Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm back for 2014, Million Dollar Challenge is right around the corner

After some serious thought and not a little bit of apprehension and some counseling from Darcy, I'm in for 2014. I like to think that I have a soft cycling schedule for 2014 so far. Two big trips, one to Belgium with CCSD to ride two sportives, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fl├Ęche Wallone. The second is CAFrica. Challenged Athlete Foundation's 20th anniversary trip to South Africa is an amazing adventure from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. Not bad really. I'm very excited. But committing to do MDC and our own little trip to the pain cave we call 'Tour de Carne Asada' makes the 2014 commitment daunting.

Last year, I pedaled 1,152 miles and climbed 73,560 in 11 days in October. We raised over $28,000 from 110 donors. I could not have done any of it without your help. We done good. But now the issue of 2014 arises. Registration opened for the Million Dollar Challenge today. I'm in. I also convinced a good friend and business partner to go all in this year. He's gonna have a blast.

But I need some company for the trip north. The Tour de Carne Asada leaves Santa Barbara and travels to the start of MDC in 5 days. It adds 500 or so miles and 50,000 feet of climbing if you are also doing MDC. It's not a small effort. I'm willing to lead a small contingent on this journey, if your interested, please signup on my mailing list and we'll keep you in the loop for developments. Once again, Cycling Camp San Diego (ccsd) will do the support for us and arrange lodging. There is a fee but it will depend on how many Carne Asada meat lovers we can find to share the pain…. err, miles.

So 2014 is shaping up. I have a bunch of fun travel ahead in 2014, I'm gonna learn how to train on limited miles this year! Oh boy, this could hurt come October.

Link to Tour de Carne Asada email signup form



Tour de Carne Asada 2014

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

The 'look' of cycling.

I love the 'look' of cycling. For me it's the whole package. It's the freedom to ride anywhere and everywhere, It's the flash of the spandex, the wiz of the gears, the wind in the face rawness and the connections past and present. The fact that the sports stars are right there in front of the fans. So close they sometimes collide. The raw emotion can be seen on anyone climbing a monsterous climb. The look of elation after the climb ends. The determination of a rider in awful weather who needs to get from point a to point b, and was obviously caught out... or as the crazies like myself, maybe not. Sometimes we leave the house in the rain.

Antiseptic brands in cycling try and dazzle us with the high tech wizardry of innovation in our sport. We love this of course, and pat ourselves on our backs for our power meters and bladded spokes. But if you truly look at cycling, not much has really changed. It's true we have far lighter bicycles, but nobody has invented a rounder wheel, or a better handlebar or a better frame, drivetrain, etc. in a hundred years. It's still fundementally the same as the greats of the past rode up all those horrendous dirt and mud alpine climbs so many years ago. And that's what makes this such a kick ass sport. That raw connection to the past takes place every time we struggle up our local hill.  I don't know anyone who has struck this home better than Rapha at connecting and representing these connections.

For the past few years, they have refined the art of the bicycle, but not in the sense of the cool electronic   detachment of Di2 or the social amphetamine of Strava, but with connecting to what we aspire to do. Ride our bikes in epic-ly. We want to be awesome at this, and it's hard. They show images of hardmen riding in remotely beautiful terrain in weather that is perfect. In fact it's this nastyness of elements that makes it even more epic. Their imagery is of guys sweating, with shit on their faces from livestock, not standing in a studio. It shows us how we want to be. I get stoked to just look at these images because while I don't know a single person in the photos, I know the sole of each and everyone of them like my own. Let's ride!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GliderKing's photostream

2013 CAF MDC day 22013 CAF MDC day 72013 CAF MDC day 72013 CAF MDC day 52013 CAF MDC day 32013 CAF MDC day 3
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Some more pics from Million Dollar Challenge. This time from our roving moto photog Wil Mathews.

CAFrica... the adventure continues

So just when you thought my crazy fundraising and bike riding frenzy would finally come to an end, I signed up for CAFrica. A Challenged Athlete Foundation ride to South Africa in late February. In fact, there's just a few spots left if your interested. Here's the sales pitch!


CAFrica is a journey that will challenge you physically, astound you with beauty and leave you more connected to the world.


On this event along the southern tip of South Africa you will experience miles of open road, both paved and path, which weave through the countryside delivering endless vistas, challenging climbs and a peek into the culture of this proud country. The Outeniqua Mountains (which includes the Langeberg  and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges) will be your constant companion as you cycle alongside - and sometimes over – their dramatic peaks.  

Link to photo overview of our Journey

The journey along the famous Garden Route often dips south to touch the edge of the ocean and also carries you upward to ride along ridges overlooking the vast untamed landscape.  It connects endless villages and towns that range from outposts to thriving cities. 

Each of our stop-over accommodations has its own personality, and night after night offers a different cultural experience.  Beachside houses, country homes, colonial inns, luxurious wine land hotels, and Bush chalets, all offer a style of South African hospitality that we don’t experience in North America.  Innkeepers and the local population are eager to serve and entertain you, and show great care for your individual experience. 


In addition, the dining opportunities will bring a sense of adventure and satisfaction to every meal.  Try something uniquely local (ostrich, pap and wors, or Peri Peri sauce?) or savor a dish with a European influence.  The treats are especially fun to try including biltong, Steri Stumpies, and Rusks to dip in your coffee! To satisfy hungry riders, all our favorite “fueling” foods are available too.


The ride itself would be rewarding enough, but by far the opportunity to engage with the local people will make this the trip of a lifetime.  South Africa is known for its multiethnic society.  You’ll hear a multitude of languages and have the chance to understand the lifestyle and passions of the people, including local challenged athletes you have supported.

Link to mileage, climbing stats

A touching, wild, luxurious and inspiring adventure awaits! Be sure to click on each of the links below to get full information and I am happy to answer additional questions.

Link to guest program itinerary 

We look forward to having your join us on Thursday, February 27 through Sunday March 9, 2014 as we travel along the Garden Route of South Africa, all the way from Jeffreys Bay to Cape Town.

Link to Signup

Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 Million Dollar Challenge is now complete

Harder to pedal than any spin class... but far more rewarding
Day 7: Started the day with some trepidation and warnings from others. I was to ride Lance Weir's tandem handcycle for part of today's journey from Dana Point to La Jolla. I was supposed to meet him just before the entrance to Camp Pendleton and pedal as far as I could. I heard rumours of how hard it is to ride. Turns out it's far harder than I thought, but also by far the most rewarding part of my journey for the entire MDC North or South.

Graduation Day. That bitter sweet sensation of being stoked and bummed at the same time.

Day 7. We made it to the end of our adventure. Today we ride from Dana Point to San Diego. Last night the plaques were handed out, the Templeton was shared, more amazing connections were made. We got a a chance to meet Eduardo who was electrocuted and was in ICU for 45 days fighting for his life but won. He lost an arm, and had 21 surgeries to put things back together, but will be competing in his first triathlon on Sunday... with a very special bike. Rene Roth donated Duane's bike to Eduardo last night in a incredible ceremony. I had a moment with him last night after nearly everyone had left the room. He's a special guy, and it's a perfect match. If he gets just a little of the Duane affect, he's in for a great ride in life.

We roll into La Jolla Shores park at 2p. If you are around, it's an incredible experience to see.


8401-8405 El Paseo Grande, La Jolla, CA 92037

More photos and blog soon. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 6: Santa Monica to Dana Point with a slight detour


Today we left Santa Monica late. Rumor had it that it was because of a fog advisory. A fog advisory for our heads after mixing Templeton Rye and Foxen Pinot. Coincidently, the weather outside was perfect. Hummm...
Barbara enjoying the bike path life

We cruised down the bike path and enjoyed the morning scenery and tried to not wipe out on all the sand. It pretty dicey when riding in a group and people walking dogs, roller bladders, bums mumbling, yoga classes, surfers, moms pushing double wide baby haulers. And this is 8am. Can't imagine on a sat afternoon!

Day 5 Santa Barbara to Santa Monica

Perfect weather and a great send off in the morning of the Star Spangled Banner by guitar and a pep talk by sports broadcasting legend Dick Endberg (who's wife is riding with us this year btw). We were off down the coast. The scenery is spectacular as we keep the water on the right side. The roads however, required constant attention.

Nancy's chain is beyond help courtesy of me

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 4 Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

What does the Foxen Say? Day 4 was spent retracing some of the same roads I took on the way north. In that respect it was a bit anticlimactic, but I had some time to look around and see some things i didn't see before. We had some early offshore winds that caused some havoc in the peloton. A lot of people are riding deep section carbon wheels that are hard to handle in a cross wind, and early yesterday, that was the case.
Don English (r) and John Howard blasting thru the crosswinds

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 3... Epic Day Along Big Sur...

We've been cruising. Day 2 we hit the digital black hole of Big Sur. The hotel we were at... well, the motel we were at doesn't really have internet. So the blog, instagram, facebook are onhold. Today we broke the digital impasse, but really, who cares. were on the most beautiful section of coastline in the world as we hit the Big Sur coast on a early monday morning. Spectacular... more tomorrow night. Today was a 115 miles and it's time to prep for the longest day of the ride. 130 miles tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

CAF's Million Dollar Challenge 2013: The Main Event

The 2013 CAF MDC is underway...

We're off! After early morning send off ceremony and an amazing rendition of Country's National Anthem by Breezy, we set off for Santa Cruz across the Golden Gate Bridge. Once again, it was awe inspiring to see towering in the fog as crossed over into the city to be met by police. No really, we had a police escort all the way to the southern border of San Francisco through every intersection. We all got pretty spoiled pretty quickly.

R & R Day: Restless and Ready...

Spent the day today trying to figure out how to spend my day. I got up early, then went back to sleep. But that didn't last long. I got out of bed, threw on my cycling clothes and pulled out my bike and headed over to the city across the Bridge. Not hard, not easy either... just a little ride to not let my legs forget we have some work to do this coming week.
Bike laundry day...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day Five... glorious Day 5... we made it to San Francisco

Not the usual direction, but that's what made it epic!

We made it. Crossed the bridge today on route to our hotel at the Lodge at Cavallo Point about 2pm today. That's after we had a coffee at Rapha in the city. I've been meaning to check that place out, and it was worth the visit. But I digress... 

We left Mountain View at 7am, and it was chilly. We headed up and over Old La Honda, which is a incredible climb. In fact if the light was better, I wanted to take more pictures. As it was, we only took a few. The road surface was fantastic, and the climb was beautiful in the early morning. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 4: Carmel to Mountain View and a look ahead to Day 5

Wow, what a day. We started the day with rain. No really, some pretty heavy wet stuff as we left the motel to 'warm up' on the 17 mile drive. It was more like the 17 miles of driving rain and wind. It was stunning even with the weather, but it was not good for morale when we had 120 some miles to go with ninety percent of the climbing in the last half of the stage.

Climbing up Empire with our Dodge Journey CAF service car

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 3 Paso Robles to Carmel Recap and look ahead to Day 4

Wow, what a day. Started off cold... like stop the car, get all the cold gear out and suit up. It was in the 40's from the hotel and kept that way for a good portion of the early ride. Wished I had dug out my toe warmers... But the possible rain prediction never came to fruition and the beginning of the ride along the 101 at spots was not a problem. Cody was up for the challenge after his gallant fight with some sort of food poisoning on Stage 1. 

The signature of the day, and maybe even the 5 days of riding was Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd which is a picturesque ass-kicker that takes you from the valley side of the 101 and puts you on Highway 1. It goes through an Army base and because of the federal shutdown, all the national park campgrounds on the ocean side of the climb were closed, so we saw at most 4 cars the entire climb and descent. Fantastic. Couple that with epic weather, we were in heaven. 

Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd heading west

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 2: Santa Maria to Paso Robles... the transition stage and a preview of Day 3

Today I had company. Mark Fillebrown joined me after Cody had food poisoning mid stage on day one. It wasn't pretty, but luckily Cody's Australian constitution is tough, so he's up for tomorrow's queen stage... but we'll get to that in a second.
Mark was my wingman on day 2. Pulled into the wind most of the day!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Looking ahead to CDM Day 2..


90 miles and 7,000 feet climbing
Leave the farming community of Santa Maria for a roll around the heart of the central coast near San Luis Obispo. Then up you go as you clear the coastal range and cruise into wine country.
Highlights:
  • Cruise around quaint central coast towns near San Luis Obispo
  • Take on the well-known leg stretcher, Old Creek Road
  • Cut across the vineyards located west of Paso Robles
  • Cruise down the ever popular and fun descent of Peachy Canyon • Grab a nice meal with wine in downtown Paso to cap off the day 
Link to the route: 

Day One... Santa Barbara to Santa Maria.

Fabulous weather greeted us for the first pedal strokes of our northbound journey. The views from Painted Cave were stunning as we threaded our way over the top of Santa Barbara and down toward the Figueroa Mountain climb. That climb was the real deal. Like really tough, long and did I mention long. Then after a incredibly beautiful but bumpy descent, we hit the wind we've been warned about. It was blowing down Foxen road, which brought us all the way to Santa Maria. But nothing that a little mexican food couldn't cure. We'll hit it again tomorrow. 90 miles, and 7,000 feet on tap. Hopefully if we get an early start, we can avoid some of the afternoon wind. We'll see. 


Cody Stevenson

Friday, October 4, 2013

Looking Ahead To Day One: Santa Barbara to Santa Maria

Day one. We start the journey with a 100 mile, 10,000 feet of wonderfulness! No seriously. 
We begin in lovely Santa Barbara. Proceed to climb the famous Painted Cave with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Later, we tackle Figueroa Mountain, hallowed training grounds of many World Tour professional cycling teams in the off season. Then we ride through wine country via Foxen Canyon Road. Perhaps a quick stop for a sample? Well, maybe a photo now and then. 

Link to the route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3451153


Day One of CDM: That's backwards for Million Dollar Challenge in reverse...



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Training complete... now rest


Ugh, so if I would have known that Rob Panzera, my favorite coach (well, my only coach) would have me as worked over as I am today, I might not have signed up for the northbound express. Today was a 'short' 40 miler with about 3,000 feet of vertical. This was on the easy side of my recent rides. Yesterday for example was over 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. The legs are feeling sore but good, so having a couple of days off before starting on Sunday should make them feel even better!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One More Big Ride

With tomorrow's ride from Rob Panzera calling for 3hrs and 3,000 feet, today was the main attraction on the training schedule. I headed east and started the ride in Pine Valley. It was in the high 40's this morning, so luckily I learned my lesson to always have arm warmers and a light wind vest in the car for east county starts. The weather on the coast is almost never the same weather as in the mountains.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Great training week done! Time to taper...

Had a great training week this week. Did a bunch of miles, along with some hills along the way. I think I'm physically ready for the northbound leg of my adventure. Next week is still riding every day, but reduced mileage. I do get to climb a bunch however, so you might see me on Mt. Soledad doing some repeats to get ready for the steep stuff out of Santa Barbara....

Cruising through Elfin Forest

Talked with Rob Maslach today. Endurobites is going to sponsor us for our ride. This is awesome news since this is without doubt the best food I've ever used while training/racing. It tastes great, and is not made up of a bunch of filler, processed carbs and maltodextrin. It's easy on the stomach!

Rode my Holland Jet today to make sure everything is good to go. It sure felt awesome after riding my 30lb steel Holland from 1987 around last week. If you've never seen the Holland video of how the Exogrid is made, it's worth a look.


beSPOKE from Jeff Katz on Vimeo.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

$25,000 Goal Reached... Let's keep the party going!

I've always been a goal oriented person. For some reason, deadlines and goals provide the impetus to get things done. My first goal for this years Million Dollar Challenge was $20,000. With that amount in the bank,  I would ride north the extra 550 miles to join the rest of the MDC riders for the trip south. We reached that goal together with over 60 people's donations.  I bumped up the total goal amount to $25,000. Yesterday, we reached over $26,000 with almost 100 donations. Incredible. I can't thank you enough. CAF is an exceptional organization doing amazing work with all sorts of challenged athletes, and could never do their work without the support of people like us. Good job team!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Northward Journey Starts Oct 6

Last year after one of the harder days of the Million Dollar Challenge, I was joking around at dinner I asked, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we rode up from San Diego to the San Francisco start next year?' In retrospect, I might come to dread that thought. Rob Panzera and I concocted a plan that took out the most dangerous component, riding through LA, and added some mountain passes to make the ride an epic challenge. So with a course set, my financial fundraising goal set, I started to look for someone who could spend this much time away from home and work. Not so fast. Not everyone is as bike crazy as I am it appears. However, one person has raised their hand to join me. Cody Stevenson from Holland Cycles will be my co-conspirator for this big ride!

Just a whiff of waffle is in the air...

Went up and around Fallbrook today, adding Sleeping Indian. I haven't done that climb before, at least that I remember. Then went pretty hard through to get to my water stop and the church was closed. I headed down rice canyon and headed up Couser. The cows didn't care...

Later, just enjoyed a nice fall day. The wind turned on, and it made the ride back to catch the final race of the America's Cup an effort. Hopefully we'll have clear sailing so to speak on our way north from Santa Barbara. It's gonna be fascinating to see how that goes. 

The legs feel good so far! 
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Trying out how to show instagram photos on the blog...

CAF's 20th Anniversary

Some awesome images to inspire...