Monday, July 27, 2009

Baseball Hall Of Fame

One of my favorite pastimes, since growing up playing "socks ball" everyday, is baseball.
A year ago Laurel and I visited the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. A trip I always wanted to make.
This year Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were inductees. All the great statistics in baseball (or any other sport) doesn't make you a hero, it just makes you a great baseball player. This is what makes you a hero:

Click on picture to link to story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego 2009

Gran Fondo ("Big Ride" in Italy) are long distance, mass-participation cycling events, not races, that have become a cycling tradition in Italy. This was San Diego's first and was represented by one of Italy's premiere bike maker, Ernesto Colnago. The route took us through the mountainous, desert terrain of southeastern San Diego County-very challenging, but scenic.
Riders (over 1,000) gather at the break of dawn where else but in Little Italy to jockey for the best starting position, meet up with friends, or listen to the wake up music of Frank Sinatra? Team Colnago waving the Green, White, and Red of Italy to signal the start of the ride. "Arrivederci!"
The lead out was done by the local Ferrari and Ducati Clubs.

One of the rest stops was at the USA Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. I got to do a bike lift on the podium.
There were timing chips issued to all riders to compete for "King of the Mountain" (KOM) over the Honey Springs Pass, 35 miles into the ride. It took me 1 hour:1 minute, 30 minutes behind the fastest climber. My average speed was 6.6 MPH. I watched my heart rate carefully, trying to keep it around 150 bpm because of the heat and also because I knew there were 60 more miles to go with more hills to come.
The Honey Springs climb was 1840 feet over 6.8 miles with an average grade of 5%. Google Earth view as we snake through Jamul.
Secret to climbing hills: Granny Gear, keep the heart rate manageable, BREATHE-inhaling through your nose, avoid the death grip on your handlebar, keep fueled up, patience, enjoy the scenery. Pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal - get the picture? I've never seen so many riders walking up the hill climbs or just sitting on the roadside under a shady tree trying to recover. Some just decided to turn around, head back downhill, and abandon the ride. A very tempting alternative at the time.

See the "top", well that's really not the top, there's more.
No, I didn't fall, just lying on the ground hyperventilating so I got the camera out and snapped a picture. Yes, I survived, and at the end of the Gran Fondo Ernesto Colnago, founder of Colnago Bicycles, gave out Prosecco to the faster riders-no, not me. I think he's not smiling because he knows I ride a Trek. This was a very exhausting ride because of the long Honey Springs Climb in 108 degree heat. Total ascent was 5,280 feet which meant there were some great descents, maximum speed over 44 MPH. It took me 8 hours at an average speed of 13 MPH, burning 7,000 Calories.
Here is my Polar readout with Heart Rate, Cadence, Speed, Elevation, and Power.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Tour de Palm Springs 2009

The Tour de Palm Springs is a century ride around the Coachella Valley. The ride starts off with a gradual climb to about 1,700 feet, a few rollers along Dillon Road, and a very nice descent into the city of Coachella. From there the ride is relatively flat, but there's always a headwind heading back to the finish in Palm Springs. Total ascent just over 3,200 feet. The pace line forms on Garnet Avenue up towards Windy Ridge. It was a tough early start with a Northwesterly blowing about 10 knots. It was so windy that trucks seemed to float in mid air along the I-10. Brand new paved road on the way up to Indian Avenue and Desert Hot Springs. The city of Coachella should take note. Dillon Road rest stop with the snow capped San Jacinto Mountains as a backdrop. This was a first. Cheerleaders at a bike ride. "Go bikers, go bikers, go bikers!" There was also music at every stop, courtesy of the local schools. "We will, we will rock you!" At mile 88, Steve and Matthew Schmidt were kind enough to feed me with a baked potato and chili from Wendy's. Took a nice 45 min break, recharged the legs and cruised into the finish.6 hours: 11 minutes, average speed 16.1 MPH, average power 148 watts, energy used 5561 kcal.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Stage 6 - The Solvang Time Trial

The Solvang time trial is a 15 mile course over slightly hilly terrain. Riders go out individually at one minute intervals and ride the route in the fastest time possible. They usually average 25-30 MPH. Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France winner, better known for his climbing skills, placed 82nd - 3'30'' behind the winning time. Tyler Farrar in his Garmin skin suit. In indivudual time trials it's about being aerodynamic, maintaining the highest power output throughout the entire course, and getting to the finish line in the quickest time. All while trying not to get a heart attack! Yaroslov Popovych takes a neck break or maybe his helmet slipped. Michael Rogers taking the "high road" above his support car, placed 4th-22 seconds off the pace. Phillip Gaimon experiencing a major sugar rush - visions of jelly beans dancing in his head. Pedro Horillo about to make use of his snot pad on his cycling glove. Lance Armstrong had his own personal photographer during the Tour of California, and his own personal driver. Jason McCarty, foaming at the mouth, will not win the neatness award, but did come in 8th - 41 seconds behind the winner. Are those chocolate stains on his left sleeve? Big Tom Boonen struggles to get aero. "Paco" Mancebo could be in a Cadillac comercial here. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit. Chris Horner (32' 19" for 24th) being cheered on by the Mavic wheelmen. Christian Vande Velde (12th position) and his support argyle BMW. Chris Baldwin sports the golf ball time trial helmet. Floyd Landis 54th overall grips at the aerobars as he heads downhill. Winner Levi Leipheimer (30 min:40 sec) shows his "praying mantis" style, making himself small and cutting through the wind like an arrow. L3VI!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Faces of The Tour Of California

Team Astana registers from Luxembourg, but is sponsored by five companies in Kazakhstan (capital Astana), will be allowed to ride in this year's Tour de France. It is made up of some former members of the Discovery Channel team and the "clean" Astana riders. Team Saxo Bank's Jason McCartney, born in Honolulu, wears the red King of the Mountain Jersey. He's explaining to Lance Armstrong the latest techniques for a successful hill climb. I wonder what Lance is thinking? -whatever. Commentator Phil Liggett arranging for afternoon high tea at the Fess Parker, or maybe happy hour at The Hitching Post. Mark Cavendish of Columbia Highroad won Stage 4 and Stage 5 in an all out sprint finish, deserving of the Herbalife Sprinter's Jersey. Lance imagining he's riding in the Tour de France. Oscar Sevilla Rivera peeking out the Rock Racing Motor-suite to see if the sun is out. Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen - the fastest in the peleton. That's why they call him Big George Hincapie. Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis discuss what they did while serving their suspension from cycling. Ouch! Tom Danielson takes his last swig before the grueling Solvang Time Trial. Swiss Cervelo Testteam wear Catlike Whisper Plus Helmets made in Spain.Canadian Michael Barry sporting the new Oakley shades. Pretty cool, Eh? Chris Horner going out for a donut and coffee run for Team Astana. Christian Vande Velde back from a morning spin. Lancemania! is alive and well. The Champion waves to the crowd. 2 million people showed up. The highest attended sporting event in California. The peleton heads west. Just another 135 mile day at the office.