Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chicken Ranch's Year In Review, Sort of!

This is the time of year that all those year in review stories hit the airwaves.

Why should we be any different?

We celebrated a State Champion, enjoyed many a fun ride and the trash talk never stopped, but below were some of the highlights or maybe low lights of 09.

In 2008, our Team Leader used a very unusual form of cross training,

2009 wasn't any different. Mr. Chicken Ranch aka (The Mutant or LJ) used a strange secret training method.

He even forced his children in to doing this irrational form of training (notice the look of pain on young Benko)

Matt, if you are going to go for a secret training ride, make sure the papparazi aren't following you.

2009 also saw Blingerman and his cycling accessories become so hot he had to start moonlighting. I hope you all received your invitation to The Best of Bling!

In 2009, there was a rumor circulating that I did not do any racing. Below is photographic evidence that those rumors were false. Good Job Patrick!

Last but not least I have never received an answer to the question "What is Dave doing to Blingerman in this photo?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks for the memories boys and girls and if anyone has anything to add, please email me or just share your 09 thoughts in the comment section.

Enjoy the Ride!

Nice Ride, Nice Kits!

Hello Everyone,

I've probably seen the the sunrise from Gibralter Road well over 100 times but I'll tell ya it never fails to "wow" me. The views on our MTB ride today were absolutely spectacular. We're so spoiled to live in such a beautiful place and lucky that we're healthy enough to take advantage of the terrific riding opportunities that are right outside our doors. Too cool.

Little smaller turnout today but we had a solid group and had another great ride on the front country trails. I think a few people were tired from doing the Thacher loop on Saturday and opted to take it easy today. It's all good.

Hope you're all enjoying the new kits. I know I'm stoked. The new shorts are definitely a major upgrade and look great, and I think the White kits turned out really nice as well. When I first saw them in the bag I wasn't sure, but seeing them on the road I really like 'em! I know some people expressed concerns about sizing. If you feel like your kit just won't work, option 1 would be to try and exchange with Dave for a different size. We did buy extra kits. Option 2 would be to express your concerns to Dave in writing and if we have a number of people with sizing issues, he can forward those concerns to Garneau and they may be willing to replace some items if necessary. Option 3 would be to call Robert Ramirez's home phone and leave a really long and nasty message on his answering machine insulting his manhood and questioning his sexuality. It won't fix your problem, but it might make you feel a little better.

Please remember that noone is making money off of the kits. Dave puts a lot of time and effort into ordering, organizing and distributing the kits as well as fronting the $30,000.00 necessary to place this order and he doesn't make a dime. In addition, everyone of the sponsors on the jersey is also one of your teammates and they not only bought their kits just like you. But they also put in extra money just so that we can all do fun team events throughout the year and support local bike friendly organizations. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the names on the jerseys aren't just big companies, they're actually your friends and riding buddies. So here's a list of our 2010 sponsors and the riders attached to them.

Fastrack Bicycles Dave Lettieri
The Towbes Group Craig Zimmerman
SB Aircraft Management Bill McBride
COCOON Jeff Bermant
Howell, Moore, & Gough Joe Howell and Kim McDaniel
Jed Hirsch Construction Jed Hirsch
WORKSHOP Architecture Mark Wienke
David Jurist Construction David Jurist
TELEGRAPH Brewing Co. John Nygren
Meridian Group Robert Ramirez

Please support these companies when you can, and when you wear your jersey, which hopefully is often. Be a nice person...........have fun........ and smile a lot!

Thanks so much for joining this group and I look forward to riding with all of you in the coming months.



Ride 12-06-09


I have to say that was one of the best rides we've ever done. We discovered new trails. Re-discovered old trails and had a blast while getting our butts kicked by some of the steepest climbs imaginable and, as Dave would say "tearing up some singletrack dude!"

West Fork was a total surprise. the trail is in fantastice shape and many sections have been re-worked to make it much less death-defying and more rideable. Riding up East Fork was a challenge but the scenery was top notch and well worth the effort. We discovered a great little trail that connects the Romero Catway with the lower part of the Romero singletrack trail....very cool. This was one of those rides where there's a lot of hooping and hollering and guys yelling "Yeah, this is awesome!" and "Wow, that was cool!" Of course that was on the descents. On the climbs there was also a lot of yelling but I'm unable to write some of the words that were used. Suffice it to say there were a lot of four letter descriptive adjectives and exclamations. But in the end everyone was happy and had that natural high going on that you can only get from working your ass off and accomplishing your goal. Speaking of accomplishing goals I hope all our marathon friends did well?......Robert, Gabe, Joe, I missing anyone? Waiting for race reports and results. Sorry I wasn't out there with ya.........but not that sorry.

Mike Abbott rode exceptionally well today. I think he may be part mountain goat. I've never seen his parents but I wouldn't be surprised if one of them has bucked teeth...... and horns. Dano is a new man on his brand new Ibis machine, and as he said he can "feel the money" when he rides it. Doyle was making excuses for not finishing as soon as the ride started but he ended up sticking it out and did the whole thing and still had a smile on his face at the end....nice work. Dave pretty much lives at the shop or on his bike and he's not used to walking or hiking. So the hike-a-bike sections really took their toll on him. It always fun to see Dave suffering. He almost opted out right at the end but he hung in there and discovered his new favorite section of trail. Luke also suffered his way through "almost" the whole ride. He did all the hard parts anyways. So if you need anything done to your bike, today is good day to bring it in. I have a feeling Luke is going to be very productive today. To everyone who rode today, great job! That was an epic!

Ride stats: 4 hours 20 minutes...........only 28 miles........5,025 ft. of "hard earned" climbing............10 tired but happy dudes.

See ya next weekend.....if the weather allows?


Thanksgiving Day Dirt Fun!

Last Thursday we had another 1st time for the Chicken Mtn bike group.
We thought it would be fun to try a little true downhilling. So the hardcore group pictured below (plus Luke who took the picture) decided to climb Romero and add the connector trail off to the left at the top of Romero that puts you out on Camino Cielo. As we headed over toward Cold Spring Trail I thought a few would decide at the last minute to drop down Gibralter and miss the run. All 10 said they would give it a go. Most started looking worried as I brought out the skin and arm
guards. Someone replied, we are riding, not playing hocky. I think
Luke and Jonathan were the only 2 who had been down the trail in the last 10 years. Luke wanted others to go first so he could get the action on the handlebar camera. We will have a little video up on youtube soon where you can see Ian flip over and Alfredo and Big Rob
tear it up. I was very happy to have the body armor as I tested them
out with a good flip over early on the decent. We all made it down in one piece. I think Alfredo has found his calling. Luke had a great time finally riding a CR ride where everyone didn't have to wait for
him :) I have to say doing a real downhill where you have to
concentrate for over 30 minutes kicks you butt, hampstrings, calfs, arms and hands. Not a great trail for 29ers, or bikes when you can't lower your seat. Next time Downhill Bike! More when we get the video.


Ride Report 11-22-09


Wow, that was awesome! Without a doubt Snyder Trail and Camuesa Connector are two of the best singletrack trails anywhere. We had a nice turnout again today with 8 riders finishing the whole enchilada but many more joining us for segments along the way. Luke and Jonathon drove to Paradise Road and rode up Snyder Trail to meet us at the top and they timed it perfectly. I was lucky that Luke's car was parked at the bottom 'cause one of my cleat bolts fell off my shoe and I would have been unable to unclip for the rest of the ride but Luke was decent enough to give me one of the bolts off of his shoe when he got back to his car and saved my butt...thanks Luke! A few riders skipped the Camuesa Loop and rode back up Arroyo Burro Rd. I like to hear from you guys how that worked out?...Bill, Philip? Brett Hall and Dave Jurist did the Camuesa Connector trail but then turned back and climbed Arroyo Burro as well. How did that go guys? I think that might have actually been the harder way to go from that point?........what did you guys think?

Both Snyder and Camuesa were in excellent condition. Pretty much perfect. We ran into Mark Mittermiller and Bob Nisbet on their way up Little Pine which was kinda funny. No flat tires and no crashes that I'm aware of so things couldn't really have gone much smoother. We got lots of laughs talking about that video that Pete Sproul sent out. "You're such a dick!"......."What?"........"I said I like your kit!"

The views and weather were spectacular. By the time we hit the base of Angostura everyone was just looking forward to getting to the top so the talking stopped and everyone went into their own little pain cave for an hour or so 'till we hit the summit. As Dano was lifting his bike over the barrier at the top of the road his hamstring locked-up and he was screaming in agony. Fortunately, I was quick enough with my camera this time and I got a couple good shots of him for your enjoyment. He rode like an animal today though, as did Matt Perry, Dave, and Blinger. I'm pooped but that ride is a classic that definitely leaves you with a big smile on your face......and a big red mark on your butt after 6 hours in the saddle!

Can't wait to do it again!


Solvang Ride 11-15-09

Hello Everyone,

We enjoyed a great ride around Solvang today. Having the group split at Painted Cave and then re-group at the bottom of Stage Coach worked great. Everyone was able to ride at their own pace and we got the whole group back together before turning on to 154 with minimal waiting. We lost Kim McDaniel to the wolves with a double puncture but fortunately he had a ride waiting for him in Buellton. The weather was pretty much perfect and the danish's in Solvang were delicious.

Aaron Baker is a beast and I spent a lot of time drafting behind him and taking advantage of his strong ( and hairy) legs. Pete Clements got himself up and over the climbs and rode well. Alfredo showed up even though he raced on Saturday. It was nice to see David Larsen and Brett least for the first half of the ride. Total ride time for me was a little over 5 hours, covering 89 miles, 5,900ft of climbing and 1 very tasty apple fritter. We definitely need to do that loop more often. Great views, great roads. Rest up this week, because we've got a big, challenging, and otherwise AWESOME mountain bike ride planned for next Sunday which will include arguably the two best singletrack trails in the area....and plenty of climbing as well. So secure your fun-pass now!

See ya soon,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Update On The Thompson Case

As some of you have no doubt heard, the jury has reached a verdict in the Thompson case. The jury found the defendant guilty on all seven counts charged:
- Count 1: Reckless Driving Causing Specified Injury (victim: Ron Peterson)
- Count 2: Battery with Serious Bodily Injury (victim: Ron Peterson)
- Count 3: Battery with Serious Bodily Injury (victim: Christian Stoehr)
- Count 4: Reckless Driving (victims: Patrick Watson and Josh Crosby)
- Count 5: Assault with a Deadly Weapon (victim: Ron Peterson)

NOTE: The jury also found that the defendant had committed a Special Allegation of "Causing Great Bodily Injury"

- Count 6: Assault with a Deadly Weapon (victim: Christian Stoehr)

NOTE: The jury also found that the defendant had committed a Special Allegation of "Causing Great Bodily Injury"

- Count 7: Mayhem

If you are unaware of this case and the verdict I copied some links below for you to review.
The range for the defendant is anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison and the District Attorney is anticipating that the defense will submit a boatload of letters to the judge and/or the probation department on his client's behalf. Please, if anyone from the community who has views on the sentencing you are also allowed to write the judge and/or probation officer.

As the defense will probably argue that no one else's opinion is relevant to this defendant, the District Attorney will indicate that we are offering letters toward the issue of general deterrence, in other words, simply because the defendant was in his car does not change the blunt nature of the unmitigated assault on the cyclists and that drivers everywhere must become aware that they have to share the road. To that end, anyone who would like to contribute a letter or an e-mail may send it to the District Attorney's office (below) or to the District Attorney herself, her e-mail address is also below. She will package all the letters and e-mails for us and submit them with her motion so the judge gets them all at once instead of a slow trickle. She plans to file the motion at the end of next week so it would be great if she had the letters/e-mails by then. And, yes, the more, the better.

Please address your letters appropriately, like we were able to touch on in court, which is that cyclists are not some alien breed of monsters that are claiming the streets, but regular people, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, police officers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers.... So, if anyone is writing a letter, it would be nice if you could begin with an identifying fact such as what your occupation is and that you are a motorist and a cyclist. I truly appreciate everyone's commitment to this request and I hope you all feel the same as I do in making sure the defendant serves his appropriate time in prison for all 7 counts the jury found him guilty on and not just a slap on the wrist and probation. Please make your voice heard as I spent a great deal of my own personal time throughout this entire process and because I'm passionate about trying to make our community a better place to ride our bikes. Also, please forward on to your cycling community and make your voice heard throughout your area. This has resulted in National attention and the more letters from across the country the louder our voice will be heard.

Thank you,
Patrick Watson
Mary Stone
E-mail Address:
District Attorney's Office
Attn. Mary Stone
11701 S. LaCienega
Los Angeles, CA 90045,0,761131.story

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Divide Peak!


Here are a few shots from this mornings MTB ride. Another great turnout today! Seems like this Mountain Bike thing is catching on. Brian Bermudes and Brad Jellison came out of hibernation to join us for awhile which was nice, and Shaun Condon finally made a Chicken Ranch ride. Hopefully, we'll be seeing a lot more of all three of those guys. Chris Brown only flatted once today which is a vast improvement from his usual 6 or 7 flats. Of course nobody stops to help him anyways so it doesn't really affect the rest of us. Dave Lettieri actually crashed today which is an extremely rare occurrence, so I feel lucky that I got to witness it. Nothing too serious...just a front tire washout on the Divide Peak fireroad.....but very entertaining! It's good to see Dave with a little dirt on his jersey now and then. Matt Perry and "new guy" Aaron pretty much dusted everybody up the climbs but for the most part we kept the group pretty tight.

Great views of Jameson Reservoir and the coastline from up on the Ridge. Nick and his buddy Brom went to go check out Blue Canyon trail so I'm interested to hear how that trail looks for future adventures. Looking forward to seeing all you next Sunday for more off-road fun!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Mercury Mine Recap!

Hello Eveyone,

We had a great ride this morning to the Gibralter Mercury Mine and back. Spectacular weather with breathtaking views and good company......that's hard to beat.

We had another fantastic turnout with I believe 24 riders starting out the ride at the base of Gibralter. I saw a lot of new faces and a few old faces making it out as well. Mitch Karno finally showed up on a dirt ride. John Bostwick came out of retirement and showed he's still got plenty of life left in his legs. Randy showed up, Susie Willett, Mark Weinke and David Jurist made it... as well as a bunch more. Paul Donohoe, Dave, Robert Ramirez, and Alfredo were all sporting brand new bikes too! Roberts new Trek Top Fuel with XX and 2X10 is a thing of beauty, and it gave him those "new bike legs" you see when someone rides better than they ever have just because they're all jacked-up about their new ride. Usually, that only lasts for a week or two. I'm hoping that's the case 'cause Ramirez is tough to be around when he's riding well. Paul D. broke in his new bike by crashing on the descent down Angostura and almost taking Dano with him. A bent brake lever and a few scratches is all it really cost him. A couple flat tires, and a broken chain rounded out the list of mishaps. As usual with a big group it's a little tuff to keep everyone together but we had most of the group intact as we began the final climb up Angostura. I can't really tell you how everyone else was feeling because by the time I got to the top I was so tired my field of vision had been reduced to about 3 feet in front of my face and all I could think about was an ice cold Coke and a sandwich. I hope everyone made it out and back home in one piece. The views coming back down Gib were incredible! Total ride time about 4:15:00 Distance 37 miles with around 5800 feet of climbing.

All in all a fantastic way jumpstart the new month. We'll have another fun route planned for next Sunday. So clear the calendar and tell your secretary to hold all calls. See you next Sunday!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ride For The Roses 09

Ride Report: Ride for the Roses....
For those who don't know, the Ride for the Roses is an annual event
put on by the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin. This event has
turned into the season finally if you will to the Livestrong Challenge
ride series held throughout the year in a few select cities. The
event started as a group of Lances friends wanted to do a ride to
honor Lance's return to riding after cancer treatments.
Now 13 years later its a tradition that inspires people effected by
cancer to both fundraise and enjoy a weekend of festivities in Austin
hosted by Lance and his foundation. This was the 9th year for me.

Some observations:

We did ride 90 miles in under 4 hours. There are no mountains in Texas
but when the pace gets hard after 70 miles is still easy to get
dropped by Lance and the entire Trek/Livestrong under 23 team.

Just because I finished with Dave Weins (Leadville 100 mile Mountain bike winner 6 times), doesn't mean I could finish that event.

Mellow Johnny's (Lances Bike shop) is really a clothing store that disguises itself as a bike shop.

I finally met someone who could leave an event and get home faster than me..

Dave L

Sunday Urban Assault


We had another great ride today! I hadn't been up Powerlines since the fire.....It was like being on another Planet! Didn't recognize a thing. Our ride today had it all.....climbs, flats, singletrack, fireroad, fancy houses, cardboard boxes, oceans, creeks, lakes, you name it..we saw it. Check out the pictures.

Aaron Olsen (the pro) was kind enough to make an appearance. When we were finished he didn't have a speck of dirt on him and he looked fresh as a daisy. The rest of us, who had hung in there for 4+ hours were covered in mud and sweat and near death. We came to the conclusion that when you turn pro you must be given a secret "repellent spray" that keeps you looking fresh and clean on long rides....there's no other way to explain it.

Ken Doyle made another appearance on his mountain bike and performed well....outlasting some of the "mountain men" on the team. David Jurist crashed before we even got started but then redeemed himself by not crashing again and completing the entire ride. Randall Tinney showed us that he may have actually earned his Leadville Belt Buckles instead of just buying them......but I'm still no 100% convinced. Blingerman showed off his new impossibly light hardtail 29er and kept pushing the pace just to show us how fast it is....and yet a good time was had by all!

Looking forward to seeing you all next Sunday for the "Mercury Mine" ride. Should be an epic!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Enjoying the Front Country Trails!


Great ride today! Awesome turnout...more riders than some of the races I've done! A couple new faces, Alfredo did his first MTB ride ever and did great. Heather showed up and impressed everyone with her skills. Luke's pal Jonathan made his first appearance as well and is clearly a skilled rider.....I think it was Fastrack Greg"s first time on one of our MTB rides as well. Plus a lot of the old regulars were back on their bikes......great group.

No major injuries to report that I'm aware of so that alone makes the ride a success. Trails were in great shape and the weather was beautiful....not a bad way to start the day!

I attached a few photos to make the rest of you jealous

See ya next Sunday for sure!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dave Says!

Check out the tire change

One night only... will be at the Arlington on Thursday night

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gran Fondo- Fun With Levi!

Images are here
Just a quick GranFondo update,

Think of a century ride that has the Gibraltar loop in it with the
Camino Cielo section twice as long. Amazing roads, amazing views with
the best paved decent you have ever seen followed by a 30 mph tailwind
along the coast. If that's not enough at 75+ miles throw in a shorter
version of Old San Marcos climb. I was happy riding in my 34-28 on
alot of climbs... The pros finished under 5 hours. After Levi pulled
for the first 50 miles, he pulled off to socialize in a couple of the
rest areas. It was one of the most organized and well attended "fun
rides" we all ever attended. The Chickens finished from 5:12
(Craig), 5:26 (me) and everyone else was close behind. More from the


Thank you,
Carson Blume
Carson Blume Photography, Owner
Digital Capture Systems, Owner Digital Production
Women's Cycling Magazine, Co-Founder / Photo Editor, Coming soon

It was long.

The highlight for me was watching Lettreri try to pump up Bob Roll's
rear tire at the start and another guy walks up and says, "I can help.
I'm a bike mechanic." He then proceeds to try to pump the tire up and
stops and says, "He needs a new tube." At which point Lettreri gets to
say, "It's a tubular." Priceless.

Other highlights:

1. Levi seemed stronger than most of the other riders.

2. I felt a bit gypped. It turned out it was only 102 miles but they
advertised 103 miles. Maybe they made up for it by advertising 6,500
feet of climbing when it was really 8,900 feet of climbing.

3. The course was perfectly marked. You knew right where to go. All
hazards were marked including steep downhills.

4. Levi's wife is 18 inches taller than he is. She also descends into
oncoming traffic. It must be a Euro thing.

5. Axel Merckx couldn't try hard enough to avoid me. In our little
pack I kept sneaking up next to him trying to start a conversation. I
now hate him also.

6. Bob Roll was the best. A pick-up truck honked at us and he yelled
back, "Bunch of retards".

7. I've never seen so many people walking their bikes up a hill. The
hill from Highway 1 back to Santa Rosa was unbelievably steep. It's
used in the AMGEN Tour. The street was still painted with "Basso
Cheat". My group got a big chuckle out of that one.

8. Lettreri has mellowed in his old age. We were supposed to meet
outside of the hotel at 7:20. At 7:23, Mitch and Nikola still were not
out with us and Lettreri was actually calmly waiting for them.

9. We at breakfast at 6:15 am two hours before the ride. The majority
of the other riders were already in their chamois. Assuming they
finished their ride around 3 pm, that would be a 9 hour chamois day.
That can't be healthy.

10. Thanks to Carson for getting lots of pictures of me coming out of
the port-o-potty.

11. At the end of the ride there was no water or food.

12. Friden arrived back at the hotel after the ride to shower. No more
than 5 minutes later Lettreri's truck jams out of the parking lot to go
home with Friden in it. We imagined Friden was still in his towel with
shampoo in his hair sitting in the back of the truck. Maybe Lettreri
hasn't mellowed with age.

13. Lettreri has his name written all over his jersey and I still don't
know how to spell it.

14. No fewer than 5 people asked me if we are sponsored by a brothel.

15. I suck at descending. My deep dish carbon wheels really helped in
the strong cross winds. Great equipment choice. Next time I think I
might bring my disc wheel.

16. Jurist is the best to travel with.

17. Dano, Jurist and I had dinner with my old LA riding buddies. Back
in the day they used to dominate bike racing. They finished this ride
in 7 hours. I guess some things change.

18. Everyone wearing a Levi Gran Fondo jersey walked their bike up at
least one hill. Don't buy the ride jersey! It slows you down.

19. Who won the polo field sprint on Sunday?

20. At mile 95, they had you turn off the well paved road onto a gravel
bike path. True story. The sign said don't worry, it's only 1 mile
long. Only 1 mile? Try riding on rocky gravel for 1 mile after already
being in the saddle for 5 hours. Two of the local pros who had been
pulling my group for oh, about 2 hours straight, flatted on the gravel.
Sweet. I beat them.

21. I suck at descending. I was so bad I needed to say it twice.

Thanks to Lettreri for getting me my entry. I'd like to do more of
these rides.


1. No Problem on the porta pot shot!
2. I think I would have been less wiped if I had done the ride than shot it.
3. Welcome to NORCAL!
4. Levi's wife beat Dave, and kicked Allison Sterns but down the hills and most of the guys, that is hot!
5. Could we get sponsored by a brothel?
6. We, David Walls and my self, on the moto also got waived onto the dirt path, that was "fun"
7. tubular! that is priceless!

Thank you,
Carson Blume
Carson Blume Photography, Owner
Digital Capture Systems, Owner Digital Production
Women's Cycling Magazine, Co-Founder / Photo Editor, Coming soon

The list has gotten exhaustive, but let me add:
Great photo #158 Paul next to Levi. Great job just to get that close to him, let alone timing it with Carson to be there. Dave seemed to be more preoccupied with riding next to Levi’s wife and the other blond pro. Other reports:

1. Bling, the people you saw walking up the final climb were the medio fondo riders who had ridden only about 25 miles up to that point. By the time I got to there, it was all gran fondo riders, and to my amazement no one was walking even though that seemed to me to be the more sensible thing.
2. I was just lucky that I was able to shower and get a towel around me. Last one back rides home in a wet towel.
3. Mitch spent most of the ride taking in the amenities at the rest stops and he still beat me in.


Hats off to Dave for orchestrating the "Great Train Robbery" start strategy. After getting the distinct feeling that the 2 by 2 start of the ride might take several hours to accomplish, Lettieri gets our group to stage around the corner from the start in front of a fire station. There was already a large group there and we figured they were interested in the same "drop in". Turns out they were the marshals for the ride, but were cool enough to recognize the incredible athleticism and riding savvy that a whore house cycling team represents (not to mention that Blinger had already built a reputation as a Santa Rosa bar fighter) and allowed us to stay put. Dave went back to the start, glad handed his way to the front of the pack and as they came around the corner starts yelling for us to jump in. Thusly, we were excused from the mayhem, shouting and carbon crunching sounds heard a ways back in the field.

As far as the best to travel with, it's an old story: easy trumps pretty.


Here is a little video from my Fondo experience... it's on You tube.
(shot on my iPod Nano, produced on iMovie)
------ look for Dave's cattle call: "go go go" - Priceless.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Cross Season Has Begun, Go Kimberly!

Hi all!

So where are the reports from the GranFondo?????????? Please let those of us who couldn't go know how it went!

This chickenette went down south for another day of crossin'. It was a really fun day. The course was awesome, having grass, sand, turns beyond belief, dirt, stairs, barriers, gravel runups, etc. It was the largest women's field in a so-cal CX race to date, with over 40 starters in the combined 3/4 and 35+ fields. I had a bad start, and spent most of the day chasin. I was a good little chaser, picking off rider after rider, and by the end of the 2nd lap, only 3 were in front of me. I even caught the stragglers of the M45+/55+ who started a minute or 2 in front of us. However, I never did catch the top 2, and ended up in 3rd. I felt great about my fitness and the course, although I did manage to pull a quad while running, and I was too sore to double up and do the 1/2/3 race.

It was a good day for Santa Barbara 'crossers. I carpooled down with local Echelon junior, Somersby Jenkins and her mom, Avalon. Somer won the 3/4 race (yes, I was beaten by a 16 year old girl) and Avalon was 2nd in the 35+!!!! So we floated on home afterwards.

Cross is really really try it!

And I can't wait to hear about the Gran Fondo!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Labor Day Fun!

I've attached a couple photos from the OSM/Knapps MTB outing with myself, Matt Perry and Mike Abbott on Labor Day.

We enjoyed 5000' of climbing, AND descending :-), doing 26 miles in just under 4 hours, which is an interesting contrast to a typical lake ride with 3000' of climbing over 65 miles in just about the same chunk of time.

Ride On!


My Last Race Report of 2009 (I think!)!!! from Sept 9th

Hi all!

I know you were all wondering why I was absent from the weekend and holiday rides...but at least I was riding my bike! I went to the Bay area for the weekend to do some visiting and riding, and a little bit o racing, too. Saturday was dirt (mountain, on a retro NO suspension mountain bike...), Sunday was a little warm up ride, and today was il Giro di San Francisco, a fun little crit held near fisherman's wharf.

And contrary to most San Francisco weather, today was beautiful, with not a cloud in the sky, and warm temps! It was a great day for a bike race.

About 18 people toed the line for my race, which was a straight W3. I recognized some of the folks from various races of the past, and knew there were some strong girls in attendance. I was the only so-cal
representative. The course was a 6 corner L-shaped course. The pavement was a bit bumpy, but it was a fun course, one little power bump, 2 downhill turns, and a wide safe course.

My race started pretty mellow, but there were lots of primes so things went crazy early. Having no teammates, I was just patrolling the race, sitting around and not doing too much. I went for the Rudy Project
glasses prime....but alas some girl decided to nearly take me out, and I had to sit up. It had the effect of making me angry...and I continued to be angry every time I had to brake in those downhill turns!

People were getting too excited about sprinting, and there was some sketchy behavior. I ended up not really worrying about the primes, just about not getting taken out. Anyway, partway through a girl got a little gap
but no one seemed to be worried so I just sat. Sure enough, she couldn't hang, and got swooped up 2 laps later. With 3 to go, a few people tried some attacks, and it was easy to cover everything.

Then the NorCal series leader attacked, and she looked strong. I went, and quickly got her back. I sat on with 2 to go, and when the pace got high, I noticed people hurting. Surprisingly, my legs were just waking
up and I felt really good. I decided to go for it. I was third wheel around the 1st downhill corner, and then on the last corner, I opened it up and took the inside line hard. Second wheel attacked, but since I was inside, I had a clear line, and I just stood up and went around her and never looked back. Just like SLO, I was still accelerating over the line (only this one was slightly uphill).... I kept it on full gas, waiting to see someone challenging, but it never happened, and I won!

After the race, I was chatting with some of the racers, who I must say were all very friendly and nice. I asked one girl how she did and she said she finished third. Then she quickly added, "but I was WAY behind you....when you went it was like I was standing still". I guess I won by 3-4 bike lengths. I would have done the 1-2-3 race, but I had a 5.5 hour drive ahead of me, and I needed to get on the road.

Anyway, I am now declaring my road season OVER! I didn't race too much this year, but I am thrilled with the way things have ended up. A couple easy weeks, and then it's on to CYCLOCROSS!!!!!! Bring it on!

Happy Labor Day! I saw a couple of Echelon riders up there, as well as

Aaron Long. I left before his race so I don't know how he ended up.

Jeannette Candau of Echelon (who just started racing this year, and bought my old race bike...) won the W4 race in grand style as well, so the locals showed those NorCal folks we are strong!



Ironman Canada (Aug 31st)

Team Chicken:

Congrats on what sounds like a good day of racing in extreem conditions.

Here is my "late" race report from Ironman Canada - conditions were not much better here: 33 degrees (let's see that's 33 x 9/5 + 32 = about 92 degrees), 112 mile time trial in about 5:50, slow marathon in about 4:20, 11:46 overall (that's a long time to be out in the heat), good enough for top 15% of my age group.

Thanks to Chicken Ranch and Fastrack for all the support and help this year. I am looking forward to another good year to come. May be I will get brave enough to try a bike race again?

Keep riding and stay safe!

Lee "Tri Geek" Carter

Sis-f'in-hot (Aug 30th)

So... you know you have been blindsided by the "curse of the oily chain" when even your reading material focuses you on the obscenity and obsession generated by riding and racing (albeit feebly in my case) bicycles. A friend who has cycled various continents and worked as a bicycle messenger suggested a book to me recently titled "Need for the Bike" by Paul Fournel. The book is a retrospection and confessional of sorts which takes a cyclocentric view of the world from atop the saddle. It doesn't hurt that the author is a member of a French avant garde writing group and cultural attache to the Egyptian embassy, which is to say that it is no sentimental journey, but a philosophical and economically written piece of literature. Where my knowledge and experience of biketopia is narrow and recently convened, he has the advantage of springing from the womb with a chainring mark on his leg and a silver down tube shifter in his mouth, following his cycling father on long rides out from their village in France as a boy, which brazes his fate to the spinning pedals. Heroes of his childhood are now cycling legends and his years are marked by frames and groupsets, each recalled as mile posts on the path of an exquisite journey to a "self" shaped by riding a bike for its simple, profound pleasure. But I digress. I had been struggling to come up with an appropriate way to describe the experience of "Sis-scorch" on Saturday and, of course, this book had it in spades. How else to describe the unconscionably brutal meeting of 110 degree heat, asphalt and a bike race than to say I met the "Witch with Green Teeth" (le bonk) up close and personal. Some from our fool hardy group fared well: Nick "Platinum No More" Davis broke away in a group of 6 (down to three at the finish) to get second in the 5A group, Matt "Soon to be Platinum" Perry charged out from the 4's in a break to get 3rd, Paul "my bike is gold so there is no Platinum joke here" Donahoe sashayed his way to 12th. Mike Abbott clocked his first road race at 19th and I was 20th, although I am really not sure any of it happened as much of the 2d lap seemed like a mirage/dream, nearly puking, heart attack inducing slog through gelatin thick air on concrete tires or, to be economical, like I met the Witch with Green Teeth......

David Jurist

Stumpgrinder Update! (from August 25th)

With all due respect to Kimberly and Chicken, I must say that there might
have been a more enjoyable way to spend your Saturday....... You could have
made the short trip to enjoy Mike Hecker's Stump Grinder Dirt Club XC race
in Los Olivos.

Since Hecker is still working on perfecting his marketing techniques, the
numbers were low enough to allow all cats and ages to go off in one mass
start. Yes, Pro through beginners of all ages went off at once, staged in
descending order of Cat. This led to the only real downside of the event,
because the dry conditions and big field size meant things were crazy dusty
for the first mile or so. There was a long stretch where I couldn't see
anything except Fastrack's back tire and I was just hammering ahead on faith
(thanks for not running us off into a ditch or a bull by the way, Dave).

Other than the pig-pen effect on the start, the event and weather were
nearly perfect. The laps went opposite direction on much of the usual
Firestone course, with each loop being just over 8 miles and 900 feet of
climbing. It was about 50/50 fireroad vs really fun well groomed single
track. There were a few fun new sections thrown in that I had not ridden at
previous events, but it all seemed new in a way, due to the backwards
effect. Beginners did 2 laps, sport class 3 and Experts/Pros 4 laps.

We had 4 + 1 Chickens all racing Sport. We made a show of force hanging
pretty well together for much of the first lap before Fastrack and Nick
Davis eventually dropped Iron Mike Abbott, Big Rob Higgins and myself like a bad habit toward the end of lap 1. (BTW - Nick Davis, the +1 Chicken, was looking good in CR colors now that his signing by Chicken has been approved by the league commissioner)
Not far into lap 2, Iron Mike did his best Alberto Contador impression,
leaving his embittered domestiques, Rob & I, in the dust to fend for
ourselves half-way up a wind-swept Col.....

In the end, after 24+ miles and 2700 feet of climbing, the Chickens put up
some respectable results. Two of us even came away with prize money (at
least enough, or maybe nearly enough, to cover a Tri-Tip Ranch Burrito).
Rob, Mike and I did cap off the race-day with lunch and refreshments back at
Cody's in town by about noon, priceless!

RESULTS (from memory)
Sport 40+
Big Rob Higgins - 8th
Iron Mike Abbot - 5th
Fastrack Lettieri - 4th
Nick (don't call me Platinum) Davis - 3rd - prize $

Sport - under 40
Paul (Formerly Freeride) Donohoe - 2nd - BIG prize $, see attached

I strongly encourage anyone who can possibly make it (even if you've never
raced MTB before) to come out to represent Team CR at the Stumpgrinder
Summer Race Series Final on Sept 12. ( )
A cool $35 entry fee and no racing license required. I'm not trying to be a
shill for Hecky, but rather this is the type of low-key event that I'd
really love to see thriving here locally. The racing was tough, fun,
cheap, near-by, on-time, good humored (and nobody got DQ'd, not even Rob).

Ride On!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What do you think?

One of the local blogs posted a picture of a cyclist hogging the road. Check it out! I personally know the corner and it is a tough right turn that if traffic is clear I usually ride in the middle a bit to make a good turn. This is a ridiculous attempt to incite a bit of road rage if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

San Ardo, or How Not To Race!

Hi all!

While Matt was getting himself DQ'd from the triathlon for violating an unknown rule....Sarah and I went up to San Ardo to try our hand at the road race. Let's just say the highlight was visiting friends in Pismo on Friday night :-).

The weather was cooler than usual for San Ardo, which was a welcome surprise! My first negative was not sleeping much on Friday night because I was feeling poorly. The second was getting to the race to find only 7 people in my field. Those of you who know me know that I like to race in BIG fields, not so much in small ones. I guess I just don't see the point.... But I was already there, so I toed the line with the other SIX girls. They all knew each other, they were all from the norcal district. I didn't know any of them. Three were from Los Gatos BRC, 2 from Dolce Vita, and me and one other girl. The race was long. The published length was 63 miles, but in reality, the laps were longer than published, and the total distance was closer to 69....

The first 2 laps were uneventful. I did way too much work, as I just couldn't get my mind around tactics with only 6 others, and no one wanted to do any work.... if they had their way, we would still be out there racing today! On the third lap, two of the girls did a great job of blocking while the other attacked. I had to jump hard to get around the blockers on a narrow section of the course, but caught on, just in time for another one to go. I walked right into all their traps, and they did me in. I blew up and missed the break. I had 18 miles to go to mentally beat myself up over it, and I did. I put my head down into TT mode and motored. I dragged the other los gatos girl with me most of the way around. We caught up to one other girl who was shelled from the break of 3, and then I dragged both of them around. At this point, I just wanted it to be over. I thought hard about giving up the race and jumping into one of the mens races when they passed by....

Right after we passed the town, maybe 1/4 mile from the finish, one of the girls attacked, and I just sat up and let them go. I didn't feel like sprinting for 4th place out of 7, and they knew I had done most of the work. I didn't have anything left to prove, or at least my mind decided I didn't. At least I got a good workout.

I am skipping Sisquoc in the hopes of saving what little ego I have left, and going for broke at the downtown crit in San Francisco on Labor
day! :-) I really am a crit rider.....

See you out on the road,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

S B Tri Race Report/Where's Waldo?

Hello Everyone,

A few of you may have noticed that I'd been riding my TT bike a lot lately. In fact I rode it exclusively for two weeks straight in preparation for last weekends Santa Barbara Triathlon. I had done the long course once before and was anxious to see if I could better my time. I'd done a little swimming and fooled around with some running so I figured I was about as prepared as I was ever gonna be.

THE SWIM: My swimming is not very impressive and I always approach the swim with a "just get me outta here and put me on my bike" mentality. But I actually felt pretty good out there. Amazingly I caught a few people from the wave in front of me, and the fast guys from the wave behind me didn't catch me 'till I was past the halfway point. Goal accomplished. Confidence...High. Time: 31:54

THE BIKE: Usually, this is my favorite part. I'm so slow on the swim that there are already hundreds of people in front of me when I start the bike. It just feels good to fly by dozens of people all along the route. Even if half of them are on hybrids. Right outta the gate I knew this wasn't going to be my day. I hadn't gone a hundred yards yet and I was trying to get up to speed and put my shoes on at the same time. Apparently, I forgot to practice that step in my training and it showed. My shoe fell off...I had to turn around and ride back to pick up my shoe. I was a little embarrassed so I just kept my head down and tried to act like I meant for that to happen and get going again as quickly as possible. Once I got up to speed I settled down and was feeling OK until I tried to shift from my little front chainring to the big one and I realized my front derailleur wasn't working. I quickly realized it would be foolish to try and ride the whole course in the little ring so I got off at the top of Toro and used my fingers to put the chain back on the big ring. I was able to stay in the big ring all the way until I had to climb Toro again so I down shifted for the climb and then when I got to the top stopped again and used my greasy fingers to get back in the big ring for few remaining miles. I tried to stay upbeat but the mishaps were starting to rattle my confidence. I would work so hard to put time on someone up the climb, only to have them pass me again as I fumbled with my cave-man style shifting. "Stay calm Matt! You've still got a long ways to go!" Confidence...Low. Time: 1:28:46

THE RUN: Not much to talk about here. I ran nice and steady felt fine till about mile 6 and then realized my feet were not very happy with me for trying to run 10 miles with no socks on. I tried to block out the discomfort but then guys from my age group started passing me. They'd say things like "good job!" or "lookin' good!" but I knew what they really meant was "GOTCHA! You slow son of a bitch!" My illusions of winning my age group were now destroyed. I almost felt relief when the second guy passed me because I knew I wasn't gonna get 2nd place again! I told myself "It doesn't matter what place you get...all that matters is that you try your hardest big guy!" that worked for a little bit until the pain in my feet was impossible to ignore and I just wanted to be done. I put in a last ditch effort to catch a guy in my age group who had passed me earlier but ended up about 30 seconds behind him at the finish. I was 7th in my age group. 31st overall. Confidence...a little lower then it was when I started. Time: 1:07:24 Total Time: 3:10:15

THE AFTERMATH: I didn't bother checking the results since I knew I wasn't in the top 3 so I went home and took a nap. I figured I'd check the splits online later that night. Well, when I checked the results, my name was missing. No big deal. I figured I'd just inform them of their oversight and they could straighten it out later. My son did the short course on Sunday so after he was done I went over to the timing tent and said " Hey, when you get a chance can you check my results? I seem to have been misplaced." They asked me my number and then to my surprise informed me that I had been disqualified for a "traffic violation". What????? DQ'd!!! I was dumbfounded. I felt like I'd just been convicted of indecent exposure... or like I had just farted at a really fancy dinner and everyone heard. I asked what I did and they said "it just says traffic violation...DQ....sorry" So just like that I disappeared from the results. It's like I wasn't even there...nothing to show for my efforts...except black and blue toenails. I've sent out a few emails but still nobody can tell me exactly what I got DQ'd for. Maybe for turning around on the course to pickup my shoe? Maybe for crossing the centerline while passing? Not stopping at the intersections? Hell, maybe they got the number wrong and it wasn't me! I don't know, At least I got them to give me my time splits so my $150 bucks wasn't a total loss. The cold hard truth is I still had a blast. And I'll do it again next year once my toes forgive me. Joe Coito puts on a first class event and it's worth every penny to get out there and battle with 900 of your closest friends. Rules are rules, and I have to accept that. I just wish I knew which one I broke!

See you all soon,


Thursday, August 6, 2009


'Cross Peeps-

Training starts earlier this year!! Why? For starters, deep down we are all cross freaks at heart and suffer through the monotonous, predictable, and unfulfillingly long road season in anticipation of the real fun to begin. And let's face it, we want to hit the ground running (no pun intended) when the cross season starts so we don't get lapped by Mark Noble (God bless him).

So, with our easily quantified and pansy a$$ goals in mind, we are going to hit up the training over a month before the season starts! We will start with sessions for the first two weeks on Tuesday nights at 5:15PM (Ellwood parking lot) and will then kick it up to two sessions per week in mid August.

The plan is to start off easy for the first two weeks with a focus on basic leg work (how does this monkey motion barrier hopping thing work again?) and bike handling (what is this pesky two wheel drift action in the corners?). We will then kick in the hot laps and Ferren Road suffervals. I will be the drill sergeant and Chief PIA and Steve Bertrand will be my trusted back up when I am in Greece for two weeks working out my wimpy biceps while recollecting the art of excessive beer drinking.

First session: Next Tuesday August 11th at 5:15pm in the Ellwood parking lot. Invite your friends, enemies, frenemies, despised competitors, next door neighbors, girlfriends, boyfriends, heckling spectators, etc.. Most importantly recruit others ASAP. Suffering as much as we are going to suffer together is no fun alone....or without beer.

Pass on the word.

Yours Truly, Gary

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rick's Lost Video

Hey Gang, I was just going through and cleaning out some emails when I ran across this from Rick Martz. No reason not to share it. After the Tour, I'm jonesing for more!

Hey Greg,

I have a semi-epic video of Amgen from a road-side perspective. The surroundings, the fans, some riders, me, the day as it was J And some groovy people who were across the street playing 60’s music but had a jumper cable meltdown that was hilarious when it went down … after a day of libations … it is @ 8.5 MB and a .wmv format. I had a great day but missed The Seinfeld Show go by, damm!

Best regards,


Lance's Tweets

I was just looking at some of Lance's recent tweets and ran accross this.

RT @LIVESTRONG: For those that dont know about @fatcyclist story. Go to If you feel moved, write a note of sup ...

It's a pretty touching story, if you get the chance to read it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Rob = Champion!

Chickens and Chickenettes-

This past Sunday was the finale of the So. Cal. Series and as usual, Big Bear was beautiful. Temps in the high 70s and clear.

The course was the same as the first race but we went around it backwards. Racer turnout was moderate as I believe alot of the divisions were decided at the previous 7 races.

Chicken Ranch was represented by 1 (me) and Fastrack was there (Mark Rusin, my radiologist) and we were in the same race.

We even had strategy. I told Mark to just go as fast as he could to the top of the climb and then we would just work over any body that was left.

30 minutes of climbing later there was no body in the same zip code. We ended up finishing 1-2 in the race. After the free taco's and beer (not free), the state series results were posted and what do you know, there was Big Rob winning the whole shebang and Mark Rusin in second.

Now all I want to do is be like my hero, Dr. Kim Turner and win the State Championships so I too can wear the Bear.

Thanks to Chicken and Dave for helping me win the first thing I have ever won in my life, and to ALL the Chickens and Chickenettes. What a team we have. Thanks to God too.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jane Says Thanks!

Here is a message from Jane (Heal Quickly Jane)

Dear Chickens,
I'm not on everyone's CR mailing list so I've missed a lot of the messages that have come through these past couple days, but Kim's been keeping me posted. I am so touched by all your sweet comments and your wonderful words of support and encouragement. Talk about getting choked up! I was a late and tentative addition to the Chickenettes this year, but it only took one race and a few rides with you before I felt absolutely included, and it's been a ridiculous amount of fun to be part of this team. Even with my generic black shorts and my one too-small CR jersey, I definitely felt like a member of the team. Kimberly and Susie have been awesome mentors and great new friends. And it's been crazy-fun to scream "Go Chickens!" at all the races! I guess I won't be doing the Everest Challenge this year, but I hope to be all healed up and ready to race next season.

It may not be the greatest race strategy, but I've learned how fun it is to be out front in a crit so that I can hear "Jane Faulkner of Chicken Ranch" over and over on the loud speaker. It's probably some vestige of a childhood need for attention that was never met, but if hearing my name amplified and winning a few races meets that old need, then I say it's all good. I was just unlucky on Sunday.

I just got home from the hospital and am doing really well. My concussion was worse than they originally thought, but I'll go in for a few more checks and I see the ortho tomorrow about the broken bones. I'm hoping to get by without any surgery. Kim has been nothing short of amazing: besides being a stellar massage therapist and a great coach, it turns out he can also deal with a sobbing, puking woman while driving one-handed and rubbing my neck. He also does a better ponytail than I can do. I'm in good hands.

Thanks again for all your lovely messages and kind words. I love you guys.

SLO Crit, A State Champ is Crowned!

Hi all!

Today was the SLO crit, which was really not slo(w) at all... I got my still-coughing-but-feeling-slightly-better self up at 5:30am to drive there this morning and race the crit. Chicken Ranch had a full women's squad out there, with 5 of us toeing the line. Susie, Jane, Sarah, myself, and our newest member, Edina (Eddy), were all up for this race.

We actually had strategy, and team tactics to play, and play we did.

Unfortunately the field was more than a bit sketchy, and there were THREE crashes during the race! Things started off well, with Jane winning the first prime. The 3 of us cat 3s decided to use the 2nd prime as a practice leadout, and Susie and Jane delivered me to the line first in perfect form :-). That in hand, I was feeling pretty good for most of the race. We tried to tire people out with some attacks, and I'm happy to report that Chicken Ranch got some serious airtime!

With 2 to go, I was too far back and getting nervous about positioning, but yet again a teammate came through in the form of Sarah Patz! Sarah had raced yesterday, too, and yet still had the energy to try and help me get up where I needed to be. I found a hole, and went up front. I saw some people coming over on the outside, and Jane was 2nd wheel.

Perfect. I latched onto that train, and around the final turn we went.

With about 1.5 blocks to go I launched, and came around them both, and never looked back. Finally a victory!!!!!!! Unfortunately, the sprinting pack got a little squirrelly, however, and behind me a couple of people got together, and Jane was caught up in a crash, which took a few riders right into the barriers (this is what I heard...I didn't even know it happened until I came back around...I guess when you're sprinting for the win you lose your hearing???). So that dampened things a bit. Susie and I went to see Jane at the ER on our way home.

She was being really brave, although she has a broken wrist and cracked scapula... ouch. Please send her your good thoughts, as she raced a really awesome race today (and yesterday, too where she claimed a 4th place).

I must say, that the womens CR team really came together today, and I am really happy to have been able to deliver us a V. :-) And since it was the So-Cal State Championship, even better!

I don't know how the other Races went today, as Susie and I left rather early to go check on Jane, but I hope all was well!

As always, I'm proud to be a part of this team.


Way to go Kimberly and to the rest of the girls!!

We were in the staging area waiting for the 3's race when the womens race was coming through on their final lap. It was an awesome site seeing all the CR girls drilling it near the front, then seeing Kimberly driving it w/ no one being able to get around her. Kimberly "State Crit Champ" Turner :-) sounds pretty good! As for for Jane, hoping for a quick recovery. Jane's crash looked really bad.

The men's 3's race was going really good.....until the final corner. The race had a full field of 75 riders and was fast w/ constant attacks. After dodging a number of mid-race crashes, all the CR'ers found themselves in the top 10 w/ only 2 corners to go. We were all sitting in good position when the rider sitting 3rd wheel overcooked one of the final corners and took out Matt, Ben, and myself. Most of the top 10 riders got taken out. Matt was shoved into the barriers, but managed to stay upright, Ben took a flyer over the hay bails and the fence, and I went down suffering minor scratches to the body and bike. On a good note, John VanMan managed to get through the mess for a top 10 finish. We're all OK, but bummed that we were all there, but couldn't finish it off.

I saw a bunch Ranchers riding around and racing, so hopefully we'll get more race reports.


July 4, 2009. A small field of 20 or slightly more 55, 60+ took off shortly after 800 AM under overcast skies and cool weather at Camp San Luis. It was a bit unclear to me, but I believe 3 riders broke away individually over the first couple of laps, including our own local, Karl (or Carl?) Weber. I heard later from Karl, these three eventually joined up at some point, but at the sprint finish, Karl emerged the winner. Note; Karl is 59, top of the

55 group and will be a formidable 60+ next year.

I managed to hang with the chase group of 6-7 riders through 5 laps of the 6 lap race, but unfortunately got dropped near the top of the final hill.

Riding alone, I maintained my position until the final few yards when someone passed me, possibly a 55+, but I’m not sure.

Final result, 11th over all; 4th 60+ against some of the top 60’s. If there had been a 65+, I would have won that, but believe there was only one rider older than me. See, eventually everyone dies off ;), so the longer you can last your odds of eventually winning increase.

All in all a good day, and I liked the course very much in spite of a few well marked pot holes and ruts. No one crashed in my race to my knowledge.

Note: I had an excellent pre race breakfast at Denny’s which included two poached eggs, Oatmeal, brown sugar and milk, a large bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of yogurt for $5.99 as I recall. Needless to say, I didn’t run out of gas during the race.


Rim Nordic, Big Rob Style

Hello Chickens and Chickenettes. This is the Big Rob version of the Nordic race report. First, I would like to say how nice it was to see some fellow team mates at the signup table. We were well represented and made a fine showing of true grit racing. The cat 3 race started in the cool of the morning and stayed that way for about 2 minutes then got hot. Our group strung out immidiately and after a mile it was just me and another guy.I was the better climber (no upper body, right Dano) and he would catch me descending. It was Elings Park all over again. I crashed on the last down hill and had to chase the guy down. I needed about 2 more feet of race course as the posted time was measured in 10ths of a second betweeen 1st and 2nd. After some food and oxygen, we enjoyed watching Gabe take the cat 2 to school. Congrats Gabe, it was fun chatting while we waited for the rest of the group. We saw every one come in except for Paul and thought maybe he flattted when around the final corner he came and didnt stop till he reached the medical tent. It was all macho talk until the "it might sting a little" stuff was poured over his wounds. Its been a while since i have seen that much blood on some one who was still moving. I was glad to see him walking around later but i'm bettin he did'nt work today.Mark Rusin and Mike Roberts ( both from Ojai but Chickens at heart till next year) both had podium finishes and it was traffic free on the way home. All in all it was a great experience. I am now putting out a challenge to ALL Chicken Ranchers. The 12th of next month is the last race at Big Bear before the State Championships. This is the time to get some racing in on the course. Its a very fast and beautiful race and they really put it together nicely. Lets make a great showing and show them the CR Team is not to be messed with. Lets go and get some.

Rim Nordic Part Deux

Awesome race Gabe! Props to Big Rob who pulled off a second place, missing the top spot by inches. And congrats to Bob, Paul and myself for ... well ... for surviving (barely).

Though Gabe's win was mighty impressive, it was rivaled only by his all-out 100 yard sprint to hand me my dropped water bottle on my second lap!

It was a tough course, probably the only course all year which required the "granny gear" to make it up the climbs. It was a lot of singletrack, very narrow, sandy terrain, just technical enough to keep you on your toes and steep. There were precious few sections of fireroad where you could grab some water or pass. And with temps near 90, lots of dust and the sun blazing through the thin 7000 ft air, the conditions were tough.

By the time the Cat 1 30-34 lined up, it was way too hot out and I was already feeling the sun and altitude. The field was small but super-competitive. Looking around at the start I realized that we had all been trading spots all season.. there was no clear winner and I could just as easily get first or last depending on my luck. About 1 hour into it, I found myself battling with the top four who were all bunched together within a few seconds (a pretty rare occurrence in MTB races). The brutally steep climbs got the better of me and the smaller riders pulled away but I kept 4th place and was satisfied that I left it all on the course after finishing 3 laps in 2:12. Bob was close behind.

After the race, I was surprised to see Gabe and Paul hanging around waiting in vain for their results to get posted. There were all sorts of screwups with the results from all categories - supposedly they gave the win in one Cat 1 race to a DNF. How hard can it be to keep track of results and post them in a timely manner? Pretty hard apparently.

As always a great time with great people. It was a lot of fun despite the "bad and ugly".

And one final note: The announcer (don't recall his name) must really love Chicken Ranch since every time we walked by, he commented "How 'bout those santa barbara chicken ranch riders and their carbon weave jerseys". Apparently we have big fans all over socal.

Some photos attached.

- matt

Rim Nordic

Today's race had its "good, bad, and ugly". The "good" went my way with a win in the 35-39 Cat 2 race. Unfortunately, "bad and ugly" went to Paul...see the attached pics.

The race course was great. It had a lot of fun single track rollers, some steep power climbs, and some of the funniest semi-technical descents of any of the race venues. The 2 lap race started, and right from the gun, I found myself chasing after the 2 leaders that got away. Once I caught up to them, I sat 3rd wheel and followed for 1/2 a lap. We came up to a steep rocky technical climb and both riders in front of me took the wrong line up the climb had to dismount. They saw me coming up and cleared a path to let me get through. After that, I never saw them again. I felt great for most of the race, but w/ a 1/2 lap to go to the finish, my legs and body started to feel really fatigued. At that point, I was in survival mode and just tried to hold on to the finish. I came across the line w/ a few minutes on second place.

Paul's race was going good until he went over the bars and down a steep ravine on the final lap. When he came across the finish line, he was a bloody mess. After some time in the medical tent, some tears, and a few bandages, he was all better.

The most painful part of the day was waiting for the results. I knew I won, I just wanted to get my medal. We hung around waaaaay too long, but I finally got my medal, which happened to be made of plastic.

A few pics have been attached


A Few Elings Photos! Thanks Paul

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chickens – I just got off the phone with team member Bill McBride. He is up in Portland for 3 weeks, and representing the team by racing in the weekly racing series at Portland International Raceway. How cool is this – they have licensed racing every Monday and Tuesday night all summer long. Monday is Master’s racing in all Cats and Tuesday is open Cat racing. The course is 1.9 miles long and has 12 turns of perfect pavement. Bill said that the races had about 50 guys in them and he got a 6th in his first outing. Way to go Bill!


Team Ride Report 6-19

Hello everyone,

What a great turnout! We started out with 40 or 50 riders. The pace to Ventura was brisk but friendly. Unbelievably, we made it down the freeway with that many riders and not a single flat tire! In fact we made it the entire 95 miles without a flat! That's a miracle! Although the ride did have it's share of mishaps.

After the lake group split off we were left with about 20 riders doin' the full monty. The Ventura boys showed us the bike friendly way to get thru town and then got us out onto some nice flat farmland. Right at the base of the Santa Paula climb we had our first "incident". Brett Harrison and Blinger crossed wheels at a stoplight and suffered a low speed crash. More of a fall over on top of each other than a crash. They both emerged unscathed and were able to continue to our first regrouping spot at the Summit Store.

I was kind of expecting sunny skies and high temperatures on the Ojai side of the mountain instead we got rained on! It wasn't heavy rain but it was rain...on Summer Solstice...go figure. Climbing up Denison grade into Ojai we had our 2nd "incident". Bob Wilcher was mashing a big gear up the climb as usual when his left pedal snaps off! Instead of crashing or falling over like a normal person he decides to be a dare devil and plays chicken with a car heading in the opposite direction! He won, but it scared the crap out of me...figuratively of course....not literally. Luckily we were close to the international headquarters... (Ben's house) so I offered to push Big Bob over the rest of the climb and the two miles or so along the flats to get there and switch out his pedal.......which I would have done........if I had been able to catch up to him!

So after Bob drops half the group with one leg, Ben saves the day and replaces his pedal and we're back in business. We make our way over the Casitas climbs and back into town at a nice steady tempo and we arrive back at Rusty's at 12:05 and since we left at 7:05 our ride time ends up at exactly the predicted time of 5 hours! That' a first.
95 miles, no flats, free pizza, good friends...that's a great day!
See ya soon,
Matt Benko

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Support BMX @ Elings!

The Meeting has been postponed but if you are in support of BMX at Elings it looks like there is a group in opposition forming. Check out their comments below.

A special village hall meeting
Wed. June 17 from 7-9 p.m.
Steen Hudson, executive director and Bruce Giffin, immediate board vice-president will present on the development plans of Elings Park. It is open to the public.

The meeting is in connection with the SAVE THE ELINGS PARK SOUTH campaign headed by Theo Kracke, our vigilant neighbor on Calle Almonte. Following is the premise of the group campaign:

Save Elings Park South

Why the campaign?

At present, the unspoiled beauty of Elings Park south, where one still enjoys starlit night skies. is the last natural area under protection of the City of Santa Barbara.

Elings Park Foundation, however, has a huge development plan for this park area:

-a 55,000 sq. ft. BMX track with starting gates covering 1.57 acres of currently natural land;

-four 8-feet tall spectator bleachers, amplified PA system, and lights for night racing events;

-1,350 sq. ft. park office building (16-feet high);

-Individual picnic areas;

-frisbee golf course area; and

-re-zoning from “undeveloped parkland” to “regional park”

Concerned citizens are opposed to the following:

The proposed major constructions violates the S.B. County “Covenant Restricting Use” agreed to by the Park Foundation in 1999.

That year, the Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund (CREF) and the community agreed to save this part of Elings Park from any form of development for thirty years, with the Elings Foundation as steward of the land. Today, the Foundation has apparent intentions of pressing the County Board of Supervisors to extinguish this “Covenant Restricting Use” - and to develop the land. (A recorded Memorandum of Understanding between Elings Park Foundation and the City of S.Bb confirms this.)

The proposed BMX track night time operations will cause light pollution.

The current light pollution problem caused by the night time softball games at Elings north has deprived neighbors seeing stars in the sky. The proposed BMX track activity, couoled with the night security lights in the proposed park offices and parking facilities will contribute to this pollution.

The proposed amplified PA system at the BMX track will cause noise pollution.

Residents of Allan Road on the other side of Las Positas have voiced their complaints about the amplified PA system of the BMX track in its current location at Elings North. A biking event in June 2008 on Elings South reverberated trhought the Westwood Hills and Mesa Lane area of the Mesa neighborhood.

Increased use in Elings South will necessarily increase traffic in the area.

There are major safety issues at the Cliff Drive gate of Elings South.

A negative impact on its wildlife

Elings South is host to native species, such as burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, songbirds, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, rabbits, skunks, reptiles, and riparian fauna. Major disturbance in their habitat will significantly reduce these wildlife.

The above proposed developments can conveniently “pave the way” for other future developments, particularly with re-zoning of the area.

Concerned citizens are in support of :

The construction of individual picnic areas

Individual picnic areas without outdoor lighting offer a nice place for families to enjoy the natural surroundings of Elings Park South

The construction of a frisbee golf course

Without outdoor lighting, a frisbee golf course is an excellent use of the natural land of Elings Park South.

Contact: Theo Kracke – HYPERLINK "" or 805-701-4221 (cell)

Joe Howell, Bringin It!

Originally sent 6-14-09

Following the lead of a couple of weeks ago from fellow Chicken Rancher Rookie and tri-geek Lee Carter, thought I would give my first (and perhaps last) race report. Proud to announce that I was the top SB finisher and #1 Chicken Ranch finisher at Escape from Alcatraz this morning in San Francisco. (OK, so I was one of only two SB guys who did the race this year, and I was the solo Rancher, but that is not the point is it?) One cool feature of the race is that you are racing “with” (you are on the same course, at the same time…..) with 5-10 of the top male and female triathletes in the world…..

I have done Escape from Alcatraz 7 or 8 times- different each time, in large part because the ocean and currents are wildly different each year. You get on a boat with about 2000 folks from all over the US (and world), the boat goes around Alcatraz a couple of times for effect, then you jump out- all 2000 racers probably exit within 10 minutes-bodies everywhere. At the pre-race meeting on Saturday, the swimming experts (two guys who have each done the Alcatraz to SF swim 500 times-no wetsuit!) give you suggestions on where to “aim” for the 1.5 mile swim in the Bay. This year, there suggestion would be as follows in Santa Barbara--imagine going straight out 1.5 miles from the Yacht Club, , then “aiming” at Stearns Wharf in order to end up at East Beach- that is what the current does to you. The swim leg was “slow” this year as very rough water and slower than average current.

When you get out of the water (assuming you don’t cramp up and fall down like several), you next run ½ mile to the bike transition and then do a very cool 18 mile bike course-real technical, lots of climbs and gnarly descents- had my best bike time in a while and was top 2 or 3 in my age group.

The 8 mile run is mostly off road, with lots of stairs, a low tunnel and single track climbs, then you run on soft sand out/back and up the famous “sand ladder” (which is railroad ties covered in sand, straight up a bluff).

I was 7th in my age group (30 signed up, looks like 24 finished), which I was happy with considering the big timers in my age group who came in from Colorado, Texas, etc. Fortunately, my numerous sessions of swimming “secret training” at the Tennis Club with B-Rad Jellison served me well. (Talk to him about his unique swim training techniques; the man is brilliant.)

OK, that’s it. Talk to me about signing up for the lottery for next year’s race.