Sunday, March 30, 2008

More adjustments

I've been sleeping a lot since we got back in town because I'm trying to shake what's left of this bronchitis but I did get a chance to make a few more adjustments to the Alma today. I'm still struggling with seat height a bit but I think I'm close now. Initial impressions are that this bike is amazing. We still have some snow on our trails and I feel terrible so I only rode them for a few minutes but it sure was fun. The Alma just begs to be ridden. I'm using 2.1 Crossmark tires and I'm really glad that Orbea made that downtube like they did because that wider tire really kicks up some serious pebbles. I think I ate a few of them. I love the Reba fork. I actually locked it out while climbing today and it still felt better than my old Manitou. It really is amazing how comfy the bigger wheels are. I am running 22 lbs. right now but I suspect I will have to run a bit more when I'm fully loaded.

TK showed me these Salsa bars he had kindly set aside for me to use and, honestly, I thought they were a complete bill of goods when I first saw them (sorry TK). They are about 4 inches wider than my Monkey Lites and they sweep back 11 degrees. I clearly heard circus music playing in my head when I picked them up. Even Sparky commented about how wide they were. But...this thing is not being set up for XC use. I need it to be very comfortable first and foremost. They are. Good call TK. Also need to give Jeff Kerkove of Ergon props for steering me in the right direction on what grips to get. I had these GC2's on my singlespeed and, again, heard the distinctive sounds of Ringling Bros. but I think they'll work prefectly.

One thing I found while scouting out some of the trail over the summer is that it becomes really easy to get disoriented when you're tired, dehydrated and have been on the bike for 6 hours. While the trail itself is very well marked, some of the detours can be tricky (at least for me) so I thought it might be a good idear to have some cheat sheets with me. It's a real pain to keep them in your jersey pocket or backpack so I made a simple holder out of Lexan and I can hold all my directions there and read them while still riding.

I should be getting some more gear in this week so I'll update as that happens. Thanks everyone.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Beef Jerky?

If you're ever in St. Louis, please be sure to stop by LeGrands Market down on Donovan in the St. Louis Hills and say hello to Jim and the gang and try the beef jerky that they smoke on the premises (or anything else they have in the market). You will not be disappointed. I bought what was left of the jerky on Monday and took great care not to leave it in the car, unsupervised, with my dog. Everything was great until I got a craving for that Baskin Robbins in Oakley, Kansas. I wasn't in the store for more than 5 minutes and she ate half a pound of the stuff. And the crew at Ghisallo made fun of me for carrying it with me every day. Now ya know.

My new ride:

My new frame:

Road trip

Well we loaded up and headed to St. Louis for Spring Break this past week to see friends and family. The last time I was in St. Louis was about 2 years ago and I absolutely hated the entire trip. I spent my days dealing with a ridiculous oil leak coming from the rear main seal area of my Jeep that resulted in me having to drop the oil pan AGAIN to inspect/install a new gasket in the crazy heat of summer. Needless to say there wasn't much time for me to see anyone during that trip and I couldn't wait to get back to Colorado. This trip was so much more fun. I saw lots of friends and visited my fiances family. I gotta tell ya...I haven't laughed as much as I did during the past four days in a long time. We live in a tiny little town up in the mountains and, while it is beautiful, we generally don't get to hang out with other couples or friends all that much so it was really refreshing. I never ever thought I'd say this but...I was actually quite sad to leave town and got a little emotional. Thank you Adam, Mary, Mya, Morgan, and most of all...Simon...for allowing us to take over your basement and eat those wonderful Donettes in the morning.

One of the reasons we drove to St. Louis was to visit my good friends at Ghisallo Sports in Chesterfield, Missouri so that I could get the bike that I will be using for the Colorado Trail Race all sorted out. Today we drove the thousand or so miles back to Colorado and, with all that time in the car to think, I still can't really come up with anything else to say other than, "Wow" when I look at the bike. I knew it was going to be a killer bike but it far exceeded my expectations. I'll post some photos of the frame and the completed bike. The frame alone came in at 2.97 pounds. and the entire bike was 24.86 pounds. I'm thrilled to be riding this thing. Before I move on to the pics I just wanted to say thank you to Devlin, Anthony, Sparky, Olivia, Mitch, and most of dear friend Tim and his lovely wife Deanna for allowing me, Heather and my bag of food to visit the shop almost daily. You all have no idea what your kindness means to me.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I'm the kind of person that generally keeps to myself but this is a little different.

I happened to stumble upon this race right after it had started last year and I was immediately fascinated by it. I raced cross country mountain bikes for a long time but this is completely different. In cross country, I never had time to smell the roses and I think that's one of the reasons I got sick of it. When I first contemplated this race I knew I would have the opportunity to see some truly amazing things while working my way towards Durango. The blooming wild flowers, various animals, old mining stations, ghost towns, and mountains will be very cool. I'm hoping to actually take time to document these things, photographically (albeit quickly), so that I can share them with others. As I thought more about the distance I'd be riding, I knew this was a good time to try and do something small in the bigger scheme of things. I started looking for a suitable charity and didn't have to look too long.

Ironically, in the last week, I have had two people in my life become affected with cancer. I know it sounds cliché but I'm sure everyone has been affected by cancer in some shape or form. It's taken many of my own family members. I'm thrilled to say that I am raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I'm doing this race for me, my students, and for the people out there who may not be able to do it for themselves right now but hopefully will be able to one day.

I have a donation website set up through the LAF and it can be found here. The idea of this blog is not to document my day to day life but to serve as a headquarters for anyone interested in tracking my progress (or lack thereof). While I am doing the pedaling, I will make sure that you can follow along right here with the mandatory voice mail check ins along the way (or podcasts) as I suffer like a dog.

Please pass this along to anyone that you think might be able to help me spread the word. Thanks everyone.