MT. HAMILTON STILL ON? Good question! Right now
the weather people say there's an 70% chance of significant rain...no,
wait a sec... if you don't like the weather report, just wait a few
minutes and it changes. Now, on the hour-by-hour forecast, they show
showers, not rain. But the overall forecast for the day says
rain. So is the ride on? I wouldn't count on it. If it
looks semi-nice in the morning, then yes, but somehow that just doesn't
look all that likely. In fact, I even hedged my bets a bit by
getting in a good ride today.
I'm sure that, no matter how bad the weather is, there
will be some brave souls out there. But if it's just simple rain, no
snow or ice at the top to give the ride that epic quality, then it's
debatable whether it's worthwhile or not, especially given how obnoxious
that descent is even when it's dry! I'll post here in the morning,
around 7:15am or so. As a reminder, if the ride is on, people leave
from Alum Rock & Mt. Hamilton (the base of the climb) around
STOP THE RAIN? A great old song by Credence
Clearwater Revival, But it begs the question- who will stop
the rain? Latest weather forecast makes it sound like we're going to
see rainy weather for the next four days...which includes New Years morning, when many of us are supposed to be
riding up Mt. Hamilton! Not fun. If it were cold enough,
you might get snowed on as you approach the top, and thus have the
ingredients of a truly epic ride... something not to be passed up.
But plain, simple, obnoxious, ever-present and constantly in-your-face
rain is another matter. Go out in simple rain on a ride like that
and you're simply stupid. But if it were to snow, you'd have
something to talk about for years.
BACK ON THE BIKE. Hadn't ridden since a week ago last
Tuesday, and was concerned that it would be terribly painful riding up the
hill. Instead, it was more like revisiting an old friend, as
everything again seemed right with the world. Next Tuesday's ride up
Mt. Hamilton now seems possible! Sure would have been nice to have
gotten a few miles in first, though... that's one very long hill.
Well, not quite, but it's 2am and I'm very happy. The power's back
on, and I just got back from the shop, verifying that all systems are
ready for tomorrow, er, I mean later today. Now I just have to
finish wrapping a bunch of presents...
GRINCH (PG&E) WHO TRIED TO STEAL CHRISTMAS. We're in
last-second mode here, trying to make sure all the loose ends are nicely
tied up so everyone gets the right bike for Christmas, and that all the
special orders have been taken care of. Things were pretty much in
order until 4pm on Sunday in our Redwood City store, PG&E
decided to give us their Christmas gift... a power failure. And not
just any power failure, but one of unspecified duration. I called
immediately, and then followed up an hour later and was told they hadn't
even assigned a crew to it yet! This despite the fact that the power
had become flaky much earlier in the day, with the local Fire Department
having been dispatched to the site because a transformer was catching
fire. I had asked them what was up at the time, and they said they
were waiting for PG&E to show up... who apparently never did.
Yep, that's me. Didn't ride Thursday morning, Yes,
it was raining, yes, it was windy, yes, it was cold. But those
aren't usually enough to stop me. So what did? Cleaning my
bike last Monday, that's what did! Maybe a clean bike is a happy
bike, but sometimes it's also a severe disincentive to going for a ride in
the rain. Soon, my rain bike will be done and I won't have such
problems any more.
MORNING RIDE? Well, it's like this. I was
ambushed by my two kids (9 & 13) the other morning, who wanted to
state in no uncertain terms that this Christmas was going to be different
and Dad wasn't going to sleep in until 8am and then take a long
shower. Well, when I told them, hey, no problem, they just have to
wait until I get back from my Tuesday morning bike ride... have you read
that Calvin & Hobbes cartoon where Dad is telling Calvin how there
might be a (single) present under an undecorated Christmas Tree in
the garage, and Calvin goes screaming from the room, yelling
MOM!!!!!!!!!? Let me tell you that scene was very faithfully
reenacted. And I was just kidding... I never had the idea I'd be
riding on Christmas morning. But we most certainly will be riding
up Mt. Hamilton on New Year's Day (unless the weather is extremely
foul and I suddenly suffer an unusual bout of common sense).
READY. Second shipment of bikes comes in today, so we
should have just about everything anybody would want, just in time for the
holidays. More ultra-lightweight OCLV carbon bikes for mom or dad,
more 12" wheel bikes for 3-4 year olds, more of everything.
Repairs- today is probably the last day you can reliably
drop off a bike for a repair and expect to have it done soon.
Depends upon how Saturday goes... but I expect we're going to have
mechanics pretty tied up getting bikes built.
BIKES FOR CHRISTMAS.
Lots of them. Big shipment coming in today or tomorrow, more than we
have room for. Ah, the life of the retailer! But apparently
TREK is one of the few major bike companies that planned for a decent
Christmas this year; many others are out of the most popular models (like
24"-wheel girl's mountain bikes, which fit kids from about 8 to 11 or
so). So if you call our Redwood City location today or tomorrow and
it rings forever, we're probably out back unloading a big truck.
LOSE, LIFE IS GOOD! How
can a longtime 49er Faithful say something like that? Well, it's
like this. History has shown us that business does much better after
the 49ers blow it. Why? Because lots of people who stayed home
to watch the game feel guilty about wasting a perfectly nice day, and one
of the ways they deal with that guilt is by telling themselves that
they're going to spend that time riding a bike instead and maybe go out
and buy a new one. We've been around long enough to know this
pattern is actually real, not imagined.
12/06/01 - SO
HOW'S BUSINESS? This question comes up more and more
often lately, so it should probably be addressed here (after all, this is
the place for a bit more personal view on cycling and the bike biz, isn't
it?). So here's the real scoop. Did we see any big effect from
the September 11th events? Yes. No. Maybe. For
whatever reasons, business has been "lumpier" than normal, with
really really good days next to really really poor days. But at the
end of the month, the figures are where they should be... two out of the
last three months are actually up over last year. Now, more
recently... this yucky (I was going to say awful, but yucky is more
appropriate, especially since that's how it feel when you're out riding in
it) weather has definitely had an effect. Who
wants to go anywhere when it's cold and messy outside? But the
weather people say we're due for a really nice spell, so I suspect we'll be as busy as ever. --Mike--
PS: And yes, I was out riding this morning in the
yucky stuff. It was supposed to be a longer ride, out to the coast
and back up Tunitas Creek, with me staying away from the shop for a couple
hours. But it turns out Kevin has to meet someone in Woodside at
9am, so instead of going to the coast, I end up riding up Kings, Skyline
to Skegg's, back down to Woodside, then up Old La Honda, down the east
side to 84, and then back over and home. 37 miles instead of the 45
I had planned on, but still a nice ride (despite having no speed
whatsoever climbing... what's with that???!!!)
BUT NOT COLD ENOUGH.
Yes, it was a cold morning, with the toes feeling it, descents not a lot
of fun because of the cold wind in your face, and enough clothing to make
you feel sluggish. But, at 36 degrees, not nearly cold enough for
bragging rights. The weather service had forecast considerably
colder weather than that, possibly into the 20s, and in some perverse way
I was looking forward to it. But not today. 36 degrees is
cold, but it's just not cold enough to make a big thing over. Maybe
RODE ANYWAY. Our
website was back up sometime in the middle of the night (see
below), and, while I kinda assumed at 1am that I wasn't going to be able
to get up for the morning ride, I did anyway. Some things just have
to be done, especially since it was raining. Where do you draw the
line on excuses? Do you not ride because you didn't sleep well the
night before, or because of rain & wind? Since I couldn't decide
which was the better reason, I tossed out both. Only saw two others
out there, including Kai (shown in the photo), a Stanford student from
Singapore, who I met at the top of King's Mtn.
One of these days I'll introduce my new rain bike to the
elements, but I'm still hung up on the idea that it ought to have brakes
that work... and you just can't compare older single-pivot brake designs
to the newer ones. Sure, I could put some long-reach Shimano RX100s
on there, but would that really belong on a bike that is otherwise
entirely retro-Italian, complete with Nuovo Record cranks, hubs &
shifters? Tough call. A bike that's functional vs one that's
authentic. Hard to believe I used to race with that stuff...
Many of you noticed that you couldn't log onto our site yesterday (or even
now, as I'm typing this at 12:07am). Something mysteriously
misconfigured at our hosting company, and I'm on the phone right now,
trying to track it down. Hopefully won't take too long, as I need a
bit of sleep before my regular Thursday morning ride! Didn't take
long to get ahold of a real live person at our website hosting company,
but it's definitely taking them quite a bit of time to run this one
down. Getting bounced around a bit inside the company, but the main
person seems to have a handle on things. 12:13am now.
Darn. Would be nice to put this on speakerphone while I'm on hold,
but that would wake up others in the house. 12:18am. Soft music of
the 80s isn't my style of hold music. 12:27am and the web person
just got back to me, telling me she found someone in the San Jose center
who's on it now and she'll be back to me in a few. Meantime
"Where is the Love" is playing on hold. 12:32am. Not
the way I like to wind down in the evening! 12:40am and I'm talking
with someone who says I may need to meet with one of their people at the
Santa Clara datacenter. When I asked why, well... there really
wasn't a good answer to that one! Now he's talking with someone
else...doesn't look like I'm riding tomorrow in the morning, since it's
now 12:43am! 12:47pm and he says it's from a power blackout in Santa
Clara, and they're sending someone out now to fix things. This
should be good night for now!
Not that bad really, but at 34 degrees, a lot colder than it's been, and a
sure sign of things to come. I hate
booties. Makes you feel like you've got lead weights attached to
your pedals, but at least you avoid that feeling in the shower afterward,
where your toes half-itch and half-hurt as they try to thaw out.
Still, it's not uncomfortable riding in cold weather if you're adequately
dressed for it.
THANKSGIVING DAY RIDE!
Which begs the question... where were you? Yes, Bruno, that means
you! Wet? Yes, especially at first, but it never actually
rained. A beautiful day over all, with sun breaking through the
clouds at the end. Got the photos up
already, descriptions soon.
GOING TO RIDE THURSDAY? Rain, rain, and more rain is
scheduled for our annual TurkeyDay ride.
My guess is that we'll be cutting it short and just heading up King's
Mountain, down Skyline to 84, and back down. It's likely to be very
wet & very messy, and not to be attempted by anyone who's relatively
sensible. Oh well, maybe we'll have nice weather for the annual Mt.
Hamilton ride on New Year's Day...
MEAT! Almost literally. Had a visit from our
inside sales rep for LeMond and we talked him into our Tuesday/Thursday
morning ride up King's
Keep in mind that he's been living in Wisconsin lately, which isn't quite
as bad as Florida, but still, their idea of a mountain is a bit different
that ours. Also riding with us was Kevin Keenan (a regular) and John
Thompson (a semi-regular who also happens to be our outside TREK/Klein
rep). Nice morning, a bit wet, perhaps a bit too wet as Travis (the
LeMond rep) went down on the Highway 84 descent. Picked up the
pieces nicely and kept on going though! In the photo Travis is on
the left, John Thompson on the right.
FOR LEONID whomever he/she was. It's not that unusual
for me to be up late maintaining the website and taking care of emails,
but it is unusual for my kids to be up at the same time. So far not
much sign of the 4000 meteors/hour promised on the news, just a few
stragglers here & there. Guess it won't be something I'll be
getting pictures of for the website!
COULD ONLY HAPPEN TO ME.
Got an email today... from a bike. It was complaining about spending
too much time on rollers, but thankful that at least it didn't have to
suffer the indignity of having its forks or rear end clamped in a vice
like some bikes. So maybe in addition to the Killer Squirrel page
I'll need to have an advice column for bikes?
DAY TROT is on. Anyone interested in a ride Thanksgiving
Day Morning is welcome to show up for our 5th annual TurkeyDay
Trot. We won't necessarily use the route in the link, but it
should give you an idea of what you might be in for. Generally,
there are several points where you can opt out, making for a shorter ride
if you wish.
Also added a new page showing
some of our staff looking silly on rollers, infernal contraptions used
to improve your balance on a bicycle, as well as elevate your heart rate
via a panic mechanism.
RIDE! For this
morning's ride up King's Mtn,
we had Matt the Mechanical Man (rides a mountain bike with a pannier, and
still beats most of us up the hill), Harry (one of our customers with a
5200), Steve (another one with a 5200) and Eric, a customer from San Mateo
who showed up for the first time. Eric doesn't have a TREK 5200, but
he still seems like a nice guy. But y'know, that's true of most
cyclists in general. We come across a lot of nice people on our
morning rides, including various joggers in Woodside, the 3-dog-lady (an
older woman we see consistently walking her 3 dogs), Mike Taylor, a superb
cat-1 cyclist who works in another bike shop...
The only problem I had was that I believed the weather
report I'd heard the night before... the one saying the lows would be in
the mid-30s. Kinda got over-dressed, considering that it never got
below a relatively-balmy 47!
AS CHARGED. True confession mode. The
other day I found myself spending far too much time staring at a young
woman's legs in the shop. Before you assume I'm a total sleezeball,
there was a reason. She was picking up a 5200 (bike) from us, and
was slightly self-conscious about her knees, which had small bumps located
below the kneecap, from a childhood condition known as Osgood Shlatter's
disease. When I overheard that I just had to check it out... since
*I* had that as well! For those unaware (which would be most of the
world), Osgood Shlatter's "disease" isn't really a disease at
all, but rather a condition that occurs in kids around 11 years old, where
the patella tendon tries to detach itself from the bone because the bones
are growing at a faster rate than the tendons & ligaments. This
results in a fair amount of pain and a world of contradictory info from
doctors... not to mention the bumps (which can become the size of golf
balls) below the knee. There are so few people who've been afflicted
that I couldn't not pay attention to her legs. My non-clinical
impression was that there was nothing wrong with her legs at all.
This morning's ride up the hill... well, the back is
doing much better, than you very much, but now I've got a nasty head cold
to keep me company. Unfortunately, I also had the company (briefly)
of new-guy Kurt, plus Ueyn and old reliable Kevin. Hey, who needs to
breathe throw a nose anyway?
Finally went to a movie with the kids on Sunday, and saw
Monsters Inc. Great movie, but you know what? I liked Shrek,
which I finally got to see a couple days prior, better! If you
haven't seen Shrek, it's definitely worth the rental.
And... Brian & Dick's Most
Excellent Adventure up Tioga Pass is now on-line!
BACK'S BACK. The last few days have been pretty
painful, as I've been fighting a nasty back injury that has made movement
painful. Hasn't kept me off the bike, of course, but Tuesdays' ride
in the rain on the Red Sled wasn't a whole lot of fun, and Thursday's ride
on my road bike was better, but still painful. Originally I'd
thought maybe I overdid things riding last week, but then thought a bit
more and realized it began hurting Sunday evening, four days after my
prior ride, and just hours after fishing with my son. My guess is
that my ineptitude at off-road riding is matched only by my inexperience
casting, and the action of repeatedly casting maybe 100 times caused the
At any rate, I've got my eyes on something new... the
Red Sled's future is in danger! One of those closeout TREK cross
bikes would probably fit a whole lot nicer, and be more fun to ride than
an almost 40-pound ancient mountain bike.
RED SLED'S OUT OF RETIREMENT.
First rain ride up King's Mtn this morning. Fun? Not really,
but necessary. Had to prove to myself that I'm going to keep going
this winter, no matter what... and so couldn't let the first rain stop me!
LAKE TRAIL MAINTENANCE THIS SUNDAY. Berry Stevens,
one of the really really good good guys for keeping mountain bike trails
open and developing new ones, has organized a trail work day for this
coming Sunday. We've posted the info on
our local issues page.
10/28/01- ANYONE KNOW HOW TO
FISH? While most of you were getting in a bike ride
Sunday before the big storm (now delayed by a day) hits, I got to do one
of those "dad" things that I knew nothing about.
Fishing. My 8-year-old has decided to sign up for fishing in 4H, and
figured that we ought to go practice. Practice what? The only
time I ever "fished" in my whole life was when my dad took me to
the Santa Cruz pier once and we used drop lines (and caught a few
Do you have any idea how stupid a 45 year old feels
knowing nothing about fishing and going into a store and trying to figure
out what's what? As far as I know, fishing is one of those things
you're supposed to have been born knowing how to do, and I must have been
standing in the wrong line. Fortunately, the book Fishing for
Dummies does a pretty decent job, and after an hour or so you do pretty
well at faking it... but not so good at faking it that you catch any
fish! At least one got snagged on my son's line for an instant, so
he can talk about the one that got away.
DUTY OVER, KING'S MTN RIDE ON! Jury duty was a
borderline thrill. It was really a very simple case, with few facts
in dispute, and took all of a single day. Well, that's not quite
right. A half-day on Monday, waiting to see if you might get called
to a courtroom for the selection process. Unfortunately, I
did. Then all day Tuesday, sitting in a courtroom while they try to
select a jury of 13 (12 plus one alternate) for the case. And then
Wednesday, three witnesses, two attorneys and a point of law that makes it
amazing anyone gets convicted for anything.
Things I remember? How about the fact (it's all
about facts, isn't it?) that the judge, the prosecutor, the defendant and
the defense attorney all have desks & cups of coffee and water, while
the jurors are admonished to not bring any food or drink into the
courtroom? And trust me, there are times where you could really use
some strong coffee during some of the longer, repetitive and not terribly
But the best news of all was that it was over quickly,
so I still get to ride in the morning!
DUTY. Finally, after all these
years, they got me. When they were doing all their challenges to get
rid of unfavorable jurists, they never asked the right questions so I just
sailed on through. Mr. Average, the omnipresent everyman, with
nothing in my background strong enough to elicit any sort of response from
either the defense attorney or prosecutor. For that I'm supposed to
feel good about serving my country as a juror?
Hopefully it will be over by Thursday. It is
likely that my Thursday-morning ride up King's Mtn isn't going to happen
though. The things we do for King & Country.
PASS PAGE DONE. Got the photos
& text up from our ride last Sunday. Soon, we should also
have a page up on the Tioga Pass ride done by two other Chain Reaction
employees, Dick & Brian, on the same day.
GATEWAY PAGE UP.
Trying something a bit different, creating "gateway" pages for
areas on our site, with the idea of tying things together and making
getting around a bit easier. First attempt can be found at www.ChainReaction.com/sonora_gateway.htm.
Let me know what you think!
OOPS I DID IT AGAIN.
Yesterday marked my fifth trip over Sonora Pass.
What is it about Sonora Pass that makes it so darned inviting? Is it
the incredible scenery? Well-paved twisty roads that few cars ever
drive? The smell of automobile brakes as they deal with sustained
20% grades? Or is there something to pushing your body beyond what
it thinks it can really do... and that feeling, when you're on top of the
Pass and about to head over the other side, that it's really really really
stupid, because you're going to have to climb back up again?
Probably all of the above. That plus the SEE (shared experience
effect) of doing it with other people, in this case Jeff (one of our
reps), Eric (works weekends in our Los Altos store) and Richard (Chain
Sure, we did this same ride back in June, but it's very
different in the Fall. Colors are nicer, the air is crisper, and
people... cars, bicyclists & motorcyclists... all seem to get along
just a bit better.
FEELINGS. Nah, not really, but I was told by one of
our staff that our website clearly doesn't display the look & feel
that ought to be the case when we have the talent of a GUI (graphical user
interface) designer, as well as two working towards art degrees, on our
staff. Well, he's right, this website is garish and breaks a lot of
rules. Too many bright colors next to dark ones (check out the
checkerboard stuff on the killer squirrel page
if you must), pages that take forever to download, and... well, it goes on
and on and on. Truth is I couldn't design a nice-looking website if
I tried, so I've concentrated on content. Doesn't mean it couldn't
look a whole lot better, and there are ideas I'm working on. But if
I get too involved in such things, content will suffer (as I spend an
increasing amount of time on how things look, vs information).
Do look for some changes, hopefully in the near future,
as I try to organize things into themed "areas" instead of using
only the menu box at the bottom of each page to "force"
organization. And for bikes, I'm going to try to get all the
relevant info in one place, so you don't have to go to separate pages for
closeouts of different years etc. But don't expect too much, as the
website still has to come after my time with my family, my bike, and the
shop. If I could just do something about that darned day
ISN'T FAIR. How does it work out that my 13-year-old
daughter, who really doesn't care a whole lot about sports, is at the
Giants game tonight, watching, in person, Barry Bonds set the home run
record? And I'm home watching it on TV? Well it's like
this. One of her friends was having a birthday party, and her dad,
many months ago, thought it would be cool to go to a Giants game.
Who'd have known at the time what a big game it would be? So this
guy's probably got 7 or 8 girls, all whining about how cold it is or that
they're tired and want to leave, sitting in seats that could be resold
for, what, $300+ each?
THAT HURTS! I've been forcing myself to climb King's
Mtn without standing, which helps my climbing endurance substantially.
The plan is to do one more ride in the Sierras
before the snow hits, and since I don't have the time to do lots of miles,
I have to make sure that the miles I do ride are quality miles.
Keeping on the saddle, no matter what, seems to help greatly in that
regard, allowing me to learn just how much my quads can take (which is
usually a lot more than I thought) before I run into
FROM THE BIKE SHOW!
And, of course, everyone wants to know what we saw that was really
cool. And, of course, everyone will think we're nuts when we tell
them one of the coolest things was a new pedal from Crank.
an off-road model (that can be used with a road show with the right cleat)
that has four sides (not the usual two) and looks so different, and so
obvious, you wonder what took people so long to come up with the
idea! Cost will run about $120, and they'll be available late
October. By the way, that's Dick & Brian K (both in red shirts)
from our Redwood City store gawking at the way-cool pedals.
Other cool stuff was the Campy Racing Triple road group,
although we're still a bit skeptical of the 10-speed super-narrow chain,
which has had a troubled history with the double crankset (making us
wonder what will happen when used with a triple!).
What else? Well, I've got a picture of the
legendary Marzocchi girls, but since this website is rated PG, I can't
show it here. Seriously. Also saw clips from the way-cool 2001
Tour de France video and thought, boy, we've got to have that! And
then I remembered we already do. $44.99 I believe, in stock, both
stores. Great video.
We must apologize for the inconvenience caused when we
closed our Redwood City store on Monday, but felt it important that our
staff got a chance to see our industry's biggest show. Most of the
time we were well-behaved! Oh yeah, and if you're wondering what a
super-successful ultra-wealthy bike shop owner can afford to put into the
one-armed bandits, it came to $20.75 (are you reading any sarcasm into
that?). Quite a bit less than the cost of the limo that brought us
from the airport to our hotel (oops, I don't think I was supposed to let
our Los Altos contingent know that those of us from the Redwood City store
had a bit of fun when we arrived!) (hey, it wasn't our idea that
they take a bus to their hotel!).
WENT WRONG. No, not really, but consider this.
I get ready for my morning ride, go to inflate
the front tire and *pssst* it goes flat. Well, better then than on a
descent! So I quickly change it and head off to the starting point
(Canada & Olive Hill), arriving just a couple minutes late.
Matt's there... a mechanical man who could outride most of us up the hill
even if he had to ride a Schwinn Varsity. OK, so what, I'll hang as
long as I can. Near Tripp Road a bunch of cyclists (maybe 8 or 9) exits from Greer Road onto King's Mtn,
apparently having ridden through Huddart Park on the way down from
Skyline. We say hi, and not one of them, not one, so much as greets
us with a raised hand or friendly "hi". To those who
aren't familiar with my stance towards anti-social
cyclists... but let's get back to the ride. So I'm a bit out of
sorts (flat tire, mechanical man showing up for the ride, anti-social
cyclists) and start up the hill...oh no, one more thing. Seems like
my seat had slipped a bit, so raised it up slightly, and noticed up the
hill that it was slightly to the side. OK, now back to the
ride. Neglected to put the chain in the smaller chainring at the
start of the climb, simply shifting up, and up, and up, to larger cogs on
the rear. By the time I realized what I'd done I was on the largest
rear cog, and the shift to the smaller front ring... well, it went right
off the inside. A quick recovery and it's back to the big ring
(almost impossible to move the chain, while riding, from being off the
chainring to the small chainring... you pretty much have to move it all
the way to the big ring). Felt stupid. Was stupid. So I
shift back down to the small chainring. Comes off again.
Repeat. One more time! And again it's off. Finally I
head back down the hill a bit, shift onto a smaller rear cog, and then
shift back to the small chainring. Success!!!
Fortunately, from then on the ride was quite nice, one
of those days where you climb out of the fog to absolutely spectacular
beauty up on top. The moral to the story? No matter how bad
things start out, don't give up. They might get worse, but,
eventually, things just might turn out very nicely.
STUFF as Levi Leipheimer, a relatively-unknown US Postal
rider, has moved up into 5th place in the Tour of Spain, also known as the
Vuelta. Daily coverage on OLN, similar to what they had for the Tour
de France. Levi was supposed to be riding in support of Roberto
Heras, the famous Spanish climber who helped Lance win the Tour de France
this year. Instead, Levi is now 4 places ahead of Heras, and moving
Also... a semi-commercial note to our customers... the
Tour de France wrap-up issue of ProCycling finally arrived. Only a
few copies per store (and I snagged one for myself, sorry!).
NORMAL? No, I
don't think we'll be able to say things are normal for awhile. But
getting out on a bike seems to be good therapy, and our customers are
still coming in, buying Powerbars, Gu, tires, tubes and bikes. And
the planes are back in the skies. That's a good thing.
VERY SAD DAY. But first, to answer the single
question asked over and over and over on the phone today, yes, we're
open. Please be careful while riding. This morning, in the
aftermath of the tragedies brought upon us by terrorists, cars were even
less attentive (or more distracted) than usual. Felt kind of funny
about going out and riding, just after watching the first tower collapse
on the news, but did anyway. Eerie. You don't realize how much
noise planes make until the sky is clear of them. In some ways it
was reminiscent of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Please be careful out
TO THE GUY WHO CALLED ABOUT A COUPLE OF KIDS BIKES.
Nobody else gets to read this, OK? Here's the scoop. I lost
track of the note with your phone number (in record time, I'd say... maybe
10 minutes!) during the craziness we had this morning. If you're
still around (and not totally discouraged by the fact that I didn't call
you back), here's the info. Both the Mt Track 230 and Y24 are
readily available, at a cost of $259.99 and $359.99 respectively.
Sorry about the screw-up.
OUT FOR LIGHT BROWN OLDER GMC PICKUP, LICENSE #2M01590.
The guy came very close to taking me out this morning, giving me about
four inches on the descent on west-bound Jefferson while rounding a
corner. I have no idea how I didn't get clipped by his mirror (maybe
he didn't have one on that side? I was too taken aback to notice)
but well aware that, had there been an obstacle in the road, I would have
been toast. Please note my speed was 27mph in a 25mph zone at that
time. Had he waited just a couple seconds to pass, he could have
done so safely on a straight section of road. Would have been fun to
have Ranger Rick's radar gone to see what speed he was going!
WHY I MOSTLY RIDE A ROAD BIKE plus an encounter
with Ranger Rick and his magic radar gun!
GOT BACK FROM WISCONSIN, where TREK (and their affiliated
lines, Klein, LeMond,
Bontrager and Fisher) were showing off their new
stuff, plans for the future, etc. Wow. At a time when there's
dramatic consolidation in the industry (with Schwinn/GT and Raleigh both
declaring bankruptcy, and numerous others cutting back), Wisconsin
continues to move forward. One of the nicest things they did was
after our (the dealers) two-day event. They put on a show just for
their employees, particularly those who work in the factory and rarely see
the finished product on display. It was awesome. They turned
this huge convention room into an inside Country Fair, with food
(Bratwurst, of course!) and all manner of games and slides for the kids
etc...and the adults could wander over into the formal bike display area
and see what their hard work had produced. And not just produced in
an overseas factory, but right here in the US.
MEMBER OF THE UNDER-30 CLUB today as Ueyn Block dropped a
couple minutes off his previous best time, making it to the top of King's
Mtn in 28:51.
JUST NEVER KNOW who you might see in one of our
stores. Today, in the middle of a busy Saturday, Mike Pigg (one of,
if not the top Pro Triathlete in the world) drops by with a bike that
needed some attention. He's in town for the XTERRA mountain-bike
triathlon out on the coast on Sunday. I didn't even know he was in
the store until he was gone...too bad, would have been fun to get some
photos of him. Darn.
Totally unrelated- Bruno, our service manager in Redwood
City, was mentioning something about the new version of Apocalypse Now
that's just come out. I mention to my 13-year-old daughter that I
was thinking about seeing the movie with him, and she replies "Hey, I
was to see a 5-foot snail!" Apocalypse Now... 5-foot snail...
guess you had to be there.
FRANCE PHOTOS on a couple of pages. I'm finally
getting around to organizing all the photos in France, and have a page up
(photos, no text) on our ride up Alpe
D'Huez and the area around Chamonix.
I'm announcing "raw" pages mainly so that I get my tail in gear
to get them finished!
2002 BIKES IN STOCK. We're getting in more 2002
bikes, particularly road bikes, every single day. For those
wondering about the 5200 for 2002, it's pretty much the same as the 2001,
but with Bontrager rather than Rolf wheels. The big news is in the
middle of the line, where you can now get a LeMond Alpe D'Huez with an 853
(Reynolds steel) frame, carbon fork & '105 components for just
Speaking of Alpe D'Huez... look for a major presentation
on that climb in a few days. Going through the photos now, trying to
figure out the best way to show off one of the world's most famous climbs!
TO BE BACK ON THE BIKE! It's been 11 days since last
riding, as explained in the 8/6 piece below. I approached it with
some fear & trepidation, but you know what? It was great!
My time up the hill wasn't so bad (27:10 up King's Mtn), and a lot of the
aches & pains I'd been feeling over the last week evaporated.
Kind of strange how, when you don't ride, you get a stiff neck and knee
pains, but once you're back on the bike, it all goes away. I'll take
that as an excuse to ride every chance I get!
In the meantime, I've begun working on the big France
2002 section for the website. Shouldn't be that tough, as I've only
got 400 or so photos to go through!
BIKE WENT RIDING WITHOUT ME!
Check out the results on our new Skeggs
Point page. Two days to go and I can be back on my bike
again. With the better half and daughter off in Europe for a couple
of weeks, I've had to job of taking care of our son, which means I haven't
had mornings to ride. Not a bad job though...he thought going
whitewater rafting Sunday was way better than going to Europe would have
been. But it will be great to be back riding again Thursday morning!
APOLOGY sort of. I've had a number of customers and a
few emails from people who had been regularly logging onto our site during
the Tour de France, expecting to see daily updates on whatever was
currently going on. Kind of a Tour de France daily briefing, as it
were. Looking back, I can see where people might have expected that,
what with the frequent postings while I was in France. So here's the
plan. Next year, whether I go to France again or not (and I'd
certainly like to go!), we'll try to have a daily analysis of each
stage. I really do feel bad that we didn't do that this year...in
retrospect it seems rather obvious!
CATCH LETTERMAN LAST NIGHT? Lance Armstrong was on,
and, surprisingly, Letterman asked some very intelligent questions...
sometimes doing a better job than those in the cycling press. Of
course, from a pure business standpoint, we didn't mind hearing this
What kind of bike do you ride? (Dave)
A TREK. (Lance)
And it's custom made, obviously, you can't go into a store and buy one...
You want to know something? It's not custom made. (Lance)
Is that right? So you could go into a store and buy one? (Dave)
You could go into a store and buy the exact bike. (Lance)
WON, ZABEL TAKES THE GREEN, JALABERT THE POLKA DOT JERSEY
in the Tour de France. OK, now to decode what this means.
Lance Armstrong has won his third Tour de France in a row...pretty
amazing! Erik Zabel (Germany) beat Stuart O'Grady (Australia) in an
incredibly tight race for the Green jersey, given to the best sprinter,
and Jalabert, a Frenchman who was planning to retire this year, rode a
strategic race and unexpectedly won the Polka Dot jersey, given to the
best climber! Jalabert, also known as Ja-Ja, says he's going to race
one more TDF. Now that it's over, many of us can try to catch up on
all the sleep we missed from watching the race live on OLN at 6:30am!
BEEN AWHILE since updating the diary, hasn't it?
Still catching up on things after the trip to France, and spending way too
much attention to all the coverage on OLN (and not getting enough sleep
either, since the coverage starts at 6:30am, live, and even when I don't
set the alarm clock, it still seems I wake up just in time to start
For those following the race's final moments, there's
going to be a LOT of excitement in tomorrow's finale. Not in the
race for the Yellow Jersey...clearly Lance Armstrong has that sewn
up. But the competition for top sprinter is going to be incredible,
with Erik Zabel and Stuart O'Grady separated by just two sprint
points...and there are quite a few up for grabs in the finale. Thus
the final miles into Paris may be as exciting as anything we've seen so
07/28/01- TOUR DU
JOUR bike ride in Redwood City was this morning, and, as in
years past, we were there to help with mechanical stuff. Actually,
most everything we do involves lubing chains and inflating tires, and,
while we're told to be there at 6am, the "action" doesn't start
until maybe 8am, when people bring out the bikes that have been gathering
dust in their garage over the past year.
A big thank-you goes to Bruno Colchen, our Service
Manager in Redwood City, and Sal Contreras, one of our customers (part of
the Chain Reaction Auxiliary? Sort of like candy-stripe girls at
hospitals?), who volunteered to help out at this years event. This
isn't a thank-you from the organization running the ride (MS Society), but
rather from the guy who's had to be there the last few years, but couldn't
make it this time since there was nobody else to take care of his
07/21/01- THE DIRTY
LAUNDRY. Yeah, you're thinking, great, I want to get the real dirt
on things! Sorry to disappoint, but this is about real
laundry. For my trip to France, I brought enough clothes for four
days, figuring I'd do laundry there (and save suitcase space!). So,
on Wednesday evening, I drag myself to the front desk of the hotel and ask
if there are any Laundromats nearby. "Oh sir, no problem at
all! In your room, there are bags that you can put your laundry into
and they're picked up each evening and delivered back to you the next
morning." OK, normally I'd ask some really complicated
questions, like how much does it cost, but day after day with very little
sleep catches up to you and you're not quite on your toes!
So, I dump all the stuff into the plastic bag (two sets of cycling
shorts & jerseys, four pants, four shirts, plus assorted underwear)
and leave it outside the door. It doesn't quite magically disappear,
as there's a knock on the door saying that I need to write down my name
and room number on this sheet that describes the service, etc etc
etc. It also turns out to have given pricing, but how much could it
Well, at dinner, someone else is mentioning that they had their laundry
done by the hotel last year, and that it would have been cheaper to burn
it and buy new clothes. Uh-oh. Not only that, but it gets
delivered back fairly late in the day, so I wouldn't have my cycling
clothes available for riding in the Mont Blanc area the next
morning. That part turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as what
could have been cooler than heading into the local shop in town and buying
one of their local "Chamonix Cycling Club" shorts &
jersey? Probably the best souvenirs I'm bringing home!
But back to the laundry. One small plastic bag of
laundry. 644 French Francs, or about $90. (Of course. it
did come back beautifully folded in a charming wicker basket, and
presentation is, after all, important!) So, from here on
out, we'll be pricing everything in FLUs (French Laundry Units).
That would make a tune-up something like .6 FLUs, a veritable bargain!
LAPTOP, WILL RAMBLE. It's 5:45am in Geneva, Switzerland,
and time to get ready to catch a plane home. Did I ever mention I'm
not a morning person? Guess that's OK, since it's almost 9pm back
home. Note to wife daughter, who are coming to France in two
weeks- you need to train for France. No way anyone could anticipate
how much walking you're going to do, and how many ice cream places there
are. The obvious training program is to open up the phone book and
scout out your local Baskin & Robbins, and start hiking to the first
one, and each successive day hike out to one further and further away from
See everyone soon!
my last entry! One more quick story to tell about France before
coming home. In the city of Annecy I decided to pick up a topo map
showing the area where I'd ridden a couple days before (more rides to post
on our website!). No problem except... well, and this wasn't unique
to this particular shopping trip, knowing how much money to pay at the
register isn't always easy. You know what it costs, but you don't
know if it includes tax or not, and there's not always a visible display
telling you. Plus, while you've picked up some of the numbers in
French, they always rattle them off very fast, so you really don't have a
chance not to look like an idiot (especially when, after making it plain
you don't get it, they point to the very visible display with the amount
due!). But wait, there's more. She doesn't demagnetize it or
whatever properly, so the alarms go off when I head out the door.
Sigh. Guess it's payback for all those times we forget to remove one
of the beeper tags at the shop!
ENTRY BEFORE HEADING HOME.
You can check out our France page for a couple
new things, including my fairly-common restaurant experience last
night. 7 hours sleep...a record! Not looking forward to the
long day tomorrow, leaving for the airport around 5am, but it will be nice
to be home again (and get to deal with over 600 digital photos I took!). I
think Lance will do just fine without me, but it sure would be great to
spend another 10 days here and see the finish. Perhaps another year.
And yes, soon I'll have lots of photos of the various
rides I did here, including, of course, the Alpe D'Huez. But for
those who expect something on Alpe D'Huez along the lines of my
infatuation with Sonora Pass, you'll be disappointed. They're not in
the same league!
07/18/01- WRONG PAGE, this
is where you need to go while I'm in France covering the Tour!
07/12/01- WHAT A TOUR!
Anybody who thought this would be a boring, one-man affair (with Armstrong
running away with things) is sadly mistaken. This year's Tour de
France is a wide-open affair, with exceptional performances from all
manner of riders, including the USA's Bobby Julich (3rd place a few years
ago) and Jan Ullrich looking to be very fit & fast. I'll be
reporting directly from France in just a few days. Have digital
camera, web page & remote computer access...will travel!
07/07/01- IT'S BEEN BUSY!
But that's no excuse for not updating the Diary. Thursday morning's
ride up King's Mtn was a blast, as we had both Kevin's showing up, and I
decided, for some reason, to do interval work up the hill, letting
super-fast Kevin get up ahead of me for a bit and then racing back up to
him. Then I'd drop back for a bit and do it again. And
More confessions. I've been riding more (and
harder) than usual because I'm heading back to France again...leaving
Saturday (the 14th) and coming back a week later. This year I'll
hopefully get to ride up Alpe D'Huez. Supposedly something about
riding down a glacier on a mountain bike too, but for those who've seen me
on one of my rare off-road excursions, that won't be a pretty
07/01/01- CONFESSION TIME.
Last Sunday's ride up Sonora Pass was my first ride on a new frame- the
TREK 5900, aka Lance Armstrong's "climbing bike." I'll be
writing up a detailed report shortly (now that I've got a couple hundred
miles with it I'm confident of the accuracy of my observations), but
suffice it to say that it's one very nice machine. Comparing it to
my 5500, the most noticeable difference is in the handling, which is
slightly faster (a bit less stable) due to a slightly-shorter fork offset
(rake). By the third ride I'd adjusted completely to this and have
to admit it's a very fun bike!
Also rode to Santa Cruz this morning, via Old La Honda,
Skyline, and down Highway 9. 51 miles, and made it in 2 hours, 45
minutes. About 20 minutes slower than 25 years ago, but that doesn't
seem all that bad. Time up Old La Honda (measured from the speed
limit sign, which is maybe 20 seconds before the bridge) was 22:39.
Now that's a far cry from my 16:45 times of old! Even came across
Todd and Brian from the store, who were out doing the Giro d'San Mateo
century. Oh yeah, the ride was one-way, since I was meeting the
family at the Boardwalk for a day at the beach.
PASS PAGE UP.
Still got some work to do, but the photos and early descriptions are now
on our site. Unlike other pages, we've kept the photos really crude
for the initial display, which gives faster page load times. To see
a better (and bigger) photo, click on any of the images.
06/25/01- BEARS 2, MIKE 1.
Hey, that's a lot better than Bears 2, Mike 0! We had a great ride
up Sonora Pass on Sunday, and will have the web page up (hopefully) late
tomorrow night. Would have had it up earlier except that I've had to
work on an ailing computer in the Redwood City store.
06/23/01- SONORA PASS
TOMORROW. What the heck, reading one of Jobst
Brandt's postings on the 'net makes it sound like it's easy to get up a
super-steep grade, no matter what your low gear is. Hopefully we'll
have some nice weather...thank goodness the heat wave is gone! You
can check out last year's debacle if you
wish, or the first time we ascended the pass,
several years ago. Film at eleven, as they say...
06/21/01- A BIKE FOR MEGAN.
Wednesday, a family comes in looking for a first bike for their 4 1/2 year
old daughter. Our floor bikes are getting pretty thin as we make our
way through the busiest part of the year, so I have to go to the warehouse
and pull one out of a box. A beautiful pink Mtn Cub 16, which Megan
instantly falls in love with. To her, this bike means more than my
OCLV does to me! But one problem- it's not built, and we have a two
day backlog on getting bikes assembled. Megan is absolutely crushed,
because she wanted a bike right then. If you could have seen her
tears, you'd have just melted (of course, it could have been the heat wave
that made me feel that way!).
As always, we promise to get it built as quickly as we
can, explaining that we build all bikes in the exact order they're
sold. Somehow we managed to get the bike ready today instead of
tomorrow, and called to let them know the bike was ready. They
quickly arrived at the store, and you should have seen how happy she
was! She even explained how she'd taken a couple of the accessories
she'd bought for the bike to bed with her, and how excited she was to show
her friend down the street.
Selling OCLVs may pay the bills, but setting up Megan
with a Mtn Cub 16 made my day.
06/20/01- SONORA PASS
is waiting. Actually, it won't be the pass that's waiting...it will
be people at the top, waiting for me to get there! That's right,
this Sunday will be our third pilgrimage to that greatest-of-all
nasties, Sonora Pass. Revenge on last year's ride, when we got
the June storm of the century? Probably not. Revenge sounds so
much more powerful than simply surviving the ride, and that's about as
much as I can realistically hope for. Still haven't figured out if
I'm going to go "light" and only carry one camera, or bring both
(the Oly 450, which I use for shots while riding, and the '3000, which is
a much higher-resolution camera but I need to stop to use it). I've
been longing for decent photos of Blue Canyon for so long, it's very
tempting to bring the '3000. Plus, that would give me an excuse for
stopping on the climb!
Oh yeah. Lance Armstrong is in first place in the
Tour de Suisse. The team is looking very strong as they approach the
Tour de France, less than three weeks away! I'd say Ullrich is the
main competition. He's been somewhat late to the party (his
early-season form hasn't been so good), but lately he's been showing an
ability to go to the front and ride people off his wheel...he's definitely
getting stronger, and just in time to make the Tour de France a real
show. Remember, LIVE daily coverage on OLN (Outdoor Life
Network). If you don't have it yet, get it! It's available on
Echostar/Dishnet as well as digital cable services.
06/17/01- THE EBBETTS
PASS PAGE is complete for now. Three weekends in a row
of killer bike rides, and now, today (Father's Day) it's off the bike and
to the ballpark with the kids. But hey, it's not like I have any big
ride next weekend that I need to stay in shape for. Just this little
old thing called Sonora Pass. Revenge on last
year's debacle, when we hit the June storm of the century up there!
In the meantime, could the shops be any busier?
Hard to believe that would be possible. If you plan on coming into
either store on a weekend (which means Redwood City on a Saturday, or Los
Altos on either Saturday or Sunday), make sure you're there at least an
hour before closing if looking for a bike. We may need to put
the answering machine on an hour early as well...rather extreme measures
that we've never had to consider before. We apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause, but our desire is to deliver
the best-possible service that we're capable of, not
barely-adequate service to the maximum number of people.
06/13/01- EBBETTS PASS PAGE
COMING ALONG. Got the preliminary
text & photos up, still working on the maps etc.
I've been doing quite a bit more riding so far this year
than I have in the past, hoping that it will make Sonora Pass easier two
weeks from now. We'll see if all these hills can add up to
06/09/01- EBBETTS PASS
REVISITED. Tonight, a few of us will be heading out
to Bear Valley after work, for an assault Sunday morning on Ebbett's Pass
and Pacific Grave, er, I mean, Grade. Haven't been up there in
several years, but it's truly the most spectacular of the trans- Sierra
passes. This will be the first time up for a couple on this trip,
but for me, a return to an old friend. It will be interesting to see
what different things I might take pictures of this trip, although looking
back upon our last trip and its associated web
page here, it will be difficult to do better!
I'd tell you about how my legs have felt pretty awful, the results of
recovering from last Sunday's Sequoia Double Metric Century, but the big
news of the day has to be the incredible police raids on the Giro d'Italia,
the second-biggest event in cycling (after the Tour de France).
Today's stage was even cancelled, as the Italian police had the riders up
most of the night, searching for banned substances. You can read all
about it on Cyclingnews,
probably the best site for bike racing coverage.
But aside from that we did have a nice ride up King's
Mountain today, with a couple of new guys present.
06/03/01- GREAT RIDE!
The Sequoia Double Metric
Century went better than I'd imagined...wasn't sure how well I'd do
with so much climbing (about 10,000 feet) and distance (125 miles,
although we goofed and rode 120)...but all went very well. Saw a lot
of customers and ChainReaction.com website readers too! But most of
all, we had a powerful ride down the coast, braving fierce headwinds while
maintaining speeds in excess of 25mph. What, somebody told you there
was a tailwind? They were sworn to secrecy...er, I mean, they must
06/01/01- SEQUOIA CENTURY
groups from Chain Reaction- group A, leaving around 6am, and group B (the
chase group) at 7. Unfortunately, I'm in group B. If I read
those in my group correctly, we'll start out at a reasonable pace until
one of three people does something stupid, like pick up the pace just a
tiny little bit, causing one of the other two to react violently (lay down
a high-speed challenge to the others). It's quite possible that I'm
destined to be blown off the back of group B and never see group A at
all! Read all about it probably Tuesday evening.
05/30/01- ROB ROLL
ROCKS! So who's Rob Roll? One of the
commentators on OLN's Giro bicycle race coverage. Regarding
helmetless racers, he said "Real men don't eat quiche, and
these shave-legged nutcases don't wear helmets." Rob
knows of what he speaks...he was one of them. Again, if you don't
have OLN (Outdoor Life Network) for your TV, find a way to get it.
They have more coverage of everything bicycles than you can imagine,
including racing, touring, product reviews, etc. It's usually
included in one of the lesser premium packages. If you have DISH
network (Echostar), you're going to be paying about $45/month or so.
If you don't, you might consider it...all equipment costs are rebated out
with a one year contract.
Also, if you want to get grossed out, I've put up some pictures
of a helmet being cleaned up.
05/29/01- OF GIANTS AND MORE
GIANTS. Sunday, a couple of us decided that we'd
better get in a killer ride ahead of the Sequoia Double Metric Century
this coming weekend (120+ miles, 11k ft of climbing). So we
a visit to Alba Road (possibly the
gnarliest climb in these parts) and China Grade. Also finally got a
photo worthy of the hill! I've included it here; you can click on it
for a much larger version.
And then Monday we did the family thing and went to
PacBell Park for the first time. Wow! That's some
ballpark...much closer in feel to Great American than the old Candlestick
Park. We were $9 bleacher bums, but you see everything from out
there...great seats. It's not like I'm a big baseball fan or
anything, but if you haven't been, it's worthwhile to go, at least once,
to see what the fuss is all about. By the way, don't drive...take
the train. Drops you off a block and a half from the stadium.
05/24/01- WATCHING THE GIRO???
Why not? Outdoor Life Network is bleeding bicycle programming these
days, and the Giro coverage is fantastic. What better way to start
your day than to wake up, move your wife out of the way, get out of bed,
turn on the TV and listen to the reassuring voice of Phil Liggett telling
you that all is well in the world of bicycle racing? My wife seems
to have a differing opinion...
What else is new? All 8 Start-To-Finish stores
shut down on Monday...this is not good news. At some point local
support for cycling (via local bike shops) might drop to the level that
people choose other, more convenient things to do. This hurts all
shops. Not only that, but the demand for servicing bicycles is so
extreme that there's no way we could adequately take care of our customers
if we took all of them in. So, it's likely that it will be some time
before we can again work on bikes we haven't sold. The alternative
would be a near-instantaneous multi-month backlog, which is simply
On a more positive note, it's great feeling like I can
easily cruise up the hill (King's Mtn, of course!) and have times under 30
minutes. It wasn't that many months ago where I'd felt awful and was
getting 31 & 32 minute times, and now if I'm really going for it I'm
into the low 27s. Nothing like the 21s I used to ride, but then the
hill's a lot steeper and taller now!
CHECK YOUR TIRES! It makes a
lot more sense to check your tires after a ride than just before
one. In my case, I spotted my worn-through casing as I was heading
out the door, and decided to just ride on it anyway, crossing my fingers
it would hold up. Dumb dumb dumb. It made it to the top of
King's Mtn and back, but I didn't do the full loop (down Skyline to 84)
because I was too concerned it might blow out at speed...and if I rode on
with the other guys, there would definitely be speed involved!
BETTER. Got up the hill (King's Mtn) in 27:18 today,
after a very fast bottom third. Now if I can just maintain the
higher speeds a bit further up the hill... Also, posted some more
embarrassing photos from my bicycle-racing past.
PLEASURES. Had a great ride this morning, several
people showed up (including the guy on the mountain bike with
panniers). So what's to feel guilty about? First thing I do
when I get in the door at home is ask my wife "Who's on Regis &
Kelly?" Aw geez, I'm actually gonna admit that in print?
(Why not? What's a diary if it doesn't include some really embarrassing
stuff?) (By the way, Kelly's way better than Kathy ever was!)
05/09/01- TWO WILD &
CRAZY GUYS. We usually don't publish a lot of outside
web links on our site, but this one...two
guys, riding across Asia, on track bikes. A track bike, for
those unaware, has a single speed and no freewheel, so you can't coast
(you're constantly pedaling, even on high-speed descents). Oh yeah,
one of these guys doesn't even have any brakes on his bike!
05/08/01- WOW...I'M BACK TO
HAVING FUN AGAIN! King's
Mountain is coming back into focus, and I'm not only climbing better, but
able to do some relatively high-speed intervals while climbing (or, as
I've said before, goofing off). My legs are *finally* beginning to get
that "connected to a throttle" feeling. Too bad the throttle
seems to have a limit screw on it that I have yet to find...
Also...day 5 of running Speedplay pedals, and they
finally feel really, really good. Days 1 & 2 I was thinking to
myself "I actually recommend these awful things to
customers?" as my feet seemed to be flailing away at the pedals,
going everywhere but forward. Day 3 there seemed to be light at the
end of the tunnel, Day 4 felt fairly normal, and today, Day 5, they feel
really, really good. Climbing, sprinting, sitting...the combo of the
Speedplay pedals and Nike Poggio shoes is working out very nicely indeed.
05/04/01- COLBY THE
SENTIMENTALIST? Or just idiot? What's the scoop
here, essentially throwing the game (Survivor) to Tina by getting rid of
Keith? He even admitted that he knew Tina had a better than 50-50
chance of beating him, while he'd certainly win over Keith.
Didn't expect that, did you? Here's the scoop for tonight's survivor
finale. It all hinges upon who wins the last immunity challenge.
- If Colby wins the challenge, then Tina gets voted
out. Why? Because Tina would probably win over the Jury if
both Tina and Colby were the final 2. Colby wins the million.
- If Keith wins the challenge, Tina still gets voted
out. Why? Because, again, Tina would have the advantage
with the jury. Colby again wins the money.
- If Tina wins the challenge, Colby goes. I don't
think Tina's worried about losing the jury to Keith, but Colby would
be a question mark. Tina takes the big prize.
Unrelated to Survivor..or maybe not...did OK on King's
Mtn this morning, despite being beaten by a guy named Matt who showed up
on an old mountain bike. At least he had slick tires! At
27:31, I've got another minute to knock off before I'll be happy with my
05/02/01- VERY POPULAR PAGE,
the one I put up a couple days ago with those old
photos and my early writings in Competitive Cycling. Oh to be
young & stupid and have no future again... But back in the
here-and-now, had a fun time this morning on a TREK Fuel 98 mountain bike
at Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto.
Even rode the infamous "Punch Bowl", although I will admit to
circling it a few times before becoming brave enough to dive down the
04/30/01- SOME EMBARRASSING
STUFF put onto a new web page.
It might not be there for very long, so get it while you can.
Ancient photos of me, along with examples of the writing I did for
Competitive Cycling magazine between 1974-1976.
YOU MIGHT RECOGNIZE THIS GUY...
I was digging through stacks of old cycling magazines, including a bunch
of Competitive Cyclings, which I used to write for. On the right is
a scan from something I wrote in July of 1976. Next time Greg's in
the shop maybe I should have him autograph it.
04/26/01- ATTACK OF THE (LOS
ALTOS) DEMONS! Just as I think (naively) that I'll
have a nice, easy ride up King's Mtn, a contingent from our Los Altos
store shows up to spank me. Eric, Augie and Amber. Ouch!
I shouldn't have left my digital camera at home, although Eric, on his new
5900, would have been out of range for anything but the longest telephoto
setting very quickly.
04/25/01- Tour de France not
cultural? My daughter
will be in France with a group from her school (7th & 8th grade), and
just happen to be in Paris at the same time the 'Tour ends. She's a big
fan of Lance (she is *my* daughter, after all!) and asked one of her
teachers, who's leading their group, if they could see the race. The
"We have better, more cultural things to do than watch of bunch of
sweaty men on bicycles cross a white line."
I'm tempted to see if there are any cycling fans at the local French
Consulate who might like to pay her class a visit...
04/22/01- PRIMAVERA CENTURY.
Great ride! First time I've felt good on a bike in quite awhile,
and, since it was the first time I've ridden over 40 miles since last
July, I was glad to do as well as I did. Even felt pretty good on
the climbs! Chain Reaction was well represented, with Roger Tagle on
the 100k, and Brian Krause, Dick Kiser and myself on the 100 mile.
We met a lot of old friends (including many we'd sold bikes to) and made
some new ones as well. A great day for all. Photos
and descriptions on line, of course!
04/20/01- RAIN AGAIN!
Well, at least I got out yesterday morning. A bit wet, and down to
40 degrees on Skyline (this is April, right?). Weather people claim
a nice day for Sunday's Primavera Century at least. Also put
up a page a couple of days ago for hybrids, explaining why you'd want
one (or not), and the next day someone comes in to buy one after reading
it! Guess I should have done that long ago. Wonder how many
other things I should have done long ago?
04/18/01- FINALLY FEELING
BETTER. After two weeks of really dreadful climbs up
King's Mtn, yesterday I finally felt like I got some of my legs
back. Maybe the inspiration came from watching the Paris Roubaix
coverage on Easter morning? Whatever it was, it felt great to get
back to relatively-decent times on the hill. Now we just have to
deal with strange weather. Beautiful yesterday, but the weather
people say we could have snow on the local hills by Friday! This is
April, isn't it?
04/13/01- BEEN AWHILE
since my last entry, mostly because things have been pretty hectic lately
and we could use a few more employees to help
our customers. If you know of any...
04/05/01- OUTDOOR LIFE
NETWORK IS EVIL.
Yesterday, OLN (channel 151 on Dish) ran 12 hours of bicycle racing shows,
back to back. Really good stuff. How are you supposed to get
out and ride when they do something like that? Yeah, yeah, I know,
use the VCR (but got to troubleshoot something there that's causing it not
to record from Dish all of a sudden). If you can get OLN, but don't
yet have it, let me throw this at your feet- they're going to be showing
the entire Tour de France, live, start to finish. The west coast
times will be about 3am-8am, so be sure your VCR's working, and buy
a whole lotta six-hour tapes!
I did get out on a short tandem ride with my
now-13-year-old daughter. Did you know 13-year-olds complain a lot
more than 10-year-olds? And refuse to do things like wear cycling
shorts, and then complain the whole time about how uncomfortable they are?
04/06/01- MY DESTRUCTION
ASSURED. I've already mapped out my major cycling
events over the next few months. April 22nd a bunch of us will be
doing the Primavera Century, an "easy" 100 miles with only 4800
feet of climbing. Then June 3rd some of us appear silly enough to be
doing the 200k Sequoia Century, featuring 11,000 feet of climbing,
including a relentless in-and-out bit on the coast, from Half Moon Bay
down to Davenport.
04/03/01- MARKLEEVILLE DEATH
RIDE FULL! Only
two days after it went on-line to accept registrations, the 2001 DeathRide
is full. If you were on our DeathRide email list (found on our Markleeville
DeathRide page), you got an email letting you know it was accepting
applications almost immediately. I've got mixed feelings about the
on-line registration though. Sure, it worked out great for those who
knew about it, but it put anyone who wasn't glued to a computer at a
severe disadvantage, and apparently served to eliminate even the
possibility of registering by conventional means. Doesn't quite seem
FASTER...SLOWLY. Time to stop goofing off and work on
getting up the hills faster. Unfortunately, that means (at least in
the short term) less fun & more dedication to the task at hand.
In my case, no more standing on the climb...I have to absolutely,
positively force myself to sit in the saddle, no matter what, building the
hamstrings back up etc. I hate it, but it is paying off.
Slowly. OK, for me, pathetically. But today's 28:24 was 20
seconds faster than Tuesday, which was 15 seconds faster than the previous
Also, on the way back, I saw Roger, one of our
mechanics, out on his road bike. Quite a surprise, since Roger's
kind of quiet and doesn't talk much about riding, plus he lives on the
other side of the bay. He said he was training...gotta find out what
03/23/01- CHAIN REACTION
BANNED BY SONY!
Sony has banned their employees from viewing the Chain Reaction
website. Now I know we've arrived! Must be that our
bike sales are a threat to Playstation. Not quite. Here's the
actual message a Sony employee gets if they try to access our site-
The following error was encountered
Due to the difficulties encountered by major Sony Internet Business
Initiatives, bandwidth conservation measures have been activated.
This URL is on a list of sites that provide images which consume bandwidth
and do not appear to be business related.
03/20/01- RIDING NAKED!
It felt so nice this morning, riding without a long-sleeve base layer,
jacket, tights, long-fingered gloves and booties. Hard to believe it
was just a few weeks ago that there was snow on top of King's Mountain,
and temps in the upper 30s.
03/18/01- I FINALLY RIDE UP
MOUNT DIABLO. What took so long? Who knows.
I've been riding for 33 years and have done just about every paved road
and cowpath to the stars imaginable, and yet had never ridden up Mount
Diablo. Even more amazing is that it's the most visible mountain
from my house...all I have to do is look down the end of the street, and
there it is! Great day for the ride, with temps running from 65 to
74 degrees. Brian Krause, who works Fridays & Saturdays in our
Redwood City location, rode with (or punished?) me up the hill.
Great ride, and, of course, the obligatory page with
lots of photos.
3/15/01- I HATE BEING LAST!
So Kevin and I are at the start of the ride, a
couple minutes early, and here comes a group riding through from the
north, with some people we knew. So do we let them go or ride with
them? Kevin says let's go, so off we go. Me, I'm just getting
over that nasty cold (today makes day #14), and blowing big globs
of...well, never mind. But the hill is mean, I'm slow, and I'm also
dead last. Never lost sight of the person ahead of me, but still
dead last. There will be better days (and there will probably be
worse days) ahead.
3/11/01- GREAT DAY TO RIDE
OR WHAT? Anybody who didn't get out for a ride today
had better have had a darned good excuse. It was *so* nice to be out
on my bike, without tights and a jacket...
Even though I'm still getting over a particularly nasty cold (which seems
to be heading toward bronchitis), I felt great while I was out there.
Old LaHonda was still a bit steeper than it was 26 years ago, but it still
felt great. Of course, if anybody calls up the store tomorrow and
wonders why I'm still hacking...
3/11/01- ETHICS. Two
days ago I discovered that one of our web pages had been
"hijacked" into another shop's website. They'd taken the
entire article, including photos, and edited only one thing...they changed
my name to that of the shop owner's. The only reason I discovered it is
because this particular page is still pulling the images off this website,
and I found it curious that we were getting so many "hits" from
another bike shop...so I followed the train backward and came across it.
What to do? Mixed emotions...clearly, there's some flattery
involved, since they took our stuff verbatim. On the other hand,
there's also plain & simple theft. If they'd called and asked
permission, we would have had no problem, asking only that it still
reference the original source.
Interestingly though, the power in this situation is all ours.
Since they're using our images, pulled up in real time each time
their page is viewed, we have complete control over what viewers see on
their site. In other words, I could substitute anything I wanted for
those four photos, and that's what their viewers would see. I could
make it appear that someone malicious had hacked their website and placed,
for example, derogatory comments about their local college football
team. But more likely, I'll just quietly insert a little reference
to Chain Reaction at the bottom of each photo.
3/08/01- BARELY HUMAN.
Sort of. Made it up the hill this morning, and felt a bit better
than Tuesday, but it wasn't easy...and all the way up, two things
alternately cycled through my mind. The first was an old Procol
Harum song, "About to die." The other was the saying
"That which does not kill me makes me stronger" (Nietzche).
My voice is still somewhere else, but I'm beginning to feel better.
3/06/01- COULD SOMEONE BREATHE FOR ME?
Just getting over a nasty cold, lost my voice, difficult to breathe
without hacking. So, do I stay home and sleep in this morning?
No way. Ride or die (hopefully not working on the latter). I
didn't think there'd be any way to get up the hill (King's Mtn) and hoped
nobody would show up...but of course, Kevin Keenan did. I just
barely made it over the small hill between where I live and the starting
point, and kinda figured I'd just make sure nobody was there and head back
home. Darn that Kevin. I decide I'll try and ride up through
Huddardt Park and back down, doing about 1/3rd of the hill. Sound
like a freight train the whole way up, trying to get air past all that
green stuff in my lungs. Still, good to be out on a bike.
On the way back, I noticed that someone still hadn't cleaned up part of
a fence on Jefferson that had been taken out by a car a week ago...and a
piece of wood was sticking up with a nail in it, just waiting for a car to
run over (I figured most cyclists would avoid the wood entirely, but a car
might not). I ride past, maybe a hundred yards down the road, and
think to myself hey, what am I doing, and ride back and clean up the
mess. Really surprised it was still there after all this time, and
wondering why nobody else got around to it. That nail was sticking
straight up, out of a 1x4, about a foot into the roadway. If you
come across something like this, I don't think it takes too much effort to
do the right thing and take care of it (so why didn't I last week???).
3/04/01- IT WASN'T MEANT TO BE.
Darn. A bunch of us had planned on riding the Tour
of the Unknown Valley again, but, since it's got about 12 miles of
dirt and gravel roads, had decided ahead of time that we wouldn't go
unless we'd had at least four days of nice weather first. But we did
have a backup plan! If we couldn't risk that ride, then we'd do
Mount Diablo. Well, the weather forecast is for heavy winds and lots
of rain, so you can call me...wimp.
On the website, I just made a major change to the "Cosmetically
challenged" bike page, which allows me to quickly upload, almost
in real time, info on pricing and availability from our main
computers. No more typing everything in manually, so, instead of
updating it every couple of months, I can get to it a couple times a week.
2/25/01 BEAUTIFUL MORNING!
Normally I don't get a chance to ride much on Sundays, being my only day
off and my two kids don't see enough of me etc. But this morning an
exception was made, since I skipped out on Thursdays ride and was
beginning to feel fat, if you know what I mean. So I get out just a
bit before 9am to kinda gloomy and threatening-looking weather, with very
wet roads, thinking, ugh, this is hard, what am I out here, etc. But
each turn of the pedal seemed to make things better, and within a short
while Old La Honda was underneath my wheels and I was feeling pretty
good! Not fast, mind you, just good. And I had a lot of
company. It seems like everyone was out there climbing the hills,
cyclists of all types and abilities. Old La Honda probably had 30
people on it at the time I climbed, and my guess is that they climbed it
anywhere from 17 minutes to 40.
2/22/01- WHAT A WIMP!
Yeah, that's me. It was really raining and woke me up at 6am, and
still pretty messy at 7:05 when the alarm went off, so guess who didn't
get out and ride today? But we do have some cool
photos of the new LeMond Ti bike to show you.
That's Amber from our Los Altos store presenting KSAN's Steven
Seaweed with a special signed-by-Lance team jersey! The jersey will
be part of a package in an upcoming charity
2/12/01- SNOW! I'll
try to remember to bring my camera tomorrow morning...if it's clear, there
should be some spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains on our
2/08/01- WHERE DID THE AIR GO?
This was another one of those "sometimes you get the bear and
sometimes the bear gets you" mornings. Two days ago I felt
pretty good going up King's Mtn, but today was another story. Just
couldn't get into the rhythm, and breathing way too hard. I'm used
to the "high gravity day" concept, but this no-air thing was new
to me. And then, coming down from Skyline on 84, this complete
maniac in a black truck was passing the three of us in corners! We
thought at first that he had it in for cyclists, but then a bit further
down we could hear this awful screech of brakes as someone coming up the
hill nearly hit him head-on as he passed a car. An equal-opportunity
2/01/01- CARS, TOES & SHOP STUFF.
We did get the new car, from the original dealership we
were looking at (close to our Los Altos location), with virtually zero
hassles. One funny little line in the contract for a $217 fee for a
nationwide vehicle locater service if the car was to be stolen...that's
what they make pens for...crossed that line out and all was fine. I
don't normally advertise other businesses, but it seems that Anderson
Chrysler in Cupertino is a pretty decent place.
BUT (and isn't there always?)...I try to always take something home
with me from such experiences...something that I can use at the shop to
make it a better place for our customers. In this case, we had to
wait about 15 minutes while the car was brought over from another
lot. My wife was pacing back and forth, saying how much she didn't
like this etc., why wasn't it there right then and now. To me, it
seemed perfectly reasonable. The next morning, a customer came in
for a pair of shorts that we'd had brought over from our other
store. Someone had mistakenly put them out on the rack instead of on
the hold shelf, and it took me at least 10 minutes to run them down.
The customer was extraordinarily patient (thank you!), but I was thinking
at the time that we really didn't have any good reason to be
inconveniencing the customer, certainly a lot less than the car dealer had
the night before. Yet somehow my wife, who handles the transfers,
didn't quite get the connection. We need to do better.
Toes. What's this about toes? On this morning's ride, I
finally felt about 80% human. For the past couple weeks, it's seemed
like someone tied a lead weight to me while I was climbing up the hill, or
sprinting on Skyline. Even descending had become slow and
torturous. But this morning was different, and the difference seemed
to come from my toes. They felt like they wanted to push, to push
against the resistance and move faster! It really wasn't the
legs...rather, it seemed like everything was attached to the toes.
If my toes were up to it, the rest of the body just went along for the
ride. Even descending was radically different, as I seemed to be
able to handle just about any line given to me (I was riding with Kevin
Keenan this morning) and then some.
1/29/01- I'M FIVE YEARS OLDER TONIGHT THAN
I WAS THIS MORNING. Trying to buy a new car
does that to you.
I don't get it. You're checking out cars, see something in an ad
that you like, and take the ad down to the closest dealer say yeah, that's
what I want, is that price doable? So the sales guy says gee, I
don't know, let me ask the sales manager. And the sales manager
tells him yes, if I come back tonight, I can have that car for that price.
Later that night...I dunno...I should have known better, but I stupidly
thought I was going to go out after work and bring home a new car.
Kinda like the way a caveman goes out and kills a dinosaur or something
and drags it back home for dinner. But something went wrong.
First sales guy says (as usual) that he's got to check with the sales
manager. Sales manager tells the sales guy that the guy from this
morning had called asking if I'd shown up, and said sure, they can sell
the car at that price. Funny thing, though. Once they sit you
down in the office, surrounded by multiple people, the sales manager is
now explaining that they cannot sell me that car at that price. He
doesn't say why they said they could earlier, nor does he ever give me any
reason to believe that they're worth more than the other dealer.
This boggles my mind. Why would people say stuff like that (ok, lie)
and think they could get away with it? Hey, it's not like I don't
make mistakes myself, but they're certainly not intentional and never
designed to try and hook someone.
If anything good comes out of something like this, it's that I'm that
much more determined to run our business as much unlike a car dealership
1/24/01- THE POWER OF EMAIL!
You decide if it's a coincidence or not. I subscribe to a daily
email from Nightline (the ABC News program) that tells you about upcoming
shows. Day after day after day, it seemed like Nightline was
ignoring a great story...our Northern California power crisis.
Finally I got fed up and, two days ago, sent them an email suggesting it
was time to investigate our continuing nightmare. And
tonight...results! (Of course, there's always the possibility that
my email had nothing to do with it, and was probably one of my 10,000, and
further they didn't even reply...)
1/18/00- POWER BLACKOUTS!
Please be advised that it would be a good idea to call ahead before
visiting one of our stores today. In the event we get hit by one of
California's now-infamous rolling blackouts, we will be unable to remain
open. In theory, no area is supposed to be without power for more
than 90 minutes, so we'll be there for you when it comes back, unless we
have an outage that begins after 5pm, in which case that particular store
would remain closed for the day.
Nice ride this morning though! 31 degrees, so a bit chilly, and
rather slow too, especially up the hill. No doubt because I was
worried about hitting ice.
1/17/00- A revelation. I've been reflecting back a bit on
my France trip last July, and particularly
the ride up Mont Ventoux. 7000 other cyclists on that ride, so you
were never alone. Very friendly people, great experience.
Except...on the climb up Ventoux, even though you were surrounded by many
other people, suffering the same pain (and at that point we were
suffering!), but suffering entirely alone. Eerie now that I think
back on it. It was very quiet on that hill, very few words exchanged
as you fought yourself up the hill. Any competition was intensely
personal and not shared. I have little else I can relate that
1/17/00- Yesterday morning's ride was cold!
But bearable. 35 degrees on top of Skyline, with an occasional patch
of ice on the side of the road. Spectacular views of the Ocean and
San Francisco though, as we proceeded north on Skyline to 35 (instead of
south to 84).
1/15/01- Brrr. Winter's finally hit. Not just cold, but a
bit of a breeze as well, making for a very cold ride up King's Mtn
tomorrow morning! But while nestled in my nice warm house and
staring at my big bright computer screen, I added a new page to our
AvantGo sub-site. You can check it out, even if you don't have a
Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor, by going to it on your regular
computer. The new
section is meant to be frequently updated (but that goal is elusive!).
And if this isn't enough for you, Sheldon Brown now has some
of his articles in PDA format for direct downloading.
1/14/01- Last night I started building a couple
"alternate" web pages for use on Palm/ Visor/ WindowsCE handheld
devices. They're set up to be accessed through AvantGo, and if
you're already set up with their service, you can add our
"channel" by using this web address:
1/12/01- I am beat, and not from riding! Just got back
from product meetings in WI (at TREK) and am pretty thoroughly
jet-lagged. Also pretty thoroughly fat, as Nor-Cal types don't do
any riding in WI in January, and the food they serve is...well...sure, you
could turn down the various entrees of fried cheeses etc., but why?
Anyway, more on this trip a bit later, including some photos of the
section of the plant where they're building up the Titanium LeMonds (yes,
they really are being built there!).
Shown above left is the Ti "box" and on the right is Aaron Mock, LeMond product manager, showing a LeMond Ti
frame that just came out of "the box." What's "the
box?" It's a sealed-off, environmentally-controlled part of the
facility that allows them to build Ti product in a clean
environment. Kinda funny looking, like the thing the astronauts went
into after the first trip to the moon.
01/08/01- Did have an incredible retail
moment last week, one possibly surpassing the typical experience at
Fry's! This one was at Sears. Why Sears? 'Cuz they
actually stock the latest & greatest in Dishnet (Echostar) satellite
receivers (or so I was told on the phone) and it was time to upgrade my
system so I could pick up two other satellites. Why? Because
one of those two satellites has Outdoor Life channel, which carries the
Tour de France and Giro bicycle races!
So I called up, talked with a
woman who seemed to know a bit about the stuff, and said they ahd it in
stock. Great, I'll cruise on in. Get to Sears (San Mateo
store, by the way), go to the Home Electronics section, and find just one
person there, a middle-aged guy who didn't seem to know a whole lot about
the stuff he sold. In fact, he said they didn't carry the receiver I
was looking for (#6000) at all! I told him wait a sec, not only is
it on their website, but I'd called and someone said it was in stock.
what does he do? Well, it's what he can't do that blows me
away. He can't access their own website!!!
Unbelievable!!! He has to call three other Sears stores before he
gets someone who has a clue and gives him the part # so I can buy it (and
yes, it was in stock).
Obviously, I was being punished for past sins in
treating our own customers. Please, consider me appropriately
punished for quite some time.
1/04/01- Started out the year with a great ride up Mt. Hamilton,
and followed that up with a pair of really s-l-o-w rides on Tuesday and
Thursday. Go figure! Temps are getting pretty strange out
here, as it's in the mid-30s in Woodside, and, at least this morning, 58
degrees up on Skyline. As for rain...it's been quite awhile...I
expect people to be talking about a drought pretty soon.
12/28/00- Been awhile since updating this...it was a pretty wild
Christmas season, so I didn't get much chance to work on the web
page. Did see something for the first time ever on the King's Mtn
Ride...a Fox! It was on Skyline, right before the descent heading
down towards Highway 84. 27 years doing this ride and I've seen a
lot (Squirrels, Bobcats, Deer, etc) but this was the first-ever Fox.
By the way, don't forget about the
Mt Hamilton ride on New Year's Day!
12/14/00- Rode yesterday morning instead of Tuesday, to avoid
the worst of the rain. Very high gravity day on King's
Mountain! Slow...slow...really slow...but still a nice ride.
And then I rode again this morning on very wet roads. Didn't do
"the hill" but instead goofed off a bit, taking more little side
roads, seeing where they went. Added the bottom part of Bear Gulch
and Wunderlich Park to the list! Also added a flat tire. This
time I noted how long it takes to inflate a tire with a Blackburn Minipump...I'd
always assumed five minutes, but the reality is only three!
12/7/00- Warmer than expected...48 was the low! Still,
nobody showed up but me, and, feeling a bit mischievous (or maybe just a
bit too bored to consider going up King's Mtn alone), I headed out in
search of a legendary road that I'd never ridden before- Summit Springs
Road. It's right off Tripp Road, just south of King's Mountain, and
it goes UP...FAST! But don't make the turn at Patrol Road...keep
going up Summit Springs to where it dead-ends. Mercifully, the whole
climb is a bit under a mile, but there will be a couple spots where you
wonder if something this steep can actually be ridden. On the way
back down, make the left turn onto Patrol Road and, for a bit more fun,
continue past Entrance Way and up Patrol to where that road
dead-ends. Yet another fun piece of climbing!
What this ride
brings up is that, who knows, there might be some hidden treasures in your
own back yard that you've never even thought about. Those little
roads that you see shooting off from your normal ride...have you ever
taken the time to find out where they go? Maybe you
12/6/00- Let's see...things we have to be thankful for.
Hmm. How about this? Tomorrow morning it's only supposed to
get down to 37 degrees! Yeah, we should be thankful for that?
Well, since next Tuesday's ride could see record-breaking lows (in the
neighborhood of the low 20s, rivaling the infamous
December 22, 1998 ride), I guess there's much to be thankful
for! For now, at least. Personally, I doubt my stiff joints
will feel very thankful for the first half hour of tomorrow morning's ride
up King's Mtn.
Maybe another thing to be thankful for...the end of our election
debacle. In theory, tomorrow's gig before the Florida Supreme Court
by Bush & Gore's legal teams should mark the beginning of the very
end. Almost. There's still the matter of those screwy absentee
ballots in two counties (the ones which were apparently partially filled
in or applied for by "volunteers").
Remember how Nightline got
its start? "Nightline, America held hostage, day XXX"
during the Iran hostage crisis. Wonder when they'll start putting up
days on their current marquee?
12/4/00- For the holiday season, I've added a page with the
infamous "Science of Santa Claus"
article. If you haven't heard about the physics that Saint Nick must
deal with, this is a must read!
11/30/00- Traitors and rider going down. Seemed like a
nice enough morning...45 degrees at the start, 43 on the hill, skies
clearing, road slightly wet. Nobody showed up except me, although
when I got to the top I came across a guy I sold a bike to last
week. We rode on to 84 and then down the hill...the roads were a bit
wet in places, and towards the bottom of 84, on the final hairpin, he hit
a spot of oil and slid out. Fortunately, very little damage to the
bike (a scratched derailleur and pedal) and almost none to him.
the way, at this time of year, I don't recommend riding without at least a
flashing tail light. The fog can come and go and come back again
very quickly, and you need all the visibility you can get when you're out
there on a bike.)
But even more noteworthy was riding back on
Tripp Road and we come across a group of four cyclists in the opposite
direction...three women and Kevin. Kevin, who'd normally be out
there riding with me, ditched for a ride with three women. What's
11/24/00- Had a great TurkeyDay Trot yesterday, with about 10
people showing up for a fun trip out to the coast and back Tunitas Creek,
but not before taking a detour via Los Lobitos Creek. Just couldn't
get enough climbing in otherwise! (This
ride is now on-line)
11/16/00- Gee, three, maybe four people from the shop said they
might ride this morning. Total number at Olive Hill & Canada
Road at 7:45am? Same number as found at 7:50am...zero. A bit
of rain, a bit of cold and people decided to sleep in. They might
have had the right idea, as the hill seemed particularly tough this
morning...one of those high-gravity days again.
On the way back down I
saw another rider coming up...just about the only other rider I saw out
there this morning. Turned out to be one of the guys who said he
might show up (Brian). It turned out that he had arrived just a bit late
and was trying to catch up, but never made it. Heck, at my speed
this morning, I gave him every possible chance!
11/14/00- Dang, it was cold out there this
morning! But no snow, and the reality is that the coldest temp
registered on my trusty (and no longer made) TREK Radar computer was a
balmy 37 degrees. Interesting to note how much colder it felt on
Skyline at 39-40 degrees when there was just a hint of moisture in the
air. King's Mountain, by the way, was as mean as ever. Sure is
a lot nicer climbing without all that extra clothing, particularly the
So where are all the other riders who'd normally ride up the
hill with me??? This morning it was just Kevin Keenan, local tri-guy
hot-shot...and he even called the night before, thinking maybe I
wouldn't be out there.
We discussed the annual Turkey Trot ride, which
will leave at the regular Tuesday/Thursday morning time of 7:45am and
proceed over the hill and up West Alpine from La Honda. Hope to see
many others there! Figure on being back by noon so you can still do
all the family stuff etc.
Got in our first TREK 5700 today (the Ultegra
version of Lance's "Climbing bike"). Committed what some
will consider a cardinal sin by building it up as a triple instead of a
double, but I figure there's something to the idea of owning the world's
lightest triple crankset road bike.
11/13/00- Dang it's getting cold out there! Weatherperson
says 2,000 foot snow level tomorrow morning so, if it's possible to ride,
it could get interesting. Could be a red-sled morning, or it could
just be so nasty out that I decide to bump the Tuesday-morning ride to
Wednesday. Hope not!
Strange time of year at the shop.
Saturdays are standing-room-only, while the rest of the week settles down
Oh yeah, great X-Files last night! Who needs that Mulder
11/10/00- Yet another 20/20 story on Impotence, with cycling as
a backdrop. Fortunately, in this particular story they pointed out
that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and poor eating
habits were the primary contributors and of the three men profiled, the
professional cyclist (Joe Papp) was considered the least likely to have
Today (11/9/00) it was cold. First ride of the year with the temp
dipping into the upper 30s (OK, 39 degrees, so just barely into the
30s!). Bootie weather. Yuck. Still, felt good being up
on Skyline this morning, knowing that some nasty weather's moving in later
on today. Note to myself- order Kucharik toe warmers! Most
days you don't need full (heavy) neoprene booties, and the Kucharik toe
warmers, which just cover the front of the show, do just fine.