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newbie cycling chronicles

Funny how within one week, you can go from this:

(Which was, by the way, the result of trying to take my water bottle out and drinking while riding -- apparently I completely suck at multi-tasking on two wheels. Also, in other bike stupidity, I recently gave myself a flat tire by yanking the pump off my wheel so hard that I pulled the valve completely off of the tube and the tire deflated. What can I say? I'm gifted.)

To this:

Second place in my age group at the Du the 3 Bears Duathlon -- 2.2-mile run, 19-mile bike, 2-mile run -- in El Sobrante on Saturday.

Granted, there were three people in my age group. And yes, there were only 20 women in the entire race. But whatever. I didn't crash and I got a plaque. So I consider that an enormous success and totally deserving of the ridiculous amount of Indian food I ate for lunch afterward. (Why else does one race if not to stuff one's face post-finish?)

Other random duathlon/multi-sport/I'm-supposed-to-be-training-for-Vineman-related thoughts:

Mid-race realization: They call it the 3 Bears for a reason. And unlike the Goldilocks story, this was not about trying out beds and choosing the comfiest pillow. Instead, it involved cycling up hills that never seemed to end. And when I was out there, talking to myself (OK, I'll admit it: singing to myself sometimes) through a tough climb, I kept thinking: "Oh, this must be Papa Bear." And then I would get to the next hill and realize how horribly wrong I was. Dear race director: May I suggest renaming this event the 3 Bitches?

The bright side: The downhills were freaking amazing. Flying? Yes. Oh yes.

The transitions: Not bad. My main goals for this event were to get a nice brick workout in (and yes, going from the bike to the run still feels likes someone stuck a stick up my butt for the first mile) and practice switching from running shoes to biking shoes and clipping in and out without knocking over the entire rack of very expensive bikes. Everything went smoothly. I wasn't extremely fast, but I did everything with purpose and didn't fumble around or drop anything or bleed. This was good.

On running: I need to warm up before the first leg. I wasted too much time using the first run segment as a warm-up. (I also wasted time freaking out over the banana slugs on the trail. But that's just me and my personal "issues." Dear banana slugs: Why?) A nice discovery: I still like running hills. A lot. And I loved that this race had an uphill finish.

And finally: Multi-sport is crazy-intimidating. Quite a few people at this race were pros or wannabe-pros looking to start their season. It was tough not to feel like a big loser while watching guys with bulging biceps warm up pre-race on their ridiculously expensive bikes on trainers in the parking lot. And the transition area was pretty funny, too. This was my friend's age group. His is the bike on the left. And his competition? Well.

Nice bikes, right? And those aero helmets. Alien power.

Yet no matter how fast you are and how many hours a week you spend working out, I still think you should never be allowed to wear a white tri suit.

Because that is just TMI.

sometimes I get hangry

My bad habit: Hanger. (And I'm not talking about the wire clothes rack, silly. I'm talking about hunger + anger.) I know I need to eat every three hours or I turn into a monster. And yet for some reason, I still forget to put granola bars in my purse. And then I get stuck in traffic on my way to food and then all hell breaks loose and then whoever is in my car with me begins to fear for their lives.


I am back in school. I signed up for a fashion class at the junior college: Clothing Construction I. The class meets once a week for three hours. Note to self: If you want to make friends and have conversations that revolve around anything except "God, I'm so hungry," eat before going to class.


When I'm hangry, I'll overdo it. Last week, I drove to Soledad (where it's so happening, right?) to oversee a TV interview. On the way back, I stopped at Himawari in San Mateo and ordered the shiro tan tan men deluxe, which is sort of like the love child of tan tan men and tonkotsu, plus a ridiculous amount of pork (chashu, kakuni and ground pork, to be exact).

When I was done, I was sweating profusely. (Dear god: Please let this be due to the chili oil, and not the early onset of menopause.) And I had to force myself not to lie down on a bench and unbutton my pants.


May this list of places I'd like to eat at in 2012 stave off the hanger, at least for another three hours.

Maru Ichi: Black ramen (kuro), the result of charred garlic. Bring it. (And bring the elastic-waist pants, too.)

The Casino Bar & Grill: I feel a little guilty for putting this in writing, especially since the Casino is such a secret, locals-only spot. But I blame the tasting room guy at Mayo, who raved on and on about this little dive bar with extraordinary food and an ever-changing menu.

Mission Chinese Food: I know it's trendy. I know there is a book. I know the lines are long. But the chef at work loved it. I'd like to love it too.

Savory Spice Shop: Because you can never have enough urfa biber. (No, not Justin Bieber.)

Santa: This godfather of San Mateo ramen shops was on last year's list, and I have yet to slurp there. (Yes, I realize a lot of haters say Santa just hasn't been the same recently, but I don't care. I still want to know.)

spoonbar: Not for food, for drinks. For fancy, fancy drinks. Because ever since I experienced Bourbon & Branch and Curio, I want more from my cocktail.

Smitten Ice Cream: Hello, seasonal ice cream flavors. I want some Five Spice Banana. And anything that involves brown butter.

Lydia's Organics: A new location has opened here in Chickenland, which means I'll have somewhere to go to cleanse after I've indulged in the shiro tan tan men deluxe.

Souley Vegan: Vegan soul food in Oakland. Yes, please.

Cinnaholic: Since we're on that kick, vegan cinnamon rolls in Berkeley. (Also, I have a Groupon.)