BikeDesire or BikeCrave . . .

I have a dream. It gets better when I’m awake.

With your help, I hope to build a community Web site/blog that blends the best of all things cycling–and the people who love the lifestyle. Newbies. Club riders. Cruisers. Ultras. Racers. Tourers. Roleurs. I’ve met you on the road (and dirt) and Internet. I think we all share something.

I have narrowed the site down to two names: BikeDesire or BikeCrave 

There’s equal parts black art and metrics-driven rationale to starting a brand. Focus groups tell you a lot, but ultimately people shape community sites and why others decide to visit. Good ideas spread. 

A brand is just one piece. It’s goes beyond logo, typeface or color palette. It’s what you feel. It’s why you pick Specialized over Trek, or Moots over Seven, or Colnago over Pinarello. It’s why you’re a Campy fan or a DA disciple. And vice versa. It’s why you made the leap to SRAM. 

I’m working to turn on the BikeDesire or BikeCrave site in late June before the Tour de France. I hope it’s a compendium of what I like best about the Web: Ulility, Sharing, Helping, Experiencing, Going deep on a topic about which you’re passionate.

Cyclists desire or crave many things in the pursuit of cycling. Enjoyment. Fitness. Comraderie. Peace. Competition. Status. Belonging (group rides). Not belonging (going against the automobile grain). Exploration. Conquest. Of course, Bikes. There’s something that happens when we throw our leg over the top tube and start turning the pedals on these bikes. We can’t always articulate it. But we have the common bond. We desire/crave it, and it becomes part of our the fabric of our lives, mirroring seasons and establishing milestones. Our families and loved ones understand. They support cycling and the great things it can do–and does.

I’ll initially organize the Web site in 3 main categories:

  1. Need (topics, basics, things that cyclists need)
  2. Want (products, experiences, access to other things that cyclists want)
  3. Have (photos, tips, stories, races, routes, fundraisers that cyclists have)

 

As I go down this path, I hope you’ll join me. I plan to share the process so you can see and help shape the outcome. Visuals always help, so here are a few of some 20 logo comps (pre-color) that are on the wall for consideration. Thanks for the early feedback on naming through your tweets, and please be safe out there when riding.

 

bike desire logo with one forward slash grotzec
bikecrave flama semicondense basic
bikedesire radio fm comp
bikecrave flama semicondensed medium

bikecrave radio fm 100 px comp

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Malibu Barbie…

If you’ve never ridden in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, California, consider doing it before you die.

Why? 

The views are to die for

The climbing isn’t too bad, either.

The “Mulholland Challenge” (organized by the nice folks with Planet Ultra) has something for everyone:

 

  • Mileage (this year it was 101 miles, due to closure of Stunt Road)
  • Elevation gain (my Garmin clocked at 11,400’+ total for day after I downloaded device to laptop)
  • Steep climbing (upwards of 16% at the 80-mile mark)
  • Beauty (See images below I took with my iPhone)
  • Even a bit of attitude (welcome to L.A., now go 100 mph in the fast lane with your hair on fire)

 

 

I used this century ride as part of my training build-up for Climb to Kaiser (155 miles and 14,500′ of climb) in two months. While the weather at Mulholland did not come close to matching the furnace-like conditions of C2K’s last 20 miles, it didn’t disappoint. Ocean crosswind and temps in the 40s greet you on the initial descent. You might want to don warm gloves (I didn’t). What the ride lacked in heat this year (100 last year with reports of people barfing on Decker Canyon Road), it gained in fantastic views and technical pieces of pavenment. 

I rode my trusty Moots Vamoots outfitted with Mavic Ksyrium SLs and Vittoria Corsa CX tires (a bit lighter for climbing than the Open Pros). Given the very choppy condition of asphalt beyond the summit of Little Sycamore Creek Road at the 50-mile mark, I was wishing for my Open Pros. You may want to leave your Zipp 404s at home. 

The ragged pavement in sections was a minor disappointment. I heard a few similar grumbles. C2K descents are far smoother, superior–and, in turn, more rewarding in the bike-handling department. You’ve climbed the hill. You deserve something nice; not a beating.

OK, so about those views. Best of the day was descent of Deer Creek Road. The only way to really take it in is to dismount your bike, which I did. Second best view was Encinal Canyon Road. Absolutely stunning on a clear day.

And did I utter something earlier about attitude?

Yes, unfortunately a few Lance wannabes showed up in full pro race kits (except they weren’t pros), barking at anyone who didn’t immediately yield as they “raced” by to their pro peloton times in this officially titled “ride.” To these aggressively delightful souls (sarcasm), a piece of advice: Get your USCF license, go race against real bike racers who want to rip your legs off, and please leave the machismo schtick at home if you’re going to do a century ride. Seriously, please. Or at a minimum, ride alone at the front from the get-go. That way, no one can be impressed with your social skills–except you.

Yes, I once raced. It was a blast. I still get down to Fiesta Island now and then to compete in time trials. There’s a time and place (rhymes with “race”) for real competition, and it ain’t in a century ride. 

I’d rate the Mulholland Challenge a solid 8/10. 

Pros: Easy to reach for SoCal century riders, glorious views, inland and coastal variety, LA-chic vibe, ride support, nice Subway sandwiches and ice cold Pepsi at the conclusion.

Cons: Easy to reach for wannabe Lances who’d belong in USCF races, ragged pavement between 50-60 mile marks.

For more info, click here for a ride profile from previous years.

For more on Planet Ultra and its offerings, try this link.

Here’s the elevation profile and map off my Garmin from the 2009 version of the event. You cover some of the same roads twice (both ways). Images I took below that.

mulholland-challenge

 

Mile 50 up on Little Sycamore Canyon

Mile 50 up on Little Sycamore Canyon

 

Mile 60 Deer Creek Road descent

Mile 60 Deer Creek Road descent

Malibu views from mile 77 on Encinal Canyon Road

Malibu views from mile 77 on Encinal Canyon Road

The sound of passion…

I’ve always hated taping voice mail greetings. Just plain don’t like it. Despise it. 

Why?

Hearing the sound of my voice. I’m never comfortable when faced with it. I suppose that’s why I went into print journalism out of college and not into television or radio. The keyboard has never once recorded my voice, its inflection, or any cracking. It just takes down what my fingertips say. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Recent videos I shot for the Tour of California were exhilirating for me. If I came off a bit crazed, well, to that I plead guilty. Being atop a mountain to which pro bike racers compared to July in France is a reason for any cycling fan to ignite a fire within — and be passionate.

Isn’t that what life is all about? Find something you truly love and cherish it? You know, your spouse? Your children? Friends? Your camera? Your keyboard? Books? Surfboard? Car? Garden?

What’s your passion?

For one week in February, mine surely was a race called Amgen Tour of California.

I hope you are finding and celebrating yours.

Palomar Mountain Feb. 10, 2009…

Photos courtesy of John Thess of Mother’s Kitchen at the summit of Palomar Mountain. Thanks, John!

Top photo is just over 200 feet from the mountain’s summit. The second photo is what riders will see before they summit. The third photo is what you’d see if you turned left at summit (riders will be turning right). The fourth photo (lowest down) is looking at the summit from parking lot of Mother’s Kitchen. Riders will be coming up South Grade (from the right side). My plan? Cruise down a few hundred feet from summit and run up the road with leaders. I won’t be wearing a Buffalo bills helmet with horns — or carrying a huge American flag  🙂 since we’re not in France. 

5,000 Feet Level Switchback

5,000 Feet Level Switchback

 

Just before the climb summit, some 5,200+ feet

Just before the climb summit, some 5,200+ feet

 

Home of the best soup -- and people -- on Palomar!

Home of the best soup -- and people -- on Palomar!

 

View of the KOM summit from Mother's Kitchen - a stone's throw

View of the KOM summit from Mother's Kitchen - a stone's throw

Hard work never hurt anybody…

As we get ready for Jan. 20 and the swearing in of a new president, I played back memories to realize just how amazing the 2008 election cycle was. While enough words have been written to fill a few hundred Web server farms and kill a couple thousand trees, it’s the photographs that tell such a human story.

The image below caught my eye. But you can find even more incredibly candid shots on these sites.

Say what you want about political philosophy and ideology. There’s something historic happening. And I’m glad to be sharing it with my children.

obama-shoe

Let it snow… Only at the top…

‘Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring… Not even the dogs.

The stockings were (still) hung by the chimney with care. And the sounds of iPod Touch tapping could be heard from upstairs.

I set out to climb South Grade Road on a clear and brisk day. At the top, a frigid line about 20+ long for the public restroom on public display.

But no one was complaining. Call it a snow day for children and adults. One that sure beats endless raining…

The ride deal: 

Damn near-perfect, thanks to gloves, new warm cap over ears and under helmet (for descent), new jacket, old knee warmers and older wool socks. Got a tidy 4,416 feet of climbing up 13+ miles, starting from Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. Came down carefully, given the wind gusts and uber-chill on shaded sections. 

Happily back home tonight, hanging with family. Visions of sugar-plums dance in my head. 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend before we ring in the New Year.

Things get interesting right about now. Switchback below early in climb

Things get interesting right about now. Switchback below early in climb

 

Looking southwest from 5,200-foot summit and ready to descend.

Looking southwest from 5,200-foot summit and ready to descend.

‘”Merry Mint” from Del Mar…

Christmas Eve rides are always memorable.

Feels like Saturday or Sunday without the tourists or Harleys. The weather held nicely this morning for a very casual small-ring spin. A green blob on radar hovered north of San Diego everytime I checked the Weather Channel iPhone button. But it never blew in and wrecked the ride.

The surf?

I felt bad for fathers and sons paddling out for the 1-foot sets at low tide. They looked damn happy, though.

I think we all were. 70 easy ones for me to the sounds of Sinatra, Nat King Cole — and, Gavin Rossdale. A non-sequitur, I know. But need to pace myself for tonight when the house is full and we all gather round. 

Today’s picture? A nice wreath outside the Americana Cafe in Del Mar. I’ve ridden by this joint a million times. Never have stopped in for a bite. Need to. Banners put up by city along the main drag proclaim “Merry Mint,” among other generic plays on holiday political correctness.

In my home, we say Merry Christmas.

Hope in your home, you say what brings you close — and that you’re warm, happy and sharing good times with the ones you love the most.

Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Allkind.  

cafe-americana-del-mar

A Christmas tree on the beach…

Greetings from San Diego. Nice, easy half century on the coast today. Clear skies and temps in upper 50s. Saw a triathlete in Del Mar in what appeared to be a ski suit riding a TT. Not enough body fat. Or just damn happy to break out new gear.

Anyway, good opportunity to log a few base hours in the saddle, listen to Jason Mraz and John Mayer, and get mellow while the girls are up in Idylwild with Grandma and Grandpa.

Couldn’t resist taking a pic of a Christmas tree on the beach in Cardiff/Solana Beach.

Later took a little break and drank a nice double latte at Java Depot. Place is cyclists haven on Saturday mornings after the SDBC group ride. Walls of the joint are full of pro cycling photos. A sting of holiday ornaments add cheer. Free WiFi, too. Works great on iPhone. Pics were edited using CameraBag set on Fisheye.

Hope you and yours are warm and well.

photo-21

photo-3

Coastal bliss on a bike…

Locals only. That sums up the vibe on Highway 101 today in San Diegoland.

From Del Mar to Carlsbad, the coastline was pretty quiet (save a few Harleys). Workers in Encinitas installed a grandstand for tomorrow’s Holiday Parade. Will Santa be wearing board shorts and carry a Hansen longboard? Hope it’s not too warm if he’s plans to pull on full red suit and white beard.

Training data: Got 60 in with smallish 2,500 feet of rollers. Would have made it to San Clemente and back. But while I was reducing my aerobic capacity to that of a gnat these past few weeks it seems someone moved San Clemente 20 or so miles farther north. Need better legs. Lungs. Hands. Shoulders. Snacks. Go Juice. 

Before heading out, configured my bride’s new iPod Touch 8GB, engraved and loaded with great stuff, including new John Legend. Quality counts.  Tomorrow: tree, lights, candy canes and Nate King Cole. The dogs will be meserized, the girls will get cozy.

Hope things are great where you are.

From the bluff at Del Mar's Seagrove Park checking the surf

From the bluff at Del Mar's Seagrove Park checking the surf

 

Hot air balloons over Carmel Valley coming in for landing

Hot air balloons over Carmel Valley coming in for landing