Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Surveyors at the Barrel

The surveyors were back at the Barrel today, sorting out the boundaries between our land and the Caltrans land for Rt 1. And a team of Caltrans engineers and muckitimucks were out making noise over the removal of trees. The good news is that more of the land is on our side of the line than I had originally thought/feared. It still is optimal for us to get an encroachment permit from Caltrans -- but I've got no idea whether this will be forthcoming.

Rode out to the Barrel from the Embarcadero centers via the mountain bike. Had fast climb drills on all the hills, so clocked a respectable time of just 95 minutes to get to the Muir Beach parking lot. Three 15 minute drills with heartrate just below the lactic threshold.

Karapoti Race Course

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
The "classic" 50km loop on Saturday Feb 18


Established in 1986, Karapoti is the longest running mountain bike event in Australasia. Created by Wellington's Kennett Brothers, who between them have influenced mountain biking more than anyone else in New Zealand, Karapoti is less a race than it is an event from which has arisen a very real culture. A culture built via a combination of innovative organisation, spectacular scenery, an exciting social scene, and a unique challenge that is at the same time uncompromising, achievable and inspirational.

Based within the rugged splendour of Wellington's Akatarawa Ranges, 10km north of Upper Hutt, the classic that is Karapoti revolves around an uncompromising, some say cruel, 50km of 4WD trails, gnarly single track, wheel sucking sludge, raging river crossings, wall to wall wilderness and huge hills that have you grinding a granny ring up but grinning like a goon on the way down. Key elements of the course such as "The Rock Garden," "Devil's Staircase," and "Big Ring Boulevard," are spoken in hushed tones of nervous anticipation and misty sometimes bloody memories. It's the toughest mountain bike race in the Southern Hemisphere, but also the most awe-inspiring.

Karapoti, however, is more than merely a tough race. The post-race scene at Karapoti Park, with thousand's of people lounging under the late-summer sun, is reason enough to enter in itself. And if the full 50km sounds a bit daunting there's a 20km option for off road rookies, spectators, supporters, school kids and active families that is every bit as stunning but less than half the distance and has only one hill.

With a prize purse totalling $NZ16, 000, Karapoti is the richest race on the New Zealand mountain biking circuit. This, along with the prestige and tradition of Karapoti, attract some of the world's best riders. Winners in 2002 were Olympians Kashi Leuchs and Susy Pryde.

First and foremost, however, Karapoti is a people's race catering for all ages, abilities, genders and walks of life. Along with the unique experience there are five years age grades and special categories for corporate teams, family teams, tandems, the best-dressed rider, the rider with the worst luck on race day and even uni-cycles.

Catering for everyone from elite to also ran, the Karapoti culture is such that the slowest riders are celebrated every bit as much as the few who manage to break the magical three-hour mark. American cycling magazine VeloNews ranks Karapoti amongst the top-25 mountain bike races in the world, and participants apparently agree because for more than a decade we've been forced to limit the event to 1000 entrants. Little wonder then that Karapoti is known as, "the one race on every mountain biker's wish list!'

Karapoti Chaos

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Muddy crashes and climbs in the wilds of New Zealand

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Log 1/29

Two four hour rides this weekend -- one on the road bike in the Berkeley hills, and the other on the mountain bike around Boy Scout camp with Carrie, and then solo up to the top of Pine Mountain from Fairfax. All of this was supposed to be under the heart rate range of 115-125...but as per usual, I slip over in the nasty bits where there's no other way to get up and over the hump. This side up on Pine Mountain is tough (I've never done it before). Mud and slippery boulders. I thought Carrie and I were pretty tough getting around Boy Scout camp in slippery conditions until we ran into a friend of Carrie's who was coaching the local Redwood high school team. She was showing them how its done despite looking a bit of a pudge. She knew her stuff though, commenting on the advantages of doing the Transalp with a hard versus soft-tail bike (she's done both!). I didn't quite know how to ask Carrie about how she hefted her considerable self around on so difficult a route. Carrie cleared up the mystery -- she's 7 months pregnant (with her second child). Evidently she trained with her first child on board well into the 9th month! So I was impressed.

This week is a big ramp up until the fall off expected for Mexico in the following week, and then potentially the trip down to Melbourne. That's a bit uncertain right now as my client is behind schedule on their work and it could therefore push my dates back. Darned -- as I'm all set up for doing the Karapoti classic in Wellington on February 18th.... and the boyz are waiting to dust me (Pete, Tom, and even Baz will all ride). So I'm hoping I can wangle things to keep them on order.

For the upcoming week I've got some intense 2 hour workouts with 3x15 minutes at lactate threshold (T, Th) and a longer but easier day inbetween. I hope to role out to the Barrel on Tuesday to hook up with the surveyors.

There's been an indication that I may get expedited handling of our replanting plan from the county if we separate out our filing with them from the one that might have to go through Caltrans and cover our request for an encroachment onto their land for our desired driveway.

I've finished my book by my former prof, Gordon Wood: "The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787" which was an excellent (if heavy) treatment of the evolution of political thinking between the outset of the Revolution, the failed Articles of Confederation, and the successful Constitution, complete with our foundations for Federalism. This is waying on my thinking about all sorts of structural issues for my upcoming design of varioius business paradigms and ventures. I am now well into Lord Macaulay's "History of England" -- essentially a very slanted leadup to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Its a Whig (distorted and prejudicial) history, but I enjoy the language. Here's a quote describing George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement:

"He long wandered from place to place, teaching this strange theology, shaking like an aspen leaf in his paroxysms o fanatical excitemen, forcing his way into churches, which he nicknaed steeple houses, interrupting prayers and sermons with clamour and scurrility, and pestering rectors and justices with spistles much resembling burlesques of thos sublime odes in which the Hebrew prophets foretold the calamities of Babylon and Tyre..."

I also recently finished "The Biggest Game in Town" which covers the feel of Las Vegas arount the (in its infancy) World Poker Championship of 1981. This text is written by a poet and skilled writer by the name of A Alvarez. I'll include a clip or two from here another time.

That's it for now....

2006 Cape Epic Route

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.

2006 Cape Epic Course

2006 Cape Epic Route Unveiled
A coastal route for the first time...

Finally what 1000 mountain bikes from around the world have been waiting for… the route and stage locations for Cape Epic 2006 have been announced! The route is longer than any previous Epic – a total of 921km and an altitude gain of 16605m – twice the height of Mount Everest!

The inaugural race in 2004 was 803km and 901km in 2005. Although the route is longer than it was in 2005, it should not make the race any tougher than it was in 2005. This is because in 2005 a lot of the altitude gain was on very technical stony tracks that forced many riders to dismount and was generally more taxing than climbing on the faster gravel roads and jeep tracks that are prevalent in the 2006 stages. We also suspect that the overall times will be faster than they were in 2005. This is due to an even more competitive field of riders and also the terrain is generally faster than in 2005.

For the first time the Cape Epic will visit 2 seaside resorts namely Mossel Bay and Hermanus (besides the sea-side town of Knysna which has traditionally been the start location). When designing the route, we have 3 general areas to choose from, namely north of the mountain ranges and in the semi desert of the Little Karoo; in the foothills of the mountains between the N2 highway and the Cape mountain ranges; and the flatter coastal area between the Indian Ocean and the N2 highway. (The N2 highway is the main arterial road that connects Cape Town to Knysna.)

The 2004 route took the riders on many kilometres through the Little Karoo and the 2005 route took the riders between the N2 and the Cape Mountains. The 2006 route is more coastal and our plans for 2007 are to take the route back through the Little Karoo (i.e. hot and dry). If the weather plays along, the coastal towns of Mossel Bay and Hermanus will provide perhaps the most stunning stage locations yet of the Cape Epic, with the Race Villages and finishes within meters of the warm-water Indian Ocean.

Possibly the most exciting aspect of the route for 2006 is that the longest, toughest, and definitely the most magical stage in the history Epic is the second last stage of the race: the 142km, 3750m altitude gain Stage 7 from Hermanus to Boschendal Wine Estate. This very long penultimate stage will have implications to both professional and amateur riders alike.
Firstly, for the top pro riders that are competing for podium places, this means that the race can be won or lost right up until day 7. In Cape Epic 2005, Olympic champion Bart Brentjens and top-ranked UCI rider Roel Paulissen of Team Giant achieved a 10-minute lead after the first stage and simply protected this lead for the rest of the race to finish overall winners. The second placed team in stage one, Siemens Cannondale team of Christoph Sauser and Fredrik Kessiakoff, also protected their position to finish second overall as hard as they tried to overtake Team Giant.
Protecting a position may not be as easy in 2006 with the penultimate stage of the race being so long. A good or a bad ride for a top team on day 7 may see a re-shuffle in the general classification with just one stage to go.

For many of the amateur riders, the introduction of such a long stage at the end of the race will have a significant psychological impact on the personal challenge to finish the race. In previous years, the toughest stages were within the first 4 days of the race, and therefore riders felt that if they had finished the first half of the race, barring a serious incident, they were home and dry to complete the entire Cape Epic. Now that the toughest stage is only at day 7, riders will have to keep plenty of reserve energy for day 7 in order to be confident of completing what is for many of them the toughest physical challenge in their lives.

The 2006 route will once again pass through many game farms and nature reserves. The highlight will be the 10km stretch through Botlierskop on day 2. Botlierskop is a Big 5 game reserve and riders can expect to see many animals including the Big 5 through this stretch of excellent jeep-track riding. The Cape Epic team rode through the reserve in June and saw a herd of elephants just off the track and numerous varieties of antelope.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Making Zucchini Bread

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
or at least making a mess!