Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cat 4 Upgrade

Last Sunday's criterium in Ontario gave me my official 10th mass start race and an upgrade to Category IV. This is a milestone for me as I come back to racing after a taking a 20 year break. As a review for you bike racing newbies...all beginning male racers start out at Cat 5,(females at Cat 4) the lowest category in USCF racing. The categories progress from 5 to 4, to 3, 2, 1, and pro. Fours are basically advanced beginners with threes being intermediate racers. The advance from 5 to 4 is pretty much a no brainer, requiring the racer to merely start 10 mass start races.

How do I make it to Cat 3? Right from the web pages of USA Cycling: 20 points in any 12-month period; or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade.

Cat 3 to 2: 25 points in any 12-month period
60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

Cat 2 to 1: 30 points in any 12-month period
60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

Check all this out at USACycling.

Here are a few pics from last week's Ontario #1 Crit, where I competed in Masters 30+ 4,5:

Riding at the front Posted by Picasa

It was a big field (I took 30th out of 65 or so) Posted by Picasa

Near the front Posted by Picasa

One lap to go and in 5th. I dropped back after watching two horrendous crashes happen directly in front of me Posted by Picasa

Find complete results at SCNCA.

I'm off to Central California and the town of Merced for the Mclane Pacific Cycling Classic. I'm going to compete in the Masters 45+ Cat 1,2,3,4 road race - hope to see you there.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, Feb. 12, 2006

My second criterium of 2006 (my first crit of the season was Nelson's Landing, see pics in a past post)is now under my belt…and I’m thankful that I finished it with the pack. This was the fastest race of my renewed career in bicycle racing. It was Sunday morning in the city of Brea. Brea is found in Orange County, California. Hundreds of racers gathered here for the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium.

I'm in Black (2nd from right) Wearing "Team Block" kit Posted by Picasa

I decided to enter the Masters’ 50+ category, knowing that I would be up against Cat 1, 2, and 3 riders. I’m still a Cat 5 but only have 1 more mass start race to upgrade to Cat 4. I thought about taking the easy way out and entering the Cat 5 race but decided a fast criterium is no place to be with a bunch of raw beginners, especially if you value your skin. Good thing too, as the over 30, Cat 5s had at least 3 crashes during their race.

It was a big field, 65 or 75 very fit riders 49 years old up to 54 years of age. I knew I was in trouble when the race announcer said, “there are riders in this race with more than 35 years of racing experience.” Darn, if I hadn’t stopped racing back in the mid 1980s…

The race started and a fast pace was set right at the beginning – common to crits, so I just ignored my heart rate monitor and waited for the pace to settle, and I waited. Lap after lap went by and the pace seemed to just get faster. I knew I was in for a tough crit. The course was mildly technical, with three 90 degree right turns, and two sweeping right turns. The road was wide though and handled the big field well. The tough part was the slight elevation gain at the back of the loop. My average speed at the end of the race was 26 mph and I only finished 32! My heart rate monitor showed an average HR of 165 for the race but I never saw a HR below 170 whenever I looked down at the display. You can take a look at the data via

I tried riding on the inside, I tried the middle of the field, and was happiest on the outside. The guys in this race handled their bikes well. There was much bumping of the handlebars but not a single accident occurred during this race. Finally, the race announcer called out 5 laps to go and the pace settled down…for about ¾ of a lap. I tried to move up through the draft and position myself within the top 20 riders but my bike handling skills are still not quite there and the raw speed to the group made it tough for me to change my position. Not to mention that I was beat and was glad to just to finish in the middle of the field. Check out the results at Unfortunately, I’m listed as the unknown rider as I crossed the line on the outside, and inside riders blocked my number from the camera. You have 15 minutes to fix the results but I missed that time. The SCNCA has me listed though, and you can view those results at

I've got one more mass start race and I can upgrade to Cat 4. My plans are to ride the Anger Management Crit in Dominguez Hills (Los Angeles)this Sunday (Feb. 19,2006.) I'll be with the Masters 45+, Cat 4/5. See you there.

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium Race Pics Below

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium Pics

Pictures of the Masters' 50+ Race in Brea, California

Starting Line; It's a Big Field Posted by Picasa

Good Shot of the Leaders Posted by Picasa

Sitting in the Middle (#290) Posted by Picasa

Sitting on the Outside Posted by Picasa

I'm Sitting on the Inside (#290) Posted by Picasa

Sprint Finish (I'm back 31 places) Posted by Picasa

After the Race; Tired & Sweaty Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Nelson Landing Pics

I'm in blue.

Get complete race results at HERE.
Road Race

Can't Talk Now Posted by Picasa
Road Race

Road Race; Still With the Lead Group After the 1st of 2 Big Climbs Posted by Picasa

In 3rd Position (Crit) Posted by Picasa

Wide View of Crit Posted by Picasa

Starting the Crit (I'm in blue) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nelson's Landing Stage Race Results

I had a great 3 days of racing. I'm now racing for Rich Bartlett's - Team Block. Check out the team, racing results from Las Vegas, and more at Block Alternatives. Go down to the 2006 Road Team Link.

My next post, this Thursday, I'll give details on Nelson's Landing. This Sunday I'll be at the Roger Millikan Memorial Saint Valentine's Day Criterium in Brea. See you there.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Welcome to a New Season!

I'm back. To my many fans, all three of you, I'm back for another season of bike racing. It's the middle of winter, as my morning ride of 26 degrees reminds me (you tend to forget that the Antelope Valley may be in Southern California but it definitely has it's own unique weather.) This winter we have not had the torrential rains that slowed training last year. It's been a pretty dry off season and now my first race of the season is just next week. Just like last year I'm going to face off with the Nelson's Landing Stage Race in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike last year, I'm going to give the criterium a shot, my first criterium in over 19 years. Friday, January 27 is the time trial. Saturday, the 28th is the crit., and Sunday, the 29th is the road race.

A couple of things are different this year. I'm 49 now, so by USAcycling rules I'm racing as a 50 year old. The second difference is that I now have a full year plus of training under my belt and feel strong. I just completed a week of training that covered 209 miles, and 12 hours and 30 minutes of work. My training goal this year is to cover at least 500 hours of training. I'm already pushing 6,000 miles of road work for the year.

My goals are pretty simple this year. Finish another four mass start races allowing me to upgrade to Cat 4 and then actually place in the top 10 in a Masters 45+, Cat 4 level race. You really don't need the Cat designation in a Masters race, as any category could be in a Master's race but I also plan to ride a couple of Elite races at the Cat 4 level. My other goal is to get under 190 friggin pounds. All winter I've flirted with the high 180s but I always seem to level off at 190. My climbing is much better this year as I logged a lot of training time in the hills. One of my "favorite" hill workouts that I do with my training partner, Tim, is to ride Godde Road three times at a HR of 155-165. This workout has me climb around 3500' and is pretty tough.

That's it for my first post of 2006. Look for my Nelson's Landing Race Results in my next post.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Three Canyons Ride

One of my favorite rides in the Antelope Valley is what the local bike riders call the “Three Canyons Ride.” The three canyons are Bouquet, Spunky, and San Fransquito Canyon. The way I like to go involves over 2900’ of elevation gain in 44 miles. Check out the profile of the ride below:

3 Canyons Posted by Picasa

If you’re familiar with my blog than you already know that I’m not exactly a superb hill climber by any stretch of the imagination. All the more reason to throw in a tough hill climb workout and the Three Canyons fits the bill. The hard way to ride the ride is in the clockwise directions, and to get to the first canyon you need to get yourself on Elizabeth Lake Road. This morning I choose to take 25th street, past Highland High School, and make the “long” approach. At other times, I might travel over Godde Road, and toss in another hill. But this approach also places me on Elizabeth Lake Road, around 11 miles up the road from 25th street. Elizabeth Lake is a great country road that climbs steadily until you reach Bouquet Canyon Road which branches off to your left. Bouquet Canyon will take you 24 miles south to the city of Santa Clarita, where the 14 freeway and the 5 freeway meet, home to Valencia and Magic Mountain. The only thing that mars Elizabeth Lake Road is the traffic. At times, on this road, you would swear you’re on a road in a suburb of Los Angeles – 50 miles to the south.

You turn left onto Bouquet Canyon Road and after a short down-hill stretch, you start your first of three climbs. It’s not a killer climb, 650’ in 5 miles; just enough to get your heart rate up to zone 3. After the climb you have a great downhill that almost makes you wish you’re going to continue to Santa Clarita but soon, on your right, Spunky Canyon road branches off – I swing right. With Bouquet Reservoir on your left you ride a relatively level stretch of a mile or two but soon see the steep switchbacks that await you. Spunky is short but steep with several switchbacks climbing up through the chaparral type vegetation. The climb is pure 7-10% and 11-12% briefly flickers across my Garmin’s display. But again, the climb is short and you’re now faced with a fast descent with a couple of hairpin turns. I love the descent but it is technical and not a time to completely relax after the 2nd main climb. Gravel and rocks on the road also keep you on “your toes” as you dive through the steep turns. The final turn to the left puts you right on top of the town of Green Valley but it hardly registers as you sweep through town at the speed limit of 35 mph. Even if I didn’t have my Garmin or my computer, I know my speed as local law enforcement has set up one of those radar displays that tells me, from the side of the road, just how fast I’m traveling.

You exit town and again turn right onto San Fransquito Canyon Road – the last of the Three Canyons. And this is the tough one – you don’t have to tell that to the many riders I’ve seen walking their bikes to the top of this climb. This climb actually sneaks up on you as the ride is very straight, due north. It starts pretty easy and then becomes an 8-9% steady climb for a couple of miles. The slight jag to the East keeps the top of the climb just out of sight and the route flirts with a 11-13% grade in short sections. Couple this with a headwind and you’ve got yourself with a pretty good climb and workout. I’ve never had to walk my bike up this section and today I’m riding it very well – holding at least 8-10 mph all the way to the top. I crest over the top and set up for the short screaming downhill that quickly drops you back to Elizabeth Lake Road. Now it’s 18 miles down the rolling hill road and back to Quartz Hill via either Godde Road or 25th street – today I choose 25th street and back the way I entered.

You can’t ask for a better training ride. You get 44 miles of climbs, descents, and rolling hills. You get a lake, mountains, and even a stream – in fact during the winter rains you get to cross about 5 streams on this ride. Check out the ride at

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Garmin Forerunner 301 and

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any cooler with the GPS based 301 unit I discover, a web site that really puts the functionality into the Forerunner 301. From the web site, “MotionBased is a web application that translates GPS data into functional analysis and online mapping for endurance and outdoor athletes… MotionBased automatically calculates time, distance, speed, elevation, and heart rate metrics and displays this information through meaningful charts, illustrations, reports, and maps. Take the second-guessing out of your training routine and make it more fun at the same time.”

Sound dry? Not a chance. You’ve got to see what the Garmin and this web site can do together. Below are screen shots taken from one of my recent training rides. This ride takes me over Godde Hill, a local 8-9% bump in the relatively flat Antelope Valley.

Map Player Page Posted by Picasa

Check out dot racing on the map player page; "The "player" aspect of this section allows you to simulate the activity along the map and the elevation profile with a moving "dot" indicator. The "dot" is controlled with standard media controls (Play, Pause, Forward, Reverse, and Speed). You may also interact with the map and elevation profile by zooming in, zooming out, panning, and displaying roll-overs on key sections of the illustration."

Or how about...

"The Dashboard" Posted by Picasa

The MotionBased Dashboard allows you to analyze core training metrics for a specific activity. The Dashboard is broken out into 8 sections: summary, elevation, time, workout, distance, lap, speed, and weather.

And I especially love...

Heart Rate Analysis Posted by Picasa

Man, if you love data, and who doesn't, you’ve got to love the Garmin and this web site. I’ve just given you the tip of the ice berg here – go see it for yourself.

Click this link My Godde Hill Ride it should allow you to explore all the data associated with my 1 hour training ride - you know you're going to want to upload all your rides!

Devil's Punch Bowl RR 4-30-05 Posted by Hello
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Location: Quartz Hill, California, United States

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