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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Big Upset over Mechanics’ Super D Championship

Over last weekend various categories of mountain bikers, professional and beginner, young and old, fat and skinny all suffered alike in the pizza oven heat at Cougar Mountain in Sears Point. The NORBA national mountain bike championships were at stake.

In what many consider a great upset, Georgia Gould (Luna) rode away with the pro cross country win over the likes of Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna), and Sue Hayward (Trek), and former Olympian, Mary McConneloug.

However, what I consider the Biggest Upset was the finish for the Pro Mechanics’ Open Class Pro-Am Invitational Inaugural Classic Super-D NORBA National Championships. Our Luna Team Mechanic, Chris Mathis, was racing for all the glory.

marla streb
Chris, blue Luna shirt, placed 3rd

Now, with all the current talk of drugs and blood doping in this summer’s Tour de France, I won’t brag about how this year the Pro Mechanics OCPAIICSD was largely negative, urinewise.

Under the spacious and well-appointed Luna tent it was so hot that it felt like the sun was standing still directly over our heads. I kept glancing at the fancy LED flatscreen thingamajig that Chris hangs from one of the window bays…and the time was stuck at 1:02. And then minutes later while wiping the sweat from my mouth breathing upper lip, it dawned on me that it wasn’t the time, but the temperature! It was 102 frickin degrees!

I had just finished my Super D run, (3rd place, better luck next time). Waldek, our team masseur, was rubbing my feet with fragrant unguents, while Chris warmed up for his big race by cleaning my bike. Chris is funny like that. I prefer to warm up on a trainer, or by doing some sprints across the venue, but go figure.

Anyway, when my short travel bike was “catalog photo clean”, Chris continued his warm up for his championship race by swapping out my down hill bike with a lighter wheel set which he had to build. And, he repositioned my grips the very special and subtle way that I like them, even though I was unable to communicate clearly to him as to how…because of the heat.

And then, just as Chris was about to squeeze into his helmet, he decided it would be a good idea to tweak Dave Mac’s (our Team Director) derailleur, because Dave was tentatively planning on possibly riding from the venue to the hotel…if it cooled down enough.

I didn’t get to see Chris run off into the haze for his Le Mans start, or see his gut busting, sweat soaked, finish sprint either. By that late hour in the afternoon it was too hot for me; I was reclining in my air-conditioned hotel suite. But, since I do have a lot of Team spirit, I had asked Zeph, our second mechanic, to stand out under the cancerous sun, on top of the softening asphalt, and with his Treo take a picture of Chris’ finish…and then send me the photo.

The Big Upset part is that Zeph missed the finish because he was working on Shonny’s and Georgia’s short track bikes for Sunday’s race. All Zeph was able to manage was Chris’ podium shot.

And that was very upsetting.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Yuri's Nude Poster

My shed is an absolute mess.

A few days ago, as I was getting my racing pads and helmet together for the Jeep King of the Mountain, I tripped over a dusty cardboard box. One of its corners had been chewed by what I hoped was bright eyed and bushy tailed squirrel…and not one of the beady eyed and skinny pink tailed kind. The box was thin like a pizza box, but longer, and bound with packing tape.

I was just about to toss the box in our recycling bin when the weight of its contents shifted. Curious, I tore into the chewed up corner and out fell a few mostly pristine Yeti posters. Yes, the nude posters. I thought every last one of them was hanging on some grimy bike shop wall or on the back an underachiever's dorm room door.

What am I going to do with these, I thought. Most of the sponsors have changed…(my hair color is naturally the same though). I took them out of their box and slid them under our bed and then I sat down on our stained concrete floor fiddling with my cleats. My mind drifted from those posters and I began to visualize landing that nettlesome double-double in the King of the Mountain event.

Between the practice and seeding run, I was killing time on my TREO looking at e-mail. One read:

“…On August 26th, there will be a poolside barbecue with an auction which will feature a custom made-to-measure Soulcraft frame, tons of bike gear donated by local shops and sponsors, wine, a ranch brunch and ride, and many other items. The auction is a fundraiser to send Yuri Hauswald to the Solo 24 Hour Race World Championships in Georgia, the site of the 1996 Olympic Mountain Biking Course in Georgia…”

marla streb
Anyone want to bid on a poster?

Yuri, an old riding friend of mine, is a relative new-comer to the sport of ultra-endurance mountain biking. A third grade teacher by day, Yuri worked his way up to the semi-pro field during the last ten years with consistently strong placings. At the 24 Hours of Adrenalin at Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, Yuri climbed more than 27,000 vertical feet and won the race, qualifying him for the Worlds!

So I figured I'll try to auction off a framed, very limited availability, poster of a chick riding naked on a bike.

For directions and an invitation to the Pool Party contact Yuri at

Anyone want to bid on the poster?

Hopefully the bids go higher than what I did on that double-double at the KOM.