Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Santa Barbara

Hello everybody. Back from SoCal and back at work. Oh joy. :) Santa Barbara was the coolest town I visited on my trip. Decent size (90k or so), far enough away from LA to avoid all the traffic, beautiful weather, and great riding. Here are some pics:

Vontoux approves of this post. Man does he look cool.
Quite possibly the best mailbox ever. Guess where you put the mail! :D
The view from my ride along the mountain ridge right out of Santa Barbara. If you look closely, you can see the road that I was riding on, about halfway up the mountainside. It wasn't really a road, more just a long driveway to get to all the really rich people's houses.
Here's me posing with my loaner Serotta. This was by far one of the coolest road rides I have ever been on. Unbelievable riding there...
Here's where the ride started, at the Santa Barbara Mission.
The view from the other side of the mountain. In the distance, you can barely make out Santa Barbara and the ocean.
On Sunday Heather did her first ever Half Ironman triathlon...and she did VERY WELL! She took it easy so that she wouldn't completely bonk during the run, but she still managed to average over 18mph for the 50+ mile bike section. She kicked some ass...
This weekend will be a really good time, as Trent, Vino, Sears, and myself are racing as a team at the 24 Hours of 9 Mile here in WI. Should be a blast. Word on the street is that Greg will be making an appearance as well.
Then the Fri after that Heather and I are off to France! Very excited for that! I am planning on doing a daily blog update while we are there to keep everyone updated (depending on internet access, of course). That's about all I have for now. Talk with you all soon!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ventura Highway

Greetings everyone from sunny California! Flew in on Mon, and I get back to Madison late Fri night. First things first...here's a brief report about the WORS race from Sun.

It was hot. Freaking hot. You know it is hot when you pull up to the race site and there is an ambulance arriving on the scene to aid riders from the Sport race. Crazy, I guess it was around 97 degrees or so. Perfect for a 20mile mtb race! I decided to take it easy on the first of three laps (I didn't want to burn out later in the race...or die), and I wasn't feeling too good on the second lap. The last lap I felt amazing though, the legs were full of energy and I was passing people left and right. I didn't get passed once the entire last lap, so needless to say I was happy that I took it easy the first lap. It was a very tight race, as I finished in 12th place in my age group (51st overall) out of 112 riders, but I was only a little over 3min back from the winner. So my placing sucked, but I am happy with the time gap being that in the first race I was 7min back from the winner. Progress. :)

Upon arriving in Cali, I found out that the dealer that was supposed to give me a bike to ride sold it over the weekend. I was pretty bummed out, but thankfully the nice guys over at Sundance Cycles hooked me up with a ride. And a SWEET one at that, a Serotta Coeur d' Acier (steel/carbon). Decked out with Ultegra and Ksyrium wheels. Very nice:
While on a ride near Ventura I saw this crazy cloud formation over the Santa Monica mountains. Looks like a volcano explosion or something:

I went for a ride in Thousand Oaks (where my hotel is) and found a STEEP climb up into an high-class residential area. I was in my easiest gear and could barely turn the pedals over. It was only around a mile or so long, but it hurt. My arms hurt as well from holding the brake levers so hard...never had that happen before. My only reward was the view at the top:
Today I went on a ride with a couple of guys from Sundance. They took me on a nice 30mile ride with some crazy climbs and descents. One of the climbs, called Rockstore, is 2.3 miles long with an average gradient of over 7% (so, about as steep as Alpe d' Huez...but about 7 miles shorter...ouch!). Myself and one other rider decided to push the pace up it and we did it in just under 14min. It felt like it would never end...I can only imagine what the mountains in France will feel like. Crazy. The descent was fun though, as we were pushing 45mph on the twisty road. Here's a page from the Sundance website that lists all the area climbs and their distance/gradients. Kind of interesting.

I have two more dealer visits tomorrow and one more on Fri morning, then it's back to WI. My last visit tomorrow is in Santa Barbara, so I plan on getting in a nice ride there as well. I will take some pics, and if any look decent I will post them.

I miss little Heather and Vontoux. Here they are sleeping and looking cute:
Oh yeah, the 9.9 performed well in it's first race. Stiff in the BB area, but nice and compliant in the rear triangle. Good stuff. That new Fox fork rules too. And I'm out!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lake Fun

This past weekend Heather and I visited Union Lake to spend some time with the family. It was a short, but fun time.

Here is little Trent and big Mario, relaxing lakeside.
Danette and Vontoux, having some fun in the water.
Tonia always looks like she's having a good time.
I'm spacing out with my windblown hair.
Here's my dad having fun water-skiing.

The next 3 weeks look like this: This weekend the 9.9 will be making it's racing debut just south of Milwaukee. Then I will be in SoCal all of next week for work. I will be sure to snap some pics and post them. Should be a fun trip. The weekend I get back from California, Heather has her Half Ironman Triathlon in Racine, WI. Then the weekend after that is the 24 Hours of 9 Mile with the whole ND gang. Then Heather and I leave that following Fri for France. Crazy times. Talk with you all later!