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.