Friday, June 29, 2012

I love nature, and Antioch too

magic trees of electric stuff

On a recent ride through Antioch there was a gate that, though always locked, was open. It opened to a beautifully smooth road up a hill. It was irresistible, so we didn't resist. We climbed.

At the top were the most magnificent trees. It was if Dr. Seuss had gone all steam-punk and hybridized the trees of his dreams.

Coming back down from Magic Land we stopped briefly to admire the work of local independent artists and the view of Antioch rooftops.

I've tried to drop my magnificent panorama into an iFrame. Hover over it and with any luck magical scroll bars will appear. In Chrome, just try to scroll it and it seems to work. In Firefox, click it and it will fill the frame and revel scroll bars. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Havana daydreaming

bike cuba 2

I'm back from teaching a week-long photo class in Cuba. I'd hoped to meet someone in the Havana cycling community, but it didn't happen. I saw lots of pedicabs and transport bikes, but didn't see any roadies in the city. On a bus ride outside of Havana I saw a roadie in full kit, but didn't get to talk to him as we flew by.

My week off the bike was the longest time I've not ridden in years, and it was odd to say the least. I walked a lot in Havana — Tricia and I ran our students into the ground — but didn't get my heart rate up at all. The rum and cigars did, I'm sure, compensate for the lack of physical activity.

More photos at this short slide show

Curtis in Cuba Photos by Tony Gotelli 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Anniversary ride to the Diablo summit

Tricia at Diablo summit

Tricia wanted to ride to the Diablo summit for our anniversary. Really, it's June 12, but since we've been married 13 years now, doing it on the 13th seemed OK. Most people only ride to the parking lot and claim the summit, but we carried our bikes up to the top of the top.

Curtis and TriciaTricia had a plan. She wanted to ride there and surprise me by buying me a Mt. Diablo State Park cycling jersey. Unfortunately, they only had a small in stock, so she ordered it for me. Little did she know I had a necklace all wrapped up (courtesy of daughter Erin, wrapping princess) and hiding in my jersey pocket, so she got a present too.

It was a beautiful day, and I anticipate doing our anniversary rides to Diablo summit for at least another 50 or 60 years.

Tricia on Diablo at the very top

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cycling cures back pain

Cycling cures back pain. Or at least doesn't make it worse.

I've been hard on my body lately. About the time I recovered from my torn calf I tweaked my back. I'd promised myself to not move anything heavy when I worked in the yard, but bags of soil are big. And heavy. So I moved them and trashed my back. A bit of tennis the next day didn't help, and I ended up laying around Saturday with spasms and pain.

Sunday I tried riding. It turns out that riding a bike hurts less than turning over in bed, or even watching TV.

Tricia and I joined Joyce, who we haven't ridden with enough lately, for a near-forty mile ride through Central Contra Costs. We've been in a wind storm for a week, and it was nice to ride in relative calm. Franklin Canyon and the Carquinez Scenic Loop are as pretty as ever, and I felt just fine right up until we got off the bikes.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Unauthorized Devil Mountain Double jersey debut ride

6 3 12 3 Bears & back 1 deceased motorcyclists 054
Steve's photo of us in our unauthorized jerseys
I love the Quack Cyclists, the folks who put on the Devil Mountain Double and the Knoxville Double century rides. They run a great ride, have wonderful volunteers and the best support I've ever experienced. But they come up just a tad short in one area.

After finishing the Devil Mountain Double my riding partner Dan bought their DMD ride jersey. Now, bearing in mind how wonderful the Quacks are, and that I'm a regular grumblebutt when it come to jerseys, let me just put this on the table: It's my least favorite jersey ever. Sorry. I hate the colors, and the graphic of the cyclist whipping the devil is in questionable taste. I may be overly sensitive to type, but typography on this jersey makes me weep. To top if off there's an exclamation point — do I need that to make a point that's it's 200 miles? — and even a misspelling. Ironically our friend Veronica had one she didn't want, and gracefully donated it to me. I didn't mind wearing it too much because I couldn't see it when I had it on. But I sure didn't like having to see it when I rode with Dan. Yet he kept wearing it, I guess  because the ride is such an accomplishment that a little jersey-based bragging is entirely appropriate.

Because I didn't like looking at the jersey, and because Dan acted as my personal domestique to get me through the DMD, I thought I'd concoct a jersey I liked (because it is, after all, all about me) and present it him as a reward for his faithful service. It would be a thank you, and a way to save my delicate eyeballs.

dmd jersey front
Official jersey on left, my unauthorized version on right
dmd jersey 1
Backs of the official jersey on left, and my unauthorized version on right.
Most cycling jersey manufacturers have huge minimum orders, but I found one in China that would make just two for a reasonable price. With that in mind, I started working on my own DMD design. When I finished it looked like it was missing something, so I added sponsors. Yes, we have sponsors. We'd never get through these rides without the support of our families, to say nothing of them driving us home when we are stupid tired.

Our sponsors: 
  • Campbell Coaching for Cyclists — For my wife Tricia
  • Julie's Jewels, refining diamonds in the rough for over 15 years — For Dan's wife julie
  • Michael Aerospace, rocket science for the home — Dan's son, Michael
  • Erin & Erin Cupcake Factory, We both have daughters named Erin
  • Oldstrong Racing, Dan's Bikeforum name is Lance Oldstrong
  • Dancing Bear Productions, because I always say "It's not how well the bear dances, but that the bear dances at all"
  • Corlew and Butler International, because we are worldwide
That done, a little bastard Latin on the collar, "In Ascendo Est Verum" (In Climbing, Truth,) a set of horns in a "D" and a tail on the "Y" and the design launched on a slow boat to China. OK, really. it was sent over the internet at light speed.
dmd jersey logos
Logos a plenty
Detail of design for back

After I surprised Dan with his jersey, he suggested a 37 mile shakedown ride with 4800 feet of climbing with Steve that he calls "Pigs, 6 Bears, Wildcat and Happy Valley."

Steve loved our swell togs, and even contributed a photo to this post. I was inspired to take the first hill and find a new highest heart rate ever. I faded quickly after that, but still had a great ride.