Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ride Report: Middle East Way - West Oakland & Coyote Hills Explorations & Some Setbacks

Map and photos from Ammon (truncated showing just the route to Google (46 miles).

I met up with Ammon in car 2 of BART train that departed 16th Street Mission station at 6:12am. We were on the train for a mere 14 minutes and got rolling at 6:30 in West Oakland, which is pretty tranquil at this time of day. We pedaled down 7th Avenue in hopes of taking the tunnel over to Alameda island. Oops!: no bikes allowed (setback #1). Note to selves: we're gonna look into taking the ferry over, because the west and south ends of Alameda look awesome for riding. So we continued down 7th Street, which is probably crazy busy during the day but was chill for us. To get to Alameda via a bridge, we had to head down some unintuitive roads that made it look like we were gonna get on 880 but worked out fine. I'm gonna research the best way from West Oakland to Alameda, because while not too bad, I'm pretty sure what we took wasn't ideal.

Once in Alameda via a cute old bridge, we decided to cut across the island and get on the Bay Trail. Again, I'm not sure we took the most direct route, as we ran into a lot of lights. Once we reached the opposite shore, we were greeted with trail closure signs from the recent oil spill (setback #2). We took our chances and got our first taste of dirt. Ammon squirted ahead with his cross bike. Next up was crossing from Alameda back to mainland via a bicycle drawbridge. How cool is that? This section by the Oakland Airport was surprising very low in traffic. Right past the airport is the easy-to-miss sign for the Bay Trail, which we then hopped on.

A little ways down the trail, we encountered another trail closed sign (setback #3). Apparently they're building a bridge across the creek here. which meant that we had to detour inland and ended up in the wastewater treatment plant with a high fence between us and Davis Road. Huh (setback #4). We looked into hopping the fence but before too long, a vehicle drove out of the facility, opening the gate for us, too. (Sorry, no pictures here.)

After riding through Oyster Bay park, we were finally back on the "familiar" part of Middle East Way and figured we were safe...

Not so! It seems all this Federal stimulus money is going to bicycle infrastructure, so we again encountered trail construction (setback #5). We pleaded with the workers and they kindly let us pass. We did get to hop a fence this time, though.

The rest of the ride was pretty chill. Instead of riding way out of the levees, Ammon rode the ridge of the Coyote Hills as far as he could (setback #6)) and I rode the Bay View trail [video] along the base, where Ammon later joined me. This dumps out right by a scary/cool old mine and at the Dumbarton Bridge Toll Plaza. Bay View trail is a totally valid alternative, with less dirt and slightly more climbing (if you don't ride the ridge). Once past the toll plaza, you ride along 84 on a frontage road with cool foam on the road [video] and and cross the bridge and rejoin Bayway by Sun.

The last treat of the ride was learning about the amphibious (they float!) backhoes that are being used to restore the salt water ponds by East PA.

Many thanks to Ammon for the GPS track and excellent photo documentation, and for being as into finding new routes as I am.


- More riding + less BARTing = good

- Viable as a full-fledged route once they finish the bridge construction (the other construction project is short-term)

- Research a better way to and through Alameda

Your route finder,

Brett Lider

P.S. A couple more videos I took:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

5D5W: 9/17 Skyline 6:30 Peet's

ride report:

it's really someone else's turn to write this, but you are all just as shelled as me it seems, so here you go, a 19% effort to go with my 19% legs.

12 sorry saps staggered into peet's about 06:20, devoured space's latest baking extravaganza (homemade strawberry pop-tarts, of sorts, see attached), and rolled into the mire of golden gate park, where the sinister Trinh awaited.

upon reaching the first hills of skyline, it became abundantly clear that my legs' "muscles" were more akin to waterlogged 50-lb. gunny-sacks of portland cement, mixed with lead shot and ingots of plutonium-238, and attached by heavy iron shackles to the Queen Mary's dual anchors, which weigh over 30 metric tonnes each.

ThEPO, on the other hand, had without question applied not one but two testosterone patches to appropriate places and beer-bonged a 12-pack of CERA and HGH, garnished with ice cubes of his own blood, which had been harvested and concentrated by centrifuge after 30 days of continuous mount everest hill repeats.

other noteworthy events included a surly police officer hurling a torrent of insults at mild-mannered xton, who graciously stopped and chatted while the rest of us escaped to Cañada.

for breakfast, I enjoyed two abandoned and partially burned bagel halves (both bottoms) topped with dessicated lentil paste.  best example of that dish i ever had.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

5D5W: 9/14 Joe Gross 6:30 RRR

Editor's note: Yours truly was remiss in not posting Faye's hilarious & compelling account of Day 1, which is herein presented.

Ride report

Bueno Serra.  Not sure about anyone else, but I didn't sleep a wink
due to excessive consumption of chocolate cake while watching Breaking
Away and, of course, anticipation of the first day of 5 days 5 ways.
I made it to ritual in good time to caffeinate before rolling, and
acted on some strange impulse to get a tea instead of a proper
machiato- inausipicious decision that no doubt contributed to my flats
later on.  Trinh was already present and Brian Kemler and Brett Lider
showed up shortly followed by Ted and maybe Eric.  Everyone else
straggled in later... even later than usual.  Our fearless leader
looked particularly dead with his eyes rolling back in his head as he
consumer his small coffee.  A complicated flat repair was taking place
outside... Mike G. was riding his Felt and went through a good 3 inner
tubes outside of ritual.  I went out to ask if he wanted a coffee, and
encountered Shoumen on his folding bike in sneakers and running
shorts!  This did not stop him from motoring up the grades on Mission
at break neck speed, however.  Space arrived with amazing blondies and
beautifully and individually wrapped protein bars (that I did not
sample due to their healthy sound).  Who would have thought he could
top that salted chocolate layer cake, but the blondies were just
amazing.  Anyway, we started off with 15 riders, I think, including
Scott, Brian, Trinh, Theo, Space, Jim (on fixie), Xton (on fixie),
Eric (on fixie), Brett, Yoyo, Shoumen (on folding bike), Ted, Mike,
Mark, and me (on Creamy, my beautiful creamsicle bike).  I think we
hit about every possible light as we slowly made out way up Mission
and somehow to El Camino.  On the stretch of road before Colma, land
of the dead,  Scott authorized me to "attack" or as I prefer to think
of it,  try to take the pace up a notch.  Just as I thought we were
rolling at a decent clip, I had my first flat.  For anyone who was not
there, on Friday, I got a flat just before the steepest part of
tunitas, so I thought I did my time!  Grr.  Anyway, the flat was
annoying, BUT the scene around it was definitely the highlight of the
ride for me, and I sure wish someone got some photos... as I yelled
out that I had a flat, there was this mass frenzy as no less than
Mark, Ted, Xton, Theo, and Space with encouragement from a few others
rushed to fix it.  It was an impressive scenewith tire levers, pumps
and tubes flying everywhere and I felt like a Very Important Person
with a harem of flat fixers.  I was informed that my tires are crap
and told to get new ones pronto.

Anyway, we continued down El Camino stopping and starting about every
75 meters and with a few stares of wonder and comments of
encouragement or alternatively explicatives from drivers on their way
to work.  Soon after we hit the side streets that Parallel El Camino,
my tire went flat again.  Everyone very dutifully and politefully
waited and I was very grateful.  Xton and Space again fixed the flat,
with Xton transferring a metal splinter from the tire to his finger.
After that I was really paranoid that my tire was flat and kept
touching it to check at every stop sign.  I thought for sure I would
be relegated to the caltrain and 5 days 5 ways would be over before it

The ride continued in the same vein... stopping and starting and
stopping and starting with us hitting about every possible red light.
We rode through the old race track- a wider space with no cars where
the fixies decided to race each other.  Not surprisngly, Xton won that
little sprint.  When the construction noise did not drown it out, I
noticed the impressive noises Mike's bike was making.  The sun was
shining and it was pretty warm, and despite our very late rollout and
my 2 flats, breakfast at No Name remained within reach.

After turning off of Middlefield in PA, we re-grouped to wait for the
folding bike and Yoyo, and debated invoking the 4-k rule on Bayway.
The invocation was overruled and we continued on at a civil pace.
Brett Lider was particularly dilligent in calling out all of the turns
and the moment at which we needed to down shift to make it up the
pedestrian bridge on 101.  The bridge was slippery as hell and I
almost bit it, but I made sure to be  behind everyone so that I could
hide any evidence.  With breakfast in sight and miracle of miracles, no
lights, we cruised at 23ish mph down bayshore, with Shoumen spinning
so fast on the folding bike that he looked like a wind-up toy, but
managing to mostly hang on to Scott/Mike's wheels,  and were rewarded
with victuals and sun at Google.

Having been told repeatedly what crap my tires were, I plotted my
immanent trip to SB to get new ones (done!).  Aside from a couple of
tubes, no casualties that I know of on this ride, and an entertaining
and light hearted start to 5 days 5 ways.


Re: 5D5W: 9/16 Grand Bayway(R) 6:30 RRR

Lider lollipop?

2009/9/16 Scott Crosby <>:
> ride report:
> arriving as I did at Ritual in the predawn blackness @ 06:20 to find it
> utterly empty, I at once feared I'd gone to the wrong coffee place.  so I
> ordered an elaborate Clover-made Kenya AA and took my sweet time going over
> the fine points of their sustainable farming practices and roasting.  mmmm.
> anyway, while that was brewing, a swarming hive of riders appeared all at
> once in a mighty torrent, and soon 21 spandexed gladiators jammed the place
> to the gills.  one nameless rider even had the temerity to order a drink at
> 06:35, take it to go, and show everyone how to drink it while riding,
> perform a spectacular endo, fly over the bars, and end up standing/grinning,
> coffee unspilled.  do not try that at home!
> that drama subsided, we made our way down Mission and up the usual Guadalupe
> Canyon road toward the MSB summit.  like clockwork, the powerful M. Gaiman
> launched his attack, and held off his pursuers to the zenith.  frustrated
> and vexed, xton, mark, and ariel launched a rival attack up Radio Rd.
> without waiting for any argument on the subject.
> having never ridden RR, I was personally delighted by the misty,
> fog-shrouded forest, which rained giant drops upon us, and found the
> pavement and grade very satisfactory.
> the view was obscured by swirling mists and fogs, but it was still awesome
> and much recommended.
> the next variation, the burlingame lagoon, was pleasant and sunny, and that
> would have been that if Lorenzo had not attempted a difficult power-slide at
> the bridge entrance, which resulted in wreckage of man & machine.  rear
> wheel destroyed by spoke pulling thru the rim bed, he carried on to a local
> shuttle stop and was checked off as a casualty of the road.
> next was coyote point, which was universally hailed as lovely and
> philosophical.  no wrecks.
> 2 variations were skipped in the interest of time: the san mateo hill detour
> of kinetic sculptures, and the Lider Lollipop.  another day.
> total miles: 50 even.  time: 3 hrs. riding.
> side note: for the 3rd day in a row, another challenged raged -- could Space
> actually bake *another* breakfast treat, even more delicious than the last?
>  the vegas oddsmakers had it at 7:1, considering the
> banana-espresso-chocolate muffins of tuesday, but incredibly this feat was
> accomplished, and today's treats were ravaged well before ride's end.
>  again, all who failed to attend should throw themselves from a bridge and
> end it all, since your lives are unworth living.
> -sc
> --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
> -> blog: | terms: |
> bike prep: | unsub:
> -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---


5D5W: 9/16 Grand Bayway(R) 6:30 RRR

ride report:

arriving as I did at Ritual in the predawn blackness @ 06:20 to find it utterly empty, I at once feared I'd gone to the wrong coffee place.  so I ordered an elaborate Clover-made Kenya AA and took my sweet time going over the fine points of their sustainable farming practices and roasting.  mmmm.

anyway, while that was brewing, a swarming hive of riders appeared all at once in a mighty torrent, and soon 21 spandexed gladiators jammed the place to the gills.  one nameless rider even had the temerity to order a drink at 06:35, take it to go, and show everyone how to drink it while riding, perform a spectacular endo, fly over the bars, and end up standing/grinning, coffee unspilled.  do not try that at home!  

that drama subsided, we made our way down Mission and up the usual Guadalupe Canyon road toward the MSB summit.  like clockwork, the powerful M. Gaiman launched his attack, and held off his pursuers to the zenith.  frustrated and vexed, xton, mark, and ariel launched a rival attack up Radio Rd. without waiting for any argument on the subject.

having never ridden RR, I was personally delighted by the misty, fog-shrouded forest, which rained giant drops upon us, and found the pavement and grade very satisfactory.

the view was obscured by swirling mists and fogs, but it was still awesome and much recommended.

the next variation, the burlingame lagoon, was pleasant and sunny, and that would have been that if Lorenzo had not attempted a difficult power-slide at the bridge entrance, which resulted in wreckage of man & machine.  rear wheel destroyed by spoke pulling thru the rim bed, he carried on to a local shuttle stop and was checked off as a casualty of the road.

next was coyote point, which was universally hailed as lovely and philosophical.  no wrecks.

2 variations were skipped in the interest of time: the san mateo hill detour of kinetic sculptures, and the Lider Lollipop.  another day.

total miles: 50 even.  time: 3 hrs. riding.

side note: for the 3rd day in a row, another challenged raged -- could Space actually bake *another* breakfast treat, even more delicious than the last?  the vegas oddsmakers had it at 7:1, considering the banana-espresso-chocolate muffins of tuesday, but incredibly this feat was accomplished, and today's treats were ravaged well before ride's end.  again, all who failed to attend should throw themselves from a bridge and end it all, since your lives are unworth living.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

5D5W: 9/15 Bayway 6:30 RRR


First off we have Theo hydrating at the water stop... how many
calories are there in a sip of Maker's Mark?

See below for Eric's story of the other photos.


Re: 5D5W: 9/15 Bayway 6:30 RRR

The Landbaron has creaked for a while, which I've always pinned on:
(1) creaky easton seatpost, (2) grinding of grit in the 0.2mm
clearance between the spider bolts and the chainstay, and/or (3) a
chain which is cleaned and lubed once or twice per year. Today it
sounded worse, so at the water stop I flipped it over and discovered a
crack through the down tube and seat tube, about 3/4 of the way around
the two (with a new hairline fracture visible on the remaining metal).

Trinh, in graciousness, offered his bike to me. Being of basically
the same stature and shoe size (though I am 10 or 15 pounds more
corpulent than he) made the swap easy, and he limped along to work on
the crippled Landbaron, trying not to snap the bottom bracket shell
off the bike while getting used to speedplays and his first time on a

In the Landbaron's defence, it was a $120 titanium frame found from a
sketchy bike shop in Texas that claimed it was a factory second. I
got 2 1/2 years of pretty brutal abuse out of it (who bunnyhops curbs
and carries 50lbs of Costco loot on an aero TT frame?); I shouldn't
expect too much more.

An autopsy will be performed. Photos will be posted. The results
will be analyzed, and I will pursue one of three options: (1) sweet
talk a new frame out of Sibex, despite the fact that this one was
clearly defective and not intended for sale, (2) purchase of a new
city fixie frame of appropriate obscurity and uniqueness, or (3) the
glomming of a half pound of carbon fiber and epoxy on the bottom
bracket cluster in an attempt to render it roadworthy again.


Monday, September 14, 2009

5D5W: 9/14 Joe Gross 6:30 RRR

ride report:

15 riders besieged an unsuspecting ritual barista team at 06:25.
space provided stupidly delicious chocolate-chip-cookie-brownies
("blondies", or so i'm told) AND home-made Warp 9 bars. again, all
not present are suckas who missed out.

today's route being the venerable yet rarely invoked Joe Gross, we
went that way. it kind of sucked in its inimitable fashion - millions
of red lights, glass hither and thither, and some flats. yet it still
charmed in spots - the pleasant cemetery tour in colma, the bucolic
atherton->PA zigzag, the 101 bridge chicanes/skills course (slippery!)

notable among the riders was shoumen on his
single-speed/coasterbrake-equipped Dahon folding bike w/ 20" wheels...
which is the very same he won at BFF at the Roxie not long ago.
somehow he rode over 20mph on that thing on several occasions.

a congenial ride in sum, despite a case or two of the mondays.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

wed. 9/2 SRLB bayway 07:00 RRR "drop to 4" format

hello favorable conditions!

  • 70-81F
  • 13mph wind out of WNW, aka perfect tailwind

    "drop to 4" TTT format, 22-28mph, no attacks/sprints, smooth pacelines/transitions, short pulls, max sustainable speed of 4th-fastest rider (whomever that may be).

    while not a record attempt per se, the conditions should be right. however, personally I am fat, out of shape, and lacking anything like vim or vigor, so I will likely be dropped like a canada goose turd.

    depart 7am sharp, arrive in time for breakfast.


    Looks like drop-to-4 may have been a bit hopeful; Lorenzo's out which leaves us with 3.5. On the bright side, this means I might have a chance of being one of the four.

    +1, bringing my dv46's in a wildly optimistic attempt at carrying my own weight with good pulls.


  • au contraire monsieur Alténdeürf.

    yes the pickin's did look slim at Ritual about 6:55 as M. Gaiman, Eric, Hobinator, and yours truly sat slurping our macchiatos in grim silence. but then, as if by magic carpet, the mighty septuagenerian One-Kit Murph appeared as a green, threadbare apparition, and announced his readiness to attack the much-feared Bayway Record. at 7:08, the TTT commenced.

    it was then noted that all bikes present were raw titanium, aluminum, or carbon, and paint was decreed bourgeois.

    so there were 5, so one was in danger of eventual dropitude, but the miracles did not cease, and we were immediately joined on valencia by the powerful Mark and his associate Baris, who rode a blue(!) Fuji. now up to 3 could be dropped in the name of Speed.

    it was then agreed that discipline and short, acceleration-free pulls in the 24-26mph range would be observed. ahh, it was a thing of beauty. 7 riders in egoless paceline rotation, all pulls under 2 minutes almost without exception. only once did Mark's excessive power and iron legs get the better of him, and he had to be reminded that his teammates could not sustain 28mph for long.

    arriving at Sun, Adam the Pole-Slayer was encountered, and his head appeared unharmed. just afterward, Steve and Dan were subsumed, and Steve on his sexy, gleaming white BMC cyclocross rig joined the team for a couple-mile chat.

    the group of 7 nearly arrived intact, but a looming black Escalade on University shaved the hapless Eric and Baris off the back like whiskers, while simultaneously Hobe's pedal spring gave up the ghost and he was forced to limp home unclipped on one side.

    Mark then reminded us this was no laughing matter, and drilled it on Bayshore, maintaining a 26+ mph average for the entire length, with brief assistance by the team. It was then that the average crept over the golden speed of 21.7mph, and all that remained was a strong finish to Rengstorff.

    final stats:

    • 7 riders started, 4 finished in the lead group
    • 1:56:51 elapsed rolling time (-27 seconds vs. previous record)
    • 42.52 miles
    • 21.8mph rolling avg speed
    and despite having only one functioning pedal from EPA, Hobe still broke 2 hours, with a 1:59 something. nice.


    ps - pics are foggy due to completely sweat-soaked jersey obscuring iphone camera lens. backback is also fully sweated-thru, a first.

    Old Age and Treachery baby. When you are in over your head - suck wheel.

    Then as soon as the struggles really begin, throw a wrench into Hobe's pedal, flick Baris and Altendorf at East Palo Alto, thus forcing the lead group to keep you around... bwhahaahaha.


    Alas, we did get annoyingly get dropped pretty darn close to the finish line. I blame the absence of cytomax, <120psi>

    Until next time... /shakes fist

    Great ride overall.


    Monday, August 31, 2009

    28/8 6:30 RRR?

    Ride report:

    I texted a few numbers around 6:00 saying the ride was on for 6:20 from Ritual.

    I rolled out of my house at the ungodly hour of 6:28. I thought I might have spied a helmet but no, it was far too early for that I told myself. I parked over at Martha's and after a little squabble with a cabbie (who didn't understand the concept of parallel parking) a lone rider appeared. He rolled on by saying he was trying to catch the early group. I consoled myself thinking that Matt must have convinced a person or two to head out at his proposed unsane time. Another 10 minutes or so brought Theo who said Ritual was devoid of sf2g peeps. We went on a mission to catch the group pushing a solid 20-25MPH pace past the Bayshore Caltrain station and around to the hotels. About that time we noticed the helicopters in the sky and I explained my disbelief in such things. Traffic was kinda heavy but slow as we passed Amgen. We turned onto Gateway and the po-po were out in force. Every driveway had police scowling at anyone who thought about pulling in and the truckstops/coffee shops/gas station/IHOP parking lots were full of people hanging out with their cars. We assumed dude with a gun or bomb threat, how could we have known it was a leaky sausage plant!?

    Theo and I managed to avoid the poison gas cloud and continued our pursuit through SFO and decided rather than ride the scraped pavement section of fail we'd take the detour around along the lagoon and come out better for it. Right around this time we also both caught sight of the group of riders or an amazingly lifelike mirage of a group of riders. We figured we'd cut em off and our hands would be much less jarred than theirs before coyote point. Yeh, that was the plan until on the last turn as we were about to leave the lagoon Theo went down on a little patch of wet green stuff growing out of/on the sidewalk. He seemed ok but need a few minutes to recover and we were on our way again. We caught the group at the rest stop tho Matt was long gone. the rest of the ride was at a much more chillaxed pace with no one to chase down we settled into cruising speed calling out all poles extra careful for the sake of Adam. cars stopped on Gateway:

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Bayway - 08/14 - 6.30 @RRR

    ride report:

    while slurping a macchiato at ritual, mike decreed with some authority that a mt. san bruno assault would be required to consider today's ride worthwhile in any conceivable sense of the word, so the RRR gang rrrolled right past cortland and cruised mission st. until john daly, then left, then left again at price, and left yet again at s. market st., and up/over mt. san bruno. gorgeous view of the urban forest and the bay from up there, i'll have you know.

    now, the descent of mt san bruno can be fast, and it can be very windy. today it was both, and Fast Faye and I got blown around on the tandem quite a bit, but still clocked a fairly zesty speed:


    being somewhat over the speed limit, we felt secure taking the lane. nearing the bottom we eased up a bit and were only going 50mph when an unfortunate red light presented itself. lucky for us the 203mm discs could stop a caltrain, and no suburbans got t-boned.

    the rest of the ride was moderate-to-brisk, with some spirited riding here and there. just made it to breakfast at 9:31, not bad for all that Kemler waiting.

    someone's got some pics right? my unfortunate shorts are doubtless being pilloried on bsnyc by now...


    My addendum:

    On my non-tandem I hit 52.8mph on the Mt. San Bruno descent, and almost ate it once from an unexpected gust of wind but recovered nicely. I would describe the ride from the airport on as more 'brisk to race-pace' then 'moderate to brisk' but that's just me. When Xton leads out on a 30mph pull and then the tandem attempts to attack him, life is not fun at the back of the pack trying to hang on for dear life

    Another personal achievement, I stayed up M. Gaiman's wheel about 1/2 way up Mt. S.B., though my HR was 175 and his was probably 90. At that point he looked back, saw me on his wheel, downshifted once and immediately rode away from me. Still, I felt it was an achievement for me.

    Garmin Data: Here


    The best part of the ride was definitely that descent. I particularly
    liked taking the lane. Too bad there were not a lot of cars to overtake.

    There was one point, I think right before we hit the curves before coyote, point when Xton was going about 47 mph and my Captain suggested "more power" "more power" "close the gap", when I much more in the mood to lie my little helmet clad head on Scott's back and take a little nap.

    But the good thing is that even if I am powerless (and I was), officially speaking, I could do no wrong :)

    -Fast Faye

    You people are crazy and now I'm intimidated.
    I don't want to pull a Kemler and end up in the next ride report.

    But +1 on the next tandem ride.


    Pics of the famous duo of this morning:
    Did you guys make it to breakfast? I actually arrived at Google (solo) at 9.36am... Fun ride, and San Bruno-Bayway is my new Bayway! Thanks a lot for stubbornly insisting on doing it this am, and all my apologies for the Martha's group. Alex and Debbie had left RRR at 6.30 sharp so I was hoping you would have caught them.

    -Mozilla Julie

    First a little personal disclosure. I currently have 6 bikes. 1 folder, a MTB in baby hauling mode with attached sidecar, 2 fixed gear bikes( only 1 of which fits well and is in actual working order ) and 2 road bikes.

    Foldy bike is great for getting on full caltrains but not great for anything of any real distance ( tho if someone wants to organize a clown bike ride i'd consider joining in ). MTB as stated previously has the sidecar which while great for hauling the kid about isn't great for the commute down. The sidecar has a quick release but dropping it off makes it look like my bike is sporting an enormous erection, seriously. So let's just say that bike is best left as a single purpose hauler.

    My happy fun space age road bike is currently sidelined as I decided to swap out the old brakes for new ones but the old cable housing came up about an inch short so rather than rocking the bike equivalent of high waters it is waiting patiently on the wall.

    A couple weeks back when I dropped my chain off my old-school-steel-i've-had-since-high-school bike I ended up bending a link. I replaced the chain, rode down and found out my barrel adjuster inexplicably also was busted so that bike is currently sitting in my repair stand waiting for me to swap out the derailleur.

    So I've got a 2cm too small fixed gear hanging in my garage that I haven't ridden in at least a year(anyone want a cheap fixed ride?). The rear wheel is currently on loan to a friend.

    So that leads me to the one fully functional ride I have is my other fixed gear. A couple people remarked on it today but really, it's my only current choice. There's no honor here, I'm just a lazy lazy mechanic.

    --- Anyway, given the speedy rides we've had down lately I rolled out my door and was at Martha's by 6:40 sharp. As we started collecting people a few riders rolled past and I thought I caught Debbie tho someone in our group said is was Alex and Alex and Alex and Alex, seriously I think they went on for like 2 minutes enumerating all the Alex's. I stopped counting at 2. We shouted something at them and they said not to worry the whole group wasn't far behind them. We waited, IIRC Mark rolled past, gave a wave. Eventually the clock ticked over to 6:53 and we called it. Andrew, May fresh back from her nasty wreck, Yo-yo and myself rolled out. Andrew cursed us by commenting that the wind seemed to be slightly like a tailwind in addition to being very sideways so it switched to a headwind promptly as we crossed under 101. Yo-yo dropped off somewhere out there around the marsh, I'm not sure where but given this is his second ride down this week I was pretty sure he could fend for himself.

    Around SFO we added Paul and Christine to our merry group and continued on to midway. Debbie and the 8 Alexs were pulling out just as we pulled in to refill our water. They sneered back at us and quickly sprinted away leaving little cartoon like circles of dust in their wake.

    We were hanging around the water fountain talking about what a superior experience it is to meet at Martha's when Kemler rode up. We got it from him that Gaiman used his Jedi like powers of mind control to drag everyone up San Bruno and that they were all likely behind us somewhere. A few minutes later another rider showed up clad in Wildflower jersey. Once we all topped off our water and fooded up we wandered off in search of feral cats which both Paul and Christine expressed their disbelief in. I counted at least 4 large feral felines lurking off the side of the trail.

    We cruised onward towards the 92 and eventually caught the bucket list on the other side of the bridge, Kemler went off the front and so we took turns taking pulls up through Oracle. As the path ended the geese started. They were everywhere, blocking the bike lane, path and menacing an AC transit buss that was defeatedly doing its own honking in an attempt to communicate with the birds.

    The light at Airport blvd affected a regroup. We rolled to the start of the path next to 101 mostly as a coherent group. Somewhere between the start and end of the path we got crazy splintered. I waited around to sweep our group before the bridge to nowhere and was hanging with Paul and Christine. Just as we got through the Parking lot Andrew came back to sweep, but everyone else was gone. Paul peeled off at the Bayshore Expressway and Christine and I got to Sun with no problems. As we were waiting there Xton appeared in mid bunny hop out of nowhere. He said simply 'breakfast time trial' and the light changed. Gaiman and the Combination Scott/Faye vehicle scurried out of the bushes and across the street. Faye said something about how I missed her brownies and with maniacal laughter dug her spurs into Scott and they reared back before disappearing over the horizon.

    Gotta give props to Faye/Scott for the matching team colors and generally rocking the tandem of insanity. Paul for finally making the ride down after first told me about sf2g nearly 2 years ago. Christine for getting so deep into riding so quickly.


    That was fun today. Definitely not civil like wednesday. It's amazing what the threat of no oatmeal can do to a group's average speed. See you all at party car.


    Thursday, August 13, 2009


    Hey everyone. Let's talk about road rash! Every one of us will crash someday (sorry) so this is something we all need to know. I'm including here the knowledge that I accumulated from 2.5 years of racing and over a dozen crashes in that time. I don't claim to be an expert and everyone has their own opinions on the subject so please do chime in.

    There's alot of bad and outdated info out there about caring for road rash. Most of the patch-up jobs I've gotten at races (and even in the ER) have required 20-30 minutes of soaking and tugging and tears at home to remove the crusted-on bandage and then redress properly. The general gist of this method is 1) keep it moist and scab-free at all times, and 2) let your body do its thing. You should be able to find tegaderm and hydrocolloid bandages at at least one local supermarket or drug store in your area but it might take some hunting.

    • Step 1: Crash (or if possible, don't crash and skip to step 9).
    • Step 2: Make sure you don't need to go to the ER. Do you have any deep gashes that might need stitches? Do you see alot of white in your wound? Do you know what day it is? These are all clues.
    • Step 3: Go home and shower. You need to clean out the dirt and debris from the wound. Do so with mild soap and water (unless you happen do have a cache of sterile saline solution lying around...). Don't scrub too hard or you'll cause even more damage. Do *not* use hydrogen peroxide (as one wise medic once told me, "use that stuff to clean the blood out of your clothes and nothing else").
    • Step 4: Dry the wound. Air dry or use sterile gauze.
    • Step 5: Apply Tegaderm over the wound. Cover a half inch of healthy skin on all sides. Tile several pieces if necessary.
    • Step 6: Wrap a protective layer of gauze around the wound and tape it securely. This both pads it and absorbs the fluid that will fill up and eventually leak out of the tegaderm. I use surgilast tubular elastic bandage retainer (see link below) to make this dressing even more secure. Not easy stuff to find though.
    • Step 7: Now let it heal. You'll need to change the outer gauze layer every time you shower of course but the tegaderm will last for several days untouched. The wound will produce an alarming amount of fluid. This is good. It keeps the wound moist, helps you heal more easily, and the bubble under the tegaderm will help pad the wound even more. Watch for infection. Burning sensations and redness spreading from the wound are bad. When you change the Tegaderm don't scrub the wound. That's new skin you'd be scraping away.
    • Step 8: After a few days or whenever the wound will stop weeping so much switch to a gel/hydrocolloid dressing. These adhere to the skin like tegaderm but absorb rather than collect the fluid that the wound exudes. They're less tricky to apply and don't need a second gauze dressing but they can't handle as much exudate. The dressing thickens and turns white as it absorbs fluid and creates a sort of pillow over the wound.
    • Step 9: The wound is healed when the gel bandage stops pillowing up. Treat the new skin gently.
    • For Trinh: I'd take a nice long bath or shower to soften your scabs a bit before you dress your wound. Either tegaderm or gel dressings are probably appropriate at this point. After a day or two under a moist dressing the scabs will probably fall off on their own when you shower and change the dressing.
    • For small bits of road rash that you may find next to your big missing patches of skin, I still use antibiotic ointment and bandaids. Or just small gel bandages.

    Some random, quickly-googled references:


    Friday, August 7, 2009

    8/7 NRLB - Bayway - 6:30am rollout from Ritual

    Somewhere between work outtages, the caffeine required to combat them and my cat deciding that my face was the most comfy bed she had ever seen every 30 minutes I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night and was reconsidering riding when I woke up. I choked down a powerbar, a couple Advil and some water before gearing up. My stomach was a little cranky but I told myself if it wasn't better by SFO I could bail to Caltrain and headed out the door a few minutes later than planned(06:44). Yo-yo had +1'd from Martha's and I always like to meet new people discovering the premier meetup spot if I can. Unfortunately as soon as I stepped out onto my front steps I could see helmets cruising past on Cortland. I cruised down and caught peoples on Bayshore. We had a very mellow ride from there down past Bayshore Caltrain and a smaller group starting massing at the front led by Mark, Christian(#2), Faye, Logan and myself ( did I forget anyone?). I tried pulling a little but no one wanted to grab my wheel so I settled in to a decent tempo. Logan mentioned it was a little fast and started yo-yo'ing a little but eventually did manage to claw his way back in. We cruised down past Amgen and our small group rolled up on the first of many green lights. We made SFO with remarkably few reds and picked up another rider clad in purple on a titanium frame for a short time until he went off the front a bit before Coyote Point. Christian(#2) and I chased the mystery rider down and rolled into midpoint, Mr. Grape blew past. Mark said something about trying to make a 9AM and didn't wait around for any more than 3 seconds. The rest of us chillaxed a bit, ate some food and refilled water. In another few minutes Debbie and then shortly thereafter maybe another 9 riders ( most of who I'm sure I can't name ) rolled in. Around then our small group headed out to visit the feral cats. We picked up another rider or two and Christian(#2) pushed the pace and attacked a bit. Once we passed the Bucket List(TM) and were onto the straight bike path Debbie who was now in our group also burst off the front with mighty bursts of speed. Faye, ever the impatient, suggested strongly that we raise the pace up a bit and so we burned up the pavement remaining between us and Oracle in no time. Again we made the light onto Marine pkwy and yet again from Redwood shores pkwy. Just before the bridge to nowhere we picked up another rider. Happily everyone managed BTN with no scrapes or falls and I expect our group was off the road easily by 9:15.

    It was good to see Logan back out on the bike. And never having ridden with Christian(#2) before welcome him as well.

    For double bonus points did anyone else spot the former sf2g regular jogging along the lagoon?

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    wed. aug 5 - bayway exploration - civilized 7:30 departure - Philz!

    checking out the "official" redwood city bike route, in blue. usually we go green.

    stickering up the route in SF

    start of the bay trail south of the airport

    some dirt involved, cool

    why not ride on the beach?

    typically indifferent-to-humans canada geese

    this is the "blue line" in the image


    explored some pretty cool dirt/paved trails along the ol' bayway today, and since I had the 'cross bike, there were some excursions into the squishy parts of the way. may be making a recommendation to the executive committee to make the south-of-airport start to the bay trail the default route, rather than the kind of lame S. Airport Rd., which is narrow and trafficky.

    as for the "official" route immediately preceding the BTN (see previous email), it's loose & narrow dirt, pretty fun but not great.

    also did extensive route-stickering until I ran out, which hopefully is noticeable for the first 15 miles of the ride.

    see attached for some photo documentation.


    On Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 11:52 PM, James A. Morrison

    > 2009/8/4 Scott Crosby >> plotting to do some route marking and exploring of dirt paths tomorrow >> in the vicinity of the BTN. see attached map. the green line is the >> usual route, the blue line is the "official" bay trail, according to >> redwood city politicos. oh, also going to go around the dirt hill at >> the san mateo rest stop, which for some reason I've never done. >> should be good times. > > We did this last week since Stoerr mentioned there were wind sculptures there. > >> i'll be getting the world's most delicious coffee at 7:15 @ philz >> (folsom/24th) and then moseying on down the bayway, stickering it up >> as i roll. >> >> >> -sc >> > -- > Thanks, > Jim >

    Skyline 5 Aug, Peet's 6:30 rollout

    ride report, or "oops i got lost":

    for a second i was happy my alarm rang since i was dreaming i was in an annoying conversation and thought the alarm was a great excuse to finish that conversation. then i realized it meant i had to get up and that didn't sound like a good idea. i arrived late at peet's and jim, mark, marius, and bret were already there. i made them wait even longer while i ate a croissant and drank some coffee and bitched about work. stupid work. we headed out late and despite being really frustrated with work i was being slow - you'd think frustration would make me go faster but apparently not today. sorry for being so slow today, guys! mark took off at the start of SCT, we lost bret and marius at the end of SCT, and jim and i went on. i was being so lame i couldn't even hang on to jim's wheel on canada. i had suggested a couple of detours to jim, but he needed to get to work. i knew there's some road called olive something or other shooting off canada but i didn't know where it went so i figured i could find out. it went to albion ave! that seemed awesome since i just moved to albion st. then it went to some other road and then it went to some other road that was called king's mtn road. i was still pissed at work and decided there was only one way to fix this, if the normal skyline ride wasn't enough. so i went up. up up up. yay up! and then i started to feel less frustrated and think about constructive ways to fix the work situation. then i went up some more and reached skyline. it was kind of nice to see the tunitas creek sign even though i didn't get to ride the actual road. it's just that i have a crush on tunitas. it was, after all, on tunitas that i first realized i love climbing. then i went up a little bit more on skyline. then i went down a bit on skyline and there was a pretty nice but short descent. since the portola valley loop is pretty sucky when you're alone and tired i decided i'd rather go to page mill than 84, and then i could avoid the portola valley loop. turns out it's really far from king's mtn road to page mill! like 13 miles apparently, on very rolly rollers. i didn't mind! i've seen lots of dead deer on the side of the road on my bike rides. i saw one on the side of foothill yesterday. up on the ridge i saw one that was just a skeleton by now! i haven't seen that before. i think that's the best roadkill i've seen so far. eventually i reached page mill and it was awesome. nice descent. well, it was awesome until the road was suddenly full of people walking all over. and not only were they people, they were soldiers. with rifles! i did not approve. but i didn't hit any of them despite them walking in the middle of my lane, which is good, because they probably would've shot me if i'd hit them. instead they all smiled and said hi but i find it challenging to smile around rifles. they were soon gone though and the rest of the descent was good. i now feel like a real person again and i'm much more pleasant to be around, which my co-workers should appreciate despite my late arrival. yay cycling!

    • distance: 65.88 miles
    • average speed: 14.9 mph
    • deer skeleton sightings: 1


    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    tues 7/7 skyline 6:30 @ peets, steady pace

    First Skyline ride report:

    We left Peet's not quite on time. Scott fixed a flat around John Muir Dr. After the initial climb up Skyline I was somewhat behind the rest of the group. Several times I found everyone waiting at a turn, and we took 280 twice due to trail closures. I stopped somewhere in the middle of an incline on Skyline to eat something, when it was already 8:20, though I don't think I felt its usefulness until Canada. I proceeded to miss a turn and proceeded onto Black Mountain when Scott and Andreux, returning, caught up to me, pointing this out. Instead of turning back, we carried onward to Wedgewood -> Lakeview -> Tartan Springs -> Crystal Springs, adding a swooping downhill and bonus climb to the route. I, uh, can't recommend it in my current state, but it's there, just so you know. At the top at Skyline was the last time I saw the front group.

    Again on undulating ground, I lost the group until the middle of Canada, where I found Liz and Andreux. Some of us fought muscle cramps and finally arrived at Google just after 10:30.

    Thanks to everyone for being patient, especially those who made sure I wasn't getting too lost. It was pretty nice, even with the freeways, though I'm sure 'll be recovering for a while.

    Yoyo Zhou

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    NRLB 2/14 Skyline 6:30 am Peet's

    (old post from the email vault)

    SF2G Skyline NRLB Report!

    trees in SF swayed under the mightily wind at night, but what a beautiful morning it was.... the final pack of the leisurely-minded riders (trinh, mary, andy, ealtendorf, and yours truly) coalesced at the intersection of John Daly and Skyline after taking sunrise valentine photos on the beach, and took off in a leisurely-minded way southbound, covering both sections of the Sawyer Camp Trail, with an unidentified flying object (UFO) passing a few hundred feet over our heads at one point (or so it seemed). not entirely defeated by crosswinds, after news of a lurking ryanpc and bradshaw on the road ahead and rumors of Crittenden breakfast til 10am, we forgone the scenic Portola loop in favor of trafficked Palo Alto streets. The peloton never saw the breakaway, as ryanpc reported, too bad.

    first skyline of the year for all but our fearless leader trinh, and first sf2g of the year for at least half. congrats to all.


    On Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 12:02 PM, Ryan PC Gibson wrote:

    G2 SF2G Ride Report:

    Left Google at 7am on the dot, and enjoyed a brisk morning ride out to Woodside. No sign of the gang at the end of Canada, so pushed on and ran into Pete who must have overtaken the main pack when they chose SCT. We waited another ten minutes or so, then pushed on. Individual time trial on CR was not a PBR (10:26) but definitely a confidence booster this time of year (thanks Mr Tail Wind!) Pete and I took it easy since it was his first skyline this year, and rolled in to campus about 10:30. We never did see the main pack. Until next time!

    -- Ryan*PC

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    wtf - Death Ride "Lose 3-7 lbs" under their training tips

    (repost from rbike)

    Ok is it just me or when you click "training tips" on the Death Ride website and see this do you, like, wanna punch the dude in the face?

    How much $$ are they getting for having this infomercial crap on their site. It makes me feel dirty and makes the ride feel hokey.

    Ugh. Shower Time.


    PS: This, however, should not be construed to mean I wouldn't accept a magic loss of 3-7 pounds. Ideally while still eating my ginger chew cookies from Andronicos... but I'm flexible... call me.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    6/18 Bayway 7am RRR

    It'll be my first sf2g in a few weeks. Who's up for riding? - hobe


    +1. i'm in the mood to ride fast. anyone game for another record attempt?



    looks like a mild headwind tomorrow, about 2mph. sure is nice to have a push in the back on fast days...



    yeah, I don't anticipate that it would be a successful record-break, but it would be fun to try and i'm curious as to what we could pull off without wind assistance.



    Scott, you down?



    brother, i'm tired, with sore legs and wheezing lungs.

    but sure, why not. if xton can change his ways and not attack, it might work. the key to a fast overall time is moderation and teamwork, meaning very steady, regular pulls at sub-100% effort, with no surging off the front... can it be done? all we need is >21.2mph average, easy right?

    mike and his spankin' new DA 7900-equipped Wilier Triestina "46 ton" will be required.



    Okay I'm in too. Should be good.



    I'm guessing 7 AM was sufficient if you could hang.

    As we approached the BTN, I steeled myself - knowing I needed to cross the bridge with much more flair than my usual timid approach. I backed off to get some space and cross in my own zen. Cleared both the ascent and descent without problem, but the gap I had let form plus a few extra seconds spent congratulating myself and I entered the parking lot on the other side 30 yards OTB. That was more than enough. I chased like a madman and finally lost sight of the leading trio at Marsh Road. I backed off at that point and still rolled by google at 9:20 AM.

    Fast enough to hang, not fast enough to continually close the little gaps that always form on Bayway. Not bad for an old fat dad though.

    And clearly this was the right day to bike to work.



    1st half of the Ride Report:

    Excited to be back in SF and making a record attempt I arrived at Ritual at 6:45 and fueled up with a scone and double espresso. I had the first inklings of the doom to come when Scott showed up on a shiny CAAD8 BB30 with a 11-21 cassette and no backpack. Obviously taking the record attempt way more seriously than I (with my heavy laptop in my backpack). We (Trinh, xton, scrosby, mgaiman, and I) set off a little after 7, immediately raced down Valencia crossed Army and made it to Cortland. It was here that xton and scrosby unleashed the fury and set a blistering pace all the way till Oyster Point. I kept falling back but managed to catch back up most of the way. Right around the airport I snapped and saw the rest of them vanish into the distance.

    I caught up with Michael and Trinh at the rest stop (and by caught up I mean they waited for me). Michael and I set a good (and more importantly sustainable for me) pace and made it to Google in 2:02:45. I'll leave it to Scott to write what happened up at the front.



    ride report:

    when i woke up today, two thoughts converged in agreement: legs sore, self favor sleeping more. still, drug lethargic self to ritual, where the hobinator and trizzle were looking fresh and already coffee'd up. attempted to get on same page with extra large guatamalan. xton and mike then arrived. at ~7:10, the train left the station.

    all agreed a fast but sub-100% pace would be adhered to. partway down valencia, mark, heading north, flipped a U-ey and jumped on. it was a windless day.

    wisely shunning a backpack and laptop, I suffered less up cortland, bayshore, & san bruno than hobe, xton, and mike, who were well-equipped to conduct a meeting and perform excel macros. yet they sent no emails this day.

    team settled into regular rotation, and kept up a pretty solid 24-25mph, with san mateo trinh doing extra work befitting his early exit. as we pulled into millbrae, surprise! one-kit murph, who baffled us by wearing a different kit, was lurking at the traffic island chatting up a motorcycle cop, and joined the mission. very helpful to have the extra horsepower, as we had lost a couple teammates by then to unknown afflictions. of course then we passed a webcor dude heading north, and murph was despondent to be unable to bond over their mutual green spandexness.

    the average hovered around 21mph as the headwind picked up in foster city. despite best efforts, only 22mph could be maintained. still, record-parity pace was hit somewhere around the windtunnel or BTN, when murph decided he'd had enough tomfoolery.

    the winds went easy on us from then on out, with yours truly, xton, and mark plowing on until mark bailed for work around EPA. mark, who was an unknown quantity, proved himself a tremendous TTTer, with exemplary technique and long pulls into the wind on his vintage serotta, caltrain tag flapping in the breeze. great work.

    xton and I then ran into a couple of fast-looking riders on e. bayshore who momentarily joined us, but seemed to find us distasteful and departed. at that point i was afraid they'd drop us, heaping ignominy upon defeat.

    but no, the calories held out this time, due to assiduous devouring of shot bloks and gus, and xton and I rolled across rengstorff dripping great rivers of sweat into our eyes and wobbly, but still rolling. I snickered when xton pondered his 10 miles more to apple, heh heh. probably picked up the pace for that bit.

    final stats:

    • 1:57:18 elapsed rolling time (new bayway record! woohoo!)
    • 21.7mph avg / 37.1mph max
    • 42.52 miles
    • ~7:10 departure, ~9:12 arrival (plenty of breakfast)
    • wind: ~2-10mph from SW, variable
    • riders: mark, xton, trinh, mike, hobe, murph, yours truly
    with a proper tailwind and a 4-6 person team, we can beat this for sure.

    nice work all!

    tale of the tape

    hobinator, xton, crosby, post-G-breakfast; note all bikes unpainted (ti indyfab, ti litespeed, al cannondale)



    I left at 6:31 and arrived at 8:58 ... I thought that was fast :(


    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    6/11 Brisk Bayway 6:15 RR

    >Fast Bayway to make my 9am tomorrow. Please +1 if you're coming or I'll skip Ritual.

    (apologies for the novel)

    I once thought I knew hunger. I did not.

    today's ride, designated 'brisk' by the powerful mike, seemed like a fine opportunity to break in my latest bike build, a caad8 cannondale with integrated bb30 crank and a somewhat aggressive 11-21 gearing setup. designed for the flatlands, it is 16.3 lbs. of cold polished aluminum efficiency. seemed like a good option for a 'brisk' ride.

    rolling up to ritual and looking forward to a delightful clover-ized kenya-AA, I was flummoxed to find a grad student with papers everywhere taking OUR spot on the corner couch, and at 6:09 no less. the nerve! this affront put me on edge, and as mike, shoumen, and trinh arrived, an unspoken pact of grim resolve took shape in our small zeitgeist: make the road pay.

    departing in an agitated state, and fueled by last night's not insubstantial pours of Pliny the Elder IPA, I decided that there should be no courtesies paid to valencia, and the die was cast.

    the surly winds swirled in fits, but it soon became known to the riders that our backs would receive a general push in the southerly direction, and secure in the knowledge his duties would cease in san mateo, trinh assumed his place in front, reeling off miles of steady 24mph.

    upon reaching the halfway pitstop, the truth was known: a record was within reach. elapsed time at mile 20 was 0:58:51. but there was a problem: no one brought any food or anything but plain water. halfway to go on 1/3 of a tank.

    it was at this juncture that the urbane shoumen elected to conduct himself in a more sociable manner, and he rode on with michelle, whom we'd just encountered.

    meanwhile, mike and I traded pulls in an attempt to keep the average around 24, with the goal of bettering an overall of 21.2mph.

    the wind continued to blow mostly from the back, and times were consistent with a 2-hour arrival. the average crept up to 20.9mph as we entered EPA.

    it was then that things started getting hazy. simple arithmetic became a challenge. pulls became less vigorous. the periphery of my vision shut down, and my world became a curiously spinning black ring in front of me. hee hee, that's funny how it goes round and round.

    at mile 38, with about 1:52 elapsed, a definition I once read drifted thru my brain. it was a medical explanation of the term "bonk". I think it went something like, "catastrophic depletion of muscle glycogen." mike still seemed to feel alright, but from then on I could think of only one thing: all the food in the world, in my belly, RIGHT now. E. Bayshore became a mountain. holding 20mph seemed laughably impossible. the seconds ticked off but I wanted them to, because after 2hr flat we could stop trying.

    when the agony finally ended at rengstorff, I slowed to a barely manageable 4mph, and suffered greatly climbing the "hill" past the alza buildings. staggering into no-name and dripping sweat in great volumes, I lurched into the middle of the line and grabbed two smoothies, drinking both in quick succession before rudely taking more than half of the available raspberries and piles of other food as would fit on one plate. this took some time, as I was eating the food almost as fast as I added it to my plate, while trying not to sweat all over the counters.

    10 minutes later, though indoors, I was shivering with full-body goosebumps, all available blood on calorie-distribution duty. mike didn't even have breakfast, the animal. wonder how his 9am meeting went...

    final stats:

    • 42.58 miles
    • 20.9 mph avg
    • 2:02:27 rolling time

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Far East Way or: How I learned to Stop Braking and Love the Dirt

    i'm going to have a title for my ride report today! whee!

    TITLE: Far East Way or: How I learned to Stop Braking and Love the Dirt (original post title: "Far East Way tomorrow - 6:05am at 24th St BART")

    i can imagine all the things scott said in distrust about me being flaky as he and brett were standing on the BART platform waiting, but since you're reading my ride report you already know that he was WRONG! i was running down the stairs as fast as my cleats would carry me just as the train pulled in, and unlike my fine companions i didn't waste five minutes of my life waiting for the train. suckahs!

    after this fine start we relaxed in the train for a while, scott looking smug in a pair of flip flops that he had brought for walking in the stairs. well, bones get frail when you get old, so it was probably a wise decision on his part. youthful and careless as we are, brett and i were sporting sidis.

    our BART ride came to an end in san leandro. two titanium steeds and one damn fine transparent aluminum steed could be seen by the fine vistas at lake chabot, which were soon followed by some steep rolling hills with stop signs in every valley. scott dubbed them "the seven cortlands".

    View Far East Way - San Leandro to G via Palomares Canyon in a larger map

    after less than 40 minutes of riding time scott declared that it was time for breakfast and bodi's java in castro valley served us some good bagels while we chatted with the regulars who were trying to make sure we'd gotten at least 15 miles of riding in before stopping for breakfast. hmmmmmm. oops, no. being the youngest member of the peloton, i was chosen to pose in a relaxed manner:

    after this First Ever (?) Mid-Ride Breakfast Stop we went on and soon reached Palomares Canyon, 15 miles of nice hilly road with barely no traffic and horses on the side. that was sweet.

    that was followed by a few miles on single-lane 84 with lots of fast traffic. that was not so sweet, but it was short and we were soon safe on alameda creek trail that doesn't have any motorized traffic at all, except for the one truck that coming at high speed through a blind corner trying to kill brett. he survived and we observed several things:

    • east bay people are really friendly. not a single person ignored our greetings.
    • the houses on the non-creek side provided us with a diorama of how different classes live: first some nice, big, well-maintained houses with largish yards, followed by some smaller houses further south, ending with a trailer park before the weeds took over.
    • the creek appears to be dangerous, as all housing was fenced off from it. the cost of the fence appeared to be proportional to the cost of the living quarters; tall painted steel fence for the fancy houses, a simple net fence for the trailers.
    and at last we reached the dirt path in the middle of the bay! scott proposed to call it moses way, as it was kind of like parting the sea and walking through it. if we're going to have religiously themed routes, i want to ride shiva's path or maybe the avenue of ganesh. i wonder what kind of bike ride a blue elephant god would favor.

    riding in the dirt was fun! it was nice, flat, hard packed dirt. i figured that since i wasn't a dirt kind of girl, if i was fine with it, everyone else would be fine with it too. it wasn't much of a speed deterrent, either - it wasn't entirely unlike a bike highway. but say the happiness that lasts forever... after a few miles we reached the dumbarton bridge which we swiftly crossed and we were back on good ol' bayway. refreshed by the ride in the dirt, scott and i were eying some cool little plank bridges built through the marsh for servicing the power lines. it would be rad to ride on those, and it would be a shortcut! but alas, it was not meant to be and we continued on the usual way through most of palo alto, but added an offshoot towards the bay somewhere in the middle, rode on some more dirt, got back on track, then headed off to a sekrit dirt path instead of the usual boring bayshore! we saw some more of the power line plank bridges, and, alas, they were not contiguous and our dreams were shattered. but at this point i had embraced the dirt and was delighted to see more of it. we navigated through school classes and trash pickers on nice wide dirt paths and i realized i could no longer view myself as a strict paving girl. in fact, the small sections of paving between dirt appeared horrendously boring in comparison.

    our dirt paths eventually dropped us off by the shoreline lake and we could safely proceed to google without having been on a road since palo alto.

    scott has photos. scott, give us photos!

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Ride Report: East Bay Way - Scouting The Way Along The Other Side Of The Bay

    If you hate the Bridge to Nowhere, you can stop reading now. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, keep reading.)

    (OK, I think all the poseurs have left. Now to continue with the ride report...)

    [Update: direct link to map of the route for kids who don't read so good.]

    Sit down on Grandpappy's knee for a history lesson - or - The origins of the Bay Way

    It got started by me being curious about riding riding around the Bay -- ever since I started riding in the East Bay hills and on the San Francisco peninsula. My curiosity was amped up when I started consulting for Cisco along 237 (along the south end of the bay) and started riding a loop that took in Sierra Road (connecting to East Bay routes) as well as riding to Cisco from Caltrain (connecting to peninsula routes). Later I started consulting for Oracle and while there I rode my bike along the Bay Trail all the way up to Oyster Point, just South of SFO, and I from that experience I figured you could keep going all the way back up to the city. Fast-forward to me starting at Google, where on my first day (before Noogler orientation), I went for a bike ride along the Bay Trails near work. I almost immediately started scouting the Bay Way using Google Maps and then scouting what I thought was a good route on my bike, riding a little further North along what would become the Bay Way each day before work. Once I found the Bridge To Nowhere, I knew it was gonna work: a route to work that didn't cross 101 more than once and stayed off-street and on low-traffic roads as much as possible. All my Bay Way scouting trips were solo and I did the final end-to-end pre-ride one weekend. I sanitized the route a bit for marketing reasons (it's spec sheet didn't compare well to the then-vogue Joe Gross route: 42 vs 37 miles! so many turns!), sent out an invite to try it, and a mini bike commute Renaissance was born. (Or at least that's my take on it. Scott and the rest of the founding SF2G crew's mailing list and website deserve a lot of credit, too.)

    Meanwhile my curiosity about a route along the Bay continued. I knew you could get from SF to Google and then to Milpiltas (SE corner of the Bay) via mostly bay-fronting roads, but what about the eastern-side? One day I rode from San Leandro (where my favorite bike shop is, (Chris) Robinson Wheel Works) down around the bottom of the Bay and up to Redwood City; I ran out of daylight before I could make it all the way back to the city. It was fun but the problem was that the route I took down the East Bay was shit: all inland and on shitty roads.

    Another year passes... on a weekend ride exploring all those little cul-de-sacs that stick out into the Bay on the Bay Way (yes, this is what I do for fun, and this is a whole other story, and a worthwhile ride, too), I rode out over Dumbarton bridge and noticed a levee that shot out to the North from where the bridge touches down in the East Bay. It looked like a very rideable dirt road. It also looked amazing: so narrow and surrounded by water for miles. The idea of riding on it stuck in my mind, where it sat for another year.

    Another instigating event that occurred was that Bob Ryskamp, a fellow Googler and cyclist who had always lived nearby Google, moved to Berkeley and needed a way to get to work. We got to talking about scouting an East Bay Way. And when I say that, I don't mean "a route to route down from Berkeley to Google" but that plus the attributes of the (Peninsular) Bay Way: along the bay, low-traffic, off-street as much as possible. But our schedules never aligned, so nothing came of it. Another year passes.

    "Get to the point, already!" - or - Brett learns to share the scouting with others

    I haven't been riding much lately, and I've been bored with Bay Way. For whatever reason (see above), the old idea of an East Bay Way came to mind. I emailed my SF2G l33t crew plus Bob and Donal "The Amateur Adventurer" Mountain and set a date. I started scouting with Gmaps, intending to keep the route a secret until the day of. The timing was off, so nothing came of it. Second try, the next day: Donal and Eric "Flat Affect" Altendorf foolishly volunteered. I let them see my precious maps, Donal loaded my route segments onto his GPS, I reassured him that road bikes can ride on gravel, and Eric loaded the map tiles onto his G1 (something Donal's GPS lacks), while I tried to get him to put clinchers on his cross bike (successfully, miraculously).

    We set out this morning, catching a 6:40-something train to San Leandro. Easy as pie, bikes allowed, $3.95, 32 minutes. We bore right out of the BART Station onto, appropriately, San Leandro Blvd (bike lanes), and then took a right at Marina Blvd (no bike lanes, easy interchange with 880). After an extremely loud encounter with an Amtrak train, in a total of three easy miles we were at the bay shore, and maybe a 1/4 mile after that had slipped past a gate onto a paved path headed South along the Bay. The vistas just seemed wider, the distance across the bay further (it turns out that they are - this is the widest part of the Bay). (At this point on Bay Way, you're fighting through San Francisco or in South City by the airport.) We were on a blissful path with along just a few hooded-plus-huge-sun-visored Asian ladies out for their Vitamin-D-free exercise. And then we had a little photo shoot to commemorate the easy part of the trip.

    After a few miles of bay front and near-bay front paved path, the route turned to dirt. We knew this. But be forewarned: there is a lot of dirt path on this route. A lot. Like, totally, half or close to it, man. Most of it is smooth, but there was some loose gravel sections, too. (Now you see why I turned away all the Bridge to Nowhere haters.) But it is totally rideable with the right attitude: Donal had never ridden his road bike on dirt before and he was still pulling strong at the end.

    The route from Marina Blvd. to 92 was vouched for by the aforementioned Chris Robinson, so we didn't expect nor did we get any drama. We did get a creatively decorated sewage treatment plant and some cool bridges. And did I mention dirt? Some of it was very fast, and very straight. I did my best Paris-Roubaix impressions at this point: going hard and kicking up a dust cloud (or maybe the boys were flattering me by telling me that). We arrived at 92 in no time, crossed over the highway on an excellent pedestrian-bike bridge, and the fun started: the route between 92 and 84 was the big unknown, El Grande Sur of the ride. I had plotted a path based on my ability to read the qualities of the levees on Gmaps, but I doubted we'd get by without any dead-ends or divergences.

    Sure enough, the dirt roads turned more gravelly and the way was less clear. And my intended route was foiled by some stupid Ecological Preserve. We were forced to divert into a subdivision with its own moat(!). We were off-route at this point and had to wing it. We got lost in the subdivision (it was a maze), tried to escape, failed, and finally made it out onto a surface street headed South. I was pretty bummed that we couldn't complete the 92 to 84 segment on trails. (It looks like this deficiency will be remedied shortly - sometime in the next 50 years.) We tried again in vain to get out by the Bay on trails, but realized we were using desperate tactics (crossing RR tracks and bridges and trespassing) and we remembered that the point of the exercise was to create a route everyone could ride, so we sucked it up and rode South on Hesperian/Union City Blvd, which doesn't always have a bike lane but the traffic was very chill with us taking a whole lane.

    Here's where the awesomeness really started (I really suck at foreshadowing). Union City Blvd crosses Alameda Creek at the border of Fremont. On the far side of the creek, we left the road and jumped on on a ~10 mile segment of paved and smooth dirt paths all the way to the Dumbarton Bridge, which marked the edge of returning to the known universe to. Of course we didn't know this would work out at the time - on Gmaps it seemed too good to be true - we just hoped for it. The path starts by paralleling Alameda Creek, which winds mostly due West (windy!), past the amazing mid-marsh Coyote Hills, way out into the bay. Way. Out. The path simply T-bones into the Bay and takes a hook South. Now we were riding Southward along the edge of the Bay, but with the dry land part of the East Bay 3 miles to the East of us. A better name for this route might be Middle of the Bay Way.

    Shortly after turning South, you'll run into an anxiety-producing, oh-no-are-we-gonna-have-to-turn-around, bullshit "path closed" sign. Ignore this. Walk your bike if you want to avoid the ego-bruising I gave myself by trying to ride around it. After this final challenge, there is just miles and miles of horizon-to-horizon blue sky, blue water bisected by our narrow levee, old salt ponds, egrets, hares, geese, and pelicans. This was my dream - I was riding towards or on the segment that inspired this route - it gave me legs that I didn't really have, hammering towards the ever-looming Dumbarton Bridge. And I hearby name this the Levee to Nowhere.

    Once we got to the bridge, we had another little photo shoot. From there, we just rode under the foot of the bridge, got on the south side separated bike path, and rode over the bridge to meet up with the traditional Bay Way route at University Ave. in Menlo Park.

    The rest of our ride was uneventful. The slightly flagging Donal ate a Cliff Bar, and from there he gave an impressive lead out to Eric and me during the traditional Bay Shore sprint. I took advantage of the aerodynamic-as-a-brick qualities of Eric's cross bike and gapped Eric. With all our route-finding and photo modeling, it was getting towards 10:30. We bid our goodbyes while rolling up to work, but not before debriefing about the ride and agreeing that the trip had been a success and the route a viable one. Enjoy the East Bay Way, our gift to you.


    A special mention to Donal for his up-for-anything attitude and uber-positivity, and of course to Eric for his completely calm approach to every obstacle. I might have played it down the potential dram of route finding in a group, but these guys are the perfect (and I mean it) companions for such adventures, especially in tandem (or on a tandem?). They made this trip not only easy but fun.

    Route notes

    Donal's route trace from his GPS is just about perfect in terms of what to follow

    37 miles from San Leandro BART to Google

    17 miles or so on dirt



    Eric's photos (65) -

    Donal's photos (24) -