Monday, December 31, 2007

Highway 39, Attempt #2

Saturday was my second attempt at highway 39, and although we didn't make it all the way to Angeles Crest like we had intended I feel the ride was an overall success as we reached 6000 ft of climbing in 86 miles.

I met Joseph from Bicycle Johns at the Rose Bowl and we rolled out around 8:15. We got caught in with the slow Montrose ride as they were leaving the Trader Joe's in South Pasadena. We hung in with that group until we got to Duarte road in Arcadia, from there we rolled out on our own. we made it to Encanto park in about an hour, took a short break then rolled out to head up the canyon.

Highway 39 is a special route for me. Beautiful rolling roads for the first 12 miles and then up up up. It's the kind of ride that just keeps going up for what seems like forever. But the scenery is beautiful, the views are incredible and it's very lightly traveled. Actually, the last 15 to 20 miles were blocked to traffic. We hopped the gate, ignoring the obvious Road Closed sign. We ran into a Ranger and a Sheriff, but neither seemed to pay us any mind so we kept trudging upwards.
One of the really really cool geographic areas on highway 39 is a high altitude field. After you've climbed up and up, you come upon this open area, where there had been a fire a few years back. Now it's an open field of green grass, with charred trees sticking out like old worn fence posts.

Joseph spent most of the climb way out in front of me as I was stopping to take pictures and am slower than he is. The climb burned my legs, and I could feel the affect of the thin air as I got close to 5000 ft. We stopped at a vista point that was about 5500 ft up and about 43 miles into the ride. The view was incredible, through the clouds you could see the backside of Mt. Wilson from where we were standing. We, rather I, decided this was the turn around point. It wasn't too much farther to Angeles Crest, but I'd had enough climbing and I needed to get home at a reasonable time. Needless to say, the ride was pretty incredible. You can see pictures of the ride on the Gallery.

Read more!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I've never liked Judge Judy, But...

This video was on Bicycling Magazine's website. I then found it on Youtube and posted it here for your enjoyment! I've never been a fan of Judge Judy, or any of these court drama shows as I've always felt they make a mockery of the judicial system. Now that the judicial system makes a mockery of the judicial system they don't seem all that bad. But this video made me like Judge Judy a little more.

What was disturbing about this video was the defendants attitude towards the cyclist, and cycling in general. First, the husband makes the comment "well, he created the situation by riding his bike in the first place". Obviously ridiculous right? But a lot of people have the attitude that cyclists put themselves in harms way knowingly and therefore don't have the same rights as pedestrians or other vehicles. They look at bicycling as a frivolous past time that when practiced excludes the practitioner from their legal rights. What also bugged me was when the female defendant said "here he was riding his bike 40 miles away from his house, going 30-40 miles an hour" like bikes need to be kept in the driveway and should only go up to 10 mph.

Then the defendants tried to cop to only paying 500 for all the medical and damages because the plaintiffs wife has jumped the gun and said over the phone "yea, 500 should cover everything" which is just completely stupid.

Thankfully, Judge Judy saw through the crap and legal bias towards cyclists and awarded the guy $3,000. What is important to take away from this though is the attitudes of the defendants towards the cyclist, and cycling in general. This attitude isn't confined to these two morons, it's shared among millions of morons world wide.

Read more!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stupid Government

Merry Chrismahaunakwanzaa everyone! I hope this post holiday dispatch finds you comfortably situated after your respective holiday celebrations. Remember, the new year is fast approaching which means a whole new year for our awesome government to say lots of things and do very little.

Those of you who know me best know that I can be a bit opinionated when it comes to my feelings on various American issues; and that I often feel a bit, how should we say... dissatisfied(?) with the performance of our elected leaders. A recent "adjustment" in the nations Energy bill shows just how committed our politicians are to the environment, energy independence and of course the paramount issue of this blog, cyclists rights.

--The Senate recently stripped the bicycle commuter tax benefit from the Energy bill, while reinstating the Hummer tax benefit, which the House had removed from the energy bill.-- Click here for details

I don't know about you, but giving a 100% tax break to Ad men, "consultants", lawyers and doctors for "work vehicles over 6,000 lbs" doesn't scream "We need to break our dependence on oil". One would think that if our elected officials were truly committed to the environment, sustainable technology and energy independence they would all be jumping to vote for ANYTHING that would get our lazy asses out of our cars and onto something that has zero carbon emissions and other beneficial side effects such as, I don't know, good health? Not so much it seems, I guess big oil does still make the world (or at least America) turn.

Quite frankly I'm disgusted. I would hope that anyone who is able to read at a 5th grade level would be disgusted too. If you're as disgusted as me, and you have a little time between games of free-cell then write your senator. Don't know who your senator is? That's ok, I've included a link that lists the Senators by State in Alphabetical order (starting with Arkansas). Click here to find Senators by State

I think what our senators are really trying to say here is "We don't really care about energy independence and the environment since we can afford gas, heat and AC in our own homes thanks the the billions in handouts we get from Exxon and Halliburton, but we'll continue to give it plenty of lip service until Hollywood and the media determine that it's not a hot issue any more". I don't even want to surmise what their feelings are about cyclists rights, although I'll hazard a guess that it's probably on the bottom rung of things to discuss, if its even made it onto the ladder. Read more!

Monday, December 24, 2007

12-22-2007 Secret Slopes Ride

The first rule of the SSR is you don't talk about the SSR. The second rule of the SSR is you don't talk about the SSR. The third rule of the SSR is if it's your first time at the SSR, you have to ride it. I've begun to take a very "Locals only" attitude towards some of the routes I know as I don't want these already rough roads being heavily treaded on by people who don't appreciate such natural beauty. One of those rides I'm very protective of is what I call the Secret Slopes ride. It's a ride that is easily accessible, yet very lightly traveled. I think that many people know it's there, but few ascend it's rocky, unmaintained roads. This is fine with me. The fewer people on my routes the better. I won't provide route maps of this route, as my attitude is now "I'll tell you about it if you already know about it". However, here are some pictures from Saturdays Secret Slopes Ride.

One of the many winding ascents... they become descents later!

The Bend of Destiny

Through the hills

It's a magical place, populated by many giant Bonzai Trees.
Read more!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I moved away from Lawrence Ks when I was 21 years of age. A lot of my friends are still there. A lot of them are in this video, which is funny.

Now I remember why I left Lawrence.


Read more!

Monday, December 17, 2007

One Down 15 To Go

And boy was it a tough one. Not because 100 miles is something that's hard, or that 6,000 feet of climbing is hard either, but the two put together at an average speed of 18 miles an hour is. Add in not eating right the night before, or the morning of and you have a bonkalicious recipe for leg burnin' disaster. Yes, I was poorly prepared. But I finished in under 6hrs and 30 minutes total time on the road so I'm happy. Total ride time was 5hrs. 45 mins. as I took some pretty subtantial breaks here and there. If you had seen me going up Encinal you wouldn't have known me. I was like a ghost, a sissy ghost, a wiped out loser sissy ghost who was crying for his mama. It was pathetic. Here are some lessons I learned on Friday, some I already knew but ignored... A mistake I won't make again.

1) Don't spend the first 20 miles off the front pulling at 23-25 miles an hour through Agoura hills

2) After spending the first 20 miles off the front, don't continue to take 3-5 minute Pulls on the pace line through Camarillo.

3) Don't "Pick up the Slack" for the Jack holes taking 30 second pulls, saving themselves for the climb, because you feel obligated to since the guy who did RAAM is doing it.

4) Don't eat only Clif blocks and Rice Krispy treats.

5) Don't have 4 vodka cranberries the night before a ride.

6) Don't feel like you have to be in the lead group.

7) The noodle content in a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup is not enough to constitute "Carbing up"

8) 7-11 muffin's are not a substantial breakfast

9) Do not drink a Monster energy drink 5 minutes before you roll out.

I will say this, John and Kevin were awesome. Kevin was on a 4 man RAAM team and is a freakin' monster. John stayed back and rode with me as I dragged my pathetic ass up and over Encinal and Mulholland. There were times on Encinal where I wanted to throw in the towel, thanks to John I didn't.

All in all it was an awesome ride! Thanks Planet Ultra.

Read more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2008 + Route Profiles = Awesomeness!

Now that I've figured out how to add pictures the way I want (yea, I'm an idiot, I've been on blogger for how long now?) Here is a sampling of the routes for next year. This isn't all the rides, just some. The Planet Ultra Rides aren't up yet, I'll add those soon. And to start the season, I'll be getting ahead in 2007.

Planet Ultra Christmas Century, Dec. 15th 2007
Stage Coach Century, January 12th
Solvang, March 8th Breathless Agony, May 3rd 2008 Ojai Valley Century, May 31stThe Death Ride, July 12thLighthouse Century, August or September... Spooktacular Century, October something
Read more!


I've been wanting to put pictures on this thing for I don't know how long. So here are a couple. This is Griffith park, one is of the view, the other is of the fire damage from May.

These are from a ride I did on December first. They were taken by David Root, a Cat 1/2 racer from Portland who was in town visiting his sister. Thanks David!

Read more!

Monday, December 10, 2007

End of the Year is Drawing Near

2007 is drawing to a close. 2008 is rapidly approaching and things have begun to line out pretty nicely. Depsite not being anywhere near the fitness level I had planned to be I still feel pretty good about my plans for 08. I don't think the major events are out of reach as I still have 4-5 months worth of solid training time to prepare for the big climb rides. Now what I really need to do is focus through the holidays and make sure my peak fitness hits at the end of April/beginning of May. I'm feeling pretty good about how things have progressed in general, and despite there being a number of distractions over the past month (work is busy, trying to move the office, new technology...) I still am feeling extremely focused on my goals. I can't wait for the 12th. Despite the Stagecoach century being one of my easier centuries it really represents the starting line. All of 2008 feels like a race to me, with Stagecoach being the first stage. I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do to represent all of the events together. I thought about writing the name of all 15 events on each race bib, and then crossing them out as I go. I also thought about putting little "100" stickers on my bike. I don't know. I can't decide. All I know is I'm ready, and not ready. I'm ready to get this shit started. Lets go!

A couple of side notes:

I finally bought a Garmin, it's awesome. greatest thing ever. I've been logging miles in it, however I forgot to turn it on the last ride I did, and then the next day's ride was a bomb with 3 flats in 30 minutes. I threw in the towel.

The Jersey's have been ordered and the proof has been approved. The proof for the bib shorts was wrong but since I'm the only one ordering the bib shorts no one else should care.

Do not offer me a beer if you see me out. I'm trying to limit my consumption of alcohol to cut body fat in preparation for this effort, and being a good Buddhist I cannot say no to hospitality... so please, do not offer me beer. (you can however offer me Mexican food or Sushi).

Some of you have ordered Jerseys sight unseen. I cannot thank you enough.

so Thank you thank you lots.

Read more!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Purpose, Framework, Whatever You Want to Call It.

There is a lot going on right now. Things are really shaping up for next year quite nicely. I've registered for my first 3 rides (the only 3 with registration that's open at this point). I'm beginning to get really excited. After the rides with Jerry and during the week of the fire I decided to give myself a little couch time. It was great. I needed a little rest. I let my mind spread out a bit and let my legs soften up some. I made some decisions about my training and figured some new strategies out that I think will make a difference for the really tough rides. The biggest adjustment though is the framework for this grand effort next year. I made a decision to do this thing over the next year as proof to myself that I could. That was it. However after reading all the e-mails that have been going back and forth at PAA, and the articles in VeloNews about bike/car incidents I decided I needed to give this effort a greater direction. I decided that all of this, these 15 rides, would be a memorial to those who can't ride. This would be a dedication to those who are no longer with us, not because of disease but because of the carelessness of others on the road. When I was 18 I was hit by a car, hard. I was lucky. I lived. Not 2 years later a guy was riding down the street a couple blocks from my house when he was run down by a cement truck. He died. People are killed on their bikes all too often. It's time that we as riders come together as a community and stand up and say "Hey, we're here too. See us, respect us, give us the space we deserve." On each of these rides I'll be wearing the same jersey, I've included a picture of it below. If you see me, say hi. The jersey is my dedication to those who aren't with us anymore. And it's a reminder to all the drivers on the road, Please, share Read more!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

That was fun.

Today's ride was another Jerry Sanders special. It was freakin' awesome. We started at the Vons parking lot off of Mulholland in Agoura Hills. We rode north to Burbank and then over to Topanga via some side streets. We hit our first climb, Santa Susana after setting a fair pace up Topanga. My legs felt great and was leading the group for the first half of the climb. At the halfway point though the group split, with Jerry, Terry, Chris and one other rider going off the front. It was fine, I was trying to pace myself early so I could compete on some of the later climbs. We made our way down Los Angeles Ave, and when we got out to some of the rollers we I decided to initiate a break. I set a goal, and got to it. I was able to stay away from the group for the first roller, and that's what I wanted to do. the climb on Moorpark was great too, I was able to stay on Terry's wheel, and then I was able to stay within a few seconds of him and Jerry on the Potrero Canyon climb as well. I wanted to stay with those two for at least a couple climbs and that's what I wanted. On the last climb I was left behind, and then on 7 minute I just took it easy. All and all the ride was fucking sweet. It kicked my ass, totally kicked my ass. I don't care though, I think I'll go do it again soon.

My training isn't going exactly as planned, but I'm not to worried, not yet at least. I'm getting in good mileage and I'm getting in good amounts of climbing as well. I'm also getting a good workout by riding with the guys from the club. Most of these guys are a lot faster than me, and it really forces me to push it up and put myself beyond my comfort level. This coming weekend I'm going to try to get my mileage back up above 90, while adding some serious elevation. I think I'll try that Angeles Crest/Little Tujunga/Sand Canyon route I made up a while back. That should be good about now. Read more!

Monday, October 8, 2007

(Poorly) Paved Metaphor

I rode some this weekend. It was fun. I rode with other people. That made it more fun. It's nice to be on a ride and not have to talk to yourself to have a conversation. Being on a ride with other people also tends to make the ride more enjoyable, especially if it's a group of people who do what you want them to do. In this case I wanted this group to ride faster and harder than I normally do, so I would be put out of my normal pace and forced to work. That's what they did. it was great. The route was pretty awesome too. Although I could have done without some of the long false flats on the route I understand what Jerry was trying to do with it. The climbs were pretty awesome as well. There was a nice climb up Davenport north of Santa Clarita, and then there was Sand Canyon and Little Tujunga. I've done both of those climbs before, but not in a long time. It was great to reacquaint myself with some old friends. The best thing about the ride was getting to see how I stood up against some of the other guys from the club, despite not finishing the ride (I assisted our SAG vehicle in finding Brad, who had a bit of a technical problem on Little T)I still felt great and felt even better after the ride. the coolest was that all of us were PAA riders and it was cool to see 8 guys out in the kit rolling down the road. I think I'm going to have to go do a modified version of Jerry's route soon, maybe this weekend.

Sunday was supposed to be a mid distance work out that turned into a recovery ride, that turned into a short climbing, mid intensity ride that turned into a bit of a "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy" moment. I decided to do the secret ride as I had slept in, ate a big, fat, late breakfast, and had to go to a birthday party at 2p.m. I rolled out at noon and headed for Griffith Park. On the secret ride there is a spot where I like to stop and look down on Burbank. So I stopped. After watching a funeral for a minute I realized that this place in the road, and specifically in this ride, is a lot like my life. The first part is flat and easy, with a few rolling hills here and there. the second part is all up hill, with sections of varying difficulty, but nothing I couldn't overcome as I've made it to this point. Turning to look up the road you see that it bends around a sharp switchback, pitching up steeply, and then disappears behind the trees. It looks very difficult, but I've done it before, and I know with no doubt I could do it again. This place in the road became an incredibly powerful metaphor.

I've done this ride many times and have always cursed this last switchback. Yesterday, though, I smiled and laughed as I passed it on my way to the top the hill. Much like this ride I see the next switchback in the climb that is my life as the toughest. I've seen a lot, but nothing like what I have planned for the next decade. As I look ahead in my life, much as I looked ahead on this climb, I realize that the greatest difficulties are yet to come over the next 10 years, but with them will come the greatest rewards. The top of the hill isn't far, and anyone who has done this ride knows not only how great the view is at the top, but how awesome the descent can be! Read more!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lazy September

Now that it's October I can start writing (and riding) again. for some reason, September turned into Lazy September; similar to Lazy Sunday, only for a whole month. I did go out and ride some, most notably on that day we got a bunch of rain. I did some other mid week training rides, but that's it. Total for the month was just barely over 200 miles. Below is the map of the rainy day ride. It was awesome. Awesome and wet. The only thing that sucked was my shoes turning into reservoirs. I love my shoes, but they have minimal ventilation. Because of that, they hold water like a cactus.

October started on the right foot though. I went out last night and did almost 30 miles and a little bit of climbing. Hill repeats in Griffith Park are always fun. I like it. It never ceases to amaze me how the entrance to the park above the freeway is always ten degrees cooler than the surrounding area. I don't know why, and I had never noticed it before until my friend Paul pointed it out to me. Last night it was a little chilly, and I got a bit of a bronchial cough towards the end but that's alright.
Read more!

Monday, August 27, 2007

My failed attempt at Hwy 39

This weekend was to be Epic. It wasn't. Christian and I had planned a ride that would take us from the Rose Bowl to highway 39, and then up the road until it intersected with Hwy 2. It's an epic climb with great views and a pretty steep average grade. The first part of the climb lulls you into a false sense of security with it's moderate grade and rolling down hills. But once you get past the Arrow Highway Bridge, it's all uphill.

We started the ride at 8:30. We rolled out and set a moderate pace through the 5 towns we would pass through on the way to our destination. I flatted within the first mile, changed it, and was back on the road. The ride was fairly uneventful until we got to the climb. We hit the canyon and set a moderate pace up the hill. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect, not to hot, and there was partial cloud cover most of the way up. We got past the Bridge, refilled our water and were on our way up the main part of the climb. I was feeling pretty good, I set a constant pace with a cadence in the upper 60's in my 23. Christian and I were matched pretty evenly as we crossed the first of the two bridges in the park. We pulled over to take a breather and eat real quick and as we started again I realized I was going flat again. At this point we had exhausted all our spare tubes, and we weren't going to risk being caught out in an area with no cell reception, few to no cyclists, and limited supplies. So we turned around.

By the time we got back to the park we were both glad the ride was over, however as time passed I could feel that I was extremely disappointed. I had dreams about the ride, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I woke up. I've been to the top before and its a pretty amazing experience. The whole climb is about 30-35 miles, and knowing that you rode your bike, uphill, for that long is pretty rewarding. I guess I'll just have to go up and try again next weekend.

Here's the map of the failed attempt.
Read more!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Training Kick Off

Over the past few months I've steadily been upping the mileage and difficulty of my rides to prepare for 2008. This last weekend however was my official training kick off and man it was great. I had chosen the Coolbreeze Century (albeit the metric) as my training kick off a few months ago because it's a ride I love and it fell at about the right time (about 4 months off from the first official century of 2008). I'd toyed with the idea off and on about doing the full 100 but hadn't upped my ride mileage to get ready for it. I'd done the full 100 before, so I knew I could, but I wasn't sure as to my fitness level and if I would be able to handle it now. The day before the ride I caught the 100 mile bug really bad. Although I didn't come out and say that I was definitely doing the full 100 I had made my decision. I re-arranged some travel plans and began preparing mentally and organizationally.

I hooked up with Sebastian at 4:30 a.m. to drive up for the ride. We talked about the ride, what we expected and the weather. We parked got registered and got ready. We rolled out at 7 a.m. with his team (TNT) and much to my chagrin Andy Popinski. We made our charge out of Ventura and down Emma Wood. we paced up the freeway and then I pulled away until the exit so I could eat and drink since we weren't stopping at the first sag stop. We ascended the first climb with ease and I rode away thinking they would catch me on the descent due to my relaxed pace. I ascended another climb, caught a different group of TNT'ers and watched a girl crash hard on the tarmac. I hung with her and her group to make sure she was alright while at the same time waiting for my group.

It turns out my group had stopped for a while so they took a bit, but once we were going again we were really going. we were setting a tempo around 20 mph and were well on our way to sag 2. we hit Ortega Ridge, the 2nd climb of the day and the group splintered. I made it to the sag stop followed shortly by the rest of the group. We exited the rest stop and began the penultemate climb of the ride. This is what makes this ride worth it for me. I remember blazing through these roads in 2005 and how much I loved it so I was chomping at the bit as we left the rest stop. Andy and I played a little cat and mouse up the first few parts of the climb and then after a quick regroup we hit the rollers above Santa Barbara. these are fast, lightly traveled winding roads. I went and went, guided by a local around various hairpin turns until we came the major descent. By this time I had lost the group, and decided to just continue ahead to the lunch stop using other riders as my guide. This WAS the part of the ride where I got lost in 05, so I was careful through here this time. I made it to the lunch stop without incident. for anyone who hasn't been there Stowe Park is beautiful. I waited for the group, then got a light lunch and refueled.

We rolled out together after lunch and took an easy pace to rewarm the legs. we kept this pace through Hope Ranch and much of Santa Barbara. Towards the end of the road in Santa Barbara the faster members of the group were let go, so we set a pace between 20-22 mph and paced our way to rest stop 4 (which was the same as sag 2) We made quick work of sag 4 and rolled out. I forgot to eat, so I cracked a bag of blocks and chowed down before we hit Ortega hill. I had issued a challenge with an associated bet. We'd pace up to Ortega, and it would be "may the best man win". We hit Ortega and to my surprise the organizers had changed the route to not include it, but instead to use the flat bike path that bypasses the hill! what a bummer! I was the only one to go over the hill, and received shouts of encouragement and laughter from the group of guys who were behind me in the "Breathless Agony" Jerseys as we both exited our paths onto the flat stretch of Ortega road. The shouts spurred me on and I went full sprint to hot dog those guys a little bit, forcing a chase over the freeway and onto the last stretch of road before sag 5. We took it easy to sag 5 to conserve energy for the very fun, very fast last 12 miles of the ride. I passed on the celebratory Popsicle at sag 5, opting instead for the watered down lemonade and a quick conversation with the Breathless Agony guys. Now it was time for the Freeway.

Our plan for the 101 was to set a pace of 27 mph and to paceline the whole way. Easy enough right? Wrong. By the time we got to our exit Gavin and I had rode everyone else off our wheel. We regrouped on Emma Wood Dr. and proceeded to act like jack asses the rest of the way into Ventura. We crossed the line together, our group of 5 plus Hank, the guy in the ONCE jersey. All in all it was an awesome ride.

I will edit this post as I receive pictures.

I knew after this I would need a recovery ride, and Jerry had mentioned he was going to do the Love ride on Sunday. "Great" I thought, "I'll hang back with the older guys and take it nice and easy". Wrong and wronger. There were no older guys, and there was no taking it easy. My recovery ride turned into a big effort ride and I'm definitely feeling it today. The map below isn't totally accurate, but I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like mapping a new route. I simply didn't go through the Rosebowl, opting instead to just go down Verdugo. Total mileage was about 32.

Read more!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oh yea...

I did a ride a the weekend of the 3rd. it was awesome. Here's the map. Read more!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thanks for making me feel like a Jerk

Something happened yesterday that involved myself (a PAA member), and another PAA member. What resulted was a harsh discussion about manners. Despite trying vigilantly to defend my brethren I left the conversation agreeing with the other Party.

I have read all our e-mails about the rose bowl, impolite drivers, thoughtless pedestrians and government agencies and how there is some dubious conspiracy against us, those who choose to roll in the two wheeled mode. I agree wholeheartedly. I also read these e-mails and often get a sense that we think of ourselves as saints and that we do no wrong. Again I have agreed in the past, although after last night not as much anymore.

When riding for training purposes in areas like a bike path I used to call out "left side" or "passing" or something like that. Until a couple times where I did that and the person I was passing then lunged left and nearly caused me to crash. Since then I've decided in most cases it's best to keep my mouth shut, slow down a little and give the other bicyclists plenty of room. I've always thought this to be the best policy as a bike path is a public area, and not my personal time-trial training course. Common Courtesy right? Apparently not.

It has been a long time goal to get my friend and her kids to ride bikes. I've loved riding my bike since I was a kid, so it has always been a little strange to me that these kids don't ride much. Finally after two years of prodding I got them to ride with me on the bike path by Griffith park. The younger one isn't too confident, so it's been tedious to keep him on the bike for the past month. So when a PAA member breezed by us giving him barely a foot of space when the other side of the path was completely open kind of pissed me off. He was only one of 5 "serious cyclist" who did that to us. there where some who even chose to pass as there was oncoming bicyclists, passing between us and the other party, going nearly 25 or 30 miles an hour, with no warning or slowing what so ever. I discussed it with my girlfriend nearly the rest of the ride home and we agreed, some cyclists are assholes. What frustrated me was the fact that I know the rider from PAA who I'm talking about. I've met him and he's a really cool guy; and in person, every one of you I've spoken with is pretty cool. What frustrated her was that it makes her feel unsafe, less safe than the hobos in the river make her feel. I understand that most of us are very skilled and deft at maneuvering around groups like this, but consider the other party for a bit. Shenanigans like that make her a lot less comfortable on the path, and make her not want to return. I shudder to think what would happen to our sport if we scared every mother and child off the road. Granted these kids may only be two more kids on a bike, but that's two more kids on bikes than before, and that's two kids closer to complete two wheel world domination... which I'm all for.

we've done everything we can to teach these kids proper bike path etiquette, common courtesy and manners when bicyling, thinking that these are lessons that they will take with them beyond the bike, into their driving years, and into life in general. I pray that when they get older they are not the drivers, pedestrians or government officials we so vehemently deride in our posts. And when I hear my friends nine year old say "why are riders like you such jerks" I can't help but think they are going grow up despising "riders like me" and I 'm pretty sure that all of us here, especially those with kids know what I'm afraid of. We talk day in and day out about the state of affairs in our sport, about PR in Pasadena and about all the things that affect us as cyclists now. But what about the future of the sport? What are we doing, publicly, to make sure that not only our kids, but all kids get on a bike and stay on a bike until adulthood?

What I took away from this experience is this: Despite it being a stupid ass song from the 80's, children are our future. so getting kids to ride bikes, and showing them how to ride properly and courteously should be ALL of our responsibility, if for nothing else than the future of our sport.

The bike path is a public place. Lots of families bring their kids there to teach them to ride since much of L.A. is unsafe for children. Cyclists like me go there because much of L.A. is unsafe for cyclists, however it's not our sports private training ground. When you see kids, give them lots of space, and slow down... it's not a fucking race. Read more!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunday Sunday Sunday!!!

I asked for it, So I can't complain. Christian told me about a ride up to Mt. Wilson that he was planning when I popped into the shop on Thursday of last week. "Hell yea you can count me in!" I said enthusiastically. I knew that Leo would be going, and that would push the pace up a little despite this being a "slow" ride. Whatever though, I could handle it. I was also excited to take the C40 on the first big climbing ride. Mt. Wilson is an 18 mile climb to the peak, and you gain nearly 6500 ft. in the process. The ride was going to be a simple route. From Griffith Park we'd head out to Sun Valley and follow the Love ride up La Tuna. Once over we'd descend through Montrose and then hit the 2 and head up the hill. Once on top of the mountain we'd simply turn around and head down the hill. Easy, right? Wrong.

I did everything right the day before. I ate a light lunch with carbs and drank lots of water. That night I made a big pasta dinner, ate a pretty large amount and drank more water. I went to bed at around midnight. I woke up at 7:30 feeling rested and ready to go. I ate more pasta for breakfast, got dressed and rolled out. I met the guys at Griffith Park. The ride consisted of a few guys from John's including Christian and Leo, a couple PAA guys, and a couple other guys I didn't recognize. We rolled out with the love ride, setting an easy pace at about 15 mph. We got to the base of La Tuna and began the climb. I didn't feel like we were going that fast but I was quickly spit out the back by Leo and a couple other riders. I spent the rest of the climb trying to catch my breath.

I decided at this point to take Wilson at my own pace, regardless of everyone else. We made our way to Angeles Crest and began the climb. The group stayed together pretty well until the first ranger station. then it splintered. I ended up clinging to second to last place. At one point, I saw Christian and Jim had been dropped by Leo, and they were only a minute or so up the road. I decided to tempo back to them. That would be my goal for the day. Get to them and that's it. I did, eventually, and was then promptly dropped again as Jim rolled out to Catch Joseph. The rest of the ride I spent feebly climbing in my 23 trying to keep enough fluid in me so I wouldn't pass out. My gearing wasn't hurting me at all, and my legs felt great climbing in that gear, I just couldn't get my lungs to support a higher cadence than I was already turning. The climb felt good by the end. I had controlled my breathing and didn't ever put myself in any sort of trouble. I did have to slow a couple times, but whatever, I finished, and that was my goal. I arrived at the Clear Creek Station to find the group sitting in the shade, looking thoroughly beat to shit. a couple guys looked O.K. but even Leo looked a little mangled. Christian let me know that some of the group would be heading down the mountain now instead of going all the way to Mt. Wilson. "Fine with me" I sputtered. I filled my bottles and we started the descent. By the time we got to the Chevy Chase everyone had recovered some and the attacks began again. My dumb ass was leading the charge up Chevy Chase, forgetting that the road pitched up significantly at the end. Of course my fat ass was handed to me again by the group. Whatever, I didn't care at this point. I took my time down the road, until I saw Christian, pulling himself out of a pile of leaves on the other side of the hairpin I was about to negotiate. We paced down to Glendale and caught part of the group at Verdugo. On our way back to the park there was some talk about adding the climb in Griffith Park, but that was quickly voted down. Instead Christian and I took turns attacking each other through Griffith Park. I turned home on Sonora, and headed back to Burbank. Once on top of Kenneth I realized just how tired I was. I got back to Corina's, cracked a beer and hopped in the shower. I spent the rest of the day lounging around with a mopey demeanor.

Side notes:

The new bike handled great. I love it. It climbs like a fucking champ. Since Sunday I've been riding to and from Corina's. I haven't driven my car since I think Friday or something like that. Isn't she nice? yea. Nice.

Read more!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2 Rides, 1 Weekend, New Bike Awesomeness!

FINALLY!! I was able to make it to Bicycle Johns, the worlds greatest bike shop, to get the bottom bracket issue that had side lined me since the previous Tuesday. Despite my excitement I decided not to ride. I had a few things to do, but was still going to get my usual meal in to prep for the ride. Unfortunately the meal plan didn't work out and I ended up at Shakeys with my friends. 3 slices of pizza, 4 pieces of fried chicken, a pile of mojos and a pitcher of beer later and I was ready to hit the sack. My biggest concern at this point was that I had to get up at 6 to make it to Ventura in time for Scott's and my ride. Getting up proved to not be a problem as I popped up off the couch Saturday morning at 5:45 a.m. After my drive to Ventura Scott and I got on the road. Riding his route is always something I look forward to. The route is nice and fast for parts, we get to ride on the 101, and then there is some great, steep but short climbing in the foothills around Montecito. Saturday proved to be a perfect day as the sun was kept at bay by a nice cloud cover for most of the ride. This kept the temperature cool until we got back on PCH towards the end of the ride. The sun finally came out in the last 5 miles, burning my inconsistently protected skin. Sunday's ride was a bit more on every level. More pre-ride preparation, more miles, more climbing, more attacks and more speed! Sunday I rode to Sherman Oaks from Burbank to meet Christian in Sherman Oaks. Our plan was to ride from his house to the beach via the Chandler bike path and Topanga Canyon. From there were were going to head up Sepulveda pass and Mullholland, then head down Coldwater canyon back to his place. after a moderate pace with frequent attacks by the man in Chuck Taylors we made it to Balboa Park. It was at this point we had to turn around to swap tires as Christian sliced the back. This added about 8 miles to our ride and put us back about 30 minutes but whatever, I need to get more miles on anyway. We made it to Topanga and after a short break we started the climb. I was setting a quicker than normal pace and started to lose Christian. After realizing this, and the fact that I couldn't hold that pace I slowed it up. The road was hot, and at one point I remember asking Mother Earth to please turn off her hair dryer. She did and we made it to the top a-o.k. Going down Topanga was the first massive, steep descent I'd done on the new bike and It was crazy. I've never had the wind blow me around on the road, but with the new deeper dish wheels and the super light carbon frame I could feel myself being blown around. That was a completely new and somewhat annoying sensation. We made it to the beach, took a break to drink a Redbull, and then rolled out. About 5 miles later both of us realized that drinking warm Redbull on a 70 mile ride is not a good idea. Sepulveda Pass was hot, and much longer than I remember from two weeks earlier. At one point I thought I had a flat tire, but it turned out that I was just really tired and my legs weren't moving. By the time we got back to the Valley I was cooked. I started to cramp about a mile from Christian's house. I took a short break at his place before getting back on my trusty steed to roll back to Burbank. When the job was done I hopped in the shower and ate a piece of fried chicken... at the same time. Read more!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Saturday, aaaahhh Saturday.

Saturday, What a day. Saturday was the last day for the Classic. I did a easy 40 mile ride with Michael up and over Mulholland. I've never been out on the road that early and it was awesome. After the ride I went to Paul and Savaria's house to watch the tour and build up the C40. I'm still exhausted from the 2 day ordeal. I don't even want to talk about it. All I can tell you is this: not only do my fingers hurt, but my bank account hurts much worse. Read more!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two Wheeled Awesomeness is Forthcoming! Goals are Causing Obsessive Behavior!

My evil plans are beginning to solidify, my vision is slowly becoming a reality. I have conquered some of my fears and overcome some of the hurdles I thought would get in the way of my goals. Now I'm beginning to think that maybe, maybe I could even add to my original plan. The month of May is rich with sanctioned century rides. There is Breathless Agony, the Heartbreak Hundred, The Ojai Valley Century, Cruisin' the Conejo and a couple others to choose from. In April there is the Mulholland Challenge, which I've decided to do. Now I'm beginning to think that maybe I could go for the Planet Ultra King of the Mountains Jersey AND do the 12 Centuries as well. It would bring my total for the year to 14, but why not? Why not do it?

Here is my Tentative List

January: Stagecoach Century
February: Tour de Palm Springs
March: Solvang Century
April: Mullholland Challenge
May: Breathless Agony/Cruisin the Conejo/Heartbreak Hundred
June: Ojai Valley (technically in may, but whatever)
July: Death Ride (hopefully)
August: Coolbreeze Century
September: Lighthouse Century
October: Angeles Crest Century
November: Tour de Tucson
December: ?

I still haven't found a century for December, but if I'm sure I'll find something by the end of this year.

I'm getting to the point in the year where my training is really going to have to kick up in pace. I have to start putting in some real mileage, 110-130 mile rides every Saturday. And the elevation is going to have to pick up too, no more 3500 ft. of climbing in a ride. No, it's going to have to be 8k, 9k, up to 14 or 15k of climbing each Saturday. My legs are going to scream and beg to stop. My brain is going to turn to mush and you'll probably find me on the road at various occasions curled up in the fetal position crying for my mother, but I'm ready. I'm ready for that kind of painful, longterm commitment.

All I can think about is building the C40 and riding it every day. Riding it on the weekends up and down the many thousands of feet of elevation that surrounds the Greater Los Angeles Area, I think about every foot, every inch of elevation and how I'm going to get past it. Its an obsession at this point. I feel like a 6 year old who just got a new Tonka truck who can't go push it around on the driveway because it's raining outside. I haven't felt this kind of heart thumping excitement in a long time. I see the roads pitching up in front of me in my head and I look forward to it; like a junkie looks forward to his next score. All I can think is "yea, let's get it on... let's do it" Read more!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gang Land

By the name of this post most would assume that this blog is about a ride that took me through some of my old neighborhoods, and then maybe some others like East L.A. or Frogtown. But no. This ride took me from my adopted home in Burbank to the beach in beautiful Santa Monica and back. The reason I chose the title I did is due to a phenomenon I've noticed over the past couple years of riding around Los Angeles and it's connecting suburbs.

Gangs in Los Angeles, and every where in the world for that matter, have always made themselves conspicuous by sporting colors or uniforms. The Bloods and Crips are the two most obvious examples. Gangs are also typically very territorial, protecting neighborhoods and cities as if they were the underground's stormtroopers.
In Los Angeles, and other places in the world I would assume, cycling clubs do the same things. I ride in lots of different areas in L.A. My cycling footprint goes as far east as Pomona and San Dimas and as far west as the land will allow. I've also traveled north up the coast as far as Oxnard. Through my travels I've run across many different cycling clubs, all with different kits. Each club has a different and distinct look, and each of these clubs seem to be centralized in a different geographical area. The Club that sticks out in my mind the most, and probably because it's the first one I had an experience with as a cyclist is Amgen. Amgen has a very distinct white and red kit. although the graphic usually varies, the black "Amgen" type stands out from the white and red, making it almost impossible to ignore. Along with it's distinct looking kit, they also have a very distinct geographic footprint. With the exception of one or two Amgen riders who I see at the Rosebowl from time to time, Amgen riders almost exclusively stick to the areas surrounding the Santa Monica Mountains. They dominate the roads, and if you find yourself climbing Mulholland drive you should expect to be passed by at least one of them, as they are typically exceptional climbers.

Amgen is not the only club. The Westside, including Brentwood, Santa Monica, and West L.A. has La Grange, (from whom I collected many less than kind stares in my PAA kit today). The Pasadena area has PAA with it's Red and Black, or Red and Blue, kits branded with a massive bull. Mulholland has the Hollywood guys with their black and purple, and Griffith Park has the Dope Peddlers. Despite the coolest name, the Dope Peddlers have the dumbest looking kits that should only be worn around Halloween. There are a couple clubs I've seen out east whose names I can't remember, but their there. What's more annoying than anything is the inter-club antics that ensue when one club rider ends up in another clubs stomping ground. Perfect case in point: today.

I try to wear my PAA kit whenever I ride. I'm extremely loyal to the club and I'm proud to be a member, regardless what my friends at Bicycle John's say. I cover a fair amount of ground, but I don't show boat. I get out, do my ride at my pace and that's that. Today was no different, except for the fact that I felt really, really strong. I made my way out of Burbank, through Griffith Park, up Mulholland and down Sepulveda and San Vicente to the beach in Santa Monica. As I was heading south at what I thought was a reasonable pace on San Vicente, I was attacked numerous times by La Grange riders as I passed them. I would pass fairly quickly, they would accelerate from behind and pass me, then slow again. What's the deal? All I'm trying to do is get to the beach before my calves explode, I'm not trying to have a race. What is this macho posturing and why do you insist on doing it. Look, don't bother, you're not going to impress anyone so just stop trying to make people think that you run shit because you spent 10k on your Pinarello and your shorts match your jersey. It's not that big a deal. I could feel the resentment being left being thrown around on the road as I headed back up San Vicente after a short break. I came across a large group of La Grange guys and passed them. Not a big deal, again, I was feeling strong and I was setting a pace that was challenging for me. But there was definitely some judgment from the peanut gallery as I passed "well, somebodies showing off" Yea I showed off, showed off my middle finger as I left them at the light at 26th street.

Next time I ride to the beach I'm going to pack my shank eh homie? Just in case some of those foools try to step.
Read more!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why is this Ride so Hard?

I'm not quite sure what was going on Saturday morning but there was definitely something up with the ride. I felt like I had done everything right the night before. I got to bed at a reasonable time, I loaded up on Carbs and Electrolytes and I drank plenty of water. This is a ride I do quite often, it's not something that is out of the ordinary, and it's not a terribly difficult ride. I do the La Tuna Lida Lap almost every weekend and this ride was just a minor variation of it with an extra climb in Griffith Park. What was weird about this ride was that I didn't ever feel warmed up. Usually I hit the road and I'm a little stiff and sloth-ish for the first 30-45 minutes. But I typically hit a point where everything loosens up and seems to work right. This never seemed to happen on this ride. I never started cramping, never felt totally exhausted, but when I got to the top of La Tuna I felt like I wanted to cry. Everything was just off for me. Maybe it had something to do with the 6 cape cods I drank the night before. Read more!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Will Work for Bike

Below is a picture of the frame and fork I'm trying to save up for. There is a guy in my club who is selling one that is my size and I feel like its time to stop talking about wanting a new bike and time to start getting one. However my meeger salary barely covers my monthly expenses so I'm reaching out for help. I've put a donation button in this post. You can click those donation buttons and give me money. I know it seems stupid and rediculous but you'd be helping a guy who has spent his life trying to help others. I would be greatly appreciative if you'd even donate just a dollar. I made a promise that I would do what I can to return the favor to whoever donates. This frame and fork is used, and I'm going to build it up with used parts as well. If you have used parts you don't want and you want to get rid of them e-mail me, I'd probably take them off your hands. I'll even pay for shipping. If donations not your style that's cool too. I'd be more than happy to mow your lawn, fix a leaky sink, or maybe dj a party for a fee as well. Here's the button. Click it. Please and Thank you!

Read more!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Two Weekends, One Blog!!!

I'm lazy. Everyone knows that. I don't like to do things. The thing I like to do the least is typing. I want to be able to talk and have my blog just type itself. Then I want it to understand the code for embedded maps and just do it automatically.

Unfortunately this doesn't work so I have to type it out myself. So this blog will cover the exceptional (and less than exceptional) training rides from the weekend of the 25th of May and the 1st of June.

Saturday the 26th, Memorial day weekend, was officially "hit a cyclist with your car" day. I was feeling pretty good about my legs and I went out and hit it hard. straight out of the gun I felt like my effort was much greater than it had ever been on this route. Unfortunately all I have to go off of right now is perceived effort as my heart rate monitor took a shit but oh well. So I make it to Griffith park, head around the studios and start heading back up Sonora. I get stopped by the light at Sonora and San Fernando. I rock a one handed sitting track stand while I'm waiting for the light and on the green I go go go!!! Then I hit a car. This fucking douchebag cubs fan who was behind me at the light thought it would be a good idea to pull into the 7-11 while executing a multi lane right hand turn, thus cutting into my lane and causing me to go head first into the back panel of his Acura TL. I've written a thank you letter to Honda for making pliable cars. Despite rolling over his trunk and landing square on my back I was able to get up dust myself off and walk over to the 7-11. I found him inside pulling money out of the ATM. I proceeded to accost him and inform him of his mistake which he promptly apologized for. I told him not to do it again, and to apologize for being a Cubs fan in Los Angeles. I walked back to my bike, checked it for damage and went about my way. I was able to finish the ride, however not without almost being hit 3 more times, exactly the same way!!! people whipping around me really quickly to turn right into a parking lot. I ride this route almost every weekend and I've never had a problem. I chalked it up to being Memorial weekend. Everybody was too preoccupied with getting where ever the y had to go, and somehow got the idea that they are too important to be concerned with other people on the road.

The following weekend I took Saturday off to help a close friend with some college stuff. She thinks I'm smart for some reason so I get to write papers, which I like to do so it's cool. Sunday I met my friend Scott on at the Mulholland exit on the 101. I was excited to ride in an area of town I don't get to often enough. Agoura Hills, West Hills, that whole area is fun because there isn't a flat road to be found. There are lots of rollers and Lots of good climbs. The route I made for this particular ride wasn't supposed to have a lot of climbing and it didn't, but it was still an awesome ride. Scott and I got started and headed over to Westlake Village via Agoura Rd. Agoura is pretty much all rollers. I hate rollers. I like to climb but I hate rollers. We got to Westlake Blvd and started going up. It's not a steep climb at all, but it never ends! By the time we got to Kanan we had both had enough. this was supposed to be a recovery ride for Scott, and I had every intention of taking it easy as my liver needed a break from the night before. Scott made the comment "this must be where my father grew up" I didn't get it at first but he explained "uphill both ways to school" ahh... hahahahaha. it was a good laugh, and well timed as Kanan started to lose elevation at a nice rate. We were able to coast back to the intersection of Agoura and Kanan, where we took a quick break. From there we headed over to Mulholland via some country road I can't remember the name of. It was awesome, like, roller coaster awesome. Rollers that were big enough to get some real momentum. A left hand turn put us on Mulholland. going towards Las Virgines yields moderate climbing, and it was just enough for me taking into account my poor fuel consumption from the night before. The view was incredible, and the descent was awesome! We tempo'd back to the jump off point, taking it easy on Las Virgines, then hammering up Maure and coasting down Calabasas. All in all it was an awesome ride. If you want a great 40 mile recovery ride that requires a bit of effort I highly recommend this route.

Read more!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ahhh yes, The Pack

Pronunciation: "pe-l&-'tän, 'pe-l&-"tän
Function: noun
Etymology: French, literally, ball -- more at PLATOON
: the main body of riders in a bicycle race

This is the definition of Peloton from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In reality, the short nine word definition does little to describe the drama that occurs in "The main body of riders in a bicycle race". Anyone who has ridden The Pack ride on Tuesday or Thursday knows this. The pack is a L.A. cycling phenomenon that takes over the Rose Bowl every Tuesday and Thursday at 6p.m. The scourge of city planners and infrastructure consultants the pack ranges from 150 to 300 people and circles the Rose Bowl 10 times for a 31.1 mile ride that takes about an hour and 10 minutes. At times it appears as though a spandex factory exploded in 1996 and its remnants circle the hippodrome, it's soundtrack a ghostly whir of rubber on asphalt, littered by occasional shouts from the peanut gallery. The Pack is like a soap opera at 30 miles an hour. There are friends laughing and discussing past rides and races. there are arguments, like lovers quarrels as shouts notify riders of various faux-Paux's they didn't know they committed. There are outstanding crashes, often caused by pedestrians or their dogs. All of this is to be expected. Everyone from beginning racers to seasoned veteran Pro's show up for the pack ride. You have a mix of every category of racer, from the lowly CAT 5 to the European Professional. It is this diverse and volatile brew of ego and ambition that makes the pack what it is.

What ensues when we roll out is controlled chaos. the strongest riders will jockey for position at the front setting the pace. weaker riders will sit on their wheel, while even weaker riders will form an elastic slingshot a quarter mile long that stretches and contracts as it rounds the circular course. Guys check each others pace, their peddle stroke, and how well they hold a line. Heckling begins as one rider can't ride a straight line, and threatens the last 30 riders. His drunken style infuriates riders as they expend high levels of energy to get around him, so as to not end up in what could be disaster. He wobbles off the back, no longer able to hold pace. He continues to slam on the pedals, though his efforts are in vain. the pack has left him for the wind, the destroyer of men. More will feel the Packs cold uncaring grip throw them off the back. In the turn of a corner one can go from protected rider, drafting off the efforts of so many others, to dropped lacky.

I myself have been on both sides. The first couple times I rode with the Pack I hung in fine. I was at peak fitness and the 30 mile effort wasn't too difficult. However, after an 8 month Hiatus from the road and a lackluster start to a training regiment with no immediate goal, my time with the Pack last night was short lived. I was able to hang on for almost 6 laps, getting dropped in the last corner of the 5th. I can blame no one but myself for being fat and out of shape. Although I sure would like to point the finger at the guy in the Orbea jersey who kept bobbing around like a drunken field mouse, sprinting, then resting, sprinting then resting; for my demise. All in All it was a great ride, because now I know where I sit. I know what I have to do to get to where I want to be. I'll be there next Thursday, to do 6 laps. Maybe 7. Read more!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Holy Crap

Saturday was by far one of the most difficult rides I have been on since the new year. Up to this point Most of my riding has been sub 50 miles. The short rides during the week have been fairly intense quick rides in zone 4 while the longer rides are zone 2-3 rides ranging between 40-50 miles. This ride, THIS ride, ended up being 60 miles. I consulted (greatest website ever) before my ride, but of course didn't write my route down. Anyone who knows me knows that I get lost easily, and after turning left onto Tujunga Canyon Rd. after descending La Tuna it was like any day on new roads for me. I took a fast descent heading east on Foothill Dr. then a right onto Oro Vista and another right onto Whiteworth rd. I should have known from the speed of the descent on Foothill that the ascent back up Whiteworth was going to be difficult, but of course the the jubilation caused by the descent wiped my memory once I turned onto Oro Vista. Climbing straight 12% grade roads with stop signs every block is a blast. I recommend it for anyone. I guess this lost up and down through Tujunga was ok. I missed the first climb of the day because of the fire in Griffith Park. So this climbing made up for it. Plus some. By the time I got to Pennsylvania I thought I had popped. I had set a quick pace for the first 30 miles of the ride because I got a trademark late start (12:00p.m.) I could feel my legs starting to cramp on Berkshire as I was heading to the Rosebowl. I took a quick break at the base of Lida and then took a slow pace up and over Lida, keeping my cadence between 60 and 65 rpm's while in my 36-19. (I like to muscle short climbs like that, it hurts less right?) Anyway... after grinding it out over shit hill I coasted home, cracked a beer and passed out on the floor in the air conditioning of my condo. Greatest ride this year. Here's the map. This is what I intended to do. Again, I somehow added 6 miles. Read more!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Base Miles, Head Wind

I got on the bike today as promised and put in some base miles, something that was much needed. Lately I've been going out and hammering on my workouts because of limited time, or other commitments later on in the day that conflict with my desire to sleep in until 10 or 11 before riding. My plan for this ride was to start accumulating base miles in zone 2 and 3, and spend minimal time in zones 4 and 5. To my surprise, I actually stuck to it.

Today I was up at 7 a.m. to meet with some old TNT friends for a good ride. I like getting on the bike that early, but I like to sleep too, but since these guys like to ride early I made a sacrifice; it was well worth it. The guys I rode with today are great guys, and I forgot how much I enjoy their company. It's good to have people to talk with when you ride. Especially when two out of the 5 are hilarious and the other two are Lawyers. When I was younger I was the scrawny kid people picked on. later in life I got big scary looking friends, which gave me the right to talk shit and cause trouble, which I did plenty of. Riding with Lawyers is kind of the same thing. You can talk shit to drivers as the cut you off and disrespect you because you're on a bike knowing that if an altercation ensues you have a lawyer there, ready to go! The funny guys are great to have around because, well, they're funny. Now that I think about it, everyone on the ride is pretty funny in their own way. There was limited interaction with shithole drivers today, and all in all it was just a great ride. Great weather, great conversation (albeit at some points i was notified of information that I could have done without) great base mileage pace, and a great route, the only thing missing was a great beer at the end but oh well.

We started the ride doing my standard route, starting at Griffith Park and going around the studios. We caught the bike path at Riverside dr. and took that to Fletcher, turned onto Riverside and headed back to Griffith Park. I was able to maintain a heart rate of 125-135 through this, although on Forest Lawn I did kick it up to 150. We dropped one of our guys at Griffith Park (he had family obligations and a bum knee) took a piss break and rolled out again. Heading up to Glenoaks you could see that there was weather rolling in. It had rained the night before so I assumed it was left over weather from last nights storm. When we turned onto Glenoaks we were immediately greeted by a 25-30 mile/hour head wind. Awesome. Headwinds are the most demoralizing weather phenomenon for cyclists. My heart rate was between 135-140 the whole time on Glenoaks and I was hardly moving. I would rather ride in freezing rain than a headwind, although it would be realized later that our fortunes would change and struggling through the headwind would be worth it.

Glenoaks runs East to West, and La Tuna runs basically East to West as well, so when we made the turn to get onto La Tuna we had the wind at our back. Aaaaahhh salvation. I was able to big ring the climb thanks to the tail wind. I kept my cadence between 45-50 rpm's and my heart rate was 170-180. Normally La Tuna can be a bit miserable, you can always count on it being hot and windy. Today, because it was pretty chilly due to the rain, the heat was good and of course the wind for once was going in the right direction. I turned around at the top of the climb, descended to about the half way point to find one of the guys from our group. I stopped and did the climb again with him. Climbing by yourself can be a bummer, having some one with you to chat with up the climb is always a plus.

For those that have climbed La Tuna before you are aware of the pay off. For those that haven't let me explain. The back side of La Tuna is a short, steep descent. 45 mph is an easy target. When your done with that descent, you get to descend more, down Honolulu, down Pennsylvania, down Verdugo, down Glenoaks, down down down down all the way to Griffith Park. And then your done. Average speed for the second part of the ride should never be below 25 mph. All in all it was a great day. I couldn't have asked for a better day of riding and a better group of guys to ride with. I look forward to riding with those guys again.
Read more!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sideburns. A must have for the properly groomed male cyclist.

I was thinking back to a recent club meeting as I was looking at the pictures on our website from previous races and I realized a disturbing trend. When we cyclists (specifically male cyclists) are on the bike we look fine. We have our shorts on, jersey's, helmets, sunglasses ect. But things change when we get off the bike. Things change and it's not pretty. It's no secret that cyclists, and athletes in general, sport some blatant and strange tan lines. These tan lines include the obvious and socially acceptable tan lines caused by jerseys and shorts, to the more sinister tan lines caused by socks, watches and Livestrong bracelets to the down right annoying tan lines caused by gloves. I for one don't wear gloves when I ride, so to avoid wearing "pasty skin colored" gloves when I'm off the bike. The most pervasive tan lines though are the ones on the head. Tan lines caused by sunglasses are bad, but skiing has become such a popular sport that sunglass tan lines have become fairly well accepted in almost all social circles. The head tan line that I think is the worst, and I didn't realized this until I was surrounded by PAA members, is the helmet strap tan line.

Tan Lines 2 A supurb (albeit small)example of helmet strap tan line.

Aaahahh yes, the helmet strap tan line, God's cynical gift to those that choose unmotorized two wheeled vehicles as a means of transportation/sport. If you are eternally youthful and unable to grow thick, bushy facial hair you have some choices:

A: you can be eternally damned with this blasphemous tan line or

2: you can ask for permanent brain damage by not riding with a helmet because you 're sooooo 1970's euro. or

iii: you can wear lot's of sunscreen and look like a geisha.

If you are blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with thick, full, groves of facial hair I recommend growing full, jaw length sideburns.

I've never realized the personal nightmare caused by helmet strap tan line because I've always rocked this fashionable side burn style. I've watched with sorrow and pity as friends of mine are pointed out and laughed at because of this tragedy, only to pray too late that I could have done something to prevent this. Well now I am. Avoid this tragic mishap. If you ride a bike, value your brain, and can grow sideburns do yourself this favor: grow sideburns. Other facial hair styles that can avert this problem are the mutton chop or the full beard. I recommend any of the three.

If you can't, wear lot's of sunscreen. You'll save all of us a lot of pain and suffering. Read more!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why am I such a jock?

Remember that guy you went to college with who used to go to parties and get really drunk and loud and want to fight everybody? I'm that guy. Or at least I feel like that when I get on my bike. Every time I go out and ride I just can't leave it alone, I see someone way out in front of me and I have to chase them down. I HAVE TO!!! I'm like a dog that only knows one trick. When I catch up I'm so spent usually that I just cut my workout time in half. Then all I can do is sit on the poor guys wheel for a while to rest up. Well, at least I still got an hour and a half in. I rode around Griffith Park, the studios and up and down Trash Can Hill twice. It was a good work out. good and fast. So much for taking it easy. Read more!

Lazy Sunday

When I say Sunday I mean the whole last week. I made a decision to put of the intense training for 2008 until July due to this imaginary time line I have in my head. Until then I decided that I would keep doing relatively the same amount of miles while slowly picking up the intensity each week. This means about 45-55 miles every saturday, 20 on sunday, and 15-20 periodically through out the week. After making this decision I sat my ass down on the couch and watched some TV. then I got up and made myself a drink. Vodka. I recommend it for anyone trying to numb the pain of failure caused by laziness. I tried to get on the bike Monday and Tuesday but just couldn't. I tried yesterday too but for some reason couldn't then either. I WILL get on the bike today, but my usual ride up and around the hills above the Rose Bowl just isn't going to happen. Maybe I'll go do Griffith Park or something. Then after that I think I'll go polish off the rest of that Kettle One vodka I have, so it won't tempt me any more. Better go get some cranberry juice. Read more!