Mendocino Monster Century

The Death Ride advertises Mendocino Monster as a good tune up for the Death Ride, saying if you can do this, you are ready for the Death Ride.  I’m still not sure if I will do the Death Ride, but my co-worker convinced me to do this ride with him.

He insisted on driving the course before hand, with the thought that he wanted to know what he was up against.  I’ve done many rides, just signing up, and doing it, based on the description of the ride in the web site.  Ok, I’ll go along for the ride.

So we arrived on Saturday, checked in the hotel, then went off and drove the course.  We saw the climbs, and its funny … we can clearly see when the climbing starts, and we thought, this is where the pain starts.  In reality, it wasn’t as bad as we thought from driving … I guess judging that takes a little more experience.

We stopped by one of the rest stops, and oh, boy … it’s a microbrewery … Anderson Valley.  mmm …. beer

When we got to “the monster”, we saw what we were up against.  The road was really choppy, and it turned out it was much rougher on the car than it was on the bike.  But at least we knew the road conditions were full of bumps (but luckily not a whole lot of pot holes).  We did see some patches of road that were just gravel sections of approximately 100 feet, so not too bad.

We got on the road a little before 6 am.  We didn’t see anyone set up there, so we just decided to go.  It turned out we were the first ones to arrive at the 1st rest stop, but that was fine.  I know people would be passing us up along the route.

First climb up was Mountain Home.  The climb wasn’t too bad … was about 5-7% for the most part, but not too bad.  It was a bit like stair step climb, but it was a nice intro for the legs.

We descend down to Hwy 128, and we basically build up the miles along this stretch, with the ultimate goal of reaching Flynn Creek.  In the meantime, we enjoy nice smooth paved road.  The next rest stop is Anderson Valley Brew, which we visited yesterday.  It was a good thing the brew was closed, so we weren’t tempted to go inside and have another one.  I like the icon though … a bear with antlers sticking out of his head.  Cool.


Ok, back onto Hwy 128.  There were some really pretty stretches here, covered with Redwoods, and you just had to sit up and just take it in.  Not all of this ride was suffering … a lot of it was nice scenery.

The next turn is Flynn Creek Road, and this takes you right into the forest.  Flynn Creek is a nice gentle climb, nothing more than 5%, so it’s the calm before the storm.  We stopped at Comptche School, before heading back to Ukiah along Comptche, which eventually turned into Orr Springs Road.  The route slip actually tells you to continue on Orr Springs Road, but I never did see any street signs referring to that street, and even Google didn’t mention that, until the very end of the descent.

Anyhow, there was a series of rollies along this road, full of rough pavement.  It was actually a bit rougher driving through this, then it was riding here on bike.  On the bike, we were able to pick and choose our lines … however, there were some stretch that were full of patched holes, and it made for a bumpy spin.

At the next rest stop, they had a much better food layout.  This was definitely the best, and there were hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, ham sandwiches … Oh I went to town on this!

I needed this, because the steep climb out of the forest is coming up.  Yes, it was tough, but nothing I haven’t done before.  The fact that this comes at mile 92, is kind of a sick joke, but it is what it is.

It’s interesting they had a water stop, half way up the final climb, on a day that was in the 70s.  I think they just have that stop, because it can get into the 100s in past years, where water stop was a necessity, but not today.

At the summit, they have a popsicle stop, which felt good, even on a day in the 70s.  However, the descent down wasn’t all downhill … there were a few more bumps, before heading back into town, and then back to the finish.

All in all, I loved this ride.  It was fun, and scenic, and I highly recommend this for a nice weekend getaway.  Gorgeous scenery, great cameraderie, and everyone was so nice and friendly.


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Enable 2FA Now!!!!

With the growing number of web sites that are compromised, it’s still shocking to me that web sites don’t have 2 factor authentication, or derivatives of that. Just having a username/password is not good enough. A second authentication, something that you have that’s external to the web site is a must.

However, even with some sites, the method of 2FA is via text message. They’ll SMS the 6 digit code to your cell phone, but that communication mechanism is hackable.

From what I have read, the following are the “safer” mechanisms of getting your 2FA sent to you:

  1. Push Notification. So far, I have seen two sites which support this. The first is Google, which of course would include gmail, YouTube, or any other Google related web sites. I’ve also seen this on Facebook. The third is WordPress. Why don’t all sites use this mechanism. It seems to be more secure.
  2. Email notification. Some web sites, most notably sites that are financial in nature, like banks, or insurance, will offer email notification, as a mechanism to send you the code. Email would seem to be more secure than SMS, just as long as the email is via https (which I assume would be most emails).
  3. Yubikey, which is a hardware USB dongle. I haven’t used this, but it would seem to be the most secure (as there doesn’t seem to be a way a hacker can intercept the communication of a code). The only drawback with this is lack of vendors supporting it. Looks like the only popular ones that support this are Google and Facebook.
  4. Third party Authenticator. The most popular one is Google Authenticator, which I use all the time. You just need to have the Google Authenticator app handy

Now options 1 and 4 require your cell phone. However, if you lose your cell phone, or change your cell phone, that means you no longer have a mechanism to retrieve your 2FA code. For this reason, these apps will give you backup codes. These are OTP (one time password) backup codes. The idea is that you store this somewhere, outside of your cell phone. Perhaps a little index card you keep in your wallet, or on one of your other devices (PC or iPad).

However, I did find web site, Amazon, who didn’t even offer you backup codes. They do offer 2FA code to Google Authenticator, but the backup is to your cell phone. But what if you don’t have your cell phone … that’s why they have 2FA backup codes in the first place.

I really wish there was an easier way to enable 2FA on various apps. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

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My Vacation at the ATOC 2018

Amgen Tour of California is the week, and as I have always done, I take a week off of work, aka PTO, or Personal Time Off.  Yeah, I know, it’s sad that I’m not off to France, or Hawaii, or something like that for vacation … but spend it local, watching a bike race.

Here’s my justification though … Where else will you find world class athletic competition come to your backyard, and you get to view it … for FREE!!!!  Ok, so it’s not quite my backyard.  I had to drive > 1 hour, to get to Laguna Seca Raceway, and I had to ride about 1.5 hours to get to Morgan Hill, but I didn’t have to pay to get in.

So I got to view Stage 3, at Laguna Seca Raceway, a 2 mile racetrack, most known for motorcycle racing.  It was cool to have a cycling race here on this track.  I got there early, and it’s a good thing I did.  I was able to take 1 lap around the track.  It was pretty awesome!


Riding through that lap, it wasn’t really easy.  It had some significant pitches in it, but you only see either motorcycles race through here, or the pros racing here on their road bikes.  It’s much different when weekend warriors go and try ride this.  It was cool to ride through the corkscrew on this course.

I had to spend some time to waste, while they set everything up, so I decided to climb around the surrounding streets.  With just that little jaunt, I wound up with a 13.4 mile, 1500 foot climb ride … at least I got some workout in.

The race itself was really exciting.  I ended up watching it from inside the last corner before the finish.  It was cool to see the live video feed, then seeing the racers live in front of you as the speed pass you.


I also saw Stage 4, which is the time trial.  It was held in Morgan Hill, so I decided to ride over from home.  It was a good 30 mile ride out to the start.  They closed the course off at 10 am, and I get there via McKean, and there were at least two very visible signs, stating there is a race today, and the road will be closed from 10 am to 4 pm.  Even with these warnings, there were a few cars that went all the way on this road, only to find … the road closed!  They had to turn around and backtrack … one guy even was trying to get to work … WTF … can’t you read the signs?

Anyhow, I took a few pics right after the left the start ramp, and a few when they finish the course.

After taking a few of these pictures, it became clearly evident that I would not be able to tell who each of these riders are.  But it was really exciting.  The only drawback is, that with the time trial, you get all these riders passing by you for 2 hours … that’s 2 hours of standing up.  That gets you a bit fatigued .. and I still have 25 miles to go to ride back home, and in a stiff headwind!

There is just nothing like watching a tour live, especially when you see others as enthusiastic about this sport as you are.


Where else would you see something like this?

Posted in cycling, Tour of California | Tagged | 4 Comments

Umunhum on My Compact Double

I’ve done Mt. Umunhum a number of times, but it has always been on my triple.  It’s time to try it on my compact double.  I won’t be breaking any records, and just want to finish it.

Unlike before, I did make a number of stops.  I guess I won’t be getting any PRs on the climb.  The last time I attempted this on my Volagi, I didn’t make any stops, but I really paid for it at the end.  I ended up bailing after about 1 miles on Mt. Umunhum Road.

It started out pretty warm .. I started at 9 am, and even then, I was just in shorts and no arm warmers or jacket (although I carried them with me, just in case).  It’s a good thing I did, because as I started climbing towards Umunhum, the fog was shrouding the  mountain.



I later found out there were expected wind gusts, so that’s why the fog was moving around the mountain peaks so much.  However, as far as gusty winds, it really didn’t affect my climbing at all.  The temps were still okay .. however, I did notice my Garmin was at 90 F at the base of Mt. Umunhum Road (although the bike was sitting in the sun), and the closer I got to the top, the temperature dropped into the 60s.

I did get passed by several people while on Umunhum, but I didn’t pass anyone.  This kinda tells you how tough this climb is.

I did get passed by this other woman, who was just behind me.  She passed me almost with ease … but she did give me motivation going up the last part of that ramp!  Thank you!

When I got to the top, it was all foggy, and I thought, “I’m in the clouds”.  Even though it’s foggy up here, it isn’t down in the valley.



Ok, time for the descent.  It’s a bit chilly up here, and it’s a good thing I had arm warmers and a vest.  I think a jacket may have been a bit too much, so this is perfect.  Now for a big drop in descent, from 3300 feet, down to 500 feet.  Unfortunately, this means that there may be some timid cars descending the hill … I guess that’s what good brakes are for.

Remember how I said it was forecast to be windy???  Well, I found out when I got off the mountain.  It was really swirling and windy down below.  You wouldn’t have guessed it if you climbed Umunhum today.


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Volunteering for DMD 2018

My feeble goal of completing DMD (Devil’s Mountain Double) was squashed by all the cold and rain we had in March/April.  My knees were just not having it, even though I felt good last week on Primavera Century.  So instead, I opted to volunteer to help support this event.

I volunteered for two stops … Morgan Territory and at lunch, at the Junction.  This year, DMD is the first event of the Ca Triple Crown Stage Race.  Every year, the Ca Triple Crown chooses 3 of the toughest double century, and times it, to see who is the baddest, most kick ass double century rider.  So I decided to be the time keeper, taking down all the numbers of every rider that passes through this rest stop.


It was partly cloudy, but every now and then, the sun would show through (but not enough).  For a tough double century, this is perfect conditions (won’t have to worry about overheating on this ride).


First Two Riders

First two riders came in around 9:15 am, and way ahead of everyone else.  I have no idea how well they did on the rest of the ride, but as you can see, they quickly got to the stop, then hurried onto the course.

The riders came in waves … there were two fixies doing the ride … Wow, major kudos to them.  Riding this hilly double century, on a fixed gear?  And then I saw one rider, who had a Colorado Triple Crown jersey.  Now that’s gotta be tough, especially with all the mountains they have there, and at elevation.

And then there was one guy, who was riding a bike from someone in Iowa, or something like that, called Strong.  It’s a Strong Bike.


Strong Bike


And then some of my friends showed up.  One of my dearest friends, Teresa came rolling through, affectionately nicknamed Tiger.  Of course, she loves mug shots!

After this rest stop, there is a steep descent, with road narrowing to 1.5 lanes, and of course with blind curves.  Well, unfortunately, despite the warnings we give to watch speeds, we had some riders go down.  Three riders went down … first fell on a corner (not sure if they went too hot into the turn … that’s the most obvious reason), and two others went down, not being able to react fast enough.  The middle rider got out of it fine, without having to go to the hospital … the other two unfortunately had to be shipped to the hospital … one with a fractured collar bone, probably some ribs issues … ouch!

What made this difficult is that the riders coming behind that accident, now had to wait 45 minutes to an hour for the firetrucks, ambulance, to come by, care for them, then clear the road.  It’s just unfortunate.  The combination of narrow roads, steep descent, just makes this very dangerous.


The Junction Cafe

I finally made it to the Junction, which is a cool cafe, out in the middle of nowhere.  It’s about 25 miles down on Mines Road before you hit this spot.  I made a bunch of cold sandwiches for the riders.  Either my sandwich making is a newfound art I didn’t know I had, or the riders were so hungry, they will eat anything.  I had so many complements that the sandwiches were good … I had one guy take 4 of them.  I think it was the latter … but it’s great to hear those complements.

What’s constant though is how thankful everyone was for us being out there, volunteering our services for them.  To all those riders, thank you for the complements, and I have nothing but utmost respect for every one of them out there … at least they had the guts to actually do it (even if they didn’t finish it).  There were a few that had to DNF (did not finish) … but hey, consider this a training ride.  Not many others would even attempt this.


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Primavera Century 2018

I was originally going to do Primavera Century in 2017, but from all the rains, there were so many roads blocked, or closed, that they couldn’t do it last year, and it was cancelled.  I used my 2017 registration, and applied it to 2018.  It’s my first organized century ride in a long time (last year’s Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge didn’t count … I did a modified metric century plus).

Met up with a number of my old friends, and it was good to see them.  However, due to timing issues, I never did get to ride with them on the century.  I ended up riding on my own.  It was okay, as with any organized ride, you end up riding along with complete strangers, who are at the same level as you are.  In some cases, that works out best.


Climbing Calaveras

One of the most advertised points on this ride was riding Calaveras all the way through.  Normally, the road is closed half way through, but through a special arrangement, they allowed Primavera riders to go through.


It was nice to be riding without worrying about cars breathing down your neck.  However, as I ride through there, I couldn’t figure out why the road is still closed.  It looked like everything was all ready to be opened, and yet it’s supposed to be closed till September?

Sometimes when you ride a century, you seem to be riding all alone out there.  You start wondering if you are on the right route … and I happen to lose my route sheet.  Oops … well, at least I have the direction markers on the road.  Eventually a few caught up to me, so at least I know I’m on the right track.




Lunch was at a winery, and it was cool to have bikes in the middle of a winery … Cool shot, eh?  The 100 mile ride went on a loop, to go towards Patterson Pass (but not ride through it) … instead, we took a little loop through Flynn Road, and pass by a few windmills.  The tourist in me just marveled at the fact that I am riding past some gigantic windmills.


The way back was pretty much a sprint back.  It’s one of those where you try to keep up with the small pack you are in.  Unfortunately, when you get caught at a light, you may get dropped from the pack.  That didn’t stop a few others though, despite the fact there is a red traffic light there.  Oh boys … it’s not worth running a red.  Besides, it makes cyclists, as a whole look bad.

Anyhow, about 7 hours total, and I got my century in.  I felt good at the end of the ride … didn’t feel like I was fatigued or exhausted, and that’s a good feeling.  It was 100 miles, and 6323 feet of climbing.  At least I got a century in the books.

Posted in Century, ride report, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Social Media – Use at Your Own Risk

The concept of social media was so innocent when it was introduced to us.  They promoted, hey, let’s produce a platform where you can catch up with all your friends.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  That meant putting lots of personal information on there, like date of birth, phone number, home address …. Whoa, put the brakes on … phone number and home address?

As you all know, Cambridge Analytica was able to extract possibly all of that information, when some survey was posted on Facebook.  I mean this not only allowed people to share information, but it also extracted information from their friends, who didn’t even participate in the survey in the first place.

So I immediately turned off the ability for 3rd party applications to communicate through my Facebook profile (I may actually do the same thing for Twitter and Google Plus as well).  Will that help?  Who knows.  One thing I did notice is that when I tried to share my Instagram posts directly from my phone, it didn’t allow it.  I guess that confirms that it does do the job … but I think it may be a matter of a little too little, a little too late.

I then started to look at my other privacy settings, and more specifically the ads settings.  What I didn’t realize was each application that you click “like” will add to the source of where ads will get posted to you.  Holy shit!!!!  I had probably 20 sites, that was not high on my interest list, that could possibly be posting an ad.  Sheesh … I immediately turned that off.

Next I looked at some of what my friends’ settings are, and wow .. under contact info, I saw that many of them included their home street address and phone number.  If someone just viewed your profile, and saw your basic contact info, they can start spamming you like crazy, calling you, even visiting you at your home.  The default setting is for everyone to see your profile information.  That is bad …

So this is why I cringe when looking back at Social Media.  I’m too deeply into it now, but the first thing I would do is restrict who can access my profile.  Second, remove any personal information that can be spread to cause harm, like home address, phone number, and will probably be removing a few more in the future.

Facebook is not alone in this … Twitter is not quite as bad, but I still have some issues with them.  I chose to require 2 factor authentication for all my Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus).  However, with twitter, the 2nd factor is via SMS text messaging, which means I have to put my cell phone in there.  The cell phone is in my twitter profile.  However, if someone got access to my profile, they can retrieve that info, and start spamming me.  What I really wish, that Twitter will do, is provide 2nd factor via push authentication (like what Google, and WordPress does).  I really don’t like the fact that the 2nd factor code is done via SMS, which can be hacked easily.  I really think push authentication for 2FA is the way to go.  I only wish more apps could adopt this.

Anyhow, enough of my rant.  The point of this blog is to be very leery of the information you share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media platform.  Now back to doing more house chores.

Posted in Rants, social-networking | Tagged , , | 5 Comments