Sunday, August 26, 2012

Santa Cruz-Aptos Ramble Century (2012)

What a week--its seems the volcano regarding sports doping erupted.   First the Giants leading hitter and fan favorite Melky Cabrera caught and suspended--and any goodwill he had left when it was disclosed "his camp" created a phony web site for an alleged supplement that Melky could say was tainted.  Man,  the A's and Mets fans I know gloated like crazy.  So--within a week A's ace pitcher Bartolo Colon was caught on PEDs.  And I got to answer all the A's fans emails about Melky.

Then two stories came out to bolster my contention that the lords of baseball didn't give a crap about steroids in the Bonds era until Congress put down the hammer.  National sportswriter Bob Nightengale told a story about talking to ex-GM Steve Phillips (ex GM of the Mets so this shut up my Mets friends.)  Steve Phillips basically said, after signing a player--"I told the player I don't know if you are on steroids or not--but I just spent alot of money on you so if you are on steroids stay on them."

Then a story relating to Bartolo came out--in 2001 his personal trainer was caught with a bag of steroids.  Bartolo was on the Indians and the Indians, to their credit, turned the information over to Commissioner Bud Seligs office to investigate.  And what did the Commissioners office do?--NOTHING

(Interesting that many people came out this week that the 50 ganes suspension for Melky and Bartolo too lenient.  See if you know your baseball--how many days was someone suspended on the strict drug policy baseball enacted in 2004 when they became "serious" about fighting PEDS??? (until a bemused Congress ridiculed them to change it the following year.)    Hint--Tony LaRussa's uniform number.)

Which leads us to the coup de grace. 

The American athlete who has gotten the biggest pass of any major star is Lance Armstrong.  While sports show callers and sports reporters will blast a .300 hitter for only hitting .240 on Tuesday nights of even months, or pray tell ducking any matchup or event--Lance has skated.   If Tiger Woods never played the British Open because he couldn't hit out of Pot Bunkers or Barry Bonds always got a cold when the team was up against a tough lefty like Randy Johnson--they would be skewered.  But year after year the American press told us Lance was the greatest as he won the most Tour de France's--as if no other events existed.   Never a word while he ducked seminal races that multiple Tour de France champions did 20 years ago.  Annually US Postal/ Discovery would be dusted at Paris Roubaix, the hardest and most dangerous one day race,  and the commentators would decry that US Postal  lost because other teams could gang up on their one contender (usually George Hincapie.)  Never mind that "the greatest cyclist" was ducking the race, again.

Despite yelping that he never failed a drug test (who did, most cyclist caught when they trainer stopped at the border with a car full of drugs or their veterinarian wiretapped??) loads of evidence that Lance was doping.  A few years back I blogged about the many old stories about Lance's teammates talking about Lance Armstrong's drug use.  click here

So last week a surprise announcement--Lance isn't appealing the US Anti Doping Agency finding that he doped.   Of course sanctimonious Lance says he's not appealing the USADA decision as he can't win.  Maybe he is not contesting the USADA decision so his sycophants aren't in continually shock while 10 of his old cycling/ teammates publicly testify about his doping.   Two good articles about the latest turn

The Australian

The Daily News

I do disagree with one ruling--stripping Lance of his Tour de France victories.   Isn't there a statute of limitations?   And its not like the rest of the field was clean--most of the folks on the podium were caught in a drug scandal years ago.  Lance won these races--dirty and all--and like it or not his winning is the reality.  Otherwise let USADA rule that the 1989 Oakland A's forfeit their 1989 Championship because of all the dopers on the team and the 1989 World Champs are the SF Giants!!!..

(August 25, 2012)   Santa Cruz Ramble with Mike's 300k Brevet Reality Tour added on.  101 miles.
14.9 mph--w/ CA Mike, Christine, Jack.

 The banana peel group, Ward, Dr. Dave, Toby, Leo of Sears, Rusty, Sara, Susan did 74 miles

Century #27

This is a nice out of area metric ride that involves alot of climbing.  We start in Los Gatos. Northwest of San Jose, and immediately begin a 10+ mile climb towards the Coast on the Old Santa Cruz Highway.   When we get to the ridgeline we have an equally long shaded drop into Soquel, just south of Santa Cruz.  We head south meander around suburbia (Aptos area) until turning inland and hitting a series of rollers in the inland agricultural town of Corralitos.   This is the main stop of the ride and a small loop of the agricultural area full of rollers is added on.   Back in Corralitos we then leave by climbing 15+ miles along backwater Eureka Canyon Road.  Not the greatest pavement on the climb and sometimes the summit has been covered with mudslides/ fallen rocks.

The eggplant on my thigh and the swollen baseball finally disappeared so looking forward to doing this ride--but wanted to do a 100 miler and this is only a natural 74 miler.   Back at the start it would hard to add on unless I wanted to do the initial 10 mile climb again.  Also Toby back from sabotaging the London Olympic Games, and first time in a long while I'd ride with fellow 2005 Triple Crown Rookie CA Mike.  Toby reported that his favorite Olympic event was the women's road cycling.

My Alta Alpina 8 Jersey finally came in and the rumors of me sleeping in it every night for a week are not true--but I have lobbied work to change the dress code and allow Alta Alpina 8 Bike Jersey's in the office.

Our bike club doesn't over organize and there are usually no ride leaders--and most of the time the rides go off very well.   Today was not one of those days.  When we were set to leave Rusty and Sara pulled in--rumor that Sara hit the discos last nite.  They urged us to go and they'd catch up--which would almost be impossible--so out 9:00 ride didn't start until 9:30.

The front of the peloton arrives at the SUMMIT (PC) the sign below indicates (WI)

We regrouped at the top of the first climb--with Ward and I running camera tests when the peloton arrived.   I'm not nearly as well versed to take photos on the bike as Ward and I just got a new tiny camera, which I envision me dropping--so only photos I took were from dead stops.

Toby pointing out the blue sky hidden behind 57 grey cloud layers (WI)
Top of ridgeline had fog rolling in and dripped trees--shades of Mt Tam.  Luckily I put my vest back for the long downhill we'd hit after a series of rollers.  I forgot to put on my buff (and was shamed at the car NOT to wear knee warmers--which I really didn't need except for the upcoming descent.)  On descent I got shelled by the group and I was the last person to pull into Blue Balls Park--mile 22 (see the photos) in Soquel for a long photo shoot and demonstration of teleconferencing by Mike.  While this was all going on Rusty-Sara and Susan split.

Mike hits on a great idea for interior design for his new hospital--"think blue" (PC)
Ward and Dave listen to Mike put in an order for "blue balls" for the new hospital (PC)
"I WANT the blue balls put in the hospital lobby--NO, I don't care what it costs" (WI photo)
Meanwhile I imagine that I am surrounded by pumpkins (WI)
We then began the meandering around an area that is part suburbia--part rustic.  I didn't know the route but remembered passing a Junior College--and then a Safeway where a leaving car always seems to menace us.  Soon we at the turn off to go back inland--about 100' before Mike asked me if I was up for bonus miles he had emailed about--part of the 300k brevet route he had done a few weeks before.  Shit yeah.

Clusterfuck #2--I think everyone thought was Mike was joking when he emailed about the add on--or it got lost among the emails about me getting lost and winding up in Bakersfield.  In any event no one had told him they wanted to do the bonus route and on his sudden call out at the turn only Jack and Christine joined us while everyone else continued on the regular route.  So now our group was split into 3--a little short of 30 miles into the ride.

Initial part of the bonus route was crappy--a long gentle hill in a pock marked bike lane with loads of traffic on the main drag.  Eventually the traffic thinned out and we were suddenly in strawberry-artichoke land.  We almost tackled Jack to get him to stop for one group shot.  As Mike was the only one who knew the route--he did most of the pulling.   Some fields filled with workers picking crops--some with a tarp covering the ground--other just with crops--all along a grey sky and grey ocean surrounding.  A few times the road became Paris Roibaixesque, but always light of traffic.  All along there were signs in the weirdest spot saying "bicycle route."  Mike thought he could get us to Sunset State beach but the last road we turned on dead ended so it was time to turn back.  The familiar return trip seemingly took much quicker than the one out when only Mike knew where we were going.  (All looked very familiar from the Strawberry Fields ride I did with Big Mike 8 years ago.)

The bonus mile group in Strawberry Fields Forever (PC)

Artichokes (PC)

Christine's favorite ride outhouse with a vanity mirror (PC)
After @26 mile out and back we continued on the regular route--mostly gentle rollers and a couple of short but steep climbs to Corallitos, nice rest stop under an overhang in a small traffic island park across from the general store.   Here we debated on whether to do the Rusty bonus Corallitos loop, @10 miles, and whether we'd see our compatriots finishing the Rusty bonus loop while we were there (no way, 26 miles vs. 10 miles, they were long gone.)  Christine had carpooled with Dr. Dave so she left a cell message to leave her change-o-clothes by my or Mike's car.

Rusty bonus loop is a roller filled excursion--and Jack and Chistine did a nice job remembering which way to go, as someone seemingly always makes a wrong turn in the past.  Eventually back in Corallitos but no long stop this time--just long enough for me to get rid of undershirt.  The sun was out now and our long climb of the day would begin immediately.

Climb is on rustic Eureka Canyon Road--potholes on the uphill--always full of surprises--not always nice.  Once a good solo doubles rider was near us and he flipped over a rock in the road.  Once road closed at the top ("THIS MEANS BIKES") because of construction--another time road almost impassible because of mud slides.  One year a pickemup truck made an effort to cross the road and head straight towards me.  Today did not disappoint--a goober in a lawnmower engine motorcycle was speeding down the wrong side of the road towards us, and Mike and I had a screaming contest  at the goober.   Otherwise nice tranquil 15 miles of dodging cracks (and crackhead on motorcycle) while bsing with Christine and Mike.

A political advertisement--and I give it a Facebook like. (PC)

Mike gets to the top of the Eureka Canyon climb (PC)

Fairness doctrine and equal time so another political advertisement (PC)
LUCKGRL goober of the day--thought cyclists shouldn't be on the road so he tried to run Toby off (WI)
Regroup at the Summit Store-about 90 miles, so we are assured of getting a century ride in. Two guys loaded with panniers off of each wheel also roll in--now riding those bikes looks hard.  Out of the store is acouple of uphill rollers and a long downhill back to Lexington Reservoir complex.

On long downhill with traffic I get shelled again--no worries as once in Reservoir complex there is a series of steep rollers that I can see if I can catch the group on.  First I go by Jack and expect to see Mike/ Christine around every turn--but no.  So I start thinking they are either faster than I thought (and I already know Christine can motor on climbs), my weight (heaviest I've been in a few years) is really bogging me down.....or they missed the turn!   Sure enough, get back to the car and there is no Mike/ Christine--they had missed the turn and needed to back track.

The banana peel boys leave one piece of Christines' clothes for her to change into.(PC) 

Hell with protein shakes, after a ride Mike drinks peanut butter (PC)

Lexington Reservoir (PC)
Only one item of clothes left behind for Christine by the banana peel boys--though she swears that the Frederick's of Hollywood item is not hers.  If true one of the banana peel boys is a cross dresser.

Long but fun day--it seemed that the ride home was even longer.  And colder.  Stopped for gas well inland where temperature should have gone up 20 degrees and it seemingly had plunged 20 degrees with a stiff breeze--fall is knocking.

For the long drive home flipped on "the Giants" station but they were bs'ing about football, so changed to "the A's" station--just when a national sports guy began a 15+ minute wild rant about Lance Armstrong and cyclists and drugs.  Ironic, the Armstrong drug mess got cycling at the forefront of sorts talk--finally.

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