March Saddle Challenge is on!

But what is this Saddle Challenge, you ask?

The Saddle Challenge is an annual Different Spokes event, where each March we challenge each other to get out on our bikes and get some time in the saddle!

So choose a goal, for example, 25 miles per week x 4 weeks. Whatever you feel comfortable with, no goal it to small or too big, it’s your goal after all.

This is also a way for members to also (optionally) raise money for Project Inform. You can choose a per mile pledge or a lump sum figure. At the end of the month, we will ask those members who did pledge to mail their checks (made out to Project Inform) to the DSSF post office box, so we can send all money raised on behalf of Different Spokes?

Why? Because a long time member, Ron Wilmot, started the Ron Wilmot Ride for Project Inform, a fundraising event that no longer happens, but we continue to do our part each March. Again, the pledge portion is entirely optional!

So let’s challenge each other to get ourselves into shape, and have fun! Time to dust of that bike that’s been in the garage all winter, lube up the chain, pump up the tires and enjoy!

How do you sign up?

Go to DSSF home page and under Upcoming Events, click on The Saddle Challenge is on!

Just enter your First and Last name and the password (SC2009) to register, then enter your goal mileage, and optionally your per mile or lump sum pledge. Then log in after you ride (make sure you use the same name every time you log in), and choose thh date and enter the mileage. Try and get the mileage entered by each Sunday. I will be posting a weekly update here and on the DSSF Yahoo! Group.

–Let’s Ride!

February Jersey Ride.. despite the forecast!

Despite the forecast of a 50% chance of light showers most of the day, and rain by the afternoon, Thomas, Larry, Nancy and myself were joined by Rob, a prospective member, to see if we could complete the Jersey Ride before the rains. Jerome met us at the Golden Gate Bridge making six brave

We regrouped in Sausalito and again at the bend of the bike path, where Rob took the direct route to Tiburon. Nancy mentioned an alternate route after the Camino Alto climb from the intersection of Corte Madera Avenue at Tamalpais Road that avoids the busy crossing of 101 and two onramp lanes we pass through, and we were all game.

Immediately after turning onto Tamalpais at the stop light, we then turned left onto Montecito Drive and a short distance down the road, is the bike path on the right side. Where the path had a split we stayed to the right and it appeared we were on a Rails-to-Trails path, which took us right to Paradise Drive after we crossed under 101. We continued on the path around the east side of The Village at Corte Madera where we picked up the normal route at San Clemente Drive and then back onto Paradise. It was unanimous that this was much preferred to the normal route.

In Tiburon, we lunched at Café Acri and then headed back, with a short lived tailwind. Once back on the bike path, we were riding into a full headwind, and Jerome took the opportunity for a quick tutorial in pace lines.

We completed the return trip via Fort Baker and underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, arriving back at Peet’s with barely a sprinkle all day. Jerome then lead the ride to City Gallery, where Ronman is showing his exhibit, Before Eve!

Fremont Peak

I heard about the Hollister Death Ride from my LBS back in 2003; it’s three out & back climbs of three different roads along with a loop out Cienega along the way for a 9,000+ foot informal century route. Intrigued, one road at a time, I did all three eventually by themselves, and then came up with my own Hollister Mini-Death Ride version with just Lone Tree Way and Quien Sabe Roads. It’s been a few years since I did Fremont Peak, and with some proding from Jerome, I listed the ride.

Jerome, Will  and Doug

Joined also by Will, Doug and Larry, we headed across the valley to San Juan Bautista. where the climb to Fremont Peak State Parks begins just off of San Juan Highway through three different canyons; San Juan, Quinn and Peak Canyon before passing along the western edge of Hollister Hills SVRA up to 2900 feet. On a clear day, you have views of the Salinas Valley and can see the Monterey Bay, along with Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais and the Sierras. We didn’t get to enjoy that full of a view, but the consensus was it was a (tough) but good climb.

In San Juan Bautista, we had lunch at JJ’s Homemade Burgers and then took a spin by the Mission at San Juan Bautista before heading back across the valley, skipping the optional (lower) Quien Sabe loop. Maybe next time? Did I say that?

Fremont Peak out & back (or up & down? [Uber WW Cyclist]

why did the chicken cross the road…Fremont Peak [ALC8 – Larry’s Training Log… (Rider #4604)]

Mt. Hamilton in the Winter

With the forecast for sunny and temperatures in the 60s, climbing Mt. Hamilton in January sounds like a great way to take in the views as the hills are turning green (although let’s hope for more rain soon!) Driving up from Hollister, I hit fog in Gilroy. Larry, Cam and Jerome left a beautiful clear City and ran into the fog at Menlo Park. There were signs that it would clear quickly fortunately.

We headed from the Sunnyvale CalTrain station for the base of the mountain at Alum Rock and Highway 130, where a new member, David Eaton, joined us for the ascent and return. We regrouped at Grant Park, and then continued to long climb to the top and Lick Observatory. We were rewarded with views of the Sierra’s, Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tam, while looking towards the west you could see a fog/haze.


The descent is technical with switchbacks, sand in the road from the recent snows (hard to believe) and gravel or rocks that fall into the road, but the descent after climbing back up from Grant Park has a perfectly paved road and was a blast.

We made our trek back across the “Silli Valley” (as Larry called it in response to my Facebook status that morning “David is going to go ride up a mountain… what was he thinking??”) past the San Jose Airport and up Central Expressway to Sunnvale. While I was ready for the ride to be over for the day (it was after sunset), I did enjoy the day and more so, the great company. Thanks again, Larry!

Mt. Hamilton in the Winter [ALC8 – Larry’s Training Log… (Rider #4604)]

What was I thinking… Mt. Hamilton in the Winter? [WW Uber Cyclist]

Santa Monica Mountains

I thought some folks might be interested in this ride that was done last weekend (1/23-1/25/09).  It was a beautiful 3 day ride in the Santa Monica Mountains put on by Planet Ultra (the same people who put on both of the Solvang doubles, among others) and was billed the “King of the Mountains Training Camp” after some fairly stiff century rides coming up in March and April down in the Santa Monica Mountains.

From Tuna Canyon.JPG

The weather was not exactly the greatest, with a fairly decent rain on Friday, a bit more on Saturday, then holding off with a final mostly sunny day on Sunday.  So while Friday was a bit on the wet and cold side, overall it was an excellent adventure with about 171 miles of riding and roughly 16,300 feet of climbing over the 3 days.  This was the inaugural event for this “camp” and I’m sure they will be putting it on again since they had a decent turnout of twenty something people.  So, for those who really enjoy Will’s 3 day Plymouth trip, you might look into this in the future as a good work out with some stunning views.

Sherwood Lake.JPG

The most memorable climbs included a fairly relentless 12 miler on Mulholland Highway on Friday, Little Sycamore Canyon/Yerba Buena Road on Saturday (a pretty rough road at the top in terms of pavement condition) and Latigo Canyon on Sunday.

January Jersey Ride.. great weather and 21 riders!

Who would have thought, in January? 21 riders took advantage of the incredible day under blue skies and moderate temperatures for the monthly Jersey Ride. Sixteen of us left Peet’s including Mark, Rob, Joseph, Cam, and Nancy, plus board members, Chris, Will, Roger and Michael. We picked up riders all along the way, Jerome, Doug and Topher joined us at the Golden Gate Bridge. Steph, Jenn and their friend Julia joined us at the Conzelman parking lot.

High tide had the water level up near the bike path, but no where near as high as in December where we had to take a side trip to avoid water nearly a foot deep. Dave caught up with us at the end of the bike path. A small group headed directly into Tiburon, while the rest of us headed up Camino Alto and on around for a gorgeous (but chilly in the shade) Paradise Drive ride.

In Tiburon, we had such a large group, with staggered arrivals that we were inside and outside at Café Acri. And the iPhones came out too, with the Apps comparison and candid photo shots, now part of so many DSSF rides.

On the Tiburon bike path, Cam was stopped with Joseph and a flat. The swap was nearly done, we are still not sure what happened, but 3 tubes later, we were finally on our way. Joseph heading to get a new set of tires, in fact.

In the Presidio, Joseph and I headed by the old leper hospital near 15th Avenue, the sides having now been torn down as the place is being gutted for luxury condos. When Joseph took Larry and I to see this last summer, it looked more like it should just be torn down, with the graffiti and all. It should be interesting to see the transformation.