Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nifty Ten Fifty 2011 Report


Note: See Bill Oldham's B ride write up below...

(l to r) Endurance Cyclist Extraordinaire Jim Frink (Rex Cycles), Strong Man Kevin Keenan (Webcor), and Ride Organizer Paul McKenzie (MarcPro-Strava) pose for photo on top of Vollmer Peak at finish with Paul's amazing new Felt F3 bicycle.

Just a great day out there all around. Some thanks in order. First to Bill Oldham, who led the large B group through the ride. There were about 20+ riders in this group with varied ability, and Bill's efforts were much appreciated. The fact that he somehow managed to guide 13 of those riders to the summit at Vollmer Peak for a photo opp (see below), is nothing less than flabbergasting, a testament to his guiding ability and patience. Thanks Bill!!

Send along some comments if you like. The Nifty light group was small with just 3 riders, as was the A group with just 3 riders. Looking at Strava data, looks like there were at least 4 "A" level riders who did the ride just in front of our group but elected to not be part of the ride, or perhaps started with the B group and just rode off the front.

Also thanks to Janet for leading the Nifty Lite ride. And... to the weather gods who delivered probably the most Nifty biking weather imaginable, with sun, cool temps, and clear views of the bay. Special thanks to my friends at Clif Bar who donated some of Clif's awesome energy products to the event. You sampled some of the best cycling food on the planet! Finally, thanks to all who made the voluntary $5 donation. It is much appreciated and will help keep the ride going in the future. We'll be adding photos and stories soon. Send us yours (photos and comments) to

Many riders were able to use the GPS data from the site to follow the course. The feedback I got on this was very positive. Please pass along your experience with following the course with your Garmin to me. I envision by next year we'll see a lot more Garmins out there, enabling riders to set their own pace on the ride, and leading to less waiting and re-grouping.

Our A group riding time was 4:30, pretty typical and considering the lack of conditioning due to challenging spring weather, we've got to be happy with it. Kevin Keenan was the strong man of the day, taking all the climbs, including the KOM on Marin in just a few ticks over 8 minutes.

A small group of 6 enjoyed Pizza and Beer at bicycle friendly Lane Splitter Pizza in Berkeley post ride. We're all very happy with the day. Stay tuned for more...

B Ride notes by Bill Oldham

B Group Finishers on the summit of Vollmer Peak.

So after the 2009 debacle when the B ride finished before the A ride, the rules were changed … only a ½ hour lead time instead of 1 hour. But the big change this year was the popularity of the ride. Instead of the usual half-dozen or so riders, we had approximately 20 starters in the B group. I say approximately because the numbers fluctuated during the ride … with some leaving early, a few starting late, and the usual stringing out of the riders on the climbs, we had 13 riders with the leader in the first couple of climbs, but by the 4 climb had 19, and at one point 20.

Great participation by Davis bike club with 4 or 5, a Pleasanton group with similar numbers and a rider all the way from Costa Rica, just to join this elite event! There were only 2 of us, I believe who had done the ride before (or would admit it), and all but one attempted Marin. Even Fast-Frank Metzger, with his 39/25 real man gearing, made it up Marin, congratulations! Only a couple of folks had to walk the last block.

With such a large group we were slow in clock time and sure enough the A group caught us by the top of Marin (3 climb).

I believe we had 13 coming up El Toynal, reconnecting with another 6 at the top (who by going ahead did not benefit from our steeper, more direct route via Loma Vista and Alta Vista), safely negotiated Grizzly Peak, dodging the bicycle-swallowing holes, and wound our way down through Berkeley. I admit skipping the traffic on Euclid in favor of La Loma, so we cheated by at least 50 feet, perhaps 100. First bad tire on Centennial (later another on Canon and a pinch flat on Grizzly). The food and drinks out of Paul’s car were very much appreciated (and decimated).

After the Tilden loop and South Park, the Davis group came to their senses and headed directly to Peets, but we continued on with our smaller, more determined team. A sensible descent down Sheppard’s Canyon, and refreshing rides up Snake and Broadway Terrace, led us to the decision point at Charing Cross, with 2 folks wisely taking the short cut, and by Peets 3 folks heading home. I believe we still had 14 caffeinated enthusiasts racing for the finish (but not all leaving Peets at the same time). In the last group to leave Peets, about 6 o7 of us, Roman Urbina dusted
us both on the Claremont warm-up and on the steeps of Volmer Peak (ouch). I attach a photo of the group (less the photographer) at the top.

Thanks so much to Paul for arranging the ride and finally delivering the most ideal
weather imaginable. (And for some great pizza after the ride).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nifty Ten Fifty Pre Flight Notes

A Few Pre-Flight Tips:

• Please arrive 30 minutes before start time. We try to roll on time. Rider's meeting 5 min. before start. Be courteous, be punctual. Nifty Lite riders, your leader is Janet DeHaven. B Riders, your leader is Bill Oldham, A Riders, Paul McKenzie is your leader. I'm not trying to make this thing sound all serious, but peeps like to get rolling and it's respectful to be on time. I will have route sheets and will leave a few extra on the windshield of the Subaru in case you are late.

• I have added a GPS file for the Return to Start from the finish of the ride on Vollmer Peak.

• We will be meeting after the ride for food and beer, location TBD, probably Picante or Lane Splitter. Showers may be available at our home for a just a few out of town riders if needed. We cannot accommodate a large group. Bring a towel.

• Meet on Pomona Ave in El Cerrito, turn South off of Moeser and go about 100m, and park at the Southern end of the diagonal parking. This puts us closest to the rest rooms. I found my Camo Truvativ Ball Cap, and will wear that so you can I.D. me. My silver Subaru Impreza will the there too. Find me and ask any questions you may have.

• There are bathrooms at the start, but they are locked. I have keys. Please take the key from me and return immediately when you are done so I have it for the next person. Don't exit the bathroom and leave the key locked inside!

• Am counting my lucky stars as far as the weather, it should be a great day!


The 10th Annual Nifty is set for the first Sunday in April as always, April 3rd this year. That's right folks, the Nifty celebrates its 10th Anniversary this Sunday! Start place will be the same as 2010, Moeser and Pomona Ave's in El Cerrito. And we'll have new, earlier start times as requested by some riders. Nifty Lite and B ride will start at 8:30 AM and the A ride will start at 9:00 AM. Stay tuned for updates to this post.

What to Bring: Please bring positive attitude, low gears, enough food for the first 2-3 hours of riding, and a little money for coffee and bakery goods later in the ride. Ride times are actual roll times. If you're late you'll miss the start and be on your own!

Coffee/Breakfast: Coffee, pastries and full-on hearty breakfast is available at Fat Apple's Restaurant in El Cerrito within a half mile of the start. There is also a Starbucks and a Peets
coffee house, both within 1 mile of the start.

Nifty FAQ: We've now added a Nifty FAQ section. Let me know if anything should be added...

WEATHER: Perfect riding weather is forecast for Sunday. After cooling off a bit on Saturday, Sunday should be sunny and clear with a high of 66 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 0%. Sat. night low will be 49 degrees. Looks like most riders will be in jersey and shorts, maybe start with arm warmers and knee warmers.

Water: (Update: As of Sat. morning, the water fountain is up and running, not sure if bathrooms are operational yet, Porta Potties still at Brazil Room). The water is currently out at Island Picnic area near Brazil Room where we stop. I will have extra water in jugs in the car. Depending on the turnout, we may ask riders to just have a drink, top off one bottle, then refill at Sibley Park after climb #6. I will make this announcement at the ride start. I'm hopeful they'll have everything repaired by the weekend as this affects the bathroom as well. Porta-Potties are available at Brazil Room, about 100m from our stop, so we will have what we need, just slightly less convenient.

GPS data: GPS data for the Nifty is now available. See post above and let me know if you are having any difficulty. You simply download from Garmin connect. I pre-rode the course on Tuesday, my lack of fitness "painfully" obvious. The ride is also posted on
Strava. BTW, if you haven't checked out, it's something you need to do. Check out this Strava Tour Video.

Elverton Rd. closed to traffic, but an easy portage on the bike.

Course Condition:

Obviously the bad weather has taken its toll on the roads. However, the entire course is open save for one small slide on Elverton, Climb #8. It's an easy 50' portage. Other than that, as of Tuesday, lots of wet spots, and a lot of gravel and debris in the road. This means we have to exercise some caution on the descents. If you choose to run light weight racing tires, you'd better be watching carefully for sharp little rocks that are common in the East Bay Hills. Other than that, the normal cracks and pot holes on the smaller back roads. Traction is good on all the steep climbs, so no issue there.

Feel free to contact me about the ride,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nifty Ten Fifty GPS data at Garmin Connect

Below is a link (or click on view details at lower right of image) to the Nifty Ten Fifty course as captured by my Garmin on my Recon ride on Tuesday. If you open the link below, and look above the map on the right, you will see a button that says, "Send to Device." Plug in your Garmin to your computer and send the course to your device. Then you can follow the Nifty course with your Garmin in "Course" mode. Easy and fun! Now you don't need me anymore...

Nifty Ten Fifty Course by macpaulster at Garmin Connect - Details

Also, I have added a GPS file for the Return to Start from the finish of the ride on Vollmer Peak.