Heatwave … Yeah it does feel like June

This year has been weird weather-wise. Yes, I’m glad we are out of the drought, and we’ve had tons of rain, and snow in the local mountains. It was even raining as recent as a couple of weeks ago (and it was a cold storm).

Now, we got a heatwave, that’s lasted for the past couple of days. This made me glad I have an office job, and not something like construction or roofing… That would suck. I have been riding into work on these hot days … Yeah, I’m insane. There’s just something about being in an air conditioned office, then coming out to a hot blast of air … Makes you feel alive to go for a ride. Just gotta make sure I hydrate myself, that’s all.

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Oh no, It can’t Be Over

… No, I’m not referring to the end of Game of Thrones … although it is kinda sad that it is over.  No, I’m referring to the fun of seeing the Amgen Tour of California, live, and in person, along the route.  I really had a lot of fun this year.  Yes, I did take a week off of work to see this … My reasoning?  I am a cycling racing fan, and when it comes to your backyard, you don’t want to miss out.

I thought this year, I wouldn’t be able to make up the mountain tops, where I could see suffrage of the racers climbing the highest mountains.  However, I amazed myself, and I was able to climb climb and climb.  I made it seeing the pack reach the KOM at Mt. Hamilton on Stage 3, and seeing the big gaps being created because of this.  I think a lot of riders were still recovering from the previous day, where the climbed all the way up to South Lake Tahoe, with 10,000+ feet of climbing … and this day was no slouch either .. I think it had 9,000 feet.

I then drove down to Ventura on Thursday, seeing Stage 1 of the womens race at the finish line, and Stage 5 of the Men’s race.  It was really windy, and it was a fun, carnival-like atmosphere.

Then, the big day, queen’s stage on Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) to Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts.  That was a blast, especially climbing to the Ski Lifts.  The highlight was passing by Phil’s Cookie Corner, and the craziness there.  Then, by good fortune, when we made it to the top, a friend of ours had VIP passes for us, to see at the finish line, under the tents, with food, wine, coffee.  That was a blast.

I didn’t have enough, so I climbed up Hwy 2, and climbed Mt. Wilson, then dropped down to see the racers, as they made the descent down Hwy 2, before they reached Pasadena.

Not only did I have a great time watching the race, I got in 5 good days of riding … Let’s see … Monday, 31 mi/3675 ft, Tuesday, 47 mi/4700 ft, Friday, 54 mi/7900 ft, Saturday, 35 mi/4500 ft.  That’s a lot of climbing.

Oh, and if you want to see the pics I took, here is my flickr link … https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyd4BKf

I guess all good things must come to an end … today was tough, first day back at work … and all the emails … ugh … and I still have a bunch I have to go through.

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Climbing the Queen’s Stage … That’s Painful!

 

Ok, the big day has come, the stage that everyone has been waiting for.  So obviously, us amateurs must do the same climb that the pro’s are doing.

Now I’ve done GMR to Baldy Ski Lifts before, just like what the men’s and women’s are doing, but this is different.  This time, there is the environment, adrenaline in the air.  You’ve got fans lining up along the route, some with cowbells, some with horns, some with tents, and a lot of loud classic rock songs blasting out.

We did Glendora Mountain Road, then Glendora Ridge Road (some call it little GMR … to me, it’s bigger, tougher, and has more pain points).  By the time I got to the end of little GMR, crowds were waiting at the Cow Saddle.  Got to see a lot of my old friends (that I typically ride with when I come to visit LA).  It was just one big party atmosphere.  I even saw the devil there, and took a picture with him.

The women’s route was going in the same direction that I was, and so we waited for them to come.  Coryn Rivera, a local girl, was leading the pack as they head down the hill, before climbing Baldy.  However, she couldn’t keep it up … instead, another California girl, Katie Hall took it (Bay Area hero).

Unfortunately, timing made it so that I couldn’t make it to the top in time to see the women finish.  It would have been cool to see Katie cross the finish line first.

We had to wait for the men to come by, before we can head up the ski lift.  When we finally go to the village, it was mayhem, a madhouse, a circus, as you would expect.

Climbing this today was different, most likely because you had hundreds of other riders doing the same climb.  There is just something about having a target of others, who are struggling the same amount as I am, and you get some adrenaline from that.

I was originally only going to go up to  Phil’s Cookie Corner, who hilariously entices riders with chocolate chip cookies.  Who am I to refuse … I grabbed a handful (about 5 cookies), and was munching them on my way up to the Ski Lift.  I think that gave me an extra boost to make it to the top.

 

After passing this switchback, I hear more classic rock, like the Stones, Allman Brothers Band … it helped me get through it.  Seeing others get off an walk for a little bit also gave me self confidence, and guided me up the hill.

Finally made it to the top.  A friend of ours had some VIP passes, so we were able to get into the tent, with some nice warm pastries, mash potatoes, coffee … at least it’s something to fill the stomach with.  We also got to see the broadcast on big screen tv, so we can get a sense of what was going on.

After finishing the ride, I did check my stats to compare with some of the pros … it’s laughable, really.

baldy-ski-lift

That is just insane!

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ATOC means another 1 week PTO for Me

It’s that time of year again … Amgen Tour of California is coming to our backyards.  This always gets me excited … there are several things I look at on the calendar … Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and the week of Amgen Tour of California.

This year, it will come up and over Mt. Hamilton, before making its way to Morgan Hill.  This gives me a great excuse to climb Mt. Hamilton.  I had to look up the time on the ATOC web site, to see what approximate time they are expected to reach the KOM on Mt. Hamilton … it stated 1:45 PM.  Hmm … well I was originally going to start off around 9 am, so that I can get to the top by noon.  Things didn’t go so smoothly .. I always forget to bring something.  Even after all that, I managed to forget to bring my gloves.  D’oh.

I drove over to Cataldi Park, which is about a mile away from the base of Mt. Hamilton Road.  I didn’t want to park right at the intersection, as some residents there don’t like when us roudy cyclists take over their neighborhood.  I didn’t get going from there till 9:40 am.  By the time I got up over the top, it was around 12:40 pm.  Dang, 3 hours … I’m getting old and slow.

They didn’t have the KOM banner set up yet … I was trying to get near the KOM, but I couldn’t find it.  Well, I decided to go beyond the 1 mile marker (they have mile markers painted on the road, such that you can see it from a chopper hovering overhead).  I figure this would be a good spot, where we could still see some suffrage on some of the riders.


The pack didn’t arrive until around 2:15 pm (original estimate was 1:45 pm).  I guess the previous day, with 14,000 feet of climbing, spent a bunch of the racer’s legs.  This stage was still 9,000-10,000 feet of climbing, so it’s no slouch either.

We lucked out on weather, as by the time the riders came by, it was comfortable, short sleeve and shorts weather.  However, by the time we headed down the mountain, it started getting cold and breezy.

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ATOC and Giro Starting on the Same Week

This year, the ATOC and Giro d’Italia are starting one day apart.  Woohoo!  That means as soon as I wake up (at the insane hour of 5 am), I can log on, and watch the remains of the day’s Giro d’Italia stage.  Then, in the afternoon (approximately 2 pm), the ATOC coverage begins.  This is the best time of the year for road cycling fans.

So don’t bother me with the silly stories of the NBA Finals, or the Stanley Cup, or even the boring MLB … it’s time for cycling!

And yes, I am taking a week off from work for this … I’ll be seeing two stages of the ATOC in person, as is my annual tradition.

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Rant: Bike Safety at a School

I find it ironic that on my commute into work, the most dangerous part is not going with traffic on Central Expressway, or Lawrence Expressway … but when I have to pass by a school. So many parents drop off their kid in a big stupid ugly vehicle, aka SUV. They don’t mind running me, over another school kid over with their car.

How can we encourage kids to ride their bikes if parents don’t care about their safety since they ride a bike?

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It’s April and that means #30daysofbiking

It’s spring time, and arguably one of the best times of the year for bicycling.  April is here, and that means 30daysofbiking once again.  This is a pledge, to be on the bike every day for the month of April.  It doesn’t have to be long … it can be just a corner jaunt to the grocery store, and it can even be getting on Zwift for a few minutes.  The point is, to be on the bike.

Hopefully I can spend more time on the bike than I have so far this year.  It hasn’t been great.  With a combination of family issues, work on call duties, and  weather (it has been raining a lot in California, and we have even claimed the drought is over), I haven’t been doing my normal amount of riding.  I was lucky to get a double metric century out a week ago … so the longest this year was 1 50 mile ride, 1 129 mile ride.  To this point, I’ve gotten 941 miles for the year.  I’m hoping to ramp that up these next 3 months.

To learn more about this pledge, go to http://www.30daysofbiking.com.  Pledge, share pictures and/or video .. it’s all about the bike!

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