Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tour Down Under-Stage 5

Stage 5 Tour Down Under report. In this penultimate stage, breaks go off the front including world champion Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde. The leaders jersey was in question, but Columbia was able to chase back to retain it. Leon Luis-Sanchez, an opportunist, was able to kick to the line for the win. Andre Griepel still the GC leader with one day to go.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Grimes meets The Balcom Wall

Today, I visited a couple of old friends of mine- Grimes and Balcom Canyons.

You might have heard of these climbs uttered during previous Tours of California. Balcom is know as one of the steepest roads gauged at 22% and has been given the feared name- The Wall.

Todays ride started along the peaceful, rural road that is known as Guiberson in Piru. This stretch of asphalt rolls against the hillside through agricultural fields along the Santa Clara River. Guiberson ends at Highway 23 which heads south towards Moorpark. The road marches towards the bottom of one of the most characteristic climbs in Ventura County- Grimes Canyon. This road contains numerous switchbacks snaking up to the summit with rewards of amazing views and a fast descent on the other side.

Descending Grimes Canyon on the Moorpark side is fast and straight. A right-hand turn at Broadway heading west is one of the most scenic stretches of road through orange groves and ranch land. Broadway connects to Stockton Road until it ends at Balcolm Canyon.

The climb towards the backside of Grimes is alluring. The pace is comfortable and there's time to soak up the scenic beauty of the hills. I almost like to think of it as the calm before the storm. The road offers a small descent in time to recover for a right turn to The Wall. A couple short stingers soften the legs up for a slight turn revealing what looks to be a road that pitches straight up to the sky. Out of the saddle climbing with every ounce of leg strength is what is required to tackle this beast. A fantastic descent rewards the rider once again as the road dumps you out to South Mountain Road between Santa Paula and Fillmore. A right turn offers 12 miles of smooth, rolling road back to the car.

An amazingly difficult 37 miles ride through majestic orange groves with two, small fierce climbs makes this one of my favorite routes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ojai on 2 Wheels

Killer ride today!

Jane, Jerry, Dan and I drove out to Santa Paula to ride up Highway 150 into Ojai Valley. The route is one of our favorites as it is scenic and presents so many options once arriving in Ojai.

For todays ride, we decided to head up Highway 33 through Wheeler Springs to Rose Valley Summit. The picture to the right was shot from the summit overlook featuring the winding road up to the top.

In the end, the ride consisted of 65 miles with roughly 6,000' of climbing. It was a good day on the bike!

Triple Decker

This post is not about a sandwich, but about my horrific bicycle crash in the Santa Monica Mountains. I was 20 miles into the 126 mile Grand Tour ride hosted by the Los Angeles Wheelmen on September 28, 2007.

After a strong climb up the infamous Latigo Canyon Road, the ride continued west on Mulholland Drive to Highway 23 also known as Decker Canyon Road. The descent is fast and treacherous and not for the faint of heart. Into the descent towards Westlake Village, I lost control of the bike's rear end and went down hard on my left side.

To make a long story short, I ended up breaking my left shoulder and sustaining a huge hemotoma topped with road rash on my left ass cheek. It was by the grace of God that I did not break my hip. The shoulder fracture was the first broken bone injury I had ever sustained at the age of 40. Not the age to be breaking bones.

The following week, my cycling club included the report in our monthly newsletter with the storyline "Decker Gets Decked On Decker".