Archive for the ‘Photo Gallery’ Category:


Carmel Beach Wave, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Okay, totally corny, but the first time I saw the ocean, I cried.

And I don’t cry.

I was about 11 years old. We had just moved to Seaside from Munich. For whatever strange reason, we landed in NYC and drove across the country. I don’t remember much from the back seat of that Dodge Polara. Just a bunch of cornfields and nothingness and Holiday Inns.

But I do remember very clearly the first time we drove down Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean came into view.

I remember it was sparkly. And it stretched to forever. And it was the most magnificent thing I had ever seen. And when I realized that I was going to be living near it, I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry.

To this day I have no idea where those feelings came from. I don’t believe in past lives or anything, but something inside my little 11 year old soul felt like it was coming home.

September 18th, 2009 / 4 Comments » / by sabine

Not Going Gentle

Morning Ride, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.


I have been following Fat Cyclist’s blog for several years now. He has an honest, refreshing, self deprecating and joyful way of writing about his passion for mountain biking that make his blog a fun read.

Almost two year’s ago, his wife’s breast cancer came back.

Elden continued to write, but more and more often, the stories were about his wife’s fight. They were written with the same easy style and candor, except this time the words were not for the love for his bike, but the love for his wife and the concern for his children.

And we knew when he was overwhelmed, frustrated, relieved, and angry.

I screamed “fuck cancer!” with him.

I cried.

I donated.

Somehow, across the country, I and many more like me were touched by Elden’s passion.

Yesterday night, Susan died.

Yesterday night, I giggled like a 6 year old down some sweet illegal singletrack.

Win, Susan.

August 6th, 2009 / 1 Comment » / by sabine

Don’t you DARE tell anyone

Touching Down, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

There is that moment when deer-eyed confusion gives way to narrow-eyed understanding.

And that moment is almost overwhelming in its ability to shatter everything you thought you knew while simultaneously answering all your questions.

But if you hang on tight to who you are, there is peace on the other side.

July 17th, 2009 / 9 Comments » / by sabine

Poppy Dance

Poppy Dance, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Another from the crackberry taken this spring and i am finally getting around to posting it.

This one is my backdrop on the phone. It makes me happy. It also makes me happy to be posting photos again.

Might even revive the old blog and fire up the printer.

I mean, I am feeling a little frisky…

June 23rd, 2009 / 1 Comment » / by sabine

More Lameness on this Blog

Moss Landing Sand Blast, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I said earlier that you can tell I am getting fit, by the sorry condition of my house and car.

I guess I can add the state of my blog to that as well.

It sure is getting harder to juggle everything. When I really focus on work, exercise suffers, when I stop exercising, the house is better, but I am unhappy. Well, whatchya gonna do?

And it doesn’t help that I have added two more sports to my life. I currently have 4 backpacks rolling around in my car: cycling clothes, swim thiingies, gym clothes and camera stuff. Needless to say, my car looks like crap and the chaos freaks me out sometimes.

But I rode in the sun today, and will bust a lung in swimming tonight and maybe take another 5 seconds off my 100 time. I am stretching enough that I can finally touch my toes. I am up to 20 pushups and can probably crack walnuts with my abs.

So there.

February 19th, 2009 / 8 Comments » / by sabine

Back to Work

Back to Work, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Ohmigawsh! What a gorgeous day it was in NorCal today. Whoever ordered up this weather for my birthday, thank you! Much appreciated.

This is the vista I get at the end of my little lunch loop. I work down in that valley below, but today, it was more tempting than normal, to skip the valley and keep pedaling in the hills.

If you wanna geek out for a bit, you can check out my lunch loop here, complete with geotagged pics:
Lunch ride at Harvey Bear

This ride normally takes only 45 minutes, but I dawdled today. A lot.

It was a good day for dawdling.

January 13th, 2009 / 5 Comments » / by sabine

Drive By Vineyard

Drive By Vineyard, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I had my real camera with me in the car this morning. I really really should have stopped.

Too bad my job isn’t to drive/ride/walk around looking for lovely things.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

December 23rd, 2008 / 3 Comments » / by sabine

Race leader

Race leader, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I just haven’t been feeling the photography thing lately. Not having access to a way to post process my pics takes all the fun away. Especially for the way I like making the pics.

I headed out to a cross race with my crackberry with the intention of snapping a few pics and tweeting them real time to anyone who cares. And yes, I said tweeting.

The nice thing about crackberry pics is they are usually so bad I don’t really care about what I take. I just click away. But after a bit that photography buzz hit. You know that feeling when you really “see” the scene and a way to capture it. Its like being in the zone or something. And you just get all hyper and excited by what you see both in front of you and on the screen.

Anyway, it was fun. Almost as much as racing. Maybe.

More Crackberry Cross here

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

December 22nd, 2008 / 5 Comments » / by sabine


Defects, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

My crackberry phone has this weird camera defect that makes starburst thingies when light hits it.


I love imperfections.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

December 5th, 2008 / 6 Comments » / by sabine

Early Riser

Early Riser, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I gotta remember to get up earlier in the mornings. But I am not a morning person.

If I got up earlier though, I might have a little time to stop and pull out my camera when I see something cool during my commute (which happens all the time because I live in an amazing place).

Instead, I roll down my window, aim my crackberry, swerve, piss off the people behind me and snap a pic. And I tell myself, tomorrow I will for sure get up early.

And yes Steve, I gave in and used the Flickr to blog. There goes the neighborhood.

December 3rd, 2008 / 3 Comments » / by sabine

Can’t Katch Up

Bear Creek Aspens, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I was too busy before our Ketchum trip, too busy during, and now too busy afterwards to get a decent post going.

Hopefully soon…

In the meantime, enjoy the Aspens

October 4th, 2008 / 3 Comments » / by sabine

Don’t Look Up

Under the Redwoods, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Haven’t posted in a few days because I have been busy whining about my recovery.

Things were going fine. A little too slow for my liking, but I was mostly coping.

Then I went and picked blackberries.

Picking blackberries in my yard is just about my favorite thing to do. Its calming and its fulfilling and I get to eat sweet blackberries grown without any water or attention or effort on my part.

And the blackberry part was all cool, but after I was done I went in my little garden shed (which since I dont garden I should just call a shed) . The garden shed features a doorway thats about 5’5″ tall. I am 5’7″ tall and sure as shit, I smacked the hell out of my forehead on the way out.

I could hear my doctor’s words ringing in my ears….”just don’t hurt your head again while you heal”.

And of course, I am back to being as dizzy as I was several weeks ago.

Just to make certain I didn’t do anything dangerous to myself, I went to see a neurologist. He gave me lots of tests. It was sort of like a combination of a DUI and a high school equivalency test.

I had to touch my nose, walk in a straight line. I almost launched into that 5-4-3-2-2-3-4-5 thing on the fingers out of habit (you guys who know that know who you are….).

But then the doc asked me to spell “world” backwards.




then I wrote the word with my finger in the air in front of me.

d..l…r…ow !

I have no idea if I got demerits for spelling it in the air, but I was pretty pleased with myself.

Next, the doctor asked me what 17 times 3 was. I totally thought he was kidding…who knows what that is just in their heads? I sure don’t, even without a concussion. Give me a ten-key dammit. Or an excel spreadsheet.

But he was quite serious and he started to look really concerned and worried so I scrambled for an answer. 17……..


17 is a stupid number. 20 is better.

Aha! 20 times 3 equals 60. And 60 minus 9 is

I said this calculation out loud, so I probably got more demerits.

I was worried that I was going to have to do trigonometry or that isoceles triangle theorem thing or something next, but he seemed satisfied.

The final test involved the little mallet and a tuning fork. For real, a tuning fork. He pulled it right out of his little black bag. I had no idea doctors still used tuning forks or little black bags. He bopped me with the mallet and dinged me with the fork. Stuffed it all back into the little black bag, And said my brain seemed fine and that I would just have to be patient and wait for the concussion to heal.

Which could take several months.

Waaaahhhh..months? But what if I get stuck like this? waaaaahh.

Fortunately, I am part of an awesome team of cyclists (who bang their heads a lot it seems!) and I asked them to share their concussion stories…and something about hearing similar stories, just made me feel so much better.

Well, that and Tracie’s yummy peanut butter cupcakes.

August 10th, 2008 / 13 Comments » / by sabine

Forest for the Trees

Forest for the Trees, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes (be back soon).


Welcome to my new blog!

Bella babble is gone. Time to seperate myself from so much bellaness. Plus, there was just no place for me on the new Bella site. As it should be.

And, with me laid up on the couch, I had a little time to put together my new personal site. However, I am still feeling the effects of the concussion, so there’s no warranty on this place. It could come crashing down any moment and probably looks terrible in any browser except IE7. I am blaming all my failings right now on the concussion.

When I think back on the crash, the bonk to the head is what keeps me awake at nights. The broken ribs are a real pain, the broken collarbone an expensive annoyance…but a bonk to the head is scary stuff. I wasted too many brain cells in my youth and can’t really afford to lose any more.

I have come to LOVE racing on the track…but have no idea if I will be able to get back into it like before. I feel like a jilted lover. I had no idea the track could do this to me and if I can ever trust again.

Maybe its time for long lovely mountain bike rides. Somehow, the relief to my soul, always comes in the mountains.


In other news, I hope to be offering prints for sale on this site. Look for info on that soon!

Be sure to check out the slideshow on the sidebar over there —> . It contains photos from some of my Flickr contacts and there is some wonderful stuff being created out there.

What else, oh, for you facebookers, there is a feed of facebook status thingies down there. So, thats nice.

Okay, see you out there.

July 21st, 2008 / 17 Comments » / by sabine

Almost done

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Fast Freddie, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes .


Thank goodness I am almost done. I’ve just about saturated my brain with css and php and wtf. And I’m getting antsy for some picture making.

June 28th, 2008 / 5 Comments » / by sabine


Sabine Dukes.

This is Vernon. Or at least thats what his Staples name badge read.

Vernon was kicking back at Love Park, when quite suddenly a bunch of cyclists, tv cameras, photographers, and local somebodys invaded the corner of the park he was kicking back at.

People were running around taking pictures and doing the rah rah thing and going back and forth and stepping over his feet and standing right in front of him. And then Ina spoke and Freddie talked, and kittens giggled, and a band played.

Vernon looked pretty irritated by it all. Curious, but irritated. Who were these people that just came in all loud and colorful and messing up a proper Staples lunch break?

And then, just as suddenly as they arrived, the cacophony of cyclists and the media left. All was quiet. And Vernon was still there.

I can totally relate to Vernon.

June 12th, 2008 / 6 Comments » / by sabine

This Old House

My Barn, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.


I got my car insurance renewal paperwork in the mail the other day, and it said I qualify for a new discount because I have 25 years of driving experience.

25 years?

I flipped the letter around to make certain it really was addressed to me.

Then I got on the 10key just to be extra sure.

41-25 = 16

I am too young to have 25 years experience doing anything. I’m not even really an adult yet.

I am not usually one to be hung up on age, and mostly its not something I think about. And 41 really is still young.

But sometimes I am reminded in ways I’d rather not be reminded. Like the other day I went to get my eyebrows waxed. And I am like most of you bike racer types, getting my eyebrows waxed is not high on the priority list and its probably been a few years since the last one.

So I am laying on the table and the estetician is putting the wax on (this is the part before the part that hurts). I notice that she is also putting the wax waaaay up on my forehead. Not just my brow, but my forehead. Maybe she’s thorough, I think. Or maybe….maybe I have brows on my forehead.

I asked myself out loud “since when did my eyebrows start growing out of my forehead?” And the estetician sweetly responds that its normal for that to happen as we age.

So there’s that. Brittle bones and eyebrows on our foreheads.

June 4th, 2008 / 14 Comments » / by sabine


Evening in the Apple Orchard, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I get to go home today!


On Thursday, after evacuating out the kitties, I spent some time just hanging around the Corralitos “center”. Most of the residents were there. I had someplace to go, as did most others there, but we all just hung around near town instead.

And each time I came back to my neighborhood during the evacuation I did the same thing. Just sort of stood around town. I wasn’t alone in this on those days either.

And, while I was worried about the fire, mostly I was distressed that I could not go home. My home.

There is nothing material in my home that I am so fond of that I would be devastated to lose. I’d be bummed to lose any bikes, but even that, with the right insurance, is just an inconvenience. Yes, if my home had burned down it would have been a HUGE inconvenience, but thats all it would have been.

What would have bothered me more, would be not being able to go home.

I was talking to this woman who was also loitering around Corralitos. She said, “I don’t mean to be cavalier, but I don’t worry about my house burning down. I would gladly hand over my house and all my possessions to have my two children who are in Iraq returned home safely. I would give up my house, to have them home”.


Thanks everyone for all the concern. I really am lucky. And not because the fire missed my house, but because I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

It meant everything to me to have my friends calling and offering room in their homes, or space in their trucks, or just a shoulder to lean against. That reminder of how fortunate I am was a shot in the arm as much as a kick in the pants. I love you guys.

May 27th, 2008 / 14 Comments » / by sabine

The Simple Things

Fire Leaf, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Today I realized that I have no idea what I want to do today.

I mean, what did *I* really want to do. Without thinking about anyone else, just plain ol me.

And I want to go to the track.

Which is a little too early after Kern for such nonsense, but what the hell.

And on Friday, I will have some teammates at the track for the Friday Night Races. They are my Kern teammates. The ones who went to hell and put flair on the beast. Watch out Shelly because we are bad ass!

I had a Big Gulp today. Extra ice.

This post is lame. But I like the picture.

May 20th, 2008 / 5 Comments » / by sabine

To Hell and Back

Well, we survived another Kern.

It was truly a trip to hell and back in all meanings of the phrase.

Its good to be back. I mean, really back.


This was without a doubt the toughest Kern I have ever tried to complete. I kept going through sheer willpower and the generousity of my friends. They kept me giggling and motivated. I think Laura kept losing stuff like her shoes and race number, just to keep me entertained and distracted. What a pal!

The first day was like riding straight into a blow dryer, I lack the words to describe how it felt. I just remember thinking that this wind is not earthly. People are not supposed to survive something like this. Why are we racing in it? It scared me and I stopped racing in it. I am impressed by those who could push through such a thing, but I think you are crazy.

The morning of the second day was fun fun fun. Bella magic all over the place. Have I mentioned that I love my teammates?

The afternoon was another story. I set out on that stupid hillclimb with a heart heavier than those big ass motocross tires on my Dawg. As soon as it got hard, I wanted to stop. Linda and Andrea patiently tried to keep me motivated but I had pretty much given up. I told them to go on ahead. And I got off my bike. I envisioned the ripping off of the number that happens in a tour and how sad the riders look when that happens.

Then I dumped a bunch of water on my head, took a few breaths and got back on my bike. I repeated this a few times until I finally made up my mind to finish. And so I did and I saw Lorri calmly helping a new racer decide whether to finish or not. (They did!) And I heard Bob’s clarinet and I rode the longest 1 K ever and finished and ate watermelon until I got sick.

A Velo Girl was at the top eating watermelon too and she just looked at me and said “that was hard”. Yeah, sister, you ain’t lying. And I told myself I would take it easy down the tricky debris scattered climb, but let go of the brakes anyway.

Sunday was good. We had a cool new venue and Tyler and Barret set up our bella camp. Our home away from home. The race went well, but I was not really a part of it. I fell off and came back about 6 times and just could not do it a 7th time.

The team was remarkable. Erika didn’t want the responsibility, and Sue was there to help on that end. They made quite the climbing pair. Laura is the fighter. Don’t let that smile fool you. She’s nails. Andrea is rock solid and its like she’s been on our team forever. And Linda, Linda is our guidelight.

I was more weight than help. In fact they all helped me more than I helped them. But sometimes its good to let your friends help you.

And Laurie Simonson stole my red lantern.


The pic up above is one of two very large traffic delays on the way home. That was almost harder than any of the stages.

May 19th, 2008 / 25 Comments » / by sabine

Hear me Roar?

Daydream Wanderlust, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Is it possible to feel both chaotic despair and to feel at peace?

Proving your own strength of spirit is a powerful lift. The self doubts aren’t really self doubts. Not when you can climb mountains.

May 18th, 2008 / 5 Comments » / by sabine

Paint a Pretty Picture

I don’t think I can.

May 16th, 2008 / 2 Comments » / by sabine

Hellyer Hack

Chariot Start, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I wasn’t going to go to the track tonight. I’m just stupid tired right now.

Last night, after our races, I just sat around like zombified mosquito bait, waiting for Michael’s races to finish. I had the total droopies as I drove home. I almost called Michael so that I would wake up, but I was almost home and wouldn’t have a cell signal and figured I could fight it off. blah blah blah.

And then I fell asleep.



Luckily nothing much happened, but it very well could have and I know we have all been there before, but it doesn’t make any less irresponsible of me to not have pulled over. I vow to never let that happen again, and I am writing it here so I will remember and hold myself to it.

Okay, enough of the self flagellation (at least until I get to the track tonight).

So, last night, after the first race, my throat felt like someone rubbed it with 20 grit. I could hardly talk. Then when I could finally talk, the hacking started.

Track Hack

If you have not yet experienced track hack, you are missing out on some fun times. I started to get a little anxious about my hack, when I noticed everyone around me had the dreaded coughies. Even 12 year old Dylan (who is awesome by the way!) was coughing up a storm.

Must have been something in the air.

And I am thinking about going back tonight. Although I am super tired, I noticed that a SNOWBALL race is on the schedule, and that sounds like too much fun to miss. Maybe Beth can do my math for me.


The pic above is from the Chariot races last Wednesday (note the lack of actual chariots and roman gods). Check out Gio’s throw of Alicia! He was so into it that he threw her right into Jenny. But these girls are so pro that they just rode it off. (Notice Jenny’s calm face compared to MIchael’s “oh shit” face). This was the final heat of the races. Jenny and Alicia finished 1-2 in the heat right before this.

May 14th, 2008 / 8 Comments » / by sabine


Sunset Monday, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

After my awesome night of racing at the Larry Nolan Tuesday Night World points championships, I headed back for more on Wednesday.

The night started off with chariot races. I don’t like these chariot races because there are neither chariots nor half nekkid romans involved. Its just a one lap sprint. Go, bell, finish, thanks for coming.

And thats pretty much how my race went. Even though I pulled and pushed and grunted, by the time I got on top of my gear, all the other chariots were long gone.

And the rest of the night, I just could not get on top of that damn gear. So I told Michael that I probably need something smaller than my 88 for Wednesday nights.

Thats when he told me I did not have an 88, but a 92. A 92.6 to be more exact. Thats a Jaques-Maynesian gear. All this time I have been pushing around a humongo gear.

So, on Friday, I decided to try Michael’s gear, an 86. It was the first of the Friday night races and I wasn’t expecting much of my racing efforts, but my friends were there and the music (that I worked so hard on thankyouverymuch) was playing and Michael was announcing and well, I wanted to at least give a good show.

I thought with my new fancy lower gear I could do that.

But then, in my race, I pedaled and pedaled and didn’t go anywhere. It was a wierd feeling. Like in one of those chase dreams where you run, but you don’t really run. It felt like that. And slowly the pack just drifted away from me and left me in their wake, a spinning fool.

So, I suppose I should keep that small gear on and practice my spin and get my foot speed up. But I say that spinning is for people without butts. I have a butt and I have quads bigger than Beth’ what the hell do I need to spin for?

May 13th, 2008 / 10 Comments » / by sabine

Existst,,,wha huh?

Into the Grassy Sea, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I am having one of those days where i think too much. And maybe blogging will make it stop.

You ever have a moment where you are slapped with such clarity of thought, that it threatens to just make you implode or something?

So, I was walking in to work, when I spotted a little bird gathering up twiggly things for its nest. And I made some kind of comment to the bird about how it looks like were are both going to work. The bird flew off with its twigglies and I opened the door to our offices.

And the receptionist said hello and then BAM it just hit me.

What the F am I doing? What the F are any of us doing? Life is so fleeting and we humans burn it up doing these strange tasks and getting all pent up about minutae of stuff, that when you put it into universal persepctive, is laughably inconsequential.

The little birdy has it easy. Eat to be strong enough to have sex and make nests and feed little birdys. Not that I think we should just hang out and eat and have sex all day….(Do I smell a new religion?).

But we have the amazing power of awareness of our situation (religious beliefs notwithstanding) and what do we do with that awareness? We put staples in papers and file them in drawers and wash our windows and collect little spoons from tourist shops.

It just seems so….flat. And I don’t mean that we should all go out and devote ourselves to some cause, because even that kind of stuff is “meh” in the scope of the universe.

Maybe this is philosophical crap that people without kids engage in. Maybe we are so wired to populate, that when we don’t, some part of our brain is sort of freaked out by our lack of purpose.

Maybe that explains my opossum dream last night.

I dreamt that I rescued this really dirty and ugly (is there any other kind) opossum. And it became all domesticated and a pet like a cat or something. But I was a little embarrased that my cat was a dirty opossum. And then it sort of morphed into a baby, but it was still an opossum. I was trying to convince these other people that it was totally cool to have a dirty opossum instead of a baby, when the opossum peed all over me.

But I am digressing.

And hungry. I think someone brought in bagels.

May 9th, 2008 / 8 Comments » / by sabine

Track Nights

Track Night, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I feel like its been forever since I blogged.

I mean really blogged. Not just dumping a picture and splashing a few words up to accompany it.

Its like my brain can only do either pictures or words, but not both.

But today I feel like blogging because I actually raced last night. I mean really raced. Where I tried and everything. And I haven’t done that in a while.

Us women folk got our own race last night (well a couple of guys and an awesome junior did join us too). I like when we get our own race. Not that I don’t like racing with the men and all, but damn if they don’t chase any little attack.

And I like to attack.

When I first started racing again this season (after zilcho training and nothing but easy rides for the past 5 months), I had about 3 minutes of fitness. One attack would spend me for the night.

Last night I was able to launch about 7-8 attacks and didn’t get spent until about the 7th one. Yay!

Erika and Linda were there again and I love racing with them. In the first race, Erika and I traded attacks. Erika ended up in the one that stuck. So with three up the road, there were only points for one in our chase group. Since I was not pulling, I decided not to sprint for them. Instead, I wanted to try and bridge up without pulling the pack.

I tried to get away a few times, but Ileana and a woman visiting from Ttown kept me on a short leash. Then I noticed that Erika’s break caught up to the pack (who were behind us). And I remember the quirky rules of points racing. Of all the things I have done at the track lately, remembering this in the midst of the frenzy of a race is one of the things I’m most proud of!

Now, our chase group was the lead pack and full points were on the line. So I went for them, but goddamn that Ileana has some top end acceleration and I got nipped. But I also noticed how tired she was after the effort.

Then somehow Erika’s group became the lead group again, except they were now four since a lapped rider joined them. That meant no points for us. (Is your mind whirring yet?) But my chase mates did not know that, so they sprinted and I rode their wheels. Then I did a most evil thing and attacked after they sprinted.

I tried like crazy to catch up to Erika’s group, but it just did not happen. I did stay away for the remainder of the race, but it didn’t earn me any points so I have no idea why I tried except that it felt kinda good.

Between races, Erika said “let’s do some team tactics this time”

Uh…I thought that was what we were doing. But she said she wanted to do something different. What she really wanted was to not be in the lead break. And I got to find out why in the second race. That shit is hard.

On the second lap of the next race, I took a little pull up front. I was just pulling along all innocent like, when I looked behind me and saw I had a gap. I was confused, but decided to just take it and I took off.

After a lap, I looked back and I had an even bigger gap. Well cool, and well, crap. Cool because thats racing and crap because thats hard. Larry and Holloway’s mom were telling me to keep going for it because bell lap was coming up. And, I had never ever won any bell lap in a points race yet. So I went for it and got my first 5 points. Yay for me.

Then Larry told me to keep going. So I did. Which was pretty much a silly thing as that put my laps alone out there at about 13 if you count the race prior.

Fortunately, Ali and Beth bridged up to me at some point. And I remember seeing Erika and Ileana there but I have no idea what happened to them. Maybe they were a mirage.

Unfortunately Ali and Beth had carpool bonding going on. The next few laps were spent getting worked over by the both of them. It was too much fun. Beth was doing tactical shit. I was so tired, but I had to laugh. And I was sort of flattered to because if you have to do tactical shit to me, then that means I am part of the race.

Kind of like how I liked it when the guys at hockey would check me.

So, Beth held me up while Ali attacked for a sprint lap. And then the two of us sprinted for the 2nd place points. I was totally wiped out before the sprint, but in all the times we have raced together, I have never been in a position to actually sprint against Beth, so I just had to go for it.

I think she was just teasing me though, because she did the most evil thing you can do in a points race, and attacked me after that sprint. Karma, on the track, is very quick.

Her and Ali rode off and lapped the field. Which of course made me leader on the road. I, thought that maybe the last sprint would be a brownie prime and I figured it was worth the 15 points to win some brownies. So I rode it in and scooped up my second ever points race lap win. But alas, no brownies!

Crap, I’m late for Wednesday night track….gotta run…

May 8th, 2008 / 16 Comments » / by sabine


The Real Otter, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Well shoot.

I’m glad thats over with.

I’m pretty much over the whole wind thing.

This was, however, one of my favoritest otters in memory. I think because we took it easy and let go. Although Laura did achieve perfection a few times.

And I think some folks raced.

But mostly we just got drunk in the back of a Uhaul.

I’m putting otter pictures up here.

April 24th, 2008 / 7 Comments » / by sabine

Cool down

Carmel Beach Wave, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Oy…what a weekend.

Seeing Michael in the throes of heat exhaustion was a wee bit scary. He is not allowed to do that ever again.

That was hard.

It also hard to fake your way through a stage race. I mean, faking it in a 15 minute points race is one thing…faking it in multiple days of racing in the heat is another.

I had lots of fun though. Our team really is special. Its not so much the racing as getting together with fun-minded folks and playing like a bunch of silly kids (who drink wine).

Now its Monday and the weather has cooled and already it seems like the weekend was some funny dream or something.


Here’s a little Happy Monday video

April 14th, 2008 / 6 Comments » / by sabine

Jumping off the spectator wall

I just registered for a race.

It was all the talk of planning which restaurant to go to that did me in.

Last week, all I heard about was the ice cream at Hanford.

We bellas have our racing priorities figured out just right. And so, that makes me want to race.

How much training do you think I can get in between now and Friday?

April 8th, 2008 / 16 Comments » / by sabine

Live from the Poop Trails

Camphone 26, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I have to maximize my lunch time riding time, which means, I only have time for a euro shower before returning to work.

So, that means, I could very well have little driplets of cow poop still stuck to me somewhere as I type this.

There is this one section of trail, that as long as no one is coming in the other direction, I like to hit at super fast speeds. As so, I did that today, but then found myself headed straight for a big ol pileopoop. Kerplush.

At least I am not afraid of the cows at Harvey Bear anymore. Even the ones who try to be all badass and stand in front of me and try to punk me and stuff. Its all bluff. I just give them a hearty “heeya!” and they scamper. Thats right, I made those cows my bitch. (says the lady who shops for orthopedic shoes)

But I am afraid of some things at Harvey Bear. Three things actually:

1. Mountain lions (for obvious reasons)
2. Ticks (ewwwwwwww!)
3. Mama pigs

Kenny and I were riding down one of the Harvey Bear trails last Friday. We had just finished showing those cows who was boss, when we spotted a little calf about to cross the trail. It was the ugliest calf I had ever seen. And, it didn’t scamper to our Heeyahs. Instead, it squared its shoulders to us and stood its ground.

Thats when I realized, it wasn’t an ugly calf, but an ugly wild pig. I didn’t take a picture, but I found one on the internet that looks EXACTLY like the pig we saw.

And when I saw how this pig was holding her ground against us, I knew what that meant. I told Kenny, “we better back up…slowly and calmly”. I think we took two small calm steps back, and the pig took one step towards us, and then we ran back up the hill. Kenny might have even screamed. Can’t remember.

Once we backed up, the pig started to cross the trail, and sure enough, right behind her were 5 or 6 wee little ugly pigs. They were sooo uglycute. Their little pig tails stuck straight out behind them and their little pig hair was all wiry and piggly.

We waited a good and long time before we finished our ride down the trail…just in case. But at least we lived to tell the tale.


So, sort of a side story. In my search for a pic of a “wild boar” I had to sift through endless pictures of guys posing with dead boars, with the mouth all open so you can see the tusks. I mean, endless pictures of this. Why do men like to pose with dead animals like that? Just wonderin.


I think my Sidi mtb shoes are the culprit by the way….this is very sad.

April 2nd, 2008 / 9 Comments » / by sabine


Camphone 25, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I have turned into a mountain bikeaholic

The Bucolic bikeaholic.

I seriously can’t get enough of it. My days are spent either mountain bike riding, or planning my next mountain bike ride.

Even riding sploosh splash right through a giant wet pile of cow poop can’t undermine my enthusiasm. (although it does make me wonder what in the world those Harvey bear cows are eating thats given them all the runs)

So, yeah…I won’t be at Copperopolis this year.


March 21st, 2008 / 12 Comments » / by sabine


Camphone 22, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

My laptop is dead…long live my laptop.

Well, less than 24 hours after learning that my laptop would be an expensive fix (i’ve been wanting a new one anyway because all the photo editing has been stretching it the hilt) I bought a new laptop.

I researched, read reviews, comparison shopped, and plunked down the cash within 24 hours!

Thats a new record for me. I don’t make these decisions easily. I usually have to ferret out every piece of information on the subject possible and twist and turn the data and do various scenario analysis and then change my mind 37 times.

But, not having a laptop was a serious hitch in my life. I was motivated. The computer on my desk has spider webs. Thats because sitting at a desk longer than absolutely necessary sucks ass.

I do all my surfing, emailing and photo-ing in 4 places: bed, couch, patio, hotel room.

So I got all impulsive and bought a new one.

And now I am questioning my hasty decision.

Because I did not buy a laptop. Not unless you count Andre the Giant’s lap in the assessment. Its more like a suitcase computer. This thing is HUUUUGE. Michael warned me not to pick it up by the monitor (which probably led to the early demise of my old computer) and my new computer weighs so much that it would give me a hernia to even try.

And I hate Windows Vista.

And stupid controls that don’t let you see hidden files.

And moving the backspace and delete key to new places.

But I LOVE that big ol mackdaddy 17″ widescreen monitor. Not as much as I love chocolate, or Michael, or beer (not necessarily in that order), but its up there.

March 19th, 2008 / 21 Comments » / by sabine

Back from the Valley

Slice of the Valley, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I did have some pics from the NRC action in Visalia this weekend, but my Dell just died. I managed to get this one up before it happened. So, you will just have to use your imagination for the race action.

This was the first time in a bit, that I have traveled to a race where I was neither racing, nor had bellas who were racing. I must admit, that I felt a bit out of place, not really belonging. And the race director for Visalia did not make things any better when she gave me one of those passively aggressive “And you ARE….?” questions when I lined up at their free pasta feed thingie.

No, seriously, she did that. As if I came to mooch on her food. And the thing is, I really didn’t know how to answer her question. In either a philosophical sense or literal sense. So I told her I was with Velo Bella, (who had no one racing this event), and she sort of reluctantly let the matter slide. And I helped myself to an extra portion of garlic bread.

However, what going to the event unencumbered did for me, was allow me to step back and be an observor. And I saw some cool stuff. I saw some ugly stuff, but I mostly saw some cool stuff.

The ugly stuff, I am going to ignore for now…but I if I find a soapbox around later, I might have to step up on it for a bit.

Now, on to the good stuff.

*Watching Ben J-M win the tt. Ben is dictionary efficiency on his bike. Nothing, nothing moves except those two hugely calved pistons. The same thing happens on the track when he gets in a groove. Its worth coming out to the track just to watch. Of course, I am a little biased because Ben is my neighbor and his wife is a bella, who also happened to help straighten Michael out a little.

*Watching Laura Van Gilder KILL IT in the time trial. She is not a tt specialist, especially for a long one like at Visalia. And she had a good shot at winning the next day at the crit, so you could easily forgive her for slacking a bit on the tt. But she does the opposite. She was attacking that TT and just forcing herself up those climbs. Damn..wish I had my photos for this cuz I have this great shot of her stomping up the final climb. And she’s like two years older than me! She’s just an awesomely strong woman who loves racing her bike.

*Brooke Miller’s sprint smile. I always knew she smiled when she won a sprint. But she also smiles when she’s second. She was trying so hard to overtake Ina. (Yes, I said overtake Ina, as if) And you could see that moment when she realized it was just not going to happen, and she broke out in a huge smile that seemed to note and respect just how awesome Ina is.

*Ina is awesome.

*The TIBCO leadout train. Wow. Its early in the season and this team is already turning heads with one of the most amazing lead out trains I have seen in a while in women’s cycling. In fact, I don’t think I have seen something that impressive since the Saturn days. That speaks volumes about the strength and chemistry of this team. They owned the last two laps of that race even though they were down a few riders. Lauren in particular used her sprinter’s timing to deliver Brooke (if you get a chance, check out the last two laps in the video on IBN sports)

*Seeing Vanderkitten at the races. Yes, I have a bias towards kitties and Dave, but I could not help but notice how the Vanderkitten kits turned the heads of the young girls in the crowds.

*Knowing that Aarons and VAC both did school visits. I know exactly how difficult it is for an NRC team to race, travel and then still find time to do these kinds of local community activities. And I am super glad that Velonews covered it.

*Spending travel time with Michael. I have missed our road trips and silly times together. It was a good refresh and reminder of why I want to spend the rest of my life with him.

There was more awesomeness, but I need to go home now and try to fix my laptop situation.


March 18th, 2008 / 11 Comments » / by sabine


Approaching, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

For some reason this photo makes me hungry. Maybe because it reminds me of a jolly rancher candy.

But there is no time to sit back and enjoy a long lunch hour. No instead, I rush to the bathroom to change, rush to the car, pull out my bike, throw on my shoes, roll off to ride, forget my gloves, roll back to the car, grab the gloves and the cell phone just in case, then roll off again. Then figure out where I want to ride, then change my mind about 8 times, then ride, then ride some more, then realize I am late, then frantically pedal back to work, then throw the bike in the car, run to the bathroom, wash the stinky parts (french bath), fluff my helmet hair, walk through the hallway as if I have been there all afternoon, throw something in the microwave and sit back down to work.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

March 13th, 2008 / 8 Comments » / by sabine

Waiting Room

Morning Stretch, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I took this photo while I was waiting for my mom to come out of a small operation.

Yeah, I snuck out of the hospital waiting room.

Like she would know.

Actually, I practically fled from the room as soon as they wheeled her into the pre-op. And I hopped on my bike and headed for Carmel.

And I rode around in the sunshine and walked on the beach in my bike shoes. And I took pictures of waves and surfers and golden retrievers. And I made cockamamie daydreaming plans of how to retire at age 50.

And five minutes past the last minute I should have left, I hurried back to the hospital.

I am a total believer that every moment of life must be savored. Even if it means leaving the waiting room.

Today I learned of yet another tragedy in our cycling community. Each one seems to hit me harder than the last. I can’t imagine how those close to the victims feel. My thoughts go out to the friends and family involved.

March 10th, 2008 / 12 Comments » / by sabine

Summertime and the livins easy

Evening Stretch, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

It totally feels like summer time right now. It might just be a tease, but I’ll take it.


I am soooooo not a winter person. If I could do that endless summer thing, I would totally do it.

Winter depresses me. And this past winter has been one of the toughest. And we don’t even have harsh winters here. I’m certain that if I lived someplace like Canada or Alaska (lord have mercy) that I would be a raving maniac loon by January.

So, I’m riding more these days. And that means more unknown bruises. I’ve got a whopper of a bruise above my knee. One of those bruises thats got like six layers of colors that change daily and a little hard nugget inside. And its pretty horrific looking (which is why there is a pretty picture of the hill instead of my knee)

And I have no idea how I got i. (The bruise, not the picture). I might have gotten it when I did the touchdown almost crash into the puddle at campus this weekend.

But I was too concerned about keeping myself upright to worry about bruising at the time. Literally, my face was inches away from nasty week old puddle mud. The only thing saving me from complete ruin were my two fingertips that were propping me and my dawg up. And when you come that close to malaria/giardia/dysentary mud water, you don’t think about the bruises.

Damn I love this sport.

March 6th, 2008 / 12 Comments » / by sabine

Wild Adventures in Photography, part 1

Disappointment, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Dog behind fence: ruff ruff ruff….ruff ruff

me: (click click…

Dog behind fence: (more intently now) ruff ruff ruff….ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff….ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff….ruff ruff

me: (click click…

Man behind fence: Roscoe! What’s going on out there?

Man behind fence: (peering around fence) What’s going on out here?

me: (pointing at knothole in fence) Oh, I’m sorry, I was just taking a picture of your fence.

Man peering around fence: My fence? Well that doesn’t seem very interesting.

me: Its not (then trying to add levity to a tense encounter) but maybe if you had something interesting that showed through the peephole?

Man peering around fence: Is that your bike?

me: (hopeful that maybe he wants to put my bike in the peephole view, which is a little trite, but since when has trite stopped me) Yes, it is!

Man peering around fence: Then maybe you should ride it to somewhere more interesting and take pictures there.


February 28th, 2008 / 14 Comments » / by sabine

Cabin Fever

The Morning of My Content, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.


Double Ack!

Its raining a thousand rains right now, with those little teaser breaks that make you think maybe, just maybe…then it comes down again.

Yesterday was nice, but I need more…I still have energy to burn.

But not enough that I want to get on the trainer or anything. Maybe just go see a movie instead.

This tree is in my neighbor’s yard. It gives me hope.

February 24th, 2008 / 8 Comments » / by sabine

Kobe for Erika

Montana Del Oro, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

I totally want to blog about TOC. I didn’t get a chance to go see any part of it, but I saw pictures. And, man, I have a few things to say.

Hopefully will find some time later today.

In the meantime, there was a segment on the women’s race and Brooke Miller and Team Tibco on KGO this morning. Thats huge publicity. A 30 second spot on KGO is about as expensive as it gets in the radio industry. It would be awesome if the TOC promotors could add another race or two to this event. This one race for them went a long way towards promoting women’s cycling.

February 19th, 2008 / 10 Comments » / by sabine

Livin la Vida

Crossing, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.

Ohmigosh what a fabulous weekend.

And now I face a foggy Monday at work, while the rest of the world (the world I know anyway) plays at the Tour of CA on El Presidente day.

But, after my dreamy weekend, I can hardly complain.

And its funny, when I think back on the fun I had this weekend, very little of it had to do with racing. I didn’t even race at all, and felt only a teeny tiny twinge of regret over that.

I have really tried to be motivated to race this season, but as of yet, I have not quite struck it. I have not yet been able to give up the things you gotta give up to do it. Things like sleep, that second glass of wine, Kobe burgers, and simply not riding when I don’t much feel like it. Or, not riding hard.

I dunno. Maybe I will find the motivation later. But for now, I am enjoying la vida.


Some more pics of the beautiful race down in Los Olivos are here

The promotor, Mike Hecker, of that race is doing something interesting. Ever go driving down the highway, and look off into all that Cattle ranchland thats here in California, and see a little dirt road and wish you could go ride it?

I do that all the time. Well, Mike must have done that too. He’s gotten in touch with the owners of the Chamberlin Cattle Ranch and they’ve allowed a network of trails to be built on that land. Hecker’s group plans on holding about 8 races there this year, including a Norba National as well as downhill and dual slalom races.

Sometime this summer, the ranch will be open for riding outside of races for like a $5 fee or something.

Its a lot of work forming a partnership like this. And you have to ride alongside cowpatties and the occasionally ornery bull, but if this past weekend was any indication, the work is well worth it.

While not technical, the singletrack was stunning. There was one trail, in particular, that was along the top of the ridge, offering fabulous views of Foxen on one side, and Vaca Station on the other. I did not get a picture of this piece, because I was too busy enjoying it in person. (its hard to be both photographer and do-er).

And when in Los Olivos, you just HAVE to visit American Flatbread in Los Alamos. YUM!

February 18th, 2008 / 7 Comments » / by sabine

Coe Legs

Camphone 11, originally uploaded by Sabine Dukes.


They still hurt.

But man, was that worth it. Nine of us headed out to Coe on Saturday. It was an incredible Juneuary day. Birds a twitterin and streams a flowin.

And hills a rising. Lordy there are some hills to climb in that park. Ann mentioned that Serpentine trail would be a tough climb and we might have to walk a little.

A little?

I’m quite sure I push walked more than I rode. I even had time to stop and take a picture with the phone.

But it was so very much worth it to get to the top and see nothing. Well, not really nothing, but nothing man made, save for the observatory on top of Hamilton.

At 90,000 acres, Coe is the largest state park in No California. Because it is so large a park, it can maintain its wild habitat, with very little influence from encroaching populations. I imagine it is what California used to be, back when the Ohlones migrated seasonally to harvest the rich wildflowers.

How precious to have preserved such a chunk.

Unfortunately, it is on the list of parks to get the axe under Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal.

48 State Parks to be CLOSED.


In the history of our state park system, no Governor has ever closed a state park to meet a budget. What an utterly dreadful legacy we would leave to actually CLOSE a state park.

The cut would “save” $13.3 million from the state budget, as part of an effort to fill a $16 billion gap. That is less than 1% of the shortfall.

Just seems a stupid way to save some chump change.

Many its just an act on the Governor’s part, or maybe the State Parks is just gesturing, or maybe it would really happen.

Sure, we’d probably still get to ride in these parks, but thats not really the point, is it?

More info on the proposed closures here. And a sign it and send it thingie is here.


January 15th, 2008 / 15 Comments » / by sabine