Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Alexis Ryan at the GP Samyn...

Many of you may have already seen this posted by Dorothy Wong on Facebook, I thought it was cool enough to share here. Alexis Ryan, a Southern California girl making a name for herself over in Europe, was captured in a photo, during the women's GP Samyn, by Geert Nachtergaele. I have captured Alexis numerous times in photographs largely because she (and her sister) are so often seen at the front of the field during local cyclocross and road races. In the photo below, Alexis is third in line, wearing what I assume is the red/white/blue jersey of the United States developmental team.

How great is that. To be young and talented... and racing in Europe.

Hotbed of Cycling...

I am going to go ahead and say that Claremont qualifies. Over the past couple of years Claremont has really become a hotbed of cycling activity, and is currently experiencing a real renaissance of two-wheeled mobility. The colleges have long been a key part of this, with students using bicycles for getting around the campuses, and trips into the surrounding community. The city itself has been another key player, and has developed a long-term and positive view on the benefits of bicycle mobility. I have documented many enhancements around town over the past couple years such as bike lanes, sharrows, new bike racks, bike lockers, the Bike Station, the Bicycle Priority Zone, and the Citrus Regional Bikeway. Many of these were undertaken in pursuit of, and resulted in, a bicycle friendly rating by the League of American Bicyclists. Community groups and local businesses have equally contributed to the efforts - the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the Claremont Senior Bicycle Group, and the recently formed Cycle Claremont, and Claremont Safe Routes to School. Business contributions brought both the L'Etape du California and stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California to the city last year. The local middle school, El Roble, hosts an annual bike marathon at the end of the school year, riding for more than thirty years now, where students raise funds for the local Red Cross organization. There are not one, not two, but three prominent regional racing teams based out of Claremont - the team, Coates/Back Abbey, and the Full Circle Cycling Team. Of course there are many others who, like myself, race with other local, non-resident teams. Untold numbers of training and recreational rides start and end here in town, while the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park tests riders' abilities on the dirt where the city meets the mountains. All told, these various factors ensure a prominence of bicycle activity. Not bad for a city of 38,000 residents.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Who me...Lance...?

Well, it happened again. FINALLY. It has been so long since anyone has mistaken me for Lance Armstrong while riding out on the road, that I was beginning to think I had lost form, and that even the most idiotic of delusional drivers no longer classified me as a member of that urban-mythical group of Lance-wannabes. Then again, since this particular driver and his genius of a passenger were seated in one of those unnecessarily large vehicles, burning $5.00 of unleaded with every slight depression of the pedal, and the fact that they burned twice that as they gunned the engine and raced off down a side street well over the speed limit, did not leave me with much faith that they were bright enough to make an accurate determination as to whether or not I was in fact a Lance-calibre rider.

Of course maybe, since I was not riding solo at the time, that brain-trust wasn't even talking about me. Maybe the commentary was directed at Jason. Oh, those nagging doubts. I believe the saying goes that you don't have to worry until they stop talking about you. Turning that around, do you need to start worrying if they stop comparing you to Lance?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dare to Race GP 2012...

Just going to leave it with photos today. As usual you can click the categories for slideshows of each. Oh, and if you happen to notice that slight bluish tint to the photos in the last two posts, I somehow managed to mistakenly press just the right sequence of buttons to put the camera in tungsten mode. Ugghh.

Craig Miller (BBI/SIC Cycling) gives a victory salute

this break held (l-r: Kurt Bickel 1st, David Prechtl 3rd, Frank Scroeder 2nd)

Riley Everett (17-18 group) gives his victory salute

Dotsie Bausch soloed the last laps for victory

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Day at the Fortune 700 Fixed-Gear Stage Race...

First words: Those fixed gear guys need to invest in some watches. Holy 48-16 gearing, that was like the never-ending race. But more of that later. Once they got going, the racers were cranking around the loop, both the time trail course, and the longer road race course, at some impressive rates.

Alright, so Jason (of bicyclefriends.blogspot) and I, rode out to the Rose Bowl where this two-stage race was held. We picked up a third for the group, Kevin, enroute through Glendora. Following a zigging and zagging route we got there about a fifteen minutes after the race was supposed to start. Fifteen more minutes and the first stage time trial got underway. This was the first fixed-gear race I have ever been to, but my understanding has always been that they are a little bit different than what I have come to expect from, say a USA Cycling (or old USCF) race. Added to this mix was the venue itself. The Rose Bowl in a hectic place on a good day. Throw in an RV show, a lacrosse tournament, and it was pretty crazy.

The time trial had racers, either solo or as a two-rider team, racing circuits around the perimeter road - you know the one at the bottom of the Arroyo, same as used by the Tuesday/Thursday night training races. The afternoon circuit race (stage 2) added to this basic route, ascents of Salvia Canyon, and swift descents of Washington at the north end. Twenty miles for the circuit race comes out to about 6 times up Salvia, and as you may know Washington can be a screaming fast descent - all on a fixed gear bike. So props to all who did it; I, on my fixed-gear bike, am just not that talented. 

What I thought would be a quick 50-60 mile day, turned into a 74 mile one, after factoring in all that zigging and zagging. That circuit race which was supposed to start at 2:00, didn't get underway until 3:30, so it was near dark by the time I took the final turn to home. I'm pretty spent, but a link to the catalog of more photos is up and can be viewed as a slideshow here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stuff Someone Said: Federico Bahamontes...

By now you may be well aware of how I continue to use a written journal to document the happenings of daily training rides. I have long supplemented these with apropos quotes by more famous personalities in the sport, and thought it might be worth sharing some of these here. Today's quote comes from the great Spanish climber, the Eagle of Toledo:

"If you've got the form, nothing can go wrong, because you can see that it's not you that's suffering, it's the rest of the field. You enjoy every turn of the pedals."

Bahamontes (l) with some guy named Anquetil at the 1963 Tour de France

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pomona Valley Bike Coalition...

Did you know that one of the largest and most active bicycle advocacy organizations (and purveyor of fun and informative rides) in the Los Angeles region, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), now has a local chapter for all of us on the eastern edge of the world err, make that, county? The Pomona Valley Bike Coalition is the place-holding name of the recently formed and still organizing chapter. If you are at all concerned about the rights of bicyclists, have been interested in bicycle advocacy, or simply want to hang out in the company of like-minded people, this new chapter has a page on Facebook where you can keep up to date on all the happenings, future events, and opportunities for participating by signing in.

I briefly met a couple riders from the group at the last Cycle Claremont ride, they are enthusiastic and looking to get the wheels turning in the Pomona Valley, so to speak. Check out that Facebook page here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ride Along the Barrett-Stoddard to Frankish Peak...

I posted up a few photos from this ride a couple weeks ago, fully expecting to write up a full report in a timely manner. Didn't quite work out that way so, keeping in mind that the ride took place two weeks ago, and the write-up last week, here it is: Wow, actual rain today. Makes for a good excuse to catch up on a post I had though to write up some time ago. Last week I rode up along the Barrett-Stoddard road/trail, and then up the road to Frankish Peak. I wrote a bit about this mountain bike ride in February last year, and it is a section of what I call the Guardians of the Canyon route; I probably do it three or four times a year. The starting point for it is the little parking area off the Mt. Baldy Road where there is a small power station. Two routes start from here; one a crumbling paved road heads down San Antonio Canyon, and is not the one you want to take. The other is a mostly gravel and river rock road which goes down along the power station, until it crosses an arched bridge over San Antonio Creek, and then heads upward. The road takes you into the little hamlet in Barrett Canyon. Riding through this little settlement you pass the storybook house and then will undoubtedly be greeted by a couple big dogs. They have never failed to appear for me; they will bark when they first see you and come out onto the road, but have never given me any other problem. I just ride on by them. After a couple stream crossings you reach the yellow Forest Service gate.


shaded section of trail

destination, and turn around point, that peak in the background

After the gate, the grade increases, in fact this is the steepest part of the route; it is also deeply shaded by overhanging oaks, so even in the summer it is nice and cool. In a quarter mile you reach a kind of plateau and leave the oaks behind. The road also begins to close in on you, becoming more and more narrow, until all that is left is a single-track trail. Don't become overly focused on the trail, there are some nice views down into the canyon, and out over what is called Spring Hill, where there are often a herd of deer grazing. From here to the Stoddard Peak saddle is such a fun trail to ride - the grade is gradual, there are some rocks, shrubs, fallen trees, etc to flick your bike around or over, it is hard not to have a good time.

Stoddard Saddle it the high point of this route, and also marks a point where the trail widens back to a fire road. However, since the road is not maintained in any way, landslides and brush means that much of the road has reverted to double and single track trail. Once again, it is an easy grade down, with a scenic rocky mountainside on your left and the depths of Stoddard Canyon on the right. You ride in and out of small side canyons, some wooded, some with streams. Day hikers rarely seem to go this far, so it is mostly likely just you and whatever wild creatures are out and about. Just before reaching the flat area at the top of West Cucamonga Canyon, and trail junction to other points, you head into one of those small side canyon (this one somewhat larger). There is a large corrugated pipe here, a concrete wall which I assume was a check dam at one point. The trail is long since washed out here and is the one place you will need to dismount. Continue on down to the flat area which is now heavily littered with aluminum cans. You can head down into Cucamonga Canyon from here, or go up to Frankish Peak.

recently widened tunnel of ceanothus

the offending spines of ceanothus

up on Frankish Peak looking down on the alluvial fan of Cucamonga Canyon

some manzanita was coming into bloom

nice riding trail

If you chose Frankish Peak, you will probably walk the first part. This route proceeds through a tunnel of ceanothus, the kind with spines at the end of each branch. When I first rode up here a few years ago this tunnel was severely overgrown and I emerged from it looking like I had visited a piercing parlor. Someone has recently done a lot of clearing, so the trail is wider, but still difficult, if not impossible to avoid being stabbed and jabbed. You pass scattered clumps of this shrub all along the trail, but in this one spot they grow en-mass. Shortly you will clear this obstruction and you can remount again to continue riding. By winding around the peak, the road takes its time to reach the top, but once there you have some nice views in all directions. This is an out and back, so go back the way you came. Keep in mind that it is impossible to avoid contact with brush growing in on the trail. I think winter is the best time to ride this because you don't have to worry about ticks; during the summer you might want to stop and check for the little buggers every so often. This is also a great trail when there is snow on the ground. The route is low enough in elevation that the snow is rarely so deep as to prevent you riding.

If I had out-of-town visitors who wanted to sample the home trails, those that are mere minutes away, I can think of three that we would ride, Monroe Truck Trail, Marshall Canyon/Palmer-Evey to Potato Mountain, and the Barrett-Stoddard to Frankish Peak. It's a worthy ride.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Faces of Cycle Claremont: Peter...

I would like to do a profile each month starting now. Peter is an ex-Claremont resident, who now lives in one of our neighbor communities. He is a former bike shop owner who knows his way around bikes. His vintage wool jersey from the old Mount Baldy Velo Orange CC is what immediately caught my eye. When I say his jersey, I mean it literally, as he rode with the club back in the 1970s. The rainbow stripes are classic, and the back of the jersey has a big patch of the club's title sponsor. I assure you I just kicked myself for not getting a photo of the back. His ride for the day, a Mercian is from the same era, and as you might expect for a bike whose owner possesses such a distinguished pedigree, was in perfect running order. Lace-up cycling shoes to go with the toe clips and straps. So cool. I hope he shows up at more of these rides; just from the short talk I had with him, I had the impression there are some great stories he could tell. 

I have not been able to uncover that much on the Mount Baldy Cycling Club. Howie Cohen's Everything Bicycles website does have a copy of the 1977 Southern California Racing Program, which includes a photo and some general information on the club (such as noting that they met at Harvey Mudd College, that they were sponsored by Nishiki, and that their president that year was Daryl LeVesque). There is also the same for a Velo Orange Bicycling Club, located in Tustin. Considering my love of history, I just need to buy Peter a coffee, sit down, and ask him as many questions as I can think of.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Recap: Cycle Claremont Community Ride II...

Have you ever seen better course markings? The Cycle Claremont

volunteers who mark the course, are the best.

Stand around, talk, drink coffee. What else are you going to do when awaiting the start?

David and his reproduction Pedersen.
He must draw questions of curiosity when ever it is ridden.

It has been so long since I have ridden with anything other than cycling shoes on my feet
Those boots really belong with that Peugeot mixte.

Youngest rider on the day got to ride in style on the front of dad's bike.

The blue sky gave way to a grey one this morning, which made it a little colder at ride time, and may have been responsible for holding the numbers down some from the January ride. Of course there were also a good number of volunteers who were helping out a staging and did not ride. So, between 40 an 50 riders once again toured the Claremont Bicycle Priority Zone; riders of all ages, and ability levels, some who have ridden for decades and others just starting out on that path. There were returnees to the ride, and there were new faces. Though numbers may have been down, there was no diminution of fun. Mayor Sam Pedroza rode with us again, and I was finally able to meet David, owner of the Pedersen reproduction, of which I have previously mentioned.

The lead group of riders heading out.

The kids are alright. These two, getting some activity, in particular.


I should have taken a right side up photo of this chalk art. The ride's resident artist used the steel covers and other objects many times - this pavement persona has a wide open mouth with the word 'yawn' .

Another standout in the crowd.

Once again 42nd Street Bagel provided carbs. Hot coffee courtesy of the Last Drop Cafe was welcome before and after. Jenn make that LaMoyne of the Claremont Senior Bicycle Group provided the homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yum, and thanks. 

If you are looking to step up your game, if you are ready for a new challenge (or have been ready) come out, or come back, next month, as Cycle Claremont is planning to introduce an additional route. The same shorter ride around the BPZ will still take place, but for riders looking for a little more on a weekend morning, a longer route will be added. Check the Cycle Claremont site and Facebook Page for more details as the date (March 18) approaches or, of course, here.

In the home stretch now.

This group of teens from Claremont High School are making a film on bicycle safety for the city, and have been at both rides, filming, taking photos. Awesome, hope I get to see it.

I would like to do a profile of a different Cycle Claremont rider each month starting now; however, I am going to do it (or at least this one) as a separate post. Watch for it, featuring this gentleman, soon (like later this evening).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...