Friday, January 31, 2014

Claude Criquielion and How to Wear a Cycling Cap

While I have not seen a photo of him sporting one recently, there is not a whisker of doubt that Claude Criquielion during his peloton heyday, knew a thing or two about wearing a cycling cap. Helmet rules today mean that scenes like this will only be experienced through images from the past. But once the racing is done, the helmet comes off, and you step off the bike...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What's On the Menu?

There was some sort of Asian stir-fry; don't ask me to be any more specific than that, although I did recognize its spiciness. The Italian selection was very bold, fragrant. Spaghetti maybe, though I think lasagna was more likely. The ingredients may be somewhat similar, but the baking brings out a different scent. There was no doubt about the garlic bread that was being served with that pasta dish. Rounding out the Wednesday menu were three distinct barbecue entrees as well - two burgers, one steak. The sides? Well, those must be left to the imagination - greens, potatoes, a glass of wine, perhaps?

By all counts, it was a fairly international-flavored night.

I guess it has been a good three years since I last rode solo laps around the "Lower Loop". For that long it hasn't been necessary; there was always some time during the daylight hours to make up those weekday miles. 

funky night-time leg photo

Turns out, counted among of the things I had forgotten during that period of time, were the smells of dinner being prepared. Our unseasonable weather means people are creating culinary delights in their kitchens with windows wide open, or grilling outside. All those flavors came wafting out to the street as I rode by. Not much will get the legs spinning faster than the incentive of food, the complaint of a hungry belly being teased by someone else's cooking.

As tasty as they are, life is not so much like a bowl of cherries, as it is a smorgasbord. Last night's ride proved that, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Schwalbe Racing Ralph

A couple weeks in the past, I experienced a second blow-out through the rear tire on my mountain bike. The first blow-out happened two, maybe three, months earlier when a mid-tread knob wore loose and was left flapping by a bit of skin. Covering the wound with a patch on the inside of the tire solved the problem until that second minor explosion when the tube burst through both patch and casing. That was the incentive; time for a new tire. 

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is very similar to the Kenda Karma that it replaced. Intended for trails with more compacted surfaces, both are made for most of the routes I ride locally, not to mention the paved rides to the trailheads of those routes. Considering my options at the LBS, the Racing Ralph seemed to be the best buy, a balance between function and cost. The Karma's smoother tread profile would slip around a bit on the loose stuff - loam, gravel, decomposed granite, sand, and similar "smaller than chunk" material. With a similar, less-than-blocky profile the Schwalbe will not provide the extra bite you would want to ride on those surfaces, but is certainly more comfortable and efficient when you make tracks across anything more firm. The teeth on the Racing Ralph are kept to the edges, as you can see in the photo, and are there to keep things from becoming too sketchy. A little slippage is one thing, but I wouldn't want to do battle with it all the time. So far the Racing Ralph has been just right.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Spot of Silent Music

I ride to the high point in San Dimas Canyon or, the high point along the paved road anyway. Most people, those who do not continue the short distance to roads end, would choose to pause here, as close to a summit as this road will take you. But not I. Swinging around without stopping I slice into a couple turns on the way back down before coming to an inexplicable stop. I like this spot. This time of year I can choose between sun or shade by pulling up a few feet more, or a few less.

I like this spot. Stepping off the bike my feet perch on the edge. The verge rises, but then drops away in a precipitous, though not quite sheer, fall. The canyon follows a wide sweeping bend here, flexing, arching where the stream has cut a sinuous form. A canopy of oaks line the curve below me, softening at the cliff base, and along a shelf just up from the bottom.

Looking down canyon the waters collected behind the dam fill the narrows of the canyon floor. Even in the sun, the water is dark, black. Chaparral covered, and shrub spotted slopes reflect on the surface where the angle of view allows, but underneath, the inky depths of a night sky swallow any more vibrant hue. Often the water is cut by the wakes of waterbirds, but not today.

In the middle of the view, the wide part of this canyon, is the marsh, still mostly dry and brown, dun. The stalks of reeds wave as they always do when I gaze down at them. The gentle breeze causes me to sway as well. Or vertigo. And so I look up the canyon sides for balance, grounding.

Turning my head up canyon the stream bed seems to be a little more green, a narrow ribbon of water tattoos across the sands. I am unsure where it came from. The same view appeared dust dry on my last visit, and there has not been any rain. Birds flit to and fro across the expanse below, seeking cover in the oaks, skimming the reed tops of the marsh. They charge along a direct path, swoop up and down then, with a simple dip of a wing and tail, they bank to the side in pursuit of a meal. All the while they chatter, they call, they knock on wood. And the breeze drifts through the leaves causing a hushing rustle.

There is no sound of human activity to break this mountain silence. I like this spot for its silence. John Denver spoke, and sang, of the music of the mountains. I think that this, at least in part, is what he was referring to. Rarely is there a true silence as we might define the concept. The silence here is one of appropriateness, made in this narrow spot, with no intrusion from the outside. This is not always the case - the engines of a passing jet or prop, gunfire from further up canyon, voices from passing runners, or the rumble of a motor vehicle engine often interfere. But not today.

This is a spot for contemplation. Years ago, as I was finishing up my undergraduate education, and faced with the prospect of all the life changes that entails, I would ride to a rocky point overlooking the Pacific to sit and think. Even with the crash of waves, the squeal of seagulls, the howl of wind, it was a tranquil, contemplative spot. This place in San Dimas Canyon is like that. I like this spot.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Blues: Hi Ho, Hi Ho

That's "hi ho, hi ho" as in, "its off to work I go." The old employer called up last week to say that the building industry rebound appears to be real and they could use me back. I won't be quite a full-timer, and will still have my Fridays free for GMR, longer rides to the coast, or deeper into the mountains. But at least there will be a little more cash on hand for those expensive bike parts we all desire. Night rides should begin to factor back into the weekly round of rides, as well as a bike commute to work every so often. Or more. Best of all, I understand there is another bike commuter in the office now. Two is double one; the revolution starts now.

I don't expect any changes at the blog; things should roll along as they always have. I will just have to be more efficient in getting things done. So, beginning Tuesday I shutter up the home office and, like all those ducks in the water of Puddingstone, I will be trailing a wake on my way to work in the morning. Ride on.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 KMC Chain Winter Series at Southridge

Southridge USA, in Fontana hosts mountain bike racing throughout the year, everything from cross country (XC) to downhill. I was there for a few races years ago, but the gap had been at least five, and that seemed like a good enough reason to make the trip this morning. This was the second of five weekends worth of racing in the KMC Chain Winter Series and, while most of the races took place on Saturday, there was still the downhill taking place today.

With the likes of multi-World Cup Champion, Aaron Gwin, and World Champion, Anneke Beerten on hand, I was expecting some fast runs. They, and many others out to test themselves, did not disappoint. Maximum respect for the handling abilities of the riders out there - some of the run times out there were sub-two point five minutes. Flat out fast. If I could even make it down in one piece, I would no doubt hit the rocks multiple times, and record some ten to fifteen minute runs. Even the youngest kids coming down the mountain, sliced smoothly around turns, and were flattening out the rocks like veterans with twenty or more years under their wheels.

Mike Diorio

All that handling talent was reflected in the fact that I witnessed only a single serious fall. Just downslope from the boulder I was up on a rider, after losing contact with his bike came down hard on the top of his head. Don't know if he grabbed a little too much front brake or what, but he was moaning and groaning on the ground as spectators gathered around. Later he was down at the standings board along with everyone else checking out the times, so a knock to the head, some rock rash, and a torn jersey seemed to be the worst of it.

Large crowds could be seen well up the mountainside, from where I was perched. You could predict the location of riders along the course by the ringing bells, and the yells of watchers. Once they came over a lip of rock further up above me the clatter of bikes, or worse, that dull thud of a rim and flat tire rebounding off the granite, took over. It was good stuff to watch, but I think I will leave it a that.

Dylan Unger

Aaron Gwin

Anneke Beerten

Want to see more photos? Jump to the Flickr set where there are a select ninety images.

Cody Toms

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Box of Books Arrived

For people who have not already requested a copy, or are due one (or two) as thanks for their sponsorship, I will be bringing copies to the following upcoming February races: Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, UCLA Road Race, SoCal Cup #2, and Dare to Race Grand Prix.

Even if you just stop by to check them out, feedback on how to improve on the 2014 edition will be appreciated. I already envision a few additions/changes to make the volume even better. All told though, I think they came out quite respectably, if I do say so myself.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Painted into a Corner

I started this post some time ago, then gave up on it. It has languished in purgatory ever since. Lately some preliminary lane markings have appeared on a few of the neighborhood streets, and have prompted me to resurrect it from the depths.

So drivers would prefer cyclists move about in physically separated spaces. Before I continue with this, and if you have not read about this survey, you can do so at DC Streetsblog. I don't mean to be a smartass about this, but the first thought that came to mind was, well duh, of course drivers would prefer cyclists not be a part of the traffic mix. Shuffle them off to the side somewhere out of the way, maybe even out of sight. Pesky varmints are always getting in the way as it is. But I am telling you people, that road to separation is a tricky path once you start down it. We have already seen, where separated paths exist, attempts to keep bicycles off parallel roadways; never mind that those paths may not go where a rider needs them to.

Moving on.

I am pretty sure that anyone belonging to the "my generation" club will have grown up with coloring books full of printed ink images, simple outlines to be filled in. We were compelled to color within the lines. Speaking for myself now, I employed all my powers of concentration to not stray outside those lines. Those black boundaries were sacrosanct, a rule I had to master before I could graduate from first grade. Over time, attitudes began to change. All us "we" became parents during a time when the prevailing belief shifted - those lines, as it turned out inhibited imagination. We discovered that those lines we once sought to adhere to, were not always good.

I have touched upon the concept of bike routes, everything from the basic painted line type to the fully separated ones. My own thoughts about them are rather ambivalent; while I don't mind them, frequently use them, and recognize their value to less experienced riders, I have long saw problems with them as well.

I believe that transportation equality has less to do with the allocation of dedicated space, than it does the adjustment of attitudes. A system in which drivers would "expect bicycles in lane" should be more effective than a system of "special lanes"  which bicyclists must periodically leave anyway.  Our current developing system of bike lanes creates an over-reliance on a little paint to solve a bigger problem. Not a day goes by that I don't see multiple instances of drivers encroaching into one bike lane or another. I have no doubt that in some cases this is due to a blatant disregard. In other instances it may be due to confusion, or even an insidious belief that since no one was using the lane at the time and place, well… I am sure you get the idea.

Look at those preliminary lines in the photo above. What do you notice? Two things stand out right off - first, the lane will be placed in the door zone. Second, and perhaps worse, any motor vehicle parked against the curb will encroach into the new bike lane. There is just not enough room for even a sub-compact to fit against the curb there. Golf carts may be okay.

You may remember a couple stories here concerning rising speed limits within the city of Claremont. Numerous streets within the city's limits would be see increased limits due to the state's 85th Percentile Mandate. The premise was rejected by the city council, which charged city staff with finding alternative means to keep speeds down. The markings that have been turning up are on some of those streets, and are among those means.

Here is where my ambivalence comes into play. This is a strictly residential street, and as such I cannot envision any instance in which its speed limit should be anything more than twenty-five miles per hour to begin with. Given that, bike lanes on this street should be unnecessary. Instead, drivers can't, or won't, drive at a reasonable speed and so, the city must act in response. The result seems pretty clear to me - bicyclists will have to leave the lane, move outside the lines in order to avoid parked vehicles; drivers, due to the narrow nature of the street, will encroach into the lane whenever they pass cars approaching from the opposite direction. The lanes will do little to reduce conflict but will, hopefully, promote lower speeds.

When you think about it, this is an interesting, and probably unique, case study. In most (maybe all) instances where bike lanes have been installed, they were created for bicyclists. To provide a certain degree of safety. In this case bicyclists will find little if any benefit; the lanes would seem to be entirely for the sake of drivers, a means of controlling speed.

I feel myself beginning to ramble at this point, but there seems to be so much more to say. Expect to read more here, once the lanes are actually installed and there has been time to observe the impact of them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who Ya Gonna Call?

I know there is a number you can call to report potholes in the roadway, but who do you call when the pothole is in the middle of a favorite dirt way? The mud holes have all dried up from lack of rain. What's left is a HARD packed dirt, all cracked and fissured. I don't know how, but chunks have been beaten loose leaving these gaping holes. Reminds me of a pan of brownies left in the oven too long, the moisture all cooked out. You know the edges are going to be dry and burnt, but you hold out hope that somewhere in the middle will still be soft. And so you dig out a chunk here, a chunk there.

Once the brownie is gone, it is gone. The pothole could be filled in, but would you want it to be? As it is, that gap does give you an opportunity to practice your bunny hopping.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Keeping it Rolling: Viva la Bicycle

Last weekend I followed my own suggestion and tagged along with the wife as we rode the Pacific Electric Trail (PET) out to Rancho Cucamonga. The goal was simple and straightforward - stop at the new repair stand setup and manned by volunteers of Viva la Bicycle. When we arrived, there were four guys there who greeted us and told us what Viva la Bicycle was all about. I was not the least bit surprised to see that Mr. Neiuber - a true advocate, he seems to be involved in every bicycling group in the region. A short while later, the Psycho-list's very own Mr. Mayo rode up to check things out as well. During the time we were there, two riders came in with mechanicals - both of them flats. One of the flats was a simple patch job, the other required a new tube, since the valve stem had been completely sheared off.

Viva la Bicycle is like a pop-up bicycle service station and classroom rolled into one. If you stop by with some little problem, the volunteers will not do the work for you, but they will guide you through the process of fixing what ever it is that ails your bike. Expect to get your hands at least a little dirty. Learning through doing. Practical experience. Those things will keep you riding.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Viva la Bicycle will help you with basic problems - flats, broken chains, snapped cables, gear adjustments. Don't expect to completely overhaul your bike there. The set up is an outgrowth of the well-known Redlands Bicycle Kitchen, and organized under the umbrella of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance (IEBA). They are also partnered with the adjacent Viva la Vegan market. The market is providing storage space for parts and materials; a stage area set into a corner of the old citrus packing house will provide a platform for classes and presentations.

If you possess some knowledge of bicycle repair, Viva la Bicycle is looking for additional volunteers to help out on Saturdays. They can also use any spare parts - I imagine tubes and patch kits are the most often needed. Check them out, and like them on Facebook. Better yet, take an easy spin along the PET some Saturday, and check them out in person. They are friendly and willing to talk about bikes, repairs, and maybe other things. While you are there, check out Viva la Vegan as well - even if vegan is not your taste, they have a good selection of Clif Bars, as well as other energy foods and drinks. Vegetarian shoes and work boots? Find them at the market. A little coffee and cafe is in the works, but not open yet. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Blues: Bikes, Blues, Brews, BBQs

Bikes, Blues, Brews, BBQs - those four seem to be grouped together quite often. As likely as not the "bikes" part refer to the motor-driven, rather than muscle-driven variety, although if you indulge in the latter it will help you avoid the beer, or bbq, belly effect. This festival in Iowa is an annual event, and on my summer events checklist yet to be marked off:

though the Clear Lake, Iowa festival is an annual event, I chose the 2007 graphic for this edition of the Monday Blues, because it is especially blue

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 2014 SoCal Cup Criterium #1, Dominguez Hills

while the ladies of the new Monster Media Elite Women's team get ready for their 2014 race debut, the Master's men 35+ (second race) flash past

For a second consecutive Sunday, not all the players decided to show for the game, at least in the Masters categories. This left the door open for a repeat of last weekend's Surf City rout of the competition. The winning breaks in the 35+ races (there were two), for instance, were not as top-heavy with yellow and blue, but the outcome was the same - Mike Faello and Ben Travis standing atop the podium for the 'A' and 'B' races respectively.

Mike Faello, eventual victor in the Master's 35+ 1-3 A race

Jennifer Willis and Desislava Doycheva of OTR Racing warm up before the women's races

Deogracias Asuncion (South Bay Wheelmen) rounding turn #1 during the Cat 3 race

out of the saddle for this Serious Cycling rider in the Cat 3 race

Jonathan McKenzie (South Bay Wheelmen), Cat 3 champion

Charon Smith (214) and Rob Kamppila round turn #2 of the four corner course

for a second consecutive week, Ben Travis (Surf City Cyclery)
takes a win, this one in the Masters 35+ 1-3 B race

the women raced together, but were scored separately - Pro/1/2/3 and 3/4

Shelby Reynolds (Monster Media Elite Women)
after crossing the line as Women's Pro/1/2/3 victor

Results of the races I was there for:

Masters 35+ A: 1st Mike Faello (Surf City Cyclery), 2nd Rigo Cruz (Bahati-Win Team Racing), 3rd Daniel Reback (Surf City Cyclery)

Cat 3: 1st Jonathan McKenzie (South Bay Wheelmen), 2nd Greg Deguzmna, 3rd Rob Morris (OSPKN)

Masters 35+ B: 1st Ben Travis (Surf City Cyclery), 2nd Charon Smith (Surf City Cyclery), 3rd Peter Andersen

Women Cat 3/4: 1st Deanna Ratnikova (Moment Bicycles), 2nd Desislava Doycheva (OTR Racing), 3rd Charity Chia (South Bay Wheelmen)

Women Pro/1/2: 1st Shelby Reynolds (Monster Media Elite Women), 2nd Colleen Gulick Team EPS/CSS), 3rd Kate Wilson (NOW Cycling)

Men Pro/1/2/3: 1st Tyler Magner, 2nd Tyler Locke (, 3rd Ryan Schneider (

Link to flickr set of a selection of 101 more photos including images from the Masters 35+ 1-3 A race, Cat 3, Masters 35+ B race, Women Pro/1/2/3, Women 3/4, and a few from the Men Pro 1/2/3 race. More stuff to come here later...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2013 Seasons in the Sun Update: In the Hands of the Printer

2013 Seasons in the Sun is now in the process of being printed. I should receive copies of them by approximately the 3rd of February. If you are interested in a copy I will be selling some direct by bringing them to races, the local ride, or where ever you want to meet - those will be $20.00 flat. I will also send a copy to you for $20.00 + $6.00 shipping. Once this stock on hand is gone, there will still be one more option - you can order direct from the publisher (Blurb), the price for the exact same book will be more, though there are additional options, i.e. softcover rather than hardcover. The link below the preview window takes you to a page where copies can be purchased from the publisher. If the little preview below works, it will give a glimpse of the first fifteen pages. Any questions, send me a note.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Keep it Running / Viva la Bicycle

You know, the Pacific Electric Trail (PET) is not really my thing, but for many others it is - people getting to and from work, people out for a couple hours healthy recreation, spending time with family and friends. For them, Viva la Bicycle will be a great thing, pick up a little advice, a little help with a nagging maintenance problem.

Wheel just fall off, cable snap, handlebars spin around, pedal fall off, squeak driving you crazy, has your saddle sunk so low your knees knock into your chin? If any of these things happen while you cruise the PET, stop by Viva la Bicycle. 

Viva la Bicycle is a project of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance, and will open tomorrow, Saturday,  January 18, from 10:00 to 1:00. The repair shop is located at Viva la Vegan, 9456 Roberds Street, between Amethyst and Hellman, and just adjacent from the PET. They can always use basic materials - tires, tubes, rags, lube, patch kits, cable, etc, etc. All the necessaries. Repairs are free to riders in need.

Oh, they can also use volunteers.

Stop by if you are out tomorrow, say hello, offer some words of encouragement and thanks for their effort.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Live the Life of a Blackburn Ranger

Blackburn Rangers are product ambassadors who field test the products that help get us out, and keep us on the roads and trails, they provide feedback to the designers, and they share their experiences with fellow travelers and wannabe's. If you can travel the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route, or the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route you may qualify to be a Blackburn Ranger. Check into it at their website, applications (short essay with photos) are due by February 15.

Last Song on the Radio

It was the last song on the radio, the last song I heard before heading off on the morning ride, the one that would last for the duration.

Why did it have to be I Shot the Sheriff?

In between replays, the back and forth banter, the left-side / right-side debate in the old noggin' over merits and detractions, was entertaining for a while. Eventually, though, it became as worn as the grooves on my old overplayed 45rpm pressed disc (which has not been played in more than thirty years).

By the way that would be Clapton's version of the song. Just to clarify.

If you ride only with groups and forgo the solo spin, you may not know what I am talking about. Each, the group or the solo, are unique monsters. Group rides require more focus, not to mention that those others in the group are there to talk and talk to. I don't think I have ever done a group ride where a song casually pops into my head and replays for mile after mile. On the other side, something needs to occupy those miles during solo rides, and more often than not, that something tends to be the last song on the radio.

"Freedom came my way one day
And I started out of town…"

All good rides start in similar fashion, don't they - "freedom", I mean, and starting "out of town". The thing is, at what point, at what mile, what replaying of the song, does that freedom become a sort of mental prison? In other words how many times does it take for  "the bucket [to go] to the well, [before] the bottom drop[s] out?"

If you can answer that question, try the bonus: What song is on the flip side?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Francesco Moser: Twentieth Anniversary

Sometimes when I grow desperate for ideas worth writing about I fall back on the old journals. While digging around I don't always hit pay dirt, but it happens frequently enough to make the effort worth while. Case in point would be todays post. If I had waited another couple days it would have been too late, the historical significance of the day's date would have been passed.

When I broke open that musty, dusty, spiral-bound log from twenty years ago, I was looking for something that would be of interest to no one other than myself. I found that, and immediately realized that the little bit of information led to an event that might be of more widespread interest.

While perusing my recap of the Saturday (13 January 1994) Bicycle Doctor ride, one of those rare occasions on which I actually won a sprint, by the way, I almost casually noted that Tom was absent from the weekly test. In itself this was not unusual - week by week, any one of the usual riders might be MIA, for any number of reasons. What made this absence different was my notation that he was in Mexico City for Francesco Moser's World Hour Record attempt. 

Tom worked at Columbo Imports at the time, a company that sold Moser frames, complete bikes, and other cycling paraphernalia through a shop in San Marino, California. Due to those connections he was presented the opportunity to travel south of the border to witness the record ride from the stands of the Mexico City velodrome.

As you may know, and as the photo above shows, Moser rode a Graham Obree-style frame, folded into the "praying mantis" riding position that Obree made famous during his own record setting ride six months earlier (July 1993). A change to the UCI rules governing Hour Record attempts, outlawed the "praying mantis" style in May 1994, a month after Obree set yet another Hour Record mark. Moser's attempt resulted in a time that was faster/longer than Obree's mark of 17 July 1993, yet not quite as fast/long as Chris Boardman's record set on 23 July 1993.

However, the Moser mark, set on 15 January 1994 still stands to this day as the UCI Veteran's Record for the hour.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meaning of Community: The Memorial to Ali Mirage

Here there are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet. Recently I stopped at the memorial and ghost bike for Ali Mirage, and what instantly came to mind was that well-known quote (various forms exist), which says much about the nature of community. As I read some of the messages I began to notice the names of people familiar to me, cyclists themselves. Though I am sure, many of them knew Ali Mirage, I am also quite sure that others did not. It is a fantastic thing the way, otherwise, complete strangers have taken a moment to reach out, to share their thoughts and prayers. 

Fast forward to this morning when I had occasion to drive past the memorial, and was struck by how different it looks from the inside of a passing vehicle. The ghost bike, the flowers, candles, and poster all looked terribly lonely and isolated. It didn't take long to realize it was the distortion of the windshield perspective, the isolation of the auto cocoon that was the cause. It was in that moment that the real meaning of our little cycling community really came to life. The bike may be a mere tool, but it is one that unites us; it allows complete strangers to feel a connection to one another, compels them to scratch a note, a prayer, a remembrance in a spirit of fellowship. Indeed, here there are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet.

Incidentally, if you have not liked the CLR Effect page on Facebook, you will not have seen the comment left by someone who knew Ali Mirage. I had put forth the lament that the coldness of news reports left me empty, with little idea of who the man was in life. The comment that I received went a long way toward filling an obviously huge gap. If you want to read it go to the CLR Effect page and look for the post of December 28 (comment from January1).

Pedal (peddle) Art: The Same In Any Language

The creation of this graphic was the result of a collaboration between Ciudad de Luces/City of Lights, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and REI, in 2012. Representatives of these groups met, and partnered, with concerned cycling day laborers in order to develop an educational tool which would help spread the "share the road" message in the Spanish speaking community. You can read more about the project, and the process, at the Ciudad de Luces/City of Lights blog.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The 2014 Ontario Series Grand Prix

Remembrances of last year's frigid conditions during the season opening Ontario Series Grand Prix, may have been on someone's mind when they dubbed today's race the "Icebreaker Criterium", however conditions were far different, and much more pleasant, than they were at this time last year. I missed out on the first few races of the day, so while I didn't get the full slate of competition it was still good to be back out in the whir and the wind - those two sensations, along with the flash of color, are mostly what you get when the bunch passes within a foot or two of where you stand taking photos. 

the Surf City Cyclery dominated break during the Masters 35+ race

If it turned out to be a nice day, yet one more in a long string of nice days, it was an even better one for a certain Mr. Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling), who put the Masters 45+ and 50+ groups on notice by winning both those races. This outcome has become quite a habit for Miller who pulled the same stunt on more than one occasion last year at this very same venue. 

"Ride Hard for Phil" - before the start of the Masters 30+ 4/5 race Ralph reminded everyone of the passing of Phil Richards, a veteran of the Southern California racing scene. Richards lost his life the previous morning as a result of injuries sustained in a collision, back in December, when he was hit by a driver who then fled the scene.

Surf City Cyclery unveiled their bright, shiny new kit. In fact several teams were proudly displaying new looks. It took a moment to adjust the eyes and brain, and thus distinguish just who was who based on what everyone was wearing. I noticed several riders who had switched teams during the off-season, and with some of the big-name teams still absent this early in the year, it is quite likely there will be even more new looks to be sorted out in the coming weeks.

In the 35+ race, the one in which between one-third and one-half the field wore the highly visible yellow of Surf City, the outcome seemed to be pre-determined. Sure enough, it did not take long for a group of five racers to ride clear, four of them representing Surf City. Back in the field there just wasn't enough fire power to overcome the remaining Surf City riders who occupied their time by controlling the back part of the race. Lo, the lone Cal Pools rider in the break, Ruben Meza, though hopelessly outnumbered and taking a little flak from all those yellow jerseys, just rode his race. No more, no less. Ralph Elliot, was putting his money on Meza, and bolstering the hopes of the crowd at the same time, but the Surf City riders were not about to let it come down to a sprint, and with three laps to go one rider bolted free and clear. That rider was Ben Travis, who soloed to the finish. Behind him Kayle LeoGrande, with war whoops and hand signs confirming his teammates' victory, won the four-up sprint for second.

The lead built by The Five grew rapidly, and no amount of wishful thinking by those riders left behind could change that, or the outcome. This does not mean there was no racing to be done back there. Prizes went six deep, so there was one spot still to be filled. With five laps remaining Charon Smith (Surf City) decided to go for that spot. Ultimately, another three riders from the bunch made their way up the road to Smith; none of those three had the legs to match up though in the resulting sprint for the final placing.

Ben Travis (Surf City Cyclery) victorious in the Masters 35+ race

Masters 45+ race

Masters 45+ race

Craig Miller (BBI-SIC), victorious in the Masters 45+ race

Masters 40+ 

signals - was it "I have two teammates up in the break" or something else? Masters 40+

Category 3's

Cat 3 action

Masters 40+

A few results:
Masters 45+: 1st Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling), 2nd Thomas Robles (Team Velosport Club), 3rd Bart Clifford (MRI Endurance Elite Masters)

Masters 50+: 1st Craig Miller, 2nd Andrew King (South Bay Wheelmen), 3rd Frank Schroeder (BBI-SIC Cycling)

Women, Cat 3/4: 1st Amy Firth (South Bay Wheelmen), 2nd Angel Castillo (South Bay Wheelmen), 3rd Riley Ngnyan (unattached)

Women, Cat 1-3: 1st Amy Benner (B4T9 Women's Cycling Team), 2nd Holly Breck (SC Velo/Incycle), 3rd Angelica Frayre (Calimax p/b Pista Palace)

Category 4: 1st Ronnie Toth (Cast a Shadow/Temecula Farmers), 2nd David Miller (Twin Six), 3rd John Lenell (unattached)

Masters 30+ Cat 4/5: 1st Bryan Wierzchucki (SC Velo), 2nd David Miller (Twin Six), 3rd Mike Miranda (unattached)

Masters 40+ Cat 1-4: 1st Brent Garrigus (SPY Giant Ride), 2nd Bill Harris (BBI-SIC Cycling), 3rd James Start (CA Pools/Primal)

Category 3: 1st Jonathan McKenzie (South Bay Wheelmen), 2nd Scott Cohen (LUX Pro Development), 3rd Jose Reyes (SC Velo)

A selection of eighty-seven of the better photos from the Masters 45+ (1-3), Masters 30+ (4/5), Masters 40+ (1-4), Cat 3, Masters 35+ (1-3), and Cat 4/5 races are in this flickr set.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 Seasons in the Sun Update

You may have noticed the banner soliciting sponsors from the top of the page is gone - so the period of searching for sponsors for this year's book is closed. This means that I did reach a minimal level of funding, in not quite the way I was hoping, but so be it.

I am now awaiting the graphic image from a sponsor, before sending the book off to the printer. 

In hindsight, I suppose it was too optimistic to think I could have copies in hand for the first race of the year but, in hand for the second or third still remain possibilities. I will start the process earlier for the 2014 edition of Seasons in the Sun - about mid-way through the year start lining up sponsors - hopefully that will help streamline the process. 

Anyway, thanks to all who have expressed interest. It will not be much longer; until then one example of a completed photo page:


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