Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Fuzziest's SLO to Glendale Ride.

Hey Chris... finally sending you the report.

The next bike trip of the summer got me from San Luis Obispo to
Glendale in two days.

The Amtrak Surfliner dropped me off at San Luis Obispo around 1pm which
gave me about 7 hours to get to Santa Barbara before getting dark.
Riding solo meant that I had to pace myself and feed on the fly. The
118 mile leg was harder than expected. Harris' Grade was an average of
9% for a good 30 minutes, even though it was tough it cut out a chunk
of PCH 1 riding through Vandenburg Air Force Base.

Quick stop in Lompoc to fill up on water and Amino Vital Lemon
Endurance (nector of the Gods) and was back on the road. The stretch
from Lompoc to Highway 101 was tough. Up and down the inland coast
hills. Another quick stop at the Rest Area on the 101 where I met a
nice couple riding down from Monterrey. Continued on the 101 along the
various beaches; Gaviota, Refugio, and Capitan state parks. Once in
Goleta, knew the end is coming up. Got to Santa Barbara in 7hours
10minutes with the sun disappearing over the horizon. After asking for
lodging at various cheap hotels, all were booked, settled in at a
pricey resort right on the beach. Its all good when you have dinner,
breakfast, and nice jacuzzi in your room (I'd rather camp tho).

The next morning I felt pretty good even though the pace was high the
day before. Enjoyed it more because I had the whole day to make my way
down south. Stopped in Carpinteria where I chatted with the owner of
Rincon Cycle again, nice guy. Ate some gourmet chocolate from Chocolat
du Cali Bressan. Big Al had told me about this place and I was not
disappointed, again price was high but great handmade quality
chocolates. Even bought a box for my brother and his wife. Stopped at
the Ventura Pier to have some good ol' fashioned fish tacos. Chatted
with a guy who had divorced his wife, kids are all in college, and sold
his house to buy a Sprinter Van. Now he lives up and down the coast
where he surfs and bikes his Specialized Roubaix on a daily basis. Next
thing I knew I was riding through the busy streets of the San Fernando
Valley back to the house. This part of the leg was 124 miles long and
took 9 hours 20 minutes.,

Total mileage : 242 miles

Total time : 16 hours 30 minutes

Things I have learned on this trip :

1) Eat healthy and keep drinking fluids. Best for me is a timer. So I
wont forget I sipped on my bottles every 10 minutes. Sigma Rox 9.0 has
a sweet timer setting to keep me on schedule.

2) Surprised at the amount of people asking me what kind of powder I
was pouring into my bottles. So many have not heard of Amino Vital and
were willing to try it. Trust me, they will be amazed how well it works.

3) Riding with a 15 pound backpack is not a good idea. Shoulders start
hurting and puts alot of pressure on your tail bone. Panniers are the
way to go for next time.

4) Its great to get out on the open road and ride. The sights, smells,
feelings, and the rhythmic pedaling is a great feeling. Best way to

5) Roadies are rude, I'm just generalizing. So many times I said hello
and just got a stare back. I hope your 9,000 dollar Cervelo cracks in
half. Riders on bike tours are really nice.

Again, thanks to all the sponsors who support us on our adventures.
Whether it is racing or doing major riding, the products are great and
gets us to where we want to go.

Take a trip,


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Glendale To Santa Barbara With Fuzz..RIDE ALONG!

The summer of long distance riding continued on Friday by heading north on the coast. Last month we rode down the coast to the Mexican border (160 miles), but this time Mauricio and I decided to ride up towards Santa Barbara. After last weeks Angeles Crest ride (Glendale to Waterman : 98 miles with 10,000ft of elevation gain) my knee took a good beating again. The route to Santa Barbara is fairly flat so the knee would hold up.

Packed the essentials in my saddle bag, loaded my bottles with Amino Vital, zip-locked the necessary 6 scoops of Amino Vital powder, and clipped in my Sigma Rox 9.0. Riding out from Glendale through the San Fernando Valley was a breeze as we cruised along the Chandler Bike Path towards Topanga Canyon. After a short climb up the Santa Monica Mountains we bolted down the flank towards the big blue pool called the Pacific Ocean. The smell of salty air . This is where we met our nemesis for the remainder of the ride - WIND. No tailwind, not side wind, but full facial head wind at a constant 20 mph. The rolling hills of Malibu became like peaks as we both took turns in the front at a max rate of 12 mph. Once we made the turn towards the flat agricultural grounds of Oxnard the wind died down to a good 15 mph. By the way, prevailing westerlies should be called prevailing North In-Your-Face Westerlies... darn you Coriollis Effect.

Oxnard into Ventura was not as bad. The next batch of Amino Vital kicked in quick and got me going through miles 50-70 easy. Great to be able to ride at a good pace and make some ground. Sigma computer registered us at an average of 21 mph for this stretch. The views from Rincon and PCH is unbelievable. Stopped in at Rincon Cyclery in Carpenteria to load up on water and snack. Scooped up more Amino Vital into my bottles. Had a good chat with the owner about the wind and bikes. He was dumbfounded to see me with mountain bike shoes and mountain bike pedals, Xpedo's kick ass no matter what bike their on. Hey Roger, I know what your thinking, but I keep it real foo!

Our plans of sneaking in Casitas Pass, which would have been a good 25 miles detour, was scraped thanks to the headwind. So, we continued on towards the gazillion dollar homes of Montecito. It was great to fly by stopped cars in bumper to bumper traffic on the way in to Santa Barbara. That is the beauty of bike travelling. It takes a long time to get there, but efficient at the same time.

The area of Santa Barbara County on the coast has been compared by many to the French Riviera. It is lush with flowers and palm trees. Riding into the town along the beach had a really soothing and relaxing effect. Got to the Santa Barbara Train Station with 10 minutes to spare for the next train heading home. Washed up in the restroom, made my recovery drink with Amino Vital Amino Acid Recovery and enjoyed the calm train ride back home with my legs up and a million dollar view out the train window.

Trustee Sigma computer registered the ride at 125 miles in 7 hours 26 minutes.

Major thank you to Molly at Amino Vital for the best performance drink out there. My body could not have felt any better during and after the ride with Amino Vital.

Kenda Konstrictor tires ran with out any punctures or flats. The Dual Tread compound is great for long distance riding.

Sigma Rox 9.0 worked flawlessly and recorded huge amounts of data every turn of the wheel.

Voler shorts literally saved my behind. Did not have any discomfort or pains throughout the long journey.

Ryders HIJACK sunglasses are super comfortable on the bridge of the nose and on the ears.

Until the next trip ...


Monday, July 11, 2011

EASTFORK & The Spasms

Sounds like a sweet band name, I know. It was however the latest installment of Backboner Jeff "Tookie" Williams' OMBC race schedule. Set just north and east of Cinci at Eastfork State Park, the drive for me in Columbus was about equidistant for Jeff from Kentucky. Knowing that both SIGMA and KENDA sponsor these races..how could we not represent?

It was ninety two degrees yesterday for the noon start time, but thankfully our friends at the COMBO/roll:/Whole Foods Market team were in effect with canopies and repair stands. Jeff's Carbide needed a lot of work, but he arrived later than advertised to address all but a quick swap of the KMC chain from my bike to his (his new one is trapped in the mail). A fresh slathering of grease, and Jeff was ready to start.
His wife wrangled Luka and their daughter Lanie and rolled out to the enormous lake for a day at the beach while Jeff and I got down to bidness. The Nikon D-80 in hand, I was tasked with nabbing some pix for a new XPEDO ad coming soon to magazines near you! Jeff went out hard in the sweltering steam-pot that is an Ohio summer day. Riders began to drop like flies in the first five miles, but with the help of Amino Vital Endurance Formula Jeff managed to stay on task. Sitting squarely in second place, he was on his last lap. From the pump-track style heavily wooded singletrack he emerged onto the last climb...on pavement..to the finish. Bottom bracket wailing like a Harpie (we didn't have time go change it), Jeff's back decided it was done racing and the seizing of all muscular assets began. Within sight of the finish line, the pain was excruciating, and Jeff had to watch as the third place rider squeeked him at the line by just four seconds...and second place was the cut off for a cash payout. Pisser. The third place finish was still great, but with a Race Face crankset on his Carbide circa 1993, the boy could certainly have used the money for new parts. It was a fun day at the races, and I had a blast wrenching for Tookie and the COMBO team!

**COMBO race team's Heidi "Shorty-Fire" Schilling before the race**

Looking forward to seeing what XPEDO comes up with..

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Dropping The Hammer In Maryland.

The first thing I noticed was heavy brown paper covering the table. The aroma of pepper and cumin fill my nostrils. A sharp "WHACK" prefaces the spray of warm crustacean innards on my wife's blouse. We are in the heart of Maryland Crab Country, and it's about time to drop the hammer. That of course means the small wooden crab-splitter in my meaty paw, sprung back as though I were about to drive a ten inch railroad spike through a creosote-soaked timber. God knows I'm in no shape to actually "drop the hammer" on the road bike, it's vacation time!

Bike riding along the Maryland coast between Rehoboth Beach and Assateague Island is an exercise in aerodynamics. Dead flat with the exception of two bridges, you really only saw two types of cyclist here. Tri bikes were the dominant species, and while I would typically advise against it unless you already own a dedicated road bike, I can completely understand why I saw so many here. Coastal winds ramp up quick, and with no natural cover you would pray for any advantage you could get. Nary a traditional road bike could be found anywhere along the coast. The rare exception was a lifeguard riding a beach cruiser north to his or her daily station post.

Ocean City is the big vacation destination..or at least it has been since a 1930's hurricane blew a gaping hole in the narrow sand-shoal that makes up the island. The small town of Berlin was the previous destination, but with a new harbor inlet that market dried up quickly. The boardwalk in the Victorian sector of Ocean City is the big draw here..but don't get "locked in" to this area if you are looking to ride.

The various vendors and old rickety Carnival rides are fun, but no match for the numerous 100-plus mile scenic rides that exist here. Don't lose your head, there are some suggested routes that are worth a look!

There is a spectacular ride called the "View Trail 100" (full map at www.visitworcester.org). It is a patch-work of smaller rides that all add up to the big enchilada (not unlike the Lake Hope mountain bike loop that utilizes various smaller trails to create a larger course) for a day of hammering through some historically significant countryside. A short drive to Berlin from OC and the ride starts. Take LOTS of water, and slather on the chamois butter with a plaster gun...it's humid and not many chances for fresh water exist between towns. Tunnel vision from dehydration looks a lot like this view (below) from inside the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum. Drink often.

Riding out from Berlin you head south through the towns of Iron, Basket Switch (WHAT?), then out towards the bay to Spence. Rolling along Assateauge Bay, you head into Boxiron and down to the state's southern border to Stockton and Cedar Hill. You will soon be heading north, and crossing the Pokomoke River. Towns like Whitesburg, Furnace and Whiton await..once you get to Libertytown, the ride is almost over. Make sure you stop and read some of the Historical Site markers along the way, and once back in Berlin you may wish to book a room at the famous Atlantic Hotel's "Garden Bungalow." It's a separate house off the hotel property, with a great coffee house across the street.

Other smaller, but enjoyable rides would include a jaunt from the visitor center outside the town of Trappe out to see the wild horses on Assateuage Island. These descendants of settlers' animals roam the entire island freely, and the park's bike paths are as wide as the road used by cars. Watch out for "Assateague Island Cookies" though, as they are selfishly left for you to find with your bike tires by the island's equine inhabitants.

The long stretch of flatness from OC to Rehoboth was a favorite amongst the locals, and why not? Rehoboth Beach is a beautiful little spot that is less touristy than OC. The boardwalk lends itself to post-ride fried treats and salt-water taffy...and more candy stores than your glycemic index can tolerate.

The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel (302-227-7169) is right on the beach, and is just far enough past the arcades on the boardwalk that you would actually get some much needed sleep for the ride back to OC the next day.

Before leaving Ocean City, be sure to spend some time on the Boardwalk. Reminiscent of the 1930's, it's slimy "skill game" hosts begging you to part with your money and Victorian architecture are always a treat. If you like to SLEEP at night, though..I would recommend staying in a condo well north of this area (near 100th street). It's more expensive, but a cyclist needs his sleep, y'know? Noisy high school seniors on break make the boardwalk area less than family-friendly most summer nights, so unless you like hearing "Hey bro!" I would suggested staying to the north and VISITING the south.

Oh..and Spring Breaking seniors? Try not to emulate the fellow pictured below, ok?
Thanks so much...