Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gimondi 2010

Who is Felice Gimondi? If you are not Italian, Felice Gimondi can be an ice cream or a pizza chef or anyone with a italian name. Felice Gimondi is one of the "Miti del Ciclismo Italiano".. He is part of the talented Italian Cyclist than managed to win Tour de France 1965, Giro D'Italia 1967, 1969, 1976, Vuelta a España 1968, World Road Cycling Champion (1973), Milan-Sanremo (1974), Paris-Roubaix (1966), Giro di Lombardia (1966, 1973), Tour de Romandie (1969), Grand Prix des Nations (1967, 1968).. . So the Granfondo Gimondi is even a more special event for the Ranch. Like every year an inconsistent bunch of Ranchers packs the bikes and flies down to Milan for the first of the GF of the summer. This year like every year a solid group of untrained ranchers was again down there.. Unfit as usual but happy to be there and happy to keep the tradition going.. RiderCali (or RiderShouldIDoThisOrThatOrMaybeIWillWaitTillNextYear, RiderZinni (..)flew from London.. NoShow (or RiderFlashy) flew down from Paris and RiderChiche (RiderPreciso) and RiderZeke (or RiderYouOweMeCash) drove down from Zurich... The drive from the Airport to Bergamo was not as smooth as usual as RiderZinni thought that the race was going to start from Venice instead of Bergamo so the usual 25 mnutes rider from Linate to Bergamo became 45'... Anyway.. My fault for thinking that RiderCali could read a map and my fault for not checking the signs... Anyhow we got to our usual 4 start accommodation.. or the Best Hostel in Europe!! (nothing less for the ranchers).... And we tried to sort out our bikes when Tito appeared.. Who's Tito? Tito is the team mechanic from Pesaro.. Old school guy who looks at these bunch of unfit riders from a foreign country and start thinking... what the hell is going on here.. In less than two minutes he sorted out RiderFlashy bike, then he tells RiderCali to change half of his bike and tell RiderZinni then his set up his wrong and he needs to ajust the handlebar straight away... So after this lesson the ranch decides than it's time to get an haircut and a shave (well RiderZinni decides that) and RiderFlashy sorts out the lunch...
Back to Citta' Alta and RiderPrecise and RiderYouOwemyalotofmoney showed up from Zurich..
and the Ranch goes for a shopping spree... So we are all set for tomorrow's race.. Well that's what we all thought.. Well 4000 people were ready apart from RiderPollo who decided that it was time to get his number, well he decided that it was time to get into the race I mean put his name down... Lucky boy managed to get his number so we all ready... Dinner and bed time as we need to be up early... Zeke manage to start snoring two seconds after he started sleeping and some I managed to get 2 hours sleep all night.. Anyway lesson learnt no more sharing rooms with Pollo not even in PolloLand.. The Ranch is now ready here we go Gimondi 2010 here we go...
We go to the starting line and we start chatting with fellow riders.. great atmosphere.. Amazing place.. Four thousand riders at the starting line all wanting to enjoy another GranFondo... The morning is chilly but who cares we are all there to enjoy... Pollo's belly is very very obvious and is still thinking about the Money from Nice... Dude where is the money? Don't worry I will give you the money tomorrow if I remember.. RiderPrecise starts calculating the amount of energy needed for the race and he starts laughing at Zeke idea that he should drive him back to Zurich... RiderZinni all happy to me in the motherland and happy that people can understand him when he talks.. The race as usual start s at 7:00 riders all over the place.. We ride thru wonderful hills, valleys and wonderful villages..
This race is the essence of the Ranch.. Great race great bunch of people....
Dude where is the money?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Escape from Alcatraz

Pleasure and pain are often flip sides of the same coin. Ranch West Coast explored the relationship in depth this past weekend donning team colors at the 30th anniversary Escape From Alcatraz triathlon.

Inspired by the 1979 Clint Eastwood movie "Escape from Alcatraz", the event is open to competitors who have qualified in designated events or won lottery entry with a personal race resume. So competition is on the pointy end of the age group spectrum.

Strong westerly currents and 55 degree water temperatures kept tensions high on the one hour boat ride to the swim drop point at Alcatraz Island.
Competitors shared few words en route while the enthusiastic race announcers praised glorious weather and perfect race conditions via loudspeaker, complete with the individual introduction of pros and U.S. national anthem. Pumping iPod tunes prior to the drop, Riderturbo was psyched and feeling confident from recent training with Alcatraz swim master Gary Emich -- and fresh off the Navy SuperSeal III tri earlier in the month.

Greased with body glide, wetsuits, neoprene swim booties with some wearing squid lids and three swim caps thick to preserve warmth, all 1800 competitors crossed the timing mats and took the 5 foot plunge from the boat in the 10 minutes following the 8am start horn.

With 50 safety kayaks and jet skis lining the group up and down current, the swimmers fanned out 1/2 mile wide in open water mayhem. Riderturbo jumped in smooth, navigated spot-on, and knocked off the 1.5 mile swim in 32:13, a personal best and well under the target time of 40 minutes. PLEASURE.

After a minor mishap of lost wetsuit bag in the swim exit mini-transition, Riderturbo ran the 1/2 mile T1 to transition area and mounted the specially prepped RiderCrespo-cloned Red Cervelo Soloist Carbon for the hilly, technical bike course. Running road geometry with forward-flip seat post, lightweight Reynolds DV stratus deep dish wheels, tubulars at 170 psi, drop handle and clip on aerobars, plus the infamous FSA SLK Light 175 Triple crank (yes...TRIPLE) with a 13/29 cassette, the white-lightning skinned Rider turbo held 80 rpm cadence climbs and 40mph descents while pedal-mashers winced on the steep San Francisco hills.

Ticking off the 18 miles in 59:36, Turbo beat the one hour bike split target time ranking 11th out of 79 competitors men's age 40. PLEASURE

A speedy T2 with a kiss on-the-fly to sideline cheering Ridermama and Riderzoe...and then....WHACK, SLAP, TAKE THAT! Riderturbo was blindsided by the bad and the ugly on the run. Stairs, trails, tunnels, 350 feet of vertical ascent in the first three miles of the run. Up, down, left, right. Helicopters overhead and motorcycle chase crews filming the lead racers passing opposite direction. A quick check of the Polar revealed 9 min/mile pace at the 3 mile aid station versus the target 7.5 min/mile pace....and still 5 miles left to run. Was this a triathlon or an XTerra?

JUST F**KIN GIVER, EH...the astute athletic psychology of our world-champion sporting Canadian brethren came to mind...repeated over and over. Down again, round again, across sandy Baker Beach and back for 1 mile, up 400 steps of the Equinox sand ladder, Riderturbo continued the 170 beat-per-minute heart rate death march down the home stretch.
The most brutal, side-stitch cramping and GU-puking experience of RiderTurbo's running career had him drag it through the picturesque 8 mile run in 1 hour and 10 minutes, including off-trail bush potty break, averaging 8min 53 sec/mile, PAIN.

Then near the finish, trying to hold it together, redemption earned: a smiling Ridermama cheering, hand-off and carrying RiderZoe the last two hundred yards through the finish line chute (see top photo) to the adulation of thousands of cheering fans, international flags, colorful pagentry and snapping camera shutters...culminating in the celebratory finisher's medal being placed around RiderZoe's neck. PURE PLEASURE.

Overall, Riderturbo beat the three-hour target time clocking 2:51:57 and placing 18 out of 79 men's age group 40, earning the Ranch a little respect and possibly even a fleeting moment of brand-exposure on network television.

The Ranch asks, Alcatraz gives, PLEASURE AND PAIN, but not necessarily in that order.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Goin' Pro in Romandie

Successful recovery mission, one week later. Pitts would be proud.

Spirit of the Ranch in action. Lourtier.

One ranch animal detects another.

Etape 5. Tour de Romandie. Sion to Anzere ascent (1000m). Here it comes.

JFG, eh!

3 hours later: Valverde wins it. Anton, then Spilak. Menchov trails.

Second group.

Any spare ones you don't need?

Bike porn.

The just reward: NEW WATER BOTTLE!!!!!