Thursday, May 31, 2012

An End and A Beginning: The CLR Effect...

It is time for a change everyone. You may know that I have considered a name change for quite some time now. If you have been a regular reader here, or just an occasional one; if you have been what Google would call followers, or what I called members, I hope you have done so because there was something that struck a chord, perhaps something you found interesting, informative, maybe vaguely entertaining. I thank you for stopping by. I have met many people who have been familiar with the Claremont Cyclist, and even some who were able to pick me out of the moving mass of a peloton, because of this blog.

Whether you are one of the older members, or someone new, I hope you will think it worthwhile to become a member of my new blog - the CLR Effect. I have always been envious of blogs with interesting, creative names like Red Kite Prayer, Twisted Spokes, Cycling Inquisition, Ride the Black Line, to name but four. The CLR Effect is my attempt at a more creative, yet recognizable name. The subject matter will not change; if I wrote about it on the Claremont Cyclist, I will write about it on the CLR Effect. That being the case, you may wonder why change at all; I guess what it comes down to is that I simply wanted a more inclusive name, one that was unbound, one that was reflective of the broad range of my cycling interests. Besides what if I were to move (not that there is any move planned) - there are only a certain number of places in the world where the title Claremont Cyclist would work.

Truth be known, I kept going back and forth on this for some time. It had become quite ridiculous, and in the end it became a matter of just getting it over with. Though all the old posts will remain accessible here (and I will still reply to comments), from this point on consider the Claremont Cyclist closed, and the CLR Effect launched

If you want to know what the title CLR Effect is all about, you'll have to click here, the first post will explain it all. While you are there sign on as a member, it is free of charge, and I won't pester you for anything other than an occasional post comment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two Turns Short of a Full Ride...

A little business to tend to in the afternoon yesterday, but first there was
a ride up CA 39 in the morning. Sun was shining bright, but I could have done without the wind. That's alright though, when the road is this sweet I'll tolerate a little inconvenience. Literally two turns short of the Crystal Lake turnoff I turned around. Is that anti-climactic or what? There is a clue contained in the third photo below, related to a little change to the blog, which will be announced tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Man in Yellow...

So Andy Schleck was officially presented with the Yellow Jersey for his 2010 Tour de France victory. I have mixed opinions about it, and no matter how hard I try, I can't shake the hollowness of it all. And I don't think I am alone in thinking this.

You may recall that Alberto Contador's victory that year was overturned due to the detection of clenbuterol in his urine sample and Andy Schleck, who finished second, was declared the winner. Obviously, if your victor is determined to have won by illegal performance enhancing means, the overall victory should then fall to the next best placed racer. With two additional 2nd on g.c. finishes at the Tour, and one g.c. 2nd at the Giro, Andy has proven that he is a capable rider. So why can't I come to terms with this victory? I think ultimately it is because you never know how things would have progressed - you can not just erase the top placed racer and expect that the progress of a three week Tour would have played out the same way otherwise. Too many variables would have been altered over the course of the race, and the final outcome would not have been a given.

I hope Andy can win this year, maybe the next; it would go a long way toward justifying the 2010 decision. The court of public opinion can sometimes be harsh and unfair, but until he gets that win 2010, like 2006, is going to be another question mark in my books.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Laziness...

I wish I could say I did a lot of riding this Memorial Day weekend. There were two local races to choose from - the Barry Wolfe Grand Prix on Sunday; normally wouldn't miss it, but they moved it further out of the way this year, so, uh, no. Another crit today at Dominguez Hills, and a bunch of local group rides with the Psycho-lists. Truth is though, I was extremely lazy, and did almost none - just a little in-town riding. Here is some of what I saw:

Pearsons Hall @ the Claremont Colleges

Memorial Park was surprisingly quite on this Memorial Day

Memorial Day topiary

plenty of people chose to get around by bike
on the extra day off

riders in the Village, and passing through

annual Memorial Day BBQ at Wolfe's Market

stacks of bikes

Woody and Jessie


Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's A Final: Ryder Wins 2012 Giro d'Italia...

for full photo (and more) - click

Ryder Hesjedal, the first Canadian champion of the Giro d'Italia, and only the second time in Giro history that the overall title has been determined on the final day (in 1984 Francesco Moser overtook Laurent Fignon on the final stage to don the Maglia Rosa). In the past, Ryder has shown that he possesses the ability to be considered an overall contender in a major Tour. Over the last three weeks he has shown the physical ability over a range of terrain, and the tactical knowledge required, to turn possibility into reality. Congratulations are in order.

We may still be a month away, but all eyes now turn to France, and
what is shaping into quite a show.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Weekend C & V: 1970s Trek...

The story goes that this basic black Trek was used by its previous owner as a touring steed. Excepting a few standouts, it is pretty nondescript, with a kind of mish-mash of components including, Campagnolo headset, Suntour shifting, Mafac brakes. All that speaks of an owners preference over a period of years. What makes it stand out, I think, are the wheels, built with 70's Phil Wood hubs and boxy Wolber rims, the head badge, which has started to take on a nice patina, and an Avocet seat post with the Avocet logo (my photo of it did not come out, but I did find an advertisement over at Classic Rendezvous). Not sure of the exact date, though I have seen the same frame noted as a 1979 model 730 / 736. There you have it, and it's for sale at the Velo, World's Smallest Bike Shop.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh, Canada, Oh No, Kristin...

Terrific start for the Canadian women in the 2012 Exergy Tour prologue - Whitten, Carleton, Hughes in the top three spots. But man, I could feel the shock of hitting the pavement when Kristin Armstrong went down, and she went down suddenly and hard. Armstrong was really flying around the short course and I have to think would have dislodged all three of the top racers if she had not gone down. She still managed to finish only 8 seconds back. Worst of all, the way she was holding her shoulder at the end was not reassuring. Damn. Confirmed - Armstrong has been knocked out of the race with a broken collarbone. You know she was pumped to be racing before the hometown crowd. That has to double the pain. Damn.

authors photo of Kristin Armstrong from the 2012 San Dimas Stage Race

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finally, the Buds Ride...

Wait, didn't I use that heading last year? I can't believe we are now almost two months into the Bud's season, and I have only now made it out to the Wednesday ride. On a positive note, it was good to see that no one has slacked off in my absence. On the negative side, there was a bad solo rider crash at the bottom of the hill in Bonelli. A gal, who had to have been about mid-field, though maybe on the right side of the bunch went down, probably after hitting one of the pot holes at that intersection. The rider was sitting at the side of the road, and no one had stopped, nor appeared to be stopping. When I realized what had happened I swung around, and a little further ahead another rider did the same. A third rider coming downhill stopped to see if she could help as well. 

In true dedicated roadie fashion, the crashed rider was more concerned about her bike than anything else (I believe she said it was a week old). A driver also stopped with some bottled water and paper towels. A lot of road rash - both legs, both arms, face, rear - is going to make for an uncomfortable, sore few days, but all that appeared to be the worst of it (the bike seemed fine). A Sheriff's deputy came by and he got the lifeguard with first aid stuff. Leisel came along, then quickly left to get her car in order to give the crashed rider a lift. 

I can't say I did much more than stand around and look concerned, and pick up some of the debris - water bottle, sunglass pieces - but I certainly was not going to leave her alone at that point. You know I switched teams this year, to SC  Velo, and looking around at all the riders who eventually stopped to help or see if they could do anything, and notice how many were wearing SC Velo or Incycle kit, was actually pretty heartening.

So I finally made it out to Bud's this year, which turned out to be short and, unfortunately, not sweet. Thankfully, for everyone, there is always next week. Hope the crashed rider makes a speedy recovery and can rejoin us soon.

Thoughts During a Ride...

what thoughts are in that noggin now?

I was on one of my long solo rides recently, the kind that are especially good for thinking, largely because there is not much else to do. Group rides are not as amenable to this kind of mental activity because there is too much distraction - planning your attack for the next KOM or Sprint point, concentrating on holding that wheel in front of you, wondering how long it has been since someone up ahead last washed their kit. I know I did a post once (last year) about the brevity of my thought process on training rides, such as Bud's. Stuff like that.

Long solo rides are completely different; other than debating how best to keep the cranks turning, there is plenty of free time. You may remember a recent post in which I mentioned riding for miles thinking only of sweat. It is not uncommon to find myself focused on a single line of thought for a considerable distance and length of time. On the above mentioned recent ride, I had an entire conversation on the merits, the pluses and minuses of spinning versus pushing a big gear. If I had a smart phone with a dictation app I could have composed an entire lecture on the topic. It wasn't just randomness that settled my thoughts on this topic, it was the continuation of a conversation I had with my son at the recent bike marathon at his school. 

During that conversation, I commented to him that he was pushing too big a gear, and that he should try spinning in an easier gear for a while. His was response was, to the effect of "that's not the way I ride." I told him that in the long run, over the course of the 24 hour event it would help, but he wasn't buying it. As someone who has always been known for big-gear riding (I wasn't bestowed the nickname 53-12 for nothing) I decided not to push the point too much, and just let him ride his ride. Anyway it did give me a topic for a future post - watch for it here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quotable Link: Donal Harrington...

“The girl (in the ambulance) said ‘stop’ but I said I’d only stop if she had a bandage ready when I stop. She didn’t so she threw a bit of water on me and I went off again. I knew I was never going to get back on because they were just going too fast.”

The vast majority of us competitive cyclists will never get the chance to race an event as big as the An Post Ras, let alone anything even more prominent. Mayo Centra Team rider, Donal Harrington, was not going to let a little blood (or a lot as the case may be) stop him. There is a good read, with uncropped bloody photo by Paul Mohan too, over at the Sticky Bottle.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Well Done, Robert Gesink...

I guess I never knew that Gesink was so much the fan of California, choosing to train and vacation here. And the fact that he rides for Rabobank, who have been busy making financial inroads here in the state, makes his stage and overall victories during the recent Amgen Tour of California seem almost as if the home team took the wins.

Keeping himself close in the early goings, beginning his move to the top during the time trial, and then capping it all with an emphatic win at Mt. Baldy for a big win and prestigious addition to his palmares. 

I have always been intrigued by Gesink, especially when he is climbing. He seems like such an unlikely climber, not the fluid pedal dancer image we typically attach to cyclings mountain goats. Bobbing and rocking, he never-the-less propels himself upward with power and determination, enough to always be considered a threat when the road turns upward. Due to injury and personal loss, he has had a couple off years, but certainly appears to be back at full strength now. It was a well deserved win for Robert Gesink, and the Rabobank Team.

Relive it now:

The May Cycle Claremont Community Ride...

The May Cycle Claremont Ride brought out mostly returning riders, but it was also good to see quite a few new riders (new, meaning they had not done a CC ride before). It means that word is still getting around. We were also joined by a group of riders from the Pomona Valley Bike Coalition (PVBC), all returnees who had done the ride, one month or another, in the past. A little twist to today's ride - I agreed at the last minute to lead a faster group and was given some leeway to add on some distance as willing. Everyone in the group was willing, so we deviated off the regular CC short route and wove our way around the residential area of north Claremont. It was still pretty darn short (from my perspective at least), but seemed to work out well enough today.


still gathering

can you spot the bike?

the PVBC Crü + a CSBG infiltrator

The Cycle Claremont rides may take a hiatus for the summer, we will determine that soon, and then hopefully plan something new for the next scheduled rides, whenever they occur. Check the Cycle Claremont website, or CC Facebook page for the latest information. I will, of course, post up information here as well. Even if the Rides take time off for the summer, it does not mean you have to stop riding, there are plenty of local rides going on, plenty of local groups to join in with. If I feel really inspired, I may even plan a couple social rides myself. Whatever the case, always remember, any day is a good day to bring out your bikes.

funny thing about leading, i didn't really have the same opportunity to take photos during the ride. so i swung back around the first part of the route to photo the directional markers

Oh, one last thing, Greg Armstrong, who has been involved in the local cycling scene for some time now, was at the start talking to everyone about the upcoming Plain Wrap Ride, which he is helping to organize and promote. The important thing to note about this ride is that it benefits several Inland cycling-related organizations by providing much needed funds in support of their respective missions. Learn more about the 2012 Plain Wrap Ride by clicking the link in the Upcoming events section at the right.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Tour of California, Stage 7: A Morning with AG2R - La Mondiale...

Double the fun today during stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. Started out at the stage start in Ontario amongst all the team cars, buses, bikes, riders, officials, volunteers and, of course, throngs of fans. Watched the start and then a quick trip home, drop off equipment, change into kit, push off on the bike and book on over to GMR to pick up the race passing by there. And, I made it back home in plenty of time to watch the finale on the slopes of Mt. Baldy.

I really had to lead with this one: je avec Nicolas Roche

et Sylvain Georges, vainqueur d'hier

The start has become my favorite place to be at big races like this. The meet and greet, all the activity of getting ready, anticipation buzzing through the crowd. I walked back and forth, I don't know how many times, through the team area, taking photos of this and that, and finally set myself at the front door of the AG2R-La Mondiale bus to wait for the riders to come on out. The United Healthcare team was right behind me too, and it was interesting to compare the two.

The UHC riders were some of the earliest to emerge from their team bus and quickly engaged the throngs, they signed autographs, posed for photos, had some seriously long conversations with Joe and Joan Everybody, rode over to sign in, and then came back and picked up with the crowd where they left off. In contrast the AG2R riders, didn't emerge really until the last minute. Even so, they took a little time to pose and sign (as you can see above) before heading over to the start area. By the way if you are wondering why the race start was delayed somewhat, it was due to the wife - the first photos she took of Mr. Roche and myself didn't exactly come out, so we had to bother him all over again. Thank you Nicolas. Actually I don't know what caused the delay - something about clearing the course, I think. I gave one final attempt at searching for the Argos Shimano Team, who did not seem to be set up with the rest of the teams. Turns out they were in a parking lot across the way and were heading out when I tracked them down. Bummer. Thanks to the delayed start I was able to rush over in time to see riders reclining all over the place, stretching, laughing, just waiting. An opportune time for a delay, as I got to see the race take off. 

grille monkey

window art


Levi was a busy man, even before changing into his work clothes

as the sign says, broom wagon

team Rabobank bikes

#71 - Nicolas Roche

Tiago Machado passing by

Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan ride to the start

Fast Freddy stretching a little

Colombia Coldeportes guys found a little shade while awaiting the start, and shared a laugh
with Team Radioshack's Tiago Machado


Super Dave Z

one young fans flag

packing up

From there I turned my attention to GMR. I was able to get in with a group of Incycle riders heading down from Baldy Road, and made some good time into San Dimas. When I got to the bottom of GMR I still had plenty of time before the race was predicted to come by, but chose just to hang out down below - at about the ranger station. It was a good call, I think, just enough slope to keep them from speeding by too fast. The first group came by being powered by Jens Voigt, with Horner on his wheel, and everyone else trying to hang on. It wasn't long before the first chase group (main peloton) came through being driven by the Rabobank guys. After they went through there was a good long wait for the next chase group. Once they had ridden out of sight I waited a little, expecting the broom wagon to come by. It never happened, so I rode on down to the turn onto GMR from Sierra Madre where there was still a big crowd. CHP came by and said there was still one lone rider to come through. Seemed cruel to post up that photo, so it was time to go. I rushed home in time to see the, now two, leaders approaching Cow Saddle before the descent into Baldy Village - and of course the win by Gesink. Whoop, whoop Rabobank.

Jens Voigt ahead of Chris Horner at the bottom of GMR

There are plenty more photos, including more than just the one of actual racing action, and by clicking this link you will be taken to a slideshow of them. Or, if you prefer, photos only - no slideshow format.
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