Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hey Chickens -

A week ago Saturday Bill McBride, Paul Wren and I raced in the Livermore Crit. This report is a bit late because I left on vacation immediately upon returning from the race. We flew “Air McBride” and landed at the airport 8 miles from the race site. Riding to the race would be a nice little warm-up, and it was, until my only reservation about riding city streets with race wheels was realized as I got a front flat 2 miles from the course. There was about 50 minutes til the start, all I had to do was ride a flat 6 miles into a headwind back to the airport and change the wheel then haul ass to the race. Good thing I brought an extra wheelset! Bill and I brought extra wheels just in case of such a mishap.

I made it to the airport with about 5 psi in my tire. Nice thing about tubulars, you can ride them flat if you have to – just don’t turn. There was a crowd gathered there to watch some WWII fighter planes take off. They were a bit confused when I rode past them out onto the tarmac to the only jet parked out there, changed the wheel, then rode away. The tailwind helped my time trial to the race course, but I was still a bit nervous. Bill tried to check me in and get my number, but they wouldn’t let him. No worries, with the numerous crashes in the race before ours, our start was quite delayed.

A decent sized field rolled out on the 1 mile course and I spent the first 15 minutes trying to figure out the good lines in the corners and also trying to understand how there was a headwind on every side of the loop. 2 guys tangled up on the front stretch on about the 5th lap. They were literally tangled up on the ground with one guy’s legs through the other’s frame. One of them got back in and raced with his bare ass hanging out of his shorts.

Half way through, Paul “Bunyan” Wren went straight to the front and did one of his trademark 700 watt pulls for a lap. We all dodged another pile-up late in the race and started to set up for the final laps. I had been eying the field for who I thought were the strong guys. Sure enough, with 3 to go, they were all at the front. Things were getting nervous as everyone jockeyed for positions, then Bill came to the rescue and went to the front with two laps remaining. In high winds, he drove it fast enough to keep the usual Cat 4 swarm from happening. He brought us through the start/finish at the bell and then stayed up there through turns 1 and 2 before pulling off. The charge was on down the back stretch, and I got through turn 3 in 7th and on some good wheels.

Turn 4 is a big double sweeper with the wind blowing hard from the right/front. I swung out to the left and moved up to the wheel of a big guy that was charging hard. We passed the others, then when he looked back, I jumped around him with only 100 meters to the line. There was a rider way to my right, I caught and passed him with the headwind hitting me hard. Just 20 meters to the line I saw a wheel come up on my left and we came down to a bike throw on the line. The guy patted me on the back and said that I got it. I told him that I wasn’t so sure. Video review showed him winning by about 2 friggin inches.

The photo below doesn’t show the guy that got me from my left side (good race photographer). You can see the big guy that lead me out and the third place finisher near the curb. I was a bit disappointed, but I know that I didn’t leave anything out on the track. Are 47 year olds supposed to still hit 200 bpm?

Additional props to Bill for carrying the giant tub of Cytomax in his backpack 8 miles back to the airport. Note to 3rd place finisher – no helmets on the podium...


Monday, April 26, 2010

Luke's Wild Ride!

This just in, Luke enjoyed his weekend! See below

He's not just a pretty face!

For Ladies Only!

Save the date for a Cinco de Mayo Women’s Ride!

Hi Ladies--

Please join us on Wednesday, May 5 for a Women’s No-Drop Ride at Whole Foods on upper State St.(cross street is Hitchcock) at 5:00 pm. The ride will start at 5:30 pm. Whole Foods will be kindly providing some drinks and pocket snacks. We will gather on the patio area at 5:00 pm before we take off at 5:30 pm.

So pump up those road tires, lube your chain, and come have some clean healthy fun on your bike. The ride will be part of CycleMaynia —

Also, we are thinking about moving our weekly women’s ride from Thursday evening to Wednesday evenings. Please let me know if this will affect you — and or course if you have any questions, please email me. Looking forward to rolling again!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Peter Rupert's Bike

Hi All,

Thanks for all of the kind words! It is great to be a part of such a great bike community. I have posted some pictures of the damage to my ex-bike. Front fork sheared off, bars snapped in two, rear triangle nearly completely separated.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You Have to Love GOOGLE, I mean Topeka! April Fools

Check out Google today and you will see something a bit strange. Click on the colorful logo and enjoy the April Fools moment! I wonder if the city of Topeka did anything in honor of Google's.

I did click on the Topeka website and it took forever to load. I'm sure this little google love is overwhelming their website.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sagebrush 2010

In the spirit of the day, and since I've had a couple questions about how it went, here's my belated report from the MTB XC season opener on Feb 28.

I've used a hybrid Fastrack/Ken bullet point style, with the patented Jurist style extended coverage for anyone who actually gives a darn:

Cliff Notes version:

-Super fun, fast, sloppy, clear, beautiful, crazy tough event with 3 Chickens racing: Alfredo finished an impressive 4th in Cat 3, Me a slightly disappointing 12th in Cat 2, and Gabe seemed happy with his 7th in Cat 1 (I think Gabe was mostly just happy to have finished his near epic 2Hrs, 43 Minutes on course, gnarly!!!!!) Let's get a bigger CR turn-out for Bonelli.

Extended Coverage:

- Alfredo wins the last minute planner award for making final decision and arrangements to race while still at work after 10PM night before

- 4-1/2 hour drive down under clear skies on Sunday morning rolling out of SB at 5AM on day of event with Alfredo, myself and Gabe carpooling as the only riders representing Team CR (Cats 3, 2, 1, respectively).

- Dirt entry road and parking lot were relatively firm, but scattered with deep mud puddles and temps were still in low 40's. Reports from overnight campers and locals was that it absolutely dumped rain Saturday evening with freezing temps overnight

- Racers were out in force, seemed like REALLY good numbers in the lot, registering and at the starting line. Lots of great energy and good buzz out there.

- Seems like about 1 in 4 riders is on a 29'er now and half of those are hardtails.

- All ages and classes went off with staggered start times beginning at 11AM, by which time it was warm with absolutely beautiful clear blue skies.

- Cat 2 & 3's both rode the same course ~18 miles, Cat 1 & Pros going a tough 22 miles

- First 1-1/2 miles or so was paved & mild. My Cat 2 group of 22 riders hung together in a tight peloton with quite a bit of joking about who was gonna try to organize a breakaway and/or win the next 'prime'. The pace did get lifted a good bit on the flat to put some pressure on the group leading up to "the hill"

- Course turned steep up hill for a 15 minute paved climb (7-10%?) which blew apart my group right away. I was able to hang with the top ten riders of my group on the climb but things did get a bit messy/confusing while overtaking slower riders from prior heats & simultaneously getting passed by 1 or 2 fast f'ers from the following heat. (no group numbers were written on legs at this race for some reason, so you could only ID someone actually in your age/cat if you recognized them form your starting group)

- At the top of this first big paved climb, less than 1/4 into the race I'd say the finishing positions were about 80% fixed.....

- Leaving pavement & dropping over the backside of the ridge, the course became an absolute never ending roller coaster super fun carve fest. Lots of excellent banked twisty single track and some super fast fire road descents made for one of the most fun course I've ever raced. The dirt withstood the water really well in general, not clumpy SB type clay, but just a little tacky in general. The multitude of puddles and a few granite rock carved single track sections and a couple mild drop offs really kept things interesting.

- For those of you gear hounds - although I did get passed by a very small number of full-boing riders who were absolutely bombing so fast through corners on the twisty fireroad downhills that they must've been locals, (IMHO), in general I really fell in love with my 26" hardtail during its first race. Even on the washboard descents and drop offs I felt like I could open it up and bomb just fine, and obviously it was super nice to be able to climb seated or standing on a lightweight hardtail on the uphills. On the flip-side, I did feel the fatigue factor just a little in my lower back having to stand for the duration on one of the longer downhills late in the race.......

-most puddles could be avoided carving slalom-style on the single tracks & open roads, but when you had to plow through a water hazard, it was a little scary. In order to not risk an endo you wanted to keep your weight back or try to unweight/bunny hop, but obviously that's easier said than done. Ask Gabe about his front wheel stand manuever at race pace sometime when you get a chance......

- one ginormous section of super steep hike a bike uphill at about 2/3 through the race was pretty hard on the psyche. It was a huge quarter mile long uphill slog conga line. I actaully did pass a couple "trudgers" by shouldering my bike lower down on the wall, but then I regained my senses and got into line just in time before I imploded.

- Final mile of the race included about 3 or 4 good water crossings, one maybe 24" deep in the middle and 25 yards wide which some riders rode and some carried their bike ( I rode through and got completely drenched with cold water while rinsing quite a bit of grime off me & my bike)

- Met up with some guys from Linked Cycles after I started chatting things up with them a bit after my race and one of them says, hey you're with Chicken Ranch, do you know Robert Higgins?...... Seems that this guy (Ryan) knew Big Rob via email but had never actually met him in person. So Rob: Ryan from Linked Cycles passes along good wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery.

- We all do miss you out on the rides and at the races Rob, hope your recovery is going well.

- Alfredo scored a super nice lazer engraved stainless steel plaque for his efforts

- After the race, a guy next to us mentioned that he was from San Diego and this was his ONE local San Diego race and he wasn't looking forward to having to make the hube drive for BOTH of the Santa Barbara races. (chalk one more up for living in SB)

- Team Chicken is now sitting in 5th place in the team competition after 1 race, sure would be nice to have a minimum of 8 Team Chicken Ranch riders register, race and score team points at Bonelli and beyond!

See you ALL at Bonelli.

Ride On!


Gabe Says!

The Ventura Chapter of the SB Chicken Ranchers opt’ed for better weather in NorCal. John Vanmanekes and myself made a last minute decision and headed north on Sat evening to enter the Merco Foothills RR in Merced CA. Unlike our brothers who headed south, or stayed local, we endured perfect weather w/ the temps in the mid-60’s w/ patchy clouds.
The race was run on the back roads of Merced with complete road closures. I can’t remember ever being in a road race where we had no center line rule and access to the whole road….pretty cool! The course was basically 72 miles of rollers and flats, with the biggest hill being slightly steeper than our local Bates Rd and about the same length. We had roughly 90+ racers in our group. Considering that John has been going really well lately, it was agreed prior to the race start that I would work for John to either help bring back breaks, or get him into position for the sprint.
The race was difficult at times with attacks and small breaks that didn’t materialize, but going into the final lap it was pretty much certain that it was going to come down to a sprint finish. The last 2 miles included some big ring out of the saddle rollers, with the finish being about 500 meters from the top of the last roller. The original plan was to get to the top in the lead group and lead John out, but going into the final 2 miles, the Specialized Factory team formed an 8 man lead-out for their sprinter, who happened to have also won the previous day's crit. At this point, John got on my wheel and we made our move on the outside. Once on the front, I tried to wedge myself into the Specialized train, but they had it locked down pretty tight, so I just tried to keep the momentum up as high as I could and keep John near the front. Once we got near the top of the last roller, my legs were done and John went around in the top 10. I got swarmed by about 50 guys, but I managed to see John’s head bobbing near the front of the sprinting pack. He pulled off an impressive 7th place finish in a hard fought sprint, and his prize……$20 which covered the Starbucks bill on the way home.

There was also the Sage Brush MTB race last weekend. Paul Donahoe, Alfredo Gallegos, and myself headed down to San Diego early Sunday morning. Alfredo pulled off a 4th place in the Cat 3s, Paul turned in a 12th place in the Cat 2’s, and I finished in 7th in the Cat 1’s.

That’s it!