27 February 2007

San Diego 300k Brevet

DNF. Booooooooooo. Sheared the bolt on my carbon FSA cranks about 30 miles in. The odd thing was that we started on time and were more or less with the front group. After I called to report our situation the super nice guy from the SD Century Riders actually came and picked us up. Thanks Mike! Probably kept me from stripping out the crank arm or spindle.
Spent the rest of the morning chillin in Pacific Beach looking at purse girls and guys who say things like 'total mosh sesh' and 'killer bro'. Then ate some vegan Asian 'fusion' at Sipz before enduring the drive back to Los Angeles. My bike looked all fresh with new Armadillos and the FSA wheels I peeled the stickers off of (pre-crank bolt shearing), too bad. Now I have to go up to SLO to get my 300k in.
More regarding Brevets, etc at Rusa.org

22 February 2007

Joshua Ploeg dinner

Joshua you bring such joy to our lives with your presence and your fabulous culinary creations. Is this the 6th or 7th time you've cooked for us? We decided on an Asian Fusion Dim Sum menu. Lots of fried, complimented with a root vegetable lasagna (no pasta, just jicama, sweet potato and other root veggies). What is better than a fantastic meal with good friends?

Fried Wontons


Stuffed Curry bread

Sushi with Deep Fried Tofu

Plums for topping the dessert

Up in the bay like Huey P

Found a cheap flight to the bay for one of very few weekends open to meet up with some of my workaholic (and other) friends in the Bay. The whole Bay area has this vibe that is really fascinating, and quite wonderful. Maybe because so many subcultures I am/was involved in are overrepresented...Is it possible to like both LA and SF? Is that allowed? While I feel most people when they talk shit on LA, two things bother me and this trip exemplified them. There is tons of traffic in the Bay and the public transportation is not all that. It's good, but it is not worlds above LA. Is it better utilized? Yes. Is it also more expensive? Definitely. If you live and kick it in SF, that is one thing, because all you really need is a bike ride away. But, from anywhere else, dare I say, the Bay is 'so spread out'? You have to take BART ($$$) or drive ($$ and traffic all hours of the day). Was it horrible? Not at all. But, its not the glorious car-free mecca that people make it out to be when they talk shit on Los Angeles.
Friday was able to hit up
Maggie Muds for some vegan ice cream and then did some hiking in Bernal Heights. I was on one hour of sleep, so we didn't do much outside of seeing Tim for dinner in the Piedmont section of Oakland.
Picking our breakfast in a garden definitely rules, as do warm, sunny days, anywhere you are. Fresh mint tea and chillin with the chickens. Hanging out with 'foodies' that are not strictly vegan adds an element all of us vegans need to think about. How does GMO soy, a cash crop from Brazil, compare to eating eggs from chickens running free in a backyard? Which is better for the earth or its inhabitants? I am not questioning the ethics of veganism, but most vegans' understanding of or (lack of) concern about food systems. Check out the Buy Fresh, Buy Local link on my sidebar to see what I am talking about. And not to mention that most vegans I know could eat a much healthier diet.
What else? Rode an S-Works at XfrankX's bike shop, hiked in the Berkeley hills and fell asleep at the top, reconnected with some tight friends, ate at a vegan Japanese restaurant (Chaya's), saw a crazy variety show in a bar with plays, skits and a dude eating a light bulb.

for the crew going to Death Valley for their first century or double century

The first weekend in March, 20 of us are going to Death Valley for the century/double. This is my third year going to the Spring event and I am honored to be rolling deep for 2007. I know for a lot of you from the Swarm! list this will be your first century or double century. Here are some things I have learned, that I want to share:
1. Read the website so you are familiar with the route, rules, etc.
2. Get enough sleep on Thursday night. This is more important then Friday night.
3. Start with full bottles and a little food in your jersey pockets. The first 18 miles to Badwater (checkpoint 1) are mostly downhill. Budge, Morgan and Luz will be there helping out.
4. Start with warm clothes, that you can shed easily. The temperature difference between 6am and 2pm can easily be 30 degrees. A vest and arm warmers is usually adequate.
5. Have your lights sorted. There are drop points for where you think you will need them, usually at Badwater (checkpoint 5), mile 130. Make sure your batteries are fresh. Also carry a tube, a pump and a patch kit.
6. Don't hammer from the start! I still make this mistake. When I rode the triple century my first 100 and 200 miles were PR's. I paid for it later.
7. Eat something every hour. No matter what. Not eating/drinking enough takes out more people than lack of ability. The ride is well supported with 7 checkpoints with gels (bring a gel flask), bars, fruits, PBJ sandwiches, etc. Eat your money's worth. Always put a bar or fruit in your jersey pocket for between check points.
8. Stay focused. When you get tired your efficiency drops, but less so if you are mindful of it. Over 200 miles the difference between a 12 MPH pace and 14 MPH is 2.5 hours. Don't think about your finish time, but what you are doing at that point in time to keep your pedal stroke, etc efficient.
9. Ride with others at a similar pace. Pacelining saves energy and increases motivation.
10. Don't hang out at checkpoints! Do as we say, not as we do, right? Swarm! has a reputation of chillin hard and wasting time. It adds up fast.
11. At this point, it is all mental. Plan to spend the whole day (and into the night!) on your bike and look forward to being able to do so. Death Valley is beautiful and it's effect on you will change with direction, light, feelings, etc. Take it in. There will be mental ups and downs; this is what life is about.
12. If you've been riding, which I know most of you have, forget about the physical part. It's a spiritual journey (to quote Morgan Goat Beeby). Compare it to running: A sub four hour marathon is a tough physical endeavor, but walking 26.2 miles in one day would not be difficult, if given the time. You've got the time for this ride, so do not stress on the physical component.
I don't want any Swarm! DNF's! My props to you for taking this on. See you at 6am for the group photo.

13 February 2007

Feel My Legs, I'm a Racer 2007

For the second year in a row I woke up the morning of this event not knowing if 10 or 100 people were going to show up. Feel My Legs, I'm a Racer is a Swarm! event based on Danny Chew's Dirty Dozen race. I found the ten most brutal hills in LA; the group rides together to each hill and then 'races' to the top. We regroup, ride to the next hill and do it again. There is a point system to declare the fastest of the day, but for most people just getting up all of these in one day is a huge feat. Hell, the LA Wheelmen make a huge deal out of the their ride up Fargo St. (notice Swarmers! Brian and Alec doing it on a tall bike!) and on Feel My Legs it's only one of ten...Check out the GPS data of the ride. Almost 3000 feet of climbing in less than 20 miles.
Last year it was dry at the start and started raining at the first hill. This year we woke up to rain that slowed and then stopped before the meeting time of 930am at Pershing Square. We took names, did a warm-up through downtown and headed for the first hill that goes from 5th st to Grand and up. Check out some of Budge's pictures of the first hill (and others) on his myspace page. Stephen Roullier has some fantastic pictures up here.

The hills:
1. 5th st to right on Grand
2. Sunset to White Knoll to Marview
3. Quintero (off of Sunset)
4. Echo Park Blvd to Left on Baxter to top
5. Baxter St (north of the previous hill)
6. Fargo St
7. Earl St to left on Bancroft to top of Earl
8. Silver Lake blvd to Duane
9. Mulholland fountain to Hillhurst to Vermont Canyon to Observatory
10. Mitcheltorena

I didn't count, but I think 25 people finished.
We had a fantastic time out exploring LA in our unique way.
None of this would of been possible without the team of volunteers, Budge, Morgan, Kiecker, Michael, Alec, Stacy, Plex, Chris Palestine, Gnuzycats, Luz, Molly and LA bike winter. Thank you.

All finishers got this dope shirt.

Where does the name come from? I'll give you one hint: S&M. Winner gets a free tour of the course.

12 February 2007

Bike Winter Metric Century

Molly and Swarm! put on a metric century as part of Los Angeles Bike Winter. We met up at the bike block where the Kitchen and Orange 20 are. About 25 people showed up and for many this was the longest ride they have ever taken on. Congratulations!
There are some other pictures here.
Check out the GPS data(thanks Paul!) as well..

04 February 2007

Parties and Cupcakes for Training

Friday night was the 2nd anniversary of the Santa Monica Critical Mass ride and the Green Party opened up its doors to us for an after-party yet again. I missed the ride cause I was preparing my music to be laptop DJ (which ruled). The party was fun, we raffled off a bunch of great prizes, etc, etc. About a dozen of us left at 130am, heading across town. Budge was super drunk, which was funny when he was kicking mirrors on Porsches, but less funny when he was falling on the ground.
I road Molly over to Echo Park and took a long way back so it was almost 4am when I arrived back home. This is part of my sleep deprivation training. I read for a couple of hours and made food then went on a 32-mile road ride at dawn. What was most odd was that I felt cold the whole time, but I knew that it was not that cold out. Afterwards, sans spandex, I rolled over to Janie's for her cupcake ride.

I brought a bright pink shirt to have a pink cupcake screened on. They rode to some bougie place in Beverly Hills that doesn't have any vegan options (and were pissy when asked). So instead I rolled by the house to scoop up Jack, Megan, Morgan and Budge to meet the main group at Mannie's for some breakfast and vegan sweets.
Side effects of no sleep:
Patience for annoying shit reduced
Tolerance of people on the westside very low
I ended up catching a 3-hour nap around 3pm, before heading out for the night. Including the commute miles, I rode almost 100 miles in the 33 hours I was awake plus I had run for an hour and a half early Friday morning.
Sunday Stephen and I did Tony's gravity race and then did a moderately paced 40 miles through Griffith Park and then up Chevy Chase and back.