Mountains to the right of me. Mountains to the Left of me!

What was I thinking?
Tomorrow morning is the start of the inaugural Jeremiah Bishops’ Alpine Gran Fondo here in Harrisonburg, Virginia. When we think of bicycle climbing, we generally think of Colorado or perhaps in the California mountains. But Virginia has some real sleepers and Jeremiah has put together a really challenging ride.

I looked at the course and I didn’t think I could manage the 90.6 mile Gran Fondo (9,982’ of vertical), so I opted for the 75 mile Medio Fondo with only 6,812’ of climbing. The media course map is shown below.

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Pre-ride Gala Dinner at Dave’s Taverna
A good 40 riders and city officials gathered at Dave’s Taverna in downtown Harrisonburg for a great dinner and and words of encouragement from Jeremiah.

I wore a KOM jersey to whet everyone’s appetite to hit the timed climbs hard. We will be awarding KOM jerseys to all men and women winners in all USA cycling master’s age groups.

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Here I am with Jeremiah and his wife Erin, who has put together a wonderful event. What an organizer and what a great couple.

The final figures aren’t jet in, but it looks like the event will raise approximately $5,000 for prostate cancer awareness.

My riding gear
My Formigli road bike Fast Freddy) is in California so I’m riding my 1988 Serotta Davis Phinney lugged steel frame outfitted with Shimano Ultergra 50/34 and 11-27. I’m thinking I would really like the 11-32 I have on Fast Freddy.

September 23 Photos
You can see the photos from this afternoon and the gala at http://gallery.me.com/roberthess#100141

Just another day in Paradise. Warm regards, Robert

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How fast do you climb? King of the Mountain Jerseys

Would you like to have one of these great looking King of the Mountain jersey?
The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project is pleased to be working with Primal Wear, our clothing partner, to create a kit that looks great and raises awareness of prostate cancer at the same time.

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King of the Mountain Jersey

Race Promoters Contact Us
If you are a race promoter with a timed KOM section on your event, we will donate jerseys for your male and female category winners. Leave your contact information in the comment box below or email KOMjersey ‘@‘at 29000men ‘dot’ org.

Not a likely KOM winner?
Don’t despair.  We’re working on a program using Strava.com where you can earn one of these KOM jerseys for total vertical feet climbed in one year.
Keep checking back for details.

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Oh Boy. What a course!

Here at the hotel going over the course map. It’s brutal. We drove the first 15 miles this afternoon and this will be epic ride.

But, Freddy and I are ready. Western is forecast to be clear and hot.

We have donated a climbing jersey to the first finisher.

Stay tuned.

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How a Mortal Plans to do the Ride of the Immortals

An aerial view of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. ...

Palos Verdes Peninsula

Why I climb hills
It you follow this blog, you know that I’m a prostate cancer survivor (8.5 years) and that I’m big on exercise and good eating habits as the best tools we have within our individual control to prevent the recurrence of cancer or, for that matter, to prevent it in the first place.

My exercise program of choice includes yoga (one night per week), morning walks with my wife, two trips to the gym each week for weights, and as much cycling as i can get into my schedule.

I live near the LA Velodrome at the Home Depot Center so I try and ride there twice a week and then on the road twice a week, with one of those rides up to the top of San Pedro Hill on the Palos Verdes peninsula. You can track my rides on http://www.strava.com. Just search for Robert Hess with the 29000Men club.

Set no small goals
Jim Collins said something like that in his book, Good to Great, and somehow that has played out in my cycling. I can do 100 mile century bicycle rides with not too much effort, but the Ride of the Immortals this coming Saturday is epic: 137 miles, with 17,538’ of vertical climb. Just click this Son of Death Ride link to read a description of the route.

What am I thinking?
I have not a snowball’s chance on Kern Plateau of making the entire ride. The first 53 miles has 9,200’ of vertical climb.

That said, I, along with two friends, will ride as much of the course as we humanly can and enjoy every minute of it. Watch the blog for our pictures.

Follow us on Google
I plan to take my SPOT GPS tracker, so you should be able to follow our progress on Saturday on Google maps: http://bit.ly/PCAwarenessGuy

Fast Freddy is Ready. Well. . .
I’m riding my trusty Formigli Classic bike on Saturday, fully tricked out with SRAM Force 50/34 and 11/32. That 32 will come in handy. I must confess that I wish I had gone with Shimano 10-speed instead of the SRAM. The SRAM is loud, it clunks when it moves from cog-to-cog, and I can’t figure how to keep the chain from jumping off the chainrings. Anyone want to trade?

More later:-)

Just another day in Paradise.

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Technorati Blog Claim

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Hi everyone. This post is just to formally link this blog to my Technorati account.

Prostate Cancer Pony Express

Are you registered yet as a Virtual Rider for our September 18th prostate cancer ride to Washington, DC?

http://bit.ly/ProstateCancerPonyExpress2011

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In the Mood for Electronic Shifting on Your Bike?

How to Get the Jump on Your Buds in that Sprint
Shimano introduced electronic shifting in its Dura Ace line several years ago but I think it was just a bit too pricey for most people.

Shimano has now released Ultegra Di2, which is about half the price. I think I’m going to stick with my old SRAM and Ultegra manual transmission (I have SRAM Force 10 speed on my Formigli and Ultegra 9 speed on my Serotta Davis Phinney). I want to use those bucks for snazzy cycling duds and a trip to World Master Track in Manchester in 2013?

Check it out here
Click this like http://youtu.be/cpxjzvwRQLw to view the YouTube demonstration and read some of the early comments.

Put the Data in Your MyBikeInfo App
If you spring for the cash, be sure and enter the information and picture into your MyBikeInfo iPhone app just in case someone ‘borrows’ your new set up.

Just another day in Paradise.

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Go Fast. Turn Left. Repeat. Except Faster!

Masters Track Nationals 2011
I’m here in Trexlertown at the Lehigh Valley velodrome for 2011 Masters Track Nationals.

I’m not competing this year, but the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project is fielding its first team – the first of many in the future, in the team pursuit.

The team rides tomorrow morning; 4 men, 3,000 meters, as fast as they can go.

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Here’s a shot of the velodrome tonight under the lights. Simply beautiful.

More tomorrow.

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How Can a Road Just Go Up and Up?

Reddish Knob – Virginia’s Mount Ventoux
The climb up Mount Ventoux in France from Sault is 15.1 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 3,809 feet, for an average slope of 4.9%.

The climb up to Reddish Knob from the intersection of Briery Branch Road and highway 257 West, according to my trusty Garmin 305, was 11.8 miles and an elevation gain of 2,985 feet, yielding an average slope of 4.8%.

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Up and Up and Up…..
The climb up Reddish Knob is a beautiful ride through the National Forest, but once you begin it’s seems like there is just one curve after another, without end. Beautiful, though.

Don’t stop at the reservoir or the flies will eat you alive. I have no idea where they come from but they are absolutely vicious – and ravenous!

False Flats and Potholes
Once you reach the top of the ridge, you turn south and descent for about 1/2 mile just before the final climb to the top. These are Forest Service roads and are not in the best of shape. Just after you gain speed on that descent there are two big potholes in the road that you do not want to hit at 30 miles on hour.

How Not to Slide Off the Road
The road is in pretty good shape but there always seems to be a bit of loose gravel on the road surface, so be mindful of your speed on the descent. There isn’t too much traffic on the road so you could be in the ditch for a long time before anyone comes by.

Where’s Fast Freddy?
I’m in Virginia so I rode my Serotta Davis Phinney but I wish I had my Formigli Classic, which fits me just a little bit better. That said, Ben (my Serotta) with the 9-speed Shimano took me up the hill just fine.

Reddish Knob Challenge
We’re creating a Prostate Cancer Awareness Challenge ride on Reddish Knob, so check back from time to time for the detail.

Just another day in Paradise!

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Pursuit Training at LA Velodrome

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Pierrick Fedrigo from WikipediaImage via Wikipedia

Will 18 Seconds Per Lap be Enough?
If you’ve been following my posts, you know that six of us 60+ guys are working to make a run at pursuit gold in Trexlertown next month.

Track racing is a boutique sport, which means that there aren’t many competitors. Unfortunately, the good riders tend to continue to ride, year after year which is, of course, a great thing for all of us.

Our calculation is that we need to be able to ride 12 laps at 18 seconds per lap to be competitive. We’re not there yet, but we’re trying.

Want to See Us in Action?
We are really fortunate to live here in LA where we have this beautiful indoor track, the LA Velodrome.

If you would like to see a bit of our training on Saturday, just click the following link: TTT Training. The team is riding for the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project, as part of their prostate cancer awareness program. Got PSA?

Are Your Using Your MyBikeInfo RSS Feeds to Follow the Tour de France?
Remember that I told you about the great RSS feeds in MyBikeInfo?

You will find the RSS icon at the bottom of the bar. One of my favorite links is VeloNews and that link is a great asset since the Tour de France is just a few days away.

I read this at night – under the covers to keep from waking my wife – and it keeps me current. Today’s news is that 8 time Tour de France finisher Pierrick Fedrigo has told his Frances des Jeux team management that he is not in shape to ride this year’s Tour.

Are you using VeloNews on your MyBikeInfo iPhone app?

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Round and Round and Round We Go!

Turn Left – Go Fast(er)
I’m still desperately attempting to get into shape to be part of a pursuit team for state and national masters championships in just a few weeks. My training program was not helped by a two week vacation in Alaska.

Someone told me that it takes two weeks training for every week off the bike to regain the same level of conditioning. Aargh!

2 Minutes. One Minute. 40 Seconds.
That was the interval session at Roger Young’s training session tonight at the LA Velodrome. 2 minutes in Zone 2; one minute in Zone 3; followed by 40 seconds in Zone 4. Then, repeat 8 times. We did two sets of 8 repetitions. I count this as a hard workout.

We’re riding in the 60+ pursuit, so we think we need to hold 30 mph as a team for the full 3 kilometers to be in contention.

I think I need to up my speed and endurance!

MyBikeInfo RSS Feed
I just checked the Velonews RSS feed in my MyBikeInfo app and low and behold, there was the RadioShack lineup for the Tour de France: Jani Brojkovic, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden, Markel Irizar, Dmitry Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, and Haimar Zubeldia. No Robbie Hunter or Robbie McEwen!

What’s Your Favorite RSS Feed?
We change these feeds from time-to-time. If you have a favorite, just leave a post here on the blog or send an email.

Gran Fondo Los Angeles
I’ll be riding the Gran Fondo this Sunday with two of my board members. The first 5 people to find me with the phrase “MyBikeInfo” get a free pair of socks from Sock Guy.

See you Sunday!

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