30 December 2009

Question Du Jour

Holly and I were pondering this head-scratcher at the bakery this afternoon.
Why does everyone wearing a bluetooth look like a douche?
It's a chicken/egg conundrum: does purchasing a wireless cell phone thingy to attach to your head make you a douche, or do only douches buy permanent body-decorating phone fixtures? Is it because earpieces are the status-seeking equivalent of highly visible tattoos--both broadcasting your very specific values and opinions? Or do the wireless signals burn holes through the tactful part of your brain and turn you douche?
Look, some examples:
Now this one's pretty easy, because with or without device, he is obv a d-nozzle.

But here is a prime example of the corrosive power of the bluetooth. Old man, looking very friendly. Add ear weevil, he looks patronizing and fake.

Career douche. Second strike against him: gel in hair.

Methinks more time and research need to be devoted to this question.

29 December 2009

You Can't Have Cabin Fever Til February

Despite my protestations, I've now decided to prepare for road season. Because the only thing worse than a road race is getting dropped in a road race.
Fortunately, around here doing long rides is like sliding into tepid bathwater. Pretty easy.
Except, certainly not in temperature. It's really cold.
And also not in exertion level. It hurts something awful.
So the only way it's actually easy like stepping in the tub is that there are lots of nice people to join you. Wait. I don't mean to give the wrong impression of my social life. I hereby retract the analogy.
But what I'm trying to say is road riding is easy right now because a: there's damn snow all over the trails, b: there's damn chocolate all over my house, and c: other people (usually St. Marie the Enabler) want to do long rides too.
What was my point? Oh yeah. I'm totally taking a train to Seattle after I graduate. 86 hours, $260, nothing better to do.
Or maybe my point was that grits are even MORE amazing if you toast the corn meal first. Thanks, Baker Bill.This is why I won't be riding Long Branch anytime soon. Pic by Dan Bennett

16 December 2009

It's All Been Said Before

I love:

-friends and family
-girl rides/runs
-Christmas parties
-this town.

That is all.

11 December 2009


finished with finals for the most part.
really blown away by my own work ethic this semester. i have no idea where it came from. sounds conceited? yes, very.
now buying too many things. i love christmas.

one...more... semester...

the live coverage of natz on cx mag is really cool. good luck to everyone racing out there! but no more broken legs.


06 December 2009


(Warning: gratuitous bike love ahead, once again)

Just in time for finals week, here's some multiple choice for you: What can't the plucky Epic do?
a. muddle around in Pink Beds, inadvertently flirt with illegal trails, have fun
b. survive the Bataan Death March of Yellow Gap Road
c. climb Pilot (leaving Mr. Enduro behind in the dust)
d. descend Pilot (possibly a little slower than Mr. Enduro...)
e. hit 40 foot gaps and play floor hockey

There are some things in life that require a big ole bike or a stick and a pair of sneakers. For everything else, there's the Epic.

P.S. Dear Specialized, don't I deserve some pro-level sponsorship? I have beaten this horse to death!
Just kidding. I do it for love, not money.

30 November 2009

Once Again, A Homebody Speaks of Travel

As the weather turns permanently unpleasant, my thoughts frolic into next summer, the season of voyages. Bellingham, WA to see if my shoe-twin is lying about how awesome it is...Windham, NY to watch some World Cup action...maybe some face-time with the grands in NH...then Mont-Sainte-Anne for World Champs! Um did I mention I WILL BE DONE WITH COLLEGE BY THIS SUMMER? Wow. What a feeling.

But then wanderlust ain't all it's cracked up to be. The Saint and I rode Caney/Daniel/Butter yesterday in the unseasonably gorgeous sunlight. Oh em gee what a fantastic ride. To me, that loop is the epitome of Pisgah.

It's been a good week. I also had the pleasure of dog-sitting at a house complete with hot tub and pool table. And the family continued the long-time tradition of getting out in the woods together for some kind of exercise on Thanksgiving. We're so cool.

And another fabulously frivolous girls' night out in Ashevegas

23 November 2009


We rode Becky Mountain today and it reminded me how much I loveloveLOVE stupid road climbs. They're just so...painful! And stupid! But not boring! Or monotonous!
But then we rode the not-intimidating downhill on See-Off and the even-less-intimidating downhill on 276 and, guys, I have to say: I am the worst road descender in the history of the world.
This is a recent development. There was a time when I didn't* suck ass. But now I am scaredscaredSCARED. And I stubbornly refuse to take advice from Squirrel or the Saint or anyone because I'm too busy being scared to "find the apex of the curve", etc. I'll let loose for a few minutes but then get that TERROR FLASH and then grab the brakes even harder/sketchier. Loyal readers: is there a cure?

*Why is the little spell-check underline showing up on the word "didn't"? Am I going crazy? "Didn't" IS the correct contraction of "did not", isn't it?
Oh God, now they're underlining "isn't" too. Ack.

22 November 2009

Status Quo

I've tried to blog a few times, really I have. I planned on writing about the fabulous girls' nights out and socializing, or about the therapeutic runs in the forest, or how Bennett Gap is awesome, or how 30 Rock is high-larious. But each time boredom knocked me on my ass. Well, not anymore! I shall overcome the boredom to relate a little bit of my incredibly ho-hum life.
-CarolineAlexisTinaDecosimo and I indulged Squirrel and raced his silly 8am collegiate cross race at Hendo. But I use the term "raced" in the loosest possible manner. At Nats I was as fit as I've ever been (on a bike. High school sports trump all.) I rode the wave through the Boone cross race and came out feeling like a cocky BA. But, a month of pastries, trail runs, and hang-out rides later, I STRUGGLED yesterday. But I'm okay with it (slightly sheepish...a little embarrassed...but none the worse for wear). For now, racing is not important. Because everyone knows the best biking chicks are OLD. Except Emily Batty and Rachel Atherton, i.e., my faves.
-The Super Fab Fun-Time T-Shirt party lived up to its name. No photos, because they'd be too incriminating.
-New roommate and I get along perfectly.
-Running is wonderful.
-So is riding. But only when it's nice out.
-Spent a Sunday baking cookies, surfing the web, cookin' grits and okra with the Saint, and watching The Office. And NOT cross racing. Life is good.
-Now I'm going to go play floor hockey. Yay, sports.

12 November 2009

Not Dead, Just Boring

Most exciting event in recent life: muddy fabulous Boone CX race

28 October 2009

My South Park Moment Part II

I learned something today:
DON'T try and keep up with the Joneses, or in this case the Dicksons/Saints.

The candy cane and I will be celebrating our first anniversary soon. That was my last major bike purchase (except my recent acquisition of a hella awesome SECA. Worth it!) And I hadn't ridden the plucky Epic since the four-cross race in Cali. I'd thrown a leg over a burly dreamy SX and a sparkly new Stumpie, and a case of the I-wannas had got me down. I was hemmin' and hawin' in the shop tonight as newly-anointed gravity rider WD posed in his full face and the Saint got his Epicly expensive bike into perfect S-working condition...so he could sell it...so he could...pursue other interests?

"Wes," sez I, "how much could I sell my bike for? Retired folks like me need more suspension."
He eyed the flaking carbon bar and scratched paint. "Twelve hundred."
Now I daresay my little beaut is worth more to me than that. Emotional cost, you know. Devastating failures and soaring victories and all the mediocre bits in between. So I shrugged my shoulders and complained about money like I always tend to do and set off for a nighttime Long Branch adventure.
And that shut me up.
I am going to ride that bike until she breaks.
I love her so.

22 October 2009

Adventures After Nationals

What's a girl to do after her team achieves the highest, most bad-ass honor one can achieve in collegiate mountain-biking?
Cook a Mexican casserole, of course.
I usually cook one of maybe four different things (grits, roasted root vegetables, stew, quinoa) so I thought I'd step out on a limb and try something exciting. I ignored the recipe, which suggested kidney beans and Monterey Jack, and used:
sauteed onions and garlic (first step in every durn thing I cook)
tortillas strips
queso fresca (This is kind of "cheese 101", but SO delicious)
black-eyed peas
So actually this isn't a new and exciting dish at all. I use most of these ingredients all the time. But it's presented in a different way, and isn't that half the battle?

My Mexican casserole was divine. St. Marie gave it his pain face of approval.

18 October 2009

At Long Last


17 October 2009

Another Good Day

Here's some tasty results for you.

Short track.
T. Cowie: He threw down a delicious attack on that tall orange dude and rode into a VERY respectable 2nd.
Rimmer: 15th
The Saint: 16th

Four cross. The fellas were looking SO awesome on that narrow rocky track. Unfortunately, they all experienced some misfortunes on the round of 16.
Real Tall: 11th
Rimmer: 13th
T-Bag: 14th
T. Cowie: 20th

Tina: 12th
Dunc: 9th
In the round of 16, Joh, Dunc, and I were seeded together so we cake-walked down the course to avoid wrecks and fatigue. Second round, I had a bad start and sat up. I was relieved it was over and so, so tired. But then St. Marie forced me back up the hill for the consolation round. I went, grumbling and tearing up. I just wanted to be done! I was bad at 4x! But...then...I gated two Warren Wilson girls and took 5th, smiling (albeit a bit hysterically) the whole time. I was pretty durn pumped. Three podiums in two days!
And then Tuttle pulled off another stars'n'bars! She walked away from her competition like they weren't moving. It was SO exciting.
Tomorrow is the final showdown. The DH shall separate the wheat from the chaff, the cream from the milk, the men from the boys. Park was a darling and lent me his SX so I'll be rolling down the hill in style.
We're reeling in that overall title. I can feel it.

Two Down, Two to Go

The ladies just wrapped up the endurance portion of Natz with another masterful showing in short track. Sarah got caught up in a big stupid wreck at the start but worked her way through the field and danced along to "Let's Get It Started". Alexis snatched up some spots from yesterday and got 8th, Johanne pushed through the pain and got 6th, and I was once again taught my place by Montana girl and Colorado girl. So, I didn't accomplish secret goal #2 but I rode a good race and had fun if you can believe it. I'm so proud of the Brevard girls! Now it's up to the fellas once again to replicate our success. No pressure!
In the team standings BC is third behind Union and Montana State right now...but wait till we whip out our secret weapon: a talented, well-rested, ready-to-go bunch-of-huckasaurs gravity team!! UHHNNHH feel the PAIN Division II!!!

16 October 2009

I'm Too Lazy

St Marie summed up the boys' race pretty well here. Ouch, guys. Better luck tomorrow.

I KNOW the East is the Best

Permit me to quote myself:
"If you're on the wrong side of the Rockies, feel the fear."

The SE-motha-f*ckin-CCC packed SEVEN OR EIGHT GIRLS IN THE TOP TEN. Can you say "Powerhouse Conference"!?
Brevard results, for your viewing pleasure......
Sarah Dunkey Monkey: 11th
Caroline Alexis "Tina" Decosimo: 9th
Joh "I'm a TOTAL B.A." Tuttle: 5th
Meeeee: 3rd (that's one secret goal checked off the list!)

Boys are starting in approximately 4 minutes. Updates later.

P.S. Word has it that the phone is ringing off the hook at Sycamore Cycles with people wanting to know results. That's how you know the town of Brevard is AWESOME. I can feel the love from all the way across the country!

15 October 2009

St Marie Thinks I'm Blogging Too Much

Team BC is clustered around the big screen watching Chapelle Show while the womenfolk (and Danny...and Park) labor in the kitchen over a hot pan of lasagna.
XC chic race: tomorrow, 8am
XC bro race: tomorrow, noon
High spirits around here. I think everyone loves the courses. I know I do. They're pretty darn fabulous. I am excited to race XC, which is a strange state of affairs indeed. The course is maybe 3 miles up then 4 miles down and so much fun.
And of course, everybody loves everybody.

No Big Deal

Midway through the DH

Top of the DH

14 October 2009

Day One

"'Stick your finger in it' should always be a step to everything. "

3:59am--I fell down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night. Yikes. Big old boo-boos all over my body and I haven't even gotten out of the state yet. Talk about an inauspicious start.

4:45am--We hung out with Herndon and Tuttle in the airport. And saw Dirty Wes D briefly, since he dropped them off. It's a bit disturbing to run into him so early in the morning; he is one sketchy bearded man.

6:00am--Joyfully reunited with most of the team. I swear it's like being part of a family.

10:23am (which is actually 12:23)--It seems that the artery between Charlotte and Las Vegas is the main conduit of grossly fat travelling people.

10:56am--Wow wow wow I've never flown over the Southwest before. Wow.

11:15am--Las Vegas! (Cibola, bumpty bump)

2:31pm--I love California! Home away from home. Driving up Highway 80 and what glorious vistas!

4:21pm--After wandering like Jews in a desert we find food in Truckee. Dunc and I head straight for the sushi/tapas bar, while everyone else prefers pizza.

7:00pm--Add to the amazing list:
-scenery at Northstar
-snowcapped mountains
-the chalet that we're calling home
-the biggest rainstorm of the year that just hit Truckee. It left the DH course tackier than Westerners can even come to terms with! (according to Herndon)

7:34pm--Now we're hanging out in the girl room watching Planet Earth on a massive flat-screen. Bedtime is coming very soon. Tomorrow: pre-ride XC, walk downhill, great shenanigans no doubt.

12 October 2009

Talihina Sky

yesterday the saint, captain america, some tall kid, and i ventured out of our little town for some bent creek action and rewarded ourselves afterward at the best mexican restaurant in the 828. we cruised all the uphills and enjoyed the scenery, and it got me thinking about life after racing. here's my secret: after this weekend, i'm retired.

why? bicycle racing has always struck me as just a tad bit absurd. it's high pressure. it's a waste of fossil fuel. it's riding around in circles and paying for the privilege to do so. it's having conversations with your friend in which each of you wait impatiently until the other is done talking about himself so you can go into detail about your obviously more important self...and then blogging about it.

but before you call velonews, i'll have you know there are exceptions. retirement does not include: cyclocross. ORAMM. 12 hours of tsali. collegiate road (alas...squirrel sez). the icycle. in other words, if i plan to do a race, the number one criteria? FUN.

so, off to california. the plucky little epic has been loaded into a trailer, after a wash, a tune-up, and the installation of some I-9s, mmmm delicious. thanks, st. marie. i have secret goals for nationals but i would hate to jinx anything. plus i like being sketchy and vague like t. cowie.

and then when we get back, the leaves will all be aflame, the seasonal trails will be open, and that special mountain chill will have set in. i'm going for a run when i get off the plane.

06 October 2009

Foregone Conclusion

After a month and a half of white-knuckled point tabulation and high-pressured website-checking I am pleased to announce Brevard College's conference win and receipt of a full Nationals allocation.

We're coming for your nuts

30 September 2009


today in agricultural ecology we processed chickens. by processed i mean this: to this. it was the most hands-on i've ever gotten with a critter, besides bashing brook trout to death and tearing the legs off grasshoppers.
we were at busy bee farms where a teacher from my high school and his wife raise cows and chickens for eatin'. today happened to be chicken-processing day. happily i discovered that i don't get queasy when watching the blood pump out of a still-kicking chicken's trachea.
it was kind of an amazing experience. the stuff i did: catching, scalding, plucking, eviscerating. i never got around to cutting anyone's throat but i think i could've with more time. luke, the only manly member of our class, went to town on some poultry. but then, he attended west henderson high. what else would you expect? everyone was kind of quiet and reverent as they went about their work and nothing smelled bad. it felt intimate and respectful.
god i'm such a suburban dork sometimes.
dunc and i bought one of the chickens and named her maude. maude will be joining us for dinner on friday night. probably roasted.

28 September 2009

The Nastynasty

Evidence of the nastynasty

At this point my soul is water-logged. But drying out fast.
Brevard held a fabulous* race this weekend over at the AV. Coach Squirrel pulled out all the stops and managed on a tight budget to run a tight ship. And ship is actually an apt choice of words...there was not a moment on Saturday when I didn't feel I was adrift in a muddy sea. Due to BC's propensity toward utter dominance in epic conditions (disregard the North Georgia road race please), we swept the fields:
1st, 3rd: women's DH
1st, 4th, 5th, 10th: men's DH
2nd, 3rd, 6th, 10th: women's ST
1st, 10th: men's ST
1st, 3rd, 7th: women's DS
1st: men's DS
2nd, 3rd: women's XC
2nd, 7th: men's XC
And I don't want you thinking these are weak fields. This is the SECCC, after all. The Dirty Dirty South is the strongest mtb conference in the country.

My point? BC is awesome!

I myself am also feeling awesome. For the first time in my academic life I'm resisting the siren song of procrastination. Starting a paper three days before it's due? Reading ahead in the assigned text? WHAT HAVE YOU BECOME, JT!? I'm juggling work, babysitting, housesitting, classes, thesis, cycling, dishes (mostly thanks to the Saint), and an internship at the Outdoor Academy. Granted, I'm not taking freakin 19 hours like...someone...(can't remember who) or working at 7 each morning like Dunc, or getting both knees operated on like Liz/Mom, or actually training to be a fast bike rider like T. Cowie, but it still feels like something of an accomplishment. How long will this over-achievement last? Meh...another week?

*in this case synonymous with: painful, sadistic, 36% grade climbs and 45% descents, good times had by all

14 September 2009

I Freaking Love BC Cycling

This weekend up at LMC was pretty awesome. In so many ways.

Before, our guys' gravity team made up for its shallowness with skillz, but now we have both depth AND fantabulousness--four guys in the top ten in a heavily stacked DH race!!?? MAN ALIVE. Real Tall surprised no one with a 2nd, and Park surprised everyone with a 3rd!

And can I just say that Tristan Cowie is amazing? Is that weird? I cannot even express how freaking fast he is, yet he is so positive and so team-oriented.This kid doesn't even race slalom

And, well, I am not afraid to say that Joh and I are the one-two punch of BC. Bang bang, we'll trip you up then kick you when you're down. Oh yeah, and then Tina and Dunc will come leave tire tread ON YO FACE. This year we've got each weekend covered like a wet blanket.

Tuttle doing what she does best

Yeah, talk about everybody loving everybody. Sarah sang to me on the last downhill and gave me the final gumption to GO. All the DH guys helped out, gave feeds, and cheered ears off at the rock garden, and the XC guys were pushing slalom bikes up the hill all day long. I can't imagine there's another team in the southeast where everyone takes such good care of each other. And such hilarity! T Bag and Irby especially--these boys get props for keeping me laughing all day long.

My races? My bike and I were on point the whole weekend. I took 1st in the mere mortals category (i.e. 2nd behind Carla) in the XC and short track, 3rd in downill, and (sour grapes...) 6th in slalom. All on the same plucky little Epic. It was just what I needed to bolster my waning confidence. Despite all the pressure and nerves, I do sure love to ride my bike.

Pics ganked from Hannah Trimble

09 September 2009

Oh, You Shouldn't Have

First of all, this will surely become something of an e-artifact: BSNYC's recorded voice. Disregard the silly interviews, just listen to his voice. Is it what I expected? I...don't...know...

Now that I've shared that historical relic, on to the important stuff.
Tuesday, September 15th
. Here's the schedule:
4:00pm. Meet at Sycamore Cycles for a fat tire ride. Guesses are it'll be Pinnett. We're not terribly creative people. But it will be fun. And I will win the forest gate sprint, by dint of it being my birthday.
7:00pm. Meet at Pescado's. Enjoy a fish taco and a cold beer.
8:00pm. The varsity athletes among us must scurry over to the college for a brief meeting. But never fear, we shall return for...
8:43pm. Begin the bar-hopping!
Come one, come all.

"But Julia," you query, "what do you want for your birthday?? You, who seems to have everything a girl could ever wish for!" Well, loyal and curious reader, I shall tell you. I want:

-a perfectly made macchiato. When I was in Boone I had the best one ever. Now I am forever seeking to recreate the experience.

-a trip to Natz for BC Cycling. We are freaking awesome and another rider joins the team every day. We deserve the opportunity to show everyone else how awesome we are...without financially crippling the team for the next two years.

-the ability and desire to cook meat. I am an expert on eggplant but neither poultry nor pork has entered my repertoire.

-a new riding style. a new perspective. I think this sexy mamba jamba of a bike will do the trick.-a senior thesis. 15-20 pages, typed, double-spaced, hefty bibliography, historical topic of your choosing.

-a new phone. My old one is a bit clapped. Too much butt-pocket to bike-seat contact. I've finally found the perfect upgrade.

-a good race this weekend at LMC. Feeling a wee bit slow.

-love, life, and the pursuit of happiness! And I really want someone to explain to me why happiness is spelled "happyness" in that movie title. WTF?

That is all. Feel free to get started.

01 September 2009


that was so negative nancy. before i'm written off as a pessimistic polly or even a dour diane, let me set the record straight. self doubt aside, there's recently been a grocery list of awesome-ity.
-delicious food with lots of fresh produce
-thought-provoking discussions in and out of class
-beautiful weather to recreate in and nasty weather to make us appreciate the beautiful
-action packed weekend up in Boone, full of DH spectating and parties
-laughter-filled first race of the season
-all my incredible teammates back in town
what more could i wish for?

In the Words of Hold Steady

Lord I'm Discouraged*

i've strapped on my uzis and entered the fray of school, guns blazing. been writing papers every day and eating my words about how lame BC is. all this academic activity leaves me drained of inspiration, drenched in perspiration (my post-race jersey is now a thing of legend...i'm not usually stinky, honest!) but might as well keep talking.

re: collegiate season. entering in with a troubling mix of apathy, annoyance, and trepidation. ETSU served to somewhat fortify my courage, what with a short track win and decent-ish results in the other events. also a chance to see how UNSTOPPABLE (said in "energy legs" voice) the BC team can be this year. rimmer and all of the gravity guys especially had very exciting performances. wow look how legit i am

unfortunately, still feeling unmotivated and a wee bit stressed about future races. BUT: and this is a big but: there is no correlation between how i'm feeling about racing and how i'm feeling about riding. i can't wait to get out my door and onto two wheels. i mean, do you KNOW where i live?
re: life. the end of a: 20 years of "sobriety" and b: 16 years of school has got me awful antsy. please make 2010 get here soon.

re: boyfriend. lord knows i don't treat him good but he is very nice and i don't give him near enough credit.
the little blinking cursor button has just stopped working on this entry and i have come to realize how much i depend on that little blinking cursor. feeling a hair annoyed with all this right now, as you might could tell.

*and i'm not all that discouraged, just had this song stuck in my head for days

20 August 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

i used to make a list at the beginning of each summer of stuff i wanted to get done before school resumed. you know, get a six pack, earn lots of money, travel somewhere interesting, make at least seventeen new friends. but at the start of each school year i would reexamine the list, notice my paucity of stomach muscles, and sigh wistfully. so how about a post-summer list of what i have accomplished? ok.
1: make new friends and keep the old
as my dad says, brevard is slowly shaping itself into a boulder-of-the-east. there is an influx of badass outdoor recreationalists coming to enjoy this little heaven on earth. fabulous! at the same time, i've managed to maintain and even improve standing relationships (and i discovered that "girl time" is rare and highly valued for others too)
2: excel AND decompress
i had a very laidback summer racing-wise, which leaves me jonesing for collegiate to start. i still pulled off a couple of wins and what felt like a real accomplishment--finishing ORAMM (and not breaking down. and not dying. and getting back on my bike within the week.)
3: earn money
i have to face the truth: money is very important to me. it's both my security blanket and something i'm terrified of. fortunately, by deferring travel and adventures until next summer, i built up a nice cushion to tide me over through the school year.
4: not get dumb
lots of books. and courses on tape. and giving people change, that always keeps me sharp as a tack! "hmm ok you owe me $8.45 and you gave me $10.50 soooooo...here's $2.05!! great success!!"
5: cook
the saint says my small-but-growing repertoire of meals all taste the same but i beg to differ! yes, perhaps they all involve a big mess of fresh veggies, no meat to speak of, lots of chili powder, and some southern flair (grits, okra, black-eyed peas...) but there are NUANCES, st marie. nuances. meanwhile he's in hog heaven eating cereal once an hour or so.
6: be satisfied with life
because this is the way it'll always be after this year, in the grown-up world. instead of focusing on the quiet or the tedium, i want to enjoy the interesting, fun, and fabulous stuff, although sometimes it takes some finding.

by golly i think this has been a good summer.

06 August 2009

It's Like That Joni Mitchell Song

due to my aversion to travel, i need a lot of planning and/or pressure to get me moving in any direction besides homeward. but after an entire summer spent in our fine state of cakalacky, flipping through everyone's pictures of colorado and listening to breathless narratives about europe, i've got a hankering to go somewhere. next summer will be the season of travel (maybe. if i'm not constrained by money, an internship, my various jobs, or any unforeseen circumstances.)
i am considering:

-wwoofing. i have some friends who've done it and they all thought it was the jam.
-taking advantage of tasha's hospitality on the 49th parallel. northwestern usa/british columbia sounds like awesome squared. maybe visit my family in the bay area and mount shasta for awhile. the west coast is my oyster.
-road trip? map out the best mtb rides across the country? that would be so fab.

post-grad life scares me a little. fortunately i'm in no hurry to get a grown-up job and i have another year of school drudgery to distract me. not to mention another season of collegiate. go BC!

p.s. many condolences to fat cyclist.

03 August 2009

It Could Have Gone Better

Overall it's been a good weekend. I made it out to Adventure Village for some preparatory earth-moving...the BC labor train has finally gotten on track out there and we're all dedicated to making significant improvements on the courses. I was on point for Saturday morning work, slingin' bread with the best of them. At some point I ate a delicious grilled cheese sandwich on multi-grain sourdough with pepper jack, fresh tomatoes, baby spinach, and lots of Theros olive oil...that was kind of the highlight of the weekend. I went to Jimy's wedding and I got the warm fuzzies being around a bunch of cyclists and friends that love each other. It was almost as good as this:
Then Zac, Katie and I watched a movie with the dubious honor of being the worst ever made.

By reciting some weekend tidbits I'm trying to forget those three little letters I earned next to my name at Fontana: DNF.
Ouch. Second time in my mountain biking career.
It was reallyreallyreally muddy. And I was riding reallyreallyreally sketchy. And I was wrecking a lot. When I lost sight of 3rd place, after the final wreck that left me hanging off the hill tangled in prickly bushes (my legs look like I had a run-in with CatFace, it's AWESOME!), I decided it wasn't worth it. I didn't want a rock-to-face incident during a meaningless regional race to take me off the bike right before collegiate starts. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. On the plus side: I was climbing like a she-demon. So that's cool.
The Saint and Geoff and NewTeammateCory had great races. It's really fun watching Pisgah boys (and soon-to-be Pisgah boys) dominate on home-style courses.
And go Kabush! And Lene Byberg, who won her first WC race at Bromont...on a Specialized! Super cool because she's apparently the first woman to ever win a WC on a full suspension. Get some!

28 July 2009

Andy Schleck is a Pretty Man

He rides a Specialized, he is too young to rent a car, and he speaks nearly flawless English. We have SO much in common! I can totally picture our future together: him measuring out 400 grams of muesli while I stuff myself with Luxembourg chocolate...adorable quarrels when I discover that he has shaved his legs with MY razor...sprinting each other on the way up 215, only to wait in the hopes that brother Frank can catch back up...

Ahem. Anyway. The meat of the matter. ORAMM. OMG. Cyclingnews did a short post on it:

Sam Koerber and Thomas Turner are having a war of words over on Twitter. Turner started the feud by Tweeting, "Like wow, totally crushed the ORAMM record, SK ate my DUST." Koerber replied by re-Tweeting to a follower: "Don't want to name names, but SOME people are not gracious winners." A few members of the cycling Twitterati have joined the fray. Seven-time-Tour-winner-cancer-survivor-out-of-retirement-superhero-words-can't-express-our-love-of-this-man Lance Armstrong Tweeted, "TT just raced smarter--SK shouldn't be hatin'." Andy Schleck responded with the seemingly-unrelated, "SWM seeking American girl--ORAMM finishers preferred!"

All of which is to say, yes, I finished. And it was awesome. And I did it about an hour faster than I expected. And I got 5th. And I'll definitely be there next year!

What I learned:
1: To be in contention for a higher podium spot it is IMPERATIVE that you get to Kitsuma before the walkers. Oh well.
2: Two GUs, two Slim Jims, two bananas, and 160 ounces of water is plenty of fuel.
3: I can climb forever.
4: I am abysmally terrible at switchbacks. Need practice.
5: My bike is PERFECT.

So thanks to Todd B for putting on such a fabulous event! Now I'm itching for a nice short XC race, just in time for the Dam Jam!

P.S. I've been in some pretty places recently. Mostly without a camera.
I wish I also had pictures of the scenery at ORAMM and at the FBCC, the Swiss chalet in Toxaway, the farm house off Crab Creek...

Most recent wall installation in the apartment. "Art" for $5!

On the drive to Marshall

My last house-sitting gig

Pretty little morning glory in my backyard

24 July 2009

Return and Departure

after a summer of house-sitting/dog-sitting/pool-sitting at various remote, beautiful, and inconvenient locations, i finally moved back into my cute, convenient, comfortable apartment today. i'm no longer responsible for anything besides the groceries in my fridge and the dishes in my sink. the subaru can once again chill for days in the driveway, instead of shuttling my gas-guzzling self from one end of the county to the other. now i have a chance to relax.

just in time for oramm.

my personal mechanic has tuned the bike to perfection, and i'll be riding over to old fort with dirty wes d...the KOP...old man balls...#1...the man who has so many titles he's starting to sound like an old school rapper. now i'm off to buy some fig newtons and beef jerky, trail food of champions.

t-minus 36 hours, give or take.

oh boy.

21 July 2009

Cat 4 4 Lyfe

I hereby retract any and all previous statements regarding my sandbaggerdom.
USA Cycling in their infinite wisdom denied my upgrade.
I now have the mandate, if I so desire, to continue cleaning up in Cat 4 races for the rest of my racing career.

20 July 2009

Sandbagger Says What?


Well, in honor of the Tour I've spent most of July on the road (bike). Only pretty rides though. I refused to do anything flat or trafficky or boring. All this skinny tire riding culminated in a sooperdooperawesome weekend at the French Broad. I've never had the desire or the points for a Cat 3 upgrade...so I went over to Marshall and ripped off some Cat 4 ladies' legs on Saturday, on the faaaabbbulously hilly road course...and then went over to Arden on Sunday and ripped some more legs off in the crit...when I went to collect my fistfuls of cash the promoter called me a sandbagger (and he was neither the first nor the last). C'est la vie, you win some, you...win some. Frankly, I'm pumped. More than a little bit sheepish, but still pumped.

These past few days there have been some very exciting results. St. Marie pulled off a 3rd in the omnium (mostly thanks to a borrowed BMC Time Machine...just kidding...), Pinnett got 3rd at Sol Vista, and Joh grabbed her...um...fourth stars'n'bars. In other words, everyone is awesome. Yay.

Tasha: Bon voyage! You shall be missed.

03 July 2009

Dispatches from the Bread Front

As a firm believer in friendly, helpful, and often obsequious customer service, I've mastered the apologetic No with the conciliatory But. Fer'example:
"No, we don't make cakes but I can direct you to the other *cough* sketchier bakery in town."
"No, we don't have skim milk but we do have the surprisingly comparable 2%. You can barely tell the difference!"
But once in awhile, when a customer asks for a product that violates our informal mission statement, I relish the unconditional No.
"No we don't have low-carb/sugar-free/gluten-free ANYTHING (unspoken: GETOUDDA HERE with your food fads)."
Alas, to them I may come across as impatient or condescending, but so help me, it feels good.

Still in the bakery:
A while ago I served Andie MacDowell of Groundhog Day fame. I didn't really recognize her except that she seemed unusually beautiful and sparkly. She ordered a chai latte. Afterwards Jillian and I tried to puzzle out why we were left with a lingering feeling of disappointment and finally realized: she shouldn't have ordered something so mundane. Of course! Her drink of choice should have been a sugar-free Red Bull macchiato, a chic monstrosity which must exist in that den of frivolous mixology, the Land of Rich/Famous People.

One more dispatch:
A conversation that occurs with embarrassing frequency.
"Wow, you're growing up so fast! What year are you in school?"
"Well, I'm about to be a senior, if you can believe it!"
"Oooh, are you thinking about colleges yet?"
Awkward pause..."if by thinking about colleges you mean grad schools..."
Frantic backpedaling..."Oops, well gosh! When you're fifty you'll be glad you look so youthful!" Which is a good point I suppose. But still. Ouch.

22 June 2009

Bein' Dumb

after taking an easy, comfortable lead at the cowbell, having a great time, crashing some, hanging on i-won-nationals-five-minutes-late-on-a-singlespeed rebecca's wheel, i flatted. no big deal, right? permit me to quote myself:
"whenever i get a flat i revert back to 12-year-old julia...i stomp my feet, act frustrated, and wait for someone to change it for me."

i tried not to do this. i tried to stay calm and think and get my shit fixed. but then it took forever. and then #2 passed. and then i freaked out a little. but eventually shit got fixed and i kept on riding. sigh. jillian made the excellent point that it wasn't a big-deal race and that i learned my lesson. yep.

the cowbell course was AWESOME so i still had fun even though i so stupidly let a win slip through my fingers. everyone from b-town was suffering...it was hot as bejeezus. donnie, st. marie, and the hobbit had decent finishes. on the rock garden tristan had the spectators saying "you can tell he rides in pisgah". baller.
no more races till july! fabulous. my father opining on something i'm sure
don't get chicked!
pinnett and tamer taking off
sick gnar descending skillz

thanks to dan bennett for the pics, as usual

20 June 2009

Why Not?

Since Dan P.Ennis has already been planning his collegiate natz wardrobe for a month (hint: coon skin) I reckon I can initiate a little sh*t talking...
In the words of Buju Banton:

There's no life in the West
I know the East is the best, yes
All the propaganda dem spread
Tongues will hafta confess

Amen. If you're on the wrong side of the Rockies, feel the fear.

19 June 2009

Post Script

in my previous post i forgot to mention...although it's been said before ad nauseum...


i need to name my valiant steed, because she has earned herself a title. possibly with some kind of adendum like "the great" or "the magnificent" à la memorable royalty.

i knew my little specialized was a fantastic XC race bike. a finely-honed blade of speed and finesse. slicing through the competition like a steak knife through melting plugra (that one's for you, tasha).

but it turns out she's also a workhorse. giving nary a thought to discomfort or mechanicals, she trots effortlessly and tirelessly through hours of pisgah slop and dupont grit. when my weak spirit has given out, the epic has only just warmed up.

so why did i discard her yesterday for an '82 ross? klunkerz thursday night group ride.forthcoming: the black mountain challenge with new retro category. get out your bridgestone, it's gonna be good.
dan? is that you?

but the little epic will be back for more action at the cowbell this weekend. i hear the course is 45% grass. bring it.

post post script: if you do one road race this season, make sure it's the french broad cycling classic. please look at this course profile. it makes me smile. 40 miles, 6100 feet of climbing. mmm zesty.

14 June 2009

Fat Tire Weeks

now that the twin storms of the breakup and the roommate have subsided, i'm left with a lot of free time to think about what the rest of the summer will bring.
mostly oramm.
checks against me:
-at the whitewater center last weekend i raced 19 miles and thought it would never end. ever.
-i'm young and inexperienced.
-i'm scared. so scared.
-i sound like a sophomore on prom night.
checks for me:
-i just rediscovered camelbacks. convenient hydration!
-i did two uber-long-for-me mtb rides this week sandwiched between the normal group rides/chill rides and felt fab.
-the road bike hasn't seen daylight in two weeks. is that a check? not really.
-i've been doing a lot of carb loading.

now i'm sitting in brighter day watching tasha make, no joke, three frozen white chocolate extra-shot mochas and a skinny iced caramel latte. for one girl.
also she and i made tabouleh with quinoa last night and it was fabulousity. and then i met ryan taylor and complimented him on his icycle and I9 idol domination.

sleepy time.

24 May 2009

Newspaper Article!

I was reading the local paper this morning and found this!

Jeff Parker proven to be a pretty man

Local hero Jeff "Talent" Parker received some well-deserved regional glory yesterday at the 12 Hours of Tsali mountain bike race in Bryson City, North Carolina. Gone Riding, the outfit that organized the race, chose Parker's image to adorn the race flier, t-shirt, and prize plaques. Parker received another dose of fame when, through the voting efforts of the Sycamore Cycles juggernaut, Team "Jeff Parker is a Pretty Man" won the Best Team Name contest. Through the day he was often seen signing t-shirts while adoring fans stroked his calves. But Parker is nothing if not modest. When asked how he got so talented, he smiled wryly and said "Boy, don't make me..." in an exaggerated twang. To top off this noteworthy day in Jeff Parker history, his team, the TDS or Tsali Domination Squad, handily beat the competition in the sport class. TDS had a few tense moments when its opponents came on strong, but emerged victorious thanks to the combined horsepower of Parker and his teammates Dan Ennis, Justin Miles, and Matt Wells. After the race it was revealed that Parker is actually a road racer, and just brushes the dust off his mountain bike once a year to "do work" at Tsali. Onlooker Steven Gardner had this to say about Parker's road racing: "At races he's so far off the front, I'm positive that you could read a full novel by the time the first group rolls by. He needs to forget about these rides and go ahead and go to Europe. All his talent just makes people feel bad."

In related news, the Four Horsemen, Sycamore's open money team, snagged a podium spot. The Sycamore Oh Yeahs (Dirty Girls of Brevard) won their category and actually managed to lap second place. Geoff Bergmark, who raced twelve hours solo, scored the top podium spot while on a belt drive singlespeed. Every single member of the enormous seven-team Sycamore Cycles crew threw down and did freaking awesome, and we all had so much fun!

22 May 2009

Cheap and Cheerful

I want you to be crazy
'Cause you're boring baby when you're straight
I want you to be crazy
'Cause you're stupid baby when you're sane

-The Kills

20 May 2009

Lazy Days of May

After a somewhat busy and very regimented semester, this summer finds me with a lot of free time. It's strange. I'm not very good at coping. Kind of nice though. I have had the chance to do a little Dupont, a little Turkey Pen, a little Hatch...riding with different people every day and loving it...a little of this...a little of that...
Some news flashes:

The indomitable Emily is moving in tonight if everything goes as planned. I know we're all looking forward to that, especially if she can fix up her tiny little bicycle in time for the most fabulous race of the season.

Miz Squirrel has some epic road rash. Check it out.

Liz will soon have pink I9 hubs. I am overcome with envy.

Joh is off to the US Open and will most definitely represent.

The Saint will be back from the homeschool convention soon...ahhhhh...I still can't say it without laughing.

The bakery is open this Sunday for the White Squirrel Festival. Take note, all.

And this weekend? Tsali? I'm psyched. No, even better. I'm TSYCHED. Ooooo what now.
And I put on Sauserwinds. They are super awesome. Period. I'm never taking them off.

09 May 2009

Natz in the Books

Some stats for ya'll.
course length: 1 mile
course elevation: ZERO
mph averaged by DII chicas: 25
contact lenses lost by me in the middle of the race: 1
number of wrecks each that the Saint and I got caught behind (but did not go down, thank heavens): 2
my finish: 17th
my omnium finish: 18th. Weak sauce, I know, but I hung with the leaders in both races, which is much better than I expected. Can't help that everyone else hung with the leaders too...
the Saint's finish: 58th
the Manimal's finish: 62nd
# of stars'n'bars jerseys Carla has: 16, is it now?
# of dirty dirty south riders on the podiums: a lot!hours the Manimal spent with a feather stuck behind his ear: 3

Now I'm going to watch Kill Bill II and dream about 12 HOURS OF TSALI!

08 May 2009

VeloNews Is Too Slow

So I'll fill you in, oh faithful reader*.
St. Marie dropped out...gahhh...I know...he threw down too hard on the first climbs and then he was all like "Ouch" and Squirrel was like "Save it for tomorrow, you stallion you." That was exactly the conversation they had.
The Manimal finished. However, he didn't quite top his top-20 result at MOUNTAIN BIKE NATZ. Helllloooooo, wrong discipline much? He also threw up. He really did leave it all on the course.
Overall a stellar day for the crack BC racing squad. And we'll be ringing in the morning with a long flat criterium!! Against national caliber road racers! Yaaaay! I think I might throw up too.
pretty preride.

P.S. GOOD LUCK to everyone stump-jumping or fat-tiring this weekend!! Or, you know, acclimating to sweet German terrain...JEALOUS.
P.P.S. Old Chub and Fat Tire are EVERYWHERE and it's killing me slowly with unslaked thirst.

*Does anyone read this? Am I talking to myself? Ah, that's ok.

Le Vent Méchant

That was the hardest thing that I've ever done.
Without much to show for it.
I actually raced well (maybe even smart!?) and climbed like a bat out of hell. But after every attack and hill I was surprised and dismayed to see the pack completely intact. I totally underestimated my competition. They've been preparing for this race. Note to self: I definitely could've done with a bit of preparation. Maybe next time.
I finally died a thousand deaths on the last BRUTAL hill with a BRUTAL headwind. I railed the descent and finished out only a minute and a half behind the leaders. That would be stellar...except that seventeen girls finished in front of me. How!? This course was supposed to be god-awful selective. All the other fields have been splintered (Carla pulled off another win, BTW).
But, positives: this was the first road race ever where I was never bored AND I didn't give up or give in to apathy. I left it all out there, up on the wind-raped ridges*.
Now I'm waiting for the boys' race to start in 45 minutes. The Manimal is making little grumbly noises and pacing around and the Saint is acting calm. Apparently they didn't bring enough water bottles. Sillyheads.

*Sorry, that's a weird phrase, but the ridges are not windswept. They are molested, exploited, and left crying in the corner by the wind.
Or maybe that's just me.

07 May 2009

T Minus 11 Hours

We've ridden in three completely different worlds in the past three days. On Tuesday it was on an undulating frontage road paralleling I70 with Kansas spread out endlessly on all sides. On Wednesday it was a strange savanna-esque microcosm in the middle of suburban Denver. But instead of giraffes and wildebeast, we saw weekend warriors in their tribal garb with TT helmets and whirring disc wheels. And today...oh. We emerged from the soulless sprawl of Denver, crossed the flatlands, and found ourselves in the promised land of Fort Collins. After a brief pre-ride, I came to a conclusion: the course is amazing. Breath-taking. So many wonderful climbs and epic vistas.
Tomorrow morning is when it goes down. And even if my eyeballs start bleeding and my head explodes and I drop so far off the pack even the broom wagon won't pick me up...I'll still be enjoying the scenery.

P.S. I hear there will be live coverage on Bicycle Racing TV

05 May 2009

It's Not Like the Movies

This is not what I was expecting when I signed up for a road trip. Where are the shenanigans and ludicrously over-sized sunglasses? There hasn't been a whiff of intoxicating substances, except for the fumes coming off Marshal. Where are the hundreds of inside jokes that can be tenderly (and frequently) unfolded later, to the annoyance of everyone who "had to be there"...? It's probably my fault. I forgot the kickball. Yup. It would be a real road trip if we had a kickball.
Past the arch and onward into the flatflatflatlands!

Play by Play

5:15 am
I feel envious. Jockey and Marshal got trolleyed on cheap champagne, shaved Batman's head, and stayed up all night.

I feel awed. Tennessee is so green! I love the dirty dirty South...or maybe just the Appalachian region. Not a big fan of South Kack or the armpit that is Georgia. And have never experienced Florida. Also never plan to.

I feel amused. Thad is feeling like a pimp, goin' on, and brushing his shoulders off, per Jay-Z's instructions. Also ragging on the Manimal every five minutes or so for his night of hedonism.

I feel antsy. If I were driving to CH I still wouldn't be there. Wow. This trip is the equivalent of driving to CH FIVE TIMES. And then repeat in six days.

I feel literary. First book finished. Never mind that it's chick lit.

I feel so fresh and so clean clean.

I feel frustrated. Gossip Girl episodes refuse to load, even though Thad swears by his magic internet box.

I feel the monotony weighing me down. Seven hours down. Many more to go. Kentucky sucks. And it's actually only 11:00.