Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015 Turkey Trot Cross: The Wild Life

For the second time this season, the SoCal Cross Prestige Series returned today to the craziness that is Glendale's Verdugo Park. I am not sure what it is about this place, but races here seem to be a little more lively, a little higher in energy.

That gully, or drainage ditch, that runs along the base of the hills creates a rather abrupt, and jarring, transition - racers drop down the steeper hillside into a 'v' shaped bottom resulting in a frequent and clearly audible "clunk" if their choice of line is slightly inappropriate. Only once was that clunk the result of a wooly chewbacca-like creature dropping from the high branches of a redwood, and adhering itself to a startled racers' back. After that lone incident riders were wary and no more of the creatures were seen. However, I understand from a moderately reliable source, that Dot and Jeff may have enticed a few more, with bells and shiny baubles, from a lofty perch at the opposite end of the course, then shipped them straight away to the doorstep of J. J. Abrams. "His problem, not ours," Dorothy was heard to exclaim, as the ringing of cowbells was drowned by the grunts of wookie appreciation. An impromptu taxi, the Naked Juice truck didn't leave around noon because they were out of juice.

If that were not enough to enliven the scene, the racers contributed by dressing in everything from tuxedos and colorful vests, to wearing, clearly undercooked, turkeys on their heads, and racing on small-wheeled cargo bikes tempting, I suspect, the good-will and patience of their fellow course-mates of the moment.

A couple years ago, I believe it was, I described this race as being like a circus. Clearly it has not in the least cleaned up its act. Thankfully!

the Master, Monsieur Robert Paganini (volunteering today)

no, not the racers - the

host team handicap?

the Wild Life

¿que? well, I am not sure this was the best bike for the circumstances

what's on your back?

The usual Flickr album will be forthcoming, and while I may be able to start it Monday night, I don't expect it will be completed before Tuesday. Check back, there is more to come...

Friday, November 27, 2015

An After T-Day Serving of Potatoes

apparently I haven't taken enough self-portraits lately (not really my thing) - i'll make up for it this post

Three weeks or so, the road bike hangs from its spoked front wheel. Three weeks during which the mountain bike, the cx bike pound the meagre miles on dirt and, inevitably, some pavement. The Cogswell Dam ride would have been nice this morning, but for the road bike hanging by a hook for three weeks. So, and instead, the ride up Potato Mountain filled in, a few hours in the saddle and out. It is nice up there this time of year - cool, maybe even cold, dramatic clouds racing across the sky, or floating lazy like, clear skies with views south across the valley, or north up canyon to the Old Bald One - snow-flecked, snow-cloaked, maybe even snowed-upon in the moment.

Potato Mountain - there is but one way to get there, and so I climb that road, the one that winds in and out of the upper reaches of numerous canyons - Little Palmer, big Palmer, others unnamed and, largely, indistinct but for the sensation of moving in toward, enclosed by, the mountain (Sunset) and back out again. Whether in or out, it looks like early winter up here- damp earth, rich in color after the passing rain, yellow leaves bright against the contrasting dark, ever-green of Oaks; further along toyons' red berries, always a sure marker of the season and, inevitably, the cloud-shrouded pate of Baldy, brief glimpses of snow, whitened flanks.

The group ride would have been nice today, but truth be known, I think I wanted this solo one instead, the quiet, the solitude, the introspection.

a pause at Coyote Howl Point, headed over that way

I can hear that Javier dude now, "stopping again?"

Santa Ana mountains across the valley

the Castor Bean plants are going to be a problem along parts of the route (hear that City of Claremont) I pulled a few decent sized ones out by hand, and a bunch of smaller ones, but there are many more that need shovel work - simply cutting them down, which is what appears to have been done in the past, just does not do the job, they grow back.

Baldy in the clouds

pockets of autumn yellow

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Laying in a little before the winter. Riding before the feasting. 

Low clouds along the mountains, quiet along (and on) the lake, but the trails were alive with people walking, running, riding, including Javier who chided me for, as he said "stopping again." But I couldn't help it - the views were spectacular. Thankful. Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Up the Road: Tour de Tryptophan

Mountain bike? CX Bike? Long weekend? Too much to eat on Thursday? The Twelfth Annual Tour de Tryptophan might be the ride you're looking for.

Fullerton Loop from noon Friday to noon Saturday. Donations benefiting those advocacy/action groups listed on the poster get you a tee shirt. A portion of your day (or night) gets you a fun time.

Upper lot at the Fullerton Courthouse, Berkeley & Harbor.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mobbin's 2015 Ganesha Hills Circuit 4: It Smells Like Door Hinges


Say that one word as many different ways you know how, with what ever inflections you can think of, even the long drawn out whaaaaaaaaaaat? of Moe Sizlack. Now you have a good idea of all the varied reactions of those gathered around when that thought - "it smells like door hinges" popped into one riders' mind and slipped right out their mouth. It was so off the wall and unexpected that it took a full moment for the statement to register before the expected laughter and "what the hells" could be made. And it's not as if there wasn't a certain, pungent odor wafting through the air; puffs of smoke were not being released through the exhaust pipes of motors passing by on the I-10. If you know what I mean. This is a fixed gear race, and you never know what you will get.

Honestly, "it smells like door hinges". It was the perfect summation, (or would indictment be the better word?) of what you get at these fixed gear races - they are full of surprises, and you just never know what to expect. Back in the day people might have said things like "far out", or "it's beautiful, man"; either one of those is still pretty descriptive of the scene, but there is a different lingo today. 

Irregardless of the "never know what you will get" attitude, there are other things about these races you come to expect, and right at the top of any such list is the inevitable delayed start to accommodate racers who arrive late. Sometimes I feel like good old Mr. Hand, and I can hear his voice now "don't you people own a watch?" It's all good though; after all, if not for the delay, I (we) would never have been made aware that door hinges are scented.

at the end, too exhausted to even sit up for a drink

Fixed gear racing, like other forms of bike racing is continually evolving. This was a topic I briefly discussed with Demi (you all know Demi, yes) when I ran into him a couple nights earlier. And so I went back and looked through photos from the first Mobbin' Monday Ganesha Hills race I was at, in 2012. Back then, far more of the riders raced in baggies, cut-off jeans, teeshirts, and wore packs while racing. There were plenty wearing team kit too, but the pendulum has definitely swung and the kits predominate now. More and more, the organized teams are making their mark, and dominating the podiums. It is unlikely that this will change, but fixed gear racing will continue to offer opportunities to the local kids who want to compete without committing to the "official" racing scene. That is another thing that has not changed, the grass-roots nature of the racing, that welcomes anyone to give it a try. Congrats to Mobbin' on another good time, holding a fun, challenging race, and keeping it going, as well as to everyone who came out and gave it a try.

The Flickr album for the race has eighty one photos in it - check them by clicking that link. If you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know and I will see what I can find, though at only three laps I didn't get as many race photos as usual. If you see a photo you like, feel free to download it (credit where credit due, of course). You can also contact me via email and I will gladly send a full size jpeg file of the image. As usual, I don't charge for photos, but do appreciate it when someone purchases a copy of the annual (link at top of page). Until next time, good riding. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 CXLA, Day One: Another Notch in the Top Tube for Nash

In a way I feel some empathy for some of these racers who arrive in town from colder climes - Europe, Colorado, even Northern California has experienced some winter-like weather by now. They come here for CXLA, to nearly 90º temperatures, to merciless sun. They may have believed they were finished with choking dust for a few months, hoped that blowing soot out of their noses would become a faded memory. But no, CXLA brings it all back for one last gasp. Not that it seemed to bother any of those riders - of the top five finishers in the UCI Elite Womens' race, two were from Europe, and two from NorCal. Not until the fifth spot did a SoCal rider crack the podium. 

France's Caroline Mani grabbed the hole shot when the mad rush traded the paved start for that familiar gopher-infested grass that defines most of the Long Beach course. By the time the race had completed most of the first circuit, Katerina Nash had taken over at the front. That is until just before the sand, and coming out of a turn Rachel Lloyd jumped to the lead. Those two out front were followed closely by Courtenay McFadden, Mani, and Elle Anderson. Gaps were beginning to show between the contenders, but they were still small. The second lap confirmed that today would not be a runaway victory for anyone - Anderson, Nash, Lloyd, McFaddan, Mani, and Amanda Nauman were all, still, quite tightly bunched at the head of the race. Eventually, slowly but surely, Nash and Lloyd pulled clear, gaps once measured in wheel-lenghts grew to multiple seconds. At the end Nash claimed the win by a mere nine seconds over Lloyd, with Mani coming in at thirty-three seconds, Anderson at fifty-two seconds back, and Nauman at a minute thirty seconds for fifth place.

Due to the spread out nature of the Long Beach course, races there often tend to be something less than exciting, but this women's race was one of the best to be run at El Dorado Park - a kick ass race, by some kick ass women.

Other victors from day one included James Driscoll (UCI Elite Men), Tobin Ortenblad (UCI U23 Men), Denis Faye (Masters Men 35+), Bob Downs (Masters Men 55+), John Ruger (Masters Men 65+), Jose Vigil (Men C), AJ Sura (Masters Women), Victor Sheldon (Masters Men 35+), Greg Turner (Masters Men 45+), Garrett Follmuth (Men B), Ryan Dahl (Non-UCI Men A), Barrett Schreiner (Masters Men 35+ B), Travis Robertson (Masters Men 45+ B), Katie Clouse (Non-UCI Women A), Alicia King (Women B), Ashlee Weimar (Women C), Cameron Beard (UCI Junior Men 17-18), Lucas Rowton (Collegiate Men), Amy Benner (Collegiate Women), Wes Biesen (Men C), Brad Bingham (Single Speed Men A), Kenten Harris (Single Speed Men B), Lynn Kennedy (Single Speed Women).

The Flickr album for this years' CXLA contains ninety-seven photos - check it out. If you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know and I will see what I can find. If you see a photo you like, feel free to download it (credit where credit due, of course). You can also contact me via email and I will gladly send a full size jpeg file of the image. As usual, I don't charge for photos, but do appreciate it when someone purchases a copy of the annual (link at top of page). Until next time, good riding. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Precision Fit Open House at Jax, Claremont

So Jonathan held a fun little open house event this evening, explaining to a standing room only group of cyclists, just how the new Precision Fit apparatus works. There was food, drink, and raffles at the top of every hour with jerseys, teeshirts, energy bars, lube and cleaning products, and grand prizes of a three hour session on the fit machine. It was informative, and a good time was had by all. Thanks for hosting, Jonathan Chang, and the Jax crew.

While Jonathan explained how everything worked

his volunteer pedaler had a beer pedaled. Oh what the heck, she did both very well.

Explaining how it all contributes to perfecting bike fit and set up.

Raffle time.

A whole bunch of Claremont Cycling Club people showed up,
but with the lens I brought I could only fit this many in the shot. Cheers.


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