Bunny Goes to SoCali

May 17, 2010


I haven’t done a race report in a while so I decided it was time!

Jeff and I have been training a lot on our tandem again this year–no big surprise to many of you…..

I mean, we’ve got these stars-and-stripey skinsuits and if we don’t do some races in them, the per race price is going to be ridiculous for those things!  We missed the Berkeley Team TT because of the stupid Dinuba Crit and all those resultant fractures in Jeff’s lumbar spine….and Dunlap dropped their tandem category.  

So we’ve been doing training intervals and our local practice tt but it isn’t the same as a real race.  And the 10 mile Calaveras TT just isn’t enough practice before the 40K Norcal District TT next month.  So we packed up our bags and our dog and stuffed the car full and headed off to…….Southern California to their District TT.  Six hours from our house…..

I won’t spend too much time telling you how much we (didn’t) like Lancaster and Lake Los Angeles.  Blech.  I hope I don’t move into that district.  Oh, but I sorta do want to move into that district.  Conundrum time.

Well, our pre-ride was no fun.  We got a flat on some gravel in the 3rd turn, ruined one of our race tires, and almost went down.  We learned never to set our bike by a sprinkler.  We ate dinner at 10pm at the Olive Garden in Palmdale and went to bed at midnight with a 5:00 wakeup.  I’m not complaining–I know it was harder for the gals at Kern.  Just stating the facts!

We had some good competition.  Their district champs from last year who got 4th at Nats as well as the team that got 5th at Nats were there and we were sandwiched between them with only 30 second intervals.  And when I compared the size of my legs to their champ’s stoker’s legs, I was wishing for some hills….

But this course is a nearly flat rectangle that you do 5 legs of (so you do the 1st leg twice) and the (supposed) cool thing about this course is that it can be kinda windy and the leg you do twice is the tailwind leg so you get way more tailwind than headwind so the times are fast for 23.5 miles…..

As usual, we looked pretty damn good with our color coordinated shoe covers that I made. No pictures though, sorry.  I only saw one person with a camera and I think she was taking a picture of an giant red-ant hill.  

And we started off…….into a HEADwind!  It wasn’t very windy, but it was backwards so we had 2 legs of headwind.  That was cruel.  We caught the team ahead of us at about mile 15 but we couldn’t ever see the team behind us well and they were the faster team.  Jeff thought he saw them at mile 15 about 20 sec behind us but how he could tell that is beyond me.  He is amazing with that little mirror.  Or he my have been hallucinating.  So when we hit the last 6 mile headwind section we gave it all we had.  Jeff knew they were on our tail.  I didn’t, but I assumed that we were going to lose by one second so that I went as hard as I could and couldn’t say I should have gone just a little faster if they did win by one second!  I’m pretty mental. Despite all of that, the race was just a bit long for us.  There was a little teeny hump in the road at about mile 20 or 21 that I thought was going to stop us dead in our tracks. 

I spit on Jeff during the race.  I had to spit and didn’t want to really turn my head as that is so un-aero and half my job is to be aero.  So I just turned a smidge and aimed to the side but my spittle was pretty viscous at that point and it went straight into his butt.  He said afterwards that he thought I barfed on him!

Being out of district, we weren’t in contention for medals, but we were pretty stoked to win by 26 seconds.  It’ll make this week a little easier to take as I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel bad all week. 

Oh, and the socal tt crowd is way too intense.  They did not properly appreciate my rabbit ears……

See you at the next one!

— Soni Andreini Poulsen

Quieting the Butterflies at U.S. Nationals

August 10, 2009

By Soni Andreini Poulsen
On the Back of the Tandem, California

tandemttWhy do I get so nervous before races?

My stomach is such a vat of acid you’d think it’d digest anything instantly. Instead it keeps urping up my breakfast for hours. And I need a revolving door on the porta potty.

The more the race matters to me, the worse it is. So the morning of our Tandem Time Trial at Masters Nationals was about as bad as it gets.

So I go through my tools for dealing with this.

1. Concentrate on pre-race routine. Well, the 2 hour delay in our start time did that one in.

2. Breathing and relaxation exercises. Bubble, churn, urp.

3. Fear busting exercise: remind myself that fear is only a signal that I am taking a risk and challenging myself. I recognized that and congratulated myself on not being controlled by my fear. Time for a bathroom trip.

tandemhugOk, now I’m getting a little upset at myself and a little worried. I’d already seen with the rides I’d been doing in Kentucky that my heart rate was tending to run high. I didn’t have any extra beats for nerves.

What am I afraid of? That all the obstacles we’d overcome to get there would be for nothing. Bronchitis, sinusitis, neuromas, asthma, rear wheel problems, motivation problems, rental house swindlers, 21 rear-end mosquito bites, nebraska, and 2000 miles. That all the endless intervals would be for nothing. That we’d fail and let down ourselves and everyone who had helped us get there. And if you are reading this, you helped me get there. Which of you hasn’t held my hand or kicked me in the butt in the last 4 years? Without you I’d never had the confidence to call myself an athlete.

But at the very same instant I realized that I was afraid that we wouldn’t be successful, I rejected that thought. We were already successful. We had already overcome the obstacles. And I had no doubt that we were going to race as hard as we could. And all that meant that no matter what the outcome of the race, that we would be successful. And in accepting that as truth, I felt the storm in my stomach settle down.

For me, that was (almost) as big an accomplishment as winning a National Championship.


Bicycle Made For Two

June 16, 2009

By Soni Andreini Poulsen
Somewhere in California on a Bike

soni andreini poulsen

Q: Honey, what do you want to do for our wedding anniversary?

A: I don’t know, but we should do something special for our 22nd.

Q: Lets, see, here’s an ad for a wine tasting cycling tour in Napa. That sounds nice. Or here’s another one for a restaurant that does a nice job with special events in Carmel–we could get some friends together for dinner. What do you think of those?

A: None of those quite sound right, honey. Here, I found it!:

“Just a four hour drive from just about anywhere! Land of few services, no even ground to set up rollers, and freeze cracks that have swallowed many wheels and loosened countless aerobars! Yes, come to Sattley, CA! You and your sweetie can get up way too early and dine on crummy hotel breakfast food, experience the rocking porta-potties on trailers, and then ride your bike as hard as you can for about an hour! (Puking optional.)”

I love you, honey!


Actually, the conditions were about as good as they come in Sattley–cool and very very light wind. It was great to see all the friendly Bella faces. I was glad I wasn’t in the individual competition–the categories were stacked with fast fast women! I predicted the 50+ winner would beat the time of the 45+ winner, but wouldn’t go out on a limb to say who it would be. Very happy to see that it was Liz B–and she actually had the fastest time of ALL the master women!!

The tandem fields were tiny this year. Unfortunately, our competition (Tom & Bella Karin) got a flat at the turnaround. But we had a PR for the course so we were pretty happy. And I’ve been eating ever since. Except for the times that I’ve been nauseous.

Photo courtesy, Buddy Baretto. Grazie Mille!

Bunny Attacks Field of Wildcats in Canatua

March 1, 2009

371BP Cantua, California — Global warming has caused isolated weekend incidents of Bunny Attacks Coupled with a Lil Suenami destroying Wildcats’ predatory instincts in Cantua. It is a known fact that animals can sense changes in weather patterns. Saturday’s ominous weather patterns were no different. Birds scattered to protected areas, while bunnies attacked a field of wild cats in early anticipation of the incoming Suenami. Local residents say it was a band of bunnies, while conflicting witnesses say it was one lone bun. According to local weather expert Beth Welliver, “It was a self preservation instinct brought on by the barimetric pressures of the little known phenomena known as Suenami..”