Nelson Vails stopped by to visit my new gig.


Nelson Beasley Vails (born October 13, 1960 in Harlem New York) is a retired road and track cyclist from the United States, a professional rider from 1988 to 1995. He represented the USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the 1000m Match Sprint, behind countryman Mark Gorski.

• 2009 Inductee to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame

• 1984 Olympics: Track – Sprint Silver, 1984

• First African-American to win an Olympic Cycling Medal

• 1985 World Championships: Tandem Sprint, Silver

• 1984, 1985, 1986 National Tandem Sprint Champion

• 1984 National Sprint Champion

• 1983 Pan American Games: Gold Medal

• 1980s and 1990s competed professionally in the 6-Day circuits in Europe and the Japanese Keirin events.

• Media Cycling commentator involved in cycling commentator for major TV networks and cycling safety programs.

• Starred with Kevin Bacon in the Columbia Pictures release of “Quicksilver”, a movie about the tough world of bicycle messengers in New York City.


Rock Rabbit – Sighting on the Road Today

On the road today, I spotted my friend and 2011 Furnace Creek 508 Champion, Adam “Rock Rabbit” Bickett.  We ran into each other on the inside climb of Torrey Pines and did then rode together for about an hour before we went our separate ways.  I wish Rock Rabbit good luck at his next two big events, Hoodoo 500 and the Furnace Creek 508.





  2011 Furnace Creek 508 Solo Champion Adam “Rock Rabbit” Bickett –30:20:28

Lhasa Apso pays the Red-Eyed Vireo a visit

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A couple of days ago John “Lhasa Apso” Culligan stopped by my store to pay me a visit.  He was in Newport Beach visiting from Salinas.  We told war stories for a few minutes.  During our conversation he mentioned to me that he was returning the 508 one more time.  One of the things, that made an impact on me was when he expressed how deep in to his psyche the 508 had gotten. I went further by saying what I think he meant to say — the 508 has gotten in to our souls.

It was nice to see a Furnace Creek 508 veteran out of competition.  The 508 is a non-draft legal 508 mile non-stop long distance bicycle race.  Basically, it’s a 508 mile time-trial. It’s illegal to ride alongside a racer for more than just the time it takes to pass the racer. The evening before the event there are so many activities you can’t really connect.  After the race it’s difficult as well since we finish all through the night.   I believe now you can see how precious it is to spend time with a 508 solo racer.

Good luck Lhasa Apso at the 2012 Furnace Creek 508!


Just for fun John had this picture to share with me.  This was taken on Day 1 of the 2010 Furnace Creek 508.  It’s a great picture the photographed captured us both smiling.


My Ultra-Cycling Hero- Pete Penseyres

On my ride today I ran into Pete Penseyres.  I run into Pete here and there.  A while back when my work schedule was much more flexible I would join  Pete and his merry men on Wednesdays for a his weekly ride out of Bonsall.  But now that I live in Orange County I don’t get a chance to see him on the road.  I miss riding with Pete and hearing all his stories!

Pete’s Ultra-Cycling exploits are simply amazing!  With the start of Race Across America just days from now I’m reminded of the fact that he still holds the record for the fastest average speed 15.4 mph.  He held that average speed over 8 days 9 hours and 47 minutes to win the 1986 edition of Race Across America.  If you don’t think 15.4 mph is fast  then you should read this!  I think the analysis will give you a completely new perspective

Here’s just a short list of his accomplishments:

Penseyres’s palmares
Tandem Team Transcontinental Record
10d 21h 49m
RAAM Second Place Solo
10d 22h 2m
RAAM First Place Solo
9d 13h 13m
RAAM First Place Solo
8d 9h 47m, 15.40 mph
Tandem Transcontinental
7d 14h 55m, 15.97 mph
RAAM HPV Team First Place
5d 1h 8m, 24.02 mph
US Master’s National Road Race Champion
1993 – 2001
11 Master’s National Tandem Time Trial or Road Race championships
7th place
24-hour HPV record (602 miles)
RAAM Master’s Team, 50-plus
5d 11h 21m

My Friend and Cyclist Bill Walton

What a nice treat during my day…Bill Walton came to visit me.  I met Bill a few years back.  He is a huge cycling fan and avid rider himself.  He likes the long rides.  It’s not unusual to see him on a century ride here and there.  He is close friends with Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer of AdventureCORPS. He comes out to the AdventureCORPS events and that how I got to know him.

I remember at the Furnace Creek 508, Bill Walton was crewing for a team (a huge selfless act) and he came alongside me in the crew vehicle and starting talking to me.  I was over 300 miles and over 20 hours into the race (508 miles).  I was feeling one of the lulls during the long event and just having a conversation with him lifted my spirits.

I am fortunate to have Bill Walton as friend and I look forward to many more years of his friendship.  He is such and easy-going guy it’s easy to like him.  I hope to see him at the Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic April 21 (registration closes April 16)


What a difference a day makes…

I rode two days in the Palomar Mountain area.  Both days were lackluster but today was slightly better.  Yesterday was such a shitty day I turned around and went home.  I started in Escondido and climbed the lower portion of Palomar Mountain on Hwy 76 (approx 4.4 miles 1,500 gain) I couldn’t get myself motivated to climb the second half of the mountain.  I was tired from the work week and I hadn’t had a good night’s rest. So I turned around yep, I DNF’d on a training ride 😉  It was still a 50 mile ride with almost 4,000 feet of gain which is a good enough ride for most people.

Today I started in a different part of Escondido and climbed all the way to the top of Palomar Mountain, albeit slowly.  I felt so much better today.  In fact, I even descended a couple of times to pick up my straggler.

Epic Training Tip:  When the day isn’t going well go home, eat and rest.  Your body is telling you something.  Take care of it and go back the next day and try again.  It’s ok to miss or quit on a training day to have a better training result on another day.

Living up in Orange County I haven’t been going to Palomar Mountain as frequently I used to when I lived in San Diego County,  On a regular basis, typically once a week, I would make the 100 mile 10,000 feet of climbing round trip from Encinitas to the top of Palomar Mountain.   Palomar is a great climb beginning in Pauma Valley about 1000 feet elevation topping out at 5,200 feet.

There is much debate as to how long and how much gain is attained on the climb. Most people time themselves from “store to store”. Which means from the Stage Stop and Liquor at the bottom to the Mother’s Market at the top.  That distance is about 11.7 miles with about 4,200 feet of gain.  Some like to time themselves from Harrah’s Casino which is understandable because it is the very bottom of the valley.  The store is on the left hand side of Hwy 76 when you make the right turn onto Hwy 76 from Valley Center Rd.  You can see it in the Google Satellite image I have included below.

March 15 not a good day (notice low normalized power)

March 16 a little better (notice much higher normalized power)

March 16 just the major climbs — 40 miles with 7400 feet gained

Alright and now for some good things to take away from these two uninspiring days.    On Thursday when I made the right turn onto Hwy 76 I saw a rider alongside the road, just across the road from the Stage Stop store, wearing a Furnace Creek 508 jersey.  I had to pull over and ask who he was.  I asked “What’s your totem?”  He knew who I was but I didn’t know him.  He was David Nash a two-man finisher from 2011 with my friend Steve “Desert Duck” Teal.

Later when I was about 3 miles from finishing my ride back in Escondido, I see someone flagging me down.  I pull over and start chatting with the gentleman pictured above.  Apparently, Roland has been reading my blog for about a year.  He recounted his progression from racing as a young man, coming to the states, having a family and now riding again.  He had just completed his first double century in Death Valley put on by AdventureCORPS.  Good work Roland I hope to see you at an event sometime and thank you for reading my blog.  You brightened up my day which was otherwise a total wash.

UPDATE  3/17/12

A question came in from one of my readers.  He asked if my Performance Management Chart reflected the lack of motivation or over-training that I felt on Thursday March 15th.  Well the graph above is from November 14 through March 15.  You can see the pink line is the stress I put on my body and yellow line is how much rest or recovery I give my body– in layman’s terms.  I don’t see anything unusual when compared to other times I have stressed my body more and still been able to put in a good training workout.

Thank you for reading my blog and please refer a friend.

Please consider AdventureCORPS in your 2012 ride calendar!  I hope to see you “out there”

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Just an old picture that my friend Don Parker had on his Facebook. It was taken a year ago, almost exactly, on November 18, 2007. I was commuting home from Encinitas to Huntington Beach. I ran into Don going in the opposite direction and paused for a picture.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Day. I plan on riding but I just haven’t decided where yet. Have fun eat lots and enjoy the people you spend your day with!!!