Sunday, February 28, 2010


A lot of endurance racers can be secretive about their setup. I gasp when I think back to what I used to have over in the "necessary" pile compared to what's there now. Since a lot of people aren't willing to lay out there pile of gear and take a picture, you have to get good at getting information from gleening over pictures or asking round about questions.

I stole these pics from Jay Petervary's blog. He and his wife are somewhere along the trail in Alaska right now. Hopefully warm, full and safe. Jay's pretty methodical about his gear and he's always been very nice about answering my questions. Obviously, the Ultra Sport is another beast entirely and just the foot gear alone proves that. Jay uses the Lake winter shoe, with a full neoprene bootie and some creative insulation down inside a gaiter. Below you can see that he screws the gaiter to the bottom of the shoe and also uses liberal amounts of seam sealer before letting it all set up.

He says they're a total pain to get into but worth the effort and completely waterproof.

Cold feet out there could easily mean death.

One day after I finish up some other stuff I'd like to think I could line up for that but I bet training for it in St. Louis would require some creativity.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alaska Ultra Sport

This starts tomorrow at 2. Racers have the option of either 350 or 1100 miles. Good luck to all 50 entrants. This one's not as easy to follow as they don't allow SPOT's but you can check the leaderboard and it should be updated twice each day.


Some people suggested that I sell my beloved Orbea and get a new bike this year but I really like that frame a lot. So...I decided to start getting in parts for it slowly. I'll ride it like it is now and then rebuild it about a month before the start. Since I'm not really getting the homey hook up right now I'm forced to scour for deals. I did good with these. I'm still debating on some of the parts but most know that I am a Shimano guy. I've been told that these will work better than my current XT's which have been a real headache. These sure feel good. The rear one looks the same so just imagine 2 of them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We've been lucky to be able to see the end of the driveway most of this week because of all of the clouds. We got a decent storm last night that gave us our second 2 hour delay of the week. After a nice little nap after school tonight, I woke up to some really nice views of the Peak. This is from the end of our street.

This is taken from the deck. I've often thought about going out at night and taking a few swings at each of these trees and increasing the resale value of my home by several thousand dollars each. This view doesn't get old for me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I am so unbelievably bored. I have shoveled my driveway and my neighbors as well as moved some stuff around in the garage. Since I have the time today, I decided to go through some gear. I was really happy with things last year but I know I can go without a lot of it. This is my sleeping kit for this year. The bivy itself went from about 26 oz. down to about 7 oz. I'm using the same sleeping bag. Last year I used a portion of a yoga mat as a pad/insulator but it was really heavy for it's size and took up a ton of space. This year I am using an 1/8" closed cell foam pad that I trimmed down. It's gotta be right at 1 oz. The entire shabang shouldn't be any more than 2 lbs. I'll weight the bag this week to see.

I'm having Mike Curiak build my wheels this year. He's riding in Alaska right now but should be back soon and then he'll start on them. I'm slowly starting to stockpile the parts that will go on the bike but I won't swap it all out until July 1. Hopefully this stuff will hold up to another half a summer of abuse.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I have not been able to see the neighbors house ALL DAY LONG! No real snow to speak of (although it just started snowing some big ass flakes). Loads of clouds. I'd take a picture but it would just be white. I slept on the couch until well after noon. One of the downsides of living in a small town (or at least this one) is that there's not many options for restaurants. We'd love to get out of the house right now. What I really want is a bison burger from the Trainwreck in Brentwood, MO. That used to be a Sunday thing for Heather and I. They have the best seasoned fries ever!! Wash it all down with a coupla Fat Tire Ales and forget about it.


Today I was hoping to go on a hike with Bodhi to find a section of Gold medal water that I've been close to a few times but have never officially found. GPS coordinates indicate that I was probably within 30 minutes last time. It's currently snowing right now and supposed to do so for the next few days.

Instead, I'm watching a show on flyfishing. These guys are down in Chile and they're staying on a boat that qualifies as a yacht and a half. Each day a chopper takes them to water that may or may not have ever been fished. They just fished a river with only chopper access and in order to get the inflatable rafts to that area, the chopper flies them and the guides in early to air up the boats and prep for the day while these dudes eat a continental friggin' breakfast and then get brought in after a third cup of coffee. Whether they fished rivers or still water, there was no shortage of big browns in that 23-25 range.

Wonderful. The next show just started and they'll be using float planes to access remote water in the Yukon Territory and targeting lake trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike in the "oh shit" size range.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've been looking at these. I think I wanna go from damn near the biggest vehicle I can find to one of the smaller ones. I think I'm spoiled now. There's not much else out there that I can store whole fly rods in, multiple bikes, bins full of gear, and still walk around in and take a snoozer. Can anyone talk about the reliability of these or the repair costs? I 've also been looking at some other stuff but....I don't know much about these.

I managed to put off editing part of my thesis until this morning. It didn't take me as long as I thought it would. So to reward my efforts, I decided to go to the river. I fished a section of the South Platte that I haven't been to in years although I drive right by it almost every time I head out. It's hard to not venture down into Cheesman Canyon or head to Spinney Ranch every time I go out but fishing different water makes you better.

This is a sweetheart of a run that I have not fished before. Super deep. I put on a 12' leader and dropped 2 flies off it and still wasn't even close. I really think that this river is one of the toughest to work on in the area. The flows can fluctuate a lot, the fish are smart and strong, and the food sources are soooo small. This river isn't about luck. You gotta know what you're doing. Today, I stayed within a 1/4 mile downstream of the Wigwam Club. This is a private stretch of water right as the river flows out of Cheesman. Like a lot of the private water around here, it's owned by groups of lawyers, doctors, and politicians. Word has it that Dick Cheney was choppered in to this club a few years back. They stock what's known as a Kamloops Rainbow. This is rainbow trout that hails from British Columbia.

These trout can get extremely big. In the above run, there were probably 30 of them stacked up in the bottom of the pool. Some of those were easily in that 20-22 range. There was a nasty little hydraulic on the left side that had most of those fish actually facing downstream and it made getting a good drift impossible. They're big for a reason. The only way I was able to get close was to climb down that rock face on the right side and, even then, casting was creative.

Hey....look what got me to the river AND back home today.

I love this river. It was very tough today. Bitter cold temps and fairly low flows. I managed to get into a few bows but not the ones I came out for.

I don't know what to say about this lazy sack of dog.

Together, the dog's take up a good chunk of real estate.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crazy Germans

I'm hoping that I have solved the issue with the van. Well...solved is probably not the right term. I've said it before...the fuel tank system on this thing is absurdly over engineered. The tank itself is composed of 2 halves so it essentially has a massive depression that runs from front to back right down the middle of the tank. Now the sending unit for the gauge is on the drivers half. The supply line exits the rear most corner of the tank on the passenger half and then the fuel line runs along the "frame rail". Essentially there's a tube welded into that corner and as it leaves the tank, fuel hose connects to it and then makes its way to the filter and then pump. Back on the inside of the tank, this same metal tube protrudes maybe 4" in. Then there is a rubber hose that's probably 10" that connects to that and then makes its way to the center of the tank to a pickup. I think that this hose is deteriorated enough that it's causing these issues when the fuel level is low. It's basically like trying to drink through a straw that is cracked in the middle. The bad news is that you'd have to be able to remove the sending unit from the tank and then get your hand in there (or the freakishly long hand of a 3 year old) to replace that section of hose. Not happening. I suppose I could find another tank but then you still have to hassle with dropping the tank. I've already done that once in this thing and it is not a fun time. I will probably just end up not letting it go below half a tank. Very frustrating indeed. This is the kind of stuff that I'm getting tired of dealing with. Even if I replaced the motor, I'd still have to mess with it.


Last year there was so much debate over what the route was going to be that it seemed like it took forever for a final decision to be made. This year I really didn't care much what the official route was. I had my own route in mind. I'm glad to see that the official route is exactly how I want to go. It's the same course as last year with one minor change that will take us off highway 285 just after Bailey. We'll be on a forest service road for about 5 more miles.

For a while now I've been lacking some motivation to ride but I'm pretty inspired right now. Just need some warmer temps since someone ate my gloves. I'll probably order up my new wheels next week. This year we will leave on Monday, August 2 at 0600. This will probably be the last time I line up for this event unless a good friend decides to give it a go one year and then I'd do it again. Those that have done this kind of stuff know just how hard it is and what the dark moments can look and feel like. Those same people also know how hard I am on myself and that there are times now when I think I pussed out TWICE. I considered lining up for a similar start in Banff a month and a half earlier but I think it would be a mistake and require me to come back to Waterton Canyon again at some point. For the most of the winter I have been trying to think of a way to raise the bar a bit for this year. I've settled on something. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thought this was cool

This is a family from Kentucky that is riding a 5 person tandem-like bike to Alaska. 7,000 miles with home schooling along the way. Pretty neat.


I used to be a coffee snob but because of the acid in the beans I can now only drink Folgers low acid. We're not gonna talk about it cuz it's a sore subject for me. I've said before that I would gladly give up beer if I could drink really good coffee all day/night long and not suffer the pain that I do. Because of this, I probably have become a bit of a beer snob in recent years. Those that know me know I do not like sweets but Red Velvet cake is my Kryptonite. For our wedding we did cupcakes instead of a big cake. We went to several tastings before we settled on a place up in Boulder that was in a league of their own. Everyone else either had cake that was too dry or the wrong type of icing (I like the butter cream style versus the more popular cream cheese based frosting). Anyway...the UPS man just stopped by and delivered these babies. Heather ordered them for me from Washington D.C. for Valentines Day.

Things are looking up

This is something new from the fine folks up in Fort Collins. It's extremely hoppy. Normally I don't like a beer with a ton of hops but it tastes pretty good.

I give up

It's been a brutal last few weeks at work and with school. Last night I decided I'd reward myself with some fishing this evening. I got home from work and made sure all my gear was ready. I even had a hot cup of coffee that was made specifically so I could enjoy it during the drive to the river. I had just put it in a cup holder. I started up the died right away. It did this several times. EXACTLY like before when it stranded me up in Denver. I'm completely over it. I'm actually pretty speechless right now. I was plotting how I can get away with setting it on fire but Heather thinks we'll get caught. I think this might be the most unreliable vehicle I've ever owned. The only positive in this is that it's in the friggin' driveway. At this point I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I'm not afraid to admit that I am a huge fan of Man Vs. Wild. Of all the shows that do the survival thing, I think Bear's is the best one. Clearly, he's head and shoulders above any asshat that brings a harmonica into the woods and sings the night away. Bear's much too busy eating animals (alive or dead) to be writing melodies. If you know where I can find a t shirt that says, "What would Bear do" I will ship you a handsome brown dog that is not full of poop.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting antsy

I love winter but I really think I'm catching a bit of cabin fever. We're getting snow right now and supposed to get more tomorrow and some cold temps this week. I had to write a part of my thesis this weekend and, while it wasn't too bad, it did mean that I was not able to get out for any fun. I've been watching some fishing tonight. Tarpon on the fly. Browns. Rainbows. I even watched a trio of ladies that were managing to get into some suckers up in Montana (by mistake of course but you couldn't tell by the way they were handling them). I'm itching to fish and not so much wanting to ride. While I can always chase the most beautiful fresh water fish known to mankind (the trout), it's gonna be a bit before the ice thaws on the reservoirs and the Northerns start getting nasty. My buddy Scott and I are also gonna try something a bit different this summer.

In other news...I got an invite to a party (by way of my buddy Scott) at his friends Robert's house. I've fished with Robert before but that's about it. Anywho...the invite says, "If anyone has the chance to sample the same game as this night will present ever again in your life, I will pay your mortgage for a month....make that a year." I believe Robert is from Belgium so there will be no shortage of find Belgian ales and likely plenty of Rhinocerous stew and Gazelle meatballs. I'm dead serious about that last part.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What a week!

I normally refrain from talking about work here as I just don't feel it's appropriate. All I'll say is WOWSERS. Heather and I were going to take off today and head over to Breck so we could check out the ice sculptures and enjoy a cold beer but it was not to be. Today was busier than a Monday for me. I damn near had to have a meeting to discuss the different meetings from today. I came home exhausted and crashed on the couch only to wake up to dog puke on the floor. Miraculously, I slept through the heaving. I just got done with with some grad school work and am getting ready to indulge in a cold beer and some Old and in the Way "That High Lonesome Sound" (thank you Rob for introducing me to that).

Gonna try to get out and do something fun tomorrow. With school winding down to the grand finale, I'm pretty drained. If it's warm I may go bouldering. If I do I'll try to get some pics up. Might just sit on the porch and stare at the mountains though.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Must be jam....

Cuz jelly just don't shake like that. Bodhi has the juiciest booty of any dog that I have ever seen. I think he could make it clap if he knew how. If you slap a cheek it does jiggle. We've actually had people comment on it while out walking. I used to think they were talking about my ass but then....I don't really have one unless my wallet's really loaded but....who we kiddin'?

Monday, February 1, 2010


I think that's the word I'm looking for. Sometimes I'm amazed at the simple things that we have that someone came up with and is now probably a millionaire because of. Beer koozies. Million dollar idea. I recently came across a guy in Seattle who is using old waders to make things like messenger bags and wallets but the coolest thing he makes is a beer koozie from the neoprene feet of old waders. Pure genius. I have one on the way and it should be here within the week. On a side note...printed on teh says...Recycled Waders...waders on the mend. You may not get that unless you're familiar with fly fishing but that's ok. It's an expression fo controlling your extra line.
Years ago on my way to work with troubled adolescents, I would drive past a concrete wall that frequently got spray painted by young hoodlums. The city would repaint and within a few days it was hit again. One morning I had a vision. I had an idea of a product that could be applied to such walls that would repel spray paint. I wanted to work with Dupont on this but didn't know how to go about it so anyone would stick it to me. Years later I finally figured out what steps needed to be taken. As I was researching I stumbled across a company in the UK that had started making an identical product. I coulda been retired on my yacht by now.
Here's a new idea: In light of my recent dog paw, corn chip, yeast thing...I think a trip down to the fine folks at the Bristol Brewery are in order. They make a beer...maybe you've heard of it? Laughing Lab? What about a new brew that uses the yeast extracted from dog paws to give it just a bit of flare? I think I'm on to something here. I can already see (and smell) it.

Laughing Lab...come get a whiff!

Bristol Brewery...can you smell what we got cookin'?

Laughing's the yeast that makes it a feast.

I must say...

I'm a bit disappointed in the response I've gotten about the dog paws and their odor. Come on people. I decided to look into it today a bit and have found my answer. It's yeast. Yes, yeast. Yeast can be good and...not so good. Good yeast can be found in our beloved beer. Apparently, bad yeast can be found buried down in some dogs paws. It's a fungus of sorts. A bacteria...that evidently...smells like corn chips on some occasions. I happen to like the smell. Obviously I don't give a damn who knows. I'll still smell them. I will not...attempt to brew any beer with them.