Burlingame Crit 2008

Burlingame Crit 2008
Decided to give myself a break from the bike and instead go watch some other people rude at the Burlingame Criterium down on the peninsula. I lived in Burlingame, which is about 20 minutes south of San Francisco, for more than 2 years when I worked at Electronic Arts from 1998-2001 so it was a homecoming of sorts.
There are several races throughout the day culminating with the pro men’s and women’s races which wound around a short course in the heart of downtown Burlingame. There are lots of corners so many great places to watch the race and take photos. It was a beautiful day on the peninsula, so it was great to walk around the course, taking in the race, people watching and snapping a few pics. Christopher Hipp took top honors among the men, while Anna Woldring captured the women’s crown.
Christine Thorburn
The Burlingame Crit 2008 is a relatively minor race in the diaspora of world cycling, but Olympian Christine Thorburn (above left) was there and, amazingly, rode in both the pro men’s and women’s race. She was right up there up the boys unitl the end when she faded to a distant 59th. The Women’s race starts immediately on the heels on the men’s. It had to held up slightly so Christine could change numbers. Not surprisingly she didn’t win. Clearly she could have if she didn’t compete in the race right before. This must have been some sort of training ride for her.
More pictures of the Burlingame Criterium on Flickr. Full results of all the races on the official site.

Europeans hold national road championships

Just before the Tour de France every year, European countries hold their national road racing championships. At the tour the winners of those races proudly wear the colors of the national champion of their country. It not only makes it easier to spot these riders, but makes for a more colorful event.
Here are the results:
Germany: Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Belgium: Jurgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto)
Luxembourg: Frank Schleck
Estonia: Jaan Kirsipuu (CFC Sport Club)
Denmark: Nicki Sorensen (CSC)
Spain: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne)
France: Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel)
Italy: Filippo Simeoni (Flaminia)
Kazakhstan: Assan Bazayev (Astana)
Netherlands: Lars Boom (Rabobank)
Russia: Sergey Ivanov (Astana)
Switzerland: Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner)
Portugal: Joao Cabreira (LA-MSS)
Poland: Marcin Sapa (DHL Author)
Latvia: Normunds Lasis (Dynatek Latvija)
Norway: Kurt-Asle Arvesen
Sadly only Valverde, Vogondy, Wegmann, Arvesen Schleck and Sorensen on this list will be competing in this year’s TdF. Kurt-Asle Arvesen.
The US National Road Race Championships won’t be held until August 8th in Greenville, SC.

OYJ Palomares 2008

Saturday’s ride started out great. It really did. We left Lake Merritt around 8:20 heading up into the hills for a 72 mile ride that would take us south all the way to Sunol and back. It was nice and cool. Very foggy around the lake and the hills. Perfect weather for climbing. It was a big group, over 100 riders if I had to guess. But it turned sour so quickly.
About 20 miles into the ride, I was feeling great. The sun was starting to peek out from behind the clouds, but it was still coolish. We were ascending the last part of the climb up Redwood Road before the descent into Castro Valley. Then my back tire started feeling sluggish and looked down. It was flat. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!!!! After last week’s ride, this was the last thing I needed.
I pulled over resigned my fate. Took the wheel off, got the tube out and started to work on replacing it while riders left me in the dust (literally) by the side of the road. This was the first time I changed a tube on my own and I made a nighmarish hash out of it. I accidentally took the tire off the rim completely. It wasn’t that big of deal, but it just added to the time it took me to get back on the road, which was about 30 minutes.
By the time I was ready to roll again my hands were covered in chain grease and (as I found out) there was only one club rider behind me. I was exhausted from wrestling with the tire and just wanted to get the hell out of there. I continued to climb and caught up with Erin, who I found out, is married to Ray who I met last week in San Jose. She told me that Ray was well behind us, which turned out to be lucky for me.
I rode with Erin up over the summit and on the start of the descent until I realized that I forgot to tighten my back break (big mistake) and had to stop. After I tightened it, I was feverishly trying to catch up to her when I heard something funny from the back tire (never good when you’re going 35+ miles an hour) and then a loud POP! like a gun being a shot – a BLOWOUT!!. A mutherfucking BLOWOUT!

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OYJ Zoo Ride 2008

I got to the top of the ride, at the Oakland Mormon Temple, took out my camera to take a shot of the hazy skyline below—there have been fires raging all week since the electrical storms over the weekend started hundreds of wildfires—and I realized I forgot to put the battery back in. I probably shouldn’t have been riding, but other than the haze (and the all the particulants in the air) it was a nice day.
Miles 27.82
Ride Time 1:57:09
MPH 14.1
Max Speed 33.8
Average Cadence
Flats 0
Here’s the route map:

and the elevation:

Alameda County v. Pillaging Cyclists

With gas approaching 5 bucks, we should expect local government officials to do everything in their power to promote cycling. Instead we get shit like this:

County considers tightening rules on cycling excursions

By Karen Holzmeister
The Daily Review
Article Created: 06/23/2008 12:02:51 AM PDT

CASTRO VALLEY — The county is circulating a new “bicycle event” law proposal that would make excursions on country roads more difficult and expensive for organized cycling clubs.
County Supervisor Nate Miley said the law would balance the concerns of bicyclists and residents.
“We want people to ride bicycles, and not to impose unfair burdens on people who live along (rural) roadways,” Miley explained.
The proposal would primarily affect roads in unincorporated Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol. However, it also would cover portions of Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, Eden Canyon, Lake Chabot, Palomares and Redwood roads, and East Castro Valley Boulevard.
For years, bands of bicycle riders have irritated residents living along rural roads.
The cyclists often clog narrow roads at unexpected times, dump litter and take restroom breaks at inappropriate places, the residents have claimed during a decade of meetings with elected and appointed Alameda County representatives.
Under the proposed new law, organizations with advertised rides and 50 or more riders would have to apply for permits, which the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office could approve or deny. The permit would cost $189. Another $150 fee would be required for informational signs, which the county would post along the requested route.
Groups with 49 or fewer riders would not be subject to permit requirements. The sheriff’s office estimates that rides with a few hundred to a few thousand cyclists occur about 20 times a year.
The proposal was introduced last week to Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council members, who had mixed reactions.
Council member Dave Sadoff called the proposal “not an unreasonable approach,” while member Cheryl Miraglia claimed it went “overboard.” The law wouldn’t take effect until it is approved by county supervisors. As of Friday, no date had been set for a hearing.
The East Bay Bicycle Coalition, which advocates for cyclists in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, is batting 0-for-3. Nearly a year ago, as the ordinance was being drafted, the coalition told the sheriff’s office that signs were unnecessary. The Oakland-based organization asked that the 50-cyclists threshold be removed and the term “bicycle event” — which could trigger the need for event liability insurance — be eliminated.

I love the “bands of bicycle riders” reference. As if we are roaming brigands irritating the local populace with our vulgar ways. I understand that there’s tension on the roads between cyclists and motorists. Always has been, always will be. Cyclists don’t want to get run over and killed and motorists don’t want to be delayed even for 5 seconds getting to where they want to go. But this whole law would be absurd. For the record, I’ve never seen anyone in my club litter or “take restroom breaks at inappropriate places”. That’s why the baby Jesus invented rest stops, which are built into every club ride. One imagines the locals think cyclists drop their shorts and crap by the side of their road. It’s batshit craziness.
Essentially what it would do is to force the Yellowjackets to pay both for a permit and a fee to ride just about every Saturday. If it does pass, I think we should send out riders in groups of 49 and then ride 5 abreast down the narrow rural roadways referred to by Supervisor Miley. Fuck ’em.
Write to Supervisor Miley and tell him what he can do with his law.
More information:

Tunnel/Grizzly Recovery Ride

It’s amazing the difference 30 degrees can make. This morning, I woke to sunny skies and a perfect crisp 75 degrees. I slept like a log last night and had a massive nap after I returned from San Jose, so I felt pretty good this morning and decided to go for a little ride.
I’m getting pretty familiar (and much better) and the Tunnel Road climb. Past there, it’s a fun little climb up Grizzly Peak beyond Skyline, something I hadn’t done before. The views of the East Bay and the city, marred by a line of brown smog on the horizon, are still amazing. After Grizzly, the route rips through Tilden Park along Wildcat Canyon and down to San Pablo Dam.
Up and around El Sobrante and it’s all downhill, albeit with a slight headwind down through Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley to Emeryville and Oakland.
Nice little ride.

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San Jose Global Warming Death Ride

Andrew at Willow Springs
Saturday’s ride was always going to be a fucking a nightmare. The length and the profile just didn’t look like fun. Add in a 40 minute drive down to San Jose for the start and a little heat wave and you’ve got the recipe for unmitigated masochism. Here’s how it went down.
We got a late start (big news). Dan was supposed to meet me at Lake Merritt for the ride down to Hellyer Park in San Jose, but when I texted to let him know I was on my way, I woke him up. It actually turned out to be a lucky break because another club rider, Lauren, showed up late and wouldn’t have the ride down to the start if we were on time.
The ride left at 8:20, as usual, and we pulled out of the Hellyer parking lot at about 8:40. It didn’t take us long to start reeling in riders, although there was only a handful, around 25 I later learned, who decided to take up the day’s challenge.
We first caught up with Ray, a club member and a grandfather. Since we had dropped Lauren way back, I suggested to Dan that we hang with Ray until Lauren caught up and then they could ride together. This both gave me a break and allowed me to talk to Ray who’s incredibly inspirational. It was tough for me to be out there in this heat. I can’t imagine how Ray who is closing in on 70 felt. But there he was chugging away at the pedals, not too fast, but fast enough. I hope that I have the strength to ride when I have a grandkids. Of course, the way things are going, I’ll be 90 when I have grandkids and will likely be closer to Ray’s age when I have kids of my own, but I digress. Lauren eventually caught up and Dan and I headed up the road.
I was carrying two water bottles in my cages and had my Camelbak (actually North Face) filled with 2 liters of ice water. It wasn’t nearly enough. Early on, it wasn’t that bad. There was a breeze and because the route was flat and we were cruising along at a good clip, you didn’t feel the heat. It wasn’t until we started the first climb up Metcalf Road that we felt the blast furnace.

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The Kindness of Strangers

I went for a little ride after work today. It was fucking hot. Scorching in the city. Over 90 degrees in Emeryville, which is really unusual. I saddled up around 6pm,. It had cooled off somewhat, but the sun was still beating down on me. I took two frozen water bottles with me, but it wasn’t really enough. Within 45 minutes, they were both warm. I headed over to Lake Merritt and wound my way through the Oakland hills to Montclair. It was a killer. I got lost, ended up on some unnecessarily steep hills.
About 10 miles and one hour into the ride, I hit Joaquin Miller Park and it got really steep. I don’t know the grade, but it’s enough to get me out of the saddle for most of its 5.7 miles. I think I would have made it to the top, but I’ll never know, because right near the summit, my chain seized up and I toppled over. Lucky for me, I was only going about 3 miles an hour, so breaking my fall with my hand was no big deal.
It always sucks to go over. It’s stunning in the moment just before you crash when you realize that you’re going to hit the pavement and there’s nothing you can do about it. It all happened so fast, there was no way to clip out. I was just along for the ride on the machine.

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Yellowjackets Logo

Yellowjackets Logo
I think the logo for the Yellowjackets is kinda wimpy. You can see it on the website. Doesn’t exactly inspire much of anything. The jerseys are these purplish red sun bursts which besides being pretty ugly, don’t exactly say “yellowjackets” to me. I think something a little more muscular as well as black and yellow would be better. I found some stock art (I will download and pay for it if the club decides it wants a new logo) and played around with some ideas and came up with the above image. How cool would that look on the back of a jersey?

Morgan Territory

Saturday’s ride to Morgan Territory got off to a very inauspicious start. The ride was leaving from the Concord BART station at 8:20am, so I spent the night at a friend’s place in Walnut Creek, about 7 miles away. The plan was to get up, have a little breakfast, get ready for the ride and cycle over to the station. But as usual, I left everything to the last minute, or rather, I was just moving very slowly and before I knew it, the clock hit 8am. I rushed everything down to the car. Got my shoes on. Didn’t have time to pump up the tires or even check them for air pressure and I hit the road. I had less than 20 minutes to make miles and didn’t really know the way. I had check Google Maps a few minutes before and had some sense, but this was really unfamiliar territory for me.
So I hauled ass, averaging almost 19 MPH over the 7 miles and arrived at 8:23, just as the last rider was pulling out of the station. I breathed a sigh of relief and latched on to the end. I had the route map clipped to my bike, but I didn’t want to ride alone. But my work wasn’t done. I had to move ahead past most of the beginning riders, past the intermediate guys to catch up with the advanced group. I finally caught up to them in Clayton 6.5 miles down the road, but this is where the hills start and just as soon as I caught them, I was dropped like a sack of potatoes. I was beat. It was starting to get hot and the worst of the ride was right in front of me .

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