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February 2009 Archives

February 1, 2009

Hate to say I told you so...

Who am I kidding? I love saying that! Everyone loves saying that. There's nothing better after getting into a big, dumb, pointless argument and ending up right all along.

The backstory: a friend from class refused to get a flu shot. We got into an argument - I argued that as a future academic, he should be moved by the data that says he's less likely to get the flu if he gets the shot. He argued blah blah blah some dumb stuff. Didn't get the shot.

The he and his roommate rounded up some friends for a day of skiing. Come 5 am Saturday morning, he's too sick to go. Everyone gives him a hard time about it, but turns out the guy's pretty dang sick. The flu. Nobody remembers how bad that shit is. Ugh. Flu.

Oh MAN it was hard not to say I told you so. Do a little touchdown dance. But what kind of friend would I be if I did that? A correct friend, I guess. But also kind of a dicky one.

February 12, 2009


I took a sickie on Tuesday and went for a nice bike ride, made some lunch, and worked on a lab report from home. I had the radio on, and Talk of the Nation wouldn't shut up about steroids in baseball.

The final conclusion seemed to be pretty simple: baseball has to clean up its act, get a testing procedure in place, they'll catch the cheaters and baseball will be clean again. (Interesting aside: Babe Ruth ate ground sheeps' testicles by the plateful; presumably the testosterone allowed him to keep his girlish figure whilst eating all those hot dogs. Maybe it also helped him hit home runs. No word on whether sheeps' testicles are considered controlled substances.)

Maybe baseball knows what its doing. But in case they don't, and they actually plan to implement a real testing program with the goal of actually catching people, here is a warning. Don't do that, baseball. It will be bad for your sport and it won't make you look any better. Baseball doesn't have a doping problem, it has an image problem. It needs a feel good, but fake, drug program that will make us all happy that America's past time is chaste and unblemished, like our own zit-free national forehead. (That was sarcasm...I'm not sure if that analogy really works.)

If baseball actually implements a program designed to "catch" "cheaters", it will find that the initial purge of dopers will leave not a clean game, but one in which the payoff of a little chemical help is suddenly higher. Some will take the bait, and some will be caught again and again.

Face it. When you pay people lots of money to do things that they can do better and get paid more for if they just do something against the rules, some will break the rules. This will be somewhat deterred by a testing program with stiff consequences. But it will not go away. If you want your drug problem to go away, you must ignore it. If you want your drug problem to get smaller, your image problem will get proportionally bigger. You decide which problem you prefer.

Face it, America. Those guys are good at baseball. But they're not THAT good. Shouldn't we really be worshiping the scientists instead?

February 15, 2009

If horses were bikes

I used to do horse shows. Lots of people bring their expensive horses and expensive equipment and show off the skills they've spent hours, weeks, months, years perfecting.

Bike races, it turns out, are kind of like that. Except a better workout and not so many belt buckles. And faster.

We showed up in Palmdale on Friday night, hit the Motel 6 immediately and got to bed by 11:30. The race started the next morning at 7 am, so we were up at 5 the next morning. After several wrong turns, we made it to the course to enjoy Santa Barbara's techno jams in the dark, freezing desert. My bike computer said 24.8 F. Jesse thought he was going to die, and he made sure everyone knew it.

Women's C's were off at 7:15, with a powerful peloton, 12 strong. I think four of them were B's. The course was a ~10 mile loop, C's did two laps. Half of it was a big climb, and half a long easy descent, with a mile long flat section connecting the two. We rolled easy for a few minutes on the flat draggy bit, and then split into two groups. I stuck with the first group for a few minutes, but was the first to be popped off on the long climb. At that point, I figured I was in for a very long solo time trial. I decided to eat the energy gel in my pocket, which was totally gross. Warm mandarin orange powergel felt a lot like a momma penguin was puking into my mouth:


Near the top of the climb, a Stanford girl caught me from behind. I stuck on her and followed her down the hill. On the flat, I told her I'd work if she wanted to try to catch whoever may be so far up the road that they were invisible. I took a pull or two, when a girl from Occidental college rolled past us like we were standing still. Stanford was in front, so I yelled, get that wheel! She turned around and said "huh?" And I was all for christ's sake. So I came through and put in a big effort, getting us within a bike length or two. I told Stanford to come through, and promptly dropped myself. Goddammit. I. Am. An idiot. Stanford and Occidental rode off into the sunset together.

After spending a few minutes desperately trying to catch back on, I resigned once again to spending the next lap on my own. I put my head down and made it back up the the finish line for the second lap. I caught Occidental girl on my way up; she descends like a rock but I guess it's hard to push rocks back up hills. I considered waiting for her so I could follow her down, but decided to try to make it on my own. I passed a couple Men's D's, who left a few minutes before us, and that was a big ego boost to get me over the hill. I think I scared Mason with a big 'Rooooooooooooooooollll on you Beaaaaaaaaaaaars" as I passed him on the climb. Sounds like it helped though as he dropped a couple guys on the climb himself.

So now I'm all alone, coming down as fast as I can with my gears all spun out. Sure enough, near the bottom of the descent Occidental comes barreling past again. NOT THIS TIME. I managed to grab her wheel and tucked in behind in her ample slipsteam. After nearly falling over in the only corner on the course, I followed her up a draggy climb, and then came around. I told her to help me catch Stanford, but I guess she was cooked from the climb before and couldn't hang on. To my extreme surprise, I was able to bridge up to Stanford on my own. I caught her wheel stealthily, hoping she wouldn't notice me until she'd pulled me to the finish. When my idiotic broken water bottle cage started to rattle, she looked back and saw me clinging to her wheel.

The road was dragging up, and Stanford slowed down to what my frozen bike computer probably would said was 10 miles an hour had it been functional. I figured she was waiting for me to come around, only to follow me in. So I gathered my remaining strength and unleashed a mighty attack, the likes of which she had clearly never seen. Or maybe she was just tired. At any rate, I made it past and she didn't seem interested in following with any speed. I kept riding until someone told me I'd passed the finish. I guess there was another C up the road with the B girls, because I got second.

The next day were the time trials. Joanna cooked up a scheme to get me riding with her against the A's, leaving Anna and Denise to kick around the C's by themselves. Joanna and I warmed up a bit, and it became clear that I would be doing a lot of sitting on her wheel. When the race started, I was able to take some pulls until the little hill - she had to wait for me on top. When I caught back on, we were nearly to the turn, I thought I was going to barf, and I sucked wheel for most of the rest of the race. I think I came through twice after the turn, but I did what I could. We ended up bringing up the rear in the A category, but Denise and Anna kicked ass and won in the C's.

Finally, after gorging on frosting covered cookies and veggie chips, I had the individual TT. I rode down the road to warm up, and my legs felt like cinderblocks. This was going to be ugly. I took off down the road, and after what felt like 30 seconds, the guy behind me with the disc wheel and pointy helmet passed me by. I then got caught up trying to do some calculations to try to figure out how many people should pass me. If Katie takes 40 minutes to do the TT, and it's 11 miles long, how many people will pass her? Assume the fastest rider finishes in 29 minutes, riders start every 30 seconds, and a normal distribution of times. The standard deviation is 3 minutes.

Then I gave up and started singing this Queen song instead:

That helped. I finished in about 39 minutes, by my clock. I'm still not sure how I finished, but whatever. I rode as fast as I could.

Lessons learned:

- Cal > Stanford
- Always bring cream cheese frosting to the race
- Don't lose your license
- Don't pull your competitors up to your other competitors and then drop yourself
- Denise snores!

February 16, 2009


Seth Meyers on Michael Phelps, in case you missed it.

About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Katieblog in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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