Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fat Tire Sunday 12-14-08


Views, ice, crashes, laughs, climbing......this mornings MTB ride had it all. We were expecting the threat of rain but there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the air was crisp and crystal clear. It was a bit on the chilly side though. Fortunately, everyone brought backpacks with enough room for 20lbs of extra clothes. Everyone except Mike Abbott. The only thing I don't like about Mike is that he makes everyone else around him look like a big sissy. At the top of Gibralter before we dropped Angostura I was wearing leg warmers, booties, an undershirt, shortsleeve jersey, arm warmers, skull cap, a wind vest, a thermal vest, a wind jacket, a rain jacket, a face mask, and two pairs of gloves and I was still freezing my ass off on the descent. Mike was wearing a jersey and shorts..........and he couldn't stop talking about what a beautiful day it was. I think he's part Eskimo or polar bear or something. John Comunal provided some excitement by crashing in a corner on Angostura. He was fine, and more importantly his new kit was fine as well. He provided some eloquent words on what it feels like to crash. I believe his exact words were "The thing that sucks about crashing is you hit the ground......and the ground hurts". I don't think truer words have ever been spoken. Well said John!

We ended up with 34 miles, 5,600 ft. of climbing and 4 hours of riding. Of course 45 minutes of those 4 hours were spent putting on and taking off clothes for the different portions of the ride, except Mike of course. He spent those 45 minutes eating nails and killing mountain lions with his bare hands. All in all a great ride. Looking forward to seeing all of you out there next weekend.

See ya,


It's Saturday, So It Must Be Ojai


Well we had a great ride this morning. Our first real Team ride since the new kits came in. It was cool to see everyone out there with their matching kits on (except Dave). To the untrained eye I'm sure we looked like a pro squad out for a winter training ride. And fortunately for us we had two actual pros pull us around for the first half of the ride which made us look legit to any "trained eyes" out there on the road. The weather was cooperative for the most part with no rain, and no wind until the very end of the ride. Unfortunately Dave's sense of direction was not as cooperative and we missed our turn and ended up adding 5 or so extra miles to the ride. But the president of the Ojai chapter of the club, Ben Edwards came to the rescue and got us back on the right track. All in all a great ride. we stuck together on the climbs and rode a nice steady tempo with no real stops or delays. It was nice to finally see Ray Turon out on an early morning ride. I hadn't seen Susie Willett or Greg Knowles out for awhile so that was a pleasant surprise as well. Looking forward to many more Team rides in the future. I was impressed with how strong everyone was. For a Team that doesn't recruit riders we actually have quite a few hammers in our ranks! I realize I'm gonna have to work harder if I want to keep up! But then again, that's sort of the whole idea. To inspire us all to work a little harder and have fun!

See ya out there,


Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Christmas Time At Fastrack!

Great Job Beau!!!!!

Sales will be booming!

I Feel It Important To Warn The World!

There has been some talk going on around the B Team email chain about the powers of our kits, so I feel it honorable to at least let everyone else in on the power of THE CHICKEN KIT!

The first report comes from one Mr. Matt Benko, or superhero Benko!

Hello everyone,

Well, the response to the new kits has been overwhelmingly positive which is cool. But I'm gonna tell you a true story that may make you like the kits even more. It turns out the new kits give you Super Powers when you wear them. How do I know this you ask? Let me explain.

On Tuesday morning I was riding to meet the 7:00am group at ROCO when I witnessed a crime being committed right on State St. at the corner of State and Victoria. Two kids, perhaps Jr High age were using paint pens to "tag" a couple of the store fronts. Now if I had been wearing any other kit I probably would've just ridden by thinking "What a couple of punks" but because I was wearing a brand new 2009 Team Chicken Ranch kit I felt empowered. So I did what any self-respecting Super Hero would do when placed in a similar situation......I called the police. Now I could have tried to be stealthy and whisper into my cell phone but I felt invincible at the moment so I rolled right up to the juvenile delinquents and spoke loudly into my phone "Hello police?...yeah I'm watching two kids tag a building on State and Victoria. You may want to come check it out." The criminals were startled by my boldness and the chase was on. I followed them on my bike as they ran into the City Lot and then into Victoria Court all the while steering with one hand and holding my cell phone with the other. I lost sight of the "perps" somewhere in Victoria Court so I finished describing what they were wearing to the dispatcher and then proceeded to meet the 7:00 group. But lo and behold the new kit has tracking powers as well and I spotted them again at the corner of Chapala and Figueroa. They didn't see me until I was about 15 feet away and this is when the new kit really showed the value of having your entire body encased in "faux-carbon fiber feathers". The taggers became enraged and like a wild animal when it's cornered, they attacked! They threw their orange colored paint pens right at me. This could've been a devastating blow. Thankfully I was wearing my new 2009 Team Chicken Ranch kit and the weapons bounced off of me and fell harmlessly to the floor. At the sight of this the two young thugs again ran for their lives and I continued on to Roco just catching the 7:00 group in the nick of time at 7:05!

Now I doubt the police ever caught these two vandals but that doesn't really matter. Because now they have the fear of "Chicken Justice" embedded deep in their hearts. I'm sure these two young boys will turn their lives around as a result of this encounter. They'll realize the error of their ways and look for more positive ways to express themselves. Perhaps they will go on to graduate from Harvard or Yale or UCSB and change the world. Just as we Chicken Ranchers will do in 2009. That's right...."Team Chicken Ranch....making the world a better ride at a time!"

See ya out there!


Then we got this amazing report from our down under correspondent Joel Groberg, aka "Snake Charmer".

G'day Everyone,

Matt's story reminded me of something that happened to me on a ride last week, that also demonstrated the amazing powers of the Chicken Ranch Kit...
I was doing a night training ride, and for a brief section of it I was alongside a 6-lane highway. I came up on a large stick that was across the bike lane, and sticking partially into the slow lane of the highway, and stopped to drag it off the road. When I got up to I realized (besides the fact that CR kits don't improve my night vision) that the stick was really an enormous python, about 13 ft. long. I immediately shifted into Steve Irwin/SPCA/Superhero mode and tried to get it off the road and headed back into the forest beside the road...I have seen too many big pythons struck dead on the roads here.

I knew that if I dragged such a heavy snake (70lbs?) off the road backwards that I would damage it's belly scales, which here during the wet season is nearly a death sentence for a snake. I could not go out in the road to get at the head. I decided to grab it by the back of the tail and annoy it so it turned around to see what was going on. It proved to be a very good decision in the short term, because it worked!

The down side to this strategy is that by the time snake came back to see what's happening at it's tail end it was a little pissed off. It struck at me a couple of times so I did the what seemed even more logical at the time, which was try and grab it by the neck. I only missed by 2 feet, that's how far behind the head I grabbed. If you want to have a big snake bite you, grab it a couple of feet behind the head, that brings it up close to your arms, face and torso. Given those biting options I am glad the snake chose to bite me on the arm....which was protected by my Chicken Ranch Jersey!

I figured as long is it had me by the jersey that I also had it, so I quickly backed off the road, into the forest and somehow managed to separate myself from the snake, and shooed it off into the forest. The jersey now has four small cuts in the left sleeve, which no doubt would have been in my arm if I had been wearing a lesser jersey.

I actually only have the retro 04 05 and 06 kits, so If anyone has an extra kit or if Dave still has them for sale let me know, I figure if the old kits are python-proof, what must the new ones be like?

Oh, and here's another recent snake story from our local paper, this one involving a python and a..... chicken!

All the best,
Joel in Cairns, Australia

Some have even thought this superhero is a Chicken Rancher, based on the similarities between our kit and his. Hmmmmmm!

We have even had one Chicken Rancher report he is so confident in the super powers his kit has he is going to wear it Elk Hunting. I'm not quite sure how that will help, but I'm waiting to hear.
The world should consider themselves warned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just a few tidbits, Happy Holidays Everyone!

I guess the racing season is never over; or maybe Iron Mike just never stops!

I hope everyone had great holidays, I just got back from the hecker race. It was a perfect 75 deg and a field of 13 racers set out on a perfect course"fast and tacky" the race went well finished second, with the third place guy 20 seconds behind. This is the editorial part: if anyone has any ideas to get more racers to the charberlin ranch, fire all the thoughts and ideas to hecker, he holds the key to the best place to race and only 30 minutes away. that's the soap box for today, that's a lot of words for someone who normally doesn't talk much!! see ya

mike abbott

Congrats to one of our newest members, we are going to have to teach him to write a race report. This came in from Gabe!

Congrats to John Van Mannekes from the Ventura chapter of the CR team for taking the win in the Piru TT today in the Cat 3's, and the 4th fastest time of the day!
Proof that the new 2009 kits are FAST.
I know there are tons of folks with all kinds of backgrounds on this team, but if you want to really feel like an underachiever check out this article about Kimberly Turner, or should I say Doc. ;O0 WOW! Kimberly congrats from your biking buddies and thanks for getting us some recognition in the intellectual world.

Hey Rich, nice legs! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with white hairy legs. ;o)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Painted Cave Update

For those of you who have been missing the ability to fill up your water bottles at the faucet at the painted cave sign your prayers have been answered. There is a new handle

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Sneak Peak!

One lucky rancher has been kind enough to give us some insight in to the manufacturing and design of our new kits. Check it out!

Happy Dead Bird Holiday fellow Rancheros! The family and I were disappointed we couldn’t be here for the SB Drumstick Run to see the vanquishing, but we had official SBCR business to attend to as we made the journey to the “sister nest” of Cabeza de Gallina in central Guatemala, an unofficial, yet fully sponsored chapter of the Chicken Ranch Affiliation Project (CRAP). I was charged with delivering the 2009 kits to the team as they are, of course, sewn together by 9 year olds in a town close by. Not sure if information about the new kit has made its way through the email chain, but Dave got a little frustrated with the whole size matrix and decided that a “one size fits all” approach just made his life a heck of a lot easier (sorry Brad, almost all). Attached is a shot of the maiden run of Team Montana de Pollo sporting the new gear. And yes, Dave has assured me that each kit comes with “a” bike and it is, in fact, the one pictured…..

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tea Fire, Team Chicken Ranch Was On The Scene

Steve Otero, braved the fire area and had this to say. Steve, thanks for the photos and I like you am praying for all the people and if we can help, shout out!

Hello again.

Don’t mean to spam you but thought you might like to see today’s shots. Quite revealing under the daylight. Also, quite sad when you see all the lost homes.

Take care,

As you may have heard, Santa Barbara is in the middle of a huge fire in the Montecito and Riviera areas. So you know, our house is far from danger here on the Mesa.

Last night I rode my motorcycle around and got these shots. As you can tell, I was in the thick of it. For those that you know the areas, these were taken primarily from Las Alturas road. The last few are from the Rattlesnake Trail area and Sheffield Resevoir.

I hope the best for all our friends in these areas. Please let me know if there is anything we can do.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Training Report From South Dakota

It is truly against my better judgement to post these training reports from our own beloved Horse Whisperer, but I don't believe in censorship either. So for you faint at heart you have been warned.


Sorry to have missed the backcountry ride, but, I was doing some cross-training in South Dakota, with gun in hand this time. Results of the training attached. and will be served at the house opening.




Today's training results, 2 birds in hand. Had 5 good helpers, age 9 down to Pearl who is almost 5. Theo and Joseph drove the pickup (in the field) and I did the walking (that's the training part) to the shooting spot. Similar to a Sunday ride plan, it went flawless. Bird flushes and gets dropped right in front of the pickup in view of the kids.

It will be freezing rain by morning, cold the rest of the week. Enjoy your SB weather.


Last Weekend's Back Country Highlights


We had great ride on Sunday with good attendance and epic weather. If you were laying on the couch Sunday morning you missed out!

Even David Larsen and Dano showed-up on fat tire bikes...I have pictures to prove it! The ride up Romero was beautiful and uneventful. But when we got to the top the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and the wind picked up about 20mph. Lots of people started wheeling and dealing to buy or borrow extra bits of clothing for the ride down to Jameson. Strangely, nobody wanted to borrow Rod's sassy blue pajama pants no matter how cold it got.

We had 12 riders make it all the way to the Reservoir where we took a nice group shot and soaked in the views for a few minutes before turning around and heading back out. Everyone made it to the lake except for Rod and Phillip. They opted instead for some "alone" time in the bushes before joining us for the climb out. They claimed that Philip got a flat tire but we all know that neither one of them knows how to change a tube... plus we never did find Rod's sassy blue pajama pants?

Those of us at the back of the group got back to the cars reasonably exhausted and starving at 10:50am, which put us just under the projected 4 hour ride time. So I would call the ride an undeniable success and I can't wait to see what Rod's gonna wear next Sunday!

See you soon,


A Race Report From Down Under!

It was nice to hear from one of my old hoops buddies who is a pretty darn good mountain biker. If you don't know Joel you are really missing out on knowing a terrific guy. He moved to Australia a few years back and started a company that takes people on fun adventures. If you are ever thinking of heading his way, you should get in touch. Below is his latest race report filled with a few tidbits of local news. Enjoy The Ride Joel!
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Australia: 1-800-101-319 USA: 1-800-207-2453 UK: 0-800-234-6949 Skype:

Heya Greg and everyone.,

Just caught the note on the banquet, and as usual I only have that same lame excuse for not making the ride/banquet/etc...(spoken in a whiny voice) "..but I live halfway around the world"

I realized I was owed a race report to you, here goes, go ahead and blog it if you get the chance. (Chook means Chicken in Australian, so that make's me a chook rancher, right?)

Old Chook Still Climbing: hills and the learning curve.

Just a quick race report, filled with lies about the great things I did. This time though, in a new spirit of openness aimed increasing the entertainment value of the tale, I will avoid covering up all the stupid stuff that I managed to do all by myself, that said here goes, 'mates!

The Chook Ranch Down Under sub-tribe raced the RRR race here in North Queensland a couple of weeks back, and despite a comedy of errors, managed to podium, and narrowly missed first place.

The RRR (Rainforest to Reef Rampage) is the big short course race up here, maybe 45 km of racing, starting out with 20 km of flat, a nice single track climb, slogging through creeks in the jungle, a nightmarish nasty 3,000 ft in 2 miles descent, followed by a smooth Daytona Beach style 4 mile sprint at the end. About 300 racers took part, with a mass start that quickly narrowed to a narrow jeep road.

But the story starts earlier!

I love racing, but I am just the worst at bike maintenance, and don't notice things like, worn out tires, bent rims, crack frames, etc, at least not until the bike stops working or I hear something falling off and hitting the ground.

This time I decided to be smart and do a thorough tune up of the bike (that means put air in the tires and oil on the chain.) I thought I was pretty smart, actually noticing and replacing that tire with the tread worn down to the casing, and replacing the wheel with the inch long crack in the rim.

So race day comes, and we pop our bikes into my friend's van and head off to the race an hour early, (another first for me!, I am so good!)

Then I learned that with Zoke forks that if you transport your bike upside down and drive from sea level to 3,500 ft the air and oil can switch places, and take your fork down to a retro-rider 3mm of movement. Looked all over for someone with one of those adapters you need to charge the shock. Did not find one, but I did manage to find out my rear deraillure cable was worn to just a couple of strands at the attachment point.

So, minimal shifting, no front worries! Knowing I just got on Australia's great health insurance plans I figured I would race until I crashed or broke something, and see what happens.

The race went well, I managed to get out front at the start with the fast riders, and sucked onto the lead group till they got embarassed about this old guy on an old bike hanging with them and upped the pace. Two riders in my category caught up with me in a rolly part of the course when I got a bit too conservative about breaking my der. cable. We all played cat and mouse with each other for 15 minutes, and I finally put a break on them by running a river crossing and steep 100 metre climb leading up to the very scary big descent.

I knew that one of the guys behind me pretty well, he's fit and wise, and would never give up, so I grabbed the handlebars, let go of the breaks, and went for it on the downhill. My first mountainbike had a rigid fork, and this was a great reminder, both of how much help the new front forks are, but also how much you can do by just letting go of the breaks, finding the line, and holding on for dear life when it get's really rocky.

At the bottom of the climb it's 8 miles to the finish, 4 of it single track leading up to a wide flat hard beach. I went as hard as I could, hoping I could keep as much gap as possible. Things go fine, I hit the beach, 4 miles to the finish. With three miles to go I look back, and whoa! What's that guy doing right on my back wheel? It's him, and I know he's a road cyclist, so he's got the drafting and sprint finish strategy down pat. I think hard for maybe a millisecond, and come up with an idea...I will ride as hard as I can and leave this guy in the dust. All of you road types know what happenned :( I foolishly led him out to the last 100 metres, nearly killing myself in the process, so he could nip by me at the end and set a new course record.

Next time, (it's a 100 metre wide hard beach) I will ride up into the soft sand and kill his legs, then sprint down onto the hard sand and open a gap. I'll just ride around in a circle and loop behind him, (like Snoopy does to the Red Baron) hoping he will not open too big a gap, or fall over laughing. I will slow down or even stop, till he sees it becoming a three man race and takes the front. Next time, that's October, both my bike and I will be ready!

I did have a great time, and got invited to join this guy's road group. I am going to do that, they are nice folks, and I will pick up a few more tricks along the way.

My next ride, out in the jungle on Saturday, meet me at the Trinity Beach Roundabout at 8:00am. Who's in this week?

Oh, and if you like the ideas of nasty scary animals, check out these pics and articles, all taken from the local paper mostly in the last three weeks, this is a cool and gnarly neighborhood!

Crocodiles in swimming enclosures close the beaches
Snake eats cockatoo
Spider eats snake
Spider eats bird
Snake eats another wallaby (I ride here!)
Snake eats family pet
Snake eats wallaby

Just one race pic, have a look at the front fork!

cheers 'mates!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Those Chickens Are One Class Act!

The Chicken Ranch squad or as I like to refer to them "The B Team" got together and had their version of an awards banquet. I'm not sure that even one serious award was given out. This probably should have been referred to as the B Team Roast with your host Matt "Mr. 2nd Place" Benko!

I can tell you this, everyone that was there had a terrfic time and enjoyed seeing one another in real clothes. Heck, Old Man Steve is a pretty snappy dresser! It was fun to have all our families there and the kids were able to hang out and get to know one another better as the parents took in the festivites.

A few of the highlights were
Best Couple, Ken & Dan (that was a close race, NOT)
Rookie of the year, Brett got that one. (I hope your 2nd season has less road rash)
The Lewis and Clark Award went to Rod and Philip (my advice is not to catch a ride to a race with either of them)
Best Crash went to Kimberly, maybe that was Best Crashes?

I'm sure I missed quite a few so chime in with your comments as to what your favorites were.

We had some old rivalries renewed and the best men won. (Rob & Brad B)
We had a new nickname hung on an unsuspecting yet willing teenager. Congratulations Charlie "Wingerman" Zimmerman. (say that 10 times fast)
There was also a raffle for a bike that I know The Horse Whisperer knew he would win.

Enjoy the photos that Matt had his camerawoman Denise supply me and if you have any others you would like to have added to the slide show just email them my way.

Last but not least Trixie was nice enough to give us a very well received update on the Harbaugh kids. They are doing great, and that is terrific news for all of us.

Matt, Blinger, and all the sponsors thanks for a terrific year and I know that everyone that showed up for the free food and beverages enjoyed themselves a ton. ENJOY THE RIDE!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are You Handy With A Shovel?

I, like many of you may have received this email. I wanted to make sure everyone saw it. Thanks to everyone who helps maintain our trails!

We are emailing you because you are an important member of the trail using community. As you may have heard in our previous emails we are going to be starting up a trail work crew. We have set November 15th as the date to do our first trail project. This project will be in cooperation/preparation for the 9 Trails Race whose organizers have informed us what they need. No experience in trail maintenance is required and no tools are required, both will be provided to you. Some more specifics about this event:

Date: Sat, November 15th
Approximate time commitment: 3-4 hours (probably 9am - noonish)

Location: Rattlesnake Trail. Tunnel- Rattlesnake Connector, meet @ Rattlesnake Trail Head shuttle to top of trail?

Attire: Sturdy shoes, pants, long sleeve shirt, gloves, and glasses - sun or other. Helmets are required, bicycle will work fine, we will provide you if needed.

Supplies: It is recommended that you wear sunscreen/lip balm. Bring at least a liter+ of water and a snack and have a small backpack/camelbak if possible.

Project Specifics: De-Brush and repair tread of the Tunnel-RS Connector Trail. Use of mcleods, loppers, and hand saws will accomplish this. This section of trail is approximately 1 mile in length, 4-5 miles of hiking total are expected.

Following the work we will hike back down to our cars at the trail head and call it a day. Everyone who participates will receive a T-shirt so let us know you size. Person to contact about this event is Dave Everett, (805) 729-0028, feel free to contact him for more information.

Thank you,
The Multiuse Trails Coalition,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kimberly Does It Again. Cross Queen!

Hello everyone!
I know that most of you are into the 'off-season' but to have some fun and to improve my bike handling skills, I have decided to try a little cyclocross! It is really a lot of fun, and I've been to 2 races. I can write a race report now after the 2nd one...I had to do at least 2 to make sure it wasn't a fluke!

Last week I went to Spooky Cross in Irvine. It was my first ever 'cross race. It was a lot of fun, and I managed to get 3rd place, even with 2 crashes! Thankfully cyclocross crashes don't really hurt since you're just not going that fast, and the ground is a bit softer than pavement (usually).

Today, I did ConvertCross at Lake Casitas. It was so much fun! The course was really fun, a lot more technical than last week. Today I repeated with another 3rd place in the W3/4 race. I did drop my chain once and get it all tangled, but I was much smoother than last week, and I even got to use my newly found log-hopping skill! It was really a fun time, and there were lots of folks out there cheering. :-) The fields have been good sized--the largest to date in Socal women's 'cross racing!

Here are some photos that fellow ChickenRancher Randy Tinney took.

Kimberly (who is hoping to break the 3rd place streak so she doesn't get the "3" award at next year's banquet)

Check out Kimberly's blog for more details.......

Creative Campaigning!

O.K., maybe some of you have seen this, but a friend just sent me this and it is funny. Please beware there are a few choice words! I hope everyone does go out and vote.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Race Calendar

This is just in from our on the scene reporter, Gabe Scoop Garcia

The 2009 road racing calendar is up (for the most part)

Not all the races are posted, some of the promoters are still finalizing their dates. One new race that I noticed is the UCSB road race at Sisquoc, the same weekend as the Island View Crit. For what I’ve heard, it might be the same course as “The Good Old Days” road race.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cyclocross = Beer?

Kimberly, fresh off her award winning appearance at the Chicken Ranch awards dinner won't let her season end. Great Job Kimberly!

Well, I attempted my first Cyclocross race yesterday, SpookyCross in Irvine! The good news is that I podiumed! 3rd place! And it was the biggest womens 3/4 field in a so-cal Cross race to date, or so they said! And in 'cross, beer is part of the prize!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ready Set Climb!

There have been some fun Gibralter climbs organized by Eschelon in the past. Here is your chance to do a time trial organized by UCSB. The benefits will go to the Kendra Chiota Payne Memorial Fund, Bike Safety Awareness and the UCSB Triathlon Team. You can check it out at the registration page. There is a 200 rider cap so don't wait, I'm sure this sufferfest will fill up quickly!

Here are some of the details

Saturday, January 10, 2009, 08:00 AM
Check-In begins at 6:30am day of the race. Time Slots filled as participants check in. Participants responsible for being at start line at their designated time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Santa Barbara Duathlon

Those Chickens just don't know when to stop competing. Congratulations Joe, Matt, Lee, & Brennan. See the photos


Well, I finally got that 2nd place monkey off my back by actually winning something on Sunday. But I must admit I was inspired to dig a little deeper by witnessing the performances of a few other athletes.

New Chicken Rancher Lee Carter won the "old guys" division in Sunday's Duathlon, and our own Joe Howell won the "really old guys" division by a mile. But that's no surprise. Joe wins everything. I'd call him a sandbagger but I checked his birth certificate and he's legit. But seriously he does win everything! He won the Carp Tri, the SB tri, and everything else he tries. I heard that after the Duathlon on Sunday he entered a Body Building Competition at East Beach and he won that too! Apparently, he beat out Old Man Steve in a pose off.

My 12 year old son Brennan also inspired me by winning the 18 and under division. Nevermind that he was the only kid under 18 in the race. A win is a win! He did finish an impressive 15th overall in the sprint race.

I know that while we were skipping along the beach on Sunday a few other Chicken Ranchers were throwin' down at Big Bear on MTB's at the Fall Classic. I'd love to hear a race report from somebody if you get a chance?

See ya soon,


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Night Ride

Santa Barbara Mountain Bike trail Volunteers will be hosting our Wednesday evening ride this Wed.

We leave Rocky Nook Park at 5:30 pm, for an easy/ moderate 1 1/2 hour ride. Lights may not be required, but bring something just in case.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elings Race Reports

I waited a couple of days for all the race reports to come in and I have decided to post them all in this post. There are some good ones. Thanks for contributing everyone!

so this is the story, saturday got second in the down hill, second in the super d, and that gave me second in state points super d for the year. sunday, qualified for the d/s thanks to team big bear and ed brown, letting me time it out pre cross country race time, raced xc was in first and did not know it, sprint to the finish thinking it was for 3rd and tangled with the guy, went down on the pavement at the finish, ended up second in xc, got a patch on the knee, ran the duel slom corse and got 3rd. what week end, from the chicken ranch banquet to the finish in the med center sunday afternoon for about ten stitches! all is well.


mike abbott

John Goodman was nice enough to take some good shots. I think I have all the Chicken Ranchers below. Enjoy and if you want to purchase any of the shots just contact John.

The Elings XC was fun and brutal as ever today.

The marine layer did help to keep the temps mercifully low, at least right up until the sport class heats went off at 11AM. There seemed to be a solid turnout at the event in general (with the notable exception of the Chicken Ranch Triathlon team members of course). The number of riders seemed to be down only slightly compared to the June Elings race.

From the Chicken contingent I saw only a couple Sport Class riders and no experts or beginners: Philip, Blingerman (& Wingerman), FastTrack, Iron Man Abbott and our freshest Chicken recruit Matthew Perry (won his first beginner class race today AND took the attached photo of me pedaling through a corner, very nice).

Was anybody else out there, Jed on the Slalom perhaps?

They combined my class of 17 riders along with two other classes into a single heat to make for probably the most hectic start I've ever experienced at an MTB race. I found myself zig-zagging in & out of slower riders (what few slower riders there were) up that first fire road climb in a massive pack & hugely thick cloud of dust. Clearly a good argument here for lining up early if you see they've combined start times with other classes on you!

Anyway, in spite of not being prepared at all to "bring it" myself today, I did have a few highlights:

- Playing cat & mouse with a multi-year nemesis that himself crashed twice but still managed to nip me on the last half lap. (rat ba**rd)

- Playing cat & mouse then finally dropping a friend who was in my heat (but not my age group) who I had talked into coming up from Santa Monica to race the event. (priceless)

- Chatting with Mike Abbot post race as he was bemoaning his loss/crash at the XC finish line while bleeding significantly from his knee & hip. He proceeded to casually throw on his flak jacket body armor and prepare to transition over to the dual slalom course to get quickly bandaged up before
his next race. We did all agree that it made sense for the first aid
station to be located at the foot of the slalom course....
Iron Man, you are THE MAN!

Ride On!

Below are a few more photos that Paul & Rod contributed.

My report goes as follows,

I went as hard as I could for 3 brutal laps. On the final climb to the finish there lay a rather flamboyant rider laying spread eagle on the course screaming in pain, cramps on the hammys it looked like. I jumped off my bike thinking I would run around him (after making sure he was OK, you know
me) but when I straightened my legs wouldn't you know it my quads locked up on me. I'd never had cramps like that before. After standing frozen on the course for some time and watching the other rider eventually get up and go on, lots of riders passing by and offering words of encouragement, "drink your water man!" I was finally able to finish, but lost lots of time. But as I was standing there, it did strike me how nice and caring all the fellow competitors were, even in the heat of battle.

Love to you all.
Taser Friden

Based on the fact that it’s a 10 minute effort I decided to race the SuperD again this weekend at Elings. This would also salvage a bit of my weekend of racing as I was seriously wavering on whether or not I would do the XC on Sunday (ended up not). My fitness has been on the decline since early July and the last Elings XC was painfully still very fresh in my mind. Possibly the hardest 20 mile MTB race I’ve ever done.

Ran into Iron Mike, Dave L. and Dave Jurist before the start and we were all ready for a little suffering. Course was slightly different from last time with a trip down to that lookout/turnaround that is used in the XC. This added about a minute to the times and it wasn’t a fun minute. I swear I’ve ridden the whole SuperD course much faster when I’m racing XC and in a good rhythm. When the gun goes off for a 10 minute race, it’s full gas and severe oxygen debt from the start. I ended up winning my class, the 30-39 open division, Iron Mike was 2nd in the 40-49 open followed closely by Dave L. in 2nd with Dave J. in 5th (with a crash, I believe).

It was also very nice to have an awards ceremony within 20 minutes of finishing. I’ve attached a photo taken by Dave L’s Dad who was at the race. Dave said no helmets on the podium but he didn’t mention anything about gloves so I kept mine on.

I glanced at the State Series standings today and low and behold, I ended up 2nd in the overall for the year in SuperD! This, coupled with my solid 2nd place in the national XC series, and I’m keeping that 2nd place Chicken Ranch tradition going strong!
Now, who’s up for some cyclocross?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

California State Mountain Bike Championships, B Team Style!

Dave Jurist and his impeccable prose regarding the State Championship are below for your reading pleasure!

Le Bon Temps Roulet

Four intrepid poulets made the 6 hour round trip out to Big Bear on Sunday with the California State Cross Country Championship title hanging over their heads like an ARM reset on a Fresno mansion. Due to a costume malfunction on the Blinger mobile, Junior Varsity was called off the bench to head the transportation committee for the “voyage”. The close quarters of the JV mobile had CZ sprawled across the backseats for a disco/beauty nap and Brian “The Bladder” Bermudez ridin’ shotgun (Mike Abbott had ridden in via Jesusita and the Angeles Crest minutes prior to start). Mind you, nothing compares to the “breast” room of the Chicken Rig, but we did manage 3 bodies and 3 bikes with the relatively diminutive foreign substitute.

In what seemed like fifteen or so minutes into the drive we were pulling over for our first pee stop. In what seemed like fifteen or so minutes Brian had finished and we were back headed to the race, chatting easily about tire pressure, philosophy and, at Brian’s request, the most strategic way to have his bike fall off the top of the car.

We arrived at 9 to a near empty parking lot at the race site. The registration tables were marginally crowded, but nothing like you would expect for a winner-take-all State Championship race. When signing up, I hadn’t noticed any Team Sho-Air names in my group which is usually a given. After bathroom, registration, shedding clothes, stretching, taping, filling and kitting up we got going up the hill to the start. As we mosied up, there was the Sho-Air squad parked up by the ski hill (not the designated parking area, gentleman!) and the start area was showing a pretty good group yapping and doing the fire road for warm up.

By a cruel stroke, the organizers decided on a group start for all sport classes, so Craig and Brian went off in a blur of dust and lycra with about 100 riders. It’s up to those boys to give the gory details of the 20 mile “medium” course, but I can say for certain that Blinger blasted through his previous Big Bear time by 8 minutes, shut down his arch rival (the “America’s Got Talent” Phil Dalhauser look-a-like) and even, with the 6th fastest time in all sport categories, took 4th in the 40-44. It doesn’t get the JV too pumped for an upgrade in class next year! Brian, riding on a bike he apparently doesn’t even like any more, made 6th in his group and shot his bike after the race.

I did manage to overhear a snippet of CZ’s post race interview with “The Goodland Velo Lemon Rancher Gazette”:

GVLRG: How was the ride out?

Blinger: We had a good time.

GVLRG: Were you happy with your race?

Blinger: It was a good time.

GVLRG: With the road race season over, can we expect any equipment changes next year?

Blinger: I already have a good Look, maybe a good Time.

My task was far less daunting. My main rival from Sho-Air was a no-Sho which left some guys whose riding I haven’t really seen much of. The start went off in typical fashion with Mark “Quick-To-The-Front-And-Quicker-To-The-Back” Thome doing his usual 90-seconds-to-anaerobic-failure start up the hill with me on his tail. After depleting all the oxygen within a 45 foot radius of his body in the first hundred yards, I stroked past and started to remember just how much climbing the course dishes out. About half way I had passed most of the other groups back markers and couldn’t see anyone from 45-49 100 yards behind. So, I did what anyone would do and promptly crashed on the fire road descent straining to look over my shoulder. With that out of the way, I made my way around the short course, avoided being run over by expert riders and cruised in for a first place finish. And that my friends, is good timing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Special Olympics Cyclist's Bicycles Stolen!

I read about this in an article from the Santa Maria Times.

Here is a short statement from one of the riders taken from the Santa Maria Times.

Paul Grennan, 44, was one of those athletes. He grew emotional Monday when speaking of his lost bike, which he had named “Kit” because of his love of the television show “Knight Rider.”

This is a pretty sad story on many levels, check it out and if you feel compelled to help the information is below.

For people looking to help the Special Olympics team, an account has been established at Bank of America. The account number is 08349-67643. Dettrick can be contacted at

Monday, September 22, 2008

Be Careful, Mountain Lion Seen Locally

If you didn't see it, below is information from an email that went out a couple days ago. Spread the word.

FYI: There have been two reported sightings of mountain lions in the last week on Romero and San Ysidro Trails.

The following website has useful information when traveling in mountain lion country:

Thank you,
The Multiuse Trails Coalition,

Monday, September 15, 2008

Should Lance Stay Retired?

I will admit, I'm not a big fan of sports figures coming out of retirement. I remember when George Foreman did it and it was incredible. I also remember Michael Jordan doing it and it was uneventful if you ask me. Now Brett Favre is doing it and of course the reports are out now that Lance will come out of retirement to try and win an 8th Tour.

The main motivation that has been reported for such a move is to make the fight against cancer a more global fight. I have read he plans to have a film crew follow him around in preparation to do a documentary on his training and drug testing. It would appear from what I've read he wants to make sure everyone witnesses that this comeback and the 8th victory can't be questioned. 

This report in the Skinny Moose says he doesn't have a team to ride with. Does he?

This British periodical The Independent reports that his comeback is just as much about his relentless desire to compete and win as it is a cancer issue. What do you think?

And of course I had to read the reports from Velo News to see what the Bible of cycling has to say. They reported he may try Mountain Biking or Cyclecross. Hmmmm?

Comments Anyone?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Special Olympics Cyclists Need Your Help!

Below is a copy of an email sent out to the b team. In a matter of moments a few hundred dollars had been raised. I thought I would post this on the blog and see if we could spread the word and help Ken & Dan really do something cool for these kids. Chip in if you can, I'm sure the money will be well received. Just look how happy these kids are in the photo below. GREAT JOB! Ken & Dan.

Hey Chickens -
Some of you know that Ken and Dano coach the Santa Barbara Special OlympicsCycling Team. This is the third year of the team, and we are gearing up to travel and compete in three events this season.

Dave Lettieri has been more than generous in his support of the team by giving deals on much-needed bikes and even donating jerseys the last 2 seasons (see photo).

New regulations will not allow a jersey with sponsors on it, so we have to order some semi-custom kits from Voler. We need to raise about $1000 to get this done since non-profits are hurting more than ever these days.

If any of the Team Chicken riders (or their companies) want to contribute to this cause, we would be very appreciative. Please contact either of us if you are interested in helping out.

Thank you,

Ken Doyle and Dan Onorato


Donations checks can be made out to:
Special Olympics Southern California
Please write "Cycling Team" on the front

Mail to:
Ali Sprott-Roen
Regional Sports Manager
Special Olympics Southern California
Santa Barbara County
423 West Victoria Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Friday, September 5, 2008

Check Out The Happenings At!

Ben Edwards, sometimes known as Burn, but most recently known as the man who has triathlon strategy down to a science has been hard at work. If you haven't been checking out his website you really are missing some great stuff. Below is part of an email he sent out highlighting some of the more recent products he has been testing.

September Program Guide
We see RED, Keep the SUV in the Garage, Assault your buddies on a budget!

Now Playing

SRAM RED: After a few thousand miles and multiple races, we weigh in on RED.

SKY BOX PRO: Versatility in a box, by Yakima

RAPIDADE: Sports drinks from the mind that created EPNO,
Team Garmin's go to supplement.

ASSAULT: Reynolds adds a 46mm deep carbon clincher to its
budget line up.

SPECIALIZED SL2: Compare and contrast the SL2 to it's pro tour
cousin... you might be surprised which bike is "better".

What are the Testriders riding now?

We're riding Van Dessel's budget racer, the Hellafaster. Flashpoint 60's, TT speed on a budget. We've been hitting the trails with an S-Works Stumpy. Stay tuned for great footage from Interbike, including "Carbon 101" with the biggest names in carbon.

Congratulations to Tom M. from Frisco for winning our Polar Pak giveaway!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Weekend In Review!

I'm not sure how you spent your weekend or if you even got on your bike. I do know many were coming off the S.B. Triathlon, and I even heard one of our own has given them up. Say it ain't so!

I started my weekend Saturday morning giving it my best to keep up with the group on the climb fest that probably 15 or more riders joined in on. I decided to leave my house around 7 and go directly to OSM to get a head start on the group, because I knew I would be holding them up otherwise. I made it to the top of OSM and first saw Mike Abbott who had headed up by himself as well. In just a few moments the rest of the group came around the corner together. I think I heard someone say 21 minutes. I think that is my personal best, so lord knows I couldn't have finished with that group.

We all exchanged a few niceties and then crossed over 154 to Painted Cave. The group did go at a very nice pedestrian like pace and I was able to hang with them until about the very first switchback. One other rider was off the back and they eventually passed me and left me to my misery all by my lonesome. I don't know what it is about that hill, but it is a great climb with a number of incredible views. Saturday was no exception.

As I got near Camino Cielo, Pops Larsen decided to go the other direction and let me know the group had just departed heading for Stagecoach Road. Once again I'm just slugging it out in what Bob Roll would call "My Own Personal Pergutory".

Coasting down to 154 and crossing it was a no brainer and then heading down Stagecoach was pretty cool. I like riding by Cold Spring Tavern and seeing it without the craziness that can sometimes be found there. I enjoy the different views of the valley you get heading down that way. I caught one rancher on the way down but I decided to turn around at Paradise Road and head back up Stagecoach. Not wanting to hold up the group by being the caboose.

I made it up Stagecoach and waited at the top for about 5 minutes. The group appeared to be all in tack and I had to jump on my bike and take off as they all just blew down 154. I was chasing the entire way and did catch and pass a few riders and hooked up with Silent Bob and Druber near the bottom.

That ride is a good ride and a great way to start a 3 day weekend. I guess I got a bit disappointed in my performance and I climbed OSM and Painted Cave on Sunday and Monday. 3 days in a row of hard climbing is something I hope I can build on.

Good Riding Ranchers! I guess Summer is over or coming to a close.

Friday, August 29, 2008


G'day everyone,
It's your lone and wayward Australian rancher reporting in with race results. The race season locally is a short one, just two big races, plus a very popular small local series. Folks here will drive 800 miles to a race without an afterthought, and slowly the fire to race is starting to burn, so next season you can expect a few more reports. It is a time-honored Australian tradition that telling a good story is far more important than telling a completely true one, and being in Australia I will follow that important guideline in this report.
Just finished the Herberton 8-hour Race, where I competed in the solo division. I did this race last year, finishing second, so I decided to keep my race strategy intact, which was:
  1. Ride the oldest bike in the field again, to match my oldest guy in the field status. (It's a KHS alum hardtail that Gabe organized for me with Revolution Racing, love that bike Gabe, thanks!)
  2. Train by not having a car, and by rushing the 18km into and out of town at the last minute for appointments and business meetings once or twice a day.
  3. Maintain the bike minimally, so that everyone underestimates your racing potential.
  4. Go to the market and buy a huge bag of bananas, gatorade, water, and other fuel for the race.
  5. Ride as hard as you can for as long as you can, then stop.
Actually, after last year I thought I would get smarter, and early in the race I caught up with the guy who beat me last year, and just hung out behind him for a couple of laps so I figured out that I was faster on any technical section which by Australian standards translates to an American standard of nearly impossible to ride unless you are both highly confident and have great medical insurance.

OK, so there's a few sections like that, not enough to make up big time on another racer, so I thought I would get ahead keep the pressure on him, then get him to follow me at high speed through these sections, and see what it takes out of him. That sort of worked, but then came THE GUY. Another guy in our category, but a superfit guy, in fact someone that has won what's the gnarliest endurace event around these parts the Pyramid Race. Its a running race, here's the stats from their website. The folks that win are usually world class enduro runners. It's 6km run to the base of the mountain, 1km pretty much straight up, 1km straight down, then 8km back. The trail on the peak is really just a goat path.
NUMBERS: COMPETITORS LIMITED TO 100 (For safety reasons on the downhill run)
Anyway, he zips by us on a long flat, like we are standing still, so we both look at each other and give chase. We kept up for awhile then he just rode off and disappeared. That effort, given my training regime, was, by any measure, pretty stupid, I cramped up after 5 hours, and sort of curled up in a sort of living origami sculpture around my bike while rival #2 continued the chase.
He crashed on the last lap in one of the tech sections, but the time I spent folding/folded/unfolding kept me from catching him.
Anyway, that's at least a semi-good story, and worthy of this esteemed group. Here's a couple of pics and comments. (Sorry I am in retro ranch gear, I ordered and paid for a new kit, but never got around to sending anyone me address, is there still one laying around anywhere?)
Pic 1: almost looks like out by UCSB. The second lap through here I jumped off the rock at the foot of the bridge and made it halfway across the bridge in the air, with a nifty little cross up, but the photog missed the shot (At least he missed the one of me falling in the easy S-turn at the timers gate at the finish line on lap 8)
Podium Herbeton Style: Just this pic tells you that these guys whacked me, they had time to take a shower! By the way, everyone races in skins here, I think I caught a note from that Greg or someone sent around. All I can say is that they work, and that probably 60% of racers wear them here. (unfortunately that guy in first had long tops and bottoms on, have to put that on the strategy list for next year.)
OK, now for the glorious and motivating summary. I had a blast, and every time I race I remind myself of how much fun it is. There's tons of riding here, and I am getting to like how technical it gets. If you get the chance to come down do it, where I live is like Hawaii, but with kangaroos, crocodiles, and venemous snakes and jellyfish, cool!
I do wish that there was a riding group here like the CR folks have created. Keep enriching the community you have created, I read the emails and then go out and get on the bike. Remember, every Wednesday I am at the roundabout at Trinity Beach waiting for someone to go ride the Smithfield track!
All the best,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back To "THE RIDE!"

Some of the gang decided to enjoy Figueroa Mountain last week. Here are some photos and a comment from tour guide Rick

Hey team,

Here's what I gotz from the awesome Hump Day experience I had with y'all last week ...

Peace homies!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Roast Week On The Blog Continues..........

So you thought roasting Matt couldn't get any funnier, well think again. Joe Howell has jumped in with some observations I'm sure will amuse everyone, except maybe Matt. ;o) Joe thanks for cleaning up the language for our sensitive readers. Congratulations Tyler!

Teammates- great reports on the Tri, with the Gritty Spaniard's report ranking as #1 on the humor scale for me. As a long time triathlete but CR newbie member and infrequent bike racer, I of course have a different perspective on triathlons in general. My bike crash in April (don't worry, was wearing an Echelon kit) meant that I had to break my long string of consecutive SB long course triathlons; actually, I was delighted to be able to complete and race, sort of, the sprint on Sunday. My report is NOT about my race; it is about what I witnessed in the transition area Sunday, pre-race.....(maybe that time period should be called "T-zerp" ,as opposed to T-1, after the swim, T-2, after the bike.....)

OK, so it is 6:00 am on Sunday. Matt is with his son Tyler and they have Tyler already set up at what is arguably the best single spot in the entire transition area, as Tyler is in the first wave. His bike and gear are on the corner, nearest the in/out spot, and the kid is ready to race. I set up my stuff on the next rack over, say hello to Matt, he introduces me to Tyler, and I try to give Tyler a little encouragement by writing his name in chalk on the pavement by his gear.

All is well until about 6:30 am. A harried Marv Bauer comes in, looking for a spot for his bike/gear and there is not one anywhere in sight. Marv is mid- 60s, recently retired trial lawyer, nice guy and about 6'5". Big guy, reasonably fit. He does the sprint every year. No wetsuit ever and essentially he does no training. (He said to me "sure glad my bike was where I left it last year after the race....and he was serious.). He is hassled, can find no spot and then decides to set up on the same rack, across from Tyler, and starts moving Tyler's bike. Matt intercedes......duh. Matt suggests, perhaps a little more directly than I am stating it now, that one arriving at 6:30 for a 7 am race perhaps should NOT move the gear of others who arrived at 5:30 and have a primo spot. Marv offers that he could care less where his bike is, he just wants an f___ing spot......."you see another spot for me? great, you find it and I'll go there."

I know both guys and decide maybe I will NOT intervene but will let it play out. I am then talking to my pals in my area, and realize their voices are louder....yep, WAY louder. I am 5 or so feet away, standing behind Marv, and I can see only his back and only part of Matt, who then says in a voice heard by at least half the transition area "do NOT put your hands on me; get your hands OFF of me!" I am thinking wow, this is not a good thing. Then.........

OK, then I am distracted, and when I look over, only Matt is there and NO, Marv is NOT on the ground- he was getting body marked. I walked over to Matt and explained Marv was a good guy and Matt assured me that they "worked it out". We discuss protecting ones kids, etc; I think things are cool, but are they??

After the race, Tyler and Matt were in the front of the crowd at the award ceremony, waiting for Tyler's well deserved hardware (actually they have "tileware" at this race, very cool), and I was standing next to Marv (as they even have tiles for top finishes for old guys). I got Marv in a headlock (with his permission), yelled at Matt and indicated that I could easily finish Marv off for him. Matt laughed, Marv laughed and fortunately, that was the uneventful conclusion of what looked like, for 30 seconds, a very exciting start to the 2008 Sprint Triathlon.

Ride safe.

This Is How To Do A Triathlon!

Ben Edwards has a very unique perspective on how to complete and win a triathlon. I'm on his team! Thanks for sharing Ben, and congratulations to you and Sean, and Katrine?

Yes, indeed what a weekend.

First off, I'm not sure where all this "Triathlons are hard" stuff comes from. It was a piece of cake. After a some what taxing 21 minute swim I took a quick 2 minute break in the transition area, courteously arranged by Pete Sproul. After which it was off to the East Beach Cafe where I had a nice Santa Barbara Omelette and a big glass of fresh squeezed OJ while Pete took off on his bike. Not wanting to let my teammates down, an hour or so later, I made the long walk from the East Beach Cafe to the transition area to see Pete finish his ride and cheer Eric Forte on as he headed off on the run. Then if was off to the Trader Joe's Athletes tent for some fruit salad, a bran muffin, and a wonderful yoghurt parfait. I have to admit, at this point I was suffering a little, the Parfait was quite filling after the Santa Barbara Omelette, but I managed to finish it. That's the kind of commitment I bring to Triathlons. After a quick nap on the beach I arose in time to see Eric cross the line after blistering the course to bring our relay team home 1st. Again, apart from the first 20 minutes or so, pretty easy day at the beach, so don't believe the hype, with the right strategy (get other guys to do the hard parts really fast) triathlons are easy!

And you know what? The awards Pete, Eric, and I won don't say anything about a relay. They just say Santa Barbara Triathlon: Long Course, and oh yeah, they also say 1st Place. as opposed to... I don't know... 2nd place.

The things I will really remember about this triathlon are all the examples of incredible team work I saw out on the course. I'll never forget how Pete selflessly gave up 2 minutes of our lead to give Blingerman somebody to chase on the bike. I'll always remember how Gabe stood in the surf after his swim, pretending to cramp for 5 minutes, so Matt might be able to equal his swim time. Or how about Mike Cage courageously striking Ramirez in the head during the swim to snap him out of his panic attack. It proves that when we Chickens stick together we can get some marginally respectable results!

The real story of course was those kids! Sunday was indeed the highlight of my athletic career. To be right there along side all those kids as they truly raced the course was amazing. Not sure about how all those ladies in their matching Momentum, Moms in Motion, Tri Divas, and Queen Bees kits felt as a bunch of 9, 10, 11 and 12 year old kids, who looked like the bad new bears, blew past them on the bike and on the run. I highly recommend the parent child triathlon to everybody!

And Matt, as for my head getting two big don't worry about it. Thanks to an screw up in the results everybody in Ojai keeps congratulating my wife Katrine on her incredible weekend at the Santa Barbara Triathlon. They then ask me why I didn't man up and do it as well.

But I must go now, the phone is ringing and I'm expecting a call from Triathlete Magazine any moment. No doubt they will need me and Sean for next months cover...


Monday, August 25, 2008

Rob Ramirez, We Are Proud Of You!

Below is the Gritty Spaniard's race report from the Santa Barbara Triathlon. All I know is he is a gamer. Good Job Mr. Ramirez, and I hope Cage hitting you was an accident. ;o)

This was not my first Triathlon. It will most likely be my last. If you have never done one, I recommend you do. They are a lot of fun. In fact, this race report can be a good tool for WHAT NOT TO DO in your triathlon.

My day started with 3 trips to the restroom in the hour before the race. Whew.
I felt really calm before the swim. This is not typical and was troubling for me. I generally have a panic attack on the sand. However, nothing. I started the swim!

I had 2 panic attacks in the water but worked through them after a short stop each time. I had time to talk to one of the life guards on the surf boards while I was out there. He said he was 14. Then I got my groove going until Mike Cage whacked me with his arm as he passed me heading for the final buoy.

I had comical transitions. First, my wetsuit got stuck on my timing chip because I decided to take the wetsuit off in the water. BAD idea. I dragged it out of the water and along the sand up the swim finish shoot until I tripped. Had to sit down in the sand and fight it to get it off my foot. I got a cramp in the process. All the spectators around me were watching me, silent. It was sad…
Could not find my bike in T1 (which was really really sad as there were only a few bikes left in transition anyway as everyone had come and gone). Then came the lame bike split. I guess only riding the TT bike 3 times before an event like this is not the way to train? But I do think I looked really cool in Blingerman’s TT helmet. Not as cool as he looks, but cool enough for me.
Run Transition; Only found my run stuff in T2 because I saw this sorry ass looking pile of sand (which was really my wetsuit) in the middle of the isle.
Started the Run. My race bib flew off on the run when my race belt broke. I finished strong.

I’m sure you now by now, Matt got 2nd. He’s a stud hands down, this was his first triathlon. He was so strong that while we passed each other on the run (he was heading for the finish, I was still heading for the mile 5 turn around), he stopped and turned around and started running with me!. He said he was over this triathlon thing even though it was his first one. He said he was switching to decathlons. I think he has his sports mixed up because I went to one of his training classes and it looks like to me to be more like synchronized swimming than decathlons. See below. Judge for yourself.

Thank you,

Rob Ramirez

Chickens At The Santa Barbara Triathlon!

Most Chickens just enjoy participating, and competing. So quite a few of them decided to do the Santa Barbara Triathlon last weekend. Below is Matt's report. I'm hoping a few others will chime in as these one sided tongue in cheek renditions of the days happenings must be stopped. Pete, did you get some good seats for Celine? ;o) Enjoy the ride!

What a weekend!

I'm pooped. But that was a blast. Why is it that triathlons have more participants than road or mountain bike races? The timing seems like it would be a nightmare, and yet they're extremely well organized and the results are up and accurate within minutes of finishing? I don't know how they do it, but Joe Coito and his crew from the S.B. Triathlon do a phenomenal job. It's a first class event.

We had several Chicken Ranchers taking part in the festivities with some impressive showings. I'll mention some of the highlights but leave it up to the individuals to tell their own stories.

My own race went something like this:

One mile of very poor swimming.
35 miles of pretty good biking.

5 miles of mediocre running followed by 5 more miles of very painful running.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Well, actually it was fun. Challenging but fun. I accomplished my goal of finishing in the top 10 of my age group. It's getting almost comical but I managed to extend my world record string of 2nd place finishes. But one goal I did not accomplish. I bet Arick Fuller and John McFadden (both excellent swimmers) a burrito, that I would be able to catch them by the top of Toro on the bike leg.... I wasn't even close. So while I just missed feeling the thrill of victory. I can fully experience the agony of defeat. Great job guys. I just sent each of you a gift card to Taco Bell for .99 cents. Enjoy your burrito.

The all Chicken Ranch relay team of Ben Edwards, Pete Sproul, and Eric Forte won the relay division handily. The best part is that after his swim Ben ran into the transition area to tag Pete for the bike leg but Pete wasn't there. He had to wait for 2 minutes for Pete to finally show up and ride and they still won! Apparently Pete was late because Celine Dion tickets went on sale at the Arlington and he didn't want to lose his place in line. Craig Blingermans Team finished 2nd but he retains bragging rights by posting the fastest bike leg of the day. I think Blingerman's legs were a little fresher because he's not a Celine Dion fan......he prefers Barbara Streisand.

Gabriel Garcia and Robert Ramirez renewed their rivalry with Gabriel coming out on top once again. As soon as Robert figures out that the doggie paddle is not the most efficient swim stroke they might actually have some close battles. I also saw Fredrick and Mike Cage out there giving it their all. Nice job everyone!

Sundays short course saw some excellent racing action. My 13 year old son Tyler was offered $50 bucks if he could beat Brad Jellison. Unfortunately, Brad had the race of his life and he beat Tyler by 18 seconds. Tyler was bummed about not getting the $50 bucks but he finished 3rd in his age group and got a trophy so he left happy. Brad finished an impressive 7th place in his age group and left with a sore right hamstring. Brad's 17 year old daughter Kelliann also tackled the course on her own finishing 4th in her age group.

They also had a parent/child division on Sunday where parents could compete alongside their kids for moral support. Ben Edwards and his son Sean, Gabe Garcia and his son Dylan, and me and my son Brennan all took part. Ben Edwards is going to be impossible to deal with for a few weeks because not only did he win the relay division, his 11 year old son Sean also won the parent/child division. Sean is a great kid and is a gracious champion with good sportsmanship. But his father is an obnoxious braggart. So if possible, avoid all contact with Ben Edwards for at least 2 weeks until his ego returns to normal size. Gabe's son Dylan is 9 years old and weighs all of about 60lbs but he was out there running 9 minute miles and giving a lot of adults a run for their money. My 12 year old son Brennan finished 4th in the parent/child division. But more importantly, he had the fastest bike split, and as you all know the bike split is the only one that really matters.

All in all it was a great weekend. I can't wait 'till next year. My blisters should be gone by then and Tyler will be one year older and a lot faster. Brad on the other hand should be one year older and a lot slower. So I think next year I'll offer Brad $50 bucks to beat Tyler then I'll use that money to bet Arick and John that I'll catch them by the top of Gobnador and I'll still end up $48 dollars ahead!

Big thanks to all the people who were out there cheering and yelling. That was a big help.

See ya out there,


Eric Knight...... VICTORY!

Cat 4&5-45+ Well for the last race of the season I thought I would try to ride smart and see what happens.
The weather could not have been better. Low 60's starting off and high 70' to low 80's at the end of the second lap for a total of 47 miles.
The first lap was uneventful as I concentrated on eating and drinking while staying in the middle to the back of the tightly bunch field of 50 riders. At the start of the second lap I went up front to see if I could help pick up the pace a little and thin things out and to my surprise it worked.

The field split with around 18 riders dropping the rest behind. Nobody else was really willing to work very hard so I went back to the rear to eat, drink and rest some more.

With about 10 miles to go I thought I would try again to break things up some more but had no luck. Everybody was willing to sit in and wait for a sprint finish. Not being much of a sprinter I was hoping for anything else.
As we approached the last 1/2mile things really bunched up. I was in the back looking for a place to slide up the outside on the left.. So were a lot of others. So I looked at going up the inside on the right but that looked pretty crowded as well which left me bumping elbows and shoulders up the middle.

As I quickly squirted through I realized there was only one more set of wheels in front of me. I hung on tight and as we rounded the final tight turn the guy in front took a bad line and I shot into the lead. Probably earlier than I wanted but I was in front so I got out of the saddle and hammered for that white line across the asphalt.

Well my legs were about to explode so I had to sit back down. I continued to give it all I had including a lot of grunting and then it happened. I crossed that beautiful white line in first place. I won!. What a great feeling.

A special thanks goes out to all of you that have been training me this past year by letting me suck off your faster wheels. Its been a lot of fun and looking forward to much more.
Eric Knight

Monday, August 18, 2008

Granny Gear "Part Deux"

If you are keeping up you know I am slow and out of shape, but I did get up OSM and Painted Cave last weekend as I was being haunted by a pancake breakfast.

This weekend I decided to see if my granny gear would get me to La Cumbre Peak via Gibralter. "Boy, that pavement sucks at the top"

Just like last week, I skipped the group ride and left the Mesa mid morning. There was a pretty nice cloud cover which let me believe that it might be a cooler ride up the Gib.

In getting to those infamous mailboxes I had forgotten just how much climbing there is. I had a good mental game going trying to convince myself the I felt pretty good. I didn't have any pancakes calling me and I knew barring something major I would have no real excuse to turn around. I was thinking, maybe I'll just got to East Camino Cielo. How will that mind game play out?

I stopped at the mail box, downed a Gu, adjusted my music, sucked down some water and off I went. I wasn't actually at the mailboxes, but took cover under the shade of the bushes just past them. The sun had come out, lucky me. I did have a rider on a mountain bike pass me while I was hanging out there. I thought to myself, I have to at least pass him somewhere up the road. I guess even when you are as slow as I am you need to figure out how to feed your ego.

The lower portion of the ride didn't feel all that bad. I did pass the mountain biker before the hairpin and was able to feel o.k. about getting there in about 22 minutes. I know it isn't fast, but you folks need your ego fed as well. ;o)

I didn't see many riders, but about a mile before Flores Flats I came across 3 older guys just enjoying pedalin up the hill. I hope I can keep up riding this hill when I reach that age. I remember having a goal once of being able to make it to La Cumbre Peak in 50 minutes when I'm 50. I better start training hard for a couple of years, because I'm miles away from that number.

My drunken sailor routine began on the steepness which Flores Flats is famous for. I told myself, I just have to get past this and I'll be able to get to East Camino Cielo. My goal was to reach La Cumbre Peak, but I was already compromising with myself. I did get past that hill and road proudly to East Camino Cielo. Time; 1 hr. 6 min. There were a couple of signs on each side of the road towards La Cumbre Peak saying, road closed. I forged on.

I made it to La Cumbre Peak and enjoyed looking out over the valley and hearing the breeze blow through the trees on the way to the top. I do still however really hate that darn piece of asphalt where the climb begins. The craters just seem to keep getting bigger.

I made La Cumbre Peak in a total of 1hr. 21 min. Not even close to my best time from back in the glory days. Just glad to be out on the bike. As sick as it is I've been enjoying struggling up these hills.

The way down, was kinda fun as well. I struggled down the cratered section and was headed up the short climb to get to East Camino Cielo. I saw another rider coming up The Gib, and my first thought was that person is going much faster than I was at that point. This was for good reason, it was Mr. Lance Armstrong. He had just reached the top and was looking down to see his time when I rode by him. I gave him a wave and he returned it. If I had forgone La Cumbre Peak, I probably would have flown by him on the downill and never even recognized him.

After thinking about it, I did recognize his pedaling style but there weren't a few hundred thousand folks lining the climb and he didn't have his arms raised in the air as he made it to the top. That's usually how I see him hit the top of a hill. Fun Stuff, Enjoy The Ride!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love Granny!

It's been a bit slow this week on the race report front, so I thought I would share some thoughts I had Saturday.

I got out of bed and decided I didn't feel like doing the group ride, but did feel like going up a hill somewhere.

Let's see should I do my driveway, nah that's just not long enough. I know I'll go do OSM. Well, that isn't quite long enough either. I decided after my bowl of raisin bran to do OSM Painted Cave.

This was a major committment, since it had probably been a couple of months since I had climbed anything that long and steep. What the heck!

The ride from the mesa through the westside to the bike path and out to OSM was uneventful, but it was a beautiful day. I headed up OSM and stopped at the driveway just passed the bridge and took off my vest and sunglasses and turned on my music. If I'm going to suffer, I might as well try and hum a few tunes.

The trek up OSM was pretty typical for me these days. It took me around 26 minutes or so and I still had a gear or 2 left at the very top. Not bad I thought!

I downed some water and headed up Painted Cave. Of course I had to switch in to good ole granny on the first steep section, that is par for the course for me. What I didn't realize was I would never use any other gear the rest of the climb.

I just could not get my legs to do anything but grind it out in the granny gear. I know there are some climbers in town that make the trip up Painted Cave look like a walk in the park, well I'm not one of them. My trip up painted cave was more like a drunken sailor on a weekend bender.

To make things worse I was wanting to meet my family at a pancake breakfast taking place at Tucker's Grove. The thought of turning around early to partake in the pancakes and syrup almost got to me. I still can't believe I didn't give in to the temptation. I just kept grinding it out.

I think the pain turned my attention from the pancakes to more serious thoughts like; is now the time in my life to buy the triple chain ring? It's been about 4 years that I've been riding this campy record stuff, maybe they have come out with a triple. Hmmmmmmm!

Now, as I start to get to the area where there are a few shade trees and a couple of dirt turnouts, I start thinking this would be a great place for a picnic bench. It that were the case, maybe next time I could bring a meal and make a stop at this mirage of a table I'm dreaming about.

Finally, as I'm getting past the painted caves and struggling through the crappy pavement I start to think, I might just make it to the painted cave sign that usually marks my turn around.

When I do make it will I have the nerve to look at my watch and figure out how many hours of climbing I've been doing? If I do look will I share the information with anyone? I don't think so! 

I did look and I was really pretty surprised! It took 58 minutes from the driveway just past the bridge to the painted cave sign. So for all of you granny gear loving climbers out there, that's my benchmark for ya. For all you undernourished, epo sucking climbing machines I hope this makes you feel good. ;o)

I fell in love with my granny gear last weekend, and maybe I'll do it again this weekend! I just hope their won't be a pancake breakfast haunting me.