Friday, July 29, 2011


Had the pleasure today of getting out for the "Apple Friday Lunch Ride". Nice ride with 6 of us, Magdalena, Stonebrook, Elena. I should ride Elena NB more, a good place to work on your descents without going way up the mountain.

27k of climbing in July. Good stuff. This has been a rough couple of weeks on the home front with my wife working, but have snuck in some riding including a route around SF going up some steep hills (was defeated on Dalewood - I was in full on paperboy and a car came up from behind and I had to bail). My weight is steady at 193.

I really need to find a time to go ahead and try to do a fast OLH.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Calaveras, 7/20/11

Went to Calaveras this AM with Jason Thorpe and Dan Steffan.

We rode a brisk pace, including the climb over Dublin Canyon as a prelude. As we approached the climb I debated how to deal with it. I decided I wasn't really feeling "super" so maybe I'd try to follow Jason's wheel and then see how it went.

Instead we got to Geary and Dan, who was in front, slowed just a fraction and off I went. I actually felt pretty decent so I just kept going.

Result - 11:36 for the listed climb of "Calaveras, South to Summit" 2.8 miles at 3.8 percent grade, a PR by 25 seconds. Good stuff. I felt slow on the rollers following but that was a PR as well. Now, I haven't been out there since February and the PR was in November, but a PR is a PR. And it was a good overall workout - 50 miles in 3 hours including a coffee stop, with 2400 feet of climb.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chain Reaction Shop Ride, 7/7/11

My wife has been out of town for 2 weeks so I didn't get a ton of riding in lately. The first week I managed a few rides down to SSF or Belmont at snail's pace, having had enough trouble getting my son to daycare that I missed all the rush hour Caltrains and had an hour to burn. The second week I did almost no riding other than my typical commute, sneaking in only a trip to Los Altos to pick up my AV kit and getting a quick spin through Rancho San Antonio and going up Mora Trail (steep!)

I did get some good riding in on a Sonoma weekend in between her two weeks, doing 2 rides with my buddies. I decided that I would not attack unless attacked, and then I'd see what I could do. I felt *very* comfortable - amusing given I am always feeling dread on the SF2G rides which have gotten harder and harder and harder. On the small climb up Canyon Road @BOORider put in a dig to give some guff to a triathlete who was weaving across the road in his aerobars, I followed and was really feeling not too bad. Then Troy cracked, and I decided to see what I had left. Amazingly, my legs responded. Not bad.

The next day we went up Mill Creek Road and I had a similar strong day on that climb, including the super steep section at the top.

This week, I was able to get some riding in. I did a set of small hills on Tuesday - Jefferson/Page to Moody/Mora/Mt Eden. I did try to push the Jefferson climb and came up 3 seconds shy of the PR. Somewhat annoying since that was set the day before the Hamilton climb and I've been doing a lot of riding. Within the Strava Error seen on Dan's blog, but still frustrating. Then again I was going from a couple of weeks off.

One thing that's been interesting about this year's training, is that while various climbs I do have allowed me to track progress on PR's via Strava, I don't have a lot of comparison to previous periods of personal fitness. I have several sheets of paper in a box that have the PR's from the 2000-2003 era, where I was making steady progress before various life events slowed things down. But I hadn't really climbed any of those climbs other than the one OLH I did a few months back that showed me I was doing "OK". And that was done on a day I felt very very tired.

So this AM, I went on the CR Shop ride that goes up Kings Mtn. I hadn't been up Kings in the last couple of years. The climb seemed very very long - it's a lot longer than the climbs I typically do (Jefferson, John Daly to Highway 1 merge, Polhemous). I started out on the wheel of the shop owner's son Kevin, the shop blog seemed to indicate that Kevin was a negative splitter which might just be what I wanted to do. But about 1/4 of the way up I went ahead and rode past him - he dropped out of sight for a bit but lo and behold he was maybe 5 seconds behind me at the top.

Anyway, got to work and did the download. 28:28 from Tripp to the top. I was pretty sure that was in the range of my old PR. Got home, pulled out the old sheets of paper, dug around, and saw that my old PR was... 28:28. I think I could go faster, we started pretty slow. For reference in the same month as that PR, I did my OLH PR of 20:41.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skyline ride, 6/14

Did a solid Skyline ride today on the heels of a solid week last week with over 200 miles. Last week inlcuded the Thursday Pen Velo ride, was good to go mix it up on one of these informal race like group rides, to assess not only fitness (coming along ok) and comfort among the wheels (not so great - I messed up the turn from Sand Hill to Whiskey Hill pretty badly and wasn't doing the best job of making sure the rotating paceline on Canada went smooth).

So this AM's ride, there were 2 primary hard efforts, a trip up Skyline Drive and Polhemous Road - to which we added the steep rollers on Hallmark and Crestview on the end. I chopped some nice time off my PR for both climbs - from 8:42 to 8:23 on Polhemous thanks in large part to a nice leadout from James VZ, and took 5 seconds (2:14 to 2:09) off my time on the steep section. And I didn't even really feel that fresh.

Weight has stayed steady to maybe dropping a bit to 193. So we're doing pretty good.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Couple of tough rides this week.

On Tuesday I got out and rode a few climbs in the South Bay. I went up Jefferson via Highland, which has been as close to a benchmark as I have, and managed to break the 10 minute barrier, lopping 5 seconds off my PR. I cruised through Portola Valley and since I was feeling good, took it hard across Arastradero and despite a headwind, took a few seconds off that PR. I ended up on Mt Eden and had a decent climb, cracking towards the top but was 30 something seconds faster than a year ago on a 4 minute climb. This all served to spin my legs up for Wednesday's main course.

On Wednesday myself and 7 other crazies hit the BART station at 5 AM and went out to Dublin to take on Mines Road and the backside of Mt Hamilton. I had done this ride exactly one year earlier so this would provide an interesting comparison. We rolled out towards Mines and hit the first climb shortly after the turnoff to Lake Del Valle.

I felt pretty uncomfortable on this one but that was OK because the pace was really quite fast. There wasn't a lot of chatting, and I was going to have to dig to stay with the group as we had assembled a really tough crew. I came over the top in 11:03, which is actually on the front page for the Strava segment (that won't last as there will be a lot of people riding this road very hard next week when the Amgen Tour comes through). Unfortunately this was 5 seconds off from the front 6 riders. I struggled to close the gap, and each time I got close, we'd hit some little roller and Brooks would hammer over the roller and open the gap back up. There are about a mile of rollers and by the end of them I was 20 seconds back. That meant I wouldn't see anyone for the next 15 miles or so. Fortunately Bret Lobree also got popped on the rollers so we had each other for company and even looked at a bit of the scenery. My time up that initial climb and rollers was 10-15 percent faster than the year before, so that's pretty good.

We regrouped at the junction and collected our thoughts for the test ahead. There are 2 little 1 mile or so pitches before the main event. The first one is a timed Strava climb held by Ammon Skidmore on last years ride where he really flew up this climb. Last year I was 9:12 on this climb, this year 7:27 despite misjudging the summit (my colleagues saw the true summit and attacked through the top). I felt pretty good on the second lead in as well, and we regrouped at the bridge.

I was feeling pretty worked at this point and when we started up the backside I threw in the towel and didn't try to follow the leaders. Nonetheless at my own tempo I did the 4.3 mile 8.4% climb in 39.32, 7 minutes faster than last year. I really felt undergeared (the leaders were all running compacts) - which meant I was VERY undergeared last year. I'm really pleased with this effort. Also pleased by chopping my time on the 19 mile descent from 59 minutes to 50 minutes. A lot of that was being better able to deal with the intermediate climbs but I didn't really lose sight of the lead group until said intermediate climbs. Overall a great day out on the bike and a confirmation of the hard work this year.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back on the bike

Had a nice trip to Illinois and came back rested. Last week had some amusing rides, I flatted early on Monday and had to shorten the ride, on Tuesday I put a nail through my rim and had to abort. I did get a brisk bayway in on Wednesday, but not much else due to some other issues with sick wife and dog and kid. Nonetheless I really felt good.

Monday I went up Mount San Bruno via the backside with the group and had a good climb. I led out the 2nd group up the road and despite taking the wind had a PR by 35 seconds. The ride stayed fast in the flats and I felt very comfortable.

Tuesday AM I ended up getting very congested and didn't even go to work. This was starting to get annoying, did all the rest but having all my riding sabotaged. Then I ended up having several beers with an out of town friend who came in for a visit. So what better idea than to get up at 6 AM the next morning and ride hungover and sick!

I did make it out, and we went back up Mt San Bruno, this time via Crocker and threw in the Pack Saddle dirt loop. Fun! Despite feeling like I had been beaten over the head with a stick I had a decent climb up Crocker and felt very comfortable with the fairly fast group, even taking a flyer on Bayshore at the end. Not the best of ideas overall but you only live once.

Today I got out and rode up Jefferson and on to work. 10:20 up Jefferson, 3rd fastest, despite the lingering cold and carrying a backpack with shorts and 2 "Epic Burritos". I sprinted up the Arastradero bump past Page Mill and PR'ed even with the pack, and did the same on the Dirt Robleda path. My legs feel great even though my head is a bit foggy. We're doing fine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Weds 4/20 - easy SM to Work

Took the train and did a quick easy 35 mile ride from San Mateo to work with the Google group, staying away from the front with great tactical astuteness. Put on knickers and brought out the Red Lemond to enforce "knocking around" feel and went out on the Moffett dirt as well.

Now, 5 days off! Well earned, 2135 miles year to date.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tues 4/19 hard skyline

Did a nice Skyline today adding in the Hallmark/Crestview climbs - series of steep rollers up above San Carlos. Great intervals.

In theory we weren't going to ride that hard, but we had Peter the Sandbagger, Xton the machine, and a surprise appearance by Space, and the riding was pretty fierce. But I felt very very good, able to pick up my speed, chase gaps, whatever. That's all good, but is that because we are riding slow?

The Strava log says we were going at a nice clip, thank you. The Hillsboro section was done into a stiff wind, and I went under 7 minutes despite being on the front until the last steep roller then being picked off by Peter attacking. We started out slow on Polhemous, then I went to the front and pulled the entire way up the flatter section, and PR'ed, including taking some time off the PR for the "steep section". We rode very fast on Foothill and this was not problematic. Faster and felt much much better than last week's OLH. Stress, then rest. Will perhaps get out tomorrow and then a vacation in Illinois where I will try to sleep a lot, stretch, and not get much exercise other than maybe a short jog or two. And try not to fatten up on my in-law's cooking.

Friday, April 15, 2011

4/15 - short spin from San Carlos to work

Yesterday I slept in and did a quick spin on the Steven's Creek/Moffet/San Tomas paths with Ammon. Today in theory I was going to "ride hard" with the SF2G ride, there was a "fast" ride and an "almost as fast" ride leaving at the same time, but I was awakened at 5:30 AM by my son and really wasn't up to getting out, and I had to still clean my bike from Wednesday's festivities. So I ended up on the 7:44 AM Caltrain and tried to cut them off for a shorter but still hard-ish ride. I got off in San Carlos and started soft pedaling. Of course, this ended up such that the front group caught me right at Google. I said "Hi", and went back to the dirt.

197 miles this week per Strava and I feel very beat up. It probably would not be so bad if I were getting more sleep and time to stretch. I'm taking the weekend off, then planning to ride very very hard M/T/W because I am then going to Illinois to sit on the couch, sleep in, and eat Easter food (trying to limit the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs). That should be a good rest to set me up for the next round.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sub 22 OLH

Went out for a ride this AM and included going up Old La Honda for the first time in 2-3 years probably. I met the group coming down from the city at the top of Jefferson, having skipped the 6:15 AM rollout to take Caltrain to RWC.

Frankly I felt pretty crappy from Monday's ride and not really taking it easy on Tuesday, so I was being a bit of dread. A really slow time would piss me off.

Found the group and we made it to the hill. I took off at the bottom but it just didn't feel right. There were several spots where I really felt like just giving up and crawling to the top, never really felt any snap. I pushed it in the flat section in the middle and into the first set of steep bits between there and the redwoods, and was punished for this. I was really reduced to crawling around the two "Upenuf" roads. Just felt crappy and slow.

Using the Garmin as a timer and relying on Strava for the update, meant riding the rest of the way home without knowing the result. And of course then it started to rain. Brooks, Thorpe, Beckett and myself slogged up to Page Mill, then Thorpe and I rode to 9. I was feeling very skittish about the braking and the wet roads so I took it very easy down the first half of Highway 9, then started to (A) Warm up and (B) feel the traction wasn't so bad, and picked it up a bit - it would have been fun if it wasn't so cold. From Saratoga to work was an exercise in hypothermia.

Got a Hot Chocolate, a shower, and some food, then went to get the "bad news".

Old La Honda - (Bridge to Mailboxes) 21:52

Once upon a time I set a goal of getting up in under 22 minutes, and if I could do it, I would buy myself a Seven. Coming off the Memorial Day ride - 350 miles in 4 days, then a day off on Monday and Tuesday, I went up on a Wednesday with perfect temperatures and nice rest, and summited in exactly 22 minutes. I rode down the hill, right to the bike shop, pointed at a Seven and said "I want one of those".

Today, cold, wet, annoyed, tired, unsnappy, underslept, at 8:30 AM, I went up 8 seconds faster. I won't complain. I doubt I'm under 20 minutes in perfect conditions but I won't jump in the grave yet.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4/11 Calaveras. 4/12 Bayway

Monday I went out with Brooks Sizemore and did a rapid Calaveras run from Dublin to Nvidia. 2:18 clock time from West Dublin BART to work, no stopping to screw around, with a pack on. Very good workout, had to keep myself pinned to Brooks' wheel as best as I could - he sat up on the Calaveras climb so we could avoid any stopping and I had some trouble on the roller/technical sections headed towards Milpitas.

Tuesday I took it easy, slept in and helped with some laundry, then set out late to chase a slower SF2G group, catching them at the Water stop. They were in no hurry to leave, and we had a flat, so I stopped off at Redwood City to Caltrain to MV. A good restful ride in general.

In theory tomorrow we're going to go up Old La Honda itself, then head down Skyline to Highway 9 to descend to work.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4/6 - Jefferson and Los Altos Hills

Our son was sick last night and we got very little sleep. I had to bail on a planned ride over to Pacifica and South to Half Moon Bay and up Tunitas Creek for the first time in who knows how long. I groggily got up at 7 AM and headed to the train, leaving my bag at home thinking about getting in some sort of ride.

I got off at Redwood City and rode 30 miles starting with the Highland/Jefferson climb, a climb I have been doing occasionally and is probably the best benchmark I have for climbing right now.

I decided to take it out in the 150's HR and then ramp into the 160s after the 5 way stop at Lakeview. Well, I ended up going right into the 160s and held it there the whole way. I do think I started out a little fast, but whatever, it felt good. I ended up setting a PR by a whopping 3 seconds - exactly 10 minutes. Over 10 minutes, 3 seconds could be anything. I really hoped to see a marked improvement given I have been riding a lot and am down a few lbs, but it was a strong climb and I'll take it. Certainly there is going to be some plateau anywhere. And it's not like I was really well rested!

It's supposed to rain Thursday, I'll see what I can do and hope to plan for some Friday riding.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4/3/11 - Solid Bayway

Did a solid 55 mile Colmaway with a largish (18) group. The theory was a relaxed Monday ride, and on the whole it was, but with a group of this size you are bound to see a few instigations. Fun, and since it was warm I threw in the dirt sections around Moffett Field in tribute to the upcoming Paris Roubaix. Riding hard on the dirt really numbs my hands - those guys are incredible. A lot of the time all I needed was to shake my hands out but on the strada bianche I really needed my hands on the bars to keep control.

In theory we're going up Tunitas Creek on Wednesday so tomorrow will be easy or off.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

3/31 - easy half bayway

30 miles with the group from San Mateo to work. Felt pretty easy and breezy.
Hoping to go uphill on Friday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3/30 - short easy rides

Feeling tired which is good.

Short rides to and from train stations, and going out this PM to ride with the wife and tow Liam along in the trailer. Perfect. Strangely it adds up to probably 25+ miles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday 3/28 - Skyline

Did a reasonable ride on Skyline today. I really felt quite good. And we went pretty hard. 55 miles with 3k of climbing in 3.5 hours. There was only one real specific hard effort on a strava segment - the Hillsborough rollers segment, a series of rollers gaining 185 net feet over 2.4 miles.

I went to the front on the segment and felt pretty frisky so I pushed the pace. Towards the end, Peter Chang went by on the last tough roller (on his fixie) and I gave a shot at holding his wheel but had to stick to a rhythm. There is a T stop sign that would typically just be run, but Peter had to stop watching a car turning left onto Skyline, and we had to stop and regain momentum. I ended up 9 seconds off my PR despite this - but the PR was done sucking wheel, not leading out. Overall I spent a lot of time in the front and felt great. Good sign.

Tomorrow should be an easy day in general, but will probably be closer to a nonexistent day because I should do some daddy/hubby duty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday 3/28 Base Bayway

Actually been riding a bit. Going to start trying to put snippets up.

So far this year 1483 miles per strava, not including random unrecorded commutes.
57,335 feet of climbing - a ratio that is pretty low compared to "back in the day" because most of my riding is commutes that are either completely flat, or with just a couple of small climbs/rollers. Still, this is some pretty decent stuff.

In late Jan early Feb I managed some 200 mile weeks. This slowed down with various pressures at home/work plus a lot of precipitation. Maybe for the best, to take some rest. I feel like I've plateaued a bit despite having dropped another 5 pounds to 195, a number seen only once since I left college - in 2003 I got down to 191 and did a 20:41 OLH. It's hard to measure, I will go out and feel like I really nailed a certain small climb, then the GPS would later tell me "not really". But climbs like Polhemous can be subject to things like headwinds more than sheltered steeper climbs. And it's harder to really ramp it up when it's 48 degrees and sort of crappy. I'm definitely riding a lot faster than 12 months ago.

One thing that sort of makes the slog feel harder is that the SF2G rides have really turned into all out hammerfests with very strong riders - several riders have been placing in NorCal road races - including ones like the Early Bird RR with substantial climbs. So it's hard to feel upbeat when you are always getting your ass handed to you. But then you look at the logs and - "Hey, that was pretty damn fast no wonder it felt so hard".

Anyway, got out this AM about 5 minutes late and missed the train. Rode the 53 miles into work along the flat bayway, made a half hearted attempt to see if I could catch the group but it was not to be. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and am hoping to escape for one of the two planned climbing routes on the docket.

The weight loss has been attributable to one thing, pretty much - I gave up Soda Jan 1 - that's a lot of useless calories not in the system. Maybe when I really want to go after an effort I'll have a Coca-Cola and see how my body reacts to an unusual dose of caffeine and HFCS.