Monday, December 31, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Climbing 101






We managed to climb for several hours at Mission Cliffs this evening to avoid the rain and cold conditions on the roads. The climbers had to pass a mandatory belaying and knot course before anyone could begin and I learned a trick from the instructor. I hope you enjoy the pictures ;)



Thursday, December 27, 2007

Weekend Rides


The winter has finally arrived and the cold is beginning to make the morning rides interesting. The wind has a way of finding the smallest cracks in the stitching. Last weekend I had to rummage through a storage box for neoprene booties and full-leg riding pants. Also, I started wearing a wool cap under the helmet to protect my head from the wind chill on descent. Our winter training has begun and the HR zones will not exceed 150 BPM (beats per minute) until the racing season. Here is a sneak-peak of last weekends ride based on the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS unit (a Christmas gift from my parents). The plan is to build a solid base this winter for road season and bring the fitness to cyclocross in 2008 - we'll see how things turn out.

Thanks for reading and good night.


Brilliant Cones


Took a picture of these cones while waiting for the BART at San Francisco Airport.
Posted by Picasa

Cross Training




It's time to hit the climbing gym for some cross training


Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa Claus in London


This is how Santa rolls in London



Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


Happy Holiday











Good Morning

Just finished a bowl of cereal and decided to skip a ride to Marin with friends. My knees were feeling sore this morning from the last two days of training and it's probably a sign to rest and avoid any stress or injuries. Angelo, Vince and I started our winter training program over the weekend and hope to build a solid base during the next 3 months. I received a nice Garmin Forerunner 305 (GPS) as a Christmas gift from my parents and the device will be used to monitor my riding stats such as heart rate, cadence, time, speed and other useful data. My brother and I might ride our cyclocross bikes on Christmas day, but we'll have to see how everyone is feeling in the morning. Last week our company met some deadlines and the week ended with a nice lunch at Grand Pu Bah Thai restaurant in the Design Center of San Francisco (where our company is located). This week I plan on updating my blog site with a new look and adding some images from the past month. Also, I need to look into purchasing a UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) license for a race in Los Angeles next month, so I can race with the Category A (professional) cross racers. It will be an honor to race with some of the best professional racers in the world and to learn how things unfold on the elite level. It's been a dream to race cross with the best and I plan on training properly this winter to make a strong showing in 2008. Well, I need to finish some Christmas shopping before taking the Caltrain to the South Bay. I hope everyone has a nice holiday and I look forward to posting some new images and data from the Garmin 305.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cross at Coyote Point


































Woke up on
Sunday morning and listened to Muse while eating a bowl of Swiss Muesli and a table spoon of organic (chunky) peanut butter.

Sat in my living room and thought about the final cyclocross race at Coyote Point and the mistakes I made on the same course the previous season.

During my shower I visualized the race course and thought about the key sections such as the beach and the switchbacks in the eucalyptus grove.

Thought about my childhood fishing trips (with my father) to Coyote Point and the time I watched the planes overhead with Z.

All of these memories made a complete circle and I realized the day was going to be beautiful with or without a bike race.

It is amazing how 600 acres (2.4 km²) of land can produce so many beautiful memories.









Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sims and Cereal


Where to begin? The past two weeks have been a whirl wind of conferences and races :) Our company went to Orlando (Florida) to show the latest version of our simulated environment at the I/ITSEC conference. The conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center and was across the street from our hotel. The humidity was a bit too much and I spent my evenings at the pool with co-workers (drink in hand). The simulators and gadgets were impressive and it was nice to see other companies products as well as the latest in motion capture devices. Motion capture has become a useful technology in the world of cycling. Many teams use this technology to optimize the rider position for maximum output in watts.

What else?

Our team had an excellent race at Golden Gate Park and we managed to dominate the overall standings in the B category. Jeremy and I worked together at the end of the race and began pulling away from the group on the second to last lap. The course was dry and fast with a long sand pit and aggressive run-ups. The turn-out was amazing (122 B riders) The race ended with a sprint to the finish line...

Bay Area Super Prestige - Golden Gate Park

Interesting Project at Work + Training at Night + Warm Cereal = Balance

Now to grab some milk at the market downstairs ;)

Got Milk?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Cold


It's been a while since the last post and I plan on uploading some new images from Thanksgiving and other events over the past two weeks. The new project at work has taken a large portion of my time and the training has become a nightly ritual. My hamstring was injured during a training ride 3 weeks ago and I plan on testing its strength in Round 4 of the Bay Area Super Prestige Series at Golden Gate Park on Sunday. I rode alone on Thanksgiving morning and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise from the Golden Gate Bridge. The bike path was covered with a light frost and my glove selection was not suitable for the riding conditions. I ended up tucking my hands into the back of my jersey to keep warm and the wind chill managed to creep through the zippers and cracks in my vest. There were a few birds fishing in the marsh and I thought about the warmth of the water as it moved out of the marsh into the channel. Eventually, I stopped at a cafe for a double shot of espresso and warmed my hands and feet before finishing the remaining miles of my ride. Anyway, I need to get some sleep before the big event tomorrow, but I look forward to a strong race and some images for the blog. I hope everyone is doing well and thanks for reading.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cubastricism




























The dance club (discoteca) has opened for the evening ;) There are a few of us here at work finishing some tasks while Daft Punk's "Homework" plays in the back ground.

I heard a few people humming along to the song and some were tapping their fingers on the desks. Sounds cliche' but my co-workers dig the music at night.

Just received an email from a teammate and the organizers of last weekends race moved all riders up one spot due to miscommunication at the finish line - I moved from 16th to 15th ;)

This evening I bring you my rendition of various art genre's produced on the famous canvas...

"Blanco Plastique"

Both photos were taken on my iPhone - NO PLUG FOR APPLE

The second image was taken at my "roof top" party - Bay Bridge in the distance ;)

Good night.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

McLaren Park
















The race course was amazing with lots of technical sections and steep run-ups. I was leading the race heading into the final lap and hit a rock which caused an instant blow out on the front wheel. It was mid-lap and I had to run the remaining lap before receiving a wheel change in the pit. My teammates pulled together and changed the wheel and I re-mounted and ran up "The Wall." Things were looking promising with a fresh wheel - but I struck another rock on the descent and the wheel lost all pressure immediately. The fresh tire held up as I rode it without air pressure and many riders began passing me on the descent. Overall, the racing conditions were beautiful and the riders put on a good performance all around - nice work Altezza40.

Here is an excerpt from Lance Armstrong's book - It's Not About The Bike

It's not about the bike. It's a metaphor for life, not only the longest race in the world but also the most exalting and heartbreaking and potentially tragic. It poses every conceivable element to the rider, and more: cold, heat, mountains, plains, ruts,
flat tires, high winds, unspeakably bad luck, unthinkable beauty, yawning senselessness, and above all a great, deep self-questioning. During our lives we're faced with so many different elements as well, we experience so many setbacks, and fight such a hand-to-hand battle with failure, head down in the rain, just trying to stay upright and to have a little hope... ~LA


I will submit a full race report with some race images tonight or tomorrow.



Thanks for reading.




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Could it be?

























Each time I ride through Golden Gate Park and see the de Young Museum - all I can think about is the Sandcrawler from Star Wars Episode I. The Sandcrawler is a vehicle used by the Jawa creatures to collect robots, droids and other pieces of scrap metal on the planet of Tatooine.


No disrespect to the designer of the de Young museum, but the observation tower looks very similar to the Sandcrawler - hmmm


Take your loved one or friend to the de Young on the weekend and learn something new - you might surprise yourself

And protect your droids!


Learn about the de Young Museum

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Believe it or not




















Believe it or not...

This shirt can be used to detect wireless internet for your laptop or wireless devices.

LEARN MORE

Eye in the Sky - Virtual Holiday












Do you ever dream of traveling to exotic places?

Do you enjoy looking at images or maps in National Geographic?

Do you ever sit at work and think about the interesting things going on in the world?

Do you enjoy wasting time at work?

If any of these question
s catch your attention - then allow me to take you around the world to some interesting sites using Google Earth. If you do not have Google Earth installed on your machine - please click on the link to DOWNLOAD GOOGLE EARTH

If you do not feel comfortable downloading Google Earth at work - you can click on the Google Maps link(s) provided.


Our first destination takes us to the Unknown Soldier Monument in Baghdad (Iraq)
I have not been to this location for obvious reasons, but it's something I can appreciate and would like to share with my readers.
Click here to view in Google Maps

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS MONUMENT


The next location is nestled in the Tatras of Slovakia above the city of Poprad. Last summer I spent a few days hiking in these beautiful mountains and stayed in a mountain lodge with excellent food. The lodge was built on the edge of a lake and the surrounding creeks were filled with beautiful trout. This is one location I would like to return to in the future - with or without climbing equipment.
Click here to view in Google Maps
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TATRAS

One more note - Poprad (
Slovakia) is the site of America's first ever medals at the Cyclocross Worlds - Matt Kelly took 1st in the U-23 category and Tim Johnson placed 3rd in the Elite Men category. As I drove through Poprad the images of the snow covered course and Matt Kelly on the podium fueled my desire to race cross upon return to the United States.


Thanks for reading.

Active Athlete Squdra Ovest







It's official - I will be racing for the Active Athlete Squadra Ovest road cycling team in 2008. This will give me the chance to focus on road cycling with a great team and sponsors while passing on some personal experience from mountain and cyclocross racing.


Below is a link from the Active Athlete site announcing the sponsorship for 2008

Introducing Active Athlete Squadra Ovest

Today we announced that we have sponsored the Squadra Ovest Cycling Team, an elite group of Northern California racers dedicated to the sport and community. The team will be named Active Athlete Squadra Ovest. We’re extremely excited about the sponsorship and upcoming cycling season. As a company focused on lifestyle sports, it makes perfect sense to engage in a partnership that promotes the sport of cycling and gives back to the community. We are very proud to be associated with such a dedicated group of individuals that share our passion and values.

Active Athlete clients also will have the opportunity to participate in Squadra Ovest’s kick-off event, training camp, team parties and even a team ride.

The purpose of Squadra Ovest, founded in 2003, is to drive the growth of cycling as a sport and provide opportunities for developing riders to achieve their goals—all while raising money for local charities.

Squadra Ovest has accumulated more than 75 podium appearances across Northern California’s highly popular and competitive cycling scene in the 2007 season alone. The team has posted strong results in major competitions such as the Merco Credit Classic, San Dimas Stage Race, Tri-Flow Menlo Park GP, Cat’s Hill Classic, Mount Hamilton Classic and Carrera de San Rafael. In every race, Squadra Ovest competes in the Best All-Around Team (BAT) classification.

Welcome to the Family!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Starlight




















As you could guess from reading my blog - Muse is one of my favorite rock groups. Last April we saw Muse at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and it was one of the best concerts I have seen in my lifetime. The visual set-up was brilliant and the bands chemistry on the stage encouraged people to dance and clap their hands to this particular song below - "Starlight"

Each time I hear this song it brings joy to my day and reminds me of the concert in San Francisco.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO

Artist: Muse
Song: Starlight
Album: Black Holes and Revelations



Far away

This ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

Starlight
I will be chasing a starlight
Until the end of my life
I don't know if it's worth it anymore

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms

My life
You electrify my life
Let's conspire to re-ignite
All the souls that would die just to feel alive

I'll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away
Never fade away

Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms

Far away
The ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

I'll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away
Never fade away

Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold

Candle Stick Point Gallery - A40















Some more images of our team at Candle Stick Point

Altezza40 Gallery

Altezza40

Click on the link below to view pictures from Bay Area Super Prestige #2

Altezza40 Picture Gallery

Surf City Cyclocross Race





















This weekend I will be heading to Santa Cruz (Soquel High School) to race the Surf City Cyclocross event - which is organized by the Velo Bella cycling team. This used to be one of my favorite venues as a junior racer and it was one of the reasons I developed a passion for cyclocross. The Altezza40 team plans on making a strong showing at the race and the boys from Specialized might make an appearance as well. More to come... there is some special news I need to share.


Thanks for reading.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

J.S. Bach
















What's playing?

Bach is playing on the iPOD and I can not get enough of this piece and the amazing flute work. It would be great to see this in concert or find someone who could play it in person.


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Piece: Menuet & Badinerie (From Overature No.2 in B Minor)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Gate II

Back with the second video of the night featuring Angelo "The Light Show" DiGiovine




video

The Gate

























The weather in San Francisco is incredible right now and we just returned from our ride to Marin. Angelo and I stopped at Cafe Trieste on the way home for some lattes and cookies since the team gets all coffee products for free if you're wearing the jersey. We had to keep the tempo mellow - my knee was sore and I discovered a large bruise on the side which might have happened during the cyclocross race last weekend. It was low tide during the ride down the Sausalito path and I did not spot any Great Egrets in the marsh. I plan on posting some images of this beautiful bird in the near future because I spot them all over the place - including dirty canals and ditches on the side of the highway. It's a weird contrast to see such a magnificent bird in the filth of a rain gutter. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures from this evening and the small movie clip of our ride down Chrissy Field with Angelo's new valve stem lights.

Thanks for reading.







video

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Candle Stick Point



















This afternoon I completed the second race of the Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross Series at Candle Stick Point. The venue was packed with riders from Northern California and it was nice to see new faces lining up at the starting line. Tom Simpson announced the top riders over the intercom and I was given a spot at the front of the line up since I placed second in the last race. There were 61 riders in the B class and people were pushing to the front for a better position because the first turn was a hair pin into an off camber section with lots of bumps and potholes. My teammate (Dave Pedersen) shot into the lead from the whistle and I followed behind into the flat section. I was a bit concerned because my train was late this morning and I did not have the chance to pre-ride the course, so I had to focus on memorizing the technical sections on the first lap. During the middle of the first lap I began to pull away from the main group with 3 other riders and we charged into the winding parts of the course and I rode all of the run-up sections. There was a strong headwind on the open sections of the course and I spent most of the time in the hoods - I usually ride the top portion of the bar using the "chicken" brake levers. This Candle Stick Point venue was set-up for spectators and many people were standing in the technical sections cheering as we pushed our physical limits. It's was amazing to ride the run-up into a tunnel of people cheering and waving flags above my head and it encouraged me to push harder. My heart rate finally adapted to the pace on the 3rd lap and I began to pull away from the remaining riders and never looked back. My teammates were amazing and I want to thank each one of them for the support and bottle exchanges. Dave and Nick placed well in the same race and our team did well overall in each category. Our women riders pulled off a 2nd and 5th place finish and are improving each race. This is going to be an amazing season and I look forward to more fantastic venues in the months to come. As for me - I will get to ride in the leaders jersey at the next race. The next race will take place at McLaren park in San Francisco and it's a mountain bikers dream course. There is a huge run-up called "the wall" and lots of technical down and up hill. I want to thank our sponsors for providing great equipment and Dave for organizing such a great team.

Thanks goes to Timbuk2, Felt Bicycles, Look, CCCX, Crank Brothers, Bike Connection and Vance Sprock and Shannon Patterson at Cupertino Bike Shop.

Also, to my family and friends and those who believe anything is possible.

In one of the pictures I had a little trouble pulling on the leaders jersey and it was a bit embarrassing.


Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bridge Lights















The image above reminds me of the Coldplay song "Fix You"

... Lights will guide you home

This song plays in my head at night as we ride out of Sausalito into the dark void between the Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge. We usually take the alternate route which goes under a bridge and pops up beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Baker. Last night the view was spectacular and the song popped into my head as I followed the bridge lights home.


What's playing?

Artist: Coldplay

Song: Fix You

Album: X&Y



When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
"Just what your worth"

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream, down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face and I...


Tears stream, down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face and I...


Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

Ski Instructor Wanted
















Last season I picked up skiing in Europe and cannot stop thinking about the slopes this season. My friends and I were practicing some moves in a foam pit last month, but I had to put the sessions on hold for the cyclocross season. My instructor from last season was amazing and had tons of patience and could rip it up in all conditions. This year I would like to build on the knowledge from last season and focus on developing a fluid technique in the carving department and the jumps. One on one instruction was the best gift I could receive and I hope to find a riding partner for this season who can instruct... yes... free instruction. I promise to be patient on the slopes.

In this deal you will receive some conversation on the way to slopes, lunch, gas money or a ride and someone who can learn quickly in all conditions and possibly push your limits. Please submit your email in a post on this site if you are serious - because I want to continue my training on the slopes.





Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Night Riders



























Last night I bought a North Face rain jacket for my commute and the gamble paid off this morning as the rain poured on the ride to work. The jacket managed to keep my upper body warm and water free, but my pants were soaked and made things uncomfortable at work. Anyway, I don't mind riding in the rain and it feels great to ride the bike in the morning and it's great for the environment as well as my fitness. Speaking of fitness - Angelo and I rode the Sausalito bike path this evening and enjoyed a beautiful view of a pastel sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. Here are some pictures from the Alta hill climb in Corte Madera - the legs are feeling excellent and I hope the form will last until this weekend for the second race of the Bay Area Super Prestige.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hangers for Cyclists

















How many of you have coat hangers made out of a Reynolds carbon rim section, a piece of spoke, and a valve stem? This has the be the strongest, lightest, clothes hanger in the world - how do I get one or a few of these for my dress shirts?





Veridis Quo











Returned from lunch to the sounds of Daft Punk - not bad since it's raining outside. Things are beginning to pick up and I plan on racing the Bay Area Super Prestige at Candle Stick Point on Sunday. Last year I received a beautiful surprise party with friends and family. This year I hope for a strong race with new faces and great competition.

Thanks for reading.

What's playing?

SONG: Veridis Quo

ALBUM: Discovery

ARTIST: Daft Punk


LINK TO SONG


Monday, October 15, 2007

Secrets Of The Peloton from Procycling


Win Races In Your Mind (Marc De Maar - Rabobank)

The mind is a powerful tool in cycling - some people do not realize how powerful. When I train, especially when it's a boring or very hard workout, I try to visualize a race scenario in great detail. I see and hear a helicopter buzzing above my head, the cameramen, the crowd, the riders around me... My dad's a psychologist, and he suggested that I try this a couple of years ago. I never imagined it could work, but now I know it does. All you need is a good imagination, although your ability to visualize also improves with practice. In the past, I've used similar techniques before races. As an amateur, there were times when I knew I could win a race, and I'd write a script for how I was going to do it just before I went to bed the night before. I'd describe the climbs, where I was going to attack, who was going to attack, who was going to come with me, and so on. Of course, most of the time, it would turn out differently, but sometimes I could almost impose my script on the race. Whatever you do, you have to stay focused; if there are two guys in a breakaway and you know that you won't see them for a long time, instead of switching off, start visualizing the last few kilometers of the race. Always think ahead, while at the same time staying alert and ready to react if something unexpected happens.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Daily Grind
















This weekend I passed on cyclocross racing for some long miles in the saddle with our group. We held a nice tempo up BoFax and the grind cleared all the stress in my mind. On Saturday evening we drank Spaten and danced to German music at the Oktoberfest at Fort Mason. It was a good time - but I'm not sure if I would ever attend the real Oktoberfest in Munich. What else? Just finished some peanut butter on a spoon with a few slices of Gouda cheese. Sometimes I get a strange craving for weird combinations and this hit the spot.

Some readers asked for images of my new work space and the foam city - so enjoy the images.

Thanks for reading.

Gramps

Last week my grandfather suffered a stroke while attending his swimming class. The stroke caused him to collapse and hit his head on the pool side. My parents had to leave to New Mexico to help with his situation and will be gone for a few weeks. It was quite stressful waiting on his status and I finally received a phone call with good news and spoke with him on the phone for a few minutes. My plan is to visit him in the next few weeks because things change and it's been a while since his last visit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Steel and Coffee


Nissan...

Not the car company but the amazing vacuum bottle used to store my coffee in the morning. This handy piece of stainless steel has served its purpose over the past 3 months and I have begun experimenting with the time it takes for the hot beverage to lose its heat. This evening I went home at 5:30 for a bike ride and returned to the office at 9:30 to find hot coffee waiting in the bottle. The Nissan vacuum bottle has become a weapon in my late night arsenal as well as electronic music in the background. Our company recently moved to a larger suite downstairs and the stereo system was placed in our workspace - this means louder music at night on our side of the building. Speaking of buildings... I started to build a city made of foam packing materials to help the environment and to use for shipment of hard drives from work. It would be priceless to see the reaction of the person who received the hard drive packed with small buildings - I even placed people in the windows. There is a nice couple on the 7th floor of the tallest building and a large sunflower in the 4th floor - stay tuned for images. Well, it's getting late and I need to ride home now and get some sleep for the ride tomorrow morning.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Super Sunday





























Here are some images from
the Bay Area Super Prestige Series on Sunday. Phil and Angelo made it out to see the race and provided support on the fast course. The course snaked through a lot full of loose gravel, pot holes and short run-ups. The turn out was amazing and it was great to see everyone race from Altezza40.

The link below was created on Angelo's digital camera at the "jump" section of the course. Riders were hitting the top of the lip and catching air for the photographers in the area, but I decided to stay low to keep the speed on the ground. Just copy and paste the link into a web browser and enjoy a small clip from the cyclocross race.

RACE CLIP

Thanks for reading.