What a year to be thankful for at Canyon Velo. Almost any way you slice it, Canyon Velo had an incredible year in 2014, and for that I would like to give thanks. From the event promotions, to the rides, to the race participation, to the race results, to the new kit design, to the sponsors, to the fiscal state of the club, to the simple fact that we have a great group of people on this club, it has been a quality year for Canyon Velo.

It is the "people" of Canyon Velo who make this the great club that it is. I have been on a few bike clubs, including previous iterations of this team, and I can honestly say that this is the best bike club I have been on. I can't say it any better than Canyon Velo President Carl Moler said in his October e-mail to the club when he said: "Presently, I believe that the most exceptional strength of this club, in addition to the athletic performances, is the "character" and "quality" of our members as people. I do not make this statement lightly. This is 'not my first rodeo' and I can truly say that this is a unique group of 120 or so people in the areas of both performance and character quality." I couldn't agree more, and for each one of our members I am thankful.

Another thought on this thanksgiving theme is that once again in 2014, CV put on a superior event in sponsoring one of the most popular criteriums of the race year in the form of the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium. CV also repeated its presence at the State Time Trials by co-sponsoring those events with another local team.

It was also great this year to work with the club leadership in helping to design the new kit for the club's 30th anniversary next year. We were all thankful to have two talented designers in Mike Son and Brian Stoner working on the concepts. Of course, the rest of the committee members had plenty to add to the process. Based on all that we have seen so far, it should be a great 30th anniversary kit that we can all wear with pride!

CV also has a great group of sponsors from 2014 to be thankful for. Many have been with the club for some time and others are just coming on board. I would like to say a special thanks on behalf of the club to Mike Boon for his sponsorship for the past several years and I want to point out that he remains with Canyon Velo as a sponsor in the form of his "Speed Tech" wheel products and services. I also want to welcome Rock'n'Road Cyclery on board as our new bike shop sponsor. Rock'n'Road sponsors several top bicycle teams and now Canyon Velo is added to that list.

As far as racing goes, I can't remember a year with so much success. This year Canyon Velo racked up several significant racing results. If you just look at the race results page of the team website, you can't help but be impressed with what you find there. I counted 15 members who won at least one bike race this year! Several members also posted significant results.

Ryan Mongan, for example, won several triathlons with large fields. David Stanton has been simply destroying the fields in time trials. George Tomasich won several impressive hill and mountain climbing events. Justin Corea completed an Ironman event in a remarkable time. Justin was also a member of a winning team at the Stagecoach 100 mile TTT (along with Henry Moreno, Glenn Wells, and Danny Davison). Glen Wells also won a couple of mountain bike races. Sue Griesbach completed the Stagecoach TTT in the fastest time ever for a female rider (on a mixed team with Paul Leek, Bob Burris and I). Paul Leek was also other-worldly in his conquest of the gold medal in the 6-12-24 hour world TT championships. Andrew Simpson, in his first season racing, placed first in one of the Ontario criteriums. Bob Stipp contributed with a win at a local triathlon. I also had a few wins in road TTs and in pursuits at the velodrome.

In addition to the above, Canyon Velo ended up with eleven State Championship Jerseys. Bob Burris and Danny Davisson, and Susan Kissee and I won State Championship Jerseys in the 40k tandem time trial. David Stanton, Paul Leek, Ed Camarena, and I won State Championship Jerseys in the four man 40k team time trial. I added another State Championship Jersey in the four man 3k team pursuit on the track. Finally David Stanton and I both won individual State Championship Jerseys, David in the individual 40k time trial on the road and I in the individual 2k pursuit on the track.

Finally, and much more important than any of the accomplishments listed above, I want to again say that I am thankful for the people on this team. You all are some of the finest people that I have had the pleasure to have known and I truly appreciate you. It is fun riding with you, racing with you, talking to you, and just being in association with you. And for this I give thanks.

stageco1Canyon Velo rocked the 2014 Stagecoach 100 mile Team Time Trial!  Canyon Velo's 4 man 40+ team won the 40+ club division with a time of 5:04:31. Canyon Velo's 4 person mixed 50+ team destroyed the course with a blazing time of 4:53:15, winning the race and setting the age group and overall course records for a mixed team, and giving Sue Griesbach the fastest finishing time ever for a woman on the 100 mile course! It was an incredible experience.

stageco2On the weather front, what a difference a year makes! That was the buzz around the start line. Last year it couldn't have been any colder and never warmed up. In 2014, it couldn't have been any nicer. According to the promoter, the weather for the 10th annual Stagecoach event was by far the finest ever, with starting temps at 48F for the first starters, and up to 65F for the last starters of the day. The finishing temps were in the low 80's. There was a slight headwind all the way to the turn around and then a cross-tail wind on the way back.

Canyon Velo members Justin Corea, Danny Davisson, Glen Wells, and Henry Moreno made up the four man 40+ TTT team; while "Pastor Bob" Burris, Sue Griesbach, Paul Leek, and I (Ed K) formed Canyon Velo's 4 person mixed 50+ TTT team. There were also a few individual CV riders present as well, including Paul Knight, Steve Mclelland and Bob Stipp. A family friend of Sue's from Australia, Gina Ricardo, also came along and did the ride.

Canyon Velo's 4 Man 40+ Team Report

stageco4The Canyon Velo four man 40+ team's primary goal was to beat their 5:13:38 time mark from last year and to improve upon their fourth place in the age group division. Their more lofty goal was to beat the 5 hour mark. The first two goals were accomplished, finishing at 5:04:31 and winning the "club" division for 40+. As for the other goal, it just wasn't meant to be to a sub 5 hour day.

The first 50 miles went well for the team. They set a much more consistent pace than last year which allowed all team members to get warmed up and stay together without over extending themselves. Their first half split was a respectable 2:40, making the 5 hour goal a possibility with a quick return. Unfortunately, their return got off to a slow start as they used entirely too much time (nearly nine minutes) at the turn around in getting wrist bands stamped, topping off bottles, addressing nutrition, and using the restroom.

With Danny nursing a respiratory bug and Henry dealing with cramps from a previously injured hamstring, the guys had to fight to stay together on the return trip. As true teammates, they determined that since they started together they were going to ride as far as they could together.

Glen and Justin pulled most of the way back and luckily Danny and Henry were able to grit their teeth in order to hang on. On the last climb at mile 85 they were all pretty tired and out of water. Glen and Justin were able to get up the hill to grab some water from the support stop while Henry and Danny fought with everything they had to summit. After finishing the climb they made a valiant effort to reach the finish line within the 5 hour mark but it was just outside of their grasp. Justin summed up their experience by saying, "All in all, the weather was perfect, it was a great team ride, had fun, learned a lot and we beat last year's time! Thanks guys for the amazing effort!" Great job Canyon Velo 40+ 4 man team!

Canyon Velo's 4 Person Mixed 50+ Team Report

stageco5It was like it was meant to be, but it didn't start out that way. Last summer Paul and I decided to see if last year's 50+ four man team would like to reunite to see what kind of damage we could do. When we talked to Ryan and Pastor Bob, we found out that Ryan was going to be out of town on race day and Bob said, "another 100 mile TTT, no thanks!"

That left us with only half of a team. Paul then began thinking... which is a dangerous proposition. Paul said to me one Sunday, "You know Ed, we have a couple of pretty good girls on our team and in OC, why don't we ride the mixed category at Stagecoach?" That got it started. We first talked to Annemarie, but it wasn't long until she found that she would be moving to Chicago. Later we talked to Sue, who expressed a cautious interest. We also were talking to other gals in OC in case Sue didn't join us, but to our delight, Sue said that she would commit to it. The rules at Stagecoach allow a mixed team to have a three to one split, instead of the normal two/two mixed arrangement, so we now just needed a fourth. It was about then that Pastor Bob called and said that he had a change of heart and wanted to ride Stagecoach again. Now we were set.

Training went well, as we logged many miles together along with the guys from the four man 40+ team and several other CV riders. We also had help and assistance from many others, including "friends of Canyon Velo" Eric Sternlicht and Christopher Thompson. At the race we had Sue's husband and fellow CV member Bob there for support and photos.

Race day really couldn't have gone much better for a 100 mile effort. We moderated the hills and power rises for Sue, but found that there was a great side benefit to that strategy, as we all were super strong on the flats because we took it easy on the rises. This enabled us to get to the turnaround in 2:36, well within striking distance of a sub five hour performance.

Throughout the day Paul took several incredibly long pulls. He just would not come off of the front. Bob and I kept waiting for him to pull over so we could take our turns, but he just sat up there. Bob also took long pulls as did I. We found that this was another side benefit of moderating the hills and rises, as we were able to take much longer pulls than ever before.

stageco6When we started up the last climb at mile 85, I did my best Jeff Rhodes imitation by singing a couple of lines of the Everly Brothers' song, "Wake Up Little Susie" only with the words, "Can't keep up with little Susie!" Paul even joined in on the chorus! I'm sure Sue was not all that impressed. Bob noted at that time that we were at 4:20 and had a real shot at breaking 5 hours if we got over the summit in a decent time.

Once we got over the top we were flying toward the finish...35 mph! With about 5 miles to go we had our only hiccup, as both Paul and Bob almost simultaneously cried "cramp"! Sue then came to my wheel and I thought, OK, whichever one of the guys gets it together first gets to come along for the last couple of miles. Thankfully, however, after sitting on for a few moments, both said, "I'm OK!" We then drove on to the finish. We were ecstatic crossing the line to see that we not only made five hours, but had minutes to spare. It was a super gratifying day. We all want to say a big thank you to Canyon Velo and to our "friends of Canyon Velo" for all of your support!

Books-1rThe 2012-2013 time trial season is now in the books. It ended with the State time trials on Memorial Day weekend.

Last summer Paul L and I set out several goals for the season. Our purpose in setting these goals was to make Canyon Velo a factor in the Southern California Racing scene. Here are the goals we set:

1) It was our plan to get out of the gate fast at the beginning of the time trial season by planting the flag for Canyon Velo at the prestigious Fiesta Island Team Time Trial (TTT) in September.

2) It was our goal to make a mark for Canyon Velo by winning the four man 50+ category at the Stagecoach 100 mile TTT in January.

3) It was our goal for both of us to finish on the podium in our respective age group categories in the Southern California Time Trial Series, Paul in the 45+ and me in the 55+ categories.

4) It was our goal to bring back at least one State Championship Jersey to Canyon Velo for 2013.

So, how did we do? Incredibly, all of the goals were accomplished. It wasn't easy and was not without trials and suffering, but it was accomplished.

Looking back now, the Fiesta TTT seemed to come together rather easily. The result? We rocked the island, winning the 180+ four man category with an impressive time of 53:03, at an average speed of 28.3 mph. Our team consisted of three Canyon Velo riders (Paul , "Pastor" Bob B, and me) along with Ernie L from Team Pinnaclife (see the race report at http://www.canyonvelo.org/index.php/eddie-speaks/39-a-plan-comes-together).

The Stagecoach TTT was anything but easy. It was my single toughest day on the bike for this year. We actually managed to win in a record time for our category, but it was a sufferfest. Our team was made up of Paul, me, Pastor Bob, and Ryan M (the story is found at http://www.canyonvelo.org/index.php/eddie-speaks/50-100-mile-mission-accomplished). Canyon Velo also had a number of other riders in that event, so check out the story.

Books-6rFor me, my biggest accomplishment of the year was to finish 2nd overall in the 55+ category in the Southern California Time Trial Series, a series of 18 races from September through April, with the top ten results counting toward the final placing. The winner of the category is an elite racer who is in a class of his own. I, however, faced stiff completion from a couple of riders from San Diego riding for the San Diego Cyclo-Vets for the podium. I would say that it was my consistency that carried the day and in the end, I actually tied with the winner of the 45+ category for the most podium points for the entire series of races.

Books-5rPaul had an incredible fight in the 45+ category to finish on the podium. In fact, the final place on the podium was still unsettled on the eve of the final race of the series. In the 45+, the top two places were held by elite racers. Paul held a slim lead over two other very good time trialists for 3rd with one race to go. If either of these guys finished ahead of Paul on the final race, they would have overtaken him. So what happened? Paul crushed it, placed second on the day to the elite winner, and clinched 3rd overall in the very competitive 45+ category for the Southern California Time Trial Series.

The State Championships are an altogether different matter. A State jersey is very difficult to come by in any given year. With Hans (who had become somewhat of a State jersey machine) moving out of California, our goal was for someone on the club to bring one State jersey back to Canyon Velo for 2013.

Books-3rWe didn't get just one, we got three! First Dr. Bill L won the 65+ category at the Super Masters individual time trial in San Diego to win the first State jersey for CV for 2013. Then at the State individual time trial, Paul won the tandem men 70+ category with Dave G of VeloSport for his first State jersey. Then finally, Pastor Bob also won his first State jersey in the two man 120+ TTT with "friend of Canyon Velo" Keith Peters who has raced many times with us in TTTs.

It is always satisfying when you make plans and then see them happen.

Finally, a couple of other great things occurred this season.

Books-2rOne is that my wife, Susan, decided to become a bike rider/racer. We raced five races this year on our tandem and got on the podium at the State TT in the open mixed tandem class (the story of her beginning in the sport is at http://www.canyonvelo.org/index.php/eddie-speaks/52-it-was-her-idea).

Another is that our 4 man team placed second at the State TTT in the four man 240+ category with a time of 52.14, over a minute ahead of the third place team and within less than a minute of the winning team. That team consisted of me, Paul, Dr. Bill, and Paul's dad Bill L. It was a fun experience and we gave it a real effort.

Now that the season is over, it is time to rest, relax, celebrate, and just have fun on the bike. That is, after all, the reason we do this. Riding a bike is just plain fun.

Lake1LRLast Saturday, Paul L, Ryan M, Danny D, along with Susan and I, spent the morning at Lake Los Angeles.

Our purpose in visiting was wrapped up in the fact that Lake Los Angeles is the current site of the Southern California/Nevada USAC State Time Trial Championships. We all wanted to give the race course a look.

The 23.5 mile time trial course is composed of four roads which form an 18.5 mile rectangle, with riders also doing the first 6 mile leg a second time.

Imagine the great time we all had riding around a picturesque place like Lake Los Angeles. Doesn't that just sound great? Riding around a lake in LA LA land?

Well, unfortunately, Lake Los Angeles is like Grape-Nuts, it is neither.

Read more: A Day At The Lake


FiestaTandem2-2-17-13LRSo guys, what if you were to say to your wife, "Let's get up at 3:00 am on Sunday, leave the house at 3:45, then after a one and a half hour drive, use a port-a-potty, get on the stationary trainers for an hour in the cold and dark, then just as the sun starts to rise, get on the tandem, leave the start line, and ride as hard as we possibly can for 20 kilometers?"

That's how we started on Sunday, except... it was her idea! You see, about a year ago, without any fanfare or announcement, Susan started riding. At first I didn't even know it as she began to incorporate spin classes at the gym into her regular workouts. Soon she began coming home and asking me questions about cycling, and then it came out... she had decided to enter into the realm of athletics.

Basically Susan is a cheerleader. That is her personality and back in school days, that is what she was. Then as our kids grew up, all of them entered into some form of athletics. One day she found herself as the only person in the family that had not participated in athletics. Now I know that cheerleading is considered by many to be an athletic endeavor, and I am not ignoring that, but it is not an athletic contest in the purest sense of the term.

There is no question that cheerleading requires athleticism, but that is not the kind of athletics she was talking about. So, with her cheerleader resume notwithstanding, she announced to me that she wanted to become an athlete, and that is why she wanted to ride.

It was then that I broke the news to her. To be an athlete, one must compete. Spin classes are spin classes, training rides are training rides (even though I used to be confused on that point), fun rides are fun rides, and races are races. In short, the only athletic contest listed here is a race.

Much to my surprise, she said, "OK, I'll race!"

Wow! She has been around me and my racing friends for long enough to know what that statement meant. Training, sacrifice, focus, suffering, and the act of racing itself are part of the equation. She simply said, "I'll race...so what is the plan?"

So we talked about her options. First of all she has a road bike and we have a road tandem, so she decided that the event would be on the road rather than the velodrome or mountain biking. She also eliminated mass start racing (i.e. road races and crits) from consideration as being a proverbial "bridge too far" at this time in her life.

FiestaTandem4a-2-17-13LRThat left time trials. So we talked about individual time trials, team time trials, and tandem time trials.

It was decided that the best way to go was the tandem time trial, since we had a tandem available and it was something we could do together. So the training began. She increased her weekly rides at the gym and also started to ride her road bike on the trainer in the garage with me on weekday mornings.

Then we set the date, Valentine's Day plus 3. February 17, 2013 at the Fiesta Island Time Trial would be her debut as a bike racer, and an athlete. Our start time was 7:08 am.

We got up at 3 am, left soon after that, arrived at Fiesta Island in the dark, used the port-a-potty, rode the trainers, and were now at the start line.

Ralph Elliott, the famed bike race announcer, introduced us on the loudspeaker, gave his complements to Canyon Velo for a job well done at the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, and then we were off at 25 mph. We held that for quite a bit of the first lap, then reality set in and we settled into 23 to 24 mph over the remaining laps. We passed a few of the juniors who were ahead of us and were passed by one or two very fast single TT bikes.

FiestaTandem1-2-17-13LRWe gave a very strong effort and crossed the finish line with a solid time of 31:55. Susan was now officially a bike racer and an athlete! She also came home with the gold medal for 1st place in the Tandem class at the Fiesta Island Time Trial.

We had a great time and are now planning to give the Piru TT a shot soon.

Finally, if you haven't heard, Canyon Velo picked up a number of podiums this weekend. In addition to our placement, David S. took 2nd place at the Peninsula Hill Climb Time Trial on Saturday, and Ryan M. and Justin C. went 2nd and 3rd overall at the Laguna Niguel Triathlon on Sunday.

                                                            Nice job Canyon Velo!


Stagecoach2013-8LRCanyon Velo made a difference at the Stagecoach 100 Mile Time Trial on Saturday, January 12, 2013. The Canyon Velo 50+ team ("Pastor" Bob B, Paul L, Ryan M, & me - Ed K) won the 50+ age group 4-man Team Time Trial (TTT) in an age group course record time of 4:59:30.

The Canyon Velo 40+ team (Justin B, Justin C, Danny D, & George T) finished on the podium in the 40+ 4-man TTT with 3rd place in a competitive field with a fine time of 5:13:38.

CV member Dr. Bill L rode with three other riders from OC on a 60+ team that captured first place in the 60+ 4-man TTT division with a time of 6:05:34, and CV member Henry M took 5th place in the large field that raced the 45+ Individual Time Trial (ITT) with time of 5:41:00.

The 100 mile time trial is very different from the more usual 20K (12.5 mile) and 40k (25 mile) time trials. In the 40K, for example, you just go as fast as you can for one hour. It is brutal, but is over soon. The 100 mile time trial is an entirely different animal. When talking about this race, Paul L says, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". One has to respect the distance. It is a five hour plus effort. Because of that, you have to pace yourself, and in the TTT, each member of the team needs to do his part, and most importantly, each member must communicate with the team.

For those who aren't familiar with the Stagecoach Time Trial, it is run on the same day and on the same course as the Stagecoach Century ride in the desert of Imperial and San Diego Counties. It is a simple out and back course starting at the tiny settlement of Ocotillo in Imperial County and riding north on local "highway" S2 for 50 miles to a place just over the ridge from Julian, CA, and then back to Ocotillo. Ocotillo is at 500 feet above sea level and the high point of the course is at about 2700 feet. There are two stop signs on the entire route, both are at essentially the same place, one heading north and one heading south. The total climbing for the TT is 4,685 ft, with about 3,100 ft in the first 50 miles, and 1,600 ft on the return trip. Most of the way out is a false flat climb of 1-2%, except for three very obvious desert pass climbs with 5-9% grades. The way back is down the false flats, with a few smaller short climbs and one long steep grade at about the 87 mile mark. The pavement is not bad for a road that is "off the beaten path."

To compare Stagecoach to other well known century type rides, if you consider the "Solvang Century" as average, then the "Tour of Palm Springs" would be easy, and "Breathless Agony" would be very difficult. When compared to this lineup, the Stagecoach route is considered moderately difficult.

What can make Stagecoach a particular challenge is the weather in January. In some years, like the last time we rode it, the weather can be very nice. This year, however, was like riding in Antarctica. The race result sheet states that it was around 30 degrees at the start and 55 degrees at the finish (which is later in the day as some riders take 8 hours to finish). For us it was about 40 degrees for most of the ride.

For the Canyon Velo 50+ team ("Pastor" Bob, Paul, Ryan, & me) the race was as difficult as it was successful. It was truly a team effort. All four of us worked together very well as a team. From the initial organization, to the travel arrangements, to riding the race, we worked in sync with one another. We stayed in our rotation the entire time, never coming out of it, and never having someone sit on. We did vary the length and power of the pulls to address needs as they came up, but we did so by design through effective communication with each other.

As I said, during the race we communicated exceptionally well with one another. There were some significant issues with the cold. We all had trouble eating enough because of the temps. I had a real hard time for the first 45 miles because of the cold. It took me a long time to get the circulation going in my legs. Consequently, I spent the first 45 miles in serious pain. My legs were aching as if they were in an ice bath, but my heart rate was super low because I wasn't able to put down full power. It was a very strange experience.  

Stagecoach2013-7LRIn order to help with my leg pain issues, even though we stayed in our rotation, Ryan took a number of long pulls early, which cost him later. At about the 45 mile mark, and after a long climb, my legs finally started warming up and feeling better and I was able to contribute at full strength, which helped Ryan, because he began to experience some lingering fatigue because of his work to help me earlier.

Pastor Bob was very consistent the entire ride, providing strong even pulls all day long, and Paul was super strong the entire day. Over the last 40 miles Paul was a beast, taking incredibly long and hard pulls.

When we got to the last climb, we were a bit spread out, but we decided to finish with all four, and it paid off, because we all took good hard pulls over the last 11 miles to the finish. I think it was this decision that allowed us to come in at under 5 hours.

After the race we met up with the guys from the Canyon Velo 40+ team (Justin & Justin , Danny, & George) and had some laughs and took photos. We saw Henry out on the course, but did not see him at the finish. We did not see Dr. Bill either.

All in all, it was a successful day for Canyon Velo. Mission accomplished!



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