Back on the saddle: Boggs 8hr mountain bike race

I did a bike race! Was a little burned out on racing for awhile there, but we worked a race into a 10-day road trip, which is the best way to do it, in my opinion. Last Thursday I headed up to Boggs for the Global Biorhythm 8hr/24hr race for the third year in a row. Two years ago Max and I did this race on a trip that included the Alta Alpina double century and it was my first ever solo 24hr mountain bike race. Time flies! Last year I went up solo and also raced 24hrs solo, again on single-speed, this time placing second. Stoked! Was not stoked on having to drive back to LA for work on that Monday though…

This year Max was up for the adventure as, was Mike. Since none of us have been racing we all signed up for the 8hr. Timed mountain bike races have a loop course that usually takes about an hour, with the start/finish in a campground. Simply, who ever does the most laps wins! The courese are technical, diverse and fun enough that it never feels like you are riding in circles.

After a fun road ride and vegan donut tour in SF/Marin on Friday, we headed north and got ready to ‘race’. I say ‘race’ because we were all in chill mode. Mostly. I will admit though that at registration I was SUPER tempted to race the 24 hour. Why not, right? I’m already here…but I remembered my coach’s lecture: “You do too hard of events and burn out and then stop running/riding!’ so I stayed in the 8hr race. Oh and by coach I mean my friend Jeff who happens to be a coach who happened to tell me that on a ride once.

Back to the race! At 11am the gun went off and we started the 2-mile climb to space riders out. I was racing a geared mountain bike for the first time in 3 years and spun and chilled. We all rode together till the single track forced us apart. The single track is in great shape there: flow-y, fast and fun. Having gears gave me a rest on the big climbs and let me punch  it a little more on the descents….

After five laps I rolled through our camp and Mike was chillin on the blanket as was our friend Al who also came up from LA for this race for the third year in a row. Max was sleeping in the van! Chill race for sure. An hour later I came through and Mike was getting a massage!  My goal was 8 laps, but I just couldn’t get my lap times fast enough to have time for the 8th. Oh well, hanging out, right? I headed out for a 7th and pushed a bit to get a feeling for where my fitness is. Not as bad as I thought it would be! Definitely didn’t feel strong where I normally do, but not horribly so.

Not racing single-speed was quite different:
-I got fatigued in the same way I do from road riding
-My butt hurt because I wasn’t standing for every hill
-I didn’t get that dread I usually would before a big climb because I knew I could just shift down
-I’d pedal in places I probably should have applied my single-speed coasting skills…

In the end it was a great time. I feel much better about my 1×10 bike, the tubeless tires, etc after spending 8 hours with it. I felt exerted, but not crushed. I don’t know what place I got because I raced Pro/Expert and probably didn’t place in the top half…

We spent the night at the race and woke up early to cheer on the solo 24hr racers. And yes, after a solid 8 hour sleep I was positive I made the right decision to not race the 24hr. We spend the week mountain biking some select spots along the coast and then we’ll be at the Grand Tour double century on Saturday. Yay summer adventures! Hope you are getting your stoke on wherever you are.  Thanks for reading!

15 Years of Veganism

Fifteen years ago today I split a bowl of ice cream with my friend Stacy, hours before I graduated high school. It was the last time I’ve knowingly eaten non-vegan food. Fifteen years! That day we said, ‘Let’s try to be vegan until the Earth Crisis show in two weeks.’  Like many activists, I got involved through hardcore music in the mid-90’s. I never would have imagined that 15 years later Earth Crisis would send out a message about one of my projects.  But here I am. Also my book with Isa, Appetite For Reduction, peaked in the top 100 of ALL books on Amazon. I’m incredibly fortunate. I’m writing about this not to brag, but to pass on the lessons I have learned.

My introduction to veganism was through the militant animal rights movement.  I became the super activist that ate, slept and breathed animal rights and veganism. I went to jail more than once for protesting. I chose nutrition as my undergrad major because of veganism. I was angry and motivated! The way that animals are treated is horrendous and I wanted to do as much as possible.

Then one day while I was still a teenager I was at a group dinner on a boring Saturday night. One kid was drawing pictures of everyone and mine had a voice bubble that said, ‘vegan vegan vegan vegan’ over and over again. It was accurate. I had become that person.  I was living the joke->

-How do you tell the vegan at a party?

-Don’t worry they will tell you.

Not long after that I moved to Penn State University for the last 2.5 years of my nutrition degree. Struggling to find an affordable place to live I moved into the living room of some Anarcho-Feminists. My reading broadened from Peter Singer and Edward Abbey to Malcolm X and Emma Goldman. Oppression of animals was obvious; institutionalized oppression of groups of people much less so. At PSU I was President of the Alliance for Animal Rights and active in my department promoting veganism, but my analysis had changed. I recognized world wide struggle and my own race and gender privileges. I never forgot about veganism, but I became active in the anti-capitalist, anti-globalization movement that roared into the 00’s.


You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself. –Sick of it All


At a grad school that actively promoted vegetarianism and was the most diverse place I had ever been, I learned even more about my place in the world. I traveled to Chiapas and smuggled art back for a radical Catholic group that raised money for the Zapatistas.  My veganism never waned, but I was less interested in being defined by it. Not long after that I was teaching and working in South Central Los Angeles with a slant toward social justice. Vegan nutrition went to the back burner.

Then about two years ago I got re-energized. It seemed that more people were vegan than ever. Isa contacted me about contributing to her newest book. I suddenly got more requests than ever for private consultation for vegans. And here I am.


You must be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi


I’m now applying the vegan label to myself and my projects: vegan dietitian, vegan athletes, vegan nutrition,  etc.  But  my worldview is expanded from ten years ago. And while my place in the world is bigger than it was because of the opportunities I’ve had, I’m still just one person.  There’s only so much I can do.  But what I can do is significant: lead by example.  Be a healthy, positive vegan that pushes people to think about their choices and how it affects other living beings without pushing them to blindly adopt my ethics and actions. And knowing how my life and privileges affect others. There’s a whole world of oppression out there beyond humans over animals. Read a thing or two (or hundred?) about those struggles, too.  Never stop learning because the day you are convinced that you know enough about everything is the day you become a new-age wacko. And we don’t need any more vegans like that…

So if you are new to veganism and angry about how animals are treated, I’m with you. My advice is to channel that anger into something positive.  Berating My Trainer Bob about eating egg whites does not save any animals.  I don’t want to get on the old-guy soapbox here, but the kids in the mid-90’s who didn’t find positive channels for their anger about animal abuse stopped being vegan. And their criticism of near-vegans probably brought down a fair number of them, too.

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about my readers’ projects! If you are working on something related to this post-and not just veganism- please let me know in the comments.



The Pull of Habit

The statement, ‘we are creatures of habit’ is an understatement, and as much as I love newness and change, this is still true for me. And a huge part of my profession is teaching behavior change!

I ride a lot. Most of my friends probably figure if I’m not working, eating or interneting, I’m out riding or running. And this is true, sometimes. Only when I’ve created that habit.  It is as true for me, someone who aims to ride 800-1000 miles a month, as it is someone training for their first organized bike event. Same with running.  If you are not in the habit of running, training for a 5k is just as hard as training for a 50k. When I’m out of the habit, I can’t imagine devoting 2 hours or more a day to getting on my bike or strapping on my running shoes. And if you are reading my site, then I know you’ve had the same experience (if not, you are a special human being and I am envious!).

I’m writing about this now because failing at the Arizona Trail Race really knocked me out of the habit of riding. I just didn’t want to. In behavior change psychology we say that the new, healthier behavior must appear more rewarding than the old behavior. When you don’t feel like riding, sitting on the internet just feels better. Why go out and do something you don’t want to do? What’s the benefit to that?

But there is benefit. And I’m not talking about physical benefits, but mental and relational. So many great conversations with friends happen slightly out of breath on the bike saddle or while running up trails in the wilderness. Not to mention the ideas that come with the clarity of movement and being out in the world. This is what I have to convince myself of.

Over the previous week I did 7 rides in 7 days. Nothing spectacular. Nothing super long or super fast. Just riding in order to create the habit of riding. Everyone, no matter what crazy events they have done, need to start anew after not training or riding regularly.  My advice for anyone trying to ride or run more often or at all, which is partly professional, but mostly personal, is to first work to create the habit. Just go. No structure or plan beyond making the time for it. If you are one of those people who signs up for an event, prints out a training schedule and follows it exactly for 8 weeks, this does not pertain to you. But for the rest of us, just getting out there is huge. Our biggest critic is our own brain- we tell ourselves we aren’t running long enough or fast enough and it’s just not worth it. Ignore it! Just get out there.  After a week or two of just doing the activity you are into you are in a much better position to plan and focus. It’ll come, you have to trust that.

So for the first time in a month I’m thinking about what events to sign up for this summer. I’m obviously not racing the Tour Divide, but I know that is for the best. I may do an 8-hour mountain bike race, which will be a nice change from doing only 24-hour or 100-mile events recently. May also do a few double centuries, since I didn’t do any all of last year. And maybe some shorter runs like halfs and marathons? What are you doing this summer? No matter what it is, if you are changing your behavior and pushing yourself to do more than you’ve done in the past, it is awesome. I get as stoked on friends’ first 5k as I do for their 100-mile runs! Just get out there.

Lastly, thanks for all of the AWESOME feedback from the A Day in the Life videos (if you haven’t seem them you should! Part one and part two). We’ve already filmed episode two and should have it up within a few weeks. I’m super stoked on this project!