Riding with Taylor

March 21, 2008

Today, I rode to the top of this mountain in Santa Barbara called Gibraltar (or at least that's the name of the road that goes to the top of the Santa Ynez mountain) and it was a pretty good ride up there, but best of all was that at the very top there was a dude with a full drum set jamming out while looking out at the ocean. It was pretty wild to hear live music at the top of a mountain where I hadn't seen anyone, but another biker and one white sedan with a family that was taking photos.

He was just up there all by himself banging away on his snare, cymbals, bass drum and all the other little drums, wearing only khaki shorts and a big hat (not a cowboy hat, but something similar). He was just jamming... not a bad surprise to be greeted with after riding sup a mountain.

While I was riding along the ridge I was thinking about how cool it is to be able to move through biospheres while you go up in elevation. Don't get me wrong, but the palm trees down by the coast in Santa Barbara really start to wear on me, so it was good to see pine trees up there instead. I actually can't stand palm trees at all. I don't know why, but I think they are so dumb looking and kind of a waste of a tree. I know they are native to the area and all and I should appreciate them while I stay in California, but I just really don't like how they are this big tall trunk with a tuft at the top. Big and tall is cool, like the Redwoods up in Northern California, but the tuft is what gets me.

Speaking of Redwoods, I have really been having a fantastic month of March and it all started with training camp up in Palo Alto, California, with my Webcor Builders cycling team. The rest of the team had all met and raced over in Australia and New Zealand already (with some stellar results – Kathryn Mattis won the first World Cup of the year and several of my other team-mates posted notable results in the Tour of New Zealand and the Geelong Tour), but this was my first exposure to the team as a whole. I'll tell you honestly, I was pretty nervous driving up to camp to meet everyone since I hardly knew anyone on the team all that well. But man, I really think this team is great. We have so much talent on the team with four Olympic hopefuls and a staff made of gold. In addition, the team has quite a few young riders, which is a nice change for me from previous years of racing when I was usually the youngest. The personalities are great and racing-wise I'm confident we're going have a fabulous year.

After the camp, which ended in San Luis Obispo as we visited the Voler factory and got to see how our riding clothes were produced start to finish, I rode my bike five blocks home to my house in San Luis Obispo. I was able to hang out with my racing team out of Chicago, XXX Racing, while I was home as they were in San Luis for their team training camp. XXX Racing was the team that got me started racing when I was a junior and I got to see all my old friends on the team. Really good crew of individuals in my opinion, so I was psyched to see them and hear stories about how cold it is at home!

Sadly, I have now ended my days in San Luis Obispo and I am staying with my friends in Carpinteria, California, until my first race of the year in Redlands. Like I've said before, this is the spot to be for rehabbing from my back injury so its good to now be permanently in the Santa Barbara area so that I can visit with my physical therapist and dear friend, Diana Palmer, as often as needed.

Plus, I now have a new addition to my treatment here with chiropractic care from Dr. Steve Sherwin at the Healing Loft on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. Steve, a cyclist himself, has been helping me and my buddy Jesse. He is cracking our backs and doing a really unique treatment in conjunction with muscle testing and spinal analysis. Good care is going a long way as I am having less and less problems with my back. Sure, I still have a bad day here and there, but I've finally been able to get some good mountain training in and put out some efforts at intensity. Diana's care in particular has been infectious, as she has been taking me to watch polo games and play with the horses along with my exercises, electric stimulation and ultra sound up at Westmont College.

Lastly, I have to share this or else you will wonder why I named this entry "Riding with Taylor" and I don't believe in leaving people hanging: I got my new bike at the end of last month, a stellar 2008 Orbea Orca, complete with "Go Green" stickers on it to promote Webcor's environmental stance as a team and company. The bike was so cool that I had to name it, which is pretty ridiculous, I know... but... its name is Taylor Swift, like the country singer and I wrote it a poem based on some of the real Taylor Swift's lyrics:

I don't think the passenger seat
Has ever looked so good to me...

Yes I could tell you
His favourite colour's green...

First thought when I wake up is
My God, he's beautiful...

Stay beautiful

So yeah, cheesy as hell, but its fitting, so give me slack, not flack. Okay, I have to get back to watching Family Guy now. Bye!

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Follow the program's young female cyclists as they embark on their journey to the top of the pro ranks

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes.

The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary. For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website.