Nov 2006 DSSF Board Meeting

The DSSF Board met on 11/11/06 at Michael Schmucki’s house. Present were Scott, Bill B., Patrick, David Gaus, Michael and Dave Glidden.

First order of business was the membership and treasury reports. The current members ship stands at 158 and the club’s current balance is about $2650. The balance was a little higher than anticipated. Previous indication were that we would take a hit from Tahoe and from Jersey refunds. However, we are in good shape. There was some talk about donating the balance to charity. Perhaps a breast cancer charity, the ALC or the Wilmot ride.

Action: The 2007 board will develop a budget for the year.

The group then turned to the calendar for 2007. There are some fixed items on the calendar (like the Jersey) ride. The major centuries were added (Chico, Wine Country, Marin) but the focus was on scheduling club events. The club will plan 3 sponsored weekend rides: a weekend riding in Solvang in early March; a weekend in July in or around the Russian River and a weekend in Amador in early October. The decision was made not to schedule a Tahoe riding trip this year. Bill is planning a winter ski trip, however.

Action: The calendar will be distributed in the next couple of weeks by Chris LaRussell.

We then discussed the 2007 Board. Chris LaRussell is planning to run for president and Dave G. is interested in running for vice-president. Dave and Chris have been in touch and asked everyone on the board to stay if they are interested. Jerome was absent but expressed a willingness to stay. Michael S. said that he would like to rotate off the board. David G. expressed a willingness to stay; however, he is likely to take on new responsibilities at work. People began discussing various positions and people were concerned that some jobs (e.g., outreach) are poorly defined. Dave mentioned that Chris may add some positions such as a social coordinator or a special events coordinator. In that past, offices have come and gone on the board. Patrick said that it would be easier to recruit new board members is we could provide a clear description of responsibilities. It was noted that some responsibilities could be transferred away from ride coordinator to lighten the “load” Patrick volunteered to do write up responsibilities for officers to edit. [Update: This is done and available on request. Some discussion has followed by e-mail and responsibilities for position].

Action: Dave G will put out a general call for board and office volunteers.

Webform: The club will allow members to join off the website next year. This will further streamline the process of joining. Jerome has piloted the process with board members and asked questions about the interface. We had some suggestions for things to add (which is not easy and it was past time for that anyway) and things to remove. Anyway, it turned out he was asking about the general interface which we never discussed.

Action: An e-mail will go out in the next week asking people to join up. Web is encoura

Fall Social and the Three Bears

Sunday’s fall social at Phil Bokovoy’s was an enjoyable day, despite slightly cooler weather than we’ve become accustomed to, and a lower than anticipated turnout of DSSF members and boardies.  Maybe it was the weather, or the end of daylight savings time, or perhaps a surfeit of Halloween parties.

Three rides were organized.  Tim and Jamie mountain biked; a second group rode a relaxing ride to Rosie the Riveter in Richmond.  A third group of seven enjoyed the Berkeley hills and Three Bears Loop.  Stephanie, Denise, Laura, Bart, Mark, Erik and Bill climbed the usual way up Euclid Avenue to Tilden Park and then up Wildcat Canyon Road to Inspiration Point.  By this time, the sun was beginning to peak out of the clouds and it was just another beautiful Bay Area Sunday morning.

The group rode a good C-pace clockwise loop around San Pablo Dam Road and the roads leading to the Bears.  Unfortunately Mark flatted but Stephanie was there to provide conversation and moral support.  On the way back, the boys went via South Park Drive, while the girls opted for a return trip via Wildcat Canyon and Euclid.  South Park, while only 1 1/2 miles long, has some stretches that are at least 15% grade.  A good time was had by Erik, Mark and Bill (i.e., the Conzelman Three) and Bart.  The screaming descent down Claremont back to Phil’s made the work up South Park all the more worth it.  Apparently, we just beat the mating season of some salamander, because South Park is closed to traffic starting November 1 for the winter. 

Back at Phil’s, BBQ turkey and coronas courtesy of Erik were the order of the afternoon.  Rico’s lemon bars and Tim’s beet salad were standouts, but by 2:30 as the sun disappeared from Phil’s backyard, the 15 or so of us there were huddling for warmth between two Weber BBQs. 

Unfortunately, no one brought marshmallows for toasting and s’mores, so everybody went home.

Diablo Challenge – 10/1

Jerome spins up the mountain; fresh at the finish.

Attacking at mile ten; finish.

A 10.8 mile time trial to the summit of Mt. Diablo, this year’s Challenge hosted a thousand cyclists, most of whom have a secret love for warm, cuddly pain. Not pain from the climb, since Diablo itself is pretty docile – but pain from setting a faster-than-recreational tempo. (Wanna go at some real pain? Try this.)

The event was nicely organized, and the mountain, with its sun-dappled, freshly paved roads, was a treat.

Jerome and I were in the third wave of cyclists, several hundred of us clogging up a very narrow starting lane. There was at least one crash within the first couple-hundred feet, as two handlebars became entangled. However, the tight starting bunches thinned out quickly, and by mile one riders were establishing pace and settling in for the climb ahead.

The winner was Robert Anderson, a Masters racer out of Mill Valley. He finished :47:28 and averaged nearly 14mph. Jerome crossed the finish line at 1:24, and I stopped the clock at 1:04.

Here’s Jerome’s MotionBased log.

Konocti Challenge – 10/7 solo ride

Looking to get in one last century before leaving on a 16 day cruise this month, I signed up for the Konocti Challenge (formerly called Pedal ‘Round the Puddle, the puddle being Clearlake) to take advantage of the free (in-laws aka ‘those people’) overnight housing in Middletown, about 40 miles from Lakeport.

Trying to recover from a week long cold, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to feel doing the ride, and it was strange doing a century ‘alone’ but I also wasn’t sure what to expect either. Lake County isn’t a wealthy county by any stretch, so I was concerned about bad roads and red necks. For the most part, neither proved to be an issue, and I really enjoyed the ride.

Leaving the starting point at Lakeport Yacht Club (what yachts?) as the sun was coming up, heading towards the north end of the lake, it proved to be a day for minor “issues”, the first was losing the bite valve from the Camelback early on and having to drink using the shutoff valve, making it not as convenient as Camelbacks usually are. I was also having a shifting issue when going between the lower rear gears,

While riding thru the town of Nice, I noticed the Featherbed Railroad Co. (which turns out to be a B&B on the lake.) Once the sun rose enough to not be right in my eyes, the view to the right across the lake of the dormant volcano Mt. Konocti on the other side of the lake was gorgeous.

Rest stop 1 was in Clear Lake Oaks at 21 miles at the Indian Beach Resort. I was wearing my AIDS/LifeCycle jersey thinking it would be unique that day, but I was not alone. A rider complimented me on the jersey as I stood waiting for a porta-potty to open up, and as I looked up to thank him, he was grinning and wearing the same jersey, a veteran of ALC2, 3 & 5.

Proceeding around the lake, thru Clear Lake Keys, we turned onto Sulphur Bank Drive and the first climb of the day followed by a descent towards the city of Clearlake around Borax Lake. Rest stop 2 was just outside of Lower Lake at the Anderson Marsh State Park (although the route sheet showed it was to be at the site of Modern Manufactured homes, fortunately their excellent signs clearly pointed out the route all day long.)

Leaving Lower Lake, we turn right on Highway 29 before turning onto Siegler Canyon Road and the climb thru the canyon and up Loch Lomond toward Cobb Mountain, and the scenery changed as we climbed to Adam Springs and Hoberg, and then a nice descent to Bottle Rock Road and onto lunch rest stop 3 at Jellystone Park at Cobb Mountain (formerly Beaver Creek Campground.)

From there the climbing resumed up Bottle Rock Road. After all the climbing, one would think I would have enjoyed the descent, but the 9% grade sign got the best of me and I took the descent slower than most of the others recently. Not long after the sign, I recognized Bill’s dad in his pickup going up the hill, but did not attempt to wave. He had been worried about me on Lake County roads because of the crazy drivers. He’s pretty sure he saw me, but he was still a sleep when I left the house at 6am, and Bill couldn’t remember which jersey I was wearing, when asked.

Rest stop 4 was at Point Lakeview and Soda Bay Road where we resume our course around the lake, around Konocti Bay and past Konocti Harbo Resort & Spa, and into Kelseyville, near where Bill’s folks used to live, on Corinthian Bay.

The last loop of the day continues away from the lake, on Kelsey Creek Road, and it was this last strech of 18 miles, and one last rest stop, where I did have one run in with a pickup truck (they thought they might scare me by screaming just as they went past.) And just after I left rest stop 6 at Adobe Creek, I got my first near flat tire of the year. I say “near” because it was not entirely flat, but it is hard to climb up hill on a nearly flat tire. I could not find any sign of a leak, but changed the tube to be safe. After that it was mostly flat back to Lakeport.

I had bought tickets for the post-ride meal for Bill and his folks and they had just gotten there when I rode up. We were treated to a plate full of salad, potato salad, pasta, baked beans and BBQ tri-tip and chicken, and French bread. Perhaps this is a ride more might be interested in for next year?

I.C.E. … A “cool” link

David Gaus shared an interesting website (Help – Bicycle Accident) which provides useful information about what to do when bicycle accidents and emergencies arise. One tip they provide is to have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in your cell phone address book. If you are incapacitated, emergency personnel are trained to look for a cell phone on your person and the ICE entry. You can personalize the entry with a name such as ICE-John or ICE-Parents.

This acronym is similar to one I learned following a hiking slip a few years back on Mt. Tamalpais. I had hurt my ankle and was told RICE was the key to recovery: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

On DSSF rides, we include an emergency number on the waiver. But if you do alot of solo cycling, you might want to include an ICE entry into your cell phone . . . just in case.

Surf City Century – 10/1

This was the fifth year for the Surf City Century, and the fifth time to do one of the routes. Bill & I had done the 25 mile route the first two years together (yes, he has in fact ridden his bike.) Two years ago, Joseph C and I planned to ride the century route together, but since it was raining, we ended up starting and riding alone. Last year, I was joined by Bill and Bart for the century, Doug D followed us till the Aromas turn off for the metric, and Laura P & Sharon were also spotted.

So this year, an official DSSF event brought Chris & Anne, Laura, Scott, Jeff, Bill, Mark H. Jeremy and myself out for this fundraiser for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project. Under overcast skies we headed out from Cabrillo College in Aptos for the first 11 miles to the first rest stop at the Corralitos CDF station.

Rest stop 2 was at Gizdich Ranch, famous for their bake shop, apples and berries, although no pies were offered as rest stop food. From there it was a quick 9 miles to the next stop at Aromas Grange, which we passed by. Leaving Aromas, is the first climb of the day, up Carr Avenue, followed by a nice downhill to the valley floor surrounding San Juan Bautista and after meandering around farm lands, we arrive at the lunch stop at the Native Daughters of the Golden West in San Juan Bautista.

By this time, I had expected the overcast to have burned off and the sun to have come out, but that was not to be. Leaving San Juan, we begin the long climb up San Juan Grade, around the side of Fremont Peak and the Fremont Peak Observatory who just celebrated 20 years.

The downhill brought us to the Salinas rest stop, where we receive many compliments on our rainbow jerseys. From there, we traversed more farm land across the Salinas Valley. Along the way we were getting sprinkled on, nothing major, but enough to get your glasses wet. Of the four weather forecasts that morning, only one had any prediction of rain, go figure that would be right for a change.

As we approached the Artichoke Capital of the World we passed the Pezzini Farms fried artichoke jeart stand popular on Day 2 of ALC, and then onto the Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Path to the end.

The next ¾ mile was on Highway 156 and we had to cross the highway to make a left turn onto Castroville Boulevard. Three years ago, the motorcycle club, The Vampires, had manned a number of the scarier or busier sections, and last year, this turn was done solo. This year, thanks to a traffic back-up, it was much easier to cross to make the left turn.

Leaving Castroville, we headed around Elhorn Slough to make our way to rest stop 6 at yet another CDF station at mile 84. This rest stop has the Ladies in Red Hats, from Santa Cruz, and we were greeted by the character of them all, telling us to get our “kicks on Route 66” which had nothing to do with the rest stop, but was amusing nonetheless, at least she thought so.

Leaving the stop, we eventually crossed under Highway 1 and rejoined a portion of the ALC Day 2 route in reverse passing by Sunset State Beach, and one more rest stop at Renaissance High on San Andreas Road. From there it was an easy 8 miles back past Manresa State Beach, and thru Rio Del Mar to Aptos. The closer we got to Aptos, the more signs of a hard rain became apparent, add rain to farm land roads, equals muddy roads.

The post ride meal was fabulous, with barbequed tri-tip, pasta and tossed salad, grilled veggies, bread and strawberries. One of the organizers stopped by our table soliciting feedback on the ride, and we gave many suggestions for getting the word out more. She also mentioned the possibility of a multi-day (a la MS ride) being considered in the future, and we shared our opinion that a round trip option would be preferred over a point-to-point route, due to the logistics and concerns over having your bike transported by others.

Photos are published in the DSSF Gallery here.

Big Sur Ride – 9/23 & 24

Talk about a fantistic two day ride! Jeremy and I joined ALCers Downtown Julie Brown, husband Mike, Michael, Chris, MaryBeth, Charlie, Kelsey and Michael for the 2006 Big Sur Ride, a 170-mile ride that includes 11,100 feet of climbing. The ride begins and finishes in Carmel Valley Village. The route runs along the rugged Big Sur coastline, through the beautiful Salinas Valley, and into the dramatic rolling hills of Carmel Valley. The ride is a benefit for Trips for Kids.

Jeremy & I headed out a bit before the others on the as they were still getting registered, dropping off their camping gear and getting their bikes ready. The sky was clear and it was 45 degrees, it was about 11 miles to Highway 1 and I failed to bring long-fingered gloves, oops.

At 14 miles we passed the Point Lobos State Reserve, followed by Soberanes Point, a whale watching vista. The first rest stop at 22 miles was at the Rocky Point Restaurant where they had a clothing drop (one of two for the day, a very nice feature.)

Leaving the rest stop, we cross the Rocky Creek Bridge, which is often confused for Bixby Bridge and then pass the Big Sur Light Station and into Big Sur, riding by Andrew Molera State Park, the Big Sur Station and the entrances to both Ventana Inn & Spa and Post Ranch Inn. I stopped quickly at Nepenthe for a few photos.

At 48 miles was the second rest stop at the Vista Point just before Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This served as one of two lunch stops for the day. At about 50 miles, we pass the Esalen Institute. After passing thru the small resort town of Lucia, we came across probably the only bad stretch of road on the entire ride, a ¼ mile stretch of gravel, where Highway 1 was being repaired.

The third rest stop at Kirk Creek Campground at 65 miles and we had already passed 4,400 feet of climbing. We were about midway between Big Sur and Cambria. This is the start of the 7.5 mile 2,500 foot climb up Nacamiento-Fergusson Road to Nacamiento Summit. As Jeremy & I prepared to leave the rest stop, they were announcing that the rest stop would be closing in 20 minutes and if riders were not gone, they would be sagged the rest of the way. Julie arrived just as we were leaving and we passed the message on to her.

The climb up Nacamiento starts with a cattle grate crossing in the first 50 feet, a motorcyclist passed us, and someone hollered something about an engine was cheating. I stopped several times on the way up, under the guise of taking photos, but also a chance to catch my breath. At the 4 mile point, there was a water stop, and I asked the guy if the next 3.5 miles was a steep as the first 4 miles, he assured me it was still a climb, but not as bad. I told him that he could lie to me anyway. Mike B and Chris blew past the water stop here, one of the few times I saw them during the day, they had made various stops along the way in Camel and Big Sur at bakeries. About a mile from the top, I heard a familiar voice behind me, Julie hollering “misery loves company!” and we rode together the last mile or so to the summit.

Jeremy had headed down the backside of Nacamiento towards Fort Hunter Liggett, and we waited as the others made it to the top. After a while Michael S. had not made it, and Mike & Chris, in a sugar stupor headed down to check on him, they found him about a mile down, he had been taking photos along the way up, as I had. Julie & I headed down ourselves and at mile 82 we entered Fort Hunter Liggett, but it was still as of rollers till we got to the campsite.

The Ride offers 3 options for accommodations, camping on the ball field, on a space available basis for rooms at the Hacienda Club, or for $40 they will transport you and your gear 30 miles to King City and back, and you arrange your own accommodations. I was considering the princess plan, however Julie pointed out that it was only one night and I had done 5 nights on ALC. So I set up my accommodations on the field and then headed to the showers in the locker rooms of the De Anza Sport Center.

Showered and refreshed, we all took the bus to the Hacienda Club for dinner, and we opted to walk back as it was a nice evening. On the way back, we watched as several helicopters took off in the distance, against the night sky. And several hours later we hear them return, as it sounded like their approach to landing went right over us on the softball field.

Day two broke clear and crisp, we dressed, broke down our camp, and hauled our gear over for pick-up. Breakfast was at the Hacienda Club, and we rode over. We headed out about 7:30 on a five mile warm-up on Sulpher Springs Road, and then over cement barricades and a gate. We headed east on Jolon Road and after a couple miles, we began the descent down Quadbuster (yes, that Quadbuster from Day 3 of AIDS/LifeCycle.)

After a nice 10 mile descent to King City, we avoided the horrible cobblestone section from the ALC route and instead get on a “new” bike path into King City. I’m not sure how “new” it was, but it was an improvement. It brought us out near the Best Western in King City, and then we continued retracing Day 2 of ALC’s route, out Metz Road, passing the Calpine Power Plant and then left on Elm Street towards Greenfield and rest stop 1 at Oak Park.

Leaving the rest stop, it was 7 miles to the Arroyo Seco River Bridge (also known as the green bridge at the “swim or climb” turn on ALC; for those who want to skinny dip they could swim, for those who didn’t you had to climb on the other side of the bridge.) At this point, we depart the ALC route in reverse, heading west on Arroyo Seco Road entering the Santa Lucia mountains.

At mile 47 was the second rest stop and lunch, before heading onto Carmel Valley Road. After nine miles of climbing, the last 3 miles raises us 800 feet to Cahoon Summit and great views back down the valley on both sides. After popsicles and more at rest stop 3, we head down to Carmel Valley.

Chris had a blow out several miles down, and it wasn’t too much longer after we continued that the same tube blew again. Turns out that they missed a gash in the side and/or perhaps the second blow out made it a huge gash. Several SAG vehicles offered help, but none had any tires left. He was nearly done booting the tire with a dollar bill, when a SAG vehicle stopped and offered a tire, which he took just in case. The gash was so large that you could see George Washington!

So off we went to complete the last fourteen miles without further incident. The day ended with a post-ride Fiesta with great food in the park next to the Community Youth Center. It might have been the fabulous weather, and no doubt the great company, but next to AIDS/LifeCycle, this has been my favorite ride, one that you should consider next year.

My photos are here and Michael C’s photos are here.

Golden Days in the Gold Country

September 14-17 was a superb weekend of biking, wine drinking and relaxing in Amador County. Five of us went up on Thursday. Phil B made the 90 mile trip from Pittsburg Baypoint BART by bike. The rest of us (Dave G, Michael S, Mark H and Bill) made the trip in a couple of hours by car. For those of you unaware, Amador County is east of Sacramento and is home to outstanding bicycling terrain including golden hills dotted with oaks, vineyards, pine forests and stunning vistas that stretch from the Central Valley to the Sierras.

We stayed in adorable cedar cabins at the 49er Village RV park in Plymouth. Despite the associations with blue collar retirees, the accommodations were perfect and allowed us to soak in the hot tub before walking to dinner each night in Plymouth. The Gold Country is dotted with little hamlets founded during the Gold Rush: Amador City, Volcano, Drytown, Fiddletown, Mt. Aukum and more. Take a look at the photo album!


Friday’s ride was the most challenging, about 75 miles and 7,500 feet of climbing, all within the first 50 miles from Plymouth to Cooks Station. Highlights including multiple crossings of the scenic Cosumnes River, an unintentional out and back on Grizzly Flat Road, Slug Gulch (with its sections of 15% grade) and a screaming descent into the pitch perfect near ghost town of Fiddletown. We rewarded ourselves with a fun dinner at Incahoots, a great BBQ restaurant with cheap local wines and lots of local color.

Saturday’s ride started with several small but difficult grades, but was well worth it when we arrived in Amador City at Andrae’s Bakery. Thanks to Phil for putting this one on the map! After many, buttery calories and coffee, we enjoyed more of the route from the Sierra Century on the way to another adorable town, Volcano. I think this was probably the most enjoyable cycling I’ve done all year.

After lunch we completed our 60 mile, 4,500 foot ride by descending to Sutter Creek (a cute town completely choked by the stream of cars on Highway 49). Overall, the road surfaces and shoulders were excellent and the views stunning. Dave G. did seem to draw several shouts of “get off the road” from local Yosemite Sam types driving in white pickup trucks. It appears there is a tension between the near-Deliverance woodsy past and winery/retirement mecca of the present/future in them thar hills.

Sunday saw our ranks dwindle a bit and Michael and Dave had to leave for the City on Saturday evening and Phil took a train back to Berkeley via Sacramento. Mark and Bill logged another 40 mile ride. We headed north from Plymouth on a most scenic stretch of Highway 49 to the town of El Dorado and then completed a counter-clockwise loop through primarily rolling hills. After a goodbye soak in the hot tub and a shower, we sampled excellent zinfandels, syrahs and viogniers at several of the local Amador and El Dorado wineries.

We enjoyed near-perfect weather, lots of local color and some of the finest terrain and vistas California has to offer. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

AIDS/Lifecycle Thank You Rides & BBQ – Sat 9/16

After a very strange weather week, Saturday arrive, cold but clear. When I left Hollister at 6:15am, it was 47F; when I arrive at Chrissy Field, it was just about 60F, but a gorgeous clear sky and no wind. I had packed arm warmers, wind vest, knee warmers thinking it was going to be foggy and cool, so it was a nice suprise to have it start as such a nice day.

The AIDS/LifeCycle folks had their orange tents set-up, and folks were arriving. From Different Spokes, Rico, Bart, Leon, Dave F, Peter, Michelle (who also co-led the ride) and myself. Spotted later on also were Mark and Laura. After stretching (typical for ALC rides) and the (mandatory) safety speech, we headed out for the Tiburon loop about 9:15am.

It truly was a gorgeous day, not much wind, we were across the bridge and into Sausalito in no time. The Camino Alto and Paradise loop passed by in no time, and we were in Tiburon at 10:30! Rico, Bart and I head back together, and once back in Sausalito, the presence of the P.D. was quite obvious, so we were careful to err on the cautious side. Crossing the bridge again, we would have been back at Chrissy Field shortly after noon, except Bart had a tire going flat. Good thing the weather was so nice, it could have been miserable on the bridge in drippy fog with a howling wind. After two tube changes (oops!) we were on our way again.

Golden Gate Bridge

The BBQ was in full swing when we arrived, although the line seemed to be very long and VERY slow. They later apologized for the line, apparently they had been having technical difficulties with the grills earlier causing the delay. They had a raffle for a $250 gift certificate from Sports Basement, and two bikes; Dave F came closest to winning, by one number. But close only counts in horseshoes.

They also announced that they have nearly 1,000 riders signed up from AIDS/LifeCycle6 for 2007. You can sign-up here.

Jersey Sightings

Our fabulous DSSF jerseys continue to be spotted around the county.

Last summer, an online friend in MA spotted a gal on one of her club rides:
“Last night at my regular Thurs night ride, there was a woman with a “Different Spokes, San Francisco” bike shirt on. At the end of the ride I talked to her, turns out she has moved here from SF and used to do lots of rides with your club. Silly me, though, I forgot to ask her name. I did tell her that I was in a chat group with someone who is actively involved with Different Spokes and your name is David, but didn’t know your last name. I loved the shirt and I really do love the
name of your group.”

Now I suspected this might have been Laura C, who served on the board and moved to Boston last year, but it turns out not to have been her.

And another friend from FL, who was in Michigan doing the DALMAC posted this sighting to me yesterday:
“David, I can’t believe I forgot to mention this sooner: guess what I saw on DALMAC up in Michigan??? A gentleman wearing a Different Spokes jersey (just like the one you’re wearing in one of the pics of you for the AIDS/LifeCycle ride)!! I asked him if he rides with your group but he said no, he just saw the jersey when he was surfing the net and really liked it so ordered one on-line. He’s actually from Madison, Wisconsin.”

So where else have you seen a Different Spokes jersey?