[code"> [/code"> Courtenay Brown: March 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Santa Monica - Day 1

So far I am pretty stoked on vacation Santa Monica Training Camp. Lots of play time with my best little buddy, and lots of play time with my best big buddy, too. This morning we rode along the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu to Latigo Canyon Road, where we both did a nice long climbing interval.

During this time I realized I am exactly like my mom. I made Greg stop for photos several times, even though he's all serious about his training (and so am I)(totally)(all the time), but here we are in this beautiful place and with a cool new camera and the minor unclip-and-squint-into-the-sun inconvenience is a tiny price to pay for the photographic memories we'll have later! Plus I wanted to memorialize the first time in AGES that we have successfully ridden together for more than 35 seconds ;)

We got back and did a tempo run, which was mostly great. I am without any instrumentation here because I sent my Timex back to get warrantied, so without a heartrate monitor or even a watch I went too hard, but I need to develop my feel independent of gadgetry so it was probably a good thing. Right now though I am propping my feet up and guzzling PowerBar Recovery like it's going out of style, because we are headed to the Santa Monica Swim Center to swim Long Course Meters tonight! For some reason it's only set up long course from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays. Side note: I am so stoked to be sponsored by PowerBar, they have the most palatable recovery mix ever! I love it, which is a good thing because usually recovery drink works best if you actually drink it, instead of mixing a full bottle and forcing down only like 4 sips of it.

Arnold wolfs down some carrots, his favourite treat

Also, I forgot to mention that our hosts here in Santa Monica are pig-sitting! A friend's potbellied pig, Arnold, is staying here for a few weeks while the friend is out of town. Arnold is bristly and cutely talkative with his pig noises, and he loves veggies! Greg said something totally mean though. "I bet Arnold would taste delicious, he eats such a healthy diet." BOYS! Sheesh. I told Greg to shut his trap (not my exact words) and then gave Arnold another carrot. Bob the puppy likes Arnold because for some gross doggie reason he likes to eat pig poop. Gross. I still love Bob though, and thankfully there's a hose in the yard to rinse out his mouth in case he accidentally gets into Arnold's section of the yard.

Who's cuter, me or Arnold? (don't answer pls)

Poor Bob wants so badly to play with Arnold!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

San Dimas Pt. 3: Cheerleading!

So I earned an A+ for effort in my attempt to debate my way into starting today's crit. Unfortunately I got an F for efficacy? Because I didn't start. Ah well, there will be other races... and of all types of bike racing, criteriums can be the hairiest. Unfortunately, our team was harshly reminded of this fact today when an inexperienced rider slammed into poor Sharon (a.k.a. Shaz), took her and 2 other riders out, and broke Sharon's wrist. She didn't even apologize.

So awful how hours and months of work can get wiped away in a second. This has happened to too many friends recently, it's really sad and I feel depressed and speechless about it. What do you tell your dear friend who's sitting torn, bloody, broken, crying, and asking "why me?"... All I can say is I don't know but we all love you and here's a hot chocolate? Coincidentally, this morning I was telling Shaz all about Marit's recent crash and phenomenal attitude.

Poor Shaz. Like Marit, she did not deserve this.

Anyhow, on to lighter and brighter news:

I am now in Santa Monica playing with my favourite-ever not birthday present!! He's even bigger and better and funner than he was last September! I love Bob!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

San Dimas Pt. 2: Currently a Question Mark?

Today's road stage was great and crappy. Great because I helped my teammates more than I thought I was capable of, saw the front and the wind and more front and wind, climbed hills at a trillion watts, and even felt like my descending skills improved from mediocre to mildly o.k. during the course of the race. Woohoo!

Crappy because I got dropped right when the proverbial crap hit the proverbial fan, my legs gave out when I and We needed them most... As I was chasing into a fierce headwind, a good 20 seconds off the back of a strung-out peleton, I saw the field round a corner and sure enough, it was my other 5 VAC teammates on the front, single file, chasing two High Road riders. I knew at that moment that my chances of chasing down that horsepower were pretty minimal!

Crappy also because, despite the fact that this is not an NRC race, and further despite the fact that there is no safety issue with tomorrow's relatively un-technical crit course (and our field is down to 66 riders now), I and 9 others got time cut! How silly! It's like the officials decided this is the World Championships of Stripmallland and They are going to Exercise their Non-exercising bodies' rights to Enforce Senseless Rules and Watch Girls Cry... I completely understand time cuts in big stage races where you have big fields and potentially dangerous courses, like Redlands or Nature Valley for example, but come on! This is a local race! Our field is not large, and the course tomorrow can accomodate everyone with no problem! Just let everyone race, seriously! I don't regret my race at all though. Yeah, if I had sat in and been a passenger all day, I'd have made it in with the group and I'd be starting tomorrow. But there's no point to that, racing as a passenger doesn't help anyone and it certainly isn't fun or gratifying.

So yeah, I am bummed, because the whole reason I am here is to race hard and take advantage of my one opportunity to contribute to the team this year, and now I don't get to race tomorrow. Greg is probably coming to pick me up tonight, although now I am having second thoughts about that... half the impetus for him coming to get me is he was having dinner with some triathletes, including Chris McCormack and his family, but now by the time I get there everyone will be gone. Plus apparently the brain trust that's running the official side of San Dimas released results that say I and the other time-cut girls have a GC placing, but the stage results indicate the time cut... so which is it?! Are we in the race or not?!

I shouldn't be so high and mighty I guess... Officials are probably underpaid.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

San Dimas Pt. 1a: The Difference between Me and Shaz

There are several differences between us actually. She's tall and I'm short. I have good style sense and she is learning. I have a cat and she has dogs. Um, whatelse... she has skinny long arms and I have tyrannosaurus rex arms (i.e. the short stubby kind).

The biggest difference though is that she is annally neat and I am refreshingly relaxed about the organization of my stuff.

See, look how accessible my half of the sink is, you don't have to unzip a specific compartment of your hi-i'm-a-total-pocket-protector-wearing-nerd toiletry case in order to find some toothpaste!

I do not see a problem here but she is making fun of me??


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San Dimas Pt. 1

Greg and I made it safely and happily down to San Dimas yesterday! All 450 (mostly) beautiful miles... Not a lick of traffic, either, which was totally nice. And we basically pretty much sort of left "first thing", as intended - 9:30 a.m. is pretty good for us actually.

But Kitty didn't want me to leave! He was holding my bike shorts hostage (Huntress I know these are last year's shorts, I only use them on the trainer I swear!)
I am sharing a room with my favourite roommate ever, Shaz, who is getting over a cold and her voice sounds like something out of the Godfather and she is currently on the phone with her dogsitter explaining why she didn't mean to insinuate that the dogsitter's ex was a ho, she was saying her dog was a ho, or something? I am not sure but it's hilarious, especially since she can't really talk.

Anyhow today was the first stage of the race, a 6k hillclimb time trial (this is the part where Greg laughs at how I thought I was a "climber" when I first started cycling, then I went to my first road race and realized my huge misclassification of myself). Mara Abbott won, followed by her High Road teammate Kim Anderson, and our very own Leah Goldstein finished third! Additionally, Godfather Shaz rode up the mountain in the 10th fastest overall time, pretty good for being at about 75% health-wise. It's all because of my simultaneously calming and invigorating roommate-influence of course. I had a good day too, finishing 37th out of 71 starters, about 3 minutes down on Mara, in a time that was over a minute and a half faster than my time on the same course in 2006!! Hooray for improvements! It was also marginally fun-ish to see my heartrate in the 180s for the first time in 6 months??

Tomorrow is the road race stage, an 8-loop circuit race totalling 56 miles. It's a bit rolling, and the race is always exciting because every lap has either a time-bonus sprint or a QOM sprint. I can't wait, bring on the sprints!

OK we are going out for dinner but first a glimpse of the San Bernadino mountains, indication of why I could never ever live in this megalopolis of cars and people and more cars that pollute to the point where you can barely see mountains that are just a few miles away:

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Tomorrow, Greg and I and a car full of STUFF will be driving from Incline Village all the way down to San Dimas, CA. I have adamantly repeated multiple times that we are leaving first thing, no doodling around with "oh let's go do a swim first" and "let's make a big breakfast" and "i have to finish packing" and next thing you know we hit the road at noon sharp and arrive at 10 pm after multiple pit stops.

Poor Greg, I keep repeating myself and he keeps repeating "O.K., I agree with you!" himself. Poor Greg!

Also poor Greg because the original plan was for him to stay in San Dimas with me and the rest of the VAC girls, to train and watch some racing and cheer and hang out. But, when I told him it would be 6 girls plus him all in 2 rooms, and we'd maybe do his HAIR and NAILS for him, and no there's no kitchen so we'll just go out for burritos and gossip about the race, he got (understandably) a bit gun-shy and formulated Plan B. So, now he is going to spend tomorrow evening with me and the girls in S.D. and then hightail it west, to the sandy peaceful shores of Santa Monica, where he will be able to sleep and train and do boy stuff in peace without having to fend off a bunch of sports bras and hair dryers!

But, despite this removal of my own personal cheering section and moral support, I am really looking forward to the race. It will be a great opportunity to get in a bunch of intensity, while helping my teammates and enjoying my favourite type of bike racing: stage racing! I am also slightly nervous, because my triathlon training is right on track but is devoid of some of the training that's really helpful in bike racing, for example sprints and VO2 work on the bike. When I did this race a couple of years ago, Alisha Lion not only finished 3rd in the well-contested overall classification, but she also went running after every stage! I am not quite in that rockstar category - I'll probably do a run tomorrow evening, and I'll do a run after Sunday's criterium, and hopefully an easy swim or two as well over the course of the weekend. But the bike race is the priority, I'll have tons of time to get in good swimming and running workouts in lovely Santa Monica all next week (YAY 50 meter outdoor pool and YAY multitude of running venues!).

Which reminds me: I better go buy some sunscreen.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For those of you who enjoy the Adventures of Sal (my mom)

I talked to my mom this morning. She sounded somewhat hurried and mildly harried. I asked why.

Well, Charles Tasker decided to show up to work today even though I didn't ask him to so now I am standing here getting ready to take him his lunch I made him and trying to figure out what I am going to ask him to do, because there is tons to do around here but I can't for the life of me remember what's the most urgent, and I better go because he's just standing out there and I'm paying him to do it. I guess I'll tell him to go till space in the garden for a new asparagus patch.
I wish she'd bring me lunch. I am sitting here with rice cakes and baby carrots and gum, which makes it sound like I am dieting but the truth is that after 4 years at a company where lunch got delivered every day, I am now floundering out here on my own in the real world.

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Rode the Peaks

I did my outdoor Incline Peaks ride yesterday - it was fantastic! Hardly any cars! Several friendly fellow-citizens out walking their friendly well-behaved cute doggies! I even saw another cyclist! (And, I have a new appreciation for how many pricey houses are tucked away on the mountainside, all in this one little town...)

The weather was decent but super windy. On future windy days I will avoid Tyner, the biggie that goes up to 7,600', because it's quite exposed, and while it averages a 6% gradient there are many stretches that are 8-10%. So, combine these factors with the many curves in the road and the lack of those metal bumper/fence-like thingies that prevent cars (and bikes) from flying off the road into a gulley 200 ft below, and you get a road that's fun to climb but not so much fun to descend in 15-25mph mountainside gusts! The views were gorgeous though, next time I will bring my camera.

I feel lame that I was humbled by a little steep road and some wind... What happened to the Courtenay who used to race people down the mountain? I am hoping it's just a matter of clearing out my descending cobwebs after a winter on the trainer.

Anyhow after my ride I spent 40 minutes in line at Raley's - apparently it's Spring Break for a bunch of people so they've descended on my store and wiped them out of all my favourite stuff, although I will say that Maui Melon Mint Orbit Gum is not a bad stand-in for Lemon-Lime.

After that I spent about an hour and forty minutes trying to get what seems to be a 697cc tire onto my 700cc race wheel. I tried every trick in the book shy of breaking off my carbon rim. Next up is batting my eyelashes at some big strong boys, for example Greg and our team mechanic John. And, guess what else: I get to pick up my NEW BIKE this weekend!!! I am so excited, I can't wait to ride it!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Research Breakthroughs

At 5 months and 2 weeks shy of my 30th birthday, I feel like I have finally crossed over into adulthood in one major way. Somewhat relatedly, my birthday is September 7, and rest assured I have not crossed over into adulthood with regards to my birthday and telling everyone about it for months beforehand and expecting birthday acknowledgements from everyone and anyone for the whole month of September.

Anyhow, the milestone is that I have actually started researching stuff prior to purchasing and dumping money down the drain. I have never done this. Impulse buys were my M.O. for ages - and part of the reason I got into bike racing I think. I just HAD to have that carbon bike way back in 2003, it was so PRETTY!! Then a year later I found out it was a full 2 cm too big and thus was the reason behind all my back problems and inabilities to ride in the drops or descend or feel my fingers, hands, and elbows. But it was still a pretty bike!

I must say, I like the new me.

Reading user reviews, reading professional reviews, closely comparing functionality, searching for the best price (OK am I one step short of my aunt who clips coupons and will drive 20 miles for a better price on steaks??), comparing warranty information... I'm saving myself some cash AND increasing my nerd-value!

I'll share some lessons:

-the Brooks Adrenaline 7, my current training shoe, has actually received a lot of negative reviews from long-time Brooks wearers, particularly for the lack of longevity of the shoe. Many users say it wears out after 100 miles. I wish I had read this prior to hitting 200+ miles on my last pairs, thinking that my physical complaints were just evidence that I needed to "toughen up".

-Sample girly review of a running shoe: "I love the color! I give this shoe 4 stars!" Lesson being: read the actual reviews rather than trusting the "average score".

-The Polar F6 heart rate monitor, while cute and bearing the supposedly-worthy-of-extra-$50 Polar logo and the "most popular" designation on Amazon, does not do lap times. Thus it is not good for athletes.

-The Polar RS200, at a mere $30 more than the F6, does lap times, has a back light, has a 2 year warranty, and does a bunch of other cool crap.

-However, my Timex HRM that broke last week actually has a 1 year warranty and I can get it fixed for $7 (to cover return postage). So, no new Polar for me.

That's it for now, although New Me is hoping to expand into non-athletic territory soon (after putting a bunch of Old Me purchases on Ebay with the help of my New Me Camera that is arriving today).

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Magnetic Darts, Rice and Beans, and Drug Busts

So I only saw about 2 minutes of yesterday's swim meet, thanks to my afternoon procrastinations and my adherence to the "self centered triathlete" stereotype (i.e. finishing my workouts for the day was more important than supporting and encouraging young athletes). But I did get enough of a glimpse to deduce that cool high school swim team boys do NOT use swim hats, even in races.

Another reason I missed the meet was that Greg and I went to a real live friend's house for dinner last night! It was great fun for a lot of reasons. For one thing, Eric (the friend!) is a fantastic cook, and he provided a tasty and, for me, much-needed respite from Greg's and my regular dinner menu: either pasta or rice-and-beans.

For another thing, my incredible knowledge of sports was admired by all. I am not even kidding you. Eric, his wife, and their roommate are all from Ohio, so (cough cough) I mentioned what a shame it was that the Browns didn't make it to the playoffs this year because the Titans beat the Colts because the Colts played their second string because their playoff spot was already guaranteed.

I ALSO mentioned that I was curious to see how Tyrelle Pryor was going to do with the Buckeyes.

It was about this time that Eric's wife Nicole started getting shit for not watching Sports Center.

And it was also about this time that I decided to be the designated driver, so I got soberer as the others did not. You know how that goes. So the evening descended from discussion of Stephen King stories (I am suggesting "The Shining" for the next book club selection), to tales of Ohio's rollercoasters, to comparisons of how Eric and Greg make fun of Nicole's and My swimming (scarily similar methods), to me and Nicole comparing Eric's and Greg's P.O.S. 1991 Hondas (both of which have duct tape holding various parts on the car) and plotting how to make the damn things disappear, to looking at wedding albums, to hearing a certain someone's gross sweeping false generalizations about women, to a drinking game involving magnetic darts and some apparently gross wine called Fish Tail or Fish Sauce or something. Fish Eye I think, actually.

It was fun.

Now, you might be wondering why a designated driver is needed in a town that is about 1 mile across and has a population of approximately 5. Well, a month or so ago there was a big scandalous drug bust, side note this seems like Small Potatoes compared to some Oak-town shenanigans I witnessed. Anyhow ever since the big bust, the cops have been out in force, looking for the next major local criminal, pulling over cars with busted headlights left right and center, and stationing themselves pretty much permanently at the "less desirable" corners of town (for example, ours).

We decided last night that a. we needed to designate a driver, since it was Friday, the cops' second favourite day of the week after Saturday, and that b. it would be me since Greg has already gotten pulled over twice. He is such a baaaaddd boy. The first time was for expired tags on his car (another reason why it's a POS), and the second time was funny:

Last Saturday I was begging and begging for ice cream after a dinner of, surprise surprise, rice and beans. I also insisted that Greg come to help pick out the flavor in case they didn't have Ben & Jerry's Peach Cobbler. He drove since he thinks I suck at driving (too many blog posts attest to this for me to hyperlink to just one). The store is 1/4 mile from our house so we brought one wallet, mine, because it was all my idea so I had to buy the ice cream. Anyhow Greg pulled into the parking lot in a somewhat speedy manner, next thing you know two big SUV's with flashing lights AND sirens screech to a halt right next to us! They found Greg's maneuver to be shady and a probable inclination of shady materials in the car and shady intentions borne by the driver... The rest of the story is anticlimactic: I sat in the car while the cops walkie-talkied for a while and Greg just stood there cold and annoyed, he ultimately got off with a warning, Raley's was indeed out of Peach Cobbler ice cream, so we got Mint Cookie instead.

However, last night I did an excellent job driving us home and today everything is grand, and I'm sort of watching basketball, except I just got a call from Greg that his car won't start so I have to go get him from work. I HATE THAT $*@)%))# CAR I AM CALLING NICOLE FOR MORAL SUPPORT.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Calm Sweet Fluttery Breezes

I am now relaxing and saying OM and purging myself of all inclinations to rant, bite heads, and cause my face to get red and my brow to furrow.

My sister is forgiven. Apparently she was in the car with my mom and had been napping and my mom made her wake up and answer my mom's cell phone since my mom was too busy driving, so I can't say I blame her for being bratty.

Shoes arrived. Our UPS lady is nice and in no way emblematic of the occasional mindlessness of her company.

Better yet: shoes fit. Thusly I am less worried about having to send back the other new in-transit purchases. HOWEVER, the fact that they FIT and are a smaller size than my PREVIOUS shoes begs the question: WHY THE CRAP was I fitted in the WRONG SIZE by a CERTIFIED BROOKS DEALER?!?!?!?!

This is a question I am not going to pursue. See note above about fluttery breezes and elimination of rants.... knowing me, though, this will probably be a "redirection" rather than an "elimination".

In refreshingly *other* news, this afternoon there is a high school swim meet at our pool! One of our swim buddies is actually the coach for the Truckee High School swim team, although her daughter swims for Incline. Vicky promised me this morning that the meet would be entertaining. I can't wait!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Still No Shoes

I still hate everything, including and especially UPS at the moment. But, life must go on, so after biting the heads off of:

-Road Runner Sports, for being the middleman

-My sister, for being unsympathetic and square and curt and mean and for generally existing

-Road Runner Sports again, for not having several models of shoes in my size

-My Neighbors, for having a big loud truck and driving it in and out of the parking lot a kabillion times and thus making me leap up from work a kabillion times to see if UPS was really here which they really weren't

-Greg, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. in my presence whilst I was biting off everyone's heads)

anyhow after all this I just sucked it up and paid full price plus expedited shipping on the Brooks website so that maybe I can run in sneakers that fit by the time Silverman rolls around again. (You are wondering: hasn't Court been bitching about shoes that are finally getting delivered so what's up with ordering more? Well. I was bitching because last week's yesterday's today's tomorrow's sneakers were meant to be the bellwether pair, satisfaction of which would impact my purchase of a necessary 3 add'l pairs, which I'll ideally have in hand prior to leaving town for 10 days next Thursday so I can put a lid on the replace-your-freakin'-SHOES-already signals my legs have been giving me. But I can't wait any longer so I am ordering sans bellwether, which hopefully doesn't totally backfire in the form of expensive unreturnable rubber merchandise).

Now I am going to get back to picking brackets based on who is cute and what colleges were attended by people I do/don't like, beating Greg at scrabble, waiting for my mom to call so I can complain about my insensitive little sis, and getting ready to go to the gym where I will be sure to glare at unsupervised posses of highschoolers wearing too much perfume/cologne because they are flirting with each other all over the strength-training equipment.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stuff that's Stupid Again


Incline Village is Stupid.

Specifically, it's stupid because the mailmen are either lazy or scared of the snow or too busy skiing/buying cheesy paintings of the lake/taking their dumb grandkids to play on the dumb lobster. Because for some obnoxious reason, the mailmen DON'T DELIVER MAIL to a lot of the houses and apartments here. You have to get a P.O. BOX if you want to get mail.

But you can't get other delivery services to put stuff in your P.O. BOX. No way. You have to get that at your house, a.k.a. your SHIPPING ADDRESS, where you can't get mail.

To further complicate matters, unless you want to pay $2 for an energy gel or unless you are buying cheesy paintings of the lake from local artists or ugly old-lady clothes at Christmas Tree Village where their big waste-of-electricity clock is perpetually wrong in different time increments, you are basically REQUIRED to purchase stuff on line and get it SHIPPED to you.

Everywhere else in this shoparific country, you can get both mail AND deliveries to your house. But not here in Stupid Incline Village.

So if you buy stuff online, for example health insurance or gels or clothes or cameras or DESPERATELY NEEDED SNEAKERS, the likelihood that that there will be a f@ck-up on the shipping end is pretty much 100%*** and someone will send your SHIPMENT to your PO BOX where you can't get SHIPMENTS, or your MAIL to your SHIPPING ADDRESS where you can't get MAIL. Frequently-used-by-customer-service explanations for these f@ck-ups include:

"Oh well it says your billing address is P.O. BOX XXXX so I guess that's the address we gave to UPS, rather than this shipping address."
"We usually don't use USPS so it probably went FedEx even though there is no indication of this on our website and I see we have an email here from you requesting that it ship via USPS, so it will get returned to us eventually, and then we'll send it to this updated address in about 2 weeks!"
"Well even though the zip code didn't match up UPS still tried to take it to Incline Village, Oakland California, so I guess that's why we got it back."
or the one I got today:
"I have no idea why they said there was no Apartment 24 in your building even though you are sitting inside Apartment 24 with a functional doorbell right now. They'll reattempt tomorrow."

Today, I hate it here. I want SF. I want a place where a girl can SHOP without idiots blocking her way and foibling her mail/shipments/boxes.

***Unless you buy from eBay or the used section of Amazon, where everyone uses USPS and you can go to your P.O. BOX to get your flat iron/shuffle/book club books/pedals/etc.

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Lately, I have been *fighting* the mysterious urge to remove my swimsuit in the pool.

Finish workout and cool-down, stop at wall, take off goggles, take off hat, take off swimsuit, get out of pool.

That's somehow what my body wants to do.

Fortunately/unfortunately for the old folks usually doing water aerobics nearby, I have stopped myself from completing that penultimate step. And yes I stole the word "penultimate" from Phil and Paul's Tour de France broadcasts.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


There are several vocab words that I like but that Greg says are downright wrong. I call my "swim cap" my hat, my "helmet" is also my hat, all "shoes" are sneakers, including cycling sneakers, and "uniforms" are outfits. He does not condone my use of these words.

Yet recently Greg and I were watching the movie Hoosiers and during one of the scenes...

Me: Is that their home outfit or their away outfit?
Him: I think they only have one outfit.
Me: HAHAHA you said "outfit"!!!
Him: Well that's what it is, isn't it? Their outfit?
Me: You are a boy, you are supposed to call it a "uniform".
Him: -resigned embarrassed silence-

And incidentally they did have two outfits, one home and one away.

ALSO, Greg has vocabulary of his own which I choose not to condone: pillowcases are "pillowsheets", and the other day he was getting ready to go to the store and I was giving him a list and he was like "don't we need, um, kitty... um, what's it called, kitty powder?"

He was referring to kitty litter.


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Working from Home Pt. 2

Actually, this post is round 2 of my favourite job candidate responses:

I would like to send in my resume for this pay rate….I will travel but not to Tennessee….I prefer the beach work site….

I like to look at men….

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Working from Home

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

ok for some reason i can't get it to look right on my screen... the full caption is "yup - i'm in hell"

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Even though I am freezing I am ordering a Milkshake!

Today I rode outside! Starting from the Trader Joe's in Carson City, which is about 25 miles from our place in Incline Village and about 1,500' lower in elevation, heading South along Jack's Valley Road through Genoa (Nevada's first settlement, established in 1851 - it's actually pretty cute!), down to Fredericksburg Road, Emigrant Trail, and turning around just past Woodford.

My plan to find the 7 (or 5) Peaks of Incline this week was thwarted by a couple days of snow and wintry temps and I wound up riding inside for most of my workouts. But my limit on the trainer is not high now that Spring feels so imminent - I already did one hard trainer workout this week, and the trainer just didn't feel like the right choice for getting a quality long ride done today. It felt depressing. By comparison, a 30 minute drive to relentless 20 mph winds and 40 degree temperatures was downright inspiring!

I have done this ride once before, and new I could expect DRY (yay high desert that gets not-much snow!), lightly trafficked roads, lots of ponies and cows to say hi to along the way, and lots of gorgeous views...
View near the beginning of the ride, at the top of Jack's Valley

View near my turn-around at Crystal Springs, if I'd continued on I'd have reached the famous Luther Pass

I only took a few pictures because the entire way back was so windy that my eyeballs were knocked out of focus. That's my theory anyway. I really could not see well at all, it was slightly alarming. Plus regaining momentum into a retarded headwind after a valley-vista photo-op... not worth it. (I thought of you Marit!). Oh and this is still my camera phone, since I didn't consult the expert before purchasing my Fuji Finepix, I doomed myself to true snail-mail!

Also I did not see a single other cyclist, not even Greg. We did separate rides. After the Colfax debacle which was all his fault of course and was preceded by the Auburn NOT-group ride which was also his fault, I have sworn never to ride with him again and I am sticking to my guns. So there. Hmf. I am also keeping the memory of my dear grandmother alive by ensuring that no matter what happens, I always make sure to place the blame.

But I did let him come with me to In-n-Out for burgers, fries, and Milkshakes!! Woohoo!

and right now i don't feel so good

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Friday, March 14, 2008


This is the 500th post I have written since I started this blog in May of 2006... Since today can be summarized in just a few words (overslept, it's snowing, s'posed to snow more, kitty says hi), today's post will instead be a little Courtenay's Blog Recap for those of you who weren't here from the beginning (which is probably everyone except my mom... took me a while to start posting daily with gory details all about my fascinating life!)

-I got engaged. (warning: from a gossip standpoint, it's all downhill from here...)

-I got famous.

-I stopped being engaged.

-I started documenting conversations with Mom. (see more here)

-I made a threat - little did I know it would actually happen!!

-I rode the crap out of my bike.

-I started teasing Huntress. Still haven't stopped... sorry Lisa you know I love you!

-I raced.

-Shaz and I picked the wroooong place to stop.

-ImetGregweemailedhemovedin!! (it happened so fast I didn't even get a chance to blog about it!)

-I got to hang out with the coolest massage therapist ever.

-I teased some more.

-I met Katie!

-I proved that girls love goggles.

-We moved.

-I won a triathlon!?!?

-I made tons of cool new friends (see links to the left I mean right!)

and the rest is pretty recent history...

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Camera Won

For those of you who were on the edges of your seats regarding my casual survey from a couple of weeks ago: I ordered a camera today! The regular kind, not the kind with a phone attached.

Price and functionality won out over convenience and flashiness in this debate. And I even did a little research on my own before I made the purchase! It came down to the Fuji Finepix Z100FD and the Canon Powershot SD850 IS Elph, both of which are 8 megapixel cameras and both of which retail for under $250. I went with the Fuji because it has 5x zoom vs the 4x of the Canon, it weighs 135 grams (sans battery and memory stick) vs the Canon's 185, it got better reviews for features like image stabilization and face detection that are handy for on-the-fly picture takers like me, and now Shaz and I can be twins because she has the same one. The Canon did have appealing qualities of its own though - a viewfinder AND an LCD screen (Fuji only has the screen), a true "manual" mode that allows you to set shutter speed and aperture on your own (Fuji's "manual" mode is apparently automated, which is stupid), and a better menu screen. But seriously, am I really going to stop at the side of the road and mess around with exposure settings to get the perfect photo of me and my bike and some landmark like a rock or something? Prolly not.

Anyway it should arrive in about 10 days or so, and then I will be back to posting tons of photos of kitty and the lake and my mangled pinky toe (it's worse looking now than it was then)! Get excited!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Heart LL Bean

So recently I found a little going-away cartoon that my little sister Sarah (the one I call Scare) drew for me and my brother Than 5 years ago. It is too priceless not to share, even if my family-member readers are the only ones who get it.

On this side of the note, Scare is standing next to our mom Sal and they are both waving 'bye to me and Than who are leaving after a week-ish at home in the summer. Scare is thinking "save me!", Sal is saying "Now Sweetie, blah blah blah... HAVE FUN KIDS!" while simultaneously thinking "Christ on a Bicycle I have SO much to do!". She is also wearing a t-shirt that says I Heart L.L. Bean (hahahahahaha!) and standing with hand on hip and feet splayed as usual. This is perhaps the most perfect compilation of the best Sal-isms in existence. Good job Scare! Also the likenesses are pretty good, Scare's hair tends to be all over the place and straw-like. In a cute way of course.

The back is less interesting to me. I don't like my hair and I look fat. (joke). Than and I (I'm the one in the skirt) are walking, into the airport one would assume, and I am wondering aloud whether there is a radio on the plane. I am not sure why I am wondering this. Than is shooting me down, as usual, whilst swaggering, as usual, with shaggy hair, as usual. Again: good job Scare! Speaking of whom, you can see her and Sal as stick figs in the background.

This was a typical situation for her growing up... she is 9 years younger than I am, and 7.5 years younger than Than, so we were several steps ahead of her on the independence road and she was usually at home/in the car with Sal while Than and I were going places or getting dropped off at school.

Relatedly, this is the year that I turn 30 and Scare turns 21! So, Sal is taking us to Hawaii to visit Than in August or September - woohoo, family vacation! I'll bring some black paper and fancy jelly pens so Scare can document her amusements and disdainments, which I am sure will abound. She has taken to calling me a "creep"...

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Stuff that's Stupid

-Greg signed the "Let Levi Ride" petition and is listening to Levi interviews in the living room.

-Greg and I both ordered running sneakers on line and were both totally irate that the stupid company shipped both individual orders to a nonexistent address in Oakland, and not to us in Incline Village. Then I looked at the "address book" on the account and saw that *someone* (meaning one of the two of us, not some mystery ghost) had entered the Oakland zip code on our Nevada address. So accusations of stupidity were misapplied in this instance...

-Scrabulous. After an online winning streak of approx. 20 games I have encountered either a string of bad luck, a string of kharma, or a string of I-don't-give-a-crap-anymore-I-am-playing-a-2-point-word.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Yesterday I headed outside in the mid-afternoon 54 degree temps for my afternoon ride. Recently I'd heard about a "7 Peaks of Incline" bike route that sticks to quiet residential roads in town and takes advantage of the 6,250' to 7,600' elevation span between the low and high points of Incline Village. So, after a few unpleasant rides along the highly trafficked lakeside highway that heads towards Carson City and South Lake Tahoe, and after an awful reminder of how dangerous it can be to share roads with cars, I decideded to test out our residential streets yesterday.

I did an hour and a half, which included about 2,000' of climbing and about 10 cars total. Maybe a few more actually, but still the vehicular traffic was blessedly light, the views of Lake Tahoe reliably gorgeous, and the climbs steady and sufficiently long for some future intervals. Jackpot! Then today I consulted a map, which I should have done yesterday but the adventure was kind of on a whim... It looks like we have at least 5 good climbs on hand, 3 of which have at least 1,000' of elevation gain, and I can avoid the busy roads almost entirely. Yesterday I did two of the 5. Here's an interactive map, and the streets that are likely candidates are Tyner, Jennifer, Country Club/Eagle, 1st Green/Fairview, and Ski Way/Tyrol. Google Earth might be a better illustration but I don't have it on this computer.

View Larger Map

On Thursday I am testing out a longer route - 2.5 hours may require a couple of the roads to be climbed twice. I am looking forward to it.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Now it's time for Real Tears

Kristy winning the 2006 Auckland Half Ironman

Kristy Gough was killed on her bike yesterday, by a cop of all things, and her riding partner and fellow racer Matt Peterson was killed as well. I can't believe it. Here is the article in the San Francisco Chronicle about Kristy specifically, and here is the article about the accident.

You hear about these tragedies but never want to believe they can involve someone you actually know, someone you've rooted for, someone very close to friends of yours, someone out innocently doing something that you also innocently do every day. Lives won't be the same.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Less Tired

Weekend activities consisted of:

-picking up Kitty approx. 36 times (which is 36 more times than he likes to be picked up)

-drawing ponies

-buying C9 by Champion Sports Bras at Target

-finding no less than 3 (?!?) chocolate syrups in the fridge

-practicing flat-ironing my hair like Katie's

-watching Elephant Diaries, Escape to Chimp Eden, the Paris-Nice Prologue (Thor and I were cheering for her namesake!), and the final day of the World Indoor Track Championships, which incidentally took place inside the Valencia Velodrome. I found myself getting teary-eyed for a few of the women's events (the 400m and 800m finals) as well as the men's 800 which was won by 18-year old Sudanese Abubaker Kaki... 18! How incredible!

-running outside! The snow is almost all gone, and we are crossing fingers that it stays gone until next winter.

-oooo I just found out that apparently I am not the only one in this apartment who got all choked up this afternoon while watching the running...

-generally couch-potatoing around enough to feel ready to resume real training (with some amendments to the plan that got me into trouble in the first place)

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Friday, March 07, 2008


So, apparently Coach totally screwed up my training over the past week or so. Like royally f'ed up... last week was a rest week, but I didn't arrive at this week very refreshed, made it halfway through the week's workouts before falling apart yesterday and barely making it up and down the pool with fins on this morning.

Coach is in big trubs.

The thing is, Coach is actually Me. Clearly I am not the best coach in the whole world, ready to take an athlete to levels beyond her wildest dreams. I just fit into my own price range pretty well, and after 4 years of bike racing I figured I could bumble along on my own this year without being too much the worse for wear. Having a resident swim expert is helpful too!

But I am not firing myself. I think I just got a bit overenthusiastic with how good I was feeling (up until this week that is), and forgot that I can't train at 6,400' the same way I would at sea level. I think this is particularly true of a rest week, when I used to keep my intensity and just back off of the volume - for a cycle of two weeks on/one off at sea level, this worked well for me. I am thinking that was my primary mistake last week - I felt good so I ran and rode hard, just not for too long. But on Monday I felt sluggish, figured it was just because it was Monday, Tuesday sucked worse, Wednesday I muscled my way through a tough trainer workout, hoping my legs would come around even though the effort felt harder than it did a week and a half ago at the very end of my block, and that was pretty much my last gasp.

All just theorization of course. I am open to other analyses, for example "if you'd stop blogging about your cat/fish/mom/cleverness maybe your training would be more focused".

Now it's time for some hard-core relaxation (as if I had a choice! The SRM won't let me lie about the inefficacy of my legs, and the pool and treadmill are equally unforgiving). Maybe I'll even read a book (gasp!). Better to lose a few days now than a few weeks or months later on in the year...

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Thursday, March 06, 2008


I am reviewing resumes for a valve tech position in my company. Today's group had one of my favourites... under the "skills" section of his resume, an applicant listed:

Experience with Tape Measure

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sal's Own Post

As I mentioned yesterday, my mom is usually worthy of a whole post all to herself. Although this time she sort of has to share with my little sister, who informed me:

ALSO, sal wrote me an email that ended with "love from yo' mama"


Then we laughed about the time 5 years ago when we tried to teach Sal and our aunt Betsy some parlance of our times... for weeks, they peppered their speech with "peace" and "word" cutely but ineffectively.

Actually I am now recalling that Sal used the word "dis" in our conversation yesterday. "I don't mean to dis him, but blah blah blah". Insert reference to old dogs and new tricks here ;) (my mom is actually pretty smart)

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ups and Downs

I guess it was about time to have a "down" sort of day, since everything's been going so well lately. I am going to cheer myself in a public sort of forum with a few random quotes I have been saving up...

Bike Racers on Triathlon Logistics:
"So after you finish the swim part, do you like really quick change into your skinsuit and then jump on your TT bike or what?"
How Annoying Words Like "Booyah!" Come Into Existence
"Instead of 'ginormous' I am going to start saying 'egantic'. So it's enormous plus gigantic, instead of gigantic plus enormous. Whaddaya think??"

"Hm. What's wrong with just saying 'big'?"

Not Everything Soft is a Kitty
"I am snuggling something suspicious. Can you tell me what it is?"

"Yeah, it's your sweatpants."

On Mollycoddling in Modern Childrearing
"I can't believe they don't even keep score in games anymore to avoid hurt feelings. With my kid, they'd better keep score in the softball game!"

"You say that now, but if you had the retarded kid with a left foot sticking out to here you'd be the one insisting that your kid play and that no feelings get hurt."

Allrighty, time to move on, oh and btw none of these were spoken by my mom, Sal. She usually gets an entire blog post to herself...

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Just Mention Ponies.

I am planning to see "Horton Hears a Who". Not because I used to read the Dr. Seuss book on which it's based as a kid, not because I love cartoons, and not even because of Jim Carrey.

No, what sold me was the little yellow fuzzball in the trailer.

"In my world, everyone's a pony, and they eat rainbows and poop butterflies!" (specifically I identify with the pony part).


Anyhow speaking of ponies I *finally* got my artistic butt back in gear today. Reinterpritations of previous sketches and final products at this point, I am working on a cut paper series to then redo as silkscreens. Here's one:

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

3rd Birthday

Today my boss's son Jack had his 3rd birthday party at the Rec Center, which coincidentally and conveniently is also where Greg and I swim and work out. They had a bouncy castle in the gym for an hour, then toddler swim hour in the pool, followed by cake and snacks and gifts.

The swim part was SO CUTE. Yeah I know in the past I have bitched about kids swimming, but:

1. My boss's kids are really cute (see previous description of the Cuteness Dichotomy)

2. The party-goers were too small for the lobster, so no need to deal with that annoying and large reminder of how stupid IVGID can be with their money and decision-making.

Little Jack had to put on his swim trunks in the women's locker room with his mom (they had little sharks! so cute!), and I was heading to the pool to do my swim workout at the same time.

"COTE-knee, I'm going SWIMMIN!!" smiled Jack as we headed through the door. He made my day! And after an hour of swimming with his dad and jumping into the water more and more bravely, he was NOT interested in getting out of the water and going to have cake.

My kind of kid.

On a separate note, the lake looked pretty cool on my drive home from work yesterday:

(and thanks for the comments regarding yesterday's survey - looks like i will be buying a new camera soon!)

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