Thursday, June 23, 2011

ADA Tour de Cure, 2011

By Dennis Pedersen

This is my fifth year entering this ride that raises money to help the American Diabetes Association fight diabetes. This disease has increased over the last few decades, as our healthy diet and exercise habits have declined. According to diabetes statistics from the CDC, the percentage of U.S. Population with diagnosed diabetes increased from about 1% to almost 7% from 1958 to 2009. Think of it: Almost 7% of the entire U.S. population now has diabetes!

I'm very privileged to have been able to serve as the HP team captain, for the fourth time. I say this every year, but it bears repeating: This ride is an awesome way I can use my love of cycling to give back to the community... and I love doing it.

In the 2011 ride not only did we grow the Hewlett-Packard team to a new record of 34 riders, but we also set a new fund-raising record of over 21,000 dollars! Terri Carter outdid us all, by raising 2,735 dollars, in her first year on the team no less! And the grand total raised during the Silicon Valley Tour de Cure so far is over 1,000,000 dollars! Thanks so much to every one of you; I'm so proud of what we accomplished together!

HP team statistics:

  • 2011: 34 riders raised $21,508.00, 7th place overall in corporate teams.
  • 2010: 27 riders raised almost $20,000, 5th place overall in corporate teams.
  • 2009: 7 riders raised $4,633.00.
  • 2008: 13 riders raised $8,252.86.
  • 2007: 9 riders raised $4,268.

I personally was credited with raising $1,400 this year; though down from last year it still amazes me. Thank you, donors! And, yes, you can still donate!

My main goal was to grow the HP team and in that I was successful, thanks to so many of you. And I know many of my teammates reached personal goals as well; riding further, longer and faster than they ever thought they could. I personally find those hills much easier when I remember the people we're riding to help, so perhaps that added "lift" motivated some of us. Whatever it took, I'm impressed with the dedication of our riders, and the generosity of our donors and sponsors.

I had to set my alarm for 4:45AM, but I got to HP's world headquarters, on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, in time to sign in, suit up, get some complementary coffee and coffee cake from sponsor Hobee's Restaurants, and line up for the official opening of the 120K route, a bit after 6:30AM (the shorter routes start later). HP teammate Stephen Medina was also there. It's fun to be there for the official opening as they make a point of cheering us on as we ride off.

The 120K route went from the HP campus north on Junipero Serra, then on Alpine Road, Portola Road, Woodside Road... and on to the first big climb, up Kings Mountain Road. It started out just slightly overcast, but it was drizzling slightly from the heavy ocean mist as we got near the summit. That climb is steep! It took me 27 minutes of very hard work to get to the top. But I knew the first rest station awaited me on Skyline Boulevard and that helped to motivate me! I was maybe the 6th rider to the top and immediately started snacking... it's what I do best!

The Tour de Cure is a ride, not a race, but even so some of us like to treat it a bit like a competition. A group of riders from one of the corporate teams, KLA-Tencor (KT Cycle Time), suddenly took off while I was chewing on a cookie, and I never did see them again. So I guess you could say I was in a "chase group" as I flew alone down Highway 84, past the pretty rural scenery. It was a bit drier there too.

At the next rest station, in the picturesque fishing village of Pescadero near the Pacific Ocean coast, the KLA-Tencor team had already left shortly before I arrived. So I quickly gobbled some more food, refilled my water bottles and hopped on my bike for the ride up Stage Road, past the tiny hamlet of San Gregorio, and via Highway 1 along the ocean to Tunitas Creek Road. There I stopped at The Bike Hut, a small snack shop used as a rest station for the Tour that day, before starting the last big climb, up Tunitas Creek Road.

The climb up Tunitas Creek Road, between the massive redwood trees, is steep and it took me 34 minutes of hard work! I was still alone, except for a couple of guys I passed. One of them was a super-fit Master in a "Red Riders" uniform; that meant he was riding with diabetes. It's pretty inspiring that he doesn't let that stop him!

Tunitas Creek Road ends on Skyline Boulevard, right at Kings Mountain Road at the same rest station as earlier. And by then the clouds had disappeared and the temperature had risen to near-perfect. Ahhh, so nice. A last small snack and I plummeted down Kings Mountain, into Woodside and back to HP for my hard-earned Tour de Cure lunch. Like last year, Wahoo's Fish Taco was sponsoring lunch, but I also had a hamburger in the interests of cultural diversity. Plus some left-over coffee cake.

We had an HP awning with an HP banner at the ride finish, thanks to Jessica Blaine, and some of us from the HP team got to eat in the shade and share our stories. Cynthia Asrir had a tough-luck story; she crashed and got scraped up a bit, but not enough to dampen her spirits and even pose for our HP team photograph, by PhotoCrazy! Mat Waltrip (new to HP from our recent merger with Palm) made a really cool video diary of his ride, what a neat idea! John Laforga, also on his first Tour de Cure, posted some photos, as did returning rider Erika Wilhelm. Thanks folks!

I truly hope that the HP Tour de Cure team will continue to grow to a size commensurate with the size of HP itself, and we can start to beat bigger teams like Lockheed Martin and Cisco... bring it on!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pescadero Road Race / 55+ Cat 4

"Ride with confidence and believe you can win and deserve to win with all the hard work and dedication." (Bruce to Joe the night before the Pescadero Road Race).

I always promised Dennis that if I win, I'll write the darn thing. I won yesterday's 55+ Cat 4 race at Pescadero so here it is:

The strategy was simple. Since my race would be grouped with the Cat 1-2-3's but scored separately, I would keep near the front in a combined field of about 70 riders and work hard to go with the leaders on the climbs. Work hard? You mean, bury yourself to stay with those animals. Their ages don't mean much when it comes to racing their bikes. I got over Haskins first go with the lead group of about 11 riders and noticed I was the only cat 4 rider present. So far so good! To my dismay though, a determined bunch eventually caught back on, including two cat 4's. Darn, won't be so easy after all. Second pass on Stage road was brutal for me, but I had to stay with the leaders, make it to Haskins before my competitors, then truly bury myself for the finish. I tried attacking a couple of times on the flat stretch of road to draw my competitors out of the pack, or maybe just sneak away. That didn't work as the others easily reeled me in. We were racing as a group after all. Jim (bless his soul and wisdom) came up to me, "Get back here, settle down, stop talking too and rest! Yikes, he's right! I expressed my anxiety of just wanting to get to Haskins and then launch. As we approached the final assault Jim moved to the front, ramped up the pace and I slipped in behind 3rd wheel. I knew what he was doing and it worked. How lucky I was to have an experienced and seasoned team mate in the race! We rounded the corner onto the final climb and I stepped on what little gas I had. I heard Jim shout out "go Joe!" Again, I was with the leaders but fell off their pace midway up the climb. Then the motorcycle ref pulled up along side and said, "Good job". "What's the gap to the nearest cat 4", I gasped. "Not huge, but plenty big enough." Having learned some very painful lessons this year getting nipped on the line, I didn't let up. I concentrated on the riders ahead trying to catch them. It worked.

Big shout out to Jim Langley for his tremendous support in the race, both with his bike and his tactical wisdom and sensibility!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ready To Race? Checking Your Body Fat Percentage

Teammates – I thought some of you might be interested in this. In preparation for the major races coming up at the end of the season, I wanted to put a real number on my percentage of body fat - power-to-weight ratio being so important for our typically hilly road races. I thought I would have to head over to San Jose and pay a lot for this so I’ve never done it. Silly me.

It turns out that Dominican Hospital’s Center for Lifestyle Management right over on 610 Frederick Street in Santa Cruz does it and it only costs $79 (total, no tax). You call 831-457-7077 and make an appointment. Eric Hand was the physical therapist who did mine (his sport is beach volleyball). It took about an hour. First he weighed me and took my height. Then he did a skin-fold caliper test and then weighed me in the water tank.

The underwater weighing was interesting (the photo gives you the idea, but that's some other facility, not Dominican's; should have brought my camera). 

You sit in a hanging chair submerged in the water tank. The chair is hooked to a scale overhead and you bend over and dunk your head and shoulders so you’re entirely under water. Then you have to exhale completely to get a true weight. That’s not easy, so they weigh you over and over. We did mine 4 times after which I felt like I’d done 100 sit-ups.

Once the weighing was done Eric crunched the numbers on his computer, went over the results with me and gave me a nice printout with my target body fat and weight for optimum racing performance. With this number I can finally stop worrying if I’m too fat or too thin (I’m not telling) and train with the right number as my target. Hope you find this information useful,

Jim Langley