Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today my wife pretty much kicked me out of the house and told me to go for a ride. All I wanted to do was sleep. The nerve of her. For the first hour I think I was close to nodding off. For a while I considered bivying up somewhere in a nice field but I really did need to ride. So eventually I ended up here at Catamount Reservoir wishing I had at least a spinning rod.

Nice flowers.

You can just make out the switchbacks going up Pikes Peak to the left of center.

I was of no concern to this nice Buck.

I ended up riding about 2.5 hours today I guess. I felt really sluggish from all of the pain meds the last few days. I'm gonna try and get out tomorrow for a longer ride. Hoping I can make it through the night without taking any pain medication cuz it's really got me groggy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Matthew Lee on victory number 8 in the Tour Divide. It was a fast time but I don't know how it will stack up in terms of a new record as there are some pretty outrageous wildfires burning in New Mexico right now that required some last minute, mandatory detours to be put in place as the Forest Service had shut down much of the route in the area making it a non-official TD route.

Several days ago while eating in the town of Grants, New Mexico there was an interesting incident. A guy approached Matt's bike and began looking it over (which in and of itself isn't really that alarming as a lot of folks do that and then have questions for riders). This particular guy looked in the restaurant (separated from Matt by just a pane of glass, looked back at the bike, and then grabbed it and took off. Matt gave chase on foot but was not able to catch up. He made a phone call to someone (I believe Scott Morris who runs the leaderboard and is a GPS master). The SPOT unit was still in track mode and Scott relayed coordinates to Matt and within 25 minutes, the bike was retrieved and no harm was done.

This has been a stressful TD this year. You can hear the impact of the unfortunate passing of David Blumenthal in everyones voice when they call in. Some cry while others try their best to keep it together. You can watch in the videos done by the guys from and see some racers having to take a minute to recompose themselves during the interview.

The bikepacking community/family has lost an excellent man, father, husband, and advocate in Dave Blumenthal. Finishing an event like this is so hard. I can't imagine pushing on through all these added emotions and trying to make sense of it all along the way. Anyone man/woman who lines up for an event like this has my immediate respect.


Yesterday I went back in to have the other root canal done. I'm pretty sure I was given crack prior to them starting. I was conscious the entire time but I can't recall a damn thing. Whatever narcotic it was, it was GOOD. I remember the first injection and then telling the nurse to slow his roll cuz I didn't have anything cued up on the ipod. Apparently that wouldn't be an issue as some nice lady gently removed my eye glasses and took said ipod. I think I said something like, "Hey...." and then 2 hours later he brought me back, tossed me in a wheelchair and someone, I'm pretty sure it was Heather, drove home. I can't even tell you what the hell happened last night. I remember sitting in a chair for a bit trying to follow SPOT's for the Tour Divide and watch my friend Marshal being interviewed. That's it though.

Heather did mention that I was attempting to do what looked like text messaging when she came back out from the smoothie place. I can't find my phone right now but if you were a lucky recipient of such a text....I can only hope it was appropriate or that it wasn't even remotely comprehensible.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Yesterday's ride was about 3 hours. Nothing too crazy. Little bit of fire road and a little bit of trail. I did come across a young deer that was likely the victim of a mountain lion. Judging by the way things looked, it had to have happened sometime in the early morning hours. I didn't stick around too long.

I went through gear the other day and was a bit surprised at some of the weights. I won't go into weights yet because I want to pull everything back out and weigh each piece individually so I know how it all adds up and then I'll probably let the cat out of the bag. Bottom line is that the weight was not what stopped me last year and neither was gear. I think it's just more in my head right now that I think the bike feels heavy. I climb well over the passes as long as I stick to my game plan and don't get sucked into to anyone else's. However, with 60,000 feet of gain, I'm going to spend more time this month doing longer climbs. I headed over towards Deckers and parked at the Gill Trail. 126 climbs up pretty hard straight away from the lot and I thought it would be a good place to do some hill repeats. It's a tad over 4 miles to the top and 1,500' of gain. I got in 2 trips up in the sun and 2 in the rain. So that's about 32 miles (the downhills were really fun) and 6,000' of climbing. I'm tired.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shakedown run

I just got back from a little night ride on the new and improved Alma. I did not know it was possible to dig this bike any more than I already do. The frame has always been super. The new XT stuff is so crisp. The Noir cranks don't really feel any different than the XT's did but they sure aren't ugly. I love the new XT brakes (they feel super). The wheels are nice and stiff and I like the Hope hubs too. I am so eager to get out on a longer ride on the thing. Unfortunately, I think I'm in limbo again. Last night my temporary crown fell off while I was eating dinner. While there was no pain associated with it, it's still not good as I don't want to risk cracking what's left of my tooth. So my dentist got me in this afternoon so she could make another temporary one and put it on. I just need to be careful with it so that means watching my diet and making sure it's soft until the end of the week when the porcelain one gets done and I can eat some harder food or stuff that doesn't have a suction factor. I'm still set for the root canal on Monday afternoon. I imagine I wont be able to do an overnighter until next weekend which is really a bummer but I'd hate to get out somewhere and have an issue with my mouth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

May you rest in peace David

I have been absolutely speechless this evening. David Blumenthal died this morning in a Denver hospital after being evacuated via flight for life following an accident with a vehicle yesterday up near Steamboat Springs that left him with a significant head trauma. David was 37 and leaves behind his wife and 4 year old daughter. Pedal on David. Pedal on. I hope you saw some truly amazing things along the way.

Giving thanks

I finished it up today. HUGE thanks to Paul at Team Telecycle for his assistance in getting me some of this stuff and giving me the homey hook up and for also helping me trouble shoot a minor issue that was going on with the shadow rear derailleur. A while back I made a thoughtless comment about the shop. I was wrong and have no problem admitting it. Big thanks to my pal Marshal for pointing out my closed-mindedness. I've spent more time in there lately and I'm so glad to have the resource.

Pretty happy with how it turned out. Although it's a tad heavier than last year. It weighed in at 25 and change. We'll see where it's at with the final pack out before leaving. I did make a change in the sleeping setup. I'll be using the same bivy as last year. Clothing will be the same as well. No stove this year. I figure the gear aspect worked quite well last year so I didn't see any reason to change anything but my mindset (thanks to my friends Scott and TK for the words of motivation that they gave this week). I was going to run a super light emergency bivy but I woke up the other night at 4 in the morning and started thinking about rain and how lucky I've been thus far. With my usual bivy I can sleep through a hurricane and have no worries.

The gas tank bag from Epic Eric is gonna make life easier on my back. I'm really happy with how the handlebar setup turned out. I'm really picky about how things look and feel and this is very pleasing to my eye. At the last minute I decided to go with orange for the bar wrap. Kinda like it.

I'm going to have Paul rebuild the fork for me but, other than that, it's ready for it's first over nighter.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today I rode up and down the Pass until I hit 80 miles. My eyes were almost bleeding from the boredom at the end but I survived. I felt wonderful during the ride. 2 days ago I wasn't sure if I was gonna be ready but I think I'll be ok now.

If you'll recall from the other night...

I heard a critter in the dryer tube. So tonight Heather and I cruised down to have some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and upon walking into the house we noticed the stench of death. What am I Jack Hanna over here? I thought...what are the odds that this damn thing is in the dryer tube? Well he wasn't. I'm pretty speechless. I have no idea how he and his previous friend got in. Thankfully he didn't crawl his little self any further into the wall and he didn't make it into our new dryer. I just gave him a proper burial in the creek across the street. I'm sure the fox will find him to be delicious.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

South Park

I started my ride over in Hartsel today. The front runners in the Tour Divide should pass through here in the next day or two. I headed south towards Canon City and then decided to swing over to Guffey. Not much in Guffey but there was a nice little cafe that had all kindsa baked goods. Too bad I did not have my credit card with me. I got in 80 miles in 5 hours and feel pretty good.

This is heading back towards Hartsel. I was hoping to see some new stuff and get away from some of the climbing around here but...I climbed. Somewhere in this pic Boreas Pass looms in the snowcapped areas. The racers will go over that as they leave Breckenridge.

I ran into an interesting older gentlemen today. This was his ride. He started in the first part of May on the east coast and is headed to Oregon. He was super nice. He's raising money for Vetdogs. This is an organization that provides service dogs to assist wounded veterans.

This is headed towards Cripple Creek and it's Casinos on the way out.

Saw lots of deer and antelope today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nothing too crazy going on up here. This is supposed to be a pretty hard week on the bike for me. I slept outside last night and now despite the fact that I was warm (although it was a warm evening at 45 last night) I may change the line up a tad with regard to the sleeping system. I'll need to do a few more tests. Dharma knows what's up when I head out to bed in the front lawn but Bodhi didn't know what to think and he was up all night pacing. So Heather says no more sleeping in the yard. He does fine when he knows I'm really gone so I guess I'll have to ride somewhere to do my tests.

I came in the house at about 5 a.m. to sleep for a few hours in the bed and as soon as I went to stand up I pulled my neck. Things are not going well this year. I immediately started with the heat and ice on it and gentle stretching and by about noon it was much better so I decided to head out. I was out for about 5 hours and it started to loosen up after about an hour but was still tender. The good news is that my legs finally felt good again. As soon as we got back from Missouri they felt horrible but I think it's the infection in my mouth. I go back to get that taken care of Monday so hopefully things will be ok until then.

Today my wife and I have officially been married 2 whole years. Woo hoo!!

In other news I have lost 15 pounds!!! Normally this time of year I am eating half a gallon of ice cream every 2 days but my tooth os damn cold sensitive that I can't. I'm down to 163 even after dinner. I'm gonna have some serious ground to make up for once this tooth is taken care of. I was hoping to go in a bit heavy this year but it's not looking good right now for this string bean.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I'm having some problems with my bike lately. I run a SRAM chain after breaking a Shimano chain last year and I thought it was what was making a bunch of creaking racket I figured out that it is the freehub. I've not been real happy with the WTB hubs. That's the second freehub and I don't know how many sets of bearings. So...I decided to start rebuilding the Alma tonight. This is how it sits right now. I see some guys take all kinds of pictures with Spike Lee angles but I figure...we all know what XT stuff looks like. It's pretty much an XT build with the exception of the wheels that I had Mr. Curiak build up and the NOIR cranks. I like it a lot. My LBS has a chain coming for me and some more Cinelli tape so I can wrap the grips again (although it doesn't matter much anymore...I can't feel my left middle, ring and pinky fingers after 3 hours anyway). Psyched to get it done. Still LOVE this frame. I'd like to have something new but I like this thing too much.

The critters and hikers should be able to hear me from at least 1/2 mile away this year with these hubs that Mike used.

Perhaps a better shot of Eric's handy work and the ass end of the Subaru.

Dental Snafu

Go figure. I had another dental snafu. I get to my appoint at 1 at my doctors second office. Holy crap was it nice. The bathroom was nothing shy of exquisite. I left my phone in the waiting room so I don't have a pic of the joint but I'll get one along with the rest of the office. Let me just talk about the toilet for a second. OK...since it IS a public RR, I don't touch the vital equipment at all. I mean...I touch mine but not the fixtures. So I do my normal move where I lift the lid with the side of my shoe. Nothing new there. I do my thang. I'm not a redneck...I DO put the lid back down out of respect for the ladies. This is when things got interesting. Sometimes the lid slips off the side of the shoe during "the move" and it ends up slamming down. I felt some sort of odd resistance. After a few seconds of standing on one foot while trying to avoid the dreaded slam, I realized that the lid had some sort of spring assistance in it. Super hot. So then I lift it back up and go to let it slam. No worries. Just a gradual closure. I wanted to do it again but I thought THAT might be weird. So back to the waiting room.

My name is called and we go through all the necessary banter but avoid the fact that I am angry as hell that I gotta be here at all despite the toilet situation. Finally I'm like, "Dude...I got Dark Side of the Moon cued up over here can we just get to the gas?" Then it comes. I get the mask on and the nice lady starts in with the warnings and I'm thinking, "Look....just put it on full flow and beat it already." Five minutes later and David Gilmour still sounds well......the same. What the hell is going on? Then I start to panic. They spent so much money on the bathroom and the slate floors and now they're not gonna give me the good shit. Sub-par effin gas. She fiddles with the machine to appease me and sucking in air like a finely tuned supercharger. Nothing!! No glorious state of intoxication. I know somethings wrong b/c I'm not thinking of any sexual jokes or the other stuff that made me giggle like a school girl the last time. She asks if I'm feeling the effects of the gas yet and I say, "Hell no! Turn that shit up!" Then she tells me that it's on the highest setting. Ruh roh. I'd have taken a piss in a Johnny on the Spot if it meant I'd get the good stuff. The doctor comes in and it's a different doctor than I had last time which I'm also a bit put off by because he had a perm that was kinda Ron Jeremy-esque. Whatever dude.

So this guy starts in with the introductions. and what not and then tells me he's gonna start with the shots. Whoa there haws. I'm not in the zone yet. First we gotta get this gas things sorted. So he comes at me with the needle and the guy is literally forcing my mouth open and then I feel the first ones go in and they hurt like hell. I remember kicking the chair and almost ripping the handles off. 6 shots later and he says he'll be back. He comes back and does some tests to see how things are going and I almost hit him and the ceiling when I still feel things. More shots. We do this dance for the next half hour.

At one point I have the liquid drug they inject into your mouth running down my cheek b/c I guess my mouth wont hold any more. This guys changing cartridges like a damn sniper. Now I'm pissed off because it still hurts just as bad as the first. In the end this guy gives up and tells me that he's tried 4 different drug types, given me about 20 shots and that a full grown elephant would now be down for the count. He can't do the root canal. I still feel everything. I flinched just as bad on the last shot as the first.

So...we have to re-schedule so that they can put me under with an IV sedation and do their thing. Root canals are spendy enough. This extra sedation is gonna cost me about 600 clams and I'm not happy about that. When they told me this I asked if they could just do it anyway and I'd just squeeze really hard or go get a fifth of Jack Daniels. They weren't having it.

The good news for you all is that you're gonna get to see that bathroom and the toilet seat. I may even go so far as to shoot a video of the lid. I know.....who loves ya? Bad news is I gotta wait a bit over a week to get this done and I think the infection is really messing with me. I can't eat, sleep sometimes, and riding is just ridiculously hard.

Epic Designs

This morning I got my new gas tank bag from Eric. If you're looking for custom bags, look no further than Epic Designs Alaska. Eric was a pleasure to work with. I sent him the loot and told him what I was looking for. He told me about how far out he was and he was spot on. The bag showed up as discussed. He really turns out nice stuff.

I'll use this bag to hold bars, GU, and the kind of stuff I need to access quickly. It'll be nice to get that weight off my back as it adds up quickly. I'm a bit worried to see what the final pack out weight of the bike is going to be but I think it's a good trade off as food is a really important part of my strategy this year.

While I'm down in the Springs having another tooth drilled out, I'll stop in to a few shops and see what they have in the way of 29er UST tires and see if I can't get those. If I can find something that looks like it'll fit the bill, then I'll probably start building up the bike this weekend. Super excited to get it done and get in some overnighters. I woke up last night at one point from tooth pain and started to question my sleeping setup. Within an hour I had totally changed it again but I don't wanna make any kneejerk decisions until I can get some solid testing time in so that's on the agenda for next week.

In other news, the Denver Waterboard made an announcement yesterday where they said that Waterton Canyon will close on August 2 for a 13 month (I think) period. I don't really care how long it's closed for but the fact that it's gonna be closed the morning of the race is a bit of an iussue. So now the debate is on as to how to deal with this. We could start a day earlier on Sunday but I imagine that parking will be a big issue if everyone knows it's getting shut down the next day. The best option in my mind is to start from the Indian Creek Trailhead which is off highway 67. This goes for 6 or so miles before intersecting the CT. My biggest worry with this is that it's singletrack straight away and traffic is gonna be a big issue. The 6 miles of fire road in Waterton Canyon is perfect for getting things strung out and not having the start be such a clusterfluck. We'll see how Stefan wants to run things.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I got out for a nice ride on a portion of the Ring the Peak Trail today with a full CTR load. I haven't checked out the info from the GPS yet but...who cares. It was fun to get out on a beautiful day. As a tooth was not hurting although I was up most of the night in pain.

Short powerline section.

I don't know that I've ever seen this area so green. It was so nice that I decided to sit here and eat the Rice Krispy Treat for a snack.

I swear I was NOT pooping in this pic but it kinda looks like I am.

More sweet trail.

Tomorrow I'm going in for another root canal. Should be fun.

Sweet sights

This is Catamount Reservoir. I rode by it today on my little outing (more on that later).

These are some of the delicious snacks that accompanied me on my little outing. You know it's serious when the king size Rice Krispies start showing up.

I got home to find these babies on the front porch. Ohhhhhh Mamasita!!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


So I'm watching tv last night and think I here a critter. I've got powerhouse ears too except for when Heather's calling me. The last time I thought I heard a critter it turned out to be 4 bears in the driveway trying to get into the van. I check the front deck and find nothing so I go back to watching tv. Then I hear it again and tell Heather to mute the tv. Then I definitely hear something that's a tad askew. I head down the stairs and it's something in the laundry room. So we round up the dogs and put them in separate rooms and then head down to check it out. There was something in the dryer tube. I was able to lift it up real gently and feel a small critter inside scurrying around. In hindsight, I should have crushed him in my powerful grip but I can't stand to see suffering, let alone inflict it, so I was trying to come up with another game plan. Whatever it was it went back into the tube that goes into the wall and then leads to the outside vent. I checked the vent and the screen is in tact so it came in from somewhere else. The dryer tube was in tact. Unfortunately, I was never able to get the little thing back into the dryer tube so that I could carry out my plan to relocate the animal. Much to my disapproval, Heather ran the dryer for about 50 minutes on the extreme setting last night in the hopes that it would kill whatever was making a Habitrail out of the tube.

More fun at the dentist

I just got back from having my temporary crown installed. I love my new dentist. The good news is that she is tender and gentle with me. The bad news is that she did some x-rays and found that I'm in need of yet another root canal. That would explain the pain I've been in on the other side of my mouth for the last two weeks. I haven't been able to chew gum on the left side. So now I have to figure out how in the hell I'm gonna pay for this one as the insurance ran out from the last one. I don't have that much time either b/c I need to get the root canal done and probably get a temporary crown on it before I leave so that I don't have to take extreme measures like Chuck did in Castaway.

I wonder if I should have gone for the gold crown?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ride the Divide

When we got home from our trip back to St. Louis, my DVD was waiting for me. I've already seen it 3 times now. Super inspirational.

Eric Lobeck now looks to be about 6 miles behind Matthew. Both of them are flying and will be in Lincoln very soon. Diesel Marshal is in 13th spot right now! Super proud of him.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tour Divide

This race is unfolding as we speak. My friend Marshal is taking on the beast. He checked into Whitefish with a time of 2 days, 9 hours and 59 minutes. He's covered right at 318 miles of the course so far. In 200 miles he should check in to Lincoln. He looks to have his head on a pillow in Columbia Falls right now. You can check his progress here as well as the others.

Eric Lobeck hails from Steamboat Springs and he's putting on a really good show right now. He's trailing the cagey veteran Matt Lee by hours. I'm glued to the SPOT dots. Hang tough boys.

The new Alma

This is the newly redesigned Orbea Alma. Needless to say I am smitten with it.

Orbea took a lot of heat about tire clearance on my frame. It loks like that's been addressed. They alos got rid of the small lip near the BB area that used to scoop mud away but still away from clearance.

BB30 bottom bracket area looks sexy. The chain stays are beefier and they also put a small kink in the seat tube to make the stays a tad shorter.

Tapered head tube and a system for sealed shifter cables.

Love the seat post clamp and I could learn to like the bridgeless seat stay.

These aren't supposed to be available until July but I think I may have found my new frame.

Back home

We've spent the last week In St. Louis visiting friends and Heather's family. It's always good to see everyone again but these trips are generally pretty emotionally draining for both of us. Overall, I'm happiest at altitude and my wife is happiest back home in Missouri. The drive home is always surreal as I'm always anxious to get back to the beautiful mountains and my wife is usually a bit sad to leave. 6 or 7 years ago she made the decision to come with me and has probably regretted it ever since. While there are some things that I don't like out here, it seems to be a bit easier for me to separate them from the things that are simply magical for me. It's selfish for me to ask her to continue to come back here. At the same time, it's selfish for her to ask me to move back home. We are both selfish people who love each other and don't want to think about living life apart. We both joke about coming up with a compromise (like somewhere in Kansas) but we both know that's just a way to try and ease the tension during those uncomfortable moments of discussion. No true compromise exists. I know how to deal with my own frustration/depression of living back in Missouri but am clueless of how to deal with hers while living out here. In my heart...I am tired of seeing my wife unhappy and know what the solution is. I'm willing to do it but I know it's gonna be very difficult for me. Maybe that's what these long rides are for? Perhaps I've found my niche? It's a way for me to have my solitude in the wild. It takes me back to when I was a kid and would spend hours upon hours in the woods behind my house. It gives me the time to stop and wonder who stood where I was before I got there? Who looked at the same stuff I'm now taking in. The midwest has some gorgeous scenery and some really remarkable history. It also has some pretty stifling heat and that's always been hard for me to deal with. I'm not sure I could do the bikepacking trips back there but I know it would make me appreciate the ones I can do much more. Maybe they'll even make me able to deal with the dark/tough times more efficiently? We've probably got a few more years out here but...time will tell.

Friday, June 4, 2010

One of my favorite workouts that I've been doing on and off for maybe 10 years now pretty much has to be done on the trainer and I hate the trainer so I don't get to do it as much as I'd like. A few years ago my friend Dan suggested some other types of workouts. The one that I really took a liking to is what I did yesterday. It ends up being about 10 minutes on and then off. If I really let myself have it, three is plenty. It was yesterday. I do one loop down the Pass and then back up to get warmed up and then head back down to my turn around point. Dan always wanted me to keep the cadence between 40-70 but I like to try and keep it on the low end. So for me that means a 53x12 and then the lowest rpm I see is right at 45 on one little riser that's really not all that tough but it is humbling. Hands just rest on the tops and it's all legs. There's no cheating with rocking the body. I guess Dan likes it from a power standpoint for crit riding but for me it mimics the hills (which is still power but......I'm lost when it comes to power). This year I wanna do that workout once each week just cuz it's fun and it probably doesn't hurt to mix things up and use some different stuff other than LSD type rides.

I wonder if we have any Whipped Cream for my waffles?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Rick Hunter is a frame builder in California. I stumbled across this bike the other day and was really taken with it. It has very similar lines to the things I like from other builders like Victoria, Coconino (to some extent) Mountain Goat, Retrotec, Pereira, etc. This was built for a guy named Devian who lives in Southern California. He will be lining up for this years Tour Divide. It's an interesting build. I'd need a suspension fork and I like hydraulic brakes (when they work). There's also that damn monostay again. I'm sure some builders will argue that it's stiffer but that's fine. The handlebar on this bike is an inverted Mary Bar. Looks really fun but I think Devian's gonna be wishing he had aero bars. I'm not a fan of the paint but, regardless, how much would it suck to train for and do something long distance like TD and then get the frame scratched up from the bags? The Alma is showing some wear from the bags rubbing. I suppose I could always get it powder coated again. Can't really put another clear coat on carbon. Titanium would be the ticket I think. Ti just looks better and better the older it gets. Neat bike nonetheless.

I got a late start today but was able to get pedaling at 1030ish. I like riding Rampart Range Road so I spend a good chunk of time up there. I had a full CTR load today and it felt fine. I road almost to Highway 67 and then had lunch and turned around to head home. All in all I was out for right at 4.5 hours and covered a hair over 60 miles. Fun ride. Saw 3 motorcycles, 1 car, and a group of soldiers doing some training.

Not much has changed with this bike but I'm really anxious to put the new stuff on. I'm gonna be patient though because I think I'm going to spend more time on it this year cuz the road bike is getting the stink eye lately.

I can't even go riding in the woods without the ladies taking their clothes off for me. It's a curse I tell ya. I found this hot little number on a Bobcat at the beginning of a MX trail. If you look closely...she's got a big assault rifle. She was dirty too.

I thought about riding this for a hot second but then knew that it would just be miles of gravel from all the dirt bikes and that's not so fun. We have endless options just like this right out the back door. I wish motorcycles didn't make me scream like a frightened child. I also wanted to spend a good bit of time climbing on the road. I felt very good all the way.

Today's ride

As dull as this looks it is one of my favorite roads to ride on. Spent 4.5 hours up here today.

That's a sharp helmet.

Good views.

Requisite Pikes Peak shot.

Trees and stuff.

New awareness

Last night I had a long talk with myself and my wife. I think I was finally able to put my finger on some things and explain how I'm feeling about the race this year. I was trying to figure out what I could do differently to prepare this year and I really don't think there is anything. Fitness hasn't been the issue for me. It's not a question of IF the dark moments are going to come but WHEN. Now that I've seen them tenfold I guess my different preparation needs to be how to address them when they do present themselves b/c I simply can't ride, visualize, or meditate more than I do. I can't afford to make knee jerk decisions. I've always been able to think clearly in times of stress or when weather is an issue. I have to be able to do the same when I'm tired, thirsty, or hungry. I also have to always remember what happens to my body and head when I do get dehydrated or when I don't keep the calories coming in. The other thing that I am going to do differently this year is have several rewards along the way that will remain buried in the pack until they've been earned. One of those will come at the end of that first day if I can get to where I want to be. Another one will for sure come out after the dreaded Sargents Mesa. There's gonna have to be a big one after the exposed high altitude sections in 22 and 23. I feel much better this morning.