Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hey All - Look who stopped by for a ride in the beautiful Virginia countryside...complete with the retro jacket. Here's a bit of video:


A still shot:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How PRO can you go...

O.K., O.K., I know what you're thinking: "Damn, that's ugly."

And you had that reaction before you noticed the forks were backwards, that there's a steel support beam running from the stem to the fork crown, another support under the nose of the saddle, that the front wheel is a 650cc, that the whole thing is made from plumbing-grade steel, and that the gearing would make Mike "Big Meat" Samuelson's knees scream with pain at the mere thought of grinding so many teeth.

Ah, but this is no ordinary ugly bike. This is purpose built machine belongs to the world of "stayer" racing. Which is basically derny racing turned up to 11, on a velodrome. A derny is, basically, low horsepower motorcycle adapted for cyclists to draft behind. Sometimes road cyclists will motorpace behind a derny for training (to simulate pack-racking speed), other times one derny is used for keirin racing (as a sort of "rabbit"), other times, teams of dernies and cyclists will compete in on-road events. If you like the big meat, stayer racing is the PRO.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Videos...or Life is Wonderful, part 423.1

The real joy in riding in Oregon, isn't the great roads, or the memories. It's the 6 hours you spend 4 days in a row, on the road, passing the miles with great people.


The effect is the same in rural Virginia, or really, for riding in general, I guess.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10

My bro took this picture the last time he and I were in San Diego together. I wish I could hang out with him more often.

Love the color:

San Diego River Estuary at low tide. This little guy was not the most exotic bird hanging out in the river, but this was the most interesting shot I got.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas.

Clear Skies

The day after the rain, these normally ultra-steep trails were so perfectly tacky it made climbing these hills a LOT of fun. There are two hills in this park that I have never cleaned, mainly because I could never keep traction going. This time, my only limiter was my fitness.

The skies were as clear as I've ever seen them in San Diego. From this spot, it was easy to spot Mt. Palomar, and past Palomar up to what I assume were the snow-capped peaks at Big Bear. You could also see clear into Tijuana.

The Lagunas part 2

Two days earlier, we rode a trail right near here in a decent snow storm. It was 80 degrees this day.

Damage from a 2003 fire ran across the top of this ridge.

We climbed for almost an hour.

The bikes take a rest at the summit.

About halfway up we stopped to appreciate our luck in finding this trail.

You can take the roadie out on the dirt...


The route:

Elevation v. Gradient (anything over the 20 mile mark is a result of my forgetting to turn the GPS off)....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pictures from San Diego

The chances that the Google Earth picture would have snow in it have got to be minimal. It only snows 2-3 times a year in San Diego - even in the Lagunas. How odd is it that both the Google Earth picture and my pictures from the ride have snow.

Getting out of the car was the hardest part of the ride;

Halfway around the lake we stopped for our first picture:

The climbing was fast and fun and the descents weren't overly muddy. Only one short section was rutted.

The scenery was beautiful. Not many people get to experience snow in San Diego. Even fewer get to ride in it.

This is the beach in the afternoon of same day. These cool rock formations only come out like this in the winter, when the sand has been scavenged from the beach by the winter tides and currents.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Laguna Meadow

This is about halfway around Laguna Meadow, on the West side of the lake.

Oh, and it was sunny and 70 degrees when we left Virginia yesterday morning.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Virginia's Northern Neck

It's not very often I get to ride with Nico. Never mind, riding with Nico, in Virginia, with Nico on my grey Shark, while I've got my camera.


Backroads in the Lagunas

Here are a couple of pictures of some of the great, largely empty roads in the Lagunas:

The picture above is roughly halfway up the Noble Canyon climb (the paved climb) this point, you've passed the brutally steep lower portions (25% on some pitches) of the climb and the road is settling in to an average 10-12% grade....that will grind on another 2 miles or so. The views are spectacular from up here.

This is what the road surface looks like. Not *too* bad if you're on a mtn bike. But, if you're on a road bike and you had planned on pulling the paper-boy to get up some of the steeper sections....good luck. It's straight up or nothing. You can't see it here, but the pavement has built-in waterbars that make for "interesting" descending if you're on a road bike and you forget they're there.

This shot was taken looking back at the point where the previous picture (the gravel strewn road) was taken. Somehow, pictures of steep roads never look that steep. The section you're looking at varies from 12%-18%...which is not a cakewalk.

This is your reward for making the climb. Beautiful rolling roads, criss-crossed with mtb trails, zero traffic (hardly anyone knows this road exists, except cyclists) and a mix of high-desert chaparral and low alpine-style vegetation that is recovering from the 2003 firestorm that swept through this area.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Solana Beach Landmark

VG Donuts. It's been there forever, because they make the best donuts in California. There's nothing like a fresh Cinnamon Raised after a surf.


Sunrise Highway mile marker.

Sunrise Highway with bushes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More pictures 2

On the old Sunrise Highway in the Laguna Mountains.

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Pictures

Fun with the exposure times.

I LOVE this fisheye lens. The superwide view is made possible by DxO Optics Pro v4.5.1.

The camera was less than 2 inches from the bike stand grip.


Overlooking the Anza-Borrego desert from Kwimee Point Rd, right off the Sunrise Highway.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The closing kilometers of the 99 worlds...

Coming in to the last 10k of the World's in '99 in Verona, it was clear that the next World Champ would come from a group of 8. 6 of those 8 were known quantities, and superstars with long race-winning backgrounds: Ullrich ('97 TdF winner,'current world TT champion), Vandenbrouke (previous Liege winner); Casagrande (2x San Sebastian winner); Konyshev (Silver medalist '89 Worlds, behind LeMond); Camenzind ('98 World Champ); Marcus Zberg (3rd Amstel Gold in 98) ; Cyril-Robin (roleur and hardman); the remaining 2 were Chann McRae (US) and Oscar Freire (SPA), neither of whom were (at the time) high-profile winners of big races. O.K., Freire had won the U23 worlds, but still, that hardly qualifies as someone Ullrich or Vandenbrouke should nervously mark coming in to the final 2K of the '99 Worlds. With all that in mind, check this out, watching for how well Freire controls the group of 8 he's finishing with. He's chasing down moves with 3k to go, but when it's clear that the group will finish together, he enters the last corner near last. Which, in a group that small is the perfect position. Lots of people will tell you that you need to be 3rd or 4th. I don' t find that to be true, especially when the last kilometer is long, straight and flat, and when the finishers will be nervous. As long as you're not at the back because you're already fried, sitting 7th or 8th isn't bad. It gives you time to judge your opposition, it gives you the element of surprise, and you don't have to worry about being caught out (or boxed in) from behind. Freire wasn't being closely marked at the World's in's the result.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Milan-San Remo 1992


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, Dead at 84

In this one sentence, the definitive diagnose of what’s wrong with the modern “academy”:

“Although he was disdained by some critics who thought his work was too popular and accessible, his fiction inspired volumes of scholarly comment as well as websites maintained by young fans who have helped keep all 14 of his novels in print over a 50-year career.”

A brilliant writer and a witty, engaging, insightful satirist is, “disdained” because his writing was too easy for the proletariat to understand. No criticism of the substance of what his writing meant. Just ad hominem slurs that his writing was too easy for the layman to understand.

So, according to the “critics”, was Vonnegut's sin the fact that his writing was, “popular and accessible?” Or are the critics merely stung by the truth of Vonnegut’s rebuke?

Even in death, it's all about the critics and their egos, isn't it? Could their nihilism be any more venal and disgusting?

Rhetorical question, obviously.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'll stand with Vaclav Klaus

The President of the Czech Republic is a man who has intimate knowledge of the threat to human freedom posed by Communism and it's variants. He also happens to be someone that your average garden-variety leftist thug can't scare. Once you've dealt with real Communists, foolish little men like Algore with slick PR campaigns and a peevish attitude aren't likely to intimidate you. Klaus tells it like it is: Today's environmentalist movement isn't about conservation, or about reducing pollution, or even about a cleaner environment. Not by a longshot. It's about control. About them controlling you. Green is the new RED:
What I am really concerned about is the way the environmental topics have been misused by certain political pressure groups to attack fundamental principles underlying free society. It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom.

As someone who lived under communism for most of my life I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is not communism or its various softer variants. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism. This ideology preaches earth and nature and under the slogans of their protection – similarly to the old Marxists – wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning of the whole world....

...Mankind has already accumulated tragic experience with one very proud intellectual stream that claimed that it knew how to manage society better that spontaneous market forces. It was communism and it failed, leaving behind millions of victims. Now, a new -ism has emerged that claims to be able to manage even nature and, through it, people. This excessive human pride – just as the previous attempts – cannot but fail. The world is a complex and complicated system that cannot be organized according to an environmentalist human design, without repeating the tragic experience of wasting resources, suppressing people’s freedom, and destroying the prosperity of the whole human society.

Exactly. Humans aren't as stupid as Algore would believe. The envirofundamentalist paradigm aims to extinguish your freedom to sate the ego of a small group of small-minded, petty, self-entitled men.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

70 Days

Two months, nine days.

Last year when Daylight Savings Time hit, I was WAY behind on the fitness. There's just no time to ride during the week when it gets dark at 5, like it did last year. This year, not only did I manage to stay fit longer in the winter, I rode the MTB at night more than ever. Meaning, my fitness was actually improving well into mid-January when the real freeze hit (see the last post about THAT ridiculousness.) Add to that, the proper winter clothing that kept me riding mor eoften through the really nasty weather than I had ever been able to do, and I'm getting psyched.

Plus, with DST coming a full month earlier this year I've still got a twinge of the nervous energy from past years and my motivation to ride is super high - and a full month longer to use it. All that to say, I'm excited about already being fitter at this point in the year than any previous year. I'm psyched. The ride to and from work is getting progressively better, faster, less strenuous. The real test will be the Tuesday and Thursday nighters that start this week. Racing again. YIPPEE!

Ooh, and the camera arrived! I still need to really fien tune it and work the kinks out, but at this point it looks good!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

12.6 degrees

Obviously, it's too cold to ride, so it's time for a countdown:
107 days remain.
Or 3 months, 18 days excluding the end date
Which is the same as:
* 9,244,800 seconds
* 154,080 minutes
* 2568 hours
* 15 weeks (rounded down)

Not to be TOO precise or anything.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cold Weather Riding

This morning offered up the coldest temperature I've faced so far this year. When I rolled out of the garage for the "Birdfoot Lane to Hunter Station" loop the outdoor thermometer read "21". 11 below freezing. That's cold. Thankfully, over the last few years, I have gotten serious about acquiring the proper clothing. This should give you an idea of what it takes to stay warm for 90 minutes in truly sub-freezing temps (not counting windchill):

From the top down:

Gore Tex helmet cover

Pearl Izumi "Microsensor" Skull Cap: (under helmet);

Patagonia R1 Balaclava: Covers the head and neck and fits over the Skull Cap, under the helmet (only for absolutely frigid days);

Patagonia Capilene 2 turtleneck
: The upper-body base layer;

Fleeced LS jersey;

Craft Thermal Windstop Jacket; and

Craft Thermal Windstop Tight: Without these two items, the jacket and the tights, I would not be riding outdoors. They are that good;

Patagonia White Smoke Gloves: the warmest glove Patagonia makes, except for the gloves they make for Everest expeditions;

Giordana smart wool socks.

Trek Booties.

Don't get me wrong, at the end of any ride in these temps, you will be cold. But, even at 25 degrees, I was only wearing one pair of tights. No long-johns, just tights. To me, it's a total luxury to wear a single layer over my legs and still stay warm. It means the difference between feeling like an overstuffed sausage and being comfortable enough to move around and have your legs not feel constrained.

The same applies for the upper body. Essentially, I'm wearing a base layer, a thin jersey, and a jacket. That's less than half the lothing (and bulk) I've worn in past years. All of this is possible because the Craft outer layer is absolutely perfect. It's windproof and warm, but because it's designed specifically for cycling, it doesn't bind or constrict movement at all.

This coming week is going to be a real test for my gear. The predicted highs for the week are "mid 20's". I think the morning bike commute is going to be a bit chilly.

I can't wait for May.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Last day from the 2006 trip

It's a little hard to see, but this is the finish of Monday night's PIR. I'm the guy closest to the far wall (furthest from camera). Two riders had already crossed the line for first and second, and I "thought" I had won the field sprint...but I got passed at the line by two or three inches.

John S. was filming and thought I had won the field sprint too, which would have put me in 3rd.

All I can say, is that it was AMAZINGLY fun to race again. Especially since I got to race with Randall. 2007, dude. Hopefully we can get a slightly larger crew out there this year: Randall, Simon, Campbell, and maybe even Davanzo.

Mmmmm tasty....

Enjoy a little video:

Can't wait for the cold to break. Riding in sub freezing temperatures (the high during yesterday's ride was 37), while tolerable, tends to get tiring after more than a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thanks to this little item

I will not be unfit when May 23rd rolls around this year! Thanks to Jet Lite's nice, bright, lightweight little wonder device, I've been able to commute to and from work on the mountain bike for 12 of the last 15 days. Figuring it's about 45 minutes one-way, I've been getting a decent workout Singletrack over half the way there, and a fair amount of climbing.

Losing weight, keeping the metabolism up. Gonna make a run at actually being fit this year.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

120 days

The Countdown begins.

Not that I'm anxious or anything.