Mom rocks the camera

Megan just sent me this shot from the Cat’s Hill race a few weeks ago (common lag from Mom’s camera to picture availability) . . . pretty impressive she could take any picture of tools on bikes while keeping Keira and Aili from a. wandering out on the course b. wandering into some yard w/ swings and toys c. getting their Truckee winter skin scalded in the May heat of the lowlands . . .

Nice work Mom!

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Ride/Road Report: Donner Pass and Donner Lake Good To Go. Watch for marmots.

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[Caption: Crappy picture.  Clean road. North Shore Donner Lake + Carson Range]

Spring in the Sierra, one day a foot of snow is all over the ground and roads, the next it is bare and dry and sunny and beautiful.  I snuck out for a lunchtime ride on Wednesday and the west Truckee roads and weather were surprisingly good.  Props to Truckee road crews the street cleaners who were working overtime or something and seriously the bike lanes and roads were cleaner than mid-summer . . . sure it was in the 50’s and north winds but, whatever.  Tahoe Donner, Donner Lake, Donner Pass/old highway 40 all awesome.  Combine w/ sick weather forecast this weekend and road season on Truckee is officially on. 

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[Caption: Ride bike.  Scope Lines.  Sugar Bowl.]

Super cool riding up Donner Pass w/ 10 foot snow drifts and sick ski lines staring you in the face . . . getting stoked for next weekend’s final ski mission (either to Eastside or Schlassen combo).  Also, I almost ran over a marmot (the actual animal, not the brand) descending Donner Pass at 40mph.  It was big enough I was a little spooked.  Squirrels I figure I roll right through . . . kind of gruesome and I don’t want to hit a squirrel, or anything else for that matter, but I don’t worry about crashing because of a squirrel.  HOLD THE LINE.  Marmot, different story.  Gotta be on your game those dudes are super active in the spring.  If you’re out climbing in the Sierra, watch your stash.  One tried to pimp my Clif Bar on the top of Mt Gibbs a few years ago while I snapped some photos.

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[Caption: Road Conditions Old Highway 40 W of Donner Pass 7k feet]

Ride/Road Report: Donner Pass and Donner Lake Good To Go. Watch for marmots.

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[Caption: Crappy picture.  Clean road. North Shore Donner Lake + Carson Range]

Spring in the Sierra, one day a foot of snow is all over the ground and roads, the next it is bare and dry and sunny and beautiful.  I snuck out for a lunchtime ride on Wednesday and the west Truckee roads and weather were surprisingly good.  Props to Truckee road crews the street cleaners who were working overtime or something and seriously the bike lanes and roads were cleaner than mid-summer . . . sure it was in the 50’s and north winds but, whatever.  Tahoe Donner, Donner Lake, Donner Pass/old highway 40 all awesome.  Combine w/ sick weather forecast this weekend and road season on Truckee is officially on. 

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[Caption: Ride bike.  Scope Lines.  Sugar Bowl.]

Super cool riding up Donner Pass w/ 10 foot snow drifts and sick ski lines staring you in the face . . . getting stoked for next weekend’s final ski mission (either to Eastside or Schlassen combo).  Also, I almost ran over a marmot (the actual animal, not the brand) descending Donner Pass at 40mph.  It was big enough I was a little spooked.  Squirrels I figure I roll right through . . . kind of gruesome and I don’t want to hit a squirrel, or anything else for that matter, but I don’t worry about crashing because of a squirrel.  HOLD THE LINE.  Marmot, different story.  Gotta be on your game those dudes are super active in the spring.  If you’re out climbing in the Sierra, watch your stash.  One tried to pimp my Clif Bar on the top of Mt Gibbs a few years ago while I snapped some photos.

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[Caption: Road Conditions Old Highway 40 W of Donner Pass 7k feet]

Boca Race Report: Cold and Beautiful

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[Caption: Sunset on Boca]

The Reno Wheelmen cycling club put on a fantastic Twilight Road (every Tuesday April – August roughly) and Mountain Bike series of races  (http://www.renowheelmen.org).  My favorite among them is the Boca Road Race which is one of 3ish tracks the road series rotates through.  Why is this the favorite hmm let me count the ways:

·         It is in Truckee not Reno which means ride to/from the race or a short drive

·         It is a road race

·         It is beautiful scenery and light traffic – stunning sunsets, etc. (pardon crappy pics from phone, but better than no pics IMO)

·         It is short and hard and awesome training

·         It is on Tuesday evenings so super time efficient w/ respect to work, family, etc.

·         You always get to race w/ a bunch of teammates and see local race crew and meet new folks, etc.  Last night I raced with then warmed down w/ Peter Taylor – who in addition to being a Truckee local and incredibly strong Masters racer is also a principle in the OB GYN practice that helped deliver our two kids . . . yeah Truckee rocks and riding w/ Peter post-race against a backdrop of setting sun over Boca w/ broken clouds and fresh snow on the peaks all around lit up in the alpenglow (on May 11) is the kind of moment where you’re feeling good and connected

Anyway, winter won’t let go, Truckee got 6-12 inches of snow on Monday, and Tuesday was blustery and windy and cold, etc. Peter told me 38 degrees per his bike computer. One Boca race has already been cancelled due to snow this year and this one was at risk but it went off w/ the A’s at 6:15 very tight, nice.  I drove out, did a long warm-up, hoped I’d recovered a bit from Berkeley Hills on Sunday, then warmed up in my car until the start.  Ended up in the second group w/ maybe 7? over the Wall w/ three off the front including teammate Jesse (who is just in another world good on him) . . . Conrad and I sat in and tried not to piss off our friends who were chasing hard while not realing in Jesse . . . I dropped a chain at the wrong time (nice one idiot) and my chase group was gone rode home w/ a cool dude in a UNR kit again to the stunning backdrop then got smoked in our friendly two up sprint for the line maybe 10th-ish overall or something. 

Can’t wait for better weather and Boca Tuesdays where I roll out of my garage on the bike, hook w/ a crew downtown, ride to the course, race, ride home in the sunset, eat half the kitchen, pass out, etc. 

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[Caption: Carson Range Alpenglow and the racing road!]

Ahhhh yes, road racing

First road race of year today, Berkeley Hills (E3).  I love this race – any long hard road race really.  Worst case you ‘felt like you raced’ (assuming you don’t crash or mechanical), and who knows what result might be lurking on a good day and/or with good fortune, decision making, etc.  Today didn’t really feature any of those on my part.  Felt ok first two times up the Bears.  Slid to the back of the group on the backstretch to pee and eat and drink . . . chased back w/ a guy and the group was kind of poking along, learned 18 guys were up the road including riders from the teams w/ 3 and 5 and more guys . . . I wasn’t tracking for a result even if that didn’t happen but disappointed to miss a huge split, more learning.  26th!

Makes you want to move to Portland.

Truckee didn’t make the cut (yet) as bike friendly community.  Shocker! In a surprise to nobody who lives and bikes in Truckee/North Lake Tahoe – the community was not recognized as a Bicycling Friendly Community after applying this year . . .  Here is the master list. 

http://bit.ly/2c0PLp

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/pdfs/bfc_master_list_web.pdf

Truckee/NLT applied this year – and got “honorable mention” – which is basically like “thanks for trying we don’t want to discourage you from improving so we won’t give you a “FAIL” – but you do in fact FAIL.  A ton of great people and organizations continue to work to improve this and I’m confident we’ll get there but for now it is what it is . . .

Here is a litmus test:  I live in the largest neighborhood in Truckee (Tahoe Donner) which houses approximately 1/3 of Truckee’s full time resident population and is located anywhere from 1-5 miles from Truckee Downtown/commercial centers/schools/etc . . . and this neighborhood is *NOT* connected to any of that in a bike friendly way.  You can’t ride to school or town for errands or w/ the family for a dinner in town or coffee or what not w/out going legit offroad getting blown up on Northwoods by grades and traffic (i.e. it sucks for anything other than hill interval training and kids/families/etc. that is a joke).

Truckee – and Tahoe Donner – market themselves as “outdoor meccas / hubs of outdoor activity / for the active lifestyle / etc.” . . . that is marketing b.s. IMO until you can safely ride your bike to and around town please pipe down and aspire to the likes of Dayton, OH and places where the community has been less interested in developing and selling second homes and vacation homes vs. improving the quality of life for everyone who is actually present in the place (full or part time, visitors, etc.)

Cat’s Hill Wuss Report

I’m a wuss . . . probably had Top 10 legs at Cat’s Hill and bottom ten stones to mix it up when it mattered.  Even to be racing Cat’s Hill was an incredible bonus – I am in Santa Cruz w/ my family for my brother in law’s wedding so the logistics were fantastic enabling my first race of the year (not counting the UNR P123 crit w/ 9 guys).   Rolling to the race w/ wife and kids on a twenty minute drive from Santa Cruz to Los Gatos at 9:30am . . . uh, not sure how I’ll ever dawn patrol solo 3 hours to a race again! 

Anyway, fantastic weather, crowds, organization, etc.  Cool course.  23% Cat’s Hill the defining feature but in this race not enough to blow it apart unfortunately – I would have rather felt safe as a ‘chasing blown’ guy then stew in the nervous stress box this race turned into.  First 5 laps hard, 60+(?) E3 field starts to blow but pace mellows.  3-man break goes next 10 laps w/ 10 seconds . . . they come back at 5-ish to go and the field bunches up and gets twitchy and a huge crash happens w/ 3 to go right next to me where I’m smelling the exploding carbon and hearing dudes scream.  I decided right there today was not the day to mix it up.  I’m having a great day w/ my family, wedding to attend in a couple hours (Keira was the flower girl, rad).  I go to the front – roll off the front – show off for my kids w/ 2 to go in the safest line of them all my own all alone just me and the wind! .  . .  and of course somewhat blown on the final lap climb refuse to fight for position coming off it and finish a mellow 15 or 20 or whatever.  And am absolutely stoked!  Warm down ride to skyline up 9 in the sickest riding weather Sierra spring snowstorms and freezing high sierra mountaineering in the rear view mirror. 

Great day on the bike, great day w/ the family, great wedding, congrats Rob and Sarah.  And Keira rocked the flower girl program. 

Still, at the end of the day I can admit I am not one for the hurly burly, at least not now.  Give me the open road, space, selection, etc.  Arrived at the following general rules/guidelines w/ Megan on the drive home:

a.       Can’t spend more time 1-way in car than the duration of race

b.      Unless it is a family trip I’ll race w/ wife/kids any day that is the best!

This rules out most bay area crits from my Truckee base, which is fine with me.  I’ll get my share at Aircenter (Reno), Tour de Nez and other multi-stage events, random sync up w/ family trips . . . such a wuss.