you get on a mountain bike would have been nice for reminiscent of mountains we hit twice on the 12 mile loop.

To say that I had not geared down properly for the first climb would be an understatement. And to say that I nearly crapped my chamois when we had to, on the return, travel DOWN this Everest-like incline on a grade that taxed my brakes beyond their comfort zone would again be a liberal use of the words HOLY SHIT.

There were some wide eyeballs coming down that hill, to put it plainly. Shit was steep.

And, oh, what's up with the friggen SURPRISE beach portion on both the start and finish legs of the run?

Not. In. The. Race. Materials.

Dirty pool, people. I just hosed a pair of running shoes, thankyouverymuch, because now they're irretrievably filled with sand and annoyance.

But, despite all the bitching I just laid out for you right there - I had fun. I had fun and I ran strong and I biked well enough and Bubba found me on nearly every leg of the race and then he took a video which is weird to watch because it looks like I'm just AOK except that I know that I was cursing a thousand fiery deaths upon the crotch who decided that a beach finish would be a good idea for the duathlon course while slogging through the loose sand presented by the Capitola beach.

But, all is forgiven when the Finishers' breakfast is laid out beautifully by Capitola Whole Foods, complete with tablecloths, floral centerpieces, Good Belly and pancakes and an ocean view.

Who doesn't love freshly baked banana bread and some yogurt thing with a smiley face? Communists and assholes, that's who.

Meanwhile, after my WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT BEACH FINISH PLUS HILLS ON THE BIKE COURSEing, I finished 9th in my age group and 45th overall.

That's right. T1 is still full of bikes. SCORE.

Not too shabby for a girl who never did any official training and did the bike course on a yet to be named orange spicy roadbike.

Forgive me, friends, I just can't commit. I've tried out all your suggestions, and some not perfect ones presented by Bubba and some super not perfect ones suggested by yours truly and nothing's sticking.

Well, one always comes up, but Bubba is so Meh on it that I have a hard time being all, "Yep! That's the one!" because I guess it's not.

Her true name is out there. I guess we'll just have to keep guessing. And I'll keep trying them on her for size. And since I've now outfitted us for dark winter rides to work (got a sweet muther of a headlight and some not sexy clear glasses and some SUPER sexy arm warmers), I'll have more chances to find her a fitting name.

Keep trying, I know you can do it. Because I just can't keep calling her The Roadbike or The Cannondale because that is so lame and boring. Particularly when I can freely and easily call Tulip, Tulip and everyone immediately knows who I'm talking about.

She's the cutest. Though had I tried to ride the bike course with her, I'd be calling her FUCK YOU STAY IN THAT DITCH right now because whoa.

I'm still scarred from the bike course, I guess. Though Bubba thinks that with some proper hill training I can finish in the top 3. Or, as he put it so boldly - "Baby! You could WIN!" - which is adorable.

Thanks, Coach.

Adorable and delusional - this is how I like my mens.

We'll see how next year's duathlon goes. I imagine the finish time will be similarly meaningless, but perhaps I'll ride [Roadbike's New Awesomely Fitting Name] to glory.

Go on - keep trying with those names. And I'll keep trying to win a race. Hey - at least one of these things is possible to achieve.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Let's continue the tradition of pre-race audience participation.

I have a duathlon this weekend, friends.

Yes, that one to which I've vaguely alluded over the past few months during which I've trained barely at all. Formally, anyway.

I mean, I have been riding my bike to work this summer, which is a combined total of 40 miles round trip, so that sort of counts as training for this event of 12 miles of cycling, and I have also been running my usual 3x/week schedule of 2 days of intervals and 1 day of distance, so that sort of also counts toward the combined 4 miles of running, official training.

Basically, I haven't trained for the transition at all. And I haven't done any bike to run or run to bike training as proved so eye-opening during my first bout. And I didn't do that awesome I'm Going To Kick Some Mermaid Ass training of a 3M morning run > bike 20 miles to work > 2M run at work thing that I briefly mentioned to Bubba and, like, two other people when I signed up for this thing earlier this summer.

So, to look at my preparation from a traditional training standpoint, you'd probably expect me to impressively suck and also to mortally wound myself and/or others entering and exiting the transition zones this weekend. And, hey, you might be right on.

Or - you might just be totally wrong.

I think you'd probably be sorta wrong.

But, I'll stop laying this off on you as though you're all just sitting out there being big fat doubters, because this is not how I've raised you.

No, you believe in me. Most of the time (or all of the time), you believe in me more than I believe in myself and, gee, that's awfully sweet of you.

Me though - I think I'll be fine. I figure that I can definitely run the distance and I can certainly bike the distance and since I'm at least not heading into this thing with zero confidence in my ability to use clipless pedals (commuting in these shoes has done wonders for my confidence and notfallingoverness), I'm ahead of last year's abilities as I go out to packet pick-up today.

And then, on Sunday when I head to Santa Cruz, I'll also have my new bike rack all full of My Bike Who Still Needs a Name After Two Years and a bib number 716 spots higher than last year.

85? Am I doing this alone?

Oh. I guess the field is a bit larger for Santa Cruz than it was for Alameda.

What? You don't know immediately where Alameda is? Shocking.

Anyway - for audience participation!

Name the bike:

She's spicy. She's orange. She's a 2008 Cannondale Synapse F3 Carbon, for you technical folks. She *can* be fast as shit.
I feel like she needs a name, and for the life of me, I can't come up with a good one.

I didn't have this trouble with Tulip because my neighbor took one look at her and her Dutchie-ness and was all, "Aw! Tulip!" and we were done.

I mean, come on. Could you call her anything other than "Tulip"? No.

But no one looks at a road bike and goes, "Aw...[NAME]!" because road bikes don't have a cutesy bamboo basket or panniers or those rad handles that curve toward you all accommodating-like.

No. They are all carbon-y and clipless pedals-y and don't inspire a lot of sentimentality in passersby. But I'll tell you, after a summer of riding this sexy fast bitch to work on trails and roads and through parks and crazy intersections and falling on my face when I discovered its inability to maintain vertical when crossing loose debris, I have a new affection for it.

And I'm not always screaming as I ride. Truly.

An affection, I'm proud to say, isn't entirely composed of Fear.

This is a big shift, friends - believe me.

So - name her! You come up with a good solid name for this saucy, fast mama and I'll use it every time I talk about cycling or training for a race, which who knows how often that will be but still - cool.

Go on, name away. Meanwhile, I'm going to pick The Nameless One up from the bike shop and get my packet so that HOORAY! I can go off all untrained into the chutes.

I guess I haven't improved much at this racing thing, but I guess that's what happens after six years of this? Yeah, that's it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heirlooms can be pigs.

When I sent an email to my team at work telling them I'd be out of the office for a dorky reason which I'd talk to them about offline, I immediately had six people at my desk.

Come on, dork. You can't just put that in an email and then *not* tell us. Freak.

Thanks, guys.

But then when I told them I was going to an heirloom seed expo, the looks went from anticipated awe to confusion and not a few raised eyebrows.

Apparently I'm the only one around here growing things from seed. Or interested in food not created in a test tube. Or keeping bees. Or not buying plastic wrapped tomatoes at Costco. Or hungry for a really good grilled cheese sando with local Gruyere, heirloom tomatoes and a mixed green salad with freshly pressed Gravenstein apple juice on the side.

I could eat this again right now. Like, five times.


But whatever. These are the same people who ooh and ahhh satisfyingly when I bring tomatoes into the office, so I forgive them for their name-calling. I mean, I barely ever punch any of them.

Though I have punched at least one of them.

But she deserved it. And, strangely, I'm pretty sure she liked it.

Who's the freak now?

And then...I went to the Heirloom Exposition and took pictures of squash.

People - they don't fuck around with squash at this thing.

We get it. You have a lot of squash.

We get it. Your squash are big.

We get it. Your squash wear hats made of squash.

We get it. Your squash are so plentiful, they don't all fit on the table.

We get it. Your squash look like they have a communicable disease.

We get it. Your squash look adorable in a big metal basket that's probably a plow of some kind.

We get it. Your squash need sunscreen.

We get it. Your squash need a shot of penicillin.

We get it. Your squash could take me in a fight.

Also, won't this make a nice holiday card? I think so.

These grey/blue squash (which  *may* be Hubbards, but I don't really know for sure) are just lovely. And freaky.

You get the picture now, right? LOTS OF SQUASH.

Lots of HUGE squash.

Also known as Biggest Pumpkin EVAR.
Though I'm a fan of giant and plentiful and weird looking and adorable and albino squash (I mean, WHO ISN'T?), I need more in my life.

Specifically, tomatoes.

And, really, this thing was about tomatoes about as much as it was about squash. Though without the pointy tower, which I understand. Can you imagine? Messy. OR - with the right application of olive oil and buffalo mozzarella - delicious. But still messy.

Anyway - there were tomatoes aplenty for my hungry eyes to ogle.

Learned a new thing at the expo - big tomatoes go stem side down.

So that their juicy fatness doesn't smash their pretty asses.

Notice here - lots of buttside up-ness.

Though, who knows which is the butt side on this alien being masquerading as a tomato.

The tomato has a boner. I'm not even going to make any other inappropriate observations here. I can't do everything for you people.

One of so many tables of ONE MILLION TOMATOES. Buttside up.

They even made a little rainbow from the cherry varieties, which is ridiculously cute. Even though I'm sure I'm supposed to make a comment more meaningful than that.

What these guys are trying to say is: We grow a lot of tomatoes.

Tomato boner! Good times. that a pepper? Rip off.

Winner of the Biggest Tomato ribbon. Because it's big. The biggest even.

Probably the prettiest tomato at the show. Though it had not yet been ribboned because some people are assholes and don't do what I say.

*wolf whistle*
So, yeah. When I was done eye-fucking the tomatoes, we went over to the other heirloom things that were not vegetables at all.

Not vegetables! you say? Yeah. Pigs, goats, cows, turkeys, chickens, sheep...all heirloom varieties.

Heirloom hens with heirloom bandannas.

This was, from my recollection, an heirloom Shetland ram

Heirloom sheeps' wool.
And fleeces. Don't forget the fleeces.

Nuzzling heirloom cows of some variety I didn't note. Who DOESN'T love that?
Hello, lovelies. These were purported to be docile and good milk producers. I did not buy one because I want to stay married to Bubba.
Just try and tell me that this isn't the prettiest cow you've ever seen. JUST TRY.

Heirloom buns.
Heirloom monster.

Rumpless chicken. Seriously. It's a thing. A funny, funny thing.

This is the Best. Dog. In. The. World. Around hundreds of chickens and turkeys and no reaction whatsoever. I didn't know dogs like this existed.

Probably my favorite display of the whole thing. Even though the sign next to it said that keeping eggs in a basket is the worst way to store them. I think the irony added to my enjoyment. As did the funktastic handwriting.


 So, yeah - I went to the Heirloom Expo, ate some fabulous all natural and local foods, listened to some farmers talk about the evils of GMOs and Round-up, ogled some cute heirloom piglet buns, tomatoes, squash and bees and then I sat on this pumpkin and pretended I was five.

MOM! Take my picture!
Me - at about 5.
Bubba - at about 5.

Our appreciation for heirlooms goes back a long ways.