Posted by: mercieb | July 24, 2010

Team Rude

Just caught this off Facebook, “Meet the team rude tomorrow. Meet at S. Lake Union…” Not saying what team this is but really!!??!! True colors. Ok, let’s just say it’s a ladies ride. ‘Nuf said.

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Posted by: mercieb | January 22, 2010

mercieb.com

What can I say? I wanted to put a video in a post and WordPress wanted to charge me to handle it. No thanks.

Again, Scotty had a solution for me so now this blog is on it’s own server, where I can do whatever I want with it (I must note that it looks pretty funny right now). There were things I liked about Blogger and had I know what I couldn’t do with WordPress, I probably never would have moved it in the first place. But I did and now it’s moving again… sort of.

If you bookmarked www.mercieb.com then it’s all good.

If you aren’t completely fed up with all the moving that’s going on and were using the WordPress URL, update to the above link and thanks for stopping by.

Really I just wanted to put some video in…

Posted by: mercieb | January 21, 2010

Who You Honking At?

I caught this link off a twitter feed… Dude! Who do you think you’re honking at?

Who are you honking at? from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

The driver is honking at a bike cop who is shooting a bike police training video (funny stuff when the cop stops in the middle of the road to ask the driver if everything is alright) and it got me thinking… There’s been a lot of discussion about bike vs. car lately. With cyclists getting mowed down at alarming rates, I have to say I’m a little disappointed in the overall attitudes of drivers. Tolerance seems to be in short supply and tensions are rising. What I’m not sure about is how someone gets to the point of thinking it’s ok to use their car as a means of expressing their frustration, stress, or anger? I just don’t get it.

In Orlando, apparently a bike has the right to take the lane if it is substandard width. In Washington, a cyclist has the right use the road in the way that he/she deems safe so long as they are following the rules of the road. Hence, taking the lane is a perfectly acceptable use of the road. I don’t think either of these explanations are very clear about what a bike can and cannot do but nowhere in the law does it say cyclists are responsible for themselves not being squished by some stupid driver who may or may not  know what laws are afforded to cyclists.

On the flip side, I have been on a couple of group road rides lately and, quite frankly, I was a little freaked out by the scenario. Maybe I’m getting old and paranoid but there were a few times when the group was not doing it’s best to be a good example of cyclists acting responsibly. Mostly it was a case of a few in the group not paying attention to their surroundings. It’s not that I think you have to cow to the driving world to stay alive on a bike but I certainly do think there is some common sense required on the part of the cyclist. There is nothing wrong with knowing when you are holding up a line of cars while you are riding 2 abreast (not illegal, by the way). I suppose you also can’t be too surprised when the cars honk, yell and flip you off when they finally get to go by. Self-preservation is what is important here. Being able to decide when taking the lane is the safer option over hugging the white line and being ready to dive into the ditch at any moment is a worthwhile skill in my book. Thousands of miles of bike touring have taught me a thing or two about sharing the road with cars.

All of those miles have led me to thinking about this whole thing as a group project. It’s in everybody’s best interest not to make things worse than they have to be. Then again, I’m a child of Flower Children and I happen to think most things are group projects. I can guarantee that drivers would still be pissed off even if there were no bikes on the road anywhere. They would just be lashing out at each other more often, which is definitely the safer option with both parties being surrounded by 2 tons of metal, but does not at all address why people are lashing out in the fist place. Misdirected energy used for evil and not good. We need to work on that.

Posted by: mercieb | January 14, 2010

Track It

I sure do like to track things. When I started racing, I figured I should keep a log of all my training but that ended up being kind of sad to look at the end of the year. Turns out I’m not good at training. I’ve done most of my racing off the couch (not recommended) and it doesn’t really work out very well for getting the training log fully filled out.

I track other things too. Normal things like the household budget and not so normal things like how much I think it’s going to cost me to get to Hawaii but not how much it actually cost me. Go figure. I’ve come to realize that the tracking is part of the ‘motivation equation.’ If I can make a spreadsheet for it then maybe I can manage to take something that starts out too big and too overwhelming and turn it into something I can wrap my head around.

For instance, I went for a run last night. I hate running and I haven’t been in months. I only went for 30 minutes but I went almost entirely for the fact that I could put the time and mileage into my training log. Weird… but it also worked.

And now my legs are sore.

Posted by: mercieb | January 13, 2010

Day 7

Today is the hard day. I’ve procrastinated all I can. I’ve done all the chores, spent endless hours on the internet, wasted days of my life trying to get through those days and it all seems to come down to Today. Today is the crux…. for now it feels like it will never end, like I will have hours to get all the things done I really need to get done. And then, like the last several days, it will come to an end and soon it will be tomorrow and I will be wondering again where the day went.

And so it goes.

Don’t ask what I am counting. Trust me, you don’t want to know.

Bikes are good. I think it’s funny this one is a fixie.

Aurumania’s Gold Bike Crystal edition – $100,000

The Aurumania Gold Bike Crystal edition is plated almost entirely plated with 24 karat gold… right down to the spokes. The Brooks saddle seat is made with the finest leather; and the hand sewn handlebar grips are made from, chocolate brown leather. The numbered badge is even made of high grade leather. This top of the line bike is called the “Crystal edition” because it is decorated with more than 600 Swarovski crystals… right down to the crystal encrusted Aurmania brand name emblazoned along the crossbar in Braille.

The Crystal edition is undoubtedly the world’s most expensive bicycle, and to add to its value is the fact that it is a limited edition item. Only ten will be made, making the Aurmania Gold Crystal Edition an extremely valuable rarity, indeed. This unique bicycle can be purchased for a mere €80,000 (US $114,464), and delivered anywhere in the world.

You can look at other very expensive bikes here: 10 most expensive bikes

Posted by: mercieb | January 12, 2010

Welcome!

Moving is always interesting. Either it goes really fast and suddenly  you’re in or days go by and you feel as if the work will never end. I wasn’t particularly vested in the move of this blog so it probably went a lot slower than it could have but I’m not too worried about it. With 7 people out there on the internet checking out my blog, I’m sure they will not have missed anything of vital importance.

I’m actually enjoying the blog thing right now so I will continue to keep documenting my impressions of the world mostly with a cycling oriented bent. I like bikes.

Posted by: mercieb | January 8, 2010

DOH! (duh)

Ok, it happened yesterday. On beautiful, not-raining, mid-winter day, Camille and I decide to cut out of work early to do an easy road ride. We head out of Kirkland and towards Woodinville via Hollywood Hill. Neither Camille or I are too familiar with the neighborhoods out that direction but Camille has turn by turn instructions and I have the iPhone.

We end up spending a lot of time on the side of the road looking at the paper and the iPhone. While being a very beautiful and rural area, it’s also extremely confusing to navigate with streets that change names at least 3 times in a half mile. No worries… we have plenty of time and it’s just an easy 40 miler. Riiiight.

As we are headed out of King county and into Snohomish county, we stop again to see where the next turn is and how far into the ride we really are. As it becomes apparent we are rapidly running out of daylight and the route is calling for several double-backs and a lot of meandering, we decide to high-tail it back the way we came and take the “short-cut” up and over Novelty Hill (steep as s**t, by the way) into Redmond. We mostly made it back to civilization before it got dark but there were a few hair-raising moments in rush hour traffic on roads with no bike lane and no street lights.

Now you’re asking where our lights were, right? Yeah, well we didn’t have them. With no intention of being out until dark, it didn’t even occur us to bring lights. I know, pretty dumb.

The good news is that we didn’t get squished. While we may have not been smart enough to bring lights, we were smart enough to know when to call for a ride home. We only had to deal with a little razzing from our rescuer and one driver who yelled, “We can’t see you!” which, I thought was funny because if he couldn’t see us, then how’d he know to yell at us? And really, do you honestly think that we don’t know we need lights and if we had them, we would certainly opt for using them? Drivers are funny like that. Always stating the obvious.



So yes, in the winter, take a light with you wherever you go. It can’t hurt and can be very helpful when the ride lasts longer than you planned for. I have these Knog lights which are very easy to put on, stash in a jersey pocket or stick in a saddle bag. They come in a million colors and configurations. In the future, I won’t be leaving home without them… They probably won’t get you down a pitch black trail in the middle of the night but they will help save your butt from getting run over.

Posted by: mercieb | January 3, 2010

Future

Happy 2010! We all know this is the time of the year when we are determined to turn over new leaves, break bad habits, practice good ones and finally live the lives we imagine in our dreams. It’s the time of year when “should- have’s” become “will-do’s”. For me it’s also that time of year when I start pondering the impending race season.

This year, I’d like to add some more 24 hour races. And not suck at them. With the Cream Puff under my belt, I feel free to start exploring the possibility of solo 24 hour races and multi-stage racing. Finding balance in the schedule to ‘train’ and actually get to race day somewhat prepared would be kind of fun. I, also, would like Scotty to stop hounding me about how I make everybody mad with my non-training laziness but then still manage to make a decent showing at the races.

I suppose there is something to his logic but I don’t much like it. I am getting to the age where my past athletic achievements won’t serve me as they once did. So this year, I’m going to make an effort to get some base training in and have some fun kicking some butt in the spring and summer.

Wish me luck!
And the best of luck to you in whatever your goals are for 2010!

Posted by: mercieb | December 4, 2009

All Roads Lead to a Bike

No, the blog is not dead. It’s not… ok, maybe a little dead. I’ve been doing other things, like tweeting and Facebook. One interesting thing about Facebook is finding folks with whom I have not heard from or seen in 20+ years. My brain has been busy compiling information based on a variety of things and I’ve come to a few conclusions.

Here’s the background: I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA

I’ve noticed about 50% of the folks I went to school with moved from Santa Cruz. A surprising number of them landed in the Northwest (myself included). Now here’s the interesting part… bunches of these folks, both people who stayed in SC and those who left, are into bikes in a big way. Not in the “hey, I like bikes” way but the racing, avid riding/commuting, multiple discipline, bordering on religious fanaticism way. Again, myself included. And it got me thinking… Why? I mean, I know how I got into it but what about the others? Is it some sort of inevitable product of growing up at the time, in the place, and with the people we all grew up with?

One has to admit Santa Cruz was a weird and, I think, a wonderful place in the 70’s and 80’s. It was a much smaller community back then and we all grew up with freedoms kids today know nothing about. I’m told the world is just plain scary now. Until we all got drivers licenses, we used bikes to exercise those freedoms and even after we all started to drive, bikes were the preferred method for getting to the beach in the summer or to school the rest of the year. I remember bikes being more transportation than anything else.

With that said, bikes were definitively a part of everyday and woven into the fabric of my psyche. My best friends Dad wrote the book on bicycle maintenance, his brother was some sort of Junior Olympic phenom and their family had a stable of bikes like you wouldn’t believe. The first bike race I ever witnessed was a ‘cross race up at the university. I believe it was 1982 or something. Santa Cruz happened to have some terrific bike shops, killer riding and a great bike community.

My love affair (in it’s current form) with bikes didn’t really start until I moved to San Francisco in ’94 and I started exploring Mt. Tam on a fully rigid M300 Cannondale. After that, I spent a summer touring the US by bike and logging in some 5400 miles on a 2 1/2 month cross-country trip. In the summer 2000, I did a 5600 mile bike trip from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Laguna Beach, CA. When I turned 30, I decided I wanted to try something new to celebrate the second third of my life and settled on racing mountain bikes. I later went on to working in the bike biz, being apart of owning a bike shop, helping to manage a local team, and being completely immersed in bike community to the point of not really caring if I ever ride a bike again (no, not really).

As it turns out, I’m not the only one. I don’t know if anyone else has gone quite so deep into it, but from what I can tell, there are ex-semi pro racers out there along with folks who have managed to make bikes a major part of their lifestyle. These guys are riding everyday, putting on bike races, lusting after new gear, and living the life. Good on ’em! Now I’m curios how they got there.

Posted by: mercieb | August 24, 2009

Fall

Yep, fall is in the air. With gentle cool breezes, the temps are perfect, the rain has been good enough to wait for another day, and the light has changed. I love fall and… I hate the underlying impending doom of fall. Fall is the thing that let’s you know winter is just around the corner. Fall is the thing that reminds you of all the things you failed to do with your summer. All the missed rides you had on your summer to do list, all the trail runs and hikes you never got to and all the trips, near and far, you’ll not get the chance to go on.

Fall is perfect and maddening at the same time. Like the rest of life, take the good with the bad and drink from your half-full, half-empty glass. Try to squeeze some fun out of the last few days of summer. Or, take a play out of the Alaskan Play Book of Summer Fun, and run, don’t walk, do not pass go and head directly for your fun of choice as fast and as furious as you can.

Yep, it’s fall. Now, go.

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