Sunday, December 30, 2007

Music Update

It's not all bad because it is all on my laptop.

Gosia Update

The Gos wanted an updated picture.

Drinking scotch

Anthony, Gosia and I are having some scotch, listening to both good and bad music and heading out to The Top of the Mark soon.


I've recently picked up a habit of riding to taquerias.

Today was sunny and in the 50's...a relief from the recent rainy days. Got out for a nice ride just up to the top of White's Grade. At that point we flipped the ride around because we saw some teammates heading back from Point Reyes Station. We joined up with them to roll back to the city (we were a bit past the 1.5 hrs mark in the ride, so we'd end up around 3.5 hours of ride time for the day, which is ok). As we got back to Mill Valley, Jeff got a call from his wife and kids to meet them at Joe's Taco Lounge in Mill Valley...we all joined the family for some excellent grilled fish tacos and Negro Modelo. We lost Jeff after lunch (off with his family), but Ben, Anthony and I continued on to one of our team sponsors, Cafe Trieste, in Sausalito for a round of lattes to warm up a bit. I failed to mention the morning stop for Pete's Coffee on the way out of the city. Today's 50 mile ride took nearly 6 hours total!

Then I hit the sauna at my gym. Good stuff and happy to be back on the bike.

A Different Type of Climbing - I'm hooked!

The Bay Area's been experiencing some rainy weather lately, so things have slowed down a bit on the riding front. I've just been hitting the gym and the sauna.

Yesterday was another rainy day so Anthony and I decided to check out Mission Cliff's - a climbing gym here in San Francisco. I'm hooked (and sore). We took the introductory basics class where they taught us, well...the basics; how to tie on as the climber and how to set up to be the belayer. For those that don't know what a belayer does, here's a short quote from Wikipedia (I think you can figure out the Climber on your own?):

As the climber moves on the climb, the belayer must remove the slack from the rope by paying out or pulling in excess rope. If the climber falls, then they will free-fall the distance of the slack or unprotected rope before friction applied by the belayer will start to slow their descent. It is extremely important for the belayer to concentrate on the climber's situation, as their role is crucial for the climber's safety. Most belay methods also require an action by the belayer in order to arrest a fall, hence they must be alert and ready to perform this action at a moment's notice.

We worked our way around one small part of the wall...each of us taking a turn as the climber & belayer and then move over to the next rope...progressively getting more difficult. We climbed for about 3 hours and got to the point were our arms would tremble 1/2 way up the wall. Great cross training.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beer & Taco Ride

It's raining.

Tonight after getting some work done at my local cafe (Cup-o-Joe) I walked home to grab the bike and head out to meet a few teammates at a bar in the Mission District. Gestalt is a great biker bar - as you walk into the bar there is a pool table to your left and a massive double-decker bike rack for your rig. It's usually packed with the hippest of all hipster bikes, but tonight's rain slowed it down a bit...still about 1/2 full. Here are a couple pics I found on Yelp:
I learned that my rain jacket I bought when I worked at the golf course in 1994-ish is not so much waterproof (or even resistant) anymore. Time to retire it. We had a good time; Anthony, Mark, Jeff and I had a few beers and then Anthony and I rode over to Pancho Villa for a quick bite before riding back home in the rain.

Seth - I mapped this new loop for you, because you wanted new loops!...Gestalt and Pancho Villa are on the Southern part of the route.Rainy again tomorrow, so I think I will head over to our new bike shop sponsor (A Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito) and get fit for the new team ride (Ridley!) and then finalize a few final details with our other bike related sponsors.
I also need to give the System6 some love - our ride last Saturday ended with a stop sign, flashing lights and a dash through a spongy-wet grassy knoll to a crushed limestone/sandy path. Not sure if he was lit up for us or not, but if so...go bust someone doing something bad. The black and green "Kawasaki" really looks like a dirt bike right now.

Yes, that is a can of NOS...I normally run an IV from there to my veins while training.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday's Ride

Anthony, Vince, Jeff and I got out for some slow climbing yesterday. We had a great ride, including stops at Cafe Trieste on the way out for coffee and then post-ride burritos Pancho's.

I've decided to start mapping my rides to Google Earth. Here you go!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis the season

Another view of Grace Cathedral from across the park.

Great ride today, will post that soon...this week is going to be full of riding.

Chicago peeps - enjoy the snow!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

170 Degrees

I'm sick again!
-- I normally go an entire winter beating out Chicago weather and millions of sick people commuting on a tiny train to and from work and maybe get sick once, maybe. This is my second time sick in SF...bummer. Nasty cough and just a crappy feeling throughout.

So I slept in on Saturday and skipped out on riding. I got out for a much needed trip to the grocery store, came home and made Kitchari for dinner, did a bit of aromatherapy and then crashed for the night. Today I got out for a slow crawl on the bike with Anthony, Erica and Eric (out here again). Eric turned around early to catch a flight back to Chicago and we all continued to do Paradise Loop at an easy pace. We had a good time and good conversation.

Now for the good stuff. My gym has a Sauna. I highly recommend Sauna's to everyone. Even though this one was in the men's locker room with strangers, it was still great. I did a Google Image Search for Sauna's and this one caught my eye (there was another one, but I held back)...unfortunately, this photo does not resemble my sauna tonight. Anyway...The first time I hit up a sauna was in Northern Wisconsin and after 15 minutes of heat, we would go jump in the Tomahawk River to cool down and then repeat 3x. It was a beautiful setting and the river was very chilly - felt great! Back in Chicago, my condo had one in the general fitness area downstairs. We, my cycling teammates & I, spent a lot of time "training" in the sauna last winter...the cool down sessions were funny...3-4 guys in the alley between my building and the building next door, wearing bathing suits, steaming like hell...in the dead of winter (often snowing). We joked that the sauna was going to be our secret training weapon...it makes sense though. Winter training is to be done at low heart rates...once your body starts to sweat in the sauna it automatically raises your heart rate to a nice fat burning zone, it gets your blood moving and loosens you up for a nice post sauna stretch. I'm not saying it is a substitute, but it's definitely a great addition to your winter program.

So cooling off in Nor-Wisc was the river, Chitown was the alley and my Nor-Cal sauna...men's room shower...could be better, but for now it will have to do.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


You might want to bookmark this post for future use...you will get addicted.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yes, it's been a while...

I've been seriously neglecting this blog for a while, but I'm back now. Things have been pretty busy lately between work and training (hard to believe it's the "off-season"). My weekends have been made up of riding, while maintaining a low heart rate (which is soooo hard to do when riding with teammates) and going out on the weekend nights.

Speaking of which, I just came off of a great weekend of riding, which has prompted a new blog post.

On Saturday, about 20 of us from Active Athlete / Squadra Ovest met at the bridge at 9am for a team ride. We went up to Nicasio, which is where the group broke up into two groups...one group 180'd and headed back to SF the same way, while a group of 5 (Eric, Murat, Gabe, Jerome and I) headed west to Point Reyes Station and then home via Highway 1, Bo-Fax Road, Ridgecrest (7-Sisters) . This ended up being a killer 5hr ride of 80 miles.
Sunday was a bit different. I've never taken Skyline south, but today we had some teammates racing the Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross Championship race at Coyote Point. This ride was just Eric and I (Eric from Get A Grip in Chicago). We got a bit "lost" on the way, but made it just in time to see the start of the Men's B race. AA/SO had 3 new teammates racing in this race...Anthony (currently with Altezza 40), Matthew and Aaron (currently with Team Spine). Anthony was leading the series and rode away from the rest to claim the top podium spot for the day, and of course the series - Congrats! Aaron and Matthew both had great races as well and I'm looking forward to racing with these guys when the season rolls around.

After the race, Eric and I rode back along the bay...curving around SFO and then up/down/up... around Potrero Hill, through the Mission and then up Powell St to home. Ride time was 4 hours and 60 miles.

Eric didn't fly out until today, so I burned one of my last vacation days and headed out for another big day on the bike. We decided to throw in some big slow climbing and went up to the Mt. Tam parking lot, across the 7-sisters, across Alpine Dam to Fairfax and then we added on Paradise Loop to get in some more time. Ride time 5hrs, 73 miles.

I love that. My legs feel amazing today. 2008 is going to be fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Grace Cathedral

I pass Grace Cathedral either on bike or foot all the time. Finally snapped a quick photo while the bells ring 8PM.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Thanksgiving Weekend Pictures

A number of pictures from the weekend: Acro-Yoga, Hiking & the Dogs:

Gina Flying on Brian's one leg

Me flying with Brian

Laura Flying upside-down on Brian, Sequoia and Ziggy

Me and Ziggy

Ziggy, Parker & Gina

Ziggy, Parker, Gina & Me

Ziggy "Go ahead, see if you can get this bone"


Parker & Ziggy

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas & Palm Trees

Along with probably high 50's right now. Loving that!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rattlesnake Ridge

Quick post...two low quality pics taken with my phone...more pictures to come, once developed/downloaded:

View of the ridge from the bottom.

Gina, Dean, Ziggy & Parker at the top.

Thursday, November 22, 2007



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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Empty SFO

I got to the airport early because of all the holiday hype. Checked my bag and through security in 20 mins max. It's a bit spooky how empty it is here.

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From an old episode of "The Office"


May 17, 06:20 PM

Creed Thoughts

Hey-o, everyone out there in SyberWorld. It’s old Creed Bratton coming at your again, here from my perch as a Quality Assurance Manager at Dunder Mifflin paper. Just a few observations on the world around me.

What do you guys think is the best kind of car? To me, you can’t beat motorcycles. They’re small, and dangerous.

I got into a car accident yesterday and I just took off. It didn’t look too bad. The guy was making a big deal out of it, but come on – dogs don’t live forever.

Sometimes when I’m sick, or feeling blue, I drink vinegar. I like all kinds: balsamic, vodka, orange juice, leaves.

Working in an office is fine, but I’d rather be a millionaire. [Elaborate on this. It’s interesting. Maybe Trademark it, too.]

Today in my office where I work as Director of Quality Assurance, we went to the beach for some reason that was never adequately explained. When we were there, our manager told us to eat hot coals. I thought that was a little bit untoward so I ate a fish. Then a woman I have literally never seen before in my entire life started talking very loudly about something involving Halpert. She was agitated, I’d say. From what I could guess, she was definitely on drugs of some kind, perhaps cocaine, or maybe ‘drines. Also, she is a knock-out. She reminds me of a young Daphne Du Maurier. Also, I stupidly ate the fishbones. I told myself “never again” after the last time, but then you turn around, and bam, they’re in my mouth. I also ate 55 hot dogs in 15 minutes, which is a world record.

Everybody remembers: “April showers bring May flowers.” But no one remembers how the rest of that goes. Which I find so frustrating.

Prediction: the Orioles will win the World Series over the Pirates in seven games.

Prediction: the space program will be renamed the Outer Space Program by 2060.

Prediction: someday we will be able to travel faster than sound. We will “break the sound barrier.”

Prediction: [note – need more predictions.]

Reminder: Michael’s safe combo: 26-32-20.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Long "Easy" Ride and Daft Punk

A few of us from our team got out for a great ride today...5.5 hours in the East Bay. The route was mainly flat with a couple small/medium climbs tossed in. The weather was great...warmed up about mid-way (or maybe it was just warm because of the climbs?). Sunny and in the mid 60's. A nice nap followed when I got home.

That's all for today, but I'm going to leave you with these three amazing videos...

Props to those who starred in them and also to The Laughing Squid for bringing them to my attention - Thanks:

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I walked up to the small corner market to grab a couple quick things...

- Soy Milk
- Eggs
- Something for dinner
- Beer

They were out of soy milk, so I grabbed regular milk, which is fine. Picked up a can of Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner.

The missing Stella is next to me now.
Eggs are in the bowl because 2 didn't make the walk home.
I think the can of soup is still on the counter at the market :-(

I guess it's an almond butter & jelly sandwich with a Stella for dinner tonight.

Bright side...my hair looks good now that I finally got it cut.

Bike Stuff:
- My team's sponsorships are all falling into place...announcements to come soon. It's going to be pretty sweet!
- Cool article on the Slipstream-Chipotle Team and their big time stance against doping:
Disgraced Rider and New U.S. Team Take the Lead Against Doping

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

70 and Sunny

Can't wait for tonight's night ride!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Go Karting

Tonight we raced and we raced hard.

Active Athlete
is having our national sales meeting this week and we've been holding some amazing meetings all week...tonight, we got out and played. We went Go Karting. Now, I've been on GoKarts many times before (actually had one growing up), but these karts can reach speeds up to 40mph!!

Notice in the picture below that we are wearing race suits...what you don't see, is that we had full face helmets, neck-braces and 4-point safety belts. I definitely tested out the safety features when meeting a pole head on at full speed...Todd and I were side by side drifting down a fast left curve (me on the outside) and neither of us wanted to back down. After about 20 feet of me hitting the safety wall (that really just moved over for me) I went nose first into one of the building's structural columns. This knocked me from 3rd to last as the officials tracked down my helmet's visor, which went sailing upon impact and then straightened my kart out.

Also, the whole team came to the conclusion that I successfully rear-ended, t-boned and/or spun out every single other driver on the course. But hey, rubbin's racin', right...I am a crit racer and love sprint finishes. My aggressive style landed me 1st and 5th in the two races...I owe 5th to the pole.

Me, Dennis and Gerry (I beat them)

The Kart

More pictures to follow.

I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007



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Icer Air

Another shot.  This one with half pipe.

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Esurance Icer Air

Big air snow ramp in AT&T Park!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Active Athlete Media Sponsors Squadra Ovest Cycling Team for 2008

I mentioned this in an earlier post...here's the official release:

Active Athlete Media, an online media company that connects advertisers with consumers engaged in lifestyle sports, announced today an agreement to sponsor the Squadra Ovest Cycling Team, an elite group of Northern California racers dedicated to the sport and community. As title sponsor for the 2008 season, Active Athlete will provide financial support while enhancing the positive momentum and reputation Squadra Ovest has built through the years. The team will be named Active Athlete Squadra Ovest.

“We are extremely excited about the sponsorship and upcoming cycling season,” said Robert Tas, CEO of Active Athlete Media. “As a company focused on lifestyle sports, it makes perfect sense to engage in a partnership that promotes the sport of cycling and gives back to the community. We are very proud to be associated with such a dedicated group of individuals that share our passion and values.”

The sponsorship is a great opportunity for Active Athlete to connect with a highly targeted audience, including advertisers, publishers and the cyclists themselves. In addition to brand promotion on Squadra Ovest’s jerseys, bicycles and racing tent, the sponsorship will provide Active Athlete with valuable online (e.g. website) and offline marketing activities. Active Athlete clients also will have the opportunity to participate in Squadra Ovest’s kick-off event, training camp, team parties and even a team ride.

The purpose of Squadra Ovest, founded in 2003, is to drive the growth of cycling as a sport and provide opportunities for developing riders to achieve their goals—all while raising money for American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), a non-profit organization that exists to eliminate brain tumors through research and to meet the needs of brain tumor patients and their families.

Squadra Ovest has accumulated more than 75 podium appearances across Northern California’s highly popular and competitive cycling scene since its inception in 2007. The team has posted strong results in major competitions such as the Merco Credit Classic, San Dimas Stage Race, Tri-Flow Menlo Park GP, Cat’s Hill Classic, Mount Hamilton Classic and Carrera de San Rafael. In every race, Squadra Ovest competes in the Best All-Around Team (BAT) classification.

“We are thrilled to have Active Athlete’s support as we approach the 2008 season,” said Dan Tedford, president of Squadra Ovest. “Our riders work extremely hard to succeed both on and off the bike. With Active Athlete, we have a partner dedicated to making it a fun, successful year on the Northern California cycling circuit.”

For more information visit www.activeathlete.com and www.squadraovest.com.

About Active Athlete

Active Athlete’s focus is active consumers who participate in sports, and the advertisers desiring to reach this demographic. Active Athlete’s growing audience can be attributed to the intersection of three large and growing markets: the growth of sports marketing online, the growth of fitness and recreational sports, and the boom of online advertising. Active Athlete’s 170+ sites consist of some of the Web’s most relevant lifestyle sports destinations – from endurance to action sports to country club and outdoor. The company provides an opportunity for brands and advertisers to reach active people at their passion point online.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 4

Halloween 4

Don't ask because I don't know...

Update: I rocked this look on my ride into work...funny thing is, no one even did a double take at the crazy looking dude commuting on a bike.

Halloween 3

Halloween 3


Halloween 2

Chinstrap goatee


BKW started it. Gate, front door, 2 bike lock keys and a small key fob (gift from my sister's wedding in 94...my initials engraved on a small metal fob). Minimal responsibility, I guess.


I didn't feel this: http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/recenteqs/Quakes/nc40204628.html

Luckily no injuries reported: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/07/MN7FOGO71.DTL&tsp=1

This is the 2nd one of size since I moved out in April and it's also the 2nd one that I did not feel. The first happened at about 4:30am after a long night at my favorite local wine bar (Amelie).

This time I was at a local cafe doing some work, listening to some music and I missed it...my table was a bit wobbly to begin with and the music had my leg bouncing. The guy and girl on my left felt it, but me and the guy to my right did not. None of us were sure that it was a quake, till one of my roommates texted me to see if I "felt the quake."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Tomorrow I shave. Will I go with a pencil stash, handlebar, goat, chin strap or neck beard?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hair Gone Wild

Testing out mobile Blogger. Pic 's from late last night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"The 'rents" and Night Riding

So I haven't posted in a while, so I will start by saying sorry to my millions of loyal readers. :-)

My parents flew in town last Thursday and then on Sunday they rented a car and are driving up the coast to visit my sister and brother-in-law up in Seattle. They've had an amazing drive so far...I can't wait to see their pictures. We had a blast while they were here...ate lots of great food, enjoyed the weather and did a lot of walking. It was great having them around for the weekend.

I've been getting in some great evening/night riding lately after work. The weather in SF has been amazing lately. It's pretty wild for me to do these late rides because it wasn't really possible back in Chicago (at least in a safe way). Chicago late night rides were in a way limited to the Lake Front Path, but it was never safe to do a late road ride due to some wild traffic and rough roads. Night riding her in the Bay Area is top-notch. We've just been heading up to Corta Madera and back. Most of this ride is either on smooth roads with bike lanes or the path up in Sausalito. They way back home is the best part of the ride. We've seen many deer, coyote and skunks on a regular basis (almost hit the skunk, which would have really, ummm..."stunk"). My buddy Anthony's been blogging some videos and pictures, but they are a bit dark and don't really give justice to the amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge or the City views at all. View some of them here and here. You'll also get a good view of the very fun light I picked up at Interbike this year...it mounts on my tube's valve stem - Perfect item for a twilight crit!!!

My team, Active Athlete/Squadra Ovest, is deep in 2008 planning and I'm getting very excited about the direction we are heading. We've recruited some great talent across all categories and have some very sweet sponsorships lining up for bikes, wheels, nutrition, etc... It's going to be a killer year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eric was in town...

Eric came in town for a weekend of riding, so instead of doing the "fall" thing (easy spin, conversational pace) we went hard and had a great time climbing some of Marin County's best.

Saturday we went up Marion to the 4 Corners, down through Muir Woods, up Highway 1 to the ever-fun Bo-Fax climb, across the 7 sisters and then back home and then off to Oktoberfest in Ft. Mason for some "recovery."

On Sunday we rolled up Marion again, but this time headed straight up to East Peak, descended down Panoramic (Eric avoided the guardrail this time), south on Highway 1 (amazing stretch of road) and then up through Muir Woods, then back home.

Eric flew back to Chicago yesterday afternoon. Last night, I headed out to find a coffee shop to get some work done. I was feeling lazy and didn't want to walk up and over Nob Hill (after a quick stop at home) to my usual coffee shop, so I went downhill in search of another cafe (mistake)...after almost a 4.5 mile walk (UP and down some big city hills) I ended up at the usual cafe! I guess the walk was good for me because my legs were trashed from the riding and today they feel great...I think I walked them into a recovered state. It was also a beautiful fall night here in SF, so the walk was nice.

Had I gone straight to the final destination from home, my walk would have been basically from near point #1 to the end of that line.