Monday, February 22, 2010

Hopper Jubilation

What a day. Everyone knew this would be a hard Hopper and it did not disappoint. Thanks to all who helped at the start and finish. Thanks to all who donated so generously to the Dillon family. We will be donating a total of $1,725! This is huge. If you were unable to donate or forgot please do so. Also, sign up to keep up to date on his progress.
The start was much safer this year going up Coleman Valley. I must say this was a first for me; was just like a mountain bike race start, the difference being no hole-shot, no single track, no relief. Didn't help being dropped by 200 as I descended from the ladder, will have a different plan next time... :( Super stacked field. The whole Bissell crew decided the route suited their training needs as did the Colvita women's team. Congrats to Andrew, holding off B.J.M is big. A winter of training with Levi is showing some fine early results. Catherine Mattis dealt some serious woop ass too. Great to see so many women out, thanks for coming. My story is hardly worth telling so will save it for another time. Suffice it to say it was a day of survival and was on the rivet all day. Got a story to tell, send it our way. Have photos, post them to our Flicker site. Check out Veronica Lenzi's photos too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chileno Hopper...READ THIS!

Charles Beck

Night before. Bike tuned,
gear packed, legs shaved
secret potions mixed
ride plan rehearsed in your mind,
Don't get
ahead of

"You are the new student...
...Fear is the only darkness"

watch, listen,
Pearls from Master Po

Who: This is a training ride, not a race.Any and all cyclists with experience riding in a pack and fitness to ride 80 miles and 8000ft of climbing. Must have safe, reliable bike. If you need help, go to NorCal or West County Revolution and get it worked on. All riders must have a USACycling License or buy a one day for $5, and sign a waiver. (If you have a USAC license, you can download and print the waiver in advance, and bring it with you. If you need to buy a 1-day license, you'll fill out your waiver on-site.) Registration costs $10. Poachers will be poached.

Remember:This is a training ride, not a race. This ride will be in honor and support of Ross Dillon so please donate what you can and sign up to keep up to date on his progress. Donation Box and Mailing List will be at Registration.

When:This is a training ride, not a race. Feb. 20, 10:00 A.M. Pro 1,2,3 will start first. Cat 4,5 and recreational riders will begin immediately after. Women will ride with men (but don't have to pull through unless they want to, especially my sister :)

Where: This is a training ride, not a race.Occidental. Start at Occ. Community Center corner of Graton Rd and Bohemian Hwy. There is parking behind the Union Hotel and near the Community Center. The Union Hotel will have a bikers lunch special so stop by afterward.

Why: This is a training ride, not a race.If you need to ask then just stay home.

We're days away from the Chileno Valley Hopper and from what I've heard there's going to be quite a crowd. Last year we had 250+ and the riding was very dangerous at the start. This is the "easiest" of the Hoppers and tends to be the largest, all the more reason to ride safely. In order to prevent "bulging" of the pack we are beginning up Coleman Valley and not down Bohemian Hwy. I'm certain this will help spread the group out but it also means we will begin on a very narrow road with no yellow line so stay on the right side of the road,not the middle. There are always a large number of first time Grasshopper participants on this ride, and many who have never ridden the course. Everyone needs to be aware that people who drive these back roads often drive very fast, drive big trucks, and cut corners. Remember, this is a training ride. There are NO road closures, NO course markings, NO water or food, NO Sag. Come prepared to finish the ride on your own. There is food and water in Tomales and in Valley Ford en route if you need to stop. Don't forget to bring your ride card with map, credit card if you need it, and a space blanket if you need to take a nap along the way.

Finish: Will be near the top of Joy Rd. just past Bittner and the studio of World Famous Salmon Fisherman, Painter, Cyclist and all around great guy Charles Beck.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Chileno Valley Hopper- A Benefit for Ross Dillon

Dreams can change in a heartbeat. The plans we've made suddenly take a back seat to reality, which is exactly what happened to Ross Dillon at approximately 2:50 in the afternoon on June 3, 2002 . The 25 year old cyclist was on a training ride on Occidental Road near Mills Station in Sonoma County, California.

The bike lane there is wide, the road wider still. It was a gorgeous day and we can only imagine what Ross was thinking. His marriage to Katie Meyers was just a little over two months away and he was getting ready to enter Boston College Law School in the fall after graduating cum laude from Santa Clara University with a BS in Economics. He'd taken a short break on a perfect spring day to take advantage of riding some of his favorite Sonoma County roads...Read more and sign up for updates on his progress.

Preoccupied with our training and equipment we take for granted the gift of health and fitness. Often riding in West County we remember Ross Dillon and give thanks for being able to do what we love, ride our bikes. As the years have passed his memory as a racer may fade but his challenge to rehabilitate goes one. His family has shown incredible perseverance and determination to help Ross regain the strength of his mind and body. It's on the roads of northern Marin and southern Sonoma that Ross' dad turned Ross on to what would become his passion, road biking.

As we pedal our bikes on Feb. 20th it will be in Ross' honor and to raise money to help his family with the costs associated with rehabilitation. We will be donating to the cause and encourage you to do the same. Please donate at the Hopper and ask others to support our effort. There will be a sign up to join the mailing list for Ross Dillon at registration. Most rides or races cost $30-$40. A Hopper is $10. Donate another $20. If 200 people donate $20 that's $4000! Maybe we can raise more! It's inspiring to follow his progress and will be rewarding for the Nor Cal cycling community to do our part. To stay up to date follow him at Ross Dillon Update.

In the meanwhile, rubber side down and pass it on.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Chileno Valley Hopper

Some people hadn't noticed the date change. The 2nd Hopper, Chileno Valley is Feb. 20th. This is the date on the Poster but different than what I originally posted. Don't have a map for you yet but here's the route:

Chileno Valley Loop

OCCIDENTAL-Coleman Valley Rd-Left Hwy 1 South to Valley Ford-Right Franklin School Rd-Left Dillon Beach Rd to Tomales-Right Hwy 1 South-Left Marshall/Petaluma Rd-Left Wilson Hill-Left Chileno Vly Rd-Left Tomales/Petaluma Rd.-Right Alexander-Left Fallon/Two Rock Rd-Cross Hwy 1 Continue on Whitaker Bluff Rd.-Continue Right on Whitaker Bluff Rd. -Right on Middle Rd-Continue Right on Middle at intersection with Marsh-Left on Vly Ford Rd/Hwy 1 Petaluma Rd-Right on Freestone/Valley Ford Cutoff-Left Hwy 12/Bodega Hwy-Right Happy-happy) Joy Road-FINISH on top of Joy just past Bitner Rd. Charles Beck's studio.

Rode it today. 80 miles. Oh the Joy!!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Quintessential Grasshopper. Creek was high, spirits were higher. 230 starters endured the 2010 kickoff f the G.A.S. The usual big guns showed up this year with the addition of some out of towner up starts and an appearance by THE MAN. Old Caz sums up a Hopper. If you haven't ridden it you haven't really ridden a Hopper. Out there it's not just a question of fitness but of equipment choice and mental reserve. Slaloming from dirt to pavement the subtle avoidance of pothole, rocks and branches carved a single track. As I cramped limping up the Twin Sisters I took comfort knowing that those ahead, and behind were in similar states. I heard that even Shane B. who took the W was seizin' somethin' fierce. Can't sum up the whole day as everyone has their stories to tell, but I did spend my time near the front for the first time in years which was fun but as hard as always. This is a "tough love"crowd. Made the change to open up the ride once we got to the flats of Bohemian Hwy in order to string things out before we hit Duncan's. Before Tyrone Shane took a flyer with Glenn. Not two to let get away knowing how capable they are so we brought them back. Another surge in Monte Rio saw me with those two plus Brian F. Glenn was trying to organize us 4 but all I wanted to do was make sure they didn't get away. Would actually have been good to let Shane bake up in the front a bit. Speed stayed high on River Rd and Levi took the last pull into Duncan. Couldn't believe it as a cyclist just crossed in front of the tiny road as 200 of us came ripping up. Selection happened quickly as we hit the first steep and the top few slipped through my fingers. Levi, Shane, Krishna, Jim, Roger, Timmel spread a bit too much mustard on the dog for me so I settled in hoping to ride the second wave. Todd W, Kevin S, and Kenny came up and then dropped me off the back. I felt confident I'd catch them on the decent and did, then led them through the labyrinth of Oldcazlandia. C.B hooked on before the top and gave news that Geo and Glenn were just back. Austin Creek was thigh high so Kim won the bet and now I don't get to name her first child, damn. Check out the photos from the crossing taken by Paul Miller.The five of us hit Caz and didn't miss a beat rotating smoothly to Willow Creek. Rolling onto the bridge near Hwy. 1 we saw the next group. Todd roared like a dragon and helped motivate us to bring 'em back. Caught on as we went around the locked gate at the bottome of Willow creek and suddenly we were a group of nine. Shane and Levi were still up ahead. Managed to stay ahead of 2 of our group for a solid 9th. I knew exhaustion was setting in as I coasted down the back side of the 5 or six water bars on upper Willow Creek. Good time sharing stories and listening to tales of adventure. Stay tuned for Stage 2, gonna be hard! Stage 3...a crippler! Got a story to tell, send it our way.