Saturday, July 26, 2008

Here's Joe's site that will be hosting all call ins on pod cast.


I was playing around with the CTR leaderboard tonight and it looks like everything is working as it should. The only thing that you all need to know is that my icon will show up with the name "river" on it.

I am packed and ready to roll. I probably have way more stuff than anyone else but I'm gonna say that's because I've never done anything like this before. I took everything out again today and looked it over but I'm keeping most everything. Those that know me know that I eat A LOT of food. The majority of the stuff I'm carrying is food. I'd rather have too much food than not enough. When I'm hungry I get cranky and then I get emotional and lose focus. If I'm fed well I have no doubt that I will be in Durango next week in good spirits. Others would do it differently I'm sure but I know what I gotta have to run right and it's a lot.

See you in Durango over ice cold beers and nachos.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

CTR Leaderboard

It looks like there are now about 18 racers and it also looks like almost all of them will be equipped with a SPOT. Kevin Montgomery is the guy who maintained the leaderboard for all of the Tour Divide racers. He has been nice enough to offer to do the same for the CTR. So...for anyone interested...all you have to do is click the link to the right (below the new music) and it will take to the Tour Divide site. There you will see a map of a portion of Colorado. The pink line represents the actual Colorado Trail. The lime green line follows the mandatory detours around all wilderness areas. Once we get going, you should be able to see 18 (or how ever many SPOT devices there are) icons. When you click on an icon it will tell you who the individual is and offer some times.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Well it appears that the Oxyoke fire was deemed contained last night at 6:00 so it doesn't look like it will present an issue for us.

I'm so anxious to get this thing started. I hadn't been sleeping well at all but, for whatever reason, slept like a rock last night. Sometimes I lay in bed, seeing the trail that I know of already and wondering what the rest will look like. I wonder just how slow going things will be along Sargents Mesa. I've heard there is a stretch in there that is so slow it deserves a reward after just making it halfway through. I sit pouring over maps and calculating distances of water sources. I hope that the ones that are "reliabe" actually are and if not, I try and figure out how far to the next one.

I think I'm fine with most aspects of the ride. I know, as other experienced riders have mentioned, that there are things that I have not even considered that will present problems for me or things that I assumed were no brainers might stump me for hours. What terrifies me the most about this ride is not the distance, climbing, mechanical knowledge, route finding (of course I say all that now when I'm comfortable in my living room and not de-hydrated and 8 hours into a 13 hour day). It's not the loneliness, or the chance encounters with bears or mountain lions. It's something that I think most would shrug off and I'm not proud of. I'll go on the record now as saying that I am absolutely mortified by lightning. When it's present, it causes more of a pucker factor than even the gnarliest spider. When I think of most obstacles along the way, I can sit here (under perfect conditions again) and problem solve it pretty quickly. Overcast skies in the mountains really make me stop and take notice.

Last summer when my good friend Scott and I were deep into Cheesman Canyon chasing trout, we heard thunder close by and then, almost immediately, smelled something burning. We looked but didn't see anything. As much as I adore trout and pursuing them, I had no problem walking away from the 18" rainbow that was feeding in a nice riffle just out from shore. Scott and I hunkered down in rock outcropping and joked and sipped whiskey for an hour. I think I was the one that actually said that lightning/thunder hadn't gone off in about 25 minutes and I felt safe. I waded out, took my position on a large boulder and, with Scott behind me and peeking over my shoulder, went back to work. Not more than 30 seconds later a bolt popped off directly above us and I swear I walked on water and was done until blue skies emerged.

Lightning will really put me to the test. I know that some will ride despite it. I'm sure I'll be the one that stops at the sound of thunder to try and determine how far away it is. I'm positive that lightning will make me seek shelter for a while and lose precious time that I'll no doubt have to make up through out the night.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Woke up to this news today:

Needless to say I'll be watching this story. This fire has gone from small (under 50 acres) to now approaching 150 acres. Sounds like there has been quite a bit of air support but the swirling winds/high temps are not helping.

Sounds like the fire is currently somewhere in segments 2 and 3 of the trail. If this doesn't get under control, the forest service can/will shut down the trail in the area. This is not good. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I really haven't done much riding the last few days. I've been spending time sleeping and addressing some last minute details with gear. I kinda went over the Alma last night a bit. I don't think I ride as well (technically) as I used to. I told TK that all 4 crashes I've had have been because the front end washed out. It's most likely due to my lack of finesse. With a ride like this, I gotta be careful. A small incident could be a major problem in the middle of no where. Ghisallo Sports treats me like I'm some kind of super star. They listened and sent me a new set of tires and the front one has a bit more bite to it. Hopefully it'll keep me from getting their clothing dirty. I gotta tell ya...I know plenty of guys that have some pretty nice sponsorships through grassroots racing programs but I don't know anyone that gets as much support as I do from one bike shop let alone a factory ride. I am eternally grateful.
Heather's been super cool about this ride. The SPOT was something we discussed but I really wanted to use it b/c I thought it would be cool for friends to be able to follow along. One thing that she really wanted me to carry was bear spray. A few days ago we went to look at it and after holding it, I really wasn't in favor. It's a bit heavy and it really needs to be somewhere that's easily accessible or it might as well stay at home.

However, I can certainly see where she's coming from and if the tables were turned, I'd be thinking the same thing. So I picked up this 230 gram bottle. Initially I just thought I'd put the holster on one of the shoulder straps to my pack but they were out of holsters. After a bit of research on I found how a lot of Alaska riders mount their bear spray. So I went to Home Depot and picked up some 2" inner diameter PVC pipe and some Red Hot pipe adhesive.

I cut a 1" wide piece of pipe and then removed a section of it so I could slide it around the main pipe and make a straight cut. I cut a 5.5" piece of pipe.

Next I cut a length-wise section of the pipe out. I guessed here as to how much I needed to remove. I started with a 1" section.

Then after a bit of measuring on the bike and using one of the bottle cages as a guide, I marked where I wanted the holes drilled. I drilled holes on both the main section of pipe as well as the 1" section that I cut out. I cleaned up both pieces and laid the inner portion of the smaller piece onto the outer portion of the larger piece and made sure everything lined up. Then I glued the 2 together and let it set for 10 minutes.

I actually made 2 of these mounts. On the first one I had the bolt heads recessed but I was worried about the 2 pieces of PVC separating on day 2 and leaving me hosed. So on the second mount, I drilled through both pieces with the same bit and used some bolts that had pretty flat heads. Now the bolts actually compress the 2 pieces together while the mount is on the bike. It worked out well. Some of the people in Alaska used electrical tape around the bear spray to get the tolerances just right so the mount really holds on. I took a different route. If you take PVC pipe and stick it in the oven at about 350 degrees and leave it in there for a bit, it actually becomes quite moldable. So it didn't take much. I actually had cut a bit too much out and then had to go back and close that gap a tiny bit. The bear spray snaps right in to place and I can either pull it out of the mount or slide it up and out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This years CTR looks to be shaping up rather nicely. The official starter list is still not public but the rumor mill is certainly cookin'. It looks like there will be me, another Woodland Park local by the name of Marshal Bird, former St. Louisan Chris Plesko (who I believe will be going single speed), Dave Nice (who will be going fixed gear), a guy named Jim who happens to live up in Westminster (sorry I don't know Jim's last name but his site has some killer photos), independent Fabrications sponsored pro Trish Stevenson and that's the only people I know. There's a fella coming up from Texas. There's supposed to be another female racer. All in all, I'm hearing there are about 12 right now.
Today I found out that Matt Lee is going to let Stefan borrow the SPOT devices that were used in the Tour Divide Race. This means that there should be a SPOT available for racers that do not have their own. Those of us that have our own have provided Stefan with our unit numbers. It looks like there is going to be a leaderboard so that viewers will actually be able to see all of the racers (or at least the ones that choose to use a beacon) and see how things are shaping up. Additionally, Joe Polk is providing us with a toll free number for the call ins and he will also be putting our call ins on Podcast on his site so viewers will be able to hear the dread in racers voices as they check in periodically. I'm super stoked about all this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's a jungle out there


Make sure to check out the video that's on that page too.

I lied

My neighbors must think the Honeymoon's over in our house. I've slept in that hammock more than Archie Bunker ever saw the couch. I'm not happy. I know I said I was but I'm second guessing myself. If I don't sleep well during the week I'm gone then all of this preparation, help from others, etc., will be for nothing. I'm more than a bit disappointed in myself (not sure why...just feels good) and time is running out. There's just so many aspects to this thing and for someone who has never done anything remotely like this, it's tough to make sure all my bases are covered. However, the solution (the real one) is on the way as I type.

Sleeping in a hammock has some real advantages. I don't have to worry about finding level ground at 1 a.m. I don't have any pressure points. Very low impact on the environment. Initially, I thought the hammock would actually be way lighter than a bivy or anything else. I have found that if you want the hammock experience to be really good, you need a few more things and that means more weight. The 3/16" pad is an ok solution but it has it's limits. It slides around, it still produces some minor cold spots, no matter how I roll it up it's...huge, and worse can wake up in the night with a puddle of sweat in your lumbar area. Then when you turn over and the air hits that it's time to let the expletives fly. Nothing says the great outdoors like tired, groggy, random cursing in the middle of the night. I'm sure I sound like a bum in a back alley that just found out he's outta Ripple.

I feel like a ton of money has been spent for this endeavor. Heather and I have dropped a lot of coin on this. Ghisallo Sports has thrown down more loot than you'd see at a craps table in Vegas on a Saturday night when Tom Jones is in town. People (some of whom I don't actually even know) have made donations to the LAF despite the economy blowing chunks. It would really be a huge slap in the face to get an hour into this baby and say, "Yeah...I'm not feelin' it today...gonna go eat some Bon Bons". situation has forced me to take drastic measures. I have been assured that this east coast solution is the ticket.

Monday, July 14, 2008


So this afternoon the news broke into Seinfeld to make an announcement. Now I'm thinkin'...this better be damn good if they're cuttin' into the Sein. They go on to say that there is a full grown African lion running loose in Eastern Colorado Springs. Then I think...that's pretty good. Apparently there is a big cat sanctuary out that way some where and they suspect that someone forgot to close the gate. The CSPD, El Paso County Sheriffs, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Department of Agriculture, one helicopter, a bloodhound tracking team, and officials from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are all looking for a lion. Someone had the brains to call the big cat place and they said, "Nope...all our cats are here". Now...African lions are NOT indigenous to Colorado. They cat sanctuary even double checked. After hours of searching and multiple people calling in spottings of this savage beast...they were finally able to track it down. IT WAS A DOG!!!

Like a baby

Last night was the best sleep I've had yet in my hammock. I'm gonna keep my solution on the down low for now but I'll share it when this is done. It's a temporary fix to get me to Durango and then the real fix is gonna require me to get behind a sewing machine and get creative. I went out to go to sleep at 11 and had a real hard time drifting off. Our house is incredibly quiet even with the windows open. I'm a pretty light sleeper as well. We are on a dead end street and if a car comes by or an animal walks by, I wake up. It's amazing how much louder it is in the backyard where I can here much more on top of the hill. When we're done in this town, it's gonna be brutal for me to live in a city again. Wish circumstances weren't beyond our control but...they are and it makes us unhappy.

It's almost time to go!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ROAD magazine

I just got the latest issue tonight and there's an article in it where 11 pros were interviewed. One of those riders is none other than Stefano Barberi. He's one of those fast guys sporting the THF Racing jersey that I told you to not confuse me with. It's pretty neat to see one of the riders from a team that has some personal friends get some coverage. Good job guys.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Got in a super nice 60 mile ride on my mountain bike today. The sun was out and the skies were filled with some fair weather clouds. The wind coming down from the Divide was cool enough to make it enjoyable but not strong enough to make it more difficult. That's all I can say. I also tried out my new backpack that Donny and Ron helped me with down at Mountain Chalet. I went in to look at some of the Osprey packs but just didn't dig em for this particular application. I went with a Camelback pack instead. I like it a lot better than the North Face one I've been using. That, and what should arrive tomorrow, will take care of 2 major issues that were making me worry just a tad. One more piece of the puzzle left to deal with and I'm waiting for a General Manager of a shop to get back from vacation before I go in and butter him up for a deal. Then I should be all set. I think. I've tweaked my game plan just a bit for race day. It's just better for my body. It's going to be difficult to follow the plan that first day when riders are still somewhat close to each other but I think it's best. It'll take some discipline. More on that later. That's all I got. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, July 7, 2008

This was taken at Beaujos Pizza the night before the wedding. The guy on the far left was our server Mitch. While we were a happy group we were very well behaved. At one point Mitch asked someone if they wanted more Diet Coke. They said no and Mitch responded with, "Good...cuz if ya did I'd have to kick your ass." Then Mitch said that he had a bowling ball in his car and he wasn't afraid to use it. We didn't know what to think. Several minutes later Mitch introduced us all to Shari. It was the most fun we've had as a group since we lived in St. Louis.

Above is my fly fishing buddy Scott. He just got done reading a passage from Norman Mclean's A River Runs Through It. You can see how choked up I got.
Here's my buddy Carl loaning me his pimpin' cuff links.

This is my buddy Rob that I taught with for a year at a school in St. Louis. He is very much responsible for Heather and I being a couple to this day. Thanks man. Don't ask what Rob's doing with the cupcake.

Wedding pics

I'm sure we won't be getting the professional photos for a bit longer but I realized that I hadn't put up any photos of the "speshul day". Obviously this is me on the right, Heather on the left, and our dear friend Pablo dead center. Here in Colorado, anyone can perform the ceremony. Pablo was there when Heather and I met and he's been a tremendous friend that we miss dearly. It made absolutely perfect sense for us to ask him to marry us. We were so grateful that he said yes.  

Dharma served as the ring bearer during the ceremony. She did a bit of private lickin' but didn't poop in the aisle. 

This is me with Just Dave and Adam 12. We all worked together at my first bike shop job at TC. 

Bear Creek was just 30 feet outside our cabin door at the B&B so I HAD to get in some casting. This was actually the day of the wedding. I had to stop fishing about 35 minutes before the photographer arrived so I could shower, get dressed, and finish copying my vows on paper from the laptop.  

Our good friends Pablo and Catina. 


I been lolly gaggin' around the house the last 2 days thinking I had 2 weeks to go. I did the complicated math during a 3 hour ride today. It appears that I have 3 weeks left to go. I even quadruple checked my math and made sure that I carried all the digits. I stopped and worked it out (the problem) in the dirt. It's right. This is good. Now I can get 2-4 more 6-9 hour rides in this week. There is a very good reason why I am not a math teacher. So tomorrow it looks like I'll be grinding out about 70 miles of fire roads. Not exactly a swinging good time but there's tons of em around here. Slow and low will be the tempo. Hopefully there won't be any RV's rumbling by kickin' up dust.

Oh that's nice...

Congratulations Matt!!

Matt recently completed the 2711 miles from Banff to the border of Mexico in just under 20 days. Way to go dude.


Because this endurance stuff is completely new to me, I was a bit surprised to find out how many riders will not share information. I guess in cross country racing there really isn't too much going on other than training. The gear aspect is pretty minimal in comparison. I ask a lot of questions and I found that many riders were not open to sharing anything. Now I understand why. There is so much testing, modifying and starting over going on when it comes to packing gear, nutrition, sleeping, water treatment, etc. This has been a huge learning experience for me. I am now about 2 weeks away from the start and somehow I need to come up with some cash to make 3 more changes to my setup.
I've been guilty of keeping my sleeping system on the down low so far but I think I've got it nailed now. I've always been a tent sleeper and a bivy was the first option I considered. However, with the weather being so stormy last year, (it won't be that way AT ALL this year) I hesitated with it b/c I didn't want to sleep on the wet ground or wake up in a stream. I decided to go with a Hennessy Hammock. Many told me not to get it but I felt it was a good choice. I'll admit...the hammock has it's nuances and the first several times I slept in it, I went back in the house at 3 a.m. Now I've got it figured out and, with one more accessory on the way, I should sleep like a baby.
Water purification has been a huge issue. Iodine is light (I'm so thirsty I never notice the taste that others complain about). However...for reasons that I wont get into (it's a long explanantion) it's not gonna work. So now I'm gonna gave to go back to Mountain Chalet and beg Mike for a sizeable discount on either a Steri Pen or an MSR Miox unit. They're both small/no brainers and they easily take care of my long explanation issue.
The last issue that has popped up is with food carrying capacity. I gotta be able to carry more solid food. There are plenty of re-suppply points early on (Frisco, Copper Mountain, Leadville, BV). After BV, it's remote country. Between BV and Silverton is 200 miles of some of the slowest/toughest trail on the route. Here the trail climbs right about 22,000' of gain. There are miles and miles of trail here where walking slowly is the order of the day. It will take 2-3 days to get through this area. So...looks like I'll have to be extra complimentary to Mike when we walk past the backpack area.
That's about all that's going on up here. I've taken the last 2 days since I got back from the trail and been thinking. Thinking about my mistakes and how to avoid them. Thinking about how tough this is going to be. Wishing I had more time to prep. We've had horrible storms up here the last few days so I haven't ridden at all. Today I'll be riding my road bike in the rain. I'd like to get in another 6-8 hour ride on my mountain bike this week before I start with the shorter/more intense rides for next weeks final prep.

P.S. I stacked it hard on a flat turn that an un-coordinated 4 year old could have negotiated the other day in Segment 3. So whoever finds the free Oakleys on that're welcome. I know that's where they're at.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sunrise this morning.
Getting ready.

This is the 6 miles in Waterton Canyon.

The actual trail begins.

Segment 1.


Lots of lessons

I just got home from an overnighter on the Colorado Trail. I started in Denver where the trail begins on 7/3 at noon. I felt really good through Segments 1 and 2. Segment 3 took longer than it should have. At the end of 3, I started chipping away at the mandatory detour around the Lost Creek Wilderness. Wellington Lake might be 5 miles into the detour and it was a good spot to wash up and eat some food and relax a bit. I was there for probably 25 minutes before I got moving again. I got about 10 miles further (for those that know...just after the fire road starts to climb up after the buffalo ranch) and the skies looked an eary shade of black. This isn't good when you're terrified of lightning. I watched the clouds for 5 minutes. Never saw lightning or even heard thunder. This area is in the heart of the Hayman Fire burn area so there's not much there for cover. I really wanted to get through the burn area so I wouldn't have to deal with it in the heat of the day. 2 minutes after I started pedaling a wicked bolt of lightning fired off and the pucker factor went through the roof. I spotted a small grove of pines that somehow survived the fire and made a bee-line for them. This was right at 9 p.m. I made camp and crawled in my bag and watched the sky light up.
I was disappointed but I finally dozed off. I woke up to a large pack of coyotes howling at 2 a.m. I've heard a lot of coyotes during the night but even I was shocked at how large this pack sounded. I hoped they weren't heading my way. The stars were out and I considered riding but I really wanted to sleep. I slept even worse than last week when I tried my sleeping system in the back yard. The issue I'm having is that I'm cold. No...make that freezing. Those that know me know that I'm never cold. I really need to figure things out or I'm gonna be in huge trouble. I intended on being on the move at 5:30 a.m. but when I woke up I was so tired and agitated that I didn't. At 7 a.m., the sun felt so good that I just laid there getting warm. I finally got moving at 9. I can't be moving that late.
All in all, I rode 80 miles in a 24 hour period. The majority of those miles were singletrack. The ride totaled 10,217' of gain. I'm not real thrilled about this but I don't know that it's all that bad. I definitely didn't stick to my ride plan, and I wasn't as religeous with my nutrition plan as I have been and I feel it. Professionals watch their diet and recovery periods with great detail. I used to think it was a bit silly but in reality, there are far more factors involved with just nutrition than most would think and even I thought until I slowly put 2 and 2 together today. I opted to use iodine tablets for water purification but that was an issue as well. The 2 bottles that I carry are for liquid meals and recovery drinks. Keeping those clean after I'm done with the bottle was a big issue. I can't just wash them in a creek and then re-use them. I need to address the sleeping problem and the water purification one as well. I also need to do what I know works for my body and not be an idiot.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A big ride is planned for today and if you'd like you can check the SPOT link below and see what's happening.

A huge thank you to all those that have donated thus far. I can't believe the amounts of donations that continue to come in. This thing continues to snowball bigger than I ever imagined. I'm so excited/nervous to do this. I'll be thinking of you all and the loved ones that you pledged on behalf of will be in my thoughts every day on the trail.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This is just a test to see if my SPOT share page is working or not. There will not be any activity (check ins or tracks) on the share page until approximately 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time on 7/3/08. If this works out then anyone that accesses this site will be able to check progress if they want and it will save me from having to manually enter in everyone's email address that I know or that donated to the LAF.

SPOT link


I ran a test this morning and it seems to be working fine. Technology is amazing. I have a 10 member SPOT team that can receive emails or text messages when I check in. I have to actually press a button to check in. I can also set the SPOT to track mode and it will update my location every 10 minutes. Each night and morning when I sleep I will turn the unit off and once I turn it back on I think I have to check in before I can turn on track. Members should then be able to follow the initial check in link to view my locations throughout the day so I don't think you members will get an email every 10 minutes (I hope not).

I'm still not sure how I'm going to set it up so that non SPOT members can view the maps. If I can't get a Google map loaded directly on here then I think I will give the reins to Heather and see if she can cut/paste the link sent to her email and post it for others to use on here.

If you have used this and know of an easier way I'd love to hear about it. I know a local guy that used this during the Arizona Trail Race and he said it was cake so...Marshal...I may be contacting you. Thursday and Friday I'm taking off from Waterton Canyon and will ride as far as I can just to see how the trail looks and see how the tracking feature works on here.

I can't believe race day is almost here. It seems like yesterday I was in the gym or walking the incline down in Manitou Springs. Thank you everyone for the support.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I hate titles

I got in about a 3 hour night ride tonight to try out the new Dinotte lights. I had one on the bar and the other on the helmet. I really don't like having a light on the helmet. It's super light but there's something I just don't like about it. The vents in my Bell Sweep dont allow the light to be angled far enough back (for me) and I found myself riding around and looking up to re-direct the light. Makes for a sore neck. The pattern would be great if I was riding singletrack but I do not intend on riding any of the trail (unless I'm in a situation where I'm in trouble) at night. I want to be able to see everything. If I hit fire roads at night and I'm in a groove then I'll for sure keep on going but then I won't really need a light up top for that. The light pattern when mounted on the bars is perfect for me.

I also picked up a new digital camera today. I got a Canon Powershot. It's ridiculously tiny. It was last years model so I got a smokin' deal on it and Heather (being the savy shopper she is) scored a coupon for an extra discount. I should be able to get some really good photos to share from the ride.

My other big purchase today was a SPOT. I'm super stoked about this thing because not only will it allow you, the people, to see how slowly I crawl my way south; it will also keep Heather from climbing the walls and wondering how I'm doing. The yearly rate to run this baby is 99 bones but just for you people...I'm gonna spring for the extra 49 bones so that my progress or lack thereof can be monitored by all on Google maps. Not quite sure how I'm gonna pull it off yet but I intend to have a link on here when I leave so that, if you want, you can check where I'm at every 10 minutes as the satelites update my whereabouts. You should even be able to switch to topographic maps and possibly determine whether I'm in a low lying area (possibly a ditch) or higher up. Some people that have used this device told me that they were able to secure a month to month deal on service but I was not so lucky. What's that about?

OK...I'm tired but I'm gonna stick to my training plan and cram in no less than 1 heaping bowl of ice cream. Then I'm gonna top it off with some strawberry shortcake. I'm sleeping outside under the stars tonight with the sleeping system that I will be using during the adventure. Can't wait. I hung out in it a bit this afternoon when it rained and it was the bees knees.