Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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