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- @mindtron Something like that... =)
- RT @laurakatbrown: Beautiful day! Beautiful city! Thanks @GPCycliste for organizing a great UCI women's race in Canada @TeamColavita1 http:…
- Just heard that Scoots (@zider24) brought home a podium finish for @TeamColavita1 with 3rd at the #NCC #WilmingtonGP. Sweeeeet!!
- RT @colavitasouth: Great Job @TeamColavita1 2 riders in top 10 at GP Cycliste Gatineau @laurakatbrown 5th, @thedirtfield 9th. http://t.co/T…
- Good day for @TeamColavita1 at #Gatineau with two top 10s and strong riding from all. @laurakatbrown was 5th, I was 9th. #bobsledtime
- @thedirtfield: FEEL THE RHYTHM, FEEL THE RHYME, GET ON UP, IT'S BOBSLED TIME! @jennypluto @TeamColavita1 @geo1mgr #Gatineau
- On the eve of Gatineau: http://t.co/c01PtrsmpK @TeamColavita1
- Worth A Visit
Posted on May 3, 2013
Teammates are those wonderful people you can count on to run ahead of you at the grocery store to hide all remaining jars of the coconut peanut butter you have been craving for days and are so excited to buy.
Posted on April 27, 2013
My trip home from Redlands earlier this week began with an American Airlines flight from Ontario, CA (ONT) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), followed by a 90-minute layover before the second flight. I was waiting at the gate at ONT before the scheduled departure of 2:25pm, but by 2:15pm, there still was not a single airline employee in sight. I looked the flight up online and saw that there was a delay, but no announcement was ever made at the gate. This was not unlike my trip out to Redlands, where the American flight was delayed by 90 minutes without explanation or apology.
I started to get anxious; the flight was now scheduled to land 19 minutes before my next one was due to depart. It didn’t look promising. A phone call to the airlines and a visit to the gate counter indicated that (a) if I missed my connection, the only option was a flight the following morning and (b) my suitcase might make my connection or might not, but they couldn’t say.
When the flight landed at DFW with 11 minutes until my next departure, I was still foolishly hopeful. I sprinted through the terminal past 25 gates. Nobody was around when I got to my gate, but the door to the gangway was open so I ran in. The first thing I saw when I got to the end was the plane….with the cabin door already closed, which in airport land means the plane might as well already be at 35,000 feet. A rabbity little American Airlines employee was standing with his back to me as I pathetically gasped, “Is that the plane to Washington?”
Instead of answering, he demanded to know how I had gotten in. “Uh, through the door?” He was outraged, furious that I’d evidently broken some commandment by walking through an open, unattended door. By the time he and I walked back to the American counter near the door I’d so HEINOUSLY entered, we’d established that (a) he sucked tremendously as a person and (b) he was the one tasked with fixing my situation. I would rather have eaten my now-defunct boarding pass than been there with him.
He remained huffy and indignant while booking me a new flight for the next morning, offering no apologies and making the arrangements without a word about flight times or seat options. When I asked about the status of my suitcase, he became even more irritated, telling me there was no way to know where it would spend the night. “It will either go to your final destination tonight or it will not!” My one option was to go to baggage claim at DFW and wait there “for several hours” to see what might happen.
By that point, I was furious and exhausted and trying not to cry. He handed me vouchers for a hotel and $19 worth of food (which buys roughly one granola bar at the airport) and that was it. Not a single kind word or apology on behalf of the airline. I snapped. Before leaving, I snarled, “You could be a little less rude considering that it was YOUR airline that f***ed up.”
His only response was a haughty “Nice language!”
Let’s not talk about my reply.
When I first boarded the plane in Ontario heading towards DFW, I was seated next to a stately older lady. She and I chatted through takeoff and discussed the possibility that I was going to miss my connecting flight and have to spend the night in Dallas. “I had that happen to me once,” she explained, “and now I always put a clean pair of panties and a nightgown in my carry-on.” I replied that fortunately space constraints had left me with no choice but to put all of my socks and underthings in my carry-on.
After our plane landed and I unsuccessfully sprinted to catch the next one, I shuffled dejectedly out of the airport to catch the hotel shuttle. I was standing on the curb in the dark when she walked by and saw that I’d clearly missed the plane.
“That’s a shame,” she said. But then she smiled a little as she turned to walk away and whispered conspiratorially, “Clean panties!”
My boarding pass said Gate C17. I entered the airport at Terminal A, boarded the inter-terminal Sky Train, and proceeded to slowly circle the entire airport on my way to Terminal C (which oddly enough came after both B and D). After over ten minutes of riding, I used my phone to check for a flight delay. No delay…but my gate had been moved back to Terminal A. I got out at the same stop I had boarded on over fifteen minutes earlier.
Two men boarded the nearly empty plane out of DFW together. The flight attendant gestured at the row after row of empty seats and announced to them, “Sit anywhere!” The first guy filed into a row of three seats, followed a moment later by his friend. As the friend was about to sit down, the first guy exclaimed, “Dude! Get your own row! I like you, but not that much.”
While sitting on the plane waiting to take off, I started texting with my boss. She reminded me about a meeting I’d scheduled for that afternoon (when I was supposed to have arrived home the previous day), and I told her that I’d make it back on time to attend the meeting in person versus calling in. Since she knew I’d been delayed overnight without my luggage, she made a joke about me showing up in the same dirty outfit and then texted, “Send me a picture of what you’re wearing!!”
There was a time in my life where a text like that meant something so much more saucy.
Posted on April 11, 2013
Being a professional cyclist so far is totally cray (in the words of my teammate)! I am now rich and famous, so much so that I sign $100 bills when people ask for my autograph, which is, like, constantly.
Okay, none of that is true. Few people know who I am, including people who have already met me before, and cycling appears to not have caught on to that whole “do what you love and the money will follow” concept. I still work full-time so that I can pay my bills and support my eating habits (which another teammate described by saying, “You are a food hustler! You pack away more food than anybody I know!”). But I do feel different now, because when I put on my team kit and head out to train, I can legitimately call it going to work and there is a sense of pride about riding for Team Colavita. I’m part of something bigger than myself now [insert joke about how that must be saying something considering how much I eat].
In addition to the thrill of being part of a real pro team, there a few things that are notably different this season.
For starters, Traveling Feels Like The New Normal
A few weeks ago, I was in California. Last weekend, I was in Florida. Next week I go back to California, followed by North Carolina the next week, Alabama after that, and then a week spent driving around Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. And that’s all by the first week of May. It seems natural now to live out of bags and shower in strange places. I even let my butt touch strange toilet seats (a barrier I enthusiastically crashed through less than an hour into the norovirus debacle).
Speaking Of Breaking Through Barriers
Today’s workout was time trial (TT) practice intervals, which I was instructed to do with clip-on aero bars so I could get comfortable in the position before next week’s TT at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. I had managed to make it through two years of road racing without ever hunching over those bars, but the time to learn arrived today. When I get to Redlands next week and the team manager hands me a TT bike with my name on it, I can’t exactly be like, “Nah, I’m good; I’m just going to stick with this here road bike.” So I learned. It was awkward at first (and probably not timely, considering the residual effects of my recent head injury) but by the end of the ride, it felt natural and my regular bars felt overly wide and non-aerodynamic. And that’s what it means to be a pro; since it is my job to ride my bike and do it well in service of the team, there is no room for slacking or hesitating. What’s that quote? Do or do not; there is no try? Yeah, there’s actually only Do.
I’m Behaving Like A Classy Lady
When a driver does something dangerous/aggressive/stupid while I’m out training in my team kit, instead of offering them my middle finger and a choice selection of words, I smile and wave. (When I am wearing winter apparel that covers my kit and renders me anonymous, all bets are off.) I am also trying to keep my online presence, uh, family-friendly. So I don’t go past ‘shit’ on the bad-word-o-meter and I let the “that’s what SHE said” type remarks remain unsaid. Please feel free to add them in the comments.
Weather Is Confusing
I’ve spent time riding in Florida and California in the past month, and those places are warm and lovely. Here, not so much. But my body is having trouble understanding why it is not still nice outside, so I keep leaving ride while dressed like it’s going to be warm out. It’s not. Today was windy and cold and unforgiving and I want to say obscene, unkind things about March in the DC Metro area, but I can’t since I’m behaving like a lady.
People Like To Ask Me About My Equipment
And they ask by saying things like, “I’ll bet you got a sweet discount on that!” Yes, yes I did. It was 100% off. The catch is that I have to use the sponsor gear and only the sponsor gear, which works out well because truthfully, I love the new stuff. The Rudy Project helmet and glasses fit well and are very comfortable, my Castelli kits and warmers are some of the best I’ve worn, and I actually really like my Jamis. I thought nothing could come between me and my former love (that bike I accidentally bought on eBay a few years ago from Vince in the Ukraine), but while I’m still in love with that mail-order bride, my Jamis is dialed to fit and ride perfectly.
And finally, I’ve Stopped Drinking Tequila And Eating Cake Regularly
Haaaaa! Not a chance.
Posted on March 29, 2013
The Scene: We’re all sitting around the dinner table talking about The Bachelor (having already exhausted the topics of periods, birth control, chamois/girl part interaction, chocolate, etc). Everybody has various levels of experience with The Bachelor, and then comes this:
“Big Suze loves The Bachelor!”
“Is Big Suze your cat?”
“No, my mother-in-law.”
Maybe this won’t be nearly as funny to you, but everybody who heard this interaction broke a sweat from laughing so hard. It’s a conversation I won’t want to forget, much like everything else about this experience.
Posted on March 5, 2013
Hello friends. Sorry to be light on posting lately, but things have been busy. I just had a delicious and healthy dinner of vegetables and lean meat and it was SO satisfying that I’m basking in a smugly nutritious glow while trying to figure out whether I’m going to eat chocolate, cheese, bacon, or all three. I’ve also thought about making another batch of scones, but the last thing I need is that gastric ballast before tomorrow’s intervals. Although my body seems to have developed a method for coping with food mid-ride:
Breakfast is my favorite meal, so having it several times isn’t so bad.
Riding is going well. Team Colavita training camp begins on March 2 in Borrego Springs, CA and I can’t wait to meet my teammates and kick off the season. We’ve paired off to handle cooking meals for the team and staff on assigned nights and I’m working with badass cycling legend Tina Pic, which is totally cool as long as nobody tells her that I just started cooking a few weeks ago.
Work is hectic and we have an awful lot of meetings, but the chaos is good. I was called a “totalitarian” the other day, which I took as a compliment, especially since it came from my boss. People keep inviting me to meetings, so I can’t be that bad…right?
In other news, I got a divorce last week (on Valentine’s Day, no less, because HA! IRONY!) and am currently married to nobody. This is a refreshing change of pace that I intend to explore for a while. Instead, I’m focusing on a different kind of love and commitment:
What else? Hmm. I sort of quit Facebook; while my account is still active and I will use it to send messages/share big news, I’ve stopped looking at the site. It was a timesuck and I was addicted; there is something tragic about letting asinine crap like somebody’s announcement that they’re going running in 20-degree weather take up brain space that could be used for something more valuable, like remembering the quadratic equation. Unless you’re planning to borrow my shoes or take my dogs with you, I don’t need to know. So I stopped looking. It’s amazing how much more peaceful life is when you’re not dedicating large chunks of it to watching other people live theirs.
This sounds preachy and self-righteous. It’s not meant to; if you dig Facebook, go for it. But I was in the habit of checking it constantly, like an unattractive tic. Long traffic light? Refresh. Finished sending out a work email? Refresh. I was absorbing a shit ton of useless information and spending far too much time thinking about what other people were doing and comparing it to my own life. In case it wasn’t already clear, I’m not good at handling that sort of thing, so why subject myself to a constant stream of it?
Now I’m using some of that free time to drag my blind, fat, elderly dog on long walks. Kobe loves these walks; Scout fatigues quickly and poops an average of 3-4 times. Sometimes I think he fakes it just so he can stop to rest. To be honest, I find walking tiring and boring, but I’m learning to enjoy the time with the boys and it feels good to watch the little guy crap out half his body weight in a quest for improved fitness.
I get a lot of questions now about the upcoming season, mostly regarding when I’ll start racing. I don’t know yet – my team’s schedule indicates that our first race is on March 23rd at the Delray Beach Criterium, but I don’t know if management will send me there or the Redlands stage race or somewhere else. For now I’m just focusing on being ready for camp and making sure I don’t burn down the team house while sautéing kale.
Thanks for reading! Come back in a few weeks when I get around to posting again.
Posted on February 20, 2013
Ally Stacher, pro cyclist for Team Specialized-lululemon, recently launched her own line of bars, Ally’s Bars. I too have been doing a bit of cooking lately; after averaging 3-4 trips a week to the same Vietnamese place over the course of a month,1 I tried replicating the dish at home and thus kicked off a series of cooking experiments.2 That plus the news about Ally’s Bars led me to decide I needed to make my own bike-friendly food in the form of miniature scones.3
I baked them tonight. They were a success! Pocket-sized, moist but durable enough to hold up in a pocket, and absolutely delicious.
However, there will be no Lindsay’s Scones coming to Internets near you. I have been in the house with these scones for less than four hours and have already eaten seven of them. Seven. That’s over a third of the batch. My order fulfillment would fail catastrophically right about the time I was frantically unwrapping outgoing packages in the post office parking lot and stuffing the contents into my face.
I am heavy with shame. Or scones. It got the point where I thought about polishing off the whole pan so I could get all of the guilt over with today and be done with it, but (a) I don’t think it works that way and (b) then there would be no more scones. And while I will probably avoid making these again unless I’m trying to carb-load for RAAM, I am not ready to say goodbye just yet.
1. Which is technically a problem because I am supposed to be an impoverished, couch-dwelling, ramen-gobbling professional cyclist. Or at least planning financially for that eventuality.
2. I have a 100% success rate of regretting my cooking projects. The projects are best represented by the following equation: [anticipated cost x 3] + [anticipated time x 6] = [anticipated satisfaction / 2]. After several weeks of intensive testing, I have concluded that takeout wins.
3. Why scones? Because scones are the shit.
Posted on February 12, 2013
While reading the blog of a fellow racer recently, I came across something interesting. She talked about the book “Base Building for Cyclists” by Thomas Chapple and included the following excerpts:
“Commitment to being the best possible athlete must go beyond following a schedule and completing workouts. Commitment is the details of how you live your daily life, how you track your training, how you listen to and take care of your body, and how you act to change whatever is holding you back from reaching your goals.” (p. 243-244)
“The athlete who attempts to train through an injury rather than adjust his goals always believes he is committed, but he is not. He is acting obsessively rather than remaining committed to his objectives. Remaining injured is not the way to progress, and by not resting he creates long-term setbacks. This is when obsession is mistaken as passion or commitment.” (p. 245)
This made me think. When I came home from the hospital, the first thing I wanted to do was get back on the bike and resume training. The back injury was serious and the pain was significant, but I needed to stay on track with my riding and not be derailed by anything, even if that meant prolonging the overall recovery. I saw that determination as a good thing at the time, but maybe that single-minded focus isn’t actually healthy.
After Sunday’s ride (in which I did extra intervals as “penance” for the tequila and chocolate cake from the previous night), I sat down on the couch intending to watch something deep and meaningful on Netflix and ended up watching snippets of every episode of the first two seasons of TLC’s My Strange Addiction. Those are like documentaries, right? Documentaries about very strange people who like to eat house cleaner, keep dozens of hairless rats as pets, or the hair from shower drains. In a nutshell, they are obsessed and unable to control their impulses. As one concerned family member helpfully advised a devout eater of toilet paper:
“You should really consider not doing it…at all.”
While I cringed and laughed through the episodes, I can identify with the underlying impulse. I love cycling and racing, but sometimes that love feels more like a compulsion. I have to ride, I have to train, I have to add extra intervals and work harder. In reality, I don’t have to do anything except pay taxes and die. But I imagine my compelling need to ride sometimes feels very similar to one of those Strange Addiction people’s need to dress in a fur suit.
On a normal, non-injured basis, this obsessiveness is fairly harmless and has been instrumental in helping me be a tougher racer. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I think it’s good to feel compelled to work hard and face suffering head-on. And if I have a few more glasses of tequila than I should have, then yeah, I’m going to feel the need to add extra work to the next day’s training. If that makes me cry from pain, good. Tears are just tequila leaving the body.
But I sometimes worry that these obsessive tendencies are going to burn me out either physically or mentally. There have been times where my body is nearly dead from fatigue and I can’t help but be furious at the inability to keep going. There are other times where the idea of having to reschedule a workout due to life obligations leaves me nearly consumed with anxiety. Nevermind that I can see on my calendar that I will still do all the required rides; maybe if I do those intervals a day late, they won’t count and I’ll shrivel up and be slow.
It could be worse. There was an episode all about a young woman addicted to taxidermy.
“I love finding dead animals and stuffing them…in my apartment are dead animals, everywhere.”
[The woman, Divya, is shown walking through a park and looking under bushes while carrying a backpack for collecting the carcasses.] The narrator says, “Divya is constantly hunting for dead animals.”
See? At least I’m riding my bike and not bringing home dead animals. Oh, wait.
Posted on January 29, 2013
Something terrible happened last night.
I am going to tell you this story and, although it is tragic, there will be humor involved. Because while it was terrible and sad, it was also kind of insane. Once I stopped crying and came to grips with everything, I had to acknowledge that the situation was batshit crazy.
When I went out to do intervals on the W&OD Trail last night, it was cold, dark, and raining. I started the intervals and, halfway through the second one, a rabbit darted out of nowhere into the middle of the trail. He appeared so suddenly that I never had a chance to brake. There was just enough time to think HOLYSHITRABBIT! and then he thumped hard under my wheels.
I have never killed an animal. Not with my car, not with my bike, not ever. I’ve had close calls, but never any fatalities. I love animals and go out of my way to avoid harming innocent, unsuspecting creatures like rabbits. My childhood pet for over a decade was a rabbit. Rabbits are cute and fluffy. Hitting (and presumably killing) a rabbit was hugely upsetting.
So I burst into sobs but kept hammering to finish the interval. As soon as it was done, I turned around and rode back to the scene. He was lying beside the trail, warm and soft, but had no heartbeat. His leg was badly damaged, but otherwise there was no outward appearance of injury. It was heartbreaking. On the way back to him, I had decided that there was no way I could just leave him there dead in the rain, but my initial plan to zip him into my jacket and take him home for burial was thwarted when I saw his size and bloody leg. I was going to have to drive back later.
I did the last interval, cried the whole way home, thawed in the shower, and then drove out to Leesburg to the closest road/W&OD intersection. It was still pouring, so I got my umbrella and flashlight and started down the trail with a shoebox and a few plastic bags. I knew roughly where the rabbit had been, but as I flicked my light up the trail, it caught on something lying in the middle of the path.
It was a severed rabbit’s head.
JUST THE HEAD.
I yelped in horror and burst into sobs instantly because WHATTHEFUCK and then I took off running down the trail to where the body had been earlier. Because – and this is awesome in retrospect – I thought maybe MY rabbit would still be where I’d left him and this severed head thing possibly belonged to a different rabbit.
I wasn’t wondering for long. The headless body of my rabbit had moved to the middle of the trail about 50 meters up from the head. Upon seeing him, I took a few minutes to melt down and then picked up the headless body with a bag and tried to put him in the shoebox. I say “tried” because he had gotten surprisingly cold and stiff and his back leg sticking out made him a little too long to fit neatly. I had to bend him into fitting, which was horrible and gross, but not as horrible as carrying the soggy box back down the trail to collect the head or as gross as then putting the whole dripping collection into the trunk of the M Coupe.
Once the rabbit (parts 1 and 2) was safely stowed in my car, I was able to stop bawling and, after a respectable time (twenty minutes), start giggling at the awfulness of the whole thing. There was a decapitated, wet rabbit in my car. On purpose.
My plan had been to take him home and bury him the next day once the rain stopped (which, according to the weather forecast, will happen NEVER) but seeing how quickly he attracted the attention of other animals made the idea of leaving him on the patio overnight unappealing. I decided instead to take him into the woods behind my house and give him a memorial service under a nearby bridge. That way I could kindly dispose of the body while still allowing the circle of life to continue (aka, he’s probably being eaten by foxes and crows right now). I retrieved my soggy shoebox from the trunk, walked into the woods, climbed down the slippery rocks to get under the bridge, and then whump: overturned the box and let parts 1 and 2 come to their final resting place. I apologized to the rabbit and that was that.
Maybe you’ll read this and think I’m nuts. It felt a little nuts, but it also felt like the right thing to do. He deserved better than to die under my wheels, but the least I could do was not leave his body on the side of the trail like a piece of trash.
The end. Rest in Piece(s).
Posted on January 16, 2013