Sunday, March 30, 2008

Friden/Knowles Race Report

Philip and I decided to make the trek to Fontana and represent the B

Our performances turned out to be more like the D Team. The
attached photo is as close as we could get to the podium?

We did have a fun conversation with the Rocky Mountain Bike rep and he is going to be in town Tues & Wed and we may get to demo some cool rides. Stay tuned for details.

As a follow-up to Peter’s Fontana report, my opinion was that the course was pretty tough. Having no idea what to expect, I pretty much just jumped on my bike and rode it cold… and the results speak for themselves. The course was not exceptionally long and the climbs were not that tough, but there were so many tricky technical parts I crashed twice and couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm. I saw tons of other guys crashing as well, riders leaving the course with bloody heads and broken fingers. When speaking to the Rocky Mountain bikes rep he said that it had gotten noticeably worse over the three days and by Sunday it was down right bad. I felt pretty beat up by it but I guess I can’t whine too much because some riders were able to get good results, this is a course that a pre-ride would really help. Sounds to me like the Del Mar folks were having more fun

Philip “Taser” Friden

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Great Job Pete!

Yesterday afternoon I headed down to beautiful Fontana for SoCal series #2 and the National series opener and a lovely 8 am Sat. morning start.

The race was good and bad for me. The good was the best race I’ve had in a long time. It may have been two weeks straight in my ‘stretchy pants’ or Matt’s advice to pace myself but I managed to ride 3, 37 minute laps and finish only two minutes back of guys like Ron Takeda and Todd Booth that were 10-12 minutes ahead of me at Bonelli. The bad was totally blowing my chance to beat my nemesis from last year (the guy who won all the sport 35-39 races). He beat me by over 8 minutes at Bonelli so I was surprised to be on his wheel mid way through the second lap. That is where I stayed the rest of the race (except for a small pit stop to try and fix my water bottle cage that was falling off) planning to take him in the final 50 yard sprint. I was super confident I would take him but ended up completely botching the sprint; wrong gear, wrong line, everything, and missed the podium and 5th place by half a wheel. Oh well, the legs were good and I kept the cramps at bay.

Looking forward to hearing today’s San Dimas report and good luck to those racing tomorrow in San Dimas and anyone going down to Fontana for Sunday’s races.


Friday, March 28, 2008

San Dimas TT Results

Gabe Garcia is our on the spot reporter emailing back these results on the terrific effort Team Chicken Ranch is making in San Dimas. Fly Chickens!

Cat 3 winning time 13:37

Matt 28th 16:18
Druber 34th 16:21

Womens 3/4 winning time 17:44

Kimberly 23rd 20.06

Cat 4 winning time 15:28

Gabriel 43rd 17:38

Cat 5 winning time 15:16

Brett 6th 17:24

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Testrider Is Calling You Out!

Mr. Ben "Burn" Edwards of Testrider fame is calling all you roadies out for what he says is an epic ride. Check it out below.

May 17th is a little event called Sea to Summit.

Basically Ventura to Mt Pinos on the 33. 85+ miles, tops out at 8,300' with over 12,000' of climbing.

The final climb is 14 miles long. I realize this conflicts with Firestone, but for the pure road crowd this is a truly epic event.

Only a 100 or so ever sign up and of those about 10 go to race it.

Check out the course...
more info...
Testrider will have a follow vehicle for support.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Want to Race?

I don't know if any of you have seen this in the news recently, but the tallest man on the planet just got a bike. He is 8 feet 5 inches tall. has more details. There is also a video you can check out on Bicycle Blog. Wow!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

John Goodman Strikes Again!

John Goodman has people in high places. If you take a look at the recent Mountain Bike Action you can see some of our local heros photos on the site. It is included with the race report from the 20th Annual Keyesville Classic. You can see some photos of many of the Platinum riders and that one Chicken that keeps showing up in their photos. :o) Great Job John and everyone that raced and supported their local heros. I hope I see all of you at Fontana this weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Come Out And Help

Everyone who rides a mountain bike is welcome to join us this weekend out at the Stump Grinder Dirt Club for a great weekend of hanging out, riding and a bit of trail work.

Anyone who wants to camp Friday or Saturday night is welcome to coordinate with me or Tony G Riding will happen both Saturday and Sunday after 12 Noon. There will be hotdogs and Sodas both days at 12 Noon as well! All we’re asking is that anyone who comes up be willing to do some trail work Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8 AM to 12.

There will be a Full Moon XC ride of the entire NMBS XC loop too!

Please make it if you can, and one day is better than none so please make it!

Enjoy the ride,

Mike Hecker – Owner
SG Productions –
Santa Ynez Valley Classic presented by Platinum Performance – May 15th - 18th, 2008
220 Arden Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 896-0673

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rick, Eric & Dan's Big Adventure

A few Ranchers decided to do a Figueroa Mountain Loop over the weekend. Check out their report below.

The Valley ride was outstanding. With two people changing their plans last minute it ended up being Dan, Rick and I.

The weather was cool and brisk starting out but it warmed up quickly as we headed up Happy Canyon. The grass was green, the creeks flowing, the sun bright with the clouds in the distance dark. The wild flowers were wildly bright and plentiful. It could not have been a more beautiful day to ride. The down hill was a blast and the last miles back to Los Olivos with a strong tail wind were fast and fun. What more can I say, "I love riding my bike". Wish you were there!"

Dan setting the pace with Eric and I in pursuit heading home to the tri tip sandwich! We just could not wait to get to the Chicken Ranch :)

Are hungers were equal, Dan, Eric, Rick

Photos By Cuttler!

Mr. Billy Cuttler emptied out his camera and sent out some photos of his most recent adventures to Bonelli Park, and Keyesville. Enjoy the pictures, but remember he didn't have much to work with.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Keyesville, 2 Bananas & Stretchy Pants?

Hello everyone,

Well, we had a great road trip up past Bakersfield to the 20th annual Keyesville Classic. We had a group of 7 Chicken Ranchers including Dave Lettieri making his first road trip appearance.

We left at 8:00pm Saturday night and stayed at the beautiful Motel 6 in Bakersfield before driving the rest of the way early Sunday morning. The drive up was relatively uneventful, although we did get a good laugh when we snooped through Brad Brown's cooler looking for snacks and we discovered that all he'd packed for the weekend was a bottle of wine and two we ate the bananas.

When we arrived Sunday morning it was clear and cold. In the high 30's or low 40's. The Sport Class raced first which included Dave, Brad Jellison, Robert, Bill, and Gabe. Dave rode well after sleeping all night and driving all day in his brand new compression tights, or as we like to call them......"stretchy pants". He got 2nd. Robert was apparently day dreaming about male triathletes and went off course.....but still managed to finish 5th. Bill and Jelly had an epic battle the whole race with Jelly nipping him at the line to finish 8th with Bill close behind in 9th. Gabriel had an interesting race. After only 2 or 3 miles he had a huge lead on the rest of his field and appeared poised to cruise to an easy victory. But, caught up in the excitement of the moment, he too went off course and ended up having to DQ himself after skipping 3 or 4 miles from the first lap. He was devastated. So we consoled him by making fun of him and cracking jokes at his expense all weekend.........I think he's better now. Brad Brown rode to a "best ever" 4th place in the Beginner Class. Apparently wine works better than I thought it would as a pre-race hydration beverage............or maybe it was not being able to find his bananas that made him faster? Who knows? I continued my unrivaled streak of 2nd place finishes. But I had to earn it by duking it out with Ron Tekada and Bob Nisbet from the Platinum Team. The three of us were never seperated by more than 30 seconds the entire race. I'm not sure if the fact that I like both of those guys made it more fun or more stressful? Actually, just being near Ron made me feel better about myself 'cause last weekend at Bonelli he beat my time by more than 3 minutes!

After the racing was over we were hoping for a quick awards presentation so we could get on the road and get home A.S.A.P. But then we remembered that this was a Mountain Bike Race and there is no such thing as a quick awards presentation. One of the things I've always liked about MTB races is you don't have to pin a number on your jersey, you only put a number plate on your bike. But they changed that this year at the Keyesville Classic. Not only did we have numbers on our jerseys and our bikes....we also had timing chips on our shoes!.........and the results were still all screwed-up. All the technology in the world can't beat the Red-neck system they use at the NORCAL MTB races. They pin a piece of scratch paper to your shoulder with your name and your class on it, and when you come across the line they pull it off and stick-it on the results board in the order you came in.........simple and brilliant. Works every time. Anyways, we decided not to wait for the awards, but since Dave and I were all cleaned up and looking our best in anticipation of getting on the podium. We decided to have our own awards ceremony on a couple of boulders near the car. The guys gave us official "rocks" from the actual Keyesville Classic course and we stood on the boulders side by side with our arms raised in "almost" victory!

On the drive home we were getting desperate for a place to eat and we almost made things worse by stopping at PIZZAVILLE USA which looked like a converted Turkish prison but Bill Cuttler saved us by yelling "Don't make a panic decision!" and he spotted La Mina Mexican restaurant which wasn't long as you're not in a hurry.......which we were.

All things considered we had a great time and got home safe. Is it a coincidence that the two highest place finishers on our team were both wearing compression tights the night before the race? I don't know. But I'm not taking any chances. I'm heading down to Fastrack today to get another pair of "stretchy pants" on sale..........and then I'm gonna stop by the liquor store and get a bottle of cheap wine.......and two bananas.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

John Goodman Gives Up Some Keyesville Photos

One Mr. John Goodman, photographer, cyclist, graphics dude, and all around nice guy sent a few photos over and a link to some of the photos he took at the Keyesville classic today. THANKS JOHN!

Great Job Kimberly and Crew!


In the spirit of Chicken Ranch race reports...I offer this peek at the action from our day at the races. A few of us girls ventured south forthe L.A. circuit race.

There were actually 7 SB area women in the women's3/4 race today--a great showing by the locals!I was feeling quite organized--I even left the house on time (ok, 1minute later than planned) this morning.

However, due to a little time loss picking up Marian (new cat 3 in the area) I was late getting to Olivia's. I knew I was in trouble when Olivia called me on our way there, and there was no salutation to be had, only a terse "where are you." Oops...we weren't THAT late! Anyway, we did finally leave the SB area, after our much needed Starbucks stop.

In Starbucks, I asked Olivia if she was nervous, and got "no....(small pause here), well, only about not getting there in time!" Oops again.

On a good note, we managed to fit 3 people, 3 bikes, 3 trainers, 3 duffel bags o' random stuff all in one small VW Golf! We were probably the only ones who actually followed the directions on the race flyer which said "please prevent global warming and consider carpooling to the race in cars of 3 or more!"Anyway, we did get there, and got out of the car only to be nearly blown over by the wind! Hmmm. It was going to be a chilly day at the races.

Turned out that the riding direction was exactly perpendicular to the wind...pure crosswind the WHOLE course. As I was getting readyW3/4 ,Olivia was following me around like the paparazzi--I felt so famous. I could have done without the photo journalism when it comes to changing clothes and applying chamois butter!

On to the race....the race was about as interesting as one could expect from a flat road with a U-turn at each end! There were about 30 womenin the 3/4 race. Susan Farber was also racing for Chicken Ranch, and I had "stealth teammates" Olivia and Marian. As Olivia said...(based on her inability to fit into the new kits), "she is just too big for the chicken ranch britches," but can still be a "stealth chicken rancher." (note--Olivia is a lot smaller than I I'm not sure that this is quite accurate)

And stealth teammate she was! She attacked on lap 2because "the race was too slow" and I got to see who was strong when they chased her down. I was happy to block for her, even if she was wearing the frog colors of Echelon :).

The race really came down to the final sprint. Marian attacked on the final corner, which was too early, but managed to string it out a tad. I had a pretty good wheel going into the sprint, managed to time it better than I have all season,but I still have some work to do.

The wheel I picked didn't quite get me where I needed to be so I had to do some dancing and managed to get 3rd, still accelerating at the line. The rest of the Ranchers...Susan Farber 8th (stealth racer) Olivia Walling 14th (stealth racer) Marian Hunting 18th.

We stuck around just long enough to hear the race results and pick up the cycle computer that I managed to win, and then it was back home,with a nice stop in Malibu for lunch. Good up, San Dimas! Have fun, and enjoy the photos...

How'd everyone else do this weekend?

Kimberly Does It Again!

You have to see the latest from A terrific video of a flying chicken who had the good fortune of riding in the time trial stage of this years Tour of California. The Isaac Bike and Zipp wheel set up made for a very fast bike. Kudo's to Dave, Matt, and especially Ben.

Esquire Spreading The Word

In case you didn't see it, Esquire was able to get this write up in the Newspress Friday!

"The Chicken Ranch Team: Matt Benko set a blistering pace and took second place in the very competitive Expert 40-44 race at Bonelli Park, finishing less than a minute off of first.
Dr. Bob Wilcher overcame a flat tire in mid-race and managed to place second in the Sport 30-34 category.
In his first race for the Chicken Ranch Team, John Nygren pulled off a runner-up finish in the Beginner 35-39 race.
Brad Jellison threw down a huge pre-race pancake breakfast to barely make weight and took second in the 35+ Sport Clydesdale race.
Greg "Wheels" Knowles raced well in the Beginner 45-49 class to make the podium in fifth place, and Brian Bermudes took seventh in his first Sport race in the 30-34 category.
The course was a 9-mile loop with about 1000 feet of climbing per lap."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Platinum Team Photo Sequel

Not only does the Platinum Mountain Bike team have a ton of talented riders, they also have a graphics dept. that is second to none. They have given the due respect any Chicken Rancher deserves for hi jacking their team photo. Ride On! Can you find the Chicken now? ;o)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Platinum Team Photo

For those of you that weren't at Bonelli last weekend, Platinum showed up in force and rode well. Santa Barbara was well represented. They did make one small mistake though. They let a Chicken Rancher in their team photo. See if you can find him.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bonelli Race Report

As the editor I just wanted to chime in ahead of Matt's official report and say everyone who went raced hard and finished. Kim, Paul, Brad B, Phillip, Bill, I hope I didn't miss anyone. Matt doesn't mention below, but he rode hard and placed 2nd himself in a grueling expert race. I hope those of you that are interested come out and race. Heck, Mark Fannel (Mr, Roadie) in his second cross country race ever killed everyone in his field. Come on B Teamers "let's do it!"

Hello everyone,

Well, we had a good crew head down to San Dimas today for the first race of the So. Cal Cross Country MTB Series. The weather was perfect! The turnout was excellent, and the racing was tough as always. I don't know everyone's results but we had a few make the podium.

John Nygren knocked down a 2nd place in the Beginner Class. Nice job John! We actually had a few 2nd place finishers including Bob Wilcher in Sport (Even with a flat tire!) Brad Jellison in Clydesdale, and myself in Expert. Mr. Greg Knowles snagged a 5th place in Beginner while Brian Bermudes got a 7th place in his first Sport race which ain't too shabby!

More importantly, we got some exercise, told some jokes, and ate at In-N-Out Hamburgers after the race......Good times! Pete Sprouls' brother Seth was there as well and put in a good effort and his friend Brett was awesome in the feed zone! Handing out bottles on a hot day to a bunch of guys he just met. I know for me personally he was a life saver......Free chicken for life for Brett!..............Well, maybe not for about a week? Anyways, thanks Brett that was much appreciated! All in all I think we had 12 or 13 Chicken Ranchers show up to race. When all the results get posted we'll put 'em on the blog. Hope you all had a great weekend. The keyesville Classic MTB race is next weekend if any of you are interested?


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Solvang ala Druber

OK now that I'm up out of bed let's start reports from the Solvang Century; here's mine.

Matt's words of "If you're late, you're chasing" rang in my ears as I drove 90mph over the pass this morning and I arrived in Solvang at approximately 7:25, so had plenty of time to figure out how to dress and what food to carry before heading out. A group of what, 30-40 of SB's finest gathered on Mission St. in Solvang and rode off promptly at 8:01:00. Someone rode alongside me remarking this looked like our Saturday SB ride and I wondered if anyone was left in SB for the Saturday ride.

The morning in Solvang dawned under fog and colder temperatures than expected, so we rode out of town a bit briskly in the effort to warm up. We climbed out of the valley a bit and back into the sunshine and warmth. A nice paceline developed early on, but by 25 miles in a structure to the ride had crystallized: Aaron Olson was at the front and willing to pull the group to insure he got a good workout from the day. Right about that time my strategy for making it through the day as quickly as possible also crystallized: get on Aaron's wheel and don't let go! So, for the next 40 miles I sat on Aaron's wheel and never looked up as he contentedly pulled us over hill and dale and into the fierce winds that crop up around Vandenburg AFB. Only Kim Anderson got between Aaron's back wheel and my front wheel - I thought it only right to allow her in. A real genetic freak, new to my acquaintance, would come from behind me to offer Aaron respite: Chuckie V ( from Solvang would jump around me, Kim and Aaron and take some MONSTER pulls too. Grazie Chuckie! Multo Grazie Aaron!

So this scenario continued all the way through Santa Maria where I finally looked up, looked back, looked around. The group was now about 8 people. By the time we hit the Sisquoc course it dropped to Aaron, Marco Fennelli, M. Krieke, Ben the Hammer, Dubberly and me as we lost a few leaving town and Kim suddenly sat up. When Aaron noticed Kim was missing he sat up to check on her (aww!) and I chased back onto the group on the descent of that infamous Sisquoc climb. Yes, your author was starting to find himself in a spot of bother when trying to go uphill, the rollers were working me. By 80 miles I was unable to hold onto the back of Marco, Krieke, Ben and Matt, so accepted my fate dropping from ~26mph to 23mph along Foxen Canyon Road. I kept them in sight until we hit the last stretch of Foxen Cyn. before the bigger hills start. The two big climbs on Foxen Cyn. on the way to Los Olivos forced me to ride smart, grab the 39X23 and just spin easily up, but I could still work the downhills/false flats that followed! I kept looking down at the computer amazed it had a number that started with a 3 on the speedo! Thank you Zipp 404s!! Although, cresting the last climb on Foxen, that big bugger before plunging into Los Olivos, I had a strong side gust of wind nearly rip the handlebars out of my hands! Glad I didn't put the 808's on today!!

I should mention that coming into the first big Foxen Cyn. climb Aaron came flying past me secure that Kim was doing OK. I only had time to spit out "Thanks for the tow!" before he was gone! What a motor! It's amazing to be reminded just how fast the boys (and girls) go in the Big Leagues. Aaron pulled the group for, I'm guessing, 60 miles total and he never looked like he was working!

So after that last little leg buster in Los Olivos (I kept picturing Jens Voigt climbing it on his TT bike last year) I again had a blast on the descending rollers into Solvang. Well, except for one very humbling moment actually. I couldn't hold the wheel of a recumbent bike while descending. I kept catching this dude on his 26" wheel recumbent (aero forks too I noticed) when the road tilted up and he would DROP ME on the gentle descents. I hesitate to even type this...but trust me I was still doing 28-31mph when I got dropped!! A recumbent! It goes against everything I understand and believe in and he dropped me going downhill!! Ugh! Fortunately the road tilted up long enough I dropped the recumbi and promptly found Krieke in front of me. He jumped on my wheel and we kept a quick pace rolling into Solvang where we caught Matt and Ben soft pedaling the last mile or so before the finishline. Fennel had kept the pace going. Stud points to him and then triple stud points to Aaron who had caught all of us before the finish and then (we think) turned back to ride in with Kim!

Epilogue: I'm tired. My accelerator foot (which also serves as my brake foot) cramped on the way home while heading down the 154. I learned to left foot brake today. A hot soak, 2 hour nap and an espresso puts me into the present tense. I'm planning a walk downtown with the wife to bring some blood flow back into my legs. Does anyone know how tequila works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant? Computer reads 102.4 miles, avg. speed 23.2 (max 52!), riding time 4:24, avg. HR 158 bpm, max HR 182 bpm, 4000 calories burned. Made for a memorable day!

Steve Swartzendruber
"bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people." Chip Brown

Photos ala Matt

Godspeed Kenny Harbaugh!

Paul Donohoe was nice enough to forward a copy of the Mountain Bike Action Tribute that was done for Kenny. Go buy the magazine if you don't already get it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Love Mountain Biking!

What an awesome day today was! I got to the streetlight at 6:00am expecting a fairly big group and whaddaya know it's just me.........I started thinkin' "Well this is gonna be weird riding up Romero alone with Kenny's ashes". Luckily, at 6:01am Brad shows up. We get to the Dolphin Fountain at 6:19am....nobody there. Oh well, at least I've got one person to ride with. But when we get to the Romero Trailhead a little after 7:00am all the usual suspects are there. Kim, Bill, Greg, Mike, Brian, Sammy, John, and Bob. After a little discussion we decide that the best place to let Kenny go, is at the top. Brad and Greg grunt their disapproval at having to ride all the way to the top but the group stands firm.

When we get to the top of Romero the weather is perfect. Views for miles, a nice breeze, sunny,........epic. We're not really sure what the protocol is for saying goodbye to a friend on a Mountainbike ride so Greg says an inpromptu prayer that was upbeat and heartfelt, and then we just sorta let the wind take him....... It was actually kinda neat. It didn't feel awkward or weird. A few guys had to turn around and get home but a few of us wanted to keep going so we rode across the top and down San Ysidro trail. Wow! It was awesome! We just cruised it mostly, not really pushing the pace just enjoying the views and the smells and all the flowers and lizards. We stopped and took a few pictures of this great waterfall near the bottom of the trail that only runs when there's plenty of water in the creek...very cool. Definitely, worth hiking up to with your wife and kids or girlfriend or partner or whoever, if you get the chance. When we got to the bottom of San Ysidro we still didn't want to be done, so we rode up the ridiculously steep Girard Fireroad and dropped the McMenemy trail.....Once again....awesome! Then we threw in Old Pueblo Trail and Wiman just to be sassy! We got home after 5 hours of riding and it still wasn't even lunchtime yet! Gotta love those 6:00am starts. I know it sounds early.......and it feels early when you're trying to get outta bed and it's still dark outside......but man is it worth it! I guarantee if you come out on one of these 6:00am MTB rides on a day like today you'll be hooked. I can't wait 'till we do it again!