Team HPC powered by Altarum
Here's an article about our new cycling team in Velonews.
And our new website
We recently had our first press release and a new website, so I guess team HPC powered by Altarum is now official. I am stoked to get to race with such talented teammates and can't wait to go shake things up with them. Many thanks to Susan Hefler (Hefler Performance Coaching)! I can't believe it's just one short month before racing starts up again. Yikes. I'm starting to feel those pre-season vibrations in the air (by air, I mean internet) that remind me just how soon the fun begins.
I've found that this is the time of year that is the hardest for a cyclist. You've been doing months of long endurance rides, and it's easy to go slightly dilusional (oxygen depletion?) and dream up ways in which you will shock everyone with the amazing new ability you magically developed during the off season, sending you to the 2008 Bejing Olympics this summer. (I know everyone has dreamed up some sort of variation on this theme.) Well, this is the time of year that you crash back to reality. Oh yeah, it hurts to go hard! Shoot, the rule that fitness doesn't happen overnight applies to me too! I can't just go as fast as I want on willpower alone. Crap! But once you recover from your crash back into reality, it's easy to just go out and have fun and race hard anyway. I wonder if it is really that much more satisfying/fun to race as someone who won an olympic gold, or world's*? I mean, I've certainly come a long way since my senior year of college when I entered my first race, and yet, I don't think it was any less fun then than it is now.'s to surviving my crash landing back into reality, hoping I still have a decent season anyway, and knowing it'll be a blast no matter what.

*Okay, so probably yes.


Short Ode to Long Rides
One of the things I love most about long winter training rides are the people you meet, long conversations, and good stories. During last weekend’s group ride I was stoked to meet an NCVC rider who is from Sweden. Perhaps the first Swede I have met. I was stoked. I drilled him with questions about Sweden until we got to a hill climb and I could no longer breathe. This weekend was a great girl ride with some teammates. When riding with them, we somehow find a way to converse even while revving it up a hill. The stories must go on! These are some of my favorite quotes from this weekend’s ride:

“He came over to borrow my rollers*, and now we’re back together.”

“Yeah, so I still need to email back Jacquie Phelan**.”
“What?!” (Basically, because Anna didn’t want to have to rent a car when she goes out to the Sea Otter Classic this year, she hatched this plan to get Jacquie and WOMBATS to charter some kind of an eco-bus to transport people from Salinas to Sea Otter. A mountain biking meets save-the-earth kind of plan she figured Jacquie would go gaga over. The amazing part is that Jaquie Phelan actually emailed her back within the day, saying she just got back from an environmental meeting with “General Murders” and was thinking of the same kind of idea and that they should chat. So how cool is that if Anna ends up working with and meeting Jacquie Phelan, all because she was too cheap – oh yeah, and eco-friendly - to rent a car?)

“Purple house!”

“Don’t get doored on this road.” (thanks…I’ll try not to.)

“What?!” (as a truck passes)
“What?!!” (as another truck passes)
“What?!!!” (yet another truck passes)

“As long as I can crimp my hair and wear my 80’s leg warmers.”

*Not hair rollers, Rachelle. The kind you ride your bike on.
**Member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, pioneer of women’s mountain bike racing, multiple National and World Mountain Biking titles, and famed environmental & women’s rights activist.



I like seafood and sweets. They taste good. Thank you. That ends my counter-point on eating.

But after seeing some pictures from my 10 year high school reunion (which I did not attend) I am happy that my wife eats well. I think I will leave it at that.


A couple years ago, I decided that as long as I was going to be putting so much effort into training for cycling, it would be ridiculous to not also back up those efforts with the increase in fitness I could gain simply by eating right. I immersed myself with anything I could read about the topic, bought a great cookbook, Eating for Life, (recommended by friends Mike and Sarah - thanks!) and followed the guidelines to a T for about 3 months. Like most resolutions, my vigor faded. Rob and I have both eaten much healthier ever since, but my commitment has ebbed and flowed.
Well, I am officially recommitting myself. As proof, I am currently eating an entire salmon filet for lunch. For me, this is huge, because I have found seafood absolutely revolting my entire life. A seafood dinner was probably about on par with a plate of cockroaches. I am slowly but surely overcoming this, all in the name of replenishing my body with all the omega-3's those slimey creatures offer. I even passed up the tastier looking option of a chicken croissant, and of course, the dessert bar.
I am writing in hopes that this time around I can find support in my efforts, rather than...well, the opposite of support. Many times when I pass up dessert (even after eating a hearty meal) I get criticised, jumped on, mugged, head dipped in the toilet for a swirlie - you name it. I actually get reprimands ("you're already skinny enough", and so on) and looks of worry. (I actually take in around 3000 cal/day...more or less depending on the day's workout.) I've felt pressured into eating dessert in the same stereotypical way I would imagine a 16 year old gets pressured into smoking a joint. I even have well-meaning friends who have made me cookies, hoping to cure me. Why the social opposition? I don't get it. Passing up delicious looking junk is the easy part (well, once I'm in the habit, at least); justifying myself to others is what becomes taxing. I'm actually guilty of taking dessert, pretending to eat or just taking a bite, then hiding it in a napkin and discretely discarding it. Or handing it off to Rob. (He loves that.) I know, it sounds like something you do if you're anorexic. Or if you were just served worms for dessert. Not just someone trying to eat healthy.
So the point is, I am begging support in my goal to eat right.


USA v. mexico

If anyone is wondering what they should watch on Wednesday night at 9:00 PM EST, what, with the writers strike going on and everything, I have a small suggestion: Watch the second best rivalry in America (the first, of course, would be the Giants-Dodgers): USA v. mexico in soccer. And, by-the-way, the U.S. has owned mexico lately, which means that I probably just jinxed them, and we will lose. Every since I went on my mission I have developed a fondness for "the world's game," especially Team USA. For those of you who think that soccer is only interesting every four years during the world cup I encourage you to watch this game. The U.S. has the potential to be an entertaining team and we own mexico. Seriously, we haven't lost to them in a long time (I'm too lazy to research how long our unbeaten streak is against mexico, but suffice it to say, we own mexico.) After all, (with the exception of war) when do two countries get to battle each other for bragging rights? And it's really fun to be better at soccer (or futbol) then mexico. So watch your team beat our friendly neighbors to the south at what they consider to be their game. And what could be more American than putting other countries in their place?

P.S. If anyone needs an idea for a birthday present for me (March 3rd) I may need a new U.S. jersey.


Kelley Acre Ride Adventures
I discovered The Kelley Acre ride a couple months ago, and it quickly became my favorite since moving to the east coast about a year and a half ago. A big group of local racers meet at Chris Kelley's to ride all over the beautiful mountains and countryside around Frederick, Maryland. It's always a great adventure...but today it was probably a little heavier on the "adventure" side than we would have liked. The absurd total of TWENTY flat tires made our usual 4 hour, 67 mile ride turn into 5.5 hours of time outside in the winter cold. I only made it back due to the creative help of Bill fashioning a fix for the centimeter long slash on my front tire out of my empty Hammer Gel packet. My tube was starting to herniate through.

After using a CO2 cartridge to fill the tire back with air, I made the mistake of touching it with my bare finger. They normally get pretty cold after releasing the co2, but today, it was SO cold that it actually burned my finger. (Lame picture to prove.) Luckily, my hands were already so numb from the cold that it didn't really hurt much. I've always been a little afraid of those things. I'm a little fascinated by the fact that I got burned by touching something too cold. Even if it is a wussy little burn.

The other thing that I was absolutely mesmerized by was the forest we rode through that was covered in ice. I've never seen anything like it. I wished I'd had my camera. Because it rained, (without any snow) last night, then froze overnight, every single little branch of every dead tree in this forest was sheathed in ice. Then it turned sunny outside and the light reflected off of them causing this bright, silver, rainbow forest of ice trees that dripped all over us as we rode through. The only damage was when a big icicle fell on me. I was fascinated enough to spend 15 minutes searching google for a picture, and found this one - although it doesn't nearly do justice to what we saw today.

All was capped off with a warm pot of chili waiting for us back at Kelley Acres. I love this ride. Thanks Chris!


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