Chasing Legends

Thanks to the heads up from Roger Sayer, he had seen a poster up for this being shown at the Castro, so I checked my schedule, arranged for a place to stay for the night and put it on the DSSF calendar. Sophie, Roger, Doug D and myself met up, Doug O caught up with Jaime and Roy (!). I thoroughly enjoyed it, the scenery, the interviews, and a bit of history thrown in, with a few laughs.

Chasing Legends Synopsis

Every so often a film will grab hold and entertain its audience in a way that leaves them begging for more. Known for their ability to produce such award-winning work, the rag-tag crew known as Gripped Films once again lives up to their name. Independently funded, filmed and produced with as much grit, passion and determination as their subjects, Gripped Films presents Chasing Legends, a feature length documentary following the HTC-Columbia Team through the 2009 Tour De France.
All of cycling is desperate for heroes they can believe in, Gripped Films gives them Team HTC-Columbia like they have never seen, through an intense and personal glimpse inside the most winning professional cycling team as told by the riders, current and past heroes. Included in the film will be commentary from Eddy Merckx, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish and many others.

Chasing Legends highlights the greatest heroes in professional cycling with a dramatic show of teamwork and panache from Team HTC-Columbia through the 2009 Tour de France. The film takes viewers on an absolutely epic ride into the race action. Using a multitude of high tech, high def cameras mounted on bikes, motorcycles, helicopters and team cars, Gripped Films will also include historical race footage, artistic travelogue of the European countryside and villages with narration from the voice of cycling for the USA, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

Morgan Territories and Palomares, or not…

Not… for me on the bike anyway. Maybe I was doomed because I did part of this in the spring as an ALC training ride. For whatever reason, I forgot my shoes for this ride. Worse? I was maybe 10 miles from the home when I wondered if I had everything. I quickly dismissed it, I have such a routine now. I grab my shoes, helmet, pump, glasses, gloves all in one pass off of the storage in the garage. The second pass, I grab the floor pump and handlebar bag, then load my bike on the back of the car. Like clockwork. If I had only stopped and checked the back of the car…

11 riders from Concord BART, less me

I provided SAG and photography for the day, though!

Full photo gallery here!

Mt. Hamilton on the Fall, or not

SJ radar image.jpg

Up at 6am, I checked the weather forecast, hoping that the radar image would show the rain still heading in a south to north east direction as it was when I went to bed shortly after 9 last night.

Hmm, nope now it’s moving in a more west to east with a slight north track to it. Still too dark to see the Ham cam. The forecasts varied between 10-50% chance of rain or shower for San Jose for most of the day.

Two riders had already cancelled, both for non-weather related reasons. So at 6:30 I sent a cancellation email to the other riders.

At about 9am, I checked the Ham Cams, foggy or misty at the top without a doubt, so hopefully it was a good call.

Perhaps a Mt. Hamiton in the Spring ride for 2011!



Fresno in the Fall

A couple of years ago, I joined Chris Thomas in Fresno for an ALC Central Valley ride, and I enjoyed it so much, that I thought I would ask Chris if we could do another one? So he put together the route, a modified version of the Climb To Kaiser’s Millerton Metric. Chris and I were joined by an ALC8 rider Doug, who met me at Casa de Fruta to carpool, which worked out great for both of us.

We started with a nice flat warm-up through Old Town Clovis on some very clean bike lanes. Heading into the foothills on Watts Valley Road our first climb was Wildcat Canyon, with a wonderful descent afterwards, This was followed by the second but longer climb up Burrough Valley, with great views of the Sierras on both climbs.

Chris at the turn to Wildcat Canyon

We stopped for lunch at Humphrey Station and then it was pretty much a gentle downhill all the way back to Clovis, except for Crybaby Hill; fortunately it did not make any of us cry. Now maybe on the return if I were doing the Climb to Kaiser, but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon.

We had one other RSVP but he had to back out due to a scheduling conflict, a new ALC rider, who did meet us at the end to chat us up about the ride and all. Thanks again Chris for putting together a great ride. We should do this again in the spring!

You can see the complete photo gallery here.

Hills from HELL or the Not-so-mellow Metric

Listed as the Not-so-mellow metric by none other then our fearless web master, Jerome, I happened to be privy to the route ahead of time, so there was no need to find it the undisclosed location or unlock 16384 bit encryption to see it. What two hills from HELL am I referring to? Two that I was aware of but had never attempted: Redwood Gulch and Hicks Road. I was the only other rider to join Jerome for this epic ride! I had promised I would join him ahead of time. What the heck, they are only hills and the worst that could happen would be a little cross-training.

Redwood Wood Gulch is a 1.4 mile climb going from Stevens Canyon Road up to Highway 9, it’s notoriety is mainly from hearing about it thru some friends. It doesn’t even rate a spot it The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in California. It does climb 703 feet and averages a 9.4% grade. This was the gentler of the two climbs this day, not only was it shorter, but it was under the cover of redwoods, as this day did turn out to be a bit of a scorcher.

David at the top of Redwood Gulch
Our planned lunch was for the Blue Rock Shoot in Saratoga, but we arrived in Saratoga to a road detour, some sort of street fair had the area of Highway 9 and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road all blocked off, so we continued on to Los Gatos for lunch at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company instead.

I first heard of Hicks Road from Chris Thomas, he was out doing a test ride for an ALC training ride he was listing, and at the corner of Shannon and Hicks Road, he turned right instead of left. Hicks Road does make a listing in the Complete Guide to Climbing: “This hill is very steep and scenic and may be the most difficult in the Bay Area. Jerome and I arrive at this same corner and I asked if he was sure we didn’t want to turn left? Nope. And so we turned right and it is a very pleasant road for the first couple miles, then you hit what the book refers to as the cruz stretch: the first mile of the climb which averages 14%. Averages.

Guadalupe Reservoir

Then add a flat tire on the second section after Guadalupe Reservoir, needless to say, I had no choice but to walk the bike up to a section of road that measured under 10% grade, just to change the tube. And in the shade too.

I finally arrived at the top, where one can do the optional Mount Umunhum climb (no thank you, so glad it was not in the plan today). Jerome had a bee fly into his unzipped jersey and sting him under the arm, fortunately there was only a minor reaction. We then descended the south side of Hicks Road, a pretty road, but very, very steep. From there we passed by Almaden Reservoir on our way to McKean Road and the final job to Calero Reservoir and then over Bailey Road and back to South San Jose.

Jerome at the top of Hicks Road

Considering it was 90+ degrees, and the bulk of the 3800 feet of climbing we did in 64 miles was in these 5 miles of climbing, I have to say I was pleased overall. Even with some cross-training. Thanks, Jerome!

Riding on the surface of the sun

That was the description given to the section of the Napa-Lake Berryessa-Pope Valley loop ride, a joint Seismic Challenge training ride, co-led with Joseph Pulice. This was an extended version of the ride Stephanie Clarke led for last year’s Wine Country Weekend; instead of starting and ending at Lake Hennessey, we started and ended at the foot of the Silverado Trail. With 13 riders, two flats and one alien, it was a great day, despite the heat.


NewImageThe alien? One of the Seismic Challenge riders wore colored stocking, a full jacket and long fingered gloves all day, and she was given the nickname. We don’t think she sweated, so she must have been an alien. Check out the 1947 Packard we saw at Lake Hennessey on our return trip too!


The full photo gallery is here.

Palomares and Wind Farms

Four of us (Tara, Ben, Jerome and Roger) joined David at the Union City BART station, on that reasonably cool Saturday morning.

After a nice warm-up on Niles Canyon where traffic was not too much of a problem, we started the first climb on the ever popular Palomares, where Tara firmly established her KOM status.
As usual, we regrouped at Peet’s in Castro… Valley, before climbing Norris Canyon, which seemed to me strangely harder than when I did it two years ago around midnight ( :-).

In San Ramon, Tara, Ben & Roger opted for the shorter route and went back to Union City via Sunol, whereas David and I continued towards Camino Tassaraja and Livermore, where we enjoyed the famous windmills.

The winds were not too bad, but the climbs there are always nastier that expected. The return back through Pleasanton and Sunol proved uneventful, thanks mainly to a strong pull by David, whose endurance never fails.

More photos on