Monday, February 25, 2008

Let Levi Ride

More than 1.6 million fans turned out over eight days to watch the best field ever assembled on U.S. soil cycle across California in the Amgen Tour of California. After eight challenging days of cycling through 650-miles of scenic California highways, roadways and coastline drives, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team Astana was crowned as champion of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California for the second consecutive year, with a weeklong total time of 29 hours, 24 minutes and 32 seconds of cycling across California. A resident of Santa Rosa, California, Leipheimer battled against the best field ever assembled to compete in the United States.
On February 13th, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) barred Team Astana from competing in any race or event organized by the ASO in 2008. The ASO owns premiere cycling events like Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours, and the famed Tour de France.
The ASO cited Team Astana's doping scandals of last year’s Tour de France as justification. Last year the entire team was disqualified in Stage 16.
There can be no comparison between the Astana team of 2007 and the new Astana. The entire organizational structure has been rebuilt under the direction of the team’s new General Manager, Johan Bruyneel (former manager of the disbanded Team Discovery Channel) , who has thoroughly cleaned house.Last year's winner of the Tour de France was Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) who now rides for Team Astana as well as Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) who came in third. Because of ASO's ruling, neither of these riders will be able to compete in the Tour this year.

Join the campaign to Let Levi Ride in the Tour de France.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How Are Mountain Climbs Categorized?

There are no set rules on how the organizer of a race can categorize hills or mountains. This is how the Tour de France climbs are defined:
Category 4 - the easiest which is typically less than 2 km (1.24 mi) long and about 5% grade, or up to 5 km (3.1 mi) at a 2-3% grade.
Category 3 - can be as short as 1.5 km (.93mi) with a very steep grade, perhaps 10%; or as long as 10 km (6.2 mi) with a grade less than 5%.
Category 2 - can be as short as 5 km (3.1 mi) at 8%, or as long as 15 km (9.3 mi) at 4%.
Category 1 - can be anything from 8 km (5 mi) at 8% to 20 km (12.4 mi) at 5%.
Hors Categorie ("above category") rating is given to exceptionally tough climbs. This could be a Category 1 whose summit is also the finish of the stage, or one that is more than 10 km (6.2 mi) long with an average grade of at least 7.5%, or up to 25 km (15.5 mi) long at 6% or steeper.

The climb up Newport Coast to the Vista Ridge Summit is about 3.65 mi. (5.9 km) and is a 5%-11% grade. I guess that makes it about a Cat 2 climb. Nice symmetry to this climb since I did it twice. Newport Coast begins at PCH and ends in Irvine past Hwy 73 at Bonita Canyon Drive. If you turn right at Vista Ridge or Ridge Park you can extend your climb. Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley may be a Cat 1 climb since it is 8.24 mi. (13.3 km) and has a grade of 5%-17%.
Pine Valley (San Diego County) may also be a Cat 1 climb even though it averages a 5% grade. It is 15.64 mi (25 km) long.

The ride up the road to the Palm Springs Arial Tram is 4.52 mi (7.3 km), but it is very steep with an average grade of 8.8% and a 17% grade near the very top when your legs are already burning.
This would make it an HC climb for me. It took me 1 hour to climb that 2,640 ft "hill" averaging 4.7 mph. About as fast as an elephant walks.
Here is the same ride viewed with my Polar monitor. It is plotted over time instead of distance. You can see how long the climb took vs. the descent which looks like I fell of a cliff. Even with braking (for fear of dying) the descent took me only 9 minutes with an average speed of 25.4 MPH hitting a max speed of 36.5 MPH.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Student Of The Month-Congratulations!

Palm Desert's Student of the Month takes time from his hours of studies and warms up for a round of golf. I hear he's also a good ping-pong player. Are those ping-pong balls he's hitting?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

El Tour de Tucson 2007

El Tour de Tucson, November 17, 2007. 109 miles around the city with full traffic control and crowd support. There were about 10,000 cyclists participating. This was my most exciting event of 2007. One hour before the start, sun barely up, and thousands of riders ready to go. An interesting thing about this ride was there were two dry river crossings where you had to walk for about 1/2 to 3/4 mile.

It was a relatively flat ride - total ascent 2,740 ft. with only a few hill climbs. Finished with the silver medal - 6 hours 33 minutes.

Ride Summary 2007

My ride summary for 2007:
Centuries done - 6, Best total time Tour de Tucson 6:33
Metrics done - 3
Total Distance - 5,618 miles
Total Hours - 143
Total Rides - 242
Calories Used - 245,884 (76 lbs)

Goals for this year:
Space rides farther apart, improve Century time to 6 hours
Work on pedaling efficiency and technique
Improving endurance, including improving on-bike nutrition
Continue strength training
Do a multi-day ride