OYJ Arlington Loop 2008

My first ride with the Yellowjackets was the 40+ mile Arlington Avenue loop.
There were about 100 riders ready to go at Lake Merritt around 8am. I handed in my membership application and check (30 dollar annual fee) and saddled up. Riders went out in three waves, Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner (roughly). I went with the middle group and it was a good choice. We didn’t see the advanced guys again. They must have been hauling ass.

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Velocity & Society

It’s official. I’m now a Yellowjacket I’ve been wanting to the join the Oakland cycling club for a while, ever since I bought my road bike, but have put it off for many reasons, mostly lethargy and, well, the ski season. The ski season is over, the sun is shinning and I need people to ride with to get me out on the road consistently, so I plunked down my 30 bikes and I’m now a member of the club.
Oakland Yellowjackets logo

The group is much different than I thought. In my warped mind, cycling is a very homogenous sport, but not with the Yellowjackets. It’s a very diverse group. Young and old, although mostly older than me. Men and women, although mostly men. Black and white. Straight and gay. Skilled and novice.
The group rides at 8am every Saturday with routes designed for all levels. Most of the rides leave from Lake Merritt in Oakland (about 2 miles from my place), but there are also routes that start from BART stations around the Bay Area and some that require a little drive, like next weekend’s roll around Sonoma. Here’s the ride calendar on the club’s impressively up to date website.

Giro TTT or American in Pink

The Giro kicked off today with the always Interesting Team Time Trial (TTT). It works like this. All the riders from the team (in the Giro, there are 8 per) leave the starting gate at the same time. The ride together in a long line for 26 kilometers. The clock is stopped when the 5th rider from the team crosses the finish line. The fastest team wins the TTT and each individual member gets the same time as the team. Interesting, no?
Giro TTT or American in Pink
So while it’s hard to win with the Giro with the Team Time Trial, one could easily lose it. Say, for example, you’re a strong rider on poor team, you could find yourself minutes behind the other contenders on stronger teams. It’s hard to make up that kind of time, even over 3 weeks of racing.
There are two American teams in the Giro this (up from the normal 0), High Road and Slipstream/Chipotle. Both are solid teams. High Road has been racking up victories all over the world and Slipsteam has the national time trial champs of USA, Canada and England, David Zabriskie, David Millar and Ryder Hesjedal respectively. They had just come off a TTT win at Road Atlanta in the Tour of Georgia.
Slipsteam went off early and posted a fast time. Favored teams like CSC and Astana finished behond and the end the of the day, Slipsteam’s time held up and they won the stage. Better yet, because American rider Christian Vande Velde actually crossed the finish line first, he was leading the race and would don the Maglia Rosa, a first for an American in 20 years!
I’m not going to write about every stage in the Giro, since I know not too many people are interested, but it’s great to see American cycling on the rise.
On a side note, Team Slipsteam/Chipotle uses Flickr to host their image and here’s a link to the Giro d’Italia Set.

RAI TV

I looked into the Giro coverage on Versus and decided their “weekend only” coverage wasn’t going to be enough for me, so I called Comcast and ordered the Italian RAI TV channel which is covering the race every day. It’s live coverage, but it hardly matters since I have to DVR it anyway. And the announcers, well, they all speak Italian. While very passionate and interesting to listen to, they are less than instructive. Again, no matter, I’m watching for the racing. Though I will miss the insightful commentary of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, I’m happy to have some Giro to come home to every night for the next three weeks.

The Giro is Coming or the Race for the Maglia Rosa

giro_logo.jpg

I’ve been watching the Tour de France for years, first on ESPN and now on OLN/Versus, but I’ve never seen the Giro d’Italia, the first of the season’s 3 grand tours (Giro, TdF, Veulta d’Espana) that take place over 3 weeks. That will end this weekend, when Versus will start broadcasting the Giro’s first stage this coming Saturday.

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Arlington Ave

Now that daylight savings time is here and there’s a few hours of sunlight after I return home form work, I want to started getting some rides in before sunset. Yesterday was my first ride. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going, I just knew I wanted to get 15 miles in. That’s a short ride, but long enough to get a good sweat going and the blood flowing. It would probably take an hour or so.

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Tour de Cure Summary

Tour de Cure Summary

So the Tour de Cure went off without a hitch, I’m happy to say. I had a great time. Made the 50 miles (or so – the route was actually only 47 miles and change) without any trouble. Hard to beat cycling through Napa with friends, meeting new people all while raising money for the American Diabetes Association.
It was an early start. I was up at 530 to get everything ready and left at 645 for the hour drive up to Yountville in Napa. It was foggy and cold, which didn’t make me too happy, but it would burn of eventually, so no big deal, right?

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Ready for the Tour

It’s about time to hit the sack. I need all the rest I can muster before my big ride tomorrow. I have to get up around 5:30am. That will give me about an hour to get my shit together and another hour for the ride up to Yountville in Napa. Check in is at 745 and there’s a rolling start. I’ll hitting the road with Team Schwab around 8am. I expect to get the 50 miles done in about 4 hours at roughly 12.5 MPH, but I really don’t know since I have no clue what the route is like or what my fellow riders are going to want to do. I’ll be in no rush. The weather is supposed to be great and we’ll be riding through the heart of California wine country. Should be spectacular. I’m going to take a camera and try take some pics.
It’s not late to donate. I’ve already reached my fundraising goal, but if you want to support and the American Diabetes Association, you can do it here.

Wired Up

I finally picked up a computer for my bike. After much searching, I settled on the Blackburn Delphi 4.0. It’s a pretty slick piece of machinery. The thing weighs about an ounce. It’s singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland and water-resistant to three atmospheres. It tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome and Gstaad. More importantly, I get speed, cadence, time, average speed and even altitude if I can figure out how to set the altimeter.
It was a monumental nightmare to get my bike wired up. The instructions were for shit, which is problematic, because it’s amazingly complicated. First I had to get the battery in and that was no easy chore. Then I had to mount the magnet on the front spoke and the wireless transmitter on the front fork. The cadence magnet has to be mounted on the left crank with the cadence sensor on the left chain stay. Then I had to run a wire under the bottom bracket and along the down tube and mount the actual computer on the handle bars, which, of course, I did backwards the first time because I’m an idiot.
The first ride out, I wasn’t getting any readings and after 30 minutes of wrestling with the thing, I was almost ready to give up. The problem was that the magnets were too far apart from the sensors. Both sets of magnets and sensor have to be between 1 and 3mm apart, which is a little tricky with fat fingers like mine. I moved everything closer together, and bingo, I started to get data. Very cool.
The sun was setting, but I needed to get out on the bike to test it out. Here’s the deal on my first recorded ride. I rode from my place up Adeline & Shattuck towards the Berkeley campus, up to Elmwood and back down Alcatraz to my house. The total mileage was 5.54 which I managed in 25 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 12.9 MPH. My cadence was 54 and I hit a top speed of 28 MPH cranking down Alcatraz. Short ride, but it was fun and I needed to stretch my legs before my first 50 miler tomorrow.