Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Not much is going on up here lately. I started riding again after some needed time off after Burnin'. I'm keeping plenty busy with work. I don't know that I've ever talked about work here. I love my job. The reason I love it so much is strictly because of my students and my parents. They are all super great to work with. I've worked hard to establish relationships with them all and I think they trust me. I know some of them check in here from time to time. Thanks for being so cool to work for/with and trusting my judgement with your child. You are the reason I go in each morning.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


My buddy Hayes had some elk steaks marinating but he had to hop a flight at the last minute and leave town on business. Really sorry you had to miss out on this man. This is what they looked like right before I threw em on the grill. When they came off there was no time to waste with pictures as the meats gotta be eaten quickly. He's trying to get me to start killing animals with him. If he keeps dropping this stuff off, I may not have a choice.

I haven't carved pumpkins since I was a kid. These turned out rather nicely. We usually only get 2 kids but these oughta scare the crap outta them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh yeah!!!

Brisbane is in the house!!

I used to wear Blundstones don't ya know.


Dan, TK, and myself were recently talking about vehicles and, specifically, some of the ones we've owned through the years and the various noises they made (TK) or how many headlights they were missing (me). Now I've owned some real gems over the years but since I moved out here I have migrated to the 4x4 scene and I've had my Jeep longer than any other vehicle I've owned. I love it. It's way more than I need. I'm terrified to go on the trails that it really belongs on but it gets me to any fishing or camping spot I want and, knock on wood, it's been the most reliable thing I've had. Until yesterday. I had a feeling the problem was with the rear driveshaft so I pulled it last night. I looked at it today when I got home and found one of the u joints was grenaded. I should have that rebuilt tomorrow and then while I'm there I'll rebuild the front shaft next. The weather people are calling for a pretty decent storm starting right now so hanging in the garage will be cool. Currently we have an inch of snow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I hiked up to this lake yesterday with 2 buddies to fish it before things freeze over. This is at about 12,300'.

We saw about 10 mountain goats. There are 2 pairs of them in this picture. An adult and a younger one are on the right side. They are directly to the left of the "F" shaped area of snow. The other 2 are a little higher and all the way on the left side of the picture just below the large rock face. We watched these guys for 30 minutes as they walked around the side of the mountain with ease. This particular area was really steep and loose. It's amazing to watch them.

I think we were probably 3-4 weeks late to fish the lake as the fish were hunlered down deep and out of reach of our fly rods. After 4 hours we decided to head back down and fish some of the tiny streams. This is one of the greenback cutthroat that we caught. These are the most beautiful fish I think I've caught. They're neck and neck with brook trout but very rare and you have to usually put in a hard effort to get to them. They are also federally protected so guys usually keep their locations on the down low.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fit for a King

Tonight I had a meal that was fit for a King. Some friends of ours had us over for dinner. He's a big game hunter and he just got back from a hunt in Washington state where he harvested a black bear. Now I love wild game but Heather's a bit leary. We dined on mushrooms stuffed with black bear sausage. Elk steaks, okra, squash, and baked potato. It was killer. Surprisingly, black bear sausage tastes just like ground beef sausage. Some of the meat is being smoked and that it supposed to taste just like ham. I'm not sure if all black bear tastes like that. Most of the black bears around here eat trash because our city kinda blows with the whole trash thing. Many towns up here have all of the bear proof containers and will issue citations if you don't use one. I wish we did. Anyway...the bears up in that corner of the nation eat berries (blue, huckle, and rasberry) and that definitely influences the taste of the meat. I'd highly recommend you try it.

Now I gotta finish gearing up for tomorrow and reviewing some maps. It's gonna be fun.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Normally I steer totally clear of still water. However, there are times when I'll hit it. Today was one of those days. I was just a few miles from Spinney Reservoir and fishing off the dam is usually productive. It's tough because you have to be able to roll cast 40 feet to get it out there but then it's all gravy. It's also a stellar way to end the day. You can stand there and watch the sun go down over the divide. This bow was really nice. So I got countless browns, 1 nice bow, and even a cutt bow. Wait til you see what I hope to get into on Sunday.

I am a bastard. I should not have such good luck but............I do. I fished a little section of water above Spinney Reservoir. I saw 2 dudes leaving as I was pulling in and we stopped and chatted. Their exact words were, "We didn't see one fish". I love when dudes say that. So I pulled in, suited up and hit it. I walked to where the river runs into the reservoir and then turned around to start heading back up stream. I do not fish fishy water. I'm constantly looking and I only stop if I see a fish set up and feeding. I cover a ton of water and that's the mistake I see most guys making....they just fish "fishy" water. I hadn't seen much but I looked real hard at a little hole with a deep undercut. As I watched, a huge shadow rolled and I got goosebumps. I headed back down so I could cross and get access to the undercut. I had a nuclear egg on and a Black Beauty. I hooked up on the first cast through the run. I stayed there giggling for an hour and a half. I lost count at 13 and the smallest trout was 16. The biggest one was pushing 24. They were the slimmest fish trout I've ever caught in Colorado. All browns. Last year I was a complete snob. I only pursued big trout. I didn't even cast to anything under 18". I decided to fish this spot today because there was no one else there and I wanted solitude. I got it and big fish.

The water is skinny.


This is absolutely my favorite part of fishing.

Many of the fish were hot today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fish porn

What to do?

Well my busted up bike is still in St. Louis and I'm perfectly fine with that. I did a road ride yesterday but I'm gonna take some time to do the other hobby that normally occupied all my free time before I started riding those silly bikes again. It's that time of year when the Brown Trout spawn and the Kokanee Salmon do their thang. When that happens all hell breaks loose because the bigger Rainbows also make an appearance to feed on all the eggs that are present. With an egg pattern and a trailer nymph you really can't go wrong. It's one of the best times of the year to actually sight fish because you can quickly identify large, aggressive, feeding fish.

After all day parent/teacher conferences tomorrow we have off Friday so I think I'll hit up Spinney Ranch and see what's doin. I fear that this year may be a little less bueno than it's capable of being. There's been some issues with pesky gill lice and they have taken a toll on the Kokes. The salmon that inhabit 11 Mile Reservoir really do not mate when they migrate up the South Platte River. They just go through the motions. Normally the Department of Wildlife sets up a spawning operation and they will actually harvest the fish and then let them move past the nets and upstream to eventually die. When the really big Browns and Bows come up river they get caught in the nets. The DOW has a trailer on site and there is always one person there to watch over the operation. They routinely wade into the hundreds of fish to collect eggs and sperm and when they spy the large trout they let them through the nets to go upstream. a fisherman you can generally count on there being very large trout upstream from the spillway all the way to the dam. However, the DOW is not doing an operation this year (I presume due to a decrease in Koke population but I'll know Friday). This means that the bigger trophy trout will not be congregating in as small of a section of river as they typically do. It means more walking.

Probably the coolest thing to do is hit the river right as it's turning dark. Last year I fished until midnight a few nights. It's so good that this year I vowed to fish until sunup several times. It's cold but the biggest Browns only come out from hiding at night. You can see some truly frightening Browns during the day but the biggest ones are big for a reason. They feed at night and they get pissed off. Night time streamer fishing in the fall is the best. I'm getting all excited right now so I gottsta stop. Pics to come.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Burnin' at the Bluff

Apparently this race is kind of a big deal because there was no shortage of fast dudes there. About 300 of them showed up. The Le Mans start was HOT but I think the running favors me and I made it to my bike probably 5th. After a long pavement leadout, it bottlenecked down into singletrack but I made it into the woods top 10. Things were going very well and there was a nice gap and I stayed relaxed and then started to work through a few guys when the trail allowed. At exactly mile 4 I broke my chain. I have NEVER broken a chain. Of course I didn't have a chain tool. I lost almost 10 mintes and was passed by probably 30 people while I waited for a generous soul to loan me a chain tool. Once I got it fixed, I was pissed! Foaming at the mouth, I started working my way through riders. Things went relatively smooth for the rest of the 14 mile lap. I stacked it a few times from riding over my head but came out of it fine.
I think I finished that lap in 1:15 which I was fine with considering the delay. We had 1 chain and TK felt it best to swap mine out so I did.

Dan, went out next and absolutely smoked it with a 1:03 (he is a great crit racer but he might have been a bigger deal if he had stuck to the dirt). I was pretty impressed. TK was up next and he turned a super fast lap that made mine look like crap as well.

We were in 6th place as I headed out for my next lap. Right away I felt terrible. I just had nothing and at 4 miles I was ready to pack it in. I stuck it out but had a little disagreement with a root at about mile 6. When I got going again my front wheel was destroyed and was hitting the fork brace as it spun. I finished the 8 miles like that but was completely smashed (mostly mentally) after the lap. TK used his brute strength and a railroad tie to true my wheel and got it so it at least rolled through the fork freely.

Dan and TK headed out again and both turned in super consistent and strong times again and with no mechanical mishaps. When Dan saw my wheel he refused to let me go out on it for fear that it would fold on me. He was right but I couldn't find a wheel. He did though (thank you very much Team Seagal) and we got the rotor swapped out and I was ready to ride again. I headed out for lap 3 and just wanted to have a smooth lap even if it costed me time. My splits were good and everything was smoov. I turned another 1:10 or 15 but felt great.

Dan heads out again at about 5:00 now and TK and I are getting his lights setup and adjusted. 30 minutes later, here comes Dan with the mechanical of the day. He broke his chain and it wrapped completely around and behind the cassette and even if he had a chain tool, it would have required removing the cassette anyways. So...TK wasn't ready to go yet and I really didn't think I could have done back to backs at the pace I had been going. So we decided to pull the plug and go get food and head back to St. Louis.

As we packed up we found that Dan had broken the freehub and the axle on his XTR wheel and, we suspect, that may be the reason why the chain broke as it wrapped around the cassette but it really doesn't matter. Needless to say we were disappointed. We quit while in 3rd place overall and that's tough to walk away from (especially for 3 guys that don't know the meaning of being non-competitive) but we learned a ton. None of us had done a 12 or 24 hour event before and it's definitely different from a XC. We'll play things a bit different for next year for sure.

Huge thanks to Mesa for a really fun event. Huge thanks to Dan and TK for letting me be part of the team. It was really good to hang out with the boys for the weekend. I didn't know many of the riders anymore but I did see some old faces like Tom Albert, John Rhines, and my old rooomie Ethan "Cake" Johnson. Things are different than when we all raced XC together. Many of the guys are married and most now have kids so it's tough to see each other but I realized how lucky I am to know them all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I'm not sure what the allure of the belt buckle is but this is the buckle that Mesa Cycles is giving away to all first place finishers this weekend in Potosi. It's actually made by a friend of mine who lives in Buena Vista, Colorado. His name is Jim Butler but everyone (and I mean everyone) knows him as "Jimmer". Odds are super good that you could stop someone on the street and ask if they knew him and they'd say yes. I once interviewed for a teaching position at BV high and during the interview we actually started talking about him. He's a super talented guy when it comes to anything mechanical or fabrication. The next time you're in BV take a look at the metal signs in town for the bank or various other businesses. He made them.

Quick Jimmer story....I had never actually met Jimmer before but Heather and I were in BV on vacation and we were going to head up to Ptarmigan Lake to spend the night. We were driving her 2wd Xterra over some pretty nasty roads but my driving skills led me to believe that I could drive up walls. We got well above treeline and into some switchbacks when I got stuck. I decided to back up a bit and change my line. I asked Heather to look out her window and tell me how much room I had. Panicked...she said she couldn't even see the road. I got out and sure enough I had us high-centered on the edge and the vehicle was literally teetering. I told her to get out on my side quickly. She did. Long story short...we got a ride back into town and I called Jimmer. Of course he had to finish helping some other poor soul out before he could get to my dumb ass but he was glad to help. He selected what vehicle would properly perform the extraction and had us out in no time. Then him and Judy insisted that we come back to their house so they could fix us dinner and give us a bed to sleep in.

Anyway...they're super cool buckles. I'd love to have a buckle from the Leadville 100 but, personally, I don't find the course there to be all that inviting what with all the fire roads and all.
I have no clue what the other teams look like for next weekend but if it's anything like it was when I lived there....strong riders will be the majority. People out here usually give me a strange look when I talk about how hard core St. Louis is with regard to cycling. They just don't know. There are FAST people in St. Louis.

Picture doesn't show up so here'e the link:


Not much time left to prep for this weekends 12 hour race. Last week I took a full 4 days off the bike and then the next time I got on it was at the start in Crested Butte. Not a good idea and my legs told me so for 70 miles. So I've been working pretty hard since I got back but I don't want to over do it. Dan always says it's better to come in a bit under than to be a bit over. I did an old 20/40 workout Friday after school and followed that up with 3, 5 minute strength intervals. Yesterday I got in 3, 10 minute power intervals and finished just as the cold rain started to fall. Today I slept in until almost 10 and then worked on grad school stuff until 8:30 tonight stopping only to eat and use the bathroom. I really wanted to get in another interval workout tonight but the little Dan inside my head is saying maybe I shouldn't. So I think I'll just stretch really good and then I've got another night ride planned for tomorrow. I still need to get my lights sorted out. The setup I brought with me on the CT was great but I rode very liesurely and I think it's gonna be faster next weekend. Can't wait to see my buddies TK and Dan and whoever else shows up in Potosi that I haven't talked to in a while.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Night Rider?

No...not the Hoff.

All of my co-workers think that solo night riding is a bad idea. While it might be, it's kinda fun though b/c you definitely see/experience some different things than you do during the day. They were taking bets on whether I'd make it in to work today after riding the area I intended to check out under the cover of darkness last night (it's chock full of bears and kitties). Now even though the misses encouraged me to carry bear spray during the CTR, I'm not worried about the bears. They mostly eat berries and trash up here and to have one be aggressive would be unusual. Normally they just turn tail and run. But the'll never know what happened. I spend hours watching them whenever we go to the zoo. They just stare at you through the fence. Even the workers who have done it for 10 years say how spooky they are to be around.

I had to climb a decent road last night before getting to the singletrack that bombs back down into town. Shortly after hitting the actual trail...I flatted. I NEVER FLAT!!! I seriously almost left my tube/tools at home since I never flat but decided at the last minute that this would be a rookie move. So there I sat on the edge of the trail changing out a tube. Then I heard it....something large scurrying around near me. Then something else. I was prepared to kill whatever beast lurked in the depths of the shadows. I grabbed my trusty light and found deer and it's mother. Whew!! I changed my tube in record time and was off again. 20 minutes later I rounded a bend and saw some cute little animal slowly making his way towards me....head on. We both stopped dead in our tracks and looked at each other. Strange to see a domestic cat up here I thought. I caught sight of the white racing stripe just as he turned and aimed his ass at me. E gads!!! I turned around and was off in the other direction (up hill) lightning fast I tell ya. Mountain biking is terrifying.