Monday, August 31, 2009

First Endurance Giveaway

I'm a big fan of First Endurance products, so I decided to enter their most recent product giveaway. Thankfully all that was necessary was a blog posting that happened back at the Madera Stage Race.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Winters Road Race

It hit me the night before this race that I hadn't done a road race since Panoche back in May. Wow, how time flies! I was pretty excited about riding this loop as we had a pretty strong team put together for this field.

I was really concerned about the heat, so I packed two additional water bottles in my back pocket. I even went as far as freezing them the night before and kept them frozen up until we started. Between what I had on me and the water at the feed zone I made sure hydration wasn't going to be a concern.

We rolled out and our pace was pretty tame, tame enough that a few guys rolled off the front, but this didn't cause any chases. We came around the loop and hit the gradual slopes on Cantelow Road. Things were pretty steady and hard enough to make me happy to hang out at the back of the main pack.

The descent was a blast and those off the back were able to catch on relatively easy. On the second lap we got a time split and the break, which at this point had grown by a few riders, was 1:20 up the road. Once we heard this Ramon, Dave and Jim rolled to the front and sped up the pace. Ramon spent a considerable amount of time staying near the front.

We hit the climb again and for some reason I found myself near the back leading into the feed zone (on the first steep pitch of the climb). Not the place I needed to be! Next thing I know a Touchstone rider is putting on his brakes and stopping in front of me. He caused myself and Matt to both ease up and lose contact with the pack. I grabbed a water, looked back and Matt. He said we probably could catch them after the descent, so I put down a hard tempo (at least for me) to pace both of us up the climb.

After bombing down the hill, we caught up with Jim who had slipped off the back and we did a three man TT over the course of the next three minutes to catch the pack. At this point I wasn't sure whether I had it in me to stay with the leaders if they decided to climb hard. I figured I could at least get to the front on the flats and put the hurt on a few people and hopefully a stronger/better teammate who could climb would make the selection at the front.

Nice idea, but my rear wheel had another going flat. I had a slow leak and it eventually put me on the side of the road. Andrew Lanier Sr. was driving our follow car. He jumped out and asked, "Hey, you want to use Junior's wheel?". Sure, why not. We swapped the wheel and I decided to try and TT back to the group.

I could see the group about 3 minutes up the road and thought, "If I make it around the next corner where I can see them, and they look closer, I'll keep truckin'...". Well, it just happened that I wasn't able to see the group due to some of the turns along Putah Creek Road.

Finally, I turned south on Winters Road and saw the pack. One nice thing about having my eyesight over-corrected by Lasik nine years aog is that I have 10/20 eyesight (my eye doctor thinks I could be a sniper). The bad thing was somebody was hitting the gas in the pack and they were stretched out and pulling away. I told myself to keep going until the next turn a few miles down, but I knew it was a lost hope.

Ten minutes later I reached the next turn and shut it down. Sad to say I was bummed, but some days lady luck just isn't on your side. Needless to say this race is a definite on the racing calendar next year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Death by Salad - Part II

Back in April I was taken back by the cost of eating a salad at lunch. Since then things have changed by 25%. How so? The cost per ounce was lowered from $0.40 to $0.30. Doesn't sound significant, but when your salad weighs over a pound, it does make a difference. Making this change and being more strategic in my selection of lighter veggies (I'm taken my weight weenie mindset from the bike to the salad bar) I can now walk out of the cafeteria with a salad that costs less than $6. Much better than giving away my firstborn for a piece of green nutrition.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fire Season

This is a week or so behind the times, but it was just a bit ironic given what has transpired over the past week around the Bay Area with local forest fires. Growing up in Oregon I find forest fires troubling to me on several levels. At the core I truly cherish the forest and all it encompasses. Many days of my youth were spent in the back acres of our property playing among the trees and streams of the forest. Seeing land like this go up in smoke just bothers me to no end.

I took this first photo as I was meandering through the east foothills of San Jose on an easy spin. I hadn't heard about the fire north of Davenport yet, but Smokey sure knew something was ominous. I don't know if this sign's fire danger level ever gets changed; the sign is located on a closed road section of Alum Rock park.

As I rode back to work I saw in the distance the smoke from over the Santa Cruz mountains.
My gut just sank as I knew this was a pretty big fire just given the size of the plume. This photo was taken near the south end of the bay near Milpitas. Only for a brief moment did I think this might have been the fog bank rolling in, but upon looking further north where Highway 92 crosses over to Half Moon Bay my initial suspicions were confirmed. No fog up north certainly meant this was a fire in the hills.

Last year soon after the Pine Martin fire near Bonny Doon I rode through that area as part of the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge ride. That was eerie! Not something I particularly liked doing. Hopefully we're through with serious fires in the local area and things are kept safe around the state. However, that will be tough; a few weeks ago our family went up to Oregon for a week and on the flight I spotted several fires east of Mt. Shasta. Fires look different from the sky, but it still makes my heart sink.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Performance - It's the Name of the Game

You may have already seen this, but I like it for so many reasons. One of the not so obvious reasons...the shots within the video from the Mt. Tabor park area. I grew up playing as a small kid in that area.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Backstage with Cervelo Test Team

I've been transfixed lately by a series of videos following the Cervelo Test Team. Head over to and make up a pot of coffee (or break open a bottle of wine). Each video is roughly ten minutes in length and give you a very good idea of what happens behind the scenes with the riders.

Contrary to the postings Lance and company have put up from the first two Grand Tours, these videos have a realism that to me portrays the day in/day out grind of being a professional rider. Watching the transformation of Heinrich Haussler over the first couple of episodes had me transfixed.