Lucky 13

Time to start re-work on BC.

Keep an eye out on Twitter and IG for more.

Blogging is like riding a bike. Easily resumed after time off.

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Sound of silence…

If you came here expecting fresh content, I apologize. This little one-man blog ultimately morphed into a sort-of cycling place, which transitioned to a newer place with a new mission and purpose: BikeCrave.

Of course, I’m the same guy. Just decided to move my passion for cycling to a more relevant URL and better connect it to a cause.

I will keep my hand in writing personal content here and posting short tumblr-like photo shares. But for now, it’s going to remain pretty much as is: 171 posts, not all of them long by any stretch, the lion’s share personal experiences regarding cycling. I invite you to check out the category cloud, as well as the blog roll. Palomar Mountain figures heavily in the overall picture. It’s a great cycling monument in SoCal, and I love to climb, so it’s not difficult to see the connection.

The blog is not all cycling. There’s the Ansel Adams photo, which has won fans the world over. Darn thing has tendency to finish on Page One, top row for Google image searches on said photographer. One heck of an artist. I like his style — and eye. A true original.

Seriously, I’m doing this for free. . .

I don’t want to monetize BikeCrave.

Seriously. No auto-reply DMs from me. No email spam. No ad sales. No affiliate links. I’m building the site with my own money. I’ve developed it with a blizzard of ideas, plus feedback from cyclists around the world. 

No monetization? Are you nuts?

Hardly.

What I’d like BikeCrave to do is simple: Spread bike mojo. Coax a laugh. Help someone. Make people think. Maybe even be thankful. 

Why?

I don’t routinely share this piece of personal info online. My wife is a cancer survivor. She’s been in remission going on 6 years. And believe me, I try to remember every day I’m alive to be thankful. The big “C” changes everything — even when you’re not the one wearing the scarlet letter. I will always wear a yellow bracelet.  

Now it’s time to try and give back, to honor others who can’t (or couldn’t) pedal like I can — or pedal like you can. We’re fortunate. When I did the Ride for the Roses in 2003 and 2004 in Austin, Texas, I never witnessed such profound human bravery and compassion. I’m puny by comparison. Giving back. Tough concept to grasp? For some in today’s difficult world, maybe so. Pedal on, we must. 

On a ride after work this evening, I chatted with a very fit guy. We met up on the bike path. He wanted to hammer it. I wanted recovery in the small ring. Yet we still had something in common. It’s how rides can go. All that’s required are two people, four wheels, and a conversation. Things were splendid.

But when I mentioned BikeCrave with excitement, the rider had questions. He was instantly skeptical. Rather than see a few altruistic possibilities, he saw barriers, and motives. “How will people find your website?” “Won’t people be skeptical that you’re trying to make money?” “What’s in it for you? There’s got to be something in it for you.”

The guy was an old-time salesman, so I dismissed much of what he said with a smile. He’ll never understand the Web and why people can connect without ever having met — if only out of passion for something. For him, maybe the day is primarily about money. I’m glad I’m not in sales.

My answers to him were very easy: “They’ll find BikeCrave through their friends and other cyclists.” “They can scour the site’s source code for affiliate links or Google AdWords, and they’ll find none.” “Purpose”

Every day, I happily work at a publicly held software company, helping position products and services for people who will pay more than half a billion dollars for them this fiscal year. I’m lucky. I’m not rich. Never will be. Not a goal. 

The only money I want to see mentioned in the same sentence with BikeCrave are donations going to worthy causes. Donations that people decide to make privately on the basis of a “penny per mile” concept — in the privacy of their own lives. Donations that happen (maybe) because they provide people a bit more purpose in this world. You know, thinking of others. Trying to help out. BikeCrave is not my career. Social media is not my calling. Having a huge number of “Followers” on Twitter doesn’t interest me. BikeCrave is my way to give back and tap into my athletic passion and zest for life.

If someday BikeCrave enables me the opportunity to set up a local bike touring company in San Diego, I suppose I’d be lucky. But if that touring company also helped those less fortunate, I might just say I’d be the luckiest man in the world.

Seriously.

Pedal, climb, descend, repeat . . .

Climb to Kaiser is just four weeks out. Time to emphasize steep climbs and more weekly elevation before starting the taper June 23.

This afternoon was repeats on Highland Valley Road, which includes three main climbing sections as you roll east. The pro peloton gobbled up the first section of climb during this year’s Tour of California before turning left on Bandy Canyon Road.

I kept plowing toward Ramona.

Three times.

Three repeats on Highland Valley easily gets you total elevation gain over 4,000 feet but not at high elevation. It also throws some 15%+ pitch in spots.

Such steepness is necessary to prepare for Big Creek Road, the most critical section of Climb to Kaiser. There’s no substitute, but try we must to prepare.  

 highland valley 3x

FTP, MySQL and LOL

The joy of technology. WordPress is a great platform. Loaded on a server through FTP (such a geek word). Must install MySQL database. All part of the program, and right on schedule. The real hard work lies ahead.

Hope you had a great Monday. I posted a few BikeCrave questions on Twitter tonight. Love the answers. People have so much great stuff. A lot.

Doing, not saying . . .

Kicked off the build of http://www.bikecrave.com today. Official site launch is June 15. 

BikeCrave is an idea that has been in my brain for over a year now. It’s become a labor of love and shared project (with cyclists around the world) as a place to celebrate all things cycling, and the cycling lifestyle. I’m providing blog updates here (and DMs and emails) as a way to share the “process” and demystify the “social media” thing. Too many buzzwords and not enough reality. Let’s strip it down to the pure essence. 

BikeCrave? It’s real. URL secured. Host secured. Design direction and architecture complete. Brand guidelines done. WP template for customization complete. Plug-ins chosen. Designer and coder hired. Chief content producer (me) hired.

One thing I enjoy about cycling is the near-zero tolerance for fakery. You either climb the mountain, or you go back and reach a fitness level that will power you up the mountain. Or you pick a smaller mountain, also known as a “hill.” The point is, you’ve got to start somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where as long as you reach the goal, and you enjoy the journey. You may only want to ride flats in Tuscany and sip wine. Or work on your glove tan lines along Highway 101. Way cool, each.   

But no faking. 

We can’t talk ourselves up the mountain or down the coast in a 20 mph headwind. We can’t slog through a cold rainstorm without something deep inside. I’ve been there, digging about in an empty suitcase of courage, harkening back to times when the legs were stronger and the heart more capable of carrying red blood cells to hungry muscles. 

Doing, not saying.

That’s top of mind this afternoon before I kit up and do my ride.

A tad cliche? Yep.

The best route? Always.

Hope you’re having a great weekend and doing what you love, which may even include two wheels.

Thinking . . .

I saw things yesterday during a recovery ride that I hadn’t before. Amazing how that happens when you’re thinking about something entirely new and feeding the brain more oxygen.

Yes, riding provides fitness benefits. Benefits we can track and analyze. The data reveals our progress, or lack thereof.

Perhaps more than anything else, though, what I enjoy about riding is the mental side. Riding is meditative and restorative. Riding removes clutter. Riding purifies thought. Going through a chilly headwind or up a hill is akin to going through the day. We start fresh with goals. We move forward. If we need help, we ask (or draft).

When we finish the ride (or day), we start the work of preparing for tomorrow and what may come. We learn from the past and focus on the possibilities ahead.

I’m thinking. I like the possibilities that thoughts produce.

I am Specialized…

The braintrust at Specialized Bikes is on a tear.

After cracking into the pro peloton a few years ago, the U.S. company’s strategy to play in Europe alongside the well-known brands such as Pinarello, Colnago and Time is paying dividends. 

This year already in the win column (a sampling; not full list):

  • Tour of California Prologue (Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank on a Transition)
  • Tour of California Stage 8 (Frank Schleck of Saxo Bank on a Tarmac SL2)
  • Tour of Flanders (Sven Devolder of Quick Step on a Tarmac SL2)
  • Paris-Roubaix (Tom Boonen of Quick Step on a Roubaix SL2)
  • Liege-Bastone-Liege (Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank on a Tarmac SL2)

 

The Specialized brand has become synonomous with winnning big (even if Boonen’s rig has a shorter head tube and is beefier than the standard 11r carbon found on factory stock Tarmac SL2’s in your local bike shop).

Kudos to the folks in Morgan Hill, CA who dared to compete with the Italian and French brands that have long dominated Europe. Not only are they doing it with bikes, they are making inroads there in helmets, shoes, and other accessories. It’s amazing, really, when you consider cycling is among the top three spectator sports in Europe. In the U.S., it barely gets on the radar.

It won’t be long before  Trek, the other big American bike brand, turns up the heat. The Grand Tours are when Trek comes out to play. Levi Leipheimer already won the overall at the Tour of California on a Trek Madone, and a famous guy named Lance will be aboard a Madone during the Giro d’ Italia in May.

Cycling, much like golf, is an aspirational activity for non-pros and neo-enthusiasts. We can ride the same roads. We can imagine what it’s like to be in the break. We can (sometimes) hit it 300 yards via equipment that helps power the pros to victory. 

Aspiration is why every weekend in Southern California, you can find riders on $8,000 rides and duffers with $2,000 worth of clubs in their bags.

They are living the dream without the big-name endorsements, podium girls, or adoring galleries.

Achoo..!

Flatting right at twilight before damp offshore clouds roll in is never good for you. One minute, you’re warm, working and mobile, the next you’re wet, chilly and stuck.

Rather than change the tube and pedal home among headlights and high risks, I called home for a ride. Just 15 minutes of waiting can do you in.

Four hearty sneezes this morning are a clear message: be careful and stay healthy.

And for goodness sakes, try to flat under a warm midday sun.

Damn construction staples. Impossible to see. Always trouble.