Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Aprils Fools Retro Ride!

Hey All,
Good weather, good riding and baaad clothing...this is what the retro ride is all about.

Thanks to all who didn't take themselves too serious and managed to find some old stuff at the very bottom of the drawer.

Smiles all around today...Gene taking Bates by storm and Letteri getting the sprint at the Polo fields.

Again, Thanks for making the Peleton colorful

Best, Aaron

p.s. I have a new found respect for Carlos' 30 mph photography skills

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thanks Very Much To Groups Like These!

I will take the bullet for this one. These organizations should have been front and center on this blog a long time ago. Check them out and check out their sites often. (links on the right, for easy access) Most importantly get involved when you can! THANKS!!!!!

March 26th - 29th: Visiting Trail Experts Will Inspire Local Sustainable Trail Maintenance. Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Coming to SANTA BARBARA

The International Mountain Bicycling Association's (IMBA) Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew will be in SANTA BARBARA, March 26th through March 29th to talk trails, teach people sustainable trail building technique, and spend quality time on trail with volunteers.

March 26th, Presentation “Club Care – Reinvigorating Your Club”: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Faulkner Gallery - Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Open to the public.
This presentation focuses on techniques that advocacy groups across the country have used to reach goals, overcome, challenges, and build up their community. Any trails, outdoor, environmental, or sports based organization will benefit from this workshop. Included will be ideas on sustaining boards of directors, recruiting members, and making sure that everyone has a great time participating in their organization. No cost and no registration required.

March 28th, IMBA Trail Building School and trail work.
8:30am - 5:00pm, Louise Lowery Davis Center 1232 De La Vina St Santa Barbara, CA: Pre-registration is required.

Registration: http://go.imba.com/santabarbara or register by email to chris.orr@sbmtv.org or ray@sbtrails.org.

Supporting Santa Barbara County Trails
Since 1969, the Santa Barbara County Trails Council has dedicated itself to working with local government agencies and other organizations on the development of a safe and sustainable trail network, acquisition of new trails and support for volunteer trail maintenance programs. SBTC plays a key role in bridging the differences among trail user groups as we work towards building a network of trails that serve the entire community.

SBTC IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONThat raises funds through membership dues, grants and private donations to keep our local trails open to the public. Our members include hikers, equestrian groups, mountain bikers, trail runners who are dedicated to building a multi-use trail network that works for everyone.
Please join with SBTC to support the development of new trails and the maintenance of our existing ones. Members receive a copy of the Santa Barbara Front Country Trail map, a quarterly newletter as well as updates on the trails.

Join now and support our local trails.
Santa Barbara Trails CouncilPO Box 22352, Santa Barbara, CA 93121

Phone: 805-886-5776 • sbtc@sbtrails.org

Keyesville, Podiums and Good Times!

Last year, I made the trip w/ the CR'ers to the Keysville Classic MTB race to test the early season MTB legs on the 16 mile Sport Class race (8 mile loops). The race started and right from the gun I had a good lead on my group. A few looks over the shoulder and I could see my lead increasing. About a 1/3 of the way through the first lap and I'm feeling great...catching and passing the racers from the groups ahead. Then, somewhere along the course, I took a wrong turn and ended up going through the Start/Finish line only 4 miles into the race on what was supposed to be an 8 mile loop. I had no idea where I turned off. I rolled into the feed zone where Matt asked, "what happened?" I took a wrong turn when leading the race and was forced to DNF. That race bothered me all last season.

Well this Saturday, I made the trip again. I put no pressure on myself and just thought of doing my best. The 30-44 Sport Class had a good turn out and I was just hoping for a good showing. This time, I wasn't going to go off the front and get lost again. I planned on following a wheel through the first lap and put in a hard effort on the second lap. The race starts and I find myself off the front 1/4 of the way through the first lap. One look back and I have a huge gap. I decide to hit it hard and hope for the best. Going into the second lap, I take a quick look back and second place is nowhere in site. At this point I'm feeling good and thinking that I might pull off my first MTB win. Going into the finish, I pass some spectators and they yell, "no one in site, you got it." I come through and got the win, incuding the best time of the day for the Sport classes. It was a feeling of relief and satisfaction. I redeemed last year's screw up and my poor performance 2 weeks ago at the Nevada Stage Race. Today, I had the legs and the lungs.

As a team, we also had some other great performances, including another win by a CR'er. I'll let them give their reports, but I'll give you a hint. The winner of the 44+ Sport Class owns a bike shop in town :-) We got a bunch of top ten's and a lot of good times. As always, racing with the Rancher's is awesome.

Since we all like pics, I've attached a bunch from the trip.


Hello everyone,

The Keyesville Classic has been goin' on for twenty years, and is the first Mountain Bike race I ever did. It's definitely got an "Old School" feel to it and there are many people that always fit Keyesville into their race calendar. The course is one of the best anywhere with enough climbing to make your legs burn and enough fast technical descending to keep it interesting, and the scenery is pretty awesome as well.

They moved the Cross Country event to Saturday this year so me and a few other Chickens left Friday night to make the 4 hour drive to our chosen resting spot the Paradise Cove Lodge. It was kinda weird how we arrived around 11pm, went straight to our rooms, and left at 7:30am in the morning without ever seeing anybody. We never checked in. Never signed anything. There was no front desk. We just walked in, slept and left. Awesome! The rooms were actually better than expected. Mine and Roberts even had a TV but it took us 15 minutes to figure out how to turn it on, and another 30 minutes to figure out how to turn it off. We had the same problem with one of the lights so we just un-screwed the lightbulb....like I said..."Old School."

We awoke to a beautiful clear morning with frost on the ground but no clouds in the sky. When we arrived at the venue we found a perfect spot for the Chicken Rig right on the course. So we could basically sit on the tailgate and hand out water bottles. During the Sport race Matt Perry, Pete Sproul and I hung out and watched the action waiting to give the guys their feeds. Gabe was on fire, and at the end of the first lap he already had a huge lead and we knew he was gonna win barring catastrophe. Dave came through in 2nd place in his race but he didn't even take a bottle 'cause his eyes were so focused on the guy right in front of him who was leading at that point. I said to Perry "It's over. Nobody smells the finish line like Lettieri!" and I was right. He wasn't gonna let this chance to win his first MTB race slip thru his fingers. Rob Ramirez and Brian Bermudes had a good little battle going on with Bermudes coming out on top at the end. Normally it's Lettieri battling with Ramirez...or Zimmerman....or Gabe...or Jellison...or Cuttler. It's funny how everyone wants to beat Ramirez. I mean sure, he is a little annoying sometimes, but way down deep inside somewhere he's actually a really nice guy. The battle between Rod Garrat and Philip Friden never materialized because Philip adheres to the Robert Ramirez approach to bike maintenance. Which means....don't do any. As a result he had multiple mechanical issues and was unable to finish. We'll have to let them duke it out at the next race. Which for Rod will be next years Keyesville Classic.

After we handed out the bottles it was time for me to eat my normal pre-race meal. A peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. I went to my cooler and to my surprise found that I had remembered the loaf of bread, but forgot the peanutbutter and the Jelly. Instead of eating dry bread I went down to the expo area and ordered two breakfast burritos from the local food vendor. Not the smartest decision I've ever made. While I doubt it affected my performance in the race. It did have a profound affect on the flavor and texture of my burps for the next 2 hours. Our class was a combined 30 to 44 age group so I got to race with some of the younger guys for a change. Which I thoroughly enjoyed for the first lap and the third lap. I didn't enjoy it so much on the second lap mainly because they all rode away from me and I couldn't seem to do anything about it. I kept pluggin along and according to the other Chickens I finished in 6th place or so. I'm not really sure since we didn't stick around for the results. In fact when I came across the line, Dave grabbed my bike and began loading it in the car. Bermudes washed me off with a bottle of water, and Ramirez gave me a Coke and a smile and said "Let's go!" We were in the car and ready to go literally 10 minutes after I finished the race. Bermudes's water bottle shower was easily the most enjoyable part of my day.

The drive home was relaxing. Mostly because Dave was in a good mood and wasn't trying as hard to get back to the shop to sell bikes. Paul Donahoe was driving the other car and they also had a race winner in their vehicle as well so they seemed to be in good spirits. We stopped at local restaurant in Bakersfield to fill up our stomachs for the drive home. I can't remember the name of the place....something like "Kebobs R Us" or something like that. It wasn't too bad, and it fit our criteria for a post meal as outlined by Dave and Robert....."No shitholes!" That was Robert's request when asked where we should go to eat. We first attempted to go to some Hawaiian Bar-B-Que joint but Dave walked in then turned around and walked out and declared..."It's a shithole!" so we opted for Kebobs R Us instead.

During the drive home Paul Donohoe kept "drafting" or "sitting on the wheel" of the Chicken Rig all the way from Bakersfield to Ventura. We were using walkie-talkies to communicate between vehicles and when they pulled abruptly around us and proclaimed "We're gonna win the sprint!" before taking their exit to drop off Gabe, we used the oldest trick in the book to teach them a lesson about etiquette. We informed them that since we were on the same team we would not contest the sprint for the win and congratulated them on a job well done. As soon as they backed off the gas I punched it and the Chicken Rig accelerated like Cavendish in the last 500 meters. They tried to cover our move but alas it was too late and we crossed the finish line at the Victoria off ramp with our hands in the air and a comfortable "half-car-length" margin of victory! They'll try to tell you a different story, but in their heart of hearts I think they know.

Great weekend Chickens! Let's do it again!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kimberly reports from Madera!

Hi there,

Well stage one of madera is behind me. It was the crit. Not much to report other than I narrowly missed winning the prime and was top 10 at the finish. The race started 45 minutes late...so much for a well timed warmup!! Race was slow...I took a couple of flyers and tried to make it more fun. Picked a wheel at the end but there were too many teams and the girl I was on wasn't fast enough. I came around about 10 people but it wasn't enough to win. At least I showed them that even though I have no teammates, chicken ranch is hardcore :) and now I am fresh for the tt.

I saw Aaron long...his crit was later so I don't have a result. His tt is later too. I think we are the only 2 chicken ranchers here...

Tt is in a few hours.

Ok...so the TT is behind me...and it only took 4.5 hours for the results to come out.

The actual TT was hard, as all TT's are...however, I felt pretty fast!

In the 10.5 mile course, I manged to pass 6 people! I was feeling pretty good about it, but of course you never know until the results come out....

So...it turns out I got 3rd place in the TT (out of second by ONE SECOND), and therefore am 3rd overall in GC. 1st place claims to have a TT time over 1 minute faster...bummer! Oh well...we'll have to see how things shake out tomorrow. There are a couple people not so far back, so the Road race is going to be hard tomorrow.

So think fast thoughts tomorrow as I attempt the 68 mile road race. I don't know where I'm going to find the energy for it!

Thanks for all the good luck vibes...madera is now behind me! The road race today was long. Not particularly hard, just long. I tried to win on a solo flyer on the last climb...but alas it was not to be and I got caught. I managed to grab a wheel and finish with the leaders though...so I thought I had 3rd locked up...only to find put I got 4th cause they had forgotten to give the girl who got 4th in the tt a bonus from the crit. So I got 4th by 2 seconds. Damn... Oh well the prize was identical- a velobob t shirt and $10.

It was fun, and at least I finished strong!!


Sent from my iPhone

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bonelli Race Reports

Bonelli Park was a big success.. that is for the race organizer Over 700 riders showed up, double last year.It was a fast course completely different for other years. Perfect warm temp with snow capted mountain in the distance.

For team Chicken, there was a VICTORY for big Rob in the 45 beginner! I was about 10th in the Sport. Matt Perry was 2nd in the expert. Others racing were Bill Cutler, Rob Ramirez, Bob Whilcher, Rod Garrett, Kim Lyons, Mike

Abbott. Lets here some reports :))
More soon,

Now Dave is just toying with me. I ALMOST got second in the Cat1 30-34 race but was beat out by a few seconds. But I did get on the podium and had some good racing.

This was the first day in recent memory that I rode without arm and leg warmers. The heat was kind of a shock to my system. Didn't get a chance to pre-ride the course but the word from some of the other chickens was "easy" .. I'm not sure what they were comparing it to. It wasn't technical at all but had a few sketchy fast, loose corners. And the climbing was killer.. there were 2 miles of exposed fireroad climbs to start the lap, then a series of really steep little punchy climbs intermixed with some singletrack and short sections of pavement. A really fun course!

Before the race, I realized I had forgotten to bring any food with me

- Ramirez and Cuttler saved the day by donating some Gu packets. Bob W and I started out pretty conservatively and tried to just work our way up through the race. But Bob got a flat half-way through lap 2 and had some issues with his CO2 which set him back 10 minutes. Without that mishap, I'm convinced we would have 2 chickens on the podium! I kept motoring and was able to put a lot of time on those steep short climbs in the middle of the course. Everyone else was shifting down into their granny gear but you just had to keep it in the middle ring, crank up it for 30 sec, quickly recover, repeat. At the end of lap three I had no idea where I was compared to everyone else in my age group and I burnt my last match chasing down a group of three riders in the last 1/2 mile. Turns out one of those guys was the eventual 2nd place but my brain was not functioning properly and I convinced myself that he wasn't in my age group so I didn't need to out-sprint him. The way the finish was set up really discouraged a sprint finish; a 180 degree paved turn about 50 feet before the finish line with a narrow roped-off shoot leading into it so there was basically no way to do it safely. At least thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Next stop Keyesville.. hope to see everyone there!


I'm calling this race the "Bonelli Park Hair Club For Men's race".

Billy C. and I drove down together and we are hairy. Not as hairy as DanO, but gaining fast...

Also, there were some hairy climbs and some fast hairy descents on this course. The descents were so fast they made the hair on the back of your back stand up. Then we met up with Mike Abbott and he has hairy legs and rides the hairy Super D in addition to the XC. Plus, to cap it off, some guy commented to us on the pre-ride about our hairy legs!

Oh yea, and the race...it was beautiful weather with warm temps and clear air. Billy and I got to race some platinum dudes (Aaron Transky and John Reveles) which made it fun. Right out of the gate there is a big hill. I started out on the front row with my furry friend Billy for this race but ended up at the back of the pack by the time we reached the top of the first hill. From there it was racing through traffic which made it fun. Dave Lettieri started in the group behind us but by the second lap he was right behind me. Not sure where I finished, but it was well worth the trip down there. The race organizers really put in a big effort to make this a good event. They had shwag bags, free T-shirts, vendor demo areas, free In-N-Out, a motorcycle show, and good race organization.

Thank you,

Rob Ramirez

I met Dave at 6:15 and off we we went. First I would like to say that Dave could double as a stock car driver if he ever decides to hang up his cleats. He saved the day with his lightning quick reflexes to avoid your typical idioit driver. No warmups were necessary as my heart rate was 195 after that. 550 people signed up and it was about 85 degrees at the start time. We pre road the course to kill of the time we had to wait till start time as we made it down to San Dimas in about 7 minutes.. I asked Dave how to race MTBs and his sage advice was "don't crash."Start times were staggered at 1 minute intervals. At my start time I just went as hard as I up the first hill and was just hoping that I would be in the mix after that. At the top I was all by my self (bonus !!!!) so I thanked God and just tried to keep catching the riders who started in front of me. .it was all over I had won my Cat 3 old guy catagory. It was and awesome trip and CR was well represented. Riding in the dirt is alot of fun and I cant wait for the next one. Thanks Dave and all CR.z

Big Rob

sounds like a great vegas trip, as for the mountain chickens i think we had 8 riders all did well, i think we had 3 podium finishers we will get their stories as they report, it was nice to meet and see what a great job kim lyons did with her race(hope you got that first aid) beer. matt pulled off a 3rd what a great effort, and big rob first place in his first race!. good job in the largest class for rob ramerez and bill cutler. not sure how the others did, let us know. as for my races i finished 6th in xc and 5 th super d, my legs were gone by the time the super d went off, it was still a great event, the new us cup program seems to be a great draw for larger classes.

mike abbott

We had a great day of racing at Bonelli indeed. It turns out that Dave "The Clock" Lettieri got on the podium after all - 5th according to the results posted a little while ago. Congrats to Dave and everyone else who went down. Matt P is a feekin' stud and won that race in my book (yes the 50-foot finish was pretty lame) and I know he will pick one off as the season goes on. Big Rob got the sweet taste of success with his win and believe it or not, the Clock even let him pick up his award ("go, go go", I heard him say to Rob). No kidding, Ramirez finished within a minute of Dave and then went directly to the car to change after the race - Dave had already mounted his bike and was changed, ready to leave. Wow! Others who raced and were not mentioned were Rod Garratt and Mike Abbott who fared well in their respective categories. Also, Ramirez got an awesome time in the top 10 - hey you beat Reveles after all but missed Transki (recently downgraded from Expert...har-umph!) by 20 seconds. Speaking of the "other guys", they had some good results as well but as you might imagine did not have as much fun as we did. I know this because due to the heat, Rob and myself were proud to keep our jerseys unzipped, proudly flaunting our Sasquachlike rugs in the blazing San Dimas heat while the other guys...well, let's just say I don't think the sponsors allow them to unzip their jerseys, no matter how hot it gets. Anyway, Dano, we thought of you and know you would have appreciated this. Anyway, I had an OK race finishing in typical Cuttler style for a MTB race; that is at the bottom third of the group. The first lap felt great and then, again, in typical Cuttler fashion, proceeded die and go backwards on the second lap. I must say that I am looking forward to the flatter lands this weekend. The highlight of my trip was of course off the trail. If you guys think Benko goes out of his way to make sure his teammates are well taken care of and have a good time, well you guys need to hang out with Ramirez. After our race, we bummed around a little while and then the hunger started to creep in. Rob kept going on about how he didn't eat after the last race and really didn't need to eat after a race. Of course, I was telling Rob how I needed to eat within 10 minutes of finishing a race or else I get headaches and can be a real prick. After Rob decided it was time for us to go, he agreed to take me to In and Out. "Phew", I thought, "I can hang in another 10 minutes or so, I know there is an In 'n Out somewhere close by". Well, we proceeded to In N Out alright but this was not any 'ol In N Out. No, I was to be taken on a detour to a special In N Out...the In N Out that he and Carol had their first date at. No kidding. "How sweet, now get me something to eat dammit!" I thought to myself gritting a fake smile for my fellow marmut-like friend (after all, he did drive...even though I paid for the parking). It gets better...unfortunately we did not go directly to In N Out. Rob actually took the time to give me a tour of Arcadia where he grew up while I sat patiently starving to death. Yes, I got to see the street Rob lived on, Rob's High School (where he and Carol met), the 7-11 that had Rob's favorite Slurpy(tm) flavor, and of course Rob and Carol's first apartment. Now you can't do that in Vegas my friends! Anyway, about an hour after my race, the hair on Rob's leg was starting to look mighty tasty when fortunately we pulled into In N Out. It was indeed a romantic spot. Needless to say, thinking about Rob and Carol and that first date made me feel extremely closer to Rob and I became slightly jealous of Carol. It was a weird feeling and I'm pretty sure in my weakened hungry state Rob and I had "a moment". It was at that point that I officially decided to leave Gabe for Rob. Call it a double-double if you will but racing a mountain bike in the extreme heat and then being deprived of calories for too long will do that to you. Good times...good times...

Bill Cuttler
What a blast! This was my big comeback to mtb racing after 3 years of loafing around. I planned to win but came up a bit short with a 2nd place finish. The good news is that the girl who beat me is trying to get pregnant and doesn't plan on racing much of the season. Yeah, good for Kim, good for Chicken Ranch! I am excited about racing with an actual team this year and look forward to meeting more of you.

Perhaps a little more team time at the next race? Coolers full of beer or something? I'll hook it up.



The Easy Button

Enjoy the ride, this one in from one Mr. Jurist, it's pure humor.

Some observations on Callville and a race report:

In response to Mr. Benko’s assertion that I can cast an “evil” spell: Evil spelled backwards is “live” and as Mr. Lance Armstrong has encouraged all of us, “live strong.” My interpretation is “make mine a double.”

If you have only ridden your TT bike three times around Goleta, don’t use it for an uphill time trial at your first stage race, no matter what some bike genius says.

Houseboat toilets need descriptive lines printed in the bowl to achieve proper water volume levels for the projected fill rate. From bottom to top: “just passin’ through,” “midday snack” and at the top perhaps “3 plates of pasta at the free spaghetti dinner.” (We did not have venison on our boat or perhaps a fourth line would be necessary.)
People who race bicycles are always cold when not on their bikes. Again, this could be solved with “make mine a double.”
So now that I have almost as many road events under my belt as the number of wheel sets shoved into Dan Rudd’s and Blinger’s car for the race (oh wait, I’ve only done 4 races), it would be fitting that I preface any bad race results with excuses. Sooooo, Tuesday prior to the Callville Classic, I chaperoned a bus load of kids to the Long Beach Aquarium and scored a classic case of elementary school dysentery. Wednesday was sleepless and Thursday was only slightly better. It was obvious that my expectations for the weekend would need to go from yellow jersey to perhaps a single five minutes of glory within a race. I was thinking maybe a prime in the Sunday crit, but unlike the adult races, THERE ARE NO PRIMES for Cat 5 (never mind that I got yanked before the race finished.) So I had to leave with only the Thurston Howell III award for dedication to cocktail hour (a Gilligan’s Island reference for those under 35) and my bike pump tucked between my legs with the only solid thing my body produced for the weekend being a personal worst in the time trial.

Fast forward to the departure of myself and “nameless” (sometimes known for his bladderific spontaneity) from Callville on Sunday. Of course, we missed the little cut off for the 15, and stayed on the 215, passing dangerously close to the south end of the strip (talk about casting an evil spell) before steeling ourselves and heading onto the 15 southbound. Nameless and I started talking about what a shame it would be to have driven within a mile of the magic and not have been able to breathe in just a quick bit of the rancid smoke filled air, stale alcohol charm and slot machine chiming of the sanctuary of sin. We decided to feed our jones and stomach’s at Whiskey Pete’s at the state line.

I’ve been to Vegas a time or two and I can tell you now, Whiskey Pete’s is no Vegas. It is to the Bellagio what influenza is to the Bubonic Plague. No matter, if you close your eyes it’s all the same. And in this case, tightly shut.

When we walked in, I felt changed. The disappointments of the weekend started to fade and I could almost feel my appetite returning. There would be one last chance for redemption! Our plan for the fourth and final stage of Callville was a big sizzling platter of beef to celebrate nameless’ top 11 finish in the un-incentivized Cat. 5 melees. Drat, strike one, the Silver Spur Steakhouse course had been closed down, probably by SPCS (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Steak). We sought out the race director who pointed his soda gun at the new venue, The Trail’s End Coffee Shop. A long line of racers was already staging behind the stanchions and we jockeyed for good position in front of two female racers who looked bleary and hung over (for the life of me I couldn’t remember them from our houseboat). We chatted a bit with the two ladies who revealed they had come to town from Bakersfield supporting Big Head Todd and the Monsters for an event at the House of Blues.

They were sending racers off in groups from the front when all of a sudden we were chosen out of the middle of the pack. The official looked at our group, “We’ve got a spot for four near the front…” The Bakersfield team eyed us and asked if we were up to the challenge. Little did she know that I still had my smelly kit on under my clothes and was ready for anything they could throw down!

We were shown “race bibles” for the stage and there were some tense moments of strategizing before each racer showed their cards. Shelly, who was in desperate need of a cigarette, went with milk, orange juice and after being denied oatmeal, went all in with scrambled eggs. Looked like a lightweight climbing strategy to me. Diane showed she was in it for the field sprint, steak and eggs with coffee. I was dying to sneak a peak at her power meter to see what she had in the tank. Nameless, who had faced the brunt of a full crit went mega calorie with the “steak” dinner. Knowing that my heart rate had exceeded maximum for all three events previously, I went full deep-fried to slow it and make sure I stayed under max, so nameless and I could make a move if it presented itself.

I should mention that our opponents had chosen their positions in the four top formation before we could get a wheel in. They were aligned opposite each other, which forced us to do the same. I believe this is the same start position that Matteus Chickarino and his wingerman, Cragio Zipperholder, found themselves in at the start of the Tour de les Cafes in the air raid shortened 1943 race in Nice, France. Of course, they had chocolates and nylons in their back pockets and soloed to, um, victory. Phil Liggett could confirm.

Our task would be much tougher as we felt like we were on their turf with no pre-ride. There was some early consternation with nameless’ order that caused a restart, but after being quickly handled by the neutral feed we were ready for battle. And off we went. Nameless and I paced ourselves with the group, but because of the positioning at the four top we were limited to eye rolls and spoon Morse code to signal strategy. Shelly and Diane went chatty after the first few kilometers and we stayed right on their wheels with Chicken Ranch lore. The group settled into a rhythm for the next twenty. I sensed trouble when we reached the climb leading to the finish. With only small portions left, nameless was trying to list country bands he liked and I could hear the lead in his voice. Desperate, I shoved the last fried bits in my mouth and felt my heart rate slow to defibrillator levels. Cresting the final climb (the first time during the weekend I managed to stay with the lead group) I jumped in with a blizzard of fluff. I smelled bad decaf coffee and knew that nameless had managed to get on my wheel. Bam, the finish check hit the racecourse and nameless and I dived into our pockets. Diane graciously picked up the check despite our objections, she and Shelly thanking us for the company. Bingo, I mean Keno, I mean Blackjack….. a prime in Cat 5.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Calville Bay Classic Race Reports

Good morning, all!

I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to our fearless leader for organizing such a spectacular race weekend! Team Chicken Ranch had a great showing this weekend, and more importantly, I think we showed all those other teams how to race hard, support each other, and HAVE FUN!
It's what bike racing is all about. The houseboat lodging was nicer than any hotel, and the courses were challenging and fun. Aside from a few issues (like making the W3/4 race with the 45+, and 35+4/5 men), things were great, and I hope that the team goes to this race again! If you didn't go, you missed out. If you did go, you probably had a great time.

I didn't have a great race weekend, but did manage to culminate it with a decent field sprint for 2nd in the crit :-). I flatted in the RR and rode it for miles so that I could race the crit. It was worth the suffering. Teammie Jane had a spectacular weekend for a 6th in the GC (and 3rd in the crit right behind me...she raced so strong)!

I'm sure you'll get to hear about everyone else's triumphs and tragedies, so I won't spoil it for them. So let the reports commence!
And I will end with one more THANK YOU to Matt for making this mega road trip possible!

I just wish rest days had less of the 'real job' work!


Houseboat, The "Marmot" and venison......
Hello everyone,

What an excellent weekend that was! I think every Chicken who attended the Calville Bay Classic had a blast. We even had some stellar results to back-up all the fun we had! The houseboat situation ended up being even better than expected. The boats were big and comfortable with plenty of room to just lounge around and relax between races. Not having to drive to each stage was such a huge bonus I can't even tell you! All three courses were challenging and really fun to race on. First year organizer Mike Olsen did a great job overall and I think this race is only going to get better over the years, the venue is absolutely top-notch. Please go to vegasbikeracing.com and give Mike your feedback, good and bad so he can improve the event in future years.

Having the houseboats made it much easier for all of us to hang out together and socialize when we weren't racing. I got to know a few of the Ranchers better and made a few keen observations. When we arrived late Thursday night only David Larsen, Dano, and Kimberly Turner were already there. I was kind of concerned for Kimberly having been stuck alone with Larsen and Dano for many hours. I was afraid of what kind of mental state she would be in when I boarded their houseboat. What I found astounded me. Kimberly had turned into somewhat of a female"Hugh Hefner". She had Larsen slaving away in the kitchen cleaning-up from dinner and Dano was sweeping and
dusting wearing nothing but his stretchy-pants and a tight "sexually-questionable" T-shirt. All while Kimberly layed down on the couch in her smoking jacket. It was like that all weekend! Larsen was like the camp chef, preparing venison sausage, venison meatballs, venison sandwiches, venison coffee, and venison pasta at various times throughout the day. Kim Bleth and Jane ended up joining them on boat number four and the next time I cruised over to say hi I walked in to find Dano on his back (still with his stretchy pants on) and Jane and Kim are assisting him in some sort of new-age-hippie-partner stretching routine. Larsen was working in the kitchen of course, and Kimberly is still on the couch in her smoking jacket. Whatever they were doing in there it worked! 'cuz Kim Bleth went on to a beautiful breakaway victory in the 45+ crit, Kimberly snagged a 2nd and Jane a 3rd in the womens crit and their whole boat rode great all weekend. I know who I'm rooming with next time! And I'm running to the
store to buy some venison right now!

Ben Edwards and I both had our "little chickens" there doing their first stage race. Brennan and Sean are both 12 years old and they had a full weekend with the 4 mile TT, 27 mile Road Race,and 30 minute crit. They both did great and the highlight of the weekend for me was towards the end of my cat 3 road race..we've let a breakaway get away and I'm feeling pretty discouraged but then we pass the little chickens going the other way,still working together and going strong and that gave me the boost I needed to keep hangin' in there to the finish. They had a good time racing and hanging-out, and the "Big Chickens" were very supportive. Right after passing the little chickens I saw something else I will never forget. As we were heading towards the turn-around we passed the 35+4,5's going the other way. Dano was on the front of his group dancing up the climb with his jersey zipped wide open. For those of you who don't know Dano's chest hair is so impressive it has it's own nickname. It's known as the "Marmot". As we were riding towards them I could tell it was Dano but I'd never seen the "Marmot" so exposed before. It almost looked like he had kidnapped Burt Reynolds and stuffed him down the front of his jersey and only his moustache was hanging out.

After a lot of Chickens posted really strong TT times Saturday morning including Ken Doyle who was in 2nd after the first stage. Saturday afternoons Road Race was a different story. A lot of us struggled. We had at least 3 flats, a few bonks, and some less then stellar performances. But we also had a few bright spots. Dan Rudd rode to an impressive 2nd place finish. In my cat 3 race Ray Turon and Tory Gillett put in excellent rides and Blinger won the field sprint for 7th place. I'm not sure of all the results and we'll have to wait 'till they're all posted on the website but I know John Comunale also finshed well in the cat 4's. John's wife Sara was also out there racing after just attaining her PHD. Once again proving that women are not only smarter then men they are also......much better looking.

On Sunday's crit the Chickens redeemed themselves. Seans Edwards started it off with a great race for 3rd in the jr's race and the momentum kept going all day. I heard that on Saturday night a few Chickens fell under David Jurist's evil spell and began drinking cheap vodka and telling bad jokes. I'm not sure who all was involved but I do know that Mitch Karno, Gene Raphaelian, and Ray Turon all missed the start of their races on Sunday by a lap or two but jumped in anyways and ended up riding pretty well Gene actually got 5th or 6th but then turned himself in to the officials and got DQ'd. That's OK, it was well worth it. I think the crit course was the best one I've ever ridden. I really liked it. I liked so much I won.......for a minute or two. Then I got 2nd again. Let me explain. In the cat 3's tha Chickens were riding really well. Lots of attacks, really forcing the pace. As we come around the last corner I'm in pretty good position and I start sprinting for the line I'm closing on the guy in front of me really quickly and as we cross the line....it's too close to call!...neither one of us raises our arms because we're not sure who won. We continue on our cool down lap and as we approach the finish I see all the Chickens staring at the officials waiting for the decision. Then they start cheering and they tell me I won! For a moment I'm in heaven. I hug Kim Bleth and Jane (Jane hugs better) I high five Jose Murrillo and Dano, I'm getting ready to tell my son all about perseverence and stick-with-it-ness and then the race director says.....Oh no it wasn't Chicken Ranch it was the other guy! I see the finish photo and sure enough I lost by about 2 inches. Ben Edwards starts laughing and says I've discovered the only thing worse than 2nd place......thinking you got 1st.....and then getting 2nd! But you know what for about 60 seconds I got to feel what it's gonna feel like when I finally win one and I liked it! So I'm gonna keep on trying.

I had a great time this weekend and was so proud to be a part of this Team and be associated with such a great group of people. Keep up the good work and thanks for the great memories. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's race reports as well. Great job everyone!



Here are a few pics I took of the trip. A couple of the boats, the marina fish, Jose Murrillo and Dano Racing, Larsen and Blinger watching the 45+ race, out to dinner, and Bleth’s breakaway w/ his sprint win.

One of the most exciting races of the weekend had to be the 45+ crit. Not only did Kim Bleth start the winning break, but he finished it off w/ a sprint win. It was very cool is see a CR’er in a winning break.

The last pic is not of a CR’er, but of a Cat 4 having a temper tantrum in the middle of the race. Ray Turon and I were watching the Cat 4’s when this guys pulls out of the race and starts throwing and kicking his bike around and yelling, “I was feeling good too.” Then his girlfriend runs over and picks up his bike for him while he’s still yelling. I was hoping to get a shot of him kicking the bike, but apparently one kick was enough. Ray and I couldn’t stop laughing. BTW, I didn’t notice until I downloaded the pic that Dano was in the background! So it is a CR related pic after all


wow! what a weekend of racing! just a little race report..first off, a big thanks to matt for organizing all of us to attend this great event...racing, houseboats, etc..thanks matt.

saturday morn time trial..the only way i can explain it is 11mins of pure self-inflicted pain..but some great times by you cr's..

after a couple hours of recovery, we're off to the road race..i was surprised we made it through the chaotic sign in..but once on the road it pretty much went like this...ascend, descend, ascend, descend, ascend, descend, nature break???, ascend, descend, ascend, major descend, major ascend, nuetral feed zone???, descend..and so on and so forth..with 1km to go i felt the surge as mavic cozmic carbone's (of mr.benko) and to my surprise a rainbow-colored bike (of mr.bling) on his wheel fly by me..i must say it was an awesome feeling, after suffering for almost 70 miles on the road, to see my 2 teammates blow-off the front of the group..as craig put it "it was a tour de france lead out" by matt when craig took the field sprint..good work guys.....and yes, saturday evening, i had the privilege to partake in some team bonding..i was only kidding w/gabe on the way up when i declined to stay on his boat w/he, matt, and ben edwards saying i'd be a bad influence on the "little chickens", that my boat would be the party boat.. when little did i know my boat-mate david jurist slipped a bottle of vodka in the freezer..it was nice to sip on vodka cocktails and watch the classic "breaking away", and listen to some of carson blumes' life adventures after a long day on the saddle..thanks david.

sunday morn crit..so everyone was skeptical about this so called "crash-course" criterium..thanks to a handful of chickens that took the initiative of preparing the course, it turned out really fun..by-far the most impressive race of the day was that of kim bleth..wow! that is how it is done! initiate the break and win the damn race..great work by you "lady chickens" too!..the start of my race however...i wouldn't know cuz like mitch and gene, i wasn't there..i was off on a warmup when i realized the time..i got to the far end of the course and saw the field going by on their 1st or 2nd lap..earlier in the day craig labeled jumping in on a race as "pulling a gene", and i couldn't help but laugh to myself as i was about to "pull a gene" cuz i was not going to miss my 1st crit as a cat 3..i hid behind a honda crv and as the group approached i readied myself..i flew through the cones and settled in the pack..when the group got comfortable, just for kicks, i threw an attack..i was off and eventually a guy bridged up to me..i was blown from the attack and he was blown from bridging the gap, so we weren't much help to each other..that stupid little incline on the backside hurt ridiculously when you're on your own (more props to kim bleth for sustaining the break for what?..half the race)..we did last a couple laps when another rider bridged up and as he went by he yelled "lets go!! the chickens are blocking!!"..all i thought was shit!, my teamates are helping me out..and i got no more LEGS!..so before we knew we were back in the group, but fun while it lasted..i do wish we coulda gave matt a leadout so he coulda secured the victory..instead we got punk'd.."chickens win!!"...celebration!!..hugs and kisses...wait......no, other guy won....what??..but racing w/6 teammates and all of us being so involved...probably the best crit i ever raced in..great work guys.

by-far, we were the best represented team at the event and i'm so proud to have been a part of it....thanks again to matt and thanks to all you other cr's for sharing the weekend and racing hard!!...