STORIES PAGE NOW UP. Just put up a page with
stories from people on our DeathRide email list about their ride last
Saturday. I'd like to get around to quite a few other projects as
well, but with my trip to France coming up Thursday, things are getting just
a wee bit hectic.
07/14/02- A GREAT MORNING RIDE. Sunday
rides are kinda sketchy for me, as it's my only day off from the shop, so
it's usually a day I spend with the kids (more on that later). But
with my trip to France coming up
definitely needed to get in some miles, so I got out right around 8am and
headed in the direction of Old LaHonda. Didn't know if I'd find
anybody I knew, but figured what the heck, I'd ride on my own or with a
group, whatever worked out. Nobody at the base of Old LaHonda, but met
up with Pel, Andy and Mark at the top, and had a very nice ride with them
down the other side of Old LaHonda, then up West Alpine to Skyline, Skyline
north to 84 and then back down the hill. It was one of those mornings
to die for, and on Skyline, I was mentioning to Mark how it just doesn't get
a whole lot better than this.
KILLED TWO FISH TODAY. This is
the part about spending time with my kids. Went back to Loch Lomond
reservoir this afternoon, to see if we might catch something more
significant than the little Bluegills we got last Sunday. Well,
trouble is we're getting better at this fishing thing. Knowing that
the kids would want to first try the Bluegills again (since you can see them
all over the place so there's this definite feeling it's possible to catch
one), I bought some really small hooks and baited them with Nightcrawlers
(worms). The problem was that it worked way too well. Unlike the
bigger hooks, which the fish tended to nibble around, these little hooks
were perfect for the little fish. Too perfect. Poor things would
swallow the entire hook with the worm, so there was no way to remove the
hook and toss them back in! Had to cut the heads off two poor little
Bluegills, and let me tell you, that was not a fun thing for me. From
that point on we went to much bigger hooks (attached to lures) and tried to
catch much bigger fish. Fortunately, at least for the fish, and partly
for me, we didn't catch any.
07/11/02- WAY TOO FAST. No way
around it. Kevin Keenan, Pat Schmidt, Todd Norwood and I headed up the
hill. Well, Pat & Todd headed up the hill... I pointed my bike in that
direction, but it didn't quite seem to respond the way their bikes did!
In fact, the two of them rode up King's Mtn in just 24:30, Todd's best time
ever (by a pretty good margin, I believe). And one of the very few
days where Kevin wasn't feeling too great, so it was pretty easy ride for
the two of us. Of course, once on Skyline, it quickly became a
take-no-prisoners type of ride, with Pat doing incredibly strong pulls at
the front. Knowing this to be a possibility (knowing Pat as I do), I
headed the group north on Skyline (instead of south) and down 92 and back
Canada. Wow. Keeping on Pat's wheels was not easy! But I
figured it would be tougher losing his wheel than staying on it, so stay on
it I did. Whew.
07/10/02- UNCLE! I GIVE UP! I TAKE BACK
EVERYTHING I ever said questioning the existance of "global
warming" just a couple months ago. Please send us some cooler weather.
I'll repent, I promise! (All this whining brought on by just a couple
days of 100 degree and near-100 degree temps. Jeez, what a typical
Northern California wimp!)
07/09/02- IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN! Is
it an endless loop that I'm destined to never escape from or what?
Today Ueyn Block not only got his best time ever up King's Mtn, but he also
passed me up just shy of the
top. One of
those rides where you're well in front of the other guy, but notice that
he's gaining on you and that 30-second lead you had at the halfway point
just wasn't going to hold up. But hey, I got just under 27 minutes,
and Ueyn about 26:50 or so, so can't complain too much!
And, as you can see, I've been playing with my new toy,
the Ciclomaster HAC-4. Got the download software/hardware and it's
way, way cool. The first solid vertical line represents the bottom of
King's Mtn, the second one the top. The high point is the top of
Skyline just prior to Skegg's Point, from which we descended first to Sky
L'onda and then down the west side of 84 to Old LaHonda. It then shows
us climbing back up to Skyline (via the west side of Old LaHonda and then
back down into Woodside. Heart rate was pretty much maxed on the
King's Mtn climb, a bit more ragged on the Old LaHonda part. The
higher temperatures there seemed to limit how much I could push.
We also had Kevin Keenan, Todd Norwood and Pat Schmidt
riding as well. Todd's a high school sophomore, and Pat's a sophomore
at UCLA... and I noted to Kevin as we neared the end of the ride that, hey,
those guys are less than half our age, but they're not nearly twice as fast!
07/08/02- DIDN'T RIDE YESTERDAY
but did get a workout. Took the kids fishing, this time to Loch
Lomond reservoir near Scotts Valley. Rented an oar boat to get out
into the lake, and the kids definitely had zero appreciation for the amount
of work required to get from one place to the other! Of course,
neither did the fish, which seemed to have no interest in whatever I put on
the end of the kid's hooks.
07/06/02- TOUR DE FRANCE PAGE STARTING.
The cat's out of the bag, yes, I'll be heading for France on the 18th
and coming back a couple days after the finish in Paris. Might even
get to finish the job I started on Ventoux a
couple years ago! In the meantime, I'm still thinking about that great
ride on Thursday, probably the most fun I've had on my bike this year (and
definitely a whole lot more fun than Sonora Pass was last Sunday).
07/04/02- GREAT RIDE TODAY!
We combined the regular Tues/Thursday Chain Reaction ride with the
normally-Sunday "Fast Eddy" group, and had a fun ride following the
route in the diary entry below. I felt so much better than I did on
Sonora Pass; it was an opportunity to get that monkey off my back!
Tunitas Creek went quite nicely, holding off a pair of dogs behind (that
would be Todd and Ueyn) while trying to keep from getting too far behind the
lead rider (the rabbit). About 56 really fun miles!
07/03/02- SPECIAL RIDE JULY 4TH as
I'm not quite so time-constrained as I'd normally be, since the shop's not
open. So instead of heading up King's Mtn, we'll be riding over Old
LaHonda, down the other side to LaHonda, over Haskins Grade to Pescadero,
Stage Road to Tunitas Creek and then back over the hill and down King's Mtn.
If you meet us at the usual place, we'll be there at the usual time (Olive
Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am). Or you can meet up with us at the base
of Old LaHonda at 8:15am. Several convenient bail-out points for those
not up to that sort of ride.
07/02/02- NEW BIKE COMPUTER/HEART MONITOR/KITCHEN
KNIFE on my bike now. I haven't used a heart monitor in
maybe 15 years, but when this new Ciclomaster HAC-4 thing came out, how
could I not try it? It includes altitude, % current grade,
temperature, speed, heart rate and a bunch of other stuff, and records it
for later download. Of course, I don't have the download software yet!
But I will by this afternoon, so maybe you can see a different view of this
morning's ride a bit later on. [07/03/02- Darn, the software didn't come in
yesterday, maybe today!]
06/30/02- ADVANTAGE SONORA PASS, but
only temporarily! Pretty mean ride today up and over Sonora Pass.
It was supposed to be routine, but if Sonora Pass has taught me anything,
it's that it can always throw you something unexpected. Today, it was
very high temps, with the start in Dardanelle at a toasty 92 degrees,
not terribly fun
for a climb like that. At the Golden Staircase (the final steep part
of the climb on the west side), I got so weak I had to stop (not something I
do very often while climbing!) and figure out what was going on. My
hair was absolutely soaked and felt ice cold. Very strange stuff!
After about 10 minutes I felt OK enough to continue to the top, where one of
our customers, Nicole, have very nicely placed a gallon jug of water for our
group. Let me tell you, without that water, there's no way I could
have continued down the other side and back! Ueyn is seen in the photo
holding the water. Thanks, Nicole!
October we'll probably go back, when the weather's cooler.
06/29/02- EAT, DRINK & BE ME MERRY
for tomorrow we die. Who said that anyway? Must have been
someone else before riding Sonora Pass!
But tomorrow's the day, my day of reckoning, the piece de resistance or
whatever they say, that I must accomplish prior to riding in France in a few
weeks. If I can successfully tackle (which simply means survive!)
Sonora Pass, then Ventoux shouldn't be a
Look for some interesting
reports after the ride, as I'm testing out one of the new Ciclomaster HAC-4
bike computers. That's the downloadable one with heart rate,
temperature, distance, altitude, percent grade (that will be interesting on
Sonora Pass!) and a host of other functions. We'll see if I can even
figure out how to work the darned thing! And, of course, by Monday
evening I should have lots of photos up. I'll have a diary entry by
Sunday night though, letting you know how it went and who was brave enough
to show up.
06/27/02- JUST ME & KEVIN. Actually,
while it was just the two of us riding up the hill (King's Mtn), I saw a
bunch of others out there on their own rides. Peter H was heading out
on Canada as I was leaving, and on the way back, I saw both Todd (one of our
employees) and Ueyn. Ueyn turned around and rode a bit with me, just
long enough for me to convince the poor guy that he ought to ride Sonora
06/25/02- IT TOOK AWHILE
but I finally made it. 26:44 up King's Mtn this morning, and my goal
had been to get under 27 before doing Sonora Pass again. Guess that
means I'm ready? We'll see soon! Also had a new guy on the ride
today, John. He'd read about King's Mtn in the diary (here) and
decided to try it. Looked to me like he shares a similar mental defect
with the rest of us and will probably be back for more!
06/23/02- GREAT RIDE, JUST ME, ONE CAR & ONE TRUCK.
Oh yeah, one skunk too.
We dropped off one of our kids at summer camp in Felton today, after which I
got to ride back home via Highway 9/China Grade/Highway
9/Skyline/84/Woodside. Highway 9 from Felton to Boulder Creek is one
continuous stream of cars and not-very-wide road, so it's a relief to take
the left turn in Boulder Creek onto 236 and then the steep climb up China
Grade. China Grade is usually my nemesis, and I've never figured out
why... it just always seems to painfully hack away at me in a way that isn't
terribly satisfying. But today seemed different, I was really moving
up the hill, not even having to use my lowest gear! And traffic?
virtually none!!! The entire distance of China Grade and then 236 to
Waterman Gap (9 miles) saw just one truck and one car. The road was
Well, no it wasn't. About halfway up I met the owner of
China Grade. Fortunately I spotted him a bit up the road, a very large
squirrel lumbering along. Except that squirrels are usually faster.
Oh, and squirrels are typically not black, white & fluffy. And
finally, squirrels usually don't raise their tails at you! So for 5-10
minutes I was off my bike, a safe distance (as far as I know) from Mr.
Skunk, very slowly encouraging him to move on up the road (better yet, off
it) by walking towards him. Didn't seem to do much good, until a truck
finally came along and got him to move (but even the truck came to a
complete halt first, since until Mr. Skunk decided to let us pass, it
clearly wasn't either of our turn).
06/20/02- WHEN DID YOU LAST CHECK YOUR TIRES?
I don't do it often enough but this morning, for
some reason, I thought
I'd take a quick look at them before heading out on my ride up King's Mtn.
What I saw was not a pretty sight, as my rear tire had multiple areas
where chunks of rubber were missing from the top of the tread. Not
something you'd want to ride at high speed descending from Skyline on!
So instead I went for a flatter loop, with a bit more distance (38 miles
instead of the usual 24). Even then I was a bit worried about getting
a flat, but all went well. Gotta figure out why this tire went bad so
quickly though... less than 1,000 miles, on a "carbon black" tire that many
claim to be superior to the new-style silica tread compounds found in most
high-end tires. I'm unconvinced, to say the least. (Addendum:
The original tire was a first-production sample run, and may have been
faulty. They've sent me a new tire which I've installed and will
hopefully live up to their claims!)
06/19/02- OF BROKEN WEBS & A GERMAN VISITOR.
Did some modifications to the menuing system on our website last night &
early this morning, and managed to break all manner of links to our ride
description pages. Bob Falkenberg nicely sent me an email pointing
this out, so I rushed home around noon to do a quick fix (hopefully all is
now well!). Hey, it's maybe the third time in six years I've done
something like that, so life could be worse. But what's this about a
German visitor? Well, this businessman in Germany had an accident with
his Klein Navigator bike, and couldn't find a frame anywhere but... you
guessed it... on our website. It just so happened he was able to take
a trip out here and pick it up this afternoon. So what, you ask?
So how about the fact that the US play Germany in the World Cup Soccer match
this Friday morning (4:30am), and if the outcome had been unfavorable, I
dunno, there might have been a new tax that just got levied on German
purchases! Just kidding, of course.
06/18/02- RABBITS & DOGS on my ride
up the hill this morning. Nobody at the start, but as I turn onto
King's Mtn I spot someone a couple hundred yards ahead of me, heading
towards the hill. My rabbit. Unfortunately, not all rabbits can
be caught, including this one! He gradually pulled away from me on the
steeper sections of the climb until... there! I'm catching up!
No, not quite, that's somebody else the rabbit passed on his way up the
hill. OK, this other guy's still looking pretty good, so it's a bit of
work catching up and passing him as I pass Huddart Park. Question is,
how much did I burn catching & passing this guy? Is he now going to
become a Dog (someone chasing you)? Doesn't matter if he actually does
or not, you become his rabbit, and you have to assume that he's on your
tail, just around each corner, possibly saving energy for that final push at
the end. 27:11 was my time up the hill today, best so far this
year. Need to get myself into the 26 range before Sonora Pass at the
end of the month!
Turns out to be a rather nice dog,
actually. A guy who rides mostly in Marin but also does a fair amount
of riding out our way, and, since he's heading north on Skyline, I decide to
go that route too instead of the usual southern route down 84. A bit
of cross-wind on that open stretch as you descend towards 92, but what a
beautiful morning! The fog stayed just out of reach, and just high
enough to give great views underneath.
06/17/02- FATHER'S DAY didn't find
me out riding, but did have a good time taking the kids out fishing (or
trying to fish, or whatever it is when you really don't expect to catch
anything, and reality lives up to expectations!). Kind of a long day,
since I had to stay up to watch the US/Mexico soccer match. Gave me an
excuse to experiment with a new format for navigation. Instead of
having that endless drop-down menu that lists maybe 30 ride options, I'm
working on a page that organizes the rides and gives each type its own
drop-down list. You can see the
beginnings, but keep in mind it's a work in progress.
06/13/02- DEAD-END ROADS
PAGE NOW UP! We've completed our exploration of the
three major dead-end roads off Skyline, between King's Mountain and Highway
84, and have put up a web page showing photos and profiles. How could
I have missed out on these great rides all my life?
06/11/02- ANOTHER UNEXPLORED DEAD-END,
#2 in a series! This time we rode down Starr Hill all the way to the
bottom (last time we took the Native Sons fork, about half-way down Starr
Hill). What a cool road! I'll be putting up a page with photos
in the next few days. On Thursday, we'll do the final unexplored
dead-end road, Bear Gulch. Wish us luck!
06/06/02- JUST ANOTHER RIDE?
I rode the same route I've done literally thousands of times (really!) and
yet saw all manner of new things today. I was paced by a deer for awhile,
saw a 4-wheeler with a park ranger attached that was getting ready to go nab
errant mountain bikers at Skeggs, a whole lot of women out jogging, a dog
barking at me from the edge of a precipice literally 60 feet above the road
(straight drop down with no fence!), and a mom with her maybe 2-year-old kid
that she'd brought out to see the garbage truck go by (no, that's not me
when I'm eating a powerbar!) but the kid instead was pointing to me as I
rode past. Very nice ride. Oh, almost forgot, even came across a guy
descending 84 on a recumbent. At that point my camera was in a plastic
baggy in my pocket, so I'm riding down the hill trying to extricate it from
the bag while negotiating turns and braking. Felt like Jalabert in the
Tour de France, flying downhill while putting a jacket on. Well, not
quite, as I was going about half as fast, and had no jacket sleeves to worry
about getting into a wheel. I put up a few
pictures on a separate page.
A BELATED DIARY ENTRY. Tuesday's
ride up King's Mtn seemed rather obnoxious and slow after Sunday's Sequoia
Century. Seems like the legs just didn't have enough recovery time and
felt awful although, towards the end of the ride, I was beginning to feel
better. Ueyn showed up, but no sign of Kevin, who was supposed to
continue his series of taking us down unknown, dead-end roads that head from
Skyline out to the coast.
06/02/02- SEQUOIA CENTURY
WRITE-UP & PHOTOS ON LINE
Rode the Sequoia double-metric (125 miles) century today with Dick, Richard
& Todd. Not quite as easy as last year!!! But still a good ride,
and if it's true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I'm a lot
stronger today than I was yesterday.
06/01/02- THE CURSE OF THE SEQUOIA CENTURY
may be back. For years, it seemed like bad weather dogged the Sequoia
Century, even though it's held in the first week of June. The last few
years appeared to break the spell however... but it may be back. There
are some very strong winds coming down from the north right now (7pm),
bringing lots of fog & low clouds. Could be a very cold morning, and
the parts where the 200k plays along the coastline might be rather damp.
As I'll be riding the 200k, you'll be hearing about it tomorrow night, right
05/30/02- FRIDAY NIGHT TRACK RACING IS BACK!
Thought that watching bike racing in person meant waiting an interminable
amount of time for the riders to come past each lap, with the action always
happening out of sight? Not if you visit Northern California's famous
Velodrome right here in San Jose! From now through the summer you can
cheer on the locals and the not-so-locals (the Jamaicans showed up last
week) as they race around a 333-meter banked high-speed track. It's
cheap too! Admission to Hellyer Park, where the Velodrome is located,
is $4/carload, plus $5/person at the track. But wait...there's more. Our
very own Brian Krause will be doing the announcing! Find out more at
REMEMBER THE BERNSTEIN BEARS STORY ABOUT THE SPOOKY
TREE? We found it! We (Kevin, Ueyn & I) did an
exploratory ride this morning, heading down Starr Hill Road all the way to
the bottom (out back of Corte Madera Open Space), taking the fork down
Native Son. About two thirds of the way down is this way-cool tree
that's got a platform big enough for a small house, and looking very much
like something a bit spooky. You never know what you'll find when you
take the road less traveled!
05/29/02- SOMEBODY DROPPED THE DIME ON ME!
Yes, that's right, one of my neighbors called the cops on
me. It's like this- we had to replace our old refrigerator and had a
new one delivered today. But the new one is about half an inch taller
than expected, which meant that it ran into the bottom of some cabinets.
Nothing that a claw hammer and a jigsaw can't take care of, right?
Nothing like power tools. But somebody thought people shouldn't be
doing construction work at 9:15pm, so at 9:30 there's a cop in my front
yard. The excitement had been over for 15 minutes by then, so the
officer just laughed, apologized and went on his way.
Of course, the real irony here is that I work so many hours
that I rarely have time for any home improvement type of things around the
house (my wife will verify this!). The one time I do and... (but hey,
it ought to get me out of all sorts of noisy honey-do projects in the
05/28/02- 27:30 AND COUNTING.
Counting what though? I didn't feel all that fast up King's Mtn this
morning, but, even after waiting for a bit at the Huddart Park entrance for
someone to catch up, I managed a decent time up the hill. Maybe I am
ready for the Sequoia double-metric this Sunday? I was initially a bit
worried that my legs would be tired from walking all day at the Santa Cruz
Beach/Boardwalk yesterday with my kids (and there is that mildy-sunburned
spot on top of my head... what's with that???), but they feel fine.
Have a bit of weight to work off again though... something about all that
food you eat when you're on an outing with your kids.
05/26/02- I ALMOST WALKED UP A HILL!
Almost, but not quite. Sal Contreras and I did a 55 mile "greatest
hits" ride of some Santa Cruz Mountains hills today. Bohlman, Black
Road and China Grade among the high points. The
photos and descriptions are now up.
05/23/02- REVENGE! Tried an
experiment this morning. Wanted to know if it was possible to leave at
my regular ride time & place (7:45am Olive Hill & Canada Road) and ride out
to the coast via 84 and back on Tunitas Creek... and get home, take a shower
and get to work on time to open the shop. Yes! It's pretty tight
though, as I made it back to my house at 10:28am, with just enough time to
shower, shave and head down to work. Made it with five minutes to
Why revenge? This was the exact same
route I did the prior Sunday (see photo below of the guy heading up Tunitas
in the pouring rain), only this time with absolutely great weather.
Ueyn Block rode as far as Skyline, and Kevin Keenan provided the "muscle"
(someone to draft behind) the rest of the way.
05/21/02- THANK GOODNESS
my knees, which felt pretty bad walking around yesterday, felt fine this
morning on the bike! It wasn't a fast ride up the hill, but at least
it wasn't raining and I felt stronger as I rode. Sunday's ride
certainly took its toll on both my bike and my body, so I was pretty
Interesting thing on the way
down 84. When I stopped at the one-way signal, a car pulled up
alongside me. I kind of figured, OK, what this guy's problem?
Instead he was quite the nice guy, asking me where I'd been riding this
morning, saying how impressed he was, etc. I was more prepared for
something along the lines of "Why do you cyclists think you own the
road???!!!" And then, closer to home, I came across one of our
customers who'd been describing a noise on her bike that was tough to
diagnose remotely. But in person going over Jefferson it was
obvious... very creaky rear rim! So, while I started the morning with no
small amount of fear & trepidation (mostly because of how my knees had
felt), I ended the ride feeling much better, and with a sense of
accomplishment. Once again, for me, riding a bike proves its
Oh, one other nice thing. The needle on the scale is
finally planted decisively on the correct side of the 180lb mark. That
project was more of an undertaking than I'd expected!
WIMPS RODE THE DAVIS DOUBLE, WE RODE IN THE RAIN!
That's right, Saturday found quite a few of our customers riding the
200-mile Davis Double Century, in cool but reasonable weather. Real
cyclists went out this morning, and headed for the coast. Just can't
get enough 48-degree temps and driving rain! Actually not so bad as
Sal and I headed up 84, but it started raining about the time we got to
Skyline, and as we neared the coast, things got ugly. Cold, wet &
generally miserable conditions prevailed.
We weren't totally unprepared, but after awhile my
relatively-thin legwarmers totally soaked through, and my wind jacket...
well, there's a reason they call it a wind and not rain jacket!
Climbing Tunitas Creek was actually something I looked forward to, since it
meant I might warm up just a bit. But the descent down King's Mtn?
It wasn't the cold that was the issue, it was the brakes. The rain was
coming down pretty hard, and you know that feeling you get when you're out
in the middle of nowhere and you're running out of gas, and nervously
watching the fuel gauge? Same thing, only I was looking at my
disintegrating brake shoes!
Oh, regarding those wimps who rode Davis instead of
braving the elements? Well, Sal, the other person with me on the ride,
had, just the day before (mere hours before!), ridden the Davis 200 miler.
05/19/02- 30-SECOND MOVIE
GUIDE. See Spiderman, wait until StarWars comes out on
DVD. Let's see, that leaves me with about 14 seconds to go, 14 seconds
that I wouldn't waste on StarWars. Have I told you enough yet? I
think it's time for George Lucas to hand the films over to someone else.
There was no build up to anything in the movie, it was confusing as all
get-out (whose side were the clones built for, and for whom did they fight
in the battle?) and what's with R2D2, sleeping on the job? Spiderman,
on the other hand, is a lot of fun. If you've seen Darkman, you'll
note many similarities. Truth is, I hadn't realized before how much of
Darkman was built upon the Spiderman concept until seeing the movie
(Spiderman, that is). And yes, the lead woman is easy on the eyes.
05/18/02- I RAISED HER RIGHT. Well,
maybe not (after all, my 14-year-old daughter did tell me at the last minute
that she wouldn't ride the tandem with me on the Delta Century). But
this morning I noticed that Star Trek Insurrection (the last Star Trek film)
was on TV and mentioned it to her, and she asked when the next one was
coming out. I told her it's being made now and that it was supposed to
be a good one, to which she replied "Of course it's a good one. All
the even-numbered ones are good ones!"
05/16/02- WHERE DO YOU FIND ROADS
LIKE THIS? Right in your backyard, that's
This is from our regular Tuesday/Thursday morning ride, only we extended it
a bit by heading down the west side of 84 to Old LaHonda and then heading
back up Old LaHonda to Skyline. If you didn't know better, you could
imagine this was one of those cool roads carved into the side of a mountain
in France. Funny how sometimes we take such things for granted.
Riding with us today were Kevin Keenan, the most regular regular, and Harry
Dennis, one of those early-morning types that sometimes manages to clear
time late enough in the day to ride with us.
05/14/02- ANOTHER GREAT RIDE!
When will it end? Probably the day I can't get my
butt onto a bike seat, and that day's a long time off. Three of us
rode this morning, myself, Kevin Keenan and Ueyn Block. Instead of the
usual trip up King's Mtn, we headed out through Woodside & Portola Valley
and then up, up, UP Page Mill Road. Best time this year for me on that
climb, at 45:53 (my last time up was just under 51). Then Skyline to
Sky L'onda and down 84 back into Woodside. About 15 miles longer than
the usual Tuesday/Thursday morning ride, and gives me a chance to work on
intervals/recovery and sprinting.
05/12/02- OLD LA HONDA/STAGE RD/TUNITAS
CREEK LOOP is now on-line, in a
new format that includes a table showing significant climbs, where you can
find food & water, and, of course, the usual plethora of photos (as always,
a hefty download!). That was such a great ride, I just can't stand
being off the bike. You just want to get back out there. Is that
the greatest feeling or what?
05/09/02- THE COAST IS CLEAR!
Once in awhile, on Thursdays, I go for a considerably longer ride out to the
coast. This morning's ride was great, with Kevin showing up to keep me
honest. Finally got my time up Old LaHonda back down below 22 minutes
(21:43), still a far cry from the old days, but I'll take it. Heading
down the back side of Old LaHonda, heading towards the coast, we came across
a bunch of birds on the road. They quickly took flight and, for some
strange reason, followed the road ahead of us for the last half mile or so
to highway 84. They could have gone left, right, or straight up, but
instead stayed maybe 20 feet in front of us. And then, heading up Pescadero Road, we spy a miniature, and I do mean miniature, deer.
Mama must have been close by, because I've never seen a deer the size of a
At the right
you see a picture of the infamous "Pink Flamingo House" a couple miles
before Pescadero. Many hundreds, if not thousands of Pink Flamingos
adorn the property. Weird! At Pescadero we stopped at the market
for some freshly-baked break to fuel the rest of the ride. We headed
out Stage Road and then up Tunitas Creek and back home. Absolutely
positively great ride, with me feeling much stronger than I expected.
I like days like that! I'll get a web page up on it shortly.
05/07/02- 39 DEGREES,
no long-fingered gloves, a bit damp up on Skyline. Thank goodness it
warmed up a bit on the descent... those fingers weren't feeling very good!
Felt a bit on the slow side too, a bit sluggish after the Grizzly Peak
Century a couple days ago (of course, when Kevin Keenan shows up, it always
seems like I'm sluggish!). Strong on the flats, but the hills seemed
to be just a tad bit steeper than usual. Two close calls, too, both
within a minute of each other. Descending 84 into Woodside, there's a
final little jog to the right just before it straightens out to a wider
section. A car coming up decided to cut the corner, so much so that,
had we been in that spot a couple seconds earlier, we'd be hood ornaments.
And then, maybe just a hundred yards further down, I spot a deer about read
to run across the road right in front of us. I yelled "Look out" and
the deer jumped back into the wood. You've always got to be on the
lookout for things!
05/06/02- A VERY SPECIAL
PROPOSAL. Check out the two new photos at the bottom of
our Mount Diablo page. How many people get to
propose at the top of Mount Diablo, after
riding up first? Not too many I'll bet! But it's a great way to
start for Kathy Fong and Eric Bain, two of our customers. (Eric
actually proposed back in early March, but it's just now that I'm finally
getting them up on our website. Riding with Eric on the Grizzly Peak
Century reminded me that I ought to get those photos up!).
05/05/02- NICE DAY FOR GRIZZLY
PEAK CENTURY! A bit
more challenging the the Primavera Century of two weeks ago, with a bit more
climbing (they claim 8800 ft but I don't think it was quite that much), but
also amazing support, with plentiful rest stops and great food. Good
road markings as well, including well-outlined hazards (pot holes, ruts,
etc) and even suggested lines to take through some of the rougher stuff
(shown by arrows drawn on the road).
I've got some photos up now, with
descriptions coming soon.
05/03/02- THEY'RE NOT CROWS,
THEY'RE RAVENS! (See the 5/2 diary entry) Thanks to Ted
Guglin for an email alerting me to that. He pointed out that a Raven
is half again the size of a crow, which I misread to be half the size of a
cow, and that convinced me instantly that these huge birds, which
seem to fear nothing, certainly not an approaching bicycle anyway, are, in
By the way, this Sunday will be my first Grizzly Peak Century
in about 16 years. 107 miles, 8600ft of climbing, and moderate weather
forecast. Of course, if they nail the weather, that will be a first!
The past week they've forecast a warming trend starting a couple days ago
and, so far, all we've had is more wind and more cold (for NorCal) weather.
Right now you'd have a hard time convincing me that global warming is a real
05/02/02- THE MILLENNIUM CROW OR
HORMONES IN THE FOOD CHAIN? A bit drizzly on top, but
still a nice ride this morning with Harry, one of those morning people who
shows up once in awhile but normally is finishing his ride about the time I
start. Good thing there are morning people in the world, to balance
out people like me. Anyway, we're riding in the fog approaching
Skegg's Point and there, at the side of the road, is one of those huge
black crows. You know, about twice the size of anything you remember
twenty years ago. Harry suggested hormones in the food chain, while I
suspect it's one of those scary Y2K scenarios that never quite panned out.
The world didn't end for some reason, but we're stuck with a whole lot of
gigantic black crows that are disappointed the party never happened.
04/30/02- RAINY DAYS & TUESDAYS
ALWAYS GET ME DOWN. Oh wait, that's Rainy Days &
Mondays in the song. How about cold, rainy days at the end of April?
Isn't it supposed to be getting nice & warmer about now? Ueyn & Kevin
showed up this morning, with Ueyn showing a bit of sense and wanting to ride
back down King's Mtn instead of continuing south on Skyline. He wasn't
feeling great, but I talked him out of it, telling him that we'd ride
Skyline easy and he'd start feeling better. Maybe he did, but he
probably also realizes that, had he gone back down King's instead, he'd have
missed the 40 degrees & rainy conditions on top!
Let's see, how does that song go? Riding by myself and
feeling old, sometimes I'd like to quit, nothing ever seems to shift, riding
around, feeling like a stupid clown, rainy days & skyline always get me
down. Funny but it seems I always wind up here with you (that would be
04/28/02- OF ALCATRAZ &
SUBMARINES. Normally I've been
getting out on some nice rides on Sundays, but this time it was a day for
the family. Got to take my two kids, along with my brothers' three (do
five kids count as a small herd?) up to SF to see Alcatraz. Actually
the first time I'd ever been there. Interesting place to be sure, and
even at its best, it sure didn't seem like a place you'd want to do time in.
At least as interesting though was the tour through the USS Pampanito
SS-383, a WWII Submarine parked close to Pier 39. Beware of parking
though!!! We arrived around 11am and left about 4:30pm and, even with
validation, it cost us $24. I'd highly recommend taking public
transportation. Even with a crew our size, it probably would have cost
about the same to take the train up and transfer to the local muni line.
If you could care less about Alcatraz & Submarines, then you
might check out the History and Revisions of the
TREK OCLV Carbon Fiber Road Bike page that I just put up.
Basically it's just an answer to a question somebody had posted to a
04/25/02- PICKY, PICKY, PICKY.
Rode the hill this morning on a customer's bike, trying to diagnose some
strange problems he was having when shifting. Shouldn't have been that
big a deal, since I ride a 60cm, and this was a 58... and yet all I can
think about after getting home is wanting to get out on my own bike, where
everything fits just right! Who'd think two centimeters would make
such a difference? After all, I set the seat in exactly the same
place, just had bars about 2cm lower and maybe a forward reach 1-2cm less,
and 2-3 cm narrower than my trusty steed. It wasn't bad while riding
in the saddle, but standing just felt... wrong. Guess there's just
nothing like you own bike. Wish I were just a bit more adaptable.
Sorta funny how some people get back issues from riding a
bike, but for me, on my bike, riding makes me feel so much better! All
the aches & pains (the ones that, I guess, go along with being 46 years old,
despite having a brain that doesn't comprehend that the world should be any
different than it was 20 years ago) just go away on a ride. I get to
stretch out and loosen up etc. I have no idea what I'd do if I
couldn't ride, but I sure wouldn't be having much fun.
04/23/02- HURRAY FOR THE LIZARDS!
What does it mean when the Lizards are out? It
means no legwarmers, no jacket, no drylete base layer, no booties, no
long-fingered gloves... it means it's a heck of a lot nicer being out on a
bike. And have to admit that I felt pretty darned good this morning,
very strong, no feeling of muscle soreness, despite having ridden the
Primavera Century on Sunday. Had that feeling when standing on the pedals
that there was nothing holding me back. A rare feeling, but reminded
me a bit of the old days, when accelerating wasn't a whole lot different
than twisting the throttle on a motorcycle. And, the scale's looking
more friendly when I stand on it too! Life is good.
04/22/02- ANOTHER GREAT PRIMAVERA
CENTURY yesterday, with great weather (no higher than 78 in
Livermore, no lower than 51 at the start) and a new route that took you
through the area around Altamont & Patterson Pass.
We've got a page up, but didn't get great photos this time around
(trouble with my newer camera and clumsy hands... when I pull it out of my
pocket, I tend to accidentally push buttons that change settings).
17.4mph average speed, not great, but not bad either for a relatively hilly
ride (6600 ft of climbing).
04/20/02- YOU'VE GOT TO BE
KIDDING. A quote from Marco Pantani, found on the excellent
Cyclingnews.com website- "My
objective is not to take part in the Tour de France, but to win it,"
said Pantani. "The Tour de France needs Pantani among the starters
because they need someone to beat the American. And frankly, I don't see any
other candidates." Pantani has been trying to convince the
Tour de France organizers to let his team into the race, despite his various
run-ins with Italian authorities over performance-enhancing drugs and his
lack of any racing victories over the past 21 months. My guess?
Not very likely we'll see Pantani in the TDF and, if we do, I don't think
Lance has much to worry about.
04/18/02- 27:58 AND COUNTING.
Back in the day, it was easy for me to ride up King's in a
25-something time. Back in the day. But today's sub-28 minute
time, on a day that required legwarmers, long-fingered gloves, toe warmers
and a jacket, didn't seem so bad. Did a bit longer ride too, heading
down the west side of 84 to the Red Barn and then back via the other side of
Old LaHonda. Kevin and Ueyn were there to make sure I didn't get much
chance to relax. Question is, will I be ready for the Primavera
Century this Sunday???? As if it matters!
04/16/02- 38 DEGREES... WHAT'S
WITH THAT??? It wasn't a morning I was looking forward
to, as I didn't get to ride at all on Sunday (had to help my brother move)
and expected to be pretty sore this morning from moving more heavy stuff
last night. Fortunately, my back held up and I had no issues...
except, of course, the fact that the hill (King's Mtn) just doesn't seem to
be flattening out like you'd expect after all these years of trying to wear
it down! Ueyn Block showed up, and we had a nice ride via the back
entrance to Hudart Park (via Greer Road). But... on the top, it got
down to 38 degrees, as was never warmer than 40. Let's see, this is
April, right? But wait, there's more... the weather person on the
radio said that we might see snow tomorrow between 2,000-2,500 feet. April,
SF Bay Area and snow aren't all part of the same equation!
Fortunately, it's supposed to be warmer this weekend (good thing since a
bunch of us from the shop will be riding the Primavera Century).
JUST ANOTHER DAY ON THE HILL.
Not quite, as we usually don't get quite so many people showing
up, nor do we get stopped, twice, by road crews putting in new drainage
pipes. At least is was 100% dry this morning, and, even though 54
degrees, felt pleasantly warm.
04/10/02- SMART OR FOOLISH?
Or maybe just plain dumb. Monday night was pretty bad, with a sore
throat, fever, sore joints, that sort of thing. So I figure that if
I'm dumb enough to ride anyway the next morning (and I am that dumb), I'll
be lucky to climb King's Mtn in 34 minutes or so. Tuesday morning
arrives, and I definitely feel better. Not great, but not so bad.
So I head out, kinda looking forward to a nice, easy ride up the hill, and
ever-so-thankful nobody shows up at the start of the ride (7:45am at Olive
Hill & Canada Road in Woodside).
Not so fast, life isn't quite that easy. Turning onto
King's Mtn from Manuella is Kevin Keenan, a regular on the ride, and someone
able to ride up the hill a good two minutes faster than me (when I'm having
a good day). And darn if he isn't nearly as stupid as I am, throwing
the credo "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger" in my face
(Nietzsche, I believe). He knows I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.
So instead of 34 minutes it's 28:54, and, fortunately, it didn't kill me, so
I must be stronger, right?
on Canada Road. Every Sunday from 9am-4pm (during daylight savings
time) they block off Canada Road between Edgewood in Redwood City and
Highway 92 behind San Mateo. Great time to get the family out on a
bike! But as for my family...
It's like this. My 9-year-old only seems to have one
speed (which is whatever he happens to be going at the time) and doesn't
want anything in his way. So he's catching up to his 14-year-old
sister, closing pretty fast. I'm watching this from the side, making
sure they're not out in the middle of the road, that sort of thing.
But also not quite believing what I'm seeing as my 9-year-old son rides
right up the tail end of his sister's bike, quickly crashing to the ground,
and subsequently yelling to his sister that it was all her fault. Just
way too weird for words, you know? He could have slowed down, or he
could have ridden around her. But instead, like he's riding something
with broken steering and a stuck throttle, he runs right into her from
behind. I think I've got a think or two I need to teach him about
riding a bike...
4/04/02- THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE.
That was supposed to be me; I'd previously warned the various people who
might show up for my Tues/Thursday ride up King's Mtn that I'd be out of
town (product meetings in WI). But the meetings, at the very last
minute, were canceled, so I got to ride. Wasn't really looking forward
to it though, as our weather has taken a turn again and it's back to being
cool (43 degrees) and foggy up on Skyline. How spoiled I got from
being able to ride last week without leg warmers! But as it turned
out, it was a nice ride, one of those days where you begin to get into the
rhythm of things and your speed is a bit better than expected. Nothing
really fast (28.19 up the hill, 16.4mph average speed for the whole ride),
but one of those unusual days where you feel stronger with each pedal
stroke. I could use more of those days!
04/02/02- THOSE WHO CAN'T DO,
TEACH. Well, not really. Today, those who can't
do (that would be me) watch those who can (that would be Ueyn Block) ride
away about two thirds of the way up King's Mtn.
Ueyn ended up with his best-time yet, in the upper end of 27 minutes.
I was about a minute back, with Ted Zayner not too far behind.
On Skyline, Ueyn demonstrated exceptional squirrel skills as
he came under attack by a single squirrel terrorist.
Ueyn wisely held his line as the squirrel darted straight at his front wheel
and then, at the very last moment, reversed course. Had Ueyn swerved
to the right (in order to avoid the squirrel), he would have gone right over
it. Please remember, when you see a squirrel coming out into the road,
hold your line! There is no possible way to predict what it's going to
do, and swerving to avoid it may not only cause you to crash, but you'll be
just as likely to hit the squirrel as well.
04/01/02- IF YOU FOLLOW BIKE
RACING, this link is especially cool.
CyclingNews.com has a great page up today about the UCI's attempts to
ban dog ownership among professional athletes, due to their use as a cover
for performance-enhancing drugs. The reason is because EPO and other
banned drugs are routinely used by veterinarians to treat dog illnesses.
Do keep in mind the date of the article when reading it.
03/31/02- YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE
THIS, a customer writes, but "After I got home with the
now-round wheel, I decided to bike down to Woodside and back (from SSF) via
the Sawyer Camp trail and Canada road... and what should jump out at me on
the trail other than... a bunny. Ran right out in front of me. Luckily, I
managed to avoid the attack bunny, and it darted back into the woods.
I'm reminded of the bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Nick"
I talking about Sonora Pass? Alba Road? A flat 100-miler in the
valley with 110 degree temps and the sorest butt this side of a wooden
church pew? Not even close! How about Barry Manilow, The
Carpenters and The Partridge Family. Took a trip to Tower Records and
totally scored on the stuff my wife used to listen to way-back-when.
My kids think I went crazy, but my daughter (now 14) did say "You know,
years from now my husband will probably take my kids out and bring home some
Blink 182, InSync and Britany Spears, and they won't believe I liked to
listen to garbage like that!" (Oops, daughter/proof-reader just let me know
it's *NSYNC and Britney Spears)
03/28/02- DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?
I took the morning off and did a longer than usual Thursday
Instead of the usual King's Mtn loop, I headed up Old La Honda, down to La
Honda, over Haskin's Grade to Pescadero, across Stage Road to San Gregorio
and back up Tunitas Creek (and down King's Mtn). If you haven't taken
a mid-day ride during the week, it's something you have to do. Once I
got to Old LaHonda, I saw maybe 20 cars until getting back to Woodside at
the end. It was amazing... all these wonderful roads, all to myself.
There may be annoyances when you work retail and have to work weekends, but
there are certainly positives about it as well.
And for those who've heard about the infamous wireframe
sculpture on Stage Road, the soldier holding a machine gun... check it out,
I finally got a picture of it. It begs the question of why somebody
would have something like that in their front yard, but y'know, it also
seems like something you might not want to ask the owners about. Just
no telling the type of reception a lycra-clad cyclist might get!
I'll get a formal posting of the ride up later.
showed up in our Redwood City store last Friday; seemed he had an
all-important vital accessory that needed to be added to his 2003 prototype
mountain bike that he was going to show off at Sea Otter. He also
signed a few bikes while he was at it.
Also climbed Page Mill Road again on Sunday. Didn't
seem quite as easy as two weeks ago, but that was probably because I wasn't
goofing off as much, stopping here and there to take photos of people riding
up. For what it's worth, it's 8.2 miles from Arastradero/Page Mill to
the top at Skyline, and it took 50:34 minutes. Somehow sounds more
impressive that the average speed was 9.8mph, y'know?
03/21/02- OF WINE & WOMEN
So, Karen (my wife, who, like me, knows nothing about wine) brings home a
bottle of wine for dinner tonight (pasta with shrimp). A California
Chardonnay. How did she pick the particular wine? Well, she was in the wine
section and saw someone else looking the selection over and choosing this
particular wine. Karen figured that she must know what she's doing, so she
picks a bottle of the same.
Later on in the checkout line, Karen meets up with the lady whose wine
expertise she valued so highly, mentions that she got a bottle of the same
wine because it looked like she knew something about wine, and asked her
why she chose it. Was there something special about it, had she had
it before and really liked it, what about it caused her to buy it?
"I liked the price" she replied.
03/20/02- AMAZING THING ABOUT THE
FANS at the Tour de France. Just reminded of it
watching the replays of the 2001 race, where they spoke of the fans who have
walked 9 miles up hills to find the best place to see their favorite riders.
Walked. These are fans in the same sense that we have huge numbers of
fans in the US who follow football or basketball, but play sports
themselves. We tend to think of the massive legions of cyclists who
must follow the big bike races, but that's not who's out there. Remember,
these people walked to their spot on the hill. It would make far more
sense to ride a bike, but that simply doesn't click with them, because
they're not cyclists.
03/18/02- GET OLN!!!
I'm typing this while watching Outdoor Life Network's "TDF
Encore" show, where they're doing a one-hour special every night on each
stage of the Tour de France. Tonight's stage? Alpe D'Huez, the
stage where Lance basically won the TDF last year (and my three seconds of
fame on TV, since I was right there when Lance took off and dropped Ullrich).
Oh. Right. I already told you to get OLN in the diary entry
03/13/02- CAN'T WATCH WEST WING
tonight, my wife tells me this morning. There's that boxing match
between Tonya Harding and Paula Jones. I could only groan and say
"Must be FOX network." It is. But tonight & tomorrow, at 4 & 11pm
each day, OLN
(Outdoor Life Network) will be showing a special one hour "TDF Encore" with
Lance Armstrong. Those who have already seen it told me it's worth
watching. OLN, not Fox.
03/12/02- RICHARD, YOUR TIME
ISN'T IN JEOPARDY. Another
Chain Reaction alumnus was telling me the other day that he'd gotten back
down to about 27 minutes climbing King's Mtn, and was pretty happy about
that. Everything's relative, since I'm fairly happy about this
morning's 28:26 ride up the hill, as I was trying to keep up with Kevin
Keenan, who, of course, had already done a hard swim before meeting up with
me. I'll get into low 27s in a couple of months (but of course Kevin
will be doing 25s and Richard 26s!).
03/10/02- SEEMED LIKE AN OLD
FRIEND as I rode up Page Mill Road (shown above) on Sunday.
The first part of the climb makes you wonder why you're doing it, but
there's something really nice about the way it alternates between really
steep stretches and little flat spots where you can catch your breath.
And, of course, the views on a clear day are incredible. Quite a few
people out on the hill when I rode up it (around 4pm) including these two
who had just been to our Los Altos store a bit earlier.
03/08/02- A CHAIN REACTION
ALUMNUS WRITES "You like riding under circumstances
that seem improbable. Sonora Pass, King's in the rain, racing with hairy
legs...I'd have to call it a pattern." A pattern of what? I
simply enjoy every chance I get to be out on a bike, and the fact that you
can actually enjoy "improbable" circumstances shows just how wonderful
bicycling actually is. Besides, nothing I do now comes even close to
the infamous "Jobst" rides of yesteryear... rides that Jobst Brandt still
continues to this day. I still recall my very first exposure to Sonora
Pass. It was at a Pedali Alpini (my old racing
club) slide show, where Jobst was showing photos from a ride he did
before the pass was actually open to traffic. The image of little ice
balls clinging to the hair on his legs (no tights or leg warmers) was very
impressive. Little did I realize I'd experience something similar many
years later, on the near-disastrous Y2K trip up the
pass. Unlike Jobst's fond memories of his epic rides, I did not
enjoy that particular expedition, nor do I think it something anyone else
should ever have to experience. It did, however, make me much more
aware of the dangers of high-altitude cycling and I was much better prepared
for eerily-similar circumstances two weeks
later in France.
03/07/02- BARRY MANILOW, KERMIT
THE FROG & LOTS OF RAIN. It's
like this- you're off on business in WI (product meetings) where you don't
get to ride a bike (high of 27, low of -11 or so, lots of snow, get the
picture?) and they honor your dietary request of Bratwurst. So you've
missed your normal ride, over-eat, and by the time you get home the thought
of lugging your "new" body up the hill sounds excruciatingly painful... but
all the more necessary. Especially because it's going to rain, nastily
at times, with temps in the upper-40s. That was the forecast, and for
once the weatherman didn't disappoint! I saw one other person out
there, descending King's Mtn while I was climbing. The rest of the
ride, it's hard to say if I actually saw much of anything, as visibility
through the mess coming sometimes downward, sometimes sideways, just wasn't
all that great. Can't imagine what it would have been like on a road I
Somewhere along the top, as I'm thinking about the
stupidity of being out in such rot, the Barry Manilow song "I made it
through the rain" comes to mind, mostly because it was used many years ago
during ABCs Race Across America coverage (when Michael Shermer, who was a
couple days behind the leaders, was battling a ferocious rainstorm that was
trying to bring him to a dead stop and quit the race, only a hundred miles
or so from the finish. If he could make it through the rain, he could
make it through anything!) . And then, on Canada Road towards the end
of the ride, a big, wide, and very very low Rainbow was perfectly centered
over the road, right at Jefferson where I turn for home. Brought to
mind Kermit singing that silly Rainbow song.
It was slow, it was a bit of a grind at times, and not quite
epic but silly enough to count for something.
03/01/02- A POSITIVE RETAIL
EXPERIENCE and I'm not talking about Chain Reaction Bicycles
(but hopefully it could have been!). Went to the AT&T Wireless store
in Belmont this morning, to pick up a new phone and service for my wife.
It was one of those strange retail experiences where you dreaded things
going in, but everything went much better than you expected. Very nice
and knowledgeable people, didn't take too long, and no surprises. In
fact, the saleswoman even recommended a less-expensive phone option than I'd
planned on, based on its better reception. Trying it out later proved
she was right... the "free" phone (with two-year activation) really did have
much better reception than my older, more expensive model. Similarly,
when I'd called up the AT&T customer service line the other evening to
change my own options, I was truly amazed at how helpful and reasonable they
were. I know this has nothing to do with bicycles, but sometimes it's
nice to be treated well, and remember that's how we should hope our own
customers see us.
02/28/02- JUST ANOTHER SUNNY DAY
on King's Mtn this morning, with Ueyn (shown in
the photo) and Kevin for company. Kevin wasn't feeling so hot, so he only
walked, not ran, away from me on the
climb. Got to
60 degrees on the descent down 84! Nice enough to remind me that I
can't make one of my favorite rides, the Tour
of the Unknown Valley, this coming Sunday. It's a secret where I'm
heading, but I'll give you a hint- the high for the three days I'll be there
(Sunday-Tuesday) will be 34 degrees, and they'll be serving beer, brats, and
lots of fried cheeses. So no, I won't be there on Tuesday morning at
the corner of Olive Hill & Canada Road, but hopefully others will.
02/26/02- TRUTH OR
RATIONALIZATION? So it's like this- a pleasant Tuesday
morning, out on King's Mtn all by myself, and just past halfway I spot a
"rabbit"... someone ahead that looks to be catchable. The guy was
moving pretty fast, especially fast when, as I passed him, he appeared to be
quite a bit older than myself. Doing pretty darned good he was, I
figured! But as soon as I passed him he was right on my tail, and
within half a mile or so I was running out of gas and trying to hold his
wheel. Just as I could no longer keep the pace I noticed that he
really didn't seem much older, if older at all, and he eventually made it to
the top about half a minute ahead of me. Funny how I first thought he
was older when I was catching up and passing him, but reassessed this
observation later on when he dropped me...
02/21/02- TROPICAL PARADISE!
First ride in ages without long-fingered gloves, a jacket
and toe warmers. About time! And a pleasant switch from
Tuesday's ride in the rain, allowing me to take out the TREK OCLV and leave
the rainbike behind. Easily worth a couple minutes on King's Mtn (and
I'll take all the help I can get!). Back down into the 28-minute range
on the hill, but just barely at 28:59. That's cutting it rather close!
What difference does a second actually make? Sometimes, all the
difference in the world, especially when your best hope as you set out on
your bike was to break 30 minutes. And, as a reward, I'm going to
Disneyland! Well, actually it's a reward for the kids. Dad's
idea of a great vacation would be someplace fairly quiet, far away from big
crowds, and, of course, lots of time to ride.
02/20/02- HIGH POINT OF
WEDNESDAY'S OLYMPIC COVERAGE had to be that piece they put
together at the very end, with Peter Gabriel's "Solbury Hill" playing in the
background. In a very short time NBC compiled something that captured
everything that's good about winning at the Olympics, without making it seem
like a bunch of Americans overrunning the place.
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll show them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
Hey, I said, you can keep my things they've come to take me home
Not epic, just obnoxious. Constant showers the entire ride, but never
too cold, only got down to 45 degrees. Biggest problem was not being
able to see through my glasses, along with the stream of salt going into my
eyes. Must have been carrying an extra 10 pounds or so of water that I
picked up along the way though, and my wife really loves watching me take
off layer after layer after layer of wet, stinky clothing. But the
alternative was to stay in a nice warm bed and think about things not meant
to be (warm days, no tights, no sand on the roads, and no need to take two
advils before riding to dull the pain in a few joints that don't like cold &
wet mornings!). Only saw two other cyclists out there, a couple guys
from Stanford doing intervals up King's Mountain (from the bottom to the
park entrance and back, again and again and again).
THIS DIARY? I've
had several people tell me (a few in person, a couple via email) that the
diary entries here have helped to get them onto their bikes and take on some
challenges. A couple of them today... today when I was going to
mention that, with the rain coming tonight and me still fighting a cold,
maybe I wouldn't end up riding. As Marlon Brando said in Apocolypse
Now, "The horror, the horror."
02/17/02- A DAY IN THE LIFE
of a bike shop. Kept our staffs busy in both stores yesterday with a
lot of people seeing the sun this morning and heading in to our stores ahead
of the rain. Having a great staff is a big help, as the store can run
on autopilot so I can help people with bikes instead of putting out fires.
Sold two TREK 5200s myself, one to someone new to our store who had been
through our website, the other to a customer's wife (he's had his 5200 for
three years, and his wife is getting ready for the "World's Most Beautiful
Bike Ride" at Lake Tahoe, riding for the Leukemia Society's Team in
Training). In-between, spent maybe an hour or so helping someone run
down a couple of noises on a road bike he'd picked up from us a couple weeks
before. Fortunately, I didn't have to juggle too many customers, which is
good, since I tend to drop things when I juggle.
In a funny way, the customer I worry about is the person who
comes in after having studied our website, because you get concerned about
living up to their expectations based upon what they've read. So far
it hasn't been much of an issue, but the words that strike fear in my heart
are "Mike, there's somebody here on vacation who wanted to meet the guy who
does the website." I'm sure I'm not as impressive in person as some
think of my ramblings, er, I mean, writings, plus it takes away from the
fact that it takes an entire staff of good people to make a good bike shop.
02/12/02- GLAD I DON'T GET FLATS.
Oops, shouldn't have said that! But this morning
Kevin K got two flats, one on Skyline and another on Canada. Quite a
few other cyclists out on Canada this morning, most of them asking if we
needed any help, and us politely telling them we were under control.
That is, until two women rode by in the opposite direction, asking the
question, with myself and Ueyn Block (another regular King's Mtn rider)
saying thanks, but we're OK, while Kevin, definitely loud enough to be
heard, exclaimed "Yes, I could use some help!" In the face of conflicting
information, the two rode on.
02/10/02- SAW EVERYONE OUT ON A
BIKE today. Can't beat that. Got in a ride at
9:30 this morning that found me heading north on Canada to 92, up 92 to
Skyline, south to Kings and then back down. I definitely forgot how
long a climb it was on Skyline, from 92 to Kings! Had to be back home
at 11am, and I could see that I was running into a bit of trouble. Too
bad, because it would have been fun to take lots of photos of all the people
02/07/02- 54 DEGREES!
Another semi-tropical day in paradise. Got as cold
as 48 up on Skyline, and a bit drizzly, but a welcome relief from the cold
stuff we've had over the last several weeks. Kevin Keenan, local
triathlete, showed up and got me up the hill (King's Mtn) under 30 minutes
again (finally!). No ice, just a lot of water on the road. So
nice riding the 5900 instead of the old Cinelli too. Brakes that work,
gears that shift, and so much nicer climbing and sprinting. Picky
02/05/02- NICE RIDE
this morning, with Ueyn Block showing up to make sure I didn't
slack off too much in the cold! Low was 33 degrees, got up to about 46
on the return on Canada. Ueyn mentioned that it felt warm enough to
just want to sit in the sun, and I have to agree. Funny how things get
recalibrated after awhile... most people wouldn't think of 46 degrees as
being terribly warm! Especially not my wife & kids. They think Dad's a
bit nuts when he gets all bundled up to go out and ride in the cold,
sometimes in the rain. They're right, Dad is nuts.
02/03/02- LOVE IT WHEN IT'S WARM!
Got out on a great ride today
just before the SuperBowl. The temps ranged from 48 to 62 degrees,
making it almost tropical in feel compared to what I've been used to in the
mornings. Old La Honda was, as usual, an old friend. Saw a lot
of other cyclists out on the road too. I don't think I've been out on
such a nice ride in months. It was just plain fun. And
finally got a picture of the Red Barn on 84
between Skyline and La Honda.
02/01/02- HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
February 1st, 1980, was Chain Reaction's very first day of
business. A lot's happened these past 22 years!
01/31/02- NO EXTRA CREDIT.
Somewhat frustratingly, it got down to only 30 degrees on the ride this
morning. There's no bonus points for anything in the 30s... we get
that all the time in the winter. When it drops to 29, then you get
bonus points. For being tough? Brave? Or just stupid?
Fortunately, there was less ice out than Tuesday, but still enough to make
the descents interesting. And not one single mountain biker at
Skeggs this morning. Not many road riders
either! Saw one guy heading north on Canada at 7:45am, and two guys
beginning the climb up 84 at 8:50.
01/29/02- IF YOU THOUGHT
PARKING was sometimes a problem at our Redwood City
store (with the construction next door), look at the lengths the guy in
the truck (left photo) went to! These photos are from my ride up
King's Mtn this morning. Curiously, I was the only one who showed
up. Not even any tire tracks from other bikes in the snow and ice.
Rather fun at the top, watching cars have to turn around because they
couldn't negotiate the ice at the Kings/Skyline intersection. How I
got through it I don't know, but it was one of those few times I was
actually thankful for sand on the road!
RC STAFF PAGE
up. More on
the way soon!
SHAMELESS SALES PLUG.
'01 Klein Adept Races on the way in medium size! Between the blowout pricing on '01 Adept Race and '01
Adept Comps, we're going to be putting quite a few people on much nicer
dual-suspension bikes than they expected. We'll be making a big
advertising push towards March, but why wait? Right now we've probably
got the size you need, and might not by then.
Thursdays bike ride on the OCLV vs Tuesday's on my old
Cinelli? No contest. Not like I set the world on fire
climbing, but it was definitely faster, and much faster sprinting up the
rollers on Skyline. Smoother ride too, and also nice to have brakes
that stop and shifters that shift. Or am I being too picky?
Next time someone tells me that new bikes don't have anything on older
ones, I'm going to wonder if they think prickly wool shorts are better
too. And yes, one of these days I'll have a web page up about my
morning for the old Cinelli, at least for a little while. Since it was
built as a rain bike, and there's no rain in sight (except for the weekend,
when I probably won't have a chance to ride anyway), it's going to get hung
up until the wet stuff hits the ground. Sure, it's been kinda fun
these past three trips up King's Mtn, seeing what a classic steel frame
feels like again, experiencing the wonders of brakes that don't work well
and downtube shifters that discourage shifting unless absolutely necessary,
but I sure miss the OCLV. I did need to give the old bike a good test
under decent conditions though.
This morning's ride particulars? Clear skies,
rather cold (34 degrees on Skyline), a few patches of ice, and one other
rider, Scotty, who we used to see about a year ago. Nice guy, but
too thin so he can climb very well, despite a back issue. Still in
slug territory myself, at 30:50 up the hill. Yuck. I'd like
to pretend I was taking it easy....
22.5 POUNDS? I WAS HOPING FOR MORE!
Brought my rain bike, the Cinelli, down to the shop to have it weighed
today. I figured, the way it felt going up the hills, that it must
weigh a ton. Well, it's a good five pounds heavier than my OCLV, but I
was hoping for so much more (to give me an excuse for those slow climbing
times on it...)
Very busy day today at both stores... people are really
coming out of the woodwork and buying bikes. Partly due to last
week's 49er playoff elimination, so people are thinking there's nothing
better to do than ride a bike on the weekend. You think I'm going to
argue with that logic? And now we'll pick up the Raider crowd to,
but only due to some really terrible officiating at the end. I don't
care if the officials called it right according to the rules. If
that's what the rules call for, then they've got to be changed. A
fumble is a fumble!
WARMER but still slow. Took
out the resurrected 1973 Cinelli up King's Mtn for the second time this
week. You know what? New bikes are way better than old bikes.
Anybody who waxes romantically about the wonderful bikes of yesteryear
doesn't know what he/she's talking about! We'll get a story about the
new old bike up soon. In the meantime, be thankful that you can buy a
bike with brakes that stop, gears that shift, and frames that won't rattle
out your fillings.
YEP. IT WAS COLD. How cold?
Certainly not epic cold, but the entire distance on Skyline, until the last
half mile, stayed at exactly 32 degrees. Also learned that bikes have
improved since the 70s. A lot. More on that later.
A WHOLE WEEK? Where did the time
go. Maybe it went to some warmer climate? But this morning's
ride will be different not because of the weather, but rather the bike.
I've finished resurrecting my 1973 Cinelli, complete with old-school Campy
Nuovo Record cranks & derailleurs. The brakes have suffered a major
upgrade, since, as nice as it would be to have "authentic" old stuff, well,
the old stuff brakes just didn't work worth beans. So the front
caliper has been replaced with a long-reach Shimano RX100 dual-pivot, the
rear remains a marginally-functional Modolo Speedy (but who needs a rear
brake anyway?) and the levers are a set of old aero Shimano levers that were
lying around the shop. This bike is so retro it doesn't even have a
computer mounted to it... yet!
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE between riding
when it's 39 degrees vs 48? For me, just about everything. At
39, I feel very sluggish and just can't get going, especially climbing.
At 48 (just to clarify things here, we're talking degrees, not age... I'm
not even close to 48! Err, not for another two years anyway...),
things get moving. Life is better. Legs feel like working.
Arms & shoulders feel like they're part of the action. Feet aren't
cold. I didn't used to be this way. Back in the day, I could
climb nearly as well on a really cold morning as I could when warmer.
On the other hand, back in the day I didn't have nearly as much endurance as
I seem to have now.
Oh, and if you're looking for a killer deal on a
dual-suspension mountain bike, look no further. Haven't put it up on
a web page yet, but we just scored a bunch of small, med & large (no
x-large) Klein Adept Comps, 2001 models, for $999.99. Used to be
$1599.99. This is my personal favorite mountain bike frame.
Keep in mind it's not a downhill bike, but makes for a killer
cross-country and climbing machine, perfect for the trails around here.
While they last, of course!
SOMEBODY REALLY SLOW
showed up on my King's Mtn ride this morning. Me. I
would have thought a nice ride on Monday, followed up by the annual ride up
Mt Hamilton on Tuesday, would have left me in great shape. But no,
something about the cold, the wet roads, and just generally a sluggish
feeling left me feeling pretty slug-slow. Maybe next Tuesday...
GREAT RIDE! But who'd have known
it would turn out that way? The entire day before, and even during the
prior night, the weather service had been forecasting the storm of the year.
Driving rain, heavy winds, the type of thing that might make for an epic
(read: cancelled) ride up Mt. Hamilton. But the alarm goes off in the
morning, I look out the window and, what do you know, just a little bit of
light drizzle and lots of broken clouds. So I pick up Todd and we head
down to San Jose, and are greeted by overcast skies and very few riders.
Of course, if you read the entries below, you'll note that I might have done
a pretty good job of scaring people off!
It wasn't the fastest ride up the hill, but not the
slowest ever, at 1:48. Todd got up about a minute before me; my legs
ran out with about 3 or 4 miles to go. I'd like to blame that on a
good ride I had the day before, but it wouldn't be true!
WHO KNOWS? Here's the
link to the
relevant weather.com page, showing the hour by hour forecast.
Doesn't look good, but outside right now you see a bunch of blue sky.
So I'll drive down, see what it looks like by the time I get there. Could be
a quick return trip!