Saturday, May 31, 2008


What a great experience I had on Thursday! I mentioned in my last entry that I had given my dad my old mountain bike and that my mom had just bought a bike. They were so excited like little kids at Christmas that you couldn't help but be overjoyed with them! They had already laid down the gauntlet by doing a 30+ mile ride for their first ride in...oh I don't know....25 years!
I had the EXTREME pleasure of taking them on their first ever mountain bike ride! I told them to meet me at Sycamore Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway at 10:30 am!
I had ridden down through the canyon from Thousand Oaks and ended up being a couple minutes late after finding that 5 of the creek crossings were still running! My dad was kind of pacing around trying to find a cell signal so he could call me and find out where I was! It was 1033! They were so excited and that was awesome to see!
We headed into the canyon and my mom took off like someone had just screamed go! She was quickly 100 yards ahead of us and I asked my dad if he had ever heard the expression,"don't burn all the matches in your book!" He said that that's how fast she rides! I asked him if this was the pace that she kept on the Ojai ride and he said yes! I told him that he was in trouble!
I caught up with her and realized that she was in her BIG RING! After noticing that she wasn't shifting for the little hills I asked her why not and she said that she wasn't to comfortable with shifting yet! I gave her a quick lesson and she exclaimed how much easier it was to pedal! She then increased her cadence and took off again!

On their long first ride she had started to cramp up near the end and I had told her about nutrition and hydrating! They had brought all kinds of goodies with them including fresh cut pineapple and nuts! About halfway towards the turn around I led them off the double track onto some sweet single-track! You could tell they were a little nervous at first..ok..for most of it, but every time I glanced back they were right on my tail eating it up! Once back on the fire road moms said that she didn't know if she was ready for that. I told her that she did awesome and she just grinned from ear to ear!
At the turn around we chowed down on bars and fresh pineapple! We headed back towards the beach and my mom just hit the gas again! It was a little slower as we had a bit of a headwind but she was still pushing it hard! The second time through all the water crossings they seemed to have it down...choose a line and pedal through!
When we got back to their car and I we talked about how far we had gone(12.5 miles) my moms next comment was,"that's it? Let's go home, wash the bikes and go for another ride!" FREAKING AWESOME!!!
This was definitely a highlight of my life! I couldn't of asked for the experience to be any better! I look forward to many rides with them! Oh yeah...the next day they did the 30+ mile Ojai ride again! Then they called this morning and asked where they should ride today!

Ma and Pa...Ride On!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thursday Night Fixie Fun

As we are coming out of the cold winter nights, Thursdays are getting better and better! When I asked for a Fixed Gear bike for my birthday back in January, I had one thing on my mind...Thousand Oaks Chain Gang Thursday night rides!

Drew (The Pirate?) Guarding the fleet!

As the weeks roll on, there are more and more people showing up to ride! We meet at the bike shop around 7PM and start rolling at about 7:30. All kinds of folks show up. Guys, gals, and youngsters. Most have fixies but some show up on geared road bikes and occasionally something crazy like a tall bike! We usually head down Thousand Oaks Blvd.(The main street in our community) towards Moorpark Rd. The larger the group gets the safer we all seem to feel riding on the busier roads. We usually get lot's of honks and waves. People get a kick out of seeing us all riding down the road. We also get the occasional jerk that wants to give us grief! Whatever! Once we hit Moorpark road it's a climb up to Toppers Pizza! Some of the best pizza ever!

After salad and pizza we have been lately heading out trying to find a place to race. Some weeks it's drag races, other weeks we map out a course. The last two weeks we have been going to the park behind the Thousand Oaks Library. We figured out a CRAZY figure 8 cyclocross type of race track. The first half-lap is on a 4 foot wide sidewalk that has twists and turns(even a bridge crossing) that are hard to navigate on a fixed-gear! Then it gets even CRAZIER when you hit the second half as it turns to a sandy path that also twists and turns! People were even crashing as we slowly rode the course pre-race. It then turns off the sand path onto the grass where you have to duck under some tree branches! A mushy jaunt over the soft playground surface and you finish the lap! 3 laps was the call and the first week out was NUTS! There was crashing and banging from the start, (no injuries) and I couldn't even hang with 3-4 of the guys! After that race we decided to do a gate to gate drag race. The road through the park is shaped like a big U. There are closed gates at each end and I would say that it is about 1/2 of a mile or a little more all the way around. We had someone yell o and I got a pretty good start. I was 3rd at the half-way point and I think we had pretty much dropped everyone else. As we approached the finishing gate it was slightly uphill. I looked up to see Bobby Langin Jr. and some other racer guy hammering with their heads down. In a flash Bobby screamed OH SH...and next thing you know he was flying over his bars! He did he pretty good tuck and roll and came right up to his feet screaming' "Did I win, Did I win?" The other guy had locked up into a skid that was no less than 25ft! Yeah...they were flying! I locked into a skid(I have no brakes, this is a complete lock up of the legs) and barely missed crashing into the fence! I guess we should have checked the end of the course first! The whole way back to the shop all we talked about was Bobby's Superman over the fence! He's got a pretty good talent for crashing onto his face!
We had about 20 people this last week and hope that it continues to grow! We will have to start reserving the party room at the pizza place! I also got to do the Ride of Silence this last Wed. This was a memorial ride that was held all over the country last week. Thousand Oaks had about 300 riders show up! It was pretty cool as some bike police also showed to ride with us. We rode up Thousand Oaks Blvd and made a big loop back around to the start. It was about 12 miles and there were all kinds of riders there! There were a couple really young kids that did the whole 12 miles on BMX bikes! There were old folks, racers, tag-along's, and even a few tandems. It was kind of funny when we were sitting in the parking lot waiting to take off and there were people eating GU"S and Shot Blocks! We asked each other if we missed the invitation to the race? It was a great time! We rode to Taco Bell afterwards and managed to eat a lot!
Sometime in the next couple of weeks will be the big Chain Gang Race that we have been planning for over a year! It will be from Agoura High School to the Jann's Mall parking lot! Straight down Thousand Oaks Blvd! There are a couple tough hills in the first 5 miles so correct gearing on the fixie will be key! I will definately have some pics!
I HAVE TO GIVE A HUGE CONGRATS TO MY MOM AND DAD! They have been looking to buy a bike for my mom and actually went out and rented one to try. So any regular Joe would go to an easy short bike path to get a feel for the bike! Nope! Not my parents. They decided to ride from Ventura to Ojai and back!!! Ummm yeah...that's 15 miles each way! It climbs 1000ft from Ventura to Ojai and then when you head back to Ventura it's all downhill, but usually a headwind right in your face! Though she started to have a little cramping, they made it the whole way! Awesome! Way to go guys! I am dropping off my old mountain bike to my dad tomorrow! Next up for them, a ride through Sycamore Canyon! They want me to go with them but I am not sure I will be able to keep up!

Ride On,

Friday, May 23, 2008

National Race Report

Wow! What a race! I am really glad that I pre-rode on Saturday in the heat as I think that it helped my body adjust...or ready itself for the hell I was about to put it through! After a rough nights sleep on the hard farmland, I awoke to cool air and a touch of fog. I new that it would get hot quick but I just couldn't decide on what jersey to wear? I definatley made the right choice with the short sleeve.
We lined up with a fairly large group and a lot of the usual suspects. There are some real powerhouses in the 35+ clydesdale class that are really fast and I even notoced some new guys to! We started at about 817 am and it had heated up quickly! We were off at a really quick pace so I tried to jump on to the front group as best as I could. I held on pretty well for the first climb even passing a few guys! Legs felt good but I knew I had a long way to go. The had us do this weird quarter lap twice. It included the hardest climb of the course so the second time up I backed off a touch so I wouldn't blow up! I continues to pass slower riders and then I hit the descent! I just let go of the brake and flew down the hill! When we rounded the corner by the dual slolom course to start the next climb, I found myself staring directly into the hot sun! I was sweating so much that I gave my bike below a bath! It was SOOO hot! I settled into a pace and started sucking down the liquids!
I really felt this climb as it felt like every rotation of the pedals I got closer to the sun! Soon I was at the top and really just blasted down the hill! I knew the corners to slow for from the pre-ride the day before and I was really able to open up some gaps on the guys behind me. As I rounded the landfill and started that climb I realized that there was two guys from my class right ahead. This is a rolling climb with 3 levels before it tops out and drops into the valley back towards the finish. I got close to the two guys and waited until the third roller to make my attack. As we approached I stood up and hit the turbo as I climbed! I blew past them and I think caught them by complete surprise. Knowing that I had a big downhill for recovery...I was pretty much going at 170 percent! At the bottom of the descent I looked back and saw no one! The next section of single-track is hard as it's slightly up-hill and a little technical. I kept my effort at about 130 percent and was able to put more time into the guys! As I hit the next short and steep climb I had to dial it way back! Once over that it was another fast descent that leads you to the last climb.

Right at the begining of this monster...I saw an angel! There was a man with a cooler and bottles of ice cold water! He sceamed as I approached asking if I wanted it dumped down my back? I screamed back that I wanted it on my head! He warned me that it was ice cold and I told him that I didn't care! Just dump away! That was SO WHAT I NEEDED to get up this hill! As I was about 1/2 way up I kept feeling as there were people closing on me and I tried to push as hard as I could! Once to the top (totally blown) I got ready for the last descent. I caught two more guys on the way down and found a way around them! Once at the bottom it was 2 miles at a 1 percent grade to the finish! I dropped through the creekbed and hammered it the last 1k to the finish!
Not only did I win my class...I beat EVERYONE that I started with! I can't tell you how much this win stokes me! Though XC racing is a total blast, my focus is longer endurance events. Winning XC is like butter on a warm muffin!

PS: this was once again typed on my blackberry during lunch...please forgive any spelling errors!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Santa Ynez National

I woke early today in order to get the dogs walked and to get Kristen ans I some breakfast. Then it was off to get a BADLY needed haircut! My chops were so long I was afraid that they would slow me down! I then stopped by the bike shop to pick up my trusty steed! I blew up my rear wheel yesterday for the last time and decided to just get a new one. It seems that I always need to replace something vital a day or two before a race!
I hit the road only to realize that the good ol' 101 freeway was a parking lot due to the Oxnard Strawberry Festival was going on. It also did not help that it was 11am and already 95 degrees! Everyone seemed to be headed for the beach. Before long I had made it through Ventura and it was pretty smooth sailing until I came up on an overturned SUV near UCSB. That took a b it to get through but I arrived to the venue just in time to watch the Pro XC guys take off! I felt really bad for them as it was 102 degrees!
They had a great showing with most of the big guys showing up. After the end of lap 2 there was a group of about 10 off the front and they looked pretty freaking strong in the heat. The finish was an odd one! The first guy came in and there was no one with him? I couldn't tell you his name as it did not sound familiar to me? Geoff Kabush came in about 2 or 3 minutes later. Then the next 8 to 10 guys came in seperated by a minute or more. I had never seen it so strung out? Weird!
I then got dressed and headed out for a lap on the course. it was still over 100 so I filled up a bottle and my camelback and was off. I find this course pretty tough as far as the fact that there is not a lot of recovery. You are either climbing or descending a very rough very narrow singletrack! Me being the fat belly that I am....I have a hard time on the climbs. There are a couple steady climbs that I may be able to hammer up and make some passes on...we'll see!
When I got finished I went up the hill to watch the dual slalom races. This was pretty intense! It's so cool to see all the pro's that you read about! These guys are so dialed it was fun to watch the fly down the hill!
I went into Buelton for dinner and then headed back to the course to settle in for the night. It's cooled down considerably as I sit here and type this out on my Blackberry in my tent! Please forgive any spelling or gramatical errors as there is no spell check on my Crackberry! I will send a full race report tomorrow night! I really want to win this one....
Please don't forget get about ! I would ask that you please continue to pray for the Nelson Family. Susan has had some better days since radiation started and the blogosphere keeps pouring out support for them which is awesome! He's had some cool and touching updates this last week...
Keep climbing...