May 18, 2011

Tour of California

We were able to catch a stage of the Amgen Tour of California this year. Stage 4 started in downtown Livermore and ended in San Jose. The route was 131.6km long and included a climb up Mount Hamilton and a hilltop finish on Sierra Road. We were lucky enough to see the team cars and some riders like Levi Leipheimer prior to the start. We had a close view of the finish line and it was amazing to see Chris Horner climb up the hill to the finish well ahead of all the other riders. Levi Leipheimer finished a minute and fifteen seconds after him in fourth.

Levi Leipheimer

Chris Horner
Andy Schleck

George Hincapie

May 15, 2011

Avenue of the Vines 5k

I ran the Avenue of the Vines 5k at Woodbridge Winery in Lodi for the second year in a row. There was a Half Marathon distance as well. Rain was in the forecast but luckily it paused for the 5th annual event. BIb and t-shirt pick up was indoors for fear of the rain. Entry fee for the 5k was $35 but Kaiser Permanente employees and members could receive a $5 discount. The entry fee included chip timing, a cotton tshirt, wine glass, goodie bag, limited snacks and post race wine tasting. Half Marathon participants received a technical t-shirt instead of cotton and also received a finishers medal. Getting there early allowed me a close parking spot in a nearby lot. People who arrived after the lot was full were able to park on the street.  The Half Marathon started at 7am with the 5k starting 15 minutes later. The 5k race route was an out and back on flat streets through grapevines. The route for the Half Marathon was a loop course on flat streets through grapevines and mustard seed field.There was a water station just before the turnaround point for the 5k and a mile marker at one mile. There was water and a sports drink available after the race. Heading back indoors there were several booths set-up by the race sponsors. After picking up my wine glass I went around the booths for the usual freebies-bags and candies. Post race food was not available until later and consisted of fruits and chicken or veggie wraps. There were some race pictures available for purchase onsite for $10 each. There was also a booth where I entered my bib number and was supposed to find out my official time and ranking but it was inaccurate at first. The timing company did eventually fix it. Age division winners won large wine bottles but there was no award for the overall 5k winners. Aside from the timing glitch, the race was well organized, I would definitely run it a third time.

Race Results
Race Website

May 13, 2011

California Closing 70 State Parks

California announced today the plan to close 70 State Parks due to the budget deficit. The closures are expected to happen this September.

Here is the list of closures:

- Anderson Marsh SHP
- Annadel SP
- Antelope Valley Indian Museum
- Austin Creek SRA
- Bale Grist Mill SHP
- Benbow Lake SRA
- Benicia Capitol SHP
- Benicia SRA
- Bidwell Mansion SHP
- Bothe-Napa Valley SP
- Brannan Island SRA
- California Mining & Mineral Museum
- Candlestick Point SRA
- Castle Crags SP
- Castle Rock SP
- China Camp SP
- Colusa-Sacramento River SRA
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
- Fort Humboldt SHP
- Fort Tejon SHP
- Garrapata SP
-George J. Hatfield SRA
- Governor's Mansion SHP
- Gray Whale Cove SB
- Greenwood SB
- Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP
- Hendy Woods SP
- Henry W. Coe SP
- Jack London SHP
- Jug Handle SNR
- Leland Stanford Mansion SHP
- Limekiln SP
- Los Encinos SHP
- Malakoff Diggins SHP
- Manchester SP
- McConnell SRA
- McGrath SB
- Mono Lake Tufa SNR
- Morro Strand SB
- Moss Landing SB
- Olompali SHP
- Palomar Mountain SP
- Petaluma Adobe SHP
- Picacho SRA
- Pio Pico SHP
- Plumas-Eureka SP
- Point Cabrillo Light Station
- Portola Redwoods SP
- Providence Mountains SRA
- Railtown 1897 SHP
- Russian Gulch SP
- Saddleback Butte SP
- Salton Sea SRA
- Samuel P. Taylor SP
- San Pasqual Battlefield SHP
- Santa Cruz Mission SHP
- Santa Susana Pass SHP
- Shasta SHP
- South Yuba River SP
- Standish-Hickey SRA
- Sugarloaf Ridge SP
- Tomales Bay SP
- Tule Elk SNR
- Turlock Lake SRA
- Twin Lakes SB
- Weaverville Joss House SHP
- Westport-Union Landing SB
- William B. Ide Adobe SHP
- Woodson Bridge SRA
- Zmudowski SB

May 3, 2011

May Events

Here are a few things going on in May

5/7    Peace Officers 5k, 10k races at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park
5/7    Mermaid Run in Fremont, 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and 18 mile distances
5/7    Race for the Cure 5k in Sacramento 
5/7    For the Health of It 5k and 10 races in Lodi
5/7    Rina's Run 5k and 10k races in Ripon
5/8    Sequoia Trail Run 10k, 20k, 30k, 50k distances
5/8    SF Sunday Streets Cycling event-Mission Route
5/8    Berkeley Hills Road Race
5/12  Bike to Work Day
5/14  Cinderella Trail Run in Oakland, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon and 50k distances
5/14  Run with Nature 5km 10k and 2 mile obstacle course in Folsom
5/14  Tour de Starbucks Bicycle Event and 5k run in Brentwood
5/15  Big Basin 10k, 15k, 25k, 50k trail run
5/15  Avenue of the Vines 5k and Half Marathon in Lodi
5/15  XTERRA Pacific Championship in Santa Cruz
5/15 thru 5/22 Tour of California
5/20  REI Anniversary Sale Begins
5/21  Oakdale Chocolate Festival 5k
5/21  Pineapple Classic 5k obstacle course in San Jose
5/21  Run for Peace 5.3 mile run in Briones Regional Park
5/21  Napa Gran Fondo
5/22  Run to Play 5k and 10k races in Castro Valley
5/22  Dirt Inspires 4mile and 8 mile race at Big Basin State Park
5/28  Modesto Classic 5k
5/28  Mayor's Hike and Bike event in Stockton
5/29  Wounded Warrior 5k in Manteca
5/30  Rotary Indy 5k and 10k races in Stockton

REI Free Clinics (all at 7pm)
  Bike Maintenance Basics
    5/4   Brentwood
    5/4   Concord
    5/4   Corte Madera
    5/31 Berkeley
  Intro to Adventure Racing
     5/10 Stockton
  Intro to Bike Commuting
     5/17 Stockton
  Climbing Legend Royal Robbins
     5/24 Stockton
  Diva Night: Intro to Triathlons
     5/31 Stockton
  Nature Photgraphy in Contra Costa
     5/5  Brentwood
     5/5  Concord
  Half Dome in a Day
     5/31 Saratoga
  Get to Know Your Bicycle (3:30-4pm)
    5/8   Concord
    5/15 Concord
   5/14 Brentwood (2pm-5pm)
   5/14 Berkeley (10am-2pm)

REI Used Gear Sales (all at 10am)
    5/7   Mountain View
    5/7   Saratoga
    5/7   Concord
    5/7   San Francisco 
    5/8   Fremont
    5/14 Corte Madera

May 1, 2011

Workday Devil Mountain 5k

We ran the Workday Devil Mountain 5k race in Danville. There was also a 10k distance. The race benefits the Oakland Childrens Hospital and Research Center. Race registration was $32 and included a cotton t-shirt, race timing and post race goodies. For those who registered ahead of time the race bib and timing chip was mailed but the t-shirt had to be picked up on race day. There was also an option to purchase a Poly-Dri wicking shirt for $25. The event took place on Railroad Avenue near the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville. Event parking was clearly marked and was a few blocks away from the start/finish. As we walked towards the start we saw several booths set up in a large parking lot between the museum and the neighboring grocery store. Same day registration was available and shirt pick up was availble before and after the race. We decided to save a trip to the car and pick up our shirts after the race. There were several portapotties as well. It was a mass start for the 5k and 10k races, both lining up on Railroad Avenue. The 5k racers lined up on the north side of the road and the 10k racers on the south side since the two routes split soon after the start. The race started on time at 8am and just a short distance past the start the 10k racers split to the right while the rest of us headed left onto Hartz Avenue. We passed the Forward Motion Sports store, one of the race sponsors, and then continued onto the slightly downhill Hartz Avenue. At about 1.5 miles we turned left onto Wayne Avenue which climbed until we reached Iron Horse Trail. Turning left onto Iron Horse Trail we passed a water station and continued on the paved trail. Just before reaching the museum we crossed the finish line which was on Iron Horse Trail itself. There were mile markers at every mile and streets were closed along the race route. Just behind the finish and across a small street was the large parking lot with the booths we saw before the race. There we picked up some much needed water and our t-shirts. There were several booths giving out goodies like fruit, muffins, Snapple drinks and chocolate milk. We made our way around and found a booth giving out free bags that we used to put or goodies in. There was a kids dash at 9:30am and since we knew a couple of the participants we hung around until then. There was even a free bounce house for the children to enjoy before their run. The kids dash was well organized and they had several heats for the various age groups. All finishers received a t-shirt, ribbon and goodie bag. Shortly after the kids dash they began posting race results so we checked on those. Age division awards were handed out at a booth so winners did not have to wait for all winners to be announced. There was a race photographer that was seen taking pictures at the finish and at the post race festivities but not on the race course itself. This race was well organized and with the good route we would do it again.

Race Website
Race Results
Race Photos