Saturday, May 31, 2008


I just saw an infomercial for this thing. I'm still scratching my head. You can get one right now for only $29.99 in either blue, red, or yellow.

I wish it was a 29er. I wish I was a baller. I wish I were taller. I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This singletrack was in a killer meadow.

It just kept going right on through the middle.

Ring the Peak

I'm an idiot. I've been living here for 3 years now and I just found out about this trail late last night. It's a trail that almost circles Pikes Peak entirely. Right now it's about 80% finished and I'm not sure how to go about navigating the other 20% but I thought I'd get in a longer day and check it out. It's a mix of singletrack and fire roads with some hike a bike sections thrown in for good measure. Based upon what I've seen of the Colorado Trail, this appears to be a pretty good trail system to train on.
Last night I started getting worried about whether or not I could finish the CTR. I still have a decent amount of time to prepare but I wanted to throw in a longer ride and see how it felt. I'm very happy with how things went today. Total mileage was 41 and time on the bike was just under 5 hours with an average heart rate of 139 beats per minute. I burned 3413 calories today. Here's some pics.

Pikes Peak

I'm not sure what's intriguing about this picture but it did give me a minute to catch my breath.

Really cool little stream.

Looks like that's all the pics I can load in one post.

Monday, May 26, 2008

After my ride today I went in the garage to seam seal my bags from Carousel Designs and then started thinking about the pain in my butt. TK is looking into a carbon post for me and that might help a bit. Probably more out of boredom (it was super windy and cold today) I took the seat off the bike and started thinking. This probably doesn't look like a good combination:

There wasn't enough room for the cutting wheel under the saddle rails so I busted out the torch and an old butter knife and ended up with this:

I ended up cutting a bit more off towards the nose. I think it made a difference but we'll see.
Of course, Dharma kept a close eye on the property while I was busy. She's an amazing gaurd dog. Her style is unorthodox but...very effective.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pain in the butt

I have ridden Selle Italia Flite saddles on all my bikes for the last 15 years. This is the first time I've ever had concerns about pain. It's not saddle sores but just general discomfort on the seat bones from spending long days on the bike. The bigger concern right now is my tail bone. It is very uncomfortable. It hurts when I push a big gear or when I'm seated and really powering up a climb. It hurts more when I have to get through a hike a bike section or climb stairs. I'm trying to just deal with it because I really don't know that I want to make a big change like swapping a saddle 2 months before the start of this thing. I full on expect to be in lots of pain after 10-12 hour days even if I strapped a pillow to my saddle.

No time to waste

I know there's still 2 months left but I feel like I'm running out of time. I still have lots of things to work out. One of the things I wanted to have done was a full physical and blood work done by my doctor. Had that completed last week. Prognosis: super high triglyceride levels in my blood. Approaching 3x too high. I was a bit scared at first. I don't go to all you can eat fish fries. Apparently you can see those high levels if you eat lots of carbs, dairy products, bacon, and even my precious soy milk (to name a few). My doctor wants me to fast for 12 hours so she can check the levels again but before my ride today I changed my diet pretty drastically.

A normal pre-ride breakfast for me would be 4 eggs, bacon, whole wheat toast, OJ, 2 cups of coffee, hash browns, a banana, and maybe some granola cereal for good measure. I supplement that with a liquid meal and GU products when I'm on the bike. Today I had 2 bowls of granola cereal, a banana, OJ, and some toast. The wind was howling at 30 mph today and I felt terrible on the bike. I did get in 60 miles but it was not a pleasant ride today. My heart rate crept up and up each lap until the end. I had to do the last lap more above anaerobic threshold than should be necessary. I'm anxious to see the results of the next test.

Friday, May 23, 2008

School's out

My districts last day for teachers was today. So now I'll have loads of time to ramp things up quite a bit. 350 miles are planned for this week. I hope the weather doesn't make it any harder than it needs to be. It's always weird at this time of year. We'll get 30 minutes of snow, followed by sunshine followed by cold rain then more sun and some sleet or hail and then more sun before the cycle repeats. That's the way it's been for the last 2 days with temps fluctuating anywhere from mid 30's to mid 50's.
Super pumped that school's out. Honestly...this is the most fun I've had teaching in my 9 year career and I owe that to a bunch of 6th graders and their parents. My students really made me want to come to work each day this year. Sometimes they were a pain but...they're 6th graders and that's their job but, overall, they worked their tails off for me and made some serious progress. Transitioning to middle school is hard not only for students but also for parents. I hadn't taught this grade before and I was shocked at how stressed the parents were back in August. It's so awesome to have parents that actually give a crap about their kids. I know some of my students and their parents will read this so I just want to publily thank each and every one of you for making my job so much fun this year. I'm really looking forward to following this caseload through middle school and then watching them move on to high school. You're all incredible. I also want to thank the 2 para-educators that work very closely with me. They've been with me for 3 years now and, normally I don't trust others when it comes to my caseload. However...these 2 are the best I've ever worked with (and I've had a lot of them). I trust them completely. One of them (Sharon) will be missed dearly but she is finally going to step foot into her own classroom this fall. I wish you the best'll be excellent. Shelly...what can I're stuck with me.

As I make my way towards Durango, I'll be picking up all the good vibes that I know you all will be sending.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When it rains up here in the mountains it is mighty cold water. So I was a little concerned about keeping my hands warm in a downpour. I suppose I could just stop riding but I'm only planning on going that route if I see lightning and then I'll just find a hole to crawl into and cry real loudly. So I found these gloves from Specialized and they should do the trick. They use wet suit technology and I just tried them out in a sink full of water and couldn't feel a drop. I guess they were designed to be used by all the Euro Pros doing battle in the always nasty/cold spring classics of Belgium. I suppose if they're good enough for Tom Boonen, they'll work fine for a knucklehead like me. Not too shabby for just under 40 bones.

I had to re-wrap the handlebars on my road bike last night. I used some Cinelli gel impregnated cork tape on them and really wasn't thrilled with the stuff. That tape does not have the adhesive back that they use on the regular cork tape and so they came unravelled after only a month. So once I got the Cannondale squared away I looked over at the Alma and the Ergon grips I'm using. I really like the Ergons as they help keep the pressure off the nerves in my hands. Even after 4 or 5 hours of mountain biking, my right hand feels great but I still have a bit of trouble with the left hand tingling. So I wrapped the Ergons in the gel tape and I think it'll make a big difference. For this application, the gel tape was perfect b/c I could really stretch the snot out of it to get it to conform to the funky shape of the grips.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My buddy Scott and I fished Cheesman Reservoir today. Normally I don't fish stillwater but every once in a blue moon I get a hankerin' to throw spinning gear instead of flies. At those times, I either head for any of the big reservoirs around here and chase pike, or any of the hundreds of small streams and look for smaller trout (bows, browns or brookies if you go high enough). Today we decided to target something even different.

Cheesman Reservoir re-opened last year when the Department of Wildlife got things squared away after the fire. A lot of work was put into this water and it's closely monitored. It's stocked with kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, northern pike, probably some lake trout and smallmouth bass. When it's full, it's a tough body of water to fish due to the really steep banks and no kick boats or kayaks are allowed. The DOW has not released water from the 2 reservoirs that are upstream yet so it was really low today. Despite the low levels, we had a good day and landed about a dozen fish between us. If you haven't fished for this species...I would put it at the top of your list. Hands down, they are one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish out there.

My first one of the day:

Scott's first:

You can see where the water levels normally are.

It was good to get off the bike after yesterday but the long hike was still a good workout.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We had a gorgeous day today and I got 85 miles in but I wasn't sure I was going to live past the first mile. A really nice guy in a Tacoma almost ended me. He came up from behind me and just barely got past before he decided to make a right turn. I usually don't let goofy drivers get my goat but this stunt was so blatant that it did rub me the wrong way just a smidge. Apparently me taking up 6" of road really got to him or he was in a super big hurry to get to Autozone. Or both. Wisely, I decided to let it go. Not even 15 miles later, the passenger in a Neon threw a sucker at me. A SUCKER!! That actually upsets me on multiple levels. Not only is it littering (the stick was still attached), it's mean, and it's a huge waste of a good sucker. Better not have been a Blow Pop. The rest of the ride was uneventful other than the relentless wind.

Tomorrow I'm going fishing. Super stoked about that since I haven't been in a few weeks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TK and I used to talk all the time about cars while we worked together at the shop or rode. Now...talking about cars is not why I started this site but he's been talking about a suitable vehicle for him and his family and I happened to stumble across this gem on ebay. I would love to buy this. We do a ton of camping and when I'm not getting ready to ride as far as I'm going to be this summer, I am normally chasing trout 5 days a week...sometimes 9 days a week. With this...I could actually set up residence down by the river. I really don't care about going fast anymore. I'm in no hurry. There's always coffee to be had and good Bluegrass to listen to while I'm driving. Speaking of coffee...I could actually brew it on the stove inside this bad boy. I always have tons of fly fishing gear in my vehicle so I needs me some space. Fly rods are about 9 feet long and I don't ever take mine apart just b/c when I see even a puddle, I move like a puma.
This Westfalia looks really sharp with new paint, interior, and it's even got the adjustable awning. Trained eyes will also notice that this one even sports South African grill and head lights, and even the cool mud flaps.

Throughout the 80's, these came equipped with either a 1.9L, 90 or 95 hp motor or (towards its demise) the 2.1L, 90 hp motor. The main issue with these motors was always blown head gaskets. However...folks that really get into these do a Subaru motor conversion. This one has a turbo charged, 2.2 Subie conversion in it. To further complicate's located in Colorado.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What are you doing tomorrow?

Tuesday, May 13 is National Livestrong Day. There will be more than 600 cancer awareness and fundraising events taking place all over this country. Every staff member (except one guy who will be updating the Livestrong Blog all day) will be attending a different event. Even Lance will be visiting a few of them. Tomorrw is a day when the LAF wants the entire country's eyes to be focused on the cancer fight. You can check here for updates all day long as LAF staff check in. If you want/can become more involved, here's what you can do to help:

1. Try to attend a Livestrong event.

2. Make a donation. (A huge thank you to all of you that have donated to my event already. I'm stunned at how much has been raised already.)

3. Wear something yellow.

I know I'll make extra time during home room tomorrow to talk about this with my students.

good times

Surprisingly, the road riding up here is a bit lacking. We have one highway that leads up the mountain and into town. It heads out of town and towards Buena Vista. There's a second highway that forks off in town and heads towards Deckers. Both are 55 mph. I have never ridden the one leading to Deckers b/c no shoulder and blind corners creates a high pucker factor. All of my road rides end up on the other highway. The shoulder is really big but I still avoid it like the plague during rush hour.
We're still getting weather every once in a while so I've actually had to ride the trainer a bit last week and I was really wanting to get outside today so I braved it. I haven't ridden that hard since I was racing back in St. Louis and riding with friends all the time. I always ride alone here so I never get to compare anything other than previous ride numbers. Most of my rides in preparation for this race are endurance type stuff so I hardly ever just get out and ride until I feel nauseous. So much fun.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Carousel Design Works

Jeff Boatman was highly recommended when I began asking about suitable bags for this trip. I never heard one bad thing about the guy and now I know why. When I ordered these Jeff was about 5 weeks out. He runs a solo operation (except for his dog) but has plans on expanding. He's kind of at the point where he's starting to need some help. It sounds like he's super busy but he really knows what he's doing. He spends a lot of time riding in the Sierra Nevada's so the gear is dialed. We spoke on the phone about what I wanted and I couldn't be happier. If you're wanting to check out some longer range bags for riding please look him up. His prices are fantastic and he also does custom orders as well. He'll even doodle inspiring pictures on the box before he ships it out. Thanks Jeff.

The handlebar bag is a dual roll bag and Jeff put three pockets on the front of this one. The middle velcro pocket will hold my camera and the outer 2 will be perfect for holding gel. The seatbag is every bit as expandable and Jeff calls this one the Escape Pod. All of the opening close up like a dry bag would. I'll seam seal all the stitching and things should stay dry. They're made from lightweight Cordura and the guy really knows his way around the sewing machine.

Figures that it's raining, hailing/borderline snowing right now since I want to go ride around and see how they feel. I got out for a second before the skies opened up and they really don't seem to make riding an issue. Might take some getting used to on technical singletrack but the ride's 530 miles so I should have time to adjust.
Thanks again for looking.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The goods just keep on comin'

I spoke with Jeff Boatman of Carousel Design Works today and my custom bags are on the way. I can't wait to get these things.

I also just got a new sleeping bag. It's light. My entire sleeping system is going to be right at 2.5 pounds. Now...Petervary thinks I'm a sissy for even bringing a sleeping bag. That guy just rides through the night but I gotsta get some shut eye but I wanted to go as light and practical as possible.

And finally...just when I think my good friend TK and the crew at Ghisallo Sports has done enough...they do something else. A few weeks back, they sent me some team clothing and I was thrilled. Today I got an email saying that they had newly designed team clothing and that they were going to send me some. I'm speechless. They could have just as easily not said anything and I'd have never known any better. Those guys are first class and, fortunately, I'll be looking first class. Thanks again everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Segment 2

For me, this is one of the most difficult sections to get through of the ones that I've scoped out. It passes right through the heart of where the Hayman Fire burned back in 2002. This was the largest fire in Colorado history. It started when a forest service worker burned a letter from her estranged husband inside a fire pit at a campground. The fire spread and ended up causing $40 million in damages across 4 counties and ruining over 130,000 acres of forest. It's a bit weird to ride through it. The segment starts in the belly of South Platte Canyon and quickly climbs up into the burn area. It eventually leaves the burn area for a few miles before coming back into it again in Buffalo Creek.

In this picture, if you look directly above the singletrack in the foreground and all the way back to the second hill in the distance, you'll see the trail.

Same shot but a bit left. Segment 1 comes down a nasty downhill and ends at the bottom of the area clear of trees on tha far left and just above the pines.

Another shot showing where Segment 1 ends. Dead center in the distance.

Elevation at this point is right at 7,000 so this is not above treeline.

During a break today I was thinking about how hard this thing is going to be to complete. Just as I was thinking, I glanced to my right and saw this. I really hope this is not some sort of forshadowing of things to come.

It's nice to see some of the initial growth of small plants in the burn area. Obviously, the fire had some really devastating effects on the environment. The entire area is prone to floods b/c there's just nothing to slow the water down and erosion has been a major problem that causes entire roads (pavement and dirt) to wash away. It wreaked absolute havoc on the trout of the South Platte river. It shut down Cheesman Reservoir for 5 years. The river was a gray color from all the ash that dumped into the reservoir and flowed through the dam. Slowly but surely, the area is repairing itself.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I got a 4 hour road ride in today and I am whooooped. I feel worse today than I did after 7 hour back to back days last weekend. Normally I can hit 45mph when I'm going down the mountain and then I have a headwind while climbing back up. Today, Mothernature switched things up. I had to work my tail off just to maintain 20mph going DOWNHILL!! The climb up sure was nice but I did four of my loops and I think that headwind really took a lot of out of me. No free miles today at all. If the weather holds for tomorrow, I'm gonna go back and ride segment 2 of the Colorado Trail.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Stefan is the head honcho in charge of the CTR. He has now started a new thread over at mtbr for this years event. You'll find answers to questions and probably even some smack talk about this years event.