Sunday, October 22, 2017

Curve balls

I am English, so the blog title is for my American readers. In the brit vernacular, it would be something like being bowled a googly.

My daughter Tamra went from being a child to a teenager to an adult in about 3 nanoseconds. Heck, February was brutal, made all the more difficult because my wife was away in Texas when yje poo hit the fan. i did find out that I was a decent parent, i just wish she could have been kinder and made better decisions.

My dad got sick. He had been unwell for sometime, but the doctors thought they had the problem nailed down. During May he entered hospital several times and was treated and discharged. Late May he was admitted and they did more tests and I was calling home often and getting more and more frustrated about not being there. Mid June and he was very unwell and the consensus was cancer of the stomach. The prognosis was poor and they all thought he would only be here for another few months. We decided to go home and flights were booked. The next day my brother Steve, who was going thru his own personal hell but was still being tireless for mum called saying Dad was really going downhill. Mum called later with teh same news. I decided to move my flights forward to leave that night. 5 minutes before I was due to leave to drive to SFO, my mum called. 7:00 pm here ='s 3 aM there, and as soon as I heard her voice I knew it was too late. My Dad passed away on June 19th. He was on his own, no family around. That's not how it should be.

I flew home, Linda and Tamra came the next day. Jenny got special leave and a lot of help from the USAF with her passport and arrived 2 days later, and amazingly Josh was in England on business. All the american side was there!

So many friends, so many cards and flowers and well wishers and support and LOVE. I never knew, never knew. My Dad, an ordinary bloke, fun, witty, sometimes too quiet, a little stern at times, but fair, passionate about his family. And this story of his life, and his affect upon people and he was just being his self. An un assuming man who seem's to have been everyone favorite friend.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cherry Pie Crit - Napa, CA

Cherry Pie Crit, E3 - team mate Richard
finish - OTB
Hello all
Get to Napa early, I had volled to help Krush with the team set-up. He was struggling with the 10x10 when i arrived, it could have got messy. Lucky turned up when I did, he was close to tears. Tables up, chairs in place, food out. Then O and Tim with his groupy Prasan (sp) moosy into town. Richard is not far behind and teh Brian and Audry with team photographer Ed arrive from the wrong direction!
Anyway, last time at Cherry Pie was eons ago, and I did not race, I was nursing a broken collarbone. The year before that, it was probably 1998 or 97 I was pack fill.
So here we are in 2009, and the new and improved Garry is ready to race, but whats this, the pack as already freeking left the start line, and Richard and I have to chase like crazy. I am with a Roaring Mouse dude and we can't make contact, and RB is behind a little more. I am 30 meters off the back of the field, but it could have been to the moon. But sweet relief, the chief judge realizes his mistake in starting the field too soon and we are pulled and given a free lap. While we are waiting, several other guys roll up, also disturbed by this new NCNCA "start em early" trend.
We integrate (I am gonna use that word a lot this year) into the rear of the peloton and whoosh down the hill. Crikey its a fast race and I am glad i had a few minutes to rest before crankin back up to race speed.
Anyway, a few more laps and several break aways are attempted. I am slowly making my way towards the front but never get there, eventually finding a sweet spot around the 20-30 rider back locale. Every time up the hill I am gaining places, and the concentration around the 180 is nervy but safe enough.
Eventually a break sticks, 3-4 riders are off and although not too far away, the fields speed is up and down like a yo-yo and the break maintains it gap. With 5 to go, the field is antsy, 4 to go there are yells of "hold your line" and "come on, lets go" as the speed is varying. 3 to go and its my opinion there is going to be a crash (there had already been one at the bottom of the hill) and lo, it happens. At two to go just after the chicane, on the hill, someone with a machine gun seems to mow the field down. I can't believe i am going to crash the new ride, dammit. Nowhere to avoid, the brakes are on and I uncleat and plant my foot on a wheel and wait for the inevitable collision from behind. I feel a few bumps, but amazingly I'm OK. All around are riders and bikes lying on the floor.
So i get going again, but the field as long since ridden away, so i do my last two laps at tempo and finish the event. I see the solo survivor of the breakaway ride in, good ride by that dude and get back to the team tent to quickly change and charge over to SFO to pick up Jamiis sister. (Oscar, you missed out, she's a good looking woman)
Back to Napa, deliver Jamii's sister, check out some more racing, say hello to Ann and April and then at the end of it all, take down the tent with our super manager Krush and drive home. dude, i am tired....
Nap time
Thanks for reading

Snelling Road Race

Think i had better write this down before the next event...

E3 race, 63 miles, with Bill and Richard
47 o/o 93 starters

I was excited to do this race, feeling confident in my training to date. Thus i did not sleep well the night before.
Richard picked me up at 5:15 and away we sped. Got down in plenty of time to make the most of the 3 lines we had to queue up in (reg, time chip and porta potty). The chip line was huge, VP had better sort that out before the next event that they decide to use it in (me thinks that will be Madera stage race). Then back to the car and change and decide on clothing choices. I went with short sleeve undervest, race jersey, arm warmers and BKW's. Finally I packed my picnic in the pockets.
A small warm up on the rollers, maybe 10 minutes and then over to the staging area where we wait.
Finally the whistle and we roll out at a dismal 15 mph behind the moto ref.

Our team plan was to do nothing on laps 1, 2 and 3. On lap 4 we were to start covering moves, with hopefully Bill getting into the good one. If that plan went south, the plan B was a lead out for Richard who seems to be able to dredge up a good turn of speed from little training. We also intended to ride top 20 the whole race. This is just good practice for any event, but on a circuit were it can be windy, this is doubly so.

Lap one
No wind, so no worries. We ride swiftly along Keyes and make the usual high powered show thru the feed zone. The zig-zag turns are negotiated safely and then over the small rollers to the back side of the course. All the corners have sand on them, less each lap, but it does not stop the pack slowing. I only saw one rider skid out, but it was no drama. A couple of half hearted attempts are made by several teams but nothing sticks. Dave of Metromint is busy, he will not want a field sprint. Onto bumpy Olsen road and at the end of that road my seat tube un-used drinking bottle flies out. Dang.

Lap two
As lap one minus the water bottle loss. the overall speed is not as fast as it can be. No one has railed it and thus the field is very dynamic, more like a crit race. It was incredibly difficult to maintain good field position (top 20). As soon as we got there another surge would occur and your 20 spaces back again.

Lap three
As above.

Lap four
Getting closer to the front, but still no moves to worry about, but then an attack and some riders peel off the front. All Team Integrate riders are out of position to respond.

Lap five
Still no speed. The last time down Olsen it still stays tempo, and the remaining field of 70 dudes all think they can win. After the last turn, the field sprint is 3 deep and gutter to gutter, there is no way thru so i roll in. Apparently, but this is not confirmed, there was a small break that stayed the course and made it in 20 meters ahead of the field.


Good legs, but bad head. I was not very happy with my performance and will endeavor to improve next Sunday. Hopefully the conditions will inspire a better race.

Thanks y'all


Friday, November 07, 2008

If it's November it must be training

After the spill back in September, my plan for just rolling right along with the riding went by the by and so now, in November, its full on. Running, riding, stretching and lifting. Oh the joy. I think i like training more than racing. Damn work get's in the way. still, at least I have a great place to draw my course maps and such.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

First Rain, poor timing

Knew it, just knew it

Team Fremont, cursed this year to not be able to promote a day of massed start racing, decided to organize a time trial on out very own team course on Calaveras Road, near Sunol. The core group beavered away and it was agreed to move our event back a couple of weeks to avoid clashing with some other races. But this meant we were in October, and it is the beginning of the rainy season here in Mid Cal.
And on Friday it doth precipitate, mightly. Not Ark building amounts but more than the usual splash.
So, with a late season event, with short advertizing, only two thirds of those who registered turned up. It was a lot of work for twenty racers, but dang, some went really fast. Upto last Saturday, the fastest time in the modern era had been done by Lar Nolan with a 23:43 from 2007, done on a typically windy summer evening. Saturday morning was calm, cool and the roads where damp, providing some lube for the rubber on the road. Add to that the term that British testers call "Float conditions", and the scene was set. No one was that quick until the same Larry N came thundering down the road to record a 22:36. He easily won the Masters 45+ with that. A very short while later the 'big Boys" of the pro 1/2 finished with Skinny Kevin, Lars team mate recording the fastest time of the day with 22:19.
When you consider the 1 mile climb, dead turn in the road, the tight left and right turn combo and the rolling roads, that is really really fast. I predict these times will not be bettered for many years to come.
And what of the promoting and work crew. Remember, its dark, raining, low entries and low key, but when I arrive at 06:10, three ten by tens are up, tables are up and there are a mass of Team Fremont and friends lending a hand.
In no particular order, and apologies if I miss anyone.
Boner the breaker, Chuppa, aka Ed Falsken, Krush, Sandy, Carl, Andrea, Kim, Audry and two of her sisters, Gary the Younger, Kilo Joule, German, Scott, BB2, Damaral.
Special awards to Krush and Chuppa, who worked their socks off and both deserve a couple of $20 lap dances with the SF Twilight umbrella girls. Maybe a virtual lap dance will suffice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some scribblins, at last

San Ardo RR, Saturday 16th August, 2008

Team Mate - Bill Brier II

Race Category Masters 45+ all Category, 63 miles.

I had decided well before the race weekend that i would travel down to King City and stay there on Friday night. And I was mighty glad that i did, because I do not think I would have heaved my self out of bed at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning to drive down. I booked a room in a Motel 6 which was fine if a little noisy, I should have asked for a room away from the freeway.

Went to the local diner for brekkie and had some pancakes coffee and toast and then drove the 15 minutes to San Ardo where i hooked up with Bill and found Damaral. I did not even see TimB, but we all know he was there. I saw LaLa before the race and she offered to supply water at the feed.

Lap one
Lots of small probing attacks, varied assailants from Team VOS, Action Sports, AV and Morgan Spinly, who had nine riders. The initial rollers where easily taken care of and about 1/3 thru the first lap a rider from a team called "Cynergy", not to be confused with Team Synergy went off the front and really wellied it. He was in sight for the next 1/3 lap but was soon way off the front and outta sight. Probing attacks continued and from my position in the top 10 I was able to cover some. One group looked decidedly good with representatives from all major outfits making a split, and i bridged up, but it soon became apparent that the VOS team where not willing to work, and it disintegrated.

Lap 2
Thru the feed zone and I grab a bottle successfully from LaLa. i don't really need the water as i am carrying a spare bottle in the back pocket plus two on the bike, but i do need the practice getting feeds and it was encouraging to hear Lala bellow approval of a successful hand up. More probing attacks over the rollers for the next 6 or so miles and then we roll around to the right, bisect the freeway and cross the bridge over the Salinas River and make the next right at San Lucas and head south on Cattleman Road. The pack rides tempo over the little hill and then about 1 mile later Steve Gregorius of Morgan Spinley, who has been absent from the front for some time blasts past on the left. Chris Black, also MS, goes right and 5 others make a break away. So we have Cynergy guy leading, Steve G, Chris B, an AV rider, a Berzerkly, a team VOS plus a couple others (maybe another MS rider) making a go of it. I am too far back and miss the move. Dang, is that the race riding away. Suddenly all the MS riders are missing, except for a couple who jump on any attempts for further break aways. The escapees ride hard for 2-3 miles to get a gap and then eventually a chase starts. I get integrated into the rotation and we are hauling ass, maybe 27-28 at times, never below 25 and 6-7 of us are keeping the bunch strung out. We chase for about 20 minutes, which brings us back into San Ardo where we catch not the break but a group of P/1/2 's who have been dropped. Heck, i thought we had them. Over the bridge and thru the feed zone for the last time, no water required for this next lap.

Lap 3
The AV rider in the break has popped and I mention to Bob Parker that now his team of 4 or 5 had better start to ride. The pack pace stays solid but not crazy and we finally make the catch of the disintegrating break after they have had 25 miles of freedom. Chris Black and Stevie G of MS have worked the break over and have now fled, hoping to maintain their advantage.The Cynergy dude is still ansy though and makes several attempts to go again, but he is toast. On the way back to town on Cattleman, with about 10 miles to go the field splits and i have to make a big 2 minute 30 mph effort to make the bridge, only to find that the second half are on my wheel and we all come back together again. Hostilities come to an end and it seems as if the peloton has decided that we are sprinting for 3rd place down. Thru town and i shed my spare bidon, making the local kids happy. It is not fast but i know the pace will quicken. I have previously identified to Bill Mark Caldwell of MS as the wheel to follow. I personally will use Bob Parker as my lead out. Going over the bridge for the last time jostling starts and i have to make a big move to follow Bob down the left. What the hell is he doing....he ramps it up with a mile to go. And then i see the motivation, the two breakaways are within sight and we are sure to make the catch. They are passed as we go under the freeway and i have lost position because Bob Parker completely fazed me with his move. Langley comes screaming up the right, going 5 mph faster than anyone else, but without Bill on his wheel. Into the finish straight, the rested members of Morgan Stanley hit the front en masse, with Langley leading in Desuibio, Fessenden and Caldwell. MS get the top 4, sheeeet. I make an extra effort after LaLa screams at me and i think i finish with a top 15, hopefully.

The epilogue

Great race, really enjoyed the constant attacking and tactical changes. Bill was fun to ride with, he seemed to be cruzin all day.

See you all on the road

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Still here, just totally slammed

Here's a list of what i want to blog about

1. Mt Ham ride
2. Diablo attack
3. Morgan Territory on boxing day
4. My UTI
5. My daughter
6. My wifes health
7. Tour of California
8. Snelling RR
9. Merced RR
10. Berkeley Hills TTT
11. The price of petrol
12. Work under the new regime
13. Jenny and the USAF
14. Cycling, dangers and our recent tradegies
15. English rugby
16. The Special One
17. Anything else i can think of

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Across the golden Gate


I have always liked the idea of riding over the GGB into Marin and beyond, but never got around to it. At the beginning of the team ride season, we bounced around ideas about possible routes and it was proposed we do a ride out of SF north, so wheels were set in motion. I started mapping out routes and some bright spark suggested starting at the Sports Basement Store at Fort Mason. I called up SB and chatted with Justin their marketing manager and also with Pedro, who is the bike dept. manager and they also suggested some rides. They also offered to provide some post ride refreshments. They also informed me that they have a huge parking lot and are within 5 minutes ride of the bridge, so it all worked out super for a jumping off point.

A week before I pinged the email list about who could make this adventure and was soon disappointed with the number of possible no shows, including the person who suggested riding into Marin in the first place! I was worried that I would be the only person in the parking lot, and so it was at 08:15 when I arrived. I was early though, we had a planned departure for 09:00, so I went into the store and introduced myself to Justin and we discussed a possible return time for our planned 73 mile ride. I thought it would be about 2:00-2:30 pm. Little did I know.

Back outside team members started to arrive. Ed Falsken, Keith Jordon and Keith Kruse, Oscar Nunez and German Villa and Wendy Jaramillo. Finally, Bill Briers rode in to the lot, having ridden up from Fremont!!! With me, that made eight (I do like even numbers of riders, so much nicer having pairs).

The route and ride

The route planned was as follows. Head over the GGB and descend in to Sausalito. Take the bike trail north of Mikes Bikes and follow to Blithdale, where turn left. Right on Camino Alto, go over the hill and when in Corte Madera go left on Magnolia. Turn left on College in Kentfield, which becomes Popular. Then veer left / straight on to Ross Common. Go right on Shady Lane, right on Bolinas Ave in San Anselmo, go left on San Anselmo, which becomes Hazel. Left on Lansdale, and follow to Broadway / Center Blvd. and eventually on to Sir Francis Drake. Climb over Whites Grade and descend to turn right on Nicasio Road. At Nicasio was the first planned opportunity to refuel. After leaving Nicasio turn left on to Point Reyes Petaluma Road. Continue straight / bear left on to Platform Bridge Road. turn right on to Sir Francis Drake again and climb the hill and descend to Olema (second possible refuel stop). From Olema, turn left on Shoreline / highway 1 and head south to Stinson Beach. At Stinson, turn left on Panoramic to climb up Mt Tamalpais (not to summit). We then planned to go left on Sequoia, which becomes Edgewood then Molino. go right on Miller and Left on Camino Alto to rejoin the route we took on the way out. However, I do not think we took the route noted above from the top of Mt Tam. I was following Wendy, who rides this area frequently, and we got back to Sausalito double quick, so I'll have to get details from him about which way we went.

Riding over the GGB was fabulous. The fog was in, and we could only see a little of the coast from the west side cycle path we had to take. KJ was taking pictures on the move and it was lots of fun, except for Bill who nearly slipped out on one of the bridge transition plates. Down into Sausalito and into the fog proper. My spectacles were completely awash and I could only see a few yards but I could smell the sea and the tidal flats and it was wonderful. The trail is a multi purpose trail and runners and riders appeared and disappeared quickly in the murk. We crossed numerous wooden bridges and then eventually got onto Blithdale. Wendy, Bill and German led the way, all 3 knew the roads well and we quickly got to Camino Alto and made our first climb of the day, a small 400 foot bump. A quick regroup at the top and then we descended into ever improving visibility and the roads of Kentfield. The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Marin and the township of Ross was amazing. I don't know what the median income for the inhabitants is, but the mansions, houses and homes are fantastical. We stopped in San Anselmo for Ed to tighten his bottle cage and then continued onto Sir Francis Drake and the first major climb of Whites Grade. I hung back and waited for KK and then as we broached the summit, Wendy was waiting to catch us in a Kodak moment, thanks Wendy. The 3 of us plunged down the other side and W and I cranked along to catch up. As we turned right onto Nicasio, I spied Oscar and his magic bright red overshoes spinning and we soon caught them. Another grade whacked KK over the head and he struggled to the top. Another regroup and then a nice tight group to Nicasio and a fun zig zag thru town and more tempo riding to the junction of Nicasio Valley and Point Reyes Petaluma Road where "oh no"!

Yellow caution tape was across the road, barring our way. I made an executive decision and we crossed the tape and rode on. My thinking was that if we got stopped they would probably just turn us back anyway, so might as well take a risk and hopefully we would be able to get past what ever the problem was. No cars, super smooth asphalt, tailwind, lakes either side, no cars, it was great riding. As we approached the junction with Platform bridge road the road closure cause was spied. PG and E were replacing a power pole, but we had space to get by. Just past the blockage a small mutiny occurred. Wendy; German and some others decided the route went straight on. They had not read the route sheet and were on auto pilot. After 5 minutes they returned to the fold and we continued on the closed roads to rejoin SFD and make a climb that had KK struggling again. Following the climb was a nice straight descent to Olema and we stopped at the local store to grab a bite to eat. I highly recommend the store, good, fresh bagels and other carb's plus decent coffee (no restroom though). A 25 minute stop over and then we headed south on Highway 1 / Shoreline. Riding alongside Bolinas Lagoon was just soooo groovy. The ups and downs took there toll on KK and we decided to regroup in Stinson, 5 miles south. Along this road I had a mechanical, with my chain jumping off the derailleur pulley's and wrapping itself around the mechanism. The derailleur was ok, but it twisted the chain and for the remainder of the rode it was skipping when I put a lot of pressure down on the pedals. At Stinson we took some more photos and KK went to sleep in a porta potty. After his nap we rode out of town and took the left onto Panoramic and the climb of Mt Tam. KK's legs completely caved in, but he did a tremendous job of making it to the ranger station. Ed came back down to add moral support and after the regroup we flew down the other side into Sausalito. What a fun descent that is, well worth the climb up the mountain.

Back into Sausalito, more photos and then over the GGB in the daylight with the city in the background. Magic.


Finally back into Sports Basement. we wheeled our bikes to the back of the store where the bike department is and found a comfy couch to hang out on. Justin presented us with muffins, cookies and salty bite sized morsels and more importantly some decent beer. As Keith Jordon put it "damn near brought a tear to my eyes". German and Wendy went shopping and KK decided he was in need of a 27 tooth cog and gave it to the wrench there and then to put it on. I gave BB a ride home to Fremont and that was about it. Finally got home at 19:30

My final stats for the day were 73 miles and 5 hours 17 minutes in the saddle. Total elevation gain was approx. 5300 feet.

Thanks for reading