Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rim Nordic #2, and WV State Race!

Today we had races on two fronts again! One at Rim Nordic, near Big Bear California, and the other in the hills of West Virginia. Jeff "Tookie" Williams started the day off back east in a very rocky, sloppy, rooty race. described as the "toughest race ever", Jeff was in third place until his carbon handlebar decided it wanted to turn into a divining rod and point toward water. With that fixed, Jeff muscled his way back into the fray, then his THIRD chain break of the year happened. This forced Jeff to run the last half mile, and he ended up in a VERY respectable sixth place. Way to sack-up and finish, Tookie!

Closer to home base, we had Bev, James, Dartar, Vegas Bob, and Heidi representin' the 'Bone at Rim Nordic. Here comes the info that I know...Dartar took first in his Sport class taking the fastest overall Sport time. Heidi took first in Sport, setting the 4th fastest Sport time. James placed second (way to go, big man), and Bev I think also took first..with a busted pedal and a race protest over a girl who did only two laps instead of three! Vegas Bob had camped out Friday and Saturday night, and got plowed at CHAD'S PLACE in Big Bear the night before the race. Congrats to VB for not blowing goo on the other Experts!

I ahve no pics, as I am not on my computer. We are heading to Utah at o-dark-thirty tomorrow, but I will take my laptop and look to find a place to send you all pics from the weeks riding. See ya'll in Brian Head next weekend!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

National Park Service Turns 90!

McDowell Mountain in winter
Red Canyon, near Bryce
Cedar Breaks national Monument, Utah

With the stroke of his pen, then President Woodrow Wilson signed the National park Service Act 90 years ago this month. "To conserve the scenery and the ntural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same...unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Thirty-six national parks were brought under one umbrella with the signing of this law. James Bryce (British Ambassador to the U.S.) called it the "best idea America ever had." In 1916, James McFarland, a visionary in the national park process, said "It is the one thing we have that has not been imported." Many other countries had preserved gardens and such for the welthy classes, but nothing had been done to date on this scale, for every member of a country.
having grown to over 375 sites, blanketing over 80 million acres, the NPS covers it all. From parks, monuments, seashores, beaches and rivers, historical sites, and battlefields, even things like British canon surrendered at Yorktown are looked after. The NPS has the derringer pistol that killed Abe Lincoln, and even a breed of short legged cow that was bred by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
With vast areas o cover, and ever dwindling resources to cover it, the NPS is very much aware of the fact that it's holdings are some of the last natural reources in North America. The 12,000 employees have to cover things like Bison herd management in Yellowstone, mysterious Saguaro Cactus deaths in the Southwest, how to protect dwindling sea turtle populations in the Virgin Islands, and how to improve water quality in the Florida Everglades.
In 1978, Jimmy Carter aquired another 40 plus-million acres of Alaskan wilderness. The park service employees there have to fly (mostly) in and out of the areas there, as a result of the remoteness of the landscape. From 1970 to 1990, the number of visitors to the NPS parks has tripled. The numbers are staggering, going from 80 million visitors to 257 million in just three decades! Unfortunately, budgets are being far outpaced by the number of visitors, forcing hard choices on those responsible for maintenance, staffing, and equipment repairs.
The good news is, that many visitors means tht people are getting outside of their homes and seeing nature for what it is. Children see what it was like to cross the country in a wagon train in the hot and rugged Southwest. Docents like Festus Bourne can show you how to carve a duck from a block of wood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and Clark Moore will teach you how to throw a punch at Martin Luther King Jr. national Historic Site in Atlanta Georgia. Get out there, and send me a pic when it's over!

Capn Chris

Rim Nordic #2 & WV State Race

Jeff "TOOKIE" Williams in WV
Heidi, Dartar, James, and Abel at Rim Nordic #1

Tomorrow will be the second installment of the Rim Nordic Series for 2006, and Backbone should have a great showing! King James, Heidi, Dartar, and Bev will be there for sure. Good luck to everyone, very sorry that Desi and I will be leaving for Utah...NOT! Also, Jeff "Tookie" Williams will be busting out the race in West Virginia tomorrow. Best of luck everyone...


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Landis The Dope Fiend

O.K. guys..for those who don't believe me when I say these guys dope, here ya go! Sorry it has to be like this...:( Bert sent this to me tonight.

Tour champ had high testosterone levels
Associated Press
Posted: 57 minutes ago

LONDON (AP) - Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site, raising questions about his victory.

The team suspended Landis, pending results of the backup "B" sample of his drug test, just four days after Landis stood on the victory podium on the Champs-Elysees, succeeding seven-time winner Lance Armstrong as an American winner in Paris.

The Swiss-based Phonak team said it was notified by the UCI on Wednesday that Landis' sample showed "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone" when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday.

"The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result," the Phonak statement said.

Landis made a remarkable comeback in that Alpine stage, racing far ahead of the field for a solo win that moved him from 11th to third in the overall standings. He regained the leader's yellow jersey two days later.

Landis rode the Tour with a degenerative hip condition that he has said will require surgery in the coming weeks or months.

Arlene Landis, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win."

"I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pennsylvania. "I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."

The Phonak statement came a day after the UCI, cycling's world governing body, said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.

Phonak said Landis would ask for an analysis of his backup sample "to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake."

Landis has been suspended by his team pending the results. If the second sample confirms the initial finding, he will be fired, Phonak said.

USA Cycling spokesman Andy Lee said that organization could not comment on Landis.

"Because it's an anti-doping matter, it's USA Cycling's policy not to comment on that subject out of respect for the process and Floyd's rights," Lee said. "Right now, we have to let the process proceed and we can't comment on it."

Carla O'Connell, publications and communications director for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said: "I'll make this very brief: No comment."

Under World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, a ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone greater than 4:1 is considered a positive result and subject to investigation. The threshold was recently lowered from 6:1. The most likely natural ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in humans is 1:1.

Testosterone is included as an anabolic steroid on WADA's list of banned substances, and its use can be punished by a two-year ban.

Landis wrapped up his Tour de France win on Sunday, keeping the title in U.S. hands for the eighth straight year. Armstrong, long dogged by doping whispers and allegations, won the previous seven. Armstrong never has tested positive for drugs and vehemently has denied doping.

Speculation that Landis had tested positive spread earlier Thursday after he failed to show up for a one-day race in Denmark on Thursday. A day earlier, he missed a scheduled event in the Netherlands.

On the eve of the Tour's start, nine riders - including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso - were ousted, implicated in a Spanish doping investigation.

The names of Ullrich and Basso turned up on a list of 56 cyclists who allegedly had contact with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who's at the center of the Spanish doping probe.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Local Waterfall Hike #2

It's official. My girlfriend is now a card-carrying, granola chomping, composting, owl-saving, hairy-pitted Sierra Club lovin' hiker. Here is another local waterfall (on a 120 degree day, it's more like a "spittle-fall") in Sycamore Canyon State Park in Thousand Oaks. It's crazy to think that are a ton of great little hikes to places like this...but we will keep posting the shots as we get to them! If anyone wants to get their arses pounded by Desi-Lou and Mai on a hike, give us a ring and we'll count you in!!


Lisa's Wrist Broken in Deer Valley

Lisa finding out what the big deal is about morphine

For those of you who have been around the Horn for a few years like me, you have probably met Ms. Lisa on the mountain in her DH gear getting ready to throw OR a race. A few weeks ago, little Ms Thang was working the DEER VALLEY NORBA NCS race, and decided to take a shot to the wrist. Seems a hay bale decided to step out of line and go "BOO!" She was doing about Mach 2 when she hit it, so it wasn't a matter of "will it hurt?" but more like "how much?"
As the picture shows, Lisa has a broken wrist. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS! I have known Lisa forever, and although she rarely eats s**t, when it counts she pulls a doozy. Hopefully this terror of the two wheelers can get back out before too long and try and win anothr Pro race at Mammoth! Get well soon Lisa...


Abel Leaves For Macau

XC Racer and crash specialist Abel Vaca left for the nation of Macau last night at 11pm, for a work related emergency. Abel works for Wet Design, and is being flown to this mostly Chinese country to repair new water featues in the WYNN RESORT MACAU.
His flight will be long, but he has his portable DVD player to get him by.
Macau is located on the coast of China, at the mouth of the Pearl River. Formerly known as Ou Mon (Trading Gate), Macau was a crucial port along the Silk Road of ancient times that delivered goods to Rome from the Orient. It grew as a result of the landing of Jorge Alvares, Portugese trade explorer in 1513. The name "Macau" grew from the Portugese name A Ma Gao (Place of honor of the Goddess of Seafarers).
Most foreign trade left Macau after the British established Hong Kong and "won" the Opium War of 1841.
Today, Macau is a travel center and produces textiles, electronics, and toys. It is one of the most developed countries in Asia, with one of the lowest crime rates. Tap water is safe to drink on both islands. Well, I hope Abel gets to read this while he's over there...oh, and Abel, watch the prostitutes....some may be guys, and I'm guessing you may wanna wear "something" for protection, Kapish?


Monday, July 24, 2006

Where Is the Fuzzy One?

Ara has been absent from many team functions (except the Marathon Xc at the NORBA Nationals in Fontana, where he won..of course) due to excessive amounts of college and even more excessive boozing with the STAKK. Fuzzy has also been working a great deal, and attending every mosh pit concert available in the greater Los Angeles basin. He will resurface again soon, and hopefully he will have SOME sort of education to boot! Don't worry, I am positive that the Fuzziest will be at Rhoda's brief but drunken homecoming in two days. Peace out, beeeaaatches!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Adam's Pack Station

Originally named the Wee Um Attaxum Pack Station, the "newly" named Adam's Pack Station has been helping residents of the Angeles National Forest for over SEVENTY YEARS. In 2004, then owner Bill Adams died at the age of 84. He and his wife, Lila, operated the pack station for over FORTY YEARS. Located in the Chantry Flats area of the Angeles National Forest in CA, this pack station has been delivering goods and mail to the residents of Big Santa Anita canyons and Sturtevant Camp. These areas are so remote, and the cabins so rustic, that the mule train is all that links them to food, gas, and mail. The mule team drops into the canyons once a week to deliver up to 200lbs per animal of necessities.
The first pack station was built in the 1930's and is still a vital link to those living in the mountains. They also now offer a concession stand for hungry hikers and mountain bikers, thanks to new owners Deb and Sue Burgess. this mother and daughter team dutifully have taken over the last pack station in So Cal, and are the only FEMALE OWNERS in he country of any pack station. They have a stable of thirteen mules, and deliver to eighty two cabins each week. The station is rich in history, and is one of a only a handfull left in the United States. It is open for business, and if you get the chance, please check it out!



Although she is now officially older than Nefertiti, HEIDI VOLPE recently turned FORTY! While that IS the average age for human women to die of old age, HEIDI is still capable of beating the hell out of all of you. I am actually going in to hiding as of the completion of this blog page, since I too am afraid her PYTHONS. happy B-Day Heidi, fight to stay ALIVE!!! :)


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jim sends pix of Courtney/Anita in Colorado

Courty-Forty and wife, Anita

Jim Roff, Backbone's XC team manager and Colorado transplant, has sent a pic and even done a great article on the Eldora, CO race last week. Visit his blog via the ROFF REPORT link to the right for details of the race, and more pix!

RHODA ROFF, the oficial team mom, will be here to visit all of you on the 26th, meeting at B.J.'s Pizza in Burbank. Located off the 5fwy, exit Burbank and make a right! If you aren't there, I will kill you personally. Remember all those hot meals the night before the race? How about the hot shower in those crappy Sagebrush campgrounds? That's right, it was all Jim and get your asses to B.J.'s!


Monday, July 17, 2006

Courtney takes SILVER in Mtn. States Cup!

Court and Jimbalaya Roff made for the Mtn States Cup race in Colorado, where Court was in first by only SIX points overall. He'd be way out in front, but they allow short track points in, and he hasn't done any of those yet. Sunday's race was F*****G HOT, and humid as well. Court blasted off at the gun, and actually LED THE ENTIRE RACE...except the last ten feet. Sorry Court! His arch rival, Dirty Dirt-Bag, sucked his wheel all the way to the finish and squeeked him at the line. BUT GREAT JOB anyway to Court for a stellar race! Thanks to Jimbo for pitting for him.

Did I mention that I am a HUGE fan of all you guys and gals out there in Backbone Land?

Cap'n Chris

Sonoma National Championship Race

M&M&I before Pro XC

Bert in the feed zone

Christine and Michelle

Ryan representing his favorite tires

James with the lap three look-back

Taylor catching some air on his way to the top 15

Conor bombing into the top twenty in Semi-Pro

It was eight p.m. on Thursday night when Taylor and I left Los Angeles, and I had been up since five thirty a.m. Thankfully "T" dove the Subaru for the seven hour haul up the 5fwy. We rolled in to Petaluma at 2a.m., and went straight to sleep. The alarm shocked us awake at 6, and we rolled to Infineon Raceway for DH practice and work at the Kenda booth. It was a slow day for sales, but a fast one for the pre-riders and road racers that day. After a few runs for practice, Conor and Taylor called it good and we worked the show for the remaoinder of the day.
Saturday morning was different. You could feel the buzz of EPO in the air....well, mostly because Bert farted. James, Bert, and Ryan had their XC races to hit, and were preparing for the days battle. Bert was up first and after a great start, The Hurt was beginning to hurt by the end of lap three. He should have, it was well into the triple digits with about eightty percent humidity.
James started in the top five, and valiantly toughed it out for two and a half of his three laps. After that, the legs began to revolt and King James had to relinquish his crown for the day. Not to be outdone, former Backbone Expert racer Papo Caballero (Team Helen's)died a violent death as well, having his worst finish all year. Sorry boys, we'll get them in Utah!
Sunday saw Ryan Blanchette (aka Baby Bert), and Bert racing Super-Dizzle. Ryan held on as long as he could, with Euro-Lunge at the finish that was awesome. Christine Blanchette (the Blonde Bomber) suffered through a sweltering heat in her jr division race, and ALMOST took to cold beer after such a suffer-fest. The story of the day is still to come...
Conor and Taylor struggled through a very short, but very demanding Semi-Pro Xc course Sunday at high noon. With racers coming from the four corners of the globe, the boys had to suck it up. The course was completely off camber, covered in wet grass and ticks, with huge "cow-ruts" that developed ino giant wheel-sucking sink holes. After watching many racers eat crap, our boys (just a few seconds apart) had very clean runs and finished in 15th (Taylor) and 20th(Conor).
Now for some great news....
Backbone Adventure Cycling/KENDA Racing has it's first NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JERSEY!
Bert "The Hurt" Blanchette entered the 40-49 open category Super-Downhill race on Sunday...after racing the long XC course on Saturday. A seven mile slug fest, Infineon's Super-D was as crappy as the DH course was, only with hills to climb. After a dead-last start, Bert snapped into Afterburner mode and began picking people off. With one man to pass(and three on his ass, as usual), he timed his sprint for the last 1/4 mile of pavement. The man to beat was the State Champ from last year, and had NEVER BEEN BEATEN in that age group. Bert made sure to say hello as he went by him, fists pumping in the air as he crossed the finish line for the Stars and Stripes!! CONGRATS to Backbone's XC Team anchor and scary fast guru, Bert Blanchette. Thanks for the all-out effort, and not just from you. Michelle, Christine, and Ryan also gave 100% this weekend.
Special note...Vanessa and Roger came up as well, and Vanessa took SILVER in her Sport XC field! She finally held some back for the finish, and it paid off in spades. great job Vanessa, and thanks to Roger for the help.

Thanks also to Jim Wannamaker and KENDA TIRE for the endless support of our team and others like it. Also kudo's to Dillon and Kate from Hydrapak for being kind to us at the race, and representing their products at the races.

See ya'll on the trails..

Cap'n Chris

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bert Blanchette Wins National Championship!!!

Bert atop the podium with the stars and stripes of the National Champion Super-D racer!
Bert's now-famous SEVEN CYCLES Ti hardtail Super-D winning bike.
Bert's fist-pumping finish for the Championship!
Bert's Jersey and Medal hanging from the KENDA TIRE trailer after the race..

Bert "THE HURT" Blanchette took the stars and stripes on Saturday in the Super-D downhill, bringing home his first ever NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP honors! This is not only a first for Bert, but a first for our young and raging team here at Backbone Adventure Cycling. I will write more on Bert's come-from-dead-last-victory-at-the-very-end win tomorrow night, but please be sure to shake his hand and say "YOU ARE A BAD-ASS-Mo'-FO" when you see him. Tune in tomorrow for pix of the team and race results from SONOMA's Cougar Mountain Classic National Championships!!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sonoma National Championships

Hey guys! I will be leaving Thursday night with Taylor for Sonoma. Heidi and Dartar will be leaving Friday, and Bert leaves Thursday too. James and Papo will head up tomorrow together, and I don't know if anyone else is coming! I will have my cel phone, so please call me if you need to coordinate! We can rendeszvous at Kenda, and I'll bring my toolbox! Good luck, and I'll see ya'll up there. Taylor and I will be hotelling it, so if anyone needs a floor, let us know!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Heidi Back From Whistler DH Camp!

Heidi has returned from Whistler's girl's downhill camp! She and Dartar had a blast, and even took a nasty digger! Initial reports are unclear, but according to Heidi she may have broken several ovaries, and ruined any and all chances at a functional child later in life. Thank god, because if you know Heidi like WE do, you DO NOT want that freak having kids! (tee-hee...hello kettle, this is the pot..your black!) Heidi is looking to strike deep in the heart of the ladies DH field at Sonoma this weekend, and may even bust out the XC for shits and giggles!

See you all in SONOMA for the Championships! GO BACKBONE!

Cap'n Chris

Mai's Racer-X Completed!!

Mai Tai's new 2007 Racer-X carbon bike is done, and here are the pix to prove it! Note the pimped-out King ano-pink headset, Spinergy wheels, and those AMAZING KENDA TIRES...mmmmmm..KENDA TIRES.....oh, sorry. Take a good look at it, because when you get the chance to ride with her soon, you won't be seeing it for very long. Mai will drop you, so boys, get used to getting whupped up on by the ladies all over again. :)


Meet Ryan Nolan...FINALLY!


Here is a run down on my year so far,
Things started off well my first race of the year. I placed 7th in the Diablo Domination race #1. Since this was the week before the US OPEN there were a ton of racers so finishing 7th out of 90 something wasn't to bad. The next week at the US OPEN I went down in practice and had a hard time walking let alone riding, so during my qualifying run I went down and did not qualify. Then was Mt. Snow I had never been there before and I had tons of fun, definitely one of my top 5 favorite places to ride. Friday I raced duel slalom Expert 19-29 and got 5th place in that. It was my first ever duel slalom race. I had a lot of fun doing duel slalom, I did it mostly because I had room to take the bike with me and I figured it was extra riding time. I think that next time I race duel slalom or 4X that I will take it a little more serious and hope to do even better. Saturday was the downhill race. I went d own in practice again hitting the same knee that had just recovered from the US Open and I think that slowed me down some mentally in my race run. I was disappointed to see a 19th place finish. I will definitely go back next year and work harder on that course. My next race was Diablo Domination race #2 I wasnt able to go to the Saturday practice so when I got there Sunday I knew I really had to focus. This ended shortly though with a broken derailleur and no spare because I had used my spare at Mt. Snow So I decided to run the race with no chain. With a quick running jump off the start I was on my way pumping off anything I could for the first 500ft or so, then I got a flat rear tire. My luck seemed to be getting worse and worse. I didn't let it bother me though I just kept on going down the course with the flat and no chain. It suddenly became a game to see how fast I could go with out a chain and a flat tire so by the time I got down I was happy to see a time of 2.52.
First in my class had a time of 2:28 and the first place pro a 2:18. So in my mind I won my game of getting to the bottom with a flat and no chain. After that finish I sit in 16th place in the Diablo Domination series standings out of over 72 racers
This is my up to date race report

Ryan Nolan is an uber-fast downhiller that joined the team this year, thanks to DH squad captain Jay Schippers. Recently out of High School, Ryan has been blowing up his Expert category on the East Coast. He will be moving soon to Kentucky, and will be able to help Jeff Williams hold the fort for Backbone's Eastern Division race squad. Ryan finally managed to send us some pix from the Vermont NORBA's, and here they are! Thanks to Ryan for taking it to the hair back there, and we hope to meet you soon. RYAN WILL BE LANDING IN L.A. in the next few days, so if anyone is NOT going to SONOMA and would like to ride with Jay and Mr. Nolan, call or e-mail Jay right away! Thanks for the shots Ryan, and we'll see you soon...


Taylor's Deer Valley NCS Report

Here ya go Chris, my take on the Deer Valley Nats;

The Deer Valley spectacle is always a good one, plenty
of dust to choke on, plenty of trees to hit, and lots
of sharp rocks to puncture on. But this is exactly
the reason that we race. I don’t think there is a
great trail or race course in existence that doesn’t
have rocks and trees to impale yourself on. That’s
what makes Deer Valley so fun to ride and race, the
courses are always challenging, with just enough
altitude thrown in to make your lungs scream for mercy
when the tempo goes up.
My race run started off well enough, I cleared the
first super technical section known as “Little
Niagara”, which was taking down one out of every three
Pro riders the first day of practice. Following that
section was some great fast single track that
transitioned into a brutal rock section, reminiscent
of something from the Flintstones. In fact, it was
nick named “Barney Rubble”, and for good reason. It
was in this section that my spectacular run came
unglued. I noticed my rear tire sliding on the rocks
a bit more than I expected, and I shoulder nudged a
tree as a result. I was slowed down by the tree just
enough to hear the air rushing out of my rear tire,
and to hear spectators making sighs of disappointment
as they noticed my flat tire. Not wanting to hold up
the riders behind me, I headed for the fire road and
commenced my slow ride of shame. I cut back into the
course with a fine time of 6 minutes, only 3 minutes
off the pace of the fastest semi-pro rider. I guess
these things happen, all I can do is prepare myself
for a kick ass run at Sonoma. If anybody gets in my
way, they will be maimed severely.


Bert and Ryan's Deer Valley NCS Report

Ryan Blanchette lunging at the line in Deer Valley, Utah

Well, we made it back about 3:30am this morning from Deer Valley, as I drive the freeways better than I race a bicycle.

The photo attached is of Ryan’s spectacular X-ctry finish…bested by .04 of a second by a rider from Cedar City, finishing on the podium in third place. Riders one, two, and three in his class where very tight at the finish, a great race for the under 14 class.

Ryan’s Super D ended with a flat ½ mile from the finish leaving him with an extremely disappointing (for him) DNF on a sweet long course better suited for downhillers. He’ll learn that it will happen again and unfortunately is part of racing. The Super D started at the top of the mountain with a downhill style time trial race start with 30 second gaps between racers. The top 1-2 miles was loose and definitely better suited for downhillers with a little more suspension and bigger tires. Ryan ripped the valve stem off and his hopes for a good finish vanished. We pre-rode the course 4 times only 45 minutes after my x-try race and Ryan felt like he had a clean run going.

My X-ctry race didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked. As usual I started off the back with about 58 in our start group and a course with very few opportunities to pass due to tight (but sweet) single track. So ¾ of the way through the first climb it opened up, still climbing and heart pounding somewhere out of my jersey I made a move and passed about 12-15 guys before ducking into the single track. I spent the next 10-15 minutes trying to recover as we dipped and weaved through some of the best single track on any course. Thinking I recovered we get to the next climb and the climb starts out with one of about three locations you can make a clean pass. It isn’t steep but lasts 15-20 minutes, so on the tail of a group of riders I tried to overtake too many and blew up as I tried to maintain a solid pace on the remainder of the climb. By the time I crossed the start/finish line of lap one I had been overtaken by just about every rider I passed. I continued to ride with no power for most of lap two and finally got my legs back under me somewhere around the end of lap two and very close to the back. I rode a good remainder of the race and at least tried to enjoy the course and was able to overtake only one or two riders before the finish ending up in 44th. Quite sure that was my lowest finish in my entire long racing career. Needless to say not happy with my race as the altitude got the best of me having raced only once in altitude this season at Big Bear 6 or so weeks ago and not racing well there either. Oh well they say “That’s racing” “some days you have it… and some days you don’t”

I had a nail biting descent down the Super D course as I knew I had to try to stay off the brakes in order to finish anywhere close to the remainder of my field. All but one in my class were downhillers and this course had no up-hills and the few flat sections were following high speed run-ups and didn’t require a lot of pedaling to close a gap. Not a course suited for a X-ctry rider like I used to be years ago. I ended up in fourth, four seconds from second and one or two from third. Happy I made it down with the rubber side down, I’ll live to fight another day!

I can only hope that the venue in Sonoma this weekend at sea level will suit me better. I’m sure the competition will only be more intense it being the Nationals! Sure glad I’m racing Semi-pro…it keeps you humble!

Bert and Ryan

Monday, July 03, 2006

Solvang with Ming and Mai

Nojoqui Falls
Desi, Ming and Mai atop "The Wall,", just above the Firestone Walker XC race course..
Ming rolling out Los Alisos Canyon
Desi and Mai at Nojoqui Falls

Saturday night Ming and Mai rolled into the Union Hotel around 11pm, and went straight to Room #1 to get some shut eye. Christine at the hotel gave us the entire floor, putting everyone else up in the Victorian Mansion for the night. We awoke to coffee and breakfast at the Quackenbush Cafe, then rolled out. It was about 75 degrees as we ascended the Spanish Moss draped trees in Los Alisos Canyon. Wine grapes clipped by at a brisk pace for the eight mile climb up to Foxen Canyon Road. After passing Zaca Mesa Winery, we hit the first decent hill. Up and over, we dropped down to the Firestone Vineyard to climb the hated "Wall." After looking over the Cal State race course, we dropped down into Los Olivos. It's a quick five miles from there to Solvang's historic Mission Santa Ines. After watering up, we rolled hrough Solvang's Atterdag street and across the river. Up another steep hill, we found respite in the shade of centuries old oak trees. Once regrouped, we rode to the sacred Chumash waterfall at Nojoqui (pronounced Na-Hoo-We). A few pix then back on the road. Once at Los Oivos, we called in the Cavalry, and returned to Los Alamos for lunch and a shower. Wish ya'll could have been there!


King James Takes Bronze In Arcata

King James Cross rolled up to Canada (not really) to do the Cal State Race in Arcata, CA this weekend. Accompanied by ex-patriot Papo, the two week drive (kidding) was well worth the effort. On a course that would make John Tomac cry, and Ned Overend take up needle point, James thrashed his bike to a solid third place podium! Jmaes has been creeping up in his Sport category, and even had a race lead for a spell last week! He is close to a win and will have it soon, so all you Sport Sukka's best watch out cause King James is gonna re-write his racing bible!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

TDF Day 1 Prologue Taken By Hushovd

Norwegian National Time Trial Champion and previuos stage winner in the TDF, Thor Hushovd BARELY squeaked out the win in today's opening prologue. George Hincapie bulldozed his way to the finish for Team Discovery, and finished in the SAME SECOND as Thor, missing it by 7/10th's of a second. Last year's early jersey holder, David Zabriskie, also came out swinging and finished in third.
The BIG STORY is WHAT HAPPENED TO FLOYD LANDIS? Favored to win this year's TDF, Floyd (Murrietta, CA) MISSED his start by EIGHT SECONDS...and still finished in the top ten. Had he shown up on time, could he have won? With the top NINE riders out of the race, the American racers have a once in a lifetime chance to take all podium spots this year. If that happens, France will change it's name to Eastern Canada, and drink only wine from California. Maybe then they will drop the attitude, NOT get occupied by every major military on the planet, and produce a winning cyclist once again. GO USA!

In other race news, Jim will be pitting for Court this weekend in Colorado in effort to maintain Copurt's 200 point lead in the beginner XC class. Go get 'em guys!

Ming's new Titus Moto-Lite arrived yesterday, and sonofabitch it's beautiful! I can't wait for mine.....