Tuesday, December 16, 2008

rider payne - lone wolf ride


I thought you might appreciate some highlights from an early winter day out at Turville, to bring the season to a close. I attached some photos to demonstrate the condition of the roads after 2days of solid 24h rain.

I took my 1978 Masi, the same orange bike that fella rode in the 1979 film Breaking Away. I bought the Masi used from my brother in 1986 (he bought it used in 1981) and had the frame repainted/re-dacalled in 1990.

It has been my back-up bike over last 2months, because my De Rosa Idol has been sent back to the factory to inspect some fractures on both the chainstays. The front derailer cable froze on the first hill, so for the rest of the ride, I had to manually move the front derailer from large ring to small ring and vice versa. It was a solo ride ending 3hrs later with a pint at the Bull and the Butcher.

Turville is a real piece of cycling heaven.

Merry Xmas


Monday, October 20, 2008

Giro di Lombardia

Hopefully we will get a more detailed accounting of the giro di lombardia - for now a picture tells a thousand words - or so we hope.

3 ranchers - riderspeedo, riderhowe, and the ridereasy-e.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

this is how the ranch deals with the meltdown

Riderhowe and Riderpitts spend some quality time together lounging in easy-e's hotub on riderpitts's recent 3 dayer in Zurich .
Given that the ranch found themselves in the middle of the swiss typhoon season - and remembering that nobody had the jam to ride in this years prosecco race - the two canadian transplants felt it only appropriate to get their carb intake from a couple ales and idle the day away listening to vintage marshall tucker and the like. Easy-e feeling a little uncomfortable about letting the two hayseeds loose in his fat cat pad - seemed to be placated with a good dose of riderpitts's homemade chicken soup. However - to his horror - the visiting ranchers soon found the secret to the consistency of easy-e's year around tan - and hidden in the bowels of his 600m2 apartment was the height of 1980's vanity - the sunbed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gimondi review

In a faithful attempt to distract fellow ranchers from the misery of our stock markets and financial system, I decided to post a few photos from the Gimondi race.  Here's one with the team of 3 powering along with a few italian locals making a vain attempt to draft us.  
Easy-E looking strong as we fan out behind him.
Here's one within a few minutes of the finish.  Note the concentration of the two Ranchers for the final homestretch.  After 4 and a half hours of hard racing they look in the zone and hungry for the line.
And then there was the finish.  While Zeke and Reido were still out on the course competing for the impressive long race, Noshow and Cali were rolling across the finish.  I think the smiles say it all...Happy days.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The perfect riding weekend

Tired after an horrible week I got up on Saturday morning at 6:33.... kind of weird feeling after after experienced one of the worst week in my (relatively small) banking career.. It's too early and the curtains are down so I can't understand how clowdy or rainy is out there.. I got up and get some breakfast going and I realise that the weather is awesome. I do some domestic things (with the wife away there is a lot of things that needs to get done) and I pack my bike with destination "Turville"... I send a msg to Crespo who told me that he would have had been up for a Turville ride.. No reply... So at 10:05 I'm in Turville. Its one of the best day ever in Turville. Sun shining. I look up and I can't see any clouds, nothing just blue sky. It's 16/18 degrees and there are tons or riders out there. SHould i follow a peleton or keep riding on my own... I decided the latter and keep going... put the I-pod on.. Volume 8, probably 9..... I really want to get few hills today so I go down la "subida de la Muerte".. I feel very good on the way up.. I pass few riders on the climb... I feel more excited so i decided that I need to do it again.. So here we go I go down again and up again... a car overtakes me (on the way up) and says: c'mon, you look strong... I don't reply I keep pedalling.. I ride back to the pub.. feeling strong and the sun is very strong now... it's around 12:00 so I decided to do a bit more... I do another lap (the usual, one small and one large lap)... the small lap is ok.. the second more challening as there are more cars now... still a lot of rider out there... my legs feel very good... I do another double "subida, double hill".. very excited but tired now... I go ride back to the car... and drive back home.... What a ride............
Sunday wake up go to Richmond Park but I was tired, so I do two laps then I see rider-reido and we do a lap together then I decided to end there (as well as rider reido as he did a long ride on sat as well).... Good w/e...

Monday, September 8, 2008


Whilst the bread-eating, pasta-puffing members stuff their biker bodies with useless carbs at the wrong time, Rider Stem Cell continues to optimize and multiply his ATP Factors (mitochondria) through a strict regime of Meat, Nuts, Veggies and Fruit.

You will pay!!!! RiderStemCells monster thighs will pummel the hills during the next race.......and leave everyone begging for more Halva!!!!!!!


thats a good looking finish

Good old tom pitts limps across the finish at the granfondo prosecco after being dragged around for 6 hours on the wheel of the noshow. Good clean fun despite the fact i exhausted the all american lacross player - the same way a pony express rider would run his horse down to a foaming frothing mangle of sinew. So i sat - taking all the glory - sitting in +27 venetian sunshine - with dancing girls and booth babes open to canadian charms - and the noshow a quivering, spent lump of marblehead muscle.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


4 Ranchers decided to have a Pitts San tribute and decended upon Yumi for an informal Ranch dinner.
Cali and Noshow being the early birds arrived first at 7pm and assumed they'd be well into their meal by the time Crespo and Zinni arrived. Little did they remember that Yumi is not known for promptness and efficiency. Luckily they were hypnotized by the butchering of a giant tuna by our sushi chef Higashi which in broken english was explained as Easter. Zinni later named him Pasquale (Italian for easter) and that name stuck.

Crespo was second to the restaurant sporting mad max motorcycle boots with Skinni Zinni 10 minutes after.

Crespo's fluent japanese along with handsignals were one of 3 highlights of the night. The second being the young japanese girls drinking themselves into oblivion on cold sake. The one against the wall was seeing blurry eyed by the time we left at 10:30pm. The third highlight was the conference call with Tom Pitts at 4am HK time. A speakerphone conversation with the ranchers and a few words with Mrs. Yumi (the owner) and I believe Pitts was actually smiling.

Overall, a great evening spent amoung good people.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday morning ride

Four Ranch riders met in the old village of Turville on saturday morning... Warm morning, for a change.... RiderCrespo, RiderCali, RiderNoshow and RiderZinni.... Beautiful 2hrs ride..
The effect of the recent Argentinean summer holiday were very evident on RiderCrespo body.... Too many alfajores (http://www.havanna.com.ar/) and too many Bife de Lomo... anyway he manage to climb la "subida de la muerte" strongly and that was important... RiderCali is still struggling with his knee injury but manage to ride for a fair bit.. RiderNoShow strong as ever... leading the peleton... Anyway it was good to see the ranch again and see Turville .... We ended up riding for two hrs, did the subida de la muerte 2.4times and rode strongly back to the car park... great way of spending saturday morning... If anyone is around this week we will meet up for dinner on Thursday night...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Giro di Lombardia - 19th October

I am thinking of doing the Giro di Lombardia this yearhttp://www.gazzetta.it/challenge/percorso_lombardia.shtml .
The race it's in October, so that leaves us with two months of training.
Logistics are very easy as the race starts/finish in Como so we can fly to Milano (Malpensa probably better) on Saturday and get back on Sunday night.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A couple of the Ranchers decided rider EasyE needed a visit to his new home for a bit of support. With team captain rider Pitts
 soon to relocate to Hong Kong and EasyE recently moving to Zurich, there's currently a real sense of loss on the team. Riders noShow and Pitts thought a couple days in Zurich might be good for the soul.
It went like this:
NoShow arrives friday night at 10pm, exhausted from a long week of work and only had thoughts of a comfortable bed and counting sheep. EasyE had other thoughts. First stop - Flo
ss club on the lake.
Second stop - St Germain club.
EasyE showing his rhythmic latin side.
Anyway, a little bit of social never hurt anyone.
When all was quiet in Zurich and little swiss kids were dreaming about fondue 
and Zeke and NoShow were settling down to slumber, Team captain riderPitts (laying on top of his covers, clothes on (even flip flops)), bike prepared, was beginning to acknowledge the bzzz bzzz bzzz of his alarm so he could make the 4am Frankfurt train to Zurich. (nice effort) Arriving around 9:30am at chez Zeke.

After a muesli/ham&eggs/coffee breakfast for a mere 70CHF we made the call to other ZurichRanchResident RiderHowe and set off for the boat across the lake.

An 8 minute sprint to the boat, 15 minute crossing and another 10 minute spin down the strasse where riderHowe (canadian Indian) was awaiting our arrival "Where it goes up." And up it went. And went. And went. A good 25 minutes of going up and we were in farmland above the city and lake of Zurich.

In a word - stunning. Hot sun, sweat off noses, breathing hard. Buzz of insects. Views to die for and among friends. Could not have been better.

RiderHowe split off early for a birthday party (and had a nasty cold) while EasyE, Pitts and NoShow continued on to a watering spicket that said the water was potable. (Nevermind the floating debris) Then up a steep climb where NoShow tries to put the hammer down only to be passed and dropped by EasyE flexing his new Zurich legs; and arrive at lunch where riderPitts had the strangely delightful Pasta tubes in cream with onion rings and apple sauce. And Zeke let go the amoeba in his belly from the "potable" water. We seemed briefly threatened from an already top weekend but the strength of the team pulled through and continued on.

A descent into town, a return boat ride across the lake and we were soon back at chez Zeke frollicking in the lake. Pitts and Noshow in borat suits and Zeke with goggles. A sight to be seen. Locals were seen pointing with heads leaning together trying to decipher Pitts dancing on the floating dock. You see, Captain Pitts was so excited he swam in water (the only swimming the fella's ever done was when he was 13 years old he fell through the ice at Pigeon Lake in Edmonton.) that he did the less well known classic, self nipple pull butt slap boogie. Guy has rhythm. Canadian style.

A swim in, a quick round robin at the ping pong table, a drop off of wet clothes in the laundry room, a couple naked guys in the elevator and we were showered up and back to the boat to ease across the lake once again for dinner with Rider Howe. We arrive - send a smoke signal and Howe comes to accompany us back to his teepee. His squaw Natalie had prepared an unbelievable meal for the Ranch tribe and after a few Howe specialty rum and cokes, we dug in with gusto. Ribs, sausage, pasta salad, fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob with a yum spanish red. All washed down with a TdF time trial. Could not have been better. Thanks Rob and Natalie.

After all that (and a nap by some) we rode the midnight express downtown, picked up a few friends and were directed to Zurich eurospecial Valser bar (I believe Valser translates as Cougar)... A mojito, a dance and in a taxi back home exhausted and satisfied from a great day.

Sunday began with a peaceful view on the lake of a 2 person skull gliding past. Another brekky of analyze Zeke and we got on the bikes again to ride. A shocker of a climb out of town to more breathtaking views and pure enjoyment took over the small team of Ranch riders. The hills were alive outside of Zurich that day.

We finish the weekend with another dip in the lake. Noshow very excited does a one and a half flip off the diving board and loses his shorts upon entry. Pitts muttering..cold..cold...Noshow doing flips...I'm not a water guy...not a water guy.... He eases into the lake and dog paddles to the floating dock where 3 ranchers talk about life, love and money. All was peaceful until EasyE and Noshow try to launch the team Captain into the depths. Pitts locked himself onto some guy's girlfriend wailing, "Don't let them take me!" When he finally pulled himself together Zeke locked him in a man hug and with a small push by noShow, off they went. Splash. A dog paddle in to shore with Pitts muttering, "that wasn't cool. I'm not a water guy."

Some ping pong (where Pitts took his revenge on NoShow (2 handed backhand was a strong move)), a burger, a quick pack and there we were on the platform waiting for the train to Zurich Bahnhof and Flughafen. What a weekend.

postscript: Pitts boards the 4hr train to Frankfurt and is told to exit the train as no bicycles are allowed. He can take a 10 hour local. Shocker. Takes the local a few stops out and sneaks onto the express. This time the train leaves the station before they find him (hiding in a stall in the bathroom with his bike standing up inside with him.) But alas they get upset with him when he is discovered and escort him off at the next station. (Mind you there are only this stop and the next one is Frankfurt so he is making good time now.) So he makes like he is walking away down the platform a defeated man moping along with his bike and just before the doors close he launches himself and his bike through. The train officials are apoplectic but they can do nothing as he is on the train again and there is no stopping till ground Zero. Hey train guy - Take a report. This is a great example of a Ranch cycler and why he is team captain. When the chips are down and it seems everything is against him, he buckles down, grits his teeth and gets it done. He is the essence of what we aspire to be. A winner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

reflection of an old guy

I just received this shot of ridercali and riderpitts summitting at k120 at the black forest rad marathon in triberg. I can remember that part of the race as being mentally challenging as for me the 4hr mark is my hump - when i hit it in good form -bonus and i actually pump it up a notch or two - if i hit it hurting - i find it difficult to digest in my mind another 2-3hrs of pain. This particular summit is where we were caught by the two germans and we were hating life. I was cramping, calner was pedaling through knee discomfort - but the arrival of the two german teammates seemed to boost moral and we settled into the next 2 hours working well together - the 4 of us. It causes for reflection that the best moments for me in cycling are when guys push one another along - share the load - and ultimately the satisfaction of having your training and racing come together with the same people you actually give two hoots about. Those that dont buy into the sharing mind set i find that i have less and less time for. Funny that for such an individual sport. Not to be overly dramatic but to make the point - those that suffer together have a unique bond - kinda like a study group through its first set of finals at an overly competitive school - paperchase for those a bit older. I was thinking that there are less opportunites for me to share struggle as i age - less team stuff - working in an investment bank one could agrue even runs counter to stewardship. The average banker guy sits in his pod - making his dough - staring at his screens - and worries about issues of security when he already has way too much in the bank. Maybe thats why cycling and backcountry skiing for me are best experienced with a couple good pals - as without them - it really isnt a victory. Shoot me if my life is ever reduced to a couple of screens, a bank balance and vacant conversations about business travel. And remind me that building a history with people who seek out the struggle gives us lots to talk about when our knees start to give way and we spend more time in the garden talking about those moments of struggle, and then we can toast time well spent.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

the expansion of crespo

This blog serves a number of purposes - it updates, it recounts, it forecasts, and motivates. Not sure in which box we put this post - however give the present state of play with onetime strong sprinter - ridercrespo's ever expanding girth - we felt it time to discuss such in a more public forum. Crespo we all know is a very successful investment banker at a large american bank, he enjoys snowboarding, kite surfing, collecting sneakers, and talking about stuff. Never a weakling on the bike - this blog recounted his defeat of both easy-e and the riderchichi in last years eton triathalon. However, as crespo's large guarantee rolled off at the end of this year - it seems to have rolled on somewhere between his knees and chest . As Andy Capp used to sneak away for pints - Crespo - has been caught sneaking around the tacoria - shoveling in their offerings the same way a 13 year year old used to smoke butts behind the shed. Given Crespo's warm and sensitive ways - we at the ranch feel we should create a help group - giving crespo all the support required. We have asked his beautiful and thin wife to begin by throwing out crepo's stash of alfajores and allow him moments like the one pictured with the riderzinni to be more than fleeting.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dreilander 2008

Here we go again, a year on and another dreilander. This is becoming one the classics for the LondonRanch... This year the partecipation was lower than last year.. The peleton reached Pfunds (same old Traube) in two different lots ... actually three. Thursday night RiderCali and RiderZinni arrived in Pfunds to find the hotel closed and had no other alternative than sleeping in the car untill the Traube bunch showed up at 7AM to open the door.. In classic Austrian hospitality they told us that we had to wait till 8 to get ou room and in the meantime we could get breakfast.. stuff yourself bloody foreigner and wait till 8... the plan was clear.. let's get some sleep and let's attack the Stelvio later on... So on day one we ended up riding for around six hours covering more than 120km with more than 2,400m of climbing... one thing was clear.. we overdid.. what was supposed to be a nice ride turned out to be a tough day... but it was worth it... the day was great, sunny, hot.. the Stelvio was just amazing.. and we both agreed that that was the best way to climb the Stelvio.. not on a race day... Saturday was rest day.. the day before the race RiderZinni and RiderCali decided to go for the short course as they had already done enough damage on day one. Saturday leisure time plus a little spin... again weather amazing.. went to see the lake just off Nauders then the rest of the Ranch arrived... Che.... RiderEasy was there, RiderHowe and RiderSpeedo and pumped up and ready to go for a spin... As usual we managed to lose RiderEasy after three minutes into the ride and RiderHowe, RiderZinni and RiderCali went for a 20km spin in Pfunds ... This is their Regents Park....Then RiderStemCell appeared just in time for dinner...The dinner conversation got a bit heavy to the point that guests around us started leaving the tables in disgust... RiderCali started to publicise some of his tastes and health problems and started thinking of his girlfriend whereabouts ... ect... Race day was very warm... even at 5 am the temperature was very high... the race was as usual very well organised.. The finishing times were higher than last year for most of us and i guess the road closures + high temperature didn't help... Overall a great w/e... RiderCali and RiderZinni rode for 270km on the w/e plus climbed 5.3/5.4km...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Terrone no more

The RiderZinni has turned a new leaf. Kinda like that kid in school who one day shows up in class with a new look which transforms him from stripey shirt, spiderman lunch box guy to joe skateboard punk - and all of his stuff from that point come straight from the pages of Skater magazine - so has the riderZinni. Checking first his new lid - a LAS squalo - which in italian means shark - has all the sleekness and performance of an unmistakably european helmet. Given his last effort earned him the nickname bubble boy - the LAS is much more appropriate for the Zinni. However, what really this post is about - is the last of the holdouts has given up the fight - yup - quite possibly the harriest rider i know - has risked all the mocking and ridicule which awaits him in his southern italian village - and allowed his wife to turn back time and return his legs to that silky smooth toddler stage with the aid of the new gillete fusion and a craftsman cordless weed wacker . While the contrast of Zinni's monkey boy matting on chest, back and shoulder with his shiny new legs - provides the average 3 year old with a "what is wrong with the picture" game - We at the ranch applaud and endorse the smooth and improved riderZinni.

Friday, June 13, 2008

triberg - 180k - 3500m

Only 2 members of the ranch made the trek to the heart of the black forest for the triberg 180k radmarathon. The town ran a professional race the day before where high road dominated the local favorites gerolsteiner. Relatively small field for such a hot bed of cycling - ridercali and pitts lined up in the drizzle amongst 236 mostly local germans - swiss - and austrians. Talking with guys before - during and after - it became apparent that a lot of the riders were using the race as a tune up before the drilander - as were we. The event was well organised with well spaced and thoughtful feed stations. The first climb starts after about 30k which we rolled to in the leading group. There was definately a hint of "gorillas in the mist" as we climbed into the clouds with visability no better than 10m ahead - so riders would sort of fade in and out like the headless horseman in a scooby doo cartoon. Kandel is an 11k climb through ancient forest into tall pines. Rider easy-e and i rode it in another race (surm - 230k 4000m) a couple years ago - and it is sneaky hard - partly because you are never quite sure whre you are on the climb as there is dense forest all the way up. With all the humidity in the air the oxygen content couldnt have been better nor fresher. The descent was a cold one - with the field spreading post climb. The two ranchers settled into a group of about 10 for the second climb which had some sections of 12%. Again the field thinned and rolling in the flats there was maybe 6 of us with one poor bugger doing most of the pulling. When we hit km110 there was actually just ridercali and myself laboring up a short but consistent 11% climb when two riders from a well known team just outside of frankfurt caught us - hesitated - and decided 4 is better than 2 - and we settled into the next 70k together. Both marcel and jurgen had very "live legs" and the 3 three of us were forced to live through more pain when jurgen was dictating the pace.
Cramping was the theme from km150-60 where i jammed every bit of liquid into my gullet - and lived to grab a litre of coke at the final feed station. Calner and i polished it off between ourselves - with the result of me getting a second lease on life and calner getting a serious bout of nausia. Summitting the final climb at km167 we coasted down to the finish with calner pulling up for the old man pitts to cross together. Number 67 and 68 out of 236 - no grease, strong field. Sitting down to post race musings - baby anouk gave her own verdict below.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

u really think frankfurt sucks?

Finding myself spending more and more time in our frankfurt office - i often get the response "poor you" "isnt that the most boring town in europe". Maybe they are referring to the club scene - which i cant comment on - maybe they are referring to the bar scene - which i cant comment on. But what i can say - is if you are a rider - the kind of rider which gets a bit jumpy if his legs are idle for more than a couple days - then frankfurt is your place. I can take a subway from the middle of frankfurt a mere 100m from our offices - and be dumped 25 minutes later at the foot of a 45 minute climb in the middle of the forest. On that exposure you get very little traffic - a ton of mountain bike guys zipping up groomed single track - and perfect blacktop for the roadie. The climb tops out on the summitt of the felberg - which is the highest point in the taunus. Thus the riderpitts knocks off 2 climbs and is home in bed by ten - you tell me - who is playing for second place.