Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

I hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day. I won't go into all the details again about how I think it's a marketing conspiracy by all the retailers to pilfer from our wallets.

I got Sarah some roses and our usual cake for holidays. I can't believe how much more they increased their prices to exploit this day. They doubled the price of the roses! I couldn't believe the price gouging. Nevertheless, I forked over the cash. They know that men are captives to their business practices. If guys don't pay up and buy the gifts, then their women will kill them.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hit By A Car

I got hit by a car on my way to work in the morning yesterday while riding my bike. I was riding westbound on Cesar Chavez going to Downtown L.A. This car coming from the opposite side made a left turn and kept coming. She didn't stop, but kept going. She hit me with her front bumper. I flew about 10 feet and hit the road. I kept sliding on my arms, knees, ankle, and chest. I thought I was going to die. Fortunately, I had another life left. If it was anyone else, I'm sure they would have been seriously injured or could have died.

The person who hit me was a fat Hispanic lady aged 54. She was with someone who I think was her husband. She was entering this warehouse that seemed to be a discount store wholesaler. It looks like she knew one Hispanic guy that worked there because I saw her talking to him.

A person on the street said she would call 911. Nobody else stopped because there was no place to park and they all probably wanted to get to work without getting involved.

A firetruck and ambulance came in about 5-10 minutes. They bandaged me up and asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I declined, because I felt okay aside from my cuts and sore muscles. I should have gone to the hospital, because I'm really sore now and maybe I could have gotten checked out. My legs are really sore. My back, neck, and chest is also sore. I got cuts and scrapes on both my arms, elbows, knees, and left ankle.

I asked the lady why she didn't stop and she said that she stopped and that I hit her! That was total b.s. She kept going and didn't stop until she hit me. I screamed out in pain. She said that I was coming down at 35 mph which was not true since there was a lot of traffic. I went slow around 10 mph. If she said I was coming down fast, then she did see me, but she didn't stop.

My bike is ruined. My front wheel is totally bent and needs to be replaced. I have to special order a derailleur hanger for my Motobecane Nemesis. I also need a new rear derailleur because it's bent. My bike seat is scraped up. My bar tape is also scraped up. I need new brakes and cables. I probably need a tune-up too to make sure that the bike will run okay. My front bike lights also fell off and broke.

She seemed to be in a rush because she said that she had to get to the airport to go to Florida. She said she was coming back in 10 days. She didn't want to give me any of her info until the police came. When a police officer finally showed up he took my info but said I needed to order a police report. I still don't have her insurance info. Hopefully, the police report will be okay. I'm not quite sure if he took the correct information about what happened and how much damage there was to my bike. The fat lady asked how my tire was. It wasn't my tire, but my whole wheel. I said that the wheel probably costs around $200. She said that she would pay for it if I showed her the receipt, but there is more damage than just the wheel. She probably doesn't know anything about bikes so she didn't think there was much damage.

She didn't even apologize to me. She kept insisting that it wasn't her fault. She kept lying to the police officer so she wouldn't get in trouble. She said that the car she drove, a junky bluish 1996 Nissan Sentra with different colored body parts and duct tape, was not hers. I guess she borrowed it from someone. I hope they have insurance. She and her husband were not injured and there was no damage to the car.

The pictures don't quite show the magnitude of the damage to me and my bike. It's worse in person than in the pictures.

Hopefully, this case will be resolved soon and quickly. I hope both my bike and I will be okay and riding together soon.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Santa Ana River Trail

Andy and I biked on the Santa Ana River bike paths on Saturday. We went from Fullerton to Huntington Beach. Our round trip mileage was about 44 miles.

The Santa Ana River bike path is really beautiful compared to the San Gabriel River trail, which goes from Azusa to Seal Beach. I wanted to take some pictures along the paths but we were going too fast for me to stop and smell the roses.

I've never seen so many cyclists on bike paths before. There were a lot! There were a lot of club riders too all wearing the same team jerseys. There were a lot of guys on triathlon bikes too. It seems like there are more active Orange County people than in Los Angeles.

This path was so nice that I wish it was hundreds of miles long. I feel like I can ride on this trail forever.

Andy and I are on Team Motobecane.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Steepest Hill in Los Angeles

There are a couple of races that I know of where the toughest cyclists climb the steepest hills in Los Angeles. One is the Fargo Street hill climb race and the other one is "Feel My Legs I'm a Racer" ride where they race up 10 super steep hills in Los Angeles.

I tried practicing for the race later this month by going up Baxter and Fargo streets. These hills have a 32-25% grade. At first I wasn't sure where it was so I went the entire length of both streets.

I climbed the first couple of hills on Baxter and Fargo in Silver Lake. At first I went to the west side of Glendale Blvd. I climbed up all the hills there on each side. Boy was that tough! There were nice views of the Silver Lake reservoir. Then, I crossed over to the east side of Glendale, and I could see the intimidating hills up there. I just barely managed to climb the first few hills.

When I got to the steepest hills on Baxter and Fargo Street, I was totally exhausted. My heart was pounding and almost fell like giving up. But, through sheer will power, I managed to climb all the hills. I shouldn't have saved the steepest hills for last, because at that point I was pretty weak.

I fell a couple times on my 7th and 8th hill. That was a humbling experience. I had to clip out several times, because I just could not pedal up. There were a lot more cars on Baxter St. than I thought there would be. Maybe it was because it was at rush hour and people were going home.

I went up the hills on my Motobecane Nemesis triathlon/time-trial bike. My time-trial bike is built for high speeds and not climbing. The gear ratios are very high. I had no granny gear to get me up the hills. I think I can do it on my mountain bike which has much lower gears. I thought it was going to be tough especially after watching videos of other guys do it, but it was tougher than I thought. You think you can do it until you actually go up there and try.

I had to zigzag up hill. There are some pretty steep hills in my neighborhood, but these hills are the steepest in the country.

There's a technique to going uphill. You need to power through when turning while zigzaging. Otherwise, it's extremely tough to pedal uphill at that angle. If you lose your balance, concentration, and/or momentum, then it's really hard to get back on the bike again at that steep of an angle. You will fall if you can't keep pedaling up.

Even downhill was tough. The hills were so steep that my brakes couldn't even stop me. I kept going down. Sometimes, I even felt the rear tire skidding downhill. I need new brakes already.

These hills are extremely tough on bike and body. I felt like I could almost rip off the handlebars from my bike when I put so much force on it while pedaling up. I felt like the chain and gears could even break. One time my chain actually broke going uphill on my mountain bike on a steep hill in San Diego.

I also had a backpack full of clothes, shoes, lunch tupperware, bike support stuff, etc. It weighed a good 20 lbs.

I think I could complete the race. I think I will only get a mediocre time though. I think it will be easier and much safer with many other cyclists and no cars around. It was dangerous because cars can't even see anything when they're going uphill especially at the crest. Downhill, the cars' brakes are getting fried too.

You can see Fargo Street from the entrance/exit to the Glendale 2 Freeway. I've always wondered just how steep that hill was and now I know first hand. It's no joke.

Even though I couldn't get up the steepest hills in one complete go (since I was tired from climbing all the other hills), If I could finish them on a high-geared triathlon bike, then I'm pretty sure I can do it on a lower geared mountain bike. It will still be tough, especially on a race of the 10 steepest hills in L.A. These hills are steeper than the ones in San Francisco.

Plus, I'm getting old. Before biking there, I twisted my back and pulled a muscle near my rib. I had a hard time breathing too, because it hurt when I tried to inhale.

It's a good thing I like physical challenges. No pain, no gain, right? If I'm free that day, I want to do that race.

My hats off to the guys who can do it on fixed gear bikes and guys who can do it 50-90 times in one day.

As you know, pictures don't really show just how steep hills are. You've got to go there and do it yourself.

Check out the links to find more about these races:

Lost Season 4

What'd you guys think of last night's premiere of Lost? I thought it was pretty awesome. The only thing is whether or not they'll be able to answer all the questions about the island before the show ends. They introduce new mysteries every episode, and they haven't explained all the stuff in past seasons. I think the storyline is intriguing and the mysteries really get people hooked. It might be frustrating for some, but once they answer the puzzles, it's really anti-climatic. It's like knowing the secret to a magician's trick.

It's like J.J Abram's previous show, Alias, where they had mind-blowing concepts introduced in each episode. When the show finally ended and they explained that Jennifer Garner's mother was the leader behind a New World Order, I found it to be unsatisfying compared to the first season where every episode had an incredible cliff-hanger.

Going back to Lost, it seems like the writer's have been making things up as they go along each episode. Sometimes, they try to introduce things that will really wow people. But, they can't always seem to keep it up, hence season 3 where not as much happened.

They've shown us a lot of things that still needs to be answered satisfactorily. What is that black cloud-like monster? What is the significance of the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42? Why do all the pregnant women die on the island? Etc.

I think Lost is still the best show on tv.

Did you see the Oceanic Airlines commercial on ABC? It goes to a link:

After the online commercial, it leads you to another website: is a fun internet game where you play as a guy who is trying to find what happened to his girlfriend, a stewardess on Oceanic flight 815. Try it. It's pretty clever.