Monday, June 24, 2013

ADA Tour de Cure, 6/9/2013

By Dennis Pedersen

Whew... that's all I can say! After all of the groundwork laying the foundation for the HP Tour de Cure team, making sure HP would host the event at our Palo Alto campus again; helping spread the word in various ways; recruiting key people to help; trying to get HP team jerseys; helping new teammates get up to speed; and much more, the day of the ride itself is a big relief. But I love using cycling as a way to help people, and fighting diabetes with the American Diabetes Association is so rewarding.

Me and Fast Freddie on the Champions Celebration ride.
This year was my 6th as the Captain of the HP team (my 7th tour),  and it was one of the most fun. One thing that made this year so fun was that we were joined by "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez, the current USA Cycling Pro Road Race National Champion! He's a class act who's giving back to the community through his professional cycling career. His mom has type 2 diabetes and that inspired him to sign up.

Fortunately my fund-raising went well and I improved by 40% over last year for $1,499 total -- thanks, donors! Since HP teammate Bill Kacmarsky (our top fund-raiser this year at $2,537.00!) and I had raised over $1000, as we did last year, we could attend the ADA's "Champions Celebration" on May 30th, at beautiful Silver Creek Country Club in San Jose. (Steve Andrews, Jeff Baltazar and Terri Carter also qualified but didn't attend.) The event included a ride with Fast Freddie who had won Nationals just days earlier; that was pretty cool! We rode out at a moderate pace from the Club, and along San Felipe Road, east of San Jose, through some gorgeous scenery. Check out some video I took with my cell phone during the ride (being careful not to crash him out!). Afterward we had good food and drink, raffles, door-prizes and Freddie and others gave nice speeches.

This year I had more support from HP's upper management than ever, with Executive VP Dave Donatelli, Senior VP Stephen DeWitt and others helping to spread the word, and even join the ride! I wish I could say the HP team set new fund-raising records, but it seems we will be a bit short of last year's amazing total: $21,389.76 so far in 2013 vs. $32,626.74 in 2012. But last year's total was a major record; we still did great and the important thing to remember is that we raised thousands of dollars that will help real people living with diabetes. Next year we hope to get HP's CEO Meg Whitman on board!

HP's Meg Whitman and
ADA's Allyson Schloming...
both hard at work!
And there's still time to donate: Click here to help!

While we weren't able to obtain free HP Cycling jerseys for the team, we did offer the option for people to buy their own jerseys at a good price. Still, because the production date was scheduled very close to the date of our ride it was very nerve-wracking and some people didn't get their jerseys until after the ride. The process is complicated and I was forced to balance between available production dates, getting the order placed in time, and not placing it too early so people signing up later wouldn't get a chance to order. All I can say is I'm very sorry about how it worked out.

The Tour de Cure ride was on June 9th and I chose the longest route option: 120k (74.5 miles). That route took me from HP's Palo Alto campus over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the foggy, drizzly Pacific Ocean coast and back. Because of my "Champion" status I had a special gold bib number (they have red ones for riders with diabetes too).

The morning of the ride I left Santa Cruz at 5:00 AM in foggy darkness. I was worried the weather would be the same in Pescadero during our ride. At HP's Palo Alto campus I got ready, had a bite to eat, some coffee, and handed out jerseys to Executive VP George Kadifa and a few other teammates. I had to leave the rest of the jerseys in a box under our HP awning and hoped the others would be able to collect their jerseys themselves. I left a clipboard with their names and jersey sizes, and that sort of worked.

I joined teammates Steve Andrews, Bill Rainey, Paul Roeder and others at the start line for the 6:30 AM opening of the 120k route. We had a few short speeches, from the ADA's Richard Alejandro; Allyson Schloming; and Fast Freddie. And off we rode to the cheers of the volunteers. Paul and I ended up riding with Freddie and the lead pack all the way to the base of Kings Mountain Road. The group was surprisingly well behaved, all things considered, though I joked to him that he really needed to protect his front wheel in this crowd. We laughed.

I usually ride the steep climb up Kings Mountain as an interval, but not this year. Still, I went up fairly fast. But Paul is a fast rider and got to the top of Kings Mountain ahead of me, and while I was pigging out at the first 120k rest station there he took off and I rode mostly alone for the rest of the day. Food really does slow you down!

Riding south on Skyline Boulevard (HWY 35) I was passed by a Sheriff with his siren on... that's never good. It turned out one of the Tour cyclists got hit by a car at the junction with La Honda Road (HWY 84). I heard that the motorist was confused by the various islands and ramps of the junction. That was scary, and it turned out the rider was badly banged up, possibly with broken ribs. That's the worst I've ever seen on this ride, or maybe any ride ever. I hope he is recovering well... and glad it wasn't Paul.

I descended down HWY 84 through what proved to be very nice weather down to the junction with Pescadero Road. The climb up Haskins Hill was also nice, and I had another long descent to Pescadero. I briefly joined a paceline of riders who however scared me enough that I dropped back and let them power on. Just as we neared Pescadero the fog greeted us and was so heavy my lenses needed wiper blades. Oh well. I skipped the rest station there, partly because they'd chosen a new location and I kind of missed it, partly because I was trying to avoid pigging out too much.

Stage Road, leading north out of Pescadero, is gorgeous, even in the fog. And I rode at a nice mellow pace up and over to San Gregorio (on HWY 84). Another pretty valley with another climb, up to HWY 1, awaited me. The weather was much better just in that short distance, and I dropped down HWY 1 to the junction with Tunitas Creek Road. Up the road a mile or so I stopped at The Bike Hut for another rest station break. Perfect timing for the start up the really long climb up Tunitas Creek Road in perfect weather with light cloud cover keeping the heat away. I went pretty fast, but again not all-out, and even managed to take some photos and videos of the amazingly beautiful redwood-lined creek and canyon.

At the top of Tunitas Creek Road we joined Skyline right by the first rest station again. I had a bit more food, I think in uncharacteristically moderate quantities for me, and took off down Kings Mountain Road at a rapid pace. There I ended up riding with John from Yahoo, whom I had met at the Champions Celebration, and on the ride with Fast Freddie. Nice guy. We ended up riding together a lot of the way from Woodside back to HP, passing tons of other riders along Alameda de Las Pulgas and Junipero Serra.

The turnout for the HP lunch and team photo was lower than usual, even though we had an HP awning this year and the weather was perfect. Not sure why, but I do know some HP'ers had to leave and go to HP Discover in Las Vegas. Senior VP Sue Barsamian even delayed her departure so she could join the ride! Wow! So while our team photo may not look impressive, keep in mind that our HP team had 54 riders, which is still a huge contribution to the Tour de Cure!

ADA's Richard Alejandro, Fast Freddie Rodriguez, and me. I can honestly say this was the hard-partying HP'ers!
  • Bill Kacmarsky: Thanks for doing double duty as HP's representative on the ADA's Tour de Cure Committee, plus raising the most funds of any HP team rider; $2,511.00 to date! 
  • Senior VP Sue Barsamian, Senior VP Stephen DeWitt, Executive VP Dave Donatelli, Executive VP George Kadifa, Executive VP Bill Veghte: Thanks so much for your efforts to promote the Tour de Cure. Executive support is vital to HP's ability to give back to the community. 
  • John Laforga, Kathleen Lindenmuth, Anita Reid, Glen Elliott, Chris Beauchesne: Thanks for reaching out to offer me a helping hand; I sure needed it! 
  • Fast Freddie Rodriguez: Thanks for giving back in this way and keeping it real! 
Thanks again; I am already looking forward to next year's ride!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NorCal/Nev Districts Championships (60-64) May 26, 2013

By Jim Langley
1st: Joe Lemire; 2nd: Rich Mull; 3rd: Jim

This race report is late because Bike Trip team manager Ed Price and I have been working behind the scenes trying to get the results from my race fixed and rules set in place so that at future Districts races, the groups are not combined.

We feel that's the only fair way to run such important races, and our letter has been well received by most of the officials, organizations and racers Ed sent it to.

It also resulted in this year's Districts race organizer, the San Jose Bicycle Club, letting us know that they have fixed their results and are giving the bronze medal to David Stockwell, and the silver medal to me. If possible, USA Cycling will correct the results showing on their website sometime soon.

Race report
I think this was about my 10th Districts road race. My best finish in the road race has been 5th. I went into this one recovering from knee issues but feeling rested and ready to race thanks to Coach Mark Edwards' excellent training and tapering schedule. I thought I would be able to get over the top with the leaders in my group and hoped to be able to be there at the finish and sprint to a win.

I keep getting fitter but everybody else does, too! I went over the top faster than I ever have and ahead of guys who beat me before, but 3 guys in my group were already clear. They were just too fast on the climb and dropped me. This was partly because they started the 55/60/65 group together so it was about 70 guys rolling out of the parking lot and a fast group formed at the front led by the fastest 55s.

I hung as long as I could but got separated a few miles from the start from the lead group. Joe Lemire, the guy who won my race was with that group and Ron LeBard, who won the 65s was there, too.

I ended up riding with 2nd and 3rd in my group, but with 4 miles to the top I just couldn’t hang on any longer. The tempo was too fast. I knew it was fast because we dropped a lot of guys who I’m usually climbing with in the races.

Still, I was pretty sure I could catch at least one of the guys in my race, so I was in full-on chase mode from the top all the way to finish. And just when I was about to give up hope, I caught the 3rd place guy – at the 1K to go sign!

He was so wasted he couldn’t sprint and I just kept hammering and got third (because the second-place rider was from SoCal, I actually finished second in Districts, my best finish ever). I was really hoping to win but that was a tough, tough race with a brutal pace over Hamilton and then strong headwinds all the way to the finish. I don’t remember headwinds as strong as that on that course, but we had rain at the start and overcast weather so it was an unusual day. Truly an epic race that I’ll remember for a long time.

Notes in no particular order
-A shout out to Amy Haberman for getting my legs race-ready. I’ve been dealing with pretty bad knee issues all year and somehow Amy got them working again in time for Districts. If you need a top sports doctor for some frustrating, painful injury give Amy a call and I’m sure she’ll be able to help you, as she has me and many of our local pro riders, too - 459-6711.

-The descent down the backside of Hamilton was just as scary this year as last. I figure it must have started out as a cow path with super-tight switchbacks and they just paved over it and called it a road. It's no wonder so many people crash.

-I'm somewhere on the long, straight road after the descent, hunkered down on my drops trying to ignore the howling headwind and keep my speed high and one of the race follow vehicles comes past. I recognize teammate Matt's bike on the back. Uh oh. But Matt's fine. He just had a flat and had to hitch a ride. But he can't holler out the window at me because the driver has race notes hanging on the window. Too bad. I could have used the encouragement and knowing that Matt was okay.

-After the race I was talking to Chris Cerutti. We were commenting on how hard the pace was right out of the parking lot. Usually the race starts with a neutral rollout. But this year, as soon as we got on Alum Rock road, I was easily over 300 watts and getting dropped and having to fight for a wheel. This continued onto Mt. Hamilton road and on and on until the split happened. It was good that we had a solid warm-up.

-It was raining a little during our warm-up and people were saying that it was 40 degrees and raining at the top. So I put on a base layer. Big mistake. I was overheating right away during the race and ended up feeling too hot the whole way and caked with salt at the finish.

-I find Mt. Hamilton a tough climb and have bonked partway up and had to turn back and crawl back to the car. And, when I finished the race the last time, I was so wasted I could barely stand up. This time, I was determined not to have that happen. I packed my pockets with GU and ate 5 of them before the top. Besides not bonking, my focus was much better and I was able to race 100% all the way to the finish. It's hard to force yourself to eat when you're suffering trying to hold wheels but it sure made a difference.

-Finally, I have to tip my helmet to David Stockwell of the San Jose Bicycle Club. He rode an awesome race, hanging tough with the little group I got dropped from on the climb and opening up a huge gap. I was pretty sure I could make up the distance on the descent and rollers into the finish. But I never thought I wouldn't catch David until the 1 K to go sign! I almost ran out of racecourse. Great race, David.

-Finally, finally, bravo Joe Lemire for winning the race handily. It's impressive how great you're riding this year. Congratulations.

CCCX Mountain Bike Race, Cat 3 45-54 age group, June 6, 2013

By Mark Giblin

After doing Mt. Hamilton last week, I found it a bit frustrating that there was no masters division for Cat 5 even though there was 40+ riders, so I opted to try a CCCX mountain bike ride at Fort Ord at the advice of Matt.

I bribed my oldest daughter that if she went with me I would buy her anything for supporting me with the exception of a pony, i.e. Starbucks, See’s etc. So she did, not being a morning person, I appreciate her getting up at 7am to go with dad to race.

I did not know how many miles or laps the course was until I got there, nor did I know what the course was like. So I picked everyone's brain for insight as well as riding the first ½ of the lap to warm up. 

It was a wave start with the younger groups starting a minute ahead of us and then our group took off. I found myself quickly in front with a few other riders, being that this was my second mountain bike race ever, I would have just been happy to hide behind someone’s wheel until I got into a groove, which I did for the first half mile or so. 

Then we came to the first climb and I found that I could out climb these riders (thank you Mark Edwards for all of the Boony Doon and Felton Empire repeats). So I attack on the hill with only one  racer 200’ +/- trailing me.

Ten minutes into the race I came upon the previous wave and knew I had to do everything I could to get around them so the other riders would not be able to catch up, this included going on the course one time. After navigating by several groups of riders I found myself in a comfortable position and not seeing my closest rider too me. I started to relax, that was a mistake,  additionally, I’m not the greatest downhiller, at best it’s a lot like a Kangaroo driving a car, it will get you where you need to go, but it’s going to hit a few curbs on the way.  

Then the second place rider (Trent) comes out of  nowhere and had me in his sights going into the last lap. I was angry with myself that I let this guy back in, so I started to hammer and sure enough missed a turned at the bottom of the hill, went outside the course through the ribbon, good thing there were no hay bales, hay would have been everywhere. Now I was really frustrated with myself allowing this guy back on my wheel. Fortunately, we went back into a climb knowing that this was his weakness, I attacked with everything I had and never saw him again until the finish line.

We congratulated each other on a good race and he told me that I should find another hobby. I finished off the day with a trip to Starbucks to reward my daughter for going.

1st: me
2nd:  Trent Eves
3rd: Steven Hatter

Monday, June 3, 2013


Pescadereo coastal classic road race 35+cat 4

Morgan Raines

       Big thanks to my family for the time, HC3 for the strength, GRID 6 and the Bicycle Trip for the support. 
The day before this race was my cousins wedding and I had to control myself and my appetite, not to over indulge. Which was quite the challenge with some of the finest food, wine and dessert's Iv'e seen in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I still made two trips to the dessert table. I was happy to fall asleep that night but woke around 3 am and tossed and turned until morning. I get up and pack the car and force some food on myself, then it's off to foggy  Pescadero. It's a cold and damp morning when I get there, but I get dressed and have a much needed warm up.

The race starts with a neutral zone through town then a right turn onto Stage Rd and were off. There's a "prima" sprint on the flat part of this road on each lap, this speed's the pace up and strings out the race a bit. I pick up my speed to stay with the lead group, I don't want the sprint I just want to stay up front. I'm keeping my eye on a friend and fellow racer who won the Mt Hamilton race a week before and is most likely my strongest competition. The race stays together and we make it over Stage Rd in a fast but comfortable pace. Next we are riding fast down highway 84 with a tail wind, around ten of us are willing to work. I'm taking pulls in the rotation but staying relaxed and conservative. We get to Haskins Rd which is the main climb in this race, it's about a 8 to 9 minute effort. "Piers" the winner from Mt Hamilton and many other races this year and myself lead the race up the climb with a hard but manageable pace. The finish line is at the top of this climb and we roll through it together knowing we have one more lap to complete. If any riders fell off in the climb I'm sure were all back together after the decent, because of the mellow pace in the flats. One more "prima" sprint picks up the pace and a strong tempo over Stage Rd but nothing explosive. One guy gets up the road and we chase him for most of highway 84, no one's working too hard knowing the final climb is coming. Piers, myself and a couple other guys pull the rider back shortly before the climb. 

We round the corner into the climb and Piers jumps and gets about a twenty yard gap, I know not to jump but I focus on him and start a fierce pace. It's a long climb and I know how my body usually work's, so I ease into a maxed out pace, basically red lined but saving something for the top. I'm keeping the leader in sight around 20 yards up the road and can hear heavy breathing behind me. Around three quarter's of the way up I'm matching the leaders pace and even gaining slowly, it's all quite behind me. I refuse to look back because if I'm all alone my body might just slow down on it's own. 500 meters to go and I'm still grinding a steady pace. At  200 meters to go you come out of the trees into a clearing and there's a mild left and right turn then the finish line.  I come into the clearing and see I'm closer to the leader then I though and he's slowing his pace getting ready to celebrate. Firework's go off in my head and my mind is telling my body go-go-go! I shift down one gear, stand up and start pushing as hard as I can. I'm gaining on him and I can see the finish line approaching. My mind is processing the speeds were both going and there's no way he can match my speed when I pass him. I can tell he's surprised from a sound he make's as I pass him and roll through the line about  ten feet in front of him.

He was a great sport and we had a laugh afterward, and both learned a valuable lesson.
It's never over till it's over