Thursday, May 29, 2008

We Aren't Just Cyclists!

I was riding next to one very proud Carissa Horowitz last weekend as she bragged about her hubby Keith and his involvement with the Mars Phoenix Lander.

I wasn't aware that Keith Horowitz and another fellow cyclist Ron Takeda were involved in building the solar array (whatever that is) that is powering the Mars Lander.

If I understood her correctly they also went to Mission Control and were able to watch the Lander touch down on Mars where the solar array deployed flawlessly.

If you want some more details check it out on Noozhawk.

Good Job Guys, and I guess this is a reminder that you just don't know who you may be riding next to in the good ole peleton. In my case suffering next to.

Enjoy The Ride!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lonesome Chicken

Memorial Day Weekend is a time for remembering those who have served & sacrificed to protect our freedom, a time for friends & family and a time for RACING! For me this meant I was in the Bay Area participating in the Mount Hamilton Classic Road Race.

For those of you who don't know Mt. Hamilton is the big mound of dirt shadowing the east side of San Jose. The road up and over Mt. Hamilton is an incredibly thin & sinuous strip of asphalt (see photo of Navigation Screen for evidence). The actual Mt. Hamilton Road Race is a point to point race consisting of two different starting points, one on the San Jose side and the other at Isabelle Creek on the downhill side. Luckily for me, my race started a Isabelle Creek. Why lucky? Because this Chicken was flying solo this weekend meaning that once the race was over I'd be riding the course in reverse, uphill and against the wind to get back to the car. I was indeed a lonely Chicken.

As for the race itself, the course climbs steep and quick from the start followed by an even steeper and tighter descent. I was concerned that the first hill would break the group apart and I'd get caught in failing traffic in the middle. And since it was starting to drizzle, I was also concerned about the descent from a safety perspective. So I stayed in a safe position up front. There was one guy who broke away, but he didn't look the part so we let him go with no concern. Once the road flattened and straightened out we rode past the break and it was clear he was done for the day. The race started to take shape on the backside 3 mile climb. Not surprisingly, the big group started breaking up into several distinct groups with about 6 of us rolling over the top in front together. Unfortunately, with the exception of one other rider, no one was willing to work to maintain or grow the gap allowing the second group of about 12 riders to reconnect a couple of miles downhill. A couple of the late short climbs/bumps dropped a few before the course began heading downhill for the final 8 or so miles. This technical descent would drop a couple more and the constantly turning road made it difficult to pass. Coming around a turn with less than two miles to go I could see that the rider two in front of me had lost the wheel in front. The guy in front of me apparently saw the same thing and we both were trying hard to get past, but the rider falling off was all over the road. Finally, I had a seam on the inside and took it. I was in full-on chase mode, but running out of runway. I re-connected with two turns to go and before the bridge that precedes finish in about 11th position. On the way out that morning, I had noticed that there was a broad shoulder after the bridge. I decided to make good use of the early morning reconnaissance passing 6 riders comfortably on the inside and feelin' good. Now 4th wheel with 200M to go I jumped on the pedals and noticed that the front three guys were all on the same San Jose Cycling Team. The guy in 3rd yelled "Flyer" as I started to pass and he started pushing me further outside while the guy in first moved hard left to the yellow line while the guy in second went uncontested for the win. The guys that blocked me caused me to "touch" the breaks ("wuss") allowing a few riders to pass putting me across the line in 7th place. Less than 20 yards separated the top 10 riders. While a little frustrated by the block I was impressed with the way the San Jose guys worked selflessly together to get the win. All in all it was a blast! I was happy that I had made the long drive up to race. That is until I remembered that I had to turn the bike around and ride back up to Isabelle Creek.

Suffice it to say that I had a lot of material for the Memorial Day BBQ. Hopefully next year, I won't be doing a Chicken Solo Act and I'll get to do the full up & over course.

Good Times!

To see photos of the Mount Hamilton Course click the following link: For a description of each slide click the bottom of the the photograph.

Dan Rudd

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Barry Wolf Crit

Chicken Ranchers,

just a quick note about my 30+ 3/4 race at the Barry Wolfe crit in
Canoga Park on sunday.

This turned out to be quite a fun and really fast crit and it would be cool to do this as a team race in the future.

The Fast Friday team was in full force with at least 8 riders in the field (out of about 50). I figured the winner would come out of their group and made it my strategy to get into every break I could that had Fast Friday riders in it.

About 20 minutes into the race I thought I had made it into “the break” because it had FOUR Fast Friday riders plus me and 1 other rider, and we got a pretty good gap on the field.

But those 4 Fast Friday riders just couldn’t get it going fast enough (and so much for the rest of their team blocking) ‘cause the field caught us after a few minutes. Seemed like a golden opportunity squandered. But oh well.

The race ended with a field sprint and I got 12th...I obviously still have to work on staying near the front of the field in the furious run up to the sprint. And funny enough it turns out Fast Friday did not win the race.

See ya soon,

News Press Clippings From Esquire

think maybe we should post the Friday Newspress clippings on the Blog since so few people actually subscribe to the Newspress. Here it is below (with the Platinum stuff scrubbed out) Please note the inclusion of Matt’s “quad-fecta” phrase that is not to be found in any dictionary; I was bummed they omitted my attempted outing of Robert as “Don Keeballs”):


“Local cyclists had a banner weekend with several top finishes, with women road cyclists traveling to a stage race in Kern County and mountain bikers of both genders tearing it up close to home at the prestigious Santa Ynez Valley National Presented by Platinum Performance.

The Santa Ynez extravaganza, one of the biggest mountain biking events in the nation, drew thousands of cyclists and spectators to a sweltering four days of action at Charlotte's Meadow. Top cyclists came from all over, and members of the Chicken Ranch Cycling Team and Team Platinum Performace made sure that plenty of the hardware stayed in Santa Barbara County.

For Chicken Ranch, first place finishes were taken by Sue Fish in the 50+ Sport Women's race and by Mike Abbot in the Downhill Sport Clydesdale 35+ race.

In Cross Country for Chicken Ranch, Robert Ramirez was third in Sport 40-44; John Nygren third in Beginner 35-39; Jackson Sproul third in Junior Boys 12-Under; Brad Brown fourth in Beginner 45-49 (behind a couple of Pro and ex-Pro road cyclists); Seth Sproul fifth in Sport 30-34; Mike Abbot fifth in Sports Clydesdale 35+; Brian Bermudes eighth in Sport 30-34; Pete Sproul ninth in Expert 35-39 (despite having to change a flat tire mid-race); and Craig Zimmerman ninth in Sport 40-44. Mike Abbot, racing the quad-fecta over the weekend, also took 2nd in the Sport 40+ Dual Slalom race and 5th in the Open Men 40+ Super D.

• The Kern County Women's Stage Race also endured hot temperatures last weekend -- topping over 100 degrees -- in four stages over three days: a 10-mile time trial on Friday, a 50-mile road race on Saturday morning and 13-mile uphill time trial on Saturday afternoon, and a different 50-mile road race on Sunday morning.

Among Chicken Ranch women, Susie "Podium Girl" Willett took second place overall in Category 3 after winning the opening time trial and placing second in each of the following stages. Kim Turner finished sixth overall, including a fourth place in the opening time trial.”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Can You Name This Dynamic Duo?

I think FRS is kicking off a new marketing campaign and brought back the infamous Bartles & Jaymes. I could be wrong, so please chime in with your guess as to who this dyamic duo is! Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Santa Ynez Valley National Mountain Bike Race

Well another Firestone (or SYVNMBS) in the books. First off, let me just say how glad I was to be racing at 8 am after pre-riding the course on Friday from 1-2:30 pm. Ouch.

Showed up around 7, got my usual 15 minute warm up in and then stood at the starting line for another 10-15 minutes. My legs had been feeling good and I’d been riding well and was really hoping to crack the top 5 this time around. I was feeling even better about that when I didn’t see Todd at the starting line. Already moved up one place before the race even started! I did notice a number of guys who I’d never seen before who looked pretty fast. Gun went off and people took off at the usual smoking pace. I settled in about mid pack, 10th or so. Kept this position for a while then moved up a couple of spots about half way through the first lap. I could see a good sized group of about 5-7 guys from my category about 25 seconds ahead of me going into the second to last climb. Held this steady through that climb then started the second to last down hill on the far end of the course. Right near the bottom there was a dip that was fairly rutted, not very narrow ruts but I managed to go from one to the other while kind of turning my handlebar a bit and partially rolled my tire. Went from about 28 lbs of pressure to 20 or less. I was thinking I would be fine if I could just get up the last hill, down and through the start/finish then to Ramirez who was feeding Matt and I. All I could think of was adding air in the shade (it was probably high 90’s by now and I was a little warm). I was pretty bummed as I had ridden pretty under control and I knew guys were going to start blowing. I (barely) survived through the start/finish where Matt caught up to me. We rode up the little start hill together and he dropping in first to the dh with the berm at the bottom. Good thing because if I’d been in front I would have taken us both out. My tire rolled again and I went straight over the berm into a pile. Got up took out my co2, struggled mightily to get it to function (amazing what o2 debt and 100 degree temps will do to your mind). Finally did and got the tire back to normal. I was pretty bummed by this time and was sitting probably in 15th or so. Decided to keep plugging away, got new bottles from Ramirez, handed him my 5 lb multitool I forgot to remove from my bike before the race and was off for lap two. 10 minutes later I found I had jinxed Matt as he was walking down the first dh with a totally blown front tire. Bummer ‘cause he was on way to at least a top 3 finish and was riding well. I started to feel better as the lap went on and passed a ton of guys. I knew I was going well when I caught up with Ron Takeda, who had passed me earlier, and went flying by him. I kept telling myself that I was going to catch guys that were blowing. I ended up passing quite a few guys including a number from my group in the last two miles, finished strong in 9thand felt good about my race despite the tire issue.

That night as I was lying in bed it kind of hit me how stupid it was to keep riding and not fix my tire right away. I could have lost 45 seconds instead of 2-5 minutes from all the super slow riding I was forced to do with the flat tire over the last couple of miles. Douh!!

Headed back over on Sunday to watch Jackson and my brother race. They both had great races with Jackson actually beating half of the kids he started with and riding really strong taking 3rd in the 12 and under category. My brother, Seth, had his best race since the early 1990’s when he used to beat me and finished 5th in Sport 30-34. Nice job to all the other CR’s out there on Sunday, especially iron man Mike Abbott who raced every event that was available to him!

See you all soon.


Sea To Summit

While there were thin wheelin' Chickens riding in Bakersfield & Modesto and fat-wheelin' Chickens riding in the Santa Ynez Valley, there were a few "Not-so-smart Chickens" sweatin' at the Sea to Summit event in Ventura & Kern Counties. For those of you who don't know, Sea-to Summit is an annual cycling event that starts close to sea level in Ventura and finishes 87 miles later atop the 8, 327' summit cul-de-sac of Mt. Pinos for a total elevation gain of 12,000'. Our very own Testrider, Ben Edwards talked me into participating in this year's Sea-to-Summit and I felt the neighborly thing to do was to extend the same invitation to our newest Santa Barbara resident, Randy Tinney.

The day started on a good note in that it was actually cool at roll-out. The question bouncing around the big group of riders on the way to Ojai was "how long would it stay cool?" And, "do you think we'll make it over Big Pine Summit before the heat kicks in?" These questions were answered with great clarity less than hour in and by the time we reached the tunnels on Hwy. 33. It was officially "HOT" and "No", we wouldn't reach Big Pine Summit, Rose Valley or even the Ranger Station before it turned hot! As the climb to Rose Valley always does, it broke the big front group of riders up into many smaller groups including a lead break of five. By the time we reached the Rose Valley turn-off I realized that the theme of the day was not so much about who would finish first, but one of survival. Who was going to hydrate right and survive the heat, elevation gain and altitude? After grabbing some fresh beverages at Rose Valley, we reconnected with the second pack where we settled into a nice tempo in a safe position off the front while dropping a few off the back. Our support crew extraordinaire of one, Elda, exchanged our bottles at Big Pine Summit before Randy and I rolled over into the highlight of the day - the big descent to Lockwood Valley! The view was epic (see photo), as was the descent. Randy put his 53:11 into to gear and was hooting & hollerin' while he sling-shot us down the 12 mile slope. We passed the group that left the summit before us like they were standing still. That would be the last we would see of them on this day. Unfortunately, the turn onto Lockwood Valley Road would be the end of the good times. All I had heard about this course was in relation to the the two big climbs of Big Pine and Mt. Pinos. No one ever mentioned anything about Lockwood Valley which shouldn't be called a valley at all because the steepest climbs of the day hit us in the face in this so-called "valley". As did the hottest part of the day and the stiffest winds. Randy pointed out on several occasions that "this isn't very fun" and that "I was a very bad person for getting him involved in this thing". The relentless combination of heat & elevation gain was showing its' toll by the ever-thinning group of riders and a leg cramp that made Ben scream like a school girl at American Idol. Luckily for Ben, "Elda-matic" was stationed a 100 yards uphill with the requisite fluids, electrolytes and food in hand. Ben shook off the cramp and cranked out the rest of the ride. The ride concluded with the 14 miles ascent of Mt. Pinos. While the climb isn't too steep, it is relentless in that it never gives you a break. After a watermelon slice hand-off and a cold water dousing I got into a nice groove and caught the guy in front me only to have to stop and massage out a case of "hot foot" that hurt so bad that I thought my feet were going to explode. A minute later I was back on the bike and pedaling strong for what I was told was the last 2 miles, but turned out to be 3.5. As I came around the final turn the guy in front came into sight and I instinctively jumped on the pedals Although I didn't have near enough runway to catch the guy, I was happy I had the legs to finish with a strong uphill sprint and to hear I was the 4th to finish. Since the theme of the day had been "heat", you can imagine my surprise to find the summit parking lot flanked with packs of snow.

I can tell you that the Sea-to-Summit course is beautiful, but in the heat it is the toughest 87 miles I've ever ridden on the road. Despite the challenge, I have a feeling I'll be out there again next year if it doesn't overlap with a race that actually counts. Randy, are you in???

Good Times. Thanks Ben - I think...

PHOTOS (Click on photo bottom for description):
Dan Rudd

Ben added his .02

Great report Dan... and spot on, except you left out one part. As I started fading after mile 50 and a hill named "Heartbreak" that happened to be in the "Valley" Dan reeled me in. We traded pulls through the rest of the valley, but as we hit the slopes of Mt. Pinos Dan's tempo was too much for me and he sailed away to his fourth place. I was barely moving at this point and past by a few guys that may or may not have been on recumbents. I ended up 8th, thanks mainly to Elda's impromptu support of a Chicken in distress. Watermelon is without a doubt the greatest on bike food and may soon be a banned substance.

With all that said I will definitely be riding Sea to Summit next year... I hope Dan, Randy, and I have some more Chickens to share the pulls in Lockwood "Valley"!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Santa Ynez Valley Classic Photos

John Goodman is once again kind enough to share his photos with us. I pulled out all the Chicken Ranchers (and one Nick Davis photo)from his gallery and low and behold I came to the conclusion we may not receive a race report from one Mr. Matt Benko. Pete, you are looking good, maybe we can get a report out of you. Check em out!

Modesto Race Report!

MODESTO Race Report - 5/17 & 5/18

Because we too felt the need to race in ridiculously hot weather, Ken and I headed up to Modesto early Saturday morning for the Modesto Crit that day and for the Modesto Road Race the next morning. I followed Ken and his girlfriend Brooke in my car since we couldn’t all fit in either Ken’s truck or my car. We made good time getting to Paso Robles, and then stopped to pick up some breakfast of champions at McDonalds, the ideal place for all of your pre-race nutritional needs.

Soon after, as we’re driving, I see Ken’s driver’s side door crack open and what’s left of a jumbo-sized cup of iced coffee is poured out onto the ground. A short while later the door cracks open again and another beverage gets poured out. I’m thinking that Ken and Brooke did not much care for their McDonalds beverages. A short while later the door cracks open again and another beverage gets poured out.

At this point I start to wonder just how many drinks they had gotten from McDonalds. And then it dawns on me that these aren’t beverages at all. After a quick cell phone call to Ken I get confirmation that Ken’s truck had been converted into mobile porta-a-potty. So you can imagine my irritation because I had to pee quite bad by this point and here’s Ken voiding his bladder all over the central valley with the help of his girlfriend to steer the truck. It was clearly an unfair advantage that he seized on, and I viewed it as a personal attack on my own right to pee at some point during the almost 4-hour stretch from Paso to Modesto. But Ken was kind enough to stop in Fresno with me, and for that I’m appreciative.

We arrived in plenty of time for the crit in Modesto to get “warmed up”, which is a funny term when it’s over 100 degrees out. The course was fast and flat and wound through downtown Modesto with two 90-degree rights, then a left, then 3 more rights. It was actually a fun course with the only notable detraction being all of the traffic dots on the road. Guys started attacking from the gun, and soon into the race you could just feel the heat beating down on you. Ken and I both felt light-headed once or twice during the race. None of the attacks stayed away. Ken did a nice job holding position toward the front and I was in conservation mode until moving up toward the front with about 5 laps to go. The usual swarming happened on the final lap and I couldn’t quite hold my position in the front group of riders.

As we sprinted toward the finish line Ken was 3 riders ahead of me, and we finished in 12th and 15th. Not a great result, but glad to have survived it. All I could do right after the race was just sit in the car with the A/C on for about 5 minutes. By then my heart rate had come down to below 120.

We had a delightful time in Salida (town just north of Modesto) on Satuday night where our hotel was. Dinner at Tahoe Joe’s was good (packed with lots of Salida locals), though Ken said that his salmon had an unpleasant plastic flavor. I’m not sure how Ken knows what plastic tastes like, but I took his word for it and figure that if we ever go to Tahoe Joe’s again I’ll avoid ordering the salmon.

After a good night’s rest and some time at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast (complete with waffle iron and waffle batter which we partook of), we headed out to the road race.

Starting the race on Sunday morning before the heat had arrived was such a relief. The road race was a 54-mile course comprised of 6, 9-mile laps. The course was, in a word, flat. I think the grade jumped to 1 degree one time as we went over a creek bed. So this is what it feels like to race a crit for over 2 hours.

Lots of attacks, but nothing stayed away. It was all pointing to a field sprint at the end. Ken held great position during the race, doing very little work but staying in the top 10 riders. With under 2k to go I was in 3rd or 4th wheel and Ken was on my wheel.

As guys pulled off I realized I was going to get to the front too soon and I knew Ken was pretty much right behind me. So I drove it as hard as I could for as long as I could and then came the swarm of guys. With about 500 meters to go Ken gets bumped off of the road into the gravel section on the shoulder but manages to stay upright and keep in the sprint.

With 200 meters to go he was in 4th and accelerated past a couple guys to finish in 2nd place….he missed first by half a wheel. He probably would have won if not for going into the gravel. But it was an amazing save by him and a great recovery. For Ken’s hard fought 2nd place, he won a t-shirt and 5 crumpled-up one dollar bills that the local country-yocal organizer fished out of the depths of his overalls that probably hadn’t been washed in weeks (if ever). Way to go, Ken. You might want to send your cash prize through the washing machine with some Lysol. (As for me I finished back a ways.)

After getting cleaned up at the hotel and getting a bite to eat at Burger King (the ideal place for all of your post-race nutritional needs), we headed home. Evidently the mobile porta-a-potty was closed on the way home, so thankfully we were all ready to stop at Starbucks in Kettlemen City. As always, race weekends are a blast. Looking
forward to the next adventure.


Brad Brown In Santa Ynez

This is Bradford (aka Bad Brad) Brown's first attempt at an abbreviated race report. What a beautiful day it was in Santa Ynez. No flies, just heat. Lots of heat.

My race preparation started Saturday night and ended at 12:30 a.m. Sunday Morning. I'll just let your imaginations go wild on that one. Anyway, I got at least 3.5 hours of sleep before throwing the trusty old Santa Cruz Blur onto the bike rack and heading to Santa Ynez by 6:45 a.m..... I made the obligatory coffee stop and still arrived in time to register and race.

After registering, I warmed up for 10 minutes, or less, and headed to the Start Line to hang out and talk with my fellow group 237 ers (aka Beginner Men XC age 45 - 49). Our race started at 8:36 am and it ended for me about 1 hour and 7 minutes later, give or take a few tenths of a second.

The start was just fine and didn't prove to be troublesome, but the first and longest winding hill just about killed me. I was maybe in third place as our group approached the first hill and I was spinning with a comfortable cadence. At 1/3 of the way up the hill, I began to overheat badly. My head felt like on oven in the "self clean" cycle and throbbed from the blood coursing through my brain with each heart beat. My chest swelled and my legs jellowed (sorry for that Jelly). I thought for sure I was done and would never make the crest of the first hill. I was cursing myself for the activities just a few hours earlier.

So I slowed down a few clicks and I was instantly passed by what seemed to be most of my 237 group pals. Ouch!!!! As each rider passed me, it became abundantly clear I might actually finish last. But I wasn't done so I kept climbing. As I crested that first hill I slowly began feeling better and by the last half of the race I was feeling pretty good.

Slowly but surely I kept overtaking my 237 pals. One by one I knocked them down on the climbs. I even climbed some hills in my middle chain ring and I still don't know where I got that energy.

Fast forward to the finish. By the time I approached the finish area I had no idea where I would place. I was just pretty sure it wouldn't be LAST. I pushed myself hard on the long flat stretch to the finish as I had passed a 237 fellow a mile or so back who was stuck behind a slower rider. The other 237er looked a lot stronger than me and I just assumed he bonked. However, I knew that when I passed him I'd get his juices flowing and that's exactly what happened. As I rounded the hairpin turn to the finish line I could feel him behind me breathing down my neck. I sprinted to the finish with everything I had. About 50 feet from the finish a tire appeared to my left. I instantly knew I was in trouble. As the course narrowed to the finish line I extended my left elbow out and leaned left to push the attacker into the fence. It didn't work. The attacker blew by me at the last possible second and took a 3rd place finish from me. Now that is what I call fun. I ended the race in 4th and earned my first every medal.

Take care fellow Ranchers and we'll see you at the next race.

Bradford Brown

Kern Final Day! (yes, its finally over)

Thanks Kim for the great reporting! It was a well run race with stunning scenery throughout Kern County (farms, rivers, dude ranches, one room schoolhouses and my personal favorite was the start and finish at the old cemetery).

Kim and I had a great weekend of racing (as reported) and the end of the last race is where I'll to fill you in. Our break of 7 in the 2nd lap continued for a bit until the first big hill. Kim and I had hatched our plan for the final climb to keep my ranking high and perhaps give the girl in 1st a good run, but the heat and hill climb were a bit much. Now down to five, we worked together to lengthen our lead. On the first downhill however, my bike began to vibrate with a high pitch whine so I had to pull over and check it over. All seemed secure so I rode away into a fast chase to get back on. Our follow vehicle let the girls know I had a mechanical and they spun easy to let me catch back on. We worked together again, but I would sit on the back on any descents in case of more issues. The lead girl was paying attention and really hammered it on the last long (and fastest) descent. My bike was whining so loud I made the other riders nervous so it was impossible to catch her on the downhill into the straightaway. She rode off into the sunset (I mean up the final climb) and I was happy with 3rd for the stage knowing that the girl who took 2nd really worked hard and had no time on me.

We washed down with the cattle hose, drank another 80 gallons of water and enjoyed the awards ceremony. Glad to be home...time to get some well-deserved rest.


Kids Race!

Jed, thanks for keeping us posted on the future of the sport.

Well, Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers along with Shimano, hosted the Kid’s Race up at Firestone, or whatever Mike Hecker is calling it now.

The race got off to a speedy start with the 2 and under age group, one kid being pushed in a stroller by dear old dad. The heat got to all after the first lap, so we called it a race, and all got 1st place. Next came up the 4 through 6 year olds, and being led by some women pros, went the 2 lap distance. There was a nasty crash in the first turn, but all got up smiling and pushed on. There were 6 kids in this group, and judging by the looks and tears, they all had a tough race, but all came out on top with first places. Lining up next were the 7 to 10 year olds, and by then, the pros were getting tired. Boy were they sorry they volunteered for this gig. These kids came tearing out of the gate with determination in their faces. We sent them off for 3 laps, but the two first places, tied to the finish didn’t stop. They kept going, round and round, neither one giving up ground to the other. The race officials finally had to pull them off the track, both taking first place in the process. All the kid’s took home a shirt, a water bottle and a 1st place medal. We all missed Sam Schaffer’s kid’s, I think last year they took first place.

In other news, MIKE ABBOTT needs to write report. It’ll be a long one, as he Raced the downhill on Saturday taking first, then raced the Dual Slalom, taking I think 4th. Toady he raced the crosscountry, taking 4th, and as I was leaving, (I was beat hosting the kid’s race), he was lining up for the Super D.

Jed Hirsch

Bakersfield "The Final Day!"

The race reports are fast and furious these days. I'm just posting them as they come in. Great Job B Teamers! So read em all and leave some comments!

Hi all!

So today's race was scheduled to be 75 miles of hilly terrain (for those of you who raced way-back-when (I didn't, but I learned this from Mark Fennel's blog)--this is the old Woody course that they used to use for
the so-cal championships). There was about 2000 feet of climbing per
25 mile lap. However, due to a concensus among the 3s, with a brutal forecast for today (over 100 yet again), the race was shortened to 2 laps. So instead we had 50 miles with 4000 feet climb.

The race started on a neutral, because one of our field was in the port-a-potty, and seeing as we were in a nice mood, we started slow till she caught up! Once the race got underway, one of the girls in non-contention went to work attacking from the get-go. It made for a fun race. The course is a really fun one--almost the right combination of rollers, the best descents you could ever want, and lots of climbing. The descents were as fun as I remembered from last year, and I again managed to top my previous in-race top speed (53mph) on the fastest of them. (the new bike is speedy...) Unfortunately the climbing was just a bit too much for my non-climber self, and I got shelled on the first big hill. I caught a lot of people, though, until I was most certain that only 5 were in front of me. Unfortunately those five were speedy climbers, and there was no way I was catching them! And the folks behind me were too tired to do any work to add much, so I had over
25 miles solo ahead of me. The good news is, that Susie was in this
break! Susie will have to add her own race report to tell about what
went on there, but from what I heard, even with a mechanical, she still finished strong, and got 3rd in the stage, preserving her 2nd in GC. I held my 6th in GC as well.

We had a ton of fun. We stayed around for the awards ceremony, which for this race is quite extensive. Not only did we both take home cash, but Susie won a CLOCK for winning the TT, and even the LAST place finishers in each category get awards (the RED LANTERNS). It is a Velo Bob race, after all, so we all got t-shirts as well.

So there you have it. Another Kern women's stage race behind us. I think the Chickens were well represented. And Susie will be a 2 before we know it! She doesn't believe me...but I say, add up the points!
(really, Congrats, Susie--you had a fabulous race)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bakersfield Day 2

Hi all,

Here are the day 2 highlights. Susie is doing awesome!

Susie and I had a good road race this morning. We were both able to
collect some bonus points on the intermediate lap sprints, and Susie
finished 2nd. I had a great position going into the final climb, and
had a ton of momentum going into the sprint, but I got pinched off, and
don't quite have my normal sprint aggression going, so I had to sit up
and be content with 6th. Knowing we had the hillclimb in the afternoon,
no one went crazy. We protected our positions in GC and were still 1st
and 4th.

The hillclimb was just plain hard. It was the main selector of this
race. As most of you know, I'm not really a climber, especially this
year, and it showed. It was over 100 at the start of the climb, again
today (someone said yesterday's TT was 112 degrees), and so that didn't
help. Susie had a great climb, but unfortunately the girl who was 2nd
in GC after stage 2, who is 18 and wears a kit advertising Dewars (I
found that amusing), was superfast and managed to win by enough to put
Susie in 2nd in both the stage and GC. I got 7th, and am now in 6th in
GC. Did I mention I wasn't a climber this year??? Thankfully we
didn't get heatstroke (there was at least one victim of heatstroke at
the top of the climb, shivering and lying by the side of the
road--although I heard later she did recover fully), and managed to keep
pretty hydrated.

Anyway, we have tomorrow's hilly road race we'll see how
that goes. I'm hoping I feel better after a night of sleep! Susie has
over 5 minutes on the girl in 3rd (did I mention how fast Susie is on
the uphill?), so we shouldn't have to do anything too heroic to protect
her GC spot, and maybe we can work on moving her back into 1st.

now relegated to domestique, Kimberly

Bakin In Bakersfield, or Bacon In Bakersfield Day 1

Hi all!

Just wanted to check in from the depths of h*ll (or wait, is that just
Bakersfield, CA) to report on the women Chickens representing here at
the Kern Co. Women's Stage race.
The good news is that I survived the first day of my second Kern.

I am kind of tired and still dehydrated (even after drinking 1 recovery
drink, 2 water bottles, 5 gatorades, about 5 glasses of water at dinner,
and 2 diet cokes (ok, so the diet coke didn't help, but it sure tasted
good...). It was the worst I have ever felt on a bike. The temperature
was well over 100, although I'm not sure how much! I didn't really want
to know. And it was windy, too. The wind was so hot, however, that it
felt like being in a convection oven (I can only assume that's what
being baked feels like). Although on a good note, I accomplished the

1. Finished.
2. Didn't throw up (came mighty close though)
3. Didn't blow up/pass out/ride off the road
4. Achieved my max heart rate at the finish (201)
5. Ran a higher avg. heart rate than I thought previously possible
without blowing up... (189-my threshold is 167)
6. First time I felt like was racing in a sauna (devil's punchbowl last
year was close though)
7. Didn't drop my chain this year!
8. Got 4th.

And on a great note, Susie won the TT, and is sitting in 1st
place!!!! She remarked to me (before she found out she won, mind you),
"On a scale from one to ten, this race was a zero,"
to which I replied,
"Zero, you're being too nice, it's definitely a negative 10,"
to which she said "you WOULD say something like that, being the engineer,"
to which I think I actually started TALKING about negative numbers! I
really was beat. get the idea.

She has a tad over a minute on me, and with us sitting in 1st and 4th,
we'll have our work cut out for us tomorrow. Tomorrow we have a 50 mile
RR in the morning (with 7 time bonus opportunities), and a 13 mile
Gibraltar-style hillclimb in the afternoon. We'll work hard to
represent Team Chicken Ranch, at least until we drop from heat exhaustion!

Good luck to all you chickens racing Mountain Bikes this weekend! I
hope the heat spares you a little...our forecast up here is not kind.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike To Work Week!

The tenth annual Bike Week is coming this May!
Since 1999, we have brought everybody an increasingly robust Bike Week of great bicycling events. This year many of our activities are returning —Bike to School Day, Bike to Work Day, a Ride of Silence, Bike Week Celebration, and two presentations at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Check out details below and mark your calendars. New 2008 events will be added, and they will appear here as they are finalized.

Get Out And Enjoy The Ride!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Monday Night Time Trial Course

We have chosen a new course for the Monday Night Time Trial which should be safer. This should alleviate some of the problems which include starting and finishing onCathedral Oaks Road and the difficult turn and quick U-turn on the south side of Glen Annie Road.The course is still 10 miles. It begins at the parking lot at Stow Canyon park on Los Caneros Road. We proceed north to Cathedral Oaks and turn right heading East for 1.3miles and do a turnaround in the lefthand turn lane at Santa Margarita Road. This is the last street just before Fairview where the median strip begins. We proceed West, then up and down Glen Annie Road . The top is 5.4 miles from the start. We then continue up the DosPueblos hill and proceed to the turnaround at the indicator for a “stop sign ahead”. This is the turnaround which is marked with a circle.It is approximately 20 meters short of the actual stop sign.We then proceed East for approximately 1.3 miles tothe finish. Make a right turn at the DosPueblos traffic light and finish one block further at the marked finish line. This is marked on the right and the left sideof the road. This is just at the entrance to the Dos Pueblos high school parking lot. We will then join together in the parking lot at Dos Pueblos.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brett Does Bakersfield!

Hi Everyone

My first race as a cat 4 didn't turn out as I had planed. I got off to
a good start, the climb on the first lap was fast but I hung in the
with the lead group. On the descent I fell off for a bit (I need to
gain some weight) but I was able to get back on. Near the bottom of
the decent we were going about 38-40 mph. The guy in front / side of
me decided to cut to the right abruptly taking out my front wheel, and
down I went.

At first I thought I was dead, but when I gathered myself and saw a
second group of guys coming straight at me, I new I was probably still
alive. I got back on my bike and went at my own pace for a couple
minutes to assess the damage. Realizing I didn't have any broken
bones, I decided to finish off the next 10 mi and call it a day.

Then a group of 5 riders came up on me and told me to get on, so I did.
We kept up a good pace and before we knew it we had the lead group in
sight. We got into a pace line and managed to catch them right before
the start/finish. I told myself if we caught them I would stay on and
finish the race. My body had other idea's. After the feed zone the
pain really set in on my hip and knee. I started feeling a little
blurry in the head and decided to pull off for the safety of others.

Synopsis: Me, lots of road rash and a bruised rib. Bike minor scraps
and damage. Kit, completely destroyed, cracked helmet. And in the
tradition of race crash photos, my wife included the one below. (funny,
I don't look as happy as Druber did)

All in all, it could have been worse and I am very lucky. See you guys
out there soon.


Brett Harrison

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 13th City Council Meeting, BE THERE!

Dear Trail Users.

Some of questions we have been hearing are; what is the status of our trails and what effect will the recommendations have. The rec's, in a nutshell will help establish a trail management program that includes: at least one trail management position, establish better trail conditions, more education and signage, and very importantly no restriction of trail use for cyclists or others unless future surveys and studies prove necessary.

How to make the rec's a reality- Staff tells us that the City Council and Board of Supervisors will only fund this if they feel there is support from the community. That is why you need to attend and let them know that you are willing to make the rec's a reality. With a small budget they know that it is going to be the trail users themselves that bring this to life.

The Santa Barbara City Council will hold a special hearing to hear a presentation from the Task Force next Tuesday, May 13th at 6pm. There will be public comment at the beginning of this meeting and following the presentation- probably 1/2 hour long. What we are afraid of is if this fails, aside from loss of a good management plan is these same hearings about eliminating cyclists taking place in another 5 years or so.

*Although there has been a date set for the Board of Supervisors to act on these recommendations, because of the format, comment from the public may have little or no effect on the outcome. We have sent a letter of support for the Rec's to the Supervisors, more about the BOS as that time approaches.

Pass the word- Pass the attached flyer,

The Multiuse Trails Coalition Board,

Dave Everett, Dorothy Littlejohn, Cort Flinchbaugh

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Commute Challenge!

Rick Martz is throwing down a challenge to all you cyclists out there;

So in doing my part for Earth's health, I decided one Thursday (the boss gave us a half-day) to commute home on the ole mtn bike ... and I mean old, a good old circa 80's USA steel bike, Fat Chance, built in Mass (all 30 lbs of her). ... well, enjoy the view (the Cachuma shot is now my desktop for this week!), it was 4 hrs and 20 minutes with a nice stop at the somethin' somethin' market on HWY 246 ... I was WAY happy to see Refugio Canyon Road backside after some supper-duper SWEET downhill from Broadcast Peak, seriously! Go ride it!

I hope y'all will do a commute this month, no matter how far! I am!


Friday, May 2, 2008

Volunteer Or Help At The Santa Ynez Valley Classic

The biggest Mountain Bike Race of the year is coming up in just 2 weeks. Tons of help is needed, so please read below and if you can help it would be greatly appreciated

Two weeks and counting until the largest celebration of mountain biking on the Central Coast, the 9th Annual Santa Ynez Valley Classic presented by Platinum Performance starts on May 15th, and we need your continued help and support. All the action takes place at the newly formed Stump Grinder Dirt Club, or the SGDC, off Zaca Station Rd., just north of Los Olivos.

We have plenty of opportunities for you to help, starting (continuing) this weekend with the continued work on our ever expanding trail network (even tomorrow, Friday if anyone can make it). We need to complete the addition of over a dozen new “features” to the new DH run, rake cut weeds and grass from the 11.47 mile SGDC XC course, and tackle the building of a new Pump Track within the confines of Charlotte’s Meadow. We will be there the following weekend as well. Remember after we work in the morning you’re free to ride in the afternoon. Please consider joining us, and if you do decide to show up please bring your own tools, as while the SGDC has some tools if we get a great turnout we’ll run out. Also bring your bike and lunch. Hours both Saturday and Sunday are 8 AM to 12 PM to work (please be prompt) and from Noon to 4 PM to ride.

This a great way for all of you racers that have been asking me to let you pre-ride to do it.

Another opportunity will be Thursday the 8th with our annual Moto Day, if you have a 4 stroke motorcycle please join in on the fun of breaking in the XC and new Super D courses. Hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM, only responsible riders please. We have a cap of 15 riders.

Then the week of the race our staff will be there Monday through Wednesday setting up the courses, we’ll need help with that as well.

But the big question mark every year is how many event volunteers will make it come race weekend? We need a lot of people to run this event smoothly. This year we’ll have a special volunteer raffle that will dole out some awesome schwag like a Nite Rider Light, Kenda tires and dinner for two at the Vineyard House in Santa Ynez, in addition to the norms of shirts and food to every race weekend volunteer. Free camping for volunteers and their families too.

So while I know that most of you receiving this email pay the SGDC staff and myself props “for all you do” and I appreciate that, I can’t do this by myself. So if you or someone you know can spare some time in the next three weeks (we need people to help with clean up too) please forward this email or use the Volunteer Button on the home page and let us know that you want to help us be of service to this awesome sport. You can also contact our Volunteer Director Kim Lyons at

To tie this up, I just want you all to know that it is truly my pleasure to provide this great event to all of you, and I hope that you continue to attend and have a great time!

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

PS. NO HALF LAPS THIS YEAR! Also, Pro Women XC racer Krista Park of Team Kenda will be hosting a Women’s XC Clinic at no charge on Saturday the 10th @ the SGDC! To sign up please email