Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Old Poor College Kids Firestone Santa Ynez RR

Off and on road race over the years, has gone by a lot of names, today's edition used some subset of those words in the title. What a venue. You wonder why Pro teams come here for training camps? Nearly pristine roads and typically awesome weather. Like today. Those of you waiting until Blvd RR to start 2009, hey, check the weather forecast!

But seriously, the UCSB Cycling Team did a terrific job promoting this race and hopefully they raised some good money for their season. Judging by the (mostly) large fields, I'd say they banked a few grand. Nice.

I will start with my own race, because, well, this is my blog. More categories and pictures will follow below, including a stacked pro/1/2 race, but you need to read every word of my race report or else my blog will take control of your computer and then send non-stop love letters from your email account to Britney Spears. [Note to self: don't blog after drinking wine on empty stomach]

You know you're not focused for the race when you: forget your race license, forget your race wheels, and forget to arrange a feed. Fortunately, I remedied the first two before the start. The feed issue didn't dawn on me until my bottles were empty. Doh!

40+, 2 laps for 67 miles, ~45 starters
From the gun, Greg Leibert from Cynergy rolled pretty hard and, shockingly, there was no reaction from the field. Obviously many of these guys are not SoCal regulars. I wasn't about to let him TT away so I scooted on up with two others attached. Couple rotations and we already had a thirty second gap. Hmmm... 67 miles rotating with four guys? Why not? Over the little bump of a hill and we looked back to see Todd Darley (Cynergy), Joe Wenninger (Cynergy), and Dave Gonyer (CA Pools) motoring up. Greeeat, now Leibert had two teammates. Our gap stayed at about one minute for the entire lap. At both turn-arounds, we could see the field was still motivated (with dudes like Mike Hecker and David Larsen pulling hard) so we never let off the gas. Going into lap #2 we were seven, but we dropped two quickly, the numbers really favored Cynergy (3 out of 5). At the far turn-around, with 16 miles left to race, we saw that the field finally cracked and that our gap was safe. On the return leg, Greg was strong and one of his surges popped his two teammates plus Gonyer. Lucky for me, so I started pulling hard and within a few minutes we were totally clear. I was dying of thirst and totally fixated on Greg's half-full bottles. Refreshing water sloshing around... I almost conceded the race in exchange for a swig! (Then I thought about C-Walk and his 90-mile training rides on a single bottle.) Final time up the little bump and I pushed hard enough so Greg didn't try any funny business. If he got a gap on me over the top, with 5 miles of false-flat descending, it would be all over. Fortunately he didn't, and we rotated together until about the final KM, upon which he jumped me after my pull. It was all I could do to pull him back, and then I locked on and he was stuck in front. I jumped at ~200 M and came by to win by half a bike.

30+, 67 miles, only about 25 starters
Small field but stacked. The rumors about Jamie Paolinetti's return are true. He won. We will probably be saying that a lot this year.

Sorry, no pictures of this race other than a hard-to-read list of hand-written results.

Cat 5, one lap 34 miles, 50 riders (full)
I arrived at the hill in time to see the final surge up the hill, led by Chicken Ranch and Team Platinum Performance.

A group reassembled over the other side, but big bad Derek Johnson easily won the gallop to the lime. Congrats Derek!

Photo courtesy of Goodman Graphic.

Here are the rest of the results from that race. Lots of SB locals high up in the placings!

Cat 4, one lap 34 miles, 100 starters (full)
A burner of a race. My Platinum mates rode strong as a team and snagged the silver (Tom Anhalt) and bronze (Doug Urbach). Key work done by Steve Weixel to make it fast into the finale. Crucial for a narrow, one-lane finish.

Photo courtesy of Goodman Graphic.

More SB'ers in the top-10: Ray Turon (Chicken Ranch) and Bill Lupo (Echelon)

Cat 3, two laps 67 miles, big field (not sure of number)
World's strongest Cat 3 --Chesta-san Gillmore-- pounding the hill toward the end of the first lap.

...with Matt "Chicken-Ranch" Benko nipping at his heals. A group of 10-15 formed down the other side and that was that.

A long sprint, with Matt as the highest SB finisher in 4th. HeyRon in 9th and Chesta in 11th. See him smiling back there? [Actually, I forgot to mention that a VERY STRONG rider soloed away from the break and won by a comfortable margin. Not sure who he is, but he was a horse out there! So the picture here is the sprint for 2nd.]

Photo courtesy of Goodman Graphic.

Read for yourself.

OK, until earlier this week, I had planned to do the Pro/1/2 race. Some things happened, including getting a bit of intel that the entire Team Type 1 pro squad would be racing. I wasn't in the mood for that kind of suffering. Throw in a few more random pros, like Aaron Olson and Ted King, and you could pretty much guarantee it would be fast.

The biggest shock of the day was to see M-Dubb lined up to race. No I did not photoshop in a picture of him. He really did it. Hairy legs and out-dated McGuire kit and everything! Very cool to see actually. He should be racing --for fun now-- because he is absurdly strong.

Great to see C-Walk in the new kit and rocking the Specialized bike! Nice to see AO do the local race too.

The boys from SLO (L-R): hardman Ozzie Olmos, wiley old vet Craig Nunes, and Pro Tour rider (!!) Brian Vanborg of Liquigas.

As expected, Team Type 1 dictated the race, and after lots of attacks, they established a select front group which they drove all the way to the line. C-Walk bridged up and rising star Vinny Owens got in there too. I think they were the only amateurs. In the final few km's, TT1 tried to keep the speed high but Aaron attacked them and messed up their plan. Well, not completely, since they still took first and second. Gritty ol' C-Walk hung on for 4th, a damn fine result in that crowd!

Photo courtesy of Goodman Graphic.

Cool to see Cookie rip off a good sprint in the next group. Any sprint in which you nip speedster Aram is a good sprint! Seth was right up there too, an awesome result for his first ever pro/1/2 race.

Photo courtesy of Goodman Graphic.

Yoza... that's a good field for January 31st!

The women's 3/4 race had a great turn-out and Susie Willett popped off a nice 2nd place. Sorry no pic, but here are the results. Cool to see lots of SB riders in there. Good job!

...and Women 1/2/3.

I don't mean to short-change the women's races but I didn't gather any stories or pictures. Hopefully some of our awesome-local-women-bike-racer-bloggers will scribble down some notes for us to read!

For more of John Goodman's incredible pictures, visit his gallery. Thanks for being there, John!

'til after Mothballs.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Oh Cry Me a River!

Wall Street bonuses under fire...

I about barfed a couple years ago when I first heard about the size of the average bonus paid to people working in finance. And when I say average, I mean across everyone in the business, from mail-room clerks all the way up to CEOs and top rain-makers. Nearly $200,000! And you just know that it's top heavy. I think that's disgusting, and way out of whack with their contribution to society, no matter how you define it.

Time to push the reset button on those folks!

Historical data from the NY Comptroller's office:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Too Old School....

...for facebook? I was just about the last person in the world to get a cell phone, and I was on the same path for facebook. Long time hold out. Not completely sure why but maybe because I nag my way-too-cool daughter for spending sooo much time on it.

Last night I broke down.

Today I spent, oh, maybe 8 hours wandering and searching. Oy vey!

Hey Alicia, do as I say, not as I do.

So now I'm wondering, does facebooking replace blogging?

And also, if we are facebook friends, please don't be offended if do some horrendous breach of etiquette. I'll likely be as socially klutzy on there as I am in real life!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Training Week -- 1/19 - 1/25

Hmmmm. One week 'til racing starts. Not ready yet but still excited to get it on.

Mon: 1 hr; recovery
Tue: 2 hr; OSM-PC-ECC, tempo
Wed: 0
Thu: 1.5 hr; OSM (15:24) +
Fri: 0
Sat: 2.5 hr; Team ride in SY valley (rain)
Sun: 4 hr; early w/ Gina, then Worlds, then w/ Gina

Total: 11 hrs

Thursday, January 22, 2009

RX for Stress: 170 bpm

The worry wort wakes in the dark and squints to see 2:13 AM. Third night in a row, wide awake. He takes slow deliberate breaths but finds forced relaxation is not helpful. Wife slumbers deep; he's envious. Her shallow breaths metronome like a clock. Thinking of clocks is not helpful. Muffle the sounds by wrapping his head in the pillows. Now the only noise is his own slow steady heartbeat. An internal, inescapable metronome. Another clock.

His mind wanders. And worries. Stupid stuff. ...termites eating away at his house... ...Brian's late science project... ...Alicia driving on Friday nights... ...401K tumbling... ...he should work more... ...which contractor to choose.... ...garage needs cleaning... ...Gina's Achilles tendon...' college expense... ...should he get up to pee... ...weeds and bugs... problems... ...oil needs changing... ...Alicia's boyfriend... barf... ...Brian plays too much XBox...


He lifts the pillow and squints again. 4:48 AM.


Then, finally, sleep. Thirty minutes later he wakes when wife gets up to shower. She makes coffee. He needs coffee. Paper screams bad news in large font. Will BofA be taken over by the government? He paid 50 for BAC; now it trades in the single digits. Sell? Hold? Buy more?

Late morning. Slouching in front of two computers. Despite headache, he's written copious amount of new code. He finally tries to run the program. Crash. Access violation. Who owns this pointer? He looks back at his code from previous day. It doesn't make sense. It might as well be written in ancient Inca script.

Lunchtime. Time to ride uphill.

Small turn-out, pavement is wet. He follows the hairy-legged former pros. They start fast. His legs protest painfully at the rude shock. He considers quitting. The pain subsides, then retreats, mind over menace. He focuses on pedal strokes and breathing. Metronomes. He holds that wheel as if survival itself depends on it. He feels better and better ...alive, rejuvenated. He decides he will beat the hairy-legged tormentor in front, the same one who cracked him last week. Gather the energy, focus inward, hold it, hold it, hold it... Now, Go. He pounds the pedals with fury. No response, no contest.

Back home just as the rain starts falling. Body and mind abuzz and warm. Relaxed for the first time today. He thinks about how fortunate he is. Family is healthy and safe, kids are smart and resourceful. He's glad to have a house that termites can eat, a garden for weeds and bugs to grow, and a job. He feels for those who don't.

Then he thinks how things would be if all the world's people spent some time every day with their heart rate at 170 bpm. An entire population high on endorphins and dopamine. What a world that would be.

Tonight. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thurbo..... Turbo..... Per-turbo.....

All means the same thing ...Pain... especially if he's in your race ...which is highly likely since he's out there every weekend, and often does three races a day!!

Read Mark Johnson's excellent article about the legend himself written for Competitor SoCal Magazine. Mark is a pro writer and photog and one of those great folks --like Lyne Lamoureux and Mike Hernandez-- who shine the media light on bike racing here in the US. Our obscure sport has a million stories below the surface, and these guys do the telling with their superb pictures and eloquent words. Grazie!

So... not much to add to the article other than perhaps this. To observe Thurlow at the races, you might wonder whether or not he's really having fun. You could call it a look of indifference ...or perhaps aloofness ...sometimes you'd even have to call it a scowl. But I ask you this, when doing an activity that you've been doing for consistently for 30 years ...take breathing for example... how much visible enthusiasm do you show? I hesitate to guess at the total number of races the man has done, but it's got to be well into the thousands. Think about that for a minute. Is he having fun? The proof is inside the pudding, and maybe doesn't always show on the surface.

But every now and then he lets a bit of the emotion out. Elite Nationals RR, 2008, up against 130 Gggg-gnarly Cat 1's from all around the USA. Super fast race on a windy, hot-n-dry, cranky afternoon. Half way in Turbo scoots across to the big break and, no doubt, goes pull for pull with the big motors up in first class. 'round about 100 miles in, the break starts cracking so Turbo goes off again, this time with just two others, each a hardened NRC thoroughbred ...who happen to be teammates. Do they work T over? Can they? I don't know, it's hard to see first class from the back of coach. Anyway, with the sun setting and 120 fast miles in the bank, the trio sprints for the prestigious Stars-n-Bars jersey. Thurlow gets the bronze.

3rd at the Elite Nationals. Is that a good result? Compared to what? Top-shelf Euro pro victories, top-10 in the Olympics, buckets of major US professional wins, ...Masters 45+ vee at the Ontario Industrial Park merry-go-round?

Well, his non-stop beaming smile after the race left no doubt...

...he's still having lots of fun.

Training Week -- 1/12 - 1/18

Slapped myself in the face and went out six days this week.

Mon: 1.5 hrs; recovery around Goleta
Tue: 2 hr; roco morning ride, tempo pace
Wed: 2 hr; OSM-Painted Cave-Repeater tempo, around Goleta
Thu: 2 hr; Warm-up + OSM (15:20) + half Painted Cave
Fri: 0
Sat: 3.5 hr; 8:00 roco to 2nd Casitas hill, hard on hills
Sun: 3 hr; OSM-PC-ECC-Arroyo Burro saddle + up/down Stagecoach, tempo

Total: 14 hrs

Friday, January 16, 2009

Roller Wars Continue...

First there was Fabio...

...followed by some dufus who thought it didn't look so hard...

...which caused some hipster fixie dude to show some truly wicked skills...

...and now this latest volley...

Next? How about a wheelie? Or bunny hopping off onto the floor at full speed?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Go Girl!

Seems the nice weather has awakened my seasonal workers a bit early!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Paradiso Perfetto

Indomitable Spirit of Youth

This inspires me.

...and makes me laugh.

I neeed some of what he's having!

ps. Hey Chesta-san, look what came in my mail ...30 years ago!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Training Week -- 1/5 - 1/11

Pretty timed constrained this week so only 4 riding days, but each had some really hard intensity. Too hard perhaps -- my lungs are burning.

Mon: 0
Tue: 1.5 hrs; warm-up + lunchtime hammerfun
Wed: 0
Thu: 1 hr; OSM, 15:57
Fri: 0
Sat: 4 hr; Gibraltar HC TT, 35:04 to the intersection, 2nd place, + around SB
Sun: 3 hr; Worlds

Total: 9.5 hrs

- I've always found that the most accurate indicator of my motivation is how much I ride solo versus how much I do the group rides. I may say I'm fired up to race ...rah, rah, rah!!... but the truth is that if I don't get out 6-7 days a week with a lot of solo time in the wind or on rides with 10 kft of climbing, then I'm fooling myself. Actions speak way louder than words when it comes to motivation. And so it is with some concern that I look back on my training the last few months and notice that 90+ percent of my riding is with groups. We're in for a spell of nice weather it seems, 70-degree days and no rain in sight. Do or die time ...absolutely no excuses now.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008 Race Winners From Santa Barbara

Reflecting back a bit on the 2008 road season and it dawned on me how many Santa Barbara locals won a race. I can't remember a year with this many. We have a great community of riders and the results show it. Savor those victories y'all... you earned them.

Let's review...

The Southern Nevada Stage Race was the first event of the season and a few locals hit the jackpot in Las Vegas. In the P/1/2 race, Gary Douville won the crit ...barely... over teammate Brian Cook. The great picture was taken by the talented photog duo of Kim and Steve Weixel.

The following day's road race saw two more Santa Barbara winners, with Corey Welles taking the Cat 3 road race and Chris Walker winning the Pro/1/2 RR and taking GC too.

A week later and the World Crit Championships, i.e., the Mothballs Criterium, SB's favorite son Cody O'Reilly blew away the Pro/1/2 field for his first of two local victories. The second was even more impressive, as Cody bested a bunch of speedy pros at the Island View crit. The picture is from John Goodman of Goodman Graphic. Cody also found the podium in the only other local'ish races, with a 2nd at Sisquoc RR and 3rd at the exciting downtown SLO crit. I'd say he won the local B.A.R. hands down ...err, hands up I mean.

2008 also saw the return of Johnny "O" Orach to the peloton. John started racing as a youngun from Santa Maria in the late-80s/early-90s, and quickly moved up to a Cat 2. I recall him having a real knack for getting in the right breakaways, justifying his reputation as a smart rider. After a few years though, he gave up the bike for a pair of running shoes. The bike-racing bug lay dormant until 2007 but, like herpes, it never went away. When big bad Johnny O signed up for the Cat 4 race at Mothballs, those punks never stood a chance. Nice way to start the year -- a vee at Mothballs!

Other local Mothballs champs include Echelon's Ben Barthel in the juniors 15/16 and ageless wonder Carlos Soto in the Masters 55+. By the way, Carlos probably won between 5 and 10 races this year ...and that's not even counting all his glorious Polo Fields victories!

A bunch of locals headed north to race over the Presidents' Day weekend, starting with the Cantua Creek RR by Coalinga. (BTW, did you know that Coalinga got its name because it was Coaling Station "A" for the railroad? ...who says you never learn anything from this blog!) Anyway, Cookie was loaded up with enough coal to ride damn near the entire Pro/1/2 race solo off the front. Cantua Creek is an out and back course, so each lap Cookie could see his pursuers, and vice versa, as the picture shows (from Bo Hebenstreit).

We SB amateur hacks are very fortunate to have so many talented professional bike racers in our midst. And they're all nice people ready and willing to offer help and advice. I took a picture of three of them resting at the top of Bates on some random Sunday. We've already discussed Cody. (BTW, did you know Cody got his name because he was a Code-Blue birth? ...hey, that's the second factoid you learned by reading this blog!) On the right is Kim Anderson, one of the best women racers in the world and widely known as a selfless and dedicated teammate on Columbia, which also happens to be the #1 ranked womens team in the world. Kim won the San Dimas Stage Race in 2008.

On the left in that picture above is Ken Hanson. A year ago, I predicted Ken would win 5-10 races in 2008. I don't know if he made it or not, but considering the magnitude of a couple of his victories, he had arguably the most successful season of anybody hailing from SB. Early in the year, he won the Pro/1/2 event at the Pine Flat RR, proving that he can climb despite being a sprinter. Look at the casual victory celebration in the picture. Later in the year he won a stage in the big-time Tour of Ireland. In August Ken won the hotly contested San Ardo RR.

But unquestionably, Ken's biggest win of the year was at the National Crit Championships in Downers Grove, IL, where he beat the fastest Cat 1s in the USA. Ironically, since he's back on a Pro team for 2009, he won't be allowed to race in his Starz-n-Bars jersey. He'll be gunning for the Pro version in 2009.

Continuing with the SB Pro theme... it was nice to see hard-working nice guy Aaron Olson win the NRC Tour de Nez this summer up in Northern California. All the stages were held around Truckee and the Northstar ski area in the high Sierra, where oxygen is at a premium. Not a problem for hardman AO. At right, another beautiful shot from Lyne Lamoureux.

It's nice when local racers win local races, and look how the Chicken Ranchers dominated the finish of the Cat 4 Island View Crit. Ken Doyle took the victory here, but just in case he faltered, Gabe Garcia was just behind in 2nd!

Gabe got his 2008 victory a few weeks prior by winning the road stage of the San Dimas Stage Race. He was so excited crossing the line first that he let out a blood-curdling yell, the echos of which are still reverberating around Bonelli Park to this day!

Also very nice to see victories by two new SB riders, Seth Zaleski and Steve Weixel. Seth earned his win at the always tough San Luis Rey RR where he soloed the final lap off the front of the Cat 4 field, and just held them off. Steve used a full season's-worth of lessons to earn a smart victory in the Cat 4 field at the San Ardo RR. Mark my words, both Seth and Steve will be very strong in 2009, along with the indomitable teammate Chester Gillmore. A third local champion at San Ardo was Eric Knight from Team Chicken Ranch making his return to racing with a win in the Cat 5 event. Congrats!

The last race of the season, a high-profile pro/1/2 night crit in downtown San Francisco, was won impressively by Daniel Ramsey. I include him as a local because he grew up here before moving south to Ventura. Daniel also won a tough circuit race in Aliso Viejo as well as a couple races back in North Carolina. Big time, Daniel!

Finally, although not a road event per se, it deserves a mention because of how impressive it was. Matt "Chicken Ranch" Benko won the Santa Barbara long-course duathlon in 2008. Even with his big manly physique (see pic at right--Matt, you should totally buy that...$12 at SantaBarbaraPix!), he's able to scoot fast enough on his feet to keep the real runners in range, and then he crushes them on the TT bike. This win was not a gimme by any stretch as 2nd place was a very strong Carl Legleiter who is an accomplished runner and also no slouch on the bike. Good win Matt!

Am I forgetting anybody? If so, drop me a note or comment so I can add him or her for posterity.

Give yourself a hand SB! And congratulations to all the local 2008 race winners and their teams! Here's hoping for good luck and more vees in the 2009 season.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What Else You Gonna Do Saturday?

It may only be January, but this weekend's weather forecast looks great. Do something different and ride in the Gibraltar Hill Climb TT, promoted by the UCSB Triathlon team.

Register online by Thursday to save ten bucks.

Training Week -- 12/29 - 1/4

Trying to get back on the horse.

Mon: 0
Tue: 1.5 hrs; warm-up + lunchtime sufferfest
Wed: 0
Thu: 3.5 hrs; Gibraltar Loop w/ Chris + SB and back.
Fri: 0
Sat: 5 hrs; Casitas loop with 8:00 roco group
Sun: 4 hrs; Early w/ Gina, Gary, Steve, Mariann + Worlds

Total: 14 hrs

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Proposal for Polo Fields Sprint

Over the years I've done many of the biggest, baddest group rides in California. River Ride in Sacto, Noon Ride in Palo Alto, Spectrum Ride, Swamis, etc... and I've seen my share of crashes and crazy behavior. I don't mean to be sanctimonious with the following rant because I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to group-ride-induced-stupidity...

...but last week's Sunday Worlds really freaked me out, and I've been replaying a scary scene over and over in my mind. I was in the back of the bunch going into the Polo Fields sprint, and since the pace was too slow, the group (~50 riders) was spread 4-5 wide across the lane. Pretty much clogged. I considered moving up but that would have meant crossing the center line, and since a large SUV was heading towards us in the other lane, I did a quick Physics calculation and determined I'd better sit out the sprint instead. I guess ten or so riders weren't so adept at Physics though, because they had no problem playing chicken with the oncoming SUV to move up a few spots in the sprint. (And just to reiterate, this is an unofficial, artificial line in the road and the rider that crosses it first DOES NOT WIN ANYTHING because IT IS NOT A RACE.) So anyway, predictable carnage ensued when the riders moved back into the clogged bunch to avoid the SUV. Result: four riders down, multiple broken clavicles and ribs among them. But what still freaks me out was seeing the Echelon rider's body sliding along the pavement on the center-line just as the SUV passed by. There was no daylight between him and the vehicle, and I thought he was a goner. That he wasn't squished and escaped with only a broken collarbone is by pure random luck. I wish him and the others a speedy recovery.

Here's my proposal to make it safer: Any rider who finds himself (or herself) in the front within the last mile or so should just bury himself (or herself) to keep the speed high. If you're on the front in that last mile, then it's not your day to sprint. Don't sit up and look for a wheel, instead be a lead-out motor for all your friends behind. Get the speed well over 30 mph and when you fade, just get out of the way. Same thing for the next rider. And the next. All the way into the final few hundred meters at which point only the front 5 or 6 riders should have a chance anyway because at 30+ mph it will be single file. This is basic stuff. Fast sprints are safe sprints. What goes around comes around. You find yourself with lead-out duty one week, and the next week you are in the sweet spot and you can sprint and you don't need to cross the center-line and play chicken with an SUV.

A more drastic proposal would be to neutralize the sprint anytime there's an oncoming vehicle, but that's probably just crazy talk. After all, there is no cure for group-ride-induced-stupidity... you just try to control its worst symptoms.

News Flash... C-Walk Signs with Platinum!

2009 will be an interesting season, that is for sure.

ps. Anyone want to buy an immaculate top-o-the-line Time road bike?

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Linkage

New Year, slightly new look, and new linkage over on the right. I loves me some good blogs, and I'm sure there are tons more out there, so please -PLEASE- send me links if you know of good ones to add. I will be looking for more too.

A few comments about the new ones so far, starting with the locals...

bicicorsa -- So fun to see pics from the local group rides! Thanks Carlos and Bill.

Meh-wee-uhn, aka, Marian -- One of two (?) local Velo Bellas (THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!!) She's made the mistake of joining our Tuesday lunchtime love fest a few times. That should cure her of any humor and good cheer ...but until that happens, check out her blog.

KK, aka, Kathleen King -- an artist with a cycling problem.

Chuckie V -- The one and (hopefully) only. Love his style and I strongly resonate with his ideas about training, despite his triathlon bent. I moved the link to the locals because he spends the winters in the Santa Ynez valley. He is a motor, as I witnessed him go pull-for-pull with Aaron Olsen last year at the annual Ronde de Solvang Century, until an urgent matter forced him to stop.

Drea, aka, Andrea McLarty -- a speedy local runner who also rides bikes and dabbles in triathlon ...but we won't hold that against her. She balances life as a Mom and as an elite athlete, and you never know what you'll get when you peek into her great blog.

Stuart Sato -- A local, lifestyle triathlete with a healthy perspective on endurance sports. I've never met Stuart, but we share a love of making fun of Brian Cook. Plus my wife knows his wife, and they make fun of us behind our backs.

SB Tri club -- These people always seem to be having fun ...maybe us stuck-up, socially-awkward roadies could learn something from them! (BTW, that's a joke so don't send me nasty emails...)

Moving beyond the South Coast of SB...

Pizza Man, aka, Chris Phipps -- A runner turned cyclist who's now a billy-goat beast, climbing about as fast as anyone in California. Wanna know what it's like at the front of M35+ road races?? his blog.

Paul Mach dot Com, aka, Paul Mach dot Com -- Just another Math PhD candidate racing in the domestic professional peloton (as Bissell teammate of Cody). I wish everyone took cycling as seriously (ha-ha) as Mr. Mach.

The Manley Report, aka, Todd Manley -- His blog is your #1 go-to source for everything you ever wanted to know about being a 6'9" former basketball player transformed mid-life to bike-racing addict. Trust me, of all the web sites out there on this topic, Todd's is the best.

B.L.O.G., aka, Tracy Nelson -- While not a new link (just a name change), she is so freakin' funny that I had to list it here.

BJM, aka, Ben Jacques-Maynes -- A top domestic professional racer, playing the bike game and being a Daddy at the same time.

Podium Cafe -- A good thoughtful source for news domestic and euro. Lots of readers and lots of comments.

Bike Snob NYC -- An all-star blog if ever there was one. Who knew there was cycling in New York City?

Smithers in Minneapolis, aka, Chris Smith -- An industry insider with lots of (good) opinions about things cycling, politic, and life.