Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maiden Voyage! Freemont Ride Fun

SLaB ladies all dressed up and a mountain to go ride! 
It was Joann's first trail ride ever, 
and first ride on her BRAND NEW BIKE! 
Single track and everything! 

Photo taken while riding again, Rhonda & Joann climb Warm Springs.

Check out the map - we were all over the mountain. Bev rode up from Cupertino side. Joann's maiden voyage went beautifully! Rhonda and Bev added on Toyon Trail sections at the end. Man I love mountain biking! The air was finally clearer than most the summer, we could see across the Bay finally. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wednesday Freemont Older Ride

Freemont Older has nicely cleared trails like this picture shows - Come join us for an after-work ride. We'll do do-overs and practice switchbacks or other challenges. Great "Beginner" ride - keeping the pace to the groups ability - Medium or Slow depending.

See you at 6 at the top of Prospect Road, Saratoga/Cupertino!

Bus Graphics - public transit is good!

Public transportation is the next best thing to riding our bikes!

Just some SLaB founder shameless promotion going on here. I have been doing graphic design in the transit industry, mostly cycling, recently adding vehicle graphics for Cycling Demo Vans or in Greeley Colorado, the bus transit system! (yes I live in CA, long story... I grew up in CO near Greeley).

Everybody involved is thrilled with the new 34-Xpress logo and bus graphics that I designed! Thanks to collaborations with Transit Services Division Brad Patterson and David Averill, this bus and logo design was created in the most speedy approval and design process we could ask for of Government! Newly just off the press or decal line - these bright lime green and blue buses will be zipping around Northern Colorado, going from Greeley to Loveland and back. 

Look for the Greeley transit new logo and updated graphics soon!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

SLaB Skills Clinic July 27

SLaB ladies met up for a beautiful morning of 
mountain bike skills training in Cupertino today!

(Jodie mastering straight line riding with ramps & logs to boot)

We had ladies from an avid "roadie" first time on a mountain bike, to one who hadn't ridden a bike in 25 years... and never a mtn. bike, to one who commutes on a single speed to work, but technical trail obstacles still mandating a dismount and walk on some trails. [names for each undisclosed to protect the embarrassed ;-) ]. 

Special thanks to SLaB operations of Terry (my husband) and special guest Rob who came perfectly timed to help disassemble the log board and teeter totter!

Each improved or learned new skills, and my only regret... 
didn't get a group photo of all of us - with our SLaB jerseys post ride!
(Joann concentrates while riding the teeter totter successfully! 
She rode one of our GT demo bikes, until she gets her own bike.)

It's a MOVIE!
(Rhonda impresses us all, with overcoming some fears, and rolling down 4 stairs! Very cool way to end the day!)

We were all "totally SLaB"!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

TDF fun

We hosted a ride then watch the TT (Time Trial) party today - 3rd annual of such fest's. Gave prizes in the category of YELLOW-most French like; POLKA DOT-commentator imitation; and GREEN-to the attendee that came from the furthest without driving!

YELLOW went to Martin and Rene as they are "most racer like" then French like -  but deserving, as he did something like 75 miles today, and still functioned, she ran some kind of enormous half marathon or something like that. Prize wine was a Yellow Tail Reserve from Australia... hoping to predict Cadel Evans in Yellow, but just wasn't his day. A tough decision between prize winners, as debatable as to whether Martin came the furthest - as he rode to the party as well as Michel, but as part of his "other ride" hadn't ridden our TDF group ride. The officials had to methodically flip coins to precisely make the final decision.

POLKA DOT went to Athena - not for any type of commentator imitation, but the REAL DEAL! She drove from the farthest distance, brought the most goodies (Farmers market bootie) and kept climbing up Montebello when the hostess (ahem... me) turned around to go home. We still owe you the bottle of "Red Bicycle" wine -  forgot to award this before you left!

GREEN went to Michel. Holy cow, he commuted via bike with zero carbon footprint... and on an ancient steel Sirrus Specialized bike no less - deemed "Le Anchor". Using his old bike, and not consuming more than his share by buying a new one yet - easily gives him this award hands down. 

It's not about the bike! We could have given Michel and Christine the full lot, just like often a yellow jersey holder is also a points holder, and mountain jersey leader... a they were definitely the most "French like" being actually from Belgium! They clearly had the best accents. But Green it was - and they took home a "sustainable Red wine"- California grown!

Tomorrow - the Champs Elyseé~

Friday, July 25, 2008

TDF final time trial tomorrow

This is Lances last TDF ride other than Champs Elyseé the next day. 
Saint Entienne '05, our friend Kirk took this picture as we were on opposite sides. We rode the course the previous day- and it was darn hilly for a TT! On the far side, you can see me in my turquois (Gerolsteiner/Levi Leipheimer) cowboy hat and Terry still aiming with our camera towards the start of the corner. That's how fast Lance goes- still looking right, and Lance is passed us to our left! My favorite part of the picture is the little kid on the left edge, yelling in French!

Tomorrow will Cadel Evans do the "time trial of his life" and take the Tour's coveted Yellow Jersey for the ride to Paris? We shall see! 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday Gap Ride - Gorgeous Technical!

Marnie, Rhonda and Bev rode the first part of Saratoga Gap. 
Posed for a few shots at the overlook on the West side of Hwy 35/Skyline then rode the rocky fun single track back. Did a few do-overs, and walked that first switchback. 
I'll get that darn thing before summer is over!
SLaB has a Skills Clinic for THIS SUNDAY. $40 non/$36 members
2 GT bikes for demo'ing are available also!

Alum's from previous clinics welcome - 
complimentary w/ space availability!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lance Armstrong Alpe D'Huez 2001

This video is a great visual or you to have for inspiration. Think of how strong he is, and you'll feel more LIGHT and BEAUTIFUL on your next climb! Let's get out there and ride!

Prep for tomorrow's Tour Stage - L'Alpe d'Huez!

Alpe d'Huez - Saratoga Gap Tomorrow

There she is... all 21 switchbacks.
Record held by Marco Pantani at 37 minutes 35 sec. Lance was only 1 second slower than that official record. Stats: 8 miles / 13.8km. Average Gradient 8.1%.

Tomorrow is the big day for the Tour. Wear something French, Yellow, Polka Dot or in your favorite teams colors - and give the boys some extra climbing legs!

Saratoga Gap, much shorter, way less elevation gain, and maybe 21 corners - some considered switchbacks!

SLaB will endure a trail parallel to Skyline blvd at the ridge line above Saratoga - and perhaps drink some Perrier at the end of the ride. Maybe 21 switchbacks - start counting at first corner when passing through the trail gate!

Come meet us at Hwy 9 and Skyline by 5:45 - so we are rolling by 6 pm. The tour stage will already be fought out - and we can chat about who won while we have fun on the trails!

See you tomorrow! (Boys allowed if they are nice!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bike Commute update - Whole Foods

Earlier this summer I posted my experience trying to be as car-less as possible in Cupertino. The LARGEST Whole Foods that recently opened being my main discussion. It has a lack of employee bike storage, so they use the racks in front of the store. Leaving customers with little options. I wrote to the HQs & Store itself  & am happy to report they did respond in email.
Image above is of a family finding creative places to lock their bikes on July 4 at Whole Foods. Terry & I brought our bikes inside, there was no room on the racks, or to safely find a place out of the way of getting banged, scratched, or messed with!

YES, the store responded to my queries, HOWEVER, the reply from headquarters said "thanks for the input, and that they fwded to the store and they will look into if there is a need for additional bike racks..." yada yada. The store itself replied:
Hi Beverly!

Thank you for your comment. We also have another bike rack near the produce entrance around the corner from the shopping carts that is never utilized. Please feel free to use this one when all others are full. If this one fills up I will look into purchasing another.

Thank you again and happy biking!


Dominic Gerardi
Associate Store Team Leader
So my husband and I investigated. Here is the "additional" bike rack that there is NO WAY I would as an employee, put my transportation at risk on, nor as a commuter consider attaching my multi-hundred to multi-thousand dollar bikes to. It has clearly been hit by delivery trucks several times, and was off it's bolts, bent and dented. ;-) 

Thanks for the options Whole Foods - I think NOT!
Please get active, and go to your local markets or where ever you shop, and encourage them to provide safe bike parking for their employees, and for their customers!

I joined the Go By Bike Challenge of 1 World 2 Wheels - and pledged to run my potential 51 round trips a month - of about 220 miles (groceries, coffee, work) - via BIKE. See the widget on right column. Join me!

I'm trying to be the change I want to see - small steps - but maybe they'll be contagious! 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Phil Liggett says SLaB!

Cycling's World Famous Broadcaster, Phil Liggett says I'm Strong, Light and Beautiful!

Wow, it was thrilling to chat with Phil Liggett at Testerossa Vinyards this February pre Tour of CA. Those who don't know of him, aren't watching enough Cycling coverage on Versus (OLN) channel! His distinctive British accent, knowledge, wit and legendary analogies have graced our TV sets for many years. 

At the Testerossa fund raiser, he was charming and funny as he shared real stories of cycling journalism mishaps and schedules, interviewing Lance Armstrong, working with Paul Sherwin, and of course Bob Roll.

As part of TDF month, I am sharing first hand images from the tour, racers, announcers and the like that I've been lucky enough to cross paths with. Hopefully this video plays on your computers okay. ;-). How lucky are we to have such a famous voice say our cycling groups name?!

Old La Honda - an old friend

37 miles! Yay! Today we rode a road ride that I haven't done for at least a year! It included the famous Old La Honda climb of about approx 3.4miles and 1260ft of elevation gain.

Apparently the record may still be held by Eric Heiden - yes, another reference to the speed skater in my blog - who did it in 14ish minutes. (Lance apparently did it in about 15 minutes). 

To help motivate me - Slabber Stephanie said... "it's like visiting an old friend". Encouraging me to take my time - and go my pace. I don't measure my times or wear a heart rate monitor when I am just getting back into the game. I'm just proud to be out there at all! I think my time on Old La Honda is over 30 minutes. How much over - is my secret. I do remember when I did have my computer on my bike... there were times I went as slow as 4 miles per hour and I remember seeing maybe 8 mph in other spots. 

It's a lovely climb that is winds around a narrow road with homes at first, then mostly Redwood trees that tower over you. Even goes down to one lane, and you practically could touch a Redwood with both left and right hands if you were like an 8ft tall person.  
This was my view for most the ride... the back side of Terry, Mike and Stephanie. I'm okay with being the slower in the group - we have fun - they wait for me - and all is good!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tour de France fever - Month of July

July is a month that my husband and I burn the candle at 2 ends. We record and watch sometimes 2 different broadcasts of the Tour de France (TDF). Or like in this picture, in 2005, we actually went to France, and chased, sometimes rode, a few stages. 

This picture was taken the morning after a fantastic mountain finish of stage 14, where Austrian Georg Totschnig from Gerolsteiner won the stage. We got to hang out at the teams hotel and eat the same dinner one table over, while they celebrated. Levi Leipheimer was on that team then. (I'll look for a couple pictures from that night and day). Anyhow, then a butt ugly early rising from Toulouse, crazy driving and navigating to the next stages start. This is the reason we are very tired - but happy to take toursity pictures of the famous "Caravan" that parades through the entire stage - tossing samples of sponsors food items, hats and noise makers - about 1 hour before the riders pass by.  

A major sponsor of the TDF is Credit Layonnais - and they hand the stuffed Lions to the Yellow Jersey winners each stage!

Congrats to the 2 new American teams of Columbia and Garmin - they are kicking some tarmac!

More TDF trivia and memoirs to come this last week of the' 08 tour.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wed. Freemont Older Ride - Prospect Entrance

July 16 SLaB Wednesday night ride. 
Bev and Robin pose by Toyon trail sign.
John & Robin ascend Seven Springs Trail (when photographer is taking iPhone pics while riding, and asks you to turn around to smile while riding... don't! Look where you WANT to GO! Robin recovers here - and stays on the trail!)
Route from the Saratoga side is much more manageable. The 3 extra miles from Steven's Creek Park side, with a 1 mile steep fire road ascent and extra trail on the ridge line - take a lot of stamina and strength. This alternate route makes it easier to concentrate on skills, and enjoy all the woopdie whoops. It starts more than halfway up the mountain. 

Another great beginner/intermediate trail. Less technical as far as obstacles in the trail than Saratoga Gap - nice cleared trails - a little dusty with loose dirt. Main challenge is occasional short steep ups & downs. Has fun S-turns and switchbacks, this 6.5 ish mile ride is all smiles! Still has climbing - but they aren't long grinds - a medium workout with high amount of fun trail!

Look for more images from this and other rides - on the PHOTOS page of

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nemo flew from the nest!

I think it was this morning. I saw the parents, hopping and flying around. Noticed a 3rd bird... and went to get the camera. I didn't approach the nest until this afternoon, and found it EMPTY! YAY! He is self sufficient hopefully, and off on his life adventure! I'm so happy I somehow helped this little guy have a life. He would have died on the ground a week ago! 

Amazing how many feathers he grew in 7 days! Just so beautiful! Thanks for all your letters and help in identifying our little Ca Towhee!

I took this last picture of him last night. He ducked down afterwards, and hid as best he could. Nemo was getting real big for his nest! Just as the information I read said - it was 8 days in the nest (well he probably had a few extra days before his accident, but it was 8 after my rescue!).

Heading out to the Wednesday night ride soon for SLaB - see a few of you on the trail tonight!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

See Nemo, a California Towhee

So now you see why I'm consumed about protecting him! I snuck this picture last night while the parents were off hunting. They caught me at the end, and chirped disapproval, all calmed down shortly after. He's got way more feathers, and is alert. I read California Towhee's babies only stay 8 days in the nest. It's been 7 since I rescued him. We'll assume he's a little slower on that fleeing the nest deal - with the trauma of falling. Afterall - don't most teens stay at home way longer now days? ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Protecting Nemo

6 days ago, one of the hottest days so far, I found a baby bird that fell from it's nest in our yard. I panicked a moment, put it in a t-shirt and box, tried to cool it down a tad with some soft water spray, and went to internet. Found out it was okay to put him back into the nest if it was nearby. The nest was just above him, about 4ft up a bush. Later I found his sibling that didn't have the good fortune of being rescued. I'm not sure when he had "fallen", but the heat already took his life. We are happy to be able to help the one remaining birdie.

We named him NEMO!
Amazing painting by Roger Roberts. 
I found this searching for a picture to put on my CAUTION signs for the yard folks not to disturb our new born birdie and the parents. 
Check out blog from Australia

Nemo's Dad (or mom - we don't know our birds... just found out it is a "California Towhee")
Mr. or Mrs. Nemo hunting for bugs in our yard.

Nemo sleeping in his nest. He has way more feathers now, so we have hope. He doesn't seem real active though, and we have seen him with his eyes open, but just breathing and sitting in the nest is all. I try not to visit more than once a day. I need a webcam!

When ever I hear the parents alarm chirps - I come out to check to see if the evil Crows are too close - or if Nemo fell out again. I'm so in tune with them now, I hear the chirps like I'm part of their family!

CAN YOU HELP US IDENTIFY the type of bird they are?
Pictured  from the day of rescue - and then today a bunch of the parents were taken - are all posted on this gallery page:

BREAKING NEWS.....(6:12pm)

THIS JUST IN from my friend TOM-
Says it is a "California Towhee". 
"Page 476 of Sibley's Guide To Bird's. Welcome to birding. I may or may not have this right. I focus on waterfowl, raptors and Owls. Theres less of em"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Russian Ridge; Smokey Oaks & Golden Trails

SLaB Wednesday Evening ride
July 9

Bev, Alex and Rachel practice skills on a hot and smokey evening up above Los Altos. A short sub-5 mile loop was all we could take with the air quality. It still offered golden beauty of the fields on top of the ridge, and mystical relief in the shade of the ancient oaks. A couple tries on a challenging root stair steppy up - and we laughed how the super beginner tried without hesitation, Rachel & I had to intellectualize what the best way to clear it was. 

We took multiple turns re-doing it, and broke through our mental barriers. Eventually we caught up to Alex who was happily enjoying the peaceful view a ways up the trail. This is - I've decided - the perfect beginner trail. Endurance wise it doesn't have a huge hill climb - and you can keep it a short distance ride. Has a few roots to try, some up and down woopdie whoops, views and speedy fire road or trail... if you like that stuff. ;-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wednesday Night Ride - Saratoga Gap July 2

So it was only Robin and I on last weeks Wednesday Night Ride - and a few others are threatening to join us next week! Shall we do Russian Ridge or Skeggs up on Skyline. Something closer towards the city? You can send me your requests!

"The Gap" as we call it - was scenic and lovely and multi challenged as I had remembered from my last visit there. Even though Robin is a beginner mountain bike rider - she did fabulous on her borrowed - GT demo bike I had for her. 

We both determined - however - the first trail from the parking lot that rolls up and down parallel to Skyline Rd. is actually not beginner. There were lots of fun rock hazards buried perfectly on the trail,  and one particular nasty switchback at the beginning. We both walked that one!

The trail then crosses Skyline to a gorgeous fireroad with some short single track connectors. The sun was low - and we found some fellow riders out to take our picture, Thank you Paul! Still couldn't resist taking the famous self portrait even with our luck of finding an on-trail photographer. We only saw a handful of other riders out. We left late at an after 7 take off time, but still made a great loop and returned before the last of the light disappeared. 

See you next Wednesday?! - Join us for a SLaB group ride!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Yankee Doodle! Take back the flag!

What do I mean by that? Well it seems that on the non-left side of the political spectrum took the flag as their symbol. But us "end the war" yada's - are patriotic as the next! 

Those of you who know me, know I love the flag, was a flag-girl in high school, and share a birthday with Betsy Ross and Paul Revere! I play the fife, and was in the United States original, yes the first, fife and drum core in Deep River Connecticut. In the photo above my husband Terry is wearing my tri-corner hat from the parade days in CT, and of course, a World Series Baseball champ t-shirt from Red Sox 2004. All we need is apple pie and hotdogs now!

We just arrived back home, after riding our carbon free bikes to a local pancake breakfast, and then grocery shopping. Forgot our green bags so we improvised filling my bike basket and purse, then one bag that Terry carried while precariously riding one-handed back home. More on bike commuting on the next post!
I did manage to bring my fife, for a traditional - annual concert that erupts who knows when and where. Today we decided not to conflict with the events at the community park, but then on our way out, past the new memorial for war veterans, I sprang it out with a Battle Hymn of the Republic, almost flawless with one squeak. Then attempting Yankee Doodle, as usual I missed a few notes, but nobody seemed to mind. As it was in the spirit of all the Red White and Blue around us! Reminds me I have to find the video from last year, when we accidently ended up at the end of a parade in Kona on July 4th, and I played the whole parade route, and everybody thought we were a planned performance for the sweep - or end of the parade. Tons of fun this talent of a whole 2 different songs that I know - can bring.
In appreciation of our Country and freedoms and equal rights - last night we attended happy celebration party - a shower of sorts - for the upcoming commitment ceremony two lovely ladies are partaking in, on 8-8-08. Congrats Chris and Lisa! Thanks for sharing your love with us - and we are so happy that here in California - it is now legal for you to take the plunge! 

Happy July 4th - Happy Independence Day everybody!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SLaB clinic for IMBA -great fun with bikes & beer!

More on the SLaB, free, beginner-intermediate women's mountain bike skills clinic during the Ales and Trails IMBA fundraiser event.

Coach Bev Demonstrates different "bike body separation" 
& positioning in order to get under the limbo. 
Coach Rob Connelly looks on.

Participants do fantastic on all the drills. 
Some never knocked off the bamboo bar!
About 15 ladies attended the skills portion! We then went for a ride to practice switchbacks - then a gnarly fireroad descent. Will post more pictures when we get them! All these photos were courtesy of Racheal Lopes of HILRIDE - Progression Development Group.