Colnago with Campagnolo/ Formigli with Shimano

Colnago C60                                                                                                         Colnago C40

IMG_1654           Broken OneC 40Broken.02

In what we hope is an overabundance of caution, Nick and I are both bringing 2 bicycles with us on Laura’s Ride 2016. The SAG vehicle accompanying us – to be driven by Team Members Sarah and Alejandra – will carry the spare bikes together with all of our gear & supplies.
Since we don’t have to burden our bikes with anything other than us – and occasionally headlights for early morning starts to avoid the worst heat of the day on longer rides when we trek through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas – we are taking the bikes we regularly ride and they are light weight performance bikes, not heavier, presumably more comfortable, touring bikes. (Please note that I used “performance” to describe our bikes, not us.)
Nick’s current ride of choice is a Colnago C 60 with Campagnolo Super Record EPS (electronic shifting) and hybrid hydraulic/cable disc brakes. His support bike is a Colnago C 40, also with Campy’s Super Record, but mechanical shifters and caliper brakes.
My primary bike will be my Formigli One, a custom made Italian bike. Maybe because I’m not Italian, I chose to pair it with Shimano’s DurAce Di2 with fully hydraulic disc brakes. My second bike is also a Formigli, also made to my measurements, the Genesi. It also has Shimano’s DuraAce Di2 but with traditional caliper brakes. I purchased the One because I loved the Genesi and as much as I like that, I like the One even better. That it gets a lot of unsolicited compliments out on the road doesn’t hurt, either!
Until very recently, Nick had been riding standard 53/39 crankset with a 11-27 cassette but has now gone to a 52/36 with the same cassette despite me telling him he should try the 50/34. (Though I think he is putting the 50/34 on the C 40 as a concession to his actual age.) Although I am way younger than Nick – 6 months or so – I don’t turn as big a gear as he has; both of my bikes use 50/34 cranksets with 11 – 28 cassettes. As a sign of my good judgment – which is contradicted by the fact I am making this ride – I have long known that my knees no longer need to be pushing 53/39 gears.
Above is a photo of my “Broken” One after an unfortunate encounter with what will be our SAG vehicle, my Suburban (it is only under duress that I admit that I was the driver). I was undeservedly lucky that the Deda M 35 handlebars and right brake lever were the only casualties of my dumbness. Because neither is currently available from their manufacturer, I had to spend a good portion of a day, not to mention a chunk of my wallet, locating replacement parts. Keep your fingers crossed with me that they make it in time!

Formigli One                                                                                                      Formigli Genesi

DSC_0239 Bike Canada.02


Training In The Rain/Seducing With Nick’s Famous Paella

Nick's YardJunctionJunctionMt. Diablo

While Nick was hosting a Shriner’s lunch at his house today – the photo is of his yard before the guests arrived – I was riding with some of our friends up to the “Junction” of Mt. Diablo. The climb was only around 2,400′, and the distance about 42 miles, but the pace was brisk enough – thanks mostly to the pull of Greg and Freddy (who may join us on part of Laura’s Ride 2016 to help pull Nick and me along for a while) and Bob’s push – that my legs were pretty tired at the end. By the time we were at the top of our ride, the rain had stopped (that is a photo of me recovering next to Greg before riding down) and the descent down the north side was dry. However  I didn’t get warm until we got back to the start where I was able to get out of my wet clothes.
Mean time Nick was hosting 30 of his Shriner brothers by serving them his famous Paella. No doubt that specialty helped induce many of those in attendance to pledge to support Laura’s Ride 2016. We appreciate their anticipated generosity but we also hope that they remember their pledges after they are no longer enjoying the Paella!

Cambria to Solvang: Lots of Wind and More Vineyards

4 of to Cambria3P3A0094

Saturday we (Greg, I, Sal and Kat are with our bikes at the start) set off from Cambria for Solvang after having spent a night in a great resort in Cambria.
The first approximately 36 miles were down Hwy. 1 to San Louis Obispo and the tail wind made us feel especially strong. It certainly made us fast! After getting directions to Solvang at a bike shop in SLO, Greg and I left Sal and Kat who were visiting  Sal’s son who is a student in SLO. Our first stop out of town was a free BBQ. Yes, free. Apparently a doctor was celebrating his 25th anniversary by treating patients and the community to BBQ chicken, Tri-tip, baked beans, salad and cookies. Needless to say, Greg and I took advantage of that.
On the road, our directions led us to an on ramp to Hwy. 101 that said bicycles prohibited. After urging from Greg, and because there didn’t seem to be much of an alternative, I agreed to go ahead and get on. The shoulder was wide and smooth and with the winds blowing at our backs to the south, we were doing 25+ mph on the flats. We were also passed by a Highway Patrol car that paid us no attention. After a few miles, and after passing another Highway Patrol car that had stopped a motorist but seemed to look at us longer than I liked, we got off 101 but were fortunate to have a frontage road that took us along the coast through, among other places, beautiful Pismo Beach. The view was much different, and closer, than if we had been in a car on Hwy. 101. Between the fast wind aided pace and the beautiful views, things were great.
Some 35 or so miles later Kat and Sal rejoined us – they were driven there by our SAG wagon that was expertly operated, once again, by Sandi. That meant they joined us where the blustering winds were hitting us from the side and that made things more adventurous until we turned so that we again had a tail wind and a blistering pace. The ride into Solvang made its way through numerous vineyards and was mostly flat with only a couple of real climbs for a total gain of around 4,400 feet from Cambria. So my day in the saddle had a lot less climb than did those who rode from Carmel to Cambria.
Solvang was a great destination. If you haven’t been there, you should visit. It is a small “Dutch Town” with interesting architecture, lots of shops, restaurants and numerous wine tasting rooms. Kat and Sal enjoyed pedicures Sunday and after a short 25 mile ride Monday morning, we all got vigorous and enjoyable massages before heading off to have wine, cheese and bread, with salamis, pate and olives, at a hill top winery that Greg discovered from asking lots of questions while in town.
After that great lunch, we headed home – by the Suburban, not by bike!
It was a great few days, aside from the mishaps mentioned in my last posting. Outstanding rides, beautiful scenery, nice places to visit, good company – though we missed Nick! – and ideal riding weather. The only downer came when I watched the Warriors lose game 2 to the Thunder when I got home (I had recorded it). However, yesterday’s trouncing by the Warriors helped make up for it and all will again be right with the world if the Warriors win Game 3 this Sunday.
By the way, Nick is feeling great although he discovered on Wednesday’s ride that he is still weak from his blood loss. His doctor told him that it would ordinarily take a couple of months to get his blood back as it should be but that he should be able to speed that along with some additional medical attention. We certainly hope so because we are scheduled to start Laura’s Ride 2016 in less than a month.

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men

Nick and I had planned a vigorous 2 day training session. On Friday we were going to ride from Carmel to Cambria as part of the Pacific Coast Century followed by a Saturday ride from Cambria to Solvang – 110 miles – with some friends. Well, those plans didn’t exactly turn out.
In my last post I mentioned how I missed the Carmel to Cambria ride because of a last minute surgery the day before.
Well, it turns out that Nick also missed the ride. However, his reason was even more unexpected. He had had a medical procedure the Wednesday before the Friday ride. Although feeling weak, on Friday morning he started out but was dropped within the first few hundred yards. Since that was obviously more than just a “down day,” Nick had the sense to return to his hotel room. Then when he continued to weaken and the bleeding became apparent, he had the further good sense to check himself into a local hospital.
The long and short of it is that on Saturday he had another procedure done, this one to correct what wasn’t done correctly the first time. Thankfully, the results were much better and he was able to drive himself home Sunday and he is now back to his normal self. Unfortunately, however, he missed not only the ride to Cambria, but the next day’s ride from Cambria to Solvang that will be the subject of my next post.
The first photo below shows Nick and those he was going to ride with in front of the truck that will accompany us on Laura’s Ride 2016. The next shows Nick before the procedure that got him back to normal.
Welcome back to the land of the healthy, Nick!
IMG_2410 nick hospital

Carmel to Cambria: 101 miles, + 6,000′

This is Nick and a number of our riding friends – Stephen, Greg, Kat and Sal – at dinner at the Passion Fish in Pacific Grove the night before the annual Pacific Coast Century, an unsupported ride from Carmel to San Simeon, which they are extending to Cambria. I know that we missed a great dinner.
I am also going to miss that beautiful ride along the coast; 96 miles and more than 6,000 feet of climbing. However, it is for a good reason: I had a last minute cataract surgery the day before the ride. When I say “last minute,” I mean last minute. I saw the doctor on Wednesday and he operated the next day although it typically takes 4 – 6 weeks to schedule surgery. When he heard about Laura’s Ride 2016, he fit me in ASAP so I would be able to see better for the ride, saying that he has long wanted to ride across country himself. Thank you so much to a fellow bike rider!
Although the instructions say no strenuous activity for a week, that same doctor said that depending on my exam today, I would probably be able to join Nick, Kat, Sal and Greg on the ride from Cambria to Solvang on Saturday (Stephen has to return home) with Sandi as our dependable SAG driver. This will be a new ride for all of us, with about 103 miles and an unknown number of feet climbing. I especially miss Friday’s ride because doing centuries on consecutive days would have been a good fitness test for the ride that starts in just a month.
It will be worth it, though; my vision through the new lens is better than it has been for years and is continuing to clear up after the surgery. So much the better to see the country side on Laura’s Ride 2016. Thank you again to my surgeon. And good luck to Nick, Stephen, Greg, Kat and Sal on today’s ride.


Our Inspiration

L&N 2
One of our good riding friends, Bill Killips, supplemented his generous donation with this heart felt and motivating message while he was dealing with his own health issues, a message that no doubt will run through our minds many times during Laura’s Ride 2016:
Hi Rick/Nick,

Unfortunately I did not have the pleasure to meet Laura but it surely was a bigger loss than I could ever imagine for Nick.  Please know I wish you all the best on your ride and she will be in our thoughts. This ride is going to be extremely emotional for the both of you especially as you get deeper into the ride and your thoughts become more and more focused on Laura. This will definitely be the ride of a lifetime. There will be thoughts of Laura and plenty of emotion to enable you to continue your journey. I wish both of you the very best on this epic ride.

Please know I will do my best to attend the launch party on the 9th. At the present time visitors are always welcome but please note my energy levels have diminished greatly as I continue in recovery.


Thank you, Bill.

More Training, More Vineyards, Good Friends and Rain


Freddy, Nick & Rick

Freddy, Nick & Rick

This past Saturday, Nick and I again rode the Wine Country Century, joined by our good biking friends Stephen, Freddy – who we are recruiting to join us on a portion of Laura’s Ride 2016 and is in the photo with Nick and me at an impromptu rest stop at a small café – and Bob who appear in the photos with us. The countryside through Sonoma County and some of its world famous vineyards is beautiful though on this particular ride it was also decidedly wet. Although cold and uncomfortable for a while, in the end the rain just added to our bragging rights and helped us prepare for some of the summer storms we are likely to encounter on Laura’s Ride 2016.

The ride was graced by some good efforts, good friends we ride with regularly and new friends met at lunch, including Liz from San Anselmo who rode her first century on a friend’s bike after having started bike riding just this past October. Congratulations to Liz! May there be many more.

Apparently a number of others on the ride were involved in some accidents, at least one of which warranted a trip to a hospital. Nick was fortunate not to have joined those unfortunates by surviving having both of his brakes stop working because the cables on his hybrid hydraulic/cable disc brakes had stretched. Of course he wouldn’t have had that problem if he had chosen Shimano’s fully hydraulic disc brakes rather than insisting on gracing his fancy Colnago Italian bike with more expensive Campagnolo components. I happen to think that Shimano is perfectly acceptable on my equally Italian Formigli.

Also getting Great Support from our Generous Friends!

Thank you to all who have generously donated to Laura’s Ride 2016. We are already at almost $11,000. Only $89,025 to reach our goal! We and, more importantly, those afflicted with breast cancer who will benefit from your generosity appreciate your care and thoughtfulness.
I can’t help but comment on Wesley Hulburt’s pledge of $3.00 per mile. While that is especially exciting, it certainly increases the pressure on Nick and me to actually pedal those miles because we can’t let any of that pledge go unclaimed!

Getting Great Support from Lazarex Cancer Foundation

Yesterday Nick, Adam and I met with the great staff at Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Maribel Montanez, Chief Advancement Officer; Karen Ambrogi, Communications Manager; Laurie Geiger, our “go to person”; and Lindsey McGonegal, the social media guru. The ideas and help that they are going to provide is aimed at turning Laura’s Ride 2016 into a very worthwhile event as they will help increase its profile and, in turn, the financial donations that will go to provide much needed help to numerous breast cancer victims.