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Showing posts from 2014

A Model ride

It is now April and I've managed to go more than three months without riding a permanent route. That is three months in Winter! The San Francisco Randonneurs and Santa Rosa Cyclists offered nearly a dozen different rides in those months, keeping me so busy I didn't need to ride a perm to get any RUSA events in. A while back Kirk had suggested a camping weekend up in Mendocino to ride a perm route along with a bunch of other friends. That never came to be, but we kept the idea of riding a perm together alive and in the end we settled on the one way route from El Cerrito to Davis via St. Helena and the Model Bakery,and a return via Amtrak. The route first began life as a DART route when The Davis Bike Club hosted their first ever DART event in November of 2012. The route morphed into a permanent route later that year and in the coming year it will be a brevet route, part of another SFR double brevet weekend (used mostly to help train up for PBP). The route has some nice stretc…

It might not be raining up ahead

Despite the threat of rain, 75 riders lined up to do the 2014 version of the SFR Hopland 400km. As per usual, my goal is to ride with someone for the day rather than spending time alone, and yet in the hubub of the start I can't locate my intended riding partners. In the early miles of the Lower Marin maze I follow Max and Aron through the chain of small towns but various traffic controls work to set me back and they speed on ahead. The threat of rain became more ominous as we climbed Camino Alto and turned into a reality as we were still in the very early miles of the route. By the time most riders cleared White's Hill, the rain was pelting down pretty good. So much for skirting by the weather cell. Northwest Marin is mostly open grazing land and without the obstructions of suburbia we can often catch glimpses of the other riders on the brevet. I was impressed by Jon who seemed to not even notice the rain and powered along Chilenos Valley Road not yet wearing a rain jacket …

Cycling mileage spreadsheet (using google docs)

Several years back I was looking for a good way to keep track of my annual cycling mileage and a little Googling resulted in finding this website and it's link to a downloadabe Excel spreadsheet for keeping track of cycling mileage. Mark Pankin, who created that Excel doc annually updates the document and makes it available to the public. I think the document is great and I've used it for several years. One issue I did have with it though was gaining access to the document remotely. I kept it on my computer at home but sometimes I wanted to update it when I was not at home or just pull data from it, again when I wasn't at home. I had had some email exchanges with Mark to ask about certain features of his document and this led to a discussion about porting the document over to Google Docs. Mark was not a Google Docs user but he didn't mind at all if I created a document using his Excel spreadsheet as a model. While there is some ability to import and export Excel forma…

Early repolarization, or, in other words, a change of plans

Yes, I admit, I'm way behind on entries for the K-hound series on this blog. I plan to catch up, and maybe even continue. About that maybe part. Well, there has been a change of plans forced on me. Here is the deal. In late May I rode a permanent on the 24th with a bunch of SFR club members. The next day I came down with a very bad cold that kept me from work a full week, and worse still, I then missed the SFR Dart (and a great opportunity to ride with Deb and Drew and Ken and Daryl), then I was still too sick to even volunteer, much less ride, the Santa Rosa 600km. Right there 800km of planned RUSA events missed and the clock ticks on. Finally I get close to healthy again, and then the bottom really drops out. Last Saturday I went to volunteer for the Santa Rosa Terrible Two Double Century. My son and I have volunteered there every year since 2008, and I also volunteered in 2006, all at the Fort Ross rest stop, just across CA Highway One from the historic fort. This year we were…

Boontling can't describe it

Certain hills are forever defined by your first experience climbing them by bike. Try as you might to overcome this, each subsequent climb of that hill is (at least a little) ill flavored if that first experience did not go well. Irony is often best illustrated when the hill in question is a simple one for fresh legs but fate always provides you with a set of tired ones. Dixon Ridge, the final climb on Nicasio Valley Road, a feature of so many San Francisco Randonneurs brevet routes is a case in point. I never know if that mere bump will crush me. The Santa Rosa Cyclists brevet calendar for the last three years has featured a ride affectionately known as the 'Hubba' that is nothing if not heavy on long climbs, traversing twice the mountains that separate the Anderson Valley from the middle landscape of the Russian (nee Slavyanka) River Valley. Upon first hearing of the new route from Bob, the Santa Rosa RBA, I felt more than a little intimidated. The first two versions of the…

and mere oblivion, sans teeth ...

Photo above copyright Jim Hsu Additional photos by Patrick Herlihy With a longer sweep of time as a yardstick, perhaps the second most popular brevet route for the San Francisco Randonneurs is the Russian River 300km, an event and route hosted every year since 2003, and first held as a RUSA brevet in 1999 and there is reason to believe the route was used as a Paris, Brest, Paris qualifier before even that year. The 300km distance is the first level of selection, where most but not all of the riders successfully completing the introductory 200km events move up a notch on the difficulty scale. Half again as long as the 200km, that third 100km tests riders in a way the first two do not. The route the Russian River 300km follows is not in and of itself a difficult one, with barely more climbing overall than some of SFR's 200km routes have. Instead, the late February or early March date when the ride is held often has dished up weather that can severely challenge riders. Most notable o…

Two rocks, no waiting

Photos courtesy of Patrick In the gentle landscape between the growing town of Petaluma and the coastline, there is a small, and perhaps mostly forgotten community named Two Rock, CA. Two Rock never became a commercial center, never became the western seat of finance, and in fact the road doesn't even widen as you pass through. Most people can travel along the highway here and never realize they've passed through a town, and never even notice the three rock outcroppings that gives Two Rock it's oddly singular name. An oft quoted American author once commented on the attributes of cycling and the resulting understanding of the true contours of the landscape, and should you be riding west on Petaluma-Valley Ford road in the early months of any year, you'll have time to look around at the rolling green hillsides and wonder what it must have been like 100 or 200 years ago, and if this is where the photo for the Windows XP desktop was taken. (No, but darn close.) Each year…

Pushing the plow

All photos courtesy of Megan To date, the 2013-2014 winter in Northern California has been a very dry one, and with only one or two notable exceptions January was dry in a worrisome way all month. By the end of the next month, February 2014 would be saved from being the driest on record, though barely, by what has now become rare rainfall. So, what then would be the odds that the 'R' word would be in the forecast for the date when the SRCC would hold it's second 200km brevet for 2014? As the day drew nearer, the forecast (though not the weather) became clearer: Overcast, fog, with the chance of rain spiking around 3pm. So the plan now becomes: Ride, of course, but do what can be done to be near the finish not long after 3pm! Despite the irony of rain during a drought not one of us participating in this brevet, it should be pointed out, would ever begrudge the rain if it came to be. While the rest of the country dealt with prolonged cold spells, huge snowfalls and all man…

Bob gets all the good weather

RUSA's (unnamed) route # 300 is one of the Santa Rosa region's most popular routes. The route has routinely been offered each year in January and for the last so many years the turn out has always topped 100, sometimes going well beyond that. What is the attraction? The topography of the route is perfectly matched for legs in early season form, which is to say there is a dearth of hills. The route also is short on controls. The start is in Healdsburg near the City Hall, but the turn around is less than 100km so the morning route does some 'bonus' miles to the west and north before heading to the real destination to the southeast in the outskirts of the town of Napa, CA. Those bonus miles require a control and Bob Redmond, the Santa Rosa region's RBA usually makes it an info control and one that relates to, well, lets say it is one of his other passions while off the bike and a seeming competitor to the main agricultural product of the terrain we'll pass throug…

Add water and mix

In the interests of chronological accuracy, this addition to the 'chasing K-hounds' series will be about the Worker's Ride version of the San Francisco Randonneurs (SFR) Point Reyes Lighthouse 200km, held the same day as the SFR Point Reyes Populaire. The latter is a subset of the former and covers the same routes save for two different out-and-back legs, one to the lighthouse which lends it's name to the 200km route and the other up to Marshall, CA on Highway One. Worker's Rides, according to RUSA rules, are held sometime within 15 days prior to the main event, to allow those volunteers that make the main event happen a chance to ride the brevet themselves. Trying to pack in enough rides to reach 10,000km this year will be a challenge. I can't justify riding two days out of the weekend on all day rides and there were only two weekends prior to the main event, and on the 2nd weekend in this time frame was a ride I really did not want to miss (more on that in th…

First chance, first step

Way early on a Wednesday morning on the first day of the new year, I'm waiting and shivering in a shopping center parking lot along with 47 other riders. We're all there to ride the Davis Bike Club's (DBC) First Chance 200km brevet which will take us from the western edge of Davis, itself on the western edge of the great Central Valley up through the Vaca Mountains over to Calistoga where we'll retrace our steps back to Davis. Earlier in December the Bay Area had experienced a longish stretch of really cold weather and on this day it seemed to have come back for a curtain call. Despite wool gloves under my cycling gloves my hands are painfully cold on the first few miles out. Out of the parking lot, the pace was very sedate and only gradually picked up. I had made my way up to the front of the first group and hung around there, sitting in comfortably (pace wise) with the group. My very first ever brevet, save for a team event the prior year was a DBC 200km in March o…

A simple plan

Quite some time back, I created this blog as a place to record my progress in getting prepared for PBP 2011. The title of course refers to the distance I attained in my attempt at PBP in 2007, which is the distance from the start to Loudeac where I had to abandon the ride owing to a host of issues. The most asked question in late August, early September of 2011 that I answered was 'Are you going to change the title of your blog?' I did not as you can see, and I kept at it, though at a reduced rate of postings. PBP 2015 is drawing near and I have been committed to riding PBP 2015 since before I got off the plane when returning from France in 2011. I've been at work preparing to return and participate in 2015 in a host of different ways, and for 2014 it will be a foundation year. I've let a few people know that I am trying to take a run at the K-Hound award, which will require me to complete 10,000km in RUSA events in the calendar year. In laying out my brevet season, I …