Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday's Lunch Ride

Howdy all,

My first ever post on a blog! Well, Todays weather was beautiful. Slight breeze and sunny skies. We met at SC and hit the road with Scott, Patrick, Sandie and me ( Marcus). I must say that Sandie led quite the charge up the paved road. I was thinking - does she have a meeting to get to? But I think she just had a lot of energy. On the initial pedal up the pavement, were deciding where to go. Scott and I were kinda clueless, as we don't know the trail names, so we left it up to Patrick, who wanted to take the 123 with the water tower (or something like that up), and then the upper, middle and lower postal on the way down. Scott hung with our blistering pace up to the water tower and then announced he was going to turn around. All I can say is it was great to see you there Scott! As crazy as it sounds, if you keep it up, the climbs are just as much fun as the descents! Hope to see you again for tomorrows ride.

As usual, the ride was sprinkled with interesting conversation. I found out that Patrick lives and works right downtown. Whadda life! And Sandie broke her ankle on the middle postal route. Which brings me to my next topic. Now, with all respect to Jeff P. Who is one of the grooviest guys I have met in recent history, and who of course, deserves to make all decisions regarding the trails he has made... I think we should change the name of Middle Postal Route to something like " Sandies Ankle" or "Sandies Folly" or " Sandies High Speed Wipeout Trail"

The fact that she rode out and made it back to the office ( With Patricks help) is pretty darn studly ( studettely) and I think is worthy of repeating. Ya know, in 10 years from now, there will be alot of others joining us for our lunch rides. We must be reminded of some of the gutsy things that have happened in the Facility Bike Club. We must repeat them to the newcomers when they ask " Why is this trail named Sandies....." Whell, let meh tell ya sumthin there little fella... Whay back when, Sandie dun come around this corner and flippted her bicyle and did many a starfish style cartwheels down this here hill... Little did she know, she broke her ankle. She still made it beck to work... Amazin...

So, yes, as the new guy, I am emboldened by the power of the Blog, and use it to state my case...

If others agree, and of course Jeff P agrees to relenqiush the mild named " Middle Postal Route" To something spicey and filled with lore, then lets agree to make it so!

Ebbett's Pass

We road up Ebbett's Pass this Sunday, something that has been on my to-do-list for a long time. Ebbett's Pass is located in Alpine County, California. It's a narrow alpine road that is closed during the winter season. In fact, the pass is closed right now. To automobiles! There are still campers and anglers along the way, but from 7,000 feet to 8,730 feet, it was bicycles only.

We began our ride in Markleeville, CA at 5,500 feet, with the Jody and the Potters. The first half of the ride was a gentle climb along the Carson River. The sound of the rushing river winding through the narrow canyon cleared the mind. Midway up, there was an old cow camp. The old wood and green meadow spoke of simpler times. Around the 7,000 foot marker, the road pitched up steeply, and the country became more rugged. It was also at this point that we went around the Road Closed Gate.

The road became narrow, and I was glad I was not in a car. Mountain roads like this scare the heck out of me in a car. I feel like I'm more in control of my destiny when traveling these types of roads on a bicycle. We climbed up past the snow level, and the temperatures began to cool off. Kinney Reservoir at 8353 feet, was completely iced over still.

Kristy near the top of the climb.

It was a great feeling to reach the top. 3,200 Feet over 18 miles. It was certainly a milestone. It made me think of how far I'd come on my bike since I started getting back into cycling in 2001. We met up with some other cyclists at the top, had some good conversation, did some carbo-loading, and got ready for our descent back to Markleeville. The first half of the descent was amazing. I thought to myself that I need to spread the word...this is one thing you need to try before you die! As we descended I couldn't believe how much we had climbed. It just seemed weird to me that we did this on bicycles. This 36 mile out and back trip is highly recommended!

Looking down the descent.

More photos can be found HERE in the Ebbett's Pass photo set.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Soma Hemp Seat Bag

Soma Hemp Seat Bag
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
I've been using this seat bag on my road bike for a few weeks now. It's made by Soma Fabrications, and is made from a 60% Hemp, 40% Cotton blend. Why is this cool you ask? Hemp is an organic crop, and can be grown without pesticides. Similar seat bags are made from nylon, which is a petroleum product. Nobody that reads this blog needs an explanation on why we need to use less petroleum products!

Here are some interesting hemp facts (from the label that came with the bag):

1. The first American flag was made of hemp fabric.

2. The Constitution was written on hemp paper.

3. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.

4. The first Model A Ford was built to run on hemp methanol fuel.

5. The first blue jeans were made out of hemp fabric.

This bag holds a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and a few wrenches for about $10. Soma has a full line of hemp cycling bags, so go check them out!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday Night Ride

By the time we got off work Wednesday night, the skies had clouded up, making it a lot darker than it should have been. I met up with Jeff P., and he suggested we go up the Hobart road, and loop back down into Timberline. I hadn't done this climb since the early 90's, and Kathy and Sandie did it back in November. My memory and stories of the ride brought up visions of a painful climb. Not wanting to appear a sissy in Jeff P.'s eyes, I said, "Sure! Let's do it!".

When we finished the asphalt climb and were about to begin the real climb, I shot an energy gel. Man those things work good! We began the first gear grinder climb, and were both pleased that the sand was a bit wet. Jeff P. tells me we would've been pushing the bikes in some sections otherwise. We were able to ride the whole climb, only stopping for a couple pictures and rest breaks for me.

The downhill was a steep single track, that had a few downed logs laying across it. The single track ended at a fire road that was crazy steep. I'm glad we were going down it, and grateful for the fresh tire I had just put on the back. The fresh tread saved my butt a couple times when trying to avoid some deep ruts. We dropped down quite a ways to a road I was familiar with. From here it was another 1,000 foot descent back to town. We finished up around 8:00, and it was getting pretty dark. Just enough time to drive home, eat, and go to bed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Anyone read Dirt Rag? I was checking out the latest issue (Issue 127) this morning, and I saw that on page 105 there is a picture submitted from the infamous Tim Woody. Good job, man!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Today we rode in the Chico Wildflower. We didn't do the whole 100 miles, but we did 73, making it a "seventy-three-tury". We completed the two hard climbs, and they were the most rewarding part of the ride.

We woke up at 5:45 and headed down for breakfast at the Holiday Inn. We had a good helping of carbohydrates and some really bad coffee. Luke warm, watered down Folgers. Bad coffee to a cyclist is like garlic to a vampire or wolfsbane to a werewolf. There were a lot of cyclists running around the hotel ready to go before the sun was even up. There was a slight drizzle of rain outside, but it appeared to be stopping!

We got to the fairgrounds at around 7:40. We had already checked in yesterday, so all we had to do is park the car and ride. We spent the next 15 minutes debating what to wear on the ride. We were trying to figure out how to stay comfortable all day long through changing conditions. We looked around, and some folks were dressed in winter gear while others were wearing shorts. We finally dressed in more layers than a Taco Bell burrito. We were comfortable all day. Toasty when it got cold, and cool when the sun came out. The temperatures were all over the place today! We brought knee warmers, arm warmers, wind vests, and rain jackets. All were very appreciated. I think we both could have used some toe warmers though.

I think my favorite part of the ride was the Honey Run Climb. It was narrow, steep, twisty, lots of riding graffiti on the road, with misty cloudy skies. The most rewarding climb was the Table Mountain loop. The climb was long and steep, but the scenery was beautiful. We were both really glad to see the top and we both had a great sense of accomplishment that we conquered the climb. They had a shuttle taking some cyclists to the top. I can imagine that climb being overwhelming for folks that haven't had enough time in the saddle this year!

After Table Mountain, it was mostly downhill or flat. We had a pretty good lunch around 2:00, and then put in some pretty good miles before reaching the last rest stop. We had already gone around 60 some miles at this point. The course had another 20 miles left on it, but we were pretty wiped out. We took Jones Avenue back towards Chico, and rode through several miles of fruit trees. The traffic was light, and there were few cyclists. It was a good cool-down to end the ride with.

There were all sorts of cyclists on the road today. Men, women, and children. There were mostly road bikes, but we saw a few mountain bikes, and even a couple single speeds! We didn't see any wrecks thankfully, but we saw about a hundred roadside flat repairs! I can't imagine what was causing the flats. I certainly didn't see any road hazards. Maybe it's a good rule of thumb to put some new tubes in before a big ride like this.

They had a decent looking buffet setup in a cafeteria-like setting back at the fairgrounds, but we were ready to head to the Sierra Nevada Brewery. We went back to the hotel for a bath...for some reason there wasn't enough water pressure for a shower...and then headed down for some beer and pizza. We both had a pint of the draft style pale ale, and then we shared a stout which also went very well with the brownie for dessert! It's nearly 9:00 P.M. and we are both ready for some sleep! Tomorrow we'll head back over Donner Pass for home. And a day off work!

The full set of this weekend's ride is HERE.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chico Wildflower Century Eve

We left Nevada today and headed to Chico, California for tomorrow's ride, the Chico Wildflower Century. We made it over Donner Pass before noon, just as it started to rain. It may be snowing up there now, so we're glad to have made it! I forgot the chains for the car.

It's been raining non stop since we arrived in Chico. It didn't slow us down though. We went to the pre-registration for the ride and got all checked in. Kristy found the Wildflower Jersey she wanted, and we got the standard issue goodies as well. The course map is beautifully printed on a bandanna, and the water bottles are printed with the Wildflower emblem on one side, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. emblem on the other.

After checking into our hotel and unloading our soggy bikes, we headed for the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Their Pale Ale has always been a favorite of mine, and I was excited to check the place out. We took a small self guided tour, and spent plenty of money in the gift shop (pint glasses, cycling jerseys, t-shirts, a banner...nothing too extravagant!). The smell of fresh hops in the brewery was heaven! We ended our visit with a wonderful dinner in the tap room. I tried the Scotch Ale and Brown Ale. Kristy had the Draft Style Pale Ale (a slight variation from their most famous beer, and also our favorite of the night), and a Blonde Ale. Kristy had a Mediterranean Pizza, and I had veggie fajitas. Both were excellent, but we realized too late that we should've shared a meal.

It's still raining right now, and is expected to throughout the night. They want us to start the ride between 06:00 and 08:00 tomorrow. This is when the heaviest rain is supposed to be, but it is supposed to fizzle out by noon. Thankfully we got some new rain gear. Wish us luck!

We'll be posting pictures HERE throughout the weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Required Reading

I didn't ride today, so as you can see, I'm living vicariously through others. This post over at Metal Cowboy Mayhem is a great read. Joe "Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie, a published author, has a clever and humorous writing style. I plan to check out his books soon. Go check it out!

Also a thanks to Snakebite for turning me on to Joe!

Log Smack Down!

Check out this post over at bikecentric. A log crossing. A 29 inch tall log crossing! Video is HERE. I don't think I'd have the guts/skill to attempt this!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bring Me My Mutton Musket

It's been great having the sheep around during the rides. It takes you far from the office to be riding in the mountains among the animals. As cool as it has been though, there is just one thing that is getting a little out of control. All the sheep poop!

There is sheep poop all over the trail. You try your best not to hit it, but it's unavoidable most of the time. The tires were getting packed up with the stuff. The rule of the day was no smiling or mouth breathing at speeds over 5 mph. I still had some stuck in my tire treads upon returning to work. I don't think there was too much odor to it, but then again I don't remember any visitors this afternoon either.

So I got to thinking on the way home from work...what kind of tire is best for sheep poop? An open tread? Semi-slicks? A WTB Timber Wolf may do the trick!

Marcus has been bringing his camera along on the rides too. He got some good action shots like the one on the right here. There are a few others on Flickr.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Somebody's been doping...

It's Wednesday night, so I was just putting the trash out on the curb like I normally do. I wasn't snooping around. I really wasn't. This piece of paraphernalia, bedaubed with a sticky substance , looked suspicious and caught my eye. Upon closer inspection I thought, "My God, somebody has been doping!". I've never really seen an energy gel package before, so I can't be sure of this. Ok, I take that back. There was that one time in college where I was experimenting with energy gel...but I didn't swallow it. Anyway, what should I do? Should I confront my family members about this?

Tales of Tuesday

I tried to leave the camera behind today, but as usual, there were some pretty cool things to take pictures of. I was glad I brought it! We were coming down the Postal Route single track today, and came around a corner to find the flock of sheep. Both the sheep and we were surprised! Todd cleared the sheep off the trail. They seemed a little nervous around him for some reason. I'm sure it's nothing.

The sheep had many different voices. Some deep, some high pitched. Almost human like occasionally.

After work Marcus and I joined Jeff P. for a loop out at Centennial on the other side of town. The terrain and dirt conditions are much different out here as you can see. The wind was howling! What would normally be a peaceful trail ride felt more like an expedition. None of us had a Sherpa though. The temperatures dropped quickly throughout the ride, and I was grateful that I had some winter clothes with me for the ride. I'm not saying we didn't have a blast though. On the way home in the car, a blizzard broke out. Visibility was at a minimum with the high winds and swirling snow. What a strange day!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chico Velo Wildflower Century

This coming Sunday on the 22nd, Kristy and I will be riding in the Chico Velo Wildflower Century. I'm not sure if we'll do the whole hundred miles. We may opt for the Mildflower which is 65 miles, or we may try do something in between. This is our first time, but we hear it is one of the best organized rides.

When Kristy asked me if I wanted to ride in Chico, my first thought was, "That's where the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is...". I immediately told her I was in! We hope to visit/tour the brewery on Saturday.

Has anyone else done this ride before? Anyone doing it this year?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Times Have Changed

Times Have Changed
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
I saw this sign in Garberville, CA. Remember when Schwinn made real bikes? I had a Stingray back in the 70's. My first bike was from the dump, but the Stingray was my first nice bike shop bike. I can still remember that day pretty well. I tried out a BMX bike, but opted instead for the ape hangers, red metallic sparkle banana seat, sissy bar, and fat rear tire. Besides, the kid across the street had one too. The bike that replaced this one was a Schwinn also. The first BMX Bike.

Nowadays, Schwinns are soulless clones in a Mega Store that I refuse to shop at. They are assembled by the guy that was selling video games the day before. Nobody even cares if the bike is assembled properly or it even includes all the parts. Times have changed....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Trek 1600 Review

Almost every day, somebody comes to this blog looking for a review of a Trek 1600. I had a hard time finding any information on the bike before I purchased it too. This post is for you 1600 review seekers.

I've been a mountain biker since 1989, and have ridden many different mountain bikes over the years. I had a Raleigh Grand Prix 10 speed as a kid in the 80's, but I just putted around on it. Road biking had always been in the back of my mind, but I never really got a chance to give it a try. I got an old Specialized Expedition touring bike from my dad last year, and that was my first real taste of road biking. The Expedition is 26 pounds, but was easy to put a lot of miles on. It got me thinking of how a lighter, more modern bike might feel.

Kristy and I decided to give Road Biking a try and both bought 2007 Trek 1600's. We were looking for a bike that wasn't too expensive, since we figured mountain biking would still be our main bicycling discipline. At the same time though, we were looking for a bike that would perform well, and not have us wishing for upgrades soon after the initial purchase. There were a few bikes at this price point, all with similar componentry. We decided to go with the Treks, since they were readily available for testing at our local shop. The Trek also seemed to have a bit more for the buck.

The bike retails for around $1,300, but we got them for $1,100. For this price you get an all aluminum frame, a carbon fork and seat post, Shimano 105 component group, and a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur. The total weight of the bike with Shimano SPD pedals is around 20.5 lbs.

Kristy has had her bike since the Fall of 06, I got mine the beginning of this year. Both of us have several hundred miles on them. I was worried that an all aluminum frame might be too harsh on the road, but after several long distance rides, I have no complaints. The shifting has been pretty much flawless. The 10 speed rear cassette is great for finding the perfect cadence, and the shifts are crisp and precise.

I'm used to mountain bike braking performance, so I'm not sure how the brakes compare to high end brakes. The brakes aren't what I'm used to on my mountain bikes, but it's certainly not bad either. I just wonder if it could be improved in this area. Maybe just a brake pad change would do the trick.

Most bikes come with cheaper tires, so I suspected this bike would be the same. I took the front tire off to weigh it, and sure enough it was a wire bead tire, weighing 285 grams. It looks like similar tires with a Kevlar bead weigh in at around 220 grams, so it would be a cheap upgrade to shave a 1/4 lb off the wheels.

The bike handles well and is comfortable for all day rides. The handlebars appear to be bit higher than a racer might have them. In fact the top of the bars is about level with the seat. This helps with neck comfort on long rides, but also gives you the option of being more aerodynamic in the drops. The handling on fast descents is good too. The front end of the bike feels stable, and top speeds are only limited by my level of bravery. I think the handlebars could be a bit better ergonomically designed. The bend in the drops is a bit tight for my hands. Bars that I've tried with a flat section in the drops are more comfortable.

The carbon seat post is a nice touch, and the seat is firm but fairly comfortable. The grip tape and hoods are nice, but not as good as the Specialized offering in this price point. The Allez that I checked out in the shop had more cushioning in the bar tape. But again, this would be a cheap upgrade.

Bottom line: This bike is for you if you're looking for a bike with enough performance to keep you happy, but won't bust your bank account. If this was my only bike, I may have been willing to spend more, but since it is one of the many bikes in my collection, the price was just right. I've really grown to love road biking because of this bike.

If you have further questions about the bike, feel free to shoot me an email or comment here. The email link is on my blogger profile.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cheatgrass, Sheep, Marcus, Barbara

As we approached the trails today, I saw a sheep out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and sure enough, a sheep. Then I started looking around some more and realized there were hundreds of sheep crawling the hills! The sheep have been brought in to eat the cheatgrass that has grown in abundance since the fire of 2004. If left unchecked, the cheatgrass is a potential fire hazard. The hillside you see in the picture was one covered in sagebrush. Sagebrush inhibits growth of other plants around it, a tactic it uses to compete for the scarce rainfall on this side of the Sierras. Without the sagebrush, the grass is pretty happy. The sheep are eating machines though and work for free. A good natural solution to a problem. I'm curious to see if they caused any trail damage. From what I've read though, they are pretty light on their feet.

In other news, we picked up a new rider today! Marcus found this blog while doing a google search on the area. He left a comment on one of the posts that he'd like to ride with us. We exchanged a few emails and coordinated his first ride today.

I'm glad Marcus showed up. I was beginning to get a bit worried, since there have been fewer lunch time riders as of late. Thoughts on what to do about this serious problem have turned over in my mind. A stop-loss program with extended tours of duty? Or would I need to severely punish deserters to make examples of them? I never did come to a conclusion. I decided to let fate run its course.

The latest rider to leave us is Barbara. Barbara has been one of the main winter riders the last couple years. Many times when I secretly hoped nobody would want to ride in the foul weather, Barbara would ask who was riding with her. I'd reluctantly agree, but then almost always have a great time. I'll also miss our left wing conversations (as Todd called them). Barbara left for a better job in Reno, so now we'll only get to see her for weekend rides. Other riders though...who knows. Some riders just seem to disappear without an excuse. They take a day off here and there, and then finally vanish completely. So once again, welcome Marcus! We need new riders!

For those of you reading this at work: Please don't count the sheep in the picture. I don't want to be responsible for you falling asleep on the job.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

She is Finally Here!

After many months of waiting, my new road bike is finally here. She is the Terry Isis, named after the Egyptian goddess which is translated to mean queen of the throne. You can check out the specs on the bike at the Terry website. It is a nice set up from what I understand and most importantly, she is nice to look at much like my mechanic.

She arrived on Monday but had to sit in the box until our bike shop owner Dan-the-man could put her together. I ordered her in December so it has been a true test of my patience especially since my mechanics new road bike got here about a month ago.

When we arrived at the bike shop I walked in and saw her for the first time and thought to myself "she sure is a cute little bike". She really is small, which is good cos so am I. The part I am having the hardest time getting used to is the front tire being so much smaller than the rear. It just looks so strange but I guess that is to help with the standover height. The other funny thing is the bars, they are super small. They are Salsa brand Short and Shallow, I am sure that doesn't mean anything - I am not shallow, really I am not.

Last night we rushed home to get her ready for her maiden voyage. We had to put the cleats on my new road shoes, install the computer, take off the dorky ass reflectors, etc. Then we were off. It was a chilly evening at about 50 degrees and we only had about an hour of daylight left and were both wearing shorts. We headed up to Lakeview and did a quick 12.5 mile loop.

It was funny cos Brent was trying to give me tips on how to climb efficiently and what not and I was struggling with just understanding just how to shift! I have to be honest, I expected my road bike to fly up Lakeview but did not realize that the gearing is totally different than my mountain bike. I was expecting a granny gear - the road bike's granny gear is about the middle ring on my Stumpy. Luckily the Isis is light as a feather so it helps to equalize it (I guess). I am also not at all used to using my arms to stabilize the bike while you are out of the saddle. The first time I stood up to sprint, I thought I was going down! By the end of the ride, I was getting the hang of it and it felt great. I also had to learn how to use my new Speedplay lite action pink pedals- which by the way, I love.

Bottom line, it is not just like riding a bike. I have much to learn about this type of riding but am so looking forward to the journey...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back from Vacation

We took the bikes up to the Redwoods with us, but didn't get a chance to ride them. A mudslide had closed access to most of the state park and the bicycling trails. It was no big deal though, as hiking actually felt pretty good. Here are some pictures from yesterday's journey.

North Mendocino Coast

Eel River, Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Tree Hugging a Giant Sequoia, Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Sunset in Fort Bragg, CA

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rest Day

No riding today. We spent hours relaxing beside the ocean. It's amazing how soothing the sound of the surf can be...

We went and had a few beers before dinner at the North Coast Brewing Company. Seen here is the 11 beer sampler.

Tomorrow we plan to ride in the Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

New Bike!

It didn't take long to find my son a real mountain bike. I got him a Trek with 20 inch wheels and a grip shift controlled six speed rear cassette. The bike is adjustable as he grows with a customizable stem, and two different sets of holes on the cranks. We broke the bike in today in Russian Gulch State Park near Fort Bragg, CA. My son borrowed my Pearl Izumi arm warmers for his legs!

More pictures HERE.

Riding With my Son

After reading Sandie's story about riding with her daughter, I wondered if it was time I took my boy riding. His little bike would need a gentle and smooth grade, so we picked the V&T Railroad Grade.

I was surprised at how well he did! Maybe it's time to start looking at small mountain bikes..

Friday, April 06, 2007

Listen to Your Tires

Self Portrait
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
I had a good learning experience this week. I threw an old tire on my Kona Coiler a few weeks ago. The tire is three years old and has lots of miles on it. It's been giving me a few warnings that the tread is all used up, even though visually it looks like there are a few more rides left in it.

I was coming down one of my favorite singletracks, and I couldn't believe the run I was having. It might have been a record. I came around a corner, and the front tire washed out, sending me over the bars. Since the tire and I are old friends, he let me down gently in a nice soft grassy area. I slammed my shoulder and twisted my leg, but there was no blunt force trauma or lacerations.

I thought of how much worse the crash could've been if I'd crashed somewhere rocky. I decided that going forward, I will listen to my tires and just spend the extra dough for some fresh tread!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Cinderella Classic

Lookout! Here come the Cinderella's. We watched some Cinderella's start their ride from the Fairgrounds. Last Saturday, the 31s of March was the Cinderella Classic in Dublin, California. Amy, Kathy, Patti and I met Kim and Monica aka Cujo for the ride. It was an amazing day for me, I completed my first Century, a metric Century but a Century none the less. We spent the day stopping and starting more times than I care to count and passing pink princesses. I got to see the Lemon Drop Man and enjoyed the beautiful rolling hills.

On your left, on your left, on your left.... was the song of the day. Cujo knows the song only too well, the rider she was trying to pass on the left, went left and they almost collided. Riders were everywhere! I heard that over 2,800 entries were sold for this event. I couldn't believe the amount of female bikers everywhere. It was pretty amazing.

Ahh, it was a perfect day, temps in the 70's, beautiful scenery with rolling hills and the best company. What more could one ask for? Well, actually a few less stops and a few more cooperative princesses, but who's counting?...

We only got lost one time when Kathy and I were following a very fast Cinderella, we figured she must have been a racer or something. Later, we found out he was a Cinderfella. There were so many girls with unshaved legs that day, who knew?

Who would have thought that the Lemon Drop Man, was a guy on a hill passing out Lemon Drop candies???? I somehow managed to ride uphill, with camera in hand and pick up a lemon drop. It was well worth it! Shortly after this shot one unlucky Cinderella had crashed her bike on a fast downhill, which reminded me to pay attention and be thankful that I was able to have this special day.

This was our last rest stop before the finish. The last 10-15 miles seemed to fly by, thank goodness. What a fantastic day! I got the pleasure of sharing it with some amazing women. Until next time, ladies....

Check out more pictures here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


On Saturday, I hooked up with a bunch of guys for a road ride near the San Francisco Bay Area. Most, if not all the guys were significant others of girls riding in the Cinderella Classic, hence the name "Cinderfella". I can't really tell you where I started riding. From my hotel, I switched cars three times before getting dropped off in some area in the urban sprawl along the 680 corridor. Looking at the map, I think the drop off point may have been the city of Clayton just north of Mount Diablo.

We started heading south through some traffic, and I got the impression that the whole ride would be like this. I was wrong! After turning onto Morgan Territory Road, we saw very little traffic for miles. In fact, it was so quiet that I felt very isolated. It was a nice long climb up a heavily shaded canyon below the east side of Mount Diablo. The green hills on both sides and the trees above my head gave me no indication on how far the top of the climb was. We finally came up out of the trees at the summit, and had a nice break at the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.

After a nice rest we began our descent. It was probably the craziest descent I've ever done on the road to date. Steep, narrow, twisty, low visibility corners, with a drop-off on the downhill side. It was kind of scary, but I guess it's stuff like this makes you feel alive! We came out north of Livermore, and took the back roads to Altamont Pass Road. This pass was very short with not a whole lot of climbing. Which is good, because the big climb was coming up.

We rode the foothills above Tracy, and made our way towards Patterson Pass Road. We passed hundreds of windmills along the way. At first I was pretty excited to see them, but after hours of them, they became just part of the scenery. We also passed quite a few young thug work crews picking up trash along the road. One kid wanted to borrow my bike. I thought better of it, and besides, his baggy pants would've gotten all messed up in my chain rings. We started our climb up Patterson Pass Road, and it continued to climb for quite a ways. You could never really see the top. Every time you thought you were at the summit, a new summit would appear. Finally the real summit loomed in the distance...the picture you see here.

Here's a picture of the summit looking down at where I shot the previous picture. I think this climb was the highlight of my ride. It is certainly the most memorable section. At the summit we had just completed 4,000 feet of climbing and were about to start our final descent into Livermore to complete the 50 mile loop. Afterwards, we regrouped at a brew pub for much deserved dinner and beer.

This is just my adventure...Kristy will be posting the story and pictures from her ride soon...

More pictures of this ride can be found HERE.