Sunday, November 30, 2008

Soda Springs

It was a beatiful morning here in the Bay Area today and I got in one of the best climbs around, Soda Springs. The climb is 2400 feet in about 5.6 miles. According to ACTC Billy Goat list its the 7th longest climb of 145 they list and the shortest in miles at 5.6. The next one in the list is Bohlman on Orbit with 2337 feet of climbing in 4.75 miles. I consider this one of the best climbs around as their is no traffic, the views are great and the gradient is perfect. According to the Unofficial Stanford Cycling Page the climb averages 8% over the 5.3 miles. While it never felt that tough today, we were not pushing it that hard. This is one of the only climbs in the bay area that lasts for over 5 miles without any flat sections. The descent is pretty hairy and it seems to take forever to drop to the bottom. Do yourself a favor and hit this bay area sleeper when you get a chance. I only wish it was not so far away. Its kind of a pain riding on Los Gatos Creek trail to get to the base, but its definitely worth it. I plan on hitting Montevina next. The insane 11 goat day of 06 where Jason and I did Soda Springs, Wrights Station, Stetson/Skyland,Mt Bache, SJ-Soquel, Rodeo Gulch, Granite Creek, Mtn Charlie, Redwood Estates, Bear Creek, Black Road, Montevina still burns in my mind. 15,000 feet of climbing in 107 miles. It has never been done before I bet by anybody sane. I might need to do a day like this to prepare for RAO.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Race Across America DVD's 1982-1986

Once upon a time, the Race Across America was worthy of a two hour special on Wide World of Sports every year from 1982-1986. The RAAM organization has put the original ABC Wide World of Sports docudramas of the Great American Bike Race, the precursor of RAAM in 1982 and the RAAM events of 1983-1986 on DVD. For $29.99 for 7 1/2 hours of RAAM coverage, you can't find any better deal available for the endurance junkies in your life.

1985---> Jonathan "Jock" Boyer the first American rider of the Tour de France decided to take on the ultracyclists and embarrass them. Michael Secrest takes the place of the traditional ultracyclist in this battle. The footage of him in his small apartment in Phoenix playing opera music riding like a monk showed his focus and intensity. During the entire show, Jim Lampley describes the action with the soundtrack to the film Halloween in the background which builds tension to the race between Boyer and Secrest. Pete Penseyres, winner of 1984 RAAM, was saddled up in a support vehicle in 1985 working as crew chief for his brother Jim, a single leg amputee from Vietnam. Lon Haldeman was a non-factor in this years race. Michael Shermer is shown in 3rd place fighting the arrogance of Boyer as he moved East. Boyer is shown marveling how outrageous it was the Secrest was sleeping on the ground! "Were not cavemen..this is America" Boyer says as he rides down the road. The battle between Secrest and Boyer is dramatized with amazing skill and Lampley is fantastic as usual describing the epic battle as they rode between the back corridors of Arkansas. ABC won an emmy for this work and it is not surprising as they did a great job in dramatizing the race between the two road warriors. "If you have enough willpower.. and you want something bad enough.. you can get your body to do anything...." Jonathan Boyer. Boyer turned into an ultramarathon cyclist, pushing caution to the wind when he realized he had no choice but to push all day and night without stopping in order to beat Secrest. The 1985 RAAM had the fiercest competition and drama of all 5 years in the series.

The inaugural Great American Bike Race in 1982 is the second best of the documentaries. Lon Haldeman took off and never looked back so their was really no exciting race to watch. However, we get to witness the classic race between Michael Shermer, Lon Haldeman, John Marino, and John Howard which is done with great style and poignancy by Jim Lampley and Diana Nyad.

In the 1983 edition they changed the name to Race Across America. Lon Haldeman was still untouchable and ran away from the beginning.

There is no better ultra endurance athlete documentaries around. If somebody would release the 1980's Western States 100 Wide World of Sports DVD's that might possibly compare with this.

New Record for local time Trial 29:20

I have this little 10.7 mile loop that I do to test myself in my little pathetic race of truth. Sadly nobody else knows about my course so its only me that gets to break the records. I beat my old best time by 20 seconds today coming in a tad faster than 22 MPH. Considering that I used my fancy new Cervelo bike and I only pulled 20 seconds off the old record, thats pretty sad. However I did not feel I pushed that hard today and I fought a slight wind up to Foothill that slowed me down. I think I can pull at least 2 minutes off of this time once I get the hang of riding in the aero position. I really suffered on my Time bike when I set the old best so all I can say is that today was not bad.

I also got in a little ride yesterday up Kings Mountain, down 84 and up West Alpine. I got passed 3 times by solid looking older riders. Not that I think I am a bad ass and should not be passed, but it was surprising to be passed by 3 different older guys. The hardcores came out the day after thanksgiving as it the hills were socked in fog and you could barely see. I want to take on the Devil Mountain Double again in 09 and I think having this goal will force me to tackle hills this winter and not become a slovenly bum. I did this ride in 06 and suffered alot taking 18 hours or so. I would like to see if I can challenge Jason's record, but his time was pretty good.

I am having second thoughts about this Triathlon stuff, as I cant get my ass in the pool for one thing. I hate the Tri Culture from what little I know of it or can stereotype watching them on TV in their lame looking outfits. It is still on my list, however. If I had to rank what I really want to do in 09, its Race Across Oregon, Hoodoo Voyager, and then Devil Mountain Double. Right now, the Tri is lower on the list. However, I am going to continue running and riding the Aero bike. Even without Triathalon, the Aero bike is a blast to ride and I really am glad I got one.

I have the Woodside 50k next Saturday and am looking forward to it. I would like to pull out a sleeper solid performance, but I dont expect it based on my recent running experience. I have not had a good run in quite a while, yet I keep on hoping to turn the corner. Biking comes a lot easier to me than running. Ultrarunning is something I suck at so far. I have yet to crack the middle of the pack on any of my runs. I feel worse after a 25 mile run than many 200 mile rides.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bike Updates

My Scott CR1 is toast. It was making terrible creaking noises on my last ride to the coast and by the time I got back to Palo Alto the crank was banging against the frame. Turns out the Bottom Bracket Shell has come apart from the carbon bottom bracket area. This should be a warranty job as it has happened to many people it turns out after a quick internet check. I need to work hard to get an Addict R1 and not some cheaper job as they will probably try to stick me with one of their lower end bikes. Right now the bike is in the shop being taken apart and hopefully replaced quickly.

I also picked up a Cervelo P2C a couple of weeks ago and am getting used to riding it. Based on my local time trials, this bike is way faster than my road bikes and I beat one of my old benchmarks by more than 2 minutes. The question will be how it feels to ride for longer rides as I have not taken it out on a long ride yet.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Arastradero Park into Los Trancos Trail

Arastradero & Los Trancos Trail

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging

Finally ran a bit of the Los Trancos Trail that starts inside Palo Alto Hills Park. Seems like a great trail. I need to take the time to take this trail up into Los Trancos Reserve and Montebello Reserve.

I like the EveryTrail service. They just came out with an iPhone app that allows you to GPS tag your trip as well as geotag photos and hit a button and upload it to the Everytrail site. This is pretty cool. The only issue is that I cant imagine taking the iPhone on trail runs or bike rides for fear of messing it up. Check out the app: EveryTrail Iphone App