fuck Ironman

World Triathlon Corporation, who put on Ironman(tm), the events I refuse to go to because they are insanely expensive- $550 for a one-day race- and pride themselves on exclusivity just started a program to get early entry in races that costs $1000 a year. A thousand dollars just to register early. Some have called it the Country Club program.

Is anyone surprised? I’m not. This is capitalism at it’s ugliest- exploiting those with more resources to line your own pockets- at the expense of those with less. And because they are so big it makes it harder for smaller race organizers to put on events. If they kept doing what they do- taking money from rich people to make themselves richer I wouldn’t care as much. I still wouldn’t go to their fucking races, but I wouldn’t be as mad about it. But it affects any of us who want to do a long-course swim, bike, run because there are fewer and fewer alternatives. And those of us without thousands of extra dollars.

I put off doing an ‘iron-distance’ because of the association with Ironman-trademark and I’m wondering if I ever want to do one again. There need to be more events like Vineman .

This video nails it. Thanks Treystone!


this is what it’s all about

I’m not sure who took this photo. I searched all over the ESPN BMX page (yes, you read that correctly) but cannot find the original story. Ends up the guy heard about these concrete structures in England and had to hike and wade through water to get there with his BMX. Only had a few minutes before security busted him. This is what riding bikes is about- whether it’s a BMX, road, mountain, fixed or city cruiser. Remember this feeling. It’s what cyclists try to describe when asked why they ride.

SF to LA bike tour

I like to do a trip on the last weekend of summer before the semester starts. Last year we slayed Mammoth on mountain bikes. This year logistically it worked out to bike tour from SF to LA. I rode this same trip solo a few years ago. Bike touring goes back to 2001. Love it. I think I’m over 10,000 total miles in these 10 (!!) years.

Obligatory pre-ride photo with Jeff. Notice what’s missing: the sun.

The plan was ride fast and most of the day, camp and eat out. Mileage ended up as:

SF-Big Sur 150 miles
Big Sur-Lompac 170 miles
Lompac-Los Angeles 155 miles
I will try every vegan cinnamon bun thing once, even if it’s whole-wheat and doesn’t have icing. This is at the Co-op in Santa Cruz on the way out of town where Water St hits Soquel. I always stop here.

The seatbag I borrowed had a built-in burrito pocket. Very thoughtful. This was the first night. We did the massive descent into Carmel, picked up burritos then raced darkness to the Big Sur campground.

Packing list (all fit in the seatbag and hydration pack)
Thermarest 3/4 mat
Mountain Hardware 35 degree sleeping bag
Mountain Hardware longsleeve wind-proof shirt thing
1 bib
1 jersey
1 vest
1 pair sleeves
1 pants
1 technical t-shirt
1 button-up short sleeve (I’m obsessed with it- prob should have mailed it)
2 pair socks
1 10-inch mini laptop (oops, should have mailed)
1 pair gloves (they were old as shit and I left them in a garbage can in Pismo beach)
1 toolbag with multi-tool, tube, levers, 2 CO2 cartridges
1 pump
1 hydration pack (to carry laptop)
1 coffee mug
1 spork
1 foldable plastic plate

Food I left with

1 lara bar
1 granola mix with brazil nuts, cranberries added
1 bag chocolate-covered espresso beans aka magic beans
20 scoops Maxodextrin- homemade Sustained Energy type stuff
2 bananas

I rode my ‘race’ bike which is a steel Seven. Shimano parts. Ksyrium rims. The ones with the red spoke, don’t know what they’re called. I think it weighs in at 18 pounds, which I was told is not light. Borrowed giant seatbag.

What a fun trip! Too many tiny stories to share. Jeff is an awesome touring partner! Who else will hang out drinking coffee till 930am when you have a 170-mile day ahead of you?

I’m aching for a long bike tour….

Vegan Double Down

My friend Stacey just invited me over for a vegan pumpkin-y Halloween-
y potluck this week and it reminded me of this time I was over there
this summer.

You know that crazy KFC sandwich with fried chicken patties as buns?
She made a vegan version. Seriously. I won't lie, even though the
professional me is slightly embarrassed, I can get down with fried.
But needs some green. Or balance. This here is over the top. But
that's part of the experience and sort of the point, right?

Los Angeles stuff this weekend

I’m a little late on this as some it starts in fewer than 12 hours, but hey, that’s how I roll. The first is Saturday morning’s LA premiere of Ride the Divide, a documentary about the Tour Divide mountain bike race 2700 miles, mostly off-road, from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border. Through the Rockies. Unsupported. Awesome. I’ve ridden most of the route as a bike tour from the Canadian border to Silver City, NM. Like the ride, my my blog posts about it are unfinished. Here’s the trailer:


Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.

Later on Saturday is the Tour De Fat in the Not A Cornfield state park in Chinatown/downtown. I’m not exactly sure what it is. Sort of a ride maybe, but mostly a beer party? Biking In LA does the best job of explaining what happens that I’ve read. Check it out.

There’s also a half-marathon on Sunday right here in LA. I normally wouldn’t promote such a corporate event, but the site says, ‘Take a Running Tour of the Real LA!’, which I appreciate. A lot! It hits the eastside of the city which is near where I live and it starts in Griffith Park, my favorite place to run.

Now if I can get over the Yankees losing and actually leave the house maybe I’ll see you at one of these events. Ride safe this weekend!


I’ll admit that I’m not above buying something because of the way it looks. I’m all about practicality, but if that great rain jacket looks like it’s leftover from the Cross Colours era (but without the social and political context), I ain’t gonna buy it. With food this is especially true. We eat with our eyes, the saying goes. As a public health dietitian I know my eyes are a little different than the average person so I find things like this irresistible:

Cuban squash. Apparently it is the most commonly eaten vegetable in Cuba! It’s a pumpkin/squash hybrid and is also called crapaudback. This is at the local grocery store in my East Hollywood neighborhood. We are surrounded by (and part of) Armenia, Russian, Thai, Korean and Salvodorean neighborhoods and the grocery stores reflect this. Here is my housemate laughing at what 16 pounds of pumpkin/squash/crapaudback feels like:

Upon cutting it open we found that the skin is not as tough as it looks and is closer to a butternut squash than pumpkin. It also has more ‘meat’ than pumpkin.

Despite cooking often, I’m not the most creative in the kitchen. My preference is to make simple, healthy meals taste good. My first thought with squash is always: roast it. Cut it up, leave on the skin, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until slightly brown. Delicious. This is what we did first and you can see how quickly it went:

Next we got a little creative and pulled out one of those books you see on people’s kitchen shelves that have recipes. We grabbed my friend Isa’s newest cookbook Vegan Brunch. We used the Pumpin Bran Muffins recipe as a guideline (though I hear some people follow recipes exactly) but by the time we sorted what we had on hand it ended up very different.

Crapaudback Interpretive Bread

2 cups pureed raw crapaudback
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
2 T liquid sweetener
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup almond pieces

1. Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl
2. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl
3. Add wet to dry and don’t over mix!
4. Bake for 20-25 min at 400 degrees.

Because we had eight freakin pounds of this stuff we steamed some for dinner. This is another favorite meal of mine, beans and rice. Here we have brown rice, dried black beans with haas avocado, cherry tomatoes and steamed crapaudback. The majority of the meal is from our buying co-op or the Hollywood farmers market.

Boom. One vegetable, three meals. And this is only half of it! As I type this I’ve the rest roasting in the oven (the creative folks aren’t around this morning so I’m resorting to my stand-by methods). I’d also like to try this oatcake recipe because I’m a sucker for anything pancake-like.

3 Photos- Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Farmers market art on art at the Farmers Market

I love the way tiny cherry tomatoes look in a giant pile. And the way they taste, duh.

There are more salons than I can count in Bernal Heights and they all have advertisements for ‘vegan nail polish’. Isn’t all nail polish vegan? Is this a pressing issue for salons in this neighborhood?

Third Solo Furnace Creek 508 Finish!

(Background on this year’s Furnace Creek 508 here)

There are a lot of lessons in 508 miles. No matter how many times I do this race, there’s always so much I don’t know and so much still to learn about myself. Case in point: hallucinating riding up Salsberry Pass. Some say the desert is empty, I say it is full of plenty of stuff, some real, some not. The rattle snake that sent Dave running? Real. I heard that rattler from 20 feet away! The Golden Retriever with floppy ears on the side of the road panting because of the heat? Not real. I saw it, smiled at it, but knew it wasn’t real. Does that make it less of a hallucination?

This climb last year, at about mile 300, came after the insane headwinds. I raced up it. This year it was earlier in the morning, but I was taxed at this point. Yes, it is possible to undertrain. This ride taught me that! Anyway, I was having so much trouble staying awake that the van pulled next to me off and on just to check on my level of awakeness (which ranged from able eyes open and not hallucinating to full-on eyes closed falling asleep while pedaling). A four-person team passed me and not long after I looked up and said to Dave, ‘Whoa, what are all of those lights up there?’ It was the support vehicle. Again, I knew this, but not until after I said that. Dave was concerned.

At the top of the climb they gave me some potatoes cause I hadn’t eaten much on the long climb (everything tasted super duper dry- had trouble swallowing. From all the black tea? Anyone ever experience this?). They also let me in the van to sit and eat, which I would learn later was some drama amongst the crew. On the ride home Monday I was told the conversation went something like this:

Lisa: Why’d you let him in the van? He’s not suppose to get in the van for any reason.
Sabrina: He needs to eat! And sit! It’s okay.
Lisa: It’s not okay! Morgan said to never let him in the van under any circumstances!
Sabrina: He’s a human, damnit, he needs some comforts!
Lisa: He’s not human, he’s a machine and he needs to keep going!!

Meanwhile I had fallen asleep while eating. I woke up with half chewed potatoes in the my mouth and had no idea what they were. At least Dave saw the face I made which can best be described as the face one would make upon waking up with an unidentified substance in his mouth.

Needless to say, they decided it was unsafe for me to ride the fast, long descent into Shoshone, in the dark, while I was unable to stay away on my own accord. I laid down to sleep for 30 minutes, which would be the longest sleep I had ever had on this race.

After waking up and starting the descent my bike had a crazy death wobble. It was so bad I could barely control it in order to slow down. Scary.

What could possibly cause that? Notice I’m running two different Mavic wheels. I’d been having weird noises with my rear and it turned out to be the Patented Mavic Death Squeal. So I was running my old rear wheel, but we never figured it out and it didn’t happen again. Lots of flex in my frame though. Getting it checked out this weekend…

The hardest stage of this race: the 56 miles from Shoshone to Baker. False flat, headwinds, expansive, unchanging scenery. Miles 325-381. Misery.
Right after this photo I resorted to wasting time by sorting out my arm and leg warmers/coolers. Very slowly. I didn’t realize what I was even doing, but my crew did. After the race they’d tell me, ‘We let you do it once. But we weren’t about to let you sit and waste time again. Luckily you didn’t try to.’
The crew asked if there was anything I needed, still on that painful Shoshone to Baker section. I said, ‘Yeah a list of reasons I shouldn’t quit.’ Was I serious? Yes. I wanted to quit. I won’t lie like I’ve some deeply seated sense of triumph or courage that pushed me on. I wanted to quit because it was hard. The reasons on this list, even before I saw them, did push me on.

Wild Burros 4-person team passed me here and I’d never see them again.

Feeling better. Less hot.
I slept again in Kelso. Unheard of! At this point I just want to finish. Beautiful skies on the second to last big climb. Within 100 miles.
Sheephole Summit and the last leg, on paper, look horrible. But I embrace it. It’s cooler. The end is in sight. I love riding in the evening. I push on. Tired, but not falling asleep. It’s kind of quiet on the roads. Last year I somehow passed four solo riders on this section. Not this year. I passed a few stopped on the side of the road and wouldn’t be passed by any. Though someone threatened at the end and I wouldn’t believe my crew. ‘We are not fucking with you!! Seriously, someone is coming, ride faster!’ is what I heard at like mile 503. Ugh. Okay!
I couldn’t think of anything funny to do this year at the finish, like last year. Though Kostman did say, ‘Alright, your slowest one yet!’ which I took in stride.
I’m posting the crew+rider finish photo again cause it’s so important. We stumbled into our hotel ‘cottage’, I ate, showered, ate again and fell asleep on top of the covers with all of my clothes on…

I bet the Swarm! 4-person team Wild Burros $80 that they couldn’t close the two hour gap between the solo and team starts. I lost, this is me paying them at the post-race breakfast. They did great! On a good day I could have fended them off, but not with the ride I had.

This is the post post-race-breakfast breakfast in Joshua Tree with 3 of the 4 Swarm! teams.

Thanks so so much to my crew: Dave, Sabrina and Lisa for being SO awesome and supportive. You took a whole weekend to help me ride my bike 500 miles, not many people would do that. You rule. And special thanks to Lisa for all the photos.

“ Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.”
– Polly Berends
I stole this quote from here, which is a blog I found after BikeSnob posted her VEGAN neck tattoo. I guess there’s some learning there. Or something.