Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I first rode in the American Diabetes Association's fund-raising ride in 2006, making this my 10th ride! Yes, I was really determined to continue this tradition and do my little bit to help fight diabetes, a disease that affects 9.3% of the U.S. population.
This year I have helped raise $861.00 thanks to the generous people who donated on my behalf. Many of them have been donating every year I have attended... thank you all so much! The ADA is a well-regarded charity, donating about 70% of their funds to fight diabetes (as rated by the BBB's Give.org, Charity Navigator, and others).
|Greg Lemond and Fast Freddie |
at the 6:15 AM start, with
the ADA's Karen Zimmerman
and Richard Alejandro.
On the morning of the ride I woke up at 4:30 AM, and was on the road by 5:00 for the 6:15 start time of the 120k route (75 miles). We started from the HP headquarters in Palo Alto, like usual, after breakfast supplied by Hobbee's and other sponsors. The weather promised to be perfect, with clear skies and moderate temperatures.
This year we had a special guest: Greg Lemond, the only American to ever officially win the Tour de France (3 times: 1986, '89, and '90), join us on the ride! I have a ton of respect for Greg, given his history of fighting for clean racing, unlike so many of his successors. He was joined by "Fast" Freddie Rodriguez who has joined the ride the last several years now.
|The legendary Greg Lemond!|
Our route was the same as last year's, and our first big climb was up Kings Mtn Rd. In the past I went all-out on these climbs as training, but I now only train for very short sprint races, including lots of weight training, so I took it as easy as I could on these steep hills. In fact, my 37-minute time up Kings Mtn was about 10 minutes slower than previous years! But I felt fine and enjoyed a brief stop at the rest station set up on Skyline Blvd. at the top of the climb, manned by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club.
We then rode along gorgeous Stage Rd., by cute farms with goats, cattle, horses, and pigs. My legs were feeling tighter than they ever did in previous years, thanks to my limited miles of riding this year: easily a third of typical years in the past. So I was wondering how I'd fare on the biggest climb of the day: Tunitas Creek Rd.
|Beautiful Stage Rd.|
The Kings Mtn. descent is super fast, and luckily I had no scary flats this time. The weather was heating up into the 80s, but it was still nice as we rode along Portola Rd., and back to HP in Palo Alto. That section is far more crowded than the rest, as we combine the riders who are taking the shorter routes. My ride ended up being about 81 miles, all told (which is more like 130k), with over 7,500 feet of climbing. I was a bit sore, but really not too bad.
I almost skipped lunch, but I decided to stay, and hung out with some of my good friends from the old HP team; not all of them are still with HP either, but it was great seeing them.
The next day I was rather tired, but I plan on doing this again next year, and I hope you will all join me for the "ride!" Thanks again!
Monday, June 13, 2016
The Loyalton course was a switch from the traditional racecourse just a few miles away in Sattley. We drove up the day before to survey it. It's pretty much dead flat the whole way. It starts with a 5.4 mile straightaway with one 90-degree left turn at the end of that, followed by a route that turns a few more times before hitting the turnaround at 12.5 miles. The pavement wasn't bad but definitely not the smooth tarmac you dream of having for an hour in the pain locker.
Jim Gentes who raced in the 54-59s took the photo of us afterward on the right. Notice the Spokesman Cervelos!
Saturday, June 11, 2016
By Dennis Pedersen
These match sprint events are a lot of fun and great practice. This is one of the events I'll probably enter at the Master Track National Championships in August, so I do want to get some good training in for these.
Unlike my recent sprints event we did get to do flying 200 meter runs for "seeding." I selected 50x14 teeth gears (96"). My 37.4 mph max during warmup was a sign of good things to come! My timed run felt superb too, and even before I knew the results I was tempted to go home on this high note. But of course I didn't. And when I set a new personal record it was worth it: 11.94 seconds (5.94/6.00 splits), at 38.8 mph max! My first run in the 11s, and a real milestone in a sport where we struggle to cut 1/10ths off.
I changed to a lower gearing for the actual racing: 49x14 teeth gears (94.6"). As we usually do here, for the first round I was matched against a rider of similar qualifying time. Just 2 laps, though, not the full 3 we sometimes get.
In the first round I raced against Brian Moore (who, coincidentally, will be my team sprint teammate at Nationals): I started from the back, stayed high on the banking throughout the first lap until turn 4, attacked, passed Brian, backed off a bit, went fast again into turn 3, and won. (37.4 mph max.)
Second round against Chris Gaitos: Similar to above, I stayed high and passed Chris out of turn 4, but Chris was able to catch me in turn 4 and just pass me at the line for a close win. (37.6 mph max.)
Third round against Brian and Luis: I started in middle position, Luis took the pole, Brian jumped under me to follow him. I dropped down next to Brian and boxed him in, forcing him to back off and go around me out of turn 4. I followed Brian's attack over Luis, thus boxing Luis in, then I went around Brian and dropped into the sprinters lane in turn 3 for the win. (36.3 mph max.)
So, this event was truly a morale booster for me leading into the busy summer schedule of State (district) Elite, Masters, and National Championships. I look forward to it!
Monday, June 6, 2016
Everything made it, but one ding on the TT bike. Julie and I are staying at Downton Abby, I mean Graylyn Hotel and Conference Center. 55 acres of beautifully maintained grounds and a transformed former mansion.
Our first 2 1/2 days we filled with registration, checking out Winston, pre riding the road course and eating! We also hiked Pilot Mtn.
I lost a lot of weight in getting ready for this event, and my fitness has improved. That said, neither is where it should be for an event of this stature. My recovery from last year's crashes has, in reality, taken much longer than I anticipated. But, North Carolina is my home state. My father was born and raised in Winston. I am 60 this year. I had been targeting this year's nationals for probably 5 years. I didn't want to miss this.
Road race day was not too hot, but spring time in North Carolina is far warmer and more humid than Northern California. We were scheduled to go 55 miles over 3 18.3 mile laps on a rolling course. Attacks began, pretty much immediately, and continued throughout this race. The course pretty much alternated between rolling up and rolling down. Every time it rolled up there was a surge. Almost immediately, northern California rider, Rob Anderson, got a gap on the field. Though the pace of the pack continued to surge, it was inconsistent and he was able to extend his advantage. By the end of our first lap, he was mostly out of sight. The pack continued the chase at a harder pace. About halfway into the second lap, Anderson was brought back by the pack. Attacks continued, but no other breaks would be established. For my part, I began to have cramps in the second lap. Still, I managed to stay with the group into the third lap. The attacks continued and my legs had a definite jello feel to them. I finished the last of my water and energy gel and found myself gapped off the back from having done so. I had to chase hard for about 5 minutes to get back on, and from there, I couldn't recover. One of the harder sections actually ran through the feed zone, and our last time through it, I got dropped. I didn't have anything left to chase back on. I kept going as hard as I was able for the 5 - 6 miles that remained, and I ended up pulling 3 others to the finish. All 3 were able to sprint around me to the line. I finished 46th out of, I think, 54. Given my fitness going in, I wasn't unhappy at all with my result.