Thursday, January 30, 2014

Steel WÜl Trivia - 50.191 KM

Question: Who is this road, track, cross, mtb racer?

Answer: Colby Pierce

For the record: Colby held the American hour record at 50.191 KM until Norm Alvis crushed it with a 51.505 KM. Colby was on a Lotus Super Bike, I pedaled Jim's Lotus TT bike from his house in Soquel to Aptos decades ago and I can see how one can easily ramp those up to 31 mph without trying, holding on for an hour is a completely different story. Colby was the original pocket rocket. Kluck and I discovered the difference between 28.0 MPH and 29.5 MPH at the National TT... 30 other guys going 28.5 MPH and Mary Holden going 29.0 MPH. 

Winter of 2014...I remember that Thursday

Thank you to the folks that heated up their rollers last night because we were in fact issued a few raindrops from our Celtic Goddess. Since there is precipitation in the air, lets pretend for a minuet that we are in the dead of winter and follow the training advise of  Federico Bahamontes (six time TdF KOM winner) and take some REST. Santa Cruz pedal pushers are known for over training, just ask Daryl Price who made a career of crushing folks who pedaled twice as much as he did. Rest is an underrated component to cycling and I often find myself off the bike due to work commitments for weeks on end and within a couple of rides you settle right back where you were with fresh legs and more important a fresh mind.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bringing in the big guns...

I was listening to the Pig yesterday on my way home lamenting the fact that it no longer rains in California and I happened to catch the end of 'Sleepy Maggie' with Ashley MacIsaac lighting it up on the fiddle. Moments later, I saw my Irish buddy in his black and white patrolling the crime ridden streets of Capitola. Then I pulled into my driveway and spied Fitzpatrick next door rocking a set of rollers (could it be wishful thinking?... having to pedal indoors again). This impromptu Irish fest culminated with a phone call from Kevin Michael McGillicuddy from the Pacific Northwest and that's when I knew this was more than just happenstance, this was a sign from a Celtic deity possibly Icovellauna the Goddess of water delivering her message, 'rain drops are given, when rollers are ridden'.

enjoy this boogie from Ashley MacIsaac with Mary Jane LaMond vocals

For the record:
I held up my end of the deal and logged an hour (give or take 30 mins) listening to the Chieftains on vinyl.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lessons from the groupeto - the puncture

There are hundreds of unwritten rules to the road and unfortunately some of the most important and fundamental ones are no longer being passed on to folks via word of mouth. As a teenager, I relied upon these simple yet crucial lessons that were offered up to me by my elders and I accepted them as gospel to gain the confidence of the group. You can only learn so much from a magazine or inter-web, its all about hands on experience. Velominati has established a fun set of rules here, but I want to get back to the basics and share what was passed on to me from some of California's finest pedal pushers

The puncture

  • To avoid most flats, always ride Continental 4 season 25c tires. They ride like garden hoses, but they rarely puncture. Do this unless you get paid to ride your bike.
  • On planned group rides, always carry 2 tubes with appropriate length valves and a patch kit of your choice. (glue or sticky)
  • When you realize you have a flat, calmly announce it to the group
  • Once a puncture is determined, everyone in the group immediately inspects both tires. There is nothing worse than a clueless bystander with a slow leak aka 'late for dinner'.
  • He or she with the puncture identifies a logical location in which the repairs are to take place, then confidently states,"front", "back" or the dreaded "both". This will allow for the rest of the group to judge how long they might be waiting for the repair (don't worry, this happens to all of us)
  • In the interest of time, someone in the group, typically a veteran with a working knowledge of different group sets will secure the bike, place the chain in the smallest cog, loosen the appropriate brake levers, and settle in for a few minutes of holding the bike (this is honorable). Balancing the saddle on your bars is a pro move and under no circumstance will the bicycle ever be placed upside down aka 'the inverted train wreck'.
  • The rider with the flat always provides and prepares the new tube using lung power. The punctured tube is to be immediately quarantined and passed on to one of the green horns on the ride to be rolled up with the stem on the outside indicating a blown tube. This will ensure that the tubes do not get mixed up aka 'tube vertigo'. Green horn identification is easy - they are on their "smart" phone checking FB not stretching the legs or helping out. 
  • Someone else in the group with strong hands will then remove the wheel in question from the frame, unhook one side of the tire bead from the rim, remove the tube, note the orientation of the tube in relationship to the rim (this should always be placed in which the valve stem lines up with the main tire moniker) the reason for this allows for a quick inspection of the tire once the location of the hole in the tube is identified. There is nothing worse than a secondary blow out from an overlooked sidewall cut aka 'peek a boo'
  • The inspector will then announce one of the following tire reports "all clear", "boot required", or "you're done"
  • The person with the flat properly inserts the tube ensuring the tire moniker is lined up perfectly. Once the tire is seated back on the rim, double checking for tube exposure is absolutely crucial.
  • The person with the flat should be gathering and stowing all tube related paraphernalia while someone else initiates the tire inflation. This is to be done slowly and methodically stopping periodically for inspection. 
  • Never use Co2 unless you have 3% BMI, otherwise lose the .25lbs of fat and carry a pump. If riding with cycling legends like Craig & Harry always place the wheel on first prior to pumping up - they claim that if done properly not only is this quicker but it happens to be ergonomically superior. You don't want them to ask you if you need a football while you're "wrestling" your wheel. If you're up for the challenge you can go for the Kluck method -straight arm pump operation ensuring valve preservation aka 'the straight arm'.
  • Once properly inflated always ask Doug E. Fresh for a pressure check. We have documentation that he can pinch read tire pressure within 2 bars. 

For the record:
Keep in mind that this nuanced cycling tradition should take 3 mins 40 seconds for a front tire, 4.5 mins for rear and 7 mins for both. If you puncture on a solo boogie - find a stable mailbox or fence post and start your stopwatch. For tubeless punctures pack some latex glooves and advil.

For you folks sporting tubeless go here to view our handsome friends at Easton. They have captured the essence of simplicity with this super clean video. Ladies keep your eyes on the wheel...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Can you pedal after school? Let me ask my mom...

AC and I have been pedaling together for 26 years and every once in a while we discover a new road. Our latest find had two dogs, one very friendly homeowner, some barely walk-able pitches and lots and lots of sand. I wish I had his ability to stamp out a 7 hour boogie after not touching a bike in weeks. He calls it "fresh-leg syndrome".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's not Paris Brest Paris but it still packs a punch...

Super Dave enjoying a well deserved respite on the Hey Laddies Boogie 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rock Lobster, Bontrager and a Caletti walk into a bakery...

Since Olive has graduated to a 700c hand-me-down Caletti (thank you Cory!), we figured it was high time she experience what it's like to walk into the Monterey Paris Bakery absolutely bonked (don't go calling child protective services on us - we were packing some dried mango and a PBJ). She hung tough through the wind and rollers after locking us in on a pinky-promise of ordering anything she wanted at the Bakery (Doug E. Fresh style).

You never know what characters you might run into on the Monterey-bay-coastal-scenic-rail-Steinbeck-sanctuary-salt water taffy-sardine factory-trail and this family boogie did not disappoint. Our first chatty-kathy was a self proclaimed debt collector from Salinas on an old heat treated Cannondale who we could not shake to save our lives. We tried everything from taking the half mile diversion path to the old fashioned my shoelace came untied trick, and this dude just kept talking the entire time. However, he did set the stage for the rest of our ride by telling us to look out for two specific people on the bike path who would inspire us. All of a sudden we were all ears.

As he slowly pulled away from us on the final climb pedaling his dated machine in leather hiking boots and knee high wool socks he looked back and said, "look for the Latino guy strolling along the path using a walker - he loves to talk to folks, and keep your eyes peeled for a guy as big as all three of you pedaling a bike pulling a cart - he sweeps the pathway for us".

Not only did we find Eduardo and Hawaiian Dave, but we chatted with both of them for a moment and quite frankly felt inspired by their positive demeanor and outlook on life.

how many more miles dad...

is that another hill...

can I get one more cookie...


Hawaiian Dave

For the record: On our way home Eduardo yelled out, "adios Jacobo" 

babe, I'm going for a 37 mile back in 5 hours

Our dear friend and winner of the 2013 Dave Zabriskie look a like contest- Tyson Wiles, sneaked away to Maui with his family for a few days and bagged one of the longest paved climbs on earth. 

Enjoy his ride report:

I heard Mt Haleakalā was an awesome ride. I made a few calls and reserved a rode bike with compact gears (only two rentals with compact gearing so i had to wait an extra day for one to be returned). The mountain bike guys at the shop were very pleasant and flipped the stem, adjusted the bars, saddle and even gave vague instructions about where to start if I wanted to ride Haleakala. The looked at me in board shorts like this guy has no idea what he is getting himself into. When I left with the bike they said "good luck". I got the feeling from a hint of sarcasm in their voice they thought I wouldn't make it.

Paia to the peak is 37 miles of uphill and 10,023 feet. Nothing super steep just steady. They said the average grade was 6-7%. The shop employee murmmered something like the record to the top was 2 1/2 hours. Maybe Porter Wesson recently fixed his brake rub and made a top secret trip over there to set the bar high.

They told me to start at 6 to beat the heat and the afternoon weather. I loaded up from the other side of the island at 5am and made the trip in total darkness. The sun didn't come up until about 6:30 and without lights I didn't feel good about riding in the dark so I waited in the parking lot until I could see. Sure enough, uphill  and into the wind from the first pedal stroke. Beautiful morning though. Only saw one other rider the whole way up. I caught him about 8 miles into the ride. Military man from texas who was vacationing in Maui so his wife could run the Maui Marathon the following Sunday. We chatted for a few thousand feet and then he indicated the pace was too much and we parted ways.

Eventually I made it to the top. It took me about 4 1/2 hours to get there and just over 1 hour to get down. The road was pristine. extremely smooth with ample bike lanes. It sure was cold up there. I'm glad I carried my warm Capo jacket, head band, gloves and knee warmers for the descent.

A must ride for anyone in our group who goes to Maui.


For the record: Tyson stood on the podium at the 2013 Cobble Classic

Friday, January 17, 2014

Steel WÜl You Find It - Firehouse to Firehouse

A SW olive t-shirt to the first person who finds it

Thursday, January 16, 2014

want to pedal on cloud nine... ride a Caletti

or a Black Cat, Rock Lobster, Calfee, & Hunter - thank you Dain Zaffke!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Steel WÜl Trivia - Tasmanian Devil

Question: Who is the beast in the Wheelsmith kit getting ready for Oak Glen RR of the Redlands Tour?

Hint: this all-rounder took 2nd to this dude at the District RR back in the day

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Searching for Colin Kaepernick...

...on a Sunday morning with E. Horton. We never did lay eyes on the kid from Turlock but we did happen to score a new road that was begging to be enjoyed while folks were doing this. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Steel WÜl Trivia - congenital aerodynamics

Question: Who is this prolific winner of bicycle racing?
Answer: Eric Wohlberg

Hint: He was disqualified (on a technicality) at the 2000 National Time Trial after winning it hands down. He passed me like I was standing still at the turn around on the Nachez Parkway. 

The first correct answer takes home a SW 'Olivia' t-shirt

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Leaf kitchen brought to you by New Road Kit...

Now that I have my winter Giro New Road kit dialed in, I'm always looking for excuses to pedal to New Leaf and chat with Mt Larry while I peruse the bulk bins for something interesting . Unfortunately, I recently discovered the Fly Shop across the street and often end up dropping a few quarters on a couple Sparkle Duns, Royal Wulffs, Zonkers, Black Ghosts, and Dahlberg Divers. AC and I figure that we have at least 3 more years of random fly purchasing before we're accepted by the owner. It's reminiscent of walking into the Spokesman when it was on Cedar St. and wishing that Tom Sullivan or Kelly Robertson would remember your name after purchasing your 3rd pair of Alfredo Binda toe straps and Velox bar end plugs. 

Royal Wulff

Sparkle Dunn

For the record: Wouldn't the Doug E. Doppler be a great name for a Steel-head fly.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 San Benito Boogie...


Join us on yet another dry iteration of the San Benito Boogie aka the Rain Dance Boogie. This unique route traverses the Gabilan Range twice as we start and finish in SJB. We will head south on Old Stage Rd and wiggle our way up and over La Gloria Grade to the east side with a goal of catching a south wind back up 25 to Cienega. We will have the SW sag with us so bring plenty of calories for the cooler as we will enjoy a respite at the Bear Valley Helitack Station.

When: Saturday, January 4th
Time: 8:00 am (8:30 roll out)
Where: Windmill Market SJB
Distance: 3 croissant cream-cheese sandos, 12 dark chocolate coconut haystacks, 10 pitted dates with almonds, 3 bottles of Bengal Spice tea with Himalayan sea-salt, 2 Dharmas chocolate chip cookies, and 2 nuggets of Grandma WÜluers holiday pitapiata.

                    Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide
Check out the video John Caletti posted after our last episode..

Steel Wul Chronicles -San Juan South from John Caletti / Caletti Cycles on Vimeo.