Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inaugural Nifty Mixty!

Nifty Mixty is a 50 mile mixed terrain adventure ride in the East Bay Hills. There will be several timed Sectors, while the remainder of the course is neutral. Take your time, socialize, navigate, etc. About 80% dirt and 20% paved. Most dirt is smooth and most (but not all) grades are not steep. The course is doable on a road bike with sturdy tires, however a gravel. cross, or mt. bike is recommended. The event is April 27, 2014, Hillside Park, El Cerrito, CA., 7 A.M. Please check out the Nifty Mixty Facebook Page and RSVP if you are coming.

Here is a preliminary list of Rules for the Nifty Mixty:

1. This is a handicapped event. All riders compete on equal footing. I have scientific data that accounts for differences in sex and age. So if you are a studley Cat 1, 28 year old dude, you have the same chance as a fit, 60 year old woman who is age group National Champ. I'd love to see a mix of age and sex in the top 6 places. If you like getting chick'd, this may be your chance!

2. This is a fun, mixed terrain ride with timed Sectors. Between Sectors is neutral. Rest, chill, eat, drink, socialize, regroup, chat, and have fun!

3. Be courteous to other trail users. Slow down, call out to hikers, and pass as to not frighten anyone. Say hello, Good Morning, and comment about how nice a f-in day it is! If you see a horseback rider, you MUST STOP! Ask the rider if it is OK to pass. And then do so slowly and carefully. No shifting, skidding, or any other movements or noises that could spook a horse. This is SERIOUS! I can't tell you how serious this is.

4. For each timed segment, the results will be handicapped and a leader board with placings will be determined. Riders will then have 10 scores with individual placings. The individual placings for each Sector will be added up, and the rider with the lowest score will be the winner. This means that all segments are weighted equally, regardless of length or elapsed time. It is possible, depending on accuracy of GPS data, that each rider will be allowed 1-3 "throwout" segments. Regardless of throw outs, a rider must complete the entire course to be scored.

5. Riders will be responsible for delivering accurate Sector times and uploading them to Strava. If you have a Garmin 500, I highly recommend that you also bring your iPhone or Android device and record a second file. Garmin 500's have inferior GPS accuracy, and your iPhone is actually much better. If a rider has shitty GPS data, I will be unable to match segments and that rider will not be listed in results. Again, if you have a Garmin 500, try to take backup measures.

6. There are 10 Sectors on Stava, all labeled with Nifty Mixty Sector X. You are responsible to know where these are. The Sectors are designed such that there is little or no navigation required within the Sector. But it will be prudent to know where the Sector starts and ends. Sectors will start well after, and end well before any gates or obstacles, so plenty of time to get rolling at the beginning, and plenty of room to stop before the end.

7. There are some downhill Sectors. The safety of you and other trail users is of paramount importance. If you jeopardize that, you will be DQ'd or penalized. Read Rule number 3 again, please.
8. Single Speed riders shall have a 5% time bonus in addition to the standard age/sex bonus. Since most of the Sectors are Single Speed friendly, it is reasonable to assume that if you are a strong Single Speed rider, you will have an advantage. Single speed riders must use the same gear for the entire event. Duh. It's Single Speed.

9. There will be a six place Podium with awards. All entry fees will go back to cash prizes minus any expenses to host the event. Prize money will depend on the number of entries. Entry donation shall be $10. This is a non profit ride.

10. Ride organizer will be listed in the results, but not eligible for official placing or prize money.

11. If a rider botches a Sector, that rider can go back and start again, but cannot go back to a previous Sector. So, if you flat or crash on a Sector, and wish to do it again, you can backtrack and have another go, as many times as you like. However, once you finish the next Sector, you cannot redo a previous Sector.


More rules may be added or modified at any time before the ride.

Course Map

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nifty Ten Fifty Results, Ride Report 2014

Wow, what a milestone year for the Nifty. Over 100 riders, perfect weather, enthusiastic crowd, and, well, some growing pains.

First, a huge thank you to Peter Repetti, from the Knackered Tyres group for volunteering to staff the rest stop. It made a huge difference to have everything set up nicely vs. past years, grabbing stuff out of my car. Also a big thank you to my friends at Clif Bar for donating all the wonderful product you sampled. Please give them your business. Thanks to Trish Pacheco, Janet Martinez, Cyndi Wong, Josh Dapice, Bill Laddish, and Bill Dunn for leading groups. Also a big thanks to all the riders who kept cool, kept safe, but still rode really hard, testing themselves and others on the toughest climbs in the East Bay Hills. And we can boast some good ones here. Additionally, everyone was really cool about the donation, so I was able to put on this event at zero $$ cost to me. It's a lot of work, but the rewards in the form of smiling faces, makes it all worth it.

As last year, we had again three main groups, plus the Nifty Lite Crew. The Elite group was small this year, with climber extraordinaire Josh Dapice, Hard Man Bill Laddish, Incredible Masters rider, Ranger Carl Nielson, and Graham Hymus. The "B" group was about 70 and the "A" group about 30.

The fast guys (l to r) Josh Dapice, Graham Hymus, Bill Laddish and behind the lens, Carl Nielson

Here is a note from Josh Dapice regarding the Elite Group:

Bill Laddish, Carl Nielsen, Graham Hynes and I convened at Hillside Park in El Cerrito, a smaller but no less enthusiastic group than 2013.  We had perfect weather.  Bill, Carl and I had done the ride before and Graham had tackled many of the climbs on the prior weekend so everyone was well prepared.

We were joined at various points from others including Doran Mori, a Cal student [sorry i didn't catch his name but he was tough!], (Ed. note: Possibly Tyler Ross)Paul McKenzie and various members of the "A" group.  The ride included some of the usual routing snafus but overall we did a much better job of sticking to the route than in 2013.  As for the climbs, Marin, South Park, El Toy and Centennial stood out - short enough to fool yourself into going really hard but long enough to realize that you had over committed!  Our group stayed together for most of the ride, losing Carl on one of the descents towards the end.

I will reiterate what I said last year:  This ride is a great way to set PRs on some of the East Bay's best-known and most difficult ascents. The group aspect makes for friendly competition, and the fact that we generally ease off in between climbs means that people can put in big efforts when it counts.

Thanks to Paul for coordinating the various groups and to everyone I was with who rode safely.  See everyone next year!

Thank you Josh for leading the Elite Group and setting the bar high!

I was a bit nervous in the week leading up to the event. Website hits were strong, like 500 per day, and the new Facebook event page led to more social interaction. Sure enough, we had our biggest crowd ever. Last year we had 60-70 riders, and that was a record. This year we smashed that with over 100 riders. There were issues. The original model of having a few guides and everyone sticking together and following no longer works with a group this size, making route finding just a bit too difficult. So there will be major changes for next year. I'll address that in a separate blog, and keep everyone tuned in to what I have planned.

A large group assembles at the start while Paul McKenzie gives a short send off speech; Photo courtesy Bill Bushnell
At the start a huge group assembled. I gave my speech and sent off the "B" group. I couldn't help noticing that there were many riders in that group who were "A" caliber, but for whatever reason, elected to go with the "B" group. We also had Bill Bushnell and Zach Kaplan on their hybrid electric bicycles. I was thrilled to have them out there. These guys are way ahead of their time, and are exploring a very practical type of transportation that I think we will see much more of in the future. Be sure to check out Mr. Bill's Blog for a full description from the hybrid bike perspective, and also check out his Nifty Photos.

The huge B group rolled out at 8:30, probably 70+ strong, and there certainly was some separation. Vajda showed up on his Cannondale Hooligan, a small wheeled bike with four gears, lowest was about 52 inches. The aforementioned "sandbaggers" were immediately off the front, and there would be no way to keep this huge group together. Probably a good thing.

An eclectic mix of cyclists work their way up Moeser Lane, 15-20% Photo courtesy Bill Bushnell

Josh Dapice showed up just before my "A" group left and we spoke for a bit. The A group was probably 30 strong. These guys were pretty fast, and I rode at the back of the group up Moeser. In our group was Chris Lundy, a very strong female climber, who ended up taking the QOM on Marin. I met Chris on the Murphy Mack Spring Classic. Her climbing prowess was obvious there, so I thought she might enjoy the Nifty. It was an honor to have her along and she rode very strong all day, although she unfortunately missed climb #8 and had bad GPS data on #10 which I track in results. But she otherwise smashed the course!

Chris Lundy, Nifty QOM climbs up El Toyonal
Group Climbing on El Toyonal

Josh and the Elite Group then assembled after the A group left, so three waves total, 8:30, 9:00, and 9:30. Bill Dunn and Brian Crowley comprised the Nifty Lite group, which left at 8:30.

I kept the "A" group together for four climbs, and at the top of Lomas Cantadas, I stopped for water and ended up socializing a bit with Wilson Tai, and others at the Steam Trains. My teammate Kevin Keenan had flatted on El Toyonal and I told him I'd stall the group at the top while he caught up. Well , he did catch up, but my "A" group forged ahead without me anyway!

Paul McKenzie and Doran Mori on Lomas Cantadas. Photo Courtesy Bill Bushnell

Mid ride we stopped and Peter had the aid station set up. It was so cool to see that. I hung around there for a bit to socialize, and fell further behind, but eventually rolled out of there with Kevin.

A proper aid station was set up by Peter Repetti, and he supplied this photo too! Thanks Peter.
Later on, Josh passed me on Snake and he waited at the top and I snapped a pic of him. Unfortunately Carl had fallen behind and missed a few turns so he was no longer with the Elite group. But he did his own route to make sure he got plenty of climbing in. Bill Laddish and Graham Hymus worked hard chasing Josh all day.

Josh Dapice takes a break after smoking it up Snake.


I'd been riding pretty hard and the legs were starting to fade, but being around all these great riders was inspiring. I passed 15 year old Cynthia on Broadway Terrace and it was so cool to see her still plugging along strongly. Certainly the youngest Nifty finisher ever!

15 Year old Cynthia still smiling on Broadway Terrace, Climb #8
Baked goods at Fourneé Bakery on Domingo just before the final climb to Vollmer

We got to Peet's with 9 climbs done and one to go. I decided to enjoy a cookie from the bakery. There was a large group there socializing before tackling the last big climb up to Vollmer. I went to the bathroom, and when I returned, everyone was gone! I tried to catch, but alas, the legs were cooked and it was all I could do to slog up to Vollmer at a snail's pace, while many of the A and B riders were already coming down.

Nice to have Doran Mori along, another strong climber from the Clif Bar Team. Photo at the top of Vollmer


It really was a perfect day with a great turnout, enthusiastic riders, and perfect weather.

The Hybrid crew. left Zach Kaplan, Right, Bill Bushnell, Bill Harkola in background

A very strong cycling couple, Bruce and Janet Gardner
Your host, a.k.a. Big Daddy, Tail Gate'n at the finish. Who's your Daddy?

We had a small group at Lanesplitter for pizza and beer later on to cap off a wonderful day. Thanks everyone, and hope to see you next year for a new and improved Nifty!

Results:

All final results below, first, total climbing time in Minutes:Seconds, then KOM on #3 Marin and KOM on final climb #10 Claremont/Vollmer.

Only a few did the entire course correctly, but a slightly larger number did all the climbs more or less correct. I had to search for some times as there are a few options on El Toyonal. I've corrected what I could, so here is your list of people who did the climbs more or less correct.

Bad GPS data is a problem. If you have a 500, they are really bad for segments. Get a 510! The overall data represents 31 of the total of 72 people who uploaded to Strava. For Marin and Claremont we have a much higher number of segment matches. Number is total minutes spent climbing. Canon Dr. not included:

1 Josh Dapice 115:40
2 Bill Laddish 129:17
3 Graham Hymus 138:18
4 Jake Teitelbaum 138:32
5 Adam Beltz 144:00
6 Bobby Escay 146:56
7 A P 147:32
8 Marcello Pedersen 148:04
9 Michael Manzella 148:29
10 Sebastiaan Huber 151:49
11 Ben Knipe 154:02
12 Paul McKenzie 154:36
13 Chris Corral 158:58
14 Mike Leung 159:01
15 Bryan Davis 161:03
16 Tyler Ross 167:37
17 Beckett Madden-Woods 168:00
18 bernard demai 170:59
19 joe rokes 171:09
20 Will Estacio 182:03
21 Vernon Piccinotti 184:35
22 Bob Aversa 185:13
23 Marc Goroff 188:11
24 Mark Ward 190:38
25 Amy Cameron 191:13
26 Sn Holium 193:05
27 Will S 205:03
28 Trish Pacheco 213:28
29 Paul Capewell 218:43
30 Douglas Samp 220:13
31 Bruce Burkhalter 246:57

* Bill Bushnell  146:17
* Zach Kaplan (Approx. same time)
* Hybrid Electric Bicycles, Bill with fairing and Zack with trike.

Marin KOM Results:
Congrats to Chris Lundy and Josh Dapice, QOM and KOM on Marin! HUGE!

Women:

1 Chris Lundy 9:40
2 Janet Gardner 10:39
3 Amy Cameron 11:53
4 Trish Pacheco 13:48
5 Cyndi Wong 14:54

Men and Women together:

1 Josh Dapice 6:48
2 Bill Laddish 6:49
3 Carl Nielson 6:59
4 Ken Cluff 7:29
5 Jake Teitelbaum 7:48
6 Mike Leung 7:57
7 Graham Hymus 8:00
8 A P 8:11
9 Rob Stiles 8:19
10 Sebastiaan Huber 8:20
11 Bill Brier 8:30
12 Marcello Pedersen 8:33
13 Kevin Keenan 8:36
14 Michael Manzella 8:37
15 Bill Harkola 8:49
16 Bruce Gardner 8:55
17 Ken Mejica 8:56
18 Ben Knipe 8:56
19 Tyler Ross 9:08
20 joe rokes 9:22
21 Virgilio Pigliucci 9:24
22 Luke Petersen 9:25
23 Chris Corral 9:28
24 Paul McKenzie 9:28
25 Mark King 9:37
26 Chris Lundy 9:40
27 Vernon Piccinotti 9:43
28 Paul Vetter 9:52
29 Todd S 9:53
30 Floyd Williams 9:56
31 Adam Beltz 10:04
32 Mike 'Mr. Crash' Solis 10:10
33 Beckett Madden-Woods 10:16
34 West Kurihara 10:19
35 byron hay 10:20
36 Bosticman ! 10:36
37 Todd Stiers 10:36
38 David Fisch 10:39
39 Janet Gardner 10:39
40 Don Knapp 10:43
41 Bob Aversa 10:56
42 Conan Wen 11:04
43 Bryan Kilgore 11:08
44 Will Estacio 11:12
45 Bryan Davis 11:23
46 Sn Holium 11:28
47 Amy Cameron 11:53
48 Pritpal Singh 12:03
49 bernard demai 12:11
50 Robert Gonzalez 12:16
51 Eric Chodoroff 12:20
52 Janos Roja 12:47
53 Mark Elgood 13:00
54 osvaldo tomatis 13:01
55 Nicolas K 13:16
56 Marc Goroff 13:18
57 Trish Pacheco 13:48
58 Wilson Tai 13:51
59 Richard Jones 13:52
60 Dave Brunswick 14:25
61 Will S 14:35
62 Mark Ward 14:36
63 Jeff Guertin 14:46
64 Cyndi Wong 14:54
65 Bruce Burkhalter 15:06
66 Paul Capewell 15:26
67 Douglas Samp 16:21
68 Rome Mubarak 16:35

Claremont/Vollmer Prelim KOM Results Congrats Janet and Josh!:

Women:

1 Janet Gardner 35:13
2 Amy Cameron 38:21
3 Cyndi Wong 42:19
4 Trish Pacheco 50:26
Note: Chris Lundy had GPS drift and missed segment. Chris, send me your file and I can fix it and extract your time.

Men & Women:

1 Josh Dapice 23
2 Graham Hymus 29:15
3 Ben Knipe 29:40
4 Bill Brier 29:47
5 Floyd Williams 29:5
6 Sebastiaan Huber 29:57
6 Kevin Keenan 29:57
8 Ken Mejica 30:15
9 Adam Beltz 30:39
10 Eric Chodoroff 30:58
11 Pritpal Singh 31:37
12 Tyler Ross 31:44
13 Bill Laddish 31:49
14 Paul McKenzie 32:09
15 Jake Teitelbaum 32:14
16 Rob Stiles 32:16
17 Bill Harkola 32:29
18 Bryan Davis 32:44
19 Marcello Pedersen 32:48
20 West Kurihara 33:08
21 Doran Mori 33:310
22 Paul Vetter 34:02
23 Craig Hicks 34:19
24 Mark King 34:46
25 Mike Leung 34:49
26 Janet Gardner 35:13
27 Beckett Madden-Woods 35:35
28 Nolan Wong 35:46
29 bernard demai 37:12
30 Mike 'Mr. Crash' Solis 37:54
31 Marc Goroff 37:58
32 Amy Cameron 38:21
33 Will S 39:20
34 Bryan Kilgore 39:58
35 Will Estacio 40:15
36 Mark Ward 40:19
37 Bob Aversa 40:33
38 Cyndi Wong 42:19
39 David Fisch 43:11
40 Jeff Guertin 43:13
41 Vernon Piccinotti 43:41
42 Chris Corral 44:00
43 A P 44:12
44 joe rokes 47:10
45 Dave Brunswick 48:15
46 Paul Capewell 48:57
47 Mark Elgood 49:28
48 Trish Pacheco 50:26
49 Robert Gonzalez 51:44
50 Sn Holium 52:15
51 Bruce Burkhalter 53:2
52 Douglas Samp 54:56

53 Wilson Tai 56:04

Note: Just for fun I may add a few more climb results since I have the data sorted already. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nifty 2014 Results and Banter!

Results and other post ride banter on the Facebook Page. Scroll for overall results, Marin KOM, and Claremont/Grizzly KOM. Look for a full report here soon. Nifty Ten Fifty Facebook Page

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nifty Ten Fifty 2014 Edition

Nifty Ten Fifty Scheduled for April 6, 2014!

* The date is set, folks, Sunday, April 6! Get yer climbing legs ready!

* Please carpool or ride to the start if you can. If you BART, get off at El Cerrito Plaza, and head north to Moeser Lane, via Richmond Ave, turn right and continue to Pomona Ave. We start at the intersection of Moeser Ln. and Pomona Ave in El Cerrito.

* Please be ready to ride 5 minutes before start time for your group. We start "on time." We will have a rider meeting for all groups, I will be there for Nifty Lite/B group start and A group start. Elite group will be small, and I will be gone. You guys are on your own and can take care of yourselves. Leaders will be Josh Dapice and Bill Laddish. There will be other Elite vets as well.

* Bring food at the start for up to 3 hours.  There will be a stocked, self serve, rest stop at half way point, about mile 25. Water and bathroom available. Bring money for coffee and pastry at Peet's Domingo after climb 9, before the final climb to the finish on Vollmer Peak. And don't forget the scrumptious new bakery, Fourn√©e, next door to Peet's!

* A voluntary donation of $5 is requested to cover costs. Please find me and make your donation. I will be wearing a Marc Pro - Strava vest and Black STRAVA baseball cap. Some of my teammates will be there. Don't confuse them with me. They're thieves! :-)

* Bring low gears and a positive attitude. If you know the roads, lend a helping hand to others so they can find their way.

* Guides will wait a short time at the top of climbs to regroup. This is NOT a "No Drop" ride. If you fall behind, the guide will continue on with the group. Print out the route sheet and/or upload the route to your Garmin so that you can find your own way in a pinch. If you expect to be one of the slower riders in your group, the ability to self navigate may be crucial.

* I am expecting a large group this year. Please fuel up at the rest stop, drink up, fill your bottles, and take just one or two snacks in your pocket for the next climbs so that others have enough treats to stay fueled. You'll stop again at Peet's Domingo within 1-2 hours. There is also a bakery next door to Peet's.

* Upload your data to Strava and I will post results for KOM on Marin and the final climb up Claremont and Grizzly Peak to Vollmer peak. I will also track overall moving time for the entire course. But... it's not a race. KOM Results from last year are in the 2013 Ride Report

* Please ride safely, obey all traffic laws, descend at a sensible pace, wear a helmet, and do not do anything that might jeopardize the ride going forward.

* We will meet at Lanesplitter, in Berkeley, San Pablo Ave near University after the ride for suds and Pizza. 5 PM approximately.

2014 Courses Posted!

The latest, greatest, course download for the

Nifty Ten Fifty 2014

The Nifty Lite 2014

At the ride link, go to "Export," output a .tcx file, then upload to your Garmin by placing the .tcx file in the "New Files" folder of your Garmin device (DO NOT load the file into the "Courses" folder. Be sure to properly eject your Garmin or the file won't stick). Then you can follow with your Garmin. If you are old school, just print out a route sheet. Actually, print out a route sheet either way. I will no longer be providing route sheets at the start.

The NTF is scheduled for April 6, 2014, always the first Sunday in April. Start times will be:

"B" Group and Nifty Lite: 8:30 A.M.
"A" Group: 9:00 A.M.
"Elite" Group 9:30 A.M.

Where: Cerrito Vista Park
Moeser Ln. and Pomona Ave., El Cerrito, CA.

Park at the South end of the diagonal parking area, about 100 Meters from the corner.

Please scroll down to read much more info about the Nifty, and please do read the FAQ section.

Check out the Nifty Ten Fifty Film by Chris Leavell if you have not already done so.

As you can see, we will again have an "Elite" group, for super strong Cat 1,2 riders.

I will be leading the "A" group as usual. There will also be an Elite group, the usual "B" group,  and the "Nifty Lite" group. Scroll down below for more information on which group you should join, but in a nutshell:

Elite: Pro, Cat 1, Cat 2
"A": Cat 3, Strong Masters riders
"B": Cat 4, Strong, fit recreational riders
"Nifty Lite": An easier, shorter course, with a more relaxed pace

If you are not sure what group you belong in, start with a slower group and latch on to the faster group when they catch. This way you won't be dropped.

The ride is NOT a race, however the different groups allow everyone to keep moving and ride at their own comfortable, (or not so comfortable), pace. There will be KOM's on Marin and the final climb up Claremont, Grizzly, Vollmer. Data will be pulled from Strava, so be sure to upload your data. It's free, and you just need a Garmin, iPhone, or Android device.

Feel free to contact me: macpaulster@gmail.com

Cheers, Paul

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nifty Ten Fifty FAQ

What is the Nifty Ten Fifty?
Please read What is the Nifty Ten Fifty?

Is there a ride description?
Please read the Nifty Ride Description

I’d like to do the Nifty, but I am terrified of the difficulty of the climbs. Can you say anything to comfort me?
No... But let me try. If you are reasonably fit, and have really low gears, the ride is quite manageable. The exceptions are Marin (climb #3) and Hiller (climb #9). Marin is painful no matter what your gearing or fitness level. Hiller, while not quite as severe, comes late in the ride when you're tired. Those two climbs are easily skipped. And we have the Nifty Lite for those who just want a pleasant day on the bike with a few good climbs.

I'm not sure what group I belong in, can you help? 
As you can see, above I have established groups by racing category. "Elite" is Pro 1,2, "A" is Cat 3, "B" is Cat 4 or strong, fit, recreational rider. The Nifty Lite is for anyone capable of getting up a few steep hills at any pace. Here is another benchmark — If you can ride Mt. Diablo, South Gate, from Athenian School to Summit, any day of the week in under 55 minutes, you are Elite. If your Diablo time is more like 55 min. to 1:05, then you are "A" group. If you are more like 1:05-1:25, then you are "B" group. If you're not sure, a Nifty trick is to start in the slower group. When the faster group passes, you can latch on. You'll be more rested and they'll be more tired, so you may hang. If you get dropped, no worries, slide back to the slower group. You certainly can ride on your own and navigate, but that's less fun.


Is the Nifty and organized ride, is there a fee?
The Nifty is a friends ride, there is no fee. Participants are mostly by invitation, but I throw the challenge out and anyone is welcome. I provide a route sheet, a pat on the back, some volunteer guides, and refreshments/light snacks at the half way point. A voluntary donation may be made if you'd like to help with the costs of hosting the event. $5 is suggested. After climb #9 we stop at Peets Domingo, for coffee and pastries. Bring money or your Peet's card.

Is there support on the ride?
No. You are on your own. You will likely ride with a group as the route is difficult to follow alone. I provide my phone number for emergencies, and am only half joking when I say “…but don’t call me.” There will be a well-stocked, self serve rest stop at the half way point with energy foods, bars, gels, etc., along with drinks, sodas, and a bathroom. Please take only what you need. This is where, hopefully, all the different groups congregate at approximately the same time for a social and feed break mid-ride. Please close the hatch on the Subaru if you are the last to leave.

What should I bring?
Aside from low gears and a positive, friendly attitude, bring what you normally would on a long adventure ride. 2 tubes, patch kit, pump, small multi-tool, food, sunscreen, helmet, and appropriate clothing for the weather. Bring enough food and drink for the first 3 hours, and some money to buy food later. We've got plenty of food for you at the mid point. If you need lights, you’re in serious trouble. Don’t bring ‘em.

I missed the Nifty but would like to do the next one. When is it and can I get on an email list?
The Nifty occurs on the first Sunday in April, that Sunday closest to April Fools day. There is an email list. If you’d like to be on it, email me, macpaulster@gmail.com

How long does it take to complete the Nifty?
The strongest riders can complete the Nifty in a bit over 4 hours riding time. The Elite group completed the ride in under 4 hours. Our fastest A group time was 4:20, but usually in the 4:30-4:40 range. The B group will be about an hour slower. Add in stops and regroups and you’re looking at 4.5-7 hours, depending on your ability. Then add another half hour to return to the start.

Can I do the Nifty on my own? Is there a route sheet or map?
You may download the route from the link supplied here, upload to your Garmin, and/or print out a cue sheet from that link. I will no longer be providing route sheets at the start.
You can find the courses here:
2014 Courses Posted!

The latest, greatest, course download for the

Nifty Ten Fifty 2014

The Nifty Lite 2014


OK, I understand the route is complicated with over 100 turns, I don't have a GPS and I really don't want to decipher a route sheet. What do I do?
You show up on time for the ride you want to join. We have four guided rides, for four levels of riders. If you stay with your group, you will not need to navigate, but please bring a route sheet in case you get separated. We have an Elite ride for P 1,2 riders, an "A" ride for Elite Cat 3 or Masters 1,2,3 level riders, led my me, a B ride, for strong, fit, recreational cyclists, who truly want to complete the entire ride, but at a more sensible pace, and the Nifty Lite, for those just wanting to join the Nifty fun with a pleasant ride with a few manageable climbs at a leisurely pace. The Nifty Lite avoids all of the worst climbs.

What gearing is recommended?
Gearing of course depends on your fitness, climbing ability and your ability to suffer turning the cranks at 30 rpm. The ride has been done with 39/23 low gearing. I did it for years with 39/27, and it seemed fine (now I run a 34/28). With that said, it's prudent to put on the lowest gears you have. The lower your gears, the less time you'll spend at an uncomfortable cadence, and the more you will enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What is the Nifty Ten Fifty?


What is the Nifty Ten Fifty? It's a bicycle ride in the San Francisco East Bay Hills that climbs 10,050' in just 54 miles visiting the steepest and most difficult climbs in the East Bay Hills. Berkeley Hills Death Ride and the Vicious Hills Ride, also play a role in the history of this event which takes place on the first Sunday in April each year.

There is a ride description that details each climb. It's nonsense really, but fun, (sort of), and unique for sure. I'm not sure what came over me in late Winter back in 2002, but my early mornings before work were spent exploring the most difficult climbs in the East Bay hills. The Nifty strings those climbs together in a somewhat sensible way, though applying the word sensible to this ride seems a bit of a stretch. Along the way you will experience east bay parks, old Berkeley architecture along with new, post-fire Oakland hills architecture. You will see hawks riding the updrafts, incredible bay views (weather permitting), and if you ride slow enough, maybe you’ll see an Owl in the evening light on Vollmer Peak.

There will be two groups, an "A" group and a "B" group. "A" group will consist of riders capable of climbing Mt. Diablo in around hour or so, give or take a couple of minutes. The B group will consist of riders who might climb Mt. Diablo in about 1:05-1:25 or so. You will need good fitness to complete this ride, and unless you are an extremely strong climber a 39/27 low gear is recommended as a minimum! There are grades of up to 28%. And, for those who want to be involved in the fun but do not find 10,000' in 50 miles appealing, there is the "Nifty Lite." The Nifty Lite is not a set course but rather an easier ride, led by Janet, that covers some of the less intimidating climbs, and some terrain that is not included in the Nifty route. The Nifty Lite is the easiest option and will be custom tailored to the group that shows up.

There is a detailed route sheet so that anyone can do the ride on their own, at their own pace, but with about 100 turns, it's better to follow someone who knows the way lest you spend all your time cursing the route sheet.

The ride starts from Cerrito Vista Park in El Cerrito. on the first Sunday in April. "B" and "Nifty Lite" group starts at 8:30 A.M. "A" group starts at 9:00 A.M.

The Nifty Ten Fifty is dedicated to the memory of Bill Ripke.

Photo of Marin Ave courtesy Mike Nachtwey. Visit mikenachtwey.com