Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Amgen Tour of California Photos

Carson Blume, one of our very own B teamers/Chicken Ranchers had the opportunity to photograph the Tour of California. Check out his gallery!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Flying Chicken!

Mr Benko is still living the Tour of California Dream. The video below just showed up on youtube. Whoever the mystery filmaker is we appreciate the Chicken Ranch commercial. Fly Chicken Fly!

The mystery cameraman is Coach Ken. Good Job Mr. Doyle!

Craig & Matt's Big Adventure

Hello everyone,

Yesterday Craig and I got to be the ultimate posers........and it was awsome! The Solvang local organizing committee for the Tour of California offered the chance to ride the official TOC TT course right before the pros, to the first 20 people who ponied up a thousand bucks. It was a great way for them to raise money to help offset the costs of having the race come to town and offer a unique experience to the participants. I may have to ride my current bike for an extra year or two to justify it with my wife but it was worth every penny!

Our adventure began Thursday night when they had a "Meet and Greet" dinner up in Solvang. Craig brought his son Charlie and I brought my date for the evening......Dave Lettieri. I have to admit that Craig and I were both kinda thinking it'd probably be pretty easy to get one of the top 3 podium spots since there were only going to be 20 competitors. But our hopes of an easy ride were quickly dashed when in our group there were 2 age group National Track Champions and 2 age group State TT Champions. Damn it! Why couldn't it be 18 old farts then Craig and I......Oh yeah, we are old farts. Anyways the dinner was fun and we went to sleep excited and nervous for the next days race.

I had the added bonus of getting to ride a tricked-out top-of-the-line TT bike provided by our friend (and sponsor..) Ben at TESTRIDER.COM. It was a fancy Isaac frame with the latest Zipp wheels and bars. Big thanks to Dave and Luke for getting the thing set up in time so I could ride it. Dave said I was more of a pain in the ass, and caused him more stress than wrenching for Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France! Ben attached a camera to my bike so he could film the whole route and also followed in a car filming the bike in action. He should have a segment up on the web site soon with the footage. So you can stop teasing me about riding with a dorky triathlete water bottle mount behind my seat, it was a camera battery!

Friday morning gave us wet roads and cloudy skies. Now I was already nervous about riding the course with a bunch of people watching, the rain just made it worse. They set up a warm-up area for us behind Dr. J's bike shop. Big thanks to Gabe (AKA #4), Dave, Brian, Jelly, and anyone else I'm forgetting for helping us out and making us feel less stressed. Gabe was awesome, setting up trainers, pumping up tires, grabbing goos, it was like having a pro pit crew! Now I know Craig had been battling illness ever since we got back from Valley of the Sun. I guess the late night make-out sessions with Larsen finally caught up to him and he caught the same bug that took Larsen down in Phoenix. To his credit he never complained, never made any excuses, he just went about his business as if everything was fine. But seeing him on the trainer I could already tell he was hurting, I didn't even have to ask. You know how when somebody's sick you can just see it in their eyes or in their face? He had that look. I felt bad for him cause I know we both wanted to be able to compare our times to the pros when we're at our best. But you know what? On a day when his body would only give him 80% Craig gave 110% and I was proud of him. In the big picture, how we rode didn't matter as much as the fact that we got to ride at all, and he wasn't going to miss this no matter how sick he was.

I can't even tell you how cool it was! There we are, up on the starting ramp, and the announcer is telling the crowd about our racing accomplishments....although in the case of Craig and I we don't really have any racing accomplishments so he just talked about our wifes and kids! Still cool though. You know that beeping timer you always hear at the Tour before the riders start the TT's? beep...beep...beep...BEEP! That was cool! Plus the guy holding his hand in front of your face counting down with his fingers 5..4..3..2..1..Go! I was so amped up coming down the start chute with all the people ringing bells and banging on the barriers I hit the corner to start the first steep climb and my legs were already burning. I had to keep telling myself to calm down. It was so awesome seeing and hearing people you knew all over the course yelling and cheering for you. I remember big groups of Chicken Ranchers screaming on the first climb, in Los Olivos, on Ballard, and at the finish. Too cool! Having a personal lead motorcycle the whole way was really cool also. Coming through the finishing straight was probably the best part though. Solvang already looks like a little European town so it was easy to imagine you were in France or Belgium or somewhere other than your own backyard with thousands of people yelling at you. I rode as close as I could to the barriers just to get the full effect! And just like that....36 minutes and 27 seconds after I started it was over. After I caught my breath I was standing near the start area giving the post-ride report to Ben, and Pete and a few others when this old lady walks up to me and says "Can I take a picture with you?" I said "Well, you can but I'm nobody famous!" and she said "That's OK. To me you are." Right then I realized that Craig and I didn't have to go around trying to fool people into thinking we were pro riders. They were willing to pretend right along with us. To that lady I was dressed like a pro and I had a number on, so that was good enough for her, and to me, she was my one adoring fan. Too funny. Hopefully she never shows the picture to a real cyclist 'cause they're gonna ask her "Who's the linebacker in the skinsuit?" I was on an emotional high the whole rest of the day. Replaying every little part of the race in my head and trying to remember all the details. I accomplished all my goals. I didn't crash. I beat a couple pros (of course they rode 7+ hours in the wind and rain the day before!) and I made the time cut-off. So if I had actually been in the Tour of California I would have been allowed to continue today.........when I would have promptly been dropped.

Thanks to everyone out there who played into our "Pro for a day" dream race and cheered for us. It was definitely the ride of a lifetime and an experience I will never forget. Just to make sure my head didn't get too big, when I got home my 13 year old son Tyler asked me how I did. I told him I got 2nd in the amateur race and I would've been 95th in the pro race. He asked how may pros there were and I told him 104 started the day. He said "So you got 95th out of 104?.........that sucks!"


Chickens Dominate ToC TT

Last year when I was able to make the TT for the Tour of Cali it never crossed my mind that a chicken (b teamer) would ever be coming across the finish line. There wasn't just one, there were two.

If you missed the sports page the other day you may have shown up and been surprised yourself.

The Mutant (I didn't know which of his nicknames to use), and Blingerman tore it up.

There were plenty of locals and fellow chicken ranchers rooting them on. I hope we can get some of the videos I heard about on the web.

Congratulations Matt and Craig! Below are some photos that were sent around on the email string. I included Steve O's album in the photos as well. If you want to check out his album you can go directly to http://picasaweb.google.com/steveoinsb/TourOfCaliforniaSolvangTimeTrial/photo#s5170003290465518162

The Tour of Cali is such a great event to have come through town. I am hoping to make it down to the start of today's stage. I saw some of the highlights last night and it looked like Levi was a man among boys. It sure is going to be a real bummer if his team isn't let in to the Tour de France this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stump Grinder Dirt Club XC Race

Last Saturday, a scant five Chicken Ranchers braved the frost, sub-freezing temperatures, and bovines to race Mike Hecker's Stump Grinder Dirt Club Winter XC Race up at the Chamberlin Ranch.

It was literally below freezing when we arrived. Dave Lettieri, Mike Abbott and I did a short warm up out on the course beforehand with all the clothing and gloves we could find and were still frozen. In honor of his son (Cash), Dave even sported a rather "Man in Black" look in his long, black Oakley coat. However, his tough look disappeared when we came upon a whopping three-foot wide creek-crossing and he balked (he's not a big fan of the water crossings as some of you know). We finally convinced him to give it a whirl and, surprise, he didn't melt (though he did have to rush back to his truck to change into dry socks).

Fortunately, right before the race the sun rose above the hill and took some of the chill off of Charlotte's Meadow. Dave, Mike (The Abbot) and Phil Friden (Tazer) first took off in the two-lap Sport 35-49 race, followed by me in the Sport 50+ race, and later by Pete Sproul in the Expert 19-44 race.
Despite the impending creek-crossings, Dave was on fire and had a great first lap, followed by the best second lap of any of his competitors. At the finishing line he was closing fast on the first place finisher, but couldn't quite get to him and took 2nd Place, only six seconds behind. This was Dave's highest placing yet in a mountain bike race, and he was pumped.
Nicely done, Dave! Mike and Philip rode well and fought off mechanical and other issues to place 10th and 11th, respectively.

I managed to only go off course once and took 2nd Place in my race behind a previously unknown guy from Lompoc. It was lactic shock therapy for me, having not done any real prep for the race. I got a flavor for what I was up against when, talking to the 1st Place finisher afterwards, he told me that his group trains secretly on Vandenberg Base and on local, private cattle ranches. So between dodging Feds, bullets and bulls, it appears the Lompoc guys might be a tough group. I'll be better prepared next time.

Pete Sproul had a great start to the season in his first Expert race, hitting 'em hard on the first lap and holding on for the second lap to take 3rd Place, with Bob Nisbett passing him on the last hill to take 2nd place.
Their lap times were ridiculously fast! Good job Pete.

All in all, it was great fun on a great course. We no longer go through the Vineyard, but Hecker's added a tough little singletrack climb and made a great 11 mile course. Can't wait to do it for real in May and throughout the summer. And dodging the occasional calves and cattle added a fun new element to the elements. Hope to see more of you Mountain Chickens out there next time!

Bring on the Tour of Cali! Looking forward to Matt and Blinger beating some
of the Pro times in the Solvang TT.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cantua Creek Race Report

Thanks for the report Craig! Welcome aboard! By the way if any of you are noticing I'm trying to teach myself how to use Google maps by trial and error. Thanks for you patience

Hi everyone,

My report for Cantua Creek is nothing to brag about but considering I just finished a round of antibiotics for a sinus and respiratory infection I did OK.

I was one of two ranchers to race Cantua and I apologize to my teammate who was there I don't remember your name(old age).

The weather was chilly about 40 degrees at start time.

I was in the 45+4,5 race,The race was pretty mellow no attacks that stuck until we hit the turn around of lap two,At this point one brave soul went of the front on his own and proceeded to get a pretty big gap so much so he was out of site.

No one was willing to work the front to pull him back,But as we got closer to the finish it was clear that if we didn't start a chase he was going to win.

One rider was complaining so much so that I told him if you go to the front and work I will follow.

This started the chase and we went from about 22mph to 27-28mph and held this consistently to the base of the 2 mile climb to the finish.This blew the field up and it became a group of twenty chasing one.

We caught him on the climb at this point due to illness and with the work I did in the chase I could no longer hold the pace up the climb(so sad).

Not sure of my placing but I believe it was just outside the top twenty.

New Rancher,

Craig Foley

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Valley Of The Sun Round 2

Hello everyone,

What a weekend! It felt like we were gone longer than 4 days. We endured rain, traffic, Denny's, racing, more traffic, Olive Garden, cold, more racing, sun, even more racing, and Carrow's, but somehow we all returned with smiles on our faces!

The Valley of the Sun Stage race was very well run and well attended. Most of the fields were big and strong with riders from all over the west.

We show up for the TT on Friday expecting clear sunny Arizona weather, and instead we get cold drizzily "Pine Flat" like weather. Thank goodness we brought the trailer or we all would've been cold and wet. But the "Chicken Coop" worked great and allowed the racers who weren't riding to stay warm and relaxed and warm-up under the awning out of the rain. I probably shouldn't call it rain it was more like a light drizzle just for the early part of the day, and wasn't really a factor during the race. Everyone rode well with no mishaps except for Brian Bermudes flatting at mile 10 of the relatively flat 15 mile course. But he rode the rim the last 5 miles and finished the race. Brett Harrison pulled out a 10th in the Cat 5's, Kimberly Turner rode to a strong 15th in the 3's and I managed a 6th place in the 3's. The main thing we all learned on the first day was that the fields were deep and we knew the racing was going to be tough.

After the TT we drove through 2 hours worth of Phoenix traffic to get back to our hotel. Then we waited for 40 minutes to get a table at the local Olive Garden. Fortunately, our waitress...Carla, inspite of her chain-smoker appearance, did a fine job and we left tired but full, and went straight to bed.

For Saturdays road race we awoke to clear but cool skies. We had to wake up early again to get Gabe, Brain, and Brett to their 7:45am start. The course was a 16 mile loop with one big ring climb and the finish at the top of the climb. There were several crashes in the early races. Luckily, none of our riders were injured although Jill Gass of the Kalyra Team did injure her wrist in a crash and was unable to continue. Hopefully, other riders can give you blow by blow accounts of their races. I can only tell you about the 3's race with me Corey, Blingerman, and David Larsen. Our race was 4.5 laps with KOM time bonuses for the top 3 places at the top of the climb on laps 2 and 4. The first time up the climb was relatively tame but the 2nd time was insane with everyone going for the time bonus sprint. Corey put in a nice pull to get me up to the lead group but I only managed 4th, wasting a hard effort for nothing. Larsen's lingering chest cold finally got the better of him and he was forced to abandon. On the fourth lap I squeeked out 2nd in the KOM sprint for a 10 second bonus. Which boosted my confidence. On the last lap Blinger was riding well and I was trying to hang on his wheel. About 1K from the finish I crossed wheels with another rider, almost went down, and lost contact with Craigs wheel. Craig was just starting to wind it up for the sprint when there was a 3 or 4 rider crash right in front of him that took him out of contention I got past the crash clean but was too far back to do anything and ended up 15th. The pace of the race was pretty darn hard and even though it was a hilltop finish we still had 43 riders left in the lead group at the end! Lots of strong guys.

After cleaning up at the hotel we got a local tip on a good pizza and pasta place called NYPD. It was just what the doctor ordered. I think we each ordered two entrees and a couple appetizers because the bill was more than Olive Garden the night before. But we went to bed happy.

For the criterium the weather was perfect and the location was very cool as well. A sort of figure 8 loop around the State Capital. The pace was blistering right from the gun and it was very difficult to maintain position at the front of the peloton. I was actually glad the pace was high 'cause after the RR I had moved up to 5th on GC and I didn't want there to be any breakaways that might jepordize my podium spot. On the last lap I was making my move up the back straightaway before the final corner but I couldn't quite get to the front and got sqeezed on the inside of the final corner and lost my chance to sprint so I crossed the line in 32nd place. Nothin' to write home about, but I did maintain my 5th place in GC so I got to get on the podium and I won a whopping $110.00. Of course I spent all $110.00 on chicken fajita sandwiches right after the race 'cause I was starving. Blinger rode well in the crit and finished in the top 20. I was amazed to see that of the 83 riders that started the crit, not one got dropped, and there were no crashes!

Warning! The rest of this email is rated PG-13 by the email ratings association!

A few people got new nicknames on this trip. Brett Harrison became known as the "Human Plunger" 'cuz he clogged the hotel toilet.......twice. Apparently, even though he only weighs 126 lbs. he packs quite a whallop!

Gabriel Garcia, who already earned the nickname "Naughty Pine" on another road trip added the name "#4" to his list. Moments before his crit race he came to the trailer and informed all of us that he had just returned from the porta-johns and had gone #4. We were all in shock because I was only aware of the first three types of potty breaks and had no idea what going "#4" entailed. Then he shouted "Damn, I think I left my gloves in there!" Now we were all intrigued. It seems that going #4 also requires the use of riding gloves and we imagined that wearing your helmet while in the porta-john probably wouldn't be such a bad idea either. We found out later that what he meant to say was that he was going #2.... for the 4th time. But it was too late. The damage had been done, and we couldn't stop picturing Gabe in the porta-john with his helmet and gloves on going.....#4. You'll notice that in one of the pictures all of the passengers in Craig's car are holding up 4 fingers in a kind of freeway salute to Gabe's new moniker. When they did that I started laughing so hard I almost went #4 in my pants!

Corey Welles will now forever be known as Cora-lee Welles because the announcer at the criterium couldn't seem to pronounce an unusual name like Corey and instead replaced it with the extremely common name....Cora-lee.

Kimberly Turner could either be called "Pinner" or "Snow White". "Pinner" because she made the mistake of being skilled at pinning on race numbers and was soon in high demand. Or maybe it was because we're all a little homophobic and we were just more comfortable bending over in lycra for a girl rather than one of the other guys? And "Snow White" because as the only girl on the trip she was kinda like a princess traveling around with 7, forty year old dwarfs. Granted, 7 rather good looking dwarfs!

I think David Larsen could now be known as "Pillow-boy" because he has a curious system for attaching his race numbers to his jersey. He slips the jersey over a pillow and then tapes a picture of the back of Blingerman's head to the pillow......after sleeping with the pillow for one night he is then ready to pin his number on the jersey. It's an unusual system to be sure, but he swears by it. You'll notice in the photos that we took a picture of the back of Larsen's head for Craig to use when pinning on his race number next time.

The last story involves Brian Bermudes A.K.A. silent Bob. During the drive home we were all anxious to get back and wanted to keep stops to a minimum. Silent Bob being a team player didn't want to slow us down with something as trivial as a bathroom break so he took it upon himself to empty out a Crystal Geyser water jug and use that as a portable urinal if you will. The funny part is that he felt it was necessary to completely remove his trousers to accomplish this. He was sitting next to Cora-Lee Welles as he was trying to complete this difficult task. Cora-Lee was trying to be helpful and was holding up a sweatshirt to give Brian some privacy. I couldn't figure out why Cora-Lee felt like it was OK for him to see Brian with his pants off, but not Gabe and I? At any rate Gabe quickly pulled down the sweatshirt and snapped a picture so that we could share the moment with the entire team. Of course when we told the passengers in Craig's car what had just transpired they didn't believe us, so Brian felt compelled to hold up the Crystal Geyser water jug as evidence of his accomplishment. Naturally he had to reach across Cora-Lee to stick the jug out the window and Cora-Lee acted like Brian was holding a live grenade with the pin pulled because he had forgotten to put the lid back on. We all had a good laugh and I have to admit it did save us time and it made the drive home much more interesting. But I don't think I'll be able to drink water from a Crystal Geyser water jug any time soon.

Can't wait 'till the next race!

See ya out there!


Mitch Karno Race Report, Pine Flat

Chicken Ranchers,
While the rest of the team was at Valley of the Sun, Dan Rudd and I headed up to exotic Fresno for the Pine Flat RR. For the first time in recent history it wasn't cold and rainy up there. Hooray! The day started off around a brisk 40 degrees, but it quickly warmed up once the sun rose and it was really a beautiful day for racing. Dan rode in the 45+ 4/5 race and I did the 35+ 4/5 race. Each field had about 35 riders.

In Dan's race a sizeable group stayed together almost to the bottom of the steep climb around the 54 mile point. Dan was just off the back of the final select group with a few other riders. He ended up doing a lot of work pulling at the front of a small group in the downhill/flat sections between the 2 climbs. Being unfamiliar with the course (this was Dan's 1st time doing Pine Flat), he arrived at the bottom of the final climb not realizing the hill was coming right then and he needed some time to recover. By the time he recovered on the hill, 2 guys passed him and crossed the line in front of him. Dan had a great 8th place finish. Evidently he still had a bunch in the tank at the finish, but had just mistimed his effort right before the finishing hill. Way to go, Dan!

In my race there were a lot of attacks all along, a few which got pretty far ahead but were eventually reeled in. The pace was quick much of the way, except for a time during the flat section in the valley. As we headed back into the hills there was a big acceleration and a group of 12 of us pulled away from the rest of the field. After a few minutes I looked back and the rest of the field was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't sustain that pace and soon resigned myself to ride as hard as I could maintain at my own tempo. I summited the steep climb with no one else around and went into TT mode on the descent and flat section after that. I passed one guy about a mile before the last climb and came close to another guy as I approached the finish. Then the guy I had passed minutes before passed me on the climb. Try as I might, I couldn't catch him or the guy just in front of us. I finished 10th and, in contrast to Dan, I had nothing left in the tank.
All in all it was a great trip.

See ya on the road,

Monday, February 18, 2008

This Just In, Race Photos & Results From Saturdays Mountain Bike Race

Dave Lettieri is a man who likes to get to the bottom line. When he sends in his race report it consisted of photos and this link for the results. Great Job everyone! Dave thanks for the results and photos. We certainly had some players there. Check out the results.

Kimberly's Valley Of The Sun Race Report

Kimberly, congratulations on finishing all your races and having the Chicken Ranch go for it attitude. Rest up, the season is early.

Hi Everyone!

Well I survived the valley of the sun weekend :-). I am sure people
will report on all sorts of fun (and fun-ny) stuff that went on...but
since they haven't yet, I'll start things off with a report of my race.
I don't have any photos for the team blog, but considering how many
times I saw the camera out this weekend, I'm sure there are MANY that
will surface.

I don't have any stellar results to report....other than that I had a
blast, and did manage to finish the thing, and not DFL either! Here is
my brief report.

Day 1: Lots of riding in the car...hours and hours of it! Much of this
time was watching the weather on my iphone and watching the chance of
rain go up and up. I thought we were going to Valley of the SUN!????

Day 2: TT. Woke up early. My start time was not until 1:54! However,
Brett's was early, so we were off bright and early. We raided the
hotel's free breakfast on our way out. They caught on to us by day 2
and put out less of the "portable food." The rain started
mid-morning...and depending on when your start time was, it was either
cold, windy, rainy, all, or none (I had wind and a teeny bit of rain
during my 38 minutes of pain)! The people in the morning claimed that
the way out was harder, and there would be a tailwind on the way
back....but alas when I reached the turnaround it was not to be, and I
found myself facing a headwind the entire way back. Oh well. I
actually felt pretty good, and rode a good TT (for me), although
afterwards I found myself in 15th place. Oh well...this is early season
for me, and there were some FAST women here! The most stressful part
of it was 5 minutes before my start time when I discovered my rear brake
was sticking really badly. Everyone was trying to fix it, and it turned
out to not be fixable in 2 minutes or less...so off I went, with the
words of wisdom from the guys "don't use the rear brake...you don't need
your brakes in a TT anyway"... Thankfully even in my delirious state, I
remembered not to touch it, and so I don't think it cost me
anything.... I won't spoil the other results...

Day 3: RR. I was worried about the road race. Coming off the flu, and
this being really early-season for me, I knew my climbing was not going
to be where it needed to be. And alas, it wasn't! It was a 58 mile
race, with what turned out to be about 3000 feet of climb. (at least
thats what my computer said afterwards) They combined fields with the
women's P/1/2 so we had a field size of ~75! It was by far the largest
and fastest field I have raced in. The road was narrow, and the CL rule
was in effect, so it was really hard to move around. I was fine on lap
1, and on the first half of lap 2, but since it was a QOM lap, the pact
was blistering, and I got gapped. My flat riding skills and descending,
however, are not so bad, so I started chasing on the backside
immediately. I quickly caught up to a woman from the P1/2 race who had
flatted, and we chased the pack back down. She was very strong, and we
shared the work. I sat in the pack and recovered until the hill came
around again. Alas, I got gapped on this hill, too. This time, there
were 3 of us reasonably strong who started a chase. However, one of the
girls was not quite strong enough, and she let a little gap form. The
other girl was REALLY strong, and she kept saying we were going to have
to pick it up to catch on. I was willing, but I got caught when the
other girl started to drop off and I was behind her. I tried in vain to
catch the other girl, but I didn't quite make it. I let the other girl
catch on, and we started hammering. Soon we caught 2 other girls who
were OTB as well. The 4 of us kept pushing, but never quite made it.
The peoloton was hovering like a mirage...close enough to make me want
to give it everything, but too far. There were 2 girls fading
fast....complaining about bonking, so 2 of us did most of the chasing.
However, we didn't ever quite make it, and finished off the back.
Bummer. When I looked at my data, I saw that I worked harder in the
last 16 miles of the RR, than I did in the 14 mile TT the day before!
Oh well. I was pretty disappointed, but at the same time, I was happy
with my perseverance, and I can't really kid myself about being ready
for climbing races, even the smaller hills...I guess I've gotta get out
there and do my climbing intervals...
I think I was in 20th place after the RR...

Day 4: Crit. The crit was an 8 corner number...kind of a figure 8
shape. I usually love crits, but I have only done one other 1-2-3 crit,
and that only had 12 people...so I must say that a crit with over 75
people did really intimidate me! I was feeling severely outclassed from
getting dropped in the RR, and so I just didn't have my usual fire. By
the time it started, I had seen a few crashes in other fields, and was
kind of letting it all get the better of me. Then in lap 2, someone
bounced right into me, and although I was able to easily save it, it
freaked me out and I hovered in the back for awhile. A long while.
About 1/3 of the way in, I realized I was plenty strong, and my legs
were feeling good. I didn't have any problems following the surges and
I can corner fine, so that was ok. I was just a little scared of the
pack size, and some of the sketchy riders. It was a really fun course,
though, and I think if i had to do it again, I'd have a lot more fun
with it. I had bad positioning coming into the final lap, and so
although I passed a bunch of people, I still managed only to get 14th in
the 3s. Oh well. I feel good about the race, though, and about my
power on the flats. It will all come together eventually! It is really
easy to get ahead of myself, and expect too much, but the bottom line is
that I have only ever raced a handful of crits, and experience seems to
count for a lot!

My final result was 18th I believe...not that it matters much!

I have to say that the whole experience was a lot of fun, and I'm
already looking forward to the next one! I cannot express how great it
was to have so much team support and comaraderie. Having the trailer to
sleep/eat/hang out in during the day was invaluable, and everyone was so
helpful and supportive. It was really great. I think everyone had a
good time. And all the joking around even made the drive seem less
long and unbearable :-). Thanks to Craig and Matt for doing all the

I'm sure the jokes will get around in time...or maybe they won't!
You'll have to just go on one of these team trips to see for
yourselves! I highly recommend it.

Kimberly (recovering today).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Elings Is A Blast Right Now!

I thought I would get this off my chest before the race reports start coming in. If you have a mountain bike get over to Elings and have more fun than you deserve! I have been there the last couple of days on my new Frankenbike (I'll explain that one later, B-rad you know what I mean.) and somebody over there has been doing tons of work. There are new trails, especially on the Cliff Dr, and Las Positas side of the park. The switchbacks at the end of the parking lot are in terrific shape and the technical section which is to the left after you get to the top of those climbs is fast and fun. If you need a quick tour, let me know and I'll let you know when I'm headed over there next. For now, Enjoy The Ride!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008


Ladies and Gentlemen, I caught a sneak peak at the kits yesterday and low and behold our teams website is on it. I felt the pressure to at least clean up the site a little bit and give it a little different look. Believe me I'm not done yet. I have to update all the riders and of course we are going to have to find nicknames for as many of the riders as is humanly possible. Keep the photos coming and if you have some ideas for nicknames, don't be shy. Ciao!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So You Think Only Clydesdales Can Break Frames

On my 2nd lap Sunday at Elings Park, I felt my seat get a little soft.

I thought the bolt on my seat had come loose, so I continued up the new singletrack that parallels the fireroad climb. Once I got to the top I got off of my seat and was expecting to quickly tighten the bolt and be on my way.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw the rather large crack in my frame. Thank goodness the seatpost supported the seat tube well enough for me to not impale myself. That could have been a good ouch.

I took the bike to see Dave and Luke and they were pretty impressed that a 160 pounder could break a frame.

I guess it proves that an out of shape 48 year old can still put some stress on a bike frame. The good news is that it has a lifetime warranty on it.

The bad news is, that the new frame might not be in time to race this weekend. That may be a good thing, since the dish of humble pie I'm certain to get served never tastes that great.

See ya out there!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Piru Time Trial Results

Dave and Kimberly have reported in. Congrats to everyone who participated. Keep on reading below for the details.

We had a good showing for the Piru TT yesterday. Craig, Brett, David , Jeff, Ken, Dano, Kim, Olivia, Dan R all showed up to test their fitness. Usual tail wind out and headwind uphill back. Craig did the best time of the group in a 29:30ish.

Amazingly a rider did a 27.09 on that course at an average of 27.5mph. Anyone who has ridden this race knows how impressive that is ....

Craig and David finished 2nd and 3rd in the 3's.
Ken 4th in the 4's, Dan R 2nd? in the 45+, Dano with the VICTORY in the "Eddy Merckx" division (No tt equipment) Brett 5th in the 5's and I got 4th in the 35+ I am not sure how Jeff, Kim and Olivia did?

The results will be up soon at http://www.uncletren.com/

See ya all Saturday...

Dave Lettieri

Just an addendum to Dave's email about the Piru results:
I got 5th in the Women's division. Coming off the flu (or something else that causes a fever and chest cough and lasts for days..), I was happy to just finish the TT with 2 (semi) working lungs! I believe there were 10 women in the licensed women's division.
And I don't know what place Olivia received, but she set a new personal best for the course, besting her previous best by MINUTES (Olivia...how many minutes did you say you took off?)!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hydration Testrider.com Style

Hey folks, I was checking out Ben (Burn) Edwards site and watching the video that he did regarding the MoFlo from Polarpak. Its a drinking fountain you carry in your camel back. He didn't mention it, but it looks like it could make for some cool water fights on those long mountain bike rides. Check it out You can even use it as a shower. By the way Ben, I'm not sure about that guy in your videos, he looks a bit shady!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mothballs Womens Photos

Professor Kimberly sent over some photos that were taken of the ladies by Kimberly Weixel of Echelon. Thanks Kimberly's and good racing!


I am enclosing some more photos, taken by Kimberly Weixel (of Echelon)... These are of the w1/2/3 and the w3/4 races.

If you post them on the blog, please credit her.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mothballs IIII

Mothballs just keeps on giving, here are the photos Matt sent. I hope Ben is healing quickly! Thanks for the pictures everyone!

Hi everybody,

Sorry for the delay, lots of people sent me pictures of the races on Saturday, here are just a few of them. Thanks to everyone who showed up to race, and those that showed up just to cheer us on and take pictures...especially Dave Willett.

Only one Chicken Rancher was involved in a crash as far as I know. Ben Edwards got taken out in the 3's race by a guy who crossed wheels with the rider in front of him. Honorary Chicken Rancher Kim Anderson also went down in that crash. Like true competitors they both re-mounted their bikes and finished the race....nice job!

There are quite a few pictures here so hopefully Greg will put them up on the blog shortly which will make them easier to view,

It was great to see so many Chicken Ranchers out there ridin' hard. We were well represented! Thanks also to Kimberly and Craig for their excellent race reports. Craig, no need to apologize for our failure to win in the 3's race, It was my fault for not gettin' you and Dave close enough to the line to finish the deal. But we'll get'em next time!

See you out there!


Mothballs By Blingerman! Photos by Carson!

Great job everyone. Fun day with a lot of team support.

As far as the 3's, I'm sorry for what happened. The team did great work. Barney, Luis, and Larsen rode the front a lot. Aaron had a break that Chicken and I thought might stick. Ben was a Trojan war-horse riding out there with his bibs torn open and still smiling.

As for the sprint, Dave was the captain on the rode and kept us organized with Chicken on the front, then me, and then Dave sweeping.

We went into the last turn and Chicken was doing a lot of work but then we caught a couple of guys on the inside who slowed down and I just made a bunch of mistakes. So instead of winning, we got 3rd. We learned a lot and I think we will do better next time.

As for the 35+, holy s__t! That was fast!

See you at Piru.

Here are some pics of the first few races, I had another shoot that afternoon, sorry all you who raced after noon. If the link above doesn't work, then here it is. http://tinyurl.com/3xf68b

Thank you,
Carson Blume Photography

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mothballs By Professor Kim

Here is Kimberly's race report

Hi Everyone!
Well, another Mothballs is behind us. I really enjoyed racing it as a member of Team Chicken Ranch this year! Unfortunately I don't have any great victories to report on, but I did have a lot of fun! I achieved my three goals for the weekend which was to 1. get a good workout 2.
Not get dropped in my first W1/2/3 race and 3. Make the womens 3/4 race fun and be a part of the action. After seeing all the women who got in and raced the 1/2/3 race and then the Mens 35+ I am humbled and motivated! All I did was race the 2 women's races! But considering I was supposed to be stuck at a work retreat all day...I am thrilled to have been racing at all.
Anyway, Team Chicken Ranch was well represented this weekend. I just want to say it was really nice to have so many people around in the same jersey (we'll look even better when our new kits come in) being
supportive and fun. From perusing the results on socalcycling.com , I
see that the following people were out there: (please forgive me if I didn't include you: I just looked at the online results, which may not be complete. In addition, I might have made an oversight...so I apologize in advance!). In addition, Brett Harrison was also there racing...but had a mechanical issue and lost some spokes (I heard...I was at work).
See you all at the next one,
Here's the scoop:
Mens 3
3. Craig Zimmerman
4. Dave Letteiri
11. Matt Benko
12. Ben Edwards
19. Barney Berglund
20. David Larsen
25. Luis Cubilla
Mens 4
10. Gabe Garcia
12. Ken Doyle
25. Dan Onorato
Mens 5
21 Brian Bermudes
24 Rob Ramirez
29 John Comunale
7 Kimberly Turner
7 Kimberly Turner
14 Susan Farber
27 Matt Benko
26 Barney Berglund
13 Peter Rupert


The race reports from this weekend haven't shown up in my inbox yet. Ken Doyle was nice enough to send me this photo that one Mr. Marco Fanelli took of him during the 35+ race. Ken "Coach" Doyle, you get top billing for now. Marco, nice shot!

Romero & Good Samaritans, Task Force Update

The Multi Use Trails Coalition sent out this email this morning regarding the progress on the Task Forces recommendations and attached some photos showing how a small group of Mountain Bikers helped clear a tree from Romero Trail or as us B Teamers call it Kenny's Trail. Special thanks to the unknown Mountain Bikers, that cleared the trail.

Finally after a year of meeting the Task Force is ready to move forward with recommendations to the City Council and Board of Supervisors. The meeting this Weds, Feb 6th at 5:30 PM, 735 Anacapa St. will outline the TF plan of action. According to the agenda this meeting will address the MOU and what is needed to get all agencies working together and the management recommendations. The recommendations they are considering and will discuss this Weds are:
I Administrative
1. Develop Interagency MOU for management, funding, maintenance...
2. Develop a multi agency FCT strategy
3. Develop a funding plan for the FCT
4. Establish a FCT coordinator position
5. Develop a relationship with a community non-profit group to help with

II Community Outreach
1. Education efforts including signage, hosts....
2. Interim voluntary use guidelines: dogs on leash, bike bells, don't cut
3. Community support by working with trail groups for trail work days

III Maintenance and Management
1. Assess and classify the trails
2. Develop classifications that are appropriate for our FCT system
3. Explore developing consistent standards for planning, permits, policy, and
4. Explore pilot program with trail use designation (possibly June 2009?)

Only after the TF has the latest trail info from surveys, assessments, and MORE PUBLIC INPUT the TF will consider options such as:
Odd/even trail use for hikers, bikers, and equestrians; designate single use trails; widen trails to make room for all users; new trails
to meet wider, multiuse standards of other areas. They did not single out any particular group here but instead left this
category open for discussion.

(The complete agenda can be found on the SB City government page found from a link on our homepage)

As you would expect this will take some time to implement these recommendations. We appreciate the time and effort that the TF has put into the trails and will be putting into them. If you haven't spoken at one of these meetings yet this may be an opportune time to thank the TF for what they are trying to do and the BS that they have had to sort through at these meetings. Public comment as always begins at 5:30 sharp!

Following this meeting the TF will meet "as needed" or when management issues arise. They tentatively have 3 more meetings set for this year.

Good samaritan of the week.....This past weekend on Romero single track we came across a downed tree completely blocking the trail with bad poison oak on both sides of the trail and intertwined in the tree itself. Three mtn bikers got neck deep in the poison stuff to clear a path for everyone. Thanks to the unknown riders! (see photos)--



Thank you,The Multiuse Trails Coalition Board,Dave Everett, Dorothy Littlejohn, Cort Flinchbaughshttp://www.multiusetc.org/

Friday, February 1, 2008

If You Can Help!


So there is a break in the rain, and the gound is perfect for digging, and I bet even some riding in the afternoon. Tomorrow Saturday the 2nd of Feb. we will be having another of the Stump Grinder Dirt Club trail building days (yes I know Mothballs is Sat. too) There is a lot to do in prep work for the SGDC Winter XC on the 16th. If you come out and work from 8 am to 12 pm, and if the ground has dried out a bit you cah pre-ride the XC or push the DH course.

Please bring shovels, food, water, warm clothes, and your riding stuff.

To get the the SGDC click here http://www.ridesb.com/syvclassic_mapdirections.htm.

To get the schedule of everything planned at the SGDC click here http://www.ridesb.com/sgdc_activities.htm.

To join the Stump Grinder Dirt Club click here http://www.ridesb.com/images/formsmaps/sgdc_app.pdf.

Hope to see you Saturday!