Sun05292016

News

FAA report

FAA report "a start" in allaying noise onslaught


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Anti-noise advocates exchange informational door hangers to give to neighbors.

A federal report released last week identifies possible solutions to the aircraft noise plaguing South Bay communities.

The Federal Aviation...

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Schools

Almond community packs meals for those in need

Almond community packs meals for those in need


Courtesy of Polly Liu
Almond School families worked together last month to package more than 15,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now organization. Approximately 85 volunteers, including students in grades K-6, packaged meals of rice, soy, vitamins and...

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Community

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Marie Houghton Mong relaxes with one of her two 16-year-old cats at The Terraces at Los Altos retirement community.

On the average day, Marie Houghton Mong can be found in her attractive and comfortable apartment at T...

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Comment

Blame it on Rio: No Shoes, Please

In 2008, I wrote a column explaining why I thought Beijing was an inappropriate venue for that year’s Summer Olympic Games. I cited health risks: the city’s terrible pollution and the country’s corrupt food supply chain. I also note...

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Special Sections

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimens...

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Business

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Chamber of Commerce Mountain View presented this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award to Maria Marroquin, left, and Leane Reelfs, right. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award went to Diana Bautista, center.

Chamber ...

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People

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

Resident of Los Altos 
August 18, 1920 - May 11, 2016 

Ernie died peacefully at his home, just a few months short of his 96th birthday. 

Ernie had an amazing life, born in Germany he and his family fled the Nazi's soon after Kristal...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent


Courtesy of Eileen Eng
Mountain View High junior Julia Rogers, 2015 South Bay Teen Idol winner, is slated to perform at Tuesday’s “Arts Razzle-Dazzle” at Bus Barn Theater.

Los Altos Stage Company shines a spotlight on the perfo...

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Spiritual Life

Former St. Nicholas pastor shares his story as exorcist

The Rev. Gary Thomas served the Los Altos faith community as pastor of St. Nicholas Catholic Parish for several years before he announced in 2005 that San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath had assigned him to study in Rome, not unusual for U.S. priests...

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Surviving the Death Ride

Photo Courtesy Of Pam Kelly

Bradley Erickson of Los Altos reaches Carson Pass cycling in the 29th annual Death Ride July 11. The ride features five passes.

In a little more than a year, Bradley Erickson has gone from road-bike beginner to Death Ride survivor.

The Los Altos resident July 11 completed perhaps the most grueling cycling event in Northern California, the 29th annual Death Ride, which brings riders from all over the world to the tiny town of Markleeville each year.

"I started cycling last year, and my goal was to get in shape," the 40-year-old Erickson said. "I set the bar higher this year. This was the hardest physical challenge I've done so far."

With 15,000 feet of climbing, the Death Ride is a challenge for the lungs, muscles and mind. The 129-mile ride through an area of Alpine County nicknamed "the California Alps" features five mountain passes and rivals the climb of any stage of this summer's Tour de France.

Nearly 3,000 people enter every year, but far fewer finish. There's a reason the logo for the 2009 Death Ride was a skull and crossbones – the climb is a killer.

Nearly half of the participants surrender along the way. If climbing both sides of Monitor Pass (elevation: 8,314 feet) doesn't get you, traversing both sides of Ebbetts Pass (8,730) just might, or simply the thought of still having to get over the east side of Carson Pass (8,574) before coasting to the finish at Turtle Rock Park.

"All the peaks are pretty high," Erickson said. "Ebbetts Peak is higher than the highest peak in this year's Tour de France. (The hardest part) was just getting up and over those peaks, and doing five of them and 129 miles in one day."

Erickson conquered the course in 9 1/2 hours. He embarked at 5 a.m., made a few quick stops for water and finished by 2:30 p.m.

"That's really fast," teammate Leah Toeniskoetter said.

Toeniskoetter should know – she's participated in the last four Death Rides. The San Jose resident was captain of Erickson's team, which pedaled with a purpose. The 25 members raised money for TurningWheels for Kids, a Bay Area non-profit organization that provides bikes to low-income children at Christmas.

Erickson's involvement with TurningWheels began before he even imagined taking on the Death Ride. Erickson and his son Drew, a fourth-grader at Almond School, have participated in the last two TurningWheels for Kids Bike Builds, at which hundreds of volunteers gather each December in downtown San Jose to assemble the bicycles that will be given away. Approximately 2,000 bikes were built this year, according to Erickson.

"It's a great cause," Erickson said of TurningWheels, which turns every $75 in donations into a new bike, helmet and lock for a needy child. "It was nice to do (the Death Ride) for my favorite charity."

The last Bike Build is where Erickson first dared to dream about the Death Ride. Co-workers from Cisco Systems participating in the project pointed him toward Toeniskoetter and her TurningWheels team.

"It was a perfect fit," Erickson said.

He began training with the team at the end of February, taking part in organized rides every other weekend that often went from the valley to the coast. Erickson said he enjoyed the support of his teammates and learned valuable lessons about nutrition and how to handle the elevation from Death Ride veteran Toeniskoetter.

"Leah gave me a lot of good advice," he said. "She's amazing."

Erickson also prepared on his own, biking to work (nearly 28 miles roundtrip) two to three times a week.

"I didn't have to train as much as you'd think," he said.

Whatever Erickson did, it worked. Not even the dreaded elevation gain of the Death Ride intimidated him.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," said Erickson, who grew up playing hockey in northern Minnesota. "When I was finished, I thought, ‘I really want to do this again next year.'"

Count Toeniskoetter among those impressed with Erickson, who joined her in the group of 14 TurningWheel members to finish the ride.

"He's incredible," she said. "He's a strong rider with a great attitude."

Erickson's biggest concern before the event wasn't riding but raising – funds, that is ­– for the team's cause.

"I was nervous about the ride, but I may have been more nervous about raising money," said Erickson, who moved to Los Altos five years ago. "But people were very generous – it was really impressive."

Erickson said he raised $2,000, exceeding his goal of collecting enough to provide 20-25 bikes for children in need.

The TurningWheels team raised $35,000, doubling its goal.

"It was a huge effort, especially in this tough economy," said Toeniskoetter, who raised $12,000. "It's a great way to make a positive impact at Christmas, especially this year."

For more information on TurningWheels for Kids or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.turningwheelsforkids.org.

Contact Pete Borello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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