Thanks to all for the great time at the Low-Key Hillclimbs party last night! And thanks to Sports Basement for giving us space to hold it.
It's a lot of work doing the slides for the awards, but I think it's really important to try and recognize all of the great contributions that both riders and volunteers make to the success of the series. Once again, despite not really trying, we raised money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Open Space Trust. Each of these charities does great work, similar really. I view the Open Space Trust as fighting cancer of the land, while LAF fights cancer of the body. The two are really intertwined.
And a huge thanks to Strava for providing some wonderful prizes. We awarded this with a card game. I was a bit inspired by Charles Ardai's excellent book "Fifty-to-One", in which a very simple card game was played with very high stakes. We played a series of games which were closer to "one-to-one", until only two were left standing. Ron Brunner and Judy Colwell were the most skillful players, and took the prizes.
Low-Key and Strava are very much aligned spiritually. Both allow the "average" rider to compete, with a focus on hills, against others of similar speed. One of the big motivations for starting Low-Keys was to provide an on-line archive of climbing times over a range of local climbs, measured under controlled conditions, as previously climbing times were generally passed on by oral tradition. Strava of course takes this to a new level.
We announced the schedule for next year, and two highlight climbs are Mix Canyon Road in Vacaville and Palomares Road near Sunol. I've not ridden the former, but by all accounts it's one of the most difficult climbs in the Bay Area (although Bohlman-On Orbit-Bohlman actually rates higher with my scoring scheme). Nobody would describe Palomares as particularly difficult, but the route profile provides for plenty of opportunity for climbers to test each other. Shorter climbs are sometimes tougher than longer ones, as they provide no opportunity for recovery: you've simply got to push pain envelope every second of the way.
Another highlight: the vote for the 2011 series slogan. The winner, in a very close vote (24-19) was "Veni, Vedi, Ascendi". Second place was another excellent slogan: "Rise and Climb". I love both of these, but I wasn't disappointed in the winning slogan (on which I didn't vote), as I'd submitted it. It was the first time ever my slogan came out on top, and it was the only slogan I'd submitted which made it past the first round of on-line voting. (You don't need to see our permit crashed and burned... too bad)
But shorter term, as we've done a few times before, we'll be organizing the Megamonster Enduro Ride this winter: on 12 February 2011, weather permitting. This ride is the work of Kevin Winterfield, who organizes it as part of an annual trip out here from his present home in Connecticut. How great is that?
In case you missed the fun, or had difficulty seeing the slides in the bright light, I've put copies here: