2014 Seasons in the Sun

Sunday, March 1, 2015

From the Archives: Kevin Sayavong at the Rose Bowl, 1995

Since daylight savings time arrives with March now, those rides that enter a state of hibernation during the winter, will be dusting off the black tarmac to welcome back their riders. At the Bud's Ride or, more to the point in this case, the Rose Bowl, competitors will be eager to pick up where they left off last October, or perhaps to start fresh in a new season.

As you have probably gathered over the past few years, my own racing career was far from noteworthy but, like most riders who have been in the race for a while, I did have moments. One of those came twenty years ago at the Bowl where, on Tuesday 16 May, I looked up and back, and found myself in a successful break. It was the first of many. Or two. Maybe three at the most. Anyway, "I just happened to be at the right place at the right time [that always means the front] when it went on the first lap. Included in the break were Thurlow Rogers, Fred Pierce, Sugi and Mark Rich on tandem, Mitch Boggs, Dave Hall, Randy, Scott King, Olin Bakke, and some other muscle to help out. I was pretty much at my limit the whole time, only took one pull, but also managed to parry all attacks and stay in the group."

As for Kevin, he was new to Team Xtreme, and new to racing. In fact his first race was at the end of April in '95 at the Cajalco Criterium. He immediately began picking up primes and placings as a first year Cat 5. In the photo above, Kevin is the second rider in line wearing 1995's Team Xtreme kit.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cycling Claremont: On Any Given Saturday

A ride through Bonelli Park on quiet trails made more so by towering clouds stacked up against mountain peaks. My wheels are not the only ones spinning silently over damp earth, no dry crunch today, only an occasional slurmp where deeper mud tries to slow speed, hold fast. Brethren of the road pass by, their group strung out between two driveways into the park, so I get twice the opportunity to impress with my curb-hopping exploits. I ace both and run on, glad for the witnesses this day.

Crows and ravens in the trees, in the trash cans take flight as I approach. Though I would have them stay, I am unconvinced on how best to express the wish to them. Ducks and geese in the water, are undisturbed by boats and wakes - the lake belongs to them today, uncontested. Red-shouldered blackbirds in the mustard, perch high on stalks and sing a familiar tune of Spring arrival. I would have them ingest more of the gnats that pepper my face as I unwittingly disturb clouds of their congregation.

More than ever, right now, the trails wend and weave their tapestry of contrast. Edges are distinct, they widen and narrow, they are sometimes even lost, disappear as they bend. Soon enough, green will be brown, edges will be blurred, horizon will merge with sky as if we could easily ride between one and the other. The transition will dissolve, but not today, there is no passage from earthbound to wild yonder.

i watched as the German spotter plane from a bygone era made two passes of Brackett Field, dogged the entire time by the French [?] pilot wary of the others' intentions

the lady ruggers of Claremont-McKenna - Scripps hosted their counterparts of UC Irvine. big plays, big hits to rival anything from the gridiron warriors with all their padding and helmets

a free quanco with women converging for control

the scrum

it is all steel bones, scaffolding and safety fencing right not, but the new arena rising from dust on the Claremont-McKenna campus already looks like an impressive facility

contrasting patterns, contrasting forms

Friday, February 27, 2015

When Decreasing Means Increasing

Typically I don't put much stock in weather forecasts - if a scorecard had been kept over the years it would probably be something along the lines of a tie game. When it matters, they are as often wrong as they are right.

That said, I was intrigued by this morning when I noticed the line item calling for decreasing clouds for Friday ahead of a few days of showers beginning Saturday. Looking outside, the sky was already pretty well covered  in grey matter - not fog, not those high, light, fluffy kind of clouds that tend to blow away with the first morning breeze. This was clearly heavy stuff - laden, slow moving and sinking. It looked to me as though a storm was coming in, building, not breaking up. And so the day progressed. Increasing clouds.

If someone had hooked up the doppler to predict how I would ride today, it might have come out with a more predictable forecast - weak with a strong probability of slop. Right on.

Four photos, forty miles:

brewing. if you could see far enough along that distant bend, you might notice Tinker Juarez. we rode past one another, yet again, one of many times on the SGRT / Hwy 39. and he still doesn't know who i am

running bank to bank

someone is missing their red sunglasses

"Green eyes and red sunglasses
Green eyes and red sunglasses
Breakin' the heart of every man that passes
Green eyes and red sunglasses"
- J.T. Hodges

brewing over the mountains. so much yellow down below

Ride Long and Prosper

as seen on Pinterest. Ride in Peace Leonard Nimoy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Velo course: A Cross-Town Loop

After I got my cyclocross Ibis Hakkalugi all fixed up last year, I figured creating some kind of loop on which to ride it was called for. The Cross-Town Loop is my current best solution. By incorporating various city parks, dirt paths, bonus challenge features at the Colleges, and linking them with sections of roadway, the loop provides a pretty well rounded fourteen or so miles, including many features typically bundled into your average cyclocross race. Included are grass, dirt, wood chips, gravel, sand, and sinuous turns on loose surfaces. You can practice mounting and dismounting at any time.  An added bonus (I guess) are rocks, as both Powerline and the dirt Thompson Creek Trail (TCT) will throw those at you in abundance. As for those sections of smooth roadway, just use them for speed - there is no slowing down in cyclocross after all.

Thompson Creek Trail

a beach volleyball court = sand pit

gateway to the Sontag Greek Theater

entrance to the Farm at Pomona College

typical walking / jogging path around the Farm / athletic field perimeter

typical walking / jogging path around the Farm / athletic field perimeter

Use your best judgement when you ride portions of this loop. If some group of students is in the middle of a volleyball match, avoid churning through the sand for that day. If there is a youth baseball or softball game in progress at the city park, avoid cutting across the outfield for that day. Be aware that the perimeter path around the Farm at Pomona College is often used by student joggers. Stay off the upper athletic field, which includes Pomona College's competition track. The last time I rode the loop, a track and field event was taking place, there were people warming up, and competing everywhere. Things like those. So what are the route specifics:

Start from the usual corner at Baseline and Mills, heading north on Mills. Just past Mt. Baldy Road make a left at the gate and enter the Thompson Creek Trail (TCT). Merge left onto the dirt of Powerline, and follow it until it rejoins the TCT. When you have navigated both yellow gates on either side of the intersecting roadway, you can either continue on the paved path, or drop down to the dirt. The section from this point all the way to Mountain Ave has great potential to challenge your handling, your bobbing and weaving. There are sand pits and rocks galore. Some of the rocks are quite large and will do some damage if you let them. The TCT is also extremely popular with pedestrians and joggers, so listen to Prudence, and let her be your guide.

Once you have crossed Mountain the consistency of the dirt TCT changes, largely because it is now elevated above the paved path, rather than below. Because of that it does not serve as a storm channel or drainage ditch. But for the many people and dogs about, you could really rip this section of hard pack. After you cross one more street / driveway, the dirt path changes to the other side of the paved one. That is okay but, after a short distance a slope will begin to show to your left, and the bottom of that slope is populated by some very nasty and pointedly sharp maguey. As I get close, and having no desire to become a pincushion nor to find out how well those serrated edges would work against my skin, I always hop back onto the paved path. And anyway, Towne Avenue, and the end of the TCT is just ahead. When you reach that intersection go left, cross Baseline and the I-210, then bear right at either the bike path or the first street past the 210 exit ramp.

Your are going to cruise around some residential streets now in the following order. Sumner Avenue south, left on Briarcroft Road, right on Lynoak Drive to Foothill. The intersection at Foothill is an uncontrolled one, but keep your wits about you and you can get across without too much delay. You are right at Coates Cyclery now, and if bouncing over and off all those rocks on the dirt TCT have given you a flat, stop on in to pick up a fresh tube. Continuing on, make a right on Towne, then a left at the next traffic signal, Amador Street. Take Amador until it bends right and becomes Northwestern, which you follow to Butte and a left hand turn. At Mountain Ave make a right. Larkin Park will immediately be seen down the street; when you get there ride up the corner ramp and onto the grass and in a diagonal direction across the park. Beside the grass, there is a playground with sand which you might be able to ride through. Eventually though, make your way to the parking lot along the east side of the park, and to the entrance. Cross the street onto Cambridge and continue onto Bonita where you make a left.

When you make it into the Village cut down (right) to Second Street  and turn left, eventually crossing College Ave and entering the campus. Just after, look to the right, across the lawn, to the sand volleyball court - there is some good sand pit practice there. If you have successfully limboed under the net and spun the length of the court a few times, make your way to the Sontag Greek Theater. Right after passing beneath the gateway to the amphitheater make a right on the dirt path. You will ride through a little oak woodland, then make a right at the first dirt road. This will take you on a loop around the perimeter of the Farm and lower athletic field. Get your fill of these gravel, dirt, and mulch paths through this part of the Colleges then make your way north through the campuses, up Mills and back to the ride start. The total mileage, without any extras, might be thirteen miles; I will usually end up with a little more. Now it is time for a second lap.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Host of Help

It takes a whole lot of assistance to put on a three day event like the San Dimas Stage Race. Volunteers are needed for all kinds of course related tasks, before, during and after each days' stage. Riders come from across the country, and sometimes even outside of it, and need places to stay. If you have a spare room with a bed, a couch, or such you can provide host housing to one, or more, racer coming into town for the March 27th, 28th and 29th races. To host, there are only a few minimum requirements: 1. be within thirty minutes of San Dimas, 2. bed space for each rider (couch or air mattress are okay), 3. kitchen privileges, 4. a safe place to store bikes. Hosts need not provide food or transportation. 

If you are interested check out the SDSR website and click on Volunteers. Hosts I have talked to have related coming away enriched by the experience.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Blues: Finished Before the Finish

Out before you're in.
Done before you're ready.
Picked before you're ripe.
Half way to nowhere.

You get the idea.
A broken saddle will make it happen.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.
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