Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Manhattan Beach Grand Prix

I never do well at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix so I usually ask myself on Sunday morning why I go. Breaks rarely succeed and blood is often spilled in the frantic final laps as everyone wants to be up front for the last 180-degree sweeping turn. Not my cup of tea generally.

Yet I think part of my compulsive obsession with bike racing is because it's pretty much the only aspect of my life where I take risks. I drive like an old lady, I invest in bonds and blue chips, and I garden. Sheesh! So while my rational mind asks "Why go to MBGP?", my inner adrenaline junkie fondly remembers surviving all the close calls and near calamities, ...and it craves more!

So I take another hit.

Or two, as it were, since yesterday I did both the 45+ and the Pro/1 race.

45+ Race
70-80 starters with most of the fastest SoCal guys, but conspicuously missing Thurlow Rogers as he's off to Kentucky for Masters Nationals. (BTW, the TT was earlier today and Thurlow won the 45+ with bro' Druber 2nd and Metcalfe 3rd case you were wondering.) Anyway, not wanting to burn up my legs before the afternoon race and feeling a little tentative about my knee, I planned to ride conservatively. If by chance a break got a good gap, I'd try to scoot across; otherwise, just enjoy the speed and cornering. As it turned out, nothing went and Amgen/Giant skillfully controlled things to keep the field together. I only made two efforts the entire race... once when a $150 cash prime was announced and I saw Roger Worthington on my wheel, I figured he might have a chance to get it so I buried myself for most of the front side and a ways on the backstretch. Then he went but was quickly swarmed and I think Rich Meeker got it. Then on bell lap, when it was clearly going to be a bunch finish, I just went to the front and pulled hard with a silly notion of trying to keep it safe. Crashes don't happen when the group is single file. But soon I sputtered out and the big bunch-up happened anyway, until Strickie punched it with Meeker on his wheel and they took 2nd and 1st. And here's a blurry photo of a paper print of a photo from the finish-line camera...

Pro/1 Race
As we staged for this NRC speed-fest, Cookie asked me, "Who's the Echelon dude in the back?", to which I responded, "Oh, he's just some old Polish guy who enters these races and then gets dropped within the first few laps ...not sure why he does it." But then I started thinking, when you get right down to it I'm really no different than ol' Wieslaw Koscielewski (the Polish guy). I mean, I've got no chance either, and really I'm just doing the race for the thrill of it, and hoping not to get dropped. Should I really be here?? Hmmm...

...and then the rope falls and we all scramble from the staging area to the line, and the adrenaline rises immediately. The call-ups: Fast Freddie Rodriguez, Rahsaan Bahati, Tony Cruz, Kyle Gritters, Brad Huff,...

So I decide, Hell yes I should be here!! What a rush to race with the best riders in the US, a privilege really. Only an idiot would pass up such an opportunity.

And so I enjoyed almost every minute of it. I got a good start and spent the first five to ten laps near the front of the field, sticking on my wheel, jumping hard out of the corners, and exploiting any bunching to move up. Plus, lots of little bumps and tight squeezes to feed the adrenaline junkie.

Health Net - (c) Ken Conley
Following a real bike racer. Photo by Ken Conley

But then I started getting lazy and drifted back, where the surges began to bite more deeply into my quads. I wasn't exactly the tail-gunner, but I probably gave him a nice draft. Up in the distance I could just make out Daniel Ramsey riding off the front with various and sundry partners. I heard later that when he was caught once, he immediately went again. Wow! Then none-too-soon for me, Ralph announced 5-laps-to-go, so I re-focused and started to move up.

Of course I wasn't the only back-of-the-packer with this brilliant plan, so it got quite hectic in the corners and everyone shot for the gaps at the slightest slowing up front. Then with 1.5 laps to go, the turn at the far end of the course proved too much and a bunch of riders got tangled. A guy fell in front of me and I skidded to a stop. Nice... from 30 mph to zero ...going into bell lap in a NRC crit ...adrenaline meter pegged. So on bell lap I sat near the back on Ramsey's wheel, foolishly hoping that he might try to move all the way back up along side the line (he's one of the few who could pull that off) but he threw in the towel.

Chaos reigned at the front as the leaders went through the final 180. Check out this great picture sequence from Cleave Law:

Jelly Belly rider first in the corner, leans way over and slides out on the paint.
Copyright © Cleaveran O. Law

Fast Freddie plows into his front wheel.
Copyright © Cleaveran O. Law

...and does a complete flip!
Copyright © Cleaveran O. Law

The entire crash sequence can be seen here. Cookie was sitting pretty for a top-25 result when he got derailed by the second crash in the sequence. By the time I came through the corner, 50 riders back, Freddie was up and yelling at the stunned Jelly Belly guy. Adrenaline rush indeed.

The real story of course is that Rahsaan Bahati made it past the downed riders and went on to win for the second year in a row. I'll bet he gets a rush from Manhattan Beach!
Rahsaan Bahati Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Bahati wins again. Photo by Ken Conley

When I get a chance to filter them and do some editing, I'll put up a few pictures from other races. A bunch from the cat-4's plus a few from the 35+ and some of the Women pros.

Training Week -- 6/23 - 6/29

Some good higher tempo rides. Knee is feeling better.

Mon: 1 hr; low gear up OSM
Tue: 3 hr; Around Goleta then Gaviota & back
Wed: 1 hr; Around Goleta
Thu: 4.5 hr; Carp then 8:00 roco ride
Fri: 1 hr; Bike path & UCSB
Sat: 3.5 hr; First Casitas hill and back
Sun: 2 hr; Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, 45+ & Pro/1, pack finishes

Total: 16 hrs

Friday, June 27, 2008

Some Gardening Successes

Years ago, I scoffed at most of the so-called organic gardening techniques that I'd hear about. Companion planting, beneficial bugs, manure tea, blah, blah, blah.

"Sure", I'd think, "maybe in some granola-eater's pristine garden, but not here. No, my yard is a Mad-Max-Beyond-The-Thunderdome apocalyptic jungle with freako mutant bugs and nuclear-hardened weeds" ...or so I thought. I'd use the occasional heavy weaponry such as malathion and RoundUp for my bug and weed battles.

I was an idiot.

But now I'm enlightened.

Let me share with you a few successes so far this year.

You know those dainty white butterflies that flutter around your yard? Well, don't be fooled by their peaceful pretenses, because in reality they're searching for drop zones behind enemy lines where they'll insert time bombs which will hatch into little green eating machines, more commonly known as caterpillars. Left unchecked, each of those slinking little beasts will eat a whole salad's worth of my lettuce.

But look closely at the picture (taken from my kitchen window a week or so ago). Most mornings I'd see that little bird hopping around in our lettuce box, and more often than not he'd find his breakfast in there. Catching and eating a caterpillar hero! Way better than using chemicals.

Sadly, this particular bird hasn't been coming around the last few days and I think it's probably because he himself became breakfast for our cat. Oh well, circle of life and all that. Maybe I should train the cat to catch the butterflies instead.

...which reminds me of Mr. Cohen, my favorite teacher in high school, who vehemently objected to the word "butterfly" and said that instead it should be "flutter-by" because, ...well, I suppose it's obvious. Strange that I can't remember anything he taught me--chain rule, law of sines, continuous functions and such--but yet he inspired me to pursue Math in college, for which I'm extremely grateful.

Not all natural garden remedies are as obvious as a bird catching a caterpillar. For instance, I've tried to grow broccoli and brussel sprouts for a few years now, but never had a crop free from aphids. I tried soap sprays, oil sprays, and regular water blasts from the hose. Still, sooner or later I'd get an infestation. Washing the spears and sprouts before cooking helped a bit, but I think we'd still be eating an aphid or two. Not very appetizing really, especially to children already a tad distrustful of vegetables. So this year I tried something new. Marigolds are fragrant and attractive to lots of predator bugs so I planted a long row of them next to the broccoli and brussel sprouts...

...and guess what, No aphids! It really worked. I don't know whether the aphids were repelled by the scent or they were controlled by some unseen predator attracted by the flowers. I don't really care. From now on I'll incorporate flowers into all the vegetable planting I do. Plus, Gina likes more colors in the yard than green.

The third garden success I'll describe in this little blog episode was the most interesting to me. I have a young Nectarine tree and it's been pleasantly productive so far in its brief life. Nothing tastes like summer from the garden so much as a juicy sweet peach or nectarine.

But after its initial burst of growth in the springtime, this particular tree came under siege from some unknown enemy. All the new young growth would whither and die within a few days. The mature leaves were unscathed so I wasn't worried about the tree's survival, but I was concerned about its ability to produce enough energy to ripen the fruit. The picture shows the most obvious symptom of the problem, a clear sticky substance oozing from the damaged areas.

So finally I pulled out a magnifying glass for a recce mission, and sure enough, I discovered tiny little critters scurrying about. I didn't know what they were up to but I knew they didn't belong. I also was concerned about the steady parade of ants crawling up the tree and feasting on the sticky ooze. So, following the expert advice from the good folks at Island Seed & Feed, I applied some TangleFoot to the tree trunk as an ant blockade, figuring perhaps the ants were serving as mercenaries for the tiny nectarine-leaf-eating bugs.

The TangleFoot worked perfectly, turning back the ants like Russian boats in a naval blockade of Cuba. (Probably a lame analogy, but it's not like any Cold War History PhDs might stumble on my blog anyway...)

And best of all, the cavalry arrived a few days later!

...and soon the new growth appeared again.

I can't wait 'til the fruit ripens!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot Racing

...all around CA this past weekend.

I didn't go to any, but was instead given the assignment of gathering the Platinum road team's results and writing a report. I'm a bit out of practice writing reports for general consumption (i.e., with no distasteful, non-PC jokes and with good grammar and stuff). Here's what I came up with...

Three Platinum road riders showed their grit this weekend in two rough-and-tumble grand-prix races in the LA area. While many road racers in Southern California have burnt out by June, Platinum is still going strong and posting impressive results.

On Saturday, Chester Gillmore, Seth Zaleski, and Brian Cook raced at the La Mirada Grand Prix where temperatures on the pavement topped 100 degrees. The two-mile rectangular course had one up-hill leg to test the riders' fitness and a fast final corner to test their bravery. Chester survived a big pile-up in the cat-4 race and placed 7th, continuing his string of top-10 finishes. You won't find a rider with more heart and raw enthusiasm than Chester and now that he's figured out how to focus his energy, he won't be long for the cat-4 world.

Seth rode aggressively in his first-ever cat 3 event. Not one to be intimidated by the faster riders, he attempted to break free from the pack but the stifling heat made it difficult to keep a high pace alone. In the end Seth recovered and finished 14th.

Brian rode the P/1/2 event that featured some of SoCal's best professional riders. An early break with a couple of Rock Racing guys looked threatening but they melted in the heat and were eventually caught. Soon another group of three escaped including Santa Barbara's Chris Walker. Brian rode intelligently in the heat and finished 7th, right in the midst of SoCal's top field sprinters.

Sunday's race, the San Pedro Grand Prix, was on the waterfront and a much more pleasant 80 degrees. This course had some sharp technical turns to test the riders skills, and appropriately it served as the Elite criterium championship for Southern California.

Chester took a couple more steps up the ladder and finished 4th.

Seth was feeling good in the ultra-competitive Cat-3 field and was ready to attack in the closing laps when he got caught up in a huge crash that split the field. Fortunately he wasn't hurt and after untangling his bike from the pile-up, he continued on and finished in the middle of the group.

Brian demonstrated the wisdom that comes with age and decided to skip the San Pedro race, which proved wise because the final lap of the P/1/2 event had two catastrophic crashes, including one that took down Santa Barbara's Cody O'Reilly.

Is that ok? Or does it put you to sleep?

Tune into the C-Ranch blog to see how those guys did. All I've heard so far is that Brett H. got caught in the cat-4 crash and burned off some more skin. He's one tough cookie though because he hopped up off the stove-hot pavement and continued on to finish. Stud!


Throwing this on the heap because it featured SB native son Adam Duvendeck. Keirin final at the American Velodrome Challenge up in San Jose. Wild racing, eh?!


And in case you missed it, read Dave Lettieri's post on local street sprints over at C-Ranch central.

And here's Dave (on the left) in a tight battle.

Let's see: international crit star, Olympic track cyclist, MTB, BMX, and now street sprints... What's next, maybe a bit of CX this winter?


Billed as the coolest race in America, the Tour de Nez wrapped up this weekend, and lo and behold, SB's resident big-timer Aaron Olson won the gc. That's what two solid months of stage racing will do for you. I'm probably leaving out a grand tour or three, but since April, AO has done Tour of Georgia, Tour of the Gila, Mt. Hood Classic, Philly Week, Nature Valley Grand Prix, and now Nez! I'd say he's earned a SB summer vacation!!

Here's a pic I lifted from Lyne Lamoureux, author of one of the very best blogs covering US domestic bike racing, Podium in Sight. Check it out!


This was said about one of my teammate's father-in-law:

He is one sick old piece of jerky! He rides a rigid singlespeed, and is the holder of some really ugly climbing records down in SoCal. He really has logged million plus feet of climbing years. He's a grandfather, and he's the only person in this, or probably any other contest, who sent a picture in of himself on his bike, with a broken neck.

...and now he wants to do some sicko brutal MTB event called the Hell Ride, but he needs your help to get in, so...

Rock the Vote!!!


Finally, a bit of accidental paparazzi for ya... I did the Sunday Worlds ride yesterday, and wanted to try out my new pocket camera. (My previous one had an untimely demise when Gina slammed it to the ground, accidentally she says, when she saw me with my arm around a bikini-clad silicon beauty in front of a surf shop in Dana Point.) So anyway, I brought my camera to the ride and snapped a couple pics of riders climbing up Bates Rd. and I caught this rider from the All Star Green Giants team:

I knew who he was when I rode up along side and chatted with him, but I asked him his name anyway. "Mark-Paul Gosselaar", he responded, seeming a bit surprised that I wouldn't know. Hey, I've never seen an episode of "Saved By the Bell" in my life! I'm sure he's heard a lot of snickering as a former teen-idol actor turned bike racer, but results don't lie and this guy's moved up the ranks to a cat 2 thanks to bravery and a speedy sprint.

On this day, Mark-Paul couldn't beat the always tough Cory Welles...

...but he easily bested "Pop-guns" Gary D'Velo:

...and a recently un-retired Genghis Hahn!

Ciao y'all!

Training Week -- 6/16 - 6/22

Continuing knee trouble. Tried to always ride a cog or two lower than normal.

Mon: 0
Tue: 1 hr; Tempo toward SB and back
Wed: 0
Thu: 2 hr; MTB in the morning; OSM at lunch
Fri: 0
Sat: 5.5 hr; Meandering route to and from Casitas
Sun: 3.5 hr; Worlds

Total: 12 hrs

- 7 weeks until elite nationals. I think that's adequate time to mend my knee problem and still regain enough fitness to not embarrass myself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I have a theorem and it goes like this: For each day that you ride your bike, you add a half day onto your lifespan. For each day you don't ride, but instead spend 8+ hours in front of a monitor, you subtract two days from your life. That's one for the day spent on the computer, plus an additional one. Don't argue with me about this!

(I have an elegant proof, but...
the margin is too small to contain it.

The point is, the number of days you have remaining in your life is a non-linear function of how you spend each and every day.

Training Week -- 6/9 - 6/15

Severely impacted by work.

Mon: 0.5 hr; recovery on trainer
Tue: 0
Wed: 2.0 hr; OSM-Painted Cave-Stagecoach
Thu: 1.5 hr; OSM (15:00 at max effort)
Fri: ? -- can't remember, which probably means 0
Sat: 5.5 hr; Casitas loop + extra before and after
Sun: 0

Total: 9.5 hrs

- Pretty sharp knee pain during and after the Saturday ride. Probably a bad combination of sitting at the computer for long stretches, followed by a long ride with climbing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh Matt!!

I debated with myself about posting the video below because it might hurt somebody's feelings. That debate lasted about 0.1 seconds.

Matt's a great guy, but this deserves to be seen...

The Nature Valley GP shows a tiny clip of Matt's 2005 crash in its promotional video, but seeing it in its full glory is much better, don't you think? Even Bob Roll was chuckling! (Since nobody got hurt, it's ok to laugh a bit...)

Let's hope nothing like that happens to the SB locals (Aaron Olson and Mark Shimahara) doing this year's NVGP!

Also, if you want to check out today's action, look for the local Minneapolis TV station's live Webcast. Women race at 4:45 PST and the men go off at 5:45 PST.

[add/edit] Well, a day later and I've had second thoughts about posting Matt's crash, I mean, it was probably a bit traumatic and it had an impact on the race since gc leader John Lieswyn (sp.?) lost time and was passed up by Shawn Milne (who took the gc lead temporarily). So on the group ride this morning, I asked Matt's good friends Zach and Ben if they thought he minded the crash incident being resurrected, and both responded with a definitive "No". And then I asked Matt. Clearly he doesn't find it as entertaining, even in retrospect, as I do, but he's a self-confident enough guy to not hide from it. Besides, you have to respect a guy who goes after it as aggressively as he does. Also, in the end Lieswyn took back gc.

Did you know that all the protagonists mentioned above have a somewhat local connection? Matt lives here of course. Milne has spent a couple winter months training in SB with his friend Tim Johnson. And Lieswyn was in the area a few years back when his wife worked at a veterinary clinic in Ventura. So you see, the whole incident is kind of SB-relevant anyway!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Psychology and Your Physical Limits

That blog title is too lofty for what will be a rather brief post, but it's what popped into my head just now, so deal with it...

Heretofore, our Thursday lunchtime ride has been a mass-start jaunt up Old San Marcos Rd. in Goleta. Anywhere from 5 to 20 riders show up, mostly guys, and ranging in age from early 20's to upper 50's. Riders have come and gone over the years but the core group remains.

By the numbers Old San Marcos (or OSM for short) gains about 1,200 feet of elevation in just under 3 miles of perfect pavement. On a clear day the climb rewards you with a panoramic view of the city below and the ocean beyond. It's a big part of why I live here.

But this particular group ride on Thursdays is not about enjoying the view. No, it's a hard training ride and it's about pain. Pure and simple. Out-of-the-saddle, quad-ripping, knee-popping, lung-burning pain. Some weeks you feel good and you find the motivation to push at your limits. Other weeks, you struggle just to move forward. I think most of us can push ourselves harder in the company of others, which is what makes this ride so useful in my opinion. I do a lot of solo climbing, but rarely do I go as hard as on Thursdays at lunchtime.

And now Seth Z. has come along an proposed something new for a once-a-month Thursday ride. Oh, it'll still be on OSM of course, but instead of all starting together like we've always done, we'll stagger our starting times based on our Personal Bests, or Personal Record times. If rider A's PR is 17:00 and rider B's best is a 16:45, then rider A will start :15 in front of B. That way, in theory, if everyone rode exactly their PR, all riders would finish together at the top. Get it?

Today was the first edition of this new format, and guess what... a handful of guys got new PRs! Very cool.

Truth be told, not all of us used PRs for our starting positions. Some guys are about a decade past their PRs, so it wouldn't make sense to use those times. We all kind of used a recent-history PR, where recent history could be a week, a month, or whatever. Perhaps from here on we'll use our time from the prior month. It's up to head-honcho Seth who, by the way, is maintaining a web site for this monthly event. Check out Seth's OSM TT page and if you're a SB local, come on out ...the more, the merrier, the pain!

So, about psychology and your physical limits... Do you agree that you can push yourself harder in the company of others? As in, could you set a faster time (assuming no drafting, etc.)? And further, in Seth's new format, would you ride harder chasing somebody just ahead, or is the fear of being caught from behind a greater motivator? Did a caveman run faster to escape a pursuing tiger or to catch a fleeing gazelle?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Still Learning

I'm not so arrogant to claim I've figured out this Mountain Biking stuff, but I do feel like I'm learning more and more every week. That's a big part of what's keeping it fun. Plus, I know there's a long way to go and my ability to improve is not limited by physiological constraints like it is on the road.

More differences I've learned between the dirt and the road:

Bike technology: Oh My God, so complicated and so many choices! I'm still discovering new knobs and dials on my bike's suspension devices, and like an idiot, I can't help but turn them or press them to see what happens. I let all the air out of my rear shock, and then discovered that a cheapo K-Mart schraeder-valve floor pump is not adequate to re-inflate it. Who knew they make special pumps for inflating shock absorbers? Sag, rebound, inertial valves, hydraulic brakes, tubeless tires,... Sheesh! On the road, you get a sub-17-lb bike, 39x53 and 12x25, put 110 psi in your high-thread-count tires, and you're good-to-go for most anything. Simplicity.

Tire pressure: For yesterday's Elings Park race, I figured that higher pressure would be good because I knew my only chance at winning would be to get a big lead on the climbs, one of which was paved. Tire sidewall says min. pressure 35 psi and max of 65 psi, so I went for 50 psi right in the middle. Standing on the start line, good ol' Steve Boelter feels my tires and then proceeds to let half the air out. What the...!!! Can you imagine somebody doing that at the start of a RR or crit!?! A brawl would ensue for sure. But Steve was right, and as I learned later, lower pressure even helps keep better traction on the climbs.

Steering: This most-basic of skills is proving really difficult for me. On the road, you turn by leaning and counter-steering. It's instinctual and natural, and the tires grip the road even when you're leaned way over. In the dirt, you turn by actually steering the front wheel in the direction you want to go! It feels wrong, but I know it's right. Yesterday, I tried to follow both Blinger and Dave L. when they passed me on some twisty single track and I simply couldn't steer the bike and stay on the trail at the speed they were going.

Stress: This really gets to the heart of the difference, at least to me. In the MTB races, my stress level sky-rockets on the twisty descents. Even with nobody around to interfere with my lines or speed. Terror might be a bit too strong a word, but it's close. The true mountain bikers, on the other hand, claim to find some zen-like peace with the descents, even while skittering around the corners on the edge of disaster. But pack those same guys into a 100-man crit field and send them at 30 mph around the final corner at Manhattan Beach, and they would freak out. Not saying I'm completely comfortable in that situation either, but the fluidity and predictability of the field is much less scary. In mountain biking, it's all you. On the road, it takes a village.

...but I digress.

Elings Park MTB, 45-49 Sport
The course was some configuration of the green squiggly lines in the map at the right, for three laps of six miles each. Forty years ago, this was Santa Barbara's garbage-dump landfill, and now it's the primary multi-sport park in town. Pretty cool, but don't drink the ground water.

Our group had about 15 guys, including teammates TnA and Boltero, and re-energized former-roadie Genghis Hahn. Our main competition was a couple strong guys from the Sho-Air Team, including their leader Scott Tedro. I was quite sure that he and the rest of the field could ride away from me on the technical stuff, so my plan was very simple: drill it as hard as possible up the climbs, and not crash on the downhills. I also wanted to pass as many people as possible from the earlier waves, converting them into obstacles for the chasers. Thank goodness the race started with a 200 foot fire-road climb which got me the initial separation my plan required and even allowed me to pass a few prior-wave stragglers. The downhill gave me a new appreciation for why it's bad to skid around the turns... in just the two days since I last rode at Elings, the corners had gotten really soft and sandy and I'm told it's because of all the riders skidding. Riding in the soft stuff was a new experience, and my front wheel didn't want to go where I wanted it to go. This caused me two low-speed (fortunately) crashes, and added even more caution to my already old-lady-like descending technique. Still, nobody ever caught me and I was able to hold on for a win. Richard Kim and Scott Tedro finished 2nd and 3rd, and TnA, Genghis, and Steve B. were all top-10.

Other races and stuff...

Seth Zaleski is a new rider in town. He, along with cohorts Chesta and Steve Weixel, are young and enthusiastic bike racers who bring down the absurdly-high average age of the Santa Barbara roadie population. They're good riders, each one of them, but Seth's power-to-weight on the slopes should have a few pro-team DS's salivating. He's brand new to road biking, yet he cranked out a 14:40 on OSM last week--ooops, maybe that was top-secret info--which must be 5.5 W/kg or more. I generally discount it when people suggest genetic gifts as the reason for this kind of aerobic power, believing instead that more often than not it's due to really hard work over many years. But Seth's only been riding a year! At his age (early 20's) with a few years of hard training... the sky is the limit.

So Seth won the Sport 19-24 race at Elings and Chester was 2nd (after winning the Beginner race that morning!!), showing that their road fitness translates to the dirt pretty effectively. I would also imagine, since these guys are so young and fearless, that they go downhill pretty fast, making it a tall order to beat them.

I was excited to watch the Expert races in the afternoon, both for the competitive drama as well as the instructional value of watching such skilled racers. None more so than Ron Takeda and Johnny O'Mara:

...but really, all these riders are good, which is why they're called Experts!

No more time for blogging this afternoon, so if you're interested in some more pictures of SB expert riders (mostly Platinum), the you can view the slideshow below. Go to Picasa if you want to see full-size and/or download pics.

Look here for results of all Team Big Bear races, including Elings.

See ya on the road or trails!

Training Week -- 6/2 - 6/8

Mostly short rides with a bit of intensity almost every day. I need to restart some longer rides because I signed up for Elite road nationals (~Aug 10th) which I hope will be a brutal, hot, race of attrition.

Mon: 0.5 hr; recovery around Goleta
Tue: 2.0 hr; MTB at Elings (with a couple hard climbs)
Wed: 1.5 hr; 2X OSM, random-length hard intervals on 2nd one
Thu: 1.0 hr; OSM, 15:52 at 95% ...ughh!
Fri: 2.0 hr; MTB at Elings (with a couple hard climbs)
Sat: 4.0 hr; roco ride, climbed Casitas hard
Sun: 2.0 hr; SB Bike Fest MTB race at Elings, 1st in 45-49 sport

Total: 13 hrs

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Too many...


1. Watch live internet coverage of big-time bike race back East on WFMZ TV...

2. Toil away on the computer for important simulation demo in two weeks.

3. Ride up OSM at lunch, trying desperately to hold on to Seth Z.


(note: the real point of this post is to alert you about the bike-race coverage, which you can watch during your lunch break.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


That's how many steps Gina took on Sunday, as recorded by her high-tech ped computer.

30-something-thousand of those steps were from the Rock-and-Roll marathon in San Diego, but the rest can be credited (blamed?) to my less-than-brilliant planning for our pre- and post-race transportation. Despite making extensive use of the excellent trolley and shuttle system, we ended up walking an additional 4-5 miles. Plus, on the way home we stopped off to spectate a bit at the Dana Point Grand Prix, which naturally meant walking laps around the course and doing a bunch of standing around and talking. Sorry sweetie!

The marathon was great. The course made for a good tour of San Diego, circling Balboa Park and downtown, then heading up through Mission Hills, Mission Valley, and around Mission Bay, before returning toward the airport for a finish on the Marine recruiting base. Race-day weather conditions were ideal: low-60's and overcast for the 6:30 AM start, clearing up by the finish to reveal a calm mild Southern California day.

Try as I might, I failed to get a picture of Gina at the start, despite knowing roughly where she was in the "pack". The runners were seeded based on projected finishing times, and she was in the second corral since she expected to run a time in the 3:30 neighborhood. Where's waldo...

Next time, I'll insist she wear her Elvis outfit... This is the Rock-and-Roll marathon so all the Runnin' Elvis's get front-row status!

So yeah, she ran a consistent pace for the entire 26.2 miles and came in at 3:31:28 which was right about what she had anticipated, and it placed her 6th out of over 600 women in her age group. But most importantly, she felt good and was strong at the end. She inspires me to try something of this magnitude!


On the way home, we stopped off for a couple hours in Dana Point to watch some of the Masters Crit Championship bike races. Roger Worthington was the prime mover-and-shaker behind this event and by all accounts, it was very successful. We relaxed sipping iced coffee drinks while spectating and listening to live bands and a slightly-buzzed Floyd Landis rambling on the microphone. A refreshing sight was the large number of locals watching the races and clearly enjoying themselves. Some residents along the course even used it as a front-yard party opportunity! The only downer of the afternoon was hearing the sad news that our friend Matt Hahn had crashed during his race earlier in the day and broke his hip. He had a successful surgery that afternoon, but he'll be on crutches for a month. Best wishes for a full recovery.

We saw the majority of the 30+ race which was won by Karl Bordine, the guy whose green-clad butt is in my earlier picture from the Swamis ride. This is Karl leading the field through turn 4 near the middle of the race...

...but here is my #1 hero from Sunday, standing above the scenic harbor by the crit course in Dana Point...
Did this fine lady really run 26.2 miles just a few hours ago???

Monday, June 02, 2008

Training Week -- 5//26 - 6/1

Couldn't squeeze in much riding.

Mon: 0
Tue: 1 hr; lunchtime hammerfest
Wed: 1.5 hr; Hope Ranch cruise
Thu: 1.5 hr; Tabata intervals on OSM
Fri: 0
Sat: 2 hr; Swamis ride in SD
Sun: 0 (lots of walking around SD during RnR marathon)

Total: 6 hrs