Monday, August 25, 2008

Bike Against the Odds

Some of my teammates and I participated in the Bike Against the Odds last Saturday (8/23). This was an amazing event put on by the Breast Cancer Fund.

There were over 360 cyclists in attendance and we raised a ton towards Breast Cancer Research!

There were a few options for the ride:
-31 miles with 2,660 feet of climbing
-51 miles with 4,000 feet of climbing
-72 miles with 6,500 feet of climbing
-103 miles -Full Century- with 10,000 feet of climbing

Anthony, Mark, Chris, Jan, Colin, Lloyd, Eric, and I decided to do the 72-mile route. We ended up riding with the Code 3 girls and we had a great time.

About 5-miles into the ride we hit our first major climb...up from about sea-level to around 1,500 ft. This climb was a nice steady grade and the last 1/3rd of the climb was in thick fog. After that, we had a nice downhill and then a long, somewhat flat stretch until we hit found ourselves on the same route as the Berkeley Hills Road Race. We had to climb up Mama Bear, Little Bear and Papa Bear, which brought back great memories (I DNF'd on this course earlier this year!). Another short break and then it was off to more climbing...up Wildcat and Grizzly Peaks (about 1,600 ft.). This climb ended with amazing views of Oakland and the Bay. The final 10 miles were downhill and flat...phew!

We got back to the park at Lake Merritt and enjoyed hanging out in the sun...eating and sharing some good laughs. Willem (our currently broken teammate) met us with cold beers and sodas, which were just what we all needed.

Not being the best climber, I found myself riding solo a few times. This allowed me to reflect on the ride and the cause. It was very nice to think about family and friends that I've lost, as well as those that I know who are currently battling breast cancer.

I carried my Garmin with me and recorded the ride...below is the map and the elevation profile.
Here are a few pictures that I snapped throughout the ride. Anthony took a bunch more, as well as the professional photographers that the Breast Cancer Fund hired for the ride, so I'm sure I'll post more once I get my hands on them.

The view of the San Pablo Reservoir (on the Google map, this is in the upper loop)

Jan, pumping up Anthony's tire after flatting...had to snap that angle.

The Sportgenic banner up at the finish. Sportgenic ran free advertising to help drive registrations and in turn, the Breast Cancer Fund made us a sponsor of the ride. Big thanks to Anna (Code 3 and my teammate Willem's wife) for helping tie this up...she also played a big hand in organizing the event.

I'm already looking forward to next year's Bike Against the Odds and recommend it. The various levels make it fun for all levels of riders, so just go do it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Suisun Harbor Criterium

Suisun Harbor Criterium
Teammates: Aaron, Carmi, Dino, Murat and myself
Place: Carmi WON

We had a great day last Sunday.

Murat started it off with a stellar performance during the Masters 3/4/5 race. He was in two very good looking breakaways...the second one was a 3-man that was chasing after a solo rider. That solo guy stuck it to the finish and Murat took 2nd.

Immediately after that race, he lined up with the rest of us for our 40 lap category 3 race. I was going to just sit back for a while and feel it out. This was a very short course (1/2 mile, 4-turns) and I knew it would be fast and thought it would also be tough to move up, so I planned on moving up about 1/2 way through the race.

Aaron started it off with a breakaway. I'm not sure how many guys were in that one, but it seemed pretty strong.

Unfortunately, that got caught.

Fortunately, it was caught by another break that had Carmi in it...this one stuck it to the finish.

Aaron, Dino, Murat and I tried our best to control the front so that Carmi's break would stick. (I need to mention that Carmi was out in a 40-mile breakaway the day prior at the Winters RR...he's riding very strong recently!)

I wasn't too motivated for the field sprint since there were 7 guys in Carmi's break, but I still wanted to test myself out and see how I was fitness-wise after the time off. I moved up and got into position behind Aaron. I knew Dino was somewhere close behind and was hoping he would find my wheel. I came into turn 4 a bit further back than I would have liked to be and pulled in 10th in the field (17th overall).

While taking our cool-down lap, we talked about the fact that we at least had Carmi in the break and were hoping he did well in the end. As we approached him at the start/finish line, he let off a giant grin and showed us one finger (not the middle). Not only did he win, but he grabbed 2 primes along the way!

We all cheered, hugged and sang jolly songs, while lifting him off his bike and carrying him away (just kidding).

Here's our little Carmi (18-year old boy-wonder...now a man) doing his post-race interview.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gumball 3000 - Carrera de San Rafael - Poser Ride

I got out on my bike exactly 2-weeks after the crash. That was last Friday. I wanted to see how the whole shoulder/collarbone area felt when taking normal bike riding abuse...the shock you get when you hit a bump/crack/pothole and the stress you put on when pulling on/stabilizing the bars during a sprint or hard effort. I passed!!!

What did I earn by passing this test? Confidence to go to the Carrera de San Rafael Crit on Saturday evening. But first, let me explain Saturday...

Saturday was pretty fun. Because my race wasn't until 5:15pm and only about 30 minutes away, I didn't need to wake up early and focus my entire day around bike racing. Instead, I was able to check out the start of this year's Gumball 3000! Click on that for more detail, but it's basically a bunch of wealthy mo-fo's with sweet cars that "race" from one city to another...this year's Gumball started here in San Francisco and ends in Beijing, China. Yes...that's right, China. They go from SF to LA to San Diego, to Vegas and then fly over to China to drive from city to city...pretty insane.

Here are my pics: (keep an eye out for Hasselhoff and Kitt)

Click HERE for my photo gallery (larger format)

Dino picked me up around 2pm and we were off to the races.

This course is deceivingly tough. 4 turns (all easy), one steady downhill side and, conversely, one steady uphill grind. We had Dino, Carmi, Murat, Aaron and myself at the start line. They were all running strong and I just wasn't there this time. I couldn't see too much from my "back of the pack" view, but I know they took turns off the front and/or chasing down breaks. Murat snatched up a $100 prime. Aaron grabbed 2nd place in the sprint finish. Warning: Here comes my excuse - My day in the back just sucked. The pack was heavy on the brakes and the back end suffered the accordion effect from that, therefore everytime up the hill I was playing catch up to the rest of the pack that flew through the turns...by the time we were back together, the front would pick up the pace on the downhill. With about 4 laps to go, I just rode off the course and made my way to the finish to see the end.

We celebrated Aaron's 2nd place finish with plenty of beers while watching the women's and then the men's pro races...then after that, we had a few more at a nearby bar. Good times hanging with the teammates.

Sunday called for a "Poser Ride." AKA: "Cafe Ride." We pimped nice equipment, pro-looking odd ball kits (I wore my old VOX Vodka Kit and got lots of compliments...love that one) and just cruised easy with lots of stops for coffee, food and even a beer.

I'm just happy to be back on the bike and ready for this Sunday's race: Suison Harbor Criterium.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bike Against the Odds

I've signed up to ride in this one day event in support of the Breast Cancer Fund.

Go to

Bike Against the Odds

to donate toward this worthy cause.


Sequence of Crash Photos

Here they are...

I'm just behind the guy on the far right (next to the barricades)

Skidding into the barricade

Airborne! This is the hit to my collarbone...

Looks like I was going to ride out of it, but I got nailed by the guy just behind me and spun/flopped to the ground. (photo sequence ended here though)