Category Archives: holidays

I Knew I Should Have Packed a Second Spare

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of carrying a second spare tube. Who knows what could happen out there, especially if I’m climbing Angeles Crest Highway.

I was actually going at a pretty good clip, considering I hadn’t been on my bike in a week. Then, suddenly I hear a leak coming directly from my front wheel. This is odd, because this may have been the first time I’ve got a flat, while doing a climb. Maybe it’s due to the amount of glass and rocks on ACH? So off goes the wheel, and the typical search for any thorns or glass. After finding no glass or thorns, or sharp objects, I then proceed to replace it with my spare. After many strokes, I’m not getting any air into the tube. I blow into the tube, and I get something through.

Luckily I was about 15 minutes of walking back to the Ranger’s station (keeping in mind, there are some sections of ACH with no shoulder room, to even walk). Luckily, by the time I got to the Ranger’s station, there was a guy who had an extra tube, and he graciously gave it to me. I was then able to safely descent down, and eventually back to my car.

Then I decided to do a pre-christmas dinner ride. I did local hills west of the Rose Bowl. As I descent, I feel something squishy. My rear tire is soft (aka has a slow leak). Damn, I’m not having much luck.

I guess it’s time to change my tire.

Road Closed means Fun Biking on Labor Day

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Last week, for Labor Day, they closed Glendora Mountain Road to car traffic.  Glendora Mountain Road is one of the main routes to go to Mt. Baldy.  We were able to take our bikes over the road closed gates, and had the whole road to us … woohoo.  This meant not contending with cars, no crotch rocket motorcycles buzzing us, and it also meant skateboarders weren’t descending down the mountain (simply because they had no car/truck to transport them up the hill).

They typically do this when there is a fire danger, and coincidentally it is often occurring during a long holiday weekend.  It was weird not having to look back all the time, to determine if there was a car coming up from behind us.  I only wish all roads were like this

I was separated, and a couple riders were ahead of me, but the rest of the riders were behind me.  One rider, Freddy (known as Freddy the Train Montano on Strava), caught up to me, and we rode together on our way to Baldy Village.  Having someone to socialize with up to Baldy Village made the ride that much more enjoyable.

We weren’t sure if we had enough in our legs to make it up to the ski lift, so we decided to just see how far we can go.  I had to admit, my legs and back weren’t feeling to spicy, but let’s see how far we can go.  I figured I wanted to make it to at least the 5000 foot elevation sign.

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Ok, made it to the 5000 foot sign … good time to U-turn back.  It was too early to eat at Mt. Baldy Lodge, so I decided to continue on back home.

The descent on GMR was fun … the switchbacks were gentle enough that I hardly had to brake on the turn … and since the road was closed, I had the luxury of leaning towards the middle of the road without having a car beep at me from behind.  What a fun Labor Day ride this year.

Christmas in LA

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Merry Christmas everyone.  Is your Christmas a “White Christmas”?  I have no delusions of having a white Christmas here, but man, look at this view from my dad’s kitchen window.

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But look at this … It’s warmer on the east coast than it is here in California.  That’s sure a shift from last year.

Christmas Shopping Season but Not Stepping into a Mall

Ok, so Thanksgiving came and went.  We stuffed ourselves silly, and then, there are those stupid Thanksgiving late night/Black Friday super sales.  If that’s not enough, then go for the Cyber Monday sale in front of your PC.  I don’t know … to me, that isn’t quite the spirit of the season.  Of course, being in California, it’s hard to get into the traditional Christmas season, because we don’t get snow (unless you’re out in the Sierras).

So what did I do?  Well, what every American single male would do … stay indoors and watch football.  Well, if I weren’t trying to take it  easy on my body, I would be out there … I figure I would rest up, and let my ribs heal (I had a silly little fall on a switchback MUT about 2 weeks ago).

I started surfing the web, and then I came across Oopsie Mamushka … they are in the UK, but they do a very entertaining rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D … instead of describing, I’ll just let you give it a view.

After seeing this, now I feel like I’ve been Christmas shopping in the mall.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

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It’s that time of year again … to give thanks, to feast and fill your tummy, to spend all day in front of the TV watching football … yeah, that’s America’s past time … except for me, I had to work on call this weekend, which made it a little difficult, logistically, to drive home, participate in the Thanksgiving activities, and still fulfill the on call responsibilities.  It would mean driving down Thanksgiving morning, immediately go to turkey dinner, then drive back the next day Friday, and be ready for on call.  Or wait until Sunday evening, drive back to the Bay Area, to come into work on Monday morning.  That was just too much of a hassle.  So instead, I made my visit last weekend, instead.

So this meant no family turkey dinner this year, but it does mean two days off to go do whatever riding I want.  However my good friend Lynne invited me over for dinner with her family, and I’ll be doing that instead.  How gracious of her … thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Gobble gobble gobble.

Is It Due to New Year, or Cold Weather

With the 1st weekend of the year winding down, I am struggling to get my mojo together.  With all the rains last month, it limited weekend riding time, which also meant not being in climbing shape.  Couple that with cold temps (starting rides with temps in the low 40s).  So is the lack of riding shape due to cold weather, or the usual off-season incurred during the new year?  I guess I won’t really know, since next weekend I’m on call … Oh well.  Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas in California … Don’t You Wish You Were Here?

The weather forecast for Christmas in LA was going to be a little balmy, with forecasts in the 70s, I knew I would enjoy it.  However, I knew ahead of time I would be on call the weekend after Xmas, and working on New Year’s Day, so I better make the days I am off count.

Ken, Debbie, Ron, Teresa, Victor

Ken, Debbie, Ron, Teresa, Victor

I sent out messages on Facebook inquiring on rides, and my buddies in Torrance suggested PV (Palos Verdes, who know all the local climbs).  Great!  I’ve always enjoyed PV.

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We went up in down the same route, probably 3-4 times today … and why not.  How could you not enjoy a view like this.

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I’ve ridden with everyone previously except for Debbie. She’s famous for her polka dot ocd, as you can clearly see here. She is one strong hill climber, and fits in well with the climb fest riders.

Of course, when you do PV, you’ve gotta have some fast descents, and we had a few of them. We sped down Hawthorne, with Tiger leading the way. I almost caught up to her, if it weren’t for this one car that inched up, and I had to slow it up.

I was able to get in 50 miles and 5000 feet of climbing this day.

The next day was Christmas dinner, so my day has to be cut short, so I couldn’t spend all day riding. Usually when I have limited time, I do Chantry Flats. I wanted to make good use of time so I drove over to Arcadia Park, then ride up from there. This would be a no nonsense climb, straight up on Santa Anita Road, up to Chantry Flats, with another climb up to the chopper pad.

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From the chopper pad, you could see a nice view of the valley.

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I also tried out the photosphere feature on my Nexus 5 phone, which gives you a 360 view. However, this only seems to work on Google+, or maybe requires a special plug in. I guess that’s where hosting your own WordPress server would come in handy.

Here’s my climb up to the chopper pad. That was a short, sweet ride, and it was only 18 miles and 2500 feet climbing. It was enough to get a good workout.

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, we had another Christmas meal to go to, at 4 pm, so I had to make it another story day. This time, I decided to park at the Rose Bowl, and climb some hold west of the Rose Bowl. This included Patrician Way, Inverness, St. Katherine, but I didn’t have enough. I wanted to kick my ass, so I did an insanely steep climb up Emerald Isle.

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When I got to the top, you get a rest view, and you can see Hwy 2 from here, aka Glendale Fwy.


Here’s the climb up Emerald Isle. And yes, I should have stopped at the stop sign … My bad.

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I continued down through a steep descent where I got a view of downtown LA. Still a other haze, but for LA, this is clear.

It was yet another superb day for cycling, 20 miles and 2800 feet of climbing.

That’s my Christmas holiday for 2013. No, I don’t have New Years Day off, so not going to be able to camp out at the Ride Parade. Gotta do that again one of these years. It’s a great way to ring in the new year.

Ringing in the New Year with … What Else … A Tough Climb

Happy New Year everyone.  The weather was cooperating this time around, and that requires a bike ride.  I was originally going to do San Bruno Mountain race, but I wussed out.  I just didn’t feel like sprinting up a hill.  I’d rather just finish the hill, so I bailed on that.

Instead, I went for a tough climb, Sierra Road.  Yes, it is evil … what a better way to ring in the new year, eh?  I went there for a solo ride, but much to my surprise, I saw Donald there at the base of the hill.  Cool, so I have someone to ride with … well, for 1 minute … he climbs really well.  But at least we re-grouped together at the top of the climb.

Temp?  Not that bad.  This was probably due to very little wind … that is until we started descending on Felton, and then onto Calaveras.  However, my extremities were not suffering, so all in all, pretty pleasant day, considering the cold winter weather warnings.

I wonder how the conditions were up on Mt. Hamilton?  I was originally thinking of doing that first, but then I thought better of it … Sierra instead.

Happy New Year’s everyone.  Hope the coming year is a prosperous one for all.

Christmas Lights on Bikes

The Peninsula and South Bay Bicycling Group had a cool night ride recently, dubbed “Seasonal Lights Tour”.  I haven’t done many night rides this year (other than my daily commutes in the dark along San Tomas Aquino Trail), so this was a good excuse to do a night ride, with some camaraderie.

We started out in Palo Alto, and we did the usual 15 minute grace period before actual starting of the ride.  It was actually a little longer, as we did the obligatory group ride shot.

Photo courtesy Steve Cutcomb

Not sure if you can make it out from the photo, but it was a cold night (although my Garmin read it to be only 44 F).  The ride led out of Palo Alto, through Stanford, and on through to Woodside.  In other words, it was flat.  I was just waiting for the climbs, just so that I could warm up (I think a few others echoed the same sentiment).

Going up Sandhill was interesting.  We rode right into 2 other groups, and we couldn’t quite tell which was which.  One of them was MVV, and I believe they went out towards Kings Mountain Road, and a few of the riders followed them.  Each was pointing at the other “you gotta go this way” … “no you gotta go that way” .. eventually, we all got back together on Canada Road, but it was funny .. a few added a few extra miles.

We did one more hill, that was going up through Canada College, before a fast descent down  Farm Hill Blvd, but I wasn’t in the mood for any fast descending, especially in the dark, with traffic.  So I was riding the brakes a little bit, just so that I can keep my speed down.  It was advertised that you could easily go 50 mph down this stretch.  No thanks, not for me tonight.

We eventually got to San Carlos, and turned onto Eucalyptus, where we were greeted with the Disneyland of Christmas Lanes … it was such a spectacle.

As you can see from the video, this street drew a big crowd.  The street was illuminated so brightly, it reminded me a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  I was definitely thinking of the Griswold’s when looking at this house.

Photo courtesy Tom Hon

Photo courtesy Mark Koenig

We headed back towards Palo Alto.  Since we were on Alameda de las Pulgas, a few of us decided to go straight along Foothill Expy back home, while the others continued on another christmas lane in Palo Alto.

It was getting late and I needed to get back.  Plus, I didn’t prepare this day to intelligently, as the last food I had was at 2 pm.  I thought I was being smart by leaving my laptop, backpack and clothes in the office, since I would only be going to sleep once I finished the ride.  However, a couple of things I forgot about … 1st, I left my wallet in my backpack, which is in the office.  Second, the last time I ate was lunch, which was around 2 pm.  It is now 9 pm, and I didn’t have any clif bars with me.

Note to self … when going on a night ride, nibble on food all day, to last you through the night.

I had a great time, and I just wanted to crash when I got home.  Was a great, and fun ride … nice way to get some mid-week miles in, especially since it’s not raining.

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, I’ll be spending it here in the Bay Area, and not making the drive down to LA, just because I have to work the weekend.  I’ll make it down during Christmas … besides, since this is the busiest travel time of the year, it may be a better choice.

Ok, rant time … I just saw that K-Mart opened at 6 am today … on Thanksgiving.  WTH.  I also see several malls open today Thanksgiving night at 10 pm, and other department stores open tonight at 8 or 9 pm.  What is wrong with you people … is nothing sacred?  Oh, and there are the people who have been camping out in front of Best Buy for the past week, in anticipation for them opening on Black Friday.  I heard one quote on the news “… family has not had a thanksgiving dinner in years” … that is just wrong.

Ok, rant over … what will I do?  Ride of course … Diablo today, and spending time with friends for thanksgiving dinner afterwards.  A huge thanks for that.  And Friday?  Ride of course … not stepping into any department stores or malls this weekend at all.  I may do my shopping online.

BTW, do you really save that much on Black Friday?  And is it worth it?