Monday, January 14, 2008

Deo Asuncion: 1984 Olympics & 1982 Asian Games

Deo Asuncion, AdoboVelo's very own Olympics member and Asian Games medalist

When Americans who are of Italian descent watch Olympic games, sometime they wave Italian flags along with the US flag. It's fun. American-Germans do that too. So do American Swedes, American-Armenians. And so on and so forth.

So there's nothing unusual about American-Filipinos of the Adobovelo club waving the Philippine flag at competitions held in Los Angeles. They're proud of their heritage.

The Philippine government has bigger priorities than supporting its athletes at world competitions.

So, with a limited budget for sports teams, the Philippines must be very selective about which athletes it sends to the Olympics, Asian Games, and other world-class competitions.

And even then, the chosen athletes frequently must self-finance things like equipment and food, or find private benefactors.

Sometimes they borrow equipment to train. Simply put, the odds are stacked against the Philippine athlete.

Yet, they persevere.

At the Olympics or Asian Games, the Philippine government does not field a full slate at every event. It does not field just any Filipino athlete that has a gold medal at a local track meet. It must choose events where the athlete is at a world-class level.

So, merely being chosen on the Philippine Team roster for the Olympics or Asian Games is a big accomplishment by itself. Such is an honor held by AdoboVelo's own DEO ASUNCION.

At the 1982 Asian Games held at New Delhi, the Philippine Cycling Team fielded 5 cyclists , among whom was Deo Asuncion.

That Philippine cycling contingent harvested 3 bronze medals: one in 4,000 meter Team Pursuit (Deo Asuncion and 3 other teammates), 30 Kilometer Points Race (Ed Pagarigan), and 1,000 Meter Individual Time Trial (Rudy Guaves).

In Team Pursuit, two teams at a time compete on the track. A team has four cyclists. Each team starts at opposite ends of the track. They go around 16 times (totalling 4 kilometres). The objective is to catch (that is, to "lap") the other team. If neither is caught, then the method for choosing the victor is the teams' time (based on the third rider of the team to cross the line). Individual Pursuit is the same, but without team groupings.

The Points Race is a bit more complicated. It's a rolling start, meaning, all the cyclists are scattered on the oval when they start going, without a defined "starting line". Gradually, a "main group" naturally forms on the oval, which is very important! If you can lap the "main group" you get 20 points. If you are lapped by the main group you lose 20 points. You can also gather points at "sprint points" every 5 laps (or every 2KM in Elite), where the FIRST 4 riders are awarded points of 5, 3, 2 and 1.

Individual Time Trial, well, everyone knows what that is. You ride alone on the track, and go as hard as you can, and post a time. Fastest time wins.

Two years later, at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics,
the Philippines cycling team fielded 4 cyclists.

The best placing was 23rd in the 100 Meter ITT (Rudy Guaves).

Deo Asuncion was the only member entered in more than 1 event. He competed in sprint (where he was eliminated in the 1st round) and in the Points race, where he placed 18th in Heat 1, and then lost in later rounds.

At the 2007 UCI World Track Championships held in Los Angeles (Home Depot Center in Carson), (Photo by Arden)
Deo represented the Philippines on his own dime and time. He competed in the Points Race.

Deo has Bib # 34
(Photo by Arden)
In Points Racing, a "main group" usually forms, as you can see in the photo below.
(Photo by Arden)
You earn 20 pts if you can break away and lap the main group. You can also earn points every 5 laps at the "points sprint", where the first 4 to cross the line are awarded points of 5, 3, 2 and 1.
(Photos by Arden)
Below, ADOBOVELO members came to show support the Philippine entry Deo Asuncion. L-R: Unidentified member, Jaimer (white T-shirt), Andrew, Egay, Ben, William, unidentified official, Gil (in vest), Arden, and unidentified official.

Below, ADOBOVELO members outside the Home Depot Center. L-R: Elpidio, Manolito, Ben, Arden, Andrew, William, Efren, Kuya Abe, Egay, Jaimer

Below, Deo shown in the main group.
(Photo by Arden)

Below, Deo at the Home Depot track velodrom at Carson.
(Photo by Arden)
Below, ADOVOVELO members Arden Arindaeng and Louie Rivera are Official UCI volunteers. They hold up the AdoboVelo jersey with pride.

Below, ADOBOVELO members Louie Rivera and Charles help Deo get ready.
(Photo by Arden)

Deo wears Bib# 34 in the Points Race
(Photo by Arden)

Deo chases a rider in the Points Race
(Photo by Arden)

Deo in the Points Race
(Photo by Arden)

Deo warming up before his event, the Points Race(Photo by Arden)

Deo training at the velodrome
(Photo by Arden)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Francis vs. Fargo Street

Cyclists like to test themselves. One of the most usual competitions takes place in a residential neighborhood near Dodgers Stadium. It is a very hilly area. There is a residential road named FARGO STREET with an insane incline of 32%. The objective of the competition is to make the most number of trips up the hill in one day.
1 down, 50 more to go. AdoboVelo 'astig' Francis Marlon Ignacio tries to break the record for the number of trips up Fargo Street in an 8-hour span.

Usually, when the topography is hilly like that, engineers like to build ZIG-ZAG roads, which are easier for cars and pedestrians to travel.

But what if the land is already partitioned into plots with ownership titles?

The land before paving.

In that case you can't build zig-zag roads anymore. What's left to do, is to build a road that's a straight line from bottom of the hill to the top.

That is how FARGO STREET came to be.

It is steep, as you can see from the above photo (taken in the 1930’s).

The sign says 32% Grade (meaning, 32 feet elevation gain for every 100 feet distance travelled on the road).

Let’s put that in perspective. Let's put that number into something that makes sense:

....... a 3-story building is about 32-feet tall

...... a basketball court is about 100 feet long (actually, exactly 94 feet long, but suppose let's add 6 feet to reflect the extra area where the posts are installed)

Now, use that 100-foot long basketball court as a ramp to the top of the 32-foot tall building. That’s what 32% Gradient is like.

That's steep.

Now, keep that same 32% slope, but make it 2 blocks long. Climb it once. Climb it twice. Climb it 10 times. Climb it some more. That is the nature of the Fargo Street Climb competition held annually in March by the Los Angeles Wheelman.

In 2006 the record was set at 50 climbs (by Doug Kubler).
Above, Doug Kubler holds the record for most number of climbs at Fargo Street in one day. Check out his special single-gear. From the looks of it, we're guessing that's, maybe, a 24-tooth chainring in front and 34-tooth cog in the back.

In March 2007, Francis Marlon Ignacio set out to break Doug's 50-climb record. The previous year, Francis did 48 climbs, placing 3rd. So he figures, just add 3 more climbs, and he overtakes the record.

Here's a photo of Francis in 2006. The AdoboVelo jersey was not yet available then.

Almost 80 riders arrived at Fargo Street in March 2007 to try their strength.
Above, a map of Fargo St, which is about 1 mile from Dodgers Stadium

Above, Francis (in AdoboVelo jersey) mixes it up with other participants

The above photo gives an idea of how steep 32% is, compared to the usual 8% for normal inclines

In the end, Francis did break 50. He made 51 climbs.

However, Douglas wanted to put the record beyond reach for a long time, so he did 80 climbs that same day. Monster.   

(Author: Mandy Genato)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

AdoboVelo: History of the name

Names are important. It helps us know a good thing from a bad thing. For example, the name Tour-de-Francis is easy to remember because it's a play on the world famous cycling event Tour de France. We're lucky Francis Ignacio's mom didn't name him Protacio. "Tour de Protacio" doesn't quite have that "ring" to it.

This cycling club was almost named Socal Cycling International Cycling Group , or "SCICG", which you can pronounce 'siga'. In Tagalog that means the neighborhood tough guy.

In 2005, a bunch of cyclists needed a name for their new club. On their Yahoo group discussion site (which at that time was named "cyclistafilam"), member cyclists submitted suggestions. They came up with candidates like "Global Cycling Team", "International Cycling Team", "Island Boys", "ROAM - Race on a Mission", and SCICG.

Finally someone came up with the name ADOBO.
It's a Filipino food, no other cuisine has it. Food is big among Filipinos. At parties, we don't care what you wear, just what food you bring. Adobo is a dish made of chicken or pork cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Vinegar is the key. Even in the tropical heat, Adobo never spoils because bacteria does not survive in vinegar.

The name immediately garnered support, and morphed into AdoboVelo, which rolls out more gracefully in the tongue.

Thus the name AdoboVelo was born. So remember, while "siga" is tough, "Adobo" never spoils in the heat of competition.

Hey, since we're in the topic of brands, it's interesting to know how other brand names came to be.

Can you imagine the name United States of Columbus, instead of America? If Christoper Columbus discovered America first, why didn't they name the lands after him, or his queen or king? Who is this guy Mr. America anyway? Here's the story.

While Columbus was a first-rate trail blazer, his diaries were boring, and also wrong (he thought he reached the lands of India, in Asia, and he called the natives Indians).

Meanwhile, in Europe, a bunch of rich businessmen financed a lesser known navigator named Amerigo Vespucci to explore this new world further. They hired him because he was cheaper than Columbus, but more careful about his facts.

Mr. Amerigo explored the new lands, and was the first to realize it was not India, but two large continents not known before. He excitedly wrote two long letters to his friend in Europe narrating his path-finding observations.

Most fascinating were descriptions of the sexual customs and marriage practices of the people in these new lands. They were so entertaining that his friend published them as a pamphlet. It was a hit. It became a best-seller published in many languages and distributed across Europe. They sold more than Columbus' own diaries.

Around the same time, a German map maker
read Amerigo's writings instead of Columbus's. So when he created a new map containing these new lands, he called them America. His map was the first to show these new lands, so the map became a best-seller all over Europe. From then on, the name America stuck, even though Mr. Amerigo himself faded into obscurity, and even though Columbus became duly recognized as the first discoverer.

At least the lands called The Philippines is named after King Philip II. He was the Spanish monarch who sent ships called galleons to settle those new lands. The galleon trade took tobacco and sugar out of the Phillippines, for sale in Europe. In exchange the Philippines got religion and paella.

The explorer who discovered the Phillippines, a fellow named Magellan, was unfortunate enough to encounter the local "siga" there named Lapu-Lapu. He chopped off Magellan's head in a battle waged in the beach. Although Magellan and his soldiers had superior armaments, they were weighed down by their heavy armor, while Lapu-Lapu's men wore no armor. The lighter fighters won the day. (Sounds familiar, cyclists?) Today, Lapu-Lapu's name is on official money and street names, not to mention a delicious fish. He's a siga with hero status.

By the way, in order to narrate the discoveries and exploits done in the 1500's, a writer needs to use words like Explorer, Navigator, Expedition, Discovery, Pathfinder, Trailblazer. Notice a pattern? They are all names of SUVs.

Two more interesting brand names to talk about:

The people at Google are great engineers, but lousy spellers. In 1996 two bright engineers had a search engine they nicknamed BackRub (so named because it relied on analyzing the web's backlinks). When they decided to form a company, a bunch of engineers gathered in a room to brainstorm possible new names.

"Hey, how about GOOGOLPLEX?", someone shouted. It's a high-falutin' scientific word that means a very large number, basically the number 1 followed by writing zeroes until you get tired. It could be perfect name for a company that crunches large amounts of data.

replied "OK, but how about let's shorten that to GOOGOL."

Next, there
was a guy who was seated at the computer terminal whose assignment was to check if the name was still available as a domain name. But while typing it, he misspelled it as He learned that name was not yet taken. The founders liked the wrong spelling better. Within hours they registered it.

Eastman Dry Plate Co.
Let's be thankful Mr. Eastman didn't keep that name for his company. Kodak sounds better. George Eastman did not invent photography, he only invented a convenient way to take pictures, just as Henry Ford did not invent the car, he only invented a convenient way to manufacture them.

In the old days photography was a lousy hobby. You had to mix chemicals yourself and carry bulky equipment in a truck, not to mention use gunpowder (for flash photography).

Eastman was the first to sell a little wooden box that was a camera, which contained dry film (no more fiddling with wet chemicals). To develop pictures, you simply mailed the whole thing (camera and film) back to the company, and a few weeks later you got your camera back, along with the photos.

It was a hit. He named his company KODAK. The word does not mean anything at all. Eastman made it up himself. He wanted a name that was easy to pronounce and spell, and had a crisp sound. Eastman was not only a brilliant engineer, but a marketing genius as well.