Saturday, July 31, 2010


OK I think I have the SPOT issues sorted out. There may be some interference between the SPOT and the GPS but I wasn't using the GPS last night or this morning so I'm still thinking it's either a satellite issue or a SPOT issue. I ca do most of this course blind so the only times I will be using the GPS are maybe at night on high altitude stuff or on the segments I haven't seen yet down in the San Jauns so I'll decrease the likelihood of any interference between the 2 devices. The link for bikepacking immediately takes you to the Ultra Racing forum where any discussion for the 2010 CTR will take place. There are several threads on there already (showing some bikes, warning of route information, etc.) but there should also be an additional thread created after we're off. I put up a link directly to Joe's site ( He's already got some stuff over there about the race. Looks to be 40 racers on the preliminary roster but I know there will be more. Names to watch on the tracker are Ethan Passant, Dave Harris, Jeff Kerkove, Jefe Branham and Cat Morrison. Eszter Horanyi is also scheduled to start. She won Moab this past year as well as the grueling Vapor Trail 125 in Salida so that should make the womens race interesting to watch unfold. Don't forget that you can play with the maps on the share page. Satellite and Terrain will kinda give you a peak at what the areas we're in look like while you sit in your armchair drinking cold beverages.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Really happy with how this bike looks. I'm quite taken with how it performs too.

Wet (some might even say moist) conditions

These are images from the Boulder/Nederland area yesterday. These innocent tourists from Oklahoma were caught in a storm and then had to dig their vehicle out. I heard they even ran the plows up in Ned to deal with about 8 inches of hail. I find it a bit ironic that the guy's last name is flood.

I just checked the weather all along the trail and there are nothing but flash flood warnings for the entire week all the way through. Looks like it's definitely gonna be a wet race this year. Temps are supposed to be low and that will be nice but some of these storms we're getting are dumping about 4 inches of rain in 2 hours so they're pretty stout. That could make things slower this year which actually might not be a bad thing for me at this point. My major concern (and one that keeps me awake at night) is what that weather is going to look like in the long, alpine sections of 22 and 23 and then again near the end over Blackhawk Pass. Things could really be sketchy up there. The portion of the trail that I have never seen that far down south is full of some pretty hairy knife-edge crossings.

I could say, "Wish I had sacked up last year and finished" but then I'd sound like Skee-Lo (I wish I was a little bit taller....I wish I was a baller....Wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her). Sorry...he's getting a lot of play time on my iPod right now.

The other sketchy news along the route came from CDOT this morning. Highway 550 (which we ride from Silverton to the top of Molas Pass) is being repaved and is down to one lane. It's up hill and will have loads of RV's in a hurry to get their vacations started. Hope they will play nicely.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm not really going to make a decision until the last minute (probably Sunday night) but I'm trying to tie up some loose ends now. I'm pretty set on starting but, ultimately, my tooth is going to make that decision for me. You'll see that over on the right side of this web page (on top) there is a link to my newly created share page. I also put a link to the CTR site. There's not a whole lot over there but feel free to check it out. There is also a link that will go to a thread (on that I'm sure will get created sometime Sunday night. I'm not sure who will be quarterbacking things yet in that thread but someone will. Joe Polk (of MTB cast) will also be airing our call ins again this yea. You should be able to hear those in that thread over on bikepacking but I'll double check Sunday night. If they are going to be over on Joe's site then I will also put a link up for that. I think that's it for now. If you see I have forgotten something please let me know.
I cleaned my bike up tonight and installed fresh new orange tape. I love new tape. I love wrapping handlebar tape. Every wrap has to be perfectly parallel with the previous one. It's all part of my system.

I feel a bit better tonight. The tooth is not as sensitive as it was this morning. I got out for almost a 3 hour ride with some intervals. I managed to get dropped on the way up the pass by a Garmin-Transitions guy (coulda been a Holowesko rider too). Whoever he was he was a little dude. Thought it mighta been that Svein Tuft fella but he's a pretty big boy. Also was bald and riding with no helmet up highway 24. What's with those bald dudes?

This guy hung out with me while I cleaned my bike up. He was about 5" long and absolutely stunning looking.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I slept all day today and kept the water and meds going in whenever I woke up. I did get out for an hour ride this evening. It felt weird but ok. I'm gonna try to shoot for 2 or 3 hours tomorrow. Mouth is still extremely sore and I can't eat much more than soup so that's not helping me. I'll know more tomorrow.
If you're ever in the Colorado Springs area and need a root canal, please be sure to see the wonderful folks at Endodontics Specialists. They were able to figure out what was going on with another tooth (a molar that I had cracked about a week ago) and got me in later in yesterday afternoon to do the procedure. Everything went fine (although this one hurts the worst of all three). I'm very sore today but in a bit I go back to my regular dentist so that she can take a look at some soft tissue that needed to be cut away along the gum line so she could grind some of the jaw bone down and see how that's all healing up.

Big thanks to Paul up at Team Telecycle for getting my Reba rebuilt last week. I haven't ridden it but it looks like it cycles through the travel smoothly.

I am really on the fence about what to do. If the race was tomorrow or even in three days I would not be going. I don't know that I can do this as quickly as I'd like to this year but I think that's ok too. The primary concern for me all year long was whether or not I could actually make it all the way. There are so many thoughts racing through my head right now. The mechanical the first year. My lack of mental toughness last year. This year it's been really close to being out of my control again and that has made me really mad about quitting last year.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm so glad tomorrow is Monday

I go back into the oral surgeon that has done both root canals tomorrow morning so he can run some tests. It's been a rough weekend. The steroids have me climbing the walls so I laid off them today and doubled up on painkillers. It's bad when eating scrambled eggs brings tears to my eyes. I sure hope they can find something wrong. Even if it meant another root canal I'd gladly do it with no drugs.

I really hate to sound like such a whiner. I am so glad that this is nothing more serious or life threatening.

Friday, July 23, 2010


So in the last 3 months now I have had 2 root canals, 1 temporary crown and 1 permanent crown. I need to get another permanent crown but I'm out of money man. I've broken two of the crowns and a few days ago I cracked another molar entirely and my dentist had to go in and repair that and it looks like it might need a crown now as well. In addition to that, the tooth that got the first root canal is extremely painful right now. Sometimes when I'm eating I get a jolt like someone just hooked a car battery to that tooth. I'm not over here eating Corn Nuts either. The other night I was eating fish in a restaurant and I thought I was going to cry from the pain. Earlier tonight I spoke with the doctor from the Endodontics place that did both root canals and he prescribed antibiotics, Vicodin and a steroid for my pain to get me through the weekend and then he'll do some testing asap on Monday morning. He thinks it's the tooth in front that now needs a root canal. It's going on 2 weeks since I've ridden now. At this point I don't even know if I can start the Colorado Trail Race. I'm pretty bummed. For the record I would like to say that I am NOT a yuck mouth at all. I brush 2x each day and sometimes 3. I have floss in my car, classroom, fishing backpack and my cycling backpack as well as here at home and I floss after eating anything.

I think I've got a pretty high pain threshold but tooth and back/neck pain are something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. If I was a POW I really think I could get through having a finger cut off but as soon as I saw the pliers and them going for my mouth I'd tell them who I was working for, what the plan was and how many times, on average, I crap each day. Drugs are doing their thing now so...................

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not the best of luck

Yesterday I got back on the bike for a little ride after a complete week off it and felt really good. My legs feel good but, more importantly, my head feels good. I spent last week doing tourist things with our friends from out of town and some fishing too and hardly thought about the Colorado Trail Race but did a lot of thinking about what I'm going to get to see again this year along the way.

I've been battling 2 pretty stubborn saddle sores. One is healed up and gone and this morning the other one was bad enough to justify a trip to the doctor and now I'm hoping the anti-biotics will be able to do their thing before I'm supposed to leave. I really don't wanna go into any more detail and you're welcome. I will say that it's not much fun going to the doctor for this. It's not like a car where they can put you up on a lift and have a look at the old undercarriage. There's no pretty way to gain access to THAT area but to lay down and lift a leg. And I'm not very flexible so not only was it NOT a pretty picture but there was also a fair bit of early morning groaning on my part. I've been racing bikes a long time and I've never had anything like this. I blame Marshal Bird. I will not be riding this week either.

Funny story though...I'm telling the doctor about this and then he finally asks, "So where is this sore at?" Ya gotta be kidding me right? It's on my friggin' elbow. IT"S ON MY ASS, DUDE!!! Then he's like, "Well I suppose we should take a look at it." Sorry to inconvenience you. It's not as if I was chompin' at the bit to come up here and drop trow in front of you and show you the most secluded spots of my nether regions. To top it all off there was a medical student shadowing this doctor and he was also in the room. I'm like, "Get ready haven't seen what's coming in any textbook."

So because I did not really want to sit on my rear today I decided to go and play in the garage. The layout of the garage is not really conducive to riding the trainer anymore and I wanted to address that. IF I decide to do a different ride next year I MAY need to spend quite a bit of time on the trainer this winter and I'll need things to be comfortable for the longer rides. So I did some re-arranging. It's basically back to how it was before I ever got the Vanagon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still here

My buddy Pablo and his two kids have been in town all week and just left yesterday for Ouray to camp with his dad for a while. I haven't touched a bike since they've been here and hardly thought about things at all. It was pretty nice. Even though it was a week off the bike, it was still packed full of adventure. Caleb is the youngest child and, at 5, you gotta keep em busy so we had a full schedule to keep the little guy from getting bored. We did plenty of fishing, went to the top of Pikes Peak, rented a boat for half a day and tooled around one of the reservoirs, and more. Sadly...I forgot my camera for pretty much all of these things so I'll get them from Pablo when they come back through town on their way to the airport.

This was a picture I snapped the other night. The mountains just looked amazing with the lighting and the some rain. Wish I could have really stopped and been away from cars and buildings but it happened kinda quickly.

One morning Caleb was bored while we waited for Heather to get back from teaching summer school. We told him that he could avoid the dreaded bath if he did this. To sweeten the deal we even told him that the water we get piped into our house was fresh glacial melt. He couldn't get on the deck quickly enough. I'm sure it was cold.

Monday, July 12, 2010

About how I feel

I saw this guy yesterday. He was actually pretty good sized for a Garter Snake. He wasn't big enough for a belt (maybe a money clip but I don't know that I can pull that off as.....well....I have no money). So....I let him be.

This is how I feel.

He's the only 70+ lb. dog I know that likes to get up on to the back of the couch on top of the cushions like a damn cat. Most of the time he balances perfectly but sometimes, the fatness causes him to slip down in between the cushion but this doesn't seem to faze him.

Big week

Well yesterday I finished my hard week. I've had multiple 90-100 mile days in a row. Yesterday I ended things with a loop towards Monument and back that ended up being 70 miles. Once I made it back to Manitou Springs I hooked up with the Ring the Peak Trail. I have not hiked this section in quite some time so it was fun. I did come across an unleashed Chihuahua that chased me, while barking, for about 100 yards. I was trying to outrun him but I kept laughing as I looked over my shoulder and then had to dismount for a short little climb. I finally dropped my bike and ran straight at him and he took off the other direction crying.

I wish the entire Ring Peak was like this.

This is a new to me trail that I found yesterday. It started out pretty fun but then turned to poop. Super washed out, super rocky. My GPS had the fire road just to my left but it was THICK in there so I ended up having to tough it out for about an hour.

This is up on top of Rampart Range Road. Castle Rock is pretty much right in the middle of the frame but....out there.

We've had some killer storms this past week with serious winds. This Aspen was probably 9" in diameter.

This week will be nice. I am going to taper things off and do some last minute prep for the race. My buddy Pablo and his two kids are landing at DIA tomorrow so I'll go pick them up and they'll crash here for a week before heading down to Ouray. I go to the Dentist today for a permanent crown and another temporary one. Looking forward to getting this done but not looking forward to her having to cut the gum away and do some grinding on my jaw bone. Not sure how I'm gonna feel later on.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Close encounters

Heather and I went over to my buddy Marshal's house last night to spend some time hearing some of his Tour Divide stories and watching him eat. His wife had a cake with a really cool picture on it from his race. I didn't wanna show up empty handed so I brought him a chocolate milk and 2 moon pies which didn't last very long. Before we took off he started asking if I was ready for August 2. He then offered up a lot of encouraging advice for me and gave me a nice pep talk.

Today was another step in the right direction for me. We were supposed to get some nasty storms in the afternoon and the recent ones we've had have not been the typical afternoon Colorado storms that last an hour or two. So...I wanted to get moving early so I was out the door at 0815. I headed out to Florissant to start the day. The first 4 hours were pretty nice but they were filled with some close calls with trucks. Normally I am VERY patient with motorists but the straw that broke the camel's back was the guy that ran the stop sign and almost made me his hood ornament. I haven't cursed and yelled like that in years. Thankfully there was a perfect way out for me as it was not a normal intersection. I am very glad that the guy did not stop because I know I would have done something stupid. Two other cars stopped to ask if I was ok. For a few seconds I contemplated giving chase but I knew the adrenaline wouldn't last longer than 100 yards so I just collected myself.

Then the storm caught up with me. I spent the last hour in the cold, wet rain and more hail. I ended up with 95 miles for the day in 6 hours. I feel very good after my little nap. These are some pics I just took of the Peak. It got quite a bit of snow while I was under the blankets but I don't know if they do any justice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Passing time

I was up all night because Bodhi decided to bark at things until the wee hours of the morning. I still got up when Heather did to go teach summer school. I promised a guy who's racing the CTR this year that I would send him a route from Durango back towards my house (he's from another country and wants to ride back). I've been slacking so this was the perfect morning to drink coffee and plot a route on fire roads. After I fired that off to him I completely cleaned the garage out and scrubbed the floor (it seems that something rotten leaked out of the can and got on the floor and was causing a disturbance). I was gonna go fish today but we were supposed to get some bad weather so I decided to stay home instead. Now we're sitting here waiting out another storm with more hail so both of us are playing on our computers. The tv gets turned off very quickly when a storm moves in now thanks to the lightning strike a few years back. Anyway's...I found an old picture of one of my motorcycles. This just happens to be the one that pretty much ended my moto days at least for the time being. I drove all the way to San Jose to pick this one up and I don't even think it was a year later that I had laid it down on a twisty section of pavement up by Deckers because I was riding WAY over my head. Thankfully I am smart enough to wear gear so I wasn't hurt too badly. I have always liked motorcycles and would really like to get another one but I'm not sure that'll ever happen since now they scare the crap out of me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A step in the right direction

I've been struggling in the focus department this year. I recently got 2 emails that really helped me put things into perspective. I think I'm gonna be ok. Thanks so much to both TK and MC for the gentle nudge. The last 2 days I went for mtb rides and was grinning ear to ear again. Yesterday I rode up to Rampart Reservoir and did 2 laps before heading home. I saw some really cool stuff and that's what I miss. So today I decided to go and check out a trail down in Green Mountain Falls that I hadn't been on before. It's a hiking trail but I've always wanted to see what's back there. These pics are hopelessly out of order but...

This isn't too far after starting to hike up it. LOTS of carrying the bike for about an hour I guess.

Probably about halfway up to the top.

This was a little side trail that led to a nice overlook of the valley below.

After I checked out the overlook I went the other direction and saw this. It was gorgeous up there. Eventually this wrapped around to the left and I got boxed in on both sides by rocks but there was a stream running right through the middle.

There were sometimes some decent sized pools and in several of them I saw fish. I'm 99.9% sure that these are Brook Trout. If you look real closely you can just make out the white tip on the fins. This little guy was maybe all of 4 inches but they are a beautiful fish. These are probably one of my favorite fish here in Colorado. If you hold them gently in your hand it's almost like somebody has painted them with a fine brush. The water in this pic was flowing from top to bottom of the pic and a little eddie was back flowing right towards the bottom of that rock that he's parked in front of so he was actively feeding. This is the stuff that I think I have been neglecting this year. I got so caught up in the race that I started to forget the scenery around me. When I first started this thing it was because I wanted to see things that most people that live here never get to see. For the last year I've been worried about times and that's a shame. In doing so, I've missed some kick ass sights. I have also neglected to visit the fish for quite some time and that's gonna have to change.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We're supposed to go meet some friends in town over in the parking lot of the hardware store in town to watch the fireworks but we just got hammered by a storm. Not sure I'm leaving the house. I think both vehicles took an absolute beating out there.
I stopped on the way home to get a soda and a coffee and this is what I saw when I turned my head. Thankfully I did not see any inside.

The route I took to Denver eventually connected me to the Colorado Trail and then I took that to Waterton Canyon. Here's the dam at Strontia Springs. After I rode out of the canyon I pedaled my way over to the Waterton Bar and Grill and had some grub and 2 beers before finding my way to my buddy Scott's backyard where I would bivy up in a bit of a thunderstorm that lasted until just after midnight. Thankfully the Gore Tex bivy did it's job and I remained dry.

This was a bit of wider trail that I encountered on Indian Creek. Since it's the weekend of the fourth I decided that going back home on the fire roads was probably not the best idea since that's where everyone heads to camp, drink, shoot guns, and drink. So....I had to ride the pavement for about 25 miles before hooking up with a doubletrack trail that took me all the way down to Colorado Springs. It was very slow going while on the pavement and I battled a strong headwind for the 60 miles back home that left me a bit cranky.


These are some pics from my little overnighter to Denver. This is part of the 6 mile section of Indian Creek that we will ride on now because of the Waterton Canyon closure. The bad part about this area is that it is singletrack right away and that'll be a little crowded but that's ok. The trail itself was really pretty. There were a few miles that went through a really overgrown area that had what looked to be ferns in it. Then there was maybe a mile or so of trail that had these really fun jumps in it. Kinda hard to get crazy with all the extra baggage but a neat change of pace. I love riding through the stretches of Aspens.

Mostly non-technical but there were some areas of roots and rocks.

Then things started to open up a bit.

There are some cool rock formations that you come across near an area called Devil's Head. This is not Devil's Head but it was still neat. The closer I got towards Denver, the more people were camping and riding their moto's.

This was the view that I had when I finally scrambled to the top of a rock formation along the way. It was gorgeous. I think I've neglected some of the scenery this year and it's definitely impacted how I feel when I'm out riding. I need to get back to looking at stuff.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've never doubted myself more than I have these last few months in terms of whether or not I can physically and mentally do something. I have less than 30 days to go before the start and I am so unsure of things. I don't feel good on the bike but I really think it's just my head. When I compare numbers and times, things seem to be ok but I feel so much more pain. Heather said she doesn't think I wanna do the race because of the experience this year but just to cut the head off this thing. She may be right. I have some big days/expectations mapped out and I do not know if I can meet them.

I got home tonight from an overnighter and did 120 miles in the last 24 hours. I hurt. I did get some cool pics so I'll post those tomorrow when I wake up.

Congratulations Marshal!!

My friend Marshal made it into Antelope Wells and completed the Tour Divide on his first try. I am really happy for him. He's a good guy and he's a true inspiration for me at a time when I'm really not certain of some things. Way to stay focused Marshal. What a ride.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tour Divide pics

These are some pics that Aaron Teasdale snapped.

Today's ride

I'm slowly trying to get back on some longer rides but I'm struggling with it. Today was a shade under 4 hours. I started at the start of section 2 of the CT. It's in really nice shape. The first part is still pretty barren from the fire but the last part seems to be recovering nicely. At one point, I was really disappointed with my tires as the front end felt like it was unstable and I was fixin to have a yard sale. Then I realized that my fork was locked out. Things were better after I pulled my head frometh my ass. You can see the small growth in this pic that's helping a lot with keeping the soil in tact during the rains. Wildflowers are doing quite well. The last time I rode this section I hated it but I had a good time with it today. The CT eventually crosses 126 shortly after this photo and keeps going but I decided to follow the pavement south back to where I was doing hill repeats the other day. I took 126 all the way back to Deckers ad then headed to Trumbull. At that point the ride really takes a turn for the worst as it parallels the South Platte for the next 15 miles back to where I had parked.

I stopped here to put the smack down on a peanut butter and honey samich and a king size Rice Krispy Treat. What a shitty view right? The sun even hid behind some clouds and I got a nice little sprinkle for about 45 minutes.

Know what doesn't make for a shitty ride? Fritos!! During the last hour of my ride I pedaled my happy ass down the road one handful of these bad boys at a time. I must admit that I stole this idea from one Marshal Bird. The last time we rode together I spied some of them in his gas tank and had pretty much been thinking of them since. I was gonna steal his but he's kinda crafty. They hit the spot.