Saddle Challenge – Update #2

It still not too late to sign up!
Just go to and enter your first and last name, and the password “SC2010”
You can of course retroactively enter your miles of the month.

After more than two weeks into the challenge, David Goldsmith seems to be about to reach his goal already, since he has done already 80% of it!

The miles champion is still Doug, followed by Larry and Evan, who had been the most consistent with rides between 42 and 54 miles.

Larry and David Stouffer rode the most days, 5 each.

Other stats:
1309 miles have been ridden so far.
The two biggest days are still the 6th and 7th with 344 miles and Sunday with 231 miles.

And 96 miles were ridden on the 16th, a weekday!

We raised $310.

Happy riding!

King’s Mountain

After five months off my bike due to back problems, I am trying to get progressively back in the saddle, and I found that David’s series of winter/spring rides have been perfect for that.

Today was a good day to test my first big climb: King’s Mountain Rd, 1630 feet of climbing on 4.2 miles, with some parts around 11%. In a sense, I was lucky I was the only one to show up with David with morning, so I could control my pace better.

On the other hand, it was a shame, because it was a gorgeous day. And thanks to El Niño, we have been enjoying some unusually green scenery. The foothills of Palo Alto are generally pretty nice but they are now particularly lovely.

There was also a first today: we had lunch at Robert’s Market, but not the one in Woodside, the one in Portola Valley at Alpine & Portola. It’s the same great food but the location is more enjoyable: warmer, with a few tables outside, and a nicer environment.

A perfect ride. Thanks, David!

Saddle Challenge – Update #1

The challenge stared pretty well, thanks for some reprieve in the rainy weather, and the adventure of two challengers in the Death Valley.

Don’t forget, it not too late to sign up!
Just go to and enter your first and last name, and the password “SC2010”
You can of course retroactively enter your miles of the month.

Right now we have definitely two champions both in term of miles and % done: Doug and Larry who did the Death Valley double Century last Saturday! Doug completed the full 200 miles and Larry, more sensibly limited himself to 150. They both done more than 30% of their goal, well on their way.

David, David, Will and Jerome also got to accrue some miles on David & David’s “Bovine and Cowgirl” ride, which was fantastic, in spite of its excessive number of Davids 🙂
Last weekend, Joseph also lead a ride to the Cheese Factory, with even more miles, so you who joined his ride, why don’t you sign up?

Again, just go to and enter your first and last name, and the password “SC2010”.
You get more explanation on the blog and of course don’t hesitate to bug me if you have any problem.

Other stats:
561 miles have been ridden so far.
The two biggest days were of course Saturday with 344 miles and Sunday with 176 miles.
We raised $143.

Happy riding!

The Saddle Challenge is on!

The Saddle Challenge 2010 is on at:

To register, type your first and last name and the password “SC2010”

But what is it?

It is the club’s annual event in March to challenge each other to get out on our bikes and ride!
So choose a goal for yourself: 100 miles, 300 miles, 900 miles…!
Whenever you come back on the SC page, you’ll be able to log your miles, watch your progress and see what other members are doing.

Don’t forget: every mile count. So, if you commute with your bike, it’s even better!

The Saddle Challenge is also a way for members to raise money for Project Inform where Ron Wilmot, a long time DSSF started a fundraising ride, the Ron Wilmot ride. You can choose to pledge per mile or a lump sum. Of course this part is entirely optional.

How do I sign up again?
Easy: go to

Enter your first name, your last name and the password “SC2010”
Then set up your goal and optionally the amount you want to pledge (you can always modify the values at any time).

Hills and Wines

l22.jpgThis was a fantastic weekend! Will, the man behind this success was unfortunately unable to join us, being stuck in Denver for work. We missed you!

On Friday, our loop included the infamous Slug Gulch, with its portions at 15%.

On Saturday, all the group was here, we did a figure 8 through Sutter Creek, Volcano and the lower country.

Here is a clip for my favorite part of the road, the gentle climb to Volcano, along Sutter Creek. You can admire the pedaling style of Stephanie, Jeff, Nancy and Doug O, along with a part of my left cheek.

Doug D was probably too far ahead for me to catch up.

Sunday morning was a shorter and somewhat flatter loop to El Dorado and back.

You can view some pictures from Doug and Jerome on the DSSF gallery.

Hope to see even more Spokers on the Gold Country roads next year!

A Dream Century

IMG_0225.jpgSunday, I rode the Tour for Woodside century. I am not sure we can come up with a better route, or a more convenient location.

It included 2 of my favorite climbs in the Bay:

– Kings Mountain, which is almost a model climb, even more so than Old La Honda

– Tunitas Creek, both challenging (but not ridiculously so) and magnificent, with its meandering through the redwoods (without the Muir Woods crowds)

It comprises also the gorgeous Gazos Creek Rd and Stage Rd, and even a bit of Hwy 1 to test your pace line skills in headwind. Of course nothing out of the ordinary for people used to ride in the Peninsula, but beautiful nonetheless.

The support was more than adequate, surprisingly so for a charity ride (its benefits the Woodside High School) with the wonderful surprise Expresso stand on Tunitas Creek when things starts getting serious.

My ride is here. As you can see, its only 75 miles, because I skipped the absurd back-and-forth on Canada Rd, which seems to be there only to get to the 100 “magic” number. Like I care. This way, I could show up at 8 am instead of 6 am, which considerable increased the fun factor of this ride.
There was only one downside to the century: it seems the proportion of jerks was unusually high, especially amongst a racing team called Peninsula Velo. A century like that is not your training ride, so it would be safer for everybody if you didn’t try at all costs to stay as a pack of 20 racing down at 40 mph. Thanks in advance.

And the windmills stood quiet…

Each time I had done the Mt Hamilton Challenge, I had run into riders climbing Mines Rd. Since I learned they were doing the “Devil Mountain” Double Century, I got curious… I had done double centuries before (13 since 1999), but one that included the two big summits of the Bay Area, Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, sounded appealing. It became a bit scarier when I learned that the organizers, not quite satisfied with these two mountains, had included all the climbs they could find in the route: Mt Diablo, Morgan Territory, Patterson Pass, Mines Rd, Mt Hamilton, Sierra Rd, Palomares and Norris Canyon!

In particular Sierra Rd was a particularly nasty inclusion: by itself it’s a tough hill that climbs more than 1700 feet in 3.5 miles with some long parts approaching 20%. But putting that at mile 150, after you’ve climbed already 15000 feet, that ought to be considered an “unjust and cruel punishment”.

The other thing was that it is a bit early in the season, so I hesitated a few years before taking the plunge this year. I tried to log as many miles (and feet) as possible during the Saddle Challenge, did the Solvang Double Century as a training ride (!) and try to ride all the parts of DMD separately in the weeks before (to get a sense of what that means, you can view my GPS logs here for the south and here for the north part).

It seemed to have paid off. In the first climb, Mt Diablo, I got a bit worried because I kept seeing many more riders ahead than behind, so I was not sure I could make it to the 1 PM cut-off at Mines Rd. That’s also at the top of Diablo that I saw Will for the last time – I was not going to see until the finish, where he had been already asleep for 2 hours when I arrived!

As a matter of fact, during the entire ride (the 19 hours of it…) I felt surprisingly good. The hardest part was probably the back side of Mt Hamilton, because it was still pretty hot. Even Sierra Rd went ok, and I got rewarded by a beautiful sunset on the whole Bay.

What about the title? Oh, it’s just that I had done as a training ride the north part of DMD and my most difficult moment was something nobody had warned me about: Patterson Pass. On paper, it seemed like a reasonable little climb. The problem was the headwinds: near the top, they actually prevented to ride, and I had to walk! So I was very happy, last Saturday, to notice that the windmills (they haven’t put them here by accident!) were still. At that point, I felt it was going to be a good ride.

If you want to get a sense of it, you can view the logs on my Garmin .

You can also see the results: Will finished a brilliant 52nd position, before 10 PM!, whereas I was happy to arrive around midnight, with some 20 riders behind me 🙂

Now, I can get back to normal activities…


A view of the course with Google Earth