30 October 2010
28 October 2010
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!
27 October 2010
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.
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:
Big Sur-Lompac 170 miles
Lompac-Los Angeles 155 miles
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 pair sleeves
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 hydration pack (to carry laptop)
1 coffee mug
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
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....
24 October 2010
y potluck this week and it reminded me of this time I was over there
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?
Posted by Matthew Ruscigno at 8:51 PM
22 October 2010
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:
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.
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!
21 October 2010
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.
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.
19 October 2010
14 October 2010
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.
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...
Wild Burros 4-person team passed me here and I'd never see them again.
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.
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.
12 October 2010
08 October 2010
This is going to be historic. When I first heard about Ciclovia coming to Los Angeles I thought, 'no fucking way. Not here.' I was wrong! It's not only happening, but Mayor Villaraigosa even held a press conference promoting it. More than a cycling and walking event, it's a reclaimation of the the streets. People over cars. End the dictatorship of the personal use automobile!
This LA Streetsblog post has details for the feeder rides heading there and the other events happening in the streets. Get over there if you can and please promote this to other Angelenos! The CicLAvia site has all the details of how to get there, what to do and what to eat.
07 October 2010
At the start. I know what I've gotten myself into, but do they?
Obligatory devil-horns. Photo by AdventureCORPS.
The clouds and storms kept the temps low at the expense of the usual first day tailwinds.
The crew had a lot of this. Looking and waiting.
And then lot of this: bottle hand-off.
Trona bump. Here I'm wondering why I'm so far behind last year's time. It was the less favorable winds. What a difference! I was getting sore and tired and I hadn't reached 200 miles or Townes Pass yet.
Approaching Townes Pass, elevation 4956ft, the entrance to Death Valley. Mike Sz rode this section for the Wild Burros team and would later say it was the hardest thing he has ever done.
05 October 2010
Well I finished! So many experiences out there that words never seem enough. My crew and the other racer/crews are such a huge part of this, too. Wow and thank you is all I can muster right now. This was the hardest one yet. Here are some photos, stories to come. The AdventureCORPS webcast has photos, videos, splits, results, etc and the Swarm! twitter has a rich timeline as does the hash code #fc508.
01 October 2010
Tomorrow is the 27th edition of the Furnace Creek 508 aka The Hell of West aka The Toughest 48 Hours in Sport!!
I'm racing solo. Again. Third year in a row. I've written about this race enough that it has its own tag. Check out this post from last week for my history with the race including links to reports, etc. My close friend Morgan 'Goat' Beeby, the first of our crew to race this, wrote a great story about his experience as my Crew Chief on my first solo race which gives an idea of what it's like out there.
I'm so stoked and feel incredibly privileged to have the health, ability and resources to even attempt this race. The days leading into the race are very stressful- the logistics are complicated (and expensive!!) and that feeling of not having trained enough will wake you up at night! But the day before I feel a peace with it all and just can't wait to get to that start line.
Let's go to my favorite format of all time- FAQ's- to cover what all this is about. Thanks for reading and think of me riding all day on Saturday. And Saturday night when you go to sleep. And Sunday morning when you wake up. And hopefully when you're eating dinner Sunday night I'm crossing the finish line...
Can I follow the race online?
Yes. I'm updating the Swarm! Twitter when we can. My time splits will be posted here as part of the AdventureCORPS webcast. This is the page to follow! Photos, videos and updates will be posted all morning. My pre-race mug shot will be up by tonight!
What's this 'Desert Locust' thing about?
Instead of a number you get an animal totem that is yours for life! I'm Desert Locust, but last year I was Dessert Locust which is the dessert totem of my animal totem. This year I'm a combination of both and the jpeg above is the sign that must be on all four sides of the support van.
Do you ride the whole thing yourself?
Yes. Every mile. You can race team as I did in 2006 where you switch at every time station. About 80 of the 200 racers are solo.
Is it a race or just a long ride?
The fastest folks finish in under 30 hours. That's a 17 MPH average over 508 miles and 35,000 feet of elevation gain! The time limit is 48 hours. National Geographic Adventure (RIP) called it the 8th hardest race in the world.
Do you race it?
Ugh. Sort of? I got tenth last year, only cause faster folks dropped out in the 50+ MPH winds in Death Valley and my crew had the tenacity to push me on. It was actually much uglier than that, but I'll spare you the details of puke and piss.
Do you have a crew?
Yes. Three friends are in a support van with the job of keeping me going with food, water and motivation. This year I have a totally rookie crew! They are in for an adventure as well. Dave Vandermaas, Lisa Auerbach and Sabrina Ovan. Thank you so much!
They 'leapfrog' me all day Saturday and follow me directly over night passing me water and food.
What do you eat?
A combination of fruit like bananas and apples, liquid foods like Sustained Energy, bars, gels and mini-burritos. Peanut butter on tortillas, pretzels, and chocolate covered espresso beans are my secret weapon based on my 7-year, $65,000 education in nutrition.
Do you sleep?
In 2008 I slept 15 minutes at daybreak on Sunday. In 2009 not at all.
Does your butt hurt?
Yes. And then it stops hurting. And then it hurts again. But you know what? Anything worth doing involves some pain and suffering.
Is going down hill really fast awesome?
Why is water wet? Why is the sky blue? I'm drawn to the physical and mental ends of this body I live in, I think. And I happen to be good at riding a bicycle for long periods of time, so this is the best way for me to do this! The answer to this question varies depending on my mood too. I love to travel from A to B, I love California and really, because I can.
Specific motivation this year?
5-time RAAM winner Jure Robic was killed while cycling near his home in Slovenia last week and that weighs heavily on my mind. Death is real, folks. RadioLab has a fitting good-bye. Also friends and specifically my girlfriend who are overcoming their own struggles, will motivate me through the night. Considering what lots of people have to deal with every day, having to pedal my bicycle, something I love, can't be that bad. Right?
Any other Swarm! vegan racers?
Max and Brian from the 2006 fixed gear team Bonobo are racing as a 2-person team: Emperor Tamarin
Megan (also from Bonobo), Sasha (who made the documentary from the 2006 race), Jacob and Mike Sz are a 4-person team: Wild Burros!
New friends which I met at 508 last year Jeff (pro coach) and Cara (PRO) are a 2-person team: Godwit attempting to beat the 2-person mixed record of 27:34:29!!
What can I do to help?
Ride a bike for trips under 4 miles. Eat vegan when you can. Realize that your actions do matter. And, secondly, you can txt, tweet, email or facebook me with words of support and my crew will pass it on, when they can.
Can you post an awesome Hip Hop video to get me stoked?