Saturday, April 30, 2011

Claremont Earth Day 2011...

or, "why do so many people drive to an Earth Day festival?" That was my son's question this day. We pondered it for a while, not really searching for an answer, just wondering. It is a little bit of de facto hypocrisy that we, unfortunately, expect. Sure a lot of people, like us, rode their bikes into the Village, and I am sure there are many who lived close by and walked. But, far too many drove, idled at the traffic lights, circled blocks in search of a parking spot. And that is a shame, especially on this day. It dilutes the essence, negates whatever thoughts of environmental concern, resource conservation, or visions of sustainability any of those drivers may have held. Anyway, it was an amazing day to celebrate - with food, with music, arts and crafts, with opportunities to learn. 

well at least some people understood the significance of the day

 cheers to droopy eared dogs

 portion of the festival exhibit area

 Claremont's Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee

courtesy of Pomona College, the average American family 
uses that many plastic bags in one year. That mass of bags is named schlumpy,
and schlumpy has a fan page

 one of the bands, I believe the Claremont Blues Society

 public water fountains you can play in are the best

 don't forget the bees. the current exhibit at Studio Claremont

Oh, I almost forgot. I rode my single speed today and had a student from the local middle school tell me it was cool. So, if you ever get to a point that you think you are too old to be cool anymore, at least you can ride a cool bike.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Arnold...

I am kind of surprised that this Arnold has been at the Velo as long as it has. Don't know much about the Arnold brand (nothing actually); I did see something once on some forum, but now I don't remember where. Oh well. 

Easton aluminum frame, Campagnolo Mirage components (Ultegra crankset), Chris King headset), and nice, understated graphics. The finish is near immaculate. It is a sharp looking bike. Clearly does not fall within the classic or vintage category, but I doubt there are very many bikes with the Arnold name rolling around.

GMR Fridays...

Alright, that does it. I am making it official. From now on, for the foreseeable future, Fridays are to be known as GMR Friday. Again, almost no traffic; very few riders this time as well, which seemed a bit strange. Where was everyone? The spot where the horse was killed a few days ago by a speeding and out-of-control car was gruesome, and very sobering; from what I have read the rider will make a full recovery, physically anyway. Also, judging by comments, this seems to be a recurring concern of local residents and all non-motorized users of GMR - cyclists, equestrians, and hikers all face the same dangers up there from irresponsible drivers. Closing the road to motor vehicles during the summer sounds like a fine idea to me. 

Two additional observations on this: 1. I did not see (and rightfully so) a single comment blaming the equestrian for being on the road, and I sincerely doubt that I could say that if a cyclist were on the receiving end; we all know how the creeps and blame-the-victim types come out of the woodwork when a cyclist is hit. 2. Some journalists still report this sort of thing as an "accident"

Well, I didn't originally intend for this post to bring you down, because otherwise it was a great morning up there. Clear, cool and, I had my climbing legs. Here's a pic:

A lot of Lupine in bloom, even more Monkey Flower (though I didn't stop for a photo of it). These Lupine were growing on the other side of a low stone barrier wall, you pass coming back down; it is about the last place you have a view down into San Gabriel Canyon before you cross over to the other side of the ridge. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gaucho cyclists qualify for Collegiate Nationals...

By now you may know that any news involving UCSB and cycling that I am made aware of will show up on these pages; the old alma mater and all that. So, thats right, two of UCSB's finest have qualified for the National Championships, to be held this year at Madison, Wisconsin on May 6th to 8th. Eric Hartsuyker and Dan Katz both accumulated enough points during the season to qualify. At the conference championships, held April 23-24, both riders rode well. Hartsuyker finished with the lead group in Saturday's road race, held at Hollister, while Katz crashed out. On Sunday, during the criterium at Morgan Hill, Katz was able to rebound taking the field sprint for 5th place, with a four man break staying clear to the end. The Gaucho's compete in the 'A' division of the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference along with twenty other colleges and universities throughout California and Nevada.

UCSB has had National Championship cyclists in the past, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2000. Go Gauchos!

Eric Hartsuyker, 3rd in line during Conference Championship Road Race

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally, the Bud's Ride...

For the second consecutive evening I found myself being pummeled by the peloton. Yes, after living for some eight years in this fair bug known as Claremont, I finally made it out to the Bud's Ride. Eight years. That is long enough to have actually spent money at the Bud's, from which the ride derives its name. But not so long that my, by now collectable, socks have deteriorated during the passing years. 

Anyway, good ride, I think it will compliment my weekly night at the Rose Bowl. Tuesday night, just pure speed, and Wednesday fast, but with varied terrain thrown in for good measure.

To draw the bike, one must become the bike...

or something like that. I have noted previously about the banner art for this blog being a little practice board of my mother-in-laws. Adrianne Prober passed away a number of years ago now (more than ten) and we are just now getting around to compiling some sort of comprehensive catalog or her art work, from the large canvases to little sketch books. 

She was an artist in Venice Beach, and Mar Vista during the period of her life when I knew her. Anyone who has visited those areas know that bikes are an ever-present mainstay of the local scene. As such bicycles figure in much of Adrianne's work; sometimes they are prominent, others they roll past in the background, part of the processional of life flowing by. The above ink study is from one of her sketch books, while the one below is a portion from an, obviously, larger canvas work. It is hard to see at this scale, but where the sand meets bike path are written the words, "how long can we keep on rolling?"

To which I answer, "until my legs refuse to turn circles any longer."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Comeback Trail, or Road To Rack and Ruin...

Sometimes the Comeback Trail feels oddly like the Road to Rack and Ruin; anyway what I imagine that road would feel like since I have never actually travelled it. Tired, sore, struggling to hold wheels at the back, while clear memories of spending entire rides at the front mock me.

Disappointing night at the Bowl. I was looking for a clear sign of improvement over last week, but it wasn't to be. A break got away on one of the late middle laps. Don't know if it stayed clear; as I said I was too busy struggling at the back. There were some promising signs, for instance, I had a strong acceleration a few times when it was critical. But I want to see more. Soon. The peloton was big, the peloton was fast, the peloton, it bloody well kicked my ass.

Herne Hill Velodrome...

This one may appear to be way out in left field. Herne Hill Velodrome. London, England. That is no where near Claremont, you might say. But knowing of my passion for cycling, interest in cycling landscapes, and historic preservation, London relatives, and the occasional reader of this blog from across the waves as well, a brief posting on the saving of Herne Hill is not so hard to understand after all.

But, lets backup a little. What makes the Herne Hill Velodrome so special. Well, first of all it is old, one of the oldest velodromes in the world, dating back to a day when the bicycle was king, and racing them was the most popular sport, with fans and spectators packing the stands, eager to take in the fast-paced and often dangerous action. The velodrome at Herne Hill was constructed in 1891, the venue became the site for what has ever since been known at the Good Friday Meeting beginning in 1903. This race has seen world champions participating, and world records set. Frank Southall, was one of those record-setters during the 1920s and 1930s, when upwards of 10,000 spectators were drawn to witness the action of the Good Friday Meetings. Some of the most highly successful racers of the 1950s and 1960s raced here, including Jacques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi, Reg Harris, and Tom Simpson. More recently, Graeme Obree, Tony Doyle, Chris Boardman and Bradley Wiggins all circled the Herne Hill track; Wiggins in fact, began his track racing career at the venerable velodrome.

In 1948, the Olympic Games came to London for the second time. The Herne Hill Velodrome was resurfaced to host the track racing events, and is the only venue remaining from that mid-century competition. Other improvements were made at the time as well, including new viewing stands, approach road, and turnstiles. It is interesting to note that, though more than one hundred years have passed since the velodrome's founding, the original wood grandstand, dating to 1891, remains on the grounds, a historic relic.

Herne Hill went into steep decline in the 1990s, has suffered from disrepair, and faced the prospect of permanent closure. Thankfully, however, British cycling bodies, racers, and the local community took efforts to save the velodrome to heart. This month those efforts paid dividends, and the velodrome received a new 15 year lease, which will allow repairs and improvements to be made to the facilities. Herne Hill is an important, and still relevant, feature of the greater London urban landscape, and its historical significance is indisputable: "You see old black and white photos and you see the same trees in the background, and you see the same grandstand... Generations of people have come down here. My dad, and his dad as well used to come down here..." - Jason Cattermole (a coach at the Velodrome).

Though London will present a new velodrome to the world for the Olympic Games in 2012, Herne Hill hopes to be ready with a new face, providing a place for endurance training for various nations during those games. The above poster aside, I took a quick glance at the Herne Hill calendar, they seem to hold events at the track almost every night, from training and classes, to actual races. Quite impressive for a facility of that age.

Just thought I would update this one since Ride The Black Line found a nice little clip from the first of the Good Friday Meetings for this year. You can view it here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 Inland Empire Ride of Silence...

Relevant information for this years Inland Empire Ride of Silence has been posted on the event's Facebook Page

Not on Facebook? The ride will take place on Wednesday, May 18, arrive at 5:30, roll out at 6:00. Stage at It's A Grind, 7325 Day Creek Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga (Baseline intersection). 10 mile route at sedate 12 mph pace.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gilbert, the King of Spring...

Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne, and now Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Ardennes Triple. The first Belgian to accomplish the feat. And I admit to have forgotten, Gilbert also won Brabantse Pijl, a race only somewhat below the other three in standing, just prior to taking his victories in the big three. Not Maertens, DeVlaeminck, van Impe, van Looy, Criquielion, Planckaert, Vanderaerden, Museeuw, van Petegem, Boonen, nor any of the other greats of Belgian cycling. And yes, that means not even Eddy Merckx. Philippe Gilbert clearly came into the spring campaign prepared. He is just so incredibly strong, and after a well-deserved period of rest, I would really like to see what he could do in some of the summer Tours. It has been a while since we have seen someone who could compile wins over a full season. It certainly seems as though Gilbert has the ability. He has taken stage wins in all three major Tours over the past three years. This has already been an exciting racing season, and I will be very interested to see how it progresses from here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Claremont Day of Champions recap...

bikes everywhere, all shapes and sizes

some of the spectators

Nicely run event today with various community groups contributing to making it happen, or otherwise participating. Local bikeshops, Coates and Jax, both had booths, the Claremont Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, what I believe is a relatively recently formed Safe Routes to School organization, Claremont Red Cross, the Tour of California, Stage 7 organizing committee, the Claremont Spin Studio, and the Claremont Rotary were grilling burger and hot dogs.

 racing rims

all about the bikes and the people who ride them

 Jax employee demonstrating a track stand

 as i said, bikes and the people who ride them

 wiggle racing

in the spiral at the bike rodeo

impromptu maintenance

A couple rides got off to an earlier start, one led by the Inland Empire Women Cyclists, the other by Butts on Bikes; the riders arriving back a the event venue in the early afternoon. Wiggle and tricycle races took place almost continuously throughout the four hours,  and got a little rowdy during the later races, when representatives from the various organizations, and member of the City Council had their turns. There was a track stand competition at the Jax booth, a sort of hoop and stick race using bicycle rims, and the Claremont Senior Bicycle Group had a bike rodeo organized which brought a lot of smiles to the faces of participants. Everything else came to a halt though, when the bmx acrobatic shows took to the ramps and air. All eyes were fixed on the amazing aerial stunts of the two riders, Cory and Dustin, of BMX Skate Show. People rode in from all around town, and I would judge that everyone had a good time. Mission accomplished. I took a bunch of photos, and if you want to see more, click here.

 jumping the volunteers. yes the first person in the row is Tamera (she couldn't look)

 flying high

 flying high, again (thanks Ozzy)

 Corey of Coates, with Cory of BMX Skate Show

 Dustin hanging upside down

 Cory twisting

council members going head-to-head

Friday, April 22, 2011

Claremont Day of Champions...

this Saturday afternoon at Sycamore Elementary School (click on poster to the right for info).
I will be there - look for the sign:

hanging off the old yellow Basso:

Could be fun, and the Rotary Club makes a pretty good burger.

GMR on a Friday morning...

is indeed an unexpected pleasure. A single car passed me the entire climb. Lots of cyclists out, those downhilling longboarders, and a few hikers. I wonder if it is always like this on a Friday. Very peaceful up there under these conditions, or would have been if I were not trying to flog some life back into my legs after last nights less than stellar performance at the Rose Bowl.

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