Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Blues: Tuck


Oh man, face forward when you are in that tuck at fifty miles per hour. Makes me nervous just looking at them. Benjamin Rathkamp (212) and Jonathan Christensen, both Cat 2s, scream down the Via Verde hill during the second stage road race, San Dimas Stage Race. Four days of SDSR photos now - you can find this one, and others from the road race in the Flickr album.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist. The blues aspect of this one might be a bit tenuous, but Limitless Cycling kit is the required color.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage Three: Fast at the Finish


Like a good book, SDSR always seems to pick up speed and momentum as the weekend progresses toward its ultimate conclusion. Like a good book, there is a sense of satisfaction, when the last page is flipped, the back cover finally closed. You got your money's worth. The best thing about it is that there was more than one story arc to follow - up to twelve individual races each day, each with their own competitions for the role of main character, or to fill one of the slots of chief protagonist in the story. From a spectating standpoint the flow of the overall story does not get any better than that - twelve chances each day, that the plot will take an unexpected turn at any minute for any number of reasons. Suspense is a compelling characteristic, one that can build over time, keep a reader coming back for more. Take the Masters 40+ race as an example; coming into the third and final stage, Velo Pasadena's Rudy Napolitano held a forty-nine second advantage over his nearest rival, Phil Tinstman of Spy Giant Ride. There is almost no way to gain fifty second in a criterium, so the overall champion was pretty much a given. Napolitano could very wall have simply sat in the bunch, and claimed his victory jersey at the end of the day. Instead he went on the attack with Monster Media Racing's Michael Johnson and, what was it, two maybe three laps to go. The pair built a healthy lead, sacrificing any chance should they be caught by the bunch, they put everything into staying away. 

Monster Media had a large group in the race to hamper the efforts of the chasers but even more numerous was the group of racers from Surf City, and with the one and only Charon Smith in their ranks (announced as the worlds fastest Masters category sprinter) you just knew there would be a massive chase. Once around on the penultimate lap, the duo still maintained their lead, though everyone was in full flight now. Two turns into the final lap the gap was even more tenuous. The Yellow Jersey going for a double victory. But could he. Could he out-sprint Johnson, could he hold off Smith and his cohorts. Around the final turn comes Napolitano and Johnson. They are going to do it. But wait, here come the chasers. It is oh so close. Charging to the line it is Napolitano out kicking Johnson for the win, and the chasers nipping at their back wheels. 

It was one race in twelve, and each of the others playing out to similar scenarios, with different players. 


That's experience. Another perfect flying wedge formation from the Masters 50+/55+ racers.


SDSR has continued to grow in significance. While the bulk of racers, especially in the "lower" categories are mostly drawn from the local peloton, others were drawn from across the US, including Oregon, Texas, and even New York. Meanwhile the international flavor on tap shows how significant the race is at its spot on the racing calendar - racers and teams came in from Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, even the Caribbean Champion was here (I cannot confirm, but am pretty sure I heard the names of some European nations as well).

With 212 photos, the Flickr album for stage 3 is finally complete. It includes a selection from the Cat 4, Women Cat 4, Women Cat 3, Masters 50+ / 55+, Masters 35+ / 40+, Cat 3, Cat 2, Women Pro/1/2/3, and Men Pro/1 races.

The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of all the others taken during the day, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know with a race number 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage Two: Inevitable

Yes indeed there is a reason (a good reason) I am starting this post with a photo of an OTR rider. It was, perhaps, inevitable that while running a little behind schedule I should get a pinch flat while riding over to the day's road race venue. The Co2 cartridge I had with me was on its last legs, just enough to allow me to limp over to Puddingstone Drive with about 10psi in my rear tire. Thankfully, the OTR tent was in sight, and they let me borrow their pump, suspicious as I may have looked. As it turned out one of the team I can count among the few (ten, or so) readers here, and that helped my cause. Anyway, thanks again OTR, and congrats on your Cat 4 win today (Earl Reyes).

James Qua (OTR Racing), not Earl Reyes who I did not seem to capture on film today (or maybe I did and just don't recognize him)

Over the years I have discovered there are a few inevitabilities I can expect to encounter at one point or another during any given race. I point these out now, merely for the benefit of the racers, an opportunity to learn from mistakes and change their evil ways, ways that change a good photo into a below average one. The first of these inevitabilities is the dropped head which, of course, results in a nice view of the top of a helmet, but little else:

the helmet of Benny Parks winning the Masters 50+ race

The more complex a race, the more likely it is that there will be the inevitable delay. Racers hate this because they just want to get on with the torture session, but I like this because it creates an opportunity for some nice candid photo ops:

candid being relative, I guess, since I am sure the ladies of Sas Mazda Macogep and DNA Cycling were aware of a telephoto eye pointing their direction

The blocked view is especially troublesome inevitability for rank amateurs such as myself who have become adequately adept at pointing, shooting and hoping for the best. Help us out by keeping out of the way of the important people:

why yes I did want that photo of the Yellow Jersey wearer climbing Heckler Hill

Racers, does it always have to be about you? I mean really, there is other stuff going on, in case you didn't notice. It seems inevitable that some racer will think he is more important than someone on the sidelines:


the Spy Giant Ride cheerleader and head bell ringer was clearly the more interesting character in this instance, but no, the Yellow Jersey wearer just couldn't share the spotlight this once.

Last of all is the head turn. Look I know you are waaay off the back, but why deprive spectators the opportunity to see that for themselves. The inevitable head turn, a cheap attempt to avoid shame, does no good because I've got your number:


Truth be known, what you just read and what appears to be is not accurate in this case - Michael Johnson (and Patrick Bos behind him), were out front of the Masters 35+ / 40+ field and had turned his head to check the gap. Different reason, same problem.

Some results: 

Cat 5 Men, Stage 2:
1st Spencer Rathkamp (H&S Bicycles), 2nd David Jantz (SDBC), 3rd Nick Cohanneyer (SDBC)
Cat 5 Men GC (after 2 stages):
1st Spencer Rathkamp, 2nd Mark Tripp, 3rd Troy Templin (H&S Bicycles)
Cat 4 Women, Stage 2:
1st Tracy Chandler (Machines for Freedom), 2nd Courtney Wiseman (Incycle Racing p/b Full Circle Cycling), 3rd Kora Colassuonno (SWAT)
Cat 4 Women GC:
1st Natalie Tapias (CRCA / City MD Racing), 2nd Courtney Wiseman, 3rd Patricia Murray (SCBC / Emerald Textiles)
Cat 3 Women, Stage 2:
1st Lauren Mulwitz (Sisterhood of Cycling), 2nd Katie Clouse (Cole Sport), 3rd Kate Wymbs
Cat 3 Women GC:
1st Lauren Mulwitz, 2nd Vanessa Snapp (Incycle Racing p/b Full Circle), 3rd Amy Schultz (Spy Giant Ride p/b GQ-6)
Juniors 15-16, Stage 2:
1st Richard Holec (Nutrend Specialized), 2nd Cole Davis (Limitless Cycling), 3rd Eben Horacek (Fox Development Jr. Cycling Team
Juniors 15-16 GC:
1st Richard Holec, 2nd Cole Davis, 3rd Ruben Saatjian (Echelon Santa Barbara)
Juniors 17-18, Stage 2:
1st Christian Husband (SC Velo / Monster Media), 2nd Kyle Thornton (BYRDS), 3rd Max Freeman (Prestige Imports Porche/Audi)
Juniors 17-18 GC:
1st Christian Husband, 2nd Miles Daly (Team Swift), 3rd Leo Yip (Limitless Cycling)
Masters 50+, Stage 2:
1st Benny Parks (Jessup Auto Plaza), 2nd Chris Hahn (Velo Pasadena), 3rd Blake Reed (ArtsCyclery)
Masters 50+ GC:
1st Jeff Konsmo (Hot Wheels Factory Team), 2nd Robert Pasco (Airgas / Safeway Cycling), 3rd Chris Walker (Velo Pasadena)
Masters 55+, Stage 2:
1st Randall Tinney (Spy Giant Ride p/b GQ-6), 2nd Greg Fenton (Sun Coast Velo / UC Cyclery / JW Flooring), 3rd Kalman Szkalak (Sun Coast Velo)
Masters 55+ GC:
1st Greg Fenton, 2nd Richard Mull (Velo Club LaGrange), 3rd Yehuda Packman Packer (CORE)
Men Cat 4, Stage 2:
1st Earl Reyes (OTR Racing), 2nd Austin Stephens (University of Colorado), 3rd Lucas Rowton (Swami's Cycling)
Cat 4 GC:
1st Austin Stephens, 2nd Lucas Rowton, 3rd James Walker (unattached)
Masters 40+, Stage 2:
1st Charon Smith (Surf City Cyclery), 2nd Mike Easter (Monster Media Racing), 3rd Mark Noble ) Velo Pasadena
Masters 40+ GC:
1st Rudy Napolitano (Velo Pasadena), 2nd Philip Tinstman (Spy Giant Ride), 3rd Mark Noble
Women Pro/1/2/3, Stage 2:
1st Lex Albrecht (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Stratagies), 2nd Brianna Walle (Team Optum), 3rd Leah Kirchmann (Team Optum)
Women Pro/1/2/3 GC:
1st Amber Neben (Visit Dallas Cycling), 2nd Brianna Walle, 3rd Allie Dragoo (Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air)


Spencer Rathkamp (H&S Bicycles), Cat 5 Road Race victory, and new Cat 5 GC leader

The Stage 2 Flickr album, with one hundred eighty-seven photos (or something like that) is now finished. It includes all categories from the day, but are less than a third of the total I took.

The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of all the others taken during the day, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know with a race number 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage One: Refund, Refund...

You remember that scene from everyone's favorite cycling movie, Dave had refunded a local college student for a lemon of a car sold by Mr. Stoller. A quick shift of scene to Mr. S lying in bed, delirious and only able to mutter "refund, refund."

Well, as riders returned back down the mountain from their run up Glendora Mountain Road for the opening stage time trial, I could swear I heard a rider repeating that single word like a mantra, a chant. It was not a rehearsal, different tones, different tempos - Refund, reeeefuuund, REFUND! No, it was a simple steady cadence, same tone, same syllabic emphasis - refund… refund… refund… The word was repeated as if from a deep trance, or state of delirium. My guess is, it came from a lower category racer, maybe someone with a little experience with flat criteriums, someone whose friends convinced him that a real road race would be fun. An experience. Someone who now realizes that even lower GMR can chew like a piece of old jerky, tough and hard to swallow. Well, you are in it now, there is no going back, and there are no refunds given for underestimating the endeavor.

-*-

Meet the women of SAS Mazda Macogep p/b Specialized. That is a mouthful of a team name, and I wonder if it is even more so in French. Why French? Well, the team hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada (with a rider, or two, from Calgary to fill out the squad.) When I arrived at the race I had to park as far down along GMR as you could possibly get. It was so far down I could see the edge of the known world from where I sat. Fortunately there was just enough room for one more car between me and the Edge, and out of that car came a man and woman, both of whom were speaking Francaise, and one of whom may have been D.S. Gerard Penarroya (curses for not doing a more thorough job in finding out, but there is always tomorrow). I thought, "they must not be locals" but had a date with the start house and set off up the hill. Later in the afternoon, once I had my fill of time trial antics and had returned to l'auto I noticed a new easy-up between me and the Edge, under-which were the ladies of Sas Mazda etc. cooling down after their race. Cooling down being the optimal image you should take away from all this - if this SoCal native is unprepared for this 90º March, I am not sure how anyone from Montreal could be. Anyway, it is a testament to the dedication of SDSR staff that the race has grown to a point where it attracts, not just individual riders from across the continent, but entire teams. If you don't already have a favorite to root for on Saturday and Sunday, root for the gals in purple and blue.

You might call it 'coaching by example'. Patrick Caro.

It's Nick Humphrey. Did I ever tell you I knew Nick when, as a Jr. High School kid twenty or more years ago, his dad would drag him out to the Saturday morning rides. It all paid off, Doc.

I was, maybe a half mile up the road from the start house, and Greg Goodwine
was just about to catch the rider who started ahead of him. He was flying.

Not sure of the rider, but the team is Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing

Are we having fun yet? The look, right out of the start house, says yes.

Kirsti Lay Giroux (Sas Mazda Macogep p/b Specialized)

Of course the time trial, like stretching, is just a sort of prelude of the good stuff yet to come.
It all continues tomorrow with the stage two road race, in and around Bonelli Park.

Alright then, the Stage One Flickr album contains a selection of 113 photos from the Women's Cat 3 and Cat 4s, Masters 35+ and 40+, Cat 3s, and the Women Pro/1/2s; I'll get more of the categories during tomorrows road race. The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of all the others taken during the day, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know with a race number 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Bud's For You, 25 March


Successful escapes are not uncommon at the weekly Bud's Ride, and tonight added another tally mark in that column. Three riders came into view well ahead of the bunch, the first two, both with Incycle / Cannondale, outdistanced the third just in the last couple hundred meters to double up for 1st and 2nd. When the big group came charging into view (was it even thirty seconds later?) they were led home for 4th by the race-faced rider from Surf City.

A lot of chatter about this weekend's San Dimas Stage Race among the gathered spectators, as well as in the group on the ride home. Race hard.




Hello, and Goodbye

Hello traffic, goodbye tranquility. It will be the only outcome, yet the City of Los Angeles Parks Department seems dead set on putting in motion a plan that will lead to just that - increased traffic, and a lot less serenity, in the city's largest public park, Griffith. 

Interestingly, or not, this is not the first time the same agency has sold out to the automobile. I made mention of this at the CLR Effect's predecessor blog, the Claremont Cyclist. I always had a fondness for the park, having lived outside its boundary in Burbank for a number of years, its twisty, quiet, and crumbly roads were long a retreat from more hectic streets. Then, when my son was younger, I took the family back there for a ride, but promised myself that we would never come back - Riverside Drive and other auto-permitted roads were just to unsettling, dominated by speed crazed and bike lane encroaching idiots. That is a promise I have kept, though I have been back myself, never with the family. Each of those times back have included a required ride up and along Mt. Hollywood Drive, and the iconic Trash Truck Hill, both long closed to motor vehicles. Now the park wants to open these and one of the few paved car-free areas will be lost. Lost to cyclists. Lost to runners. Lost to hikers and walkers. Lost to equestrians. 


There have been some rumors that homeowners fed up with tourist traffic destined for the Hollywood sign are behind this mistaken effort (quite frankly, why anyone would wish to see, close up, a bunch of tall letters on a hillside is beyond my comprehension anyway), but shuttling the problem off to another area is hardly the answer. 

Anyway, if you go to CiclaValley, there is an email you can copy, paste, and send to concerned parties and decision makers. Let them know how wrong-headed the idea is. Apparently there is also a ride tomorrow, and you can check out the information at the Facebook event page. The ride will end up at the meeting where the proposed change will be discussed. Lets get to it, time is running out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The CLR Effect Annual 2015: In Progress


Never too early to get this rolling.

You may notice, right off, the title. No more Seasons in the Sun. Short and to the point has normally been my way, so from here on out I simply call it what it is - the CLR Effect annual. 

There is still a week left to the month of March, and I have covered fifteen races already, with another three to go before the month passes away. That is already a lot of material to sort through, to narrow down, and select. There will be more writing tied to specific races for this year's edition, and maybe some random stuff too, to go along with the photos. Since it is intended as an review of races across the southland, I am going to attempt to work in results as well; that might be difficult, though, what with the 2014 edition at nearly one hundred pages, I am finding it hard to see how 2015 can do anything other than expand even more. That means a higher cost, so...

I am going to give this sponsorship thing a try again, it worked pretty well in 2013 to bring the price down, so why not. You can become a sponsor the the 2015 edition by purchasing an advertisement spot at the back of the book - $50 for a quarter page ad, or $100 for a full page ad. Those amounts are a pittance, right, and just think how many people will see them. If you are a business owner (does not even need to be a bicycle related business), or know someone who is, and might be willing to lighten their wallet, let me know via email so we can talk. The more contributions I receive, the lower the price will be, and in turn, the more people will get one and see those ads. Win - win. 

Don't forget, you can still purchase the 2014 edition online (see the yellow banner at the top of page), and the 2013 edition (at a reduced price) directly from myself.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Blues: Point of No Return

US Cup, Bonelli Park, Saturday 14 March

You know the saying, "it's not if, but when".

I had set up shop at this spot because I wanted to get the long line of the pro men's race flowing across the bridge and along this straight section, the lowest point on the back side of the course. It has potential for some interesting shots, potential that is enhanced (or perhaps exacerbated is a better word) due in part to the red-painted impact head on a riser sticking up right next to the trail. If you are anywhere back from the front of that long line of riders snaking through here, you may not see the thing until right on top of it; carrying a little too much speed may put you off the trail just enough. That is the main reason the 'bail-out' line, around the far side of the sprinkler, is nearly as distinct at the main line trail.

"It's not if, but when." Some riders will get up all furious, cursing and stomping about, maybe looking for a fight. Most though recognize the truth in the saying, accept it and move on. Any stomping, kicking, or rolling around on the ground is just wasted time, time better spent getting back to the chase. That is exactly what the two riders affected here did - quickly picking themselves and their bikes up, and setting off before the dust cloud even had time to settle.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 US Cup Round 2 / Kenda Cup West Round 3 / Fontana City Nationals

Man, I wish something could be done about the name of these races, I still never know what the heck to call them. But that is a story for another time.

What, a quarter mile into the race and the pro women's field is already stretched to a long thin line, and ready to snap. 


A familiar group of protagonists settled in, the tete de la course, and pounded out, sometimes finessed, a relentless pace for the duration of the race - Catharine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Georgia Gould, Chloe Woodruff, Katarina Nash, in that order here.


I have never been to Southridge USA for a race in which they were running what, some riders were affectionately calling "the waterfall", but between the Cat 1 XC races and the Pro Women XC race I got to watch a few racers taking practice runs for the Super D races starting later in the day. The drop and the low launch pads that follow at its base (apparently reserved for the pros only) are going to be entertaining, to say the least...

while warming up on the XC course, Katerina Nash (who would go on to win the XC race, by the way) took a turn onto the Super D course. Now, on any other day she may very well have given it a go but this time, when she got to the lip of the drop, she turned around. Having just witnessed another rider go over the bars during his attempt, I believe her choice was the wiser option.


Some Cat 1 action near the top of the mountain

Oh look, another dude with a camera taking our picture. Ha, ha, ha.
(Actually, I don't know what the joke between Erin Huck and Lea Davison was, but it looked like a good one).

The pro women's Cross Country (XC) race. The heat may not have been as oppressive, but the climbing was longer, steeper, rockier, as was the descent. It is the reason this weekends' US Cup / Kenda Cup West racing carries an hors categorie (above category) rating, a step above the rating of last weekends racing at Bonelli Park, and one reserved for the most difficult or challenging races. (Incidentally, when the US Cup returns to Bonelli in early April, it too will carry the hors categorie rating, the course being altered to add to its complexity.)

That is where the differences, mostly, ended. For the professional women, the primary protagonists remained, largely, the same - Katerina Nash, who would claim the victory today, Georgia Gould, Emily Batty, and Catherine Pendrel. Larissa Connors was a little further back a week on, while Erin Huck, Chloe Woodruff, Lea Davison, and Sandra Walter, a little further up.

For Emily Batty, who as you know won at Bonelli a week ago, it was an almost impossible task to repeat for a second weekend - she was odd woman out in the top four, each of the others racing for the Luna Pro Team. Three against one will not get you good odds anywhere. I wasn't in a place to witness where or when (although I can tell you it didn't occur until the final lap) Nash made her decisive move, I can tell you it was enough to finish ten seconds up, with Gould (2nd), Batty (3rd), Pendrel (4th), all finishing within a single second of one another. I doesn't get much better than that.

The Flickr album contains a selection of 126 photos from the Cat 1, Women Pro, with some Super D practice and random shots thrown in for good measure. The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of the nearly one thousand taken, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know with a race number 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lunch by the River


The San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT) somewhere in El Monte, a little way upstream from Whittier Narrows. The river rarely runs this full, bank to bank, at this point along its course. More often than not if you look across its width here you would see little more than dirt, and rock, a concrete weir desolate in disuse. Not today, though, the cascade over hard lip into pool below creating a roar that drowns out the familiar drone from nearby freeway. The free flow of water carrying with it a flow of life renewed - song birds singing and flitting from branches dressed for a Spring Formal, waterfowl testing webbed feet against a current of new water.

A ride paused, or perhaps planned long ago, awaiting just the right moment. A lunch, the days' newspaper, a little shade, and a little time. Spring Equinox. Refresh. Reset. Renew.

We frequently speak of renewal this time of year. We see it all around - in the plants and animals, clouds of gnats unwelcome, but renewed all the same. But what of ourselves? Our own lives renewed, no rat race, no domineering motors. Just a moment, however long, a moment to relax, reflect, renew.

Whoa. What? Who? Whoa.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

That Bend in the Line

These days of timing chips and finish line cameras it is easy to forget that not so long ago we relied upon simple eyesight to determine the winners of races. We had to put great faith that the person painting a white stripe across the road, or laying down a piece of tape, could do so with unwavering precision, even engineered exactness. The line had to be perfectly perpendicular and arrow straight. The line had to be impartial in application, granting no chance favor to any one rider. The line has always been the one sacrosanct part of any race course.

Often times there is a clear advantage when choosing a line (path of travel) during a sprint finish. Usually that involves seeking any little shelter from a prevailing wind to minimize resistance and maximize speed. Usually, the choice of line has nothing to do with "the line", if you know what I mean. I have taken a few shots of this particular painted line, this single white stripe across eastbound Puddingstone Drive, marking the finish to the weekly Bud's Ride. In none of those other shots did I notice the subtle, yet clear bend to it.

If I ever find myself charging along that quarter mile dragstrip of roadway when it matters, I know where my line will be, I know where it will take me, and I know that all things being equal, my front wheel will break that painted plane a fraction of a second sooner than the rider who took a slightly different line - not because I might be faster, but because I know where, and which way, the line bends.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pinus cycleatus at Bonelli Park


Between the many ducks and other waterfowl, and nitrates being washed in from upstream, the waters of the lake are especially fertile waters. They have been propitious to the growth of this one particular species of tree - Pinus cycleatus, commonly known as the Bicycle Tree, or Bicycle Pine. The species prefers to grow near the water edge, in mostly open areas with little competition from larger species. The ample sunlight and the closeness of nutrient-rich waters means that this tree bears its fruit prolifically; the fruit ripens overnight and are ready to be picked at first light, so you need to be there early. I have passed by on numerous occasions, bikes hanging from the lowest branches, and people patiently waiting for just the right moment to reach up and pull a favored morsel down.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Blues: Another Hit and Run or, the Fall of Brother RJ

o, partly through my coverage of the US Cup racing on Saturday I received a text from brother RJ saying he was in the hospital in Santa Barbara, following some unexpected contact with the pavement during a ride between Ventura and SB. Before going further let me say that his injuries are healable - torn ligaments at the shoulder, acreage of missing skin, and he will be needing a new helmet. 

So what happened? From the information I have gathered it seems that, while riding through Summerland, a driver, seemingly oblivious to brother RJ's presence cut him off in order to pull into a diagonal parking space in front of a liquor store. Naturally, the brother slammed on the brakes in order to not run into the side of the vehicle, sending him over the bars. Though some of the local business owners rushed out, there seems to be some question as to whether the oblivious driver completed a transaction before taking off, or left the scene immediately. In either case, he certainly did not stick around.

So, here is my question - since there was no actual contact between vehicle and rider, is something like this, legally speaking, a hit and run? As we are all well aware, there does not always have to be contact for the actions of a driver to cause a rider to crash, which is what happened here. Maybe, legally speaking, there is another category that something like this falls into - negligent driving resulting in injury, or something along those lines?

I am not sure which is worse, the person who causes a crash through negligence, or the person who does not even possess the decency to stick around and inquire about the injured persons well being. Either is bad enough, both in the same individual - take their license I say. In other words, a license is not an excuse to do what you want without regard to others. Unless I am mistaken (maybe it isn't taught any more, as it once was when taught in high school) driving is still a privilege, one that comes with certain responsibilities.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 US Cup / Kenda Cup West, Bonelli Park Day 2: Meet the Donkey

Gould's Gap is probably a place somewhere but, in this case,
refers to the insurmountable lead of Georgia Gould on the last lap

At the end of the women's Short Track race today, Georgia Gould, turned the tables on yesterday's competition to ride away with the big money win. The Short Track, as its name suggests, is a very abbreviated version of a Cross Country (XC) race - short and very fast. As happens during its lengthier brethren, Short Track fields quickly become fragmented; in fact you can begin so see gaps opening on the very first lap. Flying down the course's one hill on the penultimate lap Katerina Nash held a lead over Ally Stacher, Gould (wearing her US Short Track National Champions Jersey), and Emily Batty, with the remainder of the front runners close in behind. By the time this lead group had shot through the start/finish Georgia had pulled into the front position. When the lead ladies reached the end of the paved section, to begin the climb up and over the hill, it appeared as though Emily Batty had latched on to the leaders' wheels and there was going to be one heck of a final battle. Somewhere out of view, however, Gould must have put in a massive acceleration, because she topped the hill and came flying down the grassy side with a gap that said "this race is mine." And it was. 

So, the Donkey. At the end of the women's race, the Mrs. (Mrs. Wagner) decided to ride the course, as the women (some of them) took a little cool down spin. The Mrs. had her backpack, bigger than a camelback with a plastic bag of recyclables left over from lunch tied on to, it and must have looked very much like a donkey (in character, not appearance) hauling a load of goods to market. Anyway, in passing, one of the women pros (we're not sure who) asked "are you the donkey?" We both got a good laugh out of that one. And now the Mrs. has a new nickname around the house.


another scorcher of a day. a whole lotta water cascading over helmeted heads

Even though there is a whole lot of competition from other races, the US Cup / Kenda Cup West moves on to Fontana next weekend. If you have some freedom Saturday or Sunday check it out, it's a whole lot of fun.

I must say, uploading photos into the Flickr album for Sunday's races was much quicker than anticipated. All the photos that are going to be there, are there; they include the Cat 3 (there aren't many) and the Cat 2 Cross Country (XC) races, as well as the women Pro Short Track photos.

As usual, I took far more photos than are in the album, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for, let me know with a race number 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Kenda Cup West, Bonelli Park: Canadians Came, Canadians Conquered

Every year teams from Canada come down into Southern California for the US Cup / Kenda Cup West races that are held here. Ostensibly, you might be led to believe it is to ride some fitness into their legs, what with winter still clenching their more northern homeland. Every year they put in a strong showing. This year, they transformed a merely strong showing, into a stellar one.

Pendrel, Woodruff, Batty, Gould, Nash, Connors descend before the rock garden on lap two

The women professionals were the second race on tap today, Category 1's having run the course first thing in the morning. It didn't take long for a select group to form ahead of the rest of the field. I found myself a comfy (NOT) spot in the rock garden and waited for their arrival. The television helicopter overhead gave good warning of their approach, and as they came into view around an off-camber turn it was defending champion, Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), leading through. Following, in rapid procession, was Nash's teammate (and World Champion) Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team), Chloe Woodruff (Stans Notubes - Niner), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), Mahalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team), Larissa Connors (RideBiker Alliance), and Andrea Waldis (Luna Pro Team).

 A lap later it was Pendrel out front, with Woodruff, Batty, Gould, Nash, and Connors hot after Catharine's charging wheels. At this early point in the race everyone outside this front group of riders were quickly being ridden out of contention - the demanding course, and relentless pace exacting a heavy toll. Keep in mind, the remainder of the field was in no way composed of slackers and race fodder; it contained such accomplished racers as National Champion Lea Davison, Erin Huck, last years' revelation Evelyn Dong, Caroline Mani, Teal Stetson-Lee, Lesley Paterson, and many more - some sixty-five racers total.

The next time through, the lead group had refined itself even further, now numbering four - Pendrel, Batty, Gould, and Connors. Nash and Woodruff were in hot pursuit, but the gap to the lead four was telling. The fourth lap saw the same quartet out front with no one showing weakness, nor giving ground. The fifth time through the rock garden, though, cracks were beginning to show; Pendrel, Batty, and Gould were all tightly packed, but a slight, if clear, gap had opened to Connors. With her perpetual smile still gracing her face you couldn't tell, but her top three chances were slipping beyond reach. Still riding strongly in pursuit came, first Woodruff, and then Nash, both riding solo at this time. Among the rest of the racers, Paterson, Huck, Dong, Davison, and Sandra Walter (Liv-Giant CoFactory Team) in that order, were closest to the leaders.

It was on the final lap, as expected, that the decisive move was made. That move was made by Batty, who charged down through the rock garden and over the bridges with, perhaps, a few seconds gap over Pendrel. Likewise, Pendrel had pulled clear of Gould who, in her turn, was further ahead of Connors. And that is how they finished - with some considerable climbing yet to do, I was able to make my way around the hills to the finish in time to see them come in. Each woman had been able to extend their lead over their nearest chaser, and each of those gaps was surprisingly quite equal. Final tally - Canada 1st and 2nd. USA 3rd (good to see Georgia Gould racing so strongly so early in the year).

the four leaders (Pendrel, Batty, Gould, Connors) have just topped this hill; now you see what i mean when i say the perpetual smile of Connors.

As you know I go to a lot of these races and believe we have some strong local talent. But it is always a humbling experience to witness the exceptional riding when the international-calibre racers come into the southland. Special thanks to Catharine Pendrel for the smile as I snapped a final photo then applauded her effort as she came into the finish. It made my day; I'm easy that way.

Alright then, a lot of photos to go through this evening. The only report from today will be the one above, for the women, but there will be photos from the Cat 1s and some pro men as well. See you again out there tomorrow.


i could lighten this one up, but quite frankly i thing the shadowing highlights the intensity and focus. Erik Kristiansen on his way to 4th place, Cat 1 Men (25-29)


Yet another win for this man. Tinker Juarez in the Cat 1 Men (50-54)
finishing about two and a half minutes up on second placed Johnny O'Mara

So here is the link to the Flickr album. All the photos that are going to be in the album are there - 136 of them in this case. As usual, I took something like six times as many photos so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for, let me know with a race number and I will see what I can find. 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.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.

2015 Kenda Cup West, Bonelli Park

My little spot in the shade. More to come...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This Bud's For You, 11 March

Since today was the first Bud's Ride of the year, it would have been cool to say something like (especially given the colors in the sky) "and so the sun rises on another season of the Bud's Ride," but since the view is to the west that doesn't quite work. Of course saying "and so the sun sets on another Bud's Ride  season" isn't any better. So just accept the color for what it is, and realize that tonight was the first of many in a long season.

On with the show. A trio of riders came into view, charging toward the line as if they were going for the podium. There was no one else in view, all the way back along Puddingstone, so was that it? Did everyone else miss the memo about the first night? More than a minute passed, and I was just about to ask someone if there was any more to the group, when the big bunch finally came into view. As they came closer, another massive sprint blew everything apart. Did they not know all three steps of the podium were filled? Were those first three just pretenders to this weeks Bud's crown? 

I never did find out so, which ever of you hit that line first, this first Bud's of the year is for you.




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