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The Coast Ride 2013

The adventures of Phipps and ThirstyBears

In one word, the Coast Ride was awesome!

I had known about the “Scotty’s Ride” group doing the Coast Ride for several years, but had always had conflicts with training camp (at Morgan Stanley) or work. This year though, Jan Weissenberger (ZIPz Cycling) booked the rooms and arranged for a ride home for us from his wife Emily (thanks!!!) so all I had to do was show up and pay the $25 fee for the SAG to bring my bag down to the finish each day.

DAY 1. San Francisco to Seaside.

Coast Ride Stage 1
Coast Ride Stage 1

The Coast Ride has mushroomed in popularity over the past few years form around 55 in 2011 to 70 in 2012 to 130 in 2013!

On Saturday, I arrived at the GG Bridge at 7:30 AM and met my 5 ThirstyBear Cycling teammates (Aaron Long, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Ken Gallardo & Kyle Ashton).  After putting our 1 “small” bag allowed into the SAG van, picking up a few of the donated energy products from Zego, 18 Rabbits, gu & power bar, paying the $25 & signing the waiver we took a group photo and were on the road by 8:05.

The ThirstyBear Cycling riders Ken Gallardo, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Chris Phipps, Kyle Ashton and Aaron Long.
The ThirstyBear Cycling riders Ken Gallardo, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Chris Phipps, Kyle Ashton and Aaron Long.

One thing about riding with a group of 140, it’s hard to keep track of your buddies.  I had stopped to pee at the end of the Great Highway then tried to find Jan again and didn’t see him until the lunch stop in Davenport not knowing if he was ahead of me or behind (he was ahead).


After another pee stop in Pacifica with Aaron, we rode together and spent the next 15 miles bridging up to a large group we caught in Half Moon Bay just as Ken and Kyle were stopping for water. The large group we caught was paced by Optum Pro  riders Ken Hanson (US Pro Criterium Champion) and Tom Soladay.  Now this was the train to be on for most of the way down the coast.  These 2 guys were more than happy to pull about 75% of the time at a steady effort (guessing 250W to 300W) for long periods of time with no surging on the hills or sprinting for signs, so for the rest of us in this group it was a nice moderate effort & we could just talk to the person next to us and take in the beautiful scenery.





After a lunch stop in Davenport and half a chicken tostada (thanks Alex!), we were rolling in a smaller group with the Thirsty Bear group, Jan, Jacob (Mike’s Bikes) and Tanya for the trip through Santa Cruz, Capitola and down to Seaside.

After motel check-in, waiting for the SAG to arrive with our bags then a shower, we headed out for dinner.  We completely took over the local Thai restaurant and thanks to Scotty’s planning had dinner served within a few minutes of our arrival.


DAY 2. Seaside to Morro Bay


Just a quick breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express and we were rolling out at 7AM on another cold, but clear and beautiful day.  The day 2 route is definitely the highlight of the ride and one of if not the most beautiful ride in the state.  If you haven’t done this ride before you need to!  The ride was very relaxed to Big Sur (32 miles in) where we stopped for water and then the 10 minute climb out of Big Sur (the biggest climb of the 3 days).  I pushed this climb a bit to catch up to a small group of mostly Fusion riders, then just sat on & took in the incredible scenery as I waited for the larger group to catch us.

A quick lunch stop for a sandwich and we were on our way again to Morro Bay.  We had a pretty good head/cross wind coming in, but again the Optum guys were at the front most of the time.

We were pretty famished upon arrival and after a quick stop in the motel to watch the end of the Niners game the group the group proceeded to take over the local taqueria, then the pizza place, then the Fosters Freeze.










 DAY 3. Morro Bay to Santa Barbara (FLAT!)

Coast Ride Stage 3
Coast Ride Stage 3

And by flat, I wasn’t referring to the terrain, though it wasn’t very hilly.  For me, the highlight of the final day was burning lots of kJs chasing back on.  Around 20 miles into the ride I discovered my rear tire had a slow leak.  A quick stop at the SAG for some air, and a SAG paced chase back onto the group (thanks Chris!) was the first hard effort of the day. Shortly after I caught back on Jacob flatted, so I stopped with Alex from Fusion and the 3 of us chased back in the slipstream of the SAG van, but after around 20 minutes chasing and just as we were about to catch the SAG, Alex flatted.  We spent the final 20 minutes to the next rest stop in Guadalupe chasing.  My rear tire was going flat again, so I got a new tire & tube from the SAG but had to start around 2 min behind the group, so I got a nice 20 min ITT (no SAG pacing) effort in.

Everything was then going great for the next 30 miles or so until a crash on the fast descent into Lompoc where 3 riders went down & at least 2 of them had to go to the hospital.  I have no idea how it happened.  I think Lynden McLaughlan (friend of Ron & Corey from Pleasanton) took the worst of it with a few cracked ribs & a punctured lung (wishing him the best for a speedy recovery).


A lunch stop and regrouping in Lompoc was followed by the final 50 mile slog into Santa Barbara.  Unfortunately, this was the worst part of the route (until we got into Goleta and exited) since we were on the shoulder of the freeway & it was covered with gravel & debris.  A minor wheel touch by a rider in front of Ken sent Ken and Chris down with a few scrapes & some blood, but we were able to bridge back to the group quickly, unfortunately, Ken double flatted just as we were getting back on.  I stopped & the 2 of us had a nice 2 man TTT effort over the final 50K.

Would like to thank Scotty and everyone else involved in putting this ride on and the SAG vans were great for providing water, food, flat tire assistance and getting our stuff to each day’s destination.

Overall, the ride was a great experience and I would love to do it again next year with a few more Thirsty Bears!




Ken and Phipps after finishing the last stage of Coast Ride 2013</p>
Ken and Phipps after finishing the last stage of Coast Ride 2013

Early Bird Road Race. Ice Ice Baby…

Extreme icy conditions for about 10 miles, but luckily non of the Bears went down. Piers Barry and Eric Lagier blew the 35+5 field to pieces and were heading for a 1-2 finish. Unfortunately, Eric flatted twice (but still didn’t finish last). Piers won by nearly 3 minutes! Tanya won the Cat 3 race, while Greg McQuaid took 5th in the 35+123s.

Did the 45+123 myself and took off solo at mile 1 to get warm and to get a clear view of the icy road. Finally got company around mile 12 from Chris Courtney and Ziesing and about a mile later Carl Nilson and Dirk Himley bridged up. The pace slowed just before the climb and suddenly the front group grew in size and became 10. I became unhitched on the climb and rode solo once again to hang on for 7th. Himley won, Courtney second. Thanks Hans for the Race Report. 

It is estimated that more than 20 riders went down on the road due to the extreme conditions. Fortunately all ThirstyBears stayed upright.

The Early Bird Road Race segment on Strava.

The following is the race report from Piers Barry who did the ThirstyBear Cycling honor by finishing 1st.
Weather:  46 degrees avg. Sunny. Icy roads over 10 miles of the course
Got out to Patterson early with Eric Lagier, and met up with Hans, Tanya, and Greg.  Still pretty cold out there but course officials insisted the roads were almost entirely clear and dry except for a tiny possible couple ice patches.  It turned out to be tons of ice and huge deep pot holes with loose rock everywhere.  We heard there were more than 30 crashes during the race and seeing the torn jersey collection crossing the line it seemed pretty accurate.
I started my Garmin at the start line–but then didn’t know where the turn around point would be at the top of the climb–lesson learned.  Eric and I just sat in the pack for the first 10 miles.  Pace was moderate but still fast enough we caught the Cat 4 group who was neutralized as we road by.  The road was as much ice as pavement by this time.  Eric and I had just moved to the front third of the pack when a touch of brakes on the ice just behind us resulted in an uphill crash of 5 riders.  No injuries but we went up to the front and stayed there to keep safe.  The race was all together until the final 1.5 mile climb at 9.5% grade.  At the base of the climb Eric and I went to the front and ripped the field into pieces.  Only one rider from Roaring Mouse was within a minute of us by the turn around at the top.  Eric was right with me at the top and we went flying down the hill.   The stage was set for a 2 Bear team time trial for a 1-2 finish to the line but unfortunately a pot hole interfered.  Eric had his first flat (of 3) and he sent me down the road solo.  I was motivated by being out front, pushed the pace a bit through the ice and kept extending my lead all the way to the finish line for a very tiring 18 mile ITT.  Last thursday’s icy Thirstybear ride through Lucas Valley with Peter Badertscher was great preparation for this ride!  There was a chase group behind of 5 riders but I managed to stay well out of sight.  I finished around 3 minutes clear of second place.  Eric had second flat on the road, then another after the finish, but still finished 13th!  Thanks for reading.  See you Bears out there.

Thanks Piers Barry for the race report. 


The Early Bird RR crew minus Greg. Piers 1st, Hans 7th, Tanya 1st & Eric 2 flats.
The Early Bird RR crew minus Greg. Piers 1st, Hans 7th, Tanya 1st & Eric 2 flats.


See the results on our results page. 

ExSTRAVAganza. Tools for Strava fanatics

As Strava have grown in popularity so has the number of 3rd party strava tools that make use of the Strava API. Below is a list of the most popular ones. Please leave a comment if you are aware of others.

1. Veloviewer The most comprehensive analytical tool for Strava. Providing summary and detailed insights to rides, segments in graphs and on map. You can read all about it on their blog.

Signature image from Veloviewer.

2. KOM Notification Service by Jonathan O’keeffe. Follow any of the top ten positions on the leaderboard for a Strava segment, and get an email notification when that position changes.

3. Strava Segment Details by Jonathan O’Keefe. Enhanced segment details screen, with KOM leaderboard history, full details on all rides for a segment, annual summaries, and more.

4. Annual Summary.  by Jonathan O’keeffe. Annual summary of all your rides by year, bike, location, and more. Great way to get detailed statistics including total elevation by year, which Strava does not provide.

5. Raceshape  Compare your rides against others using time gap analysis.

6. Garmin Virtual Partner with Strava Riders by Raceshape. Export a VR partner for a Strava segment and compete against the KOM.

7. Heatmap by Raceshape.  A scalable, sharable, updatable heatmap of all your Strava activities. Check out my heatmap or for Chris Phipps.

8. Multi-ride mapper by Jonathan O’keeffe. Similar to Heatmap showing all your Strava rides on a single scalable map.

My Heatmap by x.raceshape.


Who’s behind the great tools?

Featured on TheGearCaster, Race Shape was started by pro cyclist Paul Mach who wanted to figure out what actually happens between the start and finish line in bike races. Paul did such a great  job with Race Shape that Strava offered him a job. Surely we will see some of the great Raceshape features showing up on Strava.

According to Non Pro Cycling, Jonathan O’Keeffe is software developer and a road cyclist, living in the Connecticut River valley in western Massachusetts. Lets see how long before he is also added to the roster of Strava developers.

Jonathan and Paul share the passion for bike riding with Ben Lowe, who is behind Veloviewer. Ben is based in the UK and works as Innovation Consultant at Tribal Labs, focused on using existing and emerging technologies to provide inspirational user experiences. So when Strava is setting up a UK office they might as well get Ben onboard for his great job with VeloViewer.

What Strava analytical features are still missing?

One of the things I keep looking for is a tool that lets you see a segment by date. Recently we did the Hans’ Birthday Ride which included a set of KOM challenges. It would be great to see how the different riders performed on that day and not get the entire KOM list with past performances.

Leave a comment if you come to think of other great features missing.

Hans’ Birthday Ride 2013

As usual Hans was the host of the now famous Birthday Ride. An epic ride where the majority of the ThirstyBear Cycling riders comes out to catch up with their fellow team riders. This years Birthday Ride had a record high turnout with more than 30 ThirstyBear Cycling riders and friends showing up celebrating Hans and to mark the start of the season. Apart from a birthday cake surprise at Bovine Bakery and a few riders ‘faking’ mecanicals, the ride when just as planned. There were several sprint and KOM/QOM spots for gift card prizes.

First KOM/QOM* – top of Big Rock with $5 coffee card prizes
First Sprint – Nicasio School $10 Trader Joe’s

Re-group at Point Reyes Station, bath rooms and refill

Second KOM/QOM* – top of Balboa with $10 Jamba Juice prizes
Second Sprint – Dog Town sign on Highway 1 $10 Peet’s Coffee card

Re-group at Stinson Beach, potty break and refill

Third and final overall KOM and/or QOM – top of Slide Ranch for $25 CheeseCake Factory Gift Card.

Chris Phipps did a clean sweep and gobbled up all the KOM’s, though he was generous to pass on the Cheese Factory Gift Card to me as his contender on Slide Ranch. Jan Weissenberger took the First Sprint, while there is no report of the 2nd sprint….

Thanks Hans for a great Birthday Ride. Already looking forward to next year…


San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb

Happy New Riding Year to all ThirstyBears!

So the season starts on a sky blue and ice cold January 1st. at the San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb .

The race is basically just one quick sprint up the San Bruno Mountain. 7-8% up Guadalupe Canyon, right turn into San Bruno Mtn County Park, back under Guadalupe Canyon to Radio Road with narrow switchbacks and grades to 10%. Total distance is a mer 3.5 miles, but it sure gets your heart beating.

“The race started pretty relaxed & friendly for a 15-minute hill climb, which was a pleasant surprise since it’s often the first five minutes that feel the worst. But around 1.2 miles where it steepens,Costa had seen enough and started throwing in 600 watt surges that no one could match; at 120 pounds 600 watts goes a long way! “- Chriss Phipps race report on

Chris Phipps, Jenny Wong, and Piers Barry all got 3rd. I came across briefly after Piers as I had to carry a few extra pounds gained during Christmas.  Congrats everyone!  Chris could have won the 35+123 race with one leg, but opted to compete with the Pro12 and getting beat by a Garmin semi-pro who could have been his son. Actually, the 15-year-old kind of looks like his son ;-).

We got great support from Hans and Joe, who made the trip out from Marin to cheer us on. Wonder why they did not participate themselves as they made the ride all the way up to the top?

Thanks to Peninsula Velo Cycling Club for getting up early and organizing this great ‘burn out the New Years alcohol’ race.

For complete results check out the Thirstybear Cycling results page .

San Bruno Mtn. Hill Climb contestants Chris, Eric & Piers with support team Hans & Joe.