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.

Calling All Mountain Bikers

Originally sent 6-13-09

Matt Perry, Big Rob and I hit up the SGDC Summer series #1 today. About the opposite turnout of the PreOtter with only 15 people across all classes.

Weather was great, course was new (no middle climb/downhill); faster with more laps and there wasn’t much competition. In the Pro/Expert Field, Matt Perry rode away from the competition (me) on the first switchback climb and never looked back. I finished in about 2:28 for four laps/30 miles and Matt was probably 5-10 minutes in front of me. Smokin! Big Rob – gotta let us know how you ended up. Last I saw you were being eased into your van, holding your wrist/shoulder. Hope you are OK!

Come on out for the other SGDC races this summer. Support one of the best racing venues in all of CA (where else do you get a cash payback for sport/expert/pro classes??!). I’ve been racing MTBs for 20+ years and isn’t this what we all ask for – local venue, lots of races, varied courses and great people to race with?

The other Summer Series races are; 7/25, 8/22 and TBD.

VERY IMPORTANT (one of my favorite kinds of racing) – Wednesday Night Dirt Crit Series starting 7/1 and running weekly through 8/5. Cash payback, short, spectator friendly and a great mid-week workout.

See you all out there!

Which Kim Was It?

Originally sent 6-5-09

Hi all!

So in a last minute rush, I snuck out of a reception at work, and rode over to the Sandpiper Prologue bike race. No warmup (just the 10 minute ride over), and I got there only to be told that I was too late to sign up. But thanks to my ChickenRanch connections, some serious strings were pulled, and I was allowed to start, the only catch was I had to

pretend to be Kim McDaniel, who had signed up but was not there! And

it just so happened that Kim McDaniel's start time was within a minute of this I was called up to the line immediately. As I am waiting for my countdown, Jurist remarks "watch the gravel section and the off-camber turns" and the guy next to him said "oh, you didn't preride? Ouch." Then it was time to start. Lovely. Anyway, it was fun, but I didn't know what was coming, and therefore did not ride with my usual fearless TT spirit. The dead squirrel in the trail didn't help matters any, either! Anyway, I completed the course in due time (albeit slower than many) passing 1 guy and getting passed by David Jurist about halfway through, and almost did a good job of blocking Bart at the end (because I didn't know where the course went...) but alas he got by me anyway :-).

Anyway, my ride was good enough for first place in the women's division. I won...a round of golf at Sandpiper. Too bad I don't really know how to golf!

It was a good chicken ranch turnout, and everyone had fun. The race was really efficiently run. I hope they do it again! A lot of Ranchers did really well, so they should brag! This was sponsored by ChickenRanch and Fastrack, so thanks!


Chickens On The Run

Sent 5-3-09

Hey Chickens, Here's a race report of a slightly different variety. A couple of weeks ago my team won the "Are You Tough Enough" relay race. It is a 65-mile race that starts at Toro Canyon Park in Carpinteria, goes up via Gibraltar to Camino Cielo, which it follows to Refugio Canyon, and then descends into the Santa Ynez valley where it ends at Nojoqui Falls park. Here is a picture of four of us at the top of Gibraltar waiting for our fifth runner to arrive at the handoff spot. I'm in the chicken ranch jacket. Second from the right is Eric Reynolds, who is a former high-school cross country National Champion and ran for UCLA. Scott Ingram, second from the left and Dave Saunders, far right, both ran for UCSB. It was quite interesting running a race on the course we all so often ride. Our winning time was around 7 1/2 hours. We beat the second place team by under 2 minutes. I am proud to add that everyone on my team was over 40.

See you all out on the roads, with or without a bike!