Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is the only picture I got of the crappy weather. It was back down in CB. Nothing else would have shown up when I was at altitude.

This is the first of may switchbacks on Slate D'Huez.

This is after a little over 8 hours and ready for a beer at the Brick Oven.

The first lap was a quickie.

This is the CTR reunion of Chucky, Eddie, and myself. We're al smiles right now but that ends soon.
I probably could have taken a picture of a piece of poop and it would have looked good.

Although the recent temps have been too cold for the wildflowers to survive, the trees made up for it.

CB 100

Heather, Dharma and I headed to Gunnison on Friday night and got a room there. We were up at 5:30 the next morning so I could shove as much food down my throat that would fit. As we headed to CB we watched the temps fall on the digital thermometer in the Jeep. There was a pre-race meeting in the parking lot at the visitor's center. Soon I found my friends Eddie and Chucky. I met these 2 characters the morning I dropped down into Breckenridge during the CTR and we rode, laughed, and suffered together a lot. Company would be really good for the long day ahead.
There were 106 racers lined up for the several mile neutral roll out from town. As soon as we hit the dirt road, we would climb up for quite a while before hitting singletrack. A few hundred yards from the dirt you could see the whole field shuffling as the players came up front. Brick Oven Pizzeria riders horded the front and eventually I saw none other than Ethan Passant at the back of their train. When we hit dirt, there were 2 BOP riders dialing it up really high with Ethan in tow. Next was a Trek rider (not sure who he was but he was fit) and then, for some strange dumb ass. Shortly after we started climbing, Ethan took off and I started going in debt. Ethan is super fit and I'm not sure how he does so many different things that require different physiologies. He's quick at the shorter stuff, the longer stuff, the really long stuff and he kills it every year on the mountaineering circuit where racers speed climb up a mountain and then ski the backside.
I rode much harder than I should have the first lap. I felt terrible the whole time. I ended up finishing the 35 miles in 3 hours. It was fairly uneventful but I looked up on one singletrack climb to see a big cow staring me in the face. I stopped and realized that there was more behind the first one. As far as I could see it was cows. I wasn't sure what to do but I figured if I just got off the trail that they'd come on by. They did. Until another racer caught up to me and he started yelling at them and they scattered! It was chaos. It was even worse when the rancher came over the hill and saw what was going on. It can't be easy to round up all those cattle and then have some guy in lycra spook them. The guy was all on his own and really had his work cut out for him.
I got going again and eventually made it to town and checked in before heading to the car for some food and to figure out what gear to take for lap 2. I wanted to travel super light but I could see some storms building to the north so I grabbed a bit of stuff and took off after about 10 minutes.
30 minutes into a 12 mile climb it started thundering over the ridge. Bad weather scares the crap out of me and I was heading towards some very exposed areas up high. I road solo out of town on a gravel road that evetually turns into Slate D'Huez road. As I approached it I could look up and see the switchbacks and riders traversing the mountain. It was probably the steepest climb I've ever had to do and I had to walk some sections of it just to work some different muscles. Weather was quickly moving in and it didn't look good. I could see the distant mountains turning white from the snow. At the top I hit the 403 trail. I hated this trail. It was badly erroded and very technical. It was now raining and in the 40's. All I had with me was a base layer and a rain jacket. I put it on and ate some food and kept moving.
After finishing the 403 you hook up with another fire road. If you go right you head back to CB. Go left and it climbs 1-2 hours before hitting the famed 401 trail. Standing in the cold rain, I thought about which way to go for a good ten minutes before going left. I hate quitting anything but some of the locals had told me to be very careful at the top of 401 because it was very exposed. I climbed for 20 minutes and was soaked to the bone. With lightning popping off all around, I decided to bed down and try and take a nap. I found some pines and crawled into them and took a snoozer. About 30 minutes later, the rain had not let up so I decided to push on. It took forever but I finally made it to the start of the 401. More climbing that probably wouldn't be a problem on normal days but I had nothing left.
Finally the downhill on 401. It's completely exposed and the singletrack is cut into this steep mountain. It's not real technical but it does have some nasty little cuts in it that follow the contours of the mountain and one of them is nothing but sharp slate. At this point I couldn't see any other mountains because of all the clouds. It was raining, sleeting, and snowing off and on. I was frozen. I bombed down the trail and eventually hit the fire road with 10 miles to go to CB. I had one river crossing left and I was in such a hurry that I just bombed through it without looking. It turned out to be a foot and a half deep and I didn't carry enough speed so I had to walk through it. My feet stung.
I ate a ton of mud on the ride back to town and just gritted my teeth from the cold. I checked in at the Birck Oven and told them to stick a fork in me. I found Heather and Dharms at the car and cleaned up. Needless to say, I'm disappointed that I didn't finish. I'm having fun riding my bike again but I feel like I'm not focused on any particular area although I don't know if I need to be. This year I've done crits, long distance stuff, and I am doing a 12 hour team race in 2 weeks. I feel like my body is scratching it's head. Not sure what I've got going on. All I know is that I really love seeing stuff I run across on my long rides. My true racing days my be behind me.

Home and.....warm.

We just got back from Crested Butte. I have never been so tired or so sore from a ride. I was freezing all night long in the hotel room and barely slept because I just couldn't find a muscle that the mattress didn't hurt. I'll give the low down later or maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Had 6 deer in the yard when I got home today. I never get tired of seeing wildlife.

Then I went hiking up near Pikes Peak looking for my SPOT. Aspens are coming along nicely. This is just about 11,000'.

Continental Divide way out there.

More golden leaves.

The SPOT is gone. It's not where it last transmitted from. Someone may have picked it up. I think I'm going to keep the service activated. Maybe if someone has it they'll put new batteries in and I'll pick up a signal. It'd be pretty cool to be able to drive to someones house, knock on the door and ask for it back. Seriously bummed about the money loss. Must be close to 500 with the unit and activation fees. Heather is REAL happy with me right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Is simply amazing. I pretty much assumed that my SPOT was somewhere near where I crashed. Nope. I walked the side of the mountain in a grid pattern for an hour and found nothing but two guys hunting for big horn sheep. I came back home and got on my SPOT account. The beacon sent out it's last signal on 9/6 at 6 p.m. I can see an image of where it's at but it doesn't appear to be a current one as there is tons of snow in the image and it makes it impossible to see the trail. The image looks to be about a half a mile west of where I was today. I'm really tempted to go looking for it tonight but I'll wait until tomorrow. I guess it would be stupid for someone to pick it up. They can't track with it or send OK messages since it's registered to my SPOT page. The search continues.

Monday, September 22, 2008

find my spot

Last night when I was trying to go to sleep I realized that I haven't seen my Spot beacon in a long time. I wasn't really sure when I used it last. I got up and went down and looked through my box of crap that was on the CTR with me. Not there. I decided to log into my account and hope that it could tell me where it last sent a signal. I found it. Errrr...rather....I know the general direction and coordinates of where it's at. It's up on Pikes Peak. Looks like the batteries took a crap a while back but before that it sent the same coordinates every 10 minutes for a few days. When I was up there a few weeks ago I took a digger on the way down. I had a real low speed fall but I fell down the mountain and slid down a little granite scree field. I bet it's in that scree somewhere. So tomorrow I have to go up and search for it. Hopefully the snow that's up there isn't too deep. That was one expensive toy so I'd like to get it back.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

night riding

I didn't too much night riding when I was on the CT just because I was up and moving by 4:30 or 5 a.m. and usually rode until it got dark and then I was ready to crash out for the night. I guess the only exception was when I took longer stops in Leadville for beers and grocery shopping seemed to take forever in BV. I tried to make up for the slack time at least a bit. I guess my longest night was when I rode until about 11:30ish after being lost for a bit and riding with piss and vinegar. I did a 2 hour ride tonight. I started right at dusk and rode until about 8:30. I must have seen half a dozen foxes (animals not hotties). One was sans tail and at first glance I thought I might have lucked out and seen a bobcat. I stopped just as it was getting dark to watch this one in a field. He looked like he was up to something. After about 2 minutes I saw him leap up in the air about 3 feet and then come down mouth first. He scored some kind of small rodent. Pretty cool show. I also coulda sworn there was a bear in the trail as I rounded a bend. I stopped and put my light on the object. It was about 30 yards from me. It turned out to be a cranky black dog. I almost wish it had been a bear. They usually just turn and run. The dog came at me and I thought I was gonna have to bludgeon it with the Alma but he finally came to his senses.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

After Charlotte and Heather left to go meet Charlotte's mom for some shopping, I took off for a 3 hour mtb ride. I climbed up to Rampart Reservoir and did a lap up there before heading back down to town. The air was cool and the trees are starting to turn colors. This is my favorite time of year. I saw a nice herd of elk (about 40 strong) grazing in a field. Soon the rut will be on and we'll be able to hear them bugling at night. Sometimes we drive out and park outside of town and watch the bull of the herd keep things in check. I didn't bring a camera because there was a threat of rain/snow/sleet during the ride. Next weekend in Butte should be really pretty. I hope the weather holds. Today it started out at 35 degrees and they got rain all day. I'm sure there's snow up high so that will make things interesting.


Charlotte spent some time with us today. She's an interesting kid. She's not really into toys all that much. We started out reading a book. Well it wasn't a book really...each page had a different word on it and a matching picture. When we got to the "Apple" page, I grabbed an apple from the kitchen and she wouldn't let go of that thing all day. I also put the childrens CD on repeat and, after 4 hours of that, I think I'm good. My friend Adam's wife (Marry) is just about to have a CD come out. She has an amazing voice and decided to do a childrens CD. I'm hoping I can get a copy of it when I'm back in town for Burnin'. I tried to get Charlotte hooked on Pink Floyd's Rockabye Baby but she didn't like it as much as me. If you have a kid...check it out on iTunes.

I gotta tell ya...I really love kids but I just don't think I could do it. I didn't have the best role models when I was growing up and I know that wouldn't really be the issue. I'm just not sure how friends of mine do it. It's such a huge commitment both personally and financially. I feel like I barely make it as it is and I don't have to worry about another mouth to feed or care. I hardly trust anybody and I doubt day care would even be a consideration which would make things even harder. It was absolutely brutal for me to find someone I could trust to watch my dog let alone my child.

Watching the kids CD for about the 5th time.

We tried books, bubbles, blankets, binkies, and a Barbie cell phone but in the end, the apple was the ticket. Dharma has never been arond a toddler but she was great.

A nap is in the near the future.

Friday, September 19, 2008

2008 Burnin' at the Bluff

On October 11 I'll be back in St. Louis for this race. It's a 12 hour event that I am super pumped about doing. I've never done a 12 hour race so this should be cool. what's gonna be more cool is that I'm doing this event on a 3 man team. My teammates are going to be Tim Kakouris and Dan Schmatz. TK has the experience. Dan has silly mach 1 speed and crank arm snapping power. I'm not sure what I'm bringing to the table but it's not good looks. I'm thrilled that I get to hang out with the two of them during the down time. Gateway Cup was so busy that we didn't have too much time to get caught up. It'll be very nice to hang out between laps.

Speaking of babies

I have the 100 miler in Crested Butte next weekend and I am super pumped about it. I need to get a quad map for the area as I've never ridden over there and I'd rather not get lost. Eddie Turkaly called me the other day. Eddie is a guy that I spent a good chunk of time riding the CTR with. He wanted to do a big ride on the CT this weekend. Sounded like it was gonna wind up being an 8ish hour ride over Kenosha and then dropping down into Breck and on from there. I'd really love to do it but this damn graduate school is getting in the way. I've got a case study that I should be able to finish tonight if I burn the midnight oil. I got roped into a little bit of baby sitting tomorrow morning. My buddy Hays is up in Washington state on an elk hunt. He always makes sure to have a black bear tag while he's on an elk hunt but he's never had the opportunity to harvest one. He got a shot the other day and got his first bear. Anyway...his wife Casie needs to get her hair did tomorrow and so Heather and I are going to watch dear Charlotte. I'm super excited about it. I love kids. The best part about watching someones kid is that eventually they come and pick them up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Like a baby

I was burning up when I went to bed last night. Even with the window open it was still really hot. So...I slept outside on the deck. What a gorgeous night it was. Darn near full moon and loads of stars out too. I love sleeping outside.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shine crazy diamond

Yesterday the keyboard player from Pink Floyd (Richard Wright) passed away in his home after a long battle with cancer. Wright split from the band during the making of The Wall and then released some solo stuff and some stuff in a band called Zee before, eventually, coming back to Pink Floyd after the departure of Roger Waters. Richards style was one of the things that gave Pink Floyd their incredibly distinctive sound. I'm a huge Pink Floyd and David Gilmour fan and am truly bummed by Richards death. I can spend hours listening to the hypnotic sound of their music and Richard had a big part in one of my favorite songs off Dark Side of the Moon, "The Great Gig in the Sky." He was 65. What a true loss. RIP Richard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Since I started riding again, I have not been fishing all that much. For a guy that normally is on the water every day in the summer and 3-5 days the rest of the year, it's been tough to get used to. I decided to go see how the fishies were tonight. I didn't go to my usual hot spots but it was just good to be in the water again. Normally when I fish I cover a lot of ground and quickly. Some guys will pound a certain section for hours just because they think fish should be there even though they don't see any. I'd rather walk and glass the water until I find a fish that's feeding and then I'll go to work. As long as I can see one being active I will work that fish for hours changing my indicator depth, adding/removing weight, swapping flies, etc. It is so amazing to be within 20 feet or so of a nice trout and watch it feeding and knowing that, more than likely, it's just a matter of time. Soon the fall spawn will be on and madness will ensue.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dems the brakes

I've been struggling with my Shimano XT brakes for quite a while now. I always hear them dragging more than they should. I spend a lot of time adjusting the calipers (particularly the front) but it only helps temporarily. During the CTR I thought one of the front pistons wasn't retracting and that's why I eventually just unbolted the darn thing and taped it to the fork leg. As soon as Ghisallo heard about my struggles (with the brake...they can't help the rest of my issues) they sent me a new stealth black XT caliper. They use a different line than last years model so I had to source that yesterday. Luckily I found one and a new set of XTR pads. I got the new caliper installed and bled this morning and it works perfectly. Just in the garage I could tell a major difference from the other caliper. Maybe it really was a bum caliper? While I was there I reset the rear pistons but I still am not crazy about that rear caliper. The rotor is true as an arrow but I still get some rubbing. I think before CB I'll install another one of the newer calipers. Thank you again Ghisallo. Since each loop in CB will start and finish in the heart of town, I will pop wheelies and yell out, "You gosta get to Ghisallo peoples!!!!!!".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crested Butte 100

I was going to go check out the 12 hour race this weekend in Snowmass but I just have a problem with throwing down a hundred dollars to race. I can go ride 12 hours for free. I found the CB100 the other night and am definitely gonna go. It's free and the trails over there should be incredible. We will start in town at the Brick Oven Pizzeria and do 3 laps. We will ride Strand Hill/Deer Creek on lap 1, trail 403/401 for lap 2, and the Dyke/Wagon trail for lap 3. Total elevation is supposed to be just under 14,000'. I am so glad I found something else to do before winter gets here.

I stole these pics of the area from They were taken by Mike Curiak.

I'm gonna be so busy taking pictures.

Congratulations Adam and Dave!

My friends Adam and Dave have always been into Volkswagens. They used to do a lot of SCCA stuff but several years ago they decided to give drag racing a try. They have built an A2 Golf into a mid 10 second car. It's a 2 liter, 4 cylinder, turbo charged motor sitting in a shell that's been completely stripped of anything unnecesary. Complete with Lexan windows and a full cage it's as light as it can get. The most recent dyno runs have the little motor putting out just under 500 hp AT THE WHEELS! They have won loads of races and series. Just the other night in St. Louis, they showed up at the track and were told they couldn't run due to an oil leak. They pulled everything off the front of the motor and got the leak fixed with 3 minutes left to qualify. Then they qualified the fastest for the night and went on to win the whole thing.

Several months ago they attended a race where the show Pinks was at and looking for new cars for their show on Speed. While they did not make the show, they were just on Speed for "Pinks All Outakes". Really neat to see them and the car on national television. They are probably a bigger turbo and bigger front slicks away from being in the 9 second range. Last night they ran just tenths of a second below 135 mph. Very shortly they're gonna need a parachute on the car. What's really impressive is that the car is using a stock trans and stock axles. Since they're putting out so much power right now, they're starting to break things. They break trannies all the time now and they recently snapped the solid end of an axle!! Those axles have taken a beating and have about 350 passes on them. They've really done an amazing job at keeping this thing pretty low budget but they may have reached their peak. Adam says that a beefier trans and axles could be as much as $6000. Way to go guys! I'm super proud of you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Almost to the top.

Colorado Springs is down there somewhere.

It was chilly and the wind was howlin' like the wolf.

1 hour and 45 minutes to get here. Round trip was just under 12 miles with nearly 4500' of gain. It was fun but I won't do it again. The hike a bike was unreal.
I hate that you're having to pretty much view this stuff in reverse order but I always forget about this.

Looking towards the Divide.

Cool rocks just before the Devil's Playground.

This is the trail. It was stupid carrying the bike on my bike and I got a lot of strange looks. I must have passed 30 hikers today. These rocks are the size of a decent recliner and pretty much finished off the soles of my shoes. I knew I was close at this point though (within 300-400 feet) and there was no way I was giving up.

Pikes Peak

Last night I was dorking around on and found upwards of 40ish trail write ups for the northwest appraoch to Pikes Peak from the Crags area. I had 2 beers in me and I said to myself, self...none of these write ups were from riders. There were loads of hikers and some skiers but no one had ridden it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So i crawled outta my warm bed and was at the trailhead at 8 a.m. sharp. This is pretty much what the trail looks like for the first mile:

I quickly got to treeline.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Super excited

For the last few days all I can think about at work (besides educating the children of the future of course) is riding my bike. I am so happy to be riding that silly thing again. I got in a super fun mountain bike ride on Thursday night and I was chompin' at the bit to ride tonight but my afternoon nap went into the early evening and I missed out. I was going to go down and check out the group ride tomorrow and ride at 30+ mph again but I think I wanna do a longer mtb ride and take in some scenery. I've got what should be a pretty killer ride planned and I'm hoping it wont take me any longer than 6 hours but it's totally unchartered water so I'm bringing plenty of gear in case I get stuck and have to finish up in the dark. Photo opportunities should be endless so I'll definitely bring the camera.

I'm also considering doing the 12 hour solo race next weekend at Snowmass. I've never done anything like that and I worry about getting bored burning laps for that long and the entry fee of 100 bones sure isn't helping but I still might go. There was talk of TK, Dan Schmatz and me teaming up for a 12 hour race in Missouri but I don't know where those guys are with that right now after their rather quick Gateway Cup. TK just got done building the ugliest Cannondale cross bike I've ever seen. Personally...I'd pack up that thing and send it express to the nearest knucklehead living out in Woodland Park, Colorado. Too bad it's not a 56. I got half a mind to drive to St. Louis and bring it home with me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My old crib

This is the house that Neumann built. It is located on the south side of St. Louis in the Bevo area. Believe it or not I bought this diamond in the rough for $59,000. It was my first house. It was a wreck when I bought it. I did the siding, built the deck, gutted the bath, re-did the kitchen, installed carpet upstairs, and of course...painted everything. I was in such a hurry to sell it so I could relocate to Colorado that I got no pictures of the finished product. It was so nice when it was done but I bet I was moved out a week after the paint dried. The garage was the best part of the house. It was an oversized 2 car with a ceiling mounted heater. I used to wash my Golf and Audi in it during the coldest winter days in shorts and no shirt...sweating.

The new owner has let things go a lot. I was meticulous about the lawn and almost cried when I pulled up to it. Ever hear of a trimmer buddy?

How we roll

I forgot to mention that we had a real short layover in Dallas on the way to St. Louis last weekend. Here we are kickin' it with Fat Joe.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the latest

For the first time, I'm back at work and actually quite happy about it. I have a super group of students to work with each day and it's them that makes me want to climb out of bed each morning. I just got back from Gateway Cup in St. Louis. It was 4 days of criteriums. The laps were fast and the temps were high. Thanks to Adam and his family for letting Heather and I stay there.

As soon as we got to their house I found out the unfortunate news that Morgan (their 3 year old) was mad at me. Apparently she thought I was laughing at her when they visited in Colorado over the summer. She was not happy about me being there. So I spent the first 15 minutes in her room trying to get her to speak to me while she sulked and flipped through a magazine. She is such a doll and, luckily, she forgave me and we went for pizza.

It was great to see my friend TK and his family and spend some time with another old friend...Dan. Dan's son Samuel and his wife Myriam made the flight to St. Louis and it was super to meet them. I think Samuel looks exactly like Dan. I remember doing sprints with Dan one night on the road into Castlewood. His sprint was insane back then and it's even more stupid now. It's pretty darn impressive what the guy has done in his cycling career. He's a good guy and just another person that I'm proud to call my friend.

Training for the CTR is completely different than training for crits or even xc mtb races. Right now I have no clue what I want to do next year. I don't think I can do both disciplines well. All I know is that, for the first time in a long time, I smile when riding my bikes again. That's a good thing.