Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Three Hour Tour

My nephew, Nathan, had a birthday party today so my bro and I decided to get in a ride on the cyclocross bikes this morning. Left San Jose for Santa Cruz around 7:15am and we got to riding around 8:00am. It was a nice CX loop with road, fireroads with a little singletrack mixed in. And with all the single-speed climbing, I'm pretty sure I burned off last night's dinner we had at Hula's Island Grill Restaurant.

We originally intended to ride Henry Cowell State Park, but with the time constraint of leaving at 8:00am and having to be back at 11:00am, the loop from his house was perfect - we did it in 2 1/2 hours.

Supposedly, we're having another 4 days of rain, so it was nice to "get one in" before it comes down again.

Pic from Hwy 17 Summit

Mud is good.

View from the lookout at Wilder Ranch.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Race Season is OVER - Cruisin' on the 'cross bikes

Since last week was my brother's last CX race, he's decided to take some time off from the hustle and go for more "cruising" rides - longer, slower paced. Compared to his Wed. night rides, what we did today was just that. It was just my speed (I didn't feel like puking at any point).

So I arrived at his Santa Cruz, Ca. home at around 10:30am and we probably left for the ride at 11:00am (I had to see my very sick, 4 yr. old nephew and give him some love).

The route was:
    • Climb some weird fireroads in his neighborhood to Delavega Golf Course

    • Through the course over to High St.

    • Climb up to the UCSC upper campus

    • Ride through UCSC campus

    • Descend Wilder (stay clear of Ranger Rick)

    • Stop at Mom and Dad's house on the West Side

    • West Cliff Dr.

    • Boardwalk

    • Cross the trestle

    • Soquel

    • Arrive back at his house.

We mostly stayed on the fire roads, but when a MTB'er stopped us to warn us about a four-wheeler in Wilder, we took an alternative route to avoid him. I guess Wilder was closed, but it was our way back into town.

I have to admit, the trails were a mess from the storm - there were broken branches and trees and plenty of water we crossed (heh heh, get it? 'Crossed?), but all in all, sticking to the fire roads was fine. I feel kinda bad about riding the trails (Spare the Trails, you know?) but we had to avoid the four-wheeler.

Killer day of riding and hanging out with my bro. Gotta do it again, soon.

The black bike coalition.

Obligatory water tank pic.

Creek crossing.

On West Cliff Dr. checking out the surf contest.

Levi Leipheimer on a Mountain bike

Levi Leipheimer on a Mountain bike from Roger Bartels on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Central Coast Cyclocross Race; Fort Ord, Ca. - Jan 17th, 2010

Got the e-mail from my bro, Deric, this morning:

"I'm going for it. Jen, Nathan and Jacob are not. Let's get ready to rumble!!!!!!! Peace out."

I knew I was going to roll out to Ford Ord, rain or shine, to watch my bro race; it was just a matter of getting there on time. The directions within Fort Ord were crazy and it took some time to get to where the race action was going to be. Knowing how these things went, I figured they'd be running late, so even at 10:15, they were still doing practice laps.

Again, my bro raced 35+ B Mens and not five minutes after the whistle blew, the storm started to come down. Guys were eating it and even Deric said he fell. Rob, my bro's team mate (and a front runner on points) was getting sideways moto on a mud pit, but never lost it. He did, however, break his carbon seatpost on a re-mount.

Good race, and I really felt sorry for the guys that were to race after - it was coming down hard and guys were looking pretty dirty. But hey, it is 'cross, ain't it?

Cyclocross looks like fun, but really grueling. Makes me wonder if in a year I'd be fit enough to even finish! Here are the pics:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Surf City Cyclocross - Jan. 10th, 2010

My bro called me Saturday to say "what's up?" and told me he decided last minute to race the 35+ B MENS at the Surf City Classic. He has one more race (Jan 17th) then he's done for the season - so of course, I went and brought the Eastern Traildigger to schmoe around on. I did do half a lap on it, but I was getting in the way of the practice riders and C riders trying to race. Sorry guys!
And they're off!

Don't know who these guys are, but the iPhone got an interesting shot.

This is my bro, Deric.

This is Rib-Eye Rob, my bro's On The Couch team mate.

Running over the barriers

Rob runnin'

My bro, going for the gusto.

The highlight of the day was watching my nephews race. Of course, my little nephew Jay Jay is not yet competitive, but Nathan (the older one) is very competitive. Nathan brought out his new Intense Mini-Racer and got the sickest holeshot. He held position through the course and took 1st! I was yelling my head off.

Jacob getting ready.

Nathan has the eye of the tiger.

See? :-)

There's the holeshot!

Numero Uno, bitzehs!

All the kids got candy and a medal. Hey... that's better than what the adults get!

Cross racing looks like a blast. I may bring my bike and try a lap or two to see how beat up I'd get if I tried it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Race at Santa Teresa County Park and A Pretty Picture

My brother is bugging me about racing the SBRacing XC race at Santa Teresa County Park. Today I spoke with a couple of riders training for that race and the girl said, "You're probably in better shape than you think..." Given the fact that I ride STP 5-6 days per week and know the place like no other, you'd think it would be perfect. But...

...I don't know
. I really don't have that competetive spirit in me to go racing. I may go check it out and see what it's all about before doing it next year. I really don't feel like doing anything competetive unless I know I'm going to do well.

Got a new camera yesterday (Canon PowerShot SD960 IS) and got this pretty cool pic with it. Taking a break for a couple of days to let the legs heal up a bit. Until next time...

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Gold-Wheeled Road Bike Thing - Motobecane Fantom Cross UNO

I've completed two rides on my new Fantom Cross Uno build and I'm totally stoked on this bike. My first impression on a CX bike was not a good one when I tried my brother's ultra-light Rock Lobster and I basically handed it back to him after riding it 30 feet.

This bike however, given that built it to my specs, is a BLAST. I'm getting the craziest looks since the cyclocross scene is not very big in Santa Teresa County Park - like a jackalope sighting, and some folks on are even calling it "the gold wheeled road bike", LOL!

It's amazing what geometry will do, and it climbs like a race goat. Not bad for a budget frame.

The Midge On-One bars are definitely not for the CX traditionalists. They are wide (580mm center-to-center), very swept, and a very low drop. I also want to mention that they are very comfortable and gives mere mortals like me some help in leveraging up climbs. I even had a very nice compliment from "myitch" on

"...yeah, i was with senna. thought i saw a gold-wheeled "road" bike. soon as we came up the bend, you were nowhere in sight. you're smoking up the hills on that. and no gears too."

I've NEVER felt comfortable in the drops with my road bike unless I was descending, but these bars are definitely easy to go into the drops. Also, the stem angle and rise helps a lot in this department. These are truly "dirt drops" and have a clamp area of 25.4, not 26.0 like a traditional road bike. I shimmed them to fit my 31.8 stem.

I know I won't be attacking the rock gardens on this bike, but I have 3 MTB's that I can do that on. Even after only two rides, I completely understand what my brother was talking about. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Beat myself up today...

I don't WTF was up with me today, but I tore into the depths of my pain threshold and pushed myself on the climbs today (on the single-speed). It was fun, but I definetely felt it when I arrived home. I got this cool pic, though! The green, rolling hills reminds me of my trip to Ireland (minus the castles).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

FLATLAND SESH: Going Brakeless, Ying's Scooty-Bike, Wrist Pain and 310 degree bunnyhops

Today I went out to Manteca to ride some BMX flatland with the Valley folks - Me, Jason, Mutt, Ying, Johann, Tristan, Chinedu, Manteca Chris, and Daryl. It was great getting back on the BMX and giving it a go since the VanderJam which was Oct. 18th, although the wrists and knees didn't appreciate my shenanigans. I was actually able to roll some stuff and I think I have elbow glides to rebates down. I know - I suck... but I still had fun. As I said in my last post, I wore shinguards and they did come in handy.

Riding brakeless wasn't as bad as I thought. I can't do my dumb old-school tricks anymore, including my 360 tailtap bunnyhop thingies - but that's okay because I need to learn 360 bunnyhops the right way. I can spin them to a little over 270 degrees, like 310 or something stupid. After a few tries, my wrists were screaming at me to stop, so I stuck with some actual flatland tricks and soon it all started to come back. I couldn't roll hang-5's with the minimal offset fork at first, but got them down after a few tries.

Ying brought out his custom, crankless designed frame, put together by Solid Bikes. It uses a front wheel for the rear (you don't need a drivetrain if it's crankless, right?) and it was the lightest flatland bike I've ever felt - the thing must have weighed 13 lbs. or so.

Of course, it takes a talented rider like Ying to pull off such a ghastly scar on the flatland world such as this crazy set-up. He was probably the smoothest I've ever seen him ride and his links were off the hook. It seems to be a perfect set-up for him and it is definetely an experiment gone right. I don't think this would work for many people - but Ying is a unique rider with some mad skill behind it.

Jason (shown below) is having his birthday session at the end of the month. I hope rain doesn't cancel this because I definetely found some fondness in riding flat again. I think I was concentrating on trying to learn new stuff too much, instead of just experimenting with wierd rolling tricks or linking the stuff I already know. I was getting frustrated with flatland because it's very hard - but I'm approaching it now like I do my other forms of riding: just have fun, go with the flow, do what you know and do it well.

The singlecross bike is just a rear brake, freewheel, chain, handlebar, bar tape and brake levers away from being done. I hope the rain backs off for awhile so I can take it on some trails later this week. Full report to come after that ride!