Post Ride Elbow Pain

Rough RoadRough road ahead.

Riding longer distances have been great fun on the weekends, but what I didn’t expect was having sharp elbow pain radiating out to my right hand; my three fingers (pinky, ring and middle fingers) were tingly and I know what nerve compression feels like because I’ve experience Carpal Tunnel before as a dental hygienist. I’ve had to reduce my hours of work, change my sleeping habits (I slept with wrists cocked downwards) and stopped windsurfing. I wanted to avoid surgery.

This particular pain feels different and it didn’t immediately appear during last Saturday’s ride, but after that jarring route through the farm lands I must have held my grip too tightly causing nerve compression. What could be causing this besides griping my handlebar too tightly? I am varying my hand positions but I’ve never had this elbow pain before.

Ulnar painSo, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by “repetitive or prolonged activities that require the elbow to be bent or flexed”.


I will try my best to rest and not ride my bike or bend my right arm, although it is difficult not to use the computer or mobile phone.

mummificationI am joking about this above image being a cure. Just a desperate attempt to help relieve some pain so I may ride this coming weekend. In the meanwhile, I hope you’ll leave a message and tell me what your rough experiences have been when riding long distances.






205K RUSA Permanent #1337 – Carmel Cruise

Carmel Cruise RUSA Permanent #1337 205K

Carmel Cruise RUSA Permanent #1337 205K

Completed the RUSA permanent #1337 Carmel Cruise on Saturday. Originally a planned 127 miles route but due to getting lost and adding a few miles to grab some food our adventure ended with a total of 129 miles and 6,300′ elevation.
Our ride started early, the first control point was the Scotts Valley Safeway at 7AM.

The ride started with a early morning chilly descent and I decided to wear only my vest and arm warmers knowing that the hills would keep me fairly warm. Once again, as my last 200k brevet, I forgot how chilly and windy it is by the ocean and so, once again, I will consider purchasing a light compact windbreaker.

Santa Cruz Bay

We descended down Glen Canyon Rd, sections of this road are washed out and becomes a single lane. Santa Cruz and Capitola were my old high school summer weekend haunts so it felt a bit nostalgic to be riding through there.


At the town of Aptos we rode a sectioned Beach Drive we rode down to Seacliff State Beach thinking we were going to ride along the beach but we made a mistake and had to turn back and take the high road and ride up Rio Del Mar hill (6.9% avg grade says Strava).

Our first mistake of the ride.

Could you blame us for being lost? Which road would you prefer to take, the Rio del Mar 7% grade or the flat Beach Drive?

Not so bad– in fact, most of the ride was very pleasant and scenic with panoramic ocean views.

As you enter Monterey most of the route was on the bike path — I will get back to the farm roads later. As you near the Cannery Row there are murals with characters possibly depicted from John Steinbeck featured novels (Trivia! Which famous actor featured in two of Steinbeck’s novels in 50’s?). The bike and pedestrian shared path becomes crowded with snorkels, visitors for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and various restaurants so we had to slow down and enjoy the stop and go along the path.

As we headed toward Carmel, enjoying the sights of Pacific Grove, on the opposite side of the street we saw a speedy tandem approaching. I was impressed by their coordination and smiled as we passed but a few beats later I heard my name called out!


We turned around and it was none other than fellow #BCC Ian Prowell and lovely stoker Cheryl Prowell!

Ian and Cheryl Prowell on their beautiful Calfee Tetra tandem

Ian and Cheryl Prowell on their beautiful Calfee Tetra tandem

We couldn’t be more surprised with the coincidence of meeting on the road and being far from home. We’ve chatted several times on Google+ but never met in real life. How incredibly cool is that! Take a look at Strava’s absolutely cool new feature called PlayBack. It will give you an animated flyby glance of your route as well as others who are roughly in the same area at the same time! Unexpected_G+_HIRL_from_Strava


CarmelChris and I continued on our way to Carmel’s famous 17 Mile Drive where the famous Pebble Beach, Cypress and Spyglass golf courses are but not being golf fans we didn’t feel the need to stop.

Here's my Yelp review:

Here’s my Yelp review of Island Taco:

The nice thing about not driving is that we didn’t have to pay an entry fee to ride through the 17 Mile Drive. As we descended into Carmel we went to the next open control point. We decided to go to the Crossroads Shopping Center and find some place to sit down, eat while watching our bikes. We found Island Taco; it wasn’t bad but for one burrito and a small fish taco with 2 sodas the total was 21 dollars! Gulp~ yeah, a little pricey but it serves as a motivator for me to start creating my own randonneur portable (aka the Allen Lim rice cake) lunches.

Rough RoadThis route was beautiful so I don’t want to discourage anyone from riding it but I would give the warning that the roads in the farm areas are scenic but very rough, I felt exhausted from absorbing all the road vibration in the back of my arms, and hands.

Coming back from the strawberry and artichoke fields and back to Santa Cruz was tiring. The combination of traffic, rough road and winds began to wear me down & I needed a mental break.We found a Quiznos sandwich shop and shared a half sub and soda and felt better. All that was left was the climb back.farmland Climbing out of Glen Canyon wasn’t difficult in % grade but at this point I just wanted this ride to be over and was getting hungry. My forearms and fingers were getting numb and I also noticed my right baby toe was getting numb too — how odd is that?

We finally reached Safeway again, our final control point. While Chris purchased water for our recovery drinks (powder was prepared earlier and waiting in the car!) I bought my favorite salty potato chips! I love the feeling of removing cycling shoes and replacing them with sneakers; I love the taste and the crunch of chips on the drive home after a long ride!

Randonneurs have to travel with brevet cards where date/time/location are documented as proof of arrival.

Randonneurs have to travel with brevet cards where date/time/location are documented as proof of arrival.

The (Not Quite) Petaluma Loop – 70 mile with 4,000′ elevation

I  decided to ride with the Western Wheelers (WW), a mid-Peninsula cycling club, and try their Long Distance Training (LDT) ride which meets each Saturday; this time they met at the Marin County Civic Center for a Petaluma ride which would accommodate all cyclists to choose different paces and appropriate distances and elevation gains. You can find all Western Wheeler rides posted here on their Meet-Up calendar. Most of the rides have a route sheet or gpx file posted on Ride With GPS, just look under keywords: Western Wheelers: This is convenient because you can download a sync a file into your Garmin and it will give you turn-by-turn directions and will let you know what the elevation profile looks like of your intended route (it’s good to be mentally prepared!).

WW LDT Petaluma 70 mile ride

Unfortunately I didn’t download WW’s pre-made route, as it turns out I didn’t need to because the ride leader decided to do something different, instead of riding up and back to Petaluma (avoiding hills because… well, that wouldn’t be much fun now would it!) our new route would go up Marshall Wall and ride on Shoreline Hwy, along Tomales Bay to Point Reyes Station and back.

WW_LDT_Petaluma elevation



Intro to Racing (Part 2)

Meet the Teams ride and Intro to Women’s Racing ended last Sunday. What a blast and inspiration to meet so many women who enjoy riding and having fun on the bike. This is a photo with Gina Kavesh, Team, as she explains the formation of a double pace line. Team Group Health assists in the demonstration at the Leschi parking lot across the street from Starbucks. Great time & a beautiful counter clockwise ride on the south end of Lake Washington & Mercer Island.

The double paceline formation

The double paceline formation


Introduction to Racing

Bicycling is experiencing a growth in the United States but probably not in the demographic which you’d expect! According to a recent article in The Economist the total numbers of annual bike trips, between 1977 and 2009, more than tripled and more cities want to be known as cycle-friendly communities (IE: Washington, DC, Boulder, CO, Portland, OR) but surprisingly all growth in cycling has come from men between the ages of 25 to 64. Doesn’t this seem surprising? Where are the ladies and children? And there’s even a smaller pool of women in racing. Have you ever wondered why there is no Tour de France for women? It may have something to do with lack of cultivation in the women’s field. I’ve been an active member of the Cascade Bike Club and enjoy the many Free Daily Rides (If you live in the Greater Seattle Area I would strongly recommend you try a ride, it’s a lot of fun and an easy way to make new friends and tour Seattle). Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of options for women who seek more advance training for bike handling and speed training. I had to look else where.

Gina KaveshI was fortunate enough to find Gina Kavesh, a women’s cycling veteran who promotes women’s racing and held three day Intro to Racing rides this fall. I had the chance to attend two Sundays and learned how it feels to ride in a double pace line and cruise quickly as a pack. It felt exhilarating and a bit dangerous but after the second Sunday riding with these ladies I knew this was the direction for my growth as a cyclist.

PAX Goes Prime Time!

My family and I are still beaming from our first PAX (Penny Arcade Expo), Seattle’s gaming convention featuring games for console, computer and table top games. For three action packed days reaching 70,000 attendees, it was the largest PAX ever and one of the biggest gaming cons in the world!

With attendees literally spent hours lining up trying to get into the Seattle Convention Center, then lining up again to play the newest beta launches of the biggest blockbuster games (while receiving plenty of terrific swag so you’ll remember to buy the game later!) it seems fairly obvious that the gaming industry is growing.

As you could imagine, as in any entertainment convention, there were plenty of cosplayers (fans dressed in amazing detailed costumes as their favorite game character); hardware vendors, so you can decide what components to put in your next gaming computer; multiple gaming tournaments and indie game developers to talk about their latest releases. It was an all out two-way geek-fest where fans get to share their giddy appreciation for the games as well as the game producers chatting up the end-users and learning what they think of their product. The passion from both attendees and exhibitors was electric.

I wondered after speaking with the Christopher Erhardt, director of AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) could this huge gaming community be an anomaly since, after all, we do live in Seattle where there are at least 150 game companies? Perhaps, but lets look at the facts. The gaming industry is growing leaps and bounds, in fact, three quarters of all U.S. families play games and 72% of those play computer or video games according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Here are some surprising stats: Consumers spent $25.1 billion on video games and peripheries in 2010 and the average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 41 years old (Surprised?). 76% of all games sold in 2010 were rated “E” for Everyone, “T” for Teen, or “E10+” for Everyone 10+ (It’s family affair, just like ours, we’re the prime demographic!)

“Entertainment software is now one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. economy. And video games are driving technological and societal advancements that serve gamers and non-gamers alike. From education, to health, to business, the computer and video game industry is helping Americans lead healthier, happier and more productive lives.”


In my opinion, Firefall had the most impressive exhibit with plenty of big screens for visual stimuli and dry ice extending the experience of demo play. Firefall also has a pretty clever social media campaign featuring ‘Daily Missions’ involving pictures and videos to be taken in front of specific locations then uploading to your social networks (Twitter/Facebook). Don’t have a smartphone…meh, you’re out of luck! (I guess they figured their demographic as a heavy smartphone user and judging by the laggy to non-existent ATT 3G service at the convention center on the first day, they’re right!)

Ubisoft launched Assassin’s Creed Revelations, their fourth installment of the epic historical third-person action video game; The plot and the artwork of the game is striking as it takes place in Ottoman Constantinople in 1511 AD. The story integrates real historical figures and geographic locations with a Sci-fi twist.


Assassins Creed 2 Facebook fan photos


The PAX Prime ’11 fans were lining up to take photos on their ‘green screen’ booth so that you could see yourself with the Assassin’s Creed background. They gave me a card to visit their Facebook fan page. Several PAX Prime exhibitors required folks to register either on Facebook or Twitter before entering a drawing or participating in a game. I’ve never been to a conference like that before, but its smart, guaranteeing fans new updates while increasing their fan base and monitoring their engagement.

Despite all the “smoke and mirror” of these bigger funded top brand games, I’m drawn to the innovators, the developers of indie games. PAX Prime seems committed to exposing gamers to fresh ideas and in an effort to attract exposure for certain indie games, PAX allocated 10 free booth spaces . These indie game developers often don’t have the funds to promote their hard work but are fueled with passion and interest. They want to change the world with their storytelling and drive interest by creating a perfect game.

Matt Gilgenbach’s exhibitor persona, with his yellow miner hat, sticks out from the hungry indie game crowd. As co-founder of 24 Caret Games, he has developed an interesting story where the game must be played, in reverse, in order to save the space time continuum. His team has created a stunning and engaging visual game called “Retro/Grade” (soon to come out on Playstation 3). We are excited that there’s a game that involves musicality (to the extent that we can use our guitar controller!). Now with Activision’s Guitar Hero no longer being manufactured at least there’s something new I can do with our guitars besides gather dust!

PAX Prime 11 interview with multi-talented creator of Universe Sandbox, Dan Dixon, tells us how he started this project and what makes his video game so unique.

Universe Sandbox is an interactive space simulator for Windows based PCs. It’s a powerful gravity simulator and an open ended game where the user can manipulate stars, entire galaxies and change variables for to see vivid graphic animation. As a parent & former home-schooler, I think this is an great way for families to satisfy their curiosity about astronomy combining different “what if” scenarios. You can buy it here for $10.

Ryan Maclean, founder of DrinkBox Studios talks about their new followup game to About a Blob, entitled Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack during PAX Prime 2011. (Platform: PlayStation Vita) Check out their site:

The blob grows as he devours through each level! Younger kids will love it, and it just reminds me how a big bolus of food will track down an esophagus during digestion! (ok, so it’s not a biology game, but it can easily be conceived as one!). Nice job guys, great to meet you at PAX Prime! Here’s the trailer, its a lot of fun!

The G155 is what Gaems is calling a “Personal Gaming Environment”. It caught my eye because it’s a lot like a Pelican Case but specifically designed for portability for gaming consoles. As earlier mentioned, three quarters of U.S. households play some type of computer game and this demographic includes not only the mobile young adults ready to go off to college, but adults well into their careers who travel for business. Disposable income or a necessity for the gamer, who’s to say the value of the ‘Personal Gaming Environment’, all I know is that when we travel for any length of time, my teenage kid packs his Playstation in a floppy gym bag where equipment can get damaged.

Oil paintings- Los Altos

The color photographs are not correct on these paintings, and whether or not the originals are retrievable, the memory of each moment captured while painting lays quietly in my memory.

I am glad to be back in California light.