Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beans: Pappalecco

Still one of my favorites.  What's not to like? A espresso, a buffalino, and the LA Times.  I wonder what it'd be like if  San Diego had a city paper...

Friday, July 20, 2012


So I'm addicted to Strava... I know it's silly, but it seems to motivate me.  Rationally, I know that everyone is not on Strava, but it still is satisfying to be ranked in the top ten on some of the local climbs. Beside it's SMART right?  Specific, Motivational, Accountable, Responsible, and Touchable...

Anyway, the riding is going well.  I'm stronger than I have been in a long time.  And the new gig is fantastic.  I'm getting some more balance by starting up the artwork again... good times.

The new Team has also been a lot of fun, a good group of guys, some really strong riders.  Next weekend is San Marcos, one of the first races I did when I got back to California.  We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Back

Some big rides over the last couple of days.  

Yesterday was a 90 mile circuit down to Chula Vista, near the Olympic Training Center and up Honey Springs. I took the ride up Otay Lakes Road pretty slowly, Honey Springs  however... It wasn't a great time, but somewhat respectful. I tried to keep my heart rate well below LT, and was demoing a new bike - a Jamis with a  compact crankset; as such I managed a PR up it.  Honey Springs gains nearly 1900' over 6.9 miles, making it an average of 5.2% grade.  A bit of pain.  After a quick stop at the store I headed down Lyons Valley and then looped back up Lawson Valley.  Lawson Valley dead ends, well not truly, Lawson Valley has a spur that heads back up to Skyline named Mark Lee.  A good portion of Mark Lee is dirt, it's a bit steeper 7.5% for 2 miles.  It was a bit damp from the weekend's rains.  It was a tough climb.  91 miles w/ 7200' climbing.

Today's ride was the Arnie Baker ride.  There were several heavy hitters on the ride, of course Josh and Todd were there, and Mitch showed up.  One of the Kelly Benefits guys showed up as well, he finished 2nd on the third day of San Dimas  over the weekend.  I think he won every sprint.  The ride up 94 was fast... I put in some work at the beginning and then Mitch and Josh cycled through.  Ken, from Kelly, set the pace for a good portion of the climb, after we crested the steepest portion of the climb there was a bit of a break and so I moved to the front and started to ramp up the pace... a mistake.  It managed to drop one, but Josh, Mitch, and Ken came around pretty easily.  

The second half went much slower for me, but I have to say I like the compact.  The sprint down Mexican Canyon went well, but I jumped too early.  Had a good gap, but Ken closed it and won the two up sprint with Todd... he is pro after all.  Here the compact didn't work quite as well...  Cramped up pretty badly on the way home, but had a good talk with Arnie about possible reasons.  We'll see if they work next week.


Monday, November 28, 2011

It's been a bit crazy lately, a job change (one that I'm very excited about) has meant that I've been more focused on work than riding. But a few weeks ago I managed to carve out some time a began to ride with purpose.  I really want to upgrade this year, so time to focus.

To that end I've been doing the Sunday Great Western Ride with some of the Cyclo-Vets and Todd from Cal Pools / Dewalt.  We've been concentrating on on the bike strength training which means a lot of turning a 53x15 gear at 50 rpm up 8% grades... not a lot of fun, but it definitely makes you stronger.

This past Sunday, Todd mixed it up a bit with a surprise ride up Kitchen Creek instead of the usual Great Western Loop.  Kitchen Creek is a local climb up Laguna Mountain - it gains 2600' in just under 12 miles.  Portions of it are pretty steep, but it averages about 4% over the entire distance.  It's a great ride, tough, but with fantastic views and a closed road that begins in the sage desert and tops out in the pine forests.  Awesome.

The group was meeting at the park n ride just off the 8 / Descanto exit around 10:00 Sunday morning.  I decided to add a little "extra credit" and ride up from Rancho San Diego, doing the first leg of the Great Western and adding around 3000' of climbing and 50 miles to my daily total.  It was a peaceful ride up, I tried to keep the effort low, realizing what lay ahead.  I was also trying out some new nutrition products from Honey Stinger and Hammer Nutrition (seriously, I think I could live on the Honey Waffles alone...).  I have to say that the Hammer  Sustain really works!

The climb up Dehesa was nice, and on the trip up Japatul it got quite a bit warmer and windier.  Just after "the wall" (never noticed the tin name plate before...) I caught up to a couple of the guys riding up from Alpine and joined them for the rest of the trip to the park n ride.

The rest of the riders were prepping their bikes when we rolled in.   After some talk, and some begging for water off of Todd, we were ready to head out.  We dropped down Old Hwy 80 towards Descanto and then began to climb to Pine Valley.  A couple of guys pushed the pace a bit, so I sat in - I was already starting to feel it a bit in my legs.  After riding through Pine Valley we regrouped at the I-8 overpass and then continued down Old Hwy 80, through the border check and on to Kitchen Creek Road (I forgot to turn on my Garmin - so no data on this portion of the trip).  We regrouped at the driveway just past the overpass.

Todd suggested that if we hadn't already done so that we should treat the climb as a Time Trial, that way have gauge for future improvement.  With nearly 5000' of elevation gain in my legs by this point, I thought I'd just play it by ear.  A rider from the Cash Call team had passed shortly before we left as a group and as we hit the road he was a good 400-500m up ahead.  I set a goal for trying to catch him, not that he knew we were racing, but...

We rode straight into a head wind.  Not the way you want to start a climb like this, but we couldn't complain too much, It was Nov 26th and 70 degrees out... gotta love San Diego.  The first few miles of Kitchen Creek are a series of fairly steep ramps.  I tried to keep my heart rate below threshold, and spin an easier gear, it seemed to work and I slowly spun away from my fellow riders and chased after the local pro.  I never really got that much closer, but I have to admit that I am almost too happy that I never really fell behind - I held my own on my one sided "race."

After cresting the initial climb you quickly drop down into a small valley, with a creek flowing through it, and the the climb starts in earnest. The road runs along the creek and after a mile or so, doubles back on itself. A small dirt path to the left of the security gate allows you access to the rest of the closed road as it winds upward and back into the headwind.  It was shortly after this that I began to feel some soreness in my legs, I also was pushing hard through this section, maybe a bit too hard and began to exceed my threshold.  I tried to back off but it was hard to slow my heart down.  Eventually I calmed it down and was able to increase the pace a bit, but it definitely affected the rest of the trip up.

The views from this portion of the road are fantastic, looking to the left you could see all the way to the Pacific - it was actually that clear, to the right the Anza Borrego - fantastic.  After topping this rise I once again drop down a hundred feet or so and climbed up through another security gate, just on the other side was an empty Border Patrol Jeep.  As I passed by I hear some rustling in the sage on the edge of the road, some of the guys who passed by later said that they saw a couple of machine gun toting Border Patrol Agents emerging from the those same bushes.

Towards the top of Kitchen Creek the wheels started to come off for me,  my heart rate dropped about 10 beats per minute and I felt like I had almost no energy.  As I entered the pine forest that signaled that final mile or two of the climb I significantly slowed down.  I ground through the find climb using every bit of my 39x28 and crested exhausted in just over 68 minutes.  Not a fantastic time (I think the record is somewhere around 51 minutes) but one I'll take this early in the year especially considering the length of the ride up and that I'm carrying about 8 extra pounds (that's worth an extra 4 minutes over 1 hr right???).

After waiting for the rest of the group to arrive the trip back was mostly characterized by my just barely hanging on to the last guys wheel.  A few of us took the I-8 short cut back to Alpine, and after saying good bye I dropped down Harbison  Canyon and into Rancho San Diego - dreaming of a hot shower and some food, only to find my car battery was dead... good times :).

All in all it was a 97 mile trip with just over 8500' of climbing.  Best ride yet of the season.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Commute, commute

So... what have I been up up to? Well, a position chance at work has me up in beautiful Escondido, and has me commuting up there by bike. It seemed like a good idea at first, but it's become a bit much. The trip winds up being around 64 miles round trip and over 3700' of climbing... five days a week, plus weekend training rides is putting my weekly mileage around 400... too much.

There is something nice about riding after dark... dangerous, but nice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What passes for winter here in socal has hit with a vengeance today. Wind and Rain. I know it sounds silly, but it's getting harder and harder to make it out when the weather turns. 6 years of year round riding in the mountains of Colorado and my school years in the mid western blizzards of Iowa all for naught as 50 degree temperatures and intermittent rain finds me on the trainer.

The early morning hours brought rain and the possibility of snow up around Alpine, so I skipped the Wednesday ride. The skies cleared up around 10am saving me from my date of trainer based intervals and ILT's and I headed out to Mt. Soledad for some hill climbs. 6 hill repeats for 39 miles and 4900' of climbing. Towards the end, the skies opened up and drenched me on the ride back home.

On one of the descents, I came across the aftermath of a pretty serious car accident... right about the same place on Nautilus where someone pulled out in front of Jason a few weeks back... dangerous place.

On a racing note: Boulevard was two weeks ago - the best weather yet... 60 degrees and sunny. As I pulled up to the line I noticed that one of my friends, Chad was also racing the Cat 4's. After realizing that I was most likely the largest guy in the field (not a good sign), we headed out for 2 laps of the course. The course was the same as last year, triangular with half the course descending and half the course climbing. The descent was mostly smooth, the pack of 100 riders a little skittish, but for the most part controlled. At the bottom you take a hard right, and cross over the railroad tracks. As my front wheel went over the tracks I heard and felt a "KaChunk!" Was my tire was going flat?

The riders at the front put in a pretty hard acceleration and began to split up the group. Riders slid back through the peloton like they had dropped anchor. I was far enough back that I missed the move and then had to set a steady pace to pull back some of the riders. Tough, my size wasn't helping much.

As I turned onto Old Hwy 80, I came up behind Chad, he had been battling it out with the ones on the front. We joined a few other riders and began to pace line our way up the climb. As we took turns at the front I became more and more certain that my tire was going flat. I looked around for the follow car, but no luck, it had stopped earlier for another rider, it passed with the rider hanging out the rear window holding his bike. No wheel for me.

At the top, my tire went completely flat and I pulled out of the race... pretty bummed. As penance I rode back from the race, 60 miles. Might as well get something out of the race.

Monday, January 17, 2011


A perfect day, 75 degrees and sunny. This morning I headed out to Rancho San Diego and set out to ride up Mt. Laguna. It would be a good time to work on some hill climbing and hopefully see a bit of snow. The first part of Dehesa Canyon Rd is pretty flat, until Harbison Canyon, then a hard right and it climbs 900' up to Japutal Road. It's a pretty steady climb, and is the first part of the Great Western loop. Went pretty slow, working on steady climbing - sub-tempo.

The next section is a rolling climb past Loveland Reservoir up Japatul Road followed by a series of lazy switchbacks and "the wall" ; a steep 10%+ climb - always hurts, never fun. To complete the Great Western Loop one turn right at Lyons Valley, but continuing up Japatul sends you back to the north, under I-8, and past Descanso.

The real meat and potatoes of the ride came after the left turn on to Pine Creek Road, just before Pine Valley. Pine Creek skirts the lower section of the infamous Nobel Canyon, crosses Pine Creek and turns into Deer Park Road. Scrub and Live Oak line the road as it follow the creek and begins the steep climb up Mt. Laguna. Really, really steep. It climbs about 2000' over 8 miles, but has a bit of up and down, so is really more like 2200' total. The total elevation gain isn't the entire story as the climb comes in chunks, sections of 15%, 17%, 22%, even 24% pepper the lower sections. The terrain moves from Oak lined creek bed, to desert sage, to fire scorched pine. It tops out around 5500' where it connects with Sunrise Highway. Towards the top a bit of snow was hiding in the shade at the base some of the trees, rocks...

Right on Sunrise takes you up over 6000' and to the Mt. Laguna Lodge for a root beer and some peanuts - and if you are lucky, a brief lecture on any variety of topics from the owner. The drop back down to Pine Valley is a quick ride, most of the corners are sweeping. From the top you can see to ocean. At the bottom, a right turn takes you through Pine Valley and then sends you to retrace your route back under I-8 and to the Lyons Valley / Japatul intersection.

A left turn and a short descent puts you back on the Great Western loop. It's a long drag over rolling hills that takes you up to the "four corners", instead of heading up skyline I stuck to Lyons Valley and dropped down, well Lyons Valley. A quick run down Mexican Canyon and back into Rancho San Diego.

90 miles
6 hrs 10 min