Wow Has It Been 16 Years Already?

A few friends of mine congratulated me on 16 years at Juniper.  My first reaction was really?  But then when Iook back on it … Yes, it has been 16 years.  Damn, I’m old.

Iimaget’s funny to think I thought I was way over my head going into this, thinking I’d be lucky to last 1 month, but here I am 16 years later.  I really consider myself more of a NetScreen guy, and wish we could have made it all on our own without being bought … But oh well.  It is what it is.

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Tearing Myself Inside and Out up Mt. Umunhum to the White Line of Death

Profile for Mt. Umunhum LKHC Week 6,

I’ve done Mt. Umunhum many times before, so this LKHC shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. When I read the LKHC web site, it was claiming that this is the highest rated climb of any of the LKHC. Now I know it is tough, but I still think it’s doable … so reading that it is the toughest came as a real surprise to me. It is true that in the past, I usually take a rest after taking the right turn onto Mt. Umunhum, and in this ride there was no stopping … but damn!

Courtesy William von Kaenel

There was roughly 128 riders, and taking a look at all the riders, I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” Plus, when I stepped up to register, I saw this really young looking chap in USA jersey … I wasn’t sure if this was something someone had just bought at a bike shop … and then when he announced his name, Adrien … everyone then said “Oh, that Adrien” … for those that don’t know, this is Adrien Costa. Ok, we all know he will be the first one to finish.

Registration was at Venture Christian Church, which was 4 miles from the start of the climb.  The plan was to ride over to the start, and then start the climb.  But I know this road, and the run up to the start is not flat at all … there are rolling hills, and one section that is a bit steep, and it’s not even part of the LKHC.  So Sandra and I decided to just ride up ahead.  Never before did I ride this stretch of Hicks, just for a warm up ride.

When we did start, I made sure I was off the back.  This was a mass start, and eventually, everyone spread out after about 1/4 mile up the climb … and it was a steep climb.  I mean, 20 yards into it, we’re grinding it up a 15% grade.

As long as I had someone in my sights, it still gave me motivation to continue pushing up the hill.  In the 1.2+ mile section of Hicks, I was still in contact with the riders ahead of me.  We make the right turn on Mt. Umunhum, and then it continues on some more.  At this point, I usually stop off at the bathroom, and take a little breather, but not today.  I didn’t feel dead at this point, so I felt confident enough to continue up the hill.

Courtesy Mark King

Photo coutesy Bill Bushnell

Photo coutesy Bill Bushnell

After about a mile of 15%+, this was just the start, and more 15% climbs up ahead.  The fact that we’re able to sustain the steep part of Hicks seems to make the Umunhum part of the climb not so bad.  I figure, if I could make it up Hicks, my body is already used to the pain, so just continue it for another couple more miles! I guess that’s why stating this is the most difficult climb of the LKHC season seemed a little odd. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

As soon as I started thinking about how it’s not the most difficult, I sense others starting to pass me. I was thinking I was alone on the climb, and then I hear someone else’s gear grinding … Damn, I’m losing ground, and then I start ending up in the back.

I start seeing fast riders heading down the hill, and normally that would demoralize any rider, but on this ride, it’s expected. I just have to make sure I stay on my side of the road. Passing the gate at Bald Mountain, people are cheering us on, ringing their cowbells, it’s very motivating. I only wish I had a line of people ringing cowbells all the way to the end.

Courtesy Ryan PC Gibson

Courtesy Ryan PC Gibson

White Line of Death Courtesy Rich Hill

I finally made it to the finish, and I was sure I was the last one … But I forgot there was one other behind, who I saw as I descended down the hill. Major kudos to everyone who finished this epic climb. I can only imagine how epic this will be when it’s officially (and legally) opened to the top of the mountain. It will make other mountain challenges pale in comparison.

Here’s a portion of the climb I recorded on my Shimano Sports Camera

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Time Change Again … Why????

It’s that time of year again, time to change the time again, Sunday. Remember, it’s spring forward, fall back. That means turn the clock back 1 hour, which does mean Sunday is an hour longer. But this time change has multiple impacts, which is for the worse.

First, there is the possibility that we’ll be in the office an hour earlier than before, if we don’t change our clocks. D’oh! When I do go down to visit my dad, looks like the first order of business is changing all his clocks. However, some clocks has a weird DST function, which sometimes work, but most of time doesn’t … it’s more work than it was originally designed!

Then there’s the issue of who actually changes the time. I know that Arizona doesn’t change time, and Hawaii doesn’t change time, so that gets confusing.

One positive is related to work. Currently, when we have to hand over a case to India, for follow up, we sent a handover note at 6 pm PDT, which equates to 6:30 am IST. With the time change, 6 pm PST then becomes 7:30 am IST. This, hopefully, will guarantee that they will take over this handover, thinking that they will more likely already be in the office by 7:30 am than 6:30 am. The one negative, is on the flip side, where India hands something over to us … 6 pm IST equates to 4:30 am PST. I can’t remember, but hopefully, India will stay until 7:30 pm local time … otherwise, there will be a 1.5 hour period where there is no coverage. Yes, time change does cause challenges. Meanwhile, Europe would have more of a business day overlap, where 6 pm GMT is 10 am PST, which means that handover from Europe may give us more opportunities to communicate with EMEA customers live. So there are some pluses and minuses with the time change.

Time zones … I never really observed the difference between PST and PDT … I kind of always just referenced time with PST, EST, CST, etc … but after doing some google searches, I found out PST is Pacific Standard Time, which is the time zone used when it is Daylight Standard Time. The time change for Sunday is for Daylight Standard Time. When the time changes again in March, that is Daylight Savings Time, in which case time zones change to PDT, EDT, CDT …. or Pacific Daylight Time. Oh what would I do without the Internet?

Now, for several weeks, I got used to riding in the dark for my morning commutes, and with enough daylight to start my commute home, and needing lights for the second half of my commute home. With the time change, it’s going to screw me up again … riding in daylight in the morning, and riding in complete darkness at night. I really wish we would just keep at one time. Is there really that much savings in energy by changing time? I’d just like them to for one year, try not changing time, and then the next year, enforce time change, and see what the energy consumption difference is between the two.

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I Can See Now

Last week, for whatever reason, I could not find my glasses. That just spells trouble, because I don’t have any backup glasses, and no contacts either. So I had to pull my monitor close enough for me to see (I’m near sighted).

So I made an emergency appointment with my eye doctor. I decided to only check for new glasses, and not for contacts.

I needed to have the optometrist do a rush order for the glasses, since I am just about blind without them. My eye doctor was able to give me a weeks’is worth of disposable contacts. That helped, as it gave me distance focusing, but I could not see anything close up, with contacts on. At least I could use them for rides.

Finally got the glasses on Thursday. I told the optician I’m pretty active with my cycling, so she suggested the titanium frames, lightweight. How do I look in them?

Now I can see, and no more squinting.  Lesson learned … Keep old glasses in case you lose your good ones.

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Chimbfest on Grizzly Peak

I had to skip this week’s LKHC up Welch Creek (maybe it was on purpose), because I lost my glasses on Thursday night, and I had to make an emergency appointment with the optometrist on Saturday.


So Sunday I went with my friends John and Ben riding around Grizzly Peak, 3 Bears, and Pinehurst.  I haven’t done this in a really long time.  I had forgotten how much good riding there is out here.


Ben was out there with a new saddle bag … This is going to make me hungry on the whole ride …


The route started out with a climb, right off the get go.  It basically starts by Tunnel Road, and we climb up to Skyline, which then gives a great view of the bay, overlooking the Bay Bridge.

We then went up Grizzly Peak Blvd, and headed over to Tilden Park, and then onto Wildcat Canyon. We descended South Park, which is the same road that killed one cyclist, trying to get a Strava descent segment KOM … something I wouldn’t even try to do.  That descent has some tricky sections on there, so I did not even try to get down into a tuck.  Better to be safe than sorry.


They have one stop called Inspiration Point.  Looking at this, does it give you inspiration?  I just consider it a nice scenic view.

We continued on Wildcat Canyon, which has a nice descent, not too technical, but enough where you have to pay attention.  I didn’t have cars breathing down my neck, which is nice.  Wildcat Canyon becomes Bear Creek, once you get to the bottom.  This is where the famous 3 bears climbs are … but when papa bear and mama bear begins, I have no idea.  Maybe someone from that area could tell me, but all I know is that it is a climb, and a descent.  It’s nice, because it is fairly wide road, and fairly straight, with just a few switch backs here and there.  Very little car traffic coming through, which means you can just concentrate on enjoying the ride.

We continue on to Happy Valley Road, which gives us a whole bunch of rollies.  Some are punchy, short steep climbs (~10%), and after a while, it can wear on you.

One stop by Orinda for lunch, and then we are on our way again.  We head south to get onto Pinehurst Road, then climb our way back to Skyline.  Pinehurst is one beautiful road to ride on.  It is covered by all sorts of Eucalyptus trees, and they form a canopy over the road, and keeps it cool.  Sometimes, it’s hard to tell it’s the middle of the day, due to the tree coverage.  The total climb is ~ 4 miles, with the meat of it being the last mile.  Once you get to the second hairpin, you know you are just near the top, and time to kick it into high gear.  The last stretch is a half mile sprint up to the top at Skyline.



From this point, it’s retracing our path from this morning, so it’s all downhill from here.  Once again, we have some nice views of the bay from here.

The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill from here. Great ride with great friends. At least it breaks the monotony of doing the same rides along the Peninsula all the time.

Stats: 42.1 miles, 5240 feet climbing

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LKHC #2 Sierra Road


Second on the calendar is Sierra Road.  I ride to the start from home, and that gives me a nice 13 mile flat warm up.  When I left the house, it was actually a bit chilly, so I had to come with light vest and arm warmers.  Just as I thought, the sun would come out when the actual ride starts.  Oh well, off with the vest and arm warmers.


Sierra starts off with a visually insane road.  It just has the illusion of the road going vertically to the heavens.  It actually is not that bad, but it is a tough way to start the climb.  Everyone was really eager to attack, and I know I’m not going to keep up with that, so I just let them all go on ahead of me.


Once you get to a left turn bend, then road actually pitches up more (believe it or not).  That’s when even more people pass me up.  This is one of those climbs where you don’t care what’s around you, and you just concentrate on turning the crank and it’s just your own personal journey.


I thought I was the last in the pack, but then I heard someone yell out “car back!”. I was eventually able to muster enough energy to pass a few people (how the heck did that happen?)


I got the sense that I was feeling pretty good at this point.  Sometimes it’s just hard to tell, but you know when you feel good, you might be putting in a good time.  I didn’t want to think about it, but that adrenaline does feel good.  I also seem to put in better times when I know a inch of people are climbing the same hill as me.

Being a LKHC ride, it’s great to hear the support folks on the side of the road cheering you on and giving you words of encouragement.  I also get to do mug shots … I wonder how they turned out.

Photo Courtesy Christine Holmes

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Pet Peeves of Multi Use Trails

I can only shake my head in disgust sometimes while riding MUT so here is my short list of my biggest pet peeves on MUT(in no particular order)

Talking on phone while riding
Walkers who hug the center line
Riders going > 15 mph
Riders with no lights
Walkers with no lights wearing dark clothes
Yelling on your left and walkers don’t move and you have to squeeze by
Walkers not budging and you have to stop so that reverse traffic passes by
MUT being closed for no good reason (49er game night before)
Riders passing you without calling it out
Riders passing you on your right
Crossing the street on a red light

Posted in cycling, Pet Peeve, Rants | 5 Comments