Monday, May 31, 2010

A bit disgruntled

That describes my overall mood the last few days. I seem to be having what I guess I'll call some mental issues over here. I feel like I'm just going through the motions this year. I really want to complete the race this year but I wish I could be doing something different. I have a ride to Banff if I want it for the start but I can't, in good conscience, do that. I feel like I should have completed this thing already...if I really wanted to. The last 2 years I've had no trouble visualizing tough moments on long climbs or hours of pain and discomfort and pushing through them in my head. I've having a hard time seeing it this year. I imagined the absolute worst I've ever had to deal with while on a bike and failed. I can't really imagine anything harder than what I've already seen and that is disconcerting to me. For the first time in a LONG time I am questioning how tough I really am.


The other day I got a new down vest from Eddie Bauer. It's from their First Ascent line. I really like that stuff. Very well thought out. Well when I got home I noticed that the vest was cut slightly differently than the coat I have. It's a little toit. So I went down there yesterday to try on a bigger one but it was way too big. So...I'm sticking with what I have. I think it's gonna be really nice during the race this year.

Moving on....I'm extremely particular about shoes and socks. I'm good to go in the shoe department but am still looking for really nice, BLACK (black is my favorite color) socks. Pearl Izumi had some that I'm sure would have worked but they are out of my size. Seeing as how I like the First Ascent stuff so much I thought I'd check out their socks while we were there. Low and behold they had FA socks in black. But...the final test is that I absolutely have to try them on. I asked (extremely nicely and with the magic word) if I could try on the socks. This same woman helped me out with the vest and was actually pushing me to get the next size bigger but then I explained what I was using it for and that I thought I'd actually be warmer and better off with the slightly smaller size. So...she knew what I was shopping for. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Ma'am...can I please try these on?

Her: Let me see if I have some over in shoes that are already open. (Completely understandable I thought).

Me: OK

Her: Well we don't have any but I'll (remove the little plastic "t" tag that keeps them together).

Me: (Well hell...I was gonna do that on my own.) OK...thank you.

Her: Here you go.

Me: Super (as I kick off one flip flop and look for a place to park my happy ass).

Her: Whoa....what are you doing?

Me: What? I'm puttin' on these socks.

Her: You can put your hands in them and feel the fabric.

Me: I can rub em on my bald head and feel the fabric but I'm gonna be pedaling with my feet.

Her: We can't allow that.

Me: I can get a good look at a T bone steak by sticking my head up a bull's ass too but I'd rather take my butchers word for it.


Heather: (who just walked upon the scene) Can I try on these shorts please?

Me: They don't allow that but you CAN slip your arms through them and then bury your face in the crotch and get a good feel for how they're gonna work out.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pretty cool gate to someone's property.

Road this kinda stuff for several hours.

A really cool Sportsmobile van out by West Creek. I would love one of these.

Water is amazing.

I headed out today for the biggest ride I've done in a while. It ended up being right at 60 miles with about 5000' of elevation. I ended up being out for about 5 hours which is a bit faster than I thought I'd go. I felt good for the first 40 and then kinda came unglued for the last 20. Gorgeous day out but the wind was INSANE again. I did take quite a few pics they are.
This was probably close to the midway point after a loop up on Rampart Range. Since it's the holiday weekend every Tom, Dick and Harry are up from the Springs camping, shooting, drinking, and generally acting like a jackass. This was right near Manitou Lake.

I did NOT bring a fishing rod today but passed several nice looking beaver ponds.

This always bums me out. The pictures don't show much but this is where loads of people come to get their gun off. Shooting guns can actually be a good time but why is it that people don't pick up their brass, those stupid clay pigeons, and those paper targets?? It baffles me as much as when smokers throw their butt out the friggin' window!!

The great outdoors.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A few thangs....

This is what some have used in the past and I decided to go with for my new GPS. I took a handlebar mount and took it apart and then used the top half. I drilled some holes in it and then filed the bottom of it to fit the contour of the top of the stem. I then used zip-ties to attach it to the stem. I also used some rubber padding that I used on all the drawers of my tool chest to give the zip-ties something to bite in to. The mount is pretty reliable but sometimes the GPS will come off in harsh terrain. You can either use another zip-tie to hold the unit to the mount or do what Marshal suggested last night when we rode together which is what I have now done. This consists of installing the lanyard to the unit and then wrapping it around the bottom of the unit and then hooking it on the quick release tab. It's not coming off unless I want it to.

My OCD does not allow me to sit and stare at an asymmetrical cockpit. This is pleasing since everything is centered.

There was a box sitting on the porch when I got home today. MC got my wheels all built up and they turned out great.

The rear hub is obnoxiously loud and that's just the way I like it.

I can't wait to ride on these things but it's gonna be a bit longer before I do.

In other news....SCHOOL'S OUT!!!!!!!!! Riding should pick up now. I've got a 60 mile off-road ride planned for tomorrow and I'm pretty excited about that. Should be fun. This may come as a surprise but I am a big UFC fan and tomorrow night we'll be watching UFC 114 with Jackson vs. Evans as the main event. I like Jackson a lot and HATED Evans when he was on the Ultimate Fighter show but....I gotta say....that guy continues to impress me. He's had a pretty tough camp up in Denver and he looks good. These guys hate each other. Should be a good fight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I took my Carousel front bag and decided to add a pocket on the front of it. I really hate having stuff haphazardly mounted to the bars and the SPOT has always bothered me with it's location. So I went down to the fabric store and got some supplies and then started in on it. About 30 minutes later I had given up. So...I asked my wonderful co-worker Evelyn if she would help me and she did. She took the stuff home and used her machine to make the pocket. The next day I spent hours hand sewing it on to the bag. The stitches aren't gonna win me any ribbons at the county fair but I think it's gonna hold. When I was done, Evelyn looked at it and said, "You sewed the pocket on backwards." Sure enough...all of the beautiful taping she had put on was now on the inside of the pocket. I'm not quitting my day job.

I also found this on the door step when I got home today. I'm pretty excited about this. I can spend hours looking at maps and this is even better. I am using software called Topofusion that Scott Morris created. Scott is an active bikepacker himself and really knows what features are necessary. I've just been playing around with things for a few hours tonight but I think it's really gonna make riding/exploring fun this summer. You can check out his stuff at

Ladies and gentlemen...

I present to you.....the forbidden fruit in my lunch.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Road ID

I spend a lot of time riding in some pretty remote places and decided to get one of these. It seems like a good idea. I opted for the dog tag styled one. There's quite a bit of freedom in terms of what can be on the tag. I opted for Heather's name and number as well as 2 close friends. Hopefully I wont have to ever use it but it's just more piece of mind for Heather when I'm out there. The only reason I'm posting about this is because I just received a coupon code and was told that I could post it for others to use. It's only good for $1 off but every little bit helps. The code is: ThanksChris758717

Their site is just

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More wind was on the order for today. I headed out at 0900 and felt good. Everything was cool (other than the rednecks in the tampon white PT Cruiser that kept passing me and shouting and then pulling over 100 yards later to repeat). I was up at Rampart Reservoir and on the trail in 40 minutes. I could have sworn this ride (from door to door) took 4 hours last year but this time I was just under 3 and I really didn't ride that hard. I don't know what to think. It's probably likely that my memory of the time is off. I'm sorry to say that I saw zero bears today but I did see some knucklehead with his helmet on backwards. He was coming the other way and as we passed, he said, "Hey dude!!!!!!!" I wasn't sure what to say...until I saw his friend coming. Then I said, "Dude.....pull it together and tell your friend he looks like a rookie biatch."

After I got home, I was freezing. I laid on the couch with 2 warm puppies in fleece pants (me....not them), and a hoodie (with the hood up) and under a blanky and fell asleep. Heather woke me up at 2 and I got up and put on some coffee and then threw my gear in the Jeep to go and meet Scott (who had done an overnighter up near Wellington Lake last night with a group of misfits that apparently got rowdy enough to justify other campers getting out of their sleeping bags at midnight to tell him to STFU). Cheesman Canyon was beautiful today. I was happy to get another work out in with the difficult hike in and out. I did not do much fishing but I did do a lot of sitting and watching Scott fish. We also talked quite a bit and that was nice. Eventually we got back to the vehicles and had some really good Belgian beer and that was really nice.

This is our last week of school and I'm pretty excited to be done. It's been a good year in terms of the time I've spent with my students (who are wonderful) and my teacher assistant (although they call them para-professionals out here) who is one of the best I've ever had. get no pictures today. I forgot the camera....twice.

Enjoy your week everyone.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pictures never do justice

I spent several hours riding this kind of stuff today on my road bike. Stupid steep. My mountain bike was dirty and I hate to ride on a dirty bike so I took the Cannondale out today. The winds were gusting anywhere from 25-50mph today so there was good times for sure. A while ago I was kinda worried about August but things are turning around now and I know I'll be ready. If not this time then....never.

Tomorrow I'm gonna head out for 4-5 hours on the mountain bike and some singletrack before hooking up with Scott near Deckers for some fishing and beers in the late afternoon. Hoping to see some bears in the woods on my ride. I know some of them are out because a few of the morons down the street put their trash out the night before and it was all over the street this week (they should be given a citation but that's an entirely different rant). Last year when I did this loop I saw a gorgeous blonde bear that was probably only 1.5 years old. I had taken a snack break and was sitting there when I looked over and saw it ambling straight towards me. I let it get about 20 yards from me before I stood up and that was all it took. Gone in a flash.

In other news....gear is still not here but next week should be like Christmas.

It's always a good thing...

when someone takes a Chevy Blazer and puts big rims on it but it's even better when they get some custom work done in vinyl that includes the "bow tie". What you don't see in this picture is the elaborate green dragon that was airbrushed down the entire side of the vehicle. Totally and completely bad ass.

It's generally not a good thing....

when the person making your samich fails to catch one of the pieces of paper in between the cold cuts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not too much to report on up here. Finals start for my students next week and they are starting to come unglued. As much as they SAY they hate school, most of my students really like the consistency and structure and kind of get worried about what summer will bring. The weather is supposed to be really nice this weekend so I'm looking forward to getting out for some nice and easy rides. This weekend will make two solid weeks of good riding and I feel so much better now.

I wonder when some of my new gear is going to start showing up?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Colorado public education

I'm not really sure where to begin. Most of you know I tend to stay away from work related posts here but this time I'm doing it. Colorado just passed Senate Bill 10-191 and this is going to have some major repercussions (negative in my mind) on the educational system. This bill essentially establishes a state wide system of merit pay for teachers. For those that don't know, "merit pay" is when teachers are evaluated based upon their students success. Specifically, we are talking about annual yearly progress (AYP) on the state assesment. This bill will make it so that even teachers who are tenured can be let go if their students don't show AYP for two consecutive years. Certainly there should be some yardstick by which we measure student achievement but I do not believe that state tests are the right one. I hate to be "that guy" who complains about something while not having a better solution but.....I guess I am.

There are so many factors that contribute to student success other than what occurs in the classroom. Did the child eat breakfast? What did they eat? Did they stay in a house that had a functional heater? Do they have clean clothes? Are they being physically or sexually abused at home? Are they in good health? Are they loved? Do they have any feeling of self-worth at all? Obviously I could go on but I think you get the point. Let's take one of the simpler problems from above: Did the child eat breakfast? If they didn't then there's no way in hell they're going to focus on their work. They're going to miss the point of the instruction and then fall behind. My first priority is to deal with the things that are causing the student to NOT be able to focus in the classroom. This is why I have a fridge and microwave in my room and a cabinet full of food and drinks (which I don't get reimbursed for and, frankly, don't expect to) because too many damn students come to school unprepared to learn. And that's a simple one to deal with. The child that's crying because mom was strung out the night before (and there's no services to support that child even when a teacher does their job and contacts the department of social services) is a little harder to deal with (please keep in mind that I am talking about my experiences as a teacher in Colorado only).

I'm not sure where this leaves me other than very disappointed and worried. Never before have I questioned what I decided to get myself into than since I began teaching here. Quite honestly, it scares the shit out of me. I can already see entire school days being re-structured around the all-mighty state assessment. No more birthday celebrations in home room, crossing guard duties or things that make school a tolerable place to be for adolescents that don't have shit else to look forward to because some genius in the government added up the numbers and found out that my rewarding a student that showed up to class 80% of the time by shooting hoops with him/her once a week (which may be the ONLY reason they are even at school to begin with) takes away from the time they could be studying concepts that they will see again in March on the state test. When students lose interest entirely in school (certainly it wont be a large number but it will be more than it is now) how much better off will society be? It's all good though...out here we'll just build more prisons to hosue those individuals. Do you know how some states calculate the number of beds to have in their prison systems? By looking at the results of elementary state assessment scores.

Perhaps what we should do is apply this to other professions? Maybe doctors should operate under similar guidelines? Wait a minute.....that wouldn't work so well for cancer specialists now would it? Ok....maybe lawyers? Lawyers get paid according to their success rate. Maybe fire fighters? That'd be good stuff there. Way to go Colorado. Must be that Rocky mountain high eh? Pissed off? You bet. I LOVE teaching and feel that it's the most opportune way for me to make a difference in this world. Worried about whether or not I can continue to do so? You bet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Let's keep this between you and me but I did order 2 things for my bike tonight. I'm not going to say what's coming but they're both gonna have to be made or built.

I wonder how much snow we're gonna get tonight?

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's gone

I really thought that the deal was gonna fall through today. I guess the guy was trying to get a loan and that's really hard to do on an older vehicle like the van. Then he was supposed to be here at 4 but didn't show until a bit before 6. I had removed the roof rack and when the guy got here he started in on me about wanting it too. So I ended up giving that to him. Of course this was after I had already given him a $100 Bentley repair manual. Oh well. I was a little sad to see Ron back out of the driveway with a new owner. He pulled away and the transmission ground into second....I went in and grabbed a cookie. Woulda been cool to do some stuff to but I just don't have the resources up here that would really make the job so much easier (i.e. the Corbitt brothers and Boogy). There's always another one out there. I think if I were to do it again...I'd buy a Westy with a blown motor and then go the Subaru route. Next time.

The new car will be fun. I love wagons and I've always wanted a Subaru. I like the fact that this one is not a turbo. I already know it's going to get a header and full exhaust. It's tough to beat the sound of that motor with a good exhaust. Plus with the exhaust, cold air intake, and a grounding kit that motor is will be right at 200hp and it'll be all stock stuff. Heather's gonna be thrilled.


This is how we roll up in the Dub P. Every day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I opened up the garage door when the first looker pulled up. As soon as I did it we both smiled and shook hands. We know each other but we didn't know we knew each other. I felt good when I looked at the end of the driveway and saw his A2 GTI. Chad also owns a 71 Westy. We swapped VW stories for a bit and then started taking a tour and a trip down memory lane. Eventually I started it up and he asked if he could drive it back to his house and show his wife. An hour later he was back and we started dancing. The windshield's cracked. Show me a car in Colorado that has no crack in the windshield. The front brakes need to be done. I know.....I told you that. I don't wanna drive on these tires cuz I wanna save them for the snow. The tires are on you dude. The windshield and brakes are legit and I'll work with ya. So he offers me 2600 and we settled on 2800. I'm very happy with it. We are supposed to finalize the deal on Monday. I'm happy that Ron Burgundy is going to a good home but......I am gonna miss him.

Random photos

Very rarely do I catch this view. I will not be having any prospective buyers out on the deck.

I did NOT stage this picture.

This is just before my ride today at 11 o'clock. I made it out the door and about a quarter mile down the road before I noticed the strange hop in my rear wheel. Being keenly aware and realizing that something was amuck, I glance down to there and saw what appeared to be a small portion of a tub protruding from betweenst the tire and the rim. Luckily I was able to get off the bike, get a glove off, and get the air out of it before any sort of explosion. Then I had to come back home and fix it.

Eventually I was able to make my way down the mountain to Colorado Springs. My plan was to head east until I hit 25 or so miles and then head back up the mountain. While riding through Old Colorado City, I rode up on a group of three riders. One of the guys was wearing a full USA cycling outfit (I refuse to say that other term). I dangled about 50 yards off these guys for a while and could not help but notice that Captain America had the absolute worst form I've ever seen. Knees kicked outwards, body rockin from side to side and up and down and all around on the flat roads more than a pro tour rider on the last HC climb of the day. I'm gonna guess that the uniform was purchased. I'm gonna HOPE that the uniform was purchased.

I now have 2 dudes that want to come look at the van today so that's wonderful.

It's May?

As I laid in the futon last night trying to get to sleep (no...I am not in trouble...Heather has been sick all week and I can't sleep at all with the coughing and sniffling) I thought about bicycles a bit right after I got done thinking about large fish. Last year at this time I had a ton of miles in. This year....not so much. I appear to be having a little difficulty getting motivated right now. The Alma is covered in mud from the last overnighter I did with Marshal. I should probably do something about that. I didn't think it was possible but the wind this year appears to be even more robust than last year (and I typed that as the plastic Adirondack chairs slid across the deck). The cold weather is certainly not helping me either (light snow yesterday morning). I am so sick of having to suit up in knee warmers and fleece, and a hat just to get a ride in. I want to race in August and it's definitely not that I'm taking things lightly or any sign of a lack of respect. Perhaps I'm a little disgruntled that this is attempt #3 with no finish to show for it (but certainly many many fond memories and an entirely new outlook on life which is probably more important but still...a horse pill for a competitive guy to swallow). This will be the last one I think (for several reasons). I actually know what the reason is but don't wanna talk about it (for fear that it will create some drama for Heather and me). It's nothing like marital problems (we're doing wonderfully aside from the coughing and futon). I'm sure some of you have an idear and others will know when we get together for beers in about a month when we roll into the STL.

In other news I drove the van out to 11 Mile Reservoir last night and threw some big spoons but I still think it's a bit early for the large Pike to be coming in to the shallows. I spent a good amount of time sitting in the van with the sliding door open and watching the sun go down over the Divide (brings back good memories with a guide buddy of mine named Jack...a crazy dude who actually attended culinary school and served as the chef for the Grateful Dead while they were on the road). Jack's got stories and they are good. I drove over to the lower spillway on the Dream Stream and there was not 1 vehicle in the lot. Pretty rare. It was good to drive the Vanagon......again. A lifter had bled down from sitting over the winter and was making an awful racket. The drive was just what it needed to get pumped up again and now it's quiet. I've had at least 20 inquiries on the van and one guy from Cascade (which is just 8 miles or so down the mountain) wants to come check it out tonight so that's pretty cool. He's got a 71 Westy as well. He sounds like a cool guy. I want someone nice to get Ron B.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

16 days left

Until summer vacation and now that I'm at the high school, some of those last days are half days for finals. Definitely in the home stretch now and, while that's a good thing, the population of students that I work with tend to start to come unglued toward the end or towards long breaks like Thanksgiving. They're generally labeled "problematic" but they really do want that structure as much as they buck. I think for many of them, they begin to realize that they are not going to be in their safe place for 2.5 months and that's scary for them. Even when they're a pain they're such good students and I'm lucky to work with them.

I wonder when someone will buy my van? Within the first 5 minutes of it being online in 2 places I had 4 inquiries and an offer of 2 grand cash from a local guy who said that I was way over priced. I just saw a guy selling an 89 Carat model and although it did have a turbo diesel conversion, he was asking 24,000 for it. The Vanagons are weird because they have such a perceived value. I really don't think I'm asking too much but we'll see. Today I had an offer of 2250 for it from a guy in Seattle that just wanted to have a courier come and flat bed it. I turned him down too. I started it up last night and the motor was making a strange noise. I'm fairly certain that it's a lifter that bled down from sitting all winter long. Hopefully it'll pump up and quiet down when I take it for a drive, possibly over to a reservoir tomorrow night, to fish.

I also wonder if I'll catch a trophy Pike tomorrow night?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Back and forth

I really hate trying to get motivated for a task at hand when I'm spending a portion of my time thinking about something else. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Tour Divide. I've also been thinking an awful lot about big ass Pike too. The romantic side of me would love to have a unique bike to do something that special on. Sometimes I think I chose the wrong career. My old Vanagon puts a smile on my face even when it leaves me stranded. Deep down I know money can't buy hapiness. While Colorado is beautiful, the relocation here was stressful and continues to present challenges, professionally speaking, that end up with both of us plotting a way to get back home soon. Oh...I should mention that, unike the last time I talked about cool frames, I am not on Vicodin. Anyways...I don't NEED a unique and certainly not a custom frame for something like TD but it would increase the cool factor. Today I got a really nice email from Dave over at Victoria cycles. The more I look at his art, the more excited I get about something as epic as TD. I know it's a long way off and I worry that not giving the CTR the respect and time it deserves will potentially haunt me later on but it's hard.

This is a 650 bike that was recently featured in the new Moutnain Flyer. I have not seen this magazine back in the midwest (except for the one that's on the toilet tank back at that one bike shop in Chesterfield). Do yourself a favor and go to their site at and check it out. It's different. This frame is a lot like the baby blue one I originally took a liking too.

The dropouts are horizontal on this one but they're unique and still look the mutts nutts.

Heather likes this bike but I was more interested in the lug work. The wooden fenders aren't ugly either.

This is another one that I keep going back to since I first saw it a few weeks ago. This was on display at the San Diego Bike Show but I had no idea it was a 650 bike. I love my 29er and don't know that I'd really consider checking out a 650. Probably be cool to ride and feel the difference though. This would be a really fun bike in either SS or fixed form for a coffee shop/pub crawl bike. I actually like the curved seat stays here but the larger area on the blue or maroon bike is more practical for an Epic Designs bag.
I know I could probably call any frame builder and get exactly what I want but, for me, there's an immediate draw to this company.

Round 2

Today I went back to the dentist for Round 2 of the root canal. Within minutes of having the gas turned on, it felt like an old friend was back. Today I had to go with Dark Side of the Moon. I was in a damn good spot when The Great Gig in the Sky was playing and Clare Torry started belting out her lyrics. I was a little disappointed that there was no home remodeling show or any tv on today for that matter.

As I sat there in the chair breathing in the goodness I began to think about funny things. For some reason I made a connection between dating (and with going to the dentist. I'm not going to go into details here cuz this is a family site but I started laughing. Picture me with the gas mask on, this dental dam in place, instruments hanging out of my mouth giggling slightly while thinking about things and looking at myself in the reflection of the powered down tv. All the while the dental assistant is in the room and I DO NOT want her to notice and then ask me what's so funny. I thought of one good joke and thought, "Man...I gotta remember that." Then minutes later...another one. And another one. Soon I was wishing I had my Blackberry so I could jot these things down as I knew I'd forget them. Then I figured even if I did have it with me, the notes would only look like...fjdhdfrerjfdjdjbvvdfjdl.

Then for a split second I actually had the mental fortitude to think, "Wait...I wonder if this is like when you're drunk and you think something is so funny but sober people around you are only annoyed by your antics." So now I'm not even sure if it's worth sharing but I had fun anyways. Root canal is done and now all I need is a crown.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beautiful day to be out on the water. I don't normally fish much still water but every now and then I get a hankering to do so. Today was one of those days. Spring Pike fishing can be pretty good and each year I don't go. A student at school lives on the dam for one of the reservoirs. 2 weeks ago he landed an 18 pound Northern that taped at 36". I actually have a picture of it but I can't post that. Believe me when I say it was impressive. So today I went out to pursue the Northerns. Some of the coves still have some ice in them. I'm a little early. The females probably won't be moving into these coves for another week or two but that 's fine. It was good to get out and scout some things.

I didn't catch any Pike today but I did catch 8 rainbows. They got bigger as the day went on but even the biggest one wasn't anything to write home about. The most exciting part of the day was when I force fed a common Carp in the ass with a big Husky Jerk. Thankfully I didn't get him that bad and he shook it off a few minutes later. He did make the drag scream though. The scale that was left on the hook was the size of a quarter. I'll go back out there again next weekend and see how things are going.