Wednesday, March 30, 2016

San Dimas Prep

The year 2000 (for those of you who weren't already a grown-up at the time), was a very interesting time to be in the technology business. Everyone was working feverishly to correct software code that was presumed to be incompatible with Y2K (Year 2000). Lots of technology guys made their millions working toward this date. Thousands of programmers sat awake at their keyboards and watched the clock strike "twelve" on 12/31/1999 with their fingers crossed.

As it turned out, for the most part, it was much-a-do-about-nothing.

Around the same time, I felt like I was out on the bleeding edge of technology. We were digitizing and processing paper documents and extracting the data to use in ways that we didn't fully understand even as we were in the middle of it. I spent much of my time hosting seminars talking about the future of technology. I also attended several seminars presented by other forward thinking technologists who were describing a world were the computer would no longer be a computing tool, but instead a connecting tool. They talked about having a hand-held device that you could use to keep your "digital" calendar on and it would update other devices such as your home computer and even your...cell phone! You have to remember, back in the day, phones looked more like bricks then phones

Oh yes, I had a brick phone.
And also several double breasted suits.

Prior to the brick phone, I had a bag phone. It was considered better than a car
phone because it could be moved from car to car.

The whole idea of being "connected" seemed like such a novelty.

Flash forward less than 2 short decades and we have not only seen these visions come to pass but have more information and computing power at our fingertips than once filled an entire library. And what's even more important is that every 10 year old knows how to access it better than we do.

I once heard Shaquil O'neal say that there is no reason to memorize anything that you can access with a swipe of your phone.

I use the internet all the time. Every time Kyria and I are in a conversation and one of us asks "how does this or that work", the first thing we do is reach for our smart phone. And the best part is that I can't remember the last time one of us searched for something and could not find out more than we ever wanted or needed to know about a subject.

This weekend I am doing the San Dimas Stage Race. It's always been on my bucket list. I was planning to arrive a day early to pre-ride the TT and road race courses. The TT is a 4 mile climb and the road race has a couple of tricky hills.

This morning at breakfast, as I was surfing the Interweb, I did a quick search on YouTube, looky what I found:

San Dimas Stage 1 - Glendora Mountain TT Course

San Dimas Stage 2 - Road Race Course

San Dimas Stage 3 - Pro Criterium

Back to my technology story: At one of the seminars I attended just before Y2K, the presenter described a future where a Coke machine that might be located at a remote gas station in the desert. It would have a thermostat connected to a pricing table. When the ambient temperature in the desert would rise, the Coke would become more desirable and therefor the price would automatically go up. So when it was 70 degrees a Coke would cost $1.00 but when it was 100 degrees that same Coke would cost $3.00.

I found this retro Coke machine on Ebay. 
The "Buy It Now" price is $8,999.
I am old enough to remember .10 Cokes

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Ball is Rolling

I've been getting tons of random "friend" requests lately from people I don't know. In fact, I think many of the requests aren't even real. According the Facebook I have 750 "friends". Some of them aren't friends or even acquaintances but just people that I know who they are. Every once in a while I notice someone is my FB friend and I can't recall how I know (or knew) them, so I remove them.

I have another category of FB friends called "unfollowed". Wonderful people that I don't necessarily want to unfriend but who are like a broken record posting the same political crap over, and over. It's interesting to me how FB brings out the best and the worst in people sometimes.

Lately I've noticed people saying some really nasty political stuff. And pointing the finger at anyone that could possibly have a differing opinion. Then the very next day say they could never support someone like The Donald because he's too harsh.

Tuesday Arizona held it's primary. Nearly 40% of the AZ democrats voted for Bernie Sanders.

As I said earlier, I have 750 Facebook friends. The majority are cyclists. I'd estimate that the vast majority of cyclists are left leaning. So that means that 300 +/- of you either voted for Bernie, or would have.

Some of us are very quiet about our politics. But it's easy to figure out just by noticing when comments move us to click the "like" button. Once in a while I'm shocked to learn how a particular person feels about a topic, but most of the time I have a good idea of a persons world view.

Below is an article that I first read a decade ago, which recently re-surfaced on FB. Personally, I think we are in the "From apathy to dependence" stage. The ball is already rolling. If The Donald is in the Whitehouse, the ball will keep rolling, maybe at a slower pace. If The Bern gets in, the ball will be pushed over the edge of the cliff. Either way I think it's what we "the people" collectively want.

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years ...prior: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

By the way, The United States of America is NOT a democracy. We're a Republic. Our founding fathers noted a BIG difference in the two forms of government. In a democracy, majority rules. In a republic, citizens have God given rights which can't be taken away.

Rights can't be taken away, but they most-definitely can be given away. Unfortunately, in the "liberty to abundance" era, we have voted for people who voted to make certain amendments to our Constitution which have very effectively done exactly that.

The Donald and The Bern are the least of our problems. If Alexander Tyler isn't smoking his socks, then we have the undeniable history of civilization to contend with.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Bike Paths Are a Bad Idea

I've been reading and also copied in on a lot of email banter lately about Bike Path Etiquette.

We’ve had this debate for years back in Iowa. In Arizona, we Tucsonan’s don’t quite hit the mark calling these paths “bike” paths, when in fact they are “multi-use” paths. If they were limited to bicycles, the problem would be moot. Instead there are people pushing baby carriages, walking dogs on extending leashes, inline skating, loafing along on hybrids and beach cruisers, or people just coming on and off the path. In other communities, the intended use of a multi-use path is to provide suburbia with a place to enjoy being outside without walking on the roads. I always thought that's what sidewalks were for?

If we already have roads and sidewalks, my question is why do we need to spend public funds for a third chunk of blacktop anyway?

We don't need bike or multi-use path at all. Bikes should ride on the road and pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk.

But with that said, I think if a bike is on one of these paths, especially in populated areas like the Rillito, we should not be riding at training speeds. Even if the path appears to be clear. There are so many twists, turns, narrow bridges and blind entrances that we can’t know what’s ahead. The possible exception is a very rural path such as the Santa Cruz where it's mostly cyclists and you can see for miles.

Most “racer” types that I know use the paths to get to and from a training destination.

I think spending money on paths to move cyclists off of public roadways is misuse of public funds. Remember, fellow cyclists, we are not “in” traffic, we “are” traffic. We should be lobbying to use the entire lane where there are no bike lanes and not be forced to “single up” so that motorists think they can share the lane with us – putting cyclists in danger. Instead cars should be required to pass a group of cyclists just as they would another slow moving vehicle; by changing lanes. I drive a car more miles in a year than I ride a bike. Trust me, it's not hard to pass a bicycle, or a group of bicycles.

Somehow, here in Tucson cyclists are considered guests on the road. The only place we are tolerated is either on a path or in a narrow bike lane filled with gravel, glass, thorns and other road debris.

Once in a while I see a cyclist roll through a stop sign or fail to signal. So big deal. I see that all the time with motorists. How about we stop hating on cyclists for being human? Should we strive to be better than average? Yes. But why do we expect cyclists to be any more holy than the rest of the general public? Certainly no reason to relegate us to a multi-use path forced to navigate around some spastic Labradoodle on a 25' extend-a-leash.

Instead of building bike or multi-use paths, how about if we re-appropriate the funds and just fix the uber-crappy roads and bridges here?

Sometimes some things that seem to be "bike friendly" are in not very friendly at all.

Not sure why we needed to build another cement path when there is a perfectly good right next to it?

This is one of the bridges that were built to connect the North Rillito Path with the South Rillito Path.
Uhh, question: Why do we need duplicate paths? Was one not enough? And connecting bridges?
I wonder how many roads could have been fixed with these funds?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

TBC Stage 3 Race Report

The main story of the 2016 Edition of TBC Master 55+ race was the 3-man team from Cali named ThirstyBear p/b Akamai, who executed with precision on all three stages. They opened with the yellow jersey, handed it off to a teammate on Stage 2 and controlled it on Stage 3.

I can only assume that they kept it after Stage 3 because I left quickly - thoroughly frustrated.

It was one of those weekends when nothing seemed to go right. Sometimes, especially when the competition is strong, you need a little luck, or a break. And it just didn't happen.

On today's stage the Master's 55+ got tangled with the Master's 45+. It was pretty tense trying to keep track of the 600 series numbers and the 800 series numbers from the respective categories. Everyone trying to sneak away on each attack. Nobody was going to allow a breakaway today.

Rounding the final corner both groups were all together. If you're familiar with the course, the final straightaway is a 1250 meter undulating climb to the line. In the past I have attacked right at the corner and up the hill to solo for the win. But not today. I sprinted out of the corner and got a small gap, but was swarmed with 500 meters to go. I stayed in the top 5 but when I stood up to sprint again, I was toasted and just sat up and faded to the rear.

A humbling weekend for sure. I reviewed my power file and it verified what I felt - it was a hard assed race. In fact, it was pretty much full gas the entire day.

I have some work to do between now and San Dimas in 2 weeks.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Almost Chicked

I've always said that if I ever get beat by a girl, that would be my signal to find a new sport - jokingly of course. But yesterday at the TBC Time trial it almost happened when Anna Sanders from Visit Dallas Pro Cycling clocked an 8:32.

Time trialing used to be my specialty. I've always been big and powerful. But over the years I've lost my mojo for solitary suffering. I can dig much deeper when I'm competing directly with a human instead of the clock. It also has a lot to do with the way that I train now. In the old days I was pretty strict about doing regular intervals. I used to do 3X20's every week - usually on the trainer. I remember sitting on the couch in my chamois psyching myself into climbing on the bike because I knew it was going to hurt so bad. But that is exactly what it takes to be a good time trialist. That, and spending time on your TT bike. My Trek Speed Concept has been hanging on the wall since 2015 TBC.

But with all that said, I felt really great yesterday. Extraordinary actually. I was kind of shocked when my time was 8:30. That's :30 slower than my best at TBC. Here are the numbers

My official time was 8:30. So I was within :02 of being chicked. Looks like I'll have to re-think my position because I'm not ready to dust off my golf clubs just yet.

And speaking of :02. That's exactly how far back I found myself on the GC after Stage 1. I was sitting in 2nd with a good plan for the Road Race.

TBC Stage 2
Max Thompson from Thirsty Bear San Anselmo, CA was wearing the yellow jersey and he had 2 additional teammates in the field to ride tempo. And they executed very well, with one of them on the front keeping the tempo high at all times.

On lap 1 a Tucson Master's guy went up the road and they let him dangle. I bridged up and we started rotating but were caught within a few miles. That's when things went south.

Riding at tempo just before the turn into the start/finish line I flatted. The wheel truck assisted with a quick wheel change but I was way back and the peloton was drilling it up the long hill.

The driver of the wheel truck did a world class job of motor pacing me back to the group but I was gassed by the time I got back on. Luckily I had a few miles to recover before the finish.

Master's racing is predictably unpredictable. Often times the field is full of guys who really don't understand tactics, as illustrated by what happened next.

On lap 2, two guys, including one from the yellow jersey's team rolled off the front just ahead of the long (8 mile) decent. I went to the front and started to chase along with Andy Hosterman from Landis. And then, instead of rotating, several other guys started to attack and then sit up. Of course this resulted in the group never getting organized, leaving the two escapees to put time on us.

I will never know if I/we could have caught them (or bridged across) because the next thing I know, my rear tire goes flat AGAIN! And my day was done.

At the time of this blog post, I am exchanging email with the Chief Referee to see if I can start tomorrow.

This was one of four target races this year. The first was Valley of the Sun. I was registered and got sick 2 days before the start. Now this. I'm 0 for 2.

This turning into an interesting year. I either win, DNS or DNF. Nothing in between.

Next up San Dimas Stage Race in Cali-Forn-Ia. Another target race. We shall see.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All Jacked Up for TBC

This weekend is the Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race. It's 3 races - Friday 5K TT, Saturday Road Race and Sunday Circuit Race. I've ridden it as a master and as a Cat 1.

In 2014 I didn't race it at all. I was registered, but the week preceding the race I became very sick. In fact I was passing blood in my urine and stools. Which is bad since those two systems aren't really connected or related.

Although I felt just fine, Friday morning before the TT I decided to visit the Emergency Clinic on Sunrise. Following a brief examination the ER doc left the room and returned shortly saying that he called ahead and had made an appointment at the local hospital and I was directed to go immediately there for more tests.

After a more thorough examination an appointment was made with a local gastroenterologist - Dr. Hudson.

It was recommended that I should refrain from any strenuous activity until the problem could be diagnosed and treated. I called my GST teammates with the news and received lots of supportive texts and emails hoping for a positive outcome.

Being a bachelor at the time, and also a very healthy eater, part of my daily routine was to make an afternoon trip to Whole Foods to select my dinner for the evening. I like the deli counter where they make some really great side dishes. One of my favorites is a recipe they call Nola Beets (beets, green pepper, feta cheese, organic spinach, tobacco sauce, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil). In fact I liked it so much that I bought it every day for about 3 weeks, coincidently around the same time that I was stricken with this mystery disease of my urinary and digestive tracts.

When I met with the gastro doc I came prepared with a detailed description of my symptoms along with half a dozen camera phone pictures of my commode, graphically documenting the situation.

Dr. Hudson sat quietly as I explained my symptoms in detail just nodding his head. Finally he responded that the samples collected at the emergency room showed no blood. I almost spit snot out of my nose as I immediately pulled up the bloody evidence on my smartphone.

Dr. Hudson patiently looked on as I thumbed through the graphic proof.

Finally he asked " Lou, tell me, do you eat a lot of beets?"

Mystery solved.

I've won individual stages at TBC but my best finish in the General Classification was in 2013 when I finished 2nd. A fresh new 45 year old upstart master named Gord Frazer won. If you read the results it looked close, but it really wasn't. Going into the last lap of the circuit race, I was in the virtual lead. Gord, me and another guy were in a break, far ahead of the peloton. Heading up the feed zone hill, Gord waited for me to take a long pull, then looked at us both, shifted a couple of gears, stood up and rode away, winning the stage and evaporating the few seconds of virtual lead that I had. It was an honor to race with a guy who's career I have followed for many years. 

For the 2016 Edition of TBC I am registered in the 55+ category. There are around 30 guys pre-registered. It doesn't matter what race you're doing at TBC, there will be excellent competition.

This year again, I'm all jacked up on Nola Beets and expecting a better outcome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A blistering 12.9 mph average day

It seems like I ride the same group rides and routes whenever I'm in California. For race simulation I like the Swami's Ride in Encinitas or the UC Cyclery Ride in La Jolla - both on Saturdays. La Jolla is closer, and I can ride to the ride (instead of driving to the ride) and, in some ways I like it for training better than Swami's. During the week, when I ride alone, I tend to ride the same 2 or 3 routes.

There are dozens of group rides in SoCal ever day and so this past Sunday I decided to pick one and join in.

Almost next door to where I live is a very cool development called Liberty Station. It's actually a Naval Training Center that was built in the 1920's. Then later fell into decay before it was recently renovated and repurposed into a great area that has residential townhouses, retail, restaurants, shopping and even a megachurch called Rock Church.

One of the shops in Liberty Station is a bike shop called Moment Bikes. It's a high end shop that caters to racers and triathletes. When I stopped in there on Saturday all of the staff seemed a little on the "stuffy" side. 99% of the shops that I go to across the country are all super friendly. I mean, your working at a bike shop, what's not to be happy about? But that was just my 1st impression, and 1st impressions can be wrong. Plus, everyone seems to be friendlier once we have an opportunity to ride together.

Anyhow, I visited Moments website and learned that a group ride leaves every Sunday's at 8:00am with a changing route each week. This weeks' route is called the 7-11 Ride because it passes a bunch of 7-11 stores along the route. It goes east, inland through areas called Mission Gorge and El Capitan Reservoir - 65 miles round trip.

I showed up a few minutes early with a Grande Starbucks in hand. There were a handful of young guys all sitting around the patio furniture - all with their noses stuck to their smart phones - nobody chatting - nobody saying hello - same vibe as the day before in the store.

Digression time
[Last week, Kyria and I were having dinner at a Mexican restaurant. There were a pack of 8-10 teenage girls sitting at a table by us. We noted that not one word was spoken for several minutes. Every girl had their head down with the glow of the smart phone screen lighting their faces. We have an entire generation who no-longer understand how to communicate. How will they survive? Who will save them? These are the people who will be voting for Bernie - no doubt.]

A few more people rolled up, a couple of them wearing tennis shoes and t-shirts. This is when I started to plan my exit strategy. After a couple of instructions, we were off. There were 2 ride leaders; Both wearing Moment Kits. One guy was leading the short route, the other leading the long route.

Most of these ride start out 2-abreast. Whenever I attend a new ride I make it a point to strike up a conversation with the person next to me. It seemed like we rode about 90 minutes getting out of town. This gave me lots of time to chat with several people. This ride had become a social/recovery ride, which was perfectly fine with me. I had a great Saturday ride and a wide-open schedule this week to prepare for Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race next weekend.

Once we entered the Mission Gorge area the road opened up and the terrain became more challenging. Most of these group rides are "no-drop" which usually means that if the group splits, we re-group regularly. But today, it was survival of the fittest. I didn't see any t-shirts or tennis shoes after the first 30 minutes, and by the time we did stop, there were 3 of us who waited for 10 minutes for the balance of the group. This turned out to be where the short ride turned around and the long ride continued to El Capitan.

There were 5-6 of us who did the long route and we continued riding 2-abreast most of the way. I had a chance to chat with each guy for quite a while. Our ride leader was JT - the owner of Moment Bikes. JT turned out to be a super nice guy. Really passionate about the sport and his shop. He's a former engineer and used to fabricate carbon tubing. His big push is bike fits and service. I wanted to find a good way to offer my suggestion that his staff could be more engaging but it never came up.

Austin was a young guy who is also an engineer and was in San Diego doing a project for the Navy. Once he found out that I was a retired business guy he was full of questions about business and finance. It won't be long until Austin has his own firm and will be employing several Americans. Austin was NOT one of the guys with his face pasted to his smart phone before the ride.

Anyhow, heading into El Capitan Reservoir we had a chance to hit the jets up a 2-mile long climb to past the damn. We stopped for picture, a nature break and to fill water bottles before heading back to civilization.
I made 5 new friends today - JT, August, Austin Jose' and another guy from Canada (name escapes me). Sometimes that is more important then recording a KOM on Strava.

After high-5's at the shop, I arrived back at the boat with just under 90 miles and over 6 hours of saddle time. Not the most challenging day on the bike, but a really fun one, and one that I would recommend. At the end of the day, 90 miles is still 90 miles.

My Garmin route to El Capitan and back.

El Capitan Reservoir

A very different picture from the ocean
These two little dudes show up like clockwork every
afternoon around 5:00pm begging for Cornflakes.

I can only throw 4-5 handfuls to them before the
seagulls show up and turn the place into a shit show.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Other Coronado

Yesterday I took a day cruise to Los Coronado Islands, Mexico. Today I rode my bike to Coronado. See Illustration.

T "A" pin shows Los Coronado Islands in Mexico south of Tijuana. Whereas Coronado is the peninsula that separates the San Diego Bay from the Ocean. It is a very exclusive area that has been a popular vacation destination for decades
For my last easy day before I get back into hard training on Saturday, I opted to do a loop through the city and then follow the Bay around the south rim and into Coronado. You basically ride down to the Tijuana border and then cut back up into Coronado.

On the San Diego side you ride along a huge Navy base before entering a bike path that totally flat and straight with little to nothing to look at, but all of the NW trade winds coming off the ocean in your face. It was hard to keep it down.

Once I reached Coronado I decided to take my time and snap a few pictures. As I pulled off to the side of the downtown main street, amidst the sounds of traffic and pedestrians chatting I hear someone say my name. I turned around and the was David Knittle - a friend from Tucson who is in San Diego this week with his wife vacationing. We chatted briefly and I learned that he also brought his bike along. So hopefully he will join me for the Saturday UC Cyclery ride. Maybe a bay cruise later in the day. Talk about random!

I hopped on the ferry and took it across the bay and finished off with a through Fisherman's Wharf before returning to Bay Club.

Standing on the Coronado side look back at the Coronado Bridge and San Diego

When these condo's were built back in the 70's there was a big brew haha
about them obstructing the view of the ocean.

Hotel Del Coronado. Kyria and I have eaten here several times.
I've been told that The Del was the first climate controlled hotel in the US.
Or maybe it's the oldest standing wooden hotel? I never was one for details. 

The main entrance to The Del. It's still a grand old hotel!

The Del has a main hotel but it also has these cool cottages along the ocean.

This is a view from one of the cottages toward the south. 
Los Coronado Islands are 18 miles out. 

The ferry that brought us across

It's a $5.00 ferry ride from Coronado across the bay.
There were several other cyclists using the ferry.
Other than the stingray with the ape hanger handlebars,
I notice that all of the others were Treks.
I thought this was Specialized territory?

When I returned to the boat, the sailing club across the yacht basin
was taking advantage of the windy afternoon to teach kids how to sail

Coronado Islands, Mexico

Not to be confused with "Coronado" which is on the outer peninsula of the San Diego Harbor, The Coronado Islands are 4 small islands located 18 miles south of San Diego in Mexico.

Ever since we started thinking about keeping our boat in Sand Diego, one of our bucket list destinations has been Mexico. Later this summer we have a trip to Ensenada planned. So this shorter, day trip to Coronado serves and a shakedown expedition.

Getting the proper permits and paperwork turned out to be quite a hassle. In fact, we were scammed into paying $600 for permits to someone who we thought was legit only to find our he was not. We ended up soliciting the services of the same documentation company that did the doc for the boat.

It's amazing how many documents you need to travel to Mexico by boat.

1. Ten year permit
2. Certificate of Insurance x2 (for the yacht and the dinghy).
3. Certificate of Title x2 (for the yacht and the dinghy).
4. Passports for everyone on the boat.
5. Drivers license or picture ID for everyone on the boat.
6. 2 crisp $100 bills just in case.

Around San Diego there are 2 camps of thought - 1) The first camp loves sailing to MX and says that there is absolutely no reason to worry. And anyone who does worry is a pussy. 2) The second camp says that most of the Mexican Coast Guard is comprised of 16 years olds with machine guns who love to screw with gringos. I tend to believe camp #1. As long as you have the proper paperwork and aren't trying to buy drugs or hookers, you're probably safer in Mexico then walking down 22nd street in Tucson on a Saturday night.

I pulled out of the slip around 9:30am and set a heading for Coronado Islands. It's exactly 18 miles south of the bay. On most clear days you can see the islands from The Bay. Today was a very calm day but it was hazy, so I couldn't see the islands until about 5 miles out.

Cruising out of the bay I was joined by a whale watching excursion boat. For a moment I had a fleeting thought to abandon my trip and follow them to the "secret" whale watching spot. But opted to continue on as planned. And I am happy I did because as I got closer to Coronado, I saw several pods of whales and dolpins. In fact, as I rounded South Coronado I spotted a very large gray whale gliding along the surface and ran parallel to him for what seemed like 10 minutes. As he lifted his dorsal fins and head out of the water I wondered if there were more in the area? He spouted mist out of his blow hole then finally his large tail fin came out of the water and he was gone.

I also saw several pods of dolphin. For some reason they like the wake of the boat. You can see them racing toward me and then jumping across the wake.

I tried to catch some of these sightings on video, but each time I reached for my phone I missed the action. I have about 10 videos of empty water with me ranting on the audio. Eventually I decided to go for the binoculars instead of the camera and just enjoy the experience for myself.

As I was returning to San Diego Bay I noticed a large Navy Warship doing maneuvers, along with 2 Navy helicopters that seemed to be doing surveillance, flying in formation around the mouth of the bay.

I noticed 2 orange tug boats and I as got closer I saw that they had hold of a submarine and were spinning her around and pointing her back out toward open ocean. There were also 4-5 Navy machine gun boats forming a circle around the sub. I invented several conspiracy theories in my head as I was watching the happenings. At the end of the day, there are probably lots of things going on in this bay, right under our noses that we know nothing about.

This is whale watching season. Several of these boats filled with anxious whale watchers come and go every day

Coronado Islands consist of 4 small islands.

On the largest Island there is a cover called "Smuggler's Cove", where a couple of shacks are located. There were 6-7 guys outside working on the grounds when I passed by close to shore. They all took a pause and waives "hello".

If you look closely on my chart plotter (left screen) you will see a black dot. That is Joyride outside of Smuggler's Cove. I made a salad for lunch from the leftover barbeque chicken from the night before.

Two orange tug boats turning an old submarine. I think it is a pre-nuclear sub. Probably diesel. No idea what's going on here.
US Navy Warship on patrol. Tijuana, MX in the background.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Everybody Loves Kellog's

When I bought my boat my broker told me that a good pair of binoculars was imperative for navigation, but also for observing landmarks and wildlife such as whales, dolphins, birds, etc.

So I got a really good pair and like to watch birds as I'm out cruising the coast.  There are over 480 bird species in San Diego County. More than any other County in the United States. This weekend The San Diego Audubon Society is hosting their annual Bird Festival. Attendees come from all around the world.

It rained on and off most of the day yesterday. I ran some errands and cooked a pork roast and baked potato aboard the boat last night. These two stopped by to say hello and were begging for cornflakes.

This little dude as been stopping by all week around 6:00pm. I feed him Kellog's Cornflakes. Each day he comes a little closer to taking the flake right out of my hand. Last night he brought a friend.

There was a seagull sitting on a dock post who jumped into the water and started bullying the other two and calling out to his friends. Within about 30 seconds 100 seagulls descended onto the water and the docks. Seagulls are loud and dirty birds.
Osprey also live in the area. They are often called "fish hawk" or "fish eagle". Their wingspan can reach 75". There were a pair of them living at the top of the mast of the sailboat next to me. The people who owned the sailboat lived in Maui and only visited The Bay for a couple of weeks a year. They recently sold it and now I have a new neighbor. Osprey are cool to look at but they make crappy neighbors. And by crappy, I mean their bird crap is as big as their wingspan. I haven't met my new neighbor yet. I think she's kind of a recluse.

After the rainy day yesterday, today is picture perfect. I'm headed out for a long ride up the Pacific Coast Highway to Oceanside and back. It feels like a lot more than 2 days since I've been on my bike.    

Monday, March 7, 2016

Nappy Time

I drove over to San Diego from Phoenix on Sunday to spend a week on the boat. It's a rest week for me. I still do an old school program whereby, I build for 3 weeks and then take one week where I ride half as many hours with half of the regular intensity. I try to replace the hours not training with hours sleeping. That's easy to do here. In fact, the sun goes down early this time of year - like 5:30 early, so it's hard to stay up past 8-8:30. I can easily get 10 hours a night plus an afternoon nap.

Napping is something that I read about a few years ago and the natural human growth hormone produced during a short 1-hour afternoon siesta. People who don't nap find the entire idea to be a bit on the lazy side. Everyone loves to talk about how many miles they ride every week and year, but nobody talks about resting. I know guys who haven't taken a day off the bike in years - literally years.

I take one full day off the bike every week. On that day I try stay off my feet and when I do walk, if there are stairs I try to take the elevator. I know a lot of people who use their rest day to cross-train. It's a big mistake.

Of course I realize this is a luxury that most people raising families and earning a living just don't have. Rest is an important to consider when you start saying to yourself "I train just like Johnny Pro, so why can't I hang with him"? I think the biggest reason is that Johnny Pro is resting much better.

Ask anyone succeeding at a high level and you will find a singular focus. Effective people are really good at defining their values and setting goals, and then doing only the things that support these goals. Not just doing a bunch of busy, noisy stuff; but instead just doing a few important things really well. If you're a competitive cyclist, rest is a really important thing.

Back when I was in my 20's I used to lift weights. Lee Haney was Mr. Olympia at that time. I read an article by Lee where he talked about rest as being the most important component to growing muscle. He said, "your muscles don't grow when you're lifting, they grow when you're resting. If you're not resting you can't get strong". 

Here is an except from an article talking about GH and morning vs. afternoon naps:

Growth hormone levels during morning and afternoon naps.

In order to determine whether sleep onset per se might precipitate the sleep growth hormone (GH) response, sleep EEG-EOG and plasma GH characteristics were studied in 15 healthy young males (AM) sleeping from 8 AM to 10 AM, when REM sleep is known to predominate, and in 14 subjects (PM) sleeping from 4 PM to 6 PM, when slow-wave sleep (SWS) predominates. PM subjects obtained significantly more SWS and less REM sleep than AM subjects. There was wide individual variability in the level and timing of the GH rise during the naps, but GH release was significantly greater during PM naps than during AM naps for the groups as a whole. The difference between conditions reflected primarily the fact that more subjects exhibited frank GH peaks during PM naps than during AM naps. These results indicate that the occurrence of the sleep GH response is not dependent upon sleep onset, and confirm previous reports of an association between the sleep GH response and SWS.

These boys have been getting some good Nappy Time

I know this is random, but Kyria and I have been talking about buying a house in San Diego vs. living on the boat. Housing here is crazy expensive. We could buy this little gem below for the low, low price of $500k. I think the price includes the wrought iron patio furniture. Plus, I think it has a view, of a house that has a view of another house that is close to the ocean.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

San Tan Criterium Race Report

I got a little snarky in my last blog post entitled Bike Racer Fashion Police. I received a couple of offline comments asking if I was serious. Of course not! It absolutely doesn't matter what you wear or what your style is on the bike. What's important is that you're out there, moving your body and enjoying the simple pleasure of riding a bike, or competing if that is what you enjoy. In fact, we should celebrate the diversity that cycling attracts. My observations in the blog were sort of my way of making fun of ourselves. But always, in the back of my mind is the famous quote "there is a fine line between an outfit and a getup".

One last & very important cycling fashion observation: Last time I mentioned the "over the butt" jersey. This one  has to do with the same region; and it goes like this - if anyone ever suggests that it's time to replace your cycling shorts, it's absolutely time to replace your cycling shorts. Everyone that you ride with has already been thinking the best way to tell you. Don't wait for the 2nd suggestion.

Now to the San Tan Race Report.

San Tan was one of only 2 masters races I did in 2015. Again this year I entered the Master's 50+ category. There were roughly 20 starters today. I am still getting to know the areas strong master's names and faces but I took note that several of them live in Phoenix and were present today.

Also present was my favorite good luck charm - Kiki Waugaman. This is only the 3rd race that she has attended and so far I was 2 for 2 with her present, and I wanted to keep the streak alive!

The course is set in a corporate/industrial park. Usually I hate corporate/industrial park races. But this one is more interesting. Although it's flat, it has 8 corners. Most of them are wide enough to go pretty much full gas through.

It was only a 40 minute race and the organizers offered several primes which kept things animated. After several attacks (including one that I tried after taking one of the primes) were brought back. I was fairly sure that nothing was going to get away today, so I just tried to stay in a good place, ready to respond or pick the best line when the time was right

With one lap to go we were all together. Coming out of turn 5, I hit it hard and swung out wide. I got a good lap that held through the finish line. Not much else to say about today other than I won some cool purple skewers for the prime and a little bit of scratch for the GST end of season shindig kitty.

Time for a well-deserved rest week in San Diego. Next week I hope to be blogging about saltwater, seagulls and diesel fuel.

2016 Podium

2016 Results

2015 San Tan Finish

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Bike Racer Fashion Police

Riding in SoCal is very different from Tucson, or even Iowa for that matter.

Cycling is much more diverse in Iowa where there are roadies, mountain bikers, commuters, fixies, fatties, baggers and just about everything in between. In Tucson, there are a few commuters, especially at the college, but other than that it's about 75/25 road vs. mountain bikers and not much in between. I haven't spent enough time in SoCal to figure out if it is a diverse, but I'm guessing it probably is.

In Southern California just about everyone who rides on the road has a fancy bike and lots of racing clothing. Whether they race or not, everyone is on a racing team. Old, young, tall, short, skinny and fat - everybody likes to dress up like a bike racer. Group rides are huge in SoCal. On Saturday Mornings in LaJolla, UC Cyclery hosts several rides - all starting from their shop at 8:30. There is an "A" ride for the fast guys. The are also B,C, D1 & D2 rides for everyone in between. On any given Saturday morning there are 2-300 (or more) people who amass in the parking lot all dressed in racing kits.

It doesn't matter whether you're in Iowa, Arizona or Cali, part of being a real bike racer is learning the fashion rules. Some of them are practical, others make no sense at all but it makes for some great people watching. I'm talking about the guy riding the black Cervelo S5 with blue accents; matching bright blue sidewall Michelin tires, and blue handlebar tape, with a rear view mirror on his $300 black Oakleys Jawbones with blue lenzes and a matching blue dew rag flapping in the wind.

Here are just a few that make me smile (in no particular order).

Helmet Straps
Helmets are most beneficial when worn properly. They should be worn low on the forehead. Straps should be adjusted to fit snuggly and especially the ear clip adjustment must be properly fitted around the ear. I've seen people who let the ear clip fall all the way down to the chin clip. When this happens, the temple strap, that should go back toward the ear, instead goes from the temple straight down the cheek and side of the face. This makes me smile! I have stopped strangers on group rides and demanded they let me adjust their helmet. They usually give me a deer in the headlights stare and then realize that I'm just trying to help - like if they had a piece of toilet paper stuck to their shoes.

One more important thing about helmet straps, especially if you ride in warmer climates; wash the salt off the strap after every ride!

Dew Rags are for Harleys
I get it, if you're riding a Harley. It's the "live free or die" mentality. You don't want to be told to wear a helmet but your bald head will explode from the sun unless you cover it with something. But when worn under a vented cycling helmet, nothing screams "tool time" louder than a the two loose ends of a cotton knot flapping in the wind behind your ears. Most premium helmets are fitted with pads that not only provide comfort but also absorb sweat. If you're sweat is dripping into your eyes, you probably don't have your helmet adjusted property (see Helmet Straps). If you must carry a hanky, keep it in your jersey pocket.

Jersey over the Butt
This guy usually has a pot belly requiring him to wear a jersey designed to fit a taller guy which ends up being so long that it stretches past his lower back and extends halfway around his buttocks. A properly fitting cycling jersey should fit snuggly against the shoulders, arms and torso. Usually the "Jersey over the Butt" guy also likes to carry several items of warm weather gear such as jacket, leg and arm warmers tightly stuffed into his 3 rear jersey pockets drawing further attention to this fashion faux pas.

Strap On iPhone
Please don't spend $10k on a bike, $300 on clothing, $300 on shoes and a helmet and then suction cup your iPhone to your handlebar stem.

Oh, and speaking of strap-ons - let's talk about Bento Boxes for a sec. In case you don't know, a Bento Box is a small soft sided container that is attached with Velcro to the top tube of your bike, right behind the headset. First off, no serious cyclist would ever use one. Second, it is designed to be handy so that you can access stuff while riding - like gels and other nutrition. Usually when I see someone with a Bento Box I like to ask what they are packing inside. It's usually a woman and she's almost always carrying assorted flavors of Chapstick, Kleenex and a spare tube. I'm still hoping to see someone change a flat while riding.

Unzipped Jersey
The only proper (and when I say proper, of course I mean cool) way to zip one's jersey is all the way up. Wait, let's back up. A jersey must have a full zipper. No such thing as a cool half-zip jersey. The worst thing ever is an over the butt, half-zip jersey with an image of a skeleton riding a bike or US Postal Jersey. In fact, all USPS jersey's should be collected and burned. Not because I hate Lance, but because during the glory days of USPS, every recreational rider went out and bought one. And they all wear em' over the butt. I digress.

Don't unzip your jersey and try to create a collar either. A jersey doesn't have a collar. Jerseys are supposed to be fully zipped at all times. Unless you're Andy Schlek and have .05% body fat, in which case you can either wear it fully zipped, or completely unzipped and flapping in the wind, showing off your ghost white chest and 7 chest hairs.

I could go on and on. But a much better, more comprehensive list can be found here: The Rules of the Velominati

No fashion mistakes here. This is our Thursday Coffee Ride group assembling at Starbucks this morning. Nothing but a bunch of fit retirees in this pic. Notice that we have the 2015 Overall State TT Champ (Doug Perry) and the 2014 State Hill climb Champ (Rick Ellwanger). Both guys are super strong. Doug is the more cycling fashionista though, I believe.

We had around 15 people and worked on some skills and drills today as we rode out to Dove Mountain. This ride is more social than training, but we do have a couple of kick-ups mixed in with lots of chatting. 9:30am Thursdays. All are invited! No dew rags please.