In lieu of actual posting, which is often the case when I am away, I have some other writings any readers of this blog should be interested in. The first is an article from the excellent Streetsblog LA. They often cover bicycle topics and their most recent post, How to Make LA Bike-friendly gives good discussion and links to some of LA’s movers and shakers.
I have been fighting the incredible urge to post about this since I first heard, but Oprah Going Vegan is too huge. I hope my high school girlfriend has heard the news. She use to make sit through episodes after school AND use to fight with me about not eating meat. What’s up now girl!!! That’s what I thought.

Davis double century, Auburn half iron continued

At exactly 546am we rolled up to the start (ride to the ride!). No one in sight. Not one of the 700 people signed up for the ride that starts ‘between 515 and 545am’. So we pedal off! Within an hour it was warm. Ride fast before it’s too hot or conserve energy? Brian double flats on a pothole in a paceline. A first.

The Davis Double is super well supported with 10 checkpoints in 202 miles, most filled with plenty of fruits and other foods (no clif bars unfortunately). It is inevitable on a 200-mile ride that you will deplete your fluid and energy stores, but we put serious effort into minimizing that (read: we ate and drank a whole lot). There is only about 8,000 feet of elevation gain total, but most of it comes in four climbs. Four climbs in the middle of the day. Four climbs all when the temperature is over 100 degrees. We take our time.

The secret watermelon and vegan burrito stop on the LA to SF drive

When we finish it is still daylight, but unlike Los Angeles the temperature doesn’t drop significantly. We eat the free post-ride food, try to find a tool for Brian’s bottom bracket and start mentally preparing for Sunday. Back at Janie’s house we eat again, load the car and then set off for the 45 minute drive to a relative’s place near Auburn.

One of the many (okay, five or so) fixed gears at the double

It’s after 11pm when we say goodnight and agree to set our alarms for 445am. The heat changes the fatigue you feel. It’s more of a whole body emptiness that you just don’t experience from regular fatigue. And you just can’t drink enough to replace what you lose. It’s a losing battle. I lay down on top of the bed and am asleep before I even think about getting under the covers.

When I awake in the dark I don’t feel miserable. Similar to being hungover (it’s been awhile so I can’t say for sure) in that you are slightly confused and feel like you over it did the night before. Brian looks somewhat normal.

We arrive at ‘T2’, which is also the finish. We set up our running stuff, load our swim stuff into backpacks, set up our bikes and ride to ‘T1’. Six miles, mostly downhill. Ouch. Legs are unhappy. I’m still a little dazed, but the sun is up, people are about and excited. We check-in, set up our bikes in ‘T1’ and start to dress for the swim. Note to Jan Ulrich-types who like to gain weight in the off-season: If your wetsuit is tight at ‘race weight’, you are going to be unhappy at ten pounds over. Note to slackers: It’s embarrassing to be running down the boat launch as the race is starting.

I have no shame in admitting that I was thinking about quitting before I reached the first buoy. I was struggling to breathe, my body was aching and I was cramping. Why is this so bad? Just kept swimming. Was focusing on my fish-like swimming and was getting nauseous. Can fish vomit in their mouth?

Back at my bike taking off my wetsuit was so glorious I decided to sit down and revel in the wetsuit-free glory. Then I tried to ride my bike up some hills and my legs hated me possibly more than my stomach. It wasn’t that miserable feeling you get on super long or hot rides where you just want it to end. It was different. More of a disconnected feeling where your shortcomings seem somehow to be normal. The odd thing was that I didn’t care that much. Did I accept it on some level or was I too phased to care? I ate a banana. Drank some electrolyte stuff. And some water. And got passed and passed and passed. Aren’t I suppose to be the one doing the passing on this race? No top fifteen percent bike split this year! Hills are hard when you are tired.

I told myself I wasn’t even going to start the run. Why bother? But when I saw my shoes I thought, ‘I already paid and my shoes are already here…’ and went out. Wow. Stomach is super unhappy. What’s that weird feeling? Oh yeah, having to pee. Sort of. I think the thick liquid that came out was urine (only a slight exaggeration). At the first aid station I sit in the shade and stare off into space. My stomach is killing me. I add up my calorie consumption for the day: about 800 in five hours of activity. Uh oh. A very fit looking female volunteer probably 1.5x my age, or more, who could easily beat me in any race, says, ‘Looks like you didn’t do enough hot weather training’. I told her I did plenty the day before. ‘Look. See the salt stains on my spandex?’ The sun felt like it was melting my skin. Other people looked normal. Are they not human?

The run is two loops from the T2/Finish area. When I finished loop one Brian was there to cheer me on. He had finished already. I stepped off the course, laid down in the shade and didn’t get back up. No desire to run. The ground was spinning when I closed my eyes. Am I still edge? Brian brought me some cytomax and water and I put it down. And then some more. And then some more. It’s three days later and eating/drinking is only starting to be normal. Wow.

We didn’t drive back that night. Even after ten hours of sleep we were both blasted. Unbelievable what the heat can do to you. What an adventure. Looking forward to Vineman in August. Nothing crazy beforehand.

Davis double, Auburn half-iron

The short:
Sat: Davis double century, 202 miles, in 14 hours and 20 min. Over 100 degrees most of day.
Sun: Auburn half-iron triathlon (swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, run 13.1), DNF after 6 miles of run d/t near heat exhaustion, nausea, dehydration.

The long:
I now fully understand what it is like to be dehydrated. Am also now familiar with heat exhaustion, nausea and intense cramping. This is good. Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go? My approach to whatever you call the things I do (adventure? fun? extreme? athletic?) has been simple. If it’s there and has a draw, do it. A little naivety is healthy. Curiosity is a sign of intelligence. You won’t know until you try. Et Cetera.
I did the Auburn ‘World’s Toughest Half Iron’ in 2006 (second triathlon ever) and in 2007 (third triathlon) . Both years I had a blast and actually placed in my age-group. This year the Davis Double Century happened to be the day before. Why not? Bike touring is all about waking up after a hard day of riding and then riding again. And on PBP I rode 325 miles in one day, slept 7 hours, then rode another 200 plus without much problem. And it’s not like I’d drive all the way up there just to do the double, so why not save gas and do both at once. I talked to Brian ‘Emperor Moth’ Davidson and he didn’t flinch (note to potential bad-asses: If you want to look badass for some crazy thing you are doing don’t invite the strongest athlete you know to come along).

What we did not calculate was the heat. Over 100 degrees both days. 109 at one point on the double on Saturday. That’s hot. About how hot it was on the drive up (and back) in the car with no AC. That probably did not help our preparation (but runs up quite a few punk points). But we did all we could and Davis is a great bicycle city to do it in. We park the car at our friend’s house. Ride half mile to bike shop. Closed. Ride around corner to other bike shop. Score. Ride half mile to ride check-in. Ride half mile to a Co-op. For real. Got to love that shit. We ate a nice meal (you can make fun of raw-foodists all you want till they make you the most kick-ass salad you’ve ever had). Asleep by 10-ish for the 5am wake-up call (from Nextel).

(to be continued manana)

Don’t invite the FBI to your vegan potluck

I know it is that time of year and everyone is all stoked on Spring and being vegan and spreading the love, but you have to be sure not to invite the FBI. I know you want as many people as possible and that your hummus is bangin and that you have just the right flyer to convert each and every person to veganism. But remember, the FBI wants to come to your vegan potluck. A vegan FBI agent is still an FBI agent.


What am I up to on the day-to-day? I am never really sure myself. I need to make some motivational and organizational charts for my desk to keep all this in line. Here I am laying it out for the first time outside of my head.

Work– I have two part-time jobs, one doing nutrition education through a grant that originates with the Food Stamp program and one teaching two college courses. I have about 100 students, which significantly increases my workload. I’m just about full-time. Classes end the end of May.

Bikes– I am working with Alex Thompson on what is tentatively named the 5% project. It’s going to be a mass public education campaign that is not as specific as the Ride to the Ride stuff (which I am slowly distributing when I go on road rides). The Bike Writers Collective is going to help with this project and I am honored to work with them.

Swarm!– With the help of Chris we got the stickers to the printer, hope to see them this week.

Vegetarian– I work with the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group in a number of ways including as a student member coordinator and a co-coordinator for California. Am also heading up a media group to work with the ADA’s Spokespeople who unfortunately have continually given poor information regarding vegetarianism in mainstream articles. I just got back from our Spring meeting in Utah, so the work pile for them is pretty large.

Vegetarian Bikes– I am starting to help Organic Athlete with some more vegan diet plan stuff for some projects they have coming up this summer. Am slacking here so have recruited someone to help out.

Being smarter– On paper I am a graduate student in an MA Anthropology program. My current course is a directive study in Nutritional Anthropology. It is very difficult to do school work when you are not actually attending school.

Living– Our house is coming along quicker now that Morgan moved in. He’s on Team No Job, but thinks getting up at 630am and working on the house is some how not work. My new project is clearing the gigantic backyard. Will try to post photos soon. Some friends saw our house for the first time the other day and had two amazing quotes: ‘This isn’t LA, it’s Mississippi’ and ‘The world without us. That’s what your backyard looks like. How everything would look without humans.’

Being a Sporto– I’m still trying to keep this training schedule. But I like to skip both runs each week. Not good, considering I have a half-iron race in a week and a half. I am down to 187 pounds though!

In between all this I try to cook most of my meals, be social with people I don’t live with, call my friends in other cities, read books, etc, etc. But it’s real easy for any of that to go out the window when I get home at 8pm and am exhausted. Is anyone else this busy? Do you enjoy it?

for the love of…

bikes of course.
So my boy Steevo, who recently (re)posted some of the great photos from our 2006 Great Divide trip, just wrote an article for Urban Velo called Riding Is My Religion. For those of you who don’t ride bikes often or at all, you may miss the subtleties of what makes riding so beautiful. And what I’ve always said is that it is not the actual act of bicycling that brings so much joy (though that does too!), but what bikes open your life up to. It’s a medium. It’s metaphorical. It’s often unbelievable. Steevo captures it well in this piece. Read it!

I am 29 and have been riding bikes as a part of my life for 25 years. Ever since my mom took me to Louise Moore Park to sign up for BMX racing because I was too young for baseball at 4.

ride to the ride, but best not the race

‘No, Morgan, I don’t think riding 60 miles to a 32 mile race will affect how I do. I’ll be warmed up. I’ll drink some water, eat a little and in the race I’ll just stay in the pack.’

Mt Emma Rd, Northside of Mill Creek Summit

The next morning I woke up at 530am and rode over the San Gabriel Mountains. It was suppose to be over 90 degrees (unseasonably warm for even Southern California), but I was in the mountains early and feeling pretty good. Then I hit the headwinds. Damn. After about an hour of 4-5 MPH uphill into the wind my main concern was getting there in time. By now I was one a new road and didn’t know just how far off Mill Creek Summit was. What was cool was that I was riding the last half of Stage 7 of the Tour de California.
Finally I hit the 5000ft pass and hit the descent, which is always scary in the wind, and then I was within a few miles of the start of the Devil’s Punchbowl road race.

I saw (Emperor Moth) Brian as soon as I got there. He was stoked. I had 45 minutes till the race started. I drank some carrot juice, ate a little food, drank some water, took a healthy piss and headed to the start line with two full bottles and half a banana. Stay in the pack, stay in the pack. No problem. Dropped on the first climb. Fuck. Then I saw a dude with a full-facial tattoo in the feed zone. Dave Clinger? Is it that hot out? Bombed the huge descent, caught some people and convinced them that working together in headwinds is a wise move. Picked off a bunch of people. Rode past the start/finish into the second lap. Then it hit me super hard. I was starving and just about out of water. Miserable. Hot. Blah blah blah. ‘Bonked’. I went as far as to pick up bottles from the earlier race off of the road and drink what was left. Ugh. Another miserable finish of 2008! I am on a serious streak.

How’d Brian do? Well, he hit the turn after the huge descent and was waved forward (or so he thought), down the hill. The course turned right. He figured out no one was behind him, turned around and CAUGHT THE LEAD PACK. In telling the story to me he was complaining that no one was working hard. And that he pulled most of the way around the second lap. Was beaten out in the sprint. 2nd place. Sick.

South Pasadena with the San Gabriels in the distance

Looking South. The other side is ‘high dessert’
Joshua Trees!

Wheel Suck(er)