Upcoming rides I'm leading:
Saturday, November 19: Three Sisters and Wetlands Park, 36 miles

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Ride #4 rescheduled

Our 55-mile ride originally scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22 has been rescheduled to Sunday, Aug. 23. I've been asked to help train new ride leaders for AIDS/LifeCycle this year, and that requires my presence in San Francisco on the 22nd.

Nobody has RSVP'd for this ride yet, so I suspect this won't cause anyone any great difficulty.

OK, I did it

Tonight, I signed up to ride in ALC9. I was seduced by a piddlin' little $10 gift certificate to Sports Basement ... thus proving yet again that I am a really cheap date. (Take note.)

We'll see where the next 10 months take me.

South Bay/Peninsula #4: Crystal Springs (Rescheduled: 8/23/2009)


Meet time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Category: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 55

Description:
For this ride, we continue up the Peninsula a little bit farther than we've gone so far -- up to the beginning of the Sawyer Camp Trail, riding part of the likely Day 1 route in reverse. On the way back, we'll detour into the hills of San Mateo for an extra bonus climb and then take the Ralston bike path back to Cañada Road, up just a little bit into the hills above Woodside, through Portola Valley, and then back to Mountain View.

Total climbing on this ride is about 2,700 feet.

Riders from all over Northern California are invited! Southbound Caltrain from San Francisco arrives at 9:14 a.m.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Tim Huang, Larry L'Italien

RSVPs are requested but not required.

South Bay/Peninsula #3: Foothills (8/8/2009)


Meet time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Category: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 50

Description:
This ride is a lesson in pacing yourself. All of the climbing is concentrated into the second half of the ride, and your challenge is to ride conservatively during the first half of the ride so that you'll be ready to tackle the hills.

From Mountain View, we'll go to Santa Clara, then around Moffett Field and Shoreline Park, along the bayshore to Palo Alto, then up Sand Hill and Whiskey Hill to Roberts Market; we return through Portola Valley and the nature preserve. Total climbing on this ride is about 1,700 feet.

Riders from all over Northern California are invited! Southbound Caltrain from San Francisco arrives at 9:14 a.m.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Tim Huang

RSVPs are requested but not required.

Another premature tire failure


Today's ride with Different Spokes was fun, friendly, and pleasant, if just a little bit too warm. Thanks to the five other riders who joined me.

But immediately after the ride, right as I had started to ride the 3.5 miles back home from the ride location, I started to hear a thump-thump-thump coming from my wheel. I stopped pedaling and coasted, and the thumping continued, suggesting there was indeed a wheel-related problem. I stopped and discovered that my front tire -- a Specialized Armadillo -- was bulging hugely out of its rim at one point; the thumping noise was caused by the tire rubbing against the brakes on every rotation.

This was bad, and as the photos show, it was a total failure of the wire inside the tire -- torn to shreds. This is almost exactly what happened to me back in May, when my rear tire exploded on a hot day. The only difference was that today, I noticed the problem before an explosion happened.

And yes, the air temperature was about 90 degrees at the time, which meant that the surface temperature was no doubt well over 100 degrees. Coincidence or not? Who knows. I rode in Fresno without such problems. But again today, I had failed to heed my own advice, and my tires were fully inflated to about 110 psi. Before I deflated the bulged tire, the pressure felt much higher than that.

So I headed to Sports Basement as soon as I got home (thanks for the ride, David), and I bought a Continental Gatorskin tire to install on the front. I had a less-than-satisfactory experience with them earlier this year, but I'm willing to try again, especially since the Gatorskins list for $34 each compared to a ridiculous $50 each for the Armadillos.

According to my far-too-detailed ride log, I installed the front tire on May 3, and as of today, I had put only 1,360 miles on it. A $50 tire should last far longer.

South Bay/Peninsula #2: Pulgas Water Temple (7/25/2009)


Meet time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Category: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 45

Description:
This is the second of eight regularly scheduled Peninsula/South Bay training rides, to be held every other Saturday, for Seismic Challenge 2.0. We'll slowly add hills and distance as we build to our early October finale, a challenging ride to the San Gregorio coast and back.

This time, we add a few more hills and a little bit of mileage. From downtown Mountain View, we'll head to the Stanford Loop and break off up to Woodside. From there, it's along the very popular cycling route on Cañada Road to the historic Pulgas Water Temple. From there, we'll go downhill on Edgewood Road and back via Alameda de las Pulgas and around Stanford. Total climbing on this ride is about 2,000 feet.

Riders from all over Northern California are invited! Southbound Caltrain from San Francisco arrives at 9:14 a.m.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Tim Huang

RSVPs are requested but not required.

South Bay/Peninsula #1: Get-acquainted ride (7/11/2009)


Meet time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Category: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 1 - mostly flat
Miles: 36

Description:
This is the first of eight regularly scheduled Peninsula/South Bay training rides, to be held every other Saturday, for Seismic Challenge 2.0. We'll slowly add hills and distance as we build to our early October finale, a challenging ride to the San Gregorio coast and back.

For our first ride, however, we'll take it easy, and we'll also give you a preview of a likely part of this year's Seismic Challenge route: the Dumbarton Bridge.

Depending on the weather, the ride through the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge can be scenic and pleasant ... or windy and cold. We won't know until the morning of the ride! We'll take a rest stop in Newark before turning around and retracing our route back through Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Total climbing on this ride is only about 610 feet, and a lot of that is on the bridge.

Route sheet for this ride is here.

Riders from all over Northern California are invited! Southbound Caltrain from San Francisco arrives at 9:14 a.m.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Robert Pinnix

RSVPs are requested but not required.

I'm back

Hey, it's still summertime, but I'm back. Why in blazes am I back?

Well, I'm trying something new this year. I'm going to help lead a small set of training rides for this year's Seismic Challenge, another fundraiser for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The ride takes place in mid-October and is two days, 200 miles around the Bay Area. I won't be doing the actual ride, though; my donors are all tapped out for now. (You're welcome.)

The rides begin very soon ... next Saturday, July 11, in fact! We'll have eight rides every other Saturday through October 3, all leaving from our usual spot in downtown Mountain View, and increasing in distance from about 35 to 80 miles. Most of the rides will be similar to the ones we did earlier this year, but I'll be running them at a slower Cat-2 (10-12 mph) pace. (As always, faster riders are welcome, but you might be ahead of the leaders.)

You do not have to be a Seismic Challenge rider to take part; ALC riders and veterans are more than welcome. The Seismic Challenge safety and riding rules are the same as for ALC.

I'll start posting rides and RSVP links here shortly, as soon as I finalize details about other co-leaders, meeting times, and such. But save the dates.

I'm also leading some rides for Different Spokes San Francisco; you'll see a July 19 entry up there in the listing. All are welcome on DSSF rides, too.