Sunday, April 27, 2008

new duds

Apparently, since I quit racing many moons ago, it's now hip to refer to this as a "kit". Not sure where that nomenclature came from but I refuse to call it that. I really have no good reason for not conforming...other than to just be difficult. I much rather prefer to call it a "cycling uniform". I shall wear this uniform proudly during my upcoming cycling competition. The colors are spiffy and, I have never said this before, but...for some strange reason...they smell incredibly! Seriously. Thank you, AGAIN, Ghisallo.

Got another 4 hours in today and I feel great. I think I may have my nutrition figured out. I tried something new yesterday and today and it seems to be working. Really excited about that since I don't know squat about nutrition. I eat whatever I want and I love good micro-brew. But I did a ton of research, asked a load of questions and tried different things.

I started out riding more forest roads today. Temps were much nicer and, for once, I didn't wake to the sound of lawnchairs being moved around out on the deck. After 3 hours on the forest roads, I noticed a nice looking singletrack that I'd never seen before. I took that and it gave me another hour of fun. I actually did take some pictures today but they are from the camera phone so they might not be the greatest.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the # 30 sucks.

After sleeping in until noon or so, I made my way outside to temps in the high 30's and winds gusting to 30 mph. The plan was to spend some time grinding it out on forest service roads. I thought I might be able to avoid some wind up on Rampart Range with all the trees covering me. But alas...the wind always seemed to find me. The climb from the front door up to the top of the ridge is 7 miles but it takes an honest hour to get up it. For some reason I dig that climb. It started snowing as soon as I made it to the top.
There is a FS road that heads to Denver so I started plodding along in that direction. After about 50 minutes of that, I was pretty frozen so I decided to turn around and head for lower elevations. There's a killer downhill singletrack that bombs back down and puts you 5 or so miles down the mountain from town so I hit that and only dealt with a bit of snow before making my way back up towards home. Of course I had to deal with a headwind as I climbed up to Woodland. When I made it home I had 3 hours and 6 minutes in and felt good. I considered going further but decided to go in and eat and sleep. No school Monday and I think I feel a cold coming on so I better stay home and ride on Tuesday. Hoping to get some decent time in this weekend.

No pictures today b/c the camera phone is horrible and it's a pain bringing the good camera along. Thanks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good advice

I knew TK would be the perfect corner man during the preparations for this race. He's been in the game for a long time, he's got a load of knowledge, and he doesn't mind sharing it with open minds. That's precisely why Dan Schmatz looked to him to be a part of the THF crew. Thanks for settin' me straight with my training man. I've gotten back to back 2 hour dirt rides in now and am looking to do the Lost Creek Wilderness detour this weekend.

The Buddha dog

Apparently Dharma is the Buddha dog. She was scheduled for surgery yesterday but the bump on her head has been going away slowly over the last week. I took her in anyway so the experts could look at it. No need for surgery. She fixed it on her own. She's the miracle dog. Now if only she would fix her breath. When I wake up at 2 in the morning and smell her mouth I'd swear there was a seal in the bed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

That's wack

Well after one (count it) one day on my polar trainging program...I'm bailing. Just not sure a mass-produced, PC generated program is gonna get me to Durango in less than a year. It wanted me to do 3 sets of intervals this week and the heart rates it wanted me to maintain were silly. I hit those heart rates when I get up to pee at night. I can't even think about climbing a hill at 128-147 beats per minute.

Huge thanks to my friend TK for being such a big help in this adventure. The guy is so knowledgable about training and he made some suggestions to me that make a lot of sense. So I'll be taking his advice from here on out. We were team mates from long ago and he knows me and my fitness pretty darn well. He also knows a thing or two about doing very well in bike races. I'm really excited about the punishment that's coming.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Woke up at 6:40 to a strange sound. The first two times I heard it, I thought it was left over dream stuff. Finally pinned it down to the fairly hefty chairs on the deck being pushed around by the wind. One thing I've noticed about Colorado is that the wind always swirls. It's like riding in a friggin' tornado. A 20 second tail wind comes around and almost pushes you off the bike before it comes around and smacks you right in the face. Today when it was a headwind, I was absolutely forced to rely on the "superheroes voice". It's that voice when you grunt and say things like; "Must........keep.......pedaling." "" It's kinda good though b/c it really simulates the long, slow climbing that I know is imminent come July.

My little Polar 4 week plan kicks in on Monday but I'm slowly building up and it usually doesn't take me too long once I'm able to get some good rides in. Four hours on the bike today was a struggle just cuz of the wind though. It's silly to pedal down a mountain and have to stand while pedaling only to have to crawl back up again due to a shift in wind. Really irritates me that I'm out there riding at what feels like a snails pace when I know full well that this is the scene back at the house:

Love that damn dog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Time to get serious...and stuff

I haven't used a heart rate monitor in eons. I picked up a new Polar CS200 and, I gotta say, this things pretty slick. Over the years of dealing with students and trying to improve their math and reading levels, I've become a bit of a data dork. I'm constantly crunching numbers and can always provide parents with daily numbers that indicate both of those levels. I never really was that way with heart rate but I don't think there'll be much room for error come July 28.

Polar provides a site where you can keep a diary and it crunches data for you and will even spit out a program for you. Today I had it program a 4 week plan for me just to see what it looked like. It seems ok I guess. I don't know. I'm feeling like an idiot. This type of ride is completely new to me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Johnny Socko

Saw this guy on my ride today. The little fella reminded me of that old song, I Like Cows. I believe it was from the album Bovaquarium. Makes it pretty tough to go home and throw beef on the grill. So...I had chicken.

Wedding bells

It's still pretty darn baffling to me that I actually found someone willing to put up with me...for life. Even more baffling is that even just 6 years ago, I detested the thought of marriage. That view stems from the fact that I didn't have the best teachers growing up, particularly when it came to displaying good morals with regard to marriage. I guess I just always looked at it like getting married was fulfilling the worlds expectation. So many marriages (like my own parents') end in divorce. I always felt that I didn't need a label to be trusting. A piece of jewelry is not what keeps two people together, faithful, and working as a team to enjoy life to its fullest.

However, the relocation to Colorado was extremely difficult for both of us and it really brought us closer. So...a while back I decided to make it official and I never felt more confident about that decision. After much preparation, we will finally tie the knot on June 21 of this year. I can't believe how excited I am about the ceremony. Even though some of the planning has been eye-gougingly painful, it sure was fun to do...together.

When it came time to look at wedding rings for me, I wanted to do something different. Part of me probably wanted to go against the grain a bit. The majority of me wanted something that couldn't be lost, stolen or removed for convenience. So I had Paulie come up with a really nice Celtic band. He did an excellent job. I also have a very nice white gold band that I will sometimes wear as well. The cool thing is that I wont have to worry about scratching a ring or losing it if I'm working on a car, or doing something else foolish. It really is the best of both worlds.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Took the day off

Getting work together for my students to do is usually more of a pain than taking a mental day is worth but today I did it. Normally I fly fish about 4-5 days a week but since I decided to do this race, my fishing has been put on the back burner. The rainbows and cutthroat are just beginning their annual spawn. It's always an amazing thing to see so I thought I'd check it out. Saw a small herd of elk on the way to the river.

Saw quite a few mule deer as I dropped down into Eleven Mile Village. Seeing wildlife never gets old for me. Also saw the usual cows, steers, and even the wild mules. Most people don't know but the mules were brought in by the miners back in the day. When the mines shut down, the mules were just let loose. I guess they thrive pretty well since I always see young ones. They're super friendly too and will walk right up to you.

This particular stretch of the river has quite a few old barns and, what appear to be old cabins that I suppose were used by early ranchers. This is also one of the things that drew me to the Colorado Trail Race. There is just so much cool history in these mountains. I can't help but wonder who stayed in these and what their life was like. If there was a time I could go back to it would be the old west. Sometimes when I ride my mountain bike through areas like this, I actually pretend I'm on a horse and back in time.

The cabins above are no more than 30' from a nice little bend on the river. I can't imagine having this view each morning. can see the Continental Divide in the background.

Another old barn.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tarryall Reservoir

This is the spillway and the start of Tarryall Creek. The creek is a blast to fish in the summer and it's quite productive. I've never fished the reservoir. I generally pass on the stillwater. It's gonna kill me to not have a fly rod for this ride because there is some super good water along the way.

Heather actually snapped a few pics of Tarryall because her and Dharma hung out there and waited for me while they watched a few folks ice fishing. That's the Divide in the distance.

That sure blew...

Mountain bikes are not allowed in any of the designated wilderness areas in Colorado. You can't even strap a bike to your back and portage it. If you're caught with a bike in those areas, you get a hefty fine. So...there are quite a few detours on this ride and the first one sucks. It's 16 miles to get through the Lost Creek Wilderness via the Colorado Trail but to get around it takes about 70 miles of forest service roads and paved roads. Today I started where the detour turns to pavement and heads north to 285 and the town of Jefferson. Colorado is pretty windy in general but this area always has hurricane force winds and they're ALWAYS right in your face. With gusts to 25mph and temps in the high 30's it made for a long ride. About 8 miles south of Jefferson the detour hits another fire road before it hooks back up with the trail and heads over the Continental Divide for the first time. Up that way it was snowing and there was way too much snow on the road so I turned around and started heading back. Unfortunately, I didn't take one picture today as I was just a bit fed up with the wind. I did see a really short and super stocky/muscular mule deer when I rounded a bend in the road. It was feeding on the shoulder. It's rear was HUGE. Turned out to be a Bighorn Sheep and that made much more sense.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On a bit of a sad note...

my dog has had a bump near her eye for a bit over a week now. Got that looked at today and it's very suspicious. Her breed is susceptible to skin issues and the Dr. said she's not sure what it is but that it could very well be the early stages of a cancerous tumor. So she's now scheduled for surgery. I hope it's nothing life-threatening. That damn dog changed my life. I thought long and hard about bringing her home from the time I picked her out at 5 weeks until I brought her home at 8 weeks. I knew that some day...I would have to deal with the hardest loss of my life. I get teary eyed just thinking about it. I suppose a more optimistic way of looking at it would be to consider whether all the joy she's brought to my life outweighs any pain/suffering in her absence. Certainly not easy to do. Even after 6 years together.

Polar CS200cad

I haven't ridden since I was in St. Louis because I still have a pain in the neck. Couple that with a few pains in the rear at work and I'm hatin' it. Not sure what's going on. I've used a heating pad every night, stretched lightly, used that wonderful smelling Ben-Gay, and taken things very easy but it still hurts. It's absolutely killing me to have the Alma downstairs and it's only seen a 30 minute ride so far. We're under a snow advisory for tonight and I guess tomorrow too so that's not helping any.

My friend Tim suggested that I might want to get another heart rate monitor just to make sure that I'm not drilling it for too long on this ride. I'm a bit of a data dork so he didn't have to talk for too long. I haven't used one of these things for 10 years but I bought this Polar. It's a pretty slick deal really. Wireless computer and monitor all in one and it calculates calories burned and cadence. I don't really care about cadence for the MTB but I can program the computer for 2 bikes so that will come in handy on my road bike.