Sunday, August 26, 2007

Railroad Grade

Making the grade.

Big Fun

Top of Mt. Tam.
Distance: 70 km
Time: 4.5 hours
HR Avg: 126/ MAX: 179
Big ride on the SS today. I met up with Andy at the GGB parking lot around 9:30 and we had a fantastic ride.
Planned was: Coastal/ Valley Trail to Bobcat, cut across to Old Springs down to Tennessee Valley, then back onto Coastal up around Coyote ridge and down to Muir Beach. Once at M. Beach jump on Hwy 1 and head North till you can pick up Coastal and continue on to Pantoll Ranger Station where we could stop and take a rest.
The entire ride to this point was covered in low clouds and some fog while riding along the coast but once at Pantoll, which is located on a ridge was the breaking point for the clouds, no sooner had we sat down, that the sun was out and shining bright.
A Fox scurrying up Coastal Trail.
Chilling out @ Pantoll
After a short break we rode Old Stage/ Railroad all the way up to the top (E. Peak.) Coke and muffins we're devoured and we decided to come back down Railroad all the way back down to Hwy 1, then take Tenderfoot down to Mill Valley for coffee.
I was so stoked that on a Sunday afternoon, we had a clear run almost all the way down. Rarely do you get to reap the rewards for the days long climbs so entirely. Also, I hadn't ridden Tenderfoot in at least a decade-- it brought back lots of good memories. Fun indeed......
We hit MV for some espresso and hung out for a bit. I was pretty worked at this point and starting to get a little to comfy on the bench in the sun, it was time to go.
I returned home and had a good showdown on the way up to the bridge with some guys on road bikes. I held a constant pace all the way to the top and rode'em off my big 29er wheel.
Today-- Good day....
Dirt's not just for potato's... get out and ride.
Lunch of Champions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sprints ahoy!

Today I did a double workout. Haven't done that in quite awhile. I rode this morning for 2 hrs and packed in some sprints/ speed work along the Embarcadero. I must be nuts but I love playing in traffic.

Had some lunch, finished up my final paper for English, went to school @ 4 and bounced @ 5. Got home @ 5:45, changed superman style and drilled it over to the Park sprints in GGP. I had never done the park sprints, so I thought I would meet up with Scott and give it a try (to my surprise Raymond was there too!) The ride out to the park ended up being a harder work out than the ride itself!

Never again...... Way to much traffic, rough roads, and other misc. obstacles. Great course however. Oh well.

I loves' me the Port ride...... For me the park is all about Cross.

See you Wed night!

Monday, Auto parts, Finals, uggh!

I had to move the car this morning for street cleaning and the battery was sounding like it was really low. Not surprising because I haven't been driving much after the radiator blew on the way to Albany a few weeks ago. I managed to put a Permatex radiator patch on it and it was holding pretty well for the most part. anyway I figured I better drive it more than 50 feet other wise it might not start at all next time around. So I took of and made it to Embarcadero and all of a sudden the tell tale steam starts coming out from under the hood. Crap! I pulled over and popped the hood and sure enough there was a crack in the radiator but in a different spot. What the hell! I managed to nurse the car home. It was about 9:30and I was supposed to be at work @ 10 but figured I would replace the dam thing now seeing's how I had the replacement in my apt. Well I though so at least.......

It took me all of 25 min or so to pull the stupid thing out and I thought sweet I'll be done around 10:30 and just be a little late for work, Ha.... I marveled at the huge crack right next to the solid patch on the old crack. I guess it was just time for the damm thing to go.

I carefully checked the original against my nice new replacement from Kragen. Well from the pic you can see they don't really look the same at all. In the past, getting parts from Kragen has always been a crap shoot. If you get it right the first time better go by a Lottery ticket.

You be the judge....
I'm pretty good at this shit but don't look right to me...

I hopped a cab and took the thing back to Kragen. The guys could not offer any advice as to why I have this funny, small radiator. I just wanted to get a replacement and get the job done ASAP. I gave up and got a refund ($146) and decided to bite the bullet and go to Honda. Hey it was nice out so I walked from 16th and Poterao to SF Honda (S. Van Ness and Market) Phew. I go to the parts counter and the guys tells me it's a $400 item! What! The parts monkey says "try McKenzie on Mariposa and 16th. SHiT! I was already over there. So I walked back and I get to the counter and again request a replacement, detailing the craziness on my ordeal. Well they have one for $129 somewhat less then Kragen, Sweet, I 'll save a few $$. The guy brings it out and yes, it's also quite large and doesn't match. He mutters something about needing a Japanese import only something.... At this point I'm a little dismayed. His suggestion, go to A&A Auto parts on S. Van Ness and 17th. Crap I was already over there!

I walk again over to the Mission and go to A&A, the guy there was really helpful but kept coming up with the same thing. He mentions that I should go to ALouis Radiator on Divisadero and get it cored. OK, I get some lunch in the Misson and head home for one last ditch effort to get a replacement. I grab the old crusty rad. and hopped Joe Muni to ALouis. I get there and the guy takes one look at it and says "1989 Honda Civc huh?" Aw Jezz I should have just came here in the first place. "Oh ya can't get those anymore, the replacement is a little bigger and the hookups on the bottom you just don't use." You have to be kiddin me... I have walked all over the frikkn city for nothing. Well almost nothing. His price is $97 ($107 w/ a new rad. cap.) I leave exhausted but happy knowing I have the right one. It makes a huge difference when the guys working there can give you the skinny on what fits what-- experience pays. Got home and dropped the bugger in, took another 20 min. Total of about an hour work time. Running around time about 6 hours........ Then I took off to school for my Econ Final

Way too much shit to deal with today. At least the thing sounds like it's running ok..... We'll see.

All shiny and new....

Lots of cold beer to sooth over the rough edges today....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Top of the morning!

Fabulous Friday

Days like today make me feel like I'm alive. I almost had to call in "well" and keep riding. I did a Marin Headlands loop on the SS before work. After the CX ride in GGP on Wed I was a bit tired but felt pretty good. Riding off road from the city in 20 min, with the early morning sun shining and a cool breeze on your face is a great way to start the day. Awesome....

Top of the Headlands looking South-West

I'm loving the SS right now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Howell Mountian Challange

415... better recognize!

Class/ Expert Single Speed: 3rd Place

Course: 24 miles in T2:39 similar to N.V.D.C. shorter climb/ tons of single track.

Teammates: Geoff in Expert and Andy in Sport (both in age-group)

This year I have put a lot more focus on mountain biking and Howell Mtn. was one of the 3 races I had planned on from the start of the year. The other 2 being Napa Valley D.C. and Skyline Park, both which I attended earlier this year.

I got a ride up to Napa with Geoff and it gave us some time to catch up which was nice. I felt good going into this race. I had a great ride the previous Sunday with Andy at China Camp and was planning to let it all hang out. last week I had some leg muscle "flair up" which prevented me from doing the hard climbing efforts I would have liked to do for preparation but I did get in some good workouts for leg speed including the Port ride in Oakland which, for the SS, is half the battle.

It was cool to see some guys I don't get to see often. I was chatting so much, I only managed to get in about 30 min of warm up. My start wave was Expert and Sport SS combined and I lined up on the front row.

Whistle blows and once again, we're off like a heard of raging turtles. I swear the SS starts must look hilarious from a spectator's view. Anyway as we scoot up the paved start and as we get nearer to the bottleneck, leading onto the single track, I jumped into the lead and just kept the pace high. I wanted to get a good clean shot at the run-up and kept the pressure on all the way. I succeeded in staying in the lead past the run section and continuing on past the "airport" and along the open fire roads. I looked back and had a gap, I thought OK, better just ride tempo, conserve a bit, and wait to see who will be the players. I guessed it would be probley either Keith or Isaias. It turned out Keith did pull a bridge move with another guy I didn't know and we were off and running.

Keith went to the front and set a good pace. I was feeling good and it gave me a chance to sit in a bit. I knew Keith had done this race before and knew his way around, so it was looking like it might be our little race. Things were going well and I moved to the front right before the most technical part of the course. It's a section of strung together sharp downhill switch-backs and I was going perhaps a little-too-fast for the first lap and took a digger on the same tight left-hander that got me on the 1st lap in the N.V.D.C. you think I would learn!

As I was getting up, Keith went by and said "it's 3 laps, take it easy" he was right, I knew it. I was getting a little bit excited so after catching back up I decided to just be patient, ride together and see how things unfolded. We were moving along nicely then we started to get into the climbing portion of the race. I started having some difficulty and had to walk sooner than the others and a gap was opening.


OK be calm , ride your pace and I might be able to close. YA... no. After getting done with the major climbs I was back onto the open/ flatter portion and could no longer see Keith or the other guy. Well, a little deflating but not the end of the world. I kept the pace high (around 100 rpm's) on the flat and really was in the zone.

On the 2nd lap, I was still in 3rd and did completely solo. I was able to get into a good rhythm and started to picking off riders. No sooner had I gotten back on to the single track that I came upon Geoff. I rode past and he gave me a 30 sec time off Keith and yelled at me to keep hammering. He wasn't having too good a day and was "on a Sunday ride" he puled out after 2 laps.

I started the 3rd and final lap and felt the twingy signs of cramps coming on :( Oh man not now, not when I really wanted to lay it down as I felt surprisingly good otherwise. I consumed all the gel I had left and started drinking more frequently. I figured running out of fluid half-way into the last lap would be ok.....

When I hit one of the short steep climbs after the half way point, I was getting almost-lock-up leg cramps, what a dilemma. At this point, I was starting to worry about not even making it to the finish much less hold onto 3rd.

Well sure enough, starting the biggest climb for the last time, Isaias caught me and slowly passed me as I was walking my bike. It was painful to see him creep away but there was nothing I could do. He looked like he was in some difficulty as well and I figured if I kept him close I might have a chance to catch him. Sure enough, that chance came on the final of 3 big rocky whoops. I got back on his wheel and from there it was flat/ rolley/ downhill to the finish. He prompted me to "go ahead", I obliged and proceeded to drill it. Sorry buddy! I was on a mission from there on out and opened up a gap.

Going past the airport I took a glance to see if Isaias was making any time back and I couldn't see him. I drove it home as fast as I could even sprinting around the finishing track alone. I was just going for max time at that point.

Although I felt that I could have done better, it was a great result. I got to have a tactical race and got the hole-shot which is super important in MTB racing and Cyclocross. Better, stronger, faster is the aim. October will be crunch time.

I think I'm on the right track.

Thanks to Geoff, and Andy for the rides. It was great to see the familiar faces of Keith, Isaias, Eric Nelson, the CycleSport crew, Paul B, and Brian Estell. Might have missed some there....


1st Andrew Hall/ 2nd Keith Marchando/ 3rd Nick Hanni

Good race for sure!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Papa's got a whole new bag.

Cyclocross is on the horizon and I am super motivated--more so than ever this year. All things considered I had a good season last year and I have approached the 2007 season completely differently.

SS MTB races have been the key goals this year with road cycling playing a supporting role. I've had some good form, bad luck and bad form--good luck. I got some more fit issues sorted out and a lame crash to bounce back from. This year has thrown a lot of challenges my way, including returning to school for a business degree.

However, the training data (love the Power Tap) shows huge improvement (power vs HR etc... blah, blah, blah....) in only the last 4 months I have been using it. I have also broken almost all my PR times for various fitness tests from earlier this year. So... things are coming along, somewhat slower than planned, but the improvement is there and for now-- I'll take it.

I have some exciting devlopments related to the CX season, that is just extra motivation to train harder and smarter... Shoot, I even started my running this week, a month sooner than last year...

I laugh every every time I see this pic....

Cyclocross....Gotta love the pain