Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dates. Medjool that is...

Why is Emily putting up a posting about Dates, you might ask? In a show of sisterly support (and because I like dates!), I am using this entry to enter a recipe contest my sister is hosting on her blog:

Simple though this recipe is, I think I may have hit upon a tasty little calorie bomb that might be good for a hand-up or, for example, as a featured item on our race snack table at Boggs. Powdered sugar coated date, walnut, and butter balls; look for them at a race near you!

1 cup dates
1 cup walnuts
1 tbl butter
confectioners sugar

combine dates and butter in a food processor and blend until a paste forms. add walnuts and chop some more. form balls and coat with confectioners sugar. voila!

p.s. if you have a dates recipe enter the contest -- real quick like. it closes tomorrow night!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peak Season #4: Everybody Else

OK, we finally have pictures of the B race (thanks, Jeff!), so here goes :

The B race: (I was racing during this, obviously, so I all pictures by Jeff)

Jeremy rode his first race in a couple months, and remembered that it's actually useful to warm up, as he went straight backward for the first lap or so before finally getting into gear and holding his own.

Murphy continued his long return from injury by putting together his first race without a major mechanical (although he did crash on his weak shoulder, but avoided injury).

Joe Taylor had an uneventful B race, but was the star of the relay, as we'll see.

New rider Peter stepped up from C to B, and suffered for it, as is often the case.

Derrick crashed in the first 150 meters of the race, and was put immediately out of contention by the time he took he straightening out his stem. He worked hard to get back into the race, though.

Women's race:

This was a tough one for a lot of folks. The only Sheila Moon woman who raced this one and had raced in the last couple weeks was Sam. May had been sick, Arena had been on vacation, and Kathryn had been sick while on vacation.

Nonetheless, they all stepped up to race.

Kathryn, who I think had not been on the bike in a month, had it toughest, and lasted a couple of laps.

May round the corner
May was able to soldier through, and even rode most of the race with her trademark smile.

Arena had a tremendously strong race, battling Sam for second most of the way before succumbing a little to her lack of racing, and ending up in third.

Arena and Sam
She didn't let second go without a fight, though, making Sam work for the pass.

Sam was able to get her eventually, though, and ended up taking second by 20 seconds or so.

B women
Still, two of our teammates on the podium was pretty awesome.

The capper for the day was the team relay. Each relay team had four riders. At the beginning of the race, they made everyone take their back wheel off. When it was your turn, you had to first put your wheel back on before heading out on your lap.

The Sheila Moon team was Joe, Arena, Sam, and our friend Uri.

Go Joe!
The race started with a Le Mans start, and Joe gave good account.

He was pretty quick about getting his wheel on as well. Unfortunately, once he got going, disaster struck:

The Agony of Defeat from daten on Vimeo.

He was back up right quick, though, and handed off to Sam, who was followed by Arena, with Uri finishing it off. As is typical for this kind of event, I was adamant about not riding it, but by halfway through the relay, I totally wished I was out there.

It looked pretty damn fun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Peak Season #4: my report

The Peak Season series is over, and for many of us, so is the cross season.

We ended up with something of a bang at the last Peak Season race. Literally, unfortunately, for one of us.

The course was great. Each lap started with a sharp paved climb, followed by a brutal run up. Steep, muddy, and slippery, that thing was nasty. After a quick spin through the woods and another sharp paved uphill, it wended its way through the school grounds. An unfortunately fast, flat stretch with one set of steps and several sharp turns. The second half of the lap was pretty much all dirt, with some marginally ridable uphills and an extended off-camber section.

This "run"-up was brutal

I came into the race 5th in the series, theoretically within reach of 3rd. So I was motivated to do well. I was so motivated, in fact, that for only the second time this year I got the hole shot. In fact, I looked back as I entered the first dirt section, and not only was I ahead, but there was no one even on my wheel!

It will likely not surprise you to read that this did not last. A guy in a DFL jersey caught up to me by the end of the first chunk of flat pavement, and passed me shortly after, only to overcook a turn and go down.

Around the end of the first half of the lap Blake from Oakland passed me, and most of the rest of the race was an exercise in damage control. About one person per lap got by me, even though Murphy and the rest of the team were doing their best to hold off the flood.


Around lap 4 I caught and passed Evan Sarna, who was riding in the open Bs. I'm used to seeing Evan ride a single speed, but on this day he was riding a geared bike. He put it to good use by passing me back at the start of the paved half lap. He was nice enough, though, to let me hang on his wheel through the spinny parts, and then let me by when the going got dirty again.

Evan spent some time hauling me around at one point

At the end of the penultimate lap, I was pretty much exactly where I ended the race before: 5th, with the same four people ahead of me. At this point, barring major crashes or mechanicals, there was not really any way I could do anything to move up or down in the series. Which was good, because out of nowhere, Tom Taylor from Roaring Mouse was on my tail. Tom got by me at the end of the dirt (again!) and graciously waited for me to get on his wheel so he could pull me around the pavement. In less-than-gracious fashion, I was planning on paying him back by getting by in the dirt section that would close the lap, but I stupidly tried to ride a small embankment I'd been running every lap, and stalled out, giving Tom the couple seconds lead he needed to get clear of me. I rolled in sixth for the day, and fifth for the series.

The guy in the yellow kit eventually caught me

It's certainly partially due to the smaller fields in this series, but I was very pleased with how competitive I was able to be. I've been laboring smack in the middle of the 35+B field for the last couple seasons, and to be able to fight for the lead (even for a lap) and contend for the podium in the series was a real step forward. And while I don't regret racing the entire series on a single speed, I certainly feel that I ran up against the downsides of the choice a few times. Would my results have been better with gears? I think so. Certainly, at Harbor High racing without gears was a huge disadvantage. And there were periods in every race where I ended up losing ground on the flat stuff because I didn't have a high enough gear.

Wold it have been more fun, though, to race a geared bike? Judging by how indifferently my geared bike's been behaving this season (I've suffered a broken shifter, a jammed shifter and innumerable dropped chains) it's been a relief to just ride a bike that works. And my Sycip single speed is a very nice-riding bike. Still, for the long term, it seems smarter to become a better mechanic than to limit myself to a single speed bike. As gratifying as it is to beat the geared guys, I don't think I'm capable of competing with them long term on a single speed.

Anyway, it was a great way to end the season. Now it's time to get back on the mountain bike, and endure the long wait until next cross season starts mountain bike season starts at Boggs at the end of March.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I recently put together a Bianchi Cross Concept for a friend of mine. I found him the frame (and parts), supplied him with some leftovers rattling around my house, and put the bike together for him. He's very happy with it.


On a completely different note:

Ever since I heard the story about how he crashed through the ice into a frozen lake in a cross race, and still came back to win, Steve Tilford's been one of my heroes. There's a pretty detailed profile of him in his local paper.
When the race starts, he bolts to an immediate lead. The winding course has been kneaded by the cyclists racing earlier in the day. The mud is the consistency of Silly Putty. Tilford exhales hard through pursed lips. At the back end of the course, he dismounts his bike, braces it against the side of his biceps and explodes up earthen steps made jagged from the cleats of previous racers. A crowd has gathered at the top for a view of the straining athletes.

"Seventeen!" Rebsamen shouts at Tilford, leaning from the sideline, letting him know how many seconds he's got on his closest competitor. "Seventeen! You're OK!"

"Aw, c'mon, he could deliver newspapers right now," a man at the top of the hill responds. "It's over."

The spectator is right. After three laps, Tilford has no competition. His lead grows to 23 seconds, then 25. "Steve Tilford giving a quick look back," the announcer says as Tilford turns into the final stretch. "He knows he has it. He's going to sit up and enjoy this one."
He's had a fascinating journey to get where he is, and the whole article's worth reading.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Peak Season #3: Running up that Hill

This weekend marked the third Peak Season race, held in Pinto Lake Park in Watsonville.

The course was pretty awesome. There was an extensive single track section that ended in a marginally-ridable long run up, some fast gravel bits and altogether too much bumpy, grass serpentine.

We had a good turnout, with Joe and Derrick racing the Cs, Murphy and myself racing 35+Bs (and Derrick coming back for another helping in the Bs), Emily racing Women's 35+, and Sam joining in in Women's open B.

Joe heading up

Derrick up the run up

Results were pretty uneven, with Emily in third, a mere 17 seconds out of 2nd, and Sam in 4th in her second women's B race.

Emily raced Masters Women

Sam raced Bs

Joe put in a good effort in his second cross race ever, finishing on the lead lap.

Murphy went out very fast, but was waylaid by a jammed chain, and never really recovered. Despite losing something like 2 minutes fixing his chain, he was still able to claw back into the top half of the field, finishing ninth. He made it a point to ride the big runup every lap, and made it more often than not.

Murphy cresting the top of the big runup.

I actually finished exactly where I did last time, 5th. For the second consecutive race in the series, I hit the finishing stretch barely ahead of Andrew Yee (editor of Cyclocross Magazine) and was able to hold him off in the final sprint.

In fact, the last couple laps of this race were marked by a three-way duel for 5th between Andrew, me, and Mike Hyde, from San Jose. Mike was having trouble in the twisty parts, and realized that his only choice was to use the power of gears to make up ground on the flats and other fast bits. Andrew was also able to gap me when it was fast, but he was also putting time on me in the serpentine sections. My only saving grace was the uphill sections, where I was able to make time on both of them.

Leading Andrew and Mike

On the last lap, Mike disappeared (he told me after the race that he dropped his chain). On one of the uphill parts, I managed to get around Andrew, and then did the best I could to put power down. I was a tad undergeared at 38x17, so really going fast on the downhills and flats was tough, but I managed to enter the final set of serpentines about 10 seconds ahead of Andrew. Unfortunately, with each switchback I could see him, and with each turn he was getting closer and closer.

The finish line was about 20 meters after the final chicane and a small bump. When I hit that bump I could practically feel Andrew breathing down my neck, and I spun madly across the line to finish about a second up.

running over the barriers

I think I am now 5th in the series, with one race remaining. They're a little slow about posting series points, but I am pretty sure I have a dim shot at third, but will most likely end up 4th, 5th or 6th, assuming I have a decent race next weekend. Not bad for racing the single speed against the gearie guys!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From the sidelines

Jason here,

This is my first post to the blog and well overdue.  I've been out of commission since the day after Thanksgiving when I hurt my knee(s) riding up to Muir Beach and back to Oakland.  IT band / kneecap issues.

I haven't raced since the second to last Pilarcitos race.  I hope to be back on the bike racing for Boggs* 8 hour race on March 28th.  Davin and I are on a team and hope to do very well.  I may even have my new mountain bike built up by then (Fully rigid 29er - Salsa Mamasita).  If not I'll have to borrow someone's bike or just throw 44c's on the Surly Cross Check, gear down with the X.0 derailleur, XT cassette, put on flat bars and deal with it.  I really love the versatility of the cross check.

Anyway, I hope to see y'all out there soon on the course, not the sidelines.  I rode home from work tonight making a few stops and things felt alright.  Not better, but no bad pains.  I'm on my way to recovery.

Jason rode to the Candelstick Pilarcitos with his race bike in tow

What Emily said: Remount extravaganza

Emily mentioned she nailed her remounts on Saturday. Here's proof.

Emily Remounts

Sam's still a little flashy with hers.

Sam remounts

Derrick, on the other hand, seems to be getting pretty close to the right amount of height.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

small victories

ahhh the cyclocross flying remount. the elusive flying remount. jumping off the bike is a breeze; leaping back on not so much -- for me anyway. something about having both feet off the ground at the same time while running and hanging onto my handlebars just didn't come naturally. oh i tried. all last season i tried. into this season's pilarcitos series i tried. then one day, at the sierra point race i finally got it during my pre-race warm up - i ran, commited, leapt, and i was on! what fun! but then i bobbled it in the race -- a stutter step every time. *sigh*. and so it continued...all through the rest of pilarcitos and into peak season. i could do the remount during practice but not during a race.

but then there i was last weekend in santa rosa for cx #4. it was a beautiful day. the gun went off. i arrived at the first barrier. dismounted, jumped up the big stone step and i just did it. i leapt back on smooth as butter. there were three dismounts/remounts on the course. around and around i went and after every dismount i leapt back on - not a stutter step to be found...

2008 Year in review - Part 2: Cyclocross!

[Part 1 of the Year in Review is here]

This year's cyclocross season was a big step forward for the Sheila Moon team. We raised our stats to a whole new level: more podiums, more races won, more sausages barbequed and more beer served than last year.

The season started early, with the Livermore series kicking off at the beginning of September. The Sheila Moon women were sprinkled all over the podiums, from Emily's fourth at the season opener to Arena's medal in her very first race. More importantly, however, three of our teammates raced their very first cross race, and they all were excited to come back for more.

We next provided the labor for the Lion of Fairfax race, sponsored by team sponsor Big Swingin' Cycles' and organized by main man Brian Bruckner. As usual, the race made a dollar's worth of cross racing out of 75 cents of available area.

Kathryn halfway up the run up of Doooooooooom

The season got into full swing with the kickoff of the Bay Area Superprestige Series at McLaren Park. The McLaren course really divides people. It's possibly the hardest course we race on, with a long brutal run up and some sketchy downhill parts. Every year, there's muttering that it's really a mountain bike course, and every year, someone on a cross bike wins every category.

Jason makes quick work of the barriers in his first cross race

I love the course. It's hard, sketchy in parts, and rewards climbing and bike handling more than most of the other courses we race on. The first half of the cross season was pretty much a non-starter for me this year, but this race was huge fun. My geared bike was in the shop, so I rode my single speed in the geared category. This course is pretty great for single speeds--as long as you gear low enough that you can get up the hills, there's no real long power stretch where geared riders can just ride away.

These guys were content to stay behind me

I think we had our highest number of racers this year, putting something like 12 people on the course in one category or another.

Arena cruises through the infield

Several themes that would run through the season started this race, for better or worse. On the downside, Ted's bike stopped shifting halfway through the race. Mechanicals would haunt Ted (and the team) for the early part of the season. He managed to finish anyway, however.

Ted on the starting line, unaware that his bike was going to let him down

On the upside, Kathryn got 5th, merely the first of the Super Prestige Series podiums she would make.

Kathryn laughing it up on the start line

The second big race of the year was the Surf City Halloween race. This race is a tremendous event every year, and I was sorry to miss it. One of the best parts of this race every year is the costume race, and although she was not able to race it (due to a tragic water-bottle-handup injury), Kathryn represented big-time anyway.

Kathryn the angry bee

Next up was the Candlestick Park Super Prestige race. For the first year ever, it rained before this race, and it helped tamp down all the dust, making this the fastest Candlestick race on record. I missed this one, too, but we fielded a big team, and more importantly, a welcoming team tent for riders in need of a little socializing.

We had 5 riders in the Men's Bs

Ted raced Bs on the day

Derrick finds that although there's not much climbing, what there is is hard

Davin finds the same thing

Jason hauled his cross bike to the race on his Big Dummy

Ryan also raced, but I couldn't dig up a picture.

We did get two racers on the same podium, as Kathryn and Arena got 4th and 5th in Women's Bs

Kathryn and Arena represent for the team

The next weekend, a few of us went to Portland for the single speed cyclocross world championships, where I got beaten by a guy in a Spiderman costume.

The Pilarcitos series continued with their first ever night race, at Sierra Point. For us, the most notable part of this race was the debut of our awesome new skinsuits.

Davin and Dave show off our new kit

For me, at least, the season took a grim turn at our next race, Central Coast Cyclocross at Manzanita Park in Prunedale. I managed to crash (for no particular reason, as far as anyone could tell) headfirst into a fencepost, knocking myself out and necessitating a helicopter ride to the hospital. It ended up not being anything lingering, but it was scary (and expensive) for me, and caused a brief flurry of concern in the local cross community. Some other stuff probably happened at that race, but you'll have to ask someone else.

Because of that crash, I ended up on the sidelines for the following race, Bay Area Superprestige #4 at Golden Gate Park. The Golden Gate Park race is a highlight every year. The course is fun, the crowds are big and rowdy, there are a lot of racers, and the event is really fun in general.

Jeremy muscles through
Jeremy muscles his single speed up a hill

Kathryn leads into the corner
Kathryn got 3rd in Women's B

Davin VII
Davin clears the barriers

One highlight of this race was Arena discovering she has a talent for dollar grabs. Here she displays her haul.

Arena with her haul
Arena proves you don't have to be a pro to grab a little cash

The following week was the finale of the Superprestige series. Coyote Point is another one of my favorite courses, with lots of climbing and the infamous beach run.

I had a mediocre race here this year. You could read about it in my report, were you to really care.

Since this was the series finale, they awarded the series winners and podiums. Our very own Kathryn Aaker took 4th in women's Bs, despite missing a race.

B! podium
Kathryn on the podium

This race also marked the debut of the mighty Sam Bell, who rode the first race in her very short women's C career.

The last Superprestige race traditionally marks the end of the Bay Area cross racing season. Over the last couple years, however, new series like the Livermore LARPD and Santa Rosa races have joined the Peak Season races in Santa Cruz county as late season fixes for those of us who cannot get enough cross racing.

In Livermore on December 13th, Kathryn won her first race ever in women's Bs.

The last week of the year in Livermore, I got my first podium of the year, and the next day, Sam Bell won women's Cs in Santa Cruz, with Emily McLanahan closing out 2008 with a second in Masters women.

Overall, it was a great year for us! Next year should be even better.