Friday, March 7, 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, 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 tbd, but hopefully we'll have Josh Dapice and/or Chris "HD" back again this year.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 the usual "B" group, and the "Nifty Lite". 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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, email@example.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? 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
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The Nifty Ten Fifty is a difficult bicycle climbing route in the East Bay Hills, primarily in Berkeley, and Oakland, California. The goal was to fashion a ride with 10,000’ of climbing in 50 miles. The finished route comes close to that goal, with 10,050’ of climbing in just 54 miles. There have been other attempts at this sort of madness. Grizzly Peak Cyclists did a similar route annually back in the late 70’s and 80’s. I understand they may still be doing a similar route called “Vicious Hills”. And there is “The Berkeley Hills Death Ride” consisting of 5 very difficult climbs in Berkeley. All 5 of those climbs are included in the Nifty Ten Fifty, but there are, in addition, 5 more climbs! Part of the appeal of the ride besides the suffering on the climbs is the bay views, the nice roads through the parks, and the incredible tour of bay area architecture, from old Berkeley homes, to the new, modern, post fire Oakland hills homes.
Climb #1 Moeser Lane
The route starts at the corner of Moeser Lane and Pomona Ave. in El Cerrito. If you are a cyclist that needs a warm-up, then a couple of trips back and forth on Richmond Ave. (3 blocks east of San Pablo Ave.) will do the trick. The cyclist heads straight up Moeser Ave to Arlington. It’s a 700’ climb with grades up to 20%. The average grade for the final .8 mile is about 15%. The route then descends through El Cerrito neighborhoods going mostly down Stockton Ave.
Climb #2 Terrace/Edwin
The next climb is Terrace to Contra Costa Ave, Edwin Street, cross Arlington and ascend a short, steep (20%+) footpath to the Kensington School. The route ends up at Spruce and Grizzly. In total this climb is not terribly difficult, but there are a few very short steep sections. The route descends Spruce, then turns right on Montrose to Santa Barbara then passes by Indian Rock, a well-known Berkeley landmark.
Climb #3 Marin Ave
This is the big daddy. Absurd. Ridiculous. No matter how strong you are or what your gearing, you will suffer on this climb. It is, by far, the most difficult climb on the ride. It climbs city blocks one by one, with a flat section at each block where it meets a cross street. The first block is about 14%, then there are some “easy” blocks of 10%. Then it kicks up again to about 15%+. Once you cross Euclid you are in for a real treat. 3 blocks averaging 22% with sections of approximately 25%-26%. Fortunately, you have the luxury of catching your breath by circling the flat area at each intersection, thereby possibly avoiding the dreaded “topple”. The route then descends the East side of the hills through Tilden Park, down Shasta and Wildcat to San Pablo Dam Road.
Climb #4 El Toyonal/Lomas Cantadas
This a long climb on twisty, wooded, narrow, residential roads. It’s quiet and beautiful. This is a manageable climb, with a few steeper sections on the lower part. However, near the top, by Grizzly Peak Stables, the cyclist encounters some extended 17%. It’s difficult, but everything will seem easy after Marin Ave! The ride then descends residential roads back on the west side of the hills above the UC Berkeley campus. Avenida and Buena Vista are the primary roads traveled on the descent down to Euclid.
Climb #5 Centennial Drive
The route passes briefly through the UC Berkeley Campus, entering at Euclid then turning east near the Campanile,then up around the La Crosse field and football stadium to catch Centennial Drive. Centennial starts off gradual then steepens to about 11%. It goes for quite a distance at this pitch, then flattens out at Lawrence Hall of Science, then finishes with a less steep section, perhaps 9% or so. The route then descends through Tilden Park via Golf Course Drive and Park Hills. The rider continues past the Tilden Merry-Go-Round to the bottom of Canon Drive at the Tennis Courts.
Climb #6 Canon/South Park
Climb 6 is really two climbs separated by a more or less flat section on Wildcat Canyon Rd. through Tilden Park. Canon drive is a short climb of about .4 mile and boasts a 12% average grade. Then the rider heads east on Wildcat Canyon to the base of South Park drive. South Park is a beautiful road through the Park that is closed to vehicle traffic in winter (Save the Salamanders)! It has some extended stretches of 12-15%. The route then heads South on Grizzly Peak and Skyline Drive into the Oakland Hills. The cyclist gets a break from climbing for a while. Shepard Canyon is the descent. The pavement used to be horrible on this road, but it has recently been re-paved.
Climb #7 Snake/Elverton
Snake/Elverton is the next climb. Snake is not terribly difficult. It averages about 7% and has a few steeper sections but it’s really quite pleasant. You can even spend some time climbing in the saddle on Snake—a rare luxury on this ride! You will then go left on Skyline to Elverton. Elverton slices through a steep area of the hills where a few daring souls have built homes with spectacular views. Riders will still enjoy the views without the worry of their home sliding down the hill. A twisty descent down Thorndale and Thornhill follows.
Climb #8 Broadway Terrace
Broadway Terrace to Old Tunnel. This is a nice climb through the Oakland Hills. The 1991 fire destroyed most of the homes on this road so the cyclist is treated to some new and interesting architecture along the way. These are luxury homes with splendid views. Some are quite nice. The pitch on Broadway Terrace varies, and there are some steep sections, but it’s mostly pleasant.
Climb #9 Hiller Ave/ Norfolk
At the bottom of Tunnel road, the rider cannot miss Hiller. Tunnel is a very popular cycling route, however most cyclists avoid Hiller Ave like the plague. It’s pretty ugly to look at, sporting a straight-up .2 mile section of 20%. Fortunately, it’s relatively short, but tired legs will be a factor at this point. The route then winds through residential streets with a short descent on Charring Cross and some more short steep climbing sections. The ride then descends again through hilly residential streets to the Claremont Hotel. Next is the only mandatory rest stop. Peets Coffee on Domingo Ave!
Climb #10 Claremont/Grizzly Peak/Vollmer Peak
This is the longest climb of the ride with the most ascent. It’s actually three climbs but there are no breaks between the climbs. Claremont has some extended sections that are about 10% or so. Then Grizzly Peak is a relatively sane pitch of about 7%. The final climb is up Vollmer Peak on a foot path. This much discussed climb sports a 28% kicker at the top. It’s difficult, but the recently paved path is much easier than it used to be when it was horribly pot-holed and full of gravel. The Peets caffeine should be in full effect now. Just grunt it out for a short section and you’re done! Though the ride officially ends here, you have to coast back to the start (about 7 miles), and there are a few short rises, but if you’ve gotten this far, you’ll make it back.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
|"A" Group tackles Moeser Lane|
I established a new, "Elite" P 1,2 group this year, and it was well attended, and those guys really beat each other up good. Amazing speeds on the climbs all day. I will let Elite guide Josh Dapice describe his group (see below). The "A" group was also the most competent and fast we've ever had, and many were able to latch on to, and hang with, the Elite Group. The "B" group was also super competent and fast, led by Gaston McMillan. Bill Dunn led a very small "Nifty Lite" group.
My "A" group was about 15-20 riders strong, and the pace was pretty hot from the gun. I dangled at the back, pushing a bit at the top of each climb to catch up, so that I could lead the tricky descents. Everyone rode well, very safe, yet fast. I was especially thrilled to have my Marc Pro - Strava teammates along, Christopher HD, Glenn Rawlinson, Kevin Susco, Kevin Keenan, and George Smith.
|Marc Pro - Strava guys at rest stop|
I have some preliminary results below for three segments of the ride. Marin KOM demonstrates a rider's maximum climbing ability while fresh, on a short, steep climb. Claremont/Grizzly/Vollmer shows a rider's ability on a longer climb late in the ride while fatigued. And the overall moving time demonstrates the rider's speed over the entire course. Some data is missing. Some Elite riders took a slightly longer detour, and hence the times are not perfectly accurate. But since they took a "long cut" vs. a "short cut" it isn't necessary to DQ them as I had threatened. Gaston's B group report is below the results. If you know where you placed on the Marin climb vs. your peers, but did not upload to Strava, let me know and I will insert you in the results.
Special thanks and kudos: To Gaston, Josh, and Bill, for leading their groups. To Clif Bar for bars, gels and blocks at the rest stop and Gu, for some Roctane products at the start. To Clark Foy for helping out with the course.
|Large group at rest stop|
First thing in the morning, I saw blue skies to the East, and I thought that we'd have some killer views later in the day. But some rather brisk Westerly winds blew in the marine fog, and dampened the views. On the bright side, temps were cool and comfortable for climbing hard, and we had a nice tailwind going up Claremont partially compensating for the rubberized legs, and making times slightly more respectable. It was overall a great day and a very successful event. My only regret is that we didn't have more women participating in the ride. With 70 or so riders, we only had one woman, Alison Chaiken. I hope to see more women participating next year.
Bill Bushnell rode the Nifty on his hybrid electric bike. Bill has a great blog and does wonderful, very descriptive write ups on his adventures. View his blog entry here:
Results for overall moving time are approximate and only show those who uploaded to STRAVA. Those who circled at the top of climbs, or went backwards to help another rider will have slower times. Elite group, and some "A" riders took a slightly longer course, probably adding 5+ minutes to their time.
Note: If you uploaded to Strava later, and do not see your results below, please let me know and I will add them. firstname.lastname@example.org
Marin Ave KOM Climb #3
Christopher HD 6:58 (Overall Strava KOM, Nifty Record, Sub 7!)
Carl Nielson 7:05 (3rd overall Strava)
Bill Laddish 7:11 (5th overall Strava)
Josh Dapice 7:13 (6th overall Strava)
Clark Foy 7:51
Rob Manchester 7:59
Jim Whimpey 8:00
George Smith 8:02
Kevin Susco 8:05
Ken Cluff 8:09
Graham Cooper 8:12
Daryl Spano 8:16
Kevin Keenan 8:16
Brian Vaughn 8:20
Marcello Pederson 8:23
A P 8:32
Glenn Rawlinson 8:38
Sae Stunna' Mark 9:07
Steve Shores 9:11
Paul McKenzie 9:15
Tom Ferreira 9:25
Ron Portola 9:44
Patrick Herlihy 10:03
Van Sutton 10:09
Floyd Williams 10:15
Alan Weatherall 11:05
Lenny Lesser 11:38
Gaston McMillan 12:20
Vladislav Luskin 12:26
Janos Roja 12:49
Eric Bain 13:06
Bryan Culp 13:19
Wilson Tai 13:26
Dimitry Livdan 13:23
Brian Kelleher 13:32
Paul Liu 13:36
Peter Widjaja 13:46
Dodeca Rokolla 13:53
Bruce Burkhalter 15:34
Mike Gill 16:00
Bill Bushnell 6:10* (*Hybrid Electric Bicycle)
Claremont/Grizzly/Vollmer Climb #10
Christopher HD 21:20 (2nd overall on Strava)
Josh Dapice 23:21 (Josh has Strava KOM on another day)
Bill Laddish 23:21 (3rd overall Strava)
Rob Manchester 23:47 (4th overall Strava)
Daryl Spano 25:10
Clark Foy 25:44
Glenn Rawlinson 25:45
Paul McKenzie 25:56
Kevin Susco 27:09
Kevin Keenan 27:13
Carl Nielson 28:14
Graham Cooper 30:24
Floyd Williams 30:45
Ron Portola 31:36
Alan Weatherall 31:56
Brian Vaughn 32:03
Lenny Lesser 32:37
Sae Stunna' Mark 32:40
Matt Price 35:09
Gaston McMillan 35:13
Frank Meltzer 35:22
Patrick Herlihy 37:16
Van Sutton 37:34
Dimitry Livdan 38:20
Vladislav Luskin 39:16
Mike Gill 44:22
Paul Liu 46:51
Peter Widjaja 48:26
Dodeca Rokolla 52:31
Bruce Burkhalter 55:05
Eric Bain 58:46
Bill Bushnell 25:14* (*Hybrid Electric Bicycle)
Overall Moving Time (4 Hour barrier is broken!)
Josh Dapice 3:58:00
Christopher HD 3:59:00
Bill Laddish 3:59:00
Glenn Rawlinson 4:04:00
Clark Foy 4:08:00
Kevin Keenan 4:08:00
Daryl Spano 4:11:00
Michael Golub 4:15:00
Matt Price 4:19:00
Paul McKenzie 4:20:00
Carl Nielson 4:21:00
Kevin Susco 4:21:00
Jim Whimpey 4:25:00
Bryan Davis 4:29:00
Brian Vaughn 4:29:00
Graham Cooper 4:33:00
A P 4:34:00
Marcello Pedersen 4:40:00
Alan Weatherall 4:43:00
Ron Portola 4:50:00
Floyd Williams 4:51:00
Patrick Herlihy 4:56:00
Matthew Santillan 5:00:00
Lenny Lesser 5:04:00
Van Sutton 5:05:00
Sae Stunna' Mark 5:07:00
Dimitry Livdan 5:08:00
Gaston McMillan 5:08:00
Dodeca Rokolla 5:31:00
Vladislav Luskin 5:33:00
Peter Widjaja 5:34:00
Mike Gill 5:51:00
Paul Liu 6:19:00
Eric Bain 6:32:00
Bruce Burkhalter 6:35:00
Bill Bushnell 4:38:00* (*Hybrid Electric Bicycle)
Josh Dapice's Elite Group Report:
I should have known that something was up when our “9:30” group was all assembled and ready to go at 9:15. Looking forward to a brisk morning with a few climbs through the east bay hills I figured there was no harm in getting started. We had a small but top notch group consisting of Bill L, Carl N, Chris HD, Clark F, Daryl S, Rob M and Tom R. We immediately headed off up Moeser lane at a pace that had my Garmin spitting out some remarkable watts. Pretty interesting for a day that promised 10,000 feet of climbing!
|Elite Group (l to r) Daryl Spano, Clark Foy, Rob Manchester, Josh Dapice, Bill Laddish|
Christopher Harland-Dunaway. Photo: Carl Nielson (also an Elite Group member)
• Clark setting a diabolical “welcome to the NTF” pace on Moeser. Definitely set the tone for the day.
• Bill, Carl and Chris taking off from the very bottom of Marin. Bill and Chris posting incredible times even after taking a few breaks at Hilldale and Keeler.
• The awesome rest stop set up by Paul near the Brazil room. Great spot to recover a bit and grab some Clif Shots and pretzels.
• South Park – Bill going berserk at the bottom and sticking it all the way to the top via his endless surges.
• Sharp eyes spotting Mr. Strava himself Michael Horvath on Grizzly Peak Blvd. coming the other way.
• Snake Rd – beautiful climb that inspired some race-style attacks. Even towards the end of the ride guys were making huge efforts (joined by Ted H. from the earlier group).
• Daryl committing at the bottom of Hiller, almost the end of the ride and one of the steepest parts of the day. I have no idea where he found the energy.
• Chris trying to work out how to get home from Domingo Peets, unaware that we had one, final 1,500 foot climb to the top of Vollmer yet to go. Chris ended up crushing the rest of us on the climb regardless.
This has to be one of the best ways to post good Strava times. It obviously wasn’t a race, which lent itself to extremely aggressive climbing. The East Bay has many superlative riders who ride these climbs regularly year round (OK maybe not Marin or Hiller) so it was pretty impressive to see where our group stacked up. I’ll be eager to see what folks can do next year.
I wanted to thank the guys I rode with for (a) being in such a good mood all day, (b) riding safely, and (c) tolerating a few routing mishaps. Thanks Paul for a great day. Click on names below to see their Strava file.
Gaston McMillan's "B" Group Report:
|A group of Nifty finishers on Vollmer Peak|
Saturday, March 16, 2013
If you have questions at the start, or want to grab a route sheet, the bathroom key, etc., please come find me. I will be wearing a red SRAM ball cap, and Marc-Pro - Strava vest, and walking around pretending I know what I am doing. I will be about 100 meters South of the corner of Moeser and Pomona in El Cerrito, at the end of the diagonal parking area.
Note: There will be a brief rider meeting at the start, corner of Moeser Lane and Pomona Ave at a sunny spot (if it's brisk) a few minutes prior to start time. Please arrive early to prep, and be ready to ride at the start time. Have your $5 donation ready if you choose to contribute, it's voluntary, and covers the cost of maintaining this site, the treats at the mid-way stop, and beer and pizza for your ride leaders. If you only have a buck $ or two $$ handy, that's fine, everything helps. Pre-ride meeting will happen at 8:25 for the first two groups and 8:55 for the A group, 9:25 for Elite Group, and we'll roll immediately after
We should expect some residual damp spots in some shady areas. The roads in the east bay are pretty beat up these days, so be sure your tires are in good shape and are topped off with air. Please check your tires the night before the ride or at the start and pull out any bits of glass or other nasty stuff that could cause a flat. Not a bad idea to run 700 x 25 or 700 x 28 tires, though many will just stick with the standard 700 x 23. DO NOT run 700 x 23 tires with low pressure unless you are a lightweight.
Bring food for the first three hours. We'll have a stocked rest stop mid-ride, with light snacks, drinks, and some Clif Bar product. We'll then stop at Peet's Domingo before tackling the final monster up to Vollmer Peak, the longest climb of the day. Bring some money for the second stop.
Feel free to email if you have any questions or would like to be added to the mailing list.
You will receive no more than a few emails per year, you will be kept up to date on Nifty News, and your information will not be shared with ANYONE for any reason.
The ride begins at Cerrito Vista Park in El Cerrito, corner of Moeser Ln. and Pomona Ave.
I would like to encourage anyone using a Garmin or other GPS device, to upload the following files to your device, and practice following parts of the route for training in the weeks leading up to the event. Having more guides and volunteers who know the route will be very helpful if we get a larger turnout. Did you know that you can Follow a course on a Garmin 500? It's not as Nifty as using a 705 or 800 but it works! Practice with it first!
Also, I have added a GPS file for the Return to Start from the finish of the ride on Vollmer Peak.
Start times are 8:30 for the "B" Group and Nifty Lite Group, and 9:00 for the "A" group. The Elite Group will start at 9:30. The "Nifty Lite" avoids the most severe climbs but still offering a substantial challenge of about 8,000' of climbing in 45 miles at a more relaxed pace. Enjoy...
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Nifty Finishers at Vollmer Peak, Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA
"Events like these attract such a life-loving group."
"Amazing how riding those hills quickly recalibrates one's idea of 'steep'."
The 2012 edition of the Nifty Ten Fifty bike ride (11th Annual) was a good one by all accounts. We had spectacular weather, with crisp views, a great turnout across a broad level of riders, and we were fortunate enough to have the event filmed by Peloton Magazine. It doesn’t get much better. Riders traveled from specific geographical areas, namely, The Peninsula and San Jose, Marin County and Santa Rosa, and Davis/Sacramento Area, along with many from the East bay and a few from San Francisico. This year, the event returned to its original April Fools date (It's always the first Sunday in April).
I cautiously planned the event, not really knowing what to expect as far as turnout, but I was very pleased to see the crowd when I arrived at the start. After a short meeting, I sent the B group off in the capable hands...errr hand... of Bill Oldham, who put in a heroic performance with his injured left hand (he can’t stand and pull on the bars). Everyone in the B group seemed to find their own pace and some forged ahead on their own, some fell behind, and some stayed with Bill all day. More on that from Bill later.
The A group was good to go at 9 A.M. and as I looked around, I knew it was a strong group...Gulp! This was confirmed on Moeser Lane, the first climb, and one that features 20% grades. It’s a real slap in the face. Riders look down at their cassette hoping there is another gear…there isn’t. I quickly found myself relegated to the back of the group. In a way it was comforting — no need to kill myself to stay at the front, just keep a steady pace and enjoy the ride.
A strong "A" group at the start
We mostly stayed together on the second climb, Terrace, as most riders heeded my warning on a few complex turns, and allowed me to lead the way at my more leisurely pace. Onward.
I’d given everyone the beta on Marin Ave, and the fact that it’s the Official Nifty KOM climb. Marin Ave is .75 mile in length with an average grade of 18%. The steepest section is at the top when the lungs are burning, and kicks up to 26%. Marin Ave has the dubious distinction of sporting the steepest known paved half mile in California. At the bottom, most riders took off pretty hard. It was amazing. Clark Foy was there, on his Pinarello equipped with full race carbon wheels. Bill Laddish was hammering up, pushing impossibly hard gears and his Bianchi noted the 500+ Watts at 40 rpm by creaking loudly. Laddish had the edge going up the last bit of Marin, but alas, his gearing did him in, and he nearly toppled, while Foy slipped by for the coveted Nifty Ten Fifty KOM of 2012!
Here are the results for the Marin Ave Climb. Note that these results, with the exception of Laddish, only include those who have uploaded their GPS data to Strava. If you participated in the Nifty and would like a special deal on a Strava membership, please contact me. And if you know where you fall in this group, I am happy to add you with an estimated time.
Also please contact me if your results are missing or incorrect (GREAT JOB everyone, and special congrats to Clark Foy and Amy Cameron, Men's and Women's Nifty KOM and QOM!):
1. Clark Foy KOM!!! 7:26 (4th Overall on Strava)
2. Bill Laddish 7:35 (estimated time)
3. Tim Clark 7:44 (6th Overall on Strava)
4. Dan Connelly 7:54 (7th Overall on Strava)
5. Adam Ward 7:59
6. Nick Pelly 8:19
7. Steve Shores 8:26
8. Brooks Sizemore 8:39
9. Kea Hunt 8:46
10. Greg McQuaid 8:57
11. Daryl Spano 9:04
12. Paul McKenzie 9:15
13. Bruce Carroll 9:48
14: Bruce Prescott 9:52
15: Amy Cameron 10:16 QOM!!! (Women's Strava record and QOM!!!)
16. Beckett Madden-Woods 10:23
17: Byron Hay 10:41
18: Alan Weatherall 11:18
19. Harold von Sosen 11:36
20: Mark Elgood 13:57
21: Byron Davis 15:26
21: Dave Brunswick 15:33
22: Paul Capewell 15:59
In contrast to Foy and Laddish, Tray Biasiolli, sporting a plain wool Ibex jersey, and a powerful, in the saddle, climbing style, had a rougher time on Marin. I believe he had to stop part way up, gather himself, then forge on slowly. We waited a while for him as he struggled up the final 26% pitch, and I was concerned he might be relegated to the B group, as the A riders really don’t like to wait around much! He quipped, "This is steeper than the overpasses we have in Davis." But… as it turned out, he rode strong for the rest of the day, never faltered again, even nipping this writer (rider) on the steepest pitch of the final push up to Vollmer Peak. Ahhh… sweet redemption.
The A group was riding the course about as fast as it’s ever been ridden with several strong men setting the pace. Foy, Laddish, Marc Moons, Tony Lee, Steve Shores, Dan Connelly, Adam Ward, Mystery Strong Man Kevin, and others set a furious pace on the climbs, such that I didn’t even see who was first to the top most of the time! So forgive me if I've not given kudos where they are deserved.
We began to pass the B group on the 4th climb, El Toyonal, and many stronger B riders elected to latch on to the A group. In the past, these attempts have been mostly futile, but not this year. We had at least 10 riders who were able to make the cut and ride the rest of the way with the A group, including 2011 vet Beckett Madden-Woods. We were about 30 strong at this point, certainly the largest A group ever. I was very pleased to see this happen, as I’d altered the start times such as to facilitate this possibility. If you don’t know if you belong in the A or B group, start with the B, get a nice warm up at a manageable pace, then latch on to the A group when they come by. If you can’t hang, no worries, just slide back into the B group!
We elected to do the descent to the Merry Go Round and the Canon Drive climb BEFORE the rest stop. I do this so that the B group catches us again and we can intermingle at the rest stop with everyone. This also made it possible for some B groupers to have faster times up the 6th climb, which is Canon Dr. and South Park Combined. We also connected with the smaller Nifty Lite group, Janet, Bill, and Dave. Perfect.
Riders grab some refreshments and fuel at the half way point
We made our way over to the Snake and Broadway Terrace climbs, where most of us with tired legs kept a sensible pace. At the top of Broadway Terrace, I warned everyone about Hiller, and to be sure to keep momentum descending Tunnel Rd. on the approach to the 20% grade. You really feel your legs at this point, so Hiller can be a monumental challenge.
We had a pleasant stop at Peet’s with coffee and pastries before tackling the final, and longest climb of the day, the 1500' climb up Claremont, Grizzly Peak, Vollmer Peak with at 28% kicker to finish off the day. I was again relegated to the back while endurance strong man Marc Moons, and Bill Laddish battled for the summit. Neither will tell me what exactly happened, but suffice to say, they got up there quickly while the rest of us followed. Hats off to everyone for a great ride. Of course we enjoyed Pizza and Beer at Lane Splitter later in the afternoon as is the tradition.
A few mentions and thanks. First, to Bill Oldham and Janet DeHaven, for leading the B and Nifty Lite rides respectively, and to Bill Dunn for being such a cheer leader to all things Nifty. Thanks to Chris Leavell and his assistant from Peloton for coming out and filming the event. Can’t wait to see the result. Thanks to my friends at Clif Bar for donating some product for you all. Best cycling food on the planet. Thanks to everyone who put up the $5 donation. Most of you did, and it’s much appreciated. I covered my expenses and had some left over to buy my trusty guides a beer at Lanesplitter! And finally, thanks to you out of towners for making the trip to attend the Nifty.
Looks like Clark Foy had a moving time of 4:15 in the route, which is an unofficial record. Our previous best as a group was 4:20, and I think, until now, that was the fastest time. My time was 4:25 moving, and most of the A group was somewhere in the range of 4:15-4:30 moving time.
Congrats to Clark Foy (Marin KOM) and Amy Cameron (Marin QOM). Great performances on Marin, and also the rest of the ride. And for those of you who don’t get up the hills as fast as Clark and Amy, well, you’re the real heroes of this ride. It’s a great accomplishment to complete this route, so congrats to ANYONE who did. Bruce Carroll and Amy Cameron were able to navigate the route with GPS, which I highly encourage. They know the roads, so have an advantage, but the GPS is nice to have for this complex route. And for those of you who actually followed the entire route with the Route Sheet, well, you get the "Dave Batt" award, as he was the first, and for a long time the only, rider who actually competed the route as an out of towner with only the route sheet to follow! Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you again in 2013! Paul McKenzie
More comments, quips, and observations from riders below the reports. Feel free to send comments or better yet, just comment on the blog!
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B Group report from Bill Oldham:
Great turnout and great weather again. About 21 folks formed up nicely, got fair warning about cycling behaviors, and left on time at 8:30. Some speedy riders showed their stuff already on Moeser Ln ; it appeared that we had some ringers in the B group. But we lost a couple of folks who were just testing themselves and were 19 by climb 3, Marin.
By now it was certain that our group included a number of people who should be with the A’s, but they were patient and we stuck together through the next climb, taking the steeper route up Loma Vista and Alta Vista. We were caught here by the A group and the fast riders took off with them.
Our smaller but elite B group of 6 was finally put together at the rest stop where we all met again (the A group was already 20 minutes ahead, having completed the Canon loop). For the rest of the ride we six were together, uphill and downhill, so “leading” the group was a dream; there were no folks rushing ahead or lagging behind, and zero complaints. Even the drivers were polite.
Only the roads, especially Grizzly Peak, were rude. As usual the Shepherds Canyon downhill was the best, and the easy climb up Snake was dreamy. That’s the point at which one starts anticipating Mr. Peets. But the crazy Thorndale downhill and the absurd wall on Hiller kind of brought back reality. (For those that did Hiller - personally I skipped the steep parts of Marin, and Hiller, so I logged only 9300 feet).
After a long break we had every intention of taking it easy up Claremont, but Team Davis had other ideas and we got sucked into a wicked pace to Grizzly Peak. The Vollmer peak path was dry and most managed it upright. Riding times were in the range 5:20 to 5:40. It was a great group!
B Group L to R: Will, Megan, Jeff, Bill, Tim, Drew.
From Tim Clark:
Thanks again for such an amazing ride. DEFINITELY wouldn't have been able to do it without you as I'd have gotten lost after the first climb !!!
From Clark Foy:
Very nice meeting you today, and thanks for organizing such an epic event. I loved it. I was introduced to lots of new roads, and lots of insanely steep sections. Events like these attract such a life-loving group. I'll join this again next year!
Smiling on the Nifty? WTF? Tim Clark and Clark Foy
From Marc Moons:
After waking up at 4am to watch the Tour Of Flanders (Holiest day in Flanders!), I was amped up to ride Paul McKenzie's Spring Classic. (ed. note: Marc is originally from Belgium)
Turning the truck onto Moeser Ln towards the start we see the 8:30am group in a distance heading straight up into the blue sky. Paul hands out a 2 page routesheet, filled with 150 left and right turns - reminds me of Bill O's San Francisco adventure - probably wise to keep Paul in shooting range.
Warm up ... my hot cup of thee in the morning, because from the shotgun it's a stairway to heaven. Looks like we have a strong group of legs on this ride (all day the group stays pretty compact).
Marin, Marin, fills the air in the cool morning. Marin Ave everybody is talking about it. A merry go round later and we're on it. A wall of pavement disappears into the trees, can't see the end?! It goes from steeper to steepest in one straight line. Guy in front of me almost zigzags his bike into a passing car. Nobody runs the STOP sign on top ... all happy feet on the ground.
Ride continues up and down and more ups and downs, stuffed with far reaching views on Bay and Mt Diablo areas.
I hear a steam train, am I getting delusional after digested too much of those steep elevated feets? We pass some well known early birdies, Bill Dunn, Famous Megan with her bodyguards and Darrin (I pass Darrin a few times but he's always ahead of me?! A smart rider).
After crossing some more walls we reach Peets Coffee at sea level. End of the ride I think and tell Tony let's keep rolling, only 4 flat miles to the car. We tell our good shepherd Paul about it, he looks at me and says "Marc, that 4 miles has the biggest climb of the day with a 28% finish". Oops. 10 minutes later I'm chasing caffeine infused racer dudes up Grizzly Peak. In the shadow of the radio tower on top, we congratulate each other to finish an epic day on 2 wheels.
If you don't mind a short (55miles) bit (10000ft) of climbing (steep), definitely one that deserves a spot on your bucket list! ... a big high 5 to Nifty Paul!
From Tray Biasiolli:
Fantastic job guiding the A group through the hills yesterday; a really challenging and rewarding ride. Coming from the Central Valley, hills are a bit of a novelty. But by the half-way point of the ride, I was staring down 15% grades and thinking "hmm, well this one will be a nice leisurely break for the legs." Amazing how riding those hills quickly recalibrates one's idea of "steep".
From Beckett Madden-Woods:
This is my second NTF, and even though I chickened out and stayed with the "B"s again, I joined a half-dozen of the faster "B"s in jumping onto the "A train" when you caught us at the top of Centennial, and somehow managed (barely!) to hang on. Seems my climb times were mostly a bit worse than last year, but I'll just attribute that to all the recovery time I had with the "B"s. :)
From Drew Carlson:
Well, another Nifty Ten-Fifty is in the books, and if you weren't there, you missed a really great ride!