Monday, January 30, 2012

Taking on the Old Caz

It's the last Tuesday of the month and the last day of the month, that's gotta mean something. When you figure it out let me know. Tuesday nonetheless and time for another awesome ride with perfect January(?) weather.

Quick weekend report, while NoHandle sought friends to ride with and while R.G. took in some coastal views, long lost FT3er's Ghost, Green Fro and your own Cappy took on the Grasshopper Adventures "Old Caz" Cross "training ride." I will skip the part about how Green Fro spilled an entire cup of coffee on the seat of my new race van and get straight to the good stuff. While billed as a training ride, there are in fact posted results, so many people take it pretty seriously. Not sure how serious we were going to take this thing, the three of us lined up toward the mid-back of the 250 or so rider pack. Once the ride began we found ourselves in a massive bike train that must have extended a mile. There wasn't much room, nearly elbow to elbow from the shoulder to the centerline. Green Fro got a little fresh with a rider's wheel in front of him and went down in a flash, not the best way to start a 60ish mile cross ride race(?). Ghost and I soft pedaled for a bit because stopping in that moving mass would have been a bad idea. After a bit we decided that Fro would have some work to do to catch up, groups were starting to form, the pace was picking up and we were headed downhill. The first long decent was all on dirt and provided for some exciting railing on the cross bike. Some dudes were laying it on the line, at that point I lost Ghost too. Tons of passing and being passed was going on at that point. Surprise, to me it was starting to feel like a race. Once at the bottom it was a gravelish roll with lots of puddles in a super fast pack. Good times. Then onto the road for a while. I was in a group of about ten or so riders, of course I found myself on the front doing work to try to snatch up the group in front of us. Shortlythereafter, another bigger group caught us, and Curtis was in there. We hit another dirt climb and that was followed by a sweeet and long decent down to a creek that was flowing pretty well. Thankfully Ghost gave me the hot stuff to rub on my legs so they stayed warm even underwater (I will get to the burning part later). Guess what, more climbing after the decent, on dirt, and that is where I took down a delicious peanut butter, honey and bacon sandwich on a sourdough english muffin. Keeping the energy level in balance proved to be key. There was more riding along a creek now on pavement before we transition back onto some highway riding. Road tactics were in full effect, smart riders sat in. Not me though, I kept finding myself on the front of that group. We made it back to the puddled gravely section previously mentioned and that was the route back home. Up the super long decent, now climb we started with to the finish line at the top. That was when the burning started. Not only did my legs burn from riding, (which I love... "I am a cyclist..." damn those two steep pitches required some deep digging, but they also felt like I had a sunburn. Once the sun hits the legs with the hot stuff on 'em, you really get to enjoy heat.

Results are posted here if you are interested; There were some familiar faces out there, some Sac CX racers, some MTBers from wayyy back, especially a few of the top finishers. Those guys have been at this a long time. FT3 represented well. Beautiful views out there, redwoods, eucaliptis trees and the like. Great stuff. FT3 needs to represent on this one next year. It is soooo worthy.

I hope to be in this week but not sure at this time. Let's start the count off at Zero just in case.

Ride like you mean it.


Trails from Tuscany, Part 1

While it has been a few weeks since I last slung a leg over a bicycle, the time has been well spent. As I noted in the HFC last week, the weather has been unseasonable dry and warm(ish). That was up until a week ago, when we got over a foot of snow. Despite the conditions, there are many 2-wheeled devotees in the hill country where we are staying. I cornered one such rider last weekend on a sojourn to a nearby monastery, hidden deep in the country's largest national park. While he spoke only a few words of english, we managed to have a 30 minute conversation regarding the state of cycling in this part of Italy. He too has a family, and was out on a 2-hour loop from his house down in the valley. It was Sunday, so he must be a member of Our Lady. He was riding an older steel Pinarello with some parts swapped out for more durability in the winter months. It weighed like a tank, but rode smooth as silk.

The park itself is a national treasure, began by monks hundreds of years ago as a source of timber for the burgeoning city of Florence. Eventually, the Church gave the land back to the state (or the state took it, depending on who you ask), and left a dozen monks to care for the monastery. The Italian version of National Forest Service maintains the park, and it is pristine. Teeming with trails, statues, chapels, and more, it's otherworldly. Check the pics for evidence of bridge work and a trailside cross for prayer. The latter would be handy on some of our sketchier downhill runs. While roaming through their unlocked and completely accessible field office, I stumbled upon what could be the official vehicle of FT3. I like that Italians drive Unimogs, Ivecos and LandRovers as state vehicles. They may be bankrupt, but they dress well and drive sweet cars.

I am also working on Il Progetto (the project), and will unveil it once it's road worthy. There are a couple of spare bikes here, 2 mtb and 1 old steel road, and the latter needs much love. With the VAT at 20%, and the poor exchange rate, I won't likely be investing in a fine Italian steed any time soon. More to follow in the coming weeks.

Sooo, with all that said, this is your latest installment of the long-distance callout. I won't be present, but I trust you will get the job done all the same. Missing the crew, tacos, and my quiver. One saving grace, Hungarian hot sauce. Eros Pista is a fine and very warm sauce from our friends in Budapest. I will try to bring some home. Pics below for those interested. Included are views of the villa, the nearby forest, some homemade pizza, our staff car, and more.

Ciao tutti!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of the Taco

Date: 1/24/2012
Riders: Cap'n, B, Nocar, Xteric, NoHandle, Keds (taco session)
Climate: Mild and dry
Soils: All states of saturation, from hard and tacky to deep mud
Route: Drop to the lake, turn CCW to horse camp, drop below the first dam, back up and continue lake loop, grab some horse trail, Barne's Back, Park Creek, cross country bushwhacking over slash piles and through dense stands of immature fir to Wedding March, 1A, continue lake loop, horse trail, end. or something like that.

I was surprised to see Cappy drive up to the Mosquito Lot with B in the back seat and Booker riding shot gun. Apparently, he received a last minute pardon from the governor and was free to ride. I loaded up and the Cap'n pulled in to the gas station, estimated the round trip costs, and we pooled all our moneys to get the FT3 shuttle on the road. It reminded me of hitch hiking in Guatemala.

Cappy rhetorically asked who would RideLead and we were off.

Ever striving to be better and more informed citizens, Mr. Obama's State of the Union Address was broadcasted first from the automobiles' sound systems and then by B's phone device. We were thus able to engage in a civic, non-partisan discussion of some of the salient points throughout the ride.

Somewhere on Barne's Back we encountered our first pool of deep mud. By Park Creek we had plowed through spots so deep it gummed up drive trains. At one stop I lifted my bike hoping to dislodge some of the mud by shaking it around a bit. I was confronted by about ten pounds of new weight. I will say that the Geax tires are fan-tastic in the slop.

Mud gave way to snow and we laid more fresh tracks. After a hilarious search for Wedding March where THTH prevailed as master route finder, we raced the descent, dense and fast as quicksilver.

The Knott Hole was bare when we pushed through the door. Mother Rye declared that the dining room was closed after 9PM so we sidled up to the bar. Service was prompt, but as one shell after another ripped in half at the first bite, no one commented.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lit Up Like A Rolling Christmas Tree

A ride went off as is the ordinary last night. In addition to six riders, two runners and a support bike, headed off into the unseasonably dry and mild conditions. Upon bikes, Cap’n, B, NoCar, T2, Councilman, and Lars “found” the trails slick with needles but fast. The runners Xterric and Ace (newbie) were escorted around the lake by Keds. A few rarely taken trails were sniffed out and found yielding a 50% return on the hunt. Sneaky Scouts offers a great albeit short connection from the picnic table area to the Qualifier, while Bushwacked had been thwarted by some entity trying to minimize impact. The trail discussion had an air of revolution. In an attempt to retain control, I admit I had to use ride leadership as a bully pulpit to ward off the attacks. Fearing a second week of coup attempts, I felt lifting the pace and hitting some “proper” trails may keep the revolt at bay. The combo of horse trails, #8 drop from Ferrari Mill, Palin’s, and Blair Witch provided the tentative stability needed to return to tacos while retaining office. With the sense of protest and revolution still in the air, palatably lingering even above the burn of the hot sauce, there then proceeded talk of name change. The observation the T2 had been a bit more consistent than T1 prompted the call to remove the primary “1” from T1 and give that to T2, thus properly ordering the T’s in level of commitment to the ride…did ya follow that? Sensing the disturbance in the force as any good Jedi will, who should walk in the door, in order to defend his name? The real and only T1! Might I add wearing a pretty darn classy G Spoke Carhart jacket…do I sense the need for a team set of jackets? Thus with order mildly restored, and using the very civil Roberts Rules procedures a few important decisions regarding future rides were made (see end of post for dates and times). Thus the ride ended…however, feelings of revolution are only ever temporarily put to rest, the current is there, will the Arab Spring give way to the Pollywood Winter? Great, now we will all need to get Twitter accounts so we can follow the happenings!
With some of the quorum departing for pilgrimages to the birth place of cycling, and the air of unrest, and having not plagiarized in some time, I feel it time for a bit of a sermon…Apologies to Jonathan Edwards for the destruction of his sermon, but here goes.
Mt. Bikers in the Hands of an Angry FT3
We find it easy to tread on and crush, like I do on the Sunday ride, a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by; thus easy is it for FT3 when they please to cast lesser riders off the back…
Those lesser riders are now the object of that very same screw tightening and hammering of FT3, that is expressed in the same torments of being dropped way off the back. And the reason why those riders aren’t always pedaling squares is not because FT3, in whose power they are in, is not very angry with them, as angry as FT3 is with many miserable roadies and hipsters currently pedaling squares, who feel and bear the fierceness of FT3’s wrath. Yea, FT3 is a great deal more willing to drop the great numbers that are now on earth, yea, doubtless with many that are now riding bikes, who it may be are soft pedaling, than FT3 is with many of those who we have already blown up and left gasping on the climb behind us.
So that it is not because FT3 is unmindful of their baggy shorts and flat pedals, and does not resent it, that FT3 does not let loose a blistering attack and cut them off. FT3 is not altogether such a “recreationalist” as they are, though they may imagine us to be so. The wrath of FT3 burns against them, their lack of fitness does not improve, the sweep vehicle is prepared, the searing attack made ready, the legs are a burning rage and glowing. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, the attack hath opened its mouth under them…
Unfit cyclist ride over the pain cave on rusty sprockets and chains, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear the weight of an unfit cyclist, and these places are not seen. The launch of an attack goes unnoticed at noonday; the most alert rider cannot discern the change in pace until too late. FT3 has so many unsearchable ways of dropping unfit cyclist out of the world and sending them back to pedaling squares, that there is nothing to make it appear that FT3 had need to be at the expense of EPO or go out of the ordinary course of the training plan to destroy any unfit cyclist at any moment…
Friday 1/6/2012 South Fork Double Cross: Roll out at 10:00 (Firm) at the Mos Lot. 9:30 for Coffee at Cap’n’s if the offer holds?
Sunday 1/8 or 15/2012 Winter crossing of Strawberry Kirkwood…I am a go for either Sunday, which one works better?

Monday, January 2, 2012


First Tuesday of The Month, First Tuesday of The Year and SSFT3. Hope you can make it. Bring yer S.S. or bring your gears, just bring yourself and enjoy some more of the dry December riding we are fortunate to have before us. I will be riding up, departing Pville around 4:00pm. Those of you with lax schedules, please text me if you wish to join me. Hopefully there will be room in a vehicle for a return trip. If not, there is always the option to ride home as well.

We cyclists are always looking for the next big thing. Some of us may have already discovered it. Turns out that thing is cyclocross. None can 'splain it better than these two cool cats;

Bike commuting is cool too, apparently. I hear lots of people in Davis, Portland and even Sacramento are doing it. These guys are even doing it.

That's about enough BS for now. Jumping to important matters like commitment's to race XTerra's, Race the Divide and Cross the Darian gap, we have some training to do. Those of you with said commitments need to get some base miles in so NoCar and I are proposing the inaugural 2012 South Fork Double Cross Ride. Departure time has been set at 10:00a.m. for this Friday, January 6. Other long ride suggestions may be considered but you must be present at the taco table and committed to ride to influence those discussions. Just know the ride window is from 10:00a.m. to about 5 or 6:00p.m.

That's all for now. See some or all you homies tomorrow. First Ride of 2012, SSFT3.

Be there or be riding squares.