Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tenmile Range

This is a picture taken today from Breckenridge. We'll be going over this. Obviously the high country has gotten some snow with these recent storms we've had. This will make crossings of the Divide interesting.

Main Tracking Page

At the top right of this page I have created some links. The one listed as Main Tracking will have everyone's SPOT. On the right will be a focus page for each racer and that will tell you some pretty cool info along the way. From this main page you'll be able to see everyone's progress or just view one persons progress. You'll be able to see their average speeds and even hear their call ins. There's a real slick chart that's been created and it'll display each racers time to particular points along the route. I do not believe that there are designated call ins this year but I will be calling in at Bailey, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Leadville, Buena Vista, possibly the Princeton Hot Springs, Silverton, and Durango.
Many of the adolescents I used to work with in residential were gang bangers. Some of them were pretty hard core and had the scars to prove it. I've always been fascinated with the gang lifestyle, and the signs/symbols used for communication in their tattoos and graffiti and talking to my students about it was always interesting. One of my favorite shows is Gangland and several months ago they covered a motorcycle gang that was originally from Colorado Springs called the Sons of Silence. We have a lot of motorcycle traffic that passes through town here and I was surprised that we had never seen any SOS after watching the show. I saw this gentleman at the Royal Gorge. I wanted to talk to him but Heather put a major kaibash on that.

We both got up to check on Bodhi throughout the night and he seemed ok. This morning he was up at 7 chewing on his favorite toy so that made us happy. I just fed him some rice and a bit of food and he licked the bowl clean. Hopefully it'll stay down.

Weather could be a major issue for the race and Heather aint happy about it. It rained all night and now it's in the upper 40's with lows tonight in the mid to high 30's. Breckenridge will see storms all week with highs in the low 60's and lows in the mid 30's. If this is the way it's gonna be I think the passes and segments 22 and 23 could be very sketchy.

Right now we are having coffee and sitting in front of a raging fire.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bodhi got us up at 0630 this morning throwing up. He did this for about an hour and a half and, not to be gross, but there was nothing but what I would guess is just stomach fluids after that. He was fine for about 45 minutes and then it all started up again. No real contents to it. He looked terrible. Tail down, ears back and his demeanor was really mellow. Definitely not the Bodhi we know and love. We took him into the vet at 1000 and they checked him out and gave him an anti-vomitory med. He hasn't eaten all day and wont drink much either. I did get him to drink some Gatorade. If this continues into tomorrow, the vet wants to do an xray and see if there is something blocking his intestines. Really worried about the big guy and I don't need this just days before leaving.

Ready to roll

This is it. The rear bag is holding as minimal of a sleeping setup as I think I wanna go with especially with the wet and colder conditions that we've had this summer. The front bag is holding rain gear, base layer, 2 different types of gloves (perhaps overkill but I don't like cold hands and I think there may be some times this year when I'll ride through the night), long sleeve jersey, arm and knee warmers, 1 pair of wool socks and a hat. Right now the SPOT is in the front pocket of the handlebar bag. I'm hoping it can transmit through the fabric. I'm not comfortable with it being out of sight since I lost my other one that way. Obviously I would love for things to be lighter but I dropped a ton of weight from last year and I'm not sure where I'd cut it now. I've thought long and hard about the clothing I'm bringing. Even during the day, I think it's been significantly cooler this summer and for sure at night. I dicked around too much last year. If I'm not taking in food or actually sleeping this year...I'll be riding.

The leaderboard (where you'll be able to go and see everyone's SPOT simultaneously) is being created now and should be done in a day or 2. I'll post a link to that under the link to my shared page. I'll also figure out where the call ins will be hosted and provide a link for that. Thanks for looking.

Bike as pictured is 35lbs. so there's 10 lbs. of gear.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Canon City

There are many things in Canon City. Buckskin Joe's. The Royal Gorge. The World's largest suspension bridge. There are also numerous prison facilities including the Supermax (which if you'd like to know what the inside looks to Heather). Today we went on down to see what was poppin'. It's kinda like a mini Silver Dollar City. A real mini one. Here is Pablo trying to strike it rich. Unfortunately all he found was fool's gold

Here is the gorge. It's actually pretty impressive. The bridge over it was crazy. It's a small fortune to check it out though. There is a tram that goes across it. There is also an incline that goes down into it. We did it all.

I saw this car in CC and thought it was cute.

I also saw this car in CC and it made me want to vomit.

I took Mr. Flinn fishing last night. We started out at some water over near Hartsel and it was pretty blown out. However...he did manage to catch the first trout of the night. It was a bow. We eventually made our way over to the South Platte as it flows through Lake George and fished that for a while. The water was clear. I managed to catch a few but Pablo got skunked. We were cheating with spinning gear so I may give him a tennis lesson with the fly rod today.

Pablo wanted to climb this big boulder.

He did have some troubles at first but he was determined.

It's pretty crazy how it's all eroded away underneath it.


Just a few of the pictures from our little rafting adventure over on the Arkansas. Pablo and I actually wanted to run the Class V water down in the Royal Gorge but someone......(Heather).....was too chicken and decided we should run these after doing much research on the number of deaths that occur while rafting. It was a good time regardless.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time off

I've been taking it super easy this week. My good friend Pablo (who performed the ceremony at my wedding last year) has been staying here with us for his vacation. We've been hiking and hanging out and today we cruised over to Buena Vista to run some Class III rapids on the Arkansas River. Couldn't have been a better day although I am BEAT. Gonna hang out tonight and watch a movie. We did buy the CD that has the pictures on it from our rafting trip so I'll post those later on.

Old Ford

Really cool old T Bird.

Before I met Heather she had one of these old Ford's. Her's was a 1951. She bought it to restore but she didn't end up having it too long. It had a straight 6 motor and actually ran but it was wired up 6 volt.


The next thing that I saw were 2 Whizzer motor bikes. These things are really old and I think the company originally only provided the motors and the customers provided the bikes. I'm not sure but I think both the tandem and the single have the same "H" motor. It produced a massive 2.5 hp. Some of their earlier motors put out 1 and 3/8 hp. Pretty cool.

A while back I talked about this place down in Old Colorado City that dealt with vintage things. I finally made it back down there to check it out. The first thing that caught my eye was this older Porsche. I believe this is a late 50's (maybe 59) 356 with a 1600 motor. It was gorgeous. I think these motors produced either 60 or 75 horsepower depending on the model. I walked around this place for hours and then the owner let me go out in the yard and walk around looking at all the history.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pretty close to how it looked last year except for the white accents. I wanted a white stem but it didn't happen. I just went through it today and it got new cables/housing, a thorough cleaning (although for those that don't know always looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor), new chain (SRAM this time), cassette, overhauled both hubs and I think that's about it. It'll get new tires before the 2nd and new rim strips. I've been running more air in them this year and it helps to keep the tubes from rolling around inside and pinching when the rim strip moves. I was going to give the fork some love but it's only 1 year old right now and I think Rock Shox says to do it somewhere in that 18 month to 2 year range. Granted I have spent an enormous amount of time on my road bike this year, but the brakes have been working great and are not dragging so I decided to run them as I really want to do a motor swap on the van and I need to start stockpiling. Plus....they just feel sooooo good. I thought I was going to have to fill out some loan papers this morning so I could get some new chainrings but after another cup of coffee they are fine.

This is pretty much all the gear that I am taking with me this year. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna run both of my Carousel Designs bags again. I thought long and hard about just strapping my bedroll to the bar but the bag itself doesn't weigh much at all and the pockets on the front sure come in handy. I also think it's gonna be important to have some extra room to stash food for that long haul to Silverton from the Hot Springs. Actually in my mind I'm considering Buena Vista to be the last true stop before Silverton.

I've managed to cut down on my meal kit but I do have more bulk with the water filter but that's a trade off I'll take. The only extra piece of clothing I'm bringing this year is a long sleeve jersey just in case. My backpack is WAY smaller and I have quite a bit of room in that left over too so that's cool. At the last minute I may throw the bedroll in my backpack just to get some of the weight off the bike. I'm sure I'll repack and go over my gear at least 50 more times before I go though.

Big week

I've got right at 500 miles in this week and I feel good. I think I'm ready. I've waited a bit longer than I wanted to but I'll go through the bike today. I think I'm going to overhaul the fork as well this week. It was leaking a little bit of oil after Burnin' last year and I don't need that being an issue for me. There's not much oil in there so I'm sure it needs it. I was originally going to have PUSH Industries do a custom job on the fork but funds didn't allow it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm a bachelor again

No we're not in Splitsville. Heather went back to the 314 to check on her peeps. She's supposed to be dragging Pastor Pablo back here with her next week so that'll be cool to see him. Haven't seen him since our wedding. So it's just me and the 2 mutts. Weather's been cooperating really well this week. It's a big week for me. I got in 80 yesterday and am now a bit over 250 for the week. I'll easily have 500 for the week when it's done. It's starting to annoy me though. I know every crack and dip in the roads around here. Gonna leave for 40 on the road in a minute here and then get in 3-4 hours on the dirt afterwards. Sorry for the absence of pics lately. I'm using the Mac as the PC is on the fritz. I haven't tried IPhoto much yet. I'll take some pics of the dirt ride later on and try and get those up for your viewing pleasure. Hope all is well with everyone. Not much time left before we leave.

Jefe Branham (one of those Gunnison crazy's) recently recon'd the new segments (22 and 23) and reported back on the amount of hiking and remoteness. Fully loaded and tired I bet we're looking at close to 20 hours to get through that 30ish miles. Half of it will be walking. Supposed to be silly in terms of beauty though. Kinda looking forward to it. Might take Bodhi so he can pull me. If I have to......maybe I could eat him?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Van up on stands

I'm trying to figure out if it's safe to drive the van or not. When we got back from Gunnison, it was leaking oil and coolant in 1 puddle. The weird thing was that the coolant in the oil was really green and normally if the 2 are mixing, it will look like a milkshake and not green. It almost looked like there were 2 separate leaks. The Waterboxer motor is so strange. The only place those 2 fluids would be able to transfer would be in the oil cooler and there's no way of telling. They don't go bad too often but I considered changing it but can't justify the dough. I cleaned the motor off super well and put the van up in the air and let the motor run for over an hour. I found a small oil leak at the drain bolt and another small oil leak where the case halves meet the trans. This is most likely a crank seal that's bad but I also noticed that the bolts that hold the case halves together were a bit loose. I tightened them up and let it run for another hour and didn't see any oil from that area. I never saw any coolant so I'm a bit confused. Heather's going out of town for a bit so I'm waiting until she leaves to work on the thing. I'll change the oil and see what it looks like, fix the leaky drain plug and then reinstall the exhaust bracket that broke while trying to get a better look at the other leak and then drive it and see what happens. That combined with some other issues has me really looking into different motors to swap into the van.

Cool cars

The cars that usually catch my eye are things that most people probably don't look at. Obviously the Vanagon fits that category. But so do cars like Audi Coupe Quattros, Classic Mini's, VW Squarebacks, Corrados, second generation Golf's and Jetta's (particularly with the 16 valve motor), older Porsche 911's, Audi 4000's, and pretty much any of the Audi Avant's. Obviously I prefer German cars but I didn't start out that way. When I was younger my first car was a 1968 Chevy Camaro. I bought it and wanted my dad to help me restore it. He was/is an excellent mechanic and can do anything including mechanics and bodywork/paint. Unfortunately he was too interested in the bottle to make that happen and any father/son time in the garage resulted in yelling and wrench throwing (on his part). A few years later, I began riding and running (anything to avoid him) and in an effort to really piss him off....I sold that car and bought a Datsun 280ZX turbo with t-tops. He was so mad. It was great. Until the clutch went out on it during the winter when I was coming back from visiting my g/f at college in Champagne/Urbana. I called him late at night after hoofin' it for miles to find a town with a payphone. He was pissed that I woke him up and hung up on me. I ended up calling my g/f's mother who drove up to get me. My father did go up with me a few days later to tow it home but I ended up dropping the trans (my first) out in the street during a snowstorm b/c I had to get it fixed so I could get back and forth to work.

A few years later I would meet my dear friends (I actually refer to them as my brothers) Adam and David Corbitt. We all worked together at the Touring Cyclist and Adam and I eventually moved in together. I will never forget their mother (Mommy 12). She insisted that I come to X-mas day and even went out and bought me gifts (socks and underware). I cried. She passed on several years later and I cried again. She was nicer to me than my own mother. Anyway...the Corbitt brothers were the ones that introduced me to German cars and actually taught me to work on them. So that's why they get my attention more than anything else.

However...I still rubber neck when a nice classic Camaro drives by (especially a 69 or even a 70 split bumper). But one of the cars that I have always admired is the AC Cobra. A few weeks ago I was out riding that darn bike and missed a walk with Heather and she told me about the 15ish Cobra's she had seen cruising through town. Well today on my ride I saw one in Cascade of all places. It was parked at a little Subaru repair shop. It's been there for a few weeks but it was under a tarp. Today the tarp was off and there was a for sale sign on it. I stopped to check it out. It looked to be a kit car but I couldn't even afford that. It was pretty much setup for the track too. Did you know that the original Cobra fenders were all created with an English wheel tool (by hand)? That amazes me.

I was looking at Cobras on ebay and stumbled upon this one tonight. Silly.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This is probably about 8 miles downstream from the dam. Still a little early in the summer to fish a hopper pattern but a dry in the early evening was fun and a nymph rig worked exceptionally well all day long. This river fishes a lot like the Arkansas does. In this stretch of it you can throw bigger flies in the 14 range and I found myself using stuff that had been sitting in my fly box for a long time. Beadheaded Prince Nymphs were deadly down here. The trophy area below the dam was pretty typical. The flows were a bit low and the fish were concentrated in the deeper runs and very leary. These fish are crazy smart. You can watch these fish slide out of their feeding lane when they see the split shot coming. They know that means that flies are about to follow. They'll slide right back in as soon as the fake stuff goes by. There was a bit of a hatch that came off late in the evening one night and I switched to a Green Drake. This is a bug that has an epic hatch each year on the Taylor. In a circle with a diameter of about a foot, you'll see half a dozen Drakes on the water. It's exciting to throw your fly out there and watch the biggest trout you've ever seen rise from the deep and check it out. If it's not spot on, they'll leave it but when they do come up and gently slurp it....I can't continue with this. Incidentally...if you're in the area I'll give this free advice to you: You might wanna hit this section in the next week or so as the Drakes are coming.

Smaller bow.

These are the crowds I had to battle each day in the trophy area. Brutal.

Baby Dharms taking in the scenery.

Thanks to my wife who never complains about having to deal with the pups when I'm out pounding the water. An hour of fishing always turns into 5 for me.

Road trip

We headed out for a few days and made our way over to one of my top three favorite places in Colorado. The Gunnison Valley. Normally we camp somewhere just below the dam on the Taylor Reservoir. This is a catch and release section and it's home to some of the biggest trout in the entire state. It is not uncommon to sight cast to browns, bows, and some cutts that are in the 10lbs+ range all day long. They are the smartest trout I've fished for but the most beautiful. The Taylor has a freshwater shrimp called a mysis and it's the reason why the trout are so big and also the reason why they are so lit up in color. Anyway....I could go on and on about that mile or so of water. Below that section there is a lengthy private stretch that I've heard is owned by a lot of wealthy doctors and lawyers from Texas. Eventually the Taylor meanders down and becomes public again. The trout are typically smaller downstream but certainly plentiful and more than eager to take your fly.

The ride over was uneventful really. The van did well but the motor is extremely underpowered for the mountain passes. We went over Cottonwood just west of Buena Vista and I actually had to drive the last 4 miles or so in second gear just to maintain about 4k rpm's which is where that motor is happiest. Plenty of time to take in the sights. Here Bodhi is wondering if we're almost there yet?

I think I can I think I can...

Slogging up the Pass. We've gotten so much rain this spring that Colorado is greener than I've ever seen it. I'm amazed at how much ground foliage has popped up.

This is on top of Cottonwood Pass.

Still decent snow drifts/fields up top.

It was a super fun trip. The van is so much more comfortable to camp in than a tent. Unfortunately I need to track down some issues with it today. I pulled in the driveway last night and went back out later to notice a puddle of coolant/oil under the bellhousing. The Waterboxer motor is a strange one. There is only one place where there could be a transfer of these fluids. After looking into it last night for a few minutes (checking the dipstick and coolant reservoir which turned out fine) I honestly think I may be dealing with 2 separate leaks that appear to be mixing. I'll know more today and whether or not I'll be pullnig a motor anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This is my van pretty much loaded up for what I think will be the maiden voyage.

An eary Pikes Peak.

Not much else to report. Training is going very well. My shortest rides are in that 4 hour range for the last few weeks. I think I'll be ready in time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

We checked out an art expedition down in Springs and then ate at a new brewery. It rained off and on all day again and there was a small window at about 6 so we decided to take the critters for a walk. We made it to the far end of town and then things opened up. Full on rain and lightning. Being the boy Scout that I am, I did have my rain jacket. Heather was in fleece. She declined my offer to run home and pick her and the dogs up in the van as well as my offer to give her my jacket so if you saw us....know that I did the honorable thing. We were soaked when we got home. When most people were BBQing for the holiday, we sat inside and I built a raging fire because I really didn't wanna turn the heat on and it was cold. There was supposed to be some festivities in town but I'm sure those were cancelled. We have been getting bombed with storms. It's already overcast out now so I'm preparing for yet another ride in the rain. I fear that water wings will be something I need for this years race. I made a purchase yesterday that I hope will keep me dry when I need to bed down for the night. Should be here this week sometime. 

Hope you all had a safe/fun holiday. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

When you get a chance, check out Ed's blog. He has some amazing photos.
This was from the episode where someone stole George's glasses from the locker room at the fitness club. During this same episode, George thought he saw Jerry's girlfriend making out with cousin Jeffrey but this actually turned out to be a woman talking closely to a horse. Somewhere in the episode Jerry is talking about how George can squint his way down to 20/30 vision and how one night he was spotting racoons left and right. Later we find out that those racoons were really mailboxes.

Anyway...the point of all this is that on the way back up the mountain this afternoon, I spotted an animal running across the highway. It was very overcast and rainy but I'm pretty sure of what I saw. I yelled out, "LOOK AT THAT BOBCAT!!!!" Now....several minutes later, Heather looks up and says, "That wasn't a bobcat". To be honest...Heather's the one that handles our finances and if there are any important decisions to be made in this house...she's making them...even if I tell you I made the should assume I'm lying. To be further honest...I don't even know if she knows what a bobcat is. I should also mention that Heather is blind as a bat without her glasses. I can't confirm whether her glasses were on her face, was she cleaning them, were they up on the brow?

She tells me it was a fox with no tail. How many foxes (is that right for plural or is it foxii?) have you ever seen with no tail? Now finding an image of a tail-less fox was difficult (cuz there aren't many!!) but I found this one. It looks nothing like what I saw run in front of the Vanagon. It was not beefy like this one and it looked a bit run down. A second later I find out that all along, she's been looking at the floor/carpet near the shifter and she asks if that's a squashed bee. I say yeah...cuz I killed it the other day before he almost stung my foot. Then it dawns on me....she saw the animal for far less time than I did!!!! I think it's safe to say that I did, in fact, see a tired, wet, and hungry...perhaps sick...bobcat.



Bodhi is not afraid to lick peolple at all. In a severe drought, I could grab a bar of soap and save water. We've been letting him sleep in the bed with us for several weeks now and he's doing great with it. We're at the point now where the bedroom door stays open and he doesn't move all night except to growl at anything passing by the window. In the morning if he sees you open your eyes it's game on. When my defenses are down and I'm still groggy is when he likes to slip me the tongue. The other morning I joked that it was probably like waking up with Richard Dawson. It stuck and that's we've been calling him the last few days now. I think it's great cuz Richard Dawson was one of the OG's of mackin'. I always knew Bodhi was a Dick.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

stuff from today

Within 15 minutes of getting in the water, I got hooked by a #18 Sparkle Wing RSII. I hate those flies. It was Scott's and I netted his fish for him and was getting the fly unhooked from the net while he was unhooking the lead fly from the trout and he let go of the fish and it yanked the fly from my right hand and into my finger. I don't know that I've ever caught a trout on any type of RSII. I'm 97% certain it was an attempt to handicap me for the day. I fished with it in my finger for several hours until the first storm came in and then sat under a tree and cut all the material off the hook as well as the eye and then went to work on pushing it through and out. It was not to be. So I just got back from the Urgent Scare in town here and they got it out for me and gave me a lovely tetnis shot. You might ask why Scott can't net his own fish? Well apparently he was admiring all his fishing gear the other day and decided to spread it out all over the garage floor so he could get a good look at it. He dashed inside (probably for a Bud Light Lime) and his lovely wife ran over all his gear. His net is now a 2 piece. Sorry dude.

I've never seen Cheesman Canyon as green as it is right now. Beautiful day down in the canyon. Conditions were really tough. Flows were a bit over 700 and the water was a bit stained. We caught more browns than I'd normally expect in this section of the Platte. We saw some huge Rainbows all day and they were aggressively feeding but we could not figure out what they were interested in. I love to target feeding fish. I am not the guy who casts to water unless I see a fish feeding. I have no problem spending an hour on a fish as long as it's feeding...eventually I figure it out. I think today was the first time I've ever given up on a fish. I tried everything. I worked this trout for probably over 2 hours. Changing flies, adjusting the indicator, playing with weight. Sometimes I'd get a nice look and a follow but never a take. Throughout the day we ran across a dozen big bows that did the same thing. Always good to get out with my friend Scott though.

This is what it looks like to drive the Van.

Scott working picky Rainbow's.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just got done with a hundred miler and I feel good. I only had to deal with a little bit of rain and lightning. Awesome day. I'm gonna go grab some ice cream and eat it in bed now.

Meeting up with my buddy Scott to go chase big trout tomorrow ALL DAY long. That's all I got.

Congrats to Matt Lee who won the Tour Divide and just missed his 2007 record by a few hours. Also...Kurt Refsnider, Jay and Tracey Petervary and Chris Plesko should also be done. Chris should have set a new record for singlespeed too. Way to go everyone!!! Super proud of you all.