Friday, January 20, 2017

Up the Road: GMR CleanUp Day

That old faux American Indian, Iron Eyes Cody, used to get all teared up when he would see all the trash littering the landscape. Least ways the ads on television would have those of us of a certain age believe that he did. Sometimes when I am riding along one of my favorite roads, paths, or trails I find it hard to not get all teary as well when I see trash beginning to accumulate. It is enough to make a sensible person cry. Or get mad; one day maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I was riding my Inverness Loop out by the Rose Bowl when, all of a sudden, trash began to fly out the window of a car that had just passed me up. Well since the road was downhill and twisty I had no problem revving up the legs in pursuit. Catching up at a stop sign I let the driver know what mischief her precious little ones in the back were up to, but all she had to say about it was 'f' off. Or something like that. I didn't cry that time, but I let anger determine my course of action. Sometimes there is a third alternative.

Like being proactive.

Anyway, one local rider, racer, photographer, dad, etc (man of many hats, in other words) has decided to do something about the trash deposits along a little twisty, curvy stretch of asphalt known as Glendora Mountain Road (GMR). GMR is to folks out this way what Mulholland is to folks in the San Fernando Valley and the west side, or Gibraltar Road is to riders in Santa Barbara; it is one of those iconic bucket list roads for most riders in the greater Los Angeles region. Sunday 5 February will be GMR clean-up day, an opportunity to give a little back by picking up some of that trash that can collect along the verge. Show the community of road riders, walkers, hikers, runners, show the forest, show those drivers who throw stuff out their windows that, yeah, they might make you mad, but that you can also rise above and set the example. Sure they can throw it down - any damn fool can do that; but you can pick it right back up. Not everyone can do that.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter Storm Closure: Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

Now, there are some areas of our San Gabriel Mountains that can get some pretty severe weather conditions during the winter months, places and conditions that might prompt Del to remark "mother Gue never raised such a foolish child" to anyone thinking of being out and about in those worst of storms. While I am not necessarily sure the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (CHWP) is one of those places, there have been large landslides and downed trees during severe weather events in the past.

If you want to challenge the elements this weekend, don't think you can do it at the CHWP, which will be closed beginning Friday, and remain so all the way through Tuesday. At this time the Park is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, 25 January.

*The next pint of beer to the first person who can tell me where that quote came from without looking it up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Roger Pingeon

You might be forgiven not being able to remember the winner of the Tour de France fifty years ago, because the most noted event to transcend the decades since the 1967 race remains, not the victor, but the death of Tom Simpson on the Mont Ventoux. 

The 1967 TdF was an interesting one in that it saw a return to the national team format - France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, and Switzerland/Luxembourg, all had teams entered in the competition, with Belgium, Spain, and Italy each entering an additional second team, and France entering an additional two teams. Roger Pingeon would win the race that year by more than three minutes ahead of Spanish rider Julio Jimenez. Some of the other prominent racers in 1967 included Pingeon's teammates, Raymond Poulidor and Lucien Aimar, as well as Felice Gimondi, Herman van Springel, Jan Janssen, and Jean Stablinski.

Though the victory was the crowning glory of Pingeon's career, the ten years in which he raced as a pro were not without other moments of merit. In 1969 he won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana as well as the overall title, and finished 2nd overall at the Tour (behind Eddy Merckx), with a stage win. He also won a stage at the 1972 Criterium du Dauphine Libere, and in 1974 the Grand Prix de Plumelec. Pingeon was a climber of no small ability winning the KOM at the 1969 Criterium du Dauphine, and finishing 2nd in the climbing competition at both the Tour and Vuelta that same year. Beside those there were numerous top ten finishes at such notable races as the Grand Prix des Nations, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and Tour of Romandie.

I am not sure when the above photo was taken, or its attribution (the only link I could find does not seem to work), but it is certainly in the classic style - grime-covered face reflecting long wearying miles on the road, and accentuating that far-away look of the eyes. And, of course, a well-worn cap perched atop the head.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Blues: A Beautiful Ride

Mom has always said that she regrets not being at the hospital twenty-four hours a day when, as a tyke, I had my tonsils removed. Fact of the matter is, I couldn't tell you if she was there for one hour each day, or for twenty-three. What I do remember is visiting the toy store beforehand, and getting to pick out a few things - those few things being, a stuffed spaniel of some sort which I named "Freckles," a bunch of those iconic little green army men, and a box of little plastic war planes with which I had a great battle as I ate my jello and ice cream. Oh, then there was that psuedo-dream of waking in the operating room, seeing things I didn't want to see, and promptly going back under - real, or memorex? I will probably never know.

Anyway, the tables were turned these past seven days, moms turn to spend some quality time in the hospital, with the family sitting with her. Very few people seem to escape the accumulative problems of aging.

We have long known the many, and various, physical benefits of exercise and active living. More recently, strong connections linking exercise and mental health, have begun to be documented in earnest. I suppose there is no guarantee that all that exercise will be enough to counter any flaws of genetics, or damage accrued from all those runs from scrimmage, or hitting the deck on the weekly ride, but as old Ben Franklin apparently said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Behind many old wives tales, and catchy quotes, there is often a measure of practical truth.

This year has not gotten off to the start I had hoped it would - two days of riding within that two week period. In fact more than anything this year, so far, appears to be a stagnant continuation of the entire previous year, the lowest mileage year on record. According to my records. Fortunately, and now that things have settled down, there seems to be enough of the year left that, with a little effort, things can be turned around.

Get out and ride.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trackies of the World, Unite!

This March the Para-Cycling Track World Championships, as they did in 2012, will return, and be run, in Los Angeles, when the Velo Sport Center plays host to athletes from around the globe. Five years ago I was able to make it out to first and fourth days of the Championships, and was able to witness some of the most exciting racing action I could have imagined. The Velo Sport Center can really rock when the worlds best cyclists come to  town in competition.

As you may already know, the four day Para-cycling Championships are not a singular honor for the velodrome in Carson, a mere two weeks before those World Championships take place the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup Los Angeles will take place over two days. The last time Los Angeles hosted a World Cup event was 2008, so this is a big deal.

the Para-cycling Track Worlds start off with some pomp and ceremony
honoring all the athletes and the countries they represent

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 SoCalCross Fever: Corriganville CX-XC Showdown

You never know what Corriganville is going to throw at you - it is such a fun place and I, for one, am glad Dorothy brought the venue back again as a part of the Cross Fever series.  Although there were some stand-out runaway performances during the days racing, there were also plenty of duels taking place in among the ruins of old Corriganville, as well as up, and back down, that oaken draw leading to the start/finish. Capping all though, had to be the dramatic rescue of one young racer, a daring feat of agility and speed on the part of yours truly, as the young gun held on for dear life, a one-handed grasp at the edge of a precipice. But, more on that later. 

they say there are places on the Great Plans were the tracks of wagon trains can still be seen, a hundred and more years after their passing. At Corriganville it seems those old movie wagons left their own marks in the bedrock, now ridden over by cross and mountain bikes.

Regrettably I was unable to stay as long as I would have liked - it was Sunday and there was a need to get the kid back to the U for a new Quarter of Monday classes. And so I settled for the morning races, everything from the Juniors to the Mens A/B, which was still plenty of good racing. Take the Mens A/B, for instance, where the 2nd and 3rd places (Ricky Jensen and Garnet Vertican) finished three seconds apart, with 4th and 5th (Emilio Cervantes and Arin McGinigle) a mere two and three seconds back respectively. Pretty close stuff. I don't think any of those quick draw shoot-outs which once took place here could have been any closer.

Anyway, you are, no doubt, waiting to read about that nick of time rescue: Riders were circling the course, testing lines, sliding out in the wet oak leaf litter, splashing mud an anyone following too closely in between races when a couple of the youth racers came up along the bottom of the old lake, over that berm, and face-to-face with that steep wall, the only way out. One, the older of the two [?] powered up with seeming ease; the other, however, surveying the monumental bulwark of concrete dismounted at its base and, as I had, admittedly, done minutes earlier, began to climb up afoot, pushing his bike ahead of him. Just as he was about to reach the top his footing gave way and down he went. Thinking clearly, and reaching quickly, he stretched out his left arm, managing to grasp the concrete lip, arresting his slide while still holding onto the handlebars of his bike with the right hand. True cyclist there, I thought in that instant - refusing to save himself for the sake of his bike! There was no easy way out of that predicament - at that point either the bike would slide, or both would, so up I jumped from my photo perch on the lip nearby and, carefully, so to not compound the precarious situation by slipping and sliding myself, reached down for his bike like some lycra-wearing Clark Kent and hauled it up. Free of the weight, the young man scrambled up as well, saying something that sounded like "golly mister, I'm sure glad you were there." "Glad I could help out, cowboy. You best be on your way now." And with that he remounted his steed and rode on back toward town, while I settled down once again, to ponder the reclaimed serenity of that quiet place beneath the spreading oaks.

while Nils was not the young rider in need of rescue,
his climb from the lake bottom shows the steepness of the slope

There is one more race to finish off a winters-worth of SoCalCross. That race takes place this Sunday, 15 January, at Moreno Valley. From what I heard the City of MV, like so many around the country these days, has come around to the realization of a sense of making their municipality bike-friendly. "Bikes" and "bicycling" are key buzzwords, and the city is very interested to see what this cyclocross thing is all about. City representatives, including council members are supposed to be in attendance for this last race, so it would be a boon to see a huge and enthusiastic turnout of racers and supporters. The SoCalCross grounds crew has already begun their work at transforming the venue into one of their usual custom, challenging courses. 

Finally, a selection of 103 photos can be found in the Flickr 2017 Corriganville CX-XC Challenge album.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Spin: Olin at Los Portales Whittier Grand Prix

I first posted this photo up at the Claremont Cyclist back in 2010 as, what may have been the first, From the Archives post. This past week, out of the blue, it popped up on my Facebook feed. A "hey, thats my photo" moment. Even though social media makes it more likely to happen, I still am surprised when one of my photos unexpectedly shows up like that. Anyway, this one was always one of my favorites from back in the day and, I guess, the fact that "there it is again" shows that this one, like the lead rider - Olin Bakke - has some legs. There are some fun, additional comments here.

The photo was taken during the Pro/1/2 race at the Los Portales Whittier Grand Prix in 1993. Right behind Olin is a rider for the American Commerce National Bank / Canyon Velo Team, and then Jamie Paolinetti of the Chevrolet / LA Sheriff Team.

There is no question that doing some of those old training rides with Olin raised my game - it is the truth in the old saying that to improve you should train with people better than yourself. But, in some way, I suppose I am glad to have been confined to the lower and middling categories, thus never having to compete against him (or any of the others trailing behind him, for that matter) with money on the line.


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