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.

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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.

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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.
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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.


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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.

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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
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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!

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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.

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