Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Options: Milly's Riders p/b Squadra Folgore...

get out of the road

Thank goodness I wasn't the only one to show up at the meeting grounds in Highland Park; I was beginning to think of myself as a little bit looney for even thinking of riding in the heat, and to be the only one there would have confirmed it. Thank goodness Tom was one of the others to show up, and most importantly, show up with my kit. Thank goodness Enrique was there with some extra caps. Thank goodness that those two, and each of the others, agreed to my suggestion of a shorter route - Los Angeles River Bikeway to Griffith Park, climb of Trash Truck Hill, and back. Thank goodness I was having a good climbing day, reached the summit without any undue stress, and enjoyed the shade and slight breeze while waiting. 

(I'll be damned, the Monkees are on tv right now racing the Monkeemoble up the very same road. Huh, talk about coincidences). Sorry about that, I was just surprised to look up from the computer and see the very same road - Trash Truck Hill - I was just riding along.

kayaking the river

i have always liked this climb. no cars - how could you not?

view across Burbank

Now where was I? Oh yes. There are certain advantages to charging these climbs as if it were a race. The greater the gap, the more time you have to recover at the top. I didn't really believe we would be the only ones out today, but I didn't expect there would be as many others climbing the hill as there turned out to be. It is always good to have people to chase down and pass - that's were all those other people come in handy. Ha.

this way Enrique, this way

must every Folgore ride come with a flat?

Lets get back to some more thanks: Thank goodness there is water in the LA River - all those kayakers looked like they were having a good time, and just the sight of all those ducks floating in the cool water, made the 104º my computer said it was, seem a bit cooler. Thank goodness bee stings are only bothersome for a short period of time. Yes, I picked up my first of the season during a 7-Eleven refueling stop. Little bugger got me on my left side back - I scratched and scratched and just couldn't locate him; when I got home, took my jersey off and turned around, there was the fuzzy little carcass on the floor. Whether attracted to the yellow of my jersey, or the salt in my sweat, they were buzzing me whenever I stopped today. Mind you, I am not complaining, the heat, the sting, they were just little twists in the day to keep things interesting.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Americans in the 2013 Tour de France...

What? You weren't really expecting me not to do some kind of preview of this year's race, where you? But, I thought I would narrow the focus. Six American riders will be competing in the Tour de France this year, representing three teams. This is the fewest number from the States since the 2008 edition when only four riders took the start.

This year's six racers are: From BMC Racing, Brent Bookwalter and Tejay van Garderen, from Team Cannondale, Edward King, and from Garmin-Sharp, Tom Danielson, Andrew Talansky, and Christian Vande Velde.

Vande Velde is the elder statesman of the bunch now, and began his professional career in 1998. This year's race will be his eleventh Tour start, though his 2004 result was voided following his admission of doping. He has had two top ten overall finishes at the Tour de France, finishing 4th in 2008 and 7th in 2009. Once pegged as a Grand Tour contender, Vande Velde has had his best results in shorter stage races such as the Tour of Luxembourg which he won in 2006, the 2008 USA Cycling Professional Tour, Tour of Missouri, and 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He has also gathered up stage wins in both the Giro d'Italia and Paris - Nice. He is a strong time-trialist who can also climb, though at this point is his career, his greatest value is likely to be his experience and the assistance he can give his team leader. With five team time trial (TTT) stage victories during his career, including one each in the Tour and Giro, look for him to add to the tally at the Stage 4 TTT in Nice.

Vande Velde's teammate, Danielson, was also regarded as a Grand Tour hopeful as a result of early career successes. He is the second most experienced American in this years race, having ridden in each of the three-week races beginning in 2005. Results from his first two Giro and Vuelta have been voided due to his admission of doping. Since that time, though, he has managed to finish 9th at the 2010 Vuelta and 8th at the 2011 Tour. Danielson's strength has long been considered his ability to climb, and both he and Vande Velde will be expected to help team leader Ryder Hesjedal in search of overall success. 

The third, and youngest, of the Americans riding with Garmin-Sharp, Andrew Talansky, has shown much promise thus far in his short professional career. Though this will be his first entry in the Tour, he has raced the previous two editions of the Vuelta where, last year, he finished 7th overall. Both a strong climber and time-trialist, he is often held in the same high regard as America's other top racer, Tejay Van Garderen - the cream of the current generation.

Over at BMC, both Van Garderen and Brent Bookwalter, are ostensibly there to race in support of team leader Cadel Evans. Bookwalter has shown strength in time-trialing throughout his career and will racing his third Tour this year, providing invaluable domestique duties with the team. Van Garderen, meanwhile, is widely regarded as the top American racer right now. Coming off overall victory at this year's Tour of California, as well as top-ten finishes at the Tour de San Luis, Criterium International, Paris-Nice, and the Tour de Suisse, Van Garderen is a more than capable all-round rider, with clear team leader potential. Even though Evans may be the leader going into the race, don't be surprised to see Van Garderen finishing in the top-ten himself.

Bookwalter (fore) with Michael Schar @ 2013 ATOC

Ted King @ 2013 ATOC

Edward (Ted) King is the sixth of the Americans in this year's Tour. Riding for Cannondale, he will be there, mostly, as support to team leader, Peter Sagan, as he attempts to accumulate stage wins. King is a solid all-round rider, though, and if the opportunity presents itself, I think we can expect to see him in break attempts hoping to round up a stage win of his own. King, by the way, has his own website which is updated frequently. He has some good stuff on there, such as this from his final pre-Tour training ride: "I also saw a cow on my ride today. I swear he was looking at me and we were totally engaged in conversation just seconds earlier. But then I got my camera out and he immediately became camera shy. I wonder if he's going to tell his buds that he's now on the internet." How can you not appreciate someone who converses with cows? I will be checking in to read what he has to say about his experiences at Le Tour.

Looking beyond these six riders, I have to think that this year's Grande Boucle is likely to be the most wide open contest we have seen in years. Going into the start tomorrow I see any number of racers capable of winning the overall prize. Likewise, the Mountains Jersey, appears that it will be hotly contested. The list of likely protagonists for the Sprints competition looks a little more narrow, some favorites from past years sitting out this year, or otherwise not having been selected by their teams. What ever the outcome, it is going to be an exciting three weeks. Bring on Corsica and the Grand depart.

Week One Update:

Keeping in mind that none of the American racers are/were at the Tour in the capacity of team leader, there have been mixed results for the six after the first week of racing. Most notable, perhaps, is that the six have become four following the demise of both Christian Vande Velde and Edward King. 

Stage One was a 213 km run between Porto Vecchio and Basia, and won by German sprinting ace, Marcel Kittel. Christian Vande Velde was the best placed of the six Americans, crossing the line in 38th spot. Talansky finished 110th, Danielson 111th, van Garderen 139th, Bookwalter 175th, and King crossed as the Lantern Rouge, in 198th spot. All racers finished with the same time following bus-related confusion at the finish line.

Stage Two, a 156 km romp between Bastia and Ajaccio was won by RadioShack Leopard rider, Jan Bakelants after a very-late-in-the-race break. Van Garderen was the best placed American, in 27th. Following behind him were Talansky in 69th, Vande Velde in 77th, Danielson at 92nd, Bookwalter at 108th, and King at 167th.

The Third Stage was 145.5. km between Ajaccio and Calvi, and was won in a sprint finish by Aussie Simon Gerrans of Orica-Green Edge. Van Garderen had another good finish, coming in 27th for a second consecutive day. Bookwalter had his best finish yet, coming in at 41st. Vande Velde crossed the line in 46th, Talansky in 58th, Danielson 83rd, and King in 168th.

Stage Four was a team time trial of 25 km in the city of Nice, and won by Orica-Green Edge. Garmin-Sharp put in a strong performance, 17 seconds behind. As a result, the Americans riding with the Argyle Armada were able to advance their positions in the General Classification - Christian Vande Velde moved up to 17th, Talansky to 18th, and Danielson to 20th. BMC did not finish quite as well, finishing 25 second back, but the Americans were both able to improve their overall positions - van Garderen to 30th and Bookwalter to 87th. Edward King, suffering the effects from early face misfortune finished outside the time limit and was disqualified from further competition.

Stage Five took the race for 228.5 km between Cagnes sur mer and Marseille. Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish for his 24th Tour victory. A large crash late in the race took down Christian Vande Velde and he would suffer on to the finish (as well as the next day), coming in 184th. Talansky had a good finish, crossing the line in 37th, van Garderen finished in 85th, Danielson in 142nd, and Bookwalter in 159th. 

Another sprint ended Stage Six, a 176.5 km race between Aix-in-Provence and Montpellier which was won by Andre Greipel. Van Garderen was the best placed American finisher at 25th; just behind him was Talansky at 28th. Danielson came in at 46th, and Bookwalter at 143rd.

Another sprint finish for Stage 7, 205.5 km from Montpellier to Albi, and won by Peter Sagan. Van Garderen came in at 21st, Talansky in 31st, Danielson at 40th, and Bookwalter in a 45th Due to his injuries Vande Velde was unable to finish the stage.

Stage Eight was the first mountain stage of this year's Tour, at 195 km between Castres and Ax 3 Domaines. Sky's Chris Froome won both the stage and the Yellow Jersey battle with a commanding display. Talansky managed his best finish yet, reaching the summit in 16th spot. This, plus the time gaps of previous days moved him up to 12th on General Classification. Van Garderen crossed the line at 56th, Danielson in 62nd, and Bookwalter in 68th. 

The Ninth Stage was also the second in the Pyrenees, 168.5 km from Saint Girons to Bagneres de Bigorre. As noted previously, Irishman Daniel Martin won the stage. Andrew Talansky was, yet again, the best placed American at 33rd. Bookwalter came in 82nd, van Garderen at 86th, and Danielson, after being a part of an earlier Garmin-Sharp offensive intended to soften up Team Sky, came in 106th.

That is where things stand for the Americans after the first week. Andrew Talansky is the best placed overall at 22nd, but more significantly perhaps, he is in 4th place of the Best Young Rider Classification, 7:33 behind leader Nairo Quintana. Tejay van Garderen is 7th in the same young rider competition, but 32:59 back. Tom Danielson is in 11th place of the Mountains Competition with 12 points; Pierre Rolland leads with 49 points.

Week Two Update:

Stage ten, 197 km, from St Gildas des Bois to Saint Malo, returned the race to the realm of the sprinters, one on which Marcel Kittel for the second time proved the fastest. Andrew Talansky came in 1:40 down alongside team leader Ryder Hesjadal. Brent Bookwalter was best placed at 56th, while Tejay van Garderen came in 81st and Tom Danielson at 148th.

Stage eleven was a 33km time trial from Avranches to Mont Saint Michel. Talansky had a good day finishing in 12th spot, but over two minutes behind stage victor, Tony Martin. Van Garderen came in at 49th, Danielson at 110th, and Bookwalter at 141st. Talansky noted that he "felt good" on a course that did not suit his style, and believed that "it bodes well for the second t.t."

Stage twelve, 218km between Fougeres and Tours, saw Kittel win his third stage, after out-sprinting Mark Cavendish at the line. Talansky was, yet again, the highest placed American, at 23rd, while van Garderen came across at 92nd, Bookwalter in 139th, and Danielson at 154th.

Talansky continued his string of high placings on the 173 km thirteenth stage, between Tours and St Amand-Montrond, by crossing the line in 30th spot as part of a large group 1:09 down on the stage winner, a revived Mark Cavendish. Van Garderen crossed the line at 48th in the same group as Talansk, Bookwalter at 100th, and Danielson at 108th, both in the same group at nearly ten minutes back. This was a day during which crosswinds played havoc with the bunch, fracturing it before the escape of the Saxo-Tinkoff Team with roughly 30 km to go finished the job of demolition.

Stage fourteen was the biggest yet of this years Tour for Talansky, one which saw both he and van Garderen make the select break during the 191 km race between St. Pourcain sur Sioule and Lyon. Talansky would finish 3rd on the day behind Matteo Trentin, while van Garderen would manage 16th. Danielson would trail in more than seven minutes back in 55th, and Bookwalter in 88th. Talansky was hoping for more: "You don't get that many opportunities to win a stage at the Tour de France... I felt like I could have started sprinting a little earlier and given myself a chance to win."

The fifteenth stage, at 242.5 km, went from Givors to one of the most revered locales of cycling lore, Mont Ventoux. With a dominating display of determination and fitness, the stage was won by Yellow Jersey wearer, Chris Froome. Talansky crossed the line more than six and a half minutes back in 25th spot. Danielson came in at 72nd, Bookwalter at 81st, and van Garderen at 108th.

With two weeks now finished, Talansky sits in 13th spot on g.c., 12:32 behind Froome. Van Garderen is in 47th, Danielson in 65th, and Bookwalter 82nd, all respectably in the top half of the Tour standings. Additionally, Talansky has moved up in the Young Rider Classification to 3rd, 6:45 behind Nairo Quintana. In the same classification, van Garderen has moved up to 6th, though more than 54 minutes back. A lot of mountains await the race in the final week, many opportunities to gain time, many traps to lose time.


Heed those premonit, intuiti, instincts. Have you ever been out riding around, a typical sunny day, nothing out of the ordinary, when all of a sudden a thought enters your mind that something is about to happen; not some unknown something, but a something that you actually see playing out before it happens? Some people would say this is intuition, attribute it to premonition. Being of a more scientific mindset I tend to think of these visions more in terms of instinct - instinct born of experience, observation, and thinking ahead. 

The human mind is a powerful tool; it is at the head of the list of humanity's defining characteristics, above bipedalism and opposable thumbs. The mind gives us the ability to learn, process information, and predict possibilities based upon what we see and know. Case in point: I was riding up San Dimas Canyon, right at the turn pictured above. There was a pedestrian walking along the other side of the road, also heading up canyon. I just knew that, even considering the entire stretch of road behind me as well as before me, there was going to be a car coming down canyon who would see the pedestrian and move over to avoid him. Doing so would, of course, put the vehicle into the opposing lane right were I was. The three of us were going to meet at the same place at the same time. So, before I even began to round the bend I had moved over tight against the cliff face.

Sure enough, just as I thought, as I circled the turn there was a pick-up truck right where I saw it would be. The three of us, pedestrian, driver, cyclist, glided past one another without undue sweat, skipped heartbeats, or curses. By observing the available information - the pedestrian, the blind curve, the narrow road, and reacting accordingly, I was able to avoid a more serious incident. That the three of us passed the same spot at the same time, was purely coincidence. Coincidences happen. By being active and observant participants in our surroundings, we as cyclists, can often predict and avoid potentially hazardous situations. Get out and ride, but ride aware.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Upcoming: No Car GMR...

Like last year, and the year before that, and... well, you get the idea, the time is nearly upon us once again. No, I'm not talking about the start of the Tour de France (although we are on the eve of that as well).

I am talking about the annual closure of Glendora Mountain Road to motor vehicles
for the 4th of July holiday. It was previously noted elsewhere that GMR will close in the morning of 3rd July (10:00am), will remain closed through the 4th, and reopen around 10:00am on the 5th. Non-motorized traffic only during that time.

Numerous group rides are planned, so get on your bikes and ride.

Desert Fatbike...

If you watched any of the live coverage, or later video, from stage two of last month's (May) Amgen Tour of California, you may have noticed that this guy got a little on-camera face time as he rode by the tv crews. Before he had gone that far up the road though, I got a shot of him myself. I think there are many places out in that desert where a fat bike would be fun to ride, but a paved uphill road is not one of them. That's hard core determination.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bike Path Salmon, and Get Your Face...

That title was getting a bit long; it will become clear in a minute though.

The past weekend's biking activities included some time for a family ride along the San Gabriel River Trail to Seal Beach. All told, a thoroughly enjoyable time was had; the wife will take any family time she can get (this included going to see Man of Steel with us, though she had absolutely no interest in it), the son (mysteriously) proved that he can still drill it mile after mile even though he rarely sits a bike anymore, and I, well, any day on the bike is a good one. But, I also have a couple gripes to share. 

First up, the bike path salmon. Each and every time I have ridden out on the SGRT over the past couple months or so these contrary riders have been out and about. Sometimes they ride the same direction as me, just on the wrong side of the centerline and I have to wonder if they are going to suddenly realize they are not in Ireland, or England, or Australia, and swerve back over to the proper side of the path just as I am about to pass. These salmon are the slightly less annoying kind, since all I need do is make a little noise to make them aware of my presence. The salmon I can't seem to figure out are those who come straight at you, all the while in the wrong lane. Bike path "rules" are about as simple as they get, so I wonder are these people wasted, or are they just plain stupid? Do they think we are engaged in a game of bicycle chicken? I am not talking about looky-loos who drift across the line and then self-correct. No, there have been riders who have come straight at me while looking straight ahead as we come closer and closer together. My parents did not raise a fool, so rather than go ahead and collide, I have moved over, thankful that there was no oncoming traffic at the time.

Second gripe: Summer is here, school is out, Seal Beach is a popular destination. Every day of the week groups of teens are utilizing the convenient, easy way to the shore. They are riding their mountain bikes, cruisers, fixed-gear bikes and road bikes, what ever they have. They have body boards on their backs, baskets full of towels, sunscreen and who knows what all else, their helmets dangle from their handlebars. And they have their phones, faces pressed firmly into those little screens, where they are keeping up to the second tabs on all their important friends. Girls, girls, girls (I am sorry for the sexism, but they really have all been girls thus far) get your faces out of those phones. It is one thing to cause an oncoming rider to swerve out of your way because you are not paying attention; if just one time that oncoming rider cannot avoid you, there will be a greater price to pay.

It is a great time to ride the bike path to the beach. It certainly beats heck out of the more popular option; I mean have you seen the traffic problems down there? Just ride aware, and you will get there.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Velo Course: The Going to College Loop (Trish's Version)...

Okay, I am calling this Trish's Version because it is the exact route that Psycho-list's very own Trish led a recent Friday morning group around. I don't think it had an official name at the time, and every ride in the Velo course needs a name so, the Going to College Loop it is. Why? Because it passes through, or beside four of the regions' institutions of higher learning: University of La Verne, California Polytechnic University at Pomona, Mt. San Antonio College, and right near the end, the campuses of the Claremont University Consortium. As far as routes go it is a fair tour of portions of each of the small cities immediately to the west of Claremont, throws a series of progressively steeper climbs into your path which will work your lungs and heart as well as it does your legs. On their own none of the short climbs are especially troublesome, but taken in sequence, when attempting to stay ahead of, or catch, the competition, they present a worthy challenge.

The turn by turn specifics: This route starts at the by-now familiar Vons shopping center at the southeast corner of Baseline and Mills for the usual reasons - convenient location, easy access to food and beverage after the ride. Start with the gradual downhill slide heading west along Baseline, up and over the small hill at the edge of town where I saw (and smelled) an animal control officer wrestling with a skunk a while back. This takes you into La Verne, where you will make a left on Fruit, the first light at the bottom of the hill. Continue along Fruit until, just below the Foothill commercial corridor, the street bends first left and then right and, kind of inexplicably, becomes White Avenue. When you reach Bonita Avenue make a right and then, a short distance later a left onto E Street. When you cross Arrow Highway this street becomes Fairplex Drive. Fairplex Drive, you may recall, I refer to as "the Speedway" with great derision. This has nothing to do with the fact that you pass by the AutoClub dragstrip on one side and Brackett Field on the other. Of course you could always use the sidewalk/bike path, but I can never convince myself to surrender that way. At the "T" intersection Fairplex makes a 90º turn to the left; continue that way, then bend to the right and tackle the easy assent alongside the golf course. This short section of climb is my favorite part of the Wednesday Bud's Ride. Pass by the entrance to Bonelli Park, top the climb and make the fast descent down to the 10 Freeway. Use caution at the on and off ramps while crossing the freeway and make a right on Murchison. Ride next to the freeway sound wall then make a sharp left onto Ridgeway, which you take until making a right onto South Campus Drive. Pass under the 57 Freeway, continuing along South Campus, giving a glance to the pastures of the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, and then make a right on Temple Avenue.

Temple can be an ugly street to ride on when classes at the University are in session. Between the cars of students parked along the right, and others speeding by on the left, it is not a pleasant environment. Thankfully it is not like that all the time. You will climb along Temple, passing through both Cal Poly (not the main part of campus) and Mt. SAC, until you reach Grand Avenue where you will make a right. You will start climbing again right off and will quickly realize that this is the biggest climb yet, and can be challenging if you are in a group and trying to get to the top first. The climb of Grand is followed by a nice long descent. Enjoy it, the biggest climb is still to come. At the bottom of the hill, make a right on Holt Ave. At this point you could avoid the toughest climb of the day by simply continuing along Grand, but really, what fun is there in that. If you have decided to tackle the climb continue along Holt, cross under the 10 Freeway once again, then make a right on Via Verde. Via Verde is a deceptive climb; just when you think it is over, it decides to go on some more. And gets steeper in the process. It is a nice street though, with little traffic. You will reach the top just before your legs give out, then descend only as far as the first street, Covina Hills Road, where you make a left. The short upward punch to the pedals is nothing after conquering Via Verde, and then you begin a glorious descent. Covina Hills Road is one of my favorite parts of this ride - shaded, kind of rural looking. Ahh, nice. I just wish it were a little longer. The road bends around a bit, just stay with it and you eventually come out at Grand. The same Grand you were on a short while ago. Turn right on Grand, then right again on Puente, and follow that up with a left onto Glendora Avenue. At this point you will follow the long straight drag up Glendora (not really up, it is flat). Eventually you will pass under the 210 Freeway, cross Route 66, bend left, then right and enter the civic center area of Glendora. A nice little downtown core including the popular Classic Coffee is a good place for a mid-ride refuel break.

When you are ready to hit the road again, continue up (up in fact this time) Glendora Avenue until reaching Sierra Madre Avenue. Be sure to check the houses along the right as you near the top for the one with the Bob's Big Boy sculpture in the front room bay window. Turn right on Sierra Madre, pass the turn off for GMR, and turn right onto Valley Center. A fast descent takes you to Foothill where you make a left at Glendora High School. A gradual rise brings you to Amelia where you make a right; follow Amelia all the way to Gladstone and turn left. Get immediately into the right turn only lane, go that way, and punch it up this little sprinters rise. Love this short stretch of roadway. Go left at 5th Street, cruising along this residential street in San Dimas. When you reach San Dimas Avenue, go right, then left on Bonita. You will take Bonita all the way back through La Verne, passing the University of La Verne, and into Claremont. When you reach Claremont make a left onto Cambridge, then right on Harrison, and left again on Berkeley. Take Berkeley all the way up to Foothill and turn right. Flash a peace sign to Dale and the Velo, or stop and say hey, then continue along to Mills where you make one final left, ascending Mills back to the start point. By the time you get back you will have passed through some seven cities on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, covered almost 41 miles, climbed about 2200 feet, and if you are a fast descender reached speeds of 40 mph (or if you are slow, like me, only 35 mph).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Blues: Color of the Season...

I noticed this new exhibit at the "Sideyard Gallery" as I rode along Berkeley the other day. If you ask me, the artists must have had summer on their minds. While all those sun images might be the obvious indicator, don't overlook all the blue. Between blue of the sea, lake, or river, the imaginary line where water meets the blue sky curtain, lapis butterflies, or the mountains' starry evening screen, blue seems to speak just as provocatively of the get outside and enjoy life season. Summer, get on your bikes and ride.

"summer returning
and I will be awake tonight
blue summer
i'm waiting
still waiting
all through the summer
and it's shining everywhere I go
blue summer
blue summer"
(blue summer , by Melody Club)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Masters SCNCA Criterium Championships...

State criterium champions jerseys along with bronze, silver and gold medals were contested among the Masters classes in Ontario today. While some familiar names filled up the podium steps, the biggest winner of the day may have been Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling) who rode away with gold in both the 50+ and 45+ categories. The fact that I wasn't in that 50+ race may have made his victory there a little bit easier, but it was still a good win. Ha. Ha. Har. Speaking of the 50+ race, it had one big field - 97 racers, making it the largest of all the Masters races. Opposite that were the women's 45+ and 35+ races, which were only composed of six racers each; what happens to all the lady racers as they get (ahem) older? Don't tell me they take up knitting and crochet instead. Anyway, it didn't seem to matter to the twelve who battled it out; they were putting in the effort no matter the numbers.

At the finish Julie Cutts (Michelob Ultra - La Grange) winner of the 45+ race crossed the line with about a bike length ahead of the 35+ victor (and teammate) Keely Brooks. Vikki Appel (Southbay Wheelmen) was just behind, for silver in the 35+ race.

Keely Brooks 1st, Vikki Appel 2nd, Charity Chia 3rd in the 35+ race

Julie Cutts 1st, Bonnie Breeze 2nd, Angela Wimberly 3rd in the 45+ race

following their long break, Paul Rodriguez (UC Cyclery / JW Floors) and
Jonathan Livesay (Montrose Cycling Club) would finish 1-2 in the 60+ race

victory salute of Paul Rodriguez

the top three in the 55+ race - William Ralph, Bob Pellkofer, Lee Romans

the 50+ podium - Craig Miller, Marvin Hall, Steven Strickler

Craig Miller celebrates win number 2 - in the 45+ race

Other Championship races:

60+  Paul Rodriguez (UC Cyclery / JW Floors) 1st, Jonathan Livesay (Montrose Cycling Club) 2nd, Kalman Szkalak (UC Cyclery / JW Floors) 3rd

55+ William Ralph (Rokform/Rock N'Road) 1st, Bob Pellkofer (Rokform/Rock N'Road) 2nd, Lee Romans (Paramount Racing) 3rd

50+ Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling) 1st, Marvin Hall (UC Cyclery / JW Floors) 2nd, Steven Strickler (Surf City Cyclery / Sterling BMW) 3rd

45+ Craig Miller 1st, Mark Noble (METALMTN Cycling) 2nd, Armin Rahm (TIME - Velo Pasadena) 3rd

40+ Daniel Reback (Surf City Cyclery / Sterling BMW) 1st, Scott Cochran (MRI Endurance Elite Masters) 2nd, Derryl Halpern (METALMTN Cycling) 3rd

35+ was still to finish when I had to leave
however, a selection of 106 more photos are here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Upcoming: 2013 TA-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival...

Bicyclists tend to be outdoorsy folk, or at least they invest a considerable amount of time out and about in the elements. Many also like to partake of other, complimentary, outdoorsy activities. If you want a recommendation for those dog days of August, might I suggest the TA-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival at Lake Tahoe. SUP, or Stand Up Paddle, grows more popular each year, and once you try it, you will understand why. Just beware it doesn't take time away from your riding - it has been known to take over the free hours of those unaware of its Siren song. Oh, and don't forget to bring your bike with you too; some of the best road and trail riding is to be found up at the Lake of the Sky.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Morning Psycho-Lists...

Lets see, it has been almost a month short of a year since I last did this one. In addition, three consecutive poor riding days had me searching for some way to break out of the rut. A solo ride up GMR wouldn't help, but I was sure a good social / training ride would do the job, help to get things turned around. Something to force me into a higher pace, in other words. There just have not been enough race-pace training rides in my programme this year, and the self-inflicted moan not-enough-speed-in-my-legs has been a season-long refrain around these parts, keeping me from the competition on the race course. The Psycho-lists rides are a step below the Buds, the Bowl, Montrose, and all those other more race-oriented rides in intensity; the soft-pedaling, regroups and coffee stop keep it more friendly to a broader range of abilities. Even so, all the hills and city limit signs, are either hotly or luke-warmly contested, and those are the things I hope will inject (admittedly, probably not the best choice of word here) a little life into these legs. The Psycho-Lists Friday ride departs each week from the Vons shopping center, corner of Mills and Baseline, Claremont at 7:15 in the morning. Get all their ride announcements by joining on Meetup.

Upcoming: The Grind Ride in Memory of Jackie Price Dunn...

Corresponding with the Memorial Ride taking place at Coronado tomorrow morning, the Saturday Cycling Connection Grind Ride is going to be dedicated to Jackie's memory. Donations for the family will be taken at the start, or just show up and ride, share in the moment. The ride will gather at 7:30 for a 8:00 start at the Sprouts Market, 7355 Day Creek Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga. Get more information by clicking here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On Death and Doubt...

You may have noticed that, though only half way through the year, the Southern California cycling community has already paid a terrible toll along the regions roadways. Among the many facets of his writing, Ted Rogers at BikingInLA, has performed the painfully necessary task of putting a face to each of these victims, attempted to show the lives behind the numbers, lives which most other media outlets would regard as little more than another in a string of statistics. These victims have all come from a large and diverse community, cyclists one and all. The tribe of mountain bikers excepted (possibly), our share of the road is a defining commonality, and even though that is where we spend the vast majority of our two-wheeled time, I want to step away from the shared, open road for a moment

I, and many others, frequently speak of a community of cyclists. If you share that sentiment, then take another step along that path and consider the portion of that group, those who race, as a family. That family has been shaken by two deaths (Christopher Contreras and Jackie Price Dunn) within a span of a single short month.

Those of us who race, or have raced, eventually must come to terms with the likelihood that we will crash at some point during competition. No matter how skilled, or lucky we may be, or believe we are, sooner or later the odds catch up. We will find ourselves staring up from the pavement rather than perched on our saddle. But at least our eyes are seeing. In some musty nook of our minds we hide doubts, the realizations of the possibility that it can happen at any time. We mollify such thoughts by believing in our abilities to tuck and roll, or that our superior bike handling skills will help us avoid catastrophe. After all, those superior bike handling skills have saved the day on other occasions. Each race that passes without incident strengthens our confidence, adds another layer of dust to those secreted doubts. Each time we manage to keep the skinny side down, while those around us come to grief, adds another patchwork of cobwebs masking the realities.

As humans we are wired to give thought to "what might happen" and then respond based in part on our experiences. This is a self-preservation mechanism, a means of avoiding injury and incapacity. Rarely, though, do we give thought to the worst of what can happen. While the possibility of crashing has crossed my mind from time to time, I can honestly say that I have never considered the possibility that my life might come to an end during a race. Not for a moment. My memory may be faulty (and maybe someone will set me straight) but, over the twenty-five years I have been in and around the Southern California racing scene, I can't recall anything like this. Every so often there may be a report of a death on the east coast, the midwest, or over in Europe, but not this close to home. And certainly not two in one month.

It is mid June now. The racing season will continue to roll along from one weekend to the next for another three months. There will be pause for reflection of what we do, and why. Some, those more distant from the fallen, will conclude that the two died doing what they loved. It is an oft-heard sentiment which is more a gloss over the truth, than it is reality. I suspect that Christopher Contreras and Jackie Price Dunn (and those closest to them), like the rest of us who await the officials starting whistle each Sunday, never really believed it would end the way it did. Though some of the cobwebs hiding those nooks of doubt have been shaken loose, new ones will form. Out of necessity they must. If there is one constant in the sport of cycling it is that there is no place for doubt. Victory is a demanding master which does not abide the presence of such thoughts. Because of this I know that those who race this weekend, the next, or two months from now, will do so with remembrances of Chris or Jackie springing from their hearts, rather than their minds. Race in peace, race forever.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rest in Peace, Jackie Price Dunn...

One of the things I like most about the blog is helping to spread the news about happenings in the So Cal cycling community.

I wish that did not also involve spreading the news of things like this.

Another of Southern California's racers, Jackie Price Dunn, has passed away as the result of a crash during competition. Following a crash at the San Diego Velodrome, which occurred last night, Ms. Dunn was transported to hospital where she was placed on life support. Regrettably, word has begun to spread that she succumbed to her injuries. I apologize if this description sounds so cold and detached, from the little I have read/heard it is far from the way she lived her life. We have lost another caring and giving person, who also happened to share our own passion for cycling. 

The Jackie Price Dunn Memorial Fund has been established so that her family has "one less thing to think about during their time of loss." Contribute here.

A Memorial Ride will take place starting at Coronado on Saturday, June 22. Find additional information here.

just realized I had this photo - at the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, February 2013

My condolences to family and friends of Jackie Price Dunn.

Upcoming: Summer Race Series 2013...

Just a reminder that the Summer Race Series at Encino Velodrome begins next week (26 June) and rolls through the Summer season. Break the monotony of the work week and check it out Wednesday evenings per the schedule. Good times will be had by all who attend.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Race Recap: 2013 Chris Cono Memorial at Encino Velodrome...

Considering it was Monday, a respectable sized group showed at the Encino Velodrome for the Chris (Cono) Contreras Memorial. And why not? It was a perfect Southern California evening. With the sun setting in its usual place to the west, there was plenty of action to watch around the tracks' banked oval, there were truly delicious tacos to savor, there was Jim of Recycled Jersey fame with his colorful collection of jersey's to ogle and maybe buy, there was music (granted, not rock n' roll, but still technically music), Coolass Mike was up there in the announcing booth doing his thing, there was a fantastic raffle to benefit the Contreras family, there were freebies of such quantity that kids were leaving with armloads of merchandise and had to choose between rolling their bikes out the gate or carrying all the stuff.

While the main purpose of the night was to provide the cycling community with an opportunity to help out the Contreras family, it was also a good evening to take in, or get into, some races. There were Flying 200s, Scratch races, Tempo, Miss n' Outs, Points races, Win n' Outs, and Encino Snowball. A, B, and C categories each had their opportunities, Juniors mixed it up with the older riders, girls fought out a competitive dance around the track with the guys. There was good stuff going around, no question about it.

Some thanks are in order, I believe. First off Bryan Yates, who seemed to have done the bulk, or at least a lot of, the organizing of the event. It doesn't go anywhere, unless someone takes the reins, right. Second, Team OTR Racing. What can you say about them, they are always a presence at the races, but really stepped up with the raffle and give-aways here; simply massive quantities of shirts, base layers, pants, shorts, lube, gloves, socks, arm warmers, caps, and whatever the heck else, clunking the heads of the inattentive, or snatched out of the air. Third, all the other nameless ones, who volunteered their time to help organize, set up and run things. And finally, everyone who showed up to race, or watch, in remembrance of Mr. Contreras.

Allright, so there you go. If you want more, there is a selection of 93 more photos you can see by making the jump here. By the way, just a little tip, Photobucket can be painfully slow at times, I have found it is best to click the first photo, then click slideshow and let it run.


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