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.
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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!

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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.

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