Sunday, September 29, 2013

Joyce's new Colnago

Joyce's new Colnago
 Our good friend Joyce got a new bike, and not just any bike, but a bike with the much-storied name of Colnago on the downtube. It's a beautiful matte black with subtle white highlights, lots of Ultegra and cool, swoopy lines.

Joyce and Tricia at at Big BreakShe dragged it out to East Contra Costa to ride our Brentwood loop with us.It was a stunning day, with clear air and light winds. It might have been perfect if we hadn't have had two flats. Yep, it's getting to be goathead season out here again. Yech. Still, our short stop at the Big Break Regional Shoreline Park in Oakley and the car-free Hoffman Road with it's Diablo view are some of the reasons it's nice to ride out here. And, best of all, and most unusual: no wind!

 I'm happy because I snagged some PRs, a few of which are longer than just a few feet and I really worked for.

Joyce on Hoffman Rd

Of course, it isn't really a ride in East Contra Costa unless you see one weird thing. Today it was this sign, hanging off the back of a very loaded bicycle flying a tattered American flag.

Ridin' for Jesus

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Day of Fall: Diablo Summit

First day Fall, Diablo summmit_post fire
Dan (LanceOldStrong to his fans) lead Tricia and I up Diablo to the summit and back through one of his "sneakin' through neighborhoods" routes. As always, there is a bit of an area I thought I knew, a weird cut-through, and a spot that wasn't meant for bikes, but works anyway.

First day Fall, Diablo summmit Tricia and CurtisThe mountain looks burned, but not so burned it won't come back. I understand no homes were lost, and no people injured, so the news is all pretty good. Of course, it looks black in a lot of spots now, but those who know this sort of stuff insist the mountain is healthy and next seasons wild flowers will be glorious. I hope they're right.

We had an easy ride, except for the North Gate entrance to the junction. I thought I'd see if my weight loss effort was paying off and did what I could to get up quickly. I snagged a good fist full of PRs so my project must be paying off. I am, however, still behind the PRs of the folks I ride with a lot, so my head isn't getting too big. After the junction we just rode a lazy pace to the summit. Well, as lazy as the mountain would let us.

First day Fall, Diablo summmit Dan and Tricia

Strava doesn't seem to want to be able to embed this map, so if you want to see all my PRs (and who wouldn't) you'll need to click right about here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tricia's iPhone

Tricia's Shadow

I like to think that I am the cyclist/photographer around here. But Tricia, armed with her iPhone, is giving me a run for the title.  With two nice images in the last couple of days, including the moon setting on her commute to work Thursday,  she's making it a contest.

moon set on Tricia's commute

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

VeloViewer of Mystery

I've stumbled onto I don't know exactly what it is, but is seems cool. I created the image above from my Strava data and apparently it keeps it up to date (edit: Actually, I don't think it does.) There's all sorts of ways it can display my Strava data, and I even almost understand some of them, but not this one. But I still like it, because it's geeky cycling stuff.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Strava heat maps

How cool is this? Strava has a new feature where you can make a "heat map" of your rides. The more you ride a route, the redder the line gets. I've only been using Strava for a bit over a year. I wish I could do a heat map from all my GPS-tracked rides, which started in late 2007.

You can look at the actual readable, zoomable version of my map here, and make your own as well. If you do, post the link in the comments, or at least share it with me.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

100 commutes

100th bike commute

Friday was my 100th bike commute to work this year. I didn't count days I rode in to play tennis in the summer, or double-count days where I rode in, rode home, rode back then rode home again. It's all legit. That's almost every work day, rain or heat. I skipped when I had to carry something I couldn't get on the bike, and a couple of times I only rode in and was picked up after school.

I will, of course, keep commuting every day. I'm looking forward to finding out how many commuting days I'll have at the end of the year.

Just because, here's my commuter bike. It's a Motobecane Fantom Outlaw with disc brakes, fenders, a rack and panniers, a planet bike superflash rear light and a Magicshine headlight. And the essential REI coffee thermos.

Motobecane Fantom Outlaw commuter bike

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Clouds, with mink and heron with Stephen King

Ride with Tricia and clouds with Mt. Diablo (cropped)
Some days you ride, and some days you ride and see things. We left home on Labor Day under beautiful cloud cover, and actually were rained on just a little, and we saw a bunch of cool stuff.

Wikipedia photo
We couldn't resist stopping to make photos. Not only were the clouds great, but the air was clear and Mt. Diablo looked grand in the distance. And as if that weren't enough, as we rode along the Marsh Creek Trail we saw an American Mink. It was too far away to shoot with the iPhone, but this is the second time we've seen it, more clearly this time; clearly enough East Bay Parks naturalists to identify it for us. It was pretty exciting to see something in the creek that wasn't plastic, or, as Tricia said, planted there just for us to see.

Then we saw the slow-motion appearing flight of a great blue heron. What magnificent birds. They really look like dinosaurs when they float across the sky.

We also stopped along the trail for  what Tricia says looks like a scene from a Stephen King story: A dead tree, and lurking in the background across a brown-dead field, boarded up houses. And not just regular houses, three-story houses, where we are sure bad things happened.

Ride with Tricia, clouds, heron, minkstephen king novel

Of course, no day is perfect, so we topped it off with a flat. But we are looking on the bright side. The rear tire is pretty much worn out, the front tire is close behind, so we get to go tire shopping! That passes for big fun in the Corlew-Campbell household.

Ride with Tricia, clouds and Mt. Diablo

Monday, September 02, 2013

Diablo Challenge 1986 and 2013

Diablo Challenge shirt 6th annual 1986

When I signed up for the 6th annual Diablo Challenge in 1986 I thought the challenge was just to get to the top. But it was my birthday weekend and it seemed like a cool thing to do. I had no clue it was sort-of kind-of a-bit-of a race. I was pretty sure I could make it as I'd ridden to the summit from the Northgate a couple of times, each time being an epic life changing lung-busting leg-crushing effort, with numerous stops along the way, but I was a bit surprised when I found out some people rode the challenge in less than an hour. I know I rode to the start from Pleasant Hill, made it to the top, got a tee shirt, but I don't remember much else.

I rode it again in 1992 on my Cannondale Black Lightning with gears more suited for a criterium than a climb. I remember that someone caught me as I hit the summit and fell over.

Diablo Challenge shirt 11th annual 1992I'm having a birthday this year too, and not just a normal birthday, but one that ends in zero, so again it seemed like signing up for the challenge is the thing to do. I'm not sure why, but it is. At least it's given me a reason to drop a few pounds in anticipation, as if it will matter.

When I rode it back in the day I don't remember official waves, or even that many people. Now I guess it will be a zoo. My only worry, now as it was then, is some low-skill big-ego rider who thinks he is a pro but lack any real descending skills will take me out on the way down. That, and having quantified in cold hard numbers just how slow I really am.

I will have a contest to guess my actual time. Post your guess in comments and win ... something. Make sure I have a way to contact you.

Or you could join me, wait at the top, and laugh when I roll in a long long long time after the start.