Eugene Celebration and veganism update

First off, I want to let you know that Sam Nicoletti is planning on writing something for this blog about what it means to be vegan–or something along those lines.  Since he is a vegan and a cyclist and a writer, I think it will be good.  Plus he won the state championship criterium a few weeks ago, so he is somewhat of a celebrity.

As for my own veganism, I have been asked to stop referring to myself as vegan and even somewhat vegan, sine I have been eating meat and other animal products.  Apparently it is insulting to other vegetarians and vegans for me to call myself a vegan when I have occasionally been eating non vegan food.  I completely understand.  Because if someone were to call themselves a cyclist and not ride their bike 365 days a year, I too would be insulted.  Hahaha.  That’s for you Mike!!  Oh, and thanks again for letting me stay at your house this weekend. 

But in all seriousness, I do think that calling myself a vegan or even ‘veganish’ may be misleading.  Since starting my vegan diet on Wednesday of last week, I have eaten multiple servings of whey protein, a dinner of jumbalia which included shrimp, chicken, and sausage; a meat sandwich today, hot and sour soup that was made with broth and had a few pieces of meat in it, some cabbage that had mayonnaise in it,  fish oil and cod liver oil, and of course some “contaminated food,” such as spaghetti sauce that had meatballs in it even though I didn’t eat any meatballs.  Considering those are all the animal products I’ve eaten in the last six days, I think I have done pretty well.  My goal now is to keep doing what I’m doing and eat an “animal reduced” diet.  I will no longer refer to myself as vegan and I apologize to all those who I’ve upset.


The Eugene stage race went very well.  Rob English won, which everyone knew would happen.  But our team had some great success as well.  Jim, Chris, Eli, and myself made up our squad, and the team’s goal was to support Eli as much as we could.  And Eli did great.  He ended up 8th GC in a very tough field, and snagged some cat 1 upgrade points for next year.

After the prologue on Friday, which I road very slowly in, the road race became my main goal of the weekend.   78 miles, three laps of the Thursday Nighter.  It was fairly hot, but not too bad.  Our plan was to get Eli in a breakaway.  I attacked a number of times in the first lap, but kept my aggression much lower than normal, since I’ve been off the bike for so long.  I could definitely tell I was riding slower than usual, but considering this probably as slow as I get, I didn’t do half bad.  

By a lap and a half, I was in the lead breakaway with Matt Ritzow from Paul’s and Cliff Heaberlin From Guinness.  We quickly had 40 seconds on the field after some hard work, but after 6 or 8 miles we heard a chase group of 5 guys was only 25 seconds back and the pack was a minute behind them.  We talked briefly and decided to just soft pedal until they caught up, since they were going to catch us anyways.  Luckily, Eli was in the chase group, which gave me a reason to work in it.

I began bonking with about 20 miles to go and started missing pulls.  We were down to seven guys now, still plenty to keep the gap healthy.  So at this point I would have just sat in, even if it meant being yelled at, because every little rise was slowly destroying me.  But I wanted the break to keep going for Eli, so I kept taking my pulls.  Although, I knew I had to be careful and not overdo it because after taking a pull, if someone decided to do even a weak attack, I’d be off the back and no help to Eli.  

Eli and Galen were definitely the strongest in the break, and Eli was probably doing the most work out of everyone.  I tried to get him to do less, but I think he mainly just wanted to make sure the break stuck even if it meant not having energy at the end for a good finish.  I’ve felt this way before too, but the person who cares about the break sticking the least, sometimes has the best odds at actually winning.  

That probably wasn’t the case with this race though, because Galen sure wanted the break to stick.  He worked pretty much the entire time, and even though we all knew where and how he was going to attack, it didn’t matter.  None of us could hold on.  

Galen waited until we were 1/4 the way up Sprinter’s hill; Eli had been on the front (not good) and Galen went off like a rocket.  I just held on, my bonked legs praying for the end, six of us made it over the hill together, with Galen off the front.  Eli went to the front immediately and despite my efforts to calm him, he did the majority of the work to bring Galen back.  I did all I could, and we actually got very close to completely closing the gap, but a few guys weren’t doing any work so we never did catch him.  With 400 meters to go I tried going to the front to give a lead out for Eli, who was sitting second wheel behind Paul B, but I was maxed out and fell short.  He took a very respectable 3rd place, which he could have done without my help I’m sure, and I drifted in a few seconds later for 6th.  

The next morning, Mike and I drove over to the TT start and rode very very slowly and easily around the 15 mile course.  I averaged 264 watts, about an average pace for an all day endurance ride.  Surprisingly, it did make my hamstrings hurt, which have been tight and sore since I ran six miles on Wednesday.  I wasn’t last, though, as others had the same plan in mind–save it for the crit if you’re not going to place top 10 GC.

The crit went according to our plan, which was to either get Eli in a break or to keep the guys right behind him in GC out of breaks that didn’t include Eli.  No breaks lasted for more than a lap or two.  I went off the front to grab a prime to pay for the weekend’s gas bill, then did a bit of work to keep Eli off the front, which is where I kept finding him for some reason.  I got caught in a crash, but stopped and unclipped just in time to avoid going down, keeping my crashes limited to only one this year.

With three or four laps to go, Chris found me near the front of the pack and glued himself to my wheel.  I kept him out of the wind and confusion near the front until the last half lap, where I turned the gas on and jetted out front for one last race effort for the year.  I got Chris around the final corner and he jumped hard, leaving the rest of the pack multiple bike lengths behind and taking the win.

The last race of the year…sigh.  September and October will include some riding and cross training, but the real training doesn’t start until November and December.  It’s going to be a long wait.

Holding strong

I made it through last night and I’m still vegan(ish). I ate some spaghetti sauce that had meatballs in it. Even though I didn’t eat any of the meatballs, a true vegan wouldn’t have touched the sauce. Plus I’ve had fish oil pills and cod oil of course. But basically I’m still vegan. It’s not that hard actually, but I feel like I need to find some good protein sources because I haven’t had much in the last couple days. Tofu is expensive but tasty if cooked right, Sam suggested Seatin, but I don’t know how I’d prepare him; quinoa isn’t that high in protein and I eat it all the time anyways, so it’s off to Albertson’s to get some ideas.

Eugene Celebration starts today with a 5 mile prologue TT up McBeth–a pretty steep hill. Saturday is the 78 mile road race that covers three laps of the Thursday Nighter, and Sunday has a 15 mile TT in the morning and a 60 minute crit in the evening at the Tuesday night crit course. This will be a shock to the system. Nick, you want to soft pedal up McBeth with me today or are you going fast?




Oh, and I almost forgot. I got a great haircut from Leeann last night.




Photo 37


Ok, this vegan diet is really getting old. It’s only been a day, but I don’t like it anymore. It was a novel idea a few days ago, but even last night, before I started, I was having second thoughts. As I said before, this morning was slightly difficult because of the no eggs breakfast. From breakfast to lunch was fine, though. Not too difficult. Just some almond butter and jam sandwiches and other stuff. Dinner wasn’t too hard either. I had quinoa with olives. In fact, I don’t think I eat that much meat or other animal products on a daily basis anyways, but at least I have the option to. And that’s what I don’t like about veganism. I am being forced to not eat things, instead of forgoing on my own.

I will admit, I did cheat a bit today. Like I said before, I’m still going to take the fish oil pills and cod liver oil. And as punishment for that, the Vegan Gods decided to strike me down with terrible cod liver oil burps throughout my entire ride today. Every few minutes, I’d burp and taste the fowl, fishy odor of cod oil. If you’ve ever taken cod liver oil, you know the nasty taste it has. It tastes like fish, except really really bad.

My brother, who did a vegan diet for six weeks last spring, was going to do this vegan month with me. His stamina was even shorter than mine though, because he just came home from the store with Haggen Das bars, pork, and the ingredients to make chili cheese nachos. I think the thought of going for four weeks brought back deep, troubled memories from his subconscious. Terrible vegan memories that he had pushed back into the crevices of his brain, too painful to think of and too sickening to deal with. Like a war veteran with post dramatic stress syndrome, he never dealt with what happened during those six weeks of hell last May, which have just been stirred up today during his second tour of vegan duty, and now those memories have come back to wreak havoc on his life. As he reaches down for another nacho, his fingers touch the bottom of the plate. He looks down. No more nachos are left. He franticly begins licking the chili and cheese residue off the plate, but soon there is none of that left either. In a panic for his fix, he scrambles off the couch like a possessed attic and runs to the fridge. It’s empty, nothing but condiments, some stale tortillas, and a pot of steel cut oats from breakfast. He yanks the freezer door open and begins clawing through packages of frozen peas and soy beans, throwing them over his shoulder onto the ground. It has…no…meat. No Haggen Das. His eyes go blank. A strand of nacho tainted saliva drops from his half opened mouth as he stands before the empty freezer. His knees give out and he slumps to the ground. He crawls over to the corner of the room and gathers his legs to his chest, folds his arms over them and rocks back and forth, starring wide eyed off into the distance, chanting, “You can’t have a corn dog without the dog. You can’t have a corn dog without the dog. You can’t have a corn dog without the dog…” His future will be grim.

I imagine quitting animal products is like quitting any type of addictive drug. Nicotine, heroin, coffee. Once you get past the first few days or weeks, things start getting easier. As the months go on, you begin to function without it, even having momentary lapses where you’re not obsessively thinking about how badly you want it. Years go by and you begin to forget about your past addiction, although when you pass a hot dog vender on the street, the aroma hits you so strong you have to sprint to the store for meat flavored gum before you give in. By now, you’ve decided it’s best not to hang out with meat-eaters anymore since they’re a bad influence on you and the temptation to just have one bite of pizza is too much. Yep, pretty much, deep down, for the rest of your life you’ll crave a steak. It’s something you’ll have to live with until the day you die, which ironically will be much further away now that you’re a vegan.

Back from the trip

I’m home in Sherwood today after two weeks in the Galapagos. I’ll write all about the trip later, as right now I’ve got my hands full with a PB&J. I’ll be racing Eugene Celebration starting on Friday, but I’m sure I’ll be going pretty slow. The last time I raced was Cascade and since then I think I’ve ridden less than 15 hours. So if you see me suffering a bit, please do as I did throughout the season and take pity by courteously slowing the pace down a few notches.

Today is my first day being vegan. I’ve decided to give the vegan diet a try for 4 weeks while my training slowly starts up again and the intensity is pretty minimal. I want to do it partly to keep my weight down and even slowly lose a little muscle mass, but also to just see what vegetarianism is like. This morning I didn’t eat any eggs. So far, that’s been the only thing I’ve had to purposely skip today. Although skipping out on two eggs may seem like a small thing, I almost cheated right then and there, contemplating the inclusion of eggs into my vegan diet. But I held strong. All day, though, I’ve been going back and forth about whether I really want to do it and right now I’ve reached the conclusion that I’ll do a revised vegan diet. It will still include fish oil pills and cod liver oil. And because of that, it might as well include fish now and again, but not too much mind you. Eggs are also a good source of omega 3, so I don’t think it would be wise to cut them out completely. Eating less protein will help with weight loss, but I don’t want to lose too much, if any, power. So I’ll have to keep my protein up with weigh powder, which is a dairy product. Chicken is another good source of protein that I normally eat–much better than any plant source since the body more easily digests and uses amino acids from meat than from plants. I’ll make an exception for chicken, and maybe other poultry on occasion. And of course I don’t want my iron levels getting super low, so I think a steak or hamburger once or twice a week would help with that. Other than those things, I’ll be completely vegan. It’s going to be tough. I’ll let you know how it goes.


You won’t hear from me for a couple weeks cause I’m headed to Ecuador and then the Galapagos!  I may befriend a pack of sea lions and turn to the sea for the rest of my years if the mood strikes, and if so, wish me luck in my new life.  It will be a life of leisure and fun-filled afternoons of diving for Mackerel and lounging in the sun on the rocks by the shore.  Yes, flies will buzz in my eyes and I won’t have fingers to brush them away, but it’s a small price to pay in order to bounce beach balls on my nose and bark at my fellow furry cousins with fishy-odder on my breath.  I’ll practice my hydrobatics in kelp beds and live with the constant sounds of sea birds and ocean waves in the background to lull me to sleep each night.  Then, on one fateful stormy day, an obese fisherman in red waders will come to my colony and let out an evil laugh before yelling in a southern slash scottish accent, “Yee sea lions done et me fish and I won’t have no mare of it.  So I come here to rid yall of yer horidness and do the Bumble Bee canned tuna company a favor!”  At that he’ll whip out two shot guns from under his trench coat and start firing upon my brothers and sisters in a maniacal surge of hate and frustration.  As the fisherman is firing in slow motion, with shells popping out of his smoking guns, the camera will slowly zoom into his crazed yet hurt eyes, become blurry and fade to white as the sound softens until all we hear is the gentle tune of ‘rock a by baby’ song by a middle aged scottish woman.  The picture will come into focus slowly and we’ll be left with a cozy scene of a mother and her baby in a pink room with sunlight shining through the round windows.  SLAM.  The sound of a heavy door cracks the peace of the nursery room and the mother jerks out of her loving trance.  The baby starts to cry and the mother tries to get it to be quiet.  “Dag gummit!! I done had it with the sea lions!  They dun ate a hole in mah’ net and ated the bellies of meh’ fish again,” the drunken man slurred.  He’ll come into the room and take out his frustrations on his wife, but since this movie is PG-13, they will only show the shadow of him struggling with her on the wall.  He’ll eventually leave her crying on the ground, and we’ll see a black eye and our hatred will grow for the drunken fisherman who we assume is her husband.  Over the next few minutes as years pass and the baby grows up, we’ll come to realize that the baby is the fisherman in the red waders and see that he’s turned into his father–a drunk, scottish/louisianan mix of a slob fisherman, unwilling and too ashamed to admit his own weaknesses as a fisherman and instead blame his poor luck on the marine life of my mammalian family.  

Back to present as he fires on us at the sea lion colony: luckily we’ll scatter off the beach before the camera shows any of getting shot, but in the confusion I’ll be separated from my family and get caught in a net that the fisherman’s deck hand throws into the water.  I’ll be taken away from my home of the Galapagos and sold to a competetor of Sea World, except they won’t treat me well and I’ll be forced to preform 3 shows a day.  They won’t feed me enough and the kids will bang on the glass and scare me while I also live in fear of the handler’s billy club, which is used on me behind closed doors when the spectators can’t hear my barks of agony.  Months will go by, years will pass.  I’ll loose that winning spirit I once possessed and my existential outlook on life will be clearly seen in a close up of my eyes as I lay in a corner of my cage, tears streaming down, my whiskers bent and broken, my flippers scarred and my ribs poking through bare patches of my mangy fir.  But there’s hope.  The next day, a power outage–caused by the dingy park’s inability to pay it’s electricity bill, causes confusion during my nightly performance.  The crowd will start screaming in confusion, running for the exits of the circus tent.  But the elephants will break that one big pole in the the middle and the whole thing will come down on top of everyone’s heads.  Everyone’s all right but in the comotion and pandimonium of it all, I’ll seek out my handler and bite into his jugular with my canines.  He’ll scream in agony as the blood in his body spews from his neck in a red fountain of steaming pain.  My revenge complete, I’ll slip out of the tent with the still-screaming spectators and waddle-run my way to the nearest ally way.  My next few months will be spent as a street-seal, living on the sidewalks in cardboard boxes and begging for money by performing cheap tricks with an old basketball.  The living will be tough and depressing.  At first the audience is expects that the escape from the circus aquarium will be the turning point in the movie, my freedom once again gained, but it will not be so.  I don’t have any skills, other than balancing balls, sticking my tongue out, and barking on command.  I don’t have any job or communication skills and I’m addicted to herring.  So I live on the street in loneliness and pain.

One rainy evening, I’ll look up into the sky and yell (in Sea Lion) “WHYYYYYYYY?  WHY ME SEA LOIN GOD??  WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS??”  Thunder cracks through the sound of pattering rain on the city sidewalk and an image of a giant old sea lion will appear in the night sky in a cluster of clouds.  
“You must find your own way, Kennett the Sea Lion.  You must seek out and explore new life and civilizations.  You must go where no sea lion has gone before.”  
“But I’m not strong enough.  I can’t do it!” I’ll yell in desperation.  
“You must.  It is your destiny,” the sea lion in the sky will say.  And with that he’ll fade away, echoing “you must find your own way…”
I’ll fall to my knees, crying, and yell, “Waaaaaiiiiittttt….you never told me what you’d do for a Klondike Bar!!!!”

The next morning, I’ll make my way to the city docks, this time not looking for my herring fix.  This time…it’s to the sea.  I’ll grow the courage it takes for me to plummet back into the blue water and face my fears, returning to the ocean to duel with the crazed fisherman.  The long swim back to the Galapagos, to fight him, will wipe away the pain and suffering from my years in captivity and living on the streets.  Images of my family of sea lions will flash through my brain as “Eye of the Tiger” plays in my montage journey back to my home islands.  I’ll train along the way, gaining strength and befriending a hammer head shark named Julia.  She and I will meet while both hunting a school of fish, but upon seeing me, she changes her plans and takes off after me, preferring a meal of seal.  I’ll flee, twisting and turning underwater at high speeds.  I’ll thread the needle of an enormous anchor at the bottom of the sea floor and she’ll follow but get stuck.  After uselessly struggling for an hour, she’ll ask for my help and I’ll push her out.  Now in debt, she’ll accompany me on my journey even after I’ve told her I don’t want her help. She stubbornly won’t accept this, and follows me anyways.  At first we’ll fight and argue, but with time we’ll warm up to each other on the long journey.  

Finally, I’ll reach the Galapagos and the evil fisherman, who we now find out has captured all the other sea lions in my pack and has forced them to move boulders and swing pick axes in his gold mine. Their heavy chains weigh their thin bodies down. An old sea lion falls to the ground and a slave driver runs over to him and yells in chinese at him to get up, and starts whipping him. Another sea lion will run over to him with a gourd of water, press it to his lips and say, “Grandfather Sea Lion, you must get up. You must get up!” The slave driver will continue yelling in the background while the old sea lion says, ‘it’s my time,’ and slowly closes his eyes and slumps into the arms of the younger sea lion.

I’ll be watching this from behind some boulders, and a fire is lit in my glowing red eyes. I devise a plan with Julia the Shark and we make a daring attack on the slave camp, freeing the sea lions, who rise up and destroy all the slave drivers. The evil fisherman flees for his life, but not before taking Julia ransom. But I’ll catch up to him, fight for her honor as I realize I’ve fallen in love with her, and narrowly beat the captain in a sword fight to the death.

The final scene will show me and Julia the hammer head shark living happily ever after with the rest of the seal colony. The sun will begin to set as the camera zooms out and the credits begin to roll as the song “We Belong” by Pat Benatar comes on.


But if by some chance that doesn’t happen, I’ll be back in two weeks.



Life with my new sea lion family was pretty dang good.


Sleeping on the beach with my colony.

Unwanted Sea Lion

Being taken away from the Galapagos on the Fisherman’s boat.  My life was about to take a drastic dive.


Brianna 060

My performance days at the aquarium.


I take my revenge on my evil handler during the power outage as everyone flees the collapsing tent.



Life on the streets, addicted to herring, was tough. I often brushed up against the law.


On my way back to the colony.


Group of Barking Sea Lions

The sea lion colony returns to the ocean after escaping the gold mine camp.



The duel.



Me, giving out my war cry after slaying the evil fisherman.


We all lived happily ever after.

The season is over already?

It’s been frustrating to miss the last couple weeks of racing due to being sick again.  Especially since I probably have some of the best form of the year right now.  And now that I’m starting to ride a bit again and feeling close to better, I still won’t get to race for two more weeks since I’m leaving for the Galapagos on Wednesday.  And by the time Eugene Celebration comes around, the season is pretty much over.  In fact it’s really already over.  I feel like it just started, though.  And the idea of not racing again until next February is already causing me to grind my teeth.  Three weeks ago I felt like taking a break from cycling.  Now it’s all I want to do.  You never appreciate the things you’re currently doing until you can’t do them anymore.  Unless that thing you’re doing is eating cheesecake.  Cheesecake is one of those things you appreciate %100 all the time.  But even cheesecake can be taken for granted during momentary mental lapses.  I had two pieces yesterday at an open house.  As we were leaving I thought about wolfing down a third, but decided against it.  Bad choice.  Terrible choice.  Worst decision of the year right there.  I regretted it even as I walked out the door.

I’m excited about training this fall and winter.  I know it’s still August, but that’s what I’m thinking about.  I used to loath the end of summer.  The end of summer means the beginning of boring school and 10 months of rain and cold, gray, dark days full of misery.  This is probably the first time that I have ever not dreaded the end of summer.  My plan is to head down south again for the winter for an extended stay this time–hopefully to start the race season down there and avoid as much bad weather as possible.  I just smelled my finger and it smells like skunk from petting Thomas, who got sprayed a week ago.

My race resume is about to get sent out and I’m crossing my fingers that a good team takes me for next year.  No more sleeping on couches and riding to races hopefully, since I now know that doesn’t work.

Attention: Important USAC seminars to attend.

Due to a long list of rider and team manager misdemeanors during the 2009 Cascade Cycling Classic, USA Cycling is providing seminars for the cycling public to attend. The monetary fines during the Cascade Classic will fund these highly anticipated seminars, which are intended to enlighten bike racers so that the same errors are not made in future races.

This is a list of the fines issued during the 2009 Cascade Cycling Classic:

Littering/illegal tossing of bottles and bidens: $520 total
Illegal drafting off of vehicles: $945 total
Forgetting to sign in before the race: $180 total
Non-regulatory supply of refreshments*: $205 total
Failure to attend podium ceremony and collect cash prize: $70 total
Other: $485

Total: $2,405

*We here at USAC are still unsure what this means, but you guys did it and we’re fining you anyways.

As you can see, a total of $2,405 was fined over the course of five days.  The last day of racing was not included for some reason.  We are not sure why.  But, this money is going straight to the USAC outreach to Becoming a Better NRC Racer and Better Human Being Seminars. All of it. Every cent. We promise. Depending on your infringement and or area of least comprehension, please choose from the following list of seminars:

-How to not litter and or not toss bottles illegally.

-How to not draft a moving car or truck while racing.

-How to properly sign in before a race, with an intro on how to remember to sign in before a race.

-How to supply refreshments illegally without getting caught. (Warning, if you attend this seminar you will be fined $70).

-How to attend an award ceremony in which you will be awarded a good sum of money.

-How to ‘Other’.

Check this website for more details on when and where to attend these invaluable seminars.

Failure to attend these seminars will result in a $35 fine and a 20 second time penalty.

Almost there

I’ve still been hacking up stuff on rides and feeling pretty tired, but I think there is a good chance I’ll be better by Friday. In fact, I’m going to race anyways. That aught to scare my virus away. I heard there was something going around the peleton during Cascade. That must be what I caught, and like most colds, it’s lasting longer than I thought it would. I’m probably one of the only Oregonian’s with a

It seems like I always come up with good topics to write about or funny jokes throughout the day, but by the time I do get around to writing, they’ve disappeared. Such is the case right now.

I went sailing with my brother the other day in our small wooden sailboat. Last summer my dad and Galen took it out and it almost sunk in the first 10 minutes. My dad patched it up since then and now it only leaks a little. We always take it to Henry Harrison Hagg Lake, and ever since I started bike racing out there my pulse quickens every time the dam comes into view.

It was a hot day, good for swimming but bad for sailing since the wind was weak. We got out there and took turns jumping off the boat while the other sailed around and attempted to run over the person in the water. Unfortunately, like I said, the wind wasn’t very strong so the boat on swimmer contact wasn’t enough to do any damage and the swimmer could easily just grab onto the front of the boat and climb aboard.

We spent a little while trying to ram our dad in his kayak, but he was more maneuverable than us and the only way we could get him was by jumping from the front of the sailboat onto the back of his kayak. When doing this, it is important to use the proper language and the proper English accent: “By order of the Queen’s Royal Navy, we are commandeering this vessel for God and country!” Don’t be surprised if you hear my give this a try next time I’m chasing down a breakaway.

Later on in the day, some people on the dock thought my brother and I were in trouble, drowning or something. We had been taking turns towing each other with some rope, making lots of noise, then I had jumped off the boat so there was no one steering. It started going in tight circles and Galen got on board to take the ruder. I got back on too, we made a close pass to the dock, and about 300m later I jumped off. Galen kept on going for 15 minutes before coming back for me, and that’s when the lake rescue guy showed up. We never saw him though, because he must have assumed we were fine.