Archive for June, 2007

San Jose to Sierra to the Sea

June 24, 2007 8:41 am

I just finished a 10 day bike tour. Actually it was two tours combined and I it was a great time getting to ride the bike so many days with good friends.
The first 3 days was a club ride from San Jose to Bear Valley. We started at Donny’s house with a large group.

We then headed over Mt. Hamilton to Patterson with a total mileage of 75 miles, 5900 feet of climbing and an average speed of 15.1 mph. It was getting rather hot when we arrived and I was glad we go in early before the real heat hit. As in the past, what kept me moving fast was getting a root beer float at the A&W there.

The second day the 3 day ride was from Paterson to Columbia, 87 miles and only about 2,800 feet of climbing. That allowed a faster average speed of 17.4 mph.

We spent the night in the campgrounds that previously was the starting location for Sierra to the Sea, before we changed the start to Bear Valley.

Relaxing ….

The last day of the 3 day ride took us to Bear Valley.

I still felt good after the 51 miles and 6800 feet of climbing. The pace was a bit more relaxed at only 13 mph. I was able to win the race for the city limit signs and county signs by using some tactics (some would call it bribery). I was glad I had reserved a bed in Base Camp there because it was cold that evening.

Sunday was the first day of Sierra to the Sea. Although the official route no longer included the option to head up to the Pacific Grade summit, four of us did it anyway. Cory was really pushing the pace and it was all I could do to keep up.

After returning back to Bear Valley, where we met Kem who was going to join us at that point for the regular route, I went into check out and when I returned found out I was left alone, so I had to speed down highway 4 to try to catch everyone. I was able to finally reach them before the first rest stop. After reaching Jackson, the total for the day was 92 miles, 6,400 feet of climbing and an average speed of 16.5 mph.

Day 2 of STTS, from Jackson to Ryde, was the fastest paced day. I was in a group of about 8 riders, later referred to some others as the “blue train” because many in the group were wearing the same blue jersey from John and Cory’s Cloud 9 bicycle company. The first part was some rolling hills which I loved, then the ride flattened out. Some joined us along the route, then dropped out. At one point we were doing an echelon pace line, which is a two lane, fast rotating pace line. I didn’t mind some other riders drafting behind us but when some decided to jump into the rotation it drove me crazy so after awhile I asked to go back to a regular pace line. We ended up with 75 miles and an average of 19.3 mph.

By Day 3 of STTS, from Ryde to Lake Solano, I needed to slow down the pace a bit. Actually I had no choice to slow down becasue we went through the wind farms, the place where they had a bumper crop this year of wind.

I was sure glad that Kem was out front pulling much of the time because I felt I was being tossed all around the place by the very strong winds and was even thinking of taking on some ballast.

On Day 4 of STTS we picked up the pace again as we rode to Calistoga. The ride started out with a flatter section then the hills. John C. moved out to the front and started to climb faster. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel to the summit, but I was satisfied with that since the rest of the group of 10 had dropped off the back. The second climb was more difficult for me and I could not manage to hang on John’s wheel again (nor could any other in our group). I then saw a rider coming up from behind, who could it be? It was Adam, a 16 year old on our tour. A few miles before the rest stop I got a flat. I was glad Miguel came along and joined to help pull since I had told the group to go ahead and I would meet them at the rest stop.

After the first rest stop, our group now of about 15 went off route, up by lake Berreyesa, where several stopped for a swim. For me it was more of a splash in the water to cool down. After drying off we continued up through Pope Valley

We then headed to the famous Ink Grade, a climb of about 4 miles. I was determined to win the climb up the hill.

On the way up I mentioned to some people we passed that Marguerite and I were racing to the top and one younger guy thought it would fun to join in the race, even though we had already been racing for 2 miles. I was finally able to open up a bit of daylight with the others on the climb. For the day we went 67 miles, 4,300 feet of climb and an average speed of 17.0.

Day 5 included a large group visiting the the ranch of Marguerite’s parents, with a large private lake, just off the official route. People enjoyed swimming, canoing and some of us just splashing around. Gee I hate it when I am out done by the dogs but everyone loved the place and a chance to meet her parents.

Day 6, the ride to Olema was totally off the official route. A few of us went straight to the coast, down highway 1.

Then over Coleman Valley to Occidental for breakfast. Miguel was too fast up the hill for me to keep up. Then it was a back over Coleman Valley to the coast, down the coast to the rest stop. We then went on the Franklin School road loop down near the coast, then we went inland toward Petaluma, then back out to Olema. Total miles were 84, averaging 16.0 mph with 6400 feet of climbing.

Day 7, the last day of Sierra to the Sea, took three of us first up Mt. Tam, then down to the official ending at Golden Gate Park. After a quick lunch we continued down to San Jose where my car was parked. Again we seem to have no time to enjoy the ride of 95 miles, averaging 16.8 mph. Gee, how could this 10 days gone by so fast.

Double Up

June 11, 2007 5:57 pm

This was our last chance to get in a bike ride this visit to Utah so we got up early. Well, I guess if you call 8 am early. It was a bit overcast but shortly after we started to bike, it became sunny. It was beautiful weather, just the right temperature as we headed up Provo Canyon bike trail with the plan of cycling up to Sundance. We stopped part way up for these photos by the Provo River.

Ann by Provo River

Franz by Provo River

After we turned off the highway toward Sundance it became a steeper climb, but Ann knew what to expect having done this same route last Tuesday. We really enjoy the Sundance area and spent some time up there taking pictures and eating a sandwich.

Franz and Ann at Sundance


After some restful time up at Sundance we made our way back home. Since Ann had some errands to run and the 25 miles we had biked was not quite what I wanted, I headed up the canyon again, this time going up Squaw Peak. That is a 5 mile, 1600 vertical feet climb. I was disappointed that I didn’t see anyone else on the hill to race against. I stopped briefly at the Outlook Point to take a photo.

Franz up Squaw Peak

On the way down I came upon another rider headed up the hill. Good, I thought. So after going past him a bit, I turned around and chased him down. He was about 40 years old but not that great of a climber so I easily passed him. We met again at the bottom of the hill because he came down faster than I did. He asked my name and where I was from, commenting how good of condition I was in. I just said that I climb a lot of hills in California. So all together I got in about 45 miles, a good recovery day after last Saturday’s fast paced century ride.

Tour de Cure Ride

June 9, 2007 8:11 pm

Both Ann and I had a great ride today on the Tour de Cure century in Brigham City Utah. We are very grateful for all those that made contributions and helped us reach our goals. Together we raised over $1,500.

Franz at start

I started out on the 100 mile route (actually it was 107 miles) and moved out quick to the front of the pack from the start. I knew the fastest riders would be there and if I was not with them from the beginning, it would be too hard to ever catch them. I found myself in a peleton of about 60 riders moving at an incredible speed, ranging from 22 to as high as 30 mph. Sometimes it was 4 abreast so I found myself fully surrounded by riders. At that speed it requires intense concentration, knowing a wrong move could be disastrous for me and all those behind me. At around 45 miles, I checked our average speed and it was over 23. I don’t think I have gone that fast before for that distance. I was happy to finally see a climb on the road out to Promissory Point. I was the 4th to the summit and found myself grouping with the other 3 on the way down. I could not help to notice the other three guys looked like they were in their 20’s. The rest of the group never caught us before we reached the rest stop.

At mile 72, I reached the rest stop where I met Ann. By then she had completed 48 miles on the 100K loop. She looked like she was totally fresh, so I figure that maybe she would want to switch to the longer loop and ride with me, which she decided to do. I calculated in my head that would mean 80 miles for her. “Hey, that is only an extra 13 miles” compared with the 67 miles on her original course.

Ann on Tour de Cure

Ann said she had averaged over 16 mph so far on her ride so I was holding the pace close to that. She stayed right on my wheel and I was able to capture a few pictures while we were riding together. It was a lot of fun riding together. While in the morning I was skipping most of the rest stops, after lunch we made some brief stops at each of them. At the last stop, we took a bit of a break and told Ann it was only 10 miles to the finish. “Hey, only 10 miles to go”. I guess my calcualations was a bit off becasue when Ann hit 80 miles there was no finish in sight. I said, “it must be right around the corner”. I might have said that several times. Finally we hit 500 west and 600 north and I then could see we had only 9 blocks to ride. But the last mile is always hard. Ann did great and finished with 85 miles total.

Ann at finish

Ann’s average speed for the 85 miles was 15.8 mph. She was riding for 5 hrs, 20 minutes with a total time of 6 hrs, 30 minutes. I was very impressed she rode this distance at that pace considering she only started road cycling in February. It was a lot of fun, especially after we finished!

Triple Day at the Races

June 5, 2007 8:43 pm

This was the first day after arriving in Utah last night. With the Tour de Cure coming up this weekend and with the weather forecast showing rain and cold tomorrow and Thursday, we decided that we should get in a bike ride while the weather is nice.

We started from our Orem condo and headed over to the Provo River trail, up to the end, then up to the end of South Fork. I knew from riding this route previous that this would only give us between 25 and 30 miles so I suggested to Ann we go further. I thought about either riding out to Utah Lake or riding up to Sundance ski resort.

We decided to head up to Sundance. After descending down South Fork we headed up the busy highway for a few miles to the turn off for Sundance. The climb up to it was a bit steep, but Ann did great.

At the resort we decided to have lunch so we bought a turkey sandwich to share. We took our lunch out to a wooden deck to enjoy the beautiful view. I asked Ann how she felt about the climb up to Sundance and she said she decided to go to Sundance because we would not get a good sandwich at Utah Lake. I started to laugh out loud. While we were eating, Greg called and asked if we wanted to go golfing. So we headed back home and got there just in time to head to the golf course for 9 holes. Ann and I didn’t exactly have a great game but were impressed by Greg’s skill and his new driver, and decided that maybe we have to get one of those.

Ann golfing

Greg golfing

After returning home I got ready for another bike ride with the Utah Velo club. The ride started in American Fork and since Ann wanted to be able to use the car, I decided to ride to the start, about 9 miles. The club ride was a very fast paced 35 miles and then I rode home. My average speed for the entire 45 miles was 19.3 mph. That is how fast this club rides.

All in all I had a great time today, riding and golfing with Ann and then doing a fast paced ride with the bike club. It was really a triple day at the races.