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News

Paws-itively  ready for  disaster

Paws-itively ready for disaster


Dozens of local residents participated in the Pet Ready! program, which included first-aid tips for animals from Adobe Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Cristi Blackwolf, bottom right. Girl Scouts Rachel Torgunrud, bottom left, in purple of Sunn...

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Schools

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge


Courtesy of Ann Hepenstal
Gardner Bullis School’s Tech Challenge Team “Fantastic V,” above, recently showed their project at the school’s STEM Expo. Teammates, from left, Brandon Son, Will Hooper, George Weale, Tripp Crissma...

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Community

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1


Town Crier File Photo
Visitors examine the fresh produce on display at last year’s Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

It wouldn’t be spring without the return of the Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market May 1. The Los Altos Village Association sp...

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Sports

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High pitcher Lizzie Beutter went the distance to earn the win against Mountain View.

The number of Los Altos High hits and Mountain View High errors may be in dispute, but there’s no debating which softball ...

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Comment

Enlightened California: No Shoes, Please

I recently read a newspaper article about the newly adopted sex-education curriculum in the state of Mississippi. In the city of Oxford, the following exercise is included: Students pass around a Peppermint Patty chocolate and observe how spoiled it ...

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Business

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
European Cobblery owner Paul Roth is relocating his business from 201 First St., above, to 385 State St. in May.

The European Cobblery, a family-owned and -operated shoe store, is relocating to a new home just a few month...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

'Champions for Youth' announced

Challenge Team will honor Mountain View Police Chief Scott Vermeer as “Champion for Youth” at the nonprofit organization’s annual fundraising breakfast, scheduled 7 a.m. May 7 at Michaels at Shoreline, 2960 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

Lauren ...

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Stepping Out

Last go-round for 'Hound'

Last go-round for 'Hound'


Tracy Martin/Special to the Town Crier
The actors in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – from left, Darren Bridgett, Ron Campbell and Michael Gene Sullivan – take on dozens of roles.

TheatreWorks is slated to present “The Hound of the Baskervilles...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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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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