Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday, Mar 23

Originally I wanted to write this eye-catching headline of "Mt. Diablo and Mt. Hamilton in one day", but then I only ended up going up Mt. Hamilton.

My parents-in-law are in town from China, and we decided to drive up from San Jose for a visit to the Lick Observatory. The drive up just confirmed that I will never ever ride up to Mt. Hamilton from the San Jose side. The road is narrow, and it bad shape most of time. I always say, the roads in China are in better shape than in California.

The Diablo plan didn't materialize because today I needed to get a high mileage in less than four hours. When I started at 9am, it was maybe 55F, but it warmed up quickly. I rode my favorite route, Canada Rd down to Woodside, Portola Valley and Los Altos. I continued on Stevens Canyon Rd, by the crash site from two weeks ago, and climbed Mt. Eden Rd and Pierce Rd before returning. After exactly four hours and 61.5 miles (3:43 riding time), I was back at Canada Rd and 92.

2008 riding stats (2007 stats in parenthesis) as of 3/23:
#of rides: 16 (19), annual mileage: 538 (664), pace: 2365.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cipo leaves Rock Racing

An anonymous source managed to get hold of an email thread between Mario Cipollini and Rock Racing's owner Michael Ball, that details the exact reasons for Mario's split with the team:

Ciao Michael,

thank you for giving me the opportunity for a comeback to professional cycling. I could not have imagined after three years of retirement, to be able to participate in another bicycling race.

Anyhow, I have decided to leave Rock Racing because of the several unresolved and unpleasant issues over the past weeks, in particular during the Tour of California:

1. Stage 2, Santa Rosa to Sacramento: I was supposed to get a manicure while in the feed zone, instead I was told to "shut up and ride" ... what the heck ?

2. Stage 4, Seaside to San Luis Obispo: the hair dryers in the team cars shorted twice, probably because of the rain. My hair looked like hell during most of the 7 hours on the road.

3. Also Stage 4: in the first feed zone, the Saltimbocca I received, was cold, so was the Bardolino, and the two espressos. Is asking for a hot meal and tempered beverages too much ?

4. Stage 6: Santa Barbara - Santa Clarita: with about 2.5 miles to go in this stage, I couldn't avoid the pile-up due to Mark Cavendish' crash, so I went down and shattered my Rolex. I had submitted an expense report, but you declined to pay for the broken watch.

I hope you respect my decision.

Ciao bello,

Mario is still looking for a new team, and he will not participate in the 99th Milan-San Remo this Easter weekend.

The Awareness Test

Test yourself .... thanks to Sara Best for the promotion of the test.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sat, Mar 15

The numbers varied between "several hundred" and "2000-3000" cyclists (actual number ~1000), that participated in today's Memorial Ride for Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson. The ride started at Foothill College in Los Altos, and went to Stevens Canyon Road where both cyclists lost their lives last Sunday.

NBC11 news story and video
KTVU video (use Internet Explorer)
San Jose Mercury News Online

The crowd at the crash site ... Pommi is the one with the yellow vest.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yield To Life

This is a good time to do some promotion for Dave Zabriskie's campaign Yield To Life.

"We all travel life’s roads. I stand before you to ask for your cooperation in providing safe space for cyclists. When you see a cyclist on the road, please, yield to life."

–David Zabriskie, world-class cyclist and founder of Yield to Life

Y2L's Mission Statement:

Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life.

Cycling is a healthy, life-affirming, environmentally-sound activity that adds value to anyone’s life. Since cyclists' lives are often in motorists’ hands, motorists must understand the vital role they play in a cyclist's safety.

Yield to Life will concentrate on road-rule education programs for motorists and cyclists alike through driver's education programs, public awareness movements and media campaigns in order to ensure a safer and more harmonious environment for all those on the road.

Yield to Life will engage in a hands-on educational program with target audiences that range from school assemblies to corporate conventions. Workshops will be created to arm cyclists with tips for navigating through traffic and tools for riding in a safe and responsible manner. Yield to Life will work on a database for cyclists to find the best, the safest and the most accommodating roads for commuting and for recreation.

Please visit Yield To Life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Memorial Ride & Service for Kristy and Matt

Update 3/12/08:

A memorial service for Matt Peterson will be held at 7:00pm on Thursday, March 13 at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant Street in San Francisco. Everyone is welcome to attend - please pass the word along!

Memorial Ride: This Saturday, March 15th

Team Roaring Mouse Cycles and Third Pillar Racing Team are holding a joint memorial ride this Saturday March 15th, to honor the lives of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson, our two teammates killed on Steven's Creek Canyon last Sunday while on a training ride. We welcome friends, family, fellow cyclists and all those whose lives have been touched by Matt and Kristy. Our ride will include a visit to the site of the crash site for those to share their memories.

When: Saturday, March 15th

Where: Leaving from Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road,
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Google map to location:

**We kindly request you do NOT drive out to the crash site during this time, as we need to keep cars to a minimum in the area, given the road conditions.

Time: Meet at 2:30pm, ride by 3pm

Length: 30-45 minutes to the crash site. Base pace (ie, mellow). No drop.

Start @ Foothill College (Parking Lot #1, near the football stadium; see link above for map)

- Left on El Monte
- Right on Foothill Expressway
- Continue on Steven's Creek Canyon
- Return

Route directions via Google:

**Press are welcome to attend, however we request respect during our ride. It would mean the most to us if press were to accompany us on their bikes, as we are all cyclists this week.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Two bicyclists struck and killed by sheriff's vehicle in Cupertino


Two avid bicyclists were killed when a Santa Clara County sheriff's patrol car crossed the double-yellow line on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino and hit a group of riders shortly before 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

The crash on a beautiful Sunday morning left the Bay Area cycling community and the sheriff's department shaken.

"It's just horrible," said Mike Riepe of San Jose, after hauling his mountain bike up a trail near the crash site.

The opportunities for hill climbing and downhill coasting along Stevens Canyon make the road tempting for cyclists. So on Sunday morning four cyclists training for an event decided to give the hills a shot. The group was hit by the deputy's white cruiser while the deputy was on a routine patrol in the area, Sgt. Don Morrissey said.

Coming around a bend near a straightaway, the deputy accidentally crossed the center line and struck the group, Morrissey said. He called for help and immediately began CPR on one of the fallen cyclists, Morrissey said.

The sheriff's office did not release the names of the victims. But friends and bicycling Web sites identified the dead cyclists as Matt Peterson, 30, of San Francisco, and Kristy Gough, 31, of Oakland. Peterson died at the scene of the crash and Gough died several hours later after she was airlifted to Stanford University Hospital. Before and after she died, dozens of cyclists gathered at the hospital.

A 20-year-old man, identified by friends as Christopher Knapp of Germany, was seriously injured and was listed in stable condition Sunday night at Stanford University Hospital. The fourth rider was not hurt, CHP officer Todd Thibodeau said.

Peterson was on a cycling team sponsored by Roaring Mouse Cycles, a San Francisco bicycle shop. The shop's Web site posted word of his death on Sunday night.

The Web site of USA Cycling lists numerous races in which Peterson did well, including a first-place finish in a March 1 road race in Merced. He had a fourth-place finish in the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix on Saturday.

Friends on Sunday described Gough as a professional triathlete who recently took up cycling but immediately started winning Northern California races. The most recent was the Merco Credit Union Foothills Road Race in Merced County on March 2.

"It's a huge loss for our team," said Anthony Borba of Campbell, the captain of the Third Pillar, Gough's team. "Besides being a phenomenal talent she was a phenomenal human being."

Interviewed at Stanford hospital late Sunday night, Borba said Gough was "an Olympic hopeful" being scouted for the Summer Games in Beijing.

"It's just so sad that these two athletes who were just coming into their own were struck down," Borba said. "We're all in shock."

Sunday's accident rattled the whole sheriff's department, Morrissey said. The deputy involved in the crash will be placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. He's been on the force for about a year and a half.

"He's taking it very hard," Morrissey said. "The whole department is saddened."

Fatal crashes are rare for the sheriff's department, even though deputies often drive as many as 200 miles in a single shift, Morrissey said.

The last fatal crash involving a sheriff's patrol car happened in 1994, when a deputy trying to keep a suspect from running struck and killed the man near the intersection of West San Carlos Street and Bascom Avenue. The deputy was cleared of wrongdoing.

On a good weekend, thousands of cyclists cruise the winding road leading to Stevens Creek Reservoir, said cyclist Steve Paterson, 49, of Cupertino, as he was turned away from a road block near Ricardo Road set up because of the crash.

"There are so many rides up here," he said. "Club rides, sponsored rides, groups of friends."

It's unclear whether the cyclists involved in the crash were riding as part of a larger group, Morrissey said.

Cyclists along the well-traveled stretch of road talked Sunday about the dangers of their sport - everything from speeding cars to drivers who blare their horns in an attempt to intimidate them. One of the most dangerous things cyclists can do, they said, is ride two-abreast.

That practice is not illegal but can be extremely dangerous on narrow, winding roads with a large amount of traffic.

It was unclear if the cyclists involved in this crash were doing so, Thibodeau said. But cyclists said they've seen dangerous behavior from those on both two wheels and four.

"I've seen bicyclists who ride crazy," Paterson said. "And I've seen cars that go too fast."

In 1996, cyclist Jeffrey Steinwedel, 46, died on Stevens Canyon Road just up the road from Sunday's crash when a quarry driver struck him as he took a winter ride. The driver, Jon Nisby, was sentenced to a year in jail.

The CHP is asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call (408) 467-5354, extension 337.

This is real tragedy. Just last Sunday, I rode on Stevens Canyon Rd towards Mt Eden Rd and Saratoga.

And today I went to the Danville PD to complain about the speeders on Diablo Rd between Mt Diablo Scenic Blvd and Green Valley Rd. I'm tired of being honked at and cut off by speeding morons on this small and windy road, every time I come back from Diablo. Today, a black truck passed me just before the road turns left, and almost lost control as he had to get back into the right lane because of oncoming traffic. The cyclist in front of me was lucky not to get pushed off the road. And just before reaching Green Valley Rd, a driver in a black Mercedes limousine thought he owns the road and must scare cyclists by unnecessarily honking at us. It seems only a matter of time until someone gets killed on this stretch of road.

Sun, Mar 9

And suddenly it's spring in the Bay Area ... or my car's temperature sensor is broken ... 77F at 3pm in San Ramon.

After a 39-mile ride yesterday along the San Ramon Valley, with Mount Diablo just looming in the distance, I decided that today I would reverse roles, and have the San Ramon Valley looming in the distance. Unbeknownst to me, today was "Bring you SUV or Minivan to Diablo and Clog the Road Day"; for a moment I thought that I was caught in the rush hour on US101. At least I managed to pass them all on the way down.

The new bike is worth the money. Before, I thought that it's me who can't corner like TBV while racing down Diablo, but in fact it's the bike ! It was a blast. Time-wise, I've still got work to do. The 7 pounds I've saved with the bike definitely makes me faster, but it still took me 88 minutes from Athenian School to the summit.

Some impressions from today:

The crowd at the Junction Ranger Station where the thermometer said "72.4F".

One of two unicyclists on they way up to Junction.

Two of two ...

At Devil's Silde ... the end is near.

The Pink Lady with her 80-90 pound (!) baggage ... and she's riding a 24:34 gear ratio (yes, 24 in the front, 34 in the back).

Finally there ...

... and with always great views !

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mon, Mar 3

It's already March, and I'm still about 233 miles behind in my pace to reach to 3000 miles for the year; at least I managed to get in 66 miles of riding yesterday. I only have six more weeks of riding ahead of me before I'm on a another 3 1/2 weeks of no-biking due to a China trip; this means 895 miles in 6 weeks to get to last year's pace for 2500 miles. I have doubts that I can make it, so I have a lot to cover for the second half of the year; but it's interesting what Excel spreadsheets are good for.

2008 riding stats (2007 stats in parenthesis) as of 3/4:
#of rides: 9 (13), annual mileage: 287.5 (442), pace: 1665.