Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mt San Bruno again this year

This should be interesting.

Nicely, they have a Masters 35+ 4/5 category, perfect. Also nice, I'm 10 pounds lighter and have a lot more miles in my legs than last year at this time. Strava says 5,350 miles in 2010.

I managed to drop another 30 seconds off Jefferson/Highland the last time out. Strangely I don't necessarily feel very strong/fast a lot of the time, perhaps just tired because I am doing a lot of riding, but faster because I am generally more fit and 10 pounds lighter.

Off to Colorado for a week, and will pretty much be resting the whole week. Then the fun starts for another year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spirited SF2G plus a little dirt

Managed to get out early today and do an SF2G ride. We rode pretty fast, unfortunately I couldn't qualify for the Philz to Waterstop Strava segment because after hammering up Bayshore I realized that my almost tardy arrival at Philz meant I forgot to turn on my Garmin. Nonetheless we rode pretty fast, leaving the Mission at 6:45 and getting to Google just a hair before 9 AM.

And we were the "slow" group - the regular "Hump Day Hammerfest" left at 7 AM.

As we approached Google, Darrin asked me if I "enjoyed the ride". I had. I felt good, we rode fast, the weather was perfect. Little did I know the best was yet to come.

Leaving Google, I checked out the new trail behind Moffett Field. This lets me get to Sunnyvale Baylands and then eventually the San Tomas Aquino trail straight to nVidia, basically off road from Google to work. And the first 3-4 miles are...

A scene from today's commute. 4 miles of this behind Mof... on Twitpic


The view out there is pretty nice, and unique, this land has been shut for a long time.

Mofett from the trail on Twitpic

I saw 4 other people on road bikes with 23mm tires out there, it's very rideable, a few spots with some gravel. I did almost biff it, but that had nothing to do with gravel - there was a wooden bridge just before a little singletrack section. I was watching the guy in front of me on the singletrack and failed to notice that there were metal gratings on the bridge. No harm no foul.

Someone has already created a Strava segment for this section - next time I won't stop to take a picture and I'll know about the tricky bridge.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cut another 5% off Jefferson Time

I did a 10:36 on Jefferson via Highland this morning, shaving another 5% or so off my time.

Jefferson via Highland

My legs are generally feeling better on an upward trajectory but there are peaks and valleys. Last Thursday I felt really good on an SF2G ride, Monday not so much. Overall I have noticed that I have been able to hold my HR at 160 for a longer time than say 3-4 months ago, and I see numbers in the upper 160s and even a 170 occasionally, whereas that wasn't happening. I'm not really a guru but I don't think you can train your HR to go up - maybe I was just kind of crappily sick, or I couldn't get my HR to where it needed to be due to other physiological reasons, but in general I feel better.

The effort up Jefferson was actually somewhat restrained, so to see a 30 second cut was very encouraging. Enough so I decided to ride up the bottom part of Page Mill, during which I of course felt like crap :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still on the steep part of the learning curve

and that's good.

Shortly after the MDR I went on an SF2G Skyline ride, and the pace was certainly difficult, and I handled it fairly well. The next week we went out and did an attack on a set of Strava sprint segments on the Bayway, despite a headwind we almost took a couple, and I was able to contribute.

More measureable is this segment.

Jefferson via Highland

Right after the MDR I chopped off 40 seconds. I took another 11 off today and thought during the climb that I "didn't feel too fast today". Might have taken off 11 seconds just due to better pacing. Who knows. All these climbs done with a messenger back but no bike lock.

Sooner or later I might actually ride up to Skyline. For now, I settled on a shortish climb last weekend where we went 2.5 miles up Pine Flat, with me towing an extra 30-40 lbs.

And to think I hated stopping to change a flat tire in the mi... on Twitpic

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

MDR report

I was picked up at 6 AM in SF by my friend Troy to go to the start in San Jose - aside from the fact the only feasible Caltrain to the start was at 4:50 AM or something, I was toting luggage along, so we carpooled. At 7:15 AM, I ran smack dab into a truism - the only sure way to make sure you remember all your key on-bike gear is to ride your bike out the door. I had forgotten my shoes in San Francisco.

After a quick call to my wife to verify they weren't buried in a bag somewhere, I started to think about my options. The obvious answer was "buy a new pair of shoes". Someone said something about a Performance bike nearby that opened at 9 AM - of course the ride started at 8 AM so there would be the little issue of how to get from San Jose to anywhere near my riding companions. I remembered the last time I had forgotten my shoes, a similar situation where I was in the South Bay, and my shoes were back home in SF. I ended up buying a new pair of shoes, using that opportunity to upgrade from SPD to Shimano's new road pedals.

This reminisence triggered a thought in my brain - the old pair of shoes was currently sitting in a box in my office in Santa Clara, 6 miles away. I had brought them down to use for a couple of spin classes and never brought them home! We threw my bike/helmet/etc.. in Troy's car, my bag in the SAG van, and I headed off to work, giving Troy the instructions that he should try to scrape me up some SPD pedals. When I got to work, I called him and he said "no dice, they all have Time pedals on their MTB's". I said "What about road cleats, does anyone have a spare set?", and got back in the car. Just before I got back, the phone started buzzing, I pulled over and Troy said "We have cleats, on a pair of shoes leaning on the garage. Do you have an allen wrench?" I said "see you on the road".

I got to the start at 8:05, just in time to catch the last SAG van. I told the driver to put my bike on the car, and grabbed the shoes. My old shoes were ancient, the kind with a faceplate required. While the faceplate holes matched the cleat holes, they were too recessed for the cleat screws to thread into! I took a quick look at the faceplate screws - they were just a bit longer. I MacGyver'ed them in, and was good to go! 10 miles in the SAG driver pulled over, dropped me off, and I managed to get back into the peloton, with the audible of the year.

The first day - San Jose to King City - went good, but the wheels sort of fell off towards the end, not enough long rides. Amusingly, I did end up with a Strava KOM on the Bitterwater Climb, only because the very strong rider with Strava on the trip - Dave Rossow - sat up on that climb. He pretty much took every Strava KOM segment defined on the entire route except for Cinabar Hill outside San Jose, a segment which he didn't know about and which gets a lot of Bay Area action. There are some very obscure segments out there and I figured I'd end up owning a few of them unless we had a monster, Dave has a 19:03 on OLH from the bridge to the stop sign so he was the man.

The second day - King City to SLO - was rough. I was pumped up for the "Quadbuster" segment, a climb I know well out of King City, but my legs were dead from the day before. Luckily I did manage to get in front of the tandem before the top and draft them to Lockwood, allowing my legs to warm up. The segments near Lake San Antonio and Chimney Rock road beat me up pretty badly, and I chose to skip Old Creek Road, getting in the van with my buddy TJ. In doing so I missed some pretty sweet riding, but my legs appreciated it.

The third day we did a loop out of SLO including the climb up Prefumo Canyon. Great climb. Very scenic, you can see Morro Rock from the top as if it isn't really 20+ miles away. There is a 1 mile or so rideable dirt section at the top, then a nice descent down to Avila Beach where we had lunch. My legs opened up on the climb a bit and I felt ok.

The fourth day - SLO to Santa Barbara - I actually felt pretty good. I had a decent run up Harris Grade, and felt pretty solid on the long long slog from Lompoc to Gaviota. Overall, it was a very good trip.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The MDR approaches

For several years I participated in a ride from San Jose to Santa Barbara on Memorial Day weekend. After a few years off, I am going again. Not exactly carrying great form, and in fact I have no idea what will happen, but 4 days of riding is never bad.

In contrast to years past, I have done exactly one ride of substantial distance - a "pre-work" ride with Scott Crosby and Ammon over Mt Hamilton from the backside. I didn't feel great, the backside destroyed me, but that was probably on par with anything we'll do on this ride.

The first day is from San Jose to King City, going over Cienga Road and past Pinnacles. The second day, we ride from King City to SLO, via a lot of the roads near the Wildflower Tri course. After a "loop day" in SLO, we ride to Santa Barbara.

Should be fun. Strava gave me a kit for being "Bike Commuter of the Year" so I'll take that out and demo Strava for the masses - with this group that means a lot of KOM's are going to fall if they get onto the Garmin train.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amusing Crash info.

You can zoom on the satellite picture, and see the speed bump, how far I bounced/slid, and the crawl over to the grass.

Friday, March 26, 2010

BIked to work

Well, to the Caltrain, and from Caltrain to work. Not pretty, but substantially faster than MUNI/VTA...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A few days off

Update: I have my bike back. I did in fact have to get my rear wheel rebuilt but the rest of the bike was ok. I actually rode it from 24th/Mission to home, up a couple of hills, and it wasn't too awful, so I'll be riding again soon enough.

And I know you've all been waiting for photos of the carnage!

Bike crash - 10 days later on Twitpic

Pretty serious bruising.

I complain about the hijinks/route on the Google ride but lo and behold when I go down myself, it is all my fault.

Going into the Foster City cutoff, there is a short section on a bike path. Yesterday I exchanged some texts with some riders on the road that I was trying to cut off at the water stop on the bike path in San Mateo. Turns out they were about 4-5 minutes in front of me and said they would soft-pedal until I caught up. So I dropped the hammer in pursuit.

On the short bike path leading into Foster City, I was smart enough to think "OK, this path ends with a bollard, have to set up the right line to get past it". Well, this in isolation was smart, what was not smart was thinking there was any point in taking that speed off the bike path. The bike path leads to a neighborhood which has a series of speed bumps, which I have ridden around/past/over dozens of times. This time, I just spaced it out, came off the bike path at speed and dug deeper. Instinct had me look up just long enough to see "no cars" and I put my head down. Within seconds I had reached the first speed bump, and was headed over the top of the bars with a loud crack.

Now that is stupid.

I have a pretty bad contusion on my right hip, and an upper back muscle strain. The contusion sucks but I have had one before and just as it starts to look really bad, it's ok to ride again. The strain is more limiting, it keeps me from bending over and will have to be in good shape before riding again because it limits shoulder checks.

The rear wheel which I just had rebuilt is pretty messed up and I'll probably need to have it rebuilt again. We'll also be looking at my fork for potential replacement.

Ouch. Haven gotten in 150 miles last week including some very hard riding on Tuesday this is a bummer, but onwards and upwards.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What if the Spectrum ride was run on a bike path...

Then you would have the SF2G attempt to break the Bayway Commute Record

The record was in fact broken on Tuesday and I did take part.

We started with a lot of riders on what ends up being some pretty scary "terrain" but made it with only one casualty, a Zipp 404 wheel that was banged up pretty bad (see blog post) bunny hopping the curb where the little tiny ramp goes out of the parking lot in Hotelland.

I finished with the front group but have an asterisk. As we approached Coyote Point Park, we sort of swarmed around a white pickup truck and I, in the back, decided that I am too old for that shit and followed the pickup truck through the stop sign instead of preceeding the truck. 100 yards later I was 25 yards behind, I clawed back to within 5 yards but no closer. Fortunately this is at the start of the "Feral Cat Freeway" bike path around Foster City, I shortcut through Foster City and beat the group to Oracle. This added the benefit of not riding a short bike path in a 7 man group (including a tandem) on a narrow bike path with mixed traffic, allowing me to rejoin on the more drag strip portions of the course.

Smart riding would have placed me in the front of the bunch to be able to react to any shenanigans that the leader might try to foment regarding our applications of the CVC. Smarter riding meant that once we were into Menlo Park I limited my turns at the front to 15 seconds top.

Strava Log

I really suffered towards the end but stayed on with some pretty tough riders and a tandem with Crosby captaining and Faye Steiner providing a very capable stoker slot. 2 days later I am finally feeling normal after finding time to stretch last night.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fixing Velcro Straps on Sidi Shoes

I love my Sidi Genius shoes. Great shoes, and you can just keep wearing them and replace the various parts that wear out. Cleats wear out, put new cleats on. The rubber heel stops wear out, replace them (though they are a bit expensive and I wear them out fast, usually from running down the Caltrain platform to get a train). The buckles at the top of the front of the shoe are also replaceable.

However, I've had an annoying problem that I've let slide for the last year or so frankly, that isn't of the just unscrew the dead part and put in a new one. The velcro straps on my Sidis stopped velcro-ing.

After ignoring it for a while I decided to look around. Turns out the answer was pretty straightforward - this isn't the revelation that figuring out how to fix the stuck wake button on my iPhone was, but it's pretty useful.

Here's one of the offending non-sticking straps.

Materials. Little pack of velcro I picked up at a craft store for $3. The velcro has a sticky back, but the craft store lady and I decided I should also throw down some real adhesive as well. I used "Fabric-Tac", (the bottle cost $8) but after I was done, it was pretty clear that regular super glue would have been fine.

The problem was pretty simple to diagnose. The "furry" part of the velcro was the "defective" chunk. Both sides are synthetic - "Hooks and Loops" - so in theory this shouldn't happen, my understanding is the furry "Loops" side is more likely to lose its mojo. I've even read info on how to get the mojo back, but I just peeled the velcro off of the toe strap.

I cut a piece of furry velcro the same size as the old furry. I had already checked that the new furry velcro would stick to the hooks side. Stuck like glue.

I glued the new furry stuff onto the toestraps, let it dry, and trimmed the new velcro to match the toestraps as best as possible.

Worked like a charm.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Strava poaching

On my commute from SF to nVidia, there are nine (maybe ten now) Strava Segments.
None of these are particularly interesting pieces of road, they just happen to be on
a route that dozens of people ride multiple times per week on their commute, specifically a lot of SF2G riders who are Stravans.

SF2G Airport Sprint - a half mile chunk of pavement a jersey barrier away from US 101
Wailing Wall - pothole ridden strip of asphalt in between a trailer park and a sound barrier.

I can't think of any of these I would ride without a good reason. Commuting to work is a fairly good reason. So since we ride this crapola a lot, we have our fun seeing our times on the various parts of our humdrum suburban commute.

Recently it was noticed that a new name landed on the leaderboard of pretty much all of these random crappy segments.

Re: evil lucas

Scott Crosby wrote:

heh, so it appears Lucas P. is doing repeats of the strava sections to own
the leaderboard, that scoundrel. For the lagoon (theo) sprint for example:

3 Lucas Pereira Sat, Feb 20, 2010 17.6 143 108 (PM)
4 Lucas Pereira Sat, Feb 20, 2010 11.3 155 93 (PM)
5 Lucas Pereira Sat, Feb 20, 2010 19.9 146 158 (PM)

so he's going on weekends to attack all the records, pretty funny.

we came pretty close to getting that one today, but will have to step it
up a bit more:

1 Lucas Pereira Sat, Feb 06, 2010 32.3 177 478 (PM) 1:09
2 Scott Crosby about 4 hours ago 29.0 175 425 1:17
3 Christon DeWan about 4 hours ago 27.9 179 441 1:20

Poaching segments is hereby considered Bullshit, and we must now destroy
all these Lucas records.


As a new father who hasn't ridden on a weekend in months, I have to say I am pretty disgusted that someone would take their weekend and do sprint repeats past the parking lots and hotels next to the airport where the Anza Lagoon Sprint section is. Not to mention he rides the rest of our crappy commute to get there to do the repeats in the first place (at least he doesn't appear to drive), when he lives close to some of the best riding in the world.

As new segments get added, Lucas goes off to do his repeats on the new segment. There is a house of ill repute in East Palo Alto where unsavory folks tend to hang out. Perhaps we will add a new strava segment there and force Lucas to do endless repeats on the mean streets of EPA. Of course, there is always the less savory tactic of going out with a car and beating all of his sprint times by a second, forcing him to go back and try to re-earn them - this is considered cheating and will not stand.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Zipp CSC dead on arrival - spoke pulls through rim

Tonight's events.

I rode from work to the train, 7 miles in 19:30. Pretty fast. If my rear wheel was in this condition at that point, I would not have ridden that fast...

Zipp CSC DOA - grr on Twitpic

One of the rear spokes has pulled through the rim.

After the ride, I took the train to SF. Certainly on the Caltrain there is some bumping, but my bike was pretty isolated on a rack with other "nice bikes". I rode
from the train station to meet my wife in Potrero Hill and didn't notice anything, nor did I notice the wheel ramming the brake while walking the bike to put it into the car. The bike was in the back of the Pilot sort of haphazardly. I just wonder, if you whack a spoke could it result in something like this? I'd be more accustomed to a spoke breaking, not pulling through the rim. Not that I haven't had a spoke pull through a rim before. Perhaps just par for the course for putting in a lot of miles at 210 lbs.

Aside from the curiousity of trying to figure out what happened, the next question is "what now?". I had this same thing happen to a machine built Mavic open pro built on an Ultegra Hub with double butted spokes. A rebuild would cost more than a new wheel (if you can buy a rim and build a wheel it's about 1/2 the cost of a wheel). But this is a $500 wheel. Where's the value? Hub? Spokes? Rim? Do I try to get this thing rebuilt? Or am I shopping for a new wheel? And if so, what wheel might avoid this issue? Don't bother saying Ksyriums - on my old Ksyriums I broke 5-6 spokes and with the last break I decided to throw in the towel. I rode to PA bikes, bought the Zipps, told the store to repair the rear Ksyrium so I could sell the wheelset to a flyweight. They called me the next day and said "The nipple has pulled through the rim..."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sucked into the Strava vortex...

After a year or so of resistance, I have been sucked into the vortex that is Strava

A data analysis service for Garmin users, the most interesting part of Strava is that you can produce "segments" or "KOMs", and every Strava user who has ridden that same stretch of road will now be compared on that segment.

For example, this little known climb

Two years ago my wife bought me a Garmin 705 and I told her to return it - I am a map geek and didn't need a GPS computer. I hadn't really noted that it was useful for tracking your rides, but until Strava became prevalent even the tracking didn't have that killer app feature that sucked me in. I picked up the new Garmin Edge 500 from Mike's Bikes ($40 off coupon in the "Green Zebra" coupon book) and away we rolled.

So now all my embarrassing efforts are up there for all to see.

Murph on Strava

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You know you're a cyclist when...

On the train today I was talking to the conductor about his beloved New England Patriots. He wasn't too optimistic - Welker is out, the Ravens are tough, they should have beaten the Texans so they could draw the Jets first, etc...

So we are getting off the train and he says "What do you think about this thing where they are talking about legalizing dope???". My eyes popped wide open - what! The NFL is just going to open the doors wide open on steroids! Holy Pantani!

He said - "Yeah, there's a guy over there with a petition, they're going to try and put it on the ballot!"

I looked over and saw a guy with a sandwich board saying "LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not DFL at San Bruno

The results are in

29 0 John Murphy SAN FRANCISCO,CA 00:23:32.00 196340 123 Webcor/alto Velo

4 guys even less fit than me decided to enter. Had I done the smart thing and entered the 4's, I would have been 21/22, unless I managed to outsprint the guy who finished in 23:30.

Amusingly, my thought is that I went out "too fast", something I would not have thought was possible. When the pack started at a pace that wasn't completely leaving me behind, I moved up quickly to try to suss out a reasonable wheel to get on for the flatter section. Then I immediately cracked - before it got flat. Several riders passed me, and when it got flat the 2nd group was just 15 yards in front of me, but I couldn't close the gap (and provided a good bridge for someone who was on my wheel). If I had just settled in and calmly got to the flat section with the third group I might have gotten a better ride to the top, as it was I rode alone for a lot of the flat section and then got a ride from the guy who finished 27th (who put a minute into me on Radio Road).

The steep section of Radio Road showed my current weight level. 10 pounds lighter (and probably stronger) I would really muscle through that section, as it was I really suffered and they had to urge me to sprint through the line as I was being caught by one of the later groups. It was rough. But I got out there, and like I said, not DFL.

I celebrated with a nice present which I'll discuss next...